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Did Jesus Rise From the Dead?


In Mark 5:13, Jesus has demons leave a man in Gerasa and enter a herd of pigs ... Matthew has the women seeing an angel descend and roll away the stone (28:2) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Did Jesus Rise From the Dead?

Did Jesus Rise From the Dead?
An Important Principle
Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary
EvidenceOr We Can Reject Them As False!
  • Extraordinary claim a claim that contradicts
    accepted physical laws or our common sense,
    everyday experiences of the world.

People typically think it is acceptable to
presume that an extraordinary claim is false
until strong evidence is presented in its favor.
Extraordinary Claims
Compare These Statements
I ate a hamburger.
Not Much
I ate an ostrich burger.
I ate a unicorn burger!
A Lot!
The stronger the claim, the more evidence needed
in support of it.
Jesus Rose From the Dead--
An Extraordinary Claim
Without extraordinary amounts of evidence in its
favor, we are justified in rejecting this claim.
Is There Extraordinary Evidence for This Claim?
I Will Argue That There is NOT.
Eight Standard Arguments For the Resurrection
  1. The Gospels Have Eyewitness Accounts of the
    Resurrected Jesus
  2. 500 Witnesses Saw the Resurrected Jesus
  3. Jesus Predicted He Would Be Resurrected
  4. Early Attempts to Discredit the Resurrection
  5. The Empty Tomb Proves the Resurrection
  6. Resurrection Accounts Lack Signs of Myth
  7. The Apostles Would Not Have Died for a Lie
  8. Nonbiblical Historians Confirm the Gospels

1 The Gospels Have Eyewitness Accounts of the
Resurrected Jesus?
  • All the New Testament books were originally
    written in Greek.
  • The authentic letters of Paul are the oldest
    books of the New Testament.
  • The Gospels came later, probably building on oral

The Anonymity of the New Testament
  • The Oxford Companion to the Bible states of the
    gospels that "their anonymity is a common
    characteristic" (pg. 259).
  • In Who Wrote the New Testament? The Making of
    the Christian Myth, Burton Mack, Professor of the
    New Testament at the School of Theology at
    Claremont, writes "With the exception of seven
    letters by Paul and the Revelation to an
    otherwise unknown John, the writings selected for
    inclusion in the New Testament were not written
    by those whose names are attached to them.

The Gospels
Gospel comes from the Greek for good news
Probable Time of Composition
Mark 65-75 C.E.
Luke/Acts 80-85 C.E.
Matthew 85-90 C.E.
John 100-150 C.E.
The four canonical Gospels are anonymous. They
were named in the 2nd century by Bishop Papias of
The Process of Naming the Gospels
  • The 4th century Church father Eusebius, in his
    History of the Church, says that Papias was
    interested in church history and that Papias got
    his "notions by misinterpreting the apostolic
    accounts, and he "seems to have been a man of
    very small intelligence, to judge from his
  • Papias assigned the names to the Gospels that we
    have today.

How Were The Gospels Named?
  • Of the Gospel of Mark, the Oxford Companion
    states "The ascription of the gospel of Mark
    goes back at least to Papias, Bishop of
    Hierapolis, who in about 130 CE reported that he
    had been told that it was written by Mark the
    interpreter of Peter.
  • Who told this to Papias is not known.
  • We cannot know if his source was reliable.
  • Nor do we know if he ever heard otherwise.
  • So, we have no reason to believe Papias was in a
    position to make a correct determination about
    Gospel authorship.

Was Papias Accurate?
  • Eusebius adds "Mark, who had been Peters
    interpreter, wrote down carefully, but not in
    order, all that he remembered of the Lords
    sayings and doings. For he had not heard the Lord
    or been one of His followers, but later, as I
    said, one of Peters.
  • So by the second century it was already thought
    that the author of the Gospel of Mark was not an
    eyewitness of Jesus.
  • The works of Papias were written in his old age
    sometime between the years 115 and 140 CE.

