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The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God #3)

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  1,510 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
Why did Christianity begin, and why did it take the shape it did? To answer this question – which any historian must face – renowned New Testament scholar N.T. Wright focuses on the key points: what precisely happened at Easter? What did the early Christians mean when they said that Jesus of Nazareth had been raised from the dead? What can be said today about his belief?


Paperback, 817 pages
Published March 17th 2003 by Fortress Press (first published March 1st 2003)
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Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
The Resurrection of the Son of God is the scholarship behind Surprised by Hope, and well worth the time it takes to read. In some ways, I am the perfect audience for Wright's work. I grew up under pretty ambiguous teachings on the resurrection. Sure, Jesus rose from the dead, but emphasis was always on the “end times”. I haven't found every answer in Wright's exposition, but I have found ground to stand on, and for that, I am grateful for his work.

Resurrection is highly organized. It is written
Ryan Manns
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
Excellent book. 5 stars worth of historical information on the resurrection, 5 stars for making a case for Jesus being the Son of God, 3 stars for length (could have made his argument in half the number of pages), and 3 stars for confusing wording at times. Overall 4 stars and I would recommend this to anyone looking at examining the truth behind the resurrection of Jesus.

Ok so here is my review on this excellent book. As I said initially I thought Wright could have made his case in half the nu
Jana Light
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oof. This is a BOOK. Wright is thorough and detailed in a way that my brain cannot always keep up with, but in a way that makes it very clear both that the early Christians believed Jesus rose from the dead and that resurrection (of Jesus and eventually of all believers) is central to early Christian faith.

I was relieved Wright never set out to *prove* Jesus rose from the dead. Instead, he set out to demonstrate that belief in the resurrection was the foundation of Christian faith, in a way tha
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book because I was looking for the most robust, academic case I could find about the resurrection of Jesus written by someone who believed it to be true. In general, I was impressed by the depth and thought he put into this book. He definitely takes the long road - you don't get to the gospel accounts of the resurrection until almost the end. A central theme was the need to understand the second-temple Jewish context in order to see and hear the events and words in the same way the ...more
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've read so many N.T. Wright books by now it has become pretty easy to know which beats he is going to hit, like the beats of your favorite song when it comes on the radio. After a while, it can be difficult not to become jaded and think that they cannot do anything that would surprise you. In the case of this book, I couldn't be more happy to be wrong! In this volume, N.T. Wright takes the single, most important event in Christianity (indeed, in world history), the resurrection of Jesus Christ ...more
Chauncey Lattimer
Wow!, again. This was one of the best Christmas presents I have received from my wife. (Especially since I had to go buy and read NTPG and JVG before starting this book.

Wright brought home to me once again the absolute necessity of understanding the 2nd Temple mindset. In that frame of reference, resurrection can ONLY mean getting a new body.. not 'life after death', but life after life-after-death!

Of particular interest was his development of the sufficient and necessary causes in relationship
Piers Young
Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In a league of its own, marvellous.
Sep 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a phenomenal though quite lengthy and dense book. N.T. Wright is one of the foremost New Testament scholars of our time and I believe this book is something of a "rite of passage" for those curious of the historical case for the resurrection of Jesus. This comprehensive work is referred to by many other Christian apologists which is why I picked it up.

To try to summarize this book seems unwise. However, I can summarize some points as they stuck out from my perspective:

1. Beliefs on deat
Bret James Stewart
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing


The Resurrection of the Son of God is a book for scholars and those interested in the historical concept of resurrection and as specifically applied to Jesus Christ. The author seeks to explain how the term ‘resurrection’ was used and understood by both pagans (non-Jews and non-Christians in this context) and Jews. With this established, Wright seeks to demonstrate how the early Christians both reaffirmed the view held by the majority of Jews and added new levels of meaning to the w
Aug 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is Wright's third of what will be 5 (at least for now) volumes in his "Christian Origins and the Question of God" series. When I see the size of these things, I get an overwhelming sense of stupidity and laziness. I don't think I can even thoughtfully read as much as he has written.

This volume tackles the doctrine of resurrection, and does so extensively. Wright analyzes the Christian belief about resurrection in the context of ancient Pagan and Jewish beliefs, and he attacks the notion th
Dean Jenkins
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whilst Wright's work on Paul may mark him out as controversial to some, his contribution to the historical discussion of where the Christian faith came from and took the exact shape it did is invaluable to any taking this question seriously.

