Here's a comment from a reader, who prefers to remain anonymous but who has approved my posting this. Boldfaced emphasis is mine, and I've added some extra paragraphing.
I came across your Blog this weekend and find it very refreshing and informative. You have addressed many of my doubts and concerns about the mainstream Church's doctrine that I have been either too afraid, or insufficiently knowledgeable to answer on my own. For this I am indebted to you.
Today I was reading through your essays on the Resurrection - an event which I have never been able to accept as being literally true, based solely on my gut feeling that 'if it doesn't make sense, it probably didn't happen'.
Your alternate explanations have resonated with what I was unable to clearly formulate on my own, the feeling that it just didn't fly. (Sidebar: I'm not an attorney but I have spent most of the past 40 years in the field of video surveillance and intelligence gathering. One develops a sort of Jedi ability to separate fact from fiction)
I wonder if you have considered a third possible explanation of the Resurrection story? That is, that when Jesus was removed from the cross he was actually still alive. Barely, of course, and in critical condition, but to all outward appearances (and given the level of medical knowledge available at the time) he was thought to be deceased.
Figuring this option into your description of Joseph of Arimathea removing Jesus from the tomb, perhaps he, Joseph, discovered Jesus to be still alive and took him to a secret location where he could receive some healing and be safe from discovery. Maybe through God's intervention he recovered - and this would account for subsequent 'appearances' to his followers after a period of time. Obviously he would know that it would be unwise to stick around, and would have made his escape into obscurity.
Am I right in thinking he remained on the Cross for only a few hours, due mainly to the approaching Sabbath, and could conceivable have survived? And the fact that Joseph whisked him away so quickly may also have been because he felt there was a chance Jesus wasn't dead?
My response, slightly edited:
Thanks for reaching out, [NAME]. Nearly all of your conjecture about Jesus' being taken off the cross barely alive and then "escaping into obscurity," as you put it, is certainly more plausible than either (i) the conventional orthodox narrative, or (ii) Hugh Schonfield's The Passover Plot, which always struck me as far-fetched.I'm intrigued by your idea that a recovered Jesus, after the scare of his near-death experience, might well have changed his mind about trying to overthrow Israel's oppressors and usher in God's reign. In that scenario, though, we'd still have to account for Jesus' brother James' being part of the early church; this would presuppose that Jesus didn't simply go back to his old life in Nazareth, but instead abandoned his family and effectively disappeared. That makes me lean more toward the notion that Jesus simply died and was secretly buried.Sadly, we're not likely ever to know the truth (unless Benjamin Franklin was correct).