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Review: Komarnitsky, Doubting Jesus' Resurrection: What Happened in the Black Box
, April 22, 2009
This review is from: Doubting Jesus' Resurrection: What Happened in the Black Box? (First Edition) (Paperback)
For many, the validity of Christianity hinges on Jesus' bodily resurrection, but this belief is increasingly challenged by the enlightenment and modern New Testament scholarship. Modern scholarship understands the passion and empty tomb narratives as relatively later literary embellishments added to prior collections of Jesus' sayings. A counter argument is that Christianity could not possibly have so rapidly spread over the Roman world without a belief in bodily resurrection. A key piece of evidence offered that such a resurrection understanding did exist from the earliest days is 1 Cor. 15:3-7, Paul's reference to a formal tradition of death and resurrection that he received and passed on, a tradition that therefore would have existed within only a few years of Jesus' death.
Is there a way in which the modern understanding of the empty tomb stories can be acknowledged, and yet somehow still reasonably explain the early origins of the death and resurrection traditions Paul received and passed on to others? The author speaks to this question as a layman to laymen, yet he has a detailed understanding of the relevant current scholarship, and a precisely reasoned approach to the subject. He starts with a case for why the empty tomb narratives are late and mythical in character, and then leads the reader through discussions of 1st century burial practices, cognitive dissonance reduction and the belief that Jesus died for our sins, and Hellenistic understandings of bodily assumption. The etiology of each segment of Paul's creedal formula; `...died...for our sins...was buried...raised...on third day...according to the Scriptures...', is considered, as the author seeks to show an alternate path to the genesis of Paul's formula.
If a rational consideration of the origins and development of earliest Christian resurrection beliefs is of interest, then this is a book for you.
Purdue University, Retired
April 22, 2009
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