Appearances Of Mary Vs. Jesus’ Resurrection Appearances




By
Erik
Manning

On
the
evening
of
April
2,
1968,
a
Muslim
bus
mechanic
was
working
across
the
street
from
St.
Mary’s
Coptic
Church
in
Zeitoun,
a
district
of
Cairo,
Egypt.
Suddenly,
something
on
the
roof
of
St.
Mary’s
got
his
attention:
a
figure
that
looked
like
a
young
woman.
The
mechanic
pointed
it
out
to
a
few
people
nearby
who
saw
the
same
thing.
Concerned
that
the
young
lady
was
about to
commit
suicide,
they
called
the
police.
A
crowd
gathered
around
the
church
to
watch.
Then,
after
just
a
few
minutes,
the
woman
suddenly
vanished.
As
you
can
imagine,
this
got
people
talking.

At
first
the
police
tried
to
explain
things
away,
saying
it
was
just
some
light
reflecting
in
a
strange
way
from
a
street
light

but
many
weren’t
persuaded.
A
week
later
the
female
figure
appeared
on
the
roof
again.
The
appearance
of
the
woman
lasted
for
a
few
minutes
and
then
disappeared.
Some
people
began
to
connect
the
dots:
This
is
St.
Mary’s
church.
The
church
is
believed
to
be
one
of
the
locations
that
Jesus’
family
stayed
during
their
flight
to
Egypt.
We’re
seeing
a
shining
female
figure
on
the
roof.
Sure
this
must
be
the
Mother
of
Jesus!

From
there
the
appearances
began
to
happen
more
frequently,
at
times
lasting
for
hours.
In
some
reports,
the
apparition
appeared
to
be
bowing
toward
the
cross
atop
the
church
or
blessing
onlookers
on
the
street
below.
Some
of
the
faithful
who
came
to
tour
the
holy
site
reported
to
be
healed
of
illnesses.
The
Coptic
Orthodox
Pope
appointed
a
committee
of
high-ranking
priests
and
bishops
to
investigate.
On
May
4th,
the
church
issued
an
official
statement
confirming
the
apparitions
as
genuine.

The
apparitions
were
witnessed
by
the
Egyptian
President.
Some
were
recorded
on
film
by
newspaper
photographers
and
Egyptian
television.
Police
investigations
found
no
apparent
explanation.
No
device
was
found
within
a
radius
of
fifteen
miles
capable
of
projecting
the
image,
and
many
photos
were
taken
of
the
alleged
apparition
from
independent
sources.
With
no
alternative
explanation
and
approval
from
religious
and
political
leaders,
the
Egyptian
government
accepted
the
apparitions
as
true.



ARE
APPARITIONS
LIKE
RESURRECTION
APPEARANCES?

So
why
am
I
talking
about
the
Marian
apparitions
of
Zeitoun?
It’s
because
scholars
like
Dale
Allison
and
Bart
Ehrman
attempt
to
parallel
these
appearances
with
Jesus’
resurrection
appearances.
In
fact,
Allison
says
that
they
are
in
some
ways
better
evidenced
and
yet
he
remains
agnostic
about
them.
Allison
writes:


“Our
knowledge
of
what
happened
in
the
days
after
Good
Friday
is
depressingly
sparse
over
and
against
our
knowledge
of
what
happened
in
Zeitoun.
With
respect
to
the
latter,
we
have
interviews
with
multiple
eye-witnesses.
We
have
photographs.
We
have
on-the-spot,
as-it-unfolded
journalistic
reports
from
religious
and
irreligious.
We
have
a
statement
from
an
investigative
committee.
We
have
none
of
this,
by
contrast,
with
respect
to
Jesus’
resurrection,
only
a
lamentable
paucity
of
evidence
and
lack
of
detail
at
every
turn.
One
wonders
how,
if
we
cannot
solve
the
puzzle
of
Zeitoun,
about
which
we
know
so
much,
we
can
solve
the
puzzle
that
is
Jesus’
resurrection,
about
which
we
know
so
little.”

