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Why Resurrection?An Introduction into the Belief in the Afterlife in Judaism & Christianity

Author: Carlos Blanco
Published By: Lutterworth Press (Cambridge)
Pages: 230
Price: £15.00
ISBN: 978 0 7188 9252 4

Reviewed by Deborah Matthews.

Carlos Blanco is a visiting Fellow at the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard University. This book is the result of a course of lectures that spans the disciplines of biblical scholarship and the philosophy of religion. 

The subtitle describes this book as an introduction, but Blanco presupposes a good basic understanding of philosophical and theological concepts. This is not a book for the reader looking for a resource on which to plan a nurture course within the local church or on which to base an Easter sermon. It is a scholarly work and will take time for the theologian or student of philosophy to digest. However, it does have a solid and very useful background with arguments that take the reader beyond initial expectations. 

Blanco employs a breadth of Judeo-Christian tradition and scripture to consider how resurrection has become a response to the perennial questions of theodicy, history, life and death. He illustrates how resurrection can provide the key to belief in a just God, offering the final triumph over endurance and death and securing its locus in the Kingdom of God. Yet, whilst demonstrating how resurrection responds to issues concerning meaning and purpose, Blanco is not afraid to ‘assume the weight of the questions’ and challenge simplistic solutions. 

This book contains a serious bibliography and leaves the reader in no doubt that it has been well researched. It is an impressive study, embracing traditional and contemporary scholarship, but for the average reader it needs to be worked at. This is not a book to browse at leisure. I recommend this book to all those wanting to delve deeper into the ideas and the background of resurrection, but who are also prepared to give it the time and attention it deserves.

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You are reading Issue 57 of Ministry Today, published in April 2013.

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