Will the 500 please stand up?

Did 500 people really see Jesus’ alleged resurrected body?

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons)


“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17) The whole of the Christian faith according to Paul hinges on this doctrine, the belief that Jesus after having been brutally executed was raised alive or resurrected from the dead. The aforementioned verse is a challenge made against those who may have doubts concerning Jesus’ resurrection. The challenge is confidently  given after some “proofs” are presented in previous verses. Among them is the remarkable claim that exactly 500 people many of whom were still alive(according to the testimony) when Paul wrote about it simultaneously witnessed the resurrection. Did 500 people indeed witness Jesus in his resurrected form?

“Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:6)

There is no ambiguity in the language above. The claim is that 500 people did indeed see Jesus after his alleged execution together at one time. Ron Rhodes like so many others who believe in the testimony supplied by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 writes:

“As noted above, Paul said the resurrected Christ appeared to more than 500 people at a single time, “most of whom are still alive” (1 Corinthians 15:6). If Paul had misrepresented the facts wouldn’t one of these 500 have come forward to dispute his claims? But no one came forward to dispute anything because the Resurrection really occurred.” [1]

A question that any reasonable person would ask when such an astounding claim as a simultaneous mass sighting is made is, “who exactly witnessed the event?” Therefore we would ask Rhodes the same question: Who exactly were those 500 who witnessed Jesus’ resurrected form? How on earth would anyone from the alleged 500 go to Paul and question the claim when he does not identify who those 500 were? Throughout Christian literature on this subject specifically covering the claim of 500 witnesses many of them essentially puts forward the exact same rhetoric, that is, none of the 500 critiqued or challenged Paul’s claim. We beg your pardon but such rhetoric is clearly absurd. Consider the following analogy:

“John gave testimony in court today that he knows that 500 people saw Matthew killed Luke. In his cross examination defense attorney Judas Iscariot questioned John’s source and demanded that he reveals the identifies of the 500, where the event took place and the exact time that the witnesses allegedly saw the murder. John provided no answers and the 500 remain completely anonymous. The court took his testimony as truth and convicts Matthew of murder in the first degree.”

The above can only take place in a fictitious world or a country that practices judicial absurdity. First of all, John’s testimony is from hearsay which is untenable by definition just like Paul’s testimony is hearsay in 1 Corinthians 15:6. Secondly, we do not know who those 500 were, where they supposedly witnessed the event and the exact time(or at least an approximation of the day and hour) of the occurrence. It is only the credulous and unthinking who would really accept such a preposterous unsubstantiated claim. The People’s New Testament in its commentary on the verse agrees with standard mainstream Christian view that Paul’s point in this verse is to prove that the resurrection was not an isolated case, but is rather something that is well attested in history by people who were still living when he was writing about it. However, it readily admits that, “This event is otherwise unknown…” [2] This is a sticking point that will not go away easily. If indeed 500 people witnessed it the story would be readily available across the board and not only in a single verse in the entire New Testament! This good point is noted by Kris Komarnitsky in his treatment of the verse:

“There is one big problem that this tradition faces. A simultaneous appearance to over 500 people should have been one of the most, or the most, momentous appearance by Jesus, and yet it does not show up anywhere else in the literature. As Gerd Ludemann says, “[It] is improbable that such an event witnessed by more than five hundred people should otherwise have left no trace.”” [3]

There is another prominent resurrection occurrence of massive proportion in the New Testament found in Matthew 27:52-53 whereby we are informed that the saints that were buried rose from their graves and walked into Jerusalem. Which honest historian accepts this narrative as historical? Even the conservative resurrection historian Michael Licona doubts its credibility, consigning it to the realm of “literary embellishment” in a debate that he had with Ustadh Ali Altae. The foremost New Testament expert Raymond Brown also doubts its historical value:

“…there is neither internal nor external evidence to cause us to affirm its historicity. The same maybe said of the rising of the holy ones and their appearance to many in Jerusalem (Matt 27:52-53)….Truth conveyed by drama can at times be more effectively impressed on people’s minds than truth conveyed by history.” [4]

The mass resurrection of saints is devalued and relegated by Christian scholars to literary embellishment which is a fanciful way of saying that it is completely fictitious. That conclusion is based on the reasonable affirmation that such a massive scale event could not possibly have been left uncorroborated by multiple attestations. In a similar fashion the supposed 500 has absolutely no backing from internal or external sources and as such should also be dismissed as nothing short of literary embellishment and fiction.The 500 are just that, the 500. They are unknown and completely anonymous. This is not a debatable point as E. P. Sanders writes:

“But despite these and other reasonable explanations of the variations, we are left with an intractable problem. The followers of Jesus were sure that he was raised from the dead, but they did not agree on who had seen him.” [5] (emphasis added)

Theologian and Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong writes:

“Who were the five hundred brethren? What happened to this tradition? It was not picked up and described in any recognizable form in any of the later Gospels. There have been attempts to identify Luke’s story of Pentecost with this Pauline reference, but no consensus has been reached. It is possible that there was a common link between this note of an appearance to five hundred and Pentecost, though a considerable journey must be made before an event that has a risen body form can be identified with one that has a Holy Spirit form. It is enough now to acknowledge that Paul’s reference to Jesus’ appearance to five hundred people at once is found nowhere in the Gospel tradition.” [6]

