Scholars Reach Consensus on the Exact Number of Eyewitnesses to the Resurrection

Image result for image of Jesus waking up in the tomb

Unbeknownst to most modern Christians, New Testament scholars long ago reached a consensus on the exact number of eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.  The number is (drum roll) Zero!

-Zero eyewitnesses claim to have seen the three-day-brain-dead body resume breathing.

-Zero eyewitnesses claim to have seen the body open its eyes.

-Zero eyewitnesses claim to have seen the body sit up and begin removing its burial cloths.

-Zero eyewitnesses claim to have seen the body stand up and move back the large stone.

-Zero eyewitnesses claim to have seen the body exit the tomb and vanish into thin air (allegedly to teleport to the Emmaus Road).

Yes, folks, hundreds of people may have claimed to have seen a walking/talking/broiled-fishing eating dead body in the days and years following this man’s death, but NO ONE claimed to have witnessed the Resurrection.  (By comparison, Muslims can provide at least one eyewitness to their alleged central supernatural event, and Mormons can provide three or four eyewitnesses to their alleged central supernatural event.)

So what about the claims of this resurrected body’s post death appearances?

Tens of thousands of grieving friends, family, (and the mentally ill), over the many millennia of human existence, have claimed to have “seen” dead people; even groups of people have claimed to have seen dead people.   Most modern, educated people (including many Christians) don’t believe these claims.  So why should we believe this claim?

We shouldn’t.

It is an ancient tall tale, folks.

Modern, educated people should not believe this silliness.

 

 

14 thoughts on “Scholars Reach Consensus on the Exact Number of Eyewitnesses to the Resurrection

  1. AND, there wasn’t much evidence that they checked really well to be sure he was all the way dead. He could have been just mostly dead. There are lots of recorded instances where people thought somebody was dead, but then they got better, especially before the advent of modern medicine.

    If this was even a real guy (which I’m not convinced of), here’s a possible scenario: Jesus falls into a coma from the shock of crucifixion, and is taken for dead. After a day or so in the tomb, he comes to, and yells for help. Someone hears him, helps roll the stone away, and then Jesus staggers off in search of his disciples. Empty tomb is discovered the next day, and Jesus finally catches up with wherever his gang is hanging out. They make a big deal about him coming back from the dead, only to have a major problem when he genuinely dies from infection shortly thereafter. They resolve the problem by burying him quietly, then announcing that he “ascended to heaven”. Later writers just repeat the “empty tomb” and “ascension” part because it’s better propaganda than the real story.

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    1. Your scenario is, of course, MUCH more probable than the Christian tall tale of a supernatural-body-reanimation (resurrection), but you will not convince heavily indoctrinated members of the cult of this fact.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The problem is that it is written that it was the angels who moved the stone. No one was there to ‘observe’ his eyes open and remove the cloth. Yet, as you stated there were hundreds of witnesses who saw him after his horrible crucification. Why focus on something that was not written in the text? Why not focus instead on those who saw him walking around afterwards, where there were witnesses. Someone replied, “when he genuinely dies from infection shortly thereafter.” where did that come from? And, Christians are not a cult. Definition: a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.
    “the cult of St. Olaf”
    a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.
    Kant argues that it is reasonable for us to apply as a matter of rational faith. This kind of belief, subjectively justifiable, represents a balance between the certain knowledge, which is objectively and subjectively justified, and the mere arbitrary opinion, which is not even subjectively justified. These religious beliefs can be rational. “I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith”

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    1. I believe that any organization which tells little children that if they leave the organization or if they stop following the organization’s rules—they will be burned alive for all eternity—is a cult.

      Liberal Christianity is not a cult. Conservative/traditional Christianity is definitely a cult.

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  3. Susan, thank you for injecting sense into this. Yours is the only well reasoned post here. The focus should indeed be on the eyewitnesses of the risen Christ and not the actual event. We don’t need to rely on a consensus if historians to conclude there were no eyewitnesses to the actual resurrection event. The gospels themselves indicate this. All the encounters with Christ occurred after his resurrection. This is what matters. The resurrected Christ was indeed witnessed by many.

    Gary and Ubi Dubium are not only lacking in faith, but, sadly, they are lacking in originality, as well. Gary wants to rely on the heavily debunked and, to be honest, quite laughable “mass hallucination theory” while Ubi is citing the equally ridiculous “swoon” theory. If you choose not to subscribe to Christian beliefs, that is your choice, but don’t evangelize us with your anti-theism. And search for the logic in your arguments. I can promise you there isn’t any logic in them.

    Christianity has survived 2,000 years of attempts to undermine and even destroy it. Eleven men ran for their lives and went into hiding after the crucifixion and death of Jesus. After their visual, physical encounter with the risen Christ, ten of them chose to suffer martyrdom than to recant their witness of the risen Christ. One was exiled to Patmos for his witness of Jesus.

