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Book Review: The Jesus Inquest

February 1, 2011

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I did not think I would like this book.

I was wrong.

With The Jesus Inquest, British attorney Charles Foster proposes to debate both sides of the case concerning the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. I think he does a great job.

The book is arranged similar to a structured debate, minus the rebuttals. Chapters focus on the sources, then whether or not Jesus actually died at all, then whether and/or how He was buried, then the difficulty of the reportedly empty tomb, then His post-resurrection appearances, etc. One step at a time, the “atheist” voice (known as “X”) presents every possible explanation for the story besides the Christian view, and the “Christian” voice (known as “Y”) attempts to rebut X’s arguments and give force to the Christian story.

It’s really, very interesting.

First, my one contention with the book is that Foster does not believe in the inerrancy of scripture. He occasionally comes to a passage that he cannot explain or understand, and concludes that the scripture is wrong – that one of the gospel story-tellers got a little carried away, etc.

I don’t doubt that there are passages that seem difficult, or that seem to contradict, but neither do I doubt that God is smarter than Charles Foster. Lawyer or no, just because one man can’t figure out a passage of scripture doesn’t mean it wasn’t inspired of the Spirit of God.

Soapbox aside, there are three little perks about this book I have to point out. Aside from its just being a good read:

  1. It’s cross-referenced like crazy. Each chapter takes on a big chunk of the story. X gives all of his arguments, and then Y all of his. Each one of X’s ideas/points, however, is cross-referenced to its answer at the end of the chapter. You can read it straight through, or jump back and forth between argument and answer.
  2. If you fancy yourself a philosopher/thinker, reading each chapter straight through is like a pop quiz. My margins are marked up with my answers to X’s arguments.
  3. The appendixes should be titled Exhibit A, Exhibit B, etc. Much of the information referenced in the discussions is included in the back of the book: the gospel of Peter, a short research piece on the shroud of Turin, an investigative-style report on the cause of Jesus’ death, etc.

Very interesting stuff.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 2, 2011 8:27 am

    Lex,
    Thanks so much for your thoughtful and kind review. So glad that the book was thought-provoking and useful.
    All best wishes.
    Charles (Foster)

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