Thursday, 17 May 2012

A Brief Summary About "Resurrection"

Neither Peter nor Paul mentions an empty tomb. Crucifixion victims were usually buried in a mass grave. The pious story of a decent burial in an unused tomb could have grown in the oral tradition before Mark wrote the first Gospel decades later in Rome. Mark received the tomb burial story from the oral tradition, not from eye-witnesses, then added an empty tomb story which the other Evangelists received only from him.

The Resurrection appearance to Peter could have been Peter’s traumatic response to bereavement and guilt. The appearance en route to Emmaus reads like a case of mistaken identity. The disciples, meeting to re-interpret scripture as prophesying Resurrection, could have believed that Jesus was spiritually present, confirming their new understanding. Evangelicals now claim to encounter the risen Jesus but do not mean by this that he is visibly, tangibly present, able to enter a room, shake hands, sit at a table or eat. The disciples need not have meant this either but Matthew and Luke, having read Mark’s account of an empty tomb, described a tangible risen Jesus.

Paul did not meet a living person answering the description of the recently deceased Jesus. He saw a blinding light and heard a voice while under stress. Matthew did not know that, according to Luke, the risen Jesus appeared only in Jerusalem so he described the disciples as going to Galilee to witness the Resurrection there and added that, even while they were seeing the risen Jesus, “…some doubted.” (Mt. 28. 17)

Conclusions: there was no empty tomb and no Resurrection appearances.

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