Historical Circumstances Not Proof the Resurrection Occurred (Proof of God's Existence)

After I declared every argument I’ve seen for God’s existence to be uncertain or false, Randy asked:

I’m saying every argument I’ve seen (and I think I’ve seen most), not all. I have already given examples in earlier posts (see my post history). Let’s talk about the Resurrection. (I am an amateur, a physicist, not a historian, so I do welcome any correction.)

The main problem is that it is ancient history: The further removed we are from an event, the more evidence reason requires for certainty. We don’t have sufficient evidence to know what happened surrounding Jesus: We must assume that the Gospel writers are reliable. Likewise, we don’t even know how many disciples there were or how they all died: We must assume Church tradition is accurate declaring that they were martyred for their witness. Regarding the missing body, historian Bart Ehrman has argued* it is possible that Jesus was buried in a common grave after being picked by scavenger birds left on the cross for days, common for victims of Roman crucifixion.

How did Christianity get started if the Resurrection didn’t actually happen? Does Mormonism not demonstrate the answer? This cult of Joseph Smith gained traction despite apparently not having the claimed miraculous origin, together with witnesses testifying to it like the Apostles. It is worth noting that the Roman Empire was in decline and religion in flux. The same is true of America today; perhaps a thousand years from now Mormonism will have grown in strength similarly, and people then will declare, “It never would’ve gotten started if it wasn’t true!”

In summary, the argument from the Resurrection for the existence of God is uncertain, because it rests on the uncertain premise that the Gospels (and New Testament miracle accounts) are true literal history.

Please answer this rebuttal. I would like to be proven wrong. Please cite sources for claims of fact.

  • See his debates on YouTube.

Wrong. 2000 years from now there won’t be need for any additinal evidence that WWII occurred. Yes, there will be researchers to claim that conventional narrative are false and that America was Nazi insteadmof Germany, but it ismthe problem of the time, not of the fact tha WWIi happened in the way it happened. The same is ture of Jesus. We have uncontroverted historical accounts of Him in the historical sources.

Pilate was a harsh ruler who was insensitive to Jewish laws and customs…Josephus, among others, described him as such. And part of the humiliation/warning factor of someone being crucified is that their body would be left on the cross for a while and then thrown into a common grave.
Considering that no prefect–especially Pilate-- has ever been known to allow a crucified criminal to be taken down for a decent burial…it doesn’t sound probable that he’d allow it in this case.

.

I can’t see how this is an apt comparison.
There won’t be a need for additional evidence regarding WWII because…we have so much of it, including hundreds of thousands of identified eyewitnesses, photos, letters, and writings from when it was actually happening and then, a plethora of it for the seventy years following (so far).

.

You are certainly experiencing a profound crisis of faith. Some would say that you are under spiritual attack. I believe that you are. Rather than reading conflicting testimonies and interacting with non-believers, you need do just one thing: Go before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and spend time in His presence. Tell Him of your doubts. Lay it all out in whatever manner you need to. Ask Him to demonstrate to you that He is there. Then, be patient. When you have your answer, you will be changed.

Or, you can be seduced by the powers and personalities of this world into total non-belief, anger, confusion and despair.

I think this argument is weak, and that you have overstated it. I think it is popular because it makes skeptics feel smart, like they know more history, not because of its merit.

Namely, I see no reason to disregard Matthew 27:

19 While [Pilate] was still seated on the bench, his wife sent him a message, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man. I suffered much in a dream today because of him.”

Wives do hold sway over their husbands, especially if they are sexually attractive. I do not see that pagan Rome was much different from America today. It appears by no means unlikely that Pilate allowed it to ingratiate himself with his wife. Because of the historical record that he was a self-centered bully (and, as I recall, irrational to the point where ultimately he lost his job), it seems all the more likely that he desire a peaceful home life for himself and be prone to some superstition (if merely on his wife’s behalf).

Imagine how much of this wiil survive or perish by that time. The same happened with witnesses of Jesus.

