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Paul on Jesus’ Resurrection: A New Study

September 11, 2014

Scholars commonly see in 1 Corinthians 15:1-7 material of an early “pre-Pauline” confession that focuses on Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and appearances to select witnesses.  But there are continuing disagreements over what kind of event is referred to in vv. 3-5 where Jesus is described as “raised on the third day,” specifically whether this refers to a resurrection/transformation of Jesus’ mortal body or some other kind of event, e.g., a “spiritual” one that left his mortal body in the grave.  I’ve just read a new study of the matter that seems to me pretty effective in guiding exegetes to the correct answer:  James Ware,  “The Resurrection of Jesus in the Pre-Pauline Formula of 1 Cor 15.3-5.” New Testament Studies 60 (2014): 475-98.

Ware reviews a wide range of previous scholarly views, carefully assessing their merits, noting the limited force of some and the dubious force of others.  His own particular contribution is a more in-depth analysis of the use of the Greek verb translated here “raised”:  εγειρω.  Essentially, Ware contends that all other uses of the verb describe one or another kind of action involving the raising up, rising up, or setting up of something or someone from a prone or seated position to an upright, standing position.

This, he argues, means that proposals that the verb here refers to an ascension of Jesus, a transportation of him in some “spiritual” mode to heavenly glory, is ruled out.  Instead, Paul refers to a raising up or restoration to life of the executed body of Jesus.

To be sure, as Ware notes, later in 1 Cor 15, Paul engages the question of “in what kind of body” are the dead to be raised (vv. 35-49), and Paul here posits  a dramatic and profound transformation, those raised being “changed” powerfully.  In vv. 42-44, in particular, Paul makes a series of contrasts between the mortal body and the resurrection body:  corruption/incorruption, dishonour/glory, weakness/power, “soulish”/spiritual.  And Paul also makes the claim that the resurrection of believers will be modelled on Jesus’ resurrection.

So, Paul posits a profound change involved in the resurrection.  But, as Ware so deftly points out, all through the passage Paul refers to the body of believers as changed.   That is, Paul insists that the resurrection is an event that changes the nature of the embodied existence of those raised.  The “spiritual” body, Ware persuasively argues, has to be in context a description of the animating force of the resurrection body, for the contrast is not with a “fleshly” body but with a “soulish” (ψυχικος) one, i.e., the mortal body animated by “soul” (ψυχη), which here appears to be Paul’s reference to what we might call mortal, “biological” life.

I think that Ware’s case must now be considered by anyone concerned with the confessional statement in 1 Cor 15:3-5.  I think he’s mounted a pretty impressive argument.  The issue isn’t what one’s personal preferences or inclinations are on the matter of resurrection, but what Paul presumed and asserts in these verses.


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  1. Dr Hurtado, did you happen to see the article by Martin Pickup last year in JETS in which he argued that the significance of the “On the Third Day” formula was its connection to corpse decay. Marty (who unfortunately passed away just before the article was published) had some expertise in the rabbinical sources and argued the case based on those sources. The implication of the argument for the formula in 1 Cor 15 is that it would therefore be referring to a bodily resurrection. If you did not see it, and have any interest (I know you are swamped with things sent to you to read), I’d be glad to get you a copy. Thanks for sharing so much wonderful material.

  2. Isaac permalink

    Dr. Hurtado, do you think that Michael Licona’s book on the resurrection of Jesus presents the case well?

  3. Wow, Larry, so you’ve simply deleted my follow-up comments and questions? Now THAT is classy. If you can’t prove someone wrong or don’t want to address his objections then just censor him. But I guess that was to be expected from a believing Christian.

    • Jerome: First, this is my site, not yours, and so I have the right to manage comments as I see fit. Second, I’ve not posted your last half-dozen or so, because they were simply reasserting claims that I’d already dealt with, were repetitious, and involved a two-way fruitless argument. Got nothing to do with “believing Christian” stuff (which shows your own particular prejudice and stereotype). Get over yourself.

