Some “training in history” for Craig A. Evans, Richard Bauckham, et al.

final editing about 2 hours after first posting . . .

In my last post on Fabricating Jesus I discussed Craig Evans’ put-down of sceptical conclusions on the grounds that “no-one trained in history” would entertain such “extreme” doubts as to whether we can know anything historical about Jesus at all or even if he existed. Evans isn’t the only bible scholar who has made such a comment, and my last post was not my final word on the subject. Will elaborate a little on that earlier post here. I’ve included Bauckham in the heading because his “historical” reconstruction of the gospels in another series of posts I submitted here also displays an abysmal ignorance of the most basic historical “training”. Since my last post began with von Ranke, a natural segue would be a discussion drawn from Niels Peter Lemche in The Israelites in History and Tradition. He, too, begins with von Ranke. (See earlier post for discussion of one of von Ranke’s contributions to historiography.)

Fundamentalists will dismiss Lemche because his methods do not lead to conclusions supporting their beliefs, but I challenge them to find historiographical, or even simply logical, rationales for overturning the historical principles he works by. But Lemche is by no means a one-off. After I finish with Lemche I hope to dig out a list of other names from my notes and edit them to post here with similar discussions about valid historical methodology, from both ancient and modern history. (more…)


Richard Bauckham’s “holy” awe of Auschwitz revisited (Niall Ferguson’s War of the World)

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes — Neil Godfrey @ 7:24 am

Having just completed Niall Ferguson’s “The War of the World“.

Nial Ferguson’s explores the ethnic conflicts that he argues have been spawned by economic instability and imperial disintegration, beginning with the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 right through World Wars 1 and 2 and their aftermaths up to the closing years of the twentieth century. It is depressing reading. I was reminded of reports not long ago that Iris Chang committed suicide partly as a result of the personal depression she suffered as a result of her meticulous research into the Nanking Massacre.

Also could not help but be reminded as I read of Richard Bauckham’s obscene use of the Holocaust to argue for a unique historical place for both the place of the Jews in human history and the miracles of Jesus.

Has there been outrage among academic circles over Bauckham’s claim that Auschwitz was such a “uniquely unique” horror that to acknowledge it as such is to logically admit the possibility of its polar opposite, a “uniquely unique” wonder of the miracles of Jesus?

Bauckham’s claim is testimony to the power of religious faith to suppress and distort normal human perception, comprehension, compassion and one’s sense of common human identity with both perpetrators and victims. That sort of suppression and distortion of our makeup is what makes killing and abuse without qualm possible in the first place.

Of the Holocaust and Auschwitz, Ferguson writes:

Himmler himself did not much relish the sight of the one mass execution he witnessed, at Minsk in August 1941. . . . . [Eichmann was asked about the possibility of using a “quick acting agent” as a “most humane solution to dispose of the Jews”] . . . .

It is its efficiency that makes Auschwitz so uniquely hateful . . . .

Though it was the most efficient, Auschwitz was not necessarily the cruellest of the Nazi death camps . . . . [at Auschwitz the gas used killed most victims in 5 to 10 minutes, compared with the use of diesel fumes elsewhere that required half an hour to kill] . . . .

Gassing victims was pioneered by the Nazis in their disposal of the mentally ill. It was only later applied to the Jews. But the point is that Ferguson documents enough other cases of horrendous mass killings by “less efficient” and more primitive means. Many were committed on horrendous scale in the Ukraine, largely against Poles there. . . . cats sewn into the abdomens of eviscerated pregnant women, “mixed Polish-Ukrainian” victims being sawn in half, fathers feeling compelled to murder their own sons in order to prevent them from murdering their own mothers under life-threatening pressure, infants being smashed or burned before the eyes of their mothers before they were raped and dismembered, both before the eyes of the fathers and husbands before they were brutally murdered.

Niall Ferguson’s book is long enough to be inevitably faulted at points and debated at several levels, but one humane service it does accomplish is to place twentieth century violence within the broader context of our collective humanity. The Holocaust was but one of a host of genocides and ethnic cleansings perpetrated in the twentieth century, and it was by no means “more” horrifying than many many others. To speak of it as “uniquely unique” is, at best, to speak in ignorance of history.

