Introduction to Professor Richard Bauckham

Richard Bauckman (Wikipedia profile; Theopedia profile) is retired professor of New Testament studies at St. Mary’s College, University of St. Andrews, Scotland.  As a New Testament scholar, his research interests include Jesus, the Gospels, and early Christianity.

Bauckham’s 2006 book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony carries this description from Amazon:

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.

Here also is a 2007 review of the book (Another Homerun for Bauckham) from the book’s Amazon web page.  Bauckham’s work is a thoroughly researched explanation of the ancient literature we have in the four gospels.

In this ten-minute video from YouTube, Bauckman outlines what his research has revealed about the historical nature of the gospels.

Introduction to Professor Larry Hurtado

Larry W. Hurtado (Wikipedia profile; Theopedia profile) is professor of New Testament Language, Literature, and Theology at The University of Edinburgh Scotland. His research focus is early Christianity, and particularly early Christian devotion to Jesus.

This soft-spoken American scholar provides significant insight into how quickly after the resurrection the New Testament community regarded Jesus as a divine figure. Contrary to the notion that the worship of Jesus was the result of a long evolutionary process, his work reveals that recognition of Jesus’ superhuman status came with explosive awareness in the aftermath of His resurrection appearances and ascension into heaven.

Professor Hurtado has a blog which carries lists of his work as well as his comments on his subject area of interest. He will even answer questions but he prefers that people read his work before asking. This is understandable since he’d have to take the time to re-type things he’s already written. You can also find video of him on YouTube. Here’s a ten-minute clip that will not only introduce you to his style, but also give you an appreciation of the focus of his work: early devotion to Jesus.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdhMuKOkkoU]

Biblical Background

Today I am adding a category to this blog: Biblical Background.

The purpose will be to make it easier to find posts which deal with biblical research and biblical studies. By this I mean those things that help us to better understand what the Bible is saying – resources that help allow the light that is in the Bible to shine forth with less obstruction.  The “obstruction” is simply the disadvantage of living two to three millennia separted from the times in which the Bible documents were written.

There are two aspects to the ancient literature of the Bible: that which is timeless, and that which is timebound.  Biblical studies help us better understand the timebound issues so that what is timeless can shine through.

There are two potential problems with biblical studies.  First, we may end up studying about the Bible more than study the Bible itself.  Second, we might forget that studying the Bible is not primarily an academic exercise but rather it should be a spiritual exercise.  That is, we want to look to the Bible in order to find the ideas that come from God so that we might daily live according to those ideas.  As long as we avoid these pitfalls, then biblical research should bless us and not distract us.

Biblical studies and biblical research are generally synonymous terms.  However, the former implies the catalog of known information while the latter implies the continuing search for new information. 

We want to let the Bible speak for itself.  Biblical Background materials are those resources that help us in that regard.  They will not include, for example, books of theology which attempt to speak for the Bible.  These can be of value, but they are not our interest here.  Rather, what we seek here is information that gives context to the lives and works of the Bible writers so that we can better understand what they were saying.

I hope you will enjoy the resources that will be identified here.  They will be included because they enriched my life, and think I they can enrich your life, too.