Δευτέρα, 6 Μαρτίου 2017

On Paul's Theory of Resurrection: The Carrier-O'Connell Debate (1)



On Paul's Theory of Resurrection:
The Carrier-O'Connell Debate (2008)


Historian Richard Carrier and theology scholar Jake O'Connell debate whether Paul believed that Jesus rose from the dead in the same body that died, or in a new body, leaving his old body behind to rot in the grave.


Who We Are (2008)


Welcome to On Paul's Theory of Resurrection: The Carrier-O'Connell Debate. Here Richard and Jake explain who they are.
Richard Carrier: Richard Carrier has a Ph.D. in ancient history from Columbia University. He specializes in ancient science and religion, and has written on early Christianity both online and in print. He is also a published philosopher, prominent atheist, and author of the book Sense and Goodness without God. For more about him and his work see RichardCarrier.info.
Jake O'Connell: Jake O'Connell is a theology student at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. He has articles on Jesus' resurrection forthcoming in Tyndale Bulletin, Conspectus, and the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism. He also has book reviews forthcoming in Expository Times, Restoration Quarterly, and the International Journal of Parapsychology.

What We Are Debating (2008)


Welcome to On Paul's Theory of Resurrection: The Carrier-O'Connell Debate. Here Richard and Jake co-wrote and approved a joint statement stating as clearly as possible what claims each intends to defend here.

JOINT STATEMENT

In this debate Richard Carrier will defend the thesis that the Apostle Paul probably embraced "a two-body doctrine of the resurrection, where the identity of Jesus was believed to have left one body to enter another," not in the sense of what's sometimes called a "spiritual resurrection" (as a mere revival of Christ's soul or spirit), but in the sense that Paul "believed Christ had really been raised, and raised bodily, even as his earthly body continued to rot in its tomb," because Paul believed Jesus rose in a different body, one of supernatural material instead of flesh, thus having left the flesh behind.[1] If this is correct, then Paul either would not have believed or would not have needed to believe that the tomb of Jesus was empty (whether it was or not), but he could still have believed that Jesus rose from the dead in an actual body.
Jake O'Connell will defend the thesis that Paul more probably embraced a "one body" doctrine of the resurrection. That is, Paul believed that Jesus' post-resurrection body was numerically identical to his pre-resurrection body (even if changed in some way, e.g. even if made of different material). If this is correct, then no matter what the nature of Jesus' resurrection body was (or was thought to be), Paul must still have believed on conceptual grounds that Jesus' tomb was empty in order to affirm that Jesus rose from the dead.

[1] Quotations (and comprehensive evidence and argument for this thesis) in Richard Carrier, "The Spiritual Body of Christ and the Legend of the Empty Tomb," The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave (Prometheus: 2005), edited by Bob Price and Jeffrey Jay Lowder: pp. 105-231 (quotes: p. 105). Dr. Carrier also defended this thesis in a live debate at UCLA: Licona vs. Carrier: On the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
-----------

The Rules We Followed (2008)


Welcome to On Paul's Theory of Resurrection: The Carrier-O'Connell Debate. Here Richard and Jake explain the rules of debate they both agreed to follow.

