Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony

Undoubtedly, Professor Richard Bauckham’s most recent contribution will add life to an already thriving scholarly discussion on the historical foundations of the New Testament Gospels, particularly the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Like others who have contributed to this field of study, Bauckham (professor of New Testament studies at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland) sets out to describe the sources used by the authors of the canonical Gospels, and, in doing so, provides a viable theory that has been met by exuberant praise and will certainly encounter significant rebuttals. In his own words, he states:

It is the contention of this book that, in the period up to the writing of the Gospels, gospel traditions were connected with named and known eyewitnesses, people who had heard the teaching of Jesus from his lips and committed it to memory, people who had witnessed the events of his ministry, death, and resurrection and themselves had formulated the stories about these events that they told. These eyewitnesses did not merely set going a process of oral transmission that soon went its own way without reference to them. They remained throughout their lifetimes the sources and, in some sense that may have varied for figures of central or more marginal significance, the authoritative guarantors of the stories they continued to tell.

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