  4. Ryan Turner permalink

    Dr. Hurtado, is N.T Wright’s work, “The Resurrection of the Son of God” still one of the most thorough treatments of the issue of “spiritual” vs. “physical transformation” views of the resurrection of Jesus? Obviously, Wright holding to the “physical transformation” view.

    • Wright’s book is certainly the biggest that I know of on the subject! But I have some problems with the somewhat simplistic way that he seems to think that he can prove Jesus’ resurrection via the sort of means used to establish other historical events. I think that he fails to reckon sufficiently with the NT presentation of the event as unique, eschatological event, not an ordinary historical event. Per NT claims, Jesus wasn’t brought “back” to life (as we know it), but catapulted forward into a radically new form of life, an embodied life but an embodiment of a radically new order. Wright sometimes doesn’t seem to me to make that point sufficiently.

      • James permalink

        Hi Larry,

        You say Wright’s is the “biggest” book you know of on the resurrection but what do you consider to be the best book(s)? Also, Wright, as I understand him, thinks much like (say) William Lane Craig that we can use the concept of “inference to the best explanation” to show the resurrection trumps all the naturalistic alternatives used to explain historical facts like the empty tomb & post-mortem appearances. I know this takes us slighly off-topic but could you go into more depth regarding why you think people such as Wright et al are wrong to claim resurrection is the best explanation of the evidence?

      • It depends on what question you want to address. Wright’s big book is openly, forthrightly an elaborate apologetic work, urging belief in Jesus’ resurrection, and trying to do so via a kind of historical argument. Others previously did similar things. For another theological analysis but with a somewhat different emphasis, see the following: Stephen T. Davis, Risen Indeed: Making Sense of the Resurrection (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993); Peter Carnley, The Structure of Resurrection Belief (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987).
        For a survey of ancient Jewish & Christian beliefs about resurrection, etc., see, e.g., Claudia Setzer, Resurrection of the Body in Early Judaism and Early Christianity: Doctrine, Community, and Self-Definition (Leiden: Brill, 2004); G. W. E. Nickelsburg, , Expanded ed., Resurrection, Immortality, and Eternal Life in Intertestamental Judaism and Early Christianity, Harvard Theological Studies, no. 56 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Divinity School, 2006).
        I think that, using standard historical warrants, one can show that the claim that Jesus was raised from the dead can’t readily be falsified. But, given that what is claimed comprises a totally new and unique divine action, it’s also difficult (in my view) to “prove” it using ordinary historical arguments. All one can prove is that (1) the claim was vital from the outset for earliest Christians, and (2) they proclaimed it and were absolutely sure of it. But whether to accept that claim is in the end a theological and moral judgement.

      • Perhaps Im guilty of reading into Wright’s nomenclature of a ‘transphysical’ resurrection, but it would seem to me that his argument regarding the transphysical nature of Jesus’ resurrection body engages with the radical new form of life as you are promoting.

        Infuriatingly the digital form of RSG i have at home has no page numbers, but the section i am referring to is the final two pages of Ch10 with endnotes 69-73.

  5. Steve Walach permalink

    Little wonder that Paul wrote many letters to his churches, trying to clarify (with dubious results) what he had previously preached. Scholars and sincere readers of Paul parse his words today yet do not reach a consensus – instead unveiling more mysteries. (Paul’s rhetoric hardly conforms to Jesus’s advice to his questioners that they if they wish to attain the kingdom of heaven they should become like little children.)

    I find a modicum of clarity, though, in 1 Cor 15: 45. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

    Paul’s reference to Gen 2: 7 reinforces his argument of transformative powers by reminding his readers that YHWH breathed life into a otherwise lifeless human molded out of red clay and water. To my knowledge, this is the most intimate moment a human has with the divine in that entire scripture — clearly the transmission of divine spirit into mortal flesh.

