- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Kregel Publications; First Edition edition (March 26, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0825427886
- ISBN-13: 978-0825427886
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 156 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus Paperback – March 26, 2004
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From the Publisher
Includes an interactive CD!
Gary R. Habermas
Habermas (Ph.D., Michigan State University) has taught college, graduate school, and seminary for over twenty-five years. He is currently distinguished professor and chair of the department of philosophy and theology at Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA.
The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus
“This compelling book is the most comprehensive defense of Jesus' resurrection anywhere. If you're interested in knowing the evidence for the resurrection and sharing it with others, then you must read this book!” —Lee Strobel, Author of The Case for Christ
"It may be the most thorough defense of the historicity of the resurrection." —J.P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology.
- Includes charts, diagrams, and a detailed outline for quick reference.
From Publishers Weekly
Habermas, who has written several apologetic works on the resurrection, and Licona, a speaker and budding New Testament scholar who was once Habermas's student, offer a comprehensive and far-reaching argument for the historical veracity of Christ's resurrection. In fact, at times it is too far-reaching, as when the authors digress into refutations of Mormonism, alien activity and Elvis sightings; this book would be much improved if it had been trimmed by about a third. Many evangelicals will appreciate the authors' broad evidentiary claims and marshalling of historical, theological, archaeological, biomedical and literary data to support their belief in the resurrection. Yet despite its strong content, the book is poorly written, and is organized in a workmanlike outline format that seems more appropriate for a seminary lecture than a seamless book. A closing chapter offers practical tips for evangelical Christians who wish to share their faith with others.
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Carolyn Keefe Church and Synagogue Library Association : "This outstanding teaching tool has multiple uses for church congregants: individual or small group study, visitation and evangelism preparation, church school elective courses, and theological fortification of secular university students. In addition, it provides stimulating study for pastors who have not taken an apologetics course in seminary or who need a refresher."
L.R.K. Church Libraries : You will find this book to be the most practical and reader-friendly book in defense of Jesus' resurrection on the market today.
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I used this book to reverse engineer what good ancient history looks like (yes, I am a chemical engineer) - I now have some sense of what I call "historical ways of knowing" aka epistemology. I really had to struggle with some of the evidence, and think through what counted as enough evidence. Of course that couldn't just be my preference, it had to be compared with the level of evidence available for other known people like Roman emperors of Jesus' day...
The organization and covering all the combinations and permutations and objections were great!
They wrote in the Preface to this 2004 book, “At some point in their Christian walk, may believers ask some difficult questions: Is Christianity really true?... Could it be that God does not really exist?... The authors of this volume did not these questions as young men. We determined to find some answers. We cannot tell you that we looked at the evidence without presuppositions or biases… However, intellectual integrity requires that we set aside these biases to the point that we can recognize them for what they are… After several years, we have arrived at a strong conclusion: The evidence suggests that God exists and has actually revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ. The evidence attests that Christians have the most accurate view of reality.”
They state, “When Jesus predicted his resurrection from the dead, we are told that the disciples did not seem to have a clue what he was talking about or simply did not believe… Even when his empty tomb was discovered, it is reported that the first conclusion was that someone had stolen the body… When the women reported that they had seen him risen, the disciples thought they were telling an idle tale… Upon viewing the empty tomb, they still did not know what to think… Thomas simply refused to believe… Now it seems quite unlikely that the disciples or early Christians who highly respected them would invent sayings of Jesus that would place them in such a bad light. This is what is referred to as the ‘principle of embarrassment’… and argues strongly in favor of the authenticity of the predictions of Jesus concerning his resurrection.” (Pg. 29)
They outline, “let’s become familiar with some of the principles historians employ to determine whether a particular account of history is credible… These are the principles that will be used throughout this book… 1. Multiple independent sources support historical claims… It is important to determine whether the source is really independent… 2. Attestation by an enemy support historical claims… An enemy generally is not considered to be biased in favor of a certain person, message, or cause… 3. Embarrassing admissions support historical claims… 4. Eyewitness testimony supports historical claims… 5. Early testimony supports historical claims. The closer the time between the event and testimony about it, the more reliable the witness, since there is less time for exaggeration, and even legend, to creep into the account.” (Pg. 36-39)