Yet another problem to Paul’s report is that according to Acts 1:15 Peter stood up and addressed a gathering of believers comprising only 120 members in Jerusalem. This is short of 380 who supposedly experienced the resurrection. Where were they? Were they sleeping or preoccupied with worldly menial affairs just after having such a great heavenly experience? Christians often use the argument that the followers of Jesus were willing to die for the belief in his resurrection which in and of itself proves that they were convinced of its reality. With such fervour emanating in the ranks of those who saw and experienced the resurrection why are the 380 starkly absent? This is a classic case of “you cannot have your pie and eat it too.”

Citing the noted American skeptic Thomas Paine, T. Joyner Drolsum writes:

“Thomas Paine felt that Paul’s enumeration of the witnesses to the risen Christ was not to be trusted:

“As for the account of Christ being seen by more than five hundred at once, it is Paul only who says it, and not the five hundred who say it for themselves. It is, therefore, the testimony of but one man, and that, too, of a man who did not, according to the same account, believe a word of the matter himself at the time it is said to have happened. His evidence, supposing him to have been the writer of the 15th chapter of Corinthians, where this account is given, is like that of a man who comes into a court of Justice to swear that what he had sworn before is false. A man may often see reason, and he has, too, always the right of changing his opinion; but this liberty does not extend to matters of fact..”” [7]

Is Paul even a trustworthy source to begin with especially when we are relying on him as a sole witness to a particular incident? M. Anton Mikicic writes:

“In the New Testament, Paul, who never met Jesus (Jesus died before Paul’s conversion) is in some debate with other early Christian leaders like James, Jesus’ sibling according to the gospels, as to who is preaching the “true” Jesus. So there were obviously two inconsistent points of view. Paul also defends himself against accusations he’s a liar, which suggests to me that someone called him one.

Paul’s own words suggest he felt if the end result was saving souls for the next world, it didn’t matter what you did in this world to accomplish it, including lying.” [8]

One may not agree with everything that Mikicic says in the above such as his acceptance of Jesus’ death or one might also be offended by the title of the book itself which is an attack on theism, however, the essential point that is made in the above reference is quite pertinent and valid. The last sentence is obviously a reference to the following admissions by Paul:

“But what does it matter? Nothing matters except that, in one way or another, people are told the message about Christ, whether with honest or dishonest motives, and I’m happy about that. Yes, I will continue to be happy.” (Philippians 1:18)

But if the truth of God through my lie abounded unto his glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?” (Romans 3:7)

To rely on Paul’s solitary testimony in 1 Corinthians 15:6 is folly as he is clearly an untrustworthy witness. Whatever the source of Paul’s 1 Corinthians 15:6 may be using it to prove the historicity of the resurrection is untenable as the proof itself is unproven and clearly unhistorical.

 

References:

[1] Rhodes, R. (2007). What Does the Bible Say About…?: Easy-to-Understand Answers to the Tough Questions. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers. p. 133

[2] Boring, M. E., & Craddock, F. B. (2010). The People’s New Testament Commentary. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press. p. 543

[3] Komarnitsky, K. D. (2009). Doubting Jesus’ Resurrection: What Happened in the Black Box?. Draper, Utah: Stone Arrow Books. p. 96

[4] Brown, R. E. as cited in Komarnitsky, K. D. (2009). Ibid.

[5] Sanders, E. P. (1995). The Historical Figure of Jesus. London, England: Penguin Books. p. 279

[6] Spong, J. S. (1995). Resurrection Myth or Reality?: A Bishop’s Search for the Origins of Christianity. New York: HarperCollins. p. 52

[7] Drolsum, T. J. (2011). Unholy Writ: An Infidel’s Critique of the Bible. Bloomington, Indiana: AuthorHouse. p. 110

[8] Mikicic, M. A. (2009). God is Redundant. Indianapolis, Indiana: Dog Ear Publishing. p. 98

 

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35 Responses to “Will the 500 please stand up?”

  1. Jesus says:

    Thanks akhee .

    You always reply to my queries by excellent articles , i will pray to God for you and i want to help this site financially ,can i ? and if not what should i do to help because i want to help .

    Also waiting for the 2 articles i want from you ‘Jesus false prophecy ‘ and ‘does Allah repent ‘

    • Ibn Anwar says:

      You’re most welcome brother. We always welcome and appreciate support in the form of prayer. Jzk. Well, we have been planning to revise the “donations” page and invite people to assist us monetarily so that more material can be used and disseminated. But we haven’t set up the account yet. I am not sure how exactly to allow you or anyone to help us financially. I would have to ask my friend who helps me with the site maintenance. Maybe we can discuss this further elsewhere e.g. YM. Perhaps there are more avenues that you can contribute to as well ;).
      Insha’Allah, I will be writing those articles soon.