Geographical Mistake in Mark
  • Mark 731 Then he Jesus return from the region
    of Tyre, and went through Sidon to the Sea of
  • The Sea of Galilee is to the southeast of Tyre
    while Sidon is to the north of the city.
  • As David Barr, Professor of Religion at Wright
    State University remarked "the itinerary
    sketched in 731 would be a little like going
    from New York to Washington, D.C. by way of

Marathon Swine?
  • Mark 51 locates Gerasa next to the lake or Sea
    of Galilee.
  • In Mark 513, Jesus has demons leave a man in
    Gerasa and enter a herd of pigs which then ran
    into the sea.
  • However Gerasa is more than fifty kilometers to
    the southeast of the Sea of Galilee!
  • As a Biblical scholars of Jesus Seminar remarked
    Gerasa is located approximately thirty miles to
    the southeast of the Sea of Galilee... Matthew
    relocates the demoniac to Gadara, which is only
    six miles from the lakeshore. Later scribes tried
    other remedies to accommodate the pigs.

Geography Mistake Again
  • In Mark 10-11, Jesus travels from Jericho to
    Jerusalem via Bethphage and then Bethany.
  • But Bethany is further away from Jerusalem than
  • Theologian D.E. Nineham, comments The
    geographical details make an impression of
    awkwardness, especially as Bethphage and Bethany
    are given in reverse order to that in which
    travelers from Jericho would reach themand we
    must therefore assume that St Mark did not know
    the relative positions of the two villages on the
    Jericho road
  • Matthew 21 changes the geography to correct it.

A Mistake in Customs
  • Mark 1011-12 has Jesus say
  • He Jesus answered, "Anyone who divorces his
    wife and marries another woman commits adultery
    against her. And if she divorces her husband and
    marries another man, she commits adultery."
  • But according to Jewish Law a woman had no right
    to divorce her husband.
  • These obvious mistakes could not have been made
    by a Palestinian Jew who was a traveling
    companion of Peter.

The Gospel of Luke
  • Of Luke, The Oxford Companion to the Bible
    states the third gospel is anonymous, as are
    the other gospels.

The Gospel of Matthew
"It is commonly held that Matthew was written
about 85 or 90 C.E. by an unknown Christian who
was at home in a church located in Antioch of
Syria... (Ibid.)
The Literary Dependence
  • Mark is the basis for two other gospels.
  • The Gospels of Luke and Matthew contain the
    verses from Mark almost word-for-word.
  • This shows that the authors of Luke and Matthew
    used Mark as a source.

Matthew and Luke, Apostles?
  • Since it is clear that Mark was not written by an
    apostle, and since it is unlikely that an apostle
    would base his work on the anonymous writing of
    someone who was not himself a disciple, it is
    unlikely that the disciples Matthew or Luke
    authored the Gospels that bear their names.
  • In addition, there are geographical and
    historical errors in Luke and historical errors
    in Matthew.

The Q Gospel
  • Because there are some verses found in Luke and
    Matthew that are NOT in Mark, many scholars
    believe that there was a set of Jesus sayings
    used to supplement the material in Mark.
  • They call this the Q Gospel, Q for the German
    word for source Quelle.

Why would apostles need to copy the writings of
someone else?
The Gospel of John
  • The Gospel of John seems to have been written in
    at least 3 stages from 100-150 CE.
  • Signs of editing and multiple authorship
  • There are marked differences in style, such as
    between chapters 1 and 21.
  • It is often repetitious. See 635-50 and 50-58
    and chapters 14 16.
  • There are notorious sequential breaks in the
    narrative, as in 322 and 223, the end of
    chapter 5 and the start of chapter 6, and
    chapters 20 and 21.
  • The gospel has conflicting theological views such
    as that of Jesus divinity.

The Gospel of John
  • In The Encyclopedia Britannica, Gunther Bornkamm,
    Emeritus Professor of New Testament Studies at
    the Rupert Charles University of Heidelberg wrote
    regarding the gospel of John "The tradition in
    John shows that the gospel has reached an
    advanced theological state. Because a
    theological conception has been incorporated in
    the account to such an extent, this Gospel cannot
    be directly used as a historical source. It is
    also the latest of the Gospels, written about AD
    100" (Ibid.)

