Friday, March 27, 2009

Alan Segal on Paul and the Resurrection

Loren Rosson the Third, has an interesting guest post by Alan Segal on Paul's view of the resurrection and the way it was a spiritual body and not the body as portrayed in the Gospels.

I quote from it :-

'Paul, who wrote before the Gospels, never mentions the empty tomb, though he certainly goes out of his way to tell us that Jesus was buried. I suspect that he saw this as a victory over the Roman oppressors because they rarely granted permission for crucified criminals to be buried with honors. It is also clear that the resurrection body is a spiritual body.

But it is nowhere clear that it is the physical body of the Gospels. It may be the same body transformed but that is far from clear in Paul’s 1 Corinthians 15 essay on the subject. It seems out of the question that it is merely the flesh revivified as he says that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom (1 Cor. 15:50). But what it is positively is ambiguous.

The metaphor of the grain of wheat suggests two bodies because the ancient world thought that the seed disappeared and was reborn.

Other parts of the passage suggest a single body transformed. What is clear to me is that it does not automatically cohere with the Gospel story. And why should it? He did not know the finished Gospel tradition. The real question is: “Why do the Gospels ignore Paul?”'


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