Chapters 10-13 of The Resurrection
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Article Review
Report on the Article titled "John Dominic Crossan on the Resurrection of Jesus" by William Lane Craig
From The Resurrection
Chapter 10
Review provided by BR

Information about the author, William Lane Craig:

He was born in Peoria, IL. Received his BA at Wheaton College, Ph.D. from University of Birmingham in 1977, DTheol. from Ludwig-Maximillian Univ., Munich, in 1984. At the time of the publication of the article, he was the Visiting Professor at Talbot School of Theology (CA.)

John Dominic Crossan has written over a dozen books on the historical Jesus in the last twenty-five years, three of which have become national religious bestsellers: The Historical Jesus (1991), Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (1994) and Who Killed Jesus (1995). A former co-chair of the Jesus Seminar, he is chair of the Historical Jesus Section of the Society of Biblical Literature, an international scholarly association for biblical study based in the United States.

Beginning quote: "According to Crossan, after the crucifixion Jesus' corpse was probably laid in a shallow grave, barely covered with dirt, and subsequently eaten by wild dogs; the story of Jesus' entombment and resurrection was the result of "wishful thinking"."

Howard Clark Kee called Crossan's book Historical Jesus "a triumph of circular reasoning."

N. T. Wrights says it is thorough, handles complex issues brilliantly, very readable and inventive ... which makes it frustrating to conclude that the book is almost entirely wrong.

According to Craig, Crossan's whole reconstruction balances on the existence of the "Cross Gospel." A diagram was used to support this premise, supplemented by Crossan's "Secret Mark" hypothesis. The most primitive Gospel of all, according to this, is embedded in the Gospel of Peter. Mark, subsequently, drew from this Cross Gospel and embellished the rest.

Crossan's presuppositions: There must be multiple Gospel attestations for an account to be true and extra-canonical writings are to be taken at face value while canonical writings need to be treated with suspicion.

1. Burial Story

Seems to meet Crossan's multiple attestation demand
Crossan rejects on basis of asserting that Mark's account is historicized prophecy -- Craig sees no plausible case for this. Crossan overlooks entire ly the early tradition concerning Jesus' burial (1Cor 15:3-5)

Crossan also asserts that Joseph of Arimathea's role was placed in the Gospels later -- again Craig sees no case for this. Raymond Brown judges Joseph's presence very probable and Matthew and John also include it.

Crossan uses the sources Epistula Apostolorum (Coptic, 2nd c.) and Lactantius' Divine Institutes (early 4th c.) that do not mention Joseph, as proof. These late sources are seen as more trustworthy than the New Testament documents by Crossan, which shows his methodological presuppositions.

2. Empty Tomb

Crossan asserts that Mark's account is taken from the Gospel of Peter which causes him to adopt the following: Mark envisioned no resurrection appearances prior to the parousia; the transfiguration story is a recast story from the Gospel of Peter; forced to embrace the hypothesis of the flight of the disciples to Galilee, so they knew only of the crucifixion (another extreme position most scholars reject, Jesus Seminar accepts; that the women stories were to serve as female illustrations of failure. Here Crossan goes on an elaborate description regarding how Mark saw much of the woman material offensive so Mark scattered it around his Gospel. He put it in case someone found "secret Mark" and wondered why he left it out. This kind of makes it impossible to debunk Crossan' theory because anything used against it is reinterpreted in terms of the theory itself and it is kind of like Freudian psychology -- if you claim you do not have Oedipal desires, then you must be suppressing them!

3. Post-Mortem Appearances

Despite the multiple attestation criteria being met, Crossan denies that the disciples experienced any post-mortem appearances of Jesus (Craig points out Crossan does this with little argument and no real evidence.)

Crossan also embraces the interpretation that these appearances were later constructions of the Church (even though there is no evidence of this and very little scholarly support.)

4. Origin of the Disciples' Belief in Jesus' Resurrection

On the one hand, Crossan asserts that the belief was merely symbolic, a "continuing presence" belief. Craig asks "But tiwth the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, why not focus on that as Christ's presence instead of "inventing" misleading resurrection language?

