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The Last Adam: A Theology of the Obedient Life of Jesus in the Gospels (Crowe)

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Baker Academic

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There is much discussion today about how we are to understand the life of Jesus in the Gospels. What was Jesus doing between his birth and death and how does this relate to salvation?

The Last Adam considers the theological and soteriological significance of the life of Jesus in the Gospels from a primarily exegetical perspective. Brandon Crowe argues that Jesus is identified in the Gospels as the last Adam whose obedience recapitulates and overcomes the sin of the first Adam. Crowe shows that Jesus's obedience is presented by the Evangelists as the obedience of an anointed representative, which is counted vicariously on behalf of his people. Key topics covered include Jesus's baptism and temptation, his fulfillment of Scripture, the necessity of his works, the binding of the strong man and the inbreaking of the kingdom, and Jesus's death and resurrection. Crowe also discusses how his argument interfaces with systematic theology and the church's creedal traditions, which are often thought to say little about Jesus's life.

Correcting the Christian tendency to minimize the life of Jesus, The Last Adam explains why the Gospels include much more than the Passion Narratives and shows that all four Gospels present Jesus's obedient life as having saving significance.


Brandon D. Crowe (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is associate professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pennsylvania, where he also serves as New Testament department coordinator and coordinator of the Greek language...



"Crowe's emphasis on the importance of Jesus's ministry combines exegetical detail, attention to reception-history, and a candid theological concern (with particular, but not exclusive, attention to the Reformed tradition). Crowe shows the theological yield of attending to the Gospels' presentation of Jesus as the new Adam who redeems through his life as well as his death."

L. W. Hurtado, emeritus professor of New Testament language, literature and theology, School of Divinity, New College, University of Edinburgh

"The issue of Jesus's relationship to Adam and whether the Savior's life, along with his death, was vicarious is a much-discussed, and sometimes debated, topic in theology. Brandon Crowe's The Last Adam presents a full walk through the issues tied to this discussion. It makes for fascinating reading as we come to reflect more on what Jesus's life and ministry may have been about."

Darrell L. Bock, executive director of cultural engagement, Howard G. Hendricks Center for Christian Leadership and Cultural Engagement; senior research professor of New Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

"Whereas many Christians regard Jesus's life as little more than an anthology of Sunday school stories before his crucifixion, Brandon Crowe shows us that the Evangelists describe Jesus as the last Adam who saves people by his vicarious obedience to his messianic mission. Crowe explains not only why Jesus died but why he lived! In this book, Crowe provides a thorough description of the meaning of Jesus's life, how Jesus is the covenantal head of a new humanity, and how he lived for us and for our salvation. A great topic and well-written!"

Michael F. Bird, lecturer in theology, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia