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The Quest of the Historical Jesus

* XVII *


Arnold Meyer. Jesu Muttersprache. (The Mother Tongue of Jesus.) Leipzig, 1896 166 pp.

Hans Lietzmann. Der Menschensohn. Ein Beitrag zur neutestamentlichen Theologie. (The Son of Man. A Contribution to New Testament Theology.) Freiburg 1896. 95 pp.

J. Wellhausen. Israelitische und judische Geschichte. (History of Israel and the Jews.) 3rd ed., 1897; 4th ed., 1901. 394 pp.

Gustaf Dalman. Grammatik des judisch-palastinensischen Aramaisch. (Grammar of Jewish-Palestinian Aramaic.) Leipzig, 1894. Die Worte Jesu. Mit Beriicksichtigung des nachkanonischen jiidischen Schrifttums und der aramaischen Sprache. (The Sayings of Jesus considered in connexion with the post-canonical Jewish writings and the Aramaic Language.) I. Introduction and certain leading conceptions: with an appendix on Messianic texts. Leipzig, 1898. 309 pp.

A. Wunsche. Neue Beitrage zur Eriauterung der Evangelien aus Talmud und Midrasch. (New Contributions to the Explanation of the Gospels, from Talmud and Midrash.) Gottingen, 1878. 566 pp.

Ferdinand Weber. System der altsynagogalen palastinensischen Theologie. (System of Theology of the Ancient Palestinian Synagogue.) Leipzig, 1880. 399 pp. 2nd ed., 1897.

Rudolf Seydel. Das Evangelium Jesu in seinen Verhaltnissen zur Buddha-Sage und Buddha-Lehre. (The Gospel of Jesus in its relations to the Buddha-Legend and the Teaching of Buddha.) Leipzig, 1882, 337 pp. Die Buddha-Legende und das Leben Jesu nach den Evangelien. Erneute Priifung ibres gegenseitigen Verhaltnisses. (The Buddha-Legend and the Life of Jesus in the Gospels. A New Examination of their Mutual Relations.) 2nd ed., 1897. 129 pp.

ONLY SINCE THE APPEARANCE OF DALMAN'S GRAMMAR OF JEWISH PALESTINIAN Aramaic in 1894 have we really known what was the dialect in which the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount were spoken. This work closes a discussion which had been proceeding for centuries on a line parallel to that of theology proper, and which, according to the


clear description of Arnold Meyer, ran its course somewhat as follows. [1]

The question regarding the language spoken by Jesus had been rigorously discussed in the sixteenth century. Up till that time no one had known what to make of the tradition recorded by Eusebius that the speech of the apostles had been "Syrian" since the distinction between Syrian Hebrew, and "Chaldee" was not understood and all three designations were used indiscriminately. Light was first thrown upon ths question by Joseph Justus Scaliger (l609). In the year 1555, Job. Alb. Widmanstadt, Chancellor of Ferdinand I., had published the Syriac translation of the Bible in fulfilment of the wishes of an old scholar of Bologna, Theseus Ambrosius, who had left him the manuscript as a sacred legacy. He himself and his contemporaries believed that in this they had the Gospel in the mother-tongue of Jesus, until Scaliger, in one of his letters, gave a clear sketch of the Syrian dialects, distinguished Syriac from Chaldee, and further drew a distinction between the Babylonian Chaldee and Jewish Chaldee of the Targums, and in the language of the Targums itself distinguished an earlier from a later stratum. The apostles spoke, according to Scaliger, a Galilaean dialect of Chaldaic, or according to the more correct nomenclature introduced later, following a suggestion of Scaliger's, a dialect of Aramaic, and, in addition to that, the Syriac of Antioch. Next, Hugo Grotius put in a strong plea for a distinction between Jewish and Antiochian Syriac. Into the confusion caused at that time by the use of the term "Hebrew" some order was introduced by the Leyden Calvinistic professor Claude Saumaise, who, writing in French, emphasised the point that the New Testament, and the Early Fathers, when they speak of Hebrew, mean Syriac, since Hebrew had become completely unknown to the Jews of that period. Brian Walton, the editor of the London polyglot, which was completed in 1657, supposed that the dialect of Onkelos and Jonathan was the language of Jesus, being under the impression that both these Targums were written in the time of Jesus.

The growing knowledge of the distinction between Hebrew and Aramaic did not prevent the Vienna Jesuit Inchofer (l648) from maintaining that Jesus spoke-Latin! The Lord cannot have used any other language upon earth, since this is the language of the saints in heaven. On the Protestant side, Vossius, opposing Richard Simon, endeavoured to establish the thesis that Greek was the language of Jesus, being partly inspired by the apologetic purpose of preventing the authenticity of the discourses and sayings of Jesus from being weakened by supposing them to have been translated from Aramaic into Greek, but also rightly recognising the importance which the Greek language must have assumed

[1] Arnold Meyer, now Professor of New Testament Theology and Pastoral Theology at Zurich, and formerly at Bonn, was born at Wesel in 1861.


at that time in northern Palestine, through which there passed such important trade routes.

This view was brought up again by the Neapolitan legal scholar Dominicus Diodati, in his book De Christo Craece loquente, 1767, who added some interesting material concerning the importance of the Greek language at the period and in the native district of Jesus. But five years later, in 1772, this view was thoroughly refuted by Giambernardo de Rossi, [1] who argued convincingly that among a people so separate and so conservative as the Jews the native language cannot possibly have been wholly driven out. The apostles wrote Greek for the sake of foreign readers. In the year 1792, Johann Adrian Bolten, "first collegiate pastor at the principal church in Altona" (l807), made the first attempt to re-translate the sayings of Jesus into the original tongue. [2]

The certainly original Greek of the Epistles and the Johannine literature was a strong argument against the attempt to recognise no language save Aramaic as known to Jesus and His disciples. Paulus the rationalist, therefore, sought a middle path, and explained that while the Aramaic dialect was indeed the native language of Jesus, Greek had become so generally current among the population of Galilee, and still more of Jerusalem, that the founders of Christianity could use this language when they found it needful to do so. His Catholic contemporary. Hug, came to a similar conclusion.

In the course of the nineteenth century Aramaic-known down to the time of Michaelis as "Chaldee" [3]-was more thoroughly studied. The various branches of this language and the history of its progress became more or less clearly recognisable. Kautzsch's grammar of Biblical Aramaic [4] (1884) and Dalman's [5] work embody the result of these

[1] Giambern. de Rossi, Dissertazione delta lingua propria di Christo e degli Ebrei nazionali della Palestina da' Tempi de' Massabei in disamina del sentimento di w recente scrittore Italiano. Parma, 1772.

[2] Der Bericht des Matthaus van Jesu dem Messias. (Matthew's account of Jesus the Messiah.) Altona, 1792. According to Meyer, p. 105 ff., this was a very striking performance. ,

[3] The name Chaldee was due to the mistaken belief that the language in which parts of Daniel and Ezra were written was really the vernacular of Babylonia. [1] That vernacular, now known to us from cuneiform tablets and inscriptions, is a Semitic language, but quite different from Aramaic.-F. C. B.

[4] Emil Friedrich Kautzsch was born in 1841 at Plauen in Saxony, and studied in Leipzig, where he became Privat-Docent in 1869. In 1872 he was called as as Professor to Basle, in 1880 to Tubingen, in 1888 to Halle.

