Графични страници
PDF файл

which were current before the middle of the second century; but, above all, for the reason that our Gospels themselves can only be fully explained on the assumption that there were at the time of their coming into existence, besides these short collections of speeches and narratives, one or more complete histories of Jesus. For if not only in the main substance of their accounts, but also in the sequence of events detailed in them, and in individual expressions, sometimes Matthew and Mark coincide in differing from Luke, sometimes Luke and Mark from Matthew, or Matthew and Luke from Mark, or if the one of them whom, on other accounts, we cannot help considering the latest, appears, nevertheless, in particular cases, to give the most original form of a narrative—this relation cannot be rightly explained merely by supposing the use of one of these writers by a second and both by the third, whichever of them we consider to have been the first, and in whatever order we derive the others from him; on the contrary, we find ourselves continually driven to the supposition that the later of them had before them, wholly or in part, together with the earlier, also the original sources from which these latter drew; and as the traces of those original sources run through all parts of the Evangelical history, there is every probability that even the oldest of our Gospels was preceded by at least one, and probably by more than one, exposition of similar extent and character. If, therefore, we are to give the title of " Original Gospel" to the first exposition of that kind, but which likewise, according to all that precedes, can only have been of a derivative character, and in no degree a strictly original source of history, we shall not find this unchanged in any of our Gospels; but the question will only be which of them relatively restores it most faithfully, which of them on the whole, together with what is legendary and unhistorical, of which there is plenty in all, gives comparatively the most reliable image of the founder of our religion, of his doctrine and his destinies. Now that, in this respect, the Gospel of John does not come under consideration is placed, scientifically speaking, beyond all question by all discussion that has taken place since Baur's decisive investigation into the question; and as to this I can now, as I did twenty years ago, only adhere to all the essential results of / that investigation; and this acknowledgment is not in the / smallest degree prejudiced by the admission that Baur does not, perhaps, explain in a manner perfectly correct every single feature of the Johannine representation, that he has occasionally obliterated the simplicity of the artistic process of the Evangelist by over-complex reflections— brought into too little prominence the importance which the external element of the Evangelical history, in spite of his idealism, always had in the eyes of its author; and that in all these respects the subtle remarks of Strauss upon this most sensuous, supersensuous Gospel (e.g. Yol. L, p. 187, Vol. II., pp. 393,415), make a valuable supplement to those of Baur. Luke is far from dealing with the traditionary matter as freely as John does; but still it is ) unquestionable that even he made very important alterations in it, and in particular cases (as especially, chapter x., in the narrative of the seventy disciples) took the older representation, traces of which we can follow much more clearly in Matthew, and not only enriched it by further traditional elements, but also unhesitatingly modified it in accordance with practical and dogmatic interests. With the remarks which in this respect Strauss makes upon the tendency and procedure of Luke, I can agree the more

entirely as the substance of them completely coincides with the view which I have given in my work upon the Acts of the Apostles. Modern investigators are, without exception, agreed upon the point that in Luke we are to look neither for the original Gospel itself nor for a faithful copy of it; that he is later than Matthew is proved to demonstration, independent of everything else, by the passage, chapter xxi. 24, compared with Matthew xxiv. 29; for while Matthew stands sufficiently near to the destruction of Jerusalem not to hesitate to adopt into his Gospel the prophecy, that "immediately" after it the Son of Man shall appear in the clouds, Luke interposes between these two events the "time of the heathen," during which Jerusalem is to be in their power, and does not expect the second coming of Christ until after the expiration of this interval. It has, lastly, been of late maintained on several grounds that Luke did not make use of Matthew, but only Matthew's predecessor, the "original Evangelist." But on an accurate comparison of the two writings, no doubt upon this point appears to be possible, as Luke, in so many cases, adheres not only to the narrative but also to the expressions of Matthew, that the latter must have resembled his predecessor almost to the extent of being indistinguishable from him, if we are to attribute all these points of resemblance only to the use of a common original source.

Far more doubtful is, as has been remarked, the question as to the relation of Mark to the two other synoptics. But however great the zeal and ingenuity that has been called forth to prove that not the others have been used by him, but he by the others; or, that at least, according to another turn—of the three Gospels dependent upon one another, that of Mark is the most ancient, and stands


nearest to the genuine "original Gospel" of Mark, the disciple of Peter; still I do not think that the suspicions opposed to this view ever have been, or ever will be, successfully disarmed. Even the external evidence with regard to the existence of our second Gospel, is decidedly unfavourable to it. We can point to the first and third, at any rate about the middle, or before the middle of the second century, in the hands of Justin Martyr, the third in those also of the Gnostic Marcion: of Mark no sure trace is found either elsewhere about this time, nor even in Justin; for the only notice capable of being referred to it, the mention of "Sons of thunder" (Mark iii. 17,) is quoted by Justin himself, not as from our Gospel of Mark, but from the " memorabilia of Peter," i.e. the memoranda known to Papias, and professedly written down by Mark from the lectures of Peter. But if Justin, who lived in Rome, was not acquainted with our Gospel which, according to all appearance, took its rise in this city, or at all events in Italy, or at least did not use it in the same way as he used the two other synoptics, it cannot in his time have enjoyed any particular celebrity, and must have been far removed from being generally correct. Moreover, the supposition that we have the most faithful specimen of the original evangelical history in a writing which strikingly neglects precisely the main point, the doctrine of Jesus ; and instead of this, collects the miracles with an obvious preference, and enlarges them with exaggerated legendary features—this supposition is not only improbable in itself, but it is also difficult to reconcile it with the fact that, in the most ancient records about the history of Christ, of which we hear through Papias, it is rather his speeches upon which stress is exclusively laid, and that Justin likewise only seldom mentions the miracles, but returns to the sayings of Jesus in every page of his writings. Moreover, the champions of the priority of Mark find themselves, in particular points, compelled to make the admission that, in those points, he left out or altered component parts of the original Evangelical tradition; that, e.g., the Sermon on the Mount, | which is entirely wanting in him, and with it the narrative, also wanting in Mark, about the Capernaum j Captain, cannot have been wanting in the "original writing;" that the short and colourless mention of the J temptation of Christ supposes a fuller narrative, such as \ we read in Matthew and Luke, that Mark (chapter vi. 3,) was offended on dogmatic grounds with the term "Son of Joseph," or " Son of the Carpenter," as Jesus, in Luke and Matthew is called by the Nazarenes, and therefore changed it into " Son of Mary." But how, then, can a writer to whom such radical alterations in the "original record" are attributed, unless we have before us convincing proofs of the contrary, be at once and on other grounds preferred to the others? and what right have we to reject as inconceivable the notion of a dependence of him upon them; while still, in such instances as those alleged, it must be admitted that he was capable of taking accounts such as theirs, and partly from dogmatic, partly from literary motives, working out of them such a representation as he gives? If, finally, Mark is to be considered as the oldest of our Gospels, this assumption will be irreconcilable with the circumstance that (to pass over chapter ix. 1,13,37,) in chapter xiv. 24, he transfers, like Luke, only in more indefinite expressions, to a later period, the marvellous signs of a second coming of Christ, which Matthew connects immediately with the destruction of Jerusalem. And if it is denied that he used one of

« ПредишнаНапред »