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Eyewitnesses and the Oral Jesus Tradition

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Dunn responds to critiques by Birger Gerhardsson and Richard Bauckham of his thesis in Jesus Remembered (2003) regarding the early oral Jesus tradition. He agrees with Gerhardsson's emphasis on the oral Jesus tradition as taught, but questions his unwillingness to recognize the character of the 1st century oral Palestinian culture and of the Jesus tradition. He agrees with Bauckham's emphasis on eyewitnesses to explain especially the beginning of the traditioning process, but questions the extent to which the tradition was explicitly attributed to eyewitnesses, and argues that his own thesis also covers the cases where the oral Jesus tradition was being passed on by teachers at some remove from the eyewitnesses. The starting point remains the character of the Synoptic tradition, as 'same yet different', and the challenge remains to explain that character in the most historically responsible way.


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