Following his critically acclaimed book Jesus the Temple, Nicholas Perrin offers a fresh paradigm for understanding the historical Jesus. Perrin challenges the “standard reading” of classic texts (including the Parable of the Sower, the Beatitudes, and the Lord’s Prayer) to argue that the historical Jesus primarily identified himself not as sage or prophet but as Israel’s eschatological high priest. As priest, Jesus claims to reveal God’s unchanging character through his own person and he announces the impending climax of God’s eschatological purpose, constituted by the arrival of the heavenly temple on earth. Jesus the Priest identifies Jesus’s priesthood as a mediating understanding that sheds crucial light on the kingdom of God.
Perrin’s insightful theological contribution synthesizes the best in traditional/conservative and liberal reconstructions of Jesus’s life and teaching. It will be of interest to professors and students in New Testament and Jesus courses, scholars, and anyone interested in theologically engaged historical-Jesus study.
Creative exegesis yielding constructive theology: another important contribution from Nicholas Perrin. Most modern Christians never think of Jesus as a ‘priest.’ Perrin, explaining why that is a serious omission, sheds a flood of fresh light on the Gospels and on Jesus himself.
—N. T. Wright, research professor of New Testament and early Christianity, University of St. Andrews; author of Jesus and the Victory of God
Nicholas Perrin’s Jesus the Priest fills a major gap in the contemporary quest for Jesus. It is widely known that the word messiah could be used for both kings and priests. And yet no full-length study has ever been written on the historical Jesus and the Jewish priesthood. Perrin’s book fundamentally changes this situation. Over and over again, he throws fresh light on the priestly dimension of otherwise familiar words and deeds of Jesus. The result is a thought-provoking case that Jesus did in fact speak and act as if he were the eschatological Jewish high priest. Essential reading for anyone interested in Jesus and Judaism.
—Brant Pitre, Distinguished Research Professor of Theology, Augustine Institute; author of Jesus and the Last Supper
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