Did Greco Roman Myths About Dying and Rising Gods Influence the Gospel Accounts of the Resurrection?
Could the Post Resurrection Appearances of Jesus Be Merely Hallucination Experiences?
William Lane Craig generally makes a good case on both points.
Two quibbles on fact.
- 1) Was James a believer before the Resurrection?
I think yes. James is called "Brother of God", "Brother of Christ", "Brother of the Lord" as the first at least male believer among those siblings. The rest are called "brothers of James" as believing later than he.
However, even Proto-Gospel of Saint James, which states this, will probably (I have not read it, I have heard facts from it and how they are contested by other sources, notably Joseph being a widower before being betrothed to the Blessed Virgin, and "brothers and sisters" of Jesus being his children from first marriage) confirm one part of WLC's answer : James was not sharing the collective life of Apostles as yet.
- 2) Is Hercules a "dying and resurrecting fertility god"?
Hercules was a historic person who lived a generation before the Trojan War. THere is nothing in his story about resurrection, there is however, with him as with Krishna, some story of his soul being received in heaven - something per se unobservable on earth and for which no precise earthly witness is claimed. UNLIKE the story of Resurrection to Ascension, where everything is bodily observable on earth.
However, these two inaccuracies of Dr. Craig are not enough to destroy his case.
For "500, most of whom are still alive", I have written a defense against an attack by Dan Parker:
[Earlier on this blog:] What a blooper, Dan Barker from Atheist League!
It is part of a series on early testminony, like Romans or Josephus on existence if not divinity of Christ or like how it was preserved before the printing press. Dan Parker's argument was not here answered by Dr. Craig.
Even so, I am glad for observation that St Paul was aware of some of the 500 having died. Either he knew them personally, or he knew them so to speak "by name and face" and via intermediates.
Hans Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou