Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?
by Andy Bannister
Christianity is a religion that stands or falls on history, especially when it comes to the resurrection. As the Apostle Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians 15, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, our faith is useless. Everything stands or falls on the resurrection. But, asks the skeptic, how can we believe anything so fantastic as the resurrection?
Yet it might surprise you to learn that historians take the resurrection very seriously and there are thousands of scholarly, academic works of history published discussing it. In particular, there are a number of facts that most historians, be they Christian, Jewish, or secular all agree upon.
First, it’s agreed that Jesus was crucified. No serious historian would doubt this — Christians claimed that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah and the messiah was supposed to defeat the Romans, not get crucified by them. The crucifixion is simply too embarrassing to have been invented. Furthermore, the death of Jesus is attested so frequently and so early by our sources that there’s no avoiding it.
Second, it’s agreed that Jesus was buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea. Again, this claim is very early, contained in multiple sources. No alternative burial story exists and it’s unlikely that Christians would have ascribed such a role to a Jew, as Joseph was, unless this really was the case…
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