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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing information presented with scrupulous fairness
This small book contains a wealth of information about the resurrection. Evans and Wright, both famous biblical scholars, have aimed it at the general reader, not the scholar, so it's accessible and entertaining.

First, did Jesus exist? "No serious historian of any religious or nonreligious stripe doubts that Jesus...really lived...and was executed" (p 3)...
Published on March 14, 2009 by Amazon Customer

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Not What I Think Really Happened
A couple of insightful bits of information in the first chapter, but seemed to get overly technical with useless information towards the end.
Published 12 days ago by Peace in Yeshua


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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing information presented with scrupulous fairness, March 14, 2009
This review is from: Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened (Paperback)
This small book contains a wealth of information about the resurrection. Evans and Wright, both famous biblical scholars, have aimed it at the general reader, not the scholar, so it's accessible and entertaining.

First, did Jesus exist? "No serious historian of any religious or nonreligious stripe doubts that Jesus...really lived...and was executed" (p 3). Pilate focused on the claim that Jesus was king of the Jews, which would be considered a threat to the Romans, even if Jesus only had a handful of followers. No wonder, then, that the soldiers mocked and saluted Jesus as a king, and even, on the cross, offered him spiced vinegar, a drink "which mimics spiced wine, often served to kings" (p 26). And the titulus again mentions the claim to kingship.

Most readers will find the information on crucifixion and Jewish burial practices quite interesting. Recent archaeological finds have increased our knowledge here considerably, especially since a Jew who had been crucified was recently discovered. "The Jewish people thought that the soul of the deceased lingered near the corpse for three days" (p 45).

The last essay, by Wright, is compelling. Wright has published an important book on the subject of resurrection, and this is a short version of some of his main arguments.

Resurrection "was not a fancy way of talking about a beautiful, glorious life after death" (p 78) nor was it about a vision of a ghost. Within Christianity, "there is virtually no spectrum of belief about resurrection" (85). The early Christians believed passionately, not only in the reality of Jesus' resurrection, but that they, also, would one day be resurrected.

Wright points out that the crucifixion of Jesus should have ended his movement. Surely the inglorious deaths of other would-be saviors of the Jews had ended their movements. Yet the followers of Jesus were not discouraged, but encouraged. Christianity not only survived, it thrived, and it did so in spite of the ignominy of the death of Jesus.

These short, snappy arguments should be of immense use to many readers.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Well Done and Concise, March 23, 2009
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This review is from: Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened (Paperback)
"Jesus: the Final Days" is essentially composed of three essays based on lectures from the noted scholars Dr. Craig Evans and Dr. N.T. Wright. Having read some previous writings from both authors and enjoyed them, I had high hopes for this slim volume. I was not disappointed. In fact, I only really wish they had written more on some of the subjects.

The book is divided into three main segements:

I. An essay by Dr. Evans examining immediate reasons why Jesus was crucified (authorities saw him as a potential political threat), who the immediate responsible parties were (Roman with some influencial Jewish religious leaders cooperating), and what happened to Jesus. In particular, Evans points out the mockery and how close it follows typical Roman practice.

II. Essay II concerns Jewish Burial practices and Roman law. It may be the best chapter in the book though all were enjoyable. Included are discussions involving the skeleton of Yehohanan, reasons why Jesus would have been allowed burial in the circumstances, and a number of other interesting facts (in one part, Evans even argues a point utilizing fifteenth century skeletons from Towton [the use was actually quite justified in this particular segment]). Evans also takes some good shots at the old "Swoon Theory" and Talpiot Tomb along the way.

