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British New Testament Conference, Manchester, 2014. Friday 5 September.

Jesus’ Divine Self-Consciousness: a Proposal
(Dr C Fletcher-Louis,

This is an unusual paper. It attempts to summarise over 200,000 words of a forthcoming book
(volumes 2 and 3 of my Jesus Monotheism). The argument is laid out in a series of propositions
(as also in the book). Each of these could easily justify a seminar paper in its own right. My
aim today is simply to offer you the overall shape of the argument. To help you follow a
dense argument here is a more or less word-for-word handout of what I will say (with plenty
of supporting primary textual data and secondary references that would normally appear in
the footnotes).

Proposition 1: In the originally intended order of creation, humanity is God’s
idol (tselem) and as such is “divine”; in both being and function.
Genesis 1 (verses 26–28) uses the language of ancient Near Easter idolatry and idol making.
On which see:
M. B. Dick, Born in Heaven, Made on Earth: The Making of the Cultic Image in the Ancient Near East (1999)
C. Walker and M. B. Dick, The Induction of the Cult Image in Ancient Mesopotomia: The Mesopotamian Mīs Pî Ritual
Z. Bahrani, The Graven Image: Representation in Babylonia and Assyria (2003).
N. H. Walls, Cult image and divine representation in the ancient Near East / edited by Neal H. Walls (2005).
V. A. Hurowitz, “The Mesopotamian God-Image” (2003) and “Materials for Creating Cult Statues,” (2006).

In Akkadian tsalam ili/ilani means divine cult image (idol). And In Genesis humanity is the tselem 
elohim—God’s idol. And idol in the ancient world is the deity, it does not merely represent the deity.
So humanity is created to be God’s manifest presence in the world: 
“…. Adamic beings are animate icons … the peculiar purpose for their creation is
‘theophanic’.” (S. D. McBride, “Divine Protocol,” (2000) 16).

C1st Jews knew this and so they tell a tale in which Adam is worshipped (before his sin) as
God’s image-idol by the angels (Life of Adam and Eve 12–16 and parrs.).

Adam is not a person.
Humanity is not the Creator.
The “divine,” sinless Adam is no threat to God’s unique identity, because he provides
God “with a means of extending his divine presence. The divine image is not
understood as something distinct from the represented god but actually extended the
presence of that god.” (S. L. Herring, Divine Substitution, 2013, 218)

Already in Gen 2 Adam knows the difference between good and evil (so Sir 17:7. they die. who is “divine” and receives worship as such. Creation 144) and is created for divine immortality. . the engraved gems. golden flower on the turban. Adam and Eve are “wise” (ʿarummim–3:25).In so doing they annhilate their true identity: as God predicted. 2 En. garments (cf. In particular. already being in the image and likeness of Yahweh God. a share “in His own deity” (Philo Worse  86. pomegranates and bells) are generically the kind of glorious garments that decorate ancient Near Eastern idols. it has multiple points of contact with Solomon’s rise and fall (1 Kgs 1–11). additional divinity. “Priests and Priesthood.” (2013). describe a priest or priestly figure as the image-idol of God. Fletcher-Louis. of divine glory. keʾlohim. hōs theoi.A fall that ancipates the tragedies of Israel and her kings. (2005) 244. 3 says: The true image-idol of God is reconstituted in Israel. .Adam is already “divine”. the ephod. between the good trees and the evil one. the hoshen of judgement. sicut dii). robe. jewel-clad garments (Exod 28. a loss of being. between the good partner (Eve) and the beastial ones. 2 i 17–18 = 4Q418 frags. There are 13 texts that illustrate this Proposition. Vulg. (2006) 526. Aaron is dressed as an idol: in multi-coloured. cf. So Gen 1–3 has a deeply political purpose as a meditation on the human quest for personal glory. they try to grasp an independent. As a new Adam (1 Kgs 3–4) Solomon turns in on himself and is led astray to self-serving idolatry through his wives (1 Kgs 10–11). Exodus 19–40. . “God’s Image. should not have considered the offer to become a god equal to the one true God something worth grasping after (Gen 2–3). forgetting or ignoring the one he already had (as God’s image and likeness): . Gk. 2: Adam. 4Q300 frag. . . above all in the high priest (Exod 28). (He also continues the creative work of naming parts of creation and the manner of his creation reiterates the point of Gen 1 that he is supposed to serve as God’s image-idol). These are God’s glorious.2 Prop. See esp. A problem that afflicts rulers when they seek an independent divine identity. 43+44+45 i 13–14. 4Q417 frag. . by which Adam and Eve he will become “like gods” (Gen 3:5: Heb.The serpent offers a faux deification. 3 2–3. perhaps 8. William H.At least 5.Adam is divine as God’s subordinate. So it is not surprising to find texts where the high priest or a high priestly figure is “worshipped” in ways analogous to the worship of divine cult statues by Israel’s neighbours. These (esp.So Adam and Eve deny who they are and listening to the voice of creation (the serpent and the tree). 1QHa 6:11–12. 39:1–30). cf. he has God’s own breath. In line with ancient Jewish interpretation and much recent scholarship. Sin is both a rebellion against God and a self-denigration. Exodus. Gen 1–3 says that Adam tragically pursued an independent divine identity. Prop. . as his idol.  30:15). light-giving. .” (2004). Ps 104:2). it says sin is always a denial of our vocation to bear God’s divine presence as his tselem. cf. Carol L Meyers. Propp.

