I am likely to use this space frequently to highlight snippets of things, not necessarily that I wrote, but that I found interesting and useful that others wrote. Here is something that I saved a while back from my friend Jezz originally found here:
… think twice before you use the old “the victors write history” argument again. It is politically correct garbage, based on the assumption that all views of history are equally valid and deserve a fair hearing. This is the argument typically put forward by historical revisionists who are upset that the historical facts don’t agree with them, and must posit a massive conspiracy theory to explain why the evidence to support their position doesn’t exist.
Elaine Pagels uses this argument to try and defend her Gnostic Paul thesis. “History is written by the victors,” she says, “and later Christianity eradicated Gnosticism and covered up later evidence for it.”
The Jesus Seminar uses this argument to defend their thesis that GThom is the earliest Gospel, despite the 2nd century testimony to the contrary. “History is written by the victors,” they say, “and later Christianity didn’t like GThom, and eradicated it.”
Earl Doherty uses this argument to try to defend his “Jesus myth” thesis. “History is written by the victors,” he says, “and later Christianity sought to eradicate all the evidence that suggested that Jesus didn’t really exist.”
Holocaust mythers and neo-Nazi defenders use this argument to try and defend Hitler. “History is written by the victors,” they say, “and the Allies won the war, and tried to make Hitler look bad.”
And now Right Idea comes along… “History is written by the victors,” he says, “and the evil “Judaisers” were the victors who squashed Paul’s genuine Gospel for the Gentiles.”
All of these arguments are weak. They are, at their core, attempts to explain why the historical evidence does not fit their theories as they stand. Of course, they know that the historical evidence doesn’t fit their theories, but it’s ok - the argument from “history is written by the victors” will cover over any discrepancy that they need to have covered… A classic case of the historical facts bending to fit the theory - rather than forming a theory around the historical facts.
The statement “history is written by the victors” is true, but trivially so. Trying to base a historical theory on this argument is simply an excuse for historical revisionists to do their thing - real historians work with the data that they have, not the data that they might have had if the “victors” didn’t destroy it all. It also neglects the fact that we generally expect the more accurate view of history to be the one that wins! Not everyone’s view of history is equal!
And as Christians, there is an even better reason to ignore the “history is written by the victors” excuse: We believe that God is the one in charge of history, and that He is always the victor. In other words, if “history is written by the victors”, then history is written by God. All the more reason to have faith in it, rather than try to explain it away because it doesn’t fit your pet theory.