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writer of the close of the following century — And His disciples believed on Him.'
The general truth of the narrative is strongly corroborated by the words which follow : • After this He went down to • Capernaum, He and His mother, and His brethren, and His
disciples.' The first point which strikes the observant reader here is the aptitude of the expression went down,' inasmuch as Cana, if rightly identified with Kana el-Jelîl, lies on the broad plateau to the west of the Sea of Gennesaret, whilst Capernaum lay on much lower land, on the shore of the same sea. The next point for remark is that we find the brethren' of Christ included amongst those who accompanied Him to Capernaum. Now, no mention has been made of the presence of our Lord's brethren at Cana. Nazareth, however, was but six or eight miles distant from it. The report of a miracle wrought at Cana may well have reached the ears of Christ's brethren who may have joined Him and His mother at that place; or, which is equally probable, He and His mother may have visited Nazareth before proceeding to Capernaum. In any case, when viewed in connexion with the Synoptical account of the departure from Nazareth at a subsequent period, and of the abode in Capernaum,* the remark that Christ was accompanied by His brethren in His journey to the latter place deserves attention; and it may, we think, not unreasonably be inferred from the words, . And they continued there not many • days,' that the writer was aware of that other and more prolonged sojourn at Capernaum which, according to the Synoptical accounts, followed upon the imprisonment of John the Baptist.
One more illustration must suffice—viz. the account of the dialogue with Nicodemus; and we select this the rather because the discourses of our Lord, as recorded in the fourth Gospel, have been made the special subject of hostile criticism, and also because this discourse in particular has been singled out by the author of Supernatural Religion' as artificial in the extreme, • and certainly not genuine ; '† whilst, in another place, he observes that there can be no doubt that the scene was ideal, and it is scarcely possible that a Jew can have written it.' We shall have occasion to refer hereafter to the general grounds of objection which have been taken to the discourses of our Lord as recorded in the fourth Gospel, as different in style and character from those contained in the Synoptic Gospels--as too
* St. Mark iv. 13.
† Vol. ii. p. 469. # Vol. ii. p. 446.
long to be capabie of being correctly related after the lapse of many years—and as according in a very remarkable manner with the general style of the writer himself, both in this Gospel and also in the first of the Epistles which are commonly ascribed to St. John. Contenting ourselves for the present with the single remark that if all these grounds of objection could be substantiated, they would go but little way towards proving that the fourth Gospel could not have been written by an Apostle, we proceed to notice some indications contained in the discourse with Nicodemus which appear to us to point to a conclusion altogether different from that at which the author of • Supernatural Religion' has arrived.
(1.) The account of the visit of Nicodemus and his allusion to the miracles wrought by our Lord* falls in naturally with the statement contained in chap. ii. 23, that many in Jerusalem believed on Him, seeing the miracles which He did.
(2.) The name of Nicodemus, which occurs only in the fourth Gospel, is found in the Talmud, and was a name of not unfrequent occurrence amongst the Jews, as well as amongst the Greeks to whom it appears naturally to belong. The adoption of such a name, therefore, if the scene be ideal, was either the result of a happy chance, or it indicates a more accurate acquaintance with Jewish nomenclature than the writer of the fourth Gospel is accredited with by his opponents.
(3.) The fact that our Lord's answer, as contained in v. 3, is addressed rather to the thoughts which were passing in the mind of Nicodemus than to the words which were spoken by him, is in precise accordance with the ordinary custom of Christ, as represented in the Synoptic Gospels, but does not well accord with the theory of an ideal scene.
(4.). The allusions to Nicodemus in chapter vii. 50, 51, and again in chapter xix. 39, are too incidental to suggest the idea of deliberate inventions, with a view to the support of the historical character of chapter iii. ; whilst, if incidental and undesigned, they afford strong corroboration of the substantial truth of the account contained in that chapter,f and the more so, inasmuch as the effect of the interview with our Lord
• Chap. iii. v. 2.
† Nicodemus is described in chap. iii. 1 as 'a ruler of the Jews' (åpxwv), a name employed to designate the Sanhedrin (St. Luke xxiii. 13; xxiv. 20). The allusion to his position in chap. vii. as one of these same rulers (cf. v. 50 with v. 48), is either an undesigned coincidence corroborative of the reality of the scene described in chap. iii., or it is an instance of astute forgery such as is not common in the literature of the second century. VOL. CXLV. NO. CCXCVII.
upon Nicodemus is not recorded in chapter üü., and can be inferred only from the part which he took in later transactions.
(5.) The words and phrases which occur in the narrative are not such as would readily have suggested themselves to a Greek writer of the second century, whilst they are in exact accordance with what might be expected from a Jew of the first century. Amongst these we may note the following: (a) The title of Rabbi, and the description given of our Lord as a teacher come from God.'* (1) The double. Amen'of vv. 3, 5, which is as remote from the style of a Greek writer of the second century as it is in accordance with that of a Jew of the first century. (c) The Hebraic expression in v. 3,' to see
the kingdom of God,' explained in v. 5 as equivalent to another Hebraistic phrase, 'to enter into the kingdom of God.'t (d) The expression, The Son of Man,' ó viòs toŰ dvbpóstou, I peculiar to our Lord Himself during His sojourn upon earth, and only used once by any other respecting Him after His ascension into heaven. § (e) The explanation of the typical character of the brazen serpent, an application of Old Testament history, very natural in the mouth of a Jew, not so likely to be employed by a philosophical Greek. (f) The Hebraic expression, doing truth'|| so characteristic of all the writings ascribed to St. John. It would be superfluous to adduce further illustrations. It is easy for a writer who possesses no acquaintance with the Hebrew language, or with Jewish modes of thought, to assert that it is scarcely possible that a Jew could have written this conversation. Those who are competent to form any conclusion on such a subject will, if we are not greatly mistaken, be inclined to substitute the word Greek in the place of Jew.'
