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The Quest of the Historical Jesus



Oskar Holtzman. Das Leben Jesu. Tubingen, 1901. 417 pp.
Das Messianitatsbewusstsein Jesu und seine neueste Bestreitung. Vortrag. (The Messianic Consciousness of Jesus and the most recent denial of it. A Lecture.) 1902. 26 pp. (Against Wrede.)
War Jesus Ekstatiker? (Was Jesus an ecstatic?) Tubingen, 1903. 139 pp.

Paul Wilhelm Schmidt. Die Geschichte Jesu. (The History of Jesus.) Freiburg, 1899. 175 pp. (4th impression.)

Die Geschichte Jesu. Eriautert. Mit drei Karten von Prot. K. Furrer (Zurich). (The History of Jesus. Preliminary Discussions. With three maps by Prof. K. Furrer of Zurich.) Tubingen, 1904. 414 pp.

Otto Schmiedel. Die Hauptprobleme der Leben-Jesu-Forschung. (The main Problems in the Study of the Life of Jesus.) Tubingen, 1902. 71 pp. 2nd ed., 1906.

Hermann Freiherr von Soden. Die wichtigsten Fragen im Leben Jesu. (The most important Questions about the Life df Jesus.) Vacation Lectures. Berlin, 1904. 111 pp.

Gustav Frenssen. Hilligenlei. Berlin, 1905. pp. 462-593: "Die Handschrift." ("The Manuscript"-in which a Life of Jesus, written by one of the characters of the story, is given in full.)

Otto Pfleiderer. Das Urchristentum, seine Schriften und Lehren in geschichtlichem Zusammenhang beschrieben. (Primitive Christianity. Its Documents and Doc- trines in their Historical Context.) 2nd ed. Berlin, 1902. Vol. i., 696 pp. _ ,

Die Entstehung des Urchristentums. (How Primitive Christianity arose.) Munich, 1905. 255 pp.

Albert Kalthoff. Das Christus-Problem. Grundlinien zu einer Sozialtheologie. (The Christ-problem. The Ground-plan of a Social Theology.) Leipzig, 1902.

Die Entstehung des Christentums. Neue Beitrage zum Christus-Problem. (How Christianity arose. New contributions to the Christ-problem.) Leipzig, 155 pp.

Eduard von Hartmann. Das Christentum des Neuen Testaments. (The Christianity of the New Testament.) 2nd revised edition of "Letters on the Christian Religion." Sachsa-in-the-Harz, 1905. 311 pp.


De Jonge. Jeschua. Der klassische judische Mann. Zerstorung des kirchlichen, Enthullung des judischen Jesus-Bildes. Berlin, 1904. 112 pp. (Jeshua. The Classical Jewish Man. In which the Jewish picture of Jesus is unveiled, and the ecclesiastical picture destroyed.)

Wolfgang Kirchbach. Was lehrte Jesus? Zwei Urevangelien. (What was the teaching of Jesus? Two Primitive Gospels.) Berlin, 1897. 248 pp. 2nd revised and greatly enlarged edition, 1902, 339 pp.

Albert Dulk. Der Irrgang des Lebens Jesu. In geschichtlicher Auifassung dar- gestellt. (The Error of the Life of Jesus. An Historical View.) 1st part, 1884, 395 pp.; 2nd part, 1885, 302 pp.

Paul de Regla. Jesus von Nazareth. German by A. Just. Leipzig, 1894. 435 pp.

Ernest Bosc. La Vie esoterique de Jesus de Nazareth et les origines orientales da christianisme. (The secret Life of Jesus of Nazareth, and the Oriental Origins of Christianity.) Paris, 1902.

THE IDEAL LIFE OF JESUS AT THE CLOSE OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY is the Life which Heinrich Julius Holtzmann did not write-but which can be pieced together from his commentary on the Synoptic Gospels and his New Testament Theology. [1] It is ideal because, for one thing, it is unwritten, and arises only in the idea of the reader by the aid of his own imagination, and, for another, because it is traced only in the most general outline. What Holtzmann gives us is a sketch of the public ministry, a critical examination of details, and a full account of the teaching of Jesus. He provides, therefore, the plan and the prepared building material, so that any one can carry out the construction in his own way and on his own responsibility. The cement and the mortar are not provided by Holtzmann; every one must decide for himself how he will combine the teaching and the life, and arrange the details within each.

We may recall the fact that Weisse, too, the other founder of the Marcan hypothesis, avoided writing a Life of Jesus, because the difficulty of of fitting the details into the ground-plan appeared to him so great, not to say insuperable. It is just this modesty which constitutes his greatness and Holtzmann's. Thus the Marcan hypothesis ends, as it had begun, with a certain historical scepticism. [2]

[1] Heinrich Julius Holtzmann, Handkommentar. Die Synoptiker. 1st ed., 1889; 2nd ed., 1901. Lehrbuch der neutestamentlichen Theologie, 1896, vol. i.

[2] In the Catholic Church the study of the Life of Jesus has remained down to the present day entirely free from scepticism. The reason of that is, that in principle it hasremained at a pre-Straussian standpoint, and does not venture upon an unreserved spplication of historical considerations either to the miracle question or to the Johannine question, and naturally therefore resigns the attempt to take count of and explain the great historical problems.

We may name the following Lives of Jesus produced by German Catholic writers:-

Joh. Nep. Sepp, Das Leben Jesu Christi. Regensburg, 1843-1846. 7 vols., 2nd ed., 1853-1862.

Peter Schegg, Sechs Bucher des Lebens Jesu. (The Life of Jesus in Six Books.) Freiburg, 1874-1875. c. 1200 pp.

Joseph Grimm, Das Leben Jesu. Wurzburg, 2nd ed., 1890-1903. 6 vols.

Richard von Kralik, Jesu Leben und Werk. Kempten-Nurnberg, 1904. 481 pp.

W. Capitaine, Jesus von Nazareth. Regensburg, 1905. 192 pp.

How narrow are ihe limits within which the Catholic study of the life of Jesus moves even when it aims at scientific treatment, is illustrated by Hermann Schell's Christus (Mainz, 1903. 152 pp.). After reading the forty-two questions with which he introduces his narrative one might suppose that the author was well aware of the bearing of all the historical problems of the life of Jesus, and intended to supply an answer to them. Instead of doing so, however, he adopts as the work proceeds more and more the role of an apologist, not facing definitely either the miracle question or the Johannine question, but gliding over the difficulties by the aid of ingenious headings, so that in the end his book almost takes the form of an explanatory text to the eighty-nine illustrations which adorn the book and make it difficult to read.

In France, Renan's work gave the incentive to an extensive Catholic "Life-of- Jesus" literature. We may name the following:-

Louis Veuillot, La Vie de notre Seigneur Jesus-Christ. Paris, 1864. 509 pp. German by Waldeyer. Koln-Neuss, 1864. 573 pp.

H. Wallon, Vie de notre Seigneur Jesus-Christ. Paris, 1865. 355 pp.

A work which met with a particularly favourable reception was that of Pere Didon, the Dominican, Jesus-Christ, Paris, 1891, 2 vols., vol. i. 483 pp., vol. ii. 469 pp. The German translation is dated 1895.

In the same year there appeared a new edition of the "Bitter Sufferings of Our Lord Jesus Christ" (see above, p. 109 f.) by Katharina Emmerich; the cheap popular edition of the translation of Renan's "Life of Jesus"; and the eighth edition of Strauss's "Life of Jesus for the German People."

We may quote from the ecclesiastical Approbation printed at the beginning of Didon's Life of Jesus. "If the author sometimes seems to speak the language of his opponents, it is at once evident that he has aimed at defeating them on their own ground, and he is particularly successful in doing so when he confronts their irreligious a priori theories with the positive arguments of history."

As a matter of fact the work is skilfully written, but without a spark of understanding of the historical questions.

All honour to Alfred Loisy! (Le Quatrieme Evangile, Paris, 1903, 960 pp.), who takes a clear view on the Johannine question, and denies the existence ot a Johannine historical tradition. But what that means for the Catholic camp may be recognised from the excitement produced by the book and its express condemnation. See also the same writer's L'Evangile et l' Eglise (German translation, Munich, 1904 189 pp.), in which Loisy here and there makes good historical points against Harnack's "What is Christianity?"


The subordinates, it is true, do not allow themselves to be disturbed by the change of attitude at head-quarters. They keep busily at work That is their right, and therein consists their significance. By keeping on trying to take the positions, and constantly failing, they furnish a practical proof that the plan of operations worked out by the general


staff is not capable of being carried out, and show why it is so, and what kind of new tactics will have to be evolved.

The credit of having written a life of Christ which is strictly scientific, in its own way very remarkable, and yet foredoomed to failure, belongs to Oskar Holtzmann. [1] He has complete confidence in the Marcan plan, and makes it his task to fit all the sayings of Jesus into this framework, to show "what can belong to each period of the preaching of Jesus, and what cannot." His method is to give free play to the magnetic power of the most important passages in the Marcan text, making other sayings of similar import detach themselves from their present connexion and come and group themselves round the main passages.

For example, the controversy with the scribes at Jerusalem regarding the charge of doing miracles by the help of Satan (Mark iii. 22-30) belongs, according to Holtzmann, as regards content and chronology, to the same period as the controversy, in Mark vii., about the ordinances of men which results in Jesus being "obliged to take to flight"; the woes pronounced upon Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, which now follow on the eulogy upon the Baptist (Matt. xi. 21-23), and are accordingly represented as having been spoken at the time of the sending forth of the Twelve, are drawn by the same kind of magnetic force into the neighbourhood of Mark vii., and "express very clearly the attitude of Jesus at the time of His withdrawal from the scene of His earlier ministry." The saying in Matt. vii. 6 about not giving that which is holy to the dogs or casting pearls before swine, does not belong to the Sermon on the Mount, but to the time when Jesus, after Caesarea Philippi, for- bids the disciples to reveal the secret of His Messiahship to the multi- tude; Jesus' action in cursing the fig-tree so that it should henceforth bring no fruit to its owner, who was perhaps a poor man, is to be brought into relation with the words spoken on the evening before, with reference, to the lavish expenditure involved in His anointing, "The poor ye have always with you," the point being that Jesus now, "in the clear consciousness of His approaching death, feels His own worth," and dismisses "the contingency of even the poor having to lose something for His sake" with the words "it does not matter." [2]

[1] Oskar Holtzmann, Professor of Theology at Giessen, was born in 1859 at Stuttgart.

[2] This suggestlon reminds us involuntarily of the old rationalistic Lives of Jesus, which are distressed that Jesus should have injured the good people of the country of the Gesarenes by sacrificing their swine in healing the demoniac. A good deal of old rationalistic material crops up in the very latest Lives of Jesus, as cannot indeed fail to be the case in view of the arbitrary interpretation of detail which is common to both. According to Oskar Holtzmann the barren fig-tree has also a symbolical meaning. "It is a pledge given by God to Jesus that His faith shall not be put to shame in the great work of His life."


All these transpositions and new connexions mean, it is clear, a great deal of internal and external violence to the text.