Some online reviews of The War of the World:

Guardian Unlimited (Tristram Hunt)

California Literary Review (David Loftus)

Washington Post (James F. Hoge Jr)


Doing history, not theology

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Historiography,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 10:37 am

Historians — at least the historians I am most used to reading — attempt to explain facts by demonstrating their relationships with other facts. (more…)

eyewitness tales (Ms Head vs Bauckham)

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 9:12 am

I am not interested in “disproving the Bible”. My interest is in understanding it and its origins. I do not believe that that interest — or any longterm worthwhile interest — is served by taking it at face value and rationalizing the contradictions that inevitably arise when we do that. Nor does graphical detail establish eyewitness testimony.

The point of this post is to offer one of many possible demonstrations of the fallacy of the taking the bible at face value or assuming graphical detail arises from eyewitness reports. So I’m tossing out here, for comparison with assumptions made about the Gospels, a few passages from a report of the eyewitness tale by Ms Head that The New York Times has exposed as a fabrication.



Bauckham: reply 2 to JD Walters

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 10:12 am

A Defense of Richard Bauckham’s Philosophy of Testimony, Part 2

In this series of posts I am addressing the criticisms levelled by Neil Godfrey at Richard Bauckham’s philosophy of testimony, as outlined in ch.18 of Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Here I am responding to the observations found in this post: (more…)


Bauckham: reply to JD Walters

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 7:49 pm

JD Walters in his Cadre website has begun a lengthy series of responses to my responses to Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses.

JD’s words are in black and indented.

Mine are in blue. (I hope there are not too many people who feel they have nothing better to do than to read this exchange, by the way. And why do so many Christians like martial images, like ‘cadre‘?) (more…)


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 18g

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 12:56 pm

Completion of this series of section by section review and comment: (more…)


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 18f


Dehumanizing the Holocaust

Bauckham attempts to set the Holocaust in an historical niche designed to make it appear as some sort of historical syzygy of New Testament miracle stories. The conclusion readers are meant to draw is that to believe in the testimony of one leaves no excuse for disbelieving in “the testimony” of the other. This is buttressed by the claim that the uniqueness of the holocaust makes it incomprehensible — just as the miracles are incomprehensible.

Before continuing with my chapter by chapter comments of his book (how many books I have read since B’s!), I thought it worthwhile to ply a bit of historical perspective and rationality to B’s premise (which is really a wholesale deployment of Elie Wiesel‘s propaganda) by outlining some points as discussed by Norman G. Finkelstein in The Holocaust Industry. The whole notion of the “uniqueness” of the Holocaust has broader ramifications than B’s argument. (more…)


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 18e

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 8:27 pm

Holocaust Testimonies (pp. 493-499)

Bauckham proceeds to wax lyrical over a paragraph of recorded oral testimony from Auschwitz survivor, Edith P. He concludes:

“The most accomplished Holocaust novel could not equal the effectiveness of that story in conveying the horrifying otherness . . . . [Her testimony] discloses to us her world, the Nazi’s kingdom of the night, in a way that no novelist could surpass and no regular historian even approach. This is truth that only testimony can give us.”

Bauckham elaborates in reverential tones speaking of how “deep” and “authentic” is the “unique” experience. Some instances:

“the deep memory reaches us and we are stunned by its otherness”

“in its visual and emotional clarity we hear an authentic moment . . . ”

“This too is ‘deep memory’ that he relives by remembering it . . .”

So how ironic to read the same reverential tones with the same “deep” and “authentic” in the following words written by a former inmate of Auschwitz (Israel Gutman): (more…)

Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 18d

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 11:53 am

By now it ought to be obvious I can only handle Bauckham in very small doses. Maybe it’s age. I used to love downing a whole bottle of whisky straight in very short shrift but have learned to cut it back to occasional nips if I want my brain and body to survive a bit longer. Maybe that’s a metaphor for my misspent youth in the coffin of religion, leaving me nowadays only ever able to spend occasional minutes at best engaging in silly (ir)rationalizations that pass as scholarly arguments for belief in miracles and semi-human miracle performers. Anyway, if sticking at something one has promised oneself to do is a virtue then my ongoing sticking with this review bit by bit proves I am at least not totally bereft of virtue whatever my other faults. And addressing these final parts of B’s argument calls for every ounce of virtue I can muster. Must reward myself with another whisky when finished.

Testimony and its reception contd. (pp 492-493) (more…)


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 18c

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 7:41 pm

Testimony and Its Reception (pp 490-493) (more…)


Rationalist Hitchens vs Eyewitness Bauckham

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 12:43 pm

Any encounter with Christopher Hitchens’ talent with words is always a richly rewarding experience. And while reading his newly published “God is Not Great” I was at times painfully reminded of my failure at this point to have completed my review of the last chapter of Bauckham’s Eyewitness book on this blog. (I really will complete that soon, promise.) Not that I have any reason to think Hitchens has read Bauckham, but some of Hitchens’ plainest observations about religion and reason reminded me by contrast of the convoluted nonsense twisted through the keyboard of Bauckham as he attempts to justify branches of medieval and ancient scholarship against post-Enlightenment rationalism.

