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just after his death, and was, nearly a century after, put into a collected edition of his works, and so gained from that time on general (though never universal) acceptance as his, may well be made the ground of a caution against easy acquiescence in the affirmations of tradition respecting ancient literature. But it does not suggest distrust of such evidence as we have for the Gospels. May the facts of this case, taken as a whole, encourage us to trust that evidence ; since they show that the weight of the earliest opinion about the authorship of the “ Paradoxes” was on the right side.
I have left myself little space for examining Dr. Martineau's criticism of the fourth Gospel. I should seriously regret this did I not feel that his contention with evangelical Christians, as to the spiritual claim made by Christ, hinges upon the trustworthiness of the Synoptics, and has therefore already been met.
His statement of the chief facts bearing on the authorship and date of the fourth Gospel and his inferences from them may therefore be more hastily treated. Irenæus' belief that John wrote the Gospel is said to be of no great value, notwithstanding his acquaintance in his youth with Polycarp, John's disciple, for he does not say that Polycarp told him that John was the author. But can we believe that Polycarp would have lived long in familiar intercourse with his young disciple, pouring out often his recollections of John, without mentioning his Gospel, if John wrote one? And can we believe that Irenæus would have accepted as John's composition a life of Christ of which he had never heard Polycarp speak? Irenæus' virtual declaration that Polycarp informed him that John lived in Ephesus has no weight (it is claimed), because Polycarp may have meant the Presbyter John, while supposed by Irenæus to mean the Apostle. As if it were right to assume without a scintilla of evidence that Irenæus committed so gross a blunder! Papias' testimony that John the Apostle lived at Ephesus counts for nothing, notwithstanding his life began early enough in the century for him to have personal intercourse with immediate disciples of Christ. This statement may be left to answer itself. “The current Christian belief in the latter part of the second century that the closing years of the Apostle John's life” were “spent in Ephesus," “ came from the assumption” (deemed by Dr. Martineau erroneous) “ that the Book of Revelation is from the Apostle John.” Papias very likely “took up with that belief." But as Papias probably wrote about 135, and was then an old
man, it does not appear self-evident that he should take up with a belief "current in the latter part of the second century.” And it is hard to see how a book which does not claim to be apostolic, addressed to the churches of Asia Minor, should be regarded as apostolic by those churches, and create in them the belief that its putative apostolic author lived among them. But when we turn to page 227, and learn that the Apocalypse could not have been written before 136, the task of believing that Papias took up with a belief about the place of John's later residence, which grew out of a wrong interpretation of its authorship, becomes herculean. And when, a few sentences later, we find Dr. Martineau speaking of the Apocalypse being “stripped of its own Apostolic pretension,” we take comfort in seeing that he has, like ourselves, succumbed to the difficulties of his hypothesis.
Justin Martyr is cited by our author as a witness against the Johannean authorship of the Gospel. The passage in the sixtyfirst chapter of his “ First Apology," which says, “ For Christ also said, Except ye be born again, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. But that it is impossible for those who have once been born to enter into the wombs of those who brought them forth is manifest to all,” does not refer to the similar words in the third chapter of John, but to some unknown source. The reasons advanced for this position are two: (1) that Justin's language differs from that of John ; (2) that in Rufinus' version of the “ Clementine Recognitions” the same passage is given with the same variations. “This concurrence of two independent writers in a set of variations on the same text must be due to some common cause; and what else can it be than the use by both of them of a source deviating from the fourth Gospel in these points ?” But, as Dr. Ezra Abbot shows, in his essay on “ The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel,” page 33 ff., Justin's variations from John are such as would naturally occur in a citation given from memory, and have parallels in later patristic citations of the same passage, of which John is unquestionably the source. Dr. Abbot, moreover, gives nine quotations of the same passage from Jeremy Taylor, which “exemplify all the peculiarities of variation from the common text” shown in the passage as found in Justin. As re gards the coincidence of the variations with those of the passage as given in Rufinus' translation of the “Clementine Recognitions," it may be said that, (1) unless the “ Recognitions” are known to be a work of the same period with Justin, the coincidence is a very slender proof of a common source. But it is very doubtful indeed whether the “Recognitions” belong to the second century at all. Harnack says that the earliest date which can be assigned to them is the first half of the third century. (2) We have no reason to put implicit confidence in the accuracy of Rufinus' translation. (3) The passage as given by Rufinus has one important variation from the version of it found in Justin.
Dr. Martineau says that besides this passage Justin's works contain not another one “ on which any stress can be laid as a probable quotation ” from the fourth Gospel. But when Justin says of John the Baptist that he cried, “ I am not the Christ, but the voice of him crying,” he seems to follow the fourth Gospel, which alone, as Dr. Abbot says, attributes to John the declaration “ I am not the Christ,” and the application to himself of the words quoted from Isaiah.
Justin's works, therefore, so far from showing that he did not use the fourth Gospel, give strong evidence to support the belief that he did use it. In favor of this conclusion may be cited the admission of Holtzmann in his recently published commentary on the Gospel, that it is now hardly a matter to be disputed that Justin was acquainted with the Gospel, an admission the force of which is not taken away by Holtzmann's belief that the Gospel did not rule Justin's thought as it would have done if deemed by him apostolic.
