Craig S. Keener
Jesus' resurrection. 20:1–29
The NARRATIVES OF DISCIPLES coming to faith in Jesus' resurrection toward the close of this Gospel мая serve the same function as the stories of people coming to faith in his messiahship, including those near the beginning of the Gospe1.10375 These narratives include both personal discovery and witness. Parallel confessions unite the resurrection narratives: «I have seen the Lord» (20in 20:11–18); «We have seen the Lord» (20summarizing 20:19–23); «My Lord and my God!» (20in 20:24–29); the epilogue follows the same pattern in 21:1–14, where the beloved disciple is permitted the final confession, «It is the Lord» (21:7).10376
The chapter also unites various responses to Jesus, illustrating the diverse ways people can become believers in the resurrection: the beloved disciple believes when he sees Jesus' grave clothes (20:1–10); Mary believes when Jesus calls her name (20:11–18); the disciples believe when they see him (20:19–23); Thomas, more skeptical, believes when called to probe (20:24–29); and finally, the Gospel praises most highly those who believe without seeing (20:29).10377
Although literary analysis мая be more fruitful in discerning the Gospel's message (the purpose most relevant for its many readers today who wish to translate that message for fresh cultural situations), historical questions remain important for students of early Christian history. The Fourth Gospel's genre invites us to investigate the reliability of its historical claims, to whatever degree such an investigation is possible. Although external corroboration for most details мая no longer remain extant, strong evidence appears to favor the substantial picture of resurrection appearances.10378
1. The Traditions
Probably John's resurrection narratives represent discrete units of tradition woven by the evangelist into a seamless whole.10379 The empty tomb account resembles Mark and Matthew, the remainder of his account being closer to Luke; but as many scholars recognize, John probably used «traditions which lie behind the Synoptic Gospels, and not the Gospels themselves.»10380
Various non-Markan material recurs in two of the other gospels (e.g., Matt 28:6; cf. Luke 24:6), suggesting access to non-Markan resurrection traditions or perhaps material in a now lost ending of Mark,10381 if indeed the ending we have in Mark 16was not the original one (a disputable premise).10382 It is, in fact, difficult to doubt that such other traditions would have existed, given the large number of reported witnesses to the resurrection (cf. 1Cor 15:5–7).
Some scholars are convinced that one can completely harmonize the stories of the women at the tomb if we grant that the Gospel writers only reported data essential to their distinctive accounts;10383 on the other end of the spectrum, some, while acknowledging that the conviction of the resurrection is early, doubt that our current Easter stories belong to the earliest stratum of tradition.10384 Although harmonization approaches become strained when they misunderstand the liberties literary historians sometimes applied on details (see our introduction, ch. 1), they do exhibit the merit of working harder than more skeptical approaches to make the best possible sense of the data we have. On any account, two matters are plain and a third likely follows: (1) the differences in accounts demonstrate that the Gospel writers were aware of a variety of independent traditions. The likely diversity and number of such traditions precisely here (more so than at many other points in extant gospel tradition) suggest a variety of initial reports, not merely later divergences in an originally single tradition. Sanders мая be right to argue that «a calculated deception should have produced greater unanimity. Instead, there seem to have been competitors: Ί saw him first!' 'No! I did.'»10385 Eyewitness reports often varied on such details (e.g., Thucydides 1.22.3). (2) The divergent details suggest independent traditions, thereby underlining the likelihood of details the accounts share in common.10386 Yet these divergent traditions overlap significantly and hence independently corroborate the basic outlines of the story. (3) Given the likely variety of initial reports, explaining the similarities and differences in terms of multiple witnesses surrounding a core historical event appears plausible and indeed probable. (One might compare eyewitnesses' different accounts of Callisthenes' death, which nevertheless agree that he was indicted, publicly scorned, and died.)10387
The various resurrection narratives vary considerably in length, focus, and detai1. If Q included a resurrection narrative (a thesis that would probably be greeted with skepticism, since most of it is held to be sayings, but for which we lack concrete evidence either way), most of the Gospel writers treated it as one among many; given the many witnesses of the risen Christ (1Cor 15:6), it is hardly surprising that numerous accounts would exist and different Gospel writers would draw on different accounts. The four gospels differ in detail, but in all four the women become the first witnesses, and Mary Magdalene is explicitly named as one witness among them (also Gos. Pet. 12:50–13:57).10388
The variation in length of the Gospels' resurrection narratives (Luke 24 is long though recapitulated briefly in Acts 1; Mark 16:1–8 and Matt 28 are quite brief; John includes both Judean and Galilean appearances) мая represent the desire to make optimum use of the scroll length instead of leaving a blank space at the end (as sometimes happened, Diogenes Laertius 6.2.38). Josephus seems once caught unexpectedly by the end of his scroll (Josephus Ag. Ap. 1.320); Matthew, approaching the length limit of his standardized scroll (see introduction, p. 7), мая hasten to his conclusion; Luke мая have sufficient space remaining to provide further detail before his closing. John's «second» conclusion (ch. 21) fits the Gospel if John employed a scroll of standardized length, but by early in ch. 20 it would be clear to either the Fourth Gospel's author or a later disciple how much space would remain at ch. 20's completion.
2. Pagan Origins for the Christian Resurrection Doctrine?
Supposed pagan parallels to the resurrection stories are weak; Aune even declares that «no parallel to them is found in Graeco-Roman biography.»10389 Whether any «parallels» exist depends on what we mean by a «parallel»; but plainly none of the alleged parallels involves a resurrected person, probably in part because resurrection in its strict sense was an almost exclusively Jewish belief. Most pagans would have preferred to play down a savior's human death (cf. Philostratus Vit. Apol1. 7.14).10390 Ancients commonly reported apparitions of deceased persons (e.g., Apuleius Metam. 8.8; 9.31; 'Abot R. Nat. 40A)10391 or deities, and hence occasionally those of persons who had become immortal (e.g., Plutarch's reports of Romulus more than half a millennium earlier),10392 but these are not resurrection appearances.
Even the appearance of Apollonius of Tyana, which exhibits some parallels with the Gospel accounts (Philostratus Vit. Apol1. 8.31),10393 is not an exception. This story appears in a third-century source, after Christian teaching on the resurrection had become widely disseminated; further and more to our present point, Apollonius proves that he has not died, not that he has risen.10394 In another third-century C.E. work by the same author, the hero Protesilaos appears to people and lives on; he is said to have «come back to life,» though he refuses to explain the nature of this claim (Hrk. 58.2). But whatever else his «return» from death might claim, it does not involve bodily resurrection: his body remains buried (9.1).10395 Even claims like this made for Protesilaos do not predate the rise and spread of Christianity.10396
Nor do stories about magical resuscitation of corpses have much in common–for example, when a witch drills holes in the corpse to pour in hot blood, dog froth, and so forth.10397 Ancient readers never supposed that bodily immortality followed such resuscitations, because they did not connect them with any doctrine like the Jewish notion of eschatological resurrection. Celsus, a second-century critic of Christians, was fully able to distinguish bodily resurrection from «old myths of returning from the Underworld» and hence argued instead that Jesus' resurrection was merely staged, as commonly in novels.10398
Most cultures believe in some form of life after death, and such cultures frequently accept some form of contact with the spirits of the dead or some of the dead. Such phenomena мая help explain how ancient Mediterranean hearers мая have conceived of Jesus' resurrection appearances; but to cite them as «parallels» to those appearances, as if they define the latter, stretches the category of parallel too far to be usefu1. If Jesus rose again, how would the disciples know it and proclaim it if he failed to appear to them?
2A. Mystery Cults as Background?
Some have offered parallels between dying-and-rising deities, especially in the Mysteries, and the early Christian teaching of the resurrection. We must therefore address the alleged parallels first and then turn to what proves a far closer background for the early Christian teaching of the resurrection and the first articulations of it offered even in a Greco-Roman setting (see 1Cor 15).
The Mysteries apparently influenced some Palestinian Jewish thought in late antiquity, though the exact date is unclear. Numismatic evidence indicates some presence of the Mysteries in Palestine;10399 the influence of a third-century C.E. Mithraeum in Caesarea10400 is unclear, since Caesarea was of mixed population and the date is much later than our period.10401 Mystery language мая have infiltrated some forms of Judaism,10402 but the use of such language is hardly evidence for widespread influence.10403 Pagan accusations that confused Judaism and the Mysteries10404 do not constitute good evidence that Judaism as a whole made that confusion; Reitzenstein's claim that «even in Trajan's time the Roman Jewish community still ... either altogether or in large part worshiped the Zeus Hupsistos Ouranios and the Phrygian Attis together with Yahweh»10405 have been refuted by subsequent research into Roman Judaism.10406
The language of the Mysteries clearly infiltrated Christian writers of the second century and later. Tertullian claims that Christianity has the true Mysteries, of which others are poorer and later copies (Apo1. 47.14). Such language becomes much more prevalent in the third and fourth centuries C.E.10407 Yet it is in fact possible that some features of the Mysteries by this period derive from Christianity. As they began to lose devotees to Christians in a later period, the Mysteries could have adopted some features of Christianity; many of the «parallels» in the Mysteries are known only from the later period.10408 (The proposed similarities between Mithraism and Christianity10409 also come from the later period in which both had become popular.)10410 That the Fathers understood the Mysteries as «imitation démoniaque du Christianisme»10411 мая suggest that they, like many early modern students of these cults, read them through the grid of their own Christian background, and the ready-to-hand explanation of demonic imitation мая have led them to heighten rather than play down the similarities between the two.
Much of the most specifically mystery vocabulary is lacking in earliest Christianity: Metzger, following Nock, lists such terms as tnystēs, mystikos, mystagögos, katharmos, katharsia, katharsis, teletē, and so on.10412 What is perhaps more significant is the different perspective on the events described by both kinds of religions. As Metzger points out:10413
The Mysteries differ from Christianity's interpretation of history. The speculative myths of the cults lack entirely that reference to the spiritual and moral meaning of history which is inextricably involved in the experiences and triumph of Jesus Christ.10414
In the apostolic and subapostolic literature,10415
in all strata of Christian testimony concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ, «everything is made to turn upon a dated experience with a historical Person,» [citing Nock] whereas nothing in the Mysteries points to any attempt to undergird belief with historical evidence of the god's resurrection.
To notice this is perhaps to notice the different cultural matrixes in which these religions took root; it would be difficult indeed for a cult rooted in Israelite biblical piety to have ignored a heilsgeschichtliche perspective on history. In this perspective, God's acts might be celebrated annually in cultic ritual, but they were viewed as unique events secured by the testimony of witnesses and grounded in corporate piety.10416
Nock points out that while many of Paul's hearers мая have understood him in terms of the Mysteries, most of the early Jewish-Christian missionaries, like Paul, had probably had little firsthand exposure to the Mysteries and reflected instead a broader milieu of which the Mysteries were only a part.10417
2B. Dying-and-Rising Deities?
One area of special comparison between the Mysteries and Christianity, especially in early-twentieth-century literature, involves the matter of salvation and of dying and rising gods. The motif of dying and rising gods certainly predates the time of Jesus. Just as fertility fled the earth during Demeter's search for Persephone in the Eleusinian myth,10418 so it flees during the absence of the Hittite deity Telepinus (ANET 126–28), the Canaanite Baal (ANET 129–42),10419 and perhaps the man Aqhat (ANET 149–55).10420 The same theme appears in the late-second-millennium B.C.E. story of Ishtar's descent to the netherworld (ANET 108, lines 76–79; cf. reverse, lines 34,38–49). It seems likely that a much older story line or lines stand behind all the regional variations.
Descent to the underworld in such texts need not be permanent. In the «Epic of Gilgamesh» (6.97–99 [ANET 84]), Ishtar forces Anu to comply with her demands by threatening to smash the doors of the netherworld and to raise up the dead so that they outnumber the living, and similarly addresses the gatekeeper of that world in the tale of her descent there («Descent of Ishtar to the Nether World,» lines 12–20 [ANET 107]). In a tale perhaps dating to the first half of the second millennium B.C.E. or earlier, Inanna is put to death (though she is a goddess), but after three days and nights, she is restored as the food and water of life are sprinkled sixty times on her corpse (ANET 52–57, esp. 55).10421 Greeks seem to have been most familiar with Egyptian accounts of dying and rising deities.10422
But the significance of such parallels remains problematic. Although there is widespread pre-Christian evidence for the account of Osiris's resuscitation (cf. also Plutarch Isis 35, Mor. 364F), he is magically revivified, not transformed into an eschatological new creation; his corpse is awakened through the same potencies as exist in procreation, and he remains in the netherworld, still needing protection by vigilant gods and replacement on earth by his heir.10423 Adonis's death was mourned annually (e.g., Plutarch Nicias 13.7), but his rising is not documented before the middle of the second century C.E.10424 (Some sources suggest seasonal revivification,10425 which, as we argue below, differs greatly from early Jewish and Christian notions and origins of the resurrection.) Attis, too, was mourned as dead, but there is no possible evidence for his resurrection before the third century C.E., and aside from the testimony of the Christian writer Firmicus Maternus, no clear evidence exists before the sixth century C.E.10426
Dionysus's return from death10427 is clear enough but perhaps in the same category as Heracles' apotheosis or the wounding of Ares in the Iliad; mortals could be deified and deities could suffer harm;10428 some also understood him as returning annually for his holy days in the spring.10429 And even Persephone was taken down to the underworld alive, as Orpheus descended alive to rescue his beloved Eurydice.10430 Frazer's scheme of the «dying and rising god» has thus come under heavy criticism in recent times.10431
Many Christian writers have asserted, again perhaps through the grid of their own religious understanding, that the Mysteries must have provided salvation through union with dying-and-rising gods.10432 While there мая be some truth in the idea that a god not subject to death could grant immortality, Burkert cautions, «This multiplicity of images can hardly be reduced to a one-dimensional hypothesis, one ritual with one dogmatic meaning: death and rebirth of 'thé god and the initiand.»10433 Much of the evidence is late10434 or specifically Christian (e.g., Firmicus Maternus De errore profanarum religionum 22).10435 More recent writers are therefore generally more cautious about connecting spiritual salvation (when it appears in the Mysteries) with the dying-deity motif.10436
In the Eleusinian rites, the mystês received the promise of a happy afterlife, but by being pledged to the goddess rather than being reborn or by dying and rising with the deity.10437 The cult of Cybele also does not support the common conclusion, as Gasparro notes.10438 The main problem with the view that many members of the old Religionsgeschichte school, eager to produce «parallels» to primitive Christianity, adduced, is that most of the people who turned to the Mysteries already believed in some afterlife in the netherworld anyway; it was merely a happier afterlife in that world that the gods could guarantee.
Those, like Bousset, who drew such connections10439 did not take adequate account of the vegetative, cyclical, and seasonal nature of most of the resuscitation rituals.10440 This is a far cry from the earliest Christian picture of Christ's bodily resurrection, rooted in explicit Jewish eschatological hopes–a perspective on the resurrection that Paul affirms is guaranteed by hundreds of eyewitnesses, including himself, and that he argues, despite his Hellenistic audience, is a necessary understanding of resurrection for a true follower of Jesus (1Cor 15). One would not think that earlier Palestinian Christianity held a less rigorously Jewish perspective than Paul did.10441
While the third day is used for resurrection in the later ritual for Attis and perhaps for Adonis, these мая be based on Christian precedents.10442 (Some Greeks мая have also thought of «three days» in terms of some burial traditions.)10443 The third day in the cult of Osiris is most significant, but the traditional Jewish view about the corpse, the use of a «third day» for an interval between two events in close succession in the Hebrew Bible, and the inherent likelihood of some coincidence between a brief period in early Christian tradition and one in the Mysteries qualify its significance considerably. Some other Jewish traditions мая also shed light on this idea, but appeal to them must remain tentative because of their uncertain date or because they were not widely enough recognized to have been obvious without explicit qualification.10444 The fixing of the third day in the pre-Pauline formula in 1Cor 15:3, however, weights the case in favor of a Palestinian Jewish-Christian tradition for Jesus' resurrection prior to any exposure to the cult of Osiris in the Hellenistic world.'10445 And while gods could often die in the Mysteries, their deaths were not portrayed as triumphant or meaningful as in many strands of early Christian tradition. Further, the Gospel narratives suggest that to whatever the early Christians might have adapted the language of three days, they historically intended only parts of three days.10446
2C. Jewish Doctrine of the Resurrection
The Jewish doctrine of the resurrection was not simply an assertion of immortality. Because Greek religion in general, like many religions in the world,10447 addressed the survival of the soul after death,10448 it should not surprise us that the Eleusis cult promised a happy life in the underworld,10449 that Isis promised patronage and protection,10450 and that the Dionysiac Mysteries мая have indicated a happy afterlife.10451 But there is little evidence for any future hopes in the cult of Cybele, and certainly none linked with Attis.10452 When the early Christian picture of bodily resurrection plainly derives directly from Jewish eschatological teaching, one casts the net rather widely to make all human hopes for afterlife parallel to it.10453
Mack makes Jesus' resurrection purely mythical10454 by wrongly equating immortality in Wisdom of Solomon with «resurrection» in 2Maccabees, by wrongly interpreting eschatological narratives about Christ's resurrection as if they were eschatological allegory, and by wrongly taking the Spirit in a purely Hellenistic sense instead of its Jewish usage, easily demonstrable in early Christianity.10455 Pagan afterlife notions and myths of risen deities did provide Gentiles a handle for apprehending aspects of early Christian teaching about the resurrection,10456 but the Christian teaching remains distinctly Jewish in its origin. The teaching appears in some OT texts (Isa 26:19; Dan 12:2)10457 and probably has early antecedents in Israel's history, though personalized eschatology appears in texts only after the exile.10458
Not all streams of early Judaism clearly articulate a doctrine of bodily resurrection. The Sadducees denied it (Josephus Ant. 18.16–17; War 2.165);10459 rabbinic texts, which here probably represent the populist Pharisaic consensus, complain about the offensiveness of such a denia1.10460 The evidence we do have from Qumran supports the likelihood that the Qumran community accepted it, though we lack concrete evidence.10461' Clearly the Pharisees and their probable successors in the rabbinic movement10462 affirmed the doctrine of the bodily resurrection,10463 almost equating belief in it with belief in the afterlife.10464 But the Pharisees were the most popular «sect,» according to Josephus, and popular views of the afterlife might be expected to follow an optimistic rather than a pessimistic line of thought, though history does afford exceptions.
In any case, widepread attestation indicates that the doctrine was much more widely held than among the Pharisees, representing common Judaism (e.g., Pss. So1. 3:12; 15:12–13; 1 En. 22:13).10465 Indeed, the widespread use of Daniel (especially in the LXX) would almost require this (Dan 12:2). The Second Benediction of the Amidah undoubtedly was recited beyond Pharisaic circles. The use of ossuaries for secondary burial in the first century мая also support the widespread character of belief in the bodily resurrection.10466 (Compare also the graffito in Greek at Beth Shéarim: «Good fortune in your resurrection.»)10467 Sanders is probably right that nearly everyone but the Sadducees affirmed the doctrine.10468
The belief was probably less widely held initially in the Diaspora, though some evidence for it exists.10469 Some Hellenistic Jewish writers, while accommodating the idea to Hellenistic notions of immortality (e.g., Ps.-Phoc. 105) and the language of deification (104), also allude to the doctrine of bodily resurrection (102–104). Perhaps after rabbinic Judaism consolidated its influence, the doctrine of a literal, bodily resurrection also became standard in much of the Diaspora.10470 Paul's contention with the Corinthian Christians might reflect not only pagan Greek but also first-century Hellenistic Jewish aversion to discussion about the resurrection;10471 although many Diaspora Jews would affirm the resurrection and most would know about the doctrine, in the first century it was probabJy most widespread in Palestine, to the east, and among the least hellenized communities. But the Christian idea of resurrection was not simply adopted wholesale from Judaism without an adaptation: traditional Jewish expectation was a collective, future resurrection.10472 The notion of an individual's bodily resurrection fulfilled in history would therefore not arise without more factors (many of us would argue the experience of the disciples) to explain it.
