Original Research

The pre-history of the incarnation of Jesus Christ in the Christology of T.F. Torrance

Martin M. Davis
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 50, No 1 | a2045 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v50i1.2045 | © 2016 Martin M. Davis | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 September 2015 | Published: 03 December 2016

About the author(s)

Martin M. Davis, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa and Greenwich School of Theology, United Kingdom


T.F. Torrance is widely known for his dialogue between theology and the natural sciences. His Christology, however, merits greater attention in the academic literature, particularly in regard to his important discussion of the prehistory of Jesus Christ’s incarnation in the nation of Israel. The purpose of this article is to address this inadequacy. The present article provides an overview of Torrance’s discussion of the mediation of revelation and reconciliation in Israel and relates it to Jesus Christ’s incarnation. Content is based on a review of the primary literature published over a span of more than 40 years, as well as a review of the relatively few secondary resources that include an extensive discussion of this subject matter. Torrance’s discussion of the prehistory of the incarnation in Israel provides the biblical-historical background for his Christology. For Torrance, divine self-disclosure and human response in the context of God’s covenant interaction with Israel constitute a two-fold but unitary movement of mediation in Israel that is ultimately embodied and enacted in the person and life of Jesus Christ. As Torrance argues, Jesus Christ incorporates in his incarnate person, life, death and resurrection the prehistory of the mediation of revelation and reconciliation in Israel. Torrance’s discussion of the prehistory of the incarnation in Israel provides a helpful hermeneutical framework for understanding the purpose, meaning and goal of God’s covenant interaction with Old Testament Israel as a preparation for the advent of Jesus Christ.


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