A new argument for the resurrection
- I am tempted when I have more time to go down Leon�s list and reply to his intriguing arguments point by point. For now, Like Tony, I think the concept of �proof� has little use for Biblical studies. Proof is something you do in mathematics and physics. In Biblical studies you decide on the weight of evidence. There is no such thing as �proof� of the resurrection in the mathematical sense.
But the idea that faith is somehow independent of the evidence, and even independent of the historicity of the resurrection, is surely silly. History matters. It makes a difference whether we won or lost WWII. If the President of Iran were to claim that the holocaust never happened, his words might add meaning to someone�s life for a time, but ultimately his claims are laughable and meaningless.
I�d like to suggest a possible new argument in the resurrection debate, if I may. If, after the alleged resurrection of Jesus, other people were brought back to life from the dead in the name of Jesus, that would be evidence of the resurrection of Jesus, would it not? (I am not here interested in the distinction between resurrection and rescuscitation as conservatives define it�to mean someone who rises from the dead only to die again).
I don�t know of anyone who even claims that the dead are brought back to life in the name of, say, Osiris or Moses or Buddha or Mohammed or anyone else. Correct me if I am wrong; I may have missed something.
But with Jesus it�s different. In the second half of the second century Irenaeus claimed that the dead had �frequently� been raised by the church through fasting and prayer, and that these saints �remained among us for many years.� (Ireneaus, Against Heresies 2.31.2, 2.32.4; also mentioned by Eusebius Hist. 3.39.9, 5.18.14). Papias mentions the mother of one Manaim who was raised, and stated that those individuals whom Jesus raised from the dead survived until the time of Hadrian. (Lightfoot and Harmer, 318.)
The claims do not diminish over time; on the contrary they swell into a flood. Hundreds of individuals have allegedly risen from the dead through prayer in the name of Jesus. Just to focus on one example: Carl Lawrence, The Church in China (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1985), 76f., describes the resurrection of a 70-year-old lady two days after she died of a heart attack, in response to the prayers of her fellow church members, which caused an entire village to repent. A long list of recent Christian resurrections is found in James Rutz, Megashift: Igniting Spiritual Power (Colorado Springs, Colorado: Empowerment Press, 2005). On p. 30 and following Rutz footnotes 52 recent resurrection accounts and describe several incidents in detail.
The longest list of historical resurrections may be Albert J. Hebert, Raised from the Dead: True Stories of 400 Resurrection Miracles (Tan Books). Hebert, in the Catholic tradition, includes stories from the lives of various saints, stories of the raising of persons who had been hanged, of those whose bodies had been mutilated, suffered decay, or been reduced to skeletons, etc.
Websites that catalog dozens of modern resurrections include: www.sendrevival.com/testimonies/categories/deadraised/index.htm
Such incidents would not normally be reported in the local press; they are beyond the pale and no one would believe them. Yet someone who gathered up all the extant accounts could probably come up with over a thousand in the last 2,000 years, and the number seems to be growing faster than ever before, if we are to believe Rutz. Why are so many people allegedly being raised in the name of Jesus�unless Jesus really did rise from the dead?
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- This is a scholarly list very broadly about the historical Jesus and
Christian origins. See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crosstalk2/
I quote, "Contributors are expected to be familiar with the sources, tools
and methods used in the critical study and exegesis of the New Testament and
other ancient writings as well as with the history and contours of
Historical Jesus studies, both classical and recent."
There have been a slew of recent books on the resurrection (FWIW, as so
often, I find Dale Allison's the most judicious) and I'm delighted to see
that Nickelsburg's classic work is being republished in an expanded edition
?ie=UTF8&s=books). We could debate them or critique them or discuss what
resurrection means in various NT or Second Temple texts or any number of
things and if I had more time I would try to get some substantive discussion
I know several folks here have thoughtful and strongly held views about Tom
Wright's resurrection book - anyone want to say why they disagree with its
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On
Behalf Of Tim Crosby
Sent: 22 January 2007 20:09
Subject: [XTalk] A new argument for the resurrection
I am tempted when I have more time to go down Leon's list and reply to his
intriguing arguments point by point. For now, Like Tony, I think the concept
of "proof" has little use for Biblical studies. Proof is something you do in
mathematics and physics. In Biblical studies you decide on the weight of
evidence. There is no such thing as "proof" of the resurrection in the
- Jacob Knee wrote:
> There have been a slew of recent books on the resurrection (FWIW, as soSpeaking of...
> often, I find Dale Allison's the most judicious) and I'm delighted to see
> that Nickelsburg's classic work is being republished in an expanded edition
> ?ie=UTF8&s=books). We could debate them or critique them or discuss what
> resurrection means in various NT or Second Temple texts or any number of
> things and if I had more time I would try to get some substantive discussion
Jim West, ThD
http://web.infoave.net/~jwest -- Biblical Studies Resources
http://drjimwest.wordpress.com -- Weblog