I have been making my way through Bart Ehrman’s new book How Jesus Became God (HJBG). As an historical theologian I was most interested in his two chapters on how he conceived the so-called “christological evolution” after the New Testament. He devotes two chapters (ch. 8 and 9) to the apparent “numerous views of Christ throughout the second and third Christian centuries.” (HJBG, 286)
Thankfully, Charles Hill responds in two chapters of the newly released response book, How God Became Jesus. In them he explains what happened early in the Jesus movement and how its leaders handled the paradox of Jesus’ deity and humanity.
In one of the more helpful sections, Hill drills down into one of Ehrman’s foundational arguments, represented by Ehrman's self-coined neologism: Ortho-paradoxy.
Hill draws our attention to two of Ehrman's reasons for his new word:
- “Some passages of Scripture appear to affirm completely different views.” (HJBG, 326)
- “Different groups of heretics stated different views in direct opposition to one another, and the orthodox thinkers knew that they had to reject each of these views.” (HJBG, 326-327)
Ehrman believes such paradoxes are “brutal,” (HJBG, 326) though Hill isn’t sure why (177). Throughout chapter 9 Hill ably explains why they are not and deconstructs Ehrman’s central thesis, showing how it is the book’s central problem.