Jesus Is Raised From The Dead
Although there is factual material contained within the Christian proclamation and in the Gospel naratives, we have learned not to assume too quickly that a chronological sequence in the Gospels necessarily manifests factual history. We saw in the passion narratives that one cannot easily determine the sequence of events since many factors other than the facts of history have influenced the accounts. So it is with the resurrection narratives. Literary and theological concerns have influenced the accounts as much as the facts of history.
- The Appearance Narratives
- The Tomb Narratives
- Observations on the Narratives Associated with the Tomb of Jesus
- A Possible Reconstruction of the Events Surrounding the Resurrection of Jesus
- The Historicity of Jesus' Resurrection
As one studies the resurrection narratives in the four Gospels, one becomes aware of two types of narratives or two different kinds of material: narratives associated with the tomb of Jesus and narratives of Jesus' appearances to his followers. In our discussion we will begin with narratives first and then move to those associated with the tomb. 1
The Appearance NarrativesAs we discuss the varied accounts of the appearances of the risen Jesus, we must keep in mind that we have already looked at the earliest written account that we have, I Corinthians 15. As we have seen, Paul lists there a sequence of six appearances, including his own experience on the road to Damascus (see Acts 9:22-26). On the basis of this he gives us a description of the risen body, with the implication that Jesus' risen condition is to some degree like unto what ours will be: a transformed and spiritual but embodied way of being. We will return to Paul's account later and first consider the Gospels.
One system of classifying the appearance narratives in the Gospels is based on a geographical detail -- where the evangelists locate them. Some of the narratives place the system of classification is a division into apostolic christophanies or mission appearances (appearances that give a commission) and private christophanies or recognition appearances. Each approach has its merits. 2 Although the geographical details are not always to be taken literally, and may well be subordinate to other literary and theological concerns, neither are they to be completely disregarded. Simply in order to proceed, I shall discuss first those narratives which place the appearances in Galilee, then those which locate them in Jerusalem, and as we proceed also indicate whether the narrative presents a mission or recognition appearance.
Appearances in Galilee. Here we are concerned with Mark 16:7; Matthew 28:9-10, 16-20; and John 21:1-23.
1. Mark 16:7. In Mark we have no appearance narrative at all. We have only the hint or suggestion of appearances to come. If so, they are seen as about to take place in Galilee. The Gospel of Mark ends at 16:8. Verses 9-20 are a later addition and not part of the original Gospel. We do not know whether Mark intended to end his Gospel at 16:8 or not. 3 If not, either something happened to Mark or something from his Gospel has been lost. It is possible, however, that Mark did end his Gospel at verse 8.
The conclusion of the orginal Gospel as we now have it (Mark 16:1-8) is a narrative associated with the tomb of Jesus, not an appearance narrative. Yet verse 7 may be the suggestion of appearances to come:But go tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you. (Mk. 16:7)This particular verse has come to be interpreted in three ways and it is difficult to choose from among them. Does it refer at all to future appearances of Jesus as is commonly thought? If we do not read Mark 16: 1-8 in light of the later appendix (vv. 9-20) and in the light of Matthew, what leads one to believe that Mark is referring here to appearances in Galilee? Some have suggested rather that it refers to the imminent Parousia which Mark's community expected and which they expected to take place in Galilee. Mark 16:7 then may be referring to the return of the Son of Humanity in glory atld not to Galilean appearances. 4
Galilee does play a significant role in Mark's Gospel, both geographically and symbolically. Galilee, not Jerusalem, is the focus of salvation. Thus others see Mark 16:7 as referring neither to appearances, nor to the Parousia, but to the leadership which Jesus promised to his disciples in their mission to the Gentiles. 5 Galilee symbolizes the Gentile mission. We will see what Matthew does with the Marcan narrative precisely along this line (28:16-20). Mark 16:7 must be interpreted along with Mark 14:28, as the verse indicates: 16:7 refers back to 14:28. Do both of these refer to the Parousia, to the Gentile mission, or to appearances?
Still others argue that the reference does refer to Jesus' intent to appear to the disciples in Galilee to which they had fled after the fiasco in Jerusalem. Matthew interprets Mark in this fashion by including the appearance narrative that our Gospel of Mark lacks, and the Marcan reference to "his disciples and Peter" seems to refer to the first two appearances listed by Paul, that Jesus appeared first to Peter and then to the Eleven.
It is difficult to know what Mark had in mind and the three interpretations are not necessarily exclusive of each other. Mark may have seen the Risen Jesus as appearing to the disciples in Galilee, guiding them in their mission which would then begin from there, and later returning there in glory. He would rejoin them as Risen Lord in Galilee. Given the difficulty of the verse, however, we can only say that the Marcan Gospel does not contain an appearance narrative as such. It may contain a reference to appearances and, if so, the appearances were envisioned as having taken place in Galilee.
2. Matthew 28:9-10, 16-20. We have here two appearances of Jesus, the first to the women outside of Jerusalem, which is a recognition appearance, and the second to the Eleven, in Galilee, a mission appearance. The first seems preparatory to the second, with the women instructed to tell the disciples to go to Galilee. The second, the appearance to the Eleven, is also recorded in Luke's and John's accounts but for them the appearance occurs in Jerusalem. The appearance to the Eleven seems to be a central appearance, recorded by Paul and three evangelists, and perhaps suggested in Mark as well. We can see quite clearly how Matthew builds upon Mark. Matthew 28:7 parallels Mark 16:7.Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you. (Mt. 28-7)The response of the women in Matthew 28:8 is different from the response in Mark 16:8. In Mark the women are frightened and say nothing, whereas in Matthew they are full of joy and wish to tell the disciples. Matthew then includes an appearance of Jesus himself to the women (28:9-10) over and above the instruction of the angel (28:5-7).
Matthew's account of the appearance to the Eleven completes what is lacking in Mark and shows how Matthew brings Mark to another conclusion.Now the Eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshipped him; but some doubted. And when Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age. (Mt. 28: 16-20)Jesus appears to the disciples in Galilee and also commissions them to the Gentile mission. The appearance to the Eleven in Matthew is mission-oriented. There are no details about the nature of the appearance, although Jesus seems quite recognizable.
3. John 21:1-23. Chapter 21 of John, the so-called Johannine appendix, was probably not composed by the evangelist, but by a later writer, perhaps a disciple of the evangelist. 6 The Gospel, as written by John or the evangelist, ended with chapter 20. The setting of chapter 21 is an appearance to seven disciples on the shore of the lake in Galilee after they had gone fishing. It continues with a dialogue between Jesus and Peter. The author of chapter 21 links his narrative to the previous chapter. Chapter 20 contains, as we will see, an account of two appearances to the disciples, both in Jerusalem, the first in the absence of Thomas and the second in his presence. Verse 14 of chapter 21 thus indicates that this is Jesus' third appearance, this one in Galilee. Reginald Fuller suggests that the ultimate source of the appearance in John 21 is the tradition of two appearances, one to Peter and another to the Eleven.
The author of John 21 has also combined the story of the miraculous catch of fish (Luke 5) and the Eucharistic setting for an appearance (Luke 24). Thus there are some affinities between Luke and John 21, a fusion of Lucan and Johannine material. Verses 15-18 contain the charge to Peter to look after the community of Jesus' disciples. It is not a separate appearance but a continuation of the appearance to the Eleven. It has an affinity to Matthew 16: 17-19 in which Peter is established as the overseer of the church; Jesus' words are a command, not exactly to mission but to a pastoral role with respect to the community. The earlier catch of fish, however, may symbolize the call to mission.
Appearances in Jerusalem. Here we are concerned with the appearance narratives in Luke 24:1349, John 20:19-29, and Mark 16:9-20.
1. Luke 24: 1349. This section of Luke contains two appearance narratives, an account of Jesus' appearance to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, which is but a short distance of approximately seven miles from Jerusalem, a recognition appearance (vv.13-35); and Jesus' appearance to the Eleven assembled together with their companions in Jerusalem, a mission appearance (vv.36-49). 7 The narratives which locate the appearance to the Eleven in Jerusalem are the Lucan narrative and John 20. These narratives have other elements in common as well, not unlike the Lucan and Johannine passion narratives.
That the appearance to the Eleven took place in Jerusalem is only indicated in the transition from the Emmaus story (v. 33) and in the instruction (v.47). The fact that Jerusalem is not mentioned in the narrative description of the appearance itself (vv. 36-43), along with the reference to eating fish (v. 43), may indicate an appearance originally described as located in Galilee and at a later (but still pre-Lucan) date transferred to the Jerusalem setting.
In addition to the Jerusalem location, another common element in the Lucan account and that of John 20 is their emphasis on the physical aspects of Jesus' appearances. Most scholars see Luke 24:39-43 and John 20: 19-23 as narratives rooted in a common tradition. We find in this tradition and in the Lucan Emmaus story elements of both physical continuity and discontinuity with the earthly Jesus. The physicality of the appearance and the continuity between the earthly Jesus and the risen Jesus are emphasized. Jesus walks and talks in the Emmaus story. In the appearance to the Eleven, Jesus eats, refers to his hands and feet, flesh and bones, and invltes them to touch him. Yet there are also elements of a transformed, or more spiritual type of bodily presence as well. Jesus is transfigured and is not exactly the same. In the Emmaus story Jesus is not recognized in the beginning, and he disappears in the end. In the appearance to the Eleven, the disciples at first think they are seeing a ghost (a pneuma). 8
A common and significant element in both the Emmaus story and the appearance to the Eleven is that the heavily physical presence does not lead to belief and understanding. The disciples on the road to Emmaus did not recognize Jesus (v. 31) until after the Scriptures were opened up and explained to them (v. 32) and they broke bread together (v. 30). In Jerusalem, the disciples were at first both frightened and doubtful. Jesus convinces them, but they still can hardly believe, until they see intellectually (v. 41), that is understand -- which again happens as a consequence of Jesus' opening their minds to understand the Scriptures (vv. 44-46).
