Was Jesus God? Paperback – 8 Feb 2010
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Review from previous edition Richard Swinburne, the former Nolloth Professor at Oxford, adroitly marshals the evidences of natural theology to affirm the cogency of the Christian faith... Was Jesus God? is an entertaining, bracing, compelling book and welcome proof that not all of our academics have turned their backs on what Hopkins once called 'the fine delight that fathers thought. (Edward Short, Inside Catholic)
About the Author
Richard Swinburne was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Keele, Nolloth Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion, University of Oxford, and Fellow of the British Academy.
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Top Customer Reviews
Compared to Swinburne's earlier book "Is There A God?", I found "Was Jesus God?" very disappointing. This book, at least to me, reads more like a straightforward book of conservative Christian apologetics than one written by a renowned philosopher of religion. The first half of the book (87 pages) really amount to a "scissors and paste" abbreviated account from his earlier works, with the remaining 70 pages only devoted to Jesus. The latter contain nothing really new that cannot be found elsewhere in traditional conservative works on Christian apology. Moreover they appear not to have been worked out in length, let alone in depth. It is a given, that any account of the life or significance of Jesus must rely largely if not almost exclusively on the writings of the New Testament. However most historians would not give equal credence to the historical value of the various New Testament documents, and this applies even to the four documents known as Gospel's. Even the most superficial reading of the words of Jesus in say Mark's Gospel would cast doubt on whether the same person is being reported as in John's Gospel, but Swinburne seems to ignore this and seems to treat the historical value of the various New Testament documents almost equally. Reference was made earlier to his rather superficial handing of themes and this can be illustrated in his account of the Virgin Birth. Obviously there are considerable scientific objections that would be expected to be mentioned, if not addressed by an eminent philosopher of religion. However these are completely ignored. For example, if Jesus was a man like all other men he would possess both an X and a Y chromosome.Read more ›
Consistency does not prove that the conclusions are true, buy implies that they may well be true. Not any of the sayings of Dawkins and his disciples are useful in denying the consistency in Swinburne's approach.
The book is highly recommended.
The issue or question that RS sought to answer was: "Was Jesus God" (the use of the past tense is puzzling, but of no great importance for this review)? He realised that the question makes no sense unless "God" itself is proved. He has not done that in the book (nor in his other book, "Is there a God?" 1996 Oxford University Press). He merely made assumptions that "God" exists. From such a premise, the arguments would naturally become irrelevant, and the conclusion weak and fallible (since God was assummed and not proved, the issue whether Jesus was God lost all its significance). However, it is still useful to see some of the methods he employed in the author's argument (which was largely based on assumptions and reliance on second degree hearsay evidence). In the very first page he says that he refers to God as "he" even though "God is neither male nor female." How does he know that? Do all Christians agree with his statement? It is an example of the kind of unproven assertions that the author made throughout the book. He forgot that it was Jesus who taught us to pray "Our Father who art in Heaven" he didn't say "Our Mother" or "Our Parent". RS's reasoning shows up deep flaws in his thesis.Read more ›
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