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Why did Christianity begin, and why did it take the shape it did? To answer this question – which any historian must face – renowned New Testament scholar N.T. Wright focuses on the key points: what precisely happened at Easter? What did the early Christians mean when they said that Jesus of Nazareth had been raised from the dead? What can be said today about his belief? T Why did Christianity begin, and why did it take the shape it did? To answer this question – which any historian must face – renowned New Testament scholar N.T. Wright focuses on the key points: what precisely happened at Easter? What did the early Christians mean when they said that Jesus of Nazareth had been raised from the dead? What can be said today about his belief? This book, third in Wright’s series Christian Origins and the Question of God, sketches a map of ancient beliefs about life after death, in both the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds. It then highlights the fact that the early Christians’ belief about the afterlife belonged firmly on the Jewish spectrum, while introducing several new mutations and sharper definitions. This, together with other features of early Christianity, forces the historian to read the Easter narratives in the gospels, not simply as late rationalizations of early Christian spirituality, but as accounts of two actual events: the empty tomb of Jesus and his "appearances." How do we explain these phenomena? The early Christians’ answer was that Jesus had indeed been bodily raised from the dead; that was why they hailed him as the messianic "son of God." No modern historian has come up with a more convincing explanation. Facing this question, we are confronted to this day with the most central issues of the Christian worldview and theology.


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Why did Christianity begin, and why did it take the shape it did? To answer this question – which any historian must face – renowned New Testament scholar N.T. Wright focuses on the key points: what precisely happened at Easter? What did the early Christians mean when they said that Jesus of Nazareth had been raised from the dead? What can be said today about his belief? T Why did Christianity begin, and why did it take the shape it did? To answer this question – which any historian must face – renowned New Testament scholar N.T. Wright focuses on the key points: what precisely happened at Easter? What did the early Christians mean when they said that Jesus of Nazareth had been raised from the dead? What can be said today about his belief? This book, third in Wright’s series Christian Origins and the Question of God, sketches a map of ancient beliefs about life after death, in both the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds. It then highlights the fact that the early Christians’ belief about the afterlife belonged firmly on the Jewish spectrum, while introducing several new mutations and sharper definitions. This, together with other features of early Christianity, forces the historian to read the Easter narratives in the gospels, not simply as late rationalizations of early Christian spirituality, but as accounts of two actual events: the empty tomb of Jesus and his "appearances." How do we explain these phenomena? The early Christians’ answer was that Jesus had indeed been bodily raised from the dead; that was why they hailed him as the messianic "son of God." No modern historian has come up with a more convincing explanation. Facing this question, we are confronted to this day with the most central issues of the Christian worldview and theology.

30 review for The Resurrection of the Son of God

  1. 5 out of 5

    Genni

    The Resurrection of the Son of God is the scholarship behind Surprised by Hope, and well worth the time it takes to read. In some ways, I am the perfect audience for Wright's work. I grew up under pretty ambiguous teachings on the resurrection. Sure, Jesus rose from the dead, but emphasis was always on the “end times”. I haven't found every answer in Wright's exposition, but I have found ground to stand on, and for that, I am grateful for his work. Resurrection is highly organized. It is written The Resurrection of the Son of God is the scholarship behind Surprised by Hope, and well worth the time it takes to read. In some ways, I am the perfect audience for Wright's work. I grew up under pretty ambiguous teachings on the resurrection. Sure, Jesus rose from the dead, but emphasis was always on the “end times”. I haven't found every answer in Wright's exposition, but I have found ground to stand on, and for that, I am grateful for his work. Resurrection is highly organized. It is written in outline form and is to the point. This is a bit of a relief after reading SBH. While I appreciate what he had to say there, his conversational style is a bit meandering and frustrating. This one is not so. The work begins with an overview of the ancient world and beliefs about the dead. This serves two purposes; it provides much needed context, and also addresses objections to the uniqueness of the Christian event. Only recently I was discussing the resurrection with someone and they quickly said, “But, gods in the ancient world rose from the dead all the time. There is nothing new in Jesus's story.” This simply isn't so. There isn't a single story of a god rising PHYSICALLY from the dead. People in the ancient world knew what we know now: dead people do not rise again. From here he moves to Paul's writings, which may be surprising if you are expecting chronological story-telling, but Wright is interested in the early believers reaction to what happened. And something did happen that caused Scripture-following Jews to completely reorganize themselves around one event, an event they were not expecting. In the OT we find a spectrum of beliefs about the dead and the future, but the emphasis is mostly on Israel and promises to her that concern her life here on earth. Why did a sect of Jews “suddenly” form a “precise, confident, and articulate faith in which resurrection has moved from the circumference to the centre.”? Not only that, but what exactly does Paul say about the resurrection? What Wright shows Paul to say is nothing like what I was taught. We hear much about “going to heaven”, but if our “souls” go to heaven and the earth (along with our bodies) is destroyed in an apocalyptic, eschatological event, then has not death won? Is that not some sort of compromise where death got our bodies and the earth while our souls were saved and possibly endowed with some other body? What we do see in Paul is a hope in a future resurrection of all believers, a bodily resurrection of which Jesus's is the first fruit, or the sign post. It is a future where death is completely abolished. It does not win anything, not even the earth. Everything we do here is not in vain. After Paul he moves on the gospel accounts, addressing objections and problems within the gospels. In all of this, he is very straightforward. He never seeks to “prove” that the resurrection happened. He only follows the historical argument, showing that Jesus's bodily resurrection is the only thing that makes the phenomenon of the birth of Christianity make sense. All other proposals fail. He closes with the meaning of the resurrection, what it meant politically then and what it means now. I could not help but think of this book as if it were in musical form, with Part I of the ancients functioning as a prelude, the Paul segments working as section A, the gospel segment working as B, and the semantical focus at the end as a move back to A since that is the focus of Paul's letters. Anyway, I think this work is important for clearing away some of the confusion surrounding the resurrection and what it means for the kingdom of God and our work here on earth.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Greg Watson

    The best book available on the topic. Wright covers the topic exhaustively. It's not a quick read, but it's well worth the time investment. The best book available on the topic. Wright covers the topic exhaustively. It's not a quick read, but it's well worth the time investment.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Manns

