Resurrection Appearances: Hallucinations or History?
Dr Gary R. Habermas, PhD, was
raised in a Christian home, but began having serious doubts about Christianity,
which fuelled his quest into various worldviews. The historicity of the
resurrection of Jesus clinched the deal for him. He is now Distinguished
Research Professor and Chair in the Department of Philosophy and Theology at
This chapter focuses on a single, crucial aspect of the New Testament report concerning the life of Jesus. We will concentrate on some of the grounds for the assertion that after his death Jesus appeared alive to his followers.
Critical studies have sometimes attempted to cover too much territory when dealing with the topic of Jesus’ resurrection. However, rather than highlight what many contemporary scholars think cannot be known about the New Testament testimony, I want to concentrate on the evidence that we do have. It is my contention that, arguing from an approach that emphasizes the minimal, best-established facts surrounding the appearances, we still have ample evidence to determine what really happened after Jesus’ death.
Probably a majority of contemporary critical scholars are impressed by the evidence that first-century Christians genuinely believed they had seen Jesus after his crucifixion. For example, after introducing the subject of Jesus’ resurrection, Reginald Fuller boldly asserts, “That within a few weeks after the crucifixion Jesus’ disciples came to believe this is one of the indisputable facts of history.” But what caused the disciples to believe? From earliest times it was claimed that Jesus appeared to his followers. Fuller concludes, “That the experiences did occur, even if they arc explained in purely natural terms, is a fact upon which both believer and unbeliever may agree.” In other words, while Fuller remains skeptical about many facets of the New Testament reports, he allows that the early followers of Jesus had some sort of actual experiences that they took to be grounds for their belief in Jesus’ resurrection. James D. G. Dunn is even more forceful. He thinks that “it is almost impossible to dispute” that the first Christians had “visionary experiences” that cannot be explained as less than the disciples’ belief that they had experienced actual appearances of the risen Jesus.
What is the basis for these comments? Why have the majority of contemporary critical scholars taken so seriously the New Testament assertion that Jesus’ followers claimed to have seen him alive after his death by crucifixion? Can these experiences be better explained by some naturalistic means? In this chapter I will begin by describing some background material. Then I will turn directly to a subject that is too seldom highlighted—the evidential basis for believing that Jesus actually appeared to his followers after his death. I propose a consideration of two main topics: the evidence that the earliest disciples’ experiences were visual in nature, and the feasibility of a naturalistic explanation for these experiences. In keeping with the major emphasis in contemporary thought, the testimony of the apostle Paul will be our chief source, but we will also note the corroboration of his testimony at every point by non-Pauline material.
The Earliest Christian Report: Some Background
It is not the purpose of this chapter to present in detail all of the relevant general background evidence for the conclusions reached here. Much of this material is available in specialized resurrection studies and elsewhere. I have set forth more fully my own conclusions on these matters in other publications, and numerous critical studies are in general agreement with me concerning the main outline of the relevant data. The material presented more concisely in this section is well evidenced, which largely accounts for its acceptance across a wide theological spectrum. Further, while the framework sketched here is certainly important, the repudiation of it would by no means entail that the main thesis of this chapter is specious, since there is more than one way to support that thesis. But space limitations alone require that we bypass the details of important background material in order to concentrate on the topic set for this chapter.
I begin by stating a handful of important conclusions reached by a majority of researchers. This is not meant to suggest that the conclusions of this chapter are based merely on the fact of this contemporary consensus. Many of the sources cited here provide an indication of the necessary argumentation for those who are interested.
1. There is little doubt, even in critical circles, that the apostle Paul is the author of the book 1 Corinthians. Rarely is this conclusion questioned.
2. For at least a few decades, the focus of critical attention in relation to Jesus’ resurrection appearances has been the text in 1 Corinthians 15:3ff. Virtually all scholars agree that in this text Paul recorded an ancient tradition(s) about the origins of the Christian gospel. Numerous evidences indicate that this report is much earlier than the date of the book in which it appears.
3. The vast majority of critical scholars concur on an extremely early origin for this report. Most frequently, it is declared that Paul received the formula between two and eight years after the crucifixion, around A.D. 32-38.
4. Researchers usually conclude that Paul received this material shortly after his conversion during his stay in Jerusalem with Peter and James (Gal 1:18-19), who are both included in Paul’s list of individuals to whom Jesus appeared (1 Cor 15:5, 7).
