"Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospel as Eyewitness Testimony" by Richard Baukham is greatly influenced by the work of Samuel Bysork. Bysork applies the standards of ancient historiography to the concept of "witness" in the New Testament. Baukham applies these standards to the Gospel of John in chapter 15. According to Bysork, the histories considered the most credible in the ancient world were those which were written by or relied upon those who had direct contact with the events in question. Josephus advertised his qualifications as a historian this way: "My qualification as a historian of the war was that I had been an actor in many, and an eyewitness of most, of the events." The portrayal of Jesus' ministry in the Gospels is taken from the direct testimony of those in direct contact with Jesus' ministry; the text of the Gospels is closer to the original eyewitnesses reports than most modern scholars will allow, according to Bysork/Baukham. Not only are the original eyewitnesses the active guarantors of the factual record concerning Jesus' ministry, the are the chief interpreters of that ministry and its message through the four Gospels, which preserve their witness for the Church until the second coming of Christ.
The concept of witness in the Gospel of John confuses some because of the English translation of such words as witness, testify and testimony. English can only translate the word from the martureo word group, which are classified as legal metaphors. (Jn. 15:27, 1:21-22) But there is another word for witness which not tranlated into English because English has no corresponding word. This word is autopes, a word denoting first hand experience. (Lk. 1:2) Some scholars take the position that "witness" is only a legal term, and that John's Gospel was not written by a personal eyewitness to Jesus' ministry but one who was giving theological witness to the message of Jesus's teaching. But the concept of personal eyewitness as participant is contained in the words translated from the autopes word group.
Baukham returns to a concept he introduced earlier, "the inclusio." Baukham believes that Mark's Gospel witnesses to Peter's influence by the use of inclusio, a literary device in which Peter is the first disciple introduced and the last one heard from in Mark. In John, Baukham sees an inclusio that represents the eyewitness testimony of John, a witness that makes John more qualified than Peter to witness to the Gospel in written form. The inclusio begins with the unnamed beloved disciple seeking Jesus out in Jn. 1:35 and ends at Jn 21:22. In 1:35, the beloved disciple is still a disciple of John the Baptist. He is a witness to John's testimony of Jesus being the Lamb of God and is later able to fully understand the significance of the fact that Jesus died with no bones broken and that when pierced, blood and water flowed from Jesus' body. Peter, not a disciple of John the Baptist, had not fully grasped this yet. In Jn. 21:22, Jesus states that John's witness of Him will continue until He returns. The inclusio concerning John, showing that he has a witness apart from Peter's, shows that Johns witness began before Peter's and continued after Peter's witness was finished. It is not that Peter's witness was any less valuable than John's, but Peter's ministry was to be the Shepherd of the new Church, while John was to be a witness to the full meaning of Jesus' acts and teachings. I am not giving full justice to Baukham's presentation because of time constraints, yet the inclusio argument is not the strongest argument in Baukhams book. Baukham himself says that the inclusio is based on speculation more than hard evidence. Part of his argument for an inclusio in the Gospel of John is that the beloved disciple who wrote the Gospel is not the Apostle John listed in the lists of Apostles in the Synoptics. Where he gets that from I do not know. I have been reading the book for a while and remember no such previous reference to this claim. I am very sure I would have remembered it if I had come across it earlier in the book. The claim seems to pop up out of thin air.
Some scholars believe that John could not have written the Gospel bearing his name because to designate himself as the disciple Jesus loved would be an act of self aggrandisement. Baukham states that this view reflects modern sensibilities rather than the thinking of the world the disciples lived in. John was showing his readers the intimacy he had with Jesus so that he could demonstrate his qualifications as a witness as portrayed in the Gospel. Paul was no less willing to remind readers concerning his special call to the Gentiles (Rom. 1:1-5, Gal. 1: 15-16).
On to chapter 16.