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The historical evidence for the resurrection of Christ is very good. Scholars such as William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, Gary Habermas, and others have done an especially good job of detailing that evidence.1 It is the aim of this article to offer a sort of synthesis of some of their key points and show the strength of the historical evidence for the resurrection of Christ.

A method commonly used today to determine the historicity of an event is "inference to the best explanation." William Lane Craig describes this as an approach where we "begin with the evidence available to us and then infer what would, if true, provide the best explanation of that evidence." In other words, we ought to accept an event as historical if it gives the best explanation for the evidence surrounding it.

When we look at the evidence, the truth of the resurrection emerges very clearly as the best explanation. There is no other theory that even come close to accounting for the evidence. Therefore, there is solid historical grounds for the truth that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

It is worth pointing out that in establishing the historicity of the resurrection, we do not need to assume that the New Testament is inspired by God or even trustworthy. While I do believe these things, we are going to focus here on three truths that even critical scholars admit. In other words, these three truths are so strong that they are accepted by serious historians of all stripes. Therefore, any theory must be able to adequately account for these data.

The three truths are:

The tomb in which Jesus was buried was discovered empty by a group of women on the Sunday following the crucifixion.
Jesus' disciples had real experiences with one whom they believed was the risen Christ.
As a result of the preaching of these disciples, which had the resurrection at its center, the Christian church was established and grew.
Virtually all scholars who deal with the resurrection, whatever their school of thought, assent to these three truths. We will see that the resurrection of Christ is the best explanation for each of them individually. But then we will see, even more significantly, that when these facts are taken together we have an even more powerful case for the resurrection--because the skeptic will not have to explain away just one historical fact, but three. These three truths create a strongly woven, three chord rope that cannot be broken.

The Empty Tomb

To begin, what is the evidence that the tomb in which Jesus was buried was discovered empty by a group of women on the Sunday following the crucifixion?

First, the resurrection was preached in the same city where Jesus had been buried shortly before. Jesus' disciples did not go to some obscure place where no one had heard of Jesus to begin preaching about the resurrection, but instead began preaching in Jerusalem, the very city where Jesus had died and been buried. They could not have done this if Jesus was still in his tomb--no one would have believed them. No one would be foolish enough to believe a man had raised from the dead when his body lay dead in the tomb for all to see. As Paul Althaus writes, the resurrection proclamation "could not have been maintained in Jerusalem for a single day, for a single hour, if the emptiness of the tomb had not been established as a fact for all concerned."

Second, the earliest Jewish arguments against Christianity admit the empty tomb. In Matthew 28:11-15, there is a reference made to the Jew's attempt to refute Christianity be saying that the disciples stole the body. This is significant because it shows that the Jews did not deny the empty tomb. Instead, their "stolen body" theory admitted the significant truth that the tomb was in fact empty. The Toledoth Jesu, a compilation of early Jewish writings, is another source acknowledging this. It acknowledges that the tomb was empty, and attempts to explain it away. Further, we have a record of a second century debate between a Christian and a Jew, in which a reference is made to the fact that the Jews claim the body was stolen. So it is pretty well established that the early Jews admitted the empty tomb.
Why is this important? Remember that the Jewish leaders were opposed to Christianity. They were hostile witnesses. In acknowledging the empty tomb, they were admitting the reality of a fact that was certainly not in their favor. So why would they admit that the tomb was empty unless the evidence was too strong to be denied? Dr. Paul Maier calls this "positive evidence from a hostile source. In essence, if a source admits a fact that is decidedly not in its favor, the fact is genuine."

Third, the empty tomb account in the gospel of Mark is based upon a source that originated within seven years of the event it narrates. This places the evidence for the empty tomb too early to be legendary, and makes it much more likely that it is accurate. What is the evidence for this? I will list two pieces. A German commentator on Mark, Rudolf Pesch, points out that this pre-Markan source never mentions the high priest by name. "This implies that Caiaphas, who we know was high priest at that time, was still high priest when the story began circulating." For "if it had been written after Caiaphas' term of office, his name would have had to have been used to distinguish him from the next high priest. But since Caiaphas was high priest from A.D. 18 to 37, this story began circulating no later than A.D. 37, within the first seven years after the events," as Michael Horton has summarized it. Furthermore, Pesch argues "that since Paul's traditions concerning the Last Supper [written in 56] (1 Cor 11) presuppose the Markan account, that implies that the Markan source goes right back to the early years" of Christianity (Craig). So the early source Mark used puts the testimony of the empty tomb too early to be legendary.

