Some will argue that this account is fiction, inspiring but wholly mythical. But its author, the evangelist Luke, seems to have been a well-educated and careful historian who based his narrative upon eyewitness interviews (Luke 1:1-4). And the New Testament doesn't shrink from casting early church leaders in a negative light when appropriate; it feels no apparent need to glorify them by falsifying history. Furthermore, given the remarkable and well-documented growth of earliest Christianity, something very like what Luke reports must necessarily have happened.
So what transformed the fearful, cowering apostles of Passover weekend into fearless preachers of Christ's resurrection less than two months later? There is a very obvious possible answer. Everything hinges on it.
Daniel C. Peterson is a professor of Islamic studies and Arabic at BYU, where he also serves as editor in chief of the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative and as director of advancement for the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. He is the founder of MormonScholarsTestify.org.
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