The Resurrection

(For the sake of brevity-I have a tendency to ramble-I’m going to borrow heavily from Peter Kreeft’s "Handbook of Christian Apologetics, chapter 8 titled “The Resurrection”. He makes very salient points essential to this demonstration).

"This issue, the Resurrection, is the “Good News” that we call the Gospel. It is not “love thy neighbor”; every morally sane person already knew that. It’s not even “God is love”, even though that is a very profound revealed truth. The Gospel is that a man who claimed to be the Son of God and the Savior of the world had risen from the dead.

When Paul preached to the Greek philosophers in Athens they thought that he was preaching two new gods, Jesus and Anastasis(Greek for “resurrection”; Acts 17:18)-that’s how important the resurrection was(and how muddled the philosophers and scholars were. Nothing changes.)"

Modernist and demythologizing scholars and philosophers for a while now have spent much time and energy trashing the Bible and the accounts of miracles in the Bible. I think that much of this trend is a reactionary movement spawned from the opposite extreme of many fundamentalists The common mistake made by both extremes is that they use special standards to judge the Bible, standards that are not used to judge other books.

The challenge is this: If it can be proved that Jesus really rose from the dead, not only would we believe in Him, but aren’t we objectively obligated to believe in not only Him, but in Christianity as a whole and not just what we want to believe? For if He really rose from the dead, that validates His claim to be divine and not merely human, for resurrection from death is beyond human power; and his divinity validates the truth of everything else He said, for God cannot lie.

“Rudolf Bultmann said that ,“if the bones of Jesus were found tomorrow, all the essentials of Christianity would remain unchanged.” Paul disagreed. He said that “if Christ has not been raised, then 1) our proclamation has been in vain & 2) your faith has been in vain. 3)We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ-whom He did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised…4)If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, 5) you are still in your sins. 6)Then those who have died in Christ have perished. 7) If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”(1 Cor 15:14-19)”

“Now who is more likely to know what Christianity is, what its essentials are and whether these essentials would remain unchanged if Christ’s corpse were to turn up tomorrow, the apostle or the skeptic(or subjectivist)? One of the religion’s first-century founders or one of it’s twentieth-century subverters?”

A Jew who knew Christ, or a subject who knew an “experience”?

“The Resurrection is of crucial practical importance because it completes our salvation. Jesus came to save us from sin and it’s consequence, death(Rom 6:23). It distinguished Jesus from all other religious founders. The bones of Abraham and Mohammed and Buddha and Confucius and Lao-tzu and Zoroaster are all still on earth. Jesus’ tomb is empty.”

“The existential consequences of the resurrection are incomparable. It is the concrete, factual, empirical proof that: life has hope and meaning; “love is stronger than death”; goodness and power are ultimately allies, no enemies; life wins in the end; God has touched us right here where we are and has defeated our last enemy; we are not cosmic orphans, as our modern secular worldview would make us. And these existential consequences of the resurrection can be seem by comparing the disciples before and after. Before, they ran away, denied their Master and huddled behind locked doors in fear and confusion. After, they were transformed from scared rabbits into confident saints, world-changing missionaries, courageous martyrs and joy-filled touring ambassadors for Christ.”

What does it mean to believe that Jesus rose from the dead? For one it means that those who follow Him will do the same(see 1 Cor 15:12-23).

The best description we know of comes from C.S. Lewis:

The picture is not what we expected…It is not the picture of an escape from any abd every kind of Nature into some unconditioned and utterly transcendent life. It is the picture of a new human nature, and a new Nature in general, being brought into existence…That is the picture-not of unmaking but of remaking. The old field of space, time, matter, and the senses is to be weeded, dug, and sown for a new crop. We may be tired of that old field; God is not…A new Nature is being not merely made but made out of an old one. We live among all the anomalies, inconveniences, hopes, and excitements of a house that is being rebuilt. Something is being pulled down and something is going up in its place.
It is at this point that awe and trembling fall upon us and we read the records. If the story is false, it is at least a much stranger story than expected, something for which philosophical “religion.” physical research, and popular superstition have all alike failed to prepare us. If the story is true, then a whole new mode of being has arisen in the universe."-(Miracles, chp. 16)

cont…

cnt’d

"No one saw the resurrection itself, so no one knows how Jesus rose; no one knows the spiritual technology that Jesus used. But what is known is that He rose because many people saw Him-the risen Jesus. But we can distinguish form alternatives from which the resurrection is sometimes confused:

