Dale C. Allison, Jr.
Richard J. Dearborn Professor of New Testament
Princeton Theological Seminary
Dale C. Allison, Jr. is the Richard J. Dearborn Professor of New Testament at the Princeton Theological Seminary. He earned his MA and PhD from Duke University. His academic research and publications include the historical Jesus, the Gospel of Matthew, Second Temple Judaism and the history of the interpretation and application of biblical texts. His book, Constructing Jesus, was selected as “Best Book Relating to the New Testament” for 2009–2010 by the Biblical Archaeology Society. His most recent books are The Resurrection of Jesus: Apologetics, Polemic, History and Encountering Mystery: Religious Experience in a Secular Age. He served for several years as the main New Testament editor for de Gruyter’s international Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception and has been on the editorial boards of multiple academic journals. On a more popular level, he has written books on George Harrison, religious experience, and death and what might lie beyond.
Comparing Like with Like: The Impossible Jesus and Impossible Others
Historians of Jesus have typically approached the accounts of his miracles either through a reductionistic lens or straightforward Christian supernaturalism. But it is also possible to contemplate them with the recognition — empirically derived, not ideologically posited — that reports of ill-understood, metanormal phenomena, including clairvoyance, telepathy, inexplicable healings, mysterious radiance and encounters with the dead belong to pan-human experience.
This lecture suggests that we evaluate the metanormal claims in the gospels through comparison with similar claims from other times and places. The conclusion is that we can profitably compare like with like, that we can assess the impossible Jesus by learning about impossible others.