[5] Gustaf Dalman, Professor at Leipzig, was born in 1865 at Niesky. In addition to the works of his named above, see also Der leidende und der sterbende Messias (The Suffering and Dying Messiah), 1888; and Was sagt der Talmud uber Jesum? (What does the Talmud say about Jesus?), 1891.


studies. "The Aramaic language," explains Meyer, "is a branch of the North Semitic, the linguistic stock to which also belong the Assyrio-Babylonian language in the East, and the Canaanitish languages, including Hebrew, in the West, while the South Semitic languages-the Arabic and Aethiopic-form a group by themselves. The users of these languages, the Aramaeans, were seated in historic times between the Babylonians and Canaanites, the area of their distribution extending from the foot of Lebanon and Hermon in a north-easterly direction as far as Mesopotamia, where "Aram of the two rivers" forms their eastern-most province. Their immigration into these regions forms the third epoch of the Semitic migrations, which probably lasted from 1600 B.C. down to 600.

The Aramaic states had no great stability. The most important of them was the kingdom of Damascus, which at a certain period was so dangerous an enemy to northern Israel. In the end, however, the Aramaean dynasties were crushed, like the two Israelitish kingdoms, between the upper and nether millstones of Babylon and Egypt. In the time of the successors of Alexander, there arose in these regions the Syrian kingdom; which in turn gave place to the Roman power.

But linguistically the Aramaeans conquered the whole of Western Asia. In the course of the first millennium B.C. Aramaic became the language of commerce and diplomacy, as Babylonian had been during the second. It was only the rise of Greek as a universal language which put a term to these conquests of the Aramaic.

In the year 701 B.C. Aramaic had not yet penetrated to Judaea. When the rabshakeh (officer) sent by Sennacherib addressed the envoys of Hezekiah in Hebrew, they begged him to speak Aramaic in order that the men upon the wall might not understand. [1] For the post-exilic period the Aramaic edicts in the Book of Ezra and inscriptions on Persian coins show that throughout wide districts of the new empire Aramaic had made good its position as the language of common intercourse. Its domain extended from the Euxine southwards as far as Egypt, and even into Egypt itself. Samaria and the Hauran adopted it. Only the Greek towns and Phoenicia resisted.

The influence of Aramaic upon Jewish literature begins to be noticeable about the year 600. Jeremiah and Ezekiel, writing in a foreign land in an Aramaic environment, are the first witnesses to its supremacy. In the northern part of the country, owing to the immigration of foreign colonists after the destruction of the northern kingdom, it had already gained a hold upon the common people. In the Book of Daniel, written

[1] 2 Kings xviii. 26 ff.


in the year 167 B.C., the Hebrew and Aramaic languages alternate. Perhaps, indeed, we ought to assume an Aramaic ground-document as the basis of this work.

At what time Aramaic became the common popular speech in the post-exilic community we cannot exactly discover. Under Nehemiah "Judaean," that is to say, Hebrew, was still spoken in Jerusalem; in the time of the Maccabees Aramaic seems to have wholly driven out the ancient national language. Evidence for this is to be found in the occurrence of Aramaic passages in the Talmud, from which it is evident that the Rabbis used this language in the religious instruction of the people. The provision that the text, after being read in Hebrew, should be interpreted to the people, may quite well reach back into the time of Jesus. The first evidence for the practice is in the Mishna, about A.D. 150.

In the time of Jesus three languages met in Galilee-Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. In what relation they stood to each other we do not know, since Josephus, the only writer who could have told us, fails us in this point, as he so often does elsewhere. He informs us that when acting as an envoy of Titus he spoke to the people of Jerusalem in the ancestral language, and the word he uses is ebraizwn. But the very thing we should like to know-whether, namely, this language was Aramaic or Hebrew, he does not tell us. We are left in the same uncertainty by the passage in Acts (xxii. 2) which says that Paul spoke to the people 'Ebraidi dialektw, thereby gaining their attention, for there is no indication whether the language was Aramaic or Hebrew. For the writers of that period "Hebrew" simply means Jewish.

We cannot, therefore, be sure in what relation the ancient Hebrew sacred language and the Aramaic of ordinary intercourse stood to one another as regards religious writings and religious instruction. Did the ordinary man merely learn by heart a few verses, prayers, and psalms? Or was Hebrew, as the language of the cultus, also current in wider circles?

Dalman gives a number of examples of works written in Hebrew in the century which witnessed the birth of Christ: "A Hebrew original, he says, "must be assumed in the case of the main part of the Aethiopic book of Enoch, the Assumption of Moses, the Apocalypse of Baruch, Fourth Ezra, the Book of Jubilees, and for the Jewish ground-document of the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, of which M. Gaster has discovered a Hebrew manuscript." The first Rook of Maccabees, too, seems to him to go back to a Hebrew original. Nevertheless, he holds it to impossible that synagogue discourses intended for the people can have been delivered in Hebrew, or that Jesus taught otherwise than in Aramaic.


Franz Delitzsch's view, on the other hand, is that Jesus and the disciples taught in Hebrew; and that is the opinion of Resch also. Adolf Neubauer, [1] Reader in Rabbinical Hebrew at Oxford, attempted a compromise. It was certainly the case, he thought, that in the time of Jesus Aramaic was spoken throughout Palestine; but whereas in Galilee this language had an exclusive dominance, and the knowledge of Hebrew was confined to texts learned by heart, in Jerusalem Hebrew had renewed itself by the adoption of Aramaic elements, and a kind of Neo-Hebraic language had arisen. This solution at least testifies to the difficulty of the question. The fact is that from the language of the New Testament it is often difficult to make out whether the underlying words are Hebrew or Aramaic. Thus, for instance, Dalman remarks-with reference to the question whether the statement of Papias refers to a Hebrew or an Aramaic "primitive Matthew"-that it is difficult "to produce proof of an Aramaic as distinct from a Hebrew source, because it is often the case in Biblical Hebrew, and still more often in the idiom of the Mishna, that the same expressions and forms of phrase are possible as in Aramaic." Delitzsch's [2] "retranslation" of the New Testament into Hebrew is therefore historically justified.

But the question about the language of Jesus must not be confused with the problem of the original language of the primitive form of Matthew's Gospel. In reference to the latter, Dalman thinks that the tradition of the Early Church regarding an earlier Aramaic form of the Gospel must be considered as lacking confirmation. "It is only in the case of Jesus' own words that an Aramaic original form is undeniable, and it is only for these that Early Church tradition asserted the existence of a Semitic documentary source. It is, therefore, the right and duty of Biblical scholarship to investigate the form which the sayings of Jesus must have taken in the original and the sense which in this form they must have conveyed to Jewish hearers."

That Jesus spoke Aramaic, Meyer has shown by collecting all the Aramaic expressions which occur in His preaching. [3] He considers the

[1] Franz Delitzsch, Die Bucher des Neuen Testaments aus dem Griechischen ins Hebraische ubersetzt. 1877. (The Books of the N.T. translated from Greek into Hebrew.) This work has been circulated by thousands among Jews throughout the whole world.

Delitzsch was born in 1813 at Leipzig and became Privat-Docent there in 1842, went to Rostock as Professor in 1846, to Erlangen in 1850, and returned in 1867 to Leipzig. By conviction he was a strict Lutheran in theology. He was one of the leading experts in Late-Jewish and Talmudic literature. He died in 1890.

