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Were the Disciples Martyred for Believing the Resurrection? A Blast From the Past

Here is an interesting question that I addressed on the blog exactly five years ago today, one that continues to be relevant and significant; ************************************************************ QUESTION: Another very very popular evidence put forward for the resurrection is “the disciples would not have died for what they knew was a lie, therefore it must have happened.” I hear this all the time. You note that they really believed they saw Jesus after he died so they were not lying. However, is there evidence (historical or literary) that they were killed because of their belief in Jesus’ resurrection? RESPONSE: Ah yes, if I had a fiver for every time I’ve heard this comment over the years, I could retire to a country-home in Maine…. Several other people have responded to this question on the blog by saying that we have lots of records of lots of people who have died for a something that they knew, literally, not to be true. I am not in a position to argue that particular point. But I can say something [...]

2024-04-02T14:17:20-04:00October 13th, 2017|Historical Jesus, Reader’s Questions|

Were the Disciples Martyred for Believing in the Resurrection?

Over the past few years I’ve wondered how many of the disciples of Jesus came to believe that he had been raised from the dead. The traditional answer is that all eleven of them (the twelve minus Judas, who hanged himself before it happened) did, along with a handful of women, among them Mary Magdalene. I suppose that’s probably right, but I’m not *completely* sure.In the end, I’m afraid we simply don’t know. The problem is that our sources – even the ones completely favorable to the earthly disciples of Jesus -- are virtually silent about them. We know almost precisely nothing about what they thought, what they did, and what they came to believe. Paul says nothing about them (of the twelve, he mentions only Peter and John). The book of Acts portrays Peter, and to a much lesser degree John, as important before and immediately after the conversion of Paul, but then they themselves virtually disappear from the narrative. And the other nine or ten are discussed almost not at all.Why is that? [...]

2024-02-22T17:02:04-05:00December 14th, 2015|Public Forum, Reflections and Ruminations|
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