Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
In approaching this type of topic, we are immediately confronted with a lack of factual material with which to work. Very few, if any, data on the subject appear in secular writings, and it becomes apparent that the main and probably the only source of data is found in the writings of the evangelists. This poses a problem from the outset, and if the facts revealed by the Gospels are credible, it becomes necessary to ensure that these facts will conform to the recognized rules of evidence as we currently understand them. The field of evidence is concerned with those rules of law that determine what testimony must be accepted and what must be rejected in civil or criminal proceedings, and what weight must be given to testimonies. The rules on which the admission of evidence is based, must be governed by their adaptation to the development of the truth of the facts in question (60 ALR 376; 66 ALR 360). The general rule is that questions of evidence are governed by the law of the forum, and this applies to all types of proceedings, as well as to the question of competence, admissibility, weight and sufficiency of evidence and degree of proof (89 ALR 1278). In the area of presumptions and burden of proof, the rules of proof are determined lex loci (78 ALR 889). To apply these propositions to the results of Christ’s trial, we must first examine the facts as they were presented and the forum in which they were presented. In attempting to do so, an objective approach will be taken, considering the qualifications and attitude of the evangelists, on the descriptions of which we must rely on the interpretation of incidents in court, as well as on the composition and functions of the legal entities, both in Hebrew and in Roman, before which the trial was held. .
First of all, can the actual descriptions of the gospel writers be considered accurate and objective? It is desirable, for the purposes of a juridical approach, at least to divorce any concept of Divine guidance from the words of the Gospels, and to regard the Gospel accounts as pure human efforts, although there is good reason to believe that there was an inspiring power behind them. Our knowledge of the lives of evangelists leads us to believe that they were honest people. Of course, they did not receive an earthly reward for their adherence to the truths they preached, because they were all persecuted and treated with shame. Their sincerity in attempting to report the facts would seem to be undeniable. The same would have been their ability, as evidenced by the style of their writings, in particular the letters of Luke and John. Literacy must be accepted for the Gospels were written in either Greek or Hebrew. It can be logically assumed that the backgrounds of the evangelists would be useful in that they could reproduce in writing the events they observed. We know that Luke was a physician (Colonel IV:14) and Matthew was a revenue collector (Matt. IX:9), both of which tended to indicate more than minimal powers of observation and also suggested some degree of analytical ability. The dignity in which the work is done seems to remove them from the realm of the fanatic, prejudiced or prejudiced.