(Note: This letter, from me, is continued from Page 20)
"Also, the idea of a "suffering messiah" did not exist among Jews in ancient Judaism. I dare you to provide historical documentation that shows the idea of a suffering Messiah was a part of Judaism in 1st century Palestine, and that ancient Jews prior to Jesus thought that Isaiah 53 was a prediction of the coming Messiah."
"Isaiah 53 makes no mention of a "Messiah," and no mention of this person bringing about a Messianic age. Isaiah 53 was understood to be a personification of the Israelite nation, not about an individual person or Messiah figure."
"And then compare this to the description of Jesus' in John 2:15:
"So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables."
And there's no suggestion that he ever struck anyone, but just chased them away.
"Or his words in Luke 19:27:
"But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them - bring them here and kill them in front of me."
Please tell me you understand that it's a character in one of his parables who is saying that.
"First of all, these were 30-50 year old stories being written down, so to claim there was no inflation is ignoring how oral tradition provably inflates stories, regardless of the intentions of those who pass the stories along."
So even though moving from one to zero is obviously not an inflation, you're arguing that it's an inflation because people would inflate it?
"Secondly, you are using, once again, a very poor comparison. You seem to not understand the vast number of differences between Caesar's account and Jesus' account. These comparisons of yours speak to the lack of thought you really put into analyzing your own comparisons. Here are some of the major reasons why you can't compare these two events:
1) One event was a public event in front of a large group of people, one was a private event among a devout group of followers."
So? What does that have to do with my point? My point is that practically any time there are multiple accounts of the same series of events, there will be discrepancies. I'm not saying that it will only happen in one type of event and not in another. So how does pointing out that they're two different types of events make any difference?
"2) Difference in details of Caesar's assassination are trivial compared to drastic change of details in the Gospels. For example, accounts of Caesar's assassination don't differ on whether two angels killed Caesar or a man killed him."
No, they differ on whether 23 people killed him or 60 people killed him.
"3) Details of Caesars' assassination have discrepancies, but who cares?"
Since they prove the point that multiple accounts of the same series of events are going to have discrepancies, we both should.
"Caesar is not the supposed savior of the world. Once again, you seem to ignore the fact that the NT is supposed to be God's message of salvation to the world, yet it has all the hallmarks of errors that typical, human based accounts have."
Right. It has all the hallmarks of honest accounts of the events. You're claiming that these discrepancies prove the Jesus story was fabricated. But if they don't prove that Caesar's assassination was fabricated, then how do they prove the Jesus story was fabricated?
"You then go on to claim "Only Bible critics take differences in details to suggest that the events themselves never happened." This is not true. Most Bible critics believe that somebody indeed went to the tomb, and that someone was there to tell that person that Jesus resurrected. However, the DETAILS of the event are unreliable since there are vast differences."
Same as the details of Caesar's assassination. But we aren't discussing whether the minor details are accurate, but whether the major event ever happened. The differences in minor details don't suggest that Caesar wasn't assassinated, any more than the differences in minor details would suggest that Jesus wasn't resurrected.
"I don't doubt that Jesus was considered a prophet whom had a following of disciples, and who was Baptised by John. I don't doubt that Jesus was crucified, I don't doubt that Jesus was put in a tomb, I don't doubt that the rock in front of the tomb was moved away, and I don't doubt that someone was inside telling some women about Jesus, and I don't doubt that some disciples believed they saw Resurrected Jesus. These are all major events, and I have never said they never happened."
Then let me ask you this - why do you believe that those events did happen, but the resurrection did not? It's the same authors writing the same texts, right? Why believe some parts and not others? What standards do you use?
Out of curiosity, are there any non-miraculous events described in the Gospel accounts that you don't believe happened? Or any miraculous events that you believe happened?
