I’ve read a ton of Bauckham, and I can’t blame Anthony for not delving much into him. As best I can tell, he’s quite confused on the topic of identity, i.e. personal identity, being the same self as. The same confusions are always mirrored in the people who follow him, e.g. Fee, Bowman. I’m working on a paper on precisely this – what does he mean by “divine identity” and “being included in the divine identity.”
To which I replied:
Bauckham’s case is predicated on an inductive study of what second temple era Jews believed about identity. It’s only confused if he was working according to the categories you suggest, but he wasn’t, so on his own terms his argument is quite cogent.
Bauckham is hard to engage because his “sharing the divine identity” is too vague to be interacted with. We all know that “if you have seen me you have seen God.” We all know that Jesus and God are one (thing, cp. John 10.30). We all know that they are not One Person. The Greek for the word “one” in “One Person” is eis, as a disputant in the debate of God in 1849 remarked. “en is one thing and eis is one Person.”
To which I replied:
I’ll just leave with this note about Anthony’s reference to Bauckham being too vague to engage: Nonsense! James McGrath, who strongly disagrees with Bauckham, had no problem critically interacting with him in his book The Only True God. Larry Hurtado, who arrives at the same place as Bauckham, had no problem criticizing Bauckham’s view of divine identity in his Lord Jesus Christ (see p. 47, n. 66). The point is that the concept is quite clear, and whether or not one agrees with it, it can be engaged.
Now here’s why I even bother to reproduce these comments: I don’t wholeheartedly endorse Bauckham’s view so it’s not like I’m defending him on the merits of his view in and of itself. I’ve raised concerns over Bauckham’s insistence that the Enochic Son of Man is the exception that proves his rule (see p. 7 of the following review). I’ve also noted in the same review that I think Bauckham’s criticisms of ontic/functional categories are overstated since he ends up saying the same stuff in different terms (see p. 12). Now for the record, I’m in general agree with Bauckham because I’m quite happy to say the same stuff in those other terms that he rejects, but his project isn’t perfect and it’s not without areas that could use tightening.
Tuggy raised the point about the people who follow Bauckham picking up his confusion. Well, I clearly don’t think Bauckham is confused and I still maintain that he’s not operating according to the categories of analytic philosophy, but there have been some who have argued that Fee misunderstood Bauckham and misused him in his Pauline Christology (sorry folks, you’ll just have to wait for Chris Tilling to publish his dissertation to see this fleshed out; suffice it to say that Tilling makes a compelling argument for this being the case).
As far as Buzzard’s comment is concerned, it makes me question whether or not he’s read Bauckham on the subject. I only say so because Bauckham is very clear in saying what he believes marked out Israel’s God as unique. There’s the lesser explored point about God’s relation to Israel and the divine name, and then there’s the major point about God’s relation to all other reality as Creator and Sovereign Ruler. There’s nothing vague about the concept and Bauckham painstakingly shows just how Jesus is included in the very things that he suggests made God unique.
So that’s that. In the end I find Hurtado to be the one that I’ve hitched my wagon to, although in reality, Tilling is the front runner at the moment. As soon as he published his thesis and I get to review it I’ll explain exactly why that is.