Fourth, the empty tomb is supported by the historical reliability of the burial story. NT scholars agree that he burial story is one of the best established facts about Jesus. One reason for this is because of the inclusion of Joseph of Arimethea as the one who buried Christ. Joseph was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrein, a sort of Jewish supreme court. People on this ruling class were simply too well known for fictitious stories about them to be pulled off in this way. This would have exposed the Christians as frauds. So they couldn't have circulated a story about him burying Jesus unless it was true. Also, if the burial account was legendary, one would expect to find conflicting traditions--which we don't have.

But how does the reliability of Jesus' burial argue that the tomb was empty? Because the burial account and empty tomb account have grammatical and linguistic ties, indicating that they are one continuous account. Therefore, if the burial account is accurate the empty tomb is likely to be accurate as well. Further, if the burial account is accurate then everyone knew where Jesus was buried. This would have been decisive evidence to refute the early Christians who were preaching the resurrection--for if the tomb had not been empty, it would have been evident to all and the disciples would have been exposed as frauds at worst, or insane at best.

Fifth, Jesus' tomb was never venerated as a shrine. This is striking because it was the 1st century custom to set up a shrine at the site of a holy man's bones. There were at least 50 such cites in Jesus' day. Since there was no such shrine for Jesus, it suggests that his bones weren't there.

Sixth, Mark's account of the empty tomb is simple and shows no signs of legendary development. This is very apparent when we compare it with the gospel of Peter, a forgery from about 125. This legend has all of the Jewish leaders, Roman guards, and many people from the countryside gathered to watch the resurrection. Then three men come out of the tomb, with their heads reaching up to the clouds. Then a talking cross comes out of the tomb! This is what legend looks like, and we see none of that in Mark's account of the empty tomb--or anywhere else in the gospels for that matter!
To begin, what is the evidence that the tomb in which Jesus was buried was discovered empty by a group of women on the Sunday following the crucifixion?

First, the resurrection was preached in the same city where Jesus had been buried shortly before. Jesus' disciples did not go to some obscure place where no one had heard of Jesus to begin preaching about the resurrection, but instead began preaching in Jerusalem, the very city where Jesus had died and been buried. They could not have done this if Jesus was still in his tomb--no one would have believed them. No one would be foolish enough to believe a man had raised from the dead when his body lay dead in the tomb for all to see. As Paul Althaus writes, the resurrection proclamation "could not have been maintained in Jerusalem for a single day, for a single hour, if the emptiness of the tomb had not been established as a fact for all concerned."

Second, the earliest Jewish arguments against Christianity admit the empty tomb. In Matthew 28:11-15, there is a reference made to the Jew's attempt to refute Christianity be saying that the disciples stole the body. This is significant because it shows that the Jews did not deny the empty tomb. Instead, their "stolen body" theory admitted the significant truth that the tomb was in fact empty. The Toledoth Jesu, a compilation of early Jewish writings, is another source acknowledging this. It acknowledges that the tomb was empty, and attempts to explain it away. Further, we have a record of a second century debate between a Christian and a Jew, in which a reference is made to the fact that the Jews claim the body was stolen. So it is pretty well established that the early Jews admitted the empty tomb.

Why is this important? Remember that the Jewish leaders were opposed to Christianity. They were hostile witnesses. In acknowledging the empty tomb, they were admitting the reality of a fact that was certainly not in their favor. So why would they admit that the tomb was empty unless the evidence was too strong to be denied? Dr. Paul Maier calls this "positive evidence from a hostile source. In essence, if a source admits a fact that is decidedly not in its favor, the fact is genuine."

