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Downright Stupid Analysis in The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave

imageJoe Marino writes:

I recently bought The Empty Tomb:  Jesus Beyond the Grave, edited by Robert M. Price and Jeffery Jay Lowder (Amherst:  Prometheus Books, 2005).  In a chapter called "The Plausibility of Theft" by Richard Carrier, the author is talking about what Luke and John says were found in the tomb.  ("Linen strips" or "wrappings" for the former and "linen cloths" and "napkin" for the latter.)  The author says:

"Since Mark and Matthew do not mention such cloths, and their presence is clearly a dramatic element in Luke and John, it is not likely a genuine detail."

First of all, Matthew and Mark do mention a sindon.  Secondly, since Jews were traditionally interred with burial clothes, is he trying to convince us that Jesus was buried without any burial cloths in order that his interpretation carries weight?  Apparently so, which is just downright stupid.

This review from Publishers Weekly helps us understand:

This uneven and sometimes obscure collection of essays takes up the gauntlets thrown by contemporary Christian apologists like Craig Blomberg, Peter Kreeft and William Lane Craig and argues that a physical resurrection of Jesus Christ is so unlikely as to be impossible. (As Price puts it, there is "implicit absurdity" in the "notion that Jesus is still alive, after two thousand years, in the personal, individual-consciousness mode intended by evangelical apologists.") The essayists, all of whom are male, previously published these articles in academic journals (most notably the Journal of Higher Criticism), mostly within the past five years. The fact that these essays originated in academic niche periodicals and seem largely unchanged means that these are often inaccessible works that demand prior knowledge of specialized philosophical debates. Michael Martin’s essay on the improbability of resurrection, for example, jumps right into proving his case by applying Bayes’s Theorem without even bothering to explain what that theorem is, and Evan Fales’s piece on "Reformed Epistemology and Biblical Hermeneutics" is clearly directed at the Ivory Tower, not the person in the pew. Price’s own contributions (the introduction and two essays) are more accessible than his peers’, but can also be polemical and mean-spirited, as when he calls Blomberg "a PR man for Bill Bright and his various agendas." However, several essays make excellent points about holes in Christian apologists’ arguments; Richard Carrier’s discussion of the "spiritual body of Christ," for instance, challenges Christians’ tendency to imagine a monolithic worldview among first-century Jews.

Robert M. Price is the editor of the Journal of Higher Criticism and Jeffrey Jay Lowder is a cofounder of Internet Infidels. The publisher is Prometheus. No surprises.

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