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“The time was when even skeptics approached the mysteries of Christian Theology' with religions reverence, and deemed the evidences of Scripture worthy of refutation by serious argument, and by learning not picked up at random; when the triumph they sought to win in however bad a cause was at least a triumph of argument.
But all this is now changed by a school which arrogates to itself the claim of uttering the conclusive sentence of modern thought,' the ipse dixit of an invisible and irresponsible judge, not simply rejecting all old religious authority, but assuming belief to be an exploded superstition. The very title of the volume before us expresses the spirit of this school by a double antithesis. Christian belief has always taken the form of theology,' but the essence of science is skepticism :' the former is old, the latter is ' modern,' an epithet equivalent, if not to perfection, at least to an ever-growing improvement, the more sure and rapid in the measure of its rejecting whatever is old. But a closer scrutiny of this claim detects the true meaning of the term modern'-a mere fashion of the day, adopted by a school of half-educated, one-sided men, who boast of it as loudly and demand as unreasoning a submission as do equally qualified leaders of fashion in dress.
«« WE, in this later age'-a phrase on which they ring round the same unvaried chimes '-—have come to the conclusion that the progress of civilization has not been favorable to faith. There is scarcely one page of the volume in which we are not met by this offensive assumption. In the compass of a brief Introduction the writer reiterates on every single page such statements as the following: "The opinions of educated society upon the most important questions that can occupy the human mind appear at the present time to be more unsettled than at any previous period of European history :'(a change in religious thought has gradually forced its way throngh the cultivated classes of the community :' (the whole system of modern education tends toward the same result:' skepticism has been naturalized in modern society,'' pervades the whole atmosphere of thought, and leads the most learned societies,' and 'the mass of society is anxiously seeking a belief which shall not be at issue with the moral sense of educated men: ' ' it is now obvious that the theology of former
days cannot be permanently maintained' amid “the process of religious change, which is gradually permeating the Protestant world. These phrases occur in just a twentieth part of the whole work, and they are repeated nearly twenty times.
“The complacency with which the writer regards this altered condition of belief' of the educated Protestant' (for the definite article is made to do yeoman's service in the cause of mere assertion) is matched by the cool scorn with which old beliefs are put aside as dead, and hardly worth burying. For this purpose the past tense is made as serviceable as the definite article. "So long as Christians believed in the personificafication of evil -are the opening words of the first chapter, the whole of which is pitched to the same key-note. “From the commencement of the Christian era until comparatively modern times the existence of evil spirits was appealed to in vindication of the Gospel history. The scientific Barrow and the learned Bishop Bull'are. cited to prove to how late a period the belief in the intervention of the devil was regarded as an important bulwark of the Christian faith. Yet now-says the higher authority of the Duke of Somersetthe worthy historians, the wise lawgivers, the vast concourse of witnesses, are all equally unavailing; the spell is brokenthe evil spirits have vanished, and these phantoms of discredited tradition will not again revisit a more experienced and incredulous world:' whence we may infer that incredulity is the choicest fruit of experience! The whole witness of the Gospels on this subject is rejected as merely showing that the first three Evangelists shared the superstitious notions of their countrymen;' that these narratives belong to Jewish traditions, and are rejected as traditional :' from which we learn the curious canon of criticism that all traditions are to be rejected !”—Pp. 222, 223.
German Reviews. ZEITSCHRIFT FUR WISSENSCHAFTLICHE THEOLOGIE. (Journal for Scientific Theol.
ogy.) Third number, 1872.-1. OVERBECK, The Relation of Justin Martyr to the Acts. 2. HILGENFELD, Peter in Rome and John in Asia Minor. 3. LUCHT, The Incongruity between 2 Tim. iv, 20, and Acts xxi, 29. 4. HOLTZMANN, Luther's Birth-year, Once more.
Roman Catholics generally assert an episcopate of the Apostle Peter at Rome, lasting twenty-five years. It has been noted
as almost a miraculous fact that no bishop of Rome has since occupied the apostolical see for that length of time, and it has become a general belief that no Pope in future would rule the Church for twenty-five years until the last, under whom the appearance of the Antichrist and the end of the world will
While the present Pope lacks only a few more months to destroy this last-named illusion, historical science has long since shown the twenty-five years' episcopate to be a mere fiction. Even Catholic historians generally admit that the arguments in favor of this tradition do not rest on a solid foundation, and do not deny that Peter, though Bishop of Rome, must have spent a large portion of his time outside of that city. An impartial discussion of the question on the part of Roman Catholic writers is not possible, because the doctrine of the primacy of the Roman Bishop, and with it the corner-stone of the entire Roman Catholic system, cannot be possibly saved if Peter has not been the Bishop of Rome. Some Protestant scholars have even been led by their investigation of the question to the belief that Peter, so far from having been Bishop of Rome, has (so far as we can learn from the historical documents extant) never been at Rome at all. F. C. Baur, the founder of the Tübingen school, developed this theory with great learning in his work on the Apostle Paul, (2d edit., i, 246, sq. ;) and more recently another scholar, who is generally recognized as one of the keenest explorers of the ancient history of the Christian Church, Prof. Lipsius, has fully indorsed this view, first in his work on the “Chronology of the Roman Bishops down to the Middle of the Fourth Century," (Chronologie der Römischen Bishöfe, Kiel, 1869,) and again in a treatise specially devoted to the subject, “The Sources of the Roman Tradition of Peter Critically Examined,” (Die Quellen der röm. Petrussage krotisch untersacht, Kiel, 1872.) The well-known Church historian, Karl Hase, in his new “ Manual of Protestant Polemics against the Roman Catholic Church," (Handbuch der protest. Polemik, 3d edit., Leips., 1871,) takes the same ground. Against then the editor of the Journal for Scientific Theology, Professor Hilgenfeld, though belonging to the same critical school as Professor Baur and Professor Lipsius, undertakes to prove that, according to the well-authenticated testimonies of ancient writers, Peter was really at Rome, and there suffered martyrdom. In the second part of his article Hilgenfeld refutes the arguments by which recently several theologians of the critical schools, like Keim, in his “History of Jesus,” (vol. i, Zurich, 1867,) and Scholten, (De Apostel Johannes in Klein-Azie, Leiden, 1871,) have undertaken to prove that the Evangelist John is not the author of the Apocalypse, and that he is not the apostle of Asia Minor.
