Evidence that James, the Brother of Jesus, Was Already A Believer Prior to Jesus’ Death

Image result for image of jesus and his brothers
Joseph, Mary, Jesus, and his brothers and sisters

The Ascension of Jesus

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of[c] James. 14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

 

Gary:  His brothers??  Immediately after the alleged Ascension, [all?] the brothers of Jesus were praying with the early Church??

Think about it:  If James the brother of Jesus had just recently converted to Christianity due to an appearance of the resurrected Jesus, wouldn’t you expect this fact to get a little more attention by the author of the Book of Acts?  But no.  No mention of a recent appearance to a brother of Jesus nor any mention that the future bishop of Jerusalem had just converted due to this appearance.  What better proof to convince dubious Jews of the bodily resurrection of Jesus than to proclaim from the roof tops that a skeptic brother of Jesus, a brother who had previously considered Jesus to be a nut case, had recently received an appearance of the bodily resurrected Jesus and had converted to “the Way”?  But nope.  No mention of these events.

The fact that the “brothers” of Jesus (sounds to me like “all” of Jesus’ brothers) are mentioned almost like an after-thought in this passage, devoting themselves to prayer with the leading men of the early Church, suggests to me that the brothers of Jesus had been believers in the messianic teachings of Jesus for quite some time.  Why else would their participation in such a significant event in the history of the Christian Church be mentioned so casually?

This is evidence that if James, the brother of Jesus, did claim to have received an appearance of the resurrected Jesus as Paul in the Early Creed of First Corinthians 15 claims, he was already a believer!

 

Update 02/18/2020:  I believe that the last sentence of the post above would be better worded to say:

This is evidence that if James, the brother of Jesus, did claim to have received an appearance of the resurrected Jesus as Paul in the Early Creed of First Corinthians 15 claims, he may have already been a believer!

In summary:  According to the author of Acts (chapter one) all the brothers of Jesus were already believers within weeks of Jesus’ death. Why? Why were they all believers? Answer: We don’t know. But what is odd is that if all their conversions were due to a recent appearance of Jesus, there is no mention of this fact anywhere in the Book of Acts. Even if one of the brother’s, James, claimed to have received an appearance of Jesus, we have no evidence that any of the other brother’s claimed to have received an appearance. This strongly suggests that the majority of Jesus’ brothers converted to Christianity for reasons other than an appearance experience. If most of Jesus’ brothers converted for other reasons, then it is possible and plausible that James converted for other reasons. Therefore, this is evidence that it is possible that James was already a believer prior to his alleged appearance experience. The claim that the conversion of James is an example of a skeptic conversion is unfounded and based on conjecture. We have no evidence why or when James converted.

 

 

 

End of post.

52 thoughts on “Evidence that James, the Brother of Jesus, Was Already A Believer Prior to Jesus’ Death

  1. I don’t get your attempt at reasoning at all, here.

    First of all, the ascension was like 40 days after the crucifixion. There’s no telling when he might have become a believer during that time.

    Second, iff James the brother of Jesus had just recently converted to Christianity due to an appearance of the resurrected Jesus, I wouldn’t expect this fact to get a little more attention by the author of the Book of Acts. Heck, even his own mother would have “converted” during that same 40-day timeframe, and she hardly gets any mention at all in the book of Acts.

    I mean, seriously – How you come to the conclusion that “This is evidence that if James, the brother of Jesus, did claim to have received an appearance of the resurrected Jesus as Paul in the Early Creed of First Corinthians 15 claims, he was already a believer!”

    That makes precisely … I mean, exactly… no sense whatsoever.

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    1. No. It blows your entire theory that “no one would believe that their loved one had been resurrected from the dead unless they had seen the resurrected body” right out of the water!

      And here is the kicker: According to the passage above “the brothers” of Jesus were all believers within just a few weeks of Jesus’ execution. Did every one of these brothers allege that they had received an appearance of the resurrected Jesus? We have no evidence anywhere in the Bible or in other Christian writings that this was the case.

      According to your theory, only family members who had seen a resurrected body would believe. The ones who had not seen a resurrected body would not believe. So unless you want to claim that all the brothers of Jesus saw a resurrected, walking, talking body, you are forced to admit that some members of Jesus’ family DID believe he had been raised from the dead without seeing his resurrected body.

      This defeats your argument that no family member would believe that their recently deceased loved one had come back from the dead unless they had literally seen his back-from-the-dead body!

      Check mate.

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      1. FT Bond 01-02-2020: “I said “…point me to some of this evidence that grieving family members are susceptible to claims made by others that the deceased has been bodily resurrected.”

