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as bearing record, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him.'* Again, the Synoptists,' says the author of 'Supernatural Religion,' clearly represent the ministry of Jesus as having • been limited to a single year, and his preaching as confined • to Galilee and Jerusalem, when his career culminates at the • fatal Passover. The fourth Gospel distributes the teaching
of Jesus between Galilee, Samaria, and Jerusalem, and makes • it extend at least over three years, and refers to three Pass
overs spent by Jesus at Jerusalem.'t It might suffice, in reply to this objection, to challenge the writer to produce any evidence whatever of the assertion which he has so confidently advanced respecting the limitation of our Lord's earthly ministry by the Synoptists to the space of one year. We are very far, however, from finding ourselves under the necessity of being content with this reply. We freely admit that a conclusion such as that at which the author of 'Supernatural • Religion’ has arrived, may very naturally be formed by superficial readers of the Synoptic Gospels, inasmuch as by far the greater portion of the events related by the Synoptists are confessedly comprised within the last year of our Lord's public ministry. We contend, however, that when carefully examined, the narratives of the Synoptists are not only consistent with the longer duration of that ministry, but are unintelligible upon any other supposition. We have no need to appeal to the words of our Lord as recorded by St. Luke, 'I must walk to-day, and to-morrow, and the day following,'t although it may be fairly argued that a ministry extending over three literal or three symbolical days appears to be indicated in these words; and that a day may be symbolically used here, as elsewhere, to represent a year. Neither need we attach much weight to the fact that immediately upon the commencement of our Lord's ministry, according to the views assigned by the impugners of the fourth Gospel to the Synoptists, and consequently before our Lord could have become known in Judæa, we find captious Pharisees and doctors of the law assembled at Capernaum, who had come not only out of every town of Galilee, but also out of Judæa and Jerusalem. It would obviously be impracticable to comprise within our pre
i. 32. Even writers such as Hilgenfeld are constrained to recognise this unequivocal allusion to the baptism. “Historisch-Kritische • Einleitung in das Neue Testament,' p. 719. † Vol. ii. p. 451.
xiii. 33. § Cf St. Matt. ix. 1; St. Mark ii. ; St. Luke v. 17.
scribed limits any extensive inquiry into the chronology of our Lord's ministry, even were the materials with which we have to deal of a more precise and determinate character than they actually are. It must suffice for our present purpose to observe that whilst the Synoptists relate at length one visit to Jerusalem at the close of our Lord's ministry, their narratives contain indications, more or less direct, that that visit had been preceded by others. Of these indications the following will suffice. We read in St. Matthew iv. 25, of the multitudes who followed' our Lord throughout the various regions of Galilee from Jerusalem and from Judæa.' Again, the whole history of the family of Bethany implies that our Lord had visited that place previously to the raising of Lazarus. One of these visits is expressly recorded in St. Luke x. 38–42; and it is not unworthy of notice, when we recall to mind the local colouring of our Lord's teaching, that the scene of the preceding. parable—that of the good Samaritan—is laid between Jerusalem and Jericho. Once more, whilst the Synoptists, as well as the writer of the fourth Gospel, make mention of Joseph of Arimathea as a disciple of Christ, and also of the ready compliance with Christ's request respecting the use of the upper room in Jerusalem, as though the owner of that room was no stranger to our Lord, the supposition of the Judæan ministry of Christ affords at once a reasonable and a sufficient explanation of the implied facts that these and other inhabitants of Judæa had been already brought into contact with Him. But perhaps the most decisive indications which the Synoptists afford of the extent of the Judæan ministry are to be found (1) in St. Luke iv. 44, where, according to the best authorities, we should read, He preached in the synagogues of Judæa,' and (2) in the final lament over the doomed city of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even • as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.
We have thus briefly glanced at some of the inost plausible arguments urged by the author of 'Supernatural Re• ligion' in proof of the utter discrepancy between the Synoptic
St. Matt. xxiii. 37. Cf. St. Luke xix. 42. We say, 'perhaps,' because it is possible that the reference is to the invitations of the Old Testament prophets. The context does not appear to us to favour this view. Moreover, this interpretation involves such a recognition of our Lord's pre-existence, on the part of one of the Synoptists, as will not find acceptance with the negative critics, whose only resource is to dispute the genuineness of the passage.
Gospels and the fourth Gospel. He adduces, indeed, several others; but whilst some have already been satisfactorily disposed of, others appear to us subversive of the conclusion which they are brought to establish. The following instance will, we think, sufficiently illustrate our position.
