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Re: [XTalk]: Physical bodies in heaven

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  • Karel Hanhart
    Dear John and co-writers, I wonder how much importance should be attached to Lk 24:13 and vs. 40. It seems to me that these verses would have rung a bell for
    Message 1 of 189 , Nov 1, 2004
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      Dear John and co-writers,

      I wonder how much importance should be attached to Lk 24:13 and vs. 40.
      It seems to me that these verses would have rung a bell for contemporary
      Judean readers, if indeed the text variant "hekaton hesekonta" in vs. 13 was
      original, as Jerome and Eusebius suggest.

      1) In that case the reader would have thought of the famous battle Judas
      Maccabeus won over the Syrian Gorgias, a victory remembered and celebrated
      till this day. It is true that a return journey of 160 stadia - in reality
      176 stadia - to Jerusalem that same day would have been difficult. In
      Eastern stories that would hardly have hindered the adult Judean readers to
      perceive the spiritual meaning.
      The Maccabean rebellion must have inspired the Judean warriors in the
      Roman War. The tragedy of the war and the ruined temple have cast their
      shadow on all appearance stories!!.Luke is writing a few decades after that
      defining moment.
      2) As one of Luke's heroes is Paul, he must have shared Paul's and Mark's
      wordplay of the ecclesia as the "body of the risen Christ." In that case
      Luke's wonderful and inspiring story makes deep sense, writing about a
      different kind of victory of Jesus, Israel's Messiah. Luke 24:40 reads, "He
      showed them his hands and his feet". The sentence seems totally
      superfluous, for in vs. 39 he had already gestured: "Behold my hands and
      feet". The story implies that the resurrection is real, physical. For in
      scripture the eschatological reality of faith can only be told in metaphors.
      The metaphor in this case is like the Markan metaphorical wordplay. Jesus'
      corps may have been buried on Zion, but he himself lives on in his body, of
      which he as their cosmic Lord is the head. Christ's eating and drinking with
      these two disciples (Clopas of Jerusalem and Simon his son, who later (!)
      would succeed James?) is repeated in every future Eucharistic meal according
      to the Spirit.
      Would this exegesis be legitimate?

      cordially

      Karel






      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "John Sabatino" <taurus79@...>
      To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, October 31, 2004 11:45 PM
      Subject: RE: [XTalk]: Physical bodies in heaven


