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lengthened into a treatise (pp. 140—252) by the necessity (as it appeared to me) of tracing the difference of contextual thought amid which the phrase is used by Balaam, the Psalmists, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the author of the Similitudes of Enoch - with a view to studying the gospel uses of it hereafter.
Again, the Book of Revelation, in special passages, has been minutely commented on (2942* (i)—(xxiv), 2998 (xxvi) -(xxxiii)). The question of its date is of great importance for New Testament criticism generally. But it also appeared important to shew that some of the most characteristic thoughts of the Seer of Revelation are reproduced, though in very different language, by his disciple, the Evangelist of the Fourth Gospel.
I do not think some students of the Gospels realise how much, how very much, remains to be done in the way of collecting and classifying facts. Only the facts must be of the right kind, and classified in the right way. And here a caution may perhaps be useful as to that particular class of facts called “authorities,” whether ancient or modern.
That Chrysostom thought this or that, is a fact. That Origen thought this or that, is a very much more important fact-because he is a scholar, fearless, frank, thorough, acquainted with Hebrew as well as with Greek, and because he goes fully into contexts and parallels, and seldom or never gives you his opinion without also giving you the historical or documentary facts on which it is founded. Sometimes it is founded on fancy as well as fact. Even when that is the case, Origen never deceives his reader. You can reject his fancies while gratefully accepting his facts and giving them your own interpretation.
The facts, then, must be facts of a solid sort. It is not worth while to record error without a reasonable hope that the error may point to some truth hidden behind it.
After collecting comes the need of classifying. Care having been taken to select, for first research, only such sub
jects as present most available facts-e.g. the subject-matter common to the three Synoptists, in preference to the subjectmatter found in the Fourth Gospel alone-we must then tabulate results in such a way as to get a bird's-eye view of parallelisms and divergences, likenesses and differences. If we are to reach the truth we shall reach it not by talking a great deal about matters on which we have little or no evidence, but by toiling' a great deal about matters where the evidence is abundant.
For example, Mr Rushbrooke's Synopticon, placing the three Synoptic Gospels in parallel columns, prints in red the matter common to Mark, Matthew, and Luke. It also prints in special types the additional contextual matter in which Matthew agrees with Luke.
When the eye glances down the columns, the reader is
1 It appears to me a significant fact that a reader of these pages, not unacquainted with the usual methods of N.T. criticism, queried "toiling" and suggested "talking."
This would make a neat antithesis, not by talking a great deal” about the unknown but“ by talking a great deal” about the comparatively well-known. But it was not what I meant. Let me explain in detail. I meant that we might take two or three copies of Mr Rushbrooke's indispensable Synopticon and utilise the blank pages as follows. First, insert quotations of the text by the Fathers from Resch's valuable Parallel-texte, and add others. Then add variations of the great Greek and Latin Codices (sometimes with their contexts) and those of Prof. Burkitt's Evangelion da-Mepharreshe. The translation of the Arabic Diatessaron should also be written out in full, with quotations from Ephrem Syrus. Illustrations from the LXX, from Aquila, Theodotion, and the rest, may be brought to bear upon the parallelisms of Mark, Matthew, and Luke. Conflations (Clue 20 foll.) from O.T. and the Targums should be adduced to throw light on the conflations in Mark.
Why all this labour?” Because there is evidence to shew that our present gospels are developments; and, if they are, all the phases of their development must be studied by those who hope to discover the original by scientific method. A "scientist” has been defined—not amiss though by a child-as “a man who finds out things.” But “things” cannot be found out except from “things.” This involves “toiling.” One may “toil all the night and take nothing." Still it is the only way to take anything. So I adhere to “toiling."
struck by the extreme paucity, and often complete absence, of any such additional matter. Yet the types shew abundance of additional matter in which Matthew agrees with Mark, and also abundance of other additional matter in which Luke agrees with Mark.