III. Essay III deals with resurrection and covers topics ranging from eyewitness sources to comparisons of Second Temple Jewish, ancient pagan, and modern feelings on the subject of Resurrection. As usual, N.T. Wright writes in a very readable style and makes on the whole good arguementation.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable read and indeed a relatively quick read. It is loaded with interesting information though I wish it could have been longer. I should point out that both authors (and myself for that matter) generally hold conservative theological beliefs on the question at hand (neither author is close to fundamentalist though). Overall, a fine work that I recommend.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Ever 100 Page Book, April 11, 2009
By 
William Varner "dribex" (Newhall, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened (Paperback)
The other reviews summarize well this little gem of a book. Let me just add that it is simply the best 100 page book I have ever read. I have had it for over a month and decided to read it the weekend of passion Week. It was not only spiritually appropriate, it was intellectually satisfying. It embodies the compressed work of two of our best scholars and apologists for the Christian faith. These two have written much larger works on these themes. Evans has a remarkable work titled "Jesus and the Ossuaries." Here in two chapters you can have a precis of his research into death and burial practices of the first century and what they tell us about Jesus' death and burial. Wright has authored the magnum opus of all books on the resurrection - an 800 page tome titled "The Resurrection of the Son of God." You should read it, but if you can't, here are his conclusions in a remarkably compact and succinct nutshell. Wright has a gift of expressing old truths in fresh ways and showing their relevance for life. One last observation. How anyone can read his work(s) on the resurrection and still question his orthodoxy is simply beyond my comprehension. Such attacks say more about the attackers than they do about Wright's orthodoxy!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars solid, succinct, sound, March 23, 2009
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This review is from: Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened (Paperback)
This morning I read this short book which is comprised of three lectures given at the Symposium for Church and Academy lecture series at Crichton College (Memphis, TN). The three lectures aim to discuss the historicity of Jesus' death and resurrection - two on the former by Craig Evans, one on the latter by The Bishop himself (I mean, who else are you going to get to talk about the resurrection at this point?).

Three lectures, three chapters - 1. The Shout of Death; 2. The Silence of Burial; 3. The Surprise of the Resurrection.

Admittedly, there isn't much here that you cannot readily find in other books (both for Evans and especially Wright). But there is much to be said for having this type of data assembled together in a concise overview aimed toward a wider readership than is considered typical.

1. The first chapter focusses on Jesus' death, quickly dismissing flimsy claims that Jesus did not actually die and emphasizing the reasons for the death of Jesus. Here Evans provides solid overview and foundation of the many converging factors of why Jesus was executed. Admittedly, many Christians do not understand the complexity of history on this point, and I was glad to see Evans go right at the nonsense of Jesus being crucified because he was more popular than the Pharisees, et. al. Further, the chapter investigates the question of whether or not Jesus anticipated his own death and how this anticipation shaped his preceding ministry. From this Evans then discusses the trial of Jesus, the mockery and the actual crucifixion itself - all without becoming lost in the physical suffering of Jesus but remaining forthright so as to maintain historical credibility.

2. Knowing that these lectures are not designed to be entirely apologetic, I must confess that I was unsure how a full essay on the burial of Jesus was going to be possible. But Evans engages the material well, not only interacting with the charges against the tomb account as given in the Gospels but by exploring the traditions of burial in the first century Jewish world. Again, there is a wealth of information neatly gathered and succinctly presented regarding the intricacies of tradition and culture which are largely unknown among Christians who recite the Easter story year after year. Not only does this help with the defense of our faith, but grasping the context of the burial accounts also bolsters modern faith. I probably consider this the best essay of the three.

3. The third chapter is basically a condensed version of N. T. Wright's fuller treatments - a short essay of summation. I agree with the notes on p. 75 that those who desire a fuller treatment will find such in his seminal works, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 3) and Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. One cannot say much more than that, for this material is being widely discussed and a few comments here would be terribly lacking. But (again) understanding how this book is designed, one would consider this essay as a solid introduction to the material for a wide readership. And The Bishop is certainly capable of that.

In the end, I highly recommend this book as both an introduction for the uninitiated on this topic, and a timely seasonal review and reflection for those more familiar. (I might also add that those who have studied this material at some length may just find perspectives or data which is somewhat new to them, as I have not seen this particular gathering of material presented in such a manner very often. Worth considering.)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Explanation for Jesus' Death, Burial & Resurrection, May 13, 2009
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rodboomboom (St. Louis, Missouri United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened (Paperback)
This short yet powerful collection of three essays is meant to be apologetic ammo for us who do battle to clear intellectual slums or as Wright puts it: "clear away the undergrowth behind which skepticisms of various sorts have been hiding."

They proceed to do this by looking at history, archaeology and other primary and secondary sources which look into these areas. They contend with others' hypotheses which purport that these three events happen in different ways than what the Scriptures attest. Each provides additional reading suggests for those who desire deeper delving.

Interesting here is Wright's suggestion that many of these supposed learned scholars have a presupposition that is based on not wanting these final Jesus days events to be true as the Bible witnesses, so that they might continue to be the "social and intellectual tyrants and bullies" that they are.

Fascinating and pithy read for all interested.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What can history tell us about Jesus's last week?, July 12, 2011
This review is from: Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened (Paperback)
This book contains three chapters, each of them adjusted, written versions of lectures given by Craig Evans or NT Wright. The topics are Jesus's Death and Burial (Evans) and Resurrection (Wright).

