The Birth of the Trinity: Jesus, God, and Spirit in New Testament and Early Christian Interpretations of the Old Testament
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The Birth of the Trinity: Jesus, God, and Spirit in New Testament and Early Christian Interpretations of the Old Testament

Oxford University Press / 2016 / Paperback

In Stock
Stock No: WW779247


Product Description

"A stunning achievement based on close attention to the reading practices of the early church and New Testament authors." —Themelios

How and when did Jesus and the Spirit come to be regarded as fully God? According to Matthew Bates's vigorous research, the earliest Christians felt they could metaphorically "overhear" divine conversations between Father, Son, and Spirit whenever they opened the Old Testament. In The Birth of the Trinity, Bates offers a new historical approach by exploring the way in which first- and second-century Christians read the Old Testament in order to differentiate the one God as multiple persons.

In this text, Bates exemplifies the theological interpretation of Scripture and illuminates how and why one can read the Old Testament and the New Testament together as Christian Scripture. In so doing, he unfolds the story of God in a uniquely Trinitarian fashion, forwarding fresh evidence for an early high Christology.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Vendor: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 0198779240
ISBN-13: 9780198779247

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Author Bio


Matthew W. Bates (Ph.D., The University of Notre Dame) is Assistant Professor of Theology at Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois.

Editorial Reviews


"Once every ten or twenty years, it seems, a book happens on the scene that promises to dislodge a long-held and often beloved paradigm. It is not that the old paradigm is necessarily abandoned, but rather it makes room for a different, equally valid one. The subtitle of The Birth of the Trinity announced such a shift and to my utmost delight delivered on that promise."-- Paul Y. Hoskisson, BYU Studies Quarterly


"It is not every day that one reads a book that makes a distinct contribution to our understanding of how the NT authors interpret the OT, sheds significant light on the reading practices of the NT authors by means of the early church fathers, and uses those results to make a compelling argument for the origins of the doctrine of the Trinity. But this is exactly what Bates does in The Birth of the Trinity...The Birth of the Trinity is a stunning achievement that makes a powerful argument for the origins of the doctrine of the Trinity by means of close attention to the reading practices of the early church and the NT authors."--Themelios


"The Birth of the Trinity is a stunningly important book that defies easy categorization. Is it exegetical? Is it theological? Is it historical? The resounding answer to each of these questions: 'Yes, and much more!' Setting aside widespread and long-held views about Christological development or adoptionism, or about Trinitarian theology as an intrusion into biblical faith from Hellenistic philosophy, Bates urges that early high Christology and Christian understanding of the Trinity itself were cultivated through dramatic reading of Israel's Scriptures. For biblical and theological studies alike, this is a compelling game changer." --Joel B. Green, Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Fuller Theological Seminary


"This is a bold and ambitious book that cuts across disciplinary lines as typically perceived, and will certainly (and reasonably) generate debate on a number of the points argued in it. But Bates makes an important contribution in underscoring how early Christians perceived the voice and person of Jesus in their ('Old Testament') scriptures, and in contending that this constituted an important mode of theological reflection along the route to the doctrine of the Trinity." --Larry W. Hurtado, Emeritus Professor of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology, University of Edinburgh


"In this fascinating new study Matthew W. Bates mines a stream of early Trinitarian thinking that has all too often been forgotten. Of particular importance is his attention to the continuities between the New Testament writers own ways of attending to the divine agents at which Israel's Scriptures already hinted, and also to the modes of Trinitarian exegesis that remained central throughout the early Christian period." --Lewis Ayres, Professor of Catholic and Historical Theology, Durham University


"In this bold and erudite study, Matthew W. Bates argues that it was not least by reading the Scriptures (the 'Old Testament') theodramatically, or prosopologically, that Jesus and his followers came very early on to Trinitarian conclusions. Scholars and students will find here a new and exciting way of investigating Christian origins. A landmark book." --Matthew Levering, Perry Family Foundation Professor of Theology, Mundelein Seminary


"On the dust jacket Joel Green calls this book a 'game changer', and it certainly is that." --Heythrop Journal


"Ambitious." --Expository Times


"Whatever the final verdict on Bates's overall claims about the role of prosopological exegesis in the development of Trinitarian theology, his approach opens up beautiful, rich Trinitarian readings." --First Things


"...[A] fresh approach to Christian trinitarian interpretation..." --Euangelion Blog, via Patheos


" [O]ne of the most important additions to the Trinitarian literature of the last twenty years. While of interest to Trinitarian theology, this study is perhaps even more relevant to graduate students and scholars in the area of Christology. As a thoughtful and scholarly point of engagement for questions about the self-consciousness of Christ, its insights will also be useful for the seemingly naïve questions that typically arise in an undergraduate classroom." --Horizons


"Matthew Bates's The Birth of the Trinity is nothing short of groundbreaking, with the potential for effecting a paradigm shift in studies of early Christianity. After The Birth of the Trinity, scholars within the history of biblical interpretation as well as in the history of the development of the Christian dogma of the Trinity will have to rethink their categories."--Reading Religion


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