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The Jesus Inquest by Charles Foster

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is by far the central tenet of the Christian faith.  It is at once the core of our doctrine and the source of new life in Christ Jesus.  When I saw Charles Foster’s The Jesus Inquest was available, I jumped at the chance to read it.  The book is extremely well-researched and is set up in a debate-type dialogue where the debaters (x and y) alternately present their side of the argument.  The book covers a plethora of topics centered on the resurrection ranging from the death of Christ (did he actually die?) to Scriptural integrity to different theories concerning the body (including some that are largely ignored by other apolegetics books).  He even delves into what the earliest Christians actually believed and where their doctrine of resurrection originated (the Gospels, mythology, or somewhere else?)  Overall I believe the author gave a very balanced and fair treatment of the subject matter at hand.

My biggest objection to the book is his source theory for the New Testament.  He seems to outright reject the Apostolic authorship of Matthew and questions the authorship of the other Gospels.  If I were an agnostic or atheist, this gap in the armor is where I would attack viciously. If the Biblical account cannot be validated by either eye-witnesses (Matthew, Mark, and John) or by those closely associated with the witnesses (Luke), then what authority does it carry?  While the book, overall, builds a strong argument for the resurrection of Christ, my fear is that Foster’s argument rests on a shaky foundation of poor textual critique.

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