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alleged—with errors in regard to places and customs, such as no Jew could have committed, and betraying throughout its Grecian origin and its anti-Jewish prejudices?
Our readers will not need to be informed that we are very far from admitting the existence of those numerous and serious discrepancies between the fourth Gospel and the Synoptic Gospels, which our author has diligently collected from various sources, and which, as we shall have occasion to observe, he has unsuccessfully attempted to magnify. Our present concern is only to show that in exact proportion to his success in this portion of his undertaking, he has furnished strong presumptive evidence—we had almost said conclusive proof-of the fallacy of his main proposition. It is so obvious, that we should have imagined it could hardly have escaped the observation of the author of 'Supernatural Religion, that had the fourth Gospel been the invention of the age to which he assigns it, it would infallibly have presented literary characteristics precisely the opposite of those which our author has ascribed to it. The great outline of the evangelic history, as it is presented in the narratives of the Synoptic Gospels, was, at the period in question, so widely circulated and so generally received, that a literary forger, in order to procure currency for his work, would have been constrained to construct it upon the lines already laid down; in other words, he would have avoided those discrepancies, whether real or only apparent, which the impugners of the fourth Gospel, with shortsighted policy, have brought so prominently into view.
For our own part we believe that whilst a large number of these alleged discrepancies, when carefully examined, will be found to be really so many points of coincidence, the more valuable because undesigned, between the earlier and the later narratives, the real and universally admitted differences between the Synoptic Gospels and the fourth Gospel owe their origin to the difference of time, and of circumstances under which they were composed, and to the different objects contemplated in their respective composition. But, whether capable of reconciliation or not, we maintain that these discrepancies afford strong presumptive evidence in favour of the genuineness and the authenticity of the fourth Gospel-evidence, the strength of which bears a direct proportion to the number and to the magnitude of the discrepancies themselves. Had these discrepancies been detected exclusively or even chiefly in minute points-points in which a forger might, and would, inadvertently have betrayed himself, they might reasonably have been adduced in support of an adverse conclusion. But
a large proportion of the discrepancies between the fourth Gospel and the Synoptic Gospels are, alike by its impugners and by its apologists, admitted to be of an essentially different kind. They are not so much indeed discrepancies in the proper sense of the word, as fundamental differences which are apparent even to the most superficial observer. They are differences such as no forger of a later period was likely to invent, and which none but an eye-witness, and one who knew that his work would be received as that of an eye-witness, would have ventured to introduce.
It would obviously be impracticable, within the limits of an article like the present, to adduce at length the internal evidence of originality which pervades the fourth Gospel. The necessity for such an undertaking, moreover, has been, to a great extent, superseded by the able work of Mr. Sanday, to which, notwithstanding certain points of difference between his conclusions and our own, we hold ourselves greatly indebted.* Inasmuch, however, as the question before us is one which must be decided in great measure by the weight of internal evidence, we think we should not do justice either to our subject or to our readers, were we to omit to lay before them so much of the evidence on which we rely as will enable them to form some estimate of its general character. Premising only that such evidence is, in its very nature, independent and cumulative, we proceed to examine certain portions of the first and second chapters of the fourth Gospel with a view to elicit some of the indications which they afford that the writer was an eyewitness of the facts which he has recorded.
We will refer first to the scene, so graphically delineated in the first chapter, of the call—as we will venture to assume of the writer himself:
• Again the next day after John stood, and two of bis disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi (which is to say, being interpreted, Master), where dwellest thou ? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him,
* The Authorship and Historical Character of the Fourth Gospel considered in reference to the Contents of the Gospel itself. A Critical Essay, by William Sanday, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford. Macmillan & Co. 1872.
We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.' (Chap. i. 35–43.)
Now here we observe first, that the day and the hour of the occurrence are minutely marked. It was the day which followed the testimony of John the Baptist to Christ; it was two days after the mission of the priests and Levites from Jerusalem who came to inquire into the claims of John; and it was the tenth hour of the day, i. e. (if the Evangelist followed the Jewish computation), two hours before sunset. (2) We find the position of the two principal actors in the scene minutely described, the one standing, the other walking. John, looking upon Christ, directs the attention of his two disciples to Him; and the exact words which he utters—the same as those which he had employed the preceding day-are recorded. (3) The act of the two disciples consequent upon the words of John, and that of Christ, as He turned, and saw, and addressed them, are described in words so simple, so natural, and yet so precise that the whole picture becomes at once present to the eye. (4) The inquiry of our Lord, which is met, not by a direct answer, but by another question—so natural if we are reading a real narrative, so unlike an artificial scene--and that of the disciples, as well as the following invitation of Christ, are all expressed in the direct, not in the oblique form,- What seek ye?' Where dwellest thou?' Come and see.' (5) The Hebrew appellation Rabbi, an appellation perfectly natural at that time, but one which had only just grown into use amongst the Jews,* is as naturally interpreted for the benefit of those who were not acquainted with the Hebrew language.
