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ancient prophets, have contained very much which was not understood by all, and thus glosses would be attached to it also And how could there have been a particular gift, charisma, connected therewith in order to explain and illustrate such expressions; or how could the apostles have recommended silent communion with God to those who thus spoke; and how could they have regarded it as so edifying for the speaker? In short, the more one looks into all those things which have been said in relation to this gift, the less is the probability, I venture to say, that he will find the essence of the thing to consist in this alone. Against Olshausen's supposition of various gradations, or stages in the gift, etc., a main argument, as I think, is, that it rests on no historical grounds. I will not examine whether such a confused intermixture of the elements of all tongues, as Billroth's motley language implies, can be anywhere called a löyo; and furnish any sense whatever; or even how far it might serve for edification. That, however, which must avail here, as well as in regard to Bleek's view, is, that such a discourse could not have appeared capable of being understood by the multitude in Jerusalem. The reverse must have been the fact to all without exception. It would be a mere confused pell-mell, with random human voices. Equal difficulties arise against the view of Baur, Steudel and Neander, with whom Bäumlein has to do, particularly in the controversial parts of his treatise. If the speaking with tongues was in truth only the manifestation of the Spirit in the consciousness of Christians, then we cannot conceive why the words of Jesus, the first sermon of Peter, Acts II, and the epistles of Paul, in all which still the christian spirit may be expressed, must not also be regarded as indicating the gift of tongues, (as this is placed in contradistinction to prophecy), and how this kind of speaking can be explained as absolutely unintelligible 2 It must appear remarkable that the view of Baur is not strictly applicable to the two main passages, Acts l1, and 1 Cor. XIV. Why, moreover, should Luke have had in the first narrative a different conception of the subject from that in the last two passages where he mentions it? But if Steudel deduces the unintelligibleness of the tongues in Corinth from the want of susceptible feelings in the church there, still a highly animated manner of presentation is always that which of itself makes the deepest impression on feelings little susceptible." Besides, Paul would not, if he had so understood it, have checked those who spoke with tongues, but he would have censured the want of susceptibility in the hearers. It remains not less inexplicable, how an animated discourse, declaring the works of God through Christ, could have had a definite import in the view of strangers, the sounds of which did not die away within them for a long time, while the same thing to the church at Corinth, (christianized years before), and presented in their native language, must have been in its very nature unintelligible and unedifying. This and several other things, which cannot be here repeated, lead us to the conclusion, that the history of the Pentecost allows of no other interpretation, than that of a discourse of the disciples in the languages of the tribes to which their hearers belonged. To us such a phenomenon may be inconceivable; to us it may be without aim; we may think it improbable and even incredible. All this can have, it ought to have, no influence on our interpretation, where the words are so clear, and while all the other modes of explication are involved in a multitude of difficulties. Luke, therefore, understands in Acts II., under Éregais yielgoats, a discourse in a language other than the vernacular; so he does likewise in the two other passages under yigogais. This also one will be most inclined to recognize in Mark 16:17. Of glosses in Bleek's sense one can hardly think, when he reflects that this phenomenon comes in as a onusiov in the series, along with casting out devils, taking up serpents without being injured, etc. It is here almost inconceivable, that a discourse in a lofty poetical diction could be added as mere glosses to the others—(a pleonasm being unsuitable)—and where hardly a contradiction can be thought of, which might seem to lie in the word zauvais. It is very evident also that by this word we are not compelled to understand an absolutely new language.”
VIEw of the PAssAGE IN CorINTHIANs.
After this digression, we return to the passage in Corinthians. Since we cannot recognize Bleek's theory of glosses, there seems to remain, as possible, but one of the causes of the unintelligibleness of this subject mentioned above, on p. 98. This is, foreign languages. We will, therefore, recur to the particulars contained in this passage, in order to ascertain, not so much whether any thing decisive in favor of such a view can be found there, (for this cannot be done), as whether there is any insuperable objection against it. The twelfth and thirteenth chapters include nothing of this nature. The “kinds of tongues,” mentioned in Ch. 12: 10, 28, may be the different languages, that is, the various tongues—ability to use these languages being conferred on believers by the Spirit, “who worketh all things.” The ‘tongues,” Ch. 13: 1, are literally ‘speech,” “words,' while Paul, to be sure, here refers to the gift, charisma, and from the reference certainly selects this example, yet he says nothing of the languages themselves. From the identity of the word employed therefore, nothing follows in respect to the identity of the thing, provided the term yidaga does not in every case, as used by him, necessarily mean a language. In verse 8, where he places yidaga along with ngopm relo, and yodious, he has perhaps in his mind merely the idea of a gift, charisma. Nothing, therefore, could be inferred from the passage in itself. Yet it must be admitted, that by the undoubted reference to the first verse, it would be the most natural to understand the yiddoo, as referring to languages. We now come to the fourteenth chapter, which is the principal passage. Here the use of the singular yidawa, is employed by the opponents as an objection to the theory of different tongues.” An implied conjecture of the words ātāga and zawii might indeed have little in its favor." Such a conjecture, however, is not necessary. It will be sufficient that yidaga means only ‘language,’ ‘speech.” If then the expression yidagas laisiv was used in order to indicate briefly,” and intelligibly for contemporaries, a discourse in a language which was conferred by the Spirit," then the singular number might be employed without objection. In that case yidawn Maltiy would mean, “to speak in a language by which all, who were ac
* Prophecy also, on this supposition, would be as little useful. * Comp. Baumlein pp. 63–66.
