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The Radical Implications of the Resurrection

Over the years on the blog, I have reflected a number of times on the significance of the earliest Christians’ belief in the resurrection.  On this Easter morning, I thought it would be appropriate to return to one of those reflections.

The most important result of the disciples’ belief that God had raised Jesus from the dead was that it radically changed their understanding of what it meant to say Jesus was the messiah.  As I have explained before that in my view, ,Jesus did believe he was the messiah (in a certain sense), and his followers believed it.  Given everything we know about Jewish beliefs at the time, that almost certainly mean that they thought that he was (or would become) the king of the Jewish people.   That’s certainly how the Roman governor Pontius Pilate took it.  It was because Jesus made such a claim that Pilate ordered him crucified.

The crucifixion would have proved beyond any doubt  — to anyone paying attention — that Jesus was not the messiah after all.  Rather than overcoming the enemy to establish a new kingdom, he was squashed by the enemy, publicly humiliated and tortured to death.  That was the opposite of what would happen with the messiah.

But then something equally dramatic happened.  The disciples came to believe that  Jesus was raised from the dead.  They started working out the implications of that belief for understanding Jesus, and it led, over a long series of reflections among a number of Jesus growing band of followers, to rather amazing conclusions.  It in fact is the beginning of the idea of a trinity.

For Jesus’ first followers, the resurrection that God really had showered his special favor on Jesus (though in a complete unexpected way).  That meant that, contrary to what they initially thought, he was not cursed by God (as one hanging on a tree) but was the one specially blessed by God.  And that is absolutely the key to the disciples’ subsequent train of thought.

They had previously thought, during Jesus’ life, that he was the one anointed by God to perform his task on earth, his future king.   They now came to think he really was the one anointed by God.  In fact, he had been taken by God up to heaven – and as I pointed out before, ancient people, whether Jews or Gentiles, who came to think that someone was taken to heaven came to believe that he had been made a divine being, the Son of God, or a god himself.

That’s what the followers of Jesus (those who came to believe in the resurrection) came to think of Jesus.  For most Jews, the messiah was indeed to be the son of God – but only in the way that David had been the son of God, or that Solomon had been the son of God (see 2 Sam 7:11-14).  That did not (for most Jews) make David or Solomon *God*.   They were, instead, sons of God because they were the ones who mediated God’s will on earth.  But with Jesus it was different.  He was not only the messiah/son of God (a human called by God to mediate his will) .  He actually had been made a divine being.  He was THE Son of God!

And that means that he was a “messiah” in a different sense from what they disciples had originally thought, during his lifetime.   At that time, the disciples thought that the future scenario was to be this:  sometime during their, and Jesus’, lifetime a cosmic divine figure called the Son of Man would arrive in judgment from heaven to destroy the forces of evil and set up God’s kingdom on earth, with Jesus at the helm.   But once the disciples came to believe in the resurrection they “knew” that he was himself a cosmic divine figure.   And it was he himself who was coming *back* from heaven in judgment.  Jesus himself was the Son of Man.

In the Gospels Jesus frequently speaks of himself as the Son of Man.  Why is that?  It is not, in my opinion, because the historical Jesus understood himself to be the Son of Man.  Jesus thought someone *else* was that cosmic judge of the earth (as I have argued on the blog before; I better deal with this again in a subsequent post).  But when his disciples came to think that he had been exalted to heaven, they also came to believe he was that one (the Son of Man), and so they transformed his sayings to reflect their beliefs.

Moreover, when Jesus was to return from heaven in judgment (a common belief in the early Christian communities) he would not establish someone *else* as the king over the people of God in God’s new kingdom.  He himself would be installed.  In other words, the disciples still thought of Jesus as the future king.  But he would be installed as king in a cosmic sense as a divine figure.  This was a different kind of messiah from the one the disciples had originally imagined.

More than that, Jesus who had been exalted to God’s right hand was already in some sense given power and authority, he was already ruling with God in the heavenly places, he already was sovereign over the earth, he was already the Lord, he was already the King.   And so in that yet further sense Jesus was believed to be a cosmic, and all-powerful messiah.  He wasn’t simply the ruler of Israel.  He was the ruler of All.

I have argued that the death and resurrection of Jesus in and of themselves would not have led anyone to call him the messiah, since these things were not supposed to happen to the messiah.  They were the last things that could possibly happen to the messiah.  But since they happened to someone who had already been *thought* to be the messiah, they came to be interpreted in light of that belief, and the belief itself – that Jesus was the messiah – in turn came to be interpreted in light of those events.