These preliminary conclusions are exceptionally important for our task in this chapter: to examine the basis for Jesus’ postdeath appearances to his followers. In the pre-Pauline formula of 1 Corinthians 15:3ff. alone we have an extraordinarily early tradition, arising within a very short time after the events themselves, reported by an apostle, who could very well have received it from other apostles who followed Jesus during his earthly ministry. Here, as I hope to show, is a significant pointer to the nature of those early experiences.
Contemporary scholars recognize the importance of 1 Corinthians 15:3ff. Historian Hans von Campenhausen writes of this text, “This account meets all the demands of historical reliability that could possibly be made of such a text.” A. M. Hunter repeats this assessment. After discussing this ancient tradition, C. H. Dodd emphatically declares, “The date, therefore, at which Paul received the fundamentals of the Gospel cannot well be later than some seven years after the death of Jesus Christ. It may be earlier.”
Corroboration of Paul’s Testimony
As already mentioned above, the majority of critical scholars (exemplified by Fuller and Dunn) rarely dispute the statement that the earliest Christians thought that Jesus had appeared to them after his death and resurrection. It is sometimes even said that this fact is as well established as any recorded in the New Testament. What data support such a conviction? We will begin by looking primarily at Paul’s teachings, providing four arguments in favor of the early apostolic belief that Jesus appeared to his followers. Even for those who doubt portions of the background data, there is still an excellent foundation for the authoritative nature of Paul’s report. At each of these points we will also see that Paul’s testimony is corroborated by non-Pauline material. (See table 1 for all nine points, including four Pauline arguments and five lines of argument from non-Pauline sources corroborating Paul’s testimony.)
1. Paul explains that he had received material that he, in turn, passed on to others, including a list of eyewitness appearances of Jesus to his disciples (1 Cor 15:3-7). If Paul received this data from Peter and James, as suggested above, this tradition is further corroborated by apostolic authority.
Another indication of this is provided by Paul’s testimony in Galatians 1:18-20. Describing his personal and lengthy visit with Peter in Jerusalem shortly after his conversion, Paul uses the term historēo, most likely indicating an investigative inquiry. William Farmer argues that the word in this context signifies that Paul cross-examined Peter. During this visit Paul also visited James (Gal 1:19). In any case, the immediate context suggests that the chief topic of conversation concerned the nature of the gospel (Gal 1:11-16), which included reference to Jesus’ resurrection (1 Cor 15:1-4). As Dodd declares, a maximum of “seven years after the crucifixion” Paul “stayed with Peter for a fortnight, and we may presume they did not spend all the time talking about the weather.”
We have additional confirmation of a lesser contention. There are several indications that the material in 1 Corinthians 15:3ff. does not originate with Paul. Jewish New Testament scholar Pinchas Lapide lists eight linguistic considerations suggestive of non-Pauline origin, agreeing with the virtually unanimous opinion of critical scholarship.
Our conclusions, then, do not rest exclusively on knowing the actual date and circumstances under which Paul received this tradition. That Paul learned it very early is assured, since the material minimally predates not only the writing of 1 Corinthians (about A.D. 55-57), but Paul’s initial trip to Corinth (about A.D. 51) when he first preached the facts of the gospel (15:1-3) only about twenty years after Jesus’ death. Further at the very least this report comes from a source that Paul considered to be authoritative. Otherwise, as an apostle himself; it would be more difficult to explain not only why Paul accepted it, but why he made it his central proclamation.
Therefore, if critical scholars are correct that Paul received the creedal material in I. Corinthians 15:3ff. from Peter and James in Jerusalem in the early 30s A.D., then we have strong evidence that the reported appearances of the risen Jesus came from the original apostles. But even if this scenario is rejected, we still know that the material predates Paul’s initial trip to Corinth in AD. 51, that it comes from a source that he considered to be authoritative, and that it was Paul’s central proclamation. In short, this tradition is very early and appears to be a reliable indicator that certain witnesses claimed that Jesus appeared to them after his death.
2. Strictly speaking, Paul did not even have to rely on the testimony of others, including the original apostles. He also believed himself to be an eyewitness to an appearance of the resurrected Lord, as he notes at the end of the formula (1 Cor 15:8; cf. 9:1).
Additional corroboration of Jesus’ appearance to Paul is contained in the three accounts of this event recorded in Acts (9:1-9; 22:1-11; 26:9-19). Although it cannot be pursued here, this event is strongly evidenced by a number of factors.
