Not even the intense drama and tragedy of Jesus’ trial, passion, death and burial can prepare one for the utter shock at what comes next in the well-known story: Jesus’ resurrection. The Gospels recount varying stories of the disciples’ astonishment and confusion as they encounter the resurrected Jesus.
On the road to Emmaus
The Gospel of Luke tells of one such meeting on the road to Emmaus. There is considerable controversy among archaeologists as to which among nine sites may be identified as Biblical Emmaus. In the first chapter of this free eBbook, “Emmaus Where Christ Appeared,” Biblical Archaeology Review editor Hershel Shanks puts forth Emmaus Nicopolis as the leading contender.
What did resurrection mean to the earliest Christians?
What did the concept of resurrection mean to the earliest Christians? In what ways did it evolve from—and depart from—contemporaneous ideas about death and the afterlife? Author N.T. Wright traces the origins of the idea of bodily resurrection to first-century Judaism in “The Resurrection of Resurrection,” the second chapter of this free eBook.
What does resurrection mean to us today?
And what about the wide range of modern interpretations of the resurrection of Jesus Christ? In the third chapter of this free eBook, “Thinking about Easter,” Marcus J. Borg questions just how literally and physically we should take the gospel accounts of the resurrected Jesus to be.
The resurrection in the Gospel of Mark
The interpretation of the Gospel of Mark in particular challenges Bible scholars because at least nine versions of its conclusion have been identified in 1,700 surviving ancient Greek manuscripts and early translations. In the fourth chapter of this free eBook, “To Be Continued…,” author Michael W. Holmes stresses the importance of piecing together the end Mark’s resurrection story.
The resurrection is a well-loved artistic subject
All questions of historicity and scholarship aside, the encounters of the resurrected Jesus with his disciples have been well-loved artistic subjects for centuries. A carved ivory plaque from northern Spain in the 12th century depicts two scenes: the meeting of Jesus and his disciples on the road to Emmaus and Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdalene outside the empty tomb. In the fifth chapter of this free ebook, “The Resurrection,” this intricate carving accompanies a poem by the medieval French bishop Marbod of Rennes contemplating Jesus’ choice of Mary Magdalene as the first witness of the resurrection.
Peter and John hurry to the empty tomb
The 1898 painting The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection by Swiss artist Eugene Burnand captures the next event in the resurrection story. The disciples Peter and John hurry to investigate the story Mary Magdalene has just told them of the empty tomb with the stone rolled away. “To the Tomb,” the sixth chapter of this free eBook, explains the disciples’ mixed emotions and the significance of the missing tomb in this evocative painting.
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