In 2003, the British New Testament scholar N.T. Wright published The Resurrection of the Son of God, arguing vigorously that the Resurrection of Christ should be handled purely as a historical event, subjected to historical reason and critical-historical research. Resurrection in Retrospect examines Wright’s arguments, demonstrating the flaws in the view that the Resurrection should be understood essentially as Jesus’ return from the dead to this world of space and time in a material and physical body, and asserting that it is a ‘mystery of God’, which must necessarily be appropriated, not by reason alone, but by faith. Evidence relating to a past occurrence can be known only retrospectively, yet Easter faith has to do with apprehending in the present a concretely experienced reality, which Saint Paul called ‘the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:2).
An epistemology of the identification of the Spirit in faith as the living presence of Christ can be found in the companion volume: The Reconstruction of Resurrection Belief.
1. Introduction: Matters of Method
2. 2 Baruch, Josephus, and The Wisdom of Solomon
3. Language and Experience
4. The Appearances Tradition
5. Paul and The Empty Tomb
6. The Empty Tomb: The Gospel Narratives
7. The Nature of Faith
8. The Verbal Expression of Faith
9. The Subjective Vision Hypothesis
10. Incorruptibility or Immortality?
Appendix 1: 2 Baruch 49-51
Appendix 2: Jewish Sources on the Legal Status of Women
Index of Authors
Index of Subjects
Endorsements and Reviews
Peter Carnley here provides the most painstaking riposte to date to the idea that the Resurrection of Jesus is simply another historical event accessible even to ‘secular’ historians. In so doing, he recapitulates and refines his lifelong work on this topic with verve and spiritual wisdom: this is a book that all interested and educated Christians can and should read and reflect upon.
Sarah Coakley, Logos Institute at University of St Andrews, and Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
This is a very subtle and illuminating book on the most complicated topics concerning the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the Resurrection hope in general. Biblical and extracanonical witnesses, systematic reflections, and practical theological concerns are addressed alike, with fruitful results. A profound, critical engagement with Tom Wright’s influential contributions to the topic provides a thread running through the book. However, Carnley does not only offer valuable perspectives on the main topics of the Resurrection. He also deals with burning questions about the nature of faith, the question of human immortality, and the eschatological existence in heaven.
Michael Welker, Senior Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Heidelberg