"No man can be called friendless who has God and the companionship of good books."
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Jesus Inquest: The Case for and Against the Resurrection of the Christ

The Jesus Inquest: The Case for and Against the Resurrection of the Christ attempts to provide an even-handed examination of the arguments on both sides of the Resurrection debate.  Charles Foster, a barrister (criminal-lawyer) and writer uses his legal experience to present the arguments both against the Resurrection (as portrayed by witness X) and for it (as portrayed by witness Y) ultimately leading the reader to form their own opinions based on the evidence, although it is not too difficult to see which direction Foster himself is leaning.

The information is well researched, well thought out and eloquently argued.  Foster exhausts every avenue from eyewitness accounts, post mortem theft, the Jesus family tomb and pretty much everything in between in this comprehensive compilation. It will likely challenge the faith and convictions of some believers and reaffirm the belief and conviction of other believers. Non-believers would also find it to be a useful resource.

The only real problem I had with the book was in regards to the layout.   I found that presenting several different arguments from X on a given category and then responding with several different rebuttals from Y all grouped together was a bit too choppy for my tastes. I would have preferred to read an argument from X and then read it's specific rebuttal from Y right after.  To give credit, however, the cross references placed throughout the book helped to ease this problem somewhat as it provided a quick reference to which argument went with which rebuttal.  Part of me, also, would have liked to see a more clear and open stance in the epilogue regarding exactly what opinions Foster had developed during the course of his research since he did make the start of a story with it in the prologue. Not knowing whether his faith had been strengthened, lessened, or changed left me feeling like I had read an intriguing mystery novel that was missing the final chapter. I understand about wanting people to form their own opinions, but perhaps it would've been better then if he had left out the more personal aspects altogether.

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