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October 31st, 2012
07:28 AM ET

Sistine Chapel ceiling turns 500 years old

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(CNN)– Michelangelo's fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, one of the world's most iconic pieces of art, celebrated its 500th anniversary on Wednesday in Vatican City. Pope Benedict XVI marked the occasion with the celebration of Vespers in the chapel on Wednesday evening.

Nine centered panels in the ceiling fresco show stories from the book of Genesis, fanning out from the center of the ceiling with the iconic "Creation of Adam" that shows God reaching down from heaven and touching the finger of Adam. The vaulted ceiling also features images of biblical prophets and ancestors of Jesus.

Work on the ceiling began in 1508 when Pope Julius II della Rovere decided to make some changes to the room including the ceiling alteration. He commissioned Michelangelo Buonarroti to paint the ceiling and the lunettes, which are the upper parts of the room. According to the Vatican, Julius dedicated the newly decorated space with a Mass on the Feast of All Saints Day, which falls on November 1.

Michelangelo painted over a starry sky scene put on the ceiling between 1477 and 1480 according to Vatican records.

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British Art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon writes in his book "Michelanglo and the Sistine Chapel," that the artist did not want to paint the 12,000-square-foot ceiling, which is 68 feet high, because he thought it was a ruse by his enemies to get him to fail on a grand stage. "As they well knew he was a sculptor, not a painter, and would be bound to make a fool of himself," Graham-Dixon wrote.

“He kept turning it down saying 'I’m not a painter; I’m a sculptor,'” said Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, a Georgetown University professor who has studied the work extensively. She said Michelangelo had come to Rome to sculpt the tomb of Julius II, which he thought would be his masterpiece.

Originally the idea from the papal commission was to have Michelangelo paint the 12 apostles on the ceiling, but somewhere along the way the plans changed. “He was up on the ceiling, and the concept just was not working for him," Apostolos-Cappadona said.

Apostolos-Cappadona said correspondence at the time suggest the subject shifted to Genesis after conversations related to the writings of Saint Augustine between the artist and a prominent theologian, Egidio da Viterbo.

It took a full four years to complete the sweeping painting which stretches out above the chapel's 40.23 meters in length by 13.40 meters in width footprint, dimensions which are thought to mirror Solomon's Temple as described in the book of Kings.

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“He created paintings, that in many ways, the figures seem three dimensional. That’s something he does that other painters of the day did not do. From the ceiling you need the mass and volume,” Apostolos-Cappadona said.

Pope John Paul II called the Sistine chapel, "the shrine of the theology of the human body," in a homily following restorations for the space in 1994.

"This is a priceless cultural and universal heritage," the late Pope John Paul II said at the time. "This is confirmed by the countless pilgrims from every nation in the world who come to admire the work of the supreme masters and to recognize in this Chapel a sort of wonderful synthesis of painting."

Visitors today can still see the Michelangelo's fresco as the crown jewel of the Vatican Museum tour. The chapel space is still used by the Vatican for worship services, which museum staff loudly remind chatty patrons to keep quiet and not take pictures.

The chapel is also used for the secret conclave to elect the new pope. The College Cardinals, whose job it is to elect the new pope, gather there to cast ballots for the man who would become the next pope.

As cardinals cast their secret ballots they walk under the painted ceiling through the steps of the creation story and put their ballot in an urn on the altar. Above the altar is another gigantic Michelangelo fresco, "The Last Judgement," which takes up the entire wall and was finished in 1541.

"The ceiling is almost a background for that extraordinary picture of "The Last Judgement," Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the archbishop emeritus of Washington, told CNN. McCarrick was a member of the conclave that elected Pope Bennedict the XVI in April 2005.

"The ceiling sort of prepares you for that with the creation of man and all that. When you come to the altar, and you look right behind the altar is this extraordinary painting of "The Last Judgement," he said.

Standing in front of the painting and casting a ballot for the next pope he said, "ceases to become an election and becomes more of a discernment, a discernment of what God wants you to do. A discernment of what you think God wants you to do, to pick the man God needs for the church today."

"All those things go through your head when you're in that extraordinary building, that extraordinary chapel. You are about to do an extraordinary thing," he said.

The Vatican Museum director Antonio Paolucci, writing in L'Osservatore Romano, noted in the Wednesday edition, "five million visitors a year inside the Sistine Chapel, 20,000 per day at peak periods, certainly bring about a difficult problem."

