A Review of Richard Bauckham’s “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”; discussion with Historian Adam Francisco, Part 15

“The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. ”   

—John chapter 1:35–40


 Peter turned and saw the disciple [the Beloved Disciple] whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” 23 So the rumor spread in the community[c] that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”[d]

24 This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. 25 But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

—John 21:20-25

My review of chapter 15:

Bauckham believes that the Beloved Disciple wrote the Gospel of John.  His evidence?  The statement in verse 24 of John chapter 21 listed above, and, a hidden literary clue called an “inclusio”.  According to Bauckham, an inclusio was a common literary technique used by first century Greek authors to subtly indicate the eyewitness source of their story.  In the Gospel of John, the eyewitness source can be found in the two passages above.  In one passage he is clearly identified as the disciple whom Jesus loved.  In the other passage, Bauckham believes that the author of the Gospel of John left subtle clues for his readers which if closely studied, indicate who this unnamed disciple was who accompanied Andrew the day that Jesus passed by them and John the Baptist.  Here are the clues, according to Bauckham:

“In the case of the first two disciples [of Jesus], their first words to Jesus are “Rabbi, where are you staying (meneis)?” (1:38).  In response he invites them to “Come and see!”  The narrative continues:  “So they came and saw where he was staying (menei), and they remained (emeinan) with him that day” (1:39).  (In English a consistent translation of the Greek verb menein is not possible here, but it is the same verb that is translated both “stay” and “remain”).  At the end of the Gospel narrative, in reply to Peter’s question about the Beloved Disciple, “Lord, what about him?”  Jesus says, “If I will that he remain (menein) until I come, what is that to you?” (21:22) .  This saying of Jesus is then repeated to form the last words of Jesus in the Gospel, “If it is my will that he remain (menein) until I come” (21:23).

The connection here between the two cases of “remaining” may seem somewhat superficial but when we learn (in 21:24) that the Beloved Disciple is the principle eyewitness behind the Gospel’s narrative, the connection becomes much more significant.

…In view of this quite elaborate use of the inclusio of eyewitness testimony , we must  conclude that the Gospel presents the Beloved Disciple as the disciple whose eyewitness reports are the most important source of the Gospel’s historical narrative.”

pp. 392-393

Gary:  Shameless conjecture!  There is zero proof whatsoever that the nameless disciple who accompanied Andrew on the day that Jesus passed by John the Baptist was the Beloved Disciple (if the story is true to begin with).  And get this:  Bauckham does not address the fact that “John’s” story about how and where Jesus first met Simon Peter and Andrew his brother is completely different from that of “Mark” in his Gospel.

And Bauckham asks us to believe that “John” the author of the Gospel of John was an eyewitness, and, that the author of the Gospel of Mark took down, by dictation, the memoirs of the Apostle Peter…yet these two authors can’t get straight how and where Jesus first met Peter!!!!

Here is Mark’s version of How Jesus met Simon Peter and his brother, Andrew:

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news[i] of God,[j] 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near;[k] repent, and believe in the good news.”[l]

16 As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him.   —The Gospel of Mark, chapter 1

Gary:  Those two stories are NOT compatible, folks!  Somebody is wrong…or both are wrong!


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