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renew my subscription to the resurrection

newsweek offers a surprisingly fair recounting of the origins of Christianity this week for your edification. among the more surprising aspects:

-- it's unwillingness to dismiss the resurrection and accompanying doctrines as mere theological invention. the tale was so exceedingly fantastic that it worked against the credibility of early evangelists and was hence not the sort of thing they were apt to fabricate on a whim.

-- perhaps more shocking, the writer is at least willing to consider the possibility that passages in the Gospels where Christ predicts His own death and resurrection were not merely ex post facto additions from well-meaning early believers. whether founded in historical reality or not, the concept of the resurrection had to come from somewhere...perhaps it really was present in the teachings of Christ?

-- the author readily cedes the empty tomb. it's hard to believe this could be a controversial issue, but the highly-publicized "Jesus Seminar" radicals, in their zeal to jettison even the slightest whiff of the supernatural from the "Historical Jesus" had taken to denying the reality of a burial, let alone a tomb. john dominick crossan, perhaps the seminar's most visible member, has gone as far as to state that Jesus' body would have been tossed in a field and eaten by wild dogs since the romans did not bury their victims. of course, the Bible never claims they did. a follower of Jesus petitioned roman authority for the body, and buried it in his own tomb.

-- the article is one of the only ones i've ever read that does credit to Christianity's egalitarian core. quoting Scripture and citing historical evidence, it accurately depicts the value placed on women and gentile believers in the early years.

-- contrary to the common misconception that the resurrection was part of the legend normally accrued by all religious faiths, the writer dutifully mentions that the event is present in the earliest Christian writings.

-- and most amazing of all, this article contains an online poll which actually seems to be valid. at last glance, 82% of respondents said that they believed in the resurrection. a scientific poll conducted by the magazine found that the actual number was around 78%. it didn't give the margin of error, but 3 or 4 points is pretty standard.

locdog thinks it's worth a look