bookmark_borderHinman’s Defense of his Sad Little Argument: Wishful Thinking by Kermit Zarley

WHERE WE ARE
The main question at issue between me and Joe Hinman is this:

In recent decades has a significant portion of NT scholars shifted from the previously dominant view that the Fourth Gospel is historically UNRELIABLE to the previously minority view that the Fourth Gospel is historically RELIABLE?

My answer to this question is “NO”, and Hinman’s answer is “YES”.  This indicates that Hinman’s view of NT scholarship is based on WISHFUL THINKING rather than on facts and evidence.
First of all, I raised an objection against a key historical assumption made by Peter Kreeft (and by Hinman) in one of his objections against the Swoon Theory (and the Survival Theory).  Kreeft’s historical assumption was based on a specific passage from the 4th Gospel:

…we have very good reasons to doubt that the relevant passage from the 4th Gospel provides us with reliable and accurate historical information.

This is the SAME PASSAGE (John 19: 31-37) that Kreeft relied on to support his Objection #2, and there are at least ten good reasons for doubting the reliability and historicity of that passage from the 4th Gospel…  (emphasis added)

Note that the FOCUS of my objection is concerned with HISTORICAL RELIABILITY.  Although I was discussing a specific passage from the 4th Gospel, my “ten good reasons” for doubting “the reliability and historicity” of that specific passage included some reasons concerning the HISTORICAL RELIABILITY of the 4th Gospel in general:

POINT #1: The 4th Gospel was probably NOT written by an eyewitness of the life, ministry, or crucifixion of Jesus.  

POINT #2: The 4th Gospel is the least historically reliable of the four Gospels.  

POINT #3: The account of the trial and crucifixion in the 4th Gospel conflicts with the trial and crucifixion accounts in other Gospels.

  • Point #1 is intended to cast doubt on the HISTORICAL RELIABILITY of the 4th Gospel in general.
  • Point #2 is intended to cast doubt on the HISTORICAL RELIABILITY of the 4th Gospel in general.
  • Point #3 is intended to cast doubt on the HISTORICAL RELIABILITY of the 4th Gospel in general.

Points #4 through #9 are intended to cast doubt on the historicity of the specific passage in the 4th Gospel that is the basis for Kreeft’s historical assumption in his “blood and water” objection.

POINT #10: Other gospels provide no corroboration of stories about the beloved disciple.

  • Point #10 is intended to cast doubt on the HISTORICAL RELIABILITY of the 4th Gospel in general.

So, at least four out of my ten points were attempts to cast doubt on the HISTORICAL RELIABILITY of the 4th Gospel in general, not just about the specific passage in the 4th Gospel that was the basis for Peter Kreeft’s “blood and water” objection to the Swoon Theory.
Hinman asserts that my objections to Kreeft’s historical assumption are based on an outdated and uninformed view of New Testament scholarship:

Sorry your understanding is out of date.  Since Bauckham’s book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses it is form criticism that is now considered dubious and John has a new credibility.  

[…]

He [Bradley Bowen] knows nothing about biblical scholarship…

(emphasis added)

The phrase “has a new credibility” is weak and vague, so taken by itself, in isolation from the context of our disagreement, it doesn’t logically imply that the 4th Gospel is HISTORICALLY RELIABLE, or even that the 4th Gospel is NOT HISTORICALLY UNRELIABLE.
But in context, Hinman is objecting to my view that the 4th Gospel is HISTORICALLY UNRELIABLE.  So, he is implying that I am WRONG, and that the 4th Gospel is (at least) NOT HISTORICALLY UNRELIABLE, and he is suggesting the claim that the 4th Gospel is HISTORICALLY RELIABLE.  Otherwise, the claim that “John has a new credibility” is simply IRRELEVANT to our disagreement.
My objection to Kreeft’s historical assumption was FOCUSED on the issue of whether the 4th Gospel was HISTORICALLY RELIABLE.  So, in context, Hinman’s response to my objections, no matter how VAGUE and UNCLEAR his response may be, implies that he disagrees with my view that the 4th Gospel is HISTORICALLY UNRELIABLE.

 
Furthermore,  in order to back up his claim that there is a “trend involving many scholars” concerning the 4th Gospel having “a new credibility”, Hinman quotes Kermit Zarley who clearly and explicitly talks about NT scholars adopting the view that the 4th Gospel is HISTORICALLY RELIABLE.
Here is the quote of Zarley given by Hinman:

But during the 1990s, the “Jesus, John, and History” section of the preeminent Society of Biblical Literature had a solid focus on this question of whether or not the Fourth Gospel is historically trustworthy. And they were moving toward the conclusion that it does, thus in opposition to most of the academy. Members of the panel of this section, such as Paul Andersen, Felix Just, and Tom Thatcher, have now produced three volumes on this subject as editors, with contributing chapters being mostly from section members. Their conclusion is that the Fourth Gospel is historically reliable.  (emphasis added)

My initial point was FOCUSED on the issue of whether the 4th Gospel was HISTORICALLY RELIABLE, and Hinman responded to my point by claiming that the 4th Gospel has “a new credibility” among NT scholars, and that in recent decades there has been “a trend involving many scholars” concerning the 4th Gospel, and then Hinman supports this claim about a recent trend among NT scholars by quoting Zarley who states that three NT scholars have  published three volumes about “whether or not the Fourth gospel is historically trustworthy” and that “Their conclusion is that the Fourth Gospel is historically reliable.”
Hinman’s weak and vague phrase about the 4th Gospel having “a new credibility” among NT scholars is sandwiched between  my initial objections against the HISTORICAL RELIABILITY of the 4th Gosepl, and Zarley’s quote that asserts that at least three NT scholars have come to the conclusion that the 4th Gospel is HISTORICALLY RELIABLE.   Furthermore, Hinman himself, at one point explicitly frames the disagreement between us in terms of the issue of whether a significant portion of NT scholars have in recent decades been adopting the view that the 4th Gospel is HISTORICALLY RELIABLE:

 …the dominant view being undermined [in Bauckham’s book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses] is the older view Bowen knows where John is seen as not historically reliable(emphasis added)

If “the older view” is that the 4th Gospel is “not historically reliable”, then that suggests that the newer view (the new trend in NT scholarship “involving many scholars”) is that the 4th Gospel is historically reliable.
Therefore, there is no doubt that Hinman’s weak and vague phrase about the 4th Gospel having “a new credibility” among NT scholars is intended to imply that in recent years there has been “a trend involving many scholars” (i.e. NT scholars) where those scholars have adopted the view that the 4th Gospel is HISTORICALLY RELIABLE.
Hinman quotes Zarley who asserts that at least three NT scholars have in recent decades adopted the view that the 4th Gospel is HISTORICALLY RELIABLE, and Hinman’s use of that quote in this context implies that the alleged “trend involving many scholars” is a trend in which a significant portion of NT scholars has (in recent decades) adopted the view that the 4th Gospel is HISTORICALLY RELIABLE.
This clear and strong claim, however, is also CLEARLY FALSE, and it reveals that Hinman’s view of NT scholarship is based more on WISHFUL THINKING than on facts and evidence.
 