We are told that the heretic Valentine (140) did not have the Gospel : “ For in the account of his system by Irenæus, and of the passages of Scripture adduced in its support, we find only texts from the Old Testament, from the Synoptics, from Paul; ... while not a single Johannine text presents itself, though to every reader the most apposite quotations must occur as lying right in the way.”
But (1) a supposition as to how a person would have acted under certain circumstances is at best an uncertain basis for a conclusion. (2) It is not certain that Irenæus is not describing the ideas of Valentine's school rather than those of Valentine, and in the account of the Valentinian doctrine in which Dr. Martineau finds Synoptic and no Johannine quotations, Irenæus gives several verses from the fourth Gospel. These are ascribed, to be sure, to Ptolemy, a disciple of Valentine, but not so as to separate them in date from the quotations which have been made from the Synoptic Gospels. (3) Irenæus says that Valentine's disciples used the fourth Gospel freely. From this it may reasonably be inferred that it was used by their Master.
Marcion, it is said, could not have had the fourth Gospel, for if he had had it he would have given it the leading place in constructing his system which he actually gave to Luke. To this Bleek's answer seems adequate, namely, that Marcion's anti-Jewish tendency would have prevented his choosing a Gospel which honors the Old Covenant as this one does, and that its unity made it a more unfavorable subject for such alterations as his system demanded than a more loosely knit work like Luke. There seems, then, to be no reason for setting aside Tertullian's testimony that Marcion knew the fourth Gospel, especially as it seems to allude to a depreciatory remark of Marcion respecting this Gospel.
We are now able to test the value of the conclusion as to the date of the fourth Gospel, which Dr. Martineau reaches by summing up (to use his own phrase) the testimony of the witnesses. Let me give the result in his own language : “Probably not known to Justin (about 155), but possibly to the author of the Clementines (about 170); not in the hands of Valentinus (about 160), but in those of his disciples Ptolemæus and Heracleon (180 and 190); not used by Marcion (about 150), but by Marcionites of the next generation ; cited by Apollinaris (about 175); for the first time named by Theophilus of Antioch (about 180); the fourth Gospel would seem to have become known in the sixth or seventh decade of the second century, and to have ceased to be anonymous in the eighth.”
If our examination of the facts has been rightly conducted, this should be amended so as to read, Probably used by Justin (155), as well as by Marcion (140), and by Valentinus (160). To this should be added, Certainly used by Tatian in constructing his “Diatessaron ” (say about 165), and by him assumed to be undoubtedly from John ; regarded by Irenæus the disciple of Polycarp, a disciple of John, as beyond question the Apostle's work. Generally admitted to be from the same hand with the letter called the First Epistle of John, which, according to Eusebius, Papias, a companion of the Apostle, treats as apostolic, and from which Polycarp in his letter to the Philippians gives a passage, quoted in the Ignatian Epistles, written in 116. So the external testimony reaches back into the beginnings of the subapostolic literature and the opening of the second century. And it appears in the region in which, according to a tradition traceable to John's own disciples, the disciple spent the last years of his life.
Dr. Martineau's discussion of the indications which the Gospel itself furnishes respecting its date and authorship remains to be considered. The date which it assigns to our Saviour's death is presented, in connection with the Quarto-deciman controversy, as a reason for believing that the work cannot be ascribed to the Apostle John. The churches of Asia Minor, it is said, appear in that controversy as following a custom which practically denies the correctness of the chronology of the fourth Gospel. They broke the fast of passion week on the fourteenth day of Nisan, and thus declared that the Lord instituted the last supper on that day, alleging, as we learn from their opponents, that in their practice they followed the example of Christ, who ate the supper with his disciples on the fourteenth. But the fourth Gospel says that He was crucified on the passover day, which was the fourteenth. This argument, long ago employed by Baur, and now elaborately restated by Dr. Martineau, rests on the assumption that the Asiatic custom of having the supper on the fourteenth was grounded in the belief that Christ ate the last supper with the twelve on that day, and that the rite commemorated the date of the establishment of the eucharist. But of this, as Schürer shows in his essay “ De Controversiis Paschalibus,” there is no proof. The fact that those who followed the custom justified themselves late in the second century for eating on the fourteenth, by pleading the Lord's example, does not show that the ancient custom originated in his doing so. And, as Schürer adds, the language which its defenders used suggests another reason, and one inherently more probable, for the fourteenth day communion, namely, that this was the day of the Jewish passover. They seem to have claimed that the Old Testament required the observance of the fourteenth ; and how could it have required it except by setting the passover feast for that day, and so marking it off for the celebration of the Christian festival, which commemorated the sacrifice of Christ, the Antitype of the Paschal Lamb ? It may be added that Schürer does not attribute the fourth Gospel to the Apostle John, and that accordingly his belief that the Quarto deciman controversy gives no light as to its authorship is itself an indication that the argument drawn from it by Baur has not much weight. It may be added that the Asiatic disputant whose language Dr. Martineau quotes as a testimony against the Johannean authorship of the Gospel speaks for this authorship in the very words cited.“ Polycrates,” we are told, “ vigorously defends his Ephesian church and its neighbors, by appeal to the authority of their martyrs and spiritual guides. This roll of honor included seven bishops (relations of his own, Melito of Sardes, Polycarp