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James

(501 words)

Author(s): Holtz, Traugott
The NT mentions several men called James. James the son of Zebedee and brother of John. He seems to have been an early disciple of Jesus (Mark 1:19 and par., cf. Luke 5:10) and was one of the Twelve (Mark 3:17 and par.; Acts 1:13). With his brother and Peter (and sometimes Andrew), he was one of the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples (Mark 1:29; 5:37 and par.; 9:2 and par.; 10:35–41; cf. Matt. 20:20–24; also John 21:2). According to Mark 3:17, Jesus gave him and his brother the nickname “Boanerges” (meaning “Sons of Thunder”), thus indicating their calling as preachers. …

Christological Titles

(1,636 words)

Author(s): Holtz, Traugott
1. Christological Titles as a Clue to Early Christian Faith The Christological titles offer an important clue to early Christian faith, though they do not disclose it fully. Early Christology was essentially functional, being expressed preferably in short (confessional) statements. The titles play an important role in such statements, giving them a specific framework and horizon. 2. Son of Man Most strongly connected with the earthly Jesus is the title “Son of Man.” This is true no matter how we answer the critical questions that its use poses. Apart from Acts 7:56, it occurs only in…

Jesus

(3,356 words)

Author(s): Holtz, Traugott
1. Sources The sources for an account of Jesus, both secular and Christian, are complex. 1.1. Ancient histories contain no direct references. The so-called testimonium Flavianum (Josephus Ant.  18.63–64) refers to Jesus as “a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man.… He was the Messiah.” This passage, however, seems at least to have undergone Christian revision. In his account of the execution of James, Josephus ( Ant.  20.200) identifies James as the brother of Jesus, “the so-called Christ.” Suetonius (ca. 69-after 122) takes us back furthest. Then comes Tacitus (ca. 55-ca.…

Easter

(1,688 words)

Author(s): Holtz, Traugott | Senn, Frank C. | Schnitker, Thaddeus A.
1. Term The origin of the English word “Easter” is uncertain. In the eighth century the Venerable Bede (ca. 673–735) proposed that it derived from Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. Modern English-language dictionaries suggest that it comes ultimately from a Germanic stem meaning “east.” In Romance and other languages, the word for Easter (e.g., Fr. Pâques; Sp. Pascua; Russ. Paskhar) comes from the Heb. pesaḥ through the Gk. pascha. Recent liturgical usage has employed the noun “Pasch” and the adjective “paschal” in speaking of this Christian celebration. 2. Relatio…

Historiography

(4,422 words)

Author(s): Smend, Rudolf | Holtz, Traugott | Schindler, Alfred | Koschorke, Klaus
1. OT 1.1. Historiography and Historical Thinking To a greater extent than is sometimes realized, ancient Israel (§1) shared in the very diverse “mythical” historical thinking of the surrounding world. It read present events in the light of past events, beginning in a distant primal period, which would both explain and if necessary validate them. It thus narrated, established, and handed down the stories of the past, not least of all in the cult. The course of history was determined by human conduct in…