(iii) As the perfected “image and likeness of God” of Gen 1:26–28 and Ps 8. xii.. because it will die for us in wars visible and invisible. In Ben Sira/Sirach 7:27–31.  176–78. xi. See Fletcher-Louis. . (Worship). Props. The Son of Man-Messiah of the Similitudes of Enoch receives praise. (Worship) (Image-idol of God). Dan 7:13–14. Ezekiel the prophet: Ezekiel “is. and will be to you an eternal king.” (Worship).3 . Sachs.. 4 & 5 however qualify what “worship’ of a “divine” high priest means.” (2014). Divine  Substitution. viii. The Mareh Kohen piyut in the synagogue’s Yom Kippur Avodah service (esp. i. 2 Enoch 57 & 64. 205–207. Prop. 4: The high priest is the “divine” image-idol in the temple-as-Eden and the temple-as-microcosm. In 3 Enoch 12–16 the high priestly Enoch-Metatron receives proskynesis as the “lesser Yhwh” (Worship). (For the text and recent translations see e. Swartz & Yahalom. Exodus 28. ii. T. 9) as one seated on God’s throne and identified with the Glory of Ezek 1:26– 28. ix. with glorious garments. he is also said to be dressed as Adam was dressed. ἀρχιερέα)” in the temple “when he expounds the commandments to them. v. 900–903). Herring. (Worship). Reub. (Worship) (Image-idol of God?).” (in Diodorus Siculus XL. (Worship) (Image-idol of God). Hecateus of Abdera: “the Jews … fall to the ground and worship the high priest (πίπτοντας ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν προσκυνεῖν . the Ashkenazi rite).” T. in a manner of speaking. on a cosmic stage. See Fletcher-Louis “Alexander the Great”. “2 Enoch” (2012). Levi. (Image-idol of God). I can no find no evidence that this view of the high priest was a matter of dispute. (Worship). Alexander the Great’s prostration to the Jewish high priest in a story best attested in Josephus Ant. In the same breath. “Dan 7:13” (1997). blessing and prostration (1 En. See Fletcher-Louis. Avodah. 62–68). iv. The poem praises the high priest as he is imagined coming out of the sanctu ary and is likened to/identified with the Glory of God in Ezek 1:26–28. (iv) as the one who plays the part of the Creator” (cf. In Josephus War 4:324–325 the high priests receive proskynesis.At least 11 make him the recipient of worship (proskynesis.g. 17:3 describes an anointed priest whose priesthood was “honored and glorified (τι#ία καὶ (αρὰ (ᾶσι δοξασθήσετα) by all. “Similitudes” 2014). vii. See Fletcher-Louis. 62:6. vi. (Worship) (Image-idol of God?). 263). iii. (Worship) (Image-idol of God). 344–355. Hayward 1996).” (2004). 46:5. song). 6:12 Reuben commands his children to “worship ((ροσκυνήσατε) [Levi’s] seed. 49:16–50:21 the high priest receives praise and proskynesis as (i) Wisdom in human form (cf. blessings. (see Fletcher-Louis. Klawans.5). 48:5. Maḥzor. xiii. 11:326–338. (Worship) (Image-idol of God?). (Imageidol of God). (ii) A a manifestation of the “the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Yhwh” seen in Ezek 1:26–28. x. “Temple Cosmology of P. In Song XIII of the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice (4Q405 23 ii) the high priesthood is praised and identified with the divine glory of Ezek 1:26–28. Purity. cf. the epiphany of Yhwh” (Casey Strine “Ezekiel’s Image Problem.

