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Yeshua in Context » Eyewitnesses

PODCAST: Lamb of God #2

Sometimes we understand a story best only after we have read to the end. Like a detective story, the Gospel of John has some revelation that waits until 21:24. And when we read a second time, once we understand, there are some connections between Messiah, Passover, Temple sacrifices, and the eyewitness experience of the Beloved Disciple that add new layers of meaning to Yeshua as our Passover. Lamb of God #2 … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Cross, Detailed Commentary, Eyewitnesses, Hebrew Bible as Testimony, Literary Features, Passover, Podcasts, Sacrificial System, Yeshua as

PODCAST: Lamb of God #1

Passover is coming. It’s a good time to meditate on many themes. One that get’s less attention — I think — than it should is the lamb of God thread in the gospel of John. There is probably a lot more to it than you think. And it is good. Lamb of God #1 … Read entire article »

Filed under: DHE (Delitzsch Gospels), Disciples & Named Characters, Eyewitnesses, Passover, Yeshua as

PODCAST: Two Marys

Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany. Eyewitnesses named in the gospels. Many myths surround them. Who were they? What did their faith contribute? What do we owe to these two Mary’s for our understanding of Yeshua. We owe them a great deal. Two Mary’s … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disciples & Named Characters, Eyewitnesses, Podcasts

The Return of the PODCAST

The Yeshua in Context podcast is back. You can find it at DerekLeman.com on the Podcast page. Last week I posted “Intro to Eyewitnesses in the Gospels,” a fifteen minute introduction to the idea that the gospels are sourced in the living tradition of eyewitness oral history, which was very active in the early congregations of Yeshua-believers. And yesterday, I posted “Two Mary’s,” with an inspiring look at Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany. Who were they? How was their witness vital to our understanding of Yeshua? If you want to subscribe on iTunes, search “Yeshua in Context” in the iTunes store (under podcasts). Note that the “old” podcast is still there in iTunes. The old podcast is called “The Yeshua in Context Podcast” and the new one is called … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disciples & Named Characters, Eyewitnesses, Formation of the Gospels, Podcasts

VIDEO, Where did the gospels come from?

People make some assumptions based on pious tradition about where the gospels come from. The truth is more interesting. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Beginners, Disciples & Named Characters, Eyewitnesses, Formation of the Gospels, Gospels as History, Literary Features, Study Tips, Video

Video at the Musings Blog: Why the New Testament?

The question has more to it than might appear at first. When the 27 different documents that are now collected into what we call “the New Testament” (or what could be called “the Apostolic Writings”), none of the writers knew they were writing for a collection or that they were writing scripture. What was happening in the Yeshua movement that gave birth to these documents? The gospels in particular have an interesting purpose and origin. The generation of eyewitnesses and apostles were passing away. See more and the video “Why the New Testament?” here at the Musings blog. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Eyewitnesses, Greco-Roman Background, Video

Tracking Down the Beloved Disciple, Polycrates

This Sunday (July 10), I’m repeating the “Eyewitnesses in the Gospels” seminar here in Atlanta (want to bring it your way?). The last of the five sessions is on the Beloved Disciple and the Fourth Gospel. The entire seminar is based on Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses and, to a lesser degree, The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple. I’ve had a number of “Beloved Disciple” articles here (see “The Beloved Disciple: Who is He?” and “The Beloved Disciple in Relation to Peter”). Now, I’m summarizing Bauckham’s historical detective work following the trail leading to the identity of the Beloved Disciple. It’s a twisted trail sorting through evidence with a number of errors which require explanation. It’s fascinating to historically understand how simple the identification of the Beloved Disciple is and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disciples & Named Characters, Eyewitnesses, Formation of the Gospels, General

The Beloved Disciple in Relation to Peter

*Note: At the bottom you will find a printable PDF, a Sermon Series Starter page from this blog post. In the Gospel of John, how do Peter and the Beloved Disciple compare and contrast? There is a definite theme running through the fourth gospel about this. In some verses it becomes rather obvious. For example, at the Last Supper table, you have to notice that Peter is not as close to Yeshua and has to whisper to the Beloved Disciple to get information about what Yeshua is saying. What is the relationship between these two disciples? What does their relationship say about discipleship and the different personalities of disciples? Do they represent two contrasting, though both legitimate, ways of being a disciple? … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disciples & Named Characters, Discipleship - Formation, Eyewitnesses, Preachable Points

The Beloved Disciple: Who Is He?

