I read your article "Evidence that Jesus Didn't Become the Christ Till Centuries Later?" You cited two or three historians but no eye-witness accounts. I wonder if you can provide me with an eye witness account of someone (e.g. Pontius Pilate) who was alive at the time of the resurrection and within five years wrote an account of that (considering people forget details and add details with time). I understand that the gospels cannot be taken as eye-witness accounts as the first one wasn't written till maybe 40 years after Jesus' death, and supposedly the original copy doesn't exist.
Along with most other conservative scholars, I actually do believe that the Gospels contain eyewitness testimony about the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. Many conservative scholars hold that the Gospel of Mark was written as early as the 50's or 60's of the first century. Furthermore, there is evidence from Mark's passion narrative that he may have relied on a source dating to within seven years of Jesus' crucifixion.
It's true that we do not have the original manuscripts of any New Testament book. However, we have copies dating to the early second century and later. Also, it's worth saying that we don't have the original manuscripts for ANY book of the ancient world (not Plato, Aristotle, Tacitus, Pliny, Josephus, etc.). The New Testament manuscripts that we do possess are both earlier and more numerous than is true for any other book of antiquity.
Finally, about a non-Christian eyewitness source dating to within five years of Jesus' death. There is none. The earliest non-Christian writings we have are probably those of Josephus, the Jewish historian, who was writing near the end of the first century.
About the Author
Michael Gleghorn is a research associate with Probe Ministries. He earned a B.A. in psychology from Baylor University and a Th.M. in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Before coming on staff with Probe, Michael taught history and theology at Christway Academy in Duncanville, Texas. Michael and his wife Hannah have two children. His personal website is michaelgleghorn.com.
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