John Dominic Crossan and Sarah Sexton Crossan
HarperOne, 224 pages
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the heart of the Christian tradition. As Paul says, “if Christ was not raised from the dead, than we of all people are most to be pitied.” In this ambitious and creative book, the Crossans explore the ways in which that conviction has been portrayed in Christian history and, particularly, in art. The Crossans argue that the Western and Eastern streams of the tradition have treated the resurrection quite differently, and the consequences of those theological choices are a different way of perceiving the Christian life. They write, “Resurrecting Easter is a debate about ideas and images, or better, a debate about ideas presented in and by images.” What’s intriguing is the distinction they make between “direct” and “indirect” depictions of this event. The authors want to explore how each has influenced the understanding of faith and practice. Clearly influenced by the East, the authors prefer images discussed by the texts rather than texts illustrated by images. The book took nearly 20 years to complete and spans art from several countries including Spain, Turkey, Syria, France, Italy, Israel and Russia. Certain to be controversial, the book will help readers engage the central reality of the Christian faith, which is, after all, controversial, too. In fact, what is more controversial than the resurrection of Jesus Christ?