Question on Books by Larry Hurdado & Richard Bauckham proposing early dates for Gospels

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Question on Books by Larry Hurdado & Richard Bauckham proposing early dates for Gospels

Post  nonchai on Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:17 pm

Guys,

Have any of you out there read the works of Larry Hurtado and Richard Bauckham ? since they both seem to be part of a new bunch of scholars using scolarship and "research" . Both seem to be proposing theories which help the evangelical apologist to make a case for a much earlier date to the gospels etc than generally accepted by biblical scolars.

By Richard Bauckham:
"Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony"
"The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple: Narrative, History, and Theology in the Gospel of John"

By Larry Hurtado:
"Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity"

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Re: Question on Books by Larry Hurdado & Richard Bauckham proposing early dates for Gospels

Post  Stanley on Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:54 pm

I've not read them. Could you give a quick precis of the evidence they use?
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Re: Question on Books by Larry Hurdado & Richard Bauckham proposing early dates for Gospels

Post  nonchai on Wed Oct 21, 2009 1:12 pm

Stanley wrote:I've not read them. Could you give a quick precis of the evidence they use?

From an Amazon review on the Bauckham book ( not mine ):

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0802863906/ref=ord_cart_shr?_encoding=UTF8&m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE

"This book sets out to establish that the Gospels compare favorably with other historical and biographical literature from the Classical period, and it makes an admirable case for that proposition. The author recounts the methods of Classical historians and biographers and posits certain literary conventions they used to warrant the accuracy of their text. He then turns to the Gospels, finding that they not only conform to good Classical historiographic methodology, they also make use of the Classical literary conventions warranting accuracy.

Basically, he finds that Classical historians highly valued eyewitness testimony as a basis for their works, and that the Gospels showed the same care to base their accounts on eyewitness testimony. He also demonstrates how, through the use of Classical literary convention, the Gospels identify the eyewitnesses to the various events they recount.

Bauckham engages in a statistical study of the names of minor characters mentioned in the Gospels, and his findings should raise more than a few eyebrows. It is a complex study, but the bottom line is that the statistical distribution of names of minor characters validates the historical accuracy of the Gospels.

Bauckham also tackles the identity of the Beloved Disciple, drawing parallels between the Beloved Disciple's relationship to Jesus and Porphyry's relationship to Plotinus. Porphyry was a disciple of Plotinus who wrote a biography of that philosopher, and whose self-portrayal in that biography mirrors the portrayal of the Beloved Disciple in the Fourth Gospel. Bauckham identifies the Beloved Disciple as the author of the Fourth Gospel and the three letters of John, and names the Beloved Disciple as John the Elder of Ephesus, a young Jerusalem disciple of Jesus who was not a member of the Twelve. "

From the Amazon Hurtado Book synopsis on "Lord-Jesus-Christ-Devotion-Christianity":

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lord-Jesus-Christ-Devotion-Christianity/dp/0802831672/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256141407&sr=8-4

"This outstanding book provides an in-depth historical study of the place of Jesus in the religious life, beliefs, and worship of Christians from the beginnings of the Christian movement down to the late second century. "Lord Jesus Christ" is a monumental work on earliest Christian devotion to Jesus, sure to replace Wilhelm Bousset's "Kyrios Christos" (1913) as the standard work on the subject. Larry Hurtado, widely respected for his previous contributions to the study of the New Testament and Christian origins, offers the best view to date of how the first Christians saw and reverenced Jesus as divine. In assembling this compelling picture, Hurtado draws on a wide body of ancient sources, from Scripture and the writings of such figures as Ignatius of Antioch and Justin to apocryphal texts such as the "Gospel of Thomas" and the "Gospel of Truth."
Hurtado considers such themes as early beliefs about Jesus' divine status and significance, but he also explores telling devotional practices of the time, including prayer and worship, the use of Jesus' name in exorcism, baptism and healing, ritual invocation of Jesus as "Lord," martyrdom, and lesser-known phenomena such as prayer postures and the curious scribal practice known today as the nomina sacra. The revealing portrait that emerges from Hurtado's comprehensive study yields definitive answers to questions like these: how important was this formative period to later Christian tradition? When did the divinization of Jesus first occur? Was early Christianity influenced by neighboring religions? How did the idea of Jesus' divinity change old views of God? And why did the powerful dynamics of early beliefs and practices encourage people to make the costly move of becoming a Christian?

Boasting an unprecedented breadth and depth of coverage - the book speaks authoritatively on everything from early Christian history to themes in biblical studies to New Testament Christology - Hurtado's "Lord Jesus Christ" is at once significant enough that a wide range of scholars will want to read it and accessible enough that general readers interested at all in Christian origins will also profit greatly from it."

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Re: Question on Books by Larry Hurdado & Richard Bauckham proposing early dates for Gospels

Post  Stanley on Wed Oct 21, 2009 1:26 pm

nonchai wrote:

Bauckham engages in a statistical study of the names of minor characters mentioned in the Gospels, and his findings should raise more than a few eyebrows. It is a complex study, but the bottom line is that the statistical distribution of names of minor characters validates the historical accuracy of the Gospels.


Intriguing. I would say referring to towns, places and people that are not referred to a that time outside the text was probably a better guide to the historical accuracy of the texts than the distribution of names?
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Re: Question on Books by Larry Hurdado & Richard Bauckham proposing early dates for Gospels

Post  nonchai on Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:15 pm

just to clarify a wee bit, - I am an atheist and although the forum software automatically prints out the name of the poster being quoted
( ie "Nonchai wrote" ) - of course i'm just quoting from the Amazon web pages.

I've not read any books by these authors ( yet ) and have no basis for a critique or support for their arguments.

However i am aware that some christians are already making use of the work of these scholars ( along with NT Wright etc ) in what could be construed as a "rear guard" action against the higher criticism and the secular textual critics ( ehrman, ludemann, crossan etc )

I've already come across this stuff being used in debates by apologists with atheists so i think some "counter apologetics" here would be a very good idea Smile

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Re: Question on Books by Larry Hurdado & Richard Bauckham proposing early dates for Gospels

Post  mischief on Thu Oct 22, 2009 6:21 am

Here's the thing that leapt out at me:

"Basically, he finds that Classical historians highly valued eyewitness testimony as a basis for their works, and that the Gospels showed the same care to base their accounts on eyewitness testimony. He also demonstrates how, through the use of Classical literary convention, the Gospels identify the eyewitnesses to the various events they recount."

This demonstrates that the gospel writers valued the *form* of history - but if we are assuming that the gospels are based on one another then this is explained easily enough.

But to say that using classical literary convention somehow validates the truth of the text itself is a stretch. I can't talk about the bible specifically here, or middle eastern traditions, but only about Anglo Saxon and Old English - but in those, the oral tradition always claimed eyewitness status to the events within. Beowulf, for example, has that claim in the first few lines.

Also, even pretty good 'historians' from the classical period just plain made stuff up, inserting parable like stories into histories, or claiming godly descent for the character they're writing about.

And I'm guessing that these books will use cross reference between the gospels as if they are independent sources, so I'll just look pointedly at the RD episodes 'Cross examining the four gospels' and leave it at that.

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