“Jewish” and “Hellenistic” in Recent Scholarship on Christian Origins

Larry Hurtado's Blog

In some recent studies of early expressions of Jesus-devotion, there are some issues that need clarification.  One of these recent studies is Iesus Deus:  The Early Christian Depiction of Jesus as a Mediterranean God, by M. David Litwa (Fortress Press, 2014).

I must begin by acknowledging the learning displayed and, most often, the carefully crafted analysis and claims advanced.  Essentially, Litwa seeks to show that early Christianity (in the first couple of centuries or so) drew upon and adapted literary topoi and various notions, in particular notions about how human figures could be, or become, divine in some sense of the word.

For example, in one chapter Litwa compares the account of Jesus’ miraculous conception in GLuke with Plutarch’s thoughts on the divine involvement in the conception of figures such as Plato.  In both writers, Litwa notes the use of “pneuma” (“spirit”) and “dynamis” (“power”) to…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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