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Why hasn’t Dr Habermas found any good responses to the minimal facts argument after 35 years?

Dr Gary Habermas has been a defender of the minimal facts argument for decades. He comments:

My Minimal Facts Argument in favor of Jesus’ resurrection was developed many years ago while writing my PhD dissertation.  It has two requirements for the historical facts that are used: each must be confirmed by several strong and independent arguments, plus the vast majority of even critical scholars must recognize the occurrence’s historical nature.  The critical scholars can be liberal, skeptical, agnostic, or even atheist, as long as they are specialists in a relevant field of study, such as New Testament.  Of these two requirements, it is important to recognize that the initial standard concerning strong evidential back-up is by far the most crucial.

So why do even critical scholars admit or allow these individual historical facts?  The answer is that each one is virtually undeniable.  Most of the half-dozen Minimal Facts typically used are confirmed by ten or more historical considerations each.  That is simply an amazing foundation, especially for events that occurred in the First Century AD!

Gary Habermas – Minimal Facts on the Resurrection that Even Skeptics Accept

Dr Habermas lists the following as minimal facts:

  1. that Jesus died by crucifixion;
  2. that very soon afterwards, his followers had real experiences that they thought were actual appearances of the risen Jesus;
  3. that their lives were transformed as a result, even to the point of being willing to die specifically for their faith in the resurrection message;
  4. that these things were taught very early, soon after the crucifixion;
  5. that James, Jesus’ unbelieving brother, became a Christian due to his own experience that he thought was the resurrected Christ; and
  6. that the Christian persecutor Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) also became a believer after a similar experience.

What is the best explanation for these minimal facts? Why has Dr Habermas not found any response to this argument after 35 years?


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