In the two appearances in Luke we have very physical appearances of the risen Jesus, yet elements in the appearances suggest that we are not looking at an exact replica of the earthly Jesus. Faith, recognition, and understanding follow not upon the physical presence of Jesus but upon the disciples' deeper understanding of the Scriptures and an experience of the familiar meal.
2. John 20:19-29. In the Johannine account of the appearances, we also have two narratives: the appearance to the disciples, a mission appearance (vv. 19-23), and the appearance with Thomas present. a recognition appearance (vv. 24-29). Chapter 21 of John, as indicated above, is an independent narrative written by someone other than the author of the Gospel as a whole. Thus the evangelist's account itself contains these two appearances from chapter 20.
In John as in Luke, the physicality of Jesus is very real. Jesus shows his hands and his side (v. 20) and Jesus invites Thomas to touch him and seemingly appears with the wounds left from the crucifixion (vv. 25-27). At the same time, however, Jesus' bodily presence is not exactly the same as it was on earth. In both of the Johannine appearances, the doors are closed and Jesus seems able to pass through them at will. As C.K. Barrett writes, Jesus is able "to pass through solid matter, or perhaps, to cause his body to materialize where he will." 9
A definite role is given to Thomas in the Johnannine tradition. Thomas is only a name among the Twelve in the Synoptics. In John, he stands for misunderstanding and doubt, whereas in the Synoptics this role is assumed by Peter. The Johnannine tradition's assigning the role to Thomas may be the beginning of the Thomas legend and the Thomas writings, for example the Gospel of Thomas.
The significance of the appearance to Thomas lies in v. 29, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." The faith of the second and third generation Christians is validated, those in the generation for whom the fourth evangelist wrote but who were not able to see Jesus. The narrative does not discredit Thomas but rather credits all who believe whether they have seen the earthly Jesus or not.
Similarities between Luke and John include the greeting of peace (Luke 24:36; John 20:19), Jesus showing his hands and feet (Luke 24:20) or hands and side (John 20:19), the joy of the disciples (Luke 24:51; John 20:20), and the gift of the Spirit. ln Luke 24:49 the Spirit is promised but not given, for Luke separates the appearances and the actual sending of the Spirit which occurs at Pentecost. In John 20:22-23, the Spirit is given during the appearance of Jesus. This raises the question whether the christophanies and the gift of the Spirit were originally one event or two.
Both Luke and John affirm the physicality of Jesus' presence, but for neither is that the significant point of the narrative. In Luke faith or recognition follows upon understanding the Scriptures. In John the narratives lead to a commissioning (vv. 21-23), the gift of the Spirit (vv. 22-23), and the affirmation of the faith of all who believe (v. 29). In Luke there is also the suggestion of the commissioning to come (vv. 4749). In both Luke and John 20, the appearance events take place in Jerusalem.
3. Mark 16:9-20. These concluding verses to our present canonical Gospel of Mark were not originally part of the Gospel. They have come to be called the Marcan appendix and were added at a later date. Mark 16:8 was the original ending. In spite of the fact that these verses are a later addition, it is worthwhile to take note of the appearance accounts which they contain. There is an ordered sequence of three: first to Mary of Magdala, next to two disciples walking in the country, and finally to the Eleven while they were at table. The appearance to Mary of Magdala is reported as an appearance.Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. (Mk. 16:9)It has a parallel in the Gospel of John, 20:11-18, but this does not mean that it is derived from the Fourth Gospel. ln John the incident takes place at the tomb. When Mary reports the appearance to others, they do not believe that Jesus is alive and that she has seen him (16:11).
Jesus next appears under another form to two of his disciples as they were on their way into the country (v. 12). This appearance is reminiscent of the Emmaus episode in Luke 24. Again, as in the previous case, these two tell the others who still do not believe (v. 13).
The final appearance is to the Eleven (vv. 14-20). There are parallels for this appearance in Luke 24:3649, John 20:19-22, and Matthew 28:16-20. Herein Jesus commissions the disciples to go and proclaim the gospel to the whole world (vv. 15-18), paralleling the mission appearances. The Marcan appendix concludes with an ascension (vv. 19-20), which otherwise is only recorded by Luke (24:51 and Acts 1). Although the longer ending of Mark contains parallels to the other Gospels, this does not necessarily mean that it is a summary of them. It may be an independent composition.10 The appearances in the Marcan appendix all seem to take place in Judea.
Observations on the Appearances. Before we discuss the narratives associated with the tomb of Jesus, it will be helpful to bring together some observations. In so doing, we bring into consideration not only the appearance narratives in the Gospels but also Paul's record of the appearances as well. Paul's letters are the earliest written accounts that we have. Written in the early fifties, approximately twenty years before the first Gospel, they are historiographically significant. My observations here concern the historicity of the appearances, their nature and their location.
1. Historicity. However one may interpret the historical or non-historical character of the resurrection of Jesus itself, I would suggest that there is an historical dimension underlying the appearances of Jesus. We can point to a change in the disciples and to the emergence of their faith in Jesus as raised from the dead. This is an historical fact. Jesus' disciples came to believe in Jesus as raised, began to proclaim his resurrection from the dead, all as a result of an experience or conversion which led to faith. The documents themselves attribute the source or cause of this conversion of faith to the appearances of Jesus, to personal encounters with the risen Lord.
Thus historiography can take us back to the emergence of faith, to a change in the disciples after the death of Jesus, and to the disciples' articulation of this change resulting from the self-presentation of the risen Jesus to them. Historiography can probably go no further, although it can inquire into the nature or character of these experiences which are described as appearances. Consistent elements in the recognition appearance narratives include a lack of expectation for such on the part of those to whom Jesus appears and an initiative taken by Jesus.
The earliest Christians had a tradition about a period of time after the resurrection during which Jesus was still with them but in a new way, not exactly as Jesus had been with them before the crucifixion nor as he would later be with them in the Spirit but in a mode intermediate between the two. There is no way of knowing how long this period of self-manifestations of Jesus lasted. Luke confines it to a period of forty days but he is the only one to do so and the time period is symbolic. If we follow Paul, our earliest testimony, who includes his experience as one of the appearances, the period lasted for three or six years. Paul's conversion was in the mid-thirties. The primary period during which the appearances recorded in the Gospels took place (to the women, to Peter, to the Eleven and to other disciples) may have been much shorter, much earlier than Paul's. There is no way of knowing how long the period was, but the documents attest to this period in the life of Christianity.
Just as it is difficult to date the appearances, it is difficult to establish a chronology for them. If we set the experience of the women aside (which we shall be discussing shortly as we consider the narratives associated with the tomb) and if we set the experience of Paul aside, was there one appearance or more than one? There is no way of judging with certitude. The most reliable guide is Paul. If we follow Paul, we may want to accept his account of six appearances as having a basis in the history of this very early period. If so, Peter was the first of the men to experience the risen Lord. This conviction is not only Paul's but is also indicated in Luke 24:34. The appearance to the Eleven is the most historically attested appearance. It is contained in all our accounts. After this we are less clear. Some have identified the appearance to the five hundred as Pentecost. It is very probable that Jesus may have appeared to James. Our question is not so much whether something historical actually happened (the faith did emerge and the disciples were changed into believers) but rather what did happen to the disciples to bring about their change from disillusionment to faith.
2. The Nature of the Appearances. It is difficult to say anything certain about the nature of these experiences other than that all the accounts understand them as something that happened to the disciples involving the self-presentation of Jesus to them. We may consider Paul's experience as paradigmatic. Paul considers his conversion to be one of these events and seems to see all of these events as at least analogous. On the other hand, there is nothing to exclude variety. They need not all have been of the same sort. In some Jesus is portrayed as almost immediately recognizable, in others as unrecognizable. Jesus may have appeared to his disciples not always in exactly the same fashion. What they all have in common is the understanding that Jesus takes the initiative in manifesting himself. They are personal encounters with the risen Jesus with Jesus manifesting himself in a bodily or somatic way. But this tells us little. If we go to the earliest testimony of Paul, we see the difficulty of trying to be too precise about the resurrection body. If the risen body of Jesus was akin to the description Paul gives us, we can only say that Jesus was raised a glorious, spiritual body. What it means to have experienced this, however, is not clear.
The appearances recorded later in the Gospels, especially in Luke and John, suggest a more physical appearance than does Paul's text. It may be that Paul is the more reliable basis upon which to understand the experiences, or it may again be a question of analogous but diverse realities. The characteristic Greek verb used to describe these experiences was ophthe: he appeared.11 It remains an open question whether these events involved a physical being. Events such as angelophanies and theophanies in the Hebrew Scriptures are often accompanied by verbal communications. These are revelations, but they need not be auditory in any ordinary sense. How one "sees" or "hears" when another dimension of our world contacts our space-time is not clear. This is why our language at this point becomes analogical and metaphorical. Fuller describes these experiences of appearances as revelatory self-disclosures or revelatory encounters.12 In these events something is communicated from outside our ordinary way of experiencing our world, and this communication may involve a visual element such as light. Light can describe both the message and the medium.
