Sunday, February 6, 2011

Update on "Was Jesus Raised" Series

I've been reading a lot lately on various issues surrounding the resurrection of Jesus. So here's an update:

1. I will no longer be attempting a formal Bayesian analysis of the case for the resurrection. As was recently pointed out to me by someone, the calculations that would be involved in such a thing would be incredibly complicated. For example, Bayes' Theorem requires that the hypotheses in question are mutually exclusive and exhaustive. The hallucination theory, commonly called upon to explain the post-mortem "appearances" of Jesus, isn't mutually exclusive with the resurrection theory. It could be that some people hallucinated a Jesus while others actually did see the genuine risen Jesus.

The angle I'm going to take is that the resurrection theory isn't necessary to explain any of the evidence that we have and that other theories (such as hallucinations) are not wildy unlikely and do a fine job of explaining the evidence. Calculations won't be done, however, I think it will be quite clear that if someone ever did take up the task of making them, the resurrection hypothesis would not almost certainly not come out with any considerable probability. One note: If there is anyone who is an expert in Bayes' Theorem and would care to undertake the task of helping me figure out the right numbers to put in, I would love to do so, I've pretty well gathered the data already that would allow someone skilled in Bayesian analysis to figure out how to use. The results of such an effort would make a great paper to submit to a journal of philosophy. But unless I hear from someone interested in such a thing, the effort can't get off the ground.

2. I have a number of books on my amazon wishlist that I think would greatly contribute to this discussion. Some of these books feature contributions from Christians who argue for the resurrection, such as:

Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Figment?: A Debate Between William Lane Craig & Gerd Ludemann

How Did Christianity Begin?: A Believer and Non-Believer Examine the Evidence

Resurrection Reconsidered

If you're a Christian who wants a chance to convert me, and if you're willing to spare four to eight dollars to purchase a used book that might do the trick, then by all means, feel free. All of these books are on my amazon wishlist and purchasing it from that list ensures the book will make it to my mailbox.

Alternately, if you're a secular person who wants to see my examination of the resurrection be as well-informed as possible, any of the Jesus books on my wishlist would help (especially the ones I just listed).


strawdog said...

Have you already read Gerd Lüdemann's 'The Resurrection of Christ' then?

AIGBusted said...

Hi strawdog,

No, I don't have Ludemann's "Resurrection". I figured getting his debate with Craig might alert me to how much of Ludemann's hypothesis I agree or disagree with, since it is done in dialogue with an opponent.