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Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Figment?: A Debate Between William Lane Craig and Gerd Ludemann
~William Lane Craig , Ronald Tacelli , Paul Copan , Gerd Ludemann
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List price: $15.00
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Average customer rating: 4.0 out of 5
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Sales rank: 255193

Product Information

Media: Paperback
ISBN/ASIN : 0830815694
Manufacturer : InterVarsity Press
Release data : December, 2000

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  • A selection of product reviews

    1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star    Ludemann is Anti Intellectual

    This book contrasts opposing worldviews through the investigation of whether or not Jesus rose from the dead. Dr. Craig represents a worldview that embraces theism while Dr. Ludemann embraces a naturalistic world view. The substance of the debate gives insight into how each of these worldviews interacts with the question of whether miracles are possible to consider historically. The commentaries on the debate offered by Davis, Goulder, Gundry and Hoover shed further light on the differences in worldview of each debater. Each scholar represents his worldview well, but I am going to focus on the debate between Drs. Craig and Ludemann.

    Dr. Craig presents the case for Jesus being raised from the dead in a thorough and systematic manner. Similar to scientists who believe theism or intelligent design can be investigated through science, he believes that the Resurrection can be investigated historically. He uses four basic evidences for the Resurrection which are accepted by the majority of critical biblical scholars, therefore not using the Bible as the inspired by God. Throughout his exchanges with Dr. Ludemann, Craig attempts to engage him on how these facts seem to point towards the inference that Jesus was raised from the dead.

    Craig asserts the following four historically reliable facts support his contention. Joseph of Arimithea buried Jesus Body after he was crucified. On the Sunday following the crucifixion, the tomb was found empty by some of his women followers. After the Tomb was found empty, on multiple occasions to multiple people, Jesus appeared alive. Finally, Jesus' followers believed that Jesus rose from the dead although their Jewish heritage would give them no reason to think that he would rise from the dead before the end of the world. These facts combined seem to infer that God raised Jesus from the dead to make a theological and historical point.

    Dr. Ludemann stresses an a priori commitment to naturalism and therefore argues that even considering resurrection is faulty. In fact, he states on page 60, "I would like to repeat that claiming a supernatural event means nothing." The problem with Ludemann's objection is that it constitutes an ongoing a priori rejection of miracles, which is not even acceptable to an outspoken atheist like Mackie (The Miracle of Theism, page 23).

    Also, this position is remarkably similar to the ID and Naturalism. We see this position well illustrated by Richard Lewotin, "It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door." ("Billions and Billions of Demons," The New York Review, Jan. 9, 1997, p. 31) This is the method Dr. Ludemann employs in his investigation of the resurrection.

    This a priori position is remarkably anti intellectual and Ludemann often comes off as condescending. Instead of answering or attempting to rebut Craig's list of evidences in a scholarly and engaging manner, he ignored Craig. I would have found the debate much more interesting if Ludemann had attempted to show how mistaken Craig's evidence was by offering naturalistic alternatives. Instead, he stated on page 41 that, "all debates concerning the resurrection become involved in emotions." Well, the problem with this statement is that we have to evaluate Ludemann's state of emotions to see if he is able to lend an objective view to the evidence presented by Craig. Since he has taken an ongoing a priori objection to the supernatural, we can conclude that he cannot be qualified to objectively deal with the evidence due to his emotional commitment to philosophical naturalism.

    Ludemann also seems underhanded when he stated that Christians were inherently bigoted. On page 42, "This anti-Jewish attitude has permeated Christian theology since the first century." Well, this is incredibly misleading. Gary Habermas points out, that when Jesus is talking about the Jews in a judgmental tone, he is talking about the leaders of the temple and those that sought to persecute him. Also, we see that this attitude is anti-intellectual. We know that historically, Jews were the only religion exempted in the Roman Empire to allow for worship of their God without the trappings of the state. The followers of Christ were all Jewish and worshipped in the temple therefore gaining this protection from Rome. We see that the Jewish temple leaders started kicking Jewish Christians out of the temples forcing them to illegally worship and face persecution. This resulted in death, imprisonment and torture. Dr. Ludemann clearly had his worldview distort the facts.

    1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star    Excellent and amusing

    Though short, this book did justice to many of the areas concerning Jesus' resurrection. Craig's position is the standard evangelical one, while Ludemann has a modern day hallucination hypothesis. Craig's rebuttal to Ludemann's halluciantion hypothesis, and his explanation of why the resurrection hypothesis is superior, is magnificent, and may well be worth the cost of the book. The guest commentators add a little to the debate, and Craig's responses to Goulder and Hoover made me laugh out loud.

    For as cheap as this book is, it's a great read and resource.

    1 star1 star1 star1 starNo star    A Lopsided Debate Worthy of Attention

    This book is the written presentation of a live debate between two leading scholars on the resurrection, William L. Craig and Gerd Ludemann. I enjoy these kinds of presentations because they are a good way of getting to the heart of the issue and seeing the best evidence and counter-arguments both sides can marshal. Craig and Ludemann were given opening statements, two rebuttals apiece, and closing arguments.

    In my opinion, Craig was the clear winner of the debate both in terms of substance and technique. He is practiced in formal discourse and lays out his argument clearly and succinctly. Ludemann, as fine a scholar as he is, was not up to the challenge. He truly seemed unaware that proponents of the resurrection could actually formulate sophisticated arguments in favor of their position and so was unprepared to respond to them. I am not alone in this assessment, as I have seen several skeptics express their disappointment in Ludemann's performance, going so far as to dismiss the entire debate as merely the result of Craig's superior and practiced technique. However, any deficiency is to be blamed on Ludemann, not Craig.

    Added bonuses to this debate are the responses provided by Stephen Davis, Michael Goulder, Robert Gundry, and Roy Hoover. In my opinion, Robert Gundry's contribution is the most worthwhile as he examines the strengths and weaknesses of Craig's arguments, resulting in an even more powerful case for the resurrection being made by this book.

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