Review of Gerd Luedemann book, <U>What Really Happened to Jesus?</U>
Back to Post-Resurrection Appearance Stories

Review, Introduction

Review provided by JR

What Really Happened to Jesus

What Really Happened to Jesus

By Gerd Luedemann

In collaboration with Alf Ozen



·        Resurrection of Jesus is the central point of Christian religion

·        Perhaps the “key” question

·        Almost all other questions of faith and theology are decided by this question

·        Christianity stands or falls upon the raising of Jesus from the dead by God

·        Christianity begins at Easter

·        Without Easter  there is no gospel, no faith, no proclamation, no church, no worship, no mission

·        Everything depends on the event of Resurrection of Jesus

·        Observation that the resurrection of Jesus though indispensable is requisite of theology, also an empty formula

·        Witnesses within the bible don’t describe the resurrection

·        They report what they experienced, therefore reported differently; full of inconsistencies

·        One certain thing, resurrection of Jesus had an incomparable effect

·        The resurrection of Jesus was the decisive significance  for the rise and developing Christian tradition


Arguments for investigation of Resurrection:

1.       No eye witness of accounts of  resurrection of Jesus

2.       Traditions about the resurrection can’t be disentangled and the historical sources are inadequate

3.       The resurrection of Jesus is a miracle, which completely evades our grasp, what can historical work achieve here?

4.       It’s impossible to talk meaningfully about the resurrection of Jesus outside the experience of faith and Christian testimony – “To put the question of the resurrection exclusively in historical terms is to alienate the texts of the Easter narratives”

5.       Event and interpretation are always interlocked, so that it’s impossible to have access to the event of the resurrection without the interpretation


Conclusions from the analysis of the appearances of Christ

·        All can be explained as visions

·        Peter and Paul’s vision to be termed original visions/ because they took place without external catalysts

·        Peter’s vision –  was failed mourning and overcoming of a severe guilt complex

·        Paul’s vision- was an overcoming of a smoldering “Christ Complex”

·        Other visions-from mass psychoses






Comparisons between Peter and Paul’s vision

·        In both, the vision of Jesus is inseparably related  to the denial of Jesus or the persecution of his community

·        In both, a feeling of guilt replaced by certainty of grace

·        In both, it put forward a doctrine of justification, which led both to turn to Christ in their Easter Experience


This means that God must no longer be assumed to be the author of these visions.  Rather, they were psychological processes- without divine intervention.  Therefore, assumption that Jesus resurrected is unnecessary to explain phenomena.  “The consistent modern view must say farewell to the resurrection of Jesus as a historical event.”

Review, Chapter 2

Review provided by BD

Barbara Dyke


What Really Happened to Jesus: a historical approach to the Resurrection

Chapter 2 The Theme

            The text wants to reconstruct the events following Jesus’ death.  To do this, it is important to survey all information at our disposal. The author lists the four Gospels, Acts, Paul literature and the Apocrypha.  When doing this we cannot assume that chronological age assures accuracy of the information in the text.  We must take into account the Gospels were not written by actual companions of Jesus.  In addition, just because a passage is referenced in several Gospels does not validate the accuracy of that passage. The author explains that the stories that do not overlap each Gospel can be attributed to local traditions of the community the Gospel was written for. Each community would have favorite fragments of sayings that would have been included for that community.   In the forty years between Jesus’ death and when the Gospels were written we know stories change.  There may be elaboration and legends formed, so we must understand that not every word of the Gospel may be an actual event. Traditions in the gospels need to be independently studied.  The author gives an example that the miracle stories were added later to show the uniqueness of Jesus. It also must be remembered that the Gospels were not written by objective or neutral parties, they were written by followers of Jesus.  Therefore, for us to determine the actual historical events of what happened there must be a critical investigation of the legends and exaggerations.

Mode of Procedure

The earliest source we have of the death and resurrection is in I Corinthians 15:1-11.  Paul uses traditions of an earlier period.  The author uses this text as a guideline for his investigation. The author will try to 1) determine its age, 2) illuminate the situation in which they came into being and 3) to discover what historical events lie behind them.

