Larry Hurtado

Larry Hurtado is retired New Testament scholar, Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He has continued hs scholarly work since retiring.

He has specialised in the study of early christian origins, and appears to have been instrumental in establishing the view among scholars that Jesus was worshiped alongside God from the very early days of christianity. This shows that the process that led to Jesus being identified as the unique “Son of God” began right from the beginning of christian belief.

I have followed Larry’s blog for many years, learning much in the process. I have bought and read one of his books, How on Earth did Jesus Become a God?, and found it extremely helpful.

Larry’s writing on his blog and in print is characterised by courtesy, careful scholarship and an insistence on correct method and evidence.

Sadly, it looks as if Larry’s blogging has finished. He was treated some time ago for leukemia, and in a recent blog post he reported that the leukemia had returned:

“The leukemia (AML) for which I was treated here last summer has reactivated, after some 9 months of remission. The further treatment options are quite limited, and may only be palliative care of various sorts. In any case, I am now fully occupied with exploring various arrangements for the situation and aftermath of my death on my wife and others. So, I shall have no time for blogging or my scholarly work. Signing off unless further notice. I hope that the archives on the site will continue to prove useful to interested readers.”

Readers who believe in prayer may choose to pray for Larry and his family at this time.

Photo from: CSCO, New College, University of Edinburgh website.

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Losing my religion

The word “religion” can have different meanings. At its simplest, it means “belief in and worship of God or gods” (Oxford Dictionary). But more precisely, religion is often seen as a designated set of beliefs and rituals by which people relate to a god. Thus religion (implying dogma and restrictions) is often contrasted to spirituality (emphasising freedom and feelings).

Like many other people, I have lost my religion, or a large part of it. Many others have lost their faith in God as well, though I haven’t.

This movement is one of the stories of our times.

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Evangelical, Liberal and Progressive Christianity – three diverging paths

There’s a lot of new, and sometimes scary, ideas flying around the christian scene these days. What are we to make of them??

Where is Protestant christianity heading?

If you have doubts and questions about your form of christian belief, perhaps another form has something to offer. Check out a few ideas here.

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Christians and politics – a deep devastation or glorious triumph?

Just over a week ago was election day in Australia. After being behind in the polls for years, the Government was returned with a small majority.

This was seen by most pundits as an important election, charting a course for Australia’s future. Christians seemed to be more active than in any previous election that I can recall. For some christians, the return of the Government was an unexpected triumph and even a miracle. For others, it was a defeat for their hopes, leading to despair.

The stark differences raise important issues.

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Homophobia, Biblical truth and Israel Folau

This is a post about what christians believe, how we should express our belief and how cultures can clash.

This is a post about an unfortunate episode in Australian sport and culture, from which no-one is likely to emerge a winner.

And hopefully this is a post that won’t add, even in a small way, to the problems, but instead point to a mature response.

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Modern western evangelicalism – easy religion for comfortable christians?

I’ve been thinking for a while about modern western evangelical christianity. Not what some people may see as the worst of this belief system – televangelists, conservative politics and a focus on sexual ethics – but the mainstream.

My initial christian experience was in this culture and belief, and while I have moved on in many ways, I still share many of its values. But it’s starting to look way too comfortable to me.

Let me explain.

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Evangelism – learning from unbelievers

There’s a saying in chess that, if you are in doubt about your next move, choose the move your opponent would like least.

I reckon a similar, but opposite, saying might apply to christian evangelism: if you are wanting to evangelise, try to choose the behaviour your friend would most appreciate.

A recent study by the Barna Group in the US provides some invaluable insights from those who are the targets of christian evangelism.

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