**A seal is a stamp put on a business letter as proof of its authenticity. Our Lord did not neglect that stamp for His Gospels.
The Seal of the Gospels is the miracle of the Sign of Jonah: The Holy Shroud of Turin which is the miraculous proof of Jesus’ existence, arrest & abuse, crucifixion, death, and resurrection.
It is the most studied artifact in the world. **

amazon.com/Test-Shroud-Mark-Antonacci/dp/0996430016

amazon.com/Shroud-Ian-Wilson-ebook/dp/B003D87PS6/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460207168&sr=1-2&keywords=the+shroud%2C+wilson

Joseph of Arimathea was a rich and powerful man, a member of the Sanhedrin, who put Jesus to death, although he did not agree with their action. He went to Pilate personally and asked for the body, although he was fearful. Pilate, being surprised that Jesus was already dead, gave permission for the body to be taken down and buried. This is attested to in all 4 of the Gospels. Is there any reason to suppose they were lying? Also, Pilate declared Jesus to be a just man before turning Him over to the crowd in favor of Barabbas, even though he allowed Him to be crucified, and said he washed his hands of the blood of Jesus. It is entirely possible because of this, and Joseph being a member of the powerful Sanhedrin, that Pilate would consent to Jesus’ body being taken down, being as he believed Jesus was not guilty of any crime, and his wife had given him a warning about Jesus being a just man.

There is less reason to doubt the Gospels than your account, esp. because Pilate could do as he pleased, being the prefect. He had the power to have Jesus’ body released, and we have 4 accounts of it.

This also was predicted by the prophet Isaiah in ch 53.

You’re right. Unless we could place our fingers in His wounds ourselves, we cannot conclusively prove the resurrection. I don’t know why anyone contests this. It would be nice to prove it of course but we walk by faith instead. For myself the voice coming from the Scripture and Church speaks authentically and authoritatively; I respond to that voice. I hear no such thing coming from Joseph Smith or Mormonism- a faint echo at best of the Christian faith that it was originally based on. Faith is necessarily subjective and grace-dependent; “motives of credibility”, as they’re called, only help lead one towards faith.

Yet, that’s precisely the claim that ethereality really is making: “The main problem is that it is ancient history: The further removed we are from an event, the more evidence reason requires for certainty.”

When we examine the reasonableness of this claim of his, we literally are forced to conclude that more recent events require less evidence, and less recent events require more evidence. Very literally, his argument states that claims become less believable over time – that is, that a reasonable claim becomes unreasonable simply due to some sort of evidentiary entropy! In other words… his claim here doesn’t hold up to scrutiny; a claim that is reasonable and is reasonably accepted today, is no less reasonable tomorrow. :shrug:

Moreover, he’s ignoring the whole notion of ‘reasonable standards of evidence.’ If ancient cultures didn’t have Facebook and ubiquitous smartphone selfies, then it’s unreasonable to expect them to have provided a standard of evidence to which we might insist today. Therefore, we have to draw reasonable conclusions based upon what we might reasonably expect to uncover as ‘evidence.’ (That’s hard for a natural scientist to wrap his head around, generally speaking, since the standards for empirical science don’t change – empirical evidence is empirical evidence, period. And yet, empirical evidence isn’t the only kind of reasonable evidence out there.)

And so, ethereality kinda gets it right: yes, we have to rely on the kinds of eyewitness accounts that we have available to us. Yes, we have to rely on the apostles and those who received their testimony. But he gets it wrong, too… no, the reliance upon these kinds of evidence doesn’t mean that the conclusions are unreliable.

Happily, you are aware that Ehrman denies mythicism and cites 11 sources which he holds as credible evidence that Jesus really existed, so we don’t have to pursue that line of argumentation.

Now, in the span of a few brief paragraphs, you have asked a number of questions that will require MORE than a few brief paragraphs to answer. So, pour yourself another cup of coffee, and we will begin. :compcoff:

I’m going to start by demonstrating that the gospels are not so far removed from the actual events they describe as to be unreliable, and I’ll do this by working out a dating scheme which will point in the direction of early authorship.

The New Testament fails to mention the destruction of the Temple which occurred in AD 70. Since Jesus had prophesied this event (cf. Mk 13:1-2), the authors of the NT books and letters would have highlighted His prediction prominently if it had been fulfilled. This silence suggests that the New Testament was written prior to AD 70.

The New Testament fails to mention the siege of Jerusalem which lasted for three years and ended with the destruction of the Temple in AD 70.** This silence suggests that the New Testament was written prior to AD 67.**

Luke, the author of the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles does not mention the martyrdoms of Peter or Paul which took place in AD 65 and AD 64 respectively. Moreover, the Book of Acts ends abruptly with Paul alive and under house arrest in Rome. This silence suggests that the Luke’s accounts were written prior to AD 64.

