What sort of society, social or church groups would have had an interest in producing the narratives we read today in the canonical gospels, and where and when do we find evidence of such peoples in the historical record?
If we do find such a group, would we not have a reasonable case that the gospels were first composed among them?
I list here a few areas where one might consider whether there is a reasonable match between the gospels and corresponding evidence external to the gospels.
Obviously the immediate objection some will raise is that such questions are overlooking the “fact” that the earliest external evidence has long since gone missing. Of course that is always a possibility to be kept in mind and I do not reject it. The point of this exercise is to see what happens when we do work with the evidence that is available. The next step would be to see if the results of this little experiment are more satisfactory than explanations that rely on the assumption of historicity at the heart of the Gospel narrative.