Eyewitnesses of a Medieval Miracle! (more…)


bauckham vs enlightenment (rev)

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 6:39 pm

(i have wondered if the more grammatically correct heading should be “bauckham vs the enlightenment” — but the more i think about it the more i realize that “bauckham vs enlightenment” is the more accurate.)

For those who are not history buffs, by Enlightenment I mean the rise of a rational/naturalist/’humanitarianist’ approach to knowledge, science, and religion that marked especially the 18th century. Think Newton, Franklin, Voltaire, Boyle, Hutton, Harvey, Linnaeus (300 years old this month– big celebrations in Sweden!), Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Hume, Kant, Louis XIV, Catherine the Great, Frederick ditto — not eastern mysticism.

When I first began reading Bauckham’s Eyewitnesses I simply assumed I would be engaging with a work by someone with a normal academic acceptance of normal scholarly standards. (more…)


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 18b

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 10:02 pm

Bauckham’s use of Paul Ricoeur

Bauckham pursues the fundamental role of testimony for history through reference to internationally renowned French philosopher Paul Ricoeur‘s “Memory, History, Forgetting” (2004). Before discussing this section of B’s final chapter I want to address a sentence of Ricoeur’s on which Bauckham places particularly heavy and repeated emphasis:

First, trust the word of others, then doubt if there are good reasons for doing so. (p.165, Memory) (more…)


Ancient historians at work: Polybius, Herodotus (cf Gospels, Acts)

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,New Testament,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 10:25 pm

For what it’s worth, I’m posting a few excerpts from a couple of nonbiblical historians, mainly for benefit of those following some of the posts and discussion re my Bauckham and Acts 27 (Paul’s sea voyage/shipwreck) reviews. The point is to compare nonbiblical historical methods, approach, critical analysis, with what we read in the Gospels and Acts. For those familiar with the Gospels and Acts I invite where possible any comparisons with the following methods we find among two prominent ancient historians: (more…)


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 18a

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 2:32 pm

Check my book review list for complete set of chapter by chapter comments

What is Testimony and Can We Rely on It?

This concluding chapter does not sum up Bauckham’s reasons for thinking the gospels may be the testimony of eyewitnesses. It argues, rather, that eyewitness testimony should be more highly regarded by modern historians as a valid historical source. Of course the argument misses its point in this instance if one has failed to be convinced that the gospels are indeed records of eyewitness testimonies.

Bauckham’s discussion relies heavily on (more…)


How a gospel works: Judas reveals all

So the truth is out. Professor Francis Moloney and Jeffrey Archer tell us how the gospels were written.

Note: No eyewitnesses! No oral traditions! No historiography! (more…)


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 18a . . .

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 9:54 pm

This chapter is still coming . . . . not forgotten — main reason for the delay is that Bauckham relies most heavily on C. A. J. Coady’s book, Testimony: A Philosophical Study (1992), so I am enjoying reading Coady (along with some of the scholarly discussion circulating about his book) at the moment — hopefully to better position me to discuss Bauckham’s argument.


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 18a

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 8:16 pm

This is going to be a multi-part reply to a most extraordinary chapter. In a bizarre way that Bauckham would not appreciate, B will find himself in league with his post-modernist devil against the intellectual values of the Enlightenment. The main differences between the two are firstly that B will often be arguing against a straw-man Enlightenment, and secondly that he will subtly shift definitions and contextual meanings of his terms as he proceeds. (more…)


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 17

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 9:53 pm

17. Polycrates and Irenaeus on John

Polycrates on John

Bauckham proceeds to show that Polycrates knew that John the author of the Gospel was not the Son of Zebedee, member of the Twelve, John. He begins with his letter to the bishop of Rome over the ‘correct’ date on which to observe ‘Easter’ (or the ‘Passover/Last Supper’). The extract is from the ccel site (Eusebius, H.E. 5.24.2-7): (more…)

Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 16:Appendix

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 10:19 am

Appendix: Papias as Eusebius’s Source in Hist. Eccl. 3.24.5-13?

At the end of chapter 16 Bauckham addresses the argument of Charles Hill that Eusebius paraphrased a section of Papias that discussed the gospels of John and Luke.