    The “last Adam” aka Jesus becomes the “life-giving spirit,” according to Paul via his death and resurrection. As disciples were filled with the spirit post-resurrection — Paul included, they too were transformed — not exactly as the first Adam was — but raised from the sleep of unconsciousness that Paul alludes to in 1 Cor 15:51 and will “inherit the imperishable” in the “twinkling of an eye.” (1Cor 15:50 and 15:52.)

    In John 20: 22-23, Jesus, like YHWH, breathes onto those disciples and they “receive the holy spirit.” Had Paul been around to read John, I think he would have accepted that special moment as transformative because how could anything be more uplifting, life affirming and death defeating than that. Imperishable and rapidly transmitted as well.


    PS: Larry I am reading through the commentary on Pliny’s letters by A. N. Sherwin-White, The Letters of Pliny: A Historical and Social Commentary that you suggested back in July, and I’ve also been reading another one of your suggestions, Craig Evans new book From Jesus to the Church. Your reference to Jack Levison’s scholarly work led me to his non-scholarly book Fresh Air, about the holy spirit or as he puts it the spirit-breath, and also to to Herman Gunkel’s book on the spirit. I’d love to get my hands on another suggestion of yours, Simon J. Gathercole’s new book, The Gospel of Thomas: Introduction and Commentary. My university library does not have it yet and at $200 plus is a bit out of reach. I hope it does become available soon because I’m very curious about his take on those 114 saying, especially #50.

    Thanks again for putting yourself out there in a public forum that deals with emotionally-charged issues, and please don’t hesitate to school me when necessary.

  6. Paul never refers to a mortal body being raised. He is extremely careful to say that there is a natural body and there is a spiritual body. A seed is not raised. A seed germinates, and something inside the seed grows,

    As for Philippians 3:21, the word used for transformed is ‘metaschêmatizô’ which is almost always used for changing clothes. This is an exchange. When you bget new clothes, you remove the old ones.

    For example, 2 Corithians 11:13-15 uses the same verb in the sense of disguise – wearing the trappings of an angel of light, rather than literally transforming into an angel of light.

    But all this is so well known that I really doubt that I am saying anything new to readers of this blog , who will already have studied Paul and seen what these words mean.

    • Steven: You’re missing the point. The *mortal* body isn’t raised back into mortality, of course not. The resurrection for Paul involved the radical transformation of Jesus’ body into a glorious/eschatological mode. And your Greek verb sense is a bit simplistic. But I’ll let that go for now.

      • Jason permalink

        Prof. Hurtado. You should be made aware that the majority of people you’re replying to on this topic are lay regulars in the, popular on the internet, mythicist debate communities (I recognize a number of the names). Many of them are fans of Richard Carrier and Earl Doherty’s theories on the subject, and you unintentionally poked the hive with this post. One of the main talking points they use to sell the ahistorical Jesus theory is that Paul was referring to some sort of spirit-type resurrection rather than a physical one. Its one of the blocks they use to build up the idea that the historical Jesus was mostly a figment of Paul’s imagination (or something equally silly). So, if you were scratching your head wondering “where are all of these goofy replies originating from, and why are they so obstinate?” Well, that’s why. The mythicist fanboy community is hardcore evangelistic in their zeal, so unfortunately they tend to show up on all of the popular academic NT blogs with the same word-for-word replies. Sort of sucks for those of us who just want to read the mainstream academic view on the subject.

      • Ah, thanks for that intelligence. I don’t myself surf the blog sites. I simply blog out of my own research. So I’m often uninformed about the sort of thing you mention. I confess that I did wonder why one commenter has been sooooo keen to keep on reiterating his point of view.

      • Just for the record: I am not a mythicist and I actually think mythicists got it wrong on most, if not all, their claims.