KERMIT ZARLEY’S WISHFUL THINKING
Joe Hinman’s WISHFUL THINKING about NT scholarship is based in part on a quote from Kermit Zarley.  But, as I will now argue, that quote shows that Zarely was engaged in WISHFUL THINKING about the views of three NT scholars.  Hinman is basing his huge indulgence in WISHFUL THINKING on a smaller dose of WISHFUL THINKING by Zarley.
In a previous post, I have criticized Hinman’s use of the quote from Kermit Zarley on the grounds that Zarley has no degree in New Testament studies, no degree in Jesus studies, no degree in ancient history, and no degree in any relevant field related to NT scholarship or historical Jesus studies.  Zarley was a professional golfer with a degree in business.  He is hardly an authority on NT scholarship.  It would be IDIOTIC to rely on Zarley’s views as the basis for understanding recent trends in NT scholarship.
But lacking any degrees and any legitimate authority in the area of NT scholarship and historical Jesus studies does not prove that Zarley is wrong about the three NT scholars that he mentions.  Even ignorant fools can be right sometimes.  In fact, Zarley apparently attended some of the conferences that those three scholars held related to the re-examination of the 4th Gospel.  So, one might claim that Zarley had a front-row seat listening in on scholarly presentations and discussions by various NT scholars about the 4th Gospel, including the three scholars that he named:  “Paul Andersen [sic], Felix Just, and Tom Thatcher” (Zarley misspelled the name of the first scholar; he meant Paul Anderson).
In any case, Zarley’s claim that these three NT scholars have in recent decades come to the conclusion that “the Fourth Gospel is historically reliable.” is CLEARLY FALSE.  Since Zarley is an Evangelical Christian who has “a fairly conservative view” of the inspiration of the NT, it would fit nicely with his WISHES and desires for some serious NT scholars to come to the conclusion that the 4th Gospel was historically reliable.  That would confirm his religious beliefs about the divine inspiration of the NT.  So, I take it that if his claim is clearly false, then it is probably the case that his view about these three NT scholars is based on WISHFUL THINKING, rather than on facts and evidence.
First, if these three NT scholars all arrived at the conclusion that the 4th Gospel was HISTORICALLY RELIABLE after a number of years of intensive study and discussion with other NT scholars, then one would expect them to express that this was the conclusion that they reached, because this is a radical departure from mainstream NT scholarship and from mainstream historical Jesus scholarship.  Also, this is obviously a very significant conclusion, even apart from it being contrary to mainstream NT scholarly opinion.
Paul Anderson is one of the three NT scholars mentioned by Zarley.  Anderson wrote an essay discussing “The John, Jesus, and History Project” which is the scholarly project which produced the three volumes about the 4th Gospel mentioned by Zarley.  If Paul Anderson, Felix Just, and Tom Thatcher had all arrived at the conclusion that the 4th Gospel was HISTORICALLY RELIABLE as a result of their intensive study and scholarly discussions about the 4th Gospel that took place during that project, then we would expect Anderson to frequently discuss or at least mention this conclusion.  But the phrase “historically reliable” NEVER OCCURS in Anderson’s essay “The John, Jesus, and History Project – New Glimpses of Jesus and the Bi-Optic Hypothesis“!  That is the first hint that Zarley’s understanding of Anderson (and the NT scholars involved in this project) is based on WISHFUL THINKING rather than facts and evidence.
There is, however, one instance of the very similar phrase “reliable historically” in this overview article by Anderson.  Anderson is characterizing “the older view” of the 4th Gospel and replying to that older view with his own view (or with the new view of many of the NT scholars who participated in this scholarly project):

Because the Markan Gospels are more reliable historically, they provide the essential basis for investigating the Jesus of history.  Okay, but what of the exceptions?

The word “Okay” implies that Anderson, and other NT scholars involved in “The John, Jesus, and History Project”, AGREE that the 4th Gospel is LESS HISTORICALLY RELIABLE than other Gospels.  By “the Markan Gospels” Anderson means the Gospel of Mark and the two other canonical gospels that used Mark as a source: Matthew and Luke.
So, in this ONE AND ONLY MENTION of the phrase “reliable historically”, Anderson admits my Point #2 AGAINST the HISTORICAL RELIABILITY of the 4th Gospel:

POINT #2: The 4th Gospel is the least historically reliable of the four Gospels.  

Anderson is merely making the point that there are SOME instances in which an event (or a detail about an event) seems “more historically plausible” as described in the 4th Gospel as opposed to the other canonical Gospels.  In other words, there might be some exceptions to the rule.  There might be some instances in which NT scholars would reasonably accept some particular event or detail from the 4th Gospel as historical even though that event or detail is missing from the other canonical Gospels or even though that event or detail is inconsistent with related accounts in the other canonical Gospels.
Now if Anderson had a very high level of confidence in the historical reliability of “the Markan Gospels”, then even though he believed the 4th Gospel to be LESS RELIABLE than “the Markan Gospels”, he might still think that the 4th Gospel was fairly HISTORICALLY RELIABLE.  But based on comments in this essay, Anderson does not appear to have a high level of confidence in the historical reliability of “the Markan Gospels”.
For example, Anderson makes this comment comparing the Markan Gospels with the 4th Gospel:

And, given the fact that Mark locates all of Jesus’ controversies with religious leaders and judgment sayings at the end, after he arrives in Jerusalem, can it really be claimed that Mark’s itinerary is ordered by strict chronological knowledge as opposed to a conjectural narrative climax? The problem of historicity in Mark is every bit as vexing as the problem of historicity in John, and if Mark got it wrong, so did Matthew and Luke.

