I am approaching the final pages of Paula Fredriksens excellent book
Jesus of Nazareth, king of the jews, and in her afterword she
mentions that we cannot expect to get to know why the belief in the
resurrected christ started and continued amongst the early
christians. I suppose she is right about this - but it made me start
thinking about the question nevertheless.
I suppose that given the context that one is looking for hypothesis
which explain this belief regarding the historical Jesus the
explanations can be broken down into three categories.
1) Jesus somehow survived the crucifixion.
However unlikely this may be it is probably not impossible.
Josefus writes about how he saw three of his friends hanging on
crosses and arranged for them to be taken down, and at least one
2) Some impostor pretended to be Jesus after the crucifixation.
However unlikely this may be it is probably not impossible. If my
memory serves me correctly Josefus also tells us about someone
pretending to be one of Herod the greats previously slain sons.
3) For one reason or another the early followers feeling of Jesus
presense and their visions convinced them that he was still alive -
or were of sufficient strength to create a tradition saying so.
This is somewhat similar to the idea that people believe that
Elvis is still alive. (BTW Do any people really and seriously believe
that this is the case?)
I have two questions regarding other resurrections. First if there
are other occurences of people believing that someone has risen from
the dead, and if we know something about why this is the case
regarding those involved? (Of course there is always Apollonius, but
apart from him I mean.)
My second question is reagarding resurrection as a literary motif. I
am sure this must have been explored somewhere, because off-hand I
can come to think about several people who were resurrected in
literature, so I wonder if someone knows any resources regarding this?
All the best