The Only True God: Early Christian Monotheism in Its Jewish Context

The Only True God: Early Christian Monotheism in Its Jewish Context[Reading] ➽ The Only True God: Early Christian Monotheism in Its Jewish Context Author James F. McGrath – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk Monotheism, the idea that there is only one true God, is a powerful religious concept that was shaped by competing ideas and the problems they raised Surveying New Testament writings and Jewish source True God: PDF Ç Monotheism, True God: Early Christian MOBI :¿ the idea that there is only one true God, is a powerful religious concept that was shaped by competing ideas and the problems they raised Surveying New Testament writings and Jewish sources from before and after the rise of Christianity, James F McGrath argues that even the most developed Christologies in the New Testament fit within the context of first century Jewish monotheism In doing so, he pinpoints precisely when the parting of ways took place over the issue of God s oneness, and he The Only Epub / explores philosophical ideas such as creation out of nothing, which caused Jews and Christians to develop differing concepts and definitions about God. This is one of the first books that I went into with a pretty established negative bias I have read Larry Hurtado s Lord Jesus Christ and have followed his work closely on his blog over the last year I find his conclusions both persuasive and faith confirming Thus, I hope you ll forgive my unscientific antagonism with which I approached James McGrath s challenge to Hurtado in his book, The Only True God Early Christian Monotheism in its Jewish Context of course, on current postmodern phil This is one of the first books that I went into with a pretty established negative bias I have read Larry Hurtado s Lord Jesus Christ and have followed his work closely on his blog over the last year I find his conclusions both persuasive and faith confirming Thus, I hope you ll forgive my unscientific antagonism with which I approached James McGrath s challenge to Hurtado in his book, The Only True God Early Christian Monotheism in its Jewish Context of course, on current postmodern philosophy, I m just explicit in my bias, where others are not However, I will certainly intend to be as fair as possible in my review hence, I ve stated openly my prior prejudice.Let me first give a brief sketch of the overall argument and outline of the book I hope to represent his work well, and subsequently I will offer a few areas of perceived weakness.Essentially, McGrath contends that early Christianity, as embodied in the New Testament, did not breach Jewish monotheism nor represent significant developments within Jewish monotheism contra Larry Hurtado and Richard Bauckham Inexplicit, and admittedly anachronistic terms, the Christology of the New Testament is not one with the Christology of later Creedal Christianity Jesus status in relationship to God was neither novel nor remarkable, except for the fact that the he, as the agent of God, was also the crucified Nazarene.Chapters 1 is devoted to methodology and the current state of research McGrath s major conversation partners are, oddly, the folks that he is actually in relative agreement, Hurtado and Bauckham He considers many of their contributions helpful, however, he makes clear that he does not see a redefinition of monotheism in the New Testament texts Other theories are discussed, such as views that see clear departure from the monotheism of Judaism to aGentile oriented polytheism, however, it is clear the other theories will take a back seat in the discussion McGrath also the different forms Jewish monotheism could take rhetorical, creational, liturgical, etc as well as introducing the question of inclusivity in monotheism Before explicitly engaging the question of the New Testament texts, however, McGrath aims to establish that monotheism was held by Second Temple Jews and how it was held Chapter 2 purposes to define Jewish monotheism if it actually existed This was a wise call by McGrath because much of the current monotheism discussion is decided in the definition Thus, it is crucially important to establish what is and is not meant by Monotheism In short, McGrath concludes that, yes, 1st century Jews were monotheists, however, they were not modern monotheists There was much diversity within Jewish monotheism, and much freedom A wide variety of practices were acceptable for a one God only Jew What is the dividing line For McGrath it is sacrifice If a Jew were to sacrifice to another being, he would be stepping out of the bounds of Jewish religion and embody apostasy One could bow, pray, invoke, etc others and still be orthodox forgive the anachronism , however, sacrificial worship would cross the line This demarcation is fundamental to the rest of McGrath s argument.Chapter 3 considers monotheism in the writing of the Apostle Paul Only three texts are engaged thoroughly 1 Corinthians 8 6, Colossians 1 15 20, and Philippians 2 10 11 Regarding 1 Cor 8 6, which has been considered by exegetes like N.T Wright and James Dunn as a reformulation of the creedal Shema, is denied any radical mutation McGrath argues that the inclusion of Jesus as Lord is not inclusion within the Shema, but rather alongside it Colossians 1 15 20 is considered to be an example of Agent Christology And Philippians 2 is likewise considered as Agent Christology, another example of Paul speaking of how God exercises his reign through his subordinate mediator The giving of the divine name is granted, thus McGrath considers kyrios as the name of God, however, he denies it ontological force Stating rather, that it is an example of God bestowing his name in order to display the transfer of power and authority to an Agent Thus, on McGrath s account, Paul is within the bound of Jewish monotheism he has made no development regarding a godhead.Chapter 4 considers the Gospel of John McGrath discusses the prologue and deems it an example of Philo esqu Wisdom poetry He also states