Markus Vinzent's Blog

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Matthew Twigg: Review of 'Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity'

Matthew Twigg in his review calls the book an 'exciting and controversial study' and shows that 'the widespread absence of references to, and speculations upon, Christ's Resurrection in Christanity before Marcion, and even up to the close of the third century' does not need to face 'the accusation of interpreting absence of evidence as evidence of absence', as I can also show 'by examining texts like Tertullian's De Resurrectione Carnis and Athenagoras' On the Resurrection ... that even in texts defending a general resurrection of the dead, Christ's Resurrection was neither appealed to as a proof, nor mentioned at all.'
When Twigg mentions (and thinks I had downplayed) evidence like Barn 15:8 or 1Clement - then, let me state again, that the latter not only clearly knows of Paul, as he mentions him twice, so was acquainted with at least 1Corinthians, and still does not deploy its rich Resurrection topology, but instead refers to all sorts of natural explanations for the general resurrection of the dead and only hints at Christ's resurrection, and similarly, the long epistle of Barn focusses so much on the Lord's suffering and only once, in Barn 15:8 in a liturgical half-verse introduces it - but theologically it does not play a role in either of these two texts. So my intention was not to downplay something which is prominently there, but the pointing out that it has a minor role in these texts, especially if we compare them with Paul.
Despite his criticisim, Twigg writes towards the end: 'Overall, Vinzent provides an admirable and wide-ranging defence of a controversial thesis. I would certainly recommend his book to experts, for whom it will surely become a classic in its field.'

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