“This then is the more of less universal witness of the early Christians: that they are who they are, they do what they do, they tell the stories they tell not because of a new religious experience or insight but because of something that happened; something that happened to the crucified Jesus; something that they at once interpreted as meaning that he was after all the Messiah, that God’s new age had broken into the present time, and that they were charged with a new commission; something that made them reaffirm the Jewish belief in resurrection, not swap it for a pagan alternative, but introduce several distinctive but consistent modification within it.” ( pg 58 )
Chapter four deals with the question “what can we say about the resurrection of Jesus it’s self?” Write deals with arguments and dismissals of the resurrection, first dealing with the arguments against the gospel narratives as valid sources for the resurrection story then addressing what a historian can or cannot say about the resurrection event.
The last half of this chapter has allot of good stuff in it, especially Wright’s dive into the epistomoligies of faith, hope, and love. (I pray that I may have an epistemology of love)
The conclusions is this: “…the totalitarianism of the last century (speaking of the Enlightenment) were simply among the varied manifestations of a larger totalitarianism of thought and culture against which postmodernity has now, and rightly in my view, rebelled. Who, after all, was it who didn’t want the dead to be raised?… It was, and is, those in power, the social and intellectual tyrants and bullies; the Ceasers who would be threatened by a Lord of the world who had defeated the tyrant’s last weapon, death it’s self; the Herods who would be horrified at the postmortem validation of the true King of the Jews. <i>And this is the point where believing in the resurrection of Jesus suddenly ceases to be a matter of inquiring about an odd event in the first century and becomes a matter of rediscovering hope in the twenty-first century.</i> Hope is what you get when you suddenly realize that a different worldview is possible, a worldview in which the rich, the powerful, and the unscrupulous do not have the last word, The same worldview shift that is demanded by the resurrection of Jesus is the shift that will enable us to transform the world.”
These first four chapters form part one of the book. Wright has brought the resurrection to the front of the stage, swept away some wrong thinking about it, shown us that you can believe in resurrection, and that the resurrection of Jesus matters and changes the way we view everything. From here, he jumps into the second part of the book, dealing with the question “…what then is the ultimate Christian hope for the whole world and for ourselves?” ( pg28 )