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Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony Hardcover – November 9, 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 552 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (November 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802831621
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802831620
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.6 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard Bauckham is professor of New Testament studies and Bishop Wardlaw Professor at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. 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.

More About the Author

Mr Short lives in the rural outskirts of Ottawa, the capital of Canada, with his wife (and Muse), April, their two furry kids, Ian, a border(-line) collie and Miss Daisy, a stray American Fox Hound, together with too many cats and a small herd of camelids, which is why he refers to home as the Alpacalypse Farm.

A professional writer since high school, he is a Senior Member of the Society for Technical Communication, an award-winning playwright, a former magazine columnist and internationally-published author, as well as being a life-member of the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association, an avid motorcyclist, pilot and aircraft homebuilder.

While researching a series of novels he started writing when he taught small engine mechanics at the Embogo Training Centre, in Papua-New Guinea, he stumbled onto the real-life biography of Mata Hari. He found her tale so compelling he finished his first eBook novel, 'I am Mata Hari - the story of the world's most famous dancer, courtesan and spy,' before the original project, a trilogy that mirrors Canada's search for identity.

During the ePublishing process, Mr Short was astonished to find that - in his words - 'the instructions were weak for a new writer and in some cases other support materials - such as YouTube videos - were wrong'.

As the CEO of Devonia Technical Communication Services Incorporated, a technical documentation company he founded in 1995, he understood the need for clear instructions, written in a relaxed, conversational tone that would enable even novice MS-Word users to convert their manuscripts into high quality eBooks smoothly.

He is currently working on a suite of "How to ePublish" manuals with MS-Word, before writing another set of eBooks about his second great passion (the first is his wife), vintage British motorcycles, and returning to the long-overdue series of historical novels.

Customer Reviews

And he offers a very convincing argument for his position!
William Varner
In this book, he presents several lines of evidence to support his contention that the Gospels constitute or rely upon eyewitness testimony.
One review I read compared it to a mystery and I would have to agree that this book reads like a great novel.
J. B. Sullins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

246 of 269 people found the following review helpful By JB on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Anything by Bauckham is likely to get a high rating from me, simply by the sheer quality of his work. In this book, he presents several lines of evidence to support his contention that the Gospels constitute or rely upon eyewitness testimony. Before I get into that, though, I'll give you the table of contents:

1) From the Historical Jesus to the Jesus of Testimony

2) Papias on the Eyewitnesses

3) Names in the Gospel Traditions

4) Palestinian Jewish Names

5) The Twelve

6) Eyewitnesses "from the Beginning"

7) The Petrine Perspective in the Gospel of Mark

8) Anonymous Persons in Mark's Passion Narrative

9) Papias on Mark and Matthew

10) Models of Oral Tradition

11) Transmitting the Jesus Traditions

12) Anonymous Tradition or Eyewitness Testimony?

13) Eyewitness Memory

14) The Gospel of John as Eyewitness Testimony

15) The Witness of the Beloved Disciple

16) Papias on John

17) Polycrates and Irenaeus on John

18) The Jesus of Testimony

Bauckham engages in an extensive treatment of Papias. For those of you who don't know, Papias was an early Christian writer who may very well have been cotemporaneous with the disciples of Jesus, as he professes to have been. He makes a number of statements about the Gospels, as do other early Christians. Papias, Bauckham contends, has been somewhat misunderstood and dismissed in recent scholarship. Not only does Bauckham defend Papias by showing his usage of historiographic terms and the notions of historiography at the time, he also provides a better understanding of what Papias is saying.
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114 of 133 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Marc Axelrod VINE VOICE on March 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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108 of 128 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bauckham here does the church and world a significant scholarly favor by taking on the form critical approach and assumptions to the gospel as being nothing other than an outcome of a community formation process of oral tradition, that has been edited, and redited and applied and reapplied. Thus, layer upon layer that needs this search for a supposed authentic Jesus.

Bauckham argues in a thorough and academic way that this is incorrect. Primarily it does not approach the Gospels for what they are: personal engaged eyewitness testimony of the most accepted and solid histoiography of its times. He unloads and unpacks this in over five-hundred pages of engagement with the sources, academia opinions, and critics. He is thorough, articulate and reacts to various schools and opinions.

He finds the break to this modern disengagement of many in academia with the historical Gospel approach through an Enlightenment arrogance to challenge ancient history as not truly being able to know what they were witnessing to. Rather than seeing themselves standing on the shoulders of the history past, they rather see themselves as standing on their own shoulders and judging/rewriting through their interprative tools all history before them.

Bauckham here not only refutes this with the Biblical/historiography evidence, but also with philosophy of epistemology, showing that trust in testimony is critical to interpersonal communication. The Enlightenment's trend to make the individual supreme here needs to move back to the past view of trust in testimony until it can be shown as an unreliable bedrock as faulty memory.
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