Item description for The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 3) by N. T. Wright...
Overview Why did Christianity begin, and why did it take the shape it did? To answer this question -- which any historian must face -- renowned New Testament scholar N. T. Wright focuses on the key points: what precisely happened at Easter? What did the early Christians mean when they said that Jesus of Nazareth had been raised from the dead? What can be said today about this belief? This book, third in Wright's series Christian Origins and the Question of God, sketches a map of ancient beliefs about
life after death, in both the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds. It then highlights the fact that the early Christians' belief about the afterlife belonged firmly on the Jewish spectrum, while introducing several new mutations and sharper definitions. This, together with other features of early Christianity, forces the historian to read the Easter narratives in the gospels, not simply as late rationalizations of early Christian spirituality, but as accounts of two actual events: the empty tomb of Jesus and his "appearances."
Publishers Description Why did Christianity begin, and why did it take the shape it did? To answer this question -- which any historian must face -- renowned New Testament scholar N. T. Wright focuses on the key points: what precisely happened at Easter? What did the early Christians mean when they said that Jesus of Nazareth had been raised from the dead? What can be said today about this belief?
This book, third in Wright's series Christian Origins and the Question of God, sketches a map of ancient beliefs about life after death, in both the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds. It then highlights the fact that the early Christians' belief about the afterlife belonged firmly on the Jewish spectrum, while introducing several new mutations and sharper definitions. This, together with other features of early Christianity, forces the historian to read the Easter narratives in the gospels, not simply as late rationalizations of early Christian spirituality, but as accounts of two actual events: the empty tomb of Jesus and his "appearances."
How do we explain these phenomena? The early Christians' answer was that Jesus had indeed been bodily raised from the dead; that was why they hailed him as the messianic "son of God." No modern historian has come up with a more convincing explanation. Facing this question, we are confronted to this day with the most central issues of the Christian worldview and theology.
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Studio: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.02" Width: 6.14" Height: 1.65" Weight: 2.44 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 2003
Publisher AUGSBURG FORTRESS PUB. #99
Series Christian Origins and the Question of God
Series Number 3
ISBN 0800626796 ISBN13 9780800626792
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More About N. T. Wright
Born in 1948 in Northumberland, England, N.T. Wright is the Bishop of Durham. He was formerly Dean of Lichfield and lecturer in New Testament studies at Oxford University as well as fellow, tutor, and chaplain of Worcester College, Oxford. He has also served as professor of New Testament language and literature in various colleges and universities. With doctorates in divinity and in philosophy from the University of Oxford, N. T. Wright is a member of the Society for New Testament Studies, the Society of Biblical Literature, the Institute for Biblical Research, the Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical Research, and the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars. He has published more than 40 works at both scholarly and popular levels related to New Testament studies, especially on the origins of Christianity and Biblical Christology.
N. T. Wright has an academic affiliation as follows - Worcester College, Oxford.
N. T. Wright has published or released items in the following series...
Christian Origins and the Question of God (Paperback)
Reviews - What do customers think about The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 3)?
It's all about worldviews Jan 1, 2007
I think one's reaction to this massive work of superb scholarship will depend on one's worldview.
If your worldview is that there is a God (or god, as Wright would put it) who remains interested in the affairs of His creation, and that this God can cause supernatural things to occur, then you will probably agree with Wright: no other explanation for the rise of Christianity makes nearly as much sense as the accounts given in the New Testament. If God has given you the gift of the Spirit, but you've still harbored doubts about "could Jesus really have risen bodily from the dead," then this book will almost certainly make your faith stronger.
On the other hand, if your worldview is that no form of the supernatural is possible and that there is no omnipresent God, you are not likely to be convinced by this book - because its argument, ultimately, rests on the conclusion that a supernatural event, orchestrated by God, occurred: i.e., Jesus's body did not begin to decay when his heart and lungs stopped pumping oxygen to his cells, and God transformed this body into a "transphysical" form with which Jesus made his post-Resurrection appearances. Wright's whole argument is that this is the most likely explanation of the historical events that followed, and he develops that argument superbly. But if you cannot accept the basic premise, and if you are not able to at least consider that your worldview could be incomplete, then none of Wright's arguments are likely to sway you.
As a believing Christian, I believe that God did, indeed, raise Jesus from the dead; and Wright's beautiful prose and erudite scholarship have, if anything, strengthened my faith. But I have real doubts about whether skeptics (if somehow they could be convinved to read the 800 pages) would be convinced by this work.
Also an Important Reference and Commentary Oct 21, 2006
Do not view this book as merely a "defense of the resurrection" - a number of more slender volumes can accomplish that feat. This book is instead a significant historical and theological treatment of the idea and doctrine of the resurrection within a wide variety of ancient sources. While it does result in an affirmation of the historic Christian position that Jesus indeed rose from the dead, this book also serves more broadly as an historical and theological reference work.
I have found, in particular, Wright's discussions of the gospel accounts to be some of the most useful contemporary commentary on Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John available. In exploring the final chapters of each gospel, he provides insight into each gospel's individual purpose and also the unity of the four. And DO NOT MISS Wright's discussion of Mark's abrupt (or not?) ending! Whereas many scholars are all too happy to view Mark as a gospel without a resurrection account, Wright offers crippling critique against this modern view and provides compelling evidence that the resurrected Jesus of Matthew and Luke is likewise the risen Lord of Mark.
I offer this example because some will not wish to read this book cover to cover, yet you should know that large sections of this book will still prove helpful. My example (the gospel accounts) comes near the end of this large volume; there are numerous other issues explored that I haven't begun to discuss here! (Old Testament view of resurrection, intermediate state, Jewish understanding of resurrection in Jesus' day...)
I suspect Wright will be (or has been) dismissed by liberal theologians unwilling to allow to the table someone who would indeed call Jesus "Lord." Yet as one whose nose has been in plenty of more skeptical volumes, whether biblical commentaries or works on the "historical Jesus," I find that Wright's scholarship is as rigorous as anything I've yet to see. Surprisingly, he is also quite readable: a rare and fortunate combination.
I should note that I don't agree with some of Wright's views concerning Jesus as expressed in his earlier work, "Jesus and the Victory of God." But this book has given me tremendous respect for N.T. Wright. (His newer volume entitled "Simply Christian" is also a gem.) But for a work of this magnitude, with so much that is useful to the historian, theologian, or (for that matter) evangelist -- I must give this 5 stars.
There's an Obvious Explanation being IGNORED Sep 14, 2006
As usual, NT Wright has missed the Correct Answer in his quest to shore up the fading structure of Christianity.
In the Publisher's comment: "the early Christians' belief about the afterlife belonged firmly on the Jewish spectrum, while introducing several new mutations and sharper definitions."
In Judaism of the first century, there were many Resurrection cults. The Pharisees believed in angels, demonic spirits and resurrection of the dead.
Again: "How do we explain these phenomena? The early Christians' answer was that Jesus had indeed been bodily raised from the dead. No modern historian has come up with a more convincing explanation."
Sorry, but we HAVE come up with a more convincing explanation.
The Resurrection cults were looking for new victims. When they heard about Jesus, they started telling people that "Yes, we saw the resurrected Jesus." Because they were dishonest, even dangerous cults recruiting victims... I mean, members.
It's the kind of lie that a Resurrection cult would invent. Even Paul said that Jesus was only the first-fruits of an imminent General Resurrection in 1 corinthians 15.
If Mr. Wright would stop trying to con us, he would have to admit that a LIE is simply a more convincing and believable explanation for the resurrection appearances of Jesus.