(1) The parties to the debate composed a joint statement specifying the proposition to be defended and defining every term in that proposition to the reasonable satisfaction of both parties. This statement in its entirety was agreed upon by both parties and written together. It will define what shall be debated and will be the first entry to be published.
(2) When the moderator simultaneously informs both parties that the above statement has been published, each party will simultaneously submit to the moderator an opening statement defending their side of the debated proposition as thus defined. Once the moderator has both opening statements, he will post them both simultaneously and at the same time announce to each party the deadline for their rebuttal. In all, this procedure will be repeated for an opening statement, one rebuttal, one counter-rebuttal, then a closing statement.
(3) In every case the deadline between the moderator's announcement of the last entry's publication and submission of the next entry shall be two weeks.
(4) Every submission will be held to a pre-agreed limit of 3000 words. This word limit will not apply to footnotes, but footnotes shall contain no argument or digression or assessment or any other content except what is needed to identify a source of information or quote so the reader can find it if he bothers to look for it.
(5) Both parties agreed not to attack each other's character or competence, but only the facts and arguments as presented, and they agreed not to use disparaging words or tones but to phrase everything as congenially and honestly as they can manage. They will behave like gentlemen and set a standard of polite debate others can emulate.
(6) Both parties agreed upon a moderator, and both parties agreed that their chosen moderator can force them to comply with the above rules, especially word limits and footnote contents and etiquette, and this moderator will have the right to correct spelling and other trivial errors that each party misses, and he will complete any necessary HTML coding. The moderator may also offer suggestions for improving wording or clarity or source citation and so on, but such advice will not be binding on either party.
(7) Four judges were selected and agreed upon by both parties. After the publication of the closing statements for the debate, a page will be launched announcing the judges and their qualifications and a deadline by which all the judges will submit an assessment of the entire debate. Each judge will write an assessment of the debate in 600 words or less, declaring who they think won the debate, and by what margin (using a scale defined below), with some brief comments on what they believe to be the most important merits and problems with each side. The judges have been instructed to assess who won based on who was able to better defend their own and rebut the other's arguments in this particular debate, regardless of whether the judges themselves agree or disagree with those arguments or conclusions. For example, even a fallacious argument will be counted as a successful argument if it is not effectively rebutted. When all the judges' assessments have been submitted, the judges' page will be updated to include all four assessments, plus an average score for the whole debate (as explained below), and as with all other entries, this update will be announced on the What's New page of the Secular Web.
(8) A judge may declare neither party the winner, which rates a score of zero. Or a judge may declare one party the winner and assign a score between 1 and 4 as follows: {1} only barely won the debate, {2} won the debate by a significant margin, {3} won the debate by a large margin, {4} won the debate by a decisive margin. An average score will also be calculated based on all four assessments as follows: the scores given to each party will be added up and if the two totals are equal, the average score will be a tie (neither side won); if they are not equal, the party with the higher total is announced as the winner, by a margin equal to the difference between the two scores divided by four and rounded up. For example, if one side is given scores that total 4 and the other side totals 5, then the latter won by a margin equal to the difference of 1 point divided by 4 and then rounded up, for a final score of 1, which means that that party only barely won the debate according to the combined assessment of all four judges.
---------

Carrier's Opening Statement (2008)


Two Bodies: One in the Sky, One in the Grave


1. Basic Argument

When the Apostle Paul was asked "How are the dead raised? With what sort of body do they come?" he answered "that which you sow is not the body that will come to be" but "God supplies a body as he pleases" (1 Corinthians 15:35-38). I believe Paul meant what he said: God supplies a new body at the resurrection, and that is not the body we bury. I've made the case for this elsewhere, and have only space to summarize here.[1] Since Paul believed Jesus was raised the same way we would be (e.g. 1 Corinthians 15:13-16, 20-23, 49; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; Philippians 3:21; Romans 6:5), he must also have believed that Jesus did not rise in the body that was buried ("that which was sown"), but that God gave Jesus a new body ("the body that will come to be"). Since transferring Jesus to a new body would not require the transformation or disappearance of the old body, Paul would not need to believe there was any missing body, and there's no definite evidence he did. So even if the body of Jesus remained in its tomb, this would prove nothing against the claim that he rose from the dead.
Several scholars have agreed with this conclusion and defend it.[2] Even noted scholar N. T. Wright, though he doesn't agree, nevertheless admits it might be correct.[3] And we know Paul did not have to innovate to believe this, for there were many pagans and Jews who held a similar view, believing the best resurrection was one in which the earthly body of flesh is left behind and a new, superior body rises to eternal life.[4] There is thus solid and respectable precedent for my conclusion, in both ancient evidence and modern scholarship.