[2] Studia Biblica I. Essays in Biblical Archceology and Criticism and Kindred Subjects by Members of the University of Oxford. Clarendon Press, 1885, pp. 39-74. See Meyer, p. 29 ff.

[3] See Meyer, p. 47 ff.


"Abba" in Gethsemane decisive, for this means that Jesus prayed in Aramaic in His hour of bitterest need. Again the cry from the cross was, according to Mark xv. 34, also Aramaic: 'Elwi, elwi, lama sabacqanei. The Old Testament was therefore most familiar to Him in an Aramaic translation, otherwise this form of the Psalm passage would not have come to His lips at the moment of death.

It is a quite independent question whether Jesus could speak, or at least understand, Greek. According to Josephus the knowledge of Greek in Palestine at that time, even among educated Jews, can only have been of a quite elementary character. He himself had to learn it laboriously in order to be able to write in it. His "Jewish War" was first written in Aramaic for his fellow-countrymen; the Greek edition was, by his own avowal, not intended for them. In another passage, it is true, he seems to imply a knowledge of, and interest in, foreign languages even among people in humble life. [1]

An analogy, which is in many respects very close, to the linguistic conditions in Palestine was offered by Alsace under French rule in the 'sixties of the nineteenth century. Here, too, three languages met in the same district. The High-German of Luther's translation of the Bible was the language of the Church, the Alemannic dialect was the usual speech of the people, while French was the language of culture and of government administration. This remarkable analogy would be rather in favour-if analogy can be admitted to have any weight in the question-of Delitzsch and Resch, since the Biblical High-German, although never spoken in social intercourse, strongly influenced the Alemannic dialect-although this was, on the other hand, quite uninfluenced by Modern High-German-but did not allow it to penetrate into Church or school, there maintaining for itself an undivided sway. French made some progress, but only in certain circles, and remained entirely excluded from the religious sphere. The Alsatians of the poorer classes who could at that time have repeated the Lord's Prayer or the Beatitudes in French would not have been difficult to count. The Lutheran translation still holds its own to some extent against the French translation with the older generation of the Alsatian community in Paris, which has in other respects become completely French-so strong is the influence of a former ecclesiastical language even among those who have left their native home. There is one factor, however, which is not represented in the analogy; the influence of the Greek-speaking Jews of the Diaspora, who gathered to the Feasts at Jerusalem, upon the extension of the Greek language in the mother-country.

Jesus, then, spoke Galilaean Aramaic, which is known to us as

[1] See Meyer, p. 61 ff.


a separate dialect from writings of the fourth to the seventh century. For the Judaean dialect we have more and earlier evidence. We have literary monuments in it from the first to the third century. "It is very probable," Dalman thinks, "that the popular dialect of Northern Palestine, after the final fall of the Judaean centre of the Aramaic-Jewish culture which followed on the Bar-Cochba rising, spread over almost the whole of Palestine."

The retranslations into Aramaic are therefore justified. After J. A. Bolten's attempt had remained for nearly a hundred years the only one of its kind, the experiment has been renewed in our own time by J. T. Marshall, E. Nestle, J. Wellhausen, Arnold Meyer, and Gustaf Dalman; in the case of Marshall and Nestle with the subsidiary purpose of endeavouring to prove the existence of an Aramaic documentary source. These retranslations first attracted their due meed of attention from theologians in connexion with the Son-of-Man question. Rarely, if ever, have theologians experienced such a surprise as was sprung upon them by Hans Lietzmann's essay in 1896. [1] Jesus had never, so ran the thesis of the Bonn candidate in theology, applied to Himself the title Son of Man, because in the Aramaic the title did not exist, and on linguistic grounds could not have existed. In the language which He used, [Son of Man in Aramaic] was merely a periphrasis for "a man." That Jesus meant Himself when He spoke of the Son of Man, none of His hearers could have suspected.

Lietzmann had not been without predecessors. [2] Gilbert Genebrard, who died Archbishop of Aix as long ago as 1597, had emphasised the point that the term Son of Man should not be interpreted with reference solely to Christ, but to the race of mankind. Hugo Grotius maintained the same position even more emphatically. With a quite modern one-sidedness, Paulus the rationalist maintained in his commentaries and in his Life of Jesus that according to Ezek. ii. 1 "Barnash" meant man in general. Jesus, he thought, whenever He used the expression the Son of Man, pointed to Himself and thus gave it the sense of "this man." In taking this line he gives up the general reference to mankind as a whole for which Mark ii. 28 is generally cited as the classical passage. The suggestion that the term Son of Man in its apocalyptic signification was first attributed to Jesus at a later time and that the passages where it occurs in this sense are therefore suspicious, was first put forward by Fr. Aug. Fritzsche. He hoped in this way to get rid of Matt. x. 23. De Lagarde, like Paulus, emphatically asserted that Son of Man only meant

[1] Hans Lietzmann, now Professor in Jena, was born in 1875 at Dusseldorf. Until his call to Jena he worked as a Privat-Docent at Bonn. He has done some very meritorious work in the publication of Early Christian writings.

[2] See Meyer, p. 14l ff.


man. But instead of the clumsy explanation of the rationalist he save another and a more pleasing one, namely, that Jesus by choosing this title designed to ennoble mankind. Wellhausen, in his "History of Israel and of the Jews" (1894), remarked on it as strange that Jesus should have called Himself "the Man." B. D. Eerdmans, taking the apocalyptic significance of the term as his starting-point, attempted to carry out consistently the theory of the later interpolation of this title into the savings of Jesus. [1]

Thus Lietzmann had predecessors; but they were not so in any real sense. They had either started out from the Marcan passage where the Son of Man is described as the Lord of the Sabbath, and endeavoured arbitrarily to interpret all the Son-of-Man passages in the same sense-or they assumed without sufficient grounds that the title Son of Man was a later interpolation. The new idea consisted in combining the two attempts, and declaring the passages about the Son of Man to be linguistically and historically impossible, seeing that, on linguistic grounds, "son of man" means "man."

Arnold Meyer and Wellhausen expressed themselves in the same sense as Lietzmann. The passages where Jesus uses the expression in an unmistakably Messianic sense are, according to them, to be put down to the account of Early Christian theology. The only passages which in their opinion are historically tenable are the two or three in which the expression denotes man in general, or is equivalent to the simple "I." These latter were felt to be a difficulty by the Church when it came to think in Greek, since this way of speaking of oneself was strange to them; consequently the expression appeared to them deliberately enigmatic and only capable of being interpreted in the sense which it bears in Daniel. The Son-of-Man conception, argued Lietzmann, when he again approached the question two years later, had arisen in a Hellenistic environment, [2] on the basis of Dan. vii. 13; N. Schmidt, [3] too, saw in the apocalyptic Bar-Nasha passages which follow the revelation of the Messiahship at Caesarea Philippi an interpolation from the later apocalyptic theology. On the other hand, P. Schmiedel still wished to make it a Messianic designation, and to take it as being historical in this sense even in passages in which the term man "gave a possible sense." [4] H.

[1] "De Oorsprong van de uitdrukking 'Zoon des Menschen' als evangelische Messiastitel," Theol. Tijdschr., 1894. (The Origin of the Expression "Son of Man" as a Title of the Messiah in the Gospels.)

