At the Origins of Christian Worship: The Context and Character of Earliest Christian Devotion

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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Sep 7, 2000 - Religion - 138 pages
This volume makes a valuable contribution to the debate about the origins and development of Christianity. Larry Hurtado argues that understanding the nature of Christianity in the first century requires taking full account of the first Christians' devotional practices because worship was the context in which christological titles and other expressions of faith were given their specific meaning--a fact that has largely been ignored.

Hurtado focuses on two distinguishing characteristics of earliest Christian worship: its exclusivity (rejecting the worship of other deities) and its "binitarian" shape (the veneration of Christ alongside God the Father). Setting early Christianity within the religious environment of the Roman era, Hurtado describes the features of Christianity that attracted followers and led them to renounce other religions. He then turns his attention to a more detailed discussion of the place of Christ in the monotheistic worship of the earliest Christians, showing that Christ figured in their public and corporate devotional life at a surprisingly early stage. The book concludes with some reflections for Christian worship today based on the historical features of early Christian devotional practices.

Clear, illuminating, and relevant to the modern church, this volume will be of interest to scholars, pastors, students, and general readers seeking insight into the origins of Christian faith and practice.

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The Religious Environment
Features of Early Christian Worship
The Binitarian Shape of Early Christian Worship
Reflections for Christian Worship Today

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Popular passages

Page 44 - There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus',
Page 42 - Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread
Page 48 - those who have.. . been enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come
Page 73 - church] perform anything by means of angelic invocations, or by incantations, or by any other wicked, curious art; but, directing her prayers to the Lord, who made all things, in a pure, sincere, and straightforward spirit, and calling upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, she
Page 50 - citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God',
Page 78 - Lord' as the means to salvation in Romans 10:9, Paul's quotation of Joel 2:32, ‘Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved', can only be taken as referring to the ritual invocation of Jesus. Indeed, in 1 Corinthians 1 :2b, Paul specifies Jesus by name as the Lord who is invoked and
Page 5 - LW Hurtado, One God, One Lord: Early Christian Devotion and Ancient Jewish Monotheism.

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About the author (2000)

Larry W. Hurtado is professor emeritus of New Testament language, literature, and theology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

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