« AnteriorContinuar »
now saved by the counterpart of that, by baptism (not because you put away the filth of the flesh, but because you seek earnestly a good con22 science toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at God's right hand; for he went into heaven, with angels and authorities 4 1 and powers made subject to him. As Christ then suffered in
the flesh, equip yourselves also with the same conviction (namely, that
2 he who has suffered in the flesh is quit of sin), so as to live for the rest of your time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men but for the will of
3 God. For it is quite sufficient in the time gone by to have executed what the Gentiles aim at, when you walked in ways of sensuality, lust,
4 carousing, revelry, dissipation, and illicit idolatry; Bo that they are surprised you do not rush with them into the same flood of profligacy,
5 and they abuse you—they shall render account to him who stands ready
6 to judge living and dead (for this was why the gospel was preached to the dead as well, that while judged as men are judged in the flesh, they might live as God lives, in the spirit).
7 Now the end of all things is near.
Be of sound mind then, he sober and pray.
8 Above all, be intense in your love for one another:
For love hides a multitude of sins.
9 Be hospitable to one another without murmuring.
10 As each has received a talent, serve one another with it,
As able stewards of God's manifold grace.
11 If anyone speaks,
let it be as the oracles of God:
let it be out of the strength which God supplies;
12 Beloved, be not surprised at the burning trial which occurs among
13 you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you; nay be glad as you share in the sufferings of Christ, that you may also be glad
14 and rejoice at the revelation of his majesty. Happy are you if you are denounced because of Christ; for the spirit of majesty and of Ood rests on
15 you. Let none of you suffer as a murderer or thief or wrongdoer, or as a
16 pryer into other people's business. But if a man suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; nay, let him magnify God because of this.
17 For it is time1 for the judgment to begin with the household of God.
Now if it begin with us,
18 And if the upright is scarcely saved,
Where shall the impious and sinner appear f
19 So then let those who suffer in accordance with the will of God continue to do right, and trust their souls to the faithful Creator.
51 I appeal to the elders among you—I, who am a fellow-elder of yours, a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a sharer also in the majesty to be
2 revealed—be shepherds to the flock of God among you,
not from compulsion but voluntarily,2
3 nor in the way of lording it over your charges, but showing your
selves patterns to the flock.
4 Then when the chief shepherd is disclosed, you shall obtain the unfading wreath of honour.
5 In like manner, you younger men, be subject to the elders; and put on, all of you, the apron of humility : for
The haughty God resists,
But to the humble he grants grace.
6 Humble yourselves then under God's mighty hand,
That he may raise you in due season,
7 Casting your anxiety all upon him,
Because he cares for you.
8 Be sober, be watchful. Your opponent the devil, like a roaring lion,
9 walks about seeking some one to swallow up. Resist him, firm in faith, knowing that the very same sufferings are being dispensed to your
10 brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little, the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal majesty in Christ,
11 shall himself equip, establish, strengthen you. To him be the dominion for ever and ever: Amen.
12 Through Silvanus the faithful brother (as I consider him), I have written a few words to you, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand in it.
13 She who is in Babylon, the Community chosen along with you,
14 salutes you; and so does my son Mark. Salute one another with a kiss of love.
Peace to you all who are in Christ.
THE FIRST THREE GOSPELS1
Three periods can be roughly distinguished (Julicher) in the process of
?;ospel-composition: (a) the oral (30-60 A.D.), during which the necessity or written narratives had not yet emerged fully or widely, (6) the evangelic (60-100 A.d.), in which our synoptic gospels substantially came to their present shape, and (c) the apocryphal (after 100 A.d.), when a crop of fabricated narratives sprang up, which lie round the evangelic histories in the early church, cold and vanquished, like the snakes about the cradle of Herakles. The presuppositions of the synoptic gospels are to be found in the requirements and tendencies which prevailed in the period (a), especially among the circles of Christianity in JerusalemJudaea. It is not over-praise to speak of the splendid service a rendered to Christianity by their maintenance of the historic tradition, and by the tenacity with which they cherished and reproduced, in the more or less stereotyped forms of oral reminiscence, words and acts of Jesus. During the years 30-60 this stream carried in solution memories and historic traits which were afterwards consolidated into the inestimable deposit of the gospels. In form the tradition was fluid and free. Its primary shape and scope, the stages of its passage from a previously condensed and oral form into the comparative fixity of written memoirs—these are unresolved problems. The point is that up to the seventh decade the propaganda of Jesus must have Deen mainly oral. Parallel with Paul's preaching and writing lay this work of the primitive church, as it clung to the historical base of the faith in the human life of Jesus; yet apparently it was not till after 60 that written records of any size began to show themselves. Composition of this kind was much slower to waken than epistolary writing. Historical records8 possibly would have had a certain flavour of mechanical authority and fixity. Book-religion, even historically considered, is legal
1 Although in chronological order Hebrews intervenes between Matthew and Luke, I have incorporated here the note upon the latter gospel, for the sake of practical convenience.