Back to Origins Jul 5, 2006
Wright does what every Christian reformer has tried to do: lead the church back to its founding experience and principles. Like a house lived in for many decades by the same people, the church is always accumulating detritus and keeping it only for its nostalgic value. Because he knows first-century history perhaps as well as anyone alive today, he is keenly aware of what Christian experience and belief originally were and how those differ from later accretions. It is no doubt because of these elements of his admirable accomplishments that, in addition to widespread acclamation, he has attracted murmurs of dissent from both extremes of the church--those who would preserve every scrap of what they naively deem to be "historical" Christianity, and those who wish to jettison everything about the early church that might make someone uneasy. This is a wonderful book for anyone who seeks to reaffirm his or her Christian roots. It is refreshing to read an articulate and intelligent Christian who thinks logically, writes clearly, and is scrupulously honest. Like a man who knows both the weaknesses and strengths in an old wooden bridge, he walks sturdily across it, being not merely defensive on behalf of the faith, but finding good grounds for defending it nonetheless.
The definitive work on the subject Mar 31, 2006
This is an enormous and very important work that is volume three of N T Wright's "Christian Origins and the Question of God. The first volume was "The New Testament and the People of God" and the second volume was "Jesus and the Victory of God." All three volumes (and I understand that eventually there are suppose to be six) are not only worth reading, but there is not any way to read even one without being thoroughly challenged and taught. "The Resurrection of the Son of God" spends the first 206 pages doing a survey of pagan (mainly Greco-Roman) and Jewish views of resurrection or life after death prior to the first century. This includes Homeric and Platonic views of what happens to the dead. Wright concludes at the end of the day that these views of life after death are not the same as the New Testament or Jewish view of bodily resurrection. These chapters are very interesting and lead to an understanding that the Jews were unique in their view of bodily resurrecion. Wright then surveys the material of the Jews, including the Protestant Old Testament and what has come to be called the Apocryphal writings, Josephus, and more. The conclusion that he reaches here was that first century Jews expected bodily resurrection at the end of history in order to vendicate those who were in the right with YHWH. Wright moves into part 2 of this book with a look at resurrection in Paul. Here he deals with every thing Paul says about life after death and not just passages that speak directly to the subject. It would be hard to imagine anybody being more convincing in exegesis or more thorough in their task that Wright is here on this subject. He gives detailed attention especially to First Corinthians 15 which is where Paul spoke directly to the subject. What is good about Wright's approach is that he surveys the over all letter of Corinthians or any book he is dealing with and then goes into the passage in question and shows how it connects to the entire letter. At the end of the day he shows that Paul stands firmly on the fact that Jesus was bodily resurrected from the grave after being dead for three days. Paul is convinced that God has done for Jesus in the middle of time what was expected to happen to all of righteous Israel at the end of time. Wright moves on from Paul to the rest of the New Testament, except for the Gospels which he saves for last, to discuss how that the same conclusion has been reached that Jesus was indeed bodily raised from the dead. The next sections cover the early church fathers and the conclusion is reached that they too held to the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Wright then deals with the Nag Hammadi writings that deny bodily resurrection, but comes to the conclusion that this view arises as a later development and not as the original view in the Church. It is shown that it would not make sense to go from a view of gnostic spiritual resurrection to the idea of bodily resurrection. Wright then turns do deal with the gospel of Peter, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. His conclusion is that the gospel of Peter is later in both writing and in development than the traditional four gospels. He masterfully points out that if the gospel writers had invented the tale of the empty tomb that they could have done a much better job. He asks the question why would someone who wanted to invent a believable story about Jesus rising from the dead have women going to the tomb first, since in that culture women were not considered credible witnesses. He maintains that the empty tomb and the account of the witnesses after the resurrection suggests, to any historian willing to honestly evaluate the evidence, that Jesus rose bodily from the grave on the third day. The book concludes with a look about the meaning of the resurrection. This book and message are of enourmous importance and I recommend that it be read by any who really want to know the story and meaning of God's act of new creation by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
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