Richard Bauckham: The Gospels as Histories: What sort of history are they?

It is true that the Gospels are not modern biographies. While modern biographers may write to the entire public and no one or group in particular, the Gospels were written to specific Christian audiences. But what needs to be remembered is that just because the Gospels are not biographies in the modern sense, this does not mean they are unreliable. It is important to avoid the fallacy of chronological snobbery which rejects something just because of the date of it is extremely old or what people label as “primitive” or “prescientific.” If anything, we should appreciate the fact that we have access to four biographies from a figure in antiquity such as Jesus. Despite these issues, it can still seen that the reason there is still a high degree of skepticism towards the records that are available to us is mostly due to the miraculous. Therefore, many of the objections to the miraculous are mostly philosophical. However, I have lost count the number of times skeptics have made mistakes about the genre of the Gospels. The objections go like this:

“The Gospels are fiction”

“Even if there are real, historical people in the Gospels, they are a form of historical fiction.”

” The Gospels are theology and not history”

“The Gospels are not real history”

The list goes on. It is almost impossible to defend the Gospels without a clear understanding of the genre topic. Even though I did my own post on this topic, Richard Bauckham gives us a nice resource here. Study hard!


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