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Editors of 


RT. HON. H. A. L. FISHER, M.A., F.B.A. 



For list of volumes in the Library see end o/ book. 





\noii opus! "io Library Board 

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Services - G&E 



First Impression 

September 1912 














CEPTS OF JESUS . . . . .123 









INDEX 255 





THE New Testament presents the paradox 
of a literature born of protest against the 
tyranny of a canon, yet ultimately canonized 
itself through an increasing demand for 
external authority. This paradox is full of 
significance. We must examine it more 

The work of Jesus was a consistent effort 
to set religion free from the deadening system 
of the scribes. He was conscious of a direct, 
divine authority. The broken lights of former 
inspiration are lost in the full dawn of God s 
presence to His soul. 

So with Paul. The key to Paul s thought 

is his revolt against legalism. It had been 

part of his servitude to persecute the sect 

which claimed to know another Way besides 



the " way " l of the scribes. These Christians 
signalized their faith by the rite of baptism, 
and gloried in the sense of endowment with 
" the Spirit." Saul was profoundly conscious 
of the yoke; only he had not dreamed that 
his own deliverance could come from such a 
quarter. But contact with victims of the 
type of Stephen, men " filled with the Spirit," 
conscious of the very " power from God " for 
lack of which his soul was fainting, could not 
but have some effect. It came suddenly, 
overwhelmingly. The real issue, as Saul saw 
it, both before and after his conversion, was 
Law versus Grace. In seeking " justifica 
tion " by favour of Jesus these Christians were 
opening a new and living way to acceptance 
with God. Traitorous and apostate as the 
attempt must seem while the way of the Law 
still gave promise of success, to souls sinking 
like Saul s deeper and deeper into the despair 
ing consciousness of " the weakness of the 
flesh " forgiveness in the name of Jesus 
might prove to be light and life from God. 
The despised sect of sinners whom he 
had been persecuting expressed the essence 
of their faith in the doctrine that the gift 
of the Spirit of Jesus had made them sons 
and heirs of God. If the converted Paul in 
turn is uplifted " energized," as he terms 
it even beyond his fellow-Christians, by 

1 Tank, i. e. " way/ is still the Arabic term for a sect, 
and the Rabbinic term for legal requirement is halacha, 
i.e. "walk." 


the sense of present inspiration, it is no more 
than we should expect. 

Paul s conversion to the new faith or at 
least his persistent satisfaction in it will be 
inexplicable unless we appreciate the logic 
of his recognition in it of an inherent opposi 
tion to the growing demands of legalism. 
Jesus had, in truth, led a revolt against mere 
book-religion. His chief opponents were the 
scribes, the devotees and exponents of a 
sacred scripture, the Law. " Law " and 
" Prophets," the one prescribing the con 
ditions of the expected transcendental King 
dom, the other illustrating their application 
and guaranteeing their promise, constituted 
the canon of the synagogue. Judaism had 
become a religion of written authority. 
Jesus set over against this a direct relation 
to the living Father in heaven, ever presently 
revealed to the filial spirit. The Sermon on 
the Mount makes the doing of this Father s 
will something quite other than servitude to 
written precepts interpreted by official author 
ity and imposed under penalty. It is to be 
self-discipline in the Father s spirit of dis 
interested goodness, as revealed in everyday 

Even the reward of this self-discipline, the 
Kingdom, Jesus did not conceive quite as 
the scribes. To them obedience in this 
world procured a " share in the world to 
come." To Him the reward was more a 
matter of being than of getting. The King- 


dom was an heir-apparency ; and, therefore, 
present as well as future. It was " within " 
and " among " men as well as before them. 
They should seek to "be sons and daughters 
of the Highest," taking for granted that all 
other good things would be " added." So 
Jesus made religion live again. It became 
spiritual, inward, personal, actual. 

After John the Baptist s ministry to what 
we should call the unchurched masses, 
Jesus took up their cause. He became the 
" friend " and champion of the " little ones," 
the " publicans and sinners," the mixed 
people of the land in populous, half- 
heathen, Galilee. The burdens imposed by 
the scribes in the name of Scripture were 
accepted with alacrity by the typical Pharisee 
unaffected by Pauline misgivings of moral 
inability. To " fulfil all righteousness " was 
to the Pharisee untainted by Hellenism a 
pride and delight. To the "lost sheep of 
Israel " whom Jesus addressed, remote from 
temple and synagogue, this " righteousness " 
had proved (equally as to Paul, though on 
very different grounds) " a yoke which neither 
we nor our fathers were able to bear." Jesus 
" had compassion on the multitude." To 
them he " spoke with authority " ; and yet 
" not as the scribes " but as " a prophet." 
When challenged by the scribes for his 
authority he referred to "the baptism of 
John," and asked whether John s commission 
was " from heaven, or of men." They 


admitted that John was " a prophet." Those 
who give utterance after this manner to the 
simple, sincere conviction of the soul, voicing 
its instinctive aspiration toward " the things 
that be of God," are conscious that they 
speak not of themselves. 

Jesus, it is true, was no iconoclast. He took 
pains to make clear that if he superseded what 
they of old time had taught as righteousness, 
it was in the interest of a higher, a " righteous 
ness of God." If he disregarded fasts and 
sabbaths, it was to put substance for form, 
end for means. " Judgment, mercy, and good 
faith " should count more than tithes from 
" mint and anise and cummin." He echoed 
what John the Baptist had taught of re 
pentance and forgiveness. Hope should no 
longer be based on birth, or prerogative, or 
ritual form, but on the mercy of a God who 
demands that we forgive if we would be for 
given. Such had been, however, the message 
not of John only, but of all the prophets before 
him : " I will have mercy, and not sacrifice." 
Jesus taught this higher, inward, righteous 
ness ; but not merely as John had done. 
John had said : Repent, for the wrath of God 
is at hand. Jesus said : Repent, for the 
forgiveness of God is open. The Father s 
heart yearns over the wayward sons. Jesus 
preached the nearness of the Kingdom as 
* glad tidings to the poor " ; and among these 
" poor " were included even aliens who put 
" faith " in the God of Abraham. 


The new Way started from the same 
Scripture as that of the scribes, but it tended 
in an opposite direction. Theirs had been 
gradually developing in definiteness and 
authority since the time of Ezra; yes, since 
Josiah had made formal covenant, after the 
discovery of " the book of the Law " in the 
temple, pledging himself and his people to 
obedience. As with many ancient peoples, 
the codification of the ancient law had been 
followed by its canonization, and as the 
national life had waned the religious signifi 
cance of the Law had increased. It was now 
declared to express the complete will of God, 
for an ideal people of God, in a renovated 
universe, whose centre was to be a new and 
glorified Jerusalem. The Exile interrupted 
for a time the process of formal development ; 
but in the ecclesiastical reconstruction which 
followed in Ezra s time " the book of the Law " 
had become all the more supreme ; the scribe 
took the place of the civil officer, the syna 
gogue became local sanctuary and court-house 
in one, the nation became a church, Israel 
became the people of the book. 

Legal requirement calls for the incentive 
of reward. We need not wonder, then, that 
the canon of the Law was soon supplemented 
by that of the writings of the Prophets, 
historical and hortatory. The former were 
considered to interpret the Law by showing 
its application in practice, the latter were 
valued for their predictive element. Law 


and Prophets were supplemented by Psalms, 
and elements from the later literature having 
application to the religious system. The most 
influential were the " apocalypses," or " reve 
lations " of the transcendental Kingdom and 
of the conditions and mode of its coming. 
Scripture had thus become an embodiment 
of Israel s religion. It set forth the national 
law, civil, criminal, or religious; and the 
national hope, the Kingdom of God. Its 
custodian and interpreter was the scribe, 
lawyer and cleric in one. The scribe held 
" the key of knowledge " ; to him it was 
given to bind and loose, open and shut. 
Any preacher who presumed to prescribe a 
righteousness apart from the yoke of the 
Law, or to promise forgiveness of sins on 
other authority, must reckon with the scribes. 
He would be regarded as seeking to take the 
Kingdom by violence. 

Jesus martyrdom was effected through the 
priests, the temple authorities ; but at the 
instigation of the scribes and Pharisees. 
His adherents were soon after driven out 
from orthodox Judaism and subjected to 
persecution. This persecution, however, soon 
found its natural leadership, not among the 
Sadducean temple-priesthood, but among the 
devotees of the Law. It was " in the syna 
gogues." From having been quasi -political 
it became distinctly religious. This persecu 
tion by the Pharisees is on the whole less 
surprising than the fact that so many of the 


Jewish believers should have continued to 
regard themselves as consistent Pharisees, 
and even been so regarded by their fellow- 
Jews. In reality Jewish Christians as a rule 
could see no incompatibility between average 
synagogue religion and their acceptance of 
Jesus as the man supernaturally attested in 
the resurrection as destined to return bringing 
the glory of the Kingdom. Jesus idea of 
righteousness did not seem to them irrecon 
cilable with the legalism of the scribes ; still 
less had they felt the subtle difference between 
his promise " Ye shall be sons and daughters 
of the Highest " and the apocalyptic dreams 
which they shared with their fellow-Jews. 
Saul the persecutor and Paul the apostle 
were more logical. In Gal. ii. 15-21 we have 
Paul s own statement of the essential issue 
as it still appeared to his clear mind. Average 
synagogue religion still left room for a more 
fatherly relation of God to the individual, in 
spite of the gradual encroachment of the 
legalistic system of the scribes. Men not 
sensitive to inconsistency could find room 
within the synagogue for the paternal 
theism of Jesus, even if this must more and 
more be placed under the head of un- 
covenanted mercies. To Paul, however, the 
dilemma is absolute. One must trust either to 
" law " or " grace." Partial reliance on the 
one is to just that extent negation of faith 
in the other. The system of written precept 
permits no exception, tolerates no divided 


allegiance. If the canon of written law be the 
God-given condition of the messianic promise, 
then no man can aspire to share in the hope 
of Israel who does not submit unreservedly 
to its yoke. Conversely, faith is not faith 
if one seek to supplement it by the merit of 
" works of law." 

From this point of view the Jew who seeks 
forgiveness of sins by baptism " into the name 
of Jesus " must be considered an apostate 
from the Law. He acknowledges thereby 
that he is following another Way, a way of 
" grace," a short -cut, as it were, to a share in 
Israel s messianic inheritance by the " favour " 
of a pretended Messiah. The same Paul who 
after his conversion maintains (Gal. ii. 21) 
that to seek " justification " through the 
Law makes the grace of God of none effect, 
must conversely have held before conversion 
that to seek it by " grace " of Jesus made 
the Law of none effect. Even at the time of 
writing the axiom still held : No resistance to 
the yoke of the Law, no persecution (Gal.v. 11). 

It is true, then, that the legalistic system of 
prescription and reward had developed 
could develope only at the expense of the 
less mechanical, more fatherly, religion of a 
Hosea or an Isaiah. Even scribes had ad 
mitted that the law of love was " much more 
than all whole burnt-offering and sacrifice." 
And the movement of the Baptist and of 
Jesus had really been of the nature of a 
reaction toward this older, simpler faith. 


The sudden revolt in Paul s own mind against 
the scribal system might not have occurred 
in the mind of a Pharisee unfamiliar with 
Greek ideas. But to some extent Paul s 
experience of the conflict of flesh and spirit, 
a moral inability to meet the Law s demands 
was a typical Christian experience, as Paul 
felt it to be. To him it became the basis of 
an independent gospel. To him the Cross 
and the Spirit imparted from the risen Messiah 
were tokens from God that the dispensation 
of Law is ended and a dispensation of Grace 
and Sonship begun. Without this Pauline 
gospel about Jesus Christianity could never 
have become more than a sect of reformed 

The teaching and martyrdom of Jesus had 
thus served to bring out a deep and real 
antithesis. Only, men who had not passed 
like Paul from the extreme of trust in legalism 
to a corresponding extremity of despair 
might be pardoned for some insensibility to 
this inconsistency. We can appreciate that 
James and Peter might honestly hold them 
selves still under obligation of the written law, 
even while we admit Paul s logic that any man 
who had once " sought to be justified in 
Christ " could not turn back in any degree to 
legal observance without being " self -con 

Christianity may be said to have attained 
self-consciousness as a new religion in the 
great argument directed by Paul along the 


lines of his own gospel against Peter and the 
older apostles. Its victory as a universal 
religion of grace over the limitations of 
Judaism was due to the common doctrine of 
the Spirit. This was the one point of 
agreement, the one hope of ultimate concord 
among the contending parties. All were 
agreed that endowment with the Spirit 
marks the Christian. It was in truth the 
great inheritance from Jesus shared by all 
in common. And Peter and James admitted 
that to deny that uncircumcized Gentiles had 
received the Spirit was to " contend against 

After Paul s death ecclesiastical develop 
ment took mostly the road of the synagogue. 
The sense of the presence and authority of 
the Spirit grew weaker, the authority of 
the letter stronger. From the outset even 
the Pauline churches, in ritual, order, observ 
ance, had followed instinctively this pattern. 
All continued, as a matler of course, to use 
the synagogue s sacred writings. Paul him 
self, spite of his protest against " the letter," 
could make no headway against his opponents, 
save by argument from Scripture. He 
had found in it anticipations and predictions 
of his own Christian faith ; but by an exegesis 
often only little less forced and fantastic than 
that of the rabbinic schools in which he had 
been trained. This was a necessity of the 
times. The reasoning, fallacious as it seems 
to-day, had appealed to and strengthened 


Paul s own faith, and was probably effective 
with others, even if the faith really rested on 
other grounds than the reasoning by which 
it was defended. The results of this biblicism 
were not all salutary. The claims of written 
authority were loosened rather than broken. 
Paul himself had found room enough within 
these defences for the religion of the Spirit; 
but a generation was coming with less of the 
sense of present inspiration. Dependence on 
past authority would be increased in this new 
generation in direct proportion to its sense 
of the superior inspiration of the genera 
tion which had gone before. Paul is un 
hampered by even " the scriptures of the 
prophets " because in his view these take all 
their authority and meaning from " the Lord, 
the Spirit." Hence " where the Spirit of the 
Lord is, there is liberty." Only the remem 
bered " word of the Lord " has authority for 
Paul beyond his own, even when he thinks 
that he also has the Spirit. With that 
exception past revelation is for Paul sub 
ordinate to present. But Paul s immediate 
disciple, the author of Hebrews, is already on 
a lower plane. This writer looks back to a 
threefold source of authority : God had spoken 
in former ages " by the prophets " and to the 
present " by a Son," but he looks also to an 
apostolic authority higher than his own : The 
word " was confirmed unto us by them that 
heard, God also bearing witness with them, 
both by signs and wonders, and by manifold 


powers, and by gifts of the Holy Ghost." 
Similarly the author of the Pastoral Epistles 
(90-100 ?) holds the " pattern of sound words " 
heard from Paul as a " sacred deposit," which 
is " guarded," rather than revealed, " by the 
Holy Spirit." The " sound words " in ques 
tion are defined to be " the words of our Lord 
Jesus Christ." These, taken together with 
" the doctrine which is according to godli 
ness," fix the standard of orthodoxy. To 
" Jude " (100-110 ?) the faith is something 
" once for all delivered to the saints." His 
message is : " Remember, beloved, the words 
spoken before by the apostles of our Lord 
Jesus Christ." Authority increases, the sense 
of the revealing Spirit decreases. 

It is long before the sense of present inspira 
tion, both in word and work is lost ; still 
longer before the recorded precepts of Jesus, 
the exhortations and directions of apostles, 
the visions of " prophets," come to take their 
place alongside the Bible of the synagogue 
as " writings of the new covenant." Melito 
of Sardis (c. 170) is the first to use this 
expression, and even in his case it does not 
bear the sense of a canon with definite limits. 
Tertullian (200-210) is the first to place a 
definite " New Testament " over against the 
Old. We must glance at some of the inter 
mediate steps to appreciate this gradual 
process of canonization. 

At first there is no other Scripture than 
the synagogue s. Clement of Rome (95) 


still uses only the Law and the Prophets 
(including certain apocrypha now lost) as 
his Bible. He refers to the precepts of Jesus 
(quoted as in Acts xx. 35 from oral tradition), 
with the same sense as Paul of their paramount 
authority, and bids the Corinthians whom he 
addresses give heed to what the blessed 
Apostle Paul had written to them " in the 
beginning of the gospel service," to warn 
them against factiousness. Nor has Clement 
yet lost the sense of direct inspiration ; for 
he attaches to his own epistle, written in 
behalf of the church at Rome, the same 
superhuman authority claimed in Acts xv. 
28 for the letter sent by the church at 
Jerusalem. If the Corinthians disregard the 
" words spoken by God through us " they will 
" incur no slight transgression and danger," 
for these warnings of a sister church are uttered 
in the name and by inspiration of the Holy 
Ghost. Still, Clement does not dream of 
comparing his authority, even when he writes 
as agent of the church, with that of " the 
oracles of the teaching of God," the " sacred 
Scriptures," the " Scriptures which are true, 
which were given through the Holy Ghost, 
wherein is written nothing unrighteous or 
counterfeit." He does not even rank his 
own authority with that of " the good apostles, 
Peter and Paul." 

Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, transported 
to Rome for martyrdom in 110-117, employs 
a brief stay among the churches of Asia to 


exhort them to resist the encroachments of 
heresy by consolidation of church organiza 
tion, discipline, strict obedience to the bishop. 
Ignatius, too, still feels the afilutus. His 
message, he declares with emphasis, was 
revealed to him, together with tlie occasion 
for it, directly from heaven. It was "the 
voice of God and not only of a man" when he 
cried out among the Philadelphiaus : " Give 
heed to the bishop, and the presbytery and 
deacons." Yet Ignatius cannot enjoin the 
Romans as Peter and Paul did. They were 
" apostles." He is " a convict." His inspira 
tion, however undoubted, is of a lower order. 

Hermas, a prophet of the same Roman 
church as Clement, though a generation later, 
is still so conscious of the superhuman char 
acter of his " Visions," " Parables," and 
" Mandates " that he gives them out for 
circulation as inspired messages of the Spirit ; 
and this not for Rome alone. Clement, then 
apparently still living, and " the one to whom 
this duty is committed," is to send them " to 
foreign cities." In point of fact the Shepherd 
of Hermas long held a place for many churches 
as part of the New Testament canon. Yet 
less than a generation after Hermas, the claim 
to exercise the gift of prophecy in the church 
was looked upon as dangerous if not heretical. 

In the nature of the case it was really 
impossible that the original sense of endow 
ment with " the Spirit " should survive. Not 
only did the rapidly growing reverence for 


the apostles and the Lord open a chasm 
separating " the word of wisdom and the 
word of power " given to that age, from 
the slighter contemporary claims of miracle 
and revelation ; the very growth and 
wide dissemination of the gospel message 
made standardization imperative. Before the 
middle of the second century Gnostic schism 
had swept nearly half the church into the 
vortex of speculative heresy. Marcion at 
Rome (c. 140) carried Pauline anti-legalism 
to the extreme of an entire rejection of the 
Old Testament. Judaism and all its works 
and ways were to be repudiated. The very 
God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was 
declared other than, and ignorant of, the 
" heavenly Father " of Jesus. Against such 
vagaries there must be some historic standard. 
Even Marcion himself looked to the past, 
however recent, as the source of light, and 
since some written standard must be found, 
it was he, the heretic, who gave to Christianity 
its first canon of Christian writings. The 
Marcionite churches did away with the public 
reading of the Law and the Prophets, and 
could only put in their place " Gospel " and 
" Apostle." Not that Epistles, Gospels, and 
even Revelations were not also in use 
among the orthodox; but they are not yet 
referred to as * Scripture. Even gospels 
are treated merely as aids to the memory in 
transmitting the teaching of the Lord. This 
teaching itself is but the authoritative inter- 


pretation of Law and Prophets, and is in turn 
interpreted by the writings of the apostles. 

Marcion s Gospel consisted of our Luke, 
expurgated according to his own ideas. His 
Apostle contained the Epistles of Paul 
minus the Pastoral Epistles and a series of 
passages cancelled out from the rest as 
Jewish interpolations. This was the first 
Christian Bible distinct from the Scriptures 
of the synagogue. 

Indirectly the growth of Gnostic heresy 
contributed still more to the increasing 
authority of apostolic and quasi-apostolic 
writings. One of its earliest and most ob 
noxious forms was called Doketism, from 
its exaggeration of Paul in ism into a complete 
repudiation of the historic Jesus, whose 
earthly career was stigmatized as mere 
phantasm (dokesis). Doketism is known 
to us not only through description by orthodox 
opponents, but by a few writings of its own. 
It is the type of heresy antagonized in the 
Johannine Epistles (c. 100) and in those of 
Ignatius (110-117). Now Ignatius, as we 
have seen, relied mainly on church organiza 
tion and discipline. The Pastoral Epistles 
(90-100), while they emphasize also " the 
form of healthful words, even the words of 
our Lord Jesus " take, on the whole, a similar 
direction. But 1st John, which relies far less 
than the Pastoral Epistles or Ignatius on mere 
church organization, is also driven back upon 
the life and teaching of Jesus as the historic 


standard. It does, therefore, make formal 
appeal to the sacred tradition in both its 
elements, but with a difference characteristic 
of the Pauline spirit. The redeeming life and 
death of Jesus are viewed as a manifestation of 
" the life, even the eternal life (of the Logos) 
which was with the Father and was mani 
fested unto us " (the historic body of be 
lievers). Again Jesus one " new command 
ment," the law of love, is the epitome of all 

In his doctrine of Scripture as in many other 
respects the Johannine writer shows a breadth 
and catholicity of mind which almost antici 
pates the development of later ages. His 
task was in fact the adjustment of the 
developed Pauline gospel to a type of Chris 
tianity more nearly akin to synagogue tradi 
tion. This type had grown up under the 
name of Peter. On the question of the 
standard of written authority John x 
leaves room for the freedom of the Spirit so 
splendidly set forth in the teaching and ex 
ample of Jesus and Paul, while he resists the 
erratic licence of " those that would lead you 
astray." The result is a doctrine of historic 
authority in general, and of that of the 
Scriptures in particular, sharply differentiated 
from the Jewish, and deserving in every re- 

1 In using traditional names and titles such as " Lnke," 
"John/ 1 "Matthew/ "James/" no assumption is made 
as to authenticity. The designation is employed for con 
venience irrespective of its critical accuracy or inaccuracy. 


spect to be treated as the basis of the Christian. 
In a great chapter of his Gospel (John v.), 
wherein Jesus debates with the scribes the 
question of His own authority, the dialogue 
closes with a denunciation of them because 
they search the Scriptures with the idea that 
in them they have eternal life, that is, they 
treat them as a code of precepts, obedience to 
which will be thus rewarded. On the contrary, 
says Jesus, the Scriptures only " bear witness " 
to the life that is present in Himself as the 
incarnate, eternal, Word ; " but ye will not 
come unto me that ye might have life." 

In seeking the life behind the literature 
as the real revelation, the Johannine writer 
makes the essential distinction between Jewish 
and Christian doctrine. He stands between 
Paul, whose peculiar view was based on an 
exceptional personal experience, and the 
modern investigator, who can but treat all 
literary monuments and records of religious 
movements objectively, as data for the history 
and psychology of religion. If the student 
be devoutly minded the Scriptures will be 
to him, too, however conditioned by the 
idiosyncrasies of temporal environment and 
individual character, manifestations of " the 
life, even the eternal life, which was with 
the Father and was manifested unto us." 

But the Johannine writer was far deeper 
and more spiritual 1 than the trend of 

1 The Fourth Gospel is thus characterized by Clement 
of Alexandria, meaning that it had a deep symbolic sense. 


his age. Ignatius friend and contemporary, 
Polycarp, " the father of the Christians " of 
Asia, in his Epistle to the Philippians (110- 
117) urges avoidance of the false teachers who 
" pervert the sayings of the Lord to their own 
lusts, denying the (bodily) resurrection and 
judgment." But he has no better remedy 
than to " turn (probably in a somewhat 
mechanical way) to the tradition handed down 
from the beginning " and to study " the 
Epistles of Paul." The former process is in 
full application in Polycarp s later colleague, 
Papias of Hierapolis (c. 145 ?), who publishes 
a little volume entitled Interpretation of the 
Sayings of the Lord. It is based on carefully 
authenticated traditions of the apostles and 
elders, especially a certain contemporary 
" Elder John " who speaks for the Jerusalem 
succession. According to Papias our two 
Greek Gospels of Matthew and Mark represent 
two apostolic sources, the one an Aramaic 
compilation of the Precepts of Jesus by 
Matthew, the other anecdotes of his " sayings 
and doings " collated from the preaching of 

Grateful as we must be for Papias efforts 
to authenticate evangelic tradition, since they 
are corroborated in their main results by 
all other ancient tradition as well as by 
critical study of the documents, it is noticeable 
how they stand in line with the tendencies of 
the age. Eusebius (325) characterizes the 
reign of Trajan (98-117) as a period when 


many undertook to disseminate in writing 
" the divine Gospels." One of our own 
evangelists, whose work must probably be 
referred to the beginning of this period, but is 
not mentioned by the Elder, alludes to the 
same phenomenon. The apostles were gone. 
Hence to Luke l the question of " order " was 
a perplexity, as the Elder observes that it had 
already been to Mark. Soon after Luke and 
Papias comes Basilides with his Exegetics, 
probably based on Luke (120 ?), and Marcion 
(140), both engaged from their own point of 
view with the current questions of Jesus 
teaching and ministry. 

Thus, at the beginning of the second century, 
the elements necessary to the formation of 
a New Testament canon were all at hand. 
They included the tradition of the teaching 
and work of Jesus, the letters of apostles and 
church leaders revered as given by authority 
of the Spirit and the visions and revelations 
of prophets. Not only the elements were 
present, the irresistible pressure of the times 
was certain to force them into crystallization. 
The wonder is not that the canon should 
have been formed, but that it should have 
been delayed so long. 

For there were also resistant factors. 
Phrygia, the scene of Paul s first great 
missionary conquests, the immemorial home 
of religious enthusiasm, became the seat, 
about the middle of the second century, of a 
1 See note above, p. 24. 


movement of protest against the church policy 
of consolidation and standardization. Mon- 
tanus arose to maintain the persistence in 
the church of the gift of prophecy, tracing 
the succession in both the male and female 
line back to Silas the companion of Paul 
and the prophesying daughters of Philip 
the Evangelist. The Phrygians, as they 
were called, naturally made much of the 
writings current in Asia Minor, especially the 
book of prophecy attributed to John. 
Theoretically indeed the church was unwilling 
to acknowledge the disappearance of this gift. 
To Hermas (130-140) and the Teaching of the 
Twelve (120-130) it is still a " sin against the 
Spirit " to interrupt or oppose a prophet 
during his ecstatic utterance. On the other 
hand, the Teaching reiterates the apostolic 
warnings to " try the spirits," with prohibi 
tions of specific excesses of the order. More 
over by the time of Montanus and the 
4 Phrygians theoretical recognition of reve 
lation through the prophets was rapidly giving 
way before the practical dangers inseparable 
from revelations of this enthusiastic char 
acter, of which any member of the church, 
man or woman, ignorant or learned, lay or 
cleric, might be the recipient. The strict 
regulative control imposed by both Paul 
and John J upon this type of spiritual gift (1st 
Thess. v. 20 /. ; 1st Cor. xii. 3 ; xv. 29 /. 32 ; cf. 
1st John iv.l) was found to be doubly necessary 
1 Sec note above, p. 24. 


in face of the disintegrating tendencies of the 
post-apostolic age, and after long debate 
and much protest the movement of Montanus 
was at last decreed heretical at Rome, though 
Irenaeus (186) interceded for it, and Tertullian 
(210) became a convert. 