that theos is not a significant move for John because the divine name, as in Philippians 2, could be granted to other figures and monotheism be maintained This also applies to his consideration of the I am sayings The other feature of his evaluation of Johannine Christology is the debate in John 5 and John 10 regarding Jesus claim of divinity He is accused of fellow Jews of making himself equal with God McGrath notes that Jesus denies there claims, and even affirms the oneness and uniqueness of God the Father in John 17 3 Like in Paul, for McGrath, Johannine Christology is predominately Agent Christology Jesus represents the Father and is granted his power and authority as a subordinate agent Chapter 5 tackles the book of Revelation McGrath denies that the worship of Jesus is significant in the writing because, for example, the Christian martyrs are promised worship by their persecutors, thus, worship is not enough to express divinity McGrath states that all examples of cultic sacrificial worship are aimed toward the Father primarily, and perhaps secondarily to the Lamb Once again, any lofty titles attributed to Jesus are compared with the angel Yahoel Revelation, like all the other texts considered, is not deemed a breach of contemporary Jewish monotheism.Chapter 6 is basically a response to the work of Alan Segel regarding the Two Powers heresy relayed by the Rabbinic sources McGrath argues, against Segal, that none of the texts suggest that the Two Powers heresy had precedent in the 1st century most likely even the second and that it was mainly a response to Gnosticism, not Christianity McGrath also notes that he thinks the Christian development of the Trinity is best explained by the adoption of Creation ex nihilo While Philo could call Divine Logos neither uncreated nor created because Creation was itself blurred , the doctrine of ex nihilo demanded a stance Arius went with Logos on the side of Creation, Athanasius went on the side of God McGrath concludes by restating his argument that early Christianity did not depart or mutate Jewish monotheism within the 1st century He briefly considers the theological implications of his research In short, traditions are living and developing, thus, his research makes no judgement on current trinitarian doctrine He suggests that the New Testament writers may have well set up the way to a plurality in the Godhead, which, has provided a rich statement on God s eternal nature coupled with His nature of Love For love demandsthan a monad and the Trinity provides that Also, in light of the variety within Jewish monotheism, McGrath raises, though does not answer, the question to Protestants, whether Catholic saint prayer is not without orthodox precedent Though I found the book very provocative and fair towards it dialogue partners, I was ultimately unconvinced In large part due to the limited considerations involved heck, it s only 104 pages of body text There was too much that went unspoken of Much of Hurtado and Bauckham work was ignored, which on my account, is a necessary feature of any book on Christology If not Bauckham, at leastwith Hurtado he is the leader in the field At best, McGrath has shot some holes in a waterfall Far too much of Hurtado s considerations have gone untouched.Another weakness was simple semantics When he states, They haven t departed from Jewish monotheism , with Hurtado, I say, Yes, exactly However, what he means by that is, they have not identified Jesus with God as a rightful recipient of divine worship With that, I must say, No, I disagree McGrath s criterion for a breach of monotheism is much too narrow To limit it to sacrificial worship seems very unhelpful, being that early Christians did not sacrifice at the Temple at all as far as we know To say that Christ s atoning sacrifice is offered to the Father answers nothing, because, obviously, he could not offer himself to himself Revelation seems clearly to identify Jesus as a recipient of cultic worship with God He is in Heaven, on God s Throne, and the two receive worship together The Lamb is even offered the prayers of the saints That seems to be including Jesus with the Father as objects of cultic worship which even McGrath sometimes suggests is reserved for God alone That seems to be worship of a different kind than what the martyrs receive Regarding the Pauline text in 1 Cor 8 6, I do not think McGrath s account was adequate Because the Greek Shema uses kyrios, not just theos, to refer to God, and Paul who McGrath grants is employing the Shema identifies Jesus as the kyrios, it seems warranted to consider it reformulated, with Christ included within, not just alongside of There sto be said, for example, I am doubtful of the dismissing of the use of divine names as simple parallels to Yahoel It must be granted that Jesus has a completely different role in the Christian worship gatherings than Yahoel ever embodied Granted, I am no expert, but I began to wonder what the early Christians could do to convince McGrath of High Christology While I appreciate McGrath s work, and I think he delivers some excellent contributions, especially regarding Segal s work and Agent Christology throughout the New Testament, I am left unpersuaded I remain with Hurtado and the Creeds My bias may have prescribed it, but alas, I hold my ground I look forward to engaging any future work that McGrath publishes and I hope to refine my understanding of his argument as well as flesh out some of my critiquesin the months to come He is an excellent example of respectful, academically rigorous dialogue, and I still commend this book as a provocative look at early Christological matters Note This book was received free of charge in exchange for an honest review Good study of the subjectThe book is a good summary of the development, differences and similarities of different views of monotheism I was personally disappointed in some of the conclusions However this was probably not a fault of the book but was no doubt due to my particular paradigm I would recommend this book.

