The Christian Sources
The Jewish religious literature was in no way better and the "pagan" mystical movements preceding and following the opening of the Christian era was guilty of the same offense. The method of documentary criticism here applied underwent in the next fifteen years the most manifold variations. Quite similar is the case with primitive Christian literature, which therefore is in a state of confusion that has required the diligent work of some of the most brilliant minds of the past century for its tidying up, without the achievement of any very remarkable results. To be sure, the Gospels are not historical works, not being written in order to present facts as they happened, but being intended as edifying documents. "Yet they are not useless as historical sources, especially since their purpose is not one that was imposed from without, but in many ways coincides with the intention of Jesus".