The Instigator
BTP47
Pro (for)
Winning
5 Points
The Contender
ibis
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Did Jesus of Nazareth Rise From the Dead?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
BTP47
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/7/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 568 times Debate No: 100643
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)

 

BTP47

Pro

Did Jesus rise from the dead? If so, it provides strong evidence for Christianity, and if not, then Christianity is certainly false. From a historical perspective, the best explanation of the facts is that Jesus rose from the dead. (This is my standard argument)

-I shall NOT be arguing my case through subjective conversion experience, but history alone.
-I shall NOT be presupposing biblical divine inspiration, or general reliability.
-I WILL be using the Gospels/Epistles of Paul as any historian would, as a collection of historical sources concerning the life of Jesus and the early church.

One may ask why I am 'using the Bible to prove the Bible'. To answer this, I assert that every New Testament critic on the planet uses the books from the New Testament, as they are the earliest sources for Jesus, and the early Christian community. Further, another important point to consider is that I am not trying to 'prove the Bible', but the historicity of an event from antiquity.

The collection of facts I am presenting are well evidenced so much so that they are agreed upon by the great majority of New Testament critics.

Fact 1-Jesus died by Roman Crucifixion.
1. This is multiply attested in all 4 Gospels.
2. It is very probably part of the pre-Markan passion source. Some scholars date this narrative to the late 30's! (Such as Rudolf Pesch)
3. His death is part of the 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 creed. This creed is almost unanimously accepted as Pre-Pauline material. This oral creed probably goes back to Paul's 'fact finding' journey in Galatians 1:18-21, where he gets material from some of the apostles directly.
4. It is reported by Jewish historian Josephus in Antiquities 18:3. Now many may object that this is a Christian forgery, and it most likely contains interpolation, but most Josephus scholars recognize most of it to be authentic, including the crucifixion portion.
5. It is recorded by Roman historian Tacitus in the Annals 15.44. It is most likely authentic as well, as there are no copies that do not contain it, it is normal Tacitean style, and is quite hostile towards Christians, so there is no reason for a Christian to interpolate this. Now one may object that he just simply borrowed this from things he had heard. This is contradicted by scholars who have shown that Tacitus was a very careful researcher. For example, Ronald Martin wrote-"It is clear, then, that Tacitus read widely and that the idea that he was an uncritical follower of a single source is quite untenable."
6. The idea that Christians would simply make up the idea of a crucified savior is simply ridiculous. For example, Martin Hengel wrote in his monograph crucifixion-"A crucified messiah...must have seemed a contradiction in terms to anyone, Jew, Greek, Roman or barbarian, asked to believe such a claim, and it will certainly have been thought offensive and foolish." This too fits the criterion of embarrassment.
For these and other reasons, virtually all scholars grant that Jesus died by crucifixion.

Fact 2-Jesus was buried by Joseph of Arimathea.
1. It is multiply attested in all four Gospel accounts.
2. It is in the 1 Cor. 15 creed, that goes very early, most likely to within five years of the events ('and that he was buried').
3. Christians are unlikely to put this story on a famous Sanhedrin member. In the ancient world, claims were investigated. The Gospel accounts circulated widely in the area, and the entire Christian movement would have been disregarded if it was found out indeed that this famous person had not buried Jesus. Claiming to have connections where you really don't is not the way to start a religion!
4. The burial story is also most probably part of the Pre-Marcan passion story, as well as early oral traditions.
5. The story is very simple and lacks the later embellishment of legendary accretions. If you are going to create a legend, you surround the story with theological motifs, something we don't find in the burial account.
6. Jesus' burial was shameful for ancient standards. Scholar Byron Mccane has argued that Joseph had every reason to bury Jesus, as Dt. 21 says you must bury one hung on a tree by sunset, so as a Sanhedrin member, he would have carried it out. Jesus' burial by Joseph instead of a family tomb is a dishonorable and shameful. Finally, the lack of women mourners was very shameful, and wouldn't be invented by Christians.

For these reasons, and others, most scholars would grant that Jesus was buried.

Fact 3-Jesus' tomb was empty
There are MANY (I have over 2 dozen) arguments for the empty tomb, but I will just limit myself to 4.
1. The reliability of Jesus' burial scene lends credibility to the empty tomb, as then the location of the body was known.
2. Christians would never pin a false story here on women discovering the tomb, as they were not as valued. It wasn't just a peculiarity, but a stereotype that people held very strongly. David DeSilva, a cultural scholar shows that women were only to speak to their husbands, and through them. Their place in the culture was in the home, not as eyewitnesses to the greatest miracle in history! Violating this honor code was a BIG deal in an honor-shame culture.
3. It is multiply attested in the Gospel traditions.
4. This one is called the Jerusalem Factor. The principle is-how could these followers of Jesus preach his resurrection in Jerusalem if the body was still in the tomb? It would defy the sense of the time.
For these and many more reasons an impressive majority of scholars would grant the empty tomb.


