Resurrection Argument

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info.gif Resurrection Argument: An argument for theism from the miracle of the bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. For example, Timothy and Lydia McGrew argue “that there is significant positive evidence for R [the resurrection of Jesus]” and that “the probability that God exists is higher if there is significant independent evidence that Jesus rose from the dead than if there is no such evidence, and this is true because the probability that the resurrection took place is virtually nil if there is no God and higher if there is.”

McGrew, T.J., & McGrew, L. (2009). The Argument from Miracles: A Cumulative Case for the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. In W.L. Craig and J.P. Moreland (Eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (pp. 593-662). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell

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    Craig, William L.


    Contemporary Scholarship and the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

    After an appraisal of recent scholarship on the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Professor William Craig contends that "the resurrection appearances, the empty tomb, and the origin of the Christian faith - all point unavoidably to one conclusion: the resurrection of Jesus".
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    Craig, William L. and Bart D. Ehrman


    Is There Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus?: A Debate between William Lane Craig and Bart D. Ehrman

    "The question before us tonight is one of enduring interest for Christians and many non-Christians: Is there historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus? Supporting the affirmative position will be Dr. William Lane Craig, Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California. Supporting the opposing position will be Dr. Bart Ehrman, James A. Gray Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill."
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    Davis, Stephen T.


    Is Belief in the Resurrection Rational?: A Response to Michael Martin

    "This essay is a response to Michael Martin's 'Why the Resurrection Is Initially Improbable,' Philo, Vol. 1, No. 1. I argue that Martin has not succeeded in achieving his aim of showing that the Resurrection is initially improbable and thus, by Bayes's Theorem, implausible. I respond to five of Martin's arguments: (1) the 'particular time and place argument'; (2) the claim that there is no plausible Christian theory of why Jesus should have been incarnated and resurrected; (3) the claim that the Resurrection accounts in the New Testament are unreliable; (4) Martin's assumptions about how one establishes the initial probability of Resurrection; and (5) the use Martin makes of Bayes's Theorem to discredit belief in the Resurrection."
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    Guthrie, Shandon L.


    Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus

    "The Apostle Paul once remarked, "If Christ has not been raised then your faith is futile" (1 Corinthians 15:17; NIV). This makes Resurrection studies a paramount issue, if not the ultimate radix, of substantiating Christian belief. Prefacing this discussion will be the role of history in Christian evidence and how history ought to approach religious claims. If an analysis of historical documentation does not prove that Jesus really rose from the dead in bodily form then we must concede that the Apostle Paul's condition has been met resulting in a futility of such belief."
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    Habermas, Gary R.


    Jesus’ Resurrection and Contemporary Criticism: An Apologetic (Part I)

    "There is widespread agreement among scholars today across a broad theological spectrum that the resurrection of Jesus is the central claim of Christianity...In light of this importance, the major purpose of this essay is fourfold. First, we will describe several contemporary approaches to the resurrection, dividing these into five groups, or models, for the sake of clarity. Second, a more-or-less traditional apologetic for the resurrection will be briefly summarized. Third, a contemporary apologetic will be presented in order to strengthen further the earlier case for the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus...Fourth, we will suggest several areas for future concentration in resurrection studies."
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    Habermas, Gary R.


    Jesus’ Resurrection and Contemporary Criticism: An Apologetic (Part II)

    "As noted in our survey of contemporary approaches to the resurrection appearances, the pivotal point is ascertaining the cause of the disciples' faith...The chief purpose for the remainder of this essay will be to determine, by continuing both to investigate and utilize critical methodology, if the cause of the original eyewitnesses' faith can be further ascertained. If such verification is found, it will corroborate the earlier apologetic (which can still be presented in a very strong form) and also serve as a more conclusive refutation of radical scholars who deny that such a cause can be discovered."
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    Hays, Steve


    This Joyful Eastertide: A Critical Review of The Empty Tomb

    "The Empty Tomb (hereafter ET) positions itself as a full-frontal assault on the Resurrection...Hence, it merits an extended review. In no small measure, the ET is not so much a direct attack on the evidence for the Resurrection as it is an attack on a particular school of apologetics centered on the person of William Lane Craig—with Richard Swinburne as the runner-up...In the ET we see the Secular Web join forces with the Jesus Seminar and Prometheus Books to deliver a mortal blow to the crowning doctrine of the Christian faith. This coordinated effort represents their best shot—as they give it all they’ve got. Their success or failure will say a lot about the intellectual resources of the Christian faith and the enemies of the Gospel respectively. If, having thrown everything at the Resurrection, the Resurrection rebounds unimpaired and even reinforced by the encounter, the vacuity and desperation of unbelief will be all the plainer."
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    Herrick, Greg R.


    The Historical Veracity of the Resurrection Narratives

    "This study ultimately attempts to demonstrate, based on a worldview that permits the supernatural, that the resurrection accounts in the gospels fair extremely well and stand as reliable historical witnesses to such an event when examined on the basis of the criteria of authenticity—the same criteria that are descriminately used by scholars to authenticate certain sayings of Jesus and discount others."
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    Hilborn, David


    Real Easter: The Plausibility and Historicity of Jesus' Resurrection

    "From utter despair, the disciples were rapidly transformed by the resurrection into one of the most influential movements the world has ever known. It seems unlikely that they would have been motivated to lead this movement on the basis of a few self-generated mental pictures or by a ‘legend’ concocted in a matter of days. On the contrary: their faith, and the faith of the world-wide Church they pioneered, is most genuinely represented as a faith based on these core events: that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried in Joseph’s tomb, and on the third day was raised bodily from that tomb, leaving it empty."
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    Holding, James P.


