The appearance in English translation of E. Schillebeeckx's Jesus is a major contribution to the North American discussion of christology. Because the Dutch original was published in 1974, the book actually provides an excellent vantage point and occasion for looking backward and forward on the 1970's, a decade of rich christological development. Gustav Aulen's Jesus in Contemporary Historical Research (ET, 1976) to some extent provided such an overview; and for its size, G. O'Collins' What Are They Saying about Jesus? (1977) is uncommonly helpful; but to date nothing has matched the scope of Schillebeeckx's volume nor the depth of its analytic appraisal.
Much of the value of Schillebeeckx's book lies in its broad synthesis of current scripture exegesis; in particular it distills the wealth of German and Dutch scholarship, much of which is not easily available to theologians this side of the Atlantic. But Schillebeeckx goes far beyond a careful exposition and correlation of contemporary scriptural and theological study about Jesus. He structures in clear, even though complex, fashion the many strains of today's research into christology, and so provides a framework in which issues can be identified and conclusions evaluated. Perhaps, then, the most fruitful way of profiting from the volume is to relate it, in four major areas, to other christological research of this past decade.