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The Burial of Jesus: What Does History Have to Do with Faith?

The Burial of Jesus: What Does History Have to Do with Faith? [Kindle Edition]

James F. McGrath
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

How do historians study the life and death of Jesus, and why does their work matter to believers today? In this fascinating and accessible guide, Dr. James F. McGrath helps us make sense of the relationship between history and faith. He explains:
- how historical study works
- why historians explore possibilities that religious believers find shocking
- why Jesus' disciples would have wanted to steal his body
- why later gospel writers changed earlier versions
- why Christian faith in the resurrection is not about what happened to a body almost 2,000 years ago.

Read "The Burial of Jesus" and find out why history matters to faith and how today's historical scholarship is working on the faith of millions of believers today.

"In this valuable contribution to the body of serious biblical scholarship written for a lay audience, James McGrath does a particularly admirable job of distinguishing faith’s and history’s proper spheres while making the case for a confident faith that takes the claims of historical and scientific research seriously rather than as a threat to faith."

Brent A. R. Hege, Ph.D.
Department of Philosophy and Religion
Butler University

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 243 KB
  • Print Length: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Patheos Press (7 Feb 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0077SP5SU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #402,456 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
We were fellow students many years ago and I remember James as a clever guy who was always prepared to look at all the alternative possibilities. I enjoys reading his blogs and I enjoyed this book a lot. It was challenging.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fresh contribution to the ongoing debate, but . . . 1 May 2013
By DAV - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
No matter addressed in the questions about the "historical Jesus" is of more interest and more crucial in assessing the claims about him than the circumstances of his execution and burial, and their aftermath. The author offers solid insight into the vital distinction which is the book's subtitle, and raises thought provoking questions about the main subject. Its chief shortcoming, however, is the theological inadequacy of finally ascribing the cause of the first disciples' belief that Jesus of Nazareth had been raised from the dead to a "religious experience" like John Wesley's "heart strangely warmed" which the author himself once experienced, and his concluding assertion that valid belief in Jesus' resurrection can be separated from the question of what happened to his buried corpse. I continue to fail to see how any 1st century Jew would have been able to believe in (let alone be martyred for) anything remotely approaching the r e s u r r e c t i o n of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead if it had had nothing at all to do with his corpse. His encouraging us that the initial appearances of Jesus to the apostles and others need to be reduced to the visionary kind of experience Saul of Tarsus had at his conversion is misleading, in my estimation, despite Paul's including his experience as the climax of the official list of appearances he seems to be reproducing in I Cor. 15. McGrath, when all is said and done, seems finally to come down in the camp that believes that Jesus' resurrection is primarily something that happened to the first disciples, not Jesus. That seems for the author an adequate basis for his own Christian faith. I'm happy for him, but it sure doesn't account for the rise of Christianity, let alone answer the question of why anyone should give ultimate allegiance to Jesus of Nazareth among the scores of "spiritual" greats, living and dead.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Primer for the Basics in Historial Method 31 Mar 2013
By C. Murphy - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
This book is a simple and easy read for anyone who is familiar with the biblical stories of Jesus burial following his crucifixion. McGrath uses these stories to give the reader a basic introduction into what historians can and cannot say about what probably happened to the body of Jesus in the subsequent days following his death. After reading this book even the most ardent Christian should be able to understand why, as a matter of historical inquiry, positing an actual physical resurrection to explain what happened to Jesus body is outside the realm of the historian.

Ultimately, McGrath's point is that for a person of Christian faith, the resurrection is more about hope and eternal life in God here and now and not about waiting for God to usher in some afterlife at a date to be named later. McGrath makes the point that, ironically, the idea of a physical resurrection was originally written in to Christian history to combat the very view that is so prevalent today; that there is something wrong and less than perfect with God's creation. Physical resurrection was about this world make right by God, not about living happily ever after in heaven.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. While it only scratches the surface of the historical inquiry into Jesus and his life, for someone new to the topic this book will not only be a good start into learning the ways historians approach the question, but also offers fresh theological insight into new meaning for the resurrection of Jesus on his followers in this present day.
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For some, religion is about confidently knowing; for others, it is about meekly acknowledging the inadequacy of our human knowledge. &quote;
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it was, in fact, primarily the Romans who wanted Jesus apprehended, and the Jewish authorities were taking preemptive action to hand Jesus over to them, lest the Romans send their troops in and there be more bloodshed and loss of life. &quote;
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The Bible also challenges those who believe in God to be open to new information, to new experiences, even though such new data may require that one revise one’s theology and indeed one’s whole worldview. &quote;
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