The Pre- and Post-Easter Jesus

Understanding and knowing Jesus involves history, tradition, and experience.

~ Marcus Borg

The pre-Easter Jesus means:

  • The historical Jesus
  • Jesus of Nazareth
  • A first century Galilean Jew
  • A figure of the past

The post-Easter Jesus means:

Jesus Christ Pantocrator, icon by Robert LentzWhat Jesus became after his death, the Jesus of Christian experience and tradition.

In Christian experience people continue to experience Jesus as a living reality, as a figure of the present; as a spiritual living divine reality

In Christian tradition: Jesus is increasingly spoken of as a divine reality and eventually seen as “very God of very God.”

It is crucial to make this distinction, says Borg, or Jesus becomes unreal, incredible and inaccessible.

Compare pre- and post-Easter Jesus

Pre-Easter Jesus Post-Easter Jesus
4 B.C.E. to 30 C.E. 30 C.E. to present
Corporeal, human being of flesh and blood Spiritual, non-material reality
Finite and mortal Infinite, eternal
Human Divine
A Jewish peasant King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Figure of the past Figure of the present
Jesus of Nazareth Jesus Christ
Monotheistic Jew Becomes the second person of the trinity, “God with a human face”
Galilean Jew of the first century “The Face of God” (metaphor based on 2 Cor. 4:6 Beholding the glory of God in the face of Christ)

NextOverview of the Pre-Easter Jesus

Three summaries of the pre-Easter Jesus