The purpose of New Testament scholarship in general is the study of the texts of the Christian New Testament and the study of the culture and beliefs of the people living during the time in which these texts were written. I assert that the purpose of conservative Christian NT scholarship, especially, evangelical NT scholarship is this: the above general definition, and, to demonstrate just how improbable any naturalistic explanation is for the central claim of Christianity, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, thereby making this supernatural claim the most probable explanation for this early Christian belief.
Conservative Christians frequently criticize skeptics of the bodily resurrection of Jesus for not having read enough scholarship on the subject to make an informed decision regarding the veracity and historicity of this claim. But here is the problem with that argument: Christian scholars may do a very good job of presenting evidence for just how improbable any naturalistic explanation is for the early Christian claim of an Empty Tomb, the post-death appearances of Jesus, and the development of a shameful, never heard of belief in an Honor-Shame society…but…try as hard as they may, Christian scholars can not state that these alternative, naturalistic explanations are impossible. Therefore, there are possible naturalistic explanations for every facet of the early Christian belief in a resurrection.
To make a decision regarding the historicity of this alleged event, the reader must decide for him or herself this one fundamental question: Which is more probable: A rare but possible naturalistic explanation, or, a once in history, non-natural (supernatural, miracle) resurrection of a dead body?
Dear friend: You do not need to read one single book to answer that question.