[2] H. Lietzmann, "Zur Menschensohnfrage" (The Son-of-Man Problem), Theol. Arb. des Rhein. wissenschaftl. Predigervereins, 1898.

3 N. Schmidt, "Was [Son of Man] a Messianic title?" Journal of the Society for Biblical Literature, xv., 1896.

[4] P. Schmiedel, "Der Name Menschensohn und das Messiasbewugstsein Jesu" (The Designation Son of Man and the Messianic Consciousness of Jesus), 1898, Prot. Monatsh. 2, pp. 252-267.


Gunkel thought that it was possible to translate Bar-Nasha simply by "man," and nevertheless hold to the historicity of the expression as a self-designation of Jesus. Jesus, he suggests, had borrowed this enigmatic term, which goes back to Dan. vii. 13, from the mystical apocalyptic literature, meaning thereby to indicate that He was the Man of God in contrast to the Man of Sin. [1]

Holtzmann felt a kind of relief in handing over to the philologists the obstinate problem which since the time of Baldensperger and Weiss had caused so much trouble to theologians, and wanted to postpone the historical discussion until the Aramaic experts had settled the linguistic question. That happened sooner than was expected. In 1898 Dalman declared in his epoch-making work (Die Worte Jesu) that he could not admit the linguistic objections to the use of the expression Son of Man by Jesus. "Biblical Aramaic," he says, "does not differ in this respect from Hebrew. The simple [Man] and not [Son of Man] is the term for man." . . . It was only later that the Jewish-GaIilaean dialect, like the Palestinian- Christian dialect, used [Son of Man] for man, though in both idioms the simple [Man] occurs in the sense of "some one." "In view of the whole facts of the case," he continues, "what has to be said is that Jewish-Palestinian Aramaic of the earlier period used [Man] for 'man,' and occasionally to designate a plurality of men makes use of the expression [Sons of Man]. The singular [Son of Man] was not current, and was only used in imitation of the Hebrew text of the Bible, where [Son of MAn] belongs to the poetic diction, and is, moreover, not of very frequent occurrence." "It is," he says else- where, "by no means a sign of a sound historical method, instead of working patiently at the solution of the problem, to hasten like Oort and Lietzmann to the conclusion that the absence of the expression in the New Testament Epistles is a proof that Jesus did not use it either, but that there was somewhere or other a Hellenistic community in the Early Church which had a predilection for this name, and often made Jesus speak of Himself in the Gospel narrative in the third person, in order to find an opportunity of bringing it in."

So the oxen turned back with the ark into the land of the Philistines. It was a case of returning to the starting-point and deciding on historical grounds in what sense Jesus had used the expression. [2] But the possi-

[1] H. Gunkel, Z. w. Th., 1899, 42, pp. 581-611.

[2] For the last phase of the discussion we may name:

Wellhausen, Skizzen und Vorarbeiten (Sketches and Studies), 1899, pp. 187-215, where he throws further light on Dalman's philological objections; and goes on to deny Jesus' use of the expression.

W. Baldensperger, "Die neueste Forschung uber den Menschensohn," Theol. Rundschau, 1900, 3, pp. 201-210, 243-255.

P. Fiebig, Der Menschensohn. Tubingen, 1901.

P. W. Schmiedel, "Die neueste Auffassung des Namens Menschensohn," Prot. Monatsh. 5, pp. 333-351, 1901. (The Latest View of the Designation Son of Man.)

P. W. Schmidt, Die Geschichte Jesu, ii. (Erlauterungen-Explanations). Tubingen, 1904, p. 157 ff.


bilities were reduced by the way in which Lietzmann had posed the problem, since the interpretations according to which Jesus had used it in a veiled ethical Messianic sense, to indicate the ethical and spiritual transformation of all the eschatological conceptions, were now manifestly incapable of offering any convincing argument against the radical denial of the use of the expression. Baldensperger rightly remarked in a review of the whole discussion that the question which was ultimately at stake in the combat over the title Son of Man was the question whether Jesus was the Messiah or no, and that Dalman, by his proof of its linguistic possibility, had saved the Messiahship of Jesus. [1]

But what kind of Messiahship? Is it any other kind than the future Messiahship of the apocalyptic Son of Man which Johannes Weiss had asserted? Did Jesus mean anything different by the Son of Man from that which was meant by the apocalyptic writers? To put it otherwise: behind the Son-of-Man problem there lies the general question whether Jesus can have described Himself as a present Messiah; for the fundamental difficulty is that He, a man upon earth, should give Himself out to be the Son of Man, and at the same time apparently give to that title a quite different sense from that which it previously possessed.

The champion of the linguistic possibility of this self-designation made the last serious attempt to render the transformation of the conception historically conceivable. He argues that Jesus cannot have used it as a mere meaningless expression, a periphrasis for the simple I. [2] On the other hand, the term cannot have been understood by the disciples as an exalted title, or at least only in the sense that the title indicative of exaltation is paradoxically connected with the title indicative of humility. "We shall be justified in saying, that, for the Synoptic Evangelists,

[1] Dalman's reputation as an authority upon Jewish Aramaic is so deservedly high that it is necessary to point out that his solution did not, as Dr. Schweitzer seems to say, entirely dispose of the linguistic difficulties raised by Lietzmann as to the meaning and use of barnash and barnasha in Aramaic. The English reader will find the linguistic facts well put in sections 4 and 32 of N. Schmidt's article "Son of Man" in Encyclopedia Biblica (cols. 4708, 4723), or he may consult Prof. Bevan's review of Dalman's Worte Jesu in the Critical Review for 1899, p. 148 ff. The main point is that o anqrwpoV and o uioV tou anqrwpou are equally legitimate translations of barnasha. Thus the contrast in the Greek between o anqrwpoV and o uioV tou anqrwpou in Mark ii. 27 and 28, or again in Mark viii. 36 and 38, disappears on retranslation into the dialect spoken by Jesus. Whether this linguistic fact makes the sayings in which o uioV tou anqrwpou occurs unhistorical is a further question upon which scholars can take, and have taken, opposite opinions.-F. C. B.

[2] See Worte Jesu, 1898, p. 191 ff. ( = E. T. p. 234 ff.).


'Man's Son' was no title of honour for the Messiah, but-as it must necessarily appear to a Hellenist-a veiling of His Messiahship under a name which emphasises the humanity of its bearer." For them it was not the references to the sufferings of "Man's Son" that were paradoxical, but the references to His exaltation: that "Man's Son" should be put to death is not wonderful; what is wonderful is His "coming again upon the clouds of heaven."

If Jesus called Himself the Son of Man, the only conclusion which could be drawn by those that heard Him was, "that for some reason or other He desired to describe Himself as a Man par excellence." There is no reason to think of the Heavenly Son of Man of the Similitudes of Enoch and Fourth Ezra; that conception could hardly be present to the minds of His auditors. "How was one who was now walking upon earth, to come from heaven? He would have needed first to be translated thither. One who had died or been rapt away from earth might be brought back to earth again in this way, or a being who had never before been upon earth, might be conceived as descending thither."

But if, on the one hand, the title Son of Man was not to be understood apart from the reference to the passage in Daniel, while on the other Jesus so designated Himself as a man actually present upon earth, "what was really implied was that He was the man in whom Daniel's vision of 'one like unto a Son of Man' was being fulfilled." He could not certainly expect from His hearers a complete understanding of the self-designation. "We are doubtless justified in saying that in using it, He intentionally offered them an enigma which challenged further reflection upon His Person."