Bart
Ehrman
mostly
agrees
with
Allison.
He
seemingly
points
out
some
inconsistency
among
resurrection
apologists
like
William
Lane
Craig,
Gary
Habermas
and
Mike
Licona,
writing:

 “it
is
striking
and
worth
noting
that
typically
believers
in
one
religious
tradition
often
insist
on
the
“evidence”
for
the
miracles
that
support
their
views
and
completely
discount
the
“evidence”
for
miracles
attested
in
some
other
religious
tradition,
even
though,
at
the
end
of
the
day,
it
is
the
same
kind
of
evidence
(for
example,
eyewitness
testimony)
and
may
be
of
even
greater
abundance.
Protestant
apologists
interested
in
“proving”
that
Jesus
was
raised
from
the
dead
rarely
show
any
interest
in
applying
their
finely
honed
historical
talents
to
the
exalted
Blessed
Virgin
Mary”


 
(How
Jesus
Became
God)
Ehrman
doesn’t
call
them
out
by
name,
but
these
three
prominent
resurrection
apologists
are
all
committed
Baptists.

When
an
Emailer
asked
about
the
parallel
between
Marian
appearances
and
Jesus’
post-mortem
appearances,
Dr.
Craig
had
his
colleague
Mike
Licona
respond
to
the
reader’s
question. Licona
wrote:[i]


 
“In
my
debates
with
Ehrman,
when
he
has
raised
the
topic
of
Marian
apparitions,
I
have
responded
that
I
do
not
doubt
that
the
recipients
saw
something.
What
they
saw
is
what
I
question.
Elliot
Miller
and
Kenneth
Samples
co-authored
the
book
The
Cult
of
the
Virgin:
Catholic
Mariology
and
the
Apparitions
of
Mary.
In
this
book,
they
discuss
the
three
major
accounts
of
Marian
apparitions:
Lourdes,
France;
Fatima,
Portugal;
and
Medjugorje,
(mud·joo·jor·jee)
Croatia.
I
know
Samples
personally.
He
has
interviewed
several
of
the
seers
to
whom
Mary
has
appeared
in
Medjugorje.
Although
Samples
is
a
Christian
whose
Protestant
theology
does
not
incline
him
to
believe
that
Mary
has
appeared
to
others,
he
is
convinced
that
these
seers
have
seen
a
spirit
being.
In
fact,
I
had
an
opportunity
to
inquire
further
of
Samples
on
the
matter.
He
told
me
that
several
of
the
seers
in
Medjugorje
continued
to
have
visions
of
Mary.
In
fact,
he
was
with
one
of
the
seers
while
he
was
experiencing
such
a
vision,
although
no
one
else
in
the
room
saw
her.
Samples
told
me
he
asked
the
seer
if
Mary
had
ever
spoken
to
him.
The
seer
said
she
had,
recommending
a
specific
book
which
the
seer
was
to
read.
When
Samples
looked
up
the
title
of
the
book,
it
was
occultic.
This
led
him
to
believe
that
a
demonic
spirit
is
what
is
appearing
to
the
seers.”

I’m
sure
the
“it’s
the
devil”
hypothesis
will
offend
Catholics
and
Orthodox
Christians.
I’d
bet
that
Ehrman
would
be
content
to
let
them
fight
it
out
amongst
themselves.
Pitting
Catholics
vs.
Protestants
is
a
classic
move
made
by
skeptics
going
back
to
the
Deist
Controversy
in
the
17th
and
18th
century.
Rather
than
denying
the
evidence,
Licona
refers
to
Samples’
theological
argument,
which
seems
to
be
based
on
some
personal
anecdotes
and
doctrinal
inferences.

Even
if
you’re
theologically
opposed
to
the
veneration
of
Mary,
this
evil
spirit
hypothesis
is
probably
giving
the
devil
more
credit
than
due.
While
I’m
a
settled
Protestant,
I’m
not
automatically
inclined
to
say
that
all
Marian
apparitions
are
either
delusions,
hoaxes
or
demonic
because
of
my
prior
theological
commitments.
With
enough
evidence,
my
mind
could
be
changed.
But
I
don’t
think
Marian
apparitions
come
anywhere
near
what
we
have
for
the
resurrection.
It’s
more
of
an
apples
and
oranges
comparison.

 



WHAT
WOULD
BE
EVIDENCE
OF
MARIAN
APPARIATIONS?