In the appearance experiences, the disciples recognized Jesus and it was Jesus whom they recognized, the person whom they had known from his ministry. Thus the disastrous defeat to which Jesus had come during the Passover in Jerusalem had been overcome. On the basis of their experiences, the disciples were able to say that Jesus was alive. But the exact nature of the appearance-experiences is still difficult to describe. In these events, whatever phenomena (such as light) may have been present within them, the disciples came to believe because they had met the living, risen Jesus. This language is metaphorical because the appearances move one to the boundaries of history and what is historiographical. But we can say with Wolfhart Pannenberg: "The Easter appearances are not to be explained from the Easter faith of the disciples; rather, conversely, the Easter faith of the disciples is to be explained from the appearances."13 On this point I am inclined to agree more with Pannenberg than Schillebeeckx.
The major difference between Schillebeeckx 14 and myself in this matter is that he clearly speaks of "the Easter experience" as a conversion experience that precedes the appearance traditions and tomb traditions, whereas I prefer to speak of the appearances as the experiences which induced faith -- the appearance-experiences. The appearances were the experiences of the Risen Lord's self-presentation, granting of course Schillebeeckx's distinction between the experience and its being put into language.
Schillebeeckx asks the question of what took place between the historical events of Jesus' death and the preaching of the first disciples. The disciples' failure of faith provided the context for a potential repentance, and Jesus' forgiveness was constitutive of the grace or conversion they experienced. That which took place after Jesus' death was the conversion of the disciples.
This "conversion" was first of all an experience of grace. The core of Jesus' self-manifestation was grace. This means that Jesus took the initiative for calling the disciples back. The conversion was a personal experience interpreted as Jesus' initiative. Jesus thus stood at the source of this conversion or "Easter experience." This grace of conversion was also a concrete experience of forgiveness.
The conversion experience contains not only the element of grace, but also of recognition. Jesus is experienced as One Who Lives. This does not necessarily imply seeing Jesus in a visual sense (which is perhaps why Schillebeeckx is at pains to distinguish between the "conversion" as an experience and "an appearance" as a later linguistic expression of the experience). The conversion involves, however, illumination. The "seeing of Jesus" is a christological seeing, an understanding of Jesus as the Christ, as alive, as present. This is the content then of the Easter experience -- being converted on Jesus' initiative to Jesus as the Christ. They all of a sudden "saw" it.
An effect of this recognition, of this "seeing," is that the spiritual contact with Jesus which had been ruptured by his death was restored. Jesus could again be addressed in intimate, personal terms. Following after Jesus was restored.
For Schillebeechkx, this Easter experience and Easter faith emerged prior to and independent of the two traditions, namely, those of appearances and that of the tomb. The reality denoted by the Easter experience was independent of the two traditions. (I grant that this is in a sense true, but I prefer to speak of the Easter experience as the reality underlying the appearance. The experience is what the appearances were. The appearances were not only the language and interpretation but also the experiences themselves. For me, Schillebeeckx separates them too much What he says about the conversion process helps us get at the core of what the appearance-experiences were.)
Schillebeeckx, of course, is making a point of distinguishing the spontaneous experience of conversion from the language in which it is expressed, a distinction between the experience and the articulation factor or resort to language. The experience is brought to expression through a "language filter" and also within given models of comprehension.
A question then is whether to speak of the appearances as the experiences of the Risen Lord (which of course had to be expressed in language and thus involved an interpretative element), as I prefer to do, or to make the experience antecedent to and independent of the appearances, which are then the interpretative narratives and models and a later tradition, as Schillebeeckx does. Thus, for Schillebeeckx, the faith existed before there were any appearances. For me, the appearance-experiences gave birth to the faith. The appearance-experiences and the appearance narratives, however cannot be simply identified or separated. The appearances are more than just the linguistic, interpretative factor. For Schillebeeckx, the conversion to Jesus is structured along the line of a Jewish conversion vision which gradually became an appearance accompanied by the motif of commissioning. The appearance and tomb traditions are later interpretative elements of earlier experiences.
I myself see the appearance-experiences as foundational for the emergence of the Easter faith, not of course to an exclusion of a foundation in the mission and ministry of Jesus as well.15
3. The Location of the Appearances. The appearance-experiences were real events in the lives of the disciples. Given what we have already said, it is not of great significance whether they took place in Jerusalem and its environs or in Galilee or in both. Paul provides us no information about where the appearances took place. We must also admit that we do not know.
It may well be that some such events took place in Jerusalem and other appearances took place in Galilee. I am not here suggesting a harmonization of the Gospel narratives nor a duplication of the appearance to the Eleven. But there was a tradition of appearances in Jerusalem, and Jesus may have appeared there to the women. Paul's record of an appearance to James may be a record of a Jerusalem appearance. Other appearances, perhaps one to Peter and one to the Eleven, may have taken place in Galilee.
If we consider only the appearance to the Eleven, the experience probably took place only once. We do not know whether in Jerusalem or Galilee. Galilee is a more frequently suggested hypothesis, but it is only hypothesis.16 After the arrest or crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples ned back to Galilee. There Jesus appeared to Peter and later to the Eleven and the post-resurrection faith was born. On this occasion Jesus may have given the gift of the Spirit as well, and the preaching began. Another hypothesis is that Peter became detached from the rest of the disciples. He remained longer in Jerusalem. Thus the appearance to Peter may have taken place while he was en route and the appearance to the others back in Galilee after Peter had arrived.17 These hypotheses are not conclusive however.
The Tomb NarrativesMany have argued that the narratives associated with the tomb of Jesus represent a tradition later than that of the appearance narratives. Reference to the tomb is absent from Paul and the pre-Pauline kerygma that Paul records (1 Cor 15:3-5). There are many characteristics of legend as well as inconsistencies in the tomb stories (the young man in Mark and an angelophany in Matthew and two men in Luke -- the concern over the stone in Mark and its being miraculously rolled away in Matthew). Even if the traditions associated with the tomb are later than the tradition of Jesus' appearances, and even if legendary features are part of their development, the empty tomb references testify to a Jerusalem based tradition for which we already have evidence in the appearance narratives. This Jerusalem based tradition is associated with women and with the tomb.
1. Mark 16:1-8. As stated above, these verses are the conclusion of Mark's Gospel.1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3. And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?" 4. And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back -- it was very large. 5. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. 6. And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucifled. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. 7. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you." 8. And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to anyone for they were afraid. (Mk 16:1-8)We spoke previously about verse seven. It may be a Marcan addition to the tradition. The pre-Marcan tradition may have gone from verse six smoothly to verse eight, the appearance of the angel and the fright of the women. It is difficult to know the precise motivation of the women. Did they come to see to the proper burial of Jesus (Mark, Luke) or simply to visit the tomb (Matthew)? Which women went to the tomb? The different accounts vary, but Mary Magdalene is included in all of them, and is named first. In John 20:1, Mary Magdalene is the only woman.
It is important to note that the tomb narratives do not give any information about the risen Jesus and the nature of the resurrection as such. The woman or women arrive and the tomb is empty. In Mark they leave frightened. The discovery that the tomb was empty does not lead to faith, but rather to fear and wonder.
2. Matthew 27:62-28:15. Our discussion of Matthew's narrative of the events which took place at the tomb of Jesus falls into three parts. (1) Matthew 28:1, 5-8 is the core of the narrative in which Matthew relies upon Mark. (2) Matthew 28:9-10 is a separable narrative of an appearance to the women. And (3), Matthew 27:62b6, 28:24, 11-15, reflect Christian apologetic or polemic against the Jews.
Vv. 28:1, 5-8. The relationship between Matthew's and Mark's resurrection narratives can be noted by means of a synopsis.18 Matthew 28:1, 5-8 provide the core of his narrative which follows Mark. There are several variations from Mark as we have seen. The number of women in Matthew is two rather than three. They do not come to anoint Jesus but only to see the tomb. They do not leave and say nothing but rather in fear and joy rush to tell the disciples what has happened. These variations are minor and behind them is the Marcan narrative and the basic narrative about the tomb.
Vv. 28:9-10. These verses are somewhat intrusive. Matthew 28:8 could move directly to 28:16-20, the narrative of the appearance of Jesus to the disciples in Galilee. But, before continuing, Matthew inserts the narrative of an appearance to the women.9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Hail!" And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshipped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me." (Mt 28:9-10)This is a separate narrative representing another pre-Matthean tradition. Jesus, not an angel, appears to the women. It is an appearance narrative in the vicinity of the tomb. It is not easy to say whether it is an earlier or later tradition than the angelophany which has preceded it.
Vv. 27:61-66, 28:2-4, 11-15. These verses are singled out because they reflect the story of guards at the tomb. In 27:62-66, the chief priests and some of the Pharisees go to Pilate to secure guards for the tomb. In 28:4, the guards see the angel and are literally scared stiff. In 28:11-15 the guards report to the chief priests what happened and are bribed to tell people that the disciples stole the body. Matthew's Gospel is written in the context of tension within Judaism. By the time his Gospel is written, the tradition of the events at the tomb had developed, and there must have circulated among the Jews rebuttals to the story of how the tomb was empty. Both Jewish and Christian charges and rebuttals over the proclamation of the resurrection would have been strong. Evidently there was among the Jews the opinion or charge that the body had been stolen. Christian rebuttal developed, an example of which we find in the story of guards at the tomb. There is little likelihood that the story has any basis in fact. The Jewish leaders (Sadducean) would hardly have anticipated or feared a resurrection, much less the resurrection of an individual. The Christian apologetical story simply explains that the Jewish people were not accepting the Christian interpretation of Jesus' tomb being empty.
