The legal-historical method is applicable to everyday life allowing people to examine reviews of business products and services and to distinguish between factual news and fake news. In corrupt systems, the legal-historical method has been replaced with stacking evidence and dismissing evidence as “not beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The legal-historical method is the process of finding and examining two or more eyewitness sources that establish facts by agreement on account details as long as the accounts are without two or more contradicting essential details or other contradicting eyewitness sources.
Civil Society and the Legal-Historical Method
The ancient world long ago used this process to establish historical facts necessary for the applications of law and more. Ancient Rome adopted this principle of attesting facts by two or more eyewitnesses within its ancient courts (Roman Corpus of Civil Law). However, Egypt, Greece, India, and Crete also used this standard (**). The Law of Moses embedded this procedure into Israel’s commonwealth. Moses wrote, “Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established” (Deut 19:15b ESV; cf. 19:15–21). This legal maxim continues now as essential to the founding of English common law and the founding of the U.S. judicial system. The U.S. Constitution declares, “No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court” (Art. 3, Sect. 3). This legal maxim is so ancient and fundamental that the Bible attributes this method as coming from God.
Steps to the Legal-Historical Method
- Receive a report of a significant event from a competent source that leads to sufficient primary eyewitness sources.
- Collect detailed accounts from two or more primary sources about the event.
- Cross examine the primary sources for two or more points of agreement to confirm and look for two or more contradictions to invalidate the accounts as conspiring.
- Table details of the event only supported by one primary source until verified.
- List the attested facts.
- Search for two or three additional sources to test the original sources.
- Set aside accounts that contradict upon two or more essential points for later examination.
- Record and report the facts for oneself and others to form a plausible explanation.
How Sources Attest Facts
Facts are actual occurrences of events. Two or more primary sources verify a fact. Verify means to prove the truth of, as by evidence or testimony; confirm; substantiate. For the legal-historical method, a primary source is an eyewitness that gives an account of observing the event, and a secondary source is another’s report that gives account of an eyewitness. Primary sources include the accounts of “witnesses” including people, documents, video, monuments, traditions, and trace evidence.
Evidence in a court of law, verification of historical events, the sources of honest journalism, and reports of the scientific method rely on at least two primary sources as the standard of evidence and foundation of attested facts. Every scientific experiment needs two or more primary to confirm that it is true without two or more contrary primary sources. This is why peer-review is needed to cross-examine discoveries.
The maxim of multiple witnesses holds true. Proving events by two or more primary sources is essential. For instance in legal attestation, when the guilty collaborate accounts to escape conviction, an honest and diligent investigation will reveal the deception. By examining two or more eyewitness sources, two or more essential discrepancies between these accounts discover and expose false testimonies. Likewise, two or three primary sources affirm an event when two or more essential points agree within the witnesses’ accounts.
The legal-historical method is essential for civil society to examine sources and know the facts. The method is necessary to expose faulty conclusions, perjury, conspiring sources, insufficient evidence, hearsay in news reports, and false information in daily conversions. Everyone needs to develop the skills and wisdom to know what is factually true.