A further service rendered by this very thorough work of Oskar Holtzmann's, is that of showing how much reading between the lines is necessary in order to construct a Life of Jesus on the basis of the Marcan hypothesis in its modern interpretation. It is thus, for instance that the author must have acquired the knowledge that the controversy about the ordinances of purification in Mark vii. forced the people "to choose between the old and the new religion"-in which case it is no wonder that many "turned back from following Jesus."

Where are we told that there was any question of an old and a new "religion"? The disciples certainly did not think of things in this way as is shown by their conduct at the time of His death and the discourses of Peter in Acts. Where do we read that the people turned away from Jesus? In Mark vii. 17 and 24 all that is said is, that Jesus left the people, and in Mark vii. 33 the same multitude is still assembled when Jesus returns from the "banishment" into which Holtzmann relegates Him.

Oskar Holtzmann declares that we cannot tell what was the size of the following which accompanied Jesus in His journey northwards, and is inclined to assume that others besides the Twelve shared His exile. The Evangelists, however, say clearly that it was only the maqhtai, that is, the Twelve, who were with Him. The value which this special knowledge, independent of the text, has for the author, becomes evident a little farther on. After Peter's confession Jesus calls the "multitude" to Him (Mark viii. 34) and speaks to them of His sufferings and of taking up the cross and following Him. This "multitude" Holtzmann wants to make "the whole company of Jesus' followers," "to which belonged, not only the Twelve whom Jesus had formerly sent out to preach, but many others also." The knowledge drawn from outside the text is therefore required to solve a difficulty in the text.

But how did His companions in exile, the remnant of the previous multitude, themselves become a multitude, the same multitude as before. Would it not be better to admit that we do not know how, in a Gentile country, a multitude could suddenly rise out of the ground as it were, continue with Him until Mark ix. 30, and then disappear into the earth as suddenly as they came, leaving Him to pursue His journey towards Galilee and Jerusalem alone?

Another thing which Oskar Holtzmann knows is that it required a good deal of courage for Peter to hail Jesus as Messiah, since the "exile wandering about with his small following in a Gentile country" answered "so badly to the general picture which people had formed of the coining of the Messiah." He knows too, that in the moment of Peter's confession, "Christianity was complete" in the sense that "a community separate


from Judaism and centering about a new ideal, then arose." This "community" frequently appears from this point onwards. There is nothing about it in the narratives, which know only the Twelve and the people.

Oskar Holtzmann's knowledge even extends to dialogues which are not reported in the Gospels. After the incident at Caesarea Philippi, the minds of the disciples were, according to him, pre-occupied by two questions. "How did Jesus know that He was the Messiah?" and "What will be the future fate of this Messiah?" The Lord answered both questions. He spoke to them of His baptism, and "doubtless in close connexion with that" He told them the story of His temptation, during which He had laid down the lines which He was determined to follow as Messiah.

Of the transfiguration, Oskar Holtzmann can state with confidence, "that it merely represents the inner experience of the disciples at the moment of Peter's confession." How is it then that Mark expressly dates that scene, placing it (ix. 2) six days after the discourse of Jesus about taking up the cross and following Him? The fact is that the time-indications of the text are treated as non-existent whenever the Marcan hypothesis requires an order determined by inner connexion. The statement of Luke that the transfiguration took place eight days after, is dismissed in the remark "the motive of this indication of time is doubtless to be found in the use of the Gospel narratives for reading in public worship; the idea was that the section about the transfiguration should be read on the Sunday following that on which the confession of Peter formed the lesson." Where did Oskar Holtzmann suddenly discover this information about the order of the "Sunday lessons" at the time when Luke's Gospel was written?

It was doubtless from the same private source of information that the author derived his knowledge regarding the gradual development of the thought of the Passion in the consciousness of Jesus. "After the confession of Peter at Caesarea Philippi," he explains, "Jesus' death became for Him only the necessary point of transition to the glory beyond. In the discourse of Jesus to which the request of Salome gave occasion, the death of Jesus already appears as the means of saving many from death, because His death makes possible the coming of the Kingdom of God. At the institution of the Supper, Jesus regards His imminent death as the meritorious deed by which the blessings of the New Covenant, the forgiveness of sins and victory over sin, are permanently secured to His 'community.' We see Jesus constantly becoming more and more at home with the idea of His death and constantly giving it a deeper interpretation."

Any one who is less skilled in reading the thoughts of Jesus, and


more simple and natural in his reading of the text of Mark, cannot fail to observe that Jesus speaks in Mark x. 45 of His death as an expiation, not as a means of saving others from death, and that at the Lord's Supper there was no reference to His "community," but only to the inexplicable "many," which is also the word in Mark x. 45. We ought to admit freely that we do not know what the thoughts of Jesus about His death were at the time of the first prediction of the Passion after Peter's confession; and to be on our guard against the "original sin" of theology, that of exalting the argument from silence, when it happens to be useful, to the rank of positive realities.

Is there not a certain irony in the fact that the application of "natural" psychology to the explanation of the thoughts of Jesus compels the assumption of supra-historical private information such as this? Bahrdt and Venturini hardly read more subjective interpretations into the text than many modern Lives of Jesus; and the hypothesis of the secret society, which after all did recognise and do justice to the inexplicability from an external standpoint of the relation of events and of the conduct of Jesus, was in many respects more historical than the psychological links of connexion which our modernising historians discover without having any foundation for them in the text.

In the end this supplementary knowledge destroys the historicity of the simplest sections. Oskar Holtzmann ventures to conjecture that the healing of the blind man at Jericho "is to be understood as a symbolical representation of the conversion of Zacchaeus," which, of course, is found only in Luke. Here then the defender of the Marcan hypothesis rejects the incident by which the Evangelist explains the enthusiasm of the entry into Jerusalem, not to mention that Luke tells us nothing whatever about a conversion of Zacchaeus, but only that Jesus was invited to his house and graciously accepted the invitation.

It would be something if this almost Alexandrian symbolical exegesis contributed in some way to the removal of difficulties and to the solution of the main question, that, namely, of the present or future Messiah, the present or future Kingdom. Oskar Holtzmann lays great stress upon the eschatological character of the preaching of Jesus regarding the Kingdom, and assumes that, at least at the beginning, it would not have been natural for His hearers to understand that Jesus, the herald of the Messiah, was Himself the Messiah. Nevertheless, he is of opinion that, in a certain sense, the presence of Jesus implied the presence of the Kingdom, that Peter and the rest of the disciples, advancing beyond the ideas of the multitude, recognised Him as Messiah, that this recognition ought to have been possible for the people also, and, in that case, would have been "the strongest incentive to abandon evil ways," and "that Jesus at the time of His entry into Jerusalem seems to have felt that in


Isa. lxii. 11 [1] there was a direct command not to withhold the knowledge of His Messiahship from the inhabitants of Jerusalem."

But if Jesus made a Messianic entry He must thereafter have given Himself out as Messiah, and the whole controversy would necessarily have turned upon this claim. This, however, was not the case. According Holtzmann, all that the hearers could make out of that crucial question for the Messiahship in Mark xii. 35-37 was only "that Jesus clearly showed from the Scriptures that the Messiah was not in reality the son of David." [2]

But how was it that the Messianic enthusiasm on the part of the people did not lead to a Messianic controversy, in spite of the fact that Jesus "from the first came forward in Jerusalem as Messiah"? This difficulty O. Holtzmann seems to be trying to provide against when he remarks in a footnote: "We have no evidence that Jesus, even during the last sojourn in Jerusalem, was recognised as Messiah except by those who belonged to the inner circle of disciples. The repetition by the children of the acclamations of the disciples (Matt. xxi. 15 and 16) can hardly be considered of much importance in this connexion." According to this, Jesus entered Jerusalem as Messiah, but except for the disciples and a few children no one recognised His entry as having a Messianic significance! But Mark states that many spread their garments upon the way, and others plucked down branches from the trees and strewed them in the way, and that those that went before and those that followed after, cried "Hosanna!" The Marcan narrative must therefore be kept out of sight for the moment in order that the Life of Jesus as conceived by the modern Marcan hypothesis may not be endangered.

We should not, however, regard the evidence of supernatural knowledge and the self-contradictions of this Life of Jesus as a matter for censure, but rather as a proof of the merits of O. Holtzmann's work. [3]

[1] Isaiah lxii. 11, "Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh."

[2] "For Jesus Himself," Oskar Holtzmann argues, "this discovery"-he means the antinomy which He had discovered in Psalm ex.-"disposed of a doubt which had always haunted him. If He had really known Himself to be descended from the Davidic line, He would certainly not have publicly suggested a doubt as to the Davidic descent of the Messiah."

[3] Oskar Holtzmann's work. War Jesus Ekstatiker? (Tubingen, 1903, 139 pp.) is in reality a new reading of the life of Jesus. By emphasising the ecstatic element he breaks with the "natural" conception of the life and teaching of Jesus; and, in so far, approaches the eschatological view. But he gives a very wide significance to the term ecstatic, subsuming under it, it might almost be said, all the eschatological thoughts and utterances of Jesus. He explains, for instance, that "the conviction of the approaching destruction of existing conditions is ecstatic." At the same time, the only purpose served by the hypothesis of ecstasy is to enable the author to attribute to Jesus "The belief that in His own work the Kingdom of God was already beginning, and the promise of the Kingdom to individuals; this can only be considered ecstatic." The opposites which Bousset brings together by the conception of paradox are united by Holtzmann by means of the hypothesis of ecstasy. That is, however, to play fast and loose with the meaning of "ecstasy." An ecstasy is, in the usual understanding of the word, an abnormal, transient condition of excitement in which the subject's natural capacity for thought and feeling, and therewith all impressions from without, are suspended, being superseded by an intense mental excitation and activity. Jesus may possibly have been in an ecstatic state at His baptism and at the transfiguration. What O. Holtzmann represents as a kind of permanent ecstatic state is rather an eschatological fixed idea. With eschatology, ecstasy has no essential connexion. It is possible to be eschatologically minded without being an ecstatic, and vice versa. Philo attributes a great importance to ecstasy in his religious life, but he was scarcely, if at all, interested in eschatology.


He has written the last large-scale Life of Jesus, the only one which the Marcan hypothesis has produced, and aims at providing a scientific basis for the assumptions which the general lines of that hypothesis compel him to make; and in this process it becomes clearly apparent that the connexion of events can only be carried through at the decisive passages by violent treatment, or even by rejection of the Marcan text in the interests of the Marcan hypothesis.

These merits do not belong in the same measure to the other modern Lives of Jesus, which follow more or less the same lines. They are short sketches, in some cases based on lectures, and their brevity makes them perhaps more lively and convincing than Holtzmann's work; but they take for granted just what he felt it necessary to prove. P. W. Schmidt's Geschichte Jesu (1899), which as a work of literary art has few rivals among theological works of recent years, confines itself to pure narrative. The volume of prolegomena which appeared in 1904, and is intended to exhibit the foundations of the narrative, treats of the sources, of the Kingdom of God, of the Son of Man, and of the Law. It makes the most of the weakening of the eschatological standpoint which is manifested in the second edition of Johannes Weiss's "Preaching of Jesus," but it does not give sufficient prominence to the difficulties of reconstructing the public ministry of Jesus.

