Sunday, January 30

The Jesus Inquest

The Jesus Inquest by Charles Foster
The Case for and Against the Resurrection of the Christ

Charles Foster is a barrister in England (a barrister is a type of lawyer). In deciding to write about the authenticity for the death and resurrection of Christ, he decided to take an approach which felt most comfortable to him: that of a lawyer.

The Jesus Inquest
is an interesting book in that it strives hard to be as objective as possible. Foster broke the book into 8 chapters, each dealing with a different element of the resurrection story. Within each chapter two viewpoints are expressed.

The first of which is person “X” who argues that against Christianity. “X” is a conglomeration of what Foster sees as the most popular elements against Christianity. So, “X” argues against Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.

Person “Y” is a Christian who is arguing that the Christian Bible is true and the resurrection story can be believed. The style in which each side follows is similar in how an attorney might present a case in a court room. Thus, the arguments usually follow a rational line of thought and each side works to rebuttal each other or preemptively defend their viewpoint.

At 318 pages, this book is quite detailed in its arguments, some of which I was never aware of. It also appears to have more of a scholarly background than a book such as Lee Strobel’s A Case for Christ, and also approaches the topic with the intentions of being objective, which I appreciated. To fully understand an argument it does help to view it without the opposing view adding asides that distract.

One of the major weaknesses of the book, however, is that both “X” and “Y” have extremely similar voices, since they are written by the same author. After a chapter or two, it grows easy to foresee exactly how “Y” will rebuttal “X’s” arguments. Their arguments also follow similar structures, though their conclusions and use of data differ.

There are also many points of redundancies among arguments. Foster tries to avoid the worst of these by having “X” or “Y” note that the argument had already been covered and then include a footnote with the pages, but it is impossible to cover all redundancies, especially when one chapter concerns the burial and another the empty tomb.

All in all, this was an interesting read. Foster covers a lot of ground and I would have to say it is one of the most objective books I have read on the topic (which is a rather surprising considering it is published by a man who appears to be a Christian and it was published through a Christian publisher). It also deals with what some may see as specific points of interest, such as whether the tomb of Jesus has really been discovered or an examination of the Shroud of Turin (a section which I found particularly interesting since I have never engaged the subject before).

3/5 Stars

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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