« AnteriorContinuar »
In his Credibility, he says of Eusebius, that according to him, “our Lord's ministry was above three years, and not quite four years complete. But his argument there alleged for that opinion, from the number of Jewish high-priests during the period of Christ's preaching, is absurd, and groundless, as appears from Josephus: though Eusebius endeavours to support his opinion from that Jewish author." *
I must, however, observe, that it does not appear that Eusebius read marxa in the passage in question. For, though he makes so many passovers in our Lord's ministry, he does not quote this as his authority for any of them ; how difficult soever we may imagine it to be to make out so many passovers without that. And, as I have observed, his saying that from the imprisonment of John to the last passover was only one year, is plainly inconsistent with his supposing that there was any passover mentioned in that place.
Dr. Lardner says, that “ Epiphanius says, there are two passovers in our Lord's ministry according to St. John's Gospel, and that he suffered at the third passover. Therefore he did not think the feast of the Jews mentioned John v. 1, to be a passover." + He should rather have said, that two passovers are mentioned in the beginning of the first part of John's Gospel, and that he suffered in a third. And I rather think, since Epiphanius makes no mention of the passover in John vi. 4, though it would have been as much to his purpose as to that of Irenæus, and he writes much more largely on the subject, that, like Irenæus, he did consider the feast mentioned John v. I, to be the second passover.
It must be impossible to trace the precise time when any particular interpolation was made, in books of which there were so many copies and translations, as there were of the New Testament; as it would first be inserted in the margin of some one copy, then get into the text of one that was taken from it, and would probably be a long time before it became general.
That this word tarxa, in John vi. 4, was subsequent to the time of Irenæus, I think indisputable, and probably too that of Eusebius and Epiphanius; but I find it quoted, as we now have it, by Chrysostom. I.in
Indeed it is most natural to suppose that this feast would begin to be considered as a passover after it was generally
• Works, IV. p. 246. Credibility. (P.). Works, IV. p. 318.
t la his homily on tbe 7th of John, VII. p. 245, in the edition of Pronto Ducæus and Commelin. (P.)
supposed that some passover did intervene between the first, mentioned by John, and the last, in which Christ suffered. And though Irenæus considered the feast, mentioned John v. 1, to be a passover, Dr. Lardner observes, that afterwards it was generally thought to be the pentecost, * after which the suspicion of a passover fell naturally on the feast men. tioned John vi. 4.
It should seem, that whatever time any of the ancients gave to the duration of our Lord's ministry above one year and a few months, they supposed the whole of it to have preceded the busy part of it related by the three first evangelists, and consequently to have preceded the imprisonment of John the Baptist. And therefore, on whatever other rea. sons their opinion was supported, it did not require the feast mentioned John vi. 4, to be a passover, nay was inconsistent with it; since, as I have observed already, this feast must have fallen in the very busiest part of the ministry. In this your Lordship must agree with me, for you make it the third passover in our Lord's ministry, and to have happened after the death of John the Baptist, and the return of the twelve from their mission, which is a disposition essentially dif. ferent from that of the ancients.
since. !?, 4, to "pported;
SECTION V. Of the Transposition of the 5th and 6th Chapters of the Gospel
of John. Your Lordship cannot be reconciled to the transposition of the 5th and 6th chapters of John's Gospel, though I think it very probable in itself, as well as agreeable to my particular hypothesis. I should even think that the bare reading of the several chapters in the connexion proposed (in the manner that Mr. Mann has exhibited them t) might be sufficient to satisfy any impartial person.
According to our present copies, the end of the 5th and the beginning of the 6th chapter connect very ill. For, at the end of the former chapter Christ is at Jerusalem, and the next begins with these words : " After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee,” as if he had been somewhere
*« Theophylact did not compute our Saviour's ministry to have lasted three years and more, but somewhat less than three years : accordingly, he does not suppose the Jewish feast mentioned by St. John v. 1, to have been a passover, but some other feast, possibly pentecost, as he conjectures." Works, V. p. $31. .
+ See supra, p. 17, Note.
in Galilee immediately before, and had only that sea to cross, which will be the case if we connect the end of the 6th chapter with the beginning of the 5th ; for he was then at Capernaum, close by the sea of Galilee.
As ill do the end of the 6th and the beginning of the 7th chapter connect, as they now stand. At the end of the 6th chapter Christ is in Capernaum in Galilee, and in the first verse of the 7th chapter we read, “ After these things Jesus walked in Galilee, for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.” This surely implies that he was in Judea immediately before, as he is at the end of the 5th chapter, which I would connect with the 7th.
If omissions, interpolations, and transpositions, had been things unknown, or very rare, in our present copies of an. cient writings, there would be some difficulty in admitting this. But we know, my Lord, they are common things, and that the sacred writings are by no means exempt from them, in whatever manner they have happened. I think it very easy to account for them.
