Did They Crucify the Wrong Guy? Jesus’ Identity Switch.

Yesterday I posted about the Coptic Apocalypse of Peter, which clearly differentiated between the man Jesus and the spiritual being, the Christ, who inhabited him temporarily – leaving him at his suffering and death since the divine cannot suffer and die.  That understanding of Jesus Christ is not, strictly speaking, “docetic.”  The term docetic comes from the Greek word DOKEO which means “to seem” or “to appear.”  It refers to Christologies in which Jesus was not a real flesh-and-blood human ...

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Did Jesus’ Death Matter? The Intriguing View of the Coptic Apocalypse of Peter

From remembering the birth of Jesus (Christmas!), we turn for a moment to remembering his death.  I recently received this question, in response to my statement that some Christians did not think the death of Jesus mattered for salvation, and others maintained that he never actually died.

 

QUESTION:

Can you give some reference to where I can explore this idea of the Crucifixion being unimportant or not happening at all?

RESPONSE:

I will take two posts to answer this question, since they involve two ...

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Scribes Who Changed the Voice at Jesus Baptism?

I have been discussing views in the early church that asserted (or were claimed to assert) that Christ was not a divine being by nature, but was only “adopted” to be the Son of God, for example at his resurrection or, more commonly, at his baptism.   Some such views were allegedly held by the Jewish-Christian Ebionites and by the Roman-gentile Theodotians.  Whether these Christians actually held to such views is a bit difficult to say, since we don’t have any ...

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Are Their Any Completely Anti-Heretical Manuscripts?

READER COMMENT/QUESTION:

The whole thread on the “The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture” is really really great! Thanks!!
QUESTION: are the shorter version in Luke 22:19-20 and the “bloody sweat” in Luke 22:44 documented by the same manuscripts? Or do these variants appear in different manuscripts? In other words: do we have an “entirely docetic” manuscript of Luke? (incidentally, I see that both variants are in chapter 22 very close to each other). Thank you very much!!!

 

RESPONSE:

Ah, this ...

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Luke’s Last Supper and Orthodox Corruptions of Scripture

I can now wrap up my discussion of the textual problem of Luke 22:19-20 and the intriguing question of what Jesus said at his Last Supper (according to Luke).  I have argued so far that the longer (more familiar) form of the text, found in most surviving manuscripts, is actually a change made by scribes, not what Luke originally wrote (this is where Jesus indicates that the bread is his body given for others and that the cup is the ...

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Early Christian Docetism

I can now, at long last, start talking about the kinds of textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament that I covered in my 1993 book, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture (I did a second edition, updating the discussion with a new Afterword in 2011).   From the surviving documents of the period, there appear to have been five major competing Christologies (= understandings of who Christ was) throughout the Christian church, and I will devote a post ...

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Does Luke Combat a Docetic Christology?

QUESTION:

There are some scholars who believe that the resurrection story found in Luke’s gospel is an antidocetic narrative ( Gerd Ludemann and Charles Talbert, for instance). According to these scholars when the risen Jesus performs acts designed to show his disciples that he has an actual body of flesh and isn’t some phantom or demon, the story is designed to refute the heresy of docetism that existed during the time that Luke wrote his gospel. I have never ...

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Why Did Scribes Add the Bloody Sweat?

I have explained why it is almost certain that Luke did not himself write the passage describing Jesus “sweating blood” in Luke 22:43-44: the passage is not found in some of our oldest and best manuscripts, it intrudes in a context that otherwise is structured as a clear chiasmus, and it presents a view of Jesus going to his death precisely at odds with what Luke has produced otherwise. Whereas Luke goes out of his way to portray Jesus ...

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