Four Facts about the Historical Jesus that Scholars Agree On

Abdu takes us through four facts that almost every historical scholar agrees happened to the historical Jesus.

I’m going to use the word CASE, C-A-S-E, as an acronym to give the four facts that almost every historical scholar agrees happened to the historical Jesus whether they’re a Christian, or an atheist, or whatever it might be.

C: Crucifixion
A: Appearances of Jesus to the disciples
S: Skeptics converted: Paul and James
E: Empty tomb of Jesus

Christmas makes Easter possible, but it is Easter that made Christmas meaningful.

Make it personal:

  • What do you think of the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus?

  • Is there a friend with whom you could watch Abdu’s video with and then discuss it?

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Is there a list of names of the Scholars somewhere that do agree on the on the minimal facts about the resurrection?

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Great video Abdu. I found myself especially caught up with the the S = skeptics.
When I read, again, the story of that first Easter Sunday, I was struck by a couple of thoughts:

  1. The story tellers present very very plausible accounts - it is hard to imagine that these accounts are made up - they are too true to the way people are. There is nothing heroic or uplifting about the disciples’ behaviour, up to this point the whole gospel narrative puts them in a bad light. They spent 3 years with the man Christ Jesus, and hadn’t grasped his power or his message, and were cowering away “for fear of the Jews.” Entirely plausible, considering what the Roman authorities had done with any sign of a budding revolt. Nor is the response of the authorities - it was all so typical, a behaviour pattern we can recognise very well today as a cover up: buy the silence of the witnesses, and run a proactive campaign of lies before the truth even gets out.

  2. The women and the disciples themselves were skeptics. In spite of the fact that Jesus had repeatedly forecast his resurrection they did not believe it. Read of Mary’s account. One story has it that she and others were going early to the grave and their biggest headache was “who will roll away the stone?” But in one account Mary doesn’t even seem to believe the angels who tell her Jesus is risen. Why do I think so? Because as soon as she sees the “gardener” she asks if he knows where “they” took him, i.e. his body. This is not the question of someone who believes he has risen, but someone who is still convinced that his body has been taken away.

The irony here, of course, is that this is exactly the story the chief priest tried to use against the disciples when the guard came and reported what they had experienced. Yet it was the women first who were convinced that someone else had removed the body.

When she ran to tell the dsciples, they didn’t believe either. They were skeptical, possibly especially because it was women who were bringing the report. So they had to see for themselves. If they thought at all about Jesus’ words, they would have been convinced that he would appear first to THEM, not to women - he had said he would meet them again - they would not (culturally) imagine that he would first show himself to a women and send her to tell them.

Of course, we have Thomas as the explicit skeptic. And we have the couple on the road to Emmaus, who were also bewildered at the reports they had heard, and couldn’t really believe them - even if they longed to do so. Who would believe it? It was unbelievable. Yet they were convinced because they met him in the flesh, they saw him eat bread and fish, they touched him, saw the nail prints, and so on.

Another irony is that the ones who actually did believe it were the guards and the chief priests. They immediately took it so seriously that they set about to run an active propaganda campaign against the truth spreading, using bribery and falsehoods.

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