The Resurrection of Christ: A Historical Inquiry talks straight, in an honest, open, direct way. He leads the lay reader through the maze of resurrection texts in a readable, even entertaining way. He has mastered an amazing quantity of ancient sources and scholarly literature, and published many highly-technical works. But here he writes simply, clearly, convincingly, in a way any intelligent reader can understand. He does not dodge issues or obscure problems with pious talk, but presses forward to the logical outcome in a way that brings the reader along with him.”
James M. Robinson, Professor of Religion Emeritus,
Claremont Graduate University
Director of the Nag Hammadi Project
of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity
Permanent Secretary of UNESCO's International Committee
for the Nag Hammadi Codices
“Luedemann’s systematic analysis of both canonical and noncanonical texts coupled with his trenchant repudiation of fuzzy theological rhetoric challenges our understandings of both Christian origins and Christianity today. His answers will by no means find universal support, but his arguments deserve the attention of any interested in the often-uneasy relationship among fact, fiction, and faith.”
E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies
Vanderbilt University Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion
Although the resurrection is the keystone dogma of Christian belief, and Sunday churchgoers rarely if ever think to question it, scholarly research shows with the utmost clarity that from a historical standpoint Jesus was not raised from the dead. In fact, it is almost universally recognized among scholars of New Testament textual criticism that the gospel narratives describing the resurrection appearances are not reliable eyewitness accounts, but expressions of faith written by the first Christian believers long after the death of Jesus.
In this thorough exegesis of the primary texts dealing with the resurrection of Jesus, New Testament expert Gerd Lüdemann (University of Göttingen) presents compelling evidence that shows the resurrection was not a historical event and further argues that this development leaves little, if any, basis for Christian faith as presently defined.
Beginning with Paul’s testimony in 1 Cor. 15: 3-8, in which the apostle declares that Jesus “has been raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures,” Lüdemann systematically evaluates every reference to Jesus’ resurrection in the New Testament, as well as apocryphal literature. He examines the purpose of the text writers, the ways in which they reworked tradition, and the historical value of each account. Through this approach, he offers a reconstruction of the probable course of events as well as the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ death on the cross, the burial of his body, his reported resurrection on the third day, and subsequent appearances to various disciples.
Since the historical evidence leads to the firm conclusion that Jesus’ body was not raised from the dead, Lüdemann argues that the origin of the Easter faith must be sought in the visionary experiences of Christianity’s two leading apostles. From a modern perspective this leads to the inescapable conclusion that both primary witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection, Peter and Paul, were victims of self-deception.
In conclusion, he asks whether in light of the nonhistoricity of Jesus’ resurrection, thinking people today can legitimately and in good conscience still call themselves Christians.
Book Binding: Hardcover
Shipping Weight: 2lbs
Gerd Lüdemann is a professor of the history and literature of early
Christianity at the University of Göttingen, Germany. Professor Lüdemann's published conclusions about Christianity aroused great controversy in his native Germany, where the Confederation of Protestant Churches in Lower Saxony demanded his immediate dismissal from the theological faculty of his university. Despite this threat to his academic freedom, he has retained his post at the university, although the chair he holds was renamed to disassociate him from the training program of German pastors. Lüdemann is also the author of Jesus After 2000 Years, Paul: The Founder of Christianity, and The Resurrection of Christ: A Historical Inquiry.