84 PSYCHOTHERAPY : SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS chap.
bear the marks of being something more than fiction. Moreover, textual criticism has shown that the Gospels are drawn from a large number of different oral and literary sources which vary greatly in historical value, and it is therefore possible to reject as imaginary all the miracle stories belonging to one source without impugning the accuracy of those taken from the others. Generally speaking, the earlier the source the more reliable it is likely to be ; but this is not invariably so, for other factors have to be taken into consideration. The kind of questions which immediately spring to the mind are whether the observers and narrators were intelligent and unprejudiced; whether they were primarily concerned with the reporting of history or with the advocacy of a cause ; and whether, if this were so, the truthfulness of the story would be adversely affected. Such problems can only be solved as we discuss the individual narratives.
It is worth while observing at this point that Mark's Gospel contains more healing stories in proportion to its size than any other, there being thirteen in the first ten chapters. There are twice as many as this in the four Gospels together but of these twelve lack the authority of Mark and Q and these we shall ignore. The few which occur in John's Gospel are generally taken to be allegorical. When the first and third Evangelists omit stories found in Mark they do not agree in omitting the same ones, the result being that almost all the stories found in Mark occur also in one or other of the remaining Synoptics. Matthew and Luke do not, except in one or two instances, unite in differing from the Marcan order ; and when the three are not in harmony with each other we find the same sequence in Matthew and Mark or in Luke and Mark. Further, there is usually a close resemblance in style, form and