Early Christian theology developed mainly through the exegesis of the Scriptures, which was both traditional in method, pursued with the exegetical expertise of Jewish learned exegesis, and frequently novel in its results, since it was deployed to interpret events, understood as decisive eschatological acts of the God of Israel, which did not neatly conform to any existing Jewish expectation. One remarkable datum in the exegetical development of early Christology is that verse 1 of Psalm 110 is the verse of the Hebrew Scriptures to which christological allusion is most often made in early Christian literature. . . .--Jesus and the God of Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament's Christology of Divine Identity (Eerdmans, 2008), 173, 175
Psalm 110:1, perhaps the most foundational text for the whole configuration [of key OT texts drawn upon in the NT christologically], was a novel choice. . . . The explanation of its role in early Christology, contrasted with its absence from Second Temple Jewish literature, is that, for early Christians, it said about Jesus what no other Jews had wished to say about the Messiah or any other figure: that he had been exalted by God to participate now in the cosmic sovereignty unique to the divine identity.
23 June 2010
Bauckham: The NT's Shocking Christology
With one possible exception Richard Bauckham is, in my opinion, the most fascinating New Testament scholar writing today. Clarity of writing, sobriety of judgment, persuasiveness of argument, originality of proposals, mastery of the literature, and--O rarest of gems among neutestamentlers--theological sanity. Here's a statement on Psalm 110:1 ("The LORD said to my Lord, 'Sit at my right hand . . .'"), cited all through the NT (Bauckham suspects Hebrews is itself a sustained exposition of this single text) but completely ignored in Second Temple Jewish literature.
Posted by Dane Ortlund at Wednesday, June 23, 2010