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The idea that physical death may not mark the end of an individual's existence has long been a source of fascination. It is perhaps unsurprising that we are apt to wonder what it is that happens to us when we die. Is death the end of me and all the experiences that count as mine? Or might I exist, and indeed have experiences, beyond the time of my death? And yet, deep metaphysical puzzles arise at the very suggestion that persons might continue to exist following physical death. Indeed, whether, and how, one can exist post-mortem will depend in no small part on what sorts of things we are and on what it takes for things like us to persist across temporal durations and other changes. These topics and their application to the growing collection of materialist accounts of resurrection are the focus of this Element.
Viability is a capacity an organism’s constituents have – the ability to engage in various such as nutrition in an integrated way. It is what makes things compose an organism and what makes an organism alive. To die is to lose that capacity. So things come alive by coming to be organisms, and they die when they cease to be organisms. But in theory an object that dies while it is an organism might later be brought back to life. Since dying is the loss of viability, and nothing is viable while nonexistent, any object that ceases to exist while it is alive dies. Nor may anything be a corpse while it is still an organism. Yet objects that die while they are organisms may continue to exist – they may become corpses. So the dead may exist. Personhood is a phase objects go through while they are organisms that can think. When you and I use the term “I,” we refer to an object that is currently both an organism and a person, but the property of being a person is contingent to organisms, and the property of being an organism is contingent to us.
Among the New Testament Gospels, Matthew most emphatically stresses the continued presence of Jesus throughout his ministry and with his disciples after Easter. This is despite sensitivity to the challenge of the cross and experiences of absence or deprivation. Structurally, the Gospel develops this affirmation in relation to the narrative of Jesus’ birth and incarnation, to his ministry, to the governance of the Christian community in its apostolic mission to Israel and the nations. Matthew never quite articulates how this continued presence actually works, whether in spatial or sacramental or pneumatological terms. And yet the emphatic correlation of ‘Jesus’ and ‘Emmanuel’ confirms that each is constituted by the other: being ‘God with us’ (Matt 1.23) means precisely to ‘save his people’ (1.21), and vice versa.
This chapter discusses critical issues involved in the interpretation of the Corinthian correspondence, with special attention to various responses to Paul and his claims to apostolic authority, to different understandings of the resurrection in the early church, and to the collection for the saints in Jerusalem and its significance for interpreting Paul’s larger ministry.
This chapter discusses the critical issues in the interpretation of Hebrews, including theories of the atonement and sacrifice more generally, the Jewish and Greco-Roman exegetical strategies the author employs, and the place of the resurrection in the author's thought.
This chapter contrasts the traditional Protestant understanding of justification with two rival ways in which contemporary exegetes conceive of the anatomy of God’s justifying act: the salvation-historical proposal of N. T. Wright and the apocalyptic reading of Douglas A. Campbell. Like the reformers, N. T. Wright understands justification as a forensic event. Unlike them, Wright thinks about justification primarily in ecclesiological and eschatological categories. Justification is to be declared a member of the eschatological covenant family. Douglas A. Campbell thinks of justification as a saving rather than a juridical account. To be justified is to be set free and delivered. The chapter argues that, on close analysis, Wright is not as far from Campbell’s position as is usually thought - not least by Wright himself. Wright’s description of what actually happens in justification goes far beyond a juridical declaration. On both the salvation-historical and the apocalyptic account, justification is centered on resurrection and thereby the result of an eschatological divine intervention.
Chapter 5 examines the problematics of the altered body in relation to the doctrine of bodily resurrection. Beginning with a scholarly and literary perspective, I show how theorists attempted to square the fact of bodily change with belief in the resurrection of the same body. In John Donne’s poetry and sermons, this conflict is both anguished and productive, yielding rich depictions of the body’s scattered parts and their heavenly reunion. Issues of embodiment surfaced in a refracted form in miracle accounts which featured the supernatural restoration or replacement of amputated limbs. The ‘Miracle of the Black Leg’ was one such account; this unique tale featured a saintly surgery in which a diseased white limb was replaced with a leg from a black corpse, prompting questions about whether that flesh could really ‘belong’ to its new body. Finally, I look to burial practices. Theoretical expositions of the body’s fate after death often contrasted with the way in which ‘real’ people chose to bury their bodies and body parts; the latter often demonstrates the flexibility with which they considered embodiment.
