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Showing 1-10 of 40 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 60 reviews
on June 3, 2016
I must admit that when I first heard of the controversy regarding Matt 27 passage, I was hesitant to buy this book. However it is because of that controversy that I finally decided to give it a shot and see what Dr. Licona had to say.

I am so glad that I did! The controversy worked in my favor, because this book is by far the finest, most comprehensive and most honest work on the resurrection that I have ever read. Although I personally am not convinced of Dr. Licona's interpretation of Matt 27, I am open to it and I must admit that I do not fully understand the genre of apocalyptic imagery as well as he does. Yet that is only 2-3 pages of disagreement in a 700 page gold mine; and one thing that I am sure of is that if Dr. Licona is correct in his interpretation, then it most certainly is compatible with the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy! When scholars like Markus Vinzent are writing books and articles claiming that all four Gospels were written in the 2nd century as responses to Marcion's Luke, such ferocious and defamatory arguments against Dr. Licona by Norman Geisler over the genre of Marr 27:52-53 seem like a waste of time! Surely such a witch hunt is a modern example of the kind of divisiveness that Paul condemned in Corinth.

I really am grateful for Dr. Licona's work on the resurrection and for the detail and open-mindedness with which he investigated the data. His respect for the arguments of other scholars and openness to investigate their views, makes his refutations of them all the more credible and powerful. I must admit that Dr. Geisler's explanations and harmonization's of biblical difficulties are sometimes so ad-hoc that they are prone to create doubt in the most devoted believer. I am grateful to Dr. Licona's work for being so honest and for making just good sense. I can now defend these alleged difficulties with confidence
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on June 28, 2013
If you go into The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach knowing that it was Michael Licona's doctoral dissertation, you'll be better prepared for the profusion of footnotes and the scholarly emphasis. This is NOT one of those popcorn-for-the-brain 160-page books on Christian living.

What surprised me most about this book is the very conservative stand Licona took on irrefutable facts. By conservative, I don't mean politically conservative or religiously conservative, but rather extremely reserved in what he used as the basis of his argument.

Licona accepts only three inarguable points:

1. Jesus Christ was crucified and died.
2. The apostles claimed to have seen Jesus bodily alive after his death and were changed.
3. Paul of Tarsus claimed to have seen Jesus bodily alive after his death and was radically changed.

I was a bit disappointed that there was only minimal discussion of the empty tomb. Licona does not rely heavily on the gospels but rather on 1 Cor. 15:3-5 as the earliest account of Christ's fate. That passage is oral tradition, he says, passed directly from the eyewitness apostles to Paul and predates the gospels by a decade or two. Unbelievers may argue that, but it certainly tends to deflate the "gospels aren't reliable sources" argument.

Licona takes on various "resurrection hypotheses" promoted by other Bible scholars and he does a devastating job of dismantling each one. Some are patently absurd and have no basis in either fact or history. It doesn't take much to torpedo them. Others are reasonable but he points out their serious flaws.

I'm no Bible scholar, but I do know Scripture fairly well and I have a basic understanding of Christian theology. This book is readable, though only on a few occasions does Licona lapse into a colloquial style. It's not stuffy, as you'd expect a dissertation to be, but there are times it bogs down.

It's because of these style problems that I gave it four stars instead of five. Maybe you have to write in a fairly academic style to be taken seriously by academics. I felt it could have been livelier, given the subject matter.

Still, it's a monumental work in furthering the case for the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you are a nonbeliever with an open mind, it will make you think. If you are already a believer, it will help you see how this event stands up to the demanding standards of professional historians.

