Kreeft’s Case Against the Swoon Theory – Part 13: An Attempt to Repair Objection #4

In Part 12 of this series, I concluded that Peter Kreeft’s Objection #4 against the Swoon Theory FAILS, because the core argument for Objection #4 consists of two DUBIOUS premises and one FALSE premise.

Before I move on to Objection #5, I would like to consider a possible way to repair Objection #4 which attempts to get around some of the serious problems that I have pointed out with the core argument for that objection.


One obvious way to attempt to repair Objection #4 is to add various historical assumptions to the core argument, crucial assumptions that are needed for the argument to work:

1g. On Friday evening, after Jesus’ body was removed from the cross, it was totally encased in winding sheets (that included between 11 pounds and 90 pounds of spices and a gummy substance).

2a. On Friday evening, after Jesus’ body was removed from the cross, it was placed into a stone tomb.

10. The air in Jesus’ tomb was cold on that Friday evening.

11. The air in Jesus’ tomb was damp on that Friday evening.

12. The winding sheets were tightly wrapped around Jesus’ head.

13. There were multiple layers of winding sheets wrapped around Jesus’ head.

14. There were many pounds of spices and gummy substance included in the layers of winding sheets wrapped around Jesus’ head.


Premises (10), (11), (12), (13), and (14) are additional historical claims that are required in order to give this argument a fighting chance of being a solid argument.

Premise (C) was modified to include references to these additional historical claims.


This repaired core argument is still a BAD argument that should be rejected, even with these modifications.

First of all, although premise (1g) is an improvement over premise (1a), it is still DUBIOUS, and might well be FALSE, because it is still based upon the FALSE assumption that the Gospel of John provides a reliable historical account of the life of Jesus, including his crucifixion and burial.

Second, the key premise (2a) is still DUBIOUS even though one could argue for it on the basis of the other three Gospels (and thus avoid making the FALSE assumption that the Gospel of John is historically reliable). However, premise (2a) would be plausible only if the burial story in the Gospel of Mark was historically reliable, but it is not. So, premise (2a) remains DUBIOUS and might well be false.

Thirdly, although making the various crucial historical assumptions into explicit premises improves the clarity and the logic of the argument, NONE of those premises has been supported with any evidence by Kreeft and Tecelli or by McDowell.

Furthermore, the Gospels don’t say anything about the temperature or the dampness of the air in Jesus’ tomb, and the Gospels also don’t provide details about how Jesus’ head was wrapped, and whether and how much spices and gummy substance was placed in the wrappings around his head. So, the additional assumptions are not confirmed by any of the Gospel accounts of the burial of Jesus. Thus, each of the five additional historical premises is DUBIOUS and might well be FALSE.

Fourthly, given the qualifications in premise (1g) the amount of the mixture of spices might well have been as little as 11 pounds, or 15 pounds, or 20 pounds, instead of being 100 pounds. If, for example, the actual amount of spice mixture was 20 pounds, ten pounds of the spice mixture could have been spread on the stone bench before placing the winding sheet and Jesus’ body on the bench, and then the remaining ten pounds might well have been used in the wrapping of Jesus’ legs, hips, arms, and torso. In that case, there would have been no spices left to include in the wrapping around his head. So, since the amount of the spice mixture might well have been much less than 100 pounds, there is a good chance that premise (14) was FALSE, even if the Gospel of John was correct about the use of spices in the preparation and wrapping of Jesus’ body for burial.

Premise (C1) is a big improvement over the original premise (C). I am not certain that (C1) is true, but it seems to be very plausible, so I won’t object to this modified premise.

Since this modified core argument depends on seven different historical claims, each of which is DUBIOUS, it is probable that some of those historical claims are FALSE, which would make this argument UNSOUND. So this argument should be rejected, and that means that Objection #4 against the Swoon Theory still FAILS, even with the above improvements to the core argument.