Publication Date

Fall 2010

Document Type



Comparative Methodologies and Theories | Evidence | Law | Legal History | Other Arts and Humanities | Other Legal Studies | Religion Law


Published Fall 2010: Nancy J. Kippenhan, Seeking Truth on the Other Side of the Wall: Greenleaf’s Evangelists Meet the Federal Rules, Naturalism, and Judas, 5 Liberty U. L. Rev. 1 (2010). Presented March 2010 at Thirteenth Annual Conference of Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities.


An inquiry that seeks truth by accepting only natural answers excludes the possibility of the sacred or supernatural, building a wall that forecloses a complete exploration for the truth it seeks. Without analysis, critics dismiss sources presenting supernatural explanations, and those who believe sacred works have no factual foundation accept without investigation any popular theory that appears attractive. The rules of evidence expressly seek truth, wherever it lies. Noted legal scholar Simon Greenleaf used evidentiary principles to demonstrate the factual credibility of the Gospels in his Testimony of the Evangelists. This Article examines Greenleaf’s analysis, applying current rules of evidence and updated understanding of the historical record. It challenges blind acceptance of popular works proclaimed as truth, applying the same evidentiary analysis to the Gospel of Judas. Finally, it addresses the dissonance created when demonstrated facts cannot be fully explained on the natural side of the wall.