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The Jesus Inquest: The Case For and Against the Resurrection of the Christ Paperback – Bargain Price, January 11, 2011

3.7 out of 5 stars 105 customer reviews

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Very often, Christians argue from an internal point of view and really don't address some very real problems with the narrative. However, Foster isn't afraid of those opposed to the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. Point by point he turns the prosecution's case on it's head, leaving us with questions, and the truth. Jesus is real, He did rise again and lives to offer forgiveness and hope to all who come to Him. Recommended for anyone who struggles with doubt or who deals with those who do. (Carolyn R. Scheidies Author's Choice Reviews ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Charles Foster is a British barrister, lecturer in medical ethics, and explorer who has written more than twenty books and hundreds of articles. He is an active member-when in the U.K.-of Holy Trinity Brompton, a large church in London. He is author of The Jesus Inquest. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0849948118
  • ASIN: B007BWC21U
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,937,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Charles Foster is a barrister, part-time Crown Court judge and teaches Medical Law and Ethics at the University of Oxford. In this book he uses two characters, X and Y, who argue opposing sides of the case of the resurrection of Jesus.

It is a rather extraordinary book, in that he manages to really get under the skin and argue both sides of the debate. He has clearly done a lot of research both in terms of historical data and the advocates of both sides. This is no Lee Strobel or Josh McDowell apologetics.

There are sections covering issues such as the crucifixion (did Jesus die?), the burial, the empty tomb, and origins and expectations of resurrection belief, as well as issues such as the alleged 'Jesus Family' tomb. In each case X and Y both have their say, and Foster leaves it to the reader to make their own mind. X argues against the resurrection, using a number of arguments that anyone who has read Robert M Price or Richard Carrier will be familiar with, though he did put forward some that I had not come across before. Y argues for the resurrection and there are traces of N.T. Wright and others in there. However, Y holds a few views that some evangelical apologists may not agree with (such as arguing that certain inconsistencies in the gospel narratives are not able to be harmonised).

The appendices are very helpful and deal with arguments relating to the medical cause of death, the issues relating to the Shroud of Turin, and the Gospel of Peter.
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This is an extraordinary achievement: for something that's so well and comprehensively researched it manages to be a remarkably compelling and exhilarating read. If you've read the Da Vinci Code (or haven't) you should consider upgrading to The Jesus Inquest. This guy seems to have covered all the angles surrounding the death and resurrection of the Nazarene - the documentary sources, the medical causes of death, ancient Jewish burial practices, the Turin shroud; and also the various hypotheses about what happened to the body.... and there are PICTURES too. He's obviously done a lot of leg-work around the Middle East to research this. The format of the two barristers, X and Y, arguing their case in court and slagging each other off in their deliciously ungentlemanly way works really well. A great read for people tired of the usual one-sided pro- or anti-Christian fare and who want to get a serious handle on what might actually have happened 2000 years ago, without falling asleep at the wheel. Pugnacious, provocative.... and extremely informative. NICE ONE.
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For a few years now I have been looking for interesting books on religion that will guide me in my personal quest for understanding God and my place in religion. While The Jesus Inquest by Charles Foster did not exactly fit that bill, it was certainly an interesting read for a life-long Christian.

Foster, a lawyer, does what few have attempted: show both sides of the Jesus resurrection story. With the death of Jesus two millennium ago, much has been made about the location itself and the tomb that Jesus was to have laid for Friday and Saturday nights before his reported resurrection on Sunday morning.

While he tries, it is pretty easy to get a feel for which side Foster falls on, and when it comes to religion, it is no surprise that we all have sides. Each side presents quite compelling evidence to support their claims and I must say that it was quite interesting to read about the history of the Gospels and the general history of 1st Century Palestine. Those were things not taught in Sunday School or in sermons I listened to for nearly 20 years.

What did I learn from it? I learned there is a lot not being talked about in regular religious discussions. In fact, after finishing the book, I got into a discussion about one argument posited in the book: that those who believe the Bible to be absolute truth must agree that somewhere there is a mistake in the Gospels. What?! Where!? The accounts don't match in relation to who was first to the tomb on Sunday morning and what they saw. I had never thought about it before, but it is true. Thus, we, and I have come to believe that because these stories were written down decades after the actual Passion events, not everything written down is accurate. And if that is the case, what else is just story?
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Jesus Inquest is a remarkable book that you've never really heard of most likely, but you honestly should have. The book is written by Charles Foster who is a barrister in the U.K., which if you don't know means he understands the rules of law quite well. He was a believer in the resurrection of Jesus but found many defenses quite lacking. His questions weren't being answered and he doesn't care much for many works of apologetics by Christians. He wanted to put forward the case from the opposite end as strongly as he could and see how he could respond.

Thus, you have a dialogue between two people, X and Y. Foster writes out both dialogues and Y is the position of the Christian defending the resurrection of Jesus. X throws out most any objection that he can which means sometimes he will hold contradictory positions, but this is because Foster is trying to be as thorough as possible. X will use popular objections, such as ideas that Jesus traveled to India after somehow surviving the crucifixion, as well as more scholarly objections. He'll use crank theories like the Talpiot Tomb as well as real theories like the hallucination hypothesis.

X's case is quite often indeed impressive. One can read his side and think "I wonder how Y will answer that when he gets there." Due to the wide range of subjects covered, there's no doubt Foster did a lot of research for this book. In the end after examining both sides, Foster still has a strong case that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead and the objections from the other side can be answered and for the most part, they are answered quite admirably.

Some readers might be troubled that Foster doesn't take an approach of Inerrancy, but that could also be a help since so many Christians marry Inerrancy to Scripture.
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