Friday, March 31, 2017

The Restrained Nature Of The Resurrection Accounts

One reason, among many others, to believe the New Testament's resurrection accounts is their restrained nature. Nobody narrates Jesus' resurrection. Or the appearance to Peter. Or the appearance to James. If anybody narrates the appearance to more than five hundred people (1 Corinthians 15:6), he does so without mentioning that so many individuals were involved.

It's often pointed out that there are some elements present in the resurrection accounts that are unlikely to have been fabricated (females, including one as disreputable as Mary Magdalene, as the discoverers of the empty tomb and the first to see the risen Jesus; the initial unbelief of the male disciples; etc.). We should also note how what's absent often provides us with evidence for the accounts.

1 comment:

  1. Great points. If the canonical Gospels were largely fabricated they would have looked a lot like the Gospel of Peter where a lot of details are "recorded" regarding the resurrection. A lot of which are "fabulous" and "fantastic" (in the negative sense of those words).

    It's also interesting that the canonical Gospels (esp. the Synoptics) don't seem to be anxious to record traditions of Jesus as if they were in danger of being lost, or were currently being lost and they were scrambling to preserve them. That would suggest for earlier dates. Luke's recording of a unique Jesus tradition in Acts 20:35 which he didn't record in his Gospel might be due to either it being a tradition that he discovered after writing gLuke. OR it could have been excluded from gLuke because he thought it was common knowledge that was taken for granted among living disciples and therefore not worth recording.

    Conversely, unlike the canonical Gospels (esp. the Synoptics), the later Gnostic gospels were kind of forced to resort to claimed secret teachings of Jesus, not merely in order to advance their own theological agendas, but because they knew that what they were creating was novel and/or contradicted the open and public nature of Christian Traditions of Jesus and the Apostles. By claiming gnostic/secret teaching, they could better explain away why their new stuff had no historical and traditional connection to the early church.

    Whereas the canonical gospels seem not to attempt to hide anything. As if they knew that at any time they could be called out on some things by at least some living witnesses if they intentionally distorted or fudged the facts. This is especially true of Luke who's not afraid of other gospels.