The Resurrection: History and Mythby Geza Vermes (New York: Doubleday, 2008) 192 pp., $18.95 (hardcover)
Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happenedby Craig Evans and N.T. Wright (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2009) 126 pp., $14.95 (paperback)
What happens to a person following death is a mystery that has provoked as much intense speculation as any subject pondered by humankind. The notion that Jesus of Nazareth, after being crucified by Roman soldiers, was subsequently raised bodily from death posits a singular form of so-called resurrection. This event, as reported in the New Testament, is a cornerstone of Christian faith, as well as a source of seemingly endless commentary and debate.
Two recent books offer fresh and engaging insights on the subject of resurrection, based on archaeological evidence as well as Biblical and extra-Biblical sources. One is The Resurrection by Geza Vermes, a highly regarded scholar and professor emeritus of Jewish Studies at Oxford. The other is Jesus, the Final Days, a joint effort by Craig Evans, professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College (Canada), and N.T. Wright, bishop of Durham (England), both widely published and respected scholars.