Monday, December 12, 2005

Larry Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ

My next book review project is Larry Hurtado's, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity. (Why I keep agreeing to write book reviews I just don't know, I'm always pushed for tme, but when a book review editor dangles a cool book in front of your face what can ya do!) There is a version at Amazon that is searchable if you want a preview. I also recommend the review by Moschos Goutzioudis at RBL for those interested.

Hurtado takes to task the religionsgeschictliche Schule particularly that associated with Willhelm Bousset's Kyrios Christos. Whereas Bousset argued that the title Kyrios("Lord") for Jesus emerged out of the Hellenization of the Christian faith in Gentile Christian circles, Hurtado argues that the title Kyrios does not represent a terminological or theological innovation among Gentile Christians who appropriated the term from pagan cults:

(1) The term was used by Greek-speaking Jews for the Hebrew tetragrammaton (Yahweh) and was part of the religious vocabulary of Greek-speaking Jews.

(2) Claiming that Jesus was "Lord" goes back to Jewish Christian circles as evidenced by 1 Cor. 16.22 where Paul cites the Aramaic invocation maranatha.

(3) Several pre-Pauline passages refer to Jesus as Lord and involve reorientating biblical phrases and applying them to Christ, e.g. Phil. 2.9-11; 1 Cor. 8.5-6.

See Hurtato, pp. 20-21.


Justin Jenkins said...

So if the term emerged out of the Hellenization of the Christian faith, the title Lord was just placed on the lips of people in the Gospels? I mean, it’s all over the place, and it would make the whole scene in Luke 20:41-44 (Δαυὶδ οὖν κύριον αὐτὸν καλεῖ) which is in all the synoptics seem kind of odd.

Chris Tilling said...

This great book inspired my doctoral studies! Hurtado's real originality is not so much in the debate over the origin of the title kurios (cf. Cullmann's The Christology of the NT), but in his analysis of Christology in relation to what he calls 'Christ-devotion'.

Chris Tilling said...

Justin, how did you get any greek to display then?

Justin Jenkins said...


The issue with the Greek is that most people just change the "font" but you actually have to type/use the unicode charaters. I have a copy of the Greek text on my PC, but one easy way is to copy and paste from