      >
      >
      > Hi Mike,
      >
      > John wrote: > I'm not sure how Lk 24:39 contradicts anything I've said. It
      > would
      > > be great if you could elaborate on this.
      >
      > Mike wrote: OK. I'll take your statements one by one, and bear in mind
      that
      > what
      > I actually wrote was that most of them were "either contrary to the
      > implications of, OR MADE IRRELEVANT BY, Lk 24:39."
      >
      > First, Lk 24:39 from the NASB:
      >
      > "See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; TOUCH ME, and see;
      > for a spirit [pneuma] does not have flesh and bones as you see that
      > I have." (emphasis mine; followed shortly by the fish-eating)
      >
      > Here are the statements in question:
      >
      > (1) "Its ... anachronistic to assume that physicality would be
      > stressed by Gospel authors to further enhance the "proofs" for the
      > resurrection."
      >
      > Now in fact I didn't assume this, I deduced it, and Lk 24:39 is
      > about the clearest indication that that is precisely what at least
      > Luke was up to. A "resurrection in spirit" was good enough for the
      > author of 1 Peter, but evidently not for Luke. It follows, of
      > course, that this view isn't anachronistic.
      >
      > John: I don't know what you mean specifically by "resurrection in spirit"
      > and what that has to do with 1 Peter, or how we know that Luke knew of
      this
      > and perceived it as "not good enough", but I'd be appreciative if you
      could
      > clarify.
      >
      > I'm trying to understand what your overall theory is, and it looks like
      > you're saying that the original resurrection stories were rendered more
      > physical by Luke (among others) in an attempt to make them seem more
      real --
      > to further establish that Jesus' resurrection had indeed actually occured.
      > If this is the case, and you think that Lk 24:39 is the proof of this, I
      > think you're begging the question.
      >
      > Firstly, we should note that *if* Luke's goal in this passage is to
      present
      > evidence to those who disbelieve Jesus' resurrection based on the
      > supposition that the disciples merely saw a phantom, then it is odd that
      he
      > doesn't have the disciples follow through and actually touch Jesus' body
      in
      > disconfirmation.
      >
      > But, many commentators have presented other interpretive options here...
      >
      > 1. Luke 24:39 may not be at all about presenting stronger apologetic
      proofs
      > *that* the resurrection *had occurred*. Though admittedly the uncritical
      > stance of more conservative commentators like Bruce and Morris (and none
      the
      > less likely for that), it is equally possible that Luke thought this is
      > actually *how* it all occured. He reports that Jesus invited touch and ate
      > with the disciples to alleviate *their* immediate doubts/fears -- not the
      > doubts or fears of the presumed Lukan audience about whether or not the
      > resurrection had occured.
      >
      > 2. If an apologetic motif is present, it may be that Luke is answering
      those
      > who *over-spiritualize* the resurrection -- not doubt that it occurred.
      This
      > still wouldn't imply any evolution in the tradition, just competing views.
      >
      > 3. Ernst, Grundmann, and others have seen in these passages an
      anti-docetic
      > tendancy.
      >
      > 4. Luke may have a purely didactic purpose in mind here related to the
      > community's concerns about how they themselves will be resurrected.
      >
      > 5. Brown (1991:54) points out that "Luke's primary interest is in the
      > identity of the risen Jesus ("It really is I")..." and that such emphasis
      on
      > his bodily aspects may not be "too different from having the two disciples
      > at Emmaus recognize Jesus in the breaking of bread." Jesus appears out of
      > nowhere, his appearance frightening/startling the disciples, after having
      > entered into his heavenly glory (Lk 24:26), and now must reveal his
      > continuity with their former teacher, presenting his wounds immediately
      > after the invitation to touch.
      >
      > So given that this deduction (more accurately labeled an opinion) of
      your's
      > regarding Lk 24:39 doesn't leap right off the page at us, it doesn't
      follow
      > that we're not committing an anachronism when we assume that Luke would
      > bother emphasizing physicality to enhance the proofs of the resurrection.
      > Indeed, in order to further convince a Greek audience of the reality of
      the
      > resurrection, he might do the exact opposite, given that some would have
      > seen the soul as more "real" than the body, and certainly a more likely
      > candidate for postmortem survival.
      >
      > Plato described the body itself as the mere image of the soul:
      >
      > "And of those who have met their end, it is well said that the bodies of
      the
      > dead are mere images, but the actual essence of each of us is called the
      > deathless soul, which goes off to other gods to render account...." (Laws
      > 12.959b)
      >
      > Riley, commenting on this passage, writes:
      >
      > "Here, according to the most influential philosopher of antiquity, the
      dead
      > body is a mere phantom, 'ghostly', and the surviving soul is the only
      truly
      > substantial human element. So the soul as an image of the person could be
      > seen as the real part of the human being, deriving from the realm of the
      > gods, while the body was an unsubstantial image. Thus a postmortem
      > appearance in the era after Plato could be considered as one of substance,
      > as 'real', though bodiless and immaterial. It could, and probably would
      have
      > been in fact, more 'real' than the body/soul combination of the antemortem
      > person, since the soul when embodied was disguised by beauty or wealth:
      such
      > is Plato's argument in the Gorgias..."(_Resurrection Reconsidered_, p. 50)
      >
      >
      > John wrote: (2) "Ancient people don't necessarily consider that which is
      > physical to be any more real than that which is purely spiritual."
      >
      > Mike: This one is made irrelevant, because regardless of what ancient
      > people in general would "necessarily consider", the fact is that
      > Luke and his presumed audience evidently DID consider that very