    Excellent book. 5 stars worth of historical information on the resurrection, 5 stars for making a case for Jesus being the Son of God, 3 stars for length (could have made his argument in half the number of pages), and 3 stars for confusing wording at times. Overall 4 stars and I would recommend this to anyone looking at examining the truth behind the resurrection of Jesus. Ok so here is my review on this excellent book. As I said initially I thought Wright could have made his case in half the nu Excellent book. 5 stars worth of historical information on the resurrection, 5 stars for making a case for Jesus being the Son of God, 3 stars for length (could have made his argument in half the number of pages), and 3 stars for confusing wording at times. Overall 4 stars and I would recommend this to anyone looking at examining the truth behind the resurrection of Jesus. Ok so here is my review on this excellent book. As I said initially I thought Wright could have made his case in half the number of pages but at the same time no one can charge him with not being thorough in his research and documentation of the historical views regarding the resurrection. In reality Wright only takes about 200 pages or so to make his case for why Jesus resurrection is the best explanation for what really happened on that Easter morning. The other 500 pages are devoted to examining the various resurrection beliefs across time and culture. We begin by looking at beliefs regarding life after death in paganism, then contrast it with Paul’s view on the resurrection in his New Testament letters first by looking in-depth at the 7 books we know Paul wrote, and then briefly going over the ones that are debatable and may have a different author, but Wright’s point is to show that regardless of the author the early Christian view of the resurrection as both a bodily event and the core of the Christian faith are consistent throughout. Then we go on to examine early Christian writings and beliefs apart from Paul himself. Again Wright’s point here is to show that despite all the various writers we still get a consistent picture of what believing in Christ’s resurrection meant. Wright demonstrates that despite the similarities in a “god” belief, or a “life after death” belief Christ’s resurrection is completely unique to Christianity and also completely unexpected as in it is not what pagans would expect to happen, and it was certainly not what the Jews were expecting based on their understanding of what the role of the Messiah was to be. In fact the Jews were split on whether or not resurrection happened at all (with Pharisees believing there would be one, and Sadducees believing that after death there would be no resurrection ever). The fact that the early Christian belief on resurrection and Messiah took the form it did and spread as quickly as it did in such a strong Jewish and pagan society was because something radical must have happened. The history that Wright covers is very in-depth in these first 500+ pages and I would recommend it only to those actually interested in the history of life after death beliefs. The next 200 are the real meat of the argument and to anyone who only wants to see why Wright believes Jesus was resurrected and the Messiah should read from page 585-740. Here Wright focuses on the Gospel Easter narratives and looks in detail at some of the misconceptions historians have about them and how they all taken together paint a clear picture of what happened. Each author having a different personality, he argues, tends to focus on different events and issues and what to put emphasis on (like how many women went to the tomb and who they were, or how many men/angels were in/at the tomb to tell that Jesus was no longer there etc.). Wright reminds us that in studying ancient history a single source needs to be evaluated on its own merits, not (as often happens in gospel critcism by skeptics) dismissed because it lacks corroborating parallels. He also looks at The Gospel of Peter and dispels the notion put forward by historian J.D. Crossan that this book pre-dates the others and is what originally was made up and influenced that author of Mark. This theory can be found today in some Biblical historian circles but it is held only by a very small minority. Finally, Wright hinges the basis of his case on two historical facts. One, that the tomb was found empty and two, that Jesus appearances happened to followers, skeptics, and complete unbelievers. He makes a case for how either the empty tomb itself or the appearances by themselves would not be enough to start the unique fast growing belief that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. The empty tomb by itself would be interesting and a mystery but since the disciples were not expecting a resurrection and since grave robbery was common would have done nothing more than to convince them someone must have stolen the body. The appearances themselves without the empty tomb (and therefore a missing body) would have not been unlike many pagan beliefs that spirits can live on after death and make visitations and thus this event would not be considered unique. Plus, claims that Jesus visited them would be just that, visits, as Jewish leaders and skeptics could produce a body and say, “Yes, he appeared to you as a spirit but we still have his body and it is in fact still dead.” Obviously Wright goes in to way more depth about both the empty tomb and the appearances than I did in my one paragraph on them and I would definitely recommend reading these last 200 pages and examining them. While only approximately 75% of Biblical scholars believe the empty tomb is a historical fact Wright does an excellent job of arguing that we can take this as a fact with near 100% certainty. He states that both the empty tomb and appearances, while by themselves are insufficient, together they become not only a sufficient explanation for what happened but also a necessary one. I honestly could write a lot more on both these two historical facts but I don’t think I could argue it as clearly and in-depth as Wright does without just straight up typing out the section of his marathon read. So take my review for what it’s worth I was planning on writing more and using quotes that I thought were excellent but I think my review is long enough now anyway. So like I said 4 stars because I really liked it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    John

    I picked this book because I was looking for the most robust, academic case I could find about the resurrection of Jesus written by someone who believed it to be true. In general, I was impressed by the depth and thought he put into this book. He definitely takes the long road - you don't get to the gospel accounts of the resurrection until almost the end. A central theme was the need to understand the second-temple Jewish context in order to see and hear the events and words in the same way the I picked this book because I was looking for the most robust, academic case I could find about the resurrection of Jesus written by someone who believed it to be true. In general, I was impressed by the depth and thought he put into this book. He definitely takes the long road - you don't get to the gospel accounts of the resurrection until almost the end. A central theme was the need to understand the second-temple Jewish context in order to see and hear the events and words in the same way they were seen and heard when they happened. As such, he starts with a detailed discussion of different views about the afterlife that prevailed at the time, including both the dominant Greek ideas as contrasted by Homer and Plato, as well as the different Jewish views. This involves an examination of a broad swath of ancient literature and philosophies. He then traces the idea of resurrection through the different sections of the Old Testament and attempts to form a thesis for how the idea emerged. He follows this with an examination of some extra-cannonical books, then the canonical New Testament (excluding the gospel accounts), then other early Christian writings through the Nag Hammadi texts. His core point in all of this is to show that there were plenty of words available to describe different ideas about the afterlife, but the word resurrection was specifically used to describe a bodily life after life after death. People die, there is an intermediate state, then they will be bodily raised in the future. The details on the intermediate state are admittedly the least clearly defined. He did address the idea that resurrection is sometime also used metaphorically, but I didn't really understand his argument. Up to this point, he is trying to show both the variety of views about the afterlife that existed, and then the surprising emergence of a new understanding of the concept of resurrection among the early Christians. They now believed that someone (Jesus) had already been resurrected, effectively splitting the resurrection into stages - Jesus first ushering in a new era and his followers later in the future resurrection. The question a historian must answer is, How did this new understanding of the word come into existence. The early Christians were unanimous in their answer: They believed this because Jesus had been bodily raised from the dead. There was an empty tomb and meetings afterwards. He then reviews each gospel account, noting their differences and similarities. His conclusion is that they don't bear the signs of trying to write late-stage theology back into the accounts. Rather, there are signs that they still were not sure what to make of some of it. He coins the term transphysical to describe the resurrected body. Jesus is recognizable as Jesus, but there is something different about him and he has new unexplained abilities. The last sections move more quickly. He looks at alternative theories which he refutes. Then he makes the case for the empty tomb and meetings being both necessary and sufficient for the emergence of the Christian belief. And finally he examine what it meant. To the early Christians, the resurrection wasn't just an incredibly freakish event. It meant the Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God. He explores the different meanings of that phrase including that he was confirmed as Messiah, the Lord with all authority (if he has conquered death then what is Ceasar?), and finally that he was divine. He spends a little time on each meaning, but I wish he would have spent more time here at the expense of some of the earlier ground work. He concludes by admitting that this is not a question that lends itself to the certainty of a mathematical proof. We know the beliefs that emerged and he argues that the bodily resurrection of Jesus as evidenced by the empty tomb and appearances explains the emergence of those beliefs better than the alternative theories. I just summarized a 740 page text in a few paragraphs so there is a huge amount of detail on every point, plus more detail of points I didn't even mention. It would be easy for someone to say he is biased and of course he is, but I was generally impressed that he tried not to push the evidence farther than it would go and that he allowed me to consider a lot of counterpoints. Overall, I learned so much from this book that it is an easy five stars. This book is far too detailed for the casual reader, but if you have a deep interest in understanding how Christianity came into existence, I would recommend it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jana Light

