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Joe Carter:

Last night I stumbled across an example that shows how, when used creatively, such techniques can expand our knowledge and appreciation of a text. Dr. Peter Williams, a Senior Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Abeerdeen, has conducted what I'd call an "algorithm-enhanced close reading" of the canonical gospels and compared them to the apocryphal testimonies about Jesus.

Normally, my attention span for videos on the web is limited to about 2 minutes. But when I started watching this video last last night I got sucked in by Dr. Williams engaging style and watched the entire lecture. As Evangel blogger Tom Gilson says, it's a "talk on apologetics like you've never heard before."

For an academic book on the issue of eyewitness testimony and the gospel accounts, see Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony.

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12 thoughts on “New Evidence that the Gospels Were Based on Eyewitness Testimony”

  1. Mark Goudy says:

    Update: Dr Peter Williams is now Warden of Tyndale House, Cambridge, UK.

  2. Evan says:

    wow that was excellent.

  3. David Smith says:

    Dr Williams was one of my professors at Aberdeen. I wish I’d appreciated it more at the time. This lecture was absolutely mesmerizing. Thanks for sharing JT.

  4. Eric Garrett says:

    I got the chance to attend a breakout session Peter Williams led on the trustworthiness of the Bible at the Next conference two weeks ago. It was outstanding! I highly recommend digging into his work. Hopefully his lecture from the conference will be available soon at If so, please listen to it.

  5. Scott C says:

    I don’t think it is possible for an ordinary teacher to take that subject matter and make it as interesting and compelling as Dr. Williams did. Had I taken a stab at that I would have put the whole audience to sleep. He presented it in such a way as to keep you on the edge of your seat. If all Evangelical scholars could present material like that what a blessing it would be to the Church.

  6. Scott C says:

    BTW, let me make a plug for “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses.” This book will give you remarkable confidence in the authenticity of the gospel narratives as no other book will.

  7. Roger McKinney says:

    Absolutely fantastic! Thanks! I wish he had had time to flesh out the very last point on the motivations of the writers. I’m certain he has considered this, but let me add that the dumb and conspiracy theories can’t either be possible because the risk/rewards equation doesn’t work. What did the writes have to gain from lying? There was very little money in it and no prestige; they were all tortured for their beliefs. They would have gained far more by denying any of it.

    We know that people will follow a lie if they believe it is true. The number of false religions prove that. But no one will die for a lie. Unless they fooled themselves, the writers of the gospels would have known they were lying and would not have died for their lies.

  8. Scott C, doesn’t everything sound more interesting and compelling when spoken with a British accent? Haha

  9. fleetwd1 says:

    Thank you for your interest in my video uploads. Your sharing them has brought a great deal of interest.

    Credit should go to Mark Lanier’s Theological Library, a free resource in Houston TX, for putting on these lectures free of charge, and making the video available to me on youtube.

    Thanks Again

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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