Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Book Suggestions on the Historicity of the Ascension?
However, something that has continued to be problematic for me, particularly when it comes to historical studies, is how the resurrection and ascension are often sort of lumped together both historically and literarily. The ascension of Jesus is only mentioned explicitly in Luke/Acts, and implicitly in John (20:17), so it appears that the ascension is part of a much later Jesus tradition. It also relies upon an ancient understanding of the cosmos (i.e. Where did Jesus physically go, anyway? Mars?). My personal belief is that while I can accept the historicity of the resurrection, the ascension is most likely a theological embellishment intended to paint Jesus as greater than Elijah, or—even more probably—to figure out what to do with the character of the resurrected Jesus after he was raised from the dead.
So I'm curious as to whether anyone knows of any good books that argue both sides of the debate on the historicity of the ascension? Do you have any particular thoughts on the ability to accept either the resurrection or the ascension, or both, as historical events? Furthermore, if one argues for the historicity of the ascension of Jesus, are they not then obligated to consider the historicity of the ascension of Elijah in his fiery chariot, or even the historicity of the ascension of the Prophet Muhammad?