Jesus by Martin Dibelius
Martin Dibelius occupied the chair of New Testament at
the University of Heidelberg for thirty two years. He wrote extensively, and many of his works have been translated
into English. In 1937 he visited the
United States, delivering the Shaffer Lectures at Yale University. Jesus was translated by Charles B.
Hedrick, teacher of New Testament at Berkeley Divinity School, and Frederick C.
Grant (who completed the translation after Dr. Hedrick’s death). Dr. Grant was Edwin Robinson Professor of
Biblical Theology at Union Theological Seminary, New York. Published in 1949 by Westminster Press,
Philadelphia. This book was prepared
for Religion Online by Richard and Sue Kendall.
Chapter I: Jesus in History
attacks on Christianity demand that the church take seriously the valid
historical roots of the Jesus record.
Chapters which follow deal with a scientific presentation of the event,
with the hope that it can strengthen and inform those persons of faith who must
deal with the meaning of the event as a revelation of God.
Chapter II: The Sources
This chapter deals
with the sources upon which a historical knowledge of Jesus can be based. A
small amount of non-Christian testimony is presented, but the major sources are
the Christian witnesses, the Gospel tradition, and the narrative sections of the
Chapter III: People Land, Descent
This chapter asks
the questions, “What were the people like, the political situation and the area
of Palestine to which Jesus came? To
which people and race did Jesus belong?
What was the religious community like at that time?
Chapter IV: The Movement Among the Masses
This chapter traces the chronology of the
Life of Jesus, ahd the historicity of his movement in its own time.
Chapter V: The Kingdom of God
Jesus defines his movement in terms of two opposites: A conviction that the Kingdom of God is
future and opposed to this world, and a
consciousness that the Kingdom is already in the process of coming, and has
already put itself in motion.
Chapter VI: The Signs of the Kingdom
Through Jesus’ actions—his judging,
criticizing, warning, encouraging, promising and healing—the signs of the
Kingdom are present, not the Kingdom in its fulness.
Chapter VII: The Son of Man
What Jesus demands is not a formal confession
of his Messiahship, with political or other overtones, but that one sees in his acts God’s working,
perceives in his appearing God’s coming with his Kingdom.
Chapter VIII: Man's Status Before God
Jesus does not give
a series of rules for a life of faith, enabling one to get “right” with
God. God’s absolute will cannot be
compressed into a law for this world.
It can be set forth only in “signs”, evidences of the Kingdom. Therefore he demand of Jesus in its deepest
meaning does not run: So must thou act,
but rather, So must thou be! What
he wants to create is not ascetic or ethical achievements, but persons who in
word and deed witness to, show forth, God’s Kingdom.
Chapter IX: The Opposing Force
author examines the New Testament record of the build-up of secular and
religious forces which lead to the resistance to and rejection of Jesus, and
ultimately to his being accused, judged and crucified.
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