Raymond Brown on Historicity and Presuppositions

I like what Raymond Brown says about historical issues surrounding the story of the guard at the tomb in Matthew.  My interest is not in what this means for this story but rather for what it says in general when we approach the Bible.

“In principle some would reject any possibility that the Matthean account might be historical because it contains the supernatural, viz., an angel descending from heaven to roll back the stone.  I do not deem it methodologically sound to let such an a priori rejection of the supernatural determine historicity, and indeed that principle would rule out the discussion of any resurrection narrative.  In my judgment the possibility or plausibility of this story must be discussed on the same basis as that of any other Gospel story.  Other  a priori principles have been invoked to deny historicity.  For example, the observation that this is a late and popular story(found only in Matt, not in Mark), or that it has an apologetic bent, would cause many to dismiss it out of hand as a fabrication.  I argued above that apologetics is not the primary thrust; and even if it were, why are apologetics and historicity incompatible?”

– Raymond Brown, Death of the Messiah, vol. 2 p. 1310

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