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and order of dependence, and the origin of such part of their common material as has been proved to be primary. If we can find out what parts of these mutually related documents are of earlier date than the rest and where they came from, then we can show what their compositeness means to the historical student. One of the most creditable performances of German science is its patient labor at this difficult problem. Its researches, carried on with unflagging zeal through the present century, have given conclusions which seem to endure repeated and thorough testing, and have gained the assent of the most influential scholars of opposite theological tendencies. It is believed that the second Gospel is either the written account of Christ's life into wbich Mark put the material which he received from Peter, or a redaction of it which gives its essential content (the former view is more widely held and is apparently driving the other from the field); that Matthew is principally made up of Mark and of matter drawn from the Logia of the Apostle Matthew, and that Luke's principal sources are also Mark, and the Logia. One may, of course, dispute these conclusions if he will. Some scholars of the first rank do dispute them. One may accept them, and claim that they do not substantiate the church view of the historical value of the Gospels. This position is taken by some of the acutest minds which have been occupied with Biblical criticism.
But one who undertakes to discuss the historicity of the Gospels, and, ignoring these results, gives a positive opinion drawn merely from the general look of the phenomena, exposes himself to criticism in so doing. “ Through how many recensions,” says Dr. Martineau, “the Christian tradition passed before it set into the form under which our Gospels present it, it is beyond the resources of criticism to decide.” An assertion so important and so widely at variance with commonly accepted views as this must be considered hasty, unless accompanied by a presentation of the evidence justifying it contained in the facts involved; but this is not given. On the contrary, we have evidence in the book tending to show that these facts have not been sufficiently mastered to be put to critical use. As has been already said, Dr. Martineau expresses the belief that our Gospels took their present form after the middle of the second century. But we find him afterwards speaking, in evident forgetfulness of this opinion, of “the interval ... between Jesus' living voice, and the period from forty to seventy years later, during which our Synoptic Gospels were compiled.” (P. 340.) It is not, I hope, disrespectful to suggest that Dr. Martineau's inability to remember within fifty years, while composing his book, the date assigned by him to these Gospels, shows that the facts pertaining to their genesis cannot have been mastered and fully considered by him.
Yet Dr. Martineau seems to have definite convictions about the genesis and the mutual relations of the Synoptic Gospels; for he calls Mark the oldest (p. 344), says that Luke is next oldest (p. 585 and note, cf. 342), that our canonical Matthew is a Greek redaction, with additions, of an Aramaic Gospel written forty years after Christ's death (p. 331), and again says of all the three, perhaps having forgotten some of the above statements, that they constitute “a single source twice revised and enlarged.” These things are stated as facts, and inferences drawn from them favoring Dr. Martineau's theological opinions. But the reasons which led him to consider them facts are not given ; although a criticism of the Gospels is offered us in his book. We are not even given the names of the critics who hold these views, and so enabled to estimate the degree of currency they have gained.
Dr. Martineau holds that the long interval which in his judgment separates the Gospels from the life of Christ releases their readers from the obligation of accepting their portraiture of Jesus. Those who believe one of them to have been written by the companion of an Apostle, and the other two to embody the written recollections of another Apostle as a considerable and easily
1 A variant statement is made by Dr. Martineau on page 523 : “The Synoptical Gospels being compilations by unknown hands and of uncertain dates, probably between A. D. 75 and A. D. 120, of the popular traditions respecting the life of Jesus." Yet another occurs on page 188 : “Of the two or three strata of unhistorical material which overlie the primitive and unvitiated tradition, the newest can scarcely have been deposited before the third or fourth decade of the second century." On page 247 Dr. Martineau assigns Luke to “the years near the border of the two centuries” (the first and second). He seems to have written this while holding the opinion expressed on page 340. Yet he holds that Justin Martyr's writings antedated Luke. It ought, perhaps, to be added that he in one place admits the uncertainty of dates from which he draws positive and sweeping conclusions : “Accuracy here is certainly unattainable ; and definite dates are admissible only as approximations, which, till corrected by further evidence, may serve in aid of clear conceptions" (!). (P. 257.) (Italics mine.) Another instance may be given in which Dr. Martineau has apparently shown forgetfulness of one of his own important critical positions. On page 515 he puts the composition of the “ Teaching of the twelve Apostles ” at about the middle of the second century. On page 537 he says that we cannot "seek for the date of the 818axh much later than the close of the first century."
distinguishable part of their contents, cannot, of course, even if they would, accept the release thus offered them. They cannot but believe that the sayings and deeds attributed to Jesus belonged to the treasured recollections of the apostolic circle and carry the impress of his personality. They do not assume that the Evangelists were infallible. They admit the historical possibility that the author of the first Gospel and Luke wove into their narratives errors as to facts, or even legendary elements, which had crept into the tradition before they wrote. But they do not regard the essential correctness of the two great sources as impeachable. These sources seem to them to present Jesus as He lived in the memory of his Apostles. That their recollection was not so beclouded by their imagination but that the remembered Christ was in all essentials the real Christ, they think it right to assume, if Christianity itself be taken into the account. To leave it out of view, in estimating the correctness of the apostolic recollection of Jesus, to refuse to take notice of the very facts which have most instructiveness for the matter in hand, they seem arbitrary and unreasonable.