It appears that Anderson has some significant doubts concerning the HISTORICAL RELIABILITY of the Markan Gospels, which is not at all unusual.  Most NT scholars have some significant doubts concerning the HISTORICAL RELIABILITY of the Markan Gospels, so Anderson is merely pointing out doubts about HISTORICAL RELIABILITY that are shared by most NT scholars about the Markan Gospels.
But if Anderson has some significant doubts about the HISTORICAL RELIABILITY of the Markan Gospels, and he AGREES that the 4th Gospel is LESS RELIABLE than the Markan Gospels, then it is very unlikely that Anderson believes that the 4th Gospel is HISTORICALLY RELIABLE.
So, in his essay characterizing “The John, Jesus, and History Project”, Paul Anderson NEVER ONCE mentions that he himself or ANY OTHER NT SCHOLAR arrived at the conclusion that “the Fourth Gospel is historically reliable”.  In fact, the phrase “historically reliable” NEVER OCCURS anywhere in that essay.  There is, however, ONLY ONE instance in which the similar phrase “reliable historically” does appear, but in that instance Anderson is AGREEING with one of my ten points AGAINST the historical reliability of the 4th Gospel!  Furthermore, since Anderson agrees with the point that the 4th Gospel is LESS historically reliable than the other three canonical Gospels, and since he does not appear to view the other three Gospels as being highly historically reliable, but rather has some significant doubts about their historical reliability, it is very unlikely that Anderson believes that the 4th Gospel is HISTORICALLY RELIABLE.
Furthermore, Anderson’s view of the composition of the 4th Gospel casts significant doubt on the HISTORICAL RELIABILITY of a number of chapters in this Gospel:

After the death of the Beloved Disciple (around 100 C.E.) the Elder compiled the Gospel, adding to it the worship material of the Prologue (1:1-18), inserting the feeding and sea-crossing narrative (Jn. 6) between chs. 5 and 7, and also inserting additional discourse material (Jn. 15-17) between Jesus’ saying, “Let us depart,” (Jn. 14:31) and his arrival with his disciples at the garden (Jn. 18:1). He also apparently attached additional appearance narratives (ch. 21) and eyewitness/Beloved Disciple passages, and crafted a second ending (21:24-5) in the pattern of the first. Then, he circulated the finalized witness of the Beloved Disciple, whose “testimony is true!” as an encouragement and challenge to the larger Christian movement.

 Anderson believes that the opening of chapter 1 of our version of the 4th Gospel was written by “John the Elder” and NOT the apostle John.  Anderson believes that chapter 6 of the 4th Gospel was written by “John the Elder” and NOT the apostle John.  Anderson also believes that chapters 15 through 17 of the 4th Gospel were composed by “John the Elder” and NOT the apostle John.  Furthermore, Anderson believes that chapter 21 of the 4th Gospel was composed by “John the Elder” and NOT the apostle John.  Finally, Anderson believes that passages in which “the beloved disciple” testifies to some event or detail were added by “John the Elder” and NOT the apostle John. (This last point, by the way, casts doubt on the historicity of the specific passage that Kreeft and Hinman rely upon in their “blood and water” objection against the Swoon Theory.)
Anderson believes that at least five chapters of the existing copies of the 4th Gospel were added by someone who was NOT an eyewitness to the life of Jesus, plus at least a few other passages sprinkled here and there in the rest of the 4th Gospel.
It now seems clear, on the basis of facts and evidence, that Anderson (and the other NT scholars who participated in the scholarly project re-examining the 4th Gosepel) does NOT believe that the 4th Gospel is HISTORICALLY RELIABLE.  But then, what is the “new view” that the three NT scholars Anderson, Just, and Thatcher are promoting about the 4th Gospel, and what is the “old view” about the 4th Gospel that they are challenging?  The answers to those questions are very clear, at least if you base your understanding on facts and evidence, instead of WISHFUL THINKING.
Anderson, Just, and Thatcher (as well as other NT scholars involved their scholarly project) are opposing the view that the 4th Gospel should be completely ignored by NT scholars and Jesus scholars who are investigating the historical Jesus.  Here is how Anderson characterizes the “old view” that he (and Just and Thatcher and other NT scholars) are challenging:

…John is fundamentally off limits for historicity and Jesus studies.

Nearly all other ancient Christian gospel material is suitable for conducting Jesus research, including apocryphal and Gnostic writings, but not John.

…simply claiming that “nothing” in John is historical, and that John should be banned from historical Jesus research altogether.

…some critical scholars over the last two centuries have excluded nearly all Johannine content from the quest of the Jesus of history…

In other words, Anderson and other NT scholars involved in “The John, Jesus, and History Project” believe that the 4th Gospel should be studied and taken into consideration by NT scholars and Jesus scholars who are involved in historical Jesus investigations.  This is a very reasonable and modest proposal.  There is NO NEED for the radical assumption or claim that the 4th Gospel is HISTORICALLY RELIABLE in order for this reasonable and modest proposal to be accepted.
Many NT scholars, for example, have significant doubts about the HISTORICAL RELIABILITY of the Gospel of Mark, as well as of Matthew and Luke, which use Mark as a primary source.  But NT scholars do not insist that investigations of the historical Jesus COMPLETELY IGNORE the gospel of Mark or the Gospel of Matthew or the Gospel of Luke.  They simply do the best they can, with the flawed and less-than-fully-HISTORICALLY-RELIABLE sources that are available.  So, even if the 4th Gospel is HISTORICALLY UNRELIABLE, it might still have some useful historical information about Jesus in it, and so it is a reasonable and modest proposal to insist that this Gospel also be considered and taken into account in studies of the historical Jesus.
It is clear that Anderson does NOT hold the view that the 4th Gospel provides us with an HISTORICALLY RELIABLE account of the life and ministry of Jesus.  Furthermore, based on Anderson’s characterization of “The John, Jesus, and History Project”, it is also clear that OTHER NT scholars involved in this project did not, in general, arrive at the extreme conclusion that the 4th Gospel is HISTORICALLY RELIABLE.  At most, they concluded that there are some aspects and some parts of the 4th Gospel that are worthy of consideration in relation to historical issues about Jesus.
This is a much weaker and more modest conclusion than what Zarley claims was arrived at by those NT scholars involved in “The John, Jesus, and History Project”.  Zarley’s characterization of Anderson, Just, and Thatcher is WRONG, and clearly NOT based upon FACTS OR EVIDENCE.  Given Zarely’s conservative view of the inspiration of the NT, it is quite probable that he arrived at his mistaken view of NT scholarship on the basis of WISHFUL THINKING.

bookmark_borderHinman’s Defense of his Sad Little Argument: Wishful Thinking about NT Scholarship

HINMAN’S PATHETIC DEFENSE OF PREMISE (1B) OF HIS SAD LITTLE ARGUMENT
In response to one of my posts defending the Swoon Theory against objections by Peter Kreeft, Joe Hinman presented the following Sad Little Argument (this version of the argument is after I clarified and improved the argument, so it would make sense and not be obviously a bad argument):

1A. Fluid that LOOKED LIKE water came out of the spear wound in Jesus’ side and fluid that LOOKED LIKE blood also came out of that wound while Jesus was on the cross, and those two fluids came out of the wound separately.

1B. IF fluid that LOOKED LIKE water came out of the spear wound in Jesus’ side and fluid that LOOKED LIKE blood also came out of that wound while Jesus was on the cross, and those two fluids came out of the wound separately, THEN Jesus’ heart stopped working while he was on the cross.

THEREFORE:

2. Jesus’ heart stopped working while he was on the cross.

3. If Jesus’ heart stopped working while he was on the cross, then it is virtually certain that Jesus was dead when he was removed from the cross.