Neither Otto Schmiedel's "The Principal Problems of the Study of the Life of Jesus," nor von Soden's "Vacation Lectures" on "The Principal Questions in the Life of Jesus" fulfils the promise of its title. [2] They both

[1] P. W. Schmidt, now Professor in Basle, was born in Berlin in 1845.

[2] Otto Schmiedel, Professor at the Gymnasium at Eisenach, Die Hauptproblem der Leben-Jesu-Forschung. Tubingen, 1902. 71 pp. Schmiedel was born in 1858.

Hermann Freiherr von Soden, Die wichtigsten Fragen im Lehen Jesu. Von Soden, Professor in Berlin, and preacher at the Jerusalem Kirche, was born in 1852.

We may mention also the following works:-

Fritz Barth (born 1856, Professor at Bern), Die Hauptprobleme des Lebens Jesu. 1st ed., 1899; 2nd ed., 1903.

Friedrich Nippold's Der Entwicklungsgang des Lebens Jesu im Wortlaut der drei ersten Evangelien (The Course of the Life of Jesus in the Words of the First Three Evangelists) (Hamburg, 1895, 213 pp.) is only an arrangement of the sections.

Konrad Furrer's Vortrage uber das Leben Jesu Christi (Lectures on the Life of Jesus Christ) have a special charm by reason of the author's knowledge of the country and the locality. Furrer, who was born in 1838, is Professor at Zurich.

Another work which should not be forgotten is R. Otto's Leben und Wirken Jesu nach historisch-kritischer Auffassung (Life and Work of Jesus from the Point of View of Historica1 Criticism). A Lecture. Gottingen, 1902. Rudolf Otto, born in 1869, is Privat-Docent at Gottingen.


aim rather at solving new problems proposed by themselves than at restating the old ones and adding new. They hope to meet the views of Jonnes Weiss by strongly emphasising the eschatology, and think they can escape the critical scepticism of writers like Volkmar and Brandt by assuming an "Ur-Markus." Their view is, therefore, that with a few modifications dictated by the eschatological and sceptical school, the traditional conception of the Life of Jesus is still tenable, whereas it is just the a priori presuppositions of this conception, hitherto held to be self-evident, which constitute the main problems.

"It is self-evident," says von Soden in one passage, "in view of the inner connexion in which the Kingdom of God and the Messiah stood in the thoughts of the people . . . that in all classes the question must have been discussed, so that Jesus could not permanently have avoided their question, 'What of the Messiah? Art thou not He?'" Where, in the Synoptics, is there a word to show that this is "self-evident"? When the disciples in Mark viii. tell Jesus "whom men held Him to be," none of them suggests that any one had been tempted to regard Him as the Messiah. And that was shortly before Jesus set out for Jerusalem.

From the day when the envoys of the Scribes from Jerusalem first appeared in the north, the easily influenced Galilaean multitude began, according to von Soden, "to waver." How does he know that the Galilaeans were easily influenced? How does he know they "wavered"? The Gospels tell us neither one nor the other. The demand for a sign was, to quote von Soden again, a demand for a proof of His Messiahship. "Yet another indication," adds the author, "that later Christianity, in putting so high a value on the miracles of Jesus as a proof of His Messiahship, departed widely from the thoughts of Jesus."

Before levelling reproaches of this kind against later Christianity, it would be well to point to some passage of Mark or Matthew in which there is mention of a demand for a sign as a proof of His Messiahship.

When the appearance of Jesus in the south-we are still following von Soden-aroused the Messianic expectations of the people, as they had formerly been aroused in His native country, "they once more failed to understand the correction of them which Jesus had made by


the manner of His entry and His conduct in Jerusalem." They are unable to understand this "transvaluation of values," and as often as the impression made by His personality suggested the thought that He was the Messiah, they became doubtful again. Wherein consisted the correction of the Messianic expectation given at the triumphal entry? Was it that He rode upon an ass? Would it not be better if modern historical theology, instead of always making the people "grow doubtful " were to grow a little doubtful of itself, and begin to look for the evidence of that "transvaluation of values" which, according to them, the contemporaries of Jesus were not able to follow?

Von Soden also possesses special information about the "peculiar history of the origin" of the Messianic consciousness of Jesus. He knows that it was subsidiary to a primary general religious consciousness of Sonship. The rise of this Messianic consciousness implies, in its turn, the "transformation of the conception of the Kingdom of God, and explains how in the mind of Jesus this conception was both present and future." The greatness of Jesus is, he thinks, to be found in the fact that for Him this Kingdom of God was only a "limiting conception"-the ultimate goal of a gradual process of approximation. "To the question whether it was to be realised here or in the beyond Jesus would have answered, as He answered a similar question, 'That, no man knoweth; no, not the Son.'"

As if He had not answered that question in the petition "Thy Kingdom come"-supposing that such a question could ever have occurred to a contemporary-in the sense that the Kingdom was to pass from the beyond into the present!

This modern historical theology will not allow Jesus to have formed a "theory" to explain His thoughts about His passion. "For Him the certainty was amply sufficient; 'My death will effect what My life has not been able to accomplish.'"

Is there then no theory implied in the saying about the "ransom for many," and in that about "My blood which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins," although Jesus does not explain it? How does von Soden know what was "amply sufficient" for Jesus or what was not?

Otto Schmiedel goes so far as to deny that Jesus gave distinct ex- pression to an expectation of suffering; the most He can have done-and this is only a "perhaps"-is to have hinted at it in His discourses.

In strong contrast with this confidence in committing themselves to historical conjectures stands the scepticism with which von Soden and Schmiedel approach the Gospels. "It is at once evident," says Schmiedel "that the great groups of discourses in Matthew, such as the Sermon the Mount, the Seven Parables of the Kingdom, and so forth, were not


arranged in this order in the source (the Logia), still less by Jesus Himself. The order is, doubtless, due to the Evangelist. But what is the answer the question, "On what grounds is this 'at once' clear?" [1]

Von Soden's pronouncement is even more radical. "In the composition of the discourses," he says, "no regard is paid in Matthew, any more than in John, to the supposed audience, or to the point of time in the life of Jesus to which they are attributed." As early as the Sermon on the Mount we find references to persecutions, and warnings against false prophets. Similarly, in the charge to the Twelve, there are also warnings, which undoubtedly belong to a later time. Intimate sayings, evidently intended for the inner circle of disciples, have the widest publicity given to them.

But why should whatever is incomprehensible to us be unhistorical? Would it not be better simply to admit that we do not understand certain connexions of ideas and turns of expression in the discourses of Jesus?

But instead even of making an analytical examination of the apparent connexions, and stating them as problems, the discourses of Jesus and the sections of the Gospels are tricked out with ingenious headings which have nothing to do with them. Thus, for instance, von Soden heads the Beatitudes (Matt. v. 3-12), "What Jesus brings to men," the following verses (Matt. v. 13-16), "What He makes of men." P. W. Schmidt, in his "History of Jesus," shows himself a past master in this art. "The rights of the wife" is the title of the dialogue about divorce, as if the question at stake had been for Jesus the equality of the sexes, and not simply and solely the sanctity of marriage. "Sunshine for the children" is his heading for the scene where Jesus takes the children in His arms-as if the purpose of Jesus had been to protest against severity in the upbringing of children. Again, he brings together the stories of the man who must first bury his father, of the rich young man, of the dispute about precedence, of Zacchaeus, and others which have equally little connexion under the heading "Discipline for Jesus' followers." These often brilliant creations of artificial connexions of thought give a curious attractiveness to the works of Schmidt and von Soden. The latter's survey of the Gospels is a really delightful performance. But this kind of thing is not consistent with pure objective history.

[1] Schmiedel is not altogether right in making "the Heidelberg Professor Paulus" follow the same lines as Reimarus, "except that his works, of 1804 and 1828, are less malignant, but only the more dull for that." In reality the deistic Life of Jesus by Reimarus, and the rationalistic Life by Paulus have nothing in common. Paulus was perhaps influenced by Venturini, but not by Reimarus. The assertion that Strauss wrote his "Life of Jesus for the German people" because "Renan's fame gave him no peace" is not justified, either by Strauss's character or by the circumstances in which the second Life of Jesus was produced.


Disposing in this lofty fashion of the connexion of events, Schmiedel and von Soden do not find it difficult to distinguish between Mark and "Ur-Markus"; that is, to retain just so much of the Gospel as will fit in to their construction. Schmiedel feels sure that Mark was a skilful writer, and that the redactor was "a Christian of Pauline sympathies." According to "Ur-Markus," to which Mark iv. 33 belongs, the Lord speaks in parables in order that the people may understand Him the better; "it was only by the redactor that the Pauline theory about hardening their hearts (Rom. ix.-xi.) was interpolated, in Mark iv. 10 ff. and the meaning of Mark iv. 33 was thus obscured."

It is high time that instead of merely asserting Pauline influences in Mark some proof of the assertion should be given. What kind of appearance would Mark have presented if it had really passed through the hands of a Pauline Christian?

Von Soden's analysis is no less confident. The three outstanding miracles, the stilling of the storm, the casting out of the legion of devils, the overcoming of death (Mark iv. 35-v. 43), the romantically told story of the death of the Baptist (Mark vi. 17-29), the story of the feeding of the multitudes in the desert, of Jesus' walking on the water, and of the transfiguration upon an high mountain, and the healing of the lunatic boy-all these are dashed in with a broad brush, and offer many analogies to Old Testament stories, and some suggestions of Pauline conceptions, and reflections of experiences of individual believers and of the Christian community. "All these passages were, doubtless, first written down by the compiler of our Gospel."

But how can Schmiedel and von Soden fail to see that they are heading straight for Bruno Bauer's position? They assert that there is no distinction of principle between the way in which the Johannine and the Synoptic discourses are composed: the recognition of this was Bruno Bauer's starting-point. They propose to find experiences of the Christian community and Pauline teaching reflected in the Gospel of Mark; Bruno Bauer asserted the same. The only difference is that he was consistent, and extended his criticism to those portions of the Gospel which do not present the stumbling-block of the supernatural. Why should these not also contain the theology and the experiences of the community transformed into history? Is it only because they remain within the limits of the natural?

The real difficulty consists in the fact that all the passages which von Soden ascribes to the redactor stand, in spite of their mythical colouring, in a closely-knit historical connexion; in fact, the historical connexion is nowhere so close. How can any one cut out the feeding of the multitudes and the transfiguration as narratives of secondary origin without destroying the whole of the historical fabric of the Gospel of Mark? Or


was it the redactor who created the plan of the Gospel of Mark, as von Soden seems to imply? [1]

But in that case how can a modern Life of Jesus be founded on the Marcan plan? How much of Mark is, in the end, historical? Why should not Peter's confession at Caesarea Philippi have been derived from the theology of the primitive Church, just as well as the transfiguration? The only difference is that the incident at Caesarea Philippi is more within the limits of the possible, whereas the scene upon the mountain has a supernatural colouring. But is the incident at Philippi so entirely natural? Whence does Peter know that Jesus is the Messiah?