The birth-year of Luther has been for some time the subject of learned discussions in the theological journals of Germany. Recent discoveries and researches appear to establish the fact that the great reformer was not born, as has hitherto been stated in nearly all historical works, in the year 1483, but on November, 1487. The article by Holtzmann in this number of the “ Journal for Scientific Theology” reviews the recent treatises on the subject, and, in particular, refutes the arguments adduced in favor of the former opinion by Kraake in the Zeitschrift für lutherische Theologie, (1872, p. 96.) THEOLOGISCHE STUDIEN UND KRITIKEN. (Theological Essays and Reviews.)
1872. Second Number.—Essays: 1. Plitr, The Relation of the Theology of Schleiermacher to that of Zinzendorf. 2. KLOSTERMANN, The Song of Moses and Deuteronomy. Thoughts and Remarks: 1. Rienm, The Original of the Pentateuch. 2. VAININGER, The Journey of the Israelites from Goshen to the Passage through the Red Sea. Reviews: 1. RitSCHLE's Christian Doctrine of Jus. tification and Atonement reviewed by Schmidt. 2. COSACK's History of the Ascetical Literature, reviewed by ERBKAM. Miscellaneous : SCHNORR Vox CAROLSFELD, Luther on his Birthyear. Third Number.—Essays : 1. ROMANG, The Boundary Line between the Essential
Principles of Christianity and the Christian Churches. 2. KLOSTERMANN, The
(ueber Religiose Erziehung, Carlsruhe, 1871,) reviewed by BRUCKNER. The brief article, by Schnorr von Carolsfeld, on the birth-year of Luther, undertakes to show that Luther himself designates the year 1484, and not, as has hitherto been generally assumed, 1483, as his birth-year. The controversy, which has called forth quite a number of essays from learned German scholars, appears to be fully settled in favor of 1484.
The first article in the third number of the “Studien," by Romang, treats of a subject which has long since become for all Protestant State Churches of Europe the most important of all questions. Will it much longer be possible that those who profess the principles of the old evangelical Protestantism con
FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XXIV.-32
tinue to remain united in one religious communion with those who believe Jesus to have been in no way more than a man, and who are avowed Deists or Pantheists ?
In Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, and, more or less, also in other countries of Europe, it is common to find in the same congregation of the Lutheran, Reformed, and Evangelical Churches men sharing the principles of Luther and the Reformers of the sixteenth century united with men who do not disown their sympathy with the views of Strauss, Renan, and other representatives of the critical school. Only a few representatives of the liberal views have, like Strauss, acknowledged that their views place them outside of the pale of Christianity. The great majority remain inside of the Protestant Churches, in many cases as pastors, professors of theology, and high officers of the Church, and lay claim to the enjoyment of equal rights with the orthodox party. Thus it occurs that the orthodox Protestants in many congregations have to attend divine worship conducted by Deists or Pantheists, and have to send their children to schools in which the teacher of religion endeavors to eradicate from the youthful minds the belief in the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, and all other fundamental doctrines of evangelical Protestantism, as obsolete superstitions. Such a state of things is obviously too abnormal to last long. Thus far both parties, the evangelical as well as the liberal, have been reluctant to cut the union, because a radical disunion must be attended by a separation between Church and State, a solution which men of all parties who accept salaries from the State desire to avoid. The orthodox party, however, begins to see more and more clearly that these antagonistic elements in the Church cannot remain united much longer, and they are making their preparation for the final separation. Probably one of the greatest difficulties which will present itself when the attempt to effect the separation shall actually be made will be the division of the Church property. ZEITSCHRIFT FUR HISTORISCHE THEOLOGIE. (Journal for Historical Theology.)
1872. Third Number.-1. New Contributions to the Correspondence of the Reformers and their Friends ; published by Dr. Brecher. Berlin. 2. LINDER. Biographical Sketch of Caelius Curio Secundus. 3. VOLZ, Contributions to a History of Pietism. 4. WALTE, Church History of Bremen at the time of the
Reformation. Professor Brecher, at Berlin, publishes in the first article a number of'interesting letters from the great reformers of the sixteenth