        See the evidence above, FT: At least some of Jesus’ brothers converted without any mention in any Christian writing that they had received an appearance of the resurrected Jesus. They believed that Jesus had been resurrected based on the testimony of others (they were susceptible to fantastical rumors about their deceased loved one).

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  2. Gary, the problem with this “theory” is that you’re ASSUMING that Jesus’ brothers and mother (a) were meeting with the other disciples, starting on “day one”, which may or may not have been the case. Likewise, you’re also ASSUMING that James (for example) didn’t see Jesus the day after Jesus was seen by “the Twelve”. LOTS of assumptions.

    You have ZERO evidence of when Jesus’ brothers and mothers had seen him, resurrected. And, because those instances aren’t in the Gospel texts (which, we’d both agree, aren’t historially reliable anyway), you just jump to a conclusion, based on nothing but ASSUMPTION, that therefore, Jesus’ brothers must have been “believers” already.

    You’re doing what you always accuse Christians of: coming to conclusions with ZERO evidence at all. Just ASSUMPTIONS.

    If you’re not getting this, then let me parse this for you: ” According to the passage above “the brothers” of Jesus were all believers within just a few weeks of Jesus’ execution. Did every one of these brothers allege that they had received an appearance of the resurrected Jesus? We have no evidence anywhere in the Bible or in other Christian writings that this was the case.”

    According to the passage above “the brothers” of Jesus were all believers within just a few weeks of Jesus’ execution

    OK, fine. So, at some point, in the weeks that followed Jesus’ execution, his family members came to believe he had been resurrected.

    Did every one of these brothers allege that they had received an appearance of the resurrected Jesus?

    I don’t know why they wouldn’t have, if they had really seen Jesus, resurrected.

    We have no evidence anywhere in the Bible or in other Christian writings that this was the case.”

    So what? We don’t have any evidence ANYWHERE that Caesar crossed the Rubicon. Yet it makes perfect sense that he must have crossed the Rubicon, because at one point, we KNOW he was on one side of it, and at another point, we KNOW he was on the other side of it. And in this case, we KNOW that at one point, Jesus’ brothers thought he was nuts, then at another point, they have aligned themselves with other disciples, as believing that Jesus had risen from the dead. So, it’s very easy to look at that and say “oh, well, I guess somewhere in there – in that 40-day period – that’s where James saw Jesus.

    But, even though YOU really need it to be spelled out, it just isn’t. The FACT is that “WE DO NOT KNOW”.

    You can ASSERT (as you have done) that Jesus brothers were all “believers” beforehand, but, still, you have to explain WHEN that happened, because there are Gospel statements that clearly show they were NOT followers, thinking he was nuts.

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  3. re: “So unless you want to claim that all the brothers of Jesus saw a resurrected, walking, talking body, you are forced to admit that some members of Jesus’ family DID believe he had been raised from the dead without seeing his resurrected body.”

    I’ve got no problem at all of making that claim Jesus’ brothers could all have seen a resurrected, walking, talking body.

    So, unfortunately for you, I’m not “forced” into anything at all.

    Besides, I have actual RESEARCH I’ve gathered and compiled now that proves my point, and am currently writing it up and will be submitting it for peer review shortly.

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  4. ABOVE ALL ELSE, though, is that you seem to have forgotten: “I don’t do Gospels (or Acts)”. And, evidently, neither do you.

    So, why on earth you’re expecting ME to take this bit from the book of Acts and accept it as historical is beyond me.

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    1. Whether you believe the Gospels and Acts to be historically reliable is irrelevant. Even if the stories in the books are heavily embellished, we can still glean an understanding of the mindset and beliefs of people living in that era. In addition, we must remember the purpose of these books: “So that you might believe.”

      Would an author include a fictitious account in his book that the general reader would immediately assume to be a falsehood? Probably not. If one is going to invent fiction and attempt to pass it off as fact, then the fiction must be to some extent believable in that worldview. If everyone in the first century believed it impossible that a relative of a deceased person would ever believe that their loved one had been raised from the dead simply by the reports of others, it is highly doubtful that an author would include such a claim in a book which attempts to convert people to his new religious sect.

      The fact that the author of Acts includes a brief, passing claim that all the brothers of Jesus were members of the Church within weeks of the crucifixion of Jesus is strong evidence that at least some of them believed the resurrection story due to word of mouth, not due to an appearance experience.

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  5. Tell ya what: When you can show me that Acts is historically reliable, then, come back to me with all your findings. THEN, we can talk more about this snippit you’re relying on.

    Otherwise, all you’re doing is saying that this book, which was written decades after Jesus’ resurrection, has an account in it of something that you do not know was historical at all.