  2. alsiddiq7860 says:

    One funny thing is none of this 500 witness wrote their experience on this. Paul never said who this people were which makes it hard for the Corinthians to know about this further. Paul sent his letter to Corinth which is far away from Galilee, the place where the alleged resurrection took place according to the commentaries by Barnes, Clarke, Gill, Wesley etc. Therefore, it won’t be a problem if Paul lied to the Corinthians for they can’t clarify the truth of the story but solely relying on the saying of Paul. Dr. William Lane Craig said there’s no reference to the 500 brethren that saw Christ in any of the early christian writings and it is an astonishing claim. This claim can never be proven as Dr. Craig added.

  3. Jesus says:

    In 2 Corinthians 11:31 Paul says

    “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.”

    In this verse Paul says he lies not.

    In Philippians 1:18 , he says

    “But what does it matter? Nothing matters except that, in one way or another, people are told the message about Christ, whether with honest or dishonest motives, and I’m happy about that. Yes, I will continue to be happy.”

    In this verse he clearly says he will rejoice even if the message of Christ is preached dishonestly or through a lie !!!

    He says he will continue to be happy if Christ is preached through a lie.

    What hypocrisy is this he says he lies not while preaching at the same time he says he will be happy if others lie to preach ?

    what is the proof he is not lying ?

    Father of Jesus is the proof of Paul not lying . So Christians have to wait till they meet the Father of Jesus to know whether Paul was lying or not , they cant know it by using their brains and logic .

  4. rocky says:

    jesus appears to the 500 yet some doubt. mat 28:17

    2 months AFTER jc’s ressurection, peter makes a sermon to foreign jews who had NOT seen jesus’ body and is able to convert 3000 people

    how PATHETIC was this diety? peters SPEECH is MORE convincing than his appearance .

  5. rocky says:

    “Paul never said who this people were which makes it hard for the Corinthians to know about this further. ”

    paul is WRITING his stories to christians who HAVE LOST faith in RESSURECTION .in the european churches blasphemy has taken place just 20 years after the alledged ressurection of jesus. paul just pulls out a claim that he has HEARD about 500 people .

  6. John the Baptist says:

    Salam,
    Thanks ibn anwar for yet another brilliant article. Maybe the 500 got kidnapped by aliens?

  7. menj says:

    Whether it is 500, 5000 or 50000, the fact that there are no names to verify the claim, nor a science similar to isnad to determine the truth of the tale, makes this story a fiction which exists only in the mind of Paul.

    • rocky says:

      the christians claim that this was a VERY early creed that the christians had. it is funny thAT luke USES marks claims , but totally IGNORES the “early creed” about the 500 .

      i remember a person giving an analogly

      say for example that you were 40 miles away from a murder and was in the company of 100 people. the cops come down and accuse you of murder. would you be a dumb a ss and mention only 2 witnesses / 1/50 of them or give address and telephone number of more than 12?

      > who checked pauls claims??

      > People could haved checked the details of the appearances that Paul
      > mentioned.

      > What you did NOT spell out is the rest of the argument :

      > (2. people DID check the details)

      > (3. and they found them correct)

      > Let’s have a look at the various writings which COULD have CHECKED

      > Paul’s claims and found them correct :

      > G.Luke.

      > Luke was allegedly Paul’s companion, so he clearly could have
      > checked.

      > Does he mention the appearance of the 500?

      > NO.

      > Luke did NOT confirm Paul’s claim about appearing to the 500.

      > Luke’s list of appearances is different to Paul’s.

      > James.

      > Paul met James who was allegedly Jesus brother, and who supposedly

      > Jesus appeared to.

      > Does he support the appearance to 500?

      > No.

      > Does he say anything about appearances?

      > No.

      > Peter.

      > 1 Forged writing from 2nd century mentions seeing Jesus’ “majesty”.

      > Does he support the appearance to 500?

      > No.

      > Does he say anything about other appearances?

      > No.

      > Jude.

      > Jude was allegedly Jesus brother.

      > Does he support the appearance to 500?

      > No.

      > Does he say anything about appearances?

      > No.

      > John.

      > Does he support the appearance to 500?

      > No.

      > Does he say anything about appearances?

      > Yes, he has his own vision – but says nothing about others.

      > What about the Gospel writers?

      > Do ANY of them mention the appearance to the 500?

      > G.Mark – No.

      > G.Matthew – No.

      > G.John – No.

      > You made a fuss that Paul could not have made this claim if it dodn’t

      > happen – yet NOT ONE of the other Christians agrees that it happened !

      > Either –
      >
      they DID check the facts – and found Paul was WRONG about the 500.
      >
      or :
      > they didn’t check at all, and wrote whatever they wanted.

  8. Jesus says:

    Good points by brother Ali Hussain and Menj

    Brother Menj why are you not posting mew articles on Bismikaallahumma it was a very good site .By the way Islamic Awareness is mind blowing and thoroughly academic and scholarly demise of Answering Islam.

    Brother Anwar WE CAN CHALLENGE CHRISTIANS ON THE TRUTH OF 500 WITNESSES AS IT BECOMES AN ABSOLUTE LIE IF WE COMPARE GOSPEL OF MARK .