According to Peter's confession the name was intelligible to the disciples as coming from Dan. vii. 13, and obviously indicating Him who was destined to the sovereignity of the world. Jesus calls Himself the Son of Man, "not as meaning the lowly one, but as a scion of the human race with its human weakness, whom nevertheless God will make Lord of the world; and it is very probable that Jesus found the Son of Man of Dan. vii. in Ps. viii. 5 ff. also." Sayings regarding humiliation and suffering could be attached to the title just as well as references to exaltation. For since the "Child of Man" has placed Himself upon the throne of God, He is in reality no longer a mere man, but ruler over heaven and earth, "the Lord."

This attempt of Dalman's has the same significance in regard to the question of the Messiahship as Bousset's had for the ethical question. Just as ln Bousset's view the Kingdom of God was, in a paradoxical way, after all proclaimed as present, so here the self-designation "Son of Man" is retained by a paradox as conveying the sense of a present Messiahship. But the documents do not give any support to this assumption;


on the contrary they contradict it at every point. According to Dalman it was not the predictions of the passion of the Son of Man which sounded paradoxical to the disciples, but the predictions of His exaltation. But we are distinctly told that when He spoke of His passion they did not understand the saying. The predictions of His exaltation, however, they understood so well that without troubling themselves further about the predictions of the sufferings, they began to dispute who should be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, and who should have his throne closest to the Son of Man. And if it is once admitted that Jesus took the designation from Daniel, what ground is there for asserting that the purely eschatological transcendental significance which the term had taken on in the Similitudes of Enoch and retains in Fourth Ezra had no existence for Jesus? Thus, by a long round-about, criticism has come back to Johannes Weiss. [1] His eschatological solution of the Son-of-Man question-the elements of which are to be found in Strauss's first Life of Jesus-is the only possible one. Dalman expresses the same idea in the form of a question. "How could one who was actually walking the earth come down from heaven? He would have needed first to be translated thither. One who had died or been rapt away from earth might possibly be brought back to earth in this way." Having reached this point we have only to observe further that Jesus, from the "confession of Peter" onwards, always speaks of the Son of Man in connexion with death and resurrection. That is to say, that once the disciples know in what relation He stands to the Son of Man, He uses this title to suggest the manner of His return: as the sequel to His death and resurrection He will return to the world again as a superhuman Personality. Thus the purely transcendental use of the term suggested by Dalman as a possibility turns out to be the historical reality.

[1] See the classical discussion in J. Weiss, Die Predigt Jesu vom Reiche Gottes, 1892, 1st ed., p. 52 ff.

In the second edition, of 1900, p. 160 ff., he allows himself to be led astray by the "chiefest apostles" of modern theology to indulge in the subtleties of fine spun psychology, and explain Jesus' way of speaking of Himself in the third person as the Son of Man as due to the "extreme modesty of Jesus," a modesty which did not forsake Him in the presence of His judges. This recent access of psychologist exegesis has not conduced to clearness of presentation, and the preference for Lucan narrative does not so much contribute to throw light on the facts as to discover in the thoughts of Jesus subtleties of which the historical Jesus never dreamt. If the Lord always used the term Son of Man when speaking of His Messiahship, the reason was that this was the only way in which He could speak at all, since the Messiahship was not yet realised, but was only to be so at the appearing of the Son of Man. For a consistent, purely historical, non-psychological exposition of the Son-of-Man passages see Albert Schweitzer, Das Messianitats- und Leidensgeheimnis. (The Secret of the Messiahship and the Passion.) A sketch of the Life of Jesus. Tubingen, 1901.


Broadly speaking, therefore, the Son-of-Man problem is both historically solvable and has been solved. The authentic passages are those in which the expression is used in that apocalyptic sense which goes back to Daniel. But we have to distinguish two different uses of the term according to the degree of knowledge assumed in the hearers. If the secret of Jesus is unknown to them, then in that case they understand simply that Jesus is speaking of the "Son of Man" and His coming without having any suspicion that He and the Son of Man have any connexion. It would be thus, for instance, when in sending out the disciples in Matt. x. 23 He announced the imminence of the appearing of the Son of Man; or when He pictured the judgment which the Son of Man would hold (Matt. xxv. 31-46), if we may imagine it to have been spoken to the people at Jerusalem. Or, on the other hand, the secret is known to the hearers. In that case they understand that the term Son of Man points to the position to which He Himself is to be exalted when the present era passes into the age to come. It was thus, no doubt, in the case of the disciples at Caesarea Philippi, and of the High Priest to whom Jesus, after answering his demand with the simple "Yea" (Mark xiv. 62), goes on immediately to speak of the exaltation of the Son of Man to the right hand of God, and of His coming upon the clouds of heaven.

Jesus did not, therefore, veil His Messiahship by using the expression Son of Man, much less did He transform it, but He used the expression to refer, in the only possible way, to His Messianic office as destined to be realised at His "coming," and did so in such a manner that only the initiated understood that He was speaking of His own coming, while others understood Him as referring to the coming of a Son of Man who was other than Himself.

The passages where the title has not this apocalyptic reference, or where, previous to the incident at Caesarea Philippi, Jesus in speaking to the disciples equates the Son of Man with His own "ego," are to be explained as of literary origin. This set of secondary occurrences of the title has nothing to do with "Early Church theology"; it is merely a question of phenomena of translation and tradition. In the saying about the Sabbath in Mark ii. 28, and perhaps also in the saying about the right to forgive sins in Mark ii. 10, Son of Man doubtless stood in the original in the general sense of "man," but was later, certainly by our Evangelists, understood as referring to Jesus as the Son of Man. In other passages tradition, following the analogy of those passages in which the title is authentic, put in place of the simple I-expressed in Aramaic by "the man"-the self-designation "Son of Man," as we can clearly show by comparing Matt. xvi. 13, "Who do men say that the the Son of Man is?" with Mark viii. 27, "Who do men say that I am?"

Three passages call for special discussion. In the statement that a


man may be forgiven for blasphemy against the Son of Man but not for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, in Matt. xii. 32, the "Son of Man" may be authentic. But of course it would not, even in that case, give any hint that "Son of Man designates the Messiah in His humiliation" as Dalman wished to infer from the passage, but would mean that Jesus was speaking of the Son of Man, here as elsewhere, in the third person without reference to Himself, and was thinking of a contemptuous denial of the Parousia such as might have been uttered by a Sadducee. But if we take into account the parallel in Mark iii. 28 and 29 where blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is spoken of without any mention of blasphemy against the Son of Man, it seems more natural to take the mention of the Son of Man as a secondary interpolation, derived from the same line of tradition, perhaps from the same hand, as the "Son of Man" in the question to the disciples at Caesarea Philippi.

