They knew, back then just as today, that real people view events slightly differently, get details wrong, but the truth of a story is in what the divergent stories have in common.

There’s four versions of the gospel (three really, as John is something quite different) for a very important reason: evidence.

They knew, back then just as today, that real people view events slightly differently, get details wrong, but the truth of a story is in what the divergent stories have in common.

Consistency of a story between different people sometimes means they “got their stories straight” beforehand.

So, the differing accounts leads to credibility.

It was never meant to be picked apart in quite the way that post Reformation Protestantism did it:

I don’t know which account shows the persecution of Herod but one of them does. Another speaks of a census.

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I don’t remember who it was (I want to say Origen but I’m not sure) but one prominent early church father wanted to combine the three to eliminate inconsistencies but they wisely decided not to and left the stories as they were.

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