As a Christian, I obviously agree with Dr. Perrin that Jesus understood Himself to be the high priest of the new and eternal covenant. Unlike the good doctor, however, I find very little in the gospels - apart Jesus' statements that He would give his life in sacrifice - from which to illustrate my claim. (It is the Church's great Tradition, with pride of place given to the Epistle to the Hebrews, that communicates this truth to us.) Dr. Perrin has a very Catholic vision, proposing that Jesus meant to share His priesthood with His disciples and that the disciples suffering, united to Christ's, is given a redemptive value. He was speaking my language. I simply wasn't convinced by the evidence he offered that:
- the traditional reading of the Our Father "has a debilitating weakness," and that "with each petition Jesus is [actually] alluding to a different aspect of a single eschatological reality, all centered around a newly consecrated priesthood and sacred space" (p.52).
- Jesus' baptism was not so much his anointing as Messiah as it was a priestly anointing.
- The beatitudes were offered by Jesus as a priestly blessing
- The disciples eating of the grain on the Sabbath was Jesus recreating the priests' eating of the shewbread.
- The Danielic Son of Man as a priestly figure
Even though I was not persuaded on these large points, I still found the book to be filled with exegetical gems:
- Parallels between the Aqedah and Christ's transfiguration
- Parallels between the Exodus and Gethsemane
- "Perhaps it is our unconscious prioritization of certain formulations of atonement theology over and against the biblical data that has caused us to understate the communal nature of Jesus' suffering" (p.237).
- The historicity of Mark's account of Jesus' trial before Caiaphas.
Such gems have me looking forward to reading Dr. Perrin's other works.