Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Essay: Making Sense of the Resurrection by Luke Nix

Making Sense of the Resurrection by Luke Nix
Every person has a worldview. A person’s worldview consists of a web of beliefs, each with its own sub-web of evidences that support it. A worldview’s truth can be judged by how closely it reflects reality as we know it. The evidences for each belief should be tested. I believe that the Christian worldview is the one that most accurately reflects reality. I will focus on providing evidences for one of the foundational beliefs of Christianity – that Jesus Christ rose bodily from the dead and that the Christian worldview is the only one that can make sense of such an historical event. (MP3 Audio | RSS | iTunes)

First, the fact that Jesus was resurrected needs to be established to be an event that actually happened. Before a resurrection of anyone from the dead can be concluded, two things must be demonstrated: 1. That they, in fact, died; and 2. That they were seen alive after death.

Several lines of evidence support the fact that Jesus Christ died. First, a large number of both Christian and non-Christian sources record the event.1 Second, medical studies on the process of crucifixion show that death occurs by asphyxiation. Third, ancient sources record the “final blow” to Jesus that guaranteed his death. Fourth, Jesus’ disciples were astonished to see him alive, because they knew he had died. The vast number of historians who have written on the issue of Jesus’ resurrection agree that these pieces of evidence point to the fact that Jesus had died before his disciples claimed to see Jesus in a “risen” state.2

Second, the fact that the disciples saw Jesus after they knew he died needs to be established. Several lines of evidence support this fact. First, the disciples believed that they had an experience of the risen Jesus. Second, the disciples turned from being cowards (abandoning Jesus just prior to his crucifixion) to being willing to die for their belief. Third, the apostles proclaimed the resurrection extremely early in the history of the Church (the creed found in 1 Corinthians 15:3 has a history that may be traced to only a couple years after the death of Jesus). Fourth, Jesus’ brother James was skeptical of Jesus’ claims, until he had a post-death experience of Jesus. Fifth, Saul of Taursus (Paul) was a learned Jewish persecutor of Christians, until he had what he believed to be an experience of Jesus. The evidence provided here for Jesus’ appearances is accepted by the majority of critical scholars who have written on the issue.3

Seeing that the evidence for death and appearances afterwards is quite strong, we are left concluding that something happened. But can we say that it was a “resurrection,” and if so, can we say that God is responsible? Many theories have been proposed to explain the evidence in a way that did not allow for a resurrection. One such example is that the disciples’ experiences were psychological in nature, and had no basis to reflect an actual occurrence. This has been disputed by modern psychological research, showing (among other things) that visions cannot be shared among people.4

Another such theory is called the “swoon” theory. This theory basically posits that Jesus didn’t actually die, and the conditions in the tomb were such that he could regain consciousness.5 This theory is inadequate for many reasons.6 One of them has to do with Jesus’ expected physical condition if such a thing actually happened. If Jesus showed up to his disciples in a post-crucifixion state (bloody, disfigured, and weak), then had made the claim that he was their “Risen Lord,” the disciples would have, at least, been more concerned about tending to his needs, and at most just told him to “go away”, thoroughly convinced that their friend truly was just another fraudulent messiah.

Naturalistic explanations for the evidence, such as the ones provided here, are not adequate to explain all the evidence provided and still remain consistent.4 Also, since, naturalistically, things that die do not come back to life, we must accept the fact that Jesus was brought back to life (a resurrection).7 But we cannot jump from here to say that God did it. Before this can even be a possibility, it must be established that God exists or has the possibility of existing.

Many arguments have been posed to support the existence of God. Examples are the Kalam cosmological argument, the teleological argument, the moral argument, the ontological argument, and several others. An explanation and defense of each of these arguments is beyond the scope of this essay, but many sources exist for investigation online. None of these establish a proof for God’s existence on its own; however, if taken as a cumulative case, God’s existence is the only possibility that can account for all the evidence (philosophical, scientific, and experiential) that the arguments provide. Since it is, at least, possible that God exists, then the possibility exists that God is the cause of Jesus’ resurrection,8 which is the cause for the appearances to the disciples, which is (half of) the cause for their transformation.9 The idea that God exists makes sense of all the evidence provided; a non-theistic account cannot do so.

Jesus said that his resurrection would provide proof of the truth of his claims.10 Since a supernaturalistic account would force the conclusion of approval of Christ’s teachings, any religion that denies Christ’s claims (he is deity and he is the exclusive way for salvation) will have to account for the evidence for the resurrection with a naturalistic account. Since this is not possible, we must accept the worldview that accounts consistently for all the evidence. That is the Christian worldview.

This short investigation of the resurrection is, by no stretch of the imagination, complete. It is part of a cumulative case for the truth of Christianity and falsity of other worldviews. It provides powerful tools to begin sifting through the available choices.

For more information on this topic, check out Gary Habermas, William Lane Craig, Michael Licona, and Ben Witherington.

1. Habermas, Gary R. The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for The Life of Christ (Joplin, MO: College Press Publishing Company), pp. 143-242
2. Habermas, Gary R. The Risen Jesus & Future Hope (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc. 2003), p. 16
3. Ibid., p. 27
4. Ibid., pp. 10-15
5. Habermas, Gary R. The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for The Life of Christ (Joplin, MO: College Press Publishing Company), pp. 69-72
6. Ibid, pp. 72-75
7. Habermas, Gary R. The Risen Jesus & Future Hope (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc. 2003), pp. 67-69
8. Ibid., pp. 78-80
9. Ibid., pp. 17-26
10. Ibid., p 108

48 comments :

Ken Pulliam said...

Luke,

Thanks for your essay. You say: Seeing that the evidence for death and appearances afterwards is quite strong, we are left concluding that something happened. I agree with all of your points but I don't conclude a bodily resurrection. You dismiss pscyhological explanations for the appearances with one statement: This has been disputed by modern psychological research, showing (among other things) that visions cannot be shared among people.. That is just not accurate. There are shared visions, such as the apparitions at Medjugorje and some even of Jesus (see Philip Wiebe's, Visions of Jesus: Direct Encounters from the NT to Today). While these shared visions would not technically be hallucinations, they would some form of illusion. Someone may object that what is recorded in the Gospels involves touching Jesus and seeing him eat, and so on. But these incidents are not part of the "minimal facts" that scholars agree on. I tend to think these are embellishments. As stories of visions get told and retold they tend to take on additional elements and get embellished. I would argue that Paul definitely had an hallucination and that perhaps Peter did as well. I don't think there is any reason to argue for group hallucinations because I am not convinced that Jesus really appeared to groups at one time. The reference to the 500 in I Cor. 15 is practically worthless as far as evidential value. Corinth was over 700 miles from Jerusalem, and it was not easy to travel just for the purpose of looking up people who say they saw something. It could take weeks or months to get there, and what guarantee was there that the witnesses would be sticking around to be interviewed? And how would you find them without any names or addresses? Apologists often say that the enemies of Christianity would have checked into their claims yet I am not aware of one Protestant who has done any substantial research on the apparitions of Mary. Why? Perhaps they don't take them seriously and that may be what happened in NT times too.