  1. The resurrected Christ is not a ghost(Luke 24:36-43). This notion was refuted by Jesus when He showed them His hands an feet and by eating broiled fish. A ghost is a spirit without a body.
  2. The resurrection is not resuscitation, like the resuscitation of Lazarus. The body that Lazarus had when he came out of the tomb was the same body he had when he went in. He had his graveclothes on(Jn 11:44). Jesus’ graveclothes were neatly laid laid aside and folded in His tomb(Jn 20:6-7). Lazarus had to die again, Jesus did not(Rom 6:9). Lazarus was more like the millions of contemporary resuscitated patients who have had “near-death-experiences”(NDE’s) or "out-of-body-experiences(OBE’s). Jesus’ resurrection was permanent.
  3. Resurrection is also not reincarnation. Reincarnation, like resuscitation(supposedly) only gives you another mortal body. Christ’s resurrection body was immortal. It was both more old and more new tan the body you (supposedly) get in reincarnation: more old in that it was recognizable, more new in that it was immortal.
  4. And the resurrection is not the “freeing” of a soul from its body as a Platonist or Gnostic would expect it.
  5. Resurrection is also distinct from Enlightenment, or Nirvana, or satori, or moksha-the kind of thing a Hindu or Buddhist would hope for at death: a loss of personal individuality and a reabsorption into “the One”, the “All”(or more accurately a realization that one always was “the One” and not an individual at all). The risen Jesus is a very distinct individual, even an embodied one.
  6. Resurrection is also distinct from translation or assumption into heaven. That is a Jewish notion: it happened to Enoch and Elijah, and perhaps to Moses. Catholics believe it happened to Mary. But Jesus was not brought from earth to heaven by resurrection, but from the realm of the dead back to the earth, the “land of the living.”
    7)Resurrection is also distinct from a vision. Whether a vision is sent by God, by your own consciousness or by evil spirits, a vision remains spiritual and subjective; in your psyche. But Jesus’ resurrection body was seen in public by many at the same time. he was touched. He ate.
  7. The resurrection is also distinct from legend.
  8. The resurrection is not a myth. If we distinguish myths from legends we may say that myths are symbolically true. For instance the religions of the ancient Near-East are full of grain gods who rise fro death every spring. These gods do not exist, but the new life of vegetation does. So does the new life of Christ, which these myths, in the providence of God, seem to have confusedly foretold. But Christ’s resurrection, unlike myths, is pinned down to a real, specific, concrete time and place in history, and certified by eyewitnesses(2 Peter 1:16).
    Modern demythologizers who say they believe the resurrection, but only as myth, are altering the claim, fudging the data-as if one were to claim to be a Nazi and believe in Aryan racial superiority in some mythic sense while denying that the Aryan race is really superior. You’re not a party member if you deny the essential planks in its platform.
    The demythologizers try to get around this by distinguishing “sacred history” from ordinary, secular history saying that the resurrection really happened in the former and not the latter. This would seem like sheer obfuscation or downright deceit. This “sacred history”-did it really happen or not? If not, don’t call it “history” but fiction, like Santa Claus. If it did, then it happened just as crudely and literally as births or wars happen, and we don’t need the distinction.
  9. The resurrection must be clearly distinguished from what the modernists put in its place: a “resurrection of Easter faith” in the hearts and lives of the disciples. “Easter faith” without a real Easter is a self-contradiction or a self-deception. It is faith in what is not rather than faith in what is. And if it is faith in faith, the new ask: faith in faith in what? Faith is like knowledge; it is essentially intentional. It needs an object other than itself. Otherwise it is a hall of mirrors. Faith in faith is also perverse and unnatural. It is the attempt to get the taste of the meat without eating it, and is related to faith in facts as masturbation is related to the conjugal act. It is spiritual auto-eroticism. There is no other. The disciples could never have experienced such a resurrection of faith and hope without a literal resurrection. If it wasn’t the risen Jesus, then who transformed them and converted the world?

cont’d: The Argument

I believe that the Resurrection can be proved with at least as much certainty as any universally believed and well documented even in ancient history. To do this we don’t need to presuppose anything controversial(e.g. that miracles happen). But the skeptic must also not presuppose anything(e.g. that they do not). We do not need to presuppose that the New Testament is infallible, or divinely inspired or even true. We do not need to presuppose that there really was an empty tomb or post-resurrection appearances, as recorded. We need to presuppose only two things, both which are hard data, empirical data, which no one denies: the existence of the New Testament texts as we have them, and the existence(but not necessarily the truth) of the Christian religion as we find it today.

