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A Serious Reader of “Lord Jesus Christ”

July 3, 2017

I am pleased that my 2003 book, Lord Jesus Christ:  Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity, continues to receive attention, including a series of postings by John Bainbridge, the latest one here.  My book is devoted to a historical analysis of earliest Jesus-devotion, whereas Bainbridge is more concerned with theological and hermeneutical questions.  So, especially for those similarly concerned with thinking their own way through the theological issues, Bainbridge’s ongoing series of postings may be helpful.

In any case, it’s always nice to hear from readers, and Bainbridge is a careful and appreciative one, which makes it doubly nice for me.  I put a lot into that book, and I hope that it will continue to find readers who, from whatever personal stance, will find it stimulating and informative about how Jesus of Nazareth came to be treated as worthy of worship.

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8 Comments
  1. Donald Jacobs permalink

    Professor Hurtado I wonder if you could name scholars who tend to disagree with you but who you consider to be serious and fair readers of your work. I guess James Dunn is an obvious example you have mentioned previously. Are there others? In reverse, Bauckham said you read his work fairly, while disagreeing.

    Sometimes I imagine what it would be like if previous generations of scholars could pass judgement on recent work. Imagine what a review of Lord Jesus Christ by Bousset would look like or a review of Earlt Christian Artifacfs by Colin Roberts.

    • I think that Adela Yarbro Collins takes a different view, posing hypotheses I don’t find as plausible as she does. But I don’t recall her distorting my views. I think that Loren Stuckenbruck comes down with a somewhat different emphasis than I, but, again, reads me fairly. And there are others. Of the 50+ reviews of “Lord Jesus Christ,” there were only a few that seemed unfair and distorting.
      Yes, it would be fun to have the respondents you mention!

  2. Doug Bridges permalink

    I love your various books… your scholarship has helped my understanding of Jesus and early Christianity very much. Thanks for your hard work!

  3. Anthony Buzzard permalink

    It seems clear that the word “worship” is far from clear unless defined. Messiah is worshipped as Messiah certainly, but not as God. I am surprised that more attention is not paid to Psalm 110:1, surely a governing NT text where YHWH is perfectly distinct from the lord Messiah. “My lord” is explicitly not YHWH, but rather as in all 195 occurrences a non-Deity lord. This is precisely Luke 2:11 where Luke introduces him as the Messiah lord, not of course the God Lord. Granted the extreme exaltation of Messiah to the right hand of the one God, he is always the man Messiah Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). The Jewish monotheism of Jesus in Mark 12:29 is never disturbed.

    • Anthony: You’ve made your own theological commitment quite clear. But if we “descend” to the work of historical analysis, it’s quite clear that from the earliest texts onward (Paul’s letters), Jesus was included as a recipient of devotion in various early Christian circles, as I’ve demonstrated from my 1988 book, One God, One Lord, onward, listing and discussing the specific devotional actions involved. There was what I have termed a “mutation” in previous Jewish devotional practice.

  4. Ah, another theologian victim of the anachronistic word “binitarian” 🙂 I think that any further reprints should better have “dyadic” instead, as you already suggested… “Binitarian” seems to push modern theological arguments a bit too far. Whatever the case, your book is memorable dr. Hurtado, and I think the best is yet to come!

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