The Only True God: Early Christian Monotheism in Its
    EPUB is an ebook file format that uses the epub Jewish monotheism In doing so, he pinpoints precisely when the parting of ways took place over the issue of God s oneness, and he The Only Epub / explores philosophical ideas such as creation out of nothing, which caused Jews and Christians to develop differing concepts and definitions about God. This is one of the first books that I went into with a pretty established negative bias I have read Larry Hurtado s Lord Jesus Christ and have followed his work closely on his blog over the last year I find his conclusions both persuasive and faith confirming Thus, I hope you ll forgive my unscientific antagonism with which I approached James McGrath s challenge to Hurtado in his book, The Only True God Early Christian Monotheism in its Jewish Context of course, on current postmodern phil This is one of the first books that I went into with a pretty established negative bias I have read Larry Hurtado s Lord Jesus Christ and have followed his work closely on his blog over the last year I find his conclusions both persuasive and faith confirming Thus, I hope you ll forgive my unscientific antagonism with which I approached James McGrath s challenge to Hurtado in his book, The Only True God Early Christian Monotheism in its Jewish Context of course, on current postmodern philosophy, I m just explicit in my bias, where others are not However, I will certainly intend to be as fair as possible in my review hence, I ve stated openly my prior prejudice.Let me first give a brief sketch of the overall argument and outline of the book I hope to represent his work well, and subsequently I will offer a few areas of perceived weakness.Essentially, McGrath contends that early Christianity, as embodied in the New Testament, did not breach Jewish monotheism nor represent significant developments within Jewish monotheism contra Larry Hurtado and Richard Bauckham Inexplicit, and admittedly anachronistic terms, the Christology of the New Testament is not one with the Christology of later Creedal Christianity Jesus status in relationship to God was neither novel nor remarkable, except for the fact that the he, as the agent of God, was also the crucified Nazarene.Chapters 1 is devoted to methodology and the current state of research McGrath s major conversation partners are, oddly, the folks that he is actually in relative agreement, Hurtado and Bauckham He considers many of their contributions helpful, however, he makes clear that he does not see a redefinition of monotheism in the New Testament texts Other theories are discussed, such as views that see clear departure from the monotheism of Judaism to aGentile oriented polytheism, however, it is clear the other theories will take a back seat in the discussion McGrath also the different forms Jewish monotheism could take rhetorical, creational, liturgical, etc as well as introducing the question of inclusivity in monotheism Before explicitly engaging the question of the New Testament texts, however, McGrath aims to establish that monotheism was held by Second Temple Jews and how it was held Chapter 2 purposes to define Jewish monotheism if it actually existed This was a wise call by McGrath because much of the current monotheism discussion is decided in the definition Thus, it is crucially important to establish what is and is not meant by Monotheism In short, McGrath concludes that, yes, 1st century Jews were monotheists, however, they were not modern monotheists There was much diversity within Jewish monotheism, and much freedom A wide variety of practices were acceptable for a one God only Jew What is the dividing line For McGrath it is sacrifice If a Jew were to sacrifice to another being, he would be stepping out of the bounds of Jewish religion and embody apostasy One could bow, pray, invoke, etc others and still be orthodox forgive the anachronism , however, sacrificial worship would cross the line This demarcation is fundamental to the rest of McGrath s argument.Chapter 3 considers monotheism in the writing of the Apostle Paul Only three texts are engaged thoroughly 1 Corinthians 8 6, Colossians 1 15 20, and Philippians 2 10 11 Regarding 1 Cor 8 6, which has been considered by exegetes like N.T Wright and James Dunn as a reformulation of the creedal Shema, is denied any radical mutation McGrath argues that the inclusion of Jesus as Lord is not inclusion within the Shema, but rather alongside it Colossians 1 15 20 is considered to be an example of Agent Christology And Philippians 2 is likewise considered as Agent Christology, another example of Paul speaking of how God exercises his reign through his subordinate mediator The giving of the divine name is granted, thus McGrath considers kyrios as the name of God, however, he denies it ontological force Stating rather, that it is an example of God bestowing his name in order to display the transfer of power and authority to an Agent Thus, on McGrath s account, Paul is within the bound of Jewish monotheism he has made no development regarding a godhead.Chapter 4 considers the Gospel of John McGrath discusses the prologue and deems it an example of Philo esqu Wisdom poetry He also states that theos is not a significant move for John because the divine name, as in Philippians 2, could be granted to other figures and monotheism be maintained This also applies to his consideration of the I am sayings The other feature of his evaluation of Johannine Christology is the debate in John 5 and John 10 regarding Jesus claim of divinity He is accused of fellow Jews of making himself equal with God McGrath notes that Jesus denies there claims, and even affirms the oneness and uniqueness of God the Father