Is Matthew 27:51-53 historical?

By James M. Rochford

Between Matthew’s account of the death and resurrection of Jesus, he explains a cataclysmic event: The resurrection of many Old Testament (OT) saints. He writes,

And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many” (Mt. 27:51-53).

How should we understand and interpret the reliability of this difficult passage?

Is this passage plausible?

Skeptical readers wonder why this strange event isn’t mentioned by any extra-biblical sources. If The Night of the Living Dead really occurred in ancient Jerusalem (as one skeptical blogger has put it), why don’t other ancient people record this event?

Yet Matthew doesn’t state that all OT saints were raised in Jerusalem. Instead, he writes that God raised “many bodies” (Mt. 27:52). From this passage, we have no idea how many OT believers were raised. While we might expect to have seen thousands of people rising from the dead and walking through Jerusalem, we simply do not have an exact number given by Matthew.

Moreover, while extra-biblical records do not confirm this report, we don’t have records that discount it, either. We cannot demand an extra-biblical account of this event, because sources are scarce from this time. We can only use an “argument from silence” if we would expect to discover more from history. Yet two factors would preclude arguing for a “conspicuous silence” here: (1) we have limited accounts from the first-century and (2) we have no way of knowing how many OT saints were raised; thus we cannot make such an argument from silence with any level of confidence.

It might seem strange that a number of people would rise from the dead. Yet if the God of the Bible exists, it would be no more difficult to raise a number of bodies from the dead, than it would be to raise one individual body (Jesus) from the dead in the next chapter. Moreover, Jesus raised Lazarus (Jn. 11:1ff) and Jairus’ daughter (Mt. 5:38ff) from the dead. Surely the God of the Bible is in the business of raising the dead. In other words, Christians are not arguing that these people naturally rose from the dead. This would be impossible. But if God exists, he would be able to supernaturally raise them to life, as he will with all people at the end of human history.

The Michael Licona controversy

Mike5-199x300New Testament (NT) scholar Michael Licona is associate professor of theology at Houston Baptist University, and he has recently written a persuasive book called The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010). Evangelical scholars have widely praised him for his careful thinking and exhaustive research on his defense of the resurrection of Jesus. Licona is a dedicated defender of the Christian faith, debating everyone from skeptics like Bart Ehrman and Richard Carrier to Muslim scholars like Shabir Ally and Yusuf Ismail on the evidence for the Christian faith.

While his commitment to Christ should not be questioned in this regard, he stirred up controversy in his book, The Resurrection of Jesus (2010), when he began to question how we interpret Matthew 27:51-53. Some scholars—like Norman Geisler, Albert Mohler, and Charles Quarles—argued that his views broke from an inerrant view of Scripture. His comments from his book are as follows:

Given the presence of phenomenological language used in a symbolic manner in both Jewish and Roman literature related to a major event such as death of an emperor… it seems to me that an understanding of the language in Matthew 27:52-53 as ‘special effects’ with eschatological Jewish texts and thought in mind is most plausible.[1]

He later wrote that this expression (“special effects”) was meant to communicate Matthew’s writing “on a popular level.” We might not want to read too much into this statement, yet it’s still odd to know what Dr. Licona means by “special effects” here. Of course, as everyone knows, directors of films use “special effects” to make it appear that events happened that really didn’t occur. Thus this comment still raises questions as to its meaning. Dr. Licona also wrote:

It seems best to regard this difficult text in Matthew [27:51-53] as a poetic device added to communicate that the Son of God had died.[2]

It can forthrightly be admitted that the data surrounding what happened to Jesus is fragmentary and could possibly be mixed with legend… We may also be reading poetic language or legend at certain points, such as Matthew’s report of the raising of some dead saints at Jesus’ death (Mt 27:51-54).[3]

There is somewhat of a consensus among contemporary scholars that the Gospels belong to the genre of Greco-Roman biography (bios). Bioi offered the ancient biography great flexibility for rearranging material and inventing speeches in order to communicate the teachings, philosophy, and political beliefs of the subject, and they often included legend. Because bios was a flexible genre, it is often difficult to determine where history ends and legend begins.[4]

