We now present edited commentary from Tophet on points 5-8.
Reports that Jesus’ disciples were martyred prove nothing.
Legal experts like Simon Greenleaf have composed detailed arguments based on the honesty and motives of the apostles. As he puts it, “they are entitled to the benefit of the general course of human experience, that men ordinarily speak the truth, when they have no prevailing motive or inducement to the contrary.” Moreover, one cannot deny that martyrdom is a heavy price to pay which requires an explanation of motive.
Martyrdom does not “prove nothing” – it proves something, and the critic needs to show what that something is.
Regarding Joseph Smith, it is said that he was “probably a charlatan.” Note people alive at the time cited proof that Smith was indeed a charlatan. The same cannot be said of the evangelists, so the parallel cannot hold closely.
Claims that this or that individual couldn’t possibly have hallucinated are nonsense.
To make a statement like this requires either expertise in the field of psychology, or consultation with such experts. Hallquist is definitely not of the former, and this simple statement of course offers no evidence of the latter. Speculation of hallucination is never enough to make the case.
Even if there were several people in Paul’s day who would have claimed to have all seen the risen Jesus at the same time, their testimony might not have stood up to scrutiny.
Here, it would merely be reiterated that sheer speculation such as this is not evidence – one must at least form a hypothesis upon which to rest a speculation (eg, put together evidence and piece it together to reach a reasonable conclusion). Elements like the testimony of disciples, the empty tomb, Jesus’ reputation as a miracle worker, lack of contrary testimony, and so on much be explained. Hallquist’s approach is scattershot and piecemeal, which makes it all the less effective as he must contrive a different explanation for each phenomenon.
So it is. So what do we know about Hallquist? What credibility does he have?
He has a degree in philosophy. He is not an authority in any other field.
He fails to apply the standards of jurisprudence in the testimony of the evangelists.
He is not an authority in the analysis of legal-historical evidence.
He argues from ignorance, from assertion, and from speculation, and almost never relies on evidence.
Hallquist, in his own words, is "uncredible."
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