    Mark 16:9-19

    This chapter clearly says Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene on 1st day of week , then he appeared to other 2 and lastly to 11 disciples and then he was taken into heaven

    In short post resurrection appearance chronologically according to gospel of Mark ……..Mary Magdalene – 2 others – 11 disciples-heaven WHERE ARE THE 500 PEOPLE OF PAUL ???

    So either Paul is lying or author of Gospel of Mark

  9. Jesus says:

    Waiting bro menj for your site to start again.

    PAUL BLUFFED IN THE SAME VERSE ABOUT 12 DISCIPLES SEEING JESUS

    1 Corinthians 15:5-8

    ” that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers”

    The problem with this is that Jesus didn’t have twelve disciples at the time of his resurrection appearances; due to Judas Iscariot’s betrayal he only had eleven.

    Acts 1:3-9 describes how the resurrected Jesus spent forty days with his disciples. At the end of this period, Jesus is taken up to heaven, and the disciples return to Jerusalem. At this point we are given a list of their names:

    “Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter [1] and John [2], and James [3], and Andrew [4], Philip [5] and Thomas [6], Bartholomew [7] and Matthew [8], James son of Alphaeus [9], and Simon the Zealot [10], and Judas son of James [11].”

    There are eleven disciples listed here (note that Judas son of James is not the Judas Iscariot that betrayed Jesus), and Jesus has finished appearing to his disciples and ascended to heaven.

    Only then is a replacement for Judas Iscariot appointed, taking the number of Jesus’ disciples back up to twelve:

    Acts 1:15,20-26

    “In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred and twenty people) and said, … ‘For it is written in the book of Psalms, “Let his homestead become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it”; and “Let another take his position of overseer.” So one of the men who have accompanied us throughout the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us–one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.’ So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.’ And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.”

    So did Jesus appear to 12 disciples as is claimed by Paul, or to 11 as is claimed by Acts?

    PAUL BLUFFED ON JESUS APPEARING TO 12 DISCIPLES SO WHY NOT THE 500 WITNESSES

  10. Alms says:

    Assalamu alaikum. This is really another great informative article that soundly refuted the very foundation of Christianity – alleged resurrection of Jesus. It is indeed incontestible that blind faith is akin to superstition. Yet, one could clearly see that the whole of Christianity is founded on blind faith. The biblical Torah, the source for the notion of the Original Sin, has been soundly proven by bible scholarship to be of anonymous authorship as pointed out here: http://unveiling-christianity......the-torah/ . All the sources of the notion of the Vicarious Atonement, the New Testament Gospels, are also proven to be of anonymous authorship. (http://unveiling-christianity......r-gospels/ ). No testimony is valid without knowing the identity and truthworthiness of the testifier. And Paul of Tarsus, the only identified man that bible scholarship credited with being the probable author of some epistles in the New Testament, never met Jesus as to be a possible witness of Jesus’ words, actions and events around Jesus (http://unveiling-christianity......met-jesus/ ). And, the self-claim of inspiration by this controversial figure is accepted merely on its face value like the anonymous testimonies (http://unveiling-christianity......f-tarsus1/ ). Therefore, where will be Christianity without blind faith?

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  12. The Bull says:

    Hi Ibn Anwar et al

    There are a few presumptions and an error or two this ‘exergesis’.
    The first is in your statement that ‘exactly 500 people…..witnessed the resurrection’. The text actually says that more than 500 people saw the resurrected Christ.

    Also, Jesus himself stated in Matthews Gospel (28:10) that:”..Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.”.

    This is evidence from the Gospels that others saw the resurrected Christ.

    Paul, by telling the Corithians that some of the 500+ were still alive was effectively laying down the gauntlet for them to check this out for themselves. Paul was not intimidated by his claims at all and it would be easy for the Corithians to verify his claim by talking to eyewitnesses.

    • Ibn Anwar says:

      The Bull, please read the article again. Everything that you’ve written has been specifically addressed in it.

    • rocko says:

      “Paul, by telling the Corithians that some of the 500+ were still alive was effectively laying down the gauntlet for them to check this out for themselves. Paul was not intimidated by his claims at all and it would be easy for the Corithians to verify his claim by talking to eyewitnesses.”

      you didn’t tell us that THEY DID CHECK THE CLAIMS AND EITHER FOUND THEM true or fALSE.

      matthew writes about dead saints roaming jerusalem, who 60 YEARS later would have gone to jerusalem to check these claims?

      who would have gone 60-70 years later to check the claims that lazurus was resssurected?

      who?

      do you really think that a liar who makes up lies won’t provide you with a phone number and insist that you check up on the claims?

      “look , here is the number ,call him”

      liars create lies so that you christians can say in the future:

      “Paul, by telling the Corithians that some of the 500+ were still alive was effectively laying down the gauntlet for them to check this out for themselves”

      paul would have known that there would be no way that the corinthians would have checked the claims , but he would have worded his claims to help the readers of his letters MAKE THE same BS argument you are making.

      how does your argument help READERS TODAY locate the 500 hundred witnesses? thier names or what they saw?

      your interpretation is that it was POSSIBLE once UPON A TIME to check out these claims , but it is TOO LATE for us to check them out.

      this is what paul was saying to the COrinthians and he knew that LOCATION, TIME, DATE, NAME , TESTIMONY WAS NOT IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN impossible for them to find out these things.

      just by providing one or two lines of heresy would be enough to CONVINE them.

