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October 19, 2005

Comments

Derek

Just an initial reaction--there's a difference between worship "the One God" and worshiping the god of the Christian Church who is a Trinity. It's one of the basic problems of the theism question. Demonstrating the existence of *a* god is one thing. Demonstrating that the discovered deity is the Christian God is another entirely. (The chief failure of Anselm's ontological argument for the existence of God, in my view...)

As for extra-scriptural evidence, finding evidence that counts as truly admissible would be difficult--but I'll suspend judgment 'till I see what you're suggesting.

Barry Fernelius

At the beginning of your introduction, you claim that the law is a truth seeking enterprise. Many people have seen public trials that were anything but a truth seeking event. Perhaps you should qualify your statement by stating that you're appealing to the procedures by which the law examines evidence. Along the way, you might also want to explain why the law treats evidence the way that it does. (Not all of your readers will understand these nuances.)

Also, from an editorial point of view, I'd drop the parenthetical remark about the so-called swoon theory.

Wayne

DC,
To me, the intro looks good so far.

I've puzzled over the resurrection for many years and here are a few things I'll offer up from my study and reflection.
1. If we accept that Mark was the earliest Gospel and note that the earliest and most reliable manuscripts of Mark end at verse 16:8, then we'd have some reason to conclude that in the earliest traditions of the Markan community there was no actual sighting of the resurrected Jesus; there was simply an empty tomb. If the disciples actually saw Jesus after his death, it's difficult to fathom why it would not be in the earliest manuscripts of the earliest Gospel. This isn't to say that the post-Resurrection sightings were not a part of the traditions _some_ of the early Christian communities. Paul writes about the tradition in I Corinthians which pre-dates Mark by about 10 years. But the question remains, why were the sightings not part of the tradition in the Markan community?

2. The resurrection stories have elements that lead me to believe that parts of them were certainly made up out of whole cloth. If we look at the first chapter of Acts, we read the story of the Acension. The ascension story would have made sense to someone in the first century. To them, the universe consisted of three layers: the flat earth, a layer of water under the earth and the heavens above the earth. The ascension story is about Jesus rising from earth up into heaven. Modern people know that there is a gazillion miles of outerspace above the earth, so exactly where would Jesus have been rising to? Did he have to make a quick left to avoid the moon? Or was he simply giving the disciples a show that conformed to their understanding of the cosmos instead of going to the trouble of explaining how the universe was really layed out? If we see the ascension story as part of the resurrection story, then it tends to cast doubt on the historicity of the whole story.

3. Supposing a resurrection occurred, exactly what would it have proved and what would be the meaning of it? The NT authors said that it proved that Jesus was from God, but does it really? If it happened, it was a supernatural phenomenon like the other miracles in the Bible, but the actual meaning of the phenomenon is very much open to interpretation of humans. As noted, the NT authors interpreted the resurrection proving that Jesus was from God. Might not someone else conclude that Jesus resurrection was simply a supernatural occurrence like the Egyptian sorcerers turning their sticks into snakes or the witch of Endor bringing Samuel's spirit back from the dead and attribute no particular meaning to it? On what grounds would we choose one interpretation of the resurrection over another?

Anyway, hope this helps or at least sparks some reflection.

Derek

Wayne's three is an important one especially in connection to the totality of the Gospel. According to the text, a total o four people are brought to life in the Gospels (Jairus's daughter, the Widow of Nain's son, Lazarus, and--of course--Jesus). We only worship the last... It's not just about resurrection, though resurrections a big part of it. (Note too the resurrections in the Elijah/Elisha complex.)

Derek

Wayne's three is an important one especially in connection to the totality of the Gospel. According to the text, a total o four people are brought to life in the Gospels (Jairus's daughter, the Widow of Nain's son, Lazarus, and--of course--Jesus). We only worship the last... It's not just about resurrection, though resurrections a big part of it. (Note too the resurrections in the Elijah/Elisha complex.)

Derek

oops...feel free to delete one of those...

Che Kristo

I appreciate the views that you have expressed here, it is important that we look past the dogma and analyse what our faith entails. It is very important that we question where the faith is headed and what the information available means to us.

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