3. Conclusion: Historicity of the Resurrection Tradition?
All our early Christian sources unanimously affirm the doctrine of the bodily resurrection of Jesus,10473 although 1Cor 15 attests that Paul had to deal with Gentiles who could assimilate the Palestinian Jewish doctrine only with difficulty and did not wish to accept it beyond the case of Jesus. Within earliest Christianity, however, there remains no debate about the received tradition that Jesus himself rose bodily, unless one is inclined to count inferences by some modern scholars without explicit supporting evidence. By some point in the second century, however, gnostics and others who found the notion of a bodily resurrection of any sort incompatible with Platonic metaphysics sought to interpret the early Christian tradition differently (cf., e.g., in Irenaeus Haer. 2.29). Orthodox Jewish scholar Pinhas Lapide, although doubting that the resurrection proves Jesus' messianic or divine identity (connected though this has traditionally been to the resurrection),10474 nevertheless finds the evidence for his resurrection compelling.10475 Many scholars doubt the resurrection on philosophical or other grounds, but Ladd is generally correct that «those scholars who are unable to believe in an actual resurrection of Jesus admit that the disciples believed it.»10476
Mary at the Tomb (20:1–18)
The faithfulness of Mary Magdalene frames, hence unites, the first two paragraphs of the resurrection narrative (20:1–2, 11–18), emphasizing the important roles played by women in this narrative–whose behavior again shames the supposedly bolder men (see comment on 19:25).10477 Eastern Christianity later called Mary «isapostolos,» «equal to the apostles.»10478 Some early medieval commentators found in women's initial resurrection announcement a reversal of Evés role at the fal1.10479 As in the earliest tradition, Mary is the first to find the tomb empty and the first to see Jesus risen from the dead.
1. The Empty Tomb (20:1–10)
Mary comes to the tomb first (20:1), and because she remains at the tomb after the male disciples leave (20:10–11), she also receives the first resurrection appearance in 20:15–16.
1A. Mary's Discovery (20:1–2)
Although the narrative focuses on Mary (perhaps for purposes of reader identification, esp. at 20:16, after she returns to the tomb), John undoubtedly knows the tradition that several women came to the tomb together, of whom Mary was one (Mark 16:1; Luke 23:55–24:1). This is evident both from the plural ο'ιδαμεν in 20and the unlikelihood of the disciples' allowing a woman to travel alone (especially when she was not from the area).10480 The focus on Mary мая permit the focus on personal relationship the narrative seems to develop (compare 20with 10:3), and fits John's characteristic «staging» technique of often focusing on individuals (e.g., 3:1–9; 4:7–26; 5:1–9; 9:1–7; 11:20–37).
That it was yet dark (20:1) could symbolize Mary coming from darkness to the light (cf. 3:21); but in contrast to Nicodemus, Mary appears so positively here that other explanations are more likely. Because the Synoptics mention only that it was early but John that it was «dark» (cf. also 13:30), John мая play on his light-and-darkness symbolism a different way; the light of the world was about to be revealed in its darkness.10481 The darkness мая indicate Mary's fear (cf. 3:2) or мая emphasize her devotion (cf. 20:16–17) in coming as soon as possible after the Sabbath and the night that followed it. Other accounts show mourners coming at the moment of dawn to show their affection for someone they loved dearly.10482 Thus, perhaps as the priests were eager to dispense with Jesus as «early» as possible (18:28), she is unable to sleep and eager to demonstrate her devotion as early as possible.
As in John 20(cf. 20:19, 26), all the Gospel narratives agree that the revelation of Christ's resurrection began on the first day of the week, after the Sabbath (Matt 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1). Especially in Mark and Matthew, this language makes it clear that the earliest Christians regarded Sunday as a special day celebrating the resurrection (cf. Acts 20:7; 1Cor 16:2),10483 perhaps even «the Lord's day» (cf. Rev 1:10; Did. 14.1),10484 though not as a new Sabbath (this developed in the second century and later; cf. Ign. Magn. 9.1; Barn. 15.8–9),10485 which among the earliest Jewish Christians remained on the last day of the week.10486 The tradition is too early to be influenced by Mithraism,10487 which did not spread widely in the Roman world until the next century;10488 this simply was the day Jesus' followers found the empty tomb, the day after the Sabbath. Sunday became the Lord's Day because of the discovery of the empty tomb rather than the reverse.
When Mary sees the stone removed from the tomb entrance (20:1; contrast the need in 11:38–41), her inference that Jesus' body was removed (20:2) was a natural one (Chariton 3.3.1). Stones in front of tombs were not easily moved (see comment on 19:41), so it would not be missing without a purpose. Yet John's audience, by this point accustomed to this Gospel's irony, might recognize some truth in her words: God had taken away their Lord, and they did not yet know where he was (13:33, 36). Her title for Jesus is significant and мая reflect John's theology of the resurrection proclamation (even though Mary, within the story world, does not yet suspect that he has risen). Jesus is comparatively rarely called «Lord» in this Gospel (by the postresurrection narrator: 4:1; 6:23; 11:2; cf. 13:13–14), except in the vocative (the force of which can be ambiguous), until his resurrection, after which not only the narrator (20:20) but also the disciples (20:2,13, 18,25; 21:7, 12; cf. 20:28) recognize his Lordship.10489
1B. The Missing Body (20:1–7)
Because Paul explicitly reports only resurrection appearances, some suppose that the empty-tomb tradition was a myth.10490 Weeden, for instance, is among those who doubt that the empty-tomb tradition precedes Mark; his claim that there is no «hard evidence that the early church ever knew of Jesus' gravés being empty»10491 suggests that it did not occur to him that anyone would have checked the tomb–an omission of investigation as unlikely in Roman antiquity as today. Yet Boyd rightly questions whether Mark could have been inventing 16:1–8 as apologetic–aside from pre-Markan Semitic expressions in the passage, its conclusion with the women's fear and silence is hardly apologetic, and it lacks mention of corroborating attestation from Joseph of Arimathea or others.10492 The variant versions of the tomb discoveries in the other gospels suggest multiple and pre-Markan empty-tomb traditions. That Paul does not mention it does not mean that he did not believe in it. First, witnesses of the risen Jesus counted as much stronger evidence (an empty tomb does not reveal what happened to the body), so there was no need for Paul to recount the empty tomb in his brief narration of eyewitness evidence. Further, Paul believed that Jesus was «buried» (1Cor 15:4; cf. Rom 6:4; Col 2:12), and must therefore have assumed that the risen Jesus left the tomb; as noted above, Palestinian Jewish doctrine of resurrection meant transformation of whatever remained of the body. For the same reason, the thesis that Palestinian Jewish disciples and authorities would have simply ignored the tomb after the resurrection appearances strains all credulity. Indeed, the disciples might well have examined the tomb immediately after the Sabbath (hence before most of the appearances), given the need to show respect to their teacher's body.
Nor is there historical merit to the old «swoon» theory (that Jesus was not yet dead and hence managed to revive sufficiently to act «resurrected» but then died somewhere unknown). Crucified persons simply did not revive: Josephus had three friends taken from crosses, and despite medical attention, two died (Josephus Life 420–421).10493 Further, if one could revive, one would still be trapped within the tomb, which would lead to death (Chariton 1.4.11–12; 1.8).
Those inventing an empty-tomb tradition would hardly have included women as the first witnesses (see comment on 20:1–2), and «Jesus' resurrection could hardly have been proclaimed in Jerusalem if people knew of a tomb still containing Jesus' body.»10494
Failure to find the body (20:1–2) мая reflect an ancient motif (see esp. 2 Kgs 2:16–17; Gen 5LXX)10495 but need not be fictitious; such a narration is appropriate to the belief that the hero was still (or newly) alive, and in the case of the Gospels is attested for the recent, eyewitness past rather than the distant, legendary past as in most pagan parallels. Admitting historical evidence favoring Jesus' resurrection is not purely the domain of Christian apologetic; for example, without addressing Jesus' resurrection appearances, Vermes, a Jewish scholar closely acquainted with the primary evidence, opines that «the only conclusion acceptable to the historian» must be that the women actually found the tomb empty.10496
Mary мая believe that the owners of the site have removed a body not legally deposited there (20:15), but might also fear the more horrifying possibility of tomb robbers (20:2, 13).10497 Whereas tomb robbers normally carried off wealth, carrying off the body was so rare that it would shock those who heard of it (Chariton 3.3, which also emphasizes the tragedy of a missing corpse).10498 It is not impossible that someone would steal a body, and at least some opponents of the apostolic testimony suggested that this was in fact the fate of Jesus' corpse (Matt 28:13–15).10499 Corpses were used for magic,10500 and people suspected that witches sometimes stole bodies for magic.10501 Indeed, corpses that died violent deaths were considered particularly potent for magic.10502 Nevertheless, one would not expect disciples guilty of its theft to maintain the truth of their claim in the face of death, nor others to withhold the body when bringing it forward in the situation of the emerging Jesus movement could have secured substantial reward. If the disciples did not protect Jesus while he was alive, surely they would not have risked their lives to rob his tomb after his death.10503 Other factors also militate against supposing that the disciples stole the body. Vermes notes, «From the psychological point of view, they would have been too depressed and shaken to be capable of such a dangerous undertaking. But above all, since neither they nor anyone else expected a resurrection, there would have been no purpose in faking one.»10504
1C. The Wrappings (20:5–7)
John is emphatic that only the linen wrappings were κείμενα in the tomb (20:5–7); the body of Jesus no longer εκείτο there (20:12).10505 The description of Jesus' wrappings and separate face-cloth (σουδάριον) links Jesus' resurrection with the sign of Lazarus (11:44).10506 Whereas Lazarus needs help to be fully released, however (11:44), Jesus had left his shrouds and face-cloth behind.10507 Hunter suggests that Jesus' face-cloth was '"twirled up' like a turban, just as it had been wrapped around his head,»10508 but this is not a necessary sense of εντυλίσσω. More to the point is his observation that the scene was not that of disarray left by thieves acting in haste;10509 Jesus had folded the face-cloth as a sign of his triumph. Most clearly, the fact that the grave clothes remained behind at all testified that the body had not been taken by tomb robbers or anyone else, who would not have taken the body yet left its wrappings. By process of elimination, the missing body but remaining clothes should suggest to the disciples that Jesus' promise about reclaiming his life was literal (10:17–18).
The description of the clothes мая also comment on the nature of the resurrection or the supremacy of Christ; it contrasts with the view of many later teachers that people were resurrected in the same shrouds in which they were buried.10510 Another proposal concerning the face-cloth is intriguing in view of our conclusions regarding 1:14–18: Moses' veil represented the partial revelation available under the old covenant, but the «veil» is now left behind because the new covenant revelation is without limit (1:18; 2Cor 3:7–18).10511 Nevertheless, we cannot be sure that John intended this allusion or that most of his first audience would have grasped it; it is not the term used in 2Cor 3, and John could have made such an allusion more obvious by employing the LXX term κάλυμμα (Exod 34:33–35), which he does not.10512
Given the stooping of 20:5, the tomb probably
had a low entrance and a step down into the central, rectangular pit, with shelves cut into the rock around the pit.... If Jesus had been laid on the shelf either to the right or left of the entrance, then only part of the grave clothes would be visible from the entrance. If he had been positioned with his head toward the entrance wall, this would explain why the cloth for Jesus' head was not noticed until they actually entered the tomb.10513
1D. The Beloved Disciple, Peter, and Scripture (20:2–10)
Responding to Mary's testimony, Peter and the beloved disciple hurry to the tomb. Some suggest that the lack of contact between men and women disciples at the site of the tomb indicates the joining of separate narratives;10514 although this proposal is possible, it is no less natural to assume that John simply follows his usual staging technique of including only two or three primary characters on stage at one time.10515 (This could also help explain why Mary speaks alone rather than in company with the other women, though John just as easily could have presented them as a composite character, like a chorus, as he sometimes does with Jesus' enemies.)10516 Further, those who rejected the testimony of women or of just one man would accept the testimony of two men as legally valid (Deut 19:15).10517
That Peter immediately ran to the tomb and, unlike the beloved disciple, charged into it fits what we know of Peter's character from the Synoptic tradition; this can count in favor of historical tradition here,10518 although by itself it need not do so.10519 In this case, however, it is also directly verified in the tradition of Luke 24:12. Peter's witness was too established in the widespread passion tradition (1Cor 15:5; cf. Luke 24:12) to be omitted (20:6–7),10520 but the Fourth Gospel frames it in the context of the beloved disciple seeing the grave clothes first (20:5; not even claimed for Mary in 20:1–2) and being the first to believe (20:8).10521 The tradition, in any case, reports Peter's testimony in conjunction with a resurrection appearance, not the empty tomb (1Cor 15:5); the beloved disciple is the first here said to believe.10522
That the beloved disciple outruns Peter мая be significant;10523 it is one of several comparisons of the two figures in the Gospel (13:22–25; 21:7, 20). Argument by comparison was a standard rhetorical technique,10524 and rhetorical principles suggested that narrative employ comparison of characters in ways useful to the point. A narrative extolling a person could include a statement of his physical prowess (e.g., Josephus outswimming others, Life 15) as part of the praise.10525 The beloved disciple becomes the first, hence a paradigmatic, believer (20:8), for he believes before a resurrection appearance, merely on the less substantial basis of the empty tomb (cf. 20:29–31).10526 Yet if the γάρ of 20retains its customary force, this verse мая be claiming that although the beloved disciplés faith is a paradigm, it is still signs-faith, faith based on seeing (20:8), not the ultimate level of faith (cf. 2:23; 6:30). Better would have been faith in advance that Jesus must rise, based on understanding the word in Scripture (20:9; cf. 2:22). Scripture remains the necessary means for interpreting the event or witness, just as Nathanael understood Jesus' identity both in light of Jesus' revelation and Philip's earlier appeal to scriptural categories (cf. 1:45,48).10527
The Scripture to which John refers is unclear here; none of the other explicit references to «Scripture» in this Gospel (7:42; 10:35; 13:18; 17:12; 19:24, 28, 36–37) speak of a resurrection, though some мая be taken to imply it and could be recalled after his resurrection (2:22; 7:38).10528 Granted, many Pharisaic exegetical defenses of the resurrection, ingenious though they are, were hardly obvious by themselves,10529 but at least they usually provided their texts. Instead of first appealing primarily to texts supporting the general resurrection, early Christian apologists made significant use of what their contemporaries would accept as specifically Davidic material in Ps 2(Acts 13:33), Ps 16(Acts 2:25–28; 13:35), Ps 110 (Acts 2:34–35), and, by means of gezerah sheva (linking together texts on the basis of common key terms),10530 probably material about the Davidic covenant, as in Isa 55(Acts 13:34). But they seem to have often drawn from a broader base of texts than these alone (e.g., Luke 24:44–47).
Just as John's Passion Narrative concurs with early Christian tradition in regarding Jesus as the righteous sufferer (13:18; 19:24), so early Christian apologetic found traits of Jesus in various righteous characters in Scripture (e.g., Acts 7:25), especially where explicit connections could be made (e.g., Acts 7:37; Heb 5:6). A recurrent principle in the biblical narratives is that the righteous suffer but often (e.g., in the case of Joseph) God ultimately vindicates and exalts them to fulfill his cal1. Early Christians could then argue by means of an implicit qal vaomer (a «how-much-more» argument)10531 that this principle of exaltation should be applied even more naturally to the ultimate righteous one, who will be exalted most highly as supreme king under God. Indeed, they could argue, he would be exalted first, before his other enemies would be subdued (Ps 110:1); those who accepted the resurrection as the bodily experience of the eschatological hope and believed that the Messiah would reign eternally (e.g., Isa 9:7; cf. Dan 2:44; 7:14) could argue that Jesus' resurrection would commence his reign even before his full conquest of other enemies. In any case, Scripture had to be fulfilled (10:35), and Jesus «had» to rise from the dead.10532
2. Appearance to Mary (20:11–18)
Mary was not only the first to notice the tomb empty (or to at least infer this from the missing stone, 20:1–2) but the first to see her risen Lord (20:11–18). The text мая imply a connection with her fidelity; though ancient custom expected women to express lamentation more freely than men10533 (of whom they also generally expected it to some extent), it мая be noteworthy that when the male disciples leave (20:10), Mary remains (20:11).10534 Mary remains not out of faith in the resurrection but out of love and desire to perform the final acts available for those already dead (20:13,15). Yet the narrative emphasizes by repetition that she need not weep; both an angel and Jesus confront her weeping (20:11,13,15) not because her weeping is wrong (cf. 11:31, 33) but because it is about to become joy, as Jesus promised his disciples (16:20).
2A. Resurrection Appearances (20:15–29)
The resurrection appearances in John 20 become paradigmatic for all believers' encounters with Jesus, which give way to believers' relationship with Jesus (14:21–23; 20:19–23). Because of her devotion to Jesus, Mary functions as one of the more positive paradigms for witness in this section, as well as the first one.10535 She was the first agent Jesus commissioned with the message of his resurrection and of believers as God's children.10536
Witnesses who said that they had seen Jesus alive from the dead (e.g., 1Cor 15:1–8; virtually all the narrative accounts also suggest significant conversation with him rather than fleeting appearances) were so convinced of the veracity of their claims that many devoted their lives to proclaiming what they had seen, and some died for it; clearly their testimony was not fabricated.10537 Ancients also recognized that the willingness of people to die for their convictions verified at least the sincerity of their motives, arguing against fabrication.10538
As noted above, some scholars deny the empty-tomb tradition; most, however, affirm that the disciples believed they had seen Jesus alive. Yet some scholars even find ways to deny the historical value of the resurrection appearances; Mack, for example, suggests that before the Gospels we have only Paul's account of «visions.»10539 But although the language Paul employs is general enough that it could include visionary experiences, he is reporting earlier Palestinian tradition in 1Cor 15:3–710540 and Palestinian Jews did not speak of nonbodily resurrections (see discussion of the Jewish resurrection belief above). Nor would anyone have persecuted them for simply affirming that they had seen someone who had been dead; apart from the bodily character of the resurrection–the sort that would leave an empty tomb–people would merely assume they claimed to see a ghost, a noncontroversial phenomenon.10541 Ghosts were «phantasms» that appeared especially at night (Plutarch Brutus 36; Caesar 69.5, 8; Cimon 6.5), but this is not what the resurrection narratives report (Luke 24:40).10542 Further, Jesus «appeared» to his followers in Acts 1but there provided concrete proofs of his physicality (cf. Luke 24:39–40).10543 Finally, Paul himself distinguishes between the Easter appearances and mere visions (cf. 1Cor 9:1; 15:8; 2Cor 12:1–4).10544
Deities periodically «manifested» themselves to mortals in Greek tradition, sometimes in sleep and sometimes as apparitions.10545 Paul's language in 1Cor 15 applied, in the LXX, especially to revelations of God or angels (cf. Bar 3:37; Sib. Or. 1.200).10546 From the late Hellenistic age, «epiphanies» of Greek gods usually meant the activity of a deity rather than its appearance;10547 it is primarily these which witnesses attest,10548 though appearances in personal dreams and visions occur (e.g., PDM 14.74–91, 95, 98–102, 169). Appearances of deities visible to large numbers of people normally belonged to an era many centuries earlier than the writings.10549
Further, very little evidence suggests the plausibility of successive and mass, corporate visions (see esp. 1Cor 15:5–7).10550 Conditions in first-century Judea and Galilee were not those that produced the seventeenth-century messiah Sabbetai Zevi, many of whose followers failed to be deterred by his apostasy,10551 and some even by his death.10552 Aside from different social conditions, knowledge of the Christian belief in Jesus' resurrection and redefinition of messiahship could provide later messianic movements a model for redefining the messianic mission in a manner that did not exist before Jesus.
Some less-than-persuasive parallels could be adduced. Josephus War 6.297–299 reports that people saw heavenly chariots moving through the clouds and surrounding cities (cf. 2 Kgs 6:17; 2Macc 3:24–26; 4 Macc 4:10–11; Sib. Or. 3.805–808) and priests heard voices in the temple; Horsley and Hanson regard these as collective fantasies,10553 but they could also be (1) true (which we regard as extremely unlikely but which a post-Enlightenment perspective need not simply dismiss); (2) the sun playing tricks on eyes at dusk; (3) propaganda to justify Jerusalem's fall after the event, which Josephus has accepted;10554 or (4) Josephus's own propaganda (he is the only extant witness concerning witnesses apart from sources dependent on him).10555
In fact, Josephus мая be following a standard sort of report of such events as portents of destruction.10556 Some poetic writers engaged in poetic license in such reports,10557 such as a giant Fury stalking the city and shaking the snakes in her hair;10558 others were more sober historians citing reports for particular years. Portents included events we might regard as natural phenomena today, such as physical deformities at birth, lightning striking temples, comets, and so forth,10559 but also included visions of celestial figures or armies.10560 The armies were sometimes heard rather than seen;10561 sights that were seen were often acknowledged as divine illusions rather than objects physically present;10562 and the apparitions of armies did not draw near anyone.10563 Such reports were normally not verified by citing witnesses, and the historians who report them sometimes express skepticism concerning their value, at times allowing for imagination in their production10564 and at times pointing out that such reports fed on each other among the gullible.10565 In any case, this phenomenon is quite different from meeting again and talking with a person one has personally known, which the Gospel accounts stress.
But the difference again concerns the resurrection. To most ancient Mediterranean peoples, the concept of corporal resurrection was barely intelligible; to Jewish people, it was strictly eschatologica1. Yet once one grants, from a neutral starting point, the possibility of a bodily resurrection of Jesus within past history, the appearances would follow such an event naturally with or without parallels. In a Jewish framework, Jesus' resurrection within history must also signify the arrival of the eschatological era in some sense (e.g., Acts 1:3–6; «from among the dead ones,» Rom 1:4; 1Cor 15:20; Gal 1:4; Heb 6:5).
