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to explain the fact that neither Paul nor any other New Testament writer-and surely they all had faith-could ever produce a page which even remotely reminded us of the manner of the Lord? Their whole attitude to the realities with which they deal-to God and man and truth -is other than His, and even when they speak in the power of His spirit it is not in His style and tone. After all, the words of Jesus have a seal of their own, and are not so easily counterfeited. It is true, as Wellhausen says, that truth attests only itself, not its author; but when the various self-attesting truths coalesce into the unity of the Speaker and His life-when, as Deissmann says, they are seen to be not separate pearls threaded on one string, but flashes of one and the same diamond-the truth and its author are not separable. The sum of self-attesting truths which finds its vital unity in Jesus guarantees His historical reality in a character corresponding to these truths themselves, and the more we come under the impression of this character, the less disposed shall we be either to prescribe its measure beforehand, or to assume that vital and conscious relations between it and the Christianity in which it somehow issued are necessarily unhistorical. That Jesus left no written record of Himself is true. It is true also that what He wished to leave behind Him in the world was not a protocol of His words and deeds, a documentary attestation of them such as historians or lawyers might require; what He craved was a spiritual remembrance, a living witness in the souls of men born again by His words of eternal life. But the very men on whom He made the impression which made them Christians, the very men who hung on His lips because His words were what they were, would not easily lose all sense of distinction between His words and thoughts and their own. The very power and wonder of the words would preserve their singularity, and, as has already been re
marked, the conspicuous fact in the New Testament is not the imperceptible way in which the words of Jesus. merge into those of Christians, but the incomparable and solitary relief in which they stand out by themselves. The possibility of modification, of deflection, of 'Christianising' even, in applying these words in any given situation, is one which need not be questioned beforehand; the mind is subject to its own laws, and the spirit has its own liberties, even in dealing with the words of Jesus. But the broad contrast which has just been pointed out remains, and it justifies us, not only in examining each instance on its merits, but in approaching the examination with a presumption in favour of the witnesses rather than against them. When we appeal to the discourses of Jesus in Matthew and Luke for testimony to the mind of Jesus regarding Himself or His work, this is the presumption which will determine our attitude.
For the purpose which we have in view it is not necessary to refer further to the critical analysis of the gospels. We shall confine ourselves to the gospel of Mark, and to that second source, common to Matthew and Luke which in accordance with custom will be cited as Q. The limits of Q, as soon as we go beyond the matter which is guaranteed as belonging to it by its occurrence both in Matthew and Luke, are quite uncertain; and therefore we shall confine our investigation to the passages which have this guarantee.' It is impossible to lay down before
1 This is the course followed by Harnack in his own investigation of QSprüche u. Reden Jesu; and in his review of Weiss's recent works, Die Quellen des Lukasevangeliums and Die Quellen der synoptischen Ueberlieferung (in Theol. Litteraturzeitung, 1908: 460 ff.), though he admits that Weiss gives an essentially correct description of the characteristics of Q, he can lay no stress on those passages in Weiss's reconstruction of it which depend upon one witness only. Weiss is practically certain of these, and of his restoration of them (Aufstellung der Matthäusquelle); to Harnack they are only possibilities. The general impression left on the mind of the writer by the study of all these works is that far greater allow
hand the precise line which the investigation must follow. In the opening sections of the gospel-those which narrate the baptism and the temptation of Jesus-we have both sources to appeal to; when we pass this point it will be convenient to consider first the testimony of Q, and then that of Mark, to the self-consciousness of Jesus. In pursuing this course, the method adopted must be left to justify itself by the result. Though no stress can be laid on the chronology of the gospels, there is an order in them of some kind, and as far as possible that will be followed.
(b) Detailed study of the earliest sources as illustrating the self-consciousness of Jesus.
THE BAPTISM OF JESUS
(Mark 11; Matt. 3 12-17; Luke-3 "f.)
