Saturday, June 21, 2014

Notes on Reimarus

There are two structural weaknesses with the ideas of Reimarus that jump out on a first pass of the book.

  1. The notion of the resurrection and the parousia are not interestingly different from the miracles, in that they belong to the conceptual space of Judaism, esp. the Pharisees, of that time. They are worth separating since their time horizon is much longer, and they are singletons in terms of the event structure---other than the miracles, which can occur multiple times. It is true that their foundational role segregates them, but they share the problem that they prove nothing, in Reimarus' natural theology notion, and confirm nothing, due to their semantic ambiguity.
  2. The idea of the Priesterbetrug, which is essentially what Reimarus is accusing the Apostles of, flies in his own argument by virtue of a socio-economic class distinction. But that is problematic for two reasons, because the Pharisees, as the NT shows, believe in these things and are the antagonists of Jesus; and the Galilean apostles are if anything even lower on the socio-economic ladder. Thus, socio-economically speaking, people like the apostles either believed in the resurrection, parousia, miracles and prophecies, or they did not. But if they did not, then they would not have been able to make any more converts; and if they did, then it is not clear how they would have come up with the "lie" that Reimarus claims they invented.
In general, it would be good to know more about how the Romans did with their executed prisoners. It strikes me that the idea of Joseph of Amarithea might be dependent on being able to pinpoint a grave that can then be empty; and Paul for example famously knows nothing of the empty grave.

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