From One Stone to the Next

Messiahship and Temple in N.T. Wright’s Jesus and the Victory of God

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Nicholas Perrin Wheaton Graduate School, Wheaton, Illinois, USA,

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Some twenty years after the publication of N.T. Wright’s Jesus and the Victory of God, this article seeks to engage that volume’s treatment of the Temple in relationship to Jesus’ messiahship. While the present author finds Wright’s overall account to be persuasive, questions are raised regarding the link posited between Jesus’ messianic claims and the destruction of the Temple. Here, in dialogue with Jesus and the Victory of God, it is argued that Jesus asserted his messiahship not on the basis of some general authority over the Temple (involving among other things its future destruction), but on the more specific claim that he would be the one to rebuild the Temple. Such a claim is not only historically defensible in the Sitz im Leben Jesu, but also does better justice to the Second Temple Jewish and early Christian belief.

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