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"I Will Come to You": An Investigation of Early Christian Beliefs about Post-Ascension Visitations of the Risen Jesus
|Title||"I Will Come to You": An Investigation of Early Christian Beliefs about Post-Ascension Visitations of the Risen Jesus|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2023|
|Journal||Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship|
|Keywords||Acts (Book); Apocrypha; Early Christianity; Easter; Gospel of Luke; Jesus Christ, Postmortal Appearances of; New Testament; Resurrection|
While later Creedal Christians have come to view “the Ascension” recorded in the first chapter of Acts as a conclusive corporeal appearance of the Resurrected Lord, earliest Christians do not appear to have conceived of this appearance as “final” in any temporal or experiential sense. A careful investigation of canonical resurrection literature displays a widespread Christian belief in continued and varied interaction with the risen Lord relatively late into the movements’ development. Stringent readings of Luke’s account of the Ascension in Acts suggesting that Christ will not return until his second coming fail to consider the theological rhetoric with which Luke conveys the resurrection traditions he relied on in composing his account. Analysis of Luke’s narrative displays that his presentation of these traditions is shaped in a way to stress the primacy of the apostolic Easter experiences in establishing the apostles as authoritative “witnesses” in the early church over and against possible competing authoritative claims stemming from purported experiences with the risen Lord.
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