The Historical Method:

1. Receive a report of a significance event from a reliable source.
2. Gather two or more primary sources from leads about the event.
3. Cross examine primary sources and collect all attested details.
4. Recognize all details attested by more than two primary sources.
5. Table details of an event only supported by one primary source until verified.
6. Form plausible hypotheses explaining the attested details.
7. Search for two or three additional accounts to test original sources.
8. Dismiss accounts that contradict upon two or more essential points.
9. Conclude with the most probable explanation that accounts for most of the factual details.
10. Record the facts.

[Historically, an independent unverified source is a traditional history that is highly probable within its historical context.]

How Sources Attest Facts

Facts are actual occurrences as events. Two or more sources verify a fact. Verify means to prove the truth of, as by evidence or testimony; confirm; substantiate. Confirming an event by two or three primary sources, “witnesses,” is still the legal maxim of proof. Sources may be called “witnesses” while include documents, monuments, and 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 witnesses as the standard of evidence and foundation of attested facts. Every scientific experiment needs two or more witnesses to confirm that it is true without two or more contrary witnesses. This is why peer-review is needed to cross-examine discoveries.

Examining Sources

The maxim multiple witnesses always holds true. Proving events by two or more witnesses is essential. For instance in legal attestation, when the guilty collaborate accounts to escape conviction, an honest and diligent investigation can 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.

History of the Legal-Historical Method

Ancient Rome adopted this principle of attesting facts by two or more eyewitnesses within its ancient courts (cf. the Roman Corpus of Civil Law). Egypt, Greece, India, and Crete also used this standard. The Law of Moses embedded this procedure into Israel’s commonwealth (Deut 19:15–21). This legal maxim continues now as essential to the founding of English common law and 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 it to coming from God.