    • Jesus says:

      Hi Bull AND Hi rocko

      Rocko i like you bro for the logical responses you give on this site , keep it up.

      Bull whats up ?. I have 1 question for you .

      Question

      I want to bring Mark 16:9-19 into your attention

      This chapter clearly says Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene on 1st day of week , then he appeared to other 2 and lastly to 11 disciples and then he was taken into heaven

      In short post resurrection appearance chronologically according to gospel of Mark ……

      1.Mary Magdalene

      2.other 2 people

      3.11 disciples

      4.Jesus ascends to heaven.

      WHEN DID HE APPEAR TO THE 500 BEFORE HE ASCENDS INTO HEAVEN ??

      So either Paul is lying or the author of Gospel of Mark .

      WHICH ONE IS IT BULL ?

  13. rocko says:

    “Paul was not intimidated by his claims at all and it would be easy for the Corithians to verify his claim by talking to eyewitnesses.”

    if they had someone the witnesses among them then what kind of a case were these witnesses making for jesus’ ressurection? it seems to be a pathetic case because 20 yrs after the christians in corinth doubt that they will ressurect. then they need paul to tell them to go back to these pathetic eyewitnesse who had thier heads buried in the sand before paul came along?

  14. rocky says:

    fixing up

    if they had the witnesses among them then what kind of argument/case were the witnesses making for jesus’ ressurection? it seems to be a pathetic case/argument because 20 yrs after, the christians in corinth doubt that they will ressurect. then they need paul to tell them to go back to these pathetic eyewitnesses ?

  15. rocky says:

    brothers, don’t u think it is time to tear apart roberts spencers shoddy new bs book ” did muhammad exist”

    one muslim reviewer WROTE:

    6. His handling of the Documentary material is no better. Spencer presents this image that early Islam is an archaeologically void. However, to my knowledge, there exist at least 25 pieces of documentary data from the first fifty years of Islam, all of which sit comfortably within the traditional account. Admittedly, documentary data mentioning Muhammad only occur 50 years after Muhammad. However, between 50-100 years after Muhammad, there exist at least 25 pieces of extant documentary data that mention Muhammad. The first clear reference to Muhammad occurs in the drahma of `Abdul al-Malik ibn `Abdullah ibn Amir, dated 685 CE, 53 years after Muhammad, and contains on the obverse margin the legend Muhammad rasul Allah (“Muhammad is the Messenger of God”). How does Spencer deal with this and other documentary data? Quite astonishingly, he argues that `Muhammad’ in these inscriptions does not refer to the prophet Muhammad, but refers to Jesus? Since “Muhammad” linguistically means `praised one’, these inscriptions could be referring to Jesus. Nowhere does Spencer provide any corroborating evidence for this argument. If Spencer were to produce a single instance where Arab Christians ever referred to Jesus as “Muhammad”, then on this basis, his argument would have some weight. Unfortunately he does not, and this raises the obvious question: Why now? And why did they stop? In other words, Spencer wants us to believe that all of a sudden in the seventh century, the Christians started referring to Jesus as “Muhammad” and then all of a sudden in the eighth century, they stopped. Beside the absurdity of this argument, Spencer failed to mention let alone deal with the disconfirming evidence against this argument. Spencer failed to engage with the first century bilingual Greek-Arabic administrative papyri that clearly translate “Muhammad” as “Muhammad” in Greek. Further still, he failed to mention the first century Arab-Sasanian coins of Kirman which translate “Muhammad” as “Muhammad” in Middle Persian. So the Greeks translated “Muhammad” as proper name, the Persians translated “Muhammad” as a proper name, the Arab held “Muhammad” as a proper name, but Spencer wants us to believe it was not a proper name but “could have been” an epithet referring to Jesus. Furthermore, Spencer fails to note the absurd consequence of this argument. If “Muhammad” meant Jesus, who was that “Muhammad” referred to by earlier and contemporaneous Christian texts? That “Muhammad” was clearly an Arab, while Jesus was a Jew. Were seventh century Christians so stupid that they didn’t know that Jesus was a Jew and not an Arab? Much worse, was Jesus alive in the seventh century according to these Christians? Worst Still, why are these Christians referring to Jesus so negatively? Is he not their Lord and Savour? Thus is trying to rubbish the documentary data, Spencer forgot about the contemporaneous Christian texts. So much for explanatory scope!

    IF this is the sh *t scholarship he has put in his book then this guy needs to take a proper beating to finnish him via his career

  16. Jesus says:

    Akhi some appeal to Mattew 26:10-17 for internal evidence and say Jesus did indeed appear to 500 , what r Ur views on this claim

    • Ibn Anwar says:

      I think you meant Matthew 28:10-17 akhi. This passage does speak of a post-crucifixion appearance. It does not however supply any information specifically that could be used to support the claim that 500 individuals actually saw the “resurrected” Jesus.

