Christians have always been aware of the apparent contradictions in the Gospel accounts. For example, how does one reconcile the genealogies of Matthew (1:2-17) and Luke (3:23-38)? Did Jesus cleanse the temple at the beginning of his ministry (John 2:13-17) or the end (Mark 11:15-19)? Who appeared at the empty tomb? Was it a young man (Mark 16:5), an angel (Matthew 28:2), two men (Luke 24:4) or two angels (John 20:12)?
Questions like these are important for those who value the Bible as a source of history, and even more so for those anxious to retain the confession that the Bible is in some sense inerrant. While conservative Christians have rushed to reconcile these contradictions, they have often done so based on a particular understanding of history and historical accuracy. But these assumptions may not be correct.
In this episode of The Tentative Apologist Podcast we have a conversation with Mike Licona to discuss contradictions in the Gospels. Mike is Associate Professor of Theology at Houston Baptist University. He also runs the apologetics ministry Risen Jesus and he speaks widely on issues of apologetics. Mike is the author of the critically acclaimed book The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach and with Gary Habermas he coauthored The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. He was also interviewed in Lee Strobel’s book The Case for the Real Jesus.
Mike is currently doing research on modes of ancient history writing and the way these can illumine our understanding of putative errors in the Gospels, and that formed the heart of our conversation. Given that Mike is also a black belt in taekwondo, I made sure not to ask any questions that Mike didn’t like. (Just kidding!)
So join us as Mike gives us some new insights on ancient history.