The Trial of the Witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus
The Gentleman's observation, that the general belief of the resurrection creates a presumption that it stands upon good evidence, and therefore people look no farther, but follow their fathers, as their fathers did their grandfathers did before them, is in great measure true, but it is a truth nothing to his purpose.-from The Trial of the Witnesses of the Resurrection of JesusOne of the most famous-and least read-works of Christian apologetics, this is Anglican bishop Thomas Sherlock's classic 1729 rebuttal to Deist Thomas Woolston's skeptical Discourses of the Miracles of Jesus Christ (1728-1729). Within the framework of a courtroom proceeding in which the Apostles are on trial for faking the Resurrection, Sherlock pits Woolston's own arguments against his own powerful defense of the "accused." Applying the logic and reason of the law to the Bible, this is a provocative and original interpretation of the story of Jesus' life and death.British theologian THOMAS SHERLOCK (1678-1761) was educated at Eton and Cambridge and served as a Church of England bishop for 33 years.
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Page 4 - Woolston took the matter up, and said, Consider, sir, the gentleman is not to argue out of Littleton, Plowden, or Coke, authors to him well known; but he must have his authorities from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John : and a fortnight is time little enough of all conscience to gain a familiarity...
Page 6 - Good-humour natural to the Conversation of Gentlemen. The Judge perceiving the Disposition of the Company, thought it a proper Time to begin, and called out, Gentlemen of the Jury take your Places ; and immediately seated himself at the upper End of the Table : The Company sat round him, and the Judge called upon the Counsel for Woolston to begin.
Page 4 - ... excused himself from undertaking a controversy in religion, of all others the most momentous. But he was told, that the argument should be confined merely to the nature of the evidence ; and that might be considered, without entering into any such controversy as he would avoid ; and, to bring the matter within bounds, and under one view, the evidence of Christ's resurrection, and the exceptions taken to. it, should be the only subject of the conference. With much persuasion he suffered himself...