Some embellishments are present… A possible candidate for embellishment is Jn. 18:4-6.[5]

51XGlh7xSpL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Of course, “legend” is not an acceptable literary genre. In fact, the biblical authors explicitly reject this as a possibility. Peter writes, “We did not follow cleverly devised tales (muthos) when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Pet. 1:16), and Paul exhorts Timothy to “have nothing to do with worldly fables (muthos)” (1 Tim. 4:7; cf. 1 Tim. 1:4). Of course, both apostles use the Greek word muthos (“myth”), which BDAG defines as a “‘narrative’ or ‘story’ without distinction of fact or fiction, then of fictional narrative (as opposed to logos, the truth of history) such as tale, story, legend, myth.”[6]

Even supporters of Dr. Licona—like Paul Copan—have stated that the genre of “legend” in the NT “understandably raises red flags.”[7] Since publishing in 2010, Dr. Licona clarified that Matthew’s language was not poetic, but apocalyptic. Yet to the best of this author’s knowledge, he has yet to recant his statement about the NT incorporating legendary material—though if he wished to recant his use of Matthew using the genre of poetry, then he probably recanted Matthew’s use of legend as well.

Is Matthew 27:51-53 a case of the “apocalyptic genre”?

Some scholars (like Dr. Licona) understand that Matthew 27:51-53 was written in the apocalyptic genre. This means that the events should not be interpreted as literal history, rather these are symbolic events for how Jesus’ death impacted humanity. In support of seeing this section as apocalyptic, these scholars argue that Matthew uses four common apocalyptic symbols including (1) darkness, (2) earthquakes, (3) opening of tombs, and (4) resurrected bodies. Yet there are serious problems with following this line of thinking:

First, all of these supposed apocalyptic signifiers are also associated with Jesus’ death and resurrection. For instance, (1) darkness accompanied Jesus’ death (Mt. 27:45), (2) an earthquake accompanied his resurrection (Mt. 28:2), (3) angels opened Jesus’ tomb (Mt. 27:60, 28:8), and (4) Jesus rose physically from the dead (Mt. 28:7). If we take the resurrection of the OT saints as non-historical events, then the same hermeneutical case could be made for denying Jesus’ resurrection as historical. Consider the similarities between the resurrection of the OT saints and the resurrection of Jesus:

 

Comparison of the Resurrection of the Saints and the Resurrection of Jesus

Resurrection of OT Saints

Resurrection of Jesus

“Many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised (egeiro)” (v.52).

Matthew uses the same Greek term egeiro (“raised”) to describe Jesus’ resurrection just a few verses later in 28:7 (“He has risen from the dead”). This same term also describes Jesus’ resurrection in Acts 10:40 (“God raised Him on the third day”) and 1 Corinthians 15:14 (“If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain”)
“After His resurrection”

Is this statement in the historical genre or in the apocalyptic genre? Of course, all evangelicals would believe that this statement is historical. Yet this would mean that Matthew has (again) shifted from the historical genre for Jesus’ death to the apocalyptic genre without signifying this.

“They entered the holy city and appeared to many (enethanizo)” (v.53)

Luke uses this same Greek word for Jesus’ appearances in Acts 10:40-41 (Jesus “had become visible [emthanes]… to eyewitnesses”).
“They [the centurions] saw the earthquake and the things that were happening” (v.54)

An earthquake accompanies Jesus’ resurrection in Matthew 28:2 (“a severe earthquake had occurred”).

“[The centurions] became very frightened and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’” (v.54)

The same language of being afraid of supernatural events accompanies the guards at Jesus’ resurrection who “shook for fear of him and became like dead men” (Mt. 28:4), as well as the women who “left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples” (Mt. 28:8). Moreover, why would literal guards be afraid of events that didn’t actually happen?

