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Doubting Jesus' Resurrection: What Happened in the Black Box? (First Edition) Paperback – April 16, 2009


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Paperback, April 16, 2009
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441463305
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441463302
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,020,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

He writes well.
John W. Loftus
Social psychologist Leon Festinger's work on cognitive dissonance provides a theoretical framework for understanding an otherwise incomprehensible phenomenon.
Valerie Tarico
Komarnitsky has compiled a considerable amount of research concerning the story of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
William M. Short

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 50 people found the following review helpful By John W. Loftus VINE VOICE on May 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
Let's say you wanted to read a book length skeptical treatment on the resurrection of Jesus. Which one should you read? Which one do you recommend? There are several of them to choose from. If you follow the advice of Christian apologists Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona who wrote: "Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler," [The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, p. 14], then I have a good suggestion on the skeptical side of the fence. This book by Kris D. Komarnitsky.

Komarnitsky begins by presupposing Jesus existed and that I Corinthians 15:3-7 is not a later Christian interpolation. (p. 8). Then author focuses on the discovery of the empty tomb tradition. This tradition is "unique in that it is not itself a supernatural event and so any associated bias is not a factor, and it is a tradition upon which the resurrection of Jesus stands or falls." (p. 4). What happened between the time Jesus was crucified and the traditions expressed by Paul in I Corinthians 15:3-7, which is the mysterious "black box" skematic represented on the cover? Komarnitsky argues from the literary evidence itself that the discovered empty tomb is "plausibly a legend." Then he takes the reader through the questions that must be answered in order to get to Paul's expressed traditions in I Corinthians 15:3-7 "without a discovered empty tomb." (p. 9)

In Chapter One, "The Discovery of an Empty Tomb, Fact or Fiction?," Komarnitsky offers three lines of literary evidence that the empty tomb is a fiction: 1) Paul's silence about it; 2) The ending of Mark; and 3) The Jewish charge of a stolen body. He does an excellent job here and offers a few new insights on these topics.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Peter Kane, M Div, MS on April 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
For many, the validity of Christianity hinges on Jesus' bodily resurrection, but this belief is increasingly challenged by the enlightenment and modern New Testament scholarship. Modern scholarship understands the passion and empty tomb narratives as relatively later literary embellishments added to prior collections of Jesus' sayings. A counter argument is that Christianity could not possibly have so rapidly spread over the Roman world without a belief in bodily resurrection. A key piece of evidence offered that such a resurrection understanding did exist from the earliest days is 1 Cor. 15:3-7, Paul's reference to a formal tradition of death and resurrection that he received and passed on, a tradition that therefore would have existed within only a few years of Jesus' death.
Is there a way in which the modern understanding of the empty tomb stories can be acknowledged, and yet somehow still reasonably explain the early origins of the death and resurrection traditions Paul received and passed on to others? The author speaks to this question as a layman to laymen, yet he has a detailed understanding of the relevant current scholarship, and a precisely reasoned approach to the subject. He starts with a case for why the empty tomb narratives are late and mythical in character, and then leads the reader through discussions of 1st century burial practices, cognitive dissonance reduction and the belief that Jesus died for our sins, and Hellenistic understandings of bodily assumption. The etiology of each segment of Paul's creedal formula; `...died...for our sins...was buried...raised...on third day...according to the Scriptures...', is considered, as the author seeks to show an alternate path to the genesis of Paul's formula.
If a rational consideration of the origins and development of earliest Christian resurrection beliefs is of interest, then this is a book for you.

Peter Kane
Purdue University, Retired
April 22, 2009
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Valerie Tarico on June 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
In Komarnitsky's third chapter, "The Belief That Jesus Died for Our Sins and Was Raised," he ventures onto my home turf--psychology--and his treatment of the the subject is impressive. I found the chapter opening a bit hard to follow, but persistence paid off in spades.

Komarnitsky pulls together the work of historians and psychologists and tells story after story of apocalyptic cults that find ways to sustain their beliefs despite radical disappointments (a messianic figure betrays trust, an end-of-the-world date comes and goes, aliens fail to appear). Social psychologist Leon Festinger's work on cognitive dissonance provides a theoretical framework for understanding an otherwise incomprehensible phenomenon. For anyone who is interested in how apocalyptic beliefs are sustained, whether in a Christian context or not, I recommend this thorough, well-documented overview.

Although the Christian resurrection story is shrouded in mythos, making it hard to know what actually happened in history, modern examples and cognitive dissonance theory offer a compelling possible scenario. Without resorting to any form of supernaturalism, drawing just on what we know about human behavior, Komarnitsky offers a sufficient explanation for the resurrection story at the heart of Christian orthodoxy.

Valerie Tarico, Ph.D.
Author: The Dark Side - How Evangelical Teachings Corrupt Love and Truth The Dark Side: How Evangelical Teachings Corrupt Love and Truth
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By slowmothe1st on July 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm more impressed by the author's detailed research into this topic than the arguments themselves, there's no doubt the arguments are sound but the best and most favorable arguments are simple, direct, and explain the most. Compared with the arguments from the christian side, I can only split the score 50/50, and I'm not a believer.

You'll find when the author presents his arguments, it's presented very laboriously in great detail, but that also makes it very drawn out even though he's already made his point, this diverts the attention away from the main argument and is counter-productive to the points the author tries to make, which are really quite simple. This leaves the reader wonder if this book was intended for a lay person or a scholar.

As a warning, the reader can easily get lost reading the (oftentimes way way too) detailed presentations as the author makes his points, make sure you have a good cup of coffee next to you before you begin. :)
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