Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Does the Christian faith stand up to historical scrutiny?

According to the following recent studies, those who accept the claims of the Christian faith are on firm historical footing:                     .                                           

Larry W. Hurtado (University of Edinburgh)
"A noteworthy devotion to Jesus emerges phenomenally early in circles of his followers, and cannot be restricted to a secondary stage of religious development. ... Devotion to Jesus was not a late development. So far as historical inquiry permits us to say, it was an immediate feature of the circles of those who identified themselves with reference to him."

Richard Bauckham (St. Andrews, Cambridge)
"The Gospels put us in close touch with the eyewitnesses of the history of Jesus."

Craig S. Keener (Asbury)
"The basic portrayal of Jesus in the first-century Gospels, dependent on eyewitnesses, is more plausible than the alternative hypotheses of its modern detractors."

N. T. Wright (Oxford, Cambridge, St. Andrews)
"We are left with the secure historical conclusion: the tomb was empty, and various 'meetings' took place not only between Jesus and his followers but also, in at least one case, between Jesus and people who had not been among his followers. I regard this conclusion as coming in the same sort of category, of historical probability so high as to be virtually certain, as the death of Augustus in AD 14 or the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. ... The actual bodily resurrection of Jesus clearly provides a sufficient condition of the tomb being empty and the 'meetings' taking place. Nobody is likely to doubt that. ... My claim is stronger: that the bodily resurrection of Jesus provides a necessary condition for these things; in other words, that no other explanation could or would do. All the efforts to find alternative explanations fail. ... The proposal that Jesus was bodily raised from the dead possesses unrivaled power to explain the historical data at the heart of early Christianity."

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