TheBestSchools.org is organizing an ongoing series of focused civil dialogues (FCDs) on controversial topics of significant public interest. Each FCD gives the participants the opportunity to formulate the best case possible for their position, focused on particular points of contention, in a civil and respectful manner.
TBS is proud to announce a new FCD, beginning February 20, 2016, on the topic of the historical reliability of the New Testament between Professor Bart D. Ehrman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Professor Michael R. Licona of Houston Baptist University.
Professor Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests focus on New Testament Studies and History of Early Christianity. Professor Ehrman is the author, co-author, or editor of some 27 books, including one of the leading undergraduate textbooks in the field of New Testament Studies, as well as numerous best-selling popular works on the literary and cultural background of the Bible, with a special focus on the life and career of Jesus of Nazareth and the story of the resurrection.
Professor Licona is an Associate Professor of Theology at Houston Baptist University. His research interests focus on New Testament Studies, Historiography, and Apologetics. His recent monograph, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (IVP Academic, 2010), has been hailed as a path-breaking defense of the historical reliability of the New Testament accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
The FCD between Professor Ehrman and Professor Licona will consist of four parts: in-depth interviews with each participant, a round of initial statements, a round of responses to the initial statements, and a round of replies to the responses.
The topic of the historical reliability of the New Testament account of the life and career of Jesus is both intellectually challenging—drawing on a wealth of philological, archaeological, ethnographic, and historical research in a dozen different fields of scholarly inquiry—and highly charged emotionally. The fact that feelings run so strong on this topic among both believers and unbelievers makes it an ideal subject for an FCD—with the emphasis on civility.
The FCD on the historical reliability of the New Testament between Ehrman and Licona will cover such topics as the nature of history and historical methodology, the role of philosophical assumptions in our understanding of history, the possibility of miracles, the nature of ancient Jewish monotheism, the first-century Palestinian cultural type of the wandering apocalyptic messiah, the distinction between “incarnation” and “exaltation” views of Christology, and the putative inconsistencies among the various New Testament accounts of the life and career of Jesus.