Biblical Studies, Books

Jewish Beliefs regarding Resurrection

I’m of the persuasion that while some Jews of the Second Temple period, perhaps many, believed in the concept/idea of resurrection, I’m not convinced that it was a conviction or in some way integral to their theology and beliefs. Paul, a first-century Jew, had convictions about resurrection, but I’d like to think he was more of an anomaly than the norm. I’m currently reading two recent releases that may ultimately convince me otherwise: Resurrection of the Dead in Early Judaism: 200 BCE–CE 200 by C. D. Elledge (Oxford, 2017) and Paul: The Pagans’ Apostle by Paula Fredriksen (Yale, 2017). While Fredriksen’s book focuses on Paul and the gentile mission more generally, the issue of resurrection seems to pop up throughout. Clearly Elledge’s book is focused on the idea of Jewish beliefs and resurrection, so we’ll see if he can persuade me that beliefs about resurrection were more prevalent and important than I’m willing to concede at this point.

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Jewish Beliefs regarding Resurrection”

  1. Josephus said that the Pharisees had the largest number of followers, and, of course, they believed in the resurrection. But some scholars doubt that Josephus was historically-accurate on that and was just saying that so that the Romans would grant the Pharisees authority.

  2. Hey, James! Yes, the Pharisees certainly believed in the idea, but I wonder how integral it was to the overall theology they espoused? I also wonder how “developed” the idea was in the first century? For Paul, clearly it was a chief tenet, but again, I think he was an outlier. I’m sure his encounter with the risen Christ fanned the flames of resurrection that were already burning, if only as an ember.

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