Both in Mark and in Q Jesus is introduced to us in connexion with John the Baptist. He comes upon the stage of history when He presents Himself to John on the banks of the Jordan to be baptized. The synoptic gospels recognise John as the forerunner of Jesus, but they do not record any testimony of John to Jesus as the Christ. John, probably in the sense of his own weakness, ance must be made than is made in any of them for the influence upon the evangelists of other than documentary evidence in the writing of the gospels. Assuming that Luke knew a gospel narrative-say the healing of the paralytic or the parable of the sower-both from Mark and Q, we must remember that as a person living in the Christian Church it is a thousand to one that he knew it by having heard it told independently of either. Even if he tells it in the main on the basis of Mark or of Q, we are not bound to explain his divergences from either by conscious motives discoverable by us; to the writer, in spite of Weiss's claim and of Harnack's assent to it (ut supra, 465), it is as certain as anything can be that thousands of the divergences for which ingenious explanations are given are purely accidental, and have no motive or meaning whatever. In other words, 'oral tradition' is a vera causa operating far more extensively than the criticism of Weiss is disposed to admit.
and of his inadequacy to the task of regenerating Israel, spoke of the Coming One as mightier than himself, and as able to baptize with Holy Spirit and fire; but he did not expressly identify Him with Jesus. Yet when we consider the extraordinarily high estimate which Jesus had of John, and reflect that of all His contemporaries John alone seems to have made any spiritual impression on Him, these lofty anticipations of the Coming One may not seem quite irrelevant to Jesus' consciousness of Himself. It is probably true to say that He felt Himself, when He entered on His work, called and qualified to fulfil John's anticipations-the holder of a mightier power than the last of the prophets, and able in virtue of it to succeed where he had failed.
But be this as it may, we come to a point of critical importance with the baptism of Jesus Himself. It was narrated in Q, as we can infer with certainty from the Temptation story, which both Matthew and Luke have taken from this source, and which in all its elements refers to the Baptism and to the voice which then declared Jesus Son of God. It is not Q's narrative of the Baptism, however, which has been preserved by our evangelists; at this point, with slight modifications, both Matthew and Luke follow Mark. The record, marvellous as it is, is of the simplest. 'And it came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water He saw the heavens rent asunder, and the Spirit as a dove descending upon Him: and a voice came out of the heavens, Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well pleased' (Mark 1-11). The fact that the baptism of Jesus came at a later period to present difficulties to the Christian mind-difficulties which may be reflected in Matt. 3 14 f., to which there is no parallel in Mark or Luke-is at least an argument
that it actually took place. We can hardly, indeed, imagine a period at which there would not be difficulty in the idea that a person who was himself the object of religious faith-and this, as we have shown above, was always the character of Jesus in the Church-should submit to be baptized with a baptism of repentance which looked to remission of sins (Mark 1). The faith which was embarrassed by the baptism, but found the fact in the gospel tradition, would never have given it that decisive significance in the career of Jesus which it has in all our documents unless it had been able to appeal in doing so to the authority of Jesus Himself. It would rather have slurred it over or ignored it, as some suppose the author of the fourth gospel has done, or it would have represented it as taking place on account of others, not of Jesus Himself. In our fundamental source, however, the second gospel, the whole story is told as affecting Jesus alone. It is He, not John the Baptist, who sees the heavens rent and the dove descending; and it is to Him, not to John or the bystanders, that the heavenly voice is addressed, Thou art My beloved Son. It is no strained inference, but the natural impression made by this ancient narrative, that His baptism was the occasion of extraordinary spiritual experiences to Jesus, experiences which no doubt had something transcendent and incommunicable in them,
Weiss inserts Matt. 3 14 in his restoration of Q, and argues that in this, which for him is the oldest source of all, a vision of the Baptist only was recorded: it was John who saw the heavens open and the spirit descend; John to whom the heavenly voice was addressed (This is My Son, Matt. 37; not Thou art my Son, Mark 1"). He gives literary explanations of how the variations which appear in our gospels arose; to the writer they are quite unconvincing. The evangelists must have heard the story a thousand times, quite apart from the version of it which was under their eyes as they wrote: and it is an unreal and impossible task to explain their divergences as due to literary exigencies connected with the adjustment of a text which has itself to be hypothetically reconstructed. Die Quellen der synoptischen Ueberlieferung, 2 f.