Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Some Resources On Docetism And The Resurrection

In my response to Matthew Green yesterday, I mentioned my previous replies to him and other relevant articles I've posted here in the past. I want to link to some of those articles, for those who are interested. See here and here, for example. Anybody interested can find a lot of other relevant material in the archives of this blog.

Here are some of N.T. Wright's comments on the argument that Luke and John were fabricating details in the resurrection accounts in response to Docetism:

"The idea that traditions developed in the church from a more hellenistic early period (in this case a more 'non-bodily' view of post-mortem existence) to a more Jewish later period (in this case, a more embodied 'resurrection') is in any case extremely peculiar and, though widely held in the twentieth century, ought now to be abandoned as historically unwarranted and simply against common sense....In the cases before us, it makes no sense to think of Luke sitting down to compose an anti-docetic narrative about the genuine human body of Jesus and allowing himself so far to forget this important purpose as to have Jesus appear and disappear, not to be recognized, and finally ascend into heaven. Similar things must be said of John." (The Resurrection of the Son of God [Minneapolis, Minnesota: Fortress Press, 2003], p. 606)

Notice also that Matthew Green acknowledges that some groups denied the physicality of Jesus' pre-resurrection body without denying the physicality of the resurrection body. But he speculates that there might have been some group that did deny the physicality of the resurrection body, a group large enough to warrant responses in the gospels, and he further speculates that the group may have existed as early as the 70s. He doesn't have any particular group in mind or any specific evidence. He just speculates that what would be needed to maintain his theory might have existed.

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