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God Crucified : Monotheism and Christology in the New Testament [Paperback]

By Richard Bauckham (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   89
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.8" Width: 6" Height: 0.3"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 28, 1999
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802846424  
EAN  9780802846426  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
God Crucified presents an exciting new proposal for understanding New Testament Christology in its Jewish context. Using the latest scholarly discussion about the nature of Jewish monotheism as his starting point, Richard Bauckham builds a convincing argument that the early Christian view of Jesus' divinity is fully consistent with the Jewish understanding of God.

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More About Richard Bauckham

Richard Bauckham Richard Bauckham is professor emeritus of New Testament studies at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, senior scholar at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and a fellow of both the British Acad-emy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His many other books include Jesus and the God of Israel, Gospel Women, and Jesus: A Very Short Introduction.

Richard Bauckham has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Academic Paperback
  2. Book of Acts in Its First Century Setting
  3. Coleccion Teologica Contemporanea: Estudios Teologicos
  4. Library of New Testament Studies
  5. New Testament Readings
  6. New Testament Studies
  7. New Testament Theology
  8. Sarum Theological Lectures
  9. Supplements to Novum Testamentum
  10. T & T Clark Academic Paperbacks
  11. Very Short Introductions
  12. Word Biblical Commentary

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts > Bible > Old Testament   [1338  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > New Testa   [1782  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology   [2037  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Extremely faulty  Nov 1, 2005
Regrettably, this book simply fails to prove its central thesis: that from earliest times, Jesus was simply included within the unique identity of God. First, Bauckham is absolutely incorrect that Jewish monotheism was in any sense "strict" in Jesus' day. As is becoming increasingly clear, the type of monotheism he thinks Jews followed in the first century does not even begin to come about till the 3rd century. Even scholars as conservative as N T Wright acknowledge this.

Second, he dismisses the Enoch literature too easily, as well as large amounts of the Pseudepigrapha. Clearly, Jews were capable of thinking of of more than one divine figure along with God. Even a simple reading of I Enoch will reveal that.

Third, he dismisses other evidence that, according to his criteria, would make other patriarchs like Moses be included in God's unique identity. As can be easily seen from Larry Hurtado's One God, One Lord, Jews could conceive of exalted figures exercising divine prerogatives--without monotheism having to be rethought! If the exercise of divine prerogatives=divinity, Jewish literature abounds with Trinities.

Fourth, he underestimates the *earliest* Christology: Jesus was a man accredited by God. Christ is clearly subordinated--both functionally and ontologically--to God; Bauckham ignores the Pauline evidence for this. Paul continually speaks of "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"; that God worked "through" Jesus; that there is "one God and one Lord". But this he ignores because a few passages in the NT seem to indicate otherwise. In other words, the rabbit he pulls out of the hat is one he had to put in there in the first place.

In my opinion, his thesis fails on every single point by making gross generalizations and by ignoring massive amounts of evidence, dismissing anything that counters his argument as irrelevant. This is not good scholarship; this is making texts say what he wants them to say.

This is hardly to deny the Trinity; nor is it to say that there is not other evidence for it (see Neil Richardson's brilliant "Paul's Language about God"). (After all, as Anselm said, for Christ to redeem humankind from sin, he had to be God.) Rather, it is merely to say that THIS book proves absolutely nothing, other than the author is desperately grabbing at anything that will prove his point.
Convincing analysis of early Christian thought  May 28, 2004
In this brief book, Bauckham attempts to prove that the earliest Church identified Jesus as the God of the Old Testament. To prove this, the author looks at how the Old Testament spoke of God (what terms were used, what wording was customary, etc.) and showed that the early Church (most of whom were Jewish converts--Paul was a rabbi) used the same termonology when writing about Jesus. He also looks at differences between Jewish/Second Temple Period references to God as opposed to angels (or any being that is less than God, but more than man) and shows that these types of references were not used when writing about Jesus.

There is an argument that the author too quickly dismisses many Scriptural passages that run counter to his argument. While this may be true, I don't think it was within the author's scope to fully treat each Biblical passage. This book is quite short, making it necessary for Bauckham to "get to the point" quickly. Furthermore, the book is intended to have people read the New Testament from a different perspective. In these things, Bauckham succeeded. It is an interesting read and I recommend it.

Be careful of counter arguments  Dec 8, 2003
Just as we must be careful not to believe every word that this author says, we must also remember that just because something gives a counter argument, it does not mean that the book has been refuted.

For example, an earlier reviewer states, "Jesus defends his position by confirming others are called 'gods' by Almighty God." This is not necessarily true, since the passage referred to is probably a sarcastic argument against the denial of Jesus being God. That is, "Ah! If you think of yourselves as 'gods', then why are you all so worked up when I call myself God's Son?"

Another example is when the same reviewer states, "When we consider the whole of the scriptures and who they say Jesus is, we must study both the verses that seem to imply Jesus is God and the hundreds of verses that imply he is not." But are there really ANY verses that imply that Jesus is not God, let alone HUNDREDS of them? Note that when a verse says or implies the humanity of Christ, it does not necessarily entail the non-deity of Christ, since the doctrine of the Incarnation can be correct in saying that Jesus is God taken on a human nature, so that all verses referring to his humanity and human limitations refer to the human nature. Unless this is disproved, then there are no verses implying that Jesus is not God, but there are many that imply that he has a human nature because of the Incarnation.

