BRUNO BAUER: Critique of the Gospel History – English translation

I have machine translated all three volumes of Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte der Synoptiker  (1841-1842) I expect there will be an occasional error since my powers of focus are limited over 1150 pages and on a few occasions (only a few!) rely on my impressions from skimming the content and checking through Fraktur and Greek optical character recognition issues.

First post is the Foreword or Preface, which I confess I had a hard time fully understanding and having the patience to read. It was clearly addressed for another time and audience though it does contain some timeless nuggets. I think someone more adept at German would do a better job of making a more meaningful translation. A Table of Contents is attached to the end of that Foreword. (I have since picked up Douglas Moggach’s study of Bruno Bauer and hopefully that will help me understand some of the more philosophical discussions of BB, especially as they relate to his idea of how Christianity and the figure of Jesus in the gospels emerged.

I have also given myself permission to make occasional remarks on what I consider points of note or difficulty in each section.

If there is a single theme in the work, I believe it is to establish the case — through close textual analysis — for the gospels being the creations of the minds of the evangelists as opposed to them being compilations of traditions about Jesus. Bauer does not spare the apologists of his day who insist on arguing otherwise.

(Note the entry of the Gospel of John in the third volume. This would follow on from BB’s earlier critique of the pre-Passion chapters of that fourth gospel. I have also translated that work and will post it on this blog in due course.)

Critique of the Gospel History of the Synoptics

by Bruno Bauer 

* Note that Volume 3 introduces the Gospel of John alongside the Synoptics

Volume 1 

Preface and Contents  v—xxiv 

First Section

The Birth and Childhood of Jesus 1—141

Second Section

The Preparations for the Public Appearance of Jesus 142—244

Third Section

The beginning of Jesus’ public ministry 245-298

Fourth Section

The Sermon on the Mount 299-390

Volume 2 

Fifth Section

Two Miracle Days (Matthew 8:1 – 9:34) 1-172

Sixth Section

The Instruction of the Twelve (Matthew 9:35 – 11:1) 172-243

Seventh Section

The Message of the Baptist (Matthew 11:2-30) 244-268

Eighth Section

Collision with the Law and the Pharisees (Matthew 12, 1-50) 269-303

Ninth Section

The parable lecture (Matthew 13, 1-52) 304-336

Tenth Section

The Elijah deeds of Jesus (Matthew 14: 1 – 16:1) 337-392 (– note: interesting views derived from Wilke contextualizing each of the following pericopes within the Elijah narrative)

Volume 3 

Critique of the Gospel History: the Synoptics and John. Third and Final Volume

Eleventh Section

The express revelation of Jesus as the Messiah  1-102

Twelfth Section

The activity of Jesus in Jerusalem (Mark 11:1 – 13:37) 103-160

Thirteenth Section

The tale of suffering 161-322

Fourteenth Section

The Story of the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ  323-341

Contemporaries addressed by Bruno Bauer:

  • Wilhelm Martin Leberecht de Wette
  • Otto Fridolinus Fritzsche
  • August Friedrich Gfrörer
  • Andreas Gottlieb Hoffmann
  • Johann Peter Lange
  • Gottfried Christian Friedrich Lücke
  • August Neander
  • Hermann Olshausen
  • Heinrich Eberhard Gottlob Paulus
  • Heinrich Saunier
  • Friedrich Schleiermacher
  • Matthias Schneckenburger
  • Friedrich Ludwig Sieffert
  • David Friedrich Strauss
  • August Tholuck
  • Christian Hermann Weisse
  • Christian Gottlob Wilke

Earlier commentators frequently addressed:

  • Johann Albrecht Bengel
  • John Calvin
  • Augustine
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