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Beyond Resurrection Paperback – November, 1999

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Paperback, November, 1999
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"New Morning Mercies"
See more by Paul David Tripp.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A.J.M. Wedderburn is professor of New Testament in the Protestant Faculty of the University of Munich.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hendrickson Publishers (November 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565634861
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565634862
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 1.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,039,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Warren Hamby on November 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
Wedderburn raises some questions few Christians dare raise, that Christians need to raise. Can the physical resurrection of Jesus be historically verified? If it were to be historically verified, would it be meaningful and important to our Christian faith? If resurrection is not a part of our theology, what can we believe in? The author states his purpose as "to move beyond 'resurrection' and a faith bewitched by that concept to a faith that is thoroughly this-worldly." I think he did a marvelous job raising the issues, but his attempt to move one toward anything new was weak.
Part 1 examined the historical evidence for a physical resurrection. There is circumstantial evidence, and the author concludes that something definitely occurred that first Easter morning in Jerusalem. However, we do not know what that something was, so we are compelled to either believe it was physical resurrection because of our "need to believe" it, or take a non-committal, agnostic position. Actually, I was impressed with how much circumstantial evidence there is. Wedderburn concludes that belief based on our "need to believe" is not justified, that in fact we do not need to believe it, and the lack of knowing what took place calls for the agnostic position. I am skeptical of the importance Wedderburn assigns to the possibility of "knowing what happened." Suppose we did have enough evidence that we knew, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Jesus physically rose that morning. Could we then say we "knew what happened?" We would know that once there was a dead body, then there was no body but a live human, who was the same human who once lived in the dead body.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By B. Simonsen on September 17, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wedderburn's premiss is that historians can only establish a likelihood that an event has occurred. In his exploration of the resurrection of Jesus, he finds that significant questions remain unanswered and hence concludes that his premiss is confirmed. The book is well researched; however few arguments contrary to his thesis are presented or refuted.

His initial assumption is that "it is unlikely that the state of the evidence is often going to be such that the verdict upon it is ever going to be `beyond all reasonable doubt.'" He then limits the possible outcomes to being more or less probable. He concludes that one should not base one's life or faith upon a maybe. On the contrary, we routinely base our lives upon `maybe' when we drive on the freeway or fly. The real question regarding the resurrection doesn't concern certainty but probability.

Wedderburn's primary technique is to propose numerous questions to raise doubts about an issue, but he seldom develops answers or critically addresses a topic. He merely proceeds through the issue as if his merely asking questions prove his point. The standard he has established is that in the case of doubt one should not have faith. He presumes this is enough.

Through the use of historical criticism, he establishes doubts about the resurrection of Jesus. He questions whether the body was stolen, points out minor inconsistencies in the Gospel accounts, and questions whether we can believe in miracles. He fails to provide the answers which are readily available by such authors as N. T. Wright or Gary Habermas, but rather jumps to the conclusion that the biblical accounts are no longer reasonable in our modern world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Moore on October 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
In a word, Wedderburn's verdict for critical analysis of the historic Resurrection of Jesus is agnosticism and the title of his book bears his ruling, Beyond Resurrection. Wedderburn asserts that we cannot know with full certainty if the Resurrection of Jesus occurred. Furthermore, Wedderburn contends that we cannot even be sure what the phrase "Jesus has risen" probably originally meant. Therefore, we should move on--beyond resurrection. However, does Wedderburn make a compelling case for his impressive judgment of, basically, "I don't know?"

After Wedderburn quickly dismisses much of the historical evidence for the Resurrection without much attention, he moves on to the one piece of historical evidence he considers worthy of evidential value, the disciples' belief that they had experienced the risen Lord. From Wedderburn's assessment, whatever the 1st century followers of Christ experienced is undoubtedly significant. However, Wedderburn's assessment that someone can get from certainly significant to certainly an empty tomb on such unsure evidence is unwarranted.

However, a judgment of agnosticism is certainly not a strong ruling against an historical event. From Wedderburn's analysis, it seems that all he is saying is that there is too much positive evidence to rule it out completely but the evidence is just too obscure to say what happened exactly. For Wedderburn to consider only the disciples' belief that they had experienced the risen Christ as good evidence and still not definitively rule out the Resurrection speaks volumes for how good the cumulative evidence for the Resurrection actually is.

Why does Wedderburn decide we must be agnostic in regards to the Resurrection? Why not rule what probably happened based on the evidence?
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