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on 24 May 2006
I would highly recommend this book to anyone exploring Christian apologetics for the first time. It is a compellingly written and easily readable defence of Christian claims about Jesus Christ. Strobel tackles the subject from about every conceivable angle by investigating everything from the geography of the New Testament to the events surrounding Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. It is on this latter point that the book builds is case most strongly, providing credible arguments for a rational basis for believing in the resurrection.

The book's structure is both its strength and its weakness. The author assumes the role of detective as he jets around America meeting and interviewing experts on the various aspects of the case he investigates. The cross-examinations that take place are recounted to the reader and make for more lively reading than a traditional narative. The interviews are also cleverly interspersed with the little anecdotes that tie in with the unfolding argument. However, the question-and-answer format tends to leave gaps in the arguments and gives the overall case a disjointed feel. Also, arguments tend to get simplified because they are related in the form of a dialogue.

On the whole, the book is well-written and accessible, but slightly simplistic, and can serve as a good starting-point from which to explore the case for Christ further.
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on 29 September 2013
This is the kind of book that people tend to rate from one extreme or the other. That is, they'll either be convinced by its arguments and give it four or five stars, or they'll find it lacking and give it one or two. There aren't very many people who would give this a "neutral" three stars because, by its very nature, it's very difficult to have neutral feelings about it.

For those reading about 'The Case for Christ' for the first time, this is a very famous and long enduring book which attempts to explain, in as simple language as possible, a rational case for the existence of Jesus Christ as the son of God. I was given a copy to borrow at an Alpha Course (a free and friendly course for non-Christians to learn about Jesus and Christianity), and I've since learned that this book is very common among such gatherings, and held in high regard by Christian apologists in general. The book's author, Lee Strobel, a former journalist with a legal background, explains that he began this book as an atheist looking to better understand Christianity but, by the end of his research, came to the conclusion that the evidence undoubtedly points to the fact that Jesus was the son of God, and the Bible is the word of God. Strobel uses his journalistic skills and legal understanding to present a systematic and rational argument in favour of his new belief, not to mention one that is highly readable and entertaining at the same time. The book consists of various interviews, where Strobel (who allegedly begins as a sceptic and ends up convinced of the Bible's legitimacy) probes into the minds of some of the most respected and academically decorated Christians in America. The result is a powerfully convincing defence of Christianity, if you want to believe it, and one of the most hopelessly one-sided critiques of the Bible, if you don't want to believe it.

And this is where Strobel's promising adventure falls flat. To his credit, I don't think Strobel actually says in this book that he ever set out to present all of the arguments, but rather to show a convincing case in favour of his own newly developed belief. But that's the problem, and why this book should never be recommended to anybody who flat out doesn't believe, because they'll just cling further to those beliefs because of reading it. Strobel interviews some very impressive figures here, but he never presents the other side. He asks them probing questions, where these intellects tear apart their detractors, but he never looks at the arguments of the people with other opinions. Everybody here shares the exact same opinions, and they're presented in such a way to tell us that these are the "only" legitimate opinions, that the opposing arguments are all contradictory and full of holes, and the whole book is framed in such a way to make these theories seem as convincing as possible. Detractors are either atheists, clutching at straws and refusing to accept what's obvious, or they're "liberal" Christians, changing things to suit their agenda. If this was legitimately looking to explore Christianity from a neutral point-of-view, and to show the facts and let the reader make up their own minds, it would have allowed for some of the detractors who were so brutally torn apart to offer their counter-arguments, and it wouldn't have been written in such a way to convince us of the author's beliefs. As such, any knowledgeable atheist, or "liberal Christian", could easily tear this apart and ridicule it... and they do exactly that. Just type "The Case for Christ rebuttal" into Google and you'll be presented with countless examples.

