The Resurrection Never Happened

JesusCatResurrectionNeece posted on the Codex Sinaiticus a few weeks ago. I've been digging around, reading it (a little) and about it, and was formulating a reply to add to her article. After a bit of writing, I decided I should just make it a separate article.

Let me start with a little background information. Many Christians mistakenly assume that the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John) are independent accounts of the life of Jesus. Thus they assume that four corroborated eyewitnesses prove his existence, and the validity of every story told of him. Several facts knock this premise on its ear; but somehow Christians hold fast to their belief still.

First, Luke starts his book by stating that he is drawing up accounts "as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses" (in case that is too cryptic, he is admitting these were the stories told to him; that he was not an eyewitness). Second, we have historical and archeological information that indicates the new testament books were written after 45 CE at the earliest; most were after 90 CE. Third, we have in depth analysis and research that has resulted in plenty of proof that three of the four copy from another. Yet still many Christians think them all perfect accounts of the life of Jesus. Even his existence cannot be proven absolutely.

Most scholars agree that Mark was written first, and the other three had a copy or version of Mark they built their work from. The most common hypothesis currently is that Matthew used Mark or a version of Mark (M) in conjunction with the Q document (an as-yet undiscovered document). Luke used Mark and the Q document; as well as at least one other source (L), possibly two (J). The gospel of John came last, in addition to being very obviously written by a Greek (when original versions are examined). "The Gospel [of John] certainly does not appear to have been written by an uneducated fisherman from Galilee, which is who John the disciple is portrayed as in Gospel stories." John appears to use Matthew, Mark, and Luke; but takes many liberties by using "eloquent Greek prose for the speeches of Jesus" instead of just translating. [SOURCE]

Most of you probably knew this, or knew of it in general, so I'll get on with the "new" information.

Seems to me there are four pivotal things about Jesus that Christianity builds on: virgin birth, miracles performed, crucifixion, resurrection. How much of the Christian doctrine revolves around the resurrection? How much of the Jesus mythology comes crashing down without his return to life?

The last chapter (16) of Mark tells the story of the two Marys going to the sepulcher to anoint the body of Jesus. They discover the body missing and a "young man" (often depicted as an angel) tells them he is risen (the first half of the chapter: 16:1-8). The second half of the chapter (16:9-20) relates the various appearances Jesus put in with those known to him.

The drum roll... Remembering...
  • Mark was the most original known story of the life of Jesus.
  • The Codex is the earliest known compiling of the new testament.

The version of Mark that appears in the Codex ends at verse eight.

In the earliest known telling of the life of Jesus, there was no resurrection. For all we really can gather, the body might have been stolen.

How much credence does this lend to Christianity borrowing aspects of other myths, and adding them to the Jesus myth?

Do you think this could be used as an effective arguing tool for Jesus being a mythical figure?


  1. i think it is safe to say that it could not be used as an effective arguing tool because nothing is going to sway a true believer's mind. "don't confuse me with the facts!" one (my ex-girlfriend) shouted at me. "i believe what i believe, and no facts are going to change my mind!"

  2. [...] fine fellas at Heaving Dead Cats have alerted me both to the new online edition of the Codex Sinaiticus as well as its version of [...]

  3. I'm often perplexed that those who like the bible don't have much of an interest in investigating the sources ,authors,reliability,authenticity of those books.....our whole world even outside of science questions sources and reliability ,say history of a used car,or a supposed antique,or the better deal at the grocery store.....and in this area of possibly the most importantant part of life ,the sources go unquestioned.....strange....

  4. "In the earliest known telling of the life of Jesus, there was no resurrection. For all we really can gather, the body might have been stolen."

    Well, the story strongly implies a resurrection, which of course says nothing about its historical plausibility. At the very least, in the Mark there is no resurrection appearance by Jesus where he gets to show off how cool he is walking through walls and eating food and stuff.

  5. I relish the chance to heave some dead cats :)

  6. Yay! Let's heave dead cats together, James! :D

  7. Well, it can be used as a fallacious arguing tool, but not effective. Or, maybe not. Maybe it is effective, if your brain is washed clean of critical thinking skills. All you need is the faith of a mustard seed! Forget silly ol' facts!

  8. Hey Rev Tim. Do people do research into those simple, common sense things that much anymore? I wonder. I don't know, but I am curious. It's a good point. I think people are scared to question their faith. Because faith is supposed to be blind and dumb, never questioned.

  9. I wonder if "he is risen" is a euphemism of some sort?

  10. are all gonna go to hell for this.

    especially you, young lady (neece)! yes, jesus may have been man, fully human, but he DID NOT have what you are intimating.
    for shame!

    i wash my hands of this affair.

  11. Jesus had no penis? Really? Wow. I had no idea.

  12. This is no place for your erotic bible fan-fic.

  13. What? I'm just sayin'! The Marys said it, not me! I'm just pointing to the obvious!

  14. The letters of Paul, which predate the Gospels, talks about Jesus being in heaven and manifesting himself to Saul of Tarsus. Richard Carrier argues that Paul believed in a non-physical resurrection of Jesus that, obviously, did not involve his flesh.

    See here:

    So the answer is yes and no. You can argue that the body was not resurrected but that does not necessarily mean Jesus was not.

    Today Jehovah Witnesses believe just that and reinterpret the Gospels accordingly. They say the physical manifestation of Jesus were done in a temporary body (not the one that died on the cross) so the disciples could interact with him before going to heaven. For example:

    “…in his resurrection he ‘became a life-giving spirit.’ That was why for most of the time he was invisible to his faithful apostles… He needs no human body any longer… The human body of flesh, which Jesus Christ laid down forever as a ransom sacrifice, was disposed of by God’s power.”—“Things in Which it is Impossible for God to Lie,” pp. 332, 354

    For me, arguing against the resurrection is backwards. The natural state of affairs is that the dead do not come back to life (sorry zombie believers). No one has to argue against a resurrection, the believers are the ones who should present evidence and argument for one. So far, no reasonable argument nor any evidence has been presented to establish such a miraculous exception to the natural laws of the cosmos.

    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"
    Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)

    My websites:

  15. i wanna heave a dead cat over the cemetery fence at midnight during a full-moon. why? i dunno, just sounds cool. and i think it would scare the true-believers.

    if they aint cool cats, they may as well be dead cats...

  16. Christianity has always been weird for me. The whole cannibalism thing (eat my body drink my blood) and zombies kind of turned me away. How can I think a religion is being serious when its symbolism consists of such things.

  17. [...] to Heaving Dead Cats for the original image. Category: [...]