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by Jacob Allee
When studying the New Testament as a historical document, that is, when not looking at it as a book of faith but merely a 1st century collection of writings, New Testament historians disagree about some things concerning the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Some of these disagreements are because of philosophical bias’ one direction or the other. For instance, if a person studies history with a naturalistic worldview which a priori (i.e. before the facts) dismisses any possibility of the supernatural, then they will never conclude from historical investigation that a miracle has occurred because they have decided ahead of time that miracles don’t happen.
On the other hand theists can be biased too and may be quick to believe reports of miracles because their worldview allows and even expects them to occur.
Even so, despite the personal bias’ of every individual, there are some things that New Testament Historians almost universally agree upon when it comes to the death and resurrection accounts of Jesus. Here are a handful of the most widely accepted facts that scholars from KJV Only Fundamentalists to Atheist/Agnostic scholars agree upon.
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1. Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and died somewhere between 30-33 A.D.
2. The tomb where Jesus was buried was found empty.
3. Jesus’ disciples genuinely believed that they saw Jesus risen from the dead.
4. Saul of Tarsus (later known as the apostle Paul) was an enemy of the church but became one of its biggest promoters after seeing what he believed was the risen Jesus.
5. James, the half-brother of Jesus, was a skeptic during Jesus’ 3 years of ministry but became a leader in the Jerusalem church.
6. The disciples went from fearful for their lives to boldly proclaiming Jesus’ resurrection even under pang of death.
There are other facts that we could mention but these will be sufficient for our point. When historians are investigating the past and trying to ascertain what really did and didn’t occur they start with determining the facts they can know with a high probability of certainty and then they put forth scenarios which account for the known facts…
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