But your Lordship says, “ the ancient manner of writing on skins of parchment, joined together and rolled up, is unfavourable to the idea of transposition in general; and as the division into chapters is of modern date, the particular transposition of one chapter into the place of another carries less plausibility with it." **
Now it appears to me that transpositions might much more easily be made by the ancients, who wrote only on one side of the different skins of parchment, &c. and afterwards fastened them together, t than by the moderns, who write on both sides of the paper. After an ancient book was completely written, and put together, it was easy to transpose • Reply, p. 116. (P.) p" All the book," says Jer. Jones, “ was wrote on one long.continued page, consist. ing of several skins fastened together. To the end of the skins was fastened a large staff, or stick, round about which they rolled up the skios; this, when so rolled up, they called volumen, à volvendo, i.e. a volume or roll, and the staff about which it was rolled, they called umbilicus. And hence we so frequently in the Roman authors meet with membranæ for the material on which they wrote, rolumen for the book itself when wrote, and ad vmbilicum ducere, to come to the end of the book (Jansen ad Ps. xl. 7). So Martial in the last Epigram of his fourth book, speaking to bis book, says,
• Ohe jam satis est, ohe libelle,
Jam pervenimus usque ad umbilicos.' And in another place (L. iii. Epig. 2), says of bis book, —
• Pictis luxurieris umbilicos.' “That the Jews long before our Saviour's time, did write their books after this manner, there cannot be the least doubt.” Vindication of Matthew, pp. 154—156. See Le Clerc and Doddridge ou Luke iv. 17; Appendix, No. Vill.
any part of it, if a different arrangement should have been thought preferable ; but the thing is impossible with a modern book.
Though the original copies of the Gospels were not divided into chapters, and numbered as they are now, they were necessarily divided into different parts, probably in the form of paragraphs, as other ancient books often are. And I think it very probable, that different discourses and transactions in the Gospel history were composed at different times by the original writers, and put together afterwards. Indeed, it is hardly possible to write any thing at first ex. actly as it is intended to go into the world.
Now, by some oversight, perhaps in the first putting together of the Gospel of John, or by some very early transcriber having, by mistake, begun to write out the subject of the sixth chapter, and choosing to finish it before he went back to the fifth, or in some other way, against which there might be à priori many chances, these two chapters might happen to be transposed ; and the copy in which this transposition was made might, on other accounts, have acquired such credit, as to be generally followed afterwards. However, an argument from the state of the text itself is a positive proof of a transposition, whether we can satisfy ourselves about the manner in which it might have happened or not. Here I will say with your Lordship, “I attend to the tenour of the Gospel history, and follow wherever it leads." *
Your Lordship thinks, “ the fifth chapter of St. John's Gospel-must precede the raising of Jairus's daughter, and the widow of Nain's son, for vers. 21, 25, of this chapter con. tain a prediction that Jesus would shortly raise some from the dead, and thus imply that he had not yet performed a miracle of this kind.”+ The verses I find as follows: Ver. 21 : " For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will." Ver. 25: • Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is; when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live." Immediately after which follows, vers. 26, 27, “ For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself, and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the son of man.”
Now I am so far from seeing this passage in the same light in which your Lordship sees it, that I think it much
* Reply, p. 114. (P.). Ibid. p. 18. (P.)
more natural to suppose that, in the verses I have quoted, our Lord rather alluded to something already done, than to something he had never done at all. He seems to be speak. ing to persons who had heard that he had raised some from the dead; and he assures them, that, in like manner as he had raised to life some that had been dead, he would in due time raise all the dead, and also judge them according to their works. This I am inclined to think from the dead being mentioned in the plural number, and in general, and from the intimation of the future judgment following this resurrection; whereas the persons that he had raised to life on earth were not raised to an immortal life, and therefore their judgment did not immediately follow their resurrection. I do not, however, deny that our Lord might allude to the rising of others from the dead in his life-time, and he might perhaps allude to the case of Lazarus and others not mentioned in the Gospels; but what he says by no means implies that he had wrought no miracles of this kind before, and therefore we have here no reason for supposing that the discourse in the fifth chapter preceded the raising of Jairus's daughter, or the widow of. Nain's son.
SECTION. VI. · Of Journeys supposed to be omitted in my Harmony.
PROCEEDING with my defence, I find your Lordship charges me with a considerable oversight indeed, nothing less than that of an entire circuit performed by Jesus through Galilee, attended by the twelve apostles.“ A second circuit,” you say, “ through Galilee followed, in which the twelve were with Jesus ; and of this I think you take no notice, either in your seventeenth Section, or in your Calendar."*
But so far, my Lord, is this from being the case, that I have recited the particulars of this very journey, for which moet boreship your Lordship finds no particulars at all. For Luke him.
as particulars as
n self, after mentioning this journey in general, and those who accompanied our Lord in it, particularly the twelve, and certain women who ministered to him of their substance, proceeds, according to the most natural interpretation of his narrative, to recite some of the particulars; and they are the discourse containing the parable of the sower, the
• Reply, p. 90. (P.)