Why Are There Differences in the Gospels?: What We Can Learn from Ancient Biography
Author: Michael R. Licona
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Anyone who reads the Gospels carefully will notice that there are differences in the manner in which they report the same events. Where many conservatives have resorted to resolve these differences through elaborate—though oftentimes strained—harmonizations, skeptics have viewed the accounts as hopelessly contradictory and unreliable.
In Why Are There Differences in the Gospels?, Michael Licona offers a fresh approach to the question of differences by comparing Gospel pericopes to the work of Greek essayist Plutarch. Licona discovers three-dozen pericopes narrated two or more times in Plutarch's Lives, identifies differences between the accounts, and analyzes these differences in light of compositional devices identified by classical scholars as commonly employed by ancient authors. By applying the same approach to nineteen pericopes that are narrated in two or more Gospels, Licona demonstrates that the major differences found there likely result from the same compositional devices employed by Plutarch and other ancient authors.
Illuminating the misguided conclusions of both conservatives and skeptics regarding the question of differences within the Gospels, Licona invites readers to approach the Gospels in light of their biographical genre, thereby understanding them more nearly the way the authors originally intended.
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