THEREFORE:

4. It is virtually certain that Jesus was dead when he was removed from the cross.

Joe Hinman’s defense of his Sad Little Argument (hereafter: SLA) was “pathetic” in part because he chose to use a VERY CRAPPY QUOTE  in support of premise (1B) of SLA, as I demonstrated in a previous post on this topic.
 
HINMAN’S PATHETIC DEFENSE OF PREMISE (1A) OF HIS SAD LITTLE ARGUMENT
In one of my previous posts defending the Swoon Theory, I have argued that the assumptions that Jesus was stabbed with a spear in his side while he was still on the cross, and that fluids that looked like “blood and water” flowed out of the spear wound are dubious because (a) the particular passage in the 4th Gospel that describes this event is historically dubious, and that (b) the 4th Gospel is in general an historically UNRELIABLE account of the life and ministry of Jesus.

Hinman’s defense of premise (1A) of his Sad Little Argument, is to insult me, and to use ANOTHER VERY CRAPPY QUOTE in a pathetic attempt to demonstrate that I don’t know what I’m talking about and that the 4th Gospel provides us with an historically RELIABLE account of the life and ministry of Jesus.
Here is an exchange that occurred between me and Hinman about the historical reliability of the 4th Gospel:

Bowen:
I’m a bit skeptical that Bauckham’s book [Jesus and the Eyewitnesses] has in fact turned 150 years of NT scholarship on its head, and converted hundreds of NT scholars to believers in the historical reliability of the 4th Gospel. That seems more like a fantasy that Hinman wishes were the case. However, even if Bauckham’s book has actually pulled off this minor miracle, and turned NT scholarship around, that still DOES NOT ANSWER my ten detailed objections to premise (1A).

Hinman:
He [Bowen] knows nothing about biblical scholarship I’ve already said it was not that one book alone…
This is not only because of that one book [Jesus and the Eyewitnesses by Richard Bauckham], it’s a trend involving many scholars:

“But during the 1990s, the “Jesus, John, and History” section of the preeminent Society of Biblical Literature had a solid focus on this question of whether or not the Fourth Gospel is historically trustworthy. And they were moving toward the conclusion that it does, thus in opposition to most of the academy. Members of the panel of this section, such as Paul Andersen, Felix Just, and Tom Thatcher, have now produced three volumes on this subject as editors, with contributing chapters being mostly from section members. Their conclusion is that the Fourth Gospel is historically reliable.

(from a post by Hinman, emphasis added)
 
TWO KEY QUESTIONS AT ISSUE
It is VERY CLEAR from the above quotations that a key issue between Hinman and me is this:

Q1: Does the Fourth Gospel provide an historically RELIABLE account of the life and ministry of Jesus?

I say “NO” in answer to this question, and Hinman says “YES”.   But there is another closely related question that we also disagree about:

Q2: In recent decades has a significant portion of NT scholars shifted from the previously dominant view that the Fourth Gospel is historically UNRELIABLE to the previously minority view that the Fourth Gospel is historically RELIABLE?

I say “NO” in answer to this question, and Hinman says “YES”.  Hinman speaks of this alleged shift in thinking about the 4th Gospel as “a trend involving many scholars”.  In support of this claim about NT scholarship, Hinman puts forward a quotation that speaks of some NT scholars arriving at the conclusion that “the Fourth Gospel is historically reliable.”
An important part of Hinman’s support for his claim that I know “nothing about biblical scholarship” is that I am (supposedly) unaware of a major trend in NT scholarship in recent decades where a significant portion of NT scholars have shifted from the view that the 4th Gospel is historically UNRELIABLE to the view that the 4th Gospel is historically RELIABLE.
This alleged trend in NT scholarship is also an important part of Himan’s support for his view that the 4th Gospel is in fact historically reliable, and thus that we ought not to be skeptical about the passage in the 4th Gospel that tells the story about a Roman soldier stabbing Jesus in the side with a spear while Jesus was hanging on the cross, and that “the beloved disciple” was present and witnessed liquids that looked like “blood and water” flowing from the spear wound.  So, this is an important part of Hinman’s support for premise (1A) of his Sad Little Argument.
The problem here, however, is that Hinman’s view that a significant portion of NT scholars have shifted from the view that the 4th Gospel is historically UNRELIABLE to the view that the 4th Gospel is historically RELIABLE is a FANTASY, the result of WISHFUL THINKING by Hinman.  No such trend exists among NT scholars or Jesus scholars.
If I am correct that no such trend exists, then Hinman’s claim that I “know nothing about biblical scholarship” remains unsupported, and, furthermore, this would also cast serious doubt on Hinman’s implicit claim to be knowledgeable about NT scholarship. Believing in a non-existent recent trend in NT scholarship, as I will argue Hinman does, is a clear indication of Hinman’s own ignorance about NT scholarship.  Hinman is throwing large rocks at me from inside his house of glass.
How does Hinman support this claim about a recent shift in NT scholarship?  He provides ANOTHER CRAPPY QUOTE, just like he did in support of premise (1B):

“But during the 1990s, the “Jesus, John, and History” section of the preeminent Society of Biblical Literature had a solid focus on this question of whether or not the Fourth Gospel is historically trustworthy. And they were moving toward the conclusion that it does, thus in opposition to most of the academy. Members of the panel of this section, such as Paul Andersen, Felix Just, and Tom Thatcher, have now produced three volumes on this subject as editors, with contributing chapters being mostly from section members. Their conclusion is that the Fourth Gospel is historically reliable.

Rather than demonstrating MY ignorance of biblical scholarship, this VERY CRAPPY QUOTE demonstrates HINMAN’S ignorance of biblical scholarship, and how his view of NT scholarship is based on WISHFUL THINKING rather than on facts and evidence.
 
THE SOURCE OF HINMAN’S 2ND VERY CRAPPY QUOTE
The source of Hinman’s very crappy quote is provided in the end notes of Hinman’s post “My Answer to Bradley Bowen on Blood and Water“:

 
 
 
The 2nd crappy quote given by Hinman comes from a blog post written by Kermit Zarley:

So, who is “Kermit Zarley”?

  • Is Zarley a leading NT or Jesus scholar? No.
  • Is Zarley an historian who specializes in ancient history or an archaeologist?  No.
  • Is Zarley a professor of NT Studies or of historical Jesus scholarship?  No.
  • Does Zarley have an advanced degree in NT Studies or Jesus scholarship or ancient history?  Nope.
  • Does Zarley have a graduate degree in ANY academic discipline? No.

What is Zarley’s background in terms of his career and education?

Kermit Zarley was a professional golfer who has a degree in business!

On the About page on Zarley’s blog site we find this information about his career:

Kermit Zarley is known mostly for his 30-year career as a tournament-winning pro golfer on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour. In 1965, he co-founded and then led the PGA Tour Bible Study, which thrives today.

