The earliest traditions around the narrative of Jesus’ resurrection are considered in this landmark work by Dale C. Allison, Jr, drawing together the fruits of his decades of research into this issue at the very core of Christian identity.
Allison returns to the ancient sources and earliest traditions, charting them alongside the development of faith in the resurrection in the early church and throughout Christian history. Beginning with historical-critical methodology that examines the empty tomb narratives and early confessions, Allison moves on to consider the resurrection in parallel with other traditions and stories, including Tibetan accounts of saintly figures being assumed into the light, in the chapter “Rainbow Body”.
Finally, Allison considers what might be said by way of results or conclusions on the topic of resurrection, offering perspectives from both apologetic and sceptical viewpoints. In his final section of “modest results” he considers scholarly approaches to the resurrection in light of human experience, adding fresh nuance to a debate that has often been characterised in overly simplistic terms of “it happened” or “it didn't”.
This is the best book on the historical and exegetical problems surrounding the resurrection that I know of. Nowhere else will one be informed by such comprehensive, discriminating, and fair-minded judgment regarding the exegetical and historical discussion of Jesus' resurrection. I have learned much from this great book. * Gerd Theissen, Professor Emeritus of New Testament Studies, University of Heidelberg, Germany * This book is the product of the deep and wide reflections of a preeminent scholar. Allison is refreshingly transparent and honest. Some will accuse him of being too pessimistic. Others will charge him with not being skeptical enough. If he is guilty of either, he cannot be faulted for accepting easy answers or of neglecting any arguments. Although I remain persuaded that historical inquiry can yield greater confidence pertaining to what happened to Jesus after his death than Allison allows, this volume is a fair-minded assessment of the data and is scholarship at the highest level. * Michael R. Licona, Associate Professor of Theology, Houston Baptist University, USA * This is the most interesting and illuminating piece of writing on the resurrection of Jesus that I have ever read. * Joel Marcus, Professor Emeritus of New Testament & Christian Origins, Duke Divinity School, USA * This is a book of massive erudition around the resurrection, the real events that may well lie behind it, and how to read its popular New Testament residues and cross-cultural parallels. Allison engages the full power and depth of contemporary biblical criticism to show that the scriptural accounts are relatively thin but nevertheless intriguing documents for the responsible historian and can reasonably be read faithfully or skeptically. The originality, even genius, of the book lies in how he then turns to other independent literatures to "think in parallels," playing, for example, well-documented Marian apparitions and angelic, bereavement, and near-death contacts off the early New Testament accounts or the Buddhist rainbow body off the empty tomb, always with a double refusal to fall into either easy debunking reduction or naive literalist belief. The result is a shocking book that troubles one's certainty, whatever that certainty happens to be, and advances a profound humility before one of the most important mysteries of the history of religions. It turns out that the questions of "what really happened" or, more basic still, "what a body is" are much more complicated than is normally thought or believed. * Jeffrey J. Kripal, Associate Dean of the School of Humanities and J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Philosophy and Religious Thought, Rice University, USA * For anyone who wants to wrestle seriously with what to think about Jesus of Nazareth and with the history of scholarship on this matter, the writings of Dale Allison offer more food for thought, from more angles of vision, than any other recent author I know of. The Resurrection of Jesus, now venturing to bring his expertise to bear on the standard arguments of Christian apologetics and counter-apologetics, will again be an indispensable aid to those who, from within a faith perspective or in search of one, find themselves in pursuit of genuine inquiry. * Stephen Wykstra, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Calvin College, USA *