Jesus and the Victory of God (CHRISTIAN ORIGINS AND THE QUESTION OF GOD) (英語) ペーパーバック – 1997/8/1
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Shows how the questions posed by Albert Schweitzer a century ago remain central today; sketches a profile of Jesus in terms of his prophetic praxis, his subversive stories, his symbology and the answers he gave to key questions, in a debate-igniting examination of Jesus' aims and beliefs, argued on the basis of his actions and their accompanying riddles. Reprint.
One thing that must constantly be kept in mind in this work is that it is historical in nature more so than theological. That is not to say that it is not theological; it is that. But Wright's passion is for the historical perspective. He does try to weave together the theological and the historical in this volume, as he did in Volume 1. I think overall he does pretty well.
Where I gained insight was in the eschatological nature of the gospels. Wright makes the case that Jesus ministry was intentionally eschatological (primarily symbolic). For that reason, western theologians have read the gospels anachronistically for the most part. We read the gospels like they are the letters of Paul. If we are students of the Bible, we need to keep in mind the genre of the particular book we are studying. Wright says that the gospels are often treated solely theologically while ignoring the historical context.
One of the points that Wright repeats (almost ad nauseum) is that when Jesus spoke of his coming in judgment that he was not speaking of some future parousia, but of his current presence among them and his forthcoming death and resurrection. What this means is that Jesus was pronouncing judgment on the Jews for their rejection of Jesus. He points out as evidence the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70 by the Romans. The Jews of Jesus' day had their focus on their deliverance from Romans oppression. Therefore, they missed their true Messiah (Jesus). Because of this rejection, Jesus pronounces and acts out judgment. In this respect he is like the prophet Ezekiel who lay on both his sides (See Ezekiel Chapter 4) to symbolize the siege against Jerusalem.
Jesus parables and his ministry were primarily directed at the Jews. While he did have a world focus (the Great Commission for example), his main goal was to defeat the real enemy (the Satan, as Wright puts it) and to provide a redefinition of Israel. Jesus was inaugurating the kingdom in his ministry, death and resurrection. By a redefinition Wright means that Jesus provided a new way of understanding the law (Torah), he took upon himself the function of the temple (by his sacrificial death), and demonstrated meekness instead of resisting enemies (Rome).
In Part II of the book (The Profile of a Prophet), Wright's focus is on the prophetic ministry of Jesus. Wright makes the case that Jesus should be seen as a prophet whose main focus was on the eschatological (again symbolic). To make his point, Jesus told many stories. Many of his stories revolved around the "Kingdom of God". The point Jesus conveyed in these stories is apparent: The coming of the Kingdom (in Jesus), and the redefinition of Israel, meant that the end was at hand for Israel as a political entity. The new Israel was to be centered in the Person of Jesus. Those who embraced Jesus would be saved.
Within a generation the Romans would attack them, destroy the Temple and scatter the Jews to the four winds. Those who did believe in Jesus and embraced the new paradigm would escape. Those who insisted on rebellion and revolution against Rome would be swept away in judgment. Jesus is the fulfillment of Israel. Everything that God had intended for Israel was being fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus is the Prophet spoken of in (Deuteronomy 18:18). The tragedy is that by and large, the Jews did not believe the word of the Prophet and because of this unbelief, they would be judged.
In Part III (The Aims and Beliefs of Jesus) we encounter a discussion about how Jesus saw himself. What was the goal of Jesus? What was the purpose of his miracles and his parables/teachings? Jesus understood his mission. He knew that he was the Messiah. He knew that he was the Prophet. He resisted the temptation by the Satan to use power to gain followers. Jesus lived out humility and meekness. He understood more than anyone else that the demand for a political King. He resisted that way. The Messiah would defeat Israel's true enemy: not Rome, but the Satan. That defeat meant that Jesus would have to endure the cross. He would die for the expiation of sin (removal of guilt), the atonement for sin (payment for sin) and the propitiation of sin (assuagement of wrath). He knew that the temple sacrifices were at an end. He would make the one final sacrifice for sin by his death. If Israel would truly come back from exile, then they would have to leave behind all they knew and embrace Jesus.
Since the Babylonian exile, the LORD had not really manifested his presence among his people as in the days of Moses (the cloud of glory by day and night). The second temple was not really the final answer. They were still "in exile". The coming of the kingdom, as Jesus taught it, was that he presented himself as the one who was inaugurating the kingdom. Only those who had ears to hear would come to Jesus to be saved.
Overall, I really learned a lot from this work. I gained a healthy appreciation for the historical aspect of the gospels. That Jesus ministry was mainly focused on the Jews and his offer of a new paradigm for Israel. He inaugurated the kingdom of God in his ministry, death and resurrection. I would differ with Wright in that I do believe that Jesus spoke about a literal Parousia. I believe he had a double meaning. As with the Old Testament prophets, Jesus pronouncements had an immediate contextual interpretation (as Wright correctly asserts) but he also had (I believe) something to say to the future church who would be reading his words in the gospels. Jesus would one day come back on a literal cloud (Acts 1:11).
Now at the end of this volume, the reader is prepared for Volume III. In it, Wright tackles the huge topic of the Resurrection of the Son of God. The quality of the scholarship and the depth of writing certainly affirm the popularity of Wright. While I did not agree with all of Wright's assertions, I have certainly grown in my appreciation of the gospels and especially the historical aspects of the New Testament. I would certainly recommend this book.