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ments—or the insight of criticism must be carried further on, past the common atmosphere, to clear up the individual characteristics which are prominent in each gospel. This latter method of research into their idiosyncrasies and predilections holds true, quite apart from questions of their authorship. Unless these extant peculiarities are merely differences which have previously grown up in a varied tradition, and been more or less unconsciously transcribed by an editor from his sources (as, e.g., Weizsäcker inclines to imagine, AA, ii. pp. 32–71), they must be due chiefly to his own initiative and personal intuitions. The motives of this initiative are often hard to discover. But the variations 1 can usually be explained by considerations of the unconscious affinities and conscious prejudices of the writer through whose mind the truth was filtered, the special requirements of the circle for which he was writing, and the character (not to say the amount) of the sources to which he had access, and in the use of which he exercised his own discretion. Several of these prepossessions are quite patent, e.g. Matthew's delight in making Jesus fulfil the Messianic rôle (Baldensperger, Selbstbewusstsein Jesu, 2 pp. 46–67), his antagonism to the libertine tendencies of Gentile Christians (722 1341 2412) in Asia Minor, and his general reflection of a more liberal Jewish Christianity, such as that for which Peter furnished the prototype ; along with Luke's (a) palpable interest in the Twelve who become
Every historian works by a similar process of sifting and selection, which | is regulated partly by his own point of view, partly by the materials which he has at his command. He chooses certain definite aspects, brings the central elements into prominence, and keeps the ancillary in due subordination. For a brilliant and sane discussion, in English, chiefly of the Lucan variations and characteristics, cr. Professor Bruce's Kingdom of God (5th ed. 1893), espec. pp. 1-37; Carpenter's First Three Gospels (2nd ed. 1894), a careful, lucid sketch, written mainly from the standpoint of Pfleiderer's Urchristenthum, covers a wider field. Havet's paragraphs are dominated as usual by an ultra-radical scepticism (Le Christianisme et ses Origines, iv. pp. 225–296), and add little or nothing to the classical discussion in Weizsäcker's Untersuchungen über die evangelische Geschichte ? (1891), erster Theil. In a recent work, Horae Synopticae (1899), the Rev. Sir John C. Hawkins, Bart., has made a candid and original attempt on scientific lines to exhibit statistically the linguistic evidence of the synoptic gospels, with its characteristics and implicates ; and Wernle's Synoptische Frage (1899), pp. 1–108, is a reliable summary of the whole case.
“apostles” in his pages, and are less unflinchingly treated than in the preceding gospels (cp. the omission of Mk 1035, Mt 2020, and the insertion of årò tña Núrins, Lk 2245 b), his (6) more frequent use of the term “Lord” (Kúplos) for Jesus upon earth, and (c) his abridgment of Christ's polemic against contemporary Pharisaism. But explicit or not, the fact of variation in temper and attitude among the synoptists is conspicuous and irrefragable. Instances are too numerous and familiar to require quotation. They can be found in any good edition of the gospels. Still it is of essential importance to keep the general principle steadily in mind as one reads the historical narratives, so as to understand by dint of legitimate inference the bent and motive of the author. Each gospel has a cachet of its own, as it gives not a mere reproduction of external objects and past events, but the writer's attitude to these and his impressions of them. Each is looking back into the previous history. But the way in which each looks on things necessarily qualifies the character of the narrative; and the amount of qualification that is due to this refraction, whether serious or insignificant, is far from being uniform. The relationship between each writer and the subject varied with the personal endowment and environment of the former. Their common business was to exhibit the actual life of Jesus impressively, to stir the inward vision, to raise the mind, to discipline the conscience; yet none could carry through the task without allowing some characteristic infusion of personal hopes, convictions, and experiences to affect the form and even the contents of the narrative (cp. Holtzmann, NTTh, i. pp. 28–110, 399–453, and Brandt's too radical discussion, Die evangelische Geschichte u. der Ursprung des Christenthums, 1893, pp. 512-550; also M. Arnold's Literature and Dogma, chaps. v., vi. ; Toy, Christianity and Judaism, chaps. ii., iii.; and Cone, Gospel Criticism, 1891, pp. 291-336). A partial illustration of the same process can be found in Paradise Lost. Milton's epic is no political pamphlet, nor is it a religious treatise. Yet it is impossible to miss in its dialogues and descriptions either the theology of current Puritanism with its controversies and abstractions, or the republican tendencies by which the author's conceptions of government were shaped, or finally his instinctive distrust for the intellectual passion wakened by the Renaissance. These elements could not be kept out. They do not form a cardinal feature of the poem, but they cannot be neglected by anyone who wishes to frame an estimate either of the epic or of its age.
