Resurrection vs. hallucination: An argument for the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus in terms of probabilistic analysis

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Resurrection vs. hallucination: An argument for the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus in terms of probabilistic analysis

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Title: Resurrection vs. hallucination: An argument for the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus in terms of probabilistic analysis
Author: Lee, Yong-Won
Advisor: Cabal, Theodore James
Abstract: The purpose of the dissertation is to defend the historicity of Jesus' resurrection in probabilistic way, competing with Gerd Lüdemann's hallucination hypothesis concerning Jesus' postmortem appearances Chapter 1 points out that the evangelical endeavors to defend the historicity of Jesus' resurrection have so far failed to realize the necessity of the consideration of the inherent plausibility of Christ's resurrection because their arguments are not based on the formal structure for the argument. This chapter mentions the methodology of this study, which is grounded upon a mathematical formulation using probability theories for each hypothesis's argument, and introduces biblical and philosophical background information that this dissertation proposes to raise the initial probability of the resurrection hypothesis.

Chapter 2 delineates the contents of the resurrection hypothesis and the hallucination hypothesis. The mathematical formulation reflecting the logical structure for the argument of each hypothesis is constructed via the concepts of epistemic probability and Bayes's theorem. This chapter finally provides preliminary lists of background evidence and special evidence, both of which are used to assess the epistemic probability of each hypothesis.

Chapter 3 argues for the biblical background evidence that contributes to raise the initial probability of the resurrection hypothesis. This chapter argues that the Gospels' narratives of encounters with the resurrected Jesus originated from historically reliable eyewitness testimonies.

Chapter 4 deals with the philosophical background evidence that is in favor of the initial probability of the resurrection hypothesis. First, Hume's criticism against miracles is judged as a failure in terms of its logical fallacies and false definition of miracle based on his misconception of nature laws. Second, the occurrence of the miraculous is not logically impossible, and thus miraculous events should not be precluded a priori in historical investigation. Finally, reliable testimony can be a sufficient evidence for an occurrence of miracle.

Chapter 5 performs a probabilistic assessment for each hypothesis in light of the updated background and special evidence list. By means of the principles of confirmation theory and numerical analysis, each hypothesis's initial probability and the predictive power are estimated. Through the analysis, it is evident that the suggested background information of this dissertation successfully raises the initial probability of the resurrection hypothesis. The increased initial probability of the resurrection hypothesis eventually produces a high epistemic probability on the resurrection hypothesis. The last chapter concludes this dissertation by summarizing each chapter and articulating the thesis of this study.

Description: This item is only available to students and faculty of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. If you are not associated with SBTS, this dissertation may be purchased from http://disexpress.umi.com/dxweb or downloaded through ProQuest's Dissertation and Theses database if your institution subscribes to that service.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10392/2929
Date: 2009-10-09

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