Introduction

One of the most contested evidences offered for the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is the empty tomb. Michael Licona notes, “The empty tomb does not enjoy the nearly unanimous majority agreement of the [other evidences]. Numerous scholars who compose a respectable minority argue against the historicity of the empty tomb.”[1] If it can be legitimately established, the empty tomb then serves as a powerful piece of evidence for the resurrection. Most naturalistic explanations of what happened to Jesus cannot account for the empty tomb and must posit alternative theories to retain plausibility. This means that if the empty tomb can be historically verified, potential explanations for what happened to the body of Jesus that cannot explain why the tomb was empty must be regarded as incorrect. While many of these are plausible explanations of what occurred to the body of Jesus, there is substantial evidence for the empty tomb must be accounted for. A cumulative case for the empty tomb can be established on the historical evidence provided by Mark’s burial account and Paul’s testimony, as well as several inferential reasons.

Historical Evidence for the Empty Tomb

The empty tomb tradition can be traced back to the first century through various New Testament documents. The most relevant sources for the empty tomb tradition come from the four Gospels and the letters of Paul. These are the clearest accounts of the Easter story, which all claim to either have been written by an eyewitness, or by using his eyewitnesses as sources. To determine whether the claims of an empty tomb are trustworthy, they must be early enough to be disconfirmed by opponents, linked to early eyewitness testimony, and free from legendary development.

Most scholars date these biographies between 60 CE to the end of the century, with Mark being written first, followed by Matthew and Luke, then John.[2]  Evangelical scholars will date Mark as early as the mid-forties, while critical scholars date Mark after the destruction of the temple in 70 CE. If Jesus’ crucifixion took place around 30-33 CE, then these sources quite early regardless of who is correct, as they were written during the lifetimes of individuals who had seen Jesus and could corroborate or deny these accounts.

The burial accounts contained within the gospels will primarily be in focus in this investigation as the empty tomb tradition is reported as a part of these accounts. While the gospels do not all report the exact same events, all four gospels report unique nuanced accounts of the burial and the empty tomb.[3] This means that not only is this tradition early, but it is also corroborated by multiple independent attestation.[4] Because Mark is the earliest of these sources for the empty tomb tradition, it will be examined in detail.

Mark’s Burial Account

Mark’s burial account contains several details that indicate its authenticity and trustworthiness. The first reason is that Mark’s source material is early and has been determined to be reliable by contemporary scholars. The source he derived the empty tomb narrative from predated his Gospel and was a part of the same source as the crucifixion narrative. Craig states:

It is now universally acknowledged that the burial account was part of that story, which was used as source material by Mark. There is no break at all between Mark’s description of Jesus’ death (Mark 15:33-41) and his description of Jesus’ burial (Mark 15:42-47). It is a continuous narrative, and there is no reason to think that Mark’s source ended abruptly with Jesus’ death without telling of His burial. That means that the burial account is very old and therefore probably historically reliable. The story of the burial is as reliable as the story of the crucifixion itself, since they were really part of the same story.[5]

There are many different stories told about Jesus throughout the gospels that could seem to stand on their own. A possibility to explain this could be that some of these come from different sources. However, there is no disunity between the almost universally accepted crucifixion story and the burial account in Mark’s gospel, which indicates that they have the same source. This means that anyone claiming that the burial account reported in Mark is historically inaccurate must also demonstrate that the crucifixion account in Mark is unreliable, or that the two are disconnected. The vast majority of scholars conclude that the crucifixion account is accurate and demonstrating otherwise would be a difficult task.[6]

Second, the Markan burial account contains a Semitism that suggests that this story arose very early in the Christian tradition. The phrase used in Mark 16:2 for “on the first day of the week” is te mia ton sabaton (τῇ μιᾷ των σαββάτων). This has distinct Hebrew or Aramaic roots, showing that this account was being told by the Christians speaking primarily in these languages.[7] Robert Stein continues, “The presence of the various Semitisms and Semitic customs in the gospel accounts of the empty tomb indicates that these accounts were early and originated most probably in a Palestinian setting.”[8] This becomes even more persuasive when the way later Christians spoke of the resurrection is considered. The phrase “the third day (τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ)” rapidly became popular among early evangelists and became the phrase of choice that would be used primarily when speaking of the resurrection. If the empty tomb were a later insertion by the church this is the phrase that they would be expected to employ, but Mark instead uses the more primitive “on the first day of the week.” The best explanation is that Mark’s source predated even the common Christian jargon of “the third day.” [9]

