Resurrection: The Power of God for Christians and Jews

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This book, written for religious and nonreligious people alike in clear and accessible language,  Although this expectation, known as the resurrection of the dead, is widely understood to have been a part of Christianity from its beginnings nearly two thousand years ago, many people are surprised to learn that the Jews believed in resurrection long before the emergence of Christianity. In this sensitively written and historically accurate book, religious scholars Kevin J. Madigan and Jon D. Levenson aim to ...

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Resurrection: The Power of God for Christians and Jews

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Overview

This book, written for religious and nonreligious people alike in clear and accessible language,  Although this expectation, known as the resurrection of the dead, is widely understood to have been a part of Christianity from its beginnings nearly two thousand years ago, many people are surprised to learn that the Jews believed in resurrection long before the emergence of Christianity. In this sensitively written and historically accurate book, religious scholars Kevin J. Madigan and Jon D. Levenson aim to clarify confusion and dispel misconceptions about Judaism, Jesus, and Christian origins.

Madigan and Levenson tell the fascinating but little-known story of the origins of the belief in resurrection, investigating why some Christians and some Jews opposed the idea in ancient times while others believed it was essential to their faith. The authors also discuss how the two religious traditions relate their respective practices in the here and now to the new life they believe will follow resurrection. Making the rich insights of contemporary scholars of antiquity available to a wide readership, Madigan and Levenson offer a new understanding of Jewish-Christian relations and of the profound connections that tie the faiths together.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Religious scholars Madigan and Levenson (Harvard Univ.) have written a thoroughly researched and fully detailed treatment of resurrection in biblical antiquity. In 13 chapters, they weave a fine narrative focused on the idea of death. The resulting discussions are interpretations of death through a history of Jewish and Christian perceptions and understandings of resurrection stemming from Daniel 12:1-3. The authors cover a wide range of subjects, from eschatology and Sheol to heaven and hell, and they consider a broad range of texts, including the Gnostic gospels, the New Testament, rabbinic texts, and early Christian literature-all while maintaining the theme of God's ultimate power and the redemptive spirit of each religious tradition. Though intended for lay readers, the book is at times somewhat dense and academic, yet we are given a well-thought-out and scripted conclusion suggesting that the differences and similarities between Judaism and Christianity must each be recognized in their own right. Could be beneficial for prompting interfaith discussions between Jewish and Christian groups; recommended for theological and church libraries.
—Anthony J. Elia

Commonweal

"Cogent and accessible. . . . The deft historical arguments of Resurrection will draw adherents of both [Christianity and Judaism] to explore their ''neglected continuity.''"—Michael Peppard, Commonweal

— Michael Peppard

First Things

"In Resurrection, Madigan and Levenson provide a unique and groundbreaking entry into the concept of resurrection. As such the book is truly a landmark work."—Gary A. Anderson, First Things

— Gary A. Anderson

The Christian Century

"An important, even urgent book that comes with vigor and passion."—Walter Brueggemann, The Christian Century