 

Second, the account of the resurrected OT saints is a single sentence in Greek. While it’s difficult to imagine Matthew changing literary genres in between verses, what about in between sentences? This entire pericope (vv.51-53) is one long sentence in the Greek. Quarles states, “In the Greek text, vv. 51-53 form a single sentence in which the description of each portent is connected to the description of the previous portent by the Greek conjunction kai. Thus, the ‘special effects’ interpretation requires a shift in genre from historical narrative to apocalyptic in the middle of a single sentence, then back to historical narrative in the next sentence. If a writer flows so quickly and freely from historical narrative to apocalyptic, one could hardly ever know the author’s intention.”[8]

Third, the formula of death, resurrection, and appearances occurs for both the OT saints and Jesus’ resurrection. Matthew records that the tombs were opened (v.52), the saints were raised (v.52), and they appeared to many witnesses (v.53). Likewise, Paul records that Jesus was buried, risen, and appeared to many witnesses (1 Cor. 15:4-8).

How does Dr. Licona account for a slippery slope in his hermeneutic?

Dr. Licona acknowledges the difficulty of taking this section as non-historical. He writes, “If some or all of the phenomena reported at Jesus’ death are poetic devices, we may rightly ask whether Jesus’ resurrection is not more of the same.”[9] Good question! Yet how does he answer this difficulty? He offers two arguments: (1) the early Christians didn’t interpret Jesus’ resurrection as poetic, and (2) Christian opponents didn’t interpret the Christian claim of the resurrection as poetic either.[10]

The problem with this explanation is this: Both Christians and skeptics are interpreting Jesus’ resurrection as symbolic today! That is, liberal Christian commentators and atheistic skeptics of the resurrection both make the claim today that the disciples believed in a figurative, spiritual, or metaphorical resurrection—not a literal and historical one. Moreover, Quarles notes that this sword cuts both ways: “These arguments do not fully satisfy, however, since neither is there evidence that early Christians regarded Matt 27:52-53 as metaphorical nor that ancient opponents argued along those lines.”[11]

Assessment of Dr. Licona’s view

Dr. Michael Licona is an extraordinary scholar and avid defender of the Christian faith. We’re blessed to have such a strong mind in the Body of Christ, who gave us such a remarkable resource for the resurrection in his 2010 book The Resurrection of Jesus. While Paul calls us not to judge motives (1 Cor. 4:5), if I had to, I would think that Dr. Licona is not trying to undermine the authority of Scripture. Yet I can’t base my judgments on motives, but rather, on what he wrote. Based on his comments in his recent work, I find that his view breaks from the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy and Hermeneutics.

The Chicago Statement of Biblical Hermeneutics (CSBH) does affirm “awareness of the literary categories” and values “genre criticism as one of the many disciplines of biblical study.” Yet it goes on to say that we cannot import “generic categories which negate historicity” particularly those “which present themselves as factual” (Article 13). This article directly contradicts Dr. Licona importing a “poetic device,”[12] “legend,”[13] and the concept of Greco-Roman biography (bios) which gives license for including “legends.”[14] The CSBH states, “We deny that any such event, discourse or saying reported in Scripture was invented by the biblical writers” (Article 14). This would directly contradict Dr. Licona’s statement that “some embellishments are present”[15] in John 18 and the genre of bios could allow for “inventing speeches.”[16]

I believe Dr. Licona has seen the inherent contradictions with his views and the Chicago Statement, so he has begun to question the validity of appealing to the Chicago Statement as our definition of inerrancy. He recently wrote, “CSBI and the doctrine of biblical inerrancy are not the same. CSBI is neither Scripture nor is it the product of a Church council. It is not authoritative. And with the exception of the faculty members at a few seminaries, evangelicals are not bound by it. One can hold to the inerrancy of Scripture without embracing CSBI.”

Dr. Licona denies that Matthew is making an error.[17] Instead he claims that Matthew is utilizing a non-historical genre in these three verses. Thus to him, this is an interpretive question—not a question of inerrancy. Yet if interpreters can import genres into a passage of Scripture—without sufficient justification—they could effectively purge the truth of any biblical text. The case against a poetic, legendary, or apocalyptic genre is so strong that if we import one here—without justification—I fear that we could import one anywhere for any difficult historical passage.