The two other sayings, the one about the Son of Man "who hath not where to lay His head," Matt. viii. 20, and that about the Son of Man who must submit to the reproach of being a glutton and a wine-bibber Matt. xi. 19, belong together. If we assume it to be possible, in conformity with the saying about the purpose of the parables in Mark iv. 11 and 12, that Jesus sometimes spoke words which He did not intend to be understood, we may-if we are unwilling to accept the supposition of a later periphrasis for the ego, which would certainly be the most natural explanation-recognise in these sayings two obscure declarations regarding the Son of Man. They would then be supposed to have meant in the original form, which is no longer clearly recognisable, that the Son of Man would in some way justify the conduct of Jesus of Nazareth. But the way in which this idea is expressed was not such as to make it easy for His hearers to identify Him with the Son of Man. Moreover, it was for them a conception impossible to realise, since Jesus was a natural, and the Son of Man a supernatural, being; and the eschatological scheme of things had not provided for a man who at the end of the existing era should hint to others that at the great transformation of all things He would be manifested as the Son of Man. This case presented itself only in the course of history, and it created a preparatory stage of eschatology which does not answer to any traditional scheme.

That act of the self-consciousness of Jesus by which He recognised Himself in His earthly existence as the future Messiah is the act in which eschatology supremely affirms itself. At the same time, since it brings, spiritually, that which is to come, into the unaltered present, into the existing era, it is the end of eschatology. For it is its "spiritualisation," a spiritualisation of which the ultimate consequence was to be that all its "supersensuous" elements were to be realised only spiritually in the present earthly conditions, and all that is affirmed as supersensuous in


the transcendental sense was to be regarded as only the ruined remains of an eschatological world-view. The Messianic secret of Jesus is the basis of Christianity, since it involves the de-nationalising and the spiritualisation of Jewish eschatology.

Yet more. It is the primal fact, the starting-point of a process which manifests itself, indeed, in Christianity, but cannot fully work itself out even here, of a movement in the direction of inwardness which brings all religious magnitudes into the one indivisible spiritual present, and which Christian dogmatic has not ventured to carry to its completion. The Messianic consciousness of the uniquely great Man of Nazareth sets up a struggle between the present and the beyond, and introduces that resolute absorption of the beyond by the present, which in looking back we recognise as the history of Christianity, and of which we are conscious in ourselves as the essence of religious progress and experience -a process of which the end is not yet in sight.

In this sense Jesus did "accept the world" and did stand in conflict with Judaism. Protestantism was a step-a step on which hung weighty consequences-in the progress of that "acceptance of the world" which was constantly developing itself from within. By a mighty revolution which was in harmony with the spirit of that great primal act of the consciousness of Jesus, though in opposition to some of the most certain of His sayings, ethics became world-accepting. But it will be a mightier revolution still when the last remaining ruins of the supersensuous other-worldly system of thought are swept away in order to clear the site for a new spiritual, purely real and present world. All the inconsistent compromises and constructions of modern theology are merely an attempt to stave off the final expulsion of eschatology from religion, an inevitable but a hopeless attempt. That proleptic Messianic consciousness of Jesus, which was in reality the only possible actualisation of the Messianic idea, carries these consequences with it inexorably and unfailingly. At that last cry upon the cross the whole eschatological supersensuous world fell in upon itself in ruins, and there remained as a spiritual reality only that present spiritual world, bound as it is to sense, which Jesus by His all-powerful word had called into being within the world which He contemned. That last cry, with its despairing abandonment of the eschatological future, is His real acceptance of the world. The "Son of Man" was buried in the ruins of the falling eschatological world; there remained alive only Jesus "the Man." Thus these two Aramaic synonyms include in themselves, as in a symbol of reality, all that was to come.

If theology has found it so hard a task to arrive at an historical comprehension of the secret of this self-designation, this is due to the fact that the question is not a purely historical one. In this word there lies


the transformation of a whole system of thought, the inexorable consequence of the elimination of eschatology from religion. It was only in this future form, not as actual, that Jesus spoke of His Messiahship. Modern theology keeps on endeavouring to discover in the title of Son of Man, which is bound up with the future, a humanised present Messiahship. It does so in the conviction that the recognition of a purely future reference in the Messianic consciousness of Jesus would lead in the last result to a modification of the historic basis of our faith which has itself become historical, and therefore true and self-justifying. The recognition of the claims of eschatology signifies for our dogmatic a burning of the boats by which it felt itself able to return at any moment from the time of Jesus direct to the present.

One point that is worthy of notice in this connexion is the trustworthiness of the tradition. The Evangelists, writing in Greek, and the Greek-speaking Early Church, can hardly have retained an understanding of the purely eschatological character of that self-designation of Jesus. It had become for them merely an indirect method of self-designation. And nevertheless the Evangelists, especially Mark, record the sayings of Jesus in such a way that the original significance and application of the designation in His mouth is still clearly recognisable, and we are able to determine with certainty the isolated cases in which this self-designation in His discourses is of a secondary origin.

Thus the use of the term Son of Man-which, if we admitted the sweeping proposal of Lietzmann and Wellhausen to cancel it everywhere as an interpolation of Greek Early Church theology, would throw doubt on the whole of the Gospel tradition-becomes a proof of the certainty and trustworthiness of that tradition. We may, in fact, say that the progressive recognition of the eschatological character of the teaching and action of Jesus carries with it a progressive justification of the Gospel tradition. A series of passages and discourses which had been endangered because from the modern theological point of view which had been made the criterion of the tradition they appeared to be without meaning, are now secured. The stone which the critics rejected has become the corner-stone of the tradition.

If Aramaic scholarship appears in regard to the Son-of-Man question among the opponents of the thorough-going eschatological view, it takes no other position in connexion with the retranslations and in the application of illustrative parallels from the Rabbinic literature.

In looking at the earlier works in this department, one is struck with the smallness of the result in proportion to the labour expended. The names that call for mention here are those of John Lightfoot, Christian Schottgen, Joh. Gerh. Meuschen, J. Jak. Wettstein, F. Nork, Franz


Delitzsch, Carl Siegfried, and A. Wunsche. [1] But even a work like F. Weber's System der altsynagogalen palastinensischen Theologie, [2] which does not confine itself to single sayings and thoughts, but aims at exhibiting the Rabbinic system of thought as a whole, throws, in the main, but little light on the thoughts of Jesus. The Rabbinic parables supply, according to Julicher, but little of value for the explanation of the parables of Jesus. [3] In this method of discourse, Jesus is so pre-eminently original, that any other productions of the Jewish parabolic literature are like stunted undergrowth beside a great tree; though that has not prevented His originality from being challenged in this very department, both in earlier times and at the present. As early as 1648, Robert Sheringham, of Cambridge, [4] suggested that the parables in Matt. xx. 1 ff., xxv. 1 ft., and Luke xvi., were derived from Talmudic sources, an opinion against which J. B. Carpzov, the younger, raised a protest; in 1839, F. Nork asserted, in his work on "Rabbinic Sources and Parallels for the New Testament Writings," that the best thoughts in the discourses of Jesus are to be attributed to His Jewish teachers; in 1880 the Dutch Rabbi, T. Tal, maintained the thesis that the parables of the New Testament are all borrowed from the Talmud. [8] Theories of this kind cannot be refuted, because they lack the foundation necessary to any theory

[1] See Dalman, p. 60 ff.

John Lightfoot, Horae Hebraicae et Talmudicae in quatuor Evangelistas. Edited by J. B. Carpzov. Leipzig, 1684.

Christian Schottgen, Horae Hebraicae et Talmudicae in universun Novum Testamentum. Dresden-Leipzig, 1733.

Joh. Gerh. Meuschen, Novum Testamentum ex Talmude et antiquitatibus Hebraeorum illustratum. Leipzig, 1736.

