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intended to represent himself as having been a disciple of John the Baptist ; * as 'the other disciple' who was acquainted with the high priest; † as the disciple whom Jesus loved ; 'I and as the witness and the recorder of the piercing of his Lord's side upon the cross. Our author admits that the writer of the fourth Gospel, although he never mentions his own name, intended by these allusions to denote to his readers a particular person, but he calls in question the assumption that that person was, or was intended to be taken for, John the son of Zebedee and brother of James. Inasmuch, however, as the question whether the writer of the fourth Gospel did or did not intend to be taken for St. John is one which has an important bearing upon the question before us, we will state, in few words, the grounds upon which we hold that the affirmative of this proposition may be sustained. First, then, whereas the Synoptists distinguish John, the son of Zebedee and Salome, from John, the son of Zacharias and Elizabeth, by the addition to the name of the latter of the designation the Baptist,' the writer of the fourth Gospel, conscious, as we allege, that there was no occasion for the distinction, invariably refers to him simply as John. When we take into account that the same writer not only distinguishes carefully between Judas the traitor and the other apostle of the same name, but is particular in describing Thomas by the surname of Didymus, I Simon (with one single exception, i. 42) by that of Peter, ** and Nathanael as of Cana in Galilee,ft the omission of the designation commonly given to the other John by the Synoptists is the more remarkable. But further, the writer of the fourth Gospel confessedly represents himself as one of those Apostles who were admitted into terms of more than ordinary familiarity with Christ. There were but three, according to the Synoptists, who were thus distinguished, viz. Peter and James and John. The allusions to the first of these in the fourth Gospel are absolutely conclusive upon the point that he was not its author. The authorship of St. James is effectually excluded by a comparison of the time of his death with the traditional saying respecting the disciple whom Jesus loved," and with the universal testimony of antiquity as to the period of the composition of the fourth Gospel. St. John, then, alone remains of the three Apostles who are thus distinguished from the rest, by one of whom the fourth Gospel purports to be written; and the inference that the writer intended to be taken for St. John is strongly corroborated by the consideration that otherwise one of the most remarkable of the twelve Apostles is passed over almost without notice in a Gospel which makes mention of three others of that number, Philip, Thomas,t and Judas, # of whom two at least, and probably the third, are unnoticed by the Synoptists, except in their catalogue of the names of the twelve.
xiii. 23; xix. 26; xx. 2. || vi. 11 ; xii. 4; xiii. 2, 26; xiv. 23. ** vi. 68; xiii. 6, 9, 24, 36, &c.
+ xviii. 15, 16. § xix. 35.
xxi. 2. If xxi. 2.
We will only add, in connexion with this point, that the writer of chapters xix. and xxi. evidently designed to strengthen the credibility of his narrative by some indication of his own personality, as well as by the assurance that he was an eyewitness of the facts which he records. It is hard to see how the invention of a statement that one of the twelve leaned on his Lord's breast, and was the one of His disciples whom * Jesus loved,' and the indirect identification of himself with that disciple could subserve the purpose of the writer, unless some particular person was indicated by such a description. It is equally difficult, in the absence of any such indication, to account for the fact that within ten years after the publication of the fourth Gospel, according to the author of ' Supernatural • Religion, St. John was almost universally accepted as its writer. Such a belief could, in this case, have originated only in the strong internal evidence which the Gospel itself affords of its Johannine authorship, and, strong as we believe that evidence to be, we are scarcely prepared to credit the Church, at the close of the second century, with the amount of critical sagacity which such a conclusion implies.
But if we may rely on the confident allegations of the author of Supernatural Religion, the fourth Gospel contains a wholly different account of the history of the disciple whom Jesus loved from that which is given by the Synoptists of John the son of Zebedee. According to the former the calling' of John, the beloved disciple, appears to have taken place at the very beginning of our Lord's ministry. But, according to the Synoptists, it is alleged that the call of the Apostle John took place at a later period, and under widely different circum
i. 43, 44, 45, 46, 48; vi. 5, 7; xii. 21, 22. † xi. 16 ; xiv. 5 ; xx. 24, 26, 27, 28, 29; xxi. 2. * xiv. 22.
For the fuller discussion of this point we must refer our readers to Appendix, note A, of Professor Stanley Leathes's admirable Boyle Lectures on The Witness of St. John to Christ.' Rivingtons : 1970.
stances. * These accounts, we are told by the author of • Supernatural Religion,'' are in complete contradiction to • each other, and both cannot be true.'t For our own part we confess our utter inability to see any discrepancy between the two accounts. On the contrary, we contend that the later incident would be difficult of comprehension apart from the earlier. To whatever extent St. John may have been a follower of Christ during the earlier portion of His Judæan ministry, there is no intimation given in the narrative that either he or St. Andrew abandoned from that time forth their ordinary occupations. Again, whilst there is no intimation given in the fourth Gospel that St. Peter became a constant attendant upon Christ from the time of his first call on the banks of the Jordan, it is clear, from the whole tenour of the Synoptical narrative, that he was no stranger to Christ at the time of the second call by the Sea of Galilee. The manner in which he addressed our Lord, I his ready compliance with the request to thrust out his boat from the shore, his willing relinquishment of his work that he might listen to Christ's words, and the readiness with which he and his three companions forsook all that they had—all these circumstances are in striking accordance with the account given by the fourth Evangelist of the earlier introduction to Christ; and the two accounts, so far from presenting even the semblance of contradiction, mutually explain and corroborate each other.