As for the various philosophical arguments for God, you admit: None of these establish a proof for God’s existence on its own; however, if taken as a cumulative case, God’s existence is the only possibility that can account for all the evidence . I think you are guilty of the "leaky bucket fallacy." The fact is that all of the arguments have holes and just placing them underneath one another does not stop the leaking.

Luke Nix said...

Ken,
Thanks for the great comments. For clarification, would you explain to me how you are distinguishing between a "vision" and an "hallucination"?

Ken Pulliam said...

Luke,

I think the term "vision" is a generic term that can used to refer to hallucinations or illusions. Hallucination is more of a technical term in which something is happening in the brain to produce what is being seen or heard. For example, we know that certain drugs can create hallucinations and they do it by creating some type of chemical change in the brain.

With regard to illusions, here I would say that something is seen but misinterpeted by the brain. I would tend to put some of the phenomena surrounding the Marian apparitions in this category. People think they see the face of Mary in a window pane or in the clouds, etc. The same may be true for UFO's. Something is seen but is it really an alien spacecraft?

With regard to hallucinations, though, there is nothing external of the brain to be seen or heard but the brain tells the person there is. This as Habermas and others rightfully say has to be a private occurrence. No two people are going to have precisely the same hallucination at the same time. That is why I believe Paul's experience was a hallucination (note that the others with didn't have a clue what was going on).If a group of disciples saw the risen Jesus, which I doubt, but if they did it must have been some type of illusion not an hallucination.

Luke Nix said...

Ken,
Thank you for the clarification; that helps a lot. If I understand you properly, you distinguish between hallucination and illusion. The first being solely a product of the brain, and the second being triggered by some perceptible stimulus, that the brain interprets incorrectly.

Do you believe that two people can perceive the same stimulus, and one interprets properly, while the other interprets improperly (can illusions also be private)?

Peter Grice said...

Hi Ken, you said "The reference to the 500 in I Cor. 15 is practically worthless as far as evidential value."

I believe this is taking things way too far. Who is actually making the claim and what are his connections to these people and to Jerusalem? Was he one of the 12? No. Did he get these reports from Peter and James, among others? Of course he did [ref Gal 1:18 and 2:1]. Does that guarantee their accuracy? No, but neither is Paul's testimony practically worthless in the context of his public office and his obvious conscientious performance in that role. The thing you find prima facie implausible I presume is the claim itself. But the context in which the claim comes does indeed speak to its plausibility.

As for the lesser matter of Corinthians having occasion to interview any of these eyewitnesses, it is certainly conceivable that some of them might rub shoulders with some of the other group over the course of their overlapping lifetimes (and it is not essential that it be in Corinth or Jerusalem or anywhere in between). There's no need to portray it as necessary to immediately embark on a lengthy journey for the express purpose of substantiating what Paul had written. Projecting a standard of Cartesian doubt on to folk in the 1st C seems anachronistic. They would have been generally credulous based on Paul's credentials for ascertaining the information.

The point being, even while we might employ neutrality/skepticism ourselves, we should first analyze our subjects and their statements through their own lenses of credibility and credulity.

Ken Pulliam said...

Luke,

yes I think that some see the illusion and some don't. For example, the apparitions of Mary that took place in the 1990's near my home in Conyers, GA (which drew 80,000 people one week), some perhaps the majority said they saw the sun dancing in the sky and Mary in the clouds while others saw nothing. There is kind of a group hysteria in these things and people who are believers will see what they came to see.

Ken Pulliam said...

Peter,

I agree with you that the people of that day would not be as skeptical as we are today. That is one reason why I think the story spread so rapidly and was so widely believed. Yes, the people in Corinth would have been inclined to take Paul's word on it.

What I meant was that the value of the claim is very limited because Paul doesn't give us any information. He doesn't say when this happened, where it happened, who exactly saw it. Just a single statement that 500 people saw him at once and many of them are still alive. If a person did want to verify it, how on earth could they?

Luke Nix said...

Ken,
If some illusions can also be shared, what evidence do you see that leads you to believe that Paul's experience was an illusion vs an hallucination?

With regards to illusions, you say that believers (in whatever) will see what they came to see.

What is your evidence that any of the 500 CAME (expecting) to see something vs. just being present and all of the sudden everyone experiences the same illusion (of Jesus)?

Peter Grice said...

Ken,

Thanks. I did not mean to imply Paul's audience were gullible at all. They were not inclined to simply take Paul's word for it in a vacuum. Rather, they had a reasonable framework for the credibility of his testimony. They also had the means [far better means than us] of fact-checking if they were so inclined, either upon hearing about resurrection appearances from Paul, or whoever they heard it from first, and indeed in the process of weighing whether or not to become a believer in the first place, years prior. In fact it seems to me that hearing about the resurrection appearances was a prerequisite for a self-identifying as Christian. The resurrection was integral to the gospel message, which is incoherent or at least impotent without it.

In contrast to all this you had dismissed 1 Cor 15 as "practically worthless" because the hearers might have had to expend some significant effort if they wanted more corroborating evidence. But they are not employing modern methodological doubt (which assumes a statement false until proven otherwise), nor were they being unreasonable in doing so. What is unreasonable, is for us is to weigh either Paul's statement or their credulity as though it occurred in a vacuum. This vacuum is a byproduct of modern methodological doubt (as it is of the "minimal facts" approach), which has a goal of certainty. In principle, this shouldn't be projected on to history itself, which did not conform to any minimalistic epistemology.