On the Author page on kermitzarley.com we find this relevant information from Zarley about his educational background:

What are my credentials for writing on theology? Not much! As for formal education, I have a business degree from the University of Houston and one year of New Testament Greek at seminary.

I’m not an NT or Jesus scholar either.  I too have no degrees in NT or ancient history.  ( My degrees–BA and MA–are in philosophy, and my years of graduate study at UCSB were aimed at a doctoral degree in philosophy.  I completed all requirements for a PhD in philosophy except for the doctoral dissertation.)
However, I am NOT so stupid and ignorant as to turn to a professional golfer who has a degree in business for an accurate and authoritative description of recent trends in NT scholarship!
If I want to know something about recent trends in NT scholarship, or to prove something about recent trends in NT scholarship,  I would turn to someone who was a bone fide NT scholar or Jesus scholar.  I would NOT put forward a quote from a professional golfer with no educational background in NT  or historical Jesus studies as proof or evidence of some alleged trend in NT scholarship or Jesus studies.  I’m just NOT that freaking ignorant.
 
A MUCH MORE RELIABLE SOURCE ABOUT TRENDS IN NT AND JESUS SCHOLARSHIP
Although Hinman’s view about an alleged recent trend in NT scholarship is DEAD WRONG, there has been a recent trend in NT scholarship concerning the 4th Gospel.  That trend is described and discussed in an article by a prominent Jesus scholar named James Charlesworth.  The article is called  “The Historical Jesus in the Fourth Gospel: A Paradigm Shift?” (Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, 8, 2010).   James Charlesworth is a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary:

James H. Charlesworth is Princeton Theological Seminary’s George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature. He specializes in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old and New Testaments, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, Jesus research, and the Gospel of John. As director of the Seminary’s Dead Sea Scrolls Project, he has worked on the Qumran Scrolls to make available, in cooperation with more than fifty international specialists, an accurate text with apparatus criticus, an English translation, and an introduction. (from the profile page on Charlesworth on the Princeton Theological Seminary website)

The above article on a “Paradigm Shift” about the 4th Gospel describes and discusses the trend in NT scholarship that Hinman and Zarley are pointing to, but Hinman’s view of this trend doesn’t correspond to facts and reality, as I will show in the next post I write on this subject.
To Be Continued…

bookmark_borderDefending the Swoon Theory – Part 16: The Roman Guards are Probably Fictional

OBJECTION #6: THE GUARDS AT THE TOMB 
In Chapter 8 of his Handbook of Christian Apologetics (hereafter: HCA), Peter Kreeft has raised nine objections against The Swoon Theory, as part of his case attempting to prove that Jesus rose from the dead.  In previous posts I have argued that his Objection #1, Objection #2, Objection #3, Objection #4, Objection #5, and Objection #8 all FAIL as objections against The Swoon Theory, and also FAIL as objections against the more general view that I call The Survival Theory.
We are currently in the process of analyzing and evaluating Kreeft’s Objection #6, to determine whether this objection is sufficient to refute The Swoon Theory and The Survival Theory.  Objection #6 focuses on the presence of guards at the tomb of Jesus:

How were the Roman guards at the tomb overpowered by a swooning corpse?  Or by unarmed disciples?  And if the disciples did it, they knowingly lied when they wrote the Gospels, and we are into the conspiracy theory, which we will refute shortly.  (HCA, p.183)

The three sentences in this objection can be broken down into four main points:

P1. The Roman guards at the tomb could not have been overpowered by Jesus (by himself).

P2.  The Roman guards at the tomb could not have been overpowered by the disciples of Jesus. 

P3. If the disciples of Jesus removed Jesus from the tomb, they knowingly lied when they wrote the Gospels.

P4. If the disciples of Jesus removed Jesus from the tomb, that implies the conspiracy theory, which Kreeft refutes.

In Part 15 of this series, I pointed out that Point 1 and Point 2 imply a key premise of an argument against The Swoon Theory (and against The Survival Theory):

1. It is NOT the case that either (a) Jesus overpowered the Roman guards at his tomb by himself or (b) the Roman guards at Jesus’ tomb were overpowered by the disciples of Jesus.

A. IF the Swoon Theory is true, THEN either (a) Jesus overpowered the Roman guards at his tomb by himself or (b) the Roman guards at Jesus’ tomb were overpowered by the disciples of Jesus.

THEREFORE:

2. It is NOT the case that the Swoon Theory is true.

I previously raised the objection that premise (A) of this argument consists of a FALSE DILEMMA .  There are MANY WAYS that Jesus could have left the tomb without being detained or killed by the Roman guards besides the two ways that Kreeft mentions in premise (A).  Because premise (A) is FALSE,  this argument against The Swoon Theory (and The Survival Theory) is UNSOUND and thus FAILS to refute The Swoon Theory and FAILS to refute The Survival Theory.
 
KREEFT’S  FAILURE TO PROVIDE HISTORICAL EVIDENCE
Peter Kreeft continually makes historical claims and historical assumptions without making ANY EFFORT WHATSOEVER to provide historical EVIDENCE for those claims and assumptions.  This is intellectual malpractice for a professional Christian apologist, and this is the main reason why  Chapter 8 of HCA is a steaming pile of dog crap, and why Kreeft FAILS to prove anything of significance about Jesus.
Objection #6 is no exception to this rule.  Kreeft assumes the following historical claim, without making any effort to provide historical evidence to prove this key claim:

RG: Roman guards were posted outside of the tomb of Jesus to prevent the tomb from being opened and to prevent Jesus’ body from leaving the tomb or from being removed from the tomb.

If this historical claim was FALSE, then premise (A) would clearly also be FALSE, and the above argument based on Point 1 and Point 2 of Objection #6  would be UNSOUND, and would FAIL to disprove or refute the Swoon Theory, and FAIL to disprove or refute the Survival Theory.   Because Kreeft, as usual, makes no effort whatsoever to prove the key historical claim (RG), premise (A) of his argument remains questionable and dubious.
 