Fact 4-The disciples of Jesus had experience that they believed were appearances of the risen Jesus.


1. This is recorded in 3 of the four Gospels, so it is multiply and independently attested.
2. It is reported in the 1 Cor. 15:3-8 creed. One of the leading historical Jesus scholars on the planet James DG Dunn is so impressed with this creed that he dates it to within MONTHS of the events, and it almost certainly goes back to eyewitnesses, where Paul most plausibly got the information from. This creed almost guarantees they occurred.
3. Certain appearances have good historical probability. For example, the appearance to the women is historically probable, because of the above stereotypes, with the criterion of embarrassment.
4. The early sermon summaries in Acts probably goes back to eyewitnesses.
For these and a few other reasons virtually all scholars grant that these experiences occurred.

Fact 5-Paul, an enemy of the early church was converted because of an experience he believed was of the risen Jesus.

1. We have Paul's own testimony in many places in his own letters.
2. His life was completely transformed, and he was killed for this belief, so an appearance seems to be the only thing that would change him from a confident and zealous Pharisee to a member of this extremely shameful movement.
3. We have accounts of his experience in Acts, which goes back to eyewitness testimony (Luke, the author) that Paul had this life change and claimed experience.

These and a few other evidences are why virtually all scholars grant an experience to Paul.

Fact 6-The Origin of the Christian faith/Disciples' Belief in the Resurrection Despite Every Predisposition to the Contrary. This was outlined well by William Lane Craig in a debate with Bart Ehrman.

"Think of the situation the disciples faced following Jesus" crucifixion:

1. Their leader was dead.

And Jewish Messianic expectations had no idea of a Messiah who, instead of triumphing over Israel"s enemies, would be shamefully executed by them as a criminal.

2. Jewish beliefs about the afterlife precluded anyone"s rising from the dead to glory and immortality before the general resurrection of the dead at the end of the world.

Nevertheless, the original disciples suddenly came to believe so strongly that God had raised Jesus from the dead that they were willing to die for the truth of that belief. But then the obvious question arises: What in the world caused them to believe such an un-Jewish and outlandish thing? Luke Johnson, a New Testament scholar at Emory University, muses, "Some sort of powerful, transformative experience is required to generate the sort of movement earliest Christianity was." And N. T. Wright, an eminent British scholar, concludes, "That is why, as an historian, I cannot explain the rise of early Christianity unless Jesus rose again, leaving an empty tomb behind him.""

I would take it even further, and say that using social sciences, Christianity had every reason NOT to succeed as a religion unless it had reliable evidence for its claims

Now, we have these six facts that are well evidenced and agreed upon by the vast majority of New Testament critics. We must ask what the best explanation of the facts is. I assert that the resurrection hypothesis is the best explanation of the facts, as it passes the classic criterion of historicity laid out by professional historians. Any alternative hypothesis must also pass these criterion that I shall now lay out.

Explanatory Scope-It explains all 5 facts easily. It accounts for the death of Jesus, his burial, why his tomb was empty, and why all of these people had experiences that believed were Jesus risen from the dead.

Explanatory Power-It explains all 5 facts without forcing them to fit. It directly explains why the tomb was empty, and why all these people had these detailed experiences that utterly transformed them.

Plausibility-Given the context of Jesus' predictions of his own death and resurrection, along with his divine signs and claims, it is thus plausible.

Less Ad Hoc-It does not include any non-evidenced assumptions, thus passing this category.

Hence, I have built a strong cumulative case that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead in vindication of his divine claims, and shameful death.
ibis

Con

You asked the question did Jesus of Naz rise from the dead.

Here we would look at a few early christian sects, such as orthodox Greek, Roman catholics and gnostics.

The problem we face is that no original gospels can't be found (they disappeared) and Paul, is not a great source since he is an ex murderer and that leaves us a bit uncomfortable to start with.

In early gnostic christianity there was the belief that jesus was just a man who was sent to bring about the secret teaching of the universe. Many pagan teachings were incorporated such as baptism and resurrection.

In orthodox, dogmas was incorporated, laws that say what the individual is allowed to believe in his or her own mind and heart. This posed many problems such as how 1 god is 3 (also an old pagan belief actually).

