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Origins of New Testament Christology

An Introduction to the Traditions and Titles Applied to Jesus

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The early followers of Jesus drew from Jewish and Greco-Roman traditions and titles to help them understand and articulate who Jesus was. This book opens a window into the Christology of the first century by helping readers understand the eleven most significant titles for Jesus in the New Testament: Lord, Son of Man, Messiah, Prophet, Suffering Servant, Son of God, Last Adam, Passover Lamb, Savior, Word, and High Priest. The authors trace the history of each title in the Old Testament, Second Temple literature, and Greco-Roman literature and look at the context in which the New Testament writers retrieved these traditions to communicate their understanding of Christ. The result is a robust portrait that is closely tied to the sacred traditions of Israel and beyond that took on new significance in light of Jesus Christ.

This accessible and up-to-date exegetical study defends an early "high" Christology and argues that the titles of Jesus invariably point to an understanding of Jesus as God. In the process, it will help readers appreciate the biblical witness to the person of Jesus.

1. Jesus the Lord
2. Jesus the Prophet
3. Jesus the Son of Man
4. Jesus the Son of God
5. Jesus the Suffering Servant
6. Jesus the Passover Lamb
7. Jesus the Messiah
8. Jesus the Savior
9. Jesus the Last Adam
10. Jesus the Word
11. Jesus the High Priest
Conclusion: Jesus as God


"Porter and Dyer offer an excellent introduction to New Testament Christology, organized around the titles used of Jesus, including Lord, Messiah, Son of Man, and Son of God. The approach is not a simple catalogue but rather a sophisticated reading of literary and social contexts, in illuminating dialogue with contemporary scholars. Examination of each title leads students through a close reading of key texts toward a more general evaluation of the title's significance. Introductory courses will find in the work an extremely valuable resource."

Harold Attridge, Sterling Professor of Divinity, Yale Divinity School

"This is not just another book on christological titles. Instead, Porter and Dyer offer a vital bridge from biblical interpretation to theological reasoning through a hermeneutically rich and historically informed study of the traditions applied to Jesus. Insightful and clear, this book will be an essential resource for students, pastors, and scholars interested in constructing an exegetically informed Christology."

Elizabeth E. Shively, St. Mary's College, University of St. Andrews

"Stanley Porter and Bryan Dyer have written a learned book on an important and complicated topic, and they have done so in a remarkably clear and compelling fashion. What makes the book so good is how well they contextualize every aspect of New Testament Christology with the relevant biblical and extrabiblical texts. This book will become the foundational study of biblical Christology."

Craig A. Evans, John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins, Houston Christian University

"Who is Jesus, according to the New Testament? Stanley Porter and Bryan Dyer answer this question with a fresh appraisal of the New Testament's various titles for Jesus and the Jewish and Greco-Roman traditions from which these titles emerged. Origins of New Testament Christology is an accessible introduction to the portrayal of Jesus--and Jesus's divinity--in the New Testament canon."

Brittany E. Wilson, Duke Divinity School

"Porter and Dyer's Origins of New Testament Christology offers thoughtful guidance to and wisdom about the titles used for Jesus. Wonderfully immersed in the historical and sociocultural traditions of Jesus's time, this book is a fantastic textbook for any New Testament Christology classroom! Porter and Dyer avoid the pitfalls of past works on this topic and instead offer the best of recent scholarship with their own unique flair."

Beth M. Stovell, Chair of General Theological Studies, Ambrose University

"Orienting readers to the world of the New Testament and its claims about Jesus in the midst of that world, Origins of New Testament Christology provides a rich perspective for all who desire to contemplate the question 'Who is this man?' By respecting both the complexity of the traditions in their own settings and the complexity with which they manifest in the New Testament writings, Porter and Dyer's presentation allows the arresting nature of the biblical claims about Jesus to shine forth with fresh power. Students of the New Testament with historical and theological interest will come to rely on this volume as a treasured resource."

Amy Peeler, associate professor of New Testament, Wheaton College

"In the tradition of Oscar Cullmann's classic The Christology of the New Testament, Porter and Dyer provide a fresh, up-to-date study of Christology through the lens of titles. This work is particularly helpful in contextualizing the titles historically and exegetically. The authors rightly conclude that Jesus is presented as divine in the New Testament. This is an important topic indeed!"

Brandon D. Crowe, professor of New Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary

The Authors

  1. Stanley E. Porter

    Stanley E. Porter

    Stanley E. Porter (PhD, University of Sheffield) is president, dean, professor of New Testament, and Roy A. Hope Chair in Christian Worldview at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario. A prolific scholar, he has authored, coauthored, or edited...

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  2. Bryan R. Dyer

    Bryan R. Dyer

    Bryan R. Dyer (PhD, McMaster Divinity College) is senior acquisitions editor at Baker Academic and a part-time faculty member of religion at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the author of Suffering in the Face of Death and the...

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