If you had said 1 Cor 15 were practically worthless as proof I could readily agree, but proof is elusive in all historical reconstruction. As "evidence" it need not be proof, but can be employed in support of one or more hypotheses, in connection with all the other relevant data. Any method that divorces one claim from another, which the ancients would not have done, is the logic that renders particular data worthless.

Ken Pulliam said...

Luke,

I think Paul's experience was an hallucination.

When I said that people will see what the came to see, I was talking about modern day visions of Mary in Georgia and in Medjugorje where we have living witnesses who can actually be intereviewed. The reference to the 500 in 1 Cor.15, I find virtually worthless because we don't know anything about the experience. We don't when it happened, where it happened, what the experience was like, nor is there any recorded testimony from any of the 500 people. So, I can't draw any conclusions from it at all.

Ken Pulliam said...

Peter,

You say that the people of Corinth had the means of fact-checking Paul's report. Perhaps, but not very easily. It was 700 miles back to Jerusalem, none of the 500 were named, it seems pretty difficult to me. You say "if they were so inclined" and I tend to think that they were not so inclined. For example, how many Protestants who deny the validity of the Marian apparitions in our day have actually done any "fact-checking?" I think most just chalk it up to supersition. Of course, on the other there are those Mary worshippers who see no reason to doubt the appearances.

I like the fact that you and I seem to be in agreement that is very difficult if not impossible to "prove" anything from history and especially ancient history. Yes, one can arrive at an opinion as to the possiblity of the documents reflecting literal history but it is at the end of the day an opinion. That is why I personally think that the whole approach of Craig, Habermas, and Licona is misguided and lacks the cogency and the potency that they and other Christians would like to believe it possesses.

Luke Nix said...

Ken,
Thanks for the response. I have three questions and one explanation for you.

Since you are only repeating that you believe that Paul's experience was an hallucination, are you also saying that you have no evidence to come to that conclusion vs the conclusion that Paul's experience was an illusion? (Question 1)

----

You are making a connection between modern day visions of Mary and the event of the 500 in 1 Cor 15 in order to discredit it. In order for a connection to be valid, both must possess commonalities that link them, and neither must possess a distinction that overrides the rest of the commonalities. Since your argument is psychology-based, I'm pointing out a psychological distinction that overrides the rest of the commonalities- which prevents the connection between the two- which further prevents you from using one (modern day visions of Mary) to discredit the other (the event of the 500 in 1 Cor 15). (Explanation)

-------

You claim that 1 Cor 15 is worthless because of its lack of specific info that modern people can test the claim. Many quotes and claims of happenstances are made in historical records without giving enough data for modern people to test the validity of the claim. Are you prepared to say that ALL of these claims are also "worthless"? (Question 2)

-----

Also, just so we can be clear, are you equating "worthless" with "false"? (Question 3)

Luke Nix said...

Ken,
Two questions about your response to Peter:

Einstein's theory of special relativity was only opinion. However, it was an opinion that explained the vast majority of observations (known facts), while competing theories did not explain the same or greater number of known facts.

If special relativity had never been experimentally proven, would it be prudent for someone to still reject it based on the fact that it was an opinion, completely disregarding the fact that the opinion did explain the known facts? (Question 1)

If it is prudent, on what basis? (Question 2)

Peter Grice said...

Ken,

We agree on the elusiveness of "proof" from historical investigation, but you favoured your category "opinion" [whereas I offered "evidence" in place of "proof"]. You then suggested that since Habermas et. al. offer opinion this is not as strong as they make out.

But I rather think that they portray their approach with a little more modesty [though I concede you are more familiar with it than myself]. And as I've mentioned before I think a "minimal facts" approach is fine apologetically. One has to adopt significant constraints if one is going to attempt to persuade everyone from fence-sitting laypeople to über-skeptical academics and fence-sitting academics to über-skeptical laypeople [rather like Chesterton's "unconscious dogmatists"].

The real elephant in the room here is skepticism itself. The sincere investigator needs a nuanced and thoroughgoing understanding of the varieties of skepticism in order not to abuse them.

The sincere investigator [as opposed to the apologist] needs to weigh hypotheses broader than an über-skeptical minimalism, including but not necessarily limited to the hypothesis proferred by the primary early sources.

-----------

You said, "It was 700 miles back to Jerusalem, none of the 500 were named, it seems pretty difficult to me. You say "if they were so inclined" and I tend to think that they were not so inclined."

I don't think your comparison to Marian apparitions is warranted for arbitrating whether or not they were so inclined. The account of Thomas and Luke's depiction in Acts 1 of post-resurrection appearances NOT being apparitions informs US that the Corinthians would not have regarded the reports (again, this is not the first time they're hearing post-resurrection reports) as modern Catholics (who accept them) regard appearances of Mary [namely, mainly subjective].

Since you've restated what you said before it seems you've overlooked my responses, so here are my main thoughts summarized (only):

- Whether or not they were so inclined is not the primary issue.

- If they weren't so inclined, it would have been entirely reasonable in their case.

- The resurrection was part of the gospel; therefore as believers they had already in the past encountered sufficient [to them] evidence of post-resurrection apperances. Evidence is the preferred criteria, not proof, especially seeing that miracles are by definition one-time events.

- It's just not as hard as you say. If someone wanted to "carefully investigate everything from the beginning" as Luke did, they could do just that. It need not be immediate [after all, do Jews in particular have occasion to travel to Jerusalem??!]; the eyewitnesses could be fellow-workers/evangelists/etc. doing some traveling of their own, etc. There was much exchange/interchange among the early church as you know, and it could be arranged to meet somewhere in between.

- The primary issue is not the relative ease with which Corinthians might undertake fact-checking per se, but that the claim is significant in principle because Paul was prepared to put it on public record. Paul's relationships, travel, education, personality, integrity, etc. are the salient point here -- we should want to ask first and foremost whether HE had cause to accept it. Is there any evidence he'd met those who claimed [other than himself] to have seen Jesus post-death? Did he have occasion to interact with any of the 500+ (and would he have been motivated or unmotivated to pursue that)? Paul says he's passing on what he received: who can reasonably be assumed to have passed it on to him (or was associated), and what is their closeness to the claimed event? Etc.

Ken Pulliam said...

Luke,

Paul's experience could have been either a hallucination or an illusion. I think there is reason to believe it was an hallucination based on his description of it and the fact that I think he was under enormous guilt about his treatment of Christians ("its hard to kick against the pricks").

