pistolpete, regarding Michael Licona believing in post mortem experiences, many Christians believe in accounts of Near Death Experiences and some consider such to be scientific evidence of such. Many Christians also believe that use of the Ouija board brings people in contact with evil spirits (whether they be considered demons or spirits of dead humans). So why would Christians think such beliefs by Licona would discredit him as a scholarly authority/expert? https://thebestschools.org/special/ehrman-licona-dialogue-reliability-new-testament/michael-licona-interview/ contains an interview of Licona in which Licona mentions the reasons for his beliefs, including why he believes in Near Death Experiences. In the interview Licona also mentions that he tried very hard to not let his Christian beliefs get in the way of his scholarly approach to the study of whether Jesus was resurrected or not & it mentions why Licona disbelieves (or doubts) the literalness of Matt. chapter 27's account of the bodily resurrection of saints. Regarding the latter, the interview says in part the following:
"Could it be that, on the contrary, it was my detractors who were historicizing a text not intended as history? The biblical authors lived in a different culture from ours. So, there are going to be times when the literal meaning of the text is not how we should interpret it. Now, that’s not always easy for us to determine. Many early Christian males castrated themselves after misinterpreting Jesus’s teaching about some making themselves eunuchs for the sake of God’s kingdom (Matthew 19:12). Hermeneutical blunders can have tragic consequences! And notice these early Christians adopted a literal interpretation of a text not intended to be understood in that manner. If they could make such an error while being far more connected than are we to the culture in which Jesus lived, how much more might I be vulnerable to making a similar error!
I empathize with the concern of the ultraconservatives that, taken to an extreme, one might attempt — as many already have — to make the same move with respect to Jesus’s resurrection and claim it’s a metaphor or “special effects.” But I provided reasons in my book why such a move will not work; specifically, we can establish that Jesus’s apostles clearly intended for us to understand Jesus’s bodily resurrection as a historical event. It is far from clear that Matthew had the same intent when it came to the saints raised at Jesus’s death.Most of the highly respected evangelical scholars sided with me in the controversy. Not all agreed with the interpretation of Matthew’s raised saints I had proposed. But they were all in agreement that this was entirely an interpretive matter and had nothing to do with whether the Bible contains any errors."