Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony

by Richard Bauckham

This momentous book argues that the four Gospels are closely based on the eyewitness testimony of those who personally knew Jesus. Noted New Testament 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. To drive home this controversial point, Bauckham draws on internal literary evidence, the use of personal names in first-century Jewish Palestine, 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, refuting the conclusions of the form critics and calling New Testament scholarship to make a clean break with this long-dominant tradition. 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. “Bauckham builds an impressive case for recognition of the controlling influence of eyewitness testimony…Not to be missed!” James D G Dunn, University of Durham “A remarkable piece of detective work, resulting in a fresh and vivid approach to dozen, perhaps hundred, of well-known problems.” N T Wright, Bishop of Durham Richard Bauckham is a fellow of both the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.