Did Paul believe Jesus appeared to him as a non-physical vision/light?

  • Question

    A bright outline of Jesus is in the clouds.

    According to Paul, Jesus appeared to him alive from the dead. However, what was the nature of this appearance? Did Paul most specifically maintain that, when Jesus appeared to him, the appearance was in fact a non-physical vision? Could it even have been a vision of a dazzling light and nothing more?

“Yes, after all…
  • A non-physical vision wouldn't persuade

    If Paul only had a vision (hallucination?) on the road to Damascus, it is improbable that it would have resulted in Paul's converting.

    • Ancients knew about hallucinations.

    But no…

    • Paul couldn't tell the difference.
“No, after all…
  • Optasia (e.g. Acts 26 “vision”) isn’t physical

    The Greek “optasia” philologically denotes a denotes a non-physical experience. (See full page here.) This is relevant because Acts 26:19 reports Paul saying “I did not prove obedient to the heavenly vision [optasia]” and the “heavenly vision” was Jesus himself (or the nature of his appearance).

    But no,

    So what? Plausibly…

    • The vision is not of Jesus, but of Paul’s mission. [Forthcoming]