Monday, March 12, 2012

Apologetic Resources On Easter Issues

Over the past few years, I've been putting together collections of links to our material on issues related to Easter:


The 2009 post is foundational to the others, so you should start there if you're looking for information on an Easter-related issue.

Since the 2011 post, Rhology proposed a harmonization of the resurrection narratives. I then wrote about how non-Christians often harmonize sources in other contexts. Steve Hays wrote a post about the principles involved in harmonization of the accounts. Steve also addressed the issue of how many angels were at the tomb.

I wrote a post about whether the risen Jesus should have appeared to more people. Steve wrote on the same subject.

I posted a link to a debate on the resurrection between Michael Licona and Stephen Patterson. Steve linked to Tim McGrew's reply to some critics of an article he wrote on the resurrection. He also linked an article by Paul Barnett on Pauline evidence for the resurrection and another on resurrection evidence in general. Early this year, he linked an article by David Marshall that responds to Robert Price on the resurrection. He also linked a post by Lydia McGrew on the probability of the resurrection. Yesterday, I linked an article about the Shroud of Turin and its status as evidence for Jesus' resurrection.

Patrick Chan wrote about the unlikeliness of the disciples' behavior if Jesus didn't rise from the dead.

Steve posted about how skeptical speculations concerning a multiverse interfere with their arguments against the resurrection.

Here's a post by Steve regarding John 20:19 and Jesus' entrance into a locked room in that passage.

We posted a lot about the dispute between Norman Geisler and Michael Licona concerning Matthew 27:52-53. Here's Steve's assessment of the controversy. Steve later replied to Jamin Hubner on the subject. Here's another response to Geisler. And here's a post he wrote about an inconsistency on Geisler's part. Steve wrote about some problems with the arguments made by Geisler and Albert Mohler. And he linked a post by Nick Norelli on the controversy. He also posted some comments from Licona written in response to Mohler. Then Steve discussed the relevance of the Peter Enns case to the dispute between Geisler and Licona. He also responded to Peter Lumpkins. And here's a further response to Geisler from Steve. He commented on some neglected larger issues surrounding the passage in question. He later wrote more along the same lines. Here's a post about the relationship between inerrancy and hermeneutics. And here's a summary of some of the issue involved in the controversy. Here he posted a link to another article by Licona. I posted about some patristic evidence relevant to the controversy.

Earlier this year, Steve and I published an e-book that addresses resurrection-related issues, especially in chapters 8 and 9. Chapter 8 interacts with a parallel Matt McCormick has drawn between the evidence for Jesus' resurrection and the evidence for witchcraft at Salem. Chapter 9 responds to Robert Price's argument that Jesus' resurrection isn't implied even if we accept a high view of the historicity of the gospels.


  1. Jason,

    What do you think is the best proposed harmonization? And more broadly, which ones do you know of that you think "work" (i.e., are possible and reasonable)?

  2. Arminian,

    For the benefit of other readers, I'll expand on the issues you've brought up. You're probably already familiar with and agree with most of what I'm going to lay out here, maybe even all of it.

    I don't think whether it's possible to harmonize the accounts is much of an issue. Critics of a more reasonable and knowledgeable variety will acknowledge that a harmonization is possible, but deny that any of the harmonizations is the best explanation. We should be focused on which harmonization is the best one among the multiple possible harmonizations that exist.

    And whether we consider such a harmonization the best explanation, as opposed to the explanations that involve inconsistency among the accounts, depends on how we judge other matters. For example, do we have sufficient evidence that the documents are Divinely inspired scripture?

    I've often used the illustration of a reference to a sunrise or sunset. If a five-year-old refers to a sunrise, you may conclude that he probably thinks the sun actually rises. If a scientist uses the same language, you'll give him the benefit of the doubt. He's probably just using the language of appearances. He knows that the sun doesn't actually rise. How we interpret a reference to a sunrise depends largely on who's making the reference. Similarly, if you think there's sufficient evidence for the Divine inspiration of the New Testament documents, that makes a difference in how willing you'll be to harmonize them.

    When you ask for a harmonization of the resurrection accounts, you're covering a lot of ground. There are hundreds of resurrection witnesses mentioned in the New Testament, in documents from multiple genres, written by multiple authors, written in multiple contexts, addressing resurrection appearances and other events that spanned weeks of time, in many locations, etc. I could agree with how somebody explains most of the passages in most of the documents, yet disagree on some points. We often don't have much to go by. Judging which explanation is best is difficult in some cases.

    I can direct you to some harmonizations that I consider largely helpful, which I've already done in these Easter apologetic posts. In addition to our material at Triablogue, see the harmonizations by Glenn Miller and J.P. Holding that I linked in my 2009 post, for example. I can't give you a highly confident view of every relevant passage and every relevant issue, because I haven't studied all of them enough to do so. But you can read some of my own harmonizations in my posts at this blog, like here.