Title page for ETD etd-08302010-215954


Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Bosch, Pieter Barendse
Email pieterb@mes.org.za
URN etd-08302010-215954
Document Title Die opstanding van Jesus Christus : ʼn Histories-sistematiese ondersoek (Afrikaans)
Degree PhD
Department Dogmatics and Christian Ethics
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Prof C J Wethmar Supervisor
Keywords
  • apologetiek
  • mitologie
  • miracles
  • ebionitism
  • kerygmatic Christ
  • authenticity of the gospels
  • bodily resurrection
  • Christology
  • justice
  • verligting
  • wonderwerke
  • Godvraag
  • liggaamlike opstanding
  • dienskneggestalte
  • geregtigheid
Date 2010-04-22
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
AFRIKAANS: Die Christendom is steeds die grootste religieuse beweging en die ontstaan daarvan word aan die historiese persoon, Jesus Christus, toegeskryf. Alhoewel talle Hom steeds as Verlosser en Here aanbid, bestaan alternatiewe opvattinge wat Hom tot ʼn mens reduseer wat tot ʼn verhewe geestelike vlak beweeg het. Vir die mensdom dien Hy dus slegs as voorbeeld en is teenstellend tot die tradisionele beskouing eeuelank deur die ortodokse Christendom voorgehou. Navorsers wat hierdie oorwegend ebionitiese opvatting jeens Jesus huldig, beweer dat die Nuwe Testament verkeerdelik goddelikheid aan Jesus toeskryf. Die wonderwerke aan Hom toegedig – veral sy geboorte uit ʼn maagd asook sy liggaamlike opstanding – word veral sedert die Verligting bevraagteken of selfs verwerp. Die betroubaarheid van die Nuwe Testament, en veral die evangelies, kom dus in die gedrang. Die bewering word ook gemaak dat rasionele persone nie meer aan so ʼn argaïese boodskap gehoor kan gee nie. Dié Christus in die vroeë kerk se geloof en verkondiging verwoord, is dus nie dieselfde persoon as dié een wat in die eerste eeu geleef het nie. Die Christus wat tans verkondig word, het dus nooit bestaan nie en die werklike historiese Jesus lê agter hierdie kerugmatiese Christus versluier en moet daarvan verlos word.

Die ontstaan van die Skrifkritiek het ook tot die ondersoek na die historiese Jesus gelei. In die twintigste eeu het Barth, Bultmann, Moltmann en Pannenberg nuwere sistematies teologiese bydraes gelewer wat veral op die interpretasie van die opstanding van Jesus Christus gefokus het. Barth en Bultmann het hierin radikaal van mekaar verskil met eersgenoemde wat die belang van die liggaamlike opstanding van Jesus Christus, asook die leë graf as bevestiging daarvan, beklemtoon het. Met hierdie gebeure is Hy ook as die Seun van God aangetoon. Bultmann, aan die anderkant, het heelwat gegewens in die evangelies as van mitologiese aard beskou. Die opstanding is dus nie ʼn gebeurtenis in die geskiedenis van die wêreld nie en Jesus het slegs in die bewussyn van die dissipels opgestaan. Sy invloed het teologie-beoefening daarna drasties beïnvloed. Moltmann en Pannenberg beklemtoon die belang van die liggaamlike opstanding van Jesus as gebeure in die wêreldgeskiedenis en dus vir historiese navorsing oop. Beide beklemtoon ook die kosmiese belang van die Jesusgebeure.

Die brandpunte in die teologiese debat rakende die opstanding behels wonderwerke asook die belang van historiese navorsing. Die bewerings in die evangelies aangaande die leë graf asook Jesus se verskynings, is dus in die spervuur. ʼn Fundamentele vraag is wat tot die ontstaan van die Christendom gelei het, asook die bepaalde vorm wat dit aangeneem het. Die historiese probleem bly steeds dat Jesus Christus se impak op die wêreldgeskiedenis die afgelope twee duisend jaar ongeëwenaard is. Die paradoksaliteit hiervan hang met die historiese feit saam dat Jesus na sowat drie tot vier jaar van sy bediening op ʼn aaklige wyse aan ʼn Romeinse kruishout gesterf het. Die verrassende was dat hy binne ʼn paar dae daarna deur veral Jode as God vereer is en hierdie beweging het binne ʼn kort tyd duisende volgelinge gehad. Die deurslaggewende rede vir hierdie drastiese verandering was dat ʼn aantal persone vanaf die derde dag na sy kruisdood beweer het dat hulle hom lewend ervaar en met hom oor ʼn periode van veertig dae ontmoetings gehad het. Hierdie persone het binne sewe weke hierdie gebeure as sentraal in hulle verkondiging beskou en dit het tot die ontstaan van die Christendom gelei. Hierdie drastiese gevolg vra na ʼn buitengewone oorsaak.

