Wednesday, July 06, 2005


1 - Christ's resurrection in recent theology

Notes from G. Hunsinger, The daybreak of the new creation: Christ's resurrection in recent theology, SJT 57(2): 163-181 (2004).

Christ's resurrection is intended in three main ways:
  • spiritual -> "no longer a bodily event that happened to Jesus but a spiritual event that happened to the disciples." The main question is one of meaning. (Schleiermacher, Bultmann, Tillich) Christ's resurrection is intended above all as a matter of interiority.
  • historical -> the main question is one of knowledge.
    • integrate divine transcendence into history (Pannenberg)
    • transcendence on the margins (Wright)
  • eschatological -> the main question is one of uniqueness. Jesus really was raised bodily from the dead, but history is not adequate for describing the nature of this event. (Moltmann, Frei, Barth)
On the Bultmannian approach: the focus is on 4 points, namely:
  • the significance of the resurrection for the disciples
  • its significance for Jesus
  • its impossibility as a historical event
  • its mediation to the present by the Word.
Christ's resurrection is to be regarded as "the rise of faith" in the disciples (Bultmann). Again Bultmann: "the resurrection simply cannot be a visible fact in the realm of human history." (cf. Kerygma and Myth.) "Jesus is risen in the kerygma."

Jesus here is more the source than the object of faith.

Tillich stretches this further, positing the dispensability of Jesus himself. In the words of Alister McGrath, for Tillich "Jesus of Nazareth symbolizes a universal human possibility, which can be achieved without specific reference to Jesus." Husinger says, "[Jesus] was therefore materially decisive, but not logically indispensable."

For Tillich, the man Jesus was a sort of an actor, representing the New Being; this New Being has appeared in one personal life, that of Jesus of Nazareth. Tillich wrote, "The New Being is not dependent on the special symbols in which it is expressed. It has the power to be free from every form in which it appears." Hence, we have an interpretation of Jesus' resurrection as supremely symbolic: "[Jesus] is present wherever the New Being is present [...] But this present does not have the character of a revived (and transmuted) body [...] it has the character of a spiritual presence."

And here I stop for now. I need to go and read something more about this.

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