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And other Studies in Recent 
New Testament Criticism 






Printed by 






THE subjects of these essays, though they 
all deal with recent New Testament criticism, 
are a little miscellaneous. But the first four, 
which comprise the bulk of the book, have 
in common one feature which may perhaps 
be of value to the busy reader. In discuss 
ing the views of Schweitzer, Loisy, and 
Harnack, the attempt has been made to give 
verbatim extracts from their works to an 
extent sufficient to enable him to judge for 
himself the merits of their respective positions, 
apart from any gloss put on them by the 

A few words of explanation may be useful 
as to the general standpoint adopted in this 
book. New Testament critics would seem 
to be divided just at present into the two 
camps of which Father Tyrrell has spoken 
in Christianity at the Cross-Roads. On the 
one hand there is the familiar Liberal and 



Protestant criticism, of which Bousset and 
Harnack are generally taken as examples ; 
on the other there is the newer and more 
radical type, represented by Loisy and 
Schweitzer, and endorsed by Tyrrell. The 
paradox is that this latter has found not a 
few of its exponents and supporters in the 
ranks of those who hold more closely to the 
Creeds and the fuller faith of historic 
Christianity, than does the older Liberal 

If a more or less personal note may for 
a moment be allowed, I myself in each 
case approached the writers of this second 
school with every possible prejudice in their 
favour, and with the hope that I should find 
at length that reconciliation of faith and 
criticism for which so many are looking. 
Perhaps the somewhat unreasonable nature 
of this hope may, by the law of reaction, be 
responsible for the ultimate impression made 
upon me. However that may be, the feeling 
of dissatisfaction deepened at each reading. 
I found myself continually contrasting the 
impressions made on me by the Harnack- 
Bousset school, to which at an earlier period 
I had come fresh from the sincere milk of a 
less critical teaching. There, there had been 


but little to repel. Rather, I was amazed 
at the tone of reverence pervading a literature 
which was supposed to be "dangerous." It 
might present what Dr. Sanday has lately 
called "a reduced Christianity," but it was 
Christianity, and it seemed to offer a founda 
tion on which a fuller Christianity might 
safely be built. 

On the other hand, it became impossible 
to resist the conviction that the newer school, 
though as a whole it cared more for the 
superstructure than did its predecessors, was 
yet in fact busily engaged in removing every 
stone of the foundation on which alone that 
superstructure can rest. In particular, the 
figure of the historic Jesus receives a treat 
ment which either practically banishes Him 
from the stage of history, leaving Him as a 
Great Unknown of whose life and teaching 
we can affirm almost nothing, or else strips 
Him of nearly every attribute which has 
hitherto attracted the love and admiration 
of the world. That when this is done, the 
Christ, who somehow springs from His ashes, 
can retain the worship of the world, it is 
difficult to believe. 

Such, at any rate, is the position reached in 
the following pages ; and I hope that the 
touch of autobiography will have made it 


clear that, whether it be right or wrong, its 
adoption is at least not due to any a priori 
prejudice. The conclusion was not ready 
formed before the books in question were 
opened, but was forced upon me as a result 
of their study, against my will and expecta 
tion. If something is done to remove the 
widespread impression that the position of 
Loisy and Schweitzer is somehow more com 
patible with a full and Catholic Christianity 
than is that of the " Liberal Protestants," 
this little volume may perhaps justify its 

It remains to offer my grateful acknowledg 
ments for permission to reprint articles, granted 
by the editors and publishers of the Expository 
Times (Essays n. and iv.), the Contemporary 
Review (Essay in.), the Expositor (Essays 
(v. and vi.), and the Interpreter (Essay vn.). 
A reference has been added here and there 
to subsequent literature, but the papers remain 
substantially unaltered. 


September 17, 1910. 



PREFACE . . v 




"Eschatology" Some recent English literature : Sanday, 
Tyrrell, etc. Schweitzer s The Quest of the Historical 


Problems raised by the Marcan narrative Wrede s solu 
tionThe eschatological solution Nearness of the 
end Predestinarianism The mystery of the Parables 
The Mission of the Twelve Retirement to the 



North, Transfiguration, and Ctesarea Philippi The 
quest of death The Son of Man The Messiah of 
the future and His secret Ellas The entry into 
Jerusalem What did Judas betray? The end . 10 


Attractions of the theory Does it do justice to the 
Gospels ? Reading between the lines Modernising 
Sacraments and the Five Thousand The Church . 29 


Unproved assumptions The political element in the 
Messianic hope Old Testament ideas and the new 
Apocalyptic Evidence of the Psalms of Solomon 
and the New Testament The Messianic secret 
Why should Jesus " play with it " ? . . .40 


The uncompromising character of the theory Can we 
dispense with "buts"? Interpretation of eschato- 
logical language, qualified by (i.) possible spiritualisa- 
tion ; (ii.) later additions ; (iii.) its subsidiary place 
Analogy of St. Paul Are the ethics eschatological ? 
Predestinarianism Jesus as a teacher . . 49 




The fate of Christianity depends on the passing away of 
eschatology The chasm between the Master and 
His disciples " The historical Jesus" a stumbling- 
block His Spirit Schweitzer s portrait of Jesus 
The claim to divinity Can it stand ? Elements 
ignored The Christ of liberal theology . . 66 



Les Evangiles Synoptiques Loisy s view of the life of 
Jesus Rise of Christianity The Resurrection belief 
Paulinism Jesus becomes Christ The Church 
Idealising of the hero Influence of the Old Testa 
ment Symbolism The question of good taste 
Some criticisms ... -79 



Spiritual value and historic fact The Resurrection narra 
tives Predictions Burial and the " empty tomb "- 
St. Peter s vision The present life of Christ How 
did the belief arise ? Visions : objective or subjec 
tive ? Psychical research The subjective needs 
explanation The impression of the personality of 
Jesus The unique character of the apostolic belief 
St. Peter the religious genius The persistence of 
the belief The empty tomb The difficulties of 
unbelief .... . . 113 





"Q" Its reconstruction and use by St. Matthew and 
St. Luke Evangelists respect for their sources 
Contents of Q Order of sections Character 
Simplicity Prior to St. Mark? The double tradi 
tion Later elements not necessarily unauthentic 
Christology of Q How near can we come to the 
words of Jesus ?. ..... 143 



The question of the reading in Lk i 46 Evidence for 
Elisabeth Probable origin of the variants Interpre 
tation of the original reading Grammar Com 
parison with Hannah s song Is the language more 
appropriate to Mary or Elisabeth ? The " higher 
critical " question which lies behind , . . 175 



The South Galatian theory The visits of Ac 15 and 
Gal 2 not identical Coincidences between Ac n 
and Gal 2 Why does not Galatians refer to the 
decrees of the Council ? Their bearing on the ques 
tions at issue Galatians must be placed before the 
Council Light thrown on the second missionary 
journey Objections Galatians and Romans The 
two visits of Gal 4 13 The " Western " reading of the 
decrees in Ac 1 5 . . . . -191 





Some recent English literature The apocalyptic books 
Light thrown on the Apocalypse The historical 
situation The question of inspiration The psycho 
logical problem . -213 





THE eschatological question is, without doubt, the 
most live issue in New Testament criticism at 
the present day. Eschatology means properly 
the doctrine of the last things, and in its proper 
sense the word is, of course, not confined to any 
one conception of them. A Dictionary article 
on Eschatology would deal with the various 
views current in different circles and at different 
times with regard to the future of the world, 
the nature of life after death, Heaven and 
Hell, and kindred subjects. But in the set of 
questions we are about to discuss, the eschato 
logical theory, and similar phrases, refer to one 
particular doctrine of the last things. The 
eschatologist, as the word is used in critical 
discussions just at present, is one who holds 
that most of the New Testament writers, and 
our Lord Himself, believed that the end of 
the world was to come in the lifetime of those 


then living, and that this belief is the best key 
to the understanding of the Synoptic Gospels. 
The position derives its strength from the light 
thrown on the New Testament by the study 
of the apocalyptic literature of contemporary 
Judaism. 1 This literature shows to what an 
extent the hopes of the Jews, or at least certain 
sections among them, were directed to the 
future. They looked for God to redress the 
evils and oppression under which they suffered 
by a startling supernatural catastrophe, which 
was to annihilate the existing order, and bring 
in a new heaven and earth ; in each Apocalypse 
the writer is convinced that God will do this 
right early. It is held, then, that a similar 
apocalyptic hope was the central motive in the 
career and preaching of Jesus. 

This view is specially connected with the 
name of Albert Schweitzer, a Privatdozent at 
Strassburg, who, of course, built to some extent 
on the work of his predecessors, particularly 
Johannes Weiss. It was first brought before 
the general English reader by Dr. Sanday ; 
though far from accepting Schweitzer s theory 
as it stands, he devoted a large part of his Life 
of Christ in Recent Research to a sympathetic 
discussion of the latter s Von Reimarus zu 

1 Some account of this literature will be found below in the 
concluding essay, " The Problem of the Apocalypse." 


Wrede, in which the eschatological position is 
developed. 1 

On the other hand, Father Tyrrell in his 
Christianity at the Cross-Roads, published after 
his death, appears as a whole-hearted supporter. 
He accepts the view of Weiss and Schweitzer, 
practically without reserve, as the last word 
of criticism. Chapter viii., "The Christ of 
Eschatology," is a summary of it, given after 
his manner with no quotations or references, 
a method which is perhaps acceptable to the 
general reader, but which has its drawbacks, 
not only to the serious student, but to any one 
who wishes to know the authority on which a 
statement is based. The rest of the book is an 

1 References will be readily found in the index to Dr. 
Sanday s book. It will be well to quote what he himself has 
said more recently in a letter to the Guardian (igth August 
1910) : " I cannot say that I look back with satisfaction to the 
way in which I wrote on this subject three years ago. I made 
the mistake of trying to do two things at once to give some 
account of Schweitzer, and at the same time to state what I 
thought could be assimilated of his book. In the double task 
I cannot think that I was successful. At the same time, I am 
conscious that I owe much to Schweitzer for compelling me to 
see things that I had not seen before or seen so clearly. I 
cannot retract anything of the acknowledgments that I made 
to him on this head. Neither can I retract anything that I 
said in praise of qualities which excited my genuine admiration. 
And yet I admit that the balance was not struck perfectly. I 
made allowance for the audacities of a young writer. There 
are one or two that I should not defend. Which of us sends out 
a book in which he has nothing to regret ?" 


attempt to draw out the implications of the 
theory, and to prove its compatibility with a 
liberal Catholicism. Other indications of the 
interest which the question raises may be seen 
in the place which it filled in the International 
Congress for the History of Religions, and the 
Summer School of Theology, held at Oxford 
in the early autumn of 1908 and 1909 respect 
ively. The record of the former is to be found 
in the two papers printed in the second volume of 
the Proceedings, " New Testament Eschatology 
and New Testament Ethics," by Professor 
Peabody, and " Early Christian Eschatology, "by 
Professor von Dobschutz. 1 That of the latter 
is to be found in the series of papers on " The 
Eschatology of the Gospels," also by Professor 
von Dobschutz, in the Expositor of January to 
May i9io. 2 Reference should also be made to 
Dr. Burkitt s essay in the Cambridge Biblical 
Essays, a paper written with a peculiar charm 
of style, and dealing sympathetically with the 
presuppositions and implications of the theory, 
rather than with its details. On the other 
side, Dr. Inge, in a sermon preached before 
the University of Cambridge and in reviews, 

1 The discussion which followed was conducted by Drs. 
Sanday, P. Gardner, Burkitt, Professor Lake, and Mr. 
Montefiore, a combination of experts, which is significant of 
the importance of the subject. 

2 Now published in book form. 


has come forward as an uncompromising 
opponent. 1 

Generally speaking, every recent book which 
touches on New Testament criticism has some 
reference or other to the point at issue. For 
the theory is so far-reaching that, if accepted, 
it modifies, and modifies profoundly, the results 
of New Testament study on nearly every side. 

Fortunately the English reader can now go 
to the fountainhead. Early in the present 
year (1910) an English translation of Von 
Reimarus zu Wrede appeared under the title of 
The Quest of the Historical Jesus, accompanied 
by a Preface by Dr. Burkitt. 2 The object of 
this essay will be in the first place to explain as 
clearly as possible the nature and the basis of 
the eschatological theory, and then to offer 
some criticisms upon its validity. We shall 
confine ourselves in the main to Schweitzer 
himself, and our references throughout will be 
to the translation. His book is written to 
commend the eschatological solution of the 
problems raised by the life of Christ. It is true 

1 Guardian, I3th May 1910 ; Hibbert Journal, January 1910 ; 
Journal of Theological Studies, July 1910. There has also 
been a discussion at the Cambridge Church Congress, in which 
Dr. Charles (amongst others) criticised Schweitzer very severely. 
And no one can suggest that he is likely to minimise the im 
portance of Apocalyptic. 

2 London : A. & C. Black. 


that only the concluding chapters deal with this 
directly, the greater portion of the book being 
occupied with a detailed sketch of the course of 
German 1 criticism as applied to the Gospels and 
the life of Jesus "from Reimarus to Wrede," 
i.e. roughly from 1774, when Lessing began to 
publish posthumous fragments of the writings 
of Reimarus, to 1901, the date of Wrede s 
Messianic Secret in the Gospels. But this 
preliminary survey is strictly germane to the 
main subject, for the writer s object is to show 
how various assured results have been gradually 
reached by New Testament criticism, and how 
imperfect solutions of the problems have been 
one by one eliminated. This elimination leaves 
the field clear for the thoroughgoing eschato- 
logical solution, glimpses of which have been 
caught by earlier critics from Reimarus onwards. 
Whatever view we ultimately find ourselves 
compelled to take of Schweitzer s position, there 
can be no doubt that the book is of supreme 
value, both on account of the uncompromising 
and thought-provoking manner in which the 
questions are stated, and also for the unique 
synopsis which it gives of the history and 
growth of critical opinion. The book is not 
always easy to read, and the language is at 

1 There are some references to writers of other nationalities, 
and a chapter is devoted to Kenan. 


times enigmatic, but as a rule there is no mis 
taking the writer s meaning, and he delights the 
reader with a series of vivid and illuminating 


metaphors, which it would be hard to parallel 
in literature of this type. 

It is perhaps needless to praise Christianity 
at the Cross-Roads. We may not be able to 
endorse Tyrrell s attitude towards the Gospel 
story, but the whole book will be found to 
be full of suggestions and points of view of 
the profoundest interest ; the discussions of 
symbolism, and of the place of religion in 
relation to morality and social progress, stand 
out as specially important. But it would 
complicate the inquiry before us too much if 
we were to attempt to deal with these aspects 
of the book. 


THE pith of Schweitzer s positive results is 
found in his last two chapters. He sketches 
with a sufficiently decisive, not to say brutal, 
touch the difficulties which he considers in 
soluble on any of the usual theories of the life 
of Christ, whether liberal or orthodox. His 
charge is that they all read too much into the 
text of Mark, and the Synoptists in general, 
adding " connecting links " for which there is 
no justification, and regarding as self-evident 
the very things which require the most stringent 
proof. "Mark knows nothing of any develop 
ment in Jesus ; he knows nothing of any 
pedagogic considerations which are supposed 
to have determined the conduct of Jesus 
towards the disciples and the people ; he knows 
nothing of any conflict in the mind of Jesus 
between a spiritual and a popular political 
Messianic ideal ; he does not know either that 
in this respect there was any difference between 
the view of Jesus and that of the people ; he 


knows nothing of the idea that the use of the 
ass at the triumphal entry symbolised a non- 
political Messiahship ; he knows nothing of the 
idea that the question about the Messiah s 
being the Son of David had something to do 
with this alternative between political and non- 
political ; he does not know either that Jesus 
explained the secret of the Passion to the 
disciples, nor that they had any understanding 
of it ; he only knows that from first to last they 
were in all respects equally wanting in under 
standing ; he does not know that the first 
period was a period of success, and the second 
a period of failure ; he represents the Pharisees 
and Herodians as (from 3 onwards) resolved 
upon the death of Jesus, while the people, down 
to the very last day when He preached in the 
temple, are enthusiastically loyal to Him." 
And, referring to the claim of critical scepticism 
that all connecting links should be justified, he 
says in a characteristic and delightful metaphor : 
" Formerly it was possible to book through- 
tickets at the supplementary - psychological- 
knowledge office which enabled those travelling 
in the interests of Life-of- Jesus construction to 
use express trains, thus avoiding the incon 
venience of having to stop at every little station, 
change, and run the risk of missing their 


1 P. 330. 


connection. This ticket office is now closed. 
There is a station at the end of each section 
of the narrative, and the connections are not 
guaranteed." 1 

He finds that Wrede and himself have stated 
the real problems in much the same way, and 
if we are to do anything like justice to his own 
solution, we must have a clear idea of what 
they are. Most of them are connected with 
the Messiahship. Demoniacs address Jesus as 
Son of God ; a blind man as Son of David ; 
He makes what is supposed to be a Messianic 
entry. Yet His Messiahship i a secret only 
revealed to the disciples at Cae^area Philippi 
(how ?) ; it is to be unknown till after the 
Resurrection, and is covered by the mysterious 
title Son of Man ; the high priest only learns 
it in answer to his direct question. What is 
"the mystery" connected with the teaching by 
parables ? The place of miracles in the mind 
of Jesus? Why should He anticipate persecu 
tions for His followers, and death for Himself? 
Did He go to Jerusalem in order to die or to 
work? How reconcile Gethsemane with His 
prophecies of death ? What is the meaning of 
the sayings in Mt icr 3 and elsewhere about the 
imminent coming of the Son of Man ? And 
so on almost without limit. Schweitzer has 
1 P. 332. 


three full pages of these diropiai, some of them 
a little trivial, some of them real difficulties on 
any view of the Gospels and the life of Christ. 

Wrede s solution of these problems is a 
sufficiently desperate one. It is that Jesus 
was only thought of as Messiah after the 
Resurrection ; the contradictions have arisen 
from the more or less conscious attempts of 
tradition, and the Evangelists, to explain how 
it came about that He was not recognised as 


Messiah before, the impression of the non- 
Messianic character of His life being still too 
strong to allow of the story being recast alto 
gether. Schweitzer s detailed criticism of 
Wrede need not detain us ; we pass on to 
his own view, which is that of " thoroughgoing 

It is stated on pp. 35off., and no excuse need 
be offered for a somewhat full summary. As 
has already been said, a similar summary will 
be found in Tyrrell s Christianity at the Cross- 
Roads, chap, viii., " The Christ of Eschatology." 

Jesus, having come in contact with the move 
ment initiated by the Baptist, appeared Himself 
in Galilee proclaiming the near approach of 
the kingdom of God. From first to last His 


public life and teaching were dominated by this 
one idea, that the existing world-age was to 
come to an abrupt end, and the "kingdom" 


to be established suddenly, miraculously, and 
supernaturally, not, be it understood, in any 
sense as a new force in the old world, but as 
something which was to take its place. Ac 
cordingly, He Himself was a herald or prophet, 
rather than a teacher. His disciples "are not 
His helpers in the work of teaching ; we never 
see them in that capacity, and He did not 
prepare them to carry on that work after His 
death. ... He chooses them as those who are 
destined to hurl the firebrand into the world, 
and are afterwards, as those who have been the 
companions of the existing Messiah, before He 
came to His kingdom, to be His associates in 
ruling and judging it." It is true that, accord 
ing to the counsel of God, penitence was a 
condition of the coming of the kingdom ; 2 no 
one could hope for a place therein who was not 
qualified by repentance. This repentance is 
supplemented by a special system of ethics, 
found in the Sermon on the Mount ; it is an 
Interimsethik suited to the brief interval before 
the coming of the kingdom, the code of a 
dying world, not of a world which is to endure 
from generation to generation. 

Bound up with this ethic is a strict predestin- 

1 P. 369- 

2 The obscure saying in Mt II 12 refers to "the host of 
penitents which is wringing the kingdom from God," p. 355. 


arianism. In the parables and kindred sayings 
"there lies concealed a supernatural knowledge 
concerning the plans of God, which only those 
who have ears to hear that is, the foreordained 
can detect. For others these sayings are 
unintelligible." 1 "All that goes beyond that 
simple phrase [_sc. repent ye/ etc.] must be 
publicly presented only in parables, in order 
that those only who are shown to possess 
predestination, by having the initial knowledge 
which enables them to understand the parables, 
may receive a more advanced knowledge." 
In the parable of the Marriage Supper (Mt 
22 1 " 14 ) the man who has not on the wedding 
garment is ejected solely because he is not 
predestined. The Beatitudes "are really pre- 
destinarian in form." They are not intended 
by Jesus "as an injunction or exhortation, but 
as a simple statement of fact ; in their being 
poor in spirit, in their meekness, in their love 
of peace, it is made manifest that they are 
predestined to the kingdom." 3 Again, it is " the 
predestinarianism which is an integral part of 
eschatology, and which, in fact, dominated the 
thought of Jesus," which explains why He 
spoke of giving His life as a ransom for many, 
not for the nation, or for all. "The Lord is 
conscious that He dies only for the elect. For 
1 P. 356. 2 P. 352. 3 P- 353- 


others His death can avail nothing, nor even 
their own repentance." Or it explains His 
reply to the sons of Zebedee that the places on 
His right hand and left are to be given only to 
those for whom they are prepared ; "therefore 
perhaps not to any of the disciples. At this 
point, therefore, the knowledge and will of Jesus 
are thwarted and limited by the predestin- 
arianism which is bound up with eschatology." 2 
On the other hand, it is sometimes a cause of 
hope. He follows up the refusal of the rich 
young man with the suggestion that "with 
God all things are possible." " That is, He 
will not give up the hope that the young man, 
in spite of appearances which are against him, 
will be found to have belonged to the kingdom 

o o 

of God, solely in virtue of the secret, all- 
powerful will of God. Of a conversion of 
the young man there is no question." 3 

" The mystery of the kingdom " enshrined in 
the parables is the nearness and the miraculous 
nature of its coming. In parables such as those 
in Mk 4, " it is not the idea of development 
but of apparent absence of causation which 
occupies the foremost place. The description 
aims at suggesting how, and by what power, 
incomparably great and glorious results can be 
infallibly produced by an insignificant fact with- 

P.388, n. i. 2 P. 363. 3 P- 353- 


out human aid." The frequent references to 
sowing and reaping are to be accounted for by 
the fact that Jesus believed that the harvest 
then ripening on earth was in very truth the 
last. The movement had probably begun in 
the spring, and all was to come to an end in 
the harvest of the summer, which corresponded 
to the harvest ripening in heaven. The saying 
about the rich harvest in Mt 9 37 - 3S probably 
refers to the close temporal connection of the 
earthly and heavenly harvests. 

This belief finds its climax in the mission 
of the Twelve, which follows the rejection at 
Nazareth, where Jesus had found to His surprise 
only a few "elect." Before the return of the 
Apostles He expected the Paroiisia : "Verily 
I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone 
through the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man 
be come" (Mt io 23 ) a very crucial text in 
Schweitzer s mind. It is to be interpreted 
absolutely literally ; the end was to come before 
they had completed their tour. It is this fact 
which explains the prediction of sufferings in 
Mt io. They have no sort of reference to 
any persecutions which Christ s followers were 
to undergo in a more or less distant future 
there being no reason why Jesus should anti 
cipate anything of the sort. They refer to the 

v. 354- 


eschatological woes which were to precede the 
inauguration of the new era. During the very 
journey on which they were starting, the 
disciples were to pass through a storm of 
hatred and persecution, a period of bitter dis 
sension in which brother should rise against 
brother, children against fathers, fathers against 
children. But they are encouraged "to endure 
till the end," i.e. hold out bravely for the few 
remaining weeks or days of the world s history. 
For before they could return, the Son of Man 
would have come. 

Somehow there had been a miscalculation ; 
the disciples came back safe and sound, and 
the wheel of the world rolled smoothly on its 
course. This point marks a crisis in the life 
and thought of Jesus. It explains the sudden 
dropping of the successful work in Galilee, 
and the retirement to the north, facts which 
Schweitzer considers altogether inexplicable on 
any other view. This retirement is, in fact, "a 
flight," as has been generally believed ; not, 
however, from the scribes or Herod, "but from 
the people, who dog His footsteps in order to 
await in His company the appearing of the 
kingdom of God and of the Son of Man to 
await it in vain." l A fresh feature now becomes 
1 p. 362. 


prominent in the story. We hear hencefor 
ward, not of sufferings which are to be the fate 
of the elect in general, but of Jesus own 
death. In the eschatological scheme a time of 
tribulation was expected before the end, "the 
birth-pangs of the Messiah." This is the trial 
or temptation (7^/30,07*09) of which we read so 
often ; the Lord s Prayer closes with a petition 
to be delivered from it. But in Jewish thought 
the Messiah Himself had no share in this 
tribulation. He was a heavenly Being, who 
was to be manifested when the kingdom came. 
With this heavenly Being Jesus had identified 
Himself. But, probably under the influence of 
the Isaianic prophecies concerning the Suffering 
Servant, He had come to realise that He, 
the future Messiah, must also pass through 
the tribulation. Nay, more than this; He 
is to bear the brunt of it alone. " The pre- 
Messianic tribulation is for others set aside, 
abolished, concentrated upon Himself alone. 
. . . He must suffer for others that the 
kingdom might come." 1 In this sense Hrs 
life was to be a ransom for many ; henceforth 
His career is, in Tyrrell s phrase, "a quest of 

This may be a suitable place to explain 
the position which (according to Schweitzer) 
1 P. 386. 


Jesus considered Himself to hold in the scheme 
of things. Our understanding of it chiefly 
depends on the correct interpretation of the 
phrase " Son of Man." We cannot here enter 
on the long and important controversies which 
have centred round it. Schweitzer s own 
view 1 is that it was derived from Daniel, and 
had come to be used in a transcendental sense 
of the Messiah who was to come on the clouds 
of heaven ; it is so used in the Similitudes of 
Enoch and 4 Esdras. Jesus would under 
stand it as referring to a heavenly Being to be 
revealed in the future. Hence in the Gospels 
He sometimes of set purpose uses it quite 
vaguely. To His hearers it meant the great 
Unknown ; to His own mind, but to His own 
alone, it meant Himself as He should shortly 
be manifested. The saying in Mt io 23 , and 
the parable of the Sheep and Goats (Mt 
2 5 31 ~ 46 )> are examples of this use. In other 
cases, after His secret had Become known, the 
phrase was understood as referring to Himself, 
as in the conversation at Csesarea Philippi, and 
the reply to the high priest at the trial. 
"Jesus did not therefore veil His Messiahship 
by using the expression Son of Man, much less 
did He transform it, but He used the expres 
sion to refer, in the only possible way, to His 
1 Pp. 266-289. 


Messianic office as destined to be realised at 
His coming, and did so in such a manner 
that only the initiated understood that He was 
speaking of His own coming, while others 
understood Him as referring to the coming of 
a Son of Man who was other than Himself." 1 

Schweitzer is therefore compelled to main 
tain that the disciples never understood the 
expression as referring to Jesus Himself until 
the incident at Caesarea Philippi, the Jews as 
a whole not until the trial. Apparent ex 
ceptions are to be explained in two ways. 
(a) There are cases where " Son of Man " in 
the Aramaic original meant simply " man " ; z 
e.g. in the sayings about the power to forgive 
sins, and about the Sabbath (Mk 2 10 and 2 28 ). 
(6) In other cases tradition, following the ana 
logy of the authentic uses of the title, substi 
tuted " Son of Man" for an original " I." A 
comparison of Mt i6 13 and Mk 8 27 proves that 
this did in fact sometimes occur. Mt 8 20 
("hath not where to lay His head") and n 19 
("the Son of Man came eating and drink 
ing ") are most naturally explained on these 
lines. It will, of course, be understood that 

1 P. 282. 

2 Lietzmann, Wellhausen, and others have, of course, main 
tained that the Aramaic phrase barnasha could only have 
meant " man." 


Schweitzer admits that the Evangelists always 
intended the phrase to apply to our Lord 
openly ; he is trying, as he has every right to 
do, to go behind the tradition to the words 
actually used, and the meaning they conveyed 
to the original audience. It is interesting to 
note that he considers his view of the use 
of the title to be a vindication of the trust 
worthiness of the Gospel tradition. 

The upshot, then, is that Jesus regarded 
Himself as the future Messiah. He was not 
on earth as Messiah ; He had only come to 
announce, and to some extent to prepare for, 
the kingdom. It was only, as it were, an 
accident that the herald of the present was also 
the King and Judge of the future. That this 
was so, was His " secret." When and by whom 
was it first discovered ? We expect the answer 
"at Csesarea Philippi," but Schweitzer holds 
that the Transfiguration preceded the great 
question. The scene on the Mount was an 
actual occurrence, in which, in a state of rapture 
common to them all, the secret is revealed to 
the Three. Jesus supplements it with the 
prediction of the Passion, and the strictest 
injunctions to secrecy. The conversation at 
Ca^sarea Philippi follows. Jesus, for some 
reason not explained, asks His disciples the 


well-known question. Peter s answer is not 
the result of a gradually growing conviction ; 
it is simply the acceptance of what had been 
revealed on the Mount. Hence our Lord s 
reply, that flesh and blood had not revealed it 
to him. But He is by no means pleased at 
the confession, since the secret is now shared 
by all the Twelve, with what tragic results will 
shortly appear. " Jesus was astonished. For 
Peter here disregarded the command given 
during the descent from the Mount of Trans 
figuration. He had betrayed to the Twelve 
Jesus consciousness of His Messiahship. One 
receives the impression that Jesus did not put 
the question to the disciples in order to reveal 
Himself to them as Messiah, and that by the 
impulsive speech of Peter, upon whose silence 
He had counted because of His command, and 
to whom He had not specially addressed the 
question, He was forced to take a different line 
of action in regard to the Twelve from what 
He had intended. It is probable that He had 
never had the intention of revealing the secret 
of His Messiahship to the disciples. Otherwise 
He would not have kept it from them at the 
time of their mission, when He did not expect 
them to return before the Parousia. Even at 
the Transfiguration the three do not learn 
it from His lips, but in a state of ecstasy, an 


ecstasy which He shared with them. At 
Csesarea Philippi it is not He, but Peter, who 
reveals His Messiahship. We may say, there 
fore, that Jesus did not voluntarily give up His 
Messianic secret ; it was wrung from Him by 
the pressure of events." 1 

The revelation once made was readily 
accepted. There remained, however, a pre 
liminary objection in the mind of the disciples : 
Elias must first come. Is not Jesus Elias, the 
forerunner ? No ; as our Lord explains during 
the descent from the Mount, the Baptist has 
been Elias. 2 It is true that, according to 


Mt n u , He had already made a similar state 
ment to the people on the occasion of the 
Baptist s message, but we are reminded that 
the disciples were not then present, and we 
must apparently assume that no report of what 
had passed reached their ears. When the 
Baptist asked Jesus, " Art thou he that cometh? " 
the question meant, " Art thou Elias? " not " Art 
thou the Messiah ? " though the Evangelist has 
given the episode a Messianic colouring. The 
question was indeed an awkward one for Jesus 
to answer without revealing His secret, and 
His reply is intentionally obscure. But He 
adds to it the statement identifying the 
Baptist with Elias, and in so doing " unveiled 
1 p. 384. 2 Mt i7 12 . 


to [the people] almost the whole mystery of 
the kingdom of God, and nearly disclosed the 
secret of His Messiahship. ... If John was 
Elias, who was Jesus?" 1 It is true the 
description of Elias did not fit John at all ; 
"Jesus makes him Elias, simply because He 
expected His own manifestation as Son of 
Man, and before that it was necessary that 
Elias must first have come." In particular, " the 
death of Elias was not contemplated in the 
eschatological doctrine, and was, in fact, un 
thinkable. But Jesus must somehow drag or 
force the eschatological events into the frame 
work of the actual occurrences." 2 

The rest of the story is concerned with the 
death of the Messiah. "Jesus sets out for 
Jerusalem solely in order to die there." If He 
teaches as a prophet, it is mainly because " He 
thinks only how He can so provoke the 
Pharisees and the rulers that they will be 
compelled to get rid of Him. That is why He 
violently cleanses the Temple, and attacks the 
Pharisees, in the presence of the people, 
with passionate invective." 3 The entry into 
Jerusalem is, as is shown by the attendant 
circumstances, "a Messianic act on the part of 
Jesus, an action in which His consciousness 
of His office breaks through, as it did at the 
1 P- 373- 2 P. 374- 3 P. 389- 


sending forth of the disciples, in the explanation 
that the Baptist was Elias, and in the feeding 
of the multitude. 1 But others can have had no 
suspicion of the Messianic significance of that 
which was going on before their eyes. The 
entry into Jerusalem was therefore Messianic 
for Jesus, but not Messianic for the people." 5 
In the eyes of the multitude He was the 
Prophet, Elias, as is shown by Mt 2i n ; though 
here again the Evangelist has wrongly given 
a Messianic colouring to the whole episode. 
Jesus is, in fact, "playing with His secret," as 
He played with it once more when He asked 
the question about the Messiah being David s 

The people, however, have not guessed His 
secret, even at the last. The high priest by 
his crucial question at the trial suddenly shows 
himself to be in possession of it. How? 
Because Judas has betrayed the secret. "For 
a hundred and fifty years the question has been 
historically discussed why Judas betrayed his 
Master. That the main question for criticism 
was what he betrayed was suspected by few, and 
they only touched on it in a timid kind of way." 3 
"Jesus died because two of His disciples had 
broken His command of silence : Peter when 
he made known the secret of the Messiahship 
1 See below, p. 36. 2 P. 391. 3 P. 394. 


to the Twelve at Caesarea Philippi ; Judas 
Iscariot by communicating it to the high 
priest." But Judas was only a single witness ; 
it is no use calling him unless he can be 
supported. Jesus Himself cuts the knot by 
His reply to the high priest s question, 
strengthening His admission by an allusion to 
His Parousia. When the case is referred to 
Pilate the presence of the people creates a 
difficulty, since they are on Jesus side. The 
priests " had done everything so quickly and 
quietly that they might well have hoped to get 
Jesus crucified before any one knew what was 
happening, or had had time to wonder at His 
non-appearance in the Temple." Suddenly the 
crowd is seen to be eager for His execution. 
The explanation is that the priests had spread 
the sensational report of His Messianic claim. 
That makes Him at once from a prophet 
worthy of honour into a deluded enthusiast and 
blasphemer. That was the explanation of the 
fickleness of the Jerusalem mob, which is 
always so eloquently described without any 
evidence for it except this single inexplicable 

case." 2 

The sketch of the career of Jesus ends, 
somewhat enigmatically, with the following 
paragraph: "At midday of the same day 

1 P. 394- 2 P. 395- 


it was the i4th Nisan, on the evening of 
which the Paschal lamb was eaten Jesus 
cried aloud and expired. He had chosen to 
remain fully conscious to the last." 

