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Larry Hurtado (born 1943) is a New Testament scholar, historian of early Christianity and Emeritus Professor of New Testament Language, Literature and Theology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland (Professor 1996-2011). He was the Head of the School of Divinity 2007-2010, and was until August 2011 Director of the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins, at the University of Edinburgh.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1943, he completed his PhD at Case Western Reserve University in 1973. His first academic appointment was at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada, where he taught from 1975 to 1978. Thereafter he moved to the Department of Religion at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, where he was promoted to full Professor in 1988 and taught until 1996. During his time there, he established the University of Manitoba Institute for the Humanities and served as initial Director from 1990 to 1992. Shortly after his appointment at the University of Edinburgh, he established the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins, which focuses on Christianity in the first three centuries.
He has made significant advances in understanding Jewish Monotheism and early Christian devotion to Jesus. He is an authority on the Gospels (esp. Gospel of Mark), the Apostle Paul, Early Christology, the Jewish Background of the New Testament, and New Testament Textual Criticism. He is perhaps most well known for his studies on the early emergence of a devotion to Jesus expressed in beliefs about Jesus sharing God's glory, and in a "devotional pattern" in which Jesus features prominently. Hurtado has argued that this Jesus-devotion comprises a novel "mutation" in ancient Jewish monotheistic practice. In his most recent publications, he has also urged greater awareness of the historical value of earliest Christian manuscripts as key physical artifacts of early Christianity, drawing attention to such phenomena as the nomina sacra (distinctive abbreviated forms of certain Greek words, e.g., Theos, Iesous, Kyrios, Christos), the Christian preference for the codex bookform, and a number of other features.
He was elected a member of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas in 1984, and received the Rh Institute Award for Outstanding Contributions to Scholarship and Research in the Humanities in 1986. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2008, and President of the British New Testament Society from 2009 to 2012. He has won research grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the British Academy, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK). He has given invited lectures in many universities in the UK and other countries, and was a Visiting Fellow at Macquarie University in Australia in 2005.