By reading the evidence presented here, it should become evident to every fair minded Christian that evidence for resurrection is too flimsy to base a religion on. Extra-ordinary claims like resurrection require extra-ordinary proofs and the Christian apologists offer very little!
Jesus did not die on the cross:
If Jesus did not die upon the cross: A study in evidence
William Lane Craig makes false claims about swoon hypothesis!
Did Jesus rise in a physical body or a spiritual one?
The Pope Benedict’s account of resurrection and the hearsay rule!
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
18th and 19th centuries
Early proponents of this theory include German Karl Friedrich Bahrdt, who suggested in around 1780, that Jesus deliberately feigned his death, using drugs provided by the physician Luke to appear as a spiritual messiah and get Israel to abandon the idea of a political messiah. In this interpretation of the events described in the Gospels, Jesus was resuscitated by Joseph of Arimathea, with whom he shared a connection through a secret order of the Essenes—a group that appear in many of the “swoon” theories.
Around 1800, Karl Venturini proposed that a group of supporters dressed in white — who were, with Jesus, members of a “secret society” — had not expected him to survive the crucifixion, but heard groaning from inside the tomb, where Jesus had regained consciousness in the cool, damp air. They then frightened away the guards and rescued him.
A third rationalist theologian, Heinrich Paulus, wrote in various works from 1802 onwards that he believed that Jesus had fallen into a temporary coma and somehow revived without help in the tomb. He was critical of the vision hypothesis, and argued that the disciples must have believed that God had resurrected Jesus. Friedrich Schleiermacher endorsed a form of Paulus’ theory in the early 1830s.
A number of theories that suggest Jesus travelled to India also entail his survival of the crucifixion. In particular, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Movement, spelled out this theory in his 1899 book Jesus in India.
Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, in their 1982 book Holy Blood, Holy Grail, speculated that Pontius Pilate was bribed to allow Jesus to be taken down from the cross before he was dead. In 1992, Barbara Thiering explored the theory in depth in her book Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls and on her web site “The Pesher of Christ” in the reference section. In 2006, Baigent published The Jesus Papers, a book that describes how Jesus may have survived the crucifixion. Other 20th-century proponents of various “swoon theories” include:
- Ernest Brougham Docker (1920, in If Jesus Did Not Die on the Cross)
- Robert Graves & Joshua Podro (1957, in Jesus in Rome)
- Hugh J. Schonfield (1965, in The Passover Plot)
- Donovan Joyce (1972, in The Jesus Scroll)
- J.D.M. Derrett (1982, in The Anastasis: The Resurrection of Jesus as an Historical Event)
- Holger Kersten (1994, in Jesus lived in India)
Perhaps the biggest proponent of the Swoon Hypothesis over the past 20 years has been Muslim scholar Ahmed Deedat of South Africa whose book “Crucifixion or Cruci-fiction” has been widely printed and distributed all over the Muslim World. He takes a critical look at the events in the four Gospels and theorizes a scenario of events similar to the Swoon Hypothesis. The Islamic position on the subject of crucifixion is highlighted in verse 4:155 of the Holy Qur’an as follows:
- “and for their unbelief, and their uttering against Mary a mighty calumny, and for their saying, ‘We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God’ — yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them”. (AJ Arberry)
Swoon Hypothesis Summary
The Swoon Hypothesis would today be classified as a conspiracy theory. A series of intriguing details and coincidences in the Biblical narrative that pieced together provide a possible alternative chain of events different from the official explanation provided by the Biblical narrative.
Evidence in Favor
- Roman authorities were uninterested in seeing Jesus dead
- Jesus was on the cross for too short a period of time
- No evidence that Jesus faced any harsh crucifixion procedures while on the cross
- Very helpful circumstances that made taking down and hiding a live Jesus possible
- Burial facilities best possible for a weakened Jesus to hide in
- Unusual behavior of those closest to first see Jesus on Sunday morning
- Jewish leaders were on the lookout to make sure Jesus was dead
- Multiple witnesses claiming Jesus was dead at the scene
- Tomb door sealed with body inside and Roman Guards posted outside the stone seal
- Roman soldier stabbed Jesus with a spear to confirm his death
- Roman soldiers would have been fearful of severe punishment if they failed at their job of crucifixion
- Witnesses reported seeing a strong, fully-healthy Jesus only days after his crucifixion
- Jesus was already severely weakened and near death when put up on the cross
- Jesus and Scripture both predict the Son of Man would die and rise again
- Bible says “he breathed his last”
Arguments for the Swoon Hypothesis
Arguments favoring the Swoon Hypothesis broadly fall into three distinct parts. PART ONE: JESUS ON THE CROSS
Precisely how physically punishing was Jesus’ experience on the cross?
Was Jesus ‘Nailed’ to the Cross?
Two pieces of evidence suggest Jesus may have simply been tied to the cross and his weight supported with the use of a ‘Sadile’ An occurrence likely to raise his chances of survival. Firstly, only the Gospel of John specifically mentions Jesus being ‘nailed to the cross’ (John 20:20-27). Secondly, Jesus’ two crossmates do not appear to be nailed to their respective crosses, for they are seen jesting Jesus along with the crowd. This leads one to conclude that surely two persons suffering from the excruciating pain of being ‘nailed to crosses’ an hour or so earlier would not have the mental alertness and their ‘sense of irony’ intact to the point of joining a crowd in reviling a third crossmate. As a result, its possible, they (and thus Jesus too) are not nailed to their respective crosses.