I think we can face facts here. You doubt the resurrection (and, I presume, the walking on water, water into wine, virgin birth, resurrection of Lazarus, etc.) because those are miracles, and you believe that the chance of a miracle is infinitesimal. The crucifixion, placement in a tomb, rock rolled away, etc. are not miracles, so you have no problem believing those things happened. I understand that. I really just want you to admit that your reason for doubting the resurrection boils down to your disbelief in miracles, and is not primarily based on these other issues. These other issues, if applied consistently, would equally disprove the mundane events in the Gospels, and not just the miraculous ones.
"Let's say that two witnesses testify to a robbery that happened 30 years ago. Both of these witnesses were in the same room during this robbery, seeing the same events play out. Both witnesses say they personally knew the robber, Bob Smith, for many years, since he lived in their neighborhood and they frequently hung out together every weekend.
Person A's account: Bob shouted and screamed at everyone in the room almost whole time, firing his gun everywhere, killing a few people. He shouted that he wants the money because he hates all the communists who run the bank. As Bob was running around frantically, he threw someone into the glass wall in frustration. He suddenly heard sirens ring out, and ran out the door sweating heavily and shaking, before he had collected even a single dollar.
Person B's account: Bob spoke in a calm voice during the robbery. He shot a few times up into the ceiling just to get everyone on the ground, but he didn't kill anyone. When Bob first ran in, he accidentally knocked into somebody who tripped into a glass wall. Bob explained in a calm, confident voice that he needed money to help out his family since he lost his job, and that he apologizes for the robbery but it's necessary. Bob walks out of the bank, cool and calm and down the street with a bag full of cash. Sirens ring out 10 minutes later.
What are you going to believe here? You can believe a robbery happened, that at some point the robber knocked someone into a glass wall, that some shots were fired, and that a siren rang out. And guess what? That's about it. Those are the events we can be sure of."
But earlier, you said that if there are mistakes in an account (as there are here, obviously), this would convince people that the stories are fabricated. Now you're saying otherwise, that even though there are obviously mistakes, we can still "be sure of" the major events involved. The only thing we're unsure of is the minor details.
"These details are very important when trying to figure out the personality and purpose of this robber - vitally important. You can know the general events of a situation, but only the details will tell you who that robber really might be, why he was there, and what he ended up doing. Now relate this to the Gospels. The only certain things you can believe are that Jesus was viewed as a prophet, had a following of disciples, was baptised, travelled and preached in rural areas and occasionally major cities, threw over money tables at the Temple, was put on trial and crucified, and that some followers believed he came back from the dead."
Plus, all four agree that He was resurrected. Even the writer who says that some followers doubted the resurrection still agrees that the event itself happened.
"But was it a man in the tomb (Mark) or two angels(Luke)? Did some of Jesus disciples never really believe he Resurrected even after "seeing him" (Matthew) or did they all believe after seeing him(Luke/John)? Jesus claimed a title, but was that title the Son of Man (Matt/Mark/Luke) or the Son of God (John)? Jesus died on a cross, but did he do so completely calm and confident of his future (John), or terrified that God was abandoning him (Matthew)? Did Jesus say that you're saved for helping the poor & following Jewish law (Matthew) or that you're saved for believing in the Resurrection (John)? Did he practice Jewish Law (Matt/Luke) or nullify it (Paul)? Did Jesus do miracles exclusively to make manifest the Kingdom of God(Matt) or exclusively to show his divinity (John)? Did Jesus throw the money changer tables over at the beginning of his ministry (John) or at the end (Synoptics) - it's more important than you think, since this event is what lead to his arrest and crucifixion."
I can certainly argue most of these, but I won't bother (though I'll quickly point out that you seem to think that an author not mentioning something is the same as the author saying it never happened). For the sake of argument, let's say that there are indeed all of these discrepancies. That means that we can question those details. But that doesn't mean we automatically question *events* which they all agree on. And Jesus' resurrection is an event all four agree on, just as the Caesar stories, while disagreeing in details (which we can question), all agree that Caesar was assassinated. Same as with your story of Bob and the robbery. I hate to break it to you, but you're pretty much making my case here.
