By Dean L. Overman
Whether Jesus used to be quite the Son of God or no longer is a imperative query for Christians—and person who has provoked heated debate because the time of Jesus' delivery. Dean L. Overman examines the earliest Christian documents to construct a compelling case for the divinity of Jesus. Addressing questions raised by means of books akin to Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus and Elaine Pagels' The Gnostic Gospels, Overman builds a delicately reasoned case for Jesus really being the Son of God.
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Additional resources for A Case for the Divinity of Jesus: Examining the Earliest Evidence
As a distinct form of tradition the homologia had its place primarily in the life of the early apostolic church; the gospels, however, disclose that its antecedents are to be sought in the ministry of Jesus. 17 As I shall show, these homologia or confessions, including creeds and hymns, consistently portray a high and exalted form of Christology with Jesus represented as unique and divine: the God-man who died and rose again. They were in widespread use prior to the time of the writing of the New Testament and were communicated orally both to persons participating in the church and to those outside of the church.
Parts of his lectures were later published in 1965 as his highly regarded book The Central Message of the New Testament. Although a course on law and society in Princeton University’s political science department persuaded me to begin the study of law, Jeremias so influenced me that I continued to study theological and Christological texts over the past forty years of my professional life. A lawyer’s life requires the constant examination of evidence, allegations, and theories. What follows represents my conclusions from reviewing the evidence from the most ancient sources available.
The widely held opinion is that these creeds and hymns date back to the first two decades after Jesus’ crucifixion, and some are even earlier. 8 One concept I wish to emphasize concerning the hymns, creeds, confessions, poetry, and liturgical formulae of the primitive church is that their content consistently supports the understanding of the history, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus as the God-man from Nazareth found in traditional, orthodox Christianity. This is vitally important to understand, for these early formulae constitute the best and earliest evidence available concerning the thoughts, beliefs, and worship patterns of the persons who were closest to Jesus.