Richard Bauckham: Sermon on the Mount is NOT Historical

For folks to note, Prof. Richard Bauckham believes the Sermon on the Mount is not historical. Refreshing to know and obviously important for Christians who lean on him for their “early high Christology” arguments. [There was a Christian apologist who recently imputed intentions to a clip I posted previously which I did not have, just to avoid folks jumping the gun unfairly, this video is not a refutation of the Bible, it’s simply a video for the crowd who lean on Richard Bauckham – the last video clip I posted on FB was of a secular professor which was simply for the crowd who believe they can “prove the resurrection historically” to secularists without presuppositions. Lesson to be learnt for Christians: there are many Christians who are not in your crowd so don;t assume everything Christianity related is talking to your crew. If you’re unsure, don’t impute intentions on me, just ask me…it will save me from a ton of eye rolling]

Categories: Bart Ehrman, Bible, Biblical scholarship, Missionaries, Unbelievable

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3 replies

  1. What Baukham says in the beginning does not strike me as egregious. It is my own position (in light of both the small size of the number of statements attributed to Jesus and the declaration at John 21:25) that what we have in the Gospels are distillations of fragments from a much larger spectrum of traditions, therefore what Jesus is quoted as saying in a particular moment does not have to constitute everything He said at that moment (rather portions of what He said are being presented). This approach can also help in offering food for thought when trying to make sense of instances where two Gospels are seemingly reporting the same statement, yet one will have a portion not found in the other.

    And, honestly, I think we see a somewhat similar phenomenon in the Qur’an. For example, a short while back I made the chart below to show how the story of Iblis refusing to prostrate before Adam is covered in different suwar. One sura will have information not found in another sura, which seems to give the impression that at least some of these suwar are only presenting fragments of a larger exchange.


  2. Salamun alaikum,

    Interesting fact: the sermon on the mount and the sermon on the plainboth most probably refer to the same event. The key word is the aramaic ṭūrā (remember the syriac loanword طُور in the Quran!). It can mean both ‘mountain’ and ‘plain’ as well. It seems like the author of Luke preferred to translate it as plain, while the author of Matthew used mountain.

    God (swt) knows best!


  3. Matthew 5:1-2 is historical in that there was at least one time where He preached in that setting, and another time he preached on a flat plain, as in Luke 6:17-20; but I think everyone agrees that Matthew is including a large chunk of Jesus’ teachings that He repeated a lot; and organizes the material in one long discourse, but probably spoke taught those things many times and at different times.


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