The Christian

It was Jesus who personally triggered the development from Jewish to Christian monotheism, or belief in one God now distinguished into three persons. Jesus' preaching and activity raised the question of his identity (who was he?), along with the closely related but distinct question: who did he think he was? The historical data, found above all in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, support the conclusion that, at least implicitly,76 Jesus claimed an authority and identity on a par with God. One can understand why some religious leaders would reject Jesus' claims as blasphemous and incompatible with their strict monotheism. In what follows we want, first of all, (1) to sum up what Jesus implied about himself through what he said and did; then (2) we will move to what NT believers and writers had to say about him as the Church developed. In sorting out the differences between (1) and (2), we will use the approach and the criteria indicated above in Ch. 1, n. 2.

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