Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity

Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity

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By (author) Larry W. Hurtado

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  • Publisher: William B Eerdmans Publishing Co
  • Format: Paperback | 768 pages
  • Dimensions: 157mm x 234mm x 43mm | 1,134g
  • Publication date: 2 November 2005
  • Publication City/Country: Grand Rapids
  • ISBN 10: 0802831672
  • ISBN 13: 9780802831675
  • Sales rank: 139,606

Product description

This outstanding book provides an in-depth historical study of the place of Jesus in the religious life, beliefs, and worship of Christians from the beginnings of the Christian movement down to the late second century. "Lord Jesus Christ" is a monumental work on earliest Christian devotion to Jesus, sure to replace Wilhelm Bousset's "Kyrios Christos" (1913) as the standard work on the subject. Larry Hurtado, widely respected for his previous contributions to the study of the New Testament and Christian origins, offers the best view to date of how the first Christians saw and reverenced Jesus as divine. In assembling this compelling picture, Hurtado draws on a wide body of ancient sources, from Scripture and the writings of such figures as Ignatius of Antioch and Justin to apocryphal texts such as the "Gospel of Thomas" and the "Gospel of Truth." Hurtado considers such themes as early beliefs about Jesus' divine status and significance, but he also explores telling devotional practices of the time, including prayer and worship, the use of Jesus' name in exorcism, baptism and healing, ritual invocation of Jesus as "Lord," martyrdom, and lesser-known phenomena such as prayer postures and the curious scribal practice known today as the nomina sacra. The revealing portrait that emerges from Hurtado's comprehensive study yields definitive answers to questions like these: how important was this formative period to later Christian tradition? When did the divinization of Jesus first occur? Was early Christianity influenced by neighboring religions? How did the idea of Jesus' divinity change old views of God? And why did the powerful dynamics of early beliefs and practices encourage people to make the costly move of becoming a Christian? Boasting an unprecedented breadth and depth of coverage - the book speaks authoritatively on everything from early Christian history to themes in biblical studies to New Testament Christology - Hurtado's "Lord Jesus Christ" is at once significant enough that a wide range of scholars will want to read it and accessible enough that general readers interested at all in Christian origins will also profit greatly from it.

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Author information

Larry W. Hurtado is Professor of New Testament language, literature, and theology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Review quote

