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The Resurrection Of Christ: A Historical Inquiry Hardcover – October 1, 2004
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From the Inside Flap
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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Top Customer Reviews
* 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.
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.Read more ›
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).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If I had to choose one word to describe Ludemann's book, I would have to select "disappointing." Is it too much to ask for objectivity? Read morePublished on October 19, 2008 by Jeff Henry
Two years ago I left the Christian faith after ten years of extremely zealous study and service. My reason for leaving was my inability to reconcile the cosmological facts I... Read morePublished on November 25, 2007 by Dragongunner3011
The Resurrection of Christ: A Historical Inquiry. By Gerd Ludemann. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Book, 2004. 245 pages. Hardcover; $27.00. ISBN: 1591022452. Read morePublished on October 11, 2007 by Paul McMillian
Ludemann does his usual masterful dissection of the Gospels et al to show the resurrection for what it is/was--a powerful visionary experience. Read morePublished on May 31, 2007 by Sean Holderread
The conclusions Gerd Lüdemann reaches in his book should lay to rest any questions regarding the historical event of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, however his... Read morePublished on September 29, 2006 by K. Osteroos
Gerd Lüdemann begins his historical inquiry into the question of the resurrection of Jesus Christ by writing in chapter 1: "... Read morePublished on September 26, 2006 by Justin McMurdie
In his book The Resurrection of Christ: A Historical Inquiry, Gerd Ludemann examines the question of the resurrection by employing historical-critical methods. Read morePublished on September 20, 2006 by Michael Sewell
Gerd Ludemann writes, "historical research shows with definite clarity that Jesus was not raised from the dead...we must acknowledge...a worldwide historical hoax", (190). Read morePublished on September 18, 2006 by Patrick