In Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?, William Lane Craig, a conservative scholar, debates John Dominic Crossan, one of today’s most prominent liberal scholars and an influential member of the Jesus Seminar. Craig essentially makes two claims during the debate; (1) There is evidence that the real Jesus of history actually rose from the dead and (2) If Jesus did not really rise, Christianity is a false religion.
Unfortunately, Crossan only addresses Craig’s (2) throughout the entire course of the debate. Not only does this lead to a lopsided exchange in which the participants talk past each other, it lead to a nearly irrelevant debate. Crossan can muse about Christianity without the resurrection and religious relativism all he pleases, but it is all for nothing if the facts are not dealt with. Craig tries to hammer this point home, but he is ignored almost completely throughout the book, even by the respondents.
The respondents include two individuals who support Craig, Ben Witherington III and Craig Blomberg, and two supporters of Crossan, Robert Miller and Marcus Borg. Unfortunately, neither Borg nor Miller adequately attempt to address Craig’s arguments for (1). In fact, these authors add little to the debate. Blomberg and Witherington do address the debate more effectively but, surprisingly, Witherington is much too critical of Craig and even sets up a few straw men concerning Craig’s views.
Although the topic of Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up seems promising, the debate never really goes anywhere due to Crossan (and the respondents) ignoring Craig’s main contention concerning the facts. The result is a relatively frustrating read that is not highly recommended for most people.