Critics of my view will no doubt charge me with committing the “slippery slope” fallacy. This is committed when an individual states that a small issue can lead to bigger ones down the road without causal justification. For instance, some Christians commit this fallacy when they say that all drinking is immoral, because drinking can lead to drunkenness. But this is not so. Drinking is not a sin, rather drunkenness is a sin (see comments on 1 Tim. 5:23). Thus this would commit the “slippery slope” fallacy.

Yet my case for Dr. Licona breaking from inerrancy is different: Denying the word of God—not matter how big or small—is a serious moral issue with large ramifications. This was the first sin in the Garden, when the Serpent asked the question, “Did God really say?” (Gen. 3:1 NIV) This small question led to massive problems to say the least! While drinking alcohol is not a sin, denying God’s word is a sin. Thus these two cases are disanalogous.

I could accept Dr. Licona’s approach if he was making this case in the realm of apologetics, but instead, he’s making these statements in the realm of theology. To clarify, if Dr. Licona was saying, “We can still make a case for Jesus’ resurrection even if Matthew 27:52-53 is an error or embellishment of Matthew,” then I would surely agree. The historical case for Jesus’ resurrection is still strong even if we take the NT as non-inspired and sometimes errant documents. Yet once we make a case for Jesus’ authority, we need to ask what his view of the Bible was. And when we read through the words of Jesus, we discover that he believed in an inerrant Bible (see “A Case for Verbal Plenary Inspiration”). I pray, therefore, for this good Christian brother to reconsider his view on inerrancy. This is a time in the church where we need great minds like Dr. Licona’s to support the inerrancy of Scripture.

Appendix A: How do other interpreters understand this passage?

D.A. Carson (historical): “Matthew is telling us, among other things, that the resurrection of people who lived before Jesus Messiah is as dependent on Jesus’ triumph as the resurrection of those who come after him. The idea is not fanciful, given Matthew’s grasp of prophecy and fulfillment.”[18]

Donald Hagner (historical with apocalyptic motifs): “The passage contains obviously symbolic and apocalyptic motifs yet continues in the genre of historical narrative.[19]

Craig Keener (historical): “To both pagan and Jewish audiences these signs would indicate divine approval of Jesus and disapproval of his executioners… The raising of dead persons at Jesus’ death (vv. 52–53) reminds us that by refusing to save himself, Jesus did save others (v. 42).”[20]

R.T. France (uncertain): “Its character as ‘sober history’ (i.e. what a cinecamera might have recorded) can only be, in the absence of corroborative evidence, a matter of faith, not of objective demonstration. It was, in any case, a unique occurrence and is not to be judged by the canons of ‘normal’ experience.”[21]

David Turner (historical): “There are many difficulties concerning the nature and sequence of events in this extremely unusual pericope (Hagner 1995a: 849–52), but it is not helpful to take it as a nonhistorical literary-theological creation. If this resurrection is intended to preview the ultimate resurrection of humanity (Gundry 1994: 577), it is important that it be as genuine as that of Jesus.”[22]

Robert Mounce (historical): “Out of the graves came holy ones of old who, after the resurrection of Jesus, appeared openly in Jerusalem.”[23]

Michael Green (apocalyptic—not historical): “Does Matthew mean us to take this literally? Does he mean that the tombs were broken open, and that the bodies were somehow clothed with flesh and brought to life, as in Ezekiel’s vision? (Ezek. 37) It is possible but unlikely that this is how Matthew intended us to read it… The rending of the tombs is powerful symbolism for the victory over death which Jesus achieved.”[24]

Appendix B: Further arguments of genre considered

 

1. Matthew 27:51-53 is poetry

In favor of a poetic interpretation of the genre, Raymond Brown notes that this pericope contains a quatrain of two couplets, whereby Matthew uses kai plus a definite noun and verb. Yet Quarles notes that the symmetry breaks down in this section with additional “genitive modifers, participles, adjectives, prepositional phrases.”[25] Moreover, he notes that other historical explanations of Jesus’ life might contain hymnic arrangement—but are nonetheless historical (as in 1 Pet. 3:18-19; Eph. 4:8; 1 Tim 3:16).

