George's Reviews > The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus

The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
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May 30, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: church-book-club
Read on May 30, 2011

It was interesting to read others' reviews of this book before writing my own. Of the (only) three one-star reviews I read, I think each person missed the point and, frankly, had expectations that were too high for the book. So, the most helpful review in this forum is to say that this book is, in fact, as advertised -- it is ONE MAN's review of information that led him to Christ [the sub-title makes this clear]. Strobel tells us that he researched the existence of Jesus Christ in 1981; this book is a review/refreshing of the research he personally and privately conducted in the early '80s, published in 1998. In this book, Strobel interviews highly credentialed scholars in various subject areas related to each of those questions/issues/topics. Perhaps it could be better titled, "_A_ Case for Christ" or "Lee Strobel's Case for Christ," but the fact remains that the book is as advertised -- one guy's search for understanding about the earthly existence of the person of Jesus Christ.

In that vein, I think this book is an excellent first look at this topic. It doesn't answer, or even pretend to answer, every single concern someone might have on this topic, but it provides an excellent framework to begin to investigate the topic individually. You're immediately told that Strobel is a convert to Christianity, so there are no tricks at the end--you always know where the book is headed. Strobel provides detailed introductions to each "expert witness" that speak to their ability to weigh in on a subject and provides citations of their work and additional articles on each topic. If you don't know where to begin on a search to understand the existence of Jesus, I think this book would help. If you're convinced that Jesus is a myth or legend, I think this book would provide lots of food for thought that would require additional research in order to resolve that belief. If you do believe, this book would be useful and highly interesting, but...would probably only prompt you to do more research.

Why?
Because there are a few failings of the book as a definitive piece of scholarly research (but it never pretended to be that, so...maybe I'm unfair). First: I'm sure that in an effort to make the information accessible, Strobel's journalistic style suffered. Strobel is too present in the work; the book is more a travelogue from argument to argument than it is a dispassionate dissertation on various items. Strobel injects himself and his interview subjects into the book, but it falls a bit flat because we know that he converted to Christianity from atheism 17 years earlier. This style degrades the seriousness of the book, but does make it highly readable.

Second: Not every scholar he interviews is on equal academic/professional standing -- although each interviewee is highly, highly credentialed and he only presents one view per each topic. My only example re: professional standing demonstrates my own bias: the gentleman he interviews early in the book has degrees from Yale and Princeton; he subsequently interviews a gentleman teaching at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University. Fairly or unfairly, I judge Liberty University poorly because of some of the statements of its founder (although I did just check and Liberty is accredited by the same organization that certified Vanderbilt University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Strobel could have helped us by providing multiple first-hand viewpoints per topic. He does establish that he's interviewing THE EXPERT on a topic, but it would've helped to have multiple opinions. He does provide information from contrary viewpoints, though -- but only in the form of a literature review. I think he may have been better served to have had additional view points per topic.

This book is definitely worth reading; it will likely be a quick but thought-provoking read and will likely spur you to additional research.
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Briana Grenert Thank you! I would go through the trouble of writing a review like this if I weren't so lazy! I agree whole-heatedly with you.


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