  7. Timothy Knowlton permalink

    I find these Pauline texts helpful on the subject of Resurrection:

    Romans 8:11 “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you”

    Romans 8:23 “And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body”

  8. Such phrases have always been puzzling; even Paul calls it all a “mystery.” But if we must speculate? Here are some speculations that would come to the opposite conclusion to our present author.

    1) Even if being “raised” means being physically brought up from lying or sitting on the ground, to standing – or something similar? More exactly, looking hard at “raised,” we might instead suggest that “raised” – or “lifted up” – originally referred to a dead body being picked up and moved.

    2) Then too, ” spiritual body” is notoriously equivocal at best. Even oxymoronic.

    3) Today we don’t see many resurrections of bodies that are fully, 3 days deceased. It seems reasonable to many to hint that Science suggest they don’t really happen at all. In that case this explains the desperately obscure and equivocal language regarding this event; no one could firmly say that such a thing actually took place. But no one wanted to deny it either. And so they compromised with endlessly ambiguous language.

    • Brett: Speculations are irrelevant. The question addressed in the article I cited is what does the text of 1 Cor 15:3-5 mean, what was Paul trying to affirm. “Spiritual” body isn’t oxymoronic, if you understand what Paul meant by the word “spiritual”–it ALWAYS refers to the activity of the divine Spirit, and doesn’t carry the modern notion of “immaterial”. It wasn’t news then or now that the dead don’t rise. Ancients knew that very well. That’s why the claim that Jesus had been raised was so remarkable, and so difficult for ancients to accept.

      • “It wasn’t news then or now that the dead don’t rise.” > but dead people had already been raised in the OT (by Elijah, I think)! And Jesus resurrected Lazarus and the daughter of that Roman soldier … So it’s not like people coming back from the dead was something utterly new?

      • But in each of these cases, it’s treated as a special divine miracle, not as something casual. Moreover, the resurrection that Paul awaited wasn’t like these temporary resuscitations: It was a transformation into eschatological existence.

      • And Jesus’ resurrection is treated as something casual? I’m not sure what you mean … it seems it gets described as a VERY special divine miracle?

        And I agree that Paul didn’t expect a temporary resuscitation. That actually furthers my point: he did not expect a ‘corpse revival with subsequent transformation’. He saw the ‘resurrection’ as the soul/spirit of the deceased getting clothed with a new, ‘glorious’ body.

      • Jerome: Read my reply carefully. My point is that Jesus’ resurrection is consistently distinguished from the other accounts of dead being returned to mortal bodies/existence. It’s a radically new event that prefigures the future resurrection of believers. It’s not “corpse revival” at all, dammit, so stop using this straw man argument. It’s a radical transformation of believers into new existence. But an embodied existence, a transformation of embodiment. But the mortal body is transformed into a new type of bodily existence. We’re done here. You’ve had your say.

      • Well, there were earlier ancient myths – regarding Persephone and so forth – which suggested to some, some kind of real rebirth. The myth of Persephone suggested that plant life left or died from the surface of the earth during the winter; but lived on underground. In roots and seeds. To return to the surface again, in the spring; in their new body. New foliage.

        Paul’s language seems to reflect this older belief. When he speaks about “seeds” and “husk”s dying in the earth; but in dying, giving life to a new body. Out of the dust.

        This would account say, for the physicality of Paul’s “rising” new body.

        It might be argued furthermore that in some cases, some thought this might become true for human beings. Adding that this actual new body could be better in various ways.

        In any case, rather clearly Paul is at least using this ancient notion of rebirth – of plant life – as at least a major root metaphor. For his description of the resurrection of Jesus (as “first fruits” etc.); and then perhaps all of humanity. Paul’s language here clearly uses references to “seed,” “husk,” “fruits,” and so forth.

        I suggest therefore that Paul had all this in mind, as at least part of the notion of resurrection that he was developing. Clearly his vocabulary often reflects this ancient story.

        Does our present author take any of this into account?

      • Brett: There is no indication that Paul drew upon pagan myths in his discussion of the resurrection body. Paul’s analogies of “seed”, “husk” etc., aren’t attested in these myths. And there have been LOTS of studies of the matter. As A.D. Nock observed, Paul didn’t know enough about pagan religion to pass the mid-term exam in the course he used to teach at Harvard.

  9. ‘In vv. 42-44, in particular, Paul makes a series of contrasts between the mortal body and the resurrection body: corruption/incorruption, dishonour/glory, weakness/power, “soulish”/spiritual’.

    Indeed he does. Paul has just contrasted the different natures of the moon and the fish – the different natures of the sun and of birds, implying that the resurrected body will be as different in type from the corpse, as a sun is different to a fish.

    ‘If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body’ – two bodies, as different as the Moon is different to a bird.

    Paul contrasts the first man (Adam) being made of dust, with what the second man is made of.

    ‘And Paul also makes the claim that the resurrection of believers will be modelled on Jesus’ resurrection.’

    Indeed, he does You are utterly right. I wonder what he thought would be raised in the case of believers who had been eaten by fish or cremated.

    ‘Essentially, Ware contends that all other uses of the verb describe one or another kind of action involving the raising up, rising up, or setting up of something or someone from a prone or seated position to an upright, standing position.’

    If you have been eaten by fish, or cremated, what is in a ‘prone or seated position’ to be raised?

    Of course, this is a very foolish question, which only a fool would pose.

    Paul calls the Corinthians fools and reminds them in 2 Corinthians 5 that even if the earthly body is destroyed, they would get a new body to replace the earthly , destroyed body. Only a fool would wonder how God could raise a body which was utterly destroyed.

    Paul uses a tent analogy. We leave one tent and move into a new building. If our old house is destroyed, where is the problem in moving into a new house?

    • Steven: Your questions about resurrections of bodies that have decayed or been eaten by fish were already posed (by mockers) and engaged by ancient Christians and Jews. But the main point Paul (and other early Christians) makes is that the resurrection they hoped for was by the power of God, so nothing was impossible. And, to be sure, this resurrection wasn’t resuscitation of a corpse back into mortal/biological life, but transformation and glorification, being catapulted into eschatological existence.

      • Agreed.Nothing was impossible for Paul’s God. Paul never answers questions of how corpses eaten by fish could be raised. Such questions were irrelevant, To even pose them was folly.

        So when Christians were scoffing at the idea of their god raising corpses, as the Corinthians seem to have been doing, Paul could easily have said that God could turn a corpse into a resurrected being, as easily as he could turn a fish into the Sun. Nothing is impossible for his God.

        Instead, Paul goes out of his way to explain that the dust of a decayed corpse was dead. The corpse was a naked seed, and God gave it a body.

        Even NT Wright, in ‘The Resurrection of the Son of God’ recognises that Paul is talking about two bodies. I quote him ‘Though Moule is no doubt right that Paul can envisage here the possibility of ‘exchange’ (losing one body, getting another one) rather than ‘addition’, as in 1 Corinthians 15, we should not lose sight of the fact that even if such an ‘exchange’ were to take place the new body would be more than the present one. ‘

        I do like the way Wright says there is ‘no doubt’ that Paul is talking about an exchange.

        Wright continues ‘Did Paul, perhaps, believe that Jesus’ new body, his incorruptible Easter body, had been all along waiting ‘in the heavens’ for him to ‘put on over the top of’ his present one?’

        This certainly sounds like two different bodies, with two different origins….

      • Steven: Read 1 Cor 15 CAREFULLY! Paul refers to the mortal body being “sown” and then raised in a new glorified form, just as a seed is sown and becomes a plant. The resurrection body is categorically different in nature, but Paul clearly sees also a continuity in person, and for him persons were embodied beings, bodily existence was essential (otherwise, one is “naked”, as in 2 Cor).

