Item description for Christology in the Making: A New Testament Inquiry Into the Origins of the Doctrine of the Incarnation by James D. G. Dunn...
Overview The New Testament documents cover an intense period of innovation and development in what we now call "Christology." Before Jesus, "Christology" either did not exist, or existed, properly speaking, only in different forms of "messianic expectation." At the end of that period, however, an advanced and far-reaching Christology is already in place that does not hesitate to speak of Jesus as "God." This excellent study of the origins and early development of Christology by James D. G. Dunn clarifies in rich detail the beginnings of the full Christian belief in Christ as the Son of God and incarnate Word. By employing the exegetical methods of "historical context of meaning" and "conceptuality in transition," Dunn illumines the first-century meaning of key titles and passages within the New Testament that bear directly on the develop-ment of the Christian understanding of Jesus. Chosen by Christianity Today as one of the year's "Significant Books" when it first appeared in 1980, this second edition of Christology in the Making contains a new extended foreword that responds to critics of the first edition and updates Dunn's own thinking on the beginnings of Christology since his original work.
Publishers Description The New Testament documents cover an intense period of innovation and development in what we now call "Christology." Before Jesus, "Christology" either did not exist, or existed, properly speaking, only in different forms of "messianic expectation." At the end of that period, however, an advanced and far-reaching Christology is already in place that does not hesitate to speak of Jesus as "God." This excellent study of the origins and early development of Christology by James D. G. Dunn clarifies in rich detail the beginnings of the full Christian belief in Christ as the Son of God and incarnate Word. By employing the exegetical methods of "historical context of meaning" and "conceptuality in transition," Dunn illumines the first-century meaning of key titles and passages within the New Testament that bear directly on the develop-ment of the Christian understanding of Jesus. Chosen by Christianity Today as one of the year's "Significant Books" when it first appeared in 1980, this second edition of Christology in the Making contains a new extended foreword that responds to critics of the first edition and updates Dunn's own thinking on the beginnings of Christology since his original work.
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Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.92" Width: 5.96" Height: 1.03" Weight: 1.45 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2004
Publisher Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN 0802842577 ISBN13 9780802842572
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More About James D. G. Dunn
James D. G. Dunn is Lightfoot Professor Emeritus of Divinity at Durham University and one of the foremost New Testament scholars in the world today.
James D. G. Dunn currently resides in Durham. James D. G. Dunn was born in 1939 and has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Durham.
James D. G. Dunn has published or released items in the following series...
Christ and the Spirit
Christianity in the Making
Inquiry Into the Origins of the Doctrine of the Incarnation
Reviews - What do customers think about Christology in the Making: A New Testament Inquiry Into the Origins of the Doctrine of the Incarnation?
Big Book, Little Value Apr 21, 2006
Dunn's purpose for writing this book is evident in the subtitle: It is to trace the development of the doctrine of incarnation through the NT. The manner which he proposes to accomplish this is "to let the NT writers speak for themselves, to understand their words as they would have intended, to hear them as their first readers would have heard them" (9). Only then can one see "How and in what terms did the doctrine of the incarnation first come to expression". (10) In each chapter Dunn examines an individual Christological title or concept found in the New Testament in a diachronic fashion (at least according to his dating of New Testament documents). The order of discussion is the pre-Christian material and thought that might have influenced New Testament writers, the testimony of Jesus, early Christian kerygma, Paul, the Synoptic Gospels, Hebrews, and John. Dunn acknowledges that divine sonship was a common idea in pre-Christian thought but finds no idea of a son of God pre-existing and becoming a man to bring salvation. Mark viewed Jesus as Son beginning at His baptism. The concept evolves more in Matthew and Luke since they trace it to His virgin conception. In fact, Dunn believes the very idea of virgin birth is in direct conflict with the idea of preexistence. He writes, "It is a begetting, a becoming which is in view, the coming into existence of one who will be called, and will in fact be, the Son of God, not the transition of a pre-existent being to become the soul of a human baby or the metamorphosis of a divine being into a human foetus." (51) The idea of a pre-existent son was not developed until Hebrews was written, but then it only means in "idea" not reality. The full concept of incarnation of the Son of God is first found in John. Concerning the Son of Man, Dunn determines that in Daniel he is only a symbol for corporate Israel and not a pre-existent heavenly being. Therefore, pre-existence cannot be inferred from the Son of Man title in the gospels. Jesus' use of this title concerning