The Holy Spirit and Christian Origins: Essays in Honor of James Dunn


Anyone who is interested in the rigorous study of early Christianity and who has not engaged with the works of James D. G. Dunn is not really interested in the rigorous study of early Christianity. No one would dispute that Professor Dunn is one of the most prolific New Testament scholars of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. And while a handful of scholars might have a list of publications to rival his own extensive publications list, none of them could claim to have set the agenda of scholarly...
See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (2) from $50.00   
  • New (1) from $117.58   
  • Used (1) from $50.00   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any coupons and promotions
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.


Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by
Sending request ...


Anyone who is interested in the rigorous study of early Christianity and who has not engaged with the works of James D. G. Dunn is not really interested in the rigorous study of early Christianity. No one would dispute that Professor Dunn is one of the most prolific New Testament scholars of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. And while a handful of scholars might have a list of publications to rival his own extensive publications list, none of them could claim to have set the agenda of scholarly study to the extent that Jimmy Dunn has done for a sustained period of time since the 1970s.

The Holy Spirit and Christian Origins comprises a selection of original essays that explore a topic that has held a prominent and distinctive place in the majority of Professor Dunn's publications. Written by twenty-seven leading scholars, this singular volume probes deep into the nascent Christian communities and their writings and investigates the early Christians' convictions concerning the Holy Spirit. Ranging widely through Scripture and across early church history, many of these essays introduce groundbreaking research in biblical studies, and some engage directly with Dunn's work in the field.

Presenting some of the best new work in New Testament studies as well as celebrating a respected career, The Holy Spirit and Christian Origins will help to stimulate further discussion and reflection in the theological academy and in the Christian church -- two sectors that Jimmy Dunn has consistently and passionately sought to straddle, nurture, and refresh.

Robert Banks
John M. G. Barclay
Richard Bauckham
Peder Borgen
David Catchpole
Gordon D. Fee
Victor Paul Furnish
Beverly Roberts Gaventa
Joel B. Green
Morna D. Hooker
Robert Jewett
Hermann Lichtenberger
Bruce W. Longenecker
Ulrich Luz
I. Howard Marshall
Scot McKnight
R. W. L. Moberly
Robert Morgan
J. Lionel North
Graham N. Stanton
Loren T. Stuckenbruck
Peter Stuhlmacher
Anthony C. Thiselton
Marianne Meye Thompson
Paul Trebilco
Max Turner
Alexander J. M. Wedderburn

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802828224
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 10/1/2004
  • Pages: 404
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Read an Excerpt


Essays in Honor of James D. G. Dunn

William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company

Copyright © 2004 Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8028-2822-1

Chapter One

Unity and Diversity in New Testament Talk of the Spirit

Robert Morgan

From his Cambridge cradle to his Durham presidency of Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, from Professor Moule's happy group ('school' is hardly the word) where even the geese felt like swans, to the Durham chair made awesome by the weight of his distinguished predecessor, Professor Barrett, our honorand has written and taught New Testament theology with an eye to the experiential dimension indicated by the subject of this Festschrift. His book which comes closest to being a New Testament theology is from his equally happy Nottingham period: Unity and Diversity in the New Testament (1977). It is dedicated to Charlie Moule and recalls the revered teacher's Birth of the New Testament (1962). Our shared love and appreciation of our aged teacher, and a shared fascination with a methodological essay of William Wrede and with the provocative contributions of Ernst Käsemann, pointed me back to that early Nottingham synthesis when reflecting on our all-too-sporadic thirty-odd year conversation about our shared aims and methods, and differing emphases. Our very different denominational backgrounds and personalexperiences (not least with respect to the Spirit) will at least add to the diversity of this volume and confirm that the unity which the Spirit gives is still a sheer miracle.