3. Fourteen years following Paul’s two weeks in Jerusalem with Peter, he returned to the city with the express goal of confirming the nature of the gospel he was preaching. While meeting with the apostolic leadership there (Peter, John and James the brother of Jesus), Paul was told that the content of his teaching was accurate (Gal 2:1-10).
According to Acts 15:1-35, a similar discussion took place about the nature of Paul’s gospel proclamation. Once again Peter and James the brother of Jesus were both involved; and once again the apostolic verdict was that Paul’s gospel preaching was accurate (vv. 7-21). Whether this is the same meeting described in Galatians 2 is debatable, but it makes little difference for our purposes. If it was the same meeting, then we have additional confirmation of Paul’s account of that meeting. If these are different events, then we have two very similar situations that confirm the main point. The accuracy of Paul’s gospel message was corroborated by the apostolic community.
4. After recounting the creed and listing key witnesses to the appearances of Jesus, Paul declared that all the other apostles were currently preaching the same message concerning Jesus’ appearances (1 Cor 15:11-15). In other words, we have it on Paul’s authority that these resurrection appearances were also being proclaimed by the original apostles.
Additional non-Pauline confirmation of this very point Comes from more than one source. Early creedal material contained in the beginning of Acts enjoys strong textual support. A number of critical scholars not several features indicating that these passages accurately represent the early Christian message. While some disagree, Dodd discerns “a large element of Semitism” and “a high degree of probability” for an Aramaic original, plus an absence of negative signs denoting a later stratum. Additionally, the messages are succinct and theologically unadorned, thereby evincing what many scholars think is an earlier layer of proclamation. These texts testify to several important details concerning Jesus’ resurrection, including group appearances. In almost every instance, a chief theme is that the disciples were “witnesses” to these sightings.
Another indicator of the appearances to the original apostles is the Gospel accounts. Although these cannot be defended here, there are good reasons to trust these texts. Even from a critical viewpoint, it can be shown that several of the appearance narratives report early tradition, as Dodd argues after a careful, analytical study. He contends that the appearance narratives in Matthew 28:8-10, 16-20 and John 20:19-21, and, to a lesser extent, Luke 24:36-49, are based on early material. The remaining Gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection appearances are lacking in typical mythical tendencies and likewise merit careful consideration.
Here we have nine indications that the apostles testified that Jesus appeared to them after his resurrection from the dead. Our information comes from apostles (or individuals close to them) who were authoritative eyewitnesses. A few critics have resisted even this guarded conclusion. Donald Viney charges that there is no eyewitness testimony for Jesus’ appearances except Paul’s and that Paul nowhere states that what he saw was physical in nature. But Viney has several hurdles to overcome.
On one level, if any of the following scenarios obtain, we would have additional eyewitness material beyond Paul: (1) if Paul received the creedal material in its present form from Peter, James or any other apostle (on this point alone, asserts Lapide, the data is strong enough that it “may be considered as a statement of eyewitnesses”); (2) if the creedal passages of Acts accurately represent apostolic preaching of the gospel facts; and (3) if any of the individual appearance pericopes in the four Gospels came from eyewitnesses, especially if the particular book itself was actually written by an apostle or was significantly influenced by one.
An additional point should also be raised here. Regardless of whether the New Testament writings are authored by eyewitnesses, K. T. France argues that such an approach is actually unnecessary. Rather, we need to judge the texts by the same criteria as those used in ancient historiography, where researchers are more interested in having early sources that are supported by strong tradition. As we have seen, this is certainly the case with the data for Jesus’ resurrection appearances, such as we find in 1 Corinthians 15 :3ff. a text that historian Hans von Campenhausen states “meets all the demands of historical reliability that could possibly be made.”
Further, Viney admits that we do have Paul’s eyewitness report but downplays Paul’s testimony because we do not have the apostle’s description of any physical appearance. Later we will consider briefly the form of Jesus’ appearances, but it must be emphasized here that establishing that Jesus appeared in a physical form is secondary to showing that he actually appeared in some form. So Viney must still account for Paul’s own eyewitness testimony, which is a challenge in itself.