      > thing. (The general principle - as implied in a remark to J.Hodges -
      > is that if writer X can be plausibly shown to have believed Y, then
      > it's basically irrelevant what was believed by others in groups to
      > which X might have belonged. True or not, that isn't the controlling
      > factor. It only becomes important if we can't tell what X believed.)
      >
      > John: I'm surprised that you would consider that Luke that "that very
      > thing". Was the Holy Spirit that filled and empowered the disciples at
      > Pentecost really any less real to Luke than the resurrected Jesus?
      >
      > But putting that aside, the problem is that the conditions of this general
      > principle have not been met. You've simply assumed that writer X believed
      Y.
      > You haven't plausibly shown this. Writer X may believe either of various
      > competing views Y, A, B, or C, so therefore background information P (the
      > views of ancient people in general) does become important - and make Y
      (your
      > interpretation of Luke) less plausible.
      >
      >
      > John wrote:(3) "The physicality of the resurrection appearances would have
      > indeed been less of a "proof", and more of a hindrance to
      > acceptance, in some circles."
      >
      > Mike: Again, what was true "in some circles" is basically irrelevant in
      > the face of plausible evidence that for THIS circle (Luke and his
      > audience) it was not a hindrence, but rather an acceptance factor.
      >
      > John: Again, an assumptive interpretation is not the same thing as
      plausible
      > evidence.
      >
      >
      > John wrote: (4) "Further, spirit itself was not necessarily [thought to
      be]
      > a non-physical substance (if such a phrase is even intelligible)."
      >
      > Mike: Be that as it may, Luke's contrast was with pneuma; "pneuma doesn't
      > have flesh and bones as you see that I have". But just in case
      > seeing wasn't good enough (because it may be thought to be mere
      > appearance) "touch me" is added. (Presumably they did, though the
      > text doesn't say so.) What I think this implies is that, for Luke
      > and his audience, pneuma could take on the appearance of a man, but
      > could not be touched, because it wasn't solid.
      >
      > John: I agree with this.
      >
      >
      > John wrote:> In one particular manifestation, Luke has Jesus say he is
      > "flesh
      > > and bone". But obviously Luke accepts that the post-resurrection
      > > Jesus, like the angels, can manifest in a variety of ways - as a
      > > physical man, teleporting at will, as a blinding light, etc.
      >
      > Mike: You've put the anomaly I've been suggesting quite well. If one
      > interprets Luke as believing that the man who ate the fish is but
      > a manifestation (or morphing) of the resurrected Jesus ('RJ'
      > hereafter), then the body of that man cannot be the one, true body
      > of the RJ.
      >
      > John: Right -- there is nothing in the Gospels saying that all or any of
      the
      > res. appearances are manifestations of his exact nature immediately
      > post-resurrection, or his ultimate mode of existence. No one saw Jesus
      rise
      > from the dead.
      >
      > Mike: On the other hand, if the one true body of the RJ is in
      > fact even partially composed of real human flesh and bone, then
      > according to Paul's dictum, he can't get into heaven.
      >
      > John: Actually Paul's dictum is about "flesh and blood", not "flesh
      > and bone". Perhaps they're the same? Perhaps they're not. As I originally
      > pointed out, a multitude of commentators (Wright, Witherington,
      Kistermaker,
      > Erickson, Gundry, Kuhn, Sevenster, Unnik, Moule, Sand, O'Collins, Gillman,
      > etc.) argue that this is an idiom denoting that which is corruptible: "For
      > Paul 'flesh and blood' does not mean 'physicality' per se but the
      > corruptible and decaying present state of our physicality. What is
      required
      > is what we might call a 'noncorruptible physicality': the dead will be
      > raised 'incorruptible' (v. 52), and we--that is, those who are left alive
      > until the great day--will be changed."[N.T. Wright, "The Challenge of
      Jesus"
      > (Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1999) p.143.]
      >
      >
      > Sincerely,
      >
      > John Sabatino
      > Austin, TX
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
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    • Patrick Narkinsky
      ... I would take a different tack: that Jesus was the first fruits of the general resurrection and that, by raising him from the dead, God has promised to do
      Message 189 of 189 , Jan 1, 2005
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        On Dec 31, 2004, at 10:44 PM, Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:

        > The difference that most Christians would ascribe to
        > Jesus is that he is divine, being one person of the
        > triune Godhead, whereas everyone else who will be
        > resurrected (whether physically or spiritually) is
        > human, all too human.

        I would take a different tack: that Jesus was the "first fruits" of the
        general resurrection and that, by raising him from the dead, God has
        promised to do likewise for those who are "in" Christ. I take this to
        be Paul's take as well (see 1Cor 15.12-20).

        However, I doubt that that this is the average pew-sitter's view, at
        least in Evangelical circles. In my experience, their emphasis would
        be on Jesus' crucifixion resurrection as an act of atonement, and what
        was unique about Jesus was his innocence. That is, Jesus was a perfect
        sacrifice, without sin, who could therefore atone for the sins of all
        mankind. Those who take this point of view tend not to think of
        "heaven" in terms of resurrection, and even Jesus' resurrection would
        be emphasized much less than Jesus' crucifixion. Even the Left-Behind
        crowd talks about the general resurrection of the dead as being "raised
        up" or something, reserving the term "resurrection" for Jesus himself.

        Patrick

        --
        Patrick Narkinsky - patrick@...

        "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts."
        - Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
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