himself in John 3:13 and 6:62 clearly do refer to pre-existence and therefore are rejected as being historically accurate. Instead, they are a Johannine redaction. Adam Christology, according to Dunn, deals with Jesus' resurrection and exaltation not pre-existence. He finds this concept in places where it is unclear that such a motif was ever intended. He classifies Philippians 2:6-7 and 2 Corinthians 8:9 as part of the First Adam-Second Adam motif in order to deny pre-existence. According to Dunn, in pre-Christian Judaism Wisdom is nothing more than "vivid personification." It was a function of God, "a way of speaking about God himself, of expressing God's active involvement with his world and his people without comprising his transcendence." (176) So, Paul's association of Christ with wisdom is identifying Christ "with the creative power and action of God" not with a pre-existent being. (182) "Logos christology . . . provided the bridge between the earliest Wisdom christology of Paul and the subsequent Son christology of the classic creeds." (213-4) It is only here that a full scale idea of incarnation if found in the New Testament. Dunn does not define incarnation from the beginning. The problem with this is that at many points he claims a doctrine of incarnation is not evident. To make such a claim on must be working with a clear definition. His definition, based on what is said not to be incarnation, seems to be a divine preexistent being independent from God that became a human being. The idea of independence seems (at least in the view of this reviewer) to be different than a distinct person within the Trinity. His apparent, although unstated, definition of incarnation seems to points to ditheism. His exegetical methodology is divide and conquer. He approaches a text with the idea that since incarnation and preexistence is not clearly found anywhere else such an interpretation of the passage under consideration while possible should not be accepted if any other possible interpretation can be offered. In other words, any interpretation that does not include preexistence and incarnation, no matter how far fetched, is to be preferred over one that does include preexistence. Such line of reasoning is absurd. No passage teaches it so this passage cannot. The other passages are treated the same way. Granted, he does not say that such interpretations are impossible, only that they are a last resort. Dunn's view of Scripture is far too low to satisfy anyone even inclined toward inerrancy. He holds the Gospel of John to be unreliable historically. He maintains that "It would be verging on the irresponsible to use the Johannine testimony on Jesus' divine sonship in our attempt to uncover the self-consciousness of Jesus himself." (31) Dunn also abandons the unity of Scripture. He asserts that, "Christology should not be narrowly confined to one particular assessment of Christ, nor should it insist on squeezing all different NT conceptualizations into one particular `shape,' but it should recognize that from the first, the significance of Christ could only be apprehended by a diversity of formulations which though not always strictly compatible with each other were not regarded as rendering each other invalid." (267) Based on Dunn's conclusions, until the writing of John's gospel (probably written in the second century according to Dunn) the highest Christology that any Christian ever held an adoptionist Christology. Paul only saw Jesus as a being created in time that was an instrument of God's saving activity toward humanity. The importance of Christ's person was purely functional. The titles "Lord" and "Christ" are not given proper attention. Dunn ignores Paul's close association of Jesus with the Father in his epistolary greetings. 1 Peter 1:11 is also neglected. Dunn is aware of its importance because the only time it is mentioned he admits that it might speak of Christ as Spirit prior to His existence on earth (161). With such a confession it is strange that he never addresses it or offers another possible interpretation. One if left to assume this is because even Dunn with all his creativity could not conjure up another possible interpretation. Dunn should be commended for his proposal to allow the New Testament to speak for itself. Unfortunately, he does not allow it to do so in this book. While Dunn criticizes evangelicals for allowing their a priories based on the creeds to color their interpretation of the text, he has allowed his own critical views and drive for scholarly innovation to color his. If one considers creativity and a lot of references as the mark of excellence of biblical scholarship, then he need look no further than this book. Dunn gives evidence of diligence in research. There are over seventy pages of endnotes. He has compiled an impressive bibliography measuring about fifty pages in length. However, if one considers solid methodology and good exegesis as a must, then he will find this wanting.
Foundational to modern Christological Discussion Jan 12, 2006
This is an astoundingly well-researched book. Dunn's work on the titles ascribed to and/or accepted by Jesus started a fruitful debate on the subject -- a debate to which he continued to contribute. Since the discussion has progressed beyond this book, it is somewhat dated; but it is foundational and still of primary value. To understand recent scholarship in Christology, one needs to be familiar with this book. For the novice, I might recommend beginning with Part Four of Dunn's "Jesus Remembered" and, if your appetite is stimulated, following with this more in-depth (although earlier) treatment.