Reading on, he is led to the conclusion that, in these portions of their narrative, Matthew and Luke hardly ever agree except, so to speak, through the intervention of Mark, and that they copied, independently, from an edition of the latter. For the full details, see Corrections of Mark 318—30.
To see this was very difficult until Mr Rushbrooke's laborious classification had been accomplished. Afterwards, even to the merest beginner in Greek, with a few pages of the Synopticon before him, the conclusion was patent.
It is not often that an important group of literary phenomena can be traced so simply and surely to a single cause. Least of all can this be expected about phenomena in theological literature where a multitude of causes is mostly at work, causes moral as well as intellectual and literary, national or ecclesiastical as well as individual. In previous parts of this series it has been contended that many divergences in the Gospels may be explained by Semitic obscurity in the earliest traditions. But the author has never intended to deny that other influences were at work, and that research in the Gospels, as in most other provinces of study, requires a student to keep constantly before him the rule, BEWARE OF SINGLE CAUSES.
One reason why Gospel criticism has made no progress proportionate to the vast labour expended on it, is, that we have no Handbook of Traditional Evolutions to teach us how traditions have been evolved out of records, or poems, or religious rites, or other sources. One section of such a work should deal with documentary as distinct from oral evolution, although recognising that oral and documentary developments often go together.
Such a Handbook would classify documentary developments under various headings, whether relating to the source or to the source-use and transmission. Under "Source" would come (1) original obscurity, (2) original indefiniteness, (3) original austerity, non-edification, or offensiveness.
Under “Source-use” or “Transmission” would come not only the general desire to be clear, definite, and attractive (covered by (1) (2) (3)) but also special tendencies. One writer, for example, might arrange a biography according to chronology; another according to subject-matter of conversations, letters, or books; another would prefer a series of graphic scenes mingling word and deed together. Less pardonably, a special tendency might exist in a writer to favour a particular nation, e.g. Jews or Greeks against the world; or a class against the whole nation, e.g. priests against people, or the people against their rulers, and so on.
There would also have to be considered the special circumstances that might cause some writers to abridge, although the general tendency has been to amplify.
Such a Handbook, besides containing general rules applicable to all literature, would, of course, keep in view the special rules applicable to transmissions of literature, e.g. translation ; to special kinds of literature, es prophecy; and to special national traditions about literature, e.g. those of the Hebrews and the Jews, and then those of the Jewish Christians handed on to the Christian Church at large.
Let us briefly consider a single instance in the Synoptic Gospels where such a work might be useful :
In each column the text continues identically, in order as well as in word, " Then let them that are in Judæa flee unto the mountains."
Three obvious ways (besides others not obvious though possible) present themselves for dealing with the italicised words. One is, to assert that Christ uttered Luke's words as well as the others, and that for some inscrutable reason the definite prophecy about Jerusalem was omitted by Mark and Matthew though they knew it and though it was acted on by the Christians before 70 A.D. Another is, to say that Christ made no mention of Jerusalem, but that Luke, writing after the destruction of the City by the Romans, substituted
surrounded by armies” for “abomination of desolation"; either dishonestly, because the substitution magnified Christ; or honestly, because he thought that Christ meant this.
These two ways have the merit of being short.
The third way is much longer. It has, so to speak, several stations at which we must halt. First, remembering what Papias said about a Hebrew Gospel that was variously interpreted-i.e. targumised, for “targum" means “interpretation
we must consider whether in this case there may have been such a Hebrew original. If so, and if our Greek gospels are, in parts, interpretations of that Hebrew, it follows that, relatively to that Hebrew, they are of the nature of Targums. This is our first station-a hypothesis that the gospels are interpretations or Targums.
From this we go on further to consider the relation between existing Targums and their existing original, i.e. the Hebrew Bible. Under this head we must include the Greek Targums of the LXX, Aquila, Theodotion and Symmachus, as well as the Aramaic Targums of Onkelos and of later Targumists. These Targums are scattered over centuries, whereas our hypothetical evangelistic Targums called gospels could be divided only by intervals of mere decads. But a decad in the seething-pot of the first century might well