3. Luke 24:1-12. Luke's narrative differs significantly from Mark in those verses that parallel Mark. It appears throughout the narrative that he not only relies upon Mark but upon another source as well. Luke is also going to report appearances to disciples in Jerusalem In Matthew the appearance to the Eleven had been in Galilee.
There are several details to note in Luke's narrative. The emptiness of the tomb is made very clear (v. 3). This, however, does not lead the women to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. Rather, they do not know what to think (v.4). What the two men say differs from the account in Mark and Matthew (vv. 5-7). As in Matthew, the women go to report what has happened. The disciples are still in Jerusalem. Verse 11 is significant:But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. (Lk 24:11)The discovery of the empty tomb did not lead to faith among the women. It took an appearance-experience of the two young men (vv. 4-7). The entire report of the women is not believed. It not only does not lead to faith among the disciples but is dismissed as nonsense. It is important to be aware that within the Scriptures and within the resurrection narratives themselves, the narratives associated with the tomb do not lead to faith. An appearance of some sort accomplishes that. The emptiness of the tomb or stories associated with the tomb lead to fear or amazement or disbelief or disregard.
4. John 20:1-18. As with the passion narrative, John and Luke share elements which reflect a common tradition. For both, the appearances occur in the area of Jerusalem. In the Johannine narrative concerning the tomb, we have two separable narratives probably reflecting two distinct traditions: the narrative about Mary Magdalene (20:1-2, 11-18) and the narrative about Peter and another disciple (20:2-10). The Mary Magdalene tradition probably goes directly from verse 1 to verses 11-18. Verse 2 connects it with the second narrative concerning the two disciples.
In the Johannine narrative Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb alone (v. 1). She then looks into the tomb, sees two angels, and their dialogue follows (vv. 12-13). She turns around and Jesus appears to her but she does not recognize him. A similar dialogue ensues (vv. 14-15). Then comes a very moving verse, the moment of recognition:Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rab-bo-ni! " (which means Teacher). (v. 16)Jesus asks her not to hang on to him but to go to his brothers to whom she does go and reports what has happened (vv. 17-18). The account contains both an angelophany and christophany. It is an appearance narrative in its own way. Jesus presents himself to her but she does not recognize him until he pronounces her name. Verse 16 reflects what we have learned in the appearance narratives, that they are revelatory recognitions of the risen Jesus.
Verses 3-10 provide a separate narrative although they are linked together in the Johannine account by verse 2. It is an account of men visiting the tomb. There was a reference in Luke 24:24 of some men going to the tomb to check out the women's story. In Luke 24:12, Peter alone visited the tomb. In John 20:3-10 two disciples go to the tomb. The "other disciple" is not included in Mark 14:54 or in Luke 24:12. It is more reasonable to assume that the Fourth Gospel has added the reference to the other disciple (cf. John 18:15-16; 20: 2-10). The core of the text is then Peter's going to the tomb, finding it empty, and returning home. There is no link between finding the tomb empty and believing. How could this be? Because Peter did not yet understand the Scriptures (v. 9). (See Luke 24:31-32.) The core of the text, Peter's visit to the tomb, may be historical. It does not credit Peter as believing, and thus would not have been developed later. Luke's account reflects the same tradition of a visit of Peter to the tomb.19 The Fourth Gospel records, however, that "the other disciple" saw and believed (v. 8). This is the only instance of seeing the tomb empty which leads to faith. The historical core of the story, however, is reflected in verse 9, but it is Peter who sees and does not yet believe.
Observations on the Narratives1. Any discussion of the resurrection must consider not only the Gospel narratives but also Paul who gives us our earliest written testimony in the New Testment. Paul lists the appearances of Jesus as testimony to the resurrection but Paul nowhere in his writings refers to the empty tomb. Thus the appearances of Jesus had a priority in Christian proclamation.
Associated with the Tomb of Jesus
2. Although the tomb narratives may not have been at first part of the proclamation, they did become vehicles for the proclamation as well. In this, however, it is not the emptiness of the tomb which is the object of concern but the resurrection of Jesus. The tomb narratives are not concerned with proclaiming the revivification of Jesus' corpse. Their concern is that Jesus has been raised and the eschatological implications of this fact. Within the resurrection narrative this is made clear by the central statement of proclamation in Mark 16:6,"Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him."
3. With regard to the male disciples of Jesus, neither a visit to the tomb nor the narratives of the tomb events brought them to faith in the risen Jesus (one could argue that "the other disciple" is an exception although this is probably not historical fact). Faith is a consequence of the appearance-experiences. This is the testimony of the resurrection narratives themselves. Faith followed the personal encounter with the risen Jesus. In the Lucan/Johannine tradition in which Peter actually visits the tomb of Jesus, it is never proclaimed that Peter believes. In Luke 24:11, when the disciples hear the reports of what the women have experienced, they do not believe them. If the appearance to the Eleven took place in Galilee, the disciples may have come to believe in Jesus before the events at the tomb were even known to them. The tomb and narratives concerning it do not lead to faith. The tomb narratives were vehicles for the proclamation of the faith but not sources of faith.
The same fact seems true of the women. After experiencing the tomb, the women were afraid or astonished and go off to report to the disciples what they had heard. Matthew records not only the event of the women at the tomb, but also an actual appearance-experience of the women leaving the tomb. John also records not only the encounter of Mary Magdalene with the angels at the tomb, but an appearance of Jesus to her at the tomb itself. Thus both the appearance narratives and the tomb narratives associate faith with the appearance-experiences rather than with the experience of Jesus' tomb being empty.
4. The emptiness of the tomb neither proves nor disproves the Christian proclamation. It only proves that the corpse was missing. Yet the tomb narratives represent a very early tradition, even though absent from Paul. They were not the creation of the evangelists. The Marcan and Lucan/Johannine traditions have their own history. The story of the empty tomb was further elaborated and elaborated in distinctive ways. Matthew represents one direction of development. A pre-Lucan and pre-Johannine tradition was another, in which disciples remained in Jerusalem and in which Peter himself visited the tomb.
The story of the women, which may or may not have been only Mary Magdalene, was a very early Jerusalem tradition. The appearance of Jesus to the Eleven, very possibly in Galilee, led to faith. As these believers went to Jerusalem (perhaps even for the next great Jewish feast of Pentecost) they encountered the tradition of what had happened at the tomb. Thus there is the Jerusalem-centered tradition focused on the tomb and associated with the women, and the Galilee-centered tradition focused on the appearances and associated with Peter and the Eleven.
A Possible Reconstruction of the EventsGiven both the nature of the event and the nature of the materials which give us access to the event, there is no way in which one can historiographically reconstruct with certitude what took place in history between the death of Jesus and the proclamation of the earliest Christians. We operate on the basis of hypothesis only.
Surrounding the Resurrection of Jesus
Jesus died a scandalous death. Not long thereafter he is proclaimed as having been raised from the dead. What led to this proclamation? The most immediate causes, as we have seen, were the appearance-experiences of the disciples and the gift of the Spirit to the disciples. Can anything further be said?
What actually happened to Jesus we cannot say. What the experience itself consisted in for him we do not know. What happened, however, was interpreted by others on the basis of their experiences to be not a question of the immortality of Jesus' soul but rather the rising of Jesus to life from the grave by God. The question is: in what did this event described as resurrection consist?
We have seen in our study of the Jewish background to the doctrine of the resurrection that there were a wide variety of ways in which future life and resurrection from the dead were conceptualized in the first century C.E. One cannot speak of the Jewish doctrine as such, but only of the varied and often inconsistent conceptions. These ranged from more physicalized to more spiritualized understandings. Resurrection itself was not a precise concept. It connoted resurrection of the corpse (revivification, resuscitation), or transformation of the corpse (a transformation in which the materiality of the corpse seems necessary but is changed), or transformation to a new mode of existence (in which the new life may be bodily but a bodily life for which the materiality of the corpse is unnecessary, perhaps akin to Murdach Dahl's somatic but not material identity), or even re-creation with the implication of greater discontinuity than the word transformation implies. We have then a variety of concepts which are not completely clear, and we must call to mind our eschatological skepticism wherever we discuss the how of the resurrection. We really do not know in what resurrection consists; we can only conjecture.
Since we do not know, a safe course is to follow Paul, who both cautions us and helps us. Paul believed that he himself experienced the resurrected Jesus (1 Cor 15:8). Paul considered the glorified, resurrected life of Jesus to be analogous to the glorified, resurrected life of Christians (1 Cor 15:12-13 Phil 3:20-21). Paul himself experienced the risen Jesus, and on the basis of his experience attempted to describe what resurrection is like. Paul realized that it was foolish to try to speak about how the dead are raised and what they would be like. At the same time he developed some understanding with his analogy of the seed, his concept of transformation, and his teaching about a spiritual body. Does Jesus' risen life correspond in some way to Paul's description?
But Paul's effort will not answer all our questions. Paul clearly does not see the resurrection as a revivification of a corpse: what is sown a physical body is raised a spiritual body. Yet Paul sees continuity with this earthly life, as with a seed. Yet flesh and blood as we know it cannot inherit the reign of heaven. Thus, in Jesus' resurrection, Jesus was transformed into a new mode of existence, but it was Jesus who was so transformed. On the basis of Paul, we can choose to describe Jesus' resurrection as a transformation event.
