Deuterocanonical and Cognate Yearbook 2009 Interaction – Bodily Resurrection in Matthew

Just working through the Deuterocanonical and Cognate Yearbook 2009 by interacting with a few of the articles…

In an article by Wim J.C. Weren, a noted Matthean scholar, we find treated the final passages of the first Gospel in which Matthew readily defends not a mythic, or mental, resurrection of Jesus, but a bodily one. He begins, which is a little disjointing, with the discovery only made famous by ‘archeologist’ Simcha Jacobovici (that of the ‘Tomb of Jesus‘) and contrasting it with Tom Wright’s book on the Resurrection of the Son of God. He compares, and as he has done for the entire book of Matthew, he delineates the parallelism of resurrection accounts in 27.55-28.20, reaching the conclusion,

…it is also possible that the story about the stealing away of Jesus’ body is a hostile response to the Christian claim that Jesus’ resurrection is not merely a spiritual event but must also be a bodily reality. (272)

Weren goes on to defend his affirmation by pointing to the near-apotheosis of Jesus, although wholly different from that of the Graeco-Roman tradition. He goes on to discuss the vital viewpoint of 27.52-53 as a precursor of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, masterfully displacing a theory put forth by Kenneth Walters (in that the resurrection of the Saints is actually an eschatological future event p277).

In the end, Weren doesn’t answer either Jacobovici nor Wright, but presents the conclusion that for Matthew, there is no real separation between the body and the spirit which is an answer to the question of the resurrection of Christ. For Matthew, the fact that Christ appeared after his death to the community is without a doubt an indication that for Matthew, the Resurrection was anything but an emotional hope.

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