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Home » Books » Religion » Bible » Criticism, Interpretation » New Testament

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses

The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony

By Richard Bauckham

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Format: Paperback, 538 pages
Other Information: black & white tables
Published In: United States, 22 September 2008
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This momentous book argues that the four Gospels are closely based on the eyewitness testimony of those who personally knew Jesus. Noted scholar Richard Bauckham challenges the prevailing assumption that the accounts of Jesus circulated as anonymous community traditions, asserting instead that they were transmitted in the names of the original eyewitnesses. Bauckham draws on internal literary evidence, and recent developments in the understanding of oral tradition. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses also taps into the rich resources of modern study of memory, especially in cognitive psychology. Finally, Bauckham challenges readers to end the classic division between the historical Jesus and the Christ of faith, proposing instead the Jesus of testimony as presented by the Gospels. Sure to ignite heated debate on the precise character of the testimony about Jesus, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses is a groundbreaking work that will be valued by scholars, students, and all who seek to understand the origins of the Gospels.

About the Author

Richard Bauckham is professor emeritus of New Testament studies at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and senior scholar at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. A fellow of both the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, he has also written Bible and Mission: Christian Witness in a Postmodern World. Visit Bauckham's website at


'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

EAN: 9780802863904
ISBN: 0802863906
Publisher: William B Eerdmans Publishing Co
Dimensions: 23.27 x 15.95 x 2.97 centimetres (0.82 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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In this book prominent New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham not only takes on modern literary and form criticism head on, but proposes a far superior model. He proposes that the New Testament gospels are heavily reliant on eyewitness testimony. The importance is in both what makes an eyewitness, and what defines testimony. Bauckham points to references to eyewitnesses such as in the prologue of Luke 1:14; he focuses his attention on Acts as well as the Gospels. His proposal makes much better sense, which recent scholars such as Dunn have also taken on from a very different perspective.

Bauckham's hypothesis is probably the best explanation for the Gospel of John. For example, we find John so highly engaged with Second Temple Judaism. Similarly, his geographical understanding of Palestine is brilliant. Yet we also have a theological element to the gospel where the author has expanded on sayings of Jesus. How do we explain this? As an eyewitness and member of Jesus' ministry, the beloved disciple (author/source of John) was able to expand without compromising his teacher's message.

A brilliant work which should be a standard in any New Testament or Biblical scholar library.

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