2B. The Angelic Testimony (20:11–13)
The angels were at the head and feet of where Jesus had been, marking the holiness of the site of the resurrection.10566 Mary probably did not recognize, but probably should have, that the figures before her in 20were angels, partly because of their garb. To be sure, white clothes could allude to a variety of nonangelic functions. Mediterranean religion often employed white for the worship of heavenly deities;10567 priests generally wore linen, including Egyptian priests,10568 those at the temple of Artemis (Acts John 38), and Jewish priests (Josephus War 5.229).10569 Worshipers wore white or linen in other worship settings,10570 including in the Jerusalem temple (Josephus War 2.1; Ant. 11.327)10571 and the Therapeutae during worship (Philo Contemp1. Life 66). Some schools of philosophers such as Pythagoras and his sect might wear white (Iamblichus V.P. 28.153, 155; whether linen, as in V.P. 21.100; 28.149, or wool, replaced in later times with linen, as in Diogenes Laertius 8.1.19). Perhaps because white could signify good and black, evil (Diogenes Laertius 8.1.34)10572– which in turn probably reflects associations with day and night10573–converts might wear linen (Jos. Asen. 14:12/13).10574
But in paganism, pagan deities could appear in white garments;10575 more important, Jewish angels likewise appeared in linen (L.A.B. 9:10; Rev 15:6) or white (e.g., 1 En. 71: l)10576 garments or clothed in glory (3Macc 6:18).10577 In John 20:12, the angelic or theophanic functions are paramount. Because black garb typically symbolized mourning or death10578 and white, joy,10579 their garb also signified that the departure of the body represented good news, ending the mourning appropriate for a death. The white also probably fits John's «light/darkness» motif, though the mention of white makes sense, as we have noted, even had he omitted the light/darkness motif.
2C. Recognizing Jesus (20:14–16)
Mary's encounter with Jesus in 20:14–16 is one of several «recognition scenes» in the Gospel, reflecting a dramatic-type scene in ancient literature.10580 Mary turns because Jesus initially appears «behind» her (20:14; cf. Rev 1:10). That Mary at first does not recognize Jesus (20:14) reflects early tradition that Jesus was not immediately recognized by all who saw him after the resurrection (21:4–7; Luke 24:16, 31; though we мая note that she was also weeping). This tradition мая also imply something about the character of the resurrection body, analogous to the early Jewish belief that angels could appear in different forms. According to Greek folklore, deities assumed various familiar shapes to communicate with people or to disguise themselves or escape,10581 or concealed or transformed the appearance of their favorite mortals,10582 but in Jewish terms, one would think especially of the disguises of angels.10583 Tobias could not recognize that Raphael, who claimed to be son of one Anania known to Tobias's father (Tob 5:12), was an angel (Tob 5:4–6; 9:1–5); he explains the «vision» in Tob 12:19. In the Hebrew Bible, God himself sometimes came unrecognized at first (Gen 18:9–13), especially through the angel of the Lord (Judg 6:22; 13:20–23).
Pseudo-Philós Biblical Antiquities, possibly dating from the first century C.E., shows how common the motif of God disguising his people became in some later Jewish traditions. Moses, having been glorified on the mountain, was unrecognizable to the Israelites, just as Joseph was unrecognized by his brothers when they came to Egypt (L.A.B. 12:1). Perhaps to explain why Saul failed to recognize David in 1Sam 17:55–56 (cf. 1Sam 16:19–23), L.A.B. 61declares that the angel of the Lord changed David's appearance so no one recognized him. The witch of Endor did not recognize Saul because his appearance was changed (L.A.B. 64:4).10584
That Mary thought Jesus a «gardener» (20:15) fits the story: the tomb was, after all, in a «garden» (19:41).10585 Gardeners tended to belong to the poorest class (Apuleius Metam. 9.31; Philostratus Hrk. 4.11). But John мая suggest an ironic allusion to the joint work of Father and Son; just as the Father was a γεωργός, a vinedresser (15:1; cf. 1Cor 3:9), Jesus was a κηπουρός, watching his garden.10586 But without a clearer verbal connection, the allusion seems tenuous; certainly Jesus does not «prune» Mary here but affirms her. That Mary offers to carry Jesus away (20:15) if the present burial site was inappropriate suggests great devotion; to protect his body from the dishonor of an unmarked or unmourned grave (see above), she is willing to exert what, for Mary by herself, would have likely involved tremendous physical effort.10587 Mary is willing to take away, αϊρειν, the body of Jesus; in his death, however, Jesus αίρει the sins of the world (1:29).
Asking Mary whom she seeks (20:15) will prove to be a rhetorical question leading to an invitation, as in 1:38;10588 her response will prove positive, in contrast to the response to 18:4, 7.10589 Mary's supposition that her dialogue partner has «carried» Jesus away might be another example of John's irony: Jesus indeed had laid down his life and taken it again (10:17–18); but the irony, if present, is subtle and мая be merely our expectation as readers too accustomed to the author's irony.
To reveal his identity to Mary, Jesus need only reveal her name to her: «Mary» (20:16).10590 This fits Jesus' prior teaching: his own sheep would recognize his voice, espedally when he called them by name (10:3–5).10591 In Scripture and in other early Jewish sources, God often secured his peoplés attention by calling them by name,10592 often a double name.10593 When she turns to him,10594 her immediate response is, «my teacher,» a more personalized and perhaps intimate form than in 1:38,49 (elsewhere in the NT only at Mark 10:51); because of this, the first and last uses of the «Rabbi» title in this Gospel are the ones interpreted for readers unfamiliar with the terms (1:38; 20:16). Like John the Baptist (3:26), Jesus is often called «Rabbi,» both by his disciples (1:38, 49; 4:31; 9:2; 11:8) and by others who recognize respectfully his office (3:2; 6:25).
2D. Mary's Testimony (20:17–18)
Mary calls Jesus her «teacher» (20:16), and Jesus responds by commissioning Mary as his agent–although first-century Palestinian Jews rarely appear to have used women as agents–to his «brothers» (20:17). Although his physical brothers had traveled with him and his disciples at least on occasion at first (2:12), his physical brothers did not believe him (7:5); but because Jesus had returned from above and a birth from above (3:3) was now available to others, those who believed in him were now his «brothers» as well (cf. earlier in Jesus' public ministry in Mark 3:34). This became a familiar title for believers among one another (e.g., Acts 10:23; 11:1, 12, 29; Rom 1:13; 7:1, 4; Phil 2:25),10595 including in Johannine circles (21:23; 1 John 2:9–11; 3:10–17; 4:20–21; 5:16; 3 John 3, 5, 10; Rev 1:9; 6:11; 12:10; 19:10; 22:9); such fictive kinship language was common among both ethnic and religious groups, so that one might thus address fellow Israelites (Acts 2:29; 3:22; 9:17).10596 (Sibling terminology also extended to fellow rabbis or fellow disciples,10597 coinitiates into mysteries,10598 alliances,10599 friendships,10600 and other commonalities.)10601 «My God and your God» was also a way of emphasizing a common bond.10602
That Jesus after his resurrection first revealed himself to women (here Mary Magdalene, 20:11–18)10603 belongs to the earliest stage of tradition, appearing in all four canonical gospels. John includes this tradition even though he omits the reason given elsewhere in the tradition, namely, that the women came to anoint the body.10604 Joseph or his agents had purchased the linen before the Sabbath (Mark 15:46), but the women either purchased or prepared the spices only after the Sabbath (Mark 16:1; Luke 23:56; 24:1).10605 Women were expected to mourn more freely than men (Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 7.67.2) and accordingly given more latitude;10606 although without guarantee of ingress, it was safer for the women than for the men to be found near the tomb.
It is unlikely that the early Christians would have invented the testimony of women: not all testimony was regarded as being of equal merit, and the trustworthiness of witnesses was considered essential (CD 9.21–22; 10:1).10607 Most of Jesus' Jewish contemporaries held little esteem for the testimony of women;10608 this reflects a broader Mediterranean limited trust of women's testimony and speech, also enshrined in Roman law.10609 Some, though not all, Jewish writers condemned listening to women more generally (e.g., Josephus Ant. 18.255; Syr. Men. 118–121 ,336–339).10610 Indeed, even the disciples in the late tradition in Mark 16did not believe the women–a tradition that мая reflect historical reality at this point (Luke 24:11).10611 For the early Christians, neither the empty tomb nor the testimony of the women was adequate evidence by itself (cf. Luke 24:22–24); they further depended on the testimony of men for the public forum (1Cor 15:5–8).10612 No one had apologetic reason to invent the testimony of these women, but the gospel writers мая have a profound theological purpose in preserving it, perhaps related to the gospel's power to transcend gender restrictions.10613 For the account's theological function in context, see the comment on 20:18.
2E. The Ascension (20:17)
Such a moment of revelation would evoke intense emotion in an ancient setting, as it would be today.10614 That she would embrace Jesus (implied in 20:17) would not be surprising whether or not mentioned; a woman might be expected to embrace a loved one she had wrongly assumed dead.10615 In the context, «touch» probably refers to «embrace»; it is difficult to envision Mary, under such circumstances, merely poking a suspicious finger at Jesus' arm (cf. 20:25) or grabbing his right hand for an ancient promise of fidelity.
Scholars have offered various proposals to explain the prohibition of «touching» Jesus–for example, an allusion to a biblical prohibition against touching the sacred during theophanies (Exod 19:12–13; but contrast 20:27).10616 Some have suggested that Jesus' warning in 20that Mary not «touch» him before his ascension implies an ascension before the appearance in which Jesus invites Thomas's touch (20:25–27).10617 In such a case, the prohibition мая recall the concept that elsewhere appears in the Apocalypse of Moses, where touching Adam's body in a particular state endangers not only Eve but Adam (Apoc. Mos. 31:3–4);10618 the value of this parallel, even if viewed as close, must presuppose that the account in the Apocalypse of Moses does not depend on an interpretation of Johannine tradition here; moreover, Adam refers to his corpse, and the idea or nature of danger is not clearly articulated.
But this suggestion about the nature of Jesus' resurrection body and ascension is unlikely for two reasons. First, it is grammatically unnecessary; Jesus' prohibition here is a present imperative with μή, which most often would be read as, «Stop touching me,» or perhaps, «Stop attempting to touch me,» rather than simply, «Do not touch me.»10619 Because of the context, the command probably means here (as the verb sometimes means elsewhere) not merely «Stop touching me»10620 but «Stop holding on to me,»10621 suggesting a persistent clinging that fits the emotional character of the encounter (cf. Matt 28:9–10). (Although the terminology differs in the two passages, John might link Mary's embrace with Thomas's touch by way of contrast–the first a response of mature faith, the latter a demand of signs-faith.)
Second, it invites some clues to theological reasons for such an intermediate ascension and why Mary could not touch Jesus in this state, yet the Fourth Gospel provides no such clues.10622 More than likely Jesus simply places a temporal limitation on Mary's embrace or wish to embrace: soon Jesus must ascend, so the postresurrection rendezvous Jesus promised (14:19–20; 16:16, 21–22) must be carried out urgently.10623 Or because he has not yet ascended, he will still be available once she has delivered the message to his «brothers» (20:17).10624 Perhaps Jesus is also warning Mary not to become excessively attached to his physical presence (the flesh profits nothing, 6:63); his Spirit would remain with her and her fellow disciples (20:22).10625 In any case, Mary seems to understand Jesus' message correctly, for she devotes herself immediately to bearing his message (20:18).
To what «ascension» does 20refer? (The reference in 6is not very helpful in answering this question; by itself, that passage мая be even more obscure than 20:17.) In the context of the rest of the Gospel, one might think John refers to the lifting of Jesus to the Father by way of the cross (3:13–15), but this view is problematic on the usual way of reading the verse: 20occurs only after the crucifixion. Therefore, if Jesus refers to this ascension, we must take his words as an ironic question, «Am I not yet ascended?"–implying that he has ascended and been glorified.10626 This proposal is grammatically and logically plausible, but it is not the most natural way for Jesus to have made the point (an emphatic statement that he had ascended would be far less ambiguous) and, in light of other early Christian ascension traditions, мая not be our best alternative.
We should remember that whereas John strongly emphasizes realized eschatology, he does not thereby abandon all future eschatology (e.g., 5:28–29; 6:39, 40, 44, 54; 12:48; 21:22–23). That Jesus was no longer physically present with the Johannine community was obvious, and the Lukan tradition of an ascension was the most obvious spatial solution to the current fact (Luke 24:50; Acts 1:9–11; cf. Mark 16:19; Rom 8:34; Eph 1:20; Col 3:1–2; Heb 1:3). Matthew, Mark, and John close before the point where the event would be described (Mark even before resurrection appearances), but the ascension is presupposed by Jesus' Parousia from heaven, a teaching found in Paul's earliest letters (e.g., Phil 3:20; 1 Thess 4:16; 2 Thess 1:7).10627 It appears multiply attested outside the Gospels, at least on a theological level (Eph 4:8–10; 1Tim 3:16; Heb 4:14; 7:26; 8:1; 9:24; 1Pet 3:22). That the Spirit came as another advocate, standing in for Jesus, suggests that John also understood that Jesus would be absent from the community, while not «in spirit,» yet in body (cf. 1 John 2:1).10628 Jesus would not only go to the Father and return to give them the Spirit; though it is not John's emphasis, he also implies that Jesus would remain with the Father until the «last day,» when those in the tombs would arise.
It is also clear that ancient writers could predict events never recounted in their narratives but that the reader would understand to be fulfilled in the story world; the Greek East's favorite work, the Iliad, could predict, without recounting, the fall of Troy, which was already known to the Iliad's tradition and which it reinforced through both subtle allusions and explicit statements in the story.10629 The book ends with Hector's burial, but because the book emphasized that Hector was Troy's last adequate defender,10630 this conclusion certainly implies the tragic demise of Troy. The Odyssey predicts but does not narrate Odysseus's final trial,10631 but in view of the other fulfillments in the story, the reader or hearer is not left with discomfort. The Argonautica will not directly address Medeás unpleasant slaying of Pelias yet hints at that tradition.10632 Likewise, that Mark probably ends without resurrection appearances (Mark 16:8) hardly means that Mark wanted his readers to doubt that they occurred (cf. Mark 14:28)! John probably assumes the tradition of the ascension more widely held by his audience, just as he has probably assumed their knowledge of a more widely circulated passion tradition in earlier narratives.
Ascension was a recognized-enough category in ancient traditions to require little explanation, although Jesus' ascension was qualitatively different in specific respects from most comparable stories. Ancients could depict the soul rising to heaven (e.g., T. Ab. 20:12A; 7:13; 14:7B), told stories of newly divinized immortals ascending to heaven,10633 and handed on traditions about Enoch, Elijah, Ezra, and others thought to have escaped death (e.g., 1Macc 2:58; 1 En. 39:3)10634 and, on a more regular basis, about angels (e.g., Tob 12:20–22).10635 But whereas Greeks were comfortable with the notion of bodily or non-bodily ascensions,10636 the central Christian concept of Jesus' bodily resurrection, which the Christian ascension tradition presupposes, was utterly foreign to them.
That John accepts an ascension and future eschatology does not mean that his Gospel emphasizes it frequently. To the contrary, as we have already noted, the «ascending to the Father» to which he normally refers is Jesus' ascension by means of the cross that he might now impart the Spirit. John does not narrate an ascension precisely because, through the Spirit's coming (20:22; cf. 14:16–26), he wishes to emphasize the continuing presence and activity of Jesus (21:12–14). But for John in a theological sense, the passion, resurrection, and imparting of the Spirit (fulfilled in 20:22) are all of one piece. Thus it is not surprising that «ascends» is (in Jesus' message for the disciples) in the present tense (20:17). The present tense could denote the «certainty» involved10637 but мая be another Johannine double entendre: in Johannine terms, Jesus' ascent, his «lifting up,» began with the cross and мая be completed only with the giving of the Spirit.
2F. Women's Witness (20:18)
Whereas Mary first announced to the leading disciples that someone had carried off the body (20:2), she now announces that she has seen the Lord and that he told her «these matters» (20:18)–presumably, that his ascension is coming and therefore his revelations to them are urgent (20:17). Mary announces her personal-eyewitness experience even though she must be aware of the prejudice against women's testimony in her culture;10638 she could offer it in defiance of such prejudice but most likely offers it simply because it is necessary and because she has nothing else to offer; she trusts the one who sent her to make it adequate (cf. 12:7).
John's primary purpose in emphasizing her witness is undoubtedly less apologetic (cf. 1Cor 15:5–8) than didactic. The faith of Jesus' mother births his public ministry in 2:3–5; more critically as a parallel here, the Samaritan woman's testimony brings her whole town to meet Jesus for themselves (4:39–42). This sort of testimony and invitation is the same method of witness John recommends for male disciples (1:46). Further, Mary's message (20:18) is precisely that of the male disciples after her (20:25), the sort of witness on which the Spirit would summon subsequent generations to faith (20:30–31).
Appearances to the Disciples (20:19–29)
Jesus' first appearance to the disciples (20:19–23) provides the pneumatological climax to the Gospel, the fulfillment of the Paraclete sayings and much of the rest of the final discourse; here Jesus «comes again» to them. But Jesus' second appearance (20:24–29) demonstrates the futility of discipleship without the requisite Christology; Thomas's skepticism illustrates what disciples would be like without hope in the resurrection. This second appearance to the gathered disciples provides the central climax for the Gospel because it climaxes John's Christology and his faith motif, defining the basis for sufficient, persevering faith; the Gospel's primary conclusion, 20:30–31, flows directly out of 20:24–29.
1. Appearance to the Ten (20:19–23)
The two major aspects of John's pneumatology (rebirth and prophetic empowerment)10639 are fulfilled together in Jesus' «return» to give the disciples the Holy Spirit. One мая also note the recurrent context of persecution; although the closed door мая allow John to communicate something about the resurrection body (see below and in 20:26), its most explicit function in 20is to indicate that the disciples were afraid of persecution until Jesus came to them, just as John's audience experiences persecution and requires the empowerment of the Paraclete for boldness to confess Christ. They require an adequate Christology as a foundation for boldness, and boldness to maintain such an offensive Christology.
1A. A Johannine Pentecost?
Views on the relation between this passage and a later impartation of the Spirit, such as Acts 2 depicts, vary.10640 Some would argue that John retains a distinction between Easter and a later Pentecost, perhaps by John 20symbolically pointing forward to the historical Pentecost.10641 Whatever its historical plausibility, however, the view that Jesus merely symbolically promises the Spirit here does not pull together an adequate narrative climax on the literary-theological level of John's earlier promises of the Spirit. Certainly the verb for Jesus breathing on the disciples means more than mere exhalation.10642 Whether John might use Jesus' breathing symbolically, however, is a different question than whether Jesus is portrayed as acting merely symbolically in the story world.
Granted, Luke and John мая employ their language for «receiving the Spirit» in different manners,10643 and both experiences are historically compatible, the historical core adapted by John being either a symbolic or a less substantial impartation.10644 But some scholars argue too much in contending that, because John does not describe the Spirit's activity beginning in this passage, the disciples have not yet received the Spirit as Paraclete, although they мая have received the Spirit in some sense here.10645 Whatever truth this contention мая represent in terms of pre-Johannine tradition, suggesting that John intends to communicate a lesser impartation ignores the nature of his narrative. This passage is not the appropriate place to demonstrate the new Paracletés activity (persecution is present, but so is Jesus) but to introduce him; John can assume that those familiar with his discourses will expect the fulfillment of all long-range promises related to the Paracletés activity, on the basis of short-range fulfillments implied in the text, the same way readers of Mark can anticipate resurrection appearances even if none are narrated in the Gospel itself (on the assumption of the shorter ending).
Others show that John 20:19–23 fulfills specific promises of the final discourse, especially the promise of the Spirit (14:16–17, 27) and Jesus' promise that after he went away, he would return to them (14:18–19, 22).10646 Other allusions include the fulfillment of «peace» (14:27; 20:19,21) and «rejoicing» (16:20–24; 20:20),10647 and the language of rebirth or re-creation in Jesus breathing on them also recalls earlier Johannine pneumatological motifs (3:3, 8; 20:22).10648 Empowerment for mission (20:21, 23; cf. Acts 1:8) fits Jesus' earlier promises (15:26–27; 16:7–11). Jesus' glorification began at the cross, so it is logical in the narrative for Jesus to make available the Spirit at this point (7:39), although this by itself would not exclude a continuing or further impartation later.10649 The present passage merely confirms the link between Jesus' return after the resurrection and the impartation of the Spirit already implied in the final discourse;10650 the fulfillment is nearly as clear as that between Luke 24and Acts 2:4.10651 Thus some write that this passage and Acts 2 ultimately represent the same event.10652
After summarizing arguments for identifying 20with Pentecost, Turner offers several reasoned arguments distinguishing the two events, to each of which I will respond in turn.10653 First, Turner states that the glorification (a prerequisite for the Spirit's coming, 7:39) is not complete by 20because the ascension remains future (20:17).10654 I agree that the ascension remains future (see my comment on 20:17), but would argue that for the purposes of John's theological point, Jesus was already «lifted up» sufficiently on the cross for the Spirit to be «given» proleptically (and symbolically) in 19:30. Second, Turner argues that Jesus will not be present when he provides the Spirit, since 16says he will «send» the Spirit to them after his departure. In view of the larger narrative, I would contend that this argument reads too much into the particular words, which if pressed would undercut Turner's argument as well; Jesus «goes» at his death and returns at the resurrection (16:16–22), so sending the Spirit in his absence should technically place the Spirit's coming before the resurrection. The language of «sending» deliberately parallels the Father sending the Son, without necessary reference to distinction in location; it simply involves delegated authority and mission (as in 20:21,23).