Die tradisionele Christelike apologetiek aangaande die identiteit en betekenis van Jesus Christus as Seun van God is tot ʼn groot mate op die getuienis rakende wonderwerke in die evangelies, met die opstanding as hoogtepunt, gefundeer. Sedert die Verligting is die moontlikheid van wonderwerke egter bevraagteken en hiertoe het veral Spinoza en Hume bydraes gelewer. Die naturalistiese uitgangspunt het voorkeur geniet en daartoe gelei dat die moontlikheid van wonderwerke apriories uitgeskakel is. Die wetenskap het veral die Newtoniaanse meganiese ordening van die heelal aangehang. Aangesien wonderwerke ʼn verbreking hiervan is, is dit bevraagteken en selfs verwerp. Die betroubaarheid en die aard van die evangelies is dus aan die orde aangesien dit hierdie gebeure rapporteer. Die strewe na gelykvormigheid op alle gebiede in die wetenskap het daartoe gelei dat die opstanding van Jesus apriories uitgeskakel is aangesien ons tans geen ervaring het van dooie mense wat opstaan nie. Gevolglik is die evangelies histories onbetroubaar en heelwat gegewens daarin as van mitologiese aard beskou.

Geskiedenis word egter deur onvoorspelbaarheid gekenmerk en uit die rapportering in die evangelies blyk die opstanding van Jesus Christus histories te wees. Die Joodse wêreldbeskouing waarbinne hierdie Jesusgebeure plaasgevind het, word juis deur God se optrede in die eskiedenis gekenmerk. Aangesien die opstanding as historiese gebeurtenis oorgedra word, blyk dit vir ondersoek oop te wees. Die literêre aard van die evangelies vergelyk met dié van Grieks-Romeinse biografieë van daardie tydperk – al is hulle met teologiese en kerugmatiese aspekte vermeng. Aangesien die Nuwe Testament en spesifiek die evangelieverhale in die Joodse wêreldbeeld veranker is, blyk die historiese betroubaarheid daarvan voorop te wees en rapporteer hulle dié Jesus van die geskiedenis. Veral die ooggetuie-aard daarvan, asook nabyheid aan die gebeure, maak hierdie dokumente betroubaar.

Die opstandingsparadigma het met verloop van tyd in die Joodse gedagtegang ontwikkel en het deurentyd met liggaamlikheid te make gehad. Die Skepper- en Verbondsgod is lief vir sy skepping en algaande het die opvatting posgevat dat Hy nie sou toelaat dat sy skepping en veral die mense met wie Hy in ʼn verhouding getree het, tot niet sou gaan nie. Die term “opstanding” het in die eerste eeu vir beide Jood asook heiden liggaamlikheid beteken. Laasgenoemde het liggaamlike opstanding egter as onmoontlik beskou, maar die vroegste Christene, wat veral uit die Judaïsme gekom het, het dit aangaande Jesus Christus gesê. Met hul opmerking: “Hy is op die derde dag opgewek,” is die liggaamlike interpretasie voorop en laat reg aan die opstandingsverhale in die evangelies geskied.

Die direkte, oftewel spesifieke, historiese getuienis rakende die opstanding van Jesus Christus fokus op die leë graf, asook die ontmoetings wat talle persone daarna met Jesus gehad het. Hulle het Hom opnuut lewend ervaar, alhoewel sy liggaam verandering ondergaan het. Die eerste Christene was egter nie op hierdie gebeure voorberei nie. Enige alternatiewe verklarings vir die leë graf asook ontmoetings daarna, lei tot allerlei ingewikkelde hipoteses wat die historiese gebeure nie op koherent eenvoudige wyse verklaar nie. Van belang, egter, is dat enige historiese ondersoek nie met absolute sekerheid nie, maar met waarskynlikheid gepaardgaan.

Die indirekte historiese getuienis (omstandigheidsgetuienis) aangaande die opstanding van Jesus Christus het onder andere met die verandering van die eerste dissipels, asook die ontstaan van die Christendom te make. Joodse tradisies wat vir eeue gekoester en van lewensbelang beskou is, het binne ʼn kort tyd onder die eerste Christene, meestal Jode, drasties verander. ʼn Hoë Christologie het ook vroeg sy beslag gekry en die Nuwe Testament reflekteer hierdie teologiese benadering tot Jesus Christus as Logos en dus deel van die Drie-eenheid – veral die vroeë formule in 1 Korintiërs 15:3-7 onderstreep dit. Jesus se sterwe is ook op hierdie vroeë stadium as soteriologies aangedui. Verdere omstandigheidsgetuienis behels die herdefiniëring van die Joodse messiaanse verwagting asook die Joodse Godbeskouing. In Jesus het die God van Israel en die kosmos tussen sy skepsele kom woon.