            Paul knows his audience first hand and they share the same tradition and knowledge so there are details that are not mentioned. The author separates the verses in to three parts:

1)      Vv. 3b-5 what Paul preached when he founded the community.

2)      Vv. 6-7 Further resurrection appearances

3)      Vv. 8 The last resurrection appearance to Paul himself


Verses 3b –5 Read 

3b that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scripture

             4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures

             5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

The fourfold “that” indicate a sequence of different formulae.  These scriptures actually make up two parts of 1) death and buried and 2) raised and appeared, with the tradition originating in Jerusalem.  Luendemann identifies vs5, the appearance to Cephas, as an independent unit of a tradition which Paul proclaimed on his first visit to Corinth and is supported in Luke 24:34. Luendemann concludes that the appearance story for both James and Paul are traditions used to legitimize their positions in the church.

Interim results

It is concluded in Chapter 2 that the traditions of the death, burial and resurrection and appearances are developed in the first couple of years after the crucifixion of Jesus.  He uses a secondary source of Gallio that confirms when Paul was in Corinth and back tracks history to determine Paul’s conversion/appearance of Jesus was around the year 33.  He concludes that Paul being the last appearance tradition in I Cor. 15:1-11 came about shortly after Jesus’ death.    






Chapter 3 The Events after Jesus’ Death

                Luedemann confirms that the following events are historical:

I.  The death of Jesus did occur as the results of crucifixion.

II. The burial of Jesus the earliest account is I Cor. 15-3 but gives no details as to how. There are two different versions of his burial. In Mark 15:42-47 and parallels in Luke, Matthew and John,  Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus.

In John it also says in 19:31-37 the Jews buried Jesus.  Luedemann relies on Bultmann who says that Mark 15:42-47 is a “historical account that does not sound like legend.”

The traditions in Mark 15:42-46

Mark made an effort to share details of the time of day to explain Jewish customs. The characterization of Josephus is changed to a respectable member of council is now concerned with kingdom of God stuff yet he is still plays a part in Jesus’ crucifixion.  Josephus is singled out from the opponents of Jesus and becomes a positive character. The statement that Josephus asked Pilate to bury Jesus’ body helps confirm the death of Jesus had happened. Mark 15:46, concerning the rock tomb and the stone rolled in front, is not part of the original story. It is added to make sense of Mark 16:1-8. 

The significance of referencing a shroud being purchased implies it is new. This may have been written to remove any dishonor revolving around Jesus’ burial.  It would have been a dishonor to not being buried in your family tomb, and to not anoint the body. This would be why Mark refers to Jesus’ anointing while he was still alive. Because Mark has used traditions to remove dishonor of the burial, we are unable find additional references for historical evidence concerning the nature of the burial.

The revision of Mark 15:42-47 by Matthew and Luke

Matthew, Luke and John all characterize Josephus in more variables than Mark had done.  In Matthew, Arimathea is a rich man and a disciple of Jesus.  Matt 27:57 describes him as a good and just man.  Luke 23:50 who had no part in Jesus judgement. Luke 23:51.  The Gospel of Peter calls him Jesus’ friend.  John also describes Arimathea as a disciple of Jesus (John 19:38)  He keeps his discipleship a secret out of fear (John 12:42, 9:22).  This is done to give the burial of Jesus honor.  Because of the additional effort in Matthew, Luke and John, we are left with Mark as our source for historical value of the tradition.

The account in John 19:31-37

John references Old Testament referencing that scripture has been fulfilled in Jesus.

Exodus 14:46 ‘Not a bone of him shall be broken” and Zech. 12:10 “They shall look on him whom they have pierced.”  Luedemann believes verse 31 is the earliest tradition of the Jews requesting to bury the body of Jesus. He states their request was refused an in v. 38, we have Josephus’ request being honored. There is a parallel to John v. 31 in Acts 13:29 “Jews took….him (Jesus) down from the tree and laid him in the tomb.”  Luedemann states no one would make up a story of being denied Jesus’ body this statement must be historical.

