Nov 282011
 

This article is adapted from The Mystery of the Crucifixion: The Attempt to Kill Jesus in the Qur’an, the New Testament, and Historical Sources

The four Gospels differ on a number of details in their accounts of the crucifixion of Jesus. I have dealt in previous articles with two disagreements, namely whether Jesus was arrested on or before the Passover and what charges were brought against him before Pilate. In this article, I discuss another conflict between the Gospel reports, which concerns the time of Jesus’ alleged crucifixion.

The day of the ancient Jewish lunar calendar was reckoned from sunset to sunset. The night and the daytime consisted of 12 hours each, with the first hour of the night starting around 6 pm and the first hour of the daytime around 6 am. John (11:9) says that in one of his dialogs with his disciples Jesus said: “Are there not twelve hours in the day?

According to Mark (15:25), Jesus was crucified at the 3rd hour in daytime: “And it was the third hour when they crucified him.” At the 6th hour the land was covered with darkness which lasted until the 9th hour, at which point Jesus died:

33And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last.

The 3rd, 6th, and 9th hours correspond to 9 am, 12 am, and 3 pm, respectively.

Both Matthew (27:45-50) and Luke (23:44-46) reiterate Mark’s statement that the darkness lasted from the 6th to the 9th hour and that Jesus died at the 9th hour:

45Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

44It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.

John (19:14-16) disagrees with Mark, Matthew, and Mark, claiming that it was the 6th hour in daytime, that is midday, when Pilate handed over Jesus to be crucified:

14Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.

John does not say when Jesus died or specify how long his ordeal lasted so the time of death remains unknown.

To resolve the conflict between John and the Synoptists (i.e. Mark, Matthew, and Mark) about when Jesus’ crucifixion started, it has been suggested that John followed the Romans in reckoning time from midnight, so his sixth hour corresponds to 6 am. In addition to the fact that there is no evidence to support this assumption, this attempt would still require presuming that three more hours passed before the crucifixion started to reconcile John’s account with the Synoptists. Furthermore, it is far more likely that John reckoned the time the Jewish way because that would make the crucifixion coincide with the slaughter of the Passover lambs — something that reflects his description of Jesus as “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29, 1:36) and works well for his theology.

The time of Jesus’ alleged crucifixion is one of the unresolved contradictions in the Gospels.

Note

Bible translations are from the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible.

          

 Copyright © 2011 Louay Fatoohi
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Jan 092011
 

This article is adapted from The Mystery of the Crucifixion: The Attempt to Kill Jesus in the Qur’an, the New Testament, and Historical Sources

All four Gospels agree that after his trial or interrogation by the Sanhedrin and high priest, Jesus was brought before Pilate to be punished. According to Mark and Matthew, Pilate asked Jesus whether he was the king of Jews, to which Jesus answered vaguely “you say so” (Mark 15:2; Matt. 27:11). Pilate’s question implies that the Jewish leaders accused Jesus of claiming to be the king of the Jews, which is how they perceived their awaited Messiah. This highly charged political accusation was bound to raise the interest of the Roman governor. The chief priests and the elders then brought many unspecified charges against Jesus, but he did not respond to any of them.

Luke elaborates more on the accusation:

“We found this man subverting our nation, forbidding us to pay the tribute tax to Caesar and claiming that he himself is Christ, a king” (Luke 23:2).

He then reports the same question and answer between Pilate and Jesus about the kingship of the Jews that Mark and Matthew have. Later passages assert that Jesus was accused of “inciting” and “misleading” people:

They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man subverting our nation, forbidding us to pay the tribute tax to Caesar and claiming that he himself is Christ, a king.” (Luke 23:5)

[Pilate said to them:] “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. When I examined him before you, I did not find this man guilty of anything you accused him of doing.” (Luke 23:14)

John’s account differs yet further. When Pilate asks the people about Jesus’ charge, their reply was simply to stress his guilt:

If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you. (John 18:30)

Upon the Jews’ insistence that Jesus must be killed, Pilate asked him whether he was the king of the Jews. Unlike in the Synoptics, Jesus replies by explaining that his kingdom is heavenly and not from this world:

My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my servants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here. (John 18:36)

This should have allied Pilate’s concerns. John also states that the Jews told Pilate that Jesus had to die because of his claim to the sonship of God:

The Jewish leaders replied, “We have a law, and according to our law he ought to die, because he claimed to be the Son of God!” (John 19:7)

However, I have explained in my article The Unhistorical Meaning of “Son of God” in the Gospels, claiming to be a the son of God was not a religious crime in Judaism.