Luke, a trained physician and a skillful historian, recorded the martydoms of Stephen (cf. Acts 7:54-60) and James, the brother of John (cf. Acts 12:1-2), but he does not mention the death of James, the “brother” of Jesus, who was martyred in AD 62. This silence suggests that Luke wrote Acts prior to AD 62.

Luke’s Gospel was written prior to the book of Acts as Luke himself records:

Acts 1:1-2
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.

This suggests that Luke’s Gospel was written prior to AD 62.

In his first letter to Timothy (written in AD 63), Paul quotes a phrase from Luke’s gospel:

Luke 10:6-7
6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages.

1 Timothy 5:17-18
17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,”[a] and “The worker deserves his wages.”

Paul not only quotes the gospel written by his friend, Luke, but he refers to it as scripture! Not all scholars accept the Pauline authorship of 1 Timothy, but there’s more to be found. Paul’s authorship of the First Letter to the Corinthians (dated from AD 56) is undisputed, and in it, Paul appears to be quoting another passage written by his friend, Luke.

Luke 22:19-20
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

1 Corinthians 11:23-25
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Although all four gospels contain accounts of the Last Supper, only Luke’s gospel contains the words, “Do this in remembrance of me.” From these examples, we can conclude that Paul was quoting from Luke’s gospel repeatedly. The dating of Paul’s epistles is generally accepted by even skeptical scholars, and the fact that Paul states what he is writing is a reminder of that which he had taught them in person previously suggests that Luke was written prior to AD 56.

(cont.)

In his gospel, Luke quoted 250 verses from the gospel of Matthew and 350 verses from the gospel of Mark. This suggests that both of these gospels were known and accepted at the time Luke prior to AD 56.

In the book of Galatians (ca. AD 55), Paul reported that after his conversion (ca. AD 35-36), he traveled to Jerusalem briefly and then went to Arabia for three years. Upon his return, he went to Jerusalem to meet with the Apostles on two occasions: the first trip occurred within three years of his conversion (ca. AD 38-39) (cf. Gal. 1:15-19) and the second trip was made 14 years later (ca. AD 52-53) (cf. Gal. 2:1).

Additionally, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 contains what many scholars believe to be an early creed of the Church based in part upon the apparent stylistic differences between this passage and other writings of Paul. These differences suggest that the passage contains a core statement of belief of the early Church which Paul – following standard Jewish rabbinic tradition – had memorized and passed along verbatim:

1 Corinthians 15:3-8
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

Note that Paul reminds the Corinthians that he has given this basic message to them orally in the past and that he explicitly stated that what he is about to repeat in writing was received by him previously from others (presumably during one or both of his two trips to Jerusalem). This suggests that the account of the resurrection of Jesus was based upon eyewitness testimony of the apostles that can be dated possibly to within five years of the event itself and certainly no later than 23 years after the event!

The bottom line

Given that as few as five years may have passed before Paul first heard the proto-creed of the Church proclaimed in 1 Corinthians 15 (Ehrman says one year!) and that Paul encouraged his hearers to consult with eyewitnesses of the events surrounding Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection for corroboration of the message he preached, it is possible but highly improbable that the central facts concerning Jesus of Nazareth were skewed or altered by additions and embellishments.

AD 30 - Death and resurrection of Jesus
AD 31-32 - Stoning of Stephen, Persecution of Church begins
AD 33-35 - Conversion of Paul, Paul goes to Arabia
AD 35-36 - Paul returns to Jerusalem, memorizes the proto-creed of 1 Cor. 15
AD 45-50 - Mark writes Gospel
AD 53-55 - Luke writes Gospel
AD 55-56 - Paul quotes Luke in Corinthians
AD 57-60 - Luke writes Acts
AD 62-65 - Deaths of James, Paul and Peter
AD 67-70 - Siege of Jerusalem
AD 70 - Destruction of Temple

As noted above, Ehrman himself suggests that the oral transmission of the facts of Jesus’ death, etc. from the apostles to Paul can be dated to within one year of the actual event itself.

This is as good as it gets in ancient history, and the gospels were not written so late as to be unreliable accounts of the events we want to study.

