Saturday, April 19, 2014

Apparent Death Theory: Did Jesus Survive Crucifixion?

Jesus' death by crucifixion is one of the best established facts of ancient history, even according to scholars who are critical of Christianity. Atheist New Testament scholar Gerd L├╝demann declares that “Jesus’ death as a consequence of crucifixion is indisputable.” John Dominic Crossan, of the notoriously liberal Jesus Seminar, says that there is not the “slightest doubt about the fact of Jesus’ crucifixion under Pontius Pilate.” Marcus Borg states that Jesus’ execution is the “most certain fact about the historical Jesus.” Pinchas Lapide, a Jewish scholar, concludes that Jesus’ death by crucifixion is “historically certain.” According to Bart Ehrman, “One of the most certain facts of history is that Jesus was crucified on orders of the Roman prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate.”

Of course, not everyone is familiar with Historical Jesus scholarship, so some people attempt to explain the origin of Christianity by claiming that Jesus survived crucifixion and later appeared to his disciples, giving them the impression that he had risen from the dead. There are two main problems with this "apparent death theory" (or "swoon theory," as it is sometimes called). First, all of the available evidence refutes it. Second, let's assume, for the sake of argument, that Jesus survived crucifixion. Upon seeing him in his grotesque, mangled, recently crucified state, his followers would never have concluded that he had been miraculously resurrected. They would have called for a doctor.

1 comment:

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