Friday, July 23, 2010

James Dunn and 'Did The First Christians Worship Jesus?'

James Dunn has written a new book called 'Did the First Christians Worship Jesus?: The New Testament Evidence.'

After over a hundred years of New Testament research, Biblical scholars are still debating whether the first Christians worshipped Jesus.

Clearly , academic Biblical scholarship is a rather ineffective tool for finding out historical facts, if that is as far as scholars have got.

Professor Larry Hurtado has written an excellent review of J.D.G. Dunn's book. It includes the sentence 'But, already in this first chapter, we sense also a concern by Dunn to circumscribe any Jesus-devotion, and particularly to distinguish it from the worship of God.'

It almost seems as though leading Biblical scholars are allowing their private theological beliefs to influence their assessement of evidence, doesn't it?

2 Comments:

Blogger pcraig said...

"It almost seems as though leading Biblical scholars are allowing their private theological beliefs to influence their assessement of evidence, doesn't it?"

And, Steven, you are an objective thinker who doesn't let your presuppositions affect your conclusions? Well done! You should let people know.

8:29 AM  
Blogger beowulf2k8 said...

Although the gospel of John views Jesus as God, as does Paul, acts doesn't. Nor does Acts seem to view him as having been crucified in the Roman sense.

Acts 5:30 "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree."

Acts 10:39 "And we are witnesses of all things which [Jesus] did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:"

The next two verses are particularly interesting:

Acts 10:40-41 "Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly; (41) Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead."

Showed him 'openly' only to a pre-selected 'closed' group of followers? That hardly fits the definition of 'openly.'

But this is probably a translational issue. The NASB says "God raised Him up on the third day, and granted that He should become visible,"

Anyway, the point is that God is always spoken of as distinct here. God does these things to a man who is clearly not being viewed as God himself.

Acts 2:22 "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:"

A man approved of God, he says, not God in the flesh.

5:58 PM  

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