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JESUS RESURRECTION IN THE EARLY CHRISTIAN TEXTS: AN ENGAGEMENT WITH N.T.

WRIGHT*
Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus Vol. 3.2 pp. 197-208 DOI: 10.1177/1476869005058196 2005 SAGE Publications London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi http://JSHJ.sagepub.com

Larry W. Hurtado
University of Edinburgh Edinburgh, Scotland

ABSTRACT Wrights latest book in his multi-volume treatment of the New Testament and God reveals an impressive amount of research and reection on practically every topic. The size and detail of Wrights book make it difcult to do justice to it, and it requires anyone who engages it in such a limited presentation to select matters for particular attention. This is an attempt to contribute productively by offering critique of certain matters, particularly those of apologetics, Wrights portrayal of Jesus resurrection in the New Testament, metaphorical use of resurrection language, religious experience and devotion to Jesus, and variety in early Christian resurrection-beliefs. But the critical focus should not be misconstrued and the overall reaction is one of appreciation and gratitude.

Key words: resurrection, apologetics, religious experience, devotion to Jesus, N.T. Wright

Having given up his original plan to treat Jesus resurrection in a chapter-length discussion in his massive 1996 book on Jesus, Wright wound up instead producing a full book of 817 pages devoted to the topic, an unexpected further volume in his planned ve-volume programmatic treatment of the New Testament and God.1 Wright obviously found that he warmed to this subject! This is a vepart tome comprising 19 chapters, the coverage extending from views about postmortem existence in ancient paganism (mainly Greek and Roman), the Old Testament, post-biblical Judaism (one chapter each), through Paul (four chapters), other early Christian texts (three chapters, covering the rest of the New Testament, the Apostolic Fathers, early Christian apocrypha, second-century apologists, second- and third-century theologians, early Syriac Christianity and Nag Hammadi texts), further detailed studies of the Gospel resurrection narratives
* This paper is a revised version of a paper originally presented to the British New Testament Conference in September 2004. 1. N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, 3; London: SPCK, 2003).

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(ve chapters), and two concluding chapters in which Wright gathers up his ndings to make his key emphases. In all of this, it is also evident that Wright has done an impressive amount of research and reection on practically every topic. (In addition to the substantial discussion in this book, readers are referred at various places to one or another of 19 of his previous publications listed in the bibliography for fuller defences of some views.) The size and detail of Wrights book make it difcult to do justice to it, and it requires anyone who engages it in such a time-limited presentation as this one to select matters for particular attention. I shall attempt to contribute productively by offering critique of some matters. But I do not wish this critical focus to be misconstrued. An impressive amount of research work and sustained thinking is reected in Wrights book, and my overall reaction is one of appreciation and gratitude.

Apologetics We may begin this critical engagement, however, by asking a basic question about Wrights main concern and standpoint in this book. In his own sizeable book on the subject, Peter Carnley proposed that contemporary scholarly views of Jesus resurrection could be placed into three main groupings: (1) those espousing what he called the traditional view, that the resurrection of Jesus was a historical event of the past to which people have access primarily by the exercise of historical reason, and that a rational consideration of the evidence leads in the direction of the truth of the traditional Christian claim; (2) those who are far more pessimistic about the role of human reason and who doubt its ability to ground and support faith, and who may even deny quite categorically that human reason has a part to play in the structure of resurrection belief at all, Karl Barth a particularly inuential example of those who hold that although the resurrection can and even must be understood in objective terms as an event of the past, yet it does not yield to the techniques of critical historical enquiry; and (3) those who hold that the Easter faith of Christians is nothing more than a response based upon the historical life of Jesus from his birth to his death and not on any post-mortem occurrence at all, which Carnley calls the modern reductionist view (the prime example, D.F. Strauss).2 It seems to me rather obvious that Wrights book rather clearly belongs in Carnleys rst category (and I presume no objection from Wright in this judgment). It is, indeed, a very sophisticated, learned and eloquent instance of this Christian apologetic stance, certainly the most substantial and probably the most

2. Peter Carnley, The Structure of Resurrection Belief (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987), pp. 12-14.

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important contemporary articulation of this standpoint. In Wrights own words (p. 709):
I conclude that the historian, of whatever persuasion, has no option but to afrm both the empty tomb and the meetings with Jesus as historical eventsthey took place as real events [and] are, in the normal sense required by historians, provable events; historians can and should write about them. We cannot account for early Christianity without them.