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    1. Whether this snippet is historical or not is irrelevant to my point. What matters is that people in the first century appear to have believed that the story was plausible: that the relatives of a dead person could be convinced that their deceased loved one had been resurrected due simply to reports by other people who alleged to be eyewitnesses. If this concept is as outrageously improbable, as you seem to believe, this passage would have been seen by the earliest readers of the Book of Acts as a glaring falsehood. There is no record that such is the case.

      Bottom line: This passage demonstrates that at least in the minds of people living in the first and early second centuries, it was completely plausible to believe that your loved one had been resurrected simply by the verbal reports of others. One did not need to see the resurrected body of one’s loved one to believe.

      Your theory has been proven false. Be honest and admit it, ft.

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  6. re: “This passage demonstrates that at least in the minds of people living in the first and early second centuries, it was completely plausible to believe that your loved one had been resurrected simply by the verbal reports of others”

    And, we entirely disagree on YOUR interpretation.

    So, you are welcome to hang on to your interpretation, based SOLELY on ASSUMPTION.

    Me? I don’t regard the text as historically reliable in the first place. Nor am I convinced that the author had any idea of when and how James (or, his brothers, or his mother) ever became believers, or if any of them were there in the first place.

    BESIDES – you CONTINUE to MIS-REPRESENT what my original argument was, and it was NOT that a family member of a deceased person could not come to believe that the deceased was actually alive, without having see the living body. That was NEVER my contention. EVER.

    You lie, and twist words when it suits your case. But, what I contended (and still contend) is in black-and-white, written elsewhere in this very blog of yours.

    You need to get your facts straight. Then come to me with an argument.

    But as things now stand, I think this post of yours is entirely bogus.

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    1. FT Bond 01-02-2020: “I said “…point me to some of this evidence that grieving family members are susceptible to claims made by others that the deceased has been bodily resurrected.”

      That is an exact quote.

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  7. That is NOT my assertion at all, and you know it.

    That is me asking YOU for evidence of something YOU said.

    Quit lying, Gary. Quit trying to twist words and mis-represent what people have said.

    You said (a lie) that my position is ” “no one would believe that their loved one had been resurrected from the dead unless they had seen the resurrected body”

    You are a LIAR, Gary.

    Quit lying.

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    1. Have you or have you not claimed that it is implausible that family members of a dead person would believe that their dead loved one had been resurrected due to a second hand report alone?

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  8. NO. I have ABSOLUTELY NOT EVER claimed such a thing. PERIOD.

    I have claimed that a family member of a family that had lost a loved-one WOULD NOT tell the family that the deceased was alive UNLESS they were certain it was true.

    I don’t know where you got the idea that I EVER said that “it is implausible that family members of a dead person would believe that their dead loved one had been resurrected due to a second hand report alone”j.

    That sounds like something YOU’D make up. (Oh, yeh, you DID make that up)

    OBVIOUSLY, if a family got a full report from the FBI, including photos and DNA analysis that said “the previously-believed deceased is actually alive”, that would be a second-hand report, and, for very many, would be entirely believable.

    So, you just pulled something out of your nose, and are trying to stick it on me.

    And, of course, you accomplish this through word-twisting, misrepresentation, and lies.

    You need to find something better to do with your time.

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    1. I have claimed that a family member of a family that had lost a loved-one WOULD NOT tell the family that the deceased was alive UNLESS they were certain it was true.

      Ok, so you are saying that the brothers of Jesus would not have told other family members that Jesus was alive again unless they were certain it was true. And how could the brothers of Jesus be certain it was true?

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  9. If you had lost a brother at sea, and his body was never recovered and he was officially declared dead – and then – a month later, you see somebody across a busy street that, to you, looked exactly like your brother– what info would YOU need before you announced to your family that you know for certain your brother is alive?

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    1. I am not interested in getting into hypotheticals about what people living today would or would not believe. I am only interested in the mindset of people living during the time period in which the Gospels and the Book of Acts were written.

      The issue is: Is it possible that the family of Jesus came to believe that he had been resurrected from the dead based on second hand reports alone? I believe that the brief passage in the first chapter of Acts is evidence that such a possibility was plausible to the minds of people in the first and early second century Roman world. If such a situation was completely implausible to people of that time period, I highly doubt that the author would have included such a statement in his book. He was trying to get skeptical people to believe. Throwing in blatantly implausible, and therefore, unbelievable statements would not have helped his cause.

      Whether you believe that modern people would or would not believe such reports is irrelevant. The fact is that there is at least some evidence (the passage in Acts 1) that indicates that first century people would believe this story as plausible.