Hill’s argument contradicts Bauckham’s by implication: (more…)


Subjecting Papias to external controls. A first step

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 6:30 pm

This relates to my previous post on Bauckham’s chapter 16. I addressed the issue of “naive readings” of texts, explaining what I mean by that term. I won’t repeat the details here. (Any text can claim to be written by so and so and at a certain time. Scholars know that when it comes to the bulk of apocryphal “new testament” writings.)

So what external evidence do we have for the time when the Papias text was written? (more…)

Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 16

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 1:39 pm

16. Papias on John

A second (hitherto unknown) inner circle
In this chapter Bauckham argues that the author of the Gospel of John was John the Elder, and that it was this John who was the Beloved Disciple (BD). He begins by comparing the Synoptic “sources” with John’s. He reminds us that it was Peter, James and John (the Sons of Zebedee) who were the inner circle in the Synoptic Gospels, and that it was the Twelve who were the eyewitness authorities behind Mark’s gospel, first of the Synoptics. In the Gospel of John, on the other hand, we find that the synoptic trio of Peter, James and John, no longer occupy such a privileged place. They have been replaced, argues B, by the BD. But the BD is not alone. He is part of another circle, (more…)


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 15b

(forgive tardy responses to some comments on earlier entries — will get there soon)

A Comparison with Luke-Acts
Bauckham continues to search for ways to treat the Gospel of John’s witness motif as something other than a metaphor:

  1. He interprets the reference to “from the beginning” in Luke’s Prologue to eyewitnesses being “with Jesus” from the beginning of his ministry, and relates this to the first speech of Peter in Acts that announced a replacement for Judas had to have been with Jesus from the time of the baptism of John. Both Luke and Acts clearly speak historically. Bauckham concludes that it follows that the author of the Gospel of John must therefore have had a similar historiographic intent with reference to “from the beginning”. Of course there is no logical reason why one author’s historiography should be vicariously implanted into another author’s metaphor. (more…)


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 15a

15. The Witness of the Beloved Disciple

Bauckham opens this chapter with:

In the last chapter we demonstrated that, according to John 21:24, the Beloved Disciple was both the primary witness on whose testimony the Gospel is based and also himself the author of the Gospel. (p.384) (more…)

Papias: theologian or historian?

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 10:33 am

Richard Bauckham places critical importance on the way Papias expresses his preference for a “living voice” over “books”, and argues that here Papias is informing readers that he follows “best historical practice” according to standards of antiquity.

Thanks to my life-long habit of frequenting second hand bookstores I have just come across my old 1965 Penguin paperback of G. A. Williamson translation of Eusebius and notice a small print footnote on these words of Papias: (more…)


Bauckham’s eyewitnesses vs Petersen’s narrator

Is there any evidence in Mark’s narratives that the author is reporting the point of view of anyone other than his own? Is there any indication that he is relaying a third party’s “eyewitness” testimony?

Do we ever catch the author stepping outside his own perspective for a moment and finding himself reliant on the testimony of an “eyewitness” in the telling of a story? (more…)

Bauckham versus Elisha on Jairus’ daughter

Have just put up another detailed comparison of Mark’s narrative of the raising of Jairus’s daughter with its literary antecedent in 2 Kings 4, the story of Elisha’s raising of the son of the Shunammite woman. Again, what is the more reasonable? To think that a person can be raised from the dead or to think that an author draws on a similar well-known story to describe a raising from the dead?


Bauckham versus Elisha on the 5000

I have made all too passing references to a feature that deserves the most attention of all in any serious thought about Richard Bauckham’s eyewitness hypothesis — the alternative hypothesis, the literary-borrowing hypothesis. (more…)


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 14/WIFTA

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 5:57 pm

6am Thursday 1st Mar 07:

Yes miracles of healing and exorcism would be memorable but what is important in the context of the gospels is that these were unlike the ‘normal’ works of healers and exorcists in the ancient world (1.27; 2.12; 3.22). (more…)

Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 14

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 10:43 am

Meanwhile, have made a few minor changes/additions to points 3 and 6 (’emotional involvement’ and ‘point of view’) in my previous chapter 13 discussion since originally posting it.

