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April’s topic of conversation: the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus

Earlier in March I wrote two posts on the state of the biblioblog: Are biblioblogs dying? and Are biblioblogs dying? Don’t write the obituary yet! At the same time I was conversing with my co-bloggers via email. We were asking and answering the questions “Why do we blog?” and “What should we do with our blog?” While several ideas came to mind the first one that we knew we could implement right away was the idea of a focused, month long conversation on a particular topic. Biblioblogging has been a means of conversation that is free from the shackles of a brick-and-mortar classroom or shared proximity to the local café. While we enjoy those types of conversations as well we are determined to continue to use the charism of the Internet for the purpose of dialogue and discussion, welcoming everyone and anyone who shares our interest and who can engage others with respect.

Since April is the month of Easter it wasn’t hard for us to come up with our first subject: the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. We will blog on other topics, but our goal is for each contributor to try to either write a post or three on this topic over the next few weeks or at least be diligent to comment when someone else blogs. Furthermore, we invite readers of this blog to join us and we invite bloggers to share their links to their own discussions on this subject. Anything we can do to help make bibloblogs dialogical rather than monological will be considered!

As a conversation starter let me present a few questions that may be taken up by one of our contributors or other bloggers:

– What is the nature of the resurrection? Does it have to be physical to be real? What do we mean by physical? Can someone hold to a more spiritual/ethereal understanding of the resurrection while remaining orthodox (e.g., Marcus Borg’s interpretation)?

– What are some of the best apologetic reasons for believing in the historicity of the resurrection? What are some of the more convincing critiques by skeptics against the resurrection?

– Why did Jesus die? What historical reasons can we give? What theological reasons can we give? Is there an intersection between the historical approach and the theological approach to interpreting Jesus’ death?

– What about Jesus’ burial? What sort of burial customs from first century Judea should inform our understanding of this event? What about the Crossan/Ehrman hypothesis that Jesus may not have been given a formal/proper burial? Do we need a tomb and does it need to be empty?