"Now, you might be ready to say "Well, Matt/Luke/John all say people saw Resurrected Jesus." This is true - but the historical-critical method is not worried about proving or disproving a specific Resurrection miracle, it's worried about figuring out Jesus' personality and purpose when he was alive: a much bigger and more important question for me and for the historian."
Fine, but we were debating whether the resurrection happened, and I'd rather stick with that for now instead of branching off into other matters.
"If one can figure out who Jesus was when he was alive, then you can determine the details of the Resurrection visions: was it possible hallucination, or was it really a Resurrection, in the context of what we know about Jesus' life? Thus, we need to figure out who Jesus was before we decide if a Resurrection makes sense."
And do we have to figure out who Caesar was before we decide if his assassination makes sense? Or should we agree that since all evidence says that he was assassinated, the idea that he was assassinated makes sense? If Caesar's biographers all disagreed on what kind of personality Caesar had (which they do - one source says he bravely faced his attackers and spoke to them when confronted, another says he hid under his robe, saying nothing), thus making it difficult or impossible for us to figure out "who Caesar was", would we suddenly have to doubt the assassination, despite all early sources agreeing that it happened?
And what do we do with your belief that the chance of a miracle is infinitesimal? Do we figure that into the equation, or ignore it?
DAN: "You agree that evidence for "historical/apocalyptic Jesus" is stronger than evidence for Jesus being divine:
DAVID: "Actually, I agree with you that the evidence for Jesus being historical is stronger than the evidence for Jesus being divine. I'm about 100% convinced that He lived, but am only about 90% convinced that He was divine, which is enough for me to believe in Him. But since Jesus, obviously, could have been both, this doesn't equal an argument against Jesus being divine."
DAN: This is a good start! Now, the problem is that he couldn't have been both."
He couldn't have both lived and been divine? How do you figure that?
"The fact that you think he could means you don't understand the implications of the "historical apocalyptic Jewish Jesus." It is like saying that Bob the robber can both be a nervous, frantic angry murdering person at the same time he's being a calm, collected and non-aggressive person."
No, it's like saying that Bob can both have existed and robbed the house.
"The robber cannot be both of these things at the same time since the profiles are so vastly different."
Huh? I agreed that the evidence is about 100% that He lived, and 90% that He was divine. Those two are not contradictory at all. You're putting words into my mouth here.
"The same applies to Jesus. Jesus cannot be claiming to do certain miracles specifically to help the poor (synoptics) and also be claiming they're specifically to prove his divinity (John)."
I don't want to get into arguing specifics here, but let me ask you this - if this is a contradiction, then couldn't it be due to one of the authors making a mistake rather than reflecting on Jesus Himself?
"Jesus cannot spend the vast majority of his ministry prophesying about the coming Kingdom of God (synoptics) but also spend the vast majority of his ministry prophesying his self identity/suffering (John). Jesus cannot be both a nervous wreck during his crucifixion (Matthew) but also a calm, self-assured and confident figure during his crucifixion (John)."
Again, if these were contradictions, the most likely solution is that one or more of the authors got something wrong, not that Jesus Himself couldn't have been alive and divine. All of this is like arguing that since Bob couldn't have been both a nervous wreck and also calm and collected like the two witnesses say, then he must not have committed the robbery. It makes no sense. You can't seem to decide whether differing details in a story suggest that the event itself never happened.
"If all of these things are true, it's impossible for us to get a clear picture of who Jesus was or what his motivations were for doing anything, and we are essentially dismissing all of the different author's portrayals of Jesus as half-wrong and instead inventing our own person portrayal of him, which is unlike any of the original portrayals."
And how does any of this suggest that Jesus couldn't have been divine or couldn't have been resurrected?
"I'm not sure what is going on with this part of our debate. I'm understanding Matthew 7 perfectly, and I think I'm stating my opinion of it clearly, but you are apparently misinterpreting what I'm saying to a large degree. Let me quote the full passage here since there is such confusion.
""Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' Matthew 7:15-23
You say that, somehow, these verses aren't talking about doing good works."