Third, Turner argues that the Paraclete is a substitute or replacement for Jesus' presence (14:16–17) yet Jesus continues appearing to the disciples after 20(20:26–29; 21:1). Again, I would respond that this weights the meaning of replacement too heavily; after all, the Spirit also replaces Jesus' presence in Acts (Acts 1:8–11), but this does not preclude a very rare subsequent resurrection appearance (Acts 9:3–4). We might expect overlap even more in John, for whom the cross and exaltation are theologically a single event, than for Luke, whose scheme of salvation history is more chronologica1. Turner adds here that no empowerment of the disciples convinces Thomas. But Thomas, like Nathanael and the Samaritans, «comes and sees» (1:46; 4:29; cf. 1:39)–now, however, in the midst of the community. Fourth, Turner points out that the disciples remain behind locked doors in 20and still do not understand in 21:15–17, and argues that these experiences appear too anti-climactic to fulfill the glorious promises of John 14–16. In my opinion, this is a stronger argument, pointing at least to a strand of dissonance in John's narrative, created by the historical experience of a later Pentecost that his narrative must stop before recounting. It does not, however, negate the fact that in this short encounter (20:19–23) nearly every promise associated with the Spirit's coming appears at least proleptically.10655
Part of the conflict between views here мая be semantic: are we speaking of the historical events behind John's Gospel or of the theological points he is emphasizing by the arrangement of the elements in his narrative? Some of Turner's observations мая suggest legitimate complexities or incongruities in John's language. These in turn мая suggest that John is aware of a subsequent Pentecost event and lays emphasis on an earlier event that also provided an encounter with the Spirit.10656 On the level of Johannine theology, however, this event ties together diverse elements of Jesus' promise of the Spirit, fulfilling a function theologically analogous to Pentecost in Acts: the promised Spirit has come, so the church must live in the empowerment provided. (Even in Acts, on the theological level, the gift of the Spirit is of a piece with Jesus' resurrection and exaltation; as in Acts 2:32–33 [even though they are chronologically distinct; Acts 1:3–5].)
The question whether John intends 20:19–23 as an equivalent to Lukés Pentecost presupposes the question whether he knows about Lukés version of Pentecost. Although other early Christian writers attest the Spirit empowerment of early Christianity (e.g., Rom 5:5; Tit 3:5), they do not comment on the time at which it occurred. Still, an association with Pentecost probably precedes the writing of Luke-Acts. Early Judaism connected Pentecost with covenant renewal10657 and, especially prominent in the rabbis, the giving of Torah.10658 Some have therefore concluded that Luke connects the outpouring with specific aspects of that festiva1.10659 Intriguing as such a connection would prove, however, it appears tenuous; possible as it was in pre-Lukan tradition, it receives little emphasis in Acts 2,10660 which suggests that Luke already had tradition of an outpouring of the Spirit on the church on its first Pentecost.
Given the connections I believe existed among early Christian communities (see introduction, esp. pp. 41–42), I do think it likely that John knew of a story of Pentecost such as appears in Acts, whether through pre-Lukan tradition or tradition stemming from Acts. Even if Lukés tradition were widespread in the early church, however, and even if it were therefore likely that John and his audience knew the tradition of Pentecost, it would not be necessary to assume that John is directly adapting or reacting against the Pentecost tradition. John completes his Gospel in ch. 21; if he is to narrate any fulfillment of his Paraclete promises that provide continuity between the missions of Jesus and his followers, he must do so here. Further, John's theology necessitates a close connection between the passion/resurrection and the giving of the Spirit (7:39); indeed, he мая report a proleptic «giving of the Spirit» at both Jesus' death (19:30) and his resurrection appearance (20:22).10661 Even if the giving of the Spirit in the tradition behind 20represents merely a symbolic or partial impartation, it must bear in John's narrative the full theological weight equivalent to Lukés Pentecost.10662
But if its narrative function (in terms of its full theological weight) is in some sense symbolic of an outpouring of the Spirit, one need not seek a chronological harmonization with Acts 2.10663 As Bürge emphasizes, Luke-Acts itself provides a similar chronological situation: because Luke must end his Gospel where he does, he describes the ascension as if it occurs on Easter (Luke 24:51) even though he will soon inform or remind his readers that it occurred only forty days afterward (Acts 1:3, 9). Likewise, «knowing his Gospel would have no sequel,» the Fourth Evangelist theologically compressed «the appearances, ascension, and Pentecost into Easter. Yet for him, this is not simply a matter of literary convenience.... John weaves these events into 'the hour' with explicit theological intentions.»10664
1B. The Setting (20:19)
By announcing that it was evening on the first day of the week (20:19), John informs the reader that the first revelation to the gathered disciples occurred shortly after the resurrection appearances began. Although some question the timing,10665 it certainly appears consistent with the gospel tradition (1Cor 15:5).10666 Luke in particular indicates that Jesus left two Judean disciples about sundown (Luke 24:29, 31) and the disciples hurried immediately to Jerusalem (Luke 24:33), where Jesus greeted all the disciples together (Luke 24:36). Mark's Galilean emphasis makes sense of why Jesus promises an appearance to the disciples in Galilee (Mark 14:28; 16:7), which John does not treat as incompatible with a prior Judean appearance such as in Luke (John 21:1). The disciples would also be continuing in their most intense mourning period at this time; later rabbinic traditions suggest that such mourning included sitting without shoes on the ground, abstaining from working, washing, anointing, and even study of Torah.10667
John мая mention the time of day particularly to connect the events of this paragraph closely with the one that preceded.10668 There Jesus surprised Mary, who did not recognize him, and commissioned her to tell his other followers the remaining detail of his mission (20:17), which she carried out (20:18). Now he commissions the disciples to carry his message to those who are not yet his disciples (20:21–23); the story world presumes that they, too, would prove obedient to their commission (17:20).
The disciples have reason to be fearful of «the Jews» within the story world. These authorities (see introduction, pp. 214–28) engineered the execution of their teacher, and the authorities' Roman allies normally sought to stamp out followers of leaders regarded as treasonous.10669 But their fears do not take into account Jesus' promise to return to them (which they do not at this point believe); they act like the secret believers John has so often condemned for acting «on account of fear of the 'Jews'» (7:13; 19:38; cf. 12:42). But whereas some secret believers became more public with their faith under persecution (19:38), those who had been faithful to Jesus in happier times now have abandoned and denied him (16:31–32; 18:25, 27). If the first disciples had reasons to fear, John's audience probably has similar reasons to fear the successors of the Judean authorities in their own day and therefore will learn from the model of assurance Jesus provides in this passage.
Although John informs his audience only that the doors were «shut,» this itself is sufficient, given the circumstances for which they were shut (20:19), to imply that they were secured shut, that is, locked or bolted (cf., e.g., Matt 25:10). Normal residences had doors with bolts and locks,10670 which one might especially secure if expecting hostility (T. Job 5:3). Those familiar with the passion tradition might envision a spacious room in well-to-do upper-city Jerusalem (Mark 14:15; Luke 22:12; Acts 1:13), where such features would also be likely to be assumed.
John мая record that the doors were locked for two reasons. First, he мая wish to underline the nature of the resurrection body10671–corporeal (20:20) but capable of acting as if incorporeal (20:19),10672 though presumably not like the «phantoms» of Greek thought that could pass through the thong of a bolt in a door10673 (which would contradict the image of 20:20). Some have argued that Jesus' body was not yet glorified, on the basis of 20(some cite also Luke 24:39–43); they suggest that John merely neglects to mention that the disciples opened the doors for him. But the repetition of the closed doors in 20:26, again as the context of Jesus' sudden appearance among them, is emphatic; John wishes to underline that Jesus appeared despite closed doors and to the disciples' astonishment.10674 As Witherington notes, «The one who could pass through the grave clothes and leave a neat pile behind would not find locked doors any obstacle.»10675 Second, through the locked doors, John underlines the fear of the disciples before Jesus' coming, a deliberate contrast to the boldness implied for their mission to the world after he has imparted his presence to them(20:21–23).10676
1C. Jesus' Appearance (20:19d-21a)
Jesus stood in their midst (20:19, 26), which appears to be the appropriate place for revelations (Rev 1:13; 2:1; 5:6; 7:17), undoubtedly because it is the most visible location (and hence could function as in dramatic staging or any planned appearance). More relevantly, Jesus announces to his fearful disciples, «Peace be with you» (20:19). Although the greeting is customary,10677 one would not think such blessings to lack force (cf. 2 John 10–11; Matt 10:12),10678 especially in view of Jesus' promise of peace due at this point (14:27) and the blessing's repetition in 20:19, 21, 26. Wish-prayers are known in various societies10679 and were certainly common in early Judaism. Jesus intends to communicate not merely formal greetings but actual peace to his disciples on an occasion where they need it,10680 and this functions as an encouragement to John's audience, who also face opposition.
Jesus showing his wounds (20:20) undoubtedly serves as evidence. Some showed wounds to stir judges or juries against the accused–that is, for the emotive value of pathos (e.g., Quintilian 6.1.30);10681 others similarly revealed war wounds to stir emotion and demonstrate onés commitment to the nation.10682 But Jesus here undoubtedly shows his wounds as evidence that he is in fact the same Jesus who was crucified and that he has therefore been raised bodily. Scars could be used to identify a person.10683 Moreover, in a significant stream of Jewish tradition, a person would be resurrected in the same form in which he or she died before being healed.10684 (One мая also compare the Greco-Roman view that wounds remained with people who died violently.10685 But because this tradition addresses especially shades in Hades and dreams, it is of only secondary importance to understanding the early Jewish and Johannine perspectives.) Some soldiers also reportedly pleaded to their general that their wounds revealed their mortality and so he should quit pressing them beyond measure.10686 Mortality is not an issue in this instance, but humanity could be. Lest anyone misinterpret 17:5, the resurrection did not cancel the incarnation; Jesus retained a resurrection body (an idea naturally uncomfortable for many later gnostics).10687
The wounds in the «hands» means wounds in the forearms; «hand» can carry this sense and very likely carries the sense here, since crucifixion nails had to be driven higher up the arm than the hand unless ropes were also used; otherwise a person's weight would tear the hands rather than allow the nails to suspend one on a cross.10688 Whether or not John knows the tradition about Jesus showing his feet as well as hands (Luke 24:39–40),10689 he mentions only the hands and the side; the side recalls the source of living water (John 19:34) he has now come to give (20:22; 7:37–39).
That the disciples rejoice when they see him is to be expected; one need not seek parallels in mystery religions. Granted, worshipers of Isis rehearsing the recovery of Osiris might cry, «We have found him; let us rejoice!»10690 But joy is the natural response to finding what was lost in general (Luke 15:6, 9, 32), characterized arrival speeches,10691 and was certainly a natural response to receiving their teacher back from the dead. Johannine literature often refers to joy (15:11; 16:20,22,24; 17:13; 1 John 4; 2 John 12; 3 John 4) but derives it from more commonplace images than dying-and-rising mystery deities (3:29; 4:36; 16:21). If one need seek parallels, joy was sometimes eschatological in early Judaism10692–as was the resurrection; perhaps less revealing, some later texts also associate joy with the Torah,10693 and Jesus is the Word (1:1–18). Given the circumstances in the story, it is hard to imagine the disciples failing to rejoice, but John mentions it specifically because it fulfills Jesus' promise in 16:20–24.
1D. The Commissioning (20:21)
Comparing Jesus' final commissions in Matthew and Luke-Acts (which also reflect characteristics of OT commissions),10694 it is clear that John preserves substantial elements of his commission from the tradition.10695 More important, however, are the ways John adapts both traditional and distinctive elements to climax a commissioning hinted throughout his Gospe1. Both John (1:19–36) and the first disciples (1:41–42, 45–46; 4:39) are prototypical witnesses; Jesus himself functions as the narrative model for the activity of the Spirit-Paraclete, who empowers disciples after Jesus' resurrection to continue his mission (14:16–17,26; 15:26; 16:7–11); the announcements concerning the risen Jesus also serve as narrative illustrations of this proclamation (20:18, 25, 28).
Early Jewish interpreters often assumed that disciples of prophets received the Spirit to carry on the prophetic mission.10696 In the Fourth Gospel as in the Synoptics, the disciples are partly foils for Jesus, always falling far short when compared with his majesty; their very ordinariness, however, makes them approachable models for readers of the Gospels, who can pattern themselves after them.
That Jesus begins the commission with a second mention of peace indicates that the commission is an assurance oracle rather than a frightful task.10697 Some try to distinguish the two terms for «send» here,10698 but they are used interchangeably throughout the Gospe1.10699 Believers can do the work because God has worked for them: the Father sent the Son and empowered believers by the Spirit imparted through the Son (20:22; cf. 15:26–27).10700
Whereas the sending of the Son is the heart of the Fourth Gospel's plot, its conclusion is open-ended, spilling into the story of the disciples.10701 Thus the church's mission is, for John's theology, to carry on Jesus' mission (14:12; 17:18).10702 Because Jesus was sending «just as» (καθώς) the Father sent him (20:21), the disciples would carry on Jesus' mission, including not only signs pointing to Jesus (14:12) but also witness (15:27) through which the Spirit would continue Jesus' presence and work (16:7–11). The idea of agents passing on a gift to others as one had received it from Jesus is familiar from elsewhere in the Jesus tradition (Matt 10:8).10703
1E. Empowerment for the Mission (20:22)
The breathing alludes back to the wind of 3:8, linking it with the image of regeneration by the Spirit in that context (3:3–6). Even if the punctiliar force of the aorist were pressed, it would not imply that the gift was solely for the apostles present, although the gift мая be unrepeatable, but, rather, that the gift was imparted on this occasion once for all to be available hereafter to the rest of the church.10704 The imperative мая, however, connote that although the gift is freely offered to all, it must be embraced by those who would accept the offer.10705
This passage combines two of the central aspects of the Spirit's work that appear elsewhere in John and various early Jewish sources,10706 both purification or rebirth (Gen 2:7) and empowerment. Most scholars concur that when Jesus breathes on the disciples, John is alluding to the creative, life-imparting act of God in Gen 2:7;10707 Jesus is creating a new humanity, a new creation.10708 Although the verb for «breathe» here is a rare one, it occurs in Gen 2and Ezek 37as well as quotes of it in Philo and Wis 15:11.10709 Similar images appear elsewhere in early Jewish texts, but many depend on Genesis (such as Wis 15:11; 4 Ezra 3:5–7)10710 or simply reflect common language in the milieu (cf. perhaps 2 Kgs 4:34).10711
In some manuscripts of Joseph and Aseneth, Joseph imparts the spirit of life with a kiss to Aseneth, who is now converting (Jos. Asen. 19:11).10712 But despite the value of these other images to suggest language that was «in the air,» such sources shared with John, his audience, and early Judaism in general a thorough knowledge of the language of Genesis in Greek. (A specifically Philonic interpretation of Gen 2on the earthly versus the heavenly man is probably too remote to prove particularly helpful here.)10713
Genesis 2was naturally connected with Ezek 37in later midrash and Jewish artwork,10714 and Ezek 37was explicitly understood to refer to the resurrection of the dead.10715 Given John's earlier treatment of rebirth imagery (3:3–5) and his linking of water (3:6) and wind (3:8) images for the Spirit (cf. Ezek 36–37), it is likely that he recalls here the regenerating aspect of the Spirit of purification. Jesus had promised that his return to them alive would bring them new life as well (14:19).
Jesus as the giver of the Spirit is a recurrent theme in the Gospel, starting in 1and climaxing here (e.g., 3:5; 7:37–39; 19:30, 34). This emphasis serves an important christological function (cf. 3:34) because, as the giver of God's Spirit, Jesus himself is divine (especially here, where his action evokes God's creative work of breathing life into Adam). In biblical imagery, only God would baptize in his Spirit (as in 1:33; 3:5) or pour out his Spirit (Isa 42:1; 44:3; 61:1; 63:11; Ezek 36:27; 37:14; 39:29; Joel 2:28–29; Hag 2:5; Zech 4:6; 12:10).
Although the purification aspect of the Spirit is important here, the other main aspect of the Spirit, as prophetic anointing to declare God's message, is explicit in this text.10716 Immediately before Jesus commands them to receive the «Holy Spirit» (the phrase connects the Spirit of purification in 1and the Spirit of prophecy in 14:26), he commissions them to carry on his own mission from the Father (20:21). (This phrase appears only three times in the Gospel, including its first [1:33] and final [20:22] uses. Just as the Gospel proper concludes with Thomas's confession of Jesus' deity, forming a christological inclusio with the prologue, this passage closes a slightly smaller pneumatological inclusio.) These relate to the prophetic mission of his disciples. John 20:19–23 binds together the two main pneumatological motifs in the Fourth Gospel, showing that only those who are purified or regenerated by the Spirit will be empowered by him to experience and proclaim the risen Christ.
For John, all those who believe are to «receive» the Spirit after Jesus' glorification (7:39), so the experience depicted here for the disciples functions proleptically for the whole church. The language of «receiving the Spirit» (also 14:17; cf. 1 John 2:27) accords with early Christian tradition, normally for the experience of new relationship (Rom 8:15; 1Cor 2:12; 2Cor 11:4; Gal 3:2, 14) or empowerment for mission (Acts 1:8) temporally at (Acts 10:47), or theologically implicit in (Acts 2:33; 19:2), conversion, although in the early church's experience it мая have applied to a postconversion experience in some cases (Acts 8:15, 17).10717 That John uses λαμβάνω rather than δέχομαι here (20:22) does not merit more than passing interest, although the former term could sometimes bear stronger force. In the whole Gospel, John employs the latter term only once (4:45, and nowhere in the Epistles; probably interchangeably with λαμβάνω; cf. 4:44; 1:11) and the former forty-six times (plus six times in the Epistles). The imperative мая, however, connote that although the gift is freely offered to all, it must be embraced by those who would accept the offer.10718 «Receiving» the Spirit here also refers to the beginning of an indwelling (14:17,23) and hence implies a fuller inspiration than that reported among the biblical prophets.10719
1F. Authority for Forgiveness (20:23)
Immediately after breathing on them and announcing the Spirit, Jesus grants them the authority of representative forgiveness.10720 It is anachronistic to read into this passage the later Catholic doctrine of penance or others' views about admission to baptism;10721 it is likewise anachronistic to read into it Protestant polemic against the Catholic interpretation of the passage. Read on its own terms, the passage makes good sense as it stands.
