Friday, December 26, 2008

the historicity of Christ and the Holocaust

A short excerpt from Gary Anderson's review in First Things of Richard Bauckham's book, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses.

I will acquire Bauckham's book soon-- either via Christmas or ordering it soon afterward. His book on Revelation was awesome. And Darian Lockett, one of my former colleagues at The King's College, was profoundly influenced by him.

What struck me most about the book, however, was its last chapter. Here he compares the eyewitness nature of the gospels to recent attempts to document what the eyewitnesses of the Holocaust claim to have remembered. There are four reasons such a comparison is apt. First, both sets of eyewitnesses believed they participated in a unique event. Second, this uniqueness created a challenge for transmission: Who would believe it? Third, precisely because of the uniqueness of the event and the doubt that follows from it, the witnesses felt a strong responsibility to communicate their story. And, fourth, the exceptional nature of the event means that only the eyewitnesses could do it justice.

In short, it is the uniqueness of the event that drives the testimony about it....For believers, this surely seems right: The vividness of the gospel narratives takes its bearing from the startling and completely unexpected fact that Jesus truly rose from the dead. Hearing the New Testament narratives with the same sense of strong, firsthand experience that one brings to Elie Wiesel’s Night, for example, will change the way we hear the gospel....


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