Despite their differences about what charges were brought against Jesus before Pilate, all four Gospels agree that at the crucified Jesus was mocked by having a titulus with the inscription “the king of the Jews” put on his cross. This agreement highlights the charge that was of significance for the Roman governor, which is the claim to kingship. Since the Jews believed that the Christ would become their king, this mocking of Jesus ridiculed his claim to messiahship.

The titulus is one example that shows that even when the Gospels are consistent, they do not completely agree with each other. This is the inscription according to the four Evangelists:

  • Mark (15:26): “The king of the Jews.”
  • Matthew (27:37): “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.”
  • Luke (23:38): “This is the king of the Jews.”
  • John (19:19): “Jesus the Nazarene, the king of the Jews.”

Note
Bible translations are from the New English Translation (NET) Bible.

          

Copyright © 2011 Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

May 032010
 

Adapted from The Mystery of the Crucifixion: The Attempt to Kill Jesus in the Qur’an, the New Testament, and Historical Sources

Comparing what the Gospels say about any episode of the story of the crucifixion of Jesus reveals many differences and contradictions. The significance of these differences is that they undermine the historical reliability of the main sources on the alleged crucifixion. This article deals with one of these contradictions.

The contradictions between the Gospels’ accounts of the crucifixion start as early as their specification of the date on which Jesus was arrested. All four Gospels state that Jesus was arrested and later crucified on the day of preparation: 

Now when evening had already come, since it was the day of preparation (that is, the day before the Sabbath). (Mark 15:42)

The next day (which is after the day of preparation) the chief priests and the Pharisees assembled before Pilate. (Matt. 27:62)

It was the day of preparation and the Sabbath was beginning. (Luke 23:54)

 Then, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies should not stay on the crosses on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was an especially important one), the Jewish leaders asked Pilate to have the victims’ legs broken and the bodies taken down. (John 19:31)

This designates Friday, on which all preparations for the Sabbath had to be done as no work could be done on the holy day. But John disagrees with the Synoptic assertion that this Friday was the first day of the Jewish festival of the Passover, suggesting that it was the day of rest of the Passover, i.e. one day earlier.

According to Jewish law, the lamb of the Passover is slaughtered in the evening of the 14th of Nisan, which is the first month in the Jewish calendar, and it is then eaten in that night (Exo. 12:1-8). As the Jewish day is reckoned from sunset to sunset, this night represents the start of the 15th of Nisan. The Synoptics claim that after having the Passover meal with his disciples, Jesus was arrested later in that night, i.e. the night of the first day of the Passover (Mark 14:12-46; Matt. 26:19-50; Luke 22:7-54), and was crucified in the morning, that is on the morning of 15th Nisan.

John states that after being arrested and questioned by the high priest, Jesus was taken to Pontius Pilate very early in the morning on the day of rest of the Passover, clearly implying that he was arrested on the previous night: “Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the Roman governor’s residence. (Now it was very early morning.) They did not go into the governor’s residence so they would not be ceremonially defiled, but could eat the Passover meal” (John 18:28). The crucifixion happened hours later, so it must have taken place on the 14th of Nisan. So John contradicts the Synoptic Gospels, placing the arrest and crucifixion one day earlier. According to John, the Friday of the crucifixion was the day of rest of the Passover, whereas the other three Evangelists make it the first day of the feast. So the agreement of the four that it was on a Friday hides a disagreement on when that Friday fell with respect to the Passover.