"The anthropic pressure with dust, the humidity which bodies bring with them inside, the carbon dioxide produced by perspiration involves discomfort for visitors and damages to the painting in the long run," he added.

Paolucci said there are no plans to limit access to the work in the short term or medium term, rather he said, "we have been graced with technology which allows us, if used correctly, to preserve Michelangelo's work which history has given us under the best conditions, for the longest possible time."

For those who cannot get to Rome to see it, the Vatican website has a virtual model that lets you move through the room and see all the artwork, including the ceiling and "The Last Judgement."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Art • Belief • Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope John Paul II • Vatican

soundoff (127 Responses)
  1. rotorhead1871

    its pretty cool, just shows what and how religion can motivate....it is major mind control...

    October 31, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  2. GenericMan

    Highly illogical, as Spock would say.

    October 31, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  3. Zorlak

    Why would you humans rather see a loved ones win lottery more then going to heaven ?

    If the point of life is to get to heaven, why is winning the lotto more favorable then diyng ?

    October 31, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
  4. Andrew

    While I know it shouldn't be to maintain the integrity of the paintings, I wish the room was that well lit when I was there

    October 31, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  5. Canajuneh

    I hear that the hordes of tourists (25000 a day) who troop through the chapel are slowly destroying the paintings with their humidity to say nothing of the constant noise; camera flashes; and stomping feet. $$$ triumphs over art. Close the chapel; build a special 3d screening room or a Disney creation for the tourists to march through instead.

    October 31, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Andrew

      there are signs saying no photography, but it's not enforced at all

      October 31, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • uncle_billy

      yeah, that way only deserving people who really appreciate high art can see it. you know, like art historians, critics, and other one percenters. The masses can see the Disney version because they are incapable of appreciating the real thing and don't deserve the opportunity.

      October 31, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  6. Ludwig

    This reminds me of one of my favorite movies – The Agony and the Ecstasy. The scenes between Michelangelo (Charlton Heston) and Pope Julius II (Rex Harrison) are classics!

    October 31, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      It's worthless; would be worth much more if it were sold to feed the hungry.

      October 31, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Dee Cee's gonna chip it off. Right.

      October 31, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  7. DustyOnes

    Articles like this always get the atheist outrage.

    Do you know what the most worthless human being are?

    Gay Atheists.

    October 31, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Jenny

      Imagine how many precious souls were saved in those 500 years !

      The Lord is good.

      October 31, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Sell it, feed the world.

      October 31, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      "DustyOnes" you're hilarious. Don't you know that most priests including bishops and popes are gay? lol

      October 31, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Luis Wu

      You do of course realize that Leonardo wasn't a fan of religion or of the church. It's said that he delighted in annoying the priests and other church officials. A man as intelligent as him would not be sucked in by silly superst!ons and ancient mythology. But of course in those days, you pretended to believe it or you faced the Inquistion. Religious people never cease to amaze me with their gullibility and stupidity.

      October 31, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Zip

      "Do you know what the most worthless human being are?"

      Pompous religious people

      October 31, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • allynom

      Luis Wu: You do realize that this fresco was done by Michelangelo, not Leonardo?

      October 31, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  8. lol

    Michael Angelo was one of the pope's numerous slaves.

    October 31, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  9. gee

    The nuts are rolling on the floor aroung here. Some are likely to get stomped.

    October 31, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  10. Burbank

    Well I guess the ceiling also has a Scorpio birthday, just like Michaelangleo.

    October 31, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  11. Michael

    I knew an article about this beautiful piece of art would invariably bring out the internet lunatics and uneducated masses talking about pedophile priests. Sad.

    October 31, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Izoto

      Always does.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Someone

      Agreed

      October 31, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Jenny

      How many of those priests have you personally met Michael. Oh, zero.

      October 31, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  12. Dawkins is my homeboy

    worship Satan!

    October 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  13. Rational Libertarian

    They may have barbaric customs and a not very innocent fondness for little boys, but Catholics funded some of the greatest works of art.

    October 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  14. What has God been doing the last 500 years?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=QzhwWw8tqxE

    October 31, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Jenny

      Photo shop allow all the wannabes to the art world.

      October 31, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  15. Rynomite

    Renaissance art is incredible. Sadly we don't have all the great works from various masters because hateful Xtians like Savonarola were unable to bear looking at objects representative of beauty and life. Xtians are such a tiny people.

    October 31, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Meatwad

      I guess you haven't seen the nativity scene out in front of the Babtist church. The little baby Jesus looks like a doll I would buy if I had any damn money.