- “And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.” Matthew 27:44
Brevity of Time on the Cross
Having been on the cross for only 6 hours, even Pilate marvelled at Jesus being dead so soon. Crucifixion in ancient Rome was meant to be a long torturous process and not a quick form of death.
Other ‘Crossmates’ Were Alive
At the end of the day Friday, the death of Jesus’ two crossmates had to be accelerated with the breaking of their legs. This implies that they were indeed alive at that point. The same could be true about Jesus at that point in time.
State of Jesus’ Circulatory System
- “But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.” John 19:34
Proponents of the Swoon Hypothesis argue that if indeed Jesus was dead on the cross, why would a spear thrust into his side to check his status yield a gush of blood and water? Laws of Pallor mortis would suggest otherwise. (see also Pleural effusion).
Legs Were not Broken
Since Jesus was declared dead on the cross on Friday evening, his legs were not broken. If Jesus was somehow alive at this point and simply in coma or “swooned”, this would greatly enhance his chances of survival when he came about later on.
- “Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.” John 19:31-33
PART TWO: SAFELY TRANSPORTING JESUS
The ease and secrecy with which the ‘fainted Jesus’ could safely be transported to a nearby sanctuary without being caught by the Roman authorities or the Jews would have a direct bearing on his chances of survival.
Thunderstorm and Earthquake
The synoptic Gospels mention the occurrence of thunderstorms and earthquakes at the time of the crucifixion. The Gospel of Matthew describes their intensity and morbidity in graphic and somewhat incredulous detail.
- “And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split; the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe, and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Matthew 27:51-54
The other three gospels, however, do not mention the raising of the dead. Regardless, this is surely a most fantastic, memorable and frightening event, and certainly frightening enough to disperse any crowd watching the crucifixion event and thus allow the breathing body of Jesus to be pulled down in relative secrecy and safety.
Pilate’s Lack of Incentive to See Jesus Dead
The lack of keenness of the authorities to see Jesus dead would only add to his chances of survival. Certainly Pilate had little incentive to ensure the death of Jesus, he not only found Jesus not guilty, his wife as well was shown a dream in which she was told that no harm should come to him.
“Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, ‘Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much over him today in a dream.’” Matthew 27.19
Wealthy Secret Disciple on Hand
A wealthy disciple Joseph of Arimathea who had the means and facilities to whisk away a ‘faint and weak’ Jesus to some sanctuary, preferably nearby adds to his chances of survival. Note how Joseph persuades Pilate to let him take down the body.
- “Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.” John 19:41-42
Big Roomy Chamber
To survive and recuperate from a traumatic crucifixion experience while being hidden away as a “dead body”, a tomb with a big roomy chamber and a heavy stone enclosure would be the best case scenario for Jesus’ survival. Such a place would have to be roomy enough to allow a weak Jesus to breathe easy and secure enough to prevent others from being able to easily spot the body of Jesus. And we are told in the Gospels that this is precisely the scenario Jesus found himself in.
PART THREE: JESUS ON SUNDAY MORNING
Further evidence of Jesus surviving the crucifixion is provided by the perplexing behavior of Mary and Jesus on Sunday morning.
Mary at the Tomb Early Sunday
We are told that Mary Magdalene had totally forgotten (Luke 24:7) about Jesus’ supposed promise “to rise from the dead” as mentioned elsewhere in the Gospels. As a result, one may conclude that when she appears at Jesus’ tomb on Sunday, she is either 1) looking for a Jesus she knew was alive when she left on Friday evening or 2) she is there to pay homage to a dead and buried Jesus.
- “But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel; and as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words.” Luke 24:1-8
Mary’s Unusual Supply of Spices
As such, Mary Magdalene arrives to the tomb carrying “prepared spices”, which would be of no practical use to a dead body. Especially since the ‘dead body’ of Jesus had already been applied with ceremonial herbs on Friday itself (John 19:39-40). This gives credence to the possibility that she is instead bringing ‘spices’ to massage and heal a swooned and injured Jesus, she had last seen alive on Friday evening.
- “Nicode’mus also, who had at first come to him by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds’ weight. They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.” John 19:39-40
The possibility of Mary Magdalene seeking a swooned and living Jesus is further supported by her unusual panic and angst upon discovering Jesus’ body to be missing.
- “John 20.11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; 20.12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 20.13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 20.14 Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 20.15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”
Jesus’ First Words
- “Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rab-bo’ni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”Mary Mag’dalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.” (John 20:16-18)
In the above passage, Jesus’ first remarks after rising from the dead are somewhat perplexing given the circumstances below:
- Jesus is supposed to have just died and come back to life, a supernatural occurrence.
- He is now meeting one of his close companions, in this instance Mary Magdalene.
- Mary has no recollection of Jesus’ supposed promise to “die and come back to life.”