PASSAGES IN MATTHEW ABOUT THE GUARDS AT THE TOMB ARE PROBABLY FICTIONAL
There are two main passages in the Gospel of Matthew that relate to there being guards present at the tomb of Jesus (Matt. 26:62-66 and Matt. 27:62-66).  But these passages are probably fictional; there were probably no guards placed at the tomb of Jesus.  It is important to note that none of the other three canonical gospels mention anything about guards being requested for the tomb of Jesus or about guards being present at the tomb of Jesus.
The scholars of the Jesus Seminar have examined the stories about Jesus in the canonical gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), plus a few other non-canonical gospels, and have divided those stories into particular events, and they identified a total of 176 alleged events in those various writings about Jesus.  They have carefully reviewed and discussed each one of those 176 alleged events and the various passages in those various gospels that relate those events, and they arrived at an evaluation of each one of those 176 alleged events in terms of the probability that a particular event was an actual historical event.
The events that were determined to be very probable were marked as RED; the events determined to be somewhat probable but not very probable were marked as PINK; the events that were determined to be somewhat improbable but not very improbable were marked as GRAY; the events that were determined to be very improbable were marked as BLACK.
Here are the two relevant events related to the guards at the tomb:

Event #100: The Guard at the Tomb (Matthew 27:62-66)

Event #154: The Bribing of the Guards (Matthew 28:11-15)

Both passages of Matthew were marked as BLACK by the Jesus Seminar (The Acts of Jesus, p.562 and 563), meaning that it is very probable that the events in these two passages are fictional rather than historical.
Here is what the Jesus Seminar says about Matthew 27:62-66:

The guard at the tomb. Matthew reflects the view that in some quarters the empty tomb story backfired as an attempt to demonstrate the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection.  Unbelievers countered the story of the empty tomb with the charge that the body had simply been removed from the tomb by the disciples.  Matthew creates a story to counteract that charge and to buttress the account of the empty tomb. The posting of the guard is reported only by Matthew among the canonical gospels, but it is elaborated in the Gospel of Peter (8:1-11:7).  (The version in Peter may well be based on the information found in Matthew.)  The exchange between Jews and Jewish Christians involved the charge of deception on both sides…

The implausibilities of the scenes about the guards at the tomb are so notable that even Raymond E. Brown acknowledges the complete lack of either internal or external evidence that would affirm their historicity.  Brown concedes that they belong in the same category with the massacre of the children in the birth narrative and the flight to Egypt.  Since he seems to regard none of these events as historical, we may conclude that he would have cast a black vote had he been a member of the Jesus Seminar.

(The Acts of Jesus, p.265-266)

Someone might object that the scholars of the Jesus Seminar are very skeptical about the Gospels, and so their conclusions are heavily biased towards finding particular events in the Gospels to be fictional rather than historical.   
While it might well be the case that the conclusions of the Jesus Seminar are more skeptical than the conclusions of the typical N.T. scholar or of the typical Jesus scholar, my experience is that the degree of skepticism of the Jesus Seminar about particular events in the Gospels in NOT significantly greater then the skepticism of leading N.T. or Jesus scholars (such as the great Catholic NT scholar Raymond Brown).   In other words, the degree of skepticism of the Jesus Seminar is exaggerated by critics of the Jesus Seminar.  The skeptical conclusions of the Jesus Seminar are very often in line with the conclusions of leading NT scholars and leading Jesus scholars.
As concerns this particular issue about whether there were actually guards placed at the tomb of Jesus, the Christian Apologist William Lane Craig, who himself defends the view that the presence of the guards at the tomb was historical, admits that his view of this issue is out of sink with most critical NT scholars:

Matthew’s account has been nearly universally rejected as an apologetic legend by the critics. 

( “The Guard at the Tomb”)

It is the view that the story of the guards at the tomb is probably historical that is the minority view, not the view of the Jesus Seminar that the story of the guards at the tomb is probably fictional.
 
WILLIAM CRAIG ARGUES FOR THE HISTORICAL CLAIM (RG)
Although Peter Kreeft makes NO EFFORT WHATSOEVER to prove his key historical assumption (RG),  another Christian apologist named William Craig has made a significant effort to defend the historicity of the presence of the guards at the tomb of Jesus.   You can read an article by Craig defending (RG) on Craig’s website; the article is called:  “The Guard at the Tomb”  .
Craig’s article, however, fails to discuss three crucial questions:

The front side of Papyrus 37, a New Testament manuscript of the Gospel of Matthew.

 
Q1. How well does Matthew’s account of the guards at the tomb fit with related stories in the other Gospels?
Q2. To what degree, if any, does the Gospel of Matthew provide an historically reliable account of the life of Jesus?
Q3. To what degree, if any, are the accounts of the events that are UNIQUE to the Gospel of Matthew historically reliable
Because Craig fails to discuss these three very important questions, his positive conclusion about the historical claim (RG) is dubious, because it is based on only a modest slice of the relevant evidence.
It should also be noted that Craig does NOT claim that (RG) is clearly true, nor that the evidence makes (RG) very probable, only that there is significant evidence both for and against the truth of (RG):

So although there are reasons to doubt the existence of the guard at the tomb, there are also weighty considerations in its favor. It seems best to leave it an open question.

Craig’s defense of (RG) which is based on only a modest slice of the relevant evidence still leaves us with the truth of (RG) being UNCERTAIN, and at best as only somewhat probable.  That is NOT a sufficient basis for “refuting” the Swoon Theory and the Survival Theory.
 
THE STORY OF THE GUARDS AT THE TOMB DOESN’T FIT WELL WITH OTHER GOSPELS
One crucial question that Craig fails to discuss is this:

Q1. How well does Matthew’s account of the guards at the tomb fit with related stories in the other Gospels?

The first passage of Matthew about the guards at the tomb that is evaluated by the Jesus Seminar is labeled event # 100 (Matthew 27:62-66).  In that passage there is a request made for guards to be placed at the tomb of Jesus, to prevent anyone from stealing the body of Jesus (and later claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead).  The second passage of Matthew about the guards at the tomb that is evaluated by the Jesus Seminar is labelled event # 154 (Matthew 28:11-15).  In that passage the guards are persuaded to explain their failure to keep Jesus’ body in the tomb by saying the disciples of Jesus stole his body from the tomb when the guards had fallen asleep.
However, there is also a brief but crucial mention of the guards at the beginning of Chapter 28 of Matthew:

1 After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 
2 And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 
3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 
4 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 
5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 
6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 
7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” 

(Matthew 28:1-7, New Revised Standard Version)

No other canonical Gospel mentions anything about guards being requested to watch the tomb of Jesus, nor does any other canonical Gospel mention anything about guards being present at the tomb of Jesus.
How well does the above account in Matthew fit with the related account in the earlier Gospel of Mark?  Here is the parallel passage from Mark:

1 When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.
2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.
3 They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”
4 When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back.
5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him.
7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.”

