What made Jesus' followers believe that Jesus rose from the dead?

by John Kesler 53 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • John Kesler
    John Kesler

    leavingwt, Thanks for the link to John Loftus' comments. I like Richard Carrier's take on the issue better: Richard Carrier: Only an ordinary explanation can easily explain why Jesus only appeared to die-hard believers, and then, much later, to only one of millions of outsiders across the entire planet. If God Himself were really appearing to people, and really was on a compassionate mission to reform and save the world, there is hardly any credible reason he would appear to only one persecutor rather than to all of them. . . . [He] could have visited Pilate, Herod, the Sanhedrin, the masses of Jerusalem, the Roman legions, even the Emperor and Senate of Rome. He could even have flown to America (as the Mormons actually believe he did), and even China, preaching in all the temples and courts of Asia. In fact, being God, he could have appeared to everyone on earth. He could visit me right now. Or you! And yet, instead, besides his already-fanatical followers, just one odd fellow ever saw him.

    If Jesus was a god and really wanted to save the world, he would have appeared and delivered his Gospel personally to the whole world. He would not appear only to one small group of believers and one lone outsider, in one tiny place, just one time, two thousand years ago, and then give up. But if Christianity originated as a natural movement inspired by ordinary hallucinations (real or pretended), then we would expect it to arise in only one small group, in one small place and time, and especially where, as in antiquity, regular hallucinators were often respected as holy and their hallucinations believed to be divine communications. And that's exactly when and where it began. The ordinary explanation thus predicts all we see, whereas the extraordinary explanation predicts things we don't see at all...

    XJW4EVR:Yes, I do accept the accuracy of the NT. I have yet to see any scholar present viable evidence to the contrary. What is truly sad, is that you appear to have closed your mind to the possibility that the NT is accurate.

    I neither uncritically accept nor out-of-hand reject the NT as a historical document--as is the case with the majority of NT scholars. Scholars have established various criteria to determine the likelihood that an event is historical. The guards-at-the-tomb pericope, for example, seems unlikely since not only does it serve an apologetic purpose, it is also not multiply attested in independent sources.

    XJW4EVR:I did clarify this in my response to Leolaia. The 75% includes scholars from all theological stripes (liberal to conservative) and from 1974 on. I also posted a link to Dr. Habermas' work. Did you look at it, or did you dismiss it?

    The research is from 1975, and let's look at the full quote in which the 75% figure is mentioned. The emphasis is mine:

    Gary Habermas:

    A second research area concerns those scholars who address the subject of the empty tomb. It has been said that the majority of contemporary researchers accepts the historicity of this event.[39] But is there any way to be more specific? From the study mentioned above, I have compiled 23 arguments for the empty tomb and 14 considerations against it, as cited by recent critical scholars. Generally, the listings are what might be expected, dividing along theological “party lines.” To be sure, such a large number of arguments, both pro and con, includes very specific differentiation, including some overlap.

    Of these scholars, approximately 75% favor one or more of these arguments for the empty tomb, while approximately 25% think that one or more arguments oppose it.

    But even if Habermas had said that 99% of scholars believe that there was an empty tomb, the arguments for the tomb still need to be analyzed to see if there is a good reason for this belief. And it goes without saying that an empty tomb--even if it could be proven--does not prove that a resurrection took place. And what was the most compelling reason for the empty-tomb belief, according to Habermas?

    Gary Habermas: By far the most popular argument favoring the Gospel testimony on this subject is that, in all four texts, women are listed as the initial witnesses.

    Robert M. Price has a rejoinder to this argument as it's presented by J.P. Holding:

    “If Christianity wanted to succeed, it should never have admitted that women were the first to discover the empty tomb or the first to see the Risen Jesus. It also never should have admitted that women were main supporters (Luke 8:3) or lead converts (Acts 16).”

    Similar traditions stem from the ritual mourning of women devotees of Tammuz (Ezekiel 8:14), Attis, Baal (Zechariah 12:11), etc. They are not supposed to be "evidence for the resurrection" any more than the Oberammergau Passion Play is. And plenty of Mystery cults gave leadership roles to women. That's part and parcel of sectarianism and its first-generation rejection of mainstream norms.

    In addition to this, I would add that if one were to make up an empty-tomb pericope, there would need to be some reason invented why someone went to the tomb to find it empty; ergo, women to anoint the body of Jesus (or whatever other purpose they are alleged to have gone). I discuss this in more detail on another forum.

    I was really hoping that Leolaia would post again in this thread. Her input is always welcome in any thread that I'm in. Also, is there a way to be notified by email when posts are made to any thread that I've posted in?

  • SixofNine

    Is this the John Kesler who lived in Colorado after moving from TX?

  • John Kesler
    John Kesler
    Is this the John Kesler who lived in Colorado after moving from TX?

    No. Different guy.


    John, Habermas did not say that this was the ONLY evidence for the resurrection. There are four other issues that have even great acceptance among scholars, but let's look at the empty tomb. The empty tomb is a power piece of the puzzle because of three factors:

    Location: It would have been virtually impossible for Christianity to survive and expand in Jerusalem if the body of Jesus was still in a tomb. All the Jewish religious leaders had to do was show everyone the body.

    Enemy Affirmation: The enemies of Christ claimed that the disciples stole the body (Matt. 28:12-13; Justin Martyr, Tyrpho 108; Tertullian, De Spectaculis 30) is indirect attestation of the empty tomb. Why would they claim that the disciples stole the body if they had the body in the tomb?

    Women's Testimony: First, the testimony of women was not highly regarded in that day (Luke 24:11; Josephus, Ant. 4:8:15; Talmud: J Sotah 19a; Rosh Hashannah 1:8; Kiddushin 82b; Origen, Contra Celsum 2:59; 3:55; Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Augustus 44) . Interestingly, this is a factor that lands in favor of the truthfulness of the Gospel accounts, because this piece of information is extremely embarrassing to the male disciples of Jesus. Price's statement also makes one wonder WHY Christianity was so successful in gaining converts based on the testimony of these women.

    Your assertion that the mystery religions had some sort of influence on the disciples as rather laughable. Historically speaking, such influences are completely foreign to the Jewish religion after their return to Israel after the Babylonian captivity.

    The reason the women went to the tomb was to prepare the body with various oils and spices that facillitated the decomposition of the flesh, after which the bones were gathered and placed in ostuaries. This action is something that is consistent with the practices of the day that are historical and confirmed by archeological discoveries. Your dismissal is not a refutation.

    Edited to add: I have addressed the hallucination theory on a previous post on this thread. I see no need to address it again, unless you wish to respond to my points.

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