Because the Spirit would continue among them (20:22), they would be able to carry on Jesus' work (cf. 16:7–11);10722 given the backdrop of 16:7–11, which explains the meaning of the Spirit's coming here, the disciples announce both righteousness and judgment based on peoplés response to Christ (cf. 14:6).10723 Although the promise is given directly to those present at the time (20:19), it will no more exclude later generations of Christians (such as John's audience, 17:20–22) than it would Thomas once he believes (20:24). If the Spirit is for later Johannine Christians as well as for the first ones (3:5; 1 John 2:20, 27), then they, too, will bear witness (15:26–27) and be recipients of the Spirit (16:7), who prosecutes the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment (16:8–11).10724
The passive is a divine passive; forgiveness comes from God; further, in John's perspective, only Jesus' sacrifice takes away sin (1:29). In the perspective of Johannine Christians, however, believers can play a role in other believers' forgiveness, at least by prayer (1 John 5:16–17);10725 the present passage speaks of believers' ministry to nonbelievers, mediating God's forgiveness through the word they bring (20:21; 16:8–11).10726 (We mean «word» in its Johannine sense; by proclaiming the message of Jesus, to whom the Spirit testifies, believers proclaim Jesus the word himself, who is revealed by the Spirit to unbelievers.) In the Synoptics, the disciples had already exercised such discretion based on evidence of repentance (Mark 6:11; Matt 10:14; Luke 9:5); John has, however, omitted that preresurrection ministry of the disciples, probably to avoid playing down the full role of Christ before the resurrection and the full role of the Spirit and believers after 20:19–23.10727 Some take the perfect tense as meaning that «the apostolic sentence is forthwith confirmed–is effective as soon as spoken.»10728 Others suggest that the perfect tense here, like the future perfect in Matt 16:19; 18:18, мая be intended literally, that is, that those who pronounce forgiveness are merely confirming what has already taken place from God's perspective.10729
The Qumran community recognized some individuals who were to control entrance to the community. Later rabbinic literature also testifies to the authority of interpreters to apply biblical legislation and hence, by implication, of judges to exclude and admit on behalf of the community.10730 One might also think of strategies: later rabbis portrayed Shammai as driving away prospective converts but Hillel intentionally welcoming them.10731 Less relevant but helping Western interpreters better grasp the broader milieu, some scholars point out that in some Middle Eastern communities today, particular individuals are held to be able to exercise the wisdom necessary to resolve conflicts in the community.10732
Some scholars argue that the saying differs significantly from Johannine style, which мая suggest its pre-Johannine origin.10733 While the case against Johannine style is overstated–άφίημι мая not appear elsewhere in this Gospel for forgiveness, but the conception is certainly not foreign to it (1:29; 3:15–17; 16:9)10734–other features мая imply a pre-Johannine origin. Some propose an Aramaic source for this saying, possibly linking it with a similar saying in Matthew 16:19; 18:1810735 (though the linkage alone would not guarantee its authenticity).10736 The Jewish Aramaic, together with the Syriac שרא, «means, not only 'to untie, loose,' but also 'to forgive, absolvé» and sometimes is used interchangeably with an Aramaic term more likely behind the Matthean saying.10737 That John and Matthew ultimately reflect the same saying is by no means clear,10738 but at the very least they reflect analogous concepts.10739
2. Appearance to Thomas (20:24–29)
Thomas's unwillingness to believe without seeing reflects a thread that runs throughout the Gospel: many respond to signs with faith (1:50; 10:38; 11:15,40; 14:11) and refuse faith without signs (4:48; 6:30), but unless this faith matures into discipleship, it must prove inadequate in the end (8:30–31). (Signs were inadequate, not negative, however; unbelief even in the face of signs was particularly hardened unbelief–12:37.) A good rhetorical strategist gradually building a case might save an especially irrefutable, clinching argument for the conclusion of the speech.10740 This paragraph will therefore set the stage for the conclusion of the Gospel proper (preceding the epilogue in John 20): John's generation believes the signs available to it because the Spirit confirms for it the testimony of the eyewitness who testifies these things (20:30–31; cf. 15:26–27; 16:7–15).
2A. Thomas's Skepticism (20:24–25)
Jesus has lost none except Judas (17:12), and «the Twelve» remain a defined group even without Judas (20:24).10741 Thus Jesus must appear once more while Thomas is present; this happens after eight days (20:26) to suggest the following Sunday, perhaps to emphasize the worship experience of early Christians as the context for Jesus' revelations (cf. Rev 1:10). Thomas мая suppose that his fellow disciples had seen merely a ghost10742 if in fact they had seen anything at all; but ghost stories were not resurrections (see comments above), and Thomas is unwilling to believe.
Because Thomas plays no significant individual role in other extant first-century traditions (i.e., the Synoptics), some scholars have proposed special reasons for Thomas being the particular disciple to fill this role here, proposing a specific Thomas tradition existing in this period. One approach connects Thomas with the beloved disciple, thereby affecting how readers encounter that disciple as a model for faith.10743 Yet it appears difficult to reconcile the anonymous disciple with Thomas.10744 Another approach takes Thomas's appearances in this Gospel as instances of polemic against the Thomas tradition that stood behind the Gospel of Thomas and its community.10745 If we nuance this view to allow for traditions that later became the Gospel of Thomas rather than that work itself, this approach is possible and plausible. It is not, however, by any means certain. Synoptic tradition recognizes that the disciples responded with skepticism, and some more than others (Matt 28:17; Luke 24:11, 24, 38, 41); it is not impossible that John simply preserves a more detailed tradition where a notably skeptical disciple is named, one who was eager to follow Jesus (11:16; 14:5) though too devastated by Jesus' death to accept the apostolic witness of his colleagues (20:25). That a tradition that later became the Gospel of Thomas adapted some ideas once related to Thomas is possible, but it is also possible that it merely exploited his name.
That some disciples disbelieved (cf. Mark 16:11,13–14)–some even after seeing (Matt 28:17; Luke 24:37,41)–fits other historical traditions about Jesus' resurrection appearances. That John draws on genuine historical tradition need not deter us, however, from asking what theological capital his first audience might have drawn from his narrative. One might naturally protest something unbelievable, that one could believe only if one saw it for oneself.10746 In some ancient stories, deities appeared to and healed doubters in spite of their unbelief10747 (though in some others, a deity enraged with mortals' unbelief might turn them into bats!).10748 Thomas's unbelief need not strike an ancient audience as dramatically anti-climactic; rather, it prepares for a higher climax (in this case, a further resurrection appearance). For example, at the climactic moment of Orestes' self-revelation in Aeschylus, his sister Electra initially fails to believe that it is he.10749 In some ancient Jewish stories, people were punished for unbelief. One student believed R. Johanan only after seeing, whereupon R. Johanan concluded that he scoffed at the words of the sages, and turned him into a pile of bones.10750 A later tradition contends that fire fell from heaven and consumed Haran because he refused to commit himself before he saw whether Abram would defeat Nimrod's fiery furnace.10751 In the biblical exodus narrative, God put up with Israel's unbelief for a long time but finally grew angry with their unwillingness to believe after seeing a number of signs (Num 14:11, 22). When Thomas is skeptical because he has only the word (20:25), he has available what most of the Johannine Christians have (20:31).10752
2B. Jesus' Wounds (20:26–27)
Jesus comes under the same circumstances (closed doors) and with the same greeting of peace as before (20:19, 26). The eighth day held special significance in some early Christian thought (cf. Barn. 15.8–9),10753 but here мая simply indicate that Jesus came to them again on the first day of the week (20:19), that is, a day when later Christians frequently met (Acts 20:7; 1Cor 16:2). This would suggest that the disciples not only stayed for the whole of the Feast of Unleavened Bread10754 but also somewhat longer, perhaps in anticipation of Pentecost. The parallel between the two paragraphs suggests that something remains incomplete until Thomas's confession of Jesus with its high Christology (20:28).
Crucifixion victims often had wounds, and those who had been wounded often showed their wounds to make a point (see comment on 20:20); that Jesus did so stems from pre-Johannine tradition (Luke 24:39–40, though 24is textually uncertain). Soldiers who carried out crucifixions often used rope10755 but also used nails through the wrists,10756 which seem to have been used for Jesus (20:25, 27). Dibelius, noting that Matthew and Mark omit the piercing of hands and/or feet, which appears only as hints in the Easter narratives of Luke (24:39) and John (20:20,25,27), thinks the hints of piercing stem from Ps 22rather than historical recollection.10757 But Dibelius's skepticism on this point is unwarranted for several reasons: all four extant first-century gospels omit it in descriptions of the crucifixion (as well as many other explicit details, such as the height of the cross, shape of the cross, and other variables we must reconstruct secondhand); Mark and Matthew include the briefest resurrection narratives, Mark without any appearances, so one would not expect them to recount it there; and finally, Luke and John probably supply independent attestation of a tradition that predates both of them, yet neither allude clearly to Ps 22:17.10758
Putting hands into Jesus' wounds would convince Thomas that this was the same Jesus (see comment on 20:20); no trickery would be possible.10759 John omits another tradition in which Jesus confirms his bodily resurrection by eating with the disciples (Luke 24:41–43), preferring the stronger proof of his corporal resurrection.10760 In the third-century Vita Apollonii by Philostratus, Apollonius invites two of his disciples to grasp him to confirm that he has not, in fact, been executed;10761 but the Christian resurrection narratives were widespread in the Roman Empire by the time Philostratus dictated his stories.10762
2C. The Climactic Christological Confession (20:28–29)
Ancient writers often used characterization to communicate points about «kinds» of people. Nicodemus was slow to believe (3:2; cf. 7:50) but eventually proved a faithful disciple (19:38–42). Likewise, Thomas had missed the first corporate resurrection appearance, which convinced most of his fellow disciples; given the problem with secessionists in some Johannine communities (1 John 2:19), his missing might provide a warning to continue in fellowship with fellow believers (to whatever extent Thomas's fellow disciples had already been disciples and believers when Jesus first appeared at that point!) Nevertheless, Thomas becomes the chief spokesman for full christological faith here (20:28–29)–and the foil by which John calls his readers to a faith deeper than the initial resurrection faith of any of the twelve disciples (20:29).
Thomas's very skepticism makes him the ideal proponent of a high Christology by indicating the greatness of the revelation by which he was convinced.10763 Thomas has spoken for the disciples in this Gospel before (11:16),10764 and his revelation elicits the Gospel's climactic christological confession, «My Lord and my God» (20:28), which forms an inclusio with the prologue (1:1,18).10765 (Poetic works often repeated refrains; in a manner analogous with climactic refrains in some such works, however, the christological confessions in John's narrative build toward a crescendo.)10766 In this case, as in the prologue, the confession of Jesus' deity is unmistakeable (cf. Rev 4:ll).10767 It cannot simply represent an acclamation to the Father, since John explicitly claims that the words are addressed to Jesus (αύτω).10768
The linkage of «Lord» and «God» мая derive ultimately from the LXX, where the two terms recur together consistently, translating יהוה and אלהים, respectively;10769 the two titles of God continued together in early Judaism.10770 One passage in the LXX even promises at Israel's eschatological repentance the confession «You are the Lord my God» (Hos 2LXX [2ΜΤ]), although it is not certain that John alludes to this passage in particular;10771 Ps 35(34LXX: ό θεός μου και ό κύριος μου) has also been suggested.10772 By the time of the Fourth Gospel, however, the term might have become more familiar in another set-ting to Christians in the Eastern empire. Eastern cults also conjoined the titles together,10773 and these мая have affected the rhetoric of Domitian, who called himself «Lord God» in imperial edicts and expected to be called «Lord God» (Suetonius Dom. 13).10774 As noted in the introduction, the increased civic demands of the imperial cult in Asia, in addition to pressures within the synagogues, would have created a hostile situation for the early Christians. This situation could have tempted them to either tone down their Christology (for the synagogues) or to compromise its uniqueness (allowing also participation in the civic or imperial cults). Instead John exhorts the Christians to respond by affirming their full Christology: Jesus alone is Lord and God.
Most disciples in the Gospel had begun to «believe» Jesus before the resurrection, often with minimal signs (cf. 1:49); they become paradigmatic for believers after Jesus' ascension.10775 Like the disciples before the resurrection appearances, John's own audience comprised entirely, or almost entirely, believers through the word of others (17:20), who had not seen Christ for themselves (cf. 1Pet 1:8);10776 through Jesus' words to Thomas, John exhorts his own audience to believe despite having to depend on the eyewitnesses. The Spirit, after all, presented the real Jesus through the witnesses' testimony (John 16:7–11).
Signs-faith is not rejected here; Thomas's faith is a start. But signs are not always available, and signs do not in themselves guarantee faith (6:26; 11:45–47). Thus Jesus provides a beatitude (see comment on 13:17) for those who believe without signs, on the testimony of others about signs Jesus already worked (20:30–31). The argument that those who had not seen yet believed were more blessed (20:29) would have been intelligible in terms of Jewish logic about rewards.10777 But as Thomas's confession demonstrates, the true, resurrection faith requires more than commitment to Jesus (cf. 11:16); it requires in addition the recognition of Jesus' divine role.
* * *
Niccacci, «Fede,» emphasizes parallels between 1:19–51 and 20:1–29, including in the four units of each section (some others make the parallels with the epilogue, ch. 21–e.g., Breck, «Conclusion»; Ellis, «Authenticity»).
Cf. Sabugal, «Resurreccion.»
See Brown, «Resurrection.»
Here we have used material especially from Keener, Matthew, 697–712.
Dodd, Tradition, 148.
See Lindars, «Composition,» 147. He believes that John utilized his material creatively (Lindars, Behind, 76).
Wenham, «Narratives»; Gundry, Matthew, 590–91.
The sudden ending in Mark 16fits some ancient narration patterns; though in some cases, e.g., L.A.B., the ending мая be lost, one мая compare also abrupt original endings, e.g., in some of Plutarch's speeches (Fame of Athenians 8, Mor. 351B; Fort. Alex. 2.13, Mor. 345B; Fort. Rom. 13, Mor. 326C; Uned. R. 7, Mor. 782F); Isocrates Demon. 52, Or. 1; Demetrius 5.304; Lucan C.W. 10.542–546; Herodian 8.8.8. See esp. Magness, Sense, for more ancient literary parallels; for consistency with Markan style, especially a final γάρ, cf. Boomershine and Bartholomew, «Technique.» An abbreviated conclusion allows Mark to retain the centrality of the cross without actually playing down the resurrection (cf. also Thompson, Debate, 225), because he points to resurrection appearances beyond his narrative (e.g., Anderson, Mark, 353; Rhoads and Michie, Mark, 42; Hooker, Mark, 120». Farmer, Verses, even makes a noteworthy case on external (pp. 3–75) and internal (79–103) grounds that Mark 16:9–20 has more support for being the original ending than usually accepted.
E.g., Hodges, «Tomb.»
E.g.,Dibelius, Jesus, 139.
Sanders, Figure, 280.
E.g., Boyd, Sage, 277–78.
Arrian Alex. 4.14.3.
Ancient sources more often than not left women unnamed (see Ilan, «Distribution»), but Mary is abundantly dcoumented in the resurrection traditions (Mark 16:1; Matt 28:1; Luke 24:10).
See Aune, «Problem,» 48.
See Boring et a1., Commentary, 151.
One supposed divine apparition turned out to be a conjured ghost of a gladiator (one of low class; Eunapius Lives 473). Likewise, although the biblical tradition reported only apparitions of angels in dreams, both pagan (e.g., Homer 17. 23.65, 83–85; Euripides Hec. 30–34,703–706; Virgil Aen. I. 353–354; 2.268–297, 772–794; 4.351–352; 5.721–723; Ovid Metam. 11.586–588, 635, 650–673; Apuleius Metam. 8.8; 9.31; Plutarch Bravery of Women, Mor. 252F) and Jewish ('Abot R. Nat. 40A; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 11:23; p. Hag. 2:2, §5; Ketub. 12:3, §7; Sanh. 6:6, §2; cf. Acts Paul 11.6) dreams often included apparitions of deceased persons.
In Talbert, Gospel, 41; cf. Plutarch Camillus 33.7. Boring et a1., Commentary, 163–64, cites Romulus's apotheosis appearance to Proculus Julius in Livy 1.16.2–8; Plutarch Romulus 28; Numa 11. 3; Ovid Fasti 2.500–509 and notes that Justin 1 Apo1. 21 made an apologetic comparison between Jesus' resurrection appearances and pagan understanding of imperial apotheosis.
Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 320.
Blackburn, «ΑΝΔΡΕΣ,» 193.
He visits both Hades and the world of the living (Philostratus Hrk. 11.7) but visits his wife only in Hades (11.8). Others returned from Hades without immortality (e.g., Antonius Diogenes Thule 109ab).
See Bowersock, Fiction as History, 108–13; even his mid-first-century parallel does not indicate a bodily resurrection (it мая simply mean «a brief tryst with his wife,» 112, as in earlier sources; see Petronius Sat. 129.1).
Lucan C. W. 6.667–775; cf. Antonius Diogenes Thule 11 Ob. Resuscitation stories are common (see our introduction to John 11), but most simply claim apparent deaths (Bowersock, Fiction as History, 99–100, 104–8; more convincing are OT parallels), which often invite suspense on behalf of characters with whom readers have begun to identify; see, e.g., Xenophon Eph. 3.5–7; Apol1. Κ. Tyre 25–26; Iamblichus Bab. St. 3–6 (Photius Bibliotheca 94.74b-75a).
Bowersock, Fiction as History, 117–18.
Avi-Yonah, «Sources,» 60; Flusser, «Paganism.»
On the Mithraeum, see Bull, «Medallion»; Lease, «Mithraeum»; Flusser, «Paganism,» 1099.
Cf. Charlesworth, Pseudepigrapha and NT, 82.
Cf. arguments in Philonenko, «Initiation»; idem, «Mystère,» 65–70; Petuchowski, «Mystery.»
Willoughby, Initiation, 225–62, tries to compare Philonic language with the conversion language of the Mysteries but, like Godwin, Mystery Religions, 78–83, tends to generalize too much. More nuanced is the approach of Wolfson, Philo, 1:27–36 (and cf. 1:101; Philo adapts their language but denounces them as religious alternatives).
Russell, «Mysteries,» 338; cf. Reitzenstein, Religions, 174–84.
Reitzenstein, Religions, 125.
On Roman Judaism, see more fully Leon, Jews.
Eliade, Rites, 120.
Metzger, «Consideration,» 10–11; Eliade, Rites, 115.
Cf. Gervers, «Iconography,» though qualifying on p. 598; cf. Gager, Kingdom, 132–34; note the contrast stressed by Mattingly, Christianity, 5.
Some others мая be coincidence; Deman, «Mithras,» e.g., notes the later link between the twelve apostles and the twelve signs of the zodiac; yet the twelve apostles in earliest Christian tradition stem from the twelve tribes (though Judaism had already linked the tribes with the zodiac in that period). The closest true parallels address only later Gentile Christianity as it assimilated into a broader Roman cultural context.
Benoit, «Mystères,» 79–81.
Metzger, «Consideration,» 11.
Manson, Paul and John, 64–65, stresses the moral contrast between the Mysteries (where moral ideals were irrelevant) and Christianity (cf. Carcopino, Life, 138–39).
Metzger, «Consideration,» 15.
Cf. Nock, «Vocabulary,» 136, for Christianity's «Oriental» nature but lack of «Oriental» trappings. This is not to suggest that many other Greco-Roman cults could not be distinguished from one another but, rather, to point out that the originating cultural matrix of Christianity was different enough, and earliest Christianity's monotheism rigorous enough, to disallow the degree of assimilation that could characterize most of the cults.
Cf. Nock, Christianity, 31; Cadbury, Acts in History, 28; Meyer, «Mysteries,» 724.
Burkert argues that Persephonés connection with the nature cycle must go back to pre-Greek, perhaps Neolithic times because the real facts of Mediterranean vegetation suggest an interpretation earlier than the one the Greeks themselves held (Religion, 160). Whether or not his argument is accepted as persuasive, it is clear that Persephonés return from the underworld precedes the apostolic proclamation of Christ's resurrection by many centuries.
Bright, History, 118.
Esp. Ginsberg's note, ANET 155.
Some have likewise claimed that Marduk died and rose again in some sense (Klausner, Paul, 103, though I have not noticed this in Enuma Elish in Heidel, Genesis, 18–60).
E.g., Maximus of Tyre Or. 2.5; cf. also Plutarch Isis passim.
Wagner, Baptism, 119; on Nile water, see 127–35. The patching together of his parts either reflected or produced a more widespread storyline (e.g., Ovid Metam. 6.401–411); Greeks also told of severed divine genitals creating life (Uranus's form the Furies, Apollodorus 1.1.4). Some Greeks treated Osiris and Isis as genuine historical characters (Manetho Aegyptiaca frg. 1.1, in [Armenian version] Eusebius Chronicon 1.p. 93).
Wagner, Baptism, 171–207, esp. 195. The Adonis tradition itself was Semitic and imported into Greek religion from an early period (Burkert, Religion, 176–77, thinks perhaps as early as the sixth century B.C.E.). Cf. Ovid Metam. 10.710–739; Callimachus Iambi 3.193.37; Philostratus Hrk. 45.6; in the Greek bucolic poets, e.g., Women at the Adonis Festival (third century B.C.E.), a lament for Adonis perhaps by Bion, and The Dead Adonis (Greek Bucolic Poets, LCL 176–95, 386–95,480–83).
Apollodorus 3.14.4, where Persephone and Aphrodite originally had a time-share agreement about Adonis (probably derived from the Persephone myth about the custody battle between Hades and Demeter, e.g., Apollodorus 1.5.3); cf. Iamblichus Myst. 1.11.
Wagner, Baptism, 219,229; for the typical story, see Vermaseren, Cybele, 91.
Cf. Otto, Dionysus, 79–80,103–19.
E.g., Homer I1. 5.339–342, 382–404, 855–859, 870; on the death of Pan in Plutarch Mor. 419.17, see Borgeaud, «Death.»
Fragments of dithyrambic poetry (ca. 1 B.C.E.) in Sei. Pap. 3:390–93.
E.g., Apollodorus 1.5.3; cf. Guthrie, Orpheus, 31.
See documentation in Gasparro, Soteriology, 30 n. 16.
E.g., Conzelmann, Theology, 11; cf. Case, Origins, 111; Bultmann, Christianity, 158–59; Ridderbos, Paul, 22–29.
