Review of 'Personal Identity and Resurrection: How do we Survive our Death?' Edited by Georg Gasser
Michaud (Derek)
Source: The Heythrop Journal Volume 54, Issue 2, March 2013 Pages 330–331
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Conclusion

  1. While uniformly insightful, the essays making up this collection generally suffer from a cluster of closely related, but by no means fatal, shortcomings.
    1. First, there is little evidence of an appreciation for the (potentially) symbolic nature of the creedal affirmation of bodily resurrection. Expressed another way, are the authors correct in their assumption to be speaking on behalf of the Christian view?
    2. Second, the authors fail to take even a cursory glance at popular culture or the platitudes and practices of loved ones at funerals, which indicate a dualistic model of the soul’s escape from the body and immediate transferal to heaven (or otherwise). The apparent dominance of this view among both practicing and nominal Christians begs for more consideration of the rationale for this project (i.e., creedal orthodoxy).
    3. Third, despite the stated goal of providing a philosophical account of the rationality resurrection there are a surprising number of appeals to what amounts to miracles to be found in this collection.
    4. Finally, it seems that granting the usefulness (or necessity) of this project is to already concede most of what is to be demonstrated. While Gasser is very clear about the intention of his collection to take the doctrine of the resurrection as its starting point why not simply continue to operate within the sphere of theology? How rational an account can one provide (and in what sense, “rational”?) when one has already taken for granted that resurrection is subject to a rational account?
  2. In short, like most well-crafted works in the philosophy of religion, this collection leads to reflection on its topic but also on the nature of the field and its relationship to theology as well. In this lies the highest strength of Gasser’s collection and its authors’ greatest gift to their reader.


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