The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus

The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus

The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus

The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus

Excerpt

This book treats two complex and sensitive issues. Studies of the historical Jesus are already complicated today by our realization that the Gospel accounts of the ministry are not simple reporting but developed reflections on the significance of Jesus. However, a study of the conception and resurrection of Jesus is doubly complicated by the fact that these two events lie outside the public domain in which the general ministry of Jesus was set. From the baptism to the crucifixion what Jesus proclaimed by deed and word could be seen and heard by the residents of Galilee and Judea—through Jesus God was acting in the course of history. But a virginal conception could be personally attested only by Mary. No one in the New Testament claims to have seen the resurrection of Jesus, and only believers claim to have seen the risen Jesus. A conception without a human father and a bodily resurrection from the dead imply unique divine interventions from outside the flow of history. They are events that belong to the eschatological period, to that moment when the limits of history yield to God's freedom from space and time.

If the complexities of the two issues affect all Christians, the sensitivities are felt particularly by those Christians concerned with the exactitude of the Gospel accounts and/or with the reliability of Church doctrine. As a Roman Catholic I am aware that vital interest in my own church will be centered particularly on the latter point, since Catholic teaching has not envisioned any alternative to a literal adherence to the virginal conception and the bodily resurrection. But I am also aware that for many Protestants as well as for many Catholics the literal historicity of the biblical accounts of the conception and . . .

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