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The Resurrection [Paperback]

Geza Vermes
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

6 Mar 2008

Geza Vermes's The Resurrection presents a comprehensive account of exactly what the earliest Christian sources report about the aftermath of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus.

The story of Christ's crucifixion and subsequent resurrection is the rock of faith on which Christianity is founded. But on what evidence is the most miraculous phenomenon in religious history based?

World-famous biblical scholar Geza Vermes has studied all the evidence that still remains, over two thousand years after Jesus Christ was reported to have risen from the dead. Examining the Jewish Bible, the New Testament and other accounts left to us, as well as contemporary attitudes to the afterlife, he takes us through each episode with a historian's focus: the crucifixion, the treatment of the body, the statements of the women who found the empty tomb, and the visions of Christ by his disciples.

Unravelling the true meaning conveyed in the Gospels, the Acts and St Paul, Vermes shines a new light on the developing faith in the risen Christ among the first followers of Jesus.

'The greatest Jesus scholar of his generation'
  Sunday Telegraph

Geza Vermes is director of the Forum for Qumran Research at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. His books, published by Penguin, include The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, The Story of the Scrolls and The Changing Faces of Jesus as well as the 'Jesus' trilogy: Nativity, Passion and Resurrection.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (6 Mar 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739499696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141030050
  • ASIN: 0141030054
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 167,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'The greatest Jesus scholar of his generation' -- Sunday Telegraph

From the Publisher

The Resurrection presents a comprehensive account of exactly what the earliest Christian sources report about the aftermath of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Resurrection is unquestionably one of the most important and intriguing concepts of the Christian faith. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 30 Sep 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Amazing book
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Resurrection 15 Mar 2009
Format:Paperback
The Resurrection
An excellent analysis of the Jewish ideas concerning resurrection at the time of Jesus. Very helpful overview of the understanding of the concepts involved in physical/spiritual resurrection.
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6 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars learned but fruitless 19 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback
Vermes, as in all his books on the Gospels, assumes firstly that Jesus could only think what other Jews of his day thought, and secondly that the early Christians were able to create stories outside of those limits.
He rejects the clear evidence of the Easter stories that something objective actually happened on Easter Day so his arguments therefore are bound to lead back to the conclusions he has assumed are true
This book will please those who share his assumptions but adds nothing to the understanding of how Jesus own preparation of the disciples for what was to happen when he was killed gave them the ability to understand the Easter Day experiences
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2 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good 29 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback
This was purchaised on behalf of a customer, who wanted the book since it is so good. It all worked out very well, so we are satisfied.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good study, but unsatisfying in the end 24 Aug 2008
By Adrian Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have found Geza Vermes' other books thorough and helpful in pinning down as well as one can who Jesus really was and what he actually said, as opposed to what was said about him or ascribed to him by editors.

In The Resurrection also, Vermes applies his forensic eye to the witnesses, reports and emerging stories pertinent to the "event" by which Christians define themselves. However, he doesn't go directly to the matter of "did he or didn't he?" and whether the witnesses were credible. Rather, much of the book is taken up with a review of the understanding of "resurrection" in the minds of the Jewish people from patriarchal times, through the second temple period and on to the New Testament record and discussion.

That is all very informative and important contextual information for assessing the congruence or otherwise of the unique individual resurrection that Jesus is said to have experienced and exhibited (subsequent to the "event" itself).

Vermes' exposition and analysis of the synoptics' record, the Johannine presentation and Paul's interpretation is thorough. However, the hoped-for climax ("did he or didn't he?") turns out to be a whimper.

Having discarded various possible explanations for what actually happened or was believed to have happened, Vermes can only conclude that the reports of Jesus' rising were so stimulating, so consoling to his depressed followers, that they were galvanized to the extent that their initial demoralization and cowardice (the males', anyway) was replaced by the kind of triumphalism and millennialism reported in the Gospels, Acts and the writings of Paul. A complete turnaround, in fact, that Vermes can't really account for and which left this reader feeling, if not a little cheated, at least a bit disappointed. Surely Vermes doesn't believe that an upsurge in enthusiasm, of itself, is going to lead to the heroism and self-sacrifice of the apostles and Paul and the sub-apostolic martyrs, who would have heard the stories from early believers. In consequence, one can understand the position of those Christians who argue that something quite extraordinary must have happened to launch the passionate missionary efforts of the apostles and lead them to martyrdom as a result, particularly in view of Vermes' inability to come up with any plausible reason why no one came up with a body. Had the apostles simply got excited about something that never actually happened, it would have been simple enough to disabuse them by showing them where Jesus' body was lain. Vermes can only suggest that perhaps the women went to the wrong tomb, or the body had been relocated (it was someone else's tomb, after all).

It's also worth noting that Vermes makes an early (page 1) disavowal of the theory that Jesus did not actually exist, asserting that the problems arising from the "Jesus Myth" thesis outweigh the solutions it proposes. However, in regard to the Resurrection, perhaps the Jesus as myth theory may be an attractive one.

As an alternative to the traditional and evangelical explanation of early Christian messianism rooted in the literal event of Christ's resurrection from the dead, perhaps we can take a more radical view of the kind of deconstruction Vermes himself has undertaken of the New Testament records. After all, though we know that Christianity was a charismatic force, drawing considerable support among the dispossessed and relatively powerless elements of the population of the Greco-Roman world we have limited evidence of how this came about. The Gospels and Acts were written decades after the events they speak of and it is clear that Paul's message, though it became normative, was idiosyncratic. We also know that the growth of the church was very slow for the first hundred years or so (R. Stark 7,530 souls in CE 100), but it appears greater and more dramatic because we view it from our perspective in history. Maybe the early post-resurrection enthusiasm and its missionary outcomes were not really as they are presented in the scriptures.

Vermes is 84 years old now, and, to my knowledge, not extended his of early Christianity beyond the fall of Jerusalem in CE 70; however, having set the ball rolling with his deconstruction of traditional Christian perspectives on the life and times of Jesus and his immediate followers, it would be interesting to see what he might say, had he the energy, about the emergence and spread of Christianity following the resurrection, from Jerusalem to Antioch, to the Pauline missions and the time of the sub-apostolic martyrs, especially Ignatius and Polycarp and their legacy. There is plenty written about the early church, but it would be interesting to see Vermes' take on it.
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