The Roman Catholics did the same as orthodox greek and basically hijacked the gospels burned the ones they didn't like and created a new religion to take over the world in war. In the dark ages the Roman catholic religion was forced even on gnostics and pagans and it was a theocratical government, even the new sect of protestants weren't allowed.

Did Jesus get ressurected? Is it important? Not for me since thi will become another legend or myth just as all the echos from the past, this is no more important than if Osiris was cut up by Set and spread over all of the the nile, but since we are discussing it, we will have to deal with some other gospels non-canocal such as the gospel of Judas and that of Thoms.

Also the Gnostic sect of Sethianism should be understood as a 4th century sect which believed jesus was never even crucified.

Since these paths did exist then one has to think that where there is smoke there might be fire. Sethian gnosticism rejects Jesus's divinity and believes Christ is Seth Adam's 3 son, although some qoute verses such as 'Before David , I am' to say Jesus is Seth, Seth is Christ.

Where does it influence us, or what is it worth if someone comes back from the dead but all we have of the experience is a debate about if or if not the happening did occur?
Debate Round No. 1
BTP47

Pro

I will thank my opponent for taking up this challenge. Unfortunately, it does not interact with any historical text, much less address anything I have brought up.

(Given the short length of my opponent's statement, I will quote directly)

"Here we would look at a few early christian sects, such as orthodox Greek, Roman catholics and gnostics."

We should look at the first century documents, which are the earliest, in considering this matter.

"The problem we face is that no original gospels can't be found (they disappeared)"

He is correct in saying we don't have original copies of the documents.... Just like for the rest of ancient history. We don't have originals of Suetonius, Tacitus, Josephus, Plutarch, or any other ancient historian... Explain again why this is a problem?

"and Paul, is not a great source since he is an ex murderer and that leaves us a bit uncomfortable to start with."


Paul is widely considered to be a great source by professional scholars. His past actually GIVES him credibility. He had absolutely no reason, as a pious Jew, to convert to Christianity, a small shameful (1) movement that he knew may cost him his life. My opponent is inconsistent. If he doesn't think the biblical documents can be trusted whatsoever, where does he get the information on Paul? I'd be very interested to know!

"In early gnostic christianity there was the belief that jesus was just a man who was sent to bring about the secret teaching of the universe. Many pagan teachings were incorporated such as baptism and resurrection."

Gnostics didn't believe Jesus had a physical body! He is correct in saying that in the Gnostic texts, paganism had an influence, but these cults were not connected to the earliest Christians (Including the apostles), and came much later.(2)

In regards to Christianity borrowing from pagan myths of resurrection, two points are in order:

1. We must recognize that this is a discreditted theory, not popular among scholars, but popular among internet skeptics. These "parallels" are very spurious, and many are pretty obviously made up by mythicists (3)
2. There is no causal connection here between borrowing from pagan deities, from a Jewish standpoint. The Jews were quite resistant to religious syncretism in the pagan world.(4) Their idea of resurrection was completely alien to paganism, and there is no evidence that the resurrection of Jesus is copied from pagan myths, and this is why this argument is not ppoular amongst scholars.

"In orthodox, dogmas was incorporated, laws that say what the individual is allowed to believe in his or her own mind and heart. This posed many problems such as how 1 god is 3 (also an old pagan belief actually)."

Red herring. This has no implications to whether or not the historical event occurred. We are strictly talking about the historical facts I brought up, and the best explanation of them.

"The Roman Catholics did the same as orthodox greek and basically hijacked the gospels burned the ones they didn't like and created a new religion to take over the world in war. In the dark ages the Roman catholic religion was forced even on gnostics and pagans and it was a theocratical government, even the new sect of protestants weren't allowed."

We are talking about FIRST CENTURY Christianity here. It seems that my opponent is near clueless in the topic of early Christianity. The earliest proclamation is a creed that most probably goes back to eyewitnesses. The Dark Ages are irrelevant, as is anything that doesn't have to do with the historical bedrock or sources I have mentioned.

The rest of my opponent's argument is not much of an argument, but a set of conjectures on how the resurrection isn't important, as well as interesting (But irrelevant) details about sects that come centuries after the events in question. In regards to the importance of the resurrection, Paul said that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, Christians were to be men most pitied, as we are still in our sins. The Christian faith stands or falls on this historical fact, and I think that while my arguments have gone completely untouched, and my opponent can't stay in the correct century, I have the more compelling argument. Thank you


(1) http://www.tektonics.org...
(2) The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
(3) Parallels with Mithraism spring to mind. It is often claimed that Mithra died, was buried, and resurrected, but Mithrain scholars recognize there is no death of Mithras. Spiedel, Michael. Mithras-Orion, Greek Hero and Roman Army God. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1980.
(4) The Jesus Legend by Boyd & Eddy (2007) (see especially chapter 2)
ibis

Con

I take it you are an expert historian? Here is a quote by one of our leading historians of our time.

