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The Preexistent Son: Recovering the Christologies of Matthew, Mark, And Luke [Paperback]

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Item Number 50296  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   344
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.2" Width: 6.4" Height: 0.94"
Weight:   1.14 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 5, 2006
Publisher   WM. B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING CO.
ISBN  0802829015  
EAN  9780802829016  


Availability  1 units.
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Item Description...
Overview
Finding evidence for Jesus' pre-incarnate existence in the Synoptics, Gathercole compares the "I have come" sayings of Jesus with angelic pronouncements in Second Temple and rabbinic literature; considers the variety of titles applied to Jesus; then comments on related topics such as wisdom Christology. Will stir up debate. 320 pages, softcover. Eerdmans.

Publishers Description
In this challenging book, rising New Testament scholar Simon Gathercole contradicts a commonly held view among biblical scholars -- that the Gospel of John is the only Gospel to give evidence for Jesus' heavenly identity and preexistence. The Preexistent Son demonstrates that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were also well aware that the Son of God existed with the Father prior to his earthly ministry. Gathercole supports his argument by considering the "I have come" sayings of Jesus and strikingly similar angelic sayings discovered in Second Temple and Rabbinic literature. Further, he considers related topics such as Wisdom Christology and the titles applied to Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels. Gathercole's carefully researched work should spark debate among Synoptic scholars and extend the understanding of anyone interested in this New Testament question.

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More About Simon J. Gathercole

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Simon J. Gathercole is Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Aberdeen, UK.

Simon J. Gathercole has published or released items in the following series...
  1. T&T Clark Biblical Studies


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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts > Bible > New Testament   [2808  similar products]
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3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible Study > General   [2774  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Outstanding scholarship--finds high Christology in Matthew, Mark and Luke  Apr 26, 2009

A small number of liberal biblical scholars have recently tried to prove that Matthew, Mark, and Luke never believed Jesus was God.

This careful, thorough book by Gathercole proves them wrong.

Since the early 1900's when the old 'History of Religions' theory was in bloom, scholars such as Bousset "argued...that the titles...'Son of Man' and 'Lord' had their origins in Hellenistic mystery religions" p 3). These ideas were so soundly refuted that "it is largely in reaction" (p 3) Gathercole argues that some scholars now insist there is "no preexistence christology in the Synoptic gospels (p 3).

Gathercole calls such scholars as Bauckham and Hurtado the 'New History of Religions School'. They are scholars who have intensively studied the effects of Second Temple Judaism upon early Christianity; not, of course, the mystery religions. Hurtado especially is known for claiming that Paul shows high Christology throughout his epistles.

Gathercole argues that in the epistles he can show belief in Christ's preexistence from the start of Christianity and certainly before 70 AD. "Philippians 2 "constitutes the highest Christological reflection in the NT" (p 24). In the hymn Christ is said to be God but who took on the form of a servant--as a man--and humbled himself by dying on the cross. There are also instances in 1 Corinthians 15.47 and Romans 10.6 showing preexistence. These and other references show belief in preexistence in AD 48 and onwards.

"Jesus is portrayed in the Synoptic Gospels as having a heavenly identity...before Easter" (p 54) in the transfiguration and elsewhere. Also, Jesus forgives sin which his critics point out, can only be done by God. In Matthew, Jesus controls the weather, can walk on water, and those in the boat "worshiped him". He controls demons and can read minds. All of which proves Jesus was God, according to the Synoptics.
In addition to forgiving sins, Jesus also tells his apostles that "Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven", also pointing to divine authority.

Gathercole also discusses the "I have come" sayings of Jesus, which, he points out, "are summaries of Jesus' mission as a whole" (p 85). Again and again Jesus makes references to the fact that he came for specific purposes. To preach, to cast fire on earth, to bring division between people--these are a few of the instances. Also, Jesus says that he wanted to father "your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings" and this "metaphor requires a heavenly, indeed, a divine being" (p 211).

Christ is also given a number of titles throughout the Snoptics, such as "Lord" "Christ", "Son of Man" and "Son of God". Gathercole follows Martin Hengel in arguing that in a number of places " the 'Son of Man' is identified with the Messiah" (p 232).

Anyone who wants to argue that early Christianity did not believe Jesus was divine will have to deal with the arguments in this book first.

 
Outstanding scholarship--finds high Christology in Matthew, Mark and Luke  Apr 26, 2009
A small number of liberal biblical scholars have recently tried to prove that Matthew, Mark, and Luke never believed Jesus was God.

This careful, thorough book by Gathercole proves them wrong.

Since the early 1900's when the old 'History of Religions' theory was in bloom, scholars such as Bousset "argued...that the titles...'Son of Man' and 'Lord' had their origins in Hellenistic mystery religions" p 3). These ideas were so soundly refuted that "it is largely in reaction" (p 3) Gathercole argues that some scholars now insist there is "no preexistence christology in the Synoptic gospels (p 3).