The same minuteness of detail characterises also the account which follows of Nathanael's
introduction to Christ, terminating with that double Amen (* Verily, Verily ') which a Greek forger of the second century would have been unlikely to introduce, and with that significant allusion to Jacob's ladder which such a writer would have been as unlikely to invent. Each particular in the narrative is stamped with the impress of truth. Thus e.g. it may be inferred from chap. i. 50, that the fig-tree was already in leaf when Nathanael was seen under it. This precisely accords with chap. ii. 12, where the feast of the Passover is assigned to a date very shortly subsequent to the call of Nathanael. The coincidence is too minute to admit of the supposition that it was designed.
* See Lightfoot's Works, vol. iv. p. 383. 1822.
Again, the account of the miracle wrought at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee is, in many respects, strongly corroborative of the genuineness of the fourth Gospel. The position of the miracle at the beginning of our Lord's ministry, before those dark shadows had fallen which obscured its close, is in itself suggestive rather of a genuine narrative than of a late invention. The geographical objection raised by Schenkel is founded on the erroneous supposition that the · Bethany be• yond Jordan where John was baptising' was in the neighbourhood of Jericho, and consequently that our Lord must have traversed a distance of about ninety miles within one, or at most two days. The identification of Tell Anihje (the Arabs often substitute Tell, hill, for the ancient Beth, house) with Beth Anihje, or Bethania, not only removes the whole of the alleged difficulty but affords strong evidence of the minute accuracy of the incidents recorded in the first and second chapters.* On the day following that of the writer's introduction to the Lord, as we suggest, 'Jesus would go forth • into Galilee, and findeth Philip.'| Philip, we are told, in verse 44 (and again incidentally, chap. xii. 21), was of the city of Bethsaida. I Now had our Lord come direct from Bethania to Cana in one day, He would have had to traverse a distance of about twenty-one miles, but had He gone round the head of the lake to Bethsaida on the day in which He found Philip, and from thence on the third day to Cana, He would have travelled, on the latter day, about fifteen miles, and might easily have arrived at Cana in time for a feast which was ordinarily celebrated in the evening. The fact recorded in chap. ii. v. 1, that the “ Mother of Jesus was there,' accords precisely with the statements of the Synoptists respecting the
* The grounds upon which this identification rests are stated by Dr. Caspari with much clearness and cogency. (See Chronological • Introduction to the Life of Christ,' pp. 92, 93, 112. T. and T. Clark. Edin. 1876.)
† i. 43.
# It deserves notice that Nathanael, who was called at the same time as Philip, is elsewhere said to have belonged to the city of Cana (xxi. 2). This accounts for his acquaintance with the general reputation in which the neighbouring city of Nazareth was held (v. 46), and possibly may afford an explanation of the fact recorded in ii. 2, that not only our Lord but also His disciples, who had been so recently called, were invited to attend the marriage feast in the city of Cana. If the
mother of Zebedee's children'(St. Matt. xxvii. 56) be rightly identified with the “mother's sister' of our Lord (St. John xix. 25), we have a sufficient explanation of the presence of St. John on this occasion.
abode of Joseph in the neighbouring city of Nazareth, but ill accords with the arbitrary supposition that the writer of the fourth Gospel • deliberately desired to deny the connexion of
Jesus with Nazareth and Galilee.'* The mention of the number, the capacity, and the use of the water-pots, betokens the presence of an eye witness acquainted with Jewish customs, as the familiar phrase, “What have I to do with thee ?' (Lit. What to me and to thee') indicates the familiarity of the writer with Hebrew phraseology. Those who are accustomed to compare genuine narratives with works of imagination will not fail to be struck with the vividness and life-like character of each incident which is recorded, and with the fidelity to the natural sequence of events with which the whole scene is portrayed. They will observe, for example, the rehearsal, in the words of the speakers, of the conversation between our Lord and His mother, and of the directions given by both to the servants. They will notice the simple and natural manner in which the observance of the directions given is related. They will take account of what may be called the side-lights of the narrative, such as the casual but important notice, parenthetically introduced, that whilst the table-master' was ignorant whence the new supply of wine had been obtained, the servants “which drew the water knew;' or such again as the notice of the calling' of the bridegroom--perhaps from his place at the table--and of the remark addressed to him by the * table-master,' respecting the superiority of the wine last produced over that which had been already drunk.
The closing remark of the Evangelist affords another, and perhaps even a more striking, proof that we have here the account of a contemporary writer, personally concerned in the transactions which he records : • This beginning of miracles
did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory; • and His disciples believed on Him. It will at once commend itself to the mind of every impartial reader that these are not the words of one who invented the miracle with the preconceived idea of exalting the Divine Logos, or of magnifying the impression produced by the first 6 manifestation of His glory.' Whilst such an one would have enlarged upon the effect produced upon the whole company by the miracle recorded, the writer of the fourth Gospel, mindful of the effect produced upon his own mind, and upon that of his companions, contents himself with the simple assertion-so natural, if his own experience be recorded, so unnatural, if the utterance of a Greek
* Supernatural Religion, vol. ii. p. 447.