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Ancient Jewish Monotheism and Early Christian Jesus-Devotion: The Context and Character of Christological Faith (Library of Early Christology) Paperback – September 15, 2017
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Ancient Jewish Monotheism and Early Christian Jesus-Devotion harvests from Larry W. Hurtado’s lifetime of study of the New Testament and the development of early Christianity. Hurtado’s career of historical and literary research spans forty years and emphasizes both continuity and discontinuity in the origins of the Christian faith. This volume displays Hurtado’s command of the nature, shape, and implications of Christ-devotion for understanding Christian origins.
Hurtado begins with the scholarly framework for understanding Christ-devotion―engaging key figures from Bousset and Bultmann to Bauckham and Wright. The next section maps the first-century Jewish devotional, liturgical, and theological contexts in which the early church and its worshiping life first emerged. Phenomenological investigations follow that set Christian innovation in the context of ancient Jewish monotheism, focusing specifically on the experiential factors shaping early Christian faith and devotional practices. The focus turns finally to the surprising ways in which the innovative, Jesus-centered beliefs and worship formed early Christian self-expression and identity. The volume concludes with a survey of some significant concrete implications of the distinctive dyadic devotional pattern that erupted early and spread widely.
Even as this collection traces the historical narrative of Christian origins through the lens of Christology and devotion, it also forms an inclusive testament to one scholar’s outstanding contributions to the ongoing discussion of what made early Christianity powerfully unique in its historical setting. Quintessential Hurtado, this volume is a necessity for any attempt to understand the diversity of factors at play in the birth of Christianity.
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Having access to these essays under one cover―along with his equally impressive monographs―reveals the remarkable contribution of this scholar to our understanding of early Christianity.-- Donald Senior, CP ― The Bible Today
Those who research or are otherwise interested in the scholarly discussion of Christian origins, early devotion to Jesus, and Christology will benefit greatly from this volume.-- Timothy Hein ― Expository Times
It is great to have this material brought together, both because of the importance of the topic, and because of the importance of the author's thinking on the topic. For young aspiring scholars it also shows what a lifetime of conscientious research can look like.-- David Wenham ― Journal for the Study of the New Testament
Reading Larry Hurtado’s Ancient Jewish Monotheism and Early Christian Jesus-Devotion is an invitation into an expansive and comprehensive assessment of the history of early Christian self-understanding, worship practices, and devotion to Jesus. Much can be said about this significant compilation of essays and their contribution to scholarship regarding the early Christian community and its theological self-understanding.-- Jeff Walton ― Review and Expositor
Along with the rest of Hurtado’s oeuvre, this collection merits the attention of every scholar concerned with the study ofthe Christian religion in its earliest period and a place in any university or seminary library.-- Jeff Peterson ― Stone-Campbell Journal
Each essay offers its own contribution to research, and the volume as a whole is valuable for researchers and students for studying the history of christological research of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries both through Hurtado’s original work and through Hurtado’s interaction with other major voices in christological scholarship.-- Kai Akagi ― Religious Studies Review
This collection of essays brings together some of the most stimulating and insightful research conducted during the prestigious career of Larry Hurtado on a key historical question: what are the origins of devotion to Jesus in early Christianity? They demonstrate why he is the leading light of the new history of religions school. Hurtado is to the twenty-first century what Bousset was to the twentieth.-- David B. Capes, Associate Dean of Biblical & Theological Studies and Professor of New Testament, Wheaton College
- Publisher : Baylor University Press (September 15, 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 698 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1481307622
- ISBN-13 : 978-1481307628
- Item Weight : 2.07 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.62 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #394,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #630 in Christology (Books)
- #1,995 in Christian Church History (Books)
- #2,009 in New Testament Bible Study (Books)
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One of the essays challenges the liberal (for example, Ehrman) argument that the earliest Christians thought of Christ as merely another angel. Hurtado notes that Bauckham "pointed to two striking instances where the seer's misguided attempts to offer worship to the angel...are forbidden by the angel" (p 99).
As Hurtado pointed out, devotion to an angel was possible, but worship was reserved "for the one God" (p 125).
Hurtado contends that Jewish monotheism resisted "worshiping any figure but the one God of Israel" (p 215), and Second Temple Jews did not accept even the Maccabaean heroes or angels as rightful recipients of cultic worship. These beliefs were held to firmly by the earliest Christians, which makes their including Jesus Christ as worthy of worship so different and so significant.
In one essay, Hurtado argues that he Aramaic maranatha in 1 Cor destroys Bousset's theories (p 42).
"This reverence if Jesus is completely unlike anything we know in the pagan movements of the Roman era. Jesus is not reverenced as a new god, or a deified hero...Instead, Jesus is incorporated into an exclusivistic devotion in which there is room only for one God and one Lord...binitarian exclusivistic monotheism" (p 325).