14. The Gospel of John as Eyewitness Testimony

This chapter attempts to establish three points:

  1. that the author of the gospel of John identifies himself as “the Beloved Disciple” (– but exactly who that was B reserves for a future chapter)
  2. that the original ending of the gospel was 21:24-25
  3. that significant “we” references testify to an “authoritative we”

On these three points I found Bauckham’s conclusions (although not all his arguments) refreshingly persuasive. (more…)


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 13

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 9:27 pm

13. Eyewitness memory

Richard Bauckham uses this chapter to relate modern studies in memory psychology “to gospel traditions in a systematic way”. RB acknowledges that others like Crossan have addressed memory studies before but B is attempting to apply them more specifically in a range of cases of eyewitness recall and as the sources of gospel episodes. B’s purpose for this study is once again to attest to the “authority” of the Jesus traditions in our canonical gospels:

How are we to gauge the reliability or otherwise of the gospel traditions? How far would they have been accurately preserved even within the memories of the eyewitnesses themselves? (p.319) (more…)


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 12b

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 5:49 pm

We probably should envisage . . .

We probably should envisage a carefully compiled and formulated collection of Jesus traditions, incorporating other important eyewitness testimony as well as that of the Twelve themselves, but authorized by the Twelve as the official body of witnesses. (p.299)

This would surely be not too difficult to test. What would we expect the final compilation of this collection to look like? What features would it have that would clearly indicate it was “carefully compiled and formulated”, and that it incorporated different classes of eyewitness testimonies? (more…)

Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 12a

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 1:33 pm

12. Anonymous Tradition or Eyewitness Testimony

Eyewitnesses: a superfluous hypothesis?
Bauckham argues that the primary sources of the gospel authors (following best historical practice by ancient standards) were the eyewitnesses. He therefore takes issue with Dunn when he says:

[ I]t is almost self-evident that the Synoptists proceeded by gathering and ordering Jesus tradition which had already been in circulation, that is, had already been well enough known to various churches, for at least some years if not decades. (p.291 — Dunn p.250)

But then Bauckham seems to admit that Dunn’s statement here is quite sufficient as an explanation for our gospel materials when he responds: (more…)

Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Interlude

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 7:47 am

So far Bauckham has not addressed two of the most graphically told gospel scenes to explain how his eyewitness hypothesis accounts for them: his series of trial appearances and scourgings and his resurrection appearances. (more…)


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 11/WIFTA

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 5:29 pm

Added about a day after the original post:

Knew it would be a mistake to rush that last chapter. (wifta: ‘what i forgot to add’). Had originally intended to address Bauckham’s Theissen reference:

Certainly something happened when the traditions were appropriated by the writers of the Gospels, but it could not have been so discontinuous with the attitude of the oral traditions themselves. The nature of the traditions . . . shows that they made reference to the real past history of Jesus. The fact that this is stated in the excellent textbook The Historical Jesus, by Gerd Theissen and Annette Merz, shows how far the mainstream of Gospel scholarship has moved . . . (p.277)

B’s reference to the gospels recording “real past history” is to pp.102-104 of Theissen. Here are a few quotations from those pages in Theissen: (more…)


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 11

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 9:30 pm

11. Transmitting the Jesus Traditions

In this and the next chapter Bauckham presents his case for the manner in which the Jesus traditions were transmitted by the eyewitnesses of Jesus, in particular by the Twelve as represented by Peter. He claims that: (more…)


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 10

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 2:51 am

(P.S. on chapter 9: another interesting thing I learned in the previous chapter was that the notion of “translating” a text among some ancients was nothing like our concept. Josephus says he was going to make a translation of the Hebrew scriptures, no more or less, but of course he does do much more and less in his complete retelling of them. That point pretty much allows anyone to interpret Papias’s claim of Matthew being a translation from an original Aramaic as meaning anything.)

10. Models of Oral Tradition

Bauckham attempts in this chapter to place the eyewitnesses within the context of the scholarly models of the processes of transmission of gospel traditions. (more…)


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 9

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 11:46 am

9. Papias on Mark and Matthew

In this chapter Bauckham investigates the words of Papias to further test his claim that Peter’s teachings were indeed the direct source of Mark’s gospel. I found this chapter the most “meaty” so far in Bauckham’s book and enjoyed the wide-ranging discussion and up-front way he addressed the arguments of other scholars rather than relegating contrary thoughts to footnote citations. (more…)


Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 8/WIFTA

Filed under: Bauckham: Jesus-Eyewitness,Book Reviews & Notes,Religion — Neil Godfrey @ 9:36 pm

I have completely re-written the last section of my chapter 8 review (the discussion of the fleeing naked youth) after discovering I had initially misread B’s citation of Brown re symbolic interpretations.

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