Why are the Gospels poor sources for establishing Facts about the Life of Jesus?

Imagine that someone contests the historicity of the Paris Peace Talks between Henry Kissinger and the North Vietnamese in the early 1970’s.  This skeptic alleges that there were no peace negotiations whatsoever in Paris or anywhere near Paris between Henry Kissinger and the North Vietnamese.  He alleges that the entire concept was a farce perpetrated by Richard Nixon to fool the American people.  How could we prove this skeptic wrong?  What historical sources could we go to for evidence to confirm the historicity of the Paris Peace Talks?

Probably the best source of evidence would be the memoirs/writings of those involved in the peace talks, such as the writings of Henry Kissinger, his assistants and staff, and that of the North Vietnamese negotiator and his assistants and staff.  Even if we only use four sources:  Henry Kissinger, his interpreter, the North Vietnamese negotiator, and his interpreter, if the four accounts agree in the significant details, I would bet that most people would consider these sources to be excellent and the reliability of the evidence to be very high.

Now, imagine if the only sources that we have that attest to this alleged event are four anonymous books, written decades after the event, in a language other than English or Vietnamese, which include stories such as ghosts impregnating virgins, people walking on water, and dead people teleporting through space…and…there are significant discrepancies regarding the crucial facts of the story.  Would these four anonymous books be a good source for establishing fact?  Most people, I believe, would say, “no”.  Just because the books have correct information about the geographical details of the city of Paris and correctly describes French culture and society in the early 1970’s doesn’t mean that all the supernatural assertions in the books are also true historical events.  The four books could very simply be historical fictions, written for the purpose of entertainment, and therefore not reliable sources for which to establish the historicity or non-historicity of the Paris Peace Talks.

I view the four gospels of the New Testament as being just as unreliable as sources of historical fact as the four anonymous books above regarding the Paris Peace Talks.  We don’t know the authors!  We don’t know the purpose of the book.  We don’t know if the book is meant to be history, or simply an enchanting, supernatural tale, with some true, historical aspects, written to earn the starving author some cash.


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