“Why Do You Seek the Living Among the Dead?” Rhetorical Questions in the Lukan Resurrection Narrative

Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Biblical Literature

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College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Theology


This article addresses the role of the rhetorical questions in the resurrection account in Luke 24–Acts 1 in order to provide insight into the rhetorical strategy of the author of Luke-Acts. The preface to Luke implies that Jesus’s story was met with uncertainty (Luke 1:4). Indeed, the resurrection of Jesus was a central point of debate. I propose that in each of the four postresurrection appearance narratives—those of the two angelic men (Luke 24:1–12, Acts 1:9–14) and those of the risen Jesus (Luke 24:13–35, 36–53), the rhetorical questions raised by Jesus and the two men (Luke 24:5b, 26, 38; Acts 1:11) function to identify clearly, and ultimately defend, the crucial issues in the debate over Jesus’s resurrection.