Tripp Fuller (of Homebrewed Christianity) likes, mischievously, to talk of the historical Christ and the Jesus of faith. He has something of a point; once you get past the crucifixion, you are talking of the impact which he had on people and not IMHO about historical material, and most certainly you’re talking of that when you get past the gospels.

I know that the majority hold that there was a physical resurrection, and so events for at least a little while might be viewed as susceptible to historical method, but if I view all of the resurrection accounts forensically I come to the conclusion that everyone was talking about apparition, albeit occasionally a tangible one, rather than a real presence. In any event, however, the supposed real presence will not have left any material trace now identifiable by historical method. I think the point is therefore good whichever way you think of the resurrection.

What’s more, when talking of the lifetime Jesus, there is also no incident which is reported which is likely to have left tangible evidence which historians can examine – there will once have been such evidence, but if it hasn’t been found yet, it’s unlikely it will be. There are *accounts* of tangible events, of course, which historians can examine, but you’re right that all that can be extracted from that is probability. Even if, with Bauckham, you’re talking of actual eyewitness testimony, I used to joke that “there’s nothing quite as unreliable as an eyewitness”, and not be exaggerating very much.

The Christ of the history of ideas, however, is documented and continues to be documented up to and including your blog post. And there is no reason to think that any author who documents their post-resurrection experience of Christ is recounting anything other than the actual impact which the idea of Christ had on them (or on those written about).

Well, unless you categorise some of them as mystics, in which case it’s their best attempt at rendering an experience which resists description in human language…