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Source: (consider it) Thread: The walking dead - postponed till Easter (Mt 27:52-53)
Eutychus
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One of those passages we can be so familiar with but (at least as far as I'm concerned) not stop to puzzle over: Matthew 27:52-3, with a bit of context:
quote:
50 Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many.
For starters:

- how come Jesus' death (and not his resurrection) provokes these ressuscitations?
- what do the ressuscitated do hanging around in their tombs until Jesus gets around to resurrecting himself?
- how come I never noticed this delay before?
- what is that anecdote doing there at all? [Confused]

[also: how do typos hide during preview post?]

[ 04. April 2017, 14:15: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Bishops Finger
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And who exactly were these pre-Christian saints?

IJ

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Lamb Chopped
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IMHO they had to be people who had recently died--I'm figuring local Jerusalemites and maybe folks from the suburbs--because if they were more than a dozen years dead, who would be able to recognize them as resurrected? But if you know Uncle Ed has been dead seven years last Passover and hey, here he is, walking down the street! Well, then you'll know something weird is happening.

But a resurrectee I don't know from before is just a random stranger.

I figure the saint bit means that these people had a rep for everyday holiness during their lives--Aunt Mary, always so good with the kids, even when their own parents couldn't stand them at the moment...

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Lamb Chopped
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As for the hanging around in the tombs bit--

I wonder if maybe the long dead needed some re-orientation time? Even Lazarus seemed a bit out of it for a minute or two until Jesus urged his family etc. to unwind him and let him go.

Then there's the question of clothes...

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I wonder if maybe the long dead needed some re-orientation time?

[Killing me] Taking re-entry courses to a whole new level...

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balaam

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I usually take this event to mean that St Matthew, writing for a Jewish audience, had slipped into using apocalyptic language in order to describe something that a direst scientific approach would struggle with.

Something as dramatic as this is unlikely to have been missed by the other Gospel writers, I think something beyond the literal is happening here.

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rolyn
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quote:
Originally posted by balaam:
I think something beyond the literal is happening here.

For someone who spends a lot of his time working alone in graveyards this does come as something of a relief.

It is interesting how all this business of the dead rising and walking about happens in NT and not in OT. It makes me wonder what was going on in the time between the two Testaments.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
It is interesting how all this business of the dead rising and walking about happens in NT and not in OT.

Elijah and Elisha would like a word. As would Elisha's bones (2 Kings 13:21):
quote:
As a man was being buried, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha; as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he came to life and stood on his feet.


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peter damian
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There is an extensive thread which includes this subject, starting here.

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http://trinities.org/blog

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Eutychus
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As far as I can see that thread goes some way to offering a possible (theological) answer to my last question, but not to all the others.

I have heard the theory that Matthew was quoting from a hymn here, as Paul appears to do from time to time. Anyone care to comment?

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betjemaniac
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
It makes me wonder what was going on in the time between the two Testaments.

Schrodinger's Resurrection?

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venbede
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by balaam:
[qb] It makes me wonder what was going on in the time between the two Testaments.

The deutero canonical books, which unlike the Hebrew Scriptures, insist on the departed being with God (which is why they make such a virtue of martyrdom again unlike the HS.)

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Martin60
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And what were they doing for three days?

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venbede
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The question isn’t what happened literally, but what is God telling us through this? And the answer is pretty obvious.

Like the rending of the Temple veil (which nobody could witness) it shows in a powerfully symbolic way (the main way to approach the scriptures to my mind rather than literalistic) that with the crucifixion there is a new world order and a new relationship between God and mortals.

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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Martin60
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Spongiform theolopathy alert!

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Eutychus
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I hope you're not accusing those holding different theological opinions to yours of being brain-diseased.

Would anyone like to comment on this passage being a quote from an early church hymn?

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Martin60
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No, just infected by John Shelby Spong and his totally rationalized theology as contracted by David Jenkins.

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Mamacita

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Spongiform theolopathy alert!

Martin, I'm really not sure what you're on about here, but IF you are taking a swipe at another poster, please be reminded personal attacks are not allowed outside of Hell.

Mamacita, Keryg Host

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Stetson
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Not to be the village heretic or anything, but...

I've read literlist apologetics explaining how the Massacre Of The Innocents could have managed to remain off the radar of non-biblical historians, eg. the number of babies killed would have been fairly small; infanticide wasn't a huge deal in those days; Herod was already having people killed all over the place etc.

I'd be interested to know how they explain a multitude of corpses strolling into the middle of Jerusalem with nobody considering it be be worth writing about.

[ 11. April 2017, 11:31: Message edited by: Stetson ]

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Brenda Clough
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I too have wondered about that. Entire genres of popular fiction have been generated revolving around that exact sort of thing.

