A Third View of Jesus’ Body at the Resurrection

This will be my final post on the early Christian understandings of the nature of Jesus’ resurrected body. I have tried to show that Paul believed that Jesus’ actual body came out of the tomb, but as a spiritual, immortal body – completely transformed; other Christians, including groups of Gnostics, maintained that Jesus’ spirit lived on even though his body decomposed and ceased to exist (like all other bodies) In this final post I deal with another extreme in the ...

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A Gnostic View of Jesus’ Resurrection

Yesterday, in response to a question, I discussed Paul’s view of the resurrection of Jesus. In response to several questions I was asked, let me say emphatically that YES, in my view Paul believed that Jesus corpse itself was transformed into a spiritual body. If asked, he would have said that the grave was empty. That’s how I read 1 Corinthians 15. The body that comes out of the tomb is the same body that went into the tomb, but ...

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Is History Possible?

One other section that I attended at the Society of Biblical Literature meeting in Baltimore was devoted to the field of social memory and the historical Jesus. This was a very interesting panel, of four papers, devoted to what we can say about the recollections of Jesus found in the Gospels, based on what psychologists now tell us about memory, and what historians familiar with this psychological work are saying about how the past can be remembered. I found one ...

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Is The NT Portrayal of Jesus Accurate? Debate With Craig Evans

This video is of a debate that I participated in nearly two years ago in Nova Scotia with Dr. Craig Evans, a very well-known and widely published scholar of the New Testament who is also a conservative  evangelical Christian (not “ultra-conservative,” and nowhere near a fundamentalist – but still conservative).   This was the first of two debates that took place, in two different locations,on subsequent evenings.   The topic of the debate was: “Does the New Testament Present a Reliable Portrait ...

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Why Historians Can Talk “About” the Resurrection

In this final post (for now) on the historian and miracles, I want to emphasize one point that I raise of my own volition, and answer one question that has been asked by a reader.

First, a point to emphasize (I borrow this from my forthcoming book on How Jesus Became God), on whether my stand on miracles just means that I’m a crazy secularist….

The reason that historians cannot prove or disprove whether God has performed a ...

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Historians and the Problem of Miracle

Yesterday I started to talk about why historians cannot demonstrate that a miracle such as the resurrection happened because doing so requires a set of presuppositions that are not generally shared by historians doing their work. Over the years I’ve thought a lot about this question, and have tried to explain on several occasions why a “miracle” can never be shown, on historical grounds, to have happened — even if it did. Here is a slightly different way of approaching ...

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History is Not the Past

Yesterday I started to answer a question from a reader who pointed out that just as the existence of Jesus is multiply attested, so too is Jesus’ resurrection. And so if *one* is established as historical, doesn’t the other one *also* have to be seen as historical? And if one is considered non-historical, doesn’t that show that the other is probably also non-historical?

These are great questions, but I think the answer to both of them is “no.” Yesterday I showed ...

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Multiple Attestation for Jesus

I had an interesting email from a reader the other day, in which he pointed out that the “multiple attestation” for the existence of Jesus is virtually matched by the “multiple attestation” for the resurrection of Jesus. At first I thought his point was the Christian apologetic one, that therefore since the resurrection is just as well (not quite, but still pretty well) attested as the very existence of Jesus, doesn’t that show that Jesus was probably raised from the ...

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Who Can Still Be A Christian?

QUESTION:
If historical Jesus scholars believes that Jesus’ main message was the imminent apocalypse, and that didn’t happen, how can anyone who believe that remain a Christian, given that Jesus was wrong on the main focus of his life?

RESPONSE:
This is a great question, and one I get asked a lot. Let me say at the outset that I think it is exactly right in its evaluation of who Jesus was. As I’ve explained in a lot of places, for ...

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Carrier, Bayes Theorem, and Jesus’ Existence

As most of you know, I’m pretty much staying out of the mythicist debates. That is for several reasons. One is that the mythicist position is not seen as intellectually credible in my field (I’m using euphemisms here; you should see what most of my friends *actually* say about it….) – no one that I know personally (I know a *lot* of scholars of New Testament, early Christianity, and so on) takes it at *all* seriously as a viable historical ...

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