Questions on the Resurrection and My Personal Spiritual Experiences: Readers’ Mailbag

I’ll address two questions on this week’s readers’ mailbag, one about what we can say about the resurrection of Jesus (a specific question about it) and one about whether my (one-time) faith was based on the Bible or on spiritual experiences I had.  (The answer is apparently not what the questioner expected.)

 

QUESTION:

How do you separate the fact from fiction on the risen Jesus?  You accept, as historical, that the disciples believed they had visions of the risen Jesus – so ...

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A Final Word (I Think!) on Group Visions

I am getting some push-back on my discussions of visions.  One of the most informed and hard-hitting critiques was this.

I certainly agree that it is within your scope of expertise as a New Testament scholar to use the term “vision” to describe the beliefs of people in Antiquity who used this term to describe certain religious experiences.  It is within your scope of expertise to define this term as defined by those ancients.  However, with all due respect, ...

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Ehrman vs Craig: Evidence for Resurrection

Over ten years ago now (March 28, 2006) I had a debate with William Lane Craig  at the College of the Holy Cross, on the question: “Is There Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus?”  Craig is a conservative evangelical Christian philosopher (yes, a real philosopher — that is, he teaches courses in philosophy and writes about it; but from a very conservative Christian perspective).

I had never met Craig before the debate, and in places the debate gets a little ...

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Gerd Luedemann on the Resurrection: A Blast From the Past

Here is an interesting post on the resurrection of Jesus that I made almost exactly four years ago today.  It’s interesting because (a) I don’t remember writing it (and only vaguely remember having read the book) and (b) my own views ended up being very similar indeed (even though I don’t at all remember being influenced by the book!).   These are views not widely shared by my colleagues in the field of New Testament studies, as will seem obvious ...

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The Inerrancy of the Bible? And Those Who Doubt. Readers’ Mailbag October 2, 2016

 

How did I deal with inconsistencies and discrepancies as a young Christian?  And why does the NT indicate that some of Jesus’ own followers doubted the resurrection?  Those are the two questions I deal with in this week’s readers’ mailbag.

QUESTION:

I assume that Bart Ehrman today when he reads the books of the New Testament sees large discrepancies between them.  My question is about the precocious sixteen-year-old Ehrman, Did he too see this variety (which opens up the possibility of inconsistency)? ...

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What the Resurrection of Jesus MEANT

 

In my previous post I indicated that I was a bit disappointed at my public debate with Michael Bird at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary that he did not propose an alternative solution to “How Jesus Became God,” some other sense of how it happened different from the one I proposed.  If he disagrees with my scenario, what scenario does he himself imagine?  I’m not sure.

Part of the problem is that he himself said during the debate that Jesus did ...

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Heaven and Hell, Part Two

In my previous post I explained how Jewish thinkers began to develop the idea of an afterlife when they devised the idea of a future resurrection of the dead, an apocalyptic event that explained how God would ultimately make right all that was wrong, rewarding those who had sided with him but punishing those who sided with evil.  But how did that idea of a future *bodily* resurrection morph into the Christian teachings of heaven and hell?  I try to ...

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The Resurrection in Paul

I have been discussing an apocalyptic understanding of Jesus’ resurrection.  For the earliest followers of Jesus, coming to think that Jesus was raised from the dead provided both a confirmation and an elaboration of their understanding of the end times.  Prior to Jesus’ death they had come to think that they were living at the end of the age and that God was soon to bring history to a climactic end through a cataclysmic act of judgment; this final event ...

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Jesus’ Resurrection as an Apocalyptic Event

In my previous post I started to discuss the eschatological implications drawn by Jesus’ followers once they became convinced that he had been raised from the dead.  I pointed out that the very fact that they interpreted their visions of him as evidence of “resurrection” shows that they must have been apocalyptic Jews prior to his death (as I have argued on other grounds ad nauseum on the blog!).  And I also suggested two of the key conclusions they drew ...

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The Resurrection of the Son of God

I’m in the midst of the most entangled thread I have yet produced in my well-over-three-years of doing the blog.   It started with orthodox scribes who were altering their texts of Scripture (specifically Luke 22; this was part of a thread I began in April!  I’ll get back to it….) and it has now managed by a number of intricate twists, turns, and interweavings to end up at the resurrection of Jesus.

I have been arguing that the resurrection radically changed ...

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