Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

whether Matthew is included in these narratives or not. Also there are the use of 6 xvptos for Christ, the incipient hymnology and legalism, the development of the resurrection-tradition, etc. Here, too (622 12u 21l!), as in Matthew, traces exist of civil persecution, which would be quite apt in Domitian's reign (i.e. any time after 90). But beyond such general limits, it is impossible to fix any period for the book's composition. The relations between it and Mark (possibly Matthew as well), apart from the advanced character of its theology (cp. the characteristic feeling of delay in Christ's advent, 187- 8 209) and conceptions, forbid us placing it before 80. On the other 6ide, it was certainly composed before Acts and the fourth gospel, some time during the last quarter of the first century,1 when Gentile Christianity (icatpot t'Ovav, 2124) was being steadily diffused throughout the Roman Empire. Between the author and the life of Jesus lie not only the first witnesses (avronrai icai virrjpircu), but also a numerous circle of writers who preceded him in the attempt to compose a narrative of the Christian facts. The author of the third gospel, then, belongs to the epigoni. He is of the second or third generation, living in an age when the chief materials for a life of Jesus consisted of written sources.8 Apart from these, he was dependent upon oral reminiscence and hearsay ; it scarcely required second-century tradition to point out his distance from the historical origin of the faith (Murat. Can. "Doininum nee ipse vidit in came ").

In the third gospel (as in the book of Acts) there is an exceptional care to trace the developments of the new religion in its disentanglement from Judaism (Lk 21", icmpoi i6v5>v) * and expansion into the Roman Empire. This gospel is even more distinctively featured than the others. The

1 The literary relationship between Luke, Acts, and Josephus (especially in the Antiquities, composed 93-94 A.d.) is a vexed question (see below, on Acts). If the resemblances involve the dependence of one writer on the other, it is more probable that Luke used Josephus than vice versA, though it is quite reasonable to conjecture that both may have used the same sources, or even to deny that the resemblances are anything more than coincidences. The bearing of the question is greater upon Acts than upon the third gospel; while the dependence of the latter on Josephus' Antiquities cannot be securely proved, the former might be with more reason conjectured to have a fairly direct relationship (Wendt admits it especially in S3*') with the Jewish History. Yet the discrepancy e.g., between their accounts of Herod Agrippa's death, seems an insuperable difficulty, and the use of common ideas and idioms goes far to explain most of the coincidences (see particularly the careful proof by Belser, TQ, 1895, pp. 634-662, 1896, pp. 1-78). Apart from the older criticism of Overbeck, Hausrath, Keim, and Benan, the dependence of Luke on Josephus has been urged especially by Holtzmanu (ZwTh (1877), p. 535 f., ibid. (1880), p. 121 f., and Krenkel (Jos. n. Lucas, 1894); cp. also an article in Fortnightly Review(1877), pp. 485-509; Jungst (quellen d. Apgtschichte, p. 201 f.)); Schmiedel (ZSchz, 1898, p. 46, EBi, i. 49), and Clemen. Against the theory, Schurer (ZwTh, 1876, pp. 574f.), Nosgen(.Sir, 1879, p. 221), Bousset {ThLz, 1895, p. 391), Headlam (DB, i. art. "Acts"), Bebb (DB, iii. 168), besides Schanz (Cotnm. Luc. p. 16), Gloel (die jungste Kritik d. Galat. p. 64f.j, Adeney, (BI, pp. 343, 344), Zahn (EM. ii. 894-418), and of course—by implication—writers like Harnack, McGitfert, Ramsay,(cp. Overbeck-Zeller, ii. 310), Vogel and Heinrici(7'Ais, 1900, 679).

- For a note on these, cp. Appendix: on Lk 1-2, also Schmiedel: EBi, ii. 1855 f.

> Cp. Weiss, JUTTh, ii. pp. 291-296. The development is somewhat protracted. It must embrace an interval during which the erroneous identification of Christ'* coming with the fall of Jerusalem had to be reluctantly abandoned.

* The Luke of the NT (Col iu) is a Gentile Christian. The genealogy of the third gospel reaching back to Adam, not to Abraham (as Matt.), witnesses to the "Catholic " tendency, which in this case is identified with the aim at a "complete" (la) account of Jesus. Adam is the human, as opposed to Abraham the national, ancestor; but he is also the actual root of the subsequent pedigree. On Luke and the Roman world, cp. Kamsay, Was Christ born at BeUUehem t (1898) pp. 49-72.

characteristics, e.g. commonly known as its " Paulinism " and " Ebionitism," represent quite definite traits, but how far these rather eclectic elements are to be referred to the conscious individuality of the author, and how far to the circle of feelings and ideas in which he moved and for which he wrote, is another problem.1 One motive, however, is fairly plain. The work of his contemporary, Josephus, was devoted to removing as far as possible the anti-Semite prejudice which had been accentuated in many Roman circles by the outbreak of 66-70 A.d. The two volumes from a Christian pen which we now know as the third gospel and Acts, had a similar object. They strove to allay the unfavourable impression produced in the same circles, not merely by the unpopularity and troublesomeness of Christians throughout the empire, but also by the malice of their co-religionists, the Jews. That some such idea was in the mind of the author cannot reasonably be doubted.

