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A Historical Inquiry
Prometheus New Releases - October 2004 - Biblical Criticism
In this thorough exegesis of the primary texts dealing with the
resurrection of Jesus, New Testament expert Gerd Lüdemann (University
of Göttingen) presents compelling evidence to show that the
resurrection was not a historical event and further argues that this
development leaves little, if any, basis for Christian faith as
Beginning with Paul's testimony in 1 Cor. 15: 3-8, in which the
apostle declares that Jesus "has been raised on the third day in
accordance with the scriptures," Lüdemann systematically
evaluates every reference to Jesus' resurrection in the New Testament,
as well as apocryphal literature. He examines the purpose of the text
writers, the ways in which they reworked tradition, and the historical
value of each account.
Since the historical evidence leads to the firm conclusion that
Jesus' body was not raised from the dead, Lüdemann argues that the
origin of the Easter faith 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' resurrection, Peter and Paul, were victims of self-deception.
In conclusion, he asks whether in light of the non-historicity of
Jesus' resurrection, thinking people today can legitimately and in
good conscience still call themselves Christians.
Gerd Lüdemann (Göttingen, Germany) is professor of the History and
Literature of Early Christianity at the University of Göttingen and
formerly a visiting scholar and associate professor of New Testament
at Vanderbilt Divinity School. He is the author of many books and
articles on the origins of Christianity including Paul: The Founder of
Christianity, Jesus After 2000 Years, and The Great Deception: And
What Jesus Really Said and Did.
250 pages (illustrations) ISBN 1-59102- 245-2 Hardcover: $28