2.Miracle-claims and historical investigation

The second major problem with this approach is the common assumption that miracle-claims cannot be investigated by historical methodology at all. Often the charge is made that miracles belong in the realm of religious faith and, as such, are out of the reach of the tools of historical or any other investigation.^43

It should be repeated that it is not the purpose of this book to determine if a miracle, as an act of God, has actually occurred. Our intention is to investigate the life of Jesus in general, and his resurrection in particular, according to historical standards. We are asking about the historical basis that we have for these events, not whether God performed any certain occurrences. For such a philosophical investigation of the resurrection as an actual miracle, which is an entirely appropriate study, the interested reader is referred to Habermas’, The Resurrection of Jesus: An Apologetic.^44

As indicated in Appendix 1, we distinguish between a miracle-claimand a miracle. We can historically investigate the Christian claim that Jesus was raised from the dead without, in this present study, raising the attendant question of whether it is a miracle caused by God in a theistic universe. Nonetheless, the historical question of the resurrection is quite important even by itself, for ifa miracle did literally occur, it did so in the time-space realm. Our approach will be to examine the historical side of the claim that Jesus was raised. Did Jesus, after dying on the cross by crucifixion, appear to his followers alive? This is our major focus.

Therefore, the charge that historical methodology cannot take us all the way to the conclusion that a miracle has actually occurred is a worthwhile concern. But this