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Christianity | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


Published in Irish Theological Quarterly. Permission has been granted by the Permissions Assistant at Sage Publications to upload this contribution to Liberty University’s scholarly repository. All Rights Secured. No copy of this file may be sold or reprinted in whole or in part. To purchase the entire journal issue that contains this contribution, please visit the website of Sage Publications and Irish Theological Quarterly (

Bergeron, Joseph W. and Habermas, Gary R. “The Resurrection of Jesus: A Clinical Review of Psychiatric Hypotheses for the Biblical Story of Easter.” Irish Theological Quarterly 80 2 (2015): 157-172.


Jesus’ resurrection to bodily life after death by crucifixion is foundational to orthodox Christianity. The disciples had encounters with Jesus after his crucifixion which caused them to believe he had been bodily resurrected to life again. Psychiatric hypotheses have been proposed as naturalistic explanations for his disciples’ beliefs, which include hallucinations, conversion disorder, and bereavement experiences. Since they propose hallucinatory symptoms that suggest the presence of underlying medical pathology, clinical appraisal of these hypotheses for the disciples’ encounters with the resurrected Jesus is warranted. Psychiatric hypotheses for the disciples’ belief in Jesus’ resurrection are found to be inconsistent with current medical understanding and do not offer plausible explanations for the biblical story of Easter.