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Resurrection: The Power of God for Christians and Jews Hardcover – April 24, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


“This book brims with provocative insights and reveals many connections between the well-known Christian faith in resurrection and lesser known or previously unnoticed precedents and parallels in Jewish thought, the Hebrew Bible, and cognate literature.”—Jonathan Klawans, Boston University

(Jonathan Klawans)

"This is a gem of a book. Jon Levenson and Kevin Madigan address and correct a number of widely held misconceptions about Judaism, Jesus, and Christian origins, which continue to distort Jewish-Christian relations to this day."—Matthias Henze, Rice University

(Matthias Henze)

“No one will think the same about resurrection after reading this wonderful volume. Powerful and persuasive readings of the Bible adorn nearly every page. It will provide a fruitful ground for Jews and Christians to explore the roots of their shared faith in the world to come.”—Gary A. Anderson, University of Notre Dame
(Gary A. Anderson)

“This marvelous study of the resurrection of the body offers us the very best of Jewish and Christian scholarship on the two traditions, resulting in a book that will surely become the standard work on the subject for Jews and Christians alike—and indeed for all who want insight into our shared hope for a life beyond the grave.”—Richard J. Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary
(Richard J. Mouw)

“Two Harvard scholars, one Jewish and the other Catholic, have co-authored this superb and readable treatment of a core belief in Judaism and Christianity—resurrection—and suggest how belief in resurrection can change one’s life.”—Richard J. Clifford, S.J., Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
(Richard J. Clifford, S.J.)

“How did Roman era Jews and Christians learn to trust God's faithfulness to raise the dead? Resurrection is a luminous scriptural story, beautifully told by Madigan and Levenson.” —David L. Tiede, Augsburg College
(David L. Tiede)

“Accessible and engaging for the non-specialist, yet also with nuggets for the expert, Madigan and Levenson wonderfully clarify the biblical meaning of resurrection and illuminate both Christian and Jewish faiths.”—Walter Moberly, Durham University
(Walter Moberly)

"Cogent and accessible. . . . The deft historical arguments of Resurrection will draw adherents of both [Christianity and Judaism] to explore their 'neglected continuity.'"—Michael Peppard, Commonweal
(Michael Peppard Commonweal 2008-05-09)

"In Resurrection, Madigan and Levenson provide a unique and groundbreaking entry into the concept of resurrection. As such the book is truly a landmark work."—Gary A. Anderson, First Things
(Gary A. Anderson First Things 2008-06-01)

"An important, even urgent book that comes with vigor and passion."—Walter Brueggemann, The Christian Century
(Walter Brueggemann The Christian Century 2008-07-01)

"Provides subtle readings of important biblical passages relating to life and death, and is extremely helpful to anyone looking to understand resurrection and immortality in Judaism."—Jewish Book World
(Jewish Book World 2008-09-01)

About the Author

Kevin J. Madigan is professor of the history of Christianity, Divinity School, Harvard University. His previous books include The Passions of Christ in the High Middle Ages. Jon D. Levenson is Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies, Divinity School and Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University. He is the author of Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life, published by Yale University Press.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (April 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300122772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300122770
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,063,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By David Roemer on September 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is a scholarly analysis of the development of the doctrine of the resurrection of the body for Christianity and Judaism. It analyzes the Old and New Testament, the Talmud, the writings of Gnostics, and the Christian Fathers about the resurrection. Though it is written for believers and non-believers, the authors believe God's justice requires the resurrection of the body and the book is a strong apology for faith. For example:

"Tertullian and Irenaeus firmly believed that if the Gnostic notions of the body and resurrection were true, this meant that Christians had not really been saved. The stakes were that high. To suggest that such men were really more interested in securing thier own comfortable existence or power is to misrepresent or misunderstand them woefully, to present them falsely, and to obscure how seriously and conscientiously such thinkers wrestled with the truth of the claim that Christ had been raised and that all of his followers would be raised on the last day."(page 234)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By W. Cheung on June 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Penned by two Harvard Univerity professors, this is a scholarly and informative work.

The following is a summary:

It describes, sometimes in a painstaking way, the gradual and slow gestation of the modern concept of resurrection in Judaism and Christianity, which is quite different from that in antiquity, but importantly and crucially, does derive from and possess developmental continuity from the earlier and much older ideas.

Before Ezekiel and Daniel, passages in the Old Testament seldom discuss a personal resurrection. It is suggested that in the past, a person's life was inextricably related to his or her family, community, and society. Therefore the emphasis was on the continuation and perpetuation of his or her name, family line, tribe and people. The aspiration was to die accomplished, namely under the blessing of God, at least figuratively if not literally.

Around the time Ezekiel and Daniel were written, the development of the concept of a personal type of resurrection started to materialize. Yet even then this personal type of resurrection was still linked to the older concepts of revival, and healing of the community and the people as a group.

With time, other ideas and concepts from other cultures gave some indirect influence on the Jewish concepts of resurrection, namely Platonism and Zoroastrianism. At and after the times of Jesus, finally a kind or type of concept of resurrection that more closely resembles our modern conceptualization appeared. This is described very nicely in the final three chapters of the book (pages 201-257).

So overall it is a satisfying book but it does requires some patience as a large part of the book is on the historical development and background and is very scholarly indeed.
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By R. Thomas on November 14, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent, but very scholarly. Not casual reading.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By harry w. Lewis on January 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was pleased to find this book. It is an excellent treatment of a very important subject. The service was excellent.
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