Jesus, Contradicted

Jesus, Contradicted

Why the Gospels Tell the Same Story Differently
Michael R. Licona
$34.99 USD

Are you an Instructor? Request a Trial

Inside this Enhanced Edition*

  • Perpetual access:
    • Jesus, Contradicted eBook
    • Highlight and make notes
  • 12 month access:
    • 13 videos with Michael Licona
    • Reflection questions in each chapter
    • 13 quizzes
    • Review items for each chapter using Cerego learning engine
    • Student dashboard to check your progress
    • Export your notes

* For more details click here

Product Details

  • ISBN:
  • Format:
  • Platforms:
  • Release:
  • Category:
  • 9780310159605
  • Digital Enhanced Edition
  • Desktop, iOS, Android
  • May 28, 2024
  • New Testament, Gospels

About the Authors

Michael R. Licona

Michael R. Licona

Ph.D., University of Pretoria

Michael R. Licona is professor of New Testament studies at Houston Christian University. He is the author of numerous books, including the critically acclaimed The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. Mike is a frequent speaker on university campuses and has engaged in dozens of public debates on the historicity of Jesus’s resurrection. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society, the Institute for Biblical Research, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas.


How the Genre of Ancient Biography Explains Contradictions, Discrepancies, and Differences in the Gospels

“Licona effectively makes the case that Gospel differences do not undermine Scripture’s authority and invites us to respect Scripture enough to let its own approach guide how we define that authority.”
—Craig S. Keener, F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary

“In easy-to-understand prose, Licona lays out cogent, compelling arguments for reading the Gospels through the lens of first-century biographies. Jesus, Contradicted is a must read for every curious Christian.”
—Lynn H. Cohick, distinguished professor of New Testament, Houston Christian University

The differences and discrepancies in the Gospels constitute one of the foremost objections to their reliability and the credibility of their message. Some have tried to resolve Gospels contradictions with strained harmonization efforts. Others conclude that the Gospels are hopelessly contradictory and, therefore, historically unreliable accounts of Jesus.

In Jesus, Contradicted, New Testament scholar Michael Licona shows how the genre of ancient biography, to which the Gospels belong, actually allows biographers to be flexible in how they report events, construct narratives, and make arguments. Licona demonstrates that the intentional changes to the Gospels by the Evangelists are not grounds for their rejection. Instead, they are a result of the Gospel writers employing standard literary conventions for ancient biographies.

Using Plutarch’s work, Licona offers numerous examples of compositional devices employed in Plutarch’s biographies and compares them with instances in the Gospels where the Evangelists appear to use similar techniques. Licona also examines Theon’s Progymnasmata, a first-century textbook that provides several techniques for paraphrasing sources when writing a narrative. In doing so, Licona helps readers understand why the Gospels report many events differently. Finally, he concludes by addressing the thorny question of whether the editorial moves commonplace in ancient biography are compatible with the doctrines of the divine inspiration and the inerrancy of Scripture.

Rather than trying to resolve discrepancies by bending the Gospel narrative, which risks making them say things they aren’t saying, Jesus, Contradicted situates the Gospels within their proper context and helps readers account for differences in the Gospels in a cohesive and historically cogent way.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments

  • Abbreviations

  • 1. The Quest for a Better Answer

  • 2. Normal Variation in Reporting and the Use of Sources

  • 3. Who Wrote First?

  • 4. The Gospels as Biography

  • 5. Truth-Telling in Ancient Biography

  • 6. Compositional Textbooks

  • 7. Plutarch and More Compositional Devices

  • 8. Transferal

  • 9. Displacement

  • 10. The Outer Limits of Compositional Devices

  • 11. Fine-Tuning Our Doctrine of Scripture: Inspiration

  • 12. Fine-Tuning Our Doctrine of Scripture: Inerrancy

  • 13. Final Thoughts

  • Appendix

  • Bibliography

  • General Index

  • Ancient Sources Index

  • Scripture Index


How does an Enhanced Edition compare to the print book?

  • Smarter Learning

    Learn faster and remember longer with the proven Cerego learning engine. Other tools include videos from the author and more.

  • Deeper Collaboration

    If your instructor uses this Enhanced Edition you can see their highlights and notes, plus any discussion prompts they may add for you and your classmates.

  • More Value

    For the price of the print book, you get 1 year of access to all Enhanced Edition tools–and keep the ebook and your class notes for good.