This semi-scepticism is therefore quite unjustifiable, since in Mark natural and supernatural both stand in an equally good and close historical connexion. Either, then, one must be completely sceptical like Bruno Bauer, and challenge without exception all the facts and connexions of events asserted by Mark; or, if one means to found an his-

[1] Von Soden gives on pp. 24 ff. the passages of Mark which he supposes to be derived from the Petrine tradition in a different order from that in which they occur in Mark, regrouping them freely. He puts together, for instance, Mark i. 16-20, iii. 13-19, vi. 7-16, viii. 27-ix. 1, ix. 33-40, under the title "The formation and training of the band of disciples." He supposes Mark, the pupil of Peter, to have grouped in this way by a kind of association of ideas "what he had heard Peter relate in his missionary journeys, when writing it down after Peter's death, not connectedly, but giving as much as he could remember of it"; this would be in accordance with the statement of Papias that Mark wrote "not in order." Papias's statement, therefore, refers to an "Ur-Markus," which he found lacking in historical order.

But what are we to make of a representative of the early Church thus approaching the Gospels with the demand for historical arrangement? And good, simple old Papias, of all people!

But if the Marcan plan was not laid down in "Ur-Markus," there is nothing for it-since the plan was certainly not given in the collection of Logia-but to ascribe it to the author of our Gospel of Mark, to the man, that is, who wrote down for the first time these "Pauline conceptions," those reflections of experiences of individual believers and of the community, and inserted them into the Gospel. It is proposed, then, to retain the outline which he has given of the life of Jesus, and reject at the same time what he relates. That is to say, he is to be believed where it is convenient to believe him, and silenced where it is inconvenient. No more complete refutation of the Marcan hypothesis could possibly be given than this analysis, for it destroys its very foundation, the confident acceptance of the historicity of the Marcan plan.

If there is to be an analysis of sources in Mark, then the Marcan plan must be ascribed to "Ur-Markus," otherwise the analysis renders the Marcan hypothesis historically useless. But if "Ur-Markus" is to be reconstructed on the basis of assigning to it the Marcan plan, then we cannot separate the natural from the supernatural, for the supernatural scenes, like the feeding of the multitude and the transfiguratlon, are among the main features of the Marcan outline.

No hypothetical analysis of "Ur-Markus" has escaped this dilemma; what it can affect by literary methods is historically useless, and what would be historically useful cannot be attained nor "presented" by literary methods.


torical Life of Jesus upon Mark, one must take the Gospel as a whole because of the plan which runs right through it, accepting it as historical and then endeavouring to explain why certain narratives, like the feeding of the multitude and the transfiguration, are bathed in a supernatural light, and what is the historical basis which underlies them. A division between the natural and supernatural in Mark is purely arbitrary, because the supernatural is an essential part of the history. The mere fact that he has not adopted the mythical material of the childhood stories and the post-resurrection scenes ought to have been accepted as evidence that the supernatural material which he does embody belongs to a category of its own and cannot be simply rejected as due to the invention of the primitive Christian community. It must belong in some way to the original tradition.

Oskar Holtzmann realises that to a certain extent. According to him Mark is a writer "who embodied the materials which he received from the tradition more faithfully than discriminatingly." "That which was related as a symbol of inner events, he takes as history-in the case, for example, of the temptation, the walking on the sea, the transfiguration of Jesus." "Again in other cases he has made a remarkable occurrence into a supernatural miracle, as in the case of the feeding of the multitude, where Jesus' courageous love and ready organising skill overcame a momentary difficulty, whereas the Evangelist represents it as an amazing miracle of Divine omnipotence."

Oskar Holtzmann is thus more cautious than von Soden. He is inclined to see in the material which he wishes to exclude from the history, not so much inventions of the Church as mistaken shaping of history by Mark, and in this way he gets back to genuine old-fashioned rationalism. In the feeding of the multitude Jesus showed "the confidence of a courageous housewife who knows how to provide skilfully for a great crowd of children from small resources." Perhaps in a future work Oskar Holtzmann will be less reserved, not for the sake of theology, but of national well-being, and will inform his contemporaries what kind of domestic economy it was which made it possible for the Lord to satisfy with five loaves and two fishes several thousand hungry men.

Modern historical theology, therefore, with its three-quarters scepticism, is left at last with only a torn and tattered Gospel of Mark in its hands. One would naturally suppose that these preliminary operations upon the source would lead to the production of a Life of Jesus of a similarly fragmentary character. Nothing of the kind. The outline is still the same as in Schenkel's day, and the confidence with which construction is carried out is not less complete. Only the catch-words with which the narrative is enlivened have been changed, being taken in part from Nietzsche. The liberal Jesus has given place to


Germanic Jesus. This is a figure which has as little to do with the Marcan hypothesis as the "liberal" Jesus had which preceded it; otherwise it could not so easily have survived the downfall of the Gospel of Mark as an historical source. It is evident, therefore, that this professedly historical Jesus is not a purely historical figure, but one which has been artificially transplanted into history. As formerly in Renan the romantic spirit created the personality of Jesus in its own image, so at the present day the Germanic spirit is making a Jesus after its own likeness. What is admitted as historic is just what the Spirit of the time can take out of the records in order to assimilate it to itself and bring out of it a living form.

Frenssen betrays the secret of his teachers when in Hilligenlei he confidently superscribes the narrative drawn from the "latest critical investigations" with the title "The Life of the Saviour portrayed according to German research as the basis for a spiritual re-birth of the German nation." [1]

As a matter of fact the Life of Jesus of the "Manuscript" [2] is unsatisfactory both scientifically and artistically, just because it aims at being at once scientific and artistic. If only Frenssen, with his strongly life-accepting instinct, which gives to his thinking, at least in his earliest writings where he reveals himself without artificiality, such a wonderful simplicity and force, had dared to read his Jesus boldly from the original records, without following modern historical theology in all its meanderings! He would have been able to force his way through the underwood well enough if only he had been content to break the branches that got in his way, instead of always waiting until some one went in front to disentwine them for him. The dependence to which he surrenders himself is really distressing. In reading almost every paragraph one can tell whether Kai Jans was looking, as he wrote it, into Oskar Holtzmann or P. W. Schmidt or von Soden. Frenssen resigns the dramatic scene of the healing of the blind man at Jericho. Why? Because at this point

[1] Von Soden, for instance, germanises Jesus when he writes, "and this nature is sound to the core. In spite of its inwardness there is no trace of an exaggerated sentimentality. In spite of all the intensity of prayer there is nothing of ecstasy or vision. No apocalyptic dream-pictures find a lodging-place in His soul."

Is a man who teaches a world-renouncing ethic which sometimes soars to the dizzy heights such as that of Matt. xix. 12, according to our conceptions "sound to the core"? And does not the life of Jesus present a number of occasions on which He seems to have been in an ecstasy?

Thus, von Soden has not simply read his Jesus out of the texts, but has added something of his own, and that something is Germanic in colouring.

[3] i.e., the MS. Life of Jesus written by Kai Jans, one of the characters of the novel. The wy in which the whole life-experience of this character prepares him for the writing of the Life is strikingly-if not always acceptably-worked out.-TRANSLATOR.


he was listening to Holtzmann, who proposes to regard the healing of the blind man as only a symbolical representation of the "conversion of Zacchaeus." Frenssen's masters have robbed him of all creative spontaneity. He does not permit himself to discover motifs for himself but confines himself to working over and treating in cruder colours those which he finds in his teachers.

And since he cannot veil his assumptions in the cautious, carefully modulated language of the theologians, the faults of the modern treatment of the life of Jesus appear in him exaggerated an hundredfold. The violent dislocation of narratives from their connexion, and the forcing upon them of a modern interpretation, becomes a mania with the writer and a torture to the reader. The range of knowledge not drawn from the text is infinitely increased. Kai Jans sees Jesus after the temptation cowering beneath the brow of the hill "a poor lonely man torn by fearful doubts, a man in the deepest distress." He knows too that there was often great danger that Jesus would "betray the 'Father in heaven' and go back to His village to take up His handicraft again, but now as a man with a torn and distracted soul and a conscience tortured by the gnawings of remorse."

The pupil is not content, as his teachers had been, merely to make the people sometimes believe in Jesus and sometimes doubt Him; he makes the enthusiastic earthly Messianic belief of the people "tug and tear" at Jesus Himself. Sometimes one is tempted to ask whether the author in his zeal "to use conscientiously the results of the whole range of scientific criticism" has not forgotten the main thing, the study of the Gospels themselves.

And is all this science supposed to be new? [1] Is this picture of Jesus really the outcome of the latest criticism? Has it not been in existence since the beginning of the 'forties, since Weisse's criticism of the Gospel history? Is it not in principle the same as Renan's, only that Germanic lapses of taste here take the place of Gallic, and "German art for German people," [2] here quite out of place, has done its best to remove from the picture every trace of fidelity?

[1] Frenssen's Kai Jans professes to have used the "results of the whole range of critical investigation" in writing his work. Among the books which he enumerates and recommends in the after-word, we miss the works of Strauss, Weisse, Keim, Volkmar, and Brandt, and, generally speaking, the names of those who in the past have done something really great and original. Of the moderns, Johannes Weiss is lacking. Wrede is mentioned, but is virtually ignored. Pfleiderer's remarkable and profound presentation of Jesus in the Urchristentum (E.T. "Primitive Christianity," vol. ii., 1909) is non-existent so far as he is concerned.

[2] Heimatkunst, the ideal that every production of German art should be racy of the soil. It has its relative justification as a protest against the long subservience of some departments of German art to French taste.-TRANSLATOR.


Kai Jans' "Manuscript" represents the limit of the process of diminishing the personality of Jesus. Weisse left Him still some greatness, something unexplained, and did not venture to apply to everything the petty standards of inquisitive modern psychology. In the 'sixties psychology became more confident and Jesus smaller; at the close of the century the confidence of psychology is at its greatest and the figure of Jesus its smallest-so small, that Frenssen ventures to let His life be projected and written by one who is in the midst of a love affair!

This human life of Jesus is to be "heart-stirring" from beginning to to end, and "in no respect to go beyond human standards"! And this Jesus who "racks His brains and shapes His plans" is to contribute to bring about a re-birth of the German people. How could He? He is Himself only a phantom created by the Germanic mind in pursuit of a religious will-o'-the-wisp.

It is possible, however, to do injustice to Frenssen's presentation, and to the whole of the confident, unconsciously modernising criticism of which he here acts as the mouthpiece. These writers have the great merit of having brought certain cultured circles nearer to Jesus and made them more sympathetic towards Him. Their fault lies in their confidence, which has blinded them to what Jesus is and is not, what He can and cannot do, so that in the end they fail to understand "the signs of the times" either as historians or as men of the present.

