50 On the absence of evidence for such phenomena, see Gary R. Habermas, “Resurrection Claims in Non-Christian Religions,” Religious Studies, vol. 25 (1989), pp. 167–177.
51 Borg, Jesus, p. 184.
52 Ibid., p. 185.
53 Marcus J. Borg, “Thinking about Easter,” Bible Review, vol. X, Number 2 (April 1994), pp. 15, 49.
54 For details on what is nonetheless of fundamental importance, see Robert H. Gundry, Soma in Biblical Theology: With Emphasis on Pauline Anthropology(Grand Rapids:
since we are more interested at this point in their facticity. But obviously, these scholars struggle with the bodily nature of the appearances.
Borg accepts the historicity of a number of facts that, together, indicate that Jesus actually appeared to his followers after his resurrection. This is the case even if we were to examine only Paul’s testimony, which is what Borg prefers. Borg is clear that Jesus really died and his followers reported that he had appeared to them afterwards. Paul was an early eyewitness to these occurrences. As a result, his life (as well as that of the other followers) was changed by what became his central message. They were convinced both that Jesus was alive and that he was their Lord.
As we have said, Borg does not define or identify the nature of these appearances. Some of his language implies that he doubts their objective nature, especially when he seems to say that they are almost synonymous with the Christian conviction that Jesus is spiritually present with his followers. But on the other hand, he admits the crucial data for the early, eyewitness testimony to the appearances and seems to remain open to some unspecified type of manifestations.
It would seem that Borg has painted himself into a corner here. He realizes that the earliest, eyewitness data dictate, among other details, that Jesus appeared to Paul and many others after his death. Yet, he does not venture an alternative hypothesis such as hallucinations or other subjective conjectures. At any rate, such theses fail anyway.^56 So the chief question is this: how does Borg account for these admittedly real experiences, particularly when they happened to groups of people?