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on 13 February 2009
I've had this book for a year or two now and the more I go back to it the more I realise what a truly excellent volume this is. The authors set out a Minimal facts approach to defending the resurrection, what this means is that they are appealing to 5 historical points that even the most liberal of scholars would agree with. This is used as the basis for their argument that the resurrection was a historical event.

Each chapter is well written and will be a super resource for either the christian looking for clarity on this subject or for the seeker and skeptic. The appendix is excellent and provides a summary of the evidence provided and draws on writings from historians and other church writings around the 1st/2nd centuries.

Well worth the money and you also get a free CD resource which is excellent aswell.
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on 10 June 2015
There are many unsolved mysteries from the past, and we can look back with curiosity and wonder what really happened, but the sands of time have buried the facts beyond the reach of the historian. Is that the case with that first Easter? Is the truth hidden in the mists of long ago, never to be recovered? And does it make any difference anyway? Habermas and Licona give clear and compelling answers to these questions, showing the impressive evidence for the resurrection of Christ and the massive relevance of this event.
The book commences by showing that this is a subject everyone has a stake in – if it’s true then it affects everything and everyone forever! “...if Jesus actually rose from the dead, it appears the truth of Christianity is confirmed and all adherents to conflicting beliefs must reassess whether their assurance came from a spirit other than God’s or was the result of self-delusion.” (p.28).
The second chapter gives a very useful summary of criteria for establishing historicity. Any one of the five criteria given (multiple, independent sources; enemy testimony; embarrassing testimony; eyewitness testimony; early testimony) is a good indicator of historicity. The rest of the book shows that the evidence for the resurrection rings all five bells.
The next section deals with the minimal facts approach. This approach takes the sceptic up on his own ground, and only deals with data that are strongly evidenced (on the basis of the five criteria above) and accepted by virtually all scholars on the subject, even sceptical ones.
The minimal facts are: the death of Christ on the cross; the disciples’ belief that He rose from the dead and appeared to them; Paul’s conversion; James’ conversion; the empty tomb. Habermas and Licona point out that the empty tomb meets the criterion of being strongly evidenced, but it isn’t accepted by nearly every scholar – only about 75% (!) of scholars accept the empty tomb as a historical fact.
They give really helpful acronyms and tables to aid memorisation of the evidence for these minimal facts, like POW for the disciples’ belief that they saw the risen Christ, or the JET factor for the empty tomb. The person interested in sharing the evidence for the resurrection would do well to learn and practice writing out these mnemonics.
The opposing theories are dealt with in detail. There are historical objections that propose alternative explanations, such as legendary development, stolen body, wrong tomb or apparent death. These objections are slain by the facts and buried by the evidence, and are sadly only resurrected by the ignorant!
There are then psychological objections – the disciples were hallucinating, deluded or experiencing visions. Habermas and Licona show that these objections can’t stand against the established facts of history.
Then there are philosophical objections to do with the problem of miracles and the presupposition of naturalism. The authors show that this is a closed-minded approach that seeks, not the right answer, but the right kind of answer.
The authors then deal with the nature of the resurrection, i.e. that it is a physical, bodily resurrection. They address texts that some have used to object to a bodily resurrection. It is at this point that they very nearly lose a star in my rating! When it comes to 1Pet.3:18 all they do is say that critics deny Peter wrote this letter and that it is a late first century pseudographical work, thus by the minimal facts approach it is not relevant to the discussion. That may get the verse off the table in a discussion with a critic, but it leaves a problem with the person who believes in the resurrection and then is left with questions about the authority of Scripture. It surely would have been better to point out that there are good reasons to accept Petrine authorship and then show that his words here in no way undermine the truth of the bodily resurrection. They should have given some references to works that help explain 1Pet.3:18 instead of basically conceding the point and throwing it out.
They then show evidence for an early, high Christology based on evidence accepted by sceptical historians, and they present independent evidence for God’s existence based on fine tuning and the cosmological argument.
Then they deal with less scholarly, less serious, attacks, and conclude with putting all this into a winsome and practical form for sharing with others.
The appendices are very useful, the DVD quiz is good fun, and overall this book is an excellent resource. The foundation of Christianity is rock solid.
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on 17 August 2008
I decided to read this book after reading The Case for the Real Jesus by Lee Strobel, which listed this book about the resurrection. It's an area that fascinates me so I decided to check it out and I have to say I think it's brilliant.

The authors put forward a 'minimal fact' approach which only uses facts that are agreed upon by the majority of scholars, to try and make the case for the resurrection of Jesus. It has been a real help in my Christian life, as it's simple, accessible and persuasive. I'm no scholar so I can't critically examine this, however the fact the authors try to minimise bias and use generally agreed facts gives me confidence and trust in this book.

I would recommend this to athiests/agnostics/people of other faiths who want to check out the other side, and to Christian's who want to look at the evidence for the resurrection. Much recommended.
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on 7 June 2016
Best for folk who have not examined the details before, but interesting to see another approach.
Dissecting faith is an odd concept, as faith is not required if the proof is unassailable. 'Who Moved the Stone' is a bit more dense, but comparison is profitable.
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on 2 February 2016
The most thorough and convincing in depth look at the evidence for the most important thing that is reported to have ever happened in the universe. A big burden on the shoulders of Habermas and Licona.
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on 2 February 2016
Very detailed and clear. Well written and researched. A case which deals with the biblical and non.biblical sources. Also different views are assessed.
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on 20 September 2014
A very good book and worth the read
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on 16 February 2016
Solid research, interesting format,
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on 26 March 2016
I hope many people read this book.
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on 4 February 2016
very clear exposition
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