    Oof. This is a BOOK. Wright is thorough and detailed in a way that my brain cannot always keep up with, but in a way that makes it very clear both that the early Christians believed Jesus rose from the dead and that resurrection (of Jesus and eventually of all believers) is central to early Christian faith. I was relieved Wright never set out to *prove* Jesus rose from the dead. Instead, he set out to demonstrate that belief in the resurrection was the foundation of Christian faith, in a way tha Oof. This is a BOOK. Wright is thorough and detailed in a way that my brain cannot always keep up with, but in a way that makes it very clear both that the early Christians believed Jesus rose from the dead and that resurrection (of Jesus and eventually of all believers) is central to early Christian faith. I was relieved Wright never set out to *prove* Jesus rose from the dead. Instead, he set out to demonstrate that belief in the resurrection was the foundation of Christian faith, in a way that set it apart from other religions in its history and of its day. Of course, in setting out to demonstrate this he (indirectly?) argues that Jesus actually *did* resurrect, but he never assumes that can be proven. I appreciated Wright's restraint and rationality there. Me being me, I certainly have some minor quibbles about how Wright interpreted some texts and how he said some phrases imply things I'm not entirely convinced we should argue they imply, but those moments were so few and far between that they, to me, only show Wright's enthusiasm and conviction, rather than do anything to weaken his overall argument. This is a truly excellent book for anyone interested in the resurrection or anyone who is struggling (like me) with the "aberration from physical laws" that resurrection entails. There is historical peace of mind here, in a way. Or historical challenge. Either side you land on regarding what happened at the end of Jesus' life, this is a powerful book to read and consider.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    I've read so many N.T. Wright books by now it has become pretty easy to know which beats he is going to hit, like the beats of your favorite song when it comes on the radio. After a while, it can be difficult not to become jaded and think that they cannot do anything that would surprise you. In the case of this book, I couldn't be more happy to be wrong! In this volume, N.T. Wright takes the single, most important event in Christianity (indeed, in world history), the resurrection of Jesus Christ I've read so many N.T. Wright books by now it has become pretty easy to know which beats he is going to hit, like the beats of your favorite song when it comes on the radio. After a while, it can be difficult not to become jaded and think that they cannot do anything that would surprise you. In the case of this book, I couldn't be more happy to be wrong! In this volume, N.T. Wright takes the single, most important event in Christianity (indeed, in world history), the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and puts it under a theological and historical microscope. He examines it from several different angles, from the view of the pagans of the Greco-Roman world, the Jewish world, even examining the writings of the second century A.D. Church Fathers, and comes to one conclusion: that the only explanation for how early Christianity grew so quickly, why it took the form that it did, and why did it carry over into the second century A.D. in relatively the same form is that the the first disciples of Jesus Christ believed that he had been raised bodily from the dead and that they had seen him after his resurrection. The word bodily must be emphasized here, as N.T. Wright points out that Christianity could have formed in the way that it did if it was some sort of spiritual resurrection or some kind of near-death resurrection, as many critics or more liberal biblical scholars have claimed. In approximately 740 pages, Mr. Wright makes an exhaustive case for believing that the Resurrection was an historical event that should be taken seriously both for the historian and for the modern Western Christian, who may have forgotten that Christ's promise of resurrection is a promise of bodily resurrection into the new creation as foretold in Revelations and the prophets, not some spiritual eternity in heaven, which takes much from the pagan beliefs of Greek philosophers like Plato rather than from actual Christian doctrine. In the past, I've had trouble recommending scholarly works on here for people who do not have a narrow interest in the subject. However, even though this book may be a true challenge for any reading level, I cannot recommend this book more highly to everyone who is interested in Christianity and Christian beliefs. This book ha made me reexamine my own faith and beliefs as well as my thoughts on the importance of Jesus Christ's resurrection and I believe it will make you do the same. I'm excited to read Mr. Wright's next book in the series, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, but I'm going to wait until the summer when I will have more time to tackle that 1,700 page behemoth.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chauncey Lattimer

    Wow!, again. This was one of the best Christmas presents I have received from my wife. (Especially since I had to go buy and read NTPG and JVG before starting this book. Wright brought home to me once again the absolute necessity of understanding the 2nd Temple mindset. In that frame of reference, resurrection can ONLY mean getting a new body.. not 'life after death', but life after life-after-death! Of particular interest was his development of the sufficient and necessary causes in relationship Wow!, again. This was one of the best Christmas presents I have received from my wife. (Especially since I had to go buy and read NTPG and JVG before starting this book. Wright brought home to me once again the absolute necessity of understanding the 2nd Temple mindset. In that frame of reference, resurrection can ONLY mean getting a new body.. not 'life after death', but life after life-after-death! Of particular interest was his development of the sufficient and necessary causes in relationship to the empty tomb and the post-resurrection meetings. Further, it was significant to me how he developed that the appearances were not just to believers (i.e., the fulfillment of misplaced hopes), but to those who could not be considered followers during Jesus life - Paul and James. As a student of history, the historical approach - both in terms of the survey as well as the 'historical proof' - was the icing on the cake. My appreciation for N.T. Wright grows with each work that I read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Richey

