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Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony [Paperback]

By Richard Bauckham (Author)
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Item description for Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony by Richard Bauckham...

Noted New Testament scholar Bauckham challenges the prevailing assumption the accounts of Jesus circulated as "anonymous community traditions," instead asserting that they were transmitted in the name of the original eyewitness.

Publishers Description
This fresh book argues that the four Gospels are closely based on eyewitness testimony of those who knew Jesus. Noted New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham challenges the prevailing assumption that the accounts of Jesus circulated as "anonymous community traditions" instead asserting that they were transmitted in the name of the original eyewitness.

To drive home this controversial point, Bauckham draws on internal literary evidence, study of personal names in the first century, and recent developments in the understanding of oral traditions. "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses" also taps into the rich resources of modern study of memory and cognitive psychology, refuting the conclusions of the form critics and calling New Testament scholarship to make a clean break with this long-dominant tradition. Finally, Bauckham challenges readers to end the classic division between the "historical Jesus" and the "Christ of faith" proposing the "Jesus of testimony" that is actually presented by Gospels.

Sure to ignite heated debate on the precise character of the testimony about Jesus, "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses" will be valued by scholars, students and all who seek to understand the origins of the Gospels.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   538
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.16" Width: 6.28" Height: 1.17"
Weight:   1.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 7, 2008
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802863906  
ISBN13  9780802863904  

Availability  0 units.

More About Richard Bauckham

Richard Bauckham Richard Bauckham is professor emeritus of New Testament studies at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, senior scholar at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and a fellow of both the British Acad-emy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His many other books include Jesus and the God of Israel, Gospel Women, and Jesus: A Very Short Introduction.

Richard Bauckham has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Academic Paperback
  2. T & T Clark Academic Paperbacks

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts > Bible > New Testament
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Jesus
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > Criticism & Interpretation
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament > Study

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > New Testament Studies > Gospels & Acts
Books > Bible Study > General Studies > Biblical History & Culture

Reviews - What do customers think about Jesus And The Eyewitnesses?

Kind of disappointed  Apr 1, 2008
I heard many good things about this book, and Richard Bauckham is a terrific New Testament scholar, so I ordered it. His thesis is that the gospels are largely records of eyewitness testimony. He rejects the form critical conclusions of Bultmann and others, and argues that the gospels are more indebted to oral traditions and oral history.

He bases a lot of his views on the reliability of the early 2nd century church father Papias. Papias heard testimony from those who were with the first century Christians. He was told that the Gospel of Mark was a repository of the apostle Peter's memories. He also says that this gospel was the one with the least chronological order.

He also sees John as being the eyewitness testimony of the beloved disciple, who Bauckham takes to be John the Elder (not John the apostle, son of Zebedee).

Bauckham talks alot about the differences between personal memories and collective memories and relates this to the study of the gospels.

Bauckham also has an interesting chapter about the names in the gospels. He arrives at the dubious conclusion that Levi the tax collector in Mark's Gospel is not the same as Matthew the tax collector in Matthew's gospel, believing that the author of Matthew changed the name to apply Levi's story to a bona fide member of the Twelve apostles. Kind of strange.

It is more likely to me that Matthew changed his name from Levi to Matthew because the name "Matthew" is close to the word mathete, meaning "disciple," and Matthew wanted his name to reflect his changed status as a disciple of Jesus.

Other than that, the book was loaded with dense argumentation and analysis, and I had to really concentrate to follow the discussion. This is definitely not light reading. I recommend it to the scholarly Christian leader, but I can't see the average layperson reading it.

Much better reading is Bauchkam's book on the theology of Revelation, and his excellent commentary on 2 Peter and Jude, which is coming out again in a revised edition. I also enjoyed his book of the female witnesses of Christ - Gospel Women.
Accomplishes his goal, but tangential  Mar 31, 2008
Bauckham accomplished, in my opinion, his goal of demonstrating that the canonical Gospels contain eyewitness testimony and that the Gospels themselves indicate this in the same ways as Roman biographies of that period. I felt that he spent far too much time and energy though, presenting his theory as to the identity of the Gospel of John's "beloved disciple" - a point he admitted, early on, really had no bearing on recognizing eyewitness material in the NT. Also seemed to be a great deal of repitition of throughout the book. Bauckham makes some truly excellent points in this work, but he could have delivered them in a slimmer volume.
The Real Jesus  Jan 13, 2008
Often I come across the idea that the four Gospels are creations of the early Christians to express and justify their beliefs. The Gospels, it is said, offer no reliable access to the earthly Jesus. To question this assumption you then are chided for being a literalist.

I don't think Adam and Eve were literal people. I don't worry whether Jonah was swallowed by a big fish. But it has always mattered to me whether Jesus actually did and said the things the Gospels portray.

So I am grateful to this scholar for helping me to see the reasonableness of this position. He offers plenty of evidence to show that the four Gospels are based on eyewitness testimony, each having been written in the living memory of the events they describe. He spends most of his energy on Mark and John, and he explores the issues and the evidence in great detail.

I appreciated his understanding of testimony as something integral to all human knowing, as well as something that inherently blends observed facts with perceptive interpretation. This is what the Gospels do. I also appreciated the restraint in his presentation. These are things that are not able to be proved, so he uses the word "plausible" to describe his conclusions.

On almost every page there were names in the footnotes of scholars he disagreed with, and who likely would disagree with him. There must be a vigorous debate about these things in scholarly circles, and it seemed like I listened in on that debate in this book, or at least part of it.

There were a couple of times when it seemed like Bauckham's conclusions exceeded the evidence, but they were rare. On the whole, he presents a satisfying picture. I feel like I can trust the Gospels to tell me about the real Jesus.
Good Defense and Solid Refutation  Sep 25, 2007
I found this book by Bauckham to be slightly boorish. Why?

Because the form criticism, reduction critics have let on that they know so much more!

Bauckham solidly refutes and consistently refers to 'home base' - the Apostles and their close associates as valid and non-contradictory eyewitness, and therefore being the original and only sources of the NT.

A necessary defense in the light of the plethora of 'Matthew's community' this and the 'Johannine community' that.

Most re-assuring in light of the fact that the textual-critical scholars of the Bible do not believe in half of the words belonging to Jesus! And the anti-supernaturalists who believe that no miracles were actual, therefore disbelieving that 'the virgin shall be with child'.

'In passing, we should note that in John's Gospel, "witness" is not the calling of Christian believers in general, as is often supposed, but the specific task of the personal disciples of Jesus who had been with Him 'from the beginning'. pg 116

*Dr Kostenberger does rightly oppose Bauckam's suggestion that the Gospel of John was not written by the beloved disciple, but the 'Elder' John.
Doubtful  Sep 22, 2007
This is a wishful intent, aimed to prove a certain hypothesis.
The hypothesis is controversial at best.
Undoubtedly there were thousands of eyewitnesses to the life of Jesus, but no texts, if any, of their writings survived, unless one is to accept the fragments of the so-called Gospel of Mary Magdalen as being one such. The latter are more Buddhist in nature.
One wonders, also, why Jesus did not write his own gospel. Possibly he wrote down some of his teachings, but they have not been found.

The book is a noble academic treatise. However I think it is clear that the Gospels were written many decades indeed life-spans after Jesus...with all that this time lag must imply.

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