I’m currently listening to a podcast (“Unbelievable” - on the reliability of the gospels) and a question occurred to me. There have been several debates around similar issues, so none of this is really new ground.
The Gospels were not written as the events happened - no one believes this. Everyone believes that they were written after the fact, up to several decades (my view).
This being the case, do believers believe that there were any embellishments/historical mistakes/fibs in the gospels?
It seems to me that quite a lot of stories get ‘fudged’, ‘embellished’, what have you over time (if not on the first telling!). It doesn’t take a long time for this to happen with regard to religious leaders either (Sabbatai Zevi). These stories don’t have to be miraculous either. Even with simply famous people these things happen (On Penn and Teller’s show, they go over some discrepencies with Elvis’ biographies). Certainly when I’ve told stories, or had stories told to me, even days after the events, things are ‘less clear’. I have friends who make up bits and pieces out of whole cloth, hours after the original event.
That being said, do Christians believe that the gospels fall victim to this? If not, why not? If so, then how do you tell which bits are embellished or made up?
It seems to me that it would be extremely problematic to accept any sort of false witness in the gospels, yet it also seems to me that they cannot be denied, based on human fallibility.
I suppose one could argue that they were divinely inspired - but if so, what is the evidence of this? I mean, it’s not like the early Christians had just the four gospels - there were multiple gospels, most of which were discarded hundreds of years after the ‘events’ as (essentially) rubbish.