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Title: Historical Criticism and the Ressurection of Jesus
Subtitle: A New Tendency in Recent Scholarship
Author(s): DE MEY, Peter
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 23    Issue: 3   Date: fall 1998   
Pages: 246-273
DOI: 10.2143/LS.23.3.542263

Abstract :
In recent studies on the resurrection of Jesus there can be observed an increasing dissatisfaction with the futility of many discussions among historical-critical exegetes, concerning, for example, the objective or subjective nature of the appearances of Jesus after the resurrection. It is their claim to unbiased research which is particularly questioned. At the ‘Resurrection Summit', which was held during Easter of 1996 at St. Joseph's Seminary, New York, serious doubts were raised about the success of this exegetical method in clarifying all possible historical and theological questions concerning the resurrection of Jesus. In this article I want to focus on the proceedings of this summit,1the most important contributions of which I will highlight under three headings. In my second section (II), I will discuss several articles of the proceedings of the summit that include substantive criticism of the historical-critical approach to the resurrection. Francis Schüssler Fiorenza's option to treat the relevant New Testament passages not as historical sources, but as testimonies the theological meaning of which can be hermeneutically reconstructed, is in my opinion a valuable alternative to the approach under discussion. (III) A particular contribution to the Summit was made by three analytic philosophers of religion, Stephen T. Davis, William P. Alston and Richard Swinburne, who tried each in their own way to defend the rationality of belief in the resurrection of Jesus (IV). In my introductory section (I), however, I will begin with a critical presentation of the research of one of the pioneers of historical criticism, Hermann Samuel Reimarus, and one of his contemporary heirs, Gerd Lüdemann.

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