2. What Paul Said

Besides his plain statement of the fact in 1 Corinthians 15, on every other occasion when Paul speaks of the resurrection body he says the same thing or something that can be so interpreted. He responds to Christian worries about aging and dying (or being killed) by reminding them that "though our man outside is being destroyed, yet our [man] inside is being renewed day by day," hence:
We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house of a tabernacle is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens. For in this [domicile] we groan, yearning to put on [like a coat] our domicile from heaven. (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:2)
Paul thus says our resurrection body is a new body God has made for us in heaven, while our current bodies will decay and be destroyed. Paul also argued we need a different body for heaven than the one we have on earth (1 Corinthians 15:39-50), and he imagined we would actually fly up to heaven in our new bodies (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, as also implied in 1 Corinthians 15:45-52 and Philippians 3:20).
Paul frequently speaks of our inner and outer man, or our seen and unseen bodies, and specifically uses the analogy of planted seeds (1 Corinthians 15:36-44), which evokes the notion that the outer shell (the husk) is sloughed off and the inner germ rises to glory.[5] In such an analogy the husk corresponds to the earthly corpse, and the resurrection body to something greater hidden within, or donned after death, in either case numerically different. This is clearly implied in 1 Corinthians 15:46 ("the spiritual [body] is not first, but the natural one, then the spiritual one") and in a literal translation of 1 Corinthians 15:44 ("a natural body is sown, [then] a spiritual body is raised" and "if there is a natural body, there is [also] a spiritual one"). Paul conspicuously omits saying these are the same body on any of these occasions--or anywhere at all. And Paul never says the one body becomes the other. A discourse of change and transformation he only uses of current Christian life, not the future resurrection (e.g. 2 Corinthians 3:18, which is how Romans 8:11 is probably intended, per 2 Corinthians 4:16).[6]
Paul also describes the resurrection in the language of mercantile trade: we will exchange our old bodies for new ones, hence he repeatedly employs the metaphor of wearing different garments (1 Corinthians 15:49-54, 2 Corinthians 5:1-10). The verb allagêsometha (literally "we will be exchanged," i.e. "we will undergo an exchange") in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 deliberately echoes the apocalyptic replacement of one world with another (by analogy, again, with exchanging coats) in Hebrews 1:10-12 (hence Psalms 102:25-27).[7] We will thus discard our old body like an old coat, and don a new body in its place. Such an analogy entails an old coat left behind, which is the old body, the one in the grave. Hence the implication that in the resurrection everyone will get "a body of his own" (1 Corinthians 15:38). And this is probably what Paul means in Philippians 3:21, where he says our bodies will be changed, using the same verb Josephus does to mean changing clothes (metaschêmatizô).[8] Since we must interpret that passage in light of Paul's others, the garment analogy is most probably intended, hence changing bodies here does not mean transformation, but the same thing as changing clothes.
Paul says a lot else that supports this interpretation. He refers to our current bodies as the ritual clay vessels that are (of course) made by hands and must be destroyed after use (2 Corinthians 4:7, cf. Leviticus 6:28, 11:33, 15:12 and Lamentations 4:2) and then to our future bodies as eternal abodes "not made by hands" (2 Corinthians 5:1), thus establishing a contrast that implies exchange, not transformation: entirely new bodies must be made, and the old ones must be destroyed.[9] Hence he also refers to our current bodies as "the body parts we have on the earth" (Colossians 3:5) and says the flesh must be destroyed in order for the spirit to be saved (1 Corinthians 5:5), again implying the old body will be destroyed and replaced with a better one. Paul also repeatedly equates his doctrine of resurrection to a new Genesis, hence a new Creation (in 1 Corinthians 15:35-50 and elsewhere), which also implies the creation of a new body to replace the old one, just as God will create a new world to replace the old one.[10]

3. What Others Said

We can further understand what Paul meant by examining how others answered the same question. In extant literature we can find three sources that did: "orthodox" Christians, their "heretical" peers, and Rabbinical Jews. By "orthodox" or "heretical" I don't intend one was more authentic than the other, as I believe both were equally deviant and innovative, and equally far from any original Christian teachings. I only call "orthodox" those Christians of the first three centuries whose views were considered more or less acceptable by the imperial Church of the late 4th century, and "heretical" all other Christians of the same period (though the line is always blurry). The answers provided by "orthodox" Christians and Rabbinical Jews are nearly identical or very similar in every relevant respect (both explicitly maintaining the same body rises that is buried, with many of the same arguments), yet completely different from anything argued by Paul.
Paul never employs any of their scriptural proof-texts (like Daniel 12:2, Isaiah 26:19, or Ezekiel 37:5-10), doesn't use any of their analogies or metaphors (like claymolding or metallurgy), never insists (even though they always do) that we must rise in the same body to be the same person (reuniting soul and body so both can be judged together), nor shows any concern to meet objections about whether our old bodies will be healed or fixed when we get them back or how they can be brought back if they are destroyed (as by fire or beast). Paul never emphasizes the continuity of the body the way they all do, but instead emphasizes (and at length) how different the two bodies will be, and Paul never says anything like "the resurrection is a resurrection of the flesh that died" (as Justin Martyr would say), even though such a statement is easily made (the addition of a single pronoun, "the same," in 1 Corinthians 15:44 would have done it). Yet such a statement would've been vital to his point--if he believed it. So he must not have.[11]
In contrast, some "heretical" Christians who answer the same question (most notably Origen) sound very much like Paul, using similar arguments and concepts, yet explicitly defend a two-body doctrine of the resurrection. Origen argues that our resurrection body will grow inside us and rise from inside our current body, then slough the current body off like the placenta at birth, hence leaving it behind. Our pattern will thus be stamped into an entirely new body, and our old body will go on to rot in the grave without us.[12] Paul and Origen make similar arguments and sound alike, while Paul never makes the arguments employed by those who insist the same body dies and rises, nor ever sounds like them. This confirms that what Paul preached and believed was more like Origen than like them. Thus, more probably than not, Paul held a two-body doctrine of the resurrection essentially like Origen's, and did not share the one-body resurrection doctrine defended in Rabbinical and "orthodox" Christian sources.

