The question of the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection has been repeatedly probed, investigated, and debated. And the results have varied widely. Perhaps some now regard this issue as the burned-over district of New Testament scholarship. Could there be any new and promising approach to this problem?
Yes, answers Michael Licona. He convincingly points us to a significant deficiency in approaching this question: our historiographical orientation and practice. Licona opens this study with an extensive consideration of historiography and the particular problem of investigating claims of miracles. This alone is a valuable contribution.
But then Licona carefully applies his principles and methods to the question of Jesus’ resurrection. In addition to determining and working from the most reliable sources and bedrock historical evidence, he critically weighs other prominent hypotheses. His own argument is a challenging and closely argued case for the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. Any future approaches to dealing with this “prize puzzle” of New Testament study will need to be routed through The Resurrection of Jesus.
With Logos Bible Software, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach is easily searchable. Scripture passages appear on mouse-over, and all cross-references are linked to the other resources in your digital library, making this collection more powerful and easier to access than ever before for scholarly work or personal Bible study. With the advanced search features of Logos Bible Software, you can perform powerful searches by topic or Scripture reference, such as finding every mention of “resurrection” or “Luke 15.”
“Thus, an incomplete description does not necessitate the conclusion that it is an inaccurate description.” (Page 33)
“2. The historian’s horizon and method should be public” (Page 53)
“The past only survives in fragments preserved in texts, artifacts and the effects of past causes. The documents were written by biased authors, who had an agenda, who were shaped by the cultures in which they lived (and that are often foreign to us), who varied in both their personal integrity and the accuracy of their memories, who had access to a cache of incomplete information that varied in its accuracy, and who selected from that cache only information relevant to their purpose in writing. Accordingly, all sources must be viewed and employed with prudence.” (Page 38)
“In the pages that follow I will investigate the question of the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection while providing unprecedented interaction with the literature of professional historians outside of the community of biblical scholars on both hermeneutical and methodological considerations.” (Page 20)
“We have just considered various obstacles that prohibit historians from claiming absolute certainty: selective and imperfect memories, selection of content deemed important to a particular historian, interpretation, fuzziness of genre, unreliable eyewitness reports, fragmented data surviving from a foreign culture, and the bias and horizon of both our sources and of historians analyzing them. Moreover, the disciplines of history and science share the fact that on numerous occasions a hypothesis is disproved by new data.” (Page 67)
The resurrection of Jesus is—in many ways—too important a topic to be left to theologians! In this thoroughly researched and well-argued volume, Mike Licona brings the latest in discussion of historiography to bear on the question of Jesus’ resurrection. In a discipline that is often overwhelmed by theological special-pleading, it is refreshing to have this sober and sensible approach to the resurrection that evaluates the historical data and the arguments of many of the scholars writing on the subject. There are few biblical scholars who will not learn something from this important book.
—Stanley E. Porter, president, McMaster Divinity College
This book is the most thorough treatment on the resurrection and historiography to date, useful also to those studying the intersections of philosophy of science, history, and theology. Drawing masterfully from a wide range of disciplines, Licona builds a coherent case showing that the best explanation for our evidence involves Jesus’ historical resurrection. Licona’s research also makes clear that the frequent skepticism about this claim in much of the academy reflects not serious historiographic consideration but the mere inheritance of outdated philosophic assumptions.
—Craig S. Keener, professor of New Testament, Palmer Theological Seminary
Michael Licona’s thorough study of beliefs in Jesus’; resurrection is to be recommended, since it is informed of the social sciences, ancient data, . . . attends to the New Testament witnesses and engages most of the recent discussions. He rightly argues that the early Christians did not interpret Jesus’; resurrection in a metaphorical or poetic sense to the exclusion of a literal event that had occurred to his corpse.
—James H. Charlesworth, George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Princeton Theological Seminary
For any reader [Licona] will be a most thorough, thoughtful, and courteous companion on his book’s long journey through its important and contested terrain.
Licona develops a surprisingly fresh and rigorous historiographical approach analyzing data and interpretations from the eighth century BC up to the third century AD.
Dr. Mike Licona is associate professor of theology at Houston Baptist University. He holds a PhD in New Testament studies from the University of Pretoria, which he earned with distinction and the highest mark.
Dr. Licona was interviewed for Lee Strobel’s book The Case for the Real Jesus and he appeared in Strobel’s video The Case for Christ. He is the author of numerous books, including The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, Paul Meets Muhammad: A Christian-Muslim Debate on the Resurrection, co-author of the award-winning book The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, and co-editor of Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science. His next book will concern ancient compositional devices resulting in discrepancies in the Gospels and Plutarch’s Lives. Dr. Licona is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Institute for Biblical Research, the Evangelical Theological Society, and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. He has spoken on more than 70 university campuses and has appeared on dozens of radio and television programs.