Monday, March 19, 2007

"The Jesus of testimony"

The claims of Christianity are founded on events that really happened. As Paul makes clear in I Corinthians 15, actual events really matter. Consequently the strength of the historical evidence for those events is important.

One of the best popular arguments is The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? by F.F. Bruce. The Why Faith blog provides a link to an ebook version of Bruce's classic which can be found here. Why Faith? also recommends The Historical Reliability of the Gospels and an interesting sounding new book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, described at Amazon, in part, as follows:
This new book argues that the four Gospels are closely based on eyewitness testimony of those who knew Jesus. Noted New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham challenges the prevailing assumption that the accounts of Jesus circulated as "anonymous community traditions," asserting instead that they were transmitted in the name of the original eyewitnesses. To drive home this controversial point, Bauckham draws on internal literary evidence, study of personal names in the first century, and recent developments in the understanding of oral traditions. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses also taps into the rich resources of modern study of memory and cognitive psychology, refuting the conclusions of the form critics and calling New Testament scholarship to make a clean break with this long-dominant tradition. Finally, Bauckham challenges readers to end the classic division between the "historical Jesus" and the "Christ of faith," proposing instead the "Jesus of testimony."

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