C.J. Den Heyer the tremendous gulf between the historical Jesus and the manifold responses to him in the New Testament, and the classical atonement doctrine of Church. How is it that someone who died on the cross as a result of a monstrous alliance between a group of Jewish leaders and the Roman forces of occupation can be seen to fulfill the preordained will of God? What were Jesus' intentions, and does later Christian doctrine do justice to them.
In investigating this complex question, the author carries out a thorough study of all the passages relating to the death of Jesus in the New Testament. The great variety of images and metaphors which make up an almost chaotic impression on the reader stand in marked contrast to the clear lines of doctrine of atonement. Far from helping to resolve the problem, this study accentuates it even further. No immediate resolution is possible, but very profound questions are posed for Christian faith.
Though tackling a difficult matter, den Heyer's book is particularly easy to read. he based it on very wide reading, but in the end he scrapped all the notes, left the scholarly literature in the book case and wrote using only the Bible in its original languages, some translations, a dictionary and a concordance. This deceptive simplicity conceals a masterpiece of clear writing.
Professor den Heyer, the most well-known theologian in the Netherlands today, explores the tremendous gulf separating the historical Jesus and the many and varied responses to him in the New Testament, and the classical Christian doctrines of the atonement. He asks how it is that someone who died on the cross as the result of an alliance between Jewish leaders and Roman occupation forces can be seen as fulfilling God s preordained will. What, in fact, were Jesus intentions? Does later Christian doctrine do justice to these intentions? In investigating these complex questions, the author makes a thorough study of all passages in the New Testament relating to the death of Jesus. The variety of New Testament images and metaphors makes an almost chaotic impression on the reader, thus standing in marked contrast to the clear lines of the doctrine of atonement. Rather than resolving the problem, then, this study accentuates it even further. It demonstrates that no easy or immediate resolutions are possible and, at the same time, poses very profound questions for Christian faith. Though dealing with a difficult matter, this book is particularly easy to read and a masterpiece of clear writing. C. J. den Heyer is Professor of New Testament at the Theological University of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and author of Jesus Matters, also published by Trinity Press.
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