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Israel's God and Rebecca's Children

Christology and Community in Early Judaism and Christianity

David B. Capes, April D. DeConick, Helen K. Bond, and Troy A. Miller, editors

Publication Year: 2007

Israel's God and Rebecca's Children is a collection of essays written as a tribute to the lasting scholarship and friendship of Larry Hurtado (University of Edinburgh) and Alan Segal (Barnard College), two scholars who have contributed significantly to the contemporary understanding of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity. Their colleagues and friends examine a wide range of topics that have been the focus of Hurtado and Segal’s research, including Christology, community, Jewish-Christian relations, soteriology and the development of early Christianity. Together these essays reconceptualize Christology and community in Judaism and Christianity and provide valuable insights into the issues of community and identity.

Published by: Baylor University Press

Title Page


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xiii

This volume of essays celebrates the friendship and scholarship of two unique people, Larry W. Hurtado and Alan F. Segal. As we all have experienced at one time or another, academic life can be a solitary existence. Whether it is conducting research, grading, or negotiating the troubled, political waters inside a university, seminary, or divinity school, the reality for many inside academia is isolation. It is a rare and ...

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Larry W. Hurtado

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pp. xv-xvi

Larry W. Hurtado was born December 29, 1943, in Kansas City, Missouri. He earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies (with highest honors) in 1965 from Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri. From there he enrolled in Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, Illinois) and earned a M.A. in New Testament (cum laude) in 1967. He continued his studies at Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio) and wrote his dissertation ...

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Alan F. Segal

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pp. xvii-xviii

Alan F. Segal is professor of Religion and Ingeborg Rennert Professor of Jewish Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University in Manhattan. When appointed he was the youngest full professor in the humanities in the university. He chaired the Department of Religion from 1981 to 1984. ...

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Chapter 1: How We Talk about Christology Matters

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pp. 1-23

A miscellany of categories and descriptors has come to dominate our discussions of Christology over the years, labels and definitions we have inherited from our predecessors: “adoptionist,” “high” versus “low,” “subordinationist,” “incarnational,” and so forth.1 While there is nothing inherently wrong with such theologically sympathetic labels, I fear that they have done more to hamper our understandings of early ...

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Chapter 2: Mandatory Retirement: Ideas in the Study of Christian Origins Whose Time Has Come to Go

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pp. 25-38

I would like to propose the speedy retirement of four much-used terms that routinely appear in scholarship on Christian origins.1 These terms serve scholars of ancient Christianity both as a kind of academic shorthand and as interpretive concepts. Their use affects historical reconstruction in similar ways. They lead us down the path of anachronism and abstraction, ultimately obscuring the lives and concerns of the ancient ...

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Chapter 3: The “Most High” God and the Nature of Early Jewish Monotheism

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pp. 39-53

Larry Hurtado and Alan Segal have both made important contributions to the discussion of the nature of Jewish monotheism in the early Jewish period.1 That discussion continues.2 It can now make significant progress mainly, in my view, through careful study of the ways Jewish writers of the period talk about God. There is a huge amount of evidence, but little study of it. For example, to have complete listings of the use of ...

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Chapter 4: “‘How on Earth Did Jesus Become a God?’ A Reply”

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pp. 55-66

Wilhelm Bousset argued in 1913 that it was only when the gospel was accepted among Greek-speaking Gentiles in a Hellenistic cultural context that Christ began to be worshiped as Kyrios (Lord), that is, as a divine being.1 Hurtado agrees with Bousset that Paul’s letters provide the earliest evidence for devotion to Christ, but argues that this devotion began in the earliest Jewish Christian communities.2 Hurtado rightly ...

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Chapter 5: Resurrection and Christology

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pp. 67-75

Our two esteemed colleagues have published major volumes staking out new positions on views of the afterlife in Professor Segal’s case1 and Christology in Professor Hurtado’s.2 In an essay honoring both achievements, it seems appropriate to bring them into conversation in the arena where their interests overlap, namely the link between resurrection and Christology. Does an “early high Christology” such as that defended by ...

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Chapter 6: Are Early New Testament Manuscripts Truly Abundant?

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pp. 77-117

It has been said often, not only by others but by this writer as well,1 that the manuscript witnesses to our New Testament writings are both more abundant and closer to the times of writing than are those of other ancient Greek literature. Nevertheless, many early manuscripts are highly fragmentary, and the extent of this phenomenon may not be...

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Chapter 7: Prophetic Identity and Conflict in the Historic Ministry of Jesus

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pp. 121-134

At the time of Jesus, the prophetic form of Jewish identity was more than half a millennium old. Elijah, Isaiah, and other prophets prophesied in Israel long before the exile in Babylon: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Second Isaiah prophesied during the exilic period, and Haggai, Zechariah, and others did so later. Moreover, the works of these prophets occupied a large ...

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Chapter 8: Pauline Exegesis and the Incarnate Christ

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pp. 135-153

We are not accustomed to thinking of Paul as an incarnational theologian.1Among the New Testament writers that place belongs to John, the traditional author of the Fourth Gospel and the Johannine letters. The elegant prose of the gospel prologue (John 1:1-18) leaves little doubt that the community of the beloved disciple believed that “the Word” (Logos) had existed...

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Chapter 9: Christophany as a Sign of “the End”

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pp. 155-167

The apostle Paul is often considered the second most important figure in the history of Christianity, and in some quarters his popularity begins to rival and even obscure the portrait of Jesus, the “founder” of Christianity. Such an appraisal of Paul is not without justification. Born in Tarsus, a free Roman city, during the first century C.E., Paul was trained in ...

