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Prof. Simon Greenleaf
Evidence and Proof in a Post-Christian Age


Maybe you've seen the article that should go here. Send us the link Or send us the book or journal article and we'll plagiarize it like all our other pages.

Here's what it says:

  • Atheists claim there is no "evidence" for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • The demand for "evidence" and "proof" actually presupposes the historicity of Christ's Resurrection.
  • Denying Christ's Resurrection leads to the destruction of the concepts of "proof" and "evidence."

Until you send us this article, readers of this page will have to be content with the following dialogue on American OnLine's "Separation of Church and State" Discussion Board.

Subject: Christ's Resurrection: A Legal Fact
Date: 4/14/2001 5:05 PM Pacific Daylight Time
Message-id: <20010414200523.02874.00000280@ng-fz1.aol.com>

How would the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection of Christ be regarded if they were submitted as evidence in a court of law? This fascinating question forms the basis for Simon Greenleaf's classic study of the rules of legal evidence as applied to the New Testament accounts of the first Easter.

As Dane Professor of Law at Harvard University who, along with Justice Joseph Story, was primarily responsible for Harvard's eminent position among law schools in the United States, Greenleaf produced a famous, three-volume work, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence, which Knott, in The Dictionary of American Biography says was called "the greatest single authority on evidence in the entire literature of legal procedure."

With a lawyer's skill, Greenleaf put his principles to work as he examined the historical evidence surrounding the resurrection of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible and other historical writings. After a very careful examination, he wrote a book entitled An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice (1874). He concluded:

   Let [the Gospels'] testimony be sifted, as it were given in a
   court of justice on the side of the adverse party, the witness
   being subjected to a rigorous cross-examination. The result,
   it is confidently believed, will be an undoubting conviction of
   their integrity, ability, and truth.

Greenleaf in The Harvard Book

Greenleaf's Testimony of the Evangelists

Contemporary Testimonials

The author is a lawyer, very learned in his profession, acute, critical, and used to raising and meeting practical doubts. Author of a treatise on the law of evidence, which has become a classic in the hands of the profession which he adorns, and teacher in one of the Law Seminaries which do honor to our country in the eyes of Europe, he brings rare qualifications for the task he assumes. Such are our views of this work which we commend to all; to the legal profession, from the character of its topics and the rank of its author to men desirous of knowledge, in every rank in life, because of its presenting this subject under such treatment as is applied to every day practical questions. It does not touch the intrinsic evidences of the Gospel: those which to the believer are, after all, the highest proofs. But it is to be remembered, that these are proofs which are not satisfactory until an examination of the outward evidence has led men to the conviction, that the Gospels cannot be false.
                                    Extract from the New York Observer

It is the production of an able and profound lawyer, a man who has grown gray in the halls of justice and the schools of jurisprudence; a writer of the highest authority on legal subjects, whose life has been spent in weighing testimony and sifting evidence, and whose published opinions on the rules of evidence are received as authoritative in all the English and American tribunals; for fourteen years the highly respected colleague of the late Mr. Justice Story, and also the honored head of the most distinguished and prosperous school of English law in the world.
                                  North American Review

It is no mean honor to America that her schools of jurisprudence have produced two of the first writers and best esteemed legal authorities of this century -- the great and good man, Judge Story, and his worthy and eminent associate, Professor Greenleaf. Upon the existing Law of Evidence (by Greenleaf) more light has shone from the New World than from all the lawyers who adorn the courts of Europe.  
                                  London Law Magazine


The Lord Chief Justice of England, Lord Darling, once said that "no intelligent jury in the world could fail to bring in a verdict that the resurrection story is true."

An Englishman, John Singleton Copley, better known as Lord Lyndhurst, is recognized as one of the greatest legal minds in British history. He was the solicitor-general of the British government, attorney-general of Great Britain, three times high chancellor of England, and elected as high steward of the University of Cambridge, thus holding in one lifetime the highest offices ever conferred upon a judge in Great Britain.

After Copley's death, some personal papers were discovered which contained his comments concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the light of legal evidence, and why he became a Christian: "I know pretty well what evidence is: and I tell you, such evidence as that for the resurrection has never broken down yet."



Kevin C.