  17. rocky says:

    8The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. 9And as they went, jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. 10Then jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”

    The Report of the Guard

    11As the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and told the leading priests what had happened. 12A meeting with the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. 13They told the soldiers, “You must say, ‘jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’ 14If the governor hears about it, we’ll stand up for you so you won’t get in trouble.” 15So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell it today

    THEY STILL TELL IT TODAY

    think about this people

    according to the crosstians ” go tell my BROTHERS to leave for galilee…”

    means that 500 witnesses saw the diety of christianity

    @ the same time the jews VIA the romans were spreading the story that the body of jesus was robbed by the deciples

    so POWERFUL was the lie that john says that MARY M runs to and from the TOMB 3 times and CLINGS TO her belief that the BODY of jesus was taken away and PLACED somewhere else.

    I THINK the claims of the 500 witnesses was so pathetic that it couldn’t beat the claims of the romans. the claims of the romans was “STILL TELL IT TODAY”

    no wonder there were doubters ,according to matthew.

    NOBODY COULD CHECK ANYTHING

    THE story is proving to us that INTEROGATION WAS NOT THERE.
    u would think pagans who were FLOORED by a flying angel would cause repentance, but in the gospel accounts the soldiers ,EVEN AFTER seeing the christian god, ADD SIN upon sin.

    oh ye christians, WHAT KIND OF PATHETIC eyewitnesses u have that would SELL A LIE FOR MONEY?

    IF They could sell a lie, then why BELIEVE their testimony to the jews that an ANGEL zapped them to the ground?

    these 500 that you love, what kind of pathetic missionary work were they doing to combat that jesus’ body was stolen? lol

    luke doesn’t tell us what they did and neither does john .
    mark is the one who created the problem in the 1st place and matthew tried to fix it, u know why

    coz matthew knew that the appearances of jesus was not CONVINCING THATS WHY HE cooks up a story

    that the guards spread the story of STOLEN BODY and this is why jesus’ ressucrection wasn’t making big sales

    it all makes sense people.

    jerusalem must have been a big confusion

    stolen body vurses ressurection body

    stolen
    not stolen
    stolen
    not stolen

    STOLEN wins

    lol

  18. rocky says:

    u would think that had the sanhedrin found out about matthews gospel they would have squashed matthew along with his gospel.

    matthew was somewhere, under floor boards, writing his accounts.

    500 + witnesses COULDN’T SQUASH A LIE SPREAD by the romans ,even though the holy angel CAME DOWN like a powerful christmas tree.

    what is worse is that matthew, under floor boards, wrote that some doubted.

    if lies could become FAMOUS , then what about the lies in your gospels?

    500 + witnesses + holy angel flying down couldn’t squash a lie

    u would think people would have created DIFFERENT versions of what the 500 witnesses and USED them in debates against the jews , but the 500 + did not throw a KNOCK OUT punch, rather it was the jews who were throwing out knock out punches and killing christianity.

  19. rocky says:

    if i said to you that george bush paid bin ladin for 9/11 you would demand evidence. you would demand that i find the SECRET evidence and present it to you

    if i said that i saw in a dream that god revealed bush’ involvement, you would laugh @ me.

    matthew , the unknown christian, writing to christians in an unknown location . he reveals to these christians that he found out about a SECRET between the romans and jews

    matthew is portraying the jews aS DUMB, they couldn’t think of ANYTHING but sleeping on DUTY.

    the jews could have come out with possible escuses

    they could have taken down a bearded face corpse, placed it in jesus’ tomb and said

    ” there is no missing body, the body is rotting in the tomb”

    escuse 2

    “the EARQUAKE was powerful , we were scared as hell, we ran away from the tomb and then the deciples STOLE the body”

    escuse 3

    ” we were too late, we the guards got to the tomb after the body was stolen”

    ESCUE 4

    “dirty pagan LAWLESS dogs MADE UP A LIE ABOUT flying angels zapping them to the ground, no such event took place , it is all lies. it is lies, LOOK , they QUICKLY accepted the bribe, instead of DOING REPENTANCE before an angel, they feared the ROMAN authourities MORE lol, see its all bs. ”

    continued

  20. rk says:

    paul the coward for krist

    quote:

    “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.” (2 Cor 11:30-33)

    HERE is the version in acts

    “When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, 25but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.” (Acts 9:23-25)

    peter and paul did MAKE money and STATUS in selling alledged ressurection of jesus

    quote:

    The Christian leaders (by their own accounts) gained wealth, honor and status within their community.

    quote:

    the Bible records Peter as having a leadership role in a movement so influential, the very High Priest in Jerusalem is bent on wiping it out, yet conversely want to claim Peter did not gain status by being such a leader? How can both be true? Or that Peter (and the other disciples) were able to cease their life-long occupations and live (Peter even obtains a house!) in another country, away from family, friends and cultural support, yet conversely claim there was no wealth involved in this new movement? How can both be true?