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Chapter 10: When Did the Understanding of Jesus’ Death as an Atoning Sacrifice First Emerge?

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pp. 169-181

In his valuable study of The Genesis of Christology,1 Petr Pokorny follows a well marked path in sketching the emergence of atonement theology in earliest Christianity. He notes the several “older formulaic expressions which articulate the meaning of the death of Jesus”;2 he sees in them indication of influence from the Septuagint version of Isaiah 53:10-12, and, consequently, counts them “as reflection on the events of Easter on ...

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Chapter 11: Discarding the Seamless Robe: The High Priesthood of Jesus in John’s Gospel

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pp. 183-194

... The symbolism behind this detail has been debated from earliest times, with recent commentators tending to favor either the view that the tunic represents Christian unity or that it signifies the self-giving son.1 In this essay, however, I shall argue first that it is more likely that the tunic represents high priestly garb; second, that high priestly Christology is not as alien to the ...

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Chapter 12: Remembering and Revelation: The Historic and Glorified Jesus in the Gospel of John

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pp. 195-213

In a recent book, Lord Jesus Christ (2003), I noted that one of the features common to all four of the intracanonical gospels is that they situate Jesus explicitly and rather fully within a time, place, and culture.1 This is all the more remarkable in light of the interesting and well-known differences among them in some other matters, and also in comparison with the rather unlocalized way that Jesus is depicted in ...

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Chapter 13: Jesus: "The One Who Sees God"

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pp. 215-226

Rudolf Bultmann was one of the most influential commentators on the Gospel of John in the last century. Although many of his interpretations of the gospel have now been abandoned, their influence lingers on in some quarters. One place in which that influence has been felt has been in the tendency to elevate hearing over seeing as the preferred way of ...

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Chapter 14: The Lamb (Not the Man) on the Divine Throne

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pp. 227-243

The climatic scene of the Book of Revelation is the introduction and worship of the Lamb during the divine throne scene that culminates in the universal worship of both “the one who is seated upon the throne and the lamb” (Rev 5:5-14).1 Many scholars have noted the startling reversal of expectations between the introduction of Christ as “the Lion of tribe ...

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Chapter 15: The Promise of the Spirit of Life in the Book of Ezekiel

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pp. 247-259

Ezekiel 36–37, with its promise of a new heart and spirit and the famed vision of the valley of dry bones, appears to have exercised extensive influence upon the development of early Christian pneumatology. F. W. Horn, for example, recognizes the importance of Ezekiel 36–37 as a foreground to Pauline pneumatology: “insofern es sich hier explizit um den Geist Gottes als Gabe an die endzeitliche Gemeinde handelt, die mit ...

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Chapter 16: Sadducees, Zakokites, and the Wisdom of Ben Sira

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pp. 261-276

The scholar who seeks a fuller understanding of the ancient Jewish Sadducees faces a number of challenges. Our source material is not extensive, and what we have is purely external: no verifiably Sadducean literature exists. Moreover, we can name surprisingly few Sadducees, and we know precious little about those rare figures—like the high priest ...

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Chapter 17: On the Changing Significance of the Sacred

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pp. 277-301

“Sacred geography” has been a characteristic of religious creativity in diverse cultures from antiquity to the present. The term refers to the singling out of a particular place, to the exclusion of others, in mythological, cultic, or literary contexts linked to divine revelation or appearance of an angel, election, unique sanctity, and an etiological story whose ...

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Chapter 18: Vespasian, Nerva, Jesus, and the Fiscus Judaicus

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pp. 303-320

There can be little doubt that by 65 C.E. politically, militarily, and socially Vespasian appeared to have little in the way of prospects to reignite his formerly illustrious career. This shining star that had risen through the ranks during the reign of Claudius was remembered for his successful campaign when his forces had conquered the remote and ...

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Chapter 19: Paul’s Religious Experience in the Eyes of Jewish Scholars

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pp. 321-343

Larry W. Hurtado is one of the most brilliant and quick-thinking scholars I have ever met. These characteristics are usually mutually exclusive, and so to find them together is something of a rarity. I have constantly appreciated both his observations and the amazing speed with which he is able to understand the implications of an argument. No doubt he ...

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Chapter 20: Liturgy and Communal Identity: Hellenistic Synagogal Prayer 5 and the Character of Early Syrian Christianity

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pp. 345-358

Geographical specificity has become a staple of investigations of formative traditions for early Christianity. Certainly since Bauer’s Orthodoxy and Heresy, describing the development of early Christianity in monolithic terms has waned, hence the more recent response to employ pluralities when talking about Christianity (and Judaism) in this period.1 One such region that has sustained interest in these discussions is Syria. ...

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Chapter 21: Anger, Reconciliation, and Friendship in Matthew 5:21-26

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pp. 359-370

As is generally recognized,1 Matt 5:21-26 is formed from three separate and originally independent blocks of material: 5:21-22, 5:23-24, and 5:25-26.2 In 5:21-22 the Matthean Jesus inveighs against anger towards one’s brother ...


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pp. 371-473

List of Contributors

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pp. 475-480

Capes back

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p. 506-506

E-ISBN-13: 9781602581753
E-ISBN-10: 1602581754
Print-ISBN-13: 9781602580268
Print-ISBN-10: 160258026X

Page Count: 510
Publication Year: 2007

Edition: 1

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Christianity -- Origin.
  • Jesus Christ -- Person and offices.
  • Communities -- Religious aspects.
  • Judaism -- History -- Post-exilic period, 586 B.C.-210 A.D.
  • Christian saints -- History.
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