J. Jakob. Wettstein, Novum Testamentum Graescum. Amsterdam, 1751 and 1752.

F. Nork, Rabbinische Quellen und Parallelen zu neutestamentlichen Schriftstellen, Leipzig, 1839.

Franz Delitzsch, "Horae Hebraicae et Talmudicae," in the Luth. Zeitsch., 1876-1878.

Carl Siegfried, Analecta Rabbinica, 1875; "Rabbin. Analekten," Jahrb. f. prot. Theol., 1876.

A. Wunsche, Neue Beitrage zur Eriauterung der Evangelien aus Talmud und Midrasch. (Contributions to the Exposition of the Gospels from Talmud and Midrash.) Gottingen, 1878.

[2] Leipzig, 1880; 2nd ed., 1897.

[3] Cf. for what follows' Julicher, Die Gleichnisreden Jesu, i., 1888, p. 164 ff.

[4] Robert Sheringham of Cains College, Cambridge, a royalist divine, published an edition of the Talmudic tractate Yoma. London, 1648.-F. C. B.

[5] T. Tal, Professor Oort und der Talmud, 1880. See upon this Van Manen, Jahrb. f. prot. Theol., 1884, p. 569. The best collection of Talmudic parables is, according to Julicher, that of Prof. Guis. Levi, translated by L. Seligman as Parabeln, Legenden und Gedanken aus Talmud und Midrasch. Leipzig, 2nd ed., 1877.


which is to be capable of being rationally discussed-that of plain common sense. [1]

We possess, however, really scientific attempts to define more closely the thoughts of Jesus by the aid of the Rabbinic language and Rabbinic ideas in the works of Arnold Meyer and Dalman. It cannot indeed be said that the obscure sayings which form the problem of present-day exegesis are in all cases made clearer by them, much as we may admire the comprehensive knowledge of these scholars. Sometimes, indeed, they become more obscure than before. According to Meyer, for instance, the question of Jesus whether His disciples can drink of His cup, and be baptized with His baptism means, if put back into Aramaic, "Can you drink as bitter a drink as I; can you eat as sharply salted meat as I?" [2] Nor does Dalman's Aramaic retranslation help us much with the saying about the violent who take the Kingdom of Heaven by force. According to him, it is not spoken of the faithful, but of the rulers of this world, and refers to the epoch of the Divine rule which has been introduced by the imprisonment of the Baptist. No one can violently possess himself of the Divine reign, and Jesus can therefore only mean that violence is done to it in the person of its subjects.

On this it must be remarked, that if the saying really means this, it is about as appropriate to its setting as a rock in the sky. Jesus is not speaking of the imprisonment of the Baptist. By the days of John the Baptist He means the time of his public ministry.

It is equally open to question whether in putting that crucial question regarding the Messiah in Mark xii. 37 He really intended to show, as Dalman thinks, "that physical descent from David was not of decisive importance-it did not belong to the essence of the Messiahship."

But a point in regard to which Dalman's remarks are of great value for the reconstruction of the life of Jesus is the entry into Jerusalem. Dalman thinks that the simple "Hosanna, blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Mark xi. 9) was what the people really shouted in acclamation, and that the additional words in Mark and Matthew are simply an interpretative expansion. This acclamation did not itself contain any Messianic reference. This explains "why the entry into Jeru-

[1] The question may be said to have been provisionally settled by Paul Fiebig's work, Altjudische Gleichnisse und die Gleichnisse Jesu (Ancient Jewish Parables and the Parables of Jesus), Tubingen, 1904, in which he gives some fifty Late-Jewish parables, and compares them with those of Jesus, the final result being show more clearly than ever the uniqueness and absoluteness of His creations.

[2] See the explanation by means of the Aramaic of a selection of the saying Jesus in Meyer, pp. 72-90. A Judaism more under Parsee influence is assumed as explaining the origin of Christianity by E. Boklen, Die Verviandschaft der judisch-christlichen mit der parsischen Eschatologie (The Relation of Jewish-Christian to Persian Eschatology), 1902, 510 ff.


salem was not made a count in the charge urged against Him before Pilate." The events of "Palm Sunday" only received their distinctively Messianic colour later. It was not the Messiah, but the prophet and wonder-worker of Galilee whom the people hailed with rejoicing and accompanied with invocations of blessing. [1]

Generally speaking, the value of Dalman's work lies less in the solutions which it offers than in the problems which it raises. By its very thorough discussions it challenges historical theology to test its most cherished assumptions regarding the teaching of Jesus, and make sure whether they are really so certain and self-evident. Thus, in opposition to Schurer, he denies that the thought of the pre-existence in heaven of all the good things belonging to the Kingdom of God was at all generally current in the Late-Jewish world of ideas, and thinks that the occasional references [2] to a pre-existing Jerusalem, which shall finally be brought down to the earth, do not suffice to establish the theory. Similarly, he thinks it doubtful whether Jesus used the terms "this world (age)," "the world (age) to come" in the eschatological sense which is generally attached to them, and doubts, on linguistic grounds, whether they can have been used at all. Even the use of [Hebrew] or [Hebrew] for "world" cannot be proved. In the pre-Christian period there is much reason to doubt its occurrence, though in later Jewish literature it is frequent. The expression en th paliggenesia in Matt. xix. 28, is specifically Greek and cannot be reproduced in either Hebrew or Aramaic. It is very strange that the use which Jesus makes of Amen is unknown in the whole of Jewish literature. According to the proper idiom of the language "[Hebrew] is never used to emphasise one's own speech, but always with reference to the speech, prayer, benediction, oath, or curse of another." Jesus, therefore, if He used the expression in this sense, must have given it a new meaning as a formula of asseveration, in place of the oath which He forbade.

All these acute observations are marked by the general tendency which was observable in the interpretation of the term Son of Man, that is, by the endeavour so to weaken down the eschatological conceptions of the Kingdom and the Messiah, that the hypothesis of a making-present and spiritualising of these conceptions in the teaching of Jesus might appear inherently and linguistically possible and natural. The polemic against the pre-existent realities of the Kingdom of God is intended to show that for Jesus the Reign of God is a present benefit, which can be sought after, given, possessed, and taken. Even before the

[1] The same view is expressed by Wellhausen, Israelitische und judische Geschichte, 3rd ed., p. 381, note 2; and by Albert Schweitzer, Das Messianitats- und Leidensgekeimnis, 1901.

[2] See the Apocalypse of Baruch, and Fourth Ezra.


time of Jesus, according to Dalman, a tendency had shown itself to lay less emphasis, in connexion with the hope of the future, upon the national Jewish element. Jesus forced this element still farther into the background, and gave a more decided prominence to the purely religious element. "For Him the reign of God was the Divine power which from this time onward was steadily to carry forward the renewal of the world, and also the renewed world, into which men shall one day enter, which even now offers itself, and therefore can be grasped and received as a present good." The supernatural coming of the Kingdom is only the final stage of the coming which is now being inwardly spiritually brought about by the preaching of Jesus. Though He may perhaps have spoken of "this" world and the "world to come," these expressions had in His use of them no very special importance. It is for Him less a question of an antithesis between "then" and "now," than of establishing a connexion between them by which the transition from one to the other is to be effected.

