Category:Jesus Survival (subject)

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Jesus Survival from the Cross / Swoon Hypothesis


The "scholarly" origins of the fictional narrative

For some time, in the 18th century until the beginning of the 19th century, the notion that Jesus could have survived the crucifixion, was considered a legitimate scholarly hypothesis by rationalist authors such as Peter Annet, Karl Friedrich Bahrdt, Karl Heinrich Venturini, Heinrich Paulus, and others. The goal was initially to provide a rational explanation of the resurrection and appearances of Jesus, but soon the theory developed into a deliberate and elaborated plot involving (some of) Jesus' disciples and/or the secret society of the Essenes (Karl Friedrich Bahrdt, Karl Heinrich Venturini). Strauss' criticism (1838) put an end to such speculations: "It is impossible that a being who had stolen half dead out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill and wanting medical treatment... could have given the disciples the impression that he was a conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of life: an impression that lay at the bottom of their future ministry."

The Survival of the Jesus Survival narrative

After the criticism of Das Leben Jesu: kritisch bearbeitet (1835 Strauss), book, the hypothesis was totally abandoned in scholarship and was kept alive only in esoteric circles in Europe and the United States (Austin).

At the end of the 19th century, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, claimed that after surviving the crucifixion, Jesus went to India, where his tomb is still located in Srinagar, Kashmir. Ahmad based his claim on some Muslim legends and on the work of Notovich. The Jesus Survival narrative thus came to be associated to the Jesus in India narrative (see also Docker, and Toll).

In fictional works the Jesus Survival Theory was revived in its classical form by George Moore in 1919 and then in 1928 by David Herbert Lawrence, who gave an original twist to the story, seeing in the survival of Jesus the possibility for him to fully explore his sexuality and thus associating the Survival Theory to the growing speculations about Jesus' Marriage

Developments after WW2

After WW2 the Jesus Survival hypothesis has grown out of its pre-War foundations.

(a) The old "scholarly" view has been been revived with large public success but no critical consensus by authors such as Hugh J. Schonfield (The Passover Plot, 1965) and Barbara Thiering (Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1992).

(b) Second, we find authors who have developed the Survival Theory to support their claim of the presence of Jesus in India. In 1978 Meier gave an unexpected twist to the story by associating it to the notion that Jesus was an alien.

(c) Third, and more successfully, the Survival story has flourished in his "sexual" version. In 1951 Kazantzakis made survival and marriage the last temptation of Jesus on the cross. Promptly in 1972 (The Jesus Scroll), Donovan Joyce claimed the supposed discovery in Israel of a scroll proving that Jesus had survived the crucifixion, married Mary Magdalene and fathered a child with her. Joyce's work laid the foundations for Baigent's work (Holy Blood, Holy Grail, 1982; The Jesus Papers, 2006) and was taken up in several versions of the Jesus Bloodline story.

(d) Finally, the survival narrative played a role in the horror-parody movie Beaster (2004 Morrone), film, where Jesus "survived" the crucifixion in the form of a flesh-eating zombie.

Although entertaining, none of these theories has any solid historical foundations.

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Pages in category "Jesus Survival (subject)"

The following 31 pages are in this category, out of 31 total.