many thousands of those slaves were put the work quarrying thestone for the Flavian Ampitheater, generally known today as theColosseum.In short, the cities of Jewish Palestine were defeated, the capitol de‑stroyed, and the population decimated and dispersed before the firstcanonical gospel was written. It is conjectured that the gospel ofMark was composed in Rome, Matthew in Syria, and John perhaps inAsia Minor. Given that an average lifespan in the 1
century likelyamounted to less than fifty years, that decades had passed since Jesus’ crucifixion, and that a devastating war had supervened, wherewere the eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life and career? Dead, quite likely, orenslaved and scattered abroad.
is a compensatory mechanism observed in subjects withessentially intact mentation but with serious gaps in memory. Con‑fabulators fill in missing memory with invented narrative thatchanges with each retelling, thereby revealing the lacunose nature oftheir memory, and interrogation of the gospel accounts reveals thatthey are confabulations in this technical sense. The writers of the gos‑pels were basically faking it, but lacking eyewitnesses, what choicedid they have?The early communities of believers for whom the gospels werecomposed had a very imperfect memory of Jesus of Nazareth. Thegospels contain no account of Jesus’ physical appearance, a scant,almost certainly apocryphal, record of his early life, and no coherentexplanation of his thinking, assuming, of course, that Jesus’ thinkingwas coherent to begin with.The incompatible infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke are clearexamples of confabulation; the inconsistencies large and small be‑tween the gospel accounts also betray defective institutional memory.The fact that Mark is quoted nearly in its entirety by Matthew and