How Jesus really was buried

Leudemann believes the tradition of the burial of Jesus is found in two independent narratives:

1)      Josephus of Arimathea asks Pilot for the body of Jesus and buries it.

2)      Jews ask Pilate for the body of Jesus to bury it.

The second one is the earliest tradition of the two.

Looking at Romans practices, the bodies of the crucified were normally not buried, but Luedemann references writings from Philo at the beginning of the first century stating exceptions made by the Romans to let those who had been crucified be buried. The Passover feast would have been one of these exceptions, to avoid unrest among the increased crowds that gathered.  Since Jesus was not executed by Jews, it would not have been permitted for Jesus to be buried in a Jewish cemetery for those who had been executed by Jews.  These two assumptions support the fact that Josephus of Arimathea could have buried him, but we cannot say where.


The resurrection of Jesus

The appearance stories are what first confirm the resurrection of Jesus. Luedemann looks at the Gospels in chronological order starting with Mark. Each Gospel has a different take on the account of the resurrection.  Mark underlies both Matthew and Luke. 

            A quote from Joachim Jeremias says all appearance stories vary. However, they follow a sequence:  “The Risen One appears now to an individual, now to a couple of disciples, now to a small group, now to an enormous crowd.  The witness are mostly men, but also women; they are members of the inmost group of disciples, other followers like Joseph and Matthias (Acts 1:22), but also sceptics like the oldest of the family group, James (I Cor. 15:7), and at least in one case we have a fanatical opponent, namely Paul.”  (I Cor 15:8).

 Jeremias states that the appearance stories need to be separated in two categories.  The ones included in the passion story are grounded in the events that took place in Jerusalem over the course of a few days, where the others are more Christophanies. Jeremias goes on to talk about three motifs that are attached to the Easter stories.  1) “people elaborated the reports of the appearances with words of the risen Jesus and conversations with him. 2) the pressure of the burden of proof upon the first Christians influenced the final form of the Easter accounts.  3) the development within the church shaped the Easter stories, thus church formulae (Matt 28:19, the church calendar (John 20:26; Acts 2:1) and above all the missionary obligation of the church  ( Matt 28:16-20; Luke 24:44-49, Acts 1:4-8) have been worked into the accounts.”

Luedemann sums up this section by saying that it is obvious something happened for the followers to speak of Jesus as a risen Christ.  There is still a need for critical analyses to determine what really happened historically at Easter.

The Easter event according to Mark

Referencing Mark 16:1-8 or the conclusion to Mark, if verse 16:9 and on were part of the original tradition, there would have been copies made by scribes to confirm this unless the original copy was lost or damaged before it could be copied. The second question is if the women did not tell anyone about what they had seen, how did so many people find out about it? The tradition of Mark begins by emphasizing the third day.

Personal interaction to article

·         Why is it so hard for a scholar to believe that miracles could happen, and that Jesus really is capable            

      of them?

·         How can Luedemann assume there is a denial from Pilate to the Jews by a break in the flow of scripture?  Nowhere in the scripture could I find a denial.

·         Luedemann states if the early Christians knew where Jesus was buried they would venerate it and that tradition would have been preserved.  I would invite Luedemann to take a trip to Jerusalem.


Review, pages 25-77

Review provided by SKC

The empty tomb and the appearance to the women

1> Again Luedemann asserts the women are indirectly witnesses; Mathew replaced 'disciples' who originally belonged in these verses with 'women' (using a piece of already existing tradition). 2> Opening of the tomb by an angel has a parallel in the Gospel of Peter; In the Gospel of Peter telling of the opening of the tomb describes the emergence of the revived body of Jesus. 3> "There is much to be said for the view that the tradition was preserved at its purest in the Ascension of Isaiah and that the Gospels of Peter and Matthew belong more closely together."