Pilate wanted to curry favor with the people and their leaders.

Mark 15:15
15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

**When His Sacred corpse vanished from inside of His burial cloth, a very minute part of His body did not enter an alternate dimension, but instead its atoms dissolved into their elemental particles: protons and neutrons.
The thermal proton radiation caused the formation of the Shroud’s image. The thermal neutron radiation had a preservative effect on the Shroud’s linen fibers and also caused some of that linen’s nitrogen atoms to be converted to carbon 14.
That extra C-14 in the linen caused the radio-carbon dating of a corner of the Shroud to read to between 500 and 700 years old.
A sample taken from the center body image of the Shroud would have received a great deal more neutron radiation and, if carbon dated, will show a much younger age.
How much younger? The estimate is a future date! An impossibility that could only be explained by the disappearance of Jesus’ corpse.
That miraculous disappearance implies His resurrection.

Further testing of the Shroud of Turin will prove our Lord’s miraculous resurrection.
My opinion is that such is proven now given the great amount of evidence already recovered and analyzed. **

amazon.com/Test-Shroud-Mark-Antonacci/dp/0996430016

This, too, is a matter of agreement among most scholars: Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried, and this was reported by non-Christian authors. You may be familiar with them, but for the sake of others, I will post them.

The Historical Jesus – Jewish, Roman and Pagan References

Thallus (AD 52)

In his work of history, Julius Africanus mentions two earlier historians, Phlegon and Thallus, who in turn made references to Jesus. Thallus:

• Acknowledges that Jesus was a real person
• Confirms that Jesus was crucified
• Mentions an earthquake and darkness (possibly an eclipse) – both were said to have occurred at the time of Jesus’ death in the gospels.

Mara bar Serapion (ca. AD 73)

“What advantage did the Athenians gain by murdering Socrates, for which they were repaid with famine and pestilence? Or the people of Samos by the burning of Pythagoras, because their country was completely covered in sand in just one hour? Or the Jews [by killing] their wise king, because their kingdom was taken away at that very time? God justly repaid the wisdom of these three men: the Athenians died of famine; the Samians were completely overwhelmed by the sea; and the Jews, desolate and driven from their own kingdom, are scattered through every nation. Socrates is not dead, because of Plato; neither is Pythagoras, because of the statue of Juno; nor is the wise king, because of the new laws he laid down.” (Letter in Syriac to his son; Van Voorst, page 54)

• while Jesus is not named, and ‘wise king’ is not a common Christological title, Jesus is doubtless meant by ‘their wise king’;
• Mara a Jew writing to his son, speaks of this ‘wise’ Jew as a king, and ‘king [of the Jews]’ is prominently connected to Jesus at his trial (e.g. Mark 15:26);
• the link between the destruction of the Jewish nation and the death of the ‘wise king’ is parallel in Christianity to the destruction of Jerusalem as a punishment for Jewish rejection of Jesus (cf. Matt 23:37-39; 24:2; 27:25; Mark 13:1-2; Luke 19:42-44; 21:5-24; 23:28-31);
• the mention of ‘the new laws he laid down’ is probably a reference to the Christian religion, especially its moral code;
• Mara probably doesn’t mention Jesus directly because it was the Romans who desolated and dispersed the Jews – he does not want to offend his captors, the people who hold his loved ones.

Josephus (AD 93-94)

“At this time there was a wise man called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. Many people among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive. Accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have reported wonders. And the tribe of the Christians, so named after him, has not disappeared to this day.” (Antiquities XVIII, 63 from Josephus: The Essential Writings by Paul L. Maier, page 264-265; this text is from An Arabic Version of the Testimonium Flavianum and Its Implications by S. Pines [Jerusalem, 1971]; another translation of above found in Van Voorst, page 97; for a different version of the text infamously interpolated by later Christian editors, see discussion in Van Voorst, page 85ff; also full discussion in A Marginal Jew, volume 1 by John P. Meier, pages 56ff)

• this text, which definitely mentions Jesus and his crucifixion under Pilate by a well-known Jewish historian of the first century, is hotly disputed because of possible later ‘Christian interpolation’ but the above is the Arabic text found without these ‘Christian’ additions;
• this version leaves the question of Jesus’ messianic status neutral (“perhaps the Messiah”);
• this is another piece corroborating a ‘neutral reconstruction’ of the Testimonium (which is the preferred view among scholars);
• the neutral reconstruction, which isolates and removes the later pro-Christian interpolations, makes good sense of the pattern of ancient Christian witnesses to Josephus (e.g. Van Voorst, page 95-97).

