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An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists, by the Rules of Evidence administered in Courts of Justice   By: (1783-1853)

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In "An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists, by the Rules of Evidence administered in Courts of Justice" by Simon Greenleaf, readers are taken on a unique intellectual journey exploring the credibility and reliability of the Gospel accounts. Greenleaf, a renowned legal scholar of the 19th century, applies his expertise in evidence law to examine the testimonies presented by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Throughout the book, Greenleaf approaches the Gospels as if they were legal evidence presented in a courtroom. He carefully dissects the testimonies, scrutinizing their consistency, eyewitness support, and the absence of motives for fabrication. By employing this methodical approach, Greenleaf aims to demonstrate that the Gospels should be treated with the same rigidity and credibility as any legally admissible evidence.

One of the strengths of this book lies in Greenleaf's ability to seamlessly weave together legal principles with biblical scholarship. He cleverly utilizes his extensive knowledge of evidence law to build a persuasive case for the Gospel accounts as reliable historical documents. His logical arguments and insightful analysis encourage readers to view the Gospels through a new lens, one that demonstrates their strength as a credible historical source.

Furthermore, Greenleaf's writing style is crisp, concise, and accessible to both scholars and non-scholars alike. While he explores complex legal concepts, his clarity of thought and elegant prose make the content comprehensible to a wide range of readers. This is a commendable accomplishment and a testament to Greenleaf's mastery of the subject matter.

However, one could argue that the book's primary focus on legal analysis may deter some readers. The intense examination of the Gospel testimonies from a seemingly detached perspective might not resonate with those seeking a purely theological exploration. While Greenleaf skillfully constructs his argument through the lens of evidence law, it may leave some readers yearning for a more explicitly spiritual or theological interpretation of the Gospels.

Despite this potential limitation, "An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists" is an intellectually stimulating work that offers a fresh perspective on the Gospels' reliability. Simon Greenleaf's application of courtroom principles to biblical texts challenges readers to critically assess the Gospel accounts, reinvigorating the ongoing dialogue surrounding their historical and spiritual significance. For those interested in the intersection of faith, history, and law, this thought-provoking exploration is a valuable addition to any library.

First Page:


Examination of the Testimony

of the

Four Evangelists,

by the Rules of Evidence Administered


Courts of Justice.

With an Account of the Trial of Jesus.

By Simon Greenleaf, LL.D.

Dane Professor of Law in Harvard University

Second Edition

Revised and Corrected by the Author.


A. Maxwell & Son, 32, Bell Yard, Lincoln's Inn;

W. Smith, 113, Fleet Street;

Hodges & Smith, Dublin; T. & J. Clark, Edinburgh.



Contents And Synopsis Of The Harmony. Advertisement To This Edition. An Examination, Etc. Harmony Of The Gospels. Part I. Events Connected With The Birth And Childhood Of Jesus. Part II. Announcement And Introduction Of Our Lord's Public Ministry. Part III. Our Lord's First Passover, And The Subsequent Transactions Until The Second. Part IV. Our Lord's Second Passover, And The Subsequent Transactions Until The Third... Continue reading book >>

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