The question is which theory about what really happened in Jerusalem on that first Easter Sunday can account for the data? There are five possible theories: Christianity, hallucination, myth, conspiracy, and swoon.

Jesus didn’t die: 1)swoon
Jesus did die but didn’t rise: 2)the apostles were deceived(hallucination); 3) the apostles were myth-makers(myth); 4) the apostles were deceivers(conspiracy)
or
Jesus died, and Jesus rose: 5)Christianity.

Theories 2 & 4 constitute a dilemma: if Jesus didn’t rise, then the apostles, who taught that he did, were either deceived(if they thought he did), or deceivers(if they knew He didn’t). The modernists came up with a middle category, myth.

All five possibilities are logically possible, and therefore must be fairly investigated-even (1)!

They are also the only possibilities, unless we include the really far-out ideas that responsible historians have never taken seriously, or that He never even really existed; that the whole story was the world’s greatest fantasy novel, written by some simple fishermen; that he was a literary character whom everyone mistook for a real person, including all Christians and their enemies, until some secular scholar many centuries later got the real scoop from sources unnamed.

If we can refute all other theories (2-5), we will have proved the truth of the resurrection (1). The form of the argument here is similar to that of most of the arguments for the existence of God. Neither God nor the resurrection are directly observable, but from the data that are directly observable we can argue that the only possible adequate explanation of the data is the Christian one.

Refutation of the swoon theory: Nine Arguments

  1. Jesus could not have survived the crucifixion. Roman procedures were very careful to eliminate that possibility. Roman law even laid the death penalty on any soldier who let a capital prisoner escape in any way, including bungling a crucifixion. It was never done.
  2. The fact that the Roman soldier did not break Jesus’ legs as he did the other two(Jn 19:31-33), means that the soldier was sure that Jesus was dead. Breaking the legs hastened death so that the corpse could be taken down before the Sabbath.
  3. John, and eyewitness, certified that he saw blood and water come from Jesus’ pierced heart(Jn 19:34-35). This shows that Jesus’ lungs had collapsed and He died of asphyxiation. Any medical expert can vouch for this.
  4. The body was totally encased in winding sheets and entombed(Jn 19:38-42).
    5)The post-resurrection appearances convinced the disciples, even “doubting Thomas,” that Jesus was gloriously alive(Jn 20: 19-29). It is psychologically impossible for the disciples to have been so transformed and confident if Jesus had merely struggled out of a swoon, badly in need of a doctor. A half-dead, staggering sick man who had just has a narrow escape is not worshipped fearlessly as divine lord and conqueror of death.
  5. How were the Roman guards at the tomb overpowered by a swooning corpse?
  6. How could a swooning half-dead man have moved the great stone at the door of the tomb? Who moved the stone if not an angel? Neither the Jews nor the Romans would move it, for it was in their best interest to keep it sealed; the Jews had the stone put there to begin with, and the Roman guards would have been killed if they let the body “escape”. The story that the Jewish authorities spread, that the guards fell asleep and the disciples stole the body, in unbelievable. Roman guards would not have fallen asleep; they would lose their lives if they did. Even if they did fall asleep, the crowd a d the effort and the noise it would have taken to move and enormous boulder would have wakened them. Which also leads into the conspiracy theory.
    8)If Jesus woke from a swoon, where did He go? Think it through: you have a living body to deal with now, not a dead one. Why did it disappear? There is absolutely no data, not even false, fantastic, imagined data, about Jesus’ life after His crucifixion, in any sources, friend or foe, at any time, early or late. A man like that, with a past like that, would have left traces.
  7. Most simply the swoon theory necessarily turns into the conspiracy theory or the hallucination theory, for the disciples testified that Jesus did not swoon but really died and really rose.

