The Historicity of Jesus’ Resurrection | William Lane Craig

This video last 34:05 and is William Lane Craig’s standard presentation on the historicity of the resurrection.  He gave the talk in April 2016 at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Illinois.  Craig was originally from Peoria.

The Hallucination Hypothesis of the Resurrection of Christ

In his post WILLIAM LANE CRAIG AND JAMES CROSSLEY DEBATE THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS, (April 24, 2011), Wintery Knight wrote “This is my favorite debate on the resurrection.”  (The debate itself was held March 6, 2007 at Sheffield University in the United Kingdom and titled “Was Jesus Bodily Raised from the Dead?”  The debate was chaired by Hugh Pyper.)  In the post, WK wrote “…Crossley is a solid scholar…”

I also came across another WK post referencing Crossley titled GARY HABERMAS AND JAMES CROSSLEY DISCUSS THE MINIMAL FACTS CASE FOR THE RESURRECTION  (August 13, 2015).  In this post, WK wrote, “James Crossley is my favorite atheist ancient historian, such a straight shooter, ” and “He’s on the skeptical left, but he has a no-baloney way of talking that I really like.”

Therefore, in the comments section of this second post, I asked him, “WK, of all the debates about the resurrection of Jesus that you have watched/heard/read, who, in your opinion, has put forth the best argument against it? (When I reject an argument I want to know that I’m not just rejecting a weak version of it or a weak spokesman for it.)”  You can see my question and his response here.

By the way, here is Gary Habermas writing about the issue at hand in an article titled “Explaining Away Jesus’ Resurrection:The Recent Revival of Hallucination Theories.” (2001).

In one of WK’s responses to me, WK links to a 2007 post on William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith blog titled Dale Allison on the Resurrection of Jesus.  Craig is answering a question about Allison and begins by saying this:

I’ve never seen a better presentation of the case for scepticism about Jesus’ resurrection than in Allison’s Resurrecting Jesus: The Earliest Christian Tradition and Its Interpreters (New York: T. & T. Clark, 2005). He’s far more persuasive than Crossan, Lüdemann, Goulder, and the rest who actually deny the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection. That Allison should, despite his sceptical arguments, finally affirm the facts of Jesus’ burial, empty tomb, post-mortem appearances, and the origin of the disciples’ belief in Jesus’ resurrection and hold that the resurrection hypothesis is as viable an explanation as any other rival hypothesis, depending upon the worldview one brings to the investigation, is testimony to the strength of the case for Jesus’ historical resurrection.

Thus we have WK saying that the best argument against the resurrection of Christ that he has heard is Michael Goulder’s in Jesus’ Resurrection: Fact or Figment?: A Debate Between William Lane Craig and Gerd Ludemann, which Craig therein refutes.  And we have Craig himself saying that the best argument against the resurrection he has ever heard (he says specifically that it’s superior to Goulder’s) is Dale Allison in Resurrecting Jesus: The Earliest Christian Tradition and Its Interpreters which Craig then goes on to refute in the post itself.

In summary, two of the best known scholarly supporters of the resurrection of Christ (William Lane Craig and Gary Habermas) both see the “hallucination hypothesis” as the best argument skeptics have…but that it’s still decidedly inferior to the resurrection hypothesis as an historical explanation, even when articulated by the most effective spokesmen.

P.S. Since Eric Chabot had also posted on the Craig-Crossley debate (A Look at William Lane Craig and James Crossley Debating the Resurrection of Jesus), I posed to him the same question about “best challenge” to the resurrection of Christ that started the line of thinking that led to this post.  You can see my question and Eric’s response to me at the post.

Documentary: Mining for God by Brandon McGuire

The full title of this documentary is Mining For God: A Search for Ancient Truth in a Modern World.  It’s in color and lasts 64 minutes.  You can find out more at www.mininingforgod.com.  Here’s a portion of its description from that site:

America has long been called a Christian nation. In fact, over 70% of adults in America identify themselves as Christian. Yet when filmmaker Brandon McGuire heads to the streets to ask a few clarifying questions about how Christianity is defined within our culture, he is shocked by the answers he finds.

I’ve included three video clips below.

  1. A 9:37 excerpt dealing with the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This is actually very meaty and includes many reliable authorities.
  2. A 2:31 trailer of the movie.
  3. A 4:57 trailer of the movie, which includes footage of the director explaining what he discovered about Christianity in Africa and what it taught him about Christianity in America.  He describes his film as answering the question “What is Christianity?”