Dr. Martineau makes the untrustworthiness which he attributes to the Synoptic Gospels the ground for setting aside their testimony that Jesus claimed the Messiahship. He believes that our Lord only professed to be a prophet ; that “ he only took up the Baptist's message, and prolonged in new tones his herald's cry that the advent was near,” that is, that a reign of righteousness was to begin on the earth. “ The Messianic theory of the person of Jesus was made for him, and palmed upon him by his followers.” * This theory has spoiled the very composition of the Old Testament, and, both in its letters and in its narratives, has made the highest influence ever shed upon humanity subservient to the proof of untenable positions and the establishment of unreal relations." The Pharisees, to be sure, accused Jesus of claiming the Messiahship, and so brought about his death ; but the accusation was a false one, invented to get rid of a troublesome reformer. He did not assert his Messiahship when on trial, as the Evangelists say that He did. After his death the desire of the disciples to see the Messiah in Him, a desire which Jesus had tried to remove all his life, controlled their thought of Him, and made them unconsciously put a claim to Messiahship into the self-descriptive words which they report as coming from his lips. I will not stay to ask whether this hypothesis is historically probable. I will not argue the unlikelihood that Jesus' devoted and holy followers should take up a malignant and lying accusation of his enemies, – one invented to bring Him to a felon’s death and successfully employed to this end, — and make it the controlling element in their thought of Him, and the ruling conviction of their lives. I will not press the difficulty of accounting for Paul's career by the assumption that this false theory of the person of Jesus in some inexplicable way gained possession of him. Nor do I purpose to give the objections to this theory which lie on the face of our Gospels. What has been said respecting their date and sources seems to me a sufficient reply to Dr. Martineau's impugnment of their testimony on so essential a point. But I would like to discuss his treatment of two passages which are inexplicable if his view be the correct one. First, Peter's ascription of Messiahship to Christ on the day of Cæsarea Philippi. Setting aside Matthew's and Luke's versions and accepting Mark's as historical, Dr. Martineau claims that Jesus rejected the tribute which Peter paid to him. (Mark viii. 27–30 : “ Whom do men say that I am ? And they answered him saying, John the Baptist and others Elias and others one of the prophets. And he asked them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answering says to him, Thou art the Christ. And he charged them that they should tell no man concerning him.") This is Dr. Martineau's paraphrase of the passage: “ The impetuous Apostle breaks out • Thou art the Messiah.' Does Jesus accept the part? His answer is peremptory: “Silence! to not a creature are you to say such a thing again.?” Perhaps Dr. Martineau's interpretations of Scripture, like his conclusions respecting the dates of the Gospels and Acts, are held only as “approximations which, till corrected by further evidence, may serve in aid of clear conceptions.” If so, discussion of this exegesis would be out of place. But if it is seriously presented as an interpretation of the passage in Mark, it may be answered (1) that Jesus addressed the body of disciples, not Peter alone, and therefore his words cannot be taken as a rebuke to Peter for calling him Christ; (2) that in exhorting the twelve to reticence about Him He assumed that they had a secret to keep, a secret suggested by Peter's confession, and, therefore, presumably the Messiahship.
The other passage which lies in Dr. Martineau's way is that one which contains Christ's avowal of Messiahship before the Sanhedrin. (Mark xiv. 61, 62: “ Again the high priest asked him, and said to him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed ? And Jesus said, I am : and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming among the clouds of heaven.”) The difficulty is removed by simply denying that the incident took place. “ It is hard to reconcile this public avowal with the repeated sbrinking from this claim, and absolute prohibition to make it in his behalf.” But these can be accounted for by supposing that Jesus was trying to prevent a premature announce ment. Our author says that there were no friendly witnesses present, Peter not being within hearing. This is sheer assumption. We do not know but that Peter could and did hear the questions and answers. The Sanhedrin may have contained at least one member friendly to Jesus, as the fourth Gospel says that it did.
Before leaving Dr. Martineau's criticism of the Synoptic Gos pels, I wish to speak of the manner in which he uses a fact of modern literature to discredit their testimony. This fact is the incorporation of Herbert Palmer's “ Christian Paradoxes” into the edition of Lord Bacon's works published in 1648, and those printed from 1730 until the present day. It is thus stated by Dr. Martineau : “Here, then, we find a book passing current through two hundred and twenty years of the most recent history, under the name of a renowned philosopher, popularly read, criticised by literary men, argued on by metaphysicians and the chiefs of science throughout Europe, and regularly admitted as an important datum in the history of opinion; yet all the while, this essay, which is not Bacon's at all, existed in numerous printed editions, with the name of the real author," etc.
This statement is very inexact, and far more favorable to Dr. Martineau's conclusion than a precise one would have been. The book did not " pass current" as Bacon's, " through two hundred and twenty years of the most recent history.” After its first appearance in Bacon's works, in the “ Remaines” published in 1648, it was dropped out of all succeeding editions until Blackburn's was published in 1730. As Dr. Grosart, my authority for this statement (and, it may be added, the acknowledged source of Dr. Martineau's knowledge), says : “ Bacon's own executors and editors tacitly excluded them. Mr. Spedding remarks, · Rawley says nothing of it; and as he can hardly be supposed to have overlooked it in the collection, his silence must be understood as equivalent to a statement that it was one of the many “pamphlets put forth under his lordship's name " which “ are not to be owned for his." !”
The fact that this little treatise crept into Bacon's “Remaines” VOL. XV. — NO. 85. 2