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Scholar Convinced that Historical Evidence Confirms the Resurrection

In his book Unbelievable, Justin Brierley writes convincingly that the resurrection is the only adequate explanation for the historical evidence found in the Gospels:

Mike Licona and Bart Ehrman are both New Testament scholars who have very different takes on the resurrection of Jesus. Ehrman let go of his Christian faith after encountering perceived problems with the New Testament. Mike Licona had a similar crisis of faith in the early years of his academic career when his study of the New Testament didn't match what he had been taught about it while growing up. However, whereas Ehrman's study led him away from Christianity, Licona's research convinced him that the resurrection was the only adequate explanation for the historical evidence he found in the Gospels.

Other pieces of the puzzle fell into place as Licona began to appreciate how the New Testament accounts reflected the literary conventions of their day rather than the modern standards often imposed on them by both Christians and critics. During one of his dialogues with Licona on the show, Ehrman rattled off a list of differences between the Gospel accounts of the resurrection, such as the number of women and the accounts of angels at the empty tomb.

He argued that these differences give reason to doubt the reliability of the resurrection story. Naturally, Licona knows these differences just as well as Ehrman but he didn't find that they count against the overall strength of the account, saying:

It is a bit like the Titanic. There were conflicting accounts from survivors, such as whether the ship broke in half before sinking or whether it went down in its entirety. But no one called into question whether the Titanic sank or not. It was the periphery details that were in question. It is the same thing with the New Testament. They are all peripheral details that have no impact on the fundamental truth of Christianity.

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