If the Jesus who owes His birth to the Marcan hypothesis and modern psychology were capable of regenerating the world He would have done it long ago, for He is nearly sixty yars old and his latest portraits are much less life-like than those drawn by Weisse, Schenkel, and Renan, or by Keim, the most brilliant painter of them all.

For the last ten years modern historical theology has more and more adapted itself to the needs of the man in the street. More and more, even in the best class of works, it makes use of attractive head-lines as a means of presenting its results in a lively form to the masses. Intoxicated with its own ingenuity in inventing these, it becomes more and more confident in its cause, and has come to believe that the world's salvation depends in no small measure upon the spreading of its own "assured results" broad-cast among the people. It is time that it should begin to doubt itself, to doubt its "historical" Jesus, to doubt the confidence with which it has looked to its own construction for the moral and religious regeneration of our time. Its Jesus is not alive, however Germanic they may make Him.

It was no accident that the chief priest of "German art for German people" found himself at one with the modern theologians and offered them his alliance. Since the 'sixties the critical study of the Life of Jesus ln Germany has been unconsciously under the influence of an


imposing modern-religious nationalism in art. It has been deflected by it as by an underground magnetic current. It was in vain that a few purely historical investigators uplifted their voices in protest. The process had to work itself out. For historical criticism had become in the hands of most of those who practised it, a secret struggle to reconcile the Germanic religious spirit with the Spirit of Jesus of Nazareth. [1] It was concerned for the religious interests of the present. Therefore its error had a kind of greatness, it was in fact the greatest thing about it; and the severity with which the pure historian treats it is in proportion to his respect for its spirit. For this German critical study of the Life of Jesus is an essential part of German religion. As of old Jacob wrestled with the angel, so German theology wrestles with Jesus of Nazareth and will not let Him go until He bless it-that is, until He will consent to serve it and will suffer Himself to be drawn by the Germanic spirit into the midst of our time and our civilisation. But when the day breaks, the wrestler must let Him go. He will not cross the ford with us. Jesus of Nazareth will not suffer Himself to be modernised. As an historic figure He refuses to be detached from His own time. He has no answer for the question, "Tell us Thy name in our speech and for our day!" But He does bless those who have wrestled with Him, so that, though they cannot take Him with them, yet, like men who have seen God face to face and received strength in their souls, they go on their way with renewed courage, ready to do battle with the world and its powers.

But the historic Jesus and the Germanic spirit cannot be brought together except by an act of historic violence which in the end injures both religion and history. A time will come when our theology, with its pride in its historical character, will get rid of its rationalistic bias. This bias leads it to project back into history what belongs to our own time, the eager struggle of the modern religious spirit with the Spirit of Jesus, and seek in history justification and authority for its beginning. The consequence is that it creates the historical Jesus in its own image, so that it is not the modern spirit influenced by the Spirit of Jesus, but the Jesus of Nazareth constructed by modern historical theology, that is set to work upon our race. ,

Therefore both the theology and its picture of Jesus are poor and weak. Its Jesus, because He has been measured by the petty standard of the modern man, at variance with himself, not to say of the modern candidate in theology who has made shipwreck; the theologians the themselves, because instead of seeking, for themselves and others, hoow they may best bring the Spirit of Jesus in living power into our world, they

[1] The Jesus of H. S. Chamberlain's Worte Christi, 1901, 286 pp., is also modern. But the modernity is not so obtrusive, because he describes only the teaching of Jesus, not His life.


keep continually forging new portraits of the historical Jesus, and think they have accomplished something great when they have drawn an Oh! of astonishment from the multitude, such as the crowds of a great city emit on catching sight of a new advertisement in coloured lights.

Any one who, admiring the force and authority of genuine rationalism has got rid of the naive self-satisfaction of modern theology, which is in essence only the degenerate offspring of rationalism with a tincture of history, rejoices in the feebleness and smallness of its professedly historical Jesus, rejoices in all those who are beginning to doubt the truth of this portrait, rejoices in the over-severity with which it is attacked, rejoices to take a share in its destruction.

Those who have begun to doubt are many, but most of them only make known their doubts by their silence. There is one, however, who has spoken out, and one of the greatest-Otto Pfleiderer. [1]

In the first edition of his Urchristentum, published in 1887, he still shared the current conceptions and constructions, except that he held the credibility of Mark to be more affected than was usually supposed by hypothetical Pauline influences. In the second edition [2] his positive knowledge has been ground down in the struggle with the sceptics-it is Brandt who has especially affected him-and with the partisans of eschatology. This is the first advance-guard action of modern theology coming into touch with the troops of Reimarus and Bruno Bauer.

Pfieiderer accepts the purely eschatological conception of the Kingdom of God and holds also that the ethics of Jesus were wholly conditioned by eschatology. But in regard to the question of the Messiahship of Jesus he takes his stand with the sceptics. He rejects the hypothesis of a Messiah who, as being a "spiritual Messiah," conceals His claim, but on the other hand, he cannot accept the eschatological Son-of-Man Messiahship having reference to the future, which the eschatological school finds in the utterances of Jesus, since it implies prophecies of His suffering, death, and resurrection which criticism cannot admit. Instead of finding the explanation of how the Messianic title arose to the reflections of Jesus about the death which lay before Him," he is inclined to find it "rather in the reflection of the Christian community upon the catastrophic death and exaltation of its Lord after this had actually taken place."

[1] Born in 1839 at Stettin. Studied at Tubingen, was appointed Professor in 1870 at Jena and in 1875 at Berlin. (Died 1908.)

[2] Das Urchristentum, seine Schriften und Lehren in geschichtlichem Zusammenhang beschrieben 2nd ed. Berlin, 1902. Vol. i. (696 pp.), 615 ff.: Die Predigt Jesu und der Glaube der Urgemeinde (English Translation, "Primitive Christianity," chap. xvi.). Pfleiderer's latest views are set forth in his work, based on academic lectures, Die Entstehung ties Urchristentums. (How Christianity arose.) Munich, 1905. 255 pp.


Even the Marcan narrative is not history. The scepticism in regard to the main source, with which writers like Oskar Holtzmann, Schmiedel, and von Soden conduct a kind of intellectual flirtation, is here erected into a principle. "It must be recognised," says Pfleiderer, "that in respect of the recasting of the history under theological influences, the whole of our Gospels stand in principle on the same footing. The distinction between Mark, the other two Synoptists, and John is only relative-a distinction of degree corresponding to different stages of theological reflection and the development of the ecclesiastical consciousness." If only Bruno Bauer could have lived to see this triumph of his opinions!

Pfleiderer, however, is conscious that scepticism, too, has its difficulties. He wishes, indeed, to reject the confession of Jesus before the Sanhedrin "because its historicity is not well established (none of the disciples were present to hear it, and the apocalyptic prophecy which is added. Mark xiv. 62, is certainly derived from the ideas of the primitive Church)"; on the other hand, he is inclined to admit as possibilities-though marking them with a note of interrogation-that Jesus may have accepted the homage of the Passover pilgrims, and that the controversy with the Scribes about the Son of David had some kind of reference to Jesus Himself.

On the other hand, he takes it for granted that Jesus did not prophesy His death, on the ground that the arrest, trial, and betrayal must have lain outside all possibility of calculation even for Him. All these, he thinks, came upon Jesus quite unexpectedly. The only thing that He might have apprehended was "an attack by hired assassins," and it is to this that He refers in the saying about the two swords in Luke xxii. 36 and 38, seeing that two swords would have sufficed as a pro- tection against such an attack as that, though hardly for anything further. When, however, he remarks in this connexion that "this has been constantly overlooked" in the romances dealing with the Life of Jesus, he does injustice to Bahrdt and Venturini, since according to them the chief concern of the secret society in the later period of the life of Jesus was to protect Jesus from the assassination with which He was menaced, and to secure His formal arrest and trial by the Sanhediin. Their view of the historical situation is therefore identical with Pfleiderer's, viz. that assassination was possible, but that administrative action was unexpected and is inexplicable.

But how is this Jesus to be connected with primitive Christianity? How did the primitive Church's belief in the Messiahship of Jesus arise? To that question Pfleiderer can give no other answer than that of Volkmar and Brandt, that is to say, none. He laboriously brings together wood, straw, and stubble, but where he gets the fire from to kindle the


whole into the ardent faith of primitive Christianity he is unable to make clear.

According to Albert Kalthoff, [1] the fire lighted itself-Christianity arose-by spontaneous combustion, when the inflammable material, religious and social, which had collected together in the Roman Empire, came in contact with the Jewish Messianic expectations. Jesus of Nazareth never existed; and even supposing He had been one of the numerous Jewish Messiahs who were put to death by crucifixion, He certainly did not found Christianity. The story of Jesus which lies before us in the Gospels is in reality only the story of the way in which the picture of Christ arose, that is to say, the story of the growth of the Christian community. There is therefore no problem of the Life of Jesus, but only a problem of the Christ.

Kalthoff has not indeed always been so negative. When in the year 1880 he gave a series of lectures on the Life of Jesus he felt himself justified "in taking as his basis without further argument the generally accepted results of modern theology." Afterwards he became so completely doubtful about the Christ after the flesh whom he had at that time depicted before his hearers that he wished to exclude Him even from the register of theological literature, and omitted to enter these lectures in the list of his writings, although they had appeared in print. [2]

His quarrel with the historical Jesus of modern theology was that he could find no connecting link between the Life of Jesus constructed by the latter and primitive Christianity. Modern theology, he remarks in one passage, with great justice, finds itself obliged to assume, at the point where the history of the Church begins, "an immediate declension from and falsification of, a pure original principle," and that in so doing "it is deserting the recognised methods of historical science." If then we cannot trace the path from its beginning onwards, we had better try to work backwards, endeavouring first to define in the theology of the primitive Church the values which we shall look to find again in the Life of Jesus.

In that he is right. Modern historical theology will not have refuted

[1] Albert Kalthoff, Das Christusproblem. Grundlinien zu einer Sozialtheologie. (The Problem of the Christ: Ground-plan of a Social Theology.) Leipzig, 1902. 87 pp.

Die Entstehung des Christentums. Neue Bzitriige zum Christusproblem. (How Christianity arose.) Leipzig, 1904. 155 pp.

Albert Kalthoff was born in 1850 at Barmen, and is engaged in pastoral work ln Bremen.

[2] Das Leben Jesu. Lectures delivered before the Protestant Reform Society at Berlin. Berlin, 1880. 173 pp.


him until it has explained how Christianity arose out of the life of Jesus without calling in that theory of an initial "Fall" of which Harnack, Wernle, and all the rest make use. Until this modern theology has made it in some measure intelligible how, under the influence of the Jewish Messiah sect, in the twinkling of an eye, in every direction at once, Graeco-Roman popular Christianity arose; until at least it has described the popular Christianity of the first three generations it must concede to all hypotheses which fairly face this problem and endeavour to solve it their formal right of existence.

