Resurrection of Jesus as fact

Why do Jews refuse to accept the resurrection of Jesus as fact? Was it witnessed by many people? 


There is a tendency among Christians to harmonize the individual Gospel accounts with the presumption that each is historically true but reporting only a part of a larger story. Herein lies a basic fallacy in the Gospel narratives of the resurrection.

The narratives describe events surrounding the most crucial episode in Christology, the alleged resurrection, but they do not describe the event itself. The evangelists could not see the resurrection event from different perspectives since they did not personally witness the resurrection.

In fact, although Peter is alleged to have stated: "This Jesus God resurrected, of which we are all witnesses" (Acts 2:32), not one witness is produced who saw the resurrection. There is no actual record of the alleged resurrection in the form of an eyewitness account, trustworthy or not.

A careful reading of the text indicates that the Gospel writers can only attest to several conflicting accounts which exist concerning the events surrounding the body's disappearance. They cannot attest to the reason for its disappearance or what was the nature of its final disposition. They knew nothing more than that on Sunday morning a few of Jesus' disciples claimed the tomb he had been placed in on the late afternoon of his death was found empty. No one saw Jesus rise from the dead.

The disappearance of the body does not mean that there was a resurrection. The empty tomb explains nothing. When Peter declares in Acts 2:23-24, "You crucified this Jesus . . . but God raised him up," what arose was not the dead Jesus, but the sectarian propaganda devised by the disciples. The claim that a resurrection took place is a supposition based on the alleged sightings of Jesus after his death. The purpose of the stories that developed of Jesus supposed post-resurrection appearances or manifestations were apologetic in nature. Their goal was to prove that Jesus rose from the dead.

© Gerald Sigal