The next chapter, headed " Results," begins : 
" Those who are fond of talking about negative 
theology can find their account here. There 
is nothing more negative than the result of 
the critical study of the life of Jesus." 
1 P. 395. 2 P. 396- 


THE impression which Schweitzer s theory 
makes on different readers varies greatly. 
Some find it merely grotesque from first to 
last ; some are steadily fascinated by it ; 
others, again, are repelled and attracted by 
turns. The reasons of its undoubted attrac 
tion for many minds are not far to seek. 
The conception seems to be consistent and 
thoroughgoing ; it is a master-key which can 
fit every lock. It moves apparently within 
the limits of what is strictly historical, yet 
it leaves room for mystery. It claims to do 
justice to the Gospels as they stand, and 
to dispense with all "modernising and 
psychologising." Further, it is thought to 
vindicate the position of the Sacraments and 
the originality of the references to the Church. 
On such grounds as these it has won con 
siderable favour, both from those who have 
a first-hand acquaintance with Schweitzer, as 
well as from some who have not. It will be 


well then for us to examine some of the 
claims which it makes for itself. 

We may take, first, its claim to do justice 
to the Gospels, or rather to the Synoptists. 
"We may, in fact, say that the progressive 
recognition of the eschatological character of 
the teaching and action of Jesus carries with 
it a progressive justification of the Gospel 
tradition." 1 In criticising his predecessors, 
Schweitzer protests continually that they 
treat the Gospels arbitrarily, accepting or 
rejecting just what suits their theory, read 
ing too much into the text, and taking for 
granted the very things which require most 
proof. We expect, therefore, that his own 
procedure will be free from this charge, and 
Dr. Sanday says of him that "he keeps 
much closer to the texts than most critics 
do ; he expressly tells us that his investigations 
have helped to bring out the historical trust 
worthiness of the Gospels," 2 though he points 
out later on that he is not consistent in this 
respect. 3 Certainly he is not. We do not, 
of course, quarrel with him for ignoring the 
Fourth Gospel for his purpose, but it is a 
very serious matter when we find him 
entirely sweeping away the third. In his 

1 P. 285. 2 Life of Christ in Recent Research, p. 88. 

3 Ibid. p. 101. 


reconstruction of the life of Christ he makes 
no use whatever of St. Luke ; how gravely 
this omission affects the resultant picture of 
the teaching of Christ we shall see later on. 
And in the two Gospels which he does use, 
his procedure does not seem to differ very 
materially from that of his predecessors. We 
have seen that he goes a long way behind the 
text in order to arrive at what he considers 
the authentic use of the expression " Son of 
Man " ; he does not hesitate to transpose the 
Transfiguration and the scene at Csesarea 
Philippi ; the prophecy of the sufferings in 
Mk 8 34 cannot possibly come where it is 
placed by the Evangelist, and the predictions 
of tribulation in Mk 13 cannot be derived 
from Jesus, simply because as they stand they 
contradict Schweitzer s theory that, after the 
mission of the Twelve, the expectation of a 
general tribulation is entirely displaced by 
the thought of the sufferings which Jesus 
Himself must undergo. 1 The command to 
baptize is, of course, not an authentic saying 
of Jesus. 2 He is practically silent about the 
Resurrection, and, needless to say, does not 
accept the narratives of miracles as they stand. 
Once more Schweitzer himself reads so 
much into the Gospels and supplies such 

1 P. 387, n. i ; see above, p. 19. 2 P. 379. 


important connecting links, that he has 
developed a theory practically unsuspected 
for over eighteen centuries. He admits that 
it is not the view of the Evangelists them 
selves, who have frequently misrepresented 
the nature of the events they record. To 
get at the truth, he has to go behind their 
narrative. 1 One would not suggest for a 
moment that these considerations invalidate 
the eschatological theory. The Gospel narra 
tive is fragmentary, and is not clear as it 
stands ; it demands the insertion of explanatory 
links and some connecting scheme. This is 
done, and must be done, by the most orthodox 
commentator as much as by the liberal critic. 
And we cannot deny a priori that some of 
the Gospels, and some of the incidents they 
narrate, may be more historical than others, 
so that in order to recover the facts we may 
be compelled to select here and discard there. 
Our point is that there seems to be but scant 
justification for Schweitzer s implied claim that 
he has somehow escaped the necessity for any 
such procedure. He pours unlimited scorn 
upon the various explanations offered of the 
" flight to the north." On his own view it 
is accounted for by the disappointment of 
Jesus, when the Parousia did not take place 

1 For examples, see above, pp. 21, 24, 26. 


during the mission of the Twelve. 1 He 
supplements St. Mark s narrative by an 
explanation derived from Mt io 23 . Is not 
this in principle precisely the same procedure 
as Professor Burkitt s, when, with far more 
probability, he combines St. Mark with St. 
Luke s hints of Herod s hostility? 2 Is not 
the method that of the commonplace critic 
who has recourse to the growing enmity of 
the scribes and Pharisees? The fact is, all 
have to read between the lines of the Gospels, 
to supplement and interpret ; the only ques 
tion is, which interpretation is the m 

And, not to be further tedious on this point, 
similar considerations apply briefly to what 
Schweitzer says about " psychologising " and 
"modernising." It is quite true that, as Professor 
Burkitt has reminded us, we must not make 
Jesus the hero of a modern psychological 
novel. But we cannot escape from psychology, 
and Schweitzer s theory that Jesus was pos 
sessed throughout by the ever-present belief in 
the nearness of the end, is a piece of psycholo- 
gising, no less than the view that His main 
interest was in inward religion. He attempts 
to "read the mind of Jesus" when he holds 

1 See above, p. 17. 

2 The Gospel History and its Transmission^ pp. 90 ff. 



that He believed Himself the Messiah of the 
future, as much as those who try to trace a 
development of His Messianic consciousness. 
And as to modernising, he seems to under 
stand by this the attribution to Jesus of any 
religious or spiritual idea which would make 
the smallest appeal to our own age. After all, 
it may turn out that the charge of modernising, 
and of false modernising, will lie at the door of 
those who ascribe to Him their own absorbing 
interest in the recently studied apocalyptic 
literature, rather than of those who hold that 
He came to reveal the Fatherhood of God, 
and the joy of communion with Him. The 
study of the Jewish Apocalypses is the dernier 
cri, and the New Testament student is just now 
steeped in eschatology. There is a danger in 
our taking our own enthusiasm and transferring 
it bodily to Jesus. We assume that He was 
nourished on apocalyptic literature as His 
Bible, and breathed daily an atmosphere im 
pregnated by the ideas of the Book of Enoch. 
Is it not possible that a future generation will 
reproach the eschatologist himself with creating 
a Christ after his own likeness ? 

Again, Schweitzer has been supposed, es 
pecially it would seem by Tyrrell, to vindicate 
sacramental teaching as an authentic element 


in the mind of Jesus. He insists rightly on 


the importance of " sealings " in eschatological 
thought. 1 Men sought for a guarantee that 
they would pass safely through the tribulation 
and secure their place in the kingdom. This 
guarantee could be found in some external sign 
of which the " mark on the forehead " of Ezk 9 
is an early example. Baptism was a similar 
"sealing," a guarantee of immunity. It is so, 
as Schweitzer points out, in St. Paul (Ro 6 1 , 
2 Co i 22 , Eph i 13 - 14 4 30 ), ti\z Psalms of Solomon 
(xv. 8), and Hermas (Vis. iii. ; Sim. ix. 16). 
St. Paul further speaks of other saving marks 
(Gal 6 17 , 2 Co 4 10 ), and the idea is, of course, 
prominent in the Apocalypse. This is the key 
to the baptism of John. It is not contrasted 
with a future baptism of the Spirit, but connected 
with it. Those who are baptized by him can 
depend on receiving the subsequent outpouring 
of the Spirit which is to come in the last days. 
John s wrath at the coming of the Pharisees and 
Sadducees is due to his fear that by beino- 
baptized they may secure for themselves a place 
in the kingdom to which they are not entitled 
or foredestined. 2 Baptism forms part of "the 
predestinarian thought of election." 

Further, the Messiah can give the right to 

1 Pp. 375 f- 

2 This is apparently the meaning of the paragraph at the top 
of p. 377. 


partake of the Messianic feast of the future. 
Here is the true significance of the feeding of 
the five thousand, which is an " eschatological 
sacrament." " With the morsel of bread which 
He gives His disciples to distribute to the 
people He consecrates them as partakers in 
the coming Messianic feast, and gives them 
the guarantee that they who had shared His 
table in the time of His obscurity would also 
share it in the time of His glory. In the 
prayer He gives thanks not only for the food, 
but also for the coming kingdom and all its 
blessings. It is the counterpart of the Lord s 
Prayer, where He so strangely inserts the 
petition for daily bread between the petitions 
for the coming of the kingdom and for deliver 
ance from the Tret/oa 07^,69." Of course no one 

1 P. 374. Schweitzer s treatment of this miracle is interesting. 
He makes great play with the "rationalism" of O. Holtzmann, 
who suggested that " in the feeding of the multitude Jesus 
showed the confidence of a courageous housewife who knows 
how to provide skilfully for a great crowd of children from 
small resources. Perhaps in a future work Oskar Holtzmann 
will be less reserved, not for the sake of theology, but of 
national well-being, and will inform his contemporaries what 
kind of domestic economy it was which made it possible for the 
Lord to satisfy with five loaves and two fishes several thousand 
hungry men " (p. 307). We naturally turn eagerly to his own 
explanation (p. 374). " Our solution is that the whole is 
historical, except the closing remark that they were all filled. 
Jesus distributed the provisions which He and His disciples 
had with them among the multitude, so that each received a 
very little after He had first offered thanks." The method may 


but Himself had any suspicion of this hidden 

Naturally the same principle is applied to 
the Last Supper, which is a guarantee to the 
disciples that they will soon drink with Jesus of 
the fruit of the vine in the kingdom. Hence 
baptism and the Lord s Supper were from the 
first " eschatological sacraments," though the 
former was not instituted by Christ, and He 
certainly did not contemplate any repetition of 
the latter. Before, however, we fasten unwarily 
on the admission of the sacramental character 
of these rites, it will be well to understand 
exactly in what sense Schweitzer uses the word 
sacrament. He really means magic. He 
emphasises the fact that at the feeding of the 
five thousand, the people had no idea of the 
significance of what was taking place. "The 
sacramental effect was wholly independent of 
the apprehension and comprehension of the 
recipient." Baptism is purely predestinarian ; 
there is no ethical side whatever to Schweitzer s 
"sacraments." In view of the normal use of 
the word, in England at any rate, it would seem 

be useful in dealing with the problems raised by the Gospel 
miracles ; the raising of Lazarus is all historical except the 
statement that he came forth from the tomb. Only most 
people would call it not only rationalising, but somewhat 
unintelligible rationalising. 
1 P. 378, n. 


better to substitute for it in Schweitzer s argu 
ment some such phrase as magic rites ; l other 
wise the unwary may be misled as to his real 
meaning. One of the grounds on which he 
commends his view is that by it we are not 
compelled to "make the history of dogma 
begin with a fall from the earlier purer 
theology into the sacramental magical." That 
is, we have the advantage of ascribing this 
"fall" or inferior teaching, not to St. Paul 
or second-century Christianity, but to Jesus 

A similar caution is necessary with regard to 
what Schweitzer says about the Church. It 
will be well to quote his exact words. The 
texts which deal with " binding and loosing " 
are probably quite genuine. "If one has got 
a clear idea from Paul, 2 Clement, the Epistle 
to the Hebrews, and the Shepherd of Barnabas 
what the pre-existing church was which was 
to appear in the last times, it will no longer 
appear impossible that Jesus might have spoken 
of the church against which the gates of hell 
shall not prevail. Of course, if the passage 
is given an uneschatological reference to the 
Church as we know it, it loses all real meaning, 
and becomes a treasure-trove to the Roman 

1 On p. 379 he uses the phrase " magic-sacramental." 

2 P. 378. 


Catholic exegete, and a terror to the Protestant." 1 
We remember that not even the Twelve were 
chosen with any idea of continuing Christ s 
work after His death. On the eschatological 
view there is, of course, no room for anything 
like a "Church" in the modern sense, whether 
organised or unorganised. There was no time 
for missionary work, and no need for pastoral 

1 P. 369, n. i. 


WE have spoken of some of the elements of 
the eschatological theory which may at first 
sight seem to be attractive : the claims to 
adhere closely to the text of the Gospels, to 
avoid reading between the lines, modernising 
and psychologising, and the vindication of the 
originality of the teaching as to sacraments 
and the Church. We have seen that these 
claims must be largely discounted before they 
can be admitted as in any sense valid. There 
are other features in Schweitzer s book which 
are not even superficially attractive. The chief 
is the tone of positive and even arrogant 
dogmatism, which cannot help offending, 
because it is so obvious that the writer 
commits precisely the same sins as those for 
which he blames his predecessors unmercifully. 
Examples have already been given of this ; and 
the same criticism may fairly be applied to the 
way in which he asserts without proof, or with 

very insufficient proof, things which are by 
no means self-evident How can he be so 
certain that Jesus can never have intended to 
spiritualise existing conceptions of the Messiah- 
ship and the kingdom ? Why was it quite 
impossible for Him to anticipate persecutions 
for His followers in the future, except in the 
light of the eschatological woes ? l Were there 
not sufficient analogies in the Old Testament 
stories of the prophets, and the sufferings of the 
pious in the Maccabcean period ? Was the 
attitude of the ruling classes of His day such 
that He could have anticipated smooth water 
for the new religion, assuming for the moment 
that some such thing was after all in His 
mind ? Or, again, is it quite self-evident that 
the prophecies of death and resurrection must 
be completely historical as they stand, or else 
entirely false ? 2 Jesus might well have antici 
pated and spoken of His death, and after the 
event His followers might have equally 
naturally, and quite innocently, supposed Him 
to have also anticipated His Resurrection. 
Of course other views are equally tenable, 
but this is an entirely reasonable one from a 

1 PR- 333 348- It need not be denied that the eschatological 
doctrine of the " woes of the Messiah " throws a valuable side 
light on Christ s expectation of sufferings ; the point is that it is 
not the sole, or only tenable, explanation. 

* P. 331- 


certain standpoint, and at any rate cannot be 
summarily waived aside without argument. 

But perhaps the most serious case of assertion 
without proof is the denial that there was in 
our Lord s time any expectation of a political 
Messiah. Schweitzer holds that the only 
Messiah whom the Jews of His day looked 
for was the eschatological Messiah, the super 
human Being who was to appear on the clouds 
of heaven at, not before, the regeneration. 
Dr. Sanday 1 has rightly called attention to 
the paradoxical character of this position, and 
confesses himself unable to understand what 
exactly Schweitzer means when he denies 
that there was any political element in the 
Messianic hope of the Jews. The point is of 
considerable importance, and it will be well 
to look closely at the available evidence. 

(i) We cannot ignore the Old Testament. 
We find there the expectation of a Davidic 
King, and a series of prophecies which, if 
they are not merely political in themselves, 
were at least easily susceptible of a political 
and earthly interpretation. The eschatological 
hope arose later on, and became popular. We 
should then expect a priori that the two strains 
would continue side by side, sometimes one, 
sometimes the other, being prominent in a 

1 Op. cit. pp. Si, 99. 


particular circle or period ; neither was likely 
to oust the other. And this is, in fact, what 
we find ; both conceptions lived, and but little 
attempt was made to harmonise the contra 
dictions which resulted from the blending- of 


the two. 1 

(2) The best proof of the existence of the 
political element in the Messianic hope may 
be found in the often-quoted passages from 
the Psalms of Solomon? where the Messiah 
is the Son of David, who will purify Jerusalem 
from the Gentiles who tread her under foot, 
and destroy her enemies by the word of His 
mouth. It is difficult to understand on what 
grounds Schweitzer denies the existence of a 
political element in this conception. 3 It is, 

1 See Baldensperger, Die Messianisch-Apokalyptischen Hoff- 
nungen des Judenthums (1903), pp. 105 ff. Also Oesterley and 
Box, Religion and Worship of the Synagogue, chap. x. There 
is a most exhaustive article by W. V. Hague on the " Eschatology 
of the Apocryphal Scriptures," in the Journal of Theological 
Studies (Oct. 1910). He sums up : " In the literature of later 
Judaism we meet with two very different views as to the nature 
and origin of the Messiah. On the one hand, he appears as a 
merely human ruler who is to bring about a period of quasi- 
material prosperity in the future, to destroy the enemies of 
Israel, and to inaugurate an era of ethical regeneration on 
earth. On the other hand, he is represented by the apocalyptic 
writers (in close connection with the idea of divine judgment) 
as a wholly supernatural being, depicted in characteristically 
mythical colours, and viewed as the initiator of the new 
Golden Age ; in other words, emphatically as a God-king." 

- Esp. Ps. 17-18. " I . 367, n. i. 


of course, true that they belong to a period 
a hundred years before Christ s ministry, but 
that does not affect their value as proving 
the survival of the earthly and political element 
after the eschatological conception had arisen. 

(3) As Schweitzer himself points out, " Mark, 
Matthew, and Paul are the best sources for 
the Jewish eschatology of the time of Jesus." 1 
In the same way, the New Testament as a 
whole, with which for our present purpose we 
may couple Josephus, will be our best authority 
for the nature of the Messianic hope of His 
day. There is no doubt that in the first 
century A.D. there existed among the Jews a 
strong political and revolutionary element, 
eager for revolt against Roman oppression, 
and anticipating an earthly dominion for the 
nation. The Zealots, the frequent rebellions, 
the attempts to make our Lord King, and 
His execution as a claimant to the throne, are 
sufficient proofs of this. It is true that it is 
a question how far the revolutionary move 
ments were directly connected with the 
Messianic hope, but they show that there 
was an inflammable material, which the appear 
ance of a Messiah would have quickly kindled 
into flame. It is really incredible that the 
nationalist party could have entirely abandoned 
1 P. 366. 


to the eschatologists an asset so valuable as 
that of the Messianic kingdom. No doubt 
the outlook of the average Jew embraced 
both conceptions, and he would not have been 
careful to reconcile their contradictions. In 
Dr. Sanday s phrase, "from the time of the 
Maccabees to the time of Barcochba there 
was a Messianic background or something 
like it to every popular movement that 
swept over Palestine." And as he points 
out, 2 Josephus connects the Jewish war with 
the Messianic hope, when he speaks of the 
influence of the ambiguous oracle that "about 
that time one from their country should become 
governor of the habitable earth." 3 

It is, then, fairly clear that Schweitzer has 
no right to say that our choice must lie 
between the acceptance of the purely eschato- 
logical conception of the Messiahship, and the 
stroking out of the Messianic claim as un- 
historical. It is still possible to believe that 
Jesus may have said or implied, " I am Messiah, 
but not the Messiah of your popular expecta 
tion " ; there were elements which He may 
after all have wished to spiritualise. 4 We 
must consider in this connection the nature 
and purpose of the "Messianic secret" of 

1 Op. cit. p. 8 1. 2 Ibid. p. 100. 3 B.J. vi. v. 4. 

4 Does not the narrative of the Temptation imply this ? 


Jesus. Schweitzer rightly makes much of this, 
and perhaps one of the most valuable features 
of his book is the emphasis with which he has 
stated the view that Jesus did not openly 
claim to be Messiah, and was not publicly 
recognised as such till the end. But our 


acceptance of this Messianic secret as a clue 
to the life of Jesus does not commit us to 
the whole eschatological position. Indeed, in 
Schweitzer s pages we are completely be 
wildered by Jesus attitude towards His 
Messiahship and His secret. We remember 
that He was by no means pleased at Peter s 
confession at Caesarea. Why, then, did He 
ask the question which led up to it ? Why 
is He continually, in Schweitzer s phrase, 
"playing with His secret"? He nearly 
betrays it when in the hearing of the multi 
tude He identifies the Baptist with Elias ; He 
"plays with His Messianic self-consciousness 
before their eyes " in the entry into Jerusalem, 
in the question about the Davidic Sonship of 
the Messiah, and on other occasions. Unless 
all this has a serious purpose, it seems trivial, 
and unworthy of a man with a solemn mission. 
Was it, or was it not, advisable that the 
people should know that He was the Messiah 
of the future ? We remember that there is 
no question now of elevating or purifying 


their ideas ; Jesus is supposed simply to have 
adopted the current belief as He found it, 
adding to it His conviction of the extreme 
nearness of the kingdom, and the identifica 
tion of Himself with the Son of Man. We 
are told that He wished to provoke the 
Pharisees to put Him to death. Then why 
not declare openly and at once the secret, 
the betrayal of which ultimately led to His 
condemnation ? If, on the other hand, He 
wished to avoid death, or at any rate death 
on this charge, what was His object in trifling 
with this solemn mystery, and incurring un 
necessary risks of discovery ? Apparently 
the only answer Schweitzer would give is 
that we are dealing with " an incalculable 

But on the ordinary view the purpose of the 
Messianic secret is intelligible. Jesus did wish 
to declare Himself as Messiah, but not to be 
regarded as the Messiah of popular expectation. 
There were, in fact, elements in the current 
belief which He desired to eliminate, or 
spiritualise; and He realised that if His claim 
were widely known, it might be made the 
excuse for political agitation. There is therefore 
something which He can reveal only to those 
who have ears to hear, to those who can 
interpret the mystery aright. He does not 

4 8 

play with His secret purposelessly, but treats it 
in the only way the conditions of the case will 
allow. He was Messiah in a sense which 
embraced all that was worth preserving both in 
the political and in the eschatological conception, 
but which was identical with neither. And 
when He does reveal His secret, whether to 
His disciples or his enemies, though the 
Parousia is future, His claim is to be already 
the Christ. 

We suggest, then, that the denial of a political 
element in the Messianic hope of Jesus day is 
not justified by the available evidence, and that 
it makes the reserve with which He veiled His 
Messianic claim purposeless and unintelligible. 
And once this is admitted, a great part of 
Schweitzer s criticism of current views of the 
life of Christ loses all its force. 


IT may be said that the foregoing criticisms, 
whether valid or not, at any rate affect only 
the details of the eschatological theory. No 
doubt this is partly true; but it will not be 
denied that some at least of these details, and 
particularly the question as to the "political 
Messiah," are of considerable importance. 
And it is always wise to test the details of a 
hypothesis, so long as we do not concentrate our 
attention too exclusively on subsidiary points 
and forget the main thesis, by the soundness of 
which the hypothesis must ultimately be judged. 
We have already stated this central thesis. & It 
is that the mind of Jesus was dominated through 
out by the belief that the end of the woHd 
was to come immediately, the kingdom to be 
established supernaturally in place of the 
existing world-order, and He Himself to be 
revealed on the clouds of heaven as the Son 
of Man. It is admitted that this conception 
has been to some extent obscured in our 


existing authorities, but it is claimed that its 
workings can be clearly traced a little way 
below the surface, and that it is the key, the 
one and only key, to the right understanding 
of the life and teaching of Jesus, both in outline 
and in details. 

It will be well, first of all, to emphasise the 
fact that Schweitzer s view is absolutely uncom 
promising and thoroughgoing. The require 
ments of the eschatological position are not 
satisfied by those who hold that the expectation 
of the Parousia was a more or less subsidiary 
feature in the teaching of our Lord and the hope 
of the Early Church. There is all the difference 
in the world between the view that such a 
belief was somewhere in the background, 
occasionally protruding itself in a way which 
was never quite harmonised with the general 
tenor of Jesus life and teaching, and 
Schweitzer s view that it was all and everything. 
He is himself very ready with his criticism of 
such a view as that of Keim s, who admits the 
eschatological element, but practically allows 
it to be cancelled by the spiritual. 1 And he 
would undoubtedly ask that his theory should 
either be accepted practically as it stands, or 
else rejected in toto. He is not one who would 
be content with compromise, or acquiesce in 
1 P. 213. 


conciliatory conferences, wherein he and his 
opponents might find a common basis of 
agreement. No doubt we ourselves may feel 
that even if we are unable to follow him all the 
way, we have learnt much from his presentation 
of the Gospel story, and that what we have 
learnt will modify, and even modify profoundly, 
our reading of certain features in the life of 
Christ. But such a partial and carefully 
guarded assent will not make us " eschato- 
logists" in Schweitzer s eyes. His watchword 
is "thorough." It is the thoroughness of 
Johannes Weiss 1 which arouses all his enthu 
siasm. " At last there is an end of qualifying 
clause theology, of the and yet, the on the 
other hand, the notwithstanding. The reader 
had to follow the others step by step, making 
his way over every foot-bridge and gang-plank 
which they laid down, following all the 
meanderings in which they indulged, and must 
never let go their hands if he wished to come 
safely through the labyrinth of spiritual and 
eschatological ideas which they supposed to be 
found in the thought of Jesus. In Weiss there 
are none of these devious paths : Behold the 
land lies before thee. Weiss forces us to 

1 Die Predigijesu Vom Reiche Gottes. The eulogy applies to 
the ist ed. (1892). The 2nd and enlarged ed. (1900) shows, 
alas ! " a weakening of the eschatological standpoint." 


choose between the alternatives " either eschato- 
logical or non-eschatological. Progress always 
consists in taking one or other of two 
alternatives, in abandoning the attempt to 
combine them. The pioneers of progress have 
therefore always to reckon with the law of 
mental inertia which manifests itself in the 
majority who always go on believing that it 
is possible to combine that which can no longer 
be combined, and, in fact, claim it as a special 
merit that they, in contrast with the one-sided 
writers, can do justice to the other side of the 
question." l 

The quotation is a significant indication of 
the writer s temper of mind. No doubt such 
an attitude has its value, in that it forces us to 
face facts, and will not allow us to cry peace, 
when critically there can be no peace. -But as 
applied to the Gospels, surely it carries its own 
condemnation with it. If there is one thing 

1 P. 237. After writing the above, I was very glad to see a 
paper by Dr. Percy Gardner (Expository Times, September 
1910), in which he makes the same quotation from Schweitzer, 
and emphasises very forcibly the criticism which it suggests. 
" Systems of such extreme simplicity and logicality have draw 
backs. They sometimes make up for the triumph of massacring 
buts and notwithstandings, and marching straight to their end, 
by outraging common sense, and constructing a house of cards 
which, however fine to look at, will not resist a breath of wind. 
If their principle is faulty, their consistency only makes them 
the easier to refute." 


clear about the career and teaching of Jesus, it 
is that we have to deal with a most complicated 
phenomenon, complicated on its literary, 
historical, and psychological sides. The palace 
of truth which the student of the Gospels seeks 
to enter has many mansions, and we may be 
quite sure that no one key will fit them all. 
If we are to do justice to the manysidedness 
of the Gospels, we cannot dispense with our 
"qualifying clauses" and our " notwithstand 
ing^," however praiseworthy and heroic be 
the effort to do so. 

And it may be said with confidence that 
nowhere is the compromising and cautious 
spirit of the "on the other hand" theology 
more necessary than when we are dealing with 
the eschatological teaching of the Gospels. It 
is impossible to deny that there are expressions 
in the New Testament, and the Synoptic 
Gospels, and even in the reported words of 
Christ Himself, which imply that the end of the 
world was expected very soon. We have no 
right to gloss or explain away the clear historical 
meaning of such passages. It is one of the 
great merits of Schweitzer s book that he has 


forced us to face this side of New Testament 
teaching, and to face it squarely and honestly. 
But because we admit this, we are not bound 
to shut our eyes to all else in the Gospels ; nor 


is it scientific to compile for ourselves a marked 
New Testament with the eschatological passages 
underlined in red ink, assuming at once " Lo 
here, and nowhere else, is the pith of Christ s 
teaching." In fact, we even have to have 
recourse to " notwithstandings." 

There are indeed three qualifying considera 
tions to be borne in mind, (i) We have no 
right to assume that Christ s apocalyptic 
language is always to be interpreted in its 
crudest and most literal sense. This is indeed 
a side of the question where it is peculiarly 
difficult to find the right balance. The con 
ventional exegesis of the Gospels has spiritual 
ised and allegorised to such an extent that we 
feel uneasily that all contact with the historical 
sense has been lost. The reaction has come, 
and now everything must be interpreted as 
baldly and literally as possible, and this when 
we are dealing with the sayings of an Oriental, 
and of the greatest religious genius of the world. 
"For Jesus," says Father Tyrrell, "what we 
call His apocalyptic imagery was no mere 
imagery, but literal fact." If we spiritualise, or 
even admit the presence of a metaphorical 
element, we are met with the charge of 
"modernising." Yet, as Professor Dobschiitz 1 

1 Expositor, March 1910, p. 209. 


points out, we cannot interpret our Lord s 
language with regard to feasting in the kingdom 
of God in a crudely realistic sense. And there 
are the well-known passages where the kingdom 
seems to be spoken of as inward and present, 
and therefore in a more or less figurative sense. 
It is true these may be explained away one by 
one with some degree of probability, just as the 
eschatological sayings may be spiritualised, if 
we take them singly. But in each case we 
must look at the group of related passages as a 
whole ; and if we do this, we shall find it very 
difficult consistently to adopt a purely literal 
interpretation of Christ s teaching about the 
kingdom. 1 Again, with regard to Mt io 23 
("Ye shall not have gone over the cities of 
Israel," etc.), of which, as we saw, 2 Schweitzer 
makes so much, it is clear that the Evangelist 
himself, even if he understood the saying es- 
chatologically, yet did not take it in its baldest 
sense. Had he done so, he would hardly have 
recorded it, after it had been so obviously falsified. 
And an interpretation which was possible for the 
Evangelist, cannot have been apriori impossible 
for Christ Himself. We appeal to the parallel 

1 It is important to remember that in Jewish thought the 
kingdom (Malkuth") had a very spiritual side. In meant the 
sovereignty of God which was to be established in the hearts of 
an obedient people, though, of course, it had other aspects. 

2 See above, p. 17. 


case of St. Paul, who, in spite of his undoubted 
eschatological beliefs, spiritualises the concep 
tion of the kingdom. "The kingdom of God 
is not eating and drinking, but righteousness 
and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost." 1 We 
have no right to assume that all that was 
spiritual and inward lay beyond the range of 
our Lord s thought. And once we admit a 
figurative element in some of His eschatological 
language, it becomes simply a question of in 
terpretation (no doubt a peculiarly difficult 
question) how far it is to be extended. 

But one point in this connection is perhaps 
clear. Making full allowance for the fore 
shortening, and loss of perspective, which are 
characteristic of prophecy, we cannot cling to 
the idea that everything is literal in our Lord s 
prediction of the end, except its immediacy. 
"The view commonly held by most Christians, 
that our Lord promised to return on earth at a 
far distant date unknown to Himself, does not 
seem to have any support in the New Testa 
ment. The day and hour, we read, were un 
known ; but the predictions, as they stand in 
our documents, clearly assert that the return, or 
coming, of the Son of Man was imminent." 1 
We can hardly suppose that Christ was 

1 Ro I4 17 ; cf. the article of Dr. Gardner, referred to above. 

2 Dr. Inge, "Sermon," in the Guardian, I3th May 1910. 


speaking figuratively when He spoke of the 
time of His return, and literally when He 
spoke of its manner. If we spiritualise "this 
generation," we must spiritualise the clouds of 
heaven and the trumpet. 

(2) If our Lord did to some extent use the 
conventional language in a more or less sym 
bolical sense, His followers may well have 
continued to interpret it literally ; and if He 
uttered any eschatological sayings, they may 
have added to their number. 1 The strength of 


the eschatological belief in the Early Church is 
probably sufficient proof that He did to some 
extent countenance it. On the other hand, the 
very popularity and prevalence of apocalyptic 
ideas in the first century, a point on which so 
much stress is laid, and the fact that men 
readily have recourse to them in a time of 
spiritual excitement, combine to increase the 
probability that an undue emphasis may have 
been laid on this element of our Lord s teaching. 
It is usually believed that we have an instance 
of this tendency in the " Little Apocalypse" of 

1 Dr. Sanday was at one time, at any rate, inclined to this 
view, at least with regard to the Gospel predictions of the near 
ness of the Parousia. See article "Jesus Christ" (Hastings 
DB. ii. p. 635). There are three questions which should be 
carefully distinguished: (i) How far was the current apoca 
lyptic language generally interpreted crudely and literally? 
(2) In what sense did our Lord use it ? (3) What meaning 
did the Evangelists attach to it ? 

