It has become clear to me, in seeing a number of responses to my posts on memory, that I’m not quite  explaining myself clearly enough to get my point across to everyone.  So, well, what else is new?

When I have mentioned “false memories” in the Gospels – that is, recollections of Jesus that are not true to what really happened – some readers have pointed out that these may not be memories at all, but they may simply be what the Gospel writers made up for their own reasons.  In that case Jesus isn’t being “remembered” in these ways.  Someone’s just making up stuff.

In response to that view, let me make two points, the second one of which is the the most relevant and important.   The first, though, is that in most cases I don’t think there is any way to know whether a non-historical tradition in the Gospels is something that the Gospel writer inherited from others before him or invented himself.   Take Luke’s story of how Jesus came to be born in Bethlehem.

In Luke, and only in Luke …

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