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The Quest of the Historical Jesus

* XVI *


Wilhelm Bousset. Jesu Predigt in ihrem Gegensatz zum Judentum. Ein religions-geschichtlicher Vergleich. (The Antithesis between Jesus' Preaching and Judaism. A Religious-Historical Comparison.) Gottingen, 1892. 130 pp.

Erich Haupt. Die eschatologischen Aussagen Jesu in den synoptischen Evangelien. (The Eschatological Sayings of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels.) 1895. 167 pp.

Paul Wernle. Die Anfange unserer Religion. Tubingen-Leipzig, 1901; 2nd ed., 1904. 410 pp.

Emil Schurer. Das messianische Selbstbewusstsein Jesu-Christi. 1903. Akademische Festrede. (The Messianic Self-consciousness of Jesus Christ.) 24 pp.

Wilhelm Brandt. Die evangelische Geschichte und der Ursprung des Christentums auf Grund einer Kritik der Berichte iiber das Leiden und die Auferstehung Jesu. (The Gospel History and the Origin of Christianity. Based upon a Critical Study of the Narratives of the Sufferings and Resurrection of Jesus.) Leipzig, 1893. 591 pp.

Adolf Julicher. Die Gleichnisreden Jesu. (The Parables of Jesus.) Vol. i., 1888, 291 pp.; vol. ii., 1899, 643 pp.

IN THIS PERIOD THE IMPORTANT BOOKS ARE SHORT. THE SIXTY-SEVEN pages of Johannes Weiss are answered by Bousset [1] in a bare hundred and thirty. People began to see that the elaborate Lives of Jesus which had hitherto held the field, and enjoyed an immortality of revised editions, only masked the fact that the study of the subject was at a standstill; and that the tedious rehandling of problems which had been solved so far as they were capable of solution only served as an excuse for not grappling with those which still remained unsolved.

This conviction is expressed by Bousset at the beginning of his work. The criticism of the sources, he says, is finished, and its results may be regarded, so far as the Life of Jesus is concerned, as provisionally complete. The separation between John and the Synoptists has been secured. For the Synoptists, the two-document hypothesis has been established, according to which the sources are a primitive form of Mark, and a collection of "logia." A certain interest might still attach to the attempt

[1] Wilhelm Bousset, now Professor in Gottingen, born 1865 at Liibeck.


to arrive at the primitive kernel of Mark; but the attempt has a priori so little prospect of success that it was almost a waste of time to continue to work at it. It would be a much more important thing to get rid of the feeling of uncertainty and artificiality in the Lives of Jesus. What is now chiefly wanted, Bousset thinks, is "a firmly-drawn and life-like portrait which, with a few bold strokes, should bring out clearly the originality, the force, the personality of Jesus."

It is evident that the centre of the problem has now been reached. That is why the writing becomes so terse. The masses of thought can only be manoeuvred here in a close formation such as Weiss gives them. The loose order of discursive exegetical discussions of separate passages is now no longer in place. The first step towards further progress was the simple one of marshalling the passages in such a way as to gain a single consistent impression from them.

In the first instance Bousset is as ready as Johannes Weiss to admit the importance for the mind of Jesus of the eschatological "then" and "now." The realistic school, he thinks, are perfectly right in endeavouring to relate Jesus, without apologetic or theological inconsistencies, to the background of contemporary ideas. Later, in 1901, he was to make it a reproach against Harnack's "What is Christianity?" (Das Wesen des Christentums) that it did not give sufficient importance to the background of contemporary thought in its account of the preaching of Jesus. [1]

He goes on to ask, however, whether the first enthusiasm over the discovery of this genuinely historical way of looking at things should not be followed by some "second thoughts" of a deeper character. Accepting the position laid down by Johannes Weiss, we must ask, he thinks, whether this purely historical criticism, by the exclusive emphasis which it has laid upon eschatology, has not allowed the "essential originality and power of the personality of Jesus to slip through its fingers," and closed its grasp instead upon contemporary conceptions and imaginations which are often of a quite special character.

The Late-Jewish eschatology was, according to Bousset, by no means a homogeneous system of thought. Realistic and transcendental elements stana side by side in it, unreconciled. The genuine popular belief of Late Judaism still clung quite naively to the earthly realistic hopes of former times, and had never been able to rise to the purely transcendental regions which are the characteristic habitat of apocalyptic. The rejection of the world is never carried out consistently; something of we Jewish national ideal always remains. And for this reason Late Judaism made no progress towards the overcoming of particularism.

[1] Theol. Rundschau (1901), 4, pp. 89-103.


Probably, Bousset holds, this Apocalyptic thought is not even genuinely Jewish; as he ably argued in another work, there was a considerable strain of Persian influence in it.1 The dualism, the transference to the transcendental region of the future hope, the conception of the world which appears in Jewish apocalyptic, are of Iranian rather than Jewish origin.

Two thoughts are especially characteristic of Bousset's position; first, that this transcendentalising of the future implied a spiritualisation of it; secondly, that in post-exilic Judaism there was always an undercurrent of a purer and more spontaneous piety, the presence of which is especially to be traced in the Psalms.

Into a dead world, where a kind of incubus seems to stifle all naturalness and spontaneity, there comes a living Man. According to the formulae of His preaching and the designations which He applies to Himself, He seems at first sight to identify Himself with this world rather than to oppose it. But these conceptions and titles, especially the Kingdom of God and the Son of Man, must be provisionally left in the background, since they, as being conceptions taken over from the past, conceal rather than reveal what is most essential in His personality. The primary need is to discover, behind the phenomenal, the real character of the personality and preaching of Jesus. The starting-point must therefore be the simple fact that Jesus came as a living Man into a dead world. He is living, because in contrast with His contemporaries He has a living idea of God. His faith in the Fatherhood of God is Jesus' most essential act. It signifies a breach with the transcendental Jewish idea of God, and an unconscious inner negation of the Jewish eschatology. Jesus, therefore, walks through a world which denies His own eschatology like a man who has firm ground under his feet.

That which on a superficial view appears to be eschatological preaching turns out to be essentially a renewal of the old prophetic preaching with its positive ethical emphasis. Jesus is a manifestation of that ancient spontaneous piety of which Bousset had shown the existence in Late Judaism.

The most characteristic thing in the character of Jesus, according to Bousset, is His joy in life. It is true that if, in endeavouring to understand Him, we take primitive Christianity as our starting-point, we

[1] W. Bousset, Die judische Apokalyptik in ihrer religionsgeschichtlichen Herkunft und ihrer Bedeutung fur das Neue Testament. (The Origin of Apocalyptic as indicated by Comparative Religion, and its significance for the understanding of the New Testament.) Berlin, 1903. 67 pp. See also W. Bousset, Die Religion des Judentums im neutestamentlichen Zeitalter, 512 pp., 1902. For the assertion of Parsic influences see also Stave, Der Einfiuss des Parsismus auf das Judentum. Haarlem, 1898.


might conceive of his joy in life as the complement of the eschatological mood, as the extreme expression of indifference to the world, which can as well enjoy the world as flee it. But the purely eschatological attitude, though it reappears in early Christianity, does not give the ricrht clue for the interpretation of the character of Jesus as a whole. His joy in the world was real; a genuine outcome of His new type of piety. It prevented the eudaemonistic eschatological idea of reward, which some think they find in Jesus' preaching, from ever really becoming an element in it.

Jesus is best understood by contrasting Him with the Baptist. John was a preacher of repentance whose eyes were fixed upon the future. Jesus did not allow the thought of the nearness of the end to rob Him of His simplicity and spontaneity, and was not crippled by the reflection that everything was transitory, preparatory, a mere means to an end. His preaching of repentance was not gloomy and forbidding; it was the proclamation of a new righteousness, of which the watchword was, "Ye shall be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect." He desires to communicate this personal piety by personal influence. In contrast with the Baptist He never aims at influencing masses of men, but rather avoids it. His work was accomplished mainly among little groups and individuals. He left the task of carrying the Gospel far and wide as a legacy to the community of His followers. The mission of the Twelve, conceived as a mission for the rapid and widespread extension of the Gospel, is not to be used to explain Jesus' methods of teaching; the narrative of it rests on an "obscure and unintelligible tradition."

