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Post-Resurrection Appearance Stories


This course is designed to enable the student to pursue an intensive inquiry into the issue of the Resurrection of Jesus and Historicity. This line of questioning focuses on the appearance stories - primarily those at the ends of the gospels - and differentiates itself from a more general overview of other resurrection traditions, e.g. the empty tomb, the kerygma, or the summary traditions of Acts. Exploration of this focus and differentiation will be the subject of exegetical work, survey reports on the history of research, and small group/class discussions. Students are invited to join in on a critical dialogue with the instructor and his ongoing interest for some three decades in the topic.

Students are asked to begin their work with a bi.216-style exegesis of the appearance stories in Matthew 28, Luke 24, and John 20-21. They are also asked to familiarize themselves with the instructor's The Post-Resurrection Appearance Stories of the Gospel Tradition. A History-of- Tradition Analysis, Stuttgart, 1975, "Resurrection and Historicity" in: Austin Seminary Bulletin, 1988, and "Auferstehung" in: EKL I, cols. 309-313 (Eng. trans. for seminar).

It becomes evident rather quickly that one of the major challenges for the study of this topic is the formidable matter of Bibliography. In former times a dissertation was written almost exclusively on the literature alone on this topic (cf. Daniel Fuller's Easter Faith and History 1965) and the instructor's Post-Resurrection Appearance Stories required extensive bibliographical entries and footnotes. Today that secondary literature has grown even larger. While relatively comprehensive bibliographical updates from the years 1975-1984, 1984-1988, and 1988-2001 will be made available to the class, the goal of the class on acquaintance with the history of research will be to gain access to this body of literature as presented in the published results of international symposia. This will consist primarily of selected readings from the interdisciplinary discussion in: The Resurrection eds. S. Davis, D. Kendall, and G. O'Collins, Oxford, '97/'98 (cf. also, other proceedings mentioned here on pp. v-vi) and in the discussion around Gerd Luedemann's The Resurrection of Jesus: history, experience, theology, Fortress, 1994 ; What Really Happened to Jesus: a historical approach to the resurrection, Westminster/John Knox, 1995. Working as a team, the class in its study groups will read and report on assigned contributions to these books during the semester (cf. Schedule below).

Although the course is listed under the rubric of "topics," advanced exegesis credit is granted upon successful completion of all requirements.


It is assumed that class participants have successfully completed the summer Greek course (bi.120) and the Interpretation of New Testament Texts course (bi.216) or their equivalents. Regular, well-prepared attendance and participation in work groups and at all class sessions is the norm; absences are excused only under special conditions.

The student is to choose a final project for the class that best suits his or her wishes for maximum growth as exegete and theologian. This may take the form of a Bi 216-type paper on a given resurrection text (ca.12-15 pages) in which the student builds on strengths and improves in areas of weakness from previous exegetical work; it could be three sermons based on three texts from our work together (ca. 2 pages exegetical precis and ca. 5 page sermon manuscript); perhaps, three didactic exercises for a church school class also based on three texts and of similar length to the three sermons just mentioned; one could also write a paper on the order of a master's thesis or pre-thesis in which there would be no restrictions on number of pages; perhaps the oral exam option would suit best in which the student would read and take notes on a specific bibliography and then engage the instructor (and other interested parties from the class?) in a discussion of ca. 3 hours during finals week. Most of these options may well be decided best in conversation with the instructor; students are encouraged to do this by mid-March.

* The E-Group is offered as an enrichment of our work in this course. Users of the bi216 website are often interested in a continuing education mode of participating in the theological studies they have enjoyed prior to graduation from APTS or elsewhere, but are unable to travel to Austin. E-Group members will have their contributions posted under "exegetical topics - Post-Resurrection Appearance Stories" for discussion just like all other members of the class. This model will serve all of us for years to come.


The course grade is based on an equal-part valuation of work group/class participation (50%) and the final project (50%) of one's choice.


The course is divided into four parts: 1) Basic orientation and initial exegetical work (February 5-March 2); 2) Familiarity with and discussion of the major published voices of the last decade (March 5-30); 3) Re-visitation of exegetical work and advancement of the line of questioning (April 2-April 3); 4) Development of a synthesis in dialogue toward the building of hermeneutical bridges.

1) Monday, February 5: Orientation, Topical Differentiation, and General Discussion
2) Friday, February 9: Discussion of Syllabus and "Introduction" to Alsup App. Stories, pp. 19-54 in dialogue with "Resurr. and Historicity," passim.
3) Monday, February 12: Continued discussion of "Introduction" to Alsup App. Stories
4) Friday, February 16: Group A to moderate exegetical discussion of Matthew 28
5) Monday, February 19: Group B to moderate exegetical discussion of Luke 24
6) Friday, February 23: Group C to moderate exegetical discussion of John 20
7) Monday, February 26: Group D to moderate exegetical discussion of John 21
8) Friday, March 2: Summary plenary discussion of exegetical findings
9) Monday, March 5: Report from Group A on Wilkins, O'Collins, Carnley, Soskice, Newman, and Segal in: Resurrection, pp. 1-125
10) Friday, March 9: Report from Group B on Davis, Alston, Coakley, Swinburne, and Schuessler Fiorenza in: Resurrection, pp. 126-248

Spring Break: March 10-17

11) Monday, March 19: Report from Group C on Craig, Eddy, Padgett, Schuster, and Johnstone in: Resurrection, pp. 249-360
12) Friday, March 23: Report from Group D on Gerd Luedemann, The Resurrection of Jesus: history, experience, theology, 1994, passim
13) Monday, March 26: Report from Groups A and B on the discussion of Luedemann's approach in: What Really Happened to Jesus: a historical approach to the Resurrection, passim
14) Friday, March 30: Special Report on Luedemann's Osterglaube ohne Auferstehung?
15) Monday, April 2: Group A - The Appearance Story Gattung and Consequences for Historicity
16) Friday, April 6: Group A - Paul's Midrash on the Kerygma in I Cor. 15
17) Monday, April 9: Group B - New Creation, Historicity, and I Peter
No Class - Good Friday, April 13
18) Monday, April 16: Group B - New Creation ... I Peter con't
19) Friday, April 20: Group C - New Creation, Historicity and the Book of Revelation
20) Monday, April 23: Group C - New Creation ... Revelation con't
21) Friday, April 27: Group D - Synthesis and discussion
22) Monday, April 30: Group D - Synthesis and discussion continued
[Tuesday, May 1: Chapel credo preaching series "we look for the resurrection of the dead"]
23) Friday, May 4: All Groups - discussion of Class Projects\Summary and Conclusions

Reading Week: May 7-11
Finals Week: May 14-18

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