On the other hand, Crossan attributes the notion of resurrection to Pauline Christianity, one of our "hypothetical" Christian communities for which no real evidence is given. These "supposed" groups were: Thomas Christianity (ascetic group behind the Gospel of Thomas; Pauline Christianity (held to bodily resurrection); Q Christianity (pre-Easter community behind the Q document)' and Exegetical Christianity (scholarly group that searched the Scriptures to invent the passion story.)


Why the presupposition of suspicion in regards to the NT text, whhile at the same time taking Josephus, Philo, and other later texts at face value with no critical review?

Crossan appears to be writing in response to something, what is that something? Fundamentalism? Biblical literalists? Orthodox Christianity?

If what Craig says about Crossan is true, Crossan appears to use some suspect methodologies. What is driving those methodologies? Most of his scholarship is highly questionable in the eyes of most other scholars.

Is Crossan a born-again Christian? (I, like Barth, don't think there is any other kind.) Would he consider himself a born-again (or from above, if you prefer) Christian? John 3:6 "that which is born of the flesh in flesh...."

Overall, I think we all need to ask the historical Jesus question. But, it apperas that Crossan has reduced the quest to a few multiple choice answers, eliminating any possible answers that do not fit neatly into his own ideology.

Article Review
Report on the Response by Paul Rhodes Eddy to William Lane Craig's Critique of John Dominic Crossan
From The Resurrection
Chapter 10
Review provided by JT

Article Review
Report on the Article titled "Advice for Religious Historians: On the Myth of a Purely Historical Jesus" by Alan G. Padgett
From The Resurrection
Chapter 11
Review provided by JP

About the Author:

Alan G. Padgett earned his BA from Southern California College (1977), and M.Div. from Drew University (1981), and a D.Phil. from Oxford University (1990). Currently he is the Professor of Theology and Philosophy of Science at Azuna Pacific University. He has written God, Eternity and the Nature of Time (London: Macmillan, 1992) and in the role as editor, Reason and the Christian Religion: Essays in Honour of Richard Swineburne (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), and in addition several articles in New Testament Studies.

Ch 11 - Advice for Religious Historians: On the Myth of the Purely Historical Jesus

In his paper, Padgett wishes to pursue two goals. The first of these is to debunk the powerful and influential myth that arises from the divorce of religion and science: that a neutral and value-free approach to historical Jesus is desirable and possible. The second goal is to pursue an alternative, post-modern approach that integrates faith and science, which follows in the footsteps of Galileo.

Padgett starts his quest at the resurrection because it is "a powerful place from which to consider the relationship between faith and historical research"(288). But what is the right method to use? Padgett quotes Ernst Troeltsch: "the proper method for the study of religion is a purely scientific historiography that is value-free and religiously neutral"(288, 289). This method, which was first used to apply to Jesus, is quite popular in scholarly camps, including the infamous Jesus Seminar. Even so, Padgett labels this way of study as "the myth of a purely historical Jesus"(289).

After this introduction, Padgett dives into the discussion of the myth itself, exposing the idea that religion corrupts scientific research. A main supporter of this idea comes to us from the Jesus Seminar, who states: "The Christ of creed and dogma, who had been firmly in place in the Middle Ages, can no longer command the assent of those who have seen the heavens through Galileo's telescope"(290). This is to say that those living in the scientific age cannot follow the Christ that comes to us before the Enlightenment. Padgett identifies the underlying assumptions in this statement that claim that only a scientific methodology that is without religious biases is acceptable. Padgett claims that these ideas are false, and the ideology presented is deluding and distorts the quest for truth of religion. Ultimately, Padgett believes, the search for the purely historical approach to religion is destructive because it sets faith and values against science and reason. Although Padgett insists that he does want to continue to study religions in academic circles, because it allows criticism and argument to balance biases and prejudices. This attitude would then lead one to replace the attractive ideology with one that is "more humble, holistic, and accepting of religious belief"(291). Basically, Padgett believes firmly in the truth that religion can bring to scholarship; an idea that he will pursue later on in the paper.

