How on Earth Did Jesus Become a God? Historical Questions about Earliest Devotion to Jesus

By Larry W. Hurtado | Go to book overview

APPENDIX ONE
Opening Remarks to the First
Deichmann Annual Lecture Series

(Part of the Deichmann Program for Jewish and Christian Literature of the
Hellenistic-Roman Era at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 22 March 2004)

Please allow me to say some words about my personal motivation and interest to establish this new annual lecture series as part of a new study program in the Department of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies here at “our” university. As many of you know, my first visit to Ben-Gurion University was in 1988 for the inauguration of the Deichmann-Lerner Chair in Gynecology. During that ceremony I shared with you my impressions from a visit to Jerusalem, which in a way can also explain why I am an active supporter of this university since then, and why I am interested in the aforementioned program. Three stations in Jerusalem reflect cornerstones of my life and belief: the site of the crucifixion of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City, the Shrine of the Book in the Israel Museum with the famous Isaiah-scroll in its center, and Yad Vashem. Golgotha is, according to the Christian tradition, the place where the fulfillment of Isaiah 53, the famous chapter on the suffering servant of God, took place. That these words survived and were able to unfold their potential in the Jewish and Christian tradition we owe partially to people like the ones living in Qumran. Yad Vashem is the memorial of sin, especially the sin of the German people against the Jews as God's chosen people. Taking all three together, I understood that in Jesus there is forgiveness for what we did to the Jewish people, because Jesus died suffering in the service of God for our sakes, the sake of the sinners. But to enjoy the forgiveness that God planted in Jesus, we need your personal forgiveness, each of you, personally. Therefore I asked you to allow me to participate in your work here at Ben-Gurion University. That I am standing here in front of you more than fifteen years later is possible

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