Gathercole calls such scholars as Bauckham and Hurtado the 'New History of Religions School'. They are scholars who have intensively studied the effects of Second Temple Judaism upon early Christianity; not, of course, the mystery religions. Hurtado especially is known for claiming that Paul shows high Christology throughout his epistles.

Gathercole argues that in the epistles he can show belief in Christ's preexistence from the start of Christianity and certainly before 70 AD. "Philippians 2 "constitutes the highest Christological reflection in the NT" (p 24). In the hymn Christ is said to be God but who took on the form of a servant--as a man--and humbled himself by dying on the cross. There are also instances in 1 Corinthians 15.47 and Romans 10.6 showing preexistence. These and other references show belief in preexistence in AD 48 and onwards.

"Jesus is portrayed in the Synoptic Gospels as having a heavenly identity...before Easter" (p 54) in the transfiguration and elsewhere. Also, Jesus forgives sin which his critics point out, can only be done by God. In Matthew, Jesus controls the weather, can walk on water, and those in the boat "worshiped him". He controls demons and can read minds. All of which proves Jesus was God, according to the Synoptics.
In addition to forgiving sins, Jesus also tells his apostles that "Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven", also pointing to divine authority.

Gathercole also discusses the "I have come" sayings of Jesus, which, he points out, "are summaries of Jesus' mission as a whole" (p 85). Again and again Jesus makes references to the fact that he came for specific purposes. To preach, to cast fire on earth, to bring division between people--these are a few of the instances. Also, Jesus says that he wanted to father "your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings" and this "metaphor requires a heavenly, indeed, a divine being" (p 211).

Christ is also given a number of titles throughout the Snoptics, such as "Lord" "Christ", "Son of Man" and "Son of God". Gathercole follows Martin Hengel in arguing that in a number of places " the 'Son of Man' is identified with the Messiah" (p 232).

Anyone who wants to argue that early Christianity did not believe Jesus was divine will have to deal with the arguments in this book first.
 
Excellent Reference  Apr 21, 2008
Great examination of the Synoptic Gospels in terms of the preexistent Christ. Contrasting the examination of the same topic as presented in the Pauline Epistles, the connection between the Gospel writings and the Epistles is clear.
Fair treatment is given to the author's view as well as opposing views written by well know Biblical Scholars.
I enjoyed the reading.
 
The Synoptic Gospels Teach Jesus was Preexistent  Mar 22, 2008
This is a book of exemplary New Testament scholarship, which challenges
the widely held view amoung scholars of a certain stripe, that it is only
John's Gospel which knows a preexistent Christ. Gathercole argues his case
convincingly, and with scrupulous attention to detail and the views of
other scholars. He shows a mastery of the background material, which he
then uses to great effect. His prose style is clean - even elegent.

Gathercole's book starts with two chapters which seek to put his
investigation into whether Matthew, Mark and Luke taught the preexistence
of Jesus into context. He looks at the pre-existence teachings of Paul
and the Synoptic teaching of Christ's transcendence, as this is the
background against which claims that the Synoptic Gospels teach that
Jesus was preexistent must be judged. With such a background, it should
not be surprising if Matthew, Mark and Luke also taught
a pre-existent Christ.

There then follow a series of chapters which look at the "I have come" + a
purpose sayings in the Synoptics. In the first Gathercole argues that
there is a superficial plausibility to these verses teaching Christ's
preexitence. In the second, his demolishes the alternative readings
of these verses that different scholars have proposed. He then shows that
the best parallel in the extant literature of the time is in the sayings
that are used to introduce angelic visitors to the human realm. Then he
gives a fresh exegesis of these verses which shows that there is a clear
pre-existence Christology in each of the Synoptic gospels.

One of the compelling features of Gathercole's work is that he is not
desperate to support his thesis with any argument whatsoever. He
is critical of inadequate or inappropriate arguments for Jesus' pre-
existence in the Synoptics. In particular, Gathercole is not at all
convinced by the so-called Wisdom Christologies that some have tried to
use to argue for Jesus' preexistence. As Gathercole observes, there is
a big difference between a personal preexistence and the preexistence of
a personification.

The later parts of the book look at other evidence, such as the
the main Christological titles, Son of Man; Son of God; Lord; and
Messiah/Christ. One intriging section looks at the possibility that there
is a logos Christology in Luke-Acts.

This book is concerned with the teachings of the Synoptic gospels as we
have them. Gathercole does not address the question of whether these
sayings are dominical, nor how (if at all) they have been redacted. It is
not a criticism to note this, as all such studies must have a boundary.

In summary, the scholarship seems to be impeccable; it certainly
convinced me! It is difficult to imagine that a low Christology will be
able to be ascribed to the Synoptic Gospels in the light of Gathercole's
work. This is an important result, requiring many scholars to re-work
their theories of how a high Christology developed. If this is an example
of the work of the new wave of conservative scholars, it is an exciting
time for the academy and the church. It shows that sceptical scholars can
be taken on even in the field of Synoptic studies, and their house of
cards starts to look shaky indeed.
 

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