On the basis of Paul, however, we cannot clearly say whether that transformation was one in which the corpse was involved or one for which the materiality of the corpse was not necessary. We could hypothesize either. Let us suggest for a moment that resurrection is a transformation to a new mode of existence for which the materiality of the corpse is unnecessary but a transformation which does involve both personal identity and some form of embodiment. It is just not a transformation of the corpse. One of the best efforts to explore this perspective along contemporary and philosophical lines is that of John Hick and what he calls the replica theory.20
Paul's seed analogy makes the point. An apple seed does not become an orange. So X does not become Y. But if one were to attempt to describe an apple or an apple tree, if one had never seen one, simply on the basis of the seed, one would have a hard time doing so. Thus there is continuity in the resurrection from an apple seed to an apple (personal identity), but there is also great discontinuity (the apple is not the seed, the spiritual body not the physical body; flesh and blood do not inherit the reign of heaven). Thus, on the basis of Paul's description and on the basis of Paul's experience, one could suggest that the resurrection of Jesus was an event for which the materiality of the corpse was not necessary.
For the moment we are only suggesting this as a possibility. It rests upon a particular interpretation of Paul and also maintains that it is possible to conceptualize a bodily resurrection (not simply an immortal soul, but an embodied, transformed, personal being) for which the corpse, its matter, is simply not necessary. Now Jesus' resurrection may be conceptualized in other ways. We do not know for sure in what it consisted. Yet it is possible to envision an event which was real and bodily but for which the materiality of the corpse was not necessary.
What can be stated with assurance about Jesus' resurrection is not its precise empirical character but its reality as an act of God. It is God who raises the dead to life. It is God who likewise raised Jesus from the dead. The biblical vocabulary for the resurrection involves the verbs egeirein and anistanai.21 Egeirein is the more frequent in the New Testament and is used with ek ton nekron (from among the dead), with apo nekron (away from the dead), or simply by itself. The subject of egeirein is always God or else the verb is used in the passive with the meaning of "raised by God." Thus resurrection is understood to be God's act.
God is in fact the one who raised Jesus (Rom 4:24; 8:11; 2 Cor 4:14; Gal 1:1; Eph 1:20; Col 2:12; 1 Peter 1:21). The subject of anistanai is also God. Used intransitively it still has the sense of "raised by God" (I Thes 4:14).
In the son of humanity predictions in Mark, however, anistanai has the sense of "he will arise by his own power" (Mk 8:31, 9:9, 9:31, 10:34); but this use reflects later understanding. The son of humanity parallels in Matthew retain egeirein and the sense of "raised by God." The fourth Gospel is an exception to this principle, but it reflects a more developed christology. In John, Jesus has the power to raise himself (2:19, 5:21, 6:39-54, 10:17-18, 11:25). The earliest tradition, however, saw Jesus' resurrection (as Jesus himself would have envisioned it) as God's act, an act of Jesus' heavenly Father. Jesus' resurrection then was an act in which God effected a transformation of Jesus into a new bodily life for which the materiality of the earthly body was unnecessary.
Another plausible suggestion within our hypothesis is that the event which we call resurrection occurs at death. This is true for all of us and thus equally true for Jesus. There are several reasons for this suggestion. Biblically, we can point to Paul. Paul's earliest teaching reflects that he associated the event of resurrection with the end days or the Parouisa of Jesus ( I Thes 4:15). Paul's later teaching, however, shows a shift in his thinking, as we have seen: the moment of death is the moment of resurrection (2 Cor 5). Thus we find in Paul himself two theological opinions about the time of resurrection. We have been saying that resurrection is a transformation event and an event in which the whole person is transformed as a body-soul unity. Resurrection is not resurrection of the body (in the sense of revivification) but resurrection from the dead (of the psychosomatic unity that a person is). Our basis here is both Paul and contemporary theologies of death, which have moved away from a more philosophically dualistic or Platonic approach and speak less of death as a separation of body and soul (an idea which has its roots in philosophical dualism) and speak of death rather as a transformation event.22 The shift away from the body-soul dichotomy has a basis in Semitic or biblical anthropology, in Aristotelian philosophy, and in contemporary philosophy which perceives the human being as a whole.23 This is not to say that body and soul (materiality and spirituality, corporeity and personality) are not distinguishable; they are simply not completely separable. Death in this anthropological perspective is not a separation but a transformation.
Resurrection is transformation, and death is transformation. Are we not talking about the same event? When we die, we are raised to a new mode of life. Death and resurrection are two aspects of the same event. Death is the word that describes the biological, empirical, and phenomenal side of the transformation event: the earthly, fleshly mode of existence ceases, comes to an end. But this does not mean that the person ceases. The person has died, has passed on to a new mode of existence or life, has been raised. Just as death is the empirically observable side of the event, so resurrection is the word used to describe the ontological side of the event. All that happens in this event is not empirical and observable.
To use Teilhard de Chardin's terms, the human person has a "without" and a "within." At the level of the without, the person has died. At the level of the within, the person has been raised. The death-resurrection event is a transformation.
What dies is not exactly what is raised; we shall be changed, but it is still we who endure through the change. Thus not only is there the biblical opinion of death being the moment of resurrection, but there also is the opinion of some philosophical theologies that death is resurrection. When we die, we shall be changed, transformed, raised.
But if the event and experience of death is also an event and experience of being raised up, what about the body (the corpse) that is placed in the grave? That is simply the materiality that is unnecessary to the risen body or glorified mode of existence. The person at death does not become disembodied (a soul) or naked but is rather newly clothed or re-embodied with a spiritual body and glory, and the materiality of the corpse is matter unnecessary to the new mode of embodiment. This lacks greater precision because some of our questions are unanswerable and because eye has not seen what God has in store for us. When we die, we are transformed into another mode of life: so likewise was Jesus. His death was the empirical side of his resurrection to new life.
Rather than saying that death is resurrection, it is more precise to say that death inaugurates resurrection. I do not want to suggest that all that we wait for is accomplished in a single event, a death-resurrection-transformation. There are further questions which we can only pursue later. After we die and are raised, is there nothing "more" to come? What about the event variously described and associated with the end of days, the final judgment, and the Parousia of Jesus? I suggest that death is the beginning of a new mode of existence but not the consummation of it. We do not know how to express the experience of this intermediate but risen life and often do so in temporal and metaphorical terms.
There is also the question of whether personal development continues after death. Although we are accustomed to think of one's fate being sealed at death and some theologies of death see death as the moment of final and irrevocable decision, the theological opinion which I prefer sees the possibility of personal development after death.24 The word development is analogous. Development after death has an analogue in the Catholic understanding of purgatory.
There is a further question about the corporate dimension of the human person. Although the resurrection body spoken of by Paul is an individual body, it is still true to say that we are all one body in Christ. The final consummation -- which even those already raised from the dead await -- is not simply for individuals. What is the relationship between the individual and the community in the resurrection event as well?25 As we set aside dualistic categories, so we must set aside individualistic ones. Thus the resurrection that death inaugurates is not necessarily the whole story for an individual person. The person longs for the last days, continues to develop, and awaits the other members of the body of Christ. We cannot say more about these questions now. The resurrection that death inaugurates is real but not complete. Resurrection itself is a process.
If one interprets death itself to be the occasion which inaugurates resurrection, something needs to be said about the expression "on the third day" ( 1 Cor 15:4). Whether one accepts other aspects of the present hypothesis or not, exegetes today do not interpret this expression as reflecting historical chronology. It does not date the resurrection of Jesus, nor does it necessarily refer to the discovery of the empty tomb. Although one cannot be certain of its background, one explanation is that the expression has its roots in Hosea.Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn, that he may heal us; he has stricken, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. (Hos 6:1-2)The Jerusalem Bible notes with respect to Hosea 6:2 that the phrases "after a day or two ... on the third day" mean "before long." One cannot be certain that the Hosea passage is the basis for the New Testament image, but there is targumic evidence that the Hosea passage was interpreted as a prophecy about the resurrection. "The third day" became the day of the resurrection of the dead or the day of redemption. That Jesus was raised "on the third day" simply means that shortly after his death and burial he was raised, that the day of redemption had come, or that the resurrection of the dead had begun. It is a theological, not chronological statement.26
Jesus' resurrection, like ours, is not a question of a revivification of a corpse. The corpse is that which is unnecessary to resurrection. Jesus died, and at that time or shortly thereafter, was raised from the dead. The corpse was buried, but Jesus had been transformed into a new mode of existence. He continued to live as an embodied person whatever glorified and pneumatic bodiliness may be. There is no necessary reason for the tomb of Jesus later to be empty. Even if the tomb had not been empty, Jesus would have been raised. An empty tomb is unnecessary for faith in the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Yet a serious historiographical problem remains. If no empty tomb was necessary for the resurrection of Jesus, and if the tomb was not empty, what gave rise to the empty-tomb tradition? We do not know for sure, and of course, there are several possibilities. Events may have happened at or in the vicinity of the tomb, but these events were appearances, such as an appearance to the women. The story then began to circulate about what happened to the women at the tomb.
Van Iersel has offered an hypothesis based on a tradition of pilgrimage to the tomb of Jewish saints and martyrs.27 Early on, Jewish Christians would have visited the tomb of Jesus. Mark 16:6-"You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him" -- represents an account given by one who led Christians to the tomb of Jesus. It was not a question of whether the tomb was empty or not, but an announcement of the resurrection in accord with the appearance-experience-based faith of the followers.
