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PROJECT TOPIC: THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS. RECENT MAJOR FIGURES IN THE DEBATE

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ABSTRACT

The resurrection of Jesus is probably the nerve cell among most Christian traditions over the world. Over the past few decades the debate surrounding Jesus’ resurrection has lead to a multitude of interpretations ranging from complete denial to unhealthy fundamentalism. With the advances in scientific tools since especially the Enlightenment, and the secularisation among formerly Christian communities, faith in the resurrection of Jesus has become a hotly debated issue.

In chapter one the question is asked: Is something like the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ really non-negotiable? To come to an informed understanding of this question, hermeneutical, epistemological and exegetical approaches, underlying the resurrection debate, is analysed in five scholars with divergent interpretations. They are William L. Craig (1); Gary R. Habermas (1), Gerd Lüdemann (2), A.J.M. (Sandy) Wedderburn (3) and N.T. (Tom) Wright (1). In chapter two, their views on the resurrection are briefly stated. Then their hermeneutical presuppositions are discussed, which indicate that group (1) believes God can intervene in nature, and number (2) & (3) deny it. Group (1) believes that the Bible is a divine book giving credible witness to the resurrection, while numbers (2) & (3) see it as a purely human book with highly contradictive resurrection evidence. In chapter three crucial texts in 1 Cor. 15, which give the earliest New Testament evidence, are analysed. The texts and interpretations are: Verse 4 – kai; o{ti ejtavfh (he was buried) – For group (1) this phrase refers to Jesus’ empty tomb. For number (3) this phrase only allows for that possibility, but rejects it eventually. For (2) this phrase excludes an empty tomb. Verse 6 – pantakosivoi~ajdelfoi`~ ([he appeared also to] 500 brethren) – For group (1) this phrase is historical. For (2) & (3), this phrase is a redactional addition. Verses 8-11 – Paul the e[scaton (last) to see Jesus – For group (1) Paul saw Jesus in bodily form. For number (2) Paul had a hallucination and number (3) affirms that possibility.


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