When a modern person puts those four accounts into their mental cusinarts with no understanding of ancient genre of literature, and based entirely on a contextless reading of the Gospels, if by context we mean the ancient contexts””- stuff happens. Bad stuff. The evidence is distorted not clarified. Now the irony is that this happens just as assuredly with the modern secular historian who fails to take the lead from the ancient genre of the documents, but rather prefers the modern discipline of form or source criticism, just as assuredly it takes place, when Billy Bob Proverb mushes all these things into his red letter brain.
I want to suggest as clearly as I can that the four canonical Gospels are portraits of Jesus, not snapshots, they’re more like Monets four paintings of the front of Rouen Cathedral than they are like four black and white photos of Ted Williams taken at various angles in Fenway on the same day by four different photographers, and if one fails to analyze the document according to the type or kind of information it is trying to give you””- you’ve made a category mistake, a huge one.
Now the art historian examining those four Monet paintings knows perfectly well that he is looking at the real historical Rouen cathedral, but through the interpretive lens of impressionistic approaches to painting, which were concerned with light and the difference light makes in the way things appear to us. Impressionism reminds us that in fact reality is not in the eye of the beholder, for the eye can be deceived, any more than meaning is in the eye of the beholder. Yes, Virginia there are definitely meanings in those texts, but it is also true that we are active readers of the texts.
Read it all.