Third, the empty tomb account in the gospel of Mark is based upon a source that originated within seven years of the event it narrates. This places the evidence for the empty tomb too early to be legendary, and makes it much more likely that it is accurate. What is the evidence for this? I will list two pieces. A German commentator on Mark, Rudolf Pesch, points out that this pre-Markan source never mentions the high priest by name. "This implies that Caiaphas, who we know was high priest at that time, was still high priest when the story began circulating." For "if it had been written after Caiaphas' term of office, his name would have had to have been used to distinguish him from the next high priest. But since Caiaphas was high priest from A.D. 18 to 37, this story began circulating no later than A.D. 37, within the first seven years after the events," as Michael Horton has summarized it. Furthermore, Pesch argues "that since Paul's traditions concerning the Last Supper [written in 56] (1 Cor 11) presuppose the Markan account, that implies that the Markan source goes right back to the early years" of Christianity (Craig). So the early source Mark used puts the testimony of the empty tomb too early to be legendary.

Fourth, the empty tomb is supported by the historical reliability of the burial story. NT scholars agree that he burial story is one of the best established facts about Jesus. One reason for this is because of the inclusion of Joseph of Arimethea as the one who buried Christ. Joseph was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrein, a sort of Jewish supreme court. People on this ruling class were simply too well known for fictitious stories about them to be pulled off in this way. This would have exposed the Christians as frauds. So they couldn't have circulated a story about him burying Jesus unless it was true. Also, if the burial account was legendary, one would expect to find conflicting traditions--which we don't have.

But how does the reliability of Jesus' burial argue that the tomb was empty? Because the burial account and empty tomb account have grammatical and linguistic ties, indicating that they are one continuous account. Therefore, if the burial account is accurate the empty tomb is likely to be accurate as well. Further, if the burial account is accurate then everyone knew where Jesus was buried. This would have been decisive evidence to refute the early Christians who were preaching the resurrection--for if the tomb had not been empty, it would have been evident to all and the disciples would have been exposed as frauds at worst, or insane at best.

Fifth, Jesus' tomb was never venerated as a shrine. This is striking because it was the 1st century custom to set up a shrine at the site of a holy man's bones. There were at least 50 such cites in Jesus' day. Since there was no such shrine for Jesus, it suggests that his bones weren't there.

Sixth, Mark's account of the empty tomb is simple and shows no signs of legendary development. This is very apparent when we compare it with the gospel of Peter, a forgery from about 125. This legend has all of the Jewish leaders, Roman guards, and many people from the countryside gathered to watch the resurrection. Then three men come out of the tomb, with their heads reaching up to the clouds. Then a talking cross comes out of the tomb! This is what legend looks like, and we see none of that in Mark's account of the empty tomb--or anywhere else in the gospels for that matter!

Seventh, the tomb was discovered empty by women. Why is this important? Because the testimony of women in 1st century Jewish culture was considered worthless. As Craig says, "if the empty tomb story were a legend, then it is most likely that the male disciples would have been made the first to discover the empty tomb. The fact that despised women, whose testimony was deemed worthless, were the chief witnesses to the fact of the empty tomb can only be plausibly explained if, like it or not, they actually were the discoverers of the empty tomb."

Because of the strong evidence for the empty tomb, most recent scholars do not deny it. D.H. Van Daalen has said, "It is extremely difficult to object to the empty tomb on historical grounds; those who deny it do so on the basis of theological or philosophical assumptions." Jacob Kremer, who has specialized in the study of the resurrection and is a NT critic, has said "By far most exegetes hold firmly to the reliability of the biblical statements about the empty tomb" and he lists twenty-eight scholars to back up his fantastic claim.

I'm sure you've heard of the various theories used to explain away the empty tomb, such as that the body was stolen. But those theories are laughed at today by all serious scholars. In fact, they have been considered dead and refuted for almost a hundred years. For example, the Jews or Romans had no motive to steal the body--they wanted to suppress Christianity, not encourage it by providing it with an empty tomb. The disciples would have had no motive, either. Because of their preaching on the resurrection, they were beaten, killed, and persecuted. Why would they go through all of this for a deliberate lie? No serious scholars hold to any of these theories today. What explanation, then, do the critics offer, you may ask? Craig tells us that "they are self-confessedly without any explanation to offer. There is simply no plausible natural explanation today to account for Jesus' tomb being empty. If we deny the resurrection of Jesus, we are left with an inexplicable mystery." The resurrection of Jesus is not just the best explanation for the empty tomb, it is the only explanation in town!

The Resurrection Appearances

Next, there is the evidence that Jesus' disciples had real experiences with one whom they believed was the risen Christ. This is not commonly disputed today because we have the testimony of the original disciples themselves that they saw Jesus alive again. And you don't need to believe in the reliability of the gospels to believe this. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Paul records an ancient creed concerning Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection appearances that is much earlier than the letter in which Paul is recording it:

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time...

It is generally agreed by critical scholars that Paul receive this creed from Peter and James between 3-5 years after the crucifixion. Now, Peter and James are listed in this creed as having seen the risen Christ. Since they are the ones who gave this creed to Paul, this is therefore a statement of their own testimony. As the Jewish Scholar Pinchahs Lapide has said, this creed "may be considered the statement of eyewitnesses."

Now, I recognize that just because the disciples think they saw Jesus doesn't automatically mean that they really did. There are three possible alternatives:

They were lying
They hallucinated
They really saw the risen Christ
Which of these is most likely? Were they lying? On this view, the disciples knew that Jesus had not really risen, but they made up this story about the resurrection. But then why did 10 of the disciples willingly die as martyrs for their belief in the resurrection? People will often die for a lie that they believe is the truth. But if Jesus did not rise, the disciples knew it. Thus, they wouldn't have just been dying for a lie that they mistakenly believed was true. They would have been dying for a lie that they knew was a lie. Ten people would not all give their lives for something they know to be a lie. Furthermore, after witnessing events such as Watergate, can we reasonably believe that the disciples could have covered up such a lie?
Which of these is most likely? Were they lying? On this view, the disciples knew that Jesus had not really risen, but they made up this story about the resurrection. But then why did 10 of the disciples willingly die as martyrs for their belief in the resurrection? People will often die for a lie that they believe is the truth. But if Jesus did not rise, the disciples knew it. Thus, they wouldn't have just been dying for a lie that they mistakenly believed was true. They would have been dying for a lie that they knew was a lie. Ten people would not all give their lives for something they know to be a lie. Furthermore, after witnessing events such as Watergate, can we reasonably believe that the disciples could have covered up such a lie?

Because of the absurdity of the theory that the disciples were lying, we can see why almost all scholars today admit that, if nothing else, the disciples at least believed that Jesus appeared to them. But we know that just believing something to be true doesn't make it true. Perhaps the disciples were wrong and had been deceived by a hallucination?

The hallucination theory is untenable because it cannot explain the physical nature of the appearances. The disciples record eating and drinking with Jesus, as well as touching him. This cannot be done with hallucinations. Second, it is highly unlikely that they would all have had the same hallucination. Hallucinations are highly individual, and not group projections. Imagine if I came in here and said to you, "wasn't that a great dream I had last night?" Hallucinations, like dreams, generally don't transfer like that. Further, the hallucination theory cannot explain the conversion of Paul, three years later. Was Paul, the persecutor of Christians, so hoping to see the resurrected Jesus that his mind invented an appearance as well? And perhaps most significantly, the hallucination theory cannot even deal with the evidence for the empty tomb.

Since the disciples could not have been lying or hallucinating, we have only one possible explanation left: the disciples believed that they had seen the risen Jesus because they really had seen the risen Jesus. So, the resurrection appearances alone demonstrate the resurrection. Thus, if we reject the resurrection, we are left with a second inexplicable mystery--first the empty tomb and now the appearances.

The Origin of the Christian Faith

Finally, the existence of the Christian church is strong proof for the resurrection. Why is this? Because even the most skeptical NT scholars admit that the disciples at least believed that Jesus was raised from the grave. But how can we explain the origin of that belief? William Lane Craig points out that there are three possible causes: Christian influences, pagan influences, or Jewish influences.

Could it have been Christian influences? Craig writes, "Since the belief in the resurrection was itself the foundation for Christianity, it cannot be explained as the later product of Christianity." Further, as we saw, if the disciples made it up, then they were frauds and liars--alternatives we have shown to be false. We have also shown the unlikeliness that they hallucinated this belief.

