This major new study advances our
understanding of the historical Jesus by exploring the model of Jesus the
priest. As priest, Jesus claims to reveal God’s unchanging character through his
own person; as priest, too, he announces the impending eschat
climax, constituted by the arrival of the heavenly temple on earth. Focusing on
critically assured sayings of Jesus, Perrin argues that the two announcements
(the kingdom and Jesus’ priesthood) are mutually confirming and mutually
authenticating. The nature of the kingdom is derived from his priestly office;
his priestly office is given shape and substance through teachings on the
kingdom. Jesus saw himself as the unique eschatological high priest and
therefore as the local embodiment of Yahweh. He announced the kingdom of God as
the space of true worship; he regarded his life as revealing both the identity
of God and the true worship of God.
1. The Prayer of Jesus
2. The Baptism of Jesus
3. The Kingdom of Jesus
4. Jesus Son of David
5. The Identity of the Son of Man
6. A Re-envisioned Priesthood
7. Final Confrontations
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 the 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.
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.