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Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Figment?: A Debate Between William Lane Craig & Gerd Ludemann Paperback – November 24, 2000
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About the Author
Paul Copan (PhD, Marquette University) is the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University. His books include The Gospel in the Marketplace of Ideas, An Introduction to Biblical Ethics, Creation Out of Nothing, Did God Really Command Genocide? and Holy War in the Bible. He previously served with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and taught at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois.
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by Billy Powell, Fort Valley, Georgia
They note, "At the time of the debate, Lüdemann considered himself to be a Christian theologian... Lüdemann now... has come to embrace an atheistic, human-centered spirituality." (Pg. 9; see pg. 161 for his own beliefs.) [Lüdemann is also author of Jesus After 2000 Years,The Great Deception: And What Jesus Really Said and Did,What Really Happened to Jesus,The Resurrection Of Christ,Virgin Birth?, etc.]
Craig said, "hallucinations fail to explain why the disciples came to believe in Jesus' RESURRECTION from the dead. As projections from the mind, hallucinations can't contain anything that's not already in the mind. So if the disciples were to project hallucinations of Jesus, they would have projected him in Paradise, where the righteous dead went and awaited the resurrection at the end of the world... Thus, the hallucination theory has weak explanatory power..." (Pg. 50)
Lüdemann argues, "Dr. Craig is looking at the resurrection stories as a single piece of evidence. He is combining Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and even Paul. I would suggest a different procedure---that we start with the Pauline witness, which presupposes a visionary appearance... And that visionary experience was later replaced by the stories that you read. I have a simple explanation for why Luke is telling such a story... Luke is writing when there are conflicting theories and opinions of Christians... that the resurrection was not a bodily resurrection but a spiritual resurrection." (Pg. 54)
Robert Gundry argues, "if Jesus' enemies buried him, they must have known the location of his tomb. Only if his disciples had buried him and kept the location secret from his enemies could the latter have been unable to point out a tomb containing Jesus' corpse... What Lüdemann does instead is to suggest that the disciples did not start preaching Jesus' resurrection till so much later than his death... that 'you wouldn't see much left [of the body].' But you would see something, at least the skeleton... So Craig's question retains its force: Why did the enemies of Jesus not squelch the message of resurrection by exposing his remains?" (Pg. 114)
Roy Hoover points out, "[Paul] appears to regard his vision of the risen Jesus to be of the same character and significance as the visions of the others whom he names as witnesses to the resurrection. Second, he makes no reference to the empty tomb... It seems reasonable to infer from Paul's remarks in this passage that a vision of the risen Jesus constitutes the primary experiential datum of the resurrection, not a report of the empty tomb." (Pg. 129) Lüdemann also adds, "Paul did not use the tradition of the empty tomb, though he could have benefited from it in his argument with Corinthian Christians who were unable to think of the resurrection of Jesus in bodily terms." (Pg. 153)
This exchange is one of the best available between liberals/progressives and evangelicals; it will be of great value to folks on ALL sides of the theological spectrum.