Mk 13 and parallels. "The kingdom of God 
come with power " of Mk 9* becomes, in Mt 
i6 28 , " The Son of Man coming in His kingdom," 
the eschatological colouring being thus empha 
sised. Where in Lk 6 46 we have the simple 
saying, "Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do 
not the things which I say ? " in Mt f l we find, 
"Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, 
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven," the 
"in that day" of the next verse strengthening 
the eschatological reference. 1 Generally speak 
ing, the first Gospel is much the most " eschato 
logical," and the third the most "spiritual," the 
second standing about midway between them. 
We have seen that Schweitzer practically ignores 
St. Luke. The question arises whether the 
eschatology has been over-emphasised in St. 
Matthew, or overlaid in St. Luke. The 
answer may not be easy, but we have no 
right to assume at once that what most of 
us would regard as the lower point of view 
must be nearer to the original teaching of 
Jesus. 2 

1 Cf. Dobschiitz, loc. cit. 

2 The Fourth Gospel spiritualises the whole idea of the 
Parousia, a fact which may remind us that such a conception is, 
at any rate, no "modernism." Weiss (pp. cit. pp. 60 ff.) taunts 
Wellhausen (who adopts the spiritual view) with taking refuge 
in this Gospel. But is not this a case in which the later writer, 
though furthest from the ipsissima verba of Jesus, may yet be 
the truest interpreter of His spirit ? 


(3) Let us grant that the eschatological 
sayings of the Gospels are all authentic, and 
are to be interpreted in the literal sense. Even 
then we may claim that this element is not pre 
dominant ; it is rather secondary and in the 
background. Once more St. Paul supplies us 
with an instructive analogy. St. Paul s belief 
(at any rate at one period of his life) in an 
immediate Parousia is even more certain than 
Christ s ; we have his own words at first-hand. 
Yet surely no one can maintain that the 
eschatological idea is with him central and 
all-pervading. It never, so far as we can see, 
seriously affected his practical policy, which 
was to spread the kingdom of God, or the 
Church, upon earth here and now, as a new 
power in the midst of existing society ; it but 
seldom affected his ethical teaching ; l and 
though it is an element in his doctrine, yet 
there are many and important sides of this 
which are worked out quite independently of 
eschatology. What has the thought of an im 
mediate Parousia to do with his view of the 
Atonement or justification, his Christology, or 
later doctrine of the Church ? And if St. Paul s 
belief in eschatology left room, no doubt some 
what inconsistently, for other ideas, it is rash 
to deny that the same may have been the case 

1 I Co 7 is a probable exception. 


with Jesus. The parallel shows that the 
" eschatologist " is not always consistent and 
thoroughgoing ; he may have other sides to 
his character and message. 1 

Once more we repeat that the immediate 
question before us is not whether Jesus believed 
in the nearness of the end, but whether this 
belief had the paramount importance which 
Schweitzer claims for it. That it had not, is 
proved by the direct evidence of the Gospels, 
which contain much that can only be interpreted 
eschatologically by a tour de force. This 
becomes almost self-evident when we pass to 
the ethics of Jesus. Is it really possible to 
reduce all that is authentic and important in 
His teaching to an Interimsethik* appropriate 
only to the short and peculiar period interven 
ing before the end? It may, no doubt, be 
claimed that such a view throws light on 
certain sayings. "Take no thought for the 

1 Cf. Dr. Gardner, loc. cit. " Alas for St. Paul ! He does not 
understand the conditions of German criticism. He weakly 
speaks of the kingdom as future, and at the same time as 
present. He falls into the snare of but and notwithstanding. 
He even dares, in company with all the great leaders in the 
history of the world, to be inconsistent, and to direct his 
writings rather to the building up of a Church, and the salva 
tion of his hearers, than to the formulation of a thoroughly 
thought-out system of interdependent propositions." 

2 See above, p. 14. Weiss (pp. cit. pp. 148 ff.) bravely tries 
to show that the command to love one s enemies is essentially 
eschatological ! 


morrow " : providence is superfluous in view of 
the approaching end; "away with your cloak 
and coat " : you will not need them for long ; 
"hate father and mother": family ties are 
soon to be superseded. But it is impossible 
to work out the idea consistently. As we saw, 
an extreme predestinarianism has to be invoked 
in order to make it even superficially probable, 
a predestinarianism which even claims the 
Beatitudes for its own ! It is significant that 
the English exponents of Schweitzer s view 
have not given any very great prominence to 
this particular element of the theory ; very few, 
in fact, will be found to take it seriously. But 
Schweitzer is right from his own standpoint 
in working it to its utmost limits. For, as he 
tells us again and again, and as Tyrrell repeats 
after him, Jesus was not a great moral teacher. 
By discovering predestinarianism everywhere, 
he comes very near to proving this. For there 
is not much danger of our finding an ideal system 
of ethics in the words of one who taught that 
a poor wretch was to be cast ignominiously 
from the banquet of the kingdom, simply 
because he was not predestined thereto, quite 
apart from any moral disqualification, or that 
another who had turned his back on his 
duty, might yet secure his place without any 
question of conversion, if it should turn out 


that the all - powerful will of God had so 
determined. 1 

If, however, we refuse to read this pre- 
destinarianism into the most straightforward 
passages, Jesus remains the great moral teacher 
the world has always considered Him, and His 
teaching is certainly not that of an out and 
out eschatologist. " When we recall the pre 
vailing tone of ethical teaching, and still more 
the habitual attitude of the Teacher to the 
world in which He found Himself, it is difficult 
to see in it a predominating quality of indiffer 
ence to the world s affairs, or a complete 
preoccupation with a supernatural catastrophe. 
On the contrary, the ethics of Jesus exhibit on 
the whole a kind of sanity, universality, and 
applicability, which are independent of abnormal 
circumstances, and free from emotional strain. 
There is nothing apocalyptic in the parable of 
the Good Samaritan, or in the appropriation 
by Jesus of the two great commandments, or 
in the prayer for to-day s bread and the 
forgiveness of trespasses, or in the praise of 
peace-making or of purity of heart. Yet in 
these, and not in the mysterious prophecies of 

1 It may not be superfluous to refer the reader to the quota 
tions given above on pp. 15 f., in order that he may assure him 
self that this outline is not, as might be readily imagined, 


an approaching desolation, the conscience of 
the world has found its Counsellor and 
Guide." 1 

It is indeed almost incredible that the 
"moralism of the Gospels" should be, in 
Tyrrell s phrase, "incidental," and that the 
appeal which Christ has made to the world as 
a great moral teacher should be the result of 
an accident, of the persistent misinterpretation 
of His sayings, or of additions made to them 
in our Gospels. He did, in fact, lay down 
principles which were to govern life lived in 
a world much the same as that He Himself 
knew, only marked by an increasing sense of 
the nearness and love of God. Perhaps He 
did expect that the end was soon to come ; no 
doubt His outlook was "other-worldly," and 
His followers are encouraged to fix their hopes 
on "the good time coming" ; but the point to 
be emphasised is that when He speaks about 
Fatherhood and Sonship, God s gift of love 
and man s duty of love, about forgiveness and 
salvation, service and humility, He is not, as a 
rule, speaking of the end at all. He speaks 
timelessly and absolutely, and what He says is 
as applicable, and has been found as applicable, 

1 Peabody, " New Testament Eschatology and Ethics " 
(Transactions of the Third International Congress of the 
History of Religions ^ ii. p. 309). 


with no undue straining of meaning, to a world 
that lasts for centuries, as to one that was to 
pass away in a few months. 

There is, then, good reason to believe that 
Schweitzer s single key will not fit all the doors, 
even if it fits any of them. It is, as we have 
seen, doubtful whether his view does justice 
to the eschatological passages themselves ; it 
certainly does not do justice to the other sides 
of the character and teaching of Christ, as we 
find them in the Gospels. 

J. Weiss has indeed admitted 1 that the 
eschatological point of view is not consistently 
maintained by our Lord ; He does sometimes 
"seek to improve and help [the world], as 
though it were destined to continue." But it 


is not superfluous to point out that the theories 
of the Interimsetkik and Predestinarianism 
cannot be quietly dropped as excrescences. 
They are essential to the consistency of the 
eschatological hypothesis. If they are re 
moved, we can believe once more that Jesus 
did deliberately set Himself to save and reform 
the world as it is, and not merely to proclaim 
its immediate disappearance. The fact is that 
the sense of the nearness of the end is, as 
Harnack points out, an element in the preach- 

ino- of most reformers at a time of crisis. But 

1 Op. cit. pp. I34ff. 


it is only the fanatic who applies it with a 
narrow, logical consistency to the exclusion of 
every other point of view. We have every 
right in the case of our Lord to refuse to be 
tied down to the final choice between " eschato- 
logical" and " non-eschatological." We reply 
boldly and unblushingly that we will have 
both. And if a difficulty arises from admitting 
the existence of a certain amount of inconsist 
ency between the two sides, that difficulty is 
theological, not psychological or historical. 


IF Schweitzer is convinced that the eschato- 
logical idea was the predominating influence in 
the mind of Jesus, he is no less convinced that 
the future of religion is bound up with its dis 
appearance. " The whole history of Chris 
tianity down to the present day, that is to say, 
the real inner history of it, is based on the 
delay of the Parousia, the non-occurrence of 
the Parousia, the abandonment of eschatology, 
the progress and completion of the de-eschato- 
logising of religion which has been connected 
therewith." 1 "The tragedy does not consist 
in the modification of primitive Christianity by 
eschatology, but in the fate of eschatology 
itself, which has preserved for us all that is 
most precious in Jesus, but must itself wither, 
because He died upon the Cross with a loud 
cry, despairing of bringing in the new heaven 
and the new earth that is the real tragedy. 
And not a tragedy to be dismissed with a 
1 P. 358. 



theologian s sigh, but a liberating and life- 
giving influence, like every great tragedy. For 
in its death-pangs eschatology bore to the 
Greek genius a wonder-child, the mystic, 
sensuous, Early-Christian doctrine of immor 
tality, and consecrated Christianity as the re 
ligion of immortality to take the place of the 
slowly dying civilisation of the ancient world." 1 
It is indeed admitted that the problem of how 
this exclusive system of eschatology developed 
into a world-wide religion has as yet been 
"hardly recognised, much less grappled with. 
The few who since Weiss time have sought 
to pass over from the life of Jesus to early 
Christianity, have acted like men who find 
themselves on an ice-floe which is slowly 
dividing into two pieces, and who leap from 
one to the other before the cleft grows too 
wide." ; But it is worth while noting the para 
doxical character of the position. It implies 
that the success of Christianity has depended 
on the gradual elimination of that which was 
primary and central in the mind of its founder. 
Both Schweitzer and Tyrrell emphasise the 
fact that this view does away with the neces 
sity of postulating an immediate deterioration, 
by which primitive Christianity fell away at 
once from its supposed original purity and per- 
1 P. 254. 2 p. 252. 


fection. No doubt this is true; but, as we 
have already remarked, 1 the result is attained 
at the expense of Jesus Himself. We might 
lessen the gap between Shakespeare and his 
successors by depreciating his work in every 
possible way, and assigning large sections of 
it to unknown writers of a later period ; but 
literature would not gain much by the process, 
and we should only have succeeded in lowering 
the world s estimate of Shakespeare. The 
fact is that in religion as in art, the disciple is 
not above his master ; the genius reaches at 
a bound heights which later generations can 
hardly hope to keep. The theory of a "fall" 
from the original purity of Christ s teaching is, 
in fact, in accordance with all analogies, and 
only emphasises the uniqueness of the Founder 
of the new religion. 

We have touched on a question which leads 
to our final and most serious criticism. What 
sort of Christ does eschatotogy give us ? 
Schweitzer concludes with a somewhat curious 
and enigmatic chapter, entitled " Results." He 
seems to realise that his "historical Jesus" 
will be a stumbling-block to many. " He will 
not be a Jesus Christ to whom the religion of 
the present can ascribe, according to its long- 
cherished custom, its own thoughts and ideas, 

1 See above, p. 38. 


as it did with the Jesus of its own making. 
Nor will it be a figure that can be made by a 
popular historical treatment so sympathetic and 
universally intelligible to the multitude. The 
historical Jesus will be to our time a stranger 
and an enigma." " We are experiencing what 
Paul experienced. In the very moment when 
we were coming nearer to the historical Jesus 
than men had ever come before and were 
already stretching out our hands to draw Him 
into our own time, we have been obliged to 
give up the attempt and acknowledge our 
failure in that paradoxical saying : If we 
have known Christ after the flesh, yet hence 
forth know we Him no more. And further, 
we must be prepared to find that the historical 
knowledge of the personality and life of Jesus 
will not be a help, but perhaps even an offence 
to religion. " : 

But he finds his compensation in the thought 
of the " mighty spiritual force [which] streams 
forth from Him and flows through our time 
also. ... It is the solid foundation of Christian 
ity." 3 Eschatology, he maintains, has thrown 
into clear relief the utter contrast between the 
modern world-affirming spirit and His world- 
negating spirit. "Why spare the spirit of the 
individual man its appointed task of fighting 
1 P. 396. 2 P. 399. a P. 397- 


its way through the world-negation of Jesus, 
of contending with Him at every step over 
the value of material and intellectual goods 
a conflict in which it may never rest ? For the 
general, for the institutions of society, the rule 
is : affirmation of the world, in conscious op 
position to the view of Jesus, on the ground 
that the world has affirmed itself ! This general 
affirmation of the world, however, if it is to 
be Christian, must in the individual spirit be 
Christianised and transfigured by the personal 
rejection of the world which is preached in the 
sayings of Jesus." He came indeed to send 
on earth not peace, but a sword. " He was 
not a teacher, not a casuist ; He was an im 
perious ruler. ... He comes to us as One 
unknown, without a name, as of old by the 
lake-side He came to those men who knew 
Him not. He speaks to us the same word : 
Follow thou Me, and sets us to the tasks 
which He has to fulfil for our time. He com 
mands. And to those who obey Him, whether 
they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself 
in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which 
they shall pass through in His fellowship, and 
as an ineffable mystery they shall learn in their 
own experience who He is." 

There is no mistaking the sincere religious 

1 P. 400 (the concluding paragraph of the book). 


tone of such words, enigmatic though they are. 
We must not pause to discuss how far it is 
necessary to acquiesce in the somewhat desper 
ate conclusion that the world as organised in 
the institutions of society must always be "in 
conscious opposition to the view of Jesus" not 
merely to the literal meaning of His teaching, 
but to the very spirit which lies behind His 
words. We have to ask rather in what relation 
"the mighty spiritual force" of Christ stands 
to the historical Jesus of eschatology. We 
might fairly raise the crucial question of the 
Resurrection, of which Schweitzer has nothing 
to tell us ; but this is not a difficulty peculiar to 
the eschatologist, and it is discussed at length 
elsewhere in these pages. 1 It will, however, be 
sufficient to refer to the portrait of Jesus in the 
days of His flesh, as it appears painted by the 
brush of the eschatologist. We see One whose 
whole life was based on a fundamental error, 
whose every action and word were dictated 
by His all-absorbing belief in the nearness of 
the end, whose knowledge and will were 
thwarted by predestinarianism, who asked 
with regard to each one He met whether he 
was sealed according to the predestination of 
God. We find Him forcing facts to fit the 
framework of His eschatological theory, and 

1 See below, " Loisy s View of the Resurrection." 


"almost cursing with cruel harshness" the 
Apostle who had ventured to speak about His 
death. He plans to "provoke the Pharisees 
and the rulers that they will be compelled to 
get rid of Him," and "plays with His secret" 
aimlessly and purposelessly. He dies upon the 
Cross with a cry of despair at the failure of 
His hopes ; and the future of the religion, 
which paradoxically enough has based itself on 
Him, has depended on the elimination of that 
which He counted most dear and important. 
Expressions such as visionary, or fanatic, come 
readily to the pen, and they are not a whit too 
strong. The picture Schweitzer has drawn is 
not one-sided ; it is a caricature. 

The question may fairly be raised how far 
the repellent traits of this portrait are to be 
regarded as accidental, and how far they are 
inherent in the presuppositions of the eschato- 
logical theory. The answer is to be found in 
Tyrrell s pages. His Christ of Eschatology is 
but little more attractive than Schweitzer s, 
though the more brutal touches are omitted. 
Tone down the harsher colours as we will, it 
seems impossible that a Jesus dominated by 
an error and living for an illusion can ever 
retain the reverence of the world. The retort 
will, no doubt, be made that in saying this we 
are only confessing our own modernity ; we 


are refusing to leave Jesus in His own age. 
Our reply must be that He does in fact belong 
to every age. It is one thing to admit that He 
did to some extent share the beliefs of His 
time, while rising far above them in all that is 
of the essence of religion. It is quite another 
to find the all-absorbing interest, and the 
motive power of His life, in a single peculiar, 
and not very spiritual, class of Jewish ideas. 

It may, of course, be said that, at any rate, 
eschatology does not give us a merely human 
Jesus ; it tells us of One who claimed from the 
first to be the Danielic Son of Man, a Divine, 
pre-existent Being. No doubt it is of this that 
Dr. Sanday is thinking when he says that 
Schweitzer "does not, like so many critics, 
seek to reduce the Person of Christ to the 
common measures of humanity, but leaves it 
at the transcendental height at which he finds 
it." l Eschatology certainly emphasises the fact, 
which is coming to be recognised more and 
more from other points of view, that even the 
Synoptists do not set before us a merely human 
teacher or prophet, and that Christology is not 
a late and mistaken development. It ascribes 
to Jesus Himself the claim to be more than 
man. But at what cost, and under what 
conditions? It regards His claim to be the 

1 Op. at. p. 88. 


Son of Man as inseparably bound up with His 
belief in the nearness of the end, and the 
Parousia on the clouds of heaven. To the 
eschatologist the one belief is as central and 
important as the other. 1 If, then, the one-half 
of Jesus claim has been completely falsified, 
is it likely that the world will readily accept 
the other ? The cogency of the dilemma aut 
Deus aut homo non bonus has hitherto rested 
on the reluctance of mankind to accept the 
second alternative ; it has clung to the belief 
that Jesus is at least the perfect example. 
Can this be any longer said of the Jesus of 
eschatology ? 

Can we really reverence such a figure ? 
And can we conceive how "a mighty spiritual 
force " can have flowed from it for the 
regeneration of the world ? It will hardly 
be maintained that this is in fact the Christ 
who has won the admiration and love of the 

1 Schweitzer himself seems to recognise this. " The Son of 
Man was buried in the ruins of the falling eschatological 
world ; there remained alive only Jesus the Man " (p. 284). 
"The names in which men expressed their recognition of Him 
as such \sc. authoritative ruler], Messiah, Son of Man, Son of 
God, have become for us historical parables. We can find no 
designation which expresses what He is for us "(p. 401). " The 
kingdom of heaven ; His own Christhood ; the temporal 
immediacy of the End, were the three organic constituents of 
the Apocalypse of Jesus. Of these the last was in some sense 
principal in point of motive, power, and inspiration" (Tyrrell, 
op. cit. p. 172). 


ages. Schweitzer indeed admits that He will 
not be readily understood or "popular." And 
yet we remember that when He was on earth 
" the common people heard Him gladly," and 
that the simple and unlearned were invited to 
come to Him and learn His secret. And this 
may remind us for our comfort that the Christ 
of eschatology, if He is not the Christ which 
Christianity has known, is not after all the 
Christ of the Gospels either. He is, as we 
have seen, not even the Christ of the purely 
eschatological passages, unless we insist on 
interpreting them in their narrowest and most 
crudely realistic sense. And when we pass 
to other elements in the narrative, elements 
which, as a whole, we have no reason for 
rejecting as unhistorical, the one-sidedness 
of the portrait becomes still more apparent. 
What has become of the teaching about the 
universal Fatherhood of God and His loving 
care, which embraces this world as it is as 
well as the next? The hope of the Jewish 
Apocalypses is frankly based on despair of 
this world as altogether given over to the Evil 
One. God has practically failed in it, and a 
new world must be called in to atone for that 
failure. Where can we find this pessimism in 
the preaching of Jesus? Does lie not accept 
and rejoice in all that is pure and lovely in 


Nature and in home-life as the gifts of the 
same Father? He came eating and drinking, 
sharing the innocent pleasures of a simple 
society, sympathising with the joys and 
sorrows of man as He found him. 1 This is 
hardly the attitude of one whose single 
message was the passing away of all such 
things. The teaching about forgiveness as 
seen in the parable of the Prodigal Son, or 
about the love of the Shepherd seeking the lost 
sheep, is not what we should expect from a 
thoroughgoing predestinarian. When Jesus 
spoke of the duty of service, as in the parables 
of the Good Samaritan or the Sheep and Goats, 
of the taking up of the Cross and the losing 
of life for His sake, was He really only thinking 
of principles which were to be valid, and in 
practice, for a few months ? For we remember 
that " there is for Jesus no ethic of the 
kingdom of God." " To serve, to humble 
oneself, to incur persecution and death, belong 
to the ethic of the interim just as much as 
does penitence." 1 Are we really "creating a 
Christ in our own likeness," when we attribute 
to His conscious purpose the enunciation of 

1 Bousset has specially emphasised the "joy of life" found in 
Jesus teaching, arguing that this is quite incompatible with the 
eschatological theory. 

2 P. 364. 


those timeless principles of religion and 
morality which are in no way the discovery 
of modern German criticism, but have been in 
truth the inspiration of Christianity from the 
beginning ? 

Schweitzer and Tyrrell compare the Christ 
of eschatology with the Christ of liberal, or 
protestant, German criticism, and pour unlimited 
scorn on the latter. No doubt such critics as 
Harnack and Bousset do give us what Dr. 
Sanday has called " a reduced Christianity." 
But it is a Christianity which is true as far it 
goes, and it is something on which we can 
build. They portray for us a Christ whom we 
can unreservedly admire and love, even if it is 
a little doubtful whether logically we ought to 
worship Him. The Jesus of eschatology it is 
difficult either to admire or to love ; worship 
Him we certainly cannot. 






THE publication of Loisy s Les Evangiles 
Synoptiques 1 coincided with the wave of ex 
citement which accompanied their distinguished 
author s excommunication, and the Modernist 
controversy as a whole. The sympathies of 
English students could only be on one side, 
and these extraneous and accidental circum 
stances made it difficult to appraise dispassion 
ately the value of Loisy s commentary. By 
now, perhaps, the halo of martyrdom is a little 
less dazzling to our eyes, and it is more possible 
to examine the books in the light of common 
day. No one can refuse to acknowledge their 
exhaustive and scholarly treatment of their 
subject, or the lucidity and charm of their style, 
but there can be no doubt that to most readers 
they have proved a disappointment. When 
critics of the calibre of Sanday, Salmon, 
Ramsay, Burkitt, Allen, and Harnack had 
done so much to vindicate the general historical 

1 At the close of 1908. 


accuracy of the Gospels, we seemed to be 
moving towards something of a fixed position 
in their criticism, but here the whole question 
is thrown back indefinitely. With Loisy in 
one s mind, it is possible on hardly any point 
to speak of "the unanimity of modern critics," 
and it is safe to say that the Gospels have 
never received more drastic treatment from 
one who stood within the pale of historic 

Now the two volumes which comprise the 
commentary are somewhat terrifying in size, 
and probably more people are ready to talk 
about them than to read them. It may, then, 
be of service to attempt a sketch of Loisy s 
position at somewhat greater length than has 
been possible in the ordinary reviews. For it 
is well for those who defend Loisy, sometimes 
with greater enthusiasm than knowledge, to 
realise clearly to what they are committed. 
We may sympathise with him sincerely and 
respectfully in the treatment he has received, 
and admire unreservedly his devotion to the 
truth, but most of us will probably prefer to 
pause before we accept his critical conclusions. 

We need only state summarily his view of 
the Gospels themselves, as helping us to under 
stand his estimate of their historical value and 
of their picture of Christ, which is the main 


theme of his book. Briefly, he throws back 
the three Synoptic Gospels to late dates, St. 
Mark to about 75, St. Matthew and St. Luke 
to at least the close of the first century. They 
are not, even in part, the work of their tradi 
tional authors ; and what is more important, 
they are in no sense first-hand authorities. 
" En ce qui concerne 1 origine des Synoptiques, 
il parait certain que pas un d eux ne repose 
directement et completement sur la tradition 
orale, qu aucun d eux n est 1 expression im 
mediate de souvenirs garde s par un temoin " 
(i. p. 81). Even St. Mark, the earliest, is "une 
ceuvre de second main," "une ceuvre de foi 
beaucoup plus qu un temoignage historique " 
(p. 84). They are all three composite docu 
ments, many stages removed from the original 
facts, and have been drastically edited under 
influences which we shall consider later. 
Loisy s main interest with the "Synoptic 
problem " is to show that neither where our 
documents agree nor where they differ, can 
they be regarded as resting on any sound 
basis of fact. 

We proceed to outline the career of Jesus 
as Lcisy conceives it (i. pp. 203 ff.). The 
troubled state of Palestine under Roman rule 
and Herodian misgovernment had produced 
a prophet. A certain John appeared preach- 


ing the near fulfilment of the national hopes, 
and the approach of the kingdom of God. 
Among his hearers there found Himself, more 
or less by accident, one Jesus, born at Nazareth 
some thirty years before. He already, as it 
seems, believed Himself to be called by God, 
to be the chief agent in the proclamation of 
the kingdom, and was ready, like others, to 
be baptized by John. This experience deepened 
the conviction of His call, and on the prophet s 
imprisonment He decided to carry on his work. 
He adopted the idea of the kingdom as He 
found it, with its traditional Judaic setting 
(i. p. 225), and the one theme of His preaching 
was its imminence, together with the necessity 
of repentance for those who looked for a share 
in it. It meant the future rule of God and of 
righteousness upon earth, inaugurated by a 
resurrection, which need not be conceived of 
as sweeping away the material world. " La 
notion evange"lique du royaume n est pas si 
spirituelle ; les hommes qui y auront part 
seront en chair et en os ; ils ne se marieront 
pas, parce qu ils seront immortels, mais ce 
n est point par pure metaphore qu on se les 
figure assembles dans un festin " (p. 238). He 
Himself is to hold the chief place therein, and 
in that sense He is the Christ. But He is 
only the Christ of the future ; He is not so 


yet; hence the reticence as to His claims. 
" En fait, il n y avait pas de Messie tant qu il 
n y avait pas de royaume " (p. 213). This is 
the central idea of His conception of His 
person ; titles such as "Son of God" or " Son 
of Man," if used at all, were vague and general, 
and of no real significance as explaining who 
He was. His ethical teaching was transitory, 
not having in view the normal requirements of 
social life of His own or any other period, but 
laying down the conditions for entrance into 
the kingdom, which was soon to sweep away 
the existing order of things. " Toute la morale 
de 1 Evangile est done subordonne"e a la con 
ception eschatologique du regne de Dieu " 
(p. 236). 1 This teaching was marked by a 
strong independence, an originality of selection ; 
also by great simplicity ; and both of these 
features attracted the people. Parables or 
simple metaphors played a large part in it ; 
but were in no way designed to veil the truth 
from the unready, as our Evangelists have 
falsely imagined. Though we are told that 
the first three Gospels " repr^sentent fidele- 
ment la substance de 1 enseignement donn6 par 
Jesus" (p. 82), yet such large deductions must 

1 Loisy here seems to adopt the Interimsethik of J. Weiss 
and Schweitzer ; i.e. Christ s teaching was intended only for an 
interval which was expected to be short. See above, pp. 14, 60 ff. 


be made from this admission that we wonder 
where we can rely on finding the real meaning 
of Jesus, let alone His exact words. The 
parables have been much edited ; some are 
entirely due to the Evangelists. Generally 
" il est a pre"sumer que les disciples memes ne 
firent jamais aucun soin pour retenir ce qu ils 
entendaient, et que leur me*moire garda seule- 
ment ce qui les avait le plus frappe"s " (p. 187). 
Only striking fragments remain, and of these 
the meaning is often disguised by their setting 
and combination. Probably none of the " words 
from the Cross " are authentic (ii. p. 684). A 
saying such as that of Mk Q 1 (" There be 
some here which shall not taste of death till 
they see the kingdom of God come with 
power ") is genuine because untrue ; but as 
actually spoken, it was probably still more un 
true, and Christ is presumed to have said, 
" Those here shall not die," etc. (ii. p. 28). 
We are reminded of the " foundation pillars " 
of Schmiedel s article. 

More or less against His will, Jesus appeared 
as a worker of miracles. Here the facts have 
been grossly exaggerated in our records, under 
the influence of " faith," " symbolism," and so 
on, and the details are quite unreliable ; but 
He probably did work a certain number of 
cures in nervous diseases, particularly in those 


supposed to be due to demoniac possession. 
A few months was enough to attract the 
attention of the political authorities, Antipas 
in Galilee and the ruling caste at Jerusalem, 
and Jesus retired for safety to the north. 
Here comes the crisis of the ministry ; the 
disciples confess their belief in His Messiah- 
ship, and, encouraged by this, their Master 
decides to declare Himself at Jerusalem. " La 
est le terme assigns a la preparation du regne 
de Dieu. Jerusalem est le passe*, la ville des 
grands souvenirs ; c est le present, le lieu des 
reunions nationales ; c est aussi 1 avenir, car 
une Jerusalem nouvelle doit surgir a la place 
de 1 ancienne " (i. p. 213). The decision was 
dangerous, and the disciples realised it. So 
did Jesus Himself. But He never lost His 
faith that somehow God would intervene by 
a miracle and save Him. "Jesus n allait pas 
a Jerusalem pour y mourir ; il y allait pour 
pre*parer et procurer, au risque de sa vie, 
1 avenement de Dieu" (p. 214). The events 
of the next few days accentuated the danger, 
but still there remained the hope. "Je"sus 
n avait pas laisse* de la (sc. la catastrophe] 
pre"voir, mais il n avait pas cesse* non plus 
d espe"rer le miracle" (p. 218). That indeed 
was the ground of the prayer in Gethsemane. 
No miracle, however, came ; He was arrested, 


and at once hurried before Pilate, who con 
demned Him to death with little hesitation as 
claiming to set up a kingdom. Jesus, in fact, 
could not deny the charge ; for His mission, 
as He understood it, " n e tait pas 1 institution 
d une socie te spirituelle, compatible avec tous 
les pouvoirs humains, c e"tait 1 instauration 
complete du regne de Dieu, a la place de la 
tyrannic des hommes " (p. 221). Of the 
Crucifixion practically no details are known ; 
He died with some loud cry on His lips, and 
was buried, probably by the soldiers, in the 
common grave. " Ainsi finit le reve de 
1 Evangile ; la re alite du regne de Dieu allait 

Not unnaturally we exclaim " how " ? For 
to the historian the curious fact is that from 
this career, in no way unique, hardly out of 
the common, there has arisen a religion which 
has dominated the civilised world, and which 
still has some hold even over educated minds. 
M. Loisy himself believes in it sincerely. 
How then did it come about ? Apparently 
because Jesus was followed by a succession of 
men of spiritual power and literary genius who 
proved able to develop in a most unexpected 
manner a somewhat unpromising material. 
A few of them are known to us by name, in 
particular a certain Paul of Tarsus ; the 


majority are remembered only by fragments 
of their work. They include the series of 
writers to whom we owe the Gospels, the 
"Christian prophets" who are responsible for 
their poetry (i. p. 256), or such men as the 
"croyant de genie" who has given us the 
account of the Transfiguration (ii. p. 33). 

The first step was soon taken. The im 
pression made by Jesus on His followers was 
too strong to be effaced merely by His death. 
" Le travail interieur de leur ame enthousiaste 
pouvait leur suggerer la vision cle ce qu ils 
souhaitaient " (i. p. 223). The wished-for 
visions soon came, the earliest apparently to 
Peter by the lake of Galilee, in the half-light 
of the morning ; a late and artificial version of 
this is preserved in Jn 21. Others followed; 
and it was, of course, quite a natural thing for 
simple folk to believe in a Resurrection, to 
stake their lives on the fact, and to find in the 
belief a force sufficient to renew the face of 
the earth. " Nul ne contestait que Jesus fut 
mort sur la croix. Nul ne pouvait demontrer 
qu il ne fut pas ressuscit^ " (p. 224). The need 
of some proof was, however, felt later on, and 
this was met in two ways. Nothing was known 
of the burial of Jesus ; His friends had perhaps 
tried to find His body, and their failure gave 
rise to the legend of the empty tomb (i. p. 178, 


ii. pp. 721 ff.). To the final editor of the 
second Gospel this was in itself sufficient, and 
he concludes his narrative with its discovery, 
thinking it unnecessary to add details of any 
appearances of the risen Christ. Legend soon 
defined "the third day" as the date. In 
popular belief the spirit haunted the body till 
this time, and a resurrection afterwards would 
be inconceivable. The " third day " was further 
identified with the first day of the week, be 
cause Christians were in the habit of meeting 
together on that day, and pagan converts 
naturally fixed upon it as being "the day of 
the sun." 1 Possibly also the influence of the 
Old Testament was at work, in the parallel of 
Jonah, or the "third day" of Hos 6 2 (i. p. 177, 
ii. p. 723). Loisy forgets to remind us that 
this passage is never quoted in the New 

The second proof of the Resurrection itself 
was also found in the prophecies of the Old 

1 This extraordinary argument should be noticed. All our 
evidence shows the " first day " as established in the usage of 
the Church before Gentile influence had had time to make 
itself felt. No doubt later on its appropriateness as "the day 
of light" was realised (e.g. by Justin), but this could hardly 
have led to its choice. And to suggest that Christians fixed 
on Sunday as the day of the Resurrection, because for some 
unknown reason they were in the habit of observing it as a 
day of worship, may well stand as a classical example of 


Testament. "II est de toute invraisemblance 
que les textes de 1 Ancien Testament aient 
sugge"re aux disciples de Je"sus la resurrection 
de leur Maitre ; mais ce qui parait certain, 
c est que cette idee, aussitot que ne e, chercha 
son appui, sa defense, sa preuve, dans les 
Ecritures, et qu elle les y trouva" (i. p. 176). 

