Monday, January 03, 2011

And even more thoughts on the gods

“Along with devout Jews, however, earliest Christians typically distinguished themselves in taking a rather critical stance against devotion to the many deities of the time, insisting that there was only one true and living 'God' to whom alone worship was rightfully due. To be sure, early Christians (and their Jewish contemporaries) conceived of a diversity of spiritual and heavenly beings, some of whom they regarded very positively, typically as part of the entourage of the one God (e.g., angels). The 'monotheism' of ancient Christians and Jews was not primarily of typically expressed as a denial of the existence of any heavenly (or even divine) being other than the one God. Instead, their emphasis was that only the one God was the rightful recipient of worship, whether from them or from anyone else. That is, they believed that the one God held a universal right to exclusive worship and that the religious devotion offered to any other deity was an offense against the one God—'idolatry,' at best a tragic expression of ignorance and at worst the gravest of sins.”—God in New Testament Theology, page 28

<idle musing>
Glad to see a scholar of the standing of Hurtado agreeing with me :) Seriously, this is what I have been trying to express in my posts on the gods here and here. This is serious stuff that we need to think carefully about.
</idle musing>


Joseph said...

What a coincidence! I read that chapter yesterday and marked it up all over. Hurtado's book is exceptional! I will be posting about it before too long, I hope.

jps said...


Yes, I agree. I picked it up at SBL, thinking it looked like a good addition to the Studies in Biblical Theology. It turned out to be more than that; it's a great book.