The Myth of the Metaphorical Resurrection: A Critical Analysis of John Dominic Crossan's Methodology, Presuppositions, and Conclusions
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This dissertation examines the impact of theological worldview upon John Dominic Crossan's scholarly reconstruction of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Chapter 1 introduces the centrality of resurrection belief in historic Christianity, and outlines Crossan's redefinition of the resurrection as a metaphorical parable. Chapter 2 examines the understanding of Jesus' resurrection throughout Christian history, focusing particularly on developments after the rise of deism. It concludes with an examination of Crossan's metaphorical conception of the resurrection. Chapter 3 begins with a personal and academic biography of Crossan. The key section of the chapter deals with Crossan's theological worldview presuppositions, and offers a preliminary indication of how his worldview directs his conclusions concerning Jesus' resurrection. Chapter 4 analyzes Crossan's hermeneutics and methodology. It begins with a survey of Crossan's early work in literary criticism before moving into his extra-canonical research. The chapter offers a substantial review and critical analysis of his triple-triadic historical Jesus methodology, arguing that its structure and operation are both influenced by Crossan's underlying worldview presuppositions. Throughout, the chapter examines how Crossan's hermeneutics and methodology influence his understanding of the resurrection. Chapter 5 considers the role of theological worldview and the resurrection of Jesus in the New Testament, the early church, and her opponents, with particular focus upon second-century Gnostic Christianity. It argues that Gnostic Christians did what post-Enlightenment Christians, including Crossan, have also done--redefined and reconstructed Jesus' resurrection in order to fit it into their existing theological worldview. Chapter 6 offers some closing thoughts about the relationship between theological worldview and the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. It insists that the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ as a literal historical fact lies at the center of historic Christianity. It suggests further that the resurrection-event transformed the theological worldview of Jesus' disciples and other early Christians, and continues to call for worldview transformation amongst those who would call themselves his followers today. This dissertation concludes that the single most important factor in Crossan's scholarly conclusions regarding Jesus' resurrection is his underlying theological worldview.