yávn yżoooov. * yhdiocas. * Bleek, I. 15. “Bleek, 11. 51.
* This is the single aim of language. Hence in the construction of particular forms of expression for the purpose of indicating the phenomena in the subject in question, the process is far less laborious than in the often erroneous language of verbal criticism, which subsequently assumes the task of interpretation.
* The foreign quality of it was neither the only nor the principal mark.
quainted with the subject, would be reminded of one of those gifts which were communicated by the Spirit, without troubling himself to investigate further. At the same time, no one spoke except in a particular language. In the same manner yīāguay &et, verse 26, means, “he had a language, to wit, one conferred by the Spirit, as all the other things there mentioned are gifts of the Spirit. He is in possession of one of those languages which the Spirit communicates; consequently he has the ability to speak in it. On the philological side I therefore see no difficulty. A second argument, namely, that Paul could not have said otösis ãxoist, verse 2, when in a city like Corinth there must always have been at least some persons who would have understood foreign languages, has no weight with me, because, first, the fact itself is very doubtful, and, secondly, if it were so, these were only exceptions, rare exceptions, which Paul in an altogether general consideration of the thing did not think it necessary to bring into the account. The Greek conceitedness at that time allowed the people to acquire the languages of barbarians, as little as in our days many nations, notwithstanding all the intercourse with us Germans, allow themselves to learn our language. The Greek demanded that foreigners should study his tongue; he could the more easily require this, as his master, the Roman, adapted himself to it, and in the unbounded extension of this language, he could not well come to any place where he would not find colonists of his race, or Hellenized barbarians. Perhaps native Corinthians understood, along with the Greek, the Latin in part, but certainly not other languages; and Paul needed not to refer to anything like an assembly of foreign visitors; the less so, as he did not consider the matter so much according to its aspects in Corinth, as in its general features, wherever it existed. A third argument is deduced from the fact that he who spoke with tongues could not always interpret what he spoke." This is indeed remarkable, especially if we suppose that the individual was not in an unconscious, but in a conscious state; as we certainly believe that he must have been. One cannot conceive how a man could speak in a foreign tongue, and so speak as that he himself was edified thereby, and still be unable to interpret to others what was uttered. But not only can the inconceivableness of itself alone be no ground for denial, least of all in a matter where personal
observation and experience wholly fail us, but this same difficulty remains, and as I think, in a higher degree, in the other modes of explanation attempted in very recent times; therefore it is not more decisive against one of these theories than it is against the others. In the fourth place, it is said, that were these yidigaat foreign languages, then Paul ought rather to have framed his admonition' so that these persons should have abstained altogether, when they would speak before a congregation, which did not understand them ; and if an interpretation intervened, no essential advantage could be derived. Besides, it would have been difficult to have used it in intercourse with others who spoke with tongues.” But here it is forgotten that Paul does not in the least demand the speaking by tongues, but only permits it, since as a gift of the Spirit he may not check it; he may also assume that the one who spoke with tongues always had control over the gift, and in such a degree, that he could use it for the instruction of foreign nations; yet this nowhere follows from the statement of the apostle, neither does it accord with the history. The power of speaking with tongues seems not to have been an abiding one at all; it was a omution, it came in suddenly, and left its possessor again, when the high, ecstatic feeling which it produced passed away. To this we may add, what has been said on the nature of the words uttered, that it was not a didactic statement, but an out-pouring of the heart, and hence Paul could have given no other precept respecting it, than that which he has given, if he did not wish to check the thing altogether. Another objection is the one raised by me in the Commentary on Ch. 14: 18, 28.9 that we cannot conceive what connection foreign languages had with silent intercourse with God; how Paul could have used them for this purpose, or admonished others in relation thereto. I still have the same difficulty, and had we knowledge of the yidaga, only from his letters, then I should possibly attribute some weight to the argument; now I cannot do it; besides, what seems to be unfitting to me is not necessarily so to others. Still it is possible that Paul, (who regarded the phenomenon as the effect of the operation of the Divine Spirit), as well as the historian of the Pentecost, may have discovered, (from some grounds unknown to
1 1 Cor. 14: 26–28. * Bleek 1. 24. * “I thank my God I speak with tongues more than ye all.” “But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence,” etc.