The history of this movement in the forma 
tive period of the New Testament canon 
explains why the " revelations of the pro 
phets " obtained but scant recognition as 
compared with the " word of the Lord " and 
the " commandment of the apostles." Last 
of the three, in order of rank (1st Cor. xii. 28; 
Eph. iv. 11), last also to be codified in written 
form, we need not be surprised that our present 
New Testament retains but a single one of 
the once current books of * prophecy. For 
a time the Shepherd of Hernias and the 
Apocalypse of Peter rivalled the claims to 
canonicity of our own Revelation of John, 
but were soon dropped. Our own Apocalypse 
has suffered more opposition than any other 
New Testament writing, being still excluded 
from the canon in some branches of the 
church. Its precarious place at the end of the 
canon which we moderns have inherited from 
Athanasius (ob. 373) was due, in fact, far 
less to its author s vigorous assertions of 
authority as an inspired "prophet" (i. 1-3; 
xxii. 6-9, 18 /.) than to the claims to aposto- 
licity put forward in the preface and appendix. 
For until the third century no one dreamed 
of understanding the " John " of Rev. i. 4, 9 


and xxii. 8 otherwise than as the Apostle. 
Eusebius accordingly (325) is uncertain only 
as to whether the book should be classed in 
his first group of " accepted " writings, along 
with the Gospels and Pauline Epistles, or in 
the third as " spurious." If written by " some 
other John than the Apostle " he would not 
even honour it with a place in his second group 
of " disputed " books, along with Hebrews, 
James, Jude, and 2nd Peter. 

Thus at the end of the second century, while 
there was still much dispute (destined indeed 
to continue for centuries) as to the limits of 
the New Testament canon, there had in fact 
come to be a real canonical New Testament 
set over against the Old, as of equal, or even 
greater authority. The " word of the Lord," 
the " commandment of the apostles," and at 
last even the " revelations of the prophets," 
had successively ceased as living realities, and 
become crystallized into written form. They 
had been codified and canonized. The church 
had travelled the beaten track of the syna 
gogue, and all the more rapidly from the 
example set before it. None of the early 
canons (i. e. lists of writings permitted to be 
read in the churches) coincides exactly, it is 
true, with the New Testament current among 
ourselves. The list of Athanasius is the first 
to give just our books. The Roman list of the 
Muratorian fragment (185-200) omits Hebrews, 
James and 2nd Peter, and gives at least 
a partial sanction to the Apocalypse of Peter. 


The lists of Origen (ob. 251) and Eusebius (325) 
vary as respects both inclusion and exclusion. 
All early authorities express a doubtful 
judgment regarding the outer fringe of minor 
writings such as James, Jude, 2nd Peter, 
2nd and 3rd John. Even those of larger 
content, such as Hebrews and Revelation, if 
their apostolicity was questioned, remained 
subjects of dispute. But already by A.D. 200 
the time had long since passed when any of 
the thirteen epistles bearing the name of Paul 
could be deemed open to question. Marcion s 
exclusion of the three Pastorals had been 
forgotten. Dispute of the four-gospel canon 
could still be tolerated; but not for long. 
Irenaeus (186) has no patience with " those 
wretched men " who cannot see that in the 
nature of the case there should be neither more 
nor less than this number. But he explicitly 
refers to those who disputed " that aspect 
of the gospel which is called John s." There 
were, in fact, opponents of Montanism at 
Rome, who under the lead of Gaius had 
denied the authenticity of all the writings 
attributed to John, including the Gospel 
itself. But even those of the orthodox who 
were willing enough to reject Revelation, with 
its now unfashionable eschatology, agreed 
that Gaius attack upon the fourth Gospel 
was too radical. The small body who con 
tinued for a few generations to resist the 
inclusion of any of the Johannine writings in 
the canon remained without influence, and 


were ultimately forgotten. The catholic l 
church had repudiated heresy, standardized 
the faith, and confined its recognized historic 
expression to a * canon of New Testament 

1 Catholic is here used in its etymological sense of 
" general " or universal. We shall have occasion to apply 
the term in a more limited sense hereafter. 



THE consolidated catholic church of 
the third century might seem, so far as its 
doctrine of Scripture was concerned, to have 
retraced its steps to a standpoint correspond 
ing completely to that of the synagogue. 
Only, the paradox still held that the very 
writings canonized were those supremely 
adapted to evoke a spirit of resistance to 
the despotism of either priest or scribe. 
The Protestant Reformation was a revolt 
against the former, and it is noticeable how 
large a part was played by the New Testament 
doctrine of the Spirit in this struggle 
of spiritual democracy against hierocratic 
tyranny. Paul s Epistle to the Galatians 
became Luther s Palladium. 

But the post-Reformation dogmatists took 
fright at their own freedom. The prediction 
of the Romanists that repudiation of tradi 
tional authority in its ecclesiastical embodi 
ment would result in internecine schism and 
conflict seemed on the point of being realized. 
The theological system-makers, like their 
predecessors of the post-apostolic age, could 
c 33 


see no way out but to throw all their weight 
on a past inspiration assumed to be without 
error. The canonical books were declared to 
furnish an infallible rule of faith and practice. 

It was in the sincere desire to meet the 
requirements of this theory that the science 
of criticism grew up. In the earlier days 
it did not venture for the most part beyond 
what is known as textual criticism. For 
a doctrine of inerrancy is manifestly un 
serviceable until errors of transmission have 
been eliminated. Textual criticism set itself 
to this task, asking the question : As between 
the various readings found in different New 
Testament manuscripts, which is original ? 
Unfortunately, to meet the logical requirement 
the critic, if not backed like those of Rome 
by a papal guarantee, must himself be in 
fallible. The inevitable result of this attempt, 
begun in the since rest spirit of apologetics, 
was to prove that an infallible text is hope 
lessly unattainable. Textual criticism is in 
dispensable ; but as the servant of apologetics 
it is foredoomed to failure. 

The variation of the manuscripts was not 
the only obstacle to biblical infallibility. To 
say nothing of differences of interpretation 
there was the question of the canon. Either 
the decision of the catholic church must 
be accepted as infallible, or scholarship must 
undertake a criticism of the canon to 
defend the current list of " inspired " books. 
A higher criticism became necessary if 


only to vindicate the church s choice on 
historical grounds. Roman Catholics like 
Simon, whose Critical History of the Biblical 
books appeared in 1689-1695, could reopen the 
question with impunity. Those who based 
their authority on the infallibility of Scripture 
alone could not meet the challenge otherwise 
than as Micha?lis did in his Introduction to 
the Divine Writings of the Neiv Testament 
(1750-1780). Michtclis undertook a historical 
inquiry into the circumstances of origin of 
each of the canonical books, with the object 
of proving each to be in reality what tradition 
declared. The twenty-seven commonly ac 
cepted were supposed to have been either 
written by apostles, or at least so super 
intended and guaranteed by them, as to 
cover all with the aegis of an infallibility not 
conceded to the post-apostolic age. Scholar 
ship in the harness of apologetics again found 
its task impracticable. Micha?lis himself con 
fessed it " difficult " to prove authenticity in 
cases like that of the Epistle of Jude. Con 
ceive the task as the scientific vindication of 
a verdict rendered centuries before on un 
known grounds, but now deprived of official 
authority, and it becomes inevitably hopeless. 
Can it be expected that doctors will not 
disagree on the authenticity or pseudonymity 
of 2nd Peter, who always have disagreed on 
this and similar questions, and have just 
admitted failure to agree in the matter of 
text ? 


For half a century criticism seemed lost 
in the slough of mere controversy over the 
(assumed) infallible text, and the (assumed) 
infallible canon. Apologists fought merely on 
the defensive, endeavouring to prove that 
men whose fallibility was admitted had 
nevertheless pronounced an infallible verdict 
on the most difficult subjects of literary and 
historical inquiry. Critics had an easy task 
in showing that the church s theory of 
inspiration and canonicity was incorrect ; but 
made no progress toward a constructive 
explanation of the religious, or even the 
historical, significance of the literature. Real 
progress was made only when criticism left 
off the attempt either to establish or dis 
establish a received text, or an author 
ized canon, and became simply an instru 
ment in the hand of the historian, as he seeks 
to trace to their origins the ideas the church 
enshrined in her literature because she found 
them effective in her growth. 

For the great awakening in which New 
Testament criticism found itself as a 
genuine and indispensable branch of the 
history of religion, we are largely indebted 
to the eminent church historian, Ferdinand 
Christian Baur (ob. 1860). Baur gathered 
up the fragmentary results of a generation 
of mere negation, a war of independence 
against the tyranny of dogmatic tradition, 
and sought to place the New Testament 
writings in their true setting of primitive 


church history. His particular views have 
been superseded. Subsequent study has dis 
proved many of his inferences, and brought 
from friend and foe far-reaching modifications 
to his general theory. But, consciously or 
not, Baur, in making criticism the hand-maid 
of history, was working in the interest of 
that constructive, Christian, doctrine of in 
spired Scripture which an ancient and name 
less teacher of the church had described as 
" witness " to the Life, " even the eternal 
life, which was with the Father," and is in 
man, and has been manifested in the origin 
and historical development of our religion. 

The Reformation had been a revolt against 
the despotism of the priest ; this was a revolt 
against the despotism of the scribe. 

Baur gave scant too scant consideration 
to early tradition, making his results unduly 
negative. None of the New Testament books 
are dated ; few besides the Pauline Epistles 
embody even an author s name ; and these 
few, 1st and 2nd Peter, James, Jude and 
Revelation, were (1st Peter alone excepted) 
just those which even the canon -makers 
had classified as doubtful, or spurious. Not 
even a Calvin would support the authenticity 
of 2nd Peter, a Luther had denied the value 
of James and Revelation. It had been an 
easy task for * criticism of the canon to 
show that those who determined its content 
had not been actuated by considerations of 
pure science. Those books secured admission 


which were most widely current as ancient 
and trustworthy, and whose orthodoxy met 
the standards ol the time. Those were 
disputed, or rejected, which were less widely 
current, or unorthodox, or could establish 
no direct relation to an apostle. It was 
proper for the critic, once his aim had become 
not apologetic but historical, to drop once 
for all the question whether the canon- 
makers selection made not for scientific, 
but for religious purposes is good, bad or 
indifferent. The time had come for him to 
apply the available evidence to his own 
scientific question : What relation do these 
several writings bear to the development of 
Christianity ? It remained to be seen whether 
he could offer constructive evidence more 
convincing than tradition. 

The latest date to which an undated, or 
disputed, writing can be assigned is that when 
the marks of its employment by others, or 
influence upon them, become undeniable. 
This is termed the external evidence. 
The earliest date, conversely, is that to which 
we are brought down by references in the 
book itself to antecedent and current events, 
and writings, or by undeniable marks of their 
influence. This is termed the internal 
evidence. Counting tradition as part of the 
external evidence, modern scientific criticism 
is able to fix within a few decades the origin 
of all the New Testament writings, without 
incurring opposition even from the apologist. 


No scholar now dreams of adopting any other 
method of proof, whatever his doctrinal 
proclivities. The overwhelming majority are 
agreed that the period covered, from the 
earliest Pauline Epistles to the latest brief 
fulminations against Gnostic Doketism and 
denial of resurrection and judgment, is 
included in the century from A.D. 50 to 150. 
Baur s conception of the course of events 
in this momentous century has been described 
as a theory of historical progress by fusion 
of opposites in a higher unity. The Hegelian 
scheme of thesis, antithesis and synthesis 
had in fact some justification in the recognized 
phenomena of the development of Christianity. 
It had sprung from Judaism, overcoming the 
particularism of that still nationalistic faith 
by the sense of its mission to the world at 
large. The conflict acknowledged in all the 
sources and most vividly reflected in the 
great Epistles of Paul to the Galatians, 
Corinthians and Romans, a conflict between 
those who conceived Christianity as a universal 
religion, and those who looked upon it as 
only a reformed, spiritualized and perfected 
Judaism, was the characteristic phenomenon 
of the first or apostolic age. It was the 
struggle of the infant faith against its 
swaddling bands. The critical historian is 
compelled to estimate all later, anonymous, 
accounts of this development in the light of 
the confessedly earlier, and indubitably 
authentic records, the four great Epistles of 


Paul ; for these simply reflect the actual 
conditions, and are not affected by the later 
disposition to idealize the story. Thesis and 
antithesis were therefore really in evidence 
at the beginnings. 

Equal unanimity prevailed as to the close 
of the period in question. In A.D. 150 to 
200, Christianity was solidifying into the 
catholic church, rejecting extremes of 
doctrine on both sides, formulating its rule 
of faith, determining its canon, centralizing 
administrative control. It had thrown off as 
heretical upon the extreme left Marcion and 
the Gnostics, who either repudiated the 
Jewish scriptures altogether, or interpreted 
them with more than Pauline freedom. On 
the extreme right it had renounced the 
unprogressive Ebionites of Palestine, still 
unreconciled to Paul, and insistent on sub 
mission to the Law for Jew and Gentile, as 
the condition of a share in the world to 
come. What could be imagined as to the 
course of events in the intervening century 
of obscurity ? Must it not have witnessed 
a progressive divergence of the extremes of 
Paulinists and Judaizers, coincidently with 
a rapprochement of the moderates from the 
side of Peter and that of Paul respectively ? 
Baur s outline seemed thus to describe ade 
quately the main course of events. He relied 
upon internal evidence to determine the 
dates of the disputed writings and their 
relation to it. But criticism of the canon - 


in Baur s own, and in the preceding genera 
tion, had come to include among the writings 
of doubtful date and authenticity not only 
those disputed in antiquity, and the anony 
mous narrative books, but also 1st Peter and 
the minor Epistles of Paul. Nothing strictly 
apostolic was left save the four great Epistles 
of Paul. 

The theory of Baur and the Tubingen 
school (for so his followers came to be 
designated) was broadly conceived and ably 
advocated. In two vital respects it has had 
permanent influence. (1) Criticism, as already 
noted, has ceased to be mere debate about 
text and canon, and concerns itself to-day 
primarily with the history of Christian ideas 
as embodied in its primitive literature. Its 
problem is to relate the New Testament 
writings, together with all other cognate 
material, to the history of the developing 
religion from its earliest traceable form in the 
greater Pauline Epistles to where it emerges 
into the full light of day toward the close of 
the second century. (2) Again, Baur s outline 
of the process through which the nascent 
faith attained to full self-consciousness as 
a world-religion required correction rather 
than disproof. It was a grievous mistake 
to identify Peter, James, and John with 
those whom Paul bitterly denounces as 
Judaizing " false brethren," " superextra 
apostles," " ministers of Satan." It was a 
perversion of internal evidence to reject as 


post-Pauline the Epistles of the later period 
such as Philippians and Colossians, on the 
ground that Paul himself did not live to 
participate in the second crisis, the defence 
of his doctrine against perversion on the 
side of mystical, Hellenistic theosophy. The 
great Epistles written under the name of 
Paul from the period of his captivity are 
innocent of reference to the developed Gnostic 
systems of the second century. They an 
tagonize only an incipient tendency in this 

But while the transition of A.D. 50-150 
was both deeper and more complex than 
Baur conceived, the transfer of the gospel 
during that century from Jewish to Gentile 
soil is really the great outstanding fact, 
against which as a background the literature 
must be read; and the initial stage of the 
process is marked by the controversy of 
Paul with the Galilean apostles. What we 
must call, in distinction from Paulinism, 
apostolic Christianity is well represented 
in the Book of Acts. Paul s writings show 
that he felt himself and his churches to 
represent an independent type of Christianity 
in all respects equal to the apostolic, the 
problem being unification of the two. Now 
it is axiomatic that the investigator must 
proceed from the relatively known and 
determinable to the unknown and disputable. 
Accordingly it is in reality from the Epistolary 
literature of the church, in particular the 


greater Pauline Epistles, that he must take 
his start. As a source for our understanding 
of the development of the life of the church 
the Literature of the Apostle, directly parti 
cipant in the conflicts and issues of the times, 
even if in its later elements of doubtful or 
pseudonymous authorship, takes precedence 
as a whole over the Literature of the Catechist, 
with its later and more or less idealized 
narration, exemplified in the Book of Acts. 

Modern criticism acknowledges, then, its 
indebtedness to the Tubingen school for a 
clearer definition of both its task and method, 
by concentrating attention upon the contrast 
between the Petrine and the Pauline con 
ception of the gospel. Still it must be 
admitted that most of the inferences first 
drawn have since been overthrown. In 
their chronological scheme of the New Testa 
ment writings the Tubingen critics under 
estimated the force of the external evidences 
(including early tradition) and misinterpreted 
the internal. New discovery and more careful 
study of literary relations have inverted 
Baur s views as to dates of the Johannine 
writings. Four of these (the Gospel and 
three Epistles) are anonymous. Baur s date 
for these has been forced back by no less than 
half a century. The fifth (Revelation) bears 
the name of John, but was hotly disputed as 
pseudonymous in the second century, and 
even by its supporters was dated so late as 
" the end of the reign of Domitian " (95). 


The Tubingen school placed Revelation thirty 
years earlier, and attributed it to the Apostle. 
Modern criticism emphatically reverts to the 
ancient date, and regards the book as pseudo 
nymous, or as written by " some other John." 

Again the relative dates of the Synoptic 
writings (Matthew, Mark, Luke-Acts) were 
inverted by the Tubingen critics, primarily 
through wrong application of their theory 
of doctrinal development; secondarily, and 
as a consequence, through misinterpretation 
of the intricate literary relationships. Present- 
day criticism considers it established that 
Mark is the oldest of the three, taken up by 
each of the other two. There is almost 
equal unanimity in regarding the discourse 
material common to Matthew and Luke and 
variously combined by each with Mark, as 
independently drawn by them from the book 
of the " Precepts of the Lord," reported 
by Papias to have been compiled by Matthew 
" in the Hebrew (i. e. Aramaic) tongue." 
Tubingen gospel criticism is thus almost 
entirely set aside, in favour of the so-called 
Two-document theory. 

So with the Pauline Epistles of the second 
period. Doubt still clings to Ephesians. It 
had been treated by some as pseudo-Pauline 
even before the time of Baur; but Baur s 
own followers soon receded from his extreme 
application of his theory to the internal 
evidence of Philippians, Colossians and Phile 
mon. It became evident that Paul s " gospel" 


included something more than the mere 
antithesis of Law and Grace. He had other 
opponents than the Judaizers, and had to 
defend his doctrine against perversion by 
Grecizing mystics as well as against opposition 
by Pharisaic legalists. 

Two generations of research and controversy 
have greatly advanced the cause of con 
structive criticism. Hand in hand with a 
more accurate dating of the literature, secured 
through more impartial judgment of both 
the external and internal evidence, there has 
gone a reconstruction of our conception of 
the course of events. The tendencies in the 
early church were not two only, but four; 
corresponding, perhaps, to those rebuked by 
Paul at Corinth, which called themselves by 
the names respectively of Peter, of Paul, of 
Apollos and of Christ. It seems probable 
from the bitterness with which in 2nd Cor. 
x. 7 Paul denounces the man who says, 
" I am of Christ," that this party-cry was 
employed in the sense of following the example 
of Jesus as respects obedience to the Law 
(for even Paul acknowledged that Christ 
had been " made a minister of the circumcision 
for the truth of God "). If so, the Corinthian 
" Christ-party " may be identified with those 
" ministers of the circumcision " who denied 
both the apostleship and the gospel of Paul. 
At all events those " of Cephas " were 
relatively harmless. They may be identified 
with the so-called * weak of Romans, for 


whose scruples on the score of pollutions 
of idols Paul demands such consideration 
both at Corinth and at Rome. His own 
adherents both at Corinth (those of Paul ) 
and at Rome (the strong ) are to follow 
his example not merely in recognizing that : 
" No idol is anything in the world," that 
" there is nothing unclean of itself," and that 
" all things are lawful." It is to be followed 
also in recognizing the limitations of this 
liberty. Limits are imposed among other 
things by the scruples of others, so that 
Paul himself becomes " as under the Law " 
when among Jews, though " as without the 
Law " among the Gentiles. The " weak " 
are to be resisted only when the admission 
of themselves or their claims would lead 
to " doubtful disputations," or to a rebuild 
ing of walls of separation that had been torn 
down through faith in Christ. Galatians 
sounds the battle-cry of endangered liberty. 
Corinthians (and Romans in still higher 
degree) shows the magnanimity of the victor. 
Whether it be possible to identify those 
" of Apollos " at Corinth with the beginnings 
of that Hellenistic perversion of the Pauline 
gospel into a mystical theosophy which after 
wards passed into Gnosticism may be left 
an open question. At least we have come to 
see that the conditions of the church s 
growth were far more complex than Baur 
imagined. In particular it is necessary to 
distinguish four different attitudes on the 


single question of the obligation of the Law. 
There were (1) Judaizers who insisted on 
complete submission to the Law as the 
condition of salvation, for both Jews and 
Gentiles; (2) imitators of Cephas, who con 
sidered believers of Jewish birth to be " under 
the Law," but asked of Gentiles only such 
consideration for it as the special conditions 
seemed to require; (3) Paulinists, who held 
that neither Jews nor Gentiles are under the 
law, yet felt that consideration should be 
shown for the scrupulous when asked not 
as of right, but as of charity; (4) radicals, 
who recognized no limits to their freedom 
save the one new commandment. 

But while conflict first broke out over the 
mere concrete question of Gentile liberty, the 
real distinction of Paul s gospel from that 
of the older apostles was far deeper. The 
question as Tubingen critics conceived it 
concerned primarily the extent of the gospel 
message, to how large a circle was it 
offered ? Modern criticism has come to see 
that the difference was in higher degree a 
difference of quality. Paul s whole message 
of redemption through the cross and resurrec 
tion started from other premisses than those 
of the Galilean apostles, and was conceived 
in other terms. For this reason it leads over 
to a new Christology. In short, the transition 
of Christianity from its Jewish to its Gentile 
form is not a mere enlargement of its field by 
the abolition of particularistic barriers. The 


background we must study for the under 
standing of it is not so much mere contempo 
rary history as the contemporary history of 
religion. The development from the Petrine 
gospel broadly characteristic of the Synoptic 
writings, through the Pauline Epistles to that 
of the Johannine writings, is a transition from 
Hebrew to Hellenistic conceptions of what 
redemption is, and how it is effected. Modern 
criticism expresses the contrast in its dis 
tinction of the gospel of Jesus from the gospel 
about Jesus. 

In the case of both Paul and his pre 
decessors in the faith there is a common 
starting-point. It was the doctrine that 
God had raised Jesus from the dead and 
exalted Him as Christ and Lord to the throne 
of glory. Its proofs were the ecstatic phe 
nomena of the Spirit, those strange manifesta 
tions of prophecy, tongues, and the like in 
the Christian assembly. The inference from 
this resurrection faith for an apostle of the 
Galilean group was that he must " teach all 
men everywhere to observe all things whatso 
ever Jesus had commanded." Jesus had been 
raised up in Israel as the Prophet like unto 
Moses; His apostle must repeat the remem 
bered word of commandment and the word 
of promise. He will have an authority 
derived from the manifestations of signs and 
wonders. These had accompanied Jesus 
own career, and now, by grace of His en 
dowment of His disciples with the Spirit, 


they will be repeated by their hands. The 
* apostolic gospel is thus primarily historical. 
The Pauline gospel centres at the other pole of 
religious conviction. It is primarily psycholo 
gical. For Paul the immediate effect of the 
revelation of God s Son " in " him is an irresist 
ible impulse to relate his own soul s experience. 
The gospel he preaches is not so much what 
Jesus did or said while on earth, as what God 
has done, and is still doing, through the 
" life-giving Spirit " which emanates from 
the risen Lord. Signs and wonders are tokens 
of the Spirit, but are of less value, and must 
vanish before the " abiding " ethical gifts. 
Both the Pauline and the Petrine gospel 
start from the common confession of " Jesus 
as Lord " ; but the Christology of the Synoptic 
literature is an Apotheosis doctrine, falling 
back on the historical Jesus. That of the 
Epistles is a doctrine of Incarnation, appeal 
ing to the eternal manifestation of God in 
man. For the former, Jesus was " a prophet 
mighty in deed and word," raised up by God 
in accordance with the promise of Deut. 
xviii. 18, to turn Israel to repentance. Having 
fulfilled this mission in rejection and martyr 
dom Jesus had been exalted to God s " right 
hand" and "made both Lord and Christ." 
He there awaits the subjection of all His 
enemies. In the Pauline gospel the story 
of Jesus is a drama of the supernal regions, 
wherein His earthly career as prophet, leader, 
teacher, sinks to the level of the merest 


episode. As pre-existent spirit, Jesus had 
been from the beginning of the creation " in the 
form of God." As the period of its con 
summation drew near He took upon Him 
human form, descended through suffering 
and death to the lowest depths of the under 
world, and by divine power had reascended 
above all the heavens with their ranks of 
angelic hierarchies. Whether Paul himself 
so conceived it or not, the Gentile world had 
no other moulds of thought wherein to formu 
late such a Christology than the current myths 
of Redeemer-gods. The value of the individual 
soul had at last been discovered, and men 
resorted to the ancient personifications of the 
forces of nature as deliverers of this new-found 
soul from its weakness and mortality. The 
influential religions of the time were those of 
personal redemption by mystic union with 
a dying and resurrected " Saviour-god," an 
Osiris, an Adonis, an Attis, a Mithra. Religions 
of this type were everywhere displacing the old 
national faiths. The Gentile could not think 
of " the Christ " primarily as a Son of David 
who restores the kingdom to Israel, shatters 
the Gentiles like a potter s vessel and rules 
them with a rod of iron. If he employed 
this Old Testament language at all, it had 
for him a purely symbolical sense. The 
whole conception was spiritualised. The 
" enemies " overcome were the spiritual foes 
of humanity, sin and death ; " redemption " 
was not the deliverance of Israel out of the 


hand of all their enemies, that (together with 
all afar off that call upon the name of this 
merciful God) they may " serve Him in 
holiness and righteousness all their days. 5 
It was the rescue of the sons of Adam out 
of the bondage to evil Powers incurred 
through inheritance of Adam s sinful flesh. 
This had been the tendency already of Jewish 
apocalypse. The starting-point of Paul s 
own conceptions was not Israel s bondage in 
Egypt, but a conception already tinged, like 
the late book of Jewish philosophy called the 
Wisdom of Solomon, with the Stoic concep 
tion of flesh as prison-house of spirit, 
already inflamed, like the contemporary Jewish 
apocalypses of Esdras and Baruch, with lurid 
visions of a universe rescued by superhuman 
power from a thraldom of demonic rule. 
Paul s preaching was made real by his own 
experience. For if ever there was an evange 
list whose message was his own experience, 
Paul was such. And Paul s experience was 
not so much that of a Palestinian Jew, as that 
of a Hellenist, one whose whole idea of 
* redemption has been unconsciously univer 
salized, individualized, and spiritualized, by 
contact with Greek and Hellenistic thought. 
Paul and the Galilean apostles were not far 
apart in their expectations of the future. 
Both stood gazing up into heaven. But for 
his authority Paul inevitably looked inwards, 
the Galilean apostles looked backwards. 
It is hopeless at the present stage of ac- 


quaintance with the history of religion, 
particularly the spread of the various 
mysteries and religions of personal re 
demption in the early empire, to deny this 
contrast between the gospel of Paul and the 
gospel of " the apostles and elders at Jeru 
salem." It is shortsighted to overlook its 
significance in the transition of the faith. 
Whereas the Jewish-Christian had as its 
principal background the national history, 
more or less transcendentalized in the forms 
of apocalypse, Paul s had as its principal 
background the speculative mythology of 
the Hellenistic world, more or less adapted to 
the forms of Judaism. Only ignorance of 
the function of mythology, especially as then 
employed to express the aspiration of the 
soul for purity, life and fellowship with God, 
can make these mythologically framed religi 
ous ideas seem an inappropriate vehicle to 
convey Paul s sense of the significance of 
Jesus message and life of " sonship." 
They were at least the best expression those 
times and that environment could afford of 
the greater Kingdom God had proclaimed in 
the resurrection of the Christ, and was bring 
ing to pass through the outpouring of His 

Modern criticism must therefore recognize 
that the beginnings of our religion were not 
a mere enlargement of Judaism by abolition 
of the barriers of the Law, but a fusion of the 
two great streams of religious thought dis- 


tinctive of the Jewish and the Hellenistic 
world in a higher unity. Alexander s hoped- 
for " marriage of Europe and Asia " was 
consummated at last in the field of religion 
itself. Denationalized Judaism contributed 
the social ideal : the messianic hope of a 
world-wide Kingdom of God. It is the worthy 
contribution of a highly ethical national 
religion. Hellenism contributed the in 
dividual ideal : personal redemption in mystic 
union with the life of God. It is a concept 
derived from the Greek s newly-awakened 
consciousness of a personality agonizing for 
deliverance out of the bondage of the material 
and transitory, alien and degrading to its 
proper life. The critic who has become a 
historian of ideas will find his study of the 
literature of the apostolic and post-apostolic 
age here widening out into a prospect of 
unsuspected largeness and significance. He 
will see as the two great divisions of his 
subject, (1) the gospel of Jesus, represented, 
as we are told, in the first beginnings of literary 
development by an Aramaic compilation of 
the Precepts of the Lord by the Apostle 
Matthew, circulating possibly even before the 
great Pauline Epistles among the Palestinian 
churches; (2) the gospel about Jesus, repre 
sented in the Pauline Epistles, and these 
based on their author s personal experience. 
It is a gospel of God s action " in Christ, 
reconciling the world." It interprets the 
personality of Jesus and his experience of 


the cross and resurrection as manifesta 
tions of the divine idea. The interpretation 
employs Hellenistically coloured forms of 
thought, and is forced to vindicate itself first 
against subjection to legalism, afterwards 
against perversion into an unethical, super 
stitious theosophy. But surely the doctrine 
about Jesus, interpreting the significance of 
His person and work as the culmination of 
redemption through the indwelling of God 
in men and among men belongs as much to 
the essence of Christianity as the gospel of 
love and faith proclaimed by Jesus. 

