Summary and Conclusion

This chapter has presented perhaps our strongest category of evidence, especially for the death and resurrection of Jesus. Admittedly, the amount of material concerning the life and ministry of Jesus before his death was not overwhelming. However, when we enter the “passion week” of Jesus’ life prior to his crucifixion and afterwards, the situation changes drastically.

The strength of the testimony for Jesus’ death and resurrection comes from several facets of the evidence. First, the material in this chapter was quite early. These early Christian traditions predate the writing of the New Testament and hence give us our earliest look at data dealing with the life of Jesus. In the case of 1 Corinthians 15:3ff. and the Acts creeds (along with a few other examples), this material dates within a few years of the actual events. This is not disputed by the critical community.