I want to start off by saying that the intent this defense is to strengthen the faith (loyalty) of the believer, and to offer a defense for the hope that is within me, for the unbeliever. I'll start off by re-posting what I previously posted in the old forums: (Thanks Alsharad!) The Resurrection Does the resurrection have any evidence? Is there any way to verify the validity of the eyewitness accounts? Can the New Testament be trusted? I'm attempt to answer these questions in the next few posts. Part one: The New Testament Many seem to believe that the New Testament has been corrupted and can longer be trusted. But is this really the case? In oder to build a case for the resurrection, I first need to establish a case for the the New Testament. Consider the following: 1.Atom wrote a defense of the ressurction of christ, and Christiianity on Hp forums 2.Jatom wwrote a deffense of the ressurection of Chrst, an hristianity on Hip forums 3.Jatm wrote a defense of the ressurction and Christianity n Hip forums 4.Jatomwrote a defense of the ressurectionn of Christt, and Christianity on Hip frums 5.Jatom wrole a d femse of t e ressurection of Christ, and Christianoity on Hip Forums. From the following 5 writings we could determine what the original text said: Jatom wrote a defense of the resurrection of Christ, and Christianity, on Hip Forums. This is the same method used for secular texts as well as NT criticism. The manuscript copies are used to determine the original. For many well-known classical authors, such as Plutarch, Seutonius, Tacitus, Polybius, Thucydides, Xenophon...,the total number of manuscript copies is typically less than ten with the earliest copies dating from 750 to 1600 years after the original was first written, yet, in light of this, very few scholars question the reliability of such writing. One only needs to compare the numbers mentioned above with the New Testament, to reveal how vastly inferior their textual evidence is. The New Testament contains 24,000(!) manuscript copies, with the earliest fragments and complete copies dating between 50 and 300 years after the original. Not to mention 36,000 early quotations from the Church fathers, from which alone the entire New testament (save for a few verses) could be constructed. This is an overwhelming amount of evidence, more so than any other ancient writing. So what about the 24,000 manuscripts? Do they show any signs of tampering? Nope. The vast majority of variants are recognized as unintentional copyist errors: repetition of words or sentences, grammatically errors, etc. In fact, The New Testament is considered 99% textually pure with NO Christian Doctrine dependent upon ANY textual variant. And in regards to textual variants, one site notes: "There is now general agreement that the textual problems in Shakespeare are of such complexity that no text can be established that will commend the general assent that constitutes 'definitiveness.' " [ibid., 26] Note: This is the closest I have seen in any "secular" textual criticism book to the statements of despair and woe made by some N[ew]T[estament] text-critics to the effect, "We can NEVER know what was REALLY written!!!" (See below.) Most critics, however, are of a far more positive bent! For example, though an edition of Richard III "can advertise that they contain more than a thousand variants from the conventional text" [Bowe.TLC, 3], we do not see text critics wondering if that play actually was written entirely differently! "Hamlet will not be revealed as a woman, or as the villian; he will still be melancholy and at odds with the life about him." [ibid., 8] Textual variants are important to note, but we are not going to find that they significantly alter the storyline! So do we contain the original New Testament? Yes! In fact, one cannot question the reliability of the New Testament without first questioning every other ancient writing, because the evidence surrounding the New Testament is so much more superior! As one person puts notes: Most historians accept the textual accuracy of other ancient works on far less adequate manuscript grounds than is available for the New Testament. Now, what about the reliability of the writers (particularly the writers of Matthew, Mark, Luke and Acts, and John,)? Can we determine that they faithfully recorded what they and others saw? There are several ways to determine this. First we can look at internal evidences, i.e., we can examine the authors claims to determine if any of them disqualifies them as trustworthy writers: do they contradict themselves? Is there anything they write that would cause one to objectively suspect their trustworthiness? Do they mention objects or concepts out of their historical context (a story involving Jesus giving a sermon from the passenger side of a car, for example) The answer to these questions is no. In fact, we only see claims that serve to strengthen their reliability. For example, they record their own sins(Matt 26:56; 69-75), they put women as the finders of the empty tomb (more on this later) (Lk 24:1-3), they record there deity's own ignorance (Matt 24:36; Mar 13:32) and weakness's (Matt 4:2) Obviously the list goes on. The point is, the authors include often embarrassing events to the effect of "like it or not, this is what really happened." This serves to strengthen their integrity, and lower the possibly of the stories being fabricated. (More on this later.) We can also examine any external evidences to determine the validity of their claims. Going back to the above illustration about Jatom and his defense. Jatom wrote a defense of the resurrection of Christ, and Christianity, on Hip Forums Several external evidences that could verify the above statement. Was “Jatom” ever mentioned in other places? Did “Hip Forums” really exist, and was it a place where writings could be archived? What was the “resurrection”, and was it something that was defensible? What about “Christianity”, is it mentioned elsewhere? What is known of “Christ”, and is he/she/it said to have resurrected? The New Testament excels in this area too take the following: Is there corroborating evidence for the claims made in the New Testament outside the New Testament? Or are the claims or events of the New Testament successfully refuted by other competent reports or eyewitnesses? Are there statements or assertions in the New Testament that are demonstrably false according to known archaeological, historic, scientific or other data? The New Testament again passes the test. For example, Luke wrote one-fourth of the New Testament. His careful historical writing has been documented from detailed personal archaeological investigation by former critic Sir William Ramsay, who stated after his painstaking research, "Luke’s history is unsurpassed in respect of its trustworthiness." 1 A. N. Sherwin-White, the distinguished historian of Rome, stated of Luke: "For [the book of] Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming. Any attempt to reject its basic historicity even in matters of detail must now appear absurd." Note that there has has yet to be any archaeological data that contradicts the New Testament. This short exposition is merely a brief overview, and I will be willing to go into further details for anyone who wants further information. The point of it was the establish the reliability of the New Testament.