When I said that the reference to the 500 was "worthless," what I meant is that it has no apologetical value. Its just a claim with no clear way to verify the claim. That does not make it automatically false.

Ken Pulliam said...

Peter,

You say: The sincere investigator [as opposed to the apologist] needs to weigh hypotheses broader than an über-skeptical minimalism, including but not necessarily limited to the hypothesis proferred by the primary early sources. I agree but what do you use to test your hypotheses?

You say: The account of Thomas and Luke's depiction in Acts 1 of post-resurrection appearances NOT being apparitions informs US that the Corinthians would not have regarded the reports (again, this is not the first time they're hearing post-resurrection reports) as modern Catholics (who accept them) regard appearances of Mary [namely, mainly subjective].


But there is no indication that the Corinthians knew the details mentioned in the gospels or Acts 1. These documents were written much later. All they had to go on at the moment was what Paul had written in I Corinthians.

You say:The resurrection was part of the gospel; therefore as believers they had already in the past encountered sufficient [to them] evidence of post-resurrection apperances. . But it appears that their only evidence was simply the word of Paul. They were accepting his word as being the Word of God on the matter.

While its theoretically possible that some of the Corinthians could have gone to Jerusalem or met some eyewitnesses in other travels, it doesn't seem very likely to me, especially when they do not even know the names of the people to try to locate.

Whether or not Paul had spoken to any of the 500 is not known. He just simply doesn't tell us enough about the situation. Paul didn't need any convincing beyond his own personal experience.

BTW, I think a comment by William James is salient here: Belief follows psychological and not logical laws. A single veridical hallucination experienced by one's self or by some friend who tells one all the circumstances has more influence over the mind than the largest calculated probablility either for or against.

Peter Grice said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks for the conversation.

You suggested that "there is no indication" that the Corinthian Christians knew of the post-resurrection appearances as depicted in Acts 1 and the gospels, and that "all they had to go on" was 1 Corinthians.

At the risk of repeating myself, these were Christians, and Christians became Christians by hearing and accepting the Gospel preached to them. The Resurrection was a core component of that message, and it is incoherent without eyewitness encounters. As I said, it is _US_ who learn from Acts 1 and the Gospels what was preached in this regard. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 that he is passing on what he received, and we have in Galatians an indication that he had interacted with the core group of men claiming the post-resurrection appearances (including to have witnessed the Ascension). The person of Luke remains a strong link between the Gospel accounts (since Luke provided one), the post-resurrection appearances described in Acts 1 (since Luke provided this account), and Paul (since the "beloved physician" accompanied Paul on several journeys and, it is believed, researched and penned his works while Paul was imprisoned in Rome and later detained in Caesarea for two years). Could Paul have had any closer association than this?

If Paul stayed in Corinth 18 months (Acts 18:11), teaching with fervor, it is highly unlikely he wouldn't have proclaimed this critical part of the gospel that he proclaimed in Athens: "God has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead" (Acts 17:31) What assurance would be wrought if nobody had seen Jesus alive afterwards?

1 Corinthian 15:3-8 is a summary recapitulation of the gospel message Paul had given to the face-to-face. It is hard to believe that during that time nobody took any interest in knowing more detail than we have in this textual summary, or that Paul wouldn't have accommodated that interest.

Now you say that, even so, they were still taking Paul's word for it during this 18 month period. But this is to miss the point, which is that Paul was not just taking Paul's word for it, and we have indicators that he had interactions with some early, primary eyewitnesses. As for the Corinthians (an entirely secondary/contingent matter), as I keep saying, it was not unreasonable for them to accept what Paul had said, and this is on the basis of plausibility arising from EVERYTHING he will have proclaimed and defended, including presumabley scriptural argumentation, and accounts of what James, Peter, John, Luke and others had told him.

I believe we started off in this direction because you'd suggested that from 1 Cor 15:5-7 we can infer that Paul regarded all experiences as similar to his [a vision]. Hopefully it's now clear that when considering more of the relevant data, Paul had access to reports/people that preclude this.

Luke Nix said...

Ken,

Not sure if you missed the other two questions, just in case, here they are (they are regarding your response to Peter's first comment):

Einstein's theory of special relativity was only opinion. However, it was an opinion that explained the vast majority of observations (known facts), while competing theories did not explain the same or greater number of known facts.

If special relativity had never been experimentally proven, would it be prudent for someone to still reject it based on the fact that it was an opinion, completely disregarding the fact that the opinion did explain the known facts? (Question 1)

If it is prudent, on what basis? (Question 2)

On to more questions: What supporting evidence do you have that Paul felt enormous guilt about his treatment of Christians? (Question 3)

Does similar guilt prepare a person to only experience hallucinations, or can the person still experience illusions or accurately perceive someone in their presence with the guilt? (Question 4)

Ken Pulliam said...

Peter,

I think the essence of our disagreement comes down to this--you accept Acts 1 as if it came directly from the pen of Luke, a travel companion of Paul, sometime around 65 CE. I think there is good evidence for redactions to the NT literature and that it was some time before the text became standardized as we have it today. In other words, I accept form criticism and you apparently do not.

The issues of form criticism would have to be debated for us to move beyond this impasse.

Ken Pulliam said...

Luke,

#1--the difference is that Einstein's theory could be tested by currently observable data. You are comparing apples and oranges.

#2--see above

#3--the phrase: "its hard to kick against the pricks"

#4--there is always more than one possiblity, you can't be overly simplistic. Extreme guilt can lead to mental anxiety that could result in hallucinations. It could also be that Paul had head reports about some people seeing Jesus alive as bright shining figure (which would be in agreement with Dan. 12 and the intertestamental lit.) and so he interpreted whatever he saw on the road to damascus as an appearance of Jesus. The simple fact is that we don't really know exactly what happened but the fact that other people in history and today have experienced similar things and interpreted them as divine encounters leads me to believe that this could have been the case with Paul as well.

Peter Grice said...

Ken,

Yes I accept Lukan authorship. I accept the principles but not the assumptions of both form and redaction approaches [so on that basis I can't accept their conclusions either]. Both depend on rejecting a spurious form of Inspiration (which I also reject) and on an a priori rejection of one implication of divine action in human history (namely, that events might unfold with orchestration rather than by happenstance; that "the Greatest Story Ever Told" might have characteristics of story due to divine Authorial influence rather than creative human invention [which does not preclude human creativity or personality in the process, just invention.])