Offering an innovative perspective on early modern debates concerning embodiment, Alanna Skuse examines diverse kinds of surgical alteration, from mastectomy to castration, and amputation to facial reconstruction. Body-altering surgeries had profound socio-economic and philosophical consequences. They reached beyond the physical self, and prompted early modern authors to develop searching questions about the nature of body integrity and its relationship to the soul: was the body a part of one's identity, or a mere 'prison' for the mind? How was the body connected to personal morality? What happened to the altered body after death? Drawing on a wide variety of texts including medical treatises, plays, poems, newspaper reports and travel writings, this volume will argue the answers to these questions were flexible, divergent and often surprising, and helped to shape early modern thoughts on philosophy, literature, and the natural sciences. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
Origen here represents Christian notions of angelification, although brief consideration is given to antecedents, namely Clement of Alexandria and the Valentinians. Origen, like Empedocles, offered a cosmic story of fall and redemption. According to Origen, humans are “cooled” intellects whose natural state is to burn with love for God. A species upgrade is part of humanity’s evolutionary design, but it takes intense moral labor. Origen offers the most speculation on the nature of angels, the original consubstantiality of angels and souls, how angels and souls fell from divine Love, and the moral means of their return.
In contrast to the synoptic gospels and the Pauline letters, the author of the Epistula is concerned to present a coherent and comprehensive account of the essentials of Christian faith as he understands it. That is especially the case in the area of eschatology, which becomes increasingly focused on judgement as the text proceeds. Judgement is preceded by resurrection, and it is the resurrection and judgement of Christians that is most strongly emphasized. The judgement will bring about a final division within the Christian community between the elect (those who obey Jesus’ commandments) and the rejected (those who disobey), and the failure to challenge the inappropriate conduct especially of wealthy members of the community is attributed to ‘partiality’ and is itself regarded as disobedience exposing one to eternal punishment. Thus the impartiality that Jesus will display at the eschatological judgement must be anticipated here and now. A hardline insistence on strict retributive justice is maintained in spite of the disciples’ appeal to the divine mercy.
Chapter 5 describes the rhetorical and theological relationship between the Elijah/Elisha narratives and the greater book of Kings, both the Solomon stories on one hand (1 Kings 1–11) and the episodes dealing with Israel’s and Judah’s political demise on the other (2 Kings 9–25). It argues that Elijah and Elisha become the “hereditary carriers” of two theological concepts introduced through Solomon: the hope that children might surpass their ancestors in life-giving wisdom and that the temple might provide a durable paradigm through which to imagine Yhwh’s ongoing care for Israel’s land and people together. In this sense, Elijah and Elisha “prophetize” the Davidic promise of 2 Samuel 7, showing that Yhwh responds to sin with a power capable of reversing death. The chapter likewise maintains that a series of Davidic kings – Joash, Hezekiah, and Josiah – “re-royalize” the two prophets’ characteristic acts of resurrection and other forms of life preservation as depicted in 1 Kings 17–2 Kings 8. Because Elijah functions as their typological ancestor, these prophet-kings become the seeds through which Israel’s redemption after catastrophe might be imagined.
Chapter 2 presents a detailed study of the first major leg in the Elijah cycle in relation to its immediate context, 1 Kings 12–16. It begins by observing that Elijah functions as a theological icon rather than as a complete psyche on par with the protagonists of modern histories and novels. An agrarian hermeneutic applied to this same material illumines the text’s holistic interest in physiological healing (1 Kings 17), agroecological renewal (1 Kings 18), and social health (1 Kings 19). As a result, Elijah the Tishbite emerges as the prototypical ancestor of Yhwh’s preserved remnant, a prophetic community that the implied reader, too, is encouraged to join. In contrast to the political and theological disaster that the larger book of Kings narrates, 1 Kings 17–19 suggests that Yhwh raises the dead in multiple dimensions.
Chapter 4 focuses on Elijah’s immortality, the doubling of his spirit, and Elisha’s role as Elijah’s prophetic heir in the narratives to follow. On paradigm with 1 Kings 17–19, the Elisha narratives depict Yhwh’s renewal of Israel’s land and people together. Moreover, these stories suggest that Elijah’s paradigmatic vitality – even in the prophet’s physical absence – outstrips the theological catastrophe (1 Kings 20–22) with which it contrasts. Thus, as a rhetorical extension of the prophet’s non-death portrayed in 2 Kings 1–2, 2 Kings 3–8 communicates a hope for Israel that proves crucial to the book’s overall message.
In this book, Daniel J. D. Stulac brings a canonical-agrarian approach to the Elijah narratives and demonstrates the rhetorical and theological contribution of these texts to the Book of Kings. This unique perspective yields insights into Elijah's iconographical character (1 Kings 17-19), which is contrasted sharply against the Omride dynasty (1 Kings 20-2 Kings 1). It also serves as a template for Elisha's activities in chapters to follow (2 Kings 2-8). Under circumstances that foreshadow the removal of both monarchy and temple, the book's middle third (1 Kings 17-2 Kings 8) proclaims Yhwh's enduring care for Israel's land and people through various portraits of resurrection, even in a world where Israel's sacred institutions have been stripped away. Elijah emerges as the archetypal ancestor of a royal-prophetic remnant with which the reader is encouraged to identify.