Gefundeerde historiese opstandingsnavorsing is tans van fundamentele belang en lei tot identifisering van die historiese Jesus. Dit identifiseer Hom ook as die vertrekpunt en historiese verwysing rakende die Godvraag. Met sy opstanding het Jesus die nuwe skepping en God se koninkryk ingelei wat die vernietiging van die dood impliseer. Die soteriologie sluit ook die totale materiële werklikheid in en die liggaamlike opstanding van Jesus beklemtoon dit juis.

Die opstanding van Jesus Christus is koherent met ʼn Christelik-teïstiese wêreldbeskouing en lei noodwendig tot die herdefiniëring van enige wêreldbeskouing. Die Christosentriese benadering tot God toon ook God se aard aan ons. Veral die dienskneggestalte, asook die beoefening van geregtigheid, was by Hom voorop en toon aan dat navolging van Hom hieraan voorkeur behoort te gee. Hiermee word die navolging van Christus gekonkretiseer en die Heilige Gees speel hierin ʼn fundamentele rol. Verwondering en sinvolheid van die lewe word deur die opstanding van Jesus Christus daargestel.

Die opstanding van Jesus bied dus ʼn fundamentele uitdaging aan enige wêreldbeskouing aangesien die mees aanvaarbare historiese verklaring vir hierdie gebeurtenis is dat Jesus liggaamlik uit die dood opgestaan het – dus ‘n unieke gebeurtenis van fundamentele en kosmiese belang. Die hipotese dat Jesus van Nasaret uit die dood opgewek is, was in die eerste eeu net so kontroversieel as tans en word nie slegs deur die moderne mens bevraagteken nie. Dit verskaf egter die mees koherente en bevredigende verklaring vir die ontstaan van die Christendom asook die spesifieke vorm wat dit aangeneem het.

ENGLISH: Christianity remains the largest religious movement and its origin is ascribed to the historical person of Jesus Christ. Although many still worship him as Saviour and Lord, alternative viewpoints reduce him to a mere human being that evolved to a highly developed spiritual plane. To humankind he is therefore nothing more than an example and contradicts the traditional viewpoint held by orthodox Christianity throughout the centuries. Researchers subscribing to this ebionitical viewpoint, is of the opinion that the New Testament wrongly depicts him as God. Since the Enlightenment, especially the miracles ascribed to him – his virginal conception and bodily resurrection – are questioned, or plainly rejected. The reliability of the New Testament, and the gospels specifically, is questioned. It is maintained that a rational person can no more adhere to such an archaic message. Therefore, the Christ of the early faith and proclamation of the church, is not the same person who lived in the first century. The Christ presently proclaimed thus never existed and the real historical Jesus should be released from captivity.

The commencement of Scriptural criticism led to the search for the historical Jesus. In the twentieth century Barth, Bultmann, Moltmann and Pannenberg produced newer systematic theological contributions that focused on the interpretation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this regard Barth and Bultmann differ substantially. Barth emphasises the importance of the bodily resurrection as well as the empty tomb of Jesus Christ as its corroboration, thereby confirming Him as the Son of God. Bultmann, on the other hand, regards much of the gospels as mythology. The resurrection, therefore, is not an event in the history of the world and Jesus only arose in the minds and memories of the apostles. Bultmann had an immense influence on theological research in the twentieth century. Moltmann and Pannenberg emphasise the importance of the bodily resurrection of Jesus as an event in world history and thus open to historical verification. Both emphasise the cosmic importance of the Jesus event.

The issues in the theological debate regarding the resurrection are miracles and the importance of historical research thereof. The assertions in the gospels regarding the empty tomb and Jesus’ appearances are under scrutiny. A fundamental question is what led to the origin of Christianity as well as its specific features. The historical problem remains that the impact Jesus Christ made on world history the past two thousand years, is without parallel. Paradoxically it coheres with the historical fact that Jesus, after two to three years of ministry, was crucified by the Romans. The amazing development, however, is that within a few days mostly Jews worshipped him as God and within a short time this movement grew to multitudes praying to Jesus. The reason for this dramatic change was the announcement by a few people that on the third day after his crucifixion they had experiences of Jesus being alive and this continued for forty days. Within seven weeks these people announced this event as central to their faith and praxis and led to the origin of Christianity. Such a drastic effect cries out for a drastic cause.

