Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Harvey review of Jesus and the Eyewitnesses

1) I’ve looked at many despicable and depraved things in my time as a blogger, but this has to be the lowest and most wicked, lying and beelzebubified post I have ever seen.

2) Ascending from these sweatiest armpits of hell to the light of heaven, do have a listen to these two podcasts on the resurrection, a joint effort by Michael Barber and Brant Pitre of one of the very best blogs around, Singing In The Reign. As part of a show on Catholic Answers Radio, they discuss matters for two hours also answering call in questions.

3) Finally, A. E. Harvey has written a review of Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses which can be read here.

After noting some areas of Bauckham’s thesis that may cause dispute, he I think correctly argues that “the critics’ real reason for disputing Bauckham’s theory will be that to accept it would demand a profound paradigm shift in New Testament studies”. Personally speaking, having been largely convinced by Bauckham’s thesis, I suspect time is ripe for this paradigm shift. He ends his article with the words: ‘Richard Bauckham’s careful and eloquent presentation of his argument, supported not just by careful scholarship but by admirable common sense, deserves earnest consideration”.

Admittedly it is getting late and I could have misunderstood Harvey, but a few thoughts of criticism about the review as I suspect he didn’t entirely understand Bauckham’s argument. If I comprehend Bauckham’s thesis at all, then it simply isn’t simply an alternative hypothesis to explain the relation between the synoptic Gospels, though it does have implications in this direction for sure. Actually, I believe that the ‘historical Bauckham’ is happy with a literary sharing between the synoptics, a matter that he uses to support his argument in relation to the Lukan and Johannine adoption of the Markan inclusio. I also believe that Bauckham would not deny a literary usage of Mark’s Gospel by those of Luke and John, both of which acknowledge Peter’s testimony as it is embodied in Mark’s telling. Nonetheless, a generally helpful review despite the slightly odd spin Harvey puts on it all.

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At 4/12/2007 2:32 PM, Anonymous J. B. Hood said...

One correction off the bat: Kenneth Bailey is/was a New Testament scholar with a doctorate in the field, as well as decades of teaching experience and (according to his website) he is currently canon theologian of an Episcopal diocese. He has taught NT at Fuller, Pittsburgh, Dubuque and McCormick Seminaries as well as in the Middle East. Dr. Bailey is also a member of the esteemed Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas.

At 4/12/2007 6:20 PM, Anonymous Michael Barber said...

"...'the critics’ real reason for disputing Bauckham’s theory will be that to accept it would demand a profound paradigm shift in New Testament studies”.

I completely agree. The problem is people ignore these kinds of books because they are quite inconvenient for established theories. I find it tragically comical to see how often form-critical positions are held to an almost "dogma" like status. When someone writes a thoughtful critique of such a theory--it doesn't matter who it is--they are often simply ignored!

Case in point, E. P. Sanders' critique of the two source theory in his book, "Studying the Synoptic Gospels". I just learned of this work! I'm so upset about it this week--why haven't I heard this before?! When Sanders' argument was summarized for me and his conclusion explained I virtually fell out of my seat.

Now, E. P. Sanders is no slouch. He has had tremendous influence in NT scholarship. But God forbid he challenge the two-source theory or express doubts regarding Markan priority. His arguments pose a real problem for critical "orthodoxy". So what does the academy do? It ignores it.

That's scholarship?!

At 4/12/2007 8:59 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Thanks JB, good point. He must be in his 80s by now.

Thanks, Michael, for your comment. Your case in point has me interested already. I must say, I really enjoyed your podcasts. WIll there be more?

At 4/13/2007 12:00 AM, Anonymous Michael Barber said...


Thanks for your kind mention of the podcast on the blog. As per your question, Brant and I have been asked back. I think the next topic we've been asked to discuss is the historical reliability of Scripture. I'm sure we'll be mentioning Bauckham's new book at some point if we tackle that issue. We're currently trying to work out the details.

Thanks again for your kind words.

At 4/14/2007 10:52 AM, Anonymous Steven Carr said...

Currently I am having two debates on the resurrection at

Debate 1 and
Debate 2

It is always possible to register and give comments.

Let's face it. Christians trying to defend the resurrection against scpetics need all the help they can get.

Neil Godfrey has many comments on Bauckham's work at Neil Godfrey

Personally, I am just amazed by Bauckham's work....

Of course, it could be said that a response of jaw-dropping until it hits the ground is an argument from incredulity.....

At 4/14/2007 10:53 AM, Anonymous Steven Carr said...

Does Sanders not believe in Markan priority? Which Gospel does he think was written first?

At 4/16/2007 8:47 AM, Anonymous Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Won't get into the theology part of the post, but as for the scurrilous bio of you, why didn't you tell them the truth about one of the claims? Yes, you did kill some of the hearers with boredom, but like Paul in Acts 20, you then raised them from the dead. (And they didn't fall from a 3rd story window, so you had none of that messy brain stuff to clean up like Paul.)


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