When investigating the myth that faith distorts the quest for the purely historical Jesus, scholars do admit that the prejudice of perspective does not allow for such a quest. In light of this, however, scholars still try to do it. The two main schools of thought are the neutrality two-step and the consensus Jesus. The neutrality two-step states that if one could just pay attention to the facts, all interpretation would go away. The focus of this argument is to find the right methodology. Padgett flatly states that scholars are in denial if they think that this could be accomplished. They want history to be neutral to get at the true Jesus. However, this interpretation would never lead one to the historical Jesus because Jesus can only be known through interpretations of individuals. This is the major flaw: "all data in already infected by theory"(294). All data available to scholars today contains some form of interpretation, so this attempt fails before it even begins.

The best known attempt comes form Van Harvey's book The History and the Believer, which was dedicated to Bultmann. In his book, Van Harvey develops a morality of knowledge and claims that religious faith distorts judgment so that "the validity of her reasoning process is called into question"(294). Van Harvey also downplays the idea that the secular nonbeliever can be just as distorted as the believer, and well as the notion that the Christian faith may give better insight into data than that of the nonbeliever. Padgett asks the reader why is so faith so damaging? Perhaps faith is a helpful prejudice. Therefore faith would help one interpret data more correctly. Padgett goes onto claim that we all stand in some tradition and prejudice, and not all of these are bad. It is only through dialogue and evaluation of evidence that one can determine whether or not a prejudice ought to be dismissed. It is no accident that the book is dedicated to Bultmann, as it reflects the same type of misunderstanding that Bultmann and his school are known for.

The second myth that Padgett attacks in the consensus Jesus theory, which claims that through a consensus of the New Testament by scholars, that one is able to get the true Jesus of history. By consensus, Padgett means that we are to understand who Jesus is by adhering to New Testament scholarship. However, the concensus Jesus will not lead the true Jesus. And example of this once again comes from the Jesus Seminar, whose members are made up of personalities that search for a particular concensus. Instead of providing the true Jesus, these scholars yield nothing, for they cannot even agree on how the New Testament is to be viewed. At the best, "a concensus might provide a beginning for our own careful examination of the issues,"(297), but that would be all.

In the concensus version of the myth of the purely historical Jesus, there are many presuppositions that are pluralistic. It is these presuppositions that lead one to turn a "consensus Jesus into and minimalist Jesus"(298). And what value would a book that contained a consensus of New Testament scholars on the life of Jesus be? It would give a good starting point, but that would be all.


The myth of the purely historical Jesus is based upon false ideology that came out of the Enlightenment period. On the other hand, when one brings a religious faith into scientific interpretation, this can lead to good, open, and honest scholarship. This would allow the researcher to be founded upon something beside their own personal world-view, which is just as corruptible as religious faith. The scholar then can move from the bad divorce of faith and science that occurred in the Enlightenment and move to a period in which faith and science can work hand in hand.

Article Review
Report on the Article titled "The Preaching of the Resurrection of Christ in Augustine, Luther, Barth, and Thielicke by Marguerite Shuster
From The Resurrection
Chapter 12
Review provided by SB & NM

About the Author

Marguerite Shuster was born in Santa Paula, California, obtained her Bachelor's degree at Stanford in 1968 and her Ph.D. from the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology in 1977. Currently she teaches Preaching at Fuller Theological Seminary. Her writings include (co-edited) Perspectives in Christology: Essays in Honor of Paul K. Jewett (Grand Rapids Mich.: Zondervan 1991), doctrinal sermons in God, Creaton, and Revelation (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1991), Power, Pathology, Paradox: The Dynamics of Evil and Good (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1987), and she is editor of We Who Are: Our Dignity as Human (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1996).

This article conveys the perceptions of the resurrection held by Augustine, Luther, Barth, and Thielicke through many quotes from the respective theologians. In summary I will organize the quotes according to the theologian and then provide my own interaction.

Augustine: "...fought against heretics who, he believed, wrongly construed the person of Christ and the nature of the Church" (Shuster, p.310).

"The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the distinctive mark of the Christian faith."

"Christian faith consists in believing in His Resurrection."