It may seem that these arguments have violated our initial principle about not presupposing the truth of the Gospel texts, since we have argued from the data in the texts. But the swoon theory does not challenge the truths in the texts which we refer to as data; it uses them and explains them(by swoon rather than resurrection). Thus we use them too. We argue from the opposing premises.

I’ll continue with the conspiracy theory tomorrow…

I’m glad I could help cure your insomnia.:wink:

If you have more on this subject I would love to hear it.
/Victor

I plan on it a little later.

Since there have been no challenges or objections made, I will continue.

Refutation of the Conspiracy theory: Seven Arguments

  1. Pascal gives a simple, psychologically sound proof for why this is unthinkable:
    "The apostles were either deceived or deceivers. Either supposition is difficult, for it is not possible to imagine that a man has risen from the dead.
    While Jesus was with them, He could sustain them; but afterwards, if He did not appear to them, who did make them act?
    The hypothesis that the apostles were knaves is quite absurd. Follow it out to the end, and imagine these twelve men meeting after Jesus’ death and conspiring to say that he had risen from the dead. This means attacking all the posers that be. The human heart is singularly susceptible to fickleness, to change, to promises of bribery. One of them had only to deny his story under these inducements, or still more because of possible imprisonment, tortures, and death, and they would have all been lost. Follow that out.(Pascal, *Pensees,*322, 310).

The “cruncher” in this argument is the historical fact that no one, weak or strong, saint or sinner, Christian or heretic, ever confessed, freely or under pressure, bribe or even torture, that the whole story of the resurrection was a fake, a lie, a deliberate deception. Even when people broke under pressure and denied Christ and worshipped Ceasar, the never let that cat out of the bag, never revealed that the resurrection was their conspiracy. For the cat was never in the bag. No Christians believed the resurrection was a conspiracy; if they had, they wouldn’t have become Christians.

  1. If they made up the story, they were the most creative, clever, innovative, intelligent, fantasists in history, far surpassing Shakespeare, or Dante, or Tolkien. Fisherman’s “fish stories” are never that elaborate, that convincing, that life-changing, and that enduring.

  2. The disciples character argues strongly against such a conspiracy on the part of all of them, with no dissenters. They were simple, honest, common peasants, not cunning, conniving liars. They weren’t even lawyers! Their sincerity proved their words and deeds. They preached and lived a resurrected Christ. They willingly dies for their “conspiracy”. Nothing proves sincerity like martyrdom.
    The change in their lives from fear to faith, despair to confidence, confusion to certitude, runaway cowardice to steadfast boldness under threat and persecution, not only proves their sincerity but testifies to some powerful cause of it. Can a lie cause such a transformation? Are truth and goodness such enemies that the greatest good in human history-sanctity-has come from the greatest lie?
    Imagine twelve poor, fearful, stupid(read the Gospels!) peasants changing the hard-nosed Roman world with a lie. And not an easily digested, attractive lie either.
    Aquinas says:
    "In the midst of the tyranny of the persecutors, an innumerable throng of people, both simple and learned, flocked to the Christian faith. In this faith there are truths proclaimed that surpass every human intellect; the pleasures of the flesh are curbed, it is taught that the things of the world should be spurned. Now, for the minds of mortal men to assent to these things is the greatest of miracles…This wonderful conversion of the world to the Christian faith is the clearest witness…For it would be truly more wonderful than all signs if the world had been led by simple and humble men to believe such lofty truths, to accomplish such difficult actions, and to have such high hopes.(Summa Contra Gentiles I, 6)

  3. There could be no possible motive for such a lie. Lies are always told for some selfish advantage. What advantage did the “conspirators” derive from their “lie”? They were hated, scorned, persecuted, excommunicated, imprisoned, tortured, exiled, crucified, boiled alive, roasted, beheaded, disemboweled, and fed to lions-hardly a catalog of perks!

  4. If the resurrection was a lie, the Jews would have produced the corpse and nipped this feared superstition in the bud. All they had to do was go down to the tomb to get it. And if the disciples stole it, how? Scared unarmed peasants could not have overwhelmed and overpowered Roman soldiers or rolled away the stone while they slept on duty.