ha-mashiah) and that.” but because he is the high priest. S. their flaws and virtues. i. attributes and aspirations are occluded. framework. It cannot be earnt. Headington. 5: The high priest is an office not a person. recounting their achievements. not a person. He plays the role of God in the cult as microcosm and he plays the role originally intended for the image and likeness of God in a restored Eden. The temple is also sacrament and it works with the unmodern notion that the priest is an office. Prop. We have biographical accounts of Moses and the lives of some of Israel’s kings (cf. (b) Special clothes that no ordinary Israelite can wear. their failures. and one in London). the high priest is not a private. perfected” (see Lev 21:10 LXX. Oxford. sinless. He wanted to go solo. Lewis’s (one in the cemetery of Holy Trinity church. in the worship of the “divine” high priest there is not threat to the uniqueness of Israel’s God. In John 11:51–52 Caiaphas can prophesy “not from himself (ἀφ᾿ ἑαυτοῦ). The high priest’s own personal interests. Contrast the king and others. individual person. (d) God’s choice of the Levites and (the personal disaster that is) Aaron. It no more entails the worship of a second god than Anthony Hopkins’ performance of a production of Shadowlands in the West End would mean there are two C. Philo Spec.e. like Moses. that say he “belongs to Yhwh” (Exod 28:36). rather than align and submit his interests. So. sacramental.” “in persona Israhel.” and “in persona Adam”). Flight 108 and Wis 18:21). He ministers “in persona christi” (as the anointed one. Philo’s Life of Moses). Nor any priest after him. not to himself. to compete with God. in turn. The high priest is an actor on a cosmic stage. (c) A predefined liturgical script that has to be performed to be effective. . even though he does not understand what he says and his own guilt in the matter. Within the temple’s liturgical. In Ben Sira 50:21 when the high priest utters God’s name the Hebrew says the congregation fell down “before him”. means he ministers “in persona Domini” (and also “in persona mundi. won or bought and is effective regardless of the incumbent’s own inner moral state. Laws 1:102.4 The temple is theatre. Aaron-as-office is a response to the failure of kingship where personal interests interfere with the call to represent God to the world. values and choices with the one whose divine image-idol he was created to be. He is consituted by: (a) Purification rituals the other side of which he is “blameless. Solomon’s failure too. No one ever thought to write a Life of Aaron. This was Adam’s failure. “He” is the high priest who is the Most High. The “him” is deliberately ambiguous.

6: The high priest is co-creator. It proclaims the good news that it is God’s purpose that we share and express his life and identity and “incarnation” is not the least unbiblical. Ben Sira. (2004)). In antiquity what is true and good is what is old. He really is “divine” (the priest “is” Yhwh). (See e. The world is established by temple service (Avodah) (m. Josephus Ant. biblical monotheism is deeply iconic (not aniconic). the Great Priest (ὁ ἀρχιερεύς). Israel is a theocracy-through-ahierocracy). And throughout the Second Temple period the nation was led by priests (a royal priest in Aramaic Levi Document. Mesopotamian kings. (b) the high priest is not a separate figure who is worshipped alongside God. Prop. Aboth 1:2) so. Because the temple is more than just theatre—because it is sacrament—in a sense the high priest is as a Co-creator. In the Bible the kingship problem is dealt with by the priest-as-office. “Cosmology of P”). 20:266. with the king or “prince” clearly subordinate to the high priest.g. Maccabean propaganda). in part because Aaron is a royal high priest. Heb 7:14). All this comes to its fullest expression with the high priest playing the role of the Creator.5 (Today we temper the excesses of our royalty through an elected legislature. Sinai precedes Zion. So the Bible says hierocracy is God’s ideal constitution. Hellenistic divine rulers and imperial Rome where the Caeser is also Pontifex Maximus. the high priest and his liturgical duties have a cosmogonic function. This is clearly laid out Ben Sira/Sirach and is already present in Priestly portions of the Pentateuch (see Fletcher-Louis. So. as an office: (a) the high priest is not “included” in the divine identity. That is the model of the old Canaanite city states. Some turned to a diarchic model after the failures of the Hasmoneans. the priesthood had a position of primacy in Second Temple political theology and messianic hope. The priest “manifests” or “expresses” the divine identity (just as a cult statue manifests a deity). James VanderKam From Joshua to Caiaphas. But no one—and this is of the utmost importance for our understanding of Jesus—espouses a king who is a priest. in part. . reenacting the work of the 7-days of creation. But this is historically unsurprising. Prop. “Inclusion” means a distinct identity (of a divine “Son” with a “Father”). 7: In accordance with Israel’s Scriptures. in a sacramental ontology. There is less enthusiasm for a royal messiah in the C1st than we might expect. cf. but. In the Pentateuch there is no need for a king. Some of his garments are a king’s garments. God severely judges Israel’s kings who leverage the cult for their own purposes (2 Chr 26:16–21. 9:224.