The author of Supernatural Religion, not content with urging the improbability, or, as he is pleased to regard it, the impossibility, of such an act as the cleansing of the outer court of the Temple at the outset of our Lord's career, thinks that he has discovered an additional ground of objection to the account of the transaction as given by the fourth Evangelist, in the fact that our Lord is represented as replying to the demand of the Jews for a sign in the words, ' Destroy this Temple and • in three days I will raise it up.' “The Synoptics,' says our author, ‘not only know nothing of this, but represent the say
ing as the false testimony which the false witnesses bare against • Jesus. No such charge is brought against Jesus in the fourth
Gospel.'t We do not propose to discuss the question whether the cleansing of the Temple took place only once, and in that case whether the chronological order of the incident has been preserved by the Synoptists or by the fourth Evangelist; or whether it took place both at the beginning of our Lord's public ministry, as recorded by St. John, and also at its close, as recorded by the Synoptists. In either case the account given by the fourth Evangelist, as has been shown by Mr. Sanday, exactly corresponds with that which we should expect from one who had been an eye-witness of the circumstances which he relates. The mention of the oxen and the sheep-not noticed by the Synoptists—the position of the changers of money, who are represented as sitting?—the making of the scourge, probably out of the ropes which had bound the victims--the driving out of the animals with the scourge thus made, as contrasted with the command to the sellers of doves to take them away--and once more, the pouring out of the changers' money upon the ground--all these minute details, so simply, so naturally, and so graphically related, are exactly what we might expect from the pen of an eye-witness, on whose memory the event had left an indelible impression, whilst they are signally out of accord with the theory of the composition of the narrative by one who was separated by upwards of a century from the facts which he professes to record.
Other considerations confirm the accuracy of the Johannine
• Chap. ii. 19.
† Vol. ii. p. 452.
narrative. The forty and six years' during which the rebuilding of the Temple had been going on-an unlikely computation for a forger of the second century-bring us, according to the testimony of Josephus,* to the 18th year of Herod the Great, i.e. to the year 28 or 29 A.D. (and more probably, as Mr. Sanday has shown, to the former of these two years),f a date which exactly agrees with that given by St. Luke iii. 1, on the supposition that that Evangelist reckons from the joint, not the sole, sovereignty of Tiberius. Other considerations tend to the same conclusion as regards the correctness of the chronological place assigned to this incident in the fourth Gospel. Its parabolical character is admirably adapted to the early portion of our Lord's ministry. The demand for a sign was more natural at the beginning of that ministry than at its close. We find no charge preferred here against those who asked for it, whereas, in reference to those who required a sign at a later period, we find our Lord denouncing them as an evil and adulterous generation, to which no other sign but that already promised in this place, and described as the sign of the prophet Jonas, should be given. And yet further, there is an incidental allusion to two distinct acts of memory on the part of the disciples which refer unambiguously to two different periods of time. At the time when the words in question were spoken, the disciples 'remembered' the saying of the Psalmist, “ The zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up;' whereas it was not till after the Resurrection that they remembered,' in the light of that event, the prediction of Christ, • In three days I will raise it
up. Now had these words been spoken at the time at which the Synoptists place the second cleansing of the Temple, not a week had elapsed between the uttering of the words and their accomplishment, and two days only had passed since the allusion to them of the false witnesses. How improbable, then, that the testimony of false discordant witnesses should be adduced to substantiate a charge of which the priests themselves should have been the witnesses, or that the fact should be recorded that the disciples remembered words which it would have been almost impossible for them, after so short an interval, to have forgotten.
But it is objected by the author of Supernatural Religion' that ' no such charge is brought against Jesus at all in the 'fourth Gospel.' Now it appears to us that the very fact that the accusation is recorded by the Synoptists, not by the writer
* Antiquities of the Jews, xi. 1.
† P. 65.
of the fourth Gospel, so far from constituting any ground of objection to that Gospel, affords an incidental argument of no small value in its support. Had the accusation of the false witnesses been found in the same Gospel which gives the account of our Lord's words, it would have been open to those who'challenge the genuineness and authenticity of the Gospel to allege that the one was designedly invented in order to obtain credence for the other. But it will hardly be alleged that a writer of the second century invented this incident in order to furnish a feasible explanation of that perversion of our Lord's words which we find in the Synoptic Gospels; and we submit that on any other hypothesis than this (which even the author of • Supernatural Religion' has not ventured to put forth), the charge of the false witnesses, as recorded by the Synoptists, must be regarded as one of the undesigned coincidences which corroborate the truth both of their Gospels and also of the fourth.
It would carry us far beyond our appointed limits were we to enter at any length upon the exceedingly interesting and important question, how it is that the discourses of our Lord, as reported by the fourth Evangelist, differ so widely in their general character from those which are related by the Synoptists, and how it is that their general style and terminology bear so close a resemblance to those of the Evangelist himself. There are two considerations which have been commonly overlooked by those who have urged this objection to the genuineness of the fourth Gospel : (1) that it is the custom of the fourth Evangelist to insert his own reflections upon the words of Christ in such a manner that it is difficult, if not impossible, to trace the line of demarcation between them; and (2) that the points of agreement between our Lord's words, as recorded by the Synoptists, and as recorded by the fourth Evangelist, are at least as remarkable as are the points of difference. Again, the diversity of style between our Lord's discourses, as related by the Synoptists, and as related by the fourth Evangelist, may be accounted for, to a great extent, by a due consideration of the different persons to whom they were addressed, and the different times and circumstances under which they were delivered; whilst a large amount of resemblance between the style of our Lord's discourses and that of the Evangelist himself may as fairly be accounted for by the two following considerations : (1) that the style of the translator must of necessity give a certain colouring to every original; and (2) that one who lived on terms of close familiarity with Christ may insensibly have learned to conform his own style to