In the continuing scholarly discussion about the origins and nature of earliest “Jesus-devotion” (my term for the reverence given to the risen/exalted Jesus in early Christian beliefs, proclamation, and worship), a question repeatedly emerges, especially from the general public: Did Jesus demand that he be so reverenced?
In fact, not long after my book, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity appeared (Eerdmans, 2003), I was invited by the editor of Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus to address basically the question of what kind of reverence was likely offered to the “earthly” Jesus. My article on the question appeared in the journal in 2003 (pp. 131-46): “Homage to the Historical Jesus and Early Christian Devotion,” and was re-published as a chapter in my book, How on Earth did Jesus Become a God? (Eerdmans, 2005, pp. 134-51).
Essentially, I contend that a critical sifting of the…
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