We shall now proceed, following for the most part the order observed by the author of Supernatural Religion,' to consider the force of some of those internal objections to the genuineness of the fourth Gospel which he has collected with considerable assiduity, and with an imposing parade of authorities, from the sceptical writers of the present century. The first objection is the alleged divergence in language, in style, • and in religious views and terminology,' between the fourth
* Cf. St. Matt. xix. 16; St. Mark x. 17.
† Cf. Job xvii. 15; xxxiii. 28; Ps. xvi. 10; xxvii. 13; lix. 10; Apoc. i. 12.
Verses 13, 14.
The approximating expression son of man,' viùs à vopórov, without the article, equivalent to Daniel's bar enosh, occurs twice in the Apocalypse (i. 13; xiv. 14).
ll v. 21.
Gospel and the three Epistles on the one hand, and the Apocalypse on the other, the whole of which are asserted, and the
Gospel and the Apocalypse expressly declared, by the • Church' to have been composed by John the son of Zebedee. We are left to form our own conjectures as to the sense in which the author of "Supernatural Religion ’ here employs the designation the Church ;' and consequently we are in ignorance to what 'assertion' or express declaration of the « Church' he refers. We are quite content, however, to accept the statement itself, so far at least as it relates to the Gospel and the first Epistle on the one hand, and to the Apocalypse on the other, as expressing the prevailing belief of the Catholic Church of all ages respecting the authorship of these works. Nay more, we attach considerable argumentative importance to the truth of the statement, inasmuch as it so happens that we have very early testimony to the Johannine authorship, both of the first Epistle commonly ascribed to St. John, and of the Apocalypse. If, then, the identity of authorship of the Gospel and the first Epistle be, as is almost universally allowed, incontestible, and if, as we believe, the proofs of identity of authorship of the Gospel and the Apocalypse greatly outweigh the real or alleged discrepancies, in style, in thought, and in terminology, which are said to exist between them, we are entitled to employ the evidence of the earliest witnesses respecting the Johannine authorship of the first Epistle and of the Apocalypse as affording presumptive evidence also of the Johannine authorship of the Gospel.*
The diversities in style, in terminology, and in sentiment between the fourth Gospel and the Apocalypse, on which the author of 'Supernatural Religion' lays so much stress, appear to us to have been unduly magnified. It is alleged that the • barbarous Hebraic Greek' of the Apocalypse could not have proceeded from the same pen to which we are indebted for the * polished elegance of the fourth Gospel; and that whereas • the abrupt and inelegant diction of the one is precisely what “ might be expected from the unlearned and ignorant fisherman
of Galilee,' the peculiar smoothness, grace, and beauty which we observe in the other afford clear and decisive indications that the fourth Gospel must be ascribed to one who possessed great facility of composition in the Greek language.
It is admitted by the author of 'Supernatural Religion' (ii. p. 392) that the external evidence that the Apostle John wrote the Apocalypse
is more ancient than that for the authorship of any book of the New · Testament, excepting some of the epistles of Paul.'
We shall not now pause to discuss the question of the Galilean origin or residence of St. John. We will observe only that, whilst it appears to have been customary for the inhabitants of Judæa to resort to the Sea of Galilee for the purpose of fishing, especially during the month immediately preceding the feast of the Passover, the absence of any allusion to the Galilean dialect of John, though present together with Peter at our Lord's trial, the reference to his acquaintance with Caiaphas the high priest," and the statement—too casually introduced to admit of the supposition of design--that from the hour at which he received the charge he took the mother of his Lord to his own house,' t-all accord with the supposition that the ordinary abode of the beloved disciple was not in Galilee, but in Jerusalem.
This supposition will not only suggest a probable explanation of the fact that so large a portion of the fourth Gospel is devoted to the Judæan ministry of our Lord, throughout the greater part of which the writer may well be supposed to have been His constant companion, but when coupled with the allusions to the independent position of Zebedee and of Salome, will render it not improbable that even in early life St. John may have acquired some acquaintance with the Greek language, a language very widely diffused over Palestine at this time, and commonly spoken by a large number of those Jews who periodically attended the great feasts at Jerusalem. The reference to Peter and John in Acts iv. 13 as unlearned and ignorant men' does not appear to us to warrant the conclusion which the author of • Super• natural Religion has drawn from it, and to which he again and again refers in support of the “impossibility that • a work of such polished elegance' as the fourth Gospel could have emanated from such a writer. The fact that Peter, not John, was the speaker on the occasion to which reference is made, warrants the conclusion that it was to the former rather than to the latter that the observation of the Sanhedrin had primary reference; whilst, in regard to the two epithets applied to these Apostles, the one cypáuje ato, unlearned, probably denotes no more than the absence of rabbinical learning, acquired in the Jewish schools, and the meaning of the other word i&o@tas, ignorant' (as is apparent from St. Paul's use of the word in regard to his own speech,' 2 Cor. xi. 6), depends altogether upon the context in which it stands.
But further, if we assume for the present the strict accuracy
* St. John xvii. 15.
† Ibid. xix. 27.