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My Meditation Practice and Women at the Empty Tomb: Readers Mailbag April 9, 2017

I will be dealing with two questions in this week’s mailbag, one about me personally – do I meditate? – and one about the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection: in all our narratives it is specifically women who are said to have found the empty tomb and so to be the first witnesses to the resurrection.  Given ancient views that denigrate women, is it likely that anyone would make up such a story?  If someone made up the tomb-discovery story, wouldn’t they have claimed that that *men* found the tomb empty?  And doesn’t that suggest the story really happened as narrated?   QUESTION: Do you meditate? If so, which techniques do you use? Do you find it helpful?   RESPONSE: Yes indeed, I do meditate.  Every New Years I make it a resolution to meditate each and every day.  This year I’m doing pretty well *except* when I’m traveling (which, unfortunately, is a lot this semester); that’s probably when I need most to meditate and I just have real trouble scheduling it in.  Not good. [...]

Fuller Account of Resurrection Discrepancies

Here is the bit that follows the part of my chapter 4 where I broke off yesterday, on the Gospels as sources for what happened at the resurrection event, starting with the same sentence I ended with yesterday. ****************************************************************************************************************** There are other discrepancies, but this is enough.   I should stress that some of these differences can scarcely be reconciled unless you want to do a lot of imaginative interpretive gymnastics, of the kind fundamentalists love to do, when reading the texts.   For example, what does one do with the fact that the women apparently meet different persons at the tomb?  In Mark it is one man, in Luke it is two men, and in Matthew it is one angel.   The way this discrepancy is sometimes reconciled,by readers who can’t believe there could be a genuine discrepancy in the text, is by saying that the women actually met two angels at the tomb.  Matthew mentions only one of them, but never denies there was a second one; moreover, the angels were in human guise, so Luke [...]

2020-04-03T18:40:31-04:00April 2nd, 2013|Book Discussions, Canonical Gospels|

Resurrection Narratives in the Gospels

Back to issues related to my book. In ch. 4 I talk about why the Gospels are problematic as "witnesses" to the resurrection (apart from the question of whether you can have *any* historical "evidence" for a miracle). This is the first part of my short discussion there, again, in rough draft ******************************************************************************************************************** We have already seen why the Gospels of the New Testament – our earliest available narratives of Jesus’ life – are so problematic for historians who want to know what really happened. They are written decades later, not by eyewitnesses, but by authors living in different countries from Jesus and speaking a different language. These authors are basing their accounts on written sources and, especially, oral traditions that had been in circulation year after year, decade after decade, until the authors themselves wrote them down. In this long process of oral transmission, stories about Jesus were changed, embellished, and made up. That in no small measure is why we find so many discrepancies and contradictions in our various Gospel accounts. Story tellers [...]

2020-04-03T18:40:41-04:00April 1st, 2013|Book Discussions, Canonical Gospels|

Disciples Who Doubt the Resurrection

QUESTION: Are we to understand from this that some of the actual disciples, the inner circle, doubted? Is this the origin of the “Doubting Thomas” character in John? Maybe not everyone got a vision of the risen Christ? Perhaps these are hints that after the crucifixion some of the group ran away and DIDN’T come back! RESPONSE: This is a question specifically about the stories of the resurrection of Jesus, and it is one that I’ve been pondering myself intensely for a couple of weeks. It would help to have the data in front of us. FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, log in as a Member. Otherwise, your DOUBTS AND QUESTIONS WILL NEVER BE ANSWERED!!! The tradition that the disciples doubted that Jesus was raised from the dead – even though they have seen him – is in every Gospel that has resurrection appearances (i.e., Matthew, Luke, John; it may be suggested in Mark; and it is clearly implied as well in Acts) Matt 28:17.  Jesus appears to the eleven, but “some doubt.”  [...]

2020-04-03T19:18:13-04:00October 17th, 2012|Canonical Gospels, Reader’s Questions|
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