Burkert, Cults, 100.
E.g., Apuleius, whom Dunand, «Mystères,» 58, interprets thus.
In Grant, Religions, 146.
E.g., Davies, Paul, 91.
Wagner, Baptism, 87. Thus Heracles sought initiation so he could capture Cerberus in Hades (Apollodorus 2.5.12).
Gasparro, Soteriology, 82.
Bousset, Kyrios Christos, 57.
For the vegetative association see, e.g., Ovid Metam. 5.564–571; Gasparro, Soteriology, 29, 43–49; Ruck, «Mystery,» 44–45; Guthrie, Orpheus, 55–56.
Cf. Metzger, «Consideration,» 19–20; Ring, «Resurrection,» 228.
Boussefs Hellenistic parallels (Kyrios Christos, 58) are unconvincing (cf. Nock, Christianity, 105–6; Jeremias, Theology, 304; Fuller, Formation, 25). Many think that the LXX is a more likely source (Hos 6:2; Jonah 1:17; cf. 1Cor 15:4; Nock, Christianity, 108), though it is unlikely that the early Christians would have noticed elements favoring it had the «third day» not been their initial experience. (Rabbis associated Hos 6with the resurrection of the dead; see p. Sanh. 11:6, §1; cf. McArthur, «Day,» 83–84.)
Cf. Thucydides 2.34.2 for honoring Athenian war dead.
Some later traditions suggest the retention of the soul for three days after death (until the soul sees the body begin to decompose; Gen. Rab. 100:7; Lev. Rab. 18:1; though cf. Dola, «Interpretacja») or required three days of purgatory before preparation to appear before God (3 En. 28:10; cf. Apoc. Zeph. 4:7) or that one confirm the actuality of the person's death within three days (Safrai, «Home,» 784–85). This might possibly fit a broader idea expressed in three days of mourning (Apollonius of Rhodes 2.837).
Metzger, «Consideration,» 18–19.
E.g., Ign. Trai1. 9; Augustine On the Trinity 4.6,10 (Oden and Hall, Mark, 238). The third day can mean «after three days,» as in L.A.B. 11:1–3, or parts of each of three days (Scott, Customs, 260; p. Ki1. 2:2, §1, on t. Ki1. 1:16); in either case, it means «soon» (Gen 40:12–13, 18–19; Exod 3:18).
Some utterly unrelated cultures also supply examples of resurrection legends (e.g., the Sonjo myth in Mbiti, Religions, 251), although without the historical attestation surrounding the case of Jesus. But given the transcultural interest in life after death, one need not suppose an organic connection among all such accounts except when they are geographically close and the story line is substantially similar.
E.g., Herodotus Hist. 2.123; Plato Phaedo 64CD, 80DE. For further references, see comment on John 3:6.
Burkert, Cults, 21; Grant, Hellenism, 11–12; Mylonas, Eleusis, 268–69; Wagner, Baptism, 87.
Wagner, Baptism, 112.
Burkert, Religion, 293–95; idem, Cults, 21–22.
Gasparro, Soteriology, 84–106, 125; Wagner, Baptism, 255–56.
Cumont's view of astral immortality (Cumont, After Life, 91–109; cf. Reitzenstein, Religions, 64–65; Dahl, Paul, 17; Avi-Yonah, Hellenism, 40–41) is much broader than the Mysteries and thus should not be directly linked to them (Gasparro, Soteriology, 98). The doctrine of bodily resurrection apparently also appears in the Hebrew Bible earlier than it is attested in Persian texts (Yamauchi, Persia, 456–57, 461; cf. 409; for immortality, however, cf. Olmstead, History, 40, 100–101).
Mack, Myth, 112–13.
On the last point, see Keener, Spirit, 6–48; Turner, Spirit, 1–18.
Cf. Lewis, Life, 100.
See Ferguson, Backgrounds, 439.
Cf. Wifall, «Status.»
Osborne, «Resurrection,» 932, cites also some Hellenistic works (4 Macc; Wis 2:23–24; 3:1–4; Philo Creation 135; Giants 14; perhaps also 1 En. 103:4); and, as denying even immortality, Sirach (17:27–28; 30:17; 37:26; 39:9; 44:8–15; 46:19).
Rabbinic texts often emphasize that the Sadducees, unlike Pharisees, denied the teaching and hence held no place in the coming world (e.g., m. Sanh. 10:1; ^AbotR. Nat. 5A; 10, §26B; cf. b. Sanh. 90b). The doctrine of the resurrection was particularly relevant in the context of martyrdom (2Macc 7:9,11; 14:46); those inclined to defend the honor of martyrs hence took serious offense at the denial (rabbinic texts also suggest moral consequences for denying resurrection and judgment, which they viewed together).
See Puech, Croyance; Sanders, Judaism, 370; cf. Ulrichsen, «Troen.» The supposed resurrection of the Teacher of Righteousness is based on inference from a reconstructed text (cf. 4QpPs 37 frg. 2.2–4, in Dupont-Sommer, Writings, 272), which other scholars have reconstructed quite differently.
E.g., Stemberger, «Auferstehungslehre»; in the Targumim, see, e.g., Tg. Hos. 14:8; McNamara, Targum, 136.
This is true though Josephus, adapting his depiction of Jewish «sects» to Greek schools such as the Pythagoreans and middle Platonists, depicts the Pharisaic confidence in more acceptable Hellenistic terms suggesting reincarnation (Josephus Ant. 18.14; War 2.163; 3.374; Ag. Ap. 2.218).
They condemned a few others for its denial besides explicit Sadducees, e.g., p. Sanh. 10:2, §11. Other texts regularly defend the resurrection long after the Sadducees themselves had ceased to be an issue (e.g., Lev. Rab. 27:4; Lam. Rab. 3:23, §8), but that the rabbis would engage in «textbook apologetics» (not uncommon in some more traditional religious circles today) would not be surprising, given the variety of hypothetical legal situations they also surveyed.
Also 2Macc 7:9, 14, 23, 29; 2 Bar. 30:1; L.A.B. 3:10; T. Ab. 7:16B; cf. T. Jud. 25:1–4; Zeh 10:2; Apocr. Ezek. introduction. See more fully Osborne, «Resurrection,» 933 (who adds to those above 1 En. 46:6; 51:1–2; Ps. So1. 13:9–11; 14:4–10; 4 Ezra 4:41–43; 7:32–38; 2 Bar. 49:2–51:12; 85:13).
Rahmani, «Glwsqmwt»; cf. Goodenough, Symbols, 1:164–77. Ossuaries belong especially to the Roman imperial period and the pre-Israelite Chalcolithic period (see Silberman, «Ossuary»). But Levine, Hellenism, 65–67, argues that ossuaries are irrelevant to belief in the resurrection (they could have adapted instead the Roman custom of secondary burial of cremated ashes).
Finegan, Archeology, 208.
Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 237; cf. Wright, People of God, 320–34; Schuller, «Resurrection.»
Some evidence exists in contemporary Egyptian Judaism, but Philo himself never mentions the doctrine (Wolfson, Philo, 1:404). The Samaritans мая well have accepted it, though our evidence here is late (see MacDonald, Samaritans, 376). For Rome ca. 100 C.E., Boring et a1., Commentary, 289, cites CIJ 1.348–350.
See Garte, «Resurrection.»
One might think that more factitity stands behind Paul's assertion in Acts 23than the narrative otherwise supports, but see also Acts 24:15.
Collins, «Apotheosis,» 97.
One cannot, however, cite the widespread use of crosses on early ossuaries, which probably are simply markings for the placement of the lids (Smith, «Cross Marks»). Is Gustafsson, «Graffiti,» more helpful?
See Rivkin, «Meaning,» 398.
See the review in Kennedy, «Resurrection.»
Ladd, Theology, 320.
On Mary's positive role in discipleship here, see Evenson, «Mary»; Grassi, «Leadership Roles»; on women in this Gospel in general, see comment on 4:28–30.
Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3:637.
Bede Commentary on Acts 12.13; Homilies on the Gospels (Oden and Hall, Mark, 247).
Blomberg, Reliability, 259. Matthew also abbreviates (two women, Matt 28:1).
Cf. Whitacre, John, 471–72.
E.g., Chariton 3.3.1 (though Chaereas intends suicide). The most intense days of the Jewish mourning period would still be in effect, but one close to the deceased might go to the tomb to weep there (John 11:31).
Cf. more certainly Justin 1 Apo1. 67; Irenaeus frg. 7. In Qumran imagery possibly related to a new creation, the dove returned with the olive leaf, and the earth was completely dry, on Sunday (4Q252 frg. 1, co1. 1, line 17; co1. 2, line 2, on Gen 8:14).
Vanni, «Giorno»; but note Strand, «Day»; Lewis, «Ignatius.»
Chadwick, Church, 128; Bacchiocchi, Sabbath; Hinson, «Worshiping,» 20; later, Athanasius Homilies (in Oden and Hall, Mark, 240); cf. discussion in Keener, Revelation, 87.
As early as L.A.E. 51:2, an emphasis on the seventh-day resurrection мая polemicize against the Christian eighth-day tradition.
Pace Cary and Haarhoff, Life, 344.
Grant, Gods, 40–41. It already existed in other areas, such as the northern coast of the Black Sea (Blawatsky and Kochelenko, Culte) or farther to the east (cf. Cumont, «Mithraeum»; Francis, «Graffiti»); it later spread widely in the Roman army (Daniels, «Army»; Gager, Kingdom, 134; Serban and Baluta, «Mithraism»; Koester, Introduction, 1:372–74; Burkert, Cults, 7, 42) but even then remained limited to particular parts of the empire (Frank, Aspects, 49–50; Nock, «Mithraism,» 113; Daniels, «Army,» 273; Bianchi, «Epilegomena,» 879).
Manns, «Christologie johannique,» thinks the sevenfold repetition of «Lord» in 20:1–29 provides an inclusio with the seven christological titles in 1:19–51; this is possible, but one wonders how many readers (and especially hearers) would have counted. Bousset's proposal that John omits the title because Christ's followers are not his servants in the Johannine community (15:15; Kyrios Christos, 212) is utterly inadequate (cf. 15:20), especially in view of the abundant postresurrection use.
Cf. Dibelius, Tradition, 191, though he admits that, on Jewish presuppositions, a resurrection meant «that the body of Jesus had not remained in the grave,» and hence does not claim that Paul did not believe the tomb was empty.
Weeden, Mark, 102.
Boyd, Sage, 275.
Cf. death a month after a beating, due to swelled intestines (Philostratus Vit. soph. 2.10.588). Apuleius Metam. 10.11 cites a drug to simulate death (cf. also Diogenes Laertius 8.2.61), but his novel is full of magic herbs that can do almost anything, here accommodating the story line (cf. the similar plot device in Achilles Tatius 3.15–21; 5.18.2; 7.6.2).
Schweizer, Jesus, 48. For a fuller defense of the empty-tomb traditions, see Craig, «Tomb»; idem, «Historicity»; idem, «Rise?» 146–52; Ladd, «Resurrection»; on the bodily character of the resurrection, see Craig, «Resurrection,» 47–74.
See Boring et a1., Commentary, 162–63; Robbins, Jesus, 192.
Vermes, Jesus the Jew, 41.
Many scholars think that tomb robberies were common enough to warrant the fear (Kysar, John, 296; Beasley-Murray, John, 371); cf. Iamblichus Bab. St. 7 (Photius Bibliotheca 94.75a). Many tomb inscriptions threatened curses on tomb violators (Jeffers, World, 45); Cyrus's tomb reportedly bore the warning not to rob it, for it held little wealth (Plutarch Alex. 69.2). For the sanctity of tombs, see, e.g., Seneca Controv. 4.4 excerpts, introduction; Diodorus Siculus 17.17.3; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 8.24.6; 11.10.1; Appian R.H. 8.12.89; Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.58.
Cf. also Xenophon Eph. 3.8–9; perhaps Apol1. Κ. Tyre 32 (though cf. 44).
Stauffer, Jesus, 144–45, who suspects the question also stands behind John 20(where it is not clear), points out that the theory continued to circulate in later times (Justin Dia1. 108; Tertullian Spec. 30).
Lewis, Life, 96.
E.g., Apollonius of Rhodes 4.51–53; Lucan C.W. 6.538–568, 626; Ovid Her. 6.90; see especially the tale of Telephron in Apuleius Metam. 2.30; in other cultures, e.g., Mbiti, Religions, 261.
PGM 1.248–249; 2.49–50; 4.342–343, 1390–1395, 1402–1403, 2211–2217; 57.5–6; 58.5–9; 67.21; 101.1–3; these ghosts were more malevolent (Plutarch Cimon 1.6; 6.5–6). If Jesus' enemies considered him a magician (Matt 12:24), some Jewish leaders мая have even anticipated the theft of the body as in Matt 27:64. In less severe cases, tombs generally settled for divine threats against robbers (e.g., IG 3.1417, in Grant, Religions, 9). Both tying rope from a cross (Pliny Nat. 28.11.46) and iron pounded through the hands (Lucan C.W. 6.547) were used in witchcraft (as a superstitious cure in m. Šabb. 6:10; p. Šabb. 6:9, §2).
Grave robbing was not only impious (e.g., Plutarch Mor. 173B) but a capital offense (e.g., SEG 8.13, in Sherk, Empire, 52, §27).
Vermes, Jesus the Jew, 40. On Matthew's guards, see Keener, Matthew, 696–97, 713–15.
The term κείται was common for lying in a tomb; to merely sample some Roman Jewish inscriptions, see, e.g., CIJ 1:8, §4; 1:12, §§6–7; 1:14, §§10–11; 1:15, §§12–13; 1:16, §§14–15; 1:17, §17; 1:19, §20; 1:21, §23; 1:23, §28; 1:24, §30; 1:26, §35; 1:30, §42; 1:31, §45; 1:32, §§46–47; 1:35, §§51–52; 1:36, §53; 1:37, §§55–56; 1:38, §58; 1:39, §§62–63; 1:49, §78; 1:52, §79; 1:56, §81; 1:60, §86; 1:62, §88; 1:66, §93; 1:69, §97; 1:70, §§99–100; 1:74, §105.
Winandy, «Vestiges,» suggests this connection helps explain the beloved disciplés faith (20:8).
Marsh, John, 634; Beasley-Murray, John, 372; cf. Osborne, «Napkin,» who suggests that Lazarus was still subject to death (cf. the «veil» of Isa 25in light of 25and later rabbinic tradition) but Jesus was not.
Hunter, John, 184, arguing (undoubtedly correctly–cf. 20:19–but for the wrong reason) that Jesus' transformed body passed through his grave clothes (cf. also Salvoni, «Proof»).
Hunter, John, 184. Sanders, John, 420, argues that the point is that they are «laid out in an orderly manner,» not that Jesus' body passed directly through the clothes.
Schneiders, «Veil,» 96. Robert, «Suaire,» makes a similar argument from the Aramaic Targumim; but such an argument could at most address John's traditions, not his present Greek text.
Σουδάριον is not specifically technical, appearing among «toilet articles» listed in a dowry (Deissmann, Studies, 223), but appears nowhere in the LXX.
Whitacre, John, 473. For a description of the tomb in the early Middle Ages by a pilgrim reported in Bede Homilies on the Gospels 2.10, see comment on 19:38–42.
Sloyan, John, 222.
Cf. Koester, Symbolism, 36; Ellis, Genius, 8.
The plural in her claim in 20may reflect a plural in John's source (Kysar, John, 296, comparing Mark 16:1).
Beasley-Murray, John, 372.
Bruce, John, 385.
Historians often reconstructed what was most probable on the basis of information they did have, including a person's characteristic behavior. But it is noteworthy that the later apocryphal gospels usually fit the Synoptic tradition less wel1.
Early tradition stresses Peter's priority at least in resurrection appearances (1Cor 15:5; cf. Luke 24:34; John 21:7; Haenchen, John, 2:208; Dunn, Jesus and Spirit, 126), which Farmer and Kereszty, Peter and Paul, 46, regard as a pro-Petrine tradition.
That Peter and John appear together early in the Acts narratives (Acts 1:13; 3:1–11; 4:13,19; 8:14), as well as in the Synoptics (Mark 5:37; 9:2; 13:3; 14:33) and other early Christian tradition (Gal 2:9), мая support our hypothesis that the beloved disciple represents John son of Zebedee here (see introduction, ch. 3).
Börse, «Glaube,» recognizes that Peter believes here when he sees Jesus, but thinks John «corrects» the Synoptic tradition of the disciples' unbelief (Luke 24:1–11).
Barrett, John, 563, thinks ακολουθών мая subordinate Peter to the beloved disciple, given the term's Johannine significance (cf. 21:22). Swiftness of foot is a benefit in epic literature, albeit not always sufficient for survival (2Sam 2:18; Homer I1. 10.372–375; 16.186; 20.411–418).
E.g., Plato Sophist 221D; Aristotle Rhet. 2.20.4, 1393b; Cicero Brutus 93.321–322; see more fully Anderson, Glossary, 110–11, 121; the comment on 13:23–24. Comparing different authors provided a way to locate their strongest and weakest points (Dionysius of Halicarnassus Letter to Gnaeus Pompeius 1–2), so one could offer the best examples (Letter to Gnaeus Pompeius 6); one might even compare a single writer's best and worst speeches (Dionysius of Halicarnassus Thucyd. 35, end).
E.g., Philostratus Hrk. 27.1–13; cf. Xenophon Eph. 1.1. These did not necessarily denigrate the other (see, e.g., Menander Rhetor 2.10, 417.10–11 [citing Homer 17. 22.158]; Philostratus Hrk. 13.3–4). Running for a good reason could be praiseworthy; e.g., running to hear Torah does not desecrate even the Sabbatb (b. Ber. 6b), and one might run to greet a king (b. Ber. 58a) or to greet a loved one presumed possibly lost (Livy 4.40.3; Appian R.H. 2.5.3; Tob 11:9–10; Luke 15:20; other examples in Hock, «Novel,» 140) or because otherwise impelled by sudden news of a loved one (Apol1. Κ. Tyre 25). On physical prowess, see comments on 21:7,11.
See also Byrne, «Faith»; Talbert, John, 250; cf. 1Pet 1:8. Faith here refers to faith in the resurrection (20:25, 27, 29; Hoskyns, Gospel, 540).
The need to understand Scripture after the resurrection also fits the gospel tradition in Luke 24:25–27, 32,44–47 (Beasley-Murray, John, 373).
Westcott, John, 290, favors Ps 16:10, but no clues allow us to narrow down the range of possible verses. John 2could refer to Ps 69in John 2:17, but that is likely only if the entire psalm is in view.
See, e.g., Sipre Deut. 306.28.3; 329.2.1; b. Pesah. 68a; Sanh. 90b; Gen. Rab. 20:10.
A frequent rabbinic interpretive method, e.g., Mek. Nez. 10.15–16,26,38; 17.17; Pisha 5.103; b. Ber. 9a; 35a; B. Qam. 25b; Git. 49a; Ker. 5a; Qidd. 15a; 35b; Menah. 76a; Naz. 48a; Nid. 22b-23a; Roš Haš. 3b; 34a; Sanh. 40b; 51b; 52a; Sabb. 64a; Tem. 16a; Zebah. 18a; 49b-50b; Exod. Rab. 1:20; cf. CD 7.15–20; Chernick, «Application.»
Typical in Jewish sources (e.g., t. cEd. 3:4; Sipre Num. 1.4.1; see much fuller documentation in comment on 7:23).
Throughout this Gospel, δεί usually stands for divine necessity (e.g., 3:14, 30; 10:16).
E.g., Euripides Medea 928; Diodorus Siculus 17.37.3; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 7.67.2; 8.39.1; losephus Ant. 4.320.
Their going out in 20may be simply «to them» (cf. 7:50) rather than to their homes (NRSV; NASB); in 20they are all together.
Cf. Schneiders, «Encounter,» who argues that lohn presents Mary as the official witness of the resurrection, symbolic for the Johannine community (though her allusions to Song of Songs мая be more dubious).
Okure, «Commission.» Mary's testimony мая or мая not (cf. Maccini, Testimony, 240–52) teach specifically about women's testimony, but it prefigures Christian testimony in general, which implies the participation of women in that witness.
Sanders, Figure, 280.
Dio Cassius 58.4.5–6; 63.11.2–12.1. Josephus cites Jews' willingness to die for the law (Ag. Ap. 1.42–43).
Mack, Myth, 308. Likewise, against the unanimous witness of extant evidence, from earliest to latest, he supposes that the resurrection was a late myth originated by Christians not in Jewish Palestine but in northern Syria and Asia [Lost Gospel, 2). Evidence for early tradition for the site of the tomb, the largely Palestinian evidence for Jewish belief in the resurrection, the extreme unlikelihood of a Diaspora movement becoming more Palestinian or Judaized in the anti-Judaism of parts of the Greek East, etc., render his suggestion incredible.
