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need, with Renan, to lament as a sort of unavoidable evil, because he does not, like Renan, by a sugary idealisation, deprive himself of the power of comprehending the greatest figure of history in its full historical dependence.
Renan judges far more correctly with regard to_the occurrence, of which the raising of Lazarus is merely a sampkvthe resurrection of Christ, and we must value his judgment all the more highly, as this is precisely the point at which the roads divide, and not merely is the superstitious view of the Evangelical history opposed to the historical; but also the so-called natural—in this case, indeed, the most unnatural—explanation is opposed to the mythical in a manner fundamentally decisive for the whole. The miraculous revival of the Crucified would be an occurrence in direct contradiction to laws of nature admitting of no exception in their application, and one which would make every natural view of Biblical history impossible, every analogy of experience inapplicable to it. We could not believe in the reality of such an occurrence, even if it were accredited ever so strongly. Instead of this, we have in favour of it only evidence at second and third hand, which, moreover, in all particulars, stands in contradiction to itself. Under such circumstances, whoever believes in the miracle of the resurrection has, in truth, no longer any ground for doubting any feature whatever in the Evangelical history on account of its contradiction to the laws of nature and of history. Whoever, on the other hand, does not believe in it has but one of two- courses left: either to admit that Jesus came out of the grave alive, and then to deny the reality of His death, and accordingly to consider His revival as a natural re-awakening from a sham death ; or if he cannot bring himself to do this then to give up
entirely this resurrection and to explain the faith in it on purely dogmatic grounds; and thus, at all events in the general principle to adopt the mythical view. Strauss, in his first " Life of Jesus," put this state of things in so clear a light that thenceforth all who attempted to take up the discussion after him were compelled, on this main point at least, to follow suit; and, at the same time, he established the grounds of his own view with such surpassing acuteness that even those who, like Ewald, were at a loss to find terms strong enough in which to repudiate and condemn the destructiveness and unscientific nature of his proceeding, could not avoid siding with the much-despised critic on the main point, however reluctantly, and with whatever amount of circumlocution; and so abandoning to him the position from which the whole view of the Evangelical history is governed. That Renan also adheres to this view, and entirely resists the temptation to a natural explanation of the miracle, he tells us (p. 433, f.); for the rest, he defers the more thorough discussion of the faith in the Resurrection to the continuation of his work, which is to treat of the Acts of the Apostles. So much the more carefully does Strauss deal with this important question in his late work; and whoever follows his discussions in a historical spirit will not, it appears to me, be able to escape his conclusion. For if we have only the choice between two assumptions, that Jesus in the grave arose again from a sham death, or that the faith in His resurrection was formed without any real revival—the second of these assumptions rests, independent of all other grounds, upon, as it appears to me, the following decisive considerations:—
In the first place the death of Jesus is better accredited, beyond all comparison, than His resurrection. With regard to His crucifixion we have accounts which agree in all their main features; as to His resurrection, the statements of the different witnesses differ so much from one another, that one set maintain that the first appearances of their risen Lord were made to His disciples on the very day of the resurrection, in Jerusalem itself; the others, that this did not take place until some time after, in Galilee, nay, that even one and the same writer (Luke) in one work places His last appearance on the first, in another on the fortieth day after the resurrection; and these accounts are not only so circumstanced that they cannot be reconciled by the assumption of subordinate inaccuracies, but the whole representation of Matthew and Mark excludes the Jerusalem appearances of the remaining Evangelists, as much as the representation given by the latter excludes the Galilean appearance given by the earlier ones. If, on the other hand, an appeal is made to the circumstance that at all events the whole Christian community has always been unanimous in its belief in the reality of the resurrection, this cannot indeed be disputed; but quite as little the other proposition that not merely Christians but also Jews and heathens were quite as unanimously convinced of His death. Now, certainly, from the latter circumstance, the immediate inference is only this, that Jesus was crucified and hung upon the Cross until the occurrence, to all appearance, of His death; and this would not, unconditionally, exclude the possibility of a subsequent revival. But if the case were considered historically, this revival would only appear probable if we had before us evidence of its reality of a more original and less contradictory character than we actually have. Moreover, the circumstances of his execution are of such a character as to make a natural revival as good as impossible. That any one, who, after long and exhausting abuse was at last crucified, left on the cross at least six hours, and taken down with all the symptoms of death having occurred— that under such circumstances, after being shut up in a sepulchre without any care and without food for two days and a half, he should have revived in virtue of the restorative power of nature after about thirty-six hours, and have been at once in a condition to undertake a pedestrian excursion either to Galilee or to Emmaus, one and a half miles distant—this is so exceedingly improbable that we are compelled to call for the most irrefragable proofs in order to believe it. Instead of this, not only are the accounts of the resurrection far removed from authenticity in point of origin, and, as regards their immediate substance in conflict with each other, but the general tenor of them is such that a natural continuation of the life of the Crucified is inconceivable. The Gospels, throughout, describe His appearance with features which represent Him not as a human being re-awakened to his former life, but as a supernatural being; a countenance which his nearest friends no longer recognise; miraculous entrance through closed doors; sudden coming and sudden vanishing; ascension into Heaven; and besides all this something that cannot be reconciled with it, perceptibility by the sense of touch and other proofs of the bodily identity of the Risen One with the Crucified. Whence these features if, as is assumed, Jesus really arose after a natural manner, and then, after his resurrection, as we are to suppose, associated as before with His disciples? and what conception are we to form of His own condition? If He believed Himself, as in this case we should have to suppose, to have been rescued from death after a miraculous manner, He must, after such experience of miraculous assistance from above, have only returned all the more boldly to His public ministry. If, on the other hand, He saw in what had happened to Him a natural occurrence, so that He considered it necessary to conceal Himself from His enemies, it was His duty, unless He wished to encourage a deception in the most unjustifiable manner, to inform His disciples of. the true state of the case instead of limiting Himself to encounters with them which could only have the effect of awakening in them the belief that they had no longer to deal with a natural human being. But a natural revival, moreover, could not have produced at all in the disciples the belief which we find them entertaining in the sequel.
"A being who had stolen half-dead out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill, wanting medical treatment, who required bandaging, strengthening and indulgence and who still at last yielded to His sufferings; it is impossible," as Strauss rightly says; "that He could have given to. His disciples the impression that He was a conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of Life, an impression which lay at the bottom of their future ministry." Moreover, finally, what conception are we to form of the termination of a life to which Jesus must be supposed to have returned by so remarkable an accident, for it can scarcely be called otherwise? As nothing more is heard of Him after a few transient appearances, He must, in consequence of the ill-treatment He had received, have very soon died in obscurity. But how are we to conceive of this more in detail? Are His disciples to be supposed to have known of it, and notwithstanding, to have preached of Him as of the Risen Lord, and who had been raised up to Heaven? This is impossible. Or had He concealed His place of refuge even from them, and those secret