The crucial step of a belief in the Resurrec 
tion having been taken, further developments 
quickly followed, particularly under the in 
fluence of St. Paul. Dr. Sanday, in the 
Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels (ii. p. 
886), says : " We need to examine with all 
the closeness in our power the nature of the 
relation between St. Paul and Christ -- or, 
what almost amounts to the same thing be 
tween the Epistles (as represented by their 
central group) and the Gospels." But Loisy 
by no means regards these two statements of 
the problem as identical. For him, our Gospels 
are impregnated with Paulinism, St. Mark, 
the earliest, no less than the rest ; in fact, 
rather more. The author was probably 
"grand partisan de Paul"; "son eVangile est 
une interpretation paulinienne, volontairement 
paulinienne, de la tradition primitive. Son 
paulinisme ne tient pas settlement a quelques 
expressions, a quelques lambeaux de phrase 
ou de doctrine qu il aurait emprunte s a 1 Apotre 


des gentils ; il est dans 1 intention generale, 
dans 1 esprit, dans les idees dominantes et 
dans les e le ments les plus caracteristiques de 
son livre " (i. p. 116). It was St. Paul who 
discovered a wide significance in the death of 
Jesus, as "a ransom for many." It was not 
so in His own view. " Je"sus a regarde" sa 
mort comme possible, et, dans certain e"ven- 
tualite", comme la condition providentielle du 
royaume qui allait venir, mais non comme un 
e Mment ne*cessaire en soi de sa fonction 
messianique ; il 1 a envisaged comme un risque 
a courir, un peril a affronter, non comme 
1 acte salutaire par excellence auquel devait 
tendre son ministere, et duquel de"pendait 
essentiellement tout 1 avenir " (i. p. 243). 
Under similar influence the idea of forgive 
ness of sins has been introduced into a simple 
miracle, such as the healing of the sick of the 
palsy, giving a new turn to the whole episode 
(i. pp. 1 08, 476). It is to St. Paul that we owe 
the whole narrative of the institution of the 
Eucharist ; the very words of consecration are 
derived from him: " Ce doit etre lui qui, le 
premier, a con9u et presente la coutume 
chretienne comme une institution fonde e sur 
une volonte" que Je"sus aurait exprime e et 
figuree dans la derniere cene " (ii. p. 541). 
The only basis of fact was a supper held at 


Bethany, in which Jesus promised His disciples 
a share in the Messianic feast. 

Under such influences the person of Jesus 
assumes a new importance ; He was not merely 
the Messiah of the future kingdom ; He was 
Christ on earth. He becomes the incarnate 
Wisdom of God ; He will appear again as 
Judge. "Jesus apparait comme juge et non 
comme t^moin ; il ne pre"sente pas les hommes 
a son Pere ; il vient dans la gloire du Pere, et 
accompagne* des anges. Cette mise en scene 
apocalyptique est aussi dans le gout et les 
idees de Paul " (ii. p. 26). He must then be 
supposed to have known of His approaching 
death and to have understood its necessity. 
Prophecies of it are readily placed in His 
mouth. The predictions we find in the 
Gospels " sont visiblement domine es par une 
double preoccupation theologique et apolo- 
getique, a savoir, montrer que le Christ avait 
prevu sa fin " (ii. p. 16). He must be protected 
against the carping of unbelievers ! " La 
dignite du Christ est sauve"e, dans le recit de 
Gethsemani, par un acte formel de resignation 
a la volont6 du Pere" (i. p. 181). Generally 
with regard to His knowledge of the future, 

o o 

" on ne se borna pas a gloser les paraboles 
primitives, on en crea quelques-uns " (p. 190). 
Why, then, were the Apostles so completely 


taken by surprise ? Simply because they were 
obtuse and unworthy of their Master. This 
explanation has the advantage of exalting the 
far-seeing (or imaginative ? ) Apostle of the 
Gentiles, at the expense of his Galilsean pre 
decessors. The second Gospel is dominated 
by this idea ; examples may be found in the 
refusal of the thrones to the two sons of 
Zebedee, in the praise of the exorcist " who 
follows not us," in the rebuke to Peter after 
his confession 1 (i. pp. 96, 117, ii. p. 20). The 
"first shall be last, and the last first," is a 
vindication of the position of St. Paul. We 
seem to remember something of this sort in 
the criticism of fifty years ago, and had 
imagined it was somewhat out of date. 

It remained to emphasise the sin and 
unbelief of the Jewish nation in rejecting its 
Christ. This result is attained not merely by 
a certain heightening of the opposition between 
Jesus and the Pharisees, or by an increased 
stress on their hypocrisy ; the central facts 
have been manipulated in a startling way. The* 
whole narrative of the trial before Caiaphas is 
due to a desire to transfer the guilt from the 
Roman to the Jew (i. p. 181). " Le proces 
devant Caiphe est une fiction apologe tique " 

1 We note that St. Matthew is supposed to be free from this 
tendency (ii. p. 7) ; yet he narrates the rebuke. 


(p. in). The denial of Peter is the only 
solid fact between the arrest and a brief 
morning consultation of the Sanhedrin to 
prepare the charge which was to be presented 
before Pilate (ii. p. 595). St. Luke s account 
of the trial before Herod is a trace of another 
attempt to do the same thing (p. 640). The 
Barabbas episode is again a legend with the 
same tendency ; possibly it has some slight 
historical basis. 

Once more, when the Gospels took their 
present form an organised Church existed. 
In fact, Jesus had no idea of founding any 
society ; it was unnecessary, if the kingdom 
was so near. He chose the Twelve as 
preachers of that kingdom, not at all as the 
first of a long line of successors. This gap, 
again, was filled without hesitation, and we 
find much which contemplates a Church, with 
its officers, its organisation, and its worship ; 
all this is entirely unhistorical. This is par 
ticularly the case in St. Matthew, where 
ecclesiastical interests are strongest. We may 
instance the promise to St. Peter, which, we 
are told, represents accurately the position 
of the Church and of St. Peter s successors 
in the writer s time (ii. p. 12). In other cases 
the details of the picture merely represent 
the later usage of the Church. In St. Luke s 


account of the Baptism, "on croirait assister, 
et Ton assiste en effet a un bapteme dans les 
premieres communaute s chretiennes " (i. p. 
411). The accounts of the feeding of the five 
thousand and of the Last Supper are both 
largely coloured by the customs of the Agape 
and the Eucharist as actually celebrated in 
the Church of later days. 

Generally speaking, Christian apologetic 
and Christian faith have been everywhere at 
work, the former particularly in the first 
Gospel. Faith surrounded the head of its 
hero with a halo ; He tends to become 
omniscient ; claims are put in His mouth which 
express the later views of His followers. 
" Dans tous ces deVeloppements, ce n est plus 
seulement la foi qui domine le souci de 
1 exactitude historique : il en a etc* ainsi des 
le commencement ; c est la devotion, ne e de 
la foi, qui se satisfait dans les peintures qui 
lui semblant les plus dignes de son objet " 
(i. p. 182). The narrative of the Transfigura 
tion, which is supposed to have been originally 
a legend of a post-Resurrection vision, is an 
example of this tendency. But fancy was 
particularly busy with the question of the 
origin of the Master. The first conception 
was that of a unique consecration in the 
Baptism. This was felt to be insufficient, and 


myths of the Virgin Birth arose, with which 
go the connected stories of the Magi, the visits 
to the Temple, etc. It will be readily under 
stood that the Abbe takes the most severely 
critical view of their origin. They are 
" pieuses fictions " ; " 1 ensemble des anecdotes, 
y compris celle de Jesus a douze ans, n a rien 
qui depasse les facultes moyennes d invention 
des hagiographes populaires a toute e"poque 
et en tout pays " (i. p. 197; cf. pp. 139, 169). 
He differs from others of the extreme school 
only in the very low estimate he forms of their 
literary and imaginative value ; of this more 
later. We note that he believes that their 
origin is to be looked for on Gentile soil, not 
so much in mythological ideas as in the 
tendency to conceive of the Divine Sonship 
as something which must be materially realised 

(i- P- 339). 

As in the Resurrection story, so here the in 
fluence of the Old Testament has been strongly 
felt. Is 7 U did not, indeed, create the belief in 
the Virgin Birth, but it served as a valuable 
proof thereof. In L Evangile et I Eglise (p. 24) 
the Abbe" laid down the principle with regard 
to the Old Testament that "il serait plus juste 
de dire qu elle colore la plupart des re"cits, 
que d affirmer qu elle en a cree quelques-uns." 
His present view seems to go beyond that. 


The story of the Magi is regarded as suggested 
by the star of Balaam s prophecy. The hymns 
of St. Luke are merely imitations, not very suc 
cessful or appropriate, of Old Testament songs. 
The announcement of the betrayal is probably 
inspired by Ps 4i 10 ; the flight of the young 
man naked, by Am 2 16 . Most startling of all, 
the fourth word from the Cross (" My God," 
etc.) has nothing of the crucial significance 
usually assigned to it ; it simply expresses the 
Christian conviction that Ps 22 was Messianic, 
and could be applied to the Crucifixion (ii. p. 


We pass on to consider a further factor of 
which Loisy makes much, the influence of 
symbolism. The details of the Gospel story 
must have a meaning, and were freely, and 
more or less deliberately, invented to convey 
that meaning. Whole incidents, narrated as 
fact, are really only picturesque symbols of 
spiritual truth. Many of the miracles are 
explained in this way. The draught of fishes 
is an allegory of the success of the Gospel 
among the Gentiles, just as the rejection of 
Nazareth had figured its failure among the 
Jews (i. p. 439). So in the raising of the 
widow s son at Nain, "la veuve d^solee re- 
presente la fille de Sion, Jerusalem menace e de 
perdre Israel, son fils unique, et le perdant en 


effet, pour le recouvrer miraculeusement par la 
puissance de Jesus " (i. p. 655). The feeding 
of the five thousand is in origin the expansion 
of a metaphor about spiritual food ; 5 + 2 = 7, 
the perfect number ; the twelve loaves are the 
inexhaustible treasures of the Gospel. "A 
lire le premier narrateur, on se douterait a 
peine qu il s agit d un miracle, le recit flottant, 
pour ainsi dire, et tres consciemment, entre le 
symbole et la realite " (i. p. 938). It is indeed 
not always clear how far the symbol was 
realised, or how far the miracle was literally 
understood by the Evangelists. But to Loisy 
the allegory is not something added to the 
fact ; it has produced the fact or rather the 

The principle is not only called in to explain 
the miraculous I it accounts for much which to 
the ordinary reader looks like the most innocent 
detail. The "after six days" of the Trans 
figuration is symbolic of a mystic week (ii. p. 
30). Did Christ s friends mourn His death ? 
It is an allegory of the universal mourning of 
nature (p. 698). Do we read of two thieves 
on whom the Crucifixion made an opposite 
impression? It is not fact, but "le mauvais 
larron repre"sente la judai sme incre dule, la 
foi du bon larron repre"sente la conversion du 
monde" (p. 677). We hear of two sisters, 


Martha and Mary ; they are an allegory of 
the Jewish and Gentile sections of the Church, 
and Loisy feels himself unable to gainsay those 
who see in the story nothing more (p. 105). 
The " mountains " of the first Gospel are all 
pure symbol (p. 745). " La paque du dernier 
repas dans les Synoptiques, et celle du 
crucifiement dans le quatrieme Evangile, le 
sabbat de la sepulture, et le dimanche de la 
resurrection sont des donne"es symboliques, 
dont il est maintenant difficile a 1 historien de 
degager le point de depart dans le re"alite des 
farts " (p. 700). We cannot, indeed, distin 
guish between fancy and fact ; the mysterious 
realm of the sub-conscious self comes to our aid. 
" Paul n a pas pris pour traditionnel un recit 
ou il avait mele" sa propre doctrine ; le melange 
s est fait de lui-meme dans la region sub- 
consciente de Tame ou se preparent les visions 
et les songes" (ii. p. 532, n. i). We may 
compare an eloquent passage in i. p. 195, 
unfortunately too long to quote ; the enthusi 
astic faith of the first century was not troubled 
to draw any distinction between vision and 

What are we to say of all this ? Perhaps 
our first word would be that if the Roman 
Church is ever to excommunicate, it could 
hardly be expected to hold its hand here. 


But, after all, a man s views are not always 
to be received as truth, because he has been 
excommunicated, and sympathy with one 
whom we may regard as the victim of per 
secution must not be allowed to blind our 
judgment. In the first place, most Christians 
of every school will be with us in an amazed 
protest against the extraordinary lack of taste 
(to call it nothing worse) which marks these 
volumes. Sarcasm and irony are mercilessly 
invoked to call attention to the "absurdities" 
of the Gospel narrative ; phrases such as 
"enfantin," "banal," " d une invention tres 
faible," " escamotage litteraire," are continu 
ally applied to it. The raising of the widow s 
son is " un recit sans originalite " ; the Apostles 
were " ni les etres obtus que dit Marc, ni les 
personnages de vitrail que montre Luc " 
(i. p. 167); the details of the trial before 
Pilate are "de traits qui conviennent mieux 
a la fiction legendaire qu a 1 histoire, et qui 
ressembleraient plutot a un effet de theatre, 
dans un melodrame ou une piece enfantine, 
qu a la realite " (ii. p. 644). A passage on 
the stories of the infancy has already been 
quoted ; it by no means stands alone. " Rien 
n est plus arbitraire comme exegese, ni plus 
faible comme narration fictive " than the 
second chapter of St. Matthew ; nor is it 


much better to read that in St. Luke s account 
" le merveilleux est moins banal et moins 
enfantin " (p. 169). He has, too, the lowest 
opinion of the Evangelists style St. Mark 
has " aucun gout litteraire " ; St. Matthew, 
" une mediocre invention " ; St. Luke s style 
is " inegal, maniere, on oserait presque dire 
truqueV The dedication to Theophilus is 
"pompeuse et banale " (i. pp. 257^). The 
whole passage should be read with its sarcastic 
phrases of half-praise to get the full effect. 
Loisy realises, of course, that his view is, to 
say the least of it, unusual, and he quotes 
Renan s well-known eulogy on the other side 
(p. 260, n. 3). Securus judicat or bis terrarum; 
and one who now attacks the Gospels as 
literature will not injure them. Probably such 
language has never before been used by a 
professed believer ; when it is, it can hardly 
expect the mitigation of sentence which may 
be granted to a Blatchford. 

With regard to Loisy s general position, it 
is impossible here to enter into a discussion 
of the details of the commentary. Any one 
at all familiar with modern criticism will 
have noticed that on many points he can be 
answered completely from writers of the most 
extreme school. But one or two general 
considerations may be allowed. It is usual 


with English critics to insist on the fact that 
they approach the Bible with no prejudice 
against the supernatural as such. It is not 
so with Loisy. He states his fundamental 
assumption quite clearly. The author of the 
Acts cannot be an eye - witness, because he 
narrates miracles. " Ne serait-il pas inoui 
qu un disciple immediat des apotres eiit pre- 
sente comme a fait Luc les temoignasfes 

o o 

concernant la resurrection?" (i. p. 172; cf. 
p. 179). To him the miraculous is not to be 
marked with a query in the margin, as Sanday 
has suggested ; it calls for the thickest of blue 
pencils at once. The Gospels as a whole 
cannot rest on the evidence of eye-witnesses, 
because they contain miracles. This a priori 
assumption is at least dangerous, some would 
say unscientific. We remember Harnack s 
argument. He gives a list of the miracles 
in the " We-sections " of Acts : " mehr Wunder 
in wenigen Versen kann man wohl doch nicht 
wlinschen ! " The eye - witness (and Loisy 
himself admits that in this case he was an 
eye-witness) who has recorded these was quite 
capable of the miracles of the rest of the Acts 
and the third Gospel (Lukas der Arzt, p. 24). 

Again, most readers will feel that the 
part assigned to symbolism is exaggerated. 
Few will deny that metaphor has sometimes 


been misinterpreted as fact, and allegory trans 
formed into history. With regard, e.g., to 
such a detail as the darkness at the Cruci 
fixion, most critics will admit that there is 
as much of symbol as of fact, and will ap 
prove Loisy s delightful epigram, " Le ciel est 
toujours sombre pour une ame desolee" 
(ii. p. 679). And his commentary on the 
Fourth Gospel has made us realise that the 
tendency may have been at work on a larger 
scale. But even if one admits the possibility 
with a mystical writing such as the Fourth 
Gospel, the case is very different with the 
first three. They read as a whole as simple, 
straightforward narrative, and to find subtle 
and hidden allegories in almost every detail, 
number, place, or saying, is surely a return 
to an exegesis long discredited. If the episode 
of the two thieves is merely an allegory of 
faith and unbelief, there are few incidents in 
history which cannot be explained as symbol 
rather than fact. We are reminded of the 
tyranny of the " Solar Myth," and of Tyler s 
amusing exposure of its possibilities in 
Primitive Culture. 

The fact is, that Loisy approaches the 
Gospels as they have been interpreted by 
centuries of Christian teaching, and often 
reads into them far more than their writers, 


with all their Oriental mind, ever dreamt of. 
Naturally we believe that in many cases they 
selected their facts as typical and significant. 
But what is typical may none the less remain 
true as fact. We need no more regard Martha 
and Mary as symbolic personifications of the 
Jewish and the Gentile Church, than we 
regard the two daughters of Henry vm. as 
fictitious embodiments of Romanism and 
Protestantism, because they happen to repre 
sent different elements in the English mind 


of the period. 

It is curious, again, to note how, with all 
his undeniable psychological subtlety, the 
critic again and again succeeds in missing 
the obvious, and discovering difficulties and 
contradictions, which it requires very little 
ingenuity to explain. He misses the exquisite 
appropriateness of the reproaches round the 
Cross, of St. Peter s remonstrance after the 
first announcement of the Passion, and of 
Christ s subsequent rebuke, an incident which 
it is hard to believe invented. He fails to 
see how true to life is the same Apostle s 
dazed suggestion of the three tabernacles : 
" il n est pas croyable que les trois person- 
nages celestes soient invites a rester pour le 
plaisir cles trois disciples " (ii. p. 36). The 
pathetic irony of the "Sleep on now" in 


Gethsemane is twisted into a literal command, 
frustrated by the unexpected arrival of Judas. 
Mary could never have kept the events of 
the childhood in her heart, because she could 
not understand them! "On n a pas coutume 
de retenir avec soin les choses qu on n a pas 
comprises" (i. p. 382). Difficulties of the 
most pedantic description are made much of, 
e.g. in the angel s word to Zacharias, "thy 
prayer is heard," because we have not been 
specially told that he had been praying for 
a child ; or in the murmurings of the scribes 
in the healing of the sick of the palsy, because 
St. Mark had not previously referred to their 
presence. In the same incident fault is found 
because the crowd is represented as paying 
more attention to the miracle than to the 
forgiveness of sins a trait altogether true to 
human nature. Similarly, in the insults before 
Caiaphas, we read "les quelques-uns qui se 
mettent a frapper Jesus, arrivent on ne sait 
d ou" (ii. p. 612), as though every incident 
must commence with an exhaustive list of the 
dramatis persona. With regard to the Jewish 
trial we are told no one could have known 
the details; "aucun fidele cle Jesus n etait en 
etat de les prendre sur 1 heure ; aucun ne 
songea sans doute a les prendre plus tard " 
(ii. p. 596) ; the events of the Crucifixion 


remained equally unknown; "aucun disciple 
n avait souci de recueillir pour la posterite ce 
qui se passait " (i. p. 179). 

Frankly, this is hair-splitting unworthy of 
M. Loisy and his subject, and such arguments 
are enough to make even the most careless 
reader realise that negative criticism is not 
always the most scientific. The whole treat 
ment is, in fact, a priori and subjective to 
a degree. The true method tries without 
arriere-pensee to analyse the documents, to 
get to their sources, to estimate their authority. 
It allows to the full for the influence of all 
the factors on which Loisy lays so much 
stress, symbolism, idealising of the past, Old 
Testament prophecy, and ecclesiastical interests. 
But it can set a limit to their influence, and 
as we study our authorities the historical 
figure of Jesus and the fact of His work 
stand out all the more clearly. As Harnack 
has said of the two sources of the Gospels, 
" where they agree their evidence is strong, 
and they do agree in many and important 
points. Destructive critical inquiries . . . 
break themselves in vain against the rock of 
their united testimony " (Spriiche und Reden 
Jesu, p. 172). 

On the other hand, if we accept the drastic 
a priori treatment of Loisy, we are ultimately 


brought to the conclusion that we can know 
nothing of the historic Jesus. And if the 
figure and work of Jesus dissolve in mist, 
how can we explain the fact of Christianity 
or the consistent, lifelike narrative of the 
Gospels ? The ascription to unknown men 
of genius will not do. If the story was in 
the main true, it required no very extra 
ordinary power to tell it for us as it has been 
told. The magic is in the facts rather than 
in their presentation. But if the career of 
Jesus was only what Loisy imagines, the real 
founders of Christianity were those who 
developed the story and gave it the form 
in which it has appealed to the world. Where 
were such men to be found in the first 
century ? As Professor Burkitt has reminded 
us, it is not an easy thing to write parables 
such as those of the Gospels, and after all, 
as we have seen, Loisy himself has no very 
high estimate of the abilities of the Evangelists. 
But the last word in a discussion such as 
this will always be, " What of the Resurrec 
tion ? " The writer s position is not clear. 
Were the visions true, i.e. were they con 
sistent, veridical, objective apparitions of a 
living being, proving the persistence of per 
sonality after death in the sense desired by 
the Society for Psychical Research? If so, 


they form a fact as unique in the history of 
the world as is the Resurrection as more 
popularly conceived. And then the story of 
the life that led up to it must be read once 
more in the light of its unique sequel. We 
lose the right to reject all that raises that life 
above the common run of human experience. 
If, on the other hand, the visions were merely 
subjective, the working of the (supposed) 
intense enthusiasm of the mourners, we are 
face to face with the old difficulty of explain 
ing the rise of the belief, its persistence and 
general consistency, its vitality and value for 
the world. An immortality, such as that 
ascribed to Keats in Adonais, fails to meet 
the requirements of Christian history and of 
individual experience. It is a small point 
that M. Loisy s treatment leaves his own 
position a psychological puzzle ; the crux is 
that it leaves the fact of Christianity an in 
soluble historical enigma. 





THE distinction often drawn between spiritual 
value and historical fact is, perhaps, nowhere 
so sharp as in the view of the Resurrection 
of Jesus held by many modern Christian 
thinkers. The fact as ordinarily understood, 
with its historical evidence, is rejected in 
toto ; the spiritual reality of the abiding life 
of Christ is held sincerely and with conviction. 
The position may be considered from two 
points of view. It raises the philosophical 
problem to what extent truth can be built up 
on error and illusion ? What are the limits of 
the principle that 

" God s gift was that man should conceive of truth, 
And yearn to gain it, catching at mistake, 
As midway help till he reach fact indeed"? 2 

It also raises the historical and psychological 

1 This paper originally appeared independently of the pre 
ceding pages. 

2 Browning, "A Death in the Desert." 


problem as to how we are to explain the rise 
of the belief on the supposed premises ? The 
purpose of this paper is to approach the 
question from this second point of view. It 
starts from a fact which is not open to dispute, 
that the first generation of Christians believed 
sincerely and firmly in the Resurrection. We 
ask how they came to do so, if the real course 
of events was at all that supposed by extreme 
critics. And we w r ill take as typical the view 
put forward by M. Loisy in Les Evangiles 

We may begin by stating as clearly as 
possible the view which he takes of the 
Resurrection narrative. 1 In the first place, 
we note that the predictions of the death and 
Resurrection ascribed to Jesus in the Gospels 
are, in Loisy s opinion, unhistorical. They 
are unhistorical because, according to his 
reconstruction of the Gospel narrative and 
his view of the self-consciousness of Jesus, 
He never really expected to die. He realised 

1 The chief relevant sections in his works are : UJ&vangile et 
rfcglise, pp. H2fF. ; DAiitour (fun Petit Livre, pp. 120, 169 ff. ; 
Le Qu me Evangile, esp. pp. 900 ff. ; Les fcvangiles Synoptiques, 
esp. i. pp. 177, 223 ff, ii. pp. 696 ff. ; Simples Reflexions, pp. 
79, 170 ; Quelques Lettres, pp. 91, 154, 158, 188, 225. The last- 
named work is of special importance as clearing up certain 
possible ambiguities. In what follows detailed references have 
not, as a rule, been given ; they will be readily found by those 
who consult the passages here quoted. 


the danger of the course He was pursuing, 
and the possibility of a fatal termination, but 
to the last He looked for a miracle to save 
Him ; even the Gethsemane prayer was a 
prayer for such a Divine intervention. Hence, 
if we understand M. Loisy aright, there is no 
room for prophecies of the Second Advent 
as ordinarily understood, i.e. a return after 
death on the clouds of heaven. Loisy s 
view is, indeed, strongly eschatological. 
Jesus expected a crisis which was to end the 
present seon ; there was to be a great 
denouement by which the kingdom of God 
was to be established on earth, and He 
Himself was to be manifested as the Messiah. 
This was to come unexpectedly and soon 
(hence the frequent injunctions "to watch"), 
and was to be accompanied by a judgment. 
But in that judgment He was to be witness, 
not judge, and it was all to be accomplished 
in His lifetime. The importance of this for 
our present purpose lies in the fact that we 
are thus debarred from supposing that the 
ground had been prepared for a belief in 
the Resurrection by any direct teaching of 
Jesus Himself. 

Again, Loisy holds that the last fact which 
we know about the Jesus of history is His 
death on the Cross. Nothing is known of 


His burial. He was probably thrown by the 
soldiers into some common trench where 
the bodies of criminals were buried, 1 and 
neither friend nor foe had any record of the 
spot. The whole story connected with the 
rock tomb and Joseph of Arimathea is a later 
addition. M. Loisy emphasises this point 
very clearly in Quelques Lettres. It follows 
that the narratives of the visits of the women 
to the empty tomb fall to the ground entirely. 
It is, therefore, unnecessary to attempt to 
discover in them any basis of fact by 
eliminating the angelic appearances and the 
rest of the miraculous element ; it is equally 
unnecessary to advance any theory of re 
suscitation, or of removal of the body by the 
Apostles, Joseph, or any one else, in order 
to explain the empty tomb. The empty tomb 
was not the starting-point of the belief in the 
Resurrection ; the stories connected with it 
form only a secondary stage in its legendary 
development, being the probably unconscious 
response to the natural need of external 
proof. They are, according to Loisy, un 
known to St. Paul ; in their final development 
in St. Luke and St. John they contradict the 
earlier Galilaean tradition, implying as they 

1 Perhaps the " Aceldama " mentioned in connection with 


do the presence of the Apostles in Jerusalem. 
Hence, they can only have arisen at a time 
when the production of first-hand evidence 
was impossible to friend and foe alike. 
Rejecting the episode of the empty tomb, 
Loisy naturally also rejects the " third day " 
as a datum of any historical significance in 
the development of the Resurrection belief, 
and this in spite of its attestation by St. 
Paul. That Christ "rose again the third 
day," or appeared for the first time on the 
third day, is regarded by him as a purely 
legendary embellishment of the story, due 
in part to the popular belief that the spirit 
haunted the body till the third day after death, 
in part to the choice of Sunday by Gentile 
Christians as the day of worship, as being 
the "day of the sun," and in part to the 
influence of the Old Testament prophecies 
of Jonah and Hosea. These prophecies 
caused Christian tradition to hesitate for a 
time between "after three days" and "on 
the third day." In fact, according to Loisy s 
view, the belief in the Resurrection was of 
slow growth, and required some weeks, or 
even months, before it was fully established. 
The references in the narratives to the doubts 
of the disciples are regarded as evidences of 
its gradual and partial acceptance. 


The belief, then, that Jesus was alive did not 
find its starting-point in the sight of the empty 
tomb on Easter Day. Its origin is to be sought 
rather in a psychological necessity ; it was 
the natural reaction from the shock of the 
Crucifixion, the result of the deep impression 
Jesus had made on His followers. Of this we 
shall have more to say later on. We ask now 
whether this intuitive faith had any facts on 
which to build, and we are told that it found its 
first support in a vision of St. Peter in Galilee. 
This is nowhere fully and accurately recorded 
in our authorities, but Loisy finds many sig 
nificant traces of it. It is mentioned by St. 
Paul and St. Luke, and may have been 
narrated in some form in the source which 
Mark followed. 1 It is suggested that it is the 
basis of the appearance by the Lake in 
John 21, this episode being intentionally mis 
placed in the third Gospel, and becoming 
the miraculous draught of Luke 5. As a 
Galilsean appearance it could not be fitted in 
with the Jerusalem manifestations with which 
alone St. Luke is concerned in his closing 
chapters. It may, however, have left its 
traces in the "fish" of Luke 24 42 , and in the 
tradition preserved by Origen that " Simon " 
was the unnamed companion of Cleopas on the 
1 Cf. i6 7 . 


road to Emmaus. Finally, the fragment of the 
Gospel of Peter seems, where it breaks off, to 
be about to narrate a similar appearance to 
Peter while fishing, as the first manifestation of 
the risen Christ. Whatever be thought of this 


ingenious hypothesis, we have here what Loisy 
regards as the first historical fact which criticism 
can seize after the death of Christ. St. Peter 
had a vision in Galilee ; the nature of that 
vision will be discussed in due course. Loisy 
believes that similar visions were afterwards 
experienced by other disciples, but of none of 
them have accurate records been preserved, and 
it is needless to say that in the conversations 
recorded we hear not the words spoken by 
Jesus on any particular occasion, but the ex 
pression of the faith of the Church. "C est la 
voix de la conscience chretienne, qui parle en 
Je*sus glorifieV 

Now it is not our intention to discuss directly 
and in detail Loisy s critical treatment of the 
Gospels. 1 The purpose of this summary has 

1 It may, at the same time, be well to point out certain un 
satisfactory features. His objections to the burial can only be 
called trivial. What difficulty is there in the presence of the 
women at the Cross and the entombment, and why should it be 
supposed that they have been " dragged in " to serve as useful 
witnesses when the Apostles by their flight are no longer avail 
able ? The difficulties with regard to Joseph, Loisy answers 
himself. And we ask why details such as the " fine linen " and 
the " new tomb " " precedent d un sentiment moral plutot que 


been to show how uncompromising is his 
position from one point of view. He does 
not merely hold that the narratives are obscure, 
and have been subjected to legendary and 
materialising influences, whilst beneath them is 
a bed-rock of fact, in a real Resurrection and 
true appearances, with some messages at least 
actually delivered. Such is probably the belief 
of many liberals, 1 but Loisy will have none 

de la tradition historique"? There is nothing suspicious in 
reverent care for the dead. And the mention of the rock tomb 
is more intelligible as a piece of detail interesting to Roman 
readers, than as the invented fulfilment of an unidentifiable 
prophecy. Again, though one is loath for some reasons to find 
oneself on the side of Loisy s opponent (see Quelques Lettres, 
pp. 191, 227), it is difficult not to see in the speech of Acts 2 
a reference to the raising of the flesh from the corruption of the 
tomb ; nor can we admit that the expression of Acts I3 29 
(" they . . . laid him in a tomb ") necessarily excludes all 
knowledge of burial by friends. After all, Loisy believes that 
the writer of the Acts wrote the third Gospel, and, if so, he 
obviously held the ordinary view, and had himself described the 
burial. In fact, we may safely say that the objections to the 
burial do not arise from any real difficulty in the narrative, but 
from the necessity of eliminating an incident which the critic 
would otherwise find very inconvenient. Similarly with regard 
to the " third day," the explanations of its origin are very un 
convincing. The Old Testament references are not enough to 
explain the belief (Hos 6 2 is never quoted, and Loisy himself 
admits that the influence of prophecy modified, but was seldom 
responsible for, the growth of tradition) ; and though Justin saw 
the appropriateness of the observance of the first day as being the 
" day of the sun," there is no evidence whatever that the first 
Christians, particularly the Jewish Church, were influenced by 
this association of ideas. 