This genuine joy in life was not unnoticed by the contemporaries of Jesus who contrasted Him as "a gluttonous man and a wine-bibber," with the Baptist. They were vaguely conscious that the whole life of Jesus was "sustained by the feeling of an absolute antithesis between Himself and His times." He lived not in anxious expectation, but in cheerful gladness, because by the native strength of His piety He had brought present and future into one. Free from all extravagant Jewish delusions about the future, He was not paralysed by the conditions which must be fulfilled to make this future present. He has a peculiar conviction of its coming which gives Him courage to "marry" the present ^ith the future. The present as contrasted with the beyond is for Him "o mere shadow, but truth and reality; life is not for Him a mere illusion, but is charged with a real and valuable meaning. His own time ^ the Messianic time, as His answer to the Baptist's question shows. And it is among the most certain things in the Gospel that Jesus in His earthly life acknowledged Himself as Messiah both to His disciples tod to the High-Priest, and made His entry into Jerusalem as such."


He can, therefore, fully recognise the worth of the present. It is not true that He taught that this world's goods were in themselves bad-what He said was only that they must not be put first. Indeed He gives a new value to life by teaching that man cannot be righteous in isolation, but only in the fellowship of love. And as, moreover, the righteousness which He preaches is one of the goods of the Kingdom of God, He cannot have thought of the Kingdom as wholly transcendental. The Reign of God begins for Him in the present era. His consciousness of being able to cast out demons in the spirit of God because Satan's kingdom on earth is at an end is only the supernaturalistic expression for something of which He also possesses an ethical consciousness, namely, that in the new social righteousness the Kingdom of God is already present.

This presence of the Kingdom was not, however, clearly explained by Jesus, but was set forth in paradoxes and parables, especially in the parables of Mark iv. When we find the Evangelist, in immediate connexion with these parables, asserting that the aim of the parables was to mystify and conceal, we may conclude that the basis of this theory is the fact that these parables concerning the presence of the Kingdom of God were not understood.

In effecting this tacit transformation Jesus is acting in accordance with a tendency of the time. Apocalyptic is itself a spiritualisation of the ancient Israelitish hopes of the future, and Jesus only carries this process to its completion. He raises Late Judaism above the limitations in which it was involved, separates out the remnant of national, political, and sensuous ideas which still clung to the expectation of the future in spite of its having been spiritualised by apocalyptic, and breaks with the Jewish particularism, though without providing a theoretical basis for this step.

Thus, in spite of, nay even because of, His opposition to it, Jesus was the fulfiller of Judaism. In Him were united the ancient and vigorous prophetic religion and the impulse which Judaism itself had begun to feel towards the spiritualisation of the future hope. The transcendental and the actual meet in a unity which is full of life and strength, creative not reflective, and therefore not needing to set iside the ancient traditional ideas by didactic explanations, but overcoming them almost unconsciously by the truth which lies in this paradoxical union. The historical formula embodied in Bousset's closing sentence runs thus: "The Gospel develops some of the deeper-lying motifs of the Old Testament, but it protests against the prevailing tendency of Judaism."

Such of the underlying assumptions of this construction as invite challenge lie open to inspection, and do not need to be painfully disentangled from a web of exegesis; that is one of the merits of the book. The chief points to be queried are as follows:-


Is it the case that the apocalypses mark the introduction of a process of spiritualisation applied to the ancient Israelitish hopes? A picture of the future is not spiritualised simply by being projected upon the clouds. This elevation to the transcendental region signifies, on the contrary, the transference to a place of safety of the eudaemonistic aspirations which have not been fulfilled in the present, and which are expected, by way of compensation, from the other world. The apocalyptic conception is so far from being a spiritualisation of the future expectations, that it represents on the contrary the last desperate eifort of a strongly eudaemonistic popular religion to raise to heaven the earthly goods from which it cannot make up its mind to part.

Next we must ask: Is it really necessary to assume the existence of so wide reaching a Persian influence in Jewish eschatology? The Jewish dualism and the sublimation of its hope have become historical just because, owing to the fate of the nation, the religious life of the present and the fair future which was logically bound up with it became more and more widely separated, temporally and locally, until at last only its dualism and the sublimation of its hope enabled the nation to survive its disappointment.

Again, is it historically permissible to treat the leading ideas of the preaching of Jesus, which bear so clearly the marks of the contemporary mould of thought, as of secondary importance for the investigation, and to endeavour to trace Jesus' thoughts from within outwards and not from without inwards?

Furthsr, is there really in Judaism no tendency towards the overcoming of particularism? Has not its eschatology, as shaped by the deutero-prophetic literature, a universalistic outlook? Did Jesus overcome particularism in principle otherwise than it is overcome in Jewish escha- rology, that is to say, with reference to the future?

What is there to prove that Jesus' distinctive faith in the Fatherhood of God ever existed independently, and not as an alternative form of the historically-conditioned Messianic consciousness? In other words, what is there to show that the "religious attitude" of Jesus and His Messianic consciousness are anything else than identical, temporally and conceptually, so that the first must always be understood as con- ditioned by the second?

Again, is the saying about the gluttonous man and wine-bibber a sufficient basis for the contrast between Jesus and the Baptist? Is not Jesus' preaching of repentance gloomy as well as the Baptist's? Where do we read that He, in contrast with the Baptist, avoided dealing with masses of men? Where did He give "the community of His disciples" marching orders to go far and wide in the sense required by Bousset's argument? Where is there a word to tell us that He thought of His Work among individuals and little groups of men as the most important


feature of His ministry? Are we not told the exact contrary, that He "taught" His disciples as little as He did the people? Is there any justification for characterising the missionary journey of the Twelve, just because it directly contradicts this view, as "an obscure and unintelligible tradition?"

Is it so certain that Jesus made a Messianic entry into Jerusalem, and that, accordingly, He declared Himself to the disciples and to the High Priest as Messiah in the present, and not in a purely future sense?

What are the sayings which justify us in making the attitude of opposition which He took up towards the Rabbinic legalism into a "sense of the absolute opposition between Himself and His people"? The very "absolute," with its ring of Schleiermacher, is suspicious.

All these, however, are subsidiary positions. The decisive point is: Can Bousset make good the assertion that Jesus' joy in life was a more or less unconscious inner protest against the purely eschatological world-renouncing religious attitude, the primal expression of that "absolute" antithesis to Judaism? Is it not the case that His attitude towards earthly goods was wholly conditioned by eschatology? That is to say, were not earthly goods emptied of any essential value in such a way that joy in the world and indifference to the world were simply the final expression of an ironic attitude which had been sublimated into pure serenity. That is the question upon the answer to which depends the decision whether Bousset's position is tenable or not.

It is not in fact tenable, for the opposite view has at its disposal in- exhaustible reserves of world-renouncing, world-contemning sayings, and the few utterances which might possibly be interpreted as expressing a purely positive joy in the world, desert and go over to the enemy, because they textually and logically belong to the other set of sayings. Finally, the promise of earthly happiness as a reward, to which Bousset had denied a position in the teaching of Jesus, also falls upon his rear, and that in the very moment when he is seeking to prove from the saying, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you," that for Jesus this world's goods are not in themselves evil, but are only to be given a secondary place. Here the eudaemonism is written on the forehead of the saying, since the receiving of these things-we must remember, too, the "hundred-fold" in another passage-is future, not present, and will only "come" at the same time as the Kingdom of God. All present goods, on the other hand, serve only to support life and render possible an undistracted attitude of waiting in pious hope for that future, and therefore are not thought of as gains, but purely as a gift of God, to be cheerfully and freely enjoyed as a foretaste of those blessings which the elect are to enjoy in the future Divine dispensation.


