History “from below.”
Here, the wheels start to come off the bus a bit. This particular lecture bored me, as it covered very familiar territory for me. Not sure I would have continued after this, but for our discussion.
Bauckham goes on to indicate we should not use 21st century historical methods to apply to the histories of the 1st Century, due to the differing cultures, methodologies, etc.
Yet then he goes on to say, “But we can current historical method to provide illumination and some insight.”
So…can we use them or not? Again, he straddles the fence nicely, allowing one to both do so and not.
Another introductory statement he made that greatly concerned me was how we shouldn’t bother studying who the gospels were written to--as if such study was a waste of time. Personally, I think it is extremely important to know the intended audience. Imagine if Mark was written as a play to a Roman audience to mock the start-up religion. Wouldn’t that have a huge impact in how we view Markan historiography? Or if Matthew is written to a Judaic community? Or Luke written to a predominately female audience?
I think such questions are imperative to our study of the gospels.
A current historical trend he mentions, is to do history “from below.” Rather than typical history about the elites—the movers and shakers in a society such as political, military or academic leaders—look at history from the perspective and about the common crowd.
He admits the farther back we go, the less material we have to do history “from below” as people (prior to the 20th Century) focused more on the elites. He notes Greco-Roman History tended to be written “by the elite; for the elite.”
He then goes through some of the social classes of the society. Anyone who as interacted with me, knows if they ever ask for a book recommendation, I am sure to include Social Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels. You may note the second author of the work is Richard Rohrbaugh, who Bauckham mentions a number of times at this point of the lecture.
Again, this is my review, I’m not saying this might be interesting for someone else, but for me this was dull. Due to his time constraints, Bauckham could barely hit even the highlights, so I learned nothing new here.
Essentially, there were social classes in Roman Society—some were better off than others.
I suspect he is leading up to saying the authors of the Gospels were in the lower classes, and were doing history from below.
This is about all I can say for the second lecture.