Thursday, October 25, 2012

Did Jesus raise from the dead? Michael Licona and Dale Martin Debate

Recently there was a debate held at Saint Mary's University in Nova Scotia on the topic of the resurrection of Jesus. On the side arguing for the historical veracity of the resurrection is Michael Licona from Houston Baptist Seminary who is an evangelical apologist. On the other side is Dale Martin from Yale University who is a New Testament scholar.

It is an interesting debate, but I think you will find that both of these gentleman are coming at the topic from very different perspectives and are talking past each other.

The first hour consists of each giving a 30 minute presentation followed by a 30 minute discussion and then 15 minutes of questions from the audience.

HT: Brian Leport


  1. Dale says (and I paraphrase): "The only things the gospels agree on is that Jesus rose from the dead, and that he did it on the third day."

    I'm not sure I'd even grant the "third day" thing. Dying Friday night and rising late Saturday or early Sunday is a day and a half at best.

    1. Paul,

      The "third day" doesn't necessarily mean "after" three days, but on the third. In other words, the whole crucifixion, burial, resurrection event happened over the course of three days. But I would agree with you that the calculations are not as clear as they are sometimes presented.


    2. I think that's really stretching it, especially if Jewish tradition considered the day to begin at sundown, making Sunday the "second day" (and the tomb could have become empty any time before that).

      To make matters worse, Matthew 12:40 predicts three full days and nights of burial. If the gospel writers even intended to write a literal historical account, they would have had Mary (or whoever) visiting the tomb on Tuesday.

      Mind you, I love the gospels and the Bible, inconsistencies and all. I just don't have much patience for apologetics any more. Licona in particular seems to bend over backwards to deny the obvious implications of his copious scholarly knowledge.

    3. I will agree with you on all scores. However, if Friday is day 1, Saturday is day 2 then the third day is Sunday. But yes, Matthew does indicate 3 days there. As I said, the calculations are not as clear as they are sometimes presented.

  2. In the ANE culture,when they said things like "3 days and 3 nights", it did not imply the inference of 3 24 hour days as we do.

    I suppose it could have meant that, but,there are lots of biblical examples where "day" does not mean 24 hours.

    Sometimes it means an era. "The great and terrible day of The Lord". Based on your eschatological views, that "day" lasted 7 years from 66-73 AD or will be 7 years sometime in the future.

    The bible is full of these types of "non western", non literalisms.

    IMO, "3 days and 3 nights" and "on the 3rd day" are synonyms in ANE Jewish parlance. It can be 3 full days and nights or parts of each in their culture.