The loss of this position decides the further point that if there is any suggestion in the teaching of Jesus that the future Kingdom of God is in some sense present, it is not to be understood as implying an anti-eschatological acceptance of the world, but merely as a phenomenon indicative of the extreme tension of the eschatological consciousness, just in the same way as His joy in the world. Bousset has a kind of indirect recognition of this in his remark that the presence of the Kingdom of God is only asserted by Jesus as a kind of paradox. If the assertion of its presence indicated that acceptance of the world formed part of Jesus' system of thought, it would be at variance with His eschatology. But the paradoxical character of the assertion is due precisely to the fact that His acceptance of the world is but the last expression of the completeness with which He rejects it.

But what do critical cavils matter in the case of a book of which the force, the influence, the greatness, depends upon its spirit? It is great because it recognises-what is so rarely recognised in theological works-the point where the main issue really lies; in the question, namely, whether Jesus preached and worked as Messiah, or whether, as follows if a prominent place is given to eschatology, as Colani had long ago recognised. His career, historically regarded, was only the career of a prophet with an undercurrent of Messianic consciousness.

As a consequence of grasping the question in its full significance, Bousset rejects all the little devices by which previous writers had endeavoured to relate Jesus' ministry to His times, each one prescribing at what point He was to connect Himself with it, and of course proceeding in his book to represent Him as connecting Himself with it in precisely that way. Bousset recognises that the supreme importance of eschatology in the teaching of Jesus is not to be got rid of by whittling away a little point here and there, and rubbing it smooth with critical sandpaper until it is capable of reflecting a different thought, but only hy fully admitting it, while at the same time counteracting it by asserting a mysterious element of world-acceptance in the thought of Jesua, and conceiving His whole teaching as a kind of alternating current between positive and negative poles.

This is the last possible sincere attempt to limit the exclusive importance of eschatology in the preaching of Jesus, an attempt so gallant, so brilliant, that its failure is almost tragic; one could have wished success to the book, to which Carlyle might have stood sponsor. That it is inspired by the spirit of Carlyle, that it vindicates the original force of a great Personality against the attempt to dissolve it into a congeries of contemporary conceptions, therein lies at once its greatness and its weakness. Bousset vindicates Jesus, not for history, but for Protestantism, by making Him the heroic representative of a deeply


religious acceptance of the goods of life amid an apocalyptic world. His study is not unhistorical, but supra-historical. The spirit of Jesus was in fact world-accepting in the sense that through the experience of centuries it advanced historically to the acceptance of the world, since nothing can appear phenomenally which is not in some sense ideally present from the first. But the teaching of the historical Jesus was purely and exclusively world-renouncing. If, therefore, the problem which Bousset has put on the blackboard for the eschatological school to solve is to be successfully solved, the solution is to be sought on other, more objectively historical, lines.

That the decision of the question whether Jesus' preaching of the Kingdom of God is wholly eschatological or only partly eschatological, is primarily to be sought in His ethical teaching, is recognised by all the critics of Baldensperger and Weiss. They differ only in the importance which they assign to eschatology. But no other writer has grasped the problem as clearly as Bousset.

The Parisian Ehrhardt emphasises eschatology very strongly in his work "The Fundamental Character of the Preaching of Jesus in Relation to the Messianic Hopes of His People and His own Messianic Consciousness." [1] Nevertheless he asserts the presence of a twofold ethic in Jesus' teaching: eschatology did not attempt to evacuate everything else of all value, but allowed the natural and ethical goods of this world to hold their place, as belonging to a world of thought which resisted its encroachments.

A much more negative attitude is taken up by Albert Reville in his Jesus de Nazareth [2] According to him both Apocalyptic and Messianism are foreign bodies in the teaching of Jesus which have been forced into it by the pressure of contemporary thought. Jesus would never of His own motion have taken up the role of Messiah.

Wendt, too, in the second edition of his Lehre Jesu, which appeared in 1903, held in the main to the fundamental idea of the first, the 1890, edition; namely, that Jesus in view of His purely religious relation to God could not do otherwise than transform, from within outwards, the traditional conceptions, even though they seem to be traceable in their

[1] Der Grundcharakter der Ethik Jesu im Verhaltnis zu den messianischen Hoffnungen seines Volkes und zu, seinem eigenen Messiasbewusstsein. Freiburg, 1895, 119 pp. See also his inaugural dissertation of 1896, Le Principe de la morale d Jesu. Paris, 1896.

A. K. Rogers, The Life and Teachings of Jesus; a Critical Analysis, etc. (London and New York, 1894), regards Jesus' teaching as purely ethical, refusing to adnut any eschatology at all.

[2] Paris. 2 vols., 500 and 512 pp.


actual contemporary form on the surface of His teaching. He had already, in 1893, in the Christliche Welt clearly expounded, and defended against Weiss, his view of the Kingdom of God as already present for the thought of Jesus.

The effect which Baldensperger and Weiss had upon Weiffenbach [1] was to cause him to bring out in full strength the apologetic aspect which had been somewhat held in check in his work of 1873 by the thoroughness of his exegesis. The apocalyptic of this younger school, which was no longer willing to believe that in the mouth of Jesus the Parousia meant nothing more than an issuing from death clothed with power, is on all grounds to be rejected. It assumes, since this expectation was not fulfilled, an error on the part of Jesus. It is better to rest content with not being able to see quite clearly.

Protected by a similar armour, the successive editions of Bernhard Weiss's Life of Jesus went their way unmolested down to 1902.

Not with an apologetic purpose, but on the basis of an original religious view, Titius, in his work on the New Testament doctrine of blessedness, develops the teaching of Jesus concerning the Kingdom of God as a present good. [2]

In the same year, 1895, appeared E. Haupt's work on "The Eschatological Sayings of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels." [3] In contradistinction to Bousset he takes as his starting-point the eschatological passages, examining each separately and modulating them back to the Johannine key. It is so delicately and ingeniously done that the reading of the book is an aesthetic pleasure which makes one in the end quits forget the apologetic motif in order to surrender oneself completely to the author's mystical system of religious thought.

It is, indeed, not the least service of the eschatological school that it compels modern theology, which is so much preoccupied with history, to reveal what is its own as its own. Eschatology makes it impossible to attribute modern ideas to Jesus and then by way of "New Testament Theology" take them back from Him as a loan, as even Ritschl not so long ago did with such naivete. Johannes Weiss, in cutting himself loose, as an historian, from Ritschi, and recognising that "the real roots of Ritschl's ideas are to be found in Kant and the illuminist the-

[1] W. Weiffenbach, Die Frage der Wiederkunft Jesu. (The Question concerning the Second Coming of Jesus.) Friedberg, 1901.

[2] A. Titius, Die neutestamentliche Lehre von der Seligkeit und ihre Bedeumng fur die Gegenwart. I. Teil: Jesu Lehre vom Reich Gottes. (The New T«siament Doctrine of Blessedness and its Significance for the Present. Pt. I., Jesus' doctrine of the Kingdom of God.) Arthur Titius, now Professor at Kiel, was born in 1864 at Sensburg.

[3] Die eschatologischen Aussagen lesu in den synoptischen Evangelien, 167 pp Erich Haupt, now Professor in Halle, was born in 1841 at Stralsund.


ology," [1] introduced the last decisive phase of the process of separation between historical and "modern" theology. Before the advent of eschatology, critical theology was, in the last resort, without a principle of discrimination, since it possessed no reagent capable of infallibly separating out modern ideas on the one hand and genuinely ancient New Testament ideas on the other. The application of the criterion has now begun. What will be the issue, the future alone can show.

But even now we can recognise that the separation was not only of advantage to historical theology; for modern theology, the manifestation of the modern spirit as it really is, was still more important. Only when it became conscious of its own inmost essence and of its right to exist, only when it freed itself from its illegitimate historical justification, which, leaping over the centuries, appealed directly to an historical exposition of the New Testament, only then could it unfold its full wealth of ideas, which had been hitherto root-bound by a false historicity. It was not by chance that in Bousset's reply a certain affirmation of life, something expressive of the genius of Protestantism, cries aloud as never before in any theological work of this generation, or that in Haupt's work German mysticism interweaves its mysterious harmonies with the Johannine motif. The contribution of Protestantism to the interpretation of the world had never been made so manifest in any work prior to Weiss's. The modern spirit is here breaking in wreaths of foam upon the sharp cliffs of the rock-bound eschatological world-view of Jesus. To put it more prosaically, modern theology is at last about to become sincere. But this is so far only a prophecy of the future.

