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Questioning the Bauckham’s eye-witnesses, and some corrections

17 June 2009


From the Revd Kim Fabricius

Sir, — In the light of the thesis of Richard Bauckham’s Michael Ramsey Prize-winning Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, the Revd Ivan Clutterbuck asks: “Can we therefore expect a rethink on women priests and bishops?” (Letters, 12 June).

Perhaps Mr Clutterbuck should read Gospel Women: Studies of the named women in the Gospels (2002). In this book, Professor Bauckham argues that in the Early Church, women witnesses actually acted as apostolic guarantors of the resurrection of Christ. Oops.

17 Carnglas Road
Swansea SA2 9BJ

From Steven Carr

Sir, — Not one person in history, not even the Early Church history, named himself as ever having seen or heard of Joseph of Arimathaea, Bartimaeus, Martha, Mary Magdal­ene, Nicodemus, Salome, Lazarus, Nicodemus, Judas, Thomas, Nathaniel, Simon of Cyrene, Barabbas, Jairus, etc, etc.

As soon as there is a public church in Acts 2, with the possibility of public records, this entire cast of gospel characters vanishes as quickly as the Angel Moroni and the Golden Plates of Mormonism vanished.

Bauckham’s book is one last throw of the dice, and shows just how utterly missing is any actual evidence that these people existed.

3 Bowness Avenue, Prenton,
Birkenhead, CH43 0SD

From Professor Richard Bauckham

Sir, — Some small points in my interview for Reform magazine, reproduced last week, were garbled. The Greek word for “write” is grapho, not graphia. Irenaeus was not Bishop of Ephesus; Polycrates was. The term I use is “protective anonymity” (protecting someone by keeping them anonymous), not “protected anonymity”.

Much more importantly, crucial words were accidentally omitted from the quotation from Papias. The third and fourth sentences should read: “Nor did I enjoy those who recall someone else’s com­mand­ments, but those who remember the commandments given by the Lord to faith and proceeding from the truth itself. And if by chance anyone who had been in attendance on the elders should come my way, I inquired about the words of the elders — [that is,] what [according to the elders] Andrew or Peter said, or Philip, or Thomas or James, or John or Matthew or any other of the Lord’s disciples, and whatever Aristion and the elder John, the Lord’s disciples, were saying.”

11 Archway Court
Cambridge CB3 9LW

Correction: the ISBN for Jesus and the Eyewitnesses is 978-0-8028-6390-4, not the one printed last week. The price is £17.99 (£16.20).

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