The Jehovah’s Witnesses have long blamed any doctrine it didn’t like on the Greeks or later Roman “pagan” practices and beliefs. Specifically, they blamed the bodily resurrection doctrine on Greek incursion into the early Christian beliefs. But in this they are sorely mistaken, and of course, with the Society forbidding their members to take non-JW religious instruction, how would they know any different?
Dr. Richard Draper writes:
The Hellenistic mind-set found the idea of a resurrection strange indeed. Many a Greek or Roman would have had little difficulty believing that a god had sired a son, for their mythologies supported the idea. Also, belief in prophecy and portents was widespread,1 as were reports of miracles and those who performed miracles.2 The idea that a mortal could become as the gods was not difficult for many to accept,3 and there were precedents for both men and gods dying and coming back to life.4
But the idea that a mortal could rise from the dead and enter eternal life with a physical body had little precedent. Much of the Hellenistic world denied the reality of any kind of resurrection, let alone a physical one. The Greek rejection of the physical body made the idea of a resurrection of that body abhorrent. Some believed that mortals had been resuscitated from death, but these isolated incidents were a mere postponing of eventual death.5 There simply was no room in the Hellenistic world view for belief in any kind of a general resurrection at the end of world history.6
In view of this cultural setting, it is easy to understand the Athenian reaction to the Apostle Paul when “he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection” (Acts 17:18). The crowd responded by calling him “a babbler” who set forth “strange gods” (v. 18). When Paul later gave his “unknown god” sermon (17:22—31), the people listened intently until he spoke of the Resurrection, at which point “some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again on this matter” (v. 32). In the end, the doctrine of the Resurrection found few Greek adherents. (Source)
1. For examples from the Hellenistic culture, see Ovid, Metamorphoses, 1.589—94; 5.301—519.
2. Examples of the Roman view of the times are found in Cicero, De Divinationa, 1.1—38; 2.64,70; Tacitus, Histories, 1.3, 18, 86; 4.81; for the Jewish view, see Josephus, Jewish Wars, 6.285—95.
3. For reports of healings, see Tacitus, Histories, 4.81; Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars, “Vespasian,” 7; Dio Cassius, 65.271.
4. See, for example, Metamorphoses, 14.800—28.
5. In Oriental belief a number of death-defying savior-gods such as Tammuz, Bel-Marduk, Adonis, Sandan-Heracles, Attis, Osiris, the Cretan Zeus, and Dionysus were never really mortal and thus had no bearing on the New Testament witness.
6. A number of Greek authors (see, for example, Homer, Iliad, 24.551; Herodotus, 3.62; Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 1360 ff.) simply state that resurrection is impossible. Others accepted the idea only as an isolated miracle (see, for example, Plato, Symposium, 179; Lucian, De Saltatione, 45).
As stated previously, the resurrection of Jesus couldn't be spelled out better than the 40-day ministry (Acts 1:2-3) The JWs need to wake up to the fact that the early Christians not only believed that people have spirits, many believed that we all lived previously before coming to the earth. If man does have a spirit, of what use would resurrection back to a spirit serve? You die, return to God as a spirit and later receive a bodily resurrection. This is indisputably what the early church believed.
Cofty: So according to you Jesus has no blood.
That’s correct. How resurrection works is not something that’s spelled out in scripture. All we know is that the body is changed from a corruptible to an incorruptible state, that it’s perfected, glorified and changed to accommodate its new environment.