    Excellent read; deserves a fuller review later (will try to get to it).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nate Claiborne

    I posted an extensive review series on this book (and Jesus and The Victory of God) on my blog I posted an extensive review series on this book (and Jesus and The Victory of God) on my blog

  10. 5 out of 5

    Neil Kruger

    4.5 Stars Immense! Resurrection does not make a covenant with death, it overthrows it. A thorough analysis of (bodily) resurrection through the lens of worldviews, history and, most importantly, texts with an eye towards theological implications. Wright has done us all a great service with a fantastic exploration on how new life has broken into the present age.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Caleb Cochran

    Maybe N.T. Wright’s most important work

  12. 4 out of 5

    Graham

    An incredibly important work surveying the biblical and historical roots of the Church's faith in the risen Jesus. Wright works through the Old Testament and Second Temple sources speaking to the ideas of reusrrection of the dead, and contrasting this with the pagan notions of existence after death. He then unpacks how the earlier Christian confessions presented a shift, and how they retained parts of the Pharisaic understanding of resurrection. The methodology and history of interpretation secti An incredibly important work surveying the biblical and historical roots of the Church's faith in the risen Jesus. Wright works through the Old Testament and Second Temple sources speaking to the ideas of reusrrection of the dead, and contrasting this with the pagan notions of existence after death. He then unpacks how the earlier Christian confessions presented a shift, and how they retained parts of the Pharisaic understanding of resurrection. The methodology and history of interpretation sections are a bit dry, but also helpful. But overall, Wright's conclusions are, I think, spot on- that the resurrection of Jesus was both the centre piece of the confession of the early Church, and the motivating force which made the survival and growth of the Jesus movement possible; that is, the early Christians were resurrection focused people. I would highly recommend this book to seminarians, pastors, scholars who are looking for a robust and biblical-historical presentation of the resurrection specifically and the Gospel message of the early Christians more generally.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Piers Young

    In a league of its own, marvellous.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    Woop woop! After four whole months I have finally finished this book. Like with the previous books in this series, N.T. Wright is quite good at presenting a few main points, and then returning to them consistently, with the net result being that even when some of the arguments get into the nitty gritty, or when Wright decides to spend a few pages going off on a particular thinker or camp of thinkers, the reader is always reminded of the main point he's arguing for. This is particularly true in th Woop woop! After four whole months I have finally finished this book. Like with the previous books in this series, N.T. Wright is quite good at presenting a few main points, and then returning to them consistently, with the net result being that even when some of the arguments get into the nitty gritty, or when Wright decides to spend a few pages going off on a particular thinker or camp of thinkers, the reader is always reminded of the main point he's arguing for. This is particularly true in this book. Wright tells you what he's going to argue for up front- that in the first century, the concept of resurrection always referred to bodily resurrection, whether you believed it could actually happen or not. Then in the subsequent chapters he surveys pagan, Jewish, and Christian texts and points out over and over and over and over again their usage of "resurrection" as referring to the resurrection of the body. Only in the gnostic documents, Wright argues, do we start seeing the usage of resurrection to refer to an internal spiritual experience. The pace is methodical, predictable, and sometimes painstaking, but because of this thoroughness the case is strong. My favorite part of the book is probably Wright's close exegesis of Paul's most important texts on the resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15 and 2 Corinthians 3-4. Reading these sections while following along with my bible open next to the book was a joy. Though this book is long, there are many ideas in it that are practically helpful for the church. If Wright is correct about the meaning of resurrection among the first century church, then the church today needs to seriously reevaluate its vocabulary and theology with regards to "going to heaven" and the eternal hope of the Christian. We need to correct our imagination about what it means to be "saved," and what will happen after we die. In addition, this book helpfully reminds us that, contrary to an arrogant view of history that views ancient societies as primitive in every way and therefore susceptible to believing such absurd things as someone being raised from the dead, people of all times knew that humans do not come back when they die. Thus it is all the more surprising that people who never expected any sort of resurrection to happen, all of a sudden start proclaiming that Jesus was alive and had risen. One of the most interesting observations to me about the resurrection is how it kicked off a massive effort on the part of the early church to reinterpret the old testament. The new testament and early Christian literature are full of attempts to find Jesus' resurrection prefigured in scripture, often in ways we as post-enlightenment interpreters would sneer at. But this itself indicates how the early Christians viewed the resurrection- as a fulfillment of the promises and tradition of Israel, but transformative in such a way as to warrant scriptural reinterpretation. The implications for biblical interpretation today are quite interesting. Finally, I will say that this book was also personally helpful for me as I mourned the loss of a friend who passed away tragically as I was in the middle of reading this book. To be honest, this book both comforted me and somehow made me feel driven to press on. The belief in bodily resurrection that Wright argues for gives me a concrete referent for my future hope, as opposed to an idea of an abstract other-worldly eternal state which is completely discontinuous from our current experience. I am hopeful for a future reunion where I will see my friend recognizably as he was, and indeed more than he was. Now, onwards to read Paul and the Faithfulness of God for the rest of my life :)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ethan