What
would
convince
me
of
Marian
apparitions?
Let’s
think
about
it.
Imagine
if
Mary
appeared
to
a
dozen
people
and
ate
several
meals
with
them,
they
touched
her
hands,
and
she
conversed
with
them.
Now
also
suppose
this
group
of
twelve
people
were
all
Protestants,
living
in
a
country
where
converting
to
Catholicism
could
result
in
their
arrest,
torture,
or
death.
That
would
move
me
a
bit
closer
to
accepting
them.

But
there’s
a
big
problem.
No
one
who
has
seen
an
apparition
of
Mary
knew
Mary
before
she
died.
There’s
a
tradition
that
she
appeared
to
James
the
Son
of
Zebedee
in
Spain
in
40
AD,
but
the
evidence
for
this
tradition
is
thin
and
Mary
was
probably
still
alive
at
that
time.
Those
who
believe
in
this
appearance
claim
that
she
was
supernaturally
present
in
two
places
at
once.
The
first
recorded
Marian
apparition
approved
by
the
Catholic
church
was
in
1555.
Obviously
Mary
hasn’t
been
known
by
anyone
personally
for
centuries,
so
there’s
always
at
least
the
possibility
that
someone
could
be
hoaxing
these
people
in
this
proposed
scenario.

People
laughed
when
Robert
Greg
Cavin
came
up
with
his
“twin
brother”
theory
to
explain
away
the
resurrection.
But
Cavin
had
to
come
up
with
a
theory
to
explain
why
the
disciples
thought
they
saw
the
risen
Jesus,
as
they
knew
what
Jesus
looked
like.
They
had
hung
out
with
him
for
three
years.

But
some
might
say
that
perhaps
what
the
apostles
saw
was
something
like
what
people
saw
in
Zeitoun.
Maybe
they
experienced
something
like
a
bright
light
on
a
rooftop
that
they
mistook
to
be
Jesus
and
enthusiasm
took
its
course
from
there.
The
problem
with
that
is
we
can’t
say
that
if
we
take
the
gospel
accounts
seriously.
For
they
report
multisensory
group
appearances
extended
across
40
days.
These
appearances
involved
conversations
with
Jesus,
touching
his
wounds,
and
eating
fish
together.
These
aren’t
the
kinds
of
things
you
can
be
mistaken
about.

Ehrman
and
Allison
think
that
these
accounts
are
embellished
and
unreliable,
and
so
this
is
why
they
run
this
weak
parallel.
It’s
not
that
they
don’t
think
the
disciples
experienced
appearances
of
Jesus
of
some
sort.
They
do.
This
is
because
of
what
Paul
tells
us
in
1
Corinthians
15 that
Peter,
the
Twelve,
Paul,
James
and
an
unnamed
500
brothers
all
claimed
to
have
seen
the
risen
Jesus.
But
what
the
appearances
were
like
isn’t
something
Paul
goes
into
detail
about.
If
the
best
evidence
we
have
for
the
resurrection
is
the
creed
that
Paul
quotes
to
the
Corinthians,
then
we’re
left
with
a
pretty
vague
report.
Or
to
use
Allison’s
words,
“depressingly
sparse”. 
Vague
appearances
that
were
overinterpreted
by
the
disciples
would
be
consistent
with
the
creed
in
1
Corinthians
15.


If
we’re
going
to
defend
the
resurrection,
we’re
going
to
need
to
defend
the
detailed
reports
contained
in
the
Gospels
are
at
least
what
the
early
disciples
reported.
But
because
Licona
will
only
use
facts
that
90%
+
of
scholars
agree
upon

which
include
the
likes
of
Allison
and
Ehrman

he’s
not
able
to
do
that.
In
his
big
book
on
the
resurrection,
Licona
writes:


“We
may
affirm
with
great
confidence
that
Peter
had
such
an
experience
in
an
individual
setting,
and
we
will
see
that
the
same
may
be
said
of
an
adversary
of
the
church
named
Paul.
We
may
likewise
affirm
that
there
was
at
least
one
occasion
when
a
group
of
Jesus’
followers
including
“the
Twelve”
had
such
an
experience.
Did
other
experiences
reported
by
the
Gospels
occur
as
well,
such
as
the
appearances
to
the
women,
Thomas,
the
Emmaus
disciples,
and
the
multiple
group
appearances
reported
by
the
tradition
in 
1
Corinthians
15:3-7
 and
John?
Where
did
these
experiences
occur?
Historians
may
be
going
beyond
what
the
data
warrants
in
assigning
a
verdict
with
much
confidence
to
these
questions.”