What emerged was an altogether new way to understand Jesus.  He was not simply the one to be installed on the throne in some future act of God.  He was to come from heaven himself to destroy the forces of evil and set up a utopian kingdom on earth, in which he, the powerful Son of Man, Lord, and King of All would rule forever.   As exalted as the view was that the historical Jesus appears to have had of himself, it pales significantly in comparison with the view that his followers had of him after his death.   He was the one God almighty had made the Lord of heaven and earth.  Eventually they came to think he was actually equal with God himself, from eternity past.  And this became the orthodox Christian understanding of Jesus down to this day.

If you belonged to the blog, you would get substantial posts like this five times a week.  Joining doesn’t cost much, and every dime goes to charity.  You get masses for your money and everyone benefits.  So why not join?


Did Jesus Go to India? A Modern Gospel Forgery.
Pilate Released Barabbas. Really??

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Comments

  1. Avatar
    Brand3000  April 23, 2019

    Dr. Ehrman,

    Do you think the notion of Jesus being “sinless” was also formulated after the resurrection appearances?

    • Bart
      Bart  April 25, 2019

      Absolutely. See the book by my friend (and sometime blog contributor), Jesus, Sin, and Perfection in the NT. It’s all about this.

      1
      • Avatar
        Brand3000  April 25, 2019

        Therefore, do you agree that there must have been a tremendous amount of weight placed on those resurrection appearances, and that it wasn’t like some experiences we might have where we think we see something on the corner of our eye, or when we awake and our eyes don’t readily focus, but that at least Peter, Paul, Mary, and James were all boldly confident that they were direct eyewitnesses to the resurrected Jesus to the point of re-interpreting some of their most fundamental traditional beliefs?

        • Bart
          Bart  April 26, 2019

          They could have been like that. The issue is not what actually happened but how people *interpreted* what happened. A view from the corner of the eye can definitely have a huge impact on someone’s life, if they’r sure they saw it.

          2
  2. Avatar
    SScottb149  April 23, 2019

    Dr. Erhman,
    Thank you for answering the questions I have sent your way on this blog… This is a wonderful communication device and I love that the funds are going to good causes.
    I recently read two of your excellent books (How Jesus became God and Jesus before the Gospels) and I agree with your hypothesis that perhaps we can only be sure that Simeon Peter, the Apostle Paul, and perhaps Mary of Magdala seem to be candidates for the “visions” of the “Risen Jesus” (I also am waiting to read your book on these three!).
    If I understood you correctly, I believe you left open the possibility of Jesus’ brother James as another possible candidate as well. Given that James (and the rest of Jesus’ family) did not believe in Jesus’ ministry during his lifetime, do you think that James may be an even stronger possible “witness” to the visions of the “Risen Jesus” (as the other three above mention) due to the criteria of embarrassment?
    I have been told by Christians (usually more learned liberal ones) that it would have been highly embarrassing to explain how James previously did not believe in Jesus’ ministry, yet is, apparently, the leader of the Christian movement in Jerusalem after Jesus’ death and before he himself is martyred. Any thoughts on this theory?

    • Bart
      Bart  April 25, 2019

      Yes, I think James is a stronger witness; we’d love to know the sequence of events leading up to his conversion! Maybe he did become a follower of Jesus near the end of his life? No way to know! The accounts that refer to him not believing during Jesus’ life are written by different authors than the ones who indicate he became a leader of the community after Jesus’ death.

      1
      • Avatar
        SScottb149  April 26, 2019

        Oh yes. Good point. Thank you.

      • Avatar
        Neurotheologian  May 12, 2019

        Dear Bart. Re: the conversion of James. James becoming leader of the Jerusalem ‘church’ to me seems an important and unexpcted detail in the narrative of Acts and in Paul’s letters. He’s clearly a ‘pillar’ according to Paul, if not THE pillar, and yet he’s not an appostle. His senior leadership role appears to be doubly attested and also seems to meet the criterion of dissimilarity: wasn’t Peter supposed to be the rock on which with church was built and to whom the keys of the kingsom were given? Yet James seems to have usurped this role. Even Jesus himself had said that a prophet is not without honour except in his own country among his own family; and James, being later a highly respected religious jew (as in James the Just) was presumably the more senior member of the rest of Jesus’s family who, during Jesus’s miniistry, thought Jesus had lost his mind and tried to reign him in. So it seems James was also a fairly level-headed guy. How then could James have come to believe in the physical resurrection and become the leader of Christianity’s HQ and be acknowledged as such by none on other than Paul? Surely something pretty dramatic must have happened? Does this not give you at least some pause for entertaining an agnostic thought about the possible veracity of the resurrection?