As you know in the case of Luke-Acts we have evidence for the author's conscientious, competent and diligent approach, suggesting that he wouldn't knowingly take liberties to "sanitize" the facts by altering them or inventing new ones. Hypothesizing additional authors would be an interesting twist, so with that in mind, could you make mention of evidence for redaction in Acts 1 that undermines the point under discussion [the physical/objective nature of the appearances]?

If there is some I'll readily concede at least that this would be too protracted to follow through here (though I will certainly follow up privately if the evidence is new to me). However if there's none then I don't think the discussion had met an impasse. [The fallacy of composition would apply to any application to the whole text of redaction identified in some parts.]

Luke Nix said...

Ken,

#1- That is not a defeatable difference to the comparison. Whether something can or cannot be empirically verified has nothing to do with its ability to explain phenomena. At the time, the theory had not been empirically verified, yet it could still explain phenomena. I am asking if it had not been empirically verified, would it be prudent to reject the theory?

#2- If so, what foundational basis would overcome the theory's ability to explain phenomena, to warrant its rejection?

#3- That is not evidence to support the idea that Paul felt deep remorse. I ask again, what evidence do you have for this conclusion?

#4- As I have said before, the defeatable difference in your comparison between Paul's experience (specifically) and recent visions of Mary is that, the recent people came expecting to see Mary (they were not just setting around and Mary appeared to them). You have not established that Paul was expecting to see Jesus (or something he could interpret as Jesus). My #3 question, if answered with evidence, will provide you with a foundation to support your hypothesis. As it stands, you have not provided any evidence that Paul was in a psychological state compatible with experiencing an hallucination.

Ken Pulliam said...

Peter,

I am not saying that I believe Luke intentionally inserted elements into the narrative out of his own imagination but the fact is there were multiple traditions and conflicting traditions relative to the life of Jesus. He had to choose his sources and what to believe and he never tells us how he does it. We also know that the text of the NT has redactions in places such as John 8 but there may be many other places that we don't know about. The fact that there are virtually no mss. for the first 200 years (aside from a few fgragments) makes it impossible to know what might have been original and what might have been redacted.

Ken Pulliam said...

Luke,

The evidence for Paul being in a state suitable for hallucination requires more room to elaborate than is available on this forum. I have posted part one today on my blog and will post part two tomorrow on why I think its reasonable to think that Paul experienced an hallucination.

Peter Grice said...

Ken,

"He had to choose his sources and what to believe and he never tells us how he does it."

I know what you mean, but technically he does tell us this much: he personally investigated matters, carefully, from the beginning, in order to compile an orderly account that could be relied upon for certitude.

The degree to which we think that John 8:1-11 and Mark 16:9-20 are probably later additions is precisely the degree to which we generally think the rest is not. Almost all modern Bible translations notate that those passages are not in the oldest and best manuscripts, as you know.

Textual criticism is a pretty sophisticated discipline these days, with all the computerized models and algorithms crunching away, and it does not paint the same bleak picture you do when you say "impossible to know." Rather, I think we can say that we do "know" the documents aren't riddled with redaction.

In any case it seems best not to ascribe redaction to any part without good reason to do so, and Acts 1 therefore remains admissable as evidence to claims of the physical nature of early eyewitness appearances, and in the choosing of Matthias, the importance of unbroken continuity in the core group of eyewitnesses, from the beginning of Christ's ministry to his Ascension [Acts 1:21,22].

According to our primary source text, they all experienced these miraculous and historical events together, over several years. Whether or not one personally believes what they believed, we ought to at least consider that they believed it, and investigative any implications.

Ken Pulliam said...

Peter,

We happen to know that Mark 16 and John 8 have been redacted so on that precedent it is reasonable to assume there may have been others. The problem is that we have so little mss. evidence before the late 3rd century CE that we can't be sure if what we have is what left the pen of the original author or not. Many textual critics say that the majority of additions and deletions took place within the first 100 years. If all we have to check is mss. produced after this time period, then it can never be held with certainty that what we have now was original.

George Kilpatrick, author of several major books on textual criticism and Professor at Oxford University writes: “Most deliberate changes, if not all were made by 200.” ( Atticism and the Text of the Greek New Testament , p. 128. He makes the same argument in The Principles And Practice Of New Testament Textual Criticism (Leuven University Press, 1990), p.34.

Frederick Scrivener, one of the leading textual critics of the 19th century, writes in A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, Vol. II, p. 264: “The worst corruptions to which the New Testament has ever been subjected, originated within a hundred years after it was composed.

Kurt and Barbara Aland wrote: "Until the beginning of the fourth century the text of the NT developed freely. It was a “living text,” unlike the text of the Hebrew Old Testament, which was subject to strict controls because (in the oriental tradition) the consonantal text was holy. And the NT text continued to be a “living text” as long as it remained a manuscript tradition. . . . . This was all the more true of the early period, when the text had not yet attained canonical status, especially in the earliest period when Christians considered themselves filled with the Spirit” (The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism).

Eldon Epp: "As New Testament textual criticism moves into the twenty-first century, it must shed whatever remains of its innocence, for nothing is simple anymore. Modernity may have led many to assume that a straightforward goal of reaching a single original text of the New Testament--or even a text as close as possible to that original--was achievable. Now, however, reality and maturity require that textual criticism face unsettling facts, chief among them that the term "original" has exploded into a complex and highly unmanageable multivalent entity" (The Multivalence of the Term "Original Text" in New Testament Textual Criticism, Harvard Theological Review, July 1999.

Samuel said...

"First, a large number of both Christian and non-Christian sources record the event.1"

source: 1. Habermas, Gary R. The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for The Life of Christ (Joplin, MO: College Press Publishing Company)

All your sources are Habermas.

From my own independent research into the topic - Habermas's claim is a little-overblown. There are not a large number of non-Christian sources that record the event; and the ones we do have are highly dubitable.

If you can produce those non-Christian sources and give reason why they are veritable - it would bolster your argument.

Thus far from reading Habermas all I get is argument ad verecundiam and argument ad populum.

Further: http://www.christianorigins.com/habermas.html

Samuel said...

"Kalam cosmological argument, the teleological argument, the moral argument, the ontological argument, and several others. An explanation and defense of each of these arguments is beyond the scope of this essay, but many sources exist for investigation online. None of these establish a proof for God’s existence on its own"

The ontological argument is an a priori proof that does establish the proof of God's existence on its own.