John’s timeline of the crucifixion makes Jesus die at the same time of the slaughter of the Passover lambs. This works very well for his description of Jesus as “the Lamb of God” in the opening chapter of his Gospel, which he attributes to John the Baptist: 

On the next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

 Gazing at Jesus as he walked by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36)

John also applies to Jesus’ crucifixion, in the form of a prophecy, a description that the Old Testament applies to the Passover lamb: “For these things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled, ‘Not a bone of his will be broken’” (John 19:36). John, thus, suggests that in his crucifixion Jesus played the role of the true Passover lamb. The fact that John’s dating of the crucifixion is in such agreement with his theology has made some scholars reject the historicity of his dating as deliberately manipulated and favor the Synoptic date: 

In John 1.36 Jesus is called the “the lamb of God,” and the equation Jesus = lamb has determined John’s dating of the crucifixion. At the very time when the Passover lambs were being sacrificed in the Temple, the true lamb of God was dying outside the walls of the city. Once we see that the date in John agrees so strongly with its theology, we are inclined to prefer the Synoptics and conclude that Jesus was executed on Friday, 15 Nissan. (Sanders, 1995: 72)

Interestingly, while Mark makes it clear that Jesus was crucified on the first day of the Passover, it also states earlier that when, two days before the Passover, the chief priests and the experts in the law were conspiring to kill Jesus they did not want to kill him “during the feast, so there won’t be a riot among the people” (Mark 14:2). This passage may belong to a different tradition which is in line with the Johannine chronology of the crucifixion.

Not surprising, there have been attempts to harmonize the contradictory Gospel accounts. One popular attempt suggests that John used a different calendar from that used by the other three Evangelists. There is no evidence to support this suggestion, and there are strong arguments against it (Theissen & Merz, 1999: 159; also Vermes, 2005: 97-98).

This article has discussed only one of the contradictions between the Gospels’ accounts of the crucifixion of Jesus, but there are many more. Furthermore, the Gospel stories contradict established historical facts also, including Jewish trial law. The Gospels are the main sources on the supposed crucifixion of Jesus. In fact, they are the only sources that discuss this alleged incident in detail. Therefore, their numerous internal contradictions and disagreements with history, both of which undermine the Gospels’ value as historical sources, must also equally undermine their claim that Jesus was crucified.

References
Sanders, E. P. (1995). The Historical Figure of Jesus, Penguin Books: England.

Theissen, G. & Merz, A. (1999). The Historical Jesus: A Comprehensive Guide, SCM Press: London.

Vermes, G. (2005). The Passion, Penguin Books: London.

Note
Bible translations are from the New English Translation (NET) Bible.

          

Copyright © 2010 Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

Oct 182009
 

On the 13th/October/2009, I gave a presentation to a group of postgraduate students and members of staff at the School of Philosophy, Theology, and Religion of Birmingham University, UK. The talk, which was part of their postgraduate seminars in Islamic Studies, was titled The Crucifixion of Jesus: History or Fiction? It was based on my book The Mystery of the Crucifixion: The Attempt to Kill Jesus in the Qur’an, the New Testament, and Historical Sources.

In my presentation, I reviewed problems in the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion of Jesus, the few references to this event in historical sources, and the Qur’an’s rejection of the crucifixion. Among the topics that I covered was the claim of the Gospels that one of the charges that the Jewish authorities laid against Jesus was blasphemy for claiming to be the son of God. Let me quote here what the four Gospels say about this:

But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. (Mark 14:61-64; ESV)

But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. (Matthew 26:63-65; ESV)

So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.” (Luke 22:70-71; ESV)

The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” (John 19:7; ESV)

The problem with all of these quotes is that the claim to messiahship and/or sonship of God was not an act of blasphemy or a religious crime in Judaism. Many Christians do not know that the term “son of God” is used in the Old Testament but never to mean any form of divinity. On the other hand, claiming divine dignity was blasphemous. In other words, the Gospels’ unanimous claim is unhistorical.

What we have here is a case of anachronism, as the concept “son of God” is given a meaning that it had not acquired yet at the time of the reported event. By the time the Gospels’ were written, the divinity of Jesus had become an established belief, even though not for all who believed in Jesus. So, the Gospels present Jesus’ claim to the sonship of God as how he announced his divinity to people. They then go on to use this claim as the reason for the Jewish high priest and Sanhedrin’s charging of Jesus of claiming to be divine and, accordingly, blasphemy. In other words, the Christian authors of the Gospels attributed their later understanding of the meaning of the son of God to the Jewish authorities at the time of Jesus. The Gospels’ account is unhistorical.