A history of the NT, then, would be simply unintelligible if it were severed from any conception of the tendencies and habits existing in that Christian society of which the NT literature is at once an outcome and a reflection. To become legible these books need the context of the religious situation. The significance and connection of the writings cannot be fully grasped until these are approached with some adequate idea of the whole Christian movement during the first and second centuries. From the historical standpoint, Luther's touchstone for an apostolic writing, namely, “ Does it preach and urge Christ ?” hits off more accurately than many pseudo-literary standards the essential characteristics of the literature; for that literature sprang from the memory and devotion of a Christian consciousness which was at once the product and the partial expression of the self-consciousness of Jesus. This is true of gospels and epistles alike. When those early Christians wrote of themselves and to themselves, they reflected him. When they reported and pictured him, they revealed their inner selves in hints and stray suggestions. The epistles presuppose this personal relation and religious motive, rising as a rule out of previous intercourse between writer and readers, and forming the substitute for that (2 Th 22 314; 2 Jn 12, Jud 3). But a similar characteristic is not absent even from the historical narratives, which have their affinities with the epistles
It is hardly correct to define the post-Pauline epistle as the literary form of an evangelical writing in which an unknown writer came into relations with, an unknown public comprising practically the whole of Christendom. It is certainly nearer a religious treatise than a letter; but the epistles preserved in Apoc. 2-3, to say nothing of Heb 137-end and 2-3 John, demand a closer definition. On the epistolary form of the NT letters, see F. Zimmer's careful analysis, ZKWL (1886), 443–453.
pretty much as the books of Samuel and Kings are ranked among the early Hebrew prophets; they interpret, urge, comment, explain. In no case is their object merely the presentment of an impersonal record or chronicle, written by a man out of close touch with contemporary life. As it has often been remarked, their motto might be the words, èK Triotews eis míotiv. Their general purpose is not to convert. On the contrary, presupposing a certain knowledge of Jesus and faith in him, they aim at developing these by portraying Christ's words and deeds with especial reference to the homely and practical exigencies of present life : 2_
“Where truth in closest words shall fail,
The third gospel bears on the face of it a personal and didactic aim (Lk 11, AC 11-2), and this applies to its sequel. (cp. nuas Ac 1422). The fourth gospel also was composed for the religious needs of a circle which was definite and familiar to the author (Jo 2030-31; cp. also the traditions of its origin, Euseb. HE, vi. 14, and the Murat. Canon). Mark and Matthew lack any formal indication of such a purpose. But as far back as the stream of tradition can be followed, it is remarkable that both are made to depend upon original sources which share this very characteristic. Mark, the companion and interpreter of Peter, is reported by Papias to have put into writing the reminiscences of that apostle as these were addressed to the Roman Christians and adapted to their religious needs (òs após tás xpelas êTOLEÎTO Tàs didao kalías, Euseb. HE, iii. 39). To this report Clement of Alexandria
i The strange occurrence of "you" in a professedly historical writing - (Jo 1935 2031) implies an audience, though the corresponding “I” is never expressed. **It is the speech of the preacher before an assembled church” (Zahn, Eint. ii. pp. 467, 476).'"
2 On the priority of the moral and religious interests to the historical, Jowett has some sensible remarks: Plato, vol. iii. pp. Xxxvii-xxxviii. A similar motive dominates the Nikomachean Ethics (I. 2, 5, 11. 2, VI. 5), where Aristotle repeatedly explains that his aim is to determine conduct as well as to propound theory.
adds “a tradition of the former presbyters,” that Mark wrote thus at the direct instigation and request of many of Peter's hearers, to whom the gospel was subsequently delivered (Euseb. HE, vi. 14). Matthew, according to Eusebius (HE, iii. 24), preached formerly to Hebrews: “When he was about to go to others as well, he committed to writing his gospel (το κατ' αυτόν củayyércov), and thus, by his writing, filled up the want which his absence made among those he left behind.” These fragments of evidence drawn from the traditions upon the origin of the gospels or from the gospels themselves, corroborate the view by which these writings are regarded as immediately, and in the same sense, if not to the same degree or in the same form, as the epistles, the outcome and transcript of a definitely religious situation. Their raison d’être lay in the authoritative and binding power exercised by the words of Jesus over the primitive community from the very beginning, as well as in the need, stirred by exigencies of time and place, for possessing that standard in an accessible and fairly uniform shape, for the purpose of personal conduct, missionary enterprise, and religious nourishinent. The gospels, in fact, are the first Christian creed: they are the naive expression 1 of the creed in history.**
This aspect of the gospels requires to be thrown into relief. Historical writing implies inquiry behind it, and inquiry is the outcome of certain needs. It was not that
the evangelic writers composed their stories with a moral. f The story itself was the moral. The general end for which
they wrote was invariably the same; they undertook the task, not as chroniclers reporting a series of past events, noras Titerary artists sketching a picture of action, nor even as pupils reproducing a master's words and
orders, but simply to train and foster the faith of men in Ľ Jesus. There was no thought of gratifying curiosity, still
less of formally putting before the world trustworthy records of that faith or of presenting disquisitions upon its issues and origin. The audiences of the evangelists had other needs. For them Christ's words were the primary religious authority. They required to possess these words in a form at once