Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Unexpected Nature Of The Resurrection

"It is well recognized that the narratives of the passion and especially the crucifixion itself constantly quote or allude to the Old Testament, especially to the words of righteous sufferers in the Psalms. There is an intertextual network that serves to interpret the passion of Jesus by setting it within the experience and the expectation of Israel. But when we read on to the accounts of the empty tomb and the resurrection appearances there are hardly any such allusions. The stories show little sign of following literary precedents, and standard narrative motifs, the building blocks of many an ancient story, are rare. For all the ingenuity of scholars these stories remain strangely sui generis and lacking theological interpretation. None of the standard Jewish formulas or images of resurrection occur. We seem to be shown the extraordinary novum, the otherness of resurrection, through the eyes of those whose ordinary reality it invaded. The perplexity, the doubt, the fear, the joy, the recognition are those of deep memory, mediated, to be sure, by literary means, but not entirely hidden behind the text." (Richard Bauckham, Jesus And The Eyewitnesses [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2006], pp. 504-505)

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