Craig and Crossan both provide opening addresses, and rebuttals before the two debaters participate in open dialog with Buckley as moderator. Craig presents four lines of evidence which provide "adequate inductive grounds for inferring Jesus' resurrection." He defends all four (Jesus' burial, empty tomb, post-mortem appearances, and the disciples' belief in Jesus' bodily resurrection) by appealing to confirmatory evidence and the acknowledgement by the consensus of critical New Testament scholarship that these are all established historical facts. As amazing as it may sound, at no point does Crossan, or any of the four respondents (Robert Miller, Craig Blomberg, Marcus Borg, & Ben Witherington) even challenge the historicity of these facts. Nor do they challenge that these facts are accepted by the consensus of scholarship, nor that they provide sufficient grounds to infer the resurrection, nor do they suggest any alternate explanations for even one of these facts. I wish that the scholars who deny the resurrection would address these problems rather than avoid them; it's difficult to get excited about a debate when one side refuses to argue.
I probably read this book too early before reading enough other material by members of the Jesus Seminar. Consequently, to make up for this deficiency I focused especially on the response by Marcus Borg. As far as the debate between Crossan and Craig was concerned, I thought it was won by Craig. After having read the entire book ,however, I was left with an increased respect for the contributions of the Jesus Seminar.
This volume is an interesting summary of differing views of the historical Jesus, from evangelical scholar William Lane Craig and liberal John Dominic Crossan, moderated by William Buckley Jr (who's hardly a neutral party.)The different approaches the two take could hardly be made more explicit in the opening remarks, where Lane plunges directly into his arguments about the resurrection (assuming the entire NT can be trusted verbatim to be true), while Crossan expounds his theory of where the NT comes from (thereby suggesting that it's simplistic to argue from the premise that the NT is literally true.)Since the two never address these fundamental differences, the remainder of the debate, while interesting, is really the case of two sides not even speaking the same language. More helpful are the accompanying essays, especially Craig Blomberg's. Both sides make the claim that their views represent the majority of scholarly opinion,and both sides accuse the other of avoiding the issues.A much better debate book on these issues is the Marcus Borg/NT Wright, Jesus:2 Views.