One liberal cliché is that we can’t trust NT history because the books were written decades after the fact. There are, however, some basic problems with this objection:
i) It overlooks the factor of inspiration.
ii) There’s a cottage industry of deconversion testimonies, in which an apostate recounts his journey from faith to infidelity, frequently beginning with an account of his religious upbringing in childhood and adolescence. And, depending on the age of the apostate, he is recounting events and conversations which took place decades after the fact.
iii) The liberal cliché doesn’t comport with human experience. To take just two examples, out of many:
Ten years ago I [Roger Ebert] was the emcee of my high school class reunion. This year I sat and watched. It was better this way. As I'd walked into the room I realized I knew almost everyone on first sight...We went to Urbana High School between 1956 and 1960...I am beginning to realize most of our memories are still in there somewhere, needing only a nudge to awaken. Here was a girl who appeared with me in a class play. She recalled that I had a monologue just before she was to walk onstage and kiss me--which, she said, was mortifying because she was shy. I hadn't thought about that play once in all these years, but now into my mind came the memorized monologue. From where? From where everything still is.
In the year 1990 I [Martin Hengel] can still remember, sometimes very accurately, the portentous events of the years 1933–45 [in Germany], which I experienced between the ages of six and eighteen, and I know a good deal more from eye-witness reports. Can we completely deny Luke the use of such old reminiscences by eyewitnesses, even if he has reshaped them in a literary way to suit his bias?
Martin Hengel, The Pre-Christian Paul (Fortress 1991), 65.