4. Paul vs. the Gospels

Paul shows no awareness of any of the stories of empty tombs in the Gospels and never describes any appearance of Jesus the way the Gospels do. Whereas later Christians explaining the resurrection suddenly have all sorts of facts from the Gospels to quote in their defense, Paul conspicuously does not.[13]
The preponderance of evidence suggests (and most scholars agree) that the Gospel accounts were written long after Paul died, about a generation after Christianity began. (The death of Jesus occurred no later than the early thirties A.D., the average lifespan for adults in antiquity was fifty years, and the first Christians had to be at least in their mid-teens. This means the second generation began before the mid-seventies A.D., yet there is no definite evidence any Gospel circulated at all widely before then, certainly not in Palestine.) None were written by actual witnesses of the events they describe (nor by anyone whose sources, intentions, and character are reliably known to us), and we have no surviving testimony from any witnesses as to the merits of the Gospel accounts, despite the fact that the Gospels contradict each other in numerous fundamental details (especially in their accounts of the tomb and appearances).[14] Early Christians do not appear to have encouraged critical inquiry or formal historical research, nor been very careful at checking claims. Yet we know such elaborate legends can easily arise within forty years even today: e.g. a brief speculative report about finding some tinfoil in Roswell, New Mexico evolved, within a mere forty years, into elaborate narratives of recovered alien spacecraft and autopsied bodies. For these and other reasons we cannot trust any of the details the Gospels provide.[15]
Paul probably only knew Jesus had risen from the dead because he was told this in a revelation or 'discovered' it in scripture (or both). For hidden messages in scripture and special visions of a risen Jesus are the only evidence Paul ever mentions in support of his (or anyone's) belief that Jesus rose from the dead. And that is consistent with there being no missing body: Jesus got a new body, and thus could appear at will without emptying any tomb, and only those who were privileged to see his new form (or grasp this secret from scripture) would "know" this.[16]

5. The Gospels vs. Acts

Luke's Gospel is an elaboration of the Gospels before him. But his public history of the Church, which begins in Acts 2, must have had other sources. In any case, either Acts is complete fiction, in which case it has no value as evidence; or it preserves some true details of the progress of the Christian Church from its first public announcement on the Pentecost after Jesus died (Acts 1-2), in which case it presents a record that refutes the Gospel claims of empty tombs and missing bodies.
In Acts' history of the Church, from the moment the Church first goes public, right in Jerusalem, nowhere do either the Romans or the Jews ever show any knowledge of a missing body, nor do they ever take any action to investigate what would only be to them a crime of tomb robbery and desecration of the dead (both severe death penalty offenses), or worse. The Gospel of Matthew even claims the Jewish authorities accused the Christians of such crimes before Pilate himself (Matthew 27:62-66, 28:4, 28:11-15). Although that is certainly fiction (as I have argued elsewhere, external and internal evidence confirms Matthew's story is a poetic and apologetic fabrication), it reflects what could not fail to have happened--if any body had gone missing.[17]
Since Christians were supposedly capitalizing on this fact, they would be the first suspects--or at least the second ones if (as the Gospels claim) Joseph of Arimathea was the last person known to have had custody of the body (Mark 15:43-46, Matthew 27:57-60, Luke 23:51-56, John 19:38-42). In that case he would be the first man hauled in for questioning. Yet he vanishes completely from this earliest history of the Church, as if no one knew anything about him, or he didn't exist at all. Though Christians would be suspects in a capital crime of grave robbery, and Acts records case after case of them being interrogated at trial before Jews and Romans on other offenses, never once in this history of the Church are they suspected of or questioned about grave robbery. It's as if there was no missing body to investigate, no empty tomb known to the authorities. Which means the Christians can't have been pointing to one. If they had, they would have been questioned about it (and possibly convicted for it, innocent or not). Yet Acts shows there were no disputes at all regarding what happened to the body, not even false accusations of theft, or even questions or expressions of amazement.
Thus, either Acts deliberately suppresses the truth about what happened to the body and what was really being argued, said, and done about it (which entails the truth must have been severely embarrassing to Christians), or there was no missing body and no one was claiming there was. In alignment with the latter conclusion are the facts already surveyed above, which suggest the original Christians were preaching that Jesus rose in an entirely new body, not the old one left in the grave, and the fact that Acts fails to mention any debate or discussion about any tomb being empty or any body being missing (e.g. it never occurs as an argument or a defense in any of the trials or debates it records).[18] Such an incident was evidently entirely missing from the history of the original Church.
The Romans would have had an even more urgent worry than body snatching: the Christians were supposedly preaching that Jesus (even if with supernatural aid) had escaped his execution, was seen rallying his followers, and then disappeared. Pilate and the Sanhedrin would not likely believe any of this resurrection or ascension nonsense (and there is no evidence they did), but if the tomb was empty, and Christ's followers were reporting that he had continued preaching to them and was still at large, Pilate would be compelled to haul every Christian in and interrogate every possible witness in a massive manhunt for what could only be in his mind an escaped convict (guilty of treason against Rome for claiming to be God and King, as all the Gospels allege: e.g. Mark 15:26; Matthew 27:37; Luke 23:38; John 19:19-22). And the Sanhedrin would feel the equally compelling need to finish what they had evidently failed to accomplish the first time (finding and killing Jesus). Yet none of this happens. No one asks where Jesus is hiding or who aided him. No one is at all concerned that there may be an escaped convict, pretender to the throne, thwarter of Roman law and judgment, dire threat to Jewish authority, alive and well somewhere, and still giving orders to his followers. Why would no one care that the Christians were claiming they took him in, hid him from the authorities, and fed him after his escape from justice (according to Acts 1), unless in fact they weren't claiming any such thing?
The best explanation of this strange omission is that the body was still in its grave, since then all the Christians' claims could be legally ignored. That's why those claims are dismissed as mere madness (Acts 26:24), involving no possible criminal charge of any kind under Roman law (e.g. Acts 18:12-17, 23:26-35). Otherwise, the crime of either robbing graves or aiding and abetting an escaped felon and royal pretender would certainly have been obvious grounds for an inquest or trial. Yet neither occurs. Thus, if Acts records any truth about the history of the first Church, its narrative all but entails there was no empty tomb, the body of Jesus was not missing, and that the earliest Christians, including Paul, were instead preaching a resurrection by transfer to a new body, residing in heaven (at least after the Pentecost), a fact known only by private revelations and interpretations of scripture.

