Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Gathercole on the Preexistent Son

Simon Gathercole, senior lecturer in NT at Aberdeen University, has an important new book coming out from Eerdmans: The Preexistent Son: Recovering the Christologies of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Here are the blurbs:

“In New Testament studies few issues are as important as that of the line of movement from God to human beings. Major emphasis is placed on that line, for example, in the Fourth Evangelist’s affirmation of Christ’s preexistence and his being sent into the world by the Father — the dynamic incarnation — with the specific mission of accomplishing the world’s redemption. Can something similar be said of Mark, Matthew, and Luke? Often answered in the negative, this question is reexamined by Gathercole in a study that is as thoroughly exegetical as it is theologically sensitive. Doubly important, then, is the well-founded conclusion that, when the synoptic Jesus frequently says he has ‘come’ for a stated purpose, a prior intent and will of the heavenly and actively preexistent Christ is implied. Indeed, instructed by Gathercole, we find even in the Synoptics the affirmation of a volitional relationship between the Father and the Son before the sending and coming of the latter into a world that is under the control of the servants of Satan. This is a book as important for systematic theology as for Biblical studies.”
— J. Louis Martyn Union Theological Seminary

“Simon Gathercole’s newest book, The Preexistent Son, is an excellent piece of work. It investigates and sheds considerable light on an important but neglected theme. Gathercole, who has emerged in recent years as a major player in New Testament scholarship, demonstrates mastery of the relevant primary and secondary literature. I am impressed by the way he sifts through a great deal of complicated material and presents it in a clear and compelling way. Gathercole has thrown down the gauntlet, and it will be interesting to see how scholars respond. I recommend this book enthusiastically.”
— Craig A. Evans, Acadia Divinity College

“Simon Gathercole makes a strong case with scrupulous attention to the evidence and the views of others. The ramifications of this timely study are numerous and powerful.”
— Larry W. Hurtado, University of Edinburgh

“Simon Gathercole confronts us with the challenging thesis that the Synoptic ‘I have come in order to’ sayings of Jesus imply a christology of preexistence. Through an overwhelming array of examples from ancient Jewish literature, extending from Daniel and Tobit up to Tanhuma and Midrash Mishle, he demonstrates that the closest parallels to these sayings are found in angelic announcements to human addressees. This striking analogy will make it impossible for New Testament scholarship any longer to restrict preexistence christology to John among the canonical Gospels.”
— Friedrich Avemarie, Philipps-Universit├Ąt Marburg

“Gathercole takes a fresh look at the 'I have come' sayings of Jesus, and makes an excellent case for reading them as referring to the preexistence of Christ. This is an important contribution to the case for 'high' Christology in the Synoptic Gospels. ”
— Richard Bauckham, University of St Andrews