Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Gary Habermas and the conversion of James, brother of Jesus

Gary Habermas claims it is a fact that James was converted by the resurrection of Jesus and that James was a witness to the resurrection.

Acts 1
14They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
15In those days Peter stood up among the believers....Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection."

So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.


So the very brothers of Jesus were believers and they weren't even in consideration to become witnesses to the resurrection?

So how did James make the list in 1 Corinthians 15?

Why did Luke introduce the brothers of Jesus only to immediately disqualify them as even being considered as candidates for witnesses to the resurrection?

How could James have been a witness to the resurrection, when Acts says the entire church discussed the matter and chose between two other people to become witnesses to the resurrection?

If Habermas is convinced of the resurrection by the 'fact' that James, the brother of Jesus was converted by this alleged resurrection, why does Acts rule out every brother of Jesus as a candidate for the position of 'witness to the resurrection'?

5 Comments:

Blogger pcraig said...

I think the passage you have posted actually answers your question:

"...it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us."

It's not just that they witness the resurrection - it's that they were there from the beginning of Jesus's ministry. Even in the 1 Corinthians 15 list, it seems (from my brief glance) that James is actually listed separate from the apostles, consistent with this. So it seems that James wasn't with them the whole time (as Mark 3:21 would also suggest).

2:29 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

I see.

So you only counted as a 'witness for the resurrection' if you had been there from the beginning.

How does that work? Why is there this bizarre qualification?




And James, who of course, had been with Jesus from childhood is discounted from being a 'witness to the resurrection' because he had not been there from the beginning, unlike Barsabbas, who had been there from the beginning.

(It has slipped my mind where Barsabbas is mentioned 'from the beginning' in the Gospels. Remind me where he appeared.)

The fact is the anonymous author of Luke mentions the brothers of Jesus and then specifically has the entire church decide they did not qualify as 'witnesses to the resurrection'

In fact, Luke/Acts does not even name James as having been a brother of Jesus.

I can only imagine PCraig's laughter if one branch of Mormon history said that the relatives of Joseph Smith did not count as witnesses, while another branch claimed the brother of Joseph Smith was a primary witness.

PCraig would laugh heartily at how obviously fraudulent, sectarian and contradictory such Mormon histories were, when they fight each other on such basic things as who was a witness to these Golden Plates.

2:49 AM  
Blogger pcraig said...

Please re-read what Peter said carefully. All the answers are in there.

****So you only counted as a 'witness for the resurrection' if you had been there from the beginning.

No. They were appointing people to "become" witnesses, as Peter said. It was a role, a position of authority.

***And James, who of course, had been with Jesus from childhood

When Peter talks about people "with us" he is talking to the disciples. Some disciples had been with them since the beginning, others had not. James, it seems, had not.

****...is discounted from being a 'witness to the resurrection' because he had not been there from the beginning, unlike Barsabbas, who had been there from the beginning. (It has slipped my mind where Barsabbas is mentioned 'from the beginning' in the Gospels. Remind me where he appeared.)

I don't understand the point you are making here. The gospels make clear that Jesus had more than 12 disciples. Barsabbas was obviously one of them.

****The fact is the anonymous author of Luke mentions the brothers of Jesus and then specifically has the entire church decide they did not qualify as 'witnesses to the resurrection'

Yes...

****In fact, Luke/Acts does not even name James as having been a brother of Jesus.

And?

Your points about my supposed reaction to Mormonism are based on your misreading of the text.

7:20 AM  
Blogger WAR_ON_ERROR said...

Isn't it also possible they didn't want relatives of Jesus as apostles since that could be some kind of conflict of interests? Even though I guess you could say James would have been an exception to the rule.

5:24 AM  
Blogger Quixie said...

Actually, the only attestation of a supposed appearance to James the Just comes from the Gospel of the Hebrews, a mid second century work known to Origen and partially quoted by Jerome. In it, not only is James the very first person that Jesus appeared to after his resurrection, but it also explicitly states that Jesus had been a follower of Jesus previous to his death—he had even been there at the Last Supper!("he had drunk from the Lord's cup")

Ó

5:27 PM  

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