Third, Mark’s burial account shows no signs of legendary development. Traditions that have developed legendary aspects are often extravagant in detail and presentation. However, this would not be an accurate description of Mark’s burial account which is stark and straightforward. The critical scholar Rudolf Bultmann agrees with this assessment, “This is an historical account which creates no impression of being a legend apart from the women who appear again as witnesses in v. 47, and vv. 44, 45 which Matthew and Luke in all probability did not have in their [copies of] Mark.”[10] Also it must be noted that this story would be quite embarrassing for any of the disciples who went on to preach that Jesus had risen from the dead. This story depicts the disciples hiding for fear of their lives while the women went to attend to Jesus’ body, if they had fabricated the story, they would likely have portrayed themselves as heroes instead of cowards.[11] Because this is not the case, the stronger conclusion is that the disciples reported the story this way because it is the way it actually occurred.

Fourth, Joseph of Arimathea was probably the man who buried Jesus. There are far too many details given in this account for it to be plausibly fabricated as such details could have easily been disconfirmed. Again, Mark’s Gospel was in circulation within the lifetime of Jesus’ contemporaries, who could have exposed any erroneous claims within these accounts.  The narrative states that this man lived in a town near to Jerusalem and was on the well-known council of the Sanhedrin.[12] It seems almost impossible that early followers of Jesus could have fabricated this story and gotten away with it. The conclusion that best explains the evidence in Mark’s account is that Jesus was actually buried after his execution by Joseph of Arimathea in his family tomb.

Paul’s Testimony

In 1 Corinthians 15:4, Paul records, “that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” While it is not expressly stated, the empty tomb is necessarily implied in this hymn, as Jesus is purported to have been buried, and then raised up and no longer buried. Habermas states, “The early pre-Pauline creed in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 at least implies an empty tomb. The sequence involved in the triple “and that” phrases, especially for a Jew, intimates that if Jesus died, was buried, rose and appeared, then what had been living was placed in the ground and later emerged.”[13] This hymn closely parallels the burial accounts recorded in the gospels, and summarizes them succinctly. This tradition is also very trustworthy because it is extremely early, its language requires an orthodox understanding of the resurrection, and if it is true, the tomb had to be empty.

This creed recorded by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 is one of the oldest Christian traditions that has been preserved to the present day. Jesus was executed approximately 30 CE, and Paul converted to Christianity three years later. Paul states in Galatians 1:18 that three years after he became a Christian he visited with James and Peter for two weeks in Jerusalem. Concerning this event, Craig claims:

If Paul had not already received this saying from Christians in Damascus (which I think is probable, as he spent three years there), then he must have received it during this visit to Jerusalem. For Paul spent two weeks with Peter and spoke with James, both of whom claimed to have seen Jesus alive from the dead; therefore, in the words of the great Cambridge New Testament scholar C. H. Dodd, “We may presume that they did not spend all their time talking about the weather.” The facts about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection must have been the center of their discussion.[14]

These details in mind, this hymn can be conservatively dated before 40 CE. It is probable that it was formulated and retold to Paul before then, but the takeaway is that we have evidence that early Christians in Jerusalem taught that there was an empty tomb within ten years of Jesus’ execution.

An alternative that some have proposed is that Paul did not see the resurrection as a physical event, but rather a spiritual one. This would mean that even though this hymn teaches the resurrection and appearances, it does not in fact teach an empty tomb. However, this hypothesis does not consider how the language in the text was used by its author and contemporary audience, but rather presupposes its preferred definition of “raised.” The word translated in verse four as raised is the Greek word ἐγείρω. Ανίστημι is the other word used in the New Testament to discuss the resurrection, and both simply describe physically moving upward.[15] These two words were nuanced slightly; ἀνίστημι referred specifically to rising to accomplish a task, whereas ἐγείρω meant to rise after sleep.[16] In the New Testament, sleep is often used as a metaphor for death, so it would seem that metaphor being created here is an individual rising from death to life. [17] Cook goes on to explain the cultural usage of these words:

In ancient Judaism (from the second century BCE on), the existing evidence demonstrates that individuals viewed resurrection as physical (i.e. bodily). Clearly some ancient Jews believed in other versions of the afterlife such as the immortality of the soul or the future exaltation of the spirit. In ancient paganism, texts from classical Greece, the Roman Republic and the Empire all envisioned cases of resurrection as physical. Given the semantics of ἀνίστημι and ἐγείρω and this ‘cultural encyclopedia’ of resurrection, one can conclude that Paul and his readers, Jewish or pagan, would have assumed that a tradition about the burial of Christ and his resurrection on the third day presupposed an empty tomb.”[18]

When defined in its cultural context it becomes almost incomprehensible to see how ἐγείρω could have indicated a spiritual resurrection. “Spirits do not rise from the dead in ancient Judaism, people do.”[19]

The question remains for some why Paul did not explicitly mention the empty tomb in this passage if this is what he was trying to teach. Cook answers this query succinctly, “Paul would have taken it for granted that the resurrection of Christ was inconceivable without an empty tomb. Consequently, according to the normal conventions of communication, he did not need to mention the tomb tradition”[20] Given the language used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:4, it is almost inconceivable to envision a risen Jesus without presupposing the empty tomb. “The early Christians who expressed their faith in the old traditional formula quoted by Paul in 1 Cor. 15:3-5 understood the resurrection of Jesus as the resurrection of the crucified and buried body of Jesus. Can we understand it any differently?”[21]

Finally, the burial and alleged resurrection of Jesus reported here require an empty tomb. Some Jews, like the Sadducees, rejected the idea of a physical resurrection. Yet the prevailing Jewish notion of resurrection was that of the Pharisees (of whom Paul was formerly a member), by which the resurrection was viewed in exclusively physical terms. The idea that there could have been a resurrection without an empty tomb is terribly modern; it is quite implausible that the original audience of the hymn recorded in 1 Corinthians 15 could have conceived of a non-physical resurrection.[22] Such a notion is a blatant contradiction. There simply had to be an empty tomb. Craig states, “Given the early date and provenance of this tradition, the drafters could not have believed such a thing were the tomb not empty.”[23] Insofar as the creed in 1 Corinthians 15 is trustworthy, we can conclude that early Christians believed that there was an empty tomb.

Inferential Reasoning for the Empty Tomb

When considering the case of evidence for the empty tomb, much of the reasoning used to suggest that the tomb was empty is inferential in nature. Having established the two earliest records of the empty tomb as reliable, there are many inferences that can be drawn from the details in the accounts that either reinforce their reliability, or the accuracy of the report. As to the validity of employing inferential reasoning for this investigation, we use inferential reasoning all the time when we’re trying to apprehend the best explanation of an event we cannot observe. This may be as simple as determining that a coworker stole a candy bar because the wrapper is in his trash can, or as complex as positing the existence of dark matter. Both cases are reasoned rather similarly, there is an extant cause (the candy bar is gone; the universe does not fly apart even though it does not have enough visible matter to hold it together) that requires an explanation. In both cases the explanation cannot be certain, but it can still be understood with a great deal of confidence. The empty tomb is no exception. None of the following reasons prove that the tomb was empty, but together they form a strong cumulative case that indicates the empty tomb is the best explanation of the available evidence.

There are no earlier competing burial stories

While this may seem intuitive at first, there are no other extant burial stories that predate Mark’s account. A competing burial accounts must be provided to give sufficient reason to doubt the empty tomb. Alternative burial accounts proposed by critical scholars otherwise seem to be founded in a desire to deny the empty tomb because of its implications. Furthermore, an outright denial of the current burial story requires an earlier account.[24] While historians must make educated guesses as to what occurred in the past often, they do not do so when there is a clear, multiply attested early historical record of what occurred. Furthermore, we have record of anti-Christian propaganda that was being spread in light of the purported resurrection in Matthew 28:11-15, so it is not at all improbable that an alternative burial account would have survived had it existed. The strongest conclusion that can be drawn from the existing evidence is that Jesus was buried as recorded in the gospels.

The Women Were Probably Eyewitnesses

The gospels unanimously list the first witnesses of the empty tomb as women. This is significant because for the twelve, all Jewish men, to go around and preach that they abandoned Jesus like cowards before his execution, but the disciples who were women stayed with him throughout the entire process up until they claimed he had risen, would have been incredibly embarrassing. Not only that, but it would mean that their message would be discounted by many. Women were viewed as inferior to men in first century Palestine, and their testimony was considered less valid in a court of law than a man’s testimony.[25] Because this would have been so negative at its inception, it is probable that it is true. As Stein states, “If the account of the empty tomb were simply a legend, why not make the witnesses men? It would appear more reasonable to conclude that the reason the Church did not make the witnesses to the empty tomb men was simply because the witnesses to the empty tomb on that Easter morning were in fact not men but women.”[26] Surely, men would have been the preferred witnesses of anyone in this society who was attempting to fabricate a credible story. “This report only makes sense if it reflected what actually happened.”[27]

However, this does not convince everyone. Bart Ehrman maintains that women were a facet of legendary development in the story. He is quick to point out that this discussion does not concern a law court, and that women made up a large constituency in the early church.

The first thing to point out is that we are not talking about a Jewish court of law in which witnesses are being called to testify. We’re talking about oral traditions about the man Jesus. But who would invent women as witnesses to the empty tomb? Well, for openers, maybe women would. We have good reasons for thinking that women were particularly well represented in early Christian communities… It does not take a great deal of imagination to think that female storytellers indicated that women were the first to believe in the resurrection, after finding Jesus’s tomb empty. Moreover, this claim that women found the empty tomb makes the best sense of the realities of history. Preparing bodies for burial was commonly the work of women, not men. And so why wouldn’t the stories tell of women who went to prepare the body? Moreover, if, in the stories, they are the ones who went to the tomb to anoint the body, naturally they would be the ones who found the tomb empty.[28]

Ehrman’s argument is threefold: the court testimony is irrelevant, through oral transmission female storytellers figuratively added themselves to the story, and women would have been the obvious choice to find the tomb empty first because anointing the body was a woman’s job in that time.

While Ehrman is correct that we are not speaking of a court, his statement is a red herring. The purpose is to show the misogynistic cultural perception that women were inherently untrustworthy. This attitude stemmed from a patristic culture and was not restricted to the courts; this is simply where this attitude was recorded. Second, due to cultural perception, the male disciples who were also telling the story of Jesus would have been terribly embarrassed by these women had they inserted this detail themselves. Had these female storytellers done so, it is unlikely that their male counterparts wouldn’t have corrected them. Moreover, this point is conjecture. There is no evidence to support this assertion. Dr. Ehrman’s third point is his most substantive, but it ignores the argument. If the story were fabricated, then the disciples would have wanted to make it credible beyond doubt. This is what liars do. Making women the primary witnesses would have been reason for pause to first century listeners whether or not they may be expected to perform this kind of work because they were not viewed as trustworthy. This would be foolish for anyone inventing the story to do, so it is more probable that women actually were the primary witnesses who accurately reported finding the tomb empty.

Preaching the Resurrection in Jerusalem

After Jesus’ death and purported resurrection, the Christian church grew rapidly into Africa, Asia, and Europe. This Christian explosion found its epicenter in Jerusalem with the apostolic proclamation that Jesus of Nazareth had risen from the dead. Now, if the burial story is historically reliable as our investigation thus far has indicated, then that means that the first Christians were preaching that Jesus had been raised in the town where he had been buried. Even if the burial story is inaccurate and he had been thrown into a common grave as some claim, Jesus’ final resting place would be known to some. So, a question presents itself, why did the early opponents of Christianity not produce Jesus’ body to crush the new Jewish heresy?

The simplest and most compelling answer is that the tomb was empty. Without the empty tomb the early church could not have even gotten off the ground, let alone exploded as we can see that it did historically.[29] The earliest Christian evangelists could not have preached an Easter faith if Jesus’ body was still present. It must be stated again that the Jews would not be able to conceive of the modern notion of a spiritual resurrection; this language necessitated a dead man be physically raised to life, an impossible event without an empty tomb.[30] [31] Craig continues:

Even if the disciples had preached Jesus’ resurrection despite his occupied tomb, scarcely anybody else would have believed them. One of the most remarkable facts about the early Christian belief in Jesus’ resurrection was that it flourished in the very city where Jesus had been publicly crucified. So long as the people of Jerusalem thought that Jesus’ body was in the tomb, few would have been prepared to believe such nonsense as that Jesus had been raised from the dead… If even no longer identifiable remains lay in the tomb where Jesus had been buried, the burden of proof would have lain upon the shoulders of those who said that these were not Jesus’ remains. But no such dispute over the identification of Jesus’ corpse ever seems to have taken place”[32]

Certainly, the idea that Christianity could have flourished in Jerusalem as it did with Jesus’ dead body in the tomb is almost unfathomable. Without the empty tomb, the infant church simply could not have preached the resurrection in Jerusalem.

