Several people have asked about the book I’m working on this term, How Jesus Became God, in particular in relation to what I mentioned in yesterday’s post, how I’ve learned a lot doing my research and changed my views on important issues related to the  book.  Explaining all that is a bit complicated, and I thought one good way to do it would be to show what I had *originally* planned to do with this book when I first proposed it to a publisher maybe seven or eight years ago, and then explain how the book now will be different, both in the way I’ll set it up and in what I think now about the topic.

So for this post and the next two I will reproduce my original book proposal.  REALIZE, please, that this is what I was ORIGINALLY planning.  In lots of ways it still makes sense, but I’ve changed it now, and to make sense of the changes, you have to see what the original looked like.  So here’s part 1 of the original proposal:


Jesus of Nazareth was an apocalyptic prophet who anticipated the imminent end of the age and who warned his Jewish compatriots to repent in view of the cosmic crisis that was soon to come. God, Jesus proclaimed, would intervene in the course of history to overthrow the forces of evil, sending from heaven a divine-like figure called the Son of Man in a cataclysmic act of judgment.  This Son of Man would bring a new order to this world, a utopian kingdom to replace the evil empire that oppresses God’s people.   And this was to occur within Jesus’ generation.

Jesus’ followers accepted his message and saw him as a prophet of God who understood God’s will; some of them anticipated that when the new kingdom arrived, he, Jesus himself, would be its anointed king.   But any such hopes about Jesus as the messiah were convincingly dashed when he was arrested by the Roman authorities, interrogated, tortured, and crucified as a lowly criminal.  In a prodigious reversal, however, the hopes of Jesus’ followers were then reconfirmed, and radically transformed, when they (or some of them) came to believe that God had raised Jesus from the dead and exalted him to his own right hand.  Belief in Jesus’ resurrection changed everything.  In particular it redirected the disciples’ belief, away from the apocalyptic message that Jesus himself proclaimed to a faith in Jesus himself, away from the beliefs held by Jesus to the beliefs about Jesus.

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2020-04-03T19:01:09-04:00January 31st, 2013|Book Discussions, Early Christian Doctrine|

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