(Mark 16:1-7, New Revised Standard Version)

Both accounts agree that Mary Magdalene and another woman named Mary went to the tomb around sunrise on the first day of the week (i.e. Sunday). Both accounts agree that the stone blocking the entrance to the tomb had been rolled back.  One obvious difference is that there is no mention of guards being present at the tomb of Jesus in Mark’s account.
Matthew’s account suggests that there was “a great earthquake” at about sunrise, when an angel descended from heaven and rolled back the stone from the entrance of the tomb.  The combination of “the great earthquake” and the sight of the angel with an appearance “like lightning” descending from heaven frightened the guards so much that they “became like dead men”.  If this actually happened as described in the Gospel of Matthew, then we would expect that the women would have SEEN the guards there at the tomb of Jesus, and that since these empty tomb stories, if they are actually historical, were originally told to others by the women who came to the tomb that first Easter Sunday at sunrise, the women would have mentioned the terrified guards in their stories about this event.
The fact that there is no mention of guards being present at the tomb of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark is evidence that there were no guards at the tomb when the women arrived at the tomb.  But given the description in the Gospel of Matthew that “the great earthquake” and the descent of the angel and the rolling back of the stone all took place at about sunrise,  and since the guards “became like dead men” (which implies that they froze in place or fell to the ground and lay still on the ground), it seems likely that the women would have seen the terrified guards when they arrived on the scene at sunrise.
It is, of course, possible that the guards froze in place or fell to the ground at sunrise and lay still on the ground for five or ten minutes and then ran away, and that the women arrived at the tomb fifteen minutes after sunrise and never laid eyes on the guards.  But then in that case there would have been no followers of Jesus who observed the guards at the tomb and what they did, so it is unlikely that this story of the guards is grounded in the memories and stories of the first followers of Jesus.
Furthermore, if there had been a “great earthquake” at sunrise, and if an angel with an appearance “like lightening” had descended from the sky at sunrise, then we would expect the women who visited the tomb on the first Easter Sunday to have REMEMBERED those striking events and included them in their stories about finding the tomb of Jesus empty.  But there is no mention of a “great earthquake” at sunrise on Easter Sunday in the Gospel of Mark, which implies that this was NOT a part of the original stories told by the women who visited the tomb at sunrise on the first Easter Sunday (if there actually was such a visit by Mary Magdalene and another Mary on the first Easter Sunday).
There is no mention of an angel descending from heaven with an appearance “like lightening”.  And the women do not freeze in place or fall to the ground in terror at the sight of such an angel. But in that case, the author of Matthew appears to have added fictional details to Mark’s account of the women visiting the empty tomb on the first Easter.  Indeed, this is what many NT scholars believe to be the case.
So, if “the great earthquake” and the descent of the angel from heaven with an appearance “like lightening” are fictional details added by the author of Matthew to Mark’s account, then this gives us good reason to doubt other details added to Mark’s account by the author of Matthew, namely, the presence and reaction of guards at the tomb of Jesus.  Because Matthew’s account of the discovery of the empty tomb by women at sunrise on the first Easter does NOT FIT WELL with the account of this event found in the earlier Gospel of Mark (which was a primary source used by the author of Matthew), we have good reason to doubt the historicity of the presence and reactions of guards at the tomb of Jesus as alleged in the Gospel of Matthew.
Furthermore, there is no mention of “the great earthquake” on the first Easter Sunday morning in either the Gospel of Luke or the Gospel of John.  There is also no mention in Luke or in John of guards being present at the tomb of Jesus.  This is further evidence that the original stories of the women who visited the tomb did NOT mention “the great earthquake” or the presence of terrified Roman guards at the tomb.  This is further evidence that the author of Matthew added fictional details to earlier accounts of the women visiting the tomb, such as the account found in the Gospel of Mark.  This is further evidence that casts doubt on the historical claim (RG).
 
THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW IS HISTORICALLY UNRELIABLE
If, however, we knew the Gospel of Matthew to be a highly reliable account of the life and ministry of Jesus, then we might reasonably overlook the apparent discrepancies between the accounts of Jesus’ entombment in Matthew vs. Mark.  Alternatively, if we knew the Gospel of Matthew to be a very unreliable account of the life and ministry of Jesus, then the discrepancies between Matthew and Mark related to the presence of guards at Jesus’ tomb would be sufficient reason to conclude that the historical claim (RG) is probably false.
So, a great deal depends on how one answers this question:

Q2. To what degree, if any, does the Gospel of Matthew provide an historically reliable account of the life of Jesus?

This is, of course, a difficult question to answer properly.  One would need to carefully study all of the alleged events in the Gospel of Matthew, and consider what various NT and Jesus scholars have said about the historicity of each of those alleged events, and attempt to arrive at informed and well-considered evaluations of each event (i.e. Is it “very probable” or “somewhat probable” or “somewhat improbable” or “very improbable”). 
This could easily take a year or two of serious and dedicated intellectual investigation.  So, it is understandable that William Craig does not attempt to address this crucial issue in his article about historicity of the presence of guards at the tomb of Jesus.  The question is a very LARGE question that requires a great deal of intellectual effort to address properly.
I too do not intend on engaging in a two-year-in-depth study of the Gospel of Matthew in order to provide a well-informed and well-considered answer to this question about the degree to which the Gospel of Matthew is historically reliable.  However, the scholars of the Jesus Seminar have already performed this very demanding task, so it is worth considering what their conclusions were about all of the various alleged events described in the Gospel of Matthew.
The Jesus Seminar distinguishes 102 events/passages in the Gospel of Matthew.  Two of those passages are specifically about the guards at the tomb, so we should set those two passages aside and focus on the evaluations of the other 100 events/passages. 
Of those 100 events/passages, the Jesus Seminar scholars marked 15 as either RED or PINK, indicating that those passages were probably historical, the other 85 events/passages were marked as either GRAY or BLACK, indicating that those passages were probably fictional.  So, 85% of the events/passages in Matthew (setting aside the 2 passages specifically about the guards at the tomb), were evaluated as probably fictional or probably NOT historical.  In other words, if you pick any of the 102 events in Matthew at random, it is very probable that the event is one that the scholars of the Jesus Seminar have concluded is probably NOT historical, but is, rather, probably fictional.
The evaluations of historicity of the events in the Gospel of Matthew by the scholars of the Jesus Seminar provide significant evidence that the Gospel of Matthew does NOT provide an historically reliable account of the life of Jesus, but rather provides a very UNRELIABLE account of the life of Jesus. 
So, in view of the fact that we already have good reasons to suspect that the particular stories in Matthew about Roman guards being present at the tomb of Jesus are fictional details added by the author of Matthew to the earlier account in Mark of the women visiting the tomb on the first Easter Sunday, and in view of the fact that we now have good reason to view the Gospel of Matthew as a generally UNRELIABLE source, it is probable that (RG) is FALSE, and thus we have a second good reason to conclude that premise (A) is FALSE (in addition to the fact that this premise asserts a FALSE DILEMMA ), and that the above argument by Kreeft against the Swoon Theory (and against the Survival Theory) is UNSOUND.
To Be Continued… 

bookmark_borderDefending the Swoon Theory – Part 15: Overpowering the Roman Guards

WHERE WE ARE
Peter Kreeft believes that he can prove that Jesus rose from the dead by refuting four skeptical theories that provide alternative explanations to the standard Christian view that Jesus rose from the dead.  One of those skeptical theories is The Swoon Theory.
However, refuting The Swoon Theory (and three other skeptical theories) will NOT work to establish the resurrection, because The Swoon Theory is only one particular version of a more general theory that Kreeft must refute: The Survival Theory (hereafter: TST), the view that Jesus SURVIVED his crucifixion and so was able to appear to some of his followers after the crucifixion, which led to the mistaken belief that Jesus had risen from the dead.
In Chapter 8 of his Handbook of Christian Apologetics (hereafter: HCA), Kreeft raised nine objections against The Swoon Theory, and I am critically examining those objections to determine whether they are sufficient to refute The Survival Theory (TST), the more general theory that Kreeft must refute in order for his case for the resurrection to succeed.
In this current post, we are examining Objection #6: The Guards at the Tomb.
 
