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Lozano’s Study of “Proskyneo” (“worship”)

September 22, 2019

I give here a heads-up on a forthcoming book arising from the PhD thesis of one of my students:  Ray Lozano, The Proskynesis of Jesus in the New Testament:  A Study of the Significance of Jesus as an Object of “Proskyneo” in the New Testament Writings (London:  Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2019).  The online catalogue entry is here.  There is an interview with Lozano about the book here.  The book is due to be released on 17 October.

The only previous full-scale study of the Greek term, proskyneo, is now several decades old: Johannes Horst, Proskynein: Zur Anbetung im Urchristentum nach ihrer religionsgeschichtlichen Eigenart, Neutestamentliche Forschungen, 3/2 (Gütersloh: C. Bertelsmann Verlag, 1932).  Scholars have often commented on the term, especially in recent years in discussions about the emergence of “high christology” and the treatment of Jesus as worthy object of worship.  But Lozano’s study is the first full-scale study since Horst, and he goes at the subject in a distinctive and more sophisticated manner.

Lozano’s interview will give a sense of his analysis.  I think it makes a noteworthy contribution to our grasp of how earliest Christian texts treat the reverence of Jesus.  For example, the flexibility of the term allowed authors such as Matthew to deploy the term in describing the obeisance of individuals in the time of Jesus’ ministry, while also alluding to the more robust reverence of the risen Jesus in the circles of Jesus-believers for whom he wrote.

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  1. Lots of good objectivity here.

    Thank you.

  2. Donald Jacobs permalink

    Thanks for the notice. I wonder if Lazano in interacts much with James Dunn, who argued that Jesus was not worshipped by the first Christians in the same sense that God was worshipped. I can’t search inside the book to find out. Dunn also argues that latreuo was only directed to God and never to Jesus, a different topic perhaps, but surely relevant. James McGrarh makes similar observations. So I will be interested to find out if Lazano engages McGrarh too, when I get a chance to read this new book.

    • Donald: Lozano’s question wasn’t whether Jesus was worshipped, but how the term proskyneo is used variously in NT writings, and in light of the wider context of usage in the ancient setting.

  3. Gilbert permalink

    I appreciate the “heads up” on the book!
    Thank You.

  4. Michael Mojica permalink

    It’s shocking that Lozano’s work is only the second major exegetical investigation in Jesus worship in the NT. Does Lozano consider Jesus worship both pre- and post-resurrection? For example, would pre-resurrection worship of Jesus by His disciples still reflect an ignorance of who He truly was and, therefore, not ‘fully’ worship?

    Curious question: Are you aware of a dissertation that claimed to be the only one of its kind (or groundbreaking) only for scholars to point out an earlier existing dissertation?


    • Michael: Lozano’s study is only the 2nd booklength analysis of the use of the term “proskynesis/proskyneo”. There have been other books on how Jesus is reverenced. Lozano does deal with the kinds of reverence given to Jesus prior to his crucifixion/resurrection, compared with the reverence given subsequently.
      There are most certainly dissertations produced that duplicate others unintentionally. One has to check Dissertation Abstracts carefully before starting one.

      • Michael permalink

        Dr. Hurtado, what are your views on Lozano’s position that the reverence given to Jesus prior to his crucifixion was more in a way of worship like unto a deity, according to literary context of the Gospels?

      • I think that you misunderstand Lozano on this. He doesn’t claim that the earthly Jesus was worshipped like a deity.

  5. John Metcalf permalink

    I am sorry that my knowledge is not deep enough to merit my participation. Do you have a forum for the likes of me?

    • “Merit” doesn’t come into it, John. Some posts on technical matters may be demanding, but others I hope will be more accessible.

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