Richard Bauckham came to the NT seminar to talk about the Bethany family–Lazarus, Martha, and Mary.  Following the conclusion of his recent book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, he stated that the reason that this family’s names were maintained in the Gospel of John was because of the following: they were eyewitnesses used by John and they were still known in the community.  The role of Lazarus in John’s gospel is a key piece in the path to the crucifixion of Jesus.  The question, then, was why is this experience was left out of the other gospels.  Some would say that John just embellished this story (as I believe he said Ben Witherington argues).  However, Bauckham uses Gerd Theissen’s “protective strategy” in Mark to explain why they are missing (cf. Gerd Theeissen, The Gospels in Context, Chapter 4).  That argument goes like this: Mark was written at an early stage (40-50 C.E.) when the key members of the Christian movement would have been still under threat of persecution for their involvement.  So in chapter 14 of Mark there are 3 people who are anonymous in Mark but named in John.  Bauckham applies this thought to the whole Lazarus story–it was so inflamatory that even if anonymous it would lead the authorities back to him.  So it was left out.  (One piece of background that came out in the follow-up discussion is Bauckham’s view of the accuracy of John.  He noted that the regular notes of the timing and place in John leads him to believe that John has the most accurate chronological layout of Jesus’ ministry.  As a result, he places weight on what John has and others don’t.)  Those in the room weren’t that keen on his proposal.  Jimmy Dunn, Francis Watson, and Bill Telford all challenged different pieces of it.  Chris Tilling did a series of blogs based on an interview with Bauckham, so if you are interested, take a look there.

Francis Watson was in town for a lecture on creation in a series of Reading Genesis After Darwin.  He looked at the Gospel of Judas and Irenaeus and their differences of opinion on creation.  It was a lecture for non-specialists, so not that in-depth but a nice overview.

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