Around Easter as Christians we are bound to hear people scoff at the celebration of the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection. I always hear that Easter has pagan roots or that there is NO evidence for the resurrection. Below are quotes from Christian and Non-Christian sources with many being scholars. It begs the question if there really is no evidence why are so many people talking about it?!
What do the experts, the scholars say about the resurrection?
“I accept the resurrection of Easter Sunday not as an invention of the community of disciples, but as a historical event. If the resurrection of Jesus from the dead on that Easter Sunday were a public event which had been made known…not only to the 530 Jewish witnesses but to the entire population, all Jews would have become followers of Jesus.”
-Michael Licona (New Testament Scholar)
“Paul the apostle recounted that Jesus appeared to more than 500 of His followers at one time, the majority of whom were still alive and who could confirm what Paul wrote.”
“The vast majority of contemporary scholars conclude that Jesus’ disciples and others thought that they had seen Jesus after His crucifixion. This is what the earliest believers claimed and this teaching is confirmed by an amazing variety of details from a number of perspectives. We might even say that the disciples were overpowered by these evidences themselves, which convinced them that they had seen the risen Jesus. Given that natural theses cannot explain these experiences, Jesus’ resurrection appearances remain the best explanation of the historical facts.”
“While the resurrection promises us a new and perfect life in the future, God loves us too much to leave us alone to contend with the pain, guilt and loneliness of our present life.”
“For reasons like these 10, the vast majority of contemporary scholars conclude that Jesus’ disciples and others thought that they had seen Jesus after His crucifixion. This is what the earliest believers claimed and this teaching is confirmed by an amazing variety of details from a number of perspectives. We might even say that the disciples were overpowered by these evidences themselves, which convinced them that they had seen the risen Jesus. Given that natural theses cannot explain these experiences, Jesus’ resurrection appearances remain the best explanation of the historical facts.”
“Jesus’ death by crucifixion under Pontius Pilate is as sure as anything historical can ever be. For if no follower of Jesus had written anything for one hundred years after his crucifixition, we would still know about him from two authors not among his supporters. Their names are Flavius Josephus and Cornelius Tacitus.”
– John Dominic Crossan, Scholar
“When we turn to the Gospels, we find multiple, independent attestation of this burial story, and Joseph of Arimathea is specifically named in all four accounts. On top of that, the burial story in Mark is so extremely early that it’s simply not possible for it to have been subject to legendary corruption. When you read the New Testament, there’s no doubt that the disciples sincerely believed the truth of the resurrection, which they proclaimed to their deaths. The idea that the empty tomb is the result of some hoax, conspiracy, or theft is simply dismissed today.”
-William Lane Craig, Philosopher and Theologian
What do unbelievers say about it?
“As a historian, I am struck by a certain consistency among otherwise independent witnesses in placing Mary Magdalene both at the cross and at the tomb on the third day. If this is not a historical datum but something that a Christian storyteller just made up and then passed along to others, how is it that this specific bit of information has found its way into accounts that otherwise did not make use of one another? Mary’s presence at the cross is found in Mark (and in Luke and Matthew, which used Mark) and also in John, which is independent of Mark. More significant still, all of our early Gospels—not just John and Mark (with Matthew and Luke as well) but also the Gospel of Peter, which appears to be independent of all of them—indicate that it was Mary Magdalene who discovered Jesus’ empty tomb. How did all of these independent accounts happen to name exactly the same person in this role? It seems hard to believe that this just happened by a way of a fluke of storytelling. It seems much more likely that, at least with the traditions involving the empty tomb, we are dealing with something actually rooted in history.”
“About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he . . . wrought surprising feats. . . . He was the Christ. When Pilate . . .condemned him to be crucified, those who had . . . come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared . . . restored to life. . . . And the tribe of Christians . . . has . . . not disappeared.“
-Josephus Flavius, Roman Historian
“On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald . . . cried, “He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy.””
-Babylonian Talmud (A.D. 70-500)
“The Christians . . . worship a man to this day–the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. . . . [It] was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws.“
-Lucian of Samosata (2nd Century Greek)
”Atheistic New Testament scholar Gerd Ludemann concludes, “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.”6R”