Resurrection of Jesus Source Documents: 1) 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 (50-55 CE): Creed given to Paul.

Death, burial, rose again on 3rd Day “According to Scriptures.” Appeared to Cephas, the twelve, 500 brethren, James, all the apostles, and finally Paul. 2) Mark 15:40 – 16:8 (65-100 CE): Buried by Joseph of Arimathea. Women came to tomb (Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James and Salome). “Who will move the rock for us?” See Angel, “He is going to Galilee, and will see you there.” They tell no one. Jesus does not make appearance. 3) Matthew 27:54 – 28:20 (70-100 CE): Buried by Joseph. Guards and a Seal on tomb. Zombies walk. Mary Magdalene and “other Mary” go to tomb. Angel comes down, rolls away rock; guards paralyzed. “He is going to Galilee, and will see you there.” On their way to disciples, they see Jesus. “I’ll see you in Galilee.” Guards are bribed to claim they were asleep and say disciples stole body. Disciples (only the 11) see Jesus in Galilee. Some doubted. Great Commission. 4) Luke 23:49 – Acts 1:12 (80-120 CE): Buried by Joseph. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary mother of James and other women go to tomb to spice Jesus. See two (2) angels. Who say, “Remember what Jesus said in Galilee.” Woman go to disciples; are not believed. Peter observes tomb. Two disciples on Road to Emmaus. Jesus teleports. Jesus appears before the twelve. Eats. Tells them to stay in Jerusalem, goes out to Bethany and floats into clouds 40 days later. 5) John 19:38-20:31 (90-120 CE): Buried by Joseph and Nicodemus. Mary Magdalene finds empty tomb, tells disciples. Peter and “other disciple” observe tomb and leave. Mary sticks around, sees two angels and asks Jesus, “Where have they taken the body?” Mary tells the disciples. Jesus teleports into locked room. Breathes the Holy Spirit into them. Eight days later, Jesus teleports into room again, and story of Doubting Thomas. 6) John 21 (date unknown): Peter and some other Disciples go fishing. Jesus (not recognized) tells them how to fish—a miracle! Peter recognizes Jesus; Jesus cooks breakfast for them. 7) Gospel of Peter (date debated) [attached]: Joseph buries Jesus. Guards and seals on tomb. On Sunday, the stone rolls off by itself, two angels float down and enter; bring out Jesus. Their heads reach the clouds. A cross follows them and has conversation with a voice in the sky. Pilate orders the guards to be quiet. Mary Magdalene and other women go to tomb to place spices. See Angel. Flee. The twelve disciples each go to their homes, but Peter and Andrew go fishing….

Questions 1. What is history? 2. What is evidence? 3. How much evidence do we need? Historical Method 1. Multiple Independent Sources – if two or more sources attest to the same fact, it is more likely authentic. 2. Enemy attestation – If an enemy writer corroborates a given fact, it is more likely authentic. 3. Principle of Embarrassment – if the text embarrasses the writer, it is more likely authentic. 4. Eyewitness Testimony – first hand accounts are to be preferred. 5. Early Testimony – an early account is more likely accurate than a later one.

Minimal Facts The Case for Resurrection Habermas & Licona 1. Jesus died by crucifixion. 2. He was buried. 3. His death caused the disciples to despair and lose hope. 4. The tomb was empty (the most contested). 5. The disciples had experiences which they believed were literal appearances of the risen Jesus (the most important proof). 6. The disciples were transformed from doubters to bold proclaimers. 7. The resurrection was the central message. 8. They preached the message of Jesus’ resurrection in Jerusalem. 9. The Church was born and grew. 10. Orthodox Jews who believed in Christ made Sunday their primary day of worship. 11. Paul was converted to the faith (Paul was an outsider skeptic). 12. James was converted to the faith when he saw the resurrected Jesus (James was a family skeptic).

Apologetic Claim 1. Crucified − Attested to by Paul in earliest Documents − All four Gospels have crucified − Josephus − Tacitus − Josephus reports he attempted to save three acquaintances who were still alive, and was only able to save two. Life, 75

Response Admit that he died by crucifixion. Everybody dies.

Unknown as to where Josephus & Tacitus Obtained their information.


