(5)There is evidence that the man buried in the shroud was very possibly raised from the dead, such as the absence of decomposition, an apparent lack of unwrapping the body, and a probable scorch from a dead body. If the man in the shroud is Jesus, as indicated by the similarities in dissimilar areas pointed out in (2), then (4) becomes possible evidence for Jesus’ resurrection. Other Archaeological Data
A few additional finds bear on the historicity of Jesus, if only indirectly. The existence of the pools of Bethesda and Siloam “can be identified with certainty” due to archaeological discoveries.^29 Although the very existence of these two pools does not prove anything in Jesus’ life, it is still interesting that the Gospel of John associates one of Jesus’ healing miracles with each site (John 5:1–9; 9:1–41).
29 Bruce, Christian Origins, p. 188.
One other note concerns the historical existence of Pontius Pilate. Coins have been discovered, minted to honor Pilate’s rule, dated AD 30–31.^30 Additionally, an inscription containing his name was discovered at Caesarea.^31 Again, this does not prove anything specifically concerning Jesus. However, the historical connection between Pilate and the crucifixion of Jesus is well established by such ancient historians as Tacitus and Josephus.^32 Synopsis of Archaeological Sources
From these archaeological sources we learn numerous facts that are beneficial in a study of Christ’s life, especially with regard to his death and possibly his resurrection. But unless the shroud is Jesus’ burial cloth, the sources chiefly provide background information that helps verify the Gospel accounts.
Concerning the taxation-census reported in Luke 2, data from archaeological discoveries reveal several facts. Such processes were fairly common in the ancient Roman Empire, involving persons traveling to their own cities. This taxation-census began during Augustus’ reign (37 BC–AD 14) and continued to the third century AD, often at fourteen year intervals. One such taxation-census was apparently enacted at approximately the same time as Jesus’ birth.