Here are some of the leading theories to explain the…
Here are some of the leading theories to explain the origins of the resurrection of Jesus and of early Christianity. They are meant to explain either the empty tomb, appearances of Jesus after his death, belief in Resurrection, or all of the above. Some are more popular than others within scholarly circles. I don’t think any of them have plausible explanatory power .
1. Wrong tomb- The women who were going to anoint Jesus mistakenly went to the wrong tomb. Upon seeing it empty, they concluded that he had risen from the dead.
2. Displaced body- Joseph of Arimathea temporarily buried Jesus due to Passover, but relocated the body into a criminal’s graveyard after the holiday had passed. The women found the original tomb, but didn’t know the body had been moved.
3. Conspiracy theory- the disciples or someone close to Jesus stole the body in order to fake the resurrection.
4. Swoon theory- Jesus did not really die on the cross, but merely passed out due to lack of oxygen, was prematurely buried. He recovered three days later, left the tomb,and when his disciples saw him they were convinced that he was raised from the dead.
5. Lost body- the earthquake mentioned in the gospel of Matthew (which supposedly occurred around the crucifixion) opened up a sinkhole, and which the buried body of Jesus fell into. The aftershocks of the earthquake covered the hole up. Thus making the tomb appear empty.
6. Hallucination/vision theory- the disciples and Paul hallucinated Jesus through subjective visions after his death. Peter was bereaving the loss of Jesus, which led to him “sending the presence” of Jesus. Paul had a guilt complex from persecuting Christians. This is by far the most popular theory
7. Doppleganger theory- Jesus had an unknown twin brother (or some look-alike) who moved his body and showed himself to the disciples, who then believe he was raised from the dead. Or, someone else who happened to look like Jesus was mistaken for him.