My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was the first whole book of serious gospels scholarship that I’ve read. Bauckham deploys textual scholarship; knowledge about the art of writing history in the ancient world; Christian writings from the New Testament and 2nd century; and studies of memory, testimony, and the transmission of oral traditions to argue for the pervasive influence of eyewitness testimony in the writing of the gospels. He posits the model of the careful guarding of traditions that were passed on to Christian communities against the view of form criticism, which holds that little historical information can be found in the gospels. Bauckham’s views of Scripture are on the conservative end of the spectrum, though he does not hold to inerrancy of the Bible or the traditional views of the authorship of the gospels of Matthew and John.
I agreed with the main thrust of the book’s argument, so I can’t be a good judge of its persuasiveness. I can say that it was a fascinating look at the gospels and the world in which they were written.