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2. MODERN ATTEMPTS TO RECONCILE THEM APPROXIMATELY.

Present-day defenders of the trustworthiness of all the four Gospels are far more modest in the claims which they make. They quietly assume that one and the same event 50is meant, even where the accounts differ from one another rather widely; only they would rather not concede too much, and so they try as far as possible to represent the differences as being only slight. Naturally it is right for us always to test whether these are really as great as they seem at first sight to be. Where, however, this attempt is vain unless we seriously misinterpret the language, it is not only unfair, but is also nothing better than illogical. For if we are obliged to admit, and actually do admit, that there are many contradictions in the Bible, there is no point in insisting in the case of a limited number of these, that they are not really contradictions. If we admit—since Jesus was taken captive only on one occasion—that according to the Synoptics Judas betrayed him by a kiss, and according to Jn. did not betray him in this way (xviii. 4-6), what is the use, when we turn to the expulsion of the dealers from the fore-court of the Temple, of denying that either the Synoptists or Jn. must have made a mistake, and of preferring to suppose that there were two such acts, one at the beginning of his ministry (Jn. ii. 13-22), the other at the end of it (Mk. xi. 15-18)? If this were so, why did Jesus omit to drive the dealers and money-changers from the temple court on his other visits to Jerusalem as well? Are we to suppose that they were not stationed there on these occasions? And why on the first occasion did he escape scot free, whereas on the second he suffered death in consequence?

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