Retrospective on the Career of Dom Crossan

I have known Dom Crossan for a long time and read his work since the 70s.  We have done dialogues and discussions together, and it is certainly true we disagree on many things theological, ethical, and historical.   But I admire his enthusiasm for studying the Bible in its original contexts, including most recently its archaeological ones.     I consider Dom a friend, and he has always been kind to me.  Here is an article just up on CNN in which I am quoted a good deal about Dom,  and I would want what is said there to be taken in the context of what I have just said.

Here is the link—

Forward Thinking on ‘Reading Backwards’– The Interview Part 4
Finding Jesus— Begins Sunday Night at 9 P.M. on CNN
Forward Thinking on ‘Reading Backwards’– The Interview, Part 2
Forward Thinking on ‘Reading Backwards’– The Interview Part 5
  • Joshua

    Most reported miracles violate the laws of physics. Physicists study empirical reality. They dismiss as impossible “millions of reports and testimonies to miracles,” partly because they don’t comport with their understanding of physical reality and partly because their colleagues in psychology tell them human beings are credulous and unreliable observers and reporters.

    Further, as Ehrman insists, supernatural intervention is often defined as being improbable.

    Claims of credibility and verifiability from the non-physicist and the non-physician accrue dubiety at their source. A mind fair and open to experience in its complexity and variety knows this to be so.

  • graham veale


    Well, yes, I can agree that most reported miracles are “dubious”. It does not follow that they all are. We have to examine the evidence.
    We can not do history from the philosopher’s armchair, nor can we do history by examining what happens when we shoot a photon down an interferometer. That is to say, we cannot decide what did or did not happen in advance of the historical evidence. We need to evaluate the nature and shape of the testimony before us.
    The question is not just – “are these reliable witnesses?” We need to ask “would these witnesses have made exactly these claims, in exactly this way, in exactly these historical circumstances if a miracle had not occurred?” In the case of the Resurrection we must also ask, “would this type of movement, founded on exactly these claims, in exactly this place and time have arisen and survived if the purported miracle had not occurred?”
    And if, after asking these questions, we conclude that there is evidence of a miracle, we need to compare the explanation of a miracle to competing explanations.
    Accepting the historicity of the Resurrection is not a matter of pre-modern credulity. Substantial thought went into the acceptance of these claims long before, and long after, Hume attempted to banish the miraculous from history.


  • graham veale

    Can I add that, as an amateur, I find what I have read of Crossan’s work illuminating and frustrating in equal measure. Perhaps that’s why it is impossible not to lie him.


  • graham veale

    sorry “like” him!

  • graham veale

    I found the following article to be a very helpful summary of the best responses to scepticism about miracles.

    Mike Licona’s latest book has a good section on historiography and miracles, although I think his overall argument for the Resurrection is quite weak, and I’m not sure that he ‘got to grips’ with the McGrew’s use of Bayesian reasoning when evaluating a “miracle claim”.

    But Licona’s book is worth reading for the first two chapters.

  • hotshot bald cop

    Do really think this is true?