Now that I'm back at school I have a bit more free time to get some reading done. One thing I had not yet read and knew I needed to is Larry Hurtado's Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity. I had read his The Earliest Christian Artifacts awhile ago and really enjoyed his style, so I knew I'd like this one.
I've just read through the first chapter and there are some interesting points. For one, his emphasis on liturgical practice as a lense through which we can see the theology/ies of the christian community is really convincing. I think (and this may be departing from Hurtado) that the NT documents are primarily focused on orthopraxy, particularly within the setting of liturgy, more than theological orthodoxy. Now, this is not imposing an either or - obviously the NT is concerned with both, but I think the NT has put the accent on the liturigcal syllable more than its concern with doing theology (particularly concerning Christology). Some things that have led me to this have been Scott Hahn's book, The Lamb's Supper which is a wonderful little gem, and taking the class on Hebrews with Fr. James Swetnam, SJ. At any rate, I think Hurtado's emphasis on looking at the historic practices will help us to discern their underlying theologies. Even if they aren't articulated with the precise theological language of later eras, the theology within the liturgy is of utmost importance in understanding the earliest christian communities.
This is probably totally obvious to everyone (or totally bogus) - either way, I felt like this was a cap on an "aha" moment.