I was recently informed by a moderate Christian that the Gospels were written as biographies, Greek biographies, and as Greek biographies, the many discrepancies in the four Resurrection accounts were perfectly acceptable. Just because Mark says that one young man was inside the tomb and another Gospel author says instead that two angels were inside the tomb is not a contradiction, it is an acceptable literary variation. The author of “Resurrected Reconsidered”, Gregory Riley, seems to agree.
“John [the author of the Gospel of John] is writing a “true history”, an idea which is confused with “accurate description of historical events” by ancient as well as modern readers of ancient texts. “True history” is the writing of the past in terms of the demands of the present, not seldom in heroic or archetypal categories. Often the ancients mixed myth and “the meaning of the story for us” with memory, creating written history controlled by cultural presuppositions. Few means were available to writers of history to assist in producing accurate descriptions; fewer writers wished to produce such works. Historiography had a “point”, which was exhortation and the promotion of one’s own truth, be it religious, political, or philosophical.” p. 83
“So freedom in characterization, speech content, and wording, even the creation of events to some extent, was part of the discipline of “history”; John is writing well within the expectations of his culture.” p. 84
(I remember when reading NT Wright’s “Resurrection of the Son of God” that Wright believes that the variations in Paul’s retelling of the details of his conversion on the Damascus Road as told in the Book of Acts such as whether or not his companions heard something or saw something are not due to an error on the part of Paul or the author but was a purposeful literary technique on the part of the author of Acts…meant to stimulate reader interest!!!)
Aha! Silly, ignorant me. I get it now. So as long as each Gospel author was being “true” to his own agenda, he was telling us the “truth”.
And based on these four individual “truths” I am asked to accept that a dead corpse literally walked out of its sealed tomb 2,000 years ago and appeared to its former fishing buddies in a literal, reanimated, flesh and blood body. Sure… No problem.