      That is sufficient evidence to shoot down your unfounded claim above (which in reality is an Argument from Personal Incredulity, and nothing more). It may be a safe assumption that most people today would demand very, very indisputable evidence to believe that their deceased loved one had been resurrected from the dead, but we have no idea what criteria were used by people living 2,000 years ago, in another culture, on the other side of the globe.

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  10. re: “The issue is: Is it possible that the family of Jesus came to believe that he had been resurrected from the dead based on second hand reports?”

    Sure, of course it’s possible. I’m not even sure why that’s an “issue” for you. It’s not an issue for me at all.

    But, it does not, by any means, somehow prove (or, really, even support) your view that James MUST have been a “believer” BEFORE the resurrection.

    You say “This is evidence that if James, the brother of Jesus, did claim to have received an appearance of the resurrected Jesus as Paul in the Early Creed of First Corinthians 15 claims, he was already a believer!”

    I mean, the bit of scripture you refer to is talking about something that happened AFTER THE ASCENSION, for goodness sake. There’s no telling how many opportunities James might have had in which to see him. I mean, that happened 40 smackin’ days after the resurrection. It’s NO EVIDENCE whatsoever that James was “already a believer” by the time he “received an appearance of the resurrected Jesus” (as you put it).

    In any case, I’m not going to waste my time either making or disputing cases about a text that I don’t even think is historically reliable anyway. You go ahead and knock yourself out.

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    1. “You say “This is evidence that if James, the brother of Jesus, did claim to have received an appearance of the resurrected Jesus as Paul in the Early Creed of First Corinthians 15 claims, he was already a believer!” “

      Where did I make this claim? If I made such a claim, it is blatantly false. There is no way for anyone to know when or why James’ converted.

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  11. re: “This is evidence that if James, the brother of Jesus, did claim to have received an appearance of the resurrected Jesus as Paul in the Early Creed of First Corinthians 15 claims, he was already a believer!” “”

    This was cut-and-pasted from the last paragraph of this very blog entry of yours, Gary. And, you’re right – it IS blatantly false. There is no way for anyone to know when or why James converted.

    But, that’s the way it goes when you do nothing but deal in falsehoods as you do: you end up telling a lie that you don’t even remember you told.

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    1. Yes. I agree with you. I think the wording in that statement is too strong. This would be better:

      “This is evidence that if James, the brother of Jesus, did claim to have received an appearance of the resurrected Jesus as Paul in the Early Creed of First Corinthians 15 claims, he may have already been a believer!”

      I can admit when I have made a mistake.

      Ft Bond: I have claimed that a family member of a family that had lost a loved-one WOULD NOT tell the family that the deceased was alive UNLESS they were certain it was true.

      Now, can you admit you are wrong to assume that the family of Jesus would have required stronger evidence than a second hand report to believe that their brother had been resurrected?

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  12. “In any case, I’m not going to waste my time either making or disputing cases about a text that I don’t even think is historically reliable anyway.” And then you do exactly that, ft. Go figure.

    What is the basis for your belief in the resurrected Jesus then? If the gospels and Acts are historically unreliable, from whence cometh your certainty that an itinerant peasant preacher rose from the dead? As flawed as they are, the gospels and Acts are the only ‘evidence’ we have.
    Perhaps you rely instead on your own subjective experience/feelings? You do know this carries no weight whatsoever, don’t you.
    Or maybe your convinction arises from Paul’s ‘revelations’ that he claimed were from the Risen Lord, while admitting they occurred entirely within his own mind? You’re prepared to base your life on another man’s delusions?

    So which is it, ft? Why do you bother arguing for the truth of the resurrection when you reject (quite approriately) the only available evidence and have no other means of demonstrating, not even to yourself, the veracity of your beliefs?

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  13. re: “In any case, I’m not going to waste my time either making or disputing cases about a text that I don’t even think is historically reliable anyway.” And then you do exactly that, ft. Go figure.

    Actually, I was disputing GARY’s take on that passage from Acts. Even though I don’t regard Acts (or the Gospels) as historically reliable, that doesn’t mean Gary’s view of what Acts had to say, or his inferences from that text, made any sense. Of course, I don’t expect you to get that distinction at all.

    re: “As flawed as they are, the gospels and Acts are the only ‘evidence’ we have.”

    You don’t read much, do you? You might want to check out the texts that historians like Ludemann, Ehrman, Crossan, Gould and others usually refer to, which are the writings of Paul.

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    1. Ft’s belief in the resurrected Jesus as his Lord and Savior is based on one man’s testimony (Paul) and his (ft’s) personal experiences (which he refuses to discuss).

