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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Defending the Resurrection - or, how to set fire to bad arguments
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...
Published on November 23, 2011 by Benson Shays

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12 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I Cannot Support Holding
J.P. Holding has many good intentions, but his efforts in apologetics are marred by his use of mockery and insult. I am suprised that Gary Habermas wrote the foreword to this book. As a brother in the Lord I cannot support Holding's ministry. Mockery and insult have no place in any ministry representing Jesus Christ, much less apologetics. Often Holding even likes to...
Published on February 14, 2012 by Mandude


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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Defending the Resurrection - or, how to set fire to bad arguments, November 23, 2011
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This review is from: Defending the Resurrection (Paperback)
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.

Of course, not every critic of the resurrection is an internet crank, and there are plausible theories that seek to explain the resurrection in naturalistic terms which have to be dealt with. One of the more widely accepted ideas is that Jesus never actually claimed to be divine. He was, we're told, just an apocalyptic prophet who succeeded in pissing off the right people which lead to his execution.

I remember, for example, reading Bart Ehrman's arguments in Jesus, Interrupted to this effect. The chapter, a response to C.S. Lewis' famous trilemma argument, seemed compelling at the time, but further studied revealed that Ehrman's argument ignores some important evidence and misreads several relevant New Testament passages. Christians who pick up this book before encountering such criticisms could be spared the same frustration I encountered.

But my favorite section of DTR deals with the philosophical objections to miracles and the resurrection in particular. If you're at all familiar with skeptical literature on this subject, you know how little the arguments have changed since the 18th Century. I find this especially entertaining because Holding and co. turn the Enlightenment reasoning around on people like David Hume and shoot them in the face with it, illustrating how shallow and subjective the philosophical critiques are.

The authors also note that these sorts of arguments are, hypocritically enough, made entirely apart from the available data about the resurrection. It's the only way the skeptics can keep their philosophical presuppositions in place, by continuously raising the bar on what constitutes acceptable evidence.

The one serious criticism I have of the book is its length. I doubt that the average church goer will pick up this 400 page apologetics textbook (it's literally the size of a textbook) and read it cover to cover. It probably would have been a good idea to split the material into two books to make it more manageable. Still, despite its length and sometimes technical nature, I hope the average believer will buy DTR and read all of it. It's filled with the kind of information Christians need to have handy when they inevitably encounter challenges to their faith.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Layman's book when it comes to defending the resurrection, September 12, 2011
This review is from: Defending the Resurrection (Paperback)
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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18 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exhaustive refutation of Christian skeptics, February 19, 2011
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This review is from: Defending the Resurrection (Paperback)
J.P. Holding, the editor, and the contributing scholars, have done a masterful job in defending the historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I'm completely dumbfounded by the above reviewer- however, sadly we all know the type... the religion bashing atheists who are not "open minded," as they claim; but quite the opposite. They are unwilling to give credence to views that may infringe or upset their own. Take the chip off your shoulder man, and open your mind to the reality of which J.P. speaks before it is too late!
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Supplement To Resurrection Studies, January 21, 2014
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This review is from: Defending the Resurrection (Paperback)
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. It could have easily gone with the docetic heresies that were floating around, and yet it didn’t.

DTR also compares the survival of the Christian religion in comparison to Mormonism, Mithraism, and Muhammad. Readers of Holding will realize that this is pointing back to another work of his, The Impossible Faith, and that only Christianity truly qualifies as an Impossible Faith.

Also, you will find responses here to the internet theories that you won’t find responses to in many other books. What about the idea for instance of Cavin that Jesus had an identical twin show up who acted like he was the resurrected Lord? Most don’t take that one seriously for a reason, but DTR doesn’t want to leave you unprepared and will give you what you need to know in order to meet the objections that you will normally find on the internet.

In conclusion, I do recommend this book, though I recommend you read works like Licona and Wright first to get the case entirely there and then get this one to answer the objections that come up afterwards. DTR will be a valuable reference in any library for dealing with those.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
Deeper Waters Christian Ministries
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12 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I Cannot Support Holding, February 14, 2012
This review is from: Defending the Resurrection (Paperback)
J.P. Holding has many good intentions, but his efforts in apologetics are marred by his use of mockery and insult. I am suprised that Gary Habermas wrote the foreword to this book. As a brother in the Lord I cannot support Holding's ministry. Mockery and insult have no place in any ministry representing Jesus Christ, much less apologetics. Often Holding even likes to insult other Christian ministers like in this following quote insulting Francis Schaeffer. "Schaeffer was not a serious Biblical scholar but a theologian with' no relevant credentials for contextual exegesis. His son Franky is a legacy of his lack of competence in that regard."
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34 of 117 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars JP Holding: a seer or a quack, October 18, 2010
This review is from: Defending the Resurrection (Paperback)
"Holding is nothing but a balls-to-the-walls, obnoxious egocentric who thinks the world of himself and exalts his views to the level of the bible which he tries to defend. The heavy sarcasm, the open derision, the sophomoric recourse to insult, the sneering tone: these are readily recognizable as the all-too-common reaction of those whose cherished beliefs are being threatened or even questioned. Holding systematically mischaracterizes the views and arguments of his "opponents", and his argumentation is characterized by strings of ad hominems, non-sequiturs and other sorts of fallacious reasoning. This has can be shown by simply looking at the dialogues themselves in which he has engaged. Christian philosophers like John Hawthorne, Dean Zimmerman, Michael Rea, William Alston, etc. are reasonable people who recognize the importance of the free, civil, democratic exchange of ideas in the pursuit of truth. Their arguments are also forceful, and worthy of consideration in their own right. But Holding, at least for some time and (apparently), is not in that camp. As long as he's not willing to engage in the civil exchange of ideas, there are principled reasons for not engaging him. For one thing, abusive language is contagious and gets everyone angry, leading to the deterioration of the pursuit of truth and serious discussion. For another, systematically misconstruing the views of others positively prevents the pursuit of truth, and stifles inquiry.The consensus seemed to be that he is an arrogant, inflammatory, buffoon, not worth taking seriously. But the most serious charge is that he belittles the intelligence of scholars who specialize in ancient history/Biblical scholarship, when Holding only has a degree in library science.
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Defending the Resurrection
Defending the Resurrection by ed. James Patrick Holding (Paperback - August 24, 2010)
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