Christianity is Evidence-Based: See Simon Greenleaf: Testimony of the Evangelists

Simon Greenleaf’s heavy “bias” going into his investigation was militant atheism.

Dean of Harvard Law, known for generations as the “father of the laws of evidence”, said to his class one day that he didn’t believe all that baloney about the Resurrection.

One bold student (they were encouraged to think in those days) stood up and challenged him based on Greenleaf’s own rule; “But professor, have you considered the evidence?”

He was floored from embarrassment because his rule was “Never make a conclusion without considering the evidence”.

He determined to disprove the Resurrection based on the evidence and the result was his book, “The Testimony of the Evangelists: The Gospels Examined for the Rules of Evidence”:

Royal Professor of Law at Harvard, Simon Greenleaf, was considered to be the greatest expert of evidence the world had ever known. The Supreme Justice of the Supreme Court said that Greenleaf’s testimony is the most basic and compelling testimony that can be accepted in any English speaking court in the world. When Greenleaf spoke, that settled the matter. He was far and away the most knowledgeable person on evidence the world had ever known. The London Times said that more light on jurisprudence had come from Greenleaf than all the jurists of Europe combined.

Greenleaf had one inviolable principle in his classrooms at Harvard, and that was, you never make up your mind about any significant matter without first considering the evidence. Greenleaf was not a Christian. When challenged by one of his students with this principle, he admitted that he had not considered the evidence. When he did, he became a Christian: believed in the deity, death and resurrection of Jesus.

After examining every thread of information he could find he said in his book, The Testimony of the Evangelists: The Gospels Examined for the Rules of Evidence, that if any unbiased jury in the world considered the evidence for the resurrection of Christ, they would have to conclude that Jesus of Nazareth actually rose from the dead.

And so he became a believer that Jesus was God and was converted. He wrote, “In requiring this candor and simplicity of mind, and those who would investigate the truth of our religion…” He sees that Christianity is, in fact, the only evidential historical religion in the world, and the whole things rests upon evidence which he finds so compelling and so overwhelming that any honest person with an open mind examining the evidence would be like himself inescapably drawn to accept it. And so he sets forth his first rule of legal evidence and for any other ancient document.

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