Monday, February 12, 2007

Fact Or Fiction?

"That the Gospels are the work of eye-witnesses (or are based on eye-witness sources) is indicated not only by the things which they record, but by the things which they do not record. The Gospels are full of homely details which an eye-witness would have recorded, and are full of gaps which a fiction writer would have filled in. Read the most perfect short story in literature, the story of the woman taken in adultery. The great masters of the short story might have invented the sublime touch, 'Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground', but they would not have been content to leave us ignorant of what Christ wrote. It is contrary to the canons of fiction to arouse the reader's expectations without easing his curiosity. Had Tolstoy invented this touch, Christ would have written something very telling in the dust, something very telling indeed, but nothing half so telling as the silence of St. John. Reticence is the keynote of the Gospels. The Evangelists record unadorned fact. They never point a moral or adorn the tale."

-Arnold Lunn, from the article "The Objectivity of the Gospels."

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