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must perform, whether he would or not.'1 Strauss was necessitated by his standpoint to refer to the region of legend all which is not opened by this key. Our purely positive tendency precludes us from a thorough contest with the Myth theory which he has offered to the German people. We will here content ourselves with showing the reasons why he has until now neither succeeded, nor ever can succeed, in obtaining applause and acknowledgment, notwithstanding all the expenditure of acuteness and learning, as well as the energy of will, with which he has striven to carry out that theory. Welcker's declaration, that 'a myth sprouts out of the mind, as a germ breaks through the earth,' may be just in relation to a time which is before history; but it is quite inapplicable to the time here treated of: there it unavoidably leads to absurdities. Whoever reads the attempt which Strauss has made (Leben Jesu, p. 154; Eng. transl. i. p. 206) to illustrate the manner in which, according to this theory, the evangelical accounts of miracles have come into existence, will not be so much astonished that he has employed it, as that he can suppose that a man with sound sense could find it acceptable. But it appears, in fact, that he is more and more inclined to abandon the hypothesis of such a 'generatio æquivoca' as a position as good as lost, and to put in the place of this unconscious formation of legends the conscious fabrication of them. On the other hand, he indeed protests that he has completely given up the former; but when he acknowledges that,
1 If Strauss had not assured us that he had not read Renan's work until after the completion of his own, we should have entertained the suspicion that he had borrowed this phrase from that writer, who, as is known, often assures us that Jesus was a worker of miracles 'contre ceur.' At any rate, it agrees better with the fantastic Frenchman than with the clear sober thinker. Singularly, however, it has also gained the assent of Zeller (compare his Vorträge und Abhandlungen, Leips. 1865, p. 489).
in consequence of Baur's proofs of the fact of intentional fabrication, he now grants far more justice and importance to it than formerly, his language betrays plainly enough the change of opinion which has come over him.
His position has thereby become untenable; and so long as he holds to it, so long as the fourth Gospel in particular is to him nothing more than a novel with an apologetic tendency, so long will he attract others less and less to him. If he selects the eleventh chapter of St. John in order to justify his views, he can, on the ground of his discussions, certainly maintain the full amount of the assertion, that the history of Lazarus in St. John cannot be held without dizziness' (die Halben und Ganzen, p. 124); but, in truth, it would make the head of any impartial person grow giddy, if he is to believe the conception that a Gentile Christian in the second century has composed it. We put quite out of sight the moral side of the question ; but Strauss must necessarily show (as the question is now no more one regarding unconscious productions of an uncertain subject, “the Church,' but regarding the conscious literary activity of an individual) that, among the Gentile Christians of the second century, men were not wanting who may have been qualified for such a task. We take all connoisseurs of the literature of this century to witness, whether there is even the slightest trace of any qualification of that sort to be found. There have been certainly in all times poetical geniuses; but who would have been able to have created unaided, in form and substance,
1 Strauss has been, however, urged to receive the cation' by no means only by the Gospel of St. John. He felt himself necessitated to it also in regard to the accounts of miracles in the synoptical Gospels. For even if the latter had arisen from being founded on prophetical texts,—as, for instance, the passage of Isa. xxxv. 5,—the supposition of an intentional fiction is here also indispensable.
ea of 'known
the eleventh chapter of the fourth Gospel, when in possession merely of an 'idea,' and some names? In comparison to him, all the known poets would be extremely subordinate spirits. It would be difficult for any one to demand the acceptance of such a monstrosity.
