Sivut kuvina

that of his Master. At the same time we freely allow that these considerations do not sufficiently account for the occurrence of all of those peculiarities of thought, of style, and of phraseology which are traced throughout the writings ascribed to St. John, whether speaking in his own person, or relating the discourses of our Lord; and we think that the only satis factory method of accounting for this phenomenon must be found in the supposition that a larger field was allowed to the personal recollections, the personal beliefs, and the personal genius of the writer than has been commonly admitted on the part of the apologists of the fourth Gospel. A difficulty, if such it be, of a similar nature is found in the deviations from the Hebrew original and from the Greek version which occur in citations from the Old Testament, both in the Gospels and in the Epistles.

There is one more objection to the genuineness of the fourth Gospel which we should gladly have discussed at length, because we think it may more fairly be urged as a substantial argument in its favour. We refer to the much vexed controversy whether the Last Supper and the Crucifixion (both of which events, it is important to bear in mind, took place upon the same Jewish day) must be assigned, as the Synoptical Gospels appear to assign them, to the 15th Nisan, or, as the fourth Evangelist appears to do, and, as we believe, does, to the 14th Nisan. We can only briefly indicate the salient points of this question so far as they bear upon the genuineness of the fourth Gospel. We observe then ; (1) that whilst we freely allow that the Synoptical Gospels seem to imply that our Lord celebrated the Passover on the legal day, there are very many indications in their narratives that that day was anticipated; (2) that the four Evangelists are agreed in assigning the day of the Crucifixion to the Jewish day of preparation (taproxeuń), and that there are considerable difficulties involved in the supposition that the same word is employed by them in two different senses ; (3) that it is in the highest degree improbable that a Greek forger of the second century should, on a point of such notoriety, have contravened the consentient testimony of those who had preceded him; and, lastly, that if the alleged inconsistency between the Synoptical Gospels and the fourth Gospel actually exists, the course adopted by the fourth Evangelist can be explained on no other supposition than one, viz., that he was an eye-witness of the facts which he records, and that he knew that his Gospel would be received as that of an eye-witness by others. We will only add, in answer to the argument against the genuineness of the fourth Gospel which

the Synoptrepancies in that in some dences. We nevide

is derived from the practice of the early Asiatic churches, that even if the event commemorated in their Easter festival was the Institution of the Eucharist, and not the Crucifixion, inasmuch as both events occurred on the same Jewish day, the practice of the Quartodecimans may fairly be alleged as an argument for, rather than against, the chronology which is based upon the fourth Gospel.

We have now considered some of the chief objections which have been made to the Johannine authorship of the fourth Gospel, based upon the alleged discrepancies between it and the Synoptic Gospels; and we have endeavoured to show that these discrepancies in no case assume the form of irreconcilable differences, and that in some instances they must be regarded rather as undesigned coincidences. We must again urge that we should very inadequately estimate the evidential value of these discrepancies were we to regard them solely in the light of difficulties which are capable of a satisfactory solution. On the contrary, when viewed in conjunction with those numerous indications of the eye-witness to some of which we have already referred, and which, if our space allowed, we could almost indefinitely multiply, we contend that the discrepancies in question—whether real or apparent-afford evidence against the late date of the fourth Gospel, which is almost, if not altogether, decisive of the question at issue. The most determined opponents of the Johannine authorship of the fourth Gospel admit its incomparable merits; nay, more, they ascribe to those merits its reputed origin. No parallel, then, can be instituted between the fourth Gospel and the Apocryphal legends which lay claim to apostolical authority. The writer of the fourth Gospel, whoever he may have been, is confessedly one who stood prominent amongst his contemporaries, and who, if a forger, has executed his task with such consummate skill that it has imposed upon the world for at least 1700 years. We ask, then, whether it is probable that such a man, writing in the name of one of the original Disciples of Christ, and professing to record what he had himself seen of his Lord's works and heard of His words, would have composed a book differing so widely—as our opponents say, so fundamentally-- from the accounts universally received and regarded as authentic histories at the time at which he wrote ?

The results of an inquiry into the origin of the fourth Gospel may be briefly described as follows. A chain of external evidence, which no modern criticism has been able to break, and of which recent investigations have brought to light some lost links, connects the fourth Gospel with the Apostolic age, and with its reputed author, the Apostle John; and it is only strong dogmatic prepossessions which have led any, whether in earlier or in later times, to challenge the consentaneous tradition of the ancient Church respecting its authorship.

The internal indications of the Johannine authorship of the fourth Gospel are yet more decisive; and the assaults of hostile criticism have not only proved futile, but have served in a remarkable manner to confirm the conclusions which have been drawn from the external evidence.

The Gospel itself presents phenomena which can be explained only on one or other of the following suppositions : either that the author was an eye-witness of the scenes which he describes, or that he was a writer in comparison with whom the greatest poets and writers of fiction sink into insignificance.

The Prologue of the fourth Gospel, which is alleged to savour of the philosophy of a later age, is in entire harmony with the circumstances under which that Gospel is said to have been composed, and with the residence of the writer in a city such as Ephesus, which was one of the chief centres of Eastern and Western civilisation. The peculiar characteristics, as regards style and terminology, of the fourth Gospel accord with the known antecedents of the reputed writer, and are exactly such as might have been expected in the work of a Palestinian Jew who had been brought into contact in his early years with Hellenists, who remained in Jerusalem for many years after the Ascension, and who spent the later portion of his life in Ephesus.

