Theology: Did Christ Die on the Cross?

The linchpin truth proclaimed by the Christian Gospels—"the central fact of all history," as 17th century Bishop Jacques Bossuet put it—is that Christ was crucified in Jerusalem, that he died on the cross, was buried, and on the third day rose from the dead.

If this supernaturalistic event did not take place, as unbelievers hold, it requires a natural explanation, and many have been offered. The Gospel According to Matthew says that on learning of the empty tomb, Jewish leaders spread the story that the disciples had stolen Christ's body. Celsus, a...

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