The greatest Christian mystery resolved!
Of all the stories about Jesus, the transfiguration has been the most difficult to understand. It contains improbable, miraculous elements: a secret meeting on a mountain with Moses and Elijah - both long since dead, God speaking from a cloud, Jesus with his face and clothes transfigured by heavenly light. The story sits, with curious inconsistencies, uneasily in the gospels.
There are two current theories: either that it is an allegory or a misplaced post-resurrection account. The author carefully analyses the text to show that neither is right and, in the course of his investigation, causes the pieces of the puzzle to fall dramatically back into place.
Reviews at http://mysticlivingtoday.com/view_page.php?ID=1545 and in the Progressive Christian Network magazine
Article published in The Heretic magazine issue 9 on Apr 29 2016 http://thehereticmagazine.com/page/3/
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
The Lost Narrative of Jesus: deciphering the transfiguration, by Peter Cresswell, Christian Alternative NT scholars face a daunting task. With no accounts written during Jesus’ life, no original surviving documents, a few fragments of text some 200 years after the events and more complete copies from 100 years after that – all copied and amended by partial editors many times over –what hope of distinguishing history from the muddle? At least we can admire the scholars for their persistence as fresh studies continue to appear. This book examines two puzzles: the abrupt ending to Mark’s gospel and the position in chapter 9 of the story of the Transfiguration. Is there any connection between these two? A convincing case is made that the Transfiguration story does not fit in its context. Instead he proposes that this story fits in better as an ending to the gospel. Was this another post-resurrection appearance of Jesus? It bears mysterious features that might suggest it is. If so, is it the missing ending of the earliest (and lost) version of Mark’s gospel? Why was it “folded” into chapter 9 before Matthew and Luke used Mark as one of their sources? (They both firmly place this story during Jesus’ ministry.) The author rejects the idea that the Transfiguration is a post-resurrection appearance. On the contrary he argues that this was an historic event that occurred, probably on Mount Hermon, after the crucifixion when Jesus and some disciples returned to Galilee. To support this hypothesis he makes a plausible case for Jesus being taken down from the cross alive. After recovering in a safe house from his ill treatment and wounds, he with Peter and Andrew return to Galilee just as the young man in the tomb tells those looking for the body. The Mount Hermon meeting with two strangers was to arrange for an outlawed Jesus to escape to safety in Syria. The case for this hypothesis is well argued, but corroborating evidence is inevitably scarce. Although there is a deal of repetition throughout the book, it is intriguing and eminently readable. ~ Robin Story, Progressive Voices
It is refreshing to read an analysis of gospel narrative that does not seek any illusory, underlying truth. While accepting the transfiguration story as possibly entirely fictional, Cresswell has striven with some success to see how it was put together. The clues may be sparse, but the author’s conclusions are both plausible and challenging. ~ Professor Robert Eisenman, author of James the Brother of Jesus, The New Testament Code, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians