A few words of clarification are in order at the outset. This is not a New Testament Christology, not a history of early Christianity, and not a history of early Christian doctrines. It is a historical analysis of the beliefs and religious practices that constituted devotion to Jesus as a divine figure in earliest Christianity. It is about the role of the figure of Jesus in the religious life and thought of earliest Christians.
As I explain in the introduction, so far as I know, this is the first book of quite this kind (in focus, scope, and depth) since Wilhelm Bousset's classic from 1913, Kyrios Christos. (At the end of the considerable effort involved in producing this one, I can see more readily why such a work has not been attempted!) This is not, however, a revised edition of that influential volume. Perhaps I should say, instead, that this book has been inspired and shaped in some ways by Kyrios Christos. But I offer here my own historical analysis of the emergence and early development of devotion to Jesus; and mine is very different from his. I admire Bousset's enormous learning. But I think he was seriously wrong on some rather important matters. His great erudition I do not question, but I am not so confident of his judgments.
Also, of course, things have moved on quite a lot since 1913. There are important additions to the body of primary data (such as the Nag Hammadi cache), and the oceanic body of relevant scholarly publications has brought major changes in approaches and conclusions on a number of matters.
This was always going to be a big book. But it is much bigger, and took much longer to write, than I had expected at the outset. Whoever asks readers to accommodate a book as big as this owes them an explanation. I can offer one. (But whether the writing of any book, large or small, is justified, ah, that is left for its readers to decide.) Basically, this book is unavoidably large because of