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Defending the Resurrection Paperback – August 24, 2010

3.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Xulon Press (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609576543
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609576547
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,399,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Depending on your perspective, the resurrection is either Christianity's best proof or biggest hindrance. For many Christians it's probably easier to feel (perhaps quietly) that the latter is true and completely ignore the difficult question. And that seems to make sense. After all, a religion based on dead people coming back to life doesn't seem like an easy sell upon first glance.

That being said, JP Holding and his co-authors have put together a book in Defending the Resurrection (DTR) that does a masterful job of, well, defending the resurrection. Though the book is seriously flawed in one way. It's subtitle is absent. It should be called Defending the Resurrection - or, how to set fire to bad arguments, because that's exactly what the book does. Every crank theory about the resurrection that I know of ( the idea that it was copied from the OT or a pagan source, for example) takes a trip through the meat grinder courtesy of this book.

It looks as if the authors dredged through the darkest depths of internet skepticism, cataloged all the critiques of the resurrection and soundly refuted them. The effort is extensive and well documented, meaning that the typical attacks - "your faith is based on a myth about a Jewish zombie!" - just won't do. Anybody seeking to debunk (refute, doubt, deny, whatever) Christianity will have to contend with this sort of work. Admittedly, many of the more fringe theories aren't advanced by credible historians anymore, but you can still find them defended in books and films aimed at the general public. And that's certainly a good enough reason to refute them.
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When it comes to defending the resurrection there is usually an unfortunate divide between academia and the average layperson. For the average layperson wanting an in-depth yet graspable treatment of the resurrection that they can understand, the choices are unfortunately very limited and oftentimes of shallow quality. Bridging this divide is just one area where J.P. Holding's new book really shines.
The book not only presents the standard apologetic arguments for the resurrection, but also treats them with a level of depth that leaves more popular level apologetic books simply buried. A fine example is J.P. Holding section on just how offensive and counter-cultural Christianity was in the world of first century Roman Empire. Most apologetic books will mention the cross being shameful, but many will not mention for example the signifigance of women being the first witnesses to the empty tomb among many other things. Overall, J.P. Holding does a fine job of providing material that most books flat out miss.
There are only two caveats for reading this book, though. One is that J.P. Holding's book doesn't really provide a positive case for the resurrection so much as it deals with the great plethora of objections thrown at it. Of course, this is not a bad thing and as Gary Habermas himself says in the introduction, it's one of the things that makes the book particularly useful. Another would be the book's overall depth. This book should not be the first book you read on the resurrection since it's treatment is certainly above what most people are used to reading. Nonetheless, this is a book that deserves a place on everyone's shelf.
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In the interest of being upfront, I am Holding’s ministry partner.

Defending the Resurrection (DTR) is really a different book from other books you will find on the resurrection. Many books will examine many of the historical details. If you read Licona, you will hear about the eyewitness appearances, the empty tomb, the conversion of Paul, etc. If you read Wright, you will hear about the place of Jesus in the story of Israel.

I think both of these are excellent and absolutely essential.

I’d also round them all off by reading DTR. DTR will not go into the history of Israel. It also will not make many claims about the creed in 1 Cor. 15 or why scholars think that Jesus did in fact appear to eyewitnesses. It’s not that these don’t matter, as DTR does have an extensive chapter on the topic of hallucinations, but that DTR wishes to focus its work on another area altogether.

DTR mainly focuses on the social setting of the NT and why resurrection was so important and why we can indeed believe it happened. It goes into extensive detail of the relationship of Christianity to the Roman Empire with such ideas as tolerance, the rejection of the new, claims of exclusivity, and others.

An interesting one for many readers will be the concept of resurrection itself. Today, we tend to view resurrection as a good thing, provided we have a new body. Who wouldn’t want another go around in life? Yet to the world of the NT, it was a different story.

In that world, the body was a prison to be escaped and you did not want to return to it. This is why so many of the lower class did in fact flock to the mystery religions. Christianity did not even really offer them something that they wanted, which would be another strike against it.
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