Besides these two principal types of gospel 
and their subordinate combinations the criti 
cal historian may see ultimately emerging 
a type of spiritual gospel, growing upon 
Gentile soil, in fact, receiving its first literary 
expression in the early years of the second 
century at the very headquarters of the 
Pauline mission-field. This third type aims 
to be comprehensive of the other two. It is 
essentially a gospel about Jesus, though it 
takes the form for its main literary expression 
of a gospel preached by Jesus. The fourth 
evangelist is the true successor of Paul, 
though the conditions of the age compel him 
to go beyond the literary form of the Epistle 
and to construct a Gospel wherein both 
factors of the sacred tradition shall appear, 
the words and works, the Precepts and the 
Saving Ministry of Jesus. But it is in no 
mechanical or slavish sense that the fourth 


evangelist appeals to this supreme authority. 
He lifts the whole message above the level 
of mere baptized legalism, even while he 
guards it against the unbridled licence of 
Gnostic theosophy, applying to this purpose 
his doctrine of the Incarnate Logos. His 
basis is psychology as well as history. It is 
the Life which is the light of men, that life 
whose source is God, and which permeates 
and redeems His creation ; even " the eternal 
Life which was with the Father and was 
manifested to us." 

In the critical grouping of our New Testa 
ment writings the Gospel and Epistles of 
John can occupy, then, no lesser place than 
that of the keystone of the arch. 

To sum up : the Literature of the Apostle owed 
its early development and long continuance 
among the Pauline churches of Asia Minor and 
Greece, to the impetus and example of Paul s 
apostolic authority. The Literature of the 
Teacher and Prophet, growing up around Jeru 
salem and its daughter churches at Antioch 
and Rome, came slowly to surpass in influence 
the " commandment of the apostles," as the 
church became more and more exclusively 
dependent upon it for the " teaching of the 
Lord." It was the function of the great 
" theologian " of Ephesus (as he came early 
to be called), linking the authority of both, 
to furnish the fundamental basis for the 
catholic faith. 





MOST vital of all passages for historical 
appreciation of the great period of Paul s 
missionary activity and its literature is the 
retrospect over his career as apostle to the 
Gentiles and defender of a gospel " without 
the yoke of the Law " in Gal. i.-ii. Espe 
cially must the contrast be observed between 
this and the very different account in Acts 

Galatians aims to counteract the encroach 
ments of certain Judaizing interlopers upon 
Paul s field, and seems to have been written 
from Corinth, shortly after his arrival there 
(c. 50) on the Second Missionary Journey 
(Acts xv. 36 xviii. 22). We take " the 
churches of Galatia " to be those founded by 
Paul in company with Barnabas on the First 
Missionary Journey (Acts xiii.-xiv.), and 
revisited with Silas after a division of the 



recently evangelized territory whereby Cyprus 
had been left to Barnabas and Mark (Acts xv. 
36 xvi. 5 ; cf. Gal. iv. 13). 

The retrospect is in two parts : (1) a proof 
of the divine origin of Paul s apostleship and 
gospel by the independence of his conversion 
and missionary career; (2) an account of 
his defence of his " gospel of uncircumcision " 
on the two occasions when it had been 
threatened. Visiting Jerusalem for the second 
time some fifteen years 1 after his conversion, 
he secured from its " pillars," James, Peter, 
and John, an unqualified, though " private," 
endorsement. At Antioch subsequently he 
overcame renewed opposition by public ex 
posure of the inconsistency of Peter, who had 
been won over by the reactionaries. 

Acts reverses Paul s point of view, making 
his career in the period of unobstructed 
evangelization one of labour for Jews alone, 
in complete dependence on the Twelve. It 
practically excludes the period of opposition 
by a determination of the Gentile status in 
an Apostolic Council. Paul is represented 
as simply acquiescing in this decision. 

As described by Paul, the whole earlier 
period of fifteen years had been occupied by 
missionary effort for Gentiles, first at Damas 
cus, afterwards " in the regions of Syria 
and Cilicia." It was interrupted only by a 

1 Or perhaps thirteen. Gal. ii. 1 may reckon from the 
conversion (31 -33). In both periods (Gal. i. 18, andii. 1) 
both termini are counted. 


journey " to Arabia," and later, three years 
after his conversion, by a two-weeks private 
visit to Peter in Jerusalem. In this period 
must fall most of the journeys and adventures 
of 2nd Cor. xi. 23-33. It was practically 
without contact with Judaea. His " gospel " 
was what God alone had taught him through 
an inward manifestation of the risen Jesus. 

As described by Luke x the whole period 
was spent in the evangelization of Greek- 
speaking Jews, principally at Jerusalem. 
This was Paul s chosen field, worked under 
direction of " the apostles." Only against 
his will 2 was he driven for refuge to Tarsus, 
whence Barnabas, who had first introduced 
him to the apostles, brought him to Antioch. 
There was no Gentile mission until Barnabas 
and he were by that church made its 
apostles. This mission was on express 
direction of "the Spirit" (Acts ix. 19-30; 
xi. 25 /. ; xiii. 1-3; cf. xxii. 10-21). Paul s 
apostleship to the Gentiles begins, then, 
according to Luke, with the First Missionary 
Journey, when in company with (and at first 
in subordination to) Barnabas he evangelizes 
Cyprus and southern Galatia. The two are 
agents of Antioch, with " letters of commen 
dation " from " the apostles and elders in 
Jerusalem " (Acts xv. 23-26). Paul is not 

1 We apply the name to the writer of Luke-Acts without 
prejudice to the question of authorship. 

2 Acts xxii. 10-21 isiiot quite consistent with xxvi. 15 
18 ; but the general sense is clear. 


an apostle of Christ in the same sense as the 
Twelve (cf. Acts i. 21 /.). He is a providential 
" vessel of the Spirit," ordained " by men and 
through men." His gospel is Peter s unaltered 
(cf. Acts xxvi. 16-23). 

There is even wider disparity regarding the 
period of opposition. Luke slightly postpones 
its beginning and very greatly antedates its 
suppression. Moreover, he makes Paul accept 
a solution which his letters emphatically 

According to Acts there was no opposition 
before the First Missionary Journey, for the 
excellent reason that there had been no 
Gentile propaganda. 1 There was no opposi 
tion after the Council called to consider it 
(Acts xv.), for the conclusive reason that 
" the apostles and elders " left nothing to 
dispute about. As soon as the objections were 
raised the church in Antioch laid the question 
before these authorities, sending Paul and 
Barnabas to testify. On their witness to the 
grace of God among the Gentiles, Peter 
(explicitly claiming for himself (!) this special 
apostleship, Acts xv. 7) proposes unconditional 
acknowledgment of Gentile liberty, referring 

1 Cornelius case (Acts x. 1 xi. 18) is exceptional, 
and no propaganda follows. The reading "Greeks" in 
Acts xi. 20, though required by the sense and therefore 
adopted by the English translators, is not supported by 
the textual evidence. Luke has here corrected ins source 
to suit his theory, jubt as in x. 1 xi. 18 he passes by 
the true significance of the story, which really deals with 
the question of eating with Gentiles (xi. 3, If. ). 


to the precedent of Cornelius. In this there 
was general acquiescence. In fact the matter 
had really been decided before (Acts xi. 1-18). 
The only wholly new point was that raised by 
James in behalf of " the Jews among the 
Gentiles" (Acts xv. 21; cf. xxi. 21). For 
their sake it is held " necessary " to limit 
Gentile freedom on four points. They must 
abstain from three prohibited meats, and from 
fornication, for these convey the " pollution 
of idols." The " necessity " lies in the fact 
that liberty from the Law is not conceded to 
Jews. They will be (involuntarily) denied if 
they eat with their Gentile brethren unpro 
tected. " Fornication " is added because (in 
the words of an ancient Jewish Christian) it 
" differs from all other sins in that it denies 
not only the sinner, but those also who eat or 
associate with him" Paul and Barnabas, 
according to Luke, gladly accepted these 
" decrees," and Paul distributed them " for 
to keep " among his converts in Galatia (!). 
Peter is the apostle to the Gentiles. Antioch 
and Jerusalem decide the question of their 
status. The terms of fellowship are those 
of James and Peter. 

Paul has no mention of either Council or 
decrees. His terms of fellowship positively 
exclude both. He falls back upon the private 
Conference, and lays bare a story of agonizing 
struggle to make effective its recognition of 
the equality and independence of Gentile 
Christianity. The struggle is a result of his 


resistance to emissaries " from James " at 
Antioch, who had brought over all the Jewish 
element in that mixed church, including Peter 
and " even Barnabas " to terms of fellowship 
acceptable to the Pillars. After the collision 
at Antioch Paul leaves the " regions of Syria 
and Cilicia," and transfers the scene of his 
missionary efforts to the Greek world between 
the Taurus range and the Adriatic. For the 
next ten years we see him on the one side 
conducting an independent mission, pro 
claiming the doctrine of the Cross as inaugu 
rating a new era, wherein law has been done 
away, and Jew and Gentile have " access in 
one Spirit unto the Father." On the other 
he is defending this gospel of grace against 
unscrupulous Jewish-Christian traducers, and 
labouring to reconcile differences between his 
own followers and those of the circum 
cision who are not actively hostile, but only 
have taken offence. Throughout the period, 
until the arrest in Jerusalem which ends his 
career as an evangelist, Paul stands alone as 
champion of unrestricted Gentile liberty and 
equality. He cannot admit terms of fellow 
ship which imply a continuance of the legal 
dispensation. Jewish Christians may keep 
circumcision and the customs if they wish ; 
but may not hold or recommend them as 
conferring the slightest advantage in God s 
sight. He will not admit the doctrine of 
salvation by faith with works of law. Jew as 
well as Gentile must have " died to the Law." 


There is no " justification " except " by faith 
apart from works of law." x 

Unless we distinctly apprehend the deep 
difference, almost casually brought out by 
this question of the (converted) Jew among 
Gentiles and his obligation to eat with his 
Gentile brother, a difference between apos 
tolic Christianity as Luke gives it, and the 
gospel of Paul, we can have no adequate 
appreciation of the great Epistles produced 
during this period of conflict. The basis of 
Luke s pleasing picture of peace and concord 
is a fundamentally different conception of the 
relation of Law and Grace. Paul and Luke 
both hold that the Mosaic commandments are 
not binding on Gentiles. The point of differ 
ence and Paul s own account of his Confer 
ence with the Pillars goes to show that Luke s 
idea is also theirs; else why need there be a 
division of spheres of influence ? is Paul s 
doctrine that the believing Jew as well as the 
Gentile is " dead to the Law." And this 
doctrine was never accepted south of the 
Taurus range. 

Agreement and union were sure to come, if 
only bythe rapid disappearance from the church 
after 70 A.D. of the element of the circumcised, 
and the progressive realization in Syria and 

1 The assertion has recently been made in very high 
quarters on the basis of 1st Cor. vii. 18 that Paul also 
took the " apostolic " view that the Christian of Jewish 
birth remains under obligation to keep the law. One 
would think Paul had not added verse 19 ! 


Cilicia of the impracticability of the Jemsalem- 
Antioch plan of requiring Gentiles to make 
their tables innocuous to the legalist. If only 
the participation of Paul and Barnabas be 
excluded from the story of Acts xv. (or better, 
restored to its proper sequence after Acts xi. 
30) we have every reason to accept Luke s 
account of an Apostolic Council held at 
Jerusalem not long after " Peter came to 
Antioch " to settle between the churches of 
northern and southern Syria the knotty 
question of the Christian Jew s eating or not 
eating with Gentiles. It is almost certain 
that Syria did adopt this modus vivendi for 
" the brethren which are of the Gentiles in 
Antioch, Syria and Cilicia " (Acts xv. 23) ; 
for we can trace its gradual obsolescence there. 
In Revelation (a book of Palestinian origin 
republished at Ephesus c. 95 ; cf. Rev. ii. 14, 
20, 21) in the Teaching of the Twelve (125), and 
in the Western text of Acts xv. (150 ?) 
there is a progressive scaling down of the 
burden. Gentiles are at last asked to do 
almost nothing more than Paul had demanded 
on moral grounds without recognition of 
the validity of " distinctions of meats." In 
A.D. 120 the burden is : " Concerning 
meats, keep what thou art able ; however, 
abstain at all events from things offered to 
idols, for it is the food of dead gods." 

But to take Luke s account of how peace 
was restored, with its implication that the 
Pauline gospel as developed in Greek Christen- 


dom between the Taurus range and the 
Adriatic was nothing more than a branch 
from the parent stock of the apostolic 
church in " Syria and Cilicia," would be like 
viewing the history of the United States from 
the standpoint of a British imperialist of a 
period of Anglo-Saxon reunion in A.D. 2000, 
who should omit entirely the American War 
of Independence, holding that Washington 
and Franklin after bearing testimony before 
Parliament accepted for the colonies a plan 
of settlement prepared by a Liberal Govern 
ment which reduced to a minimum the ob 
noxious requirements of the Tories. 

The history of this period of the develop 
ment of the independent gospel of Paul 
and of his independent churches is so vital, 
and so confused by generations of well- 
meaning harmonizers, that we must take 
time to contrast once more Luke s theory of 
the process of reunion with Paul s. 

In Acts Paul takes precisely the view of 
Peter and James. He is himself under the 
Law. He does not disregard it even among 
Gentiles. On the contrary, he sets an ex 
ample of scrupulous legality to the Jews 
among the Gentiles, himself walking orderly, 
keeping the Law. The statement that he 
" teaches them to forsake Moses, telling them 
not to circumcise their children, nor to obey 
the customs " is a calumny (!) which he takes 
public occasion to disprove (Acts xxi. 20-26) 
Before the Sanhedrin he emphatically declares 


himself a consistent Pharisee (Acts xxiii. 1, 6); 
before Felix and Festus, blameless by the 
standard of Law and Prophets (xxiv. 14-16; 
xxv. 8) ; before Agrippa, a strict Pharisee in his 
conduct hitherto (xxvi. 5, 22 /.). Titus, whose 
circumcision Paul strenuously resisted, is 
never mentioned in Acts. Conversely Timothy 
(a Jew only on his mother s side) Paul " took 
and circumcised " immediately after the 
Jerusalem Council " because of the Jews that 
were in those parts " (Galatia !). His visit 
with Barnabas to Jerusalem is not occasioned 
by opposition to Gentile missions, though it 
falls between Barnabas mission from Jerusa 
lem to investigate the alarming reports of 
Gentile conversions at Antioch, and the First 
Missionary Journey on which the two take 
with them Mark, who had accompanied them 
from Jerusalem. No; according to Luke 
Gentile missions did not yet exist l (!). This 
visit (that of the Conference, Gal. ii. 1-10) 
was merely to convey a gift from the Antioch 
church to that of Jerusalem because of the 
famine " about that time " (it occurred in 
46-47). Conversely the great * offering of 
the Gentiles made at the risk of Paul s life 
in company with delegates from each province 
of his field, as a proffer of peace, the enterprise 
which occupies so large a place in his effort 
and his letters of this period (1st Cor. xvi. 1-6; 
2nd Cor. 8-9 ; Rom. xv. 15, 16, 25-32), has in 

1 On the reading " Greeks" in Acts xi. 20 see note 
above, p. 59. 



Acts no relation to the controversy for the 
d:monstration of Paul s exemplary legalism in 
the temple is merely incidental. The gift 
Paul brought was " alms to my nation " (!) 
(Acts xxiv. 17). The reader asks in vain .what 
necessitates this dangerous journey. The only 
motives assigned are a Nazarite vow assumed 
in Cenchreas (xviii. 18; xxi. 24), and regard 
for the Jewish feasts (xx. 16). 

The background of history against which 
the modern reader must place the great letters 
of Paul of the first period, is manifestly some 
thing quite different from the mere unsifted 
story of Acts. Their real origin is in a pro 
found difference in Paul s idea of the 
gospel and the necessity of defending the 
independence of it and of the Gentile churches 
founded on it. The difference originates in 
Paul s own religious experience. It found 
its first expression in his antithesis of Law and 
Grace, his doctrine that the cross marks the 
abolition of the economy of Law. 

Both in Galatians and everywhere else Paul 
treats on equal terms with the representatives 
of the " apostleship of the circumcision." He 
denounces Peter and " the rest of the Jews," 
including " even Barnabas," at Antioch, after 
they have withdrawn from Gentile fellowship 
in order to preserve their legal cleanness, 
and the point of the denunciation is that this 
is inconsistent with their (implied) abandon 
ment of the Law as a means of salvation 
when they " sought to be justified by faith in 


Christ." This makes their conduct not only 
inconsistent but cowardly and " hypocritical." 

Here is something far deeper than a mere 
question of policy. Paul s attitude shows that 
from the beginning he has really been preach 
ing " a different gospel." A gospel about 
Christ in which the central fact is the cross as 
the token of the abolition of a dispensation 
of Law wherein Jew and Gentile alike were in 
a servile relation to God, under angelic (01 
demonic) " stewards and governors," and the 
inauguration of a dispensation of Grace, 
wherein all who have faith and receive in 
baptism the gift of the Spirit, are thereby 
adopted to be God s sons. Beside this cosmic 
drama of the cross and resurrection wherein 
God reveals his redemptive purpose for the 
world, the mere inculcation of the easy yoke 
of Jesus as a new Law, simplifying and 
supplementing the old by restoring the doc 
trine of forgiveness for the repentant 
believer (cf. Matt, xxviii. 20; Acts x. 42 /. ; 
xiii. 39; xxvi. 22 /.) seems only half a gospel. 

Paul can never surrender the independence 
of his God-given message, nor the liberty 
wherewith Christ has made all believers free 
in abolishing the economy of law and making 
them " sons " by the Spirit. And yet he is 
even more determined to achieve peace and 
reunion than the apostles of the circum 
cision ; only he has a different plan. Paul 
and his churches fall back upon the Jerusalem 
Conference, not upon the Apostolic Council. 


The Conference is their Magna Charta. Its 
recognition of Paul s independent gospel and 
apostleship as no less divine than Peter s is 
their guarantee of liberty and equality; its 
request for brotherly aid is their promise of 

Approaches were made on both sides. It 
is true the ill-advised attempt of the Judaizers 
to secure unity by a renewal of their propa 
ganda of the Law, seducing the Greek churches 
from their loyalty to Paul and his gospel, 
provoked from him only such thunderbolts 
as Galatians, with its defence of " the liberty 
wherewith Christ hath made us free," or 
2nd Cor. x. 1 to xiii. 10, with its denunciation 
of the " ministers of Satan." Peace through 
surrender was not to Paul s mind. But the 
sincere attempt of the followers of Peter to 
find a modus vivendi, even if they did not 
venture to claim liberty from the Law for 
themselves, found Paul prepared to go more 
than half-way. His epistles are not more 
remarkable for their strenuous defence of 
the liberty of sonship, than for their insistence 
on the obligation of brotherly love. His 
churches must be not only morally pure for 
their own sakes, but must avoid offences to 
the more scrupulous. Even that which Chris 
tian liberty allows must be sacrificed to the 
scruples of the weak, if only it be not 
" unto doubtful disputations," or demanded 
as of right. From 1st Thessalonians (Corinth, 
A.D. 50), where, in the absence of all Judaizing 


opposition Paul merely exhibits his simple 
gospel of the resurrection and judgment to 
come, unaffected by questions of Law and 
Grace, on through Galatians with its sublime 
polemic for the liberty of sons, to the Corin 
thian correspondence, with its insistence on 
the duty of consideration and forbearance, 
its stronger note of love, its revelation of 
the widespread, strenuous exertions of Paul 
to promote his great offering, down to 
Romans, where the offering of the Gentiles 
is ready to be made (Rom. xv. 16-33), and 
Paul is sedulously preparing to enter a great 
new field already partially occupied, by 
presenting a full and superlatively conciliatory 
statement of his entire gospel (i. 15-17), 
there is steady progress toward the " peace " 
and " acceptance " which he hopes to find in 
Jerusalem. The later Epistles, with their 
different phase of conflict, the very attitude 
of apostolic Christianity toward Paul, as 
exhibited in Acts, make it incredible that 
substantial unity was not in fact secured. 1 We 
cannot, indeed, accept Luke s representation of 
Paul as performing the Nazarite ceremonial in 
the temple in order to prove that he does not 
teach that the Law is not binding on Jews. But 

1 The actual outcome is seen iu the reduction of the 
burden to the two items of abstinence from " fornication 
and from things offered to idols." Paul s nicer distinc 
tions under the latter head (1st Cor. viii. 1-13, x. 14-23) as 
well as his distinction between the ceremonial and the 
moral grounds for abstinence, were disregarded. 


it does not follow that Paul may not have done 
even this to prove that his principle of accom 
modation to the weak (1st Cor. ix. 19-22) left 
ample room for fellowship with the Jewish 
Christian except when (as with Peter and 
Barnabas at Antioch) the needless scruples 
of the legalist were made a pretext for " com 
pelling the Gentiles to live as do the Jews." 

Had unity been attained through the simple 
process imagined by Luke, obedient acquies 
cence of Paul and the Gentiles in the divinely 
inspired verdict of " the apostles and elders 
in Jerusalem," Christianity would have been 
an immeasurably poorer thing than it became. 
Indeed, it is questionable whether a gospel of 
mere simplification, extension and supplemen 
tation of the Law would ever have made 
permanent conquest of the Gentile world. 
It is because Paul stood out on this question 
of meats for the equal right of his indepen 
dent gospel, refusing submission until his 
great ten-years work of evangelization by 
tongue and pen had made Gentile Christianity 
a factor of at least equal importance with 
Jewish, that our religion was enriched by its 
Hellenistic strain. The deeper insight into 
the real significance of Jesus work and fate 
born of Paul s peculiar experience and his 
Hellenistic apprehension of the gospel found 
embodiment in the beginnings of a New 
Testament literature. The writings of this 
period must accordingly be viewed against 
the background of a critical history. Luke s 


account, written in the interest of " apostolic " 
authority, must receive such modifications as 
the contemporary documents require. 

Taking up the story at the point of diver 
gence we see Paul and Barnabas returning to 
Antioch after the Conference with the Pillars, 
glad at heart, and expecting now to resume 
the work for Gentiles without impediment. 
Besides Titus, John Mark of Jerusalem, a 
nephew of Barnabas, accompanied them. 
The Missionary Journey to Cyprus and 
(southern) Galatia follows, Mark returning, 
however, to Jerusalem after leaving Cyprus. 

It was probably during the absence of the 
missionaries that " Peter came to Antioch " 
and, at first, followed the Pauline practice 
of disregarding distinctions of meats. 
Later, on arrival of certain " from James " he 
" drew back and separated himself, fearing 
those of the circumcision." While matters 
were at this stage Paul and Barnabas re 
appeared on the scene. Paul thought it 
necessary to rebuke Peter " openly, before 
them all." Barnabas, former head of the 
Anlioch church, took sides with Peter and 
" the rest of the Jews," doubtless determining 
the attitude of the church; for Paul says 
nothing of prevailing upon them by his 
argument, but merely turns it at once upon 
the Galatians themselves. Moreover, Bar 
nabas now takes Cyprus as his mission field, 
with Mark as his helper, while Paul with a 
new companion, Silvanus (in Acts " Silas," a 

bearer of the decrees * from Jerusalem), 
takes the northern half of the newly evangel 
ized territory, and through much difficulty 
and opposition makes his way to the coasts 
of the ^Egean. 

This second visit to the churches of Galatia 
(Acts xvi. 1-5) was signalized by warnings 
against the (possible) preaching of " another 
gospel " (Gal. i. 9) ; for Paul had reason to 
anticipate trouble from the " false brethren." 
If Acts may be believed, it was also marked 
by an extraordinary evidence of Paul s 
readiness to " become all things to all men " 
in the interest of conciliation. He is said to 
have circumcised a Galatian half -Jew named 
Timothy. If so, it was certainly not to prove 
his respect for the legal requirement, but 
rather its indifference. " Circumcision is no 
thing and uncircumcision nothing; only faith 
working through love." But these generous 
4 accommodations of Paul produced more 
of misrepresentation than of conciliation. He 
had cause to regret his liberality later (Gal. i. 
10; v. 11 /.; cf. 1st Cor. vii. 18). 

Some unexplained obstacle (Acts xvi. 6) pre 
vented Paul s entrance into theProvince of Asia 
at this time. Ephesus, his probable objec 
tive, had perhaps already been occupied 
(xviii. 24-28). He turned north through 
Phrygia-Galatia, hoping to find a field in 
Bithynia, but was again disappointed. At 
Troas, the very extremity of Asia, came the 
turning-point in the fortunes of the mission- 


aries. Encouraged by a vision they crossed 
into Macedonia and found fields white for the 

The Epistles to Thessalonica address one 
of these Macedonian churches from Corinth, 
whither the missionaries have been driven. 
Timothy had been sent back from Athens 
when Paul s own repeated attempts to return 
had been frustrated, and has just arrived with 
good news of the church s perseverance in 
spite of a persecution stirred up by the Jews. 
It is against these, apparently, not against 
Jewish-Christian detractors, that Paul defends 
his character and message (1st Thess. ii. 1-13). 
There is also an urgent warning against 
fornication (iv. 1-8) and exhortation to 
abound in love (iv. 0-12), with correction of 
the natural Greek tendency to misapprehend 
the Jewish eschatology and resurrection-doc 
trine (iv. 13 v. 1-11 ;" cf. 1st Cor. xv.). The 
closing admonitions relate to the direction 
of church meetings and discipline. 

