Charles Foster is an English barrister (lawyer) who debates himself over the evidences for and against Jesus’ resurrection.
I found this book fascinating. Foster has done an exhaustive job of gathering facts in different subject areas such as acceptable source material, manner of death (or lack thereof), burial, empty tomb (or lack thereof), witness testimony, and contemporary circumstances that impinged upon the case evaluation. In different areas he then argues the cases against (X) and for (Y) vital components that could establish or dismiss the idea of resurrection.
I appreciate that Foster draws no conclusions, but lets the reader make up his own mind on the strengths of the arguments. If one starts the study by accepting that the existence of God is a possibility, however remote, some surprising indications for a resurrection appear.
For what it’s worth, I am a skeptic and scientist who came to faith through studying the historic circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus. I therefore had a considerable familiarity with this subject before reading this book. My biggest reservation with this book is that learning the outlines of a complex subject through a detailed and thorough exposition can be frustrating for someone not familiar with the area, and I fear that this book may contribute to such a sensation in someone who just wants to know what happened. Mr. Foster dives right in with his arguments without giving the “lay of the land” to orient the reader. For the uninitiated, it may be difficult to tell which facts are the “deal breakers” and which are just “grace notes” on an argument.
Even so, Foster articulately argues both for and against the resurrection. This book is dense and intense reading, but also thought provoking. I agree with the author that the resurrection is a critical issue with which to grapple. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, it doesn’t matter. But if he did, this opens a sequence of inference that lead back to the questions: who is Jesus? And what will you do with this information?
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