23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Not an easy read, but a great one nonetheless,
This review is from: The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond The Grave (Hardcover)
What happened after the crucifixion of Jesus? Was his body placed in a tomb, only to resurrect a few days later? Yes, if you ask a faithful Christian, then that's exactly what happened. But imagine asking a group of non-theists, non-Christian academics, philosophers, historians, and atheists. Then what'll you get?
You'll get The Empty Tomb, a serious analysis of many of the arguments that Christian apologetics (defenders of the Christian faith) put forwards at the end of the 20th century. Initially, the story about the resurrection might not be so very complicated, however, look closer and you'll find a whole lot of questions and inconsistencies; all of them discussed in The Empty Tomb. What if Jesus body was simply stolen? What did the authors of the New Testament really mean when they said Jesus had returned from the dead? Did the resurrected Jesus actually meet his followers? If there indeed was a God, why sacrifice your only son only to have him brought back to life right after? Is the notion of a resurrection a Christian invention, or did the Bible authors use earlier sources for their faith?
This questions, and many more, are dealt with mercilessly. The discussions are VERY academic, and many of the contributions throughout the book more or less requires a very deep knowledge of Bible issues, its authors, history, and content. I'm willing to admit that I don't know as much about that particular book as I'd want to, and it happened on several occasions that I had to, unwillingly, admit that I couldn't quite understand what was being said. No wonder, perhaps, because Bible quotes I've never even heard of are used constantly, and sometimes several pages are devoted to discussing how old Greek words should really be translated and interpreted.
But not all contributions are equally difficult to understand, and some of them are truly entertaining and educational. The ones that stood out most were "Swinburne on the Resurrection" by Michael Martin (a devastating blow against Christianity), "By This Time He Stinketh" by Robert M. Price (a wonderful critique against one of the most famous apologetics and his defence of the Resurrection), and "Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli on the Hallucination Theory" by Keith Parsons (who, among other things, discusses the similarities between ancient Christianity and contemporary ideas about alien abductions and close encounters with extraterrestrials; a fascinating idea that deserves to be discussed more closely).
In order to fully appreciate The Empty Tomb you better be VERY well-read in Bible research, apologetics, and Christian history. True, some of the contributions are easily understood by the common man, but the question is whether these contributions make it worthwhile to buy the book. Personally I think yes, most definitely, but I can absolutely understand if people choose to spend their money on a book that's easier to understand.