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date: 26 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that the canonical Gospels are based on eye-witness testimony. The gospels are ‘historical’. Like all historical narratives the Gospels are an inseparable mixture of fact and interpretation. The claim that the Gospels are eye-witness testimony is not a claim that they are factually objective neutral accounts. It is the claim that the Gospels are based on involved actors, not upon information drawn from neutral bystanders. Nonetheless, because the Christian tradition regarded the Gospels as apostolic testimony, they regarded them as reliable portraits of Jesus. Since the rise of historical criticism, modern Christology has bifurcated, between a ‘Jesus of History’ and the ‘Christ of Faith’. This chapter argues that as the product of involved agents, or eye-witnesses, ‘the Jesus of Testimony’ mediates between these two extremes; the basis of Christology is neither ecclesial projection (‘Christ of faith’) nor historical reconstruction (‘Jesus of history’) but the ‘Jesus of Testimony’.

Keywords: eye-witness, testimony, history, Gospels, Jesus of history, Christ of faith, apostolicity, Jesus of Testimony

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