I recommend it as a worthwhile, mind-enlarging read.
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on October 7, 2013
Finally finished it, it must be THE if not one of the most documented, sourced works I ever read. He makes a convincing case for the resurrection, not as a believer (he makes clear he almost lost his faith during the honest and objective inquiry), but in his role as a historian. I won't spoil the end for you lol but I can say he has certainly done his homework, and even has a recommendation from Yale. He is a little too quick to give into Bible "contradictions", but then again does have an adequate explanation for them, and the purpose of the study is not Biblical inerrancy, but the Resurrection itself. Worth the money for serious study, but note this is a serious scholarly work, something to be recommended in a college class.
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on May 9, 2015
I think his quote on page 132 really sums up the objectivity with which Licona is trying to present the case: "I am convinced that my interest in truth supersedes my fear of embarrassment and disappointment. If the resurrection of Jesus could not be confirmed historically, my specifically Christian faith could still survive. But a disconfirmation of the resurrection would lead me to abandon it. I am wrestling with this topic because I am committed to seeking, finding, and following truth. At the moment I am quite persuaded by the scientific and philosophical evidence that some sort of supreme being exists who is responsible for the creation of the universe and life itself. Thus, I would still hold to the existence of God if I concluded that Jesus did not rise from the dead. And I am much more interested in pleasing the true God than I am in hanging onto my job."
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on November 20, 2012
This book covers a wide scope on the historiocity of the resurrection of Jesus. The thing I love about this book is that it is very indepth and it can make one intensely interested in history and will make a person into a "mini-historian" as they dive into this book.

Michael Licona is one of the greatest defenders right now when it comes to the resurrection of Jesus. He has had atleast 18 debates now and is honestly starting to take over Gary Habermas' spot and I think he does a better job than William Lane Craig when it comes to history because Licona is a historian, as in Craig is a philosopher.

Licona covers the main objections that are coming to the Christians right now and does a great job in analyzing Bart Eherman's arguments for the relativity of History, how the eyewitnesses weren't reliable for the NT Gospels, how the hypothesis of Jesus is theological and therefore, not reliable, and so forth. He presents the critics arguments fairly and then refutes it fairly with better evidence, reasoning, logic, from other historians, and history itself.

I liked how he gave an analysis of the sources we have for Jesus' resurrection and how he gives it a rating of what the critics say and what he thinks about it.

This book is a bit more easier to read and isn't filled with vocabulary words that will make you an expert at finding words in your dictionary. Not that those books are in itself bad (because I favor those books), but because this book is easier, you will be able to enjoy it as well and read it for a good length of time at one setting.

His method is advocated by Habermas, Craig, and others in showing the historiocity of the resurrection of Jesus through validating historical facts and using the hypothesis of the resurrection to have the "greater explanatory power, greater explantory scope of the facts, less ad hoc, and more plausible." Even though this is a rather long and lengthy book, I can quite assure you that you won't regret it. If you are thinking of getting more deeper into these things than staying in shallow waters of studying "The Case for Christ" and the chapters of short analysis on this by the book "Reasonable Faith," I would highly recommend this book for anyone that is interested in Christian apologetics and possibly teaching on them in their bible studies or school campus clubs.
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on January 21, 2015
This is an exceptionally thorough work. It is not a light read. For example, the first 200 pages are devoted to addressing problems inherent in any historical study as well as those peculiar problems involved in studying an alleged miracle such as Jesus' resurrection. Then the book goes into great detail discussing the historical sources, both Christian and secular, their reliability, and their impact on the question of whether Jesus was truly resurrected. I confess that I have not yet finished the book, so I reserve judgment on his final conclusions. But this book is ideal for those who want to take a very serious look at the historical evidence regarding Christ's resurrection. If you just want an easy read, try something else, like Who Moved the Stone? by Frank Morison.
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on January 10, 2016
The deepest and most intricate defense of the resurrection. Mike looks at all the facts without bias to test his faith and he was amazed at how amazing the evidence really is for Jesus's resurrection. This is the best book I've read and as a skeptic this book addressed every single one of my objections and skepticism. This book if incredibly detailed and goes deeply into the historical method and how historians try figure out what happened. Overall, great book. I hope to see more from Mr. Licona.
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on May 31, 2013
This is a "must read" for everyone who has a serious interest in Christian Apologetics. Licona's approach is essentially analytical and absolutely immersed in methodic, relentless hunger for truth.