If we are to speak of the present it must be fully admitted that even historical science, when it desires to continue the history of Christianity beyond the life of Jesus, cannot help protesting against the one-sidedness of the eschatological world of thought of the "Founder." It finds itself obliged to distinguish in the thought of Jesus "permanent elements and transitory elements" which, being interpreted, means eschatological and not essentially eschatological materials; otherwise it can get no farther. For if Jesus' world of thought was wholly and exclusively eschatological, there can only have arisen out of it, as Reimarus long ago maintained, an exclusively eschatological primitive Christianity. But how a community of that kind could give birth to the Greek non-eschatological theology no Church history and no history of dogma has so far shown. Instead of that they all-Harnack, with the most consummate historical ability-lay down from the very first, alongside of the main line intended for "contemporary views" traffic, a relief line

[1] Cf. the preface to the 2nd ed. of Job. Weiss's Die Predigt Jesu vom Reiche Gottes. Gottingen, 1900.


for the accommodation of through trains of "non-temporally limited ideas"; and at the point where primitive Christian eschatology becomes of less importance they switch off the train to the relief line, after slipping the carriages which are not intended to go beyond that station. This procedure has now been rendered impossible for them by Weiss, who leaves no place in the teaching of Jesus for anything but the single-line traffic of eschatology. If, during the last fifteen years, any one had attempted to carry out in a work on a large scale the plan of Strauss and Renan, linking up the history of the life of Jesus with the history of early Christianity, and New Testament theology with the early history of dogma, the immense difficulties which Weiss had raised without suspecting it, in the course of his sixty-seven pages, would have become clearly apparent. The problem of the Hellenisation of Christianity took on quite a new aspect when the trestle bridge of modern ideas connecting the eschatological early Christianity with Greek theology broke down under the weight of the newly-discovered material, and it became necessary to seek within the history itself an explanation of the way in which an exclusively eschatological system of ideas came to admit Greek influences, and-what is much more difficult to explain-how Hellenism, on its part, found any point of contact with an eschatological sect.

The new problem is as yet hardly recognised, much less grappled with. The few who since Weiss's time have sought to pass over from the life of Jesus to early Christianity, have acted like men who find themselves on an ice-floe which is slowly dividing into two pieces, and who leap from one to the other before the cleft grows too wide. Harnack, in his "What is Christianity?" almost entirely ignores the contemporary limitations of Jesus' teaching, and starts out with a Gospel which carries him down without difficulty to the year 1899. The anti-historical violence of this procedure is, if possible, still more pronounced in Wernle. The Beginnings of our Religion" [1] begins by putting the Jewish eschatology in a convenient posture for the coming operation by urging that the idea of the Messiah, since there was no appropriate place for it in connexion with the Kingdom of God or the new Earth, had become obsolete for the Jews themselves.

The inadequateness of the Messianic idea for the purposes of Jesus is therefore self-evident. "His whole life long"-as if we knew any more of it than the few months of His public ministry!-"He laboured to give a new and higher content to the Messianic title which He had adopted." In the course of this endeavour He discarded "the Messiah

[1] Tubingen-Leipzig, 1901, 410 pp.; 2nd ed., 1904. Paul Wernle, now Professor of Church History at Basle, was born in Zurich, 1872.


of the Zealots"-by that is meant the political non-transcendent Messianic ideal. As if we had any knowledge of the existence of such an ideal in the time of Jesus! The statements of Josephus suggest, and the conduct of Pilate at the trial of Jesus confirms the conclusion, that in none of the risings did a claimant of the Messiahship come forward and this should be proof enough that there did not exist at that time a political eschatology alongside of the transcendental, and indeed it could not on inner grounds subsist alongside of it. That was, after all the thing which Weiss had shown most clearly!

Jesus, therefore, had dismissed the Messiah of the Zealots; He had now to turn Himself into the "waiting" Messiah of the Rabbis. Yet He does not altogether accept this role, for He works actively as Messiah. His struggle with the Messianic conception could not but end in transforming it. This transformed conception is introduced by Jesus to the people at His entry into Jerusalem, since His choice of the ass to bear Him inscribed as a motto, so to speak, over the demonstration the prophecy of the Messiah who should be a bringer of peace. A few days later He gives the Scribes to understand by His enigmatic words with reference to Mark xii. 37, that His Messiahship has nothing to do with Davidic descent and all that that implied.

The Kingdom of God was not, of course, for Him, according to Wernle, a purely eschatological entity; He saw in many events evidence that it had already dawned. Wernle's only real concession to the eschatological school is the admission that the Kingdom always remained for Jesus a supernatural entity.

The belief in the presence of the Kingdom was, it seems, only a phase in the development of Jesus. When confronted with growing opposition He abandoned this belief again, and the super-earthly future character of the Kingdom was all that remained. At the end of His career Jesus establishes a connexion between the Messianic conception, in its final transformation, and the Kingdom, which had retained its eschatological character; He goes to His death for the Messiahship in its new significance, but He goes on believing in His speedy return as the Son of Man. This expectation of His Parousia as Son of Man, which only emerges immediately before His exit from the world-when it can no longer embarrass the author in his account of the preaching of Jesus-is the only point in which Jesus does not overcome the inadequacy of the Messianic idea with which He had to deal. "At this point the fantastic conception of Late Judaism, the magically transformed world of the ancient popular belief, thrusts itself incongruously into Jesus' great and simple consciousness of His vocation."

Thus Wernle takes with him only so much of Apocalyptic as he can safely carry over into early Christianity. Once he has got safely across,


he drags the rest over after him. He shows that in and with the titles and expressions borrowed from apocalyptic thought, Messiah, Son of God, Son of Man, which were all at bottom so inappropriate to Jesus, early Christianity slipped in again "either the old ideas or new ones misunderstood." In pointing this out he cannot refrain from the customary sigh of regret-these apocalyptic titles and expressions "were from the first a misfortune for the new religion." One may well ask how Wernle has discovered in the preaching of Jesus anything that can be called, historically, a new religion, and what would have become of this new religion apart from its apocalyptic hopes and its apocalyptic dogma? We answer: without its intense eschatological hope the Gospel would have perished from the earth, crushed by the weight of historic catastrophes. But, as it was, by the mighty power of evoking faith which lay in it, eschatology made good in the darkest times Jesus' sayings about the imperishability of His words, and died as soon as these sayings had brought forth new life upon a new soil. Why then make such a complaint against it?

The tragedy does not consist in the modification of primitive Christianity by eschatology, but in the fate of eschatology itself, which has preserved for us all that is most precious in Jesus, but must itself wither, because He died upon the cross with a loud cry, despairing of bringing in the new heaven and the new earth-that is the real tragedy. And not a tragedy to be dismissed with a theologian's sigh, but a liberating and life-giving influence, like every great tragedy. For in its death-pangs eschatology bore to the Greek genius a wonder-child, the mystic, sensuous, Early-Christian doctrine of immortality, and consecrated Christianity as the religion of immortality to take the place of the slowly dying civilisation of the ancient world.

But it if not only those who want to find a way from the preaching of Jesus to early Christianity who are conscious of the peculiar difficulties raised by the recognition of its purely Jewish eschatological character, but also those who wish to reconstruct the connexion backwards from Jesus to Judaism. For example, Wellhausen and Schurer repudiate the results arrived at by the eschatological school, which, on its part, bases itself upon their researches into Late Judaism. Wellhausen, in his "Israelitish and Jewish History," [1] gives a picture of Jesus which lifts Him out of the Jewish frame altogether. The Kingdom

[1] Israelitische und judische Geschichte, 1st ed., 1894, pp. 163-168; 2nd ed., 1895, pp. 198-204; 3rd ed., 1897; 4th ed., 1901, pp. 380-394. See also his Skizzen (Sketches), pp. 6, 187 ff.