Scholars have often cast puritans as doom-mongers fixated on an imminent and retributive apocalypse, but they were interested in the creation of the next world as well as in the destruction of this one. Writing about the millennium, the thousand-year reign of Christ’s saints prophesied in the book of Revelation, puritan authors evaluated the political and material means through which a new, improved earth could and would take shape. Since the Congregationalist church in New England did not have an official position on the subject, the writers discussed in this chapter (Cotton Mather, Thomas Prince, and Samuel Sewall) could use the millennium to explore the latest thinking about a broad range of topics, including the relationship between the soul and the body, the impact of the Fall on the planet’s orbit, and the geopolitics of global peace. Giving this speculative propensity its due corrects the modern tendency to see millennialism as an intellectual dead-end. While the authors in question believed that their predictions would (broadly) come true, their writings performed a function comparable to that fulfilled by the modern genre of science fiction: interrogating the limits of present-day life through visions of possible futures.
Locke was a mortalist, as he argued that the soul dies with the body. He thought that the resurrection of the dead will take place by divine miracle on Judgment Day, when the saved will be admitted to eternal beatitude while the wicked will experience a second, final death. He was also agnostic about the ontological constitution of thinking substances or souls. Moreover, he questioned the resurrection of the body, since he argued that our corruptible, mortal bodies will be changed into incorruptible, spiritual bodies at resurrection. Locke’s position on the soul and the resurrection of the dead implies that personal identity is neither in the soul, nor in the body, nor in a union of soul and body. In "Essay" II.xxvii (1694, 2nd ed.), he argued that consciousness alone makes personal identity. To Locke, the same self exists diachronically, in this life and beyond it, “by the same consciousness.” However, Locke’s “annexing” of punishment to personality, and of personality to consciousness, does not contradict his notion of repentance, for he saw repentance as necessary but not sufficient to salvation and, emphasizing faith, he believed in God’s forgiveness of the repentant faithful.
This article argues that the current predominant interpretation of the use of Psalm 16 in the speech in Acts 2, namely the ‘proof’ from prophecy explanation, as well as the few other models which have been advanced, are unconvincing on narratival grounds. Instead, it suggests that the Psalm is primarily quoted as a rationale to explain why Jesus rose from the dead and death could not detain him – namely because of his righteousness. The article concludes by submitting that this reading sheds important new light on the meaning of the resurrection of Jesus as a divine necessity in the early kerygma in Acts.
In this chapter, the author offers grounds for belief that, in the eschatological end, God will resurrect, transform, and include all non-human creatures and things in the messianic kingdom of God. Besides philosophical-theological and moral grounds, he appeals to doctrines of the “image of God,” the atonement, and the resurrection in support of this eschatological proposition. Next, he discusses recently offered scenarios of animals in Heaven. He focuses on the identity-problem of predation: will predators transformed into non-predators still be themselves? Finally, he offers his own scenario of God defeating Darwinian evil for animals by elevating them to a stature analogous to the exalted place of martyrs according to Christian tradition.
1 Cor 15.28 is often regarded as problematic for ‘divine Christology’ in Paul, because the Son's final submission to the Father is held to tell against his ontological equality with the Father. The current article argues that this conclusion involves a category mistake. The ‘grammar’ of Paul's Christology requires that we distinguish between what Paul says of and on the basis of Christ's divinity, and what Paul says of and on the basis of Christ's humanity, a strategy sometimes called ‘partitive exegesis’. The article evaluates recent solutions to this problem, warrants partitive exegesis from within 1 Corinthians, and offers a partitive reading of 1 Cor 15.28: the Son submits to the Father as the final act of an office he holds as a human, in order to perfect the human vocation of vicegerency over creation.
In the four decades following the death of Tsar Nicholas I in 1855, long-repressed cultural energies broke loose across imperial Russia. The Great Reforms of Alexander II, which began in 1861 with the Emancipation of Russia’s serfs, introduced transformative changes in law, politics, society, the economy, and the army. Creative endeavor also stirred. Freedom was in the air, and artists and writers imagined it for themselves and for the nation. They developed new content and forms of expression and assumed greater control over their creative lives. By the end of the century, literature and the arts had rejected the unitary model of state-sponsored patronage and transitioned to become free professions, although funding from state and Church remained important. Simultaneously, print culture extended outward to a growing public. Part I treats the meta-theme of freedom and order by examining the how the Fools and rebellious heroes of tradition were modernized and harnessed to the topics of the day. Issues of inclusion and boundaries surfaced as lines between and among the legal estates blurred and civic participation broadened. Publics and audiences for the arts transformed, and expectations about the roles of artists and the arts changed accordingly.