Among scholars "the clear majority view Mark's purpose being more didactic than polemical, and so see the Twelve as functioning to provide the readers with lessons in discipleship" (p 433).
To do justice "to all the evidence regarding the Twelve in GMark, we must conclude that 1) Mark portrays them as having two roles, both positive and negative, and 2) that it is in this duality that the evangelist's purpose is served and disclosed...GMark's readers were likely expected to see the Twelve as representative of the Christian calling to follow Jesus and to participate in the mission of the gospel" (p 437).
Regarding the women, the tomb, and the ending of Mark, Hurtado points out that in the Roman era, it was regarded as more respectful women if you avoided mentioning their names in a public sphere. This is another reason the naming of the woman at the end of Mark is important.
Hurtado rejects the view of some that when the women were silent they were disobedient. On the contrary, by studying other uses of the phrase Hurado contends the "phrase indicates that they did not broadcast their experience beyond those to whom they were sent. Hurtado finds that "the women's testimony was known within Christian circles as part of the tradition associated with the resurrection of Jesus" (p457).
Hurtado points out that it is very significant that "the earliest key readings of GMark from the first century, represented in GMatthew and GLuke, reflect a very positive understanding of the ending of GMark" (p 458).
In a brilliant essay about Acts, Hurtado notes the significance of "the Greek word Nazoraios (the Nazarene)...applied to Jesus...but not elsewhere in the NT" (p 513). Another title for Jesus in Acts that also
likely "stemmed from early circles of Jewish believers is the Greek word pais,...'child'...the application of the term to David...suggests that pais could sometimes carry a royal-messianic flavor" (p 514).
Hurtado argues that Acts "uses terms dropped out of Christian discourse as the Christian movement became dominantly Gentile" (p 515). Acts presents Jesus as the "true Messiah of Israel, the fulfilment of OT prophecy"(p 522).
Hurtado concludes that in Romans and Galatians "Paul's assertions of Jesus' divine sonship" cannot be "derived from pagan ideas of divine sonship" (p 531).
A devotion to Jesus "appeared quickly and very early, more like a volcanic eruption than an than an incremental process" (p 583).
Ancient Jewish Monotheism and Early Christian Jesus-Devotion is the outcome of nearly forty years of research on the origins of the Jesus-devotion. Each essay has been previously published elsewhere, but none together in a tome of this caliber and scope. The structure of Ancient Jewish Monotheism and Early Christian Jesus-Devotion is thematic rather than chronological (though a date of composition is provided for each essay) and divided into four major parts: (1) The Scholarly Context, (2) The Ancient Jewish Context, (3) Explanations, and (4) Expressions. The initial sections provide contextual engagement with the scholarly landscape and ancient Jewish belief. Hurtado includes essays engaging Wilhelm Bousset, Rudolf Bultmann, N. T. Wright, and Richard Bauckham. Hurtado is able to familiarize the reader with the direction of his lifework within the longstanding scholarly engagement on the subject. Moreover, Hurtado positions the discussion within the background of ancient Judaism, particularly Second Temple Judaism.
The remaining two sections comprise the majority of the content in Ancient Jewish Monotheism and Early Christian Jesus-Devotion. Hurtado rightly provides several essays directed towards a historical explanation for the development of earliest Jesus-devotion in Second Temple Judaism. Those familiar with the discussion will recognize the importance of such for Hurtado’s thesis in relation to the broader scholarly conversation. Lastly, the majority of essays in the book tend to be grouped together around particular expressions of earliest devotion to Jesus (19 total essays). It is here that most readers will appreciate the collection of Hurtado’s work, as the essays offer a comprehensive portrait of a lifelong devotion to the subject matter. Hurtado includes an essay on Philippians 2:5-11 and contends that the text presents Jesus as both the unique Lord and example of self-offering and obedience to be emulated by believers. There are also two important essays on the “dyadic” or “binitarian” patter of early Jesus devotion, as well as various essays that stretch the length of the New Testament and into the early Christian Church.
Each of the essays in Ancient Jewish Monotheism and Early Christian Jesus-Devotion have been previously published in various contexts across four decades. That said, while accessible within various journals and multivolume works, nothing of this scope has been made available to students of the New Testament until now. Those familiar with Hurtado’s lifework will be thrilled to find a volume of this scope. Not to mention such an affordable volume! Not only is this collection a must-have for serious students of the New Testament, but there is virtually no excuse not to have it at only $40. Hurtado is consistently thoughtful when it comes to historical matters and lucidly clear as textual concerns are used to establish his conclusions. Ancient Jewish Monotheism and Early Christian Jesus-Devotion: The Context and Character of Christological Faith by Larry W. Hurtado comes highly recommended!