The act of persuasion requires the use of language intentionally and purposefully crafted to convey meaning and appeal. Contemporary historians increasingly recognize that language shapes and creates the past; the basic events of human experience do not in and of themselves possess the qualities of coherence, unity, integrity, connectivity, comprehensiveness, and closure (S. Matthews, 20–24). Human ingenuity and creativity impose these formal narrative qualities on events and experience. Consequently, all written histories, whether ancient or modem, cannot be viewed as objective and unbiased accounts of what “really happened in the past.” Ancient and modern historians out of necessity pick and choose what to recount and what to present as significant or noteworthy. In this selection process, it is certain that a historian narrates events, intentionally or not, in such a way that exposes his or her priorities, values, beliefs, and interpretation of those events (Ehrman, 155). In contemporary postmodern thought, it is recognized that this is the ideological work that ancient (and modern) narratives do (S. Matthews, 21). This important shift in perspective for understanding ancient historical writings

Fortress Commentary on the Bible