2. Matthew 27:51-53 is similar to extra-biblical accounts that are non-historical

Sometimes Matthew 27:51-53 is compared with Lucian’s The Passing of Peregrinus, which contains miraculous events, but should not be interpreted historically. Yet Quarles writes, “This ancient satire dates to a century and a half after the time of Christ and was a mocking polemic against both Christianity and Cynicism. In the satire, Lucian embellished the account of Peregrinus’s suicide in order to ‘thicken the plot’ and to ‘ridicule fools and dullards.’ Lucian found it entertaining that a gullible elderly man further embellished the account and reported it as fact.”[26]

3. Matthew 27:51-53 is apocalyptic because it is similar to Peter’s citation of Joel 2:28ff in Acts 2:16-21

Dr. Licona writes, “I observed similar phenomena in Acts 2 when Peter addressed the crowd, saying the speaking in tongues they were witnessing was in fulfillment of Joel 2. He goes on to list other phenomena mentioned by Joel, including wonders in the sky involving the sun going dark, the moon turning to blood, and signs on the earth such as blood, fire, and smoke. Joel concludes by saying that in that day everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Peter then testifies how Jesus performed wonders and signs while among them. He rose from the dead and now they should call upon His name for salvation.”[27]

While I disagree with Dr. Licona’s interpretation of Acts 2 (see Acts 2:16-21), it is surely possible to understand Acts 2 as apocalyptically fulfilled in Jesus. Surely such an interpretation does not break from inerrancy.

Yet this passage is not analogous with Matthew 27:52-53. Matthew says nothing of fulfilling OT prophecy in his passage (as is his custom throughout his gospel), while Peter directly cites his source (Joel 2:28ff). Thus this isn’t a fair comparison. Acts 2 has a direct citation, while Matthew’s would be inferred at best. Moreover, throughout Matthew’s gospel, he states that Jesus was a historical and literal fulfillment of OT passages which may or may not be apocalyptic. However we understand Matthew’s use of prophecy and fulfillment (of which there are many interpretations), Matthew surely believed that Jesus was the historical fulfillment of these predicted events, as I’m sure Dr. Licona would agree.

To believe that Matthew 27 is similar to Acts 2, we need to assert that (1) Jesus is fulfilling a prophecy Matthew doesn’t cite, (2) Matthew believed non-literal events could fulfill OT prophecy—even though this isn’t his consistent pattern through his gospel, and (3) something in the text would signify an apocalyptic genre being used—even though (as we’ve already seen) no hermeneutical warrant justifies this. In fact, the same supposed apocalyptic signifiers are also used of Jesus’ death and resurrection in the same context. More important than the use of an apocalyptic genre here, of course, is Dr. Licona’s use of language like “legend” and “embellishment” in his book, which are strictly out of bounds with inerrancy.

4. Matthew 27:52-53 is apocalyptic because Jesus uses apocalyptic language in his Olivet Discourse just three chapters earlier.

Dr. Licona argues, “Similar phenomenal language appears in Jesus’ Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 where the sun and moon will go dark and the stars will fall out of the sky.”[28] Yet as Dr. Michael Kruger has pointed out,[29] this isn’t a fair analogy either, because Matthew 24 describes the future—not the past. Since Jesus is clearly predicting the future in Matthew 24, this is clearly different than Matthew 27 describing historical events without any sort of signifier to the contrary (as we have in the case of Matthew 24).

Further Reading

James Rochford, “Inerrancy.” This article covers the definition of inerrancy and some of the reasons for holding to it.

Norman Geisler, “An Open Letter to Mike Licona on his View of the Resurrected Saints in Matthew 27:52-53.” August 2011

Norman Geisler, “A Second Open Letter to Mike Licona on the Resurrection of the Saints of Matthew 27.” August 2011

Michael Licona, “Press Release: Michael Licona Response to Norm Geisler.” September 8, 2011.