2. Buried − Joseph of Arimethea

− Wouldn’t make up something like a Counsel Member Josephus records the Jews took down the crucified and buried them before sunset. Wars 4.5.2

Joseph of Arimeatha is fictional. We have no listing of a town named “Arimethea.” (Is this a Greek joke on “Disciple Town”?) He is a replacement character for Joseph, Jesus’ father. Notice he makes this sole appearance and completely disappears. All “eyewitness” accounts subsequent to Mark include him as if historical. Nicodemus is added in John’s Gospel.

Most Crucified persons either 1) rotted on the cross or 2) were thrown in mass grave. Possible family asked for body, but then Jesus would typically be buried in Nazareth family Tomb. Note tombs in First Century Palestine were family affairs, people entered and left on occasion.

3. Disciples believed a. They proclaimed it. − See Creed 1 Cor. 15 as demonstration − (“within 5 years of crucifixion”) − Licona gives this creed the greatest possibility of historicity.

1 Cor. 15, Paul indicates he “received it.” He does not say from whom or when. Same language when Paul claims he did not “receive” gospel from humans. Gal. 1:12. Could be spiritual receipt. Nearly all scholars note it is not Pauline—does not use Pauline language. If he did obtain information from Peter or James, could not have gotten before 40 CE. (2 Cor. 11:32; Gal. 1:18; Acts 9:23-26) This account (if the earliest) does not align with any other account. Adds sightings (Peter, 500, Apostles, James), removes sightings (Mary M & females) and no order agreement. Raises issues of historicity regarding later accounts—i.e, Gospels. All Gospels do say it (or imply it in Mark’s case.) Not certain what are “Jewish norms.” Richard Carrier identifies over 30 Jewish sects, including Pharisees, Sadducees (who said no resurrection), Herodians, Essenes, Nazarenes, Qumran Community. There was no “ONE

− Gospels say it − Against Jewish norms.


UNIVERSAL BELIEF” regarding resurrection. Further, then the Christian will have to question the accounts in the Gospels where Herod questioned if Jesus was John the Baptist back from the Dead. Are they saying this is not historical because no one would believe it? See also 1 Sam. 28:7-19 where Saul brings back Samuel from the Dead. At what point does myth develop? We have sayings in 1 Clement (95 CE) and 2 Clement (mid to late 2nd Century) with no discernable source.

− Various Epistles, Acts of Apostles include the belief

b. Radically transformed. − Gospels record them as running away from arrest

There were disagreements among the leadership; the Gospels are polemics against individuals. Mark paints Peter badly because of rejection theme. Peter is representative of disciples. John paints Peter badly (or neutral at best) whereas John 21 tries to rehabilitate Peter. While demonstrated as afraid, nothing preventing belief from continuing. Note John has them fishing. Not exactly terrified. Two (of the three) most powerful motives: Money and Power. They became independently wealthy through this belief, as well as highly exalted. The information as to how or why the disciples died is mythology.

By Acts they were willing to suffer and die

4. Paul was converted. − Persecuted the church. Gal 1:13 & 23 − Willing to suffer upon conversion. 2 Cor. 11:23-33

Did Paul know these minimal facts before he was converted? If he did, then apparently these facts were not enough to convince a skeptic. If Paul knew facts before, they are insufficient. If he did not, this takes away the Jerusalem Factor (no “enemies” knew the claims!), the enemy attestation and the Testimony of women.


Further, this is a claim for a physical resurrected Jesus, and Paul is only claimed to have seen a vision of Jesus. If a person sees a vision of Mary, do they believe Mary has come back to physical life here on earth and needs to Ascend again? Of course not! Acts of Paul has Paul appearing in a vision to Nero. Was Paul considered “resurrected” only to later die? No. These are the markings of a heavenly appearance. Paul’s claim is no different. Paul claims he “received it through revelation.” Note nothing about Damascus road, bright light, being blinded. Nothing similar to Acts. (Paul’s letter to Galatians and Acts do not chronologically match.) Gal. 1:11-12 Even Acts indicates it was a ouranio optasia or “heavenly vision,” Acts. 26:19. The same as seeing angels, or the “heavenly host” at Jesus’ birth. Thomas in John had opportunity to see empty tomb, heard of appearances, and this was by friends. Wasn’t convinced. Even BETTER opportunity to witness. 5. James was converted. − Was not supportive of Jesus Mark 3:21; John 7:5 − Saw Jesus post-resurrection. 1 Cor. 15:7 − Became leader in Church − Willing to suffer upon conversion. Josephus Mark & Matthew list James as Jesus’ biological brother, but Luke & John do not. Luke refers to brothers, and refers to James the leader, but never links them. The story (and the legend growth) from Josephus 2nd Apocalypse of James (often skipped because it’s Gnostic) Hegesippus does not indicate he was “not willing to die for a lie.” He was killed as part of political machinations. Further, he was continuing as a practicing Jew. Difficult to tell which “James” this is.