“Upon Festus’ death, Caesar sent Albinus to Judea as procurator. But before he arrived, King Agrippa had appointed Ananus to the priesthood, who was the son of the elder Ananus [or Annas of the Gospels]. This elder Ananus, after he himself had been high priest, had five sons, all of whom achieved that office, which was unparalleled. The younger Ananus, however, was rash and followed the Sadducees, who are heartless when they sit in judgment. Ananus thought that with Festus dead and Albinus still on the way, he would have his opportunity. Convening the judges of the Sanhedrin, he brought before them a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, and certain others. He accused them of having transgressed the law, and condemned them to be stoned to death.” (Antiquities XX, 197; from Josephus, Maier, page 275-276; another translation in Van Voorst, page 83)

• we have a passing but clear reference to Jesus here, and to Jesus’ brother named James (cf. Gal 1:19);
• the overwhelming majority of scholars holds that the words ‘the brother of Jesus called Christ’ are authentic, as is the entire passage in which it is found;
• the passage fits in well with its own context;
• a Christian ‘interpolator’ would have used laudatory language to describe James and especially Jesus, calling him ‘the Lord’ or similar language.

(cont.)

Pliny the Younger (c. 112 AD)

“An anonymous accusatory pamphlet has been circulated containing the named of many people. I decided to dismiss any who denied that they are or ever have been Christians when they repeated after me a formula invoking the gods and made offerings of wine and incense to your image [or statue], which I had ordered to be brought with the images of the gods into court for this reason, and when they reviled Christ [Christo male dicere]. I understand that no one who is really a Christian can be made to do these things. Other people, whose names were given to me by an informer, first said that they were Christians and then denied it. They said that they had stopped being Christian two or more years ago, and some more than twenty. They all venerated your image and the images of the gods as the others did, and reviled Christ. They also maintained that the sum total of this guilt or error was no more than the following: They had met regularly before dawn on a determined day, and sung antiphonally a hymn to Christ as if to a god [carmenque Christo quasi deo decere secum invicem]. They also took an oath not for any crime, but to keep from theft, robbery and adultery, not to break any promise, and not to withhold a deposit when reclaimed.” (Letter 96:10; Van Voorst, page 25)

• Christ is mentioned three times in this letter to the emperor Trajan;
• the text of the two letters (Pliny’s Letter 96, and Trajan’s reply, Letter 97) are well-attested and stable, and their authenticity is not seriously disputed;
• supposed ‘Christian interpolators’ would not have testified to Christian apostasy or speak disparagingly of Christianity calling it ‘madness’ (amentia), etc.
• Christ here is the divine leader of this religion, worshiped by Christians, so that cursing him is tantamount to rejecting Christianity (cf. 1 Cor 12:3).

Tacitus (AD 116)

“Therefore, to put down the rumor, Nero substituted as culprits and punished in the most unusual ways those hated for their shameful acts [flagitia], whom the crowd called ‘Chrestians.’ The founder of this name, Christ, had been executed in the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilate. Suppressed for a time, the deadly superstition erupted again not only in Judea, the origin of this evil, but also in the city [Rome], where all things horrible and shameful from everywhere come together and become popular. Therefore, first those who admitted to it were arrested, then on their information a very large multitude was convicted, not so much for the crime of arson as for hatred of the human race. Derision was added to their end: they were covered with the skins of wild animals and torn to death by dogs; or they were crucified and when the day ended they were burned as torches. Nero provided his gardens for the spectacle and gave a show in his circus, mixing with the people in charioteer’s clothing, or standing on his racing chariot.” (Annals of Imperial Rome 15:44)

• Christ is definitely mentioned here by a major Roman historian as being ‘the founder’ of Christianity and as ‘executed in the reign of Tiberius’ under Pontius Pilate;
• there are good reasons to conclude with the vast majority of scholars that the passage is fundamentally sound, despite some difficulties (e.g. compressed style);
• Christian forgers would not have made such disparaging remarks about Christianity;
• the only textual difficulty is the word Christians, Christianoi or Chrestianoi, with the latter being the ‘earliest reading’ although more difficult.