1 See, e.g., Lake s Resurrection of Jesus Christ. 


of these half measures. There is for him no 
fragment of history in the Gospels after the 
death of Christ ; it is all the work of faith. 
Nor when he says that the Resurrection is not 
"un fait de 1 ordre historique," does he merely 
mean that it is not demonstrable by historical 
evidence, whilst the fact itself may none the 
less be true. This possibility is, indeed, left 
open in his earlier works, but has now been 
clearly rejected by him. The Resurrection did 
not take place " si Ton veut entendre par 
resurrection cette chose inconcevable, le cadavre 
d un mort de deux jours se prenant une vie qui 
n est pas celle des mortels, et qui ne"anmoins se 
manifeste sensiblement." 1 

Now, if this were all, Loisy s position would 
be simply that of the ordinary " unbeliever," 
and would require no special treatment. But 
we know that it is not all. Loisy is a sincere 
Christian, and has a whole-hearted belief in the 
present life of Christ as the most important fact 
of spiritual experience both to the individual 
and to the world as a whole. Unless we 
recognise this to the full, we cannot understand 
the problem as it presents itself to the modern 
mind. Those who believe in a "spiritual" 
Resurrection would maintain that the living 
Christ is manifested in history and in the 

1 Quelques Le tires, p. 189. 


individual in a unique sense. It is more than 
the persistence of the influence which every 
man leaves behind him in a greater or less 
degree. The Christ, even the historic Jesus of 
Nazareth, lives in His Church in a sense other 
than that in which Alexander lived on in the 
realms which he had quickened with the Greek 
spirit. The Christian is not content to ascribe 
to his Master the elusive pantheistic immortality 
in which Shelley s indignant love clothes Keats. 
The life of Christ, to those who believe in it at 
all, is something more personal and more real, 
because it affects us directly and practically. 
Now it is comparatively easy for the latter-day 
Christian to hold such a faith. It has become 
an integral part of his creed, and he supports it 
by his personal experience, backed by the wide 
and varied experience of Christians in all ages, 
and by the testimony of history. We are not 
here discussing the validity of this line of 
evidence, but merely emphasising the undoubted 
fact that such are the main grounds on which [ 
the Resurrection is believed now by those who I 
lay little stress on the "empty tomb." But the 
historical problem is to explain how this belief 
could have arisen, if we reject the Gospel 
narrative in toto. By what psychological 
avenue could the Apostles have arrived at it ? 
We remind ourselves of the conditions as 


supposed by Loisy. Jesus had died a felon s 
death ; He had neither anticipated that death, 
nor warned His disciples of it, though no doubt 
He realised and spoke of its possibility. Much 
less had they any promises of the Resurrection 
on which to build. He had proclaimed a future 
kingdom, to be speedily established by a 
miraculous act of God, probably in His own 
lifetime, when He Himself would be declared 
to be the Messiah. But this hope had been 
manifestly frustrated by events. The Apostles 
had been dazed by the catastrophe, and had 
fled to their own homes. Yet gradually, with 
in a comparatively brief period, they came to 
believe that this Jesus was alive and active in a 
sense in which this could be said of no other 
departed leader. The belief transformed their 
views of their Master and of their Bible, 
changed their characters, and enabled them to 
begin the conversion of the world, a task which 
Jesus had never suggested to them in His life 
time. Whatever view we take of the details 
of the opening chapters of the Acts, we cannot 
say less than this. The historical fact of the 
growth of Christianity requires it, and Loisy 
himself insists continually that the Church was 
built up on the faith in the risen Christ. How 
did it all come about? It is a historical 
problem, and there seems nothing that history 


can take hold of to explain it. Did it arise 
from a study of prophecy ? No, says Loisy : 
" il est de toute invraisemblance que les Textes 
de 1 Ancien Testament aient suggere aux 
disciples de Je sus la resurrection de leur 
Maitre." The interpretation of prophecy 
turned out to be a most impressive method of 
proof for the new faith once it had arisen, but 
it did not itself give it birth. An answer which 
seems more promising is that the belief arose 
from visions of Jesus, according to Loisy from 
a vision seen by Peter. The crucial question 
is, Of what nature were these visions? Are we 
to understand them as in some sense objective ? 
We touch here on the problem which is being 
for the first time scientifically investigated by 
the Society for Psychical Research. In a sense 
the appearances of spirits, and messages from 
the spirit world, are facts, i.e. certain people 
have undoubtedly had psychological experiences 
of this character. Eliminating cases of fraud, 
we have to ask whether these experiences point 
to something objective. Do they take their 
origin from the personality of the departed, 
and, therefore, correspond to a reality which 
exists outside of the mind of the percipient ? 
This reality need not be thought of as material ; 
we have only to suppose that it in some way 

1 Ev. Syn. i. p. 176. 


uses the material world in order to communicate 
with us. Or, on the other hand, are we to 
regard all such messages and appearances as 
subjective illusions, projected by the sub 
conscious self of the percipient, and standing 
in no relation to the personality from which 
they claim to come? 1 If the first answer be 
ultimately proved to be true, we shall go some 
way towards explaining the Resurrection 
narratives, and that in a sense which both 
science and religion can accept. If it can be 
maintained that the appearances and messages 
of A. after death to B. are really to be attributed 
to the conscious deliberate effort of A. to com 
municate with his friend in this world, we have 
in essence the vindication of the Gospel story. 
Whether we accepted the Biblical records in 
toto or not, we should have a scientific justifica 
tion for our belief in the continued life of Jesus. 
But we may remark that His Resurrection would 
still remain a unique event in the world s history. 
It would be unique, because results have come 
from it which it is no exaggeration to say out 
weigh the results which have come from all 
other supposed spirit communications put 
together ; it would also be unique because, 

1 In certain cases we have to reckon with the possibility that 
they may be telepathic, i.e. proceeding from other earthly 
minds ; they are then in a sense objective, but not veridical. 


assuming the substantial accuracy of the Gospel 
records of the manifestations (and on this 
hypothesis most of the difficulties felt with 
regard to them would disappear), His appear 
ances have a consistency, fulness, and spiritual 
value attained by no others, since they enabled 
the disciples to realise completely the presence 
of the personality which they loved. Again, if 
we may believe the suggestion of Mr. Myers, 1 
a suggestion which is in itself a priori probable, 
and which is " confirmed " by messages claiming 
to come from him and Dr. Gurney, 2 the departed 
spirit finds it hard to communicate on account 
of the difficulty of controlling the material 
media which it must use. Now we are in the 
habit of explaining many of the Gospel miracles 
by insisting on the control which a perfect 
personality would have over matter. It is, 
then, natural to suppose that that same person 
ality would have a unique control of the media 
of communication after death. Then, as in the 
days of His flesh, He was the perfect man, in 
fullest harmony with His spiritual environment, 
and able to do perfectly what others have only 
been able to do imperfectly. No doubt this 
line of thought will fail to satisfy many. To 
some it will appear unduly rationalistic ; they 

1 The Survival of Htiman Personality. 

2 S.P.R. Proceedings^ June 1908. 


would not wish to explain the Resurrection of 
Christ as being on at all the same lines as the 
continued life of other men in the spirit world, 
forgetting that we are only dealing with the 
means by which His human spirit may have 
communicated with His friends. Others will 
insist that the "objective" character of spirit 
communications is still far from proved. This, 
no doubt, is the case ; we have only attempted 
to indicate a line of thought which may possibly 
ultimately be of value. To the writer it is a 
hopeful line, though he is aware that it cannot 
be pressed at present, and does not wish to 
suggest that our belief in the Resurrection is to 
stand or fall with any such proof. 

But the main object of this somewhat long 
digression has been to press upon those who 
speak of " visions " in this connection the 
necessity of defining clearly of what nature 
they suppose them to be. Are they objective, 
due to the direct action of the departed spirit, 
regarded as a living personality, and, therefore, 
evidence of the life after death ? Many will 
reject this hypothesis, and will maintain that 
they are purely subjective. This seems to be 
the view of M. Loisy. To the Apostles "le 
travail interieur de leur ame enthousiaste 
pouvait leur suggerer la vision de ce qu ils 
souhaitaient ; des incidents fortuits, interpreted 


et transfigures selon les preoccupations du 
moment pouvaient avoir la meme portee que 
des visions, avec un caractere objectif qui les 
rendaient moins discutables, si Ton avait 
songe" a discuter." And there are instructive 
passages 2 in which he speaks of "la region 
sub-consciente de 1 ame, oil se preparent les 
visions et les songes. En 1 etat d exaltation ou 
vivaient les premiers croyants, tout ce travail, 
qui deroute 1 analyse par sa complexity s est 
opere, spontanement et rapidement, dans la 
region subconsciente des ames ou se preparent 
les songes de tous les hommes, les hallucina 
tions de quelque-uns, les intuitions de genie." 
Loisy is not here dealing directly with the. 
Resurrection, but with the developments " de 
la pensee chretienne " in general ; but he nowhere, 
so far as I can discover, suggests for a moment 
that the visions of the Christ are to be attributed 
to any other source than " la region subcon 
sciente " ; he regards them as from first to last 

Now it is quite obvious that to call the visions 
"subjective" is merely to describe them; it 
does not explain them, or do away with the 
necessity for an explanation. This explanation 
can only be found in the mental condition of 

1 Ev. Syn. i. p. 223. 

3 Ibid. \. p. 195, ii. p. 532, n. I. 


the Apostles. Were they so predisposed to 
believe in the Resurrection that it became 
natural to them to see their Master standing 
before them as "in the days of His flesh"? 
There were, according to Loisy, two factors to 
which the visions may be traced. The first 
was the strong impression made by the person 
ality of Jesus ; the second was closely connected 
with this, the belief in His Messiahship. As 
the disciples revisited the familiar scenes of the 
Galilsean ministry, " le passe" les ressaisit, leurs 
souvenirs s enflammerent dans la solitude. Us 
avaient e"te trop profond^ment remue s par 
1 espeVance pour que le coup de malheur qui les 
avait d abord accable~s ne fut par suivi d une 
reaction puissante vers le grandiose avenir qui 
les avait seduits." " L on pe^oit aussi que 
ces deux facteurs " (i.e. the appearances and the 
argument from prophecy) " ont puise originaire- 
ment toute leur force dans la persuasion ou 
etaient les disciples que Je"sus lui-meme etait le 
Messie." ! We are bound to ask whether this 
view is psychologically intelligible. We are 
not merely dealing with the conviction that the 
work of a great and good man cannot be cut 
short by death, and that he will be recompensed 
hereafter for his unmerited sufferings on earth. 
The Apostles rose far above the sublime intui- 

1 E-v. Syn. i. p. 223. 2 Ibid. ii. p. 782. 


tion of the Book of Wisdom, that " the souls of 
the righteous are in the hand of God." They 
believed that their Master was alive and in 
touch with them in a perfectly unique sense. 
They did not imagine for a moment that His 
"spirit" was merely resting on them as the 
spirit of an Elijah rested on Elisha. We 
remind ourselves once more that, according 
to Loisy s view, there was very little in the 
historical career of Jesus to create an atmo 
sphere favourable to such a belief. Most of 
the miracles are to be eliminated ; the predic 
tions of the "rising again" are unhistorical. 
The Crucifixion itself came not as something 
foreseen and allowed for, but as an unlooked- 
for catastrophe, apparently upsetting all calcula 
tions and falsifying all hopes. The shock, 
indeed, was so great that "les moins timides 
perdirent toute esperance quand ils virent que 
le ciel n avait pas secouru celui qu ils avaient 
salue" comme le Mcssie." 

Can we, then, base the whole reaction on 
the impression of the personality of Jesus, for 
the belief in the Messiahship is really only an 
aspect of this ? We are far from wishing to 
minimise in any way the extent of that impres 
sion, though it is a question which will require 
more consideration than it has hitherto received, 

1 Ev. Syn. i. p. 222. 


whether we can reject so much of the Gospel 
story as Loisy rejects, and yet retain the right 
to speak of that personality as unique and un 
approachable. But the question at issue is not 
" how great was the influence of that person 
ality," but " why did it have the particular results 
supposed ? " It is one thing to invoke " person 
ality " to explain certain miraculous cures ; 
we know it does, in fact, work in this particular 
way. It is quite another thing to urge it as 
a sufficient explanation of the Resurrection 
belief. Are there any real parallels? Cases 
of varying degrees of similarity are, indeed, 
often hinted at in footnotes. We may suggest 
that they deserve a more prominent place. 
For from this point of view the essence of the 
subject is to study and compare carefully the 
alleged parallels. Does a leader with a strong 
personality naturally force on his adherents the 
conviction that he is alive, that he is mani 
festing himself, that he is helping them and 
continuing his work ? It is obvious that we 
must exclude most, if not all, of the alleged 
parallels from post - Christian times. The 
stories of the appearances of saints are easily 
explained from the already existing belief in 
the appearances of Christ. Given the Gospel 
narrative and the Christian belief in the Resur 
rection, it is intelligible that similar stories or 


experiences should follow ; in fact, it is signifi 
cant that, comparatively speaking, there are so 
few. It suggests that the mind of man does 
not work easily in this groove ; it is not so 
"natural," as certain critics would seem to 
imagine, that visions should be seen of a man 


after death, simply because he has been loved 
and revered. But this by the way. The 
problem is to explain the first great instance, 
the belief in the appearances of Jesus. There 
is nothing like it in the Old Testament, and 
no real parallel has been adduced from other 
sources. We should, then, clearly recognise 
that we are not explaining anything in a scientific 
sense when we trace the Resurrection belief to 
the influence of "the personality of Jesus." 
We are really invoking a psychological miracle. 
Now psychology has its laws, obscure though 
they may be, and a phenomenon which seems 
to contradict all we know of those laws should 
be a stumbling-block in the psychological 
realm, no less than it would be in the material. 
A miracle does not cease to be a miracle 
because it has been transferred from the sphere 
of matter to the sphere of mind. And this is 
precisely what Loisy seems to do ; whether he 
be on the right lines or not, it should, at least, 
be clearly recognised that he leaves us with a 
new problem as inexplicable as the old. It is 


an historical fact that the disciples believed that 
Jesus was alive in a unique sense, and the fact 
calls for a historical explanation. We are 
offered that of self-caused visions, which in 
their turn rest upon a faith inexplicable by any 
known laws of thought. 

This difficulty has to be faced by all, 
whether Christians or unbelievers, who reject 
all objective manifestations of a risen Christ, 
and it is recognised by most candid critics as 
a very real crux. But the difficulty is greatly 
increased to all who hold the paradox of Loisy s 
position. They maintain that though the 
visions to which faith gave birth, and in which 
it found its nourishment, were false, yet the 
faith was in the last resort true. Jesus was 
alive, though He had not manifested Himself 
in the way imagined. How came it that the 
faith was true ? It must have been an intuition, 
which can only be explained as a Divine revela 
tion to the soul, an otherwise inexplicable 
uprush of spiritual genius. Now we admit 
that the spirit of genius blows where it lists, 
and that its manifestations are often mysterious 
and apparently arbitrary. But though those 
who are the vehicles of such intuitions of genius 
have nothing which they have not received 
from the great Unknown, yet we honour them 
as our greatest men, whether they be artists, 


poets, or religious leaders. This particular 
intuition, that the real work of Jesus was to be 
carried on by His Spirit after His death, is 
without question the essential factor in Chris 
tianity. Yet, on the view we are considering, it 
did not come to Jesus Himself. We are told 
it probably came to Peter. Then, we say it 
deliberately, Peter or some unknown disciple 
was a greater religious genius than Jesus, and 
should be regarded as the real founder of 


Christianity. Jesus expected speedy and 
temporal success ; He was utterly mistaken in 
His view of the future, and died with a cry 
of despair on His lips, leaving His work and 
hopes a wreck. It was Peter and the Apostles 
who were able to bring life out of death, be 
cause there came to them the sublime intuition 
to which their Master had never risen, that 
His spirit would be with them in the invisible 
world, and that His work could be continued 
on new lines. Jesus never foresaw failure, 
, Peter triumphed over it. And yet, even in 
the Roman Church, Jesus and not the other is 
worshipped as God. 

It would seem, then, to be the case that any 
theory which denies the fact of objective mani 
festations is hard pressed to explain how the 
Apostles arrived at their faith. It has to 
invoke " personality " working in a mysterious 


and unparalleled, and therefore almost a 
"miraculous," manner. It supposes that the 
belief in question arose unaccountably as a 
Divine intuition, creating for itself proofs which, 
though in themselves false, supported a con 
clusion at bottom true. And yet this is only 
half the problem which the historian has to 
face. If it is hard to explain the origin of the 
belief, it is no less hard to understand how it 
maintained itself and won general acceptance. 
One of the sternest tests of life is to keep the 
heights which Faith has won in her moments of 
insight. Those who had seen visions, whether 
objective or subjective (and in considering the 
impression on the percipients the distinction 
ceases to be of importance), would certainly feel 
the need of more tangible evidence " in the 
light of common day." Still more would the 
need be felt by those who had not been favoured 
with such experiences. Now it is perfectly 
clear that once the Apostles had attained their 
belief in the Resurrection, they never afterwards 
wavered in it for a moment. They were able 
to communicate that belief to the disciples in 
general and to multitudes of new converts. 
And, most startling of all, it does not seem to 
have been seriously contradicted by their op 
ponents. It was not that they preached a 
purely spiritual Resurrection, which would not 


admit of proof or disproof. On the contrary, 
it is admitted that they proclaimed a visibly 
manifested, to some extent a material, body ; 
they believed themselves to have spoken with 
Christ, to have eaten and drunk with Him, 
if not to have touched Him. Hence, it is 
startling to read, " Les auteurs de la mort de 
Jesus ne pensaient probablement plus a lui, 
quand il leur revint que ses disciples etaient 
maintenant a Jerusalem, qu ils declaraient vivant 
et immortel le crucifie de Golgotha. Le chris- 
tianisme etait ne. On allait essayer de le com- 
battre. II fallait le discuter. Nul ne contestait 
que Je*sus fut mort sur la croix. Nid ne pouvait 
demontrer qiiil ne fut pas ressuscite" Surely 
from the first the obvious answer to the 
apostolic preaching was the insistence on 
the fact of the burial, and the production of the 
body of Jesus, if possible. It is very curious 
that until the probably late edition of the story 
of " the watch " in St. Matthew, and the notices 
of the Jewish counter-propaganda in the 
"Gospel of Peter" and in Justin, we have no 
hint of any attempt to meet the witness of the 
Apostles. The reason may be found in some 
such explanation as that suggested by Loisy, 
but there is no doubt that the hypothesis of 
the " empty tomb," if it can be accepted, 

1 Ev. Syn. \. p. 224. 


accounts most naturally for the attitude, both 
of Jews and Christians, in face of the alleged 
fact of the Resurrection. The possibility of 
counter-evidence was cut off at the source. 
We admit that the vanishing of the earthly 
body is not necessary to a philosophical view 
of the Resurrection, that it may even be a 
stumbling-block, since we do not believe in a 
quickening of its material particles, yet it would 
seem to have been almost necessary as evidence. 
Granted the " empty tomb," we can explain the 
rapid growth and the unhesitating certainty of 
the Resurrection belief on the side of the early 
Christians, and the comparative absence of 
contradiction on the side of their opponents. 
We do not now touch the philosophical question 
of its possibility ; we merely suggest that the 
admitted facts are most easily explained by 
the supposition that this part of the Resurrec 
tion story is true in its main features. But it is 
well to insist that the religion of Christ does 
not "rest on the fact of the empty tomb." 
The argument of a well-known popular work 
of fiction is a libel on the faith of Christians. 
If it were proved that this part of the Gospel 
story arose from some misapprehension and 
must be surrendered in the light of fuller know 
ledge, the Creed of the Church would remain 
unshaken. We can believe without such help. 


But the question is, Could the first generation 
of disciples have done so ? To say this, is not 
to claim for ourselves a spiritual height which 
they never reached. We are heirs of centuries 
of Christian experience ; they were pioneers to 
whom the greater part of the " evidence for the 
Resurrection " was still in the future. As we 
try sympathetically to realise their temper of 
mind, if we find it hard to understand how they 
could have evolved their visions from their 
own inner consciousness, we find it almost 
equally hard to understand how they could 
have believed in them so unflinchingly, if they 
had no external evidence on which to rest. 

The purpose, then, of this study is to suggest 
that the problem of the Resurrection is by no 
means solved by a criticism which, however 
ingeniously, analyses almost into nothingness 
the concluding chapters of the Gospels. Such 
a criticism is always sooner or later pulled up 
sharp by the hard fact of the apostolic belief. 
It should be clearly recognised that until it can 
give a reasonable account of the origin and 
permanence of that belief, it is no solution of 
the problem, however attractive it may be as 
an exercise in literary criticism. The difficulties, 
historical and psychological, no less than 
religious and philosophical, which accompany 
denial are no whit less serious than those which 


accompany belief. And yet let our last word 
be this. The real dividing line is not between 
those who accept the historical records of the 
Resurrection, and those who deny them. It is 
rather between those who believe in the present 
power of a risen Christ, and those who reject 
such a belief as a superstition. From this point 
of view a Loisy is on the side of the angels, 
and it is well for the most orthodox to realise 
that their only quarrel with such a one should 
be in the domain of logic and proof; they have 
none when it comes to the question of spiritual 





PROFESSOR HARNACK S remarkable vindication 
of the Lukan authorship of the third Gospel 
and the Acts l has been followed by a further 
volume, in which he examines the second 
source common to St. Matthew and St. Luke. 2 
The first source is, of course, the Gospel of 
St. Mark, in whatever form it may have been 
used by the two later Evangelists. Of this 
Harnack has nothing to say here ; he confines 
his attention strictly to the matter common to 
the other two Gospels alone. His purpose is 
by a careful comparison of the two versions, as 
given in St. Matthew and St. Luke, to obtain 
a hypothetical reconstruction of "Q," 3 the 

1 In Lukas der Arzt. 

2 Spriiche und Reden Jesu (Leipzig, 1907); or in the transla 
tion, The Sayings of Jesus. The references in this paper are 
to the German edition. 

3 The source is so called from the German Quelle ; the old 
name Logia has been dropped as suggesting an identification 
with the Matthajan Logia, which, however probable, must not 
be assumed. 


common source which it is generally agreed 
must in some form and in some sense lie behind 

He renews the protest which we find in 
Lukas der Arzt against flashy a priori theor 
ising, and asks for more "spade-work," a 
detailed examination of the actual data. 
" What happens in many other of the main 
questions of gospel criticism happens here ; 
critics launch out into sublime questions as to 
the meaning of the Kingdom of God, as to 
the Son of Man, Messiahship, etc., or 
into inquiries of religious history, and ques 
tions of authenticity decided on higher con 
siderations . . . but they avoid the lower 
problems, which, involve spade-work and 
troublesome research (bei deren Behandlung 
karrnerarbeit zu leisten und Staub zu schlucken 
ist) " (p. 3). He acknowledges the complica 
tions of the problem, the probability of an early 
harmonising of the text of the two Gospels, 
the doubts whether Q was used by both in 
the same form, or whether one or the other 
may not have gone back at times to an 
Aramaic original, and the difficulty of deciding 
on the scope of O. But the right method 
puts these questions aside for the moment and 
" must first confine itself exclusively and strictly 
to the parts common to Matthew and Luke as 


against Mark, must examine these from the 
point of view of grammar, style, and literary 
history, and starting from this firm basis see 
how far we can go." Not till such an inquiry 
has failed, need the problem be given up as 
hopeless (p. 2). 

The common sections which are the material 
of the study, comprise about one-sixth of the 
third Gospel and two-elevenths of the first. 
Harnack divides them into three groups : 
(i) Numerous passages where the resemblance 
is often almost verbal ; these are treated of 
first, and must form the basis of any theory 
or reconstruction of O. (2) Cases where 
the divergence is so great that it becomes 
very doubtful whether there was any common 
source at all ; they include only Mt 2i 32 
and Lk 7 29 - 30 , and the parables of the Great 
Feast, and of the Pounds (or Talents), and are 
dealt with separately in an appendix. (3) The 
numerous and important sections where striking 
resemblances are combined with no less striking 
differences. The student does not need to 
be reminded that these form the real crux of 
the problem. 

We note that Harnack starts from the resem 
blances ; this fact is important as explaining 
his conclusions. It is perhaps true to say that 
Mr. Allen in his Commentary on St. Matthew 


is more impressed with the divergences, and 
therefore, as we should expect, reaches a cor 
respondingly different solution of the problem. 
We shall have something to say later on of 
the relation between the two views. 

Harnack s critical method will be best shown 
by an example of its actual working : 

Text of Mt. Variations in Lk. 

Mt I3 16 . vp.5>v Se paKiipioi Lk IO 23 - 24 . i/xwi/ Se om. 

ol o0doX/iot, on /SXeTrouo-tv, (cat ot /SXeVovrey a /SXeTrere KOI 

ra wTa [u/xoai ] ort dKououcrtv. ra bis OKOUOUCT/I om. 

( 17 ) fi^.^ yap Xe yw i/^ti/, on n/iTji/ om. Xeyco yap 

TroXXot 7rpo(^)f)rai KOI 8/Katot [<cai jSacrtXety] for Kai 8/Kaiot 

fTre6v^rj(rav I8tlv a /SXeVerf, rjde\r)<rav v/xety /3Xe7rere 

Kai OI K fiSav KOI aKoOcrat a [/cat a*, bis f/KOvcrav om.]. 
a/covere, (cat OVK TJKOWCIV. 

"At the beginning Luke inserts an improve 
ment of the style, and a pedantic explanation 
of the meaning. Blass has rightly struck out 
from Luke the last seven words of Matthew, 
following several MSS. Hearing is not 
found in v. 16 , and if the last clause of v. 17 were 
Lukan it must have run u/iet<? afcovere (cf. the 
Lukan text immediately before). Probably 
Luke did not care to say that the prophets 
had not heard it ; they only had not seen it. 
Luke s insertion of the Ly^et? is striking, as he 
usually omits O s pleonastic personal pronouns. 
In this case he had at the beginning omitted 
the ii^oiv, and where he inserts it, the u/u,et? is 


not pleonastic, a/jujv may belong to the source, 
but may also have been inserted by Matthew. 
KOI /Sachet? must be retained in Luke in spite 
of the indecisive attestation, since its later inser 
tion is not easily explained, while the omission 
is easy to understand. But if it stood in Luke, 
it also stood in O, and Si/caioi, in Mt. is a cor 
rection by Matthew, who had a special fond 
ness for SiicaioavvTj. q0\if<rav for eTredv^aav is 
an obvious improvement in style (eiriOvfjueiv only 
occurs once elsewhere in Mt.). In Q the 
saying will have run just as in Mt., except 
for the SUaiot (and perhaps the apyv). We 
notice also the parallelism in Mt." (p. 22). 

The extract has been chosen more or less 
at random, simply as a fair illustration of the 
principles adopted in the investigation. 

i. As regards text, Harnack does not deal 
directly with questions of textual criticism. 
He takes the view that Blass and Wellhausen 
have overestimated the value of D, and of 
unsupported variants in general, as well as the 
influence of the Lukan text on Matthew. He 
prefers Westcott and Hort (p. 5). At the 
same time we find him abandoning that text 
in several startling instances, and, as in the case 
before us, preferring the "Western" text (the 
evidence for the omission of the final clause 
of Lk io 24 is three old Latin MSS). Similarly, 


he omits the close of Lk 1 1 42 , as interpolated 
from Mt 23 23 , the third (or second) Beatitude 
from Mt 5 5 , and not merely the third, but also 
the first two petitions from the Lukan version 
of the Lord s Prayer, in favour of the petition 
for the Holy Ghost found in Tertulltan, Gregory 
of Nyssa, and Cod. Ev. 604. We may admit 
that the text of the Gospels is not yet finally 
settled, and with Mr. Allen we may be 
" inclined to believe that the second century 
readings, attested by the ecclesiastical writers 
of that century, and by the Syriac and Latin 
versions, are often deserving of preference." 
At the same time, in the present state of know 
ledge, one feels a little uncomfortable at 


conclusions founded on readings which have 
been adopted by but few, if any, of the acknow 
ledged leaders of textual criticism. 

2. It will have been noticed that in the 
example cited, nothing is said of the difference 
of context in which the words occur, in Mt. 
in the explanation of teaching by parables, in 
Luke after the return of the Seventy. In the 
same way the section on the aspirants to 
discipleship (Mt 8 19 , Lk 9" ; p. 12) contains 
no hint of the fact that St. Luke mentions a 
third aspirant ; and the two versions of the 
"Lost Sheep" (p. 65) are discussed without 

1 Op. cit. p. Ixxxvii. 


the least reference to St. Luke s closely con 
nected parable of the Lost Coin. As we have 
seen, Harnack s method is to isolate the 
parallel sections of the two Gospels, but it is 
at least questionable whether divergences such 
as these are not too essential to be io-nored. 


3. We proceed to the explanation of differ 
ences in language. St. Luke s variants in the 
passage before us are explained by considera 
tions of style ; St. Matthew s, by the influence of 
certain dominating ideas. This is, in fact, the 
general conclusion arrived at. 

(a) Changes in St. Matthew. According to 
the summary on p. 28, there are thirty-four 
cases in the first group of passages in which 
Mt. may reasonably be supposed to have 
altered the text of O ; thirteen of these are in 
the introductions to the sections ; fifteen betray 
his dominating ideas, e.g. " Heavenly Father," 
" Heaven " for " God," etc. These peculiarities 
are found in all parts of his Gospel, and are 
therefore presumably not derived from O. Of 
a similar character is his fondness for the con 
ception "righteousness," as in 6 33 and our 
illustrative passage (i3 17 ). More significant 
are the additions of Trpwrov in 6 33 (limiting and 
explaining a hard saying), and of "this is the 
law," etc., to the Golden Rule in ; 12 (emphasis 
ing the editor s respect for the Jewish law), and 


the expansion of the Jonah passage in i2 40 
(interest in Old Testament type and pro 

Similar results come from the examination of 
the second group, where his alterations are 
about fifty (p. 76). They include the emphasis 
on "Heaven" and "Father" (particularly in 
io 32 , where " Heavenly Father" takes the place 
of " the angels "), and on " righteousness " (5 6> 45 
2^29.35. c f T ex ei09; 5 48 ) ; favourite expressions 
such as the closing formulas in 8 12 * 13 , v-rraye in 
4 10 8 13 i8 15 , /-iw/509 and </yxm//,o9 in 7 24 - 26 ; besides 
more trivial variations in particles, etc. His 
interest in the Old Testament is illustrated by 
the continuation of the quotation in 4 4 ; his 
Palestinian and Judaic standpoint, by the men 
tion of Jerusalem as "the Holy City" in 4 5 , by 
the " Pharisees and Lawyers " (or Sadducees) 
of 3 7 23 23>29 , by the first three petitions of the 
Lord s Prayer, and by the addition in 23 23 [see 
above for the questionable treatment of the 
text in these two cases]. Hard sayings are 
softened in 5 32 ("except for fornication"), and 
in 5 3 ("poor in spirit"}; the strange and un 
recognised reference to the " Wisdom of God " 
is omitted in 23 34 . 1 

1 On the "son of Barachiah " in 23 35 , see pp. 73, 78, n. i. If 
genuine in the text of Mt., it is probably an addition of the 
editor, and did not stand in Q. Harnack does not discuss the 


(b) Changes in St. Luke. In both groups 
these are more numerous, 1 50 in the first, 
" 8 to 10 times more numerous than Matthew s " 
in the second. They are nearly all due to 
considerations of style. These are grouped 
under nineteen heads (pp. 31 and 78); the list 
is too long to quote in extenso ; we may 
instance (i) the use of literary and favourite 
expressions such as K\aieiv (6 21 7 32 ; 1 1 times 
in the third Gospel, twice in the first, once in 

a quotation from LXX), evayye\.iea-0ai (l6 16 ). 

%/K<? (6 32<33 ; 25 times in third Gospel and Acts, 
never in Mt. or Mk.) vTroo-rpefatv (4* ; 22 times 
in third Gospel, 1 1 times in Acts, never in 
Mt. or Mk.) ; (2) constructions such as the 
genitive absolute, or rjv with the participle ; 
(3) improvements in order and in the connection 
of sentences. Indeed, the characteristics of 
Luke s style are so well known that it is un 
necessary to dwell on them here ; it is enough 
to note that they are self-evident in his treat 
ment of the O passages. More important 
variations are the "egg and scorpion" in ii 12 

origin or explanation of the supposed mistake, but he rejects 
unhesitatingly the view which sees a reference to the " Son of 
Baruch " mentioned by Josephus \_B.J. iv. v. 4]. The editor 
might have put a prophecy into Christ s mouth, but not a pure 
anachronism ; he could not intend the words " whom ye slew " 
to refer to an event which happened in 67 or 68 A.D. On the 
other side, see Burkitt, The Gospel History andits Transmission, 
P- 343- 


(cf. Mt 7 9 ), the rewriting of the obscure Mt 1 1 12 
in i6 16 , and the additions in Q 60 and I2 41 (cf. 
Mt 8 22 24 43 ). A new version is given of the 
parable of the Two Builders (6 46 ) ; the disciples 
are to heal as well as to preach (g 2 ; cf. Mt io 7 ) ; 
in ii 42 " love of God " is substituted for " mercy," 
in ii 49 "apostles" for "wise men and scribes," 
in 1 1 52 " knowledge " for the " kingdom " (cf. Mt 
2^23.34.14^ The, idea of repentance is added to 
the parable of the Lost Sheep (i5 7 ), and the 
doctrine of the Holy Spirit is emphasised in 4 1 
ii 13 , and the Lord s Prayer [p]. 1 

What, then, do these alterations show us as to 
the method which the Evangelists have followed 
in using their sources ? Have they made it ap 
preciably harder for us to reconstruct \heipsissima 
verba of Christ? Harnack s answer is important. 
"We may say that Matthew has treated the 
sayings [of Christ] with great respect, and in 
a very conservative spirit" (p. 30). "Special 
tendencies have had no stronger influence over 
Luke s version than over Matthew s ; rather 
the reverse. He has corrected the text un- 

1 In a certain number of cases we must allow for the 
influence of St. Mark, where he had matter parallel to Q. It 
appears in St. Matthew in 4 11 ("angels came and ministered to 
Him") ; in St. Luke more frequently. It influenced his version 
of the Temptation in the " forty days tempted? and the omission 
of " and nights " ; I4 3 * (" salt ") is nearer to Mk 9 50 than Mt 5 13 , 
and i6 18 ("divorce") rests on Mk io u as much as on Mt 5 32 (Q). 
See pp. 35, 41, 43. 


flinchingly in matters of style, which Matthew 
has apparently almost entirely avoided doing. 1 
But although these stylistic corrections are so 
numerous, we cannot say that he has entirely 
obliterated the special features of the original 
before him. We must rather give him credit 
for having carried out his revision in a con 
servative spirit, and for having allowed his 
readers to obtain an impression of the char 
acter of the sayings of Jesus. . . . Almost 
everywhere we may notice that short and 
pregnant sayings of the Lord are corrected the 
least ; longer speeches have suffered more ; 
the encroachments reach their height in the 


narrative portions " (p. 80). 