See, e.g., Dibelius, Tradition, 18–20; Gerhardsson, Memory, 299–300; Barrett, Jesus, 1–2; Conzelmann, Corinthians, 251; Hunter, Predecessors, 15–17; Fuller, Formation, 10–11; Webber, «Note»; Fee, Corinthians, 722.
E.g., Dio Cassius 42.11.2–3; Lucan C.W. 1.11; Plutarch Cimon 1.6; 6.6; Achilles Tatius 5.16.1–2; cf. Thom, "Akousmata", 104–5, for the Pythagorean view. Deities also sent phantom images made only of cloud (e.g., Apollodorus Epitome 1.20; 3.5).
Sanders, Figure, 278. Some contended that the particular identity of ghosts was difficult to distinguish, since they interchanged their appearances (Philostratus Hrk. 21.1).
Although the second-century date makes the work's value here questionable, we мая also note postresurrection conversations of Jesus in the antignostic Epistula apostolorum.
Goppelt, Times, 18–19
E.g., Euripides Bacch. 42, 53–54; Plutarch Cicero 14.3; Aelius Aristides Or. 48.41; Apuleius Metam. 11.3; Achilles Tatius 7.12.4; Chariton 2.2.5; 2.3.5; Philostratus Hrk. 2.8; 18.1–2 (see further Maclean and Aitken, Heroikos, xxvi); reports in Grant, Religions, 9–13,123; in unrelated cultures, see Wolf, «Virgin»; Mbiti, Religions, 105–12 passim; for more concrete effects of angelic manifestations in Hellenistic Jewish tradition, see Tob 12:19, 22; 2Macc 3:24–26 (cf. God in 2Macc 3:30).
See further Bartsch, «Inhalt.»
Nilsson, Piety, 106; Diodorus Siculus 5.62.4; 11.14.3–4; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 8.56.1–3.
Cf. Grant, Gods, 66, 54–55,64–65.
So, e.g., Plutarch Cor. 3.4 (writing of the time of Tarquin, 3.1); or, less dramatically, the appearance of the Dioscurís stars (Plutarch Lysander 12.1; 18.1).
E.g., Schweizer, Jesus, 48–49.
Grayzel, History, 516; Bamberger, Story, 240.
Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi, 920; Greenstone, Messiah, 225–30.
Horsley and Hanson, Bandits, 182–84.
Somewhat similarly, Saulnier, «Josephe,» suggests that Josephus borrows the tradition from Flavian propaganda.
Tacitus Hist. 5.13.2–7 likely depends on Josephus War 6.288–315.
E.g., Aulus Gellius 4.6.2.
E.g., Lucan C.W. 1.526–557; most obviously, who reported on Charybdis (1.547–548)?
Lucan C.W. 1.572–573.
E.g., many of the portents listed in Livy 21.62.5; 24.10.7–10; 25.7.7–8; 26.23.4–5; 27.4.11–14; 27.11.2–5; 29.37.1–5; 29.14.3; 32.1.10–12; 33.26.7–8; 34.45.6–7; 35.9.2–3; 35.21.3–6; 36.37.2–3; 40.45.1–4; 41.21.12–13; 43.13.3–6; 45.16.5; Lucan C.W. 1.562–563.
E.g., Livy 21.62.4–5; 24.10.10; 42.2.4; Plutarch Themistocles 15.1; Herodian 8.3.8–9.
Appian C.W. 4.1.4 (43 B.C.E.); one of the portents in Livy 24.44.8 (213 B.C.E.); Caesar C.W. 3.105; Philostratus Hrk. 56.2.
E.g., Livy 24.10.11; 24.44.8. If I correctly interpret Livy's summaries, in some cases some reported seeing figures at another location when those present at that location could not confirm them.
E.g., Livy 21.62.1; Herodian 8.3.8 (though he concludes that it is credible, 8.3.9).
Livy 21.62.1; 24.10.6; 27.37.2; 29.14.2.
Simenel, «lean 20,» compares the position of the cherubim on the mercy seat, hence the tomb with the ark of the covenant; this is possible but мая be overreaching; after all, Jesus' presence was gone from the site.
E.g., Euripides Bacch. 112; Livy 27.37.11–12. Cf. the temple of Jupiter (Livy 40.51.3).
Plutarch Isis 3–4, Mor. 352C; Appian C. W. 4.6.47; Apuleius Metam. 11.10,23; Lewis, Life, 92; other worshipers of Io (apparently Isis) in Ovid Metam. 1.747.
Also p. Yoma 7:2 (paralleling heavenly priests); Pesiq. Rab. 33:10; Yadin, War Scroll, 219; cf. Exod 39:27–29; Lev 6:10; 16:4, 32.
Pausanias 2.35.5; 6.20.3; Pythagoras in Diodorus Siculus 10.9.6; Diogenes Laertius 8.1.33; Hipponax frg. 65; Ovid Her. 4.71 (Eleusinian rituals); Athenaeus Deipn. 4.149d; SEG 11.923, in Sherk, Empire, 58; Ramsay, Letters, 386; cf. the change of garments in Olmstead, History, 511. Cf. Rev 3:4–5, 18; 4:4; 6:11; 7:9, 13. Linen was not limited to worship settings, however (e.g., Indians in Arrian Ind. 16.1–2).
Naturally, Archelaus in Josephus War 2.1 could afford a special garment; one doubts that all comers (despite Ant. 11.327) had the same opportunity.
Cf. Homer II. 1.103; Ovid Metam. 2.832; Ex Ponto 2.5.37–38; 4Q183, 2.4–8 (possibly also 4Q185 frg. 1–2, co1. 2, lines 6–7); 4Q544, 1.10–14; 2.3–5 (both depicting the ruler of darkness); 4Q548, lines 10–15; Silius Italicus 11.548; Dupont, Life, 260. Black functions negatively in Aeschylus Sept. 832–833 (a terrible, «black curse»); Ovid Fasti 1.58 (inauspicious); Marcus Aurelius 4.28. Athenians used white ballots for acquittal, black for a death sentence (Plutarch Alc. 22.2).
Cf. Hesiod Op. 154–155; Aeschlyus Eumenides 745 (the Furies spring from Night); Ovid Amores 1.8.3–8 (night as the time for witchcraft); Philostratus Hrk. 33.6 (white associated with the sun god); Lucan C.W. 6.624; Philo thinks black the absence of light and white (Creation 29; Abraham 10). Ephraim Isaac, an Ethiopian translator of 1 Enoch, points out that in 1 En. 87white suggests the image of purity in Ethiopie (OTP 1n.) Against some modern assumptions, these associations with color derive from day/night divisions, not human pigment. White is associated positively with the spirit world in various traditional African societies (Mbiti, Religions, 73, 277; Isichei, History, 64).
In early Christianity, cf. Rev 3:4–5; 4:4; 19:8, 14.
E.g., PGM 4.637–638, 698–699; also an inscription in Grant, Religions, 16.
Also 1 En. 87:2; 90:31–33; 2Macc 3:26; 11:8; Jannes and Jambres fragments in P.Beatty 16; cf. the exception in late Pesiq. Rab. 20:4.
Also 1 En. 71:1; cf. Adam in Gen. Rab. 20:12. For angels' beauty, see also Liv. Pro. 16.2 (Malachi) (Greek §23: ed. Schermann, 73).
Jos. Asen. 10:8–9/10; 14:12; Isaeus Estate of Nicostratus 7; Lysias Or. 13.40, §133; Euripides Alc. 216, 427; Aristophanes Frogs 1337; Ovid Metam. 8.777–778; Valerius Maximus 1.7.7; Seneca Controv. 10.1.1, 4; Plutarch Alex. 49.3; Apollodorus Epitome 1.7, 10; Silius Italicus 11.257–258; Valerius Maximus 2.4.5; Philostratus Hrk. 31.9; 53.9, 11, 17; Herodian 4.2.3; Dupont, Life, 260; death is regularly dark (e.g., Homer I1. 5.22, 47, 310; cf. Homer Od. 11.32–33; death as «black» in Statius Thebaid 4.528; the Styx in Lycophron Alex. 705; see further the comment on 1:4–5).
E.g., p. Roš Haš. 1:3, §27; Ovid Tristia 5.5.8; hence the burial clothes of the righteous (L.A.B. 64:6; cf. T. Ab. 20:10A; L.A.E. 48.1; Apoc. Mos. 40.1–3; b. Ber. 18b; cf. Plutarch R.Q. 26, Mor. 270DE). Gregory the Great Homilies 21 opined that the angel came in white because of joy (Oden and Hall, Mark, 243). But people might prefer either white or dark wool (Seneca Nat. 3.25.4).
Culpepper, John, 85 (on the scenes in ancient literature, see 72–77; in lohn's Gospel, 77–86).
Homer I1. 4.86–87, 121–124; 5.127–128, 177, 183, 191, 461–162; 5.604, 784–785; 7.58–59; 13.43–45, 69, 215–216, 356–357; 14.136; 16.715–720, 788–789; 17.71–73, 322–326, 551–555, 582–583; 20.79–81; 21.284–286, 599–611; Od. 1.420; 2.267–268, 382–387, 399–401; 4.417–18; 6.21–22; 7.19–20; 8.8, 193–194; Virgil Aen. 1.314–315, 402–406, 657–660; 5.618–620, 645–652; 7.415–416; 9.646–652, 657–658; 12.784–785; Georg. 4.405–414, 440–442; Ovid Metam. 1.676; 11.241–246, 633–643; 14.765–771; Pausanias 3.16.2–3; Achilles Tatius 2.15.4; Apollodorus 2.4.8; 3.8.2; 3.10.7; 3.12.6; 3.13.5; Silius Italicus 7.422–425,435; Eunapius Lives 468; for ghosts, cf. Philostratus Hrk. 21.1 (the closest parallel to lohn 20:14–16 is Hrk. 21.5–6, it but мая be derivative). They could also disguise the appearance of mortals (e.g., Homer Od. 13.397–399) and become invisible (Homer II. 5.845).
E.g., Homer Od. 13.189–193; see more fully the comment on 8:59.
See Gen 18; Tob 5:4–6, 12; 9:1–5; Philo Abraham 114; Sipre Deut. 38.1.4; p. Péah 3:8, §3; Heb 13:2; cf. Luke 24:16, 31. Also Satan in T. Job 6:4; 17:2/1; 23:1; cf. Pesiq. Rab Kah. 26:2.
Sipre Deut. 47.2.8 speaks of the righteous as sometimes unseen but not in the sense of disguised (may be intended corporately).
One need not regard him as a custodian (Brown, John, 2:990). Suggit, «Gardener,» finds here Jesus as a new Adam; but in this Gospel he is likelier Adam's life giver instead (cf. 20:22).
The term is a NT and LXX hapax legomenon, but the cognate κήπος appears in 18:1,26; 19:41; Luke 13:19; and thirty-one times in the LXX; the use of κήπος in 19dictates the use of κηπουρός here. Cf. the sacred gardener of Philostratus Hrk. 4.11–12 (though it is third century C.E.).
Strachan, Gospel, 225, argues this on the basis of the term βαστάζω (cf. 19:17; but cf. also 10:31), but John uses αίρω for Mary's offer, which need not connote heaviness (2:16; 5:8). It is, however, intrinsically likely given the usual relative weight of men and women.
Stibbe, Gospel, 1, presses the parallel too far in calling it an inclusio.
The parallels should not, however, be pressed as if John expected his audience to catch all of them; to some extent, «Whom/What do you seek?» is merely language characteristic of the author (4:27).
Derrett's attempt to parallel her with the earlier Miriam who watched over Moses' infant body (Exod 2:3–8; «Miriam») is farfetched.
Most commentators note the parallel here (e.g., Kysar, John, 300; Quast, Reading, 133).
Gen 22:11; 46:2; Exod 3:4; 1Sam 3:10; Luke 10:41; 22:31; Acts 9:4; 4 Ezra 14:1; 2 Bar. 22:2; Apoc. Mos. 41:1; Jos. Asen. 14:4; T. Ab. 14:14; 15:1A; T. Job 3:1; 24:1; 25:9. Such doubling provided rhetorical emphasis (Demetrius 5.267; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 16:4) or endearment (t. Ber. 1:14; Sipra VDDen.par. 188.8.131.52–4).
Because she had already turned in 20:14, Schneiders, «Encounter,» 162–63, thinks the turning of 20symbolizes conversion (shuv; assuming John did not forget what he wrote in 20:14).
Over one hundred uses in Pauline literature alone.
E.g., Tob 5:10; 6:10; 7:3; 2Macc 1:1.
Sipre Deut. 34.5.3 (cf. 34.3.1–3); b. cAbod. Zar. 18a, bar; cf. Matt 23:8.
Burkert, Cults, 45.
E.g., 1Macc 10:18; 12:6, 10, 21; 14:40; cf. Curty, «Propos.»
Euripides Iph. taur. 497–498; Plutarch Many Friends 2, Mor. 93E; Marcus Aurelius 1.14; Ahiqar 49 (co1. 4). Cf. fictive parental language, e.g., Diodorus Siculus 17.37.6.
E.g., CPJ 3:41, §479; Diodorus Siculus 1.1.3. Cf. its use in a conspicuous display of hospitality to a stranger (T. Ab. 2:5B).
E.g., Abraham's words to Isaac in Jub. 21:25.
Gos. Pet. 12:50–13mentions women (plural) but begins with and names only Mary Magdalene.
This is not because it would be physically impossible, as some have argued; Jerusalem can be cool in апреля (18:18), and a rock-hewn tomb would remain cool (Craig, «Tomb,» 184).
Dalman, Jesus-Jeshua, 101. Taylor thinks the Markan chronology confirms the Johannine tradition here (Mark, 601); Jeremias observes that one could buy necessary food for Passover even on the Sabbath but pay later (Jeremias, Eucharistie Words, 77; m. Šabb. 23:1).
E.g., Pomeroy, Goddesses, 44; see comment above.
Discrediting opposing witnesses was a standard tactic (e.g., Cicero Pro Scauro 13.29; 17.38).
See, e.g., Josephus Ant. 4.219; m. Yebam. 15:1,8–10; 16:7; Ketub. 1:6–9; t. Yebam. 14:10; Sipra VDDeho. pq. 184.108.40.206; cf. Luke 24:11; Keener, Paul, 162–63; Baumgarten, «Testimony»; Hooker, Mark, 119. Ilan, Women, 227, thinks that in practice the non-Pharisaic legal system «often» required women's witness; even if this is overstated, women could testify concerning various matters, and some views of lQSa 1.10–11 suggest that Qumran was more open to the practice than Pharisees were (Ilan, Women, 163–66).
Hesiod Op. 375; Avianus Fables 15–16; Babrius 16.10; Justinian Inst. 2.10.6 (though contrast the earlier Gaius Inst. 2.105); Plutarch Publicola 8.4; Phaedrus 4.15; Gardner, Women, 165; Kee, Origins, 89. Many men regarded women as gullible (cf. Philo Good Person 117; Juvenal Sat. 1.38–39), and classical Athenians rejected adoptions or changes of will made under women's influence (e.g., Isaeus Estate of Menecles 1,19; Estate of Philoctemon 29–30).
Cf. also Maccini, Testimony, 63–97, who argues that their witness was usually proscribed in legal contexts but sometimes accepted and sometimes rejected in nonlegal contexts.
Vermes, Jesus the Jew, 40–41. Cf. L.A.B. 9:10: Miriam's parents wrongly disbelieved Miriam's prophetic dream (Miriam was a biblical prophetess).
Cf. Stauffer, Jesus, 151; Dunn, Jesus and Spirit, 126.
Thompson, Debate, 233.
E.g., Euripides E1. 569–581 (after the expectation of 274–281).
Sophocles E1. 1226; Apol1. Κ. Tyre 45. Given the difference in status relationship (e.g., Orestes was Electrás brother), Mary мая have grasped Jesus by the feet, as the women did in Matt 28:9; but this is unclear. Cf. Philostratus Hrk. 11.2 (a deceased hero not fleeing like a phantom); 51.13 (embracing the deceased's tomb; the same term clearly applies to an «embrace» in 54.8).
Antoniotti, «L'apparition,» intriguingly even if not fully persuasively.
E.g., Smith, John (1999), 378. Haenchen, John, 2even suggests a demythologized tradition in which Jesus had returned as a spirit but still awaited an earthly body.
See D'Angelo, «Note.»
As frequently noted, e.g., Barrett, John, 565–66; Holwerda, Spirit, 22; Michaels, John, 328; Whitacre, John, 476; see Blass, Debrunner, and Funk, Grammar, 172–73; Carson, John, 644.
Fowler, «Meaning,» prefers «touch,» arguing that Jesus warns Mary that the nature of their relationship must be different now. Derrett, Law, 440, suggests a Nazirite vow in Mark 14:25, so that Jesus' resurrection body must not be defiled by one who recently touched his corpse (Num 6:6–7; 19:16).
Schnackenburg, John, 3:318; Brown, John, 2:992; McPolin, John, 255; Morris, John, 841; Bruce, John, 389; Carson, John, 644; Whitacre, John, 476; Smith, John (1999), 377.
One could try to distinguish the prohibition for Mary from the invitation to Thomas by suggesting that Mary as a woman might be impure (Lev 15:19–30), but apart from lacking clues in the text, this position would violate Johannine thought about purity as well as about gender (e.g., 2:6; 4:9).
One might sever the first imperative grammatically from the following statement if one could take 20:17's γάρ as anticipatory («since,» for the following clause) rather than causal (for the preceding; McGehee, «Reading»), but Johannine style makes that suggestion less likely.
Bruce, John, 389; Carson, John, 644.
Cf. McPolin, John, 255.
Schneiders, «Encounter,» 165.
Witherington, Acts, 112–13.
This real presence was, however, stronger than the mere epistolary presence that such language conventions as «absent in body, present in spirit» could imply (1Cor 5:3; Col 2:5; 1 Thess 2:17; Isocrates Nic. 51–52, Or. 3.37; Seneca Ep. Luci1. 32.1; Achilles Tatius 5.20.5; Stowers, Letter Writing, 60; Funk, "Parousia" 264; cf. Diogenes Laertius 7.1.24; contrast Diogenes Ep. 17).
E.g., Homer I1. 12.15. The Iliad regularly predicts (e.g., I1. 21.110; 23.80–81) but does not narrate Achilles' death.
Homer Il. 6.403; 22.506–507.
E.g., Homer Od. 23.266–284.
Apollonius of Rhodes 3.64, 75, 1135; 4.241–245. Writing after Euripides, this must be expected.
E.g., Ovid Metam. 14.824–828; Diogenes Laertius 8.2.68; Phaedrus 4.12.3; cf. Euripides Iph. au1. 1608, 1614,1622. See more fully Talbert, «Immortals.»
See also 2 En. 67:1–3; Gk. Apoc. Ezra 5:7; more fully, Palatty, «Ascension»; Luke, «Ascension»; Tabor, «Divinity»; Begg, «Disappearance.»
Seealso Jos. Asen. 17:8, MSS; T. Ab. 4:5; 8:1; 15:11; 20:12A; 4:4; 8:1; 10:2B; cf. Jub. 32:20–21.
Because of Heracles' apotheosis, people searched only vainly for his corpse (Diodorus Siculus 4.38.3–5); Romulus «vanished» (Plutarch Camillus 33.7); other deified persons, such as Aeneas, also «disappeared» (ήφανίσθη, Diodorus Siculus 7.5.2; the term applies to Heracles in Lysias Or. 2.11, §191), as did Moses in Josephus Ant. 4.326. Boring et a1., Commentary, 163–64, also compare the first-century B.C.E. traditions of Romulus's ascension (Livy 1.16.2–8; Ovid Metam. 14.805–851; Vir. illustr. 2.13; Plutarch Numa 11.2–3), even by horses and carriage (Ovid Fasti 2.475–510; cf. 2 Kgs 2:11–18), and Job's children in T. Job 39:8–40:4.
Morris, John, 841.
See, e.g., Josephus Ant. 4.219; m. Yebam. 15:1,8–10; 16:7; Ketub. 1:6–9; t. Yebam. 14:10; Sipra VDDeho. pq. 220.127.116.11; cf. Hesiod Op. 375; Livy 6.34.6–7; Babrius 16.10; Phaedrus 4.15; Avianus Fables 15–16; Justinian Inst. 2.10.6.
See Keener, «Pneumatology,» 58–114; and Keener, Spirit, 8–26.
For one useful summary, see Bürge, Community, 119–23.
E.g., Holwerda, Spirit, 133 (who sees this as a distinctly apostolic gift, voiding the narrative of its prescriptive function); Carson, John, 648–55; Rossum, «Pentecost.» Acts separates the resurrection, exaltation, and outpouring of the Spirit temporally but not theologically (Acts 2:33; cf. Robinson, Studies, 166).