Times Literary Supplement The scope of Hurtado's reading and his grasp of sources leave us in his debt... He has enabled his readers to comprehend the contours of early Christian beliefs. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society This volume provides a treatment of its topic that dissenting positions will have to refute if they are to maintain any credibility. First Things Hurtado approaches the early church with an integrity and thoroughness that should be a model for historians and theologians working in this area... His writing is uncomplicated and illuminating, and his sensibilities are evangelical in the best sense of the term. Theology Today An impressive volume... Can be warmly welcomed for the contribution it makes to our understanding of how Christianity's distinctive appreciation of Christ emerged. Biblica This book provides a painstaking and monumental study of the place of Jesus in the religious life, beliefs and worship of Christians from the beginning of the Christian movement down to the late second century. An outstanding investigation of the origin and development of the earliest Christian devotion to Jesus, Lord Jesus Christ should finally replace Wilhelm Bousset's Kyrios Christos as the standard work on the subject... All in all, Lord Jesus Christ is to be welcomed as a truly landmark study in the area of early Christian devotion to Jesus. Catholic Biblical Quarterly The present volume is a veritable tour de force, as Hurtado wends his way through the NT, the writings of the apostolic and apologetic Fathers of the Church, and second-century Christian apocrypha... Lord Jesus Christ is a book that deserves to appear on the reading list for comprehensive examinations in theology, not to mention that it also deserves to appear on the library shelves of those who consider themselves veterans in NT study. Presbyterian History Essential reading for everyone serious about understanding the Christian view of the incarnation. David E. Aune A fantastic work! Larry Hurtado has written what may well prove to be one of the more important books on Jesus in this generation. By shifting the focus of discussion away from the historical Jesus and toward the function of Jesus in the religion of early Christians, Hurtado touches on crucial issues that have been largely neglected since Bousset's Kyrios Christos (1913). In thoroughly probing the role of Jesus in the faith and life of the early Christians, from the beginnings of the church to well into the second century, Hurtado asks the right questions and provides many of the right answers. This book will be extremely useful for those attempting to understand Christianity in the context of the history of religion. Martin Hengel This is a great and necessary book. We have been waiting for it for years, and now it will strongly influence New Testament scholarship, especially in the fields of christology and early Christian history. By remaining in constant critical discussion with scholars holding differing opinions, Larry Hurtado also shows the progress of research during the last decades. Everybody working in this domain has to take account of his Lord Jesus Christ. Many thanks to Hurtado for his valuable gift! Alan F. Segal Larry Hurtado locates the presence of the Christ in early Christianity with a scholarly exactness never before achieved. The story he tells is important for all Christians and for all historians of Christianity. This will be one of the most important books on early Christianity in the twenty-first century. John S. Kloppenborg Among his many significant achievements, Larry Hurtado reconceives "Christology" as "Christ devotion," which embraces not only beliefs about Jesus but also practices and aspects of material and visual culture. In this ambitious and erudite volume Hurtado analyzes not just the standard repertoire of canonical sources -- Paul's letters, the canonical Gospels, Hebrews, the pastoral letters -- but also the sayings source Q, the Gospels of Peter and Thomas, Infancy Thomas, the Protoevangelium of James, and various gospel fragments, achieving a scope and depth rarely seen in monographs on the topic since the classic of Wilhelm Bousset. Attentive to detail and nuance, broad in its learning, and careful in its arguments, Lord Jesus Christ is a landmark in scholarship on Christian origins. Even though one might disagree with Hurtado in certain respects, he is always worth reading -- and reading carefully. Graham Stanton Larry Hurtado's new book is a stunning achievement. It explores with admirable rigor and clarity a central issue all too often ducked or evaded: How, when, and why did devotion to Jesus as a divine figure emerge within earliest Christianity? Hurtado has to negotiate many minefields as he takes his readers across a vast terrain. He is a wise guide whose judgment can be trusted, for his scholarship is of the highest order. This book is already on my shortlist of "books of the decade." Max Tuner This monumental, authoritative, readily accessible study clearly demonstrates that worship of Jesus as one with God emerged and flourished in the earliest church and in the context of dedicated Jewish-Christian monotheism (not in a Gentile Christianity that had broken with it, as the consensus since Bousset has maintained). Not just a landmark contribution, this work changes the whole landscape of the discussion.

Back cover copy

This outstanding book provides an in-depth historical study of the place of Jesus in the religious life, beliefs, and worship of Christians from the beginnings of the Christian movement down to the late second century."Lord Jesus Christ" is a monumental work on earliest Christian devotion to Jesus, sure to replace Wilhelm Bousset's "Kyrios Christos" (1913) as the standard work on the subject. Larry Hurtado, widely respected for his previous contributions to the study of the New Testament and Christian origins, offers the best view to date of how the first Christians saw and reverenced Jesus as divine. In assembling this compelling picture, Hurtado draws on a wide body of ancient sources, from Scripture and the writings of such figures as Ignatius of Antioch and Justin to apocryphal texts such as the "Gospel of Thomas" and the "Gospel of Truth."Hurtado considers such themes as early beliefs about Jesus' divine status and significance, but he also explores telling devotional practices of the time, including prayer and worship, the use of Jesus' name in exorcism, baptism and healing, ritual invocation of Jesus as "Lord," martyrdom, and lesser-known phenomena such as prayer postures and the curious scribal practice known today as the "nomina sacra."The revealing portrait that emerges from Hurtado's comprehensive study yields definitive answers to questions like these: How important was this formative period to later Christian tradition? When did the divinization of Jesus first occur? Was early Christianity influenced by neighboring religions? How did the idea of Jesus' divinity change old views of God? And why did the powerful dynamics of early beliefs and practices encouragepeople to make the costly move of becoming a Christian? Boasting an unprecedented breadth and depth of coverage -- the book speaks authoritatively on everything from early Christian history to themes in biblical studies to New Testament Christology -- Hurtado's "Lord Jesus Christ" is at once significant enough that a wide range of scholars will want to read it and accessible enough that general readers interested at all in Christian origins will also profit greatly from it.