      • Larry: but the only continuous thing, in the case of a deceased person, is the spirit/soul, no? The body will have started to decay once all the organs etc have shutdown! And in most cases there would be no body left anyway after a while. So there’s only ONE element that continues to exist (according to this belief): the soul/spirit.

        And it’s this soul that gets a new BODY (of a different kind than the previous one) so that the soul/spirit will not remain ‘naked’ (as the Greek believed). Again: no need for the previou body and now corpse.

      • Jerome: The only thing that is “continuous” is the promise of God. There is no immortal soul. That’s a later conception. Paul’s faith is in the power and promise of God, not some supposed inherent “soul survival” capability. You’re thinking Platonism, not Paul.

  10. Paul imagined the ‘souls’ of the dead to be called back from the ‘realm of the dead’ and to be clothed with a NEW, ‘perfect’ body. Why would you need your old body for that? And if you’d need the old body what about those whose bodies have been burned or maimed? Will their corpses be restored first only to THEN be changed to that ‘spiritual’, ‘perfect’ body? That seems like an unnecessary step.

    1 Cor 15:38 But God gives it (the seed/the essence) a body as he has determined

    Also let’s not forget that Paul has claimed the earthly body has to be destroyed and replaced with a ‘heavenly’ one (2 Cor5:1) and that to be away from the (earthly) body is to be with the Lord (2 Cor5:8).

    The old corpse is thus not needed.

    The ONLY earthly bodies that get CHANGED are the bodies of those alive at the ‘Second Coming’ (1 Cor 15:52-53): and WE (those still) alive will be changed for the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable.

    • Jerome: You’re missing Paul’s point. Which is that he regarded the resurrection of Jesus as involving a transformation of his body into a glorifed/glorious form, not simply an animation of “the old corpse”. Paul doesn’t talk about “souls” of the dead being “called back”. He refers to the dead being raised and glorified by God, transformed, but nevertheless embodied, so as to preserve the integrity of the individual.

      • Larry (Mr Hurtado?),

        I’m not sure that a “transformation of Jesus’ (dead) body into a glorified/glorious form” can be inferred from Paul’s text. Where does he explicitly say this?

        In his analogy of the seed he claims that the seed first has to die; but with the ‘essence’ of the seed surviving, one has to assume. Otherwise nothing would be left! This surviving essence THEN GETS a new body, according to its kind, by God (1 Cor 15:38). Which, applied to humans, would mean that God will CLOTHE the soul/spirit that has survived the death (and where if not in a kind of ‘realm of the dead’?) of the natural body (the one ‘made of dust’) with a new body, this time a ‘spiritual’, perfect, glorified one, ‘from heaven’.

        So that’s the meaning of the dead getting ‘raised’: the souls, raised from Sheol, get clothed with these new bodies. Why would God first recreate the old bodies, most of them composed, maimed or already turned to dust, ‘attach’ the souls/spirits to them again, only to THEN change them? Seems like an unnecessary step.

        It’s only the living, those alive at the Second Coming, whose bodies will be CHANGED:

        1 Cor 15:52
        step 1: the dead will be raised imperishable
        step 2: and we (the living, among whom Paul saw himself) will be changed

      • Jerome: The Greek of 1 Cor 15:52 doesn’t suggest the strong contrast that you assert. Had Paul wanted such a contrast, he’d likely have used “alla” or “de” (Greek words that signal contrast). But he used “kai” (“and”, a simple connective), signalling that the dead and living are conjoined here.
        Likewise, note, e.g., Philippians 3:20, where Paul refers to the “lowly” bodies of believers being transformed to be like Jesus’ resurrected body. No restriction here to the living. The “we” seems to me rather more inclusive.

      • Larry: regarding 1 Cor 15:52, it’s not really necessary to use a ‘but’ there. An ‘and’ is fine. Paul is simply stating that thing A will happen to group X and thing B to group Y.

        As for Philippians 3:20-21: “we also eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform these humble bodies of ours into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he is able to subject all things to himself.”, the ‘we’ there obviously refers to those still ALIVE at that point (and Paul counted himself among them). Paul is not dead, is he?

