Baker Academic

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hurtado on Bousset's Kyrios Christos

I am happy to welcome Baylor University Press to The Jesus Blog family! You may have already noticed that BUP is now sponsoring this here blog and advertising some of their finest products. Among their latest is a new edition of Wilhelm Bousset's classic history of Christian origins: Kyrios Christos. This edition features a new introduction by Larry Hurtado. If you know Hurtado's work, you'll remember that he has turned his critical eyes often to Kyrios Christos. Indeed, one of Hurtado's very first publications critiques Bousset's thesis on multiple levels: Larry W. Hurtado, “New Testament Christology: A Critique of Bousset’s Influence,” Theological Studies 40 (1979): 306-17. Moreover, Hurtado's herculean effort in producing Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity is in many ways an answer to the scholarly assumptions made standard by Bousset.

With this in mind, Hurtado is perhaps the perfect person to introduce this classic to contemporary readers. Here is an excerpt from his new introduction:
To speak personally, since my first encounter with Kyrios Christos as a graduate student (shortly after this English translation was published), it has been the single most stimulating work on early Jesus-devotion that I have read, and my own work has been shaped in dialogue (and often disagreement) with it as with no other. In various publications spanning some twenty-five years, I have conducted my own research program on the origins and developments of earliest devotion to Jesus, and in all this work Kyrios Christos has been perhaps my principal model and Kyrios Christosmy principal ‘sparring partner.’ Even if it is now judged dated and incorrect in some crucial matters, it is still a stimulating, at times even thrilling, book to read. I am pleased to see this English translation back in print, which will make it more readily available to a new generation of readers.
I am grateful that BUP and Prof. Hurtado have taken the time to bring this important book to our attention again.


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