Table of contents

Preface Abbreviations Introduction Christ-Devotion Explanations A New religionsgeschichtliche Schule? This Study Forces and Factors Jewish Monotheism Was Jewish Religion Really Monotheistic? The Nature of Jewish Monotheism Monotheism in the New Testament The Effects of Monotheism on Christ-Devotion Jesus Religious Experience Revelatory Experiences in the New Testament The Religious Environment Summary Early Pauline Christianity Where to Begin? Key Personal Factors Paul's Jewishness Paul the Convert The Gentile Mission Christological Language and Themes Jesus as "Christ" Jesus' Divine Sonship Jesus as Lord Preexistence Jesus' Redemptive Death and Resurrection Jesus as Example Binitarian Worship Early Origins Worship "Binitarian" Summary Judean Jewish Christianity Pauline Evidence Paul's Acquaintance with Judean Christianity A Conspicuous Silence Judean Christian Tradition in Paul's Letters Judean Christ-Devotion in Acts Christological Categories Devotional Practice Hellenists and Hebrews Hellenists as "Proto-Paulinists" Hellenists as Jewish Christians Summary Q and Early Devotion to Jesus Untenable Options Kloppenborg's View of Q's Christology Historical Plausibility An Inductive Approach Is Q Peculiar? The Argument from Silence Devotion to Jesus in Q Centrality of Jesus Q's Narrative World and Jesus Jesus the Polarizing Issue Christological Terms Religious Life in Q Summary Jesus Books Shared Features of the Canonical Gospels The Literary Genre of the Canonical Gospels The Gospels and Early Christian Literature The Gospels and Jewish Literature The Roman-Era Literary Environment The Synoptic Renditions of Jesus Mark Matthew Luke Summary Crises and Christology in Johannine Christianity Jesus in the Gospel of John Some Literary Observations Messiah and Son of God Preexistence "I Am" The Son and the Father Jesus as/and the Glory of God Jesus as/and the Name of God The Name of Jesus Subordination and Distinction Jesus and the Spirit The Spirit and Johannine Christianity Christology and Controversy The Christological Crisis in Johannine Christianity Characterization of the Opponents The Christological Issue Jesus as Heavenly Visitor Jesus as Mystical Exemplar Historical Results Crises and Jesus-Devotion Other Early Jesus Books Jesus Books Rumors Secret Mark Fragments The Egerton Manuscript Gospel of Peter Infancy Gospels Protevangelium of James Infancy Gospel of Thomas Gospel of Thomas A Jesus Book Literary Character Secret Knowledge Revisionist Elitist Jesus and "Thomistic" Christianity Summary and Placement Gospel of Thomas and Gospel of John Revelation Dialogues Summary The Second Century -- Importance and Tributaries Christianity in the Second Century Approach and Focus Definitions First-Century Tributaries The Epistle to the Hebrews Late Pauline Texts Confluent Evidence Radical Diversity Valentinus and Valentinianism "Valentinianism" in Irenaeus Valentinian Innovations Valentinian Piety Nag Hammadi Texts Gospel of Truth Marcion Summarizing Reflections Proto-orthodox Devotion Finding Jesus in the Old Testament The Fourfold Gospel Visions and Revelations Revelation Ascension of Isaiah Shepherd of Hermas Worship and Prayer Outsiders and Critics Hymnody Prayer Martyrdom The Nomina Sacra Doctrinal Developments Jesus' Descent to Hades Jesus, Man and God The Divine Jesus and God Thereafter Bibliography of Works Cited Indexes Modern Authors Subjects Ancient Sources