Similarly, in summing up his stance against those whom he regards as misguided sceptics, Wright states (p. 717):
The question which must be faced is whether the explanation of the data [the empty tomb and the appearances] which the early Christians themselves gave, that Jesus really was risen from the dead, explains the aggregate of the evidence better than these sophisticated scepticisms. My claim is that it does.

Recognizing, however, the difculty of tting Jesus bodily resurrection into customary notions about what can or cannot be considered as possible, Wright sets as his aim to show that (p. 717):
the historical inquiry which we have undertakenought to raise in the minds of the Thomas-like questioner fresh doubt, doubt about doubt itself, doubt which might pause to consider the difference between inference to the best explanation (that Jesus was indeed raised from the dead) on the one hand and the alternative theories on the other.

If the limits of historical inquiry do not permit him to compel assent to his own position, he at least issues a challenge to those who hesitate (p. 718):
what alternative account can be offered which will explain the data just as well, which can provide an alternative sufcient explanation for all the evidence and so challenge the right of the bodily resurrection to be regarded as the necessary one? Historical argument alone cannot force anyone to believe that Jesus was raised from the dead; but historical argument is remarkably good at clearing away the undergrowth behind which scepticisms of various sorts have been hiding. The proposal that Jesus was bodily raised from the dead possesses unrivalled power to explain the historical data at the heart of early Christianity.

Another thoughtful apologist from an earlier century, Blaise Pascal, emphasized the importance of addressing the heart as well as the mind.3 To paraphrase Pascal, the apologist may be advised to try to make people wish that the Gospel were true before they will be prepared to consider that it may be true. So, in the interests of scholarly criteria, and in terms of Wrights own candid apologetic aim as well, I want to consider some features of his portrayal of New Testament references to Jesus resurrection, asking how adequately, and how winsomely,

3. This is a frequent theme in Pascals famous collection of notes for a major apologetic work (which he did not live to complete), Les Penses, of which there are now numerous editions.

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Wright conveys this crucial matter. Whether one does or does not sympathize with Wrights apologetic purpose, it is still a fair question as to how well he handles this matter.

Wrights Portrayal of Jesus Resurrection in the New Testament My rst comments about Wrights representation of New Testament references to Jesus resurrection are congratulatory and appreciative. I confess a certain personal pleasure in reading such a vigorous and eloquent articulation of exegetical observations to many of which I also subscribe. To choose one crucial matter, I agree that Pauls understanding of Jesus resurrection (and, therefore, the resurrection of the redeemed) was that it comprised a new bodily existence (albeit, to be sure, a radically transformed and eschatological body), the risen Jesus of the resurrection-appearances cited in 1 Cor. 15.1-7 being personally continuous with the crucied-and-buried Jesus. Therefore, although many New Testament scholars may demur, I also agree with Wright that Paul almost certainly believed that Jesus grave was empty, which seems to me the most natural way to take his reference to Jesus burial-and-resurrection in 1 Cor. 15.4. Wright cogently shows that the contrast between the sw~ma yuxiko&n (physical body) and the sw~ma pneumatiko&&n (spiritual body) is between bodily existence that is subject to decay and death, and a new/eschatological bodily form that is to be empowered, driven, and lled with the (divine) Spirit. He rightly complains that a dismaying number of English translations appear to smuggle into 1 Cor. 15.44 seriously misleading connotations of the Greek phrasing (e.g., the connotations in the NRSV contrast between a physical body and a spiritual body). I confess, however, that in the earlier chapters Wrights emphasis on the bodily nature of Jesus resurrection led me sometimes to wonder whether Wright made an adequate distinction between what the New Testament says that God did to the crucied Jesus and what we often see in episodes of the television series E.R.. But, if one reads further on, Wright makes it clear that Jesus resurrection was more than mere resuscitation and that it comprised a life in which the corruptibility of the esh had been left behind (p. 310). To cite another passage (p. 361):
His body had not been abandoned in the tomb. Nor had it merely been resuscitated, coming back into a more or less identical life, to face death again at some point in the future. It had been transformed, changed, in an act of new creation through which it was no longer corruptible.

As this is an important matter, I cite one further passage where Wright reiterates that early Christian belief about Jesus resurrection involved both continuity between the Jesus who died and the Jesus who was now alive and also a transformation in his mode of embodiment (p. 696).

