Friday, January 03, 2020

Uh-oh! There's that early high christology again!

While Christocentric in focus, the view of Jesus promoted in these passages is deeply rooted in a Jewish conception of the divine, so much so that Jesus is shown to be worthy of receiving the honor that was due in early Judaism to the one true God. In light of this it was not surprising to see that these early christological hymns were creatively and critically engaged with Jewish scripural traditions. One way they reflect this is through their engagement with passages of Scripture relating to prophetic promises of renewal and restoration, particularly as seen in Isaiah 40-66. Scriptures relating to the glory of God, the temple, and personified Wisdom also are important in many of the hymns we examined. The New Testament christological hymns also seem to have maintained a meaningful connection to the Jewish psalm tradition, a tradition that was alive and well during the Second Temple period. These early christological hymns thereby show themselves to be connected to a living tradition of psalm composition and religious poetry, a genre that itself had a long pedigree of engaging culture, drawing on even earlier traditions, and resisting easy answers to the problem of suffering.—Matthew Gordley, New Testament Christological Hymns, p. 223

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