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Stuttgart, 1898; Zweite Auflage, 1900). Wherever I have been obliged to adopt a different reading, the departure is noted at the foot of the page. I am also responsible myself for the arrangement and punctuation of the text. Passages within brackets denote either displaced sections or interpolations belonging to a date subsequent to that of the writing as a whole. Single brackets imply that there is no MS evidence for the interpolation, while double brackets are used when such external evidence does exist. Darker type denotes a passage incorporated from some earlier source, and phrases or quotations from the OT are printed throughout in italics, although it is rather difficult in many cases to ascertain whether the use of OT language is due to direct reminiscence, to indirect allusion, or merely to the current religious vocabulary of the age. For the evidence upon most of the bracketted passages, as well as for a discussion of some critical points raised throughout the Notes, the reader is referred to the Appendix. The plan of the edition has not permitted any statement of the grounds upon which the Greek text has been determined.
As I have explained in the Prolegomena, one is extremely conscious of the limitations which beset a pioneering edition like the present, both in idea and in execution, particularly when it has to be done practically single-handed. At point after point one has felt the lack of that width of survey, that minuteness of research, that balance of judgment, which are essential to any valid advance in a subject so wide and complex. Most of the volume also has been written and re-written at some distance from libraries, and apart from errors it is more than possible that some important literature has slipped through the editorial meshes, just as some has unfortunately proved inaccessible. I hope that such gaps or slips will not seriously
interfere with the utility and use of the volume. Under the Spartan maxim, Tout bien ou rien, it could not have been produced. But I am confident that it is upon the right lines at any rate, and that its general plan will be serviceable even to those who may dislike its presuppositions or dispute several of its particular results. Such as it is, it is offered as a secondary aid to the more exact appreciation of that early Christian literature, the study of which is bound up with so many vital problems in our modern faith.
My warmest thanks are due to those who have aided me during the preparation of this book with literature or suggestions. I wish particularly to thank the following scholars who have revised different parts of my translation: Professor Denney and Dr. H. A. A. Kennedy, who have read over the Pauline epistles (with the exception of 1 Corinthians, which has been undertaken by Rev. David Smith, M.A.); Dr. Marcus Dods (Hebrews and the Catholic epistles); Rev. Canon I. Gregory Smith (Mark); Rev. E. F. Scott, B.A. (Matthew); Rev. Ll. M. J. Bebb (Luke and Acts); Dr. George Reith (the Johannine literature); and Professor Walter Lock (Pastoral epistles). To these scholars I am indebted for the time and care they have generously bestowed upon another man's work. It is only right to add that they are not to be held responsible for any opinion or position expressed throughout the course of the volume, or even for the final shape in which the translation now appears. Mr. Scott and Dr. Reith have done me the further service of reading most of the proof-sheets.
1 I specially regret that my edition has to appear before the completion of such important critical enterprises as Dr. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible, the Encyclopaedia Biblica, edited by Dr. Sutherland Black and Professor Cheyne, and the Expositor's Greek Testament. For some literature which has come to hand or appeared during the printing of this volume, the reader is referred to the Addenda on pp. 709-710.
I should not like these pages to appear without also acknowledging how much they owe to the late Professor A. B. Bruce, without whose impulse and direction they would hardly have been written. Some years ago he was kind enough to look over the sheets and give me the benefit of his advice as the MS began to take shape. But one is indebted to him for much more than even the characteristic generosity which he showed to his old pupils and the demands for work with which he honoured them. His abiding service was one of stimulus; he naturalised critical processes, and with singular open-mindedness resisted tradition and intellectual torpor in handling the NT as a subject either for writing or for preaching. Few of us can take many steps in this department of study without realising more and more keenly that the very possibility of such an advance in this country is largely due to the work done by our old master upon these lines. Where he ventured, others follow. Both by teaching and example he has rendered to many in this generation a timely service of liberation not unlike that which in another sphere America is said by Lowell to have gained from Emerson : “He cut the cable and gave us a chance at the dangers and the glories of blue water.” Dr. Bruce's work thrust his students upon the responsibilities of freedom. It awakened them especially to the subtle and comfortable peril of antiquarianism in dealing with the Christian facts, while at the same time it steadied them on the conviction that no genuine faith had ultimately anything to fear from strict and fair enquiry. This was conspicuously brought out in his treatment of the historical basis and element in early Christianity; within that department of theology, those who remember his unsparing methods of research will be the first to feel that the truest loyalty to their distinguished teacher lies not in the slavish repetition of his own ideas or in the reassertion
of his own positions—little he cared for echoes, and least of all for echoes of himself—but in continuing to employ those methods with something of his spirit, sharing his reverent and brave conviction that even the faults and mistakes of candid enquiry somehow work together for the truth, that truth is the surest defence of faith, and that faith is the justification as it is the germ of real criticism. Historical truth and genuine religion were to Dr. Bruce inseparable allies. He wrought this vital conception into his pupils, with the result that any effort upon their part to carry out this principle in its details is naturally felt by them to be primarily derived from his instruction and incentive. Certainly none of them can prosecute enquiries into the development of early Christianity without being sensible of a recurring debt of gratitude, not so much for the actual results of their master's criticism, though these were often fresh and independent, as for the spirit which he habitually inculcated in dealing with that period and with its literature. Under such obligations to him, personal and general, this volume lies. Yet, after all, they form but a single item in the long fragrant debt which, in common with the rest of his pupils and those wider circles who knew him mainly as an author, one is conscious that one owes to the personality of a great Christian scholar, who has done more than almost anyone throughout this country during the last quarter of the present century to make the knowledge of Jesus and his Christianity welcome and rich and reasonable.
A te principium, tibi desinet !
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION
The changes possible in this re-issue have had to be very limited. Some misprints have been corrected, an expression modified here and there for the sake of clearness, and a slight amount of fresh material incorporated. Otherwise the volume remains substantially the same. The additions are fewer in some parts (e.g. on the Synoptic question) than one could have wished. But I regret their enforced paucity the less that any criticism passed upon the general principles and methods of the Historical New Testament has only served to confirm their appositeness and legitimacy. This reception has been encouraging and suggestive. The appreciative welcome accorded to my volume has been due in large measure, I am sure, not to the merits which it has been far too generously imagined to possess, so much as to the gratifying desire which is evidently felt by many English students of the NT, for a devout and untrammelled treatment of the early Christian literature, along lines which run parallel to those dominant in the most influential historical criticism of to-day. The few and insignificant cases where the reception has been otherwise, seem to reveal not a desire certainly, but a clamant and pathetic need, for such a critical enterprise as one has imperfectly but honestly essayed throughout the following pages.
i In response to the appeal of several critics, I hope to prepare before long a critical Introduction to the literature of the NT, incorporating the material mentioned on page xiv.