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Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity Perfect Paperback – September 14, 2005
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From the Back Cover
"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.
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Top Customer Reviews
Jesus' earliest followers were almost exclusively Jewish and their theology was rigidly monotheistic. Yet, even in the earlier NT writings Jesus it the object of cultic devotion, prayers are said in his name, OT writings referring to God are interpreted as referring to him, and he is confessed as the preexistent Son of God. By the time of Revelation (perhaps the last NT book written, circa 95 AD) Jesus is worshipped alongside the father. How is it that monotheistic Jews ended up with a sort of "binitarianism"? This "explosion" of devotion to Jesus cries out for examination. While Hurtado doesn't give an answer to why the earliest Christians began worshipping Jesus (other than a somewhat nebulous discussion of their "experience" of Jesus), his discussion of this unmistakable phenomenon in the NT is outstanding.
Hurtado's approach is systematic. He analyzes the various strata of the New Testament chronologically (Paul, Acts, Q, the Synoptics, Johannine literature, later NT documents) and discusses the apocryphal Gospels (such as Thomas and Peter), he then ends circa 170 AD. Within each strata, he discusses the author's beliefs about Jesus and devotion to him. Hurtado accepts the commonly held beliefs concerning the authorship of dating of the NT books (the only exception is that he considers II Thessalonians likely by Paul).Read more ›
Hurtado also shows how the Gospels and Q also reveal the church's early devotion to Jesus.
The book concludes with a discussion of Jesus in later noncanonical writings such as the Gospel of Thomas and in the writings of the early church fathers.
The basic thesis of the book is that the church worshipped Jesus as divine from the very beginning of Christianity. Hurtado dialogues with Jesus scholars such as Martin Hengel, John Kloppenborg, J.D Crossan, and James D.G Dunn, and he always treats their work with the utmost respect while also explaining why he occasionally must diverge from their viewpoints.
The last time a major study of Jesus worship was written was way back in 1913, so this book is long overdue. Hurtado is a moderately conservative guide through the twists and turns of early Christian literature, and his conclusions are well thought out and deserve to be considered.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Surprisingly easy to read, yet Hurtado presents his material "in depth" and with a meditatve quality not found in many scholarly works. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Gerardine Mueller
Shame on me for not reviewing this book when I first read it three years ago. Suffice it to say, Hurtado's "Lord Jesus Christ" did more than any single book to clarify my... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Eric Bergerud
Larry Hurtado’s magnus opum! This book will change your life as a devotee to God our Father with/through/in our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Isaiah Wilson
Some scholars would argue that the early Christian belief in the divinity of Jesus is just a theological conviction originating from the late Johannine community with it's... Read morePublished on December 23, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Hurtado blows the claims of both Bousset and Dan Brown out of the water where they claim that the Deity of Christ was a late invention. Read morePublished on June 13, 2013 by G. Thomas Hobson
Hurtado has written a tour de force defense of Jesus and the reasons behind binitary worship. This book is execellent in it's scholarship but Erudite in it's presentation. Read morePublished on May 30, 2013 by Brian W Perkins