A Third View of Jesus’ Body at the Resurrection

This will be my final post on the early Christian understandings of the nature of Jesus’ resurrected body. I have tried to show that Paul believed that Jesus’ actual body came out of the tomb, but as a spiritual, immortal body – completely transformed; other Christians, including groups of Gnostics, maintained that Jesus’ spirit lived on even though his body decomposed and ceased to exist (like all other bodies) In this final post I deal with another extreme in the ...

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A Gnostic View of Jesus’ Resurrection

Yesterday, in response to a question, I discussed Paul’s view of the resurrection of Jesus. In response to several questions I was asked, let me say emphatically that YES, in my view Paul believed that Jesus corpse itself was transformed into a spiritual body. If asked, he would have said that the grave was empty. That’s how I read 1 Corinthians 15. The body that comes out of the tomb is the same body that went into the tomb, but ...

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Paul and the Resurrection of a Spiritual Body

QUESTION:

You may have gone over this before, but do you think the earliest Christians, Peter, Paul, and Mary etc. believed in the physical bodily resurrection of Jesus, or do you think they believed his “spirit” was raised from the dead? From Paul’s writing it’s hard for me to judge. I ask this because it seems easier for me to attribute the resurrection belief to “hallucinations” if they were only experiencing visions of Jesus’ spirit. Even group “hallucinations” of Jesus’ spirit ...

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Why Historians Can Talk “About” the Resurrection

In this final post (for now) on the historian and miracles, I want to emphasize one point that I raise of my own volition, and answer one question that has been asked by a reader.

First, a point to emphasize (I borrow this from my forthcoming book on How Jesus Became God), on whether my stand on miracles just means that I’m a crazy secularist….

The reason that historians cannot prove or disprove whether God has performed a ...

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Mark and the Resurrection

QUESTION:

I heard a scholar (I think it was JD Crossan) saying that the absence of a resurrected Jesus in Mark’s original gospel reflects the confusion and anxiety that forlorn Jews would have felt after the destruction of the Temple? Do you think this is the case? If so, how does it fit in with the belief (widespread among scholars, I believe)  that the accounts of a visibly resurrected Jesus were in circulation long before 70 AD and probably ...

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Jesus’ Appearance to the 500

QUESTION on 1 Corinthians 15:3-5:

“3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters[c] at one time, ...

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Women Who Did Not Doubt the Resurrection

In my post yesterday I noted something unusual about the doubting tradition in the resurrection narratives (i.e., the tradition that some of the disciples simply didn’t believe that Jesus was raised) – in addition, of course, to the fact that there is such a dominant doubting tradition! (itself a fascinating phenomenon) – which is that there is no word anywhere of the women who discover the tomb doubting, but clear indications (either by implication or by explicit statement) that some ...

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Were the Disciples Martyred for Believing the Resurrection?

QUESTION:

Another very very popular evidence put forward for the resurrection is “the disciples would not have died for what they knew was a lie, therefore it must have happened.” I hear this all the time. You note that they really believed they saw Jesus after he died so they were not lying. However, is there evidence (historical or literary) that they were killed because of their belief in Jesus’ resurrection?

RESPONSE:

Ah yes, if I had a fiver for every time ...

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Paul and the Resurrection of the “Flesh”?

QUESTIONS:

But what is a BODILY resurrection without the flesh? And doesn’t this indicate that the flesh (the corpse) didn’t matter anymore and could be left behind, rotting and decomposing? Isn’t it all about the spirit finally getting this new, better, perfect, divine ‘body’?

Addendum: The Greek for ‘spiritual’ (like in spiritual body) is pneumatikos, right? According to Strong’s that means: pertaining to wind or breath, windy, exposed to the wind, blowing. Now those wouldn’t be obvious words to describe something physical ...

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The Women and the Empty Tomb

QUESTION:

So, on Ludemann’s account, how do the stories of the women at the tomb found in the canonical gospels come to be told? As many scholars I’ve read have pointed out, having women, who were considered untrustworthy witnesses, as the first to see the risen Christ, was not exactly a way to get people to believe the stories. So why would the gospel writers tell the stories with the women in such a prominent place?

RESPONSE:

I’m not sure how ...

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