5.Other religious phenomena

Fifth, while Crossan does not deny the disciples’ experiences, he further downplays their uniqueness by his remark that “trances or visions” are found in “every religion.”^48 Such a comparison is intriguing, since Crossan states earlier that the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ appearances are not“entranced revelations.” He declares that they “bear no marks of such phenomena.”^49

Regardless, whether such curiosities are taught in other belief systems is not the issue. Anyone can make claims. The real question is whether they can be demonstrated. I have argued elsewhere that such non-Christian claims are poorly

44 Of chief interest are Acts 2:14–39; 3:12–26; 4:8–12; 5:17–40; 10:34–43; 13:16–41. See Dodd, “Appearances,” pp. 124, 131; C.H. Dodd, The Apostolic Preaching and its Developments, pp. 17–31 and chart after p. 96.

45 Crossan, The Historical Jesus, p. 397; Crossan, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, pp. 165–166, 190.

46 Crossan, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, p. 190.

47 For an example of such arguments, see the excellent treatment by William Lane Craig, Assessing the New Testament Evidence for the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus.

48 Crossan, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, p. 190.

49 Ibid., p. 169.

evidenced.^50 If this is the case, they merely number among the myriads of unproven religious assertions. As such, they are not rivals to Jesus’ resurrection.

In sum, Crossan fails to adequately explain or dismiss the resurrection of Jesus. His socio-political interpretation is unproven. Additionally, he fails to realize that even if his thesis is accurate, not only is it still an inadequate basis for his de-emphasis of the facticity of Jesus’ resurrection, but his theme actually requires this event. Further, the resurrection is central not only to the early Christian authority structures, but to the New Testament as a whole. Yet this event cannot be reduced to any of these themes. Additionally, not only does Crossan admit the possibility of “visions,” but his attempt to eliminate their uniqueness by noting the presence of such occurrences in other religions also fails. Marcus Borg