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The Crucifixion of Jesus in light of Historians: Do Historians Support The Christian Argument?



A common strategy utilized by many Christian evangelicals these days is to appeal to historians when trying to argue for the veracity of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

They will rightly point out, that most historians, including the likes of Bart Erhman, firmly agree and believe that Jesus was crucified.

So does this help their cause or argument? Not really, in fact the argument is quite deceptive, because Christianity doesn’t merely stand upon the death of Jesus upon a cross, but stands upon his death and resurrection. The apostle Paul wrote the following:

"And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept."--1 Corinthians. 15:17-20

So according to the apostle Paul, the resurrection of Jesus is a central tenant of the Christian faith, if Jesus has not rise, then the Christian faith is in vain. In other words, without the resurrection, there is no Christianity.

So now you start to see why this argument is deceptive, because historians affirm the death of Jesus, upon a cross, but they don’t claim that he rose from the dead 3 days later. So Bart Erhman will stand on stage and affirm that Jesus died on a cross, but he will staunchly deny and reject the resurrection of Jesus. So these historians don’t at all help the cause of evangelicals, in fact many of these historians give several proofs and evidences showing why the resurrection of Jesus is doubtful and untrue.

Now some might say doesn’t this still leave Islam with a problem? The Quran explicitly denies that Jesus was on a cross, in Surah 4:157 the Quran states clearly that Jesus was neither 1) killed, 2) or crucified. So doesn’t this put Muslims and Islam at a severe problem? As most historians say Jesus was on the cross, and virtually not a single historian argues that it wasn’t Jesus on the cross.

Not at all, if anybody reads Surah 4:157, one will see that the Quran never denies the event of the crucifixion took place. The Quran affirms the historical event of the crucifixion, The Quran simply says it was not Jesus on the cross. But isn’t there still a problem? The Quran affirms the historical event, but the details are slightly changed, according to the historical event it was Jesus on the cross, according to the Quran it wasn’t, yet no historian says that.

Again, there’s no problem, because the Quran says it was made to appear like Jesus, so essentially the executioners and the people who wanted Jesus dead, thought they killed Jesus. They thought it was Jesus on the cross, as it was made to appear to them. So when historians go around saying Jesus was on the cross, that doesn’t at all contradict the claims of Islam, in fact we’d expect them to make such a claim, because according to the Quran, it appeared as if it was Jesus on the cross. So if the Quran is saying that it appeared like Jesus on the cross, wouldn’t you then expect people, historians included, to be saying it was Jesus on the cross? Off course you would!

So Muslims are at no historical disadvantage whatsoever, none of the historians claims hurts any of the Quranic claims, their claims are actually things we’d expect them to say.

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