The criticism which Kalthoff directs against the "positive" accounts of the Life of Jesus is, in part, very much to the point. "Jesus," he says in one place, "has been made the receptacle into which every theologian pours his own ideas." He rightly remarks that if we follow "the Christ" backwards from the Epistles and Gospels of the New Testament right to the apocalyptic vision of Daniel, we always find in Him superhuman traits alongside of the human. "Never and nowhere," he insists, "is He that which critical theology has endeavoured to make out of Him, a purely natural man, an indivisible historical unit." "The title of 'Christ' had been raised hy the Messianic apocalyptic writings so completely into the sphere of the heroic that it had become impossible to apply it to a mere historical man." Bruno Bauer had urged the same considerations upon the theology of his time, declaring it to be unthinkable that a man could have arisen among the Jews and declared "I am the Messiah."

But the unfortunate thing is that Kalthoff has not worked through Bruno Bauer's criticism, and does not appear to assume it as a basis, hut remains standing half-way instead of thinking the questions through to the end as that keen critic did. According to Kalthoff it would appear that, year in year out, there was a constant succession of Messianic disturbances among the Jews and of crucified claimants of the Messiahship. "There had been many a 'Christ,'" he says in one place, "before there was any question of a Jesus in connexion with this title."

How does Kalthoff know that? If he had fairly considered and felt the force of Bruno Bauer's arguments, he would never have ventured on this assertion; he would have learned that it is not only historically unproved, but intrinsically impossible.

But Kalthoff was in far too great a hurry to present to his readers a description of the growth of Christianity, and therewith of the picture of the Christ, to absorb thoroughly the criticism of his great predecessor. He soon leads his reader away from the high road of criticism into a morass of speculation, in order to arrive by a short cut at Graeco-Roman primitive Christianity. But the trouble is that while the guide walks


lightly and safely, the ordinary man, weighed down by the pressure of historical considerations, sinks to rise no more.

The conjectural argument which Kalthoff follows out is in itself acute, and forms a suitable pendent to Bauer's reconstruction of the course of events. Bauer proposed to derive Christianity from the Graeco-Roman philosophy; Kalthoff, recognising that the origin of popular Christianity constitutes the main question, takes as his starting-point the social movements of the time.

In the Roman Empire, so runs his argument, among the oppressed masses of the slaves and the populace, eruptive forces were concentrated under high tension. A communistic movement arose, to which the influence of the Jewish element in the proletariat gave a Messianic-Apocalyptic colouring. The Jewish synagogue influenced Roman social conditions so that "the crude social ferment at work in the Roman Empire amalgamated itself with the religious and philosophical forces of the time to form the new Christian social movement." Early Christian writers had learned in the synagogue to construct "personifications." The whole Late-Jewish literature rests upon this principle. Thus "the Christ" became the ideal hero of the Christian community, "from the socio-religious standpoint the figure of Christ is the sublimated religious expression for the sum of the social and ethical forces which were at work at a certain period." The Lord's Supper was the memorial feast of this ideal hero.

"As the Christ to whose Parousia the community looks forward this Hero-god of the community bears within Himself the capacity for expansion into the God of the universe, into the Christ of the Church, who is identical in essential nature with God the Father. Thus the belief in the Christ brought the Messianic hope of the future into the minds of the masses, who had already a certain organisation, and by directing their thoughts towards the future it won all those who were sick of the past and despairing about the present."

The death and resurrection of Jesus represent experiences of the community. "For a Jew crucified under Pontius Pilate there was certainly no resurrection. All that is possible is a vague hypothesis of a vision lacking all historical reality, or an escape into the vaguenesses of theological phraseology. But for the Christian community the resurrection was something real, a matter of fact. For the community as such was not annihilated in that persecution: it drew from it, rather, new strength and life."

But what about the foundations of this imposing structure?

For what he has to tell us about the condition of the Roman Empire and the social organisation of the proletariat in the time of Trajan-


for it was then that the Church first came out into the light-we may leave the responsibility with Kalthoff. But we must inquire more closely how he brings the Jewish apocalyptic into contact with the Roman proletariat.

Communism, he says, was common to both. It was the bond which united the apocalyptic "other-worldliness" with reality. The only difficulty is that Kalthoff omits to produce any proof out of the Jewish apocalypses that communism was "the fundamental economic idea of the apocalyptic writers." He operates from the first with a special preparation of apocalyptic thought, of a socialistic or Hellenistic character. Messianism is supposed to have taken its rise from the Deuteronomic reform as "a social theory which strives to realise itself in practice." The apocalyptic of Daniel arose, according to him, under Platonic influence. "The figure of the Messiah thus became a human figure; it lost its specifically Jewish traits." He is the heavenly prototypal ideal man. Along with this thought, and similarly derived from Plato, the conception of immortality makes its appearance in apocalyptic. [1] This Platonic apocalyptic never had any existence, or at least, to speak with the utmost possible caution, its existence must not be asserted in the absence of all proof.

But, supposing it were admitted that Jewish apocalyptic had some affinity for the Hellenic world, that it was Platonic and communistic, how are we to explain the fact that the Gospels, which describe the genesis of Christ and Christianity, imply a Galilaean and not a Roman environment?

As a matter of fact, Kalthoff says, they do imply a Roman environment. The scene of the Gospel history is laid in Palestine, but it is drawn in Rome. The agrarian conditions implied in the narratives and parables are Roman. A vineyard with a wine-press of its own could only be found, according to Kalthoff, on the large Roman estates. So, too, the legal conditions. The right of the creditor to sell the debtor, with his wife and children, is a feature of Roman, not of Jewish law.

Peter everywhere symbolises the Church at Rome. The confession of Peter had to be transferred to Caesarea Philippi because this town, "as the seat of the Roman administration," symbolised for Palestine the political presence of Rome. , .

The woman with the issue was perhaps Poppaea Sabina, the wife of Nero, "who in view of her strong leaning towards Judaism might well be described in the symbolical style of the apocalyptic writings as the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' garment."

[1] If Kalthoff would only have spoken of the conception of resurrection instead of the conception of immortality! Then his subjective knowledge would have been more or less tolerable.


The story of the unfaithful steward alludes to Pope Callixtus, who, when the slave of a Christian in high position, was condemned to the mines for the crime of embezzlement; that of the woman who was a sinner refers to Marcia, the powerful mistress of Commodus, at whose interccssion Callixtus was released, to be advanced soon afterwards to the bishopric of Rome. "These two narratives, therefore," Kalthoff suggests, "which very clearly allude to events well known at that time, and doubtless much discussed in the Christian community, were admitted into the Gospel to express the views of the Church regarding the life-story of a Roman bishop which had run its course under the eyes of the community, and thereby to give to the events themselves the Church's sanction and interpretation."

Kalthoff does not, unfortunately, mention whether this is a case of simple, ingenuous, or of conscious, didactic, Early Christian imagination.

That kind of criticism is a casting out of Satan by the aid of Beelzebub. If he was going to invent on this scale, Kalthoff need not have found any difficulty in accepting the figure of Jesus evolved by modern theology. One feels annoyed with him because, while his thesis is ingenious, and, as against "modern theology" has a considerable measure of justification, he has worked it out in so unmteresting a fashion. He has no one but himself to blame for the fact that instead of leading to the right explanation, it only introduced a wearisome and unproductive controversy. [1]

In the end there remains scarcely a shade of distinction between Kalthoff and his opponents. They want to bring their "historical Jesus" into the midst of our time. He wants to do the same with his "Christ." "A secularised Christ," he says, "as the type of the self-determined man who amid strife and suffering carries through victoriously, and fully realises, His own personality in order to give the infinite fullness of love which He bears within Himself as a blessing to mankind-a Christ such as that can awaken to new life the antique Christ-type of the Church. He is no longer the Christ of the scholar, of the abstract theological thinker with his scholastic rules and methods. He is the people's Christ, the Christ of the ordinary man, the figure in which all those powers of the human soul which are most natural and simple-and therefore most

[1] Against Kalthoff: Wilhelm Bousset, Was wissen wir von Jesus? (What do we know about Jesus?) Lectures delivered before the Protestantenverein at Bremen. alle, 1904. 73 pp. In reply: Albert Kalthoff, Was wissen wir von Jesus? A settlement of accounts with Professor Bousset. Berlin, 1904. 43 pp.

A sound historical position is set forth in the clear and trenchant lecture of W. Kapp, Das Christus- und Christentumsproblent bei Kalthoff. (The problem of the Christ and of Christianity as handled by Kalthoff.) Strassburg, 1905. 23 pp.


exalted and divine-find an expression at once sensible and spiritual." But that is precisely the description of the Jesus of modern historical theology; why, then, make this long roundabout through scepticism? The Christ of Kalthoff is nothing else than the Jesus of those whom he combats in such a lofty fashion; the only difference is that he draws his figure of Christ in red ink on blotting-paper, and because it is red in colour and smudgy in outline, wants to make out that it is something new.

It is on ethical grounds that Eduard von Hartmann [1] refuses to accept the Jesus of modern theology. He finds fault with it because in its anxiety to retain a personality which would be of value to religion it does not sufficiently distinguish between the authentic and the "historical" Jesus. When criticism has removed the paintings-over and retouchings to which this authentic portrait of Jesus has been subjected, it reaches, according to him, an unrecognisable painting below, in which it is impossible to discover any clear likeness, least of all one of any religious use and value.

Were it not for the tenacity and the simple fidelity of the epic tradition, nothing whatever would have remained of the historic Jesus. What has remained is merely of historical and psychological interest.

At His first appearance the historic Jesus was, according to Eduard von Hartmann, almost "an impersonal being," since He regarded Himself so exclusively as the vehicle of His message that His personality hardly came into the question. As time went on, however. He developed a taste for glory and for wonderful deeds, and fell at last into a condition of "abnormal exaltation of personality." In the end He declares Himself to His disciples and before the council as Messiah. "When He felt His death drawing nigh He struck the balance of His life, found His mission a failure. His person and His cause abandoned by God, and died with the unanswered question on His lips, 'My God, why hast thou forsaken me?'"

It is significant that Eduard von Hartmann has not fallen into the mistake of Schopenhauer and many other philosophers, of identifying the pessimism of Jesus with the Indian speculative pessimism of Buddha. The pessimism of Jesus, he says, is not metaphysical, it is "a pessimism of indignation," born of the intolerable social and political conditions of the time. Von Hartmann also clearly recognises the significance of eschatology, but he does not define its character quite correctly, since he bases his impressions solely on the Talmud, hardly making any use of

[1] Eduard von Hartmann, Das Christentum des Neuen Testaments. (The Christianity of the N.T.) 2nd, revised and altered, edition of the "Letters on the Christian Religion." Sachsa-in-the-Harz, 1905. 311 pp.


the Old Testament, of Enoch, the Psalms of Solomon, Baruch, or Fourth Ezra. He has an irritating way of still using the name "Jehovah."

