Historical judgement, transcendent perspective and 'resurrection appearances'

Heythrop Journal 40 (1):19–40 (1999)
Suppose one judges as a historian that after Jesus' death there was an occurrence during the careers of various individuals in which: they took it that Jesus was appearing, raised by God to Life; and a concept worked in their minds, ‘Already, Jesus has been raised to Life’.Assume also that before one are fuller statements proposed now as to what happened. Some themselves cite just inner‐worldly, non‐transcendent factors – delusion and so on. The ‘Encountered’ statement however runs: ‘A transcendent reality, Jesus raised by God to Life, was encountered by the individuals.’At first glance it might seem that in principle one could say: ‘Whereas I have not been convinced by the statements citing inner‐worldly factors alone, I do by contrast find the Encountered statement convincing and elucidatory.’ But on closer scrutiny, would it indeed be possible for one maturely to say that? Some commentators voice a quick ‘Yes’– an apologetic argument thus. On the other hand some press challenges that a priori one may never fittingly say that.We should be content neither with a swift ‘Yes’ nor with swift dismissiveness. How you think directly about ‘resurrection appearances’ depends much on your analysis apropos of a wide range of epistemological and other matters.Some challenges are that the Encountered statement is as such flawed. But these claims rest on premises which arguably we should judge misguided.Some challenges concern how one is placed when the Encountered statement lies adjacent to ‘inner‐worldly’ statements. Now we should maintain a standpoint on which a person can reach, apart from regard to Jesus, a theistic outlook: yet not by ‘natural theology’. Where that person is oneself, no a priori obstacles prevent one's maturely saying, ‘The Encountered statement for me elucidates, in contrast to the others’. These points can be put without talk of ‘probability estimates’ or ‘explanation’
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DOI 10.1111/1468-2265.00093
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