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    2. As evasive as ever, ft. I asked you direct questions about where your belief in the resurrection comes from if not the ‘historically unreliable’ stories in the bible. You answered not a single one of them.

      Instead, and as usual, you resort to ad hominem attacks. Whether I read or not is beside the point (the point about where your faith comes from.) I did indeed cover Paul in my comment but you chose to ignore and evade the question by quoting only the previous paragraph as if that’s all I said.

      Deceptive and not a little unpleasant. It’s what Jesus would want.

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  14. Actually, both your statements are LIES, Gary. You LIED. Again. You’re STILL LYING. You need to get a handle on that, else, people are going to think you are a sociopath.

    First, I don’t “believe” in “the resurrected Jesus”. I am convinced that Jesus was resurrected. (and, yes, because I am convinced of that, I do therefore “believe” he is Lord and Savior, but that is a theological, not historical position)

    Second, it is NOT based on “one mans testimony” at all, nor “one man’s testimony..and (my) personal experiences”.

    It is based on at least the testimony of Paul, James and Peter — and Ehrman, Crossan, Wright, Gould, and many other scholars agree that Peter, James and Paul all testified to having seen Jesus risen from the dead, AND, it is based on my own research, which will be published soon (and therefore, I clearly will NOT discuss it here until after publication).

    Personal experiences???? Show me ONE TIME – JUST ONE – in this blog in which I EVER said I believed in Jesus based on personal experiences.

    Here’s something I wrote on Ehrman’s blog three years ago (which is before I started coming to this blog):

    ———- from ehrmanblog, below ———–

    But, it’s like this: Christianity is about the FACT of the resurrection of Jesus. It really has nothing to do with “feelings” (necessarily), nor with “subjective experiences”, or any such thing. (and, BTW – this is one reason the idea of a “spiritual resurrection” is considered in mainstream Christianity as a bit of Gnostic nonsense).

    If Jesus was truly, physically resurrected, then it matters. It means there is a God, there is an afterlife, there is a God who wants us to know Him, and, above all else, it means that this is all “a matter of FACT”, not some “random experience”, or your “feelings at the moment” or any such thing. If Jesus was truly raised from the dead, and one regards that as Fact, then that means it is regarded in the same fashion as “1 + 1 = 2” – meaning, “it is what it is”.

    If Jesus was truly, physically raised from the dead, and thus, we know there is indeed a God, an afterlife, and that we have lives that matter to God, the question then becomes “how do we then live”?

    For this, I can only imagine that Christians – before we had the “New Testament” (as it were) – relied quite heavily on the Torah, the prophets, and on the words of Jesus, as taught by those who knew him, in order to answer the question of “how do we then live”. But, in any case, I’d venture to say that true “Christianity” has always had, at it’s roots, the acknowledgement of the hardcore fact of the physical resurrection of Jesus (along with repentence, and “confessing” that Jesus is, in fact, “Lord”). But, the idea that we’re supposed to be able to “commune with God through personal experience” (blablabla) is, like, super-secondary.

    This is what Paul was talking about when he said “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith”. If the resurrection of Jesus was not an actual, real-life fact, then the rest of this stuff is just BS….

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    1. FT Bond: It [my belief in the physical resurrection of Jesus] is based on at least the testimony of Paul, James and Peter — and Ehrman, Crossan, Wright, Gould, and many other scholars agree that Peter, James and Paul all testified to having seen Jesus risen from the dead

      Please give me a quote from Ehrman in which he states that we have testimony from James and Peter that they saw a “risen” Jesus.

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      1. I’ll make it easier for you. Please provide a quote from any non-fundamentalist, non-evangelical New Testament scholar who states that we have testimony from James and Peter that they saw a “risen” Jesus.

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  15. ‘I do not question the physical nature of Jesus’ appearance from heaven…. Paul.. .asserts that Christians will receive a transformed physical body like the one that the heavenly man Christ has (cf. 1 Cor 15.35-49).’^

    Ludemann, “, ‘Closing Response’, in Paul Copan and Ronald Tacelli {eds,), Jesus’
    Resurrection: Fact or Figment? (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), p. 151

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    1. I asked about James and Peter, not Paul.

      Please provide a quote from any non-fundamentalist, non-evangelical New Testament scholar who states that we have testimony from James and Peter that they saw a “risen” Jesus.

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  16. do you think Paul was preaching a bodily-risen Jesus, but Peter was not?

    I mean, seriously, do we have to cover that tired, old ground AGAIN????

    Because, if you think Paul was preaching a bodily-risen Jesus, but Peter, James and John weren’t, then you really need to write a book to explain how you came to that conclusion.

