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Christ as an Angel in Paul

This will be my final set of comments on the evaluation of How Jesus Became God by Larry Hurtado, on his blog.   His review consisted of a set of positive comments, of things that he appreciated (for which I’m grateful); several misreadings of my positions, in which Larry indicates that my book was asserting a view that, in fact, it was not (he corrected those after our back and forth in a subsequent post); one assertion that I was motivated by an anti-Christian agenda and wanted to convince readers that Jesus’ followers had hallucinations (I dealt with that assertion yesterday; I do not think that it is a generous reading of my discussion – especially since I explicitly stated on repeated occasions that I was *not* arguing for a non-Christian or anti-Christian view); and, well, this one point that I’ll discuss here, on which we have a genuine disagreement.   The point has to do with whether the apostle Paul understood Christ, in his pre-existent state, to have been an angelic being.   Larry devotes two paragraphs [...]

Why I (Actually) Discuss Hallucinations

In this post I continue with my response to Larry Hurtado’s critique of How Jesus Became God.  In the previous posts I dealt with factual errors – where he assigned views to me that I do not state and do not have.  As I have pointed out, Larry was generous to retract these critiques in a subsequent post on his blog.   In this post I want to deal not with a factual mistake but with an assertion he makes about my motive for part of my discussion – an assertion that I take issue with. One of my major premises in How Jesus Became God is that Jesus was not considered divine during his lifetime, but that it was belief in his resurrection that made his followers begin calling him God.   But since my study is a historical account of how Jesus came to be considered God, rather than a theological or religiously motivated account, I have to deal with a very big problem, which is that historians cannot declare a God-produced miracle as a [...]

More Misreadings of How Jesus Became God

This will be my final post in which I indicate places where Larry Hurtado has critiqued How Jesus Became God by attributing to me views that I don’t have and positions that I have never taken.    These are the only positions – the ones that I have never taken – that he charges me with in order to show that I am lacking in expertise and, as an outsider to the field of early Christology, simply don’t know in places what I’m talking about.   Yesterday I looked at what he had to say about my views about the Son of Man, today I’ll look at two others.   Let me say again that when I pointed out to Larry that I never express the views that he has cited to show that I am curiously ill-informed, he graciously published a second post in which he set that bit of the record straight. After this post I will discuss in future posts a couple of the areas where Larry does correctly read my views and on which [...]

The Son of Man and Jesus

In my previous post I began to discuss Larry Hurtado’s evaluation of How Jesus Became God.   For the link to his initial post, see   As I indicated, after I read his comments we had some exchanges on email, and he graciously agreed to correct several of his mistaken comments, in which he attributed views to me that I do not have and never expressed in my book.  (These views, which I do not hold, are the reasons he claims I’m out of date and ill informed).  The post in which he gives his corrections can be found here:   In this post I’d like to begin to reiterate the points that he makes in the second post, but quoting his initial comments that I thought were in error, and saying a few things about them. The first comment that startled me was the following: As I’ve mentioned, on several matters Ehrman seems ill-informed and/or not current.  For example, he assumes that the expression “the son of man” (used numerous times by Jesus in the [...]

Larry Hurtado’s Critique of How Jesus Became God

One of the leading scholars of early “Christology” (i.e., early portrayals/beliefs about Christ) in the English speaking world is Larry Hurtado, emeritus professor of New Testament at the University of Edinburgh.   Larry is an established New Testament scholar, with additional expertise in such fields as the Gospel of Mark and textual criticism – the area of his dissertation work in the 1970s.   I first came to know Larry in connection with textual criticism.  He was probably 10 years ahead of me in the field, but our dissertations dealt with roughly similar subjects.  He has written two particularly important books on Christology, one a short piece and the other fairly massive.  He is widely seen as an expert. Larry has a blog and on it he has written a critique of How Jesus Became God, which, as you know, is a kind of Christology for popular audiences.   Much of what Larry says in his blog post is positive, but some, as you would expect, is negative.  I agree completely with his positive comments and with none [...]

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