When this scared, frightened band of apostles suddenly could be changed overnight into a confident mission society then no vision or hallucination is sufficient to explain such a revolutionary transformation

When this scared, frightened band of apostles which was just about to throw away everything in order to flee in despair to Galilee: when these peasants, shepherds, and fisherman, who betrayed and denied their master and then failed him miserably, suddenly could be changed overnight into a confident mission society, convinced of salvation and able to work with much more success after Easter than before Easter, then no vision or hallucination is sufficient to explain such a revolutionary transformation…

If the defeated and depressed group of disciples overnight could change into a victorious movement of faith, based only on autosuggestion or self-deception –without a fundamental faith experience — then this would be a much greater miracle that the resurrection itself…

Any kind of deception is excluded in any case, be it the theft of the body, trance, or the invention of a miracle…

Dr Pinchus Lapide,The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Persepective, SPCK, 1984, p.125. He accepts the literal resurrection of Jesus yet remains a Jew. His attack is upon Liberal ‘Christian’ ‘scholars’ who say that Jesus rose “in the kerygma”, “in the hearts of his people”, or in the sense that his message goes on. To which this Jew responds:

But most of these and similar conceptions strike me as all too abstract and scholarly to explain the fact that the solid hillbillies from Galilee who, for the very reason of the crucifixion of their master, were saddened to death, were changed within a short period of time into a jubilant community of believers…

One thing we may assume with certainty: neither the Twelve nor the early church believed in the ingenious wisdom of theologians. Indeed, they hardly would have understood what the gentlemen of scholarship want to say in such a roundabout manner…

However, for the first Christians who thought, believed, and hoped in a Jewish manner, the immediate historicity was not only a part of that happening but the indispensable precondition for the recognition of its significance for salvation. For all these Christians who believe in the incarnation ( something which I am unable to do ) but have difficulty with the historically understood resurrection, the word of Jesus of the “blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel” probably applies. (Matt. 23:24 )

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