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bling passages in our Synoptic Gospels, taken in connection with the other circumstances of the case, furnishes very strong proof that he used these Gospels. This proof is not materially weakened by the fact that his writings contain many other quotations differing widely from the corresponding passages in our Gospels. For in using these he may have been freely citing from memory.
But Dr. Martineau claims that the question cannot be decided without taking other things into consideration, — the fact that these variations “resemble remarkably the variations observed in the Clementine Homilies, a production of the same period,” and the further fact that, to quote his own words, “ they differ both in frequency and character from concomitant inaccuracies in citing the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, where the memory alone is answerable. These facts imply that Justin drew bis quotations from some source textually different from our Gospels — an inference confirmed by the further fact that he adduces from the same • Memoir' matter which is not found in our Gospel narratives; for example, " Wherefore the Lord Jesus has said in whatsoever ways I shall find you, in the same also I will judge you,' and again, • When Jesus came to the river Jordan when John was baptizing, as Jesus descended into the water a fire also was kindled in Jordan, and when he came up out of the water, the apostles of this our Christ have written that the Holy Spirit lighted upon him as a dove.' Comparing these phenomena with the citations of Irenæus, we seem to be in contact at the earlier date with the unfashioned materials of Christian tradition, ere yet they had set into their final form, with some elements still to be discarded, and others not yet incorporated which could not have been absent, had the author been acquainted with them.”
Let us examine the statements and the reasoning of this elaborate passage. As regards the “ Clementine ” quotations, it is by no means certain that the work in which they are found is “ of the same period ” with Justin's writings. Harnack is sure that it is not, and confidently assigns it to the third century. But even if it were, it would count for nothing in the case, for of the quotations which it has in common with Justin, only two or three show a marked agreement with his version in disagreeing with our Gospels, and these have points of difference from the quotations in Justin quite as marked as those of agreement. If our author had himself examined the facts involved, he could not have spoken as he has done.
As regards the comparative inaccuracies of Justin's quotations from the Old Testament, and those from the Gospels, I will not dispute Dr. Martineau's statement, although an Old Testament scholar reminds me that, as we do not know what text of the Septuagint Justin used, we cannot be sure as to the amount of variation in his Old Testament quotations. But granting that there is a much larger relative number of widely variant Gospel citations in Justin's writings than of widely variant Old Testament citations, does this fact invalidate the conclusion that his “ Memoirs ” are identical with our Gospels naturally drawn from his twenty-five only “slightly variant” and ten “substantially exact” citations? Why may not Justin have felt more at liberty to cite the Gospels than the Old Testament freely from memory, since the former had not yet fully gained the reverence given to the latter as sacred Scripture?
But even if we set aside this hypothesis as inadmissible, we are only brought to the conclusion that Justin's source for the widely variant quotations lay outside our canon. The canonical origin of the exact and the slightly variant quotations is not disproved.
I take up now the statement that Justin “ adduces” from the “ Memoirs ” “ matter which is not found in our Gospel narratives, e. g.” (two quotations are given as cited above). I am obliged to say that the language used is seriously inaccurate. In the first place, Justin does not say or imply that the new “ matter” is contained in the “Memoirs." There is nothing in his manner of adducing it inconsistent with the belief that he derived it from some other source. In the second place, the “new matter,” of which the two quotations are cited as examples, consists simply of those passages, and one short saying of Jesus, namely, " there shall be divisions and heresies ;” unless, indeed, we add several historical details which Justin gives in his own description of Jesus, tracing his genealogy through Mary, saying that Mary brought him forth in a cave, that the Magi came to his cradle from Arabia, that he " made plows and yokes,” that the heavenly voice at his baptism said, “ Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.” These details perhaps deserve consideration among the phenomena showing Justin's sources, but could hardly be reckoned as “new matter" (the italics are Dr. Martineau's), and certainly cannot be said to have been “ adduced” from the “Memoirs.”
That these details and the three passages quoted above are to be ascribed to oral tradition is a not unreasonable hypothesis. Mr. Sanday is inclined to believe that they show that Justin “ used a lost Gospel besides our present canonical Gospels." Whether he is right or not, to count them as evidence against the use of the latter by Justin seems unreasonable.
Justin's writings, then, cited as proving that our Synoptic Gospels were written after the year 155 (this conclusion is based solely upon the evidence they contain), seem to demand that a much earlier date than this should be assigned to them ; inasmuch as Justin used them in the belief that they were “ Memoirs from Apostles and companions of Apostles.” I may add that Holtzmann and Hilgenfeld, critics whom few would charge with a conservative bias, attribute the use of the Synoptic Gospels to Justin.
One cannot but wonder that Dr. Martineau has passed over other writers of the second century who seem to have used the Gospels, and some who have given information about them. Why has he not mentioned Tatian and his “Diatessaron,” a translation of which was recently published by Ciasca ? If it be true that a life of Christ made of excerpts from our four canonical Gospels was put into circulation at about the middle of the second century (between 155 and 170, if we follow Lightfoot), the fact is an important source of information as to the date of these Gospels. Why has be not mentioned Papias, and his statement made about 135 (if again we may follow Lightfoot), that Matthew wrote the sayings (or oracles) in the Hebrew dialect, and that each interpreted as he could, and his further statement that the “elder” (one of Christ's disciples) said that Mark, who was Peter's interpreter, wrote down accurately as many things as he (Peter) mentioned ?
