« EdellinenJatka »
of our author's account of the literary characteristics of the fourth Gospel and of the Apocalypse-in which we submit that few impartial critics will be found to agree with him—we have still to complain that he overlooks circumstances connected with their composition which would go far towards accounting for the discrepancies which exist between them. The entire difference in the subject matter of the two books would of itself lead us to anticipate a corresponding difference in their style. In the case of the Gospel, the writer—though subject, as we maintain, to certain directing and controlling influences--was still free to exhibit the same distinctive peculiarities of style which we observe in other writings both of the Old and of the New Testament. In the case of the Apocalypse, the writer was, to a very considerable extent, a passive instrument; alike as regards the visions which he saw, and the words which he was commissioned to record. And yet further, whereas the fourth Gospel was not composed until the latter part of the first century, the Apocalypse, according to the author of 'Super
natural Religion,' was committed to writing in 68-69 A.D. ; a conclusion than which, we are assured, no result of criticism
rests upon a more secure basis.'* If, then, a period of some twenty years or upwards elapsed between the composition of the fourth Gospel and that of the Apocalypse, during the greater portion of which time the writer-as all antiquity testifies—had his usual place of abode at Ephesus, one of the chief centres of Grecian civilisation and philosophy, it cannot be regarded as a thing altogether incredible that two works exhibiting very considerable differences of style and of sentiment, should have proceeded at such different times, and under such different circumstances, from the pen of the same writer.f
It is almost superfluous to observe that if we would arrive at any sound conclusion on this subject we must have recourse to the works of those scholars who have directed their particular attention to the subject of Hellenistic Greek. From such we shall learn that, whilst many of the most striking peculiarities of the Apocalypse are by no means without parallel in classical Greek, the Hebraisms of the fourth Gospel are much more numerous than the author of Supernatural * Religion’ supposes; and that the prevailing characteristics of that Gospel, both as regards style and expression, are such
* Vol. ii. p. 395.
† It is only fair to state that we do not ourselves adopt the chrono. logy of the author of 'Supernatural Religion' in regard to the date of composition of the Apocalypse.
as accord in a very remarkable manner with the known history of the Apostle John. Moreover, we discover, upon a more careful investigation of the Greek of the Apocalypse, that the alleged barbarisms on which the author of Supernatural • Religion’ lays so much stress are not the results of ignorance of the laws of Greek composition, but-whether adequate reasons can, or cannot, be assigned for their introduction-are designed emancipations from the ordinary rules of grammar. On the other hand, the numerous and remarkable coincidences which exist between the fourth Gospel and the Apocalypsewhilst for the most far too recondite to answer the end of the forger-confirm in a very remarkable manner the correctness of the external testimony which ascribes their authorship to the same person. In both of these writings (and in no other book of the New Testament), is the Incarnate Saviour described as the Logos, the Word' of God. Both assert His preexistence; both represent Him as the sin-atoning Lamb. In both His relations to His people are depicted under the similitudes of a Bridegroom, and of a Shepherd. In both He is represented as making His tabernacle with (or among) men. In the one He speaks of His own body under the similitude of a Temple; in the other He is represented as the Temple of the New Jerusalem; and in both He is said to make His abode in the hearts of His people. In both He supplies the true manna, and the living water. In both He is the source of Light and of Life; and in both it is to Him that the work of judgment is committed.
Numerous linguistic peculiarities are common to the two writings. In both, Hebrew words not unfrequently occur, and in both, they are explained by their Greek equivalents. In both, the quotations from the Old Testament generally follow the Septuagint version, but with such deviations as prove the familiarity of the writer with the Hebrew text; and there are many words and phrases which are found in both of these works, but which occur rarely or never elsewhere. *
Amongst the words common to both works we may notice (1) *EBpaïori, which occurs once in the Gospel, and six times in the Apocalypse, and nowhere else; (2) érkerteil, which occurs once in the Gospel, and once in the Apocalypse, and nowhere else; (3) obis, which occurs twice in the Gospel and once in the Apocalypse, and nowhere else; (4) Toppúpeos, which occurs twice in the Gospel and twice in the Apocalypse, and nowhere else. Amongst the phrases and idioms which are characteristic of both works we may notice (1) the use of ποιείν with words such as αμαρτία, δικαιοσύνη, κρίσις, &c. και (2) the use of eis or ev with és or é instead of the simple genitive ; It is alleged indeed, that whilst the whole tone and spirit of the Apocalypse are in harmony with the description which the Synoptists give of the impetuous character of St. John, the whole of the fourth Gospel breathes nothing but the spirit of meekness, forbearance, and love. It should be remembered, however, (1) that in the Apocalypse the writer describes the things which he sees, and records the words which he hears; and, consequently, that there is but little room left for indications of individual temperament; and (2) that whilst the natural influences of advancing years, and the supernatural influences of the Spirit may well account for the softened tone which the fourth Gospel breathes as compared with the Synoptical notices of the sons of Zebedee, there are not wanting either in it, or in the first Epistle, traces of the same ardent zeal which prompted the son of thunder' 'to forbid' one who was casting out devils, ' because he followeth not with us,' and to call down fire from heaven upon a Samaritan village because its inhabitants were unwilling to receive his Lord.
It is alleged further by the author of Supernatural Re·ligion,' that the attitude which the writer of the fourth Gospel assumes towards the Jews is wholly inconsistent with the supposition that he belonged to their nation; and that there are not wanting 'mistakes of various kinds which clearly point
to the fact that the author was neither a Palestinian nor a Jew “ at all.'* The arguments employed in support of this inference present a singular illustration of the influence which a foregone conclusion on any subject exercises over the better judgment of the writer. We admit, indeed, that the fourth Evangelist not unfrequently alludes to the national customs of the Jews in a very different manner from that which we observe in the Synoptic Gospels. But, whilst freely allowing that the recurrence of such phrases as the Passover of the Jews,' the • Jews' feast of Tabernacles, the manner of purifying of the
Jews,' may reasonably be thought to denote that the Evangelist did not write primarily for Jews, we contend not only that these expressions are in entire consistency with the alleged circumstances under which the fourth Gospel was composed, but that the adoption of a different phraseology might fairly have furnished an argument against its composition at the time
(3) εντεύθεν και εντεύθεν, peculiar to the Gospel and the Apocalypse ; (4) τηρείν with λόγον οι λόγους and with εντολάς, which is peculiar to the writings ascribed to St. John; (5) the habitual use of iva with the subjunctive, instead of the infinitive.
Vol. ii. p. 417.
and place to which it has commonly been assigned. If any evidence be required of the truth of this assertion, a glance at the pages of the contemporary historian Josephus will suffice to supply it.
The additional arguments urged by the author of “Supernatural Religion' in support of the same conclusion appear to us to present equally striking instances of inaccuracy of statement and of obliquity of reasoning. The following passage may serve as a specimen.
• The author (i.e. of the fourth Gospel) shows in a marked way that he was not a Jew, by making Caiaphas and the chief priests and Pharisees speak of the Jewish nation and
the people not as ó haos, like the Synoptics and other New • Testament writings, but as tò šovos, the term always employed by the Jews to designate the Gentiles.'
We think it would be difficult to combine in the same number of lines a greater number of errors than we find in this paragraph. In the first place, the writer asserts, or implies, that it is the uniform practice of the Synoptists and other New Testament writers to employ the term rò šovos in reference to the Gentiles, and the term ó Rao's to the Jews. So far, however, is this from being the fact that in eight out of the ten instances in which the term tò ? Ovos is used in the New Testament, exclusively of the fourth Gospel, the reference isnot to the Gentiles but-to the Jews. In the second place, whereas the author of • Supernatural Religion '* alleges that Caiaphas, according to the fourth Evangelist, does not apply the term ó naòs to the Jews, we find in a foot-note on the same page a reference to chap. xi. 50, in which Caiaphas applies to the Jews the very term which our author affirms that he does not use, and also another reference to char. xviii. 14, where the Evangelist, either quoting, or alluding to, the words of Caiaphas, adopts the same phraseology.
We have yet to notice the most extraordinary of the blunders which our author has contrived to introduce into a paragraph consisting only of six lines. In apparent ignorance of the fundamental distinction between the use of tò lovos, the nation, and down, t the nations, our author assures his unsuspecting readers that the former is the term always employed by the
Vol. ï. p. 416. + The Hebrew scholar will naturally recall to mind the precisely similar distinction between the Hebrew term haggoi, the nation, distinctively used of the Jews, and haggoim, the nations, as distinctively used in reference to (and in the A. V. commonly so translated) the Gentiles.
* Jews to designate the Gentiles;' and not content with a statement which appears to us to be alike damaging to his pretensions as a Greek scholar and as a Biblical critic, he proceeds to adduce an instance of the use of the latter of these terms in support of his assertion in reference to the former. *
Nor is our author more successful in his next attempt to fasten ‘mistakes upon the writer of the fourth Gospel. He alleges that the reference to Caiaphas as being the high priest that year (του ενιαυτού εκείνου) indicates the belief that the office was merely annual;' and he adduces the application of the same title (high priest) to Annas, at the same time, as
an additional error.' As regards the former of these alleged errors it is enough to observe that the threefold repetition of the words that year 't is sufficient to show that the object of the writer was to mark the holder of the office for the particular year in question, viz., that of the Crucifixion; whilst the fact that, before the typical high priesthood of Aaron was abolished, so striking a testimony was extorted from unconscious lips to the great doctrine of propitiation, to which that priesthood was instituted to bear witness, sufficiently accounts for the emphatic manner in which the Evangelist repeats the statement. As regards the application of the title of high priest to Annas, to whom it did not strictly belong, several explanations have been offered. We shall not discuss their respective merits. We observe only that whether the appellation was given to Annas as having previously held the same office, or as being at that time the head of the Sanhedrin, and of the most powerful priestly family in Jerusalem, or for some other reason with which we are not acquainted, we meet with the same usage, not only in the Synoptical Gospels, and in the Acts, but also in the writings of Josephus; and we venture to express a doubt whether, in point of extent and of accuracy, the acquaintance of each and of all of the writers of these books with the manners and customs of the Jews was not superior to that of the author of 'Supernatural • Religion.'
The next 'error' which attracts our author's animadversion relates to the etymology of the word Siloam. The command given by our Lord to the blind man is thus recorded in chap. ix. 7: Go, wash in the pool of Siloam; ' and it is added, “which is by interpretation Sent.' • This,' says the author of 'Supernatural Religion,' is a distinct error arising
out of ignorance of the real signification of the name of the * Pool, which means a spring, a fountain, a flow of water.' I
* Vol. ii. p. 417. † xi. 49, 51; xviii. 13. Vol. ii. p. 419.