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enunciated, so far as to entertain the conviction that the fundamental source of the Gospel history is to be found in oral tradition, and that for a long time no such value was attributed to written memoranda, as that any hesitation would have been felt to supplement or modify them from tradition or from one another. Renan, moreover, finds the most ancient traces of Gospel records in the accounts which Papias gives of the collection of sayings of Matthew and of the memorabilia of Mark. He thinks that it was from these two sources that our two first Gospels were compiled, and that Matthew distinguishes himself by best preserving the utterances of Jesus in their original form, and that, on the contrary, Mark (who imposes upon Renan, just as he does on our German Eulogists of this' Evangelist, especially by his—in our opinion completely and entirely affected—picturesqueness), adhered most closely in the narratives to the most ancient tradition emanating from Peter and other Eyewitnesses. Far less is the historical credibility of Luke: his Gospel is an exposition given at second, or more accurately at third, hand; a work of literary art, possessing indeed, comparatively speaking, the greatest charm, but to be used only with great caution by the critical historian. In Renan's remarks upon the literary character of this Gospel, there is much subtle and pertinent observation; but when he states it as his opinion that the author of it is accredited by the Acts of the Apostles as a companion of Paul, it would be much nearer the truth to say, that the Acts of the Apostles puts it beyond doubt that he wishes to appear as such, but is not; and when he turns the supposed companion of Paul into "an exalted Ebionite" and Jew, pious according to the law, we can scarcely believe our eyes when we see this maintained of the disciple of
Paul; but we see also at the same time, that the author has no notion of the peculiar tendency of the third Gospel and of the Acts of the Apostles, and has always been and still is perfectly unacquainted with the investigations which have, in Germany, long since settled these questions, at least in the main points. But, to a still greater extent, is this the case with his conceptions of the fourth Gospel. There is no question in Gospel criticism so important for the right apprehension of Gospel History as this. But, with regard to this fundamental question, Renan's ideas are so hazy, that his answer to it from the stand-point of modern science, can only be described as a remarkable step in retrogression. Perfectly unacquainted, as it would appear, with the German criticism of the last twenty years, about John and its results, he grasps at an assumption which, in its self-contradictory lameness, has, among us, long since outlived itself, On the one hand, he cannot conceal from himself that Papias can have known nothing of a. Gospel of John ; and, as regards the contents of this Gospel, not only are "the abstract metaphysical lectures" of the Johannine Christ an unsurmountable offence to him, but he also discovers, that in particular points the narrator has, for a particular purpose, knowingly falsified history. Still, on the other hand, he thinks that not only later writers, like Tatian and Irenseus, but also even Justin knew and made use of our fourth Gospel (the exact opposite to this being the case as regards Justin); and while he certainly cannot look upon his speeches as historical, he is of opinion with regard to the narrative portions, that they are for the most part so accurate that the eyewitness cannot be mistaken, and that the course of the life of Jesus is, on the whole, more sharply and satisfactorily drawn in John than in the synoptics. Thus he comes, in conclusion, to the result that the fourth Gospel was probably composed on the basis of the memoranda which John, in his old age, reduced to writing, by one of his disciples, and by the same hand enriched with those speech-portions which so little correspond either to the spirit or the language of the synoptic Christ. Still, he will not, characteristically enough, exclude the possibility that the Apostle himself, towards the end of his life, in his devotion to a theosophical mysticism, attributed the speeches to his Master. But, be this as it may; in any case, the Gospel in the majority of its historical narratives, is supposed to be as credible as it is in its accounts of the speeches of Jesus, unreliable. A similar partition of the Gospel was formerly attempted in Germany, soon after the first appearance of Strauss' Life of Jesus; but it met with such ill success, that it might have deterred any one from again taking it up; and it has become a sheer scientific impossibility since Baur triumphantly shewed that this Gospel, more than any other, is a work out of a single mould, that one and the same idea governs every particular in it as well as the whole, that its narratives are nothing but historical illustrations of its speeches, and that there is no alternative between adopting the whole as it stands as Johannine, and attributing that whole to another and far later writer. But Renan appears not only to know nothing of this fundamental investigation and of all further discussions connected with it, but his position generally towards the Johannine narratives is so uncritical, that even by all that Strauss, in his first Life of Jesus, has proved to demonstration to be unhistorical, he will not be disturbed in his faith in his hypothesis; and that features in the case of which the literary invention is so palpable as it is in that of the unseamed coat of Christ, are actually forced by him to serve as a proof of the narrator having been an eyewitness.
The consequences here resulting to his representation of the history, mil appear when we turn from the sources of the Evangelical history to the history itself.
In the discussion of the Evangelical history, either of ?two modes may be adopted. We may start from the individual narratives, as they lie before us, in order, by criticising them and by removing their unhistorical elements, to I separate off the historical remainder; or, conversely we may begin with the exposition of the supposed historical course of events, as far as it can still "be discovered, and show from this point how and on what grounds the manifold unhistorical accounts, as time went on, attached themselves to this historical kernel. It was the former process, which we may call an Analytical one, that Strauss had followed in his first Life of Jesus; on the present occasion he gives the preference to the second, the synthetical one. Of the two books into which, after the lengthy introduction, he divides the whole disquisition,—the first treats of the Life of Jesus in its historical outline,—the second of "the mythical history of Jesus in its origin and formation." He has thus certainly rerenounced the advantage of founding his results upon that many-sided criticism of the Evangelical accounts, and their various explanations, which pursue the subject matter into its finest ramifications, in which the main strength of his earlier work consists. But he might feel the less reluctant to do this, as in that work he had already and so brilliantly satisfied this demand; and as he everywhere introduced into his new work as much of critical detail as was compatible with its more popular character. And by limiting himself in this direction, he gains in another the power of doing now what he could not have done before ; and of, in part, sketching a connected map of the real history and historical personality of Jesus, in part of explaining far more perfectly and accurately than before the origin of the Evangelical history. Here the first of these investigations, the question as to the history and the character of Jesus is the main point, and the very question is brought especially before us by the parallel between Strauss and Renan; for the latter has, on the whole, done but little for the explanation of what is unhistorical in the Evangelical narratives. But here also I shall be obliged to limit myself to the main point.
Now, if we enquire, in the first place, how Jesus became what he was, we shall be compelled to lament, that in his case as in that of so many of the greatest benefactors and heroes of humanity, the entire want of accredited accounts of his personal relations and history of his culture. Of the first we know little more than that he was born at Nazareth, that his father was called Joseph, his mother, Mary; that the first followed the trade of a carpenter, which Jesus also probably learnt Himself and practised; of the second we do not know even so much as this ; and, until the first appearance of Jesus in his intercourse with John the Baptist, nothing whatever. In order, therefore, to fill up this gap we are driven altogether to conjectures. Now, if we examine what direction these conjectures take in the case of each of our two critics, it is sufficiently characteristic, that in Henan the personal, in Strauss the historical relations occupy the foreground. The former does indeed begin with a short description of the state of the Jews in the centuries immediately preceding Christ, but attributes much more im