Jewish Wars Book VI, Chapter 5.3, Josephus: 3. Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers, and such as belied God himself; while they did not attend nor give credit to the signs that were so evident, and did so plainly foretell their future desolation, but, like men infatuated, without either eyes to see or minds to consider, did not regard the denunciations that God made to them. Thus there was a star (20) resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued a whole year. Thus also before the Jews' rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war, when the people were come in great crowds to the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth day of the month Xanthicus, (21) [Nisan,] and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright day time; which lasted for half an hour. This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskillful, but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes, as to portend those events that followed immediately upon it. At the same festival also, a heifer, as she was led by the high priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple. Moreover, the eastern gate of the inner (22) [court of the] temple, which was of brass, and vastly heavy, and had been with difficulty shut by twenty men, and rested upon a basis armed with iron, and had bolts fastened very deep into the firm floor, which was there made of one entire stone, was seen to be opened of its own accord about the sixth hour of the night. Now those that kept watch in the temple came hereupon running to the captain of the temple, and told him of it; who then came up thither, and not without great difficulty was able to shut the gate again. This also appeared to the vulgar to be a very happy prodigy, as if God did thereby open them the gate of happiness. But the men of learning understood it, that the security of their holy house was dissolved of its own accord, and that the gate was opened for the advantage of their enemies. So these publicly declared that the signal foreshowed the desolation that was coming upon them. Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the one and twentieth day of the month Artemisius, [Jyar,] a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared: I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the temple,] as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, "Let us remove hence." But, what is still more terrible, there was one Jesus, the son of Ananus, a plebeian and a husbandman, who, four years before the war began, and at a time when the city was in very great peace and prosperity, came to that feast whereon it is our custom for every one to make tabernacles to God in the temple, (23) began on a sudden to cry aloud, "A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against this whole people!" This was his cry, as he went about by day and by night, in all the lanes of the city. However, certain of the most eminent among the populace had great indignation at this dire cry of his, and took up the man, and gave him a great number of severe stripes; yet did not he either say any thing for himself, or any thing peculiar to those that chastised him, but still went on with the same words which he cried before. Hereupon our rulers, supposing, as the case proved to be, that this was a sort of divine fury in the man, brought him to the Roman procurator, where he was whipped till his bones were laid bare; yet he did not make any supplication for himself, nor shed any tears, but turning his voice to the most lamentable


tone possible, at every stroke of the whip his answer was, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!" And when Albinus (for he was then our procurator) asked him, Who he was? and whence he came? and why he uttered such words? he made no manner of reply to what he said, but still did not leave off his melancholy ditty, till Albinus took him to be a madman, and dismissed him. Now, during all the time that passed before the war began, this man did not go near any of the citizens, nor was seen by them while he said so; but he every day uttered these lamentable words, as if it were his premeditated vow, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!" Nor did he give ill words to any of those that beat him every day, nor good words to those that gave him food; but this was his reply to all men, and indeed no other than a melancholy presage of what was to come. This cry of his was the loudest at the festivals; and he continued this ditty for seven years and five months, without growing hoarse, or being tired therewith, until the very time that he saw his presage in earnest fulfilled in our siege, when it ceased; for as he was going round upon the wall, he cried out with his utmost force, "Woe, woe to the city again, and to the people, and to the holy house!" And just as he added at the last, "Woe, woe to myself also!" there came a stone out of one of the engines, and smote him, and killed him immediately; and as he was uttering the very same presages he gave up the ghost.