Finally, though the number of eyewitness descriptions is important, this is secondary to the truthfulness of the reports. Therefore, Viney would have to show not only that we lack eyewitness testimony (which he does not even deny), but that absolutely none of the nine evidences produced in this section is capable of providing any probable testimony for the resurrection appearances. In brief, he must disqualify all nine evidences in order to show that there are no credible historical arguments.
Michael Martin objects that we do not know how Paul received his information, that it comes too many years later, and that we have no reason to think that he or any other witness is trustworthy. But I have already noted several strong reasons to think that Paul received his data from credible sources. At the least, the creedal material is early, is of central importance, and is presented on Paul’s authority, a witness whose authenticity Martin acknowledges. That we do not, perhaps, know everything on the subject is no reason to denigrate what we do know. Martin is mistaken about our having insufficient details at this point. What we know must still be explained.
I have also pointed out that it is not even necessary to know the precise time and circumstances of this creedal information in order to make our case. Even if virtually all scholars who address this issue are mistaken, the date of Paul’s trip to Corinth is only about twenty years after Jesus’ death. This is early enough for the recall of important experiences, especially those as crucial as this. Paul’s early recollection qualifies as credible evidence. In this regard, Martin is even more clearly incorrect.
Like Viney, Martin can only disregard the trustworthiness of the appearance testimony if he can disallow each of the above nine argument for these events, since they explicitly deal with the element of reliability To repeat, the primary issue is whether we have credible material, for whatever reasons. While critics often doubt the Gospel accounts, even the remainder of the material is very difficult to disregard. What are the chances that it is incorrect at every point? But while the individual evidences are strong, the cumulative force is still greater. This point is even more compelling because Martin also admits that Paul was an eyewitness to a post resurrection appearance, that he was sure that Jesus was risen, and that the early Christians also proclaimed this event.
To conclude this section, four of the arguments for Jesus’ resurrection appearances come from Paul: his early reception of the creedal account, the appearance to Paul himself, his testimony that his message was given the stamp of approval by other apostles, and his own confirmation of their appearance reports. In short, the Pauline data arc strong. Seemingly few, if any, scholars hold that Paul was totally mistaken on all four counts. As Dodd summarizes, “Thus Paul’s preaching represents a special stream of Christian tradition which was derived from the main stream at a point very near to its source.” As a result, “Anyone who should maintain that the primitive Christian Gospel was fundamentally different from that which we have found in Paul must bear the burden of proof.”
Corroboration for each of these four Pauline arguments comes from the detailed literary evidence that 1 Corinthians 15:3ff. is pre-Pauline, the three Acts accounts of Paul’s conversion, the apostolic confirmation of Paul’s gospel message in Acts 15, and the primitive texts in Acts. In addition, we have the Gospel accounts, taken either as a whole or in the individual appearance narratives. Concerning the Acts creeds alone, Dodd concludes that we have the essential apostolic preaching of the gospel from the early Jerusalem church, including their attestation to Jesus’ resurrection appearances.
A Naturalistic Solution?
How can these nine assorted strands of information best be combined and explained? It is perhaps no wonder that most critical scholars think that the disciples’ experiences were visual in nature. This is clearly what was claimed, and no other conclusion satisfies all of the data. Dunn comments, “It is almost impossible to dispute that at the historical roots of Christianity lie some visionary experiences of the first Christians, who understood them as appearances of Jesus, raised by God from the dead.” At the very least, the apostles believed that they had seen the risen Jesus. Even Rudolf Bultmann asserted that historical criticism canconfirm “the fact that the first disciples came to believe in the resurrection with this faith being expressed in the form of appearances of the risen Lord. To repeat Fuller’s earlier comment: “That Jesus’ disciples me to believe this is one of the indisputable facts of history. . . a fact upon which both believer and unbeliever may agree.”
It is not difficult to recognize widespread agreement on these points. Historian Michael Grant thinks that an examination can actually prove that the earliest witnesses were convinced that they had seen the risen Jesus. As Carl Braaten contends, even skeptics conclude that the earliest believers thought the Easter appearances were real events in space and time. Wolfhart Pannenberg concurs: “Few scholars, even few rather critical scholars, doubt that there had been visionary experiences.”
Subjective visions. So the next question is, Can naturalistic solutions adequately account for all the facts? Because of the strength of the appearance data, we will not here entertain any such proposal unless it is specifically directed at least to the disciples’ belief that they had seen the risen Jesus. Actually, the majority of hypotheses are not directly concerned with this aspect. The thesis that is most clearly aimed at providing a naturalistic explanation for the disciples’ conviction that they had seen the risen Jesus is the hallucination (or subjective vision) theory. After conceding the disciples’ belief in Jesus’ resurrection and its expression in terms of appearances, Bultmann observed that some might explain these as subjective visions. Yet he concluded that historical interest in the discovery of a cause is misplaced.