See also J. Wellhausen, Das Evangelium Marci, 1903, 2nd ed., 1909; Das Evangelium Matthai, 1904; Das Evangelium Lucae, 1904.

Julius Wellhausen, now Professor at Gottingen, was born in 1844 at Hameln.


which He desires to found becomes a present spiritual entity. To the Jewish eschatology His preaching stands in a quite external relation for what was in His mind was rather a fellowship of spiritual men engaged in seeking a higher righteousness. He did not really desire to be the Messiah, and in His inmost heart had renounced the hopes of His people. If He called Himself Messiah, it was in view of a higher Messianic ideal. For the people His acceptance of the Messiahship denoted the supersession of their own very differently coloured expectation. The transcendental events become immanent. In regard to the apocalyptic Judgment of the World, he retains only the sermon preserved by John about the inward and constant process of separation.

Although not to the same extent, Schurer also, in his view of the teaching of Jesus, is strongly influenced by the Fourth Gospel. In an inaugural discourse of 1903 [1] he declares that in his opinion there is a certain opposition between Judaism and the preaching of Jesus, since the latter contains something absolutely new. His Messiahship is only the temporally limited expression of a unique, generally ethical, consciousness of being a child of God, which has a certain analogy with the relation of all God's children to their Heavenly Father. The reason for His reserve in regard to His Messiahship was, according to Schurer, Jesus' fear of kindling "political enthusiasm"; from the same motive He repudiates in Mark xii. 37 all claim to be the Messiah of David's line. The ideas of the Messiah and the Kingdom of God at least underwent a transformation in His use of them. If in His earlier preaching He only announces the Kingdom as something future, in His later preaching He emphasises the thought that in its beginnings it is already present.

That it is precisely the representatives of the study of Late Judaism who lift Jesus out of the Late-Jewish world of thought, is not in itself a surprising phenomenon. It is only an expression of the fact that here something new and creative enters into an uncreative age, and of the clear consciousness that this Personality cannot be resolved into a complex of contemporary ideas. The problem of which they are conscious is the same as Bousset's. But the question cannot be avoided whether the violent separation of Jesus from Late Judaism is a real solution, or whether the very essence of Jesus' creative power does not consist, not in taking out one or other of the parts of the eschatological machinery, but in doing what no one had previously done, namely, in setting whole machinery in motion by the application of an ethico-religious motive power. To perceive the unsatisfactoriness of the transformation

[1] Emil Schurer, Das messianische Selbstbewusstsein Jesu Christi. (The Messianic Self-consciousness of Jesus Christ.) 1903, 24 pp.

According to J. Meinhold, too, in Jesus und das alte Testament (Jesus a Old Testament), 1896, Jesus did not purpose to be the Messiah of Israel.


hypothesis it is only necessary to think of all the conditions which would have to be realised in order to make it possible to trace, even in general outline, the evidence of such a transformation in the Gospel narrative.

All these solutions of the eschatological question start from the teaching of Jesus, and it was, indeed, from this point of view that Johannes Weiss had stated the problem. The final decision of the question is not, however, to be found here, but in the examination of the whole course of Jesus' life. On which of the two presuppositions, the assumption that His life was completely dominated by eschatology, or the assumption that He repudiated it, do we find it easiest to understand the connexion of events in the life of Jesus, His fate, and the emergence of the expectation of the Parousia in the community of His disciples?

The works which in the examination of the connexion of events follow a critical procedure are few and far between. The average "Life of Jesus" shows in this respect an inconceivable stupidity. The first, after Bruno Bauer, to apply critical methods to this point was Volkmar; between Volkmar and Wrede the only writer who here showed himself critical, that is sceptical, was W. Brandt. His work on the "Gospel History" [1] appeared in 1893, a year after Johannes Weiss's work and in the same year as Bousset's reply. In this book the question of the absolute, or only partial, dominance of eschatology is answered on the ground of the general course of Jesus' life.

Brandt goes to work with a truly Cartesian scepticism. He first examines all the possibilities that the reported event did not happen in the way in which it is reported before he is satisfied that it really did happen in that way. Before he can accept the statement that Jesus died with a loud outcry, he has to satisfy his critical conscience by the following consideration: "The statement regarding this cry, is, so far as I can see, to be best explained by supposing that it was really uttered." The burial of Jesus owes its acceptance as history to the following reflection. "We hold Joseph of Arimathea to be an historical person; but the only reason which the narrative has for preserving his name is that he buried Jesus. Therefore the name guarantees the fact."

But the moment the slightest possibility presents itself that the event

[1] Die evangelische Geschichte und der Ur sprung des Christentums auf Grund einer Kritic der Berichte uber das Leiden und die Auferstehung Jesu. (The Gospel Hisotry and the Origin of Christianity considered in the light of a critical investigation of the Reports of the Suffering and Resurrection of Jesus.) By Dr. W. Brandt, Leipzig, 1893, 588 pp.

Wilhelm Brandt was born in 1855 of German Parents in Amsterdam and became a pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church. In 1891 he resigned this office and studied in Straussburg and Berlin. In 1893 he was appointed to lecture in General History of Religion as a member of the theological faculty of Amsterdam.


happened in a different way, Brandt declines to be held by any seductions of the text, and makes his own "probably" into an historical fact. For instance, he thinks it unlikely that Peter was the only one to smite with the sword; so the history is immediately rectified by the phrase "that sword-stroke was doubtless not the only one, other disciples also must have pressed to the front." That Jesus was first condemned by the Sanhedrin at a night-sitting, and that Pilate in the morning confirmed the sentence, seems to him on various grounds impossible. It is therefore decided that we have here to do only with a combination devised by "a Christian from among the Gentiles." In this way the "must have been's" and "may have been's" exercise a veritable reign of terror throughout the book.

Yet that does not prevent the general contribution of the book to criticism from being a very remarkable one. Especially in regard to the trial of Jesus, it brings to light a whole series of previously unsuspected problems. Brandt is the first writer since Bauer who dares to assert that it is an historical absurdity to suppose that Pilate, when the people demanded from him the condemnation of Jesus, answered: "No, but I will release you another instead of Him."

As his starting-point he takes the complete contrast between the Johannine and Synoptic traditions, and the inherent impossibility of the former is proved in detail. The Synoptic tradition goes back to Mark alone. His Gospel is, as was also held by Bruno Bauer, and afterwards by Wrede, a sufficient basis for the whole tradition. But this Gospel is not a purely historical source, it is also, and in a very much larger degree, poetic invention. Of the real history of Jesus but little is preserved in the Gospels. Many of the so-called sayings of the Lord are certainly to be pronounced spurious, a few are probably to be recognised as genuine. But the theory of the "poetic invention" of the earliest Evangelist is not consistently carried out, because Brandt does not take as his criterion, as Wrede did later, a definite principle on which Mark is supposed to have constructed his Gospel, but decides each case separately. Consequently the most important feature of the work lies in the examination of detail.

Jesus died and was believed to have risen again: this is the only absolutely certain information that we have regarding His "Life." And accordingly this is the crucial instance for testing the worth of the Gospel tradition. It is only on the basis of an elaborate criticism of the account of the suffering and resurrection of Jesus that Brandt undertakes to give a sketch of the life of Jesus as it really was.

What was, then, so far as appears from His life, Jesus' attitude towards eschatology? It was, according to Brandt, a self-contradictory attitude. "He believed in the near approach of the Kingdom of God, and


yet as though its time were still far distant, He undertakes the training of disciples. He was a teacher and yet is said to have held Himself to be the Messiah." The duality lies not so much in the teaching itself; it is rather a cleavage between His conviction and consciousness on the one hand, and His public attitude on the other.

