- Hardcover: 504 pages
- Publisher: William B Eerdmans Publishing Co (1 Sept. 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802831621
- ISBN-13: 978-0802831620
- Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 16.4 x 3.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,334,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony Hardcover – 1 Sep 2006
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More About the Author
'Bauckham's proposal is both path-breaking and a tour de force.' --First Things
'As in all of his works, Bauckham has ransacked obscure secondary literature for little-known but immensely helpful information. He has thought creatively about time-worn problems and uncovered possible interpretations of subtle features of ancient testimony both in the Gospels and about them with the shrewdness of a good detective.' --Trinity Journal
'Bauckham has delivered a remarkable and insightful volume that is sure to offer a much-needed challenge to the status quo in modern gospel studies.' --Westminster Theological Journal --This text refers to the Perfect Paperback edition.
About the Author
Richard Bauckham is Professor of New Testament Studies and Bishop Wardlow Professor at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. A Fellow of both the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, his recent books include The Book of Acts in Its Palestinian Setting, published by Eerdmans.
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Top Customer Reviews
Basically, he finds that Classical historians highly valued eyewitness testimony as a basis for their works, and that the Gospels showed the same care to base their accounts on eyewitness testimony. He also demonstrates how, through the use of Classical literary convention, the Gospels identify the eyewitnesses to the various events they recount.
Bauckham engages in a statistical study of the names of minor characters mentioned in the Gospels, and his findings should raise more than a few eyebrows. It is a complex study, but the bottom line is that the statistical distribution of names of minor characters validates the historical accuracy of the Gospels.
Bauckham also tackles the identity of the Beloved Disciple, drawing parallels between the Beloved Disciple's relationship to Jesus and Porphyry's relationship to Plotinus. Porphyry was a disciple of Plotinus who wrote a biography of that philosopher, and whose self-portrayal in that biography mirrors the portrayal of the Beloved Disciple in the Fourth Gospel. Bauckham identifies the Beloved Disciple as the author of the Fourth Gospel and the three letters of John, and names the Beloved Disciple as John the Elder of Ephesus, a young Jerusalem disciple of Jesus who was not a member of the Twelve.
Interesting reading, to say the least.
The book covers a range of topics that I don't have the space to cover adequately here. They include an analysis of the possibility that Mark's Gospel was largely based on Peter's testimony, the transmission of oral history (where he looks at the work of Kenneth Bailey and some of the form critics), the psychology of memory, the authorship of the gospel of John and the identity of the "Beloved Disciple."
Bauckham does not think that the 4 gospels were all first-hand eyewitness accounts. Rather, his assertion is that they faithfully record the eyewitness testimony of others, with few distortions between the eyewitness testimony and the written gospels we have today.
There is one interesting omission, which I felt was not dealt with properly, and that was the relation of Matthew & Luke to the nativity. In his chapter "Eyewitness from the beginning" Bauckham is clear that this refers to the beginning of Jesus' ministry, when he was around 30 (according to John). But there is no space given to the discussion of the possible eyewitnesses to the birth of Jesus or his early life.
In conclusion, it's not for the faint-hearted.Read more ›
The "period between the `historical' Jesus and the Gospels was actually spanned, not by anonymous community transmission, but by the continuing presence [sic] and testimony of eyewitnesses, who remained the authoritative [sic] sources of their traditions until their deaths" .
As a historian I have many reservations about the way in which Bauckham deals with evidence especially eyewitness evidence which is traditionally treated by historians with caution especially when it is first recorded many years after the event. It is a sad fact that eyewitnesses seldom remember what historians want them to have remembered! His concept of `testimony' is also difficult to deal with as it seems to imply than the evidence of anyone who heard Jesus is somehow more reliable than eyewitness accounts of other events. Yet the emotional drama surrounding many of Jesus' reported activities, large crowds, open disputes, apparent miracles and the trauma of the crucifixion are precisely the kinds of events which do not get reported accurately. Participants are hardly likely to maintain the level headed approach needed for accurate reporting. One sees this everyday in the press!
Bauckham talks of the `continuing presence' of eyewitnesses. Excavations of burials at the Qumran community suggest that few men lived beyond forty in this period. Someone who was the same age as Jesus was more than likely to have been dead by AD 40, someone ten years younger by AD 50. The likelihood of any eyewitness surviving into the 70s, let alone the 80s and 90s, is certainly remote.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent book - the author leaves no stone unturned. Not for the faint- hearted as the detail is immense.Published 10 months ago by Malcolm S Hindmarsh
This book should be in the hall of fame of one of the best Historical Jesus books.The new insights and detail are very illuminating. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Ernest Ombayo
This is a fresh look at the way the Gospels were written based on evidence rather than on assumption. Read morePublished 21 months ago by John Thorpe
There is a lot of useful information in this book. Richard Baukham proves that eye witness were involved in the writing of the Gospels. Read morePublished on 5 Feb. 2014 by Nyall Davies
A thorough and scholarly book: its argument that the authors of the Gospels should be seen as reliable eyewitnesses effectively challenges the views of form criticism.Published on 7 Sept. 2013 by Angela Swindley
1. In this 500-page volume, Bauckham constructs a scholarly but turgid and somewhat tenuous case for claiming that the gospels are based on eyewitness accounts. Read morePublished on 31 Aug. 2013 by Mr. D. J. Warden
Bauckham argues that: (a) the Gospels were written by people who had immediate contact with eyewitnesses of the events they describe, and (b) that this eyewitness testimony would... Read morePublished on 30 Sept. 2011 by Mr. J. Hastings
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