As to the remarkable coincidences between Lk \la and the medical writings of Dioskorides (of Anazarbus), cp. Lagarde (Psalt. juxta Hear Hieronymi, p. 165 f., Mittheilungen, 3, p. 55 f.), J. Weiss (-Meyer's Luke, ad Joe), and Zahn (Einl. ii. p. 384), of whom the last named lays greater stress upon Luke's use of Hippokrates.

(B) Date of composition.—The wide differences of opinion which still exist in regard to this point of the synoptic problem can be most easily exhibited in a table. The terminus a quo for the composition of the three gospels may be taken as c. 70 A.d. The opposite limit falls c. 100 A.d., or even later. It is brave rather than accurate to declare that the prevalent view upon the whole is that " our gospels as we have them were written within the decade 71-80 A.D." (Sanday, Exp* iii. 345, following Wright). For Matthew, e.g., Hausrath, W. Bruckner, and Kenan will not come down earlier than the Flavian regime;2 Volkmar and Pfleiderer 8 put it

1 Another slightly different aspect of the question is offered by the theory which is disposed to discover these variations chiefly in the Jewish-Christian sources which already lay before Luke, modelled as they were by previous tradition (so Feine, Eine vorkanonische Ueberlieferung d. Lukas, 1891; and similarly J. Weiss in Meyer8). This would reduce Luke's initiative and make his variations due less to contemporary reflections or personal bias than to the reproduction of primitive tendencies. Jttngst, again (SK, 1896, pp. 215-244), is quite nnablo to find distinctively Paulino or theological prepossessions in the third gospel. Its author is "ein ziemlich farbloser Bearbeiter seiner (wesentlioh judenchristlichen) Quellen," and Resch is even more extravagant (Aussercanonische Paralleltexte, TU, x. 3, p. 847): "Lukas ist der tendenzlose, lediglich und treulich auf seine Quellen sich stutzcude Historiograph der NT." Ramsay's parallel estimate (SPT, pp. 14 f.) does not seem to be justified even by his own interpretation of those portions of Acts (and they are the strongest) which he selects for discussion; apart altogether from the fact that any such estimate ought in all fairness to start from a work like the third gospel, where we have the opportunity of comparing Luke with other writers of the same class who nsed to some extent the same materials. At any rate, Luke's historical rank is nearer that of Livy than of Thucydides, and nothing operates so mischievously in literary research as an exaggerated estimate of some individual author. It simply provokes a depreciation which falls into the same pit of injustice. Norden, Die Antike Kunstprosa, pp. 480-492, rightly pronounces quite au encominm upon Luke's style, in comparison with that of the other synoptists. Cp. also above, p. 32.

a Reville, i. pp. 282-360, dates the gospels between 98 and 117 A.D., the editing of the Logia before 70, the Proto-Mark (0-75, and the fourth gospel 130-140. Similarly Paul (die AbfasmmjsxU d. Synopt. Bvglien, 1887), arguing from the evidence of Justin Martyr, dates the final redaction of all four gospels between 130 and 150 A.d.

3 Pfleiderer's latest results are: Mark, possibly before the fall of Jerusalem, and at any rate not long after the death of Paul (Urc. 414-416); Luke, written in Trajan's reign, about the opening of the second century (ibid. 542-543); Matthew, about the second or third decade of the second century.

much later, while Usener (Religionsgeschichte Vntersuchungen, i. pp. 97,
173) dates its final form 130 A.d., its oldest, 69 A.D.1 Jiilicher's period
for the gospel is 81-96 A.d., with which Wernle practically agrees. As
for Luke, quite a weighty league of scholars cannot find evidence for it
earlier than the end of the first century or the beginning of the second;
so Hilgenfeld, Holsten, Holtzmann, Krenkel, weizsiicker, Jiilicher,
Wernle, etc. Extravagant as some of the arguments for these positions
may be, the total proof is sufficient to show the lack of any definite
agreement upon the date of either Matthew or Luke, and also the
generally late period to which upon any fair statement of the case they
must be assigned. Equally extravagant in the opposite direction are the

[table]

1 Rovers (Nieuw-tert. Letterkundc, 18SS) also dates Mk ± 90, Matt ± 80, and Luke at the beginning of the second century. Baljon (Comm. op het Ev. van Mattharus, 1900) puts Mt shortly after 70 A.d.

a "Both very probable dates'' (Sanday, Exp*, iii. 20, vii. 412: Bampton Led. p. 277f. Luke=76-80); so V. H. Stanton (ut tupra), and Bebb (DB, iii. 162-164).

