Gospel and Testimony

Richard Bauckham
Richard Bauckham

In his 2006 Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, Richard Bauckham suggests:

that we need to recover the sense in which the Gospels are testimony. This does not mean that they are testimony rather than history. It means that the kind of historiography they are is testimony. An irreducible feature of testimony as a form of human utterance is that it asks to be trusted. This does not mean that it asks to be trusted uncritically, but it does mean that testimony should not be treated as credible only to the extent that it can be independently verified. There can be good reasons for trusting or distrusting a witness, but these are precisely reasons for trusting or distrusting. Trusting testimony is not an irrational act of faith that leaves critical rationality aside; it is, on the contrary, the rationally appropriate way of responding to authentic testimony. . . . It is true that a powerful trend in the modern development of critical historical philosophy and method finds trusting testimony a stumbling-block in the way of the historian’s autonomous access to truth that she or he can verify independently. But it is also a rather neglected fact that all history, like all knowledge, relies on testimony. (5; italics original)

Thus, it is perhaps not without irony that we find ourselves still under the sway of a certain kind(s) of testimony even when we seek most to avoid or to exercise our independence from testimony of some other kind(s) (cf. Gadamer, Truth and Method, 354; Lewis, “Meditation in a Toolshed,” 215).

New Testament Studies 59, no. 4

New Testament Studies

The latest issue of New Testament Studies includes:

  • Helen K. Bond, “Dating the Death of Jesus: Memory and the Religious Imagination”
  • John K. Goodrich, “Sold under Sin: Echoes of Exile in Romans 7.14–25”
  • Timothy A. Brookins, “The (In)frequency of the Name ‘Erastus’ in Antiquity: A Literary, Papyrological, and Epigraphical Catalog”
  • Daniel Frayer-Griggs, “Neither Proof Text nor Proverb: The Instrumental Sense of διά and the Soteriological Function of Fire in 1 Corinthians 3.15”
  • Jonathan A. Linebaugh, “The Christo-Centrism of Faith in Christ: Martin Luther’s Reading of Galatians 2.16, 19–20”
  • Thomas J. Kraus, “Hapax legomena: Definition eines terminus technicus und Signifikanz für eine pragmatisch orientierte Sprachanalyse”
  • Karen L. King, “The Place of the Gospel of Philip in the Context of Early Christian Claims about Jesus’ Marital Status”
  • Emily Gathergood, “Papyrus 32 (Titus) as a Multi-text Codex: A New Reconstruction”

On the Web (February 12, 2013)

On the web:

  • John Goodrich reflects on how to respond when one’s conference paper solicits no questions from the audience.
  • Jim Davila notes a UC Berkeley press release about automated language reconstruction efforts.
  • Mark Goodacre lectures on “Myths of Mary and the Married Jesus” (HT: NT Pod):

Biblical Theology Bulletin 42, no. 4

Image:BTB vol 40 no 1.gif
Image via Wikipedia

The next issue of the Biblical Theology Bulletin includes:

  • David M. Bossman, “The Ebb and Flow of Biblical Interpretation”
  • Joel Edmund Anderson, “Jonah in Mark and Matthew: Creation, Covenant, Christ, and the Kingdom of God”
  • Peter Admirand, “Millstones, Stumbling Blocks, and Dog Scraps: Children in the Gospels”
  • Zeba A. Crook, “Memory and the Historical Jesus”
  • John W. Daniels, Jr., “Gossip in the New Testament”

Epi-strauss-ium

The following poem, “Epi-strauss-ium,” by Arthur Hugh Clough (1819–1861) playfully draws attention to D. F. Strauss’s then recently published Das Leben Jesu, kritisch bearbeitet (Life of Jesus Critically Examined; NAEL 2:1452 n. 1).

Matthew and Mark and Luke and holy John
Evanished all and gone!
Yea, he that erst, his dusky curtains quitting,
Through Eastern pictured panes his level beams transmitting,
With gorgeous portraits blent,
On them his glories intercepted spent,
Southwestering now, through windows plainly glassed,
On the inside face his radiance keen hath cast,
And in the luster lost, invisible, and gone,
Are, say you, Matthew, Mark, and Luke and holy John?
Lost, is it? lost, to be recovered never?
However,
The place of worship the meantime with light
Is, if less richly, more sincerely bright,
And in blue skies the Orb is manifest to sight.

This assessment generally seems quite apropos and its language quite arresting, though one might well be grateful for how more recent scholarship has arguably provided some means for brightening the “place of worship” both “[more] richly” and “more sincerely” (e.g., Bauckham; Dunn; Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God; Wright, Resurrection of the Son of God).


In this post:

Norton Anthology of English Literature (7th ed; Volume 2)
M. H. Abrams et al.
Richard Bauckham
Richard Bauckham
James Dunn
James Dunn

N. T. Wright
N. T. Wright

N. T. Wright
N. T. Wright