    The third volume of Wright's magisterial series on Christian Origins and the Question of God, originally designed to be the end of the second volume, but for understandable reasons became a volume in and of itself. Wright set out to comprehensively make a historical case for not only the possibility, but the plausibility, of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead as established in the New Testament. This large work proves necessary on account of all of the confusion, distortion, and misunderstan The third volume of Wright's magisterial series on Christian Origins and the Question of God, originally designed to be the end of the second volume, but for understandable reasons became a volume in and of itself. Wright set out to comprehensively make a historical case for not only the possibility, but the plausibility, of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead as established in the New Testament. This large work proves necessary on account of all of the confusion, distortion, and misunderstandings which circulate about the whole concept of resurrection and how it relates to Jesus. Wright begins with an exploration of what the word "resurrection" meant in Greco-Roman and Second Temple Jewish literature of the era, and does well at showing that everyone understood anastasis as involving the bringing back to (physical) life of the dead; this was agreed upon even when people did not think it was a good idea. He explores the philosophical premises of the Greeks and Jewish people of the day to provide a theoretical framework for understanding views on the afterlife and how resurrection would or would not fit into them, and exactly what was understood by "resurrection." Having done this Wright then explores the use of resurrection as word and theme throughout the New Testament, beginning with Paul's letters except for portions of 1 Corinthians 15 and 2 Corinthians 4, then returning to those sections, and then the rest of the NT letters. He then turns to early Christian literature until the point at which "resurrection" begins taking on a more purely "spiritual" meaning. Throughout he shows how consistently resurrection is seen as "life after life after death", assumed to involve the physical body, and was proclaimed as such from the beginning. He then returns back to the Gospel accounts, and then makes his conclusions regarding the right historical prism through which to look at these matters, their plausibility in light of all the considered evidence, and what Jesus' resurrection demands out of the faith of Christians. Yes, it's a massive work, but that's only because of how thoroughly warped and distorted modern thinking has become regarding the concept of resurrection and its meaning. Extremely recommended for all Christians.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    In the future, if I have any questions regarding the resurrection—Jewish or Greek beliefs about it, how the OT and NT speak of it, the apologetic arguments for/against it—I will likely turn first to this book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Wade Bearden

    The best book I’ve read on the resurrection.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shane Hill

    Wright is never an easy read as he writes in great detail to make his point....but once you get there, it can be very rewarding......

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ray Clendenen

    Hard to say anything about this book without using such terms as classic, monumental, tour de force, and coup de grace. It takes the issue in its teeth and won’t let go until the issue is dealt with and lies still in the grass.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    An incredibly well-researched book organized into a frustrating and often obscure argument structure.

  21. 5 out of 5

    David

    This was a phenomenal though quite lengthy and dense book. N.T. Wright is one of the foremost New Testament scholars of our time and I believe this book is something of a "rite of passage" for those curious of the historical case for the resurrection of Jesus. This comprehensive work is referred to by many other Christian apologists which is why I picked it up. To try to summarize this book seems unwise. However, I can summarize some points as they stuck out from my perspective: 1. Beliefs on deat This was a phenomenal though quite lengthy and dense book. N.T. Wright is one of the foremost New Testament scholars of our time and I believe this book is something of a "rite of passage" for those curious of the historical case for the resurrection of Jesus. This comprehensive work is referred to by many other Christian apologists which is why I picked it up. To try to summarize this book seems unwise. However, I can summarize some points as they stuck out from my perspective: 1. Beliefs on death at the time of Jesus. Greco-Roman / Hellenistic belief on death was essentially what was espoused by Homer and Philo. Which was that at death your spirit passes to the underworld from which you never come back physically (sometimes you can come back to communicate with the living but never as a physical entity only as a spirit). Or if you were lucky, as in the case of Hercules etc, you could be promoted to a god. No exceptions are found of note (though Wright does quickly deal with the perceived exceptions). In Judaism, at the time, there was a wide diversity of belief on resurrection. The Sadduccees believed that it would never happen. The Pharisees believed that there would be a resurrection for those loyal to God. With a wide range of beliefs in between. 2. Beliefs on the Messiah in Judaism. Though there were differing ways on how the Jews believed it would happen, the Messiah was supposed to deliver Israel from the pagans, rebuild/cleanse the Temple, and bring God-given justice and peace to the whole world (pg. 557). No one believed that the Messiah would die humiliatingly at the hands of the pagans, to warn of the Temple's imminent destruction, and to die an unjust death. 3. Christianity's consistent and unexpected resurrection message. Out of this backdrop comes the Christian message on the resurrection of the Messiah. Wright painstakingly covers the writings of Paul, the gospel writers, the apostolic fathers, early apologists and early theologians to show that they all give a clear and consistent resurrection message. This message was that Jesus was bodily raised from the dead leaving an empty tomb and that He bodily appeared to a number of His followers. Because of this resurrection we have entered into a 'new age' where Israel is no longer the "torchbearer" so to speak and that there is hope for humanity to participate in resurrection. This message, however, is totally unexpected given the backdrop. No one expected the Messiah to die a humiliating death at the hands of the Romans. Judaism already had a plethora of beliefs on resurrection and the pagans denied it. What historically plausible scenario other than an actual empty tomb and subsequent appearances account for this clear, consistent, and totally unexpected message? 4. Absence of other plausible theories. Wright briefly deals with a few rival theories to explain this historical problem - the 'Cognitive Dissonance' theory and the 'New Grace Experience' theory. Both of which Wright concludes seem to either ignore the primary evidence or make logically inconsistent comparisons. Without a credible rival theory to explain the historical problem, the message of the early church seems to stand firm. I am, of course, skipping quite a bit of content. Wright makes his own argument towards the end of the book, that the combination of the bodily appearances of Jesus and the empty tomb are both necessary and sufficient for the rise of early Christianity, which I found very interesting Also he speaks about the conflict between worldviews. Overall a great book. I would give it 5 stars except for the following: 1. I wish that Wright had spent more time covering other resurrection religions/legends. This is something that seems to be used by other historians to make the point that the resurrection story is just a later version of pre-existing and similar stories. Wright only briefly deals with this by saying that they are not comparable because they were not physical/bodily resurrections. True I suppose, but perhaps we could have a better breakdown of this with examples. 2. I think Wright could have made his point in about half the number of pages. He spent considerable time focusing on what the Christian message on resurrection was. I would have preferred he spent more time making his argument. Many people would not pick up this book because of it's daunting size. If you believe yourself to be familiar with the Christian doctrine on resurrection, I would recommend you only read pages 3-200 and skip to 533-736.