"In the entire first Christian century Jesus is not mentioned by a single Greek or Roman historian, religion scholar, politician, philosopher or poet. His name never occurs in a single inscription, and it is never found in a single piece of private correspondence. Zero! Zip references! "

Bart D. Ehrman

The historical account of Jesus is very shaky and much of the same sources are used that is debated already. Such as the bible itself. There are 3 different last words on the cross for example,

Why have you forsaken me?
It is finished
I give my soul unto you lord

This is all contradicting one another don't you think, how much more credible is the resurrection in such a source?

https://www.google.co.za...:

This is the baptism of a king in ancient Egypt.
Debate Round No. 2
BTP47

Pro

I thank my opponent for his "rebuttal". Not only did he not reply to my rebuttal, but he did not interact with my lines of evidence, using our historical sources critically, and also agreed upon by the heterogenous group of New Testament historians.

I doubt my opponent has even read anything, or heard any lectures, by Ehrman, but he misquotes him anyway. Bart has been misquoted by the mythicists. Bart of course knows that the New Testament is the best source for earl Christianity, and the historical Jesus (1) He also knows we have references to Jesus from very early 2nd century sources: Tacitus and Josephus. Bart has corrected "pop" atheist mythicists. (2) In fact, (probably unbenknownst to my opponent), Bart has written an entire book called "Did Jesus Exist", where he argues at length FOR the historicity, and general reliability of the Jesus tradition(3).

I would like to remind my opponent that this is a debate on whether or not Jesus rose from the dead. In my opening, I presented a variaty of historical facts that are highly evidenced, whose best explanation is the resurrection.

In regards to contradictions, I will below present my common response to these things, but I would like to point out that my opponent can't even present last words of Jesus correctly! NO Gospel has the last words of Jesus being "I give my soul unto you Lord". Now to contradictions:

1. The most discrepancies would prove is that all 4 Gospel accounts are not 100% accurate. It says nothing about their general reliability.
2. Just because accounts of an event have discrepancies in them does not mean that the event didn't happen! Various accounts of the sacking/burning of Rome disagree on the same sorts of details (How big was it? How many people died? etc.), but that doesn't mean that the fire didn't occur!(4)
3. In historical research, we look for basic layers of historical truth in accounts. According to renowned historian A.N. Sherwin White, we do this even with the worst of sources, and are still able to find it.(5)
4. Many of the discrepancies parallel the kind of differences we find in other ancient biographies (The Gospels are ancient bio, and this is the consensus position(6)), such as Plutarch's biographies. It shows they took the same biographical liberties in retelling their stories that were accustomed to in ancient times.(7)
5. The Gospels AGREE on the main facts I am presenting, and the differences actually give credence to the idea that they were written by eyewitnesses.
6. The differences are apparent and most dissolve under close examination. Entire books have been written on this topic(8)

So there's the refutations of the discrepencies argument.

The final issue I turn to here is the picture posted. Not only is the idea of baptism irrelevant for this debate, but the picture he cites clearly states that this was part of a purification ritual, foreign to any Christian idea of baptism. (9) Further, my opponent has not responded to my arguments against pagan copying.


So, from the perspective of any rational observer, whether theistic or atheistic, Christian or non-Christian, skeptic or saint, one side of this debate has come out ahead. From the 'Pro' position, we have seen an objective historical argument based upon the earliest sources of Christianity, backed up by lines of evidence for each fact, as well as an explanation for how the resurrection is the most probable explanation of the facts according to standard historical methodology. From my opponent, we have seen red herring after red herring, and the lack of real interaction with my arguments. He has uncritically used sources, and I have called him on it. Thank you to all who watch and vote!



(1) The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings by Bart Ehrman
(2) https://www.youtube.com...
https://www.youtube.com...
(3) Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth by Bart Ehrman
(4) Maier, Paul L. In the Fullness of Time: A Historian Looks at Christmas, Easter, and the Early Church. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991 (pg 180)
(5) Sherwin-White, A. N. Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament. Oxford: Clarendon, 1963. pg 186
(6) Burridge, Richard A. What Are the Gospels?: A Comparison with Graeco-Roman Biography. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2004
(7)Licona, Mike. Why Are There Differences in the Gospels?: What We Can Learn from Ancient Biography. New York: Oxford UP, 2016
(8)Wenham, John. Easter Enigma. Grand Rapids, MI: Academie, 1984
(9) I recommend this fascinating summary for more on Egyptian purification rituals-https://warboar.wordpress.com...;
ibis

Con

All these formalities of debating only cause the discussion to lessen in value if you ask me. And is debating not just discussing certain different topics to come to a conclusion.

