This forthcoming book may or may not make a useful contribution to the subject:
I'll comment on a few statements:
I wasn’t so much concerned about resolving them [contradictions], because I understood that if Jesus rose from the dead, Christianity is true, regardless of any errors that might be present in the Bible.
That's a simplistic trope. For instance, if the Jesus of Moonies, Mormons, or the Watch Tower rose from the dead, would Christianity still be true?
By carefully reading ancient biographies written around the same time as the Gospels and comparing how they tell the same stories differently, I began to recognize that some of the differences resulted from compositional devices. Then when I went to the Gospels, I could see that the authors were probably employing the same compositional devices as other ancient biographers; specifically Plutarch.
i) Certainly it's important to classify the Gospels as historical rather than fictional. But beyond that, I doubt the unquestioned assumption that they belong to a conventional genre, or that they are modeled on literary exemplars.
For instance, when a person writes their autobiography, they simply write down what they remember, and especially what things they want to share with the reader. Their autobiography isn't self-consciously modeled on conventions of the genre, or literary exemplars. Rather, they are simply writing about their own life and interests.
Likewise, when a historian writes a biography, he usually says something about the subject's parents or grandparents, then narrates his childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, then his career, retirement, and death. He may also write about his private life as well as his public life.
This isn't because the genre dictates that coverage, but because human lives have a stereotypical cycle, and because readers are interested in certain things about the subject.
ii) Even assuming that the Gospel writers had literary precedent in mind, what about OT biographies about Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, and Solomon?
This is one of many examples I could cite where the Gospel authors employ various compositional devices that resulted in differences. In some cases we may not be able to know what actually occurred. But we have enough to get a general idea of what happened. And I’m fine with that, although ten years ago it would have made me feel a little uneasy because I assumed the Gospel authors would have been committed to writing with the same precision we moderns have.
Licona speaks as if he's breaking new ground. Filling a neglected niche. Yet scholars like Robert Stein, Craig Blomberg, Darrell Bock, and Very Poythress have already produced excellent material on the historicity and inerrancy of the Gospels. Licona appears to suffer from tunnel vision. Had he never bothered to read these scholars? Even now it sounds as if his research failed to include them.