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    1. You did not answer the question. I asked you for evidence that any non-fundamentalist, non-evangelical scholar believes that we are in possession of testimony (eyewitness statements) from James or Peter that they “saw” a risen Jesus.

      I do not doubt that some percentage of early Christians believed that Jesus had been resurrected. However, the question is WHY? I want to see your evidence that James and Peter are on the record claiming that they saw a walking, talking “risen” Jesus.

      Let me save you some time: No such first hand statements from James and Peter exist. The only non-disputed first hand statements we have about a resurrected Jesus come from Paul.

      Conclusion: Your belief that Jesus of Nazareth was resurrected from the dead is based on the testimony (statements) of ONE man (Paul)…as I have said before and you have denied. Is it rational to base your entire world view on the supernatural claims of ONE guy living 20 centuries ago, FT??

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    2. Ehrman, Crossan, Wright, Gould, and many other scholars agree that Peter, James and Paul all testified to having seen Jesus risen from the dead

      This is false. Ehrman for one believes that there were various views about resurrection among the earliest Christians. Unlike NT Wright, he does not believe that all early Christians believed in Paul’s concept of a physical resurrection. If that is true, we have no idea what James and Peter believed about the resurrection.

      Your belief in the physical resurrection of Jesus is based on the statements of ONE man, living 2,000 years ago! That is not rational.

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  17. James D,G. Dunn asserts: ‘It is almost impossible to dispute that at the historical
    roots of Christianity lie some visionary experiences of the first Christians,
    who understood them as appearances of Jesus, raised by God from the dead’.
    Then Dunn qualifies the situation: ‘By “resurrection” they clearly meant that
    something had happened to Jesus himself. God had raised him, not merely reassured
    them. He was alive again,,,

    John Meier lists ‘the claim by some of his disciples that he had risen from the
    dead and appeared to them’ as one of the ’empirically verifiable historical claims’,
    Paul, in particular, was an eyewitness to such an appearance, and James, the
    brother of Jesus, appears in the pre-Pauline list of appearances,^

    “For Crossan, at a very early date, the resurrection appearances were held by
    Paul and the disciples to be actual, bodily events. ” – Habermas, Resurrection Research Since 1975

    You know, Gary – I really thought you knew this stuff. Guess I was wrong.

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  18. re: “No such first hand statements from James and Peter exist.”

    I think we all know that. And, I think we all know that that fact is irrelevant in studies of ancient history. There are NO first hand statements at all about Caesar crossing the Rubicon, but that hardly means the fact cannot be established historically.

    I agree with the scholars – including all the skeptics I’ve quoted – that Paul claimed a bodily-resurrected Jesus, and, that Paul, James, Peter and John were all in agreement on that fact, and, Paul therefore, Paul’s claim that Peter, James and John (as one of the Twelve) were all likewise testifying to a bodily-risen Jesus.

    I’m sorry you don’t “get” how the study of ancient history goes, Gary. I thought, after all your great reading you used to boast about, you would have figured that out by now, rather than resorting to the kind of crap you’re attempting to use as some kind of “gotcha”. That might work with the naive and uneducated (and, it certainly appears to work with YOU), but it doesn’t work with real historians.

    Next topic?

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    1. I agree with the scholars – including all the skeptics I’ve quoted – that Paul claimed a bodily-resurrected Jesus, and, that Paul, James, Peter and John were all in agreement on that fact, and, Paul therefore, Paul’s claim that Peter, James and John (as one of the Twelve) were all likewise testifying to a bodily-risen Jesus.

      I do not contest that Paul was claiming a bodily resurrection of Jesus, but I do contest the remaining (highlighted) part of your statement. I asked for ONE quote by any non-fundamentalist, non-evangelical scholar stating that we have statements by James and/or Peter that they “saw” the risen Jesus and you have failed to provide it.

      The truth is that you (nor anyone else) have any idea what James and Peter were preaching or what they believed on the topic of the resurrection. Your belief that their beliefs were similar to Paul’s is based on your belief that Paul really did met James and Peter in Jerusalem (because Paul says so—one man’s testimony). Maybe he did meet with them. But that does not mean that James and Peter held the same views as Paul. Maybe they got into a big fight during those two weeks due to Paul’s teachings. Paul doesn’t mention this fact because he didn’t want his followers to know that the Jerusalem church disagreed with what he was teaching them. Bottom line: We don’t know what Peter and James believed or preached!

      Your belief system is based on the statements of ONE man along with conjecture and assumptions, not evidence.

      That is not rational thinking.

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  19. I’m not playing this game. I mean, you want some quote in which the NAMES of Peter and James are used, in that sentence, saying “Peter preached a bodily resurrection of Jesus”.

