chapter  10
21 Pages

On the third day he rose again

Bayesian methodologies applied to the resurrection of Jesus
ByRodney Holder

This chapter re-examines the issues involved and suggests a resolution to the conflicting methodologies and results. It compares two very different applications of Bayesian methodology for evaluating the hypothesis that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead, namely the approaches of Timothy and Lydia McGrew and Richard Swinburne. Tom Wright's approach is thus very much in line with the scientific approach to evaluating hypotheses, and in its application to both natural and ramified natural theology. The chapter concentrates mainly on the posterior historical data, since that is what is common to Swinburne and the McGrews. Swinburne evaluates similar historical data concerning the resurrection to the McGrews but also includes evidence from natural theology and ‘prior historical data,’ that concerning the life and death of Christ. Swinburne, like the McGrews, argues that discrepancies in testimony to Jesus’ resurrection do not undermine the general reliability of the New Testament accounts.