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How On Earth Did Jesus Become A God?: Historical Questions About Earliest Devotion To Jesus [Paperback]

By Larry W. Hurtado (Author)
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Item description for How On Earth Did Jesus Become A God?: Historical Questions About Earliest Devotion To Jesus by Larry W. Hurtado...

In How on Earth Did Jesus Become a God? Larry Hurtado investigates the intense devotion to Jesus that emerged with surprising speed after his death. Reverence for Jesus among early Christians, notes Hurtado, included both grand claims about Jesus' significance and a pattern of devotional practices that effectively treated him as divine. This book argues that whatever one makes of such devotion to Jesus, the subject deserves serious historical consideration. Mapping out the lively current debate about Jesus, Hurtado explains the evidence, issues, and positions at stake. He goes on to treat the opposition to - and severe costs of - worshiping Jesus, the history of incorporating such devotion into Jewish monotheism, and the role of religious experience in Christianity's development out of Judaism. The follow-up to Hurtado's award-winning Lord Jesus Christ (2003), this book provides compelling answers to queries about the development of the church's belief in the divinity of Jesus.

Publishers Description
A brief introduction to the issues involved in historical study of the origins of devotion to Jesus as divine in earliest Christianity.

Citations And Professional Reviews
How On Earth Did Jesus Become A God?: Historical Questions About Earliest Devotion To Jesus by Larry W. Hurtado has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Library Journal - 12/01/2005 page 138
  • Choice - 09/01/2006 page 130

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   234
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.04" Width: 6.08" Height: 0.66"
Weight:   0.77 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2005
ISBN  0802828612  
ISBN13  9780802828613  

Availability  1 units.
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More About Larry W. Hurtado

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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.

Larry W. Hurtado was born in 1943.

Larry W. Hurtado has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Library of Biblical Theology
  2. London Lectures in Contemporary Christianity
  3. New International Biblical Commentary: New Testament
  4. T&t Clark Cornerstones

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Jesus > Historical Jesus
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Worship & Devotion > Devotionals
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Devotionals

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Church History

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Reviews - What do customers think about How On Earth Did Jesus Become A God?: Historical Questions About Earliest Devotion To Jesus?

A Better Explanation  Oct 15, 2006
About 112 CE (or AD if one prefers), Pliny the Younger wrote a fascinating letter to emporer Trajan. In it Pliny tells Trajan that during Christian gatherings, Christians "chant antiphonally a hymn to Christ as to a god." But when did early Christianity first recognize Jesus as divine? The compendium of opinion (following Wilhelm Bousset's 1913 _Kyrios Christos_) has contended that Christianity began as a small group of messianic Jews in Roman Judea and the worship of Jesus began when Christianity emerged in Hellenistic circles. The divination of Jesus emerged in the larger pagan religious environment. Hurtado believes that the evidence demands a better explanation.

Hurtado writes that worship of Jesus was an explosively quick phenomenon. In our earliest Christian writings such as 1 Cor 1.2 (mid 1st century), cultic devotion to Jesus is presupposed. It is reflected in the way Christians understood Psalm 110 where Christians saw Jesus in the opening words "And the Lord said to my lord, 'Sit at my right hand...' "
Hurtado explores Phil 2.9-11 in detail and concludes that Jesus is the rightful recipient of the reverence portrayed in Is 45.23. Jesus Christ is Lord; it is the name above all other names, the divine name itself, God.

There are two main factors that point to the early date and the Jewish setting of the early reverence of Jesus. The writings of the Apostle Paul are the earliest in the New Testament and contain a wide range of honorifics about Jesus. Jesus is "christos" or messiah, "Lord," "God's Son," etc. But of even greater significance is the fact Paul's conversion experience occurred just a handful of years after Jesus' death. Hurtado mulls over the idea that what Paul as Saul found to be so objectionable about this very early Christianity was its reverence for Jesus as God. Regardless, a revelation occurs to Paul that presupposes a reverence for Jesus already extant... again within a handful of years after the death of Jesus. It is also important to remember that this very early Christianity was Jewish. It began in Roman Judea among people who were mainly Galilean. The demographics of the earliest years preclude the influence of a pagan religious environment.

There is no contemporary analogy for the explosiveness of the theology that developed about Jesus. The Greco-Roman world has other heroes who received adoration such as Alexander the Great and Caesar Augustus. Some amount occurs in Judaism, but not of the same quality. Jesus was not the angel Raphael in disguise as in the Book of Tobit. However, quantitatively there is not the vast amount of theology as develops about Jesus in such a short period of time.
Definitively convincing  Jun 1, 2006
Prof. Hurtado fully demonstrates that the earliest Christians, Jewish as well as Gentile, accorded Jesus honors and even worship. This "divinization" was thus early, not a later development. Still, the kind of honor paid Jesus was that of a man made glorious in heaven by God, not that of a god per se. It could be and was made compatible with Jewish monotheism by both Jewish and Gentile Christians but it was bitterly opposed by the Jews who remained non-Christian and tells us a good deal here. The Jewish objection was not to Jesus, to his work or his thought, but to what his followers did to his humanity and to the unity of God. This also explains the venom of Christians towards the Jews.

Of course, it could have been possible to honor Jesus without according him worship, and Christians in the later years would often come to this position -- that of what we now call Unitarianism or Socinianism. [...]

Although the author does not explicitly here treat the doctrine of the Trinity and the Nicene Creed, it is clear that those 4th-century positions were not those of St. Paul or the Jerusalem church led by Jesus' brother James the Just. [...]
Come again?  May 29, 2006
I must be one of the few who hasn't read the "Code." Apparently that novel has enthused many to seek out other books that support that perspective or "conspiracy theory." Those folks were indeed disappointed with this book. However I was dismayed to read that some of the reviewers concluded that Hurtado's work doesn't stand up to scholarly standards, being a work of "passion?" or "personal belief." Did they actually read it, or merely skim it looking for another Brown? So you were disappointed! Apparently they think that they're finally in the "know" and have become evangelicals of another sort. Folks, this isn't "talk radio." Religion, politics, and sex are areas where we're all maybe just a bit crazy. Just don't let it get the best of you.

For all "Code" enthusiasts  May 23, 2006
In response to the "Code" empathizers, your comments are contradicting themselves unnecessarily. Just by defending the accuracy of the Brown's writing you have a biased and skewed world view. The so called "discovery" of the Da'Vinci Code was discredited by many groups, religious and non-religious alike. To think that the book and the movie is none other than fiction would be a child like worldview.

Dan Brown wrote the work of fiction for the obvious reasons such as excitement of controversy, money and fame not for his thirst for understanding and discovery. It's a conspiracy-theory thriller as much as the rest of the books you may find at the checkout stand. And to think that Brown's book is an academic work rather than to provoke is a perfect oxymoron.

But I do agree with one thing. That no-one can state their "scholarly" opinions if they were not in the least passionate about it. But to question the academics of a rather erudite writer like Larry W. Hurtado, it's obviously pathetic, biased and ignorant.
Get a really well-rounded book instead  May 23, 2006
A much better book on this subject is Bart D. Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus : The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why". It has lots of unbiased insight into early Christianity and the myths surrounding it.

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