Some years ago when Larry Hurtado had been invited to the research seminar at Lund university in Sweden, where I did my PhD at the time, I mentioned in advance to the professors and students, that I know Larry Hurtado from my field, New Testament textual criticism. "You know, he is a leading text-critic. What? Is he working in textual criticism? I didn’t know that." The large project in Lund at the time was devoted to exploring the First Hundred Years of Christian Identity and Larry had been invited to speak mainly on early Christian worship in relation to that project. So textual criticism, on this occasion, was left to the coffee time, where it was basically a subject for a chat between Larry and myself.
A year ago I was in Oslo, invited to give lectures on textual criticism at Menighetsfakultetet. The professor in charge of the course then mentioned that he had invited Larry Hurtado to participate in a project on prayer and identity. They will host a conference in just a month or so. I told Sandnes, "Yes, I know Larry rather well. You know he is a leading text-critic. What? Is he working in textual criticism? I didn’t know that."
A few months ago, when I had just received the invitation to come to Edinburgh for this very occasion, to speak specifically about Larry’s contribution to New Testament textual criticism, I shared this news to my colleagues at the coffee table including a New Testament scholar, who knew Larry Hurtado's work quite well (he thought), but replied: ”What? Is he working in textual criticism? I didn’t know that.”
So, instead of asking "How on earth did Jesus become God?" (a subject which I leave happily to Richard Bauckham), a more relevant question in light of these reactions, would be, "How on earth did Larry Hurtado become a text-critic?"
The above is the opening om my presentation, which you can download and listen to over at the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins website. Incidentally, Larry told me afterwards that he had just had the same reaction from one of the distinguished guests this day – "Did you do work in textual criticism, I didn't know that."
There were about seventy attendants in the Martin Hall, at the School of Divinity, Edinburgh University. Alban Books had a small bookstall (on the table to the right), where some titles by Hurtado and the presenters were available.
A local PhD student has made all the talks and discussions from this day available. Below are direct links to the audio files (the introduction by Helen Bond, the other presentations by Thomas Kraus and Richard Bauckham, responses by Larry, and Q & A to all three sections):
Helen Bond, "Appreciation for Larry Hurtado and his Career" (8min)
Tommy Wasserman, "How on Earth did Larry Hurtado Become a Text Critic?" (56min), Q & A (8min) and handout
Thomas Kraus, "Larry Hurtado and Manuscripts" (71min)
Larry Hurtado, Response to Wasserman and Kraus (11min)
Richard Bauckham, "Devotion to Jesus Christ in Earliest Christianity—An Appreciation and Discussion of Hurtado’s Work" (62min) and handout
Bauckham, Q & A (17min)
Hurtado/Bauckham discussion (41min)
Mark also recorded my presentation on Mark 1:1 in the postgrad seminar, which will soon be posted.
The only thing I hate with these audio clips is to hear myself speaking with that typical Swedish accent and pronunciation, sigh.