2nd Thessalonians corrects and supplements 
the eschatology of 1st Thessalonians by adding 
a doctrine of Antichrist, which is at all events 
thoroughly Jewish and earlier than 70, when 
the temple was destroyed in wiiich it expects 
the manifestation of " the man of sin." It 
is the only one of the Epistles of this period 
whose authenticity is seriously questioned by 
critical scholarship. How little this affects 
the question of Paul s gospel may be seen 
by the fact that the entire contents cover 


less than 3 per cent, of the earlier Epistles, 
while the subject is a mere detail. 

Far more significant is it to observe the 
close correspondence between the missionary 
preaching of Paul as here described by himseff 
(1st Thess. i. 9 /.) and the general apostolic 
message (Iterygmd) as described by Luke 
(Acts x. 42 /. ; xiv. 15-17; xvii/24-31). 
Where there are no Judaizers there is no 
reference to the dispensations of Law and 
Grace and the abolition of the former in the 
Cross. The doctrine is the common gospel 
of the Resurrection, wherein Jesus has been 
manifested as the Messiah. Faith in him 
secures forgiveness to the repentant; all others 
are doomed to perish in the judgment shown 
by his manifestation to be at hand 
(cf. 1st Cor. xv. 11 ; Rom. i. 3-5). 

Galatians was written but slightly before 
(or after ?) the letters to Thessalonica. Its 
single theme (after the retrospect) is the 
Adoption to Sonship through the Spirit. 
Against the Judaizer s plea that to share in 
the Inheritance one must be adopted (prefer 
ably by circumcision) into the family of 
Abraham, or at all events pay respect to the 
Mosaic Law, Paul asserts the single fact of 
the adoption of the Spirit. " It is because 
ye are sons that God sent forth the Spirit of 
his Son into our hearts crying (in the ecstatic 
utterances of tongues ) Abba, that is, 
Father" (Gal. iv. 6). To go back to legal 
observances is to revert from redemption to 


bondage. All Christians are indeed sons of 
Abraham, but only as sharers of his trust 
in God. Abraham was made " heir of the 
world " (Rom. iv. 13) for his faith. Circum 
cision and the Law came afterwards. They 
were not superimposed stipulations and con 
ditions of the promise. On the contrary they 
were temporary pedagogic measures intended 
to produce the consciousness of sin and 
(moral) death, so that when the Heir should 
come men should be ready to cast themselves 
on the mercy of God displayed in his vicarious 
death. 1 Thus the messianic Redemption is 
a redemption from a system issuing in sin and 
death. On the cross even the sinless Christ 
incurred the curse in order that believers thus 
redeemed might have the Blessing of the 
Abrahamic promise (Gal. iii. 1 iv. 7). 

But this transfer from bondage to liberty, 
from the legal to the filial relation, does not 
" make Christ a minister of sin." On the 
contrary, if the delivering Spirit of sonship 
has been received at all, it controls the life 
for purity and love. One cannot be a son 
and be unfilial or unbrotherly. The unity of 
the redeemed world in Christ is the unity of 
loving service, not of subjection to a bygone 

1 Romans enlarges the conception of the economy of 
Law by making it include the Gentile law of con 
science (Rom. i. 18 ii. 16). In Galatians this point is 
covered only by classing the " augels " through whom the 
Mosaic Law was given, with the " Elements " honoured 
in Gentile religion. Both are codes of "stewards and 


system of rules (iv. 8 vi. 18). Thus does 
Galatians meet the insidious plea of the 
Judaizers, and their charges against Pauline 

The church founded by Paul in Corinth 
(Acts xviii. 1-17) was grounded from the 
beginning in this doctrine of the Cross. Paul 
purposely restricted himself to it (1st Cor. 
i. 17-25 ; ii. 1-5). He had indeed a world- 
view, of which we learn more in the Epistles 
of the Captivity, a philosophy revealed by the 
Spirit as a " mystery of God." Those who 
afterwards in Corinth came to call themselves 
followers " of Apollos " had nothing to teach 
him on this score. But consideration of this 
Grecizing tendency, too often issuing in a 
mere " philosophy and vain deceit after the 
Elements of the world and not after Christ " 
(Col. ii. 8), must be deferred, in favour oi 
questions which became more immediately 
pressing. For after Paul had left Corinth to 
make a brief visit via Ephesus to Csesarea and 
Antioch, and had returned through the now 
pacified Galatian churches to make Ephesus 
his permanent headquarters (Acts xviii. 18- 
23), he received disturbing news of conditions 
in Corinth. Under Apollos (now at Ephesus 
with Paul) an Alexandrian convert thoroughly 
indoctrinated with Paul s gospel (Acts xviii. 
24-28) the church had flourished, but dis 
cussions had subsequently arisen, resulting 
in a letter to Paul asking his advice on 
disputed points. Besides this there were 


moral blemishes. First the factious strife 
itself, of which Paul has learned from new 
comers from Corinth; secondly a case of 
unpunished incest. A previous letter from 
Paul (now lost, or but partially preserved in 
2nd Cor. vi. 14 vii. 1) had required the 
church " to have no company with forni- 
cators." The church, making the application 
general, had pleaded the impracticability of 
" going out of the world." Paul now ex 
plains : " If any man that is named a brother 
be a fornicator . . . with such a one no, not 
to eat." After further rebuke for litigious- 
ness, and a lack of moral tone, especially in 
the matter of " fornication " (ch. vi.), Paul 
takes up seriatim " the things whereof ye 
wrote." We are chiefly interested in the 
long section (viii. 1 xi. i) on " things offered 
to idols " wherein Paul instructs those who 
would be imitators of his freedom, but who 
forget that he has always refused to assert 
his rights when thereby the weak were 
stumbled. Moreover fornication is never 
among the permissible things, nor even the 
eating of meats offered to idols at the heathen 
banquet itself. Such food is unobjectionable 
only when it has been sold in the market, 
and can be eaten without offence. 

The other questions related to church 
meetings for the " Lord s supper " and the 
exercise of " spiritual gifts." They give 
opportunity for the development of Paul s 
noble doctrine of unity through loving service 


(xi. 2 xiv. 40). The doctrinal section of 
1st Corinthians concludes with a full state 
ment of Paul s doctrine of the resurrection 
body (called forth by Greek objections to 
the Jewish). From the items of business at 
the close we learn that " the collection for the 
saints " has been under way some time 
already " in Galatia," and that Paul hopes, 
after passing through Macedonia, to join the 
delegation which is to carry the money to 
Jerusalem (xvi. 1-6). 

As it turned out Paul actually followed the 
itinerary outlined in 1st Cor. xvi. 1-6, but 
not until after distressing experiences. Timo 
thy, sent (by way of Macedonia, Acts xix. 22) 
as Paul s representative (iv. 17; xvi. 10 /.), 
was unable to restore order. The opposition 
to Paul s apostolic authority, treated almost 
contemptuously in ix. 1-14, grew to alarming 
proportions. Paul received so direct and 
personal an affront (either on a hasty visit 
undertaken in person from Ephesus, or in the 
person of Timothy) that he despatched a 
peremptory ultimatum, whose effect he is 
anxiously waiting to hear when 2nd Corin 
thians opens with Paul driven out from 
Ephesus, a refugee in Macedonia (c. 55). It 
is highly probable that the disconnected 
section appended between 2nd Cor. ix. 15 
and the Farewell, is taken from this " grievous " 
letter written " out of much affliction and 
anguish of heart with many tears " (2nd Cor. 
ii. 1-4; vii. 8-16); for it was not only a 


peremptory demand for punishment of the 
offender, but also a letter of forced self-com 
mendation. Paul cannot have written in 
self-commendation on more than one occasion, 
and he promises not to repeat this in iii. 1 ff. 
We may take 2nd Cor. x.-xiii., then, as repre 
senting the " grievous " letter. The opposition 
emanates from Judaizers who say they are 
" of Christ," and may therefore be identical 
with those of 1st Cor. i. 12. But it has grown 
to proportions which for a time made Paul 
despair of the church s loyalty. Titus arrival 
in Macedonia with news of their restored 
obedience had been an inexpressible relief 
(ii. 5-17; vii. 8-16). It remains only to set 
his ministry of the new covenant once more 
in contrast with the Mosaic ministry of 
condemnation and death, including further 
elucidation of the doctrine of the resurrection 
body (iii. 1 vi. 10) and to urge generosity in 
the matter of the collection (chh. viii.-ix.). 

The somewhat disordered, but unmistak 
ably genuine material of 2nd Corinthians was 
probably given out as a kind of residuum of 
Pauline material long after our 1st Corinthians 
had been put in circulation, perhaps when 
renewed strife had caused the church in Rome 
to intervene through Clement (95), who quotes 
1st Corinthians, but shows no knowledge of 
2nd Corinthians. The correspondence is not 
only invaluable to the church for its paean 
of love as the invincible, abiding gift of the 
Spirit (1st Cor. xiii.) and its sublime eulogy 


of the " ministry of the new covenant," but 
instructive in the highest degree to the 
historian. Almost every aspect of Paul s work 
as missionary, defender of his own independent 
apostleship and gospel, guide and instructor 
of developing Gentile-Christian thought, and 
ardent commissioner for peace with the 
apostolic community in Syria, is here set 
forth. The best exposition of the history is 
the documentary material itself, and con 

Romans was written during the peaceful 
winter at Corinth (55-56) which followed these 
weeks of tormenting anxiety in Macedonia 
(Acts xx. 1-3). Paul feels that he has carried 
the gospel to the very shores of the Adriatic 
(xv. 19). He is on the point of going to 
Jerusalem with his great offering of the 
Gentiles, and has already fixed his eye on 
Rome and " Spain " ! Just as before the First 
Missionary Journey he forestalled opposition 
by frankly laying his gospel before the 
Pillars, so now he lays it before the church 
in Rome, but most delicately and tactfully, 
not as though assuming to admonish Chris 
tians already " filled with all knowledge and 
able to admonish one another " (xv. 14), but 
" that I with you may be comforted in you, 
each of us by the other s faith " (i. 12). Thus 
the Epistle is an eirenicon. For Rome was 
even more than Ephesus had been, a pre 
occupied territory, though a metropolis of 
Paul s mission-field. Most of the church are 


Paul s sympathizers, but there are many of 
the * weak, who may easily be offended. 
The letter repeats and enlarges the argument 
of Galatians for the gospel of Grace, carrying 
back the promise to Abraham to its antecedent 
in the fall of Adam, whereby all mankind had 
passed under the domination of Sin and Death. 
The function of the Law is again made clear 
as bringing men to consciousness of this 
bondage, till it is done away by (mystical) 
death and resurrection with Christ. In the 
adoption wrought by the Spirit the whole 
creation even, groaning since Adam s time 
under vanity, is liberated in the manifesta 
tion of the sons of God. Jesus, glorified at 
the right hand of God, is the firstfruits of the 
cosmic redemption (Rom. i.-viii.). Such is 
Paul s theory of * evolution. It is followed 
by a vindication of God in history. Rom. 
ix.-xi. exhibits the relation of Jew and Gentile 
in the process of the redemption. Israel has 
for the time being been hardened that the 
Gentiles may be brought in. Ultimately 
their very jealousy at this result will bring 
them also to repentant faith. 

Paul s sublime exposition of his view of 
cosmic and historic redemption is followed 
(as in all the Epistles) by a practical exhorta 
tion (chh. xii.-xiv.), the keynote of which is 
unity through mutual forbearance and loving 
service. It repeats the Corinthian figure of 
the members in the body, and the Galatian 
definition of the law of Christ. Special 


application is made to the case of the scrupu 
lous who make distinctions of days and of 
meats. Here, however (xiv. 1 xv. 13), there 
is no longer need to resist a threatened yoke. 
Only tenderness and consideration are urged 
for the over-scrupulous " brother in Christ." 
It was in this spirit that Paul and his great 
company of delegates from the churches of 
the Gentiles went up to Jerusalem (Acts xx. 4 
xxi. 17). 



THE second period of Paul s literary career 
begins after an interval of several years. 
This interval is covered indeed, so far as the 
great events of the Apostle s personal story 
are concerned, by the last nine chapters of 
Acts, but exceedingly obscure as respects the 
fortunes of his mission-field and the occasion 
for the group of Epistles which come to us 
after its close. It is barely possible that a 
fragment or two from the so-called Pastoral 
Epistles (1st Timothy, 2nd Timothy, Titus), 
which seem to be compiled long after Paul s 
death on the basis of some remnants of his 
correspondence, may have been written shortly 
after the arrest in Jerusalem and " first 
defence." In 2nd Tim. iv. 11-18 a journey is 
referred to from Troas by way of Ephesus 
which coincides in many respects with that 
of Acts xx. If the fragment could be taken 
out from its present setting it might be pos 
sible to identify the two ; for it is clear from 
the forecast of Acts xx. 25, 38 that Paul 
never did revisit this region. The grip of 
Rome upon her troublesome prisoner was 


not relaxed until his martyrdom, probably 
some considerable time before the " great 
multitude " whom Nero condemned after 
the conflagration of 64. However, until 
analysis can dissect out with greater definite- 
ness the genuine elements of the Pastoral 
Epistles, they cannot be used to throw light 
upon the later period of Paul s career. A 
historical background has indeed been created 
to meet their requirements a release of 
Paul, resumption of missionary activities on 
the coasts of the ^Egean, renewed imprison 
ment in Rome and ultimate martyrdom. But 
this has absolutely no warrant outside the 
Pastorals themselves, and is both incon 
sistent with Acts and open to criticism in 
trinsically. The story thus created of a 
release, second visitation of the Greek churches, 
and second imprisonment must, therefore, 
be regarded as fictitious, and the Pastoral 
Epistles in their present form as products 
of the post-Pauline age. 

It is our task to trace the development among 
the Greek churches of Christianity conceived 
as a " revelation of God in Christ," alongside 
of its development in the * apostolic church, 
until the period of catholic* unity and the 
completed canon. Upon this development 
the story of Paul s personal fortunes in Acts 
throws but little light. We merely see that 
his great peace-making visit to Jerusalem 
was suddenly interrupted by his arrest in 
the temple, while engaged in an act of worship 


undoubtedly intended by him to demonstrate 
his willingness in the interest of unity to 
" become as under the Law to them that are 
under the Law." After this his great delega 
tion from the Gentile churches must have 
scattered to their homes. Paul remained a 
prisoner for two years in Csesarea, and after 
an adventurous journey covering the ensuing 
autumn and winter (59-60), spent two more 
years in less rigid confinement at Rome. 
We need no hint from his request in 2nd Tim. 
iv. 13 for " books and parchments " to infer 
that the years of forced seclusion in Caesarea 
were marked by study and meditation ; but 
narrative and inference together convey but 
little of what we mainly desire to know : 
the course of religious development in the 
Pauline churches, as a background for the 

On the other hand recent research into 
religious conditions in the early Empire has 
removed the principal objections to the authen 
ticity of Philippians, Philemon, Colossians, and 
even Ephesians. We are far from being 
compelled to come down to the time of the 
great Gnostic systems of the second century 
to find a historical situation appropriate to 
this group of letters purporting to be written 
by Paul from his captivity. Indeed they 
exhibit on any theory of their origin a char 
acteristic and legitimate development of the 
Pauline gospel of sonship by the Spirit oi 
Adoption abolishing the dispensation of 


Law. It is a development almost inevitable 
in a conception of the gospel formed on Greek 
ideas of Redemption, if we place in opposition 
to it a certain baser type of superstitious, 
mongrel Judaism, revealed in the Epistles 
themselves, repeatedly referred to in Acts, 
and now known to us by a mass of extraneous 
documentary material. 

The new disturbers of the churches peace 
revealed in the Epistles of the Captivity are 
still of Jewish origin and tendency; but at 
least in the region of Colossae (in the Lycus 
Valley, adjacent to southern Galatia) the issue 
is no longer that between Law and Grace, 
but concerns the nature and extent of the 
Redemption. The trouble still comes from a 
superstitious exaltation of the Mosaic revela 
tion ; but those whom Paul here opposes do 
not " use the Law lawfully," frankly insisting 
on its permanent obligation as the will of 
God for all sons, unaffected by the Cross. It 
is now admitted to be an " ordinance of 
angels " ; but the observance of it is inculcated 
because man s redemption can only come 
through conciliation of these higher beings. 
Mystical union with superhuman Powers is 
to be promoted by its observances. This 
superstition is neither purely Jewish, nor 
purely Greek. It is composite Hellenistic. 
Judaism is imitated in the superstitious 
reverence for the Law; but the conception 
of Redemption leaves behind every thought 
of national particularism and is openly 


individualistic. The redemption sought is that 
of the individual soul from the limitations of 
humanity, and doubtless the name of Jesus 
played an important role in the emancipation, 
as in the exorcisms of the sons of Sceva (Acts 
xix. 13 /.); only it was not "above every 

But even Jewish apocalypses such as 
Enoch and Baruch with all their superstitious 
angelology and demonology manage somehow 
to cling to the ancient Jewish faith in the 
primacy of man, and Paul in like manner 
upholds against the theosophists the doctrine 
of the believer s sonship and joint-heirship 
with Christ. In fact the Adoption, Redemp 
tion and Inheritance accorded in the gift of 
the Spirit are to his mind gifts so great and 
exalted as to make it a " gratuitous self- 
humiliation " to pay homage, in Mosaic or 
other ceremonial, to " angels," " principali 
ties," or " powers." In Christ we already have 
a foothold in the heavenly regions. We were 
foreordained in his person to be " heirs " 
" before the foundation of the world." His 
resurrection and ascension " to the right hand 
of God " participated in by us through " the 
Spirit " was a " triumph " over the Ele 
ments and Rulers. They should be be* 
neath the Christian s feet in feeling, as they 
soon will be in reality. 

This exalted doctrine of Christ s sonship as 
compared with the mere temporary authority 
of " angels and principalities and powers," 


secures to the Epistles of the Captivity 
their well-deserved title of " Christological " ; 
for they lay the foundation for all later 
doctrines of the Logos or Word. It is well 
to realize, however, that the doctrine is in 
origin and meaning simply a vindication of 
the divine dignity of manhood. 

An idea of outward conditions at the time 
of writing may be gained from the two 
Epistles of the group most universally ad 
mitted to be genuine, Philemon and Philip- 
pians. Both are written from captivity, 
almost certainly in Rome, because the writer 
is expecting, if released, to revisit the -<Egean 
coasts, which was not Paul s expectation in 
Caesarea. But there is a wide difference 
between the two as respects the circumstances 
presupposed. The tone of Philemon is hope 
ful, sprightly, even jocose. Paul is in com 
pany with a group of " fellow- workers " 
which significantly includes " Mark," as well 
as two companions of the voyage to Rome, 
" Aristarchus " of Thessalonica, and " Luke " 
(Acts xxvii. 2). Epaphras, his " fellow- 
prisoner," appears in Colossians as the founder 
of that church and a teacher in the adjacent 
towns of Hierapolis and Laodicea. He has 
brought to Paul either of his own knowledge 
or by report from others, disturbing news of 
the inroads of the heresy. Onesimus, whose 
case occasions the letter to Philemon, is an 
escaped slave of this friend and convert of 
Paul, The apostle is sending back the slave 


with the request that he be forgiven and manu 
mitted. The interrelation of the persons 
mentioned in Philemon and Colossians shows 
that the occasion is the same. Tychicus 
(cf. Acts xx. 3) the bearer of Colossians (Col. 
iv. 7) accompanies Onesimus. Ephesians (if 
authentic) belongs to the same group, being 
also carried by Tychicus (Eph. vi. 21). It 
was certainly not intended for Ephesus, but 
for some church or churches not directly 
known to Paul (i. 15; iii. 2). It bears much 
the same relation to Colossians as Romans to 
Galatians. In spite of copious evidences of 
its use reaching back even to Clement of 
Rome (95) the genuineness of Ephesians is 
more seriously questioned than that of any 
other Pauline letter save the Pastorals. In 
the present writer s judgment this suspicion 
is unfounded, but the question of Pauline, 
semi-Pauline or deutero-Pauline is immaterial 
to the general development. 

Philippians is of later date than Philemon 
and its companions. Paul has been in cir 
cumstances of dire physical distress, and is 
comforting his correspondents in view of an 
immediately impending decision of his case 
(ii. 23). The issue will be life or death, and 
Paul has no earthly (but only super-earthly) 
reasons for hoping the verdict may not be 
adverse. He is still expecting, if released, 
to revisit the JEgean coast (ii. 24) ; but it is 
only smiling through his tears when he tells 
the Philippians that their need of him is so 


great that he is confident he will be spared to 
them (Phil. 1. 12-30). Knowing that this 
journey was never made, we can but infer 
that the fate so near at hand in Phil. ii. 17 
came actually to pass. Paul s blood was 
" poured out a libation," as tradition of ex 
treme antiquity credibly reports, and it can 
hardly have been after a release, return to 
Greece and second arrest. The passage in 
2nd Tim iv. 5-8 which repeats the figure of the 
libation (Phil. ii. 17), treating it no longer as 
doubtful, but a tragic certainty, will have been 
penned (if authentic) but a few weeks at most 
after Philippians, and immediately before 
the end. If Philemon-Colossians-Ephesians 
be dated in 62, Philippians, with the possible 
fragments in 2nd Timothy, may be dated a 
few months later. 

Conditions at Philippi appear only in a 
favourable light from this latest authentic 
epistle. Paul can thank God upon every 
remembrance of these loyal and liberal 
Macedonian friends. In Rome, however, he 
is still affected by Judaizing opposition, 
though his attitude toward it (in Rome at 
least) shows the significant difference from 
Galatians that he can now be thankful that 
Christ is preached even thus (Phil i. 15-18). 
Moreover there is a difference in the type of 
legalism represented ; for while in his warning 
to the Philippians of the possible coming of 
the heretics Paul is moved to recall his own 
renunciation of legalistic righteousness, the 


terms of opprobrium applied to the disturbers 
imply an immorality and assimilation to 
heathenism (Phil. iii. 2 19; cf. Rom. xvi. 
17-20) which could not justly be said to char 
acterize the legalism of the synagogue. 

The doctrinal elements of Philippians con 
sist of two passages : (1) the denunciation 
of the " concision " (a term applied to the 
heathenized renegade Jew) ending with a 
reminder of the high enthronement of our 
spiritual Redeemer (iii. 1-21); (2) the defini 
tion of the " mind," or " disposition," of 
Christ exhibited in his self-abnegating incar 
nation, obedient suffering, and supreme ex 
altation (ii. 5-11). Both passages are char 
acteristic of Paul s gospel in general, which is 
always, as against that of the Judaizers, the 
gospel of a drama, or spectacle, witnessed ; 
not a gospel of teachings heard. It is a 
gospel about Jesus, not of precepts inculcated 
by Jesus, a drama of redemption for all man 
kind out of servitude into sonship, wherein 
the cross is central. Both passages are also 
characteristic, as we shall see, of the later 
period of Paul s literary activity ; for even in 
Philippians, the dominant doctrinal motive 
is the Redemption to which Paul is looking 
forward, and this is now conceived even more 
strongly than in the earlier letters in 
terms of personal religion. He anticipates 
" departing to be with Christ " (i. 23) rather 
than awaiting Him on earth (1st Thess. iv. 17). 
The " goal " toward which the Christian 


" presses on " is personal immortality through 
mystic union with Christ in the life of God 
(iii. 10-14). This too is a real doctrine of 
the Kingdom of God ; but its starting-point is 
humanity s triumph over its enemies sin 
and death, not Israel s triumph over its 
oppressors. Still more in the Colossian group 
does it become apparent how the far-off, 
divine event is a unity of mankind through 
the Spirit corresponding to the Stoic figure of 
the members and the body rather than the 
4 Kingdom of David. 

Again the opponents in Phil. iii. 2, 18 /. are 
not mere Pharisaic legalists, unable to see 
that Law and Grace are mutually exclusive 
systems, and nullifying the significance of the 
Cross by perpetuating the system it was 
intended to abolish. If we may explain the 
difference by Colossians, they are Jews of 
heathenish tendencies, pretended adherents 
of the gospel, who nullify its significance 
by perpetuating regard for the Law ; only the 
servility deplored is not servility toward God, 
but toward " angels " (Col. ii. 18). 

To appreciate the enlargement which has 
come to Christianity beyond its merely 
apostolic form through the independent 
development of the Greek churches in this 
second period we must realize that Paul s 
gospel of the uncircumcision differed in 
respect to promise as well as law. The coming 
Kingdom which he preached was something 
more than " the kingdom of our father 


David " extended from Jerusalem. What it 
really was becomes fully apparent only in 
the * Christological Epistles. But we must 
study the opposition to appreciate how 
differently the idea of Redemption had 
developed on Greek soil. 

That aspect of Judaism which was most 
conspicuous to the outsider in Paul s day 
was not the legalism of the scribes and the 
Palestinian synagogue, perpetually embalmed 
in the Talmud and orthodox rabbinism of 
to-day. It was the superstition and magic 
which excite the contempt of satirists like 
Horace, Juvenal, and Martial, and call forth 
descriptions like that of the letter of Hadrian 
to Servianus, characterizing the Samaritans, 
Jews and Christians dwelling in Egypt as " all 
astrologers, haruspices, and quacksalvers." 
It is this type of Jew who is most widely 
known in the contemporary Hellenistic world ; 
whose spells and incantations, framed in 
Old Testament language, are perpetuated in 
the leaden incantation rolls and magic papyri 
of the Berlin collection ; whose portrait is 
painted in the Simon Magus of Acts viii. 14-24, 
the Elymas the sorcerer of Acts xiii. 6-12, the 
"strolling Jews, exorcists," and the "seven 
sons of Sceva " of Acts xix. 13-20. A 
Christian writer early in the second century 
is so impressed with this characteristic of con 
temporary Judaism that he even distinguishes 
as the third type of religion, besides idolatry 
and Christianity, " the Jews, who fancy that 


they alone know God, but do not, worship 
ping angels and archangels, the moon and 
the month," and seeks to prove his case 
by citing the Old Testament festal system. 
Indeed this idea of Judaism is the predominant 
one among the second-century apologists. 
Jewish " superstition " is a notorious fact 
of the time. The transcendentalizing of 
Jewish theology after the Persian period had 
led inevitably to an elaborate angelology and 
demonology. When as part of this process a 
more and more supernatural character was 
attributed to the Law it could but have a two 
fold effect. The learned and orthodox would 
treat it soberly as a revelation of the divine 
will. This is the legalistic development we 
see in the Talmud and the Palestinian syna 
gogue. The ignorant and superstitious, 
especially in the Greek-speaking world, would 
use it as a book of magic. This is what we 
see among many Jewish sects, particularly 
in Samaria, Egypt and among the Greek- 
speaking Jews. The tendency was marked 
even in Galilee. Jesus Himself stigmatizes 
the morbid craving of His countrymen for 
miracles as the mark of an " adulterous " 
generation, because the power invoked was 
not divine, but always angelic, or even 
demonic. Paul alludes to the same trait 
(1st Cor. i. 22). But while there is a singular 
absence both from the Pauline and the 
Johannine writings of any reference to exor 
cism, the typical miracle of Synoptic story, it 


has been justly remarked that no element of 
Paul s thought has been so little affected by 
that of Jesus as his angelology and demono- 
logy. Paul s world-view, like that of the 
apocalypses of his time, is a perfect phan 
tasmagoria of angels and demons, " gods many 
and lords many." His conception of the 
redemption conflict is not a wrestling against 
flesh and blood, but against " world-rulers of 
this (lower region of) darkness," against 
" archangels," " elements," " principalities," 
" powers." The one thing which takes away 
all harmful influence from this credulity (if 
we must apply an unfairly modern judgment 
to an ancient writer) is his doctrine of the 
Sonship and Lordship of Jesus, with whom 
the redeemed are " joint-heirs " of the entire 
creation and thus superior to angels. In 
this respect Paul has imbibed the mind of 
Christ. Jesus remedy for superstition is not 
scientific but religious. It does not deny 
the popularly assumed relation to " spirits " 
good or evil, but affirms a direct relation to 
the Infinite Spirit, which reduces all angels 
and demons to insignificance save as " minis 
ters." Paul s world-view starts with the 
creation of man to be lord and heir of the 
world (Gal. iv. 1 ; 1st Cor. iii. 22 ; cf. Gen. 
i. 28). The " purpose of God, which he 
purposed in Christ Jesus, before the creation, 
unto a dispensation of the fulness of the ages " 
is " to our glory." It would be frustrated if 
the " Second Adam " did not become the 


Heir, in whom the redeemed creation would 
find the goal of its long expectancy. Paul 
has a cosmology as well as " Enoch." He 
could not be a worthy follower of Jesus 
he could not even be a loyal " son of the Law " 
without holding to the accepted doctrine of 
the Inheritance intended for Messiah and his 
obedient people. It did not make him less 
firm in this conviction when as a Christian 
he thought of Jesus as the Messiah, and of 
Jew and Gentile united in his kingdom; 
only the starting-point is not the subjection 
of the sons of Abraham under Gentiles, but 
the subjection of the sons of Adam under 
" world-rulers of this darkness." When he 
combines Ps. viii. and Ps. ex. in his depiction of 
the reign of Christ in 1st Cor. xv. 24-27, it is 
a sure indication of its scope as Paul under 
stood it. He included in the lordship over 
creation, and the subjection of all " enemies " 
which the exalted Christ is awaiting " at the 
right hand of God," the subjection of " angels, 
and principalities, and powers and every 
name that is named, whether of beings in 
heaven, or on earth, or under the earth. 
Paul pursues, then, the method of the apoca 
lyptic writers in making his doctrine of Re 
demption and the Kingdom transcendental. 
By making it cosmic he undermines its 
Jewish particularism. He avoids the super 
stition by holding firmly to Jesus doctrine 
of sonship by moral affinity with God. 
In the Christological Epistles accordingly 


it is apparent that the Pauline churches 
are learning to think of the coming Kingdom 
in a \videly different way from the apostolic. 
The Greek doctrine of mystic union, not the 
rabbinic of a " share in the world to come," 
is the basis. In due time we shall see 
how difficult the process of reconciliation 
became between Greek and Semitic thought 
in this field also. For the present we can only 
note how in the great theme of the Unity of 
the Spirit in Eph. iv. 1 vi. 9 it is not the 
* apostolic ideal of a restoration of the 
kingdom to Israel according to the oath sworn 
to Abraham (Luke i. 68-75 ; c/. Acts i. 6) that 
dominates, but an enlargement of the figure 
of the body and members, a figure commonly 
employed by Stoic writers, to apply to the 
unity of the church in Corinthians and Romans. 
In the Epistles of the Captivity the doctrine 
of the Kingdom is a social organism permeated 
and vitalized by Christ s spirit of service. 
Personal immortality is union with the life of 

In view of the notoriety of Ephesus as the 
very centre of the trade in magic (so much so 
that spells and incantations were technically 
known as " Ephesian letters ") and of what 
Acts tells us of the enormous destruction there 
of " books of magic " effected by Paul s 
preaching, it is not surprising that Asia and 
Phrygia should appear a few years after Paul s 
departure as the hot-bed of a "philosophy 
and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, 


after the elements of the world, and not 
after Christ." Acts xx. 29 makes Paul 
predict the heresy. 

