I recently read a book called The Jesus Inquest by Charles Foster. This book looked closely at the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and included both for and against arguments in detailed fashion.
I am a born again Christian that firmly believes in the resurrection account contained in Scripture. Having spent time reading this book, I find that my largest complaint is that the author never explicitly states his own opinion. I understand and applaud the idea of writing a book while trying to be as objective as possible. However, what is the point of writing a book detailing explicit arguments if the results of the effort do not lead you to embrace one side or the other?
To be fair, the author does tell the reader that he has reached a decision based on the evidence. Unfortunately, this only added to my frustration at not knowing what that decision was. Imagine for a moment if the President of the United States proposed a bill that had many negatives and positives. Imagine if he concluded his presentation by saying, "In light of all of the evidence for and against this measure, I have made a decision; I hope you can make one as well." That kind of incomplete and shady statement would make even an ardent supporter scratch his head.
Again, I understand the author's desire to remain objective throughout the book. However, if the point of one's book is to cultivate an opinion in the reader, then the reader should know how the research affected the opinion of the author. What the readers of this book are left with is exactly what many of them had before they picked it up: the case for both sides.
Despite the one flaw that I have detailed, I found the book to be incredibly informative and thought-provoking. Not only did the author put forth every argument in painstaking detail, he also explained where each argument stood in relation to mainstream thought. For example, some arguments against the resurrection are not even considered valid by those most opposed to the idea of it. Instead of leaving those arguments out of his research, the author included them and detailed the pros and cons, regardless of how ludicrous they were.
Since I started out biased toward the Christian viewpoint, I found myself appalled at some of the accusations against the resurrection. I also found myself cheering when the evidence for a certain aspect of the resurrection clearly debunked an argument against it. The author did make one statement that caused me some concern. He suggested that no one could believe in verbal inspiration after a close examination of the Gospels. His argument stemmed from the many differences and omissions between Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I disagree wholly with that suggestion.
Overall, this book has caused me to examine some things more closely, to lean more fully on faith, and to take Scripture at its face-value. I think that this book is a must-read for those interested in apologetics, as it really does a good job of trying to "prove" both sides of the argument.
You can check out the reviewed book at <http://www.booksneeze.com/blogger/resources/9780849948114>
*the publisher of this book provided me with a complimentary or advanced reading copy through BookSneezeÂ®.
The essential belief of the Christian faith is the assertion that Jesus Christ was crucified, died, was buried, and then rose from the dead. In The Jesus Inquest: The Case For and Against the Resurrection of the Christ, published by Thomas Nelson, author Charles Foster uses his experience and training as a barrister in the U.K and tutor of Medical Law and Ethics at Oxford University to examine the arguments and evidence for and against this crucial tenet of Christianity.
Foster has designed his argument in a format that pits two formidable opponents, represented by "X" (arguing that the Resurrection did not happen as presented in the Gospels) and "Y" (presenting the evidence that supports the Gospel narrative). Foster draws upon his training as a barrister to take a seemingly unbiased stance for both personas. This being said, he definitely writes from a Christian worldview. Starting with the Biblical narrative as the foundation for both sides of the argument, Foster then uncovers, presents, and responds to a skeptic's view of the Resurrection story in a way that at times leads you to believe that two different authors are in fact contributing to this book.
The Jesus Inquest is a very informative read for both the believer and the skeptic...it will challenge your assumptions, but in a way that is encouraging and foundational to a deeper understanding of what truly happened. It is well researched and cited, and contains amazing insight and explanation of the cultural realities of Palestine during the life of Jesus. Although, the exploration of the arguments can, at times, wander into a redundant wasteland of half baked conspiracy; Foster ultimately ties it all together in the epilogue with a reminder that "There is only one hypothesis consistent with the truth of Christianity; there are very many hypotheses consistent with the falsehood" (281) and that this is ultimately "something about which you'll have to make up your own mind" (286).
If you want a primer on the basic arguments surrounding the Resurrection of Christ, especially as so many modern novelists pick up on some of the various hypotheses, please read your Bible; then pick up The Jesus Inquest by Charles Foster.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com <http://BookSneezeÂ®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Unlike most books which will take one viewpoint or the other, this book spends 50% of the time and space arguing against the resurrection, and 50% arguing for it. Both sides are well researched, and well presented.
This book is not for everyone. And I don't think it should be.
Foster argues both sides of the question with great skill, and his points are well researched and thorough. At times however I found that his arguments -for- the resurrection were a little wishy-washy. I kept wanting to shout out "No, don't say it like that. There's a better argument." I suppose it is the natural inclination of every lawyer to give his best effort to the version he has the lease faith in.
I am concerned that many of the queries raised by his doubting "X" persona are not adequately responded to by his faithful "Y" persona, and that those without a thorough knowledge of the points raised might be led into further doubt or confusion.
I was also concerned by his constant refrain of "Of course no Christian actually believes that" and similar. He seemed to be trying to portray all Christians as logical rationalists, whereas some of the points raised are in fact believed by Christians, myself included.
An interesting academic work, but not one I would recommend for light reading.
In The Jesus Inquest author Charles Foster presents arguments both for and against the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is done through the use of two characters: X and Y. X represents the non-Christian viewpoint, while Y argues the Christian views. It is clear that the author did extensive research and is very well versed on the subject. For me, however, the book was rather difficult to read. It read more like a text-book to me, so it was hard to stay focused and get through. But, I will admit that the information contained is very good and the book is worth the read. In the end, if you are a non-Christian seeking answers I think this book may leave you with more questions than answers.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for my honest review.
The Jesus Inquest: The Case For and Against the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was written by Charles Foster. he's a writer, barrister, tutor in medical law and ethics at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford. Foster has written, contributed to, or edited over thirty other books.
The Jesus Inquest is a debate between two characters: X and Y.
X presents a non-Christian view and argues against the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Y presents a Christian view and argues for the reusrrection of Jesus Christ.
the chapters of the book examine the vital elements of this inquiry.
1.) Doe's All This Matter?
2.) The Sources
3.) The Death
4.) The Burial
5.) The Empty Tomb
6.) The Post-resurrection Appearances.
7.) Did The Early Church Believe in the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus?
8.) Where Did the Christians Get Their Idea of Resurrection?
there is an epilogue and several useful appendicies. Foster's Index and Select Bibliography are helpful.
the book is extremely well documented and referenced. the notes at the end are excellent and each element of the debate is cross-referenced at the bottom of the page so you can read through the book from beginning to end or you can go back and forth through each argument from X and Y.
The Jesus Inquest is well-written and easy to read. this is a wonderful apologetics book that goes deeper and further than the work of Lee Strobel or Josh McDowell, as helpful as they are. Foster works harder and makes Christians work harder to explore this important topic.