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01 Flat Earth Society

John A. T. Robinson

The ultra-liberal Anglican bishop and biblical scholar, John A. T. Robinson, author of the bestseller, Honest to God, famous for wanting to change the conventional language of the church so it would better accord with a scientific worldview; famous too for reappraising common wisdom about when various books of the New Testament were written; believed that the Shroud was not the work of a medieval forger. In contemplating the notion that the author of John, the fourth gospel, may have meant for us to interpret that Jesus passed through his burial cloths, he addressed dematerialization in the context of the Shroud of Turin. He seemed to want to redefine it:

Dematerialization is I suspect a modern way of envisaging the relationship between flesh and spirit, matter and energy, of being ‘changed’ or ‘clothed upon’ with a body of ‘glory’. How a first-century Jew would naturally have envisaged resurrection #though this does not of course mean that this is how it actually happened# would surely have been as a corpse waking up from sleep, like Tabitha in Acts #9:40#, as indeed Jesus predicts of Lazarus #John 11:11#, and then like Lazarus walking out of the tomb. The difference in the case of Jesus was that the grave-clothes did not need to be taken off him nor the stones removed: he did it himself. For, unlike Lazarus, he was not simply being restored to the weakness of a flesh-body. In the power of the Spirit he broke the bonds of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

 

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