My article on the resurrection

A new issue of Princeton Theological Review is out, featuring my article “The Resurrection of the Dead: A Religionless Interpretation.” It is my first published foray into New Testament studies, featuring actual untransliterated Greek!

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6 Responses to “My article on the resurrection”

  1. david cl driedger Says:

    Thanks for posting this. I have a couple of questions and I get that part of the issue may simply be in the amount of space you used to deal with a massive range of ideas and texts.
    First, I am wondering about the usefulness of the phrase ‘the Holy Spirit is us‘. I get your qualification but does that qualification not hold true for many things that are only really meaningful in relationship to our subjective appropriation? Is love us? Is the devil also us? Or is the devil non-us? The list could of course go on.
    I was also wondering if you could expand on your notion of boundaries (or if it is expanding on in PoA I suppose it gives more reason for me to get it)? I don’t see the constructive side of boundary making in your piece. Is this simply implicit the shift towards us (taking responsibility . . . becoming ‘more’). Boundaries may need to be provisional but I think they still need to be. For this reason I think the priestly imagery of Pentateuch can be helpful in the necessity of navigating boundaries as they are maintained, transgressed, erased, and created. Anyway, just interested in any further thoughts as that image looms large at the end of the piece.

  2. Adam Kotsko Says:

    I’m not talking about subjective appropriation. I’m saying that “the Holy Spirit” is the community. Yet I’m also trying to argue that we shouldn’t regard the community as something reified and self-contained — if it has a provisional boundary, that boundary exists only to be overcome. I’m trying to make basically the same point I make through my use of Nancy in Politics of Redemption.

  3. Stephen Keating Says:

    Great article Adam. I have a somewhat tangential question that is related to your religionless approach: Without getting too bogged down in a fallacious pursuit of intention, I’m curious how much you think the tradition’s emphasis on the immortal soul and the transcendence of God are “native” to the text? It seems obvious to me that the former is almost wholly a neoplatonic addition to the original, while my thoughts on the latter are somewhat less formed.

  4. Stephen Keating Says:

    (Obviously, that should be textS plural, as presumably different texts have, at least somewhat, different theological ontologies)

  5. Adam Kotsko Says:

    I’d say the immortal soul is very difficult to find in any biblical text. Divine transcendence is an easier case to make, but not a total slam dunk.

  6. Brennan Breed Says:

    Adam, this is a bit off topic, but I’ve thought a bit about how your “social logic of salvation” is applicable to the Hebrew Bible, too. As Jacob Milgrom points out in his (enormous) commentary on Leviticus, the Hebrew Bible imagines that sin is a thoroughly corporate phenomenon, and atonement for the sin likewise has little to do with the sinner as an individual, and everything to do with the community. So when a person sins in Leviticus, they are to take an animal to the Temple and offer it to atone for their sin–people have generally understood this act to cleanse the sinner from the sin. But Milgrom notes that the purifying agent of the sacrifice is the blood of the animal (Milgrom calls blood a “ritual detergent” in ancient Near Eastern thought), and that this blood is applied to the altar in the temple, not to the sinner. The idea is that the sin has polluted the temple, not the individual. So when people sin – either communally or individually – the “filth” produced by the sin attaches itself to the temple, which acts as a “sin magnet.” That’s why ritual sacrifice has to happen at the temple. Worse sins penetrate deeper into the temple, so the priests had to atone for those not in the courtyard but inside the temple building, and the worst kinds of sins get their filth in the Holy of Holies (God’s bedroom) which can only be cleansed on the Day of Atonement. If the filth gets bad enough without being handled properly, God will simply abandon the temple, since YHWH doesn’t like messy houses. Of course this is a very different conception of salvation than the Christian theories you discuss, but the social aspect of both sin and its expiation might prove fruitful ground after you’ve mastered Hebrew.


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