Although early Christianity bear stories of empty tomb and of appearances, there isn't an element of resurrection. Resurrection stories are late formulations and not based on eyewitness accounts that were created based on a need to explain how Jesus was resurrected. There's also no tradition of an appearance to women at the tomb, and so it's unhistorical.

The appearance of Jesus and the mission command

1> Jesus' appearance is meagre. 2> 'nations' probably refers only to the Gentiles; Matthew is still too much in the Jewish tradition to be able to include the Jews in term 3> Three visible elements: a. exaltation of Jesus and power bestowed upon him b. Matthew has replaced the Mark charge 'preach the gospel' with 'make disciples in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit'. c. Jesus' promise of everlasting presence.

"with his meagre 'when they saw him', Matthew is indicating that here he wants to relate an Easter story." It's not a combo of both appearance story and mission to the nations as well as exaltation and mission to nations. It's not an Easter story but Easter theology. This intent of theology "forces any story of an appearance to the side."

The visit of the disciples to the tomb and the appearance to Mary

1> John contains more Easter stories because traditions underwent a long development over a longer period of time; it's more difficult to work out the original traditions and their historical background. 2> Luedemann give weight to the 'beloved disciple' with Peter; Gospel author inserts this person to be a witness guaranteeing its authenticity. 3> "Do not hold me" represents not just Mary's effort to cling to Jesus but also stands as a symbol for the anxiety of the disciples about having to part from Jesus. 4> Mary only recognizes Jesus when he addresses her by name similar to the Emmaus disciples, a direct link to Mark.

"It seems evident that Mary Magdalene was witness to an appearance of the risen Jesus.nevertheless, the tradition of an appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene is evidently fairly late." John reduces Mark's two women given by the tomb tradition to one.

The Risen Christ appears to the disciples

1> Jesus showing his hands and his side is done for no recognizable reason, and is probably governed by Luke 24.40. 2> V. 21 "the Father has sent me, even so I send you" is derived from Paul and Gal. 1.15 suggesting a type of appearance account followed by a missional charge; Paul probably derives this from his vision of the risen Christ.

"Simply because of the dependence on the Lukan account we can rule out the possibility that the traditions come from an eye-witness report." John is piecing together Luke's and Paul's accounts.

Doubting Thomas

1> Thomas was there all along. This story is in tension with the previous story since according to vv.21-23 all the disciples except Judas were given the authority to forgive sins. 2> John put Thomas' doubt here to represent the growing number of disciples who cannot believe without seeing miracles.

This Thomas story is late development in the Easter story. Apparently it is meant to counter the Gnostic conviction that Jesus' was 'only' a divine being. John transfers the motif of doubt from John 20.9-23 to this present story. This incident is thus unhistorical.

The Risen Christ by the Sea of Tiberias

1> The number of disciples listed produces the number 7, symbolically representing the future church as well as the 7 churches in Rev. 2-3. 2> Based on this, the fish net that didn't break holding a specific number of fish represents the church and it's mission to all the world.

Luedemann concludes Peter historically witnessed an appearance story but not this one since it relies too heavy on symbolism and Lukan tradition.

The Risen Christ and Simon Peter

1> With John's use of literary style and use of three questions from Jesus to Peter (Do you love me? Tend my sheep) is very deliberate.

This deliberate style and use of three questions represents Peter's forgiveness by Jesus for his earlier denials, establishes Peter's church leadership, foretells Peter's martyrdom (Follow me). Luedemann says this all is an interpretation of an earlier appearance; the verses are a literary tool.

Review, Results of the analysis of the accounts of Easter

Review provided by JT

Results of the analysis of the accounts of Easter

· Women disciples encounter Jesus in all 4 Gospels, but just a legend.
· 3rd day resurrection is not reliable - just fits the prophecies.
· Disciples didn't know where the body was, contrary to the Gospel accts.
· Actual resurrection event not described in New Testament
· Soon after crucifixion, appearances, but not at tomb - late date to corporeality of risen Christ.
· Peter and disciples did have appearance experience, but first in Galilee, then Jerusalem.
· Cleopas must have been a cousin of Jesus, and that's why this legend arose.
· John invented encounter with Thomas.