Michael Licona, “When the Saints Go Marching In (Matthew 27:52-53): Historicity, Apocalyptic Symbol, and Biblical Inerrancy.” Paper for Evangelical Philosophical Society. 2011.

Albert Mohler, “The Devil is in the Details: Biblical Inerrancy and the Licona Controversy.” September 14, 2011.

William Lane Craig, “QUESTION #69: Qualms about the Resurrection of Jesus.” August 11, 2008.

Danny Akin, Craig Blomberg, Paul Copan, Michael Kruger, Michael Licona, and Charles Quarles. “A Roundtable Discussion with Michael Licona on The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach.” Southern Theological Review. 3/1 (Summer 2012).

Charles L. Quarles, “Review of Michael R. Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010),” JETS 54 (2011): 839-44.

[1] Licona, Michael. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010. 306.

[2] Licona, Michael. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010. 306.

[3] Licona, Michael. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010. 185-186.

[4] Licona, Michael. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010. 34.

[5] Licona, Michael. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010. 306.

[6] Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 660). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

[7] Danny Akin, Craig Blomberg, Paul Copan, Michael Kruger, Michael Licona, and Charles Quarles. “A Roundtable Discussion with Michael Licona on The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach.” Southern Theological Review. 3/1 (Summer 2012). 79.

[8] Danny Akin, Craig Blomberg, Paul Copan, Michael Kruger, Michael Licona, and Charles Quarles. “A Roundtable Discussion with Michael Licona on The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach.” Southern Theological Review. 3/1 (Summer 2012). 76.

[9] Licona, Michael. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010. 553.

[10] Licona, Michael. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010. 553.

[11] Charles L. Quarles, “Review of Michael R. Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010),” JETS 54 (2011): 842.

[12] Licona, Michael. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010. 306.

[13] Licona, Michael. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010. 185-186.

[14] Licona, Michael. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010. 34.

[15] Licona, Michael. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010. 306.

[16] Licona, Michael. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010. 34.

[17] Licona stated, “I would only be denying the inerrancy of the text if I knew that Matthew meant for his readers to understand the raised saints in a literal-historical sense but was interpreting them as an apocalyptic symbol anyway. So, this is a matter of hermeneutics rather than inerrancy.” Danny Akin, Craig Blomberg, Paul Copan, Michael Kruger, Michael Licona, and Charles Quarles. “A Roundtable Discussion with Michael Licona on The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach.” Southern Theological Review. 3/1 (Summer 2012). 79.

[18] Carson, D. A. Matthew. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke (Vol. 8). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House. 1984. 582.

[19] Hagner, Donald. Matthew 14–28 (Vol. 33B). Dallas: Word, Incorporated. 1998. 848.

[20] Keener, Craig. Matthew (Vol. 1). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. 1997. In location.

[21] France, R. T. (1985). Matthew: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 1, p. 407). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[22] Turner, D. L. (2008). Matthew (p. 670). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

[23] Mounce, Robert. Matthew. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 2011. 260.

[24] Green, Michael. The message of Matthew: the kingdom of heaven (pp. 302–303). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. 2001. 302-303.

[25] Charles L. Quarles, “Review of Michael R. Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010),” JETS 54 (2011): 842.

[26] Charles L. Quarles, “Review of Michael R. Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010),” JETS 54 (2011): 843.

[27] Danny Akin, Craig Blomberg, Paul Copan, Michael Kruger, Michael Licona, and Charles Quarles. “A Roundtable Discussion with Michael Licona on The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach.” Southern Theological Review. 3/1 (Summer 2012). 74.

[28] Danny Akin, Craig Blomberg, Paul Copan, Michael Kruger, Michael Licona, and Charles Quarles. “A Roundtable Discussion with Michael Licona on The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach.” Southern Theological Review. 3/1 (Summer 2012). 74.

[29] Danny Akin, Craig Blomberg, Paul Copan, Michael Kruger, Michael Licona, and Charles Quarles. “A Roundtable Discussion with Michael Licona on The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach.” Southern Theological Review. 3/1 (Summer 2012). 84.