Late Stories
  • From Jesus to Christ The Origins of the New
    Testament Images of Jesus, by Paula Fredriksen
    "We must remember that forty to seventy years
    stand between the public career and death of
    Jesus of Nazareth and the probable dates of the
    composition of the gospels.

Not Eyewitness Accounts
  • Given the anonymity of the Gospels, one cannot
    assign to them any eyewitness status or
  • They cannot serve as extraordinary evidence.

Anonymous testimony is not strong evidence.
A False Impression
  • In Who Wrote the New Testament? The Making of
    the Christian Myth, Burton Mack writes "Over
    the course of the second and third centuries,
    centrist Christians were able to create the
    impression of a singular, monolinear history of
    the Christian church. They did so by carefully
    selecting, collecting, and arranging anonymous
    and pseudonymous writings assigned to figures at
    the beginning of the Christian time...

Burton Mack Contd
  • This means that the impression modern readers
    have of the New Testament as a charter document
    for Christianity, a kind of constitution written
    in concert by a college or congress of apostles,
    is thoroughly understandable. That is exactly
    what the centrist Christians of the fourth
    century intendedIt is neither an authentic
    account of Christian beginnings nor an accurate
    rehearsal of the history of the empire church.
    Historians of religions would call it myth."

  • How much reliability can be possessed by books
  • Written by anonymously,
  • Written by people who were not present at the
    events they describe,
  • Written from oral traditions started anonymously,
  • Written from oral traditions passed on by unknown
  • Rewritten time and time again,
  • Copied from manuscripts which cannot be checked
    against any originals.

2 500 Witnesses Saw the Resurrected Jesus?
  • In 1 Corinthians 153-8, Paul states
  • For what I received I passed on to you as of
    first importance that Christappeared to more
    than five hundred of the brothers at the same
    time, most of whom are still living, though some
    have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James,
    then to all the apostles, and last of all he
    appeared to me also

What 500?
  • Who are these 500? What are their names?
  • How did they know it was Jesus they saw? Did they
  • Where did this happen?
  • Why is this not mentioned in any of the Gospels?
  • Paul says he wasnt there. Who told Paul? How
    do we know his source is reliable?

Anonymous testimony is not strong evidence.
3 Jesus Predicted He Would Be Resurrected?
  • Matthew 1240 For as Jonah was three days and
    three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the
    Son of Man will be three days and three nights in
    the heart of the earth.
  • Mark 831 31He then began to teach them that
    the Son of Man must suffer many things and be
    rejected by the elders, chief priests and
    teachers of the law, and that he must be killed
    and after three days rise again.
  • And many other Gospel verses.

But Why Believe These Accounts?
  • The Gospels were written decades after the death
    of Jesus. It would be easy to have him say
    various things that he never said.
  • More convincing would have been prophecies
    written long before the alleged resurrection.
  • How do we know Jesus really said these things if
    they are anonymous stories written much later?

Anonymous testimony is not strong evidence.
4 Early Attempts to Discredit the Resurrection
  • Matthew 27 states that guards were posted at the
    tomb of Jesus so the disciples could not steal
    Jesus body.
  • When Jesus was gone anyway, the chief priests
    bribed the guards to say they fell asleep and
    that Jesus disciples stole the body while they
  • So the soldiers took the money and did as they
    were instructed. And this story has been widely
    circulated among the Jews to this very day. (Mt.

No Evidence of Such Attempts
  • There are no Jewish sources of that time
    suggesting that the Jews conspired to discredit
    the resurrection story.
  • Also, in Matthews own account, no guards were
    posted until the second day after Jesus burial.
    This is plenty of time to steal a body.
  • It makes no sense that guards would report that
    they know who stole the body while they were
  • And what was the punishment for sleeping on guard

5 The Empty Tomb Proves the Resurrection?
  • What tomb?
  • Current alleged tombs of Jesus are later
    inventions to attract the faithful.
  • The earliest writer of Jesus resurrectionPauldo
    es not mention any empty tomb.
  • We have only the Gospels as testimony.

