Dr Scott Caulley on my Paul’s Divine Christology
My sincere thanks to Scott for these kind words about my book. I miss our days together in Tübingen!
Did Paul teach that Jesus was divine, and to be worshipped as such? How should this be viewed in relation to Jewish—and Jewish Christian—monotheism? The debate over these and related questions is raging in academic circles, but also has profound implications for church practice. It is a joy and a challenge to read such a clearly written and convincingly argued treatise as Chris Tilling's Paul’s Divine Christology. Dr. Tilling enters the discussion of Pauline Christology with a fresh pair of theological eyes, and—perhaps more important—with a heart for the church. Paul's Christology is relational—he uses the language of YHWH's relationship to Israel to describe the Christians' relationship to the risen Lord.
The Christ-relation was Paul's way of expressing a divine Christology. This conclusion has implications for understanding Paul's theology from his Damascus Road theophany and conversion onwards, and thus addresses the current debate about whether and how one can describe a "theology of Paul." Moreover, addressing modern Christology's version of Lessing's "broad, ugly ditch" between exegesis and systematic theology, as well as that between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith, Dr. Tilling engages in dialogue with the major international participants in this discussion with a sympathetic yet critical eye towards a new approach which transcends the old impasses. His handling of methodology already points a way forward. Building on the work of such scholars as Hurtado and Bauckham, he credits their thinking for advancing the discussion, while astutely identifying the weaknesses or limitations of their arguments. The conclusion, that Paul's relational Christology is Divine Christology, spans the "ditch" and promises to help transcend the distance between exegesis and systematic theology, and between academy and church.
-- Thomas Scott Caulley, Dr. Theol. (Associate Professor of Bible at Kentucky Christian University, and until recently director of the Institut zur Erforschung des Urchristentums)This book is an important contribution to the debate over Christology, and will take its place in the history of the discussion as a milestone publication which moves the discipline forward into the 21st century. A "Must-Read" for anyone interested in Pauline theology and exegesis, as well as those engaged in the current debates over Christology.