As a retired scientist, now turned apologist I found myself saying "YES YES!!" out loud on dozens of occasions as I read through the text.

This is not an easy read for the general public but is definitely understandable to the careful reader. It is also quite appropriate for use as a seminary text for any study dealing with the centrality of the resurrection of Christ to the Christian Faith.

This has been added to my "must read annually" list.
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on February 25, 2015
When I received this book it was much thicker than I expected and written in the form of a proper academic thesis. The book might be too heavy or academic for some readers, but I am very happy I bought it. When I first received it I almost couldn't put it down and read it from beginning to end. I borrowed it to some friends who found it too much and they skipped right to the end where there is a summary of each chapter. I ordered it hoping to find a proper discussion of the resurrection of Jesus considering all historical evidence available. It was exactly what I expected. His method is very logical and very systematic. Licona investigates the resurrection of Jesus with a method he calls a new historiographical approach.
These are the steps he follows:
First Licona thoroughly discusses the theory and method he use in his investigation. Licona discusses the approach to investigate possible miraculous events. He comes to the conclusion that when investigating the resurrection of Jesus one cannot start out by assuming it didn't happen, just because it is considered to be an impossible event.
Then he discusses all sources pertaining to the resurrection of Jesus. These are sources from the New Testament, non-Christian sources and non-canonical sources. Each source is rated according to whether it provides independent testimony. The ratings are: unlikely, possible-minus, possible-plus, highly probable, indeterminate and not useful.
After investigating all the sources pertaining to the resurrection of Jesus he sets up a historical bedrock. This is a list of facts that most academics agree can be accepted as historical truth. Licona's historical bedrock consists of three statements he considers to be facts:
1. Jesus died by crucifixion.
2. Very shortly after Jesus' death, the disciples had experiences that led them to believe and proclaim that Jesus had resurrected and appeared to them.
3. Within a few years after Jesus' death, Paul converted after experiencing what he interpreted as a post resurrection appearance of Jesus to him.
Licona then considers the hypotheses of leading academics on the resurrection. He considers the proposals of Geza Vermes, Michael Goulder, Gerd Lüdeman, John Dominic Crossan and Pieter Crafford. Each proposal, together with the resurrection hypothesis itself, is weighed according to a set of criteria. The set of criteria is set up to measure the ability of each hypothesis to account for the historical bedrock. The criteria are:
1. Explanatory scope
2. Explanatory power
3. Plausibility
4. Less add hoc
5. Illumination
A critique on Licona's method is that he doesn't actually properly define these criteria before he starts using them. By measuring the current hypothesis against the 5 criteria, Licona comes to the conclusion that the resurrection hypothesis is superior to the competing hypotheses.

Discussion: Licona's approach makes it possible for someone to consider a hypothesis not discussed in this book and measure it with the 5 criteria. Critical questions that can be asked about Licona's approach are the following: Do all scholars really agree with the 3 statements considered to be historical bedrock? Does Licona use the 5 criteria in an objective manner when evaluating the different hypotheses? Are there important hypotheses that he did not consider?

All in all Licona did great research and presented his arguments in a very logical and systematic manner. The Resurrection of Jesus will challenge the reader to seriously consider the truth of the resurrection hypothesis.
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on September 6, 2012
From my perspective, this book provided a fair, objective synopsis and analysis of the leading theories of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The author (Licona) takes a wide scope approach, including analysis of the Apostle Paul's vision of the resurrected Christ and the life change that resulted (not only Jesus' disciples and the accounts in the gospels). He places the theories side by side and judges them on their merits. Lincona also spends space acknowledging the horizons of different writers (including himself) and how these horizons affect the way one reads the historical evidence for the resurrection. Highly recommended.
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