The investigation then proves altogether 
favourable as establishing the reliability of the 
Evangelists, i.e. the editors of the Gospels as 
we have them. The question at present is 
not "what is the value of their sources?" but 
" how have they treated those sources ? " Have 
they manipulated them in such a way as to 
leave us several degrees further removed from 
historical fact ? Even taking a text, as Harnack 
practically does, from which all possible traces of 

1 Dr. Moulton (Cambridge Biblical Essays) suggests that a 
study of the papyri would somewhat modify this conclusion. 
"Compounds" are not necessarily literary, and Matthew some 
times has the more classical word, leaving Luke (and Q) with 
the Hellenistic, or^popular, phrase (pp. 480, 485 ft, 496). 


harmonising have been relentlessly expunged, 
and assuming for the moment that all variations 
are due to the Evangelists and not to their 
sources, or to the actual repetition of similar 
sayings on different occasions, it appears that 
both have treated their source with a high 
degree of fidelity. The majority of their as 
sumed alterations are unimportant, being, in 
fact, little more than verbal ; very seldom do 
they allow themselves to tamper with the sense. 
With regard to the first group of passages in 
particular, it is not too much to say that, 
roughly speaking, the text in St. Matthew and 
in St. Luke is identical (p. 32). 

The important point is that this conclusion is 
valid, apart from any theory of the nature of 
O, or of the form in which the material came 
to the final editors. The variations which have 
so far been attributed to them may, in fact, go 
further back, as Harnack admits in some cases. 
They may be supposed to have arisen in the 
course of oral tradition, in different versions of 
an original Aramaic collection, or in a hundred 
other ways. That will not affect the conclusion 
that as a whole the variations themselves are 
unimportant^ and easily explained ; we can go 
behind them with a high degree of probability 
and reach a stage perhaps very near to the 


We pass now to the question of "Q," the 
supposed common source. The variations in 
the text of St. Matthew are sufficient to forbid 
the idea that St. Luke used his Gospel (p. 78). 
On the other hand, the resemblances in the 
first group of parallel sections prove that " in 
the parts we are concerned with the connection 
between the two Evangelists (neither of whom 
was the source of the other) must be literary ; 
i.e. it is not enough to go back to common oral 
sources " (p. 32). In particular, oral tradition 
is not enough to explain the phenomena of the 
Sermon on the Mount (p. 80 n.). The con 
clusion is that "one and the same Greek 
translation of an Aramaic original lies behind 
the two Gospels " (p. 80). As to the supposed 
traces of differences of translation from this 
Aramaic, Harnack is not nearly so certain as 
Wellhausen and Nestle. He admits that the 
actual copies of Q used by St. Matthew and St. 
Luke may have differed in detail, but finds it 
hopeless to reconstruct a O 1 and a O 2 . E.g. the 
editor of the first Gospel may have found the 
amplification of the " sign of Jonah " in the copy 
he used, and St. Luke may have taken the 
"egg and the scorpion" from another version 
of the saying. "In a few cases we might 
doubt whether there is any common source 
underlying Matthew and Luke (Lk 6 46 - 49 7 1 - 10 


ii 41 - 44 i 4 26 )" (p. 80); and with regard to the 
short sayings in particular, " Matthew and Luke 
may well have had more than one common 
source besides Mark" (p. 126). The admission 
of these possibilities does not prevent Harnack 
from giving us an interesting reconstruction of 
Q (pp. 88 ff.) ; needless to say it is hypothetical 
both in text and in compass. According to 
this reconstruction, Q included 7 narratives, 
12 parables, 13 collections of sayings, and 29 
longer or shorter sayings. 

Did Q inchide more ? It is a priori probable 
enough that parts of Q may have been utilised 
by one of the Evangelists alone (as has hap 
pened in their reproduction of St. Mark), but 
have we any criterion by which we can assign 
to Q matter found in one Gospel only? The 
examination of the material which has so far 
been supposed to come from Q, fails to disclose 
any marked peculiarity of style, unless extreme 
simplicity can be so described. Herein New 
Testament criticism differs from that of the Old 
Testament ; in the Hexateuch the style, e.g., of 
P enables us to trace it with a high degree of 
certainty. With regard to Q, the double version 
is practically our only criterion, hence the con 
clusion is that there is practically nothing 
peculiar to the first or third Gospel which can 
definitely be assigned to Q (p. 130). 


The question is particularly important with 
regard to the Passion Narrative. As is well 
known, St. Matthew and St. Luke practically 
never agree against St. Mark in this ; our one 
certain criterion accordingly fails us. Is there 
any ground for supposing that either, in par 
ticular St. Luke, used Q ? Did Q include a 
Passion narrative at all? Probably not. If it 
did so, why should either of the Evangelists 
desert it at the critical point, when they have 
both used it so freely before ? Further, a glance 
at any list of the passages common to the two 
Gospels will show that, except for Mt 23. 24, 
the common source is hardly used by either in 
the latter half of their Gospels. The conclusion 
can hardly be resisted that they must have ex 
hausted all it had to give them in the course of 
their earlier chapters (p. 120). 

A similar " not proven " must be the verdict 
with regard to the supposed traces of Q outside 
the Gospels. The agrapha of other books of 
the New Testament, of MSS, and of the 
Fathers, or versions of Christ s sayings in the 
Fathers which do not seem to rest directly on 
our Canonical Gospels, have been ascribed to 
Q. In particular, Clemens Romanus and Poly- 
carp have been supposed to quote from a 
definite collection of Aojot TOV KvpLov (cf. Ac 2O 35 ), 
which has further been identified with Q or the 


Logia. The hypothesis is a tempting one, but 
if we follow Harnack, it must be resisted. 
"The burden of proof in each case rests on 
those who support the claims of Q, but we look 
in vain for real proofs in the pages of Resch 
and others" (p. I35). 1 

So much with regard to the contents of O ; 
can we arrive at any conclusions as to the order 
in which its contents stood ? The apparently 
hopeless divergences of their arrangement in 
our Gospels have usually been a stumbling- 

1 It is of interest to compare Harnack s view with one of the 
latest considerable investigations of the subject in England, 
Mr. Allen s Commentary on St. Matthew. At first sight the 
divergence seems great, and is discouraging to those who are 
hoping for assured results in the investigation of the Synoptic 
problem. It would be impertinent for the amateur to attempt 
to decide between the two, but it may be permissible to point 
out that on looking closer the difference tends to diminish. 
Mr. Allen s view is conditioned by his stress on the divergences 
between St. Matthew and St. Luke ; Harnack fastens on the 
resemblances. Mr. Allen turns the edge of the latter by keep 
ing before him the possibility that St. Luke may have seen the 
first Gospel, though not writing with it before him. His Q 
consists of the Judaic sayings peculiar to St. Matthew, together 
with some of the sayings which are found also in St. Luke. 
The common narrative portions he assigns to X ; i.e. Harnack s 
Q = part of Allen s Q + X. It will be remembered that Harnack 
does not deny that some of the matter peculiar to St. Matthew 
may have stood in Q ; he merely refrains from saying so in any 
definite case. And while Mr. Allen holds that the two Evan 
gelists had very rarely a common written source, he admits 
that much of the common matter may go back to one source 
ultimately, reaching St. Luke at a later stage. See, further, an 
article by Mr. Allen, Expository Times, xx. pp. 445 ff. 


block to the would-be believer in the reality of 
a common source, but Harnack makes a bold 
attempt to bring order out of this seeming- 
chaos. In fact, an unobtrusive note on p. 125 
tells us that it was the similar order of the 
sections in St. Matthew and St. Luke which 
conquered his own long-continued scepticism as 
to the existence of such a source as Q. The 
investigation is complicated (pp. 121 ff.), and it 
is impossible to do justice to it without elaborate 
tables. The result maybe summed up as follows. 
St. Luke s first 13 sections are reproduced in 
St. Matthew in practically the same order though 
interspersed with sayings found later in St. Luke 
( = St. Matthew s Sermon on the Mount). The 
material in Mt 8-10 is found in nearly the same 
order in St. Luke, but it is scattered over a 
larger number of chapters. Generally speaking, 
the order of the important sections in Q is 
identical in both Gospels, the main exceptions 
being the message of the Baptist, and the 
division by St. Luke of Mt 23, 24. The other 
differences of order are usually confined to short 
logia or to passages which on other grounds 
may not belong to Q. Harnack takes the view 
that St. Matthew s order is more primitive, and 
that his "conflations" had their basis in the 
source ; he supposes that even in the Sermon 
the common matter stood together in Q, as we 


find it in St. Matthew, and that it was de 
liberately displaced by St. Luke. This, of 
course, is not the prevalent view, and in face 
of St. Matthew s disturbance of St. Mark s 
order in the first half of his gospel, it is doubt 
ful. But, again, the main conclusion is un 
affected. Whatever be the explanation of the 
differences, we can reconstruct the order of the 
common source in its outline. It commenced 
with the Baptism and Temptation, followed by 
a large number of discourses in a more or less 
probable, though, it is true, not a very signifi 
cant order, and concluded with final warnings 
and eschatological matter. 

What, then, was the character of Q ? It was 
mainly a collection of sayings of the Lord. 
It is true it included a small proportion of narra 
tives, but their presence may be easily accounted 
for (p. 127, n. 2). The Baptism and Tempta 
tion define at the very beginning the person of 
Jesus and His Messianic character, which is 
henceforth assumed. Incidents such as John s 
message to Christ, the questions of the aspirants, 
the casting out of a devil, and the demand for 
a sign, are in each case subordinate to the 
teaching of which they were the occasion. The 
healing of the centurion s servant has always 
been a difficulty to those who regard the source 
as Logia in the usual sense. Harnack suggests 


that the point was not the healing in itself, 
which, indeed, may not have been mentioned 
in Q, but the faith of the heathen and the 
lessons drawn from it (p. 146). 

As we have seen, Q probably did not include 
a Passion narrative, the climax and, in a sense, 
the raison d etre of the Gospels as we have 
them ; l i.e. " Q was not a Gospel at all as they 
were" (p. 120). It was rather a collection of 
sayings drawn up for catechetical purposes. 
Such a collection is a priori probable, both on 
account of Jewish ways of thought, and from 
the actual stress which early Christians laid on 
the "words of the Lord" (pp. 127, 159). It 
had a method, but the principle of its arrange 
ment was not chronological ; e.g. the position 
of the Sermon is probably due to the desire for 
emphasis (p. 142). The style is not very dis 
tinctive, the vocabulary being of small compass 
and simple (see lists on pp. 103-115). In face 
of the marked features of the Synoptists style, 
this does, in fact, give Q a certain distinctive 
character and unity. So with the contents, the 
main feature is simplicity. Its Christology is 

1 Harnack finds it necessary to insert a warning (p. 162, n.) 
against the "folly" (Unsinn) of those who would argue on this 
ground that the Passion never took place ! We may add that 
the " argument from silence " is always precarious ; when it 
bases itself on a document which is hypothetical and frag 
mentary, it becomes ludicrous. 


simple, " Jesus " being the almost invariable title 
of our Lord, and the teaching is informal and 
largely ethical. We find none of the "tend 
encies " which are so characteristic of our 
Gospels : St. Mark s emphasis on the super 
natural, and the Divine Sonship ; St. Matthew s 
interest in the needs of the Church, and apolo 
getic attitude towards Judaism ; St. Luke s 
Hellenic wideness of outlook, presenting Christ 
as the Healer (p. 118). Its horizon is even 
more definitely Galilsean than theirs. Harnack 
follows Schmiedel (and Loisy) in seeing in the 
often-quoted lament over Jerusalem a continua 
tion of the quotation from the " Wisdom of 
God." 1 

The same simple and undeveloped attitude 
appears in Q s relation to Judaism. Palestinian 
features are prominent ; the work of the Baptist 

1 The facts are these. In Mt 23 34 the lament over Jerusalem 
follows immediately on the saying about the blood of the 
prophets. In Lk II 49 this is introduced by the words, "There 
fore the wisdom of God said" (? a quotation from an unknown 
source) ; the lament follows in a different context in I3 34 . The 
suggestion is that the first Gospel has preserved the true con 
nection of the passages, and the third Gospel the fact of the 
quotation, which may then cover the lament as well. The 
point is that in this case the reference to unknown visits to 
Jerusalem is weakened ; our Lord may be applying the quota 
tion to Jerusalem s long continued rejection of God s love. 
Harnack, however, still thinks that the words gain in impressive- 
ness if they were actually spoken in Jerusalem. (Cf. Loisy, Le 
Quatrtime Evangile^ p. 63.) 


is strongly emphasised. There is a clearly 
marked opposition to "the evil and adulterous 
generation" of the day, but no anti- Judaic 
polemic or apologetic, or criticism of the law 
(p. I60). 1 

Arguing from these marks of primitive sim 
plicity, Harnack draws the important conclusion 
that Q is prior to St. Mark. St. Mark s few 
points of contact with Q are not enough to 
establish a direct connection ; he probably knew 
some collection of sayings, and a double tradition 
is in itself probable. Those who have main 
tained, as Wellhausen does, the priority of the 
second Gospel, have done so because they 

1 One can feel a difference in the supposed standpoints of Q 
and of the editor of the first Gospel. But both wrote from a 
Judaic point of view, and it becomes in some cases a very 
delicate task to divide rightly between them the admitted Judaic 
material of the first Gospel E.g., in the Lord s Prayer, Harnack 
refuses to Q the first three petitions as well as the last. He 
attributes them to the primitive Jewish Christian community 
assimilating the prayer to the synagogue forms, or to the editor 
himself (p. 40). But admitting the " Jewish horizon " of Q, are 
they not equally intelligible there, and may not Q here, as else 
where, be supposed to take us very near to the Lord s own 
words? The same question arises with regard to the teaching 
about Righteousness in Mt 6 (pp. 117, 128). 

As we have had occasion to criticise the somewhat truncated 
version of the Lord s Prayer, which is all that Harnack allows 
to come from Q, i.e. to be original, it may be well to add that 
he makes no question that some such form was actually given 
by Christ. " I doubt whether a prophet or teacher of the East 
ever gave injunctions to prayer, without also giving a pattern 
prayer "(p. 145). 


have ascribed to Q the secondary traits of St. 
Matthew and St. Luke (p. 136). The detailed 
examination of the second Gospel and Q, in 
which Harnack suggests that St. Mark is 
secondary throughout and marks a later stage, 
is perhaps not very convincing. Once more 
we try to disentangle the important point, which 
is the absence of any real contradiction between 
the two. The suggestion on p. 159 is worthy 
of note ; Q could not have arisen after St. 
Mark had fixed the Gospel type, in which he 
was followed by all subsequent writers, canonical 
and uncanonical alike. "Q stands midway 
between a formless collection of the sayings of 
Jesus, and the Gospels as fixed in writing." 
We have, in fact, in Q and St. Mark the true 
"double tradition," to which St. Luke may 
perhaps refer in Ac i 1 . "Our knowledge of 
the preaching and life of Jesus depends on two 
sources, of nearly the same date, but inde 
pendent, at least in their main features. Where 
they agree their evidence is strong, and they do 
agree in many and important points. Destruc 
tive critical inquiries . . . break themselves in 
vain against the rock of their united testimony " 
(p. 172). 

It is evident, then, that the investigation is 
of the highest value from the point of view of 
the evidence on which our knowledge of Christ s 


teaching rests. One knows, indeed, that there 
is an unwise and a somewhat unfair readiness 
to quote admissions of a German critic on the 
orthodox side, apart from their context, and 
with the omission of qualifications which would 
be much less readily accepted. Harnack him 
self has protested against this procedure in his 
preface to Lukas der Arzt. It is then only 
right to say that his treatment of the Gospel 
story will not in all respects satisfy the con 
servative. We cannot help being conscious of 
the implied assumptions, that whatever has to 
do with "a Church" is "secondary," and that 
whatever is "Pauline" or developed is further 
from the truth than primitive first impressions. 
As Dr. Sanday has lately put it, " he [Harnack] 
feels the prevalent Geist des Verneinens drag 
ging at his skirts, and has yielded to it more 
than he ought." What Mr. Allen has said on 
this subject is entirely to the point. 1 "The 
historian . . . will shrink from the conclusion 
that ... the teaching of Christ was altogether 
and exclusively what the editor of the first 
Gospel represents it to have been, to the ex 
clusion of representations of it to be found in 
other parts of the New Testament. . . . That 
teaching was no doubt many-sided. Much of 
it may have been uttered in the form of para- 

1 Op. dt. p. 320. 


dox and symbol. The earliest tradition of it, 
at first oral and then written, was that of a 
local Church, that of Jerusalem, which drew 
from the treasure-house of Christ s sayings such 
utterances as seemed to bear most immediately 
upon the lives of its members, who were at 
first all Jews or proselytes. In this process of 
selection the teaching of Christ was only parti 
ally represented, because choice involved over 
emphasis. Paradox may sometimes have been 
interpreted as an expression of literal truth, 
symbol as reality, and to some extent, though 
not, I think, to any great extent, the sayings 
in process of transmission may have received 
accretions arising out of the necessities of the 
Palestinian Church life. Thus the representa 
tion of Christ s teaching in this Gospel, though 
early in date, suffers probably from being local 
in character. In the meantime, much of Christ s 
teaching remained uncommitted to writing ; and 
not until St. Paul s teaching had made men see 
that Palestinian Christianity suffered in some 
respects from a too one-sided representation of 
Christ s teaching, did they go back to the utter 
ances of Christ, and reinterpret them from a 
wider point of view ; seeking out also other 
traditions of different aspects of His teaching 
which had been neglected by the Palestinian 
guardians of His words." The remarks refer 


to the first Gospel, but they apply equally to 
any attempt to over-emphasise the value of Q 
to the exclusion of the later teaching of other 
parts of the New Testament. 

Further, Harnack s conclusions as to the 
scope, use, and the very existence of Q are still 
admittedly in the region of hypothesis ; by the 
nature of the case such inquiries can rarely rise 
above a high degree of probability. But one 
of the objects of this paper is to call attention 
to his results, as affecting the reliability of the 
Gospel story, and to suggest that they do not 
entirely depend on a particular view of Q and 
its use by our Evangelists, nor need they be 
rejected on account of a possible overestimate 
of its value as compared with other writings. 
We have already seen that his inquiry has 
made it clear that our varying versions of 
Christ s words do not show signs of any serious 
manipulation, whether on the part of our Evan 
gelists or their predecessors. A further conclu 
sion is that we can take the matter common to 
St. Matthew and St. Luke, call it Q, or what 
we like, and from it we can construct a picture 
of our Lord and His teaching, primitive and 
simple, essentially in harmony with that of St. 
Mark, and containing the germ of much that 
was to follow. 

We have said that O s Christology was 


simple, yet it is also profoundly significant. 
The person of Jesus holds throughout the 
central place in the picture. His Messiahship 
is emphasised in the opening paragraphs of 
the Baptism and Temptation, and is henceforth 
assumed. The absence of proof or attempted 
argument on this point shows "that this collec 
tion was exclusively intended for the Church, 
and had in mind those who needed no assurance 
that their teacher was also the Son of God " 
(p. 163). It included the title "Son of Man," 
and, above all, the antithesis between " the 
Father" and "the Son" in the famous passage 
Mt 1 1 25 , Lk io 21 . This passage is crucial, with 
regard both to our Lord s self-consciousness, 
and to the relations between the Synoptists and 
St. John ; Harnack devotes a long appendix 
to it. He admits that the canonical wording 
is "Johannine" (p. 210), but by a careful 
examination of MS variations, and of the 
numerous patristic quotations of the passages, 
he restores what he regards as the original text, 
as it ran in Q, and probably also in St. Luke. 

Eofio\o<yov[jLai croi, irdrep, Kvpie rov ovpavov Kal rfjs 
or i eicpv-fyas ravra aTrb crotywv Kal arvverfav, /cat 
avra vrjTriois vat, o Trarrjp, on ovrws 
eyevero evBotcia ep,Trpoa6e.v aov. rrdvra y^oi TrapeSoOrj 
vTTo rov Trar/309, /cat oySet? eyva> rov Trdrepa (or Tt9 
6 Trart ip\ el p,rj o fto?, /cat a> av o vio? 


(p. 206). l Even so, the Logion is of the first 
importance critically ; it implies that in our 
oldest source, Jesus spoke of Himself absolutely 
as " the Son," and regarded Himself as standing 
in a peculiar relation to His Father. "It is 
indeed quite inconceivable how he could have 
arrived at the conviction that He was the future 
Messiah, without first being conscious of stand 
ing in a peculiar relation to God " (p. 209). 
We find, in fact, the same antithesis in Mk I3 32 
(io 32 on p. 152 is an obvious misprint), and 
Harnack suggests that i Co i 19 - 21 may rest on 
the passage before us. The continuation in St. 
Matthew ("Come unto Me," etc.) stands on a 
different footing ; it is not found in St. Luke, 
and the connection with the context is not im 
mediate. But here, again, Harnack pronounces 
strongly for its authenticity, mainly on internal 
evidence. 2 Co io 1 may well be an echo of 
the saying, and the absence of any reference to 
death or the Cross shows that it must be prior 
to St. Mark and the development of Paulinism. 
It may belong to O, or to some other source 
(this would explain its otherwise very strange 

1 I thank Thee, Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, that 
Thou hast hid these things from wise and prudent, and hast 
revealed them to babes ; yea, Father, for thus it seemed good 
before Thee. All things are delivered Me by the Father, and 
no one knoweth the Father (or who the Father is), save the Son 
and he to whom the Son revealeth Him. 


omission by St. Luke); "it cannot be shown 
that it belongs to a secondary tradition." " The 
only alternatives are to ascribe it to the later 
creation of a prophet of the Jewish Christian 
Church, who strangely disregarded the death 
upon the Cross, or to Jesus Himself. There 
seems to me no doubt which alternative we are 
to adopt " (p. 216). 

Again, with regard to the " Sermon on the 
Mount," Harnack s investigations go to show 
that it is not a mere compilation. The setting, 
of course, is different in the two Gospels, but 
attention is drawn to the fact that both agree 
in mentioning the presence of the multitude, 
combined with the fact that the Sermon was 
addressed to the disciples (p. 122, n.). This 
points to a real tradition as to its occasion. It 
is true the Beatitudes speak of persecutions, 
and persecutions did, in fact, take place after 
wards. But that does not prove that the 
saying was a product of a later age, coloured 
by the facts. Harnack has some cutting re 
marks on the folly of regarding everything 
as an "anachronism" or artificial prophecy 
(" hysteron-proteron "), which does, in fact, fit 
the circumstances of a subsequent generation 
(p. 143). " Looked at both in detail, and as 
a whole, that which is set before us in the 
Sermon on the Mount as the teaching of Jesus 


bears the stamp of unalloyed genuineness. 
We are astonished that in an as^e in which 


Paul was active, and burning questions of 
apologetic and the law were to the fore, 
the teaching of Jesus was so well remembered 
and remained so vital as Moral preaching " 
(p. 146). 

O, then, has given us the abiding picture of 
Jesus as revealed in His words. It takes our 
tradition a stage further back, who shall say 
how near to the actual occasion on which those 
words were spoken? It obviously arose in 
Palestine (p. 172) on the actual scene of the 
ministry. And Harnack himself concludes, 
from the well-known words of Papias, that it 
was in all probability the work of St. Matthew 
(p. 172) an eye-witness and a listener. Allow 
ing for a somewhat different view of the Logia, 
Harnack would probably endorse the words of 
Mr. Allen: "They are perhaps the earliest 
of all our sources of knowledge for the life of 
Christ, and rest even more directly than does 
the second Gospel on apostolic testimony. 
For the Apostle Matthew seems to have 
written down, for the use of his Palestinian 
fellow-Christians, some of the sayings of Christ 
that he could remember, selecting, no doubt, 
such as would appeal most strongly to his 
readers and satisfy their needs. Better security 


that these sayings were uttered by Christ Him 
self we could hardly desire." 

We may add, in conclusion, two similar pro 
nouncements put side by side by Dr. Sanday 
in his Life of Christ in Recent Research, p. 172. 
The first is a quotation from Sir W. Ramsay. 
" The lost common source of Luke and Matthew 
(i.e. Q) . . . was written while Christ was still 
living. It gives us the view which one of His 
disciples entertained of Him and His teaching 
during His lifetime, and may be regarded as 
authoritative for the view of the disciples 
generally." The second is from Dr. Salmon s 
Human Elements in the Gospels, p. 274. "The 
more I study the Gospels the more convinced 
I am that we have in them contemporaneous 
history ; that is to say, that we have in them 
the stories told of Jesus immediately after His 
death, and which had been circulated, and, as I 
am disposed to believe, put in writing while He 
was yet alive." These views of the date of Q 
may indeed be, as Dr. Sanday thinks, some 
what optimistic, but the consensus of opinion as 
to its value is of good omen to those who are 
trying to combine the old faith with the new 
critical methods. 

1 Op. at. p. 317. 






IT has always been known to textual critics 
that there is a remarkable variant in Lk i 4U , 
according to which the Magnificat is ascribed 
to Elisabeth instead of to the Virgin Mary. 
It is discussed in Westcott and Hort s 
Notes on Select Readings, and has been the 
subject of various articles in Germany and 
France, but it has not until latterly attracted 
much attention in England. The point is not 
even mentioned in Plummer s Commentary on 
St. Luke, nor does there seem to be any 
reference to it in Hastings Dictionary of the 
Bible ; certainly there is no article on the subject. 
It is, however, discussed shortly by Schmiedel 
in the Encyclopedia Biblica (s.v. Mary), and at 
more length by Bishop Wordsworth and Dr. 
Burkitt in Dr. Burn s Niceta of Remesiana 
(1905). But probably not a few have had 
their attention first drawn to the point by a 
passing remark in Harnack s Lukas der Arzt 



(p. 72, cf. p. 140), and the whole question is 
treated fully by Loisy in Les Evangiles 
Synoptiques (Introd. p. 265, and Com. i. pp. 
302 ff.). The most comprehensive discussion 
in English would seem to be an exhaustive 
article by Dr. A. E. Burn in the second volume 
of the Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels 
(s.v. Magnificat). 1 

It may, then, be of use to put together the 
facts and the arguments on both sides. Did 
St. Luke attribute the Magnificat to Mary or 
Elisabeth ? The question is of importance 
from its bearing on the validity of the generally 
received critical text of the New Testament, 
and it also has a sentimental side, which will 
not be ignored by those who are in the habit of 
using the hymn in public worship. 

i. The Evidence for the Reading. In the 
introduction to the Magnificat in Lk i 46 all 
our MSS, Greek and Latin, read KOI el^ev 
Mapm/i("and Mary said"), except three Old 
Latin MSS (a, b, and / 2 ), which have Elisabeth. 
These three form, according to Burkitt, "a 
typical European group " ; i.e. they tend to be 
found in agreement, and their combined evidence 
should be regarded as single rather than three 
fold. All other Versions have the ordinary 

1 And more briefly in Hastings one-vol. DB. 

2 Sometimes quoted as rhe. 


reading, as have the Fathers, except Irena^us, 
Origen, and Niceta. Some doubt, however, 
attaches to the evidence of the first two. 
In the passage in question from Irenseus 
{Hccr. iv. 7. i), ElisabctJi is read by two 
MSS, while a third has Maria, and in iii. 10. 2 
Irenaeus unquestionably attributes the Magni 
ficat to Mary ; hence Burn and Loisy agree 
that in the former passage the reading Elisabeth 
is probably due to his translator or to a copyist. 
The reference in Origen is by way of a note 
on the reading, 1 and critics are divided as to 
whether it is to be attributed to him or to 
his translator Jerome ; but in either case it is 
important additional evidence of the existence 
of the reading Elisabeth in St. Luke. With 
regard to Niceta there is no doubt. Twice 
over he speaks of Elisabeth as the author of 
the Magnificat, and in one case adds the epithet 
" diu sterilis." He lived at the close of the 
fourth century, and in his quotations represents 
generally the Latin Bible just before Jerome s 
revision. He uses a type of text "not very much 
unlike 6" (one of the MSS which has the 
variant), and therefore "does not add very 

1 In Luc. liom. vii. : " Invenitur beata Maria, sicut in 
aliquantis exemplaribus reperimus, prophetare. Non enim 
ignoramus quod secundum alios codices etha;c verba Elisabeth 
vaticinetur. Spiritu itaque sancto tune repleta est Maria." 


much to the weight of evidence for the 
ascription to Elisabeth, except in so far as he 
shows that the tradition was more widespread 
and persistent at the end of the fourth century 
than we might otherwise have supposed." It 
is noticeable, too, that as a liturgiologist (he 
is supposed to have been the author of the 
Te Deum) he saw nothing incongruous in 
attributing the hymn to Elisabeth. 

It is obvious, then, that the textual evidence 
for the new reading is very slight, but it would 
be wrong to brush it aside at once. There are 
two considerations to be borne in mind : 
(a) The type of text associated with the names 
of Westcott and Hort no longer has the field 
to itself. Textual critics are giving increasing 
weight to much of what is known as the 


" Western " text ; in particular, it is held that 
the Old Latin and Syriac often preserve 
readings current in the second century, the fact 
being that the text of the Gospels may well 
have been for some time in a fluid state. The 
question is still sub judice, and must be left to 
the experts. Probably most of us feel a prejudice 
in favour of the Westcott and Hort type, as at 
least giving us a fixed basis on which to work. 
And we are at any rate justified in our present 
state of knowledge in hesitating before we 

1 Burkitt in Burn, op. cit. p. cliii. 


accept a reading which has no Greek evidence 
in its favour. There is, indeed, no case where 
critics have done so with any unanimity. It is 
at the same time of great importance to realise 
that the text of the New Testament cannot by 
any means be regarded as finally fixed, and 
that we may be called upon to revise our views 
on the subject 1 

(6) In the case before us the nature of the 
variant forbids our rejecting it at once. It 
seems to be too widely spread to be ascribed 
to a slip of the pen, 2 and it is obviously im 
probable that Elisabeth should ever have been 
substituted for Mary, whilst the reverse is 
possible enough. 3 On the other hand, the 

1 Mt i 16 may serve as an example of the type of case in 
which there is an increasing agreement among critics that no 
Greek MS preserves the original reading; but there the 
evidence of corruption is far greater than in the case we are 

2 Nestle, however (Introd. NT. Crit. p. 238), apparently 
considers the variant to be due to mere carelessness. 

3 We may note that b plays a somewhat prominent part in 
the important readings connected with the Virgin Birth. But, 
unfortunately, the tendency of its variants is so divided that 
it is hard to discover any bias on the part of the scribe. On 
the one hand, we have this variant " Elisabeth," which might 
be due to a desire to depreciate the position of Mary. 
Similarly in Mk 6 3 breads " son of the Carpenter" instead of 
" Carpenter" (cf. Mt I3 53 and Lk 4 22 ) ; in Lk 2 B it has " wife " 
instead of "fiancee," and in Mt I 1(1 an apparently intermediate 
reading with genuit, whilst in vv. lu - 20 - 24 it does not share 
the variations of Syr Cur , which emphasise the Virgin Birth. 


evidence for Mary is far too strong (including, 
e.g., Tertullian), and that for Elisabeth too weak, 
to allow us to suppose the latter to have been 
the original reading. The conclusion of the 
majority of recent critics is that the real 
reading is teal etTrei/ ("and she said"), from 
which the variants were derived by way of gloss. 
Whilst by no means accepting this view as 
final, for the reasons stated under (a), we may 
adopt it as a provisional hypothesis. A further 
question at once arises. If there was originally 
no name, which gloss is right ? Burn and 
Wordsworth say " Mary," Burkitt, Harnack, 
Loisy, Schmiedel, etc., " Elisabeth." The 
question can only be answered on internal 
and grammatical considerations. 

2. Grammatical Considerations, (a] It is 
said that /cat elnrev standing alone must refer 
to Elisabeth as the last speaker. This is 
more than doubtful. Mary is the prominent 

Most striking of all, in Lk I 34 it stands alone in substituting for 
" How shall this be ? " etc., the words of v. 38 , " Behold the 
handmaid," etc. From these instances one might be tempted 
to suppose in this MS some hesitation with regard to the 
Virgin Birth. But in other cases we have variations with an 
exactly opposite tendency. In Lk 2 33 - 41 it substitutes "Joseph" 
for "father" or "parent," and in particular in Jn i 13 it is the 
only MS which has preserved the reading "qui . . . natus 
est," a reading which, pace Loisy (Qu me Ev. p. 180), seems to 
imply the miraculous conception. The phenomena, then, are 
too contradictory to allow of our ascribing any uniform bias to 
the MS in question. 


figure, and usage is not decisive as to whether 
the phrase may or may not be used when 
the speaker changes. Wordsworth l finds it 
in accordance with Hebraic and Septuagint 
idiom to omit the name of the fresh speaker 
in such a case. Probably most readers read 
ing the paragraph as a whole will feel that 
it is impossible to pronounce decisively for 
either speaker on these grounds. 