No eyewitness testimony. Community added theological content. The only certainty is that Jesus appeared to disciples in Galilee and Jerusalem after death.

I Cor 15

· Peter and Paul (eyewitness accounts) saw Jesus after death.
· Difference is that Peter had known Jesus beforehand.
· Peter must have lost status as church developed, because he has no prominent position (compared to Paul)

Luke 5:1-11 / John 21

· Both are resurrection appearance stories.
· Peter's statement of guilt implies this is post-denial.
· Chronological order is not important to authors.

Matthew 16:15-19

· This is the first Easter appearance to Peter.
· Bultmann- since Peter confesses him as Christ, must be post crucifixion.
· Peter did see Jesus alive after his death

The Denial - Mark 14:54,66-72

· Peter's denial and seeing Jesus after death are linked
· Link between Jesus' confession of self before council and Peter's denial.
· The denial is an utter denial (threefold - Markan invention?)
· Denial might be historical, since it is difficult for community to acknowledge leader's failings.

Mark 14:66-72 and Luke 22:31-34

· Difficulty in Luke, and therefore it is a redaction. (greatness vs. failings)
Peter's denial must be a historical fact.
· Like Dibelius says, Peter must have confessed denial, but not in connection with passion so much as in connection with Easter experiences.
· Historicity of flight of disciples is certain - otherwise they would have been killed.
· Tensions, catastrophe, and splitting up of disciples.
Peter's Easter experience - a process of mourning.

· Peter's whole world collapsed, and he was seeing Jesus in same way as mourners who see dead friends/relatives.
· In addition to hallucinations and auditions, the "feeling" of a presence.
· Gradual separation from dead person is successful mourning - Peter's was not successful. He couldn't handle it.
· Crucifixion was sudden, ambivalence was present, and disciples were wholly dependent upon Jesus.
· They had also separated ties from the rest of the world. (cultish?)

Appearance to the twelve (I Cor 15:5)

· Not historical. Just appeared to twelve. There is no explicit account of the appearance to the twelve.

The appearance to more than 500 bretheren

· I Cor 15 seems to assume it's widely known. Can ask those who were involved
· Pentecost seems to have been witnessed by great numbers of people.
· Pentecost comes from earlier tradition - house vs. open air - drunkenness vs. comprehensible foreign languages.
· This "appearance" is just a reference to Pentecost - Mass psychosis and hallucinations.
· Seems to shoot down own arguments at the end of the section.

Questions and interaction:

· If so many redactions have crept into the biblical texts, why is it that there aren't any stories of the resurrection itself?
· If Mary's visit to the tomb was not historical, why did the authors of the Gospels (or whoever originated the tradition) choose a woman to arrive first, in a day when women were considered less than men?
· What is considered "a relatively late date?"
· Does Lüdemann's assertion that accounts of the resurrection of Jesus are purely an attempt to explain the inexplicable have any gattung/genre implications for the accounts themselves?
· How can Pentecost be classified as a resurrection appearance story if there is no mention of Jesus?

Review, Page 104-127

Review provided by KH

When Paul speaks again of his appearance experience in Philippians 3:8 he talks of knowledge of Christ. In 1 Cor. 9:1 Paul sees Jesus, and explains Paul’s knowledge as one that came from seeing. “Let light shine out of darkness” who has shone in our heats to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6) bring knowledge and seeing (light) together. Thus the conclusion: “‘Jesus appeared to Paul’ means that Paul saw the risen Jesus in his glory, which need not tell against an inner vision of the outward vision. The vision was felt to be an extraordinary event and a revelation” (105).

