Christology is a very central concern for all people interested in the study of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. Evidently, Jesus has a lot more to say and do when we look at all the plethora of Christological titles for sale these days. here are about 15 books that I think will be helpful in your understanding of the topic. They are not in a specific order or preference. But I hold they might give you a fresh perspective on this topic.
Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus by Gerald O’Collins.
This book critically examines the best biblical and historical scholarship before tackling head-on some of the key questions of systematic Christology: does orthodox faith present Jesus the man as deficient and depersonalized? Is his sinlessness compatible with the exercise of a free human will? Does up-to-date exegesis challenge his virginal conception and personal resurrection? Can one reconcile Jesus’ role as a universal Saviour with the truth and values to be found in other religions? What should the feminist movement highlight in presenting Jesus? This integral Christology is built around the resurrection of the crucified Jesus, highlights love as the key to redemption, and proposes a synthesis of the divine presence through Jesus.
Constructing Jesus – Memory, Imagination, and History by Dale C. Allison.
What did Jesus think of himself? How did he face death? What were his expectations of the future? In this volume, now in paperback, internationally renowned Jesus scholar Dale Allison Jr. addresses such perennially fascinating questions about Jesus. The acclaimed hardcover edition received the Biblical Archaeology Society’s “Best Book Relating to the New Testament” award in 2011. Representing the fruit of several decades of research, this major work questions standard approaches to Jesus’ studies and rethinks our knowledge of the historical Jesus in light of recent progress in the scientific study of memory. Allison’s groundbreaking alternative strategy calls for applying what we know about the function of human memory to our reading of the Gospels in order to “construct Jesus” more soundly.
The Historical Christ and the Jesus of Faith: The Incarnational Narrative as History by C. Stephen Evans
The story of Jesus of Nazareth, as recounted in the New Testament, has always been understood by the church to be historically true. It is an account of the life, death, and resurrection of a real person, whose links with history are firmly signaled in the creeds of the early church, which affirm that Jesus ‘suffered under Pontius Pilate’. Contemporary historical scholarship has, however, called into question the reliability of the church’s version of this story, and thereby raised the question as to whether ordinary people can know its historical truth. This book argues that the historicity of the story still matters and that its religious significance cannot be captured by the category of ‘non-historical myth’. The commonly drawn distinction between the Christ of faith and Jesus of history cannot be maintained. The Christ who is the object of faith must be seen as historical; Jesus who is reconstructed by historical scholarship is always shaped by commitments of faith. A reconsideration of the Enlightenment epistemologies that underlie much historical scholarship shows that historical knowledge of this story is still possible. Such knowledge can be inferential, based on historical evidence. A careful look at contemporary New Testament studies, and the philosophical and literary assumptions upon which it rests, shows that this scholarship should not undermine the confidence of lay people who believe that they can know that the church’s story about Jesus is true.
Paul’s Divine Christology by Chris Tilling.
Paul’s Divine Christology is Tilling’s contribution to a debate that has been going on over the last 30 years regarding whether Paul’s Christology can properly be described as “divine,” in what sense, and how it came to be. Tilling answers the question in the affirmative: Paul’s Christology is indeed a divine Christology. Other scholars (Gordon Fee, Larry Hurtado, Richard Bauckham, and I) have been arguing a similar point. Assuming the work of others on this topic (Cullmann, Hengel, and Moule, for example), each of us has offered something unique to the discussion. Tilling does a good job in setting the table, working through the primary and secondary sources, and offering a new pattern of data that had been noticed (by C. F. D. Moule) but not fully described. A phrase that carefully summarizes Tilling’s approach is this: “the Christ-relation is Paul’s divine-Christology expressed as the relationship” (p. 3). For those who have dabbled in Paul, you realize that Christ-relation language is significant so significant that some scholars regard the center of Paul’s theology to be “participation in Christ,” a shorthand way of describing the many ways in which the Christ-believers stand in relationship to and participate in the life of Christ. Christ’s relation to his people stands in direct continuity with YHWH’s relation to his people Israel. To put it another way, when Paul speaks about the relation between Christ-believers and the risen Jesus, he used the same language and themes found in second temple Jewish texts to speak of Israel’s relation to YHWH. Tilling consistently says the data forms a pattern which Paul himself would have recognized. In Tilling’s own words: [I]t will be maintained that this pattern of Christ-relation language in Paul is only that which a Jew used to express the relation between Israel/the individual Jew and YHWH. No other figure of any kind, apart from YHWH, was related to in the same way, with the same pattern of language, not even the various exalted human and angelic intermediary figures in the literature of Second Temple Judaism that occasionally receive worship and are described in very exalted terms. (p. 73, italics original).
