What Jesus Did, Does and May Do in Future: Gospel Miracles, Human Augmentation, Transhumanism and the Future of New Testament Studies

W J Lyons*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Abstract

The quest of New Testament studies for a well-resourced future would be substantially aided by its explicit abandonment of a narrow methodological focus in favour of building links with other disciplines and by its acknowledgment that exegetical insights may arise from examining the impact of biblical texts down the centuries. In the potential appropriation of Jesus by Christian transhumanists interested in human bodily enhancement, for example, the healings of his earthly ministry are ignored because they are understood to restore human bodies to a previous form (a position recognizable in much of New Testament scholarship) rather than augment them to a new one. Building on deaf nineteenth-century interpretations which see the mental abilities of the deaf man in Mk 7.32-37 as being enhanced beyond human norms by Jesus, this article examines the healings of three blind men (Mk 8.22-26, Mk 10.46-52 and Jn 9.1-41). While the Johannine blind man is explicitly said to be blind from birth (whatever New Testament translations have often been made to say!), this article proposes that Blind Bartimaeus in Mk 10 should also be viewed this way. While their becoming sighted restores them to a common human pattern, their lack of prior sighted-experience means that it is their ability to see instantly that strongly implies the presence of an augmentative element to their healings. A postscript notes the different attitudes to the permission required to transform the human body within these narratives and suggests transhumanists consider the ethical implications of each story carefully before they incorporate the earthly Jesus into their arguments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-557
Number of pages19
JournalJournal for the Study of the New Testament
Volume43
Issue number4
Early online date5 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Future of New Testament studies
  • Christian transhumanism
  • reception exegesis
  • gospel miracles of Jesus
  • enhancement healings
  • deafness/blindness

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