The traditional Christian apologetic regarding the identity and meaning of Jesus Christ as the Son of God is to a great extent founded on miracles in the gospels with the resurrection as the ultimate example thereof. Since the Enlightenment the possibility of miracles were questioned and Spinoza, as well as Hume, played a role in this. The naturalistic viewpoint enjoyed preference and led to the prior exclusion of miracles. The Newtonian mechanical ordering of the universe was the chosen scientific paradigm. Due to the fact that miracles represent a violation thereof, it was questioned and even rejected. Thereby the reliability as well as the nature of the gospels are questioned because they report these events. The quest towards uniformity in all aspects of science led to the prior exclusion of the resurrection of Jesus because of the contemporary lack of experience of deceased people rising from the dead. Therefore the gospels are regarded as later additions to the historical Jesus and interpreted as mythology.

History is contingent and the gospels report the resurrection of Jesus as historical. The Jewish worldview that provided the setting for the events surrounding Jesus, had fundamentally been moulded by God’s involvement in history. Because the resurrection is reported as an historical event, it is open to research. The literary character of the gospels resembles biographies of that time although mixed with theological and kerygmatic aspects. Due to the fact that the New Testament, and specifically the gospels, are rooted in the Jewish worldview it seems that their historical reliability is above question and they represent the Jesus of history. Their eyewitness testimony and nearness to the events, specifically, establish these documents as reliable. Jesus’ selfconsciousness also comes to the fore and contributes to the religious-historical context that signifies the high probability of the bodily resurrection and meaningfully explains it.

The resurrection paradigm developed in the Jewish mindset over time and had to do with corporeality. The Creator and God of the covenant loves his creation and the viewpoint gradually developed that He would not allow his creation, and especially the people to whom He relates, to perish. “Resurrection” in the first century to both Jew and gentile had to do with bodies. The gentiles regarded bodily resurrection as impossible, but the earliest Christians – mostly Jews – proclaimed it regarding Jesus. With their remark: “He is risen on the third day,” corporeality was foremost and reflected the resurrection narratives in the gospels.

The direct, or specific historical witness regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ, focuses on the empty tomb, as well as meetings with Jesus following the discovery of the empty tomb. They experienced him alive again, although his body had changed. The first Christians were not prepared for these events. Any alternative explanation for the empty tomb and meetings afterwards, leads to complicated hypotheses that do not reflect the historical events in a coherent and simple way. Of importance, however, is that historical research does not lead to absolute certainty but probability.

The indirect historical evidence (circumstantial evidence) regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ, focuses on the change the first disciples underwent, as well as the origin of Christianity. Jewish tradition for centuries regarded as of fundamental and life importance, changed dramatically within a short time period amongst Christians, mostly Jews. A high Christology developed within a very short time and the New Testament reflects this theological viewpoint with regard to Jesus Christ as Logos and thus part of the Trinity. The early formula in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 highlights this. At an early stage Jesus’ death was also indicated to be of soteriological nature. Further circumstantial evidence consists of the redefinition of the Jewish messianic expectation as well as the Jewish view about God. In Jesus the God of Israel and the cosmos came to dwell amongst his creatures.

Thorough historical research is of fundamental importance and leads to identifying the historical Jesus. This establishes him as the historical reference point regarding the question about God. With his resurrection Jesus initiated the new creation as well as God’s kingdom and implies the annihilation of death. Soteriology has to do with the total universe, including its materiality, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus accentuates this.

The resurrection of Jesus is coherent with a Christian-theistic worldview and necessarily leads to redefining any worldview. The Christological approach to God also shows his character. Servanthood, as well as righteousness, especially, was fundamental in his conduct. This implies that his followers should give this special attention. In this way the imitation of Christ becomes visible and the Holy Spirit plays a fundamental part. The resurrection of Christ accomplishes a sense of wonder as well as meaning to life.

The resurrection of Jesus challenges any worldview fundamentally because the most acceptable historical explanation for this event is that Jesus rose bodily from the dead. This signifies a unique event of cosmic importance. The hypothesis that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead, was in the first century just as controversial as today and not only questioned by modern man. It still provides the most coherent and satisfying explanation for the origin of Christianity as well as the specific form it took.

© 2009 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Bosch, PB 2009, Die opstanding van Jesus Christus : ʼn Histories-sistematiese ondersoek, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-08302010-215954/ >

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