To this observation we have to add a second, namely, that Jesus cannot possibly during the last few days at Jerusalem have come forward as Messiah. Critics, with the exception, of course, of Bruno Bauer, had only cursorily touched on this question. The course of events in the last few days in Jerusalem does not at all suggest a Messianic claim on the part of Jesus, indeed it directly contradicts it. Only imagine what would have happened if Jesus had come before the people with such claims, or even if such thoughts had been so much as attributed to Him! On the other side, of course, we have the report of the Messianic entry, in which Jesus not only accepted the homage offered to Him as Messiah, but went out of His way to invite it; and the people must therefore from that point onwards have regarded him as Messiah. In consequence of this contradiction in the narrative, all Lives of Jesus slur over the passage, and seem to represent that the people sometimes suspected Jesus' Messiahship, sometimes did not suspect it, or they adopt some other similar expedient. Brandt, however, rigorously drew the logical inference. Since Jesus did not stand and preach in the temple as Messiah, He cannot have entered Jerusalem as Messiah. Therefore "the well-known Messianic entry is not historical." That is also implied by the manner of His arrest. If Jesus had come forward as a Messianic claimant, He would not simply have been arrested by the civil police; Pilate would have had to suppress a revolt by military force.

This admission implies the surrender of one of the most cherished prejudices of the anti-eschatological school, namely, that Jesus raised the thoughts of the people to a higher conception of His Messiahship, and consequently to a spiritual view of the Kingdom of God, or at least tried so to raise them. But we cannot assume this to have been His intention, since He does not allow the multitude to suspect His Messiahship. Thus the conception of a "transformation" becomes untenable as a means of reconciling eschatological and non-eschatological elements. And as a matter of fact-that is the stroke of critical genius in the book-Brandt lets the two go forward side by side without any attempt at reconciliation; for the reconciliation which would be possible when one had only to deal with the teaching of Jesus becomes impossible when one has to take in His life as well. For Brandt the life of Jesus is the life of a Galilaean teacher who, in consequence of the eschatology with which the period was so fully charged, was for a time and certain extent set at variance with Himself and who met His fate


for that reason. This conception is at bottom identical with Renan's. But the stroke of genius in leaving the gap between eschatological and non-eschatological elements unbridged sets this work, as regards its critical foundation and historical presentment, high above the smooth romance of the latter.

The course of Jesus' life, according to Brandt, was therefore as follows: Jesus was a teacher; not only so, but He took disciples in order to train them to be teachers. "This is in itself sufficient to show there was a period in His life in which His work was not determined by the thought of the immediate nearness of the decisive moment. He sought men, therefore, who might become His fellow-workers. He began to train disciples who, if He did not Himself live to see the Day of the Lord, would be able after His death to carry on the work of educating the people along the lines which He had laid down." "Then there occurred in Judaea an event of which the rumour spread like wildfire throughout Palestine. A prophet arose-a thing which had not happened for centuries-a man who came forward as an envoy of God; and this prophet proclaimed the immediate coming of the reign of God: 'Repent that ye may escape the wrath of God.'" The Baptist's great sermon on repentance falls, according to Brandt, in the last period of the life of Jesus. We must assume, he thinks, that before John came forward in this dramatic fashion he had been a teacher, and at that period of his life had numbered Jesus among his pupils. Nevertheless his life previous to his public appearance must have been a rather obscure one. When he suddenly launched out into this eschatological preaching of repentance "he seemed like an Elijah who had long ago been rapt away from the earth and now appeared once more."

From this point onwards Jesus had to concentrate His activity, for the time was short. If He desired to effect anything and so far as possible to make the people, before the coming of the end, obedient to the •will of God, He must make Jerusalem the starting-point of His work. "Only from this central position, and only with the help of an authority which had at its disposal the whole synagogal system, could He effect within a short time much, perhaps all, of what was needful. So He determined on journeying to Jerusalem with this end in view, and with the fixed resolve there to carry into effect the will of God."

The journey to Jerusalem was not therefore a pilgrimage of death. "So long as we are obliged to take the Gospels as a true reflection of the history of Jesus we must recognise with Weizsacker that Jesus did not go to Jerusalem in order to be put to death there, nor did He go to keep the Feast. Both suppositions are excluded by the vigour of his action in Jerusalem, and the bright colours of hope with which the picture of that period was painted in the recollection of those who had


witnessed it." We cannot therefore regard the predictions of the Passion as historical, or "at most we might perhaps suppose that Jesus in the consciousness of His innocence may have said to His disciples: 'If I should die, may God for the sake of My blood be merciful to you and to the people.'"

He went to Jerusalem, then, to fulfill the will of God. "It was God's will that the preaching by which alone the people could be inwardly renewed and made into a real people of God should be recognised and organised by the national and religious authorities. To effect this through the existing authorities, or to realise it in some other way, such was the task which Jesus felt Himself called on to perform." With his eyes upon this goal, behind which lay the near approach of the Kingdom of God, He set His face towards Jerusalem.

"But nothing could be more natural than that out of the belief that He was engaged in a work which God had willed, there should arise an ever stronger belief in His personal vocation." It was thus that the Messianic consciousness entered into Jesus' thoughts. His conviction of His vocation had nothing to do with a political Messiahship, it was only gradually from the development of events that He was able to draw the inference that He was destined to the Messianic sovereignty, "it may have become more and more clear to Him, but it did not become a matter of absolute certainty." It was only amid opposition, in deep dejection, in consequence of a powerful inner reaction against circumstances, that He came to recognise Himself with full conviction as the anointed of God.

When it began to be bruited about that He was the Messiah, the rulers had Him arrested and handed Him over to the Procurator. Judas the traitor "had only been a short time among His followers, and only in those unquiet days at Jerusalem when the Master had scarcely any opportunity for private intercourse with him and for learning really to know him. He had not been with Jesus during the Galilaean days, and Jesus was consequently nothing more to him than the future ruler of the Kingdom of God."

After His death the disciples "could not, unless something occurred to restore their faith, continue to believe in His Messiahship." Jesus had taken away with Him in His death the hopes which they had set upon Him, especially as He had not foretold His death, much less His resurrection. "At first, therefore, it would be all in favour of His memory if the disciples remembered that He Himself had never openly and definitely declared Himself to be the Messiah." They returned to Galilee. "Simon Peter, and perhaps the son of Zebedee, who afterwards ranked along with him as a pillar of the Church, resolved to continue that preparation for their work which had been interrupted by their journey


to Jerusalem. It seemed to them that if they were once more on Galilaean soil the days which they had spent in the inhospitable Jerusalem would cease to oppress their spirits with the leaden weight of sorrowful recollection. . . . One might almost say that they had to make up their minds to give up Jesus the author of the attempt to take Jerusalem by storm; but for Jesus the gracious gentle Galilaean teacher they kept a warm place in their hearts." So love watched over the dead until hope was rekindled by the Old Testament promises and came to reawaken Him. "The first who, in an enthusiastic vision, saw this wish fulfilled was Simon Peter." This "resurrection" has nothing to do with the empty grave, which, like the whole narrative of the Jerusalem appearances only came into the tradition later. The first appearances took place in Galilee. It was there that the Church was founded.

This attempt to grasp the connexion of events in the life of Jesus from a purely historical point of view is one of the most important that have ever been made in this department of study. If it had been put in a purely constructive form, this criticism would have made an impression unequalled by any other Life of Jesus since Renan's. But in that case it would have lost that free play of ideas which the critical recognition of the unbridged gap admits. The eschatological question is not, it is true, decided by this investigation. It shows the impossibility of the previous attempts to establish a present Messiahship of Jesus, but it shows, too, that the questions, which are really historical questions, concerning the public attitude of Jesus, are far from being solved by asserting the exclusively eschatological character of His preaching, but that new difficulties are always presenting themselves.

It was perhaps not so much through these general ethico-religious historical discussions as in consequence of certain exegetical problems which unexpectedly came to light that theologians became conscious that the old conception of the teaching of Jesus was not tenable, or was only tenable by violent means. On the assumption of the modified eschatological character of His teaching, Jesus is still a teacher; that is to say. He speaks in order to be understood, in order to explain, and has no secrets. But if His teaching is throughout eschatological, then He is a prophet, who points in mysterious speech to a coming age, whose words conceal secrets and offer enigmas, and are not intended to be understood always and by everybody. Attention was now turned to a number of passages in which the question arises whether Jesus had any secrets to keep or not.