    But, that LACK of that does NOT demonstrate ANYTHING at all.

    James D,G. Dunn asserts: ‘It is almost impossible to dispute that at the historical roots of Christianity lie some visionary experiences of the first Christians, who understood them as appearances of Jesus, raised by God from the dead’.

    Who do you think these “first Christians’ were??? If you read Dunn, you’ll find that they included Peter, James, Paul and John.

    “For Crossan, at a very early date, the resurrection appearances were held by Paul and the disciples to be actual, bodily events. ”

    When you read “Paul and the disciples”, WHAT disciples do you think he’s talking about??? If you read Crossan, you’ll find he’s talking about Peter, James, John and Paul (among others)

    John Meier lists ‘the claim by some of his disciples that he had risen from the dead and appeared to them’ as one of the ’empirically verifiable historical claims’, Paul, in particular, was an eyewitness to such an appearance, and James, the brother of Jesus, appears in the pre-Pauline list of appearances”

    When Meier talks about “some of his disciples”, who do you think he’s talking about? First, the “his” is a reference to Jesus (but, you have to read Meier to know that). The “disciples” are people including, but not limited to Peter, James, John and Paul (and again, you have to read Meier to know that). Whe Meier says “James, the brother of Jesus, appears in the pre-Pauline list of appearances”, GUESS WHAT? He’s saying James is one of those disciples that were claiming that “he had risen from the dead and appeared to them”.

    I’m really REALLY sorry that the skeptic scholars don’t write in a fashion that a fundamentalist like yourself – who HAS to have everything “black and white” (else, out it goes) – can really grasp. But, you have to forgive them. They’re not fundamentalists like you are, Gary.

    And, I’m really REALLY sorry I can’t help you with “reading comprehension”. But, fundamentalists can only see a limited number of things in print. Nuances don’t seem to register with them.

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    1. ‘It is almost impossible to dispute that at the historical roots of Christianity lie some visionary experiences of the first Christians, who understood them as appearances of Jesus, raised by God from the dead’. Who do you think these “first Christians’ were??? If you read Dunn, you’ll find that they included Peter, James, Paul and John.

      Wrong. You did not answer the question. I asked you for evidence that any non-fundamentalist, non-evangelical scholar believes that we are in possession of testimony (eyewitness statements) from James or Peter that they “saw” a risen Jesus. I do not doubt that some percentage of early Christians believed that Jesus had been resurrected. However, the question is WHY? I want to see your evidence that James and Peter are on the record claiming that they saw a walking, talking “risen” Jesus.

      Like

    2. “For Crossan, at a very early date, the resurrection appearances were held by Paul and the disciples to be actual, bodily events. ”

      Give a link to this quote. I want to see if Crossan really said that he knows as a fact that the original disciples of Jesus believed that the resurrection appearances were “bodily events”.

      Like

    3. John Meier lists ‘the claim by some of his disciples that he had risen from the dead and appeared to them’ as one of the ’empirically verifiable historical claims’, Paul, in particular, was an eyewitness to such an appearance, and James, the brother of Jesus, appears in the pre-Pauline list of appearances”

      Meier does not state that he has evidence that disciples named James, Peter, and John were making statements that they had seen a literal “risen” Jesus in bodily form.

      I’m not playing your games, FT. Put up or shut up. Bottom line: Your belief is based on the testimony of one man and your assumptions and conjectures, just as I have said all along.

      Like

  20. re: “Ehrman for one believes that there were various views about resurrection among the earliest Christians.”

    Let’s play “show me that quote”. Just show me where Ehrman says that Peter, John, James or Paul – any one of them – believed in anything other than a bodily-resurrected Jesus.

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  21. crossan comments — along with comments in support of disciples reporting “bodily resurrection” –

    The best current treatment is Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, pp. 32-398.
    Also exceptional is Robert H. Gundry, Soma in Biblical Theology: With Emphasis on Pauline
    Anthropology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976), esp. ch. 13. Compare Caroline
    Walker Bynum, The Resurrection of Ihe Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336 (New York:
    Columbia University, 1995); Stephen Davis (pp. 126-47) and William Alston (pp. 148-83),
    both in Davis, Kendall and O’Collins, Resurrection; Joseph A. Fitzmyer, ‘The Resurrection of
    Jesus Christ According to the New Testament’, The Month, 2nd NS, 20 (1987), pp. 408-409;
    Cranfield, ‘The Resurrection of Jesus Christ’, p. 170; Norman Kretzmann, ‘Resurrection Resurrected’,
    in Eleanore Stump and Thomas Flint (eds.), Hermes and Athens (Notre Dame: Notre
    Dame University Press, 1993), p. 149. For a detailed treatment of this point, see Gary R.
    Habermas, ‘Mapping the Recent Trend toward the Bodily Resurrection Appearances of Jesus
    in Light of Other Prominent Critical Positions’, in Robert Stewart (ed.). The Resurrection of
    Jesus: John Dominic Crossan andN, T, Wright in Dialogue (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, forthcoming,
    2006).

