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Bible Odyssey: Recent Web Site

October 27, 2015

The Society of Biblical Literature has mounted a new/recent web-resource for the “general public” entitled “Bible Odyssey” here.  People are invited to lodge questions, and to each a relevant expert is asked by the SBL to make a response.  I’ve had my own first go at doing this here, in response to a question about the origins of treating Jesus as divine.

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  1. Donald Jacobs permalink

    Professor Hurtado it strikes me the question you answered here is the sort of question a Jehovah’s Witness or someone who has had dealings with them would be interested in exploring. I know your work is academic in focus and you are a historian not an apologist, but has it occurred to you that many of the topics you have taken an interest in have a direct bearing on prominent claims made by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Three major theological claims they make include 1) the earliest Christians did not worship Jesus but viewed him as a created being 2) the NT originally used the divine name 3) Jesus died on a simple pole rather than a cross shape. All of these you have dealt with one way or another in your work. Have you encountered a lot of JWs or former JWs making enquiries because your work touches on these subjects? Are you happy to field such questions or are they irritating? Is there any particular reason in your past experiences that draws you to topics that JWs have made unusual claims about?

    • Donald: I have little knowledge of what (if anything) JW’s make of my work. My own research has been prompted simply by the desire to try to grasp how that remarkable treatment of Jesus as in some way worthy of divine honor originated.

  2. corymo permalink

    Dr. Hurtado,
    I have been reading some of your articles regarding your view of the use of “son of man” in NT and 2nd Temple lit. and I understand how you would decline to see it as a title. (I have not read “One God, One Lord” or “How on Earth…” yet.) How do you understand the High Priest’s reaction to Jesus’ statement in Mark 14:63-64? Do you see the blasphemy coming from his use of ego eimi? Or is this possibly Markan shorthand for making his (Mark’s) own Messianic point?

    If you cover this statement in your books, just point me in that direction and I’d be satisfied to read it/them.

    • I discuss the passage you ask about in my article, “Early Jewish Opposition to Jesus-Devotion,” JTS 50 (1999): 35-58, republished in my book, How On Earth Did Jesus Become a God?, specifically pp. 162-68. I don’t see the issue in the passage to be the expression “son of man”, but instead the nature of the claim in the sentence in which the expression is used.

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