Anonymous testimony is not strong evidence.
6 Resurrection Accounts Lack Signs of Myth?
  • Christian apologists often argue that Jesus
    resurrection could not be a myth because
  • It appears too soon after Jesus death to have
    been fiction. Eyewitnesses would have corrected
    mythical accounts.
  • Women were not considered credible. No one would
    create a story with women as witnesses, as we
    find in the resurrection story.
  • The resurrection story has realistic detail.

Too Early to Be Myth?
  • Legends develop over time.
  • Paul never mentions an empty tomb. That seems to
    be a later invention.
  • In the Gospels, the people at the empty tomb show
    signs of legendary development, from one man to
    two, to angels, etc.
  • Eyewitnesses would have corrected mythical
    accounts? There are false reports today that are
    not corrected by living eyewitnesses.

Women as Witnesses? It Worked.
  • Who would create a story with women as witnesses?
    No one would believe women?
  • The fact that people DID believe the resurrection
    accounts shows that people WERE willing to
    believe a story that had women as eyewitnesses.
  • The notion that no one would believe a story with
    female witnesses is clearly false.

Too Real to Be Myth?
  • In John 21, Jesus has his disciples throw nets in
    a certain place, and they catch 153 fish. A
    similar fish story is told of Pythagoras hundreds
    of years earlier, and 153 is a Pythagorean
    triangle number.
  • The disciples discovering Jesus clothes in the
    tomb is similar to scene from Charitons story
    Chaireas and Callirhoe.
  • These and many other literary parallels and
    motifs undermine the sense of historical accuracy.

Fictional Character
  • The supposed tomb belonged to Joseph of
    Arimathea. No one has been able to identify
    such a place.
  • This Joseph is on Jesus side, and is said to be
    on the Council (Mk. 1543), yet why is there no
    prior mention of this important follower of
    Jesus? And no later mention?
  • Many scholars conclude that he is a literary
    device who exists just to get Jesus in a tomb.

Myths Often Grow Over Time
  • The last 12 verses of the gospel of Mark are
    known to have been added much later than the
    writing of the rest of the gospel of Mark. These
    verses are absent in early copies of this gospel.
  • These later verses contain the only
    post-resurrection appearances of Jesus in Mark.
    So it is interesting that the earliest supposed
    biography of Jesus life contains no report of
    any eyewitnesses who saw a resurrected Jesus.
  • The Oxford Companion to the Bible agrees "Mark,
    generally regarded as the earliest gospel,
    originally contained no appearance stories.

The Gospels Are Contradictory
  • Farrell Till, a former minister who became an
    atheist by reading the Bible, has become an
    expert on Bible contradictions.
  • If the resurrection accounts are hopelessly
    contradictory, this undermines their credibility.
  • Here is Tills list (in his own words) of the top
    five new Testament contradictions regarding the
    Gospel accounts of the resurrection.

Where Was The Stone?
  • Matthew has the women seeing an angel descend and
    roll away the stone (282), but Mark, Luke, and
    John had the women (or Mary) finding the stone
    already rolled away when they (she) arrived (Mk.
    164 Lk. 242 Jn. 201).

Oh, Joy! The Body is Stolen!?
  • Mary Magdalene was with the women who heard the
    angel(s) say that Jesus had risen (Matt. 286
    Mk. 166 Lk. 246-10) and apparently understood
    what was meant, because she and the women ran
    from the tomb "with great joy" to tell the other
    disciples (Matt. 286), yet according to John
    when she found the disciples, she said that she
    thought the body had been stolen (202).
  • Why did she run from the tomb "with great joy" if
    she thought that Jesus's body had been stolen?

Darkest After the Dawn?
  • Matthew, Mark, and Luke have the women going to
    the tomb at some point in time that is variously
    described as when it "began to dawn" (Matt.
    281), "when the sun was risen" (Mk. 162), or
    "at early dawn" (Lk. 241), but John has Mary M
    arriving at the tomb "while it was yet dark"
  • I can't see how it could be "yet dark" during any
    of the stages of daylight that Matthew, Mark, and
    Luke described.

