"We cannot know what happened in History"

If we cannot know what happened in history, then the Bible is uesless as an account of God's revelation to human beings. So can we be confident about our historical knowledge and if so, how does that affect what we can say about the Bible?

How can you present the Bible as true?

Is history knowable at all?

  • History is a matter of subjective opinion. 
  • The quest for historical truth should not be embarked upon at all – it is a fruitless, even impossible exercise.

How do we have access to history?

  • Mid 1800s history is an exact science, facts can be presented objectively.  Von Ranke: “the historian must present the past as it actually happened.”
  • By 1920s ideal of historical objectivity under fire – interpretation is the key.
  • By 1960s and post modernism – complete historical relativism.

Pragmatic Hermeneutics

  • We have access to history via converging lines of evidence.
  • Written evidence
  • Eye witness testimony
  • Photographs/cartoons/paintings/etching
  • Archaeological remains
  • Inferential evidence

New Testament History

  • Written accounts by non-Christian sources
  • Eye-witness testimony
  • Inscriptions, paintings
  • The empty tomb, archaeology
  • Inferential evidence – the transformed disciples

Luke’s intentions: "Therefore since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." Luke 1:3-4

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