On the Person and Teachings
Gary Habermas and Mike Licona (Kregel: September 25, 2004), 384 pages.
Habermas, who has written several apologetic works on the resurrection, and Licona, a speaker and budding New Testament scholar who was once Habermas's student, offer a comprehensive and far-reaching argument for the historical veracity of Christ's resurrection. In fact, at times it is too far-reaching, as when the authors digress into refutations of Mormonism, alien activity and Elvis sightings; this book would be much improved if it had been trimmed by about a third. Many evangelicals will appreciate the authors' broad evidentiary claims and marshalling of historical, theological, archaeological, biomedical and literary data to support their belief in the resurrection. Yet despite its strong content, the book is poorly written, and is organized in a workmanlike outline format that seems more appropriate for a seminary lecture than a seamless book. A closing chapter offers practical tips for evangelical Christians who wish to share their faith with others. ~ Publishers Weekly
Lee Strobel (Zondervan: Feb 2004)
Strobel, a former journalist for the Chicago Tribune, affirms that Christ really did die on the cross, and not just faint from exhaustion; that he experienced a bodily, and not just a spiritual, resurrection; and that he was seen alive after his death. In journalistic style, he interviews several experts like Gary Habermas, corrects inaccuracies (the nails would have been driven through Jesus' wrists, we learn, and not his palms) and tells stories. But at its heart, this is an editorial rather than a journalistic account, as Strobel most definitely has an opinion and wants readers to share his own pilgrimage from doubt to rock-solid faith. ~ Publishers Weekly
F.F. Bruce (Eerdmans: May 1, 2003)
This book is a fantastic guide for any person, Christian or otherwise, who would like to understand the level of historical accuracy that can be found in the New Testament documents. In that Christianity is a religion whose truth claims are allegedly rooted in historical fact, it is key that the works through which we read of those "facts" be considered reliable. Bruce does a great job of doing just that. No historical account, regardless of reliability, can prove miraculous events. However, Bruce argues, if a work can be proven to be historically and culturally accurate with respect to most of its content, that document then becomes-on the whole-more compelling. Any historian would then need to take more seriously the author's questionable claims such as the miracles, and Christ as God and savior of humanity. For if an author can be shown to be reliable in all other aspects of his work, why should he lie with respect to the documentation of miracles? This line of reasoning, and many other arguments, make Bruce's short book a compelling read for anybody interested in this topic. ~ guy-72 at Amazon.com
Richard Swinburne (Oxford University Press: Feb 20, 2003), 232 pages.
An earnest, powerful book ... worth the perseverance it demands ... Professor Swinburne's argument develops into a compelling commentary on the New Testament, its writers or compilers, and their experiences. Contemporary Review ... well-organised, precise, rigorous and unevasive ... read the book one will learn much. The Tablet Swinburne's book is densely argued. He writes with great clarity, explaining carefully any technical language that he uses. This book often demands close attention from the reader, but it remains accessible. It's argument is breathtaking in its simplicity and scope, and it offers point after point which preachers and teachers might use as pegs on which to hang expository material in sermons or in other contexts ... this book is an outstanding tour de force which offers much to those who would proclaim the resurrection today. ~ Church of England Newspaper
Douglas Groothius (Wadsworth Publishing: June 2002), 96 pages.
Like other titles in the Wadsworth Philosopher's Series, On Jesus offers a concise, yet comprehensive, introduction to this philosopher's most important ideas. Presenting the most important insights of well over a hundred seminal philosophers in both the Eastern and Western traditions, the Wadsworth Philosophers Series contains volumes written by scholars noted for their excellence in teaching and for their well-versed comprehension of each featured philosopher's major works and contributions. These titles have proven valuable in a number of ways. Serving as standalone texts when tackling a philosophers' original sources or as helpful resources for focusing philosophy students' engagements with these philosopher's often conceptually daunting works, these titles have also gained extraordinary popularity with a lay readership and quite often serve as "refreshers" for philosophy instructors. ~ Product Description
William Lane Craig (Wipf & Stock: Jun 2001), 156 pages.
The meat of the book is in two chapters, on the "Empty Tomb" and the "Appearances of Jesus". Craig offers ten points supporting the historical fact of the empty tomb, beginning with "The historical reliability of the account of Jesus' burial supports the empty tomb" to "The fact that Jesus' tomb was not venerated as a shrine indicates that the tomb was empty." Most of the arguments are persuasively presented, though I wish all apologists would leave the Shroud aside. But in the end, Craig adequately explains the reasons that most scholars, from diverse backgrounds, accept the empty tomb as historical fact. The section on the Appearances of Jesus begins by demonstrating their historicity and then examines their explanations. He first shows that Peter, the Twelve, the five hundred, James, the apostles, and Paul did indeed experience appearances by Jesus. Craig then moves through the potential explanations and concludes that the best explanation for these appearances is that they were indeed real events, interactions with a living and breathing restored Jesus. Craig caps off his argument with a discussion about the resurrection's role as the best explanation for the Origin of the Christian Faith itself
Albert Schweitzer, W. Montgomery (Dover: Feb 11, 2005), 416 pages.