This question presents itself in connexion with the very earliest of the parables. In Mark iv. 11, 12 it is distinctly stated that the parables spoken in the immediate context embody the mystery of the Kingdom of God in an obscure and unintelligible form, in order that those for


whom it is not intended may hear without understanding. But this is borne out by the character of the parables themselves, since we at least find in them the thought of the constant and victorious develop,emt of the Kingdom from small beginnings to its perfect development. After the passage had had to suffer many things from constantly remewed attempts to weaken down or explain away the statement, Julicher, in his work upon the Parables, [1] released it from these tortures, left Jesus the parables in their natural meaning, and put down this unintelligible saying about the purpose of the parabolic form of discourse to the account of the Evangelist. He would rather, to use his own expression, remove a little stone from the masonry of tradition than a diamond from the imperishable crown of honour which belongs to Jesus. Yes, but, for all that, it is an arbitrary assumption which damages the Marcan hypothesis more than will be readily admitted. What was the reason, or what was the mistake which led the earliest Evangelist to form so repellent a theory regarding the purpose of the parables? Is the progressive exaggeration of the contrast between veiled and open speech, to which Julicher often appeals, sufficient to account for it? How can the Evangelist have invented such a theory, when he immediately proceeds to invalidate it by the rationalising, rather commonplace explanation of the parable of the Sower?

Bernhard Weiss, not being so much under the influence of modern theology as to feel bound to recognise the paedagogic purpose in Jesus, gives the text its due, and admits that Jesus intended to use the parabolic form of discourse as a means of separating receptive from unreceptive hearers. He does not say, however, what kind of secret, intelligible only to the predestined, was concealed in these parables which seem clear as daylight.

That was before Johannes Weiss had stated the eschatological question. Bousset, in his criticism of the eschatological theory, [2] is obliged to fall back upon Julicher's method in order to justify the rationalising modern way of explaining these parables as pointing to a Kingdom of God actually present. It is true Julicher's explanation of the way in which the theory arose does not satisfy him; he prefers to assume that the basis of this false theory of Mark's is to be found in the fact that the parables concerning the presence of the Kingdom remained unintelligible to the contemporaries of Jesus. But we may fairly ask that he would point out the connecting link between that failure to understand the invention of a saying like this, which implies so very much more!

[1] Ad. Julicher, Die Gleichnisreden Jesu. Vol. i., 1888. The substance of it had already been published in a different form. Freiburg, 1886.

Adolf Julicher, at present Professor in Marburg, was bom in 1857 at Falkenberg.

[2] W. Bousset, Jesu Predigt in ihrem Gegensatz zum Judentum. Gottingen, 1892.


If there are no better grounds than that for calling in question Mark's theory of the parables, then the parables of Mark iv., the only ones from which it is possible to extract the admission of a present Kingdom of God, remain what they were before, namely, mysteries.

The second volume of Julicher's "Parables" [1] found the eschatoloeical question already in possession of the field. And, as a matter of fact Julicher does abandon "the heretofore current method of modernising the parables," which finds in one after another of them only its own favourite conception of the slow and gradual development of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of Heaven is for Julicher a completely supernatural idea; it is to be realised without human help and independently of the attitude of men, by the sole power of God. The parables of the mustard seed and the leaven are not intended to teach the disciples the necessity and wisdom of a development occupying a considerable time, but are designed to make clear and vivid to them the idea that the period of perfecting and fulfilment will follow with super-earthly necessity upon that of imperfection.

But in general the new problem plays no very special part in Julicher's exposition. He takes up, it might almost be said, in relation to the parables, too independent a position as a religious thinker to care to understand them against the background of a wholly different world-view, and does not hesitate to exclude from the authentic discourses of Jesus whatever does not suit him. This is the fate, for instance, of the parable of the wicked husbandmen in Mark xii. He finds in it traits which read like vaticinia ex eventu, and sees therefore in the whole thing only a prophetically expressed "view of the history as it presented itself to an average man who had been present at the crucifixion of Jesus and nevertheless believed in Him as the Son of God."

But this absolute method of explanation, independent of any traditional order of time or events, makes it impossible for the author to draw from the parables any general system of teaching. He makes no distinction between the Galilaean mystical parables and the polemical, menacing Jerusalem parables. For instance, he supposes the parable of the Sower, which according to Mark was the very first of Jesus' parabolic discourses, to have been spoken as the result of a melancholy review of a preceding period of work, and as expressing the conviction, stamped upon His mind by the facts, "that it was in accordance with

[1] Ad. Julicher, Die Gleichnisreden Jesu, 2nd pt. (Exposition of the Parables in the first three Gospels.) Freiburg, 1899, 641 pp.

Chr. A. Bugge, Die Hauptparabeln Jesu (The most important Parables of Jesus), German, from the Norwegian, Giessen, 1903, rightly remarks on the obscure inexplicable character of some of the parables, but makes no attempt to deal with it from the historical point of view.


higher laws that the word of God should have to reckon with defeats as well as victories." Accordingly he adopts in the main the explanation which the Evangelist gives in Mark iv. 13-20. The parable of the seed growing secretly is turned to account in favour of the "present" Kingdom of God.

Julicher has an incomparable power of striking fire out of every one of the parables, but the flame is of a different colour from that which it showed when Jesus pronounced the parables before the enchanted multitude. The problem posed by Johannes Weiss in connexion with the teaching of Jesus is treated by Julicher only so far as it has direct interest for the creative independence of his own religious thought.

Alongside of the parabolic discourses of Mark iv. we have now to place, as a newly discovered problem, the discourse at the sending out of the Twelve in Matt. x. Up to the time of Johannes Weiss it had been possible to rest content with transplanting the gloomy sayings regarding persecutions to the last period of Jesus' life; but now there was the further difficulty to be met that while so hasty a proclamation of the Kingdom of God is quite reconcilable with an exclusively eschatological character of the preaching of the Kingdom, the moment this is at all minimised it becomes unintelligible, not to mention the fact that in this case nothing can be made of the saying about the immediate coming of the Son of Man in Matt. x. 23. As though he felt the stern eye of old Reimarus upon him, Bousset hastens in a footnote to throw overboard the whole report of the mission of the Twelve as an "obscure and unintelligible tradition." Not content with that, he adds: "Perhaps the whole narrative is merely an expansion of some direction about missionising given by Jesus to the disciples in view of a later time." Before, it was only the discourse which was unhistorical; now it is the whole account of the mission-at least if we may assume that here, as is usual with theologians of all times, the author's real opinion is expressed in the footnote, and his most cherished opinion of all introduced with "perhaps." But how much historical material will remain to modern theologians in the Gospels if they are forced to abandon it wholesale from their objection to pure eschatology? If all the pronouncements of this kind to which the representatives of the Marcan hypothesis have committed themselves were collected together, they would make a book which would be much more damaging even than that of Wrede's which dropped a bomb into their midst.

A third problem is offered by the saying in Matt. xi. 12, about "the violent" who, since the time of John the Baptist, "take the Kingdom of Heaven hy force," which raises fresh difficulties for the exegetical art. It is true that if art sufficed, we should not have long to wait for the


solution in this case. We should be asked to content ourselves with one or other of the artificial solutions with which exegetes have been accustomed from of old to find a way round this difficulty. Usually the saying is claimed as supporting the "presence" of the Kingdom. This is the line taken by Wendt, Wernie, and Arnold Meyer. [1] According to the last named it means: "From the days of John the Baptist it has been possible to get possession of the Kingdom of God; yea, the righteous are every day earning it for their own." But no explanation has heretofore succeeded in making it in any degree intelligible how Jesus could date the presence of the Kingdom from the Baptist, whom in the same breath He places outside of the Kingdom, or why, in order to express so simple an idea, He uses such entirely unnatural and inappropriate expressions as "rape" and "wrest to themselves."