Continue the Debate


Notes

[1] For a full account of the evidence and argument for this conclusion, see Richard Carrier, "The Spiritual Body of Christ and the Legend of the Empty Tomb" in The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave (2005), edited by Bob Price and Jeffrey Jay Lowder: pp. 105-231, which is supported by an online FAQ and the official Empty Tomb website article "Stephen Davis Gets it Wrong" (2006).
[2] Peter Lampe, "Paul's Concept of a Spiritual Body" in Resurrection: Theological and Scientific Assessments (2002), edited by Ted Peters et al.: pp. 103-14; Gregory Riley, Resurrection Reconsidered: Thomas and John in Controversy (1995); Dale Martin, The Corinthian Body (1995); Adela Collins, "The Empty Tomb in the Gospel According to Mark" in Hermes and Athena: Biblical Exegesis and Philosophical Theology (1993), edited by Eleonore Stump & Thomas Flint: pp. 107-40; and C.F. Moule, "St. Paul and Dualism: The Pauline Conception of the Resurrection," New Testament Studies 12 (1966): 106-23.
[3] Empty Tomb n. 2 (pp. 197-98) and n. 165 (p. 211) and associated FAQ Response.
[4] Josephus describing two-body resurrection as his own view: Jewish War 2.163 and 3.372-75, Against Apion 2.218 (cf. Life 12 and Jewish Antiquities 18.14). On Jewish views and diversity: Empty Tomb pp. 107-13, 126, 137-38. On various pagan views of resurrection, see the relevant sections of Richard Carrier, Was Christianity Too Improbable to be False? (Secular Web: 2006), i.e. Chapter 3 "Was Resurrection Deemed Impossible?" and from Chapter 19 ("Responses to Critics") cf. "The Word Anastasis," "Zoroastrian Resurrection," and "Zalmoxis."
[5] On the inner and outer man: Empty Tomb pp. 150-51 (cf. also pp. 130-32). On seen and unseen things: Colossians 3:1-6 and Empty Tomb pp. 129-30, 139-42. On the seed-pod analogy: Empty Tomb pp. 146-48 (with associated FAQ Response).
[6] That Romans 8:11 is about current Christian life and not the resurrection is argued in Empty Tomb pp. 149-50 and associated FAQ Response (1) and FAQ Response (2).
[7] On the meaning of the verb: Empty Tomb pp. 136-39. On Paul's repeated use of the garment analogy: Empty Tomb pp. 119, 132-33, 134, 140-41 (with associated FAQ Response (1) and FAQ Response (2)).
[8] In Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 7.257 and 8.256-57 (see also Empty Tomb p. 119 and associated FAQ Response).
[9] Explaining the allusion in 2 Corinthians 4:7 to ritual vessels, and the implied distinction between vessels made by hands and those not: Empty Tomb p. 143 (with notes 188 and 189 on p. 213, though correcting Lamentations 4:3 with Lamentations 4:2).
[10] See Empty Tomb pp. 134, 140-41 and notes 91, 118, 140, and 275 (on pp. 206, 207, 209, 220, respectively).
[11] For Rabbinical views: Empty Tomb pp. 114-18. For "orthodox" Christian views: Empty Tomb pp. 123-25. For Paul's arguments in contrast: Empty Tomb pp. 116-22, 125-54.
[12] For Origen's view: Empty Tomb pp. 143-45 (with associated FAQ Response (1) and FAQ Response (2)). For other "heretical" Christian texts arguing the same thing: Empty Tomb p. 137 (and for related background see pp. 142-43).
[13] On Paul not knowing anything claimed in the Gospels: e.g. Empty Tomb pp. 120-21, 124, 135, 196-97.
[14] On ancient life expectancy see Estimated Life Expectancy in the Ancient World. For the evidence and argument that the empty tomb was a later legend: Empty Tomb pp. 155-95.
[15] On the Roswell case: Empty Tomb pp. 175-76. On Christian research methodology and epistemology, see the relevant chapters of Richard Carrier, Was Christianity Too Improbable to be False? (Secular Web: 2006), i.e. Chapter 7 ("Was Christianity Highly Vulnerable to Inspection and Disproof?"), Chapter 13 ("Would the Facts Be Checked?"), Chapter 17 ("Did the Earliest Christians Encourage Critical Inquiry?"), and from Chapter 19 ("Responses to Critics") see "Christian Research?," "Hope & Hebrews," "The Word Pistis," and "Biblical Epistemology."
[16] Defending the arguments of this paragraph: Empty Tomb pp. 151-55 (with associated FAQ Response (1) and FAQ Response (2)) and Section 10.4 ("Malina and Neyrey on the Role of Revelation") of Richard Carrier, Was Christianity Too Improbable to be False? (Secular Web: 2006), as well as chapters and sections of same cited in previous note.
[17] On the ancient crime of graverobbing: Richard Carrier, "The Nazareth Inscription" (Secular Web: 2000). On Matthew's invention of the guarded tomb: Richard Carrier, "The Plausibility of Theft," Empty Tomb pp. 349-68 (with associated FAQ Response).
[18] For a defense of this point see Chapter 13 ("Would the Facts Be Checked?") of Richard Carrier, Was Christianity Too Improbable to be False? (Secular Web: 2006), e.g. Note on Peter's Sermon.
----------------