Such was especially the case at Colossse, 
a little town long after notorious for its super 
stition, where Epaphras, now Paul s fellow- 
prisoner, had founded the church. Epaphras 
himself at the time of Paul s writing was in 
great anxiety both for this church and for 
the adjoining churches at Hierapolis and 
Laodicea. Colossians is written to meet this 
danger, and was sent by the same bearers as 
the note to Philemon. It was to be exchanged, 
after being read at Colossse, for another epistle 
sent simultaneously to Laodicea. Whether 
our Ephesians is this companion letter or 
only a deutero-Pauline production framed on 
the basis of some genuine letter written on 
this occasion, is a disputed point among 
critics. In Marcion s canon our Ephesians 
was called " Laodiceans," and in our own 
oldest textual authorities it has no address. 
We may assume that Ephesians is really the 
companion letter, whose original address 
was for some reason cancelled ; l or that 
it is but partially from Paul s own hand. 
Neither view will materially alter our con 
ception of his teaching, or the special 
application of it to the circumstances of the 

1 Harnack very ingeniously suggests as a reason the 
ill repute later incurred by Laodicea (cf. Rev. iii. 16/); 
comparing the chiselling out from inscriptions of the 
names of unpopular kings. 


churches of the Lycus Valley. The important 
thing to observe is that whereas the applica 
tion in Colossians is specific, in Ephesians it is 
systematic and general. Colossians wages a 
direct polemic against those who are making 
believers the spoil of mere Elements by 
introducing distinctions of " meats and 
drinks " (a step beyond Mosaism), with ob 
servance of " feast days, new moons and 
sabbaths." In Ephesians we have, either 
altogether at first hand, or to a greater or 
less extent at second, a general, affirmative 
presentation of Paul s doctrine of Lordship 
in Christ. It has only incidental allusion to 
being " deceived with empty words " (v. 6), 
and a warning not to be ; children tossed to 
and fro and carried about with every wind 
of doctrine, by the sleight of men in craftiness, 
after the wiles of error " (iv. 14). 

Colossians and Ephesians develop, accord 
ingly, that (cosmological) wisdom of God 
conveyed to Paul by the Spirit of Christ in 
a " mystery," at which he had only hinted ir 
1st Cor. ii. 1-16. Paul s gnosis, or insight, 
concerns the purpose of God in creation, 
hidden even from the (angelic) " world - 
rulers," who are coming to nought. The 
Spirit of Christ, who as the divine Wisdom 
had been the agent of creation, is given to 
Christian apostles and prophets. It affords 
them in the revelation of this " mystery " 
a philosophy both of creation and redemption 
which puts to shame mere speculative reason- 


ing. The Inheritance the things God pre 
pared for those that love Him consists (as 
an apocalyptic writer had said) of " things 
which eye had not seen, nor ear heard, nor 
had entered into the heart of man to conceive." 
Paul had purposely refrained from unfolding 
this revealed cosmology and philosophy of 
history to the Corinthians, in order to avoid 
just the evils which the teaching of Apollos 
had apparently precipitated at the time when 
1st Corinthians was written. Still, we can 
gain from this very epistle (1st Cor. viii. 6; 
xv. 24-28) a partial conception of his doctrine 
of Christ as the beginning and end of the 
creation, the Wisdom of God by whom and 
for whom as Heir, all things were created. 
From Romans i.-viii. and ix.-xi. we can easily 
see that as Second Adam the Messiah was to 
Paul the key to the world s development and 
to human history; for since the triumph of 
Satan in Eden the whole creation had 
waited, groaning, for the advent of the sons. 
Galatians makes it no less clear that he thought 
of the Cross as the epoch-making event, 
which marks the transition from, the period 
of the control of the world by secondary 
agencies, to the rule of the Son. This 
" mystery " is simply brought out and de 
veloped now in the Epistles of the Captivity. 
The effort and prayer is that the readers may 
" have the eyes of their heart enlightened," 
obtain something of Paul s own insight into 
the riches of the inheritance they are to share 


with Christ, something of Paul s experience 
of the power of God in raising Christ from 
the dead and setting Him on the throne of 
glory. If they but realize what sonship and 
heirship with Christ implies if they but take 
in the fact that by the resurrection Spirit 
within them they have already in a sense 
shared in this deliverance and this exaltation, 
they will be forearmed against all the vain 
deceits of theosophy. It is in fact this 
resurrection Spirit which brings about the 
unity of the world as a single organism. It 
extends from the uppermost height to the 
nethermost abyss. And because it is the 
Spirit of Jesus, it fills all it touches with the 
disposition to loving service. It affords a 
new ethics and a new politics whose keynote 
is the law of love in imitation of God and 
Christ. All social relations are recreated by 
it, beginning with family and church. Hence 
we must think of our redemption as like 
Israel s from the bondage and darkness of 
Egypt. The principalities and powers of this 
world, spiritual hosts of wickedness in the 
superterrestrial regions, are vainly endeavour 
ing to hold back the people of God, in " this 
darkness." We have only to wait like Israel 
at the Passover " with our loins girt, and our 
feet shod." The Deliverer will soon appear 
from heaven, clad in armour of salvation, 
as in the ancient passover songs, cleaving the 
darkness with his sword of light, and leading 
forth the captives. 


In these themes, variously interwoven in 
Ephesians and Colossians, it is difficult to say 
whether it is the note of unity or the note of 
freedom which predominates. Certainly we 
can recognize the same great apostle of liberty 
who in the epistles of the earlier period had 
proved the power and value of his religious 
insight by seizing upon the doctrine of sonship 
as the essential heart of the gospel. It is the 
same genius consciously taught of God who 
had demanded and obtained recognition on 
equal terms for his gospel of Grace and sonship, 
a gospel given by revelation of God s Son 
" in " him, who now demands that the gift 
of the Spirit to Jew and Gentile be recognized 
as calling for reconstruction of the doctrine 
of the coming Kingdom. " He that ascended 
is the same also that descended to the lowest 
depths that he might fill all things." And 
he poured out the " gifts " in order that they 
might make one organism of the new social 
order, a new creation animated and vitalized 
by Jesus spirit of loving service. 

For just as in all the great earlier epistles 
the note of longing for peace and unity in love 
rings ever stronger and clearer above the 
strife, so in the later epistles, the note of 
triumph in liberty has a deep under-chord of 
thanksgiving for reconciliation achieved. The 
great paean of reverent adoration for the glory 
of God s grace in Eph. i. 3-14, is a thanks 
giving for the union of Jew and Gentile in 
one common redemption. The retrospect 


of the work of God in ii. 11-21 is the pro 
clamation of " peace to him that was far off 
and peace to him that was nigh." It is 
described as the building of Jew and Gentile 
into one living temple, upon the foundation 
of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus 
Himself being the chief corner-stone. The 
exhortation to the unity of the Spirit in iv. 1 
vi. 9 rests upon an exultant application of 
the figure of the " one new man " in whose 
body all are members, that would be incon 
ceivable if at the time of writing the church 
which had received the gifts from the ascended 
Lord was not indeed one body, but two bodies 
standing apart in mutual distrust and jealousy. 
In fact we may say not of Ephesians only, 
but of Colossians likewise, and indeed of all 
the group : Their keynote is not so much the 
conquest of all things by Christ as " the recon 
ciliation of all things in Christ, whether things 
upon the earth, or things in the heavens " 
(Col. i. 20). It is not unreasonable to infer 
from such undertones as these that the prayer 
was answered in which Paul when he set out 
from Corinth had besought the Roman 
church by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the 
love of the Spirit to strive together with him, 
that his ministration which he had for Jeru 
salem might be acceptable to the saints, that 
so his coming to them in Rome through the 
will of God might be in joy, and that together 
with them he might find rest. 



WE cannot wonder that an epoch of the 
church s history which followed upon the 
martyrdom in rapid succession of all its 
remaining great leaders, should at first be 
poor in literary products. James the Lord s 
brother was stoned to death by a mob in 
Jerusalem in the year 61-2. His namesake, 
brother of John, had been beheaded early in 
44 by Herod Agrippa I. Among the " others " 
who, as Josephus informs us, perished along 
with James in 61, we may, perhaps, reckon 
John, who stands beside him hi Paul s list 
of the Pillars. This John, son of Zebedee, 
brother of the other James, is reckoned a 
martyr in the same sense as his brother in the 
earliest gospels. The brothers are assured 
that they shall drink the same cup of suffering 
as the Lord, though they may not claim in 
return pre-eminent seats in glory (Mark x. 
39 /.). John did not suffer with his brother 
James in 44, because he is present at the 
conference in 46-7 (Gal. ii. 9); but one of the 
traditions of the Jerusalem elders reported by 
Papias declared that he was " killed by the 



Jews " in fulfilment of the Lord s prediction, 
and this early tradition must be accepted in 
spite of its conflict with one which gradually 
superseded it after John came to be regarded 
as author of Revelation and the Fourth Gospel. 
The statement that he was killed " together 
with James his brother " may be due merely 
to the (not infrequent) confusion of the two 

Paul s decapitation in Rome occurred not 
more than a year or two later, and was followed 
there in 64, according to very ancient and 
trustworthy tradition, by the martyrdom of 
Peter. The death of all the principal leaders 
explains why the Jerusalem church when it 
reassembled after the overthrow of city and 
temple in the year 70, put forward no more 
prominent candidates for the leadership than 
a certain Symeon, son of Clopas, one of 
the group of relatives of the Lord who 
are traceable " until the time of Trajan," 
and a certain unknown Thebuthis. Symeon, 
according to Eusebius, who takes his account 
from Hegesippus (165), was the representa 
tive of " those of the apostles and disciples 
of the Lord that were still living, together with 
the Lord s relatives." Thebuthis is said to 
have sprung from one of the heretical Jewish 
sects and to have organized a schism In conse 
quence of his disappointment. All we can 
be sure of is that Jerusalem down to the 
time of Trajan continued to regard itself 
as the seat of apostolic authority and arbiter 

of orthodoxy, on account of its succession of 
disciples and relatives of the Lord. Among 
the latter the leading, if not the only, repre 
sentatives of the seed of David, when " search 
was made " in the persecution under Domitian 
(81-95), were two grandsons of Jude, the Lord s 
brother. Jude himself, then, was no longer 
living. Luke (c. 100), Papias (145), and 
Hegesippus (165) successively exhibit the 
growing authority of the " tradition handed 
down," especially that of " the apostles and 
elders in Jerusalem." But what Papias 
records of the traditions of these " elders " 
does not rise above the level of Jewish midrash, 
and the epistles which bear the names of 
James and Jude have little intrinsic value, 
and enjoyed from the beginning only the most 
meagre acceptance. At Rome tradition 
attaches to the name of Peter, but besides the 
bare fact of his martyrdom " at the same time 
with Paul " (64-5) it has little of value to 
relate. We cannot safely go beyond the 
tradition reported by Porphyry that Peter 
fed the lambs (at Rome) for a few months 
before his martyrdom, and that reported by 
Papias that Mark, who had been Peter s 
assistant, compiled there the Gospel which 
bears his name, basing it upon his recollections 
of Peter s preaching. Of this vitally import 
ant work (c. A.D. 75) we must speak in another 
connection. We are concerned at present 
with writings which directly reflect the 
development of Christian life and doctrine in 


this sub-apostolic period, especially that in 
the Pauline mission-field. 

Except for the appearance of the Gospel 
of Mark at Rome (c. 75) there remains nothing 
to break the silence and darkness of twenty 
years after the deaths of James and Peter and 
Paul. The writings which finally did appear 
were almost inevitably anonymous or pseud- 
epigraphic, because apostolic authority stood 
so high that no other could secure circulation. 
Hebrews (c. 85) has an epistolary attachment 
at the close of its " exhortation," but either 
never had an address or superscription, or 
else has been deprived of it. All the Synoptic 
writings are anonymous, though Luke-Acts 
(c. 100) is dedicated to a literary patron. 
Revelation (c. 95) is boldly asserted to be the 
work of the Apostle John in the prefatory 
chapters and the epilogue (i. 2, 4, 9 ; xxii. 8). 
But the body of the work, though of Pales 
tinian origin, has a totally different standpoint, 
and claims the authority of a prophet, not that 
of an apostle. Similarly the Fourth gospel 
when finally published received an appendix 
(ch. xxi.) which cautiously suggests the 
Apostle John as its author; but the three 
Epistles by the same writer are anonymous. 
The homily called James (90-100) has a 
superscription which superficially connects it 
with the chief authority in Jerusalem, and the 
Epistle of Jude prefixes to itself the name 
which stood next in the same class. But even 
in antiquity they had a precarious standing, 


and neither is a real letter. Finally there are 
the Epistles to Timothy and Titus, purporting 
to be written by Paul, and a whole series of 
every kind, epistles, gospel, acts, and apoca 
lypse, written in the name of Peter, of which 
only two secured final adoption into the canon. 
Of all these only 1st Peter and the so-called 
Pastoral Epistles (1st and 2nd Timothy and 
Titus) have some claim to be considered 
genuine ; for 1st Peter is certainly of early 
origin (c. 85), and was undisputed in antiquity ; 
while the Pastorals, though rejected by 
Marcion, and as a whole of late date (90-110), 
are made up on the basis of some authentic 
Pauline material. 

The post-apostolic epistles may be grouped 
into two classes, according as they are pre 
dominantly occasioned (a) by internal dan 
gers of heresy and moral laxity; or (b) 
by the external peril of persecution. To 
the former (a) must be reckoned (1) the 
so-called Pastoral Epistles ; (2) Jude ; (3) 2nd 
Peter. All these concern themselves out 
spokenly with a type of false doctrine which 
has certain more or less definite traits, 
and is tending toward the Gnostic heresies of 
the second century, if not yet clearly identi 
fiable with them. But the inspired genius of 
Paul is wanting. The age is not creative, but 
conservative. Its writers are ecclesiastics 
and church teachers, not apostles and prophets. 
Their distinctive note is appeal to apostolic 
authority. Whether the name by which they 


cover their own insignificance be that of 
" Paul," or " Jude the brother (son ?) of 
James," or " Peter," they have little or no 
independent message. They hark back to 
the " pattern of sound words " the " deposit," 
the faith once for all delivered to the saints," 
" the words spoken before by the holy 
prophets, and the commandments of the 
Lord and Saviour through your apostles," in 
particular the " wisdom of our beloved brother 
Paul " who (in the Pastoral Epistles) had 
predicted the heresy, and u in all his epistles " 
had spoken of the resurrection and judgment. 
Second Peter, which refers in the passage just 
quoted (2nd Pet. iii. 2, 15 /.) to the Pauline 
Epistles alongside " the other Scriptures " 
belongs to a very late period (c. 150). In 
fact this Epistle, now almost universally 
recognized to be pseudonymous, merely reed its 
the Epistle of Jude, supplying a prefix (ch. i.) 
and an appendix (ch. iii.) to make special 
application of its denunciations to the case of 
the false teachers who were " denying the 
(bodily) resurrection and the judgment." 
Neither plagiarism nor pseudonymity were 
recognized offences at the time ; so that we 
bring no indictment against the author of 
2nd Peter, were he the Apostle or not. Still 
our conception of the Galilean fisherman will 
be higher without this example of pulpit 
rhetoric than with it. 

Of the nature of the heresies controverted 
in this series of writings we must speak later. 


As to the region whence they originate some 
thing can be made out already. Not indeed 
from 2nd Peter, which is of too late date to be 
of service. True the readers addressed are 
assumed to be the same as in the first epistle, 
in other words the Pauline mission-field of 
Asia Minor (1st Pet. i. 1), and there is reason 
to think " Asia " was the region first affected. 
" Ephesus " and " Asia " are in fact the 
regions affected in 1st and 2nd Timothy (1st 
Tim. i. 3 /. ; 2nd Tim. i. 15). Moreover it is 
in this same region that we find Polycarp 
(110-117) adverting to those who " pervert 
the sayings of the Lord to their own lusts, and 
deny the resurrection and judgment." To 
the same region and the same period belong 
the letters of " the Spirit " in Rev. i.-iii. (c. 95) 
with their denunciation of the Balaamite and 
Nicolaitan heretics, and still further lst-3rd 
John and the Epistles of Ignatius, which are 
also polemics against a Gnostic heresy (Doket- 
ism) tending to moral laxity. It is doubtful, 
however, in view of the general address (2nd 
Pet. i. 1), whether the author of 2nd Peter 
really has a definite circle in mind, and does 
not rather in iii. 1 mistakenly treat 1st Peter 
as a general epistle. Denial of the resurrection 
and judgment was not limited to one locality 
or period. Hegesippus regards it as a pre- 
Christian heresy combated already by James. 
Equally precarious would be the assumption 
that Jude, with its similar general address, 
was necessarily intended for Asia Minor. The 


false teachers resemble those we know of 
there, and the denunciation is incorporated 
by 2nd Peter, but Cainites and * Balaam- 
ites * were not confined to the regions of 1st 
John and Revelation, and Jude might have 
almost any date between 90 and 120. The 
most that can be said is that before the death 
of Paul the last view we obtain of his mission- 
field shows it exposed, especially in the region 
of Ephesus, to a rising flood of superstition 
and false doctrine, while documents that can 
be dated with some definiteness in 95-117, such 
as Revelation, the Johannine and Ignatian 
Epistles, and the letter of Polycarp, show a 
great advance of heretical teaching in the same 
region. The later heresy corresponds in 
several respects to that combatted in the 
Pastorals, Jude and 2nd Peter, but becomes 
at last more distinctly definable as Doketism, 
whose most obnoxious form comes to be 
denial of the (bodily) resurrection and judg 
ment. The three Pastoral Epistles, Jude and 
2nd Peter may, therefore, be taken as prob 
ably reflecting the growing internal danger 
confronted by the churches of Asia (if not 
by all the churches) in the sub-apostolic 

Unfortunately, literary relations sometimes 
interfere with historical classification, and we 
are, therefore, compelled to defer treatment 
of lst-3rd John and the Epistles of " the 
Spirit " to the churches (Rev. i. 3), which 
really belong to our present group (a) of 


writings against the heresies of (proconsular) 
Asia. Their relation to the special canon 
of Ephesus, whose writings are all ascribed 
to John, makes it convenient to consider 
them in another connection. The reader 
should bear in mind, however, that the 
group extends continuously down to the 
Epistles of Ignatius and centres upon Ephesus, 
where, according to Acts xx. 29 /., the " griev 
ous wolves " were to enter in after Paul s 

Similar considerations affect the grouping 
of the Epistle of James, which almost demands 
a class by itself. It might be called anti- 
heretical, except that its nature is the reverse 
of controversial, and its author seems to have 
no direct contact with the false teachers. 
In a remote and general way he deplores the 
vain talk and disputation which go hand in 
hand with a relaxation of the practical Chris 
tian virtues. On the whole it seems more 
correct to class James with 1st Peter and 
Hebrews, particularly as it displays direct 
literary dependence on the former, if not on 

Our second group (b) consists of writings not 
primarily concerned with heresy. Its first 
and best example speaks in the name of Peter 
as representative of " apostolic " Christianity 
at Rome. But the doctrine, and even the 
phraseology and illustrations of 1st Peter are 
largely borrowed from the greater Epistles of 
Paul, particularly Romans and Ephesians. 


Nothing even remotely suggests an author who 
had enjoyed personal relations with Jesus, or 
could relate his wonderful words and deeds. 
On the contrary the doctrine is Paul s gospel 
minus the sting of the abolition of the Law. 
In view of the known internal conditions of 
the churches to which 1st Peter is addressed 
in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and 
Bithynia it is remarkable how completely the 
subject of heresy or false doctrine is ignored. 
Their adversary the devil is not at present 
taking the form of a seducing serpent (2nd 
Cor. xi. 3), but of a " roaring lion " openly 
destroying and devouring (1st Pet. v. 8 /.), 
and the same sufferings the Asiatics are called 
upon to endure are being inflicted upon their 
brethren throughout the world. A systematic, 
universal " fiery persecution " is going on, 
which has come almost as a surprise (iv. 12) 
and may compel any believer, after having 
made " defence " before the magistrate of 
" the hope that is in him," to " suffer as a 
Christian " and to " glorify God in this name." 
The author exhorts to irreproachable conduct 
as citizens, and kindness and good order in the 
brotherhood. If such blamelessness of living 
be combined with patient endurance of the 
unjust punishment, Christians who still must 
sanctify in their hearts Christ (and not the 
Emperor) as Lord, will ultimately be left 

Superior as is this noble exhortation to 
patient endurance of suffering in the meekness 


of Christ to the controversial rhetoric of 2nd 
Peter, immeasurably better as is its attesta 
tion in ancient and modern times, even the 
most conservative modern critics are compelled 
to regard it as at least semi -pseudonymous. 
It might be just possible to carry back the 
conditions of persecution presupposed to the 
time of Nero. But if it be Peter writing from 
Rome after the recent martyrdoms of James 
and Paul, why is there no allusion to either ? 
Again, we might possibly prolong the life of 
Peter (against all probability) down to the 
beginning of the reign of Domitian (81-95). 
In that case the absence of any allusion to the 
great events of recent occurrence in Palestine 
would be almost equally hard to explain. 
Moreover, with any dating the real author 
remains a literary man, a Paulinist, a Grecian 
Jew, and the share attributable to Peter 
personally becomes most shadowy. The 
simpler, and (as the present writer has come 
to believe) the more probable view is that 1st 
Peter, like the later writings which assumed 
the name, is wholly pseudonymous. If, 
however, it appeared (as we are persuaded) 
some twenty years after the Apostle s death, 
among those perfectly aware of the fact, 
assuming no other disguise, but frankly dealing 
with the existing situation, this is a kind of 
pseudonymity which should be classed with 
literary fictions and conventions which are 
harmless because (at the time) perfectly trans 
parent. Letters written under fictitious 


names were in fact a very common literary 
device of the age. 

