There is remarkably little dispute about the teachings of Jesus as found in the list above.^5 That Jesus’ central message was the Kingdom of God and the entrance requirements is rarely questioned, even by critics. That this is his chief theme is
4 For a detailed case arguing for Jesus’ unique claims concerning his deity and their corroboration, see Miethe and Habermas, chapter 27.
5 See Norman Anderson, The Teachings of Jesus(Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1983).
significant in light of his resurrection, for if Jesus was raised from the dead, confirmation is provided regarding the truthfulness of his most important teaching.^6
The Death of Jesus
Of all the events in Jesus’ life, more ancient sources specifically mention his death than any other single occurrence. Of the 45 ancient sources, 28 relate to this fact, often with details. Twelve of these sources are non-Christian,^7 which exhibits an incredible amount of interest in this event.
Not only is Jesus’ death by crucifixion of major concern to these authors, but 14 of the 28 sources give various details about the crucifixion, from medical observations to political information concerning the current rulers, to historical specifications of the times in which Jesus died, to religious details about the reason for his death. These data witness to the facticity of Jesus’ death by crucifixion, regarding both the reality of the event itself, as well as numerous details surrounding it. It is fair to assert that this is one of the best-attested facts in ancient history.
After Jesus’ death, he was buried. This fact is not only strongly confirmed by five different sources,^8 but is generally a normal consequence of dying. The Resurrection of Jesus