Completely necessary Nov 11, 2005
Christology in the Making is one of the best-researched books I have ever seen. Dr Dunn is rightly one of the foremost scholars of our times, and the vast majority of his conclusions, while sometimes overly cautious, are brilliant.
Before I get into my critique of the book, let me first defend Jimmy Dunn the man. Too many people accuse him of being "liberal" and "unorthodox". Dunn is trying to tell us what he thinks *Paul* believed about Jesus, and not necessarily what he personally thinks of Him. Dunn loves Jesus Christ dearly, and that has certainly come out in his writings. He is simply trying to avoid putting his personal theology in his books; something that other scholars would do well to imitate.
This book will give a person all the information they need to know about early Christology. He walks you through--on a very detailed path--all the titles and descriptions of Christ that have made people believe Christ to be a preexistent being, and then puts those titles back into context. How would "Son of God" have been understood in Jesus' time? How would preexistence have been understood? These are all questions brilliantly answered by Dunn. What is interesting is that I came away from this book MORE convinced of Jesus' divinity and LESS that Christ was a preexisting entity. While Dunn clearly states in the introduction that he is not writing an apologia defending orthodox Christianity, this is precisely what he does, but far more brilliantly and comprehensively (and historically accurate!) than more popular authors (like Josh McDowell).
I only gave it 3 out of 5 stars because there are times that hhe is overly cautious and unclear. After drawing conclusions, it would be nice if he could have speculated a little about the results of the implications; in other words, if Paul identified Christ with Sophia, what did that mean in terms of how Paul viewed the man Jesus? I also gave it 3 out of 5 stars because of his treatment of Phil. 2:5-11. For, say, while criticizing some scholars for choosing one meaning of morphe and running with it, he essentially does the same thing with the phrase "becoming in the likeness of men", an awkward translation, to say the least. Also, while disagreeing with J Murphy-O'Connor's analysis of I Cor. 8:6, he only states that he is wrong, and does not get into specific points as to *why* he is wrong. This can give the impression that Dunn *wants* Murphy-O'Connor to be wrong.
One should also be aware that in his equally necessary Theology of Paul the Apostle, his views on preexistence appear to have soften somewhat. Therefore, it's a good idea to buy both.
In any event, if you are looking into the origin of the Incarnation, and of course, the divinity of Christ, and if you are willing to learn a lot of information, buy this book and check out his claims for yourself. You will most definitely never read the New Testament the same way again, and you will appreciate Christ all the more by understanding him vis a vis the first Christians.
Dunn's Christology in the making. Aug 31, 2005
This is a "must read" book. I have read about six first rate books written by James D.G.Dunn long after the one I am reviewing, but it is fascinating to see how his learning has expanded and to be able to trace its development. Frankly, I think this book must be read to fully understand what he has accomplished in the years since this book was published. Readers will get an honest appraisal of the status of Jesus Christ in the unfolding of God's plans for the cosmos. Gary Charles Leedes
Outrageous! Don't waste your time and money! Jul 19, 2005
I was assigned to read this book for my Christology class. I could hardly finish it because I didn't expect it to be so liberal. Dunn asserts that Jesus wasn't divine, but it was His followers who later came to believe He was divine. The Holy Spirit, for Dunn, is merely the power of God, but not the divine person, one of the Trinity. For me it was enough to doubt the orthodoxy of Dunn's theological convictions. After I finished the book I shared my observations with my NT prof. He said, "Well, I've read another book by Dunn and I think that he is at least a binitarian". I added, "Judging to "Christology In the Making" James Dunn is a unitarian".
If you are an orthodox believer, you have extra money and you want to exercise in apologetics, you can buy this book. You shouldn't be a sophisticated expert in the New Testament in order to find multiple flaws in Dunn's arguments. The interaction with the book will help to shape your Christology but definitely it will not contribute in your orthodoxy.
If you don't have extra money and want to spend what you have wisely buy either "The Lord Jesus Christ" by Larry Hurtado, "The Many Faces of the Christ" by Ben Witherington, or the all-time bestseller "The Christology of the New Testament" by Oscar Cullmann.