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The Resurrection of Jesus: History or Hallucination?

William Lane Craig Gerd L�demann

Formats: DVD

Item# VER-52
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William Lane Craig, a Christian theist who holds doctorates in both philosophy and theology, presents the case for the historicity of the resurrection, while Gerd L�demann, an atheist New Testament scholar, defends the view that the �resurrection� was based on the guilt-induced visionary experiences of the disciples. Held at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California, this debate is not the first time that L�demann and Craig have crossed swords. Their first debate was held at Boston College and was so successful that Intervarsity Press published the transcript of the debate along with several responses by prominent experts in the field. Their Cal Poly debate takes up the question of Jesus� resurrection anew and reflects the further developments in their thinking about this vital issue.

Certainly, the origin of the disciples� extraordinary belief in a resurrected Christ had to arise somehow. Modern critics agree that it is quite obvious sane men would not go willingly to their deaths for an idea or fact that they believed was a lie. Therefore, two options are available: either Christ truly rose from the dead and physically appeared to the disciples, or his dead body disappeared from the grave and the post-mortem appearances that the disciples saw were hallucinations brought on by the anxiety of their Messiah�s death. Dr. William Craig begins his defense of the physical re-embodiment of Christ by stating four widely accepted facts about the death and resurrection. 1) Jesus was buried by Joseph of Arimathea 2) on the following Sunday the tomb was found empty 3) on multiple occasions and under varying circumstances witnesses saw Jesus alive and 4) the original disciples came to believe and were willing to go to their deaths for Jesus� resurrection. Building on this foundation Craig asks, �What is the most plausible explanation for these data?� Craig supports the view that God raising Jesus from the dead is the best explanation and as proof cites six historical test criteria that this explanation meets. On the other hand, he argues, the hallucination theory does not shape up to par in explanatory scope, explanatory power, or plausibility. Dr. L�demann founds his argument on the view that the resurrection accounts were meant to be taken only as legend and were based on Jewish myth and tradition. He claims that the disciples were only talking about a �spiritually resurrected Jesus� and that there is no evidence to support the physical re-embodiment of Christ. Dr. L�demann agrees with Dr. Craig�s first point, but is quite skeptical about women finding Jesus� tomb empty. He argues the �wrong tomb� theory among others to try to explain away Jesus� missing body. He also notably argues for a �guilt complex� to explain away Paul�s conversion. The debate holds three rounds for each speaker, and the video ends with a lengthy question and answer session from the audience. William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California. He is the author of Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology; Assessing the New Testament Evidence for the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus; Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview; and his signature book, Reasonable FaithGerd L�demann is Professor of New Testament at the University of Gottingen in Germany. He is the author of The Resurrection of Jesus, What Really Happened to Jesus, and Opposition to Paul in Early Christianity.

Approximately 1 hour

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