» Chron. pp. 650-656. So substantially Dr. O. Cone, Gotpel Criticitm and EUtorieal Christianity, 1891.

reactionary attempts to put Luke previous to the destruction of Jeru-
salem: so, after Godet, Prof. Marshall (Exp* ii. 72, 58-60 A.d.), Schanz
(between 65-70), Schafer (67-70), Hahn, and most recently Blass (PG,
pp. 33-52, Evglm. secundum Luc. 1897, pp. ix, x), who dates it fifteen years
previous to that event. This period had been occasionally assigned to

: Zahn (EM. ii. pp. 158-333), like Schafer (EM. p. 195 f.), dates Matthew's
Aramaic work (composed in Palestine) c. 62, and its final Greek form more than
twenty years later ; just as Hilgenfeld had already put the former 50-60, and the
latter 70-80 A.D. Holsten put the Mattliean Logia as far back as c. 65. Stanton
(DB, ii. pp. 247, 248), after dismissing Mt 24s8 as an argument for the pre-70 date,
remarks, "Nor do there seem to be other indications in the gospel which enable us to
assign it with confidence to a time either before or after that or any other date."
This is quite a wanton pessimism: it is caution glorified at the expense of intelligence.

Mark or even Matthew (Abbott places both before 70 A.d.), but Halcombe conjectures that the whole of the gospels were in existence and circulation before the Acts (Historic Relation of the Gospels, 1889, pp. 234-250), i.e. previous to 63 ±, and even twelve years earlier, before the Epistles, John being the earliest of the four, Luke the latest, and Mark following Matthew. The following synchronisms help to orientate these dates :— Juvenal's satires on Roman politics, manners, and religion kept appearing about this period, the earliest of them perhaps contemporaneous with the first gospels, the latest in the beginning of Trajan's reign, when the fourth gospel was composed in Asia Minor. Also, just as Luke, Acts, and the Apocalypse were coming into circulation among Christian readers, the Roman public were being delighted with Martial's disreputably piquant etchings of Italian society. But the circumstances of Epiktetus' career are even more apposite. His Suvrpifiai were being delivered in Rome and afterwards in Nikopolis during the last quarter of the first century A.d. They were reproduced thirty or forty years later by one of his hearers, the historian Arrian, who had taken notes of them for his own sake. The curious thing is that these private notes came to be published without the consent or knowledge of Arrian himself, although he probably gave them a subsequent revision. Cp. Tables Ii.-iii. The inner forces of the environment form too complex a subject to be outlined here. But in addition to what has been already said upon the practical aim which dominated the evangelists, it must be remembered that the medium through which they and their readers viewed the life of Jesus was not insulated from the contemporary spirit which pervaded the East. As Dr. Gardner shows, after drawing attention to the limited extent to which the Eastern parts of the Roman world were Hellenised in the first century, "the mass of the people were prepared to accept historical accounts not by the strict rules of evidence, but according as they satisfied certain inner needs or agreed with existing feelings." Some principle like this is needed as a canon for gospel-criticism. Otherwise many problems will remain insoluble to those who forget that to be realistic, ethically appropriate, circumstantial, edifying, is not equivalent to being "historical" in the strict and modern sense of the term. Roughly speaking, the priority of Mark, and approximately its date: the composition of Matthew within the first century, and its general period :—these are the points upon which most lines of modern criticism converge. That Luke is subsequent to Matthew, and that it was composed during Domitian's reign, are less certain positions; but they have excellent support, and may be adopted with a good conscience. On these points as on the criticism of the sources, it is certainly possible to speak with less dubiety than hitherto. If the province of the synoptic question has not yet been fully surveyed, the researches of the past halfcentury * have at least opened several main tracks along which all future workers must proceed, and from which it is reasonable to expect that, unless fresh documents are discovered.no serious deviation will be found necessary.

1 The liope with which Ritschl closed his survey of the synoptic question (Qtsommelte Aufsiitze, pp. 1-57) in 1851, has been largely justified: "Wie weit uns die innere Kritik der Evangelien in der Untersuchung ihres Ursprungs fuliren wird, wissen wir nicht, bisher hat sie nur zu Hader und Zank gefuhrt, darum kiinnen wir aber die Hoffnung nicht aufgeben, dass auf diesem Wege das Geheimniss wenigstens theilweise enthiillt werde, welches die Urspriingc des evangelischen Schrifttluims umgibt, und welches durch die Traditionen der Kirchenviiter nur vermehrt, aber nicht vermindert wird." On the external evidence for the gospels in the second century, see Dr. Abbott's elaborate study, the most recent and, in some aspects, not the least reliable discussion of this vital and weariful subject (EBi, ii. 1809-1SI0).

[ocr errors]

With this gospel we proceed to describe the historical literature of early Christianity. Undoubtedly it is the earliest of the gospels, and became the groundwork for all that followed. The arrangement of the narratives, which is simple and thoroughly clear, represents the guiding principle followed in the main by Luke and Matthew. . . . The stories and speeches in Mark are presented throughout in a manner that bears the stamp of originality, with a clearness and precision that are self-evident, as well as with a completeness that is at once well rounded, coherent, and continuous. It is the first extant attempt to exhibit in narrative form, as a history of Jesus' life and sufferings, that gospel of Jesus as the Christ which Paul had preached as a theological doctrine. Materials from the earliest tradition are certainly utilised in this narrative; but in its conception of details it betrays as plainly the determining influence of that great teacher Paul, who probably had as one of his scholars the author of this first gospel. — Pflelderer.

« AnteriorContinuar »