    Like

    1. Here is Gerd Ludemann’s analysis of the Resurrection of Jesus belief. Note that “visions” are not the same as literally seeing a body!!!

      When Jesus was arrested and crucified his disciples fled. They did not go into hiding in Jerusalem – then went back home, to Galilee (where else would they go? They went home, to get out of Jerusalem!)

      o Soon after, it was in Galilee (not in Jerusalem) that belief in the resurrection occurred. It occurred because Peter had a vision of Jesus that included auditory features (he thought he saw and heard him).

      If you are a member of Bart Ehrman’s blog you would know that Ehrman holds a very similar view.
      I’m not discussing this issue any further because you lack the personal integrity to ever admit you are wrong.

      o This “vision” was induced by psychological factors. Peter felt terrifically guilty for having denied Jesus, and the “vision” he had brought forgiveness from his deep guilt.

      o This vision was like other visions that people have (all the time): visions of dead loved ones; visions of the Virgin Mary. In these visions, of course the loved ones do not really come back to life from the dead, and the Virgin Mary does not really show up at Lourdes, etc. These are psychologically induced visions.

      o Still, like other people who have visions, Peter took the vision to be real and assumed that Jesus was alive again, in heaven.

      o Peter brought the other disciples together, and maintained with them that the end time was near, as Jesus had originally preached, and that the kingdom of God was soon to appear. The evidence? The resurrection of the dead had already begun. The evidence? Jesus had been raised. The evidence? He had appeared to Peter. All this is happening in Galilee.

      o The vision was infectious, and the mission got underway.

      o Even Jesus’ brothers were caught up in the excitement and James became a believer in Jesus.

      Source: https://ehrmanblog.org/gerd-ludemann-on-the-resurrection-of-jesus-for-members/

      Like

  22. Gary, face it. You original blog entry is a total farce, to begin with.

    You didn’t even recognize your OWN quote, which I had cut and pasted.

    You really think that if some scholar doesn’t write a sentence saying “James believed in a bodily resurrected Jesus”, then, it doesn’t matter if that same scholar says “James, John and Peter were all in agreement with Paul, in regards to Jesus’ resurrection”, and then in the next sentence says “Paul believed in a bodily-resurrected Jesus”.

    All you do is bring up the most milktoast arguments that have NO SUBSTANCE to them, and, on top of that, you are an habitual LIAR, one who puts words in other peoples mouth, one who twists words, and one who misrepresents what others say.

    You got some serious issues, Gary, and you need to deal with them.

    And quit drinking.

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  23. re: “Ft’s belief in the resurrected Jesus as his Lord and Savior is based on one man’s testimony (Paul) and his (ft’s) personal experiences (which he refuses to discuss).”

    You complain to ME about having no integrity???? Seriously??????

    This line you posted is nothing but LIES, Gary. And, it’s what you ALWAYS do: you get into a jam, not being able to support some contention of yours, then you pull this out.

    In other words, you REPEAT the SAME LIE. Over and over again. And you’re lying about ME, claiming I said things I never said, for reasons I’ve never used.

    Integrity????

    Get real, Gary.

    You can’t have an HONEST discussion with ANYONE that has a different viewpoint than you. You tried lying about Licona, too, and made yourself to look like a total ___ in the process. Even other atheists didn’t want anything to do with you. Funniest thing I’ve ever seen is when he posted my response to you – on HIS blog.

    So, don’t even bother trying to lecture me about integrity. You have no idea what the word means.

    Like

  24. Gary …
    Re: This strongly suggests that the majority of Jesus’ brothers converted to Christianity for reasons other than an appearance experience.

    Consider the number of people TODAY that convert simply because of something they read or heard.

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  25. Both the Gospel According to the Hebrews and the Gospel of Thomas make James a follower of his brother while Jesus was alive. Although these writings are historically dubious, they are evidence of the earliest known traditions regarding the issue. Also, according to Eusebius, James was named Bishop of Jerusalem at the time Mathias was chosen to replace Judas—quite an honor for someone who had just joined the group.

    I also like to point out that the 1 Corinthian 15 doesn’t identify which “James” received the appearance. Why couldn’t it have been James the son of Zebedee?

    Like

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