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Interestingly, Wright holds that Pauls Damascus Road encounter with the risen Jesus was a vision which seemed to him at the time much like the biblical theophanies (p. 397), and Wright contends that Pauls experience was of a distinguishable nature from the resurrection-appearances that involved Peter, James, and the others mentioned in 1 Cor. 15.1-7. Nevertheless, Wright concludes that Paul believed he had seen the risen Jesus in person and that Jesus possessed a transformed but still physical body (p. 398). With the rst part of this statement I agree; although personally, to avoid a possible implication that Jesus resurrection involved a return to existence within the categories and properties of our familiar world, I would prefer real body over physical body in the latter part of Wrights statement. To cite another and related matter, I also agree with Wright (contra, e.g., Peter Carnley) that in 1 Corinthians 15 Jesus resurrection is both the assurance that a resurrection awaits believers and also the paradigm of what their resurrectionbody will be.4 In 1 Cor. 15.35, replying to the implicitly antagonistic question about how to imagine a resurrected body, Paul rst responds with a series of references to the variety of bodies already evident in the world that we know (15.36-41), the basic point being that even nature as we know it now hints at how a body can take very different forms. But the decisive statements about the nature of the resurrection-body follow in vv. 42-57, the four stated attributes imperishable, glory, power and spiritualcomprising key specic features of the risen form of the second man and of the image of the heavenly man (v. 49). These features are also to be borne by believers who, whether alive or dead, will be changed (a)llaghso&meqa, v. 52) when the last trumpet sounds. It seems to me entirely appropriate to read these Pauline statements in the light of another in Phil. 3.21, which still more explicitly holds out the prospect that at Jesus parousia he will transform (metasxhmati/sei) believers mortal bodies to be conformed to his own glorious resurrection-body. Other features of Wrights discussion are commendable. Wright properly emphasizes that bodily resurrection signals a high view both of God as creator of the world and of embodied personhood. He also offers some thoughtful reections on the social and political implications of resurrection-hope in the face of ancient (or modern) political tyrannies. But, although I nd much in Wrights wide-ranging discussion of Christian texts that is agreeable, in the interest of eliciting further discussion I want to focus on a couple of matters that give me pause.5

4. Cf. Carnley, Resurrection Belief, p. 233. 5. In the British New Testament Conference session (Edinburgh, September 2004) where the original form of this paper was given as part of a session focusing on Wrights book, he engaged vigorously the concerns that I and others raised. But his response served more to give the current scholarly context that he saw as shaping somewhat his discussion, and, in my

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Metaphorical Use of Resurrection Language The rst of these concerns Wrights representation of Pauline references to the relationship of Jesus resurrection to the present/earthly existence of believers. Wright rather consistently refers to metaphorical uses of resurrection language (e.g., pp. 271-72). But is this adequate? To cite an important specic case, does Paul merely use resurrection language as a bold and colourful way to describe and elicit certain behaviour? It seems to me that passages such as Rom. 6.1-14 indicate that Paul thought that Jesus resurrection-life/power really was already owing in and through believers, though the effects were provisionally limited and would be fully manifest only in the future resurrection-body. In the believers present mortal existence, the experience of eschatological resurrection-power was available within his or her spirit, the inward self where affections are formed and fed, and where moral/behavioural choices are made. Believers would have to wait, however, for this resurrection-power to make itself manifest fully in transformed bodies. That is, it appears to me that Paul saw the believers participation in resurrection as happening in two stages: the present bestowal of inward new life from the divine Spirit enabling them to lead transformed lives, and then at the Parousia a future completion of their transformation in new immortal bodiesthe redemption of our bodies (Rom. 8.23). To emphasize a related point, this present and very real availability of Jesus resurrection-power, this partial and proleptic dimension of resurrection-life, is mediated through Gods Spirit (which Paul can also refer to as the Spirit of Christ, e.g., Rom. 8.9), the very same power by which Jesus own resurrection was effected (e.g., Rom. 1.3-4; 8.11). For Paul, as I see it, the gift of the Spirit to believers is not metaphor but powerful reality of eschatological signicance and providing radically transformative enablement. In addition to various outward manifestations such as prophecy and other signs and wonders (Rom. 15.19; Gal. 3.5; 1 Cor. 12.4-11), the Spirit conveys new divine power that enables believers to exhibit freedom from their former bondage to sin (Rom. 8.1-4). In contrast with the option of continuing to live according to the esh, believers are enabled by the Spirit to put to death the deeds of the body (Rom. 8.14). Yet the suffering and futility of mortal existence continues (Rom. 8.18-21), on both a macro and individual level. But believers have been given the initial instalment on the eschatological power of resurrection, the rst fruits of the Spirit, and consequently long eagerly for the full enjoyment of eschatological salvation, adoption, the redemption of our bodies (Rom. 8.22-23). Though

view, did not really show that my analysis reects any serious misunderstanding of him. So, I reiterate the matters here.