Like I said, if you want to believe that Jesus is the son of God, then you'll accept every word in here. If, however, you genuinely want to learn and understand, then I would highly recommend that you read this book, take notes, and compare it side-by-side with some of the excellent rebuttal websites. Of course, those sites are trying to make Strobel look just as silly as his interviewees tried to make their detractors look, so exercise caution and use your own judgement and common sense. Alternatively, if you're already convinced that Jesus isn't the son of God, you might want to read this because it's about as entertaining and readable an insight into the beliefs and arguments of Christian apologists as you're likely to find. Me? I learnt a lot from reading this and comparing Strobel's words to those of his online adversaries. For one thing, I now feel pretty confident that Jesus was actually a historical figure, and that is pretty much beyond reasonable doubt. I've also learnt that Christian beliefs can, indeed, stand up to scrutiny and logic. But it's a shame that many atheists won't get that impression from this book, as its own biases serve to de-legitimise it.
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on 28 December 1998
As someone who has spent years studying ancient history, I can attest to the accuracy, fairness, readability, and thorough nature of this excellent new book. And while it's great that "The Case for Christ" has generated so much response at amazon.com, I'm concerned that a handful of people who disagree with the author's conclusions have sought to discourage others from obtaining the book through reviews that are at times misleading or which miss the point of the book entirely. Taking simplistic potshots when there is no ready mechanism for response by the author seems terribly unfair. Let me give just a few examples. One reviewer tries to discredit the author's citing of Josephus, a first century historian. First, the reviewer claims that Josephus wrote about Jesus 80 years after Jesus died, which is absurd because this would place the date after Josephus' own death! Further, he claims Josephus' work has been "universally acknowledged to have been altered or doctored by later Christians." Yet this is a point that the book's author, Lee Strobel, readily concedes! However, Strobel takes the approach of a true historian by seeking to determine what part of Josephus' work is authentic and what was likely a later Christian interpolation. Unfortunately, potential readers of the book might think from the review that Strobel's book is lacking, when it's the review that misses the mark. A reviewer points out that several of the experts interviewed in the book are from Christian universities, so of course they believe Jesus is who he claimed to be. However, these scholars don't hold this view because they are at Christian universities; they are at Christian universities because they have been personally convinced by the evidence that Jesus is who he claimed to be! These experts are highly respected scholars with excellent academic credentials. Why aren't opposing scholars interviewed? Because the scholars in the book are confronted with the claims of these opposing scholars and are forced to defend their positions with facts. Thus, the claims of opposing scholars are given due consideration. In addition, the author devotes an entire chapter to debunking the highly questionable -- and sometimes laughable -- scholarship of the left-wing Jesus Seminar. Concerning the resurrection, a reviewer claims: "If one disciple claimed to see Jesus, wouldn't others also do so in order to not feel less special or blessed?" Why would someone falsely claim to have seen the resurrected Jesus when it meant a life of hardship, rejection, poverty, and eventual torture and death? Can anyone find a single example in history of a person who knowingly and willingly allowed themselves to be tortured to death for a lie? I could go on and on. There are logical and rational responses to every single point brought up by the reviewers. In fact, a fair reading of this book shows that it already provides answers to much of what is raised! At about 300 pages, this book is clearly intended to be an overview of the evidence concerning Jesus. To fault the author for not going deeper on one point or another does not mean there aren't adequate answers. It simply means one book can only give so much information. What is in this book, as far as I can determine, is accurate, balanced, and written in a very creative and highly readable form. I strongly recommend it to anyone with an open mind.
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on 20 August 2003
Strobel asks the kind of questions I might want to ask of these Bible scholars - but would probably have been to polite to. What can be seen from this is that the most extensive, probing questioning will help the subject present their case all the more convincingly, that is, if it is true.
The book is well-paced. It flows and is gripping. I really didn't want to close the book when I got to the end of a chapter... I wanted to keep reading. Strobel really does get these scholars to explain every angle. Far from being musty, these interviewees are exciting and have a story to tell.
By the end of this book I was in no doubt about the facts and the conclusion they led to. I had gone through the same journey as Strobel; from doubt to faith.
This book is a must-have, whether you are a Christian or not. In fact if you're not, read this book and see if it answers your questions about why you are not. I'm betting it will.
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on 16 December 2002
Before reading this book I struggled with the idea of Christianity, especially when my girlfriend was a Christian. But this answered 95% of my questions that she couldn't answer. Because of this I have become a Christian, and so has my best mate to whom I have lent the book. This book is amazing!
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on 16 September 2004
Having blundered my way from one 'faith' to another, I thankfully stumbled on Christianity, and then found Lee Strobel's wonderful book, "A Case For Christ," and all I can say is, WOW!
I had many niggling questions regarding my belief in Jesus Christ, but one by one all these questions faded away as I read the chapters within this book. Through Strobel's delving investigations into the authenticity of Christ, His works and His history (Strobel gathered his information from top experts around the world) I've learned that Jesus truly did exist and his miracles are very real.
This book is factual.
All the information provided is genuine.
In this book, Strobel provides a riveting journalistic investigation into the life of Christ that is a real page-turner!
If, like me, you are new to Christianity then this book is a must.
If you are a Christian, then this book will certainly reinforce your love and beliefs in Christ and His wonderful Works.
It's a MUST!
(I'd have given it 7 out of 5 stars, but Amazon wouldn't let me.)
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on 18 October 2016
Very disappointing, I had high hopes for this, but it's clumsily written, and even more clumsily dealt with as a subject. Every section begins the same way - a comparison is made to a legal/criminal case, then a ham-handed interview is conducted with a so-called expert. Endless questions seem to seek to say how earnest this all is, as if trying to convince us that a twee answer at the end of a mountain of questions will somehow prove the point - it doesn't.

