Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity

By Larry W. Hurtado | Go to book overview

The really innovative developments in the period under review here illustrate what I mean by "radical diversity," and they are associated with figures and movements that came to be regarded (in some cases, rather quickly) as heterodox or "heretical" by "proto-orthodox" Christians. The high regard for traditions of belief and practice in early proto-orthodox Christian circles meant that they were often more suspicious of religious innovations and speculative thought than other circles of Christians seem to have been. That is, those who opposed these developments regarded the beliefs and practices as too innovative, and insufficiently compatible with the traditions they revered. As we shall see, the advocates of these radical innovations seem to have agreed that there were major differences between their beliefs and those favored by protoorthodox Christians. We should not necessarily imagine that all the differences in second-century Christianity were equally significant, or that they all correspond to clearly distinguishable groups. But in some cases it is a fair representation of matters as they were perceived at the time to refer to examples of "radical diversity." And where we can identify instances of radical diversity, they represent major innovations, and rival interpretations of belief and practice, over against the comparatively more traditional preferences that marked protoorthodox circles.

To be sure, for any form of religious belief and practice to survive across time and cultures, it must adapt. The claims of proto-orthodox circles to preserve primal Christian traditions can easily be shown to be simplistic, or at least only partly indicative of what characterized them. Actually, we could say that proto-orthodox Christianity succeeded more than competing versions of the faith, and became the generally dominant form of Christian faith precisely by adapting successfully. Proto-orthodox circles drew upon revered traditions, to

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Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter One - Forces and Factors 27
  • Chapter Two - Early Pauline Christianity 79
  • Chapter Three - Judean Jewish Christianity 155
  • Chapter Four - Q and Early Devotion to Jesus 217
  • Chapter Five - Jesus Books 259
  • Chapter Six - Crises and Christology in Johannine Christianity 349
  • Chapter Seven - Other Early Jesus Books 427
  • Chapter Eight - The Second Century — Importance and Tributaries 487
  • Chapter Nine - Radical Diversity 519
  • Chapter Ten - Proto-Orthodox Devotion 563
  • Thereafter 649
  • Bibliography of Works Cited 655
  • Index of Modern Authors 703
  • Index of Subjects 715
  • Index of Ancient Sources 718
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