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your body is dead on account of sin, your spirit (or the Spirit) is life on account of righteousness (Rom. 8.10). So I am puzzled that in this otherwise celebratory treatment of Christian faith, Wright represents the Pauline references to the reality of the Spirits liferenewing power as metaphorical use of language. Wrights portrayal, though perhaps more palatable to some modern sophisticated readers, seems curiously bland, even anaemic, and does not adequately convey the nature or cause of the excitement and the possibilities of transformed living owing from Jesus resurrection as expressed in the New Testament. Whether one shares this outlook or not, one should surely prefer that interpreters convey as fully as they can the full ethos of these texts.

Cognition, Religious Experience, and Devotion to Jesus This brings me to a related matter. I nd it striking that Wrights discussion is so heavily focused on early Christian cognitive phenomena, the development of beliefs about Jesus and the conceptual categories and language used to express them. He has surprisingly little to say about how rst-century Christians otherwise actually practised their devotion to the risen Jesus, and about the historical signicance of this. (In my experience, New Testament scholars are all too often somewhat allergic to the subjects of religious experience and devotional practices, but I am a bit surprised to nd apparent symptoms of the condition in a scholar who is also a serving Anglican cleric and bishop.6) Note, for instance, Wrights emphasis on cognitive matters in his sketch of crucial early developments in Christian faith (pp. 575-78). As Wright presents matters, in light of Jesus resurrection, his disciples saw decisive conrmation of their estimates of him as divinely anointed prophet and Messiah (a view which they had formed during Jesus ministry, the latter claim also the central charge on which he was executed). Early Christians then scrambled to pull together biblical texts to make the connection between Messiah and resurrection, an innovative move on their part made necessary by events, and which was the rst vital link in the chain (p. 575). Then, from that fundamental conviction, and through a process that Wright justiably nds difcult to plot, early Christians came to the further conclusion that in Jesus Israels one true god had not been merely speaking, as though through an intermediary, but personally present

6. I probe the importance of religious experience in historical understanding of earliest Christianity in L.W. Hurtado, Religious Experience and Religious Innovation in the New Testament, Journal of Religion 80 (2000), pp. 183-205. For further discussion of Pauls devotion to Jesus, see L.W. Hurtado, Paul's Christology, in J.D.G. Dunn (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to St. Paul (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 185-98.

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(p. 575). Paul and other early believers (e.g., Gospel of John, Hebrews, Revelation) developed the same insight in interesting ways (p. 576). As to how this novel conviction/insight arose and made itself so compelling to early believers, however, Wright simply says that we have little to go on, except in the case of Paul, for whom a different kind of meeting with [the risen] Jesus was involved (p. 576). The implication is perhaps that, for other earliest Christians as well as for Paul, experiences of equivalent power were crucial, but Wright expresses little interest here in pursuing the matter. His concern is almost entirely with resultant beliefs about Jesus and verbal articulation of them.
The main point to noticeis the way in which the early Christians determinedly spoke [emphasis mine] of Jesus, alongside the creator god and as his personal self-expression, within categories familiar from the dynamic monotheism of second-Temple Judaism (p. 577).

In the discussion that follows this statement on the same page, note Wrights use of terms for verbalizing faith. He refers to Second Temple Jewish use of various strategies for speaking [emphasis mine] about how the one God was both distinct from the world and yet also able to be present and active in the world. Various writers spoke [emphasis mine] of Gods word, Gods wisdom, Gods law, Gods tabernacling presence (shekinah), and Gods Spirit At a different linguistic level they spoke [emphasis mine] of Gods glory and Gods love, Gods wrath and Gods power (p. 577). New Testament writers then drew upon all this to express (verbally) the conviction that they had reached by other means: that Jesus was Messiah, and therefore the worlds true lord, that God had exalted him as such, sharing with him his own throne and unique sovereignty; and that he was therefore [emphasis mine] to be seen [emphasis mine] as kyrios, not only lord of the world, but also the one who makes present and visible what the Old Testament said about YHWH himself (p. 577). So, early Christians ransacked Old Testament texts about Gods presence and activity in the world in order to nd appropriate categories to speak [emphasis mine] of Jesus (p. 577). (Though not mentioned by Wright, and often overlooked by others as well, we should also take account of Old Testament traditions about Gods name, which certainly form a crucial category in the Gospel of John, to cite one important text, and which also feature prominently in devotional practices reected in our earliest evidence.)7 Wright insists that Jesus resurrection was the foundation for the Churchs speculations and claims about his unique status and role (p. 578). But how was Jesus resurrection so inuential? Wright