Our hypothesis so far has suggested that the tomb of Jesus may not have been empty. Yet such a suggestion explains less well the data behind the empty-tomb narratives. Thus we must push our thinking further. Historiographical investigation must take into account the fact that there were a wide variety of options in first-century Judaism concerning life after death: there was no one Jewish doctrine nor even one Jewish conception of resurrection. In explaining their experiences of the risen Jesus, why did the disciples pick the category of resurrection? The concept of immortality of the soul was present in Judaism; it was not simply foreign or Hellenistic. Why did the disciples choose the category of resurrection rather than immortality-unless their experiences conformed or led to the category of resurrection? Even the early versions of the appearances imply that the disciples experienced Jesus in some bodily way, although the physicalness was not emphasized in the earliest accounts. Yet the category of bodily resurrection must have been more in accord with the actual experiences of Jesus' appearing to them. But there was also in the Judaism of Jesus' day a variety of conceptions of what resurrection consisted in-from very material to very spiritual conceptions. If the experiences of the risen Jesus were so spiritual, why did the disciples not explain them as such, in categories already available within Judaism? Why allow or create an unnecessary empty tomb tradition which implied a more bodily conception of resurrection-unless disciples actually experienced the tomb as empty and had to give an account of that fact? Given the variety of options available to Judaism, there was no need to assume or create an empty-tomb tradition -- unless of course the tomb had been so experienced.
Jesus was experienced as alive. The Christians had a variety of ways in which they could express this. Yet they chose to speak of Jesus in terms of resurrection and in terms of an empty tomb. The more solid historiographical conclusion is that some people had actually witnessed the tomb as empty. The experiences of the women at and in the vicinity of the tomb ought not be dismissed as legend. If there were no factual basis to the tomb narratives, the stories of the women's experiences would not have been incorporated into the tradition. The account of Peter's visit to the tomb (Jn 20:3-10) with its basis in a Lucan/Johannine tradition cannot be simply labeled as late. As with the passion narratives, the Lucan and Johannine accounts provide historically reliable material. The earliest stages of the Johannine text give witness to a visit of Peter to the tomb; the best explanation for the tradition is the historicity of the event itself. There was no reason to invent the story; the faith of Peter is not linked to the experience; it is more probable to suggest that it happened. Some of the women (at least Mary Magdalene) and Peter knew that the tomb was empty. The empty tomb, however, still does not prove anything. There could be other explanations advanced for the absence of the corpse from the grave. Yet, historiographically, it is still more probable that the grave was empty. The corpse was not there.
After the series of events surrounding the execution of Jesus, Jesus died and was buried. Accompanying his death was the resurrection-transformation to a new and eschatological life. For this, the materiality of Jesus' corpse was in fact not necessary. Perhaps, however, in the case of Jesus, the materiality of the corpse was dematerialized and became a factor in the resurrection of Jesus. The risen Jesus (raised by God) could well have had the power (his own power) to materialize or dematerialize himself. This "miracle" was simply one more among the extraordinary events on earth which accompanied the resurrection of Jesus, such as the appearances and the experience at Pentecost.28
After the sabbath, Mary Magdalene (perhaps alone, perhaps with other women) went to the tomb. In the vicinity of the tomb, Jesus appeared to her (or them). We don't know her reaction, but she goes to report her experience of the tomb and of Jesus to the other disciples. They, however, have left for Galilee, with the possible exception of Peter who may have lingered longer in Jerusalem. If so, Peter may have gone to the tomb where Jesus may also have appeared to him, or simply went to the tomb and then hurried to catch up with the others and Jesus appeared to him on the way. When Peter arrived in Galilee and caught up with the others, who had perhaps returned to their fishing, Jesus appeared to all Eleven gathered together. After the death of Jesus, these appearance-experiences were the next truly significant events.
If the tomb was empty, then Mary Magdalene, or the women, or Peter witnessed the tomb as empty. What still stirred them to faith, however, was not the witnessing of the tomb but their own personal encounters with the risen Jesus in the appearance-experiences, whether at the tomb, in the vicinity of the tomb, or somewhere else, such as on the road to Galilee. If the tomb was in fact empty, one still cannot document the cause of that fact -- whether the empty tomb was the result of some miracle or whether the corpse had in fact been removed or even stolen.
John Dominic Crossan argues that there was no empty tomb tradition prior to Mark and that Mark himself created the tradition of the empty tomb.29 Although the tradition lying behind Mark 16:1-8 is a subject for discussion, we cannot conclude convincingly that there was no prior tradition at all. The early preaching would have been affected if the tomb were not empty. Granted that the faith may have originated in Galilee and granted that it may have been impossible to verify the identity of a corpse by the time the preaching emerged in Jerusalem (say the feast of Pentecost), yet there is no evidence in the tradition for there being a corpse in the tomb. A resurrection could have been interpreted in a variety of ways. Yet there is no evidence of any interpretation of a resurrection that accords with the presence of a corpse. No matter how difficult verification would be (being able to identify the place of burial, being able to locate where Jesus was placed in the tomb, being able to identify the decomposing corpse), there is no evidence that anyone used the presence of something in a grave somewhere to argue against the preaching of the disciples. All evidence, Jewish and Christian, suggests that the tomb was empty. The question seems to be how or why -- not whether.
The problem seems to be that the tomb was accepted as empty. The challenge was not how to understand the presence of a corpse but how to understand its absence. An early response to the tomb affair was the suggestion that the body had been taken or even stolen. Even the emptiness of the tomb had to be explained; it did not lead anyone, even disciples, to posit the resurrection of Jesus. Only the appearances did this. Yet the disciples had to face the fact of the empty tomb, and it was not necessarily an argument in favor of their proclamation. Granted the apologetic and polemical character of the Matthean material in 27:61-66, 28:1 1-15, the texts still suggest that the problem facing the disciples is how to interpret the emptiness of the tomb, not the presence of a corpse. The fact of an empty tomb better explains the historiographical data.
We must keep in mind, however: (1) Belief in the empty tomb is not a part of Christian faith. Christian faith is in the risen Jesus. (2) The empty tomb itself is not historiographical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. There are other ways of interpreting an empty tomb. (3) The empty tomb tradition itself does not relate the discovery of the tomb to faith. Faith is the effect of the appearance-experiences, and fear or bewilderment or wonder the effect of the discovery of the tomb. (4) The empty tomb does not say anything about the nature of the resurrection or the risen body. The emptiness of the tomb may have been an effect accomplished by Jesus after raised rather than constitutive of the resurrection-transformation. (5) The empty tomb is a historiographically questioned as well as argued point. An empty tomb was not philosophically necesssary for the fact of the resurrection. In either case, what was experienced and proclaimed was the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
With the appearance-experiences, the faith of Jesus' followers had been restored and even inaugurated on a new plane. We do not know the precise nature of those appearances, but after the gift of the Spirit and event of Pentecost, the preaching took shape. The movement had begun. After the beginning of the preaching, traditions developed. There was the passion story and the announcement of the resurrection. There were the growing collections of the sayings of Jesus. Eventually the announcement of the resurrection developed into narratives-narratives in which the appearance of Jesus was highly physicalized (as in Luke and John), narratives which reflected polemic with the Jews (as in Matthew), and narratives about the discovery of the tomb. But the basic facts seem to have been that Jesus died, was buried, was raised from the dead shortly thereafter, and then appeared or manifested or made his continuing presence known to the disciples. Discipleship which had been briefly interrupted was continued on a new plane.
The Historicity of Jesus' ResurrectionHaving taken a look at the background for the language of resurrection in early Judaism, the concept of resurrection as articulated by Paul on the basis of both his Jewish traditions and his personal experience of the risen Jesus, the resurrection (appearance and tomb) narratives as present in our Gospels, and having made some hypotheses and suggestions toward an effort to understand the events that happened following upon the death of Jesus, we are now in a position to say something further about the event itself. Was it an historical event? An answer to this question does not give us information about the precise nature of the event itself, but it helps us to understand what we are talking about.
The answer to the question partially depends upon what we mean by history. There are two primary meanings. An event can be described as historical if it actually happened in the world of our earthly existence and human experience. Or describing an event as historical can mean that it is scientifically or historiographically accessible, verifiable. These two meanings are closely related; ordinarily we do not say that something happened if its actual occurrence is not verifiable. Yet the two meanings are distinguishable. The first meaning refers to the course of history, the actual events themselves. Many things have happened in history that remain unknown because they are not accessible to us or insufficient historiographical evidence remains. The second meaning refers to the discipline and methodology of the professional historian, the way he or she goes about "doing history." The first is history itself; the second is the study of it. When one studies history in schools, one is studying not only what happened but also how what happened has been reconstructed for us by the historians. Is an event historical because it happened or because it left its traces or because the historian can get at it?
There are three primary options which modern theologians have taken. (1) The resurrection did not happen as an actual event in history or in the life of Jesus himself. He was not "personally raised." The resurrection happened insofar as this refers to other phenomena-say the emergence of the faith of the disciples, or the continuation of the kerygma, or the significance of the crucifixion for authentic life (Bultmann, Marxsen).30 (2) The resurrection did happen, was an event in the personal life of Jesus as well as much more, and it can also be verified historiographically as having happened (Pannenberg).3l (3) The third option lies between the previous two and rests upon the distinction made above. The resurrection of Jesus was an historical event in the sense that it actually hapened in the course of human events and personally happened to Jesus, but it is not historical in the sense of being able to be conclusively verified by historical research and historiographical methods. I see the third option as the best description of the facts. (Moltmann and Fuller argue also for some form of this option.)32
We can say then that the resurrection is an historical fact in the sense that it happened. Our language is metaphorical, but the language still expresses a reality. Jesus himself was raised bodily from the dead (body here does not denote corpse). How can one know this? Both faith and historiography play a role.
