Finding evidence for Jesus' pre-incarnate existence in the Synoptics, Gathercole compares the "I have come" sayings of Jesus with angelic pronouncements in Second Temple and rabbinic literature; considers the variety of titles applied to Jesus; then comments on related topics such as wisdom Christology. Will stir up debate. 320 pages, softcover. Eerdmans.
In this challenging book, rising New Testament scholar Simon Gathercole contradicts a commonly held view among biblical scholars -- that the Gospel of John is the only Gospel to give evidence for Jesus' heavenly identity and preexistence. The Preexistent Son demonstrates that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were also well aware that the Son of God existed with the Father prior to his earthly ministry. Gathercole supports his argument by considering the "I have come" sayings of Jesus and strikingly similar angelic sayings discovered in Second Temple and Rabbinic literature. Further, he considers related topics such as Wisdom Christology and the titles applied to Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels.
Gathercole's carefully researched work should spark debate among Synoptic scholars and extend the understanding of anyone interested in this New Testament question.
Simon J. Gathercole is lecturer for the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge.
Review of Biblical Literature
"Gathercole's monograph is a model of cogent argumentation. . . Provides sufficient evidence to open the question of preexistence in the Christologies of the Synoptic Gospels anew."
The Covenant Witness
"This is an academic study of the highest caliber . . . but it is also an excellent example of how good scholarship can support rather than undermine commitment to the truth of Scripture."
University of Cambridge
"A fresh look at evidence from the Synoptic Gospels that has often been minimized. Simon Gathercole makes a gripping case for an early christology of preexistence, giving attention throughout to the history of study and to the Jewish setting of Christianity. Widely accepted reconstructions of early christology are challenged here. Readers will be invigorated, whatever view they take."
Craig A. Evans
Acadia Divinity College
"The Preexistent Son investigates and sheds considerable light on an important but neglected theme. Simon 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. . . I recommend this book enthusiastically."
Larry W. Hurtado
University of Edinburgh
"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."
"This challenging work will make it impossible for New Testament scholarship any longer to restrict preexistence christology to John among the canonical Gospels."
J. Louis Martyn
Union Theological Seminary
"Gathercole's study is both thoroughly exegetical and theologically sensitive. . . This book is as important for systematic theology as for biblical studies."
Reviews in Religion & Theology
"Gathercole has provided a clearly written work, well-signposted throughout."
Religious Studies Review
"The argument of the books is presented in a clear and methodical manner, but not without occasional flashes of humor. Gathercole is very familiar with the relevant secondary literature, which he navigates and engages with ease and expertise. The book is a valuable addition to the synoptic studies and NT theology. The discussion of I have come' sayings alone makes the book worth the read."
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