O'Connell's Opening Statement (2008)


The Meaning of "Resurrection"

Whenever the word "resurrection" (anastasis) occurs in Jewish sources within and around the first century A.D., it always denotes a "one-body" notion of resurrection. This fact has been amply demonstrated by N. T. Wright's thorough examination of the sources.[1] Although there were disagreements over the details (such as whether all humans would rise, or only the righteous), the sources are unanimous in using the word "resurrection" to mean the one-body doctrine of resurrection defined in my position statement. Dale Allison sums things up very well:
To my knowledge, nowhere in the Bible or in old Jewish or Christian literature does the language of resurrection refer to a materially new body, physically unconnected to the old. A resurrected body is always the old body or a piece of it come back to life and/or transformed.... Resurrection meant bodies in the ground coming back to life. To rise from the dead was to rise from one's tomb.[2]
Now if "resurrection" has a uniform meaning in all of the other Jewish sources from the time period in question, we ought to assume it has the same meaning in Paul's epistles unless there is positive evidence to the contrary. That is, even if we have no specific evidence one way or the other as to what "resurrection" means in Paul, we should assume that it has the same meaning used in all of our other sources. This is based on the epistemological principle that when we encounter a word, which in our past experience has had one particular meaning in the large majority of instances in which we have heard that word, then, barring evidence to the contrary, we should assume that the word means the same thing that it has meant in the majority of other instances in which we have encountered the word. If we don't follow this principle communication will completely break down.[3]
For example, suppose someone asks me if I want to "go bowling." In the large majority of instances in which I have heard someone utter those words (in fact, as far as I can recall, in every instance in which I have heard someone utter those words) the words have meant that the person uttering them is asking if I want to go pick up a ball and knock down pins Hence when I hear this question, I assume that the person asking it is asking me if I want to go pick up a ball and knock down pins. Now conceivably, he might mean something else; I have not asked him to define "go bowling," so maybe he is using those words to ask me if I want to play poker. But I'm not going to ask him to define "go bowling"; I am simply going to assume that the words have the same meaning they have had in the majority of other instances in which I have heard them used. And I would do the same thing if someone asked if I wanted to "have supper," "read a book," "watch TV," and so forth. Thus we ought to operate on the same principle when we interpret the word "resurrection" in Paul's epistles.
The following are examples of the many ancient Jewish sources which affirm a one-body understanding of resurrection:
But when now all things shall have been reduced
To dust and ashes, and God shall have calmed
The fire unspeakable which he lit up,
The bones and ashes of men God himself
Again will fashion, and he will again
Raise mortals up, even as they were before
(Sibylline Oracles 4:231-36)
'Hear, Baruch, this word,
And write in the remembrance of your heart all that you shall learn.
For the earth shall then assuredly restore the dead,
[Which it now receives, in order to preserve them].
It shall make no change in their form,
But as it has received, so shall it restore them,
And as I delivered them unto it, so also shall it raise them.
(2 Baruch 50:2)