God Incarnate: Explorations in Christology by Oliver D. Crisp.
Dr. Crisp explores the Incarnation further and covers issues he did not deal with in his previous book. This work attempts to further the project of setting out a coherent account of the Incarnation by considering key facets of this doctrine, as parts of a larger, integrated, doctrinal whole. Throughout, he is concerned to develop a position in line with historic Christianity that is catholic and ecumenical in tone, in line with the contours of the Reformed theological tradition within which his own work falls. And, like its predecessor, this book will draw upon philosophical and theological resources to make sense of the problems the doctrine faces.
Divinity and Humanity: The Incarnation Reconsidered by Oliver D.Crisp.
The idea that ‘God was in Christ’ has become a much-debated topic in modern theology. Oliver Crisp addresses six key issues in the Incarnation defending a robust version of the doctrine, in keeping with classical Christology. He explores perichoresis, or interpenetration, with reference to both the Incarnation and Trinity. Over two chapters Crisp deals with the human nature of Christ and then provides an argument against the view, common amongst some contemporary theologians, that Christ had a fallen human nature. He considers the notion of divine kenosis or self-emptying, and discusses non-Incarnational Christology, focusing on the work of John Hick. This view denies Christ is God Incarnate, regarding him as primarily a moral exemplar to be imitated. Crisp rejects this alternative account of the nature of Christology.
Christology, Ancient and Modern: Explorations in Constructive Dogmatics by Crisp, Hunsinger, Leithart, Sonderegger, and Torrance.
Christology was the central doctrine articulated by the early church councils, and it remains the subject of vigorous theological investigation today. The study of the doctrine of Christ is a field of broad ecumenical convergence, inviting theologians from all denominational settings to fruitful collaborative exploration. In the contemporary setting, it is especially crucial for theologians to investigate the scriptural witness afresh, to retrieve classical criteria and categories from the tradition, and to consider the generative pressure of soteriology for Christology proper. The first annual Los Angeles Theology Conference sought to make a positive contribution to contemporary dogmatics in intentional engagement with the Christian tradition. Christology, Ancient and Modern brings together conference proceedings, surveying the field and articulating the sources, norms, and criteria for constructive theological work in Christology.
Christology in the Synoptic Gospels: God or God’s Servant by Sigurd Grindheim.
When Mark, Matthew, and Luke decided to give a written account of Jesus Christ, they were faced with a formidable challenge. How could they tell the story of the man who spoke and acted like God? They used several titles, such as ‘prophet’, ‘Messiah’, ‘Son of God’, ‘Son of Man’, ‘Servant of the Lord’, and even ‘Lord’ itself. But none of these really did justice to the person of Jesus. Through a carefully crafted narrative, the synoptic evangelists painted pictures of Jesus that went beyond all of Israel’s expectations and showed a man who was God’s humble, suffering servant and at the same time God’s equal. Sigurd Grindheim shows how the Synoptic Evangelists reinterpreted Israel’s hopes in light of Jesus’ story. He shows how they went beyond the Old Testament and Jewish material regarding the messiah, drawing heavily upon the expectations of God’s own intervention in history. The result is a picture of Jesus who fulfills all of Israel’s hopes, not only those relating to God’s eschatological agent but also those pertaining to God himself.
Christology and the New Testament: Jesus and His Earliest Followers by Christopher M. Tuckett
An up-to-date, comprehensive and critical survey of the whole question of the Christology of the New Testament writers. It covers recent discoveries in the area of Judaism and critiques older approaches to the subject. It looks at not only the Christological emphases of the individual writers, but offers suggestions about Jesus’ own self-understanding. It concludes with hermeneutical questions concerning the place of New Testament Christology within the contemporary theological debate.