The author has a high esteem for the Acts 9, 22, and 26 appearance traditions, but feels that careful exegetical work is necessary for these traditions to be used in the realm of a historical perspective. So, he lines the three accounts in a three columned table and takes a good comparative look. (See pages 106-111.) The conclusion is that the three accounts belong together, especially that the chapter 9 account is, as the first and most extensive, the basis for the chapters 22 and 26 stories, which are in fact parallel accounts of the chapter 9 story used for different purposes by the writer of Acts.

Concerning tradition and Acts 9:3-8 the author says: “In agreement with Paul’s letters, the tradition reports with historical accuracy that a particular event made the persecutor a proclaimer, the enemy of Christ a disciple of Christ (cf. Gal. I)” (115). Concerning tradition in Acts 9:10-19 the exegete states: “The tradition worked over by Luke may go back to an account form the apostle himself. It contains details which are already to be denoted in the letters of Paul” (117). He goes on and maintains that “Paul ‘saw’ Jesus in the event before the event before Damascus” (117).

The author shows that visions were important to Paul after his conversion by pointing out a relationship between II Cor. 12:1-10 and the Damascus vision. In II Cor. 12:1-10 Paul talks about himself in the 3rd person to show that he is visionary: “…this man was caught up into paradise…” (vs. 3). In this passage it states that when Paul was caught up into paradise he experienced a type of ecstasy. He did not know whether he was in the body or out of the body. In verse 7 he Paul talks of a “a messenger of Satan to buffet me” that was given to him to keep him from being “exalted above measure.” To Paul, a visionary needed something like a thorn in the flesh or a sickness to act as a humbling agent. Visions and sickness go together.

The Acts appearance accounts included the stuff of visions like light, voice, and blindness. It was a rapturous experience Paul had in Acts. In the II Cor. 12 passage, Paul shows himself to be ‘spiritual’, i.e. one who has visions. When he was caught up into paradise he did not know whether he was in body or in spirit. It was a rapturous experience Paul had in II Cor. So, the author concludes: “We know that Paul often had visions. We must assume that his conversion experience before Damascus, in which the risen Christ appeared to him, was a vision” (125-126).

I follow the writer’s logic. It makes sense. But, I am not convinced that Jesus did not appear to Paul the one who sees visions. I am not sure that the two main passages discussed here contain the same type of appearances.

Review, Conclusion

Review provided by BR

Gerd Luedemann’s conclusions in What Really Happened to Jesus?

All resurrection appearances can be explained as visions
1 Cor 15 accounts are mass psychoses or mass hysteria
Brought on by Peter/Paul’s guilt, replaced by grace

A consistent modern view can say farewell to the resurrection of Jesus as an historical event

Consequences of the Results

The 3rd day doesn’t makes sense- disciples couldn’t have gotten to Galilee that quickly
Resurrection appearances are tightly tied to the forgiveness of sin
Resurrection faith of earliest community and ourselves, Can we still be Christian? We can’t take it literally, but it is certain the people at the time believed in the resurrection literally
With the revelation of the scientific view the statements about the resurrection of Jesus have lost their literal meaning
The tomb of Jesus was not empty, but full, and his body did not disappear, but rotted away

The characteristics of the Easter experience

Forgiveness of sins
Experience of life
Experience of eternity

These three were already contained in the words and story of Jesus. Our faith should not depend on the literalness of the resurrection but we need to believe in God the Father and God the Son. So yes, We can still be Christian.

My thoughts/questions:

Luedemann seems to be repeating the Ebionite heresy of the past: The “divinity” of Jesus does not appear to be “full” in his conclusions. There might be a bit Gnostic too.

Luedemann appears to be skirting the “ongoing presence” motif that Crossan uses. Like Craig, I wonder what he would say to the fact that the doctrine of the Holy Spirit was already in place to carry that on, so why all the “fanciful” thinking?

Presuppositions: scientific world view trumps revelation: very humanistic and existential (and somewhat physiologically based).

