THE TRILEMMA OF C.S. LEWIS:
C.S. LEWIS, more famous for his children's books in the Chronicles of Narnia ( Prince Caspian, The Witch, the Lion and the Wardrobe, etc )was an atheist who became a Christian, born in Ireland but of English stock not Irish ( the group known as the Anglo-Irish, like George Bernard Shaw, Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels ) and Oscar Wilde ( Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, The Portrait of Dorion Gray )).
He spoke of 3 POSSIBILITIES regarding Jesus, as he appears in the Gospels. And there are good reasons for accepting their reliabilty regarding him, based of various criteria like the CRITERION of EMBARASSMENT, that of MULTIPLE ATTESTATION, etc.
He could be either a LUNATIC: sincere and who believed himself God and Messiah. Or LIAR: an impostor, or really LORD. He also considered the possibility of LEGEND, but rejected it due to the gospels being reliable.
THE RESURRECTION AS LEGEND
That is the idea held by ROBERT PRICE and HECTOR AVALOS, both ex-Christians. In GENERAL, but only in general, it takes at least 2 GENERATIONS or 50-60 years for a legend regarding a historical figure to appear. Now the gospel of MARK even by the LATEST dating ( 75 AD ) appears before the passage of 2 generations, and there we have a resurrection. Also the CREED in 1 COR 15 appeared less than 5 YEARS after Jesus' death. And the idea of that creed being that early is a conclusion of the LIBERAL NT scholars, as Gary Habermas said a debate, and accepted by them, including the JESUS SEMINAR, the most liberal of all.
So we have an EXCEPTION to the rule, the legend of the resurrection appearing very early.
OTHER CASE STUDIES OF EXCEPTIONS TO THE GENERAL RULE
SABBATAI ZEVI ( or Sevi, Zvi ) ( 1626-1676 ): he was a Jew born in Smyrna, Turkey and he proclaimed himself the MESSIAH. He was accepted as such by great numbers. Right away stories by his followers appeared that he was doing MIRACLES: walking on fire without being burned, resurrecting the dead, that a fiery cloud had appeared over him, a voice from heaven was heard when he was around.
CHARLES MANSON ( born 1934 ): he was a famous murderer, having kidnapped and killed in 1969 the famous American actress ( then pregnant ) SHARON TATE, wife of the famous movie director from Poland ROMAN POLANSKI ( creator of the PIANIST ). Stories that he had done miracles appeared during his lifetime.
THE RASTAFARI RELIGION: begun in the 1930's in Jamaica they believe that the EMPEROR of ETHIOPIA HAILE SELASSIE ( 1892-1975 ) was none other than GOD INCARNATE. Notice that the LEGEND of the DIVINITY of Haile Selassie emerged during the LIFETIME of Haile Selassie, it did not take 50-60 years after his death. They number from 1-2 million followers.
In 1975 Haile Selassie was overthrown and later died in prison, from the evidence it seems he was assasinated. But most Rastafari REFUSED to believe it, since he was God incarnate, and said the body was of another man.
THE DRUZE MOVEMENT: it was founded in 1021 by 2 men, HAMZA and a vizir of the Sultan called DARAZI. They believed that HAKIM, the SULTAN of Egypt ( ruled 996-1021 ), was nothing less than GOD INCARNATE. They number from 500,000 to 1 million followers. Notice it did not take 50-60 years for the LEGEND of Hakim being God to appear.
Hakim was a man who was mentally unstable, decreeing strange and bizarre laws, persecuting the Christians and even destroying the Church of the HOLY SEPULCHER ( where the tomb of Jesus had been ) in Jerusalem in 1009. One night he went out on a walk outside of Cairo and simply DISAPPEARED, they never found his body. It was then that Hazam and Daziri, his followers, founded the Druze movement.
THE REASON WHY THE JESUS MOVEMENT DIFFERS FROM THOSE EXAMPLES:
It each case cited it was the BELIEVERS who actually believed and proclaimed the extraordinary claims and ONLY the BELIEVERS. It was the BELIEVERS of SABBATAI ZEVI who accepted the miracle stories and his messiahship, NOT the skeptics, the UNBELIEVERS. The same for the BELIEVERS of what DAZARI and HAZAM said, that SULTAN HAKIM was God incarnate, not the SKEPTICS. The same for the Rastafarians believers who believed Haile Selassie was God, not the skeptics.
We know of no case where HARD-CORE skeptics ( like JAMES and the other brothers of Jesus )and outright ENEMIES ( like PAUL ) in the case of Zevi, the Rastafarians, the Hakim story, or Charles Manson BECAME BELIEVERS. In fact James and Paul became, along with Peter, the 3 top leaders of the Jesus movement.
MATHEMATICAL PROBABITIY THAT IT WAS MORE PROBABLE THAT BARKOCHBA'S FOLLOWERS WOULD HAVE COME TO BELIEVE IN A RESURRECTION OF THEIR MESSIAH
He was a man who led a revolt in 132-135 AD and accomplished more in fulfilling the traditional Messianic expectations than Jesus: he freed Palestine from Roman rule for a while, captured Jerusalem and, according to the Talmud, was even hailed by AKIBA, the greatest Jewish teacher of his time, as the Messiah. It was more mathematically probable that after his death his admirers would have proclaimed his resurrection, but they did not.