Seutonius (c. AD 120)

“He [Claudius] expelled the Jews from Rome, since they were always making disturbances because of this instigator Chrestus [Judaeos impulsore Chresto assidue tumultuantis Roma expulit].”(Lives of the Caesars, book 5, Claudius 25:4; Van Voorst, page 30)

• Christ appears to be mentioned by this Roman historian under the name ‘Chrestus’;
• besides one textual variant that reads ‘Christ’ (instead of ‘Chresto’) the Latin text is sound;
• a Christian interpolator would more likely have spelled his name correctly, and would not have placed him in Rome in 49 AD or called him a ‘troublemaker’;
• the overwhelming majority of modern scholarship concludes this sentence is genuine, and that ‘Chrestus’ is indeed Christ.

Compare this with:

Luke (c. AD 49)

“There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. (Gospel of Luke 18:2)

Seutonius also wrote:

“punishment by Nero was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new mischievous superstition.” (Seutonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of the Nero, 16.2).

(cont.)

Lucian of Samosata (c. AD 170)

“The Chrisitians, you know, worship a man to this day—the distinguished personage who introduced their noble rites, and was crucified on that account…You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they were converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property.” (Lucian, The Death of Peregrine, 11-13)

**Sextus Julius Africanus **

“Among these are those already mentioned, called Desposyni, on account of their connection with the family of the Saviour. Coming from Nazara and Cochaba, villages of the Jews, into other parts of the world, they drew the aforesaid genealogy from memory and from the book of daily records as faithfully as possible. Whether then the case stand thus or not no one could find a clearer explanation, according to my own opinion and that of every candid person. And let this suffice us, for, although we can urge no testimony in its support, we have nothing better or truer to offer.”

+++

From these texts, we see that it was widely reported that the leader of the group known as Christians was crucified under Pontius Pilate.

IOW, we do know what happened to Jesus from non-Christian sources.

However, if we take into account the canonical and gnostic gospels, which Ehrman cites as reliable historical sources of information, then we have a wealth of information about EXACTLY what happened to Jesus.

Since this is the consensus of modern scholars (skeptics and believers alike), could you explain more fully why you believe we are lacking in biographical information? :shrug:

By the way, I posted earlier concerning the non-Christian source material for information about Jesus.

At the time I posted, I did not know where I had gotten the material (for which I am to blame, of course.) I have since learned that at least some of the quotations were from Robert Van Voorst:

Jesus Outside the New Testament
An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence

by Robert Van Voorst
p. 84
amazon.com/gp/search?index=books&linkCode=qs&keywords=9780802843685

jeffrey, it is not clear to me (and to many) that the Shroud of Turin depicts the corpse of Jesus. What you later say about proton and neutron emission strikes me as incredible, given my understanding of radiation physics and radiation biology: Such emission would only damage cell nuclei; there would be no ‘protective effect’. (I am open to correction, if you can elaborate.) The bit about creating more C-14 is the logic of a conspiracy theorist. Declaring future carbon dating to reveal a future date seems absurd.

Gorgias, you have confused certainty with credibility. The Resurrection is reasonable to believe (and I never disputed this), but it is a belief. It appears we cannot know it (justified, true, certain belief) apart from private revelation.

Randy, I am familiar with the scholarship of Gary Habermas asserting an early date for the written testimony. Thanks for repeating it, and providing additional historical references. I didn’t read all of it, but maybe I’ll read the rest later.

You’ve missed the point: None of that attests to the Resurrection of Jesus. None of that clarifies how the movement Jesus started is different from the movement Joseph Smith started (in terms of a false claim generating a lasting cult). You have not provided any additional details from which we obtain greater certainty that the Resurrection occurred. You have demonstrated that the historical record attests that Jesus lived and died, but not that He rose.

Moreover, I am missing the full picture: What did the antagonists to the Christians say? Why did the Jews not all become Christian? What did the Jews say in response to the Christians’ claim that Jesus rose? Where is their historical record? Roy Schoeman argues in Salvation is From the Jews that the Babylonian Talmud declares the Disciples worked witchcraft, harnessing the power of demons, but this is all I have seen, and it does not corroborate the Resurrection: It only corroborates that there was a controversy.

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