Like most of Jimmy Dunn's work, this admirable book is historical and exegetical, but inspired by theological questioning and rich with theological consequences. That is enough to classify it as 'New Testament theology' even if it is not, and does not claim to be, a New Testament theology. The subtitle, 'An Inquiry into the Character of Earliest Christianity', implies historical and descriptive but also conceptual work. What is described is bound to have theological implications for any Protestant preacher guided, inspired, and in some sense 'normed' by Scripture, though what these might be is far from clear. As a biblical theologian Dr. Dunn includes 'a few remarks at the close of several chapters relating the conclusions to the present day' (p. xi). He has 'outlined some of the corollaries for our understanding of "the Authority of the New Testament" in the final section' (p. xi) entitled 'Has the Canon a Continuing Function?' But the New Testament scholar's primary task is to understand first-century historical reality, and in the 1970s it still seemed necessary almost to apologize ('I have taken the liberty') for these 'few' hermeneutical 'remarks'.

In fact the book owes its origin and much of its importance to the significance of its topic for Christian theological use of Scripture. The issues had been sharply profiled over the previous thirty years by Ernst Käsemann, whose pervasive influence throughout this book is evident in its insistence on the theological diversity to be found in the New Testament, and in the phrase 'the canon within the canon', in the dubious use of the categories 'apocalyptic', 'enthusiasm', and 'early catholicism', and in the somewhat uncritical reception of Walter Bauer's stimulating work, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity (1934, Eng. trans. 1971).

Like Käsemann, Dunn asked how 'the New Testament functions as a "canon", as a criterion for orthodoxy, as a norm for Christians of later generations' (p. 374), and while he admits that 'these are questions which require a much fuller discussion' (p. 374), he goes on to indicate some of the relevance of his own historical study to that theological question.

Also like Käsemann, Dunn finds a unifying christological centre to the New Testament and rightly insists that this implies limits to acceptable diversity. But unlike Käsemann and earlier discussions of the Bible as a norm and criterion, Dunn can celebrate the diversity: the New Testament 'canonizes the diversity of Christianity' (p. 376), and 'to recognize the canon of the New Testament is to affirm the diversity of Christianity' (p. 377). What for a relatively orthodox Protestant and dialectical theologian like Käsemann was a problem has become for a relatively liberal Protestant a matter for rejoicing. The sceptical critic was a quite conservative theologian; the more conservative critic is amore liberal theologian.

Dunn's liberal delight in diversity is striking because that is not usually combined with the use of Scripture as a doctrinal norm, whereas Dunn recognizes and begins to define the importance of the New Testament for Christian doctrinal identity. The reason why its 'unity' is important to most Christians, and why Käsemann was worried by what historical research had uncovered, was that conflicting theologies seemed to prevent the New Testament from constituting a doctrinal norm. His own solution of making his 'canon within the canon' the norm is picked up by Dunn and taken in a rather different direction.

Of course Dunn is right to identify (with Käsemann) and to celebrate (without him) the diversity of early Christianity. We are all theological pluralists now. Paths explored by liberal Protestants have been widely followed, and not even orthodox Anglicans claim that their true-to-Scripture theology is that of the whole Bible. We may further agree that some defences of 'orthodoxy' have been, and still are, unsustainable. Historical study is genuinely liberating and has broken up the older definitions of orthodoxy, however important it remains for Christians to distinguish between authentic and inauthentic forms of their faith and its institutions.

Dunn believes that the canon sets limits to legitimate diversity (p. 378). Christians must acknowledge Jesus to be human (no problem) and exalted (rather less straightforward). Whether that is sufficient definition to preserve Christian identity may be doubted, and Dunn echoes Schleiermacher's account of the essence of Christianity, where 'everything is related to the redemption accomplished by Jesus of Nazareth'. His christological centre relates to other essential elements in early Christian belief and practice, including Spirit (p. 370). These wider ramifications of his 'unifying centre' qualify the 'minimal unity' (p. 374) implied by some of his formulations. The New Testament writers would not have accepted that their distinctive reference to Jesus crucified and risen would without elaboration suffice to define their unity of faith, and neither would any competent theologian before the eighteenth century, if then. Brief summaries (the creed or rule of faith or essence of Christianity) are helpful in guiding Christian interpretations of Scripture; they do not replace it as a norm of Christian faith and theology. That remains Scripture, however difficult it is to make appeals to Scripture persuasive when its interpretation is contested. Those who insist on the New Testament canon, read in a correct relationship to the Old, as a norm (as well as a source) of Christian faith and theology are claiming to share a common faith with all the New Testament writers, however variously that was and is articulated. Whether a common faith, still held by most Christians today, can be perceived behind or within the historical and theological diversity persuasively described by Dunn, is the conceptual question this essay seeks to address by reference to the different ways New Testament writers talk of the (Holy) Spirit. My conclusion will be that the blunt affirmation of the Nicene Creed, prior to the Constantinopolitan elaborations, is something that all the New Testament writers were agreed on: we believe in the Holy Spirit. The theological elaborations are (for reasons to be clarified) not the place to look.