The position of Schleiermacher is apparently formed differently, and yet not so in reality. As this theologian, in the interest of the defence of ‘Ebionitism,' holds fast to the specific worthiness of the Redeemer, and thus surmises' that the power of working miracles may have been at His command, he would certainly find it conceivable and probable that Jesus should have also used this power. But as his interest was equally pressing, and perhaps preponderating, to exclude 'Doketism' in all, even its most subtle forms, he could acknowledge that probability only so far as he was able on one side to conceive a miraculous deed as an ordinary act of Christ; and, on the other side, to set up an analogy between Christ's manner of working and that of another man's, that is, in so far as the key of the psychological method of explanation (as mentioned before) unlocked it for him. Hence, probably, only single miracles were selected by him, and these even merely for the sake of showing the authority of the narrator of them, but not at all on account of Jesus' power of working miracles in general. As regards the latter, we get the impression that Schleiermacher rather concealed it, as in his Life of Jesus he has placed it very characteristically under the heading, * Zeit ausfüllung.'
But how is it now with those who more or less decidedly believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of
1 See Schleiermacher's Glaubenslehre, ii. p. 136: Christ used His powers of working miracles as every one uses his natural powers, each as opportunity occurs, to do good with them.' Much the same idea is expressed in his Leben Jesu, p. 220.
God, who is come into the world? Is not on that very account the Lord's power of working miracles at once both conceivable and probable? In what respect should it be made probable to them? We do not wish to withdraw from our former declaration, that in our whole exposition we have in view such minds as, though inclined towards faith, assure us that they find a stumbling-block in the miracles of our Lord; but we seek to answer more decidedly. Even to those who see not the least difficulty in Jesus' power of working miracles in itself, because they know that the Son of God is in possession of divine powers,
and thus qualified for divine actions, even to them on close deliberation weighty thoughts must arise. This is not very plain in the form in which Schleiermacher has expressed it (Leben Jesu, p. 227): The continuity and the unity of the human being and working of Christ must not, however, be annulled.' It is expressed more to the purpose by M. Baumgarten (Geschichte Jesu, p. 171): “If it is thought that almighty power was indwelling in the person of our Lord while working miracles,—a power which was indeed always present in Him, but which did not always come into action,—the life of Jesus is thereby injured, so that to no one can the connection between the performance of miracles and their non-performance be made plain ; or if this almighty power is thought to be always existing,—but that in miracles it is evident, while at other times it remained concealed,—the whole human life of Jesus is made nothing but an appearance. In both cases, all true interest in the miracles of Jesus is lost, and we ask with reason why He had not done many more and much greater miracles.' The question is this : If it is as the Apostle Paul wrote of Christ: “He thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a
servant, and was made in the likeness of men,' so that He, born of woman and made under the law, was also especially subject in its fullest extent to the laws and ordinances of life, He was hungry, He was thirsty, He was tired by a journey, required to sit down for rest, fell asleep from necessity, sent His disciples to buy food and order lodging ;-if so, it cannot possibly be said that working miracles was natural to Him, that miracles came from Him as spontaneous outflowings of His peculiar nature. But it is quite indispensable that it should be considered as an act of the will preceding it, of determined resolution to work in that manner. Even on the supposition of a divine almighty power being in Christ, the working of miracles by Jesus can thence only be found conceivable and probable, if it is acknowledged that there is a satisfactory motive.
It has already been shown, in the words of Twesten, how essential in a miracle is the teleological point of view. If, in order to comprehend the gubernatio miraculosa of God, we need to see the divine purpose, there occurs also a similar desideratum in regard to the working of miracles by Jesus. Christ Himself has expressly asserted the resemblance of the point of view from which should be judged the working of miracles of the Father, and that of His own. John v. 17: ‘My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.' 19. What things soever the Father doeth, these also doeth the
1 It needs no proof to show that the most cursory glance at the miracles of our Lord, related in the Gospels, justifies this view. We always see Jesus, as it were, rise up to prepare for a premeditated action, and one full of importance. Not to mention the most important cases, which are overpoweringly convincing from this point of view, such as the raising of Lazarus and the curing of the man born blind, we may take into consideration the instructive example of the woman who had an issue of blood, who, by merely touching His garment without His knowledge, as it were behind His back-in fact, without His will-wished to get cured by it. We know that she did not succeed. The question of Jesus, Who touched me? testifies to His knowledge that a power had gone out from Him—that His will, His intention, had been the preliminary to each miracle.