"The whole of Christ's work, including the incarnation, was in the service of the resurrection, and that his death would have profited us nothing had the resurrection not occurred."

"The only one who could raise himself up was the one who didn't die, when his flesh died. Even in this case he raised up what had died. He raised himself up , because he was alive in himself, though he had died in his flesh which was to be raised. You see, it wasn't only the Father who raised up the Son,...but the Lord too raised up himself."

"It would have been insufficient to present himself to the eyes for the seeing if he hadn't also offered himself to the hands for the touching."

"While Christ could certainly have risen without his scars, he kept them in order to heal the wounds of doubt in his disciples' hearts."

"Not even a magician who could make himself appear could not, before he was born, create prophecies of himself in Scripture."

Additional quotes from Shuster on Augustine:

"But in so far as Christ's resurrection and our own are 'one fact', and in so far as the relevance of that 'fact' is not cast in terms of some non-factual myth, symbol, or metaphor, that Christ's resurrection was bodily becomes intensely relevant at the human level" (p.314)

"More than anything else he emphasized the forty days of post-resurrection appearances to te discouraged and doubting disciples, especially to the two on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24), to Mary and Thomas (John 20), and to Peter and his companions (John 21), with particular attention to the physical solidity of Christ's body" (p.320).

Luther: "Luther struggled against the Church itself in its understanding of the relationship of faith and works" (310).

"When one wants to preach the Gospel, one must treat only the resurrection of Christ. For this is the chief article of our faith… The greatest power of faith is bound up in this article of faith. For if there were n resurrection, we would have no consolation or hope, and everything else Christ did or suffered would be futile (I Cor. 15:17)."

"It is not enough that we believe the historic fact of the resurrection of Christ; for this all the wicked believe, yea, even the devil himself believes that Christ suffered and is risen. But we must believe also the meaning- the spiritual significance of Christ's resurrection, realizing its fruit and benefits, that which we have received through it, namely, forgiveness and redemption from all sins."

"His purpose is to show and teach us that the power of his resurrection and dominion will be exercised here on earth and manifest itself in this life, only through the Word, and through faith which holds fast to Christ."

Additional quotes from Shuster on Luther:

"He affirms Christ's as well as the Father's agency in the resurrection; emphasizes that 'an indivisible being, at the same time a Son of the virgin of the house of David and of God...cannot remain in death'; nonetheless attributes life to Christ as the eternal Word, not to Christ as the human being; and says that Christ 'descended, ascended and all the while remained in heaven in divine essence and power" (p.316).

"Luther argues, in sum, that what everyone desires most deeply is to be free from death and hell, sin, and a bad conscience; that the conquering Christ has procured for us these supreme desiderata through his death and resurrection, having turned away the wrath of God; and that these great blessings come to us only through, and not without, faith" (p.317).

"...He does not argue from the divine omnipotence (although it is surely implicit). When he speaks of the disciples' striking and stubborn refusal of reports of the resurrection, it is often in service of an acknowledgement of Christians' frailties and in admiration of Christ's kindness none the less" (322).

"Luther's primary concern is to demonstrate the necessity of the Word if people are to believe" (p. 322).

"Thus, when Luther emphasizes the Word, he is not referring to some possibility of purely rational apprehension of truth, but, like Augustine, assumes the necessity of the work of the Spirit in and through the Word if human hearts are to be reached. (p.323)."

Barth: "Barth and Thielicke faced a superficially self-confident liberalism, secularism, and scientism tempted to give final authority to their own powers and understanding" (p.310).

"Strike out this word ['resurrection'] with all it means, and we are striking from Jesus what He really was. From this viewpoint we can understand why this word occupies the central point of importance in the New Testament, why it is the word that contains in itself what the whole of Christianity really is."

"What else did Jesus do toward resurrection than that he died?"

"That one who is dead should rise from the dead is something impossible, comprehensible, and unprovable."

"The resurrection of Christ from the dead is not a question but the answer which has been given us."

Additional quotes from Shuster on Barth:

"His main concern was to lift the world and all our preconceptions of the possible off their hinges, in a divine encroachment that modern people resist mightily because it manifests to them their actual helplessness" (p.317).