Schleiermacher's 'essence of Christianity' was not an account of what united the New Testament writers, neither did he intend his formula to function as a norm identifying authentic Christianity. It was drawn from Christian history, especially the New Testament origins, and guided the historical and Christian reading of Scripture and tradition which he called 'historical theology'. Describing the unity of Scripture in terms of a lowest common doctrinal denominator and using this as a norm would be to underestimate the unity of faith which Christians frequently acknowledge despite their institutional, liturgical, and even some of their doctrinal divisions.

Among the summaries of Christianity which describe the New Testament writers' and their successors' views of the essential subject matter of Christian Scripture and so guide its interpretation, Schillebeeckx's 'salvation from God in Jesus' is better than most because God, the God of Israel identified by the Old Testament, is fundamental, and salvation is what God in Jesus is all about. Unlike Schleiermacher, Dunn stresses neither 'redemption' nor 'the Redeemer', and his few references to 'salvation' and 'the Saviour' say less than a New Testament theology would, but the challenge of his book (which was 'intended to be provocative', p. 6) lies less in the doctrines deselected, and more in the way he characterizes the unity he recognizes in the New Testament. As a historian he is rightly conscious of the diversity of theological expression in early Christianity. As a Christian theologian he is rightly interested in the underlying unity. The danger of coupling these terms is that of suggesting that they are to be found on the same level. Looking for the unity on the theological plane where diversity has been emphasized encourages the minimalist approach to unity favoured by some ecumenical politicians.

Dr Dunn knows better than to succumb to that residue of an older biblical theology. He has learned from Bultmann and Käsemann to find the unity on another level, sometimes in Jesus, sometimes in the 'Christ event', rather than in particular christologies. What 'Christ event' means beyond identifying Jesus the risen Christ with Jesus of Nazareth and so referring to Christian proclamation needs clarifying. Bultmann's kerygmatic talk of revelation implied its reception in faith and life, but this is obscured when New Testament theology is seen as part of, and articulated on analogy with, the history of doctrine, as was common prior to Bultmann and has remained common where Bultmann's historical criticism has been assimilated but his understanding of theology only partly understood. The unity of the New Testament is found in its Sache, or essential content, the gospel, not in a doctrinal minimum. The gospel cannot be 'objectified', however necessary historical and theological language are to express, communicate, and define it doctrinally. Käsemann's canon within the canon, or norm effective in Scripture, like Luther's (and Bultmann's), consisted in the Christ proclaimed, Jesus crucified and risen, the gospel he thought best expressed by Paul's 'justification of the ungodly'. It did not consist in that or any other doctrinal topic as such.

The unity of the New Testament is a unity of faith which can be intuited by interpreting these texts critically and theologically. Only in the act of interpretation is the Sache of the New Testament understood sufficiently to permit judgments (provisional, in view of human fallibility) about the authenticity or otherwise of some Christian doctrinal, moral, or liturgical proposal. This is the business of a New Testament theology that aims to be Christian theology, done by interpreting Scripture. It was not the professional concern of William Wrede (n. 9), and Wrede's renunciation of theological interpretation of these texts has been legitimately followed by many biblical scholars. Legitimately, but not obligatorily, for there is more to biblical interpretation than historical scholarship. Historians of early Christian religion and theology can describe the diversity, but 'the unity in the New Testament' is as elusive as 'the unity that the Spirit gives' (Eph. 4.3, NEB). We may seek it by historical research and try to define it in doctrinal terms, but neither approach will grasp it. What can be said about it is inadequate, but some approaches are more fruitful than others. It is recognized in moments when the gospel subject-matter of Scripture is acknowledged, but it cannot be pinned down definitively. Doctrinal formulations such as the divinity of Christ are necessary and useful shorthand for teaching Christianity, but not substitutes for Scripture, and not themselves the norm defining authentic Christianity or constituting the unity of, or in, the New Testament.

