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In his noteworthy Commentary on the Gospels the eminent Professor Loisy showed considerable acumen in differentiating the parts of these Biblical documents which are most historic and authentic from the rest. It seemed to us, however, that his estimate of the personality and the teaching of Jesus left several things out of account; that, to some extent at least, he failed to recognize the nobler and more permanent side of them. This reason induced us to publish our first treatise on Jésus Historique, in which, while accepting the chief critical and literary findings of the Commentary mentioned, we tried to fill in the gaps we have indicated.
Since the first edition of that pamphlet is now exhausted, and we have moreover continued our research into a matter which is of such vital importance to Christianity, we here present to the public a treatise on the subject which is entirely fresh and much more complete than the earlier one. We do not again set forth the literary basis of the subject in detail as we did then, however, we have condensed this aspect of it in a brief appendix, since it does not interest all readers alike. Anyone who desires at the outset to get a clear idea of our views upon the criticism of the Gospels and our opinion as to which parts of them are the most authentic, and form oui chief sources of information, will naturally begin by a careful study of this appendix, or better still, of the earlier brochure.