306

Introduction

The Bible tells the history of Jesus and his disciples in the style of contemporary poetry. It mixes historical facts

Old Town, Quito, Ecuador
Old Town, Quito, Ecuador

with fictional material such as anecdotes and miracles, and at the important places supernatural powers and persons are brought into play to substantiate the significance of the events.

Until the Enlighten­ment people intuitively understood this way of telling stories about Jesus: nobody saw a contradiction between religious truth and historical facts.

In the modern sciences since the 16th century the idea of truth has been connected with verifiability and repeatability in experiments. In the historical sciences since the Renaissance, and especially in the 18th century, plausibility and agreement with sources have gained acceptance as criteria of truth.

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