Reading Backwards: Figural Christology and the Fourfold Gospel Witness by Richard B. Hayes
In Reading Backwards Richard B. Hays maps the shocking ways the four Gospel writers interpreted Israel’s Scripture to craft their literary witnesses to the Church’s one Christ. The Gospels’ scriptural imagination discovered inside the long tradition of a resilient Jewish monotheism a novel and revolutionary Christology. Modernity’s incredulity toward the Christian faith partly rests upon the characterization of early Christian preaching as a tendentious misreading of the Hebrew Scriptures. Christianity, modernity claims, twisted the Bible they inherited to fit its message about a mythological divine Savior. The Gospels, for many modern critics, are thus more about Christian doctrine in the second and third centuries than they are about Jesus in the first. Such Christian “misreadings” are not late or politically motivated developments within Christian thought. As Hays demonstrates, the claim that the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection took place “according to the Scriptures” stands at the very heart of the New Testament’s earliest message. All four canonical Gospels declare that the Torah and the Prophets and the Psalms mysteriously prefigure Jesus. The author of the Fourth Gospel puts the claim succinctly: “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me” (John 5:46). Hays thus traces threading strategies the Gospel writers employ to “read backward” and to discover how the Old Testament figuratively discloses the astonishing paradoxical truth about Jesus’ identity. Attention to Jewish and Old Testament roots of the Gospel narratives reveals that each of the four Evangelists, in their diverse portrayals, identifies Jesus as the embodiment of the God of Israel. Hays also explores the hermeneutical challenges posed by attempting to follow the Evangelists as readers of Israel’s Scripture—can the Evangelists teach us to read backward along with them and to discern the same mystery they discovered in Israel’s story? In Reading Backwards Hays demonstrates that it was Israel’s Scripture itself that taught the Gospel writers how to understand Jesus as the embodied presence of God, that this conversion of imagination occurred early in the development of Christian theology, and that the Gospel writers’ revisionary figural readings of their Bible stand at the very center of Christianity.
Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ by Robert M. Bowman, J. Ed Komoszewski.
The central theological distinctive of Christianity is that Jesus is God incarnate. This has repeatedly come under fire from adherents to other religions and scholars who interpret Jesus as a prophet, angel, or guru. Putting Jesus in His Place is designed to introduce Christians to the wealth of biblical teaching on the deity of Christ. Using evidence from the New Testament, this book helps readers appreciate the significance of Christ’s deity in a personal relationship with Him, and gives them the confidence to share the truth about Jesus with others.
How on Earth Did Jesus Become a God?: Historical Questions about Earliest Devotion to Jesus by Larry Hurtado.
Larry Hurtado investigates the intense devotion to Jesus that emerged with surprising speed after his death. Reverence for Jesus among early Christians, notes Hurtado, included both grand claims about Jesus’ significance and a pattern of devotional practices that effectively treated him as divine. This book argues that whatever one makes of such devotion to Jesus, the subject deserves serious historical consideration. Mapping out the lively current debate about Jesus, Hurtado explains the evidence, issues, and positions at stake. He goes on to treat the opposition to — and severe costs of — worshiping Jesus, the history of incorporating such devotion into Jewish monotheism, and the role of religious experience in Christianity’s development out of Judaism. The follow-up to Hurtado’s award-winningLord Jesus Christ (2003), this book provides compelling answers to queries about the development of the church’s belief in the divinity of Jesus.
Jesus and the God of Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament’s Christology of Divine Identity by Richard Bauckham.
The basic thesis of this book, outlined in the first chapter, is that the worship of Jesus as God was seen by the early Christians as compatible with their Jewish monotheism. Jesus was thought to participate in the divine identity of the one God of Israel. The following chapters provide more detailed support for, and expansion of, this basic thesis. Readers will find here not only the full text of Bauckham’s classic book God Crucified but also other essays, some of which have never been published previously.
The God Who Became Human by Graham Cole.
Seeking an answer to Anselm’s timeless question, “Why did God become a man?” Graham Cole follows Old Testament themes of preparation, theophany and messianic hope through to the New Testament witness to the divinely foretold event. This New Studies in Biblical Theology volume concludes with a consideration of the theological and existential implications of the incarnation of God. Addressing key issues in biblical theology, the works comprising New Studies in Biblical Theology are creative attempts to help Christians better understand their Bibles. The NSBT series is edited by D. A. Carson, aiming to simultaneously instruct and to edify, to interact with current scholarship and to point the way ahead.
“Christus die middelaar” by W.D. Jonker.
The Nature of the Confession of the Church the author seeks to find to explain the relationship between God and Jesus and how that is functionally expressed in the relationship between God and Man. Further, he argues that for the Incarnation of Christ to be necessary we need to understand the nature of the fall as well as the necessity of God becoming a man. As our intermediary, we need to see a Christ that is perfectly God and also perfectly man.
Surely there are a lot more titles that could be added, I stuck to the few that could be easily accessible so that the reader could get them if it is necessary.
I hope you enjoyed this?
Rudolph P. Boshoff.