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date: 25 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Jesus makes his absence felt throughout the Gospels. Jesus absents himself through his resurrection and ascension to God. Did early Christians distinguish Jesus as present in his pre-Easter life and as absent in his post-resurrection ‘after-life’? Did the Gospel composers separate ‘then’ and ‘now’ with respect to Jesus? The Evangelists did not experience Jesus’ presence so forcefully that they unwittingly blurred ‘then’ and ‘now’ by spontaneously putting words into Jesus’ mouth. The Gospel writers did not intend to ventriloquize an existentially present post-Ascension Jesus. The Matthean Jesus is analogically present in the poor and in children but ontologically absent. Matthew’s Jesus is alive in the Church. Jesus is a heavenly actor in the Lukan corpus: he is physically ‘there’ (absent) rather than here (present). The Johannine Christ addresses his departure at length before it happens, addressing too his future means of presence.

Keywords: absent, present, departure, post-ascension, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Jesus, resurrection

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