Response to Robert Price

For the Introduction to Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave, there's not much that needs to be said; Price is mostly presenting POV and socio-religious commentary as opposed to "hard" argument, and that's the way an intro ought to be. But here are some thoughts....

As one whose social-science studies have led me as well to reject the idea of Jesus as being "at one's elbow during one's devotional hour of prayer and Bible reading" [10], in favor of a view of patronal brokerage with a rather more "distant" form of relationship, I cannot help but wonder if Price is yet again being betrayed by his own prior fundamentalismc.

Giving Barbara Thieiring credibility as merely a "specialist in the Dead Sea Scrolls" [11] bespeaks how far indeed down the scale of credibility Price himself has gone.

Price asks, "I would like to know how theologians or New Testament exegetes presume to know what finally happened to Lazarus and the others [raised from the dead]....maybe Lazarus is still alive today, hiding out on Cyprus, where church legends appointed him bishop after his resurrection." [12]

Well, if Price wants to believe that, we have no objection. In the meantime we are sending him, postage paid, a tube of "Super Glue" to reattach his nose after he feels his face has been spited sufficiently.

Price's grasp of Christian theology as continues to be subpar. His questions [12] as to whether Jesus has "grown older and wiser over the years" or gets senile are remarkably out of order; surely he is aware of the whole complex of ideas of the pre-incarnate Jesus as hypostatic Wisdom, of the kenotic emptying, and the restoration of the kenoticized powers and abilities upon ascent to the throne of the Son of Man.

Price's comment that if "apologists themselves did not realize the difficulty of their case they would waste no more time with skeptical objections to the resurrection than they do refuting, say, beliefs that Jesus was a space alien" [13] are a bit odd at the beginning of a 500+ page volume written against the resurrection.

Why not turn around on Price, then, and say, "If Skeptics themselves did not realize the difficulty of their case they would waste no more time with Christian arguments for the resurrection than they do refuting, say, beliefs that Atlantis really existed"?

As one who likewise believes that the modern dichotomy between natural and supernatural is a false one, Price's cited irony about miracles [13-14] and proof has no effect on me.

It is no surprise to see Price briefly plugging the oft-refuted connections to Adonis, Osiris, Tammuz, etc. and also briefly waving off the refutation of these arguments with vague references to "specious, special-pleading arguments" that "can no longer be taken seriously (never could, really) by serious students of comparative religion and myth." [14-15] Of course by "serious students" Price merely means, "those who agree with what I say, and not with the greatest comparative religions scholar today, J. Z. Smith, who does not agree with me."

As usual, Price knows where to find this.

-JPH