"When Barth says that the resurrection is not a historical event , he clearly does not mean that it did not occur in our time and space, but rather that it is not something that is some sort of 'hidden potentiality' in the created order, or something the import of which can be limited by that order. It is an act of the transcendent, sovereign God breaking into our world" (p.318).

"His fundamental presupposition is the sovereignty of God" (p.323).

Thielicke: "Barth and Thielicke faced a superficially self-confident liberalism, secularism, and scientism tempted to give final authority to their own powers and understanding" (p.310).

"If Christ did not rise from the dead, then his life and his work are refuted."

"Jesus has constantly risen from the conceptual graves in which we have locked him."

"None of the disciples thought Jesus could rise from the dead; nor were the people of Jerusalem recklessly credulous: they 'would have repudiated this maddest of all messages just as firmly as we would, if- if they hadn't been bowled over by the upsetting facts."

"If we cannot believe and the seed will not grow, the reason lies only in the rarest cases in fact that we have intellectual doubts, that, for example, the relation of miracle and causality remains a problem to us, or that a person cannot understand from a medical point of view how a dead man can rise again. Rather, when we cannot believe, there is something in the background of our life that is not in order."

Additional quotes from Shuster on Thielicke:

"Thielicke quite matter-of-factly refers to the resurrection as 'the basic teaching of Christianity"(p.312).

"...neither Barth nor Thielicke cares to emphasize in his preaching the agency of the Son in the resurrection or the idea that he remains in heaven even while on earth" (p.317).

"Like Luther, he speaks of the importance of knowing that Christ died for me; but he is much clearer that this conviction comes from within faith. Like Barth, he recognizes that there is a great divide between those who welcome God's decisive intervention as a wonderful gift of new freedom and those who desire no encroachments on their management of their own lives" (p.319).

"He speaks instead of the self-testimony of the risen Christ himself and of how, facing the empty tomb and hearing the words of the angel, scales fell from the disciples' eyes, so that they perceived how all of Jesus' words and deeds pointed to the truth that death could not hold him" (p.325).

Article Critque Continued by NM:

Shuster looks at how these theologians preached about the resurrection of Christ.


Augustine made connections between the resurrection and the Christian life in the context of a church that had known martyrdom; therefore, his emphasis is on how the resurrection supports Christians who are facing trials.

He believed Christians should have a proper disregard for the present life but not a total disregard for responsibilities of this life in that Christ cared for the world and us enough to become incarnate.

Christians should imitate Christ by showing humility and patience. In short, we, as Christians, are to live good lives as evidence that the resurrection of Christ is at work in us.

Augustine saw nothing more important than preaching of the gospel.


Luther also spoke of the resurrection as providing strength to Christians in their present trials.

Like, Augustine, Luther put a heavier emphasis on preaching the gospel that on others kinds of activism in society.

Luther placed an intense emphasis on internal more than external aspects of the struggles of this life. He believed our trials remain so we can experience our need for God and would miss the experience of God’s grace without them.

Christians must rely wholly on Christ, not on our own works and to keep clear that the change of heart and life springs from the power of Christ’s resurrection. To rely on oneself is to deny the resurrection.

Luther believed the miracle of the resurrection should change us. We must both feel its power and “practice the apostles” teaching as its essential fruits.


Barth preached that, because of our humanity, we live in depravity and will come up against devastating limits such as illness, sin and death. But because Jesus lives, these limits do not have the finality we would suppose.

It is only when we come to the end our own resources and hopes, that we can know this; therefore, Barth believed the church’s essential responsibility is to bring us to the end of ourselves and this brings us to the cross and resurrection.

As Christians, we must seek to have God manifest in their own lives as the fruit of the resurrection.

Once we know Christ’s tender mercy, our lives are of a new quality. We must take the world seriously without relying on it, apart from what God provides for us.

Barth does not limit the impact of the resurrection to our personal lives. He believed it must make us think about the whole of society.


Shuster believes that Thielicke adds little that is distinctive to the discussion of the resurrection and the Christian life.

Thielicke, like the others, believes that the resurrection changes everything and that its truth is literally a matter of life and death.