Yesterday, Bible and Interpretation posted an article by Michael Kok entitled, “Critical Questions for the Early High Christology Club.” After interacting with the ideas of Larry Hurtado, Richard Bauckham, and others, Kok raises three questions:
(1) First, is there a concern to date a “high Christology” as close as possible to the founding of the “Christian” movement?
(2) Second, having been formulated in reaction to the parallelomania of the “history of religions school” (religionsgeschichtliche Schule), does the exclusive focus on the Jewish matrix of the Christ followers serve to insulate them from influences from the Greco-Roman world?
(3) Third, is there a risk of depicting ancient “Christianity” as monolithic, assuming that a divine Christology was the definitive feature of all Christ associations?
Here is his closing paragraph:
In the end, we must resist the tendency to treat the textual representations of Christian beliefs and praxis in the New Testament and other Christian literature as univocal. We must be rigorously historical in contextualizing which group was putting forward what claim about Jesus and what function did the claim serve in their symbolic universe and social formation. It is perfectly valid to inquire about the theological truthfulness of various canonical and creedal declarations about the person of Christ within confessional communities. The tools of the historian’s trade are not sufficient to engage such questions. They are only fit to investigate the individuals or groups who found a given Christology persuasive in a specific historical and social context.
Today, Larry Hurtado has responded to Kok’s questions blow-by-blow. This could develop into something interesting. I’m wondering if (read: hoping) others will weigh in.