        • Bart
          Bart  May 13, 2019

          Why do you say he is not an apostle in Paul’s view?

          • Avatar
            Neurotheologian  May 13, 2019

            Apologies, I meant not one of “the 12”.

          • Bart
            Bart  May 14, 2019

            Because he wasn’t one of the 12. (None of the traditions of the 12 include him among them)

  3. Avatar
    AntiochusEpimanes  April 23, 2019

    We have Jesus mentioning that this generation will not pass away until all ‘these things’ have taken place– and they’re apocalyptic, End-time things… Son of Man coming in a cloud, your redemption drawing nigh… It sounds to me, at least from this passage, he thought the end of the world was within decades. If that’s the case, how could he rule on earth, if there was no earth to rule?

    1
    • Bart
      Bart  April 25, 2019

      Earth would still be here. It would be radically transformed.

      1
  4. Avatar
    Joel Smith  April 23, 2019

    How many of the resurrected saints were women? There were 7 female Jewish Prophets. How about them? There was at least one NT prophetess. And Tabitha. Then Mary’s assumption… And?

  5. Avatar
    SScottb149  April 25, 2019

    Dr. Erhman,
    I have now read 4 of your books (most recently Peter, Paul, and Mary) and have become quite impressed with your thoughts (and esp.taking the time to explain them!). One thing that has confused and puzzled me for some time now, is that many people continue to refer several times to John’s gospel as the one that has Mary of Magdala (alone) discovering the empty tomb first. What puzzles me (see John 20:2) is that she appeared NOT to be alone when she ran to tell Peter and “the beloved disciple” that “WE” have found the tomb empty. Do you think that this could possibly be a reference to other unnamed women that visited the tomb with Mary that the author of John mentions only as an afterthought, or does it refer to something else? Thank you for any insights into this matter.

    1
    • Bart
      Bart  April 26, 2019

      Yes, that is odd isn’t it. It actually doesn’t way “we” found the tomb but that “they have taken the Lord from the tomb and we do not know where they have placed him.” So she’s not actually saying that she and others found the empty tomb. Not sure what to make of the “we” don’t know where they placed him. Maybe it means “no one knows”??

      1
      • Avatar
        SScottb149  April 27, 2019

        Glad to see I am not the only one that has struggled with that “we” part. Thanks for your thoughts.

        1
      • Avatar
        Neurotheologian  May 13, 2019

        According to Luke, Peter contrasts David’s (‘occupied’) tomb with Christ’s flesh not seeing courrption and says that he, Peter, was one of many witnnesses to Christ was raised up. It seems pretty clear to me what the earliest Christians were proclaiming and it wasn’t mass visions (though that would be pretty unprecedented itself). No, it was an empty tomb and a raised fleshy body.
        Acts 2:29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
        Act 2:30 “Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne
        Act 2:31 “he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.
        Act 2:32 “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.
        Also, why would the pre-Pauline creed mention that Jesus was buried unless it was to make the contrast with the fact that he was no longer buried because he had been raised from the tomb! ……1 Cor 15:4 that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures

        • Bart
          Bart  May 14, 2019

          It’s not clear to me what you’re arguing against? Yes, Luke does maintain strongly that Jesus’ tomb was empty and that his corpse was revivified and raised from the dead, absolutely.

          • Avatar
            Neurotheologian  May 14, 2019

            I’m arguing that the early Christians, the disciples and Paul and James believed in the bodily physical resurrection of Jesus and I’m arguing against the resurrection of the Jesus’s spirit / ghost / geist – only hypothesis (thus I’m also arguing against the mass hallucination hypothesis). I am saying that use of the term ‘buried’ in the pre-Pauline tradition in 1 Cor 15* does not need the term ’empty tomb’ to make it clear that Paul was talking about a veridical bodily resurrection. I am also saying that the mention, in Peter’s sermon, of David’s Tomb, flesh not seeing corruption contrasting with Peter and others being wtinesses of Christ being ‘raised up’ also indicate a belief in the actual bodily resurrection. Also, having checked the term ‘raised up’ (änē’stāmē) in the Blueletter bible :-), I think it gets across the idea of a horizontal corpse resuming a vertical position which wouldn’t be a word needed for a spirit floating off from the body (my conjecture here). I believe that this section of Peter’s sermon was genuinely his (rather than the sermon being a fabrication by Luke) because it contains dissimilar Christology to Luke’s.
            * ‘that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve’.