He is the “Where’s Waldo?” of the fourth gospel. He is a conspicuously unnamed disciple in several scenes in the gospel of John (and yet I categorize this post under “Disciples & Named Characters”). You will find him in 1:35-40; 13:23-26; 19:25-27; 19:35; 20:2-10; 21:2; 21:7; 21:20-24; and possibly 18:15-16. Who is this guy? Why is he so important (and I’m not talking Dan Brown material here!)? This weekend (on June 5, 2011), I’m leading a seminar, “Eyewitnesses in the Gospels,” based on Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. I’m available to bring this 5-hour seminar to your group. The Beloved Disciple is one of many intriguing characters we need to get to know. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disciples & Named Characters, Eyewitnesses, Gospels as History

Podcast Transcript: Peter’s Footprints

This is the transcript for today’s podcast. You can find the Yeshua in Context podcast at the iTunes store or at DerekLeman.com. Recently an archaeology blogger, for whom I have nothing but respect although he is a skeptic when it comes to matters of faith, made a comment on his blog about the gospels being unreliable. He said that we find a pattern in human discourse about major events. Years after the event, people make up apocryphal stories. They often put the stories in the mouth of authority figures to give them more credibility and the stories pass down as if they really happened and were witnessed by important people. This, he said, is what the gospels represent. Maybe there are some genuine stories in there, but most are apocryphal and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disciples & Named Characters, Eyewitnesses, Formation of the Gospels, Gospels as History, Podcasts

Papias: Mark, Matthew, John #1

Just some notes related to my absorption of Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, in this case about chapter 9, “Papias on Mark and Matthew.” Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 330) famously quotes Papias (c. 110) regarding some background to Mark and Matthew. Note that Papias is not correct simply because his comments are old, closer to the time the evangelists wrote. There are many ambiguities in what Papias says and Bauckham critically evaluates the statements rather than talking them as gospel. The main issues include: (1) How can Mark’s gospel be from eyewitness testimony (Peter’s) and be so different from another eyewitness source (the fourth gospel, thought by Bauckham to be the work of John the elder)? (2) In what way can we make sense of and find support for the idea that … Read entire article »

Filed under: Eyewitnesses, Formation of the Gospels

Why Are Some Characters Anonymous in Mark?

Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses is my preoccupation as I prepare for the June 5 “Eyewitnesses in the Gospels” seminar here in Atlanta. Check here for information and I hope a few of you reading this can come join us. The Passion narrative in Mark (probably chapters 11 and 14-16, says Bauckham) likely comes from an earlier written or oral source that Mark is using. Several characters in this section are oddly anonymous. They seem like the sort of people who would be named as eyewitnesses. These unusual anonymous persons include: (1) The owner of a certain donkey in 11:1-6 (on the theory that the lending of the donkey was pre-arranged). (2) Possibly the same man was the owner of the upper room for the Last Supper in 14:13-15. (3) A certain woman … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disciples & Named Characters, Eyewitnesses, Gospels as History

The Eyewitness Theory of Gospel Formation #1

I haven’t forgotten that I started a series called “Chronicling the Formation of the Gospels.” I’ve just been busy…too busy. I’m reading Mark Goodacre’s The Case Against Q and Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Soon I plan to read Paul Anderson’s The Fourth Gospel and the Quest for Jesus. Alongside my “Chronicling the Formation of the Gospels” series, I plan to write a simpler explanation of Bauckham’s eyewitness theory. I think there is something solid here which future researchers will not be able to ignore. Bauckham makes some points so well, I would have to think his book will leave a mark on historical Jesus studies and gospels research. What are some of the kinds of observations and questions that lead Richard Bauckham to the eyewitness theory of the formation … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disciples & Named Characters, Eyewitnesses, Formation of the Gospels, Gospels as History

Also Messiah of the High & Mighty

He is the Lord of the poor and lowly and also the down and out. There is no doubt that this is a theme of Yeshua’s life and especially in Luke. Aside from the obvious one (“blessed are the poor,” Luke 6:20), there are plenty of others. I rather like this one: “Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’” (Luke 10:9). But a comment in Markus Bockmuehl’s This Jesus: Martyr, Lord, Messiah caused me to go searching. He says, “One should resist the cliche that Jesus kept company only with the poor” (83). So I went searching to find among those who knew and loved him, those whom he knew and loved, some who were high and mighty. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disciples & Named Characters, Eyewitnesses, Preachable Points

