Are the Gospels based on eyewitness testimony? Bart Ehrman vs Richard Bauckham

ehrman-bauckham

On April 9 and 16, 2016, Professors Bart Ehrman and Richard Bauckham engaged in a debate on the radio show Unbelievable about the topic of Bauckham’s most well-known book, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony.

Bart Ehrman’s new book “Jesus Before the Gospels” makes the case that the stories about Jesus would have changed and evolved before they were written down as the Gospels.

Richard Bauckham, author of “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”, defends the view that the Gospels were written by those with access to eyewitness testimony of Jesus’ first followers. They debate who wrote Mark, whether the the Gospels came from anonymous traditions and how they received their titles.

The shows are available on iTunes:

Saturday 9th April 2016 

Saturday 16th April 2016

Here is a transcript of the end of the discussion from the first episode:

Ehrman: What they’re doing [in the time of Irenaeus, ca. 180 CE] is that they’re naming these gospels in order to provide them with apostolic credentials […]

Bauckham: To maintain this, you have to say that Papias’s discussion of gospels he ascribes to Mark and Matthew are to other gospels, gospels we know nothing about, rather than to the gospels we know as Mark and Matthew’s gospels. I find that a very…

Ehrman: Well one thing we can say about Papias is: he tells us two things about Matthew’s gospel. He says that the Gospel of Matthew is written in Hebrew, and he says that it is a collection of the sayings of Jesus, the logia, the sayings of Jesus. Matthew’s gospel that we have was not written in Hebrew; it was written in Greek. And it is not the sayings of Jesus; it is an account of his words and his deeds and his passion. So what Papias is describing isn’t anything like our Matthew.

Bauckham: Well, I think Papias made a mistake when he thought it was written in Hebrew, certainly. It is a very brief account. Papias calls his own book, “An account of the sayings, logia, of Jesus.” And actually Papias clearly told stories about Jesus, because we have two or three of them. But I think what really interested Papias were the words of Jesus, so he tended to use logia to cover the context of the Gospel, because the sayings of Jesus were what mattered to Papias.

Ehrman: Well that’s right, but he doesn’t call his book “The logia of Jesus”.

Bauckham: Yes he does…

Ehrman: His book is the “Exposition of the logia of Jesus”. He’s giving explanatory comments on the sayings of Jesus. And he says that Matthew wrote logia. Well, Matthew’s Gospel is not a collection of logia. Matthew’s Gospel is a narrative gospel. And so both of the things that Papias said about “Matthew” aren’t true of our Matthew. And so, no, I don’t think he’s talking about our Matthew.

Bauckham: The translation of Papias’s title is debatable, and I think it means “Account of the Sayings of Jesus”. In other words, Papias wrote something like a Gospel book, a collection of sayings and stories about Jesus. And we have some of the stories; it wasn’t just sayings.

Ehrman: I don’t think Papias’s book could be just an account of the logia of Jesus, because it’s five volumes long. He’s actually giving an exposition of the teachings of Jesus.

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Eerdmans Author Interview Series

Eerdmans have a series of interviews with their authors, a number of whom are biblical scholars. Featured interviews include:

Francis Watson

 

James D. G. Dunn

 

Andrew T. Lincoln

 

Douglas A. Campbell

Peter Machinist: “The Problem of Myth in the Hebrew Bible”

Peter Machinist, Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages, Harvard University, delivers a lecture on “The Problem of Myth in the Hebrew Bible“, March 14, 2012, at Boston College.

The word “myth” has been used in many different ways, sometimes positively, but more often, and especially recently, negatively.  Many would argue that it has no relevance for the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament; indeed would be expressly rejected by the biblical writers.  But is this correct?  The answer, this lecture argues, is no – that, in fact, myth is a word and a set of concepts which can lead to a deep and varied understanding of the Hebrew Bible, set against the broader ancient Near Eastern world from which it comes.

Peter Machinist

Memory in Historical Jesus Research: SBL 2013 Baltimore

An audio recording of an SBL panel session on Memory in Historical Jesus Research (Baltimore, 2013) is available on Anthony Le Donne and Chris Keith’s blog. The quality is not particularly good and the first four minutes of Chris Keith’s paper are missing. The audio is in two parts:

1. The papers

Chris Keith, ‘The Past Approaching and Approaching the Past: The Contribution of Memory Studies to Historical Jesus Research’

Zeba Crook, ‘Memory Distortion and the Historical Jesus’

Rafael Rodríguez, ‘An Uneasy Concord: Memory and History in Contemporary Jesus Research’

Paul Foster, ‘Memory: Help or Hindrance in Historical Jesus Research?’