K. [Prop. I have only changed my mind on one point. (vii) Luke’s use carefully structured use of (ho) kyrios. (iv) The Son given “all things. Mark 10:17–22) that count against this view. incarnational divine identity The Gospels think Jesus has a pre-existent. the scene is set at the temple. 9: Apocalyptic literature reflects the spirituality and cosmology of the Temple (and Torah) and of the belief that humanity in general. The most important text for the hope for a future high priest is Dan 7. “Similitudes” (forthcoming)) and an article in which I have argued NT texts assume the Son of Man is a priest (Fletcher-Louis. The transfiguration. “Jesus as the High Priestly Messiah: Parts 1 & 2” (2006 & 2007)). 10. The principal Synoptic texts are: (i) (ii) (iii) The storm and sea crossing stories. There are no texts (not even Matt 4:1–11. There is much more on this that could be said. Daniel’s man figure comes to God with clouds the way the high priest comes to God in the holy of holies surrounded by clouds of incense on the Day of Atonement. Gathercole. 2:17. incarnational self-understanding (see work of Bauckham. Matt 5:17. Mark 14:62–64). . and the priesthood in particular. I laid out my priestly reading of Dan 7:13 in 1997. 8:29. All four Gospels present a plausibly historical account of a Jewish Jesus with a self-consciously unique. is created to be God’s true image-idol. Yhwh-Kyrios theophany language and proskynesis to Jesus. 8: Daniel 7:13 exemplifies the centrality of temple and priesthood in Second Temple theology and its hope for a new (messianic and royal) high priest. There are royal aspects to the “one like a son of man” which is unsurprising because the high priest is a royal figure: a royal priest (something quite different from a priest king). Luke 19:10).” revealing the Father (Luke 10:21–22 & Matt 11:25–27) (v) Jesus speaks as the Shekinah from God’s winged chariot (Luke 13:33 & Matt 23:37) (vi) Matthew’s Immanuel. Rowe et al). The argument is consolidated by a forthcoming article on the priestly Son of Man figure in the Similitudes (Fletcher-Louis.] Prop.6 Prop. 10:34–35. The “I have come” with a purpose sayings (Mark 1:24. Luke 4:1–13. in brief. And it is a plausible Christology for these thoroughly Jewish texts because: (a) We can now dispense with the assumption that as Jewish texts the Gospels could not have this Christology. But. Luke 12:49. As the true high priest he has Adamic and angelic characteristics. (viii) The blasphemy texts (Mark 2:10. Mark 10:45.

