I recently received my ‘hot-off-the-press’ copy of Oliver Crisp’s new book, Divinity and Humanity. In due course, I hope to offer my more substantial thoughts on this work. I bought it with the intention of exploring Crisp’s rejection of the notion that Christ assumed a fallen human nature in the incarnation. This view was first articulated by Crisp in his 2004 article, “Did Christ have a Fallen Human Nature?” (IJST 6.3, 170-88). This essay has essentially become the fourth of his six chapters, in the course of which he addresses perichoresis as a christological category, the anhypostasia-enhypostasia distinction, and kenosis, among other topics.
At some point in the near future, I hope to write an essay which will explore why Crisp misunderstands Barth and Torrance (among others) in their affirmation of the fallen human nature of Christ. The conflict rests, I believe, in radically different ontologies, such that Barth has an actualized-historicized account of what “nature” means, while Crisp works with a traditional, essentialist account. While this by no means exhausts the issues at stake, I believe this is where one must begin in order to unpack the christological ramifications.
I eagerly look forward to reading Crisp’s book. If others are ahead of me and can offer some more substantial reflections on this new book, I would be happy to hear them.
Note: It may be of some interest to know that the picture of Jesus on the cover was done by none other than Crisp himself! It is not the most flattering portrait of Jesus ever drawn, but it is surely commendable that a theologian like Crisp is also somewhat skilled in art.