They present four facts “that are so strongly evidenced historically that nearly every scholar regards them as reliable facts… A fifth fact will be added that enjoys acceptance by an impressive majority of scholars, though not by nearly all… The first fact: Jesus died by crucifixion… The second fact” Jesus’ disciples believed that he rose and appeared to them…. The third fact: The church persecutor Paul was suddenly changed… The fourth fact: The skeptic James, brother of Jesus, was suddenly changed…. The Fifth fact: The tomb was empty.” (Pg. 48-69)
They argue, “The skeptic may respond, ‘But this is from the Bible, and I don’t believe the Bible,’ as though you are using the Bible to prove the Bible. This blanket rejection will not do. We are not assuming inspiration of even the general reliability of the New Testament in our case for Jesus’ resurrection… we are only regarding the New Testament as an ancient volume of literature containing twenty-seven separate books and letters. Then we are entertaining only those data that are well-evidenced and accepted by nearly every scholar who studies the subject, even the rather skeptical ones… We must remember that, although all of the writings of the New Testament were composed during the first century, it was not until later that they were compiled into a single volume that we call the New Testament.” (Pg. 51-52) Later, Habermas adds. “On the state of resurrection studies today, I recently completed an overview of more than 1,400 sources on the resurrection of Jesus published since 1975. I studied and catalogued about 650 of these texts in English, German, and French… perhaps no fact is more widely recognized than that early Christian believers had real experiences that they thought were appearances of the risen Jesus. A critic may claim that what they saw were hallucinations or visions, but he does not deny that they actually experienced something.” (Pg. 60)
About the “guilt theory” for Paul’s conversion, they state, “First, there is not a shred of evidence from Paul’s writings or Luke’s account of Paul’s actions in Acts that he experienced guilt while conducting his persecution. However, even if he did, this would more likely have led to the cessation of his terrorism toward Christians … rather than his becoming one… Second, Paul’s own testimony indicates the very opposite---that he was very content in Judaism and confident of his actions…. Third, even if guilt could account for Jesus’ appearance to Paul, it does not account for his appearances to the others. Finally, guilt does not account for the empty tomb.” (Pg. 116)
Of the seeming discrepancies in the Gospel accounts of the resurrection and appearances, they state, “It is often suggested by critics that the Gospel writers themselves cannot seem to agree on some details surrounding the resurrection of Jesus. For example, were there one… two… or three women who visited the tomb…? Did they see one … or two angels…? Did they see and angel(s) before they told the disciples that Jesus’ body was gone… or after…? Because of such tensions, some critics suggest that we cannot know what really happened if the … alleged eyewitnesses cannot even correctly report the events… There are several problems with this conclusion: First, the discrepancies in the Gospels … at most call into question the issue of complete accuracy of the Gospels, but not their general trustworthiness when recording historical events. Second, historians do not conclude that an event did not occur because the accounts contain discrepancies… Third, the discrepancies in the Gospels may indicate that they were independent accounts, since copiers would have been more unified on the facts… Fourth… coherent and plausible explanations exist that account for many if not all of the discrepancies.” (Pg. 122-123)
They also point out, “The phenomenon that has come to be called a ‘near-death experience’ also provides a substantial challenge to naturalism. It might even be said that… NDEs offer evidence that naturalism is mistaken at a key point—that of life after death… The challenge provided by NDEs is just an example of numerous indications we might cite that this is most likely not a naturalistic universe.” (Pg. 146-147)
They observe, “Regarding the identity of the ‘some’ who doubted, there is no agreement. Some scholars hold that different groups of people also were present on this occasion. Perhaps the group surrounding Jesus and the Eleven included other followers of Jesus… If [this] is correct, we must remember that this appearance was reported to have taken place in Galilee, where most people had only HEARD that Jesus had been crucified and may have doubted that he really had… it may be that a few of the Eleven had mixed thoughts that led to hesitation on their part… Why did they hesitate?... it could have been for any number of reasons. For example… Jesus’ post-resurrection body could have been different enough that he was difficult to recognize at first… We can see that several plausible explanations exist for this verse without having to resort to requiring that the disciples experienced visions, which does not appear to be plausible.” (Pg. 159)
In their conclusion, they recommend, “we may start off by saying, ‘I believe there’s some pretty good evidence for Jesus’ resurrection.’ When asked to provide that evidence, we respond by saying, ‘Because not everyone believes the Bible in its entirety, how about if I only use facts that are so strongly evidenced historically that they are granted by nearly every scholar[?]… We can then follow up by providing something like the following… *The disciples sincerely believed that Jesus rose from the dead and had appeared to them. *A number of outside evidences support the truth of their belief in his resurrection. *Since no opposing theories can adequately account for all of the historical evidence. Therefore, Jesus’ resurrection is the only plausible explanation.” (Pg. 206-207)
This book will be “must reading” for anyone seriously studying the resurrection, or Christian apologetics.