The Reconstruction of Resurrection Belief

By Peter Carnley

A theological reflection on the Resurrection of Christ, understood in terms of the presence of Jesus in the life of the Christian community.

ISBN: 9780227177143


While its companion volume, The Resurrection in Retrospect, addresses the inadequacies of an approach to the Resurrection of Christ purely as an event of past historical time, The Reconstruction of Resurrection Belief articulates an alternative understanding of Resurrection faith as essentially a response of trust based upon a knowledge by acquaintance with the living presence of Christ today.

In the hope that it may have some traction in an increasingly secular world of contemporary scientific realism, Carnley demonstrates an understanding of the nature of Resurrection faith in the language of today, with as much logical coherence as possible, and explains how the claim that the animating Spirit of the Christian community that Saint Paul spoke of as ‘the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:2) may be justifiably identified in faith today as ‘the living presence of Jesus of Nazareth.’

Additional information

Dimensions 254 × 178 mm
Pages 348

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Peter Carnley was Warden of St John’s College and taught systematic theology in the University of Queensland in Brisbane, prior to becoming Archbishop of Perth in 1981. He was elected Primate of Australia in 2000 and retired from full-time ministry in 2005. A Lambeth DD was added to his earned degrees in 2012, and he holds honorary doctorates from the General Theological Seminary, New York, and from the Universities of Newcastle (NSW), Queensland, Western Australia, Charles Sturt University (NSW), and the University of Divinity, Melbourne. He is an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, Melbourne, and Emmanuel College and St John’s College, Cambridge. He became a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2007, the citation reading ‘for his contribution to theology, ecumenism, and social justice’.

As well as the companion volume to this title, The Resurrection in Retrospect (also published by James Clarke and Co Ltd), his other books include A Kind of Retirement (2016), Reflections in Glass (2004), and The Structure of Resurrection Belief (1987).



1. Resurrection and the Ecclesial Experience of the Raised Christ
2. The Nature of Faith
3. The Object of Faith
4. Paul and Stoicism
5. Faith and the Senses
6. The Presence of a Person
7. Faith and Freedom, Ambiguity and Doubt
8. Faith as Remembering and Knowing
9. A Veridical Memory?
10. A Uniquely Referring Memory
11. The Resurrection of the Body
12. A Little More Platonic Light
13. Belief and Behavior
14. Postscript

Author Index
Subject Index


Endorsements and Reviews

Carnley has succeeded in making deep sense of core Christian truth, authoritatively combining up-to-date scholarship, rigorous philosophy, and a rich engagement with both Christianity and modernity. He shows how testimony both to the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus, and to the Holy Spirit, connects with experience of Jesus now. He not only faces the big questions that are important for both believers and searchers, he also offers convincing judgements and a wisdom that has matured over many years. A very remarkable and valuable achievement!
David F. Ford, University of Cambridge

It is important that something as central to the Christian Faith as the Resurrection of Christ be the subject of serious theological examination. Peter Carnley serves his readers well as he opens this key theological principle across the disciplines of systematic and biblical theology. The text of The Reconstruction of Resurrection Belief brings a profound depth of scholarship to a discussion of the theological work on the Resurrection over the past century and more. It has been a mark of Carnley’s scholarship and church leadership always to bring to the forefront what the text of Scripture actually says. He is not a scholar who seeks to make Scripture conform to his own theological argument, and is critical of those who have done this … This book is part of a two-volume project stimulated by Carnley’s engagement with a wide range of scholars, particularly the influential and extensive work of biblical scholar, N.T. Wright. It deserves wide reading.
Philip Freier, Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne