The tomb was indeed empty. But it wasn’t the mere absence of a body that could have galvanized Jesus’ followers (especially if they had been the ones who had stolen it). Something extraordinary must have happened, for the followers of Jesus ceased mourning, ceased hiding, and began fearlessly proclaiming that they had seen Jesus alive. [Read more…]
No serious historian really doubts Jesus was dead when he was taken down from the cross. However, many have questioned how Jesus’ body disappeared from the tomb. English journalist Dr. Frank Morison initially thought the resurrection was either a myth or a hoax, and he began research to write a book refuting it.¹ The book became famous–but for reasons other than its original intent! [Read more…]
“Marley was deader than a doornail, of that there was no doubt.” So begins Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, the author not wanting anyone to be mistaken as to the supernatural character of what is soon to take place. In the same way, before we take on the role of CSI (crime scene investigator) and piece together evidence for a resurrection, we must first establish that there was, in fact, a corpse. After all, occasionally the newspapers will report on some “corpse” in a morgue who was found stirring and recovered. Could something like that have happened with Jesus? [Read more…]
Skeptics like Ellen Johnson [former President of American Atheists] cite the “lack of secular history” for Jesus as evidence that he didn’t exist.
Yet there is very little documentation for any person from the time of Christ. Most ancient historical documents have been destroyed through the centuries, by wars, fires, and pillaging, or simply through weathering and deterioration.
According to E. M. Blaiklock, who has catalogued most of the non-Christian writings of the Roman Empire, “practically nothing exists from the time of Christ”, even for great secular leaders such as Julius Caesar.¹ Yet no historian questions Caesar’s existence.
And since he wasn’t a great political or military leader, Darrell Bock notes, “It is amazing and significant that Jesus shows up at all in the sources we have.”²
So, who are these sources Bock mentions? Which early historians who wrote of Jesus did not have a Christian agenda? First of all, let’s look to Jesus’ enemies. [Read more…]
The argument against Jesus’ existence, known as the Christ-myth theory, began seventeen centuries after Jesus is said to have walked the rocky hills of Judea.
An important distinction between a myth and a real person is how the figure impacts history. For example, the Olympic Games originated on Mount Olympus in Greece, home of the temple of the Greek god Zeus. But Zeus has not changed governments, laws, or ethics.
The historian Thomas Carlyle said, “No great man lives in vain. The history of the world is but the biography of great men.”¹ As Carlyle notes, it is real people, not myths, who impact history. [Read more…]