But what about pagan influences? Isn't it often pointed out that there were many myths of dying and rising savior gods at the time of Christianity? Couldn't the disciples have been deluded by those myths and copied them into their own teaching on the resurrection of Christ? In reality, serious scholars have almost universally rejected this theory since WWII, for several reasons. First, it has been shown that these mystery religious had no major influence in Palestine in the 1st century. Second, most of the sources which contain parallels originated after Christianity was established. Third, most of the similarities are often apparent and not real--a result of sloppy terminology on the part of those who explain them. For example, one critic tried to argue that a ceremony of killing a bull and letting the blood drip all over the participants was parallel to holy communion. Fourth, the early disciples were Jews, and it would have been unthinkable for a Jew to borrow from another religion. For they were zealous in their belief that the pagan religions were abhorrent to God.

Jewish influences cannot explain the belief in the resurrection, either. 1st century Judaism had no conception of a single individual rising from the dead in the middle of history. Their concept was always that everybody would be raised together at the end of time. So the idea of one individual rising in the middle of history was foreign to them. Thus, Judaism of that day could have never produced the resurrection hypothesis. This is also another good argument against the theory that the disciples were hallucinating. Psychologists will tell you that hallucinations cannot contain anything new--that is, they cannot contain any idea that isn't already somehow in your mind. Since the early disciples were Jews, they had no conception of the messiah rising from the dead in the middle of history. Thus, they would have never hallucinated about a resurrection of Christ. At best, they would have hallucinated that he had been transported directly to heaven, as Elijah had been in the OT, but they would have never hallucinated a resurrection.
thx reading.
FRAT?

If you'd like to read the rest of the summary:

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/hist...surrection
to me if it happened or it didn't happen is not that important.

it is a powerful symbolical vehicle and has influenced many people over the last 2000 years.
Interesting aside...


One lawyer that America needed was Lewis Wallace (1827-1905). In addition to his lawyering he also found time to be a Union general in the Civil War and after the war became governor of New Mexico for three years.

Wallace set out to write a book disproving the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Wallace, as an able lawyer, was accustomed to examining legal (also called forensic) evidence. To prove or disprove the truth of a historic event a person must use the same principles used by lawyers to prove or disprove the truth of an event related to a court case. Wallace was therefore qualified to examine the writings and behavior of the earliest witnesses of the resurrection of Christ. In fact when it comes to proving or disproving the resurrection a lawyer is better suited for the task than a philosopher or even a theologian.

Wallace studied the evidence and concluded -- contrary to his predisposition -- that Jesus Christ did indeed rise from the dead and was seen by His disciples. Wallace went on to write the famous book Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ which was made into one of Hollywood's most acclaimed films.

Another individual who began as a skeptic and ended up writing a book affirming the resurrection was the British lawyer Frank Morison who wrote Who Moved the Stone?

The famous Harvard law professor Simon Greenleaf, considered by many to be the greatest authority on legal evidences, turned his talents toward examining the evidences for the resurrection and became convinced that the resurrection of Christ is historical fact.
(01-27-2014 01:55 AM)EVILYOSHIDA Wrote: [ -> ]to me if it happened or it didn't happen is not that important.

it is a powerful symbolical vehicle and has influenced many people over the last 2000 years.

It's paramount to the faith.

If he DIDN'T rise from the dead, the faith is worthless.

Why continue worshiping a phoney?
And because I love all y'all here at EY.com...


"Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13)
because you can know god through analogy.

fables can teach people a lot about timeless truths.

prominent catholic priests have already said that the story of genesis is theological storytelling.

i'm not saying the ressurection is a fable.. nor denying jesus ever existed.. just saying that real or not.. christianity has made its mark on the world.
(01-27-2014 02:05 AM)EVILYOSHIDA Wrote: [ -> ]because you can know god through analogy.

fables can teach people a lot about timeless truths.

prominent catholic priests have already said that the story of genesis is theological storytelling.

i'm not saying the ressurection is a fable.. nor denying jesus ever existed.. just saying that real or not.. christianity has made its mark on the world.

