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The Eyewitnesses as Interpreters of the Past: Reflections on Richard Bauckham's, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses

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Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses is a remarkable achievement which rightly places the role of eyewitnesses in early Christianity on the international scholarly agenda and points to its historical and theological significance. Just as Bauckham has previously challenged form criticism on its uncritical reference to Gospels communities, he has now decisively undermined the romantic idea of the existence of creative collectives determined by impersonal laws of how tradition originates and develops. The present essay questions his confident use of the names mentioned in the Gospels and asks for clarification as to the precise relationship between eyewitnesses and history and the nature of their recollection. It also points to and exemplifies the rhetorical character of the Gospel of Mark as an indication of how reports about the past were interpreted, rhetoricized, and narrativized and asks how precisely to account for the infl uence of eyewitnesses when they were not longer present in the transmitting groups and the Christian communities.


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