Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Book Review: The Jesus Inquest

I recently finished reading Charles Foster's book "The Jesus Inquest".  I was intrigued with its law based argument set up- with two 'characters' that the author created to present the case for and against the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I appreciated Foster's forthcoming of the difficulty it was to adequately present both sides, but his willingness to try.  I feel as though the author did a decent job of present the arguments equally and effectively even though he was one in the same.  Foster did an excellent job documenting and citing his resources as he fought the case for "X"- a person who doubts the death and Resurrection of Jesus as stated in the Gospels and "Y"- the person who believes in the truth of synoptic Gospels and that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again before ascending into heaven.

Overall, the 'proof' presented on both sides of the argument were interesting, but lacked polish and finality.  I found that the many arguments for "X" were so scattered and numbered that it was hard to take "X" seriously.  There were probably 3 or 4 different 'proofs' mentioned for simply where Jesus was buried after he 'survived' the crucifixion or failed to raise from the dead.  The lack of consistent argument against the truth of Christ was always present and made it hard for me to follow because there were so many different sides to the story.  "Y's" defense often amounted to this fact and provided only a few statistical proofs that backed up the case.

While Foster did a very thorough job of 'prooving' each side of the case, I have enjoyed books of a similar topic that address the arguments in a more concise way.  The author also assumes the reader has fair knowledge of the Catholic traditions and churches.  For a non-Catholic, bible believing protestant this created some confusion as I was having to educated myself on those traditions before I could fully understand the argument being presented.  I appreciated the epilogues in the back that included more in depth proof and explanation of some of the arguments.
In the end, while there could be some items in history that point to the proof of Jesus death and Resurrection, the cornerstone for our relationship with Jesus is not that we can prove him, but that we have faith in the Truth.  Faith super cedes most arguments and I trust that my Lord did give himself for me.  One of the points 'X' mentioned was that in the case of Joseph of Arimethia:  that no one would sacrifice their tomb because it was too costly monetarily and socially...that only fictional characters act in that way.  I wish 'Y' would have pointed out that people do act this way- its called unconditional love.  It is a faith and trust in Jesus that we can love others, and there is no concrete evidence that will ever make that go away.

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