Contemporary evidence for the supernatural Jesus
So a couple weeks ago I finished reading Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, the gospels as eyewitness testimony, and I would highly recommend it, it certainly would be useful to scholars as well as laypersons.
Now onto my presentation of Bauckham's arguments, Richard Bauckham argues that the named witnesses we hear about in the Gospels were actually the same witnesses who passed down the traditions surrounding the events in which they participate. These witnesses which are important for my purposes are Jairus, the women in the Gospels who witnessed the burial and discovered the empty tomb of Jesus, Clopas, the named witness in the appearance of Jesus on the road to Emmaus, and the twelve disciples.
There are several arguments which Bauckham gives in support of his thesis, which I will present here
1: We observe a pattern of name-dropping in the synoptics. of all the characters in the Gospels, roughly half of these are anonymous, while the others actually have names. In the Gospel of Mark, some named witnesses actually lose a name in Matthew or Luke, but not a single anonymous witness gains a name in either Matthew or Luke. This is probably best explained by the fact that these once-named witnesses became obscure and hence were not designated as tradents of the synoptic Jesus tradition used by the evangelists. we should also take note that in many of the stories, such as the appearance of Jesus on the road to Emmaus, we see Clopas named, and another witness who is left anonymous. This is strange given the fact that the story flows just as easily if both witnesses are left anonymous. this strongly suggests that "Luke" is saying that Clopas, the named witness, was the tradent of this tradition surrounding the appearance of Jesus on the road to Emmaus.
2: The named witnesses usually are witnesses to Jesus' miracles, recipients of Jesus' healing miracles, or disciples of Jesus. These people would have gained considerable prominence in the earliest Christian communities, suggesting that out of pragmatism, the gospel authors chose to rely on the traditions passed down by these individuals.
3: in the synoptic Gospels we can see a rather careful listing of the twelve disciples (no such list is found in John however, but the authorship of John can be saved for another day, I wish to focus on the Synoptic Jesus traditions) strongly suggests that these men were very prominent in the early christian communities as tradents of the historical tradition surrounding Jesus.
4: the literary device of "inclusio" is found in Mark and Luke. In Mark there is a particular emphasis in Peter's testimony, and Peter is also the first and last disciple to be named in Mark's Gospel. What is also of interest is that Peter is meant to stand out when Jesus also calls Andrew, Peter's brother. in Luke we find that the evangelist forms an inclusio around the gospel women, starting in chapter 6 with the beginning of Jesus' ministry in Gailiee, and ending the inclusio with the Angels telling the women to remember what Jesus told them in Luke 24. This strongly suggests that Luke relied heavily upon the testimony of the women, or at least traditions handed down by these women, and that Mark heavily relied on Peter's testimony in composing his Gospel.
that's just a small sampler of Bauckham's arguments in Jesus and the Eyewitnesses.
I hope I don't get any morons saying "you used the bible, CIRCULAR REASONING!"
"If you can make any religion of the world look ridiculous, chances are you haven't understood it"-Ravi Zacharias
"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin