In the last podcast episode we continued our series on studying the Bible in light of its various types of literature – its literary genres. We’re going to continue that effort in this episode and shift gears into the New Testament.
I want to look today at two familiar episodes in the life of Jesus: the incident where he walks on the water and his disciples think they are seeing a ghost, and his appearances to the disciples after his resurrection. It may sound surprising, but the ancient world of which the NT was part actually had many stories about ghosts and what scholars call “post-mortem appearances” of the dead. New Testament scholars have investigated how the New Testament writers both utilized and subverted these genres in their attempts to communicate what it was they experienced and believed about Jesus.
Jason Robert Combs, “A Ghost on the Water? Understanding an Absurdity in Mark 6:49–50,” JBL 127:2 (2008): 345-358
Deborah Thompson Prince, “The ‘Ghost’ of Jesus: Luke 24 in Light of Ancient Narratives of Post-Mortem Apparitions,” JSNT 29:3 (2007): 287-301