christianity theology

on jesus’ quiet resurrection

Q: Why does no Roman historian mention Jesus’ resurrection!?  Surely if something so extraordinary happened, they would have written about it!?

A: One thing we know about the period is that, from a Graeco-Roman perspective, bodily life after death would have been mocked ((i.e. the mixed response to Paul’s preaching of resurrection (Acts 17).)) and undesirable ((for example, see Plutarch on desirable mode of post-mortem departure “Yes, it [the soul] comes from them, and to them it returns, not with its body, but only when it is most completely separated and set free from the body, and becomes altogether pure, fleshless, and undefiled. For ‘a dry soul is best,’ according to Heracleitus, and it flies from the body as lightning flashes from a cloud. But the soul which is contaminated with body, and surfeited with body, like a damp and heavy exhalation, is slow to release itself and slow to rise towards its source.” [source])).  This is why the Gospel (to which the Resurrection of Jesus is an essential and central) was “foolishness to the Greeks” (1 Corinthians 1).  Also, they wouldn’t have had much concern over what happened in Jerusalem, that comparatively small city which was so significant to those of that Jewish religion which they tolerated so mercifully.  A typical first-century mocking response to the announcement of Jesus’ resurrection might be something like: “Oh really… then why does all the power, authority, glory and riches still lie with Caesar in Rome?  Silly Jew…”