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ISBN/ASIN : 0801021758
Manufacturer : Baker Academic|
Release data : November, 1998
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What a Gret Debate!
Craig rightly reproves Crossan for what he regards his vague and mythological belief. If Jesus is not risen, we are wasting our time when we worship him. Crossan believes that Jesus' resurrection is a symbolical way to say that he empowers our lives; however he justly corrects Craig when the latter claims that the "majority" of scholars believe that Jesus claimed to be God. The beauty of the debate also lies in the contributions given by the other scholars. Surprisingly the two Christians, Blomberg and Whitherington, criticized Craig several times. Craig, however, was able to rebuff these criticisms and to keep the pressure on Crossan in his closing remarks. I liked Miller's argument that evidentialist apologetics works best for "insiders," (people who are already believers) though Craig was able to mention how several dozen people, in his last debates, came to Christ as a result of his arguments. It would have probably been better to say, which Miller didn't, that apologetics works best for undecided people (plenty of those out there!) and that therefore we still need it and will for a long time.
Craig's 4 contentions never refuted by Crossan:
1) Jesus was buried
2) His tomb was found empty
3) His disciples claimed to have seen the risen Jesus
4) The resurrection best explains the nature of these visions.
By the way, Craig is Not saying that it is irrational NOT to believe in the Resurrection!!! He is saying that Jesus' resurrection is the MOST plausible and logical explanation of the events surrounding that famous Passover about 2000 years ago.
I also recommend Pinchas Lapide's The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective
HAVE WE REVERTED TO THE DARK AGES?
This was billed as a debate-It was not-it was, instead an example of the Dumbing Down of Acadamia. Jesus, as later Roman and Jewish historians noted, (Tacitus, Usebius, Herodotus and others) was viewed by the Conservative, and Brutal Romans and the Priestly Hierarchy as a rebellious, seditious, radical, liberal, leftist. Conservative Governments, supported by conservative businesses want no interference with their greedy plans from those with a sense of justice. Recall that Republican President general D. D. Eisenhower and general Douglas McArthur warned that the conservative Japanese and German arms manufacturers-the military industrial complex instigated WW II. In Rome and Judea the wealthy Conservative senators, Generals, Royal Families, Herodian Kings and priests controlled the economy and Jesus' protection of the disenfranchised was seen as a threat to the wealth producing policies of Rome and Judea. Jesus knew that the Priests were stealing from the people by owning land a thing banned
Now comes Jesus. Who was he? A revolutionary? Simply a toleranct and liberal man seeking social justice, or a genuine prophet, Messiah, or Man-God? Did Jesus really say and do all of the things the evangelists, (who were not the apostles) writing some 35-90 years after Jesus' death, say he said and did? Why did the early church after Constantine try to destroy sacred books rediscovered in 1945-1947-the Nag Hammadi Codex's and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Crossan and Craig disagree on virtually everything in their books, but the real difference is that Craig's positions are the result not of deep synectical research and knowledge, but of his preconceived religious beliefs. Faith is a great thing but academic debates are about science not belief. Academic debates are based on hard evidence-what can be proven, not what is, through faith, believed! Debates are an intellectual exercise.
John Dominick Crossan, with whom I seldom agree, but respect as a researcher, is a solidly grounded research oriented Theologian. The debate, unfortunately, was rigged because Wm F. Buckley who was to serve as "moderator" was actually a third debater on Craig's side. Both of them must fear Crossan deeply to stoop to such a strategem. It is not just the stock market which lacks character.
A lot has been made of the attitude of Crossan and Borg in ignoring most of Craig's so-called "evidence". They did so, however, because the only evidence Craig produced were the gospels, themselves, which were in the things in question. Such tactics are unworthy of use in an academic debate environment or in a court room. Jesus may have been all the things the evangelists say he was, but using the very gospels in question as proof is not in the least valid evidence because they are the materials under scrutiny.
It is great to believe that Jesus is God. That is a matter of faith, but bringing one's faith to a scientific debate is ludicrous. I believe in God, but I would not attempt to prove that He exists because there is no scientific way to do that right now, so because I am secure in my belief, I do not need to prove it to anyone. Those who truly believe do not need public proof and those who do not believe cannot be convinced sans scientific evidence and it appears that God does not, at least at this juncture, wish for there to be any "Proof". In a true academic debate Buckley and Craig would have been dismissed, and lost.
As for the personal attacks on the men of the Jesus Seminar, they are unwarranted and egregious. They, as a body, do not do not hate Christianity, several of them are religious professionals-ministers, priests, etc.) and they are not evil men, nor are they all atheists, but they are researchers who are trying to get at the truth. Would you rather be taught by Dark Ages alchemists than scientific researchers? Judging from much of the response, few understand the nature of academic debating. Debates are one means of teaching and learning I was disappointed in this book because instead of trying to get at the truth Buckley and Craig were evangelizing and conspiring-not a good roll-model for young students to witness-corruption in academia. The book's most interesting reading was the commentary by Borg and other theologians. The rest of the debate and the response to is was more like the rantings of immature and moronically ill-informed people who do not want to know or hear truth.
Should Have Been a Classic
"Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up" features a debate between liberal and conservative Christians regarding the nature of Jesus. The participants are Dominic Crossan a prolific liberal New Testament scholar and the leading contemporary apologist for mainstream Christianity William Craig. William Buckley moderated the debate. The debate transcript is followed by comments from both liberal and conservative scholars regarding the debate and issues raised within it.
High profile debates such as these between liberal and conservative Christians are few and far between. Given that Craig and Crossan are the best known and arguably most capable representatives of the respective camps this should have been a classic. Although Craig was engaging, Crossan for the most part appeared evasive and refused to participate in any substantive discussion. Crossan is well known for making many controversial statements regarding the historic Jesus, however, when Craig raised some of these claims, Crossan largely failed to acknowledge or support them.
I found Crossan's performance disappointing. Although I do not often agree with him, I do think some of Crossan's ideas are interesting and would have enjoyed a discussion of them. Crossan's weak showing made many of his more grandiose claims - and by association those of the Jesus Seminar - appear somewhat vacuous. Though from my perspective, the objective of these types of discussions is not necessarily to win, I think all but the most ardent Crossan supporters will concede that he was intellectually and rhetorically overwhelmed by Craig.
Despite the debate's flaws the book is still a worthwhile read for those interested in Christian apologetics or the historic Jesus. Readers seeking some background for the debate can refer to "The Five Gospels" by the Jesus Seminar and "Jesus under Fire" a response by mainstream/conservative Christians. Readers seeking an overview of contemporary scholarship regarding the historic Jesus should see "Jesus, The Victory of God" by N.T. Wright and "The Jesus Quest" by Ben Witherington.