Within the Resurrection of the Son of God Wright argues the disciples claims about Jesus of Nazareth were the direct result of their belief that his resurrection simultaneously fulfilled and challenged Jewish theology about what the Messiah would accomplish.
May 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Essential reading for anyone, Christian or not, which places the resurrection of Jesus in its historical and Biblical context. Through surveying just about every piece of Christian and Jewish religious literature ever written up until the second century (including a lot that didn't make it into the Bible), as well as the writings of the Greeks and the beliefs of the Romans, Egyptians and other ancient cultures, Tom Wright puts the idea of the resurrection of Jesus thoroughly into context. Throug ...more
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredibly important work surveying the biblical and historical roots of the Church's faith in the risen Jesus. Wright works through the Old Testament and Second Temple sources speaking to the ideas of reusrrection of the dead, and contrasting this with the pagan notions of existence after death. He then unpacks how the earlier Christian confessions presented a shift, and how they retained parts of the Pharisaic understanding of resurrection.

The methodology and history of interpretation secti
Jacob McGill
Jul 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book does a great job of defending the Christian position of physical resurrection, and for that it gets 4 stars. I was close to giving it three though b/c the book gets quite repetitive, especially in Part 1. This book is touted very highly by the conservative evangelical camp b/c it defends the resurrection better than they are able to, but I would say that it is overrated. Conservatives like it b/c it 'proves' the liberals wrong, but does not propose much new for Christian thought. JVG i ...more
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Perhaps the best New Testament scholar of this age, Wright explores the historical setting of the Resurrection of Christ. Looking at the understanding of death, the afterlife and the idea of “resurrection” in the various settings of the ancient Near East (pagan, Jewish, etc.) Wright argues that the claim of the followers of Jesus was radical and unheard of. Wright begins with an objective tone, and slowly moves through the text toward subjectivity, arguing a level of belief and involvement when ...more
Jon Beadle
Dec 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Spectacular. Lucid, direct, and times very beautiful. The sheer amount of scholarship engaged with is impressive on its own. The fact that he makes a compelling case for the bodily resurrection as the true definition for what the New Testament means when it says, "Resurrection." Life after life after death is the point.

For those who don't have the time or patience to engage with this mammoth, just read his "Surprised By Hope." Many of the same arguments are there, with the added bonus of pop cu
Aug 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Started this book. Wright, as usual, is a force of character and rhetoric. His arguments are convincing and fastidiously researched. One of the best volumes on this subject.
Benjamin Alexander
Jul 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Doug Wilson was gracious in letting me sub out a Greyfriar's book for this one
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In this theological page turner, Wright starts by explaining the obvious: that the classical world did not believe in anastasis. He then shows that by second-Temple Judaism, the concept of resurrection as a metaphor for national restoration has acquired its literal and personal meaning. It is an embodied and transformative process, and confers both dis- and continuity. It does not mean "going to heaven". Any Platonic (or Cartesian) adulteration is anachronistic and a distortion. Wright argues pe ...more
Adam Smith
Sep 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
From my blog (

Here we are finally at the conclusion of the three volume series (thus far) of the epic "Christian Origins and the Question of God". In this third (and longest) volume of the three, we find a well-reasoned, well thought out historical study of the resurrection of Jesus.

As usual, N.T. Wright is at his best when writing history. On the theological front, Wright is no slouch either. He deftly weaves together historical references and theologica
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it
About 200 pages too long.
Tim Chaffey
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding historical study on the Resurrection of Jesus. Through careful and meticulous research, Wright demonstrates that early Christians did not borrow their idea of Jesus rising from the dead from pagans or even from the Jews. At the same time, His Resurrection must be understood in light of the beliefs of first century Jews.
At over 800 pages, this is no light read. Wright surveys every relevant writing from a few centuries before the life of Jesus to a few centuries after to show precise
Jan 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book on the resurrection I have read. Now that could be because I have not read a whole lot of books directly on the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, but there is no doubt that this is a wonderful book.

