Jesus' Twofold Teaching about the Kingdom of God
Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2009 pp. xiii + 312. $90.00
New Testament Monographs, 24
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Description: Recent research on Jesusí teaching about the Kingdom of God has in common the assumption that it remains the same throughout the time of his proclamation of it. The data that cannot be harmonized are usually judged to be inauthentic, originating from Christian prophets in the early church.
Smith shows in closely argued detail how essential it is to differentiate two historical contexts for Jesusí teaching about the Kingdom of God. The nature of the Kingdom of God is conditional upon its acceptance and the acceptance of its messengerówhich is to say, Jesusí teaching about the Kingdom of God is hypothetical. This is the non-rejection context of Jesusí teaching about the Kingdom of God.
But some of Jesusí teaching about the Kingdom of God presupposes a context of the rejection of his message by the majority of Jews and especially the Jewish authorities. In this new context, Jesus teaches that the Kingdom will still come but not in the way first delineated, in the non-rejection context. This can be called the rejection context of Jesusí teaching about the Kingdom of God.
No attempt should be made to assimilate all the data into one historical context. Distinguishing two contexts for Jesusí teaching about the Kingdom of God allows us to appreciate how Jesus modifies his teaching in the light of the rejection of the Kingdom. Without this differentiation of two historical contexts, it is impossible to make sense of Jesusí teaching about the Kingdom of God.
Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Literature
Review by Daniel A. Smith
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Citation: Daniel A. Smith, review of Barry Smith, Jesusí Twofold Teaching about the Kingdom of God, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2012).
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