Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

4998Two burial stories

Expand Messages
  • Joseph Codsi
    Sep 7, 2004
      I wish to answer here Tobias Hägerland’s post of Sept. 6, 2004.

      Dear Tobias,

      Thank you for the additional explanations you have introduced in your
      last post.

      Two points have retained my attention. The first one has to do with the
      historical critical methodology. The second point has to do with the
      precious nature of faith.


      You write:

      <The discussion of criteria in historical Jesus research has nearly
      developed into a discipline of its own. Interestingly, discussion in
      this area has produced not only a number of 'criteria of
      authenticity' but also a few 'criteria of inauthenticity', by which a
      saying or episode can be judged as lacking historical merit. I follow
      Tom Holmén (_Jesus and Jewish Covenant Thinking_, Brill 2002) in
      accepting two criteria by which to establish lack of historicity. The
      first criterion argues that any Gospel saying or episode that does
      not conform to what we know about the circumstances in 1st century
      Palestine - that is, a saying or episode clearly anachronistic - is
      not historical. The second criterion is the criterion of incoherence:
      that which contradicts other sayings or actions of Jesus, the
      historicity of which have already been established, is not historical.>

      The problem I see with the methodology you advocate here is that it does
      not allow you to decide whether the events described in John 19:31-34
      are historical or not.

      If I were to judge the tree from its fruit, I would have to say that the
      various methods that have been advocated so far leave a lot to be
      desired. None of the important questions related to the historicity
      problem has been adequately resolved. On the contrary, I see a lot of
      skepticism around me. Many seem to have given up on the historicity

      This is why I am in favor of a more intelligent approach to the problem.
      The tools we use in our research must be custom-made and constantly
      improved, so as to be really useful. The methods we follow are our
      tools. It makes no sense, in my view, to remain faithful to methods that
      have produced sour fruit. In this regard, my aim is to invite you and
      the resourceful members of this list to a common research for a better


      I think that faith is a very precious thing. This is why I would not
      allow my critical study of the gospel to make me contemptuous of those
      who have remained faithful to the faith of their childhood. I do not
      think, for example, that my mother was “simple-minded” just because she
      was a devout Catholic. It is true that I have evolved in the way I deal
      with the faith of my childhood. It is also true that I would encourage
      people to become more mature in the way they understand their religion.
      There is in the maturity process a negative dimension, which is critical
      of certain things. But the negativity is not the final step. It has to
      be followed by another step, which allows us to see and judge the
      spiritual dimension in a less naïve way.

      In the seventeenth century, the Europeans saw in Galileo’s view a threat
      to their faith. We no longer make a similar connection today. In the
      same way, if our faith is based on having an empty tomb, we will be
      reluctant to admit that the stories of Joseph of Arimathea and of the
      empty tomb are not historical. An admission of this nature requires a
      revision of our understanding of our faith. But I do not think that such
      a revision would be more catastrophic than the revision of the ancient
      views relatively to the new knowledge Galileo has introduced.


      Joseph Codsi
      P.O. Box 116-2088
      Beirut, Lebanon
      Telephone (961) 1 423 145

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Show all 27 messages in this topic