7. J.E. Fossum, In the Beginning Was the Name: Onomanology as the Key to Johannine Christology, in idem, The Image of the Invisible God: Essays on the Inuence of Jewish Mysticism on Early Christology (Freiburg: Universittsverlag Freiburg; Gttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1995), pp. 109-34.

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proposes a possible thought process, but I am not convinced that he has adequately explored what might have driven this thought process. Moreover, to be sure, the New Testament reects an amazing body of claims and honoric statements about Jesus that circulated widely in rst-century Christian circles. It is also true that these claims/statements essentially draw upon the vocabulary and categories of biblical and Second Temple Jewish traditions, though they also comprise some notable innovations in the way that these traditions are appropriated. But, as a number of scholars have argued over, especially in recent years, the most remarkable innovation in rst-century Christian circles was the inclusion of the risen/exalted Jesus as recipient of cultic devotion. For historical analysis, this is perhaps the most puzzling and most notable feature of earliest Christian treatment of the gure of Jesus. Yet Wright has scarcely anything to say about this, and I nd that curious. In the context of Second Temple Jewish concerns about cultic worship being legitimately directed solely to the one God, why did earliest Christians apparently feel so free, or as I would say, so compelled to include Jesus in their devotional practice/pattern as they did? If, as Wright says, Jesus resurrection essentially conrmed him as Messiah, the divinely authorized king of the elect and perhaps also of the whole world, how do we get from this conviction to the remarkable binitarian devotional practice that is already taken for granted as characteristic of believers, whether Jewish or Gentile, by the earliest of Pauls letters (e.g., 1 Cor. 1.2)? That is, how did Messiah Jesus so quickly and pervasively, and without genuine precedent in Second Temple Jewish tradition, come to feature in the devotional and liturgical life of earliest Christian groups? Granted, Wright notes that earliest understandings of Jesus resurrection included the conviction that God had exalted him to heavenly glory, at Gods right hand. But can the devotional practice of earliest Christian circles really be taken as a theological inference that ran along these lines: Jesus has been exalted to heavenly status (expressed in terms of Pss. 8.4-8; 110.1), so the only reasonable thing to do is to offer him worship? Are we to imagine some intricate process of logical reasoning and biblical reection that led Paul and his early Christian co-religionists to perceive the multiple possibilities of the word kyrios, permitting them to make a distinction between Jesus and God while also continuing to afrm Jewish monotheism?8 Or, as I am inclined to think, was the concern to avoid compromising the worship of the one God so strong, even with reference to the most exalted members of Gods heavenly retinue, that earliest Christians would have reverenced Jesus as they did only if they felt themselves obliged to do so, only if they felt that to fail to reverence Jesus as they did would have been disobedience to the one God.
8. The quoted words are from Wrights sketch of a putative mental process by which Paul came to reverence Jesus as he did (pp. 397-98).

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If this is correct, then that requires us to consider what might have produced this strong sense of divine mandate to which they must give obedience, even if it seemed blasphemous, especially to many devout non-Christian Jews of that time. And the best answer that I can offer is that, on the basis of experiences of revelatory force, which included inuential encounters with the risen Jesus, and related experiences such as visions of heavenly realities, and what early Christians took as divinely inspired insights expressed in prophetic oracles and odes, and involving charismatic exegesis of Old Testament passages, they were convinced that in compliance with the will of God, Jesus was given such reverence in heaven, and that their own compliance with Gods will required them to express a corresponding devotional practice on earth. But Wright often (though perhaps not always) seems curiously almost disdainful of religious experience. At least, that is the impression that I take from his several references to this expression, and his tendency to enclose it in scarequotes. As already noted, Wright grants that Pauls decisive encounter with the risen Jesus was a vision, an experience that Paul may have compared with biblical theophanies (p. 397). But Wright portrays the cognitive content of this vision as essentially that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, the son of god in that sense (p. 397), and Wright presents the other remarkable features of Pauls faith as basically the products of a fertile theological mind. Through a process of reection and prayer Paul discovered that he needed this phrase son of god to function in a new senseparallel in function to the other notions in which Jews had invoked the presence and activity of the transcendent, hidden God (p. 397). In Pauls breathtaking explorations into the one God of ancestral Jewish belief, every step he found in scripture, as he realized that Messiahlanguage [emphasis mine], when applied to Jesus, was capable of carrying, seemed indeed designed to carry, a new god-language, to be applied to the same God (p. 398). To use categories that Wright makes much of, in my view he comes close to portraying Jesus resurrection as a necessary but not a sufcient basis for Pauls devotion to Jesus, Pauls own reective abilities being the more crucial factor!

