Vol 19, No 2, 2012

Believing in the Resurrection: The Meaning and the Promise of the Risen Jesus

Gerald O'Collins, SJ


The introduction was published in the AEJT, vol. 18, no.1, April 2011. It samples nine representative interpretations of the resurrection. Part I covers five chapters on the biblical testimony to the resurrection of Jesus: worldviews and background theories that help or hinder our responses to the message of the resurrection; the meaning of the message of the resurrection; the appearances of the risen Jesus; the discovery of the empty tomb; what the biblical witnesses believed the resurrection has done to redeem and transform humanity and the world. Part II shifts the focus to three contemporary questions. How does one justify an Easter faith? What counts as a risen and transfigured existence for individuals and for the universe? How does the resurrection impact on sacramental and moral theology? O'Collins concludes with an epilogue which explains why "accepting Jesus risen from the dead means involving ourselves with him not as a memory from the past but as a vital presence in our day-to-day existence" (173). In addition to a select bibliography, he gives us a substantial appendix on Easter appearances and bereavement experiences. In seventeen pages, he is at his best with a critical but positive comparison of a proposed analogy between bereavement experiences and the experiences of the risen Jesus that his disciples had.