The fundamental points of difference between the fourth Gospel and the Synoptic Gospels, as regards their contents and their general mode of dealing with a common subject, are utterly inexplicable on the supposition that the fourth Gospel is the production of a later age; and they admit only of one explanation, viz., that the writer was an eye-witness of what he has recorded, and that he knew that his book would be received as the genuine production of that Apostle whose authority it claims. On the other hand, the coincidences with the Synoptic Gospels—whether the writer was, or was not acquainted with them--are such as to afford strong corroborative evidence of the substantial truth of both.

The alleged geographical and historical inaccuracies of the fourth Gospel admit, for the most part, of satisfactory explanation, and of reconciliation with the results of ancient and modern research. In any case they amount only to difficulties,

similar to those which are found in all writings of antiquity; and they are such as further investigation and future discoveries may entirely remove.

It is almost superfluous to add, that if these results are established, the conclusion at which the author of Supernatural · Religion' has arrived must be reversed; and that whereas he alleges, as the result of his investigation, that the testimony • of the fourth Gospel is of no value towards establishing the

truth of miraeles and the validity of Divine Revelation,' it may with greater confidence be affirmed that if the genuineness of that Gospel be proved, no further evidence of the truth • of miracles, and of the reality of Divine Revelation' is required.

Art. II.-1. The Frosty Caucasus ;' an Account of a Walk

through Part of the Range and of an Ascent of Elbruz in the

Summer of 1874. By F. C. GROVE, London : 1875. 2. Travels in the Caucasus and Persia and Turkey in Asia.

By Lieut. Baron Max Von THIELMANN. Translated by

C. HENEAGE, F.R.G.S. London: 1875. 3. The Crimea and Transcaucasia ; being the Narrative of a Journey in the Kouban, in Gouria, Georgia, Armenia, Ossety, Imeritia, Swannety, and Mingrelia. By Commander

J. BUCHAN TELFER, R.N., F.R.G.S. London: 1876. The Russian frontier-lands towards Asia known as the Cau

casian provinces have, since in 1869 we last noticed them, acquired, both politically and commercially, fresh importance. Within the last few years they have been thrown open by means of railroads for the passage of armies and of commerce—as well as of tourists. First in order of time, the Transcaucasian railway has brought Tiflis into direct connexion with the Black Sea at Poti; a concession has lately been granted for its continuation to Baku on the Caspian. The Rostof-Vladikafkaz line is at present the farthest arm of the great Russian system, and conveys the traveller from the North to the very foot of the snowy chain : it is intended to carry the rails down to the Caspian at Petrofsk, whence they may easily be run round the mountains to Baku. But another link between Tiflis and the North is in contemplation. According to Herr von Thielmann, a line of railway piercing the gorge of the Dariel and passing under the main chain a few miles to the E. of the present carriage-pass, the Krestowaja Gora, will soon be commenced. Surveys have been made for a railroad into Persia, viâ Erivan and Djulfa ; but this project hangs fire, and will probably continue to do so until the junction between the Russian and Transcaucasian systems has been effected.

The completion of this network will enable Russia to control and almost to monopolise many of the markets of Western Asia, and to hold at a moment's mercy Tabreez and the northern provinces of Persia, which, somewhat prematurely, her Government engineers have already included in their survey of Russian Transcaucasia. The most effective hindrance to these results would probably be the construction under British guarantee of a railway from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf, with branches into Central Persia. England must doubtless eventually be linked to India, as well as Russia to China, by a, literally, Overland Route.' There seems, however, little present prospect of the commencement of an undertaking which would involve complicated negotiations and awkward responsibilities, and of which the cost can be more easily calculated than the returns. Our countrymen and Government may naturally be unprepared for so bold a venture. But they will do well to remember that it is in this portion of the Ottoman Empire, not on the Balkan, nor even in the Isthmus of Suez, that the portion of the Eastern question most vital to our own interests lies.

Fuad Pasha, one of the greatest Ministers of the Porte, declared in his testamentary letter of advice addressed to the Sultan in 1869 that “what alarmed him most was the consider* able change that the pacification of the Provinces of the Cau

casus has brought about in the situation of Russia.' He held it to be beyond all doubt that in the course of future events the most serious attacks of the Russians would be directed against the Turkish Provinces in Asia Minor. And he added emphatically, 'If some day there should appear a Russian * Bismarck, whilst the Powers of Europe are disunited, then

indeed would be changed the destinies of the world. It is. impossible, in our judgment, to attach too much importance to this remark. It is not the overthrow of the Ottoman Empire, it is not even the possession of Constantinople by a hostile Power, that would be fatal to British interests in the East, but it is that great territorial revolution which would be the probable—we may say, the inevitable — consequence of those events, namely, the conquest and occupation of Asia Minor. We think it could be shown to demonstration, on military and political grounds, that Constantinople cannot be held as the seat of government without the command of Asia Minor, and

« EdellinenJatka »