          • Bart
            Bart  May 15, 2019

            I thought you were arguing against me. But my entire point is that Paul and the other earliest Christians on record believed in a real, physical resurrection. But the fact they *believed* it does not show *why* they believed it. The actual *reality* of a physical resurrectoin is not necessary for a belief in it (any more than the belief in the miracles of Mohammed mean that hte miracles really happened.). The NT indicates that hte disciples believed it *because* they saw Jesus. I.e. they had an optical experience.

          • Avatar
            Neurotheologian  May 15, 2019

            Thank you Bart. Helpful claification. Yes I am arguing with your position (in a friendly way – I hope and with the gretest of respect for your knowledge and scholarship, if not with my greatest clarity!). So here is the central thesis of my argument. Peter, the other 11, some women and even more unexpectedely, James the brother of Jesus (and ? his other brother Jude), unanimously beleived in the physical bodily resurrection of Jesus ie that the very physical body of Jesus, came back to life, left the tomb and was walking around like the rest of us – not as a spirit. We know that the disciples knew what spirits or ghosts were and they would also likely to have been familiar with appearances of such after the death of someone. They were not a gullible lot and some of them were tough cookies. Thye didn’t just believe they had had a vision, they believed something far more extraordinary than shared visions had occured. They believed they had seen, touched, felt and eaten with Jesus. Because of this, I submit that the ’empty tomb story’ component of the gospels is unlikley to be a later fiction, because if you think someone has been bodily resurrected and certainly if someone else tells you this has happened, then you will naturally go and check the body! And if you were Jesus’s disciples, you would know where the body was. Paul, on the other hand, experienced something more like a vision, since either nobody else either saw or heard what he saw or heard (I know Luke seems confused here). Although Paul mentions his experience on an equal footing with the disciples seeing Jesus (‘last of all he appeared unto me….’), I think he said it this way in order to establish his credibility as an apostle and I am not sure they would have seen it on an equal footing with their veridical experiences! :-). So Bart, if you don’t believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus, then surely, you have a big problem in explaining Peter, John and James’s respective turnarounds, quite apart how the whole movement became convinced of the bodily resurrection from a very early stage.

          • Bart
            Bart  May 17, 2019

            I agree. They really did believe Jesus was raised from the dead and they really did not think they were imagining it. That’s true, of course, of virtually everyone who has a vision. They think what they saw was really truly there. (And often visions involve not just sight but also sound and, remarkably, touch) I’d suggest you read up on the scholarship on visions — it’s really illuminating. (I give some bibliography in my book How Jesus Became God.)

            1
  6. Avatar
    SScottb149  April 25, 2019

    Dr. Erhman,
    I have been wondering what your thoughts may be concerning some of the alleged miracles of Jesus during his ministry and if they were (possibly) originally post-Easter encounters that were put back into the previous ministry of Jesus?
    For example, when the disciples “see” Jesus walking on the water on the sea of Galilee, they are afraid and think he was a “ghost”….in the Gospel of Luke’s post-Easter story, Jesus appeared to the 11 disciples and, again, they are afraid thinking his is a “spirit”.
    I also recall the last chapter of John describing an appearance of Jesus to his disciples on the Sea of Galilee that is vary similar to the synoptic “fishing trip” with Jesus (during his ministry) where a large number of fish are discovered at Jesus’ command after the future disciples worked all night and Peter, strikingly (to me anyway), tells Jesus to leave him because he is a “sinful man”. It almost sounds like the response Peter would give AFTER Jesus’ death!

    • Bart
      Bart  April 26, 2019

      It’s possible. But it’s usually thought that they are later legendary accounts that get attributed to Jesus by followers who, some time after his death, came to think he was divine and are pretty sure he must have shown it through his miraculous deeds.

      1
      • Avatar
        SScottb149  April 27, 2019

        Yes that probably makes more since. I was, I admit, really thinking out loud on that question. Your points in your previous works (esp How Jesus became God are coming back to memory now). Thank you for answering my various questions. I am very thankful for your time and knowledge.

