In The Fullness of Time: Essays on Christology, Creation, and Eschatology in Honor of Richard Bauckham

9780802873378This one looks quite good  so I am appreciative that Eerdmans has sent a review copy.

Over the course of his distinguished career Richard Bauckham has made pioneering contributions to diverse areas of scholarship ranging from ethics and contemporary issues to hermeneutical problems and theology, often drawing together disciplines and fields of research all too commonly kept separate from one another.

In this volume some of the most eminent figures in modern biblical and theological scholarship present essays honoring Bauckham. Addressing a variety of subjects related to Christology, creation, and eschatology, the contributors develop elements of Bauckham’s biblical and theological work further, present fresh research of their own to complement his work, and raise critical questions.

The highlights are those essays by

  • Philip Alexander
  • James R. Davila
  • James D. G. Dunn
  • Philip F. Esler
  • Larry W. Hurtado
  • Bruce W. Longenecker

True superstars contributing to appreciation of a true superstar.  Less engaging are the contributions by Moltmann, Pennington, and Wright, although they too have some very intriguing suggestions to make.  Furthermore, the ‘thematic studies’ are less engaging than the ‘textual studies’- in all likelihood simply because my own proclivities tend to bend in the direction of the textual.

Perhaps, however, the most impressive segment of the book is the 20 page bibliography of Richard Bauckham’s works.  The editors do a grand job of introducing readers both to Bauckham and his work and the essays fairly cover the entire range of his interests.  Each essayist brings his (yes, his- there are no female contributors to the volume nor, so far as I can tell, non Westerners) own agenda to his essay and this naturally provides readers with something of a ‘discussion’ betwixt Bauckham and his admirers.  This quality of the collection is worth mentioning as it brings a certain depth to the work which some Festschriften lack.

Yet it seems to the present reviewer that the high point of the collection is the amazingly important essay by Alexander.  Its subtitle, ‘Does the Worship of Jesus Imply His Divinity’ is THE question of the day, isn’t it.  It is a model (a word used too often but which here is quite fitting) of exegetical precision and theological insight. Alexander’s grasp of the history of the early Church along with a profound understanding of Scripture’s message and intention make this the richest most well crafted essay of the lot.  He teaches us, in case we didn’t know it (and many appear not to) that the words we toss around like ‘monotheism’ and ‘worship’ may have more ambiguous meanings than we are willing to admit.

Not enough attention has been paid to the concept of agency (p. 113).

Bravo!

The early Christologies never adequately addressed the ontological question, and for that reason cannot, just as they are, ignoring the later clarifications, be made the basis of Christology today (p. 114).

It’s a brilliant piece of work.  The volume at hand, then, comes highly recommended.  Very highly recommended.