Taking Easter Seriously, an Infographic

It is that time of year again, and so I am reposting the popular “Taking Easter Seriously” infographic.

Many Christians read the Easter stories year upon year, as I did for several decades, yet we never compare them in detail. As a consequence, we often do not realize that they are not telling the same story. There are indeed contradictions in the texts, but it is very important to move beyond “mere contradiction” — the issues with the gospels are far more extensive than that. Comparison against the historical record and assessing the gospels for trends of legend development are probably far more crucial. As with many non-believers, I left Christianity specifically because of the Bible, and because I considered and examined its content very seriously indeed.

Perhaps it is time for more Christians to take the Bible and our Easter stories seriously.

[Click Image for Full Size Version (PNG), Use Ctrl+ and Ctrl- to adjust zoom.] or [PDF Version ]  or [Greek Version]

I am indebted to scholars like Bart Ehrman, Marcus Borg, Richard Carrier, and many others, without whom I would no doubt continue in my own past failures to take Easter seriously. And as always, I look to improve the accuracy of my work wherever possible. Please reply with any factual errors found, and I will correct appropriately. Thanks.

Also See: Infographic for New Testament Timeline

(C) Copyright 2015, JerichoBrisance.com

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

[In other words, feel free to pass along, distribute, etc., just don’t repackage it and sell it. Thanks!]

 

~

References:

  • Dennis, Lane T., ed. ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008.
  • Thomas, Robert L, and Stanley N. Gundry. A Harmony of the Gospels, NASB. Harper Collins, 1978.
  • Ehrman, Bart D. Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them). HarperOne, 2010.
  • Borg, Marcus J. Evolution of the Word: The New Testament in the Order the Books Were Written. HarperOne , 2012 
  • Price, Robert M. (2012-02-07). The Christ-Myth Theory And Its Problems. American Atheist Press. 
  • Carrier, Richard. On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt. Sheffield Phoenix Press Ltd. 2014.
  • Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament. Yale University Press; 1 edition (October 13, 1997)
  • http://rationalfaiths.com/a-brief-history-of-the-bible-part-iii-new-testament-timeline/
  • Selected lectures by Richard Carrier, YouTube.

Additional Information:

Related Wikipedia Sites:

About this graphic: Template content from GraphicRiver.com, Data Deck II Retro. Fonts include Abraham Lincoln and Fabrica.

Comments

  1. As I mentioned before, I still have this on my desk top for quick reference. I’m indebted to you for putting the hard work into putting it together and sharing it. So, thank you.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Dear Matt,

    Thank you for your update. As mentioned a few months ago, I have already finished incorporating your infographic at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/easter-in-modern-multimedia-perspective/

    Given the quality and relevance of your post, I have also hyperlinked thhis post along with the older one to my said post entitled “🐥 Easter in Modern Multimedia Perspective 🐰🐣🐇🐤” so that my readers can access both of your posts with ease.

    Happy April to you soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is an incredibly useful infographic you have here, Matt. Glad to see that it’s available under a Creative Commons license! I plan to include it in an Easter 2022 post that I’m preparing for phlyarology.com. Thank you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Matt,

    I was checking out a few old posts on my blog when I came across some comments by you. I decided to see what you were up to these days, and here I am. How are you going these days? Mostly I’m just saying hi, but I also have a few comments, which I’m hoping you don’t mind me making thanks..

    1. Your infographic is very professionally done. You can justifiably be pleased with it! (Maybe I should see if I can do something similar in style, if not in content.)

    2. I think all of these apparent discrepancies are well known, and as a christian (yes I still am!) I for one don’t see the need to try to explain each one – that would be a long job! But I think a few are easily seen as something that most people wouldn’t see as worth talking about. I’m thinking things like scarlet vs purple, “Magical Powers”, “Famous last Words”, “At the feet of the cross”, etc. There are obvious ways these things might be explained, or might not be important.

    Scholars say that oral tradition preserves the essence of stories accurately but is flexible about minor details. If we take notice of the scholars, then your catalogue of minor discrepancies should fairly be placed alongside the likelihood that the main parts of the story were recorded accurately. Just like a police investigation and a court of law discards the extraneous and focuses on what is multiply supported, so do most NT scholars. So all you say may (or may not) be true, but the impressive thing is that many sources (Bart Ehrman suggests about 8 I think) support the historicity of the main outline of the gospels.

    2. It is perhaps notable that your list of scholars represents the sceptical end of the bell curve. People like Maurice Casey, EP Sander, Geza Vermes (none of them christians) and NT Wright might balance that a little.

    3. I think the apparent differences in the resurrection appearances stories are more significant. But did you know that they can be reasonably harmonised? New testament scholar John Wenham has done exactly that (see my page on the resurrection. As he points out, he doesn’t claim historical rigour, only that he has shown it is possible to show a consistent narrative.

    4. Are you aware that James Crossley and Maurice Casey (neither of them christians) date Mark to about 30-40 CE? I don’t think many agree with them, but it is interesting.

    5. I was interested to see that you had 215 comments on this post 7 years ago, and only 5 now. I have found a similar drop off in comments on my two blogs, and a drop off in readership too. Have you experienced that and thought about it? It seems that the good (bad?) old days of strong partisanship about christianity vs atheism seem to have passed. I don’t really know if I’m glad or sad.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment, and best wishes to you.

    Like

    • Hi unkleE,

      Thanks for your comment. FYI, there is a more recent version of the infographic located here (minor changes mainly): https://jerichobrisance.com/2015/04/02/taking-easter-seriously-revised-enhanced/?wref=tp

      For a more complete list of my resources back in the day, see this page, where you will find some of the folks you mentioned: https://jerichobrisance.com/2013/04/13/bibliography-of-sources-from-deconversion-journey/

      I had my blog offline for a few years, then put it back up again. I don’t post too much these days, as the original purpose of the blog was mainly for my religious friends at the time. Things change, interests shift, and I don’t have too much to say on religion any longer. So yes, with all that taken in the round, I’m not really sure what my readership might be these days. But from time to time, I notice a spike in which someone found the blog and began marching through either my Journey or my Paisley stories.

      Section 5 of the infographic still functions as a good boil down of the options available when trying find a “way of looking at it.” I personally find Option 4 the most plausible and congruent with evident human behavior around religious figures and political leaders, both in the past and in the present day. (E.g., the political right is currently fabricating a brand new martyr in the person of Ashli Babbit, and that is being done despite damning videographic evidence.) Claims of miracle and martyrdom do not, as a rule, actually bear up under scrutiny. Exaggeration and fabrication are normative, not exceptional, in movements of religious fervor. So my position is that the benefit of the doubt should not be conferred on such stories, either in major or minor points. Our default regarding the fantastical should be set to “false until proven true”. We should believe nothing beyond the aspects that are robustly demonstrable, and those, with the gospels, are relatively few and relatively vague.

      But there are four other options listed for a reason: many take a different view… 🙂

      Cheers,
      Matt

      Like

  5. Hi Matt, I didn’t realise that you had taken a break from blogging. Nate Owen (Finding Truth) is another who was very popular but hasn’t posted in almost 3 years now. I must admit, sometimes I wonder why I do it.

    The only thing I really take issue with is not your preference but your wording of the option I am espousing. I don’t think many historians would agree that there are “serious indictments against the accuracy” of the gospels! Many questions about fringe matters but broad acceptance about the main events seems more accurate.

    But thanks for your reply and best wishes in whatever takes your time these days.

    Like

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