The Empty Tomb

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    Craig, William L.

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    The Disciples' Inspection of the Empty Tomb

    "There are three alternatives concerning the relation of Luke and John's stories of the disciples' inspection of Jesus's empty tomb: (1) Luke is dependent upon John, (2) John is dependent upon Luke, or (3) Luke and John are dependent upon a common tradition. (1) is not a plausible hypothesis because in light of Luke 24:24, a later scribe borrowing from John would have had another disciple accompany Peter. (2) is not plausible in view of the non-Lukan elements in 24:12 which are characteristic of Johannine tradition. Moreover, good grounds exist for positing pre-Lukan tradition. (3) is most plausible in view of its ability to explain all the relevant data, the improbability of Luke's dependence on John, and the improbability of John's dependence on Luke."
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    Craig, William L.

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    The Historicity of the Empty Tomb of Jesus

    "An examination of both Pauline and gospel material leads to eight lines of evidence in support of the conclusion that Jesus's tomb was discovered empty: (1) Paul's testimony implies the historicity of the empty tomb, (2) the presence of the empty tomb pericope in the pre-Markan passion story supports its historicity, (3) the use of 'on the first day of the week' instead of 'on the third day' points to the primitiveness of the tradition, (4) the narrative is theologically unadorned and non-apologetic, (5) the discovery of the tomb by women is highly probable, (6) the investigation of the empty tomb by the disciples is historically probable, (7) it would have been impossible for the disciples to proclaim the resurrection in Jerusalem had the tomb not been empty, (8) the Jewish polemic presupposes the empty tomb."
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    Craig, William L.

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    The Guard at the Tomb

    "Of the canonical gospels, only Matthew relates the intriguing story of the setting of a guard at the tomb of Jesus (Mt. 27. 62-66; 28. 4, 11-1 5). The story serves an apologetic purpose: the refutation of the allegation that the disciples had themselves stolen Jesus' body and thus faked his resurrection. Behind the story as Matthew tells it seems to lie a tradition history of Jewish and Christian polemic, a developing pattern of assertion and counter-assertion...[T]he real value of Matthew's story is the incidental -- and for that reason all the more reliable -- information that Jewish polemic never denied that the tomb was empty, but instead tried to explain it away. Thus the early opponents of the Christians themselves bear witness to the fact of the empty tomb."
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    Craig, William L.

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    Reply to Evan Fales: On the Empty Tomb of Jesus

    "Evan Fales' curious hypothesis that the gospel narratives of the empty tomb are of the genre of mythology and so were not taken to be historical accounts by either their purveyors or their recipients is critically examined. Then Fales's responses to eleven lines of evidence supporting the historicity of the discovery of Jesus' empty tomb are considered."
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    Hays, Steve

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    This Joyful Eastertide: A Critical Review of The Empty Tomb

    "The Empty Tomb (hereafter ET) positions itself as a full-frontal assault on the Resurrection...Hence, it merits an extended review. In no small measure, the ET is not so much a direct attack on the evidence for the Resurrection as it is an attack on a particular school of apologetics centered on the person of William Lane Craig—with Richard Swinburne as the runner-up...In the ET we see the Secular Web join forces with the Jesus Seminar and Prometheus Books to deliver a mortal blow to the crowning doctrine of the Christian faith. This coordinated effort represents their best shot—as they give it all they’ve got. Their success or failure will say a lot about the intellectual resources of the Christian faith and the enemies of the Gospel respectively. If, having thrown everything at the Resurrection, the Resurrection rebounds unimpaired and even reinforced by the encounter, the vacuity and desperation of unbelief will be all the plainer."
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    Stein, Robert H.

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    Was the Tomb Really Empty?

    "...[The historicity of the empty tomb] has been challenged in recent years by the claim that the account...is a late tradition created by the early Church to help explain the resurrection appearances. According to this view it was the resurrection appearances that led to the view that the tomb must have been empty, not vice versa. The account of the empty tomb is therefore seen as completely secondary, an apologetic legend, unknown to Paul and of no significance in the apostolic preaching...There are, however, several powerful arguments that can be raised to support the fact that the Christian tradition of the empty tomb is very early and that the tomb in which the body of Jesus was placed was indeed empty."