That's not what I'm saying. They're talking about doing good works as a *result* of being saved, not that doing good works gets you saved.
" That doing "the will of the (the) Father who is in heaven" and "bearing good fruit" doesn't directly connect with doing good works. Well, what could possibly be the will of the Father according to Matthew?"
You misunderstood my argument. I'm saying that these passages aren't talking about how to become saved. Think of it this way: If you are a good tree (saved), then you will bear good fruits (do good works). If you are a bad tree (unsaved), bearing good fruit (doing good works) won't make you into a good tree (saved), since "a bad tree cannot bear good fruit" (the unsaved cannot do good works). Basically, the phrase "a bad tree cannot bear good fruit" flies in the face of your claim that the passage talks about good works bringing about salvation.
"As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good-except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'"
"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Mark 10:17-25
How does this connect with Matthew 25? The man needed to do two things according to Jesus: first, follow Jewish law. The man was doing this. Next, he had to sell all his possessions and give it to the poor. He said "sell everything you have." How many American Christians today would be willing to do that? None."
How do you know that? Have you asked all of them? I believe that many American Christians would be willing to give up their lives for Jesus. If so, then they would obviously be willing to give up their property.
"Well, isn't it convenient that later Christians came to think that salvation only really comes by believing in a Resurrection; it has little to do with money or the poor or actually actions. Jesus doesn't even make some sort of proclamation that, well as long as you give a good bit to charity, you'll get to heaven. He said simply if you're rich, you're wrong."
So you honestly believe that this was a general command to all followers, and not a specific command to a single person? Even though Jesus never asked any other follower to do the same? Why is that?
"This doctrine of salvation through humanitarian works and following Jewish law is consistent with cultural context, it is consistent with early independent sources, and it is consistent with cutting against the grain."
Hardly. The passage you quoted earlier specifically says that bad trees cannot produce good fruit, meaning that an unsaved person can't do good works in order to become saved.
"This is the most important section of my response, as it gets to the heart of another reason why I view the Resurrection as an invention: the failure of Jesus' apocalyptic prophecies. This is quite a lengthy section, but I wanted to provide as much detail as I thought necessary to document these failures."
I hate to do this to you, but I'm not going to respond to this section. Two reasons, mainly.
One is that I'm really not studied up on the "prophecy" issues. To give you a worthy response would mean me having to study up on it, and I don't really have time for that right now.
The second is that I've seen Christians and non-Christians debate this issues in forums like theologyweb. If you really want to debate this with someone who understands the issue, I'd go there (it's www.theologyweb.com - btw, if you do happen to go there and get into a debate on the issue, let me know - I'd like to watch it). But my point is that since so much of this involves one's interpretation of the prophecies, neither side ends up convincing the other of anything. It's the same with debates about the discrepancies, which is why I've given up on debating those with people. I used to debate them with people, but I found it to be a waste of time for all involved. I really don't believe that debating the prophecy issues, even if I studied up on them more, would end up changing either of our minds. For both of us, we'd just end up interpreting them in the way which suits our approach to the Gospels.
"Look at John, prior to Jesus even entering the story:
And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. Mark 1:4-5
John was already forgiving sins before Jesus even hits the scene. And if you're going to claim that John wasn't "really" forgiving sins, what was he doing precisely?"
Baptizing them. Where are you getting that he was forgiving their sins?
"OT/NT establishes various ways sins can be forgiven. Pre-Jesus, one could forgiven through:
2) Sacrifice (Blood/Food/Money/Incense)
Yet the doctrine of divine Jesus claims that the "old covenant" had only one road: Blood Sacrifice. And that because this was the only road to take, the "curse" of the law was impossible to appease, and required Jesus' blood to appease forever. I find this theology as full as many holes as swiss cheese when placed in a Jewish context."
