Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Holtz on the Unimpressive Nature of Resurrection Appearances, Pt. 2

Doubt & Recognition
In part one I said, "Biblioskeptics like Holtz often say that Jesus' post-resurrection appearances were unimpressive to the disciples who heard about them (and should have been expecting them) and even to those who witnessed them or that they were cases of mistaken identity. This is a gross misrepresentation of the accounts. Occasionally there was difficulty recognizing Jesus [Lk 24:15-16; Jn 20:14-15; 21:4], but in every case it was only temporary. Perplexity, sorrow, the dimness of the light, visual distance, the suddenness of Jesus' appearance, the different clothes He was wearing, and spiritual dullness were some factors causing this difficulty. Before the appearances were over, the witnesses had absolutely no doubt that Jesus Christ, whom they had known intimately for many years, had arisen in a literal, physical body. Holtz quotes Mt 28:17: "When they saw Him, they worshiped Him, but some doubted." The Greek verb in context points to hesitation/indecision as to what to do next, not disbelief in the fact of the resurrection."

Now onto part two.

AAC.2002: "Resurrection. At his death the apostles abandoned Jesus in panic, even though they should have been expecting his resurrection if they had indeed witnessed his miracles, heard his divinity claims, and heard him say at least four times [Mk 8:31, 10:34; Mat 16:21, 17:23, 20:19; Lk 9:22, 18:33, 24:7, 24:46] that he would 'rise from the dead' or be 'raised to life' 'on the third day.' ... Many of the 'appearances' seem to have been unimpressive to the disciples who heard about them (and should have been expecting them) and even to those who witnessed them:
But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like idle tales. [Lk 24:11]
When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them [Mk 16:11-12]
These returned and reported it to the rest, but they did not believe them either. [Mk 16:13]"

When Does Mark 16 End?
Now, in his paper Holtz says the following regarding the Gospel of St. Mark:
"in an appendix later added to Mark [16:15]"
"The earliest copies of this gospel end abruptly at 16:8 before any visions of the risen Jesus, which were added later in various differing endings."
"Original Mark claims an empty tomb but describes no appearances."
"Original Mark contains no appearances at all."

However, compelling internal and external evidence too complex to delve into here at this moment shows that 16:9-20 is part of original Mark and is canonical scripture.

Knowing that, the answer to the above arguments is that the disciples were NOT expecting Jesus' resurrection, which makes the above Synoptic quotes harmless. This fact is demonstrated by JP Holding, Holtz's arch-nemesis :-), at Holtz was overconfident about his answers, which Holding thoroughly refuted (He calls "Daffy Whacked" Holding's "clumsy effort to return the favor"), over and against Holtz's complaints.

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