Sunday, April 08, 2007

resurrection of Jesus

The resurrection of Jesus as depicted by Matthias GrünewaldAccording to the Trinitarian interpretation of the New Testament, Jesus was both human and God, so he had the power to lay his life down and to take it up again; thus after Jesus died, he came back to life. This event is referred to in Christian terminology as the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and is commemorated and celebrated by most Christians annually on Easter Sunday.

Most Christians, even those who do not interpret other parts of the Bible literally, accept the New Testament story as an historical account of an actual event central to their faith, though some do not accept a literal bodily resurrection, sometimes arguing for docetism. But it so seems that in the past, a large group of Christians known as the Gnostics, who were later declared heretics and partially exterminated, argued against its singular importance, and claimed that the New Testament supported their claims. Non-Christians generally view the story as legend or as allegory.

The New Testament
The primary accounts of the resurrection are in the last chapters of the Canonical Gospels: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20-21.

All the Canonical Gospel accounts agree that Jesus was crucified late on Friday afternoon and placed in a tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea. On Sunday, after the Saturday Jewish day of rest, one or more of Jesus' female followers, one or more of whom were called Mary, returned to the tomb, to complete the burial rites. When they arrived they discovered that the tomb was empty, or more accurately it did not contain Jesus' body. They then conversed with (an) angel(s)/male youth who informed them that Jesus was resurrected/not there, and so they departed. According to the traditional ending of Mark 16, and the surviving versions of the other Gospels, the women returned with some of Jesus' disciples to confirm the emptiness of the tomb. However, ancient manuscripts of Mark 16 vary heavily after this point, some ancient manuscripts even halt at this point, and most scholars do not believe the traditional ending was the original one.


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