Did the the apostles wrongly conclude “resurrection” from “we saw Jesus”?

“No, after all…
  • They inevitably checked Jesus's corpse

      If Jesus did not actually resurrect, then he/she/they (the apostles etc.) soon would have visually seen his remaining corpse.1 This is relevant because they did not see a remaining corpse of Jesus's, but they continued believing Jesus resurrected.

      1. We know the AD 30 Jerusalem church would have visually seen Jesus's remaining corpse eventually because they were saying “Jesus' tomb is empty!”. Several potential converts would have wanted to check, as would Jewish enemies.
  • Visits from the dead aren't seen as resurrections

      For Jews like the Apostles (and others), mere ostensible visits from a dead person would not be interpreted as a resurrection appearance or suggest that a resurrection had occurred. (After all, a resurrection is a very particular thing in Jewish thought, and other categories of interpretation would much sooner present themselves[Forthcoming]. Something convinced them that this was not a ghost, hallucination, etc.)1.

      1. Markus Bockmuehl: “[Regarding Jesus's ‘apparitions, empty tomb, and apotheoses’] The ancients knew full well that ‘a ghost does not have flesh and bones’ (Luke 24:39) and does not eat or drink, but a resuscitated body might easily have and do all those things. And yet, neither of these perfectly familiar and acceptable categories is invoked by any of the diverse New Testament witnesses. [“Resurrection”, The Cambridge Companion to Jesus (Cambridge, 2001), 112.]
        Dale Allison (NT professor at Princeton): “If there was no reason to believe that his solid body had returned to life, no one would have thought him, against expectation, resurrected from the dead. Certainly visions of or perceived encounters with a postmortem Jesus would not by themselves, have supplied such reason.” [Resurrecting Jesus (Continuum Int., 2005), 324-325.]
        N.T. Wright (NT & Early Christianity professor at St. Andrews): “Everybody knew about ghosts, spirits, visions, hallucinations, and so on. Most people in the ancient world believed in some such things. They were quite clear that that wasn't what they meant by resurrection.” [Surprised by Hope (HarperOne, 2008), 36]
  • The belief was warranted

      If Jesus did not resurrect, then he/she/they would have lacked reason to believe that he resurrected. After all, if no Jesus resurrected, then no resurrected Jesus appeared to them, and then there is nothing else left to causally explain their belief that Jesus resurrected.1

      1. Genuine resurrection appearances were required to produce their belief that the risen Jesus appeared to them. We know it was required because the alternative explanations for their belief that he appeared to them fail.
  • SHOW/HIDE MENU