We believe that Jesus was actually raised from the dead, that Jesus still lives. Otherwise, as Paul tells us, our faith is in vain. In other words, one can't prove as such that Jesus was raised but one's conviction by faith is that he was. One can no more prove this event as having happened than one can prove the faith itself. Faith cannnot be proved by reason alone. Yet one's faith contains belief in the reality of the event. And although the event is not scientifically provable as such, it is still verifiable in human experience in that the risen Jesus is accessible to our experience. We, too, can personally encounter him, and that experience can corroborate our faith. And there are many through the centuries who give testimony to their experience of the risen Jesus.
Although the actuality of Jesus' being raised cannot be proved as such, Pannenberg is correct in suggesting that the resurrection of Jesus is the most intelligible way of understandling the historiographically accessible facts. It is well founded and the most reasonable historiographical hypothesis. Yet, historiographically, it is hypothesis, but a hypothesis which accounts for the events: the resurrection of Jesus is what ultimately explains the faith of the disciples, the Christian movement, and the emergence of Christianity as a new fact in history. The empty tomb did not stir the people to faith, but the risen Jesus did. "Something happened" behind the events as we have them, and that "something" was "the resurrection of Jesus."
Although the resurrection of Jesus himself is the most plausible hypothesis for explaining history, yet we go too far if we describe the resurrection as a historiographically accessible datum of history. The nature of the event itself is such that history as we ordinarily know and experience it meets with the beyond that both permeates history and transcends it. One can interpret the effects of such an event that leave their mark on history as we know it, yet these effects are not definitive but suggestive. They are invitations to faith but not demonstrations of it. The nature of a resurrection event is meta-historiographical.
The resurrection was then an historical event in the sense that it actually happened and left its effects on history as we know it. It was not an historical event, however, in the sense that it is historiographically demonstrable at this point in history. It is, however, credible, reasonable, and plausible, but certain only to faith and personal experience, not to the science we call history. lt is better described as a meta-historiographical historical event. In other words, "The assertion, which has been handed down in the form of a statement concerning reality, that 'Jesus has been raised from the dead,' is valid as a statement concerning reality"33 (The resurrection of Jesus is an historical event). But the validity of the above statement is ultimately a statement of faith, not an historiographical judgment, although historiography itself points in that direction, but not conclusively so, given the very nature of the resurrection event (The resurrection of Jesus is a meta-historiographical judgment).
Footnotes1 Excellent introductory studies pertinent to the resurrection narratives include Raymond Brown, The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus (New York: Paulist Press, 1973), 69-129; Reginald Fuller, The Formation of the Resurrection Narratives (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1971); Gerald O'Collins, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ (Valley Forge, Penn.: Judson Press, 1973); and Pheme Perkins, Resurrection, New Testament Witness and Contemporary Reflection (Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Co., Inc., 1984).
2 See Gerald O'Collins, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, 18-28. The division into mission appearances and recognition appearances goes back to M. Albertz, "Zur Formgeschichte der Auferstehungsberichte," Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 21 (1922), 159-69. Pierre Benoit prefers this classification in The Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ (New York: Herder and Herder, 1969), 183-87, 323-42. So does Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, "Recognizing the Risen Lord, The Historical Genesis of Belief in the Resurrection," N.C.R. Cassettes (Kansas City: National Catholic Reporter, 1978). From a literary point of view, this is the classification to be preferred. Raymond Brown, The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, 99-111, follows a geographical classification. One may make a point of this difference in the narratives if one is attempting to sift out some historical material from within them. C.H. Dodd, "The Appearances of the Risen Christ: An Essay in Form Criticism of the Gospels," Studies in the Gospels, ed. D.E. Nineham (Oxford University Press, 1957), 9-35, reprinted in C.H. Dodd, More New Testament Studies ( 1968) offers still another system of classification into concise narratives (short stories) and circumstantial narratives (long stories).
3 Norman Perrin argues that Mark intended to end his Gospel at 16:8. See The Resurrection according to Mattheu, Mark and Luke (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977), 16-19. The question is a quite complicated one, however. See C.F. Evans, Resurrection and the New Testament, SBT, Second Series, vol. 12 (London: SCM Press, 1970), 67-75. Also see Fuller, The Formation of the Resurrection Narratives, 64-68, 155-59; Brown, The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, 97-98.
4 A strong proponent of the Parousia interpretation is Perrin, The Resurrection according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, 18-34. This is also the interpretation of Willi Marxsen, Mark the Evangelist, trans. Boyce, Juel, Poehlmann, with Harrisville (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1969), 83-92, 111-16, and The Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth (Philadelphia: Fortress Press. 1970). 162-64. For a criticism of this position, see Gerald O'Collins, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, 36-38.
5 See specially C.F. Evans, Resurrection and the New Testament, 75-81; and "I will go before you into Galilee," Journal of Theological Studies, New Series, 5 (1954), 3-18. Also E.C. Hoskyns, "Adversaria Exegetica," Theology 7 (1923), 147-55.
6 See Fuller, The Formation of the Resurrection Narratives, 146-54. Also Raymond Brown, The Gospel according to John XIII-XXI, Anchor Bible 29A (Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Co., Inc. 1970), 1063-1132.
7 Fuller, The Formation of the Resurrection Narratives, 103-23. Also Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel according to Luke X-XXIV, Anchor Bible 28A (Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Co., Inc. 1985), 1553-85.
8 See the doctoral dissertation of John Gillman, Transformation into the Future Life: A Study of I Corinthians 15, 50-53, Its Context and Related Passages (Ph.D. dissertation, Catholic University of Louvain, 1980), 1118-19.
9 C.K. Barrett, The Gospel according to St. John (London: SPCK 1978), 567.
10 For C. H. Dodd's understanding of the independent character of the narrative in the Marcan appendix, see "The Appearances or the Risen Christ: an Essay in Form Criticism of the Gospels," fn. 2 in this chapter.
11 Gerald O'Collins, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, 7-9.
12 See Raymond Brown, The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, 83-92: Reginald Fuller, The Formation of the Resurrection Narratives, 3034; Wolfhart Pannenberg, Jesus--God and Man, trans. Wilkins and Priebe (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1968), 92-100; Ulrich Wilckens, "The Tradition-history or the Resurrection of Jesus," in The Significance of the Message of the Resurrection for Faith in Jesus Christ, ed. C.F.D. Moule, SBT, Second Series 8 (London: SCM Press, 1968), 51-76, esp. 61-69.
13 Pannenberg, Jesus--God and Man, 96.
14 Edward Schillebeeckx, Jesus, An Experiment in Christology, trans. Hubert Hoskins (New York: Seabury Press, 1979), 320-97.
15 On this point, see the discussion by Francis Schüssler Fiorenza in Foundational Theology, Jesus and the Church, (New York: Crossroad 1984), 18-24.
16 For the Galilee hypothesis, see Brown, The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, 99-111, esp. 108-111; and O'Collins, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22-28, 36-38. Also see, Kirsopp Lake, The Historical Evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1907), chap. 6. For a critique of the Galilean hypothesis, see C.F. Evans, Resurrection and the New Testament, 128-31.
17 See Fuller, The Formation of the Resurrection Narratives, 34-35. Also see Fuller, "The 'Thou Art Peter' Pericope," McCormick Quarterly 20 (1967), 309-315. Also F.C. Burkitt, Christian Beginnings (London: University Press, 1924), 87f.
18 E.g., see Synopsis of the Four Gospels, ed. Kurt Aland (United Bible Societies, 1970).
19 The authenticity of Luke 24:12 is questioned. The RSV translation assigns it to a footnote. Cf., Fuller, The Formation of the Resurrection Narratives, 101-103. For a fuller discussion of the Lucan and Johannine narratives, see M.E. Boismard, "Saint Luc et la rédaction du Quatrieme Evangile," Revue biblique 69 (1962), 185-211.
20 See John Hick, Death and Eternal Life (New York: Harper and Row, 1976), 278-96. Also see pp. 171-77 for his discussion of Jesus' resurrection.
21 Evans, Resurrection and the New Testament, 20-27. Also see Raymond Brown in The Jerome Biblical Commentary (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1968), vol. 2, 78:158, pp 794-95.
22 Modern Roman Catholic theologies of death include Ladislaus Boros, The Mystery of Death (New York: Herder and Herder, 1965); Karl Rahner, On the Theology of Death (New York: Herder and Herder, 1961); Roger Troisfontaines, I Do Not Die (New York: Desclée Co., 1963). Not all of these move away from speaking about death as a separation of body and soul; they simply move in that direction. Rahner still speaks of death as separation of body and soul but argues that the soul does not become acosmic at death. Boros and Troisfontaines use the language of transformation. For summaries of these varied views, see Robert Francoeur, Perspectives in Evolution (Baltimore: Helicon, 1965), 231-80, and John Hick, Death and Eternal Life, 228-41. For a discussion of Teilhard de Chardin's approach to death, see Henri de Lubac, The Religion of Teilhard de Chardin (New York: Desclée Co., 1967), 47-55.