    So what transformed them? Their rescue of a brutally injured, near-dead friend from a grave, only for him to die of an infection forty days later? Why yes, I can see how this would give them the courage to “go forth and make disciples of all the nations”. (Note to Gary and Ubi – that last line was sarcasm.)

    Gary, talk to a psychologist about the merits of a “mass hallucination” event. They’ll explain everything, my friend. Or were these witnesses of Jesus all on the same acid trip? Or maybe the events of Pentecost happened in an opium den? Will they be your next arguments? It is time for you to accept that there are events far beyond our comprehension. To limit your worldview to what you can only see is, to me, the essence of naiveté.

    As St. Therese of Lisieux said: “For those who don’t believe in God, no explanation is possible; for those who do believe in God, no explanation is necessary”.

    Susan to you and our fellow believers, I wish you a Happy Easter as we celebrate Jesus Christ’s true resurrection in his divine glory.

    Gary and Ubi, I wish you a happy Easter as well, and I offer a prayer that the Lord will open your heart to the truth that lies beyond what you can physically see.

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    1. “The resurrected Christ was indeed witnessed by many.”

      Let’s use critical thinking skills to examine your statement: How do you know your statement is true? What are your sources for this claim and how reliable are those sources?

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    2. You have made several historical claims in your statement but have not provided your sources. For instances, what are your sources for your claim that 10 of Jesus’ original disciples chose to suffer martyrdom rather than recant their witness of a risen Christ?

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      1. Let me turn that around on you. Where are your sources that say it didn’t happen? Or do the atheistic and agnostic communities run to the disgruntled ex-priest Crossan and his Jesus Seminar cronies to get your information? I’m surprised you didn’t cling to Crossan’s idiotic theory that Jesus was eaten by dogs at the foot of his cross.

        I haven’t read all through your blog, but I have read through some of it. The irreverence you show to people of faith is abhorrent. Especially your line about our beliefs being silly and not the beliefs of an educated people.

        I don’t plan to keep this going; I just couldn’t resist replying to your superfluous observation about all scholars agreeing that no one witnessed the actual event of the Resurrection. Really? Is that your case? You break that to the reader like it’s news.

        If there were eyewitnesses to the actual Resurrection event, there would be no need for faith. Jesus prayed at the Last Supper not only for His apostles, but also for those who believed in Him through their word. And during his first Resurrection appearance in John’s gospel, he says to Thomas, “blessed are they who have not seen and have believed”. The Church is built on faith. Jesus provided the evidence of his Resurrection by appearing to his disciples. This what empowered them, inspired them, gave them to courage to actually preach in the city of His own execution. The very place they fled! This is where the Church was born fifty days after his Resurrection.

        I don’t need to get down in the mud with you over every statement I make. Other contributors have explained very eloquently the historical reliability of the Gospels, and I am in their camp. You are simply intransigent.

        I view the Church’s records as the best source for the lives of the apostles. The fact you can’t find sources outside the Church for the ultimate fate of the apostles doesn’t deprive the Church’s accounts of their historical validity. In the same way you accuse Christians, you atheists and agnostics see what you want to see and remain blind to what you don’t want to see. What is it then? Is there too much submission, responsibility and accountability for you to believe in a God who calls us to live by his Commandments and Who sent his only begotten Son to preach the message through his Church, the birth for which he shed His own blood?

        There is no more to be said. I am continuing to pray that you and your unbelieving community awaken to the Truth that there is indeed something greater than you and the rest of us – the Triune God who conquered death and invites you to share in his Victory.

        God bless.

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        1. Sorry, Charlie. That’s not how it works in the educated western world.

          If someone claims that he saw Bigfoot yesterday, the onus is not on me to prove he did not. The onus is always on the person making the claim. You and your fellow Christians claim that a first century dead body came back to life and days later levitated into the clouds. You are making the claim, not me. The onus is on YOU to provide the evidence for your claim.

          Who are your sources for this claim? How do we know that these sources are reliable sources of information?

          These are the very same questions that most educated people today would ask of someone claiming he or she had witnessed a sighting of Bigfoot or some other unusual event, so you can’t claim that I am treating the Christian claim any different from any other unusual claim.

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        2. “The Church is built on faith.”

          I’m so happy to hear that, Charlie. Thank you for your honesty.

          I have no issue with people who admit that their belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus is based on wishful thinking (faith). We all wish and dream for many things even if they are unrealistic. It is when people confuse dreams and wishful thinking with evidence that I have a problem.

          It would be great if you would kindly inform the thousands of Christian authors and apologists who have written mountains of books on this topic that they can now stop appealing to “evidence” to prove the miracle of the resurrection. If you are correct that Jesus desires belief based on faith, there is no need for them to appeal to evidence.

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        3. “Other contributors have explained very eloquently the historical reliability of the Gospels, and I am in their camp.”

          The fact is that the bodily resurrection of Jesus as an historical event is highly contested. How many Jewish and Muslim historians believe that the bodily resurrection of Jesus was an historic event? Not many. I will bet that you can count on one hand the number of non-Christian professional historians who believe that the dead body of Jesus was literally resurrected in circa 30-33 CE.

