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The Power of God for Christians and Jews

Kevin J. Madigan and Jon D. Levenson

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Two scholars—one a Christian and the other a Jew—find deep and meaningful connections between their two faiths

This book, written for religious and nonreligious people alike in clear and accessible language,  Although this expectation, known as the resurrection of the dead, is widely understood to have been a part of Christianity from its beginnings nearly two thousand years ago, many people are surprised to learn that the Jews believed in resurrection long before the emergence of Christianity. In this sensitively written and historically accurate book, religious scholars Kevin J. Madigan and Jon D. Levenson aim to clarify confusion and dispel misconceptions about Judaism, Jesus, and Christian origins.

Madigan and Levenson tell the fascinating but little-known story of the origins of the belief in resurrection, investigating why some Christians and some Jews opposed the idea in ancient times while others believed it was essential to their faith. The authors also discuss how the two religious traditions relate their respective practices in the here and now to the new life they believe will follow resurrection. Making the rich insights of contemporary scholars of antiquity available to a wide readership, Madigan and Levenson offer a new understanding of Jewish-Christian relations and of the profound connections that tie the faiths together.

Kevin J. Madigan is professor of the history of Christianity, Divinity School, Harvard University. His previous books include The Passions of Christ in the High Middle Ages. Jon D. Levenson is Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies, Divinity School and Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University. He is the author of Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life, published by Yale University Press.

“This book brims with provocative insights and reveals many connections between the well-known Christian faith in resurrection and lesser known or previously unnoticed precedents and parallels in Jewish thought, the Hebrew Bible, and cognate literature.”—Jonathan Klawans, Boston University

"This is a gem of a book. Jon Levenson and Kevin Madigan address and correct a number of widely held misconceptions about Judaism, Jesus, and Christian origins, which continue to distort Jewish-Christian relations to this day."—Matthias Henze, Rice University

“No one will think the same about resurrection after reading this wonderful volume. Powerful and persuasive readings of the Bible adorn nearly every page. It will provide a fruitful ground for Jews and Christians to explore the roots of their shared faith in the world to come.”—Gary A. Anderson, University of Notre Dame

“This marvelous study of the resurrection of the body offers us the very best of Jewish and Christian scholarship on the two traditions, resulting in a book that will surely become the standard work on the subject for Jews and Christians alike—and indeed for all who want insight into our shared hope for a life beyond the grave.”—Richard J. Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary

“Two Harvard scholars, one Jewish and the other Catholic, have co-authored this superb and readable treatment of a core belief in Judaism and Christianity—resurrection—and suggest how belief in resurrection can change one’s life.”—Richard J. Clifford, S.J., Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

“How did Roman era Jews and Christians learn to trust God's faithfulness to raise the dead? Resurrection is a luminous scriptural story, beautifully told by Madigan and Levenson.” —David L. Tiede, Augsburg College

“Accessible and engaging for the non-specialist, yet also with nuggets for the expert, Madigan and Levenson wonderfully clarify the biblical meaning of resurrection and illuminate both Christian and Jewish faiths.”—Walter Moberly, Durham University

"A model of scholarly and theological cooperation between a Christian and a Jew, this book profoundly illumines how two sibling traditions inherited and affirmed the response of ancient Israel to the God of life."—Alan Mittleman, The Jewish Theological Seminary

"The book traces the overlooked Jewish roots of the Christian belief in resurrection, and builds on that history to challenge the idea that resurrection simply means life after death. To the authors, being raised up has physical element, not just a spiritual one. . . . Madigan and Levenson . . . said they wrote the book to help Jews and Christians understand more about their theological bonds."—Rachel Zoll, Associated Press (Religion Today)

"Cogent and accessible. . . . The deft historical arguments of Resurrection will draw adherents of both [Christianity and Judaism] to explore their 'neglected continuity.'"—Michael Peppard, Commonweal

"In Resurrection, Madigan and Levenson provide a unique and groundbreaking entry into the concept of resurrection. As such the book is truly a landmark work. I could imagine developing a course that would begin with this Resurrection."—Gary A. Anderson, First Things

"An important, even urgent book that comes with vigor and passion."—Walter Brueggemann, The Christian Century

"Provides subtle readings of important biblical passages relating to life and death, and is extremely helpful to anyone looking to understand resurrection and immortality in Judaism."—Jewish Book World

“Dialogue between Jews and Christians is bedevilled by many stereotypes … Kevin Madigan and Jon Levenson … want to show that these stereotypes are false. The main emphasis falls … on the question of resurrection, and by picking at this important thread they show that the whole skein of contrasts quickly unravels.” - John Barton, Times Literary Supplement

Received Honorable Mention for the 2008 PROSE Award in the Theology and Religious Studies category, sponsored by the Association of American Publishers.
ISBN: 9780300151374
Publication Date: April 28, 2009
304 pages, 5 7/8 x 9
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