It is the same in regard to Jesus' consciousness of His Messiahship. "In Jesus' view," says Dalman, "the period before the commencement of the Reign of God was organically connected with the actual period of His Reign." He was the Messiah because He knew Himself to stand in a unique ethico-religious relation to God. His Messiahship was not something wholly incomprehensible to those about Him. If redemption was regarded as being close at hand, the Messiah must be assumed to be in some sense already present. Therefore Jesus is both directly and indirectly spoken of as Messiah.

Thus the most important work in the department of Aramaic scholarship shows clearly the anti-eschatological tendency which characterised it from the beginning. The work of Lietzmann, Meyer, Wellhausen, and Dalman, forms a distinct episode in the general resistance to eschatology. That Aramaic scholarship should have taken up a hostile attitude towards the eschatological system of thought of Jesus lies in the nature of things. The thoughts which it takes as its standard of comparison were only reduced to writing long after the period of Jesus, and, moreover, in a lifeless and distorted form, at a time when the apocalyptic temper no longer existed as the living counterpoise to the legal righteousness, and this legal righteousness had allowed only so much of Apocalyptic to survive as could be brought into direct connexion with it. In fact, the distance between Jesus' world of thought and this form of Judaism is as great as that which separates it from modern ideas. Thus in Dalman modernising tendencies and Aramaic scholarship were able to combine in conducting a criticism of the eschatology in the teaching of Jesus in which the modern man thought the thoughts and the expert in Aramaic formulated and supported them, yet without being able in


the end to make any impression upon the well-rounded whole formed by Jesus' eschatological preaching of the Kingdom.

Whether Aramaic scholarship will contribute to the investigation of the life and teaching of Jesus along other lines and in a direct and positive fashion, only the future can show. But certainly if theologians will give heed to the question-marks so acutely placed by Dalman, and recognise it as one of their first duties to test carefully whether a thought or a connexion of thought is linguistically or inherently Greek, and only Greek, in character, they will derive a notable advantage from what has already been done in the department of Aramaic study.

But if the service rendered by Aramaic studies has been hitherto mainly indirect, no success whatever has attended, or seems likely to attend, the attempt to apply Buddhist ideas to the explanation of the thoughts of Jesus. It could only indeed appear to have some prospect of success if we could make up our minds to follow the example of the author of one of the most recent of fictitious lives of Christ in putting Jesus to school to the Buddhist priests; in which case the six years which Monsieur Nicolas Notowitsch allots to this purpose, would certainly be none too much for the completion of the course. [1] If imagination boggles at this, there remains no possibility of showing that Buddhist ideas exercised any direct influence upon Jesus. That Buddhism may have had some kind of influence upon Late Judaism and thus indirectly upon Jesus is not inherently impossible, if we are prepared to recognise Buddhistic influence on the Babylonian and Persian civilisations. But it is unproved, unprovable, and unthinkable, that Jesus derived the suggestion of the new and creative ideas which emerge in His teaching from Buddhism. The most that can be done in this direction is to point to certain analogies. For the parables of Jesus, Buddhist parallels were suggested by Renan and Havet. [2]

How little these analogies mean in the eyes of a cautious observer is evident from the attitude which Max Muller took up towards the question. "That there are startling coincidences between Buddhism and Christianity," he remarks in one passage, [3] "cannot be denied; and it must likewise be admitted that Buddhism existed at least four hundred years before Christianity. I go even further and say that I should be extremely grateful if anybody would point out to me the historical channels through which Buddhism had influenced early Christianity. I have been looking for such channels all my life, but hitherto I have found none. What I have found is that for some of the most startling coin-

[1] La Vie inconnue de Jesus-Christ, par Nicolas Notowitsch. Paris, 1894.

[2] See Julicher, Gleichnisreden Jesu, i., 1888, p. 172 ff.

[3] Max Muller, India, What can it teach us? London, 1883, p. 279.


cidences there are historical antecedents on both sides; and if we once know these antecedents the coincidences become far less startling."

A year before Max Muller formulated his impression in these terms Rudolf Seydel1 had endeavoured to explain the analogies which had been noticed by supposing Christianity to have been influenced bv Buddhism. He distinguishes three distinct classes of analogies:

1. Those of which the points of resemblance can without difficulty be explained as due to the influence of similar sources and motives in the two cases.

2. Those which show a so special and unexpected agreement that it appears artificial to explain it from the action of similar causes, and the dependence of one upon the other commends itself as the most natural explanation.

3. Those in which there exists a reason for the occurrence of the idea only within the sphere of one of the two religions, or in which at least it can very much more easily be conceived as originating within the one than within the other, so that the inexplicability of the phenomenon within the one domain gives ground for seeking its source within the other.

This last class demands a literary explanation of the analogy. Seydel therefore postulates, alongside of primitive forms of Matthew and Luke, a third source, "a poetic-apocalyptic Gospel of very early date which fitted its Christian material into the frame of a Buddhist type of Gospel, transforming, purifying, and ennobling the material taken from the foreign but related literature by a kind of rebirth inspired by the Christian Spirit." Matthew and Luke, especially Luke, follow this poetic Gospel up to the point where historic sources become more abundant, and the primitive form of Mark begins to dominate their narrative. But even in later parts the influence of this poetical source, which as an independent document was subsequently lost, continued to make itself felt.

The strongest point of support for this hypothesis, if a mere con-

[1] Rudolf Seydel, Professor in the University of Leipzig, Das Evangelium von Jesu in seinen Verhaltnissen zu Buddha-Sage und Buddha-Lehre mit fortlaufender Rilchsicht auf andere Religionskreise. (The Gospel of Jesus in its relation to the Buddha Legend and the Teaching of Buddha, with constant reference to other religious groups.) Leipzig, 1882, p. 337.

Other works by the same author are Buddha und Christus. Deutsche Bucherei No. 33, Breslau, Schottlander, 1884.

Die Buddha-Legende und das Leben Jesu nach den Evangelien. 2nd ed. Weimar, 1897. (Edited by the son of the late author.) 129 pp.

See also on this question Van den Bergh van Eysinga, Indische Einflusse auf evangelische Erzdhlungen. Gottingen, 1904. 104 pp.

According to J. M. Robertson, Christianity and Mythology (London, 1900), the Christ-Myth is merely a form of the Krishna-Myth. The whole Gospel tradition is to be symbolically interpreted.


jecture can be described as such, is found by Seydel in the introductory narratives in Luke. Now it is not inherently impossible that Buddhist legends which in one form or another were widely current in the East, may have contributed more or less to the formation of the mythical preliminary history. Who knows the laws of the formation of legend? Who can follow the course of the wind which carries the seed over land and sea? But in general it may be said that Seydel actually refutes the hypothesis which he is defending. If the material which he brings forward is all that there is to suggest a relation between Buddhism and Christianity, we are justified in waiting until new discoveries are made in that quarter before asserting the necessity of a Buddhist primitive Gospel. That will not prevent a succession of theosophic Lives of Jesus from finding their account in Seydel's classical work. Seydel indeed delivered himself into their hands, because he did not entirely avoid the rash assumption of theosophic "historical science" that Jewish eschatology can be equated with Buddhistic.

Eduard von Hartmann, in the second edition of his work, "The Christianity of the New Testament," [1] roundly asserts that there can be no question of any relation of Jesus to Buddha, nor of any indebtedness either in His teaching or in the later moulding of the story of His life, but only of a parallel formation of myth.

[1] Das Christentum des Neuen Testaments, 1905.

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Kirby, Peter. "Historical Jesus Theories." Early Christian Writings. <>.