a Weizsiickcr, A A, ii. p. 34 f., Pflcid. Urc. p. 758 f.; cp. Holsten, Die Synopt. Evglien. (1886) p. 160f., and the interesting but somewhat arbitrary statement in Blass' PO, pp. 21-28, on the occasion and need for written evangelic narratives. The fall of the Jewish state in 70 A.d. brought consequences which seriously affected early Christian literature, as well as the external circumstances of the church. But we must not argue from it too rigidly for the production of gospels either prior or subsequent to the crisis. To deduce the development of early Christianity in doctrine and organisation from the period 66-70 in Judaea would be as legitimate as to explain the English Reformation solely from the matrimonial crises of Henry the Eighth.
» Unless the speeches in Acts are an exception. If they are not free compositions by the author (or authors of the sources), they must have been partly based on tradition or reminiscence, partly compiled from notes or journals made by contemporaries during the years 40-60 A.d. Clemen has a full note with references (Chron. pp. 88-90). Also Bacon, INT, pp. 228 f.
religion; its associations are with technicality.1 Until the fixing of the tradition in literature became a religious necessity to the church, belief came from hearing,8 and hearing from a spoken message about Christ.3 Indeed, the fact that Christ's life was narrated at all was due ultimately to the need felt by the early Christians for some knowledge of his laws. They looked forward to appearing before his tribunal, wnere he was to be their judge; their fate depended on their obedience to his precepts. Hence it was essential to know these, in order that life might be regulated by them exactly and conscientiously. The words of the Lord thus assumed a place of authority side by side with the OT scriptures, under whose moral code the majority of the first generation of Christians had been trained. But for these laws and words the only available source lay in the Master's life. What he practised, what he commanded, was the supreme concern of all; and to meet this, among other needs, the gospels were compiled. For he who was to judge his followers had been once among them in human person, and the future
i'ndgment would be determined by the precision with which his example iad been followed and his commands obeyed.
Whatever narratives accompanied or preceded the extant gospels have passed out of existence, like the Ionian chroniclers (koyoypa<f>oi, ovyypa(pfit) superseded by Herodotus. This fact lends an appearance of some abruptness to their genesis. Their origin seems to resemble that of the great Hebrew prophecies in the eighth century B.C., which start up on the horizon with an appearance of great suddenness, probably because the antecedent conditions are obscure, partly because the preceding literature is no longer extant. Still, in the caie of the synoptic gospels, the conditions of their origin are neither quite indistinct nor lacking in significance.
1 Deissmami, JJibelstudien (1895), S.V. ypifn, pp. 108-111; *«8«< Ai>?«tt«/ is used in the inscriptions and Egyptian papyri as a juristic phrase. Dryden rather happily remarks of Jesus (The Hind and the Panther, part ii.),
"He could have writ himself, but well foresaw
2 But it is exegetically needless to accept the ingenious conjecture (Qod and the Bible, ch. vi.) that a survival of the oral Johannine tradition is awkwardly but consistently preserved by the editor of the fourth gospel in the recurring rfr«< (48 l£r-» 211), which might be rendered, says M. Arnold, by the phrases, "as I have been saying," or "as I am telling," or "as 1 am going to tell" you.
