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.
Larry W. Hurtado is Emeritus Professor of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology in the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Born in Kansas City (Missouri), he now lives in Edinburgh. His books include Destroyer of the gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World.