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The Resurrection Of Christ: A Historical Inquiry Hardcover – October 1, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591022452
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591022459
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,881,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Argument has long raged over whether assessing early Christian texts about the Resurrection as historical sources is legitimate and important. Ludemann stands squarely in the Enlightenment camp of Tom Paine--revered in the U.S. for Common Sense, reviled for the later tract The Age of Reason--and Paine's detractors call Ludemann an Enlightenment fundamentalist. Ludemann insists that a purely historical reading is important because Christians and Christianity exercise authority based on a historical claim about an act of God. If the claim is false, that authority is illegitimate. Since the claim is based on the self-deception of Peter and Paul, and other historical evidence doesn't support it, Ludemann says that thinking people can no longer call themselves Christians in good faith. This may be preaching to the choir of those against using religious, metaphysical, and ideological claims to contain historical investigations, but it is clear and succinct. The translation and historical assessment of Resurrection accounts that constitute the bulk of the book make it useful for students in and out of the choir. Steven Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From the Inside Flap

Although Christianity is anchored to the doctrine of the resurrection, historical research shows that from a historical standpoint Jesus was not raised from the dead. In the thorough explanation and discussion of the primary texts dealing with the claimed resurrection of Christ, New Testament expert Gerd Ludemann presents compelling evidence to show that the resurrection was not a historical event, and he further argues that this development leaves little, if any, basis for Christian faith as presently defined.

Ludemann offers fresh translations of the mist important early Christian texts concerning Jesus' alleged resurrection and assesses their historical value. Beginning with Paul's testimony in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, in which the apostle declares that Jesus "has been raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures," and then turning to the texts of the Gospels and of other noncanonical early Christian texts, Ludemann systematically evaluates every reference to Jesus' resurrection in the New Testament, as well as in apocryphal literature. In each case he examines the purpose of the authors of these texts, reconstructs the tradition they reworked, and assesses the historical value of each account.

Since the historical evidence leads to the firm conclusion that Jesus' body was not raised from the dead, Ludemann argues that the origin of the Easter story must be sought in the visionary experiences of Christianity's two leading apostles. From a modern perspective, this leads to the inescapable conclusion that both primary witnesses to Jesus' claimed resurrection, Peter and Paul, were victims of self-deception. In conclusion, he asks whether in light of the nonhistoricity of Jesus' resurrection, thinking people today can in good conscience still call themselves Christians.

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Customer Reviews

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This is true because Jesus didn't resurrect from the dead.
Paul McMillian
That any explanation can be posited does not equal all explanations are equally valid.
Surely, however, Lüdemann's thesis doesn't deal with several important facts.
Justin McMurdie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J. J. Ramsey on June 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
What's good in the book:

* Ludemann does well at picking apart the resurrection narratives and their surrounding text. For example, he points out that Mark has Joseph of Arimathea buy a linen cloth on Friday evening (Mark 15:42-47), which would have been the Sabbath. (In the Jewish calendar, a new day starts on the evening of the previous day, so Sabbath lasts from Friday evening to Saturday evening.)

* Ludemann does not try to twist the texts to argue for a "spiritual" resurrection that is hardly more than one's spirit going to Heaven while the body is left behind.

What's not so good:

* His thesis overreaches. If the thesis had been that his reconstruction of the resurrection narratives made a supernatural explanation unnecessary, then he would have at least shown that his case was plausible, if not proved it. Instead, he goes beyond his evidence to assert that his historical explanation showed conclusively that Jesus did not rise from the dead.

* He does not deal directly with the objection made by N. T. Wright that a vision of Jesus would have been interpreted as Jesus' "angel" rather than as a sign that Jesus was resurrected, and gives the quick brush-off to objections that the disciples would have needed appearances of Jesus more solid than mere hallucinations. He could have done more here.

The book falls short of being the proof against Christianity that Ludemann wants it to be, but it has some useful analysis.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By George Eager on October 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There were all kinds of pagan miracles, and quite a few Christian miracles, reported in ancient times. If Lazarus, and the dead guy from Na'in, and the little girl, and Jesus, and the "many" saints, and the woman Peter raised, and the young man named Eutychus Paul raised...were all raised from the dead...what's the big deal about Jesus being raised? If the "many" were at least three, that's at least nine. Plus at least two from the OT. Are there more? In any event, this raising of the dead seems to have been a pretty popular theme.

It is naturally upsetting to Christians to have the central event of their faith disputed and I don't think Ludemann does a particularly tactful job of it. In the ancient world far out stories of miracles were commonplace. Vespasian healed a blind man with spittle (just like Jesus!) and healed a lame man or a man with a diseased hand (or leg,depending on the source).

The miracle cures at Asclepius' cult centers at Epidaurus and Pergamum are documented by many surviving inscriptions on stone stelae, and constitute an extensive and remarkable record. That there were many more on terracotta plaques that have not survived is known from reliable ancient descriptions of the sites. So the god Asclepius seems to have been pretty active in the miracle healing line.

We have no mental difficulty dismissing the pagan miracles, because we don't really believe in miracles and think there were credulous ancient folks much-given to exaggeration making these reports. It's not that the evidence isn't good enough. It's just that we don't find it credible on the face of it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tod Stites on June 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover
In the year 29, Livia, the mother of the Roman emperor died,and,as she had
enjoyed the admiration of the people everywhere,came to be worshipped as a
goddess(Woodman,"The Tiberian Narrative",p.274,citing Velleius Paterculus[c.
30 C.E.]).In the year 31(or 34),a man appeared claiming to be the emperor's son
Drusus,who had died in 23,and,"aided by Greek avidity for the new and strange",
ignorant recruits were drawn to him,and he raised followers in Greece(Tacitus
"Annals" 5.10):(Cassius Dio "Roman History" 58.25.1).
Clearly then,around the time Jesus died,c.30 C.E.,if someone popular or
important passed from the scene,they could be worshipped as a deity or heralded
as risen from the dead.And so there is little doubt in the minds of historians that
this is almost certainly what the followers of Jesus did for their Lord.
"The religiously and philosophically controlled view of life in antiquity finally
perceives the recognition of man by deity in the fact that the deity takes man to
himself.This may be manifested in an early death,but the person may also be
deified"(Preisker in Theological Dictionary Of The New Testament vol.4,p.706).
The term "euaggelion"(good news)preached by the Christians was also used by
the imperial cult and declared that the ruler is divine by nature,with Plutarch(c.46-
120 C.E.)indicating that the wind and waves are subject to such a figure(cp.Mark
4:41).And at his death signs in heaven declare his assumption into the ranks of
the gods,even as Philo Judaeus,the Jewish contemporary of Jesus,believed that
Moses had ascended to God and was deified(Friedrich in Theological Dictionary Of
The New Testament vol.2,p.724).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Art on April 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gerd Ludemann is a scholar who does an excellent analysis of the claim that Jesus rose from the dead. A very detailed analysis and therefore not an easy read. I would definately recommend this book to anyone who is serious about understanding the Christian claim of the resurrection of Jesus and the historicity of the event.
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