Sunday, May 6, 2007

Bauckham on Vridar

Over on Vridar, Neil Godfrey writes a post that cuts to the chase of the main problem with Bauckham's new thesis about eyewitness testimony. Thanks to Mr. Godfrey for his comment.

3 comments: said...

Is Bauckham's thesis (acceptance the NT as valid because it is the testimony of eyewitnesses) new? I heard and believed similar ideas over forty years ago. I may still have a book called The Spreading Flame written by professor F F Bruce of the University of Manchester where I was a student of physics. I went to the same Plymouth Brethren church that he attended, heard him speak on several occasions and then greatly revered what he said. His historical book was about the origin of the Christian church, written very much according to the Bauckham thesis. The same applied to Bruce's book The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?

But never mind about scholars of the NT. I find the worst offenders are the scholars who cite the eyewitness accounts attributed to Josephus as gospel - thus Josephus saw it, Josephus wrote about it, so what the good Jewish historian wrote must be true.

Now, I cannot read any text of the NT or in Josephus without considering if it has been changed or added.

By contrast, I find the seemingly incidental information about Judas given in the Gospel of Judas as ringing true, i.e. that he was a prophet and was stoned to death after trial. Weight is given to this knowledge since it comes from a document that was buried shortly after it was written. It is precisely a kind of historical knowledge that should be considered as valid, even if it was not written by eyewitnesses. Similar considerations apply to the DSS which make no reference to Pharisees, yet the text attributed to Josephus does. I go with the DSS.

April DeConick said...


I did not know about Bruce's old book. I will look it up.

Unknown said...

Beyond Bauckham's misguided attempt to extract eyewitness evidence from the writings of the NT, NT eyewitness remainss our primary evidence for knowledge of the real Jesus. Certain of our top NY Studies scholars under the force of present historical methods and knowledge conclude that none of the writings of the NT are apostolic witness, the sufficient evidence for this point: they all depend on sources earlier than themselves thus are not the original and originating witness to the faith and witness of the apostles.(Schubert Ogden). They identify the NT source for apostolic witness to be the Sermon on the Mount. This calls for a mew reconstruction of post-Easter Jesus traditions. See: The Real Jesus of the Sayings Gospel Q, by James Robinson (article online) and Essaya on the Sermon on the Mount by Hans Dieter Betz.