Second Adamnby John L. RomjuenJesus Through the Centuries: HisnPlace in the History of Culture bynJaroslav Pelikan, New Haven, CT:nYale University Press; $22.50.nMost persons now living can expect tonwitness the turning from the second tonthe third millennium of the Christiannera. The year 2000 anno Domininlooms as a seeming tower in time,ncommanding our attentive awe as wcnapproach it. But in our age there isnsomething oddly jarring about “thenyear of our Lord,” that signal event innhistory from which centuries and millennianare counted. How is it that thenvery reckoning of time by a materialisticnmodern world remains bound tonthe advent of a historical figure whosenexplanation was spiritual?nFor a secular time these questionsnpose a disconcerting anomaly andnirony. Now a scholarly new study bynthe eminent Yale historian JaroslavnPelikan has deepened the inquiry bynreminding us that Jesus of Nazarethnhas been the dominant figure in thenhistory of Western culture for almostn20 centuries. “If it were possible withnsome sort of super-magnet to pull upnout of that history every scrap of metalnbearing at least a trace of his name,”nPelikan asks, “how much would benleft?”nJesus Through the Centuries offers anrichly developed cultural study of 18ndifferent images of Jesus Christ. WhilenChrist metaphysically is “the same yesterdaynand today and for ever,” in thenwords of the Epistie to the Hebrews,nPelikan has engaged the many andnvaried historical images encompassednin that continuity.nAmong these images are Jesus asnRabbi and Teacher in the setting ofnfirst century Judaism, as King of Kingsnof the waning Roman world, and asnthe Cosmic Christ, whose profoundnmeaning for mankind signified thenturning point of history. The image ofnBOOKSHELVESnChrist as Prince of Peace and as Liberatornare aspects of the divine purposenthat have both transcended and encompassednthe social world and thatnhave inspired Tolstoy, Gandhi, andnMartin Luther King.nOne of the most interesting discussionsntreats the early Christian imagenof Christ as Logos, or the Word—thatnis, as the original and eternal reasonnand mind of the cosmos as explicatednin John’s Gospel. What, then, does itnmean that man is created in then”image of God”? While the text seemsnto suggest a physical image, the 2ndcenturynChristian Clement of Alexandrianinstead found the “image of God”nin the human mind. That is a morensublime concept of mind and wordnthan the mind-denying formulationsnof writers like William Cass and JohnnEarth, for whom the word is created bynnnthe artist, himself oracle, creator, andnarbiter of reality.nA corollary of the Christian affirmationnof a rational cosmos deriving fromndivine reason, Pelikan notes, was anrejection in early Christian thought ofnthe arbitrariness of nature gods andnastrology. “The sky hung low over thenancient world” is an historian’s adagencited by Pelikan which is amply ifnunwittingly illustrated in the irrationalnand scatological pagan world conjurednup in Ancient Evenings by NormannMailer.nPelikan especially highlights thenimage of Christ that emerged from St.nAugustine’s profound reading of thenPauline Episties, which emphasize thenhumanly irredeemable condition ofnman—the misery that accompaniesnthe grandeur of humanity. It was tonthat Augustinian image that the Amer-nDECEMBER 1986 / 29n