  5. The disciples could not have gotten away with proclaiming the resurrection in Jerusalem-same time, same place, full of eyewitnesses-if it had been a lie. William Craig says:
    "The Gospels were written in such temporal and geographical proximity to the events they record that it would have been almost impossible to fabricate events…The fact that the disciples were able to proclaim the resurrection in Jerusalem in the face of their enemies a few weeks after the crucifixion shows that what they proclaimed was true, for they could never have proclaimed the resurrection (and been believed) under such circumstances had it not occurred.(Knowing the Truth About the Resurrection, chpt 6)

  6. “If there had been any conspiracy, it would certainly have been unearthed by the disciples’ adversaries, who had both the interest and the power to expose any fraud. Common experience shows that such intrigues are inevitably exposed.”(Craig, ibid.)

In conclusion, if the resurrection was a concocted, conspired lie, it violates all known historical and psychological laws of lying. It is, then and unscientific, as unrepeatable, unique and untestable as the resurrection itself. But unlike the resurrection, it is also contradicted by things we do know(the above points).

Err do you want to be challenged? I thought you wanted to inform. There are, from where I stand, a serious number of questions at least and maybe objections?

:shrug:

I have never written on a apologetics thread before. Are there special considerations to a challange?

Lawyer comment was funny though. :D.

/Victor

Like?

These two at first glance, for example, right away don’t work.

First of all, I don’t think we know he was buried in the tomb for sure. There is that line written in the bible, many decades later, but I think it is not officially written or known anywhere else at the time. There is much debate on this detail. He may have been buried in a mass grave, as was the custom, and impossible to find among the others many days, weeks later.

Second, Jesus’ followers were still a small group when he died. Most of the people did not take the claims that he was divine seriously at that point…the disciples may have not even been talking about divinity/resurrection until much later. So most may have not had the desire or reason to go out of their way to unearth a tomb. To many at the time, he was a disruptive rabble-rouser and now he was gone and that was it.

.

First of all I have no problem believing in resurrection. It is as you describe it how heavenly beings are reborn. And I am guessing that Jesus was such.

When they die their bodies disappear spontaneously and when they “rise from the dead” their bodies are spontaneously created.

Yes I know you would like to question this point but it is not important. I do not know that much about that stuff anyway. Lets get down to business.

Well for one thing.

Why was Jesus buried in a tomb? Was this commonplace at the time? Where was the grave located? What did the entrance look like. The stone door to the tomb, how difficult was it to open and close? Could the guards have been drugged with something in the food and the body removed?

I also feel that there can be a motive for the disciples to lie. I.e. to protect the congregation. But I agree that it is a most unlikely scenario.

But how do you know that the disciples were tortured and asked to renounce the resurrection? And that they refused to do so? Sorry if I missed some reference in the text.

/Victor

Then I have some questions about the resurrection itself as you describe it.

  1. How do you know Jesus “new” body was immortal? I.e. that it would not be replaced again?

  2. How can you be sure that the same process will happen to You?

  3. What kind of body did Jesus have before he was born to the earthly life?

/Victor

Heavenly beings aren’t “reborn” necessarily. And the resurrection is not a “rebirth”. This was covered in the passage regarding reincarnation.

Spirits and heavenly beings are by definition spiritual(immaterial). They do not die because they are by their nature immortal.

All these questions presuppose something which violates the basic premise in regards to the argument.

Because he was dead.

Where else do you think first century Jews placed their dead?

At that time it was outside the walls. Now it sits underneath the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Again, this goes back to the conspiracy theory. The disciples were in hiding and fearful for their lives. They certainly were not clever enough to come up with a plan to poison the guards, much less find a poison, buy it. Prepare food on a Sabbath(which was illegal to do) and then take it to the guards(which would also been a violation of the Sabbath).

It just doesn’t hold water.

There are not only accounts in the Bible of the apostles being tried and persecuted, but also extra-Biblical accounts as well.

If the Apostles were preaching a new God, who is King and Savior of the World(which was a common title for the Roman Emperor) and who was raised from the dead, then it stands to reason that they would be commanded to renounce Christ and the Gospel.

You’re presupposing reincarnation again.

Because along with the properties of having a body(eating), it also had properties that made it something completely other than what we know to be a body, i.e. He would appear in their midst out of nowhere. He would appear to others and they would not recognize Him.

Because He was fully human as well as fully divine.