Despite the short length of the book, these three topics are thoroughly examined from a historical perspective. Scholarly sources are given throughout.

I would recommend this to:

- Anyone interested in NT Wright's arguments on the Resurrection. I got the impression that his chapter is a summary of the arguments given in his much longer scholarly works.

- Anyone interested in investigating Jesus's Death, Burial and Resurrection from a historical perspective, and who would like to read the views of two scholars who are widely lauded as two of the best Christian New Testament Scholars of their generation. Those who would benefit most are those who have only had brief introductions in these areas, because the book is not an exhaustive work. It is aimed for a more general audience and so I imagine those who have already been acquainted with detailed work in this area, especially that of Evans and Wright, might already be familiar with much of this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gives historical background, not specifically for apologetics, December 26, 2012
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This review is from: Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened (Paperback)
This book is physically well constructed. The cover feels nice and the pages seem slightly thicker than normal.

The book has 3 chapters, which are revised lectures that cover:

1. Crucifixion

This chapter examines Jesus' crucifixion and how the narrative matches up with other historical data from the same time period. It covers why Jesus' was put on trial, Pontius Pilate, and mockery.

2. Burial

This chapter I found the most interested and covers Jewish burial practices and laws. A case is made that it was very probably that Jesus was buried in a tomb and that the tomb's location was known.

3. Resurrection

This chapter how Jews and understood resurrection and changes that took place after the supposed resurrection of Jesus'. It does not focus on the resurrection appearances.

It was nice to see these lectures use non biblical historical text and archeological evidence. This book isn't intended to be an apologetic work, as stated in the introduction, so the reader may be somewhat disappointed if they are expecting it to be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book about the resurrection, April 26, 2011
This review is from: Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened (Paperback)
This book is an excellent resource for those interested in what conservative scholars have to say about the resurrection.
The book does not prove the resurrection, but does the next best thing. It gives an excellent argument that the resurrection is very probable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book to read over lent and the Triduum., April 12, 2013
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This review is from: Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened (Paperback)
I give this book to my RCIA students every year, so they to can share in Jesus' death and resurrection. Love it!
I feel so part of the passion and the book is a very easy read and so interesting. I suggest it to every christian finding meaning in their life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Solid, Accessible Scholarship, March 26, 2013
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This review is from: Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened (Paperback)
The three essays in this book were originally written as lectures for a symposium for pastors and scholars regarding several of the issues surrounding the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The book has edited the three essays for more popular consumption, though the average reader will still need to read a little slowly, and will happily learn several new things about the general topic of Easter.

To give away the ending, the authors believe that Jesus really was crucified, really died, really was buried, and really did rise from the dead physically. The first two essays, written by Craig A. Evans, take a look at first century Jewish and Roman execution and burial practices. The third, written by N. T. Wright, is a look at what the early church believed about Jesus' physical resurrection from the dead and argues for the conclusion that they believed he did, and, he really did.

Dr. Evans, a recognized and prolific New Testament scholar, tackles the question of whether the Gospel accounts of Jesus' trial, death, and burial are likely to have happened the way they are recorded by the Evangelists. Combing through copious amounts of source materials regarding how Jewish and Roman culture and legal systems worked in the day, he builds a strong case for why Jesus was opposed by the Jewish authorities, the Passover pardon of Barabbas, the scourging, his death on the cross, and his burial in the tomb. For the faithful, these seem to be simple and obvious details within the Easter story, but as Dr. Evans shows throughout, there are plenty of modern-day theories which attack each. In the end, however, he shows that each theory which opposes these details has the burden of proof, and it is a heavy burden indeed.

Bishop Wright, possibly the leading living scholar on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, takes for his approach a kind of definition and explanation of the word "resurrection." What was the Old Testament (and thus prevailing view in Jesus' culture) understanding of it? Was the general, ancient view of resurrection something compatible with what became the Christian understanding? And finally, what was the Christian teaching regarding Jesus' resurrection? He argues convincingly that the Christian view is a distinct departure from their Jewish heritage, the pagan cultures around them, and is shockingly stable and unified through the years. The explanation for this break and persistent belief? Jesus physically rose from the dead and became the Christ-follower's hope.

In the end, this volume tackles many of the details that we often either take for granted or don't even pay attention to when we come around to Easter. The way the details are handled provide further support for the traditional Christian belief about the last days (and resurrection) of Jesus Christ, and make it harder for the skeptic to simply brush the whole story off as ancient and simplistic legend.
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Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened
Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened by Craig A. Evans (Paperback - January 30, 2009)
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