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Seeing the Lord's Glory

Kyriocentric Visions and the Dilemma of Early Christology

by Christopher Barina Kaiser

Publication Year: 2014

The “dilemma of early Christology,” Kaiser observes, is found in the early Christian claims to have “seen the Lord” and “beheld his glory”—expressions that in early Judaism would have pointed unequivocally to visions of Israel’s God. The shift of those claims onto the figure of Jesus is usually explained either as a result of the resurrection of Jesus, presumed as a historical event, or on the influence of pagan polytheism. Kaiser examines the phenomenon of “kyriocentric” visions in Second Temple Judaism, asking whether such traditions are sufficient to account for the shape of early claims regarding the divinity of Christ.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

Abbreviations

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pp. vii-xii

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Deity Christology in a Jewish Context

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pp. 1-22

There is a dilemma at the heart of New Testament Christology: How could deity Christology arise among pious Jews whose tradition consistently opposed the exaltation of any living human being to equality with God? Following the execution of Jesus,1 according to New Testament accounts...

Part I: Kyriocentric Visions in the Context of Crisis and Performative Prayer

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1. Kyriocentric Visions in Early Judaism: Experiential, Literary, or Performative?

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pp. 25-42

The Kyriocentric conjecture proposed here is based on the assumption that turn-of-the-era Jews experienced visions of YHWH coming to reassure and to save. Is this a realistic assumption? Several eminent scholars of Jewish literature doubt that such an assumption can be supported from the texts at hand (reasons...

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2. Motifs Associated with Kyriocentric Visions in Apocalyptic and Early Rabbinic Literature

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pp. 43-80

Our starting point is a dilemma at the heart of New Testament Christology: deity Christology arose among pious Jews whose tradition consistently opposed the exaltation of any living human being to equality with God. Having stressed the urgency of this problem and reviewed the major options (based on the...

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3. Kyriocentric Prayers and Devotions as the Context for Visions among Early Disciples of Jesus

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pp. 81-98

Our modus operandi in this study is neither free speculation nor exact demonstration, but the in-between realm of hypotheses and plausibility (or non-implausibility) arguments. Of course, accepting the plausibility of Kyriocentric visions as the origin of New Testament Christology does not...

PART II: Kyriocentric Visions as the Impetus for Early Deity Christology

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4. Conditions under which a Kyriocentric Vision Might Be Identified with a Deceased Human Being

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pp. 101-120

According to our Kyriocentric vision conjecture, some of the followers of Jesus experienced a theophany, one in which YHWH appeared to them with the form, voice, and name of their deceased teacher. Our task at this point is to try to match what we know about theophanic traditions and the life and death of...

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5. Traces of Kyriocentric Visions in the New Testament

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pp. 121-148

We have reviewed a wide range of material in the Hebrew Bible, Second Temple apocalypses, early Rabbinic texts, and early Christian literature, and we have found good evidence for the performance of Kyriocentric visions, particularly in contexts of crisis and petitionary prayer, both corporate and...

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6. Kyriocentric Prayers and Devotions in the New Testament

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pp. 149-176

A most important aspect of Kyriocentric visions was that they were rehearsed in the context of prayer and worship (ch. 3). In the previous chapter, we found some evidence for the performance of these visions in the New Testament, but a brief review will indicate that the prayer dimension was only suggested in the...

PART III: Modifications of the Lord-Jesus Identification in the New Testament and the Early Church

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7. Superposing Jesus Traditions and Deity Christology

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pp. 179-232

The focus of our discussion thus far has been visions of the Lord in their immediate contexts in performance and prayer as the necessary ground for an early emergence of deity Christology and the worship of the Lord Jesus. Our conjecture that it all began with Kyriocentric visions has been tested against...

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8. Four Alternative Tradition Histories or Textures in Early Christology

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pp. 233-264

We have tested the Kyriocentric vision conjecture in a variety of ways using three bodies of material: Second Temple apocalypses, early Rabbinic (Tannaitic) literature, and the canonical New Testament. We have seen that the conjecture accounts quite well for the basic features of New Testament Christology: the...

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9. Three Movements that Marginalized Visions of the Anthropic Form of the Lord

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pp. 265-302

The scenario we have reconstructed depends on one major conjecture: that Jesus and his disciples were among those groups of first-century Jews who celebrated visions of the Lord of glory. We have tested this conjecture in a variety of ways, but there is still one outstanding problem that needs to be...

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Conclusion: Accomplishments and Some Unresolved Issues

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pp. 303-308

The objective of this treatise has been to address a dilemma that confronts students of New Testament Christology: the writers and their predecessors were (mostly or all) pious Jews, yet they ascribed deity to their teacher, Jesus, in a way that no pious Jew could ever think of doing...

Bibliography

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pp. 309-348

Index of ContemporaryAuthors

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pp. 349-352

Index of Biblical and Post-Biblical Texts

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pp. 353-365


E-ISBN-13: 9781451484298
E-ISBN-10: 1451484291
Print-ISBN-13: 9781451470345
Print-ISBN-10: 1451470347

Page Count: 384
Illustrations:
Publication Year: 2014