I have a short introduction and then three subjects. The three subjects will be the crucifixion, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus.
As my introduction, I ask you to think about what we would know about Jesus if we knew nothing at all from Christian sources. We would know about Jesus from Josephus and Tacitus. They agree on three points. First, there was a movement. Second, the authorities—Tacitus mentions just the Romans, Josephus mentions the higher authorities of the Jews and the Romans—crucified Jesus to stop it. Third, it didn’t work, and the movement continued to spread.
Those are three historical facts that I would ask you not to forget. There was a movement, and authorities killed the mover, but now it has spread all over the place.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
My first subject is the passion and crucifixion. I am very much aware of asking your indulgence in summarizing a lot of material. To simplify things, I will give you a sharp thesis and then my arguments for it. This is my thesis on the passion. The detailed, almost hour-by-hour, moment-by-moment, who-said-this who-said-that accounts in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are not history memorized but prophecy historicized. So that’s the sharp dichotomy—history memorized or prophecy historicized. We shall see what these mean as we go along.