2. The panel discussion and questions

Philip Harland’s Podcasts on Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean

Philip Harland has an ongoing series of podcasts on a wide range of topics relating to religions of the ancient Mediterranean which are available here. These include:

Series 1: Paul and His Communities

Podcast 1.1 Paul in his own words

Podcast 1.2 The situation at Thessalonica

Podcast 1.3 Paul’s response to Jesus-followers at Thessalonica

Podcast 1.4: Paul and the followers of Jesus at Corinth, part 1

Podcast 1.5: Paul and the followers of Jesus at Corinth, part 2

Podcast 1.6: Paul and the followers of Jesus at Corinth, part 3

Podcast 1.7: Paul and the situation in Galatia

Podcast 1.8: Paul’s response to the Galatians

Podcast 1.9: Paul and the situation at Rome

Podcast 1.10: Paul’s response to the Romans

Podcast 1.11: Legacies of Paul – Women’s leadership, part 1

Podcast 1.12: Legacies of Paul – Women’s leadership, part 2

Series 2: Early Christian Portraits of Jesus

Podcast 2.1: Introduction to the Gospels as Portraits of Jesus

Podcast 2.2: Mark’s portrait of Jesus – Suffering Son, part 1

Podcast 2.3: Mark’s portrait of Jesus – Suffering Son, part 2

Podcast 2.4: Matthew’s portrait of Jesus – New Moses, part 1

Podcast 2.5: Matthew’s portrait of Jesus – New Moses, part 2

Podcast 2.6: Luke’s Portrait of Jesus – Prophet Elijah, part 1

Podcast 2.7: Luke’s Portrait of Jesus – Prophet Elijah, part 2

Podcast 2.8: John’s Portrait of Jesus – Son and Word, part 1

Podcast 2.9: John’s Portrait of Jesus – Son and Word, part 2

Podcast 2.10: Hebrews’ Portrait of Jesus – Highpriest Melchizedek, part 1

Podcast 2.11: Hebrews’ Portrait of Jesus – Highpriest Melchizedek, part 2

Series 3: Diversity in Early Christianity: “Heresies” and Struggles

Podcast 3.1: Introduction to Diversity – A Schism in John’s Community, part 1

Podcast 3.2: A Schism in John’s Community, part 2

Podcast 3.3: Docetic and Judaizing Opponents of Ignatius

Podcast 3.4: Docetic and Judaizing Opponents of Ignatius, part 2

Podcast 3.5: Diversity in Asia Minor – A Regional Case Study

Podcast 3.6: Sources for the Study of Diversity – Gnostic, Apocryphal, Patristic

Podcast 3.7: Jewish Followers of Jesus, part 1 – Ebionites

Podcast 3.8: Jewish Followers of Jesus, part 2 – Pseudo-Clement

Podcast 3.9: Marcionites and the Unknown God

Podcast 3.10 Introducing Gnostic Worldviews

Podcast 3.11: Secret Book of John, part 1 – The Spiritual Realm

Podcast 3.12: Secret Book of John, part 2 – Salvation from the Material Realm

Podcast 3.13: The Wisdom of Jesus Christ and Middle Platonism

Podcast 3.14: The Gospel of Philip, part 1 – Ideas of Salvation

Podcast 3.15: The Gospel of Philip, part 2 – Ritual Enactments of Salvation

Podcast 3.16: The Gospel of Mary – Secret Knowledge from the Ultimate Disciple

Series 4: Honouring the Gods in the Roman Empire: Asia Minor

Podcast 4.1: Introduction to Honouring the Gods

Podcast 4.2: A City and Its Patron Deity – Artemis of Ephesus

Podcast 4.3: Salvation from the Gods – Asklepios at Pergamum

Podcast 4.4: Messages from the Gods – Apollo at Claros and Didyma

Podcast 4.5: Justice from the Gods in Lydia

Podcast 4.6: Honouring the Emperors as Gods

Series 5: The Historical Jesus in Context

Podcast 5.1: Studying the Historical Jesus – Sources and Problems, part 1

Podcast 5.2: Studying the Historical Jesus – Sources and Problems, part 2

Podcast 5.3: Studying the Historical Jesus – Sources and Problems, part 3

Podcast 5.4: Scholarly Portraits of the Historical Jesus, part 1 – Crossan

Podcast 5.5: Scholarly Portraits of the Historical Jesus, part 2 – Sanders

Podcast 5.6: Jesus, Galilee, and Israelite History, part 1 – To the Second Temple

Podcast 5.7: Jesus, Galilee, and Israelite History, part 2 – To the Time of Jesus

Podcast 5.8: Jesus, the Galilean and Judean

Podcast 5.9: Jesus in the Context of Educated Groups and Leaders

Podcast 5.10: Jesus and his Mentor, John the Baptizer

Podcast 5.11: Jesus as Teacher, part 1 – Method and Content

Podcast 5.12: Jesus as Teacher, part 2 – Present or Future Kingdom?

Podcast 5.13: Jesus as Healer and Exorcist

Podcast 5.14: Jesus as Prophet

Podcast 5.15: Jesus as Messianic King?