    What I find are Christians embracing an inconsistent approach to allow them to believe what they want. If they want to believe Peter was poor and lowly, they embrace tradition and reject the bible. If they want to disregard works perceived as Gnostic, they embrace the Bible and reject tradition. Indeed, they will apply BOTH approaches in the same writing (such as accepting Papias on Mark & Matthew authorship but reject Papias on Jesus’ sayings and Judas’ death.)

    the visions that jesus saw

    “Died” Appeared
    Moses: 15th c. BCE to Jesus in 1st c. CE

    Elijah: 9th c. BCE to Jesus in 1st c. CE

    one evangelical argument is that jesus’ alledged ressurection was in the time of the deciples and the appearances was not LATE , but when it comes to moses’ appearance to jesus, their initial argument doesn’t apply?

    one argument of the jews is that millions of jews HEARD yhwh SPEAK

    the kristian “evidence” otoh is

    According to the well-known story of Paul’s conversion, the latter encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus in Acts 9:3-7:

    “[3] Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him.
    [4] And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’
    [5] And he said, ‘are you, Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; [6] but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’
    [7] ‘The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.’”

    “It seems as though Stephen is seeing something others do not, as otherwise it would be odd for them to kill him if they saw God and Jesus in heaven. That pairing would have been proof that Stephen was telling the truth for any audience. The biblical author also seems to explain why Stephen is able to perceive what others do not (i.e., because Stephen was “full of the Holy Spirit”).”

    attributes of a ghost

    In the following portions of the post-resurrection appearances
    reported in Luke 24, one sees that physicality alternates with acts not normally performed by purely physical beings:

    -Luke 24:15:
    “But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.”
    -Luke 24:31:

    “And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight.”
    -Luke 24:39
    “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

    the 500

    They comfortably copied and modified from other sources…what I am
    wondering is whether they did from the 1 Cor. 15 creed. Let me try a
    different way—I have two questions:

    the 500

    **********************************

    > > 1) Regarding the 1 Cor. 15 creed, did Matthew and Luke:

    > > a) Know it;
    > > b) Not know it;
    > > c) We don’t know; or
    > > d) ____________ [another option]

    > > I don’t want to limit your choices to only the first three.

    > > , I am not sure how one gets around the problem the Gospels freely
    > > utilize other sources (you even include more than I do with John)
    > > without explaining why they would not utilize this supposed source.

    Even more problematic (and what should be addressed) is why every
    single appearance in the 1 Cor. 15 creed is NOT addressed in the
    Gospels with one inferred exception. The Gospels don’t include a first appearance to Peter (except referred to in Luke), nothing about the Twelve, the 500, all the apostles or James.

    Luke happily uses the appearance to the eleven from his source
    Matthew, but ignores the appearance to the Twelve, while knowing the 1
    Cor. 15 creed? Luke changes his sources’ statement of the angels from
    “Go to Galilee” to “Remember what he said in Galilee” and completely
    ignores the appearances in 1 Cor. 15? Does not say much for his
    considering them history!

    would the jews have stopped information about the saints spreading?

    according to the gospels, jesus couldn’t enter a city because a guy who used to have leporasy spread the everything about jesus

    jesus’ according to the gospel becomes famous in cities in jerusalem to syria

    so with open opposition from jewish powers, how did the fame spread? obviously from talking with in the community and taking what was heard to the next , but DEAD ressurected sainnt remain unknown even though they ENTER INTO A CITY AND APPEARED to many , and the many they (saints) did not inform that they came BACK FROM THE DEAD?

    discussion

    “The raising of past saints was not of structural importance to the narrative.”

    Its lack of structural importance to Matthew’s narrative would not have stopped people from saying “ZOMG, ZOMBIES!” and making a record of it. It’s implausible, to say the least, that no one in the 50 years before Matthew wrote his Gospel would ever have thought to mention all the dead bodies crawling out of graves and descending on Jerusalem.

    . Not only does this supposition lack evidence, it’s simply not plausible that the event would not have been written down by others. Even if it had initially only been passed down orally, something so extraordinary would have ended up with some other kind of literary attestation. If you want to argue that Matthew’s zombie assault on Jerusalem was a literal, historical event, then you will not be convincing unless you show some genuine empirical support for the claim


    One must remember that many ordinary Jews, as well as the established powers— that of the Sanhedrin, and later the Roman Empire— had no interest in preserving any record of Jesus.”

    Irrelevant. They would have certainly have noticed and commented on a horde of re-animated dead bodies shambling into Jerusalem, would have had no motive to keep it a secret and no way of stopping the masses from talking about it.

    jews had their own problems

    ************************************************************************************************

    But why would the Jewish authorities even bother persecuting
    Christianity? Didn’t they already have their hands full?

    > > The Sadducees had the political power, but no public support. The
    Pharisees had public support—no political power. The Essenes
    considered both incorrect. As did the Samaritans (who also considered the Essenes incorrect.) The Galileans were just stirring up trouble with the Romans, causing apoplexy for everybody.

    The Herodians were doing…well…we don’t know what. The Qumran community (only recently discovered) was aching for the day the current Judean authorities were deposed.

    The Jewish government was divided into different geographical areas, with no unifying King until Agrippa, and he only lasted 3-4 years.

