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Rick C. | Thu, 08/04/2011 - 19:09 | Permalink

Good p.ost.

Re: Intertestamental Writings (ca. 200BCE-200CE), and other apocalyptic literature, such as can be seen in Mishnah/Talmud, there's a very wide range of beliefs as to what may happen in an afterlife.  Josephus reported that Pharisees believed in a resurrection of only the Elect, while the souls of the wicked would be tormented in an underworld.  In this huge corpus of texts, the beliefs of different schools were probably as varied as what we see today--and maybe moreso.

Since you're so into narrative-historical readings, (and so am I!): you said: "I think we are on much firmer ground if we read Jesus simply against the Old Testament background."  Hmmm.  Most commentators and Christians think resurrection was "clearly taught" in Daniel 12:2.  But was it?  (I lean toward  this refering to a kind of 'spiritual resurrection' of the just in Israel.  That is, a "coming to life" in the Valley of Dry Bones, cf. Ezekiel 37, esp. Ez 37:10).  Has implications for what being "born again" could mean too (John 3).

So now, I'm wondering what the implications of Matt 10:28 might be.  Could Jesus have been giving His Own halakah in contrast to Pharisees and other sects?  

I used to see Matt 10:28 as a primary text that supports Conditional Immortality, and still do.  However, if the "Gehenna of fire" was truly rooted in Jesus' warnings to His generation (cf. Matt 24), well, I have a lot to think about here...thoughts?



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