(fr) If the introduction is inconclusive, can 
we gain a clearer light from the subscription ? 
The Magnificat is followed by the words, 
"And Mary abode with her about three 
months, and returned to her house." Prima 
facie these words undoubtedly suggest that 
Elisabeth and not Mary has been the speaker 
in the preceding verses ; and yet this con 
clusion is by no means certain, the repetition 
of Mary s name after so many verses being 
entirely natural, and serving to mark the 
whole section as a " Mary section." We 
can, however, go further than this. It has 
not been sufficiently emphasised that the 
verse looks forward at least as much as 
back ; it connects with v. 57 , " Now 
Elisabeth s full time came that she should 
be delivered," and this has decided the form 
of the preceding sentence. It would have 

1 In Burn s Niceta, p. clvi. 


been awkward to say, epeivev Se aw E\et- 
a-dfieT . . . ("she remained with E.") T$ 

e E\eiau/3eT e7r\ija-0rj ("and E. s full time 
came "), while e7r\rjaOr) Se avrfj would have 

been ambiguous. Taking the verses together, 
the " Mary " at the beginning of the first 
marks the close of the " Mary section," and 
is answered by the " Elisabeth " at the 
beginning of the second, marking the com 
mencement of an " Elisabeth section." The 
verses have, in fact, received the best literary 
form possible, and contain nothing incom 
patible with the ascription of the Magnificat 
to the Virgin. At the same time, the fact 
that the grammar is superficially in favour 
of "Elisabeth" may have been the cause, 
as Westcott and Hort suggest, of the sub 
stitution of her name for Mary s in v. 46 . 

3. Internal Evidence. (a) It is quite 
obvious that a main source of the Magnificat 
was Hannah s song in i S 2, and it is 
equally obvious that whatever the real 
origin of that song (it is not as a whole 
appropriate to Hannah s situation, and has 
been supposed to be the song of a warrior), 
St. Luke, Mary, or Elisabeth would all 
believe it to be hers without question. The 
resemblance between the two has furnished 
a strong argument in favour of the ascription 


of the Christian hymn to Elisabeth. Hannah s 
song of praise is inspired by the fact that 
Jehovah has removed from her the reproach 
of childlessness ; the parallel is with the 
situation of Elisabeth, not with that of Mary. 
True, but no critic seems to have pointed out 
that the only words in Hannah s song which 
are really appropriate to Elisabeth are entirely 
unrepresented in the Magnificat. These are 
v. 5b , "Yea, the barren hath borne seven, 
and she that hath many children languisheth." 
Surely these words, even if not literally 
applicable, must have found an echo in the 
Magnificat, if it had been by Elisabeth, the 
more so as the first half of this very verse 
is fully represented ("They that were full 
have hired out themselves for bread ; and 
they that were hungry have ceased "). The 
omission is almost inexplicable if the Magni 
ficat is attributed to Elisabeth, whilst it is 
perfectly natural under the ordinary view ; 
the words were quite inappropriate in Mary s 

(b] With regard to the language of the 
Magnificat itself, the most distinctive verse 
is v. 48 . The opening words (" For He 
hath regarded the lowliness of His hand 
maiden "), though true of Elisabeth, raTreiWcri? 
being used of the reproach of childlessness 


(cf. i S i 11 ), recall Mary s "Behold the hand 
maid of the Lord ; be it unto me according 
to thy word (v. 38 ). It may be true that 
the second half of the verse (" For, behold, 
from henceforth all generations shall call 
me blessed "), if divested of the fullness of 
meaning which Christians have found in it, 
is, as Loisy maintains, possible in the mouth 
of Elisabeth 1 (cf. Leah in Gn 3O 13 ). But 
there is no question that it is far more 
appropriate to the mother of the Messiah, 
and is the natural answer to Elisabeth s 
" Blessed art thou among women " (v. 42 ), and 
" Blessed is she that believed " (v. 45 ). 

(<:) Passing to the general situation, we are 
told that the Magnificat regarded as the 
utterance of Elisabeth is in exact correspond 
ence with the Benedictus as spoken by her 
husband Zacharias, when he too is filled 
with the Holy Ghost (v. 67 , cf. v. 41 ). But in 
the latter hymn the central thought is the 
coming of the Messiah of whom the child is 
the forerunner. If, however, the Magnificat 
belongs to Elisabeth, it is her own personal 
happiness and exultation which becomes a 
main theme and the occasion of the song. 
The emphasis laid on her own joy in vv. 46 ~ 49 
is quite out of keeping with the subordinate 

1 Les Evangiles Synoptiques, \. p. 305. 


position which she assumes in vv. 41 - 45 . There 
can, indeed, be no doubt that Mary is intended 
to be the real centre of the picture; if she 
is deprived of the Magnificat, she is left 
on this occasion absolutely silent. Burkitt 
suggests that the "^070? airb a-iyr^ 7rpoe\0d)i> 

more corresponds to the fitness of things 
i i 

than a burst of premature song." It is not, 

however, very obvious why the song should 
be more "premature" as spoken by Mary 
than by Elisabeth, and the mystic fitness seen 
in her supposed silence is perhaps a little 
subtle. It is natural that she should reply 
to Elisabeth s salutation, and it seems some 
thing of a "modernism" to suppose that a 
first century writer would have seen a pro- 
founder significance in her not doing so. 

Our conclusion, then, is that we need have 
little hesitation in believing the ordinary view 
to be correct. It is by no means certain 
that the accepted reading is wrong ; and 
even if we assume an original Kal elirev, it will 
still remain probable that St. Luke intended 
Mary to be understood as the speaker of 
the Magnificat. 

This last phrase has been deliberate. 
Nothing that has been said touches the 
question of the real authorship and ultimate 

1 Op. cit. p. cliv. 


origin of the hymn. We have been dealing 
with a question of " Lower Criticism." What 
did the author of the third Gospel actually 
write, and what did he mean to be understood 
by his words ? The further and more im 
portant question belongs to the " Higher 
Criticism." Who really wrote the Magnificat ? 
Is it a free composition of St. Luke himself? 
Or is it a Jewish hymn which he found in 
some source and adapted for his purpose ? 
Or does it really rest upon words spoken by 
Mary on this or a later occasion ? The 
question is part of the wider problem of the 
nature and origin of the first two chapters 
of Luke, and lies beyond the purpose of 
the present article. But one remark may be 
allowed. As has been often pointed out, the 
character of the Canticles is strongly in 
favour of their substantial authenticity. On 
the one hand, the vagueness of the language 
and the lack of definite prediction suggest 


that they were not deliberately composed at 
a later date to fit the supposed circumstances ; 
it would have required but little ingenuity 
to write something which, superficially at 
least, would have been far more appropriate. 
On the other hand, they do reflect in a 
marvellous way the general hopes and the 
temper of the circle from which they claim 


to have sprung. Dr. Sanday l has called 
attention to "the extraordinary extent to 
which these chapters hit the attitude of 
expectancy which existed before the public 
appearance of Christ. It is not only expecta 
tion, and tense expectation, but expectation 
that is essentially Jewish in its character." 
It is hard to believe that either St. Luke, 
or any other Christian poet, could have had 
the dramatic genius, for it required no less, 
to think himself back so completely into the 
temper and circumstances of a very peculiar 
and very brief period of transition, unless 
he had considerable and authentic materials 
to guide him. The argument may not be 
decisive, but it must at least be taken into 
account in any solution of the problem of 
these two chapters which is to claim to be 

1 The Life of Christ in Recent Research, p. 165. 





THIS article is only meant for those who accept 
the "South Galatian " theory, and believe that 
"the Churches of Galatia" to whom St. Paul 
wrote were the Churches of Antioch, Iconium, 
etc., founded on his first missionary journey. 
The arguments in support of this view are best 
found in Sir W. Ramsay s well-known books, 
and need not be repeated here. Those who 
are still unconvinced, if they think it worth 
while to read what follows, will presumably do 
so only in order to amuse themselves with yet 
another of the extravagances to which that 
theory leads its adherents. 

Further, our argument will rest on the view 


that the visit to Jerusalem of Gal 2 is not that 
for the Council in Ac 15. A few words must 
be said in support of this position. If the 
identification is insisted on, the account either 
of St. Paul or of St. Luke must be abandoned 
as unhistorical. With all due respect for the 


ingenious pleading of Lightfoot and others, 
there is no escape from this conclusion ; and pre 
sumably it is St. Luke s credit that must suffer, 
since he cannot in this connection be considered 
an eye-witness. This means that the whole of 
Ac 15 must be thrown to the wolves as a 
comparatively late fiction intended to reconcile 
the two sections of the Church. It is hardly 
necessary to labour the point that such a view 
seriously discredits the credibility of the rest of 
the Acts, a result which will hardly be readily 
acquiesced in at a time when the current of 
critical opinion, under Harnack s influence, is 
setting so strongly in its favour. But the con 
clusion can only be disputed with success, if the 
premise is abandoned. Let us then look at the 
premise a little more closely. There are two 
cogent reasons why Gal 2 and Ac 15 should 
not be regarded as referring to the same event. 
(i) If they are identified, St. Paul ignores the 
visit of Ac ii. As we shall see, this visit 
was probably by no means so unimportant as 
is sometimes maintained. Even if it were, it 
was surely impossible for Paul to ignore it, and 
so quite gratuitously give an occasion to his 
opponents of which they would readily avail 
themselves. If it was of no consequence for his 
argument, it only needed a parenthesis of a few 
words to avoid all possibility of misunderstand- 


ing and St. Paul is not afraid of parentheses. 
(2) The accounts in the two chapters simply do 
not tally. To talk about the private personal 
view as opposed to the public official account 
is not to the point. No one could imagine for a 
moment that Gal 2 referred to a formal council 
of the Church at which the very point for which 
St. Paul was contending had been definitely and 
deliberately conceded. If this was the case, 
why in the world did he not say so clearly ? 
Of this more later on ; for the argument carries 
us further than the mere refusal to identify 
Gal 2 and Ac 15. But at least as against that 
identification, it is surely sufficient and decisive. 
Critics have, of course, suggested various 
solutions of these difficulties, such as the rejec 
tion of the visit of Ac 1 1 as unhistorical, or 
the elaborate reconstruction of the whole chrono 
logy of St. Paul s life which is associated with 
the name of Clemen. We need not stop to 
discuss these views; they are destructive of 
the credit of Acts, and become superfluous, 
if we can adopt the obvious solution, which 
is to identify the visits of Gal 2 and Ac n. 
It will probably be generally admitted that 
Ramsay has disposed of the chronological 
objection to this view. A glance at the varying 
tables of dates drawn up by scholars for the 
life of St. Paul shows at once how uncertain 


they are. But, at any rate, there is no great 
difficulty in finding room for the " fourteen 
years " which our theory requires between the 
conversion of the Apostle and his second visit 
to Jerusalem. It will hardly be denied that 
the theory itself is natural enough. As we 
read the Epistle our first impression is that 
the writer is in fact describing his second visit 
to Jerusalem. A study of the context deepens 
the impression that if he has omitted any visit, 
however unimportant, he has been guilty of a 
most unfortunate error of judgment, if of 
nothing worse. When, however, we turn to 
Ac 1 1 we find good grounds for maintaining 
that the visit there related was by no means 
"unimportant" in its bearing on the future 
work of the Apostle of the Gentiles. The 
circumstances which led up to it were these. 
Unofficial missionaries had begun to convert 
"Greeks" 1 at Antioch (Ac n 20 ). Barnabas 
is at once despatched by the Jerusalem Church 

1 There is, of course, the important variant 
("Grecians"), which is adopted by WH. and RVm. Ramsay 
(St. Paul, p. 24) mentions this as one of the two cases in Acts 
where it is impossible to follow WH. ; and curiously enough 
Mr. Valentine-Richards, in Camb. Biblical Essays, p. 532, also 
instances it as one of their mistakes. EXX/yi/a? is adopted by 
Tisch., Treg., Blass, Harnack, etc., and is absolutely required 
by the context. After Ac 6, to say nothing of other passages, 
it is impossible that preaching to Hellenists could have been 
mentioned as a new and significant departure. 


as a man of tact and sympathy to deal with a 
delicate situation, and presumably in due course 
to report to the Mother Church on this very 
question of the relations between Jews and 
Gentiles. During his stay at Antioch, he 
fetches Saul, and on the occasion of the famine 
the two return to Jerusalem (" by revelation," 
Gal 2 2 ; in consequence of the prophecy of 
Agabus, Ac n 27 ). 1 It was inevitable that 
the representatives of the Apostles (it is, of 
course, a pure hypothesis of the harmonisers 
of Ac 15 and Gal 2 that there were none at 
Jerusalem at this time) should seize the op 
portunity of discussing the new departure at 
Antioch. Barnabas was their commissioner, 
and they were awaiting his report ; Paul is 
now associated with him in his work. It is 
quite in Luke s manner to leave it to his reader 
to assume that such a report was made, and we 
turn to Galatians for the details of the interview. 
The question of the admission of Gentiles is, 
as we have seen, already to the fore ; the 
Apostles admit the principle, though no con 
ditions are laid down, except the continuance 
of assistance to the poor of the Mother Church, 
"which very thing," says Paul, "I was also 

1 Titus is not mentioned either in Ac 11 or 15, or indeed 
anywhere in the book ; therefore the omission of his name in 
Ac n, as compared with Gal 2, raises no special difficulty. 


zealous to do " ; it was, of course, one main 
reason of this very visit to Jerusalem. Re 
turning to the narrative of Acts, we understand 
at once on this view the events of i2 25 -i3, 
which follow immediately after the parenthesis 
of ch. 12. The first missionary journey may 
be regarded from one point of view as due 
to a revelation vouchsafed to the Church at 
Antioch ; from another, it is the direct result 
of a policy already sanctioned by the Apostles. 
It is surely one of the curiosities of Biblical 
exegesis that orthodox scholars should have 
created an entirely unnecessary difficulty by 
continuing to reject this identification. Even 
before the reign of the " South Galatian theory " 
it was open to them to make it, as, e.g., Calvin 
made it. But the purpose of this article is to 
suggest that while this view solves some of the 
difficulties connected with the Epistle, it does 
not go far enough. It does not explain why 
the Council is not referred to in Galatians, 
assuming that the letter was written after it 
had taken place. It is quite true that no 
mention of it may have been necessary for the 
purposes of the autobiographical sketch with 
which the Epistle opens, but some reference to 
its decision was absolutely called for by the 
argument of the remaining chapters. On what 
grounds can it possibly have been passed over ? 


It has been suggested that its conclusions were 
of the nature of a compromise and uncongenial 
to St. Paul. Even if this may have been true 
of the prohibitions, it was not true of the main 
conclusions. And if it had been, it did not in 
the least relieve him of the necessity of dealing 
with them. For if ex hypothesi Paul could not 
quote them on his side, his opponents must 
have been quoting them on theirs (they could 
not have been ignored by both parties), and he 
was bound to reply to their arguments unless 
he was prepared to throw over the authority 
of the Jerusalem Church. If, on the other 
hand, as is far more probable, the decisions 
were in St. Paul s favour, why should he 
neglect so strong a support ? To say that they 
were local and temporary is only partially true 
and completely irrelevant. They were local 
intended for the very places in which the 
trouble had recently arisen, and temporary 
applying to the very period at which Paul was 
writing. The suggestion may explain why 
they are not applicable to England in the 
twentieth century ; it does not in the least 
explain why they should not have been ap 
plicable to Galatia in the middle of the first ; 
Ac i6 4 is decisive on the point. 1 And after all, 

1 " Delivered them [the churches of S. Galatia] the decrees 
for to keep." 


the main outcome of the Council lay in the 
recognition of the fact that circumcision was no 
longer necessary. This was neither local nor 
temporary, but a principle of permanent import 
ance, and what is more, the very principle for 
which St. Paul was contending in the Epistle. 

Let us realise the situation. Galatians is 
not like Romans, a more or less academic 
treatise, justifying an already existing state of 
affairs, and working out its implications ; it is a 
religious pamphlet, issued red-hot in the midst 
of a burning controversy, and in view of a 
pressing danger. The Judaisers are active 
with their pestilential teaching ; the infection 
is spreading rapidly in the newly-founded 
Churches, and must be checked by every pos 
sible means. St. Paul would intervene in person 
if he could, but he cannot, and has to content 
himself with a letter. He is bound under the 
circumstances to use every legitimate argument 
he can think of. Is it conceivable that if he 
can point to a formal decision of the Church 
conceding that circumcision is unnecessary for 
Gentiles he should refrain from doing so ? We 
need not further labour the point that his 
account of the private arrangement between 
himself and the Apostles is not an adequate 
representation of such a formal decision. 

We may easily suppose a parallel case. Let 


us assume that the use of the Athanasian Creed 
in the services of the Anglican Church has at 
length been abolished. A Bishop writes to 
an Incumbent urging its discontinuance. He 
brings forward the familiar arguments against 
the Creed, and forgets to remind his corre 
spondent that Parliament and Convocation have 
now sanctioned its disuse, and that the law of 
the Church is now on his side. He would be 
omitting what for practical purposes is the crux 
of the matter. 

The usual solution of the difficulty is to say 
that after the Council the Jewish party still 
held that circumcision was necessary to a 
perfect Christianity. An uncircumcised man 
might be a Christian "in a sense," but he only 
became a full Christian when he had submitted 
to circumcision, much as in later times the 
monk or religious was supposed to follow Christ 
in a higher sense than the Christian who re 
mained in the world. The position after the 
Council may or may not have taken this form ; 
the unfortunate thing is that there is not a hint 
of it in Galatians. If the argument of the 
Judaisers had been, "We admit circumcision 
is not necessary, but it makes a man a better 
Christian," this must have come out clearly in 
St. Paul s reply. What he in fact deals with is 
the necessity of circumcision per se, and he never 


once refers to the perfectly clear official pro 
nouncement on the subject, which is supposed 
to have been made in his presence at his own 
instigation a year or two before. In such a 
case, the "argument from silence" is valid and 
conclusive. No such pronouncement can yet 
have been made. 

Accordingly, we maintain that the Epistle 
to the Galatians must have been written before 
the events of Ac i5 3 . There is no difficulty 
in finding a place for it. It obviously belongs 
to the period covered by Ac I5 1 2 . Judaisers 
claiming the sanction of James (i5 24 , Gal 2 12 ) 
have visited Antioch ; it is more probable than 
not that they should have extended their pro 
paganda to the recently founded Churches of 
S. Galatia. 1 Remembering the strong Jewish 
element in Pisidian Antioch and Iconium, we 
see at once that the soil would be congenial. 
Paul hears of this at Antioch, but he cannot 
revisit the Churches, since he is needed where 
he is, and must soon go to Jerusalem. He 
writes the letter, bringing forward the argu 
ments which he is using in person at Antioch, 
and will shortly use at Jerusalem. Peter s 
defection (Gal 2 llff> ) belongs to the same time. 
Paul in dealing with it is not raking up a matter 
of ancient history ; he is bound to discuss it 

1 Cf. the " so quickly " of Gal i. 


since it is an element in the situation, which is 
no doubt being worked by the Jewish party for 
all it is worth. And we may note that Peter s 
change of attitude is at once far more intelligible 
and less discreditable, if it follows the merely 
informal interchange of views which took place 
at St. Paul s second visit, than if it has to be 
placed after the formal settlement of the ques 
tion at the Council. 

How far, it may be asked, does this view 
harmonise with the rest of the data of Ac 1 5 ? 
At first sight there is a difficulty in the fact 
that the letter embodying the Council s decision 
is addressed to the Churches of Antioch, Syria, 
and Cilicia ; why not Galatia too, if the trouble 
had already broken out there ? But the omis 
sion is equally strange on any view. The 
Churches of South Galatia are obviously the 
centre of St. Paul s narrative in v. 12 ; the Council 
unquestionably had them in mind, and whether 
they had been already "troubled" or not, the 
settlement was undoubtedly meant to apply to 
them, at least in its dispensing with the neces 
sity for circumcision (cf. i6 4 ). Presumably the 
controversy is regarded as primarily one be 
tween Jerusalem and Antioch ; the Churches 
named are those which looked to Antioch as 
their centre. In any case the omission cannot 
be regarded as fatal to the early date of Gala- 


tians ; it is only part of the difficulty that Luke 
entirely ignores the Galatian defection, a 
difficulty which is not peculiar to any particular 
theory of the date of the Epistle. When we 
pass to the events which followed the Council, 
we at once have an explanation of the second 
missionary journey. When the news of the 
Galatian defection first reached St. Paul, the 
pressure of circumstances prevented an im 
mediate visit, as we have already seen ; now 
the way is clear. It is quite true that i^ 33 - 36 
seems at first sight to imply a delay which 
would be a little inconsistent with this view ; 
surely St. Paul would have paid his visit at the 
earliest possible moment ? Well, perhaps he 
did ; a certain stay at the important centre of 
Antioch (v. 33 ) was probably quite inevitable, and 
the expressions used in V v. 35 36 do not imply any 
long delay, but are intentionally vague, after 
St. Luke s manner. 1 We must remember, too, 
that we do not know the results of the Epistle ; 
St. Paul may have heard that the plague had 
been already stayed. The words of i6 4 are, at 
any rate, significant ; the position he had taken 
up in his letter has been triumphantly vindi 
cated, and the settlement of the controversy 
makes for a strengthening of the Churches. 
And may we not on our view find a certain 

1 On these, see Harnack, Apostelgeschichte, pp. 37-41. 


significance in other features of the second 
journey ? We know both from Acts and 
i Thessalonians that St. Paul was eager to re 
turn to Thessalonica after his enforced departure. 
He was learning from the experience of his 
first journey. Then he had been eager to open 
up fresh territory as quickly as possible, but he 
realises now that he must not leave a newly- 
founded Church to its own devices too soon ; 
there must not be a repetition in Macedonia of 
the sort of thing that has happened in Galatia. 
It is true that circumstances are too strong for 
him, and in the letters to Thessalonica we see 
the unspeakable relief in the mind of the 
Apostle that his converts had in fact remained 
steadfast, and the exhortations to continue firm 
recur again and again. Of course these features 
are perfectly explicable on the ordinary view, 
but it will not be denied that they are doubly 
significant if the memory of the Galatian defec 
tion lies behind them. 

The view, then, that Galatians is the earliest 
of the Pauline Epistles harmonises so com 
pletely with many of the data both of the 
Epistles themselves and of Acts, that it can 
only be rejected for serious and weighty 
reasons. It should be noticed that it stood first 
in Marcion s list, a point whi^h may prove to 
be of the greatest importance, though I must 


leave it to others to develop its significance. 
But, as we know, the early date has not been 
widely adopted, 1 and we shall naturally expect 
to find the objections to it strong and almost 
invincible. The curious thing is that they are 
apparently very weak, and it is really a mystery 
why critics who have taken the comparatively 
difficult steps involved in the South Galatian 
theory, and the identification of the visits in 
Gal 2 and Ac 1 1 , should have refused the far 
easier step of assigning an early date to the 

(i) Perhaps the main reason is to be found 
in the apparent connection between Galatians 
and Romans. The current division of the 
Pauline Epistle into four groups is fascinating 
and convenient, and gives an intelligible picture 
of the development of the Apostle s thought. 
We are naturally disinclined to upset this 
arrangement by placing Galatians before the 
Thessalonian Epistles. However, for certain 
purposes the grouping will survive the trans 
position, and in any case such a theory must 
follow the facts. It is quite true that there is a 
fairly close connection in thought and language 
between Galatians and Romans, but this is 

1 It has been taken by Weber, Bartlet, and others, but I have 
preferred in this paper to work out the arguments afresh from 
the facts themselves. 


explained by the similarity of subject-matter, 
and does not in the least imply that they were 
written at the same time. There is no reason 
why they should not be separated by the five 
or six years which is all our theory requires. 
The one is the sketch hastily drawn up in view 
of the urgent requirements of the moment ; the 
other is the more considered philosophical 
development of the same theme. It is "the 
ripened fruit of the thoughts and struggles of the 
eventful years by which it had been preceded," 
and "belongs to the later reflective stage of the 
controversy." It deals with the intellectual 
difficulties involved in the apparent rejection of 
the Jews, rather than with the practical question 
of whether Christians ought in fact to be cir 
cumcised. And to maintain that St. Paul s 
thought could not have been sufficiently de 
veloped by the close of the first journey to 
write the Epistle to the Galatians, is quite un 
reasonable. There had been, let us say, seven 
teen years of meditation and practical work 
since his conversion, and the relation between 
Jew and Gentile must have often come before 
him. He did not deal with the point in the 
Thessalonian Epistles because there was no 
need to do so. On any view the controversies 
of the Council had already been raised before 

1 Sanday and Headlam, Romans, p. xxiii. 


they were written, and the fact that they do 
not refer to them does not in the least imply 
that the writer may not have already done so 
in another letter to another Church. 1 

(2) A further difficulty is found in the two 
visits, implied in the TO -n-porepov of Gal 4 13 . To 
this it may be replied that we have the high 
authority of Blass for the view that TO Trporepov 
here means "formerly." Or if this solution is 
rejected, and we prefer to retain the ordinary 
translation ("the first time"), we can at once 
find the two visits in the journeys out and 
back of Ac 14. The second visit lasted long 
enough to organise the Churches, and, especi 
ally in the case of Antioch and Iconium, could 
easily be distinguished from the first visit. 
There unquestionably were two visits on the 
first journey, and nothing more need be said. 

A few words must be added in conclusion on 
a closely related point. How far is our position 
affected by the view we take of the text of 
the Decree in Ac 15? Harnack 2 has lately 

1 I am very glad at the last moment to be able to refer to 
a remarkable article by Professor Lake in the Expositor (Dec. 
1910), in which he argues convincingly on textual grounds that 
Romans originally existed in a shorter recension, and that it 
was in this form written as a circular letter at the same time 
as Galatians, and very possibly before the Council. This 
hypothesis would, of course, completely dispose of the objection 
discussed above. 

2 Apostelgeschichte, pp. 188-198. 


declared his adherence to the "Western" 
reading, which omits "and from things 
strangled." These words are omitted in Dd., 
Iren., Tert, Cypr., etc., and there are con 
verging lines of evidence which tend to prove 
they were not in the original text. Their 
omission carries with it weighty consequences ; 
the Decree no longer deals with ceremonial 
questions, as is usually supposed, but with 
moral questions, idolatry, murder, and fornica 
tion, the three offences mentioned together in 
Rev 22 15 . It would take us too far afield to 
state the arguments in support of this view ; 
they are convincingly stated in Harnack s 
pages. If we accept it, as we probably should, 1 
several serious difficulties of New Testament 
criticism vanish at once. We understand, 
for example, why the Decree is not directly 
referred to in the Epistles, and particularly in 
i Corinthians, where the eating of things offered 
to idols is discussed ; it was not ad rem, since 
it dealt with the moral offence of idolatry, not 
with the ceremonial point which troubled the 
Corinthians. But it does not in the least, as 
Harnack seems to suggest, solve the difficulties 

1 It must, however, be admitted that Harnack s view has 
not yet been widely adopted ; it has been criticised by Prof. 
Clemen (Hibbert Journal, July 1910), and Dr. Sanday (The o- 
logische Studien Theodor Zahn dargebracht, pp. 317 ff.). 


associated with the ordinary view of Galatians. 
It rather accentuates them. For, as we have 
seen, the problem is not to explain why St. 
Paul does not discuss the prohibitions of the 
Decree, whether moral or ceremonial, but why 
he does not emphasise the great concession, 
the dispensing of circumcision. If, in fact, 
the whole Decree was concerned with moral 
questions and contained no concessions made 
to Jewish prejudices, as is commonly supposed, 
it becomes a sweeping victory for the Pauline 
and Gentile party. The silence about it in 
Galatians becomes more inexplicable than ever; 
the revised form of the Decree demands the 
early date for the Epistle, since the mere 
quotation of it must have been sufficient to 
silence the Judaisers. 

I am glad, however, to have been able to 
refer to this corrected version of the Decree, 
since, although it does not solve the particular 
difficulty we are considering, it is most valuable 
in other respects. The problems which centre 
round Galatians and Ac 15 have long been 
a crux of New Testament criticism. Their 
complete solution requires four hypotheses : (i) 
the " South Galatian " theory ; (2) the identifica 
tion of the visits of Gal 2 and Ac 1 1 ; (3) the 
placing of Galatians before the " Council " ; (4) 
the " Western " version of the Decree. Of 


these the fourth stands on a somewhat different 
footing to the rest. The first three are not 
the desperate resort of " harmonisers," twisting 
or ignoring facts in order to force an agree 
ment which is not there. They are the prima 
facie natural interpretation of the facts ; the 
onus probandi surely lies on those who reject 
them. Accept them, and each piece of the 
puzzle falls into its place easily and satisfactorily. 
The resultant picture does no discredit either 
to the Apostle or to the historian of Acts. 





THE Apocalypse is peculiarly a book where 
we may expect help from a sane and unflinch 
ing criticism. Even the educated reader, who 
does not confine his attention to the familiar 
passages, but attempts to get some idea of the 
book as a whole, is completely at a loss as to 
what he is to make of it. German commen 
tators, such as Bousset, have offered valuable 
assistance to those who can use it ; but now 
we have in English a series of important books 
which face the problem to some extent in the 
liirht of modern critical methods. Of these the 


chief are Dr. Swete s Apocalypse, Hort s post 
humous and incomplete commentary, Mr. C. A. 
Scott s edition in the Century Bible, Sir W. 
Ramsay s Letters to the Seven Churches, and 
Dr. Porter s very full article in Hastings 
Dictionary of the Bible. We wait eagerly for 
the completion of the list by Dr. Charles 


volume in the " International Critical Com 

Let us try and look at the book in the light 
of criticism. Two principles stand out as 
fundamental to its study. They are not 
altogether new, but their full significance has 
only lately been recognised ; in their modern 
application they revolutionise our conception 
both of its origin and of its interpretation. 

(i) The Apocalypse does not stand alone, 
but is only one example of a special type of 
literature. This literature has its recognised 
language and symbolism, its common traditions 
and beliefs. Its germs are found in Ezekiel 
and Zechariah; 1 its first representative is the 
Book of Daniel ; it is further developed in 
such writings as the Book of Enoch, the 
Secrets of Enoch, the Apocalypse of Baruch, 
and the Fourth Book of Esdras ; its influence 
is seen in a lesser degree in many other Jewish 
or semi-Christian works of the period, particu 
larly in the Book of Jubilees, the Assumption 
of Moses, the Psalms of Solomon, the Testa 
ments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and the 
Sibylline Oracles. 

The name given is " Apocalyptic," its main 

1 Its presence is becoming increasingly recognised in certain 
passages of other prophetical books, notably in the later 
sections of Isaiah. 


subject being the Apocalypse or Revelation 
of the future. We find in it a common stock 
of ideas. The righteous people of God are 
oppressed by their enemies, and evil seems to 
be triumphant. But when it reaches its climax, 
the "day of the Lord" will come; He will 
vindicate the right and terribly avenge His 
servants on their oppressors. The promises 
of the prophets will at last be realised, and the 
kingdom of God, or of the Messiah, will be 
established, whether on earth or in heaven. 

And besides its common beliefs, it has its 
common modes of representation, which seem 
to have become conventional. The book is 
issued under the name of some great one of 
the past. The revelation is made by vision, 
by angel, with translation to distant scenes. 
There is a recognised symbolism of mystic 
numbers and allegorical beasts ; a constantly 
recurring materialistic imagery of fire, storm, 
and earthquake. 

In the case of the Apocalypse of St. John 
a very large proportion of its language and 
symbolism is taken directly from the Old 
Testament, particularly from Daniel (the first 
Apocalypse), Ezekiel and Zechariah (its pre 
cursors), Isaiah and the Psalms. The writer 
has a vision of the glorified Christ ; each of 
its details is a reminiscence of Ezekiel and 


Daniel. He hears from an angel a "taunt 
song " on the fall of Babylon ; in almost every 
word it goes back to the "taunt songs" of 
Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. His vision 
of the holy city again rests on the vision of 
Ezekiel ; his picture of its joys is directly 
inspired by the same prophet and by Isaiah. 
These are only a few examples out of many, 
and the resemblances have, of course, been 
recognised from the first. The point is that 
we cannot stop here. The study, 1 in some 
cases the discovery, of the non-canonical 
apocalyptic literature just mentioned has 
emphasised still further the writer s dependence 
on earlier material, (a] In many cases his 
language and symbolism, when reminiscent 
of the Old Testament, have not been taken 
directly from it, but are used with the addi 
tional significance which they have received 
in the later Apocalypses, e.g. the eating "of the 
tree of life which is in the paradise of God " is 
promised to him that overcomes (2 7 , cf. 22 14 ). 
The history behind this conception is not 
merely that of the Genesis narrative. In the 
Book of Enoch we hear of the tree of life 

1 No student will need to be reminded of the debt we owe 
in this respect to Dr. R. H. Charles. It is interesting to 
note that in Alford s commentary on the " Revelation " there 
is no reference at all to this literature. 


in the celestial paradise : " its leaves and its 
flower and its wood wither not for ever . . . 
and no flesh hath power to touch it till the 
great judgment, . . . then to the righteous 
and the holy shall their fruit be given." The 
idea recurs in 4 Es (there is in paradise fruit 
wherein is abundance and healing) and in 
other books ; in the Testaments of the Twelve 
Patriarchs we even find, " He shall give His 
saints to eat of the tree of life." Again, since 
the time of Ezekiel, Gog and Magog (Rev 2O 8 ) 
have received a new connotation. Magog is 
no longer the land with which Gog is con 
nected, but both appear continually as the 
typical enemies of the Messiah. Cf. Jerus. 
Targum, " In fine extremitatis dierum Gog 
et Magog et exercitus eorum adscendent 
Hierosolyma, et per manus regis Messiae ipsi 
cadent." In 4 Es 13 we read of the war 
in the last days of a countless multitude 
against Messiah, who shall destroy them by 
fire from His mouth. Similarly, the conception 
of the "New Jerusalem" does not rest merely 
on Isaiah and Ezekiel. It had become a 
commonplace of Jewish apocalyptic hope, e.g. 
Enoch 9O 28 speaks of a New House greater 
and loftier than the first, "and the Lord of 
the sheep was in it"; 4 Es 7 26 , "The bride 
shall appear, even the city coming forth." 