"God" can mean anything if not rooted in HIStorical truth. Thus, the reason for this thread. The refutations against the historical FACT of the resurrection are flimsy at best.

And the catholic doubt is exactly why they cannot be considered true believers of the faith. Their good "works" aside, they aren't real Christians anymore(although I hesitate to call myself a Christian either).
Moar...

"So let us proceed with specific examples of noted legal testimony concerning the Resurrection.

Lord Darling, a former Lord Chief Justice in England, asserts: "In its favor as a living truth there exists such overwhelming evidence, positive and negative, factual and circumstantial, that no intelligent jury in the world could fail to bring in a verdict that the resurrection story is true."[4]

John Singleton Copley (Lord Lyndhurst, 1772–1863) is recognized as one of the greatest legal minds in British history. He was Solicitor General of the British government, Attorney General of Great Britain, three times the High Chancellor of England and elected High Steward of the University of Cambridge. He challenges, "I know pretty well what evidence is; and I tell you, such evidence as that for the Resurrection has never broken down yet."[5]

Hugo Grotius was a noted "jurist and scholar whose works are of fundamental importance in international law," according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. He wrote Latin elegies at the age of eight and entered Leiden University at eleven.[6] Considered "the father of international law," he wrote The Truth of the Christian Religion (1627) in which he legally defended the historical fact of the Resurrection.

J. N. D. Anderson, in the words of Armand Nicholi of the Harvard Medical School (Christianity Today, March 29, 1968), is a scholar of international repute, eminently qualified to deal with the subject of evidence. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on Muslim law, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of London, Chairman of the Department of Oriental Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies, and Director of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at the University of London.[7] In Anderson’s text, Christianity: The Witness of History, he supplies the standard evidences for the Resurrection and asks, "How, then, can the fact of the resurrection be denied?"[8] Anderson further emphasizes, "Lastly, it can be asserted with confidence that men and women disbelieve the Easter story not because of the evidence but in spite of it."[9]

Sir Edward Clark, K. C., observes:

As a lawyer, I have made a prolonged study of the evidences for the events of the first Easter day. To me the evidence is conclusive, and over and over again in the High Court I have secured the verdict on evidence not nearly so compelling. Inference follows on evidence, and a truthful witness is always artless and disdains effect. The gospel evidence for the resurrection is of this class, and as a lawyer I accept it unreservedly as a testimony of truthful men to facts they were able to substantiate.[10]
Irwin H. Linton was a Washington, D.C. lawyer who argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. In A Lawyer Examines the Bible, he challenges his fellow lawyers "by every acid test known to the law…to examine the case for the Bible just as they would any important matter submitted to their professional attention by a client…."[11] He believes that the evidence for Christianity is "overwhelming" and that at least "three independent and converging lines of proof," each of which "is conclusive in itself," establish the truth of the Christian faith.[12] Linton observed that "the logical, historical…proofs of…Christianity are so indisputable that I have found them to arrest the surprised attention of just about every man to whom I have presented them…."[13] He further argues the Resurrection "is not only so established that the greatest lawyers have declared it to be the best proved fact of all history, but it is so supported that it is difficult to conceive of any method or line of proof that it lacks which would make [it] more certain."[14] And that, even among lawyers, "he who does not accept wholeheartedly the evangelical, conservative belief in Christ and the Scriptures has never read, has forgotten, or never been able to weigh—and certainly is utterly unable to refute—the irresistible force of the cumulative evidence upon which such faith rests…."[15]

He concluded the claims of Christian faith are so well established by such a variety of independent and converging proofs that "it has been said again and again by great lawyers that they cannot but be regarded as proved under the strictest rules of evidence used in the highest American and English courts."[16]

Simon Greenleaf was the author of the classic three-volume text, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence (1842), which, according to Dr. Wilbur Smith "is still considered the greatest single authority on evidence in the entire literature on legal procedure."[17] Greenleaf himself is considered one of the greatest authorities on common-law evidence in Western history. The London Law Journal wrote of him in 1874,