It appears to us altogether superfluous to enter upon a refu-tation of the arguments adduced by the author of 'Supernatural Religion' in proof of his assertion that the writer of the fourth Gospel studiously elevates himself above the * Apostle Peter.' Some of the alleged instances are too puerile to require, or even to admit of refutation. If the writer of the fourth Gospel was, as he declares, known to the high priest, and St. Peter was not known to him, we can discern no traces of a desire for self-elevation in the simple record of the fact that the one was the means of procuring admission into the palace for the other. Still less are we able to discover indications of self-exaltation in the incidental remark—so natural in the narrative of an eye-witness, so inexplicable on any other supposition—that the writer being, as all antiquity testifies, considerably younger than St. Peter, outran him on the morning of the Resurrection. But we forbear.
But we forbear. We will not prejudge
* St. Matt. iv. 18, 22; St. Mark i. 16, 20; St. Luke v. 1, 11.
# St. Luke v. 5.
the cause in support of which such inferences have been drawn from such premisses.
An objection of real interest and importance to the genuineness of the fourth Gospel is based upon the alleged incompatibility between it and the Synoptic Gospels in their respective accounts of the birth of Christ, and of His personal character and claims. Now no careful student of the Gospel history can be insensible of the fact that there is a certain amount of truth in the statements which have been advanced on these points, alike by those who have maintained the authenticity of the fourth Gospel as opposed to that of the Synoptic Gospels, and by those who have defended the Synoptic Gospels at the expense of the fourth Gospel. Canon Westcott, in his admirable * Introduction to the Study of the Gospels,' has pointed out, in language indicative alike of the acute critic and the sound theologian, the character of this difference, and has shown also the necessity of the full recognition of the contrast between the narratives of the Synoptists and the fourth Gospel as the condition of the right understanding of their essential harmony. In the opinion of the author of ‘Supernatural Religion,' on the contrary, the difference between them is one which admits of no explanation; and he boldly asserts that the historical truth of the one or of the other must of necessity be rejected. Our space will not admit of our following him through the entire list of alleged inconsistencies; and we must be content with the examination of so many of the most plausible amongst them as will enable our readers to appreciate their argumentative weight.
First, our author alleges that whilst two of the Synoptists relate the circumstances of the birth of Jesus, and give some • history of his family and origin, the fourth Gospel, ignoring • all this, introduces the Great Teacher at once as the Logos ' who from the beginning was with God, and was himself God." The answer to this assertion is that it betrays the writer's ignorance of the contents alike of the Synoptic Gospels and of the fourth Gospel, inasmuch as whilst the latter refers repeatedly to our Lord's mother and brethren, and contains allusions to His reputed father,f and also to the reputed and the real place of His birth, thus distinctly recognising His proper humanity, the second of the Synoptists, on the other hand, proclaims with equal distinctness the doctrine of His Godhead by beginning his Gospel with the distinct annunciation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God.' Moreover, the
* Vol. ii. p. 450.
ť vi. 42.
# i. 46; iv. 44; vii. 42.
Synoptists distinctly recognise the divine attestation of our Lord's Sonship at His baptism and at His transfiguration, and they refer to His knowledge of the secrets of all hearts, and to His power to forgive sins.
Again, according to the author of Supernatural Religion,' the fourth Evangelist knows nothing of the Baptism. It is almost incredible that anyone who has read the fourth Gospel should venture on such an assertion. It is perfectly true, indeed, that the fourth Gospel does not contain an historical account of the Baptism as we find it recorded by the Synoptists. But this is in precise accordance with the method observed in regard to other of the chief incidents in our Lord's history, to which the writer makes more or less direct allusion, as to events well known and certainly believed, but which, on that very account, it did not fall within his design formally to rehearse. It is thus that we find no direct mention of the Transfiguration, but we find the Evangelist, as one of the three chosen witnesses, referring to it in words which naturally recall those of St. Peter's allusion to the same event,* • And "we beheld His glory.'t Again, we find no account in the fourth Gospel of the agony in the garden of Gethsemane, but whereas the Synoptists record the prayer, “O my Father, if ‘it be possible, let this cup pass from Me, nevertheless, not as * I will, but as Thou wilt,' † the fourth Evangelist represents our Lord as addressing Peter immediately afterwards in these words : “The cup which my Father hath given Me, shall I ‘not drink it?' So, again, in regard to the Ascension. The fourth Evangelist does not record the event, but he represents our Lord in chapter vi. 62 as addressing His disciples in the words—What and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up * where He was before; ' whilst in chapter xx. 17, we find Him sending this message by Mary Magdalene to His • brethren I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God.' In precisely_the same manner, whilst we find no direct account of the Baptism in the fourth Gospel, we find unequivocal allusion to it; for whilst the Synoptists tell us that at the baptism of Christ in the Jordan, the Spirit ó descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him,' || the fourth Evangelist represents the Baptist
* 2 Peter i. 17.
† St. John i. 14, * St. Matt. xxvi. 39. Cf. St. Mark xiv. 36; St. Luke xxii. 42. $ xviii. 11. 1 St. Luke iii. 22. Cf. St. Matt. iii. 16; St. Mark i. 10.