Early Christians tend to compress the Gospel traditions rather than expand them.1
Consider these 5 arguments:
This is relevant because it is a symptom of bad Jesus-bio having a tendency to flounder and die. What gets left is shorter and shorter traditions as old details are forgotten and new new inventions survive.
E.g. regarding the Gospel of Matthew specifically:
• E. P. Sanders: “Some tendencies which have been thought to have been generally operative among transmitters of the early Christian tradition have been shown not to have been so common. Thus we have seen that the material did not necessarily grow in overall length.” Even the tendency to use direct discourse for indirect, which was uniform in the post-canonical material which we studied, was not uniform in the Synoptics themselves. For this reason, dogmatic statements that a certain characteristic proves a certain passage to be earlier than another are never justified.” [The Tendencies of the Synoptic Tradition (SNTSMS, 9; Cambridge, 1969), 272-4.]
• Craig Blomberg: “E. P. Sanders, in one of the earliest studies to use computer technology to gather data relevant to biblical studies, analysed in detail the Gospel traditions that have been preserved in textual variants, the early church Fathers and New Testament apocrypha, and demonstrated that no consistent trends exist concerning the lengthening or shortening, preservation or distortion of the tradition. If anything, other shorter studies have demonstrated a slight tendency for detailed material to become abbreviated, condensed, more stereotyped and less vivid as the stories of Jesus were continually retold in the Gentile world, all precisely the opposite of what the first form critics alleged! Certainly, this is the trend that is observable if one compares parallel passages in Mark and Luke, and to a lesser extent in Mark and Matthew. These phenomena led a group of Scandinavian scholars to propose a very different approach to the history of the oral tradition behind the Gospels.” [The Historical Reliability of the Gospels 2nd ed. (IVP, 2014), 54.]
• Henry Cadbury: “[t]he place, the person, the time, in so far as they are not bound up with the point of the incident, tend to disappear,” [The Making of Luke-Acts (Macmillan, 1927). 34.]
• Martin Hengel: “Dibelius distinguished between the short anecdotal Paradigmata and the Novelle, a developed narrative tale. The first he considered to be more historically reliable than the latter. As a rule, however, Matthew changes Mark’s ‘tales’ through abrupt abridgement into Paradigma.” [“Eye-witness memory and the writing of the Gospels” in The Written Gospel, ed Bockmuehl & Hagner (Cambridge, 2005), 85.]
Early Christians were largely unified on Jesus-biography.1
See this page to analyze 11+ arguments:
This is relevant because if fabricated Jesus-bio were cropping up, then we would sooner expect to find a great deal of divergence in beliefs regarding the historical Jesus.
Jesus’s living ministry-witnesses discredited flagrantly false Christian pop-rumors (directly or indirectly).
See this page to analyze 6 arguments:
This is relevant because, as a result, false Jesus-bio would just fail to thrive in AD 30-70.1
Rather than inventing Jesus-biography, Christians in AD 30-80 were usually or always honest in their core reporting of it.
A full article at /early-christians/jesus-biography/honest will analyze these 5 arguments:
This is relevant because if false new steams of false Jesus-bio were not being introduced (neither whole-cloth nor through embellishments), then false Jesus-bio would not even start to circulate. In such a case, non-existent Jesus-bio could not thrive, so from the fact that Christians didn’t lie-invent Jesus-bio we can conclude that little or no false Jesus-bio could thrive—it did not exist. (Relevant here too is the fact that, the closer back to Jesus’s crucifixion we get, the few Christians there were to theoretically introduce dishonest Jesus-bio.)
Christianity’s Jesus-stories faithfully passed down (in AD 30-90).
This page analyzes four arguments:
Christianity’s Jesus-stories were not faithfully passed down (in AD 30-90). This is relevant given the obvious true that corrupted Jesus-bio is “unjustified” Jesus-bio (so if it flourished, unjustified Jesus-bio flourished).