Review, Conclusion

Review provided by JR


Consequences of the Results of the Investigation

The origin and essence of the earliest Christian belief in the resurrection

·        Motives for execution of Jesus are clear

·        Jesus seen as a political troublemaker/needed to be put out of action

·        Unsure as to involvement of the disciple Judas

·        Trial, execution and death of Jesus took place in the same day

·        Followed by the Sabbath

·        Which in that year was on the feast of Passover

·        Problem for body because Jewish custom didn’t permit a corpse on the cross overnight

·        Jesus given permission to take the body down from the cross

·        Possible Joseph of Arimathea  or unknown Jews buried the corpse

·        No one knew what Jesus felt like in his last hours

·        The words attributed to him during the trial and the cross were certainly later creations

·        Nor can it be said he collapsed inwardly

·        Peter experienced the living Jesus in a vision

·        From this the conclusion was drawn that God was speaking to men and women in the crucified Jesus

·        Jesus would return as judge of the world

·        The Jesus movement had a tremendous new beginning

·        The movement was 1st understood as a forgiveness of sin

·        Secondly, it developed as an overcoming of death

·        Thirdly, it became a belief in eternity- an eschatological faith


The visions of Peter proved infectious

·        It was followed by others who “saw” Jesus

·        Even to the large group of 500 who “saw”

·        Women also “saw” Jesus

·        One can’t underestimate this religious enthusiasm

·        Even James received an individual vision

·        All of this took no more than 6 month’s

·        The Pharisee Saul went into action and suppressed the new preaching

·        That is until he was similarly overcome by Jesus in a vision before Damascus


Therefore we can no longer take the statements about the resurrection of Jesus literally

·        “If Jesus didn’t rise in that way, there are serious consequences for our religion, but they don’t mean the end of it”

·        The revival of the corpse of Jesus, was not a historical fact but a verdict of faith

·        We can’t blindly join in  to the resurrection and must honestly confess to that

·        “The tomb of Jesus was not empty, but full, and his body did not disappear, but rotted away”

·        “If the traditional ideas about the resurrection of Jesus are to be regarded as finished and need to be replaced by another view, the question of course inexorably arises; are we still Christians?”

·        The answer is yes, because traditional faith is not really robbed of any of its content, provided that we ask critically enough and do not regard historical research as a threat to our faith

·        It’s here on the historical Jesus as he is presented to us in the texts and encounters us as a person through historical reconstruction, that the decision of faith is made

·        Not on the risen Christ as we would like him to be


·        Peter arrived at a fundamentally better understanding of Jesus, whom he had known

·        Peter experienced the unlimited grace of God

·        It was Peter and the disciples that needed the Easter Event, not Christ

·        “No one can prove historically that Jesus deliberately took the cross upon himself;” however, it can’t be refuted, either

·        Christ is hidden from us as the Exalted One, and our access to him is only in God

·        We must stop at the historical Jesus, but we may believe that he’s also with us as one who is alive now

·        He believes that the unity with God experienced in faith continues beyond death

·        It does Christians no harm to live by the little that they really believe, not by the much that they take pains to believe- which is a great liberation


My questions:

It is unclear to me as to why all the people who “saw” Jesus have to having visions?

It seems to me that we are to assume that people in the past did not know the difference between when they were having a vision and when they were actually having a visual encounter and I do not understand clearly why that would have to be.

For me there are such gaps, that I am finding it hard to reason why if Christ can be alive within me today, why it would be any harder to believe he could be raised in his earthly body as well.  My question is in part, could Jesus not raise his own earthly body to occupy as spirit?

In regard to Paul’s Jesus Complex…What would make a modern day term something that is easier to believe than an encounter with Jesus Christ?  Also, does this Jesus Complex extend to present day people who believe in Christ?  If Paul is being true to his experience and is relating it as closely as he is able, why must it be in a sense tied to some secret longing.  I would encourage Ludemann to also speak to the other side of the spectrum; to investigate Paul as literally being changed, even to the point of being against his human will into a totally different mindset; to take Paul at his word and investigate from that stance, instead of explaining it away with present day psychological terms.