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Logical Inferences, Dated Presentation
on 4 April 2014
Who Moved the Stone? was an enjoyable read.
Morison's main contention is to show that the tomb of Jesus was indeed empty on that first Easter morning. But he doesn't go much further than that. There is little discussion of the nature or meaning of the resurrection appearances for example, or the implications of empty tomb + appearances = risen Christ.
The prose is quite dated at nearly 80 years old, but take it slowly and carefully and its entirely manageable. Some readers may be put off by his characterisations of the women disciples of Jesus. Furthermore, he makes references to authors or arguments yet provides no footnotes to back up his quotes and let the reader follow his trail.
Some of the minutiae in his case seems a bit odd too.
For example, he argues that we can have no idea who the "young man" at the tomb in Mark's gospel is, because he dismisses Luke and Matthew's accounts that there were angels at the tomb as later legendary additions. Instead, Morison prefers some unknown disciple, not one of the Twelve and not one of the women, who believed Jesus' message about his forthcoming resurrection and hurried to the tomb first thing to see for himself if what Jesus had predicted was true.
Secondly, as to the question "Who moved the Stone?", Morison (I think) suggests that the Temple Guard who had been placed there moved it themselves, based in part, from a quote in the 2nd Century, fragmentary "Gospel of the Hebrews".
Overall though, his case is good. He makes logical inferences when reading the New Testament as an historical narrative. In particular, his suggestion that the women did indeed visit the tomb and discovered it empty, yet were subsequently removed from the early Christian apologetic makes sense.
This book has helped me consider afresh the reality of Easter, and will prove helpful when discussing the resurrection with non-Christians. However, I would not recommend giving this book straight to a non-Christian; it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt in parts.