a There is a familiar parallel in the cold reception given by the early Greeks to the art of writing, mid traces of the way in which they disparaged treatises and literature appear even in Plato (Phaedrus, 275d, 276a, xiytv x*t ip-lvx** *Z i ytyp«p■A.i.; \Xitt\n it ri ktym itxm'tti). This shy suspicion was due to the Hellenic instinct for flexibility: through politics, morality, religion, they felt a certain horror of whatever tended to petrify and fix ideas. As Prof. Butcher has' pointed out (Aspects qf (Irak Genius, "on the written and spoken word," pp. 166-199), it was the very "sense that the laws represented a personal intelligence" that "probably caused a disinclination to reduce them to written and stereotyped commands." Consequently "long after writing was well known in Greece, the laws remained unwritten." For all its semi-artistic shape, this feeling is in some respects akin to that of the early Christians with regard to the authority of Jesus. When one adds to it the contemporary distaste of the Jews to commit anything to writing, and the displacement of authorship by rhetoric in Asia Minor (Mommsen, Provinces RE, i. 363), the comparatively late rise of the gospels becomes less surprising. An example of retentiveness on the part of a pupil is given incidentally by Irenaeus in his description of Polykarp's lessons (Eus. HE, v. 20). T»n mm) rm hi ri but nS lui ri U tu*i ytyttif muheciv; *)%«v«v, vT0/£>tyu>ri£«i*i»«f etiri «£x l» x*F*?, «**' rn ipr, nmfhi*. Juu ait lik Tv z*pt* rtv iuv atlri it*fjiMf>u*£fjuu. [EBi, ii. 1869 c; JTS, ii. p. 22.]
For one thing, the extension of Christianity across the confines of Palestine, which had already proved an incentive towards oral tradition, now became a capital stimulus towards the shaping of more permanent records. The development of the faith required a method of instruction fuller and less occasional than apostolic letters (1 Th 5", Col 4le), or peripatetic teaching; and as this lack came to be felt very widely (Lk l1), it was natural that efforts should be made to supply it. Sketches of Christ's acts and words were put into circulation. The supreme aim1 was to preserve a uniform, sufficient standard for faith and morals, which rested on a continuous tradition ; for only in this way could the most distant churches be made independent of any weakness or irregularity in instruction, and at the same time furnished with some clue to the meaning of Jesus and his reign. Thus the written gospels were at once a result of the church's progress and a necessity for that progress. The local severance brought about by the fall of Jerusalem only rendered this exigency more imperative than ever. So far as the NT is concerned, the activity of the next period is devoted to conserving a historical past, the outward association with which had been snapped, the connection with which had become increasingly vital, and the abuse of which was no longer to be seriously feared. Not only the fourth gospel but also the three earlier narratives represent the intense and manifold interest roused by the historical Jesus in the "theological" consciousness of the church, as well as the practical needs which turned the whole church, in a special sense, into a "Christ-party" during the latter half of the first century. To know Jesus was their requirement. But that knowledge meant no dry historical light upon the Master's life. It could be satisfied by no mere annalist. To love him, to hope in him, to rule one's life by his precepts and for his sake—this was the craving of the church,2 and it was instruction upon these lines that the gospels were intended to contain and to convey. Among even the Greeks, as Dr. Gardner points out, much more among the early Christians, history was nearly always strongly motivif or didactic.
When the circumstances of the age are taken into account, then, the composition of gospels after the seventh decade becomes a timely and natural phenomenon. A first-class criterion for their position amid the varying phases of early Christianity is the expectation by which it was dominated, that Christ would speedily return and reign. Such a hope formed its primitive and distinctive tenet, together with the idea of
1 Holtzmann (NTTh, i. p. 404 f.) distinguishes three dominant motives which he considers to have operated during the composition of our extant gospels: (o) the dogmatic, which strove to portray Jesus in relation to the Messianic ideal and the work of redemption, (i) the aesthetic, drawn from the OT speeches and songs, and devoted to the presentation of Jesus in his wisdom and activities, (c) the Oriental, arising from the current speculations and prepossessions of Oriental mysticism, such as, e.g., the idea of pre-existenee. The moral basis of the mythopoeic spirit, with its liearing upon the historical expression of early Christianity, is discussed by Dr. Percy Gardner, Exploralio Evangdua, pp. 94-117,144 f., 300 f., 312 f., and incidentally in M. Paschoud's article in Rwue tie ThiiiL et dr Philosophic (1900), pp. 59-82, "Le Mythe et la Legende." Cf. also Gunkel: die Sagen der Genesis (1901), pp. 2-6.
2 On this dominant sense of Christ's personality and spirit in early Christianity, see the fine statement in Ruskin's SUtnes of Venice, vol. ii. ch. viii. § xlv. But, as the epistles and gospels prove, this common ground of interest was able to support varied and distinctive theories upon the significance of Jesus. The tradition itself was not rigid, much less the ensuing interpretation. "Kami von eincr in der ganzen apostolischen Christenheit verbreitetcn stereotypen Uberlieferung auch nur in bezug auf die wichtigsten Tatsachen der ev. Geschichte nicht die Rede sein " (Zahn).