in John 17 3 Like in Paul, for McGrath, Johannine Christology is predominately Agent Christology Jesus represents the Father and is granted his power and authority as a subordinate agent Chapter 5 tackles the book of Revelation McGrath denies that the worship of Jesus is significant in the writing because, for example, the Christian martyrs are promised worship by their persecutors, thus, worship is not enough to express divinity McGrath states that all examples of cultic sacrificial worship are aimed toward the Father primarily, and perhaps secondarily to the Lamb Once again, any lofty titles attributed to Jesus are compared with the angel Yahoel Revelation, like all the other texts considered, is not deemed a breach of contemporary Jewish monotheism.Chapter 6 is basically a response to the work of Alan Segel regarding the Two Powers heresy relayed by the Rabbinic sources McGrath argues, against Segal, that none of the texts suggest that the Two Powers heresy had precedent in the 1st century most likely even the second and that it was mainly a response to Gnosticism, not Christianity McGrath also notes that he thinks the Christian development of the Trinity is best explained by the adoption of Creation ex nihilo While Philo could call Divine Logos neither uncreated nor created because Creation was itself blurred , the doctrine of ex nihilo demanded a stance Arius went with Logos on the side of Creation, Athanasius went on the side of God McGrath concludes by restating his argument that early Christianity did not depart or mutate Jewish monotheism within the 1st century He briefly considers the theological implications of his research In short, traditions are living and developing, thus, his research makes no judgement on current trinitarian doctrine He suggests that the New Testament writers may have well set up the way to a plurality in the Godhead, which, has provided a rich statement on God s eternal nature coupled with His nature of Love For love demandsthan a monad and the Trinity provides that Also, in light of the variety within Jewish monotheism, McGrath raises, though does not answer, the question to Protestants, whether Catholic saint prayer is not without orthodox precedent Though I found the book very provocative and fair towards it dialogue partners, I was ultimately unconvinced In large part due to the limited considerations involved heck, it s only 104 pages of body text There was too much that went unspoken of Much of Hurtado and Bauckham work was ignored, which on my account, is a necessary feature of any book on Christology If not Bauckham, at leastwith Hurtado he is the leader in the field At best, McGrath has shot some holes in a waterfall Far too much of Hurtado s considerations have gone untouched.Another weakness was simple semantics When he states, They haven t departed from Jewish monotheism , with Hurtado, I say, Yes, exactly However, what he means by that is, they have not identified Jesus with God as a rightful recipient of divine worship With that, I must say, No, I disagree McGrath s criterion for a breach of monotheism is much too narrow To limit it to sacrificial worship seems very unhelpful, being that early Christians did not sacrifice at the Temple at all as far as we know To say that Christ s atoning sacrifice is offered to the Father answers nothing, because, obviously, he could not offer himself to himself Revelation seems clearly to identify Jesus as a recipient of cultic worship with God He is in Heaven, on God s Throne, and the two receive worship together The Lamb is even offered the prayers of the saints That seems to be including Jesus with the Father as objects of cultic worship which even McGrath sometimes suggests is reserved for God alone That seems to be worship of a different kind than what the martyrs receive Regarding the Pauline text in 1 Cor 8 6, I do not think McGrath s account was adequate Because the Greek Shema uses kyrios, not just theos, to refer to God, and Paul who McGrath grants is employing the Shema identifies Jesus as the kyrios, it seems warranted to consider it reformulated, with Christ included within, not just alongside of There sto be said, for example, I am doubtful of the dismissing of the use of divine names as simple parallels to Yahoel It must be granted that Jesus has a completely different role in the Christian worship gatherings than Yahoel ever embodied Granted, I am no expert, but I began to wonder what the early Christians could do to convince McGrath of High Christology While I appreciate McGrath s work, and I think he delivers some excellent contributions, especially regarding Segal s work and Agent Christology throughout the New Testament, I am left unpersuaded I remain with Hurtado and the Creeds My bias may have prescribed it, but alas, I hold my ground I look forward to engaging any future work that McGrath publishes and I hope to refine my understanding of his argument as well as flesh out some of my critiquesin the months to come He is an excellent example of respectful, academically rigorous dialogue, and I still commend this book as a provocative look at early Christological matters Note This book was received free of charge in exchange for an honest review Good study of the subjectThe book is a good summary of the development, differences and similarities of different views of monotheism I was personally disappointed in some of the conclusions However this was probably not a fault of the book but was no doubt due to my particular paradigm I would recommend this book. 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  • Hardcover
  • 168 pages
  • The Only True God: Early Christian Monotheism in Its Jewish Context
  • James F. McGrath
  • English
  • 12 March 2019
  • 025203418X