Memory, Methodology, and the Historical Jesus

A Response to Richard Bauckham

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
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  • 1 1Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, n.j., Dale.allison@ptsem.edu

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Richard Bauckham’s criticisms of my book, Constructing Jesus, do not affect its main arguments, and the methodological alternative he suggests is problematic.

  • 3

    Bauckham, “Memory,” p. 29.

  • 4

    Bauckham, “Memory,” p. 32.

  • 5

    Bauckham, “Memory,” p. 29.

  • 6

    Allison, Constructing Jesus, p. 16.

  • 8

    Bauckham, “Memory,” p. 50.

  • 9

    Bauckham, “Memory,” p. 49.

  • 10

    Allison, Constructing Jesus, p. 8.

  • 11

    Alan Kirk, “Cognition, Commemoration, and Tradition: Memory and the Historiography of Jesus Research,” Early Christianity 6 (2015), pp. 285–10, has recently gone so far as to claim that the “historiographical challenges presented by the tradition … have little to do with the qualities of eyewitness recollection.”

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  • 12

    Bauckham, “Memory,” p. 29.

  • 13

    C. H. Dodd, History and the Gospel (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1938), pp. 92–110. There Dodd expresses his own dependence upon Edwyn Hoskyns and Noel Davey, The Riddle of the New Testament (London: Faber & Faber, 1936), pp. 162–207.

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  • 14

    Allison, Constructing Jesus, p. 20, n. 82. See also p. 15, n. 72, where I cite thirteen additional authors. To these one may add Norman Perrin, Rediscovering the Teaching of Jesus (New York: Harper & Row, 1967), p. 46.

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  • 15

    David E. Aune, “Oral Tradition and the Aphorisms of Jesus,” in Jesus and the Oral Gospel Tradition (ed. Henry Wansbrough; jsntsup 64; Sheffield: jsot, 1991), pp. 240–41.

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  • 21

    Allison, Constructing Jesus, p. 9, n. 46, citing Richard J. Bauckham, Jesus and the ­Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (Grand Rapids, mi: Eerdmans, 2006), pp. 319–57.

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  • 23

    Bauckham, “Memory,” p. 43.

  • 24

    Bauckham, “Memory,” p. 44, cites David B. Pillemer, Momentous Events, Vivid Memories (Cambridge, ma: Harvard University Press, 2000), p. 56, as recognizing that even though “memories of personal life episodes are generally true to the original experience … ­specific details may be omitted or misremembered and substantial distortions do occasionally occur.”

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  • 25

    Bauckham, “Memory,” p. 50.

  • 28

    Bauckham, “Memory,” p. 32.

  • 29

    Bauckham, “Memory,” p. 30.

  • 30

    Baukham, “Memory,” p. 49.

  • 32

    Bauckham, “Memory,” p. 49.

  • 34

    Bauckham, “Memory,” p. 49.

  • 36

    Bauckham, “Memory,” p. 49.

  • 37

    Bauckham, “Memory,” p. 49.

  • 41

    Bauckham, “Memory,” p. 50, thinks we need to ask, “Was the author [of Mark] in a position to know what he claims?” While the question is perfectly sensible, I do not know how to return an answer.

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