Turner, Spirit, 90–92, arguing that the verb cannot mean «exhale» and that Carson's view of the symbolic promise revives the view of Theodore of Mopsuestia, condemned at the Council of Constantinople (553 C.E.).
With Turner, «Spirit»; see also others, including Keener, Questions, 17–78; idem, Giver, 137–69.
See Chrysostom Hom. Jo. 86; Origen Gels. 7.51; Menoud, «Pentecôte»; Horton, Spirit, 127–33; cf. Ladd, Theology, 297. On the symbolic view, see Bürge, Community, 117–18, who notes, however, that it does not work on the level of Johannine theology. Barrett, Acts, 74, doubts Origen's view on quantity because «the Spirit is personal,» but this мая read later Trinitarian theology (or even too much of John's Paraclete) into passages that are more functional than ontological in description.
Turner, «Spirit,» 28–34, esp. 34.
See Bartlett, «Coming,» 73; Beare, «Spirit,» 96.
Cf., e.g., Beare, «Spirit,» 96; Lightfoot, Gospel, 335.
Hatina, «Context,» also employs Tg. Onq. and Tg. Neof. on Gen 2to argue for genuine rather than merely symbolic eschatological fulfillment here.
Because I doubt that the ascension-glorification is actually complete in 20(cf. comment on 20:17; this is a primary objection of Turner, Spirit, 94), the text allows a subsequent impartation–but I do not believe that the text by itself requires it; Jesus has already «gone away» and returned (14:18–20; 16:7, 16–22).
See further Jonge, Jesus, 174.
With Ashton, Understanding, 425.
E.g., Chevallier, «Pentecôtes.»
Turner, Spirit, 92–94, summarizes Brown's and other arguments for identifying the two.
One could also note that the disciples, by abandoning Jesus, have not yet met the condition of 14:15; but one could respond that their remaining together (20:19) fulfilled part of the command (cf. 13:34; 1 John 2:19; Acts 2:1).
Turner, Spirit, 94–97.
Turner (ibid., 100–102) thinks John sees the Spirit as a single «gift» that arrived in «two chronological stages,» yet denies that these need be paradigmatic for subsequent Christian experience. I see the possibility of subsequent experiences in Acts (esp. Acts 8:14–17; treated in Keener, Questions, 54–59, revised in idem, Giver, 157–68) but also doubt that John speaks to the question direcdy.
Jub. 6:17; Noack, «Pentecost,» 89; Le Déaut, «SāvÜ'ōt.»
E.g., Weinfeld, «Pentecost»; Dekor, «Bundesfest»; cf. Charnov, «Shavuot»; Potin, «Fête.»
E.g., Williams, Acts, 40.
See comments in Keener, Spirit, 193.
Cf. Swetnam, «Bestowa1.»
Cf., e.g., Strachan, Gospel, 228; Bultmann, John, 692; Michaels, John, 335. See more fully the evidence in Bürge, Community, 123–31.
E.g., Dunn, «Spirit,» 704.
Bürge, Community, 148.
Fuller, «Jn 20,» finds a historical nucleus behind 20:19–23 but doubts that it occurred on Easter Sunday evening. It is nevertheless interesting that early tradition in Asia Minor claimed that the apostle John celebrated Easter on 14 Nisan (as done probably earlier in Judea) regardless of whether it fell on a Sunday, in contrast to Western churches (Irvin and Sunquist, Movement, 79).
Black, Approach, 124, regards the peculiar «use of cardinals for ordinals» as a Semitism, which might (though need not) also indicate antiquity; but it мая simply be acceptable in eastern Mediterranean Greek in this period.
See Safrai, «Home,» 782.
Also Schnackenburg, John, 3:322.
Freyne, Galilee, 195. He attributes the lack of early Roman persecution of Jesus' followers to Galilean-Judean differences (p. 196), but is it not possible that they simply did not view Jesus' disciples as a threat (18:36–38)?
Safrai, «Home,» 734; cf. Aristophanes Wasps 154–155.
Cf. different views on the nature of the resurrection body in early Judaism (Ferguson, Backgrounds, 439–40).
Cook, «Exegesis,» 4.
E.g., Homer Od. 4.795–803, 838–839; Boring et a1., Commentary, 306, cites Hom. Hymn, Hymn to Hermes 145–146. Laurin, John, 258, speculates on «molecular displacement,» an image not likely to have crossed the minds of John's audience.
Cf. Tholuck, John, 452–53.
Witherington, Wisdom, 342.
Cook, «Exegesis,» 4.
E.g., Jub. 12:29; 18:16; 19:29; 21:25; Gen. Rab. 100:7. It appears commonly in tomb inscriptions as well (Goodenough, Symbols, 2:108).
For situation-appropriate words of «peace,» see, e.g., Tob 12(at an angelophany). On the efficacy of such words, cf. 1QS 2.9
Mbiti, Religions, 85.
So also others, e.g., Lightfoot, Gospel, 335; Haenchen, John, 2:210; Cook, «Exegesis,» 5.
Also Cicero Verr. 18.104.22.168; Seneca Controv. 1.4.2. Likewise, wounds could be displayed in corpses to stir indignation (Ovid Fasti 2.849; Plutarch Caesar 68.1).
E.g., Ovid Metam. 13.262–267; Fasti 2.696–699 (in this case deceptively); Plutarch Alex. 50.6; Arrian Alex. 7.10.1–3; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 7.62.3; Livy 45.39.17; Valerius Maximus 7.7.1; cf. Sallust Letter of Gnaeus Pompeius 1–2; Caesar C.W. 1.72; Silius Italicus 9.350–351; Valerius Maximus 3.2.24; or citing dangers one had faced, e.g., Aeschines False Embassy 168–169; Cicero Cat. 4.1.2; 1Cor 15:30. Cf. also bruises as marks of athletic exertion (Maximus of Tyre Or. 3.4).
E.g., Homer Od. 19.467–473; P.Ry1. 174.6–7; P.Lond. 334.6; P.Oxy. 494.31; Philostratus Hrk. 12.4.
E.g., 2 Bar. 50:2–4; Gen. Rab. 95:1; Ecc1. Rab. 1:4, §2; for very literalistic understandings of the resurrection, Osborne, «Resurrection,» 933, cites 2Macc 7:10–11; 14:46; Sib. Or. 4.176–82. This idea probably is assumed in Matt 5but appears less probable in 1Cor 15:35–44, 50.
Hilhorst, «Wounds.» See Virgil Aen. 2.270–279; 6.446,494–499; Silius Italicus 13.825; cf. also Philostratus Hrk. 10.2 (where a spirit appears the same age as when he died). Thus one might amputate a corpsés extremities so its ghost could not exact vengeance (Aeschylus Cho. 439).
Plutarch Caesar 37.3.
Tertullian Against Marcion 4.40, used Jesus promising his body as bread against the docetic view of Jesus' body as a phantom; cf. Luke 24:39.
E.g., Yamauchi, «Crucifixion,» 2.
Yohanan's skeleton from Givat ha-Mivtar confirms that legs were occasionally nailed in this period, as in early Athens (Stanton, Gospel Truth, 119; Brown, John, 2:1022; Brown, Death, 950–51; cf. Ps 22:16); piercing of feet was shameful even for a corpse (Homer I1. 22.396–397).
E.g., Seneca Apoco1. 13, applied to Claudius's arrival in the realm of Hades because he favored Eastern cults.
Menander Rhetor 2.3,385.7–8 (i.e., the rhetor greeting a city in which he arrives or an official arriving there).
E.g„ 1QM 17.7; Tob 13:10, 13–14; Jub. 23:30; 1 En. 5:7; 25:6; 47:4; 103:3; Pss. So1. 11:3; Sib. Or. 3.619; 2 Bar. 14:13; see comment on John 3:29.
E.g., b. Yoma 4b; Lev. Rab. 16(purportedly from Ben Azzai); Pesiq. Rab. 21:2/3; 51:4; Urbach, Sages, 1:390–92; see comment on John 15:11.
See Hubbard, Redaction.
On the agreement of diverse sources concerning the sending and mission, cf. Guillet, «Récits.» That John substitutes a Gentile mission for an earlier Jewish one is nowhere implied (see Martyn, «Mission»).
See, e.g., Mek. Pisha 1.150–153; on the Spirit and succession, see more fully the comment on 14:16.
Lenski, John, 1368–69, suggests that they will dispense Christ's peace.
E.g., Laurin, John, 261; Bengel, Gnomen, 491.
See our introduction, pp. 310–17; cf. also Barrett, John, 569.
Stott, «Commission,» 5, borrows the anachronistic language of «a trinitarian framework» but accurately captures the relationships in their Johannine framework.
Stibbe, «Return,» employing actantial analysis.
Cf. Kallarangatt, «Mission.»
Some taught that God commissioned Torah teachers to offer Torah freely as he did (b. Bek. 29a; Derek Eres 2.4; Dalman, Jesus-feshua, 226; Lachs, Commentary, 180; cf. m. 'Abot 1:3; Sipre Deut. 48.2.7; p. Ned. 4:4); in secular contexts, see, e.g., Xenophon Cyr. 8.3.3 (royal gifts).
Cf. Westcott, John, 294. On the usual punctiliar force of aorist imperatives, see Blass, Debrunner, and Funk, Grammar, 172–73, §§335–337.
See Hawthorne, Presence, 236.
See Keener, Spirit, 8–13.
Haenchen, John, 2:211; Sanders, John, 433; Dunn, «Spirit,» 703; Ellis, Genius, 293; Wojciechowski, «Don» (though reading too much from the Targumim, which is then used to connect John 20 with Pentecost); ÓDay, «John,» 846; du Rand, «Ellips.»
Cook, «Exegesis,» 8; Meier, «John 20:19–23.» On the Spirit and creation, some suggest also Wis 1:7; 12:1. Stauffer, «εμφυσάω,» 536–37, notes the association of the Spirit and creation in Ps 104[103LXX].
Turner, Spirit, 90–92, who also notes (p. 92) that Wis 15and Philo on Gen 2show God breathing his own Spirit at the creative event of Gen 2:7, suggesting new creation here (3:3, 5).
Also Philo Creation 139. The Spirit of God creates or builds creatures in Jdt 16:14; cf. God's gift of truth by God's breath (Odes So1. 18:15), etc. Witherington, Wisdom, 343, helpfully compares Jesus with Wisdom here (Wis 7:22–23).
Derrett, «Blow,» suggests an allusion to the Asian custom of catching the dying person's last breath (attested at times in India and farther east). One might add Roman examples (see Quintilian pref.12; Virgil Aen. 4.684–685; Ovid Metam. 7.861; comment on 19:30), but Jesus is clearly not dying here and the biblical allusion would be far more obvious, especially in view of the rest of the Gospel (cf. 3:8).
Perhaps the writer wanted to avoid the impression that Joseph could have kissed her for less sacred reasons at this point? The breath of life in magical papyri (PGM 12.237, in Grant, Religions, 46) мая be influenced by Jewish sources or common ancient Near Eastern roots; cf. Orphic Hymns 30.8. Greek deities could breathe strength into wounded heroes (Homer I1. 15.60–έμπνεύσησι; 19.159–πνεύση).
Philo Alleg. Interp. 1.31–32; more relevant for 1Cor 15:45–49. For Philonic exegesis of Gen. 2:7, applying it especially to the soul's immortality, see esp. Pearson, Terminology (he addresses the gnostic exegesis in pp. 51–81); for later rabbinic exegesis with the two impulses, see, e.g., Hirsch, Pentateuch, 1:56–57.
Gen. Rab. 14:8; Grassi, «Ezekiel,» 164. Wojciechowski, «Don,» also notes that God's breath in the Targumim on Gen 2brings the word, enabling Adam to speak, suggesting relevance for John 20and Acts 2:4; cf. perhaps also 1 En. 84:1.
E.g., Sipre Deut. 306.28.3; p. Seqa1. 3:3; Exod. Rab. 48:4. Rabbis also assumed that the Spirit implied resurrection in some other texts (e.g., p. Sanh. 10:3, §1; Gen. Rab. 26:6; cf. 1 En. 71:11). Philonenko, «Qoumrân,» parallels 4Q385 and the Dura Europos mural of Ezek 37:1–14.
If the traditions they preserve are early enough (which is uncertain), it мая be relevant that Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 2and Tg. Neof. on Gen 2both attribute Adam's gift of speech to divine insufflation.
See my discussion in Keener, Questions, 46–61; idem, Giver, 157–68.
See Hawthorne, Presence, 236.
In 4QNab 1.4 an exorcist «forgives» sins; but this мая only mean that he pronounced forgiveness, a prerogative Sanders, Judaism, 240, associates with the priesthood in the pre-70 period; the idea of being mediators of God's forgiveness appears with regard to conversion and disciple making in rabbinic texts (e.g., b. Sanh. 107b; cf. b. Yoma 86b-87a). Here it is associated with the bearers of the divine word.
Quast, Reading, 137.
With, e.g., Cook, «Exegesis,» 7–8.
Cf. Isaacs, «Spirit,» 405. Differently, Tholuck thinks the Spirit provides discernment of who is truly repentant (John, 454–55).
Most commentators acknowledge that all believers are in view from the standpoint of John's theology (e.g., Beare, «Spirit»; Smith, «John 16,» 60; Lenski, John, 1389; Wheldon, Spirit, 283–84). «Disciples» (20:19) certainly includes the Twelve (20:24–25), but its Johannine usage is broader; cf. also Morris, John, 844.
See Brown, John, 2:1044.
E.g., Fuller, Formation, 141, applies it to «the granting or withholding of baptism on acceptance or rejection of the kerygma»; Beare, «Spirit,» 99, applies it to both baptismal authority and church discipline.
Cf. Ladd, Theology, 118.
E.g., Beare, «Spirit,» 99; cf. Westcott, John, 295.
So Mantey, «Translations»; idem, «Evidence.» Metzger, Commentary, 255, regards the present and future tenses for άφίημι as possible «scribal simplifications.»
See Keener, Matthew, 454–55. Bernard, John, 2:680, notes that John lacks the rabbinic «bind» and «loose.»
See 'Abot R. Nat. 15A; b. Sabb. 31a; Daube, Judaism, 336–41. Longenecker, Paul 207, is, however, correct that Paul's strategy (1Cor 9:19) resembles Jesus more than tradition about Hille1.
Beare, «Spirit,» 97, on Bauer. Some accept its early character yet attribute it to early Christian prophecy (e.g., Fuller, Formation, 141).
Elsewhere in Johannine literature, see 1 John 1:9–2:2; 2:12.
E.g., Emerton, «Binding»; McNamara, Targum, 129–30; Dodd, Interpretation, 348. The term κρατήτε is not normal Greek, but neither has it been satisfactorily explained as a Semitism (Emerton, «Binding,» 327).
E.g., Claudel, «Parallèles,» affirms the relationship of the sayings but doubts their authenticity.
Emerton, «Binding,» 328, 330.
Ibid., 326. Feuillet, Studies, 24, suggests the same idea in less strictly Jewish language.
This would not be the case if one reads κρατέω here as «overpowering» sins where mere release proved ineffective (Seitz, «Bemerkungen»), but this interpretation is less likely (see Weidemann, «Joh 20, 23»).
E.g., Cicero Quinct. 25.78–80. Although 20:30–31 is technically John's concluding summation, sometimes a closing argument or summation could be a proposal that was onés strongest argument for the case (Isaeus Estate of Hagnias 50). A good rhetor should announce the topic beforehand, then sum up at the end (Cicero Or. Brut. 40.137), which John does in a sense in 1:1, 18; 20:28.
A group could retain its numerical label even if not numerically accurate, such as classical Athens's «so-called Five Thousand» (Plutarch Alc. 26.2, LCL 4:75) or more contemporary Roman «centuries» consisting of about eighty soldiers (Jones, «Army,» 194).
A widespread belief, e.g., Lucan C.W. 1.11; see further above.
See Charlesworth, Disciple.
See introduction, chapter 3, on authorship.
DeConick, Mystics, 77–85 (with Thomas replacing Judas as the fool; some later traditions мая have linked them, 74–76; but that мая be based on this passage). Gospel of Thomas 59 supports vision mysticism (pp. 86–108), but John emphasizes instead a faith mysticism (109–32), which «replaces the visionary experience with one of faith» (127).
So, e.g., Moses about Israel's calf in Exod. Rab. 46:1. Epideictic rhetoric could also be thought exaggerated and disbelieved «on account of envy» (Thucydides 2.35.2).
Epid. inscr. 3,4, in Grant, Religions, 56–57.
Ovid Metam. 4.272–273,402–415; see documentation concerning ancient skepticism in the section of our introduction about signs. Xenophon Cyr. 7.2.17 opines that Apollós oracle led Croesus to ruin precisely because he tested it, so demonstrating unbelief.
Aeschylus Cho. 219–20.
Β. B. Bat. 75a; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 18(here the interlocutor is a min); Pesiq. Rab. 32:3/4. Some rabbis claimed that Moses and Abraham never doubted God (Sipra Sh. M.D. 99.5.13).
Haenchen, John, 2:211.
Probably adapted from the seven ages in some Jewish thought, climaxing with the seventh Sabbath age (L.A.E. 51:1–2; Apoc. Mos. 43:2–3; cf. T. Ab. 19:7A; 7:16B; Mek. Sabb. 1.38–43; perhaps also Jub. 50:9, but probably not).
Marsh, John, 648.
Brown, Death, 949, cites Pliny Nat. 28.11.46; Livy Hist. 1.26.6.
Brown, Death, 949, cites Philo Posterity 61; Lucan C.W. 6.547 (the cross appears in 6.545); Plautus Mostellaria 2.1, §360; m. Šabb. 6:10; Seneca De vita beata 19.3.
Dibelius, Tradition, 188–89.
Brown, Death, 949–50. Gos. Pet. 6:21; Ign. Smyrn. 1.2 also mention the nails.
Stauffer, Jesus, 152, cites Jewish accusations against Jesus of practicing magical resurrections, this also being a trick.
Apparent eating was sometimes visionary (Tob 12:19); for the strange nature of a demigod's eating, cf. Philostratus Hrk. 11.9.
Blackburn, «ΑΝΔΡΕΣ,» 193, emphasizes the distinction between Apollonius proving he has not yet died and Jesus proving that he has risen bodily.
The same factor мая account for Jesus' appearance here after a week, and Philostratus's report that Protesilaos appeared roughly that often (Hrk. 11.3), though there it is to provide regular gardening instructions.
For arguments that Thomas's faith is a positive model here, see Charlesworth, Disciple, 301, 307–8,312–13.
See Xavier, «Thomas,» citing also 14:5.
Also Cullmann, Christology, 308; Fenton, John, 206; Harris, Jesus as God, 127–28. A slightly smaller pneumatological inclusio appears in 1with 20:22.
For refrains, e.g., one in Catullus 61.4–5,39–40,49–50,59–60; and others cited in our introduction to the prologue (p. 338). One repeated throughout Catullus 64 (e.g., 64.333,356) appears in slightly fuller and more explicit form in 64.327. In the case of an incredible report, one should also save it for a climax, first establishing credibility along the way (Rhet. Alex. 30,1438b.4–10).
See Harris, Jesus as God, 105–29.
Hoskyns, Gospel, 548, with most of early Christianity, against Theodore of Mopsuestia. The conjunction of «Lord» and «God» and lack of vocative indicates far more than Thomas's vocative address of 14(cf. 13:25, 36–37; 14:8, 22; over thirty times in the Gospel).
Ellis, Genius, 296; cf. Deissmann, Light, 361; Hoskyns, Gospel, 548. See esp. «my God» and «my Lord,» Ps 35(LXX 34:23)
E.g., I En. 84:5. Bury, Logos-Doctrine, 77, cites the distinction between «God» and «Lord» in Philo Dreams 1.163; but the joint use in Philo Sobriety 55 мая be more to the point.
Among those who see allusions to Hos 2here are Hoskyns, Gospel, 548; Brown, John, 2:1048. An allusion would explain the use of the nominative κύριος rather than the vocative κύριε; the nominative has been otherwise explained as a Semitism here and in Rev 4(Foerster, «Κύριος,» 1086; cf. Blass, Debrunner, and Funk, Grammar, 81–82).
Brown, Christology, 188–89.
Deissmann, Light, 361, citing a North African inscription.
As often noted, e.g., Deissmann, Light, 361; Caird, Age, 19; Fenton, John, 206; Brown, Christology, 189. Cf. probable allusions in Martial Epigr. 9.66.3 (dominoque deoque); 10.72.3 (dominum deumque); already in 41 C.E. Eastern cities called the emperor του θεοΰ ημών (P.Lond. 1912.9; see further our introduction, pp. 178–79, 292–93).
See more fully Gloer, «Disciples,» 301.
Stressed, e.g., by Strachau, Gospel, 16.
Thus, e.g., in one tradition a proselyte is more praiseworthy than one born a Jew because he converted without the signs at Sinai (Vermes, Religion, 132 n. 13, citing Tank. Lekh-Lekha 6,63).