Did the First Christians Worship Jesus?: The New Testament Evidence

Did the First Christians Worship Jesus?: The New Testament Evidence

by James D. G. Dunn


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To answer the title question effectively requires more than the citing of a few texts; we must first acknowledge that the way to the answer is more difficult than it appears and recognize that the answer may be less straightforward than many would like. The author raises some fascinating yet vexing questions: What is worship? Is the fact that worship is offered to God (or a god) what defines him (or her) as "G/god?" What does the act of worship actually involve? The conviction that God exalted Jesus to his right hand obviously is central to Christian recognition of the divine status of Jesus. But what did that mean for the first Christians as they sought to reconcile God's status and that of the human Jesus? Perhaps the worship of Jesus was not an alternative to worship of God but another way of worshiping God. The questions are challenging but readers are ably guided by James Dunn, one of the world's top New Testament scholars.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780664231965
Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
Publication date: 07/15/2010
Pages: 178
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

James D. G. Dunn is Lightfoot Professor Emeritus ofDivinity atthe University of Durham in England.He is one of the world'spremier New Testament scholars.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations vii

Introduction 1

The question 1

1 The language of worship 7

1.1 To worship 8

1.2 Other vocabulary 12

1.3 Related terms 18

1.4 Doxologies 22

1.5 The language of benediction 25

1.6 Conclusion 27

2 The practice of worship 29

2.1 Prayer 30

2.2 Hymns 38

2.3 Sacred space, sacred times, sacred meals, sacred people 43

2.4 Sacrifice 52

2.5 Conclusion 57

3 Monotheism, heavenly mediators and divine agents 59

3.1 'The Lord our God is one Lord' 62

3.2 Angels 66

3.3 Spirit, Wisdom and Word 72

3.4 Exalted human beings 84

3.5 Conclusion 89

4 The Lord Jesus Christ 91

4.1 Was Jesus a monotheist? 93

4.2 'Jesus is Lord' 101

4.3 Word, Wisdom and Spirit 116

4.4 The testimony of the Apocalypse of John 130

4.5 Jesus as god/God 132

4.6 Last Adam, mediator, heavenly intercessor 136

4.7 How helpful is it to re-express the issues in terms of 'divine identity'? 141

4.8 Conclusion 45

Conclusion 147

The answer 147

Bibliography 152

Index of biblical and ancient sources 159

Index of modern authors 166

Index of subjects 167

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