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127[HJMatMeth] Re: Psychological Origins Of The Resurrection Myth

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  • jdcrosn@mindspring.com
    Feb 27, 2000
      I have two general points to make, Jack, about what we usually call the "apparitions" or "visions" of the resurrected Jesus. First, as far as I can tell, accepting Luke's account of Paul's Damascus experience in its most general terms (and only in its most general terms), and Paul's own autobiographical statements, we are dealing, in that case, with an ecstatic or trance-like experience. You may then explain it however you wish to do so psychologically, but I myself do not consider a vision to be any more or less pathological than a dream. What you experience in either and what you do with it thereafter is another question. Second, I have never simply said that the narratives which conclude our gospels "were all fictioin" as you have stated. That is much too general a term for what I have written (it's as right and wrong as saying that Jesus's parables "were all fiction"--yes, and so what?). I would prefer to call those stories parables because they are fictional stories with !
      a functional punch. For example, in John 20 the beloved disciple is deliberately exalted (successively) over against Peter, MaryM, and Thomas, all of whom must have been leaders of important communities seen as unfortunate alternatives to the community of the beloved disciple. I do not read them as visions at all, but as parables of competing authority. This is even clearer in the story of Emmaus. I would be very surprised, by the way, if many of Jesus' companions did not have visionary experiences since such experiences are common in dealing with one's beloved dead, especially when the death has been sudden, tragic, or horrible. My overall point is very simple: The stories in the final chapters of our gospels were never intended to be the account of visions, but were intended to be the assertions of authority.

      ----Original Message-----
      >From: "Rev. Jack A. Kent" <jackkent@...>
      >To: hjmaterialsmethodolgy@...
      >Subject: [HJMatMeth] Psychological Origins Of The Resurrection Myth
      >Reply-To: hjmaterialsmethodolgy@egroups.com
      >Date: Friday, February 25, 2000 3:05 PM
      >In John Dominic's Book JESUS A REVOLUTIONARY BIOGRAPHY he argues that
      >at no time in the hisory of the human race has any person who was dead
      >ever been resurrected from the dead. I agree with him.
      >He then argues that Paul believed that Jesus was resurrected because he
      >fell into a trance on the road to Damascus. In this dissociative
      >experience he thought that he saw the resurrected Christ. Such a
      >dissociative experience is a mental disorder according to DSM 3 and 4.
      >Again I basically agree with Crossan but I argue that Paul had an
      >episode of conversion disorder. This is a well know psychologicl
      >syndrome. When Paul explained this in terms of 1st century knowledge
      >you end up with Pauline Christianity.
      >Crossan then argues that since Mary Magdalene and the disciples did not
      >fall into a trance then the appearances of Jesus were all fiction. I
      >disagree with Crossan on this point. I think that every post
      >crucifiction appearance to Mary Magdalene and the disciples can be
      >easily explained by what happens to people in serious grief. Mary
      >Magdalene and the disciples had very normal grief.
      >I think that Crossan should read my small book and it will change his
      >ideas about Mary Magdalene and the disciples.
      >Rev. Jack A. Kent, Retired Unitarian Minister
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