      October 31, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • DustyOnes

      That was in one town....the Bonfire of the Vanities. It was mas produced books...no real loss from that.

      The biggest one was by the Muslims (Library at Alexandria Egypt) and the multiple sackings of Rome by Pagans.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Jenny

      Liar. If it wasn't for Christians throughout the ages, you wouldn't be here.

      October 31, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Jenny, don't be so ignorant. Greedy early "Christian" explorers killed millions of humans. Christianity teaches that women are to remain silent; in fact Catholic Church leaders still teach that women are too evil and st upid to be priests. They also teach that any woman who dares to be ordained a priest is committing a "sin" on the same level as a pedophile. You have much to learn. Your church's teachings are not compatible in today's world where women and and others prefer to be treated equally.

      October 31, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  16. niknak

    This is one reason the xtian fundies here hate the catholic church. They are jelous.
    The fundies don't have anything even remotely as beautiful as what the catholic church has. Mainly due to the fact that the catholic church had actual artists, many of whom were gay like Mike Angelo, and they had education.
    The xtian fundies here have nothing but hateful, backwards uneducated people as their "flock."
    The only thing those types of people are capable of doing is breaking things, which in part explains the average xtian fundie's fascination with guns and war.

    October 31, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • peick

      Does anyone actually take your emotional ranting seriously? Also, you spelled jealous wrong.

      October 31, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      The Vatican is an abomination designed to house the world's most pompous power-hungry criminals. Sell it and feed the world.

      October 31, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • benedictineacc

      Who would be able to buy The Vatican? And if there is one, would it not be better for him or her to just give the money directly to the poor and feed them? Why buy something to accomplish that?

      November 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  17. Sane Person

    Such a beautiful building, beautiful artwork.. Too bad it's a safe haven for kiddie fiddlers

    October 31, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Eileen

      That is really uncalled for. I hope you can find healing from your pain and meanness. I also hope you are as vigilant in trying to end abuse where it occurs most often: in families – dads with their own kids, for example. Not focusing on how widespread it is and continually making nasty comments about Catholic clergy puts children in their homes and public schools and friends' houses and athletic teams at risk.

      October 31, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Sane Person

      The only person putting kids at risk of being abused is a parent who leaves their child with a priest

      October 31, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Sane Person

      Oh, and also the pope, as he protects and enables the abusers

      October 31, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Tyler P

      so you would rather leave your children alone with their athletic coaches or school teachers cause I guarantee you they are more than twice as likely to do crap to your kids.

      October 31, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    October 31, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian

      October 31, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.

      October 31, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      October 31, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Zip

      Same post same people replying with same text over and over does this guy think hes accomplishing something ? ( other then lunacy ) id just like to know why ? is he a religious nut ? or needs attention ?

      October 31, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • RulingClass

      Prayer does work! I once was thirsty so I prayed for water ... when I realized I was talking to myself I got up and got a glass of water. It was a miracle. Speaking of miracles – visiting the Vatican museum didn't qualify as one. I felt like we were herded like cattle on our way to the chapel and then once there the crowd was so large you couldn't move. Once we exited from the chapel we were out on the street. So much for spending the day exploring the various galleries – many of which were closed on the day I was there (July 2012). Oh well .. at least my years as an alter boy did prepare me for disappointment.

      October 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  19. realbuckyball

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2010/05/27/michelangelos-secret-message-in-the-sistine-chapel-a-juxtaposition-of-god-and-the-human-brain/

    There are all sorts of secret message he painted into the ceiling, including a bare bu'tt mooning the church. Really ironic the most famous ceiling in the Vatican was painted by a gay atheist.

    October 31, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Bucky

      Hey buddy ! Hope that you are well.

      Peace...

      October 31, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  20. Reality

    Great art but the chapel represents a severely flawed religion both historically and theologically. Added details available upon request.

    October 31, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • Which God?

      I agree Reality, great art work. All religion is flawed as it stems from a false premise, namely, that god did it. Yeah,sure it did.
      Which god are you refering to, xtians?

      October 31, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Reality

      Putting the kibosh/”google” on all religions:

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

      • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

      • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

      • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

      • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

      • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      Added details available upon written request.

      A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

      e.g. Taoism

      "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

      Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

      October 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Matt

      Yawn, not Reality.

      October 31, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Reality

      As requested:

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

      The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      October 31, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Reality

      AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD
      Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

      "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      Some added references to "tink-erbells".

      newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      For added information see the review at:

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel

      October 31, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      p.4

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      October 31, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.