  22. 4 out of 5

    James Tetley

    What a monster of a book. Crucial reading on the resurrection.With a full 360 degree view of the Scriptures on the subject. Has opened my eyes to Jesus resurrection and the impact on us and our own futures in a way I had never seen before. That the bodily resurrection of Jesus is the forerunner of our own, and he's returning to inaugurate a renewed heaven and earth. My destiny is an embodied resurrected life in this new creation, not some disembodied life in the clouds!!! Implications let's get What a monster of a book. Crucial reading on the resurrection.With a full 360 degree view of the Scriptures on the subject. Has opened my eyes to Jesus resurrection and the impact on us and our own futures in a way I had never seen before. That the bodily resurrection of Jesus is the forerunner of our own, and he's returning to inaugurate a renewed heaven and earth. My destiny is an embodied resurrected life in this new creation, not some disembodied life in the clouds!!! Implications let's get on with building God's kingdom on earth until the day he comes back to renew it all. And let's get proclaiming the one true ruler of this world!! Half way through reading this book, I found this interview by Tim Keller on the book, which was encouraging and helpful, so append here. "When I was recovering from thyroid cancer, from the surgery, I actually had time on my hands, something I never have had in years and probably never will again unless I have something else like that. And so I read every word of N.T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God ¯all eight hundred pages, even the indices (laughs), because I didn’t have anything else to do. And it was kind of startling to me, because we do live in a less rational sort of anti-foundationalist approach, and he was just taking a nice old-fashioned approach: There’s no historically viable alternative explanation for the birth of the Christian Church than the fact that the early Christians thought they saw Jesus Christ and touched him and that he was raised from the dead. As I was reading it, I realized I was coming to greater certainty, and that when I closed the book, I said, at a time when it was very important to me to feel this way, I said, “He really really really didrise from the dead.” And I said, “Well, didn’t I believe that before?” Of course I believed it before¯I defended it, and I think before I certainly would have died for that belief. But actually, there were still doubts in there, and the doubts were taken down 50 percent or something. I didn’t even know they were there. And it was a wonderful experience It was both an intellectual and emotional experience: You’re facing death, you’re not sure you’re going to get over the cancer. And the rigorous intellectual process of going through all the alternative explanations for how the Christian Church started, except the resurrection¯none of them are even tenable. It was quite an experience.."

  23. 5 out of 5

    John

    Wright begins his work on the resurrection of Jesus Christ by reminding his readers that: "Proposing that Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead was just as controversial nineteen hundred years ago as it is today. The discovery that dead people stayed dead was not first made by the philosophers of the Enlightenment. The historian who wishes to make such a proposal is therefore compelled to challenge a basic and fundamental assumption—not only, as is sometimes suggested, the position of eighte Wright begins his work on the resurrection of Jesus Christ by reminding his readers that: "Proposing that Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead was just as controversial nineteen hundred years ago as it is today. The discovery that dead people stayed dead was not first made by the philosophers of the Enlightenment. The historian who wishes to make such a proposal is therefore compelled to challenge a basic and fundamental assumption—not only, as is sometimes suggested, the position of eighteenth-century scepticism, or of the ‘scientific worldview’ as opposed to a ‘pre-scientific worldview’, but also of almost all ancient and modern peoples outside the Jewish and Christian traditions." The book is an apologetic for the orthodox Christian understanding of the resurrection--arguing that the resurrection of Jesus was a bodily resurrection after having died and being buried. Only this explanation satisfies both what we know from the New Testament and the history of the early church. Wright first examines the ancient literature to establish what the ancients knew and believed about death--just like today, they knew it was final and inescapable. But most importantly, none had any belief in bodily resurrection that was in any way analogous to Christian teaching on Christ's resurrection. Wright then turns his attention to the Bible itself--beginning with the Old Testament, then the new, beginning with the Pauline epistles and then moving to the gospels. This is the bulk of the book--where Wright works through all the texts, and painstakingly builds a theology of resurrection. Wright's conclusion is really good, and I'll quote it at length, despite its length, because it is the heart of the book: "This[the resurrection] remains, of course, unprovable in logical or mathematical terms. The historian is never in a position to do what Pythagoras did: not content with drawing more and more right-angled triangles and demonstrating that the square on the hypotenuse always does in fact equal the sum of the squares on the other two sides, he constructed a theorem to prove that this must always be the case. With history it is not like that. Almost nothing is ever ruled out absolutely; history, after all, is mostly the study of the unusual and unrepeatable. What we are after is high probability; and this is to be attained by examining all the possibilities, all the suggestions, and asking how well they explain the phenomena. It is always possible that in discussing the resurrection someone will come up with the sceptical critic’s dream: an explanation which provides a sufficient condition for the rise of early Christian faith but which, by fitting into post-Enlightenment epistemological and ontological categories, or even simply mainstream pagan ones, causes no fluttering in the critical dovecotes. It is worthy of note that, despite the somewhat desperate attempts of many scholars over the last two hundred years (not to mention critics since at least Celsus), no such explanation has been found. The early Christians did not invent the empty tomb and the ‘meetings’ or ‘sightings’ of the risen Jesus in order to explain a faith they already had. They developed that faith because of the occurrence, and convergence, of these two phenomena. Nobody was expecting this kind of thing; no kind of conversion-experience would have generated such ideas; nobody would have invented it, no matter how guilty (or how forgiven) they felt, no matter how many hours they pored over the scriptures. To suggest otherwise is to stop doing history and to enter into a fantasy world of our own, a new cognitive dissonance in which the relentless modernist, desperately worried that the post-Enlightenment worldview seems in imminent danger of collapse, devises strategies for shoring it up nevertheless. In terms of the kind of proof which historians normally accept, the case we have presented, that the tomb-plus-appearances combination is what generated early Christian belief, is as watertight as one is likely to find." Of course, there's much more to Wright's argument and he has much more to say about a great many things, but in essence, that is his argument, and it is a good one.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bret James Stewart

