Like the icon, the gospel image of Christ emerges from the living tradition of the Church. Like the icon, the gospels are the product of a period of preparation, witness and meditation. Like the icon, they are the Church's expression of its faith.
Over twenty years ago, Professor Kesich wrote The Gospel Image of Christ: The Church and Modern Criticism. This completely rewritten and enlarged book represents the fruit of Professor Kesich's lifetime interest in the study of "biblical criticism." He has added chapters regarding the dating and chronology and the history of the gospels, reevaluating the Gnostic gospels and the titles and images which the earliest Christians considered adequate to answer the question of who Jesus is. He has also addressed questions raised by some new approaches to gospel research. For all practical purposes, this is a new book with the old title, which best conveys its major purpose. The basic perspective of the previous work, as well as still valid material, has been retained from the first edition.
This book contributes to the ongoing discussion regarding the nature and value of New Testament research. It is the author's contention that the proper function of biblical criticism is to build, not to destroy, to illumine, not to obscure, to give us a better understanding of the gospel, not to produce another gospel. He pays particular attention to the incarnational approach, which presupposes historical inquiry and justifies historical research. In his view constructive scholarship can give us a possibility of answering the question of who Jesus is, and answer which will illuminate the living image of Christ in the Church.
Dr. Veselin Kesich is Professor Emeritus of New Testament at St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary.