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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) évteülev xai ivt&ūbev, peculiar to the Gospel and the Apocalypse; (4) τηρείν with λόγον οι λόγους and with εντολάς, which is peculiar
the writings ascribed to St. John; (5) the habitual use of iva with the subjunctive, instead of the infinitive.
* Vol. ii. p. 417.
gi anl 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 'Super• natural 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 hads, like the Synoptics and other New • Testament writings, but as to gvos, 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 toe vos in reference to the Gentiles, and the term o dads to the Jews. So far, however, is this from being the fact that in eight out of the ten instances in which the term TopGvos is used in the New Testament, exclusively of the fourth Gospel, the reference is— not 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 o nads 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 chap. 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 & Ovos, the nation, and te čovn,t the nations, our author assures his unsuspecting readers that the former is the ‘term always employed by the
* Vol. ii. 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 Gentilcs.
• 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.
Notwithstanding the confidence with which this assertion is made, we think that no competent Hebrew scholar will entertain a doubt whether the “ignorance' of which our author complains must be imputed to the Fourth Evangelist or to himself. In the first place, it is well known that the verb shalach, from which the Hebrew word Shiloach * is derived, means simply to send, and that the idea of water' is not in any wise involved in the root. The only difficulty which attaches to the interpretation assigned to the word by the Evangelist is that, as it is punctuated in Isaiah viii. 6, it presents a somewhat exceptional form. At the same time it is one which is by no means without parallel. The difficulty then reduces itself simply to this--that according to some lexicographers (as e. g. Gesenius) the word, as it is pointed in Isaiah viii. 6, is in an abstract form, whereas the Evangelist interprets it as if it were a concrete form. But even this would be scarcely a fair representation of the fact; for if we refer to the Concordance of Fuerst, who adduces several instances of similar forms, we find the result of his examination to be that it is * sometimes difficult to determine whether such words are to
be regarded, as to their origin, as infinitives with an abstract signification, or as participles with a concrete.'t
But whilst in some instances, of which the last noticed is an example, the author of 'Supernatural Religion' has failed to understand the real point of the objection which has been urged, so, in other cases, he has materially damaged his own cause by attempting to magnify the objections which he has borrowed from other writers. Two or three instances must suffice. It is generally admitted by Biblical critics, as we have already had occasion to observe, that the true reading of chap. i. 28 is Bethany, not Bethabara. There is no ground for the objection -though we believe that objection has been advanced that the writer here assigns to the well-known village of Bethany, in which Lazarus lived, a position on the eastern side of the Jordan; inasmuch as it so happens that he has elsewher corded with minute accuracy the distance of that village from Jerusalem. The only objection then which can reasonably be urged against the historical accuracy of the narrative is that a second village of the same name appears to have been un
* Is. viii. 6.
† Pp. 1349, 1350. Meyer observes that the signification assigned the word by St. John is in itself grammatically allowable.' See"
's mentary on St. John,' vol. ii. p. 68 (T. and T. Clark, Edinburgh).
* xi. 18.
known at the beginning of the third century, and, as the author of Supernatural Religion 'asserts, 'is utterly unknown * now.' Our author, however, not content with the force of this objection, which--though apparently unaware of the recent identification of Bethany with Tell Anihje-he appears to regard as insufficient, endeavours to strengthen it by the assertion that it is scarcely possible that there could have 'been a second village of the name.'* Now it is quite indifferent-so far as our present purpose is concerned--what is the second Hebrew word of which Bethany is compounded. The first, baith, house, is beyond dispute; and we think, if the author of Supernatural Religion' will take the trouble to refer to any dictionary of Biblical proper names, and to count the number of those names which are compounded with this word, and also the number of different places bearing the same name so compounded,t he will feel that he would have exercised a sounder discretion had he either omitted this objection to the genuineness of the fourth Gospel altogether, or had he been content to leave it in the form in which he found it. Our author's assertion about
Ænon is scarcely deserving of serious notice. He says that Ænon was quite unknown even ‘in the third century ;' but he omits to state that in the • Onomasticon' of Eusebius it is said to be shown to the present day, near Salem and the Jordan, eight miles south of *Scythopolis.' ! Not content, however, with urging a geographical difficulty which more careful inquiry would have removed, our author ventures upon a surmise that because the word signifies springs ' the writer of the fourth Gospel mistook it for the name of a place. For our own part, whilst we can well conceive that the existence of springs in or near the spot may have given rise to the name of the place, we are utterly at a loss to understand how anyone who possessed the amount of Hebrew knowledge of which the writer of the fourth Gospel has afforded evidence, could have fallen into the blunder of which he is here accused by the writer of “Super‘natural Religion. We will only add that in the position already indicated, Van de Velde notices a spring Shech Salim, in the vicinity of which are to be found Bir (well), Ain Bêdu, and other waters, one of which was, in all probability, Ænon.
* Vol. ii. p. 120. † It is not unworthy of observation that the names thus compounded belong to an unusually large number of places on the eastern side of the Jordan.
See Caspari's ' Introduction to the Life of Christ,' p. 122 (T. and T. Clark)