Book Review : The Jesus Inquest

In his latest book, “The Jesus Inquest”, British lawyer Charles Foster puts forth an in-depth, scholarly, and virtually exhaustive study of the events surrounding (tomb, death, burial) and finally the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Putting his trial skills on display, Foster puts the resurrection on trial, presenting both sides of the resurrection debate. Foster is involved in an internal debate. A debate in which Foster himself admittedly does not know what side he will come down on.

The format and style of this book is unlike any I have ever read. The premise is a debate between two characters, X and Y. Character X takes on and plays the role of the skeptic while Character Y takes on and assumes the role of the Christian. The skeptic takes the floor first with massive amounts (too much at times, I’m afraid) of research ready to refute the possibility of a physical resurrection. X has done his homework, but at times builds “straw-man” arguments. In typical trial fashion, the Christian takes the floor next. He deals with each point that X puts forward with a sense of reality and brevity (which I think helps his case). As in a real court case, there is a jury to weigh out the evidence and argument and come to a conclusion. In this book, the reader is the jury.

Overall this is a good work from the apologist standpoint. One negative issue I had with this book is that the research put forward from X’s position makes this book seem like a “textbook”. As a Christian, some of the phrases and terminology used by X to characterize Y were at times offensive. Although I didn’t agree with everything Foster wrote, it does not negate the fact that he has put forth a great work that is well-written and well worth your time. As a pastor, I encourage my people to read behind people they don’t agree with in order to be better prepared to defend what they do believe in. “The Jesus Inquest” provides such an avenue.

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