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Christian Century Interview on “Destroyer of the gods”

March 31, 2017

An interview by David Heim over my recent book, Destroyer of the gods:  Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World (Baylor University Press, 2016) appears online here, and will appear in the print version of Christian Century  April 12.

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  1. Good stuff

  2. We come from dreams ~ permalink

    You made it clear that the subtle ‘divinization’ which grew around the figure of Jesus can not be properly elucidated at this time. Paul had his part, of course; but the roots of it were, I feel, already present within the Judaisms of the day. I’m thinking of the Wisdom / Hokhma of some of the deuterocanonical tests, or, as illusrated in Alan Segal’s “Two Powers in Heaven.” In the former, Wisdom was considered a feminine aspect of God, while in the (primarily Enochic) traditions – such as the figures of Metatron or Enoch – the “view of gender” was masculine. My ‘umble opinion, of course!

    It was a stimulating interview, and thanks for posting! ~ Roy

    • Two things to emphasize, which have been established for several decades now:
      –The treatment of the risen Jesus as sharing divine rule/throne, divine glory, divine name, and also (most notably) included as rightful co-recipient of corporate worship, all erupted so early that they are presumed already in Paul’s letters, written as early as 50 CE.
      –As I showed in my book, One God, One Lord: Early Christian Devotion and Ancient Jewish Monotheism (1988; 3rd edition 2016), there are conceptual *resources* that were drawn upon in early Christian Christological statements, but I wouldn’t refer to them as “roots”. Roots are the early stage of an inevitable form that grows from them. There was nothing inevitable or even predictable about the early eruption of the forms of Jesus-devotion that appeared so early and so quickly. “Lady Wisdom” is a literary conceit, a personification, not a real being distinguishable from God. Metatron is a figure in a text that likely comes from the 2nd century CE or later, so it’s hard to make him a “root” for Jesus-devotion!

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