I have come to a different conclusion about the resurrection of Jesus and if Jesus was even Christ because of my interest in different literature and different Historians opinions, as you know history is not an exact science and is re written in time.

I believe personally Osiris was one of the coolest dying and resurrected gods, in fact he is also called Seker as the trinity of Heru, Set and Osiris as one, this is one of the many trinity or 3 fold principles Kemetic paganism.

In the pagan revival we are lucky to have the hieroglyphs in place to give us an account of the myths, pronounced SEM meaning visualization of truth.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by BTP47 10 months ago
BTP47
Jesus the Egyptian???? HAHAHAHA! This is scholarly garbage. This is a military historian writing well outside his field. I've actually read through his thesis. I assure you, no biblical expert believes Jesus learned everything in Egypt! He has the idea that Jesus was taught the idea of resurrection in Egypt, and yet he fails to mention that the Jews of Second Temple Judaism already had this idea! Not only this, but he thinks that all cultures learned of the soul from the Egyptians. But how could ALL cultures? What about the Native Americans of the time? South Americans? I guess the Egyptians secretly came to talk about souls. His bibliography is laughable and includes very few scholarly sources. It is an utter disaster. In regards to the Trinity, he is utterly ignorant of Jewish Wisdom theology. This guy is writing so outside of his field. I would heed Bart's advice, and stick away from unscholarly Da Vinci code crap like this. I'm not suggesting you worship Bart Ehrman, but at least if you quoted a scholar like him, it would be a response worth having.
Posted by BTP47 10 months ago
BTP47
Jesus the Egyptian???? HAHAHAHA! This is scholarly garbage. This is a military historian writing well outside his field. I've actually read through his thesis. I assure you, no biblical expert believes Jesus learned everything in Egypt! He has the idea that Jesus was taught the idea of resurrection in Egypt, and yet he fails to mention that the Jews of Second Temple Judaism already had this idea! Not only this, but he thinks that all cultures learned of the soul from the Egyptians. But how could ALL cultures? What about the Native Americans of the time? South Americans? I guess the Egyptians secretly came to talk about souls. His bibliography is laughable and includes very few scholarly sources. It is an utter disaster. In regards to the Trinity, he is utterly ignorant of Jewish Wisdom theology. This guy is writing so outside of his field. I would heed Bart's advice, and stick away from unscholarly Da Vinci code crap like this. I'm not suggesting you worship Bart Ehrman, but at least if you quoted a scholar like him, it would be a response worth having.
Posted by canis 10 months ago
canis
It is called "The walking dead".. No one has seen one so fare..
Posted by ibis 10 months ago
ibis
Osiris Heru, all these gods are important in paganism. The book i posted tells us about the baptism rituals of egypt.
Posted by ibis 10 months ago
ibis
http://www.astrotheologyzone.com...

http://www.crystalinks.com...

Also the book the Esoteric of Egypt J. S. Gordon
Posted by BTP47 10 months ago
BTP47
Well I'd like to thank my opponent, but things did not go well for him, as I think we all can see. To address what he said in his closing about history not being an exact science: Of course, and that is why we have historical method, as I laid out in my opening.

In regards to Osiris, once again, the parallels are spurious, and Osiris is not rooted in history like Jesus. For more on specific parallels, I'd recommend this-http://www.tektonics.org...

For a more general look at dying and rising gods, I'd recommend Jonathan Z Smith's work "Dying and Rising Gods", as well as "The Riddle of Resurrection" by Mettinger.

Debates have rules, and have a set topic. General formalities, as well as actually arguing are encouraged
Posted by BTP47 10 months ago
BTP47
Oh boy... Osiris eh? Oh, THIS is gonna be a lot of fun. :)
Posted by ibis 10 months ago
ibis
This is much like the pagan dying god Osiris who was resurrected, people of those days probably also debated if the myth really happened or not,
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by CivilianName295 10 months ago
CivilianName295
BTP47ibisTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: My vote goes to (Pro) since he used reliable sources to back up his arguments (Con) clearly doesn't know about how history works. However both sides had good conduct spelling and grammar, but ultimately the winner of this debate is (Pro)