  7. Avatar
    Evan  April 25, 2019

    There are hints of controversy in 4G as to whether Jesus or JBap was the genuine messiah, which suggests some must have believed JBap to have been resurrected. Mark 8:28 says some thought Jesus himself was the resurrected Baptist. Has anyone studied how common it was in that culture to envision the resurrection of hero/martyr figures?

    • Bart
      Bart  April 26, 2019

      Yes indeed. We have several of people being taken to heaven to be made divine; but no stories of someone coming back to life after having died and living longer here on earth.

      1
  8. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  April 25, 2019

    Terrific post, Don’t you think that this argument about Jesus being all these things that you describe would have more credence if Jesus had explained these things to His disciples before His death rather than their figuring all of this out after His death?

  9. Avatar
    Hon Wai  April 26, 2019

    I would need to reread “How Jesus became God” to recall how you parsed out the various degrees of divinity held among Jews and Greco-Romans. Am I right that the early Jewish Christians viewed Jesus as divine in a unique sense, in that until birth of the church, no other human being was given cultic worship by any Jewish group during the 2nd Temple period?

  10. Avatar
    BroTruth101  April 27, 2019

    Dr Ehrman,
    This is my two cents for Jesus being killed for calling himself King. In Matthew Chapter 2 King Herod orders the killing of all two years and under after the wise men fail to come back. When the wise men first meet King Herod the ask him
    Where is the One having been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.
    King Herod see this child as a threat to his rule. So he orders the killing of all the two years. Here we see a ruler not letting anyone threaten his rule.

  11. Avatar
    Brand3000  April 27, 2019

    Dr. Ehrman,

    I was doing some research and spotted this quote in a commentary. Do you agree with these points? Thank you.

    “There are many biblical scholars these days who say that the resurrection was an invented story out of some kind of “faith” process. They relegate the critical event…to the imaginations of some well-meaning but deluded peasants. Paul goes to great pains to put the resurrection in the realm of fact, not opinion or imagination. He talks about the eye-witness testimony of hundreds. He references his own story of personal confrontation with Christ. In the end he says if it’s not fact, then he’s lost. This sounds like a man who staked his entire life on an indisputable fact…the Corinthians did not understand how material bodies, subject as they were to sickness, death, and eventual decay, could live eternally. Paul explains that God will change bodies to make them immortal. By “spiritual body” Paul does not mean an immaterial body but a body animated by the Holy Spirit.”

    • Bart
      Bart  April 28, 2019

      Not really. It assumes that “visions” have to be delusional imaginations rather than historically objective realities. These are not the right categories. Anyone who has a vision almost always believes he really saw it. That doesn’t mean there was really some objective thing out there that was actually seen.

      1
  12. Avatar
    Brand3000  April 30, 2019

    Dr. Ehrman,

    In re evidence that “Spiritual Body” Does Not Mean “Immaterial Body”:

    Do you think these are good examples of Paul using “spiritual” without implying immaterial?

    1) Paul uses the word in this way in 1 Cor. 2:15: “The spiritual man judges all things…” Clearly Paul does not mean “nonphysical and invisible man” here but “man filled with and directed by the Spirit.”

    2) 1 Cor. 10:1-4 Paul says that in the wilderness Israel ate “spiritual food” and drank “spiritual drink” from a “spiritual rock.” Does Paul mean to say that these things were not physical? Surely not. The fact that they ate this food and drank this water indicates that it had to be physical.

    3) It was understood that souls were immortal and at death immediately went to be with the Lord 2 Cor. 5:8 and 1 Thess. 4:13-18. Thus, a “spiritual” resurrection would make no sense, as the spirit doesn’t die and therefore cannot be resurrected.

    4) Gal. 6:1 “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual [pneumatikos], restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.” A person is a physical being and the word spiritual, again does not refer to immaterial.

    • Bart
      Bart  April 30, 2019

      It all has to do with what ancient people meant by “spirit.” Dale Martin, in his book, The Corinthian Body, argues convincingly that “spirit” (pneuma) was a *kind* of matter ,and that it was only after Descartes that people started thinking of it as non-matter.

      1
      • Avatar
        Brand3000  May 1, 2019

        …So would that be a yes per Paul using “spiritual” without implying immaterial? Because if so, these seem like good examples. Thanks.

        • Bart
          Bart  May 2, 2019

          Yes, “spirit” is a kind of highly refined matter for Paul, that’s what I’m trying to say.