Other ideas which may be paralleled from the 
Old Testament, but have received greater 
significance, are the opening of the books, the 
book of life, beliefs about Satan, the serpent, 
or Abaddon. 

(b) Expressions to which no real parallel is 
found in the Old Testament are seen to rest 
upon conceptions familiar to apocalyptic 
thought and contemporary writings. We 
note that the seer by using the definite article 
often assumes that his readers will recognise 
the allusion, e.g. in 2 17 the conqueror is pro 
mised his share of "the hidden manna"; in 
ii 19 the ark of the covenant is seen in the 
opened sanctuary of heaven. The reference 
is to the legend of the hiding of the ark by 
Jeremiah. Cf. 2 Mac 2 7 , "The place [of its 
hiding] shall be unknown until God gather the 
people again together and mercy come ; and 
then shall the Lord disclose these things, and 
the glory of the Lord shall be seen, and the 
cloud." The Apocalypse of Baruch has further, 
"At the selfsame time [of the revelation of 
Messiah] the treasury of manna will again 
descend from on high, and they will eat of it 
in those years." 

Again, the conception of the millennium, as 
a temporary triumph of righteousness before 
the final consummation, appears in various 


forms. In Enoch 90 the eighth and ninth of 
those "weeks" into which human history is 
divided are the reign of righteousness, followed 
by the judgment and "weeks without number 
for ever." In 4 Es the reign of Messiah 
on earth is for four hundred years. In the 
"Secrets of Enoch" the final world-week is 
one thousand years. The "seven spirits 
before the throne" (i 4 ), the seven angels of 
the presence of 8 2 , are paralleled by the "seven 
first white ones " of Enoch, by the seven angels 
of the presence of Tob i2 15 , and the Rab 
binical angelology. Thoughts similar to the 
conception of the souls of the righteous beneath 
the altar crying for vengeance meet us frequently 
in Enoch. The waiting till the number of the 
elect be completed is a Jewish conception. 
Cf. Baruch, " The storehouses (promptuaria) 
shall be opened in which was guarded the 
number of righteous souls " ; 4 Es 4 s5 , " Did 
not the souls of the righteous ask question of 
these things in their chambers, saying, How 
long shall I hope on this fashion ? When 
cometh the fruit of the threshing time of our 
reward? And unto them Jeremiah the arch 
angel gave answer and said, Even when the 
number is fulfilled of them that are like unto 
you. " 

Again, the " Secrets of Enoch " speaks of 


a great sea between the first and second 
heavens (cf. Rev 4) ; of horses walking to the 
breast in the blood of sinners (Rev i4 20 ). It 
is impossible here to multiply quotations ; it 
is enough to instance among many similar 
parallels the conception of the imprisonment 
of Satan in the abyss, sealed and guarded by 
an angel who holds the key ; the angelology 
an angel of the waters, spirits of the winds, the 
celestial worshippers who sleep not in their 
praise ; the lake of fire which awaits the Devil 
and his servants, and the " second death." 

(c) We have to reckon with the probability, 
amounting in some cases almost to a certainty, 
that other features to which no full parallel has 
yet been found were not original or invented 
for the first time by the writer. In particular 
we are prepared to find the influence of the 
folklore of the time. 1 In ch. 12 (the dragon 
and the woman with child) Gunkel sees the 
influence of the widespread Babylonian myth 
of creation "the victory of Marduk, the god 
of light, over the chaos-beast Tiamat, the 

1 The identification of stars and angels found in ch. i (the 
seven stars are the seven angels of the Churches) may point 
to the influence of the Babylonian idea of seven star-spirits. 
The personified star of g l which falls from heaven is a mytho 
logical conception found in Enoch. The belief in the power 
of hidden names and the sealing of the elect can hardly be 
separated from the popular folklore connected with talismanic 
formulae, however purified be the form it assumes. 


dragon of the deep." Bousset adds further 
striking parallels from the story of the birth 
of Apollo, and the Egyptian myth of Isis and 
Horus. On this view we explain the obscuri 
ties of the picture. They are due to an attempt 
to adapt the original myth to the story of the 
birth of Christ. Again, there are the persistent 
traditions connected with the belief in Anti 
christ (see Bousset, The Antichrist Legend]. 
Traces may be seen in ch. n ("The Two 
Witnesses") and in ch. 13 (the second 
beast, afterwards identified with the false 
prophet, deceiving men by his lying wonders, 
and appearing as a parody of the Lamb, the 
true Messiah). 

How far such episodes are taken from a 
special written "source" must remain an open 
question. We explain a good deal by some 
such supposition, the isolation and peculiar 
character of some of the pictures, and contra 
dictions between different parts of the book, 
the existence of "doublets" and repetitions. 
On the other hand, we must account for the 
general sense of unity which pervades the 
whole and the homogeneity of its very peculiar 
style. Without adopting any "scissors and 
paste " theory, we may probably assume that 
the writer at times incorporates some earlier 
legend, taking it much as he finds it, without 


caring to harmonise all its details with the rest 
of his picture. Dr. Swete admits that the 
book may "incorporate earlier materials" 
(Introd. p. c), and in one place (ch. 15*) he 
suggests the probability of a Jewish source. 

On the general question of the relationship 
to apocalyptic literature, our conclusion may 
be less unhesitating. Again, the question of 
any direct use of the actual books is secondary. 
Dr. Swete doubts it, and in some cases it is 
precluded by the fact that the parallels quoted 
are from books contemporary with or sub 
sequent to St. John. That does not touch 
the main point. The nature of the resem 
blances does not as a rule suggest " borrowing " 
on either side ; they prove the existence of a 
popular tradition, of a current mode of thought 
to which all apocalyptic writers can appeal. 
It is perfectly clear that "he shared with the 
Jewish Apocalyptists the stock of apocalyptic 
imagery and mystical and eschatological 
thought which was the common property of 
the age." The ideas were in the air, they 
recur continually in the literature of the type ; 
the writer can assume that they will be in 
telligible to his readers. The book is an 
Apocalypse among Apocalypses, using their 
conventional language and symbolism. 

(2) Our second principle of criticism can only 


be briefly summarised and illustrated. It is 
that the book was written with direct reference 
to a peculiar historical situation. It makes no 
secret of its origin and, unlike other Apoc 
alypses, does not seem to be pseudonymous. 
The writer had a practical purpose, and that 
purpose was to strengthen the Churches of his 
day in view of a crisis which he saw to be 
imminent. Dr. Swete follows the trend of 
recent opinion in dating the book in the time 
of Domitian. If we accept with Dr. Hort the 
earlier date of the reign of Nero, it will not 
affect our principle. Whatever there is of 
direct prediction or of definite historical 
reference has to do with the situation at the 
time and the view the seer has been led to 
take of the probable future of the Roman 
Empire as he knows it. We may expect to 
find historical personages and events, more or 
less disguised or idealised, but always of the 
writer s own day. And as it is, we see the 
Roman Empire with its Caesar worship and 
names of blasphemy, supported by an interested 
priestcraft, resting on force and pretended 
miracles. We hear the rumours of Parthian 
invasion, and of the dreaded return of Nero 
(perhaps to the seer s mind reincarnate in 
Domitian). On the other hand, we see the 


struggles and the temptations of the local 
Churches of Asia, the dangers from within, 
from the tendency to compromise with the 
heathen life round them, the persecution already 
beginning from without, with its boycotting 
and its death to those who will not worship the 
beast and his image. The terror will run its 
course, and in the end Rome will fall attacked 
by the petty kings of the East or by other of 
its subject nations. 

And after that ? Mingled with this view of 
contemporary history, and in the background, 
is an eschatology or doctrine of the last things. 
It is inspiring and full of teaching, but vague 
and inconsistent with itself directly we attempt 
to press the details. How are the various 
catastrophes and falls of Satan to be related 
to one another ? Are they synchronous 
different pictures of the same event or 
successive steps in the victory ? What is the 
place of the millennium ? What of the New 
Jerusalem and the visions of the closing 
chapters ? No one can say how far we have a 
realistic picture of what the seer expects will 
be in heaven, or an idealised picture of what he 
hopes for on earth. The fact is that in all 
these things the book does not minister to an 
idle curiosity to pierce the veil of the future, or 
to read the secrets of the unseen world. We 


can neither sketch the course of history from it 
nor discover how earth will pass into heaven. 
It gives us what we need, the assured promise 
of the victory of Christ and truth, of the eternal 
blessedness of the faithful with God. 

How, then, are we to regard the book ? It 
becomes impossible to see in it a direct and 
immediate revelation from heaven or a detailed 
prophecy of the future. It is a literary 
product ; in a sense it may be called artificial. 
As we have seen, the writer is steeped in the 
Old Testament and in the apocalyptic tradi 
tions of his age. His knowledge of the world 
and its secrets is gained from a study of the 
conditions of his own day. To say this is not 
to deny its originality or its unity of purpose. 
It is never a mere mosaic, but bears clearly 
upon it the stamp of a great, of a spiritual, 
mind. The most cursory comparison with 
previous and subsequent " revelations" shows 
its immense superiority, literary, artistic, and 

Nor does this view deny its value ; rather it 
enhances it. It becomes a real and a living 
book, written by processes intelligible up to 
a certain point, and with a clearly defined 
purpose. It is a positive help to find that its 
materialistic and almost grotesque imagery was 
not invented by the seer, still less " revealed " 


from heaven. It accounts for the obscurities 
of the book, and warns us against misleading 
attempts to find " meanings " in details which 
were often only conventional to the writer. It 
helps us to understand the Jewish features ; we 
see why the Christian heaven is described in 
terms of Jewish thought. We can more easily 
accept the symbolism of its numbers and its 
allegorical figures when we see that it was the 
current language of the time. To us, it may 
seem forced and unnatural, but at least to the 
writer and his first readers it was intelligible. 

And what of its inspiration ? In a word, it is 
subjective, not objective. It is not a dictation 
from without, " supernatural " in the objection 
able sense, as overriding the normal processes 
of the reason and the imagination. The Spirit 
has worked from within the mind of the seer, 
using the natural means which are at the call 
of every writer. What right, then, have we 
to speak of "the Spirit" at all? How do we 
know that the book is in the deepest sense 
"true"? Simply because our Christian con 
sciousness recognises it as such. We acknow 
ledge, indeed, that the appeal of its different 
sections varies enormously. In some the 
inspiration is at a low level ; these are the very 
parts which as a matter of history have been 
most abused and have led to the wildest errors. 


But in others the appeal finds us at once ; and 
it is no less a matter of history that here, too, 
our own verdict is verified by the general 
experience of Christians. We find in it " the 
notes of insight and foresight," a prophecy in 
the true sense as interpreting and justifying the 
ways of God to man ; its stern faith is able to 
evoke our own faith ; its vision of God and its 
hopes for the future find their echo in our own 
hearts. We believe it to contain the "word of 
God," because the Divine in us answers to the 
Divine in the mind of the writer. It is so in 
Christ s own teaching, His ultimate appeal is 
to the inherent truth of His words ; they are 
their own evidence that they are the truth and 
the life, and are recognised as such by all who 
have not lost the power of seeing the truth, in 
whom the light that is in them has not turned 
to darkness. 

The bearing of the Apocalypse on the whole 
question of inspiration is most significant. It 
is crucial for the view which sees in " revela 
tion " not an external message of God, but 
an internal process the Divine in man, the 
immanent Logos, gradually working itself 
out and received as true, not on any external 
authority, but by the weight of its own self- 
evidence. We may begin by believing the 
Bible to be true because we are told it is 


inspired ; we end by believing it to be inspired 
because we find it, in the sphere of spiritual 
things, to be true. 

There remains, in conclusion, with respect 
to the Apocalypse itself the further problem, 
fascinating but insoluble, "What was the 
actual psychological process in the mind of the 
seer?" We speak of the book as a literary 
product, and so in the main it is. But are we 
to interpret the whole of its language of angels 
and Christophanies, of trance and of vision, 
as a mere conventional fafon de parler ? We 
recognise, on the one hand, that the phenomena 
of trance have been but little investigated ; we 
are less ready than the last generation to deny 
their validity in toto ; we make full allowance 
for the dependence of vision on memory. And 
this we can say : the book gives the impression 
of a solemn belief in the reality of the experi 
ences it describes. The writer certainly believed 
himself to have had experiences which are not 
granted to all men. On the other hand, we see 


all through the mark of the artist working con 
sciously and deliberately. The strange thing 
is that at the very moment of describing these 
experiences the writer seems to rest most 
strongly on the conventional language of his 
predecessors. The role of visionary is often 
suddenly dropped ; we pass insensibly from the 


language of trance to that of simple prediction. 
It is very hard to work out any consistent view. 
There is a curious note by Dr. Swete on ly 3 
which just gives the two sides : " He carried 
me away in the spirit into the wilderness" (i.e. 
to see the vision of the Great Harlot). The 
note is, " The movement took place ev Trvevfjian, 
i.e. in the sphere of the seer s spirit impelled 
by the spirit of God. ... He probably has 
in view the frequent ecstasies of Ezekiel." 
Which was it ? A literary reminiscence or a 
personal experience ? Dr. Porter, in the article 
on " Revelation " in Hastings Dictionary of the 
Bible, sums it up well when he says with regard 
to a similar conception, "A literal voice from 
heaven this certainly cannot be, and we seem 
shut up to two possibilities regarding it ; either 
the angels and the voice from heaven belong 
wholly to the poetry of the piece, its literary 
form, or they express the writer s own inter 
pretation of the strong impulse, as if from with 
out, under which he wrote." His reverence 
for the materials he used, and his sense that the 
secrets he unfolded were not his own discovery, 
would lead naturally and quite innocently to 
the use of the impressive imagery of revelation, 
which he found current. It was the obvious 
means of emphasising his belief in the reality of 
his inspiration, his own possibly naive interpreta- 


tion of experiences which he could not explain 
or analyse. The question is interesting, but its 
importance is only secondary. The problem is 
psychological, and does not affect the value of 
the book. If we were to accept the language 
of trance in the most literal sense, that would 
not be the real ground for our belief in its 
inspiration. The records of a trance need to 
be criticised and examined even more narrowly 
than the reasoned productions of the waking 
mind. Whether trance or poetry, the ultimate 
proof of the teaching can only be its inherent 
truth. However we may picture to ourselves 
the process at work in the seer s mind, however 
our modern thought may analyse and interpret 
it, the book is a genuine record of experiences 
spiritually true. It is "the revelation of Jesus 
Christ"; the writer was "in the spirit"; he 
has given us " his own personal realisation of 
the unseen world," of the present life of Christ 
and the victory of His Church. 



ACILDAMA, 1 1 6. 

AcU of the Apostles, Harnack 

on, 103, 192. 
relation to Galatians, 192 ff., 

200 ff. 
Adveit, the Second, see 

Agapt, 96. 
Agrapia, 157. 
Allego-ising, 99 ; see Sym- 

Allen, -\rchdeacon, 145, 158, 

65, 171. 
Angelobgy of Apocalypse, 

Antichrst, 221. 
Antiochjudaisers in, 200. 
St. Pail s visits to, 194 ff., 


Apocalyjse of St. John, 213- 


date, 23. 
influenced by Old Testa- 

meit and Apocalyptic, 


inspiraton. 226 ff. 
mythological elements, 220. 
purposeand value, 224 ff. 
recent Uerature on, 213. 
relation to contemporary 

histcry, 223 ff. 

Apocalypse, sources of, 221 f. 
"Apocalypse, the Little," 57. 
Apocalyptic literature, 4, 34, 

42 ff., 2i4ff. 
interpretation of, 54-58, 

225 f. 

Apostles and St. Paul, 195. 
choice and work of, 14, 17, 

23, 39, 95- 
mission of, 17. 
supposed stupidity of, 94, 

Aramaic source of Gospels, 

21, 144, I54f. 
Ark, hiding of, 218. 

b and the Virgin Birth, 179 

n. 3. 

Babylonian mythology, 220. 
Baldensperger, W., 43 n. i. 
Baptism, 31, 35 ff., 96. 

of Christ, 96, 1 60. 
Baptist, John the, identified 

with Elias, 24, 26. 
preaching of, 13, 35, 83. 
Barabbas, 95. 

Barachiah, the son of, 150^. i. 
Barnabas, I94f. 
Barndshd, 21. 
Baruch, Apocalypse of, 214, 




Beast (in Apocalypse), 221. 

Beatitudes, 15, 61, 148, 170. 

Benedictus, relation to Magni 
ficat, 184. 

Betrayal, the, 26 f. 

Birth stories, see Jesus Christ. 

Blass, 147, 206. 

Bousset, W., vi, 76 f. 

on Apocalypse, 213, 221. 

Burial of Christ, 88 f., 119, 
136 f. 

Burkitt, Prof., 6f., 33, 108, 141, 
176 ff. 

Burn, Dr., 175. 

Cassarea Philippi, 20, 22 f., 31, 


Calvin, 196. 

Charles, Dr., 7, 213, 216. 
Christ, see Jesus Christ. 

influence of, 69 ff., 121 ff., 130. 
Person of, vii, 73 f., 85, 93, 

96, 115. 

in Q, 161 f., 167 f. 
see Messiah, Son of Man. 
Christianity, "a reduced," vii, 

rise of, 66 ff., 88, 108, 123 f., 


Church, the, Harnack on, 165. 
Loisy on, 95. 
Schweitzer on, 38 f. 
Circumcision, 199 f., 205. 
Clemen, 193, 207 n. i. 
" Connecting links " in the 

Gospels, n, 32. 
Corinthians, the 1st Epistle to, 
and the Apostolic 
Decree, 207. 
Council, the Apostolic 
decisions, nature of, 196 ff., 

207 ff. 

scope of, 20 1. 
text of, 206 ff. 

relation to Galatians, 191- 

Criticism, "Higher" and 

"Lower," 186. 

method and results of, in 
the Gospels, v ff., 68, 
107, 138, 154, 164, 172. 
in the Apocalypse, 213, 

225 ff. 
Cross, words from the, 28, 66, 

88, 98. 

Crucifixion, see Jesus Christ, 
darkness at the, 104. 

Daniel, Book of, 20, 214 ff. 
Dobschiitz, Prof, von, 6, 54,58. 

Elect, the, 15, 219 ; see Pre- 

Elijah, the coming of, 24 i, 26. 
Elisabeth and the Magnficat, 

Enoch, Book of, 20, 214 217, 


Secrets of, 214, 219. 
Eschatological Questbn in 

the Gospels, 3-77, 84 f., 

Messiah, 19, 42 ff. 
portrait of Christ, 3471-77. 
sacraments, 37 f. 
Eschatology, 3, 24. 

and ethics, 60 ff. ; se Inter- 

of Jesus, 50-65. 
passing of, 60 ff. 
Esdras, Fourth Bool of, 20, 

214, 217, 219. 

Eucharist, see Lord sSupper. 
Ezekiel, Book of, 2i/f. 

Five thousand, feedng of the, 

see Miracles. 
"Flight to the North, the," 

i8f, 32 f., 87. 
folklore, 90, 117, 22). 
Fourth Gospel, ec John, 




Galatia, St. Paul s visits to, 

" Galatian, South, theory," 

191, 201. 

Galatians, Epistle to, 191-209. 
circumstances, 200 ff. 
relation to Acts, I92ff., 

200 ff. 

Romans, 198, 204 ff. 
Gardner, Prof. P., 52 n. i, 60. 
Gentiles and Jews in early 
Church, 98, 100, 195, 


Gog and Magog, 217. 
Gospels, the Synoptic, escha- 

tological passages in, 

53 ff. 
Harnack on sources of, 143- 

influenced by Paulinism ? 

91 ff., 165, 169 f. 
later theology, 93, 96. 
literary merits, 97, 101. 
Loisy on the, 81-109. 
Messianic hope in the, 44- 

relation of Q to the, 161, 

reliability of, 30 ff, 83-88, 

107 f., 152, 167, 172. 
Schweitzer s treatment of, 

30 ff. 
Gunkel, 220. 

Hague, Prof., 43 n. i. 

Hannah s song, 182 f. 

Harnack, on the Apostol 

Decree, 206 ff. 

on the Gospels, 107. 

on the Magnificat, 175. 

on miracles, 103. 

on Q, 


uu V; J4J- 

position of, vi, 77. 
Hastings Dictionaries, 
I75f., 213, 229. 

T- T i- m ic - f 


Hernias, 35. 

Herod Antipas, 18, 33, 95. 
Holtzmann, O., 36. 
Hort, Dr., 213, 223 ; see 
Westcott and Hort. 

Inge, Dr., 6, 56. 
Inspiration, 226 ff. 
Interimsethik, 14, 60 ff, 69 ff, 

76, 85. 

Irenasus, 177. 
Isaiah, influence on the 

Apocalypse, 214 n. i, 

215 f. 
Suffering Servant of, 19. 

James, St., and St. Paul, 200. 

Jerome, 177. 

Jerusalem, Christ s entry into, 

25, 46. 

visits to, 87, 162. 
St. Paul s visits to, 191 ff. 
the New, 217, 224. 
Jesus Christ, birth stories, 97, 

101, 106, 179 n. 3, 220. 
death, 19, 23-27, 66, 88 f., 

how far anticipated, 41, 

87, 92 f., 114, 123, 130. 
life according to Loisy, 

83 ff. 

Schweitzer, i3ff, 68 ff. 
problems raised by, 1 1 ff. 
teaching of, affected by 
eschatology, 60 ff, 70 f., 
76, 85. 

in Q, 152, 165-171. 
see also Christ, Messiah, Son 

of Man, Resurrection. 
"Jesus, the Historical, an 

enigma," 68. 
Jews, polemic against, 94, 99, 

136, 162. 

John, see Baptist. 
John, Gospel of St., relation to 

Synoptists, 168. 
spiritualises Parousia, 58. 



John, Gospel of St., symbolism 

in, 104. 

Joseph of Arimathea, 116, 119. 
Josephus, 44 f., 151. 
Judaising Christians, 198 f. 
Judas Iscariot, 26, 106. 

Keim, T., 50. 

Kingdom of God, or of 

Heaven, 13, 16, 55f., 

58, 82, 215. 

Lake, Prof. K., 120, 206 n. i. 
Last Supper, see Lord s 

Latin version of Gospels, the 

old, 147, I78ff. 
Lietzmann, H., 21 n. 2. 
Lightfoot, Bishop, 192. 
Logia, 143, 157, 1 60, 171. 
Loisy, on the Gospels, 81-109. 

on the Magnificat, I76ff. 

on the Resurrection, 1 1 3-1 39. 

on the Virgin Birth, 180. 
Lord s Prayer, the, 36, 148, 

150, 152, 163 n. i. 
Lord s Supper, the, 37 f., 92, 

96, 100. 
Luke, Gospel of St., canticles 

in, 98, 1 86. 
characteristics of, 58, 101 f., 

151, 162. 
date, 82. 

ignored by Schweitzer, 31, 


order of sections in, 1 59 f. 
relation to Q, 143-154. 
use of St. Matthew, 155,158. 

Magi, visit of, 97 f. 
Magic and sacraments, 37. 
Magnificat, ascribed to Mary 
or Elisabeth? 176-187. 
relation to Hannah s song, 


ultimate origin of, 186. 

Manna, the hidden, 218. 
Marcion, 203. 

Mark, Gospel of St., diffi 
culties in, 1 1 ff. 
influence on first and third 

Gospels, 143, 152. 
influenced by Paulinism, 91, 


Loisy on, 83, 101 f. 
relation to Q, i63ff. 
Martha and Mary, 100, 105. 
Mary, the Virgin, and the 

Magnificat, 175-187. 
Matthew, St., author of Logia ? 

Gospel of, ecclesiasticism, 

in, 95, 162. 
Judaic standpoint, 150, 

163 n. i. 

Loisy on, 83, 102. 
order of sections in, I59f. 
relation to Q, 143-154. 
Messiah, " birth-pangs " of the, 

19, 41. 
Christ as the, ioff., 19 ff., 93, 

168 ; see Son of Man. 
Wrede s view of, 13. 
Messianic feast, the, 36, 84, 

92 f. 
hope, nature of the, 19, 40- 

48, 215, 217. 
secret, 26 ff., 46 ff. 
Millennium, the, 218, 224. 
Miracles, 31, 86 f., 98 f., 103, 

131 f- 

the centurion s servant, 160. 

the draught of fishes, 89, 98, 

the five thousand, 36, 96, 99. 

Nain, 98, 101. 

Missionary journey, St. Paul s 
first, 196. 

second, 202 f. 

" Modernising," 39, 33 f., 54, 58. 
Moses, Assumption of, 214. 
Moulton, Dr. J. H., 153 . I. 



Myers, F. W. H., 126. 
Mythology, 97, 221. 

Nero, return of, 223. 
Nestle, 179. 

Niceta of Remesiana, 175 ff. 
Numbers, symbolism of, 99, 

" Objective and subjective," 

127, 132. 

Oesterley and Box, 43/7. i. 
Old Testament, apocalyptic 

elements in, 2i4ff. 
influence on the Apocalypse, 

215 ff. 
Gospels, 90 f., 97, 117, 

124, 150, 182. 
the Messianic hope in the, 

42 f. 

Oral tradition, i$4f. 
Origen, 118, 177. 

Papias on the Logia, 171. 

Papyri, 15372. I. 

Parables, interpretation of, 

1 5 f-,. 76, 85. 

the Marriage Feast, 15. 
of sowing, 17. 

Parousia, the, I7f., 27, 32, 

50 ff., 66 ff., 74,93, 115. 

Passion, see Jesus Christ, death 

of, . 
narrative, did O contain a ? 

Paul, St., attitude towards 

eschatology, 56, 59. 
on Baptism, 35. 
development of thought in, 

204 ff. 

and Galatians, 191-209. 
Missionary journeys of, 196, ! 

202 ff. 
originator of the Eucharist ? 

and the Resurrection, u6f. i 

Paulinism, supposed influence 
of, on the Gospels, 91 ff., 
94, 165, i69f. 
lletpaoTioy, 6, 19, 36. 
Persecutions in the Apoca 
lypse, 224. 
Christ s predictions of, 17 f., 

3i, 4i, 170. 
Personality of Jesus, 126, 130 ; 

see Christ. 

Peter, Gospel of, 119, 136. 
Peter, St., at Antioch, 200. 
denial, 95. 
at Caesarea Philippi, 23 f., 

26, 72, 94 f., 105. 
visions of the risen Christ, 

89, ii8f., 134. 
Pharisees and Christ, 25, 


Pilate, trial before, 95, 101. 
Porter, Dr., 213, 229. 
Predestinarianism, 14 f., 35 f., 

6if., 71. 
Prophecy, Is the Apocalypse 

a? 223 f., 227. 
Psychical Research, 108, 


" Psychologising," 29, 33. 
Psychology of Inspiration, 

228 f. 
of the Resurrection faith, 

u8f., 128 ff. 

O (the second common source 

of St. Matthew and St. 

Luke), 143-172. 
Allen s view of, 15872. r. 
character and style, 161 ff. 
contents of, 145, i56ff. 
how arranged, I59ff. 
origin and date, 171. 
relation to St. Mark, 163 ff. 
treatment by St. Matthew 

and St. Luke, 145- 

varying forms of ? 155. 



Ramsay, Sir W., 172, 191, 193, 

"Ransom for many," 15, 19, 


Reimarus, 8. 
Resurrection of Christ, the, 31, 

71, 89 f., io8f., 113- 


predictions of, 41, 114, 

the spiritual view of, 113, 

121, 135, 139. 
uniqueness of, 109, 125, 130- 


Revelation, 227. 

Book of, see Apocalypse. 

Roman Empire in Apocalypse, 

Romans, Epistle to the, rela 
tion to Galatians, 198, 
204 ff. 
shorter recension of, 206 n. I. 

Ruler, the young, 16. 

Sacraments, 34 ff. ; see Bap 
tism, Lord s Supper. 

Salmon, Dr., 172. 

Sanday, Dr., 30, 42, 45, 73, 

77, 91, 172, 1 86, 207. 
and Headlam, 205. 

Satan, 218, 220, 224. 

Schmiedel, Prof., 86, 175. 

Schweitzer, 3-77, 85 n. i. 

Scott, C. A., 213. 

Sea in heaven, the, 220. 

Sealings, 34 ff., 220. 

Sermon on the Mount, 14, 55, 
60, 159, 170. 

Servant, the Suffering, 19. 

Sibylline Oracles, 214. 

Solomon, Psalms of, 35, 43 f, 

Son of David, n, 26. 

Son of Man, 19 ff., 47, 73 f., 85, 
1 68. 

" Son, the Father and the," 

Sources of Apocalypse, 221 ff. 

of Gospels, see Q. 
"Spiritualising, 45, 50, 54, 

56, 58, 104. 

Stars and angels, 220 ;/. i. 
Subconscious self, the, 128. 
Sunday, origin of, 90, 100, 

117, 120. 

Swete, Dr., 213, 222 f., 229. 
Symbolism, 98 f.. 103 f., 215, 

222 f., 226, 228. 
Syriac version of the Gospels, 

the old, 178. 

Temptation of Christ, 45 n. 4, 

152 n. i, 160. 
Testaments of the Twelve 

Patriarchs, 214, 217. 
Textual Criticism, 147, 176 ff., 

194 n. i, 207 f. 
Thessalonians, Epistles to the, 

203 f. 

Thieves, the two, 99, 104. 
" Third day, the," 90, 1 1 7. 
Titus, 195 n. i. 
Tomb, the empty, 89, 116, 120, 

122, I36ff. 

Trance, nature of, 228 f. 
Transfiguration, the, 22 f., 96, 

99, 105. 

Tree of Life, the, 216 f. 
Trial of Jesus, the, 26 ff., 94 ff., 

101, 106. 
Tyrrell, G., 5, 9, 19, 34, 54,61, 

63, 67, 72, 74. 

Virgin Birth, the, 97, 179 

n. 3. 
Visions, in Apocalypse, 215, 

228 f. 
the Resurrection, 89, 108, 

u8f., 127 ff., 133 ff. 



Weiss, J., 4, 51, 60, 64, 85 n. i. 
Wellhausen, J., 21 n. 2, 58, 

147, 163. 
Westcott and Hort, 147, 178, 


" Wisdom of God, the," 1 50. 
Wordsworth, Bishop, 175. 

Wrede, W., 8, I2f. 

Zachariah, see Barachiah, son 

Zebedee, prayer of the sons of, 

1 6, 94. 
Zechariah, Book of, 214 ff. 




2 l-io 

. l82f. 

jl6. 19. 5 

. . . 179 n. i, 3 

4 4 " b 

. 150 



. 148, 150 


6 33 


4i 10 


. 98 

7 li. 

. 149 

7 21 p 

. 58 


8 20 . 


7 14 - 

. 97 

g7. 38 
I0 23 


17, 20, 33, 58 


I0 32 
II 12 

. 150 

14 n. 2, 150 



II 14 

. 24 

II 19 






90, 120 

Is 16 - 17 

. 150 
. 146 f., 149 


i6 13 
i6 28 



. . . . 98 

22 1 4 

. 15 

2 (4) ESDRAS. 


150, 162 n. i 


4 s 5 . 

. 219 

7 2 " . 

. 217 


8 52 . 

. 217 

olO. 28 

^ I 


. 217 


. i6~f. 

6 s 


8 27 . 


2 7 

. 218 

8 34 . 






M A R K continued. 


9 1 - 

58, 86 

j!9. 21 

. 169 

13 . 

. . . 31,58 

I0 ioir. 

. 207 

, 3 32 

. 169 



I 22 . 


I 34 . 

i79. i 

4 10 - 


j 40-57 

. . 175 ff. 

I0 1 . 

. 169 

->5. 33. 41 

. 179 n. i 


. 118 


6 4(; . 

I0 21f. 
IQ 23. 24 

. 58, 152 
. i68f. 
. I46f. 

2 lfi - . 

4 13 

191 ff. 
. 200 f. 

. 206 

II 12 
II 42 

. 151 

. 148 

6 17 . 


II 41 

162 n. i 



162 n. i 

2 4 4 - 

. 118 

j!3. 14 


4 30 . 



1 1 


I 18 . 

179 n. i 


21 . 

. 118 

I 4 . 

219, 220 n. i 

2 7 . 

. 216 


2 17 . 

. 218 

IX 20-20 
II 30 

I3 29 

. I94f. 
192 ff. 
1 19 n. i 


8 2 . 
ii 19 

. 220 
. 219 

. 221 

. 218 

j -20. 2!) 
j r33-3G 

i6 4 . 

191 ff. 
. . . 206 ff. 

. 202 
. 197, 201 

12 . 

I4 20 

i5 4 - 

. 220 f. 
. 220 
. 229 


20 8 . 
22 14 

. 217 

. 216 

6 l . 


22 15 

. 207