The last test used by scholars is the External Evidence Test. Are references to historic events verifiable by outside sources? Despite numerous claims of factual errors through the years, time and time again these allegations have been disproved. Extra-biblical written records and archaeological discoveries have demonstrated the reliability of details.
The next post will discuss the non-biblical sources, such as Josephus, Suetonius, etc. In addition, archaeology has shown the New Testament to be accurate in its historical facts. Archaeological Randall Price states that Luke never made a mistake in citing 32 countries, 54 cities, 9 islands, and several rulers. See Randall Price, The Stones Cry Out: What Archaeology Reveals About the Truth of the Bible. Harvest House, 1997.
Here are a few examples which are relevant to the crucifixion and resurrection:
The ossuary, or stone burial box, of the High Priest Caiaphas, who presided over the trial of Jesus, was discovered and is now displayed in the Israel Museum.
Another ossuary contained the remains of a crucified man, showing that nails had been driven through his lower forearms and both heels. One bent nail was still lodged in a heel.
An inscription at Caesarea Maritima, proves the existence of Pontius Pilate who was Prefect of Judea from AD 26 to 36 and ordered the execution of Jesus, and also mentions the reign of Emperor Tiberius, during which Jesus was crucified.
The location of Jesus’ tomb is not known with certainty. For many years, Protestants favored the “Garden Tomb”, originally identified by General Gordon in 1885, as His burial place. However, this tomb dates from Iron Age II and thus is centuries too early. Actually, the best archaeological and early Christian literary evidence points to the traditional location at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which was indeed a burial place in the first century.
Many more finds relate to the birth of Jesus, his early life and ministry, and the events of the lives of the Apostles. For more information, go to these websites:
Associates for Biblical Research www.biblearchaeology.org
World of the Bible http://www.worldofthebible.com/resources.htm