And they shall beat their swords into plowshares
and sit under their Vine & Fig Tree.
Micah 4:1-7

Subject: Re: the proof is there
To: Separation of Church & State
Date: 7/18/00

Jason wrote:
It is impossible for you to cite another belief system or religion, aside from Judaism, for example, that has this sort of supernatural evidence supporting it. Since Christianity shares all of the supernatural aspects of Judaism, and Judaism can't explain things like Christ's resurrection, Christianity clearly has more credibility. There's nothing like the book of Daniel in Islam. There's nothing like Christ's resurrection in Buddhism.
In article <20000713004146.12938.00000032@ng-ce1.aol.com>, wyndrydyr@aol.com (WyndRydyr) writes:

> And there is no concrete evidence for any of these mythological beliefs

WyndRydyr supports the myth of "separation of church and state" because he does not understand the mind of the Founding Fathers.

Nor does WyndRydyr understand the concept of "evidence," because the very concept is a Christian concept. Pagan religions don't have the same standard as Christianity for "evidence," whether in a religious context or a legal context. A society that believes the material world is "maya" (illusion) is not likely to be impressed with empirical facts. In a Christian nation our laws are based on Biblical Law. In a Christian nation our laws of evidence are based on Christian concepts, and as a result, our laws of evidence will always show that the Resurrection of Christ is a historical fact. The greatest authority on the law of Evidence at the Harvard Law School was Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853), whose Treatise on the Law of Evidence (1842-53) was the standard work on the subject of the law of Evidence in America for decades. Prof. Greenleaf examined the Gospels and concluded that their account of the miraculous Resurrection of Christ would have to be accepted as factual in any court of law in a Christian nation.

When a nation is secularized, and the distinction between lies and absolute truth is abandoned, then not only is Christ's resurrection not accepted as factual, but the innocence of O.J. Simpson is.
Legal systems collapse without Christianity.

Greenleaf's book, The Testimony of the Evangelists, begins with these words:

In examining the evidence of the Christian religion, it is essential to the discovery of truth that we bring to the investigation a mind freed, as far as possible, from existing prejudice, and open to conviction. There should be a readiness, on our part, to investigate with candor to follow the truth wherever it may lead us, and to submit, without reserve or objection, to all the teachings of this religion, if it be found to be of divine origin. "There is no other entrance," says Lord Bacon, "to the kingdom of man, which is founded in the sciences, than to the kingdom of heaven, into which no one can enter but in the character of a little child." The docility which true philosophy requires of her disciples is not a spirit of servility, or the surrender of the reason and judgment to whatsoever the teacher may inculcate; but it is a mind free from all pride of opinion, not hostile to the truth sought for, willing to pursue the inquiry, and impartially to weigh the arguments and evidence, and to acquiesce in the judgment of right reason. The investigation, moreover, should be pursued with the serious earnestness which becomes the greatness of the subject--a subject fraught with such momentous consequences to man. It should be pursued as in the presence of God, and under the solemn sanctions created by a lively sense of his omniscience, and of our accountability to him for the right use of the faculties which he has bestowed.

In requiring this candor and simplicity of mind in those who would investigate the truth of our religion, Christianity demands nothing more than is readily conceded to every branch of human science. All these have their data, and their axioms; and Christianity, too, has her first principles, the admission of which is essential to any real progress in knowledge. "Christianity," says Bishop Wilson, "inscribes on the portal of her dominion 'Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall in nowise enter therein.' Christianity does not profess to convince the perverse and headstrong, to bring irresistible evidence to the daring and profane, to vanquish the proud scorner, and afford evidences from which the careless and perverse cannot possibly escape. This might go to destroy man's responsibility. All that Christianity professes, is to propose such evidences as may satisfy the meek, the tractable, the candid, the serious inquirer."

Words which do not describe WyndRydyr.

Available here.

Kevin C.

And they shall beat their swords into plowshares
and sit under their Vine & Fig Tree.


Greenleaf in The Harvard Book

Greenleaf's Testimony of the Evangelists


Testimony of the Evangelists by Simon Greenleaf

Greenleaf’s Harmony of the Resurrection Accounts Adapted by W. R. Miller

Christmas Conspiracy


Vine & Fig Tree

Paradigm Shift


End The Wall of Separation
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