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Comparing FaithfullyInsights for Systematic Theological Reflection$
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Michelle Voss Roberts

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823274666

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823274666.001.0001

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What Child Is This?

What Child Is This?

Jesus, Lord Lao, and Divine Identity

(p.195) 10 What Child Is This?
Comparing Faithfully

Bede Benjamin Bidlack

Fordham University Press

Similarity across religious boundaries attracts many comparative theologians to the effort of their work. But what happens if the similarity is so striking that a doctrinal turf war erupts? Engaging the Chinese Taoist tradition, Bede Bidlack looks to the similar beginnings of two stories to ask, “What Child is This?” His chapter examines the birth narratives of Jesus Christ and Lord Lao, the sixth-century BCE author of the Daode jing, for clues to their roles as “saviors.” Instead of letting the comparison dissolve into a quarrel over competing truth claims––who is the real savior?–– the chapter allows the similarities to propel closer examination of what the texts claim about these divine children and the function of those claims within their original contexts. The result is a Christology that holds Jesus’ cosmic function in tension with his call for the temporal realm.

Keywords:   birth stories, Christology, Huahu jing, Jesus, Laozi, Lord, Luke, Messiah, salvation, savior

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