    Introduction The Resurrection of the Son of God is a book for scholars and those interested in the historical concept of resurrection and as specifically applied to Jesus Christ. The author seeks to explain how the term ‘resurrection’ was used and understood by both pagans (non-Jews and non-Christians in this context) and Jews. With this established, Wright seeks to demonstrate how the early Christians both reaffirmed the view held by the majority of Jews and added new levels of meaning to the w Introduction The Resurrection of the Son of God is a book for scholars and those interested in the historical concept of resurrection and as specifically applied to Jesus Christ. The author seeks to explain how the term ‘resurrection’ was used and understood by both pagans (non-Jews and non-Christians in this context) and Jews. With this established, Wright seeks to demonstrate how the early Christians both reaffirmed the view held by the majority of Jews and added new levels of meaning to the word (xvii-xviii). Although the term and concept of resurrection can and has been used metaphorically (as in the case of Ezekiel 37 wherein it is used to designate the return of the Jews from the Babylonian exile), it is generally used to refer to a concrete future event in which the dead will rise to life in a “full and bodily sense” (xix). Front Matter: Preface As might be expected, the preface deals with the circumstances in which the book was created, the conversion and collection of various lectures over time to make the bulk of the text, and the people who were especially helpful at the conceptual level as well as in the technical process of creating the book (xv-xxi). The preface also includes the information in the Paper Introduction above which is not necessary to repeat here. Part I: Setting the Scene This part of the book begins and grapples with the idea of using history in conjunction with theology. Wright argues that the separation of the disciplines over the past two centuries represents a false dichotomy and that the historical record can and should be used in a theological context as with any other discipline. Although history alone cannot prove the resurrection, it provides strong support for this conclusion (5-6). The author then explores the view of life after death of the ancient Greek word in order to compare and especially to contrast it with the idea of bodily resurrection. Using the works of Homer and Greek philosophers, Wright is able to demonstrate that the biblical/Christian view of resurrection does not exist in this period and culture; rather, it is believed that people go to the Underworld at death and remain there (10-74). None of the dead are “allowed to return from Hades and resume the life they once had” (79). I am a big fan of ancient and classical literature, to this was one of my favourite parts of the book. The Old Testament beliefs are the next topic. Wright demonstrates that the Jews of this period generally believe that God would eventually raise the dead. This process constitutes a “reversal” of death wherein the dead are reawakened to die no more. The hope for a national Israel as well as the renewal of Creation are included in this belief (127-128), so that the individual, national, and the universe (Creation) will be raised/restored in/to glory to die no more. Post-biblical Judaism is the next focus of the text. During the second-Temple period of Judaism, the previous views remain although there is still little description of what the resurrected bodies will be. Resurrection came to focus upon the restoration of Israel and God’s people in the age to come. Regarding the latter, the new life was embodied and permanent. There are, however, no apparent beliefs that anyone had already been resurrected, and there is no tradition about the Messiah being resurrected, an idea that comes to fruition in the next portion of the book (204-205). Part II: Resurrection in Paul As the Pauline writings on the subject are so large and include the earliest accounts, the author divides this time period into Pauline and non-Pauline sections, dealing with the former first. Wright traces the theme of resurrection in the writings of Paul and focuses upon Corinthians as this book contains the greatest reference and affirmation to the resurrection, particularly Chapter 15. He then examines the eye-witness account of Paul regarding the Damascus Road experience in Acts. It is argued that Paul clearly believes he has seen the risen Christ first-hand. Further, Jesus possesses a physical body despite it being transformed which supports the concept of a bodily resurrection rather than term referring to a limited spiritual-only form (280; 398). Part III: Resurrection in Early Christianity (Apart from Paul) This part of the book deals with the gospel accounts of the resurrection (except for the Easter narratives which are included in the following section), the non-gospel New Testament accounts, and early non-canonical accounts such as the Apocrypha and early theologians such as Tertullian and Irenaeus. The characteristics of the Messiah are laid out, and Jesus is identified as this figure. As a result of belief in the resurrection, early Christians began to live as if the kingdom of God were partially but not fully realized with special attention given to the day Jesus rose from the dead (Sunday, the first day of the week) and the formation of Christian communities (494-499, 510-513, 581-583). Part IV: The Story of Easter This segment of the book deals with the obvious New Testament sources regarding the resurrection of Christ: the Easter narratives. In addition, a few non-canonical sources are used as they pertain to the gospel accounts. In particular, Wright focuses upon the general theme of the odd elements of the story such as the women as witnesses to the empty tomb and unflattering accounts regarding the apostles that indicate the stories are true accounts rather than tales fabricated to explain historical and/or theological phenomena (599-607). It is evident that each gospel author has written his story in his own way while maintaining a schematic consistency. The gospel authors argued that the reason for their faith was the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and His subsequent appearances to them and others. They believed the new age had been inaugurated and that Christians shared in the hope of a future resurrection involving a “transformed physicality” rather than a disembodied immaterial existence (680-682). Part V: Belief, Event and Meaning This part of the text deals with the historical reasons that belief in the resurrection came to being. Much of the section is given over to arguing against the idea of “cognitive dissonance” in the accounts wherein it is argued that believers accepted resurrection as a matter of faith and disregarded anything providing evidence against this preconception and against the alternate view that the faith is based upon “a new experience of grace” wherein believers are moved by the cherished sayings of Jesus and eventually are moved to claim Jesus did not really die because he lives on in the hearts of believers (697-710). Instead, the historical argument that Jesus rose from the dead declares Him to be the son of God and His resurrection to be the inauguration of the new covenant as well as affirming His status as the Lord of all creation (712-725). Book Conclusion The historical and theological evidence for the resurrection create a situation wherein the Christian faith provides the best solution. Jesus Christ is the Messiah. He was crucified and raised from the dead three days later. His resurrection involved a transformed physicality (that is, a bodily resurrection even if the finer points of its characteristics are unknown) and points to the hope believers have for their own future resurrected state. Also, the resurrection of Christ indicates that Jesus will deliver the creation from its curse and decayed state via His own sacrifice and being as one element of the Triune God. The risen Son of God proves that our faith is not in vain (736-738). My Conclusion This book requires quite a time investment to read. I highly recommend making it. The book is well-written, includes all the references one would expect of a scholarly text, and N.T. Wright’s writing style is friendly and accurate. He provides a wonderful exploration and defense of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ that will benefit believers as well as those who are questioning or otherwise interested in the greatest event in history.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brett

    This is Wright's third of what will be 5 (at least for now) volumes in his "Christian Origins and the Question of God" series. When I see the size of these things, I get an overwhelming sense of stupidity and laziness. I don't think I can even thoughtfully read as much as he has written. This volume tackles the doctrine of resurrection, and does so extensively. Wright analyzes the Christian belief about resurrection in the context of ancient Pagan and Jewish beliefs, and he attacks the notion th This is Wright's third of what will be 5 (at least for now) volumes in his "Christian Origins and the Question of God" series. When I see the size of these things, I get an overwhelming sense of stupidity and laziness. I don't think I can even thoughtfully read as much as he has written. This volume tackles the doctrine of resurrection, and does so extensively. Wright analyzes the Christian belief about resurrection in the context of ancient Pagan and Jewish beliefs, and he attacks the notion that resurrection is equal to life after death. As he demonstrates, "resurrection is the life after life after death." It is the belief that the dead would be raised bodily - though transformed - from the dead. This life is continuous with but a transformed condition of our present bodily existence. He also shows that the early Christian belief was central to the early Christian faith, and was based on their belief that Jesus had himself been raised from the dead. He shows how the Christian belief in resurrection is continuous with the Jewish beliefs of the second Temple period, but were radically redefined. This continuity and discontinuity he claims is best explained by their belief that he was indeed raised and that their belief that he was raised is best explained by the possibility that he actually was. This resurrection is the only way to explain how they maintained a belief in him as the Jewish Messiah in the face of his crucifixion and as the world's one true Lord.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Crouch

