Easter Enigma: Are the Resurrection Accounts in Conflict?
This Easter season, I read John Wenham’s book Easter Enigma: Are the Resurrection Accounts in Conflict? It was one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in a long time.
Chapter One lays out the map of Jerusalem and the surrounding area. Mr. Wenham does a fine job describing and mapping out the locations of the story. This is essential to understanding the flow of the Easter narratives.
The rest of the book discusses not only the key characters in the history of Christ’s resurrection accounts but also all the Resurrection appearances listed in the Gospels and 1 Corinthians 15.
The author shows how each narrative dovetails with the others. He potentially solves the “problems” and “discrepancies” from one account to the other.
The strength of the book is not that Wenham absolutely “figured it out.” In fact, N.T. Wright notes on page 614 of his book The Resurrection of the Son of God:
The harmony offered by Wenham 1984 is hardly over-simple, but not many have found it convincing.”
I think that many modern scholars may not “find it convincing” because of their presupposition of skepticism and the haunting spectre of form criticism--which should be considered long-since dead and buried...
The point is not that Wenham’s work is absolutely convincing. The point is that he highlights explanations that undermine the skeptics and encourage the believers. The reader sees the the nature of the case. The reader sees how fast events occurred that morning and how the disciples responded and informed each other of them. The disciples may not have been in one location--and the "comings" and "goings" were breathless. The Resurrection narratives are not contrived. They reflect the shattering effect on unbelief and despair that Christ's resurrection obviously had.
The benefit of Wenham's book is that we see how it could have been. And in seeing how it could have been, we need not feel cornered by skeptical answers that refuse any explanation but unbelief.
I have had a question about these matters since I was in high school (many moons ago), and I enjoyed a more complete answer than I’ve seen previously.
I think you’ll like the book.