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If Christ Be Not Risen...

Scholars debate the meaning of the Resurrection.
1998This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

The Resurrection: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Resurrection of Jesus, edited by Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall, and Gerald O'Collins (Oxford University Press, 368 pp; $35, hardcover). Reviewed by D.A. Carson, research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Books on the resurrection of Jesus are many. What makes this one distinctive is its scope. Its chapters include contributions from biblical studies, systematic theology, the philosophy of religion, homiletics, liturgy, fundamental theology (in the Catholic definition), the study of religious art, and literary criticism. Theologically, the contributors range from confessional conservatives such as William Craig to a variety of liberals (though in the current mix of outlooks these categories are inadequate and leave me uneasy).

The sheer diversity makes the book as interesting as it is difficult to review. The contribution of some of the essays is primarily to the history of thought about the Resurrection. Thus, after sketching the history of biblical expressions for resurrection, Alan Segal argues that second-temple Jews were divided: on the one side were "millenarian" movements that lionized the Jewish martyrs who lost their lives in the expectation of bodily resurrection at the end of time; on the other were those intellectuals who embraced some form of the Platonic idea of the immortality of the soul, emphasizing continuity of consciousness beyond death. Segal argues that the martyrdom context influenced Christians living in the shadow of the Cross. Eventually immortality was subsumed under resurrection in both Judaism and Christianity, though in characteristically different forms.

No less interested in historical development is Marguerite ...

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