Historical evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus
Here is something to think about. It comes from An Analytical Approach to the New Testament, by F. B. Rhein.
From that time on the men of Palestine who had been Christ's followers never wavered from the faith.... Off they went with burning urgency to tell the news to all the world. The Messiah had come. Truly the Kingdom of God was at hand.
Their lives were led for that end, and for that end alone. No amount of persecution could stop them.... Many were to find crosses of their own on which to hang. Some were torn apart by wild beasts in the arena. Others were burned alive, but the basic conviction remained unchanged.
Noel Coypel was born in Paris on Christmas Day in 1628. Noel followed in his father's footsteps and became a painter. He was employed to paint some pictures for the Louvre in Paris. His work was appreciated by influential people and eventually, after spending time as the director of the French Academy in Rome, he was appointed as the director of the Academy of Painting in Paris. His painting of the martyrdom of St James is considered to be his finest work. He died on the eve of his 79th birthday in 1707. His painting of the resurrection of Jesus depicts the synoptic story of the most important event in the Christian story.
The Romano-Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD) wrote about a number of people found in the New Testament writings. For instance, he discusses the activities of John the Baptist, Pontius Pilate, the Sadducees, the Sanhedrin, the High Priests and the Pharisees. There are two references to Jesus in the Antiquities. In Book 18, where he deals with the various actions of Pilate, Josephus makes the following statement about Jesus in a passage that has come to be known as Testimonium Flavianum:
Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day. (Jewish Antiquities 18.3.3)
You can learn more about Josephus by visiting http://bede.org.uk/Josephus.htm
Some research opportunities ...
Here are a few topics that you might like to consider for your research task:
- Who was Josephus and what contribution has he made to the story of Christianity?
- Assess the importance of art in spreading the Christian message.