Like Reimarus-von Hartmann's positions are simply modernised Reimarus-he is anxious to show that Christian theology has lost the right "to treat the ideal Kingdom of God as belonging to itself." Jesus and His teaching, so far as they have been preserved, belong to Judaism. His ethic is for us strange and full of stumbling-blocks. He despises work, property, and the duties of family life. His gospel is fundamentally plebeian, and completely excludes the idea of any aristocracy except in so far as it consents to plebeianise itself, and this is true not only as regards the aristocracy of rank, property, and fortune, but also the aristocracy of intellect. Von Hartmann cannot resist the temptation to accuse Jesus of "Semitic harshness," finding the evidence of this chiefly in Mark iv. 12, where Jesus declares that the purpose of His parables was to obscure His teaching and cause the hearts of the people to be hardened.

His judgment upon Jesus is: "He had no genius, but a certain talent which, in the complete absence of any sound education, produced in general only moderate results, and was not sufficient to preserve Him from numerous weaknesses and serious errors; at heart a fanatic and a transcendental enthusiast, who in spite of an inborn kindliness of disposition hates and despises the world and everything it contains, and holds any interest in it to be injurious to the sole true, transcendental interest; an amiable and modest youth who, through a remarkable concatenation of circumstances arrived at the idea, which was at that time epidemic, [1] that He was Himself the expected Messiah, and in consequence of this met His fate."

It is to be regretted that a mind like Eduard von Hartmann's should not have got beyond the externals of the history, and made an effort to grasp the simple and impressive greatness of the figure of Jesus in its eschatological setting; and that he should imagine he has disposed of the strangeness which he finds in Jesus when he has made it as small as possible. And yet in another respect there is something satisfactory about his book. It is the open struggle of the Germanic spirit with Jesus. In this battle the victory will rest with true greatness. Others wanted to make peace before the struggle, or thought that theologians could fight the battle alone, and spare their contemporaries the doubts about the historical Jesus through which it was necessary to pass in order to reach the eternal Jesus-and to this end they kept preaching reconciliation while fighting the battle. They could only preach it on a basis of postulates, and postulates make poor preaching! Thus, Julicher, for

[1] Eduard von Hartmann ought, therefore, to have given his assistance to the others who have made this assertion in proving that there really existed Messianic claimants before and at the time of Jesus.


example, in his latest sketches of the Life of Jesus1 distinguishes between "Jewish and supra-Jewish" in Jesus, and holds that Jesus transferred the ideal of the Kingdom of God "to the solid ground of the present, bringing it into the course of historical events," and further "associated with the Kingdom of God" the idea of development which was utterly opposed to all Jewish ideas about the Kingdom. Julicher also desires to raise "the strongest protest against the poor little definition of His preaching which makes it consist in nothing further than an announcement of the nearness of the Kingdom, and an exhortation to the repentance necessary as a condition for attaining the Kingdom."

But when has a protest against the pure truth of history ever been of any avail? Why proclaim peace where there is no peace, and attempt to put back the clock of time? Is it not enough that Schleiermacher and Ritschl succeeded again and again in making theology send on earth peace instead of a sword, and does not the weakness of Christian thought as compared with the general culture of our time result from the fact that it did not face the battle when it ought to have faced it, but persisted in appealing to a court of arbitration on which all the sciences were represented, but which it had successfully bribed in advance?

Now there comes to join the philosophers a jurist. Herr Doctor jur. De Jonge lends his aid to Eduard von Hartmann in "destroying the ecclesiastical," and "unveiling the Jewish picture of Jesus." [2]

[1] "Jesus," by Julicher, in Die Kultur der Gegenwart. (An encyclopaedic publication which is appearing in parts.) Teubner, Berlin, 1905, pp. 40-69.

See also W. Bousset, "Jesus," Religionsgeschichtliche Volksbucher. (A series of religious-historical monographs.) Published by Schiele, Halle, 1904.

Here should be mentioned also the thoughtful book, following very much the lines of Julicher, by Eduard Grimm, entitled Die Ethik Jesu, Hamburg, 1903, 288 pp. The author, born in 1848, is the chief pastor at the Nicolaikirche in Hamburg.

Another work which deserves mention is Arno Neumann, Jesu wie er geschichtlich war (Jesus as he historically existed), Freiburg, 1904, 198 pp. (New Paths to the Old God), a Life of Jesus distinguished by a lofty vein of natural poetry and based upon solid theological knowledge. Arno Neumann is headmaster of a school at Apolda.

[2] Jeschua. Der klassisch'e fildische Mann. Zerstorung des kirchlichen, Enthullung des judischen Jesus-Bildes. Berlin, 1904, 112 pp. Earlier studies of the Life of Jesua from the Jewish point of view had been less ambitious. Dr. Aug. Wunsche had written in 1872 on "Jesus in His attitude towards women" from the Talmudic standpoint (146 pp.), and had described Him from the same standpoint as a Jesus who rejoiced in life, Der lebensfreudige Jesus der synoptischen Evangelier. im Gegensatz W leidenden Messias der Kirche, Leipzig, 1876, 444 pp. The basis is so far correct that the eschatological, world-renouncing ethic which we find in Jesus was due to temporary conditions and is therefore transitory, and had nothing whatever to do with Judaism as such. The spirit of the Law is the opposite of world-renouncing. But the Talmud, be its traditions never so trustworthy, could teach us little about Jesus because it has preserved scarcely a trace of that eschatological phase of Jewish religion and ethics.


De Jonge is a Jew by birth, baptized in 1889, who on the 22nd of November 1902 again separated himself from the Christian communion and was desirous of being received back "with certain evangelical reservations" into the Jewish community. In spite of his faithful observance of the Law, this was refused. Now he is waiting "until in the Synagogue of the twentieth century a freedom of conscience is accorded to him equal to that which in the first century was enjoyed by John, the beloved disciple of Jeschua of Nazareth." In the meantime he beguiles the period of waiting by describing Jesus and His earliest followers in the character of pattern Jews, and sets them to work in the interest of his "Jewish views with evangelical reservations."

It is the colourless, characterless Jesus of the Superintendents and Konsistorialrats which especially arouses his enmity. With this figure he contrasts his own Jesus, the man of holy anger, the man of holy calm, the man of holy melancholy, the master of dialectic, the imperious ruler, the man of high gifts and practical ability, the man of inexorable consistency and reforming vigour.

Jesus was, according to De Jonge, a pupil of Hillel. He demanded voluntary poverty only in special cases, not as a general principle. In the case of the rich young man, He knew "that the property which he had inherited was derived in this particular case from impure sources which must be cut off at once and for ever."

But how does De Jonge know that Jesus knew this?

A writer who is attacking the common theological picture of Jesus, and who displays in the process, as De Jonge does, not only wit and address, but historical intuition, ought not to fall into the error of the theology with which he is at feud; he ought to use sober history as his weapon against the supplementary knowledge which his opponents seem to find between the lines, instead of meeting it with an esoteric historical knowledge of his own.

De Jonge knows that Jesus possessed property inherited from His father: "One proof may serve where many might be given-the hasty flight into Egypt with his whole family to escape from Herod, and the long sojourn in that country."

De Jonge knows-he is here, however, following the Gospel of John, to which he everywhere gives the preference-that Jesus was between forty and fifty years old at the time of His first coming forward publicly. The statement in Luke iii. 23, that He was wsei thirty years old, can only mislead those who do not remember that Luke was a portrait painter and only meant that "Jeschua, in consequences of His glorious beauty and His ever-youthful appearance, looked ten years younger than He really was."

De Jonge knows also that Jesus, at the time when He first emerged from obscurity, was a widower and had a little son-the "lad" of John


vi. 9, who had the five barley loaves and two fishes, was in fact His son. This and many other things the author finds in "the glorious John." According to De Jonge too we ought to think of Jesus as the aristocratic Jew, more accustomed to a dress coat than to a workman's blouse, something of an expert, as appears from some of the parables in matters of the table, and conning the menu with interest when He dined with "privy-finance-councillor" Zacchaeus.

But this is to modernise more distressingly than even the theologians!

De Jonge's one-sided preference for the Fourth Gospel is shared by Kirchbach's book, "What did Jesus teach?" [1] but here everything, instead of being judaised, is spiritualised. Kirchbach does not seem to have been acquainted with Noack's "History of Jesus," otherwise he would hardly have ventured to repeat the same experiment without the latter's touch of genius and with much less skill and knowledge.

The teaching of Jesus is interpreted on the lines of the Kantian philosophy. The saying, "No man hath seen God at any time," is to be understood as if it were derived from the same system of thought as the "Critique of Pure Reason." Jesus always used the words "death" and "life" in a purely metaphorical sense. Eternal life is for Him not a life in another world, but in the present. He speaks of Himself as the Son of God, not as the Jewish Messiah. Son of Man is only the ethical explanation of Son of God. The only reason why a Son-of-Man problem has arisen, is because Matthew translated the ancient term Son of Man in the original collection of Logia "with extreme literality."

The great discourse of Matt. xxiii. with its warnings and threatenings is, according to Kirchbach, merely "a patriotic oration in which Jesus gives expression in moving words to His opposition to the Pharisees and His inborn love of His native land."

The teaching of Jesus is not ascetic, it closely resembles the real teaching of Epicurus, "that is, the rejection of all false metaphysics, and the resulting condition of blessedness, of makaria." The only purpose of the demand addressed to the rich young man was to try him. "If the youth, instead of slinking away dejectedly because he was called upon to sell all his goods, had replied, confident in the possession of a rich fund of courage, energy, ability, and knowledge, 'Right gladly. It will not go to my heart to part with my little bit of property; if I'm not

[1] Wolfgang Kirchbach, Was lehrte Jesus? Zicei Urevangelien. Berlin, 1897, 248 pp.; second greatly enlarged and improved edition, 1902, 339 pp. By the same author, Das Buch Jesus. Die Urevangelien. Neu nachgewiesen, new uberstzt, geordnet und aus der Ursprache erklart. (The Book of Jesus. The Primitive Gospels. Newly traced, translated, arranged, and explained on the basis of the original.) Berlin, 1897.


to have it why then I can do without it,' the Rabbi would probably in that case not have taken him at his word, but would have said, 'Young man, I like you. You have a good chance before you, you may do something in the Kingdom of God, and in any case for My sake you may attach yourself to Me by way of trial. We can talk about your stocks and bonds later.'"

Finally, Kirchbach succeeds, though only, it must be admitted, by the aid of some rather awkward phraseology, in spiritualising John vi. "It is not the body," he explains, "of the long departed thinker, who apparently attached no importance whatever to the question of personal survival, that we, who understand Him in the right Greek sense, 'eat'; in the sense which He intended, we eat and drink, and absorb into ourselves, His teaching, His spirit, His sublime conception of life, by constantly recalling them in connexion with the symbol of bread and flesh, the symbol of blood, the symbol of water." [1]

Worthless as Kirchbach's Life of Jesus is from an historical point of view, it is quite comprehensible as a phase in the struggle between the modern view of the world and Jesus. The aim of the work is to retain His significance for a metaphysical and non-ascetic time; and since it is not possible to do this in the case of the historical Jesus, the author denies His existence in favour of an apocryphal Jesus.