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Lamb Chopped
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What the hey, I'm warming up my brain this morning.

If I were going to imagine the scene, I'd point out, first of all, that this was probably not thousands of people; I'd figure on a few dozen at most. Then I'd note that they were probably the recent dead (for reasons of recognition explained above) and add "the humble dead," because there's no hint of any local celebrity resurrectee (e.g. "Did you see the high priest who died 5 years ago is back?" "Wow," and etc.).

Now, for location. These were doubtless coming from the cemeteries around the city of Jerusalem, such as on the Mt. of Olives and etc. At Passover time (which this was, still) a few dozen ordinary folk strolling into the city are not going to raise eyebrows for anyone except those who had good reason to know they ought to be dead. So I'd expect they went basically unnoticed until they turned up at their families' doors and caused a few people to faint. Who, once they recovered and welcomed the person back into the family, probably discovered quickly that talking a great deal about it attracted either ridicule or unwanted official attention. Let it go.

Sorry to be so non-apocalyptic, but in my experience the outward appearance of a thing sometimes bears no relationship at all to its true value or meaning. And really, if God had stage-managed the whole thing in the way we would like to have seen it (Exploding zombies! signs in the heavens! Caiaphas fainting dead away in fear!) it would have upstaged Jesus' own resurrection, which was the Main Event.

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Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Brenda Clough
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One does wonder about the Jewish ritual purifications, then. Surely there has to be something to be done (the bath?) to welcome the deceased back among the living. And there would have been an ecclesiastical precedent -- Lazarus.

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Lamb Chopped
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Yes, I love that idea. I'd considered it before only in the context of Jesus--I mean, the man was forever touching unclean people and raising the dead, etc.--did he live in a perpetual mikvah, or did everybody just say "well, the guy isn't dead or leprous anymore" and call it good?

[Snigger]

It's rather like the conundrum about whether you can get soap dirty.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Brenda Clough
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I suppose it is unreasonable to consult a Talmudic scholar or an orthodox rabbi about the proper rabbinical practice. (Although you never know. A rabbi has created the Hogwarts Haggadah.)

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Lamb Chopped
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Actually, I suspect somebody DID consult an authority on the subject (the Jesus vs. uncleanness thing, I mean). The didactic we have always with us. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that discussion.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Mamacita:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Spongiform theolopathy alert!

Martin, I'm really not sure what you're on about here, but IF you are taking a swipe at another poster, please be reminded personal attacks are not allowed outside of Hell.

Mamacita, Keryg Host

Ma'am. I was taking a swipe at what I perceived to be a rationalistic, anti-supernatural bias by the likes of John Shelby Along, David Jenkins, John Dominic Cross an that venbede appeared to be paddling in the shallow end of.

But that is a false inference on my part, even if venbede is actually doing that, as one can take a literal and metaphoric view of the miraculous life of Jesus.

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Mamacita

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Re the question of what the resurrected Jews were doing for those three days, here are some relevant bits from The New Interpreter's Bible:

quote:
The tombs of Israelite saints, surrounding the city and the Temple Mount, are opened as Jesus dies. The rock tombs anticipate the rock tomb in which Jesus will be buried (27:60), and join Christ and the saints in solidarity. These saints are Jewish people who are brought to life by Jesus' death, but not "this generation," which has rejected him. Since Matthew wants to connect the raising of the Israelite saints with the death of Jesus, seen in eschatological terms, but also wants Jesus' own resurrection to be primary [as, e.g., 1 Cor 15:20), this results in the peculiar picture of the saints' being resurrected on Good Friday but remaining in their tombs (or in the open country) until after the Easter appearances of Jesus. That we have theology in narrative form, and not bare historical reporting, is clear. Already in the death of Jesus the eon-changing, dead-raising power of God breaks in.
If one looks at these verse of Matthew as "theology in narrative form" - which I am inclined to do - then the question of what the newly-raised were doing for three days doesn't need an answer. What is notable is the timing of both their awakening (concurrent with Christ's death, ushering in an eschatological age) and the timing of their rising from the grave (so that Christ would be the first-fruit of those arisen).

[ 12. April 2017, 17:24: Message edited by: Mamacita ]

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Martin60
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The longest they'd been buried for was three and a half years, 1300 days. The length of Jesus' ministry. The population was 70,000 max. The death rate at least 20 / 1000 pa. 5000 dead. Of whom 1% were 'saints'? 50.

A blip of an historical non-event like the massacre of the 20 odd innocents.

I've no reason to doubt either event particularly. Or get otherwise literal over the scant, minimal, ambiguous journalism.