1 Corinthians 15:53-54

In 1 Corinthians 15:42, Paul writes that our preresurrection bodies are corruptible and that our postresurrection bodies are incorruptible, and in 15:50, he affirms that corruption cannot inherit incorruption. Then in 1 Corinthians 15:53-54, Paul writes that "that which is corruptible must put on incorruptibility." The word "put on" (endyo) means to "clothe" or "get into" (i.e. in the sense of putting on clothes).[4] Since Paul explicitly calls the preresurrection body corruptible in 15:42, and since the entire discussion from 15:35-58 is concerned with the nature of the resurrection body, it follows that when Paul speaks of corruptibility and mortal bodies putting on incorruptibility in vv. 53-54, he means that our corruptible, mortal bodies must put on incorruption and immortality. This clearly indicates that Paul believes the corruptible, preresurrection body is going to be transformed into the incorruptible, postresurrection body. The alternative, that Paul thinks the corruptible, preresurrection body will simply rot away while the spirit which previously inhabited that body moves into a new body, is incompatible with Paul's use of "put on." For only if the corruptible, mortal body is transformed into an incorruptible, immortal body does it make any sense to say that corruption will "put on" incorruptibility. If the preresurrection body simply rots away, then what is corruptible (which Paul has identified as the preresurrection body) does not put on incorruption, but rather what is corruptible (the preresurrection body) just disintegrates while our soul (which was never corruptible to begin with) puts on incorruption (and even if the argument could be made that the soul is corruptible, the fact is that in the context of the passage "that which is corruptible" (v. 53) must refer to our preresurrection bodes, because of the parallelism between v. 42, v. 50, and vv. 53-54, and because the entire discussion is concerned with the preresurrection body vs. the postresurrection body, not the preresurrection soul vs. the postresurrection soul).

Romans 8:23

In Romans 8:23, Paul speaks of the "redemption" (apolytrosis) of our bodies. Paul must have in mind our resurrection bodies because the statement occurs in the context of a discussion about the eschatological age. Paul contrasts the "suffering of the present" to "the glory that is to be revealed" (8:18) and envisions a time when the children of God will enjoy freedom and the curse of Adam will be undone as creation is set free from its bondage to corruption (8:19-22). It is clearly the eschatological times that Paul is discussing here, and since Paul elsewhere affirms that the resurrection will occur during the eschatological age, and since no other second-temple Jewish source expects anything special to happen to our bodies at the time of the eschaton other than their resurrection, Paul must be referring to the general resurrection when he mentions the "redemption of our bodies."
Now if this is the case and thus Paul is referring to the resurrection of our bodies as the redemption of our bodies, Paul is clearly affirming a one-body view of resurrection. The word apolytrosis connotes the idea that the thing being redeemed (in this case our bodies) was previously in a state of bondage, but is now being freed.[5] Thus Paul's point must be that our bodies which, like the rest of creation, are currently in a state of bondage to corruption ("corruption" is the same word used in reference to the transformation of our corrupt bodies in 1 Corinthians 15) will at the time of the resurrection be redeemed by being changed into incorruptible bodies. This of course requires that the body which is currently in a state of corruption is the same body which will be resurrected. By contrast, if our body simply rots in the grave while the soul passes into a new body, then there is no redemption of our bodies. Hence, a two-body view of resurrection cannot make any sense of Paul's affirmation that our bodies will be redeemed.

