Dunn, James D.G. The Christ and the Spirit, V. 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998).


Message of the Book:
This is the second volume of two books by James D.G. Dunn on the intersection of Christology and Pneumatology. This one focuses primarily on the latter subject. It is a compilation of Dunn’s essays from as early as 1970 to as late as 1994. The book is divided into five sections of twenty-three essays: General Essays, John the Baptist, Jesus and the Spirit, The Spirit in Acts, and The Spirit and Ecclesiology.

In General Essays we read Dunn’s thoughts on topics ranging from the Pneumatology of the New Testament to the Pentecostal understanding of Spirit-Baptism. It may be surprising to those who know Dunn primarily from his contribution to the New Perspective(s) on Paul to find a young scholar who was quite obsessed with Pneumatology, even to the point of sounding Pentecostal at many points, though some of these essays are an effort to distance himself from classical Pentecostal exegesis and theology. In The Spirit and Ecclesiology section this becomes most evident as Dunn advocates a very low Ecclesiology, and the importance of the charismata,  yet does not fully endorse Pentecostalism.

The middle of the book contains most of Dunn’s exegesis in the sections on John the Baptist, Jesus and the Spirit, and The Spirit in Acts, though it would be misleading to say that he moves away from theological concerns. For those interested in the memory of John the Baptist there are some helpful essays. While the book’s title would seem to indicate that the book as a whole discusses the relationship between Christology and Pneumatology directly it is more accurate to say the section of Jesus and the Spirit is where most of that discussion can be located. The Spirit in Acts dips a bit back into a dialogue with Pentecostalism as Dunn seeks both touch points with and differentiation from this expanding movement.

Concluding Thoughts:
While several of the essays are quite in-depth many others are written as talks given by Dunn. In other words, there are far fewer footnotes that a reader might expect and Dunn often skims the surface rather than diving into the deep end. There are other books by Dunn ranging from his Christianity in the Making series to his Baptism in the Spirit and Jesus and the Spirit that may be more helpful for someone doing research. For those looking for more of a sampler of Dunn’s thoughts on this subject this book will be helpful.