Monday, 26 September 2011

The Resurrection of Jesus: Fact of Figment? Mike Licona and Abel Pienaar at Pretoria University

Dr. Mike Licona (Founder of Risen Jesus Ministries) and Dr. Abel Pienaar (figurehead within the New Reformation Movement) will debate on the resurrection come Monday 26 September. Dr. Pienaar will argue that the resurrection should be understood as a myth, whilst Dr. Licona will argue that it was a physical event in history. Being two very gifted orators and thinkers this promises to be one of the biggest theological debates in South African history.

TIME: Monday, September 26 · 7:00pm - 9:30pm

LOCATION: University of Pretoria/Sanlam Auditorium
CONTACT: Roedolf - 082 826 2641 / Johan - 082 491 2463

Wish I could be there!!


Anonymous said...

Some comments here

Anonymous said...

Some feedback regarding the Licona/Pienaar debate.

I thought it was an absolute victory for dialogue of this nature in South Africa. In the past these sorts of discussions would only serve to polarise the respective groups further instead of understanding the opposing position better. The general feeling after this particular debate was one where I think the conservative and liberals both went home satisfied.

As far as the arguments went, Mike only used Paul for his argument which was a bit different from the traditional Death, Joseph of Arimithea/Empty tomb/Post mortem appearances. It was a bit harder to follow and not as clear as he usually is, but I suppose the logic behind it was not to try and defend the Gospels.

Abel obviously did his homework and argued in a true Ehrman fashion that the supernatural should be excluded from historical investigation. At first he seemed very agnostic as to ancient history and our knowledge of it, but near the end of the debate it looked as if he granted Mike’s facts. He even conceded the empty tomb, for which Mike didn’t even argue, but was satisfied that the hallucination hypothesis dealt with the appearances well enough. Because it was towards the end of the debate Mike didn’t respond to the hallucination hypothesis clearly. Abel made a couple of good arguments for the hallucination hypothesis arguing that the virgin Mary seems to appear all over the show and will succeed in being genuine events according to Mike’s “Facts and Method’ approach. To be honest I thought Abel came of that point looking stronger, but in Mike’s defence it was late in the debate and he didn’t have a lot of time to interact with it.

One point that I hope can be laid to rest is the question of pagan myths (dying and rising gods) that worked its way into Christianity. This was one of Abel’s arguments and Mike dealt with it very well. Pieter Craffert who is a liberal himself referred to the mystery religions in his reaction on the debate, arguing that this is not a case against Christianity. I can strongly endorse Craffert as a very honest scholar and without a doubt the most sophisticated one South African NT critics has to offer. His comments can be viewed at the NRN blog on the debate.

All in all I think it was a good discussion which was very cordial and proved that a South African audience can dialogue on these issues in a respectful manner. I do however find it ironic that Abel’s supporters have been claiming victory on various social networks. That is usually something the Christians do and what the liberals despise when reflecting on an open dialogue. I might be oversimplifying their side but with the post modern approach and agnosticism as the key, I’m not sure victory can ever be possible? Nevertheless I thought it was tons better that last year’s discussion with Spangenberg and Wolmarans. Abel did his homework and I think it was a fair representation of both sides.
Johan Erasmus

Thomas Louw said...

I would of loved to be there. Plan where set but the wife got sick:(

Where can I get the mp3?