At all events the Apostle appears as an old 
man (v. 1) writing from " Babylon" rightly 
taken by the fathers to be a cryptogram for 
Rome. Salutations are conveyed from Mark, 
his " son " (cf. Philem. i. 10). The bearer 
(writer ?) is represented to be Silvanus (like 
Mark a companion of Paul with relations to 
Jerusalem as well), and Silvanus is commended 
as a " trustworthy " disciple. The author 
states it as his object to " exhort and testify 
that this is the true grace of God wherein ye 

Ignorant as we are of its author s name it 
is fortunate for our study of the times that the 
date of 1st Peter is fairly determinable by the 
convergence of external and internal evidence. 
Echoes from it appear already in Clement of 
Rome (95) as well as in James and Hermas. 
We must think of it, then, as a hand of cordial 
encouragement extended by a representative 
of the Petro-Pauline church at Rome, soon 
after the outbreak of the persecution of 
Domitian (c. 90), to the still independent but 
suffering churches of Asia Minor. If we 
remember that it undertakes to endorse the 
doctrine of one third of contemporary Christen 
dom, and (in substance) offers a letter of 
commendation to Silvanus, it will be obvious 
that no name of less authority than that of 
Peter could have served. As Zahn has well 
remarked : " The significant thing ... is that 


it is Peter, the most distinguished apostle 
of the circumcision (Gal. ii. 7) who bears 
witness to the genuineness of their state of 

We must place alongside of 1st Peter one 
other epistle in which the motive of exhorta 
tion to endurance of persecution without 
relaxation of the moral standard is prominent, 
though not exclusive, and a second, wherein 
it appears only in a faint echo of " trials," 
which turn out, however, as the reader pro 
ceeds, to be only " temptations," while the 
real occasion of writing is plain moral relaxa 
tion without either heresy or persecution to 
excuse it. The two writings in question are 
the anonymous " exhortation " handed down 
under the title " To the Hebrews," and the 
so-called Epistle (in reality a homily) of James. 
Hebrews begins as an exposition of the two 
psalms Paul had quoted in his reference in 
1st Cor. xv. 24-28 to the exaltation of Jesus 
(Pss. viii. and ex.) proving Him to be the Son, 
who, after temporary subordination to the 
angels, has been exalted above them to the 
place of supreme dominion. Christ has thus 
effected a greater redemption than Moses and 
Joshua. He is also a " high-priest after the 
order of Melchizedek " according to Ps. ex. ; 
so that the Aaronic priesthood and ceremonial 
are surpassed as well as the Mosaic legislation, 
by the sacrifice of Calvary and intercession of 
the risen Redeemer. It is no wonder that in 
the period of debate against Judaism the 


canon-makers gave to this anonymous sermon 
a title which ranks it first in the class of subse 
quent controversial pamphlets " against the 
Jews." Controversy, however, is subordinate 
in the writer s purpose to edification. He is 
not unconscious of the dangers of that super 
stitious worship of the angels, against which 
Paul s Asian epistles had been directed, but 
his demonstration of the superiority of the 
institutions and aims of Christianity to those 
of Judaism has the practical object of rein 
forcing the courage and " faith " of his 
readers under pressure of persecution. His 
argument culminates in an inspiring list of 
Scriptural heroes and martyrs, leading up as 
a climax to " Jesus the author and perfecter 
of our faith." As Jesus endured, looking 
beyond the shame and suffering of the cross 
to the joy of His reward, so should the readers 
" endure their chastening." Apostacy will 
meet a fearful doom in the judgment of fire. 
To this homily (Heb. i.-xii.) is appended a con 
cluding chapter (probably by the author him 
self) which transforms it into a letter. The 
author is a church-teacher of the second 
generation, as he frankly confesses himself 
(ii. 3) ; a disciple of Paul, to judge by his use 
of Paul s doctrine and some of his epistles, 
especially Romans. To judge by his rhetori 
cal style and his Alexandrian ideas and mode 
of thought, he is the sort of teacher Apollos will 
have been. Just at present he is separated 
from his flock (xiii. 19). Where they are we 

can only infer from xiii. 24, which conveys 
salutations from those in the writer s neigh 
bourhood who are " from Italy." He himself 
is probably among the Pauline churches, for 
he sends news of Timothy (xiii. 23) and hopes 
to come soon in company with him. Ephesus, . 
where Apollos was at last accounts, may 
possibly be the place of writing. Hebrews 
would seem then to be written to Rome, 
long after the first " great fight of afflictions " 
(the Neronian outbreak of 64) and when the 
danger of " fainting under the chastening " 
of a second persecution (that of Domitian c. 
90) was imminent. Such slight indications as 
we have of a literary relation between Hebrews 
and 1st Peter suggest the priority of Hebrews, 
but the date and occasion must be nearly the 

" James " is also a homily exhorting to 
patient endurance, but there is nothing to 
suggest its having ever been sent anywhere as 
a letter, save the brief superscription written 
in imitation of 1st Pet. i. 1. " James ... to 
the twelve tribes of the Dispersion." Imagine 
the mode of delivery ! Nor is it called forth 
by any special emergency. There is an 
allusion to false doctrine. It is the heresy (!) 
of " justification by faith apart from works." 
But the writer is no more conscious of contra 
dicting Paul than is Luke in describing Paul s 
apostleship and gospel. He merely imper 
sonates the bishop of bishops addressing 
Christendom at large, deprecating the loqua- 


city of the " many teachers," and commending 
the wisdom of a " good life " instead. 
There is protest against oppression. But it 
is only the oppression of the poor by the rich 
in the Christian brotherhood. He returns to 
this subject con amore. Evidently the church 
of his age is characterized by worldliness both 
of thought and conduct, among clergy and 
laity. But all colour of region or period is 
wanting. Take 1st Peter, substitute the head 
of the Jerusalem succession for the head of 
the Roman, remove the Pauline doctrine, the 
traces of Jesus and his gospel of sonship, 
remove the special references to local condi 
tions and particular emergencies, leaving only 
moral generalities, and the result will be not 
unlike the Epistle of James. The author 
has heard something of Paulinism, has read 
Hebrews (Jas. ii. 21-25; v. 10), and imitated 
1st Peter (Jas. i. 1, 18, 21; iv. 6 /. ; v. 20). 
Strong arguments have even been advanced 
to prove that he was not a Christian at all. 
He probably was, if only from his literary 
connection with the above-named earlier 
writings, and the influence exerted by his 
own on Hernias (Rome, 120-140), and per 
haps Clement (Rome, 95). But as for con 
nection with the historic Jesus " Elijah " is 
his example of the man of prayer (v. 13-18), 
and " Job " and " the prophets " his " ex 
ample of suffering and patience " (v. 10 /.). 
Hebrews can show more of the influence of 
Jesus than this (Heb. v. 7 / , xii. 2-4). Like 


Hernias (who, however, does not even mention 
the name of Jesus) James thinks of Him 
simply as "the Lord of glory," without 
raising the question how He came to be 

Apart from the superscription, whose object 
is only to clothe the homily with the authority 
of a name revered throughout the catholic 
church, there is nothing to connect James 
with Syria rather than any other region 
outside Paul s mission-field. Even Palestine 
might be its place of origin if the date were 
late enough to account for the Greek style. 
At all events it comes first to our knowledge 
at Rome. There is some reason to think that 
Clement of Rome (A.D. 95), whose moralizing 
is of a similar type, has been directly influenced 
by James. If so we have in James, Clement 
and Hernias a series illustrative of the 
decline at Rome of the Pauline gospel of 
conscious revelation and inspiration toward 
the hum-drum levels of mere catholic - 

With every allowance for differences among 
critics as to date and origin of the non-con 
troversial epistles of the sub-apostolic age, 
it is easy to see that the resistless march of 
events is taking up and accomplishing Paul s 
effort and prayer for the unity of the two 
branches of the Church. One great event of 
this period, which for us stands out with 
startling vividness upon the pages of history, 
is curiously without trace or reflection in 


this literature. We search the New Testa 
ment in vain for the slightest allusion 
(outside the writings directly or indirectly 
derived from Palestine itself) to the fall of 
Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and the consequent 
cessation of Jewish national life and temple 
ceremonial. The remoteness of the writers 
with whom we are dealing both in time and 
national interest from the affairs of Jerusalem 
is not the only cause. The fate of the temple 
had no effect to weaken the types of Judaism 
with which the church of the sub -apostolic 
age had to contend. The Pharisaic legalism 
of the synagogue became only the stronger 
when the hollow Sadducean priesthood col 
lapsed, and temple ceremonial became simply 
a ceremonial on paper, the affair no longer of 
priest and Levite, but of scribe and Pharisee. 
So also with the denationalized Judaism of the 
Dispersion, a more insidious danger for early 
converts from heathenism than the stricter, 
legalistic type. The crushing of the national 
istic rebellion, the temporary suppression of 
the war-party, the Zealots, only strengthened 
and promoted Pharisaism, and the Disper 
sion was scarcely affected by the losses of 
the war. When Jerusalem and the temple 
fell, temple and city had become entirely 
superfluous factors to both parties in the 
great strife of church versus synagogue. 
Hebrews knows of a type of Judaism which is 
formidable by reason of the appeal of its 
ordinances of angels and its sacerdotal system 


written in a book of acknowledged divine 
authority. But the characteristic point is 
that in Hebrews, as truly as in Barnabas and 
Justin Martyr, it is only the prescription and 
not the practice which is in question. But 
for the fact that the " new testament " of 
Heb. ix. 15 is still unwritten, its controversy 
might properly be described as a battle of 

On the other hand the pressure of persecu 
tion without, combined with the disappearance 
of creative leadership within, is visibly forcing 
the independent provinces of Christendom 
toward organic unity under the principle of 
apostolic authority. First Peter is the first and 
greatest evidence of this tendency to union 
promoted by external pressure. Hebrews 
and James follow as illustrative of the need 
felt for maintaining the standards both of 
doctrine and of morals at their full height. 
Christianity must not be thought of as on 
a level with Judaism, it is the final and 
universal revelation. It must not be practised 
half-heartedly, with " double-mindedness," 
nor in vain philosophizing and professions 
belied by deeds. It must be obeyed as a new 
and royal law, the mirror of divine perfection. 

If, then, we turn from these evidences 
of general conditions in church and empire 
to the inward dangers revealed by the 
writings against heresy, we shall see how 
this disruptive influence, already distinctly 
apprehended in Paul s later writings, makes 


itself more and more strongly felt, and in 
more and more definite form, with Ephesus 
and the churches of Asia as its chief 

The Pastoral Epistles in their present form 
cannot be dated much before the time when 
they begin to be used by Ignatius and Poly- 
carp (110-117). Indeed some phrases (per 
haps editorial additions) seem to imply a still 
later date, as when in 1st Tim. vi. 20, Timothy 
is warned against the " antitheses of miscalled 
Gnosis," as if with direct reference to Marcion s 
system of this title. Their avowed purpose 
is to counteract the inroads of heresy, and the 
remedy applied is ecclesiastical authority and 
discipline. Far more of Paul s inspired gos 
pel of sonship and liberty, far more of his con 
ception of the redemption in Christ as a 
triumph over the spiritual world-rulers of this 
darkness, is found in 1st Peter and Hebrews 
than here. Nothing appears of Paul s broad 
horizon, his spirit of missionary conquest, his 
devotion to the unity of Jew and Gentile in 
their common access to the Father in one 
Spirit. There is no trace of the great Pauline 
doctrines of the conflict of flesh and spirit, the 
superseding of the dispensation of Law by 
the dispensation of Grace, the Adoption, the 
Redemption, the Inheritance. The attention 
is turned wholly to local conditions, mainten 
ance of the transmitted doctrine and order, 
resistance to the advance of " vain talk," 
" Jewish fables," " foolish questionings, genea- 


logics and strifes about the Law," which go 
hand in hand with moral laxity. In short the 
outlook and temper are those of the Epistle of 
James, while the remedy is that of Acts and 
the Epistles of Ignatius. The Paul who here 
speaks is not the missionary and mystic, but 
the shrewd ecclesiastic. There is only too 
much evidence to show that in the Pauline 
mission-field the remedy resorted to against 
the licence in thought and action which 
threatened decadence and dissolution after 
apostolic inspiration had died out, was the 
religion of authority, doctrinal and disciplin 
ary, not the religion of the Spirit. Ecclesiasti 
cal appointees take the place as teachers and 
defenders of the faith of those who had been 
the inspired apostles and prophets of its 

And on the other side are the false teachers. 
They are of Jewish character in their doctrine, 
aspiring to be " teachers of the Law " though 
really ignorant of its meaning. The worst of 
them are actual Jews (Tit. i. 10), which implies 
that some were not. Moreover the type of 
doctrine is still less like the Pharisaism of the 
synagogue than the " philosophy and vain 
deceit " rebuked by Paul at Colossae. There 
is similar distinction of meats (treated in 2nd 
Tim. iv. 1-5 as a doctrine of " seducing spirits 
and demons "), and a prohibition of wine and 
marriage. There is side by side with this 
ascetic tendency one equally marked toward 
libertinism and love of money (2nd Tim. iii. 


1-9). Both phases remind us of the " con 
cision " of Paul s later letters. But besides 
the larger development new features appear 
of Hellenistic rather than Jewish type. The 
new doctrine of the resurrection as something 
" past already " is more closely connected with 
the Pauline mysticism, the present union of 
the believer with the life of Christ " hid in 
God," than with the Jewish idea of return to 
earth in resuscitated flesh. The Paulinist of 
the Pastorals is already foreshadowing the 
great conflict of Ignatius, Justin and Irenaeus 
against those who " denied the resurrection," 
perverting (as the fathers allege) the meaning 
of Paul s saying, " flesh and blood cannot 
inherit the kingdom of God " (cf. 2nd Pet. iii. 
16). And the Pastorals tend toward the 
un-Pauline doctrine soon to be formulated in 
the catholic church : " I believe in the 
resurrection of the flesh." Again the false 
doctrine now distinctly avows itself a form of 
Gnosis. " They profess that they know God, 
but by their works they deny him, being 
abominable and disobedient, and unto every 
good work reprobate." And our Paulinist s 
remedy is the traditional doctrine, the " pat 
tern of sound words," the " deposit " of the 
Church teacher, more especially the whole 
some words, "even the words of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, and the doctrine which is 
according to godliness." Thus even the rich, 
if they do good, and become " rich in good 
works " will " lay up in store for them- 


selves a good foundation against the time to 

We have only to place these pseudo-Pauline 
writings side by side with the Epistles of John 
and Ignatius to recognize the advance of the 
heresy which soon declared itself as Gnostic 
Doketism, with the Jew Cerinthus at Ephesus 
as its principal exponent. Moreover this 
steadily increasing inward danger of the Paul- 
ne mission-field, a danger not merely sporadic 
like the outbursts of persecution, but constant 
and increasing, is forcing the two great 
branches of the Christian brotherhood together 
on the basis of * catholicity and the apos 
tolic tradition. Between the churches of the 
^Egean and that of Rome, where both parties 
stand on neutral ground, there are exchanged 
te enerous and sympathetic assurances of essen 
tial unity of doctrine in the great outbreak of 
persecution in 85-90. Among the Pauline 
churches themselves there is an irresistible 
reaction against the vagaries and moral laxity 
of heretical teaching toward apostolic tradi 
tion and ecclesiastical authority. It appears 
with almost startling vividness in the Pastoral 
Epistles, and meets its answer from without, 
perhaps from Rome, perhaps from Syria, in 
the homily dressed as an encyclical called the 
Epistle of James. It is not hard to foresee 
what sort of Christian unity is destined to 
come about. Nevertheless the creative spirit 
and genius of Paul was to find expression in 
one more splendid product of Ephesus before 


the Roman unity was to be achieved. But 
before we take up the writings of the great 
theologian of Ephesus we must trace the 
growth in Syria and at Rome of the Literature 
of the Church Teacher and Prophet. 




As we .have seen in our study of the later 
literature addressed to, or emanating from, 
the Pauline mission-field, the church teacher 
and ecclesiastic who there took up the pen after 
the death of Paul had scarcely any alternative 
but to follow the literary model of the great 
founder of Gentile Christianity. Inevitably 
the typical literary product of this region 
became the apostolic letter, framed on the 
model of Paul s, borrowing his phraseology 
and ideas, when not actually embodying 
fragments from his pen and covering itself 
with his name. Homilies are made over 
into " epistles." Even prophecy, to obtain 
literary circulation, must have prefixed epistles 
of " the Spirit " to the churches; and when 
at last a gospel is produced, this too is accom 
panied, as we shall see, by three successive 
layers of enclosing epistles. 



At the seat of apostolic Christianity it 
was equally inevitable that the literary 
products should follow a different model. 
Here, from the beginning, the standard of 
authority had been the commandment of 
Jesus. Apostleship had meant ability to 
transmit his teaching, not endowment with 
insight into the mystery of the divine purpose 
revealed in his cross and resurrection. " The 
gospel " was the gospel of Jesus. The letters 
of Paul, if they circulated at all in Syria and 
Cilicia at this early time, have had com 
paratively small effect on writers like Luke 
and James. At Rome the case was somewhat 
different. Here Pauline influence had been 
effectually superimposed upon an originally 
Jewish-Christian stock. The Roman Gospel 
of Mark, accordingly, has just the character 
istics we should expect from this Petro-Pauline 
community. Antioch, too, though at the 
disruption over the question of table-fellow 
ship it took the side of James, Peter, and 
Barnabas against Paul, had always had a 
strong Gentile element. But Jerusalem, the 
church of the apostles and elders, with its 
caliphate in the family of Jesus, and its zeal 
for Jewish institutions and the Law, was the 
pre-eminent seat of traditional authority. No 
other gospel, oral or written, could for a 
moment compare in its eyes with its own 
cherished treasury of the precepts of Jesus. 
Its own estimate of itself as conservator of 
orthodoxy, and custodian of the sacred 

deposit, vividly reflected from the pages of 
Hegesippus, was increasingly accepted by 
the other churches. James and Jude 
were probably not the real names of the writers 
of these general or catholic epistles ; 
but they show in what direction men looked 
when there was need to counteract a wide 
spread tendency to moral relaxation and vain 
disputations, or to demoralizing heresy. 

We have also seen how inevitable was the 
reaction after Paul s death, even among his 
own churches, toward a historic standard of 
authority. Even more marked than the 
disposition to draw together in fraternal 
sympathy under persecution, is the reliance 
shown by the Pastoral Epistles on " health- 
giving words, even the words of our Lord 
Jesus Christ " (1st Tim. vi. 3), and on a con 
solidated apostolic succession as a bulwark 
against the disintegrating advance of heresy. 
In (proconsular) Asia early in the second 
century there is an unmistakable and sweeping 
disposition to " turn to the word handed down 
to us from the beginning " (Ep. of Polyc., vii.) 
against those who were " perverting the say 
ings of the Lord to their own lusts." The 
ancient " word of prophecy " and the former 
revelations granted to apostolic seers were 
also turned to account by men like Papias 
and the author of 2nd Peter against those who 
" denied the resurrection and judgment." 

This Papias of Hierapolis, the friend and 
colleague of Polycarp, had undertaken in op- 


position to " the false teachers, and those who 
have so very much to say," to write (probably 
after the utter destruction of the community 
of apostles, elders, and witnesses at Jeru 
salem in 135), an Exposition of the Sayings of 
the Lord. He based the work on authentic 
tradition of the Jerusalem witnesses, two of 
whom (Aristion, and John the Elder ) were 
still living at the time of his inquiries. In 
fact, this much debated " John the Elder," 
clearly distinguished by Papias from John the 
" disciple of the Lord," may be identified, in 
our judgment, with the John mentioned by 
Eusebius and Epiphanius midway in the 
succession of Elders of the Jerusalem 
church between A.D. 62 and 135. Epiphanius 
dates his death in 117. Papias gives us 
practically all the information we have 
regarding the beginnings of gospel literature. 
He may have known all four of our Gospels. 
He certainly knew Revelation and " vouched 
for its trustworthiness," doubtless against the 
deniers of the resurrection and judgment. 
He " used testimonies " from 1st John, and 
probably the saying of Jesus of John xiv. 2 ; 
but he seems to have based his Exposition 
on two gospels only, giving what he had 
been able to learn of their history from tra 
vellers who reported to him testimonies of 
the elders. Papias two gospels were our 
Matthew and our Mark, whose differences 
he reconciled by what the Jerusalem elders 
had reported as to their origin. Matthew, 


according to these authorities (?), represented 
in its Greek form a collection of the Precepts 
of the Lord which had formerly been current 
in the original Aramaic, so that its circulation 
had of course been limited to Palestine. The 
original compiler had been the Apostle Mat 
thew. Various Greek equivalents of this 
compilation had taken its place where Ara 
maic was not current. Thus Papias, in 
explicit dependence on " the Elder " so far as 
Mark is concerned, but without special desig 
nation of his authority for the statement 
regarding Matthew. It is even possible that 
his representation that the primitive Matthew 
was " in the Hebrew tongue " may be due to 
rumours whose real starting-point was nothing 
more than the Gospel of the Nazarenes, a pro 
duct of c. 110-140 which misled many later 
fathers, particularly Jerome. We cannot 
afford, however, to slight the general bearing 
of testimony borne by one such as Papias 
regarding the origins of gospel composition, 
and particularly the two branches into which 
the tradition was divided. For Papias had 
made diligent inquiry. Moreover his witness 
does not stand alone, but has the support of 
still more ancient reference (e. g. 1st Tim. vi. 3, 
Acts i. 1) and the internal evidence of the 
Synoptic Gospels themselves. The motive for 
his statement is apologetic. Differences 
between the two Gospels had been pointed 
out on the score both of words and events. 
Papias shows that Gospel tradition is not 


to be held responsible for verbal agree 
ment between the two parallel reports of the 
Lord s words. The differences are attri 
butable to translation. So, too, regarding 
events. Exact correspondence of Mark with 
Matthew (or other gospels) is not to be looked 
for, especially as regards the order; because 
Mark had not himself been a disciple, and 
could not get the true order from Peter, whose 
anecdotes he reproduced; for when Mark 
wrote Peter was no longer living. Mark has 
reproduced faithfully and accurately his recol 
lection of " things either said or done," as 
related by Peter. But Peter had had no such 
intention as Matthew of making a systematic 
compilation (syntagma) of the sayings of the 
Lord, and had only related his anecdotes " as 
occasion required." If the tradition regard 
ing Matthew, as well as that regarding Mark, 
was derived from the Elder, he, too, as well 
as Papias, knew the Greek Matthew ; regard 
ing it as a " translation " of the apostolic 
Logia, he naturally makes Matthew the 
standard and accounts as above for the wide 
divergence of Mark as to order. 

The Jerusalem elder who thus differentiates 
the two great branches of gospel tradition into 
Matthaean Precepts and Petrine Sayings and 
Doings, is probably " the Elder John " ; for 
this elder s " traditions " were so copiously 
cited by Papias as to lead Irengeus, and after 
him Eusebius, to the unwarranted inference 
of personal contact. Irenseus even identified 


the Elder John with the Apostle, thus trans 
porting not only him, but the entire body of 
" Elders and disciples " from Jerusalem to 
Asia, a pregnant misapprehension to which 
we must return later. In the meantime we 
must note that this fundamental distinction 
between syntagmas of the Precepts, and 
narratives of the Sayings and Doings, carries 
us back as far as it is possible to penetrate 
into the history of gospel composition. The 
primitive work of the Apostle Matthew, was 
probably done in and for Jerusalem and 
vicinity certainly so if written in Aramaic. 
The date, if early tradition may be believed, 
was " when Peter and Paul w r ere preaching 
and founding the church at Rome." Oral 
tradition must have begun the process even 
earlier. 1 Mark s work was done at Rome, 
according to internal evidence no less than by 
the unanimous voice of early tradition. It 
dates from " after the death of Peter " (64-5) 
according to ancient tradition. According 
to the internal evidence it was written certainly 
not long before, and probably some few years 
after, the overthrow of Jerusalem and the 
temple (70). At the time of Papias writing, 
then (c. 145), all four gospels were probably 
known, though only Matthew and Mark were 
taken as authoritative because (indirectly) 
apostolic. At the time of prosecution of his 

1 Some authorities of the first rank think there is 
evidence of literary dependence in 1st Cor. i. 18-21 on 
the Saying (Matt. xi. 25-27 = Lk. x. 21/). 


inquiries the voice of (Palestinian) tradition 
was still " living and abiding." If, as tenses 
and phraseology seem to imply, this means 
Aristion and the Elder John (ob. 117 ?) it is 
reasonable to regard it as extending back 
over a full generation. The original Matthew 
was even then (c. 100), and in Palestine itself, 
a superseded book. It had three successors, 
if not more, two Greek and one Aramaic, 
all still retaining their claim to the name and 
authority of Matthew l ; but all had been re 
cast in a narrative frame, which at least in the 
case of our canonical first Gospel was borrowed 
from the Roman work of Mark. So far as the 
remaining fragments of its rivals enable us 
to judge, the same is true in their case 
also, though to a less extent. It is quite 
unmistakably true of Luke, the gospel of 
Antioch, that its narrative represents the 
same " memorabilia of Peter " ; for so Mark s 
gospel came to be called. Thus the Petrine 
story appears almost from the start to have 
gained undisputed supremacy. But side by 
side with this remarkable fact as to gospel 
narrative is the equally notable confirmation 
of the other statements of the Elders 
regarding the Precepts. For all modern 

1 The orthodox Aramaic Gospel of the Nnsarenes borrows 
from Luke as well as Matthew, but speaks in the name or 
" Matthew." This apostle was also regarded as author of 
the Gospel according to the Hebrews, a heretical product of 
c. 1 -0, current in Greek among the Jewish Christians of 
Palestine (Ebionites). 


criticism admits, that besides the material 
of Mark, which both Matthew and Luke 
freely incorporate, omitting very little, our 
first and third evangelists have embodied, 
in (usually) the same Greek translation but 
in greatly varied order, large sections from 
one or more early compilations of the Sayings 
of Jesus. 

It is indispensable to a historical apprecia 
tion of the environment out of which any 
gospel has arisen that we realize that no 
community ever produced and permanently 
adopted as its " gospel " a partial presentation 
of the message of salvation. To its mind the 
writing must have embodied, for the time at 
least, the message, the whole message, and 
nothing but the message. Change of mind as 
to the essential contents of the message would 
involve supplementation or alteration of the 
written gospel employed. No writing of the 
kind would be produced with tacit reference 
to some other for another aspect of the 

It was not, then, the mere limitation of its 
language which caused the ancient Matthsean 
Sayings (the so-called Logia) to be superseded 
and disappear ; nor is mere " translation " 
the word to describe that which took its place. 
The growth of Christianity in the Greek- 
speaking world not only called upon Jerusalem 
to pour out its treasure of evangelic tradition 
in the language of the empire, but stimulated 
a sense of its own increasing need. That 


which could once be supplied by eye-witnesses, 
the testimony of Jesus mighty works, his 
death and resurrection, was now fast dis 
appearing. And simultaneously the apprecia 
tion of its importance was growing. It was 
impossible to be blind to the conquests made 
by the gospel about Jesus. Enclosed in it, as 
part of its substance the gospel of Jesus found 
its final resting-place, much as the mother 
church itself was later taken up and incorpor 
ated in a catholic Christendom. So it is that 
in the Elder s time the church of the * apostles, 
elders and witnesses have done more than 
merely supersede their Aramaic (?) Syntagma 
of the Precepts by "translations." They had 
adopted alongside of it from Rome Mark s 
" Memorabilia of Peter " as to " things either 
said or done by the Lord." We can see indeed 
from the apologetic way in which the Elder 
speaks of Mark s limitations (Peter is not to 
be held responsible for the lack of order) that 
Mark s authority is still held quite secondary 
to Matthew s ; but the very fact that his work 
is given authoritative standing at all, still 
more the fact that it has become the frame 
work into which the old-time syntagma has 
been set, marks a great and fundamental 
change of view as to what constitutes " the 

No mere syntagma of the Precepts of Jesus 
has ever come down to us, though the papyrus 
leaves of " Sayings of Jesus " discovered in 
1897 at Behneseh in Egypt by Grenfell and 


Hunt had something of this character. 1 It 
was impossible that any community outside 
the most primitive one, where personal " wit 
nesses of the Lord " still survived " until the 
times of Trajan," could be satisfied with a 
" gospel " which gave only the precepts of 
Jesus without so much as an account of his 
crucifixion and resurrection. And, strange 
as it may seem, the evidence of Q (i. e. the 
coincident material in Matthew and Luke not 
derived from Mark), as judged by nearly all 
critics, is that no narrative of the kind was 
given in the early compilation of discourses 
from which this element was mainly derived. 
After the " witnesses," apostolic and other, 
had begun to disappear, a mere syntagma of 
Jesus sayings could not suffice. It became 
inevitablethatthe precepts shouldbe embodied 
in the story. And yet we have at least two 
significant facts to corroborate the intimations 
of ancient tradition that this combination was 
long postponed. (1) When it is at last 
effected, and certainly in the regions of south 
ern Syria, 2 there is even there practically 

1 It was superscribed " Th esc are the . . . words (logoi 
as in the Pastoral Epistles, not logia as in Papias and 
Polycarp) which Jesus the living Lord spoke to the 
disciples and Thomas." 

2 The possibility should be left open that the Greek 
Matthew was written in Egypt (cf. Matt. ii. 15), as some 
critics hold. From the point of view of the church 
fiistorian, however, Egypt must really be classed as in 
"the regions of southern Syria." Its relations with 
Jerusalem were close and constant." 


nothing left of authentic narrative material 
but the Petrine tradition as compiled by Mark 
at Rome. Our Matthew, a Palestinian Jew, 
the only writer of the" New" Testament who 
consistently uses the Hebrew Bible, makes a 
theoretical reconstruction of the orderof events 
in the-^GaliTean ministry, but otherwise he 
just incorporates Mark substantially as it was. 
What he adds in the way of narrative is so 
meagre in amount, and so manifestly inferior 
and apocryphal in character, as to prove the 
extreme poverty of his resources of oral 
tradition of this type. Luke has somewhat 
larger, and (as literary products) better, 
narrative additions than Matthew s ; but the 
amount is still extremely meagre, and often 
historically of slight value. Some of it re 
appears in the surviving fragments of the 
Preaching of Peter. To sum up, there is 
outside of Mark no considerable amount of 
historical material, canonical or uncanonical, 
for the story of Jesus. This fact would be 
hard to account for if in the regions where 
witnesses survived, the first generation really 
took an interest in perpetuating narrative 
tradition. (2) The order of even such events 
as secured perpetuation was already hope 
lessly lost at a time more remote than the 
writing of our earliest gospel. This is true 
not only for Mark, as the Elder frankly 
confesses, but for Matthew, Luke and every 
one else. Unchronological as Mark s order 
often is (and the tradition as to the casual 


anecdotes agrees with the critical pheno 
mena of the text), it is vastly more historical 
than Matthew s reconstruction. On the other 
hand Luke, while expressly undertaking to 
improve in this special respect upon his 
predecessors, almost never ventures to depart 
from the order of Mark, and when he does has 
never the support of Matthew, and usually 
not that of real probability. In short, in 
correct as they knew the order of Mark to 
be, it was the best that could be had in the 
days when evangelists began to go beyond the 
mere syntagmas, and to write " gospels " as 
we understand them, or, in their own language, 
" the things which Jesus began both to do and 
to teach " (Acts i. 1). From these two great 
outstanding phenomena of gospel criticism 
alone it would be apparent that the dis 
tinction dimly perceived in the tradition of 
the Jerusalem elders reported by Papias, and 
indeed by many later writers, is no illusion, 
but an important and vital fact. 