    Compared to the previous 2 volumes, I thought this one (which is larger) started off a bit slow - but the last 3 out of the 5 Parts were very good, and I was particularly inspired by the last Part. So whereas I thought this might only be a 3 or 4 star, it turned out to be a definite 5 star, and has given me much to think about - and helped me organise my thoughts and understanding of the Resurrection much better :) I think it is important to realise that Wright is not writing here as a Pastor rat Compared to the previous 2 volumes, I thought this one (which is larger) started off a bit slow - but the last 3 out of the 5 Parts were very good, and I was particularly inspired by the last Part. So whereas I thought this might only be a 3 or 4 star, it turned out to be a definite 5 star, and has given me much to think about - and helped me organise my thoughts and understanding of the Resurrection much better :) I think it is important to realise that Wright is not writing here as a Pastor rather as an Academic, in particular as a Historian. I found this approach very refreshing. That is not to say that it has no Pastoral value - I've found much that will help me in Sermons. I'm just pointing out this is not a book on preaching the Resurrection :) It does have great apologetic value, especially when dealing with those from academic backgrounds. The weak point, I believe, is Part 2 - which looks at Paul and the Resurrection. For me this comes over a "little flat" in comparison to the other sections, and I think the reason is that we've had a whole book establishing the Second Temple Judaism of the First Century and the Early Church, and a whole book on Jesus, and thus both of these "characters" and their background material is well fleshed out (pun intended) before we come to this book. The Author tackles Paul in the next volume - and I think if I re-read Part 2 following the next volume then this weakness would disappear. Well worth the time! Looking forward to the next Volume :)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dean Jenkins

    Whilst Wright's work on Paul may mark him out as controversial to some, his contribution to the historical discussion of where the Christian faith came from and took the exact shape it did is invaluable to any taking this question seriously. Within the Resurrection of the Son of God Wright argues the disciples claims about Jesus of Nazareth were the direct result of their belief that his resurrection simultaneously fulfilled and challenged Jewish theology about what the Messiah would accomplish. Whilst Wright's work on Paul may mark him out as controversial to some, his contribution to the historical discussion of where the Christian faith came from and took the exact shape it did is invaluable to any taking this question seriously. Within the Resurrection of the Son of God Wright argues the disciples claims about Jesus of Nazareth were the direct result of their belief that his resurrection simultaneously fulfilled and challenged Jewish theology about what the Messiah would accomplish. In line with this, Wright considers the shape the disciples claims took within the Jewish world they were a part of and this includes a crash course on how various factions in the ancient world, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, understood death and the after-life. There's plenty in here but only about 100 pages or so are dedicated to discussing the historical validity of the New Testament texts or common arguments brought against the Resurrection of Jesus. If your looking for 700 pages of Christian apologetics or pure engagement with self-described 'skeptics' then this may not be the place to turn, although Wright certainly does pack a lot into short space in this regard. Ultimately, though, the main focus here is the attitudes and beliefs of the disciples and their contemporaries to the world around them just as Jesus was turning it on its head.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Essential reading for anyone, Christian or not, which places the resurrection of Jesus in its historical and Biblical context. Through surveying just about every piece of Christian and Jewish religious literature ever written up until the second century (including a lot that didn't make it into the Bible), as well as the writings of the Greeks and the beliefs of the Romans, Egyptians and other ancient cultures, Tom Wright puts the idea of the resurrection of Jesus thoroughly into context. Throug Essential reading for anyone, Christian or not, which places the resurrection of Jesus in its historical and Biblical context. Through surveying just about every piece of Christian and Jewish religious literature ever written up until the second century (including a lot that didn't make it into the Bible), as well as the writings of the Greeks and the beliefs of the Romans, Egyptians and other ancient cultures, Tom Wright puts the idea of the resurrection of Jesus thoroughly into context. Through a combination of this and very detailed analysis on every Biblical passage related to resurrection in any way, he asks two main, interwoven, questions - what is the historical evidence that the resurrection ever happened, and what would it mean if it had. This book is fascinating, and clearly the work of a scholar rather than an evangelist, though his purpose is somewhat apologetic. Although you should also read other authors, such as Allison, Habermas, Goulder and Crossley, including their papers in the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, Wright seems to understand this topic better than anyone else, and his work is essential reading.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chad Gibbons

    The most comprehensive study on the resurrection to date. Wright surveys all the relevant Greek and Jewish background material as well as the early Christian writers to try to get to the bottom of the questions: Why did early Christianity take the shape that it did? What event made pious Jews switch their day of worship from Saturday to Sunday? What made their theology take the form it did? Why did people claim that Jesus rose from the dead in the first place? What did they mean by it? This book The most comprehensive study on the resurrection to date. Wright surveys all the relevant Greek and Jewish background material as well as the early Christian writers to try to get to the bottom of the questions: Why did early Christianity take the shape that it did? What event made pious Jews switch their day of worship from Saturday to Sunday? What made their theology take the form it did? Why did people claim that Jesus rose from the dead in the first place? What did they mean by it? This book is far more apologetic than his other two in the series, but Wright is on much firmer ground here. There is simply no getting around the fact that the best historical explanation for what happened that Easter is that Jesus was raised bodily from the grave. If anyone objects to this, their objections must be philosophical, not historical. In which case, I would suggest thinking twice about your presuppositional philosophy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jacob McGill

    This book does a great job of defending the Christian position of physical resurrection, and for that it gets 4 stars. I was close to giving it three though b/c the book gets quite repetitive, especially in Part 1. This book is touted very highly by the conservative evangelical camp b/c it defends the resurrection better than they are able to, but I would say that it is overrated. Conservatives like it b/c it 'proves' the liberals wrong, but does not propose much new for Christian thought. JVG i This book does a great job of defending the Christian position of physical resurrection, and for that it gets 4 stars. I was close to giving it three though b/c the book gets quite repetitive, especially in Part 1. This book is touted very highly by the conservative evangelical camp b/c it defends the resurrection better than they are able to, but I would say that it is overrated. Conservatives like it b/c it 'proves' the liberals wrong, but does not propose much new for Christian thought. JVG is much more transformational to Western Christian thought. I am greatful for Wright's drawing out of the implications of the resurrection for living in the world today, but anyone that is even vaguely familiar with Wright will already be aware of this.

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