Monday, March 16, 2009

Questions of Truth

This is the name of a book by John Polkinhorne , who is regularly touted as one of the best Christian thinkers. Nicholas Beale helped....

Amazingly, page 87 of the book manages to produce 2 of the silliest arguments for the resurrection.

Even according to the New Testament, the disciples are alleged to have waited 6 weeks before going public, yet Polkinghorne's book claims Christianity could have been refuted if the Romans had produced a decayed corpse of Jesus.

Even though it was unthinkable to touch corpses and though Jewish law said corpses could not be identified after 3 days.

And then Polkinghorne's book goes on to claim that the disciples gave their lives for their beliefs in the resurrection.

Although not one Christian was ever charged with preaching a resurrection, and Galatians 6:12 says that Christians were persecuted on the issue of circumcision, not resurrection, and that Christian leaders avoided persecution by compromising their beliefs.

And this book is supposed to be great Christian thinking?


Blogger Danny Boy, FCD said...

Embarrassing stuff indeed. Polkinghorne is just regurgitating refuted apologetics and giving it a fresh coat of "scholarly rigor".

BTW, you should change the comment settings for your blog to make it easier to respond.

6:40 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Thanks for that tip. I am not up to date with Blogger.

6:44 AM  
Blogger molihw said...


Could you provide a reference to the Jewish law that corpses could not be identified after 3 days? Thanks.


7:49 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

The Bible Gateway says

A later Jewish text that cites an authority from the early third century A.D. says the mourners should continue to come to the tomb for three days because the dead person continues to be present. Mourning is at its height on the third day, presumably because it is the last time the dead person will be present there. "Bar Kappara taught: Until three days [after death] the soul keeps on returning to the grave, thinking that it will go back [into the body]; but when it sees that the facial features have become disfigured, it departs and abandons it [the body]" (Genesis Rabbah 100:7; cf. Leviticus Rabbah 18:1; Ecclesiastes Rabbah 12:6).

Of course, this is later than the first century, but most Jewish law is. It can be assumed that such ideas were current in the first century.

Even the New Testament has a Jesus who is proved to be Jesus, not by his face, but by the wounds on his body, so the idea that the face was not a reliable method of identification after death does seem to have been current then.

I quote again , 'Bar Kappara said: The full force of mourning lasts for three days. Why? Because [for that length of time] the shape of the face is recognizable, even as we have learnt in the Mishnah: Evidence [to prove a man's death] is admissible only in respect of the full face, with the nose, and only [by one who has seen the corpse] within three days [after death].'

8:13 AM  

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