An argument often used to deny the assertion by Christians that Jesus died and rose again proposes the Gospels were written over one hundred years after Jesus’ ministry – with no one alive from the time of Jesus to refute them, the Gospel claims were believed as fact.
The historical record, however, does not support this argument.
Many scholars date the first three Gospels as having been written during the 50s and 60s AD, less than a generation after Jesus’ ministry. This makes the case for their historical accuracy incredibly strong because the closer a document is to the actual events it describes, the more likely it is to be recording factual events.
But the claims about Jesus can be pushed further back than the Gospels.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:3 that his information about the Good News was something he had “received.” Interestingly, this word referred to a tradition or creed – an oral statement of belief about Jesus.
Based on the New Testament record about Paul, he received this creed from the Apostles between 1-6 years after Jesus’ death on the cross, which had occurred either 30AD or 33AD.
This creed was in circulation among the early Christians before it was passed on to Paul, leading the historian James G. Dunn to conclude “we can be entirely confident (this creed) was formulated within months of Jesus’ death.”
In short, the belief that Jesus died and rose from the dead is not based upon some myth concocted by Christians over one hundred years after Jesus, but upon the testimony of people who saw with their own eyes that “Christ died and rose just as the Scriptures said.”
Source for the above: In Defense of Jesus by Lee Strobel