College of Holy Cross has just made available on-line the transcript of a debate between William Lane Craig and Bart Ehrman entitled "Is There Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus?" I have only scanned through the debate thus far, and I have to agree with at least one of Dr. Craig's points:
. . . this isn’t a debate about what professional historians are permitted to do. That would be a debate about methodology, about the rules of professional conduct. This is a debate about whether or not there is historical evidence for the resurrection. And even if the historian is professionally blocked by some methodological constraint from inferring the resurrection of Jesus, you and I aren’t so blocked. We’re not so constrained, nor, would I say, is the historian so constrained in his off-hours, so to speak. It would be a tragedy and a shame if we were to miss the truth about the past, about Jesus, simply because of some methodological constraint.
It seems as though the skeptics are constantly trying to stack the deck against the possibility of the extra-natural occuring. The argument seems to be that we cannot assume that God would actually step into history and take action in history; rather, we must figure out a purely natural explanation for all things -- no matter how far fetched -- or we are not doing "real" history (archaeology, biology, etc.). I have said repeatedly, that it is appropriate to assume that things happen naturalistically, but it is a mistake to make that assumption conclusive, i.e., the only acceptable answers are naturalistic, if the evidence seems to suggest that the extra-natural has occured.
In the case of the resurrection, there is a great deal of evidence that the extra-natural occurred from the testimony given by the Gospels -- evidence that, despite efforts of Jesus Mythers to rebuke, continues to support the proposition that the Gospels writers (or their followers) wrote down what was actually witnessed and understood to have happened to Jesus of Nazareth. To insist based upon a pro-naturalistic bias that the extra-natural could not explain their testimony should be seen for what it is -- exalting form over substance.
(HT: Jeff Downs)