There is a current need for this great work of apologetics, although published first in 1942, at a time when the Catholic Faith continues to be attacked. As I write this review during Easter Week, I will focus on what is said about miracles and the Resurrection.
As one begins reading the chapter on miracles, it is clear that the author firmly believes in the reality of the miracles performed by Jesus. The very robust statements of Fenton are in sharp contrast to those of a typically liberal Christian such as Jeffrey John, who in his book entitled The Meaning in the Miracles writes:
" Just as Luke's story of the widow's son "improved" the story of Jairus's daughter...John
goes a step further by having Lazarus four days in the tomb."
" The gospels not only recount the series of miracles and individual wonders performed by Jesus of Nazareth but they also tell of the reaction to the signs on the part of his friends and enemies." Fenton most certainly sees these miracles as historical events, not mere theological ruminations. Even the enemies of Christ saw them as real, although brought about by demons, says Fenton. He goes on to list these miracles. For Fenton, "all of these miracles were eminently consonant with what we know about the divine attributes."
The excellent chapter on the Resurrection begins with the Gospel accounts followed by a series
of reflections. Did the disciples cleverly plan to steal the body? Fenton observes that they were "so badly
broken in spirit they no longer looked for the accomplishment of the Resurrection." Psychologically, they
were incapable of intricate planning. Was the Resurrection nothing more than a series of subjective visions? Fenton
responds that "visions are by their very nature individual experiences" and, in contrast, there is a
certain consistency in the different Resurrection appearances. One Lewis Brown, apparently the Richard Dawkins
of his day, claims that the disciples were deluded. Fenton replies: " A number of lunatics all hitting upon
the same delusion...such a picture is utterly outside the boundaries of reasonable reality" For those who
claim that Jesus may not have died, Fenton reminds them of the lance that pierced his side. The disciples certainly
saw Jesus after he had died and yet they recognized that "his body was in a different condition" from
before. Jeffrey John writes: "It is important not to suppose that Christian faith in the resurrection depends
on believing the literal and detailed historical truth of these miracle stories..." Fenton would have heartily
disagreed with this.