Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Jesus Inquest by Charles Foster

The Jesus Inquest: The Case For and Against The Resurrection of tthe Christ by Charles Foster, is a welcome addition to the genre of literature that defends the biblical belief in the resurrection of Jesus.  The biggest distinction of this book is that it thorougly covers the arguments for and against the resurrection. The objective nature of this book, may present a stumbling block for some readers whose faith in Christianity is lukewarm,  Perhaps for certain indivduals whose faith in the resurrection is shakey or for those who are adamant in their atheism- they may find themselves swayed by the arguments against the resurrection.  It is ironic, that a major downside is that the author in painstaking detail presents the evidence for BOTH sides of the argument, which perhaps may result in some weaker minded Christians in losing their faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

While it is not the first time, an attorney has taken it upon himself to cover the case for the resurrection of Jesus in a book, Foster's book is unique in the sense that he believes the evidence presented should not be faith based. He states in the preface, "I shudder to think of the sort of faith that rests on such certanties.......You can only make  'beyond reasonable doubt' assertions if faith has dictaed the course of the trial. And a trial like that is no trial at all..... Faith has absolutely no part to play in the inquiry itself". He refers to himself as an "intellectual prostitute" preface xi.  In otherwords, he takes pride in his objectivity, stating that he is better at arguing points that he either does not believe in or has no personal stake in.  Hence, being the devil's advocate, he blieves his stategy makes his arguments more powerful than that of a Christian who seeks to defend the resurrection based on faith.

The book is presented as a logical argument remeniscent to those arguments of Aristotle and Socrates.  Firstly, the main documents/ evidence is presented before each specific argument,  for example,this includes the books of the bible as well as other ancient written works and sources such as Tacitus, Seutonius and Josephus. This scholarly examination and scuitiny is applied to the examination of other works, even modern works such as the infamous Davinci Code. Without going into the author's conclusions and spoiling the experience for the reader- the book covers arguments and addresses the issues for the death, burial, the empty tomb, post resurrection appearances, early church beliefs as well as the well known infamous shroud of Tourin.  Each section has its own dedicated chapter presenting arguments for and against.  A black and white photograph insert is included in the book as well.  The arguments are presented as "x" vs "y", whereas one represents the case against the resurrection and the other represents the advocate for the resurrection of Jesus.

Regardless of what you believe- whether you are a staunch athiest, or a born again believer, the debate on the validity of the resurrection is important and should not be dismissed. This book will appeal to the secular and educated reader as well as the theologen, alike. One word of caution, for those with a weak faith in the bible, this book may present questionable doubts.  For staunch muslims and conspiracy theorists, this book will provide fuel for their conspiracy theories as well. As a blogger for booksneeze, I recieved a copy of the book from Thomas Nelson publishers for the purpose of writing this review,  This book makes an excellent reference book, and is a book that merits serious consideration when making a decision on the case for the resurrection.

1 comment:

  1. Patricia,
    Many thanks for your thoughtful review of the book. I'm glad that you found it useful.
    With all best wishes.
    Charles Foster