    On top of all this, the Roman Government was a constant source of
    irritation as the Emperor appointed new prefects or procurators, who promptly appointed a new High Priest

    Not to mention wars with other countries, Roman armies within Judea, Galilee, Samaria and Perea, famine, taxes, religious troublemakers like John the Baptist, and the constant bombardment of a polytheistic society offering social status for joining in.

    And along comes (yet another) religious up-start claiming the Messiah came and went, and couldn’t even agree amongst themselves whether converted Jews must continue to maintain the law or not. A religion that fairly quickly began focusing on converting Gentile pagans

    Why would the Jewish authorities bother? They had their hands full
    with real problems.

    *****************************************************************************************************

    the 500

    *******************************************************************************************

    If Luke willingly used earlier Matthew and earlier Mark—why not use the earlier creed too? If Matthew willingly used earlier Mark—why not use earlier 1 Cor. 15? (The additional conflicts between the gospel accounts further reduce credibility.)

    ***************************************************************************************

    interoggation

    eye witnesses

    At most, Festus could have inquired as to why Paul’s unnamed companions fell, or indeed who they even were. But Festus doesn’t even do that. So though Paul says some nameless “those who journeyed with me” fell to the ground with Paul when he saw the vision (26:13-14), they are not there to testify, nor is Agrippa even told who they were, nor does Agrippa even ask to interrogate them, much less actually do so. Nor does Festus. Indeed, Paul carefully avoids saying those with him saw or heard anything–even though Luke says this on other occasions (Acts 9:3-8 & 22:6-11). That’s a slick move. On the legal record, if Luke has it right, Paul claimed nothing miraculous whatsoever except a personal experience that no one could confirm or refute, even in principle. Paul never says “why” those with him fell (and indeed, Luke says elsewhere that Paul claimed they remained standing: Acts 9:7

    more

    Festus says outright that he does not know how to investigate the charge (25:20) and has nothing relevant to tell Caesar about it (25:26)–a funny thing to say, if there were all these incredible “facts” that he could “check,” as Holding insists. Ultimately, through all this, Paul’s only evidence at trial that Jesus was still “alive” is a private, unverifiable “vision from Heaven” (26:19) and a voice claiming to be Jesus. That’s it. That’s all Paul has to offer, and that’s all Agrippa needs to hear to acquit him. Paul would have been free had he not appealed to Caesar. No other investigation is conducted, no other evidence is even mentioned.[10]

    more

    What bothered me about this debate was how Dr. Licona referred to these appearances in 1 Cor. 15 as “facts” where actuality, the fact is Paul is reporting he heard about these appearances LOL REPORTING TO A GROUP FAR AWAY FROM JERUSALEM coz the GROUP STARTED DOUBTING THE ressurection

    more

    Consequently, the only rebuttal Festus could offer is that Paul had “gone mad” (26:24-25). Festus does not bring in any rebuttal witnesses or challenge any evidence, because no relevant evidence was presented, nor indeed was any controversial evidence mentioned that anyone could have been a witness to–except Paul. Hence the only thing anyone could accuse him of was insanity. There was no way to prove he was lying about a private vision

    interoggation

    “11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.”
    Matthew 28:11-15

    The guards probably figured that money is more important than their lives, right ?

    This story is so fantastically implausible (even without the many contradictions in the gospels about the open tomb) – you actually have to believe that the romans cared enough about Jesus´s corpse to have his tomb guarded, then they don´t lift a finger once his body went missing, then some nutjobs start preaching that his body is not only missing but that he is actually ALIVE – a convicted criminal is on the run, and two of those nutjobs are on trial and no one asks them about the missing body of an executed criminal!

    christian chain of narration

    peter lied and denied jesus before jesus’ crucifixion

    the guards were given cash to sell a LIE

    even THEN the jews didn’t think ” are the guards telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth about being floored by an angel”

    pauls 500

    As for Paul’s 500, Paul says that they (also Peter) saw him the same way Paul saw Jesus. That was not “in the flesh”. Of course, this little detail was completely unknown to the evangelists. This hardly suggests a “socially bonded community” of eyewitnesses available for the “recorders” of the events to draw on. Even if we take the passage as original to 1 Corinthians (there are good reasons for disputing its authenticity but we’ll leave those aside for now) — how could the average reader really follow up the implied challenge to go and first find, then interview, any of those supposed 500? Especially in the context of a letter that is aimed at making them feel spiritual failures if they even doubt the resurrection and teaching of Paul. It’s a rhetorical device. “You don’t believe in alien abductions? Just ask any of the thousands who are alive today who have experienced it!”

    As a “historical detail” it is unknown to anyone else. And Paul himself does not need the testimony of any of these witnesses, as he abundantly makes clear — and that is his point. He argues at length from poetic analogies, and for some reason fails to try to convince any of the opponents of the resurrection by urging them to actually go and check with any of those supposed 500 witnesses. He makes no appeal at all to his readers or opponents to go and consult with a 500 strong community of eyewitnesses. He forgets them as soon as he mentions them. They are not treated by Paul like a genuine core body of verifying eyewitnesses.

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