Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Religious Studies


Professor Ben F. Meyer


The purpose of this study is to make a fresh treatment of the question of Christian origins, especially the beginnings of New Testament christology, by a holistic approach. More specifically, this study will show that, contrary to the form-critical view, the christological themes of the New Testament originated with Jesus himself, not with the post-Easter church.

The movement of exposition will be threefold. We shall begin with an investigation of the mentality of Second-Temple Judaism and, in particular, of the eschatologically-minded in this period (Part One). The main focus will be on the mode of scriptural reading of the eschatologically-minded. Next, we shall move to the Jesus tradition to show that Jesus perceived his eschatological ministry as climactic and defensive (Part Two). This analysis will show how deeply Jesus shared the eschatological mode of scriptural reading. Finally, based on the conclusion of the first two parts, we shall make an attempt to retrieve some significant aspects of Jesus' self-understanding (Part Three).

This study will contribute to the New Testament scholarship in several ways. First of all, it will confirm a recent discovery in respect to Jesus' aims. He aimed for the restoration of Israel, and the scriptural themes of election shaped his self-understanding. Second, our study will show that the form-critical description of Christian origins is in need of revision. Third, out study has a bearing on the study of gospel tradition. Scholars have regarded the citations from and allusions to the Scriptures in the Jesus tradition as an indication for secondary origin. Our investigation, however, yields no support to this assumption. Finally, our study will test the advantages of the holistic approach which we shall employ in the following pages.

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