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Brenda Clough
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Like LC, what interests me is the logistics of it. For example: Dad died. We inherited his estate, moved into his house, took over the farm or fishing boats. Life went on. And oops, now he's back? Who now owns the house? What if I sold three cows last year, is that deal now null and void? He was certainly their owner, three years ago when he was last alive. Now what?

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Lamb Chopped
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[Snigger] Yes, that would be really, really interesting in Certain Families. Though in a culture where your age and role in the family determines your power, it was probably a bit less exciting. Ditto a culture where most property was held by a family (in practice, I mean, not letter of the law) rather than by an individual. I suspect Dad or Granddad could reassert their rights now simply by virtue of being who they were, never mind the "you were dead" thing.

Any transactions that had gone on during the "dead" years would have to stand if for no other reason than because trying to reverse them would make way too big of a stink, and create cries of fraud, etc. And there's that whole "do you really want the temple police showing up to investigate" thing. We hear they're a bit on edge lately--let's keep this between ourselves, hmmm?

It would be a bit more troubling for anybody who was married and came back to find spouse remarried, etc. Though polygamy was not unknown.

There's also the possibility that God thought about these issues (shocking idea, that!) and chose his resurrection test cases from the people who would be least likely to regret being raised.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Brenda Clough
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And then there's the whole tomb issue. Can you resell that tomb cut in the rock as "Where never yet a man was laid"? He's certainly up and around now; clearly it is an unused tomb. Right? I suppose if there's a memorial engraving or something somewhere (I forget if they did that in ancient Judaism) you could have the stonecutters take it out.
Meanwhile, even if your widow didn't remarry (augh, what if she married your brother, as prescribed in Leviticus?!? That'd make Passover dinners awfully tense no matter what happened) your daughters and sons might've wed. If you don't approve of their choices, as is your right as patriarch of the clan, what then? The headaches multiply the more you look at it.

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:

Meanwhile, even if your widow didn't remarry (augh, what if she married your brother, as prescribed in Leviticus?!? .

You'd need a better advocate with the Pope than Henry VIII had.

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:

Meanwhile, even if your widow didn't remarry (augh, what if she married your brother, as prescribed in Leviticus?!? That'd make Passover dinners awfully tense no matter what happened) your daughters and sons might've wed. If you don't approve of their choices, as is your right as patriarch of the clan, what then? The headaches multiply the more you look at it.

Well, then. There's the plot of your next book. "They rose from the dead... Then, the murders began." [Snigger]

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:

Meanwhile, even if your widow didn't remarry (augh, what if she married your brother, as prescribed in Leviticus?!? .

You'd need a better advocate with the Pope than Henry VIII had.
Out of 50 people, it's highly unlikely that any would be a young married man who hadn't sired a child.

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Jamat
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

- how come Jesus' death (and not his resurrection) provokes these ressuscitations?
] [/QB]

Who knows but guessing..

The power of the atonement made on the cross demanded an immediate witness or consequence as a proof to those who saw them of Jesus identity.

Additionally, perhaps the consequence of the atonement was to create a 'first fruits' miracle that was a type of the final resurrection of the righteous. Paul states in a prayer Phil 3:11, that he hopes to attain to the resurrection. Putting this thought together with the Matthew account could suggest this was a prefiquiring of the resurrection of the righteous, mentioned in 1 thes 4:16. Those who appeared were a special category of believers obviously as not all the OT saints were raised at this time. Also, the ones that did appear were recognised by those who saw them.

As these appeared before Jesus resurrection on the 3rd day, perhaps they were heraldic in the sense of John the Baptist, announcing the impending reappearance of the son of God to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. (Eph 3:10)

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Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Lamb Chopped
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Descending from the heights here with a dull thud...

IMHO if God had raised them the same time as Jesus, we all would have said, "Who cares?"

What interest in the stars when the sun is at hand?

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Flubb
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:

I'd be interested to know how they explain a multitude of corpses strolling into the middle of Jerusalem with nobody considering it be be worth writing about.

I hear this quite a lot but the questions to actually ask are:

1. How many people could write?
2. How many of those people who could write, knew about this?
3. How many of those people wrote about this? If they didn't see it themselves, did they consider it worthy to report on it (or just pass it off as crazy talk)?
4. How many of those writings survived?
5. How many of those writings survived *and* have been discovered?

Think about the number of 1st century sources we have full stop. If we have lots of 'Dear 1st century Palestine' diaries floating about, then yes, the question is germane, but we actually don't have any of those. We've got Josephus, and that's pretty much it.

The other option, cf Hurtado, is that the thing is apocalyptic.

Posts: 234 | From: St. Androos | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged


 
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