Monday, December 12, 2011

Jesus: A brief Monday consideration

For what it's worth I am posting the concluding passage of a Christology paper I wrote several years back for my graduate Christology class. The topic was Did Jesus of Nazareth Know He Was Divine? The works I cite in this passage are Elizabeth Johnson's Consider Jesus: Waves of Renewal in Christology and Raymond Brown's An Introduction to New Testament Christology. I was limited to using these two assigned texts for the course. There were, of course, other assigned texts, like O'Collins seminal work.

Because theology is largely synthetic and biblical scholarship is predominantly analytic, it is fitting to look theologically at the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, which is made known to us primarily by the canonical Gospels, through the lens of biblical scholarship. “From the way Jesus talked about God and enacted the reign of God, it is obvious that he had a special and original experience of God...” (Johnson 57). It is the originality of Jesus’ experience of God that points us toward his divinity. Many use Jesus’ reference to God as Abba as the premiere example of the originality of his relationship to God. However, there is some controversy concerning whether the Aramaic term Abba is really “a babble word,” equivalent in meaning to “papa” and “dada” (57). In the Gospels the word Abba is only transliterated into Greek once, in Mark 14:36 (Brown 86). It is not until around AD 200 that the term abba replaces abi as a child’s manner of addressing her father (86).
Jesus "advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him; he said, 'Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will'" (Mark 14:35-36) Taken from Mark's account of our Lord's prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.

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