Jewish Names in Galilee and Judea

Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses makes a case that many named characters in the gospels were eyewitnesses whose testimony was specifically known to the Yeshua-community. One of Bauckham’s interesting streams of supporting data comes in comparing the names in the gospels with broader lists of Palestinian Jewish names (as opposed to Diaspora Jewish names). The survey of names is from Tal Ilan’s Lexicon of Jewish Names in Late Antiquity: Part I: Palestine 330 BCE-200 CE. It includes the gospels, Josephus, ossuaries, and Dead Sea Scrolls (ossuaries provided the most results). What were the top men’s names in Yeshua’s time? The top women’s names? How does this relate to the overall theory of named characters as eyewitnesses? … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Disciples & Named Characters, Eyewitnesses

Yeshua’s Burial

This is a rough transcript for today’s Podcast. I will post the link to the podcast here as soon as it is uploaded. The burial of Yeshua is an early belief of his followers, cited, for example, in 1 Corinthians 15:4 as a longstanding tradition by the time of the 50’s when Paul wrote the letter. In recent times it has been claimed that Yeshua’s burial is a highly unlikely event, that criminals were generally refused burial or at most put in a shallow grave where carrion animals could disgrace the corpse. The burial of Yeshua has been the center of a number of rationalistic refutations of the resurrection: the body was lost in a shallow grave and the resurrection story resulted as a mistake, the body was moved by Joseph … Read entire article »

Filed under: Answering Objections, Background to Gospels, Disciples & Named Characters, Eyewitnesses, Resurrection of Yeshua

Women as Eyewitnesses

One of the distinctive features of the death, burial, and resurrection accounts of Yeshua is the presence of a number of women, some named and some not named. This gets even more interesting when you compare the four different accounts. Only one woman is named in all four gospels: Mary Magdalene. The other women who appear include: Mary the mother of James and Joses, Salome, the mother of the sons of Zebedee, the other Mary, and Joanna. Many who have written on the resurrection stories and considered whether they describe a real event in history have made a simple point: women’s testimony was not considered valid or desirable in ancient courts. The evidence for this point is not lock-tight, but it is probably true that female testimony had less value to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Eyewitnesses, Resurrection of Yeshua

Reasons for Faith in Yeshua

This post is a bit less about the background of the gospels and more about theology and apologetics. But its basis is a theological reading of the gospels and it should help readers see themes to look for. 1) The foreshadowing of the Great Coming Resurrection in Yeshua’s resurrection. Resurrection (the bodily raising of the dead at the end of the age) is an idea only referred to in later passages in the Hebrew Bible, but the idea became a staple of classical Jewish faith (not just Christian faith). Pinchas Lapide’s famous book (The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective) concludes that Yeshua truly rose but then reinterprets this in a way that denies he is Messiah. Lapide, in my opinion, overlooks what occurred to Paul on the road to Damascus (where … Read entire article »

Filed under: Applying the Gospels, Discipleship - Formation, Eyewitnesses, Identity of Yeshua, Reading Strategies

Simon of Cyrene, Why You Should Know Him

We’ve already introduced the idea that some characters in the gospels are named because they became eyewitnesses, telling and retelling their story, in the early Yeshua community. See “Cleopas, Why You Should Know Him” under the “Eyewitnesses” category at the right. This helpful way of looking at named characters in the gospels as all thanks to Richard Bauckham and his book, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Simon of Cyrene is interesting for several reasons. One of them is that Mark also names his sons, Alexander and Rufus (15:21), while Matthew (27:32) and Luke 23:26) do not. What could be the reason? … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disciples & Named Characters, Eyewitnesses, Gospels as History, Spectacular Commentary

Cleopas, Why You Should Know Him

A strange thing happens at the end of Luke’s gospel (several strange things, in fact). Yeshua, unrecognizable even by his disciples, walks with two of them on a road to Emmaus. Which two? Only one is named: Cleopas. Why is only one of them named? And what else do we know about Cleopas? Here is where we get into some fascinating material from Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. Cleopas is perhaps the most interesting case. And this evidence is the kind of simple, memorable material to silence skeptics who doubt completely that the story of Yeshua has a solid historical basis. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disciples & Named Characters, Eyewitnesses, Gospels as History, Spectacular Commentary