So be careful of arguments that may look good to you, but that really do not necessarily lead to the person's desired conclusion. ...

Very Satisfying  Jul 27, 2003
At a time when I was questioning how to understand the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and, by extension, the deity of Christ, this little book gave me the answers I was looking for in a simple and non-technical way. The author has made this book accessible to a wide audience, it's short and the arguments are easily understood. I highly recommned this book.

As others have stated, now that I understand his basic arguments, I hope for a larger and more comprehensive discussion from this author on this subject. I think he is on to something very important here for Christian theology, Christology, and Christian apologetics.

Arguments not well substantiated  Jun 26, 2002
Richard Bauckham has taken a stand somewhat unusual to most presentations of the deity of Christ, as he himself admits. Bauckham argues that, based on 2nd temple Jews beliefs, early Christians were not so much interested in the functional or ontological relationship of Christ to God but rather, the identity of God and how Christ fits in with it. However, I feel, as another reviewer did below, that Bauckham too easily and quickly dismissed any evidence that seemed to go against his theory.

For instance, he dismisses the 'intermediary' figures in the scriptures that speak of angels and exalted humans as serving in the role of God. This is a big dismissal because if it can be shown that Jews understood angelic beings and exalted humans (ie. Kings) were referred to as god(s), a serious question oversets the meaning of the scriptures that refer to Jesus as god. Bauckham, recognizing this, argues that even though there are scriptures that state angelic authority or that humans are referred to as gods, we should dismiss them due to their relatively small quantity. The careful reader will proceed with caution under such a recommendation.

Bauckham did not really prove why we would be inclined to treat as lesser the scriptures that go against his theory, nor did he present an overwhelming amount of evidence for his theory. In fact, I found his scriptural evidence and arguments quite insufficient.

For instance, he states that angels, particularly the archangel Michael, did not have any authority over other angels. He states this in spite of (and in acknowledgement of) 1 Enoch 9:1; 10:1-11; 20:1-8; 40:3-10; 54:6; 71:8-9; Tob 12:15; Rev 8:2. He also dismisses scholars like A.F. Segal, Hurtado, Hayman and Barker who recognize angelic authority in the scriptures. And he does this with no evidence provided as to why we should not accept the scriptures that speak of such. In addition, he explicitly states that Michael has no authority over any other angels but never mentions to his readers the account in Rev 12:7-"And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled."

There is no doubt that the dragon, Satan, is depicted as having authority over the other fallen angels, as is testified elsewhere in the scriptures (Matt 12:24). So we see a comparison between the dragon and his "angels" and "Michael and his angels." It seems most reasonable that Michael has authority over these angels. And few would argue Jesus doesn't have authority over angels based on Matt 24:31, which uses wording similar to Rev 12. In addition, Michael is said to be the "Great prince" of God's people at Daniel 12:1. The reader is thus forced to choose between Bauckham's opinion or the scriptures and, ultimately, Jesus' own words at John 10:34-36 where he confirms the function of god being placed on humans.

Bauckham then states, "What Jewish monotheism could not accommodate were precisely...divinity by delegation participation." (pg 27-28) Even though he offered no proof of such, Bauckham may be on to something here based on Jesus' words at John 10. Jesus asked the religious leaders "Is it not written in your Law, 'I said: "You are gods"'? If he called 'gods' those against whom the word of God came, and yet the Scripture cannot be nullified, do You say to me whom the Father sanctified and dispatched into the world, 'You blaspheme,' because I said, I am God's Son?"

Note what is happening here and what Bauckham doesn't consider in his discussion. Jesus defends his position by confirming others are called "gods" by Almighty God. Did the religious leaders have an attitude like what Bauckham states they did (about not allowing "divinity by delegation")? Perhaps! But here is the point Bauckham missed. Jesus addresses their potential attitude by reminding them that the scriptures could not be "nullified"! So maybe the Jewish religious leaders did want to dismiss intermediary agents, even as Bauckham asks us to do, but Jesus reminded them that the scriptures did refer to others in that position (put there by none other than Almighty God) and that these scriptures that state such could not be nullified.

The writer of Hebrews may have also used the intermediary application of "God" at Hebrews 1:8 when he applied Psalm 45:6, originally applied to king Solomon, to Jesus Christ. That Bauckham would dismiss both Jesus' words and the application at Hebrews is, in my opinion, unfortunate. Despite Bauckham's arbitrary dismissal of the scriptures that show the opposite of his theory, Jesus uses one of these very scriptures to highlight delegated authority.

Bauckham then undertakes the argument that Jesus' participating in creation and receiving worship is proof that he should be identified as Almighty God. One cannot obviously address such arguments in a review limited to only 1000 words but I will say this. When we consider the whole of the scriptures and who they say Jesus is, we must study both the verses that seem to imply Jesus is God and the hundreds of verses that imply he is not. If we limit our study to a few verses we might very well conclude Peter and Judas are Satan the Devil. (John 6:70, Matt 16:23)

It should be stated that Bauckham admits this small book is not thorough and that he is working on a larger volume. I hope he will keep these comments and honest differences of opinion in mind as he proceeds. For a more in-depth look at the identity of Jesus, see the book, "Jesus-God or the Son of God?", available here at this


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