And yet Jesus makes no mention of his miraculous resurrection! His first words to a startled and overwhelmed Mary are “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father”. The lack of mention, however precursory, of his resurrection at this point of first contact with one of his close disciples is problematic.[original research?]
Arguments Against the Swoon Hypothesis
Jesus’ State of Health
The Swoon Hypothesis has been criticized by many, including medical experts who, based on the account given in the New Testament, conclude that Jesus was definitively dead when removed from the cross. Many others consider it unlikely that Jesus would be capable of inspiring faith in those who saw him after barely surviving a crucifixion, including the 19th century rationalist theologian David Strauss, who wrote:
- “It is impossible that a being who had stolen half dead out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill and wanting medical treatment… could have given the disciples the impression that he was a conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of life: an impression that lay at the bottom of their future ministry.” 
Using the work of the 19th century University of Dublin physiologist and ordained priest Samuel Haughton, Bible commentator Frederick Charles Cook and Christian evangelist author Josh McDowell argue that the death of Jesus in the Gospels could not have been fabricated, as the text displays medical knowledge not available at the time. Haughton wrote that the description in the Gospel of John of the flowing of “blood and water” after the soldier pierced Jesus’ side with a spear was extremely prescient:
- “… With the foregoing cases most anatomists who have devoted their attention to this subject are familiar; but the two following cases, although readily explicable on physiological principles, are not recorded in the books (except by St. John). Nor have I been fortunate enough to meet with them.” 
Medical authorities W. D. Edwards, W. J. Gabel and F. E. Hosmer offer the following analysis in regard to the New Testament Greek and the medical data:
- “Jesus of Nazareth underwent Jewish and Roman trials, was flogged, and was sentenced to death by crucifixion. The scourging produced deep stripelike lacerations and appreciable blood loss, and it probably set the stage for hypovolemic shock, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus was too weakened to carry the crossbar (patibulum) to Golgotha. At the site of crucifixion, his wrists were nailed to the patibulum and, after the patibulum was lifted onto the upright post (stipes), his feet were nailed to the stipes. The major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was an interference with normal respirations. Accordingly, death resulted primarily from hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. Jesus’ death was ensured by the thrust of a soldier’s spear into his side. Modern medical interpretation of the historical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead when taken down from the cross.”
Alexander Metherell concurs that, based on the gospel accounts, Jesus was dead when removed from the cross.
The Roman Guards
There were two separate groups of Roman soldiers given the task of ensuring the death of Jesus: the regular soldiers and the tomb guards. The job of the soldiers was to ensure the task was completed, that Jesus did not survive crucifixion, and these soldiers made certain that Jesus was dead, stabbing him with a spear, before His body was allowed to be taken from the cross. The second group of soldiers was given the task of guarding the tomb because of the request made to Pilate by the Sanhedrin. Matthew 27:62-66 tells us “On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, ‘Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, “After three days I will rise.’ Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.’ Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.’ So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard”‘. The presence of Roman troops (and the sealed tomb) would have made a discreet retrieval of Jesus’s body from the tomb extremely difficult if not impossible.
- Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus
- Vision hypothesis
- Stolen body hypothesis
- Historical Jesus
- Historicity of Jesus
- Empty tomb
- Religious perspectives on Jesus
- ^ Crucifixion or Cruci-fiction by Ahmed Deedat.
- ^ David Strauss, The Life of Jesus for the People, vol. 1, 2nd edition (London: Williams and Norgate, 1879), p. 412.
- ^ Jesus, a Fraud, a Lunatic or the Messiah? Resurrection: Hoax or History? Pre-Resurrection, part 1 @ answers2prayer.org
- ^ Christianity HOAX or HISTORY, Chapter 1, Back from the Grave @ greatcom.org (for more details see: Josh McDowell, New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, pages 223-225).
- ^ On the physical death of Jesus Christ, by W. D. Edwards, W. J. Gabel and F. E. Hosmer, Abstract (JAMA, Vol. 255 No. 11, March 21, 1986, @ jama.ama-assn.org)
- ^ On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ, by William D. Edwards, MD; Wesley J. Gabel, MDiv; Floyd E. Hosmer, MS, AMI (whole JAMA article in PDF file format).
- William Lane Craig, The Historical Argument for the Resurrection of Jesus during the Deist Controversy. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1985
- E. B. Docker, If Jesus Did Not Die on the Cross: A Study of the Evidence (London: Robert Scott, 1920
- R. Graves and J. Podro, Jesus in Rome, (London: Cassell & Co., 1957)
- Talmud Jmmanuel, ed. Eduard A. Meier (Schmidrüti, Switzerland: 1978)
- Donovan Joyce, The Jesus Scroll (Melbourne, Australia: Ferret Books, 1972)
- Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, Holy Blood, Holy Grail (New York: Harper and Row, 1983)
- J.D.M. Derrett, The Anastasis: The Resurrection of Jesus as an Historical Event (Shipston-on-Stour, England: P. Drinkwater, 1982)
- Kersten, Holger, Jesus lived in India. (Shaftsbury, Dorset : Element, 1994)
- The Pesher Technique: The_Resurrection by Dr. Barbara Thiering.