    The Impossible Faith: Or, How Not to Start an Ancient Religion

    "...I offer a list of 17 factors to be considered -- places where Christianity 'did the wrong thing' in order to be a successful religion...I propose that there is only one, broad explanation for Christianity overcoming these intolerable disadvantages, and that is that it had the ultimate rebuttal -- a certain, trustworthy, and undeniable witness to the resurrection of Jesus, the only event which, in the eyes of the ancients, would have vindicated Jesus' honor and overcome the innumerable stigma of his life and death."
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    Klein, Franz S.


    Supernaturalism and Historical Study: An Account of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead

    "The modern historical criticism which follows in Bultmann’s steps involves the contradiction of accepting both the formless, personal salvation of introspection, and the universal salvation of Jesus Christ. This is caused by a denial of supernatural intervention in human events due to the advances of modern science. Historical studies need not defer to current scientific theory, for the question of the supernatural will never be fully answered by science. Therefore, the supernatural falls within the realm of probability as an explanation for the Resurrection. An argument is provided which proves that a supernatural explanation is the most probable explanation for the Resurrection based on the evidence provided in the canonical and extra-canonical books, and living tradition of the Church."
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    McGrew Timothy and Lydia


    A Cumulative Case for the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth

    "It is a curiosity of the history of ideas that the argument from miracles is today better known as the object of a famous attack than as a piece of reasoning in its own right. It was not always so. From Paul’s defense before Agrippa to the polemics of the orthodox against the deists at the heart of the Enlightenment, the argument from miracles was central to the discussion of the reasonableness of religious belief, often supplemented by other considerations but rarely omitted by any responsible writer...[P]art of the explanation for the relative neglect of the argument from miracles lies in Hume’s famous essay, first published in 1748, which sets out with the ambitious goal of providing 'the wise and the learned' with an 'everlasting check to all kinds of superstitious delusions.'...It is not the primary purpose of this essay to refute the arguments of Hume; rather, we are concerned to set the principal argument for the truth of Christianity in its proper light. But at the end we will return to Hume, both to put his argument in its historical context and to evaluate the significance of the considerations he and his modern progeny have raised against the argument from miracles."
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    Swinburne, Richard


    Lecture Notes: The Probability of the Resurrection of Jesus

    "The hypothesis that Jesus rose from the dead (H) is rendered probable by general background evidence (K) of natural theology, insofar as that evidence makes it probable that there is a God of the traditional kind who has reason to become incarnate in order to make atonement for our sins, identify with our suffering and reveal truths to us."
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    Swinburne, Richard


    The Probability of the Resurrection of Jesus

    "In this paper I shall seek to summarize an argument contained in my recent book Was Jesus God? (as well as more fully in my book The Resurrection of God Incarnate) arguing for the high probability that Jesus rose bodily from the dead on the first Easter Day…I conclude that unless my assessment of how probable the evidence of natural theology makes the existence of God is very badly mistaken, it is very probable that Jesus was God Incarnate and that he rose from the dead."
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    Wright, N. T.


    Can a Scientist Believe in the Resurrection?

    "I know plenty of scientists who firmly and avowedly believe in the resurrection, and some indeed who have given a solid and coherent account of why they do so. I salute them but do not intend tonight to engage with the different ways in which they have presented their case. I want, rather, to explore the fault lines, if that’s the right expression, between different ways of knowing, particularly between what we may loosely call scientific knowing and historical knowing, and between both of these and those other modes of knowing to which we give, very loosely, the names of faith, hope and love...[A]lthough the historical arguments for Jesus’ bodily resurrection are truly strong, we must never suppose that they will do more than bring people to the questions faced by Thomas and Peter, the questions of faith and love. We cannot use an supposedly ‘objective’ historical epistemology as the ultimate ground for the truth of Easter...All knowing is a gift from God, historical and scientific knowing no less than that of faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love."
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    Wright, N. T.


    Resurrecting Old Arguments: Responding to Four Essays

    "The author is grateful for the attention given to his book The Resurrection of the Son of God by the four reviewers. David Bryan is right to highlight the Enoch literature as a more fertile source of resurrection ideas than the book allowed for; but he has overstated his objection...James Crossley's counter-proposal-resurrection stories grew from 'visions' which gave rise to the idea of an empty tomb as an attempt to 'vindicate' the 'ideas and beliefs of Jesus'-fails on several counts...Michael Goulder revives the highly contentious hypothesis that the early Church was polarized between the Jerusalem apostles, who believed in a non-bodily resurrection, and Pauline Christians for whom the resurrection was bodily. The claim that Mark 16.1-8 is full of contradictions and impossibilities is rejected. Larry Hurtado warns against downplaying the role of experience both in the Christian life and in describing the devotion and liturgy of the early Church. While cautioning against the use of the word 'metaphor' to mean 'less than fully real', I acknowledge the force of the argument, and suggest the cognitive processes I propose and the devotional life sketched by Hurtado are complementary."
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    Wright, N.T.


    Jesus’ Resurrection and Christian Origins

    "Historical investigation, I propose, brings us to the point where we must say that the tomb previously housing a thoroughly dead Jesus was empty, and that his followers saw and met someone they were convinced was this same Jesus, bodily alive though in a new, transformed fashion."