During the Q&A session that followed my presentation, one member of staff argued that the Jewish authorities did not accuse Jesus of claiming to be divine only because he said he was the son of God — a term that I had already shown did not mean any form of divinity. He suggested that the Jewish leaders quoted to Pilate other sayings of Jesus that clearly confirmed that he claimed to be divine, but he could not provide a reference.

Actually, the Jewish authorities are not reported to have provided any evidence to support their accusation of Jesus that he claimed divinity other that their suggestion that he called himself the son of God. This fact represents another argument against the suggestion that Jesus claimed divinity. Let me explain. There are certain sayings that the Gospel of John attributes to Jesus that can be seen as suggesting that he claimed divine attributes. The problem, however, is that none of these sayings is quoted by the Jewish authorities when accusing Jesus of claiming to be divine! Instead, the religious authorities are said to have accused him of blasphemy only on the basis of his claim to the sonship of God. Had Jesus uttered any of those reported sayings in John, or indeed any other sayings that could be understood as meaning that he was divine, the Jewish authorities would have quoted them and used them in their attempt to seek his crucifixion. In their attempt to show that the Jewish authorities were aware of Jesus’ claim to divinity, which they thought would serve as proof that he did indeed make that claim, the Gospel authors ended up making up a scenario that can only be unhistorical.

But this is only one of many historical and consistency problems that permeate the Gospels. For many, including those liberals who do not believe that every word in the Gospels is inspired, these books recount the history of Jesus more or less as it happened. Yet as soon as one starts examining the accounts closely, that sense of history evaporates, leaving one with the inevitable conclusion that these sources are no different from numerous ancient documents that confused history and myths and propagated a version of history that never managed to happen. They became the canonical Gospels and other books were ignored, forgotten, burned, or banned by the Church because certain early fathers of the Church managed to make their views win the influence and popularity battle with their rivals’.

But is it possible that only four writers — Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John — could have dictated what billions of people over many centuries should believe Jesus said and did and what happened to him? To answer this question we only need to remember that it was only one individual, Paul, who did not meet Jesus or witness any of his sayings and doings who developed much of Christian theology! 

Copyright © 2009 Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

Mar 282009
 

This article is extracted from chapter “Inconsistencies in the Gospel Accounts of the Crucifixion” in the book The Mystery of the Crucifixion: The Attempt to Kill Jesus in the Qur’an, the New Testament, and Historical Sources

Comparing what the Gospels say about any episode of the story of the alleged crucifixion of Jesus reveals clear differences and contradictions. In this article, I examine the Gospels’ claim that Jesus drew similarity between his crucifixion and the miracle of prophet Jonah.

The Old Testament contains a story of a Jonah who was commissioned by God to go to preach in Nineveh. Jonah disobeyed the divine order and, traveling by sea, tried to escape from God and the mission. While in the sea, a powerful wind started to shake the boat dangerously. Jonah confessed to the sailors that this was the result of God’s wrath at him, and suggested a solution: “Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you” (Jonah 1:12). After he was thrown in the sea, “the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights” (Jonah 1:17). Having repented and prayed to God from inside the whale, “the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land” (Jonah 2:10).

Matthew records a prediction in which Jesus likens his burial and resurrection to what happened to Jonah:

Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, “Master, we would see a sign from thee.” But he answered and said unto them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matt. 12:38-40)

There is hardly any similarity between the two events, yet there are clear and fundamental differences. Indeed, drawing similarity between the two disappearances is rather meaningless:

i) Jesus is not simply likening his burial to the disappearance of Jonah in the belly of the whale, but he is also emphasizing the duration of his death, making it clear that it is three days and three nights, like Jonah’s. The problem is that Jesus did not actually stay that long in the tomb. The Synoptists agree that he died just after 3 pm (Mark 15:33-37; Matt. 27:45-50; Luke 23:44-46). John does not tell us the time of Jesus’ death on the cross, but it must have happened after midday when he was handed over to be executed. All four Gospels also agree that Jesus had already risen from the dead by the early morning of the Sunday that followed the Friday of the crucifixion (Mark 16:1; Matt. 28:1; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). This means that Jesus remained buried for only one day and two nights, which contradicts the prediction in Matthew. The apologetic argument that Jesus’ mention of the three days and nights was not intended to refer to an exact period of time is inadmissible, as it makes the reference to that specific, or indeed any, timeframe meaningless.

