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In order to have a well-rounded understanding of the arguments for and against a historical resurrection of Jesus, what would be a comprehensive list of must-read scholarly books defending its historicity and scholarly books denying it?

To get us started, here are some books I'm aware of:

For:

  • The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus (link)
  • The Fate of the Apostles: Examining the Martyrdom Accounts of the Closest Followers of Jesus (link)
  • Evidence for the Resurrection (link)
  • The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (link)

Against:

  • On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt (link)
  • Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior (link)

Both for and against:

  • Resurrection: Faith or Fact?: A Scholars' Debate Between a Skeptic and a Christian (link)

Are there other relevant books worth keeping in mind?

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    If the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which resurrection declares that he is the Son of God, if that resurrection be true then how can any book which argues against that fact be called 'scholarly' ?
    – Nigel J
    Dec 20, 2021 at 9:52
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    So, you are saying you do not believe that truth. You have not heard the glad tidings (through the preaching of the gospel) and have joyfully received the truth in the love of it ?
    – Nigel J
    Dec 20, 2021 at 10:35
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    I glanced at the several such publications in my late teens, out of academic interest. One glance was enough and I discarded them for life.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 20, 2021 at 19:46
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    The two "Against" references were not well received by the academic community; they don't really belong in a list of "scholarly books". Dec 21, 2021 at 0:31
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    Ray, I would argue that it doesn't matter if they are not that well received in the academic community. What counts is whether they have some good arguments or not. The second author is quoted regularly and remains the gold standard for arguing a skeptical position. One of the best ways to not get caught in having a confirmation bias is to think through the best opposing arguments that one can reflect upon. I read Carrier, Ferguson, Price, Ehrman, and others on a regular basis.
    – Jess
    Dec 21, 2021 at 4:49

2 Answers 2

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The best scholarly book to consult on whether Jesus was raised from the dead or not, would be one written by eyewitnesses to his resurrection, also explaining from their pens how they refuted the skeptics of their day, who effectively called them liars, or deluded.

Just such a book exists, written before the end of the first century A.D., called The Holy Bible, with their eye-witness accounts in the 'New Testament' part. They also deal with the doubters and disbelievers in more places than I can cite here (without taking a few hours to sort them all out.) You may well have an English translation in your possession.

Really, without that book there could be no books denying its testimony. Going to the first ever book written on the subject is the sensible thing to do at the outset of any enquiry, not read what people in the 20th and 21st century think. That, therefore, is my answer - "Yes, there's one called The Holy Bible, particularly the 'New Testament' part, written by eye-witnesses."

It will give you "a well-rounded understanding of the arguments for and against a historical resurrection of Jesus", which is what you desire to know. It will be so 'well-rounded' for the diligent reader, its points will expose all contrary points raised by modern scholars.

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    This. I don't get how modern "scholars" get away with blatantly trying to deny that those eyewitness accounts are credible. Some Pope poetry (Alexander Pope, I mean) is in order: "In poets as true genius is but rare, // True taste as seldom is the critic's share..." Of course, the burden of proof does not need to be on the skeptic, but it's even harder to prove a negative!
    – Conrado
    Nov 17, 2023 at 20:57
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Historians Reign Supreme There are, and will always be pundits and skeptics who find nothing better to do with their time than to attack traditional beliefs and present cultural myths. But to those who are well-read, such exercises are feckless.

The books which substantiate the historicity of Jesus are those written by credentialed historians. One can ignore the skeptics' writings; one can by-pass the irreligious critics...and go straight to the learned historians. They do not doubt the existence of Jesus because of all the evidences poking their heads up at every turn of Ancient History!

Check out the histories of H.G. Wells, Alfred Edersheim, Neander, Mortimer Adler, James Breasted, and a plethora of modern historians!

BasisThese Histories provide the basis for a study of the Resurrection of Jesus. The historical movement known as Christianity was initiated, and then based on this Resurrection message. The ancient Apologists and Martyrs, whom the historians reference, did not refuse to worship the Emperor because of the teachings of a famous Man...they gave their lives for a Resurrected Savior. A dead Jesus was of no benefit to those facing the lions!

Just studying the ancient histories themselves would be the reading of books that substantiate a Resurrected Lord. But further, the specific writings on this topic which were listed in this posted question, can be consulted for specific reasons confirming the Resurrection.

Systematic Theologies Also see the writings of Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, and the erudite C.S. Lewis (Aslan lives!). And, as well, most systematic theology books present a wealth of evidences on the major doctrines of Christianity...the greatest of which is the unique, unmatched doctrine of the Resurrection.

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