From a conversation on Bart Ehrman’s blog:
Mike Licona, evangelical NT scholar:
I have a graduate student at HBU whose MA thesis I’m supervising. His research is virtually complete. He has consulted literature written by 204 critical scholars from 1965-Present on who wrote [the Gospel of] Mark, was it based primarily on Peter’s testimony, and when it was written. I can tell you at this point that the majority of critical scholars are saying that Mark’s primary source was Peter.
…my student has done the actual work of what a full-range of critical scholars from 1965-Present are saying. Others can say what they want. But have they actually conducted a serious survey of the academic literature?
…it [his graduate student’s literature search] does run counter to Bauckham’s recent claim. But I will have the numbers and names to back it up with Mark. Keener has done the work with John and Luke/Acts. So, we are not going merely with hunches based on those colleagues with whom we affiliate.
…I’m encouraging him [his graduate student] to publish it [the results and the data]. However, much will depend on whether he ends up going on to do a PhD and using it in a chapter of his dissertation. I can assure you that his 204 critical scholars fit everywhere along the theological spectrum!
Imagine the following: A prominent, highly respected scientist makes a public announcement that a literature search performed by himself and his research assistant (a graduate student) has found that the majority of scientists from 1965 to the present believe that climate change is fake news. It is a lie. Climate change does not exist.
When asked for the data, the prominent scientist states that unfortunately he cannot release the data to confirm his bold claim. He states that his research assistant has the last word on the release of the data, as he (the graduate student) plans to use the data for his doctoral thesis. So if the data is released at all, it will be years in the future. The scientific community and the public would be outraged. The scientist would be heckled and laughed out of every future scientific conference he attends.
What you are doing is shameful and beneath you, Dr. Licona. Release the data or retract your claim.
UPDATE: 11/18/19, 3:33 PM, PST. Dr. Licona has responded to my above criticism.
Gary: You’re over-reacting here, friend. I offered the comment about my student’s research because the matter of authorship was brought up in the dialogue. What I offered was not at all unprofessional.
Dear Dr. Licona, I again want to emphasize how much I have always respected the honesty and integrity of your work and the respectful manner in which you interact with those with whom you disagree. But your statement above does serious damage to your reputation as an honest investigator of the truth.
Every conservative evangelical Christian apologist on the planet will latch on to your above statement regarding the scholarly consensus on the authorship of the Gospel of Mark and will launch attacks on skeptics for refusing to accept “eyewitness testimony”. They will do this based simply on the word of ONE expert: Mike Licona. They will do this without having any data to support this claim. Christians and skeptics should honestly debate the evidence. Relying on ONE expert’s word on such an important issue is not appropriate. Please see our point of view: We see your belief system (conservative Christianity) as an evil. (That does not mean that we see all conservative Christians as evil!) We see what evangelical Christians have done to our country with their overwhelming support of Donald Trump, probably the most immoral, dishonest president in our history. We skeptics believe that we are fighting for the scientific method, rational thinking, and equality for all and against superstitions and religion-based bigotry.
Truth and facts matter.
We need more details about your student’s research. Is his literature search based solely on scholars who have written on the topic of the authorship of Mark? What if the majority of scholars who have written on the authorship of Mark are evangelical and conservative Protestant scholars for whom the eyewitness/associate of eyewitness authorship of the Gospels is CRITICAL to the believability of their core belief: the resurrection of Jesus? That is what we need to know. Does his/your literature search reflect the position of the Academy as a whole or only those scholars who were sufficiently interested in Mark’s authorship to write about it? Just because most scholars who have written about the authorship of Mark believe in the traditional authorship of the Gospels does not necessarily mean that most of the Academy believes that the Gospel of Mark was written by John Mark, the traveling companion of Peter. Do you see why more information about your data is necessary?
Please release your data or retract your claim, Dr. Licona.
End of post.