Until recently, many scholars have read Paul’s use of the word Christos as more of a proper name (“Jesus Christ”) than a title, Jesus the Messiah. One result, Joshua W. Jipp argues, is that important aspects of Paul’s thinking about Jesus’ messiahship have gone unrecognized. Jipp argues that kingship discourse is an important source for Paul’s christological language: Paul uses royal language to present Christ as the good king.
Jipp surveys Greco-Roman and Jewish depictions of the ideal king and argues for the influence of these traditions on several aspects of Paul’s thought: king and law (Galatians 5–6; Romans 13–15; 1 Corinthians 9); hymning to the king (Col. 1:15-20); the just and faithful king; the royal roots of Paul’s language of participation “in Christ”; and the enthroned king (Rom. 1:3-4; 1 Cor. 15:20-28). Jipp finds that Paul’s use of royal tropes is indeed significant. Christos is a royal honorific within Paul’s letters, and Paul is another witness to ancient discussions of monarchy and ideal kingship.
In the process, Jipp offers new and noteworthy solutions to outstanding questions concerning Christ and the law, the pistis Christou debate, and Paul’s participatory language.
Joshua Jipp has produced a carefully researched, lucidly written, and compelling case for the influence of ancient ideologies about good kingship on Paul’s Christology. His work invites us to rethink our understanding of certain central issues in Pauline theology, not least ‘participation’ and righteousness/justification.’ Indeed, Jipp demonstrates that royal motifs permeate Paul's letters. An important book.
—Michael J. Gorman, St. Mary’s Seminary & University
It seems that scholars have greatly neglected the royal dimensions resonating in and around Paul’s repeated designation of Jesus as Christ or Messiah. In Jipp’s skillful hands, the rich and complex discourse of kingship prevalent in Paul’s day is shown to lie at the heart of many of his most important motifs and arguments. The result is the introduction of significant new interpretative angles on almost all the key questions in current Pauline analysis, coupled with the advocacy of a bold new proposal for the center of Paul’s thought as a whole. This is an important book, creative, comprehensively researched, and thoroughly argued, by a New Testament scholar of rapidly increasing stature.
—Douglas Campbell, Duke Divinity School
This is a very impressive book. Bringing his formidable classical learning to bear on the Pauline epistles, Joshua Jipp shows how Paul’s royal messiah Christology, long maligned or neglected by modern interpreters, offers solutions to several thorny problems in the interpretation of the apostle. Scholars of Paul and of early Christology, take note.
—Matthew Novenson, The University of Edinburgh
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