James Bishop's Theological Rationalism

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It is true that some legendary traditions exist detailing the disciples deaths, but not for all of them and their associates. We also have some evidence for other early Christians that never recanted their faith in Jesus even when in the face of death. These early Christians had lived close enough to the time of Jesus and his contemporaries to be sure of Jesus’ ministry, death, and resurrection. In other words, to them, whether mistaken or not, this was an undeniable fact. But what is some of this alleged evidence?

In chapter 5 of a ‘Letter to the Corinthians’ authored by the early church father Clement, writing around 95 – 97 AD, we see that he attests to Paul’s martyrdom. According to him Paul “suffered martyrdom under the prefects.” This is likely reliable since we know, from his own epistles, that Paul suffered willingly for Jesus and faced the…

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