A third big, unexpected fact looms up as 
we round the capes of critical analysis, sub 
tracting from Matthew and Lu,ke first the 
elements peculiar to each, then that derived 
by each from Mark. It is a fact susceptible, 
however, of various interpretation. To some 
it only proves either the futility of criticism, 
or the worthlessness of ancient tradition. To 
us it proves simply that the process of tran 
sition in" Palestine, the home of evangelic 
tradition,, from the primitive syntagma of 


Precepts, framed on the plan of the Talmudic 
treatise known as Pirke Aboth, or " Sayings 
of the Fathers," to the Greek type of narrative 
gospel, was a longer and more complex one 
than has commonly been imagined. A cursory 
statement of the results of critical efforts to 
reproduce the so-called " second source " of 
Matthew and Luke (Mark being considered 
the first), will serve to bring out the fact to 
which we refer, and at the same time, we 
hope, to throw light upon the history of gospel 

The mere process of subtraction above 
described to obtain the element Q offers no 
serious difficulties, and for those who attach 
value to the tradition of the Elders it is 
natural to anticipate that the remainder will 
show traits corresponding to the description 
of an apostolic syntagma of sayings of the Lord 
translated from the Aramaic, in short the 
much-desired Logia of Matthew. The actual 
result is disappointing to such an expecta 
tion. The widely, though perhaps somewhat 
thoughtlessly accepted equivalence Q = the 
Logia is simply false. Q is not the Logia. 
It is not a syntagma, nor even a consistent 
whole, and as it lay before our first and third 
evangelists it was not (for a considerable part 
at least) in Aramaic. True, Q does consist 
almost exclusively of discourse material, a 
large part of which has only topical order, 
and is wholly, or mainly, destitute of narrative 
connection. " Also we mid traces here and there 


of translation at some period from the Ara 
maic, though not more in the Q element than in 
Mark. But to those who looked for immediate 
confirmation of the tradition the result has 
been on the whole disappointing. Some, more 
particularly among English critics, have con 
sidered it to justify a falling back upon the 
vaguer generalities of the once prevalent 
theory of oral tradition. In reality we are 
simply called upon to renew the process of 
discrimination. Most of the Q material has 
the saying-character and is strung together 
with that lack of all save topical order which 
we look for in a syntagma. But parts of it, 
such as the Healing of the Centurion s servant 
(Matt. viii. 5-10, 13=Luke vii. 1-10), or the 
Preaching of the Baptist and Temptation 
Story (Matt. iii. 7-10, 12; iv. 2-11 = Luke iii. 
7-9, 17; iv. 2-13), obstinately refuse to be 
brought under this category. Moreover, the 
latter section has the unmistakable motive of 
presenting Jesus in his character and ministry as 
" the Son of God," precisely as in Mark. It 
begins by introducing Jesus on the stage at 
the baptism of John, after the ancient narra 
tive outline (Acts i. 22; x. 37 /.), and cannot 
be imagined as forming part of anything else 
but a narrative having the conclusion char 
acteristic of our own type of gospel. Other 
considerable sections of Q, such as the Question 
of John s Disciples and Discourse of Jesus 
on those that were Stumbled in him 
(Matt. xi. 2-11, 16-27; Luke vii. 18-35; x. 


13-22), share with the Baptism and Tempta 
tion section not only the doctrinal motive of 
commending Jesus in his person and ministry 
as the longed-for Son of God, but in a number 
of characteristics which set them quite apart 
from the general mass of precepts and parables 
in Q. We can here mention only the follow 
ing : (1) the cpincidencejn language between 
Matthew and "Luke is mucK greater in these 
sections of Q, often even greater than in the 
sections borrowed from Mark, showing clearly 
the existence of a common document written 
not in Aramaic, but in the Greek language. 
(2) This material, unlike most of Q, has served 
as a source and model in many portions of 
Mark. (3) It is for the most part not in 
cluded in the five great blocks into which 
Matthew has divided the Precepts by means 
of a special concluding formula (vii. 28 ; xi. 1 ; 
xiii. 53; xix. 1, and xxvi. 1) but appears out 
side, in the form of supplements to theMarkan 
narrative (iii. 7 iv. 11 ; viii. 5-13, 18-22, xi. 
2-27; xii. 38-45, etc.). Finally (4) the Q 
material of this type seems to be given more 
copiously by Luke than by Matthew, and with 
something more than mere conjecture of his 
own as to its historical occasion. In fact, 
since it appears that at least this element of 
Q was known to Mark, there is nothing to 
justify exclusion from it of such material as 
the Transfiguration story, though in this 
case it would be needful to prove that Mark 
was not the source. Similarly it would be 


reasonable to think of Luke s wide divergence 
from Mark in his story of the Passion as 
occasioned by his preference for material 
derived from this source. Only, since Matthew 
has preferred to follow Mark, we have no 
means of determining whence Luke did 
derive his new and here often valuable 

The existence, then, of an element of Q 
which quite fails to correspond to what we 
take the Matthaean syntagma to have been 
by no means proves either the futility of 
criticism or the worthlessness of the ancient 
tradition. It only shows that our synoptic 
evangelists were not the first to attempt the 
combination of discourse with narrative, but 
that Luke at least had a predecessor in the 
field, to whom all are more or less indebted. 
Criticism and tradition together show that 
there are two great streams from which all 
historically trustworthy material has been 
derived. The one is Evangelic Story, and is 
mainly derived from Mark s outline of the 
ministry based on the anecdotes of Peter, 
though some elements come from another 
source, principally preserved by Luke, which 
we must discuss in a later chapter devoted 
to the, growth of Petrine story at Rome 
and Antioch. The other stream, " Words of 
the Lord," comes from Jerusalem, and is 
always associated in all its forms with the 
name of Matthew. We have every reason 
for accepting the statement that as early as 


the founding of the church in Rome (45-50) 
the Apostle Matthew had begun the work of 
compiling the Precepts of Jesus, in a form 
serviceable to the object of " teaching men to 
observe all things whatsoever he had com 
manded." Our present Gospel of Matthew, 
however, is neither this work nor a translation 
of it ; for the only three things told us about 
the apostle s work are all irreconcilable with 
the characteristics of our Matthew. The 
compilation of " Words of the Lord " was 
(1) a syntagma and not, like Mark, an outline 
of the ministry. It was (2) written in Ara 
maic; whereas our Matthew is an original 
Greek composition. It was (3) by an apostle 
who had personal acquaintance with Jesus; 
whereas our first evangelist is to the last 
degree dependent upon the confessedly de 
fective story of Mark. Still if we take our 
Matthew as the last link in the long chain of 
development, covering perhaps half a century, 
and including such by-products as the Gospel 
according to the Hebrews and the Gospel of the 
Nazarenes, we may obtain a welcome light 
upon the environment out of which has come 
down the work which an able scholar justly 
declared, " the most important book ever 
written, the Gospel according to Matthew." 

The language in which it was written was 
alone sufficient to place the Greek Matthew 
beyond all possible competition in the larger 
world from Aramaic rivals. But its com 
prehensiveness and catholicity still further 


helped it to the position which it soon attained 
as the most widely used of all the gospels. 
Matthew is not only in its whole structure a 
composite gospel, but shows in high degree the 
catholicizing tendency of the times. Just 
as it frankly adopts the Roman-Petrine 
narrative of Mark with slightest possible 
modification, so also it places in Peter s hand 
with equal frankness the primacy in apostolic 
succession. Almost the only additions it 
makes to Mark s account of the public ministry 
are the story of Peter s walking on the sea 
(xiv. 28-33), and his payment of the temple 
tribute for Christ and himself with the coin 
from the fish s mouth (xvii. 24-27). The 
latter story introduces the chapter on the 
exercise of rulership in "the church "(ch. xviii.), 
beginning with the disciples question : " Who 
then is greatest in the kingdom ? " Peter is 
again in it the one salient figure (xviii. 21). 
An equally important addition, connected 
with xviii. 17 /. is the famous committal to 
Peter of the power of the keys, with the 
declaration making him for his confession the 
Rock foundation of " the church." This 
addition to Mark s story of the rebuke of Peter 
at Cassarea Philippi, is one which decidedly 
alters its bearing, and seems even to borrow 
the very language of Gal. i. 16 /. in order to 
exalt the apostleship of Peter. In fact, the 
Roman gospel and the Palestinian almost 
reverse the roles we should expect Peter to 
play in each. Matthew alone makes Peter 


" the first " (x. 2), while Mark seems to take 
special pains to record rebukes of the twelve 
and the brethren of the Lord, and especially 
the rebukes called down upon themselves by 
Peter, or Peter and John. 

In respect to the primacy of Peter we can 
observe a certain difference even among the 
Palestinian gospels which succeeded to the 
primitive syntagma of Matthew. Little, in 
deed, is known of the orthodox Gospel 
of the Nazarenes, beyond its relatively late 
and composite character; for it borrowed 
from Matthew, Mark and Luke in turn. Its 
list of apostles, however, begins with " John 
and James the sons of Zebedee," then " Simon 
and Andrew," and winds up : " Thee also, 
Matthew, did I call, as thou wert sitting at 
the seat of custom, and thou followedst me." 
The anti-Pauline Gospel according to theHebrews 
shows its conception of the seat of apostolic 
authority by giving to " James the Just " the 
place of Peter as recipient of that first mani 
festation of the risen Lord, which laid the 
foundation of the faith. Why then does 
the Greek Palestinian gospel, in contrast 
with its rivals, lay such special stress on 
the primacy of Peter ? 

From the cautious and (as it were) depre 
catory tone of the appendix to John (John xxi.) 
in seeking to commend the " other disciple 
whom Jesus loved " as worthy to be accepted 
as a " true witness " without detriment to the 
acknowledged authority of Peter as chief 


under-shepherd of the flock, we may infer 
that not at Rome alone, but wherever there was 
question of apostolic tradition, the authority 
of Peter was coming rapidly to the fore. The 
tendency at Antioch is even more marked than 
at Rome, as is manifest from Acts. If, then, it 
seems stronger still in a region where we should 
expect the authority of James to be put for 
ward, this need not be taken as a specifically 
Roman trait. We must realize the sharp 
antagonism which existed in Palestine from 
the time of the Apostolic council down, 
between (1) the consistent legalists, who 
maintained down to the period of Justin (153) 
and the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions 
(180-200), their bitter hostility to Paul and 
his gospel of Gentile freedom from the Law; 
and (2) the catholic, or liberal, Jewish- 
Christians, who took the standpoint of the 
Pillars. It is but one of many indications of 
its 4 catholic tendency that our Matthew 
increases the emphasis on the apostolic 
authority of Peter to the point of an actual 
primacy. The phenomenon must be judged 
in the light of the disappearance or suppression 
of all evangelic story save what came under 
the name of Peter, and the tendency in Acts 
to bring under his name even the entire 
apostleship to the Gentiles. Peter is not yet 
in these early writings the representative 
of Rome, but of catholicity. The issue in 
Matthew is not as between Rome and some 
other dominant see, but (as the reflection 


of the language of Gal. i. 17 /. in Matt. xvi. 17 
shows) as between catholic apostolic 
authority and the unsafe tendencies of Pauline 

Nevertheless, for all his leanings to catholi 
city the Greek Matthew has not wholly suc 
ceeded in excluding materials which still reflect 
Jewish-Christian hostility to Paul, or at least 
to the tendencies of Pauline Christianity. 
Over and over again special additions are 
made in Matthew to emphasize a warning 
against the workers of " lawlessness." The 
exhortation of Jesus in Luke vi. 42-45 to 
effect (self-)reformation not on the surface, 
nor in word, but by change of the inward root 
of disposition fructifying in deeds, is altered 
in Matt. vii. 15-22 into a warning against 
the " false prophets " who work " lawless 
ness," and who must be judged by their fruits. 
They make the confession of Lordship (cf. 
Rom. x. 9), but are not obedient to Jesus 
commandment, and lack good works. In 
particular the test of Mark ix. 38-40 is directly 
reversed. The principle " \\Tiosoever is not 
against us is for us " is not to be trusted. A 
teacher may exercise the spiritual gifts of 
prophecy, exorcism, and miracles wrought in 
the name of Jesus, and still be a reprobate. 
A similar (and most incongruous) addition 
is made to Mark s parable of the Patient 
Husbandman (Mark iv. 26-29), in Matt. xiii. 
24-30, and reiterated in a specially appended 
" interpretation " (xiii. 36-43). This addition 


likens the " workers of lawlessness " to tares 
sown alongside the good seed of the word by 
" an enemy." A similar incongruous attach 
ment is made to the parable of the Marriage 
feast (Matt. xxii. 1-14; cf. Luke xiv. 15-24) 
to warn against the lack of the garment of 
good works. Finally, Matthew closes his 
whole series of the discourses of Jesus with a 
group of three parables developed with great 
elaboration and rhetorical effect, out of 
relatively slight suggestions as found else 
where. The sole theme of the series is the 
indispensableness of good works in the judg 
ment (Matt. 25 ; cf. Luke xii. 35-38 ; xix. 11- 
28, and Mark ix. 37, 41). A similar interest 
appears in Matthew s insistence on the per 
manent obligation of the Law (v. (16) 17-20 ; 
xix. 16-22 in contrast with Mark x. 17-22), 
on respect for the temple (xvii. 24-27) and on 
the Davidic descent of Jesus, with fulfilment 
of messianic promise in him (chh. i.-ii. ; ix. 27). 
He limits the activity of Jesus to the Holy 
Land (xv. 22 ; contrast Mark vii. 24 /.), makes 
him in sending forth the Twelve (x. 5 /.) 
specifically forbid mission work among Samari 
tans or Gentiles, and while the prohibition is 
finally removed in xxviii. 18-20, the apostolic 
seat cannot be removed, but remains as in 
x. 23, among " the cities of Israel " to the end 
of the world. 

There is probably no more of intentional 
opposition to Paul or to his gospel in all this 
than in James or Luke. We cannot for 


example regard it as more than accide ntal 
coincidence that in the phrase " an enemy 
hath done this," in the parable of the tares, 
we have the same epithet which the Ebionite 
literature applies to Paul. But enough re 
mains to indicate how strongly Jewish-Chris 
tian prejudices and limitations still affected our 
evangelist. With respect to date, the atmo 
sphere is in all respects such as characterizes 
the period of the nineties. 

It does not belong to our present purpose 
to analyze this gospel into its constituent 
elements. The process can be followed in 
many treatises on gospel criticism, and the 
results will be found summarized in Intro 
ductions to the New Testament such as the 
recent scholarly work of Moffatt. We have 
here but to note the general character and 
structure of the book as revealing the main 
outlines of its history and the conditions which 
gave it birth. 

Matthew and Luke are alike in that both 
represent comparatively late attempts to 
combine the ancient Matthasan syntagma with 
the Memorabilia of Peter compiled by 
Mark. But there is a great difference. Luke 
contemplates his work with some of the motives 
of the historian. He adopts the method of 
narrative, and therefore subordinates his 
discourse material to a conception (often 
confused enough) of sequence in space and 
time. Matthew, as the structure of his gospel, 
no less than his own avowal shows, had an 


aim more nearly corresponding to the ancient 
Palestinian type. The demand for the narra 
tive form had become irresistible. It controlled 
even his later Greek and Aramaic rivals. But 
Matthew has subordinated the historical to 
the ethical motive. He aims at, and has 
rendered, just the service which his age de 
manded and for which it could look to no other 
region than Jerusalem, a full compilation of 
the commandments and precepts of Jesus. 

The narrative framework is adopted from 
Mark without serious alteration, because this 
work had already proved its effectiveness in 
convincing men everywhere that Jesus was 
" the Christ, the Son of God." Like Luke, 
Matthew prefixes an account of Jesus miracu 
lous birth and childhood, because in his time 
(c. 90) the ancient " beginning of the gospel " 
with the baptism by John had given oppor 
tunity to the heresy of the Adoptionists, 
represented by Cerinthus, who maintained 
that Jesus became the Son of God at his 
baptism, a merely temporary " receptacle " 
of the Spirit. The prefixed chapters have no 
incarnation doctrine, and no doctrine of pre- 
existence. They do not intend in their story 
of the miraculous birth to relate the incoming 
of a super-human or non-human being into 
the world, else they could not take up the 
pedigree of Joseph as exhibiting Jesus title 
to the throne of David. Miracle attends and 
signalizes the birth of that " Son of David " 
who is destined to become the Son of God. 


Apart from the mere question of attendant 
prodigy the aim of Matthew s story of the 
Infancy is such as should command the respect 
and sympathy of every rational thinker. 
Against all Doketic dualism it maintains that 
the Son of God is such from birth to death. 
The presence of God s Spirit with him is not 
a mere counterpart to demonic " possession," 
but is part of his nature as true man from the 

But the doctrinal interest of Matthew 
scarcely goes beyond the point of proving 
that Jesus is the Christ foretold by the 
prophets. Doctrine as well as history is 
subordinate to the one great aim of teaching 
men to " observe all things whatsoever Jesus 
commanded. - 



OF the extent to which the early church 
could do without narrative of Jesus earthly 
ministry we have extraordinary evidences in 
the literature of Pauline Christianity on the 
one side and of Jewish Christianity on the 
other. For Paul himself, as we know, the 
real story of Jesus was a transcendental 
drama of the Incarnation, Redemption, and 
Exaltation. It is probable that when at last 
" three years " after his conversion he went 
up to Jerusalem " to get acquainted with 
Peter," the story he was interested to hear 
had even then more to do with that common 
apostolic witness of the resurrection appear 
ances reproduced in 1st Cor. xv. 3-11, than 
with the sayings and doings of the ministry. 
As to this Paul preserves, as we have seen, 
an almost unbroken silence. And that which 
did not interest Paul, naturally did not interest 
his churches. 

On the other hand those who could have 
perpetuated a full and authentic account of 
the ministry were almost incredibly slow to 



undertake the task ; partly, no doubt, because 
of their vivid expectation of the immediate 
end of the world, but largely also because to 
their mind the data most in need of preserva 
tion were the life-giving words. The im 
pression of Jesus character, his person and 
authority was not, as they regarded it, a 
thing to be gained from the historical out 
line of his career. It was established by the 
fact of the Resurrection, by the predictions 
of the prophets, which found fulfilment in 
the circumstances of Jesus birth, particular 
incidents here and there in his career and fate, 
but most of all in his resurrection and the 
gifts of the Spirit which argued his present 
session at the right hand of God. Once this 
authority of Jesus was established the believer 
had only to observe his commandments as 
handed down by the apostles, elders and 

On all sides there was an indifference to such 
historical inquiry as the modem man would 
think natural and inevitable, an indifference 
that must remain altogether inexplicable to 
us unless we realize that until at least the 
time of the fourth evangelist the main proofs 
of messiahship were not looked for in Jesus 
earthly career. His Christhood was thought 
of as something in the future, not yet realized. 
Even his resurrection and manifestation in 
glory " at the right hand of God," which is 
to both Paul (Rom. i. 4) and his predecessors 
(Acts ii. 32-36) the assurance that " God 


hath made him both Lord and Christ," is not 
yet the beginning of his specific messianic pro 
gramme. Potentially this has begun, because 
Jesus has already been seated on the throne 
of glory, " from henceforth expecting until his 
enemies be made the footstool of his feet." 
Practically it is not yet. The Christ is still 
a Christ that is to be. His messianic rule 
is delayed until the subjugation of the 
" enemies " ; and this subjugation in turn is 
delayed by " the longsuffering of God, who 
willeth not that any should perish, but 
that all men should come to repentance." 
Meantime a special " outpouring of the 
Spirit " is given in tongues, prophecies, 
miracle working, and the like, in fulfil 
ment of scriptural promise, as a kind of 
coronation largess to all loyal subjects. This 
outpouring of the Spirit, then, is the great 
proof and assurance that the Heir has really 
ascended the throne of glory in spite of 
the continuance of " all things as they were 
from the foundation of the world." These 
gifts are " firstfruits of the Spirit," pledges 
of the ultimate inheritance, proofs both to 
believers and unbelievers of the complete 
Inheritance soon to be received. But the 
gifts have also a practical aspect. They are 
all endowments for service. The Great Re 
pentance in Israel and among the Gentiles 
is not to be brought about without the co 
operation of believers. The question which at 
once arises when the manifestation of the 


risen Christ is granted, " Lord, dost thou at 
this time restore the kingdom to Israel ? " 
is therefore answered by the assurance that 
the time is in God s hand alone, but that 
the gifts of the Spirit, soon to be imparted, 
are intended to enable believers to do their 
part, at home and abroad, toward effecting 
the Great Repentance (Acts i. 6-8). l 

For a church which felt itself endowed with 
living and present evidences of the messianic 
power of Jesus it was naturally only a second 
thought (and not a very early one at that) 
to look back for proof to occurrences in Jesus 
life in Galilee, however notable his career as 
" a prophet mighty in deed and word before 
God and all the people." The present gifts 
of his power would be (at least in demon 
strative effect) " greater works than these." 
With those who had the resurrection testimony 

1 The parallel in Mark xvi. 14-18 is very instructive, 
but needs the recently discovered connection between 
verses 14 and 15 to complete the sense : "And they ex 
cused themselves (for their unbelief) saying-, This age of 
lawlessness and unbelief is under the dominion of Satan, 
who by means of the unclean spirits prevents the truth and 
power of God from being apprehended. On this account 
reveal thy righteousness (i. e. justice, in the sense of Lsa. 
Ivi, 1 6) even now. And Christ replied to them, The limit 
of years of Satan s power is (already) fulfilled, but other 
terrible things are at hand ; moreover I was delivered up 
to death on behalf of sinners in order that they might 
return unto the truth and sin no more, that they might 
inherit the spiritual and incorruptible glory which is in 
heaven." Then follows the mission into all the world 
and endowment with the gifts. 


of 1st Cor. xv. 3-11, and even the recurrent 
experience of " visions and revelations of the 
Lord," anticipatory revelations of his messiah- 
ship, utterances, like that to Peter at Csesarea 
Philippi, wherein Jesus only predicted the 
great work to be divinely accomplished through 
him, whether by life or death, in going up 
to Jerusalem, intimations which had been 
disregarded or disbelieved at the time, could 
not rank with present knowledge, experience 
and insight. They would be recalled merely 
as confirmatory foregleams of " the true 
light that now shineMi," as the two who had 
received the manifestation at Emmaus ex 
claim, " Did not our heart burn within us 
while he talked to us in the way ? " 

We could not indeed psychologically ac 
count for the development of the resurrection 
faith after the crucifixion, if before it Jesus 
life and utterances had not been such as to 
make his manifestation in glory seem to the 
disciples just what they ought to have ex 
pected. But, conversely, nothing is more 
certain than the fact that they did not expect 
it; and that when the belief had become 
established by other means, the attitude 
toward the " sayings and doings " maintained 
by those who had them to relate as we know, 
the most successful missionary of all felt it 
no handicap to be entirely without them 
was one of looking back into an obscure past 
for things whose pregnant significance became 
appreciable only in the light of present know- 


ledge. " These things understood not his 
disciples at the first, but when Jesus was 
glorified, then remembered they that these 
things had been written of him, and that 
they had done these things unto him." 

We are fortunate in having even one example 
of the " consecutive narratives " (diegeses) 
referred to in Luke i. 1. Our Mark is a gospel 
written purely and simply from this point 
of view, aiming only to show how the earthly 
career of Jesus gave evidence that this was 
the Son of God, predestined to exaltation to 
the right hand of power, with little attempt, 
if any, to bring in the precepts of the New 
Law. We should realize, however, that this 
is already a beginning in the process soon 
to become controlling, a process of carrying 
back into the earthly life of Jesus in Galilee 
of first this trait, then that, then all the 
attributes of the glorified Lord. 

Ancient and reliable tradition informs us 
that this first endeavour to tell the story of 
" Jesus Christ the Son of God " was composed 
at Rome by John Mark, a former companion 
of both Peter and Paul, from data drawn from 
the anecdotes casually employed by Peter 
in his preaching. There is much to confirm 
this in the structure, the style, and the doc 
trinal object and standpoint of the Gospel. 

To begin with, the date of composition 
cannot be far from 75. Mark is not only 
presupposed by both Matthew and Luke, but 
in their time had already acquired an extra- 


ordinary predominance. To judge by what 
remains to us of similar products, Mark in 
its own field might almost be said to reign 
supreme and reign alone. Such almost ex 
clusive supremacy could not have been 
attained, even by a writing commonly under 
stood to represent the preaching of Peter, 
short of a decade or more of years. On the 
other hand we have the reluctant testimony 
of antiquity, anxious to claim as much as 
possible of apostolic authority for the record, 
but unwilling to commit Peter to apparent 
contradictions of Matthew, that it was written 
after Peter s death (64-5). l Internal evidence 
would in fact bring down the date of the 
work in its present form a full decade there 
after. It is true that there are many structural 
evidences of more than one form of the 
narrative, and that the apocalyptic chapter 
(ch. xiii.), which furnishes most of the evidence 
of date, may well belong among the later 
supplements. But in the judgment of most 
critics this eschatological discourse (almost 
the only connected discourse of the Gospel) 
is clearly framed in real retrospect upon the 
overthrow of Jerusalem and the temple, 
and the attendant tribulation on " those that 
are in Judaea." The writer applies a general 
saying of Jesus known to us from other 
sources about destroying and rebuilding the 

1 So Irenaeus (186) and (by implication) Papias. Clement 
of Alexandria (210) meets the difficulty by alleging that 
Peter was still alive, but gave no aid to the writer. 


temple specifically to the demolition effected 
by Titus (70). He warns his readers in the 
same connection that " the end " is not to 
follow immediately upon the great Judaean 
war, but only when the powers of evil in the 
heavenly places, powers inhabiting sun, moon 
and stars, are shaken (xiii. 21-27). The 
Pauline doctrine of 2nd Thess. ii. 1-12 is 
adopted, but with careful avoidance of the 
prediction that the " man of sin " is to appear 
" in the temple of God." Paul s " man of 
sin " is now identified with Daniel s " abomi 
nation that maketh desolate " (Dan. xii. 11), 
which therefore is spoken of as " he " (mascu 
line). " His " appearance will prelude the 
great Judaean tribulation ; but his standing 
place is ill-defined. It is only " where he 
ought not." Matthew (following his usual 
practice) returns more nearly to the language 
of Daniel. With him the " Abomination " 
is again an object standing " in a holy place." 
But Matthew is already applying the prophecy 
to another tribulation still to come. He does 
not see that Mark refers to the sack of Jeru 
salem on which he himself looks back in his 
addition to the parable of the Supper (Matt, 
xxii. 6 /. ; cf. Luke xiv. 15-24), but takes 
Mark xiii. 14-23 as Jesus prediction of a 
great final tribulation still to come. 