Luke has his own version of Jesus’ prophecy which, unlike Matthew, he places after the Transfiguration, when Jesus appeared radiant and spoke with Moses and Elijah. This Evangelist perhaps realized the contradiction in Matthew’s account so he makes no mention of the time:

And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, “This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.” (Luke 11:29-30)

But a different problem with this briefer account is that it also omits the resemblance that Jesus clearly establishes in Matthew’s version between the two temporary disappearances of Jonah and himself, thus leaving the comparison meaningless to his audience.

ii) Jesus’ alleged miracle was his resurrection from death. This miracle would not become more impressive if Jesus had stayed, say, 10 days in the tomb or less impressive if he had spent only one night. The reported miracle is simply one of resurrection from death. Conversely, the miraculous aspect of Jonah’s experience is his survival inside the whale for three days and nights. Inside the tomb Jesus did not experience any miracle; he was dead like all the dead.

iii) Jonah’s ordeal was a punishment for his failure to obey God. Jesus’ miracle is supposed to have happened to fulfill a divine plan that reflected his unique, high status in God’s eye.

iv) Matthew reports a second incident in which Jesus was asked to show a “sign from heaven,” which he refused to do, and pointed to Jonah’s miracle:

The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, “When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.” And he left them, and departed. (Matt. 16:1-4)

The reply that Matthew attributes to Jesus is completely irrelevant to the challenge, and that is because the Evangelist failed to understand what the Pharisees and Sadducees meant by a “sign from heaven,” which had nothing to do with a miracle like Jonah’s. A demand for such a miracle by the Pharisees is mentioned by Mark and another by unidentified people is reported by Luke (11:16):

And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, “Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.” (Mark 8:11-12)

As I explained in my book The Mystery of the Historical Jesus: The Messiah in the Qur’an, the Bible, and Historical Sources, this request was intended to test whether Jesus can bring food from heaven in the same way that God sent down manna and quails from heaven to the Israelites in the desert of Sinai after fleeing Egypt with Moses (Exo. 16:11-15). The miracle of bringing down food from heaven is described in the Qur’an:

Lo! When I inspired the companions: “Believe in Me and in My messenger.” They said: “We believe. Bear witness that we are Muslims.” (5.111) Lo! When the companions said: “O Jesus son of Mary! Can your Lord send down for us a table of food from heaven?” He said: “Be pious to Allah, if you are true believers.” (5.112) They said: “We wish to eat of it, have our hearts be at ease, know that you have spoken the truth to us, and be witnesses to it (the table)”. (5.113) Jesus son of Mary said: “O Allah our Lord! Send down for us from heaven a table of food, that it may be a feast for the first and the last of us, and a sign from You. Give us sustenance; You are the best of Sustainers.” (5.114) Allah said: “I shall send it down for you, so whoever of you disbelieves afterward I will punish him with a torment that I do not inflict on anyone among all the nations.” (5.115)

John has an account that clearly refers to this incident, with the most noticeable difference being the fact that the Jesus of John declines to perform the required miracle, whereas the Jesus of the Qur’an does it:

Then said they unto him, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said unto them, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” They said therefore unto him, “What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” Then Jesus said unto them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” (John 6:28-33)

This account confirms my interpretation of what sign from heaven people asked Jesus to show and the fact that it had nothing to do with Jonah’s miracle in the sea.

v) Jesus’ alleged likening of his death and resurrection to what happened to Jonah is also contradicted by the Gospel reports of how his disciples and followers behaved after his crucifixion. Their behaviors suggest that they were not aware that he was going to rise from the dead. For instance, his followers who visited his tomb were not expecting an empty tomb. Also, when Jesus appeared to his disciples after rising from the dead, they first did not believe that it was him (also Matt. 28:17; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:25-29):

And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.(Mark 16:11-14)

So, the similary that the Gospels claim Jesus made between his resurrection and the miracle of Jonah is contradictory and cannot be historical.

           

Copyright © 2009 Louay Fatoohi
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