If you were only to read one chapter of this book (comprising in all ten chapters), this would be the one to read. It's not that the book is anticlimatic or anything, it's simply that the subsequent chapters will be trauling through carefully demarked parcels of historical data to validate the hypothesis laid out here in chapter one. What a fantastic quest: it's not trying merely to say whether or not Jesus-worship took place in Jewish circles, it is, as Hurtado points out in the epigraph to today's post, to see how and why Christ devotion developed so early, so powerfully and in such a monotheistic context.
Before I outline the key parts of this chapter, I realised I have forgotten to mention up until now that in terms of chapter summaries, Hurtado himself usefully provides these at the close of each chapter. Because I am not on a general fact-finding mission but rather zeroing in on data useful to my own research project on first century trinitarianism including (thanks perhaps in part to Hurtado's own goals) the how and why of such an early Father-Son-Spirit emergence, I may not need to read the whole text. (By the way, I have, I think, stumbled over some exciting new ideas about this! I can't wait to share them on the blog, but am allowing some mulling and critical analysis time before airing them.)
Chapter "Forces and Factors" outline
- Jewish Monotheism (later we will see in worship, prayer,
- Jesus (the polarising figure, just like Marmite...)
- Religious Experience (see also Religious Experience: Inside the "furnace")
- The Religious Environment