"The vast number of historians who have written on the issue of Jesus’ resurrection agree that these pieces of evidence point to the fact that Jesus had died before his disciples claimed to see Jesus in a “risen” state.2"
"The evidence provided here for Jesus’ appearances is accepted by the majority of critical scholars who have written on the issue.3"

Just a continuation of Habermas's great tautology.

"One such example is that the disciples’ experiences were psychological in nature, and had no basis to reflect an actual occurrence. This has been disputed by modern psychological research, showing (among other things) that visions cannot be shared among people.4"

How do you feel about Our Lady of Guadalupe and Marian apparitions in general?

The Catholic worldview is the best explanation for those occurrences - and your worldview ought to conform to reality right? :-) A different topic for a different time.

Luke Nix said...

Ken,
Questions #1, #2, and #4 have remained unaddressed.

Your blog posts do not address #3 as you seem to think that they do. I have asked for evidence that Paul felt remorse for his persecution of Christians, and the blog posts did not evidence it. In order for the bulk of the content of your blog posts to be pertinent to the discussion, you must establish that evidence for remorse exists.

Samuel,
1. I have address Habermas' "tautology" with you before. I will repeat for the readers of this blog: Habermas provides his specific sources in the books that I cited. If you look at his sources, you will see that no tautology exists.

For those who would like to see the conversation, click here.

2. Please read the rest of the comments for content on the Marian apparitions. Quickly, I don't know if they are valid or not. But that doesn't matter in this discussion for the psychological reasons that I provided above. Ken has not responded to my objection (#4) yet. You are welcome to respond if you would like.

Samuel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Samuel said...

The summary of the whole argument was:

Luke: "With the language you have chosen, it seems that even if the authority were unambiguous that you would reject the conclusions by virtue of being based on an authority. Is that what you are saying or have I completely misinterpreted you? "

Me: If the conclusion of the argument was arrived at by virtue of being based on an authority then yes, I would not accept it. It would not be logically valid. That's an argumentum ad verecundiam.

If Luke is committed to accepting appeals to authority.... if Habermas came out tomorrow, with all his (ambiguous) critical scholars and said "critical scholars believe that Jesus never rose from the dead in bodily form, Jesus never rose from the dead in bodily form because critical scholars said so" - then Luke would have to stop believing in the bodily resurrection if he were to be consistent in accepting a fallacious argument form.

Either way - that argument form has no logical bearing on the conclusion - and we should not accept the conclusion, whatever it is, if it based on a circular or fallacious argument.

I'm not asking you to re-hash Habermas's entire interpretation of the secondary sources interpretation of the primary sources.

I'm just asking for the primary and secondary sources so that readers can independently evaluate your claims for themselves.

Ken Pulliam said...

Luke,

Regarding Paul and guilt, the only scriptural evidence is the reported statement of Jesus to him: Its hard to kick against the pricks . Granted this statement is so brief that we can't determine a lot from it but it seems to me to mean that Paul was under conviction, i.e., feeling guilty about his treatment of Christians. What do you think the statement means?

It seems likely to me that a person could feel some remorse after participating in a stoning. Whether or not that caused the hallucination is again impossible to prove but we are dealing with what likely happened not what we know for certain happened.

If guilt was not a factor, I think the information on my blog shows other reasons that people hallucinate that could apply to Paul and finally some argue that Paul shows signs of temporal lobe epilepsy.

So what is the final conclusion about Paul's experience? Each person will have to decide for himself based on the various possibilities. He could have had a real experience of the divine but I don't think so. I think its more likely that he hallucinated.

Samuel said...

Ken:

It's interesting when one compares Jesus based "red letters" Christianity to what Paul develops in his epistles which ended up becoming more dominant theologically in Christendom.

Luke Nix said...

Samuel,
1. Readers are welcome to visit Dr. Habermas' Website to see his published articles, which include his sources. Readers may also read Dr. Habermas' books, which contain extensive notes and sources. I mentioned this in the article and in my conversation with you on my blog. I have provided the resources for you and the readers to obtain Habermas' authorities.

2. You say that my (and Habermas') appeals to authority are invalid based on the fact that they are appeals to authority. Unfortunately, you have misrepresented yourself as never appealing to an authority. If you attend any school, read books, conduct experiments, or research sociology; you rely upon authorities.

School- professors
Books- the authors
Experiments- author(s) of the scientific method
Sociology- the conductors of surveys

Every one of these is an authority that you must rely upon. If you are to have us believe that relying upon authorities is wrong, then you must remain consistent and toss out your entire education and along with all written media; then start from the ground and observe and contemplate everything from the laws of logic to the laws of physics to the behaviors of humans. You must reconceptualize every idea ever conceptualized; you must reinvent every wheel ever invented; and you must reconduct every experiment and every survey ever conducted. All this must be done if you wish to escape your own criticism of the reliance upon authority.

You are holding us to a standard that you do not wish to hold yourself to, when it comes to reliance upon authorities.

Anyone who wishes to criticize reliance upon authorities as you have, should shun the academy and rely solely upon himself for all knowledge; otherwise, such rhetoric is self-defeating.

One final thought, then my rant is complete, Samuel: when you say that the readers should investigate this for themselves, do you expect them to understand that you speak with authority (the authority of someone who has investigated and knows the real truth), and take your advise? Or would you admonish them for taking your advice because of their reliance on your authority?

Samuel said...

I don't think you understand how the academy works. In the Academy - you can't make a living off tautologies.

Something isn't right SOLELY on the basis that a professor or someone in position of authority said it.

The scientific method isn't something ARBITRARILY made up - which is how you make it sound. It's a method of systematic thinking. The way you put it, I "trust the authors of math" every time I use mathematical induction.

In sociology - we frequently do cross-comparisons of surveys to ensure accuracy.

In SCIENTIFIC books and journal articles - you are given the methodology and data. If you think something is fishy, you can replicate their methods and data to see if you come to the same result.

I'm appealing to the "authority" of Reason, Luke. That's not the authority under attack by ad verecundiam. I don't get what you mean when you say I speak from authority. Things aren't ARBITRARILY logically valid or invalid.

