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The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish…

The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective

by Pinchas Lapide

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NO OF PAGES: 160 SUB CAT I: Resurrection SUB CAT II: Jewish Theory and Practice SUB CAT III: DESCRIPTION: 'I accept the resurrection of Jesus not as an invention of the community of disciples, but as a historical event.' When a leading orthodox Jew makes such a declaration, its significance can hardly be overstated. Pinchas Lapide is a rabbi and theologian who has specialized in the study of the New Testament. In this book he convincingly shows that an irreducible minimum of experience underlies the New Testament account of the resurrection, however much the detail of the narrative may be open to objection. He maintains that life after death is part of the Jewish faith experience, and that it is Jesus' messiahship, not his resurrection, which marks the division between Christianity and Judaism. Dr. Lapide quotes Moses Maimonides, the greatest medieval Jewish thinker, in his support: 'All these matters which refer to Jesus of Nazareth?only served to make the way free for the King Messiah and to prepare the whole world for the worship of God with a united heart.'NOTES: Purchased from Amazon.com. SUBTITLE:
  BeitHallel | Feb 18, 2011 |
Dr. Lapide is an Orthodox Jew, a theologian, a specialist in New Testament studies, and says "I accept the resurrection of Jesus not as an invention of the community of disciples, but as a historical event." To him, it is Christian claims about Jesus as the messiah rather than about the resurrection, that is the key divide between Christianity and Judaism.

This thoughtful book is a combination of history, theology, and philosophy. Lapide, in my opinion, too easily accepts the claims of some scholars who argue that Paul was ignorant of an empty tomb, the resurrection accounts in the gospels are hopelessly contradictory, and show the reflections and concerns of the early Christian community rather than the history of the event. But Lapide himself believes that too much weight has been given to these objections, and holds that once the narratives and reports are understood in their Jewish context, they are of sufficient worth to prove that Jesus was indeed raised bodily from the dead by God.

Lapide is impressed with how Jewish the resurrection accounts are insists on their being understood in that context. He vividly describes the development of the concept of resurrection in Jewish thought, explaining how Jewish resurrection belief developed as a result of its faith in a righteous God that would not let the evil on earth have the last victory. The rest of the discussion of Jewish attitudes on the resurrection, and a chapter on the Passover meal, is also valuable though not as uncommon today as when he wrote this book.

Lapide accepts the truth of much of the resurrection narratives because of the candidness with which they portray the failings and faithlessness of those who were to later be leaders in the young Christian movement. Lapide is also impressed with the prominence given to witnesses as to the empty tomb and the resurrection. He provides a Jewish perspective and Jewish references about the lack of value the Jews of the time would have placed on the word of women witnesses. Especially in such a stressful time as grieving for a loved one. Other chapters provide additional reasons for accepting the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection and the significance of that resurrection.

Though an able scholar, this small book is more and less than the usual academic treatment of the issue. It is unrepentantly a Jewish examination of the history and nature of the resurrection. As such it is a valuable contribution not only to the study of the resurrection, but to dialogue between Jews and Christians. ( )
1 vote Layman | Aug 15, 2006 |
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