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Note A, p. 8.—Paul And The Historical Christ

A GREAT amount of investigation has been directed in modern times to the allusions found in Paul's Epistles to the teaching and incidents recorded in the Gospels. Paret's article on " Paul and Jesus," in the Jahrbiicher fiir Deutsche Theologie (iii. B., I Heft, 1858), led the way in this inquiry; and that article remains the classic on the subject. All that has been written since is in substance contained in it; and it ought to be read and re-read by those who would understand the relation in which Paul stood to the historic Christ. The Witness of the Epistles, by Rev. R. I. Knowling, M.A., 1892, is a mine of information on what has been written since Paret's day; and in the fifth and sixth chapters of that work the reader will find a detailed account of references in the Epistles to our Lord's life and teaching; the fullest acknowledgment is made of the author's indebtedness to Paret. Sabatier's brief statement on the subject {The Apostle Paul, p. 70-75, English translation) is worth reading; he emphasises the point that one thing calculated to impress us more powerfully than all the isolated facts mentioned in the Epistles is the general picture Paul draws of the Saviour's life, so " exactly answering to the impression left on us by the Gospel narratives as a whole."

Hausrath {der Apostel Paulus) remarks that " if Paul in his letters makes little of the historical, and deduces the Messiahship of Jesus from the Old Testament rather than from the life of Jesus, if the individual incidents of the Lord's life weigh less with him than the significance of His death, the reason was not that his knowledge is defective on these matters, but that the speculative tendency of his spirit thinks in religious postulates and not in facts." The following passage from him may be quoted as presenting a summary of the historical knowledge to be gathered from the Epistles: " That he knew, in a particular case, to give the historical even to detail is proved by his own statement to the Galatians, that he had so set Jesus before their eyes as the Crucified One that he never believed he would have reason to fear that they would turn to another Gospel. His knowledge embraces the whole life of Jesus. He mentions His Davidic descent (Rom. i. 3, ix. 5), and he knows of His baptism, and makes an allegorical use of it in his Epistles (Col. ii. 11; 1 Cor. x. 2; Rom. vi. 3-4). He knows the preaching of the kingdom of God, and the sending forth of the apostles, and their being furnished with power over the devils (2 Cor. xii. 12; 1 Cor. xii. 10, 28, 29; Gal. iii. 5), and he has so accustomed himself to call them the Twelve, as in the time of Jesus, that he uses this expression even when it was no more applicable (1 Cor. xv. 5). The poor life of Jesus (Phil. ii. 4-8), the spirit of meekness and gentleness that animated it, the self-forgetting, humble, serving love—all this is perfectly present to the apostle (2 Cor. v. 15; Gal. ii. 20; Phil. i. 8). He has a more accurate knowledge than the Evangelists themselves had of the history of the Passion. At least his narrative of the Lord's Supper in the night on which he was betrayed corrects the differences of the Synoptists (1 Cor. xi. 23); it is not unknown to him that it was the princes of this world, and not the people, that wished the death of Jesus (1 Cor. ii. 8), and the treachery of Judas (1 Cor. xi. 23). The reproaches of the Crucified One (Rom. xv. 3), His weakness on the cross (2 Cor. xiii. 4), and the nailing to it of the handwriting of the proconsul (Col. ii. 14)—all this stands in so living a way before his soul that he can picture it also before the eyes of others. The narrative of the appearances of the Risen One is, in particular, given by him with great regard to detail (1 Cor. xv. 3)" (pp. 142-3).

Jowett has an interesting note in his Commentary on 1 Thes. iv. 15, on "What did St. Paul know of the life of Jesus?" "In 1 Cor. xv. 3—10," he says, "the apostle describes himself not only as preaching to the Corinthians the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ, but as dwelling on the minute circumstances which attested it." He goes on to ask, "Had he told them in like manner of other events in the life of Christ—had the parables and discourses of Christ interwoven themselves in his teaching, were the miracles of Christ a witness to which he appealed?" These questions, he says, must remain without an answer; "but as far as we can trace, it was not the sayings or events of the life of Christ, but the witness of the Old Testament prophets that formed the larger part of St. Paul's teaching, the external evidence by which he supported in himself and others the inward and living sense of union with Christ, the medium through which he preached 'Christ crucified.'"

Note B, p. 12.—Paul's Idea Of The Christ


There is every reason to believe that before his conversion Paul shared the carnal notions of his countrymen about the temporal might and dominion that were to belong to the Christ who was to come. These ideas seem to have blinded him to the spirituality of Jesus' claim. His repudiation, after he was converted, of the Jewish idea of a national deliverer is probably referred to in 2 Cor. v. 16, where, speaking of the change that had taken place in his estimate of persons and things from the time he had discerned the love of Christ in dying for all, he says, " Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet henceforth know we Him no more." Some, indeed, think that these words imply that Paul had had a personal knowledge of Jesus when He lived with men, and that he here declares that he had no longer any interest in that knowledge of the incidents and words of the historic Christ now that he had an understanding of Him as the Lord of Glory. It is

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