Watch how this works:
All expert philosophers say ad verecundiam is a fallacy.
All expert philosophers are experts.
Therefore ad verecundiam is a fallacy

But I haven't demonstrated my claim. The conclusion is true but it DOES NOT follow from the premises. But it shouldn't matter to YOU, if you're going to be consistent, you have to accept the argument form. I guess a reductio is in order to make this more clear.

1. All expert geographers say the world is flat (we're in the 1100s in this thought experiment).
2. All expert geographers are experts.
3. Therefore, the world is flat.

It's a good thing geographers changed their opinion, or if you were going to be consistent, you would have to accept the world is flat.

But how did they know the world is round? Because someone told them? Oh wait, they collected data and did math.... and anyone who collects data and does math should be able to arrive at the same conclusion as them..... that's how science goes round.

***
If you accept this logical structure fine.

Ad verecundiam
1. Source A says P
2. Source A is an expert.
3. Therefore, P.

If that argument structure looks good to you, and it looks like it could never give you a false conclusion from sound premises - then you should accept ad verecundiam.

I'm not going to argue with somebody that 2+2=4 with a normal set of integers.

***
Remember, appeal to authority MEANS you are "accepting a claim SOLELY on the basis of who said it."

Samuel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian said...

Samuel,

The Habermas quote you mention must be taken in context. He is talking about methodologies of how we can come to know things. He is not arguing for the truth of a position based upon an appeal to ad populum. In that case it would be a fallacy. He is talking about the reasons that some approaches are better than others, and citing the methods that are preferred by scholars and then investigating the reasons they use them.

I don't think you have been careful in your thinking here and give me the impression that you are over-anxious to slap a "fallacy sticker" on anything you can. That doesn't give me warm fuzzies either.

Please stick to the topic and don't make ad hominems.

Samuel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Samuel said...

Sticking to the topic:
"First, a large number of both Christian and non-Christian sources record the event.1"

I'm just asking for the primary sources.

Samuel said...

1. I asked, "where is the ad hominem?" If you're going to delete my comments - I'll just delete all of mine and save you the time.

2. Habermas: "But many philosophers hold that while the scientific method and mechanistic concept of nature are useful in understanding portions of the universe, they are inadequate to explain all reality"

Brian, yes, it's a section on epistemology. But the fact that many philosophers or the majority of scholars think anything has no bearing on the truth of the proposition. It's entirely irrelevant.

There are also many philosophers who think the complete opposite - that materialism/naturalism are adequate to explain all reality.

There are a lot of scholars who find the historical claims that Luke makes in his essay dubious. There are also some scholars who think the historical claims are spot on. In order to get to the truth of the matter - I need to be able to examine the claims for myself.

Being able to know which [primary] sources Luke finds most veritable will help narrow down the time I have to take.

Brian said...

Samuel,

The ad hominem is your post where you talk about going to Habermas's website. You scan his site to find "fallacies." Your whole post there is against Habermas - and for what purpose? To show that a point that relates to this post is wrong? No, but to discredit him as a legitimate source. For the ad populum you cite, it's not even a fallacy in that context. The other "fallacies" you rattle off you don't reference, so we just have to trust your authority that Habermas is not a good authority. So whether you want to call that poisoning the well or an ad hominem, it has nothing to do with focus of the topic. The "ROFL" could be categorized as appeal to ridicule. The whole reason Luke pointed you to Habermas was so you could examine his sources.

Brian, yes, it's a section on epistemology. But the fact that many philosophers or the majority of scholars think anything has no bearing on the truth of the proposition. It's entirely irrelevant.

You're missing the point Habermas is trying to make. It is the very fact that Habermas is not basing any proposition's truth on the majority of scholars and that's why it is not a fallacy. He saying why people prefer different methodologies.

If I am talking about digging ditches and say that most people use a shovel and others use a pick axe and then weigh the reasons they use either and the shortcoming and benefits of each, it is not an ad populum fallacy.

Although you deleted some of your own comments, I deleted yours which said, "where is the ad hominem?" because I am trying to keep this discussion focused on the topic, rather than it going everywhere. So I don't plan to keep a back-and-forth going on about logical fallacies.

Samuel said...

You're probably right.
I'm coming off my high horse.
Got carried away there.

But seriously.... why can't I just get a list of the primary sources?

And if Luke is going to accept appeals to authority as a valid form of argument.... aren't we kind of stuck dead in the water?

1. Muhammad says the Qu'ran is true
2. Muhammad is a reliable source.
3. Therefore, the Qu'ran is true.

Samuel said...

You're probably right, Brian.
I'm getting off my high horse. I'll delete my above comment. I went overboard.

"First, a large number of both Christian and non-Christian sources record the event.1"

I just want the sources Luke is referring to in that claim.

***
and to reply, Luke: "Samuel: when you say that the readers should investigate this for themselves, do you expect them to understand that you speak with authority (the authority of someone who has investigated and knows the real truth), and take your advise? Or would you admonish them for taking your advice because of their reliance on your authority? "

I want them to take my claim that they should investigate things for themselves - think about it - and act in accordance with what they themselves consider reasonable.

Luke Nix said...

Samuel,
I think that you misunderstand Habermas' argument. He is not arguing for the truth of the minimal facts in the argument that I provided in the essay. He is stating that virtually all scholars accept certain facts surrounding the claim of resurrection. He discovered this through his survey of 1000's of published articles on the subject. Habermas does not have a single location that you can find all his primary sources for this; however, you may check out his essay in the book The Resurrection of Jesus: John Dominic Crossan And N.T. Wright in Dialogue and a second essay published in the June 2005 issue of The Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus.

Habermas has also stated in his videos (on my blog and on his website) his criteria for a "scholar", his methodology, and the date range that he used in his research of the critical scholars.

Published works provide the methodology, data, and conclusion. You state that if someone thinks that the conclusion is "fishy" that they may replicate the researcher's work for themselves. I'm assuming that "fishy" means "disagreeable". Meaning that someone is likely to accept the authority of the researcher if they agree with the conclusions. Disagreeing leads to investigating the researchers sources (okay there, but continue...), and the sources' sources, and the sources' sources' sources, and so on. You pride yourself in not "appealing to authroties". On your view, if one wishes to stop at, say, the second level (because of time or resource constraints or whatever), they must make the decision to either accept the authority of the sources of the second-level source or continue to reject the conclusions a priori (because they refuse to check further into the sources). My point in this is that your skepticism of Habermas (my authortiy)'s authorities is not compatible with your wanting to not spend much time. (continued in next comment)

Luke Nix said...