23 For further discussion of the biblical perspective on the human person as a body-soul unity, see Wulstan Mork, The Biblical Meaning of Man (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1967); Claude Tresmontant, A Study of Hebrew Thought (New York: Desclée Co., 1960). For some contemporary efforts see J . F. Donceel, Philosophical Anthropology (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1967), 410-63, and "Teilhard de Chardin and the Body-Soul Relation," Thought 40 (1965); Robert North, Teilhard and the Creation of the Soul (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1967). 188-202; Piet Schoonenberg God's World in the Making (Techny, Ill.: Divine Word Publications, 1967), 46-48. For a modern effort to construct a view of resurrection based upon the psycho-physical unity of the person, see John Hick, Death and Eternal Life, 35-54.
24 With respect to the question of the continuing development of the human person after death, see especially John Hick, Death and Eternal Life, 221-41, 272-76, 407-14, 455-58. Also, Edmund Guernl, Evolution in the Afterlife (Exposition).
25 Concerning the relationship between individuality and community, see R.H. Charles, Eschatology, The Doctrine of a Future Life (New York: Schocken Books [1899/ 1913] 1963), 305-6; Donald Goergen, Personality-in-Process and Teilhard de Chardin (Ann Arbor; Mi.: University Microfilms International, 1984), 7-35, 126-32, 327-72; John Hick, Death and Eternal Life, 455-64; and John A.T. Robinson,The Body, A Study in Pauline Theology, SBT 5 (London: SCM Press, 1966), 49-83.
26 H.C.C. Cavallin, Life After Death. Paul's Argument for the Resurrection of the Dead in 1 Cor. 15, Part I, an Enquiry into the Jewish Background (Lund, Sweden: CWK Gleerup, 1974), 189, supports Hosea 6:2 as the basis for the New Testament usage and provides targumic interpretation of Hosea. Also see Cavallin, 192, notes 16-17 for further references. Also Evans, Resurrection and the New Testament, 47-50. Gerald O'Collins, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, 10-15, sees the expression as more likely derived from the discovery of the empty tomb. Also see John M. Perry, "The Three Days in the Synoptic Passion Predictions," Catholic Biblical Quarterly 48 (1986), 637-54, for his own hypothesis and its relationship to Hosea 6:2. And for covenantal connections in the use of 'the third day,' see W. Brueggemann, "Amos 4:4-13 and Israel's Covenant Worship," Vetus Testamentum 15 (1965), 1-15.
27 See Bas van Iersel, "The Resurrrection of Jesus -- Information or Interpretation?" in Immortality and Resurrection, ed. by Benoit and Murphy, Concilium, vol. 50 (New York: Herder and Herder, 1970), 54-67, esp. 62-63. Also O'Collins, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, 38-43.
28 I am attributing here the disappearance of the corpse to a miracle. In this sense, the resurrection of Jesus was a miracle. In a more profound sense, however, one can describe the entire resurrection event as a miracle. See Walter Künneth, The Theology of the Resurrection, trans. James W. Leitch (St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia Pub. House, 1965), 73-80. There is also the miracle of faith: "To the miracle of the resurrection there inevitably corresponds the miracle of faith" (Künneth, 99). On the miracle of faith, see Marxsen, The Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, 112-29. There are three ways in which miracle can be applied to the resurrection: the event itself; the accompanying phenomena, e.g., empty tomb; the birth of faith. Another whole approach to the historicity of the empty tomb and the fate of the corpse is that Or J. Duncan M. Derrett, The Anastasis: The Resurrection of Jesus as an Historical Event( Shipston-on-Stour. Warwickshire. England: P. Drinkwater, 1982). He argues a fairly eccentric thesis but one based on extensive research and knowledge. The correct word describing what happened is anastasis (a getting up). From the verb anastenai (to get up). The church adopted egerthenai (to be awakened, raised up) as a second thought. The implication is that Jesus himself got up in the grave. In the ancient Western world there is sufficient evidence to suggest that persons declared dead did sometimes revive. Jews who spoke Greek used the word anastasis in two senses: (1) revival from death, and (2) revival to participate in the resurrection which was envisioned as a collective experience on the last day. Thus anastasis (1) and the resurrection (2) are not synonymous. What happened in Jesus' "resurrection," for Derrett, was anastasis. Jews visited graves for three days after burial to be sure that the body had not returned to life and been buried precipitously.
Even in modern times. recoveries after what used to be called clinical death and prior to brain death have occurred. Thus Jesus' anastasis may have been a genuine revival from reversible death. That Jesus revived in the tomb would not be a "miracle" outside the course of nature. Signs of death appeared which convinced bystanders that he was dead and thus he was taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb.
We cannot consider here the detailed analysis and hypotheses Derrett enters into, but Jesus revived, in an extremely enfeebled condition, able to give a message to a "young man" who acted as a messenger to the women or to Mary of Magdala. The message did not call for the disciples to come to meet Jesus in the vicinity of the tomb but rather that he would meet them in Galilee.
Jesus' post-anastasis life was short. There would not be a lengthy period of time between the revival and actual death. Eventually the disciples, after their meeting Jesus again in Galilee, would have to dispose of the body, after Jesus had actually died. Derrett argues that the most plausible path for the disciples to take was that of cremation, a holocaust of a sort prefigured in the narrative of Isaac, perhaps even following upon instruction from the post-anastasis Jesus himself. What happened to Jesus' corpse was no longer relevant.
Between Jesus' anastasis or revival and his eventual death and cremation, Jesus visited his disciples and in some fashion commissioned them, perhaps transferring some of his charisma to them by the laying on of hands and the gift of the Spirit. Thus Jesus was actually seen physically by Peter, James, and others.
Although Derrett's conjectures are outside the mainstream of contemporary studies of the resurrection narratives, they ought not be simply dismissed. The major difference between his hypothesis and my own is that I suggest the appearance-experiences as the events which form the historical basis for the faith of the disciples in the resurrection of Jesus, whereas Derrett sees the appearance narratives as the result of the resurrection faith which had its basis in the actual physical revival of Jesus in the tomb and his going to meet the disciples in Galilee.
29 John Dominic Crossan, "Empty Tomb and Absent Lord," The Passion in Mark, ed., by Werner Kelber (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1976), 135-52. Also see Werner Kelber, in the same collection of essays, 162-4, for his critique of Pannenberg. For a contrasting opinion, that the tomb traditon pre-dates the Gospels, see Brown, The Virginal Conecption and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, 126, point 4; Fuller, The Formation of the Resurrection Narratives, 50-780, esp. 170-82; O'Collins, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, 38-43; Pannenberg, Jesus-God and Man, 88-106; H. von Campenhausen, "The Events of Easter and the Empty Tomb," Tradition and Life in the Church (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1968), 42-89.
30 Regarding Rudolf Bultmann, see Kerygma and Myth I (London: S.P.C.K., 1953), esp. 38-43. Regarding Marxsen, see his earlier (1964) article, "The Resurrection of Jesus as a Historical and Theological Problem," reprinted in The Significance of the Message of the Resurrection Faith in Jesus Christ, ed. by C.F.D. Moule, 15-50; and his later (1968) The Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Although one may disagree with Marxsen, as I do, about the adequacy of his interpretation of the resurrection, there is still much in his 1968 book that deserves attention, particularly his insight into faith, pp. 112-29, 149-54. For a critical review of Marxsen's book, see G. O'Collins, The Heythrop Journal 12 ( 1971), 207-11. For a survey of many of the issues involved in the contemporary discussion on the resurrection, see The Significance of the Message of the Resurrection for Faith in Jesus Christ, ed. by C.F.D. Moule, the introduction, 1-11, and especially the article by Hans-Georg Geyer, "The Resurrection of Jesus Christ: A Survey of the Debate in Present Day Theology," 105-35, which gives particular attention to the positions of Barth, Bultmann, Marxsen, and Pannenberg. Also see Gerald O'Collins, What Are They Saying About the Resurrection? (New York: Paulist Press, 1978). For a critique of Bultmann, see Kunneth, The Theology of the Resurrection, 40-47.
31 For Pannenberg, see "Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?" Dialog, vol. 4 (1965), 128-35, a summary of views more fully developed in his Jesus--God and Man, 53- 114, esp. 88- 106. For further discussion of Pannenberg, see also Theology as History, vol. III of New Frontiers in Theology, ed. James Robinson and John Cobb (New York: Harper and Row, 1967), which contains an essay by Pannenberg and responses. For a critical response, also see Evans Resurrection and the New Testament, 177-83.
32 For Moltmann, see "Resurrection as Hope," Harvard Theological Review 61 (1968), 129-47, esp. 135-41. For Fuller, see The Formation of Resurrection Narratives, 22-23. Fuller uses the expression "meta-historical" to describe the resurrection. In this same vein, see Künneth, The Theology of the Resurrection, 21-107, esp. 23-33.
33 See Hans-Georg Geyer, "The Resurrection of Jesus Christ: A Survey of the Debate in Present Day Theology," in The Significance of the Message of the Resurrection for Faith in Jesus Christ, ed. C.F.D., Moule, 133. See pp. 132-35 for Geyer's summary of options. I attempt here to place my opinion with those suggested by Geyer. I would agree with Barth and Pannenberg in B, 1, p. 133. I would not agree with Pannenberg, however, in B, 2, b. I also do not agree with A, 1, p. 132, if historical judgment means historiographical judgment.