Variety in Early Christian Resurrection-Beliefs I also wonder whether Wright gives an adequate handling of the diversity of beliefs about resurrection in early Christianity. In particular, I wonder if he exaggerates the unanimity of early Christian views, and treats some versions simplistically.9 For example, he portrays Hymenaeus and Philetus (2 Tim. 2.17-

9.

Are variations in belief from bodily resurrection only late (cf. Wright, pp. 550-51),

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18; cf. 1 Tim. 1.19-20) as producing a late and novel distortion of previous faith in their putative view that the resurrection has already happened (a)na&stasin h1dh gegone/nai, 2 Tim. 2.17-18). But, whatever the historicity and date of these two gures and the nature of the teaching ascribed to them, Wright seems to me vulnerable to critique here on two counts. First, I rather think that interpretations of resurrection as essentially a state enjoyed inwardly and in the present may well have appeared much earlier than Wright grants. Is it so clear (as Wright claims) that the church-situation addressed in 1 Corinthians, in which, notably, questions about the resurrection featured, did not involve some who held the view that eschatological realities were already available, enjoyed and realized, especially among the pneumatikoi? The interpretation of 1 Cor. 4.8 with reference to Cynic/Stoic notions of the regal status of those who subscribe to the right philosophy has to ignore the wider context where Paul repeatedly reafrms future-eschatological hopes (e.g., 3.10-23; 4.5).10 Moreover, we do not need much time to elapse for radically realized eschatology to appear in early Christianity, particularly in Pauline churches. Indeed, it seems to me entirely plausible that Pauls own declarations about the present realization/experience of eschatological blessings contributed to this (inadvertently, to be sure). If Pauls converts heard him declare that if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (2 Cor. 5.17), and if they regarded the gift and manifestations of the Spirit as expressions of eschatological blessing (just as Paul taught), then is it so difcult to imagine some of Pauls Gentile converts simplifying Pauls more dialectical and complex eschatology by focusing on the signicance of present spiritual realities to the exclusion of images of future blessings that they found more difcult to accommodate? Granted, their pagan background may well have made them less disposed to appreciate any need for a future bodily resurrection to complement and consummate the inward (but outwardly expressed!) gifts of the Spirit that they took as indicative of their new status as spiritual and children of God. Further, I grant that any such simplication of what resurrection means was almost certainly a development from, and subsequent too, what I agree was the initial Christian resurrection hope of a full bodily resurrection. But my points here are two. First, secondary need not mean late. Second, such an innovation is not best
and are not Wrights use of terms, such as never, always (p. 552) and with one voice (p. 563), to describe early Christian beliefs, exaggerations? 10. Wright refers readers to an article by Richard Hays, but it hardly makes the case against realized eschatology in Corinth adequately: Richard B. Hays, The Conversion of the Imagination: Scripture and Eschatology in 1 Corinthians, NTS 45 (1999), pp. 391-412. Cf., e.g., Anthony C. Thiselton, Realized Eschatology at Corinth, NTS 24 (1978), pp. 510-26; idem, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NIGTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans; Carlisle: Paternoster, 2000), e.g., pp. 344-65.

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understood simply as an intrusion of some foreign element, but may be more adequately understood in historical terms as a development shaped at least in part by the excited eschatological outlook and the heated micro-climate of Christian religious experience of the rst century or so.

Conclusion As indicated at the outset, my comments amount to a highly selective discussion of some matters, which I have chosen to serve as points for further discussion that is sure to arise from Wrights provocative treatment of the resurrection of the Son of God. And I am reasonably sure, too, that Wright will happily continue to participate in the discussion with the liveliness, wit and erudition that he displays so admirably in this impressive tome.