 

Reviews of Books about the Historicity of the Resurrection by Christopher Price and John Sabatino

Books Reviewed

Assessing the New Testament Evidence for the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus
by William L. Craig

I Believe in the Resurrection of Jesus
by George Eldon Ladd

The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus
by Gary Habermas and Mike Licona

The Death of Death, Resurrection and Immortality in Jewish Thought
by Neil Gillman

The Formation of the Resurrection Narratives
by Reginald Horrace Fuller

In Defense of Miracles: A Comprehensive Case for God’s Actions in History
ed. R. Douglas Geivett

Jesus’ Resurrection, Fact of Fiction: A Debate Between William L. Craig & Gerd Ludemann
eds. Paul Copan & Ronald K. Tacelli

The Resurrection According to Matthew, Mark, and Luke
by Norman Perrin

The Resurrection, An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Resurrection of Jesus
eds. Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall, and Gerald O’Collins

Resurrecting Jesus: Earliest Christian Tradition and its Interpreters
by Dale C. Allison

The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective
by Pinchas Lapide

The Resurrection of the Son of God
by N.T. Wright

The Resurrection: History and Myth
by Geza Vermes

Risen Indeed: Making Sense of the Resurrection
by Stephen T. Davis

The Son Rises: The Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus
by William L. Craig

Source: Reviews of Books about the Historicity of the Resurrection

Belief Map – Did Jesus rise from the dead?

This resource (from beliefmap.org) provides the evidence and logic behind a resonable faith in Jesus Christ.

Belief Map – Did Jesus rise from the dead?.

Muhammad and the Messiah: Comparing the Central Figures of Islam and Christianity – David Wood

Christian apologist David Wood presents a well-written comparison of Muhammad and Jesus, making a case that would be hard for a Muslim to either support or deny.

Here’s his synopsis:

Although some varieties of relativism compel adherents to treat all religious claims as equally true, and while the “new atheists” often maintain that all religious claims are equally false, a cautious examination of the evidence shows that all religions are not created equal. Whereas Christian beliefs about Jesus are based entirely on sources written within the lifetimes of eyewitnesses, Muslim beliefs about Muhammad are based on documents composed more than a century after his death. Nevertheless, even if we take these late Islamic sources seriously, additional problems immediately arise. Muhammad’s moral teachings and example, especially in the areas of sex and violence, can be shocking to those unfamiliar with Muslim sources. When viewed against the backdrop of the New Testament picture of Jesus, Muhammad’s example only serves to highlight Jesus’ moral excellence. Further, Jesus and Muhammad taught radically different theologies, but we have firm grounds for accepting Christian theology and rejecting Islamic theology. All available evidence confirms that Jesus rose from the dead. Islam, however, falls short on two fronts—Muhammad could offer no compelling reason to believe he was a prophet, and his teachings lead to a dilemma that can only be avoided by abandoning Islam.

 

As Jesus of Nazareth hung from a cross—barely recognizable, skin dangling like ribbons, muscles and inner tissues exposed, covered only by His own drying yet still flowing blood—He asked His Father to forgive the people who had treated Him this way. Six centuries later, Muhammad lay dying, his internal organs shutting down after being poisoned by a Jewish woman whose family had been slaughtered by Muslim invaders.3 His prayer was for Allah to curse Jews and Christians.

A careful comparison of Jesus and Muhammad reveals that Christianity and Islam are far more different than is commonly thought. In terms of historical evidence and ethical teachings, the founders of history’s two most popular religions are poles apart. When we factor in the dissimilarity of their central messages and of the divine support backing these messages, the gulf between Christianity and Islam couldn’t be deeper. Muhammad seems inextricably tied to a particular culture during a specific time period. Jesus appears timeless.

(13 min read; 3,232 words including footnotes)

Muhammad and the Messiah: Comparing the Central Figures of Islam and Christianity – Christian Research Institute.

The Historicity of the Resurrection of Christ

“I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.”  –  Thomas Arnold (1795-1842), Professor of History Oxford, Author of the three-volume History of Rome (Source: Christian Life, Its Hopes, Its Fears, and Its Close, 6th ed., London: T. Fellowes, 1859, pp. 15-16. per Apologetics 315)

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Speaking of his doctoral studies under Wolfhart Pannenberg at the University of Munich, William Lane Craig writes, “I was astonished to discover as a result of my study that the main facts undergirding the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection are actually agreed upon by the majority of historical Jesus scholars today, not just conservative scholars but the broad mainstream of New Testament scholars, including a good number of Jewish scholars, who teach at secular universities and non-evangelical divinity schools. So I think faith in Jesus is historically quite well-founded.”  (Source: Response to a question on Reasonble Faith, Craig’s Blog; by this statement Craig, of course, is not saying that the majority of today’s scholars believe in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, but that they agree about the main historical facts upon which belief in that resurrection is based.)

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Even John Dominic Crossan is certain that Jesus was crucified.

 “That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be, since both Josephus and Tacitus … agree with the Christian accounts on at least that basic fact.”

Crossan, John Dominic (1995). Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. HarperOne. p. 145.

Source: Wikipedia article on the Crucifixion of Jesus

Dying for Belief: An analysis of a confused objection to one of the evidences for the resurrection | J. W. Wartick

(3 min read; 644 words)

Dying for Belief: An analysis of a confused objection to one of the evidences for the resurrection by J. W. Wartick

(HT: Greg West of The Poached Egg from Ratio Christi)

The Five Common Objections to the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus | Matt Rawlings

(3 min read; 755 words)

The Five Common Objections to the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus | Pastor Matt

Matt Rawlings is a Teaching Pastor at Christ’s Community Church in Portsmouth, OH and an Attorney and a Regional Director of Leadership Development for Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal ministry.

(HT:  Greg West at The Poached Egg from Ratio Christi)