OBJECTION #6: THE GUARDS AT THE TOMB 
Objection #6 focuses on the presence of guards at the tomb of Jesus:

How were the Roman guards at the tomb overpowered by a swooning corpse?  Or by unarmed disciples?  And if the disciples did it, they knowingly lied when they wrote the Gospels, and we are into the conspiracy theory, which we will refute shortly.  (HCA, p.183)

The three sentences in this objection can be broken down into four main points:

Roman auxiliary infantry crossing a river.

P1. The Roman guards at the tomb could not have been overpowered by Jesus (by himself).

P2.  The Roman guards at the tomb could not have been overpowered by the disciples of Jesus. 

P3. If the disciples of Jesus removed Jesus from the tomb, they knowingly lied when they wrote the Gospels.

P4. If the disciples of Jesus removed Jesus from the tomb, that implies the conspiracy theory, which Kreeft refutes.

Actually, the first two points are intended to form the premise of an argument.
 
POINT 1 & POINT 2 FORM ONE PREMISE OF AN ARGUMENT
The first two points that are part of Objection #6 work together to imply a single claim:

It is NOT the case that either (a) Jesus overpowered the Roman guards at his tomb by himself or (b) the Roman guards at Jesus’ tomb were overpowered by the disciples of Jesus.

The above claim is part of an argument that also has an unstated premise, premise (A):

1. It is NOT the case that either (a) Jesus overpowered the Roman guards at his tomb by himself or (b) the Roman guards at Jesus’ tomb were overpowered by the disciples of Jesus.

A. IF the Swoon Theory is true, THEN either (a) Jesus overpowered the Roman guards at his tomb by himself or (b) the Roman guards at Jesus’ tomb were overpowered by the disciples of Jesus.

THEREFORE:

2. It is NOT the case that the Swoon Theory is true.

 
PREMISE (A) ASSERTS A FALSE DILEMMA
However, premise (A) asserts a conditional claim that is clearly FALSE, because it asserts a FALSE DILEMMA.  These are NOT the only two possibilities, given the truth of the Swoon Theory (or given the truth of the Survival Theory).
First of all, overpowering the Roman guards is NOT the only way to get Jesus past the guards.  The guards could have been distracted or drugged or deceived or bribed or threatened as a means of getting Jesus out of the tomb and past the guards:

The assumption that overpowering the Roman guards was the only possible way to get Jesus out of the tomb and past the guards is a FALSE assumption.

If the guards had shifts to watch the tomb, so that only one guard was stationed right next to the tomb while the other guards slept a short distance from the tomb, then it would have been necessary to only overpower the one guard who was right next to the tomb, so long as this did not wake up the other sleeping guards.  It would certainly be possible for six or eight or ten disciples to overpower just one guard:

The assumption that ALL of the Roman guards MUST be overpowered in order to get Jesus out of the tomb and past the guards is a FALSE assumption.

Similarly, if one guard was stationed right next to the tomb and the others slept a short distance away, it would have been necessary to only distract or drug or deceive or bribe or threaten just that one guard stationed right next to the tomb into leaving his post or letting Jesus leave (or be taken from) the tomb:

The assumption that ANY of the guards would have to be overpowered is a FALSE assumption.

Furthermore, Jesus and “the disciples” are NOT the only people who could have helped Jesus to leave the tomb and to get past the Roman guards.  The phrase “the disciples of Jesus” is AMBIGUOUS.  It might refer ONLY to the twelve disciples who were part of the inner circle of followers of Jesus or it might refer to ANY follower of Jesus.  Since Kreeft goes on (in the very next sentence) to infer that “if the disciples did it” (i.e. overpowered the Roman guards or helped Jesus to get past the Roman guards) that this would imply the conspiracy theory, it is clear that the phrase “the disciples” refers ONLY to the Twelve disciples who were part of the inner circle of followers of Jesus, because the conspiracy theory is ONLY about the inner circle of disciples, not about followers of Jesus in general.
Because Kreeft is using the phrase “the disciples” here to mean “the Twelve disciples”, it is obvious that there were OTHER disciples or followers of Jesus besides the Twelve who could have come to help Jesus to leave the tomb and get past the Roman guards.  Joseph of Arimathea, for example, might have been a rich and powerful Jewish leader who had lots of friends or associates who would be willing to help him rescue Jesus.  Or Joseph might have been able to hire some strong and well-armed fellow Jews to perform this rescue operation.
In any case, Jesus had many followers outside of the Twelve disciples, so there was a large number of OTHER people besides the Twelve disciples who would have been willing to help rescue Jesus from the tomb:

The assumption that ONLY Jesus or the Twelve disciples could have been involved in getting Jesus out of the tomb and past the Roman guards is a FALSE assumption.

It is also possible that some Jews who were NOT followers of Jesus would have been willing and able to help rescue Jesus from the tomb and the Roman guards.  For example, there were many Jews who resented being ruled over by the Romans.  Such anti-Roman Jews might well have been sympathetic towards Jesus, and viewed the crucifixion of Jesus as one more example of Roman abuse and oppression of innocent Jews.  Such anti-Roman Jews might well have been happy to try to overpower Roman guards to help Jesus leave the tomb and escape further Roman abuse:

The assumption that ONLY followers of Jesus could have been involved in getting Jesus out of the tomb and past the Roman guards is a FALSE assumption.

The first two points made by Kreeft as part of Objection #6 are intended to suggest the above argument, where premises (1) and (A) are given to prove the conclusion (2).  But this argument FAILS to make a solid objection against the Swoon Theory or the Survival Theory, because premise (A) constitutes a FALSE DILEMMA.
There are many different ways that Jesus could have left the tomb (or been taken from the tomb) without being detained or killed by the Roman guards, not just the two particular possibilities that Kreeft focuses upon (i.e. Jesus overpowered ALL the guards by himself OR some of the Twelve disciples overpowered ALL the guards), so premise (A) is FALSE, making this argument against The Swoon Theory (and The Survival Theory) an UNSOUND argument.
 
To Be Continued…