18 December 2018

Getting one’s eye in at cricket

50 years ago people used to talk about ‘getting one’s eye in’ when playing a game. This was associated with scoring more freely.

My father told me of something that happened to him once when he was playing cricket. Usually the ball came to him so fast that he could not see it at all. On this occasion he suddenly found that he saw the ball floating towards him so slowly that he could see the stitches on its binding, and he found it very easy to hit it with his bat.

I have never heard anyone describing a similar experience. The expression ‘getting one’s eye in’ used to be quite common, at least in cricket, and may sometimes have been used to refer to something similar. My father was not particularly good at games, but he did have a high IQ.

11 December 2018

The risen Jesus: hard to recognise

Fresco by Giotto,
Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi
According to the Synoptic Gospels, the risen Jesus who was seen by his disciples was at first difficult to recognise. After the initial difficulty, however, the disciples seem to have had no doubt that it was indeed him.
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’

‘They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary’.

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means ‘Teacher’). Jesus said, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.’ (John 20:11-17)
Possibly parts of the Jesus story are apocryphal. However, as Richard Bauckham points out, this particular element seems an odd thing to have invented if there was no factual basis for it.
I think this pattern of non-recognition followed by identification of Jesus, which we find in several of the stories of his appearances after the resurrection, is one of the rather odd features that make these stories credible as genuine testimony from those who experienced them. Would they have made this feature up? Why should they?