This book is a turning point in the history of Jesus studies. Schweitzer demonstrates how previous research was really an (unwitting) attempt by liberal and rationalist theologians to proof-text a Jesus who would embarrass orthodox Protestantism and serve as a figurehead for liberal ("Fatherhood of God, Brotherhood of Man") Christianity. Schweitzer showed how each historical reconstruction of Jesus uncannily matched the beliefs and agenda of the scholar in question. But Schweitzer knew the Christ of orthodoxy was not the historical Jesus either. One could only discover the latter by being willing to find the unexpected, and Schweitzer thought he found a Jesus who was a prophet of the end of the world, who expected to judge the earth as the Son of Man, and who died tragically mistaken. Even so, he still serves as a beacon of spiritual force for the ages. As does Schweitzer's great book! ~ Robert M. Price
Gabriele Finaldi (National Gallery Publications: May 2000), 224 pages.
The Image of Christ by Gabriele Finaldi is a beautifully illustrated, colorful history of how Christ has been portrayed by artists from the early church to the present. It is not, however, a life of Christ told in pictures. Instead, the book explores the challenges Christian artists have faced as they have tried to imagine what Jesus looked like. Since no eyewitness descriptions of Jesus' physical appearance survived, the earliest artists' depictions of Christ played on the symbols and images that he used in his parables--such as the Good Shepherd, the Light, and the Vine. Later, artists became concerned with capturing Christ's true physical likeness, based on miraculous relics such as the cloth that Saint Veronica offered him on his way to Calvary, which was believed to be imprinted with an image of his face. These stages in the history of Christian art are described by several art historians in brief essays, each of which is lavishly illustrated. The book, which was inspired by Seeing Salvation: The Image of Christ, an exhibition at the National Gallery, London, will be treasured by secular and believing readers alike. A deeper understanding of the religious context of these works will sharpen viewers' experience of their universal relevance. The dozens of pictures, paintings, and sculptures reproduced here bear profound witness not only to the events of Jesus' life, but also to the enduring power of a mother's love for her children, the suffering of innocents, and love's triumph over death. ~ Michael Joseph Gross
Jaroslav Pelikan (Yale University Press: Nov 10, 1999), 304 pages.
Ask anyone to name the most influential person in history, and chances are the reply will be, simply, "Jesus." Here, Yale historian Pelikan ably explores the universe of power and influence embedded in that revered five-letter name, as he surveys the role of the carpenter from Galilee in "the general history of culture." Pelikan proceeds from the premise that the "image" of Jesus - his identity as perceived by successive epochs - is a mirror reflecting the course of Western civilization, and that tracing that image through time will reveal the "continuities and discontinuities" of the past two millennia. His project uncovers mostly discontinuities; Western culture's christological imagery changes dramatically from age to age. Pelikan begins by looking at the early concept of Jesus as prophet and and rabbi, prevalent in the first century. Subsequent chapters cover in chronological order 17 other major representations of Jesus. These include Jesus as Logos, as "bridegroom of the soul," as "Universal Man," and so on. Behind these wildly divergent images, however, a rainbowlike pattern emerges: Jesus's prestige arches steeply upwards from his humble origins as a crucified wonder-worker, reaches its apogee in his medieval elevation to alpha and omega of the cosmos, declines in modern times to his quasi-mundane role as prototypical social liberator. This man, it seems, can be all things to all people; like the Beauty he embodied for the Romantics, Jesus lies in the eyes of the beholder.
Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall, Gerald O'Collins, eds. (Oxford: Jan 14, 1999), 400 pages.
This exciting collection of papers is an international, ecumenical, and interdisciplinary study of Jesus' resurrection that emerged from the "Resurrection Summit" meeting held in New York at Easter of 1996. The contributions represent mainstream scholarship on biblical studies, fundamental theology, systematic theology, philosophy, moral theology, and homiletics. Contributors represent a wide range of viewpoints and denominations and include Richard Swinburne, Janet Martin Soskice, Peter F. Carnley, Sarah Coakley, Willian Lane Craig, William P. Alston, M. Shawn Copeland, Paul Rhodes Eddy, Francis Schussler Fiorenza, Brian V. Johnstone, Carey C. Newman, Alan G. Padgett, Pheme Perkins, Alan F. Segal, Marguerite Shuster, and John Wilkins. Combined, they offer a timely, wide ranging, and well balanced work on the central truth of Christianity. ~ Product Description