          What other alleged historical event found in our public university history text books is so disputed?

          Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon? No. The overwhelming majority of all historians, regardless of religious affiliation, political persuasion, or nationality agree that Julius Caesar really did cross the Rubicon. And the same can be said for Alexander the Great’s siege of Tyre; Nebuchadnezzar’s sacking of Jerusalem; etc, etc.. If the evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus were good, then more experts outside Christianity would believe in its historicity. But the fact is, outside of one or two Jewish New Testament scholars, the overwhelming majority of non-Christian historians do NOT believe that there is sufficient evidence to describe the resurrection of Jesus as an historical event.

          You personally may believe that the evidence is good. Many conservative Christian scholars and historians may believe that the evidence is good. But that is no different than a Muslim claiming that the evidence for Mohammad having truly received a revelation from God from an angel named Gabriel really did happen—“because the overwhelming majority of Muslim scholars believe it did happen”.

          That’s called: Biased expert opinion. Biased expert opinion is NOT good evidence.

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        4. “I view the Church’s records as the best source for the lives of the apostles.”

          Please provide the specific author and date of writing of any Church source documenting the martyrdom of any of the ten disciples who according to you, were given the opportunity to save their lives if they would only recant being a witness to the risen Jesus.

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  4. I rely on the Gospels. You must have missed my earlier point that I side with your more informed adversaries, such as Gary Habermas, William Lane Craig , etc. And don’t tell me that they are Christian apologetics so they don’t count. You are an atheist/agnostic apologetic whose mission is every bit as much to derail Christians from the faith as theirs is to support it.

    I was sorry to read you were unfulfilled by the fundamental Baptist faith of your childhood and also unfulfilled by the Lutheran faith you practiced later in life. Becoming a disciple of Bart Ehrman, the Jesus Seminar (the Ignoraminati) will not fulfill you either.

    What has your “liberation from Christianity”’won for you? The abolition of the concept of sin, so now you can do as you please? Or do you just have a genetically perfect moral code, free from sin and no longer in need a Savior? Or did someone show you “secret files” and fill you in on all mysteries of the universe? Your agnostic mentors are angry, bitter men (gotta love that Robert Funk) who can’t coexist with people of faith. So they want to destroy all Th w faith around them. Is that the example you sought to set for your children?

    Why don’t you ask yourself how a faith can survive the persecution of the Roman Empire if it was built on the lies of a few obscure peasants whose demise wasn’t sufficiently worthy of mention in the secular annals of history? How does that happen? How did the early Church, built on martyrdom and not military might, persevere throughout its dark early days and overtake the Roman Empire? Regardless of the politics and Councils involved in getting there, Christianity speared thought the world. It was a long road that began with the eyewitness testimony of those who experienced the resurrected Christ, and that testimony, as one of your other contributors noticed, was written as early as only twenty years after the Resurrection. Yes, the epistles of St. Paul.

    You were born and raised in the Christian faith. Don’t presume to say “you Christians”. You are still one of us, but you are lost and need to find your way back.

    Easter Sunday is the perfect time to quit this adolescent, rebellious blog. As St. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13: “when I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me”. Time for you to do the same.

    Over and out.

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    1. Ok, we are getting somewhere.

      You rely on the Gospels as reliable sources for the historicity of the resurrection. And your belief that the Gospels are reliable sources of historical information is based on the expert opinions of conservative Christian apologists (and I assume conservative Christian NT scholars like Mike Licona, Richard Bauckman, etc.).

      I will freely admit that it is possible that the position of conservative Christian apologists and NT scholars regarding the resurrection of Jesus is correct. Unless one has magical powers, it is impossible to be 100% certain. But can you admit that it is also possible that conservative Christian scholars and apologists are wrong regarding the historical reliability of the Gospels?

      I hope you can be honest and admit that.

      And if you can admit that it is possible that conservative Christian scholars and apologists are wrong regarding the historical reliability of the Gospels, what does it say about the strength of the evidence for this historical claim—which even you admit could be based on historically unreliable sources (the Gospels)—when very few non-Christian scholars and historians believe that this event really took place? How strong can the evidence be if such a large percentage of the world’s historians doubt the historicity of this alleged event??

      Aren’t you, therefore, forced to admit it is only your subjective opinion that strong evidence exists for the historicity of this alleged event? When looked at objectively it is impossible to describe the evidence in favor of the historicity of this event as “strong” when so many experts disagree with you.

      As an example, wouldn’t you agree that it would be silly for Mormons to claim that the historical evidence for Joseph Smith’s reception of golden plates from an angel is “strong” when the overwhelming majority of non-Mormon historians doubt this event occurred? A devout Mormon may sincerely believe that this event occurred, but to claim that the evidence is “good” for this alleged event is a real stretch of the truth. Is your belief any different??

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