Michael Licona: The Gospels Preserve the Gist of Jesus’ Teachings

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From a discussion on Bart Ehrman’s blog:

Mike Licona, prominent evangelical NT scholar:   I’m persuaded by a number of reasons that the Gospels preserve the gist of what Jesus taught. And some occasions may be close to the actual words.

Gary:  Wow. This is a striking admission for any evangelical, but even more for an evangelical NT scholar (I am a former evangelical). If we today can only trust the Gospels to provide us “the gist” of what Jesus SAID, how can we possibly trust the historicity of the fantastical DEEDS and EVENTS that allegedly occurred involving Jesus? How historically reliable can these ancient texts be if someone like you, an expert, only trusts their “gist”? And most importantly, how can we possibly believe the fantastical claim that the corpse of a first century preacher came back to life, was endowed with supernatural powers, and later ascended into the clouds, from texts which most scholars do not believe were written by eyewitnesses or associates of eyewitnesses, and you yourself believe can only be trusted to provide us the “gist” of what this man said?

How can we possibly have a rational discussion regarding the divine inspiration of the Bible when you have admitted that the text you believe to be Word of the Creator can only be trusted in its “gist”?




End of post.

8 thoughts on “Michael Licona: The Gospels Preserve the Gist of Jesus’ Teachings

  1. I reckon he has been somewhat ”punchy” ever since Norm Geisler and co. had him ousted from his job, and later, the embarrassing hammering he took from Ehrman in debate.
    In truth, I get from the ”gist” of Licona’s comments/presentations etc he is a fence-sitter and probably has been for some time.
    But as the good book says … ”You gotta put bread on the table,” so he does what he has to. For now.


  2. Licona’s final sentence in your dialogue is hilarious

    However, I’m satisfied with my student’s research. I’ve seen what he has done. And it’s quite good.

    Only quite good?
    This is a MA student he is supervising?
    Jesus H!


        1. These guys are not unbiased professionals looking at the evidence and letting the chips fall where they may. Their entire worldview; their professions, their reputations, their social life, their marriages, their INCOME; all depend on the historicity of the reanimation of a first century corpse! It MUST be true or their lives will be destroyed.

          Here is a comment I left that Licona has not published. I wonder if he will:

          Dr. Licona believed in Jesus as his Lord and Savior at age 10. I prayed to Jesus to forgive me of all my sins and to be my Lord and Savior at age 9. As an adult, Dr. Licona investigated the evidence for the central claim of Christianity, the historicity of bodily resurrection of Jesus, and found the evidence sufficient to validate his childhood decision. As an adult, I investigated the evidence for the historicity of the bodily resurrection of Jesus and found it woefully insufficient to validate my childhood decision. I deconverted. How often do modern, educated people investigate the historical evidence for the historicity of Ceasar’s crossing of the Rubicon or Alexander’s sacking of Tyre and decide that the evidence is woefully insufficient? Yet today, thousands and thousands of educated Christians are deconverting from Christianity for this very reason: the evidence for this alleged event is so woefully poor. Yes, a few “atheists” do convert to Christianity, but the statisticians tell us that it is Christianity that is bleeding members not atheists. This is why apologetics is currently the big rage in conservative Christianity: the need to defend this ancient supernatural tale is dire!

          Let’s look at what we are talking about: the belief that a three-day-dead first century corpse came back to life, exited its sealed mausoleum, hung out with its friends for 40 days, and later levitated into space in front of a crowd of people. Yet there are ZERO contemporary, non-Christian reports of this event! Zero! The greatest event to ever occur in human history, but no one bothered to write about this story until several decades later. And the few that did write about this event, decades later, were all members of a minority religious sect whose entire worldview DEPENDS on the historicity of this alleged event.

          Dr. Licona is a very intelligent, very educated, very good, kind man. Any one who has seen him debate or has seen his recent comments on the deconversions of two big name Christians can see this. But Dr. Licona believed in the reality of dead corpse reanimations when he was TEN years old! How is this any different from the Muslim who believed in the reality of flying horses as taught by his religion as a child…and THEN…as an adult set out to confirm his childhood belief? Bottom line: Even if the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses (most experts say they were not), ask yourself this question: Would you believe in a modern day dead corpse reanimation (resurrection) based on the eyewitness testimony of a group of mostly uneducated (“unlearned”) peasants from a third world country? I don’t think so.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Move over Q, there’s a new hypothetical source in town. Make way for G, the source from which the gospel writers copied the ‘Gist’ of what Jesus did and said.

    Liked by 2 people

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