Daily Archives: 2007-01-23 23:25:01 GMT+0000

Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 1/WIFTA

WIFTA — What I Forgot to Add to my previous post (updated 27th Jan 07)

10.15 am 3rd Feb 07

This is about the craziest “problem” facing a modern scholar that I have ever heard: That the fact that some characters in the gospels are named while others are not is a “phenomenon” that cries out for explanation??? Come on, how many works of literature of any length, whether historical or nonhistorical, fictional or nonfictional, that do NOT feature such a “phenomenon”. It is plainly a simple matter of common literary competence not to name every person in a story featuring many persons — speaking generally — since it obviously would be simply too much clutter to have names for everyone. And in the case of the gospel of Mark, the first written of the gospels, then it is surely as clear as the nose on one’s face that the author has chosen to bring in names as often as not when they have symbolic value by way of mnemonic illustration of the story: e.g. Jairus, enlightened, for a miracle of raising back from ‘sleep’; Bartimaeus, a son of honour, for one raised from the status of beggar to a follower of the “royal son of David”. That such a phenomena should be considered something crying out for explanation is to dismiss the basics of western (and possibly broader than that, too) literary cultures.

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Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 1

This is the first part of a detailed review of Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony by Richard Bauckham (2006). It is in response to the discussion begun by Chris Tilling on his Chrisendom blog, and remarks I have seen from a variety of quarters indicating that this work is having quite an impact in some quarters. read more »