  13. Avatar
    Brand3000  May 11, 2019

    Dr. Ehrman,

    I was talking to someone who rejects 1 Cor. 15:4 saying “Paul did not have direct knowledge of it”

    BUT we don’t have “direct knowledge” of the crucifixion either, yet historians have no problem calling that a fact, so why should the burial (and by burial I just mean in a very general sense from what we get from Paul) be any different?

    • Bart
      Bart  May 13, 2019

      There’s a difference between saying someone had no knowledge of the even and saying that the event didn’t happen.

      • Avatar
        Brand3000  May 15, 2019

        Yes, but Paul is telling us both things and he is the earliest and best source so why believe that he is accurate that Jesus was crucified, but then reject him in 1 Cor. 15:4?

        • Bart
          Bart  May 15, 2019

          That’s right — every statement every person makes has to be evaluated. Just because they are wrong in one thing they say does not mean they’ll be wrong in the next; of that they’ll be right the second time if they were right the first. Each of Paul’s statements needs to be evaluated based on evidence, not based on whether he said it or not.

          1
  14. Avatar
    Neurotheologian  May 15, 2019

    I beleive there is also some tradition about Lazaraus becoming quite prominent in the early church and going to Cyprus – he would be a good person to ask about what sort of resurrection took place! 🙂 Perhaps he contributed to the early pre-Pauline traditions? Who knows

  15. Avatar
    Brand3000  May 18, 2019

    Dr. Ehrman,

    What are your thoughts on the Shroud of Turin? Barrie M. Schwortz, the world’s leading expert on the topic, a non-Christian, a strict man of science, and a member of the 1978 Shroud research team has followed all of the data over the years, and still holds steadfast that there are certain properties per the image that cannot be explained via any form of art nor naturalistic processes. There’s been controversy over the carbon dating from the ’80s, which has since been invalidated. In any case, it still doesn’t tell us how the image was created.

    • Bart
      Bart  May 19, 2019

      I’m afraid he’s completely wrong, and so is the debate over the carbon dating. It is definitely a medieval forgery. The science is unambiguous.

      • Avatar
        Neurotheologian  May 19, 2019

        Ahem, not so fast 🙂 I am far from being very knowledgable on this, but I think there is indeed ambiguity / uncertainty about:
        1. How the image got on the cloth. It’s not painted on with pigment and I beleive there is considerable evidence from both it’s negative nature and the perspective / projection of the image that indicates that the process is likely to have been photographic. That itself throws up a lot of questions
        2. The carbon dating / age of the cloth itself. There is, I beleive, some evidence that the part of the cloth from which the carbon dating sample was taken is from a part which may have been repaired at a later date and that this may have resulted in a later carbon dated age

        • Bart
          Bart  May 20, 2019

          Yes, I completely disagree I’m afraid. Among unbiased experts, there’s not a debate. It’s only among people who would like it to be what they claim it to be that it’s debated.

          • Avatar
            Neurotheologian  May 20, 2019

            Hi Bart, having looked at it again, I’m not so sure it’s an open and shut case – yet. There is more research on it published in both 2018 and this year. I think it could also be said that it’s only among people who would not like it to be what it is claimed to be that it isn’t debated :-).

      • Avatar
        Neurotheologian  May 19, 2019

        Is It a Fake? DNA Testing Deepens Mystery of Shroud of Turin By Tia Ghose, Senior Writer | October 23, 2015 09:13am ET: https://www.livescience.com/52567-shroud-of-turin-dna.html

  16. Avatar
    Scott  May 30, 2019

    I found your discussion of Roman era beliefs on Divinity and semi-divinity most enlightening. Following your comments above, it occurs to me to ask: was it the Roman belief that, say, Augustus ascended to the heavens and became/was revealed to be a god that made it possible for Jesus’ followers to make the same leap after His death? Would the movement have turned out different if the idea were not already “in the water”?

    • Bart
      Bart  May 31, 2019

      I would say that hte belief about Augustus was itself influenced by ealrier beliefs — that this kind of idea was “in the air” so to speak; and the Christians indeed did make use of it for their claims about Jesus.

  17. Avatar
    Michele  June 24, 2019

    Dr Ehrman,
    is it correct to think that some disciples came to believe in the resurrection of Jesus within a few days or weeks of his death?

    Thank you,

    Michele Fornelli

    • Bart
      Bart  June 24, 2019

      I don’t know about days, but I suspect it was certainly within some weeks.

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