He didn’t have one. He was the Word, who was God with God from all eternity.

All of which is really extraneous to the objective fact of the resurrection as a historical event.

No because your understanding of reincarnation is not really as I understand reincarnation.

Nothing is immortal in Buddhism. So we are never going to agree on this anyway. And it is irrelevant to the thread.

But if the premise is wrong? A validity of an argument can be challenged by challenging its premise too.

Why was Jesus buried in a Tomb and not cremated or buried in the ground? Was that usual at that time? Who decided to bury him in a tomb and put a guard at his door? Obviously it seems someone was afraid something might happen to his remains.

I have no idea. That is why I am asking you since you seem to have the tabs on this subject.

Unless the guards did not abide by the sabbath? And It might have been someone other that the disciples that took the body? And the disciples were fooled?

You argumented that the disciples of Jesus refused to deny the resurrection during torture. I asked you if you have any record or and other reference to support that they explicitly did not deny the resurrection? Do you have grounds for that argument or is that only a speculation on your part?

/Victor

There are a lot of things that is a body but still is something completely other than what we know as a body.

Appearing in the midst of nowhere and appearing as someone else is a Iddhi. A craft that can be developed by mortals. There have been other who are not immortal that have claimed the same abilities.

Besides the body of a heavenly being does not necessarily have the same weaknesses of us mortals, that stands to reason, but that does not mean their bodies are immortal.

What I was wondering is is there a passage somewhere in the bible or somewhere else that you consider reliable that says that Jesus body will not be replaced again?

Yes but are you also fully divine as well as fully human? Is that what you are saying? Is that why you expect to be resurrected? If not then again I have to ask Why do you think that humans can be resurrected?

For Christians yes and most Buddhists would also agree that it is probable on our own premise but for the rest of the world maybe not so much. If it was a really identifiable as a objective fact there would be a lot less reason to try to justify it.

/Victor

The bellow was an opinion of another Catholic on this forum. Do you agree to the statemant?

I think I have very difficult to understand the importance of this. It seems as though this person is willing to abondon his faith if the resurrection is false? Do you concur to that sentiment? In that case would you mind shedding some light on what part of Jesus message that looses its validity in that case?

We care about history because Christianity is based on the historical premise that Christ rose from the dead. If Christ did not rise from the dead, we are the most foolish of all people on the earth believing in a fable. The words of Christ mean little if he was not risen from the dead, if we has not risen he was just another messianic pretender.

I feel a little baffled by this. Because it means that the resurrection is valud by this person as much as I value Nibbana in the Buddhas teaching. And that is the absolute apex of Buddhism. Nothing is more important in Buddhism.

/Victor

Either way, you’re begging the question,

Not if your challenging it with your own presupposed premise. The argument asks s to do one thing: look at the evidence void of our own preconceptions.

1)The Jews of ancient Judea did not cremate their dead. They always held a reverence for the body, and to burn a body was to desecrate it. 2) There was no time. The Sabbath began at sundown and His death occurred at about 3p,m, that afternoon.

(I omitted part of the question because it was already answered above.)

The Jews asked the Romans to put the guard there:
Matt 27:[62] Next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate
[63] and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, After three days I will rise again.' [64] Therefore order the sepulchre to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away, and tell the people,He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.”
[65] Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.”
[66] So they went and made the sepulchre secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

If you’re suggesting that the guards freed Jesus, that’s frankly absurd.

To suggest this then you would have to posit something that you could not possibly know, i.e. you’re begging the question.

There were the disciples, eleven of which had abandoned Him during His execution except John(a very young man, probably still in his teens) and “the women” including His mother and Mary Magdelene.

Then you had the Romans who just executed Him, and the Jews(including the populace of the city) who called for His crucifixion.

That’s a strawman. The argument said that the disciples refused to deny Christ.

And even those that did deny Christ, never admitted that the resurrection was a concocted lie. That given the fickleness of the human heart, if it was a concocted lie, it most certainly had ben found out during torture.

Stephen was stones to death(Acts 7) and James was beheaded(Acts 12).

The martyrologies and hagiographies are full of excerpts of trials where Christians of every class, clergy and laity, when to their deaths with these words on their lips: Christiano sum(I am a Christian).

So, no, its not just speculation.

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