Christianity takes its name from Jesus Christ. It is the relationship to Jesus Christ, the person who lived more than 2000 years ago and whom his followers confess as alive and powerfully active today as the Risen Lord, which gives distinctiveness, specificity to Christian identity, thought and activity.
a. Some Definitions:
Few authors on Christology:
R. Brown states: “In its most literal sense,…’Christology’ would discuss how Jesus comes to be called the Messiah or Christ and what was meant by that designation… In a broader sense… ‘Christology’ discusses any evaluation of Jesus in respect to who he was and the role he played in the divine plan – and that is the way the term shall be henceforth.”
G. O’Collins states: “Christology: The theological interpretation of Jesus Christ, clarifying systematically who and what he is in himself.” He adds, “An intelligent Christology can help them (Christians) clarify and express just what it is they believe about him (Jesus).” More recently in his latest work on Christology he states, “In the light of Christian faith, practice, and worship, that branch of theology called Christology reflects systematically on the person, being, and doing of Jesus of Nazareth. In seeking to clarify the essential truth about him, it investigates his person and being (who and what he was/is) and work (what he did/does).
G. Luttenberger defines Christology as; “the process of interpreting one’s faith-experience of God, alive for us in and through Jesus, the Christ.”
B. McDermott explains, “The word about Jesus, the Word of God: orderly speech (logos) about the Christ or the “anointed one” of God. Of all areas of Christian theology, Christology considers what is most specific and distinctive about Christianity: its appeal to Jesus Christ as the way to the depths of God and to the most authentic and hope-filled relationships with other human beings and with our world.”
Finally, taking the famous words of Anselm of Canterbury (d. 1109), (fiedes quaerens intellecturm: faith seeking understanding), we can say that Christology is the reasoned account of the Christian’s faith in Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ of God. Christology seeks to serve faith by seeking to understand it. This means that by understanding their faith more and more Christians might enter into it more deeply and more responsibly, increasing their ability to relate it to more and more dimensions of their lives: the personal, interpersonal and societal, cultural, and political.
1. Christology is about Jesus as the Christ. The object of its interest is a person, a someone, a historical character named Jesus who lived in Palestine more than 2000 years ago.
2. Christology views Jesus in his context. He is from Israel and one from the Jewish people and their history of covenant and betrayal, joy and suffering, longing and memories. The meaning of “Christ” (the anointed one) cannot be understood apart from the context of Israel and its history. Thus a particular people and their history and tradition forms a part of Christology.
3. Christology explores the meaning of Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ of God. Jesus the single individual not only relates to a particular people and their history but to all of reality and to the ultimate ground of that reality, the living God, source of all and the power over and through all. Thus Christology has to do with the meaning of all life, of all peoples, of all individuals, because Christianity affirms that Jesus is related to and identified with God and the divine purpose in all of nature and history.