Simon Greenleaf

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Simon Greenleaf

Dr. Simon Greenleaf (Dec. 5, 1783 - Oct. 6, 1853) was one of the chief figures in the early days of the Harvard Law School, a legal scholar, and also served as a Royall Professor at Harvard Law School.[1][2] In addition, Greenleaf was the author of the classic three-volume text, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence (1842) and according to Dr. Wilbur Smith this work "is still considered the greatest single authority on evidence in the entire literature on legal procedure.”[3] Dr. Greenleaf is often cited in the field of Christian legal apologetics. In his essay the Testimony of the Evangelists Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in Courts of Justice, Greenleaf wrote the following:

All that Christianity asks of men…is, that they would be consistent with themselves; that they would treat its evidences as they treat the evidence of other things; and that they would try and judge its actors and witnesses, as they deal with their fellow men, when testifying to human affairs and actions, in human tribunals. Let the witnesses [to the Resurrection] be compared with themselves, with each other, and with surrounding facts and circumstances; and let their testimony be sifted, as if it were given in a court of justice, on the side of the adverse party, the witness being subjected to a rigorous cross-examination. The result, it is confidently believed, will be an undoubted conviction of their integrity, ability and truth.[4]

Greenleaf's work influenced many subsequent Christian juridical apologists.[5]

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