Not Too Spicy
  • Luke 2354-55 states that "the women," later
    identified as Mary M, Joanna, and Mary the mother
    of James (2410), followed Joseph of Arimathea
    and saw where and "how the body was laid" and
    then returned home, "prepared spices and
    ointments," and then rested on the sabbath
    "according to the commandment."
  • So according to Luke, the women prepared spices
    and ointments BEFORE the sabbath, yet Mark says
    that "when the sabbath was past," the women
    bought spices "that they might come and anoint
    him" (161).
  • If they followed Joseph and saw how the body was
    laid, they had seen Joseph of Arimathea prepare
    the body with "about a hundred pounds of myrrh
    and aloes (Jn. 1938-39). Did they think 100
    pounds weren't be enough?

And Thomas Makes Eleven
  • Luke said that Jesus appeared to "the eleven"
    after he vanished from the presence of the two
    disciples in Emmaus (2433-43). This appearance
    happened on the night Jesus was resurrected,
    during which he urged the disciples to examine
    his wounds (v39) and then ate a meal with the
    disciples (v42), so it has to be the same
    meeting that John said Jesus made to the apostles
    on "the evening of that day," (2019), during
    which Jesus showed the disciples his wounds
  • The contradiction lies in the fact that Luke said
    that this appearance was made to the eleven,
    whereas John said that Thomas wasn't there when
    Jesus appeared to the apostles on that night
    (v24). If Thomas wasn't there, then Jesus
    couldn't have appeared to "the eleven."

The Easter Challenge 1,000 REWARD!
  • Tell us exactly what happened on the first Easter
    and win 1,000! Read
  • Matthew 28
  • Mark 16
  • Luke 24
  • John 20 21
  • Acts 13-12
  • 1 Corinthians 153-8
  • Then, without omitting a single detail from these
    accounts, write one consistent narrative?with
    scriptural citations?of the events from the
    Resurrection to the Ascension of Jesus Christ.
  • If you can do this, you can win 1,000.

Send your entry to the Fayetteville Freethinkers.
7 The Apostles Would Not Have Died for a Lie?
  • Where is the evidence they died for a lie?
  • No reliable extrabiblical evidence shows that
    they were martyred.
  • In fact, there is an abundance of stories of the
    same apostle dying in numerous places, often with
    magical elements added to the story.
  • The apostles were each martyred too many times
    for the stories to be credible.

Die For Falsehoods?
  • People die for false ideologies and false beliefs
    in general on a regular basis.
  • Followers of Rev. Jim Jones and David Koresh
    thought that these men were God incarnate, and
    they died for that belief. Does their martyrdom
    prove them correct?

8 Nonbiblical Historians Confirm the Gospels
  • Apologists often claim that historians apart from
    the Gospels confirm New Testament claims. Thus
    one should believe the New Testament, including
    the resurrection.
  • A typical list of such historians includes
  • Tacitus, Lucian, Josephus, Suetonius, Pliny the
    Younger, Tertullian, Thallus, Phlegon, and Justin

No Contemporary, Nonbiblical Sources Confirm
Claims About Jesus
  • Tacitus, Lucian, Josephus, Suetonius, Pliny the
    Younger, Tertullian, and Justin Martyr all lived
    after the death of Jesus and merely reported what
    they had heard.
  • Passing on hearsay from anonymous sources is not
    good evidence.

Anonymous testimony is not strong evidence.
Magic Darkness or Just an Eclipse?
  • Thallus and Phlegon are mentioned as writers who
    attested that an eclipse occurred, and the
    synoptic Gospels state that darkness came over
    the whole land when Jesus died. But their
    writings no longer exist. We only have fragments
    quoted by others.
  • And there is no way to determine if the darkness
    they spoke of happened on the day Jesus died or
    if they were just eclipses, as they reported. We
    dont know what day Jesus died.

