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Resurrection Reconsidered [Kindle Edition]

Gregory , J Riley
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Gregory J. Riley surveys the variety of conceptions of life after death in the Greco-Roman world. Demonstrating how the oldest Christian perspective on the resurrection of Jesus was consistent with concepts of Jews and Greeks in antiquity, he shows how it is possible to see the Gospel of John as a corrective not of some lost Gnosis but of ideas preserved in the Gospel of Thomas.


Product Details

  • File Size: 2638 KB
  • Print Length: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Fortress Press (January 5, 1995)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001IV6CIY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,231,796 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is an eye-opening, basic primer on the various views of resurrection among the early Christians: was there a spiritual or fleshly resurrection and why? The views of Jesus, Paul, and the Gospel of Thomas (spiritual resurrection) are contrasted with the position of the Gospels of John and Luke and Ignatius of Antioch (fleshly resurrection). Chapter One is a must!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive scholarship June 23, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Riley's book portrays the Johanine and Thomas communities in conflict over the doctrine of bodily ("fleshly") resurrection. Bodily resurrection was a radical idea, strange and even repulsive to people reared in the widely prevailing Greco-Roman tradition, which viewed the soul as separate and distinct from the physical body in which it is held prisoner. Only the liberated soul continues to exist after death, while the body decays away. The Thomas community took that traditional view, which placed it at theological odds with the writer of the Gospel of John and the developing Christian orthodoxy.

Why did early Christianity insist on the doctrine of bodily resurrection? (1) Judaic legacy: The idea could be found in some OT Scripture. (2) Justice: The soul should not be judged alone for the sins of the body, especially as sin arises from the desires of the body; reward or torment for the deeds of the body should be experienced by the body. (3) Unity of persons: The resurrection of a person must be, by definition, an embodied resurrection, because a person is a unity of body and soul, not separable into an evil physical body distinct from a good spiritual soul. (4) Humanity of Jesus: It is part of the proof that Jesus was truly of human flesh, before and after crucifixion.

Riley analyzes parts of John's Gospel as a polemic aimed at the Thomas community, particularly in the way their spiritual mentor, the disciple Thomas, is portrayed. He is the disciple who never seems to understand and, in particular, he is the faithless doubter who demands to touch the wounds of the resurrected Jesus. When he finds he is able to do so, he capitulates completely, demonstrating to the Thomas community that the risen Jesus had a palpable, physical body.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant exposition January 16, 2006
Format:Paperback
This book contains erudite material stated in straightforward terms. Contra William Lane Craig's published contention that the concept of resurrection in first century CE Palestine entailed physicality, Professor Riley demonstrates in no uncertain terms that the cultural milieu was thoroughly Hellenized and that original Christianity was closer to believing spiritual resurrection of the soul than fleshly resurrection. The author carefully traces the pre-Christian spiritual concepts of resurrection and their impact upon canonical and noncanonical literature. Highly recommended.
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