It is, in fact, the characteristic feature of the Life-of-Jesus literature on the threshold of the new century even in the productions of professedly historical and scientific theology, to subordinate the historical interest to the interest of the general world-view. And those who "wrest the Kingdom of Heaven" are beginning to wrest Jesus Himself along with it. Men who have no qualifications for the task, whose ignorance is nothing less than criminal, who loftily anathematise scientific theology instead of making themselves in some measure acquainted with the researches which it has carried out, feel impelled to write a Life of Jesus, in order to set forth their general religious view in a portrait of Jesus which has not the faintest claim to be historical, and the most far-fetched of these find favour, and are eagerly absorbed by the multitude.

It would be something to be thankful for if all these Lives of Jesus

[1] Before him, Hugo Deiff, in his History of the Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth (Leipzig, 1889, 428 pp.), had confined himself to the Fourth Gospel, and even within that Gospel he drew some critical distinctions. His Jesus at first conceals His Messiahship from the fear of arousing the political expectations of the people, and speaks to them of the Son of Man in the third person. At His second visit to Jerusalem He breaks with the rulers, is subsequently compelled, in consequence of the conflict over the Sabbath, to leave Galilee, and then gives up His own people and turns to the heathen. Deiff explains the raising of Lazarus by supposing him to have been buried in a state of trance.


were based on as definite an idea and as acute historical observation as we find in Albert Dulk's "The Error of the Life of Jesus." [1] In Dulk the story of the fate of Jesus is also the story of the fate of religion. The Galilaean teacher, whose true character was marked by deep religious inwardness, was doomed to destruction from the moment when He set Himself upon the dizzy heights of the divine sonship and the eschatological expectation. He died in despair, having vainly expected, down to the very last, a "telegram from heaven." Religion as a whole can only avoid the same fate by renouncing all transcendental elements.

The vast numbers of imaginative Lives of Jesus shrink into remarkably small compass on a close examination. When one knows two or three of them, one knows them all. They have scarcely altered since Venturini's time, except that some of the cures performed by Jesus are handled in the modern Lives from the point of view of the recent investigations in hypnotism and suggestion. [2]

According to Paul de Regia [2] Jesus was born out of wedlock. Joseph, however, gave shelter and protection to the mother. De Regia dwells on the beauty of the child. "His eyes were not exceptionally large, but were well-opened, and were shaded by long, silky, dark-brown eyelashes, and rather deep-set. They were of a blue-grey colour, which changed with changing emotions, taking on various shades, especially blue and brownish-grey."

[1] Albert Dulk, Der Irrgang des Lebens Jesa. In geschichtlicher Auffassung dargestellt. Erster Teil: Die historischen Wwzein und die galildische Blilte, 1884, 395 pp. Zweiter Teil: Der Messiaseinzug und die Erhebung ans Kreuz, 1885, 302 pp. (The Error of the Life of Jesus. Historically apprehended and set forth. Pt. i., The Historical Roots and the Galilaean Blossom. Pt. ii., The Messianic Entry and the Crucifixion.) The course of Dulk's own life was somewhat erratic. Born in 1819, he came prominently forward in the revolution of 1848, as a political pamphleteer and agitator. Later, though almost without means, he undertook long journeys, even to Sinai and to Lapland. Finally, he worked as a social democratic reformer. He died in 1884.

[2] A scientific treatment of this subject is supplied by Fr. Nippold, Die psychiatrische Seite der Heilstatigkeit Jesu (The Psychiatric Side of Jesus' Works of Healing), 1889, in which a luminous review of the medical material is to be found. See also Dr. K. Kunz, Christus medicus, Freiburg in Baden, 1905, 74 pp. The scientific value of this work is, however, very much reduced by the fact that author has no acquaintance with the preliminary questions belonging to the sphere of history and literature, and regards all the miracles of healing as actual events, believing himself able to explain them from the medical point of view. The tendency of the work is mainly apologetic.

[3] Jesus von Nazareth. Described from the Scientific, Historical, and Social Point of View. Translated from the French (into German) by A. Just. Leipzig, 1894. The author, whose real name is P. A. Desjardin, is a practising physician. De Regla, too, makes the Fourth Gospel the basis of his narrative.


He and His disciples were Essenes, as was also the Baptist. That implies that He was no longer a Jew in the strict sense. His preaching dealt with the rights of man, and put forward socialistic and communistic demands: His religion in the pure consciousness of communion with God. With eschatology He had nothing whatever to do, it was first interpolated into His teaching by Matthew.

The miracles are all to be explained by suggestion and hypnotism. At the marriage at Cana, Jesus noticed that the guests were taking too much and therefore secretly bade the servants pour out water instead of wine while He Himself said, "Drink, this is better wine." In this way He succeeded in suggesting to a part of the company that they were really drinking wine. The feeding of the multitude is explained by striking out a couple of noughts from the numbers; the raising of Lazarus by supposing it a case of premature burial. Jesus Himself when taken down from the cross was not dead, and the Essenes succeeded in re-animating Him. His work is inspired with hatred against Catholicism, but with a real reverence for Jesus.

Another mere variant of the plan of Venturini is the fictitious Life of Jesus of Pierre Nahor. [1] The sentimental descriptions of nature and the long dialogues characteristic of the Lives of Jesus of a hundred years ago are here again in full force. After John had already begun to preach in the neighbourhood of the Dead Sea, Jesus, in company with a distinguished Brahmin who possessed property at Nazareth and had an influential following in Jerusalem, made a journey to Egypt and was there indoctrinated into all kinds of Egyptian, Essene, and Indian philosophy, thus giving the author, or rather the authoress, an opportunity to develop her ideas on the philosophy of religion in didactic dialogues. When He soon afterwards begins to work in Galilee the young teacher is much aided by the fact that, at the instance of His fellow-traveller, He had acquired from Egyptian mendicants a practical acquaintance with the secrets of hypnotism. By His skill He healed Mary of Magdala, a distinguished courtesan of Tiberias. They had met before at Alexandria. After being cured she left Tiberias and went to live in a small house, inherited from her mother, at Magdala.

Jesus Himself never went to Tiberias, but the social world of that place took an interest in Him, and often had itself rowed to the beach when He was preaching. Rich and pious ladies used to inquire of Him where He thought of preaching to the people on a given day, and sent

[1] Pierre Nahor (Emilie Lerou), Jesus. Translated from the French by Walter Bloch. Berlin, 1905. Its motto is: The figure of Jesus belongs, like all mysterious, heroic, or mythical figures, to legend and poetry. In the introduction we find the statement, "This book is a confession of faith." The narrative is based on the Fourth Gospel.


baskets of bread and dried fish to the spot which He indicated, that the multitude might not suffer hunger. This is the explanation of the stories about the feeding of the multitudes; the people had no idea whence Jesus suddenly obtained the supplies which He caused His disciples to distribute.

When he became aware that the priests had resolved upon His death, He made His friend Joseph of Arimathea, a leading man among the Essenes, promise that he would take Him down from the cross as soon as possible and lay Him in the grave without other witnesses. Only Nicodemus was to be present. On the cross He put Himself into a cataleptic trance; He was taken down from the cross seemingly dead, and came to Himself again in the grave. After appearing several times to His disciples he set out for Nazareth and dragged His way painfully thither. With a last effort He reaches the house of His mysterious old Indian teacher. At the door He falls helpless, just as the morning dawns. The old slave-woman recognises Him and carries Him into the house, where He dies. "The serene solemn night withdrew and day broke in blinding splendour behind Tiberias."

Nikolas Notowitsch [1] finds in Luke i. 80 ("And the child grew . . . and was in the deserts until the day of his shewing unto Israel") a "gap in the life of Jesus," in spite of the fact that this passage refers to the Baptist, and proposes to fill it by putting Jesus to school with the Brahmins and Buddhists from His thirteenth to His twenty-ninth year. As evidence for this he refers to statements about Buddhist worship of a certain Issa which he professes to have found in the monasteries of Little Thibet. The whole thing is, as was shown by the experts, a bare-faced swindle and an impudent invention.

To the fictitious Lives of Jesus belong also in the main the theosophical "Lives," which equally play fast and loose with the history,

[1] La Vie inconnue de Jesus-Christ. Paris, 1894. 301 pp. German, under the title Die Lucke im Leben Jesu (The Gap in the Life of Jesus), Stuttgart, 1894. 186 pp. See Holtzmann in the Theol. Jahresbericht, xiv. p. 140.

In a certain limited sense the work of A. Lillie, The Influence of Buddhism on Primitive Christianity (London, 1893), is to be numbered among the fictitious works on the life of Jesus. The fictitious element consists in Jesus being made an Essene by the writer, and Essenism equated with Buddhism.

Among "edifying" romances on the life of Jesus intended for family reading, that of the English writer J. H. Ingraham, The Prince of the House of David has had a very long lease of life. It appeared in a German translation as early as 1858, and was reissued in 1906 (Brunswick).

A fictitious life of Jesus of wonderful beauty is Peter Rosegger's I.N.R.I. Frohe Botschaft sines armen Sunders (The Glad Tidings of a poor Sinner). Leipzig, 6th-10th thousand, 1906. 293 pp. , ^

A feminine point of view reveals itself in C. Ranch's Jeschua ben Joseph, Oeichert, 1899.


though here with a view to proving that Jesus had absorbed the Egyptian and Indian theosophy, and had been indoctrinated with "occult science." The theosophists, however, have the advantage of escaping the dilemma between reanimation after a trance and resurrection, since they are convinced that it was possible for Jesus to reassume His body after He had really died. But in the touching up and embellishment of the Gospel narratives they out-do even the romancers.

Ernest Bosc, [1] writing as a theosophist, makes it the chief aim of his work to describe the oriental origin of Christianity, and ventures to assert that Jesus was not a Semite, but an Aryan. The Fourth Gospel is, of course, the basis of his representation. He does not hesitate, however, to appeal also to the anonymous "Revelations" published in 1849, which are a mere plagiarism from Venturini.

A work which is written with some ability and with much out-of-the-way learning is "Did Jesus live 100 B.C.?" [2] The author compares the Christian tradition with the Jewish, and finds in the latter a reminiscence of a Jesus who lived in the time of Alexander Jannaeus (104-76 B.C.). This person was transferred by the earliest Evangelist to the later period, the attempt being facilitated by the fact that during the procuratorship of Pilate a false prophet had attracted some attsntion. The author, however, only professes to offer it as a hypothesis, and apologises in advance for the offence which it is likely to cause.

[2] La Vie esoterique de Jesu-Christ et les origines orientales du christianisme. Paris, 1902. 445 pp.

That Jesus was of Aryan race is argued by A. Muller, who assumes a Gaulish immigration into Galilee. Jesus ein Arier. Leipzig, 1904. 74 pp.

[2] Did Jesus live 100 B.C.? London and Benares. Theosophical Publishing Society, 1903. 440 pp.

A scientific discussion of the "Toledoth Jeshu," with citations from the Talmudic tradition concerning Jesus, is offered by S. Krauss, Das Leben Jesu nach judischen Quellen. 1902. 309 pp. According to him the Toledoth Jeshu was committed to writing in the fifth century, and he is of opinion that the Jewish legend is only a modified version of the Christian tradition.

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