d. “High Priestly Prayer”). David. BaptismTemptation stories. 64:5). a. Solomon. something only priests can (and must) do in the temple: Mark 2:23–28.] . Jesus uses the strange expression “Son of Man” where Yhwh-Kyrios is the Church’s preferred language. Matthew and prob. Jesus as the pre-existent “Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24. John 1:3. Exod 30:29–30. even though Jesus speaks and acts as “God-incarnate”. (See preliminary studies in Fletcher-Louis “Sacral Son of Man” (2001) & “High Priestly Messiah. Elijah-Elisha …. in the temple can mediate. Qumran priestly celibacy). Gospel of John. 5:24–34. Ben Sir 44–50). Phil 2:6–11 and Rom 1–8 all confirm Propositions 1–3 and show that theological anthropology provided both a negative and a positive conceptual framework for Paul’s “Christological monotheism.” For Paul Jesus answers humanity’s plight and fulfills God’s original intention that humanity should bear his divine presence and rule in creation as his representatives. with sacrifices.7 (b) The gospels say that Jesus thinks he has the divine glory that Adam lost: e. And it is a political challenge: Jesus mediates outside of the temple what only a priest. cf. Num 16:7. Jesus’ claim to fulfil Ps 110:1 (in combination with Dan 7:13). i. 3:1–6. Luke 10:17–22. The Son of Man title. Jesus’ contagious healing holiness (Mark 1:40–45.” 70–82. 44:19. g. “New Priesthood. Jacob. The Transfiguration (of Jesus garments). (c) There is plenty of evidence that Jesus of the gospels thinks of himself as Israel’s true eschatological high priest and therefore “divine” on that count. 133–40 and “Robe”. Pitre. Compare Aaron taking away/forgiving sins in Exod 28:36– 38 (and the priestly Enoch in 2 En. Col 1:16. b. cf. [Prop. Wis 18:20–25). b. His celibacy (cf. Caiaphas. cf Aaron in Ps 106:16. also John) respect the distinction between the Jesus of history and the Jesus of “Christological monotheism”. N. Attridge. Christ devotion does not take place during the ministry. “Temple Imagery in Philo”. Bond. esp.” (2006 & 2007) and compare on both John and the Synoptics: H. This is both a theological challenge: Jesus does what only God and God’s living image-idol can do. 14–19. c. Ben Sira/Sir 45:6). His identification with historic Israel and the representatives of her faith (Adam. esp. Joseph. a text that describes one who is both king and priest (v. e.g. 11: In so-called “Christological monotheism” Jesus’ identity includes a truly human and therefore divine identity Acts 17:16–34. H. esp. Jesus working on the Sabbath. Heb 1:2). 332–335. Barker. c. f. 35–43. B. John 5:17. 4). Moses. 351–368. (d) The Gospel writers (incl. Jesus forgiving sins. Kerr. h. Jesus does not proclaim himself a divine agent of creation (contrast 1 Cor 8:6. Jesus the Temple. The key Synoptic material is: a. Perrin.

1 Pet 2:22. by virtue of natural credentials. . 17.Christ devotion begins after his resurrection. Luke 24:50–53 (proskynesis) and Luke 24:47 (forgivenss of sins for repentence “in his name”): this is because the resurrection confirmed for the disciples’ Jesus’ claim to be the true eschatological high priest (Daniel’s Son of Man and the priest-king of Ps 110). Tamid 7:2). Heb 4:15. We can now understand why: . Ben Sira/Sir 50:20 and m. It would mean that Jesus was “exalting himself” (as the king is warned not to do in Deut 17:20). 5. 2 Cor 5:19. it would be a blasphemy.Christ is said to be sinless (Rom 8:3. 12.Luke 24:50–53 (where Jesus is first worshipped by the disciples as he ascends to heaven giving the two-handed blessing that was the prerogative of the priest according to Lev 9:22 (cf. Phil 2:6–8). cf.1 Cor 8:6. (b) Indeed. in Matt 28:9.Christ is an agent of creation in “Christological monotheism”.8 Prop. We might have suspected this from: . (c) It would be a double absurdity if Jesus now claimed that he was Israel’s true high priest outside the boundaries of the office (with no appeal to anointed clothing. See esp. “taking the honour for himself (ἑαυτῷ)” (Heb 5:4). . 1 John 3:5. . categories and a high priestly script partly explains the classic “Christological monotheism” texts: . Prop. The disicples reasoned: this messiah has been resurrected then he is indeed Yhwh-Kyrios. 13. with a flagrant disregard for God’s own constitution (revealed through Moses). But how is it possible that Jesus spoke and acted this way and it does not precipitate a response in the Gospels? This is not hard to explain.Col 1:15–20. In the first instance. It would be an absurdity for Jesus to claim to be the true high priest. but before his full exaltation and ascension to God’s right hand. the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ is best explained as a response to the conviction that he was Israel’s true eschatological high priest. the true image-idol of God. 21. this flows from his identity as the true high priest.Phil 2:6–11. (a) The most Jesus could reasonably claim to be. And on careful inspection we find that priestly language. . rites of . Elijah-like healer and prophet. is a royal messiah. Prop. See Prop. 6. There is a lack of proper recognition and response to Jesus in the Gospels because his self-understanding as Israel’s priestly king is puzzling and seems to disregard the God-given boundaries of the office.