The interviews are conducted in excruciating style, with constant interjections by the 'interviewer', giving pointless descriptions of how he and the other person looked, or movements each made, giving no relevance at all to the script other than to be annoying. It's almost as if this person has a screw loose which prevents him seeing everyday life as it really is. Very bad writing, which is a shame, as this is the most important subject there is, and he probably means well. But then, so did Hitler.
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on 30 September 2006
I'll admit right now that I was (and still am) an athesist or at least an agnostic when I picked up this book. The style in which Strobel uses to discuss the key questions against Christ is compelling and turns the book into a real page-turner. His 'interrogation' of the theological experts ensures that the questions that you have are posed and a form of an answer given. However, I would suggest to anyone who feels compelled to convert to Christianity after reading this book to at least take note of the websites out there that have compiled a very detailed critique of the book and the 'testaments' given by the experts. Either way, its a very interesting read and hopefully, rather than immediately converting people, leads them to investigate further the case of Jesus and Christianity and perhaps the responses of the athesist school of thought to gather a balanced opinion.
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on 20 August 1999
This is absolutely the finest introduction to the evidence for Jesus that I have ever read, and I've read plenty of them (I have an MA in Philosophy of religion). The author conducts solid, critical, and highly readable interviews with some of the finest theologians and Christian thinkers around. He has just the right combination of skepticism and a willingness to come to reasonable conclusions. For those who think he doesn't probe enough -- what book are you reading? This book delves into the most controversial and cutting-edge issues involving Jesus. The author takes the toughest objections from atheists like Michael Martin and forces Christians to give reasonable answers. He builds his case point by point, in a solid and methodical way. If you read one book concerning the evidence for Christianity, make it this one. If you are planning to give a spiritual seeker one book about Christianity, make it this one. I agree with Billy Graham that this is a powerful and persuasive volume that should be widely shared. Don't be deterred by those who say the author didn't interview non-believers; he did something better -- he took the best arguments from skeptics and put Christianity to the test. Some folks might not like the fact that Christianity wins.
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on 5 January 2012
It would be unfair to criticise this book for being when its title clearly indicates that its mission is to set out the one-sided case for Jesus's existence as the son of God. However, between its covers, Strobel gives the impression of an unbiased search for the truth, complete with a sprinkling of courtroom anecdotes to imply a high level of scrutiny, which this book simply isn't. He speaks to not a single scholar who is not an evangelical Christian.

My first problem in this book came with the first two chapters which attempt to explain why we should believe what the gospels say. Here Strobel unfortunately falls back on circular arguments such as mentioning the good character of the gospel writers as reason for believing their accounts. However, the only evidence we have for their characters is in the gospels themselves, so one already needs to be convinced by the gospels to buy this argument.

These first two chapters are amongst the weakest in the book, which is problematic as many of the later arguments of the book are based on the reliability of the gospels, so if you haven't been convinced by that, many of the later chapters fall down too.

The biggest problem with Strobel's investigation is that while he asks some of the challenging questions of his academics that are often posed by sceptics, he swallows whatever explanation they give him with no further scrutiny no matter how implausible their explanations are. For example, at one point he asks how it is possible for the massacre of the infants by Herod to have taken place as Herod's reign does not fit in with the dates of other events in the Bible. The answer he is given is that there might have been another King Herod. This to me sounds like an attempt to validate a previously held belief, not an honest attempt at historical discovery. Yet Strobel accepts many answers of this calibre without hesitation, which is frustrating for the reader.

Another fatal flaw of Strobel's approach is that he adds no weight to the fact that one needs greater historical evidence to believe in miracles than to believe other things. For example, if there is a 2000 year old document that says Julius Caesar enjoyed drinking wine, we may well accept this to have a reasonable probability of accuracy, but if it said he walked on water we would probably ask for more evidence. Strobel does not appear to realise this.

He is also too eager to jump to supernatural conclusions. Even if we agree with him up to the point that the gospels are fantastic, reliable accounts from the time, the most likely explanation is still not that a man who is the son of a deity was sent to Earth and performed miracles. While Strobel dismisses explanations such as hoax, hallucination, misreporting, legendary exaggeration and lying, he fails to acknowledge that even if unlikely these explanations are all more likely than the supernatural explanation. Again, he requires someone who already believes elements of the Bible or in a god for this to convince, which is a shame as his aim is to convince us of Jesus's divinity by secular historical means,an aim which he fails to meet.

Ultimately, this book looks good on the surface, but falls down following the application of basic critical thought. It will convince those seeking to be convinced, but anyone with a genuinely neutral stance shouldn't be taken in.

It has been said that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Lee Strobel would do well to remember this.
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