Romans 8:11

In Romans 8:11 Paul states that the Holy Spirit will give life to our mortal bodies. If Paul is talking about the resurrection of the dead when he refers to the body being given life, then he clearly has in mind a one-body view of resurrection, since only our preresurrection bodies are mortal. A second body assumed for the first time at the resurrection, and designed to exist for the rest of eternity, is not a mortal body.
Once we examine Paul's train of thought in this passage, it becomes clear that Paul is referring to the resurrection in 8:11. In 8:1-4, Paul states that Christians have been freed from the Law by Christ's death, and so do not live according to the Law, but according to the Spirit. After contrasting the concerns of the flesh with the concerns of the Spirit, Paul affirms that Christians are in the Spirit because the Spirit of God dwells in them. However, despite the fact that Christians have the Spirit of God within them and consequently their spirits are alive, their bodies are still dead because of sin (8:10). Thus, when Paul speaks of our mortal bodies being given life in 8:11, he cannot, contrary to Carrier[6], be speaking in reference to the moral transformation which Christians undergo in this life. For he makes clear in 8:10 that the moral transformation in this life involves only the spirit; the body remains dead to sin. Hence, when Paul refers in 8:11 to a future transformation of our bodies, he must have in mind not the Christian's present spiritual transformation, but the general resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:36-44

In 1 Corinthians 15:36, Paul introduces the analogy of sowing and reaping in order to illustrate his teaching on the transformation of the preresurrection body into the resurrection body (or, on Carrier's two-body view, the preresurrection body's replacement with the resurrected body). Paul's use of this illustration indicates a belief in one-body resurrection, because when a seed is sown, the plant that emerges is numerically identical to the original seed (though greatly transformed). In his essay, Carrier argues that this analogy actually makes more sense for a two-body resurrection, because when a seed is sown, the outer shell is not transformed into a plant; rather, it is cast off and dies (which Carrier equates with casting off the old body) while the inner kernel grows into the plant (which Carrier equates with taking on a new body).[7]
Now when we consider the minutiae of the seed-plant transformation, it becomes clear that if we want to press the details, the seed-plant transformation does not correspond exactly to either a one-body or two-body view of resurrection (yet of course Paul must be espousing one or the other). For while it is true that the kernel's dropping off of the shell makes the analogy inexact for one-body resurrection, the fact that the kernel grows into the plant makes the analogy difficult for two-body resurrection. For the kernel, since it has been inside the shell from the beginning of its existence, would seem to correspond to the soul (which has been inside the person's body the person's entire life), not to a second body (which had never been inside the person's body). But on the two-body view the person's soul is not transformed into the resurrection body in the way that the kernel is transformed into the new plant (or else the identity of Christ would not have passed into another body, but would be numerically identical with his resurrection body); rather the soul begins to inhabit another body.
Since it is difficult to determine how Paul is using the sowing/reaping analogy from this passage alone, we ought to look at parallel uses of the sowing/reaping analogy in other ancient writings, as these will likely illuminate the discussion.
In three other sources, this analogy is used to illustrate resurrection, and in each of these cases the author clearly has in mind one-body resurrection:
  1. In John 12:24 Jesus, in reference to his own death and resurrection, states: "Amen I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat." Since John clearly believes in one-body resurrection (see the resurrection narrative of John 20-21), 12:24 must affirm the same idea.
  2. Clement of Rome (1 Clement 24:4-5) also uses the analogy (in almost the exact same words as Paul) to illustrate the idea of resurrection. He must mean one-body resurrection because he quotes approvingly a textual version of Job 19:25-26 in which Job affirms that his flesh will be raised (1 Clement 26).
  3. The Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 90b, reads as follows:
But when they arise, shall they arise nude or in their garments?' -- He replied, 'Thou mayest deduce by an a fortiori argument [the answer] from a wheat grain: if a grain of wheat, which is buried naked, sprouteth forth in many robes, how much more so the righteous, who are buried in their raiment!'
Rabbi Meir's point in the Babylonian Talmud is that since the body goes in to the ground clothed, it will arise clothed. Hence, Rabbi Meir must think it is the same body which arises, otherwise the logic of his argument does not make any sense.
Thus in light of these sources, it is certainly likely that Paul is using the sowing/reaping analogy to illustrate one-body resurrection, not two-body resurrection.

Notes

[1] See N. T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003).
[2] Dale C. Allison Jr., "The Resurrection of Jesus and Rational Apologetics." Philosophia Christi 10 (2008): 315-338.
[3] On this principle see Richard Swinburne, The Resurrection of God Incarnate (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), pp. 10-12.
[4] See Blue Letter Bible and Gerhard Kittel, ed., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964), vol. 2, p. 319.
[5] See Blue Letter Bible and Gerhard Kittel, ed., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. 4., p. 351.
[6] Richard C. Carrier, "The Spiritual Body of Christ and the Legend of the Empty Tomb" in The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2005): 105-231, p. 149.
[7] Richard C. Carrier, "The Spiritual Body of Christ and the Legend of the Empty Tomb," pp. 146-147.

 ============










Δεν υπάρχουν σχόλια:

Δημοσίευση σχολίου