cf. . as both king and priest. Some of the disiciples got it. To speak and act as the true high priest ex persona not ex cathedra would be to subordinate the divine identity. And so we wonder why they are not already.The self-claim only becomes really obvious at the final show down (14:62). power and authority of the office to his own person. For two reasons this is understandable: 1. Mark 10:37). Phil 2:6.And Scripture does provide one passage to justify his messianic identity. during his ministry. That means. If the disciples came to the conclusion during Jesus ministry that he would soon sit in divine glory.even the demons recognise he is both a royal figure (Mark 5:7 “Son of the Most High” and a priestly figure (Mark 1:24 “Holy One of God”) . Josephus Ant. 18:256. 19:4). pretty clear: Mark 8:38.At the transfiguration he is both priestly (with transfigured garments) and also God’s royal “son”) .In the order in which they are delivered. not all at once lest he loose them.Jesus avoids SM talk when he is with the authorities. crystal clear: Mark 13:26. . we should assume that an inner core of the disciples believe that Jesus is far more than just a royal messiah. the way the Synoptics tell it. (b) to give him a public stage in Jerusalem where he will make.9 purification and the sacramental ontology and cosmology of the temple). the SM sayings have a progressively clearer connection to Dan 7:13 (not clear: Mark 2:10. It would be the authorities’ God-ordained duty to punish him lest he lead the people astray (Deut 13). and it precedes Sinai. 14:62). Has Jesus not read Moses?! (d) Does he not know that sacral kingship is a pagan model? If he were to adopt it he would be “making himself (ἑαυτὸν) equal to God” (John 5:18. his claim to be Israel’s priest-king after the order of Melchizedek. not outside (or in synagogues). . So when they arrive in Jerusalem with the crowds. 2 Thess 2:3–4. . He cannot “make himself” the . 2. 28. Ps 110 describes one who is a priest-king … So. In C1st Judaism worship takes place in the temple. when its full theological and political implications draw upon him their inevitable consequences. in private at least. in particular. James and John’s request—can we sit at your left and right “when you come in your glory” (Mark 10:37) implies a “divine” view of Jesus’ true identity. careful PR management of his Son of Man self-claim: . especially towards the end. they would also assume that he would be properly installed to that office in Jerusalem (cf. Jesus undertakes a carefully worked out PR strategy that is designed: (a) to introduce his radically new vision of Israel’s constitution to his disciples slowly.Jesus usually speaks of the SM as if he is somebody else. confessing and worshipping him in the way that they would do after his death. But the Jesus of the Gospels believes that he has God and Scripture on his side: .his healings and their manner confirms his priestly self-consciousness. with the greatest possible impact at the centre of the nation’s current power structures.

the one God is now two.So his story is told in a kind of encomiastic biography that focuses on his historical person.Jesus is not an office. on analogy to the identity of the pagan divine ruler. as a “son” living in interpendence with the divine “Father”. Acts 2:22. Prop. So. “christos”) expresses. Lewis. but the creative power and divine identity of the office is poured out into an “ordinary” life that has its own narrative. (He is not Caesar). So Yhwh-Kyrios is now manifest in this person: LJC is the Yhwh-Kyrios of the high priest’s office writ large across a personal biography. We should read the Gospels in the light of Props. 1–9 this way: . The one God (of the Shema) is “one God the Father” and “one Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 8:6). He has left the theatre.g. His is a Canaanite kind of a kingship—after the order of Melchizedek. The NT form of “christological monotheism” is “binitarian”. . The OT has a unitarian “christological monotheism” in which the high priest. These aspects of the gospel story place internal mathematical pressure on the identity of the “One” God in a way that explains the conceptual origins of the belief that now a messiah is “included” within the divine identity as a distinct person (persona or face).His identity is revealed in deeds of power (e. How has the OT monotheism mutated? The reworked Shema in 1 Cor 8:6 and related texts (Phil 2:6–11) presumes the life of Jesus as it is described in the Gospels. he is a person and God is now two (“Jesus monotheism”). In the light of this story. saving benefactions (cf.Jesus has no liturgical theatre or stage. he strips himself of his costume. 19:37. Luke 10:13.S. manifests. a narrative. The divine identity of Jesus is a matter of his own deeds and his peculiar life as Israel’s priestly king. a Messiah (anointed one. Acts 10:38) and a peculiar character (or virtues) that mean his life is generically like that of the Hellenistic divine Ruler or true Emperor (cf.10 nation’s priest-king. 14. and is found wandering the towns and villages of Israel. the divine identity. This man is Yhwh-Kyrios in his royal person.All of the above is true of Jesus the true priest. . . The NT form of “christological monotheism” is best now labeled “Jesus monotheism”. . 10:38). a biographical. Acts 10:36– 38). It is as if Anthony Hopkins really does believe he is (another) C. . taking the outward appearance of an ordinary man. He will not treat equality with God a thing to be seized. 24:19. that has forced a splitting of the internal structure of the unique divine identity. Though being the one clothed in divine glory and the rightful star of the sanctury-as-heaven stage.

