The Trouble with Resurrection – From Paul to the Fourth Gospel

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The term “resurrection” has come to stand for what Christianity is all about. But a close look reveals that it should not be understood monolithically, but rather as a pluralistic and diverse phenomenon. Early Christian communities were convinced that Rome had not defeated Jesus when they crucified him. They employed a whole host of metaphors to express that conviction.

The use of the single term “resurrection” to cover the phenomenon is a mistake, one that has tyrannized Christianity. Furthermore, most Christians believe in a physical resurrection, although Paul clearly calls this into question. Once that tradition became fixed, it provided the lens through which everything else was viewed—and distorted. By examining the so-called resurrection stories in chronological order, this book aspires to prompt readers to consider questions such as,

  • What does the New Testament really say about the resurrection?
  • What is the influence of Judaism on Christian belief in the resurrection?
  • How did the resurrection become the central belief in Christianity?
  • Why did early Christians choose to believe in the resurrection?
  • And why is resurrection not the right word?

“A powerful and provocative book” —John Shelby Spong

“A thoughtful and accessible resource for anyone trying to rescue the story of Jesus from pop Christianity” —Rev. David M. Felten, co-creator of Living the Questions

“Brandon Scott has done scholars and pastors alike a favor by writing this book.” —Dr. Robin R. Meyers, Mayflower Congregational UCC Church, Oklahoma City

“Scholarly, provocative, readable, and above all, honest … This book will be a classic! —Rex A. E. Hunt, The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought in Australia

“Meticulous … readable … compelling … The book should be on every minister’s reading list.” —David Buttrick, Vanderbilt University, emeritus

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