Wright on the Wresurrection

Tom+ has an article on the resurrection. I wonder what the special event would be to merit that. There is a curious a-f formatting of paragraphs, it is quite short, but to the point and of course wholly correct.

Nicholas T. Wright: The Resurrection Revolution – On Faith at washingtonpost.com

b. The word ‘resurrection’ in the first century, whether used by people who believed in it (Christians and some Jews) or by those who didn’t (pagans and some other Jews), ALWAYS meant something to do with people being physically, concretely, bodily alive having been physically, concretely, bodily dead. It acquires metaphorical meanings (e.g. to do with baptism and holiness) early on but still doesn’t lose its basic meaning. Thus if the early Christians had wanted to say ‘Jesus died and then went to heaven in an exalted state’, or ‘Jesus died but his cause lives on’, or ‘Jesus dies but we can still sense his presence with us’, they would never have used the word ‘resurrection’. They had perfectly good ways of saying those other things, and the word ‘resurrection’ (i.e. its Greek or Aramaic equivalents) wasn’t one of those ways.

And towards the end he says as well,

d. Jesus’ resurrection is thus the foundation — ontologically, and also epistemologically — for all the work Christians are thus called to do for the renewal of creation, society and human lives. Indeed, to be a Christian at all is to be called to be both part of that new creation, by the renewal of the mind and the obedience of the body, and also an agent of that new creation in the wider world. Believing in the bodily resurrection of Jesus is not, despite what many in North America imagine, a way of shoring up a ‘conservative’ world view with all the political fallout that that engenders. Resurrection always was, for the Pharisees and others who believed it would happen eventually and for the early Christians who believed it already had in one case, a highly revolutionary doctrine.

Do read it all.

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