The exception is Mark. In 16:1–8, Mark reports the promise that Jesus will appear in Galilee, but has no stories of appearances. (Note that Mark 16:9–20, which does report appearances, is a later addition to Mark.) It is interesting that two very early layers of the gospel tradition (Q and early Thomas [see, respectively, Stephen J. Patterson, “Q—The Lost Gospel,” BR 09:05; and Helmut Koester and Stephen J. Patterson, “The Gospel of Thomas—Does It Contain Authentic Sayings of Jesus?” BR 06:02]) do not refer to the resurrection or Easter at all. Is this evidence for forms of early Christianity whose central message was not about death and resurrection? Thomas, it should be noted, begins by speaking of the words of the living Jesus; thus Thomas may paint to a community that affirmed the living Christ without mentioning (or emphasizing) resurrection/Easter.


The Bible reports several resuscitations: in the Hebrew Bible, the widow’s son of Zarepath (1 Kings 17:17–24); in the New Testament, the widow’s son in Nain (Luke 7:11–17), Lazarus (John 11:1–44) and others. Although these are sometimes called “resurrections” or “raisings,” they are in fact resuscitations: a person comes back to terrestrial life and will die again someday. See Jarl Fossum, “Understanding Jesus’ Miracles,” in this issue.


Referred to a number of times in the New Testament (Acts 2:32–35, 5:31, 7:55–56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; 1 Peter 3:22, etc.) as well as in Christian creeds. As a royal metaphor, “the right hand of God” suggests a place of honor and authority, and as a theological metaphor in the context of monotheism, it suggests participation in the power and authority of God.


As the story develops, Matthew adds guards at the tomb (Matthew 27:62–66; 28:4, 11–15).


John Dominic Crossan, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (San Francisco: Harper, 1994), pp. 123–158. The Gospels, of course, report that an exception was made for Jesus through the intervention of Joseph of Arimathea, a text that Crossan sees as the creation of early Christian scribes who “historicized” prophecy.


“See Acts 9:1–9, 22:6–11, 26:12–18. From Luke and not from Paul himself, the accounts in Acts are second hand. For references in Paul, see Galatians 1:11–17; 1 Corinthians 15:3–8; and probably 2 Corinthians 12:1–4. For a striking analysis of Paul’s conversion experience (his experience of the risen Christ) within a framework of Jewish mysticism, see Alan Segal, Paul the Convert: The Apostleship and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee (New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press, 1990), esp. pp. 34–71.


Matthew 28:16–20, with the risen Christ speaking the famous words: “Go ye therefore and make disciples. …”


Crossan, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, p. 197.