Jesus and the Eyewitnesses

By Richard Bauckham in August 2009

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Runtime: 22 mins

Richard Bauckham discusses the importance of the testimony of eyewitness within the writing of the gospels. The standard scholarly view is that the traditions about Jesus in the gospels were passed down through oral tradition before being written. The eyewitnesses who heard Jesus and saw his life events started the traditions, which were then passed through early Christian communities. The form critics argue that the communities were not interested in preserving accurate historical traditions, but rather in adapting and creating new traditions. To distinguish authentic material, criteria were developed. The gospels are seen as ancient biographies written while eyewitnesses were still alive. The gospels resemble biographies and contain named characters, indicating their reliability. The apostles likely collected and sorted traditions, and John's gospel may have been written by an eyewitness. The term "oral history" is more appropriate than "oral tradition." The gospels are interpreted accounts with theological implications. They provide access to the historical Jesus through eyewitness testimony. The community document approach is less plausible as the early church had extensive interaction and circulation of writings.

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Produced in August 2009. Provisional captions.



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