Well, it’s Thanksgiving Day, 2021. And there’s much to be thankful for this year, like any other year. But, I want to take a moment to remember my friend, mentor and Doktorvater, Larry W. Hurtado. After all, today marks the two-year anniversary of his passing (Nov 25th, 2019).
While most of the readers of this blog will be familiar with Larry and his scholarship, just a quick word for those who are not. Larry retired in 2011 from his post as Professor of New Testament, Language, Literature, and Theology at the University of Edinburgh (where he had served since 1996). Prior to that time, he was a professor in the department of religion at the University of Manitoba (Winnipeg). He was known primarily for his work in Christology (early Christ-devotion), and Textual Criticism (particularly manuscripts as our earliest Christian artifacts).
One of his final publications, however, was not focused on either of these matters (at least not directly). Destroyer of the gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World (Baylor, 2016), was among my favorite books by Larry. Therein, he took the reader on a fascinating journey into the early Christian movement and how it found itself to be so peculiar in the eyes of the surrounding culture.
I read this particular volume with keen interest, because it was released just prior to my own volume on Christianity in the second century: Christianity at the Crossroads: How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church (SPCK/IVP Academic, 2017).
If you want to understand Larry’s long-term interests, then there are two books that are must reads. [Read more…]