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entitles Baur to imperishable fame (p. 141).* In all essential points he himself adheres to Baur's views with regard to the fourth Gospel. He remarks, indeed, and not unjustly, that Baur sometimes identifies the thoughts of the Evangelist with the forms of modern speculations, and thereby idealises them; but he agrees with him in considering the Gospel as a free-hand religious fiction, of which the leading thought is the Logos idea, a fiction which, having had its rise at a stirring period of theological and ecclesiastical movements, in the times of Gnosis and Montanism, of disputes about the Passover, and of the development of the doctrine of the Logos, about the middle of the second century, carries in itself marks of these various efforts, but embraces them under a higher unity: he not only agrees, finally, with Baur's indication of the stand-point from which the Evangelist might consider himself justified, not indeed in unequivocally characterising himself as the the bosomdisciple of Jesus, but in insinuating he was so; not only does he agree with this indication, but he calls it expressly the crown of Baur's treatise, a magnificent proof of close and penetrating criticism which must exercise upon every one who is competent to follow it a profound and really poetical effect.
Far less importance is attributed by Strauss to the investigation into the Synoptics; nor can I contradict him if he is of opinion that Gospel criticism has during the last twenty years somewhat run to seed, and the whole investigation become so extensive by the crowd of hypotheses pressing in, that the main question itself, that of the Evangelical History, will scarcely ever be brought to a decision if the solution is to be waited for until this battle is ended; but that this is not necessary, inasmuch as many * The references are to the English translation.
of the essential points in the Gospel History may be cleared up without its being by any means settled whether Matthew wrote in Hebrew or in Greek—a collection of sayings or a Gospel; whether Luke had before him Mark and Matthew, or Mark, Matthew and Luke. Thus much at least may be established without difficulty, and must, indeed, be established anterior to any further investigation into the Gospel History, that the external evidences furnish us with no warrant that any one of the three first Gospels was composed by an Apostle or a disciple of an Apostle; that, on the contrary, the very evidence of Papias himself (the oldest witness), about the year 120 A.d., to professed writings of Matthew and Mark is absolutely inapplicable to our Gospels of Matthew and Mark.*
Quite as easily it may be shewn that each of these Gospels contains unhistorical accounts and narratives in great number; that, consequently, none of them is an original and thoroughly reliable source. But their relation, in this respect, to one another—which, comparatively speaking, may claim the greatest originality—how far the unhistorical accounts were delivered to them by others, or fresh framed by their authors by modification of tradition, if not by free invention of their own—these are questions which can only be decided by criticism of the accounts in question following internal traces: but their solution is
* Even by Teschendorf s pretentious and superficial pamphlet, "When were the Gospels composed ?" Leipsig, 1865, neither this result nor our view of the external attestation to the Gospel of John is in any way shaken. The most in this pamphlet is nothing more than a repetition, in a very confident tone, of apologetic observations long since controverted; while what the composer has lately added is so untenable, that it cannot cause any serious difficulties whatever to any one who has surveyed this department with a critical eye. •
so much the less indispensable as even a representation, on the whole later and at second-hand, may have preserved the original tradition in a purer form, or restored it by removing individual and legendary component parts. However desirable, therefore, it must always be to arrive at the most perfect and certain solutions possible of these questions, and whatever light may be reflected from these solutions upon individual features of the Gospel history, still the answer to them is not of such important influence upon the solution of the critico-historical problem that the latter can be said to be dependent upon the former. Such dependence could only be maintained if it were shewn that some one of our synoptic Gospels is governed to the same extent as that of John, by ideal points of view, and stands in a position of similar freedom to tradition; but those who are acquainted with the subject are agreed that this is not the case.
But if Strauss puts only a conditional value upon this investigation, still he has not, so far as the plan of his work allowed, entirely withdrawn from it. In the result at which he arrives, he comes, in the main, to the view which Baur adopted, and to which the majority of his pupils, though with important variations in detail, have adhered. He looks upon Matthew as the most ancient, and, comparatively speaking, the most trustworthy of our I Gospels. In particular, he thinks that the speeches of/ Jesus are, in him, not indeed unmixed with later additions and modifications, but still more genuine than in the others. Moreover, that the matter of fact appears here in general in its simplest and most original form; and that a further proof of its originality is to be found in the stamp of Jewish nationality which it bears. He is, however, not prepared to deny that even this representation
of the history, as given in Matthew, is only secondary, and drawn, at all events in part, from different and more ancient memoranda, from the continuous use of which both the repetitions and the contradictions which appear in this Gospel are to be explained. That the Gospel did not receive its final touches until a comparatively late period, Strauss concludes more especially from the baptismal formula, Matt, xxviii. 19, echoing, as it does, the later ecclesiastical ritual. He agrees with others in assuming that Luke made use of Matthew, and probably also one or other of the original sources which the latter had before him, and to this he thinks many of the features are to be ascribed, in which Luke differs from Matthew, even in the case of those narratives which, in their main subjects, coincide with those of Matthew. At the same time he is of opinion that Luke not only worked up the tradition which he found ready at hand as an independent author, but also modified it in the sense of universalistic Paulinism, and supplemented it by narratives with this tendency; but in doing so he did not deal so freely with it as the fourth Evangelist, to whom, in other respects, he stands nearer than any of the other synoptics: the peculiarity of his method consists rather in this (as Strauss, p. 123, convincingly proves) that he gives a hearing to the opposite opinion, he does not feel himself to be the man to melt up again and remould altogether the Evangelical tradition, but is content with bringing it into another shape by analysis, re-modelling and elaboration. That he wrote later than Matthew is proved even by the turn which he gives to the eschatologic* prophecy in Matthew xxiv. 29. Mark, as has been assumed almost universally since the time of Griesbach, and especially by * i.e. about the end of the world.
Baur, is supposed to be so far dependent upon Matthew and Luke, that his work is to be considered as an extract from theirs, enriched by only a few additions from them— an extract, the peculiarity of which consists mainly in its dogmatic neutrality, in the mode in which the speechelement is subordinated to the narrative, in the exaggerated and wilder conception of the idea of miracle, in the more sensuous painting and more garish colouring of many of the events. This view, however, has been for some time opposed by the other, espoused in part by learned men of note, according to which Mark, on the contrary, is supposed to have been the common source of the two other synoptics, and the most reliable authority for the original Evangelical tradition. So, for the last few years, Mark has become the fashion, and there is scarcely an historical excellence which might not be discovered in him, from the exemplary historical arrangement and purely human image of Christ to the "brightness of the early flower" which shone upon Ewald so convincingly in Mark's Apocryphal accounts of miracles. On this point, however, many preferred the assumption, not that Mark is himself the original Evangelist, but only the one who allowed himself the fewest variations from the original Evangelist. Strauss is as little able now, as before, to follow this view. He continues to look upon the later composition of Mark, and his dependence upon Matthew, as undeniable: that, with Matthew, he also used Luke and compounded his Gospel out of the two others appears to him at least very probable; and he likewise coincides with Schwegler and Baur, in the assumption that the leading idea of his work is the intention of giving not merely a shorter representation of the Evangelical history, but one in which everything that could give offence on one side or another, on all points in dispute between the Heathen and Jewish