The Trouble with Resurrection

Submitted by Peter on

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From the Preface:
Resurrection is the central belief in Christianity and why the early Christians believed has always fascinated me (the author, Bernard Brandon Scott). I have spent the majority of my career investigating the historical Jesus but I have remained intrigued about how early followers got from Jesus on earth to Jesus in heaven.
Doubt and uncertainty are part of our discussion. Often we are in gray areas where we know less than we think we know. The trick is to know when we are on terra firma and when it is shifting beneath our feet. I will try to be as honest as I can and ask of the reader an openness and a criticalness. We often will be dealing with hypotheses and there is a temptation to say, "Well, it's just a hypothesis." The word "just" is often used to dismiss. But a hypothesis is the way we assemble the data in order to make sense of it. We have no option but to engage in hypothetical thinking, otherwise we just quit thinking.
We also are often tempted to argue, "Well, it could have happened." "Could" is another knotty word. Almost anything could have happened. The real question is, "What is the probability of it happening?" With history we are always dealing in probabilities, what is likely.
We sill start this study April 21, 2013.


Chapter – 15 What Happened?

1 – How well do you understand the differences in the four models? Which one(s) do you prefer?

2 – Where's the body?

3 – In what way did Jesus's “groupies” experience the empire of God?

4 – How do you interpret pg. 220?

5 – How do you feel about Scott's conclusion (to this chapter)?

Postscript – Reclaiming Resurrection

6 – Consider the ecological consequences of the Baltimore Cathechism.

7 – Compare (and contrast) the three final resurrection stories.

8 – Comment on Scott's conclusion (again).

Chapter – 12 Matthew and Luke's Take on Mark

1 – Does it make sense to you to analyze story “word-for-word” as Scott does? What does this imply about scholarship?

2 – Why do the women “tell no one” in mark and then “tell his disciples”' in Matthew?

3 – Why do none of the canonical gospels narrate the resurrection? We see only what's left after.

4 – How do you reconcile Luke 24:39 with Paul's “raised up a spiritual body”?

Chapter – 13 The Empty Tomb Again

5 – How/Where does Mary Magdalene fit into your view of church history?

6 – Why is it considered better to “believe” with no or little evidence than to believe with more?

7 – What did Jesus tell Thomas in Thomas 13?

Chapter – 14 Mary Magdalene First?

8 – How do you interpret Thomas 114?

9 – What can you say about the different views of Christianity by Peter vs Mary?

Chapter – 9 With What Kind of Body?

1 – Your choice – how do you answer, before and after reading this chapter?

2 – The Greek idea of body + soul is so pervasive that it makes thinking of a different model difficult. Can you think of another model?

3 – When do you think “life” begins?

Chapter – 10 Assumption

4 – Where do you think this idea came from?

5 – What ideas in Q are new to you?

6 – Many references in our book are to non-canonical literature. What difference does canonization make to your understanding and acceptance of literature?

Chapter – 11 Empty Tomb

7 – Where does your Bible end the Gospel of Mark?

8 – Consider the questions on pg. 163.

9 – How significant is the empty tomb in the construction of your faith?

10 – 70 CE – No egg! (yet).

Chapter – 7 The List

1 – Do you recall what kind of “body” you first thought the risen Christ would have? Any ideas of your development along those lines?

2 – Any comments about the last paragraph on pg 88 in which scripture and experience mutually reinforce each other?

3 – What about three days?

4 – What about The Five Hundred?

5 – Junia or Junias. What do(es) your Bible(s) say? (Rom 16:7)

Chapter – 8 He Has Been Seen

6 – How do you see.....

7 – What do you know about the super-apostles?

8 – How do you view canonized writings as compared to other early religious literature?

Chapter – 5 An Experience of Jesus Raised from the Dead

1 – What kind of communication do we use today that corresponds to Paul's use of rhetoric?

2 – How is killing in the name of God NOT negative?

3 – What's the difference between call and conversion?

4 – What is the timeline in the NT for when Jesus became the “Son of God”?

5 – Why are signs of the end times so important to people?

6 – Do you understand how Paul got to his understanding of Jesus as “God's Son”?

Chapter – 6 The Earliest Resurrection Narrative?

7 – Do you have an opinion on whether (or not) the Praise Speech is Pauline?

8 – How will this chapter change what you write for the Lenten Devotional booklet when you are assigned Phil 2:6-11?

9 – After all the comments, which view of the praise hymn do you find most compelling?

Chapter – 3 Awakening from the Dead

1 – Describe a time (an occasion) when your “very notion of God” was strained.

2 – What other religious abolition programs do you know about? How do these differ from Christian missionaries?

3 – How is the persecution of Jews by Antiochus Epiphanes different from previous persecution and enslavement?

4 – What does your Bible footnote to Daniel 12:2 say?

5 – Notice that our author uses the word resurrection, probably before its time.

6 – What other developments of God do you see in the Bible?

Chapter – 4 The Dead in the Anointed Will Rise First

7 – Where do you think Paul got the idea that Jesus was raised from the dead?

8 – How do you understand the analogy of baptism being also immersed into the death of Jesus (Christ)?

9 – Do you think Paul is the “Master Craftsman” of resurrection, that he built it all?


1 – Have you ever thought about Humpty Dumpty without the egg? Do you know where your egg came from?

2 – Which of the items in the introduction will be hardest for you to set aside?

Chapter – 1

3 - How do you see the difference between serve and slave?

4 – Where is your boundary between heaven and earth?

5 – How well do you think you can fit yourself into Paul's Jewish world view? What are some problems with trying?

Chapter – 2

6 – Where do you stand on “life after death” and how strongly do you hold your opinions?

7 – Scott Quotes four psalms about NO afterlife. Can you find any about YES afterlife?

[ The reference to Ps. 89:84 on pg. 18 should be Ps. 89:48 ]

8 – Are your views about heaven idolatry? Why?