But can hallucinations (or other subjective phenomena) adequately explain the facts? Even a brief critique is sufficient to reveal some of the significant problems that have signaled the failure of these attempts. Hallucinations are private events. However, I have already mentioned Jesus’ appearances to groups of people. Further, while a hallucination generally is rooted in one’s own hopeful expectations, the disciples despaired after the death of Jesus and did not expect him to rise; they had to be convinced that he was raised. Another major problem for this suggestion is that Jesus showed himself to a variety of persons, both individually and in groups, at several times, places, and in different circumstances. To think that all of those persons were automatically candidates for hallucinatory experiences multiplies the improbable, bordering on naiveté.
Additionally, it is very unlikely that hallucinations could inspire the radical personal transformation of the disciples, even to the point of being willing to die for their faith. And what about the family skeptic, Jam the brother of Jesus, and Paul, the persecutor of Christians? Did these two unbelievers long to envision the risen Jesus? Nor do hallucinations explain the empty tomb, so some other theory is needed here. Not surprisingly, numerous critical scholars of varied theological perspectives have voiced their displeasure with these hypotheses of subjective influence. Pannenberg concludes that “these explanations have failed to date.”
Comparatively few scholars today pursue the naturalistic theories that were so prevalent a century ago. This point is emphasized, not to deny that one might be revived from time to time, but only to show that it is generally conceded that the known facts are sufficient to refute these alternative views. Dunn explains that “alternative explanations of the data fail to provide a more satisfactory explanation.” In fact, these attempts are frequently even castigated by scholars. Raymond Brown proclaims that “the criticism of today does not follow the paths taken by the criticism of the past. No longer respectable are the crude theories of fraud and error popular in the last century.”
Objective visions. Today critical scholars most often allow that Jesus actually appeared, but they propose that this appearance occurred in some nonphysical fashion. This view should be very carefully distinguished, however, from the hypotheses of subjective influence discussed in the previous section, for here Jesus is still thought to have been literally revealed in some real sense, though the exact form of this manifestation is often unspecified. The appearances are frequently said (at a minimum) to have included an experience of light phenomena plus an impartation of meaning and mission, where Jesus was understood to be translated to an eternal, eschatological realm.
This view is not another naturalistic alternative, but an appeal beyond nature, usually in terms of the eternal or eschatological realm breaking into time. For example, Hans Grass concludes that the apostles actually saw Jesus. The quite literal (though noncorporeal) resurrection appearances were of divine origin, imparting the truth of the living Lord. Interestingly, a major reason why scholars hold that these visions are objective is precisely because of the untenability of the hallucination hypothesis.
Although we cannot critique the objective-vision view here in all the detail it deserves, even the limited material presented so far argues against it. For instance, it is difficult to think that Paul has a noncorporeal view in mind when he relates Jesus’ appearance to the five hundred at one time (1 Cor 15:6), much less to other groups (15:5, 7). Further, one of the Acts creeds (10:35-43), which Dodd says makes the best case for an Aramaic original, clearly discusses a group appearance where Jesus ate with his disciples. This is an unlikely practice for a disembodied vision! Moreover, the type of evidence we find in the Gospels, including individual, well-evidenced pericopes, strongly supports the bodily nature of Jesus’ appearances.
A more forceful argument for the literal physical resurrection and in-the-flesh appearances is that Paul’s anthropology strongly favors a corporeal resurrection body. After an intricate and authoritative treatment of the subject, Robert Gundry has concluded that “the raising of Jesus from the dead was a raising of his physical body.” His own study of the same subject brought John A. T. Robinson to a similar conclusion concerning Jesus’ resurrection body:
All the appearances, in fact, depict the same phenomenon, of a body identical yet changed, transcending the limitations of the flesh yet capable of manifesting itself within the order of the flesh. We may describe this as a “spiritual” (1 Cor. 15:44) or “glorified” (cf. I Cor. 15:43; Phil. 3:21) body . . . so long as we do not import into these phrases any opposition to the physical as such.