Much Wright's work in this book is the tearing down of Gnosticism and proto-Gnostic heresies and tendencies. The resurrection from the dead destroys all hints of "the body is bad and the spirit is good" as well as "let's get the hell of the earth to get to heaven and let it burn
Rick Boyer
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Were it possible, I would give this book ten stars... that's how important and well-written it is. "The Resurrection of the Son of God" is a scholarly tour-de-force of the highest caliber, in which Dr. Wright brilliant makes his case: that by far the best explanation for the rise of Christianity, and the source of the early Christian claim that Jesus had risen bodily from the dead, is that God did, in fact, raise Jesus from the dead! That fact, experienced by the first disciples via the empty to ...more
Christian Smith
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
N.T. Wright's expansive work, The Resurrection of the Son of God, asks the essential question, “What happened on Easter morning?” One’s answer to this question cannot be undervalued, for a “yes” or a “no” has vast implications for the decider. In this work, Wright shows a historically reasoned and plausible account for why the resurrection of Christ is a probable event of history, rather than a false-narrative promoted for a variety of farcical reasons. By the end of the work, one has endured a ...more
Nov 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was simultaneously frustrating and amazing. It was boring in many parts, and sometimes repetitive. The book is over 700 pages long, and its not full of fun stories and anecdotes. Its a historical scholarly work, and as such gets pretty dry in some parts. But the huge asset this book is to the church far outweighs its deficiencies. Wright is one of the most brilliant writers I have ever encountered, or ever will encounter. His knowledge of pagan, Jewish, and Christian beliefs around the ...more
Aug 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
This hefty book is NT Wright's comprehensive examination of the idea of resurrection in the ancient world in general, and the resurrection of Jesus in particular. Wright surveys what ancient people (basically, people who lived before and during the time of Jesus) thought about life after death and the notion of a "resurrection" from the dead. A major thing that Wright makes it a point to emphasize is the uniqueness of the Jewish view of resurrection that was adopted and modified by the early Chr ...more
Andrew Barlow
Dec 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
This is Wright's comprehensive historical argument for why the bodily resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation of what actually happened on Easter Sunday. It is the historical explanation that fits best with the NT biblical data and with the OT theology of a Creator God who is the source of all life. It is the explanation that lies in continuity but also in some discontinuity with the inter-testament hope of a general bodily resurrection. It explains best the rise and shape of the early Chr ...more
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was a lot of work. It took me over half a year to read it (while reading a number of other books also). But it was well worth the effort. It is too massive of a piece for me to attempt a descriptive review. Briefly, however, Wright, as a world renowned historian and theologian, does a masterful job at examining the pagan, Jewish, and Christian milieus in which the resurrection belief arose and triumphed. Was it myth, created out of the surrounding pagan myths and worldviews? Was it a l ...more
Feb 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is book 3 of N.T. Wright's huge work entitled Christian Origins and the Question of God. It examines the key historical questions of a belief in the resurrection of an individual. What does resurrection mean? Are there precedents? What did surrounding cultures believe about death? How could this belief have started? When did it start? This book is well-written and well-researched, which means it is a long read, but not too terribly boring. Once I get an ebook reader, this will be on my shor ...more
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N. T. Wright is the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England (2003-2010) and one of the world's leading Bible scholars. He is now serving as the chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews. He has been featured on ABC News, Dateline NBC, The Colbert Report, and Fresh Air, and he has taught New Testament studies at Cambridge, McGi ...more
More about N.T. Wright...

Other Books in the Series

Christian Origins and the Question of God (4 books)
  • The New Testament and the People of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, #1)
  • Jesus and the Victory of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, #2)
  • Paul and the Faithfulness of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, #4)

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“Nem o cenário alternativo da Páscoa proposto por Lüdemann, no qual Pedro e Paulo experimentaram fantasias geradas pelo luto e culpa respectivamente, nem a alternativa de Crossan, na qual um grupo de escribas cristãos começou, anos depois da crucificação, a estudar as Escrituras e especular sobre o destino de Jesus, são baseadas em qualquer evidência. Aqueles que sentem a força das dúvidas de Marxsen sobre a evidência para a ressurreição de Jesus devem é ficar muito mais preocupados com estas reconstruções.” 1 likes
“There is no reason in principle why the question, what precisely happened at Easter, cannot be raised by any historian of any persuasion. Even if some Christians might wish to rule it off limits, they have (presumably) no a priori right to tell other historians, whether Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, New Agers, gnostics, agnostics, or anyone else, what they may and may not study.” 0 likes
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