Who was Jesus? A wise teacher, who championed the cause of the poor and outcast? A religious critic, who sought to reform the Temple-centered Judaism of his day? An apocalyptic figure who announced the end of days? BR’s coverage of historical Jesus research continues with British scholar N.T. Wright’s discussion of “How Jesus Saw Himself.” For Wright, Jesus is both an historical and an apocalyptic figure: A first-century Jew, Jesus thought of himself as a prophet in the tradition of such biblical prophets as Moses and Isaiah, who had promised that Israel would one day be freed from exile and reunited with God. But, for Wright, Jesus preached a more radical message, that in himself the earlier prophesies were fulfilled and the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand.
Formerly a lecturer in New Testament studies at Oxford University, Wright is now dean of Lichfield Cathedral in Staffordshire, England. His numerous publications on Christian theology and church history include Who Was Jesus? (Eerdmans, 1992). Jesus and the Victory of God, the second volume of his Christian Origins and the Question of God, is forthcoming this year from Fortress Press.