(Continued from previous comment)

Accepting (or relying upon) an authority is not frowned upon in the academy. Researchers do not make a name for themselves by repeating other researchers' work. Instead, their notoriety is gained by new work. And in order to conduct new work, they must rely on the authority of the researchers who produced preexisting work that their new work will be based upon.

That is precisely what Habermas is doing in this particular line of reasoning. He is not arguing for the truth of something based upon authority. Neither is he reinventing the wheel, he is taking previous work (and accepting it) and building upon it (If you want to investigate the facts that Habermas is accepting, you may refer to Habermas' sources' sources; also in his Q&As he provides other resources including books by Drs. Mike Licona and William Lane Craig, both of which I already provided in my essay.

You have three options:
1. Spend the time to do deep research (I've provided plenty of sources for you to do so, you just haven't acknowledged them).
2. You must reject someone's conclusions a priori.
3. You must accept someone's conclusions based on their authority.

2 and 3 go hand-in-hand. If you do one, you will do the other also (you must appeal to an authority [3] who rejects the conclusion [2], even if it is only yourself).

However, if you reject 2 or(and) 3 altogether, you require solely 1. Which places a burden of proof for certainty that cannot be supported, thus is never obtained. All must be done in proper balance. It is academically dishonest to start with 2, though. I find that starting with 1 and holding 3 in mind at all times will keep 2 minimal where it is academically dishonest. However, in order to practice this, we must approach a researcher without expecting to find fallacies (assume they are honest). If we look for fallacies, we will find them- even if we have to take something out of context, we will find them. If you scrutinize academics with the respect that you wish to be scrutinized, you will automatically produce academically honest work.

This will be my final comment on this particular subject in this thread. Use the extensive resources provided and the methods proposed and your research will rise to the level of "academic".

Samuel said...

"First, a large number of both Christian and non-Christian sources record the event.1" (Claim 1 from henceforth)

I am willing to spend the time reading the primary sources and researching them.

I'm just asking which ones you are referring to. You keep giving me secondary and tertiary sources. I just want to know the prime sources that you are referencing. It's pretty crucial to your case. I WANT YOUR CASE TO WIN! But I need to be able to read those specific sources that you reference in that specific claim. You keep pointing me to secondary literature.

You saying claim 1 because of Habermas is an unnecessary appeal to authority. You could just give the Christian and non-Christian sources. Then I could go look them up, read them, and know for myself. Thanks for pointing me to secondary literature (Wright and Crossan) but your claim is about primary sources.

***
I'll do option 1.

"we must approach a researcher without expecting to find fallacies (assume they are honest). If we look for fallacies, we will find them- even if we have to take something out of context, we will find them"

Brian pointed out where I was wrong in calling a fallacy. He was right to do so. If you find a fallacy out of context - it's not a fallacy.

It doesn't mean you shouldn't look for them though. If you see a fallacy, you should be able to recognize it and call it. It's not a matter of "looking for them." You're basically saying we shouldn't look at research or claims (in Habermas's case, it's a literature review not original research) critically.

I sometimes wonder if you read more non-Christian sources that held opposite claims how your position might change. You can't uncritically take two sources that have competing claims. There has to be a reason to pick one over the other.

So when you get someone like Behe and Dawkins who make competing claims - one of them has to be right or they both have to be wrong. If you read both sources uncritically - how are you going to make that determination? Pathos?

***
"Accepting (or relying upon) an authority is not frowned upon in the academy. "

So you mean instead of writing my senior thesis, appealing to empirical evidence, and establishing a logical argument - I could have just said John Q. scholar says my thesis is correct so we can trust his authority?

You're equivocating here. I am going to put the argument form one more time.
1. A says P.
2. A is expert.
3. Therefore, P.

It's not talking about using other people's data or building off research. It's talking about establishing a claim solely off the basis of A. A lot of the time P will probably be true - but it does not necessarily follow.

Samuel said...

Until you give me the sources you are referring to - all I can know is that you are making claim 1 because of what Habermas writes and not because you can actually name the sources.

Being able to name the sources would STRENGTHEN your argument.

If I make the claim "all criminologists believe the death penalty should be abolished" - and then say, well just go read the criminologists.... I've made a claim and no argument. While it might be true that the death penalty should be abolished - my claim hasn't done anything to convince you by reason. You could just trust me - but then when you get into competing claims, you have to pick one or the other. In order to do, you have to know the reasons the person makes the claim and how they arrived at the claim.

Tell me which is more strong:

If I arrived at the claim "all criminologists
say the death penalty should be abolished"
1) because John Q Scholar told me
or
2) If I can cite the specific scholars and the specific data that shows it is not an effective general deterrent, it is often arbitrarily used, it is not cost-effective, and that it discriminates against the poor and minorities...

You would probably say 2) is the stronger evidence for my claim.

The analogy is, you can say that Habermas is reason to believe claim 1 - or you could give me the specific sources and your argument would be more persuasive and have more credibility.

***
"Meaning that someone is likely to accept the authority of the researcher if they agree with the conclusions"

That's not how it works in my field. Conclusions aren't accepted or rejected based on whether a person wants to agree with them - we follow the evidence.

In philosophy - it's not whether you like an argument or not - but whether the argument seems to be logically consistent and whether it has evidential support.

In sociology - we examine the data collection, methods, and how the statistical analysis is done to make sure there aren't errors - that's essentially the purpose of peer-review.

The reason to accept a conclusion is because the premises are true and it logically follows from them. If you are just going to accept a conclusion based on authority, why bother reading or making an argument to begin with?

It has nothing to do with liking a conclusion or not. In fact, any appeal to logos shouldn't have anything to do with whether one likes a conclusion or not.

Samuel said...

While these aren't primary sources, so long as we are talking about critical scholars and historical evidence....

Ken points out George Kilpatrick, Frederick Scrivener, Kurt and Barbara Aland, and Eldon Epp.

I'd like to throw Bart Ehrman into the ring as well.

Here is a link to a debate between William Lane Craig espousing a position similar (I would venture to say identical) to yours against Bart espousing the contrary position.

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p96.htm

It seems to me that Ehrman's hypothesis is more strongly supported by evidence than WLC's. That's something everyone will have to decide for themselves - but I think the weight of the facts leans on Ehrman's position.

Thanks for your time.

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