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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:53837
Doc. No:TL23791
Call number:‭3239143‬
Main Entry:Catherine Anne Playoust
Title & Author:Lifted up from the earth: The ascension of Jesus and the heavenly ascents of early ChristiansCatherine Anne Playoust
College:Harvard Divinity School
Date:2006
Degree:Th.D.
student score:2006
Page No:309
Abstract:Many Early Christians used Jesus' ascension to reflect upon their own heavenly ascents. Scholars of Jesus' ascension have often neglected this link, over-emphasizing both the role of Luke---Acts in development of ascension belief and the connection with his resurrection. In the ancient Mediterranean world, certain humans, gods, and other beings were claimed to ascend to heaven. The interpretation of their ascents (and their descents, in some cases) requires attention to anthropology and cosmology, without premature demythologization of ancient worldviews. Jesus' ascension could be narrated many ways, depending on theological and social contexts. Early Christians' beliefs and hopes about their own ascents took several forms: "mystical" ascents-and-descents; posthumous permanent ascents; and permanent ascents before earthly death. Frequently these were interlinked with Jesus' ascension, as shown by three texts studied briefly (Hebrews, Ephesians, and Irenaeus's Adversus Haereses) and three examined in detail. In the Apocryphon of James, permanent ascent is desired by Jesus and all generations of disciples, but can only occur after the students become teachers. Ascent-and-descent is an unsuccessful attempt at permanent ascent. The text grants high status to Jesus as the crucified one and the inaugural teacher who ascends gloriously. However, Jesus is also vulnerable, his ascent depending on his students' prowess. In the Ascension of Isaiah, Jesus' ascent, in the context of his descent-and-ascent, makes Christians' ascents possible. Isaiah's ascent-and-descent shows the cosmic hierarchy beyond the masquerades endangering their salvation. The posthumous permanent ascents of Isaiah and other righteous humans exemplify the believers' goal of exceeding the angels' glory and beholding God. The Gospel of John, with its complex resurrection theology, holds in tension two timings for Jesus' ascension: after his resurrection and at his crucifixion. The crucifixion-ascension is Jesus' hour of triumphant salvation, concluding with the gift of the Spirit. Christians, born again "from above" in baptism, are as if in a state of permanent ascent. Moreover, believers facing death under persecution are called to follow Jesus in his death and ascent. In each instance, the conceptualization of Jesus' ascension provides Early Christians with a framework for understanding the cause and significance of their own ascents.
Subject:Philosophy, religion and theology; Ascension; Christians; Gospel of John; Jesus Christ; Religious history; Biblical studies; 0321:Biblical studies; 0320:Religious history
Added Entry:F. Bovon
Added Entry:Harvard Divinity School