The
Resurrection
of
Jesus,
A
New
Historiographical
Approach,
Kindle
location
3758

This
is
why
I’m
not
a
fan
of
the
minimal
facts
approach.
If
we
are
willing
to
say
that
the
appearances
to
the
Emmaus
disciples
or
Thomas
are
impossible
to
know
historically
because
that’s
what
the
scholarly
consensus
allows
us
to
say
is
a
minimal
fact,
then
there’s
a
massive
problem.
But
if
we
look
at
the
Gospels
closely
and
more
fairly,
I
think
we
can
know
with
some
confidence
that
they
are
scrupulous,
habitually
honest
and
close
up
to
the
facts.
They
were
not
the
kind
of
authors
who
would
be
prone
to
embellish
things.
Nor
are
they
likely
to
be
schizophrenic
authors,
showing
all
these
signs
of
truthful
testimony,
but
suddenly
at
other
times
consider
themselves
free
to
invent
and
change
facts.

And
so
it
looks
like
they
recorded
what
was
really
originally
claimed
by
witnesses
about
Jesus’
resurrection.
And
this
was
the
apostles’
claim
in
the
midst
of
persecution,
so
it
would
be
unlikely
that
they
were
fudging
the
truth.
See
my
playlist
on
the
reliability
of
the
Gospels
for
more.

So
getting
back
to
Marian
apparitions.
I
don’t
think it’s
at
all
impossible
to
have
evidence
that
has
strong
weight
for
Marian
claims.
Let’s
suppose
that
two
Protestants
who
had
previously
publicly
criticized
Marian
doctrine
both
claimed
at
the
same
time
to
have
seen
a
vision
of
a
woman
claiming
to
be
Mary
telling
them
that
she
was
taken
bodily
into
heaven.
Neither
had
a
prior
history
of
mental
illness.
They
destroyed
their
own
Protestant
careers
and
endangered
their
lives
by
claiming
this.

Furthermore,
suppose
the
woman
in
question
instructed
them
to
call
each
other
and
ask
each
other,
“Did
you
have
any
strange
experience
in
the
last
24
hours?”
And
they
independently
did
this.
That
would
be
evidence
of
the
Marian
claims,
but
it
wouldn’t
exactly
be
an
analogy
to
Jesus’
appearances
on
earth.
It
would
perhaps
be
more
analogous
to
the
conversion
of
Paul
and
James.
Oddly
enough,
Dale
Allison
says
nothing
short
of
Mary
appearing
to
him
would
convince
him.
I
don’t
think
our
standards
need
to
be
that
absurdly
high.

This
whole
Marian
apparition
analogy
just
doesn’t
work
when
one
takes
a
more
maximal
data
approach
to
the
Gospels.
I
might
not
be
able
to
explain
all
Marian
apparitions,
but
they’re
not
the
same
as
the
resurrection
appearances
in
the
Gospels.
At
best
they
make
me
say
“huh.
Maybe
the
world
is
a
weirder
place
than
I
thought,
and
I
don’t
really
know
what
to
make
of
this.”
But
because
there
seems
to
be
some
vagueness
about
what
these
apparitions
mean
or
where
they
originate
from
I
don’t
feel
super
inclined
to
believe
them.



Footnotes:


[i]

https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/appearances-of-mary-and-jesus-resurrection-appearances



Recommended
resources
related
to
the
topic:

Can
All
Religions
Be
True?

mp3

by
Frank
Turek

When
Reason
Isn’t
the
Reason
for
Unbelief
by
Dr.
Frank
Turek

DVD

and

Mp4

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Erik
is
a

Reasonable
Faith
Chapter
Director
located
in
Cedar
Rapids,
Iowa.

He’s
a
former
freelance
baseball
writer
and
the
co-owner
of
a
vintage
and
handmade
decor
business
with
his
wife,
Dawn.
He
is
passionate
about
the
intersection
of
apologetics
and
evangelism.


Original
Blog
Source:



https://bit.ly/3Vs9Z0Y