This is one of the issues that I'm not really studied on, so I don't want to debate about (and like with prophecies and discrepancies, it's largely a matter of interpretation). But you're right that the issue isn't as simple as "blood sacrifice = forgiveness, no blood sacrifice = no forgiveness". God also wants repentance, and there are issues with what kind of sin has been committed, whether it was a sin against God or against another person. Here's a page that gives a good overview of the issue, that I'd highly recommend you look at:
"Next, you point out the contradiction in Matthew 14:33 and Matthew 4:1 - one says that only God should be worshipped, and the next says Jesus was worshipped. This must imply that Jesus is God then? Not so fast. First, lets look at the verses that shows the solid division Jesus makes between himself and God:"
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good-except God alone." Mark 10:18"
Jesus isn't denying being good, but asking why the man is calling him good. The man doesn't believe that Jesus is God, so Jesus is asking him why he would use a phrase that applied solely to God.
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Matthew 24:36"
You do realize that Jesus is the Son, not the Father, right? He's not differentiating himself from God, but differentiating the Son from the Father. The Son and the Father are both God, though they're different in some ways as well. Just like ice and liquid water are both water, though they're different in some ways.
"Also, here is another profound difference Jesus makes between himself and God:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21"
Again, He's differentiating Himself from the Father.
"Calling Jesus your Lord and Savior is not how to get into the kingdom of heaven. You get into heaven by doing the will of the Father - which at that point in time, meant you do good works."
No, it means you be the one who does God's will - a good tree.
"It has nothing to do with how you view Jesus, or how you view your personal relationship with him."
Not solely. Many claim to be Christians, but aren't. If you are truly a Christian, then you will do good works. Good trees always bear good fruit.
"And finally, even after Jesus Resurrected, he explicitly says he has a God that he presumably worships:
"Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' " John 20:17"
God is Jesus' God, but that's not a denial of His being part of God. Think of it this way, if I was in a band, and called it "my band", would that mean that I'm not in the band?
"If Jesus were God, he certainly wouldn't be making these divisions between himself and the Father/God, especially after his Resurrection. Jesus makes many strong distinctions between himself and God."
Only between the Son and the Father. He never denies being God.
"In the Greek Septuagint and NT, the Greek word "proskuneo" is used in every part I bolded in these verses. These are phrases about men showing respect to each other by bowing, kneeling, etc. This is the same Greek word the New Testament uses any time someone decides to "worship" Jesus. And this is the same Greek word used to talk about religiously worshipping God or Satan. The only reasonable conclusion? This single Greek word has two separate meanings to it depending on context; a religious meaning and a secular meaning."
I must admit, you made a very good point here about worship. I stand corrected on this particular issue, though it was only one of several reasons that I believe that Jesus is, in some sense, God.
"His apocalyptic prophecies about the coming Son of Man, the Day of the Lord, were never fulfilled when he claimed they would be. NT authors/early church leaders like Paul began teaching a different message out of necessity, since nothing was coming true."
Pretty much everything you say in this section is mere opinion, a case of you interpreting the evidence in a way that suits what you believe. I realize that you don't think it is, but it is. Christian scholars have responded to it already, and you may want to check out what they have to say.
"When it comes down to it, the two are very different perspectives of Jesus: the Jewish perspective, represented best by Matt/Mark/Luke, and the Christian perspective, represented best by combining John/Paul with the Synoptics into an invented Christian theology."
You're saying that these are two different sides. The odd thing is that both sides agree that Jesus was resurrected. So comparing and contrasting them doesn't take one step towards showing that Jesus wasn't resurrected.
"Is there more evidence that points towards Jesus being a strictly Jewish teacher for Jews? Well, all his disciples were Jewish, none of them Gentiles, that's a good start. Do we see Jesus playing racial favoritism at times, to support the view that he favored Jews over Gentiles, contradicting the Christian message that his purpose was for the whole world? Yes:"
Then I think you're missing the message. Jesus' intention was clearly to get His Jewish followers to accept Him, and then use them to teach the rest of the world. He wasn't saying that Jewish people were superior, just that He was starting locally first. If I were to start a business with the intention of eventually opening up branches across the world, I would still have to start locally. Starting it in my hometown first isn't a way of snubbing the rest of the world, but is simply a matter of convenience.
"Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession." Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."
He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said. He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." "Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour. Matthew 15:21-28
This shows a terribly human, and very Jewish nature of Jesus. First of all, he outright says that He is sent only to Jews, so he can't help her daughter."
Yet He helps her. Did you really think He intended not to? He was using the situation to teach His disciples. They were saying to send her away, and He was parroting their attitude back at them. And what happens? They let her get close to Him. It's clear that they felt rebuked by what He said, not encouraged by it. They went from telling Him to sending her away, to letting her come in and talk to Him without complaint.
"He then calls Jews "children" while calling non-Jews "dogs," hardly an endearing term for the supposed "savior of all the world" to be using. And finally, only after the woman admits that she is a dog, and that she'll eat any crumbs the Jewish people might give her, does he grant her miracle."
Again, he was putting on an act for the sake of the disciples, in order to teach them. He clearly intended to grant her request all along. They knew that Jesus was starting with the Jewish people, and thought it meant that He should put off helping non-Jewish people, the same way that people in houses feed their children first, and the dogs later. He used this analogy to show them that giving "temporal" priority to the Jewish people doesn't mean that He shouldn't be taking the time to help non-Jewish people when the situations present themselves.
There is no indication that the woman felt offended or insulted, yet the disciples had gone from telling Jesus to sending her away to watching as He granted her request. She does not "admit she is a dog", but goes along with the analogy to make her point, exactly as Jesus intended for her to. To draw a comparison, if a woman hears the old "why buy a cow, when you get the milk for free?" adage, and goes on to use the analogy to point out the benefits of marriage, would you say she's admitting that she's a cow?
"I have hopefully demonstrated that Jesus is best viewed as a historical, apocalyptic, and failed Jewish prophet according to the historical-critical method."
The problem is that you seem to only read what secular, non-Christian, scholars have to say on the issue. So you're only getting one side of it. Looking at only side of an issue, then of course you're only going to see one side of it. Personally, I've been looking at both sides, and the bulk of my website is responding to arguments that skeptics make. I have yet to see any reasonable argument, or evidence, against Jesus' resurrection.
I know that I haven't responded to all of your points, but others have. It would be wise for you to look at what they have to say before deciding if you've proven your case or not. I would particularly check out J.P. Holding (www.tektonics.org) and Glenn Miller (www.christian-thinktank.com), who deal with more issues than I do, and also respond to letters from skeptics, as I do (though I should warn you that Holding can be a tad rude at times). And, again, if you want to debate issues that I'd rather not, you can always find willing debaters at theologyweb.
"I have hopefully demonstrated that Jesus is best viewed as a historical, apocalyptic, and failed Jewish prophet according to the historical-critical method. Independent of the "Resurrection event" we can say that, according to the historical critical method: Jesus was a Jew who taught others to follow the Jewish law and do good works; he prophesied he would return as "Son of Man" to bring in the Kingdom of God very soon; his death being symbolic of a human sacrifice for "unintentional sin atonement/paschal lamb" is a messy conglomeration of various Jewish traditions and scripture; he likely went through the crucifixion process mentally shattered just like his disciples; and his prophecies didn't come true despite early Christians thinking they would. This is the context in which I judge the likelihood of a Resurrection, and guess what? I find the Resurrection doesn't work in this context."
And I assume that your belief that the chance of a miracle is infinitesimal doesn't weigh into the matter at all, right?
You also have a big problem - even if what you're said in the above paragraph was accurate (and that's a big 'if'), how does that suggest He wasn't resurrected? At best, it would suggest that early Christians misunderstood the significance of Jesus' resurrection. But none of what you said is evidence that Jesus wasn't resurrected, except in the eyes of someone who already believes that He wasn't.
"The only ones they could convince through testimony were Pagans, who knew nothing of Judaism and wouldn't think twice about the mistakes and mismatches in doctrine."
So you're saying that Jesus had no Jewish followers other than the original disciples?