Last Sunday evening, I finished my three-part class, “Reason to Believe,” by examining remaining alternative theories that purport to explain the events of Easter Sunday and its aftermath. Last week we discussed the conspiracy theory, the idea that the disciples had conspired to steal the body and convince the world that Jesus had been resurrected. This week, we looked at the following alternatives:
- Wrong tomb: that the disciples discovered the wrong tomb, which was empty, and believed on that basis that Jesus was resurrected
- Apparent death or “swoon theory”: that Jesus didn’t really die on the cross but recovered in the tomb
- Psychological phenomena: that the disciples, grief-stricken and guilty that they had let their teacher die, experienced hallucinations of Jesus, and believed that he had been resurrected; or they were deluded into thinking that Jesus had returned from the dead, perhaps under the influence of Peter’s leadership.
- Pagan influences: that the disciples had borrowed motifs from pagan religions about dying and rising gods, and applied them to the life and death of Jesus—if Jesus were even an historical person.
“Reason to Believe,” Week 1 is here.
“Reason to Believe,” Week 2 is here.