— Walter Brueggemann

Jewish Book World
"Provides subtle readings of important biblical passages relating to life and death, and is extremely helpful to anyone looking to understand resurrection and immortality in Judaism."—Jewish Book World
Jonathan Klawans
“This book brims with provocative insights and reveals many connections between the well-known Christian faith in resurrection and lesser known or previously unnoticed precedents and parallels in Jewish thought, the Hebrew Bible, and cognate literature.”—Jonathan Klawans, Boston University
Matthias Henze
"This is a gem of a book. Jon Levenson and Kevin Madigan address and correct a number of widely held misconceptions about Judaism, Jesus, and Christian origins, which continue to distort Jewish-Christian relations to this day."—Matthias Henze, Rice University
Gary A. Anderson
"In Resurrection, Madigan and Levenson provide a unique and groundbreaking entry into the concept of resurrection. As such the book is truly a landmark work."—Gary A. Anderson, First Things
Richard J. Mouw
“This marvelous study of the resurrection of the body offers us the very best of Jewish and Christian scholarship on the two traditions, resulting in a book that will surely become the standard work on the subject for Jews and Christians alike—and indeed for all who want insight into our shared hope for a life beyond the grave.”—Richard J. Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary
Richard J. Clifford
“Two Harvard scholars, one Jewish and the other Catholic, have co-authored this superb and readable treatment of a core belief in Judaism and Christianity—resurrection—and suggest how belief in resurrection can change one’s life.”—Richard J. Clifford, S.J., Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
David L. Tiede
“How did Roman era Jews and Christians learn to trust God's faithfulness to raise the dead? Resurrection is a luminous scriptural story, beautifully told by Madigan and Levenson.” —David L. Tiede, Augsburg College
Walter Moberly
“Accessible and engaging for the non-specialist, yet also with nuggets for the expert, Madigan and Levenson wonderfully clarify the biblical meaning of resurrection and illuminate both Christian and Jewish faiths.”—Walter Moberly, Durham University
Commonweal - Michael Peppard
"Cogent and accessible. . . . The deft historical arguments of Resurrection will draw adherents of both [Christianity and Judaism] to explore their 'neglected continuity.'"—Michael Peppard, Commonweal
The Christian Century - Walter Brueggemann
"An important, even urgent book that comes with vigor and passion."—Walter Brueggemann, The Christian Century
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300151374
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 2.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin J. Madigan is professor of the history of Christianity, Divinity School, Harvard University. His previous books include The Passions of Christ in the High Middle Ages. Jon D. Levenson is Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies, Divinity School and Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University. He is the author of Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life, published by Yale University Press.

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Table of Contents

Preface     xi
Acknowledgments     xv
Abbreviations     xvii
Christian Hope and Its Jewish Roots     1
"He is risen!"     1
Restoring Israel     5
Jesus of Nazareth, Apocalyptic Prophet     9
New Heaven, New Earth, and New Temple     17
An Eschatological Sign to the People     20
Resurrection Life and the Body     21
The First Fruits of Those Who Have Died     24
Jesus as the First of Many     24
Imminence     27
The Church as Israel     29
Participation in Christ     36
What Kind of Resurrected Body?     39
A Journey to Sheol (and Back)     42
Did Jesus and Paul Find Resurrection in the Bible?     42
The Land of No Return     42
Existing without Living     45
"When my life was ebbing away, I called the Lord to mind"     48
Communicating with the Dead     54
The Passages That Aren't There (and What They Tell Us)     62
Returning from the Land of No Return     66
Who Goes to Sheol-and Who Does Not     69
When and Why Sheol Is Mentioned     69
Sheol Is Not Hell     75
Death Defanged     80
Heaven on Earth     81
The Temple as the Garden of Eden     81
Immortality in the House of the Lord     89
Adam Foresees the Destruction of the Temple     96
"You will receive me with glory"     98
Confidence in the Face of Death     104
How Birth Reverses Death     107
Individual and Family in Biblical Israel     107
The Functional Equivalent of Resurrection     111
The Name Survives Death     117
A Foretaste of Resurrection     119
The Death and Resurrection of the Promised Son     121
"Pick up your son"     121
Four Little Stories with One Big Message     126
A Look Ahead     130
Revival in Two Modes     132
Zion's Children Return to Their Mother     132
The Widow Re-Wed (and to the Same Husband)     143
Israel's Exodus from the Grave     146
Mortal Israelites and Immortal Israel     152
"I deal death and give life"     156
Inevitable Death and the Promise of Life     156
"He shall turn back from his ways and live"     165
From Death to Life     168
The Great Awakening     171
The Reversal     171
Why Resurrection? A False Answer     180
"Oh, let Your dead revive!"     185
The Deeper Roots of Resurrection     188
The Victory of the Divine Warrior     192
Summary: Old and New in Resurrection     196
The Least Known Teaching in Judaism     201
"Powerful to save"     201
An Obligation, Not an Option     206
Doubts and Reforms     213
What Was Wrong with the Gnostic Gospel?     221
Skeptics and Heretics     221
Dualism     222
Dry Bones, Restoration, and Resurrection     227
Resurrection and the Power of God     229
The Flesh     231
Resurrection, Truth, and Power     234
The Redeemed Life-in the Here and Now     235
Christians and Jews     235
The New Life of the Christian     237
The Eucharist     243
The Lord's Prayer     245
Torah and Eternal Life     246
Resurrection at Sinai     254
Christians and Jews-Again     256
Notes     259
Index of Primary Sources     269
General Index      280

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