Series 6: Associations in the Greco-Roman World

Podcast 6.1: Introduction to Associations in the Greco-Roman World

Podcast 6.2: Social, Religious, and Burial Activities of Associations

Podcast 6.3: Judean and Christian Groups as Associations

Podcast 6.4: Associations and Greco-Roman Society (The City)

Podcast 6.5: Associations and the Roman Empire

Podcast 6.6: Approaches to Studying Ethnic Associations and Identities

Podcast 6.7: Phoenician Immigrant Associations, part 1

Podcast 6.8: Phoenician Immigrant Associations, part 2

Podcast 6.9: Judean Immigrant Associations, part 1

Podcast 6.10: Judean Immigrant Associations, part 2

Podcast 6.11 Jesus Groups as Associations and Cultural Minorities, part 1

Podcast 6.12: Jesus Groups as Associations and Cultural Minorities, part 2

Podcast 6.13: Cultural Minority Associations and Ethnic Stereotypes, part 1

Podcast 6.14: Cultural Minority Associations and Ethnic Stereotypes, part 2

Series 7: Visions of the End: Origins of Judean Apocalypticism

Podcast 7.1: Visions of the End – What is Apocalypticism?

Podcast 7.2: Origins part 1 – Ancient Near Eastern Combat Myths

Podcast 7.3: Origins part 2 – Zoroastrian apocalypticism

Podcast 7.4: Origins part 3a – Israelite Prophets 1

Podcast 7.5: Origins part 3b – Israelite Prophets 2

Podcast 7.6: 1 Enoch – An Introduction to the Earliest Apocalypse

Podcast 7.7: 1 Enoch – Fallen Angels in Early Apocalypticism

Podcast 7.8: Introduction to Daniel’s Historical Apocalypse

Podcast 7.9: Daniel’s Visions as Veiled History

Series 8: A Cultural History of Satan – Personified Evil in Early Judaism and in Christianity

Podcast 8.1: A Cultural History of Satan – Predecessors of Satan from Mesopotamia

Podcast 8.2: Predecessors of Satan from Canaan and Israel

Podcast 8.3: Predecessors of Satan from Persia

Podcast 8.4: Other Predecessors of Satan from the Hebrew Bible

Podcast 8.5: Fallen Angels in 1 Enoch (ca. 225 BCE)

Podcast 8.6: Mastema in Jubilees and Beliar in the Dead Sea Scrolls (ca. 100 BCE)

Podcast 8.7: The Devil and Beelzebub in Early Biographies of Jesus (70-100 CE)

Podcast 8.8: Internal Functions of the Rhetoric of Satan in Paul and John (ca. 50-110 CE)

Podcast 8.9: A Satanic Empire in John’s Apocalypse (ca. 80-100 CE)

Podcast 8.10: Jealous Satan, the Image of God, and the Serpent in the Life of Adam and Eve

Podcast 8.11: The Jealous Creator and the Serpent of Wisdom in Gnosticism (2nd century CE)

Podcast 8.12: Satan’s Demons and the Greco-Roman Gods in the Church Fathers (2nd-3rd centuries CE)

Why Study? University of Nottingham Video Series

The Why Study Theology and Religious Studies? series from the University of Nottingham contains various contributions from biblical studies. These include:

Why Study the Didache? with Tom O’Loughlin

Why Study Early Christianity? with Tom O’Loughlin

Why Study Orality? with Tom O’Loughlin

Why Study the Protoevangelium of James? with Tom O’Loughlin

Why Study Rabbinic Judaism? with Holger Zellentin

Why Study Rudolf Bultmann? with Henri Gagey

Why Study Paul’s Letter to the Romans? with Richard Bell

Why Study the Death of Jesus in Paul? with Richard Bell

Why Study St Paul and Israel? with Richard Bell

Why Study the Hebrew Bible? with Carly Crouch

Why Study Prophecy? with Carly Crouch

Why Study Biblical Warfare? with Carly Crouch

Why Study Jesus Christ? with Roland Deines

Why Study the Pharisees? with Roland Deines

Why Study James of Jerusalem? with Roland Deines

Why Study the Old Testament alongside the New? with Margaret Barker

Why Study Hebrew? with Peter Watts

John P. Meier on Jesus and the Law, Shaffer Lectures 2006

John P. Meier’s Shaffer Lectures on Jesus and the Law (‘On the Danger of Making Jesus a Christian: a Test Case of Law and Morality’) at Yale Divinity School are available on YouTube.

Lecture 1 (October 10, 2006): The Jewish Jesus and Jewish Divorce

Lecture 2 (October 11, 2006): The Jewish Jesus and the Sabbath

Lecture 3 (October 12, 2006): The Jewish Jesus and the Purity Laws

John P. Meier on Jesus the Jew, Burke Lectureship on Religion and Society 2002

John P. Meier’s Burke Lectureship on Religion and Society (2002), ‘Jesus the Jew – but What Sort of Jew?’, is available on YouTube and uploaded by the University of California Television (UCTV).

Biblical Studies and the University of Nottingham’s Theologians in Conversation

Theologians in Conversation is a video series from the University of Nottingham. The biblical studies videos include:

Margaret Barker and Tom O’Loughlin discuss ‘The Temple and the First Christians’ (19 December, 2012)

Brandon Walker and Tom O’Loughlin discuss ‘Miracles and the Gospels’ (17 July, 2013)

Brandon Walker and Tom O’Loughlin discuss ‘Orality and the Study of Early Christianity’ (9 July, 2013)