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Friday, April 13, 2012

More on Easter Apparitions

A few weeks ago I published a post about John Dominic Crossan's view of Jesus' resurrection. He's a former catholic priest, currently professor emeritus of religious studies at DePaul University in Chicago, whereas I'm just an Italian restorer of antiques who recently fell in love with Jesus. Nevertheless, I feel that I must respectfully reiterate my opinion: He's a deeply confused individual.

I found at the library a book that he published in 2001 titles Excavating Jesus, which confirmed my first impression. In spite of the numerous references to history and archeology, his conclusions aren't based on historical facts but rather on some sort of psychological guessing game where he guesses how ancient people would act or react to certain events. He climbs on mirrors to prove his points, which sadly don't point anywhere at all. He expresses beautiful ideas about the impact that Jesus has had on the world and the work we must do to continue the cosmic transformation He started, but I'm inclined to think that this is not enough to claim to be a Christian.

Let me give you a few examples of how he argues to disprove the resurrection. He has an issue with the name of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher built by Constantine the Great in Jerusalem in the fourth century. If this is the site of Jesus' burial, it is also the site of Jesus' resurrection. Why then, if the resurrection really happened, wasn't it called the Blessed Resurrection instead of the Holy Sepulcher? This is the question posed by Crossan. Because, I would answer, it was built on top of the sepulcher from which Jesus was raised! The place was physically a sepulcher, for God's sake!

Crossan goes on acknowledging that apparition is not the same as resurrection. Apparitions are not even the manifestation of a mental disorder but, according to psychology, common characteristics of grief. However, he implies that the resurrection accounts in the gospels are basically accounts of apparitions, which is an assumption that goes against what the evangelists actually describe. Apparitions, in fact, don't talk at length offering detailed instructions about how to spread the faith.

He dismisses what scholars such as N.T. Wright maintain, namely that only Jesus' resurrection can explain historically how the apostles recovered their faith and how others converted to Christianity despite His crucifixion. And how does he dismiss this thesis? I quote: "To lose your nerve is not to lose your faith". Does this look like an argument to you? What about the fact that the apostles believed that Jesus was the Messiah, therefore He wasn't supposed to be crucified by the Romans?

Crossan goes on saying that nothing was seen as impossible by ancient people, therefore, and I quote, "To assert empty tomb and/or risen apparitions is not enough to explain anything, let alone everything in that ancient world…'Wow' was not enough, because there were too many 'wows' around."
I think that this quote doesn't even deserve a comment. I believe that any Christian, at some point in his/her life, has imagined that Jesus would appear to her, for it's a fantasy that stems from longing for Him. And has also imagined her feelings in His presence. I don't think He would be welcomed with a simple "wow'.

Crossan a Christian? I don't think so. And not so much because of what he believes, but because of his relationship with Jesus Christ. Apparently, when there is no wow, there is also no awe.