Harnack on the Human Jesus of the Synoptics and the Apocalypse

"That book [Revelation] . . . with its glowing symbolism, and strong colouring of images and descriptions, expressly ascribes the divine attributes to the glorified Jesus. He is, like God, the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega. He bears upon his forehead a new name, which is none other than the ineffable name of Jehovah. He is called the Word of God. 

But here let us not deceive ourselves. The author of the Apocalypse only means by this that Jesus, victorious over the world and sin, has gained all these titles. They have been conferred upon him from without, as a reward of his victory. He is not therefore the less a created being. 

It is from a certain moment, it is after his death upon the cross, that the divine perfections have been adjudged to him. The name of God, inscribed upon his forehead, will one day be written upon the foreheads of the elect.- His name, 'Word of God,' signifies that he is the revealer of the truth, the announcer of the divine judgments; and it is very far from bearing the metaphysical signification of the 'Logos,' or the 'Word' in the sense of Philo. . . . 

If we return to the three first Gospels, not asking as before what witness Jesus gave to himself, but in order to learn what his historians thought of him, we shall find there the feeling still very strong that Jesus positively belongs to humanity; and if of evangelical documents we only possessed the Gospel of Mark and the discourses of the Apostles in the Acts, the whole Christology of the New Testament would be reduced to this: that Jesus of Nazareth was' a prophet mighty in deeds and in words, made by God Christ and Lord.' 

There would even be no reason to question the favourite dogma of the old Ebionites, the orthodox of the primitive times of whom we shall have to speak again, according to whose opinion Jesus had himself no consciousness of his vocation until the period of his baptism in the Jordan, when the heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him.

'A holy man, fully inspired by the divine spirit,' would therefore have been the prescribed Christological formula. With regard to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, the two genealogies which these books respectively set forth plainly and expressly prove the strength of the primitive belief that Jesus was really man by his nature and birth."

Adolf Harnack, History of the Dogma of the Deity of Jesus Christ, (London: 1878), 31-33.

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