Theological interpreters of Scripture make synthetic judgments about what is authentically Christian, and they do this in ongoing conversation with other competent readers of Scripture. Their interpretative acts are endlessly repeated, as in all reading of a classic text. These readers bring expectations and pre-understandings to the text. These may be challenged by the text, but they also affect how it is read. In the case of Christians' theological interpretations of their Scriptures, prior beliefs about the identity of God (which includes a self-understanding), about God's decisive saving revelation in Jesus' life and death and vindication (which again includes a self-understanding), and about the power and presence of God as Spirit, at work in the community and the world (likewise), all shape the readers' understanding of the subject matter or Sache of Scripture. We may sum this up by saying that they interpret the New Testament with an eye to the subsequent history of Christianity, in particular to how they as Christians (or reading from a Christian perspective) understand their Christianity today. The scholarship required to understand the New Testament is largely linguistic and historical, but the perspective from which it is read theologically is religious and specifically Christian. Whether or not these modern readers share the writers' convictions about God, this is the perspective from which the New Testament is understood theologically: as expressions of a Christian faith shared by millions today, not merely as sources for historical reconstructions of early Christianity and its beliefs and aspirations, whether these are described (inadequately) in doctrinal concepts or with Wrede's historical sensitivity.

Wrede answered his own question, 'What are we really looking for?' (p. 84), as follows: 'What was believed, thought, taught, hoped, required and striven for in the earliest period of Christianity' (p. 84). He contrasted that with 'what certain writings say about faith, doctrine, hope etc.' (p. 85). He was not contrasting history and theology, but what he thought was good and bad historical description. He objected to the doctrinal language found even in historically responsible New Testament theologies, that it 'makes doctrine out of what in itself is not doctrine' (p. 75).

The use of doctrinal language can be defended (as Wrede might have conceded) as an analytic tool.


Excerpted from THE HOLY SPIRIT AND CHRISTIAN ORIGINS Copyright © 2004 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

I Unity and diversity in New Testament talk of the spirit 1
II Spirits and demons in the Dead Sea scrolls 14
III John's baptism : a prophetic sign 22
IV Covenant and spirit : the origins of the new covenant hermeneutic 41
V Spiritual remembering : John 14.26 55
VI The breath of life : John 20:22-23 once more 69
VII Initiatives divine and human in the Lukan story world 79
VIII Rome's victory and God's honour : the Jerusalem temple and the spirit of God in Lukan theodicy 90
IX The spirit and salvation in Luke-Acts 103
X The role of charismatic and noncharismatic factors in determining Paul's movements in acts 117
XI Paul as mystic 131
XII Pauline pneumatology and Pauline theology 144
XIII [Pneumatikos] in the social dialect of pauline Christianity 157
XIV Who and where is the 'wretched man' of Romans 7, and why is 'she' wretched? 168
XV The contrite wrongdoer - condemned or set free by the spirit? : Romans 7:7-8:4 181
XVI The question of the "apportioned spirit" in Paul's letters : Romans as a case study 193
XVII The holy spirit in 1 Corinthians : exegesis and reception history in the patristic era 207
XVIII The spirit in 2 Thessalonians 229
XIX The significance and relevance of the spirit in the pastoral epistles 241
XX The holy spirit in the pastoral epistles and the apostolic fathers 257
XXI The spirit of God in us loathes envy : James 4:5 270
XXII Faithful witness in the diaspora : the holy spirit and the exiled people of God according to 1 Peter 282
XXIII "Test the spirits" : God, love, and critical discernment in I John 4 296
XXIV The holy spirit in the ascension of Isaiah 308
XXV The spirit in the writings of Justin Martyr 321
XXVI The transformation of some New Testament texts in fourth- and fifth-century disputes about [Pneuma] 335
XXVII Translational tendenz : English versions and [Pneuma] in Paul 349
List of publications by James D.G. Dunn 360
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)