There are a minimum number of facts agreed upon by practically all critical scholars, whatever their school of thought. At least twelveseparate facts are considered to be knowable history.

(1) Jesus died by crucifixion and (2)was buried. (3)Jesus’ death caused the disciples to despair and lose hope, believing that his life was ended. (4)Although not as widely accepted, many scholars hold that the tomb in which Jesus was buried was discovered to be empty just a few days later. Critical scholars further agree that (5)the disciples had experiences which they believed were literal appearances of the risen Jesus. Because of these experiences,

(6) the disciples were transformed from doubters who were afraid to identify themselves with Jesus to bold proclaimers of his death and resurrection. (7)This message was the center of preaching in the early church and (8)was especially proclaimed in Jerusalem, where Jesus died and was buried shortly before.

As a result of this preaching, (9)the church was born and grew, (10)with Sunday as the primary day of worship. (11)James, who had been a skeptic, was converted to the faith when he also believed that he saw the resurrected Jesus. (12) A few years later, Paul was converted by an experience which he, likewise, believed to be an appearance of the risen Jesus.

These facts are crucial for our contemporary investigation of Jesus’ resurrection. With the exception of the empty tomb, virtually all critical scholars who deal with this issue agree that these are the minimum of known historical facts surrounding this event. As such, any conclusion concerning the historicity of the resurrection should properly account for these facts. An additional vital (and major) function of these known historical facts will be explained in the next section below.