Letter: The real Jesus

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Keith Hopkins (Historical Notes, 11 November) casts doubt on the historical accuracy of the Gospels because they were written several decades after Jesus' death.

This sits oddly with the current enthusiasm for documentaries on this century's history, using eyewitness accounts. Presumably Hopkins thinks these often moving memories are worthless, given the years that have elapsed since the events took place.

The oral tradition was much stronger in Jesus' day than our own, and the recollection of a personal encounter with the radical and disturbing Galilean prophet was not something likely to fade from the Apostles' minds. Only such powerful memories could have inspired their unshakeable testimony (and that of countless Christians thereafter) in the face of persecution and death.

The idea that they would do that for some kind of "sacred hero" who pulled a confidence trick on the cross simply doesn't wash.

Dr JAMES K TORRENS

Leeds

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