By Madison Miller
In anticipation of Easter, the religion department hosted a lecture Tuesday centered on New Testament accounts of the Resurrection, given by Dr. Lidija Novakovic, associate professor of biblical studies and the New Testament.
Novakovic’s research includes topics of Jesus’ resurrection and historiography, or according to her book, the writing of history based on the critical examination of the sources. She has written two books and contributed to scholarly research regarding the Gospels.
“Coming out of her research on the Gospels and the resurrection, her lecture today is the story of a missing body, the New Testament accounts of the discovery of the empty tomb,” said Dr. Derek Dodson, lecturer religion.
During the lecture, Novakovic discussed N. T. Wright’s book, “The Resurrection of the Son of God,” which according to Google books, forces the reader to view the Easter narrative as two parts — the empty tomb and Jesus’ appearances.
“For a number of evangelical scholars, proving that Jesus’ tomb was found empty equals the proving that Jesus has been raised from the dead,” Novakovic said. “In many churches, the only text that will be read during the Easter service next Sunday is the story of the discovery of the empty tomb from one of the Gospels.”
Novakovic said she agrees with scholars who say the empty tomb is important, and is part of the reason she chose this as the topic of her lecture. She said she believes, however, the accounts of his appearance after the resurrection is just as important.
“I disagree with those who think that the empty tomb is the main proof of Jesus’ resurrection,” Novakovic said. “I wish to show you today that in all four Gospels the discovery of the empty tomb does not prove use any certainty that Jesus has be raised from the dead,” she said.
She said it produces fear, confusion and doubt.
Novakovic said in each Gospel, the empty tomb accounts are preceded by a report of Jesus’ death on the cross and his burial.
“In Matthew, Luke and John the discovery of the empty tomb are followed by the stories of Jesus’ appearances,” Novakovic said. “Even in Mark, Jesus’ post resurrection appearance in Galilee is announced.”
The key differences and details between the Gospel accounts of the discovery of the empty tomb, Novakovic said.
She covered comparisons on how each Gospel portrayed and told about the people involved in finding the empty tomb and witnessing the appearances of the resurrected Jesus.
She talked about how in some Gospels, the women, specifically the Marys, experienced an earthquake and the descension of an angel from heaven on the way to the tomb, while others claim that the women ran into two people dressed in white robes once they arrived at the tomb.
“The resurrection of Jesus was a hidden act of God for which there were no eyewitnesses and which only Christian interpreters refuse to describe,” Novakovic said.