From Annunciation to Ascension, all the major events in Jesus’ life are directly described in the Gospels and can thence be creatively portrayed in artistic images. All events, that is, except for the most important one of them all – the Resurrection itself – which is only described indirectly by its results in the Empty-Tomb tradition and its effects in the Risen-Vision tradition.
This absence allowed the artistic creation of two very different direct images of the Resurrection – the Individual Tradition of Jesus arising alone in the Western Tradition and the Universal Tradition of Jesus arising and raising with him All-Humanity represented by Adam-and-Eve.
The basic imagery for those two traditions – both the Western Individual and the Eastern Universal Tradition – was modeled on depictions of victory from Christian imperial coinage.
Those three facts generate these three questions. First, granted that connection with imperial victory coinage, is Jesus’ Resurrection imagined as a violent or nonviolent event?
Next, which if those two Resurrection Traditions – the Western Individual or Eastern Universal – is in closer continuity with and better conformity to the Easter vision of the New Testament.
Finally, does Christianity’s Easter vision speak at all – and, if so, how does it challenge – humanity’s evolutionary future, especially with regard to the escalatory-violence characteristic of civilization since the Neolithic Agricultural Revolution as summarized in Genesis 4?
Visit www.pendlehill.org to see how Crossan frames the questions.
John Dominic Crossan is an Irish-American biblical scholar with post-doctoral diplomas in exegesis from Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute and in archeology from Jerusalem’s École Biblique. He has been a mendicant friar and a catholic priest, a Co-Chair of the Jesus Seminar, and a President of the Society of Biblical Literature. His focus, whether scholarly or popular, whether in books, videos, or lectures, is on the historical Jesus as the norm and criterion for the entire Christian Bible. His reconstructed Jesus incarnates nonviolent resistance to the Romanization of his Jewish homeland and the Herodian commercialization of his Galilean lake as present program and future hope of a transformed world and transfigured earth. Crossan’s method is to situate biblical texts within the reconstructed matrix of their own their own genre and purpose, their own time and place, and to hear them accurately for then before accepting or rejecting them for now.
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