Skeptics will often attempt to offer an alternative to this argument claiming that no one actually knew where the body was buried. Peter Kirby argues accordingly:

It is plain to see that the site of the tomb of Jesus would become a site of veneration and pilgrimage among early Christians regardless of whether it were occupied or empty. The factors of nagging doubt, pious curiosity, and liturgical significance would all contribute toward the empty tomb becoming a site of intense interest among Christians. Contrary to Dunn, and in agreement with Peter Carnley, the obvious explanation is that early Christians had no idea where Jesus was buried.[33]

To summarize Kirby’s argument, he claims that there are reasons to think that the tomb would have been venerated if its location was known, since it was not venerated, its location was not known. The difficulty is in the first premise of the argument as it ignores the cultural context. Jews were very sensitive to the idea idolatry and worshiping anything other than God. Venerating the tomb of Jesus would have bordered on making a graven image for these Jewish Christians. Moreover, Christians celebrated Jesus’ resurrection, not his burial.  Because of the nature of the church’s message, it should not be expected that the tomb be venerated as Jesus was the focus, not the tomb. Kirby’s argument may indicate that the tomb would be revisited, but he does not provide sufficient evidence to conclude that it must have been venerated if its location was known. The best conclusion remains that the location of the tomb was known and that the church’s preaching in Jerusalem required that it was empty.

The Earliest Jewish Explanation Presupposes the Empty Tomb

Matthews gospel, written to a primarily Jewish audience, contains a unique detail absent in the other three biographies. Matthew 28:11-15 preserves the Jewish polemic against the claim that Jesus rose from the dead. The account reports that the Jewish elite bribed the guards who were stationed at the tomb to tell people that the disciples conspired and stole the body by night. This means that the Jews knew the location of the tomb and had to explain the fact that it was empty. In an attempt to invalidate this line of reasoning, some critical scholars have claimed that this polemic was a late development, but this does not make sense. Stein argues:

It is difficult to understand why a Jewish polemic against the empty tomb would have arisen if the account of the empty tomb had developed as late as the critics claim. Later there would have been no point in arguing against this “legend” since so many things could have happened in the intervening years to nullify its validity. The development of such a polemic and the fact that it admitted the emptiness of the tomb indicates that the account of the empty tomb had from the very beginning an important place in the early Church’s proclamation of the resurrection”[34]

Therefore, it is safe to conclude that this explanation arose early, and that it arose to explain the empty tomb. As this is the case, “the early Jewish propaganda provides impressive evidence that Jesus’ tomb was empty.”[35]

Conclusion

In order to determine whether or not the empty tomb is historical, it must be shown that it is the hypothesis that best explains extant data. The empty tomb is independently attested in five sources, two of which draw from very early source material. Not only that, but the events surrounding the execution and alleged resurrection of Jesus lack an adequate explanation if the tomb was not in fact empty. There are no other burial stories to explain what happened to the body of Jesus, the female disciples were probably eyewitnesses to the empty tomb, the church could not have begun if Jesus’ body was still available, and the earliest Jewish polemic presupposed the empty tomb. This is a substantial amount of evidence for an event in ancient history. Habermas notes the opinions of other renowned scholars on the subject:

…most critical scholars still think that the tomb where Jesus was buried was later discovered to be empty. J. D. G. Dunn firmly states: “I have to say quite forcefully: the probability is that the tomb was empty. As a matter of historical reconstruction, the weight of evidence points firmly to the conclusion.” The alternative explanations are all worse. Historian Michael Grant explains that “the historian… cannot justifiably deny the empty tomb” since normal historical criteria attest that, “the evidence is firm and plausible enough to necessitate the conclusion that the tomb was indeed found empty.[36]

The evidence available for the empty tomb satisfies strict criteria. The best explanation of the facts is that Jesus was buried in a rich man’s tomb which was empty on Easter Sunday.

 

 

 

Bibliography

Barton, John, and John Muddiman, eds. The Gospels. Vol. Updated Selection. Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Bolt, Peter. “Mark 16:1-8: The Empty Tomb of a Hero?” Tyndale Bulletin 47, no. 1 (May 1996): 27–37.

Compton, Jared M. “Is the Resurrection Historically Reliable?” Bible and Spade (Second Run) 22, no. 4 (2009).

Cook, John Granger. “Resurrection in Paganism and the Question of an Empty Tomb in 1 Corinthians 15.” New Testament Studies 63, no. 01 (January 2017): 56–75.

