Monday, December 31, 2012

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses

(h/t: Mark Shea)


Javier said...


I just watched the video. It is extremely interesting. There are some points that Richard Bauckham does not mention in this interview (he might mention them in the book), that seem to me to be relevant. And these mostly have to do with the oral form of the earlier Gospels. What I collect from the video is that Bauckham deems an oral witness inferior to a written one. At least that was my impression from what he said when speaking of Papias (as he said Papias choose oral witness not because it was oral, but because of the reliability of its authors). But this view fails to take into account the fact that the Israelite society of the time of Christ was mostly an oral culture, not a written one. And the research of the French Jesuit Father Marcel Jousse (among others), has shown how the transmission of information in an oral milieu is extremely reliable. Besides, the research of the French Jesuit Father Jean Carmignac, has shown how the gospels (at least Mark and Matthew) might be word for word translations to koiné greek from an Aramaic original. By reverting these greek gospels word for word to Aramaic, he found that a rather inelegant greek became a very elegant and correct Aramaic. In this line of reasoning, I understand that Mark was Saint Peter’s meturgeman, that is the one in charge of transmitting his teaching. And that he put into writing what he had been teaching orally, originally in Aramaic.

Biblical Catholic said...

" What I collect from the video is that Bauckham deems an oral witness inferior to a written one"

That's not what he was getting at at all....he was attempting to refute the theory put forth by the form critics that the gospels represent 'folk literature' and have nothing at all to do with historical truth because the early Christians felt free to spontaneously invent stories about Jesus to answer whatever problem or difficulty arose in their own communities, and that thus the gospel do not reflect the situation that existed the cultural conditions that existed during Jesus' own lifetime but rather reflect the situation that the early Church faced 100-150 years later.

Whether oral or written witness was 'better' is not at all the point he is addressing.