3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Strategy for those in a hurry, 2 Dec 2013
The paperback version of this book is 817 pages long. Obviously I haven't read it all in one sitting, but I have read it all in pieces, over a very long period. I consider this book the closest thing to irrefutable evidence of the Resurrection that I have found. Consequently, I consider it a very important book indeed. For those in a hurry, I would suggest you concentrate on Parts IV ("The Story of Easter") and V ("Easter and History"). He describes, in part IV, the narratives in each gospel, including those which most people (including Wright, I suspect) consider totally ludicrous, e.g. Matthew 27: 51-54 - a whole collection of corpses waking up, waiting 3 days, then calmly walking into the city. Page 633 certainly implies scepticism of this on Wright's part.
My inference from part IV is that, as most of these incidents are only recorded by one gospel, they are not "core", and can be discounted without denying the historicity of the Resurrection itself; this is dealt with in part V, where he concentrates on the 2 incidents reported by all 4 gospels; the empty tomb, and the post-crucifixion appearances. His case rests upon the proposition that, both of these taken together, but not singly, give necessary and sufficient reasons for the disciples' conviction that Jesus was alive. He further argues that they are sufficient for us, too, seeing that the gospels were written so soon after Jesus' death - and that there was therefore no time for embellishment. But in addition (and this is crucial), he gives very thorough critiques of many of the persuasive alternative views (by Crossan, Festinger, Schillebeeckx, Goulder and others), and to my mind does a pretty thorough demolition job on all of them. This I found really important, because I have read a lot of these, and found many of them pretty convincing (I was especially attracted by Michael Goulder's writings). It may be a long read, but shorter apologetic writings always leave questions unanswered. This book does not. And if the Resurrection is really true, then surely it is worth investing any amount of time in verifying it?