It is no mean honor to America that her schools of jurisprudence have produced two of the finest writers and best esteemed legal authorities in this century—the great and good man, Judge Story, and his eminent and worthy associate Professor Greenleaf. Upon the existing law of evidence (by Greenleaf) more light has shown from the New World than from all the lawyers who adorn the courts of Europe.[18]
Further,

Dr. Simon Greenleaf was one of the greatest legal minds we have had in this country. He was the famous Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University, and succeeded Justice Joseph Story as the Dane Professor of Law in the same university. H. W. H. Knotts in the Dictionary of American Biography says of him: "To the efforts of Story and Greenleaf is ascribed the rise of the Harvard Law School to its eminent position among the legal schools of the United States."… Greenleaf concluded that the Resurrection of Christ was one of the best supported events in history, according to the laws of legal evidence administered in courts of justice.[19]
In his book Testimony of the Evangelists Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in Courts of Justice, Greenleaf writes:

All that Christianity asks of men…is, that they would be consistent with themselves; that they would treat its evidences as they treat the evidence of other things; and that they would try and judge its actors and witnesses, as they deal with their fellow men, when testifying to human affairs and actions, in human tribunals. Let the witnesses [to the Resurrection] be compared with themselves, with each other, and with surrounding facts and circumstances; and let their testimony be sifted, as if it were given in a court of justice, on the side of the adverse party, the witness being subjected to a rigorous cross-examination. The result, it is confidently believed, will be an undoubting conviction of their integrity, ability and truth.[20]
Lord Caldecote, Lord Chief Justice of England, observed that an "overwhelming case for the Resurrection could be made merely as a matter of strict evidence"[21] and that "His Resurrection has led me as often as I have tried to examine the evidence to believe it as a fact beyond dispute…."[22] (cf., Thomas Sherlock’s Trial of the Witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which places the Resurrection in a legally argued forum and in the words of lawyer Irwin Linton, "will give anyone so reading it the comfortable assurance that he knows the utmost that can be said against the proof of the central fact of our faith and also how utterly every such attack can be met and answered."[23] At the end of the legal battle one understands why, "The jury returned a verdict in favor of the testimony establishing the fact of Christ’s resurrection."[24])

But lawyers familiar with the evidence could do the same today either for themselves or an impartial jury. Although admissibility rules vary by state and no lawyer can guarantee the decision of any jury (no matter how persuasive the evidence), an abundance of lawyers will testify today that the Resurrection would stand in the vast majority of law courts.

In conclusion, in these two installments, we have shown that both those who were committed skeptics and those who are expertly trained to sift evidence have declared, on the basis of the evidence, that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a historical fact. Those who ignore the evidence do so at their own risk."
a lot of this stuff is a stretch.

just read through most of it.

Quote:I'm sure you've heard of the various theories used to explain away the empty tomb, such as that the body was stolen. But those theories are laughed at today by all serious scholars. In fact, they have been considered dead and refuted for almost a hundred years. For example, the Jews or Romans had no motive to steal the body--they wanted to suppress Christianity, not encourage it by providing it with an empty tomb. The disciples would have had no motive, either. Because of their preaching on the resurrection, they were beaten, killed, and persecuted. Why would they go through all of this for a deliberate lie? No serious scholars hold to any of these theories today. What explanation, then, do the critics offer, you may ask? Craig tells us that "they are self-confessedly without any explanation to offer. There is simply no plausible natural explanation today to account for Jesus' tomb being empty. If we deny the resurrection of Jesus, we are left with an inexplicable mystery." The resurrection of Jesus is not just the best explanation for the empty tomb, it is the only explanation in town!

this is interesting though.
thanks fugazi, good read. I hadn't thought of the ancient parallel pagan sun god(s) and rebirth stories through the eyes of a devout jew 2000 years ago and how knowledge was not as widely available at the time.
Although I'm sure they(ancient jews) would be familiar with local myths and religions at that time. Jehovah is clear in that,'though shalt have no god above me.'
As early followers they would indeed avoid borrowing from other mythologies, it is the later compilers of the new testament and consolidaters of christianity(gentiles) I'm not so sure of. Probably a lot of the pagan elements in the church come from the romans and constantines enticements.
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