Ehrman v. Bauckham on Eyewitnesses Part II (Gupta)

A little while back I mentioned the radio face-off between Bart Ehrman and Richard Bauckham on the reliability of the Synoptic Gospels. They returned to Justin Brierley’s show again in mid-April to discuss “eyewitness testimony” in general, but especially in first century historical works. This was an engaging, fascinating back-and-forth. There was a bit of who’s the better historian volley, and they were well-matched. This is an hour well spent!

Bart’s latest book is called Jesus before the Gospels 

For more from Bauckham, see his Jesus and the Eyewitnesses which has a new edition coming soon.


6 thoughts on “Ehrman v. Bauckham on Eyewitnesses Part II (Gupta)

  1. I believe Ehrman falls prey to the notion that everyone in antiquity was far less informed and capable than he is. It’s the arrogance of modernity – we are smarter than they were because we live today!

    Even still, I don’t hear him address the issue of the Qumran sect having Greek writings, and who were they? (Depends on your school of thought.) Maybe just a bunch of uneducated Jews living on the beach? At the same time, recall that these are Jews – some of the most literate people in human history.

    Finally, speaking of memory, of course you are going to forget details of days as they go by, but who ever forgets seeing a blind man receive sight?

  2. I’m also realizing, as I listen to this debate, is that Ehrman has this notion that ancient man were concerned with scientific levels of precision in the same way a post-Enlightenment rationalist would! But that wasn’t the mindset of ancient Jews. When we think of the burning bush, we want GPS coordinates and an X on the ground for longitude and latitude. But they didn’t think like that. That doesn’t mean they weren’t accurate in what they saw and wrote.

    Anyway….my tuppence!

  3. Two of the biggest assumptions that many Christians make regarding the truth claims of Christianity is that, one, eyewitnesses wrote the four gospels. The problem is, however, that the majority of scholars today do not believe this is true. The second big assumption many Christians make is that it would have been impossible for whoever wrote these four books to have invented details in their books, especially in regards to the Empty Tomb and the Resurrection appearances, due to the fact that eyewitnesses to these events would have still been alive when the gospels were written and distributed.

    But consider this, dear Reader: Most scholars date the writing of the first gospel, Mark, as circa 70 AD. Who of the eyewitnesses to the death of Jesus and the alleged events after his death were still alive in 70 AD? That is four decades after Jesus’ death. During that time period, tens of thousands of people living in Palestine were killed in the Jewish-Roman wars of the mid and late 60’s, culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem.

    How do we know that any eyewitness to the death of Jesus in circa 30 AD was still alive when the first gospel was written and distributed in circa 70 AD? How do we know that any eyewitness to the death of Jesus ever had the opportunity to read the Gospel of Mark and proof read it for accuracy?

    I challenge Christians to list in the comment section below, the name of even ONE eyewitness to the death of Jesus who was still alive in 70 AD along with the evidence to support your claim.

    If you can’t list any names, dear Christian, how can you be sure that details such as the Empty Tomb, the detailed resurrection appearances, and the Ascension ever really occurred? How can you be sure that these details were not simply theological hyperbole…or…the exaggerations and embellishments of superstitious, first century, mostly uneducated people, who had retold these stories thousands of times, between thousands of people, from one language to another, from one country to another, over a period of many decades?

    1. “Most Scholars Agree That….” is argumentum ad populum. I am quite convinced that the Synoptics and Acts were written prior to 62 A.D, and that scholars who pound the post-70 AD, anonymous, urban legend mantra are flat out wrong.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s