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of the Gospel appeared till 1835, when Dr. Strauss, in his “ Life of Jesus,” renewed the attack, and was answered by Neander, Tholuck, Hase, Lücke, and others. Dr. Strauss, moved by these replies, retracted his doubts in 1838, but advanced them again in 1840.*
Then arose the famous school of Tübingen, from which all the recent attacks on the Gospel have been derived. Mr. Tayler, and other French and English writers who have taken the negative side, seem only followers of Baur and Zeller. Dr. F. C. Baur, a truly great man, began his immense labors with a work on mythology, published in 1824; and continued them by several new works, published every year, in different departments of theology, until his recent death. His vast learning, great industry, acute insight, and love of truth, make his writings very valuable. The integrity of his mind was such, that, even when carrying on a controversy, he seems more like an inquirer than like a disputant. Even when differing from his conclusions, one derives very valuable suggestions from his views. One characteristic of the criticism of Baur is his doctrine of intention. He ascribes to the New-Testament writers some special aim, which leads them to exaggerate these facts, omit those, and invent others. Everywhere he seeks for an intention, for some private or party purpose which colors the narrative; and in the present instance ascribes to the writer of the fourth Gospel the deliberate purpose of passing himself off as the apostle, in order to impose on the Christian Church his doctrine of the Logos. This attack roused new defenders of the Gospel, among whom the more conspicuous have been Ewald and Tischendorf.
Mr. Tayler differs from Baur, in denying all intent to deceive on the part of the writer of the Gospel, and in maintaining the religious value of the Gospel notwithstanding its want of authenticity. But on these points we think the view of Baur more correct. The Gospel is filled with distinct historic statements of time and place, with minute historic details, evidently intended to produce a belief in the events narrated as matters of fact. No Christian in the second century could have put his own opinions in the month of his master, unless with the intention of deceiving his fellowChristian ; and this no earnest Christian could have done. The fourth Gospel, if not authentic (by which we here mean, if not a true narratire of the life and words of Jesus), is a deliberate deception.
* Reville, Revue des Deux Mondes, May, 1866.
1. It is a remark of Lord Bacon, that "the harmony of a science, supporting each part the other, is and ought to be the true and brief confutation and suppression of the smaller sorts et objections." This sagacious observation indicates another method of deciding this question. Of these two views, one attributing the Gospel to the Apostle Jcbn. the other to an andymous writer in the mide of the second century, which gares us the most harmonious and consistent story? Let us kakaseada epigiau in rerence to is question.
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23:e soul of man. Contact with this school ripened in the mind of the apostle the mystic tendency peculiar to him; for there is a true mysticism as well as a false. The apostle, mystical in the best sense, loved to look on spiritual facts as substantial realities. Hence his fondness for such expressions as truth, life, light, spirit; and his conception of the Messiah as the Son, Well-beloved, and dwelling in the bosom of the Father. All his recollections of Jesus reposed especially on those deeper conversations in which bis Master's thought took this direction. These conversations had been more frequent at Jerusalem, where Jesus had encountered minds of a higher culture; therefore John loved to repeat these. Then in his old age, when the oral traditions, which made the staple of apostolic preaching, had taken form in the Synoptic Gospels, the disciples of John begged him to write for them, or dictate to them, these other relations concerning Jesus, with which they had become familiar. So they were repeated, and afterwards collected in a Gospel “according to John;" and its universal reception in the Christian Church, by so many different schools of thought, as early as the middle of the last half of the second century, shows that there could be no doubt of its origin. In its essence it is a true picture of Jesus, seen on one side of his life and doctrine. Some errors of expression, and of collocation of passages, may have occurred; and sometimes the mind of John himself may have colored the teachings of bis Master. But in the main it is a true picture, not of John only, but also of Christ.
Let us now look at the other explanation, as proposed by Baur, Albert Reville, and Mr. Tayler.
