This volume, as the title clearly indicates, is a collection of essays on the deity of Jesus Christ. The book begins with a brief introduction the editors, Christopher Morgan and Robert Peterson, in which they discuss the vital importance of this topic and the need for fresh discussion. Morgan and Peterson cite with approval Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli’s work, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, stating that the divinity of Christ is the “most distinctively Christian doctrine of all” (19). The centrality of the doctrine, according to Morgan and Peterson, is not the only noteworthy reason for the publication of this particular book: contemporary challenges to Christ’s deity expressed in popular fiction (like Dan Brown’s, The DaVinci Code), the growth of Islam, the reality of religious pluralism, and preponderance of Christian counterfeits necessitate a solid, biblical defense of the deity of Christ and a thoughtful response to the current challenges (19-22).
Jesus and the God of Israel is a collection of essays by Richard Bauckham that focuses primarily on the exposition and defense of the deity of Christ. Bauckham’s approach to this doctrine, however, differs from other recent theological treatments by considering the issue of Christ’s deity under the rubric of identity rather than ontology. In other words, Bauckham argues that the New Testament presents and maintains the doctrine of Christ’s deity by placing Christ within the identity of the God of Israel rather describing what divinity is—i.e. in terms of divine nature— and then moving to demonstrate that Christ shares in this divinity. According to Bauckham, to assume that the New Testament authors are upholding the doctrine of Christ’s deity in terms of nature and ontology is to “misconstrue Jewish monotheism in Hellenistic terms as thought it were primarily concerned with what divinity is—divine nature—rather that who YHWH, the unique God is—divine identity” (31). Thus, the book proceeds by examining important related issues such as character of Jewish monotheism, the worship of Christ in the early church, the precedent of Jewish intermediary beings, Paul’s Christology, and the deity of Christ in the book of Hebrews.