Is this fact without significance in respect to the authorship of our canonical Matthew and of Mark? How can Dr. Martineau without alluding to it confidently say, “Does, then, the external evi. dence conduct us to the person of a known eyewitness, and enable us to say who it is that vouches for this statement, and who for that? On the contrary, it carries us back out of the period of definite names into one of indefinite floating tradition, — tradition called indeed apostolic,' but by the vagueness of that very phrase betraying its impersonal and unaccredited character. Historical memorials which are to depend for their authority on the personality of their writer cannot afford to wait for a century ere his name comes out of the silence. The remaining records of the ministry of Christ have an origin so obscure that it is impossible to say who is answerable for any part of them.” (P. 183.)
So much for Dr. Martineau's discussion of the external evidence for the apostolic authorship and historical trustworthiness of the Synoptic Gospels. Let us now examine the reasons which he finds in their structure and contents for deeming their account of Christ unreliable. He says that the coincidences existing between them in substance and arrangement, “ virtually reduce them to a single source.” No proof of this assertion is advanced. There is no intimation that it is not universally accepted by scholars. Yet it contradicts the conclusions which embody the weightiest critical opinion. I do not know of a single German critical scholar of eminence who would assent to it. Holtzmann and Weizsäcker, whose help Dr. Martineau acknowledges in his preface, and Weiss, from whom he might have derived assistance quite as valuable as theirs, do not hold it.
A second argument is derived from the alleged scantiness of the time covered by the Synoptic Gospels : “The synoptists deal with the events of fifteen months, of which more than fourteen are assigned to Galilee ; and the whole are supposed to have been spent by them, or their informants, in attendance upon the footsteps of Jesus. But we hardly realize to ourselves how little of this story is really told. Of the four hundred and fifty days comprised within it, there are notices of no more than about thirty-five. ... It appears, therefore, that twelve thirteenths of the ministry which they describe is left without a record ; and that the three Gospels move within the limits of the remaining one thirteenth.” (P. 185.)
It is assumed, of course, that the Evangelists profess each to write a diary of Christ's ministry, assigning to each day in it its own sayings and doings, and the complaint is made that they have only partially filled out their scheme. But none of them makes such a profession. Only one of them even aims at a chronological succession. Mark arranges his material between the opening and the close of Christ's ministry in a pragmatic order. Matthew is fond of introducing new scenes in the life of Christ with the indefinite phrase " at that time.” Luke expresses in his preface the intention of writing the events handed down by the Apostles “ in their succession.” But he certainly does not profess to fill out a diary of Christ's life. I turn at random to one of his chapters and find three successive pericopes in it respectively introduced as follows: 6 And it came to pass on a Sabbath,” “ It
1 Dr. Martineau seems to have implicitly accepted Pfeiderer's judgment as to this matter. But this able writer cannot be regarded an expert in Gospel criticism.
came to pass on another Sabbath,” “And it came to pass in those days."
Then we are told that the “ verbal coincidences and differences of our Gospels show their derivative character,” in fact,“ reduce our Evangelists to mere editors of previous materials.” No proof of this is given except the assertion that “no two witnesses, however perfect their substantive agreement, will tell any part of their story in identical words.” But suppose this to be granted (although the fact should be taken into the account that the “story” in the present case consists largely of short, pithy, and, therefore, easily remembered sayings), how does it justify the statement that our Evangelists are "mere editors of previous materials”? Almost all of Mark has close parallels in Matthew and Luke. Suppose that the explanation of this fact adopted by the great majority of competent scholars, and countenanced by Dr. Martineau when he somewhere calls Mark “our oldest Gospel,”
– namely, that the other two Gospels use Mark as a source, - be the true one; then this one of the three writers escapes the imputation put on him by the coincidences of being “a mere editor of previous materials.” Suppose that the Logia of Matthew were, as the leading German critics believe, used as a second source, by the author of our present Matthew; then this writer would be a “ mere editor,” it is true, but a great part of the Gospel would be apostolic, and therefore not fairly represented by Dr. Martineau's statement.
The third Evangelist was certainly an "editor of previous materials.” This could reasonably be inferred from his preface alone. Yet this fact does not, as Dr. Martineau seems to suggest, imply that his Gospel is merely a second-rate source of knowledge about Christ. It may contain first-rate material, distinguishable from the Evangelist's additions. F. W. Robertson's letters imbedded in his memoir give the best of all information about the man. Yet Mr. Stopford Brooke in giving them to us is a “mere editor of previous materials.” Luke in editing need not have recast his material. He may have preserved it essentially in its original form. The most influential critics of opposite schools, among whom I may mention Holtzmann, Weiss, and Wendt, think that he did this ; that his Gospel contains a large part of Matthew's Logia.
No discussion of the evidence given by the interdependence of the Synoptic Gospels respecting their age and trustworthiness is of value which does not use ascertained results as to the amount