Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? A Table of Contents to the review of Maurice Casey’s Jesus of Nazareth

Maurice Casey

Maurice Casey

By popular request, here is a handy Table of Contents to the recent seven-part review of “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?” in Maurice Casey’s book, Jesus of Nazareth: An Independent Historian’s Account of His Life and Teaching (London and New York: T&T Clark (Continuum), 2010):

Part 1: Countering the dominance of conservative apologetic works in New Testament studies

Part 2: The Empty Tomb is not Historical

Part 3: The Gospel of Mark’s Missing Ending

Part 4: Inconsistencies and Deliberate Changes in the Gospel Post-Resurrection Accounts

Part 5: Did Jesus consider himself to be “The Son of Man”?

Part 6: Women Witnesses to the Empty Tomb and Their Significance

Part 7: Visionary Experiences of Jesus’ Resurrection

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8 Responses to Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? A Table of Contents to the review of Maurice Casey’s Jesus of Nazareth

  1. Great, thanks a lot. I found your review really helpful, and put the book on my Amazon wish list. I am a neuroscientist, and the idea that neuroscience would have an ‘apologetics’ branch, that had a huge influence on scholarship, is so strange it is like reading about a foreign country. It seems Casey has a good grip on the strange apologetic bias that exists in the historical Jesus literature.

    Incidentally, I am pretty ignorant of all this. Aside from Casey’s book, do you have a reading list that you would recommend for historically high quality, but not weirdly apologetical, works about Jesus? E.g., anything by Crossan, for instance?

    Thanks again for putting this set of reviews together. I have read it over once but will have to again, this is a lot of information for me to absorb.

  2. Deane says:

    Unfortunately, most of the work falls into one of two camps: confessional appropriations that use the facade of academic approaches to advance apologetic aims, and liberal appropriations that try to turn Jesus into a nice, tolerant, inoffensive chap. Crossan’s work is marred by the latter. A good discussion of the historical emergence of these two camps is in Gregory Dawes, The Historical Jesus Question (2001). As Vladimir Lenin might have summed up the scene, “It has long been known that the reactionaries are bold and that the liberals are cowards” (Collected Works, vol. 11, p. 96).

    But, I recommend the following, after you’re done with Casey (although you might pick up on one or both of the taints noted above in some parts):

    EP Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus (1995)
    Gerd Theissen, Annette Merz, The Historical Jesus (1998)
    Gerd Theissen, The Shadow of the Galilean (rev, 2007)
    Dale Allison, Millenarian Prophet (1998); Resurrecting Jesus (2005); Constructing Jesus (2010)

    • Deane says:

      Good to hear that you haven’t got rabid dualists or the like dominating neuroscience!

      • Marty Lewadny says:

        Hi Deane

        I have recently come across your website re: Casey’s new book and many other interesting things on it. I am a former “fundagelical” professor of Greek and NT, now exploring the Christ myth options. I was also at one time very involved in the “charismatic” wing of Christianity as a teacher and facilitator in this area of spiritual experience. The “visionary” hypothesis is interesting and in my view has strong support in the NT and other texts.
        Thanks for the material you have presented here.

        What interests me is the social and psychological history of how the visions and revelations of the early Christians, especially among its “leaders” became absolutistic and exclusivistic, eventually leading to various forms of “fundamentalist” Christianity, which in most respects we have been saddled with today. Also, the orthodox were having their visions while the Gnostics and hermeticists were having theirs. What kind of an ancient epistemology was at work among these groups for deciding over conflicting visionary experiences? We know that the orthodox did not accept Gnostic “visions” of Jesus, only their own.

        I think my questions are worth exploring in greater detail.

        One more issue here. Many of the scholars that I hear today re the debates about the visionary experiences of early Christians sound like they have had little real contact with the nature and phenomenology of spirtual visions in their own life, whether induced through meditative practices or truly mysterious and “divine” in my view certain plant/drug substances. I say “divine” because they have a way of working on the mind and heart which point to and enhance experiences within of “higher-intelligence”. I’ve always found it a funny coincidence that many visions in the apocalyptic materials of ancient Judaism and the NT are connected with “eating” something before having their eyes opened in a vision. eg .Luke 24 is quite striking in this regard. They are eating at the table then their eyes are opened and they “see” Jesus alive. BTW this expression their eyes were opened is found only one other place in the Bible -Gen. 3 when Eve ate the fruit of the tree! I say this not to prove that the early Christians took mushrooms or anything else, but it is simply an interesting piece of “coincidence”. Ezra (Apocalypse) ingests plants in a field and then books get written! John in Revelation is also given a book to eat like Ezekiel and they both start “spitting” out their “books”! I have experimented with some powerful substances which do work on the mind and senses in a way that look very similar to the visions described in the NT and elsewhere. Today I still experience visions and very lucid dreams and usually during them or shortly after them I write poetry and other things as well. Like John I write what I see, but I am also aware that my background and education and former experiences play a role in the overall vision as well.

        So what really lent authority to the early Christian movement. Visions or Canonical books? Yet, most Christians I talk to today do not have any visions of Jesus. It is mostly some kind of “feeling” or “intuition” that comes on them and then they believe. Moreover, for many Christians they simply talk about a “decision” for Christ. This is being born again to them! Yet in John’s Gospel it is absolutely clear that being born again involves a mystical vision of seeing the kingdom, unless it is a “literal” kingdom in John’s gospel, which I doubt.

        I am just raising questions here for discussion. I would be very interested in your take on these things.

        Regards

        Marty
        Winnipeg, Manitoba
        Canada

        • Andyman409 says:

          very interesting stuff. I am also interested in the spiritual experiences of early christians (and am also canadian :D). What books would you recommend to me? I am interested in finding out certain details about them, such as how they induced the visions, how they interpretted them, and most importantly, if other religions use visions like early christianity did. THX

  3. Deane thanks a lot for the list. I will start with Casey.

    Some creationists want to make neuroscience a new front in the culture wars, so far not very successful.

  4. What do you think of Ehrman?

  5. The Revd Dr John Bunyan says:

    I have found Casey’s work on the historical Jesus and his earlier book, “From Jewish Rabbi to Gentile God” both invaluable and fascinating reading. The other writer about that Jewish rabbi whom I should strongly recommend is the Jewish scholar, Geza Vermes, both his earlier books about Jesus, and his more recent “The Changing Faces of Jesus” and “The Authentic Gospel of Jesus”. The last is already a Folio Press classic but some writing in this field, especially in the US, still seem unaware of the work of both of Vermes and of Casey.

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