Craig, William Lane. Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics. Third. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008.

———. The Son Rises: Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus. Kindle Edition. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2000.

Ehrman, Bart D. How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. Kindle Edition. HarperOne, 2014.

Fisher, Raymond. “The Empty Tomb Story in Mark: Its Origin and Significance.” Neotestamentica 33, no. 1 (1999): 59–77.

Geisler, Norman L. “A Critical Review of The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave.” Christian Apologetics Journal 5, no. 1 (2006).

Gromacki, Gary R. “The Historicity Of The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ.” Journal of Ministry and Theology 6, no. 1 (2002).

Habermas, Gary R. “The Case for Christ’s Resurrection.” In To Everyone an Answer: A Case for the Christian Worldview, 396. Kindle Edition. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004.

Licona, Michael. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. Kindle Edition. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2011.

López, René A. “Did Jesus Truly Die? Death Before Resurrection.” Journal of Dispensational Theology 16, no. 47 (2012).

McDowell, Josh. The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict: Evidence I & II Fully Updated in One Volume To Answer The Questions Challenging Christians in the 21st Century. Thomas Nelson, 1999.

Price, Robert M., and Jeffery Jay Lowder, eds. The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave. Prometheus Books, 2005.

Smith, Joseph J. “The Resurrection and the Empty Tomb.” Landas 20 (2006): 173–199.

Stein, Robert H. “Was the Tomb Really Empty?” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 20, no. 1 (1977).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Michael Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, Kindle Edition. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2011), 461-462.

[2] John Barton and John Muddiman, eds., The Gospels, vol. Updated Selection, Oxford Bible Commentary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).

[3] Robert H. Stein, “Was The Tomb Really Empty?,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 20, no. 1 (1977), 25.

[4] William Lane Craig, The Son Rises: Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus, Kindle Edition. (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2000), 52.

[5] Ibid, 51.

[6] René A. López, “Did Jesus Truly Die? Death Before Resurrection,” Journal of Dispensational Theology 16, no. 47 (2012).

[7] Joseph J Smith, “The Resurrection and the Empty Tomb,” Landas 20 (2006): 182.

[8] Stein, “Was the Tomb Really Empty?,” 26.

[9] Craig, The Son Rises, 75.

[10] Rudolf Bultmann, The History of the Synoptic Tradition, trans. John Marsh, 2d ed. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell), p. 274, as quoted in, Craig, The Son Rises, 52.

[11] Ibid, 77.

[12] Ibid, 53.

[13] Habermas, “The Case for Christ’s Resurrection,” 188.

[14] Craig, The Son Rises, 48.

[15] John Granger Cook, “Resurrection in Paganism and the Question of an Empty Tomb in 1 Corinthians 15,” New Testament Studies 63, no. 01 (January 2017): 57.

[16] Ibid, 58.

[17] Craig, The Son Rises, 67-68.

[18] Cook, “Resurrection in Paganism and the Question of an Empty Tomb in 1 Corinthians 15,” 57.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid, 74-75.

[21] Smith, “The Resurrection and the Empty Tomb,” 199.

[22] Craig, Reasonable Faith, 356-366.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Craig, The Son Rises, 60-61.

[25] Ibid, 61.

[26] Stein, “Was the Tomb Really Empty?,” 26.

[27] Habermas, “The Case for Christ’s Resurrection,” 188.

[28] Bart D. Ehrman, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee, Kindle Edition. (HarperOne, 2014), 166-167.

[29] Smith, “The Resurrection and the Empty Tomb,” 183-184.

[30] Craig, The Son Rises, 82.

[31] Stein, “Was The Tomb Really Empty?,” 25-26.

[32] Craig, Reasonable Faith, 361.

[33] Robert M. Price and Jeffery Jay Lowder, eds., The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave, Kindle Edition. (Prometheus Books, 2005), Loc. 3516-3518.

[34] Stein, “Was The Tomb Really Empty?,” 26.

[35] Craig, The Son Rises, 83.

[36] Habermas, “The Case for Christ’s Resurrection,” 189.

Ian Hunter

Ian is the Teaching Pastor at CityLight. He has a dog named Laura and a ficus named Rubin that he loves almost as much as his wife, Brittanie. He is currently pursuing two MA's and is obsessed with the Bible. In his spare time, he is on a mission to brew the perfect cup of coffee.

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