While the whole body of apostles and early disciples were teaching to the churches that view of Jesus and his doctrine which finally took form in the first three Gospels, another and a wholly different school of opinion was being developed in the Church, independently of the apostles. This school was derived from the Alexandrian philosophy, and yet grew up within the Christian Church. It held firmly to the Logos doctrine of Philo, but needed some point of contact with the
VOL. LXXXIV. -NEW SERIES, VOL. V. NO. 1.
teachings of Christ. This led an unknown writer, in the first half of the second century, to write another Gospel, and introduce into it Jesus teaching the doctrines of the Alexandrian school. All the narrations peculiar to this Gospel are pure inventions, – the story of the woman of Samaria, of Nicodemus, of the marriage at Cana, of the man born blind, the raising of Lazarus, the washing of the disciples' feet, the wonderful descriptions of the last days of Jesus, of the arrest, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection. All the sublime teachings of this Gospel are due to this unknown writer; those sayings which have helped to change the world were pure inventions of this heavenly impostor, this spiritual forger of Gospels, this divine liar, this angelic falsifier of the story of his Master's life and death. Jesus never said, “God is a spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit . and in truth:” our false gospeller put it in his mouth. Jesus never uttered the sublime prayer with his disciples, recorded in the seventeenth chapter, - a prayer which has touched the hearts of so many generations. This also was composed, in cold blood, in order to make the story more interesting. The tender words from the cross, “ Woman, behold thy son!” and “Behold thy mother!” are an unauthorized interpolation in that sacred agony. The recognition of her risen Master by Mary, by the tone in which he spoke her name, and the “Rabboni!” with its untranslatable world of feeling, – these, too, are the adroit fabrications of our cunning apocryphist. And this new Gospel, thus invented, is accepted without a question, doubt, or hesitation, in every part of the Christian Church. Other books of Scripture they lingered over, doubtful of their right to enter the canon. But this bold-faced forgery all parties, all sects, all schools, all the great theologians and scholars, swallowed at once, without a question; and this, too, when it was written with the express purpose of teaching them what they did not already believe, and which was in direct opposition to all their authentic and received Gospels !
Many of the “smaller sort of objections” to the authenticity of the fourth Gospel we have been obliged to pass by, for
want of room.
But we have noticed the principal ones, those based both on external and internal grounds. The result of this examination has been, in our own mind, to show that no historic fact of authorship stands on a firmer basis than this; and that the long-received opinion of the Christian Church is not likely to be reversed in consequence of the investigations and arguments of the school of Tübingen. Were it otherwise, it would seem to us one of the greatest misfortunes which could befall Christianity. However it may seem to those who regard Jesus only as a fallible and peccable man, distinguished in no special manner from other wise and good men, and no more our master than Zeno or Epictetus, – to those of us who believe that he was raised by God to teach mankind in word and life the absolute religion of truth and love, and so to be the central figure in the ages of history, this Gospel is very precious, as containing no ingenious inventions or cunningly devised fables, but the words and acts of Jesus himself, as reported by his best and nearest disciple.
ART. VI. — REVIEW OF CURRENT. LITERATURE.
It is very high testimony to Smith's Dictionary of the Bible," * that it has been selected for republication, under so competent editorship, "as unquestionably superior to any similar lexicon in our language." This phrase is not, as might possibly be thought, au unmeaning form of words ; but a distinct assertion of superiority among many rivals, some of them of very high pretensions. We have a list of five such works of various merit, all of them published within the last three years, — which we have briefly examined by way of comparison. Lowest in the list we should put the two compact and cheap quartos of Cassells' " Bible Dictionary," whose merits are of a purely popular sort, backed with a rigid orthodoxy. Fairbairn's "Imperial Bible
* American (unabridged) edition of Dr. William Smith's Dictionary of the Bible. Revised and edited by Professor H. B. Hackett, D.D., with the cooperation of Ezra ABBOT, A.M. New York: Hurd & Houghton. Nos. I.-VII.