Mark s crudities of language and style, his 

frequent latinisms, his explanation to his 

readers (almost contemptuously exaggerated) 

of Jewish purifications and distinctions 



of meats (vii. 3/.), presupposition of the 
Roman form of divorce (x. 12), explanation 
in Roman money of the value of the 
(Greek and Oriental) " mite " (lepton), are 
well-known confirmations of the tradition 
of the writing s place of origin. But these 
are superficial characteristics. More im 
portant for us to note is the fundamental 
conception of what constitutes " the gospel," 
and the writer s attitude on questions of the 
relation of Jew and Gentile and the authority 
of the apostles and kindred of the Lord. 

The most striking characteristic of Mark is 
that it aims to present the gospel about Jesus, 
and is relatively indifferent to the gospel of 
Jesus. Had the writer conceived his task 
after the mariner of a Matthew there is little 
doubt that he could have compiled catechetic 
discourses of Jesus like the Sermon on the 
Mount or the discourse on prayer of Luke xi. 
1-13. The fact that he disregards such 
records of Jesus ethical and religious instruc 
tion does not mean that he (tacitly) refers his 
readers to the Matthsean Precepts, or similar 
compilations, to supplement his own de 
ficiencies. It means a different, more Pauline, 
conception of what " the gospel "is. Mark 
conceives its primary element to be attach 
ment to the person of Jesus, and has already 
gone far toward obliterating the primitive 
distinction between a Jesus whose earthly 
career had been " in great humility," and the 
glorified Son of God. The earthly Jesus is 


still, it is true, only a man endowed with the 
Spirit of Adoption. But he is so completely 
" in " the Spirit, and so fully endowed with 
it, as almost to assume the Greek figure of a 
demi-god treading the earth incognito. No 
wonder this Gospel became the favourite of 
the Adoptionists and Doketists. 

Mark does not leave his reader in the dark 
as to what a man must do to inherit eternal 
life. The requirement does not appear until 
after Jesus has taken up with the twelve 
the road to Calvary, because it is distinctly 
not a keeping of commandments, new or old. 
It is an adoption of lt the mind that was in 
Christ, who humbled himself and became 
obedient unto death." In Matthew s im 
proved version of Jesus answer to the rich 
applicant for eternal life, the suppliant is 
told he may obtain it by obeying the com 
mandments, with supererogatory merit (" if 
thou wouldest be perfect "), if he follows 
Jesus example of self-abnegating service. In 
the form and context from which Matthew 
borrows (Mark x. 13-45) there is no trace of 
this legalism, and the whole idea of super 
erogatory merit, or higher reward, is strenu 
ously, almost indignantly, repudiated. No 
man can receive the kingdom at all who does 
not receive it " as a little child." Every man 
must be prepared to make every sacrifice, even 
if he has kept all the commandments from his 
youth up. Peter and the disciples who have 
" left all and followed " are in respect to 


reward on the same level as others. Peter s 
plea for the twelve is answered, " There is 
no man that hath left " earthly possessions 
for Christ s sake that is not amply com 
pensated even here. He must expect perse 
cution now, but will receive eternal life 
hereafter. Only " many that are first shall 
be last, and last first." Even the martyr- 
apostles James and John will have no superior 
rights in the Kingdom. 

Such passages as the above not only reveal 
why Mark s gospel shows comparative dis 
regard of the Precepts, but also displays an 
attitude toward the growing claims of apostolic 
authority and neo-legalism which in contrast 
with Matthew and Luke is altogether refresh 
ing. The kindred of the Lord appear but 
twice (iii. 20/., 31-35 and vi. 1-6), both times 
in a wholly unfavourable light. " John ap 
pears but once, and that to receive a rebuke 
for intolerance. James and John appear 
only to be rebuked for selfish ambition. 
Peter seldom otherwise than for rebuke. 
All the disciples show constantly the blind 
ness and " hardness of heart " which is ex 
plicitly said to characterize their nation 
(vi. 52; vii. 18; viii. 12, 14-21). Their self- 
seeking and unfaithfulness is the foil to Jesus 
self-denial and faithfulness (viii. 33; ix. 6, 
18/., 29; x. 24, 28, 32, 37, 41; xiv. 27-31, 
37-41, 50, 66-72). That which in Matthew 
(xvi. 16-19) has become a special divine revela 
tion to Peter of the messiahship, marking the 


foundation of the church, is in the earlier 
Markan form (Mark viii. 27-33) not a revela 
tion of the messiahship at all. Peter s answer, 
" Thou are the Christ," is common knowledge. 
The twelve are not supposed to be more 
ignorant than the demons ! There is, how 
ever, a caustic rebuke of Peter for his carnal, 
Jewish idea of the implications of Christhood. 
A revelation of its significance almost Doketic 
in character is indeed granted just after to 
" Peter, James and John " ; but they remain 
without appreciation or understanding of 
the vision, though it exhibits Jesus in his 
heavenly glory in company with the trans 
lated heroes of the Old Testament. The 
revelation still remains, therefore, a sealed 
book until " after the resurrection." 

This exaggeration of the disciples obtuseness 
is partly due, no doubt, to apologetic motives. 
The evangelist has to meet the objection, If 
Jesus was really the extraordinary, super 
human being represented, and was openly 
proclaimed such by the evil spirits, why was 
nothing heard of his claims until after the 
crucifixion and alleged resurrection ? His 
carrying back into the Galilean ministry of 
the glorified Being of Paul s redemption 
doctrine compels him to represent the twelve 
as sharing the dulness of the people who 
" having eyes see not, and having ears hear 
not." But with all allowance for this, the 
Roman Gospel shows small consideration for 
the apostles and kindred of the Lord. 


It shows quite as little for Jewish preroga 
tive and Jewish law. Jesus speaks in parables 
because to those " without " his preaching is 
to be intentionally a veiled gospel (iv. 
1-34). The Inheritance will be taken away 
from them and given to others (xii. 1-12). 
Priests and people together were guilty of 
the rejection and murder of Jesus (xv. 11-15, 
29-32). Forgiveness of sins is offered by 
Jesus on his own authority in defiance of 
the scribes. Their exclusion of the publicans 
and sinners he disregards, proclaims abolition 
of their fasts, and holds their sabbath-keep 
ing up to scorn (ii. 1 iii. 6). On the question 
of distinctions of meats his position is the most 
radical possible. The Jewish ceremonial is 
a " vain worship," mere " commandments of 
men." Defilement cannot be contracted by 
what " goes into a man." Jesus saying about 
inward purity was not aimed at the mere 
hedge of the Law (Matt. xv. 13), nor the 
mere matter of ablutions (Matt. xv. 20), but 
was intended to " make all meats clean " 
(vii. 1-23). Moses law in some of its enact 
ments does not represent the real divine will, 
but a human accommodation to human weak 
ness (x. 2-9). Obedience to its highest code 
does not ensure eternal life (x. 19-21). The 
single law of love is " much more than all 
whole burnt offering and sacrifices " (xii. 
28-34). When all the references to Judaism, 
its Law, its institutions, and its prerogative, 
are of this character, when Jesus always 


appears in radical opposition to the Law and 
its exponents (xii. 38-40; xiii. I/.), never as 
their supporter in any degree, the evangelist 
comes near to making it too hard for us to 
believe that he really was of Jewish birth. 

On the other hand we cannot doubt the 
statement that he derives his anecdotes, 
however indirectly, from the preaching of 
Peter. The prologue (i. 1-13), indeed, makes 
no pretence of reporting the testimony of any 
witness, but acquaints the reader with the 
true nature of Jesus as " the Christ, the Son 
of God " by means of a mystical account of 
his baptism and endowment with the Spirit 
of Adoption, probably resting upon that 
document of Q, which we have distinguished 
from the Precepts. But the ensuing story 
of the ministry opens at the home of Peter in 
Capernaum, and continues more or less con 
nected therewith in spite of interjected groups 
of anecdotes whose connection is not chrono 
logical but topical, such as ii. 1 iii. 6; iii. 
22-30 ; iv. 1-34. It reaches its climax where 
Jesus at Csesarea Philippi takes Peter into 
his confidence. Here again the mystical 
Revelation or Transfiguration vision (ix. 2-10) 
interrupts the connection, and shows its 
foreign derivation by the transcendental sense 
in which it interprets the person of Jesus. 
Certain features suggest its having been taken 
from the same source as the prologue (i. 1-13). 

The story issues in the tragedy at Jerusalem, 
where, as before, Peter s figure, however un- 


favourable the contrast in which it is set to 
that of Jesus, is still the salient one. The 
outline in general is identical with that so 
briefly sketched in Acts x. 38-42 except that 
the absolutely essential point, the one thing 
which no gospel narrative can possibly have 
lacked, the resurrection manifestation to the 
disciples, and the commission to preach the 
gospel, is absolutely lacking ! 

That Mark s gospel once contained such a 
conclusion is almost a certainty. Imagine a 
gospel narrative without a report of the mani 
festation of the risen Lord to his disciples ! 
Imagine a church and that the church at 
Rome giving out as the first, the authentic, 
original, and (in intention) the only account 
of the origin of the Christian faith (Marki. 1), 
a narrative which ended with the apostles 
scattered in cowardly desertion, and Peter 
the most conspicuous, most remorseful rene 
gade of them all ! He who writes in Peter s 
name from Rome but shortly after, affection 
ately naming Mark " my son," must have 
had indeed a forgiving spirit. But traces of 
the real sequel have not all disappeared. 
Many outside allusions still remain to the 
turning again of Peter and stablishing of 
his brethren in the resurrection faith. The 
earliest is Paul s (1st Cor. xv. 5). The present 
Mark itself implies that it once had such an 
ending ; for Jesus promises to rally his flock 
in Galilee after he is raised up (xiv. 28), 
and the women at the sepulchre are bidden 


to remind the disciples of the promise, though 
they fail to deliver their message. Indeed 
the whole Gospel looks forward to it. To 
this end " the mystery of the kingdom " is 
given to the chosen twelve (iii. IS/., 31-35; 
iv. 10-12) ; for this they are forewarned 
(though vainly) of the catastrophe (viii. 34 
ix. 1, 30-32; x. 32-34; xiv. 27-31). In fact 
the promise of a baptism of the Spirit (i. 8) 
probably implies that the original sequel 
related not only the appearance to Peter and 
(later) to the rest with the charge to preach, 
but also their endowment with the gifts, 
perhaps as in John xx. 19-23. What we 
now have is only a substitute for this original 
sequel, a substitute so ill-fitting as to have 
provoked repeated attempts at improvement. 
From xvi. 8 onwards, as is well known, the 
oldest textual authorities have simply a blank. 
Later authorities give a shorter or longer 
substitute for the missing Manifestation and 
Charge to the twelve. The shorter follows 
Matthew, the longer follows Luke, with traces 
of acquaintance with John. Fanciful theories 
to explain these textual phenomena, such as 
accidental mutilation of the only copy, are 
improbable, and do not explain. If conjecture 
be permissible it is more likely that the original 
work was in two parts, after the manner 
of Luke-Acts, the former treatise ending 
with the centurion s testimony, " Truly this 
man was a Son of God " (xv. 39). The second 
part continued the narrative in the form of 


a Preaching of Peter, perhaps ending with his 
coming to Rome; for the ancient literature 
of the church had several narratives of this 
type. Its disappearance will have been due 
to the superseding (perhaps the embodiment) 
of it by the work of Luke. When the primi 
tive Markan former treatise was adapted for 
separate use as a gospel it was quite natural 
that it should be supplemented (we can hardly 
say " completed ") by the addition of the 
story of the Empty Sepulchre (xv. 40 xvi. 8), 
though this narrative is quite unknown to 
the primitive resurrection preaching (cf. 1st 
Cor. xv. 3-11), and one in which every char 
acter save Pilate is a complete stranger to 
the body of the work. The subsequent 
further additions of the so-called "longer" 
and " shorter " endings belong to the history 
of transcription after A.D. 140. 

It will be apparent from the above that the 
Gospel of Mark is no exception to the rule that 
church-writings of this type inevitably undergo 
recasting and supplementation until the ad 
vancing process of canonization at last fixes 
their text with unalterable rigidity. Whether 
we recognize " sources," or earlier " forms," 
or only earlier " editions " of Mark, it is 
certain that appendices could still be attached 
long after the appearance of Luke, and prob 
able that in the early period of its purely 
local currency at Rome the fund of Petrine 
anecdote had received more than one adapta 
tion of form before it was carried to Syria 


and embodied substantially as we now have 
it in the composite gospels of Matthew and 
Luke. The omission by Luke of Mark vi. 
45 viii. 26 is intentional, 1 and cannot be used 
to prove the existence of a shorter form ; and 
the same is probably true of the omission of 
Mark ix. 38-40 by Matthew. Mark xii. 41- 
44, however, is probably an addition later 
than Matthew s time. Neither Matthew nor 
Luke had a text extending beyond xvi. 8. 
But signs of acquaintance with the original 
sequel appear in the appendix to John 
(John xxi.) and in the late and composite 
Gospel of Peter (c. 140). According to the 
latter the twelve remained in Jerusalem 
scattered and in hiding for the remaining six 
days of the feast. At its close they departed, 
mourning and grieving, each man to his own 
home. Peter and a few others, including 
" Levi the son of Alpheus," resumed their 
fishing " on the sea." . . . The fragment 
breaks off at this point. The story may be 
conjecturally completed from 1st Cor. xv. 
5-8, with comparison of John xxi. 1-13; 
Luke v. 4-8; xxii. 31 /. ; xxiv. 34, 36-43. 

As we look back upon the undertaking of 
this humble author, named only by tradition, 
one among the catechists of the great church 
of Paul and Peter, writing but a few years 
after their death, but a few years before 
1st Peter and Hebrews, one is struck by the 
grandeur of his aim. It is true he was not 
1 See below. 


wholly without predecessors in the field. The 
work which afforded him at least the substance 
of his prologue, and in all probability other 
considerable sections of his book, had already 
aimed in a more mystical way to connect the 
Pauline doctrine of Christ as the Wisdom of 
God with the mighty works and teachings of 
Jesus. Duplication of a considerable part 
of Mark s story (vii. 31 viii. 26 repeats with 
some variation vi. 30 vii. 30) shows that his 
work was one of combination as well as 
creation. But outline, proportion and on 
ward march of the story show not only skill 
and care, but large-minded and consistent 
adherence to the fundamental plan to tell 
the origin of the Christian faith (Mark i. 1). 

Confirmation of the belief and practice of 
the church it is for this that Mark reports 
all he can learn of the years of obscurity in 
Galilee followed by the tragedy in Jerusalem. 
Not only belief in Jesus as the Son of God will 
be justified by the story, but the founding, 
institutions, and ritual of the existing church. 
He manifestly adapts it to show not only the 
superhuman powers and attributes of the 
chosen Son of God, but the germ and type 
of all the church s institutions. Its baptism 
of repentance and accompanying gift of the 
Spirit of Adoption only repeats the experience 
of Jesus at the baptism of John. Endowment 
with the word of wisdom and the word of 
power is but the counterpart of Jesus divine 
equipment with " the power of the Spirit " 


when he taught and healed in Galilee. The 
Sending of the Twelve sets the standard for 
the church s evangelists and missionaries, just 
as the Breaking of the Bread in Galilee gives 
the model for its fraternal banquet. So for 
the Judfean ministry as well. The path of 
martyrdom is that which all must follow, its 
Passover Supper of the Lord and Vigil in 
Gethsemane are models for the church s 
annual observance, its Passover of the Lord, 
its Vigil, its Resurrection feast. The group 
ing of the anecdotes is not all of Mark s 
doing, for we can still see in many cases how 
they have grown up around the church observ 
ances, to explain and justify the rites, rather 
than to form part of an outlined career. But 
taking the work as a whole, and considering 
how far beyond that of any other church was 
the opportunity at Rome, where Paul had 
transmitted the lofty conception of the Son 
of God, and Peter the concrete tradition of 
his earthly life, we cannot wonder that Mark s 
outline so soon became the standard account 
of Jesus earthly ministry, and ultimately 
the only one. 

But little space remains in which to trace the 
developments of gospel story in other fields. 
Southern Syria and Egypt soon found it need 
ful, as we have seen, to adopt the work of Mark, 
but independently and as a framework for 
the Matthacan Precepts. It cannot have been 
long after that Antioch and Northern Syria 
followed suit. For Luke, though acquainted 


with the work of many predecessors gives 
no sure evidence of acquaintance with 
Matthew. When we find such unsoftened 
contradictions as those displayed between 
these two Greek gospels in their opening and 
closing chapters, and observe, moreover, that 
while both indulge in hundreds of corrections 
and improvements upon Mark, these are rarely 
coincident and never make the assumption 
of interdependence necessary, it is hard to 
resist the conclusion that neither evangelist 
was directly acquainted with the other s 
work. Now no other gospel compares with 
Matthew in the rapidity and extent of its 
circulation, while Luke declares himself a 
diligent inquirer. He could not ignore the 
claims of apostolic authority to which this 
early and wide acceptance of Matthew were 
mainly due. The inference is reasonable that 
Luke s date was but little later than that 
of Matthew. If the probability of his em 
ployment of the Antiquities of Josephus could 
be raised to a certainty this would suffice to 
date the Gospel and Book of Acts not earlier 
than 96. Internal and external evidence, as 
judged by most scholars, converge on a date 
approximating 100. 

The North-Syrian derivation of Luke-Acts 
is less firmly established in tradition than the 
Roman origin of Mark and the South-Syrian 
of Matthew. Ancient tradition can point to 
nothing weightier than the statement of 
Eusebius, drawn we know not whence, but 


independently made in the argumenta (pre 
fixed descriptions) of several Vulgate manu 
scripts that Luke was of Antiochian birth. 
However, internal evidence supplies corro- 
boration in rather unusual degree. If the 
reading of some texts in Actsxi. 28, " And as 
ive were assembled," could be accepted, this 
alone would be almost conclusive corrobora- 
tion. But dubious as it is, it furnishes support. 
For if an alteration of the original, it is at 
any rate extremely early (c. 150 ?) and aimed 
to support the belief in question. 1 Moreover 
the whole attitude of Luke-Acts in respect to 
apostolic authority, settlement of the great 
question of the terms of fellowship between 
Jew and Gentile, and description of the 
founding of the Pauline churches, is such as 
to make its origin anywhere between the 
Taurus range and the Adriatic most improb 
able ; while if we place it in Rome we shall 
have an insoluble problem in the relation of 
its extreme emphasis on apostolic authority, 
and quasi-deification of Peter, to the stalwart 
independence of Mark. Conversely there are 
many individual traits which suggest Antioch 
as the place of origin. Next to Jerusalem, 
the never-to-be-forgotten church of " the 
apostles and elders," Antioch is the mother 
church of Christendom. There the name 
" Christian " had its origin. There the work 
of converting the Gentiles was begun. The 

1 Note, also, hovr in Acts vi. 6 the list of deacon- 
evangelists concludes "and Nicholas a proselyte of Antioch ." 


Greek churches of Cyprus and Asia Minor are 
regarded as dependencies of Antioch. Even 
those of the Greek peninsula are linked as 
well as may be to Antioch and Jerusalem, 
with suppression of the story of the schism. 
Antioch, not the Pauline Greek churches, is 
the benefactress of " the poor saints in Jeru 
salem," and at the instance of Antioch, by 
appeal to " the apostles and elders," the 
" decrees " are obtained which permanently 
settle the troublesome question of the obliga 
tion of maintaining ceremonial cleanness which 
still rests upon " the Jews which are among 
the Gentiles." As we have seen, the settle 
ment is as far from that of Mark and the 
Pauline churches on the one side, as from the 
thoroughgoing legalism of Jerusalem on the 
other. As late as the Pastoral Epistles 
abstinence from " meats which God created 
to be received with thanksgiving by them that 
believe and know the truth " is to the Pauline 
churches a " doctrine of devils and seducing 
spirits " taught " through the hypocrisy of 
men that speak lies." Distinctions of meats 
belong to Jewish superstition, because " every 
creature of God is good and nothing is to be 
rejected, if it be received with thanksgiving * 
(1st Tim. iv. 1-5). Mark, as we have seen, 
takes precisely this standpoint. He is equally 
radical in condemning distinctions of meats 
as essentially " vain worship," and a " com 
mandment of men " (Mark vii. 1-23). In 
truth if we distinguish one of Luke s sources 


from Luke himself we shall find exactly this 
doctrine taught to Peter himself by special 
divine revelation in Acts x. 10-16; xi. 3-10. 
Only, as we have already seen (p. 59, note), 
this is not the application made by the Book 
of Acts, as it now stands, of the material. To 
Luke nothing could be more repugnant than 
the idea of an apostle forsaking the religion of 
his fathers, of which circumcision and " the 
customs " are an essential part. His can 
cellation, in the story of Peter s revelation 
and the Apostle s subsequent defence of it 
before the church in Jerusalem, of one of its 
essential factors, viz. the right to eat with 
Gentiles, regardless of man-made distinctions 
of meats (" what God hath cleansed make 
not thou common ") is quite as significant as 
his restriction of even Paul s activity to Greek- 
speaking Jews, until " the Spirit " has ex 
pressly directed the church in Antioch, 
immediately after the persecution of Agrippa I, 
to proceed with the propaganda. Both altera 
tions of the earlier form of the story are in line 
with a multitude of minor indications, and 
furnish us, in combination with them, the real 
keynote of the narrative. In Luke-Acts more 
clearly than in any of the gospels the writer 
assumes the distinctive function of the 
historian. He, too, would relate, like Mark, 
the origin of the Christian faith, and that 
" from the very first." He even deduces the 
pedigree of Jesus from " Adam, which was 
the son of God." But the object is far more 


to prove the pedigree of the faith than the 
pedigree of Jesus. Christianity is to be 
defended against the charge of being a nova 
superstitio, a religio illicita. On the contrary 
it is the one true and revealed religion, the 
perfect flower and consummation of Judaism. 
Yet it is not, like Judaism, particularistic 
and national, but universal ; for while God at 
first made that nation the special repository 
of his truth, it was his " determinate fore 
knowledge and counsel " that they should 
reject and crucify their Messiah, making it 
possible to " proclaim this salvation unto 
the Gentiles." The one thing Luke is so 
anxiously concerned to prove that he wearies 
the reader with constant reiteration of it, 
proclaims it, argues it, in season and out of 
season, with his sources, against his sources, 
with the facts, against the facts, is that this 
faith was never, never, offered to the Gentiles 
except by express direction of God and after 
the Jews had demonstrated to the last ex 
tremity of stiff-necked opposition that they 
would have none of it. Christianity, then, 
and not Judaism, is the true primitive and 
revealed religion, the heir of all the divine 

We can see now why Luke finds it impossible 
to adopt Mark s story of a missionary journey 
of Jesus in " the coasts of Tyre and Sidon " 
and will not even mention the name of Csesarea 
Philippi. His method in omitting Mark vi. 
45 viii. 26 is more radical than Matthew s, 


but his motive is similar. The central theme 
of this portion of Mark appears in the chapter 
(ch. vii.) recording Jesus repudiation of the 
Jewish distinctions of clean and unclean as 
" precepts of men," and departing to heal 
and preach in Phoenicia and Decapolis. This 
is the theme of Luke s second treatise; and, 
as we have seen, his solution of the problem 
is radically different. If he cannot admit 
that even Paul disregarded " the customs " 
or Peter preached to Gentiles until after ex 
press and reiterated direction of " the Spirit," 
we surely ought not to expect him to admit 
the statement that Jesus repudiated the dis 
tinctions of Mosaism, declared " all meats 
clean," and departing into the coasts of Tyre 
and Sidon first healed the daughter of "a 
Gentile " and afterward continued his journey 
" through Sidon " and " the regions of Deca 
polis," repeating the symbolic miracles of 
opening deaf ears and blind eyes, and feeding 
with loaves and fishes. Even if this sup 
posed ministry of Jesus among the Gentiles 
stood on a much stronger foundation of 
historical probability than is unfortunately 
the case (cf. Rom. xv. 8), it could not 
logically be admitted to the work of Luke 
without an abandonment of one of his firmest 
convictions and a rewriting of both his 

Luke was probably not the first to divide 
his work into a " former treatise " covering 
" both " the sayings and doings of Jesus 


" until the time that he was taken up," and 
a second devoted to the work of the apostles 
after they had received the charge to proclaim 
the gospel " to the uttermost parts of the 
earth." " Many," as he tells us, had already 
undertaken to " draw up narratives " 
(diegeses) of this kind, of which the one Luke 
himself has chiefly employed, had originally, 
as we concluded, a sequel like his own Book 
of Acts. There are even features of the 
Petrine source of Acts which particularly 
connect it with Roman doctrine (e. g. Acts 
x. 10-15; cf. Rom. xiv. 14 and Mark vii. 
18 /.) and even with the person of Mark 
(Acts xii. 12). Its balance between Peter 
and Paul and its close with the establishment 
of Christianity at Rome, are also suggestive 
that the greater part of Luke s second treatise 
came ultimately from the same source as his 
first. But the division of the work into two 
parts: (1) the gospel among the Jews; (2) 
the gospel among the Gentiles, would have 
followed, independently of any such precedent, 
from the whole purpose and structure of the 
work. Christianity is to be proved in the 
light of its origin, and in spite of the hostility 
of the Jews among whom it arose, and whose 
sacred writings it adopts, to be the original, 
true, revealed religion. To prove this it must 
be shown that the rejection and crucifixion 
of Jesus by his own people as a result of his 
earthly ministry was due not to his own 
failure to meet the ideal of the Scriptures 


in question, but to their perversity and wilful 
blindness. If it is important to prove in 
the former treatise that the opposition of 
the controlling authorities among the Jews 
was due to this perversity and jealousy, it 
is at least equally so to show that the lowly 
and devout received him gladly. Hence the 
peculiar hospitality of Luke toward material 
showing Jesus acceptance of and by the 
humbler and the outcast classes, the poor and 
lowly, women, Samaritans, publicans and 
sinners. The idyllic scenes of his birth and 
childhood are cast among men and women 
of this type of Old Testament piety, quietly 
" waiting for the kingdom of God." During 
his career it is these who receive and hang 
upon him. Even on Calvary one of the thieves 
must join with this throng of devout and 
penitent believers. Jesus preaching begins 
with his rejection by his own fellow-townsmen 
only because " no prophet is accepted in his 
own country " ; though before their attempt 
to slay him he proves from Scripture how 
Elijah and Elisha had been sent unto the 
Gentiles. His ministry ends with his demon 
stration to the disciples after his resurrection 
from " Moses and all the prophets " how that 
" it was needful that the Christ should suffer 
before entering his glory," and that after his 
rejection by Israel " repentance and remission 
of sins should be preached in his name among 
all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." 

The second treatise shows how this purpose 


of God to secure the dissemination of the true 
faith by the disobedience and hardening of 
its first custodians was accomplished, chief 
stress being always laid upon the fact that it 
was only when the Jews " contradicted and 
blasphemed " that the apostles said, " It 
was necessary that the word of God should 
first be spoken to you, but seeing ye put it 
from you, and judge yourselves unworthy 
of eternal life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles." 
There is no interest taken in the subsequent 
fortunes of Jerusalem and Jewish Christianity, 
nor even in the fate of Peter and James, after 
this transition has been effected to Gentile 
soil. There is no interest taken in the spread 
of Christianity as such, in Egypt, Ethiopia, 
Cyrenaica, Cyprus, Mesopotamia; but only 
where the conflict rages over the respective 
claim of Jew and Gentile to be the true heir 
of the promises, i. e. the mission-field of Paul. 
At the individual centres the story goes just 
faj enough to relate how the gospel was offered 
to the Jews and rejected, compelling with 
drawal from the synagogue, and thereafter 
it is told over again with slight variations at 
