In The Resurrection of the Messiah
, Christopher Bryan combines literary, historical, and theological approaches in a study of the doctrine of the Resurrection. The book is divided into three parts. The first section provides a careful and sympathetic description of first-century Jewish and pagan opinions and beliefs about death and what might follow. This is followed by a presentation of a general account of early Christian claims about the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
The second part of the book offers a detailed, full-length commentary on and exegesis of the main New Testament texts that speak of Jesus' death and resurrection: 1 Corinthians 15 and the narratives in the four canonical gospels. As a framework for this commentary, Bryan utilizes the pattern of apostolic preaching presented by Paul and then echoed by each of the four evangelists, namely the formula "Christ died, Christ was buried, Christ has been raised, Christ appeared."
The final section of the book is spent discussing and evaluating various proposals that have been made by those attempting to explain the data in ways that differ from the traditional Christian explanation. Bryan also considers various theological and ethical implications of accepting the claim "Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead." Throughout his study, Bryan exhibits a willingness to face hard questions as well as an appropriate reverence for a faith that for almost two thousand years has enabled millions of people to lead lives of meaning and grace.