The Histories, Cornelius Tacitus 81. In the course of the months which Vespasian spent at Alexandria, waiting for the regular season of summer winds when the sea could be relied upon, many miracles occurred. These seemed to be indications that Vespasian enjoyed heaven's blessing and that the gods showed a certain leaning towards him. Among the lower classes at Alexandria was a blind man whom everybody knew as such. One day this fellow threw himself at Vespasian's feet, imploring him with groans to heal his blindness. He had been told to make this request by Serapis, the favourite god of a nation much addicted to strange beliefs. He asked that it might please the emperor to anoint his cheeks and eyeballs with the water of his mouth. A second petitioner, who suffered from a withered hand, pleaded his case too, also on the advice of Serapis: would Caesar tread upon him with the imperial foot? At first Vespasian laughed at them and refused. When the two insisted, he hesitated. At one moment he was alarmed by the thought that he would be accused of vanity if he failed. At the next, the urgent appeals of the two victims and the flatteries of his entourage made him sanguine of success. Finally he asked the doctors for an opinion whether blindness and atrophy of this sort were curable by human means. The doctors were eloquent on the various possibilities. The blind man's vision was not completely destroyed, and if certain impediments were removed his sight would return. The other victim's limb had been dislocated, but could be put right by correct treatment. Perhaps this was the will of the gods, they added; perhaps the emperor had been chosen to perform a miracle. Anyhow, if a cure were effected, the credit would go to the ruler; if it failed, the poor wretches would have to bear the ridicule. So Vespasian felt that his destiny gave him the key to every door and that nothing now defied belief. With a smiling expression and surrounded by an expectant crowd of bystanders, he did what was asked. Instantly the cripple recovered the use of his hand and the light of day dawned again upon his blind companion. Both these incidents are still vouched for by eye-witnesses, though there is now nothing to be gained by lying.


82. This deepened Vespasian's desire to visit the holy house of Serapis, for he wished to consult the god on matters of state. He had everyone else excluded from the temple, and went in alone, fixing his mind on the deity. Happening to glance round, he caught sight of a leading Egyptian named Basilides standing behind him. Now he knew that this man was detained by illness far from Alexandria at a place several days' journey distant. He inquired of the priests whether Basilides had entered the temple that day. He also inquired of those he met whether he had been seen in the city. Finally he sent off a party on horse, and ascertained that at the relevant time he had been eighty miles away. Thereupon he guessed that the vision was a divine one and that the reply to his query lay in the meaning of the name Basilides.

The Life of Vespasian, By Suetonius, chap 7.1-2 Therefore beginning a civil war and sending ahead generals with troops to Italy, he crossed meanwhile to Alexandria, to take possession of the key to Egypt. There he dismissed all his attendants and entered the temple of Serapis alone, to consult the auspices as to the duration of his power. And when after many propitiatory offerings to the god he at length turned about, it seemed to him that his freedman Basilides offered him sacred boughs, garlands, and loaves, as is the custom there; and yet he knew well that no one had let him in, and that for some time he had been hardly able to walk by reason of rheumatism, and was besides far away. And immediately letters came with the news that Vitellius had been routed at Cremona and the emperor himself slain at Rome. 2 Vespasian as yet lacked prestige and a certain divinity, so to speak, since he was an unexpected and still new-made emperor; but these also were given him. A man of the people who was blind, and another who was lame, came to him together as he sat on the tribunal, begging for the help for their disorders which Serapis had promised in a dream; for the god declared that Vespasian would restore the eyes, if he would spit upon them, and give strength to the leg, if he would deign to touch it with his heel. 3 Though he had hardly any faith that this could possibly succeed, and therefore shrank even from making the attempt, he was at last prevailed upon by his friends and tried both things in public before a large crowd; and with success. At this same time, by the direction of certain soothsayers, some vases of antique workmanship were dug up in a consecrated spot at Tegea in Arcadia and on them was an image very like Vespasian.  

Roman History, Cassius Dio, book 66.8.1 Following Vespasian's entry into Alexandria the Nile overflowed, having in one day risen a palm higher than usual; such an occurrence, it was said, had only taken place only once before. Vespasian himself healed two persons, one having a withered hand, the other being blind, who had come to him because of a vision seen in dreams; he cured the one by stepping on his hand and the other by spitting upon his eyes.