This is a very important book indeed for those who wish to assert the truth of the ressurection but are unsure whether it is possible to do this with "academic rigour".
Many Quakers will perhaps not think about these issues at all or go along with mainstream liberal theology. This book is a stimulating challenge. It is not for the faint hearted with over 700 pages of closely argued text.
In Part 1 it examines the contemporary views of Jews and Pagans in the context of which the resurrection accounts need to be understood. The second part deals with the understanding of the resurrection of Jesus in the letters of Paul. The third part looks at other early Christian writings and the fourth at the accounts of the resurrection itself, principally in the gospels. The final part explores the significance of resurrection under the heading "Belief, Event and Meaning".
The work is well written but the argument is dense and takes a lot of absorbing! Not since C.S. Lewis have we had such a lucid writer on the central points of Christianity. Unlike Lewis, Wright's primary discipline is new testament scholarship which makes him, in my eyes, even better vlue. Like Lewis, he can be waspish in dealing with those who do not share his thinking.
In the end this is not, however, a mere academic treatise. As Wright himself writes (page 713):
"What if the resurrection, instead of (as is often imagined) legitimating a cosy, comfortable, socially and cuturally conservative form of Christianity, should turn out to be, in the twenty-first century as in the first, the most socially, culturally and politically explosive force imaginable..."
What if, indeed?