There are so many problems with Loftus' reasoning.Ancient Jews had a lot of potential reasons for rejecting the resurrection. For example, Jesus wasn't the sort of Messiah they wanted, acknowledging the resurrection would seem inconsistent with their earlier assessment of Him, and in many ways living as a Christian would have been more difficult than living as a Jew in their context.The early Jewish opponents of Christianity argued that Jesus performed miracles by the power of Satan, and they acknowledged that His tomb was empty. If they had acknowledged the resurrection as well, then Loftus could disagree with them on that issue also, just as skeptics commonly disagree with them about the pre-resurrection miracles and the empty tomb. I suspect that Loftus would reject the resurrection either way.Loftus mentions miracles other than the resurrection and suggests that non-Christian Jews should have mentioned those if they did happen. How does he know that they didn't have such events in mind when they said that Jesus was a sorcerer, empowered by Satan, etc.? If they make reference to Jesus' miracles in general, but don't specify the ones Loftus mentions either way (by affirming or denying them), how does Loftus' conclusion follow?And the silence of Philo doesn't have much significance. He was also silent about other Jewish movements and figures around the same time, like Gamaliel and John the Baptist. If Philo was silent about the early Christians in general, even figures as prominent as the apostle Paul, then why expect him to discuss Jesus or the resurrection in particular? Ancient authors, like modern ones, are selective and often wait until long after a person, movement, or event has passed before commenting on the subject. Often, people are unsure what to make of something initially. They may remain silent as a result. Or they could be silent for other reasons. Craig Keener notes:“Without immediate political repercussions, it is not surprising that the earliest Jesus movement does not spring quickly into the purview of Rome’s historians; even Herod the Great finds little space in Dio Cassius (49.22.6; 54.9.3). Josephus happily compares Herodotus’s neglect of Judea (Apion 1.60-65) with his neglect of Rome (Apion 1.66).” (A Commentary On The Gospel Of Matthew [Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999], n. 205 on p. 64)The apostle Paul was a contemporary of Philo and lived in Israel. From Paul's writings, we know that many non-Christian Jews were aware of Christianity and were highly active in responding to the religion. Paul himself had been a leader in that effort, and after his conversion he suffered at the hands of other Jews who persecuted him in many ways, in many locations, and over a lengthy span of time. To ignore the Jewish response to Christianity reflected in Paul and other early sources, while focusing on Philo's silence, is unreasonable. We have to make the best sense of all of the evidence collectively, and Philo's silence isn't as weighty as the direct, explicit, and widespread data we have from Paul and other sources.Regarding John Remsberg, see here.
Hey Jason. Thanks for linking to Tektonics.Note also what would be added from there. Jesus was under God's curse by being hung on a tree. Why would God resurrect someone who was under his curse?
It is also noteworthy that the Old Testament prophecies seem to imply Jesus rejection (Isaiah 53, Zech 12:10, etc).
Nick, the better question is "Why would God curse His Son who was without sin?"You see the conundrum in the resurrection, but it's really in the fact Jesus took on the sins of man...the Just took the place of the unjust...this is the mystery. the resurrection is His vindication.
Correct Craig. From a theological perspective, we can wonder that.From a social perspective however, a Jew would not see someone who was put under God's curse as even a candidate for resurrection, save at the end of time for judgment.
It would be good to track down the source for this "Philo lived in Jerusalem" claim. I remeber that Victor Stenger made a similar argument in the "Unbelievable?" radio program, though he failed to remember the name of this "Jewish historian who lived in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus". Probably this comes from some atheist book or article that others are just repeating.
Atheists are blindly repeating statements from other atheists? Surely not!