My article “Marking a Difference: The Gospel of Mark and the Early High Christology Paradigm” JJMJS 3 (2016): 102-24 has been published. Let me provide an overview of its contents:
- Older models that suggested that Jesus’ divinity were only entertained in non-Jewish circles after a slow process of evolutionary development are built on problematic assumptions about “identity” and “orthodoxy” in Second Temple Judaisms (e.g. all Second Temple Jews believed or practiced x, y, or z) and overlook the divine Christology found in some of the earliest texts (i.e. Paul’s Letters). The Early High Christology Club (EHCC) is an important corrective here.
- My general critique of some contributions of the EHCC is the claim that the highest Christology was necessarily the earliest, that all Christ-following groups had the same beliefs and practices relating to Christology, and that only Jewish parallels are relevant before insisting that Christology transcended all known parallels.
- I look at Bauckham’s categories for what constitutes the divine identity – God’s role as creator and ruler of all things and the fact that God is known through His name (i.e. the Tetragrammaton) – and test them against the text of Mark.
- My findings is that Mark does not go as far as other New Testament writers (e.g. Paul, Hebrews, John) in describing Christ as the agent of creation or pre-existent in heaven. Mark does insist that Jesus is the chief agent and exalted ruler of the cosmos. Finally, we must be careful to not read too much into the title “lord” (kyrios) for Jesus.
- Mark has an agency rather than a divine identity Christology. We need to allow more diversity into their reconstructions of the theologies of the first century Christ associations. It is by combining different voices in the canon, such as including Mark and John as scripturally authoritative Gospels, and subsequent philosophical categories that enable Christians to articulate a fully developed view of Jesus’ humanity and divinity.