Monday, October 04, 2010

A New Explanation for the Resurrection

I"m reading Charles Freeman's book A New History of Early Christianity which includes a rather innovative explanation for the resurrection.

Freeman grants the reality of the empty tomb, but then proposes that Caiaphas solved the problem of Jesus’ disciples who might become trouble makers. He writes: “Removing the body, making sure that the tomb was left open and leaving a message with ‘a young man’ that Jesus would reappear in Galilee would solve the problem without further brutality” (p. 32). Thus Caiaphas is the origin of the resurrection story! He substantiates this by appeal to the Gospel of Peter and he suggests that the story of the two men carrying the cross out of the tomb is in fact based on an actual story of two men removing the body while the guards were awake. He also chastizes Tom Wright for failing to consider this possibility in RSG. Freeman calls his theory “pure speculation” and “circumstantial evidence” (pp. 33-34), but I am more inclined to say that he has understated his caveats and his proposal is little more than imaginative fiction masquerading as a historical study.


David Brush said...

Looking for a Dan Brownian movie option perhaps?

Just an honest question from a seminarian, what is the basis for apocraphyal and gnostic manuscripts in literary and textual analysis, let alone making theological claims from them that trump cannon? Another scholar, Thom Stark, entirely denies Christ's divinity based on non-canon sources. Is it considered academically unsound to treat these sources as perhaps contextually enlightening, but inferior to the the primary works in scripture, and why does it seem some tend to hold these secondary works as somehow more intellectually believable?

Keith said...

Wright also failed to consider the possibility that Jesus' body was spirited away from the tomb by a band of rogue leprechauns from candy mountain.


sujomo said...

The tomb was not empty. John's account reveals the grave cloths were still there. It was a case of no body.


Saint and Sinner said...

"Wright also failed to consider the possibility that Jesus' body was spirited away from the tomb by a band of rogue leprechauns from candy mountain."


crisp family said...

On the basis of this 'understanding' of the resurrection, one could adopt the following method: analyze the textual evidence; construct wild story that 'fits' with the evidence that is clearly contrary to (a) the prima facie conclusion to which the testimony points, and (b) 'original'; pass off said story as the right 'explanation' against alternatives. Well, we can all do that. But why take it seriously?

klatu said...

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