The full difficulties of the passage are first exhibited by Johannes Weiss. [2] He restores it to its natural sense, according to which it means that since that time the Kingdom suffers, or is subjected to, violence, and in order to be able to understand it literally he has to take it in a condemnatory sense. Following Alexander Schweizer, [3] he sums up his interpretation in the following sentence: Jesus describes, and in the form of the description shows His condemnation of, a violent Zealotistic Messianic movement which has been in progress since the days of the Baptist. [4] But this explanation again makes Jesus express a very simple meaning in a very obscure phrase. And what indication is there that the sense is condemnatory? Where do we hear anything more about a Zealotic Messianic movement, of which the Baptist formed the starting-point? His preaching certainly offered no incentive to such a movement, and Jesus' attitude towards the Baptist is elsewhere, even in Jerusalem, entirely one of approval. Moreover, a condemnatory saying of this kind would not have been closed with the distinctive formula: "He that hath ears to hear let him hear" (Matt. xi. 15), which elsewhere, cf. Mark iv. 9, indicates a mystery.

We must, therefore, accept the conclusion that we really do not understand the saying, that we "have not ears to hear it," that we do not know sufficiently well the essential character of the Kingdom of God, to

[1] Arnold Meyer, Jesu Muttersprache, 1896. P. W. Schmidt, too, in his Geschichte Jesu (Freiburg, 1899), defends the same interpretation, and seeks to explain this obscure saying by the other about the "strait gate."

[2] Die Predigt Jesu vom Reiche Gottes, 2nd ed., 1900, p. 192 ff.

[3] Stud. Krit., 1836, pp. 90-122.

[4] See also Die Vorstellungen vom Messias und vom Gottesreich bei den Synoptikern. (The Conceptions of the Messiah and the Kingdom of God in the Synoptic Gospels.) By Ludwig Paul. Bonn, 1895. 130 pp. This comprehensive study discusses all the problems which are referred to below. Matt. xi. 12-14 is discussed un the heading "The Hinderers of the Kingdom of God."


understand why Jesus describes the coming of the Kingdom as a doing-violence-to-it, which has been in progress since the days of the Baptist, especially as the hearers themselves do not seem to have cared, or been able, to understand what was the connexion of the coming with the violence; nor do we know why He expects them to understand how the Baptist is identical with Elias.

But the problem which became most prominent of all the new problems raised by eschatology, was the question concerning the Son of Man. It had become a dogma of theology that Jesus used the term Son of Man to veil His Messiahship; that is to say, every theologian found in this term whatever meaning he attached to the Messiahship of Jesus, the human, humble, ethical, unpolitical, unapocalyptic, or whatever other character was held to be appropriate to the orthodox "transformed" Messiahship. The Danielic Son of Man entered into the conception only so far as it could do so without endangering the other characteristics. Confronted with the Similitudes of Enoch, theologians fell back upon the expedient of assuming them to be spurious, or at least worked-over in a Christian sense in the Son of Man passages, just as the older history of dogma got rid of the Ignatian letters, of which it could make nothing, by denying their genuineness. But once the Jewish eschatology was seriously applied to the explanation of the Son of Man conception, all was changed. A new dilemma presented itself; either Jesus used the expression, and used it in a purely Jewish apocalyptic sense, or He did not use it at all.

Although Baldensperger did not state the dilemma in its full trenchancy, Hilgenfeld thought it necessary to defend Jesus against the suspicion of having borrowed His system of thought and His self-designa- tion from Jewish Apocalypses. [1] Orello Cone, too, will not admit that the expression Son of Man has only apocalyptic suggestion in the mouth of Jesus, but will have it interpreted according to Mark ii. 10 and 28, where His pure humanity is the idea which is emphasised. [2] Oort holds, more logically, that Jesus did not use it, but that the disciples took the expression from "the Gospel" and put it into the mouth of Jesus. [3]

Johannes Weiss formulated the problem clearly, and proposed that, with the exception of the two passages where Son of Man means man in general, only those should be recognised in which the significance attached to the term in Daniel and the Apocalypses is demanded by the context. By so doing he set theology a problem calculated to keep it oc-

[1] A. Hilgenfeld, Zeitschr. f. wiss. Theol., 1888, pp. 488-498; 1892, pp. 445-464.

[2] Orello Cone, "Jesus' Self-designation in the Synoptic Gospels," The New World, 1893, pp. 492-518.

[3] H. L. Oort, Die uitdrukking o uioV tou anqrwpou in het Nieuwe Testament, (The Expression Son of Man in the New Testament.) Leyden, 1893.


cupied for many years. Not many indeed at first recognised the problem Charles, however, meets it in a bold fashion, proposing to regard the Son of Man, in Jesus' usage of the title, as a conception in which the Messiah of the Book of Enoch and the Servant of the Lord in Isaiah are united into one. [1] Most writers, however, did not free themselves from inconsistencies. They wanted at one and the same time to make the apocalyptic element dominant in the expression, and to hold that Jesus could not have taken the conception over unaltered, but must have transformed it in some way. These inconsistencies necessarily result from the assumption of Weiss's opponents that Jesus intended to designate Himself as Messiah in the actual present. For since the expression Son of Man has in itself only an apocalyptic sense referring to the future they had to invent another sense applicable to the present, which Jesus might have inserted into it. In all these learned discussions of the title Son of Man this operation is assumed to have been performed.

According to Bousset, Jesus created, and embodied in this term, a new form of the Messianic ideal which united the super-earthly with the human and lowly. In any case, he thinks, the term has a meaning applicable in this present world. Jesus uses it at once to conceal and to suggest His Messianic dignity. How conscious Bousset, nevertheless, is of the difficulty is evident from the fact that in discussing the meaning of the title he remarks that the Messianic significance must have been of subordinate importance in the estimation of Jesus, and cannot have formed the basis of His actions, otherwise He would have laid more stress upon it in His preaching. As if the term Son of Man had not meant for His contemporaries all He needed to say!

Bousset's essay on Jewish Apocalyptic, [2] published in 1903, seeks the solution in a rather different direction, by postponing, namely, to the very last possible moment the adoption of this self-designation. "In all probability Jesus in a few isolated sayings towards the close of His life hit upon this title Son of Man as a means of expressing, in the face of the thought of defeat and death, which forced itself upon Him, His confidence in the abiding victory of His person and His cause." If this is

[1] R. H. Charles, "The Son of Man," Expos. Times, 1893.

[2] Die judische Apokalyptik in ihrer religionsgeschichtlichen Herkunft und ihrer Bedeutung fur das Neue Testament. (Jewish Apocalyptic in its religious-historical origin and in its significance for the New Testament.) 1903.

On the eschatology of Jesus see also Schwartzkoppf, Die Weissagungen Jesu Christi von seinem Tode, seiner Auferstehung und Wiederkunft und ihre Erfullung. (The Predictions of Jesus Christ concerning His Death, His Resurrection, and Second Coming, and their Fulfilment.) 1895.

P. Wernle, Die Reichgotteshoffnung in den altesten christlichen Dokumenten und bei Jesu. (The Hope of the Kingdom of God in the most ancient Christian Documents and as held by Jesus.)


so, the emphasis must be principally on the triumphant apocalyptic aspects of the title.

Even this belated adoption of the title Son of Man is more than Brandt is willing to admit, and he holds it to be improbable that Jesus used the expression at all. It would be more natural, he thinks, to suppose that the Evangelist Mark introduced this self-designation, as he introduced so much else, into the Gospel on the ground of the figurative apocalyptic discourses in the Gospel.

Just when ingenuity appeared to have exhausted itself in attempts to solve the most difficult of the problems raised by the eschatological school, the historical discussion suddenly seemed about to be rendered objectless. Philology entered a caveat. In 1896 appeared Lietzmann's essay upon "The Son of Man," which consisted of an investigation of the linguistic basis of the enigmatic self-designation.

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