But I propose it is inextricable from other aspects of Jesus’ own aims. (iii) The way he is accused. All of Prop. All sorts of new possibilities now open up. If the Jesus monotheism of 1 Cor 8:6. One effect of Propositions 1–14 is to exclude the possibility that the “high Christology” of the gospels comes from the faith already arrived at by some other means (and to which 1 Cor 8:6. also Mark 10:45. He “has come” as “the Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24) and the Father “consecrated” and “sent him into the world” (John 10:36. for all the discrete issues and questions that arise from the historical Jesus data (Jesus and the temple. somewhat “pagan”. B. Jesus and the parables. in a sense actually is. whose resurrection served as confirmation of this self claim. A. Bauckham). given all that we now know about the impact of the Emperor cult on first century Palestine. of a pagan attempt to seize equality with God. there are texts were Jesus’ priestly identity is tied to his sense of pre-existence. C. and so on). 6:62). that Jesus himself knew that his messianic self understanding both sounds and. This should be obvious from: (i) The plain logic of his deeds and words in relation to the meaning of Scripture and the Jewish critique of Ruler Cult (Ben Sira 50.g. 22:8–10). Jesus nowhere enters into a priestly office or function in his earthly life or ministry (contrast Levi in T. actions and self-perception. 15: The NT offers a plausible explanation of the origins and shape of NT Christology: an historical Jesus who claimed to be the incarnation of a distinct person within the eternal divine identity. John 3:13. 14). Jesus and Torah. cf. Philo. for example. It makes perfect sense. We have rapidly scaled a conceptual mountain and in the land before us there is new opportunty. and that he draws onto himself the . Phil 2:6–11 then testify).11 Prop. We have seen that in speaking and acting as a priest-king he sets himself against his people. I close with just one case study: It is usual to say that Jesus’ pre-existence in some NT texts is a matter of tidy theology (so e. (ii) the way he apparently chose to have a christological chat with the disciples—about the son of God and the Son of Man—at Caesarea Philippi (Mark 8:27–38) a cultic site for Emperor worship. 1–4 Maccabees. and so on). Similitudes of Enoch. their reading of Scripture. 10 and 13 makes sense not just in the world of the gospels. then the “simplest” explanation for the Christology of Gospels is the historical Jesus himself. to consider afresh what it might mean. in John 5:18. Levi 3–8 and Jub. Phil 2:6–11 (and the like) presumes the Jesus narrative of the Gospels (= Prop. that it is not thoroughgoing eschatology (Schweitzer) that governs Jesus’ life and message. but for the historical Jesus. So. I offer you a new landscape. Hurtado and others). their institutions. 31–32. it is thoroughgoing incarnational monotheism. Enoch in 2 En. (Contrast Bultmann.

12 accusation that he is a pagan deceiver. self-consciousness is grounded in a pre-existent identity and epistemolgy (texts A)? Might it be. now crops up time and again when I reflect on the Jesus of the gospels and the Jesus of history from within the new paradigm. Jesus’ monotheism was Jesus monotheism. temporal. It invites the conclusion that. in other words. . Might it be that the kind of messianic selfconsciousness that can so calmly and firmly transcend his people. I have found. in the end. that we need a pre-existent Jesus to make sense of Jesus as an historically believable human being? This kind of thought sequence. their judgements and the normative Scriptural hermeneutic of his age makes excellent sense if that contingent.

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