Some biblical scholars claim that events recorded in the bible justify them to believe that a miracle like the resurrection most likely happened. What's puzzling to me about their claim is that it seems to me the job of historians in general is to determine whether a particular event most likely happened given historical documents they have. However, even if we grant that the resurrection is possible, isn't it also true that it is an extremely unlikely event to begin with? Are these biblical scholars consistent in holding that the resurrection (a highly unlikely event) happened when the methods they employ can only be used to determine whether a particular event most likely happened?

If I have it right, your issue is with Biblical scholars who think what's recorded in the Bible justifies believing that the Resurrection (for example) "most likely happened." But your last sentence asks whether these scholars are being consistent if they say that the resurrection happened when their methods can only establish whether an event most likely happened. So I'm a bit confused. But before we proceed, another point. You use the terms "Biblical scholar" and "historian" interchangeably. However, not all Biblical scholarship is historical scholarship, and some Biblical scholarship is unashamedly sectarian. A Biblical scholar who argues for the Resurrection (we'll stick with that case) on purely Biblical grounds would happily concede that s/he isn't offering a purely historical argument. Whether the argument is adequate or merely question-begging is a rabbit-hole we won't go down.

Returning to your post, it sounds as though you're saying in your last sentence that the scholars you have in mind make too strong a claim: that an event actually happened, without qualification, when the most they could say qua historians is that it most likely happened. And to make the issue non-trivial, let's assume that these scholars aim to be functioning at least in part as historians. In that case, there's no inconsistency with the historian's role as you see it in drawing the conclusion that a particular event probably happened. There's still no inconsistency if the event is improbable to begin with. Historians often argue that some antecedently improbable event likely happened. They do it by arguing that the totality of the evidence supports that conclusion.

The sin of eliding between "most likely happened" and "happened" is a small one. If the evidence suggests that something is most likely true, there's not necessarily anything wrong with believing on that basis that it actually did happen. After all, there are few things we believe that are beyond all doubt. So what else might be at issue here?

Historians who argued for the resurrection solely on the basis of what they find in the Bible wouldn't be giving purely historical arguments. I've seen some scholars argue in a rather different way. Christianity was based on the claim that Jesus indeed rose from the dead, and not only did a small band of followers who saw Jesus crucified rapidly become convinced that he was resurrected; Christianity itself went from obscurity to virtual hegemony in that part of the world in a short time by historical standards. According to such scholars, the best way to make sense of all this is on the assumption that Jesus really did rise from the dead. Whatever you make of this argument, it's not a scriptural one but rather, broadly speaking, historical. But even if it's not purely historical, the fact that someone is a historian by training or profession isn't a reason to avoid making arguments that go beyond the discipline of history proper. The right question is whether their arguments are good overall, regardless of whether they stay within the usual boundaries of some discipline or other.

Just to be clear, I am religiously (no pun intended) avoiding the question of the merits of believing in miracles. As I read your question, is was not about whether the Resurrection (or any other miracle) really happened, but about whether a certain sort of scholar who argues that it did is thereby guilty of some kind of inconsistency or abrogation of professional duty. And as near as I can tell, the answer is no.

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