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4987Re: Two burial stories

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  • Tobias H├Ągerland
    Sep 3, 2004
      Joseph,

      I do not have much time at the moment, so I will try to make a short
      response.

      As regards your request for secondary literature, I am afraid I
      cannot comply with it for copyright reasons. The books we have
      mentioned here (by Brown, Crossan and others) should be available to
      you in their entirety if you wish to pursue serious studies on the
      Gospels and the historical Jesus.

      Then, to clarify what I wrote:
      ("It is perfectly credible that 'the Jews' would have wished the
      corpses
      > to be removed before the great Sabbath. It is also possible that a
      > soldier could have verified Jesus' death by piercing his side.")
      These are not the exact words of R.E. Brown, they are my summary of
      what he wrote. His point is that there is nothing intrinsically
      unrealistic about the passage. It could have happened: and I agree
      with that view. But the author of GJOhn could of course produce a
      fictitious, while fully realistic, episode. Then Brown points out the
      problem that no one before GJohn mentioned these supposedly
      historical incidents. He does not say anything more than that.


      However, I cannot help but notice that Tobias deviates
      > from Brown's views, when he states "However, in scholarly
      discussion, I
      > think one should refrain from building theories on passages like
      this,
      > the historicity of which remains very uncertain."

      I do not think that I deviate from Brown's views in this matter. The
      outcome of his discussion is that the historicity is indeed
      uncertain, and he does not build any theory of historical
      reconstruction on the passage. As was noted in an earlier post in
      this thread, he regarded the theory that you propose as phantasy.

      > This statement can be construed to be questioning the historicity
      of the
      > dual event (Jesus' bones were not broken and his side was pierced)
      in
      > which GJohn sees an accomplishment of the scriptures. So I see here
      an
      > indirect answer to my original question: "Is the entire episode
      (John
      > 19:31-37) an invention of the evangelist?"

      My direct answer would be: Perhaps so, perhaps not.


      > It is no simple thing to overcome our unconscious prejudices. When
      we
      > have been taught from our childhood that Jesus was buried at the
      hand of
      > Joseph of Arimathea, we tend to take this as a sure truth. As a
      > consequence, we dismiss as uncertain any evidence to the contrary,
      even
      > when the said evidence comes from the gospel itself.
      >
      > Someone like Crossan has freed himself from the dogmas of his
      youth. He
      > has no problem challenging the traditional view on this matter.

      This has nothing to do with conscious or unconscious prejudices. Some
      of us have been taught from our childhood that the soldier pierced
      the side of (the historical?) Jesus but have no problem questioning
      the historicity of that passage.

      I sense that your desire to separate 'historical' from 'theological'
      is a little too simplistic. If you go back and read scholarly works
      on the historical Jesus from the 19th century, you will encounter
      similar optimism. I recommend that you familiarize yourself with (the
      introduction to) D.F. Strauss's massive _Das Leben Jesu_ which showed
      how history and theology ('myth') are closely interwoven in the
      Gospels and cannot always be easily separated.

      /Tobias
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