As the preface by Troy Miller observes, “Often in matters of Scripture and theology, the gap between the academy on one side and the church on the other is wide–often, regretfully, too wide” (vii). Although the three chapters derive from scholarly lectures, the book is readable and accessible for non-academics looking for historical background and evidence on the death burial and resurrection of Jesus.
Predictably, some new theory or archaeological find surfaces every year around Easter. These claims normally try to show the contradictions between much of what Christians believe and the latest theory or finding. To someone with little training, many of these theories seem logical and often convincing–and therefore confusing. However, the “scholars” who purport them have their own agendas. While this book does not directly deal with all of these modern theories, it does an excellent job dealing with the historical evidence and background.
The first two sections, covering the death and burial of Jesus, are written by Craig Evans. Currently at Acadia Divinity College, Dr. Evans happened to be one of my teachers while an adjunct professor at Fuller Seminary. I learned a lot in his class and still refer to my class notes. A prolific scholar, N.T. Wright wrote the third and final section, covering the resurrection.
I’m fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to study the historical issues and details at a scholarly level, but still learned some new things reading this–and it’s only 107 pages. I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in the background and history of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.