Appearances of Jesus

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    Craig, William L.

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    From Easter to Valentinus and the Apostles' Creed Once More: A Critical Examination of James Robinson's Proposed Resurrection Appearance Trajectories

    "James Robinson argues that parallel trajectories, springing from primitive Christian experiences of post-resurrection appearances of Christ as a luminous bodily form, issued in the second-century Gnostic understanding of the appearances as unembodied radiance and in the second-century orthodox view of the appearances as non-luminous physical encounter. Craig examines his four arguments in support of these hypothesized trajectories and finds them unconvincing. There is no reason to think that the primitive experiences always involved luminosity or that if they did, this was taken to imply non- physicality. Nor does the evidence support the view that Gnostics rejected corporal or even physical resurrection appearances of Christ."
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    Craig, William L.

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    Visions of Jesus: A Critical Assessment of Gerd Lüdemann's Hallucination Hypothesis

    "Gerd Lüdemann's provocative hypothesis that early Christian belief in Jesus' resurrection was the product of hallucinatory experiences originally induced by guilt-complexes in Peter and Paul is assessed and contrasted with the traditional resurrection hypothesis in terms of the usual standards of hypothesis testing: explanatory power, explanatory scope, plausibility, ad hoc-ness, accord with accepted beliefs, and superiority to rival hypotheses."
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    Habermas, Gary R.

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    Explaining Away Jesus' Resurrection: The Recent Revival of Hallucination Theories

    "A survey of over 1000 recent publications on Jesus’ resurrection reveals some intriguing trends...[S]ome critical scholars have proposed a number of naturalistic alternative hypotheses to explain away Jesus’ resurrection...[T]he most popular response by critics today is that the disciples experienced some sort of subjective perceptions of Jesus, although He had not been raised from the dead. Hallucination (more properly termed subjective vision) hypotheses come in different varieties. Sometimes it is suggested that the resurrection appearances of Jesus were similar to the recent claims that the Virgin Mary has appeared. Other times, it is said that these subjective visions were normal responses to grief by Jesus’ disciples, or perhaps even due to a psychological disorder. All of these recent strategies have something else in common, too: each one fails by a large margin to explain the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection appearances."
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    Habermas, Gary R.

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    The Resurrection Appearances of Jesus

    "When the New Testament defines and identifies the Gospel data, at least three items are always mentioned: the Deity, death, and resurrection of Jesus.1 The key to Jesus' resurrection is his post-death appearances. Critical scholars agree that the entire enterprise of the early church-worship, writings, and witness—would never have come about if Jesus' followers were not absolutely convinced that He had conquered death by appearing to them afterwards. Throughout this essay, I will not assume the inspiration or even the reliability of the New Testament writings, though I think these doctrines rest on strong grounds. I will refer almost exclusively to those data that are so well attested that they impress even the vast majority of non-evangelical scholars. Each point is confirmed by impressive data, even though I can do no more than offer an outline of these reasons."
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    Pilch, John J.

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    A Window on the Biblical World: Science and the Resurrection Appearances

    "Human beings are capable of experiencing at least twenty different levels of consciousness. Further, ethnographic evidence indicates that perhaps as many as ninety percent of cultures on this planet experience many of these different levels of awareness on a routine basis. The technical term for this human experience is altered states of consciousness or awareness. The Resurrection appearances are just one example of altered state of awareness that are reported throughout the Bible. Beginning with the “heavy, [divinely induced] sleep” in the first creature (Gen 2:21; compare Is 29:10; 1 Sam 26:12) and ending with the book of Revelation which records the seer’s “trance” experiences (Rev 1:10; 4:2; 17:3; 21:10: “in spirit” = in trance), it is clear that altered states of consciousness are a select moment during which God reveals self and important information for human beings (see 1 Sam 3:1; Gen 15:12; Job 4:13)."
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    Wiebe, Phillip H.

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    Altered States of Consciousness and New Testament Interpretation of Post-Resurrection Appearances

    "A...recent way of approaching the appearance phenomena in which Jesus was supposed to have been encountered is to see them as one kind of altered state of consciousness. This is the approach recently recommended by John Pilch of Georgetown University, and will be the topic of my attention in this paper. Altered states of consciousness are an important new conceptual tool for examining experiences having religious import, because they can sometimes be induced in laboratory conditions and be carefully studied. Spontaneous experiences in public settings, which religious experiences often are, do not readily admit of such a study."