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Resurrection: Myth or Reality?

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  186 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Using approaches from the Hebrew interpretive tradition to discern the actual events surrounging Jesus' death, Bishop Spong questions the hitorical validity of literal narrative concerned the Ressurection. He asserts that the resurrection story was born in an experience that opened the disciples' eyes to the reality of God and the meaning of Jesus of Nazareth. Spong traces ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 18th 1995 by HarperOne (first published 1994)
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Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
One of the most important books of the late 20th century for christian believers in exile for which the old precepts no longer hold relevance.

This was one of three textbooks for a summer session Graduate Theological University program at Pacific School of Religion on Holy Hill west of Cal-Berkeley. The course was taught by Jack Spong: 'Can We with Integrity Believ in the Literal Resurrection in 21st Century?'

I'm not a sycophant or acolyte of Spong's. I am an intelligent man of the 21st century w
Mar 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book. It's thought-provoking, well-reasoned and illuminating. It's also purposefully heretical, deliberately provocative, thoroughly engrossing and a good read. Bishop John Shelby Spong is a fervent Christian, a thoughtful theologian and a gifted writer ... and these gifts are in full evidence in this effort. For the dedicated believer or atheist there is much here that will challenge your orthodoxy. For those in the middle there is much here to inform and evolve your faith. ...more
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is the type of book I would love to read in a locked room, with my Bible open, and large chunks of the author's bibliography at my fingertips. The Talmudic history Spong delves into is fascinating, and illuminating. His slow, logical process is necessary, considering the enculturation he is untwisting. I especially appreciate his effort to explain why and how he goes through the ressurection accounts of the Bible in the order he presents. This information is certainly overview for a current ...more
Richard Behrens
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recently, I've been reading a lot about early Christianity and have discovered a wide array of authors from both sides of the theological fence. Bishop Spong is fascinating in that he calls for a radically re-invisioning of Christian beliefs, to the point where many consider him to be an athiest. He certainly comes out strongly against a purely diest view of God. I've even seen him on the Bill Maher show! This book focuses on the Resurrection, a pet topic for me at the moment. He doesn't believe ...more
Marian Allen
Sep 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
It took me a long time to read this book, because I read it a little at a time. It was most interesting, the way this scholar used his understanding of the process of midrash, his knowledge of Jewish festivals and scholarship (his own and others') to tease out his reconstruction of how Jesus of Nazareth was transformed into the Christ. He lost me in the second-to-last chapter, where he seemed to throw the rest of the book over his shoulder and take the pledge, but the last chapter, which summed ...more
Willa Grant
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is the one that really summed up for me how I felt & feel about the Jesus myth as opposed to the historical Jesus. It strengthened my faith while providing a more scientific outlook on the life, death & resurrection of Jesus the Christ. The story of the resurrection finally made sense after reading this book.
Robert Marino
Sep 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
A must read for anyone who has struggled with their faith, or for anyone who feels that the literal interpretations of the gospels don't add up. Highly recommended.
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you are interested in ideas about Christ and his resurrection which are modern then this is a great book to read. It is accessible and thorough. A good book for the lay reader.

Spong develops his thought from Paul Tillich and his general premise is that Christianity is real and true without the evidentiary standard Evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity use. This creates a new paradigm for the way modern society has come to see the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This books looks to the Bib
Lee Harmon
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
“Death cannot contain him, we have seen the Lord!”

What really happened two thousand years ago? Bishop Spong takes us on a journey through the scriptures as he uncovers clues leading to the truth about the resurrection.

[1] Beginning with Paul and then traversing the four gospels one at the time, Spong covers what the Bible tells about the historical event.

[2] Leading into “interpretive images,” he next discusses several ways the Bible adds meaning to the story: the atoning sacrifice of Hebrews, t
Jan 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: belief, philosophy
In this interesting book, Spong indulges in thought experiments based on the gospel accounts to reconstruct where the idea of the resurrection most likely originated: with Peter, in Galilee after the disciples returned there following Jesus' death, using the rituals of the Last Supper. I can't really fault Spong's logic in this section - what is more stunning is the audacity of the attempt itself.

Later in the book, Spong posits that the details of the time around Jesus' death recorded in the go
Jan 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Reading this book led to a lot of interesting trains of thought. This guy has obviously done a lot of research and has put together a largely consistent theory of what exactly the resurrection was. There were a few bits of information that I think will be very useful for further trains of thought. In the end, though, if you take the magic away, then what's the point? Spong was somehow able to reconcile his calling and his belief with his conviction that there was no magic, but that was where I l ...more
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Bishop Spong points out that it was Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 who gives us the very first account of the resurrection. This was some twenty five years later and about sixteen years before the first gospel was written.
It is important while reading this book to not allow one's self to be influenced by the gospel ideas which were written many years after Paul's death.
Paul leaves out a large portion of the story as founded on the gospel reading that is traditionally used. Apparently many of these tr
Handaka mukarta
Dec 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
perspektif yg menarik dari buku ini, injil berangkat dari tradisi midrash dalam kasanah budaya yahudi. midrash bukanlah cara penuturan sejarah yg kronologis.

setelah membaca buku ini cobalah membayangkan matius dalam terang midrash. maka kita akan menemukan sejumlah "narasi" yg sangat berkaitan dng sejarah israel. semacam pengulangan atau rangkuman dari sebuah sejarah yg panjang. orang majus dng leluhur abraham dari timur, pengungsian ke mesir dng sejarah penindasan dsb. mengajak pembaca utk mem
Nov 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
There is a power (just like the same power that raised Christ from the dead) which can give life to our mortal bodies. This power is greater, more convincing and totally eclipses any reading, writing, history or interpretation of a resurrection. If you have known this, you will not need to worry about myth or reality.
Stephen Thompson
Aug 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
Driven by a desire to atone for his previous fundamentalism, Spong has uncritically adopted some of the most radical fringe views in liberal biblical scholarship. In this book, Spong offers an absurd, hugely speculative reconstruction that has no basis in the evidence.
Mary Gail O'Dea
Oct 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful book about the resurrection myth and the true meaning of Easter. Spong defines that as the moment at which the disciples, beginning with Peter, "saw" Jesus as a part of God and began to speak of it and of Jesus' radical social inclusiveness. Really a moving book.
Gene Moore
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Gene by: Other Spong written books
Progressive concepts on death and faith beyond traditional religious teaching.
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Cause to rethink the way we understand the New Testament
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John Shelby Spong was the Episcopal bishop of Newark before his retirement in 2000. As a leading spokesperson for an open, scholarly, and progressive Christianity, Bishop Spong has taught at Harvard and at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He has also lectured at universities, conference centers, and churches in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. His books in ...more
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