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Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony
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Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony


Eerdmans 2006

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In Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, Richard Bauckham argues that the four Gospels are closely based on the eyewitness testimony of those who personally knew Jesus. Drawing on internal literary evidence, the use of personal names in first-century Jewish Palestine, and cognitive psychology, Bauckham challenges the prevailing assumption that the accounts of Jesus circulated as “anonymous community traditions.” Instead, he asserts that they were transmitted in the names of the original eyewitnesses.

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Key Features

  • Argues that the four Gospels are closely based on the eyewitness of those who personally knew Jesus
  • Draws on internal literary evidence to challenge prevailing assumptions


  • From the Historical Jesus to the Jesus of Testimony
  • Papias on the Eyewitnesses
  • Names in the Gospel Traditions
  • Palestinian Jewish Names
  • The Twelve
  • Eyewitnesses “from the Beginning”
  • The Petrine Perspective in the Gospel of Mark
  • Anonymous Persons in Mark’s Passion Narrative
  • Papias on Mark and Matthew
  • Models of Oral Tradition
  • Transmitting the Jesus Traditions
  • Anonymous Tradition or Eyewitness Testimony?
  • Eyewitness Memory
  • The Gospel of John as Eyewitness Testimony
  • The Witness of the Beloved Disciple
  • Papias on John
  • Polycrates and Irenaeus on John
  • The Jesus of Testimony

Praise for the Print Edition

Bauckham’s proposal is both path-breaking and a tour de force.

First Things

As in all of his works, Bauckham has ransacked obscure secondary literature for little-known but immensely helpful information. He has thought creatively about time-worn problems and uncovered possible interpretations of subtle features of ancient testimony—both in the Gospels and about them—with the shrewdness of a good detective.

Trinity Journal

Bauckham has delivered a remarkable and insightful volume that is sure to offer a much-needed challenge to the status quo in modern gospel studies.

Westminster Theological Journal

Product Details

  • Title: Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony
  • Author: Richard Bauckham
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 552
  • Christian Group: Evangelicals
  • Resource Type: Monographs
  • Topic: Gospels

About Richard Bauckham

Richard Bauckham is professor emeritus of New Testament studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and senior scholar at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. A fellow of both the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, he has also written Bible and Mission: Christian Witness in a Postmodern World, Jude and the Relatives of Jesus in the Early Church, The Bible in Politics: How to Read the Bible Politically, and Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels.