Rawlings School of Divinity
Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics (MA)
Resurrection, Jesus, Christ, Bayes, Theorem
Christianity | History | History of Christianity | Religion
Liebi, Nicola Jérôme, "The Resurrection of Christ: A Bayesian Analysis of Explanatory Hypotheses" (2020). Masters Theses. 608.
The goal of this thesis is to determine under which circumstances a supernatural hypothesis should be preferred over the most probable natural hypothesis to explain a set of historical facts. The supernatural hypotheses include the objective vision hypothesis and the resurrection hypothesis, while the subjective vision hypothesis is taken to be the most probable natural hypothesis. Each of them can be found in the recent literature on the Resurrection and is still advocated by major proponents. The facts by which these three hypotheses are judged are agreed upon by most scholars. They include (1) Jesus’ death by crucifixion, (2) the disciples’ claim that Jesus was raised and appeared to them alive after his death, and (3) the transformative experience of Paul. This thesis argues that, unless it is extremely improbable that God exists and that He would raise Jesus from the dead, the best historical explanation for the set of historical facts herein considered is that Jesus appeared alive in bodily form after being crucified.