        So yes, Paul believed the natural bodies of those alive at the Second Coming will be changed into these ‘heavenly’ bodies. But Paul’s texts do not support the claim that he believed that the corpses of all those who have died before would need to be reassembled only to THEN be changed as well.

        Also, if Paul thought Jesus walked out of the tomb then why hasn’t he ever mentioned an empty tomb?

      • Jerome: I’ll confine myself to your final question: Read the article I cited. There are no references to an empty tomb in any confessional statement down through the centuries. As Ware shows, references to an empty tomb don’t seem to have formed part of the genre of confessions. But it’s clear that an empty tome figured in early traditions. What, otherwise, is the reference to Jesus being buried (1 Cor 15:1-7) if burial and tomb weren’t important? So, come down off your high horse, please. This isn’t a forum for people to try to “have a go at the professor”. If you don’t want to reconsider your own views then don’t engage in conversation.

  11. James permalink

    Hi Larry,

    Just wondering what percentage of scholars, in your estimation, hold that a literal physical body is being spoken by Paul in Corinthians? I’ve heard it said a vast majority hold that view nowadays, whereas if we go back a century or so ago it was quite different. And I’ve always wondered how advocates of the idea Paul teaches a “spiritual” resurrection differentiate that from the immortality of the spirit/soul? It seems a contradiction in terms to speak of a body “made” of spirit.

    • James: The terms you use are potentially ambiguous. E.g., “physical” could mean a body operating according to physical “laws” of biological life. Let’s say this: Paul believed that Jesus was raised in a glorified/glorious bodily mode, a *real* body, but categorically superior to mortal existence.

      • ” Let’s say this: Paul believed that Jesus was raised in a glorified/glorious bodily mode, a *real* body” > agreed, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the previous, non-glorious body was required for this glorified body to come into existence!

      • No previous body was “required”, Jerome, but Paul (along with pretty much most Jews and Christians who believed in eschatological resurrection) believed that if there was a mortal body it would be transformed, not left in the grave.

      • James permalink

        OK, given the definition of the resurrection body you gave in your reply to me (one I agree with but just failed to communicate properly in my original question), what percentage of scholars, in your estimation, hold that view? I’ve always wondered how advocates of the idea Paul teaches a “spiritual” resurrection (thus leaving the body still in the tomb) differentiate that from the immortality of the spirit/soul? The latter view seems a contradiction in terms since a spirit is not made of anything physical.

      • You could consult commentaries, e.g., on 1 Cor, and see what you find. We don’t take surveys of opinions, so I couldn’t really say how many NT scholars this one thing or another on the topic.

      • Larry:

        “No previous body was ‘required’,” > so a corpse was not required in order to be ‘resurrected’?

        “but Paul (along with pretty much most Jews and Christians who believed in eschatological resurrection) believed that if there was a mortal body it would be transformed, not left in the grave.” > where does Paul himself indicate or confirm this?

      • Jerome: “Where does Paul indicate or confirm” that the mortal body would be “raised” and transformed? In 1 Cor 15:35-50. The body is “sown” mortal and “raised” imperishable (vv. 42).

  12. Personally I think that a bodily resurrection goes a long way in explaining much of the biblical data. What is difficult for me to get my mind around is how any sort of a post Easter resurrection body for Jesus fits with God the Father as “Yahweh,” as “that than which no greater can be conceived.”
    Fr. Larry Hart, Vicar
    Saint Anne’s Oceanside CA

    • Larry: Er, I don’t get what your final sentence is trying to say. Too abstruse for me.

  13. How does this add to what N.T. Wright did in The Resurrection of the Son of God? If I recall, he basically says the same thing. The spiritual body refers to what animates the physical, resurrected body.

    • Oddinthe Truth (and please use real names on this site): Somewhat similar I’d guess.

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