Grounds for Scepticism concerning Jesus’ Burial and Empty Tomb
In your debates on the Resurrection, you often present four facts that the majority of New Testament scholars support, namely the honorable burial, the discovery of the empty tomb by women, the post-Resurrection appearances, and the disciples' genuine belief in the Resurrection. While the majority of scholars support these facts, my question has to do with the minority who disagree. For example, John Dominic Crossan has claimed Jesus was buried in a shallow grave, where his body was eaten by wild dogs. My question is this: from what sources do scholars who disagree with the four facts stated above draw their conclusions? The way I understand it, there are very few extra-Biblical sources that discuss the Resurrection, and none that contradict the four facts stated above. And the Canonical Gospels make it very clear that the four facts are indeed what happened. So on what grounds do these dissenting scholars dispute the four facts stated above?
Thank you, Jake
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Dr. Craig’s Response: I remember well, Jake, my astonishment when I first read that Crossan believes that Jesus’ corpse was not properly entombed, as the Gospels describe, but thrown into a shallow grave, where it was probably dug up and eaten by wild dogs. Having already completed my doctoral work in Germany on the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection, I was well-aware that the large majority of New Testament historians find the evidence for Jesus’ burial in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea to be convincing.1 So I wondered, what evidence does Crossan have to think that the majority of scholars are wrong about this? How does he refute the multiple lines of evidence that have convinced most scholars of the fact of Jesus’ entombment by Joseph of Arimathea? What evidence has he uncovered that would lead us to think that Jesus’ body was instead dispatched as Crossan imagines?
Well, you can imagine my disappointment when I discovered, upon reading his work, that Crossan presents no specific evidence, much less convincing evidence, for his hypothesis concerning the fate of Jesus’ corpse…
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