One other example of the swoon theory in popular literature is Donovan Joyce’s The Jesus Scroll.^11 The thesis of this book, which contains an even more incredible string of improbabilities than Schonfield’s, will be left for a later section of this chapter. However, Joyce’s account of the swoon theory is discussed here.
For Joyce, Jesus was also planning his escape from death on the cross. Accordingly, he was drugged and the Roman soldiers did not examine Jesus too closely, perhaps because they had been bribed. Neither did they stab him in the side with a spear in order to insure his death. As a result, Jesus did not die on the cross. Rather, he was resuscitated in the tomb, apparently by a doctor who had been concealed inside ahead of time.^12
6 Ibid., p. 165.
7 Ibid., pp. 166–172.
8 Ibid., p. 6.
9 Ibid., p. 165; cf. pp. 171–173.
10 J.A.T. Robinson, Can We Trust the New Testament?, p. 15.
11 Donovan Joyce, The Jesus Scroll(New York: New American Library, 1972).
12 Ibid., pp. 106–110, 118.
This account of Jesus’ swoon likewise smacks of fictitious aspects, similar to both Schonfield and the eighteenth and nineteenth century attempts. The Fall of the Swoon Theory
The swoon theory was perhaps the most popular naturalistic theory against the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection in the early nineteenth century. But David Strauss, himself a liberal theologian, disproved this theory to the satisfaction of his fellow scholars.
Strauss raised a very important issue. Even if it was imagined that Jesus was able to survive Roman crucifixion, what could he do about the heavy stone in the entrance to the tomb? In his extremely weakened physical condition, could he move an object which even a healthy man would have a great problem with (according to tradition)? This would be even more difficult when it is remembered that the stone would have to be rolled uphill out of its gully. Additionally, the inside of the stone would provide no edge against which Jesus might at least use his weight to push. Then, even if he could have escaped from the tomb, could he walk the distance to the disciples’ hiding place after having his weight suspended on a Roman crucifixion spike just a short time previously?