Finally, the empty tomb presents special problems for the noncorporeality thesis. The most obvious conclusion is that the same body that died had also been raised and had appeared to the early believers. (See chapter fifteen by William Lane Craig for more about the significance of the empty tomb.) Although it is not possible to discuss further the exact nature of Jesus’ resurrection body, enough has already been said to yield some insight into the matter. The same texts that argue for the appearances also indicate a bodily resurrection. But the chief purpose of this chapter has been to argue for the reality of Jesus’ resurrection appearances as actual examples of New Testament miracles, rather than to characterize their exact nature. As strange as it may seem, those who opt for objective visions agree that Jesus really did appear to his followers.
Accordingly, it is insufficient merely to speak in terms of popular slogans like “Something occurred to the disciples but we do not know what,” or “Jesus lives on” only through his teachings. These and other related views fail to explain what happened to Jesus himself and are discredited by the historically ascertainable data. As Dunn reminds us:
There is no justification for reducing the meaning of “the resurrection of Jesus” to something like “the continuing significance of Jesus” or “the disciples’ realization that Jesus’ message could not die.” By “resurrection” they clearly meant that something had, happened to Jesus himself. God had raised him, not merely reassured them. He was alive again.
Most critical scholars think either that the resurrection can be accepted by faith as an actual occurrence or that some sort of appearances (abstract or bodily) must be postulated as the historical cause for the disciples’ belief. While it is usually thought that Jesus actually appeared in some sense, the belief that Jesus rose in a physical body is a minority view. Still, I have noted a few of the reasons one might have for holding that Jesus rose in a transformed but still physical body.
In the previous sections the focus has been, respectively, on the two complementary topics set forth at the outset. First, nine lines of historical argument (four Pauline and five non-Pauline) indicate that the earliest disciples actually had visual experiences that they concluded were appearances of the risen Jesus. At the very least, virtually all scholars have concluded from the data that this is their own testimony concerning what they believed had happened to them.
Second, the facts discredit naturalistic theories, which are inadequate explanations of the facts. Only hallucinations (or related theories of subjective influence) even directly address the multifaceted approach taken here. Yet there are numerous roadblocks preventing this thesis from being a viable explanation of the apostles’ experiences.
What happens when the apostles’ visual experiences are juxtaposed with the failure of alternative accounts to explain the specific data? Many resurrection studies concern cognate issues, distracting attention away from the central matters discussed in this chapter. But when we concentrate on just the two topics investigated here, we find that the disciples’ testimony is best explained by their actually having witnessed appearances of the risen Jesus. No other explanation adequately accounts for all the facts.
This discussion has concentrated on the historical facts that can be verified by critical procedures. The four arguments based on Paul’s testimony are well supported by data and are rarely challenged by New Testament researchers. Moreover, of the five corroborative, non-Pauline considerations treated here, two are particularly impressive: the literary evidence for the resurrection creed in 1 Corinthians 15:3ff., and the creedal confessions from Acts. While the other non-Pauline contentions arc not always as widely recognized, these six can even bear the weight of the argument and have yet to be discredited. The remaining three, however, must also be answered.
Critical scholars like to emphasize what we cannot know about the New Testament narratives. But it is illuminating to concentrate on what can be positively concluded from these sources. Questions concerning other portions of the New Testament ‘should not be allowed to vitiate these conclusions.
It has been shown in this chapter that the disciples truly believed and taught that the risen Jesus appeared to them. Further, beyond our nine arguments, numerous additional evidences also indicate that there actually were such appearances. Examples of the latter have barely been mentioned in this chapter. They include the transformation of the earliest apostles, especially when they were willing to die specifically for the proclamation of the resurrection, the fact that this message was their central tenet and therefore subject to more intense scrutiny both by themselves and unbelievers, as well as the facts in favor of the empty tomb. But on the other hand, naturalistic theories—such as the subjective-vision hypothesis—are discredited by the data.
The visual claims of the earliest eyewitnesses are therefore vindicated: the most likely explanation is that the same Jesus who had recently died had been raised from the dead and had actually appeared to his followers, both individually and in groups. The data show that the disciples witnessed actual appearances of the risen Jesus, which they faithfully reported in a historically ascertainable fashion.
© R. Douglas Geivett & Gary R. Habermas 1997
Source: Taken from In Defense of Miracles edited by R. Douglas Geivett and Gary R. Habermas, Apollos (1997). Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426 www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/code=1528