The Probability of the Resurrection of Jesus
Swinburne (Richard)
Source: Philosophia Christi 15, 2013, pp.239-252
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction, plus extracts

  1. In this paper I shall seek to summarize an argument contained in my recent book Was Jesus God? (as well as more fully in my book The Resurrection of God Incarnate) arguing for the high probability that Jesus rose bodily from the dead on the first Easter Day.
  2. In assessing any historical hypothesis we have to take into account three kinds of evidence. The first kind is the most obvious kind - the testimony of witnesses about and the physical data caused by what happened at the time and place in question. […] I shall call such evidence the posterior historical evidence. In so far as the hypothesis is a simple one, and the posterior historical evidence is such as you would expect to find if the hypothesis at stake is true but not otherwise, that is evidence that the hypothesis is true.
  3. As well as the posterior historical evidence, we need to take into account general background evidence of how likely the hypothesis is to be true, independently of the detailed historical evidence. […]
  4. […] another kind of historical evidence will enter the equation, evidence showing that those conducive conditions (what I shall call the prior requirements) were or were not present. That again will be strong in so far as it is such as you would expect to find if those conditions were present, and not otherwise (and in so far as the supposition of these conditions is a simple one). I shall call such evidence the prior historical evidence.
  5. When we are dealing with a hypothesis H which would be not too improbable on one world-view T but would be immensely improbable on a rival world-view, the general background evidence will be all the evidence which is relevant to the probability of the different world views; and to the extent to which it supports most strongly the world-view T which makes H not too improbable, we need less by way of detailed historical evidence in order for the claim that H is true, to be probable overall.
  6. […]


For the full text, see Swinburne - The Probability of the Resurrection of Jesus.

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  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
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