Luke 24:36-43 is widely regarded as an apologetic text with the evidence of Jesus’s hands, feet, and eating countering the disciples’ initial thought that he is merely a spirit (πνεῦμα). Most interpretations see this accusation as a clue to identifying a specific opponent behind the text, variously identified as Marcion, docetism, Greco-Roman necromancy practices, or Paul’s view of the resurrection in 1 Cor 15. This article critiques the trend in “mirror reading” the passage and proposes that Luke 24:36-43 is better understood as participating in the debates and ambiguous language about the afterlife in ancient Judaism. This claim is supported by three arguments. First, the supposedly unique use of πνεῦμα as a “ghost” in this passage has parallels in Jewish and Christian literature. This use is also supported by Luke-Acts’ wider agreement with the LXX and Judaism on the use of πνεῦμα. Second, the passage’s rhetorical structure addresses a constellation of objections to the resurrection of Jesus rather than a single issue. Finally, the wider literary context shows that Luke’s understanding of the resurrection of Jesus is conceived as part of an intra-Jewish debate. The article concludes that Luke 24:36-43 is not constructed to refute a specific opponent but attempts to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus amid the diversity of beliefs about the afterlife in ancient Judaism.

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