A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
By Steve West
About the Author
George Eldon Ladd was a biblical scholar who specialized in New Testament theology. His writings on various theological and biblical topics have left a lasting impression on evangelical thinking.
In this book, Ladd examines the biblical and historical data surrounding the resurrection. He makes a case for the resurrection as both a historian and as a theologian. He weighs alternative exegetical and historical explanations but concludes that Jesus really experienced a bodily resurrection from the dead. This fact is so important that without the resurrection, life is without meaning.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Faith and History
Chapter 3 The Centrality of the Resurrection
Chapter 4 Resurrection in the Old Testament
Chapter 5 The Resurrection in Judaism
Chapter 6 The Messiah and the Resurrection
Chapter 7 The Nature of the Gospels
Chapter 8 The Witness of the Gospels
Chapter 9 The Witness of Paul
Chapter 10 “Historical” Explanations
Chapter 11 Does it Matter?
Chapter 1: Introduction
Our modern world has a very different view of the supernatural and miracles than was the case in the time of Jesus. Accounts of alleged miracles were common at that time. There are a variety of interpretations of the historicity of the resurrection. Some believe it was an historical event and subject to public verification, while others believe faith is necessary for properly interpreting the historical facts. Others maintain that it was a historical event but it transcends historical verification and historical meaning (i.e. it is an eschatological, meta-historical event). Bultmann denies that the resurrection was an event in history and asserts that its meaning is found in the kerygma and encounter with Jesus through preaching.
This book will argue that the historical facts do not coerce faith, but faith is supported by these facts. For many, the resurrection is denied on an a priori basis, following Enlightenment presuppositions about naturalistic causes and effects in a closed system. In this model, supernatural intervention in history is ruled out in principle. The biblical world is one where people believed in supernatural acts. It is not properly scientific to reach conclusions before the evidence is studied inductively. Naturalism is not open to certain possibilities, and as a result misses the best explanation of the data.
Chapter 2: Faith and History
History deals with the empirical world, and faith deals with the world of God. The Christian believes many things they cannot point to or validate with their physical senses. Scientists cannot make any objective claims about God. This creates a problem because the Bible is filled with claims that God has acted in history. Historians may know that Israel left Egypt, or that Jesus died under Pilate, but can a historian know that God led Israel in the Exodus, or that Jesus died for sins? It is a biblical principle that God is transcendent, yet he acts in time-space history. Apologetics cannot prove that the miracles in the Bible happened, just like they cannot prove the virginal conception. Historical events need an adequate cause, but it is an open question whether that entails a historical cause. An act of God is a supernatural cause.[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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I BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS, by George Eldon Ladd