The Slaughter of the Innocents
  • Matthew 216 says Herod, king of Judea, ordered
    killed all the male children in the region of
    Bethlehem that were two years old or younger.
  • Ancient historians, both those who later
    chronicled Herods abuses of power and those who
    lived in Judea when this was supposed to have
    occurred, say nothing of such a massacre, and
    they would certainly have called attention to
    such an event. This incident is not even
    mentioned anywhere else in the New Testament.
  • Scholars agree that such an event did not happen.
    Gospel writers did invent stories.

Invasion of the Zombie Saints!
  • Matthew 2752-53 states that when Jesus died the
    graves of many of the saints opened, and they
    rose. Then when Jesus rose the saints went into
    town and were seen by many people.
  • Historians such as Philo-Judaeus, who lived in
    Jerusalem at the time, know nothing about Jesus
    or any other resurrections. Who would have
    failed to mention a crowd of dead saints come to

The Formation of the NT Canon
  • 367 CEThe Festal letter by Athanasius of
    Alexandria, at the request of the Pope, has the
    first list of currently accepted 27 NT books.
  • 405 CEthe Pope accepts the canon and ratifies it.

All Atonement Theories Fail
  • An atonement theory is a proposed theological
    explanation of the mission of Jesus.
  • The New Testament explains that Jesus preached,
    was crucified, died, and rose again, but the
    point of these events is never explained.
  • Why would God kill his son to make sins go away?
    God had already drowned the world and ordered
    scapegoats used to get rid of sin.
  • If those things didnt work, why did God command
    them? If they worked, why the need for Jesus?

If the story makes no sense, this undermines its
Given the Lack of Any Compelling Evidence, We May
Justifiably Reject the Claim that Jesus Rose From
the Dead
  • Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary
    EvidenceOr We Can Reject Them As False!

"Jesus Rose From the Dead" is an extraordinary
Many Scholars Reject a Literal Resurrection
  • since the Crucifixion was conducted by Roman
    soldiers,... Jesus' body was most likely left on
    the Cross or tossed into a shallow grave to be
    eaten by scavenger dogs, crows or other wild
    beasts. As for Jesus' family and followers,
    depicted in the Bible as conducting a decent
    burial of the body according to Jewish law, "as
    far as I can see, they ran," Crossan says. "They
    lost their nerve, though not their faith."
    --TIME, 4/10/95, pg. 70, Robert W. Funk and John
    Dominic Crossan.

Scholars Say The Resurrection is Not Historical
  • If the resurrection of Jesus cannot be believed
    except by assenting to the fantastic descriptions
    included in the Gospels, then Christianity is
    doomed. For that view of resurrection is not
    believable, and if that is all there is, then
    Christianity, which depends upon the truth and
    authenticity of Jesus resurrection, also is not
    believable. If that were the requirement of
    belief as a Christian, then I would sadly leave
    my house of faith. WITH ME IN THAT EXODUS FROM
    Catholic and Protestant alike
  • --Bishop John Shelby Spong, Resurrection Myth or

A Literary Form
  • "The gospel stories about Easter are not
    historical accounts but religious myths. I say
    this not at all out of disrespect for Christian
    faith or for the doctrines that it holds. Rather,
    I mean to indicate the general literary form of
    the Easter accounts. They are myths and legends
    and it is absurd to take them literally and to
    create a chronology of preternatural events that
    supposedly occurred in Jerusalem and Galilee
    during the weeks after Jesus had died."
  • --Thomas Sheehan of the Religious Studies
    Department at Stanford. The First Coming How
    the Kingdom of God Became Christianity.

The Standard Arguments For the Resurrection Are
  1. The Gospels Have Eyewitness Accounts of the
    Resurrected Jesus
  2. 500 Witnesses Saw the Resurrected Jesus
  3. Jesus Predicted He Would Be Resurrected
  4. Early Attempts to Discredit the Resurrection
  5. The Empty Tomb Proves the Resurrection
  6. Resurrection Accounts Lack Signs of Myth
  7. The Apostles Would Not Have Died for a Lie
  8. Nonbiblical Historians Confirm the Gospels
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