Posted: Jul 20, 2013 8:43 pm
by neilgodfrey
The first rule before we can take any passage from any text and declare it to be evidence for some historical event is to do some sort of literary analysis of the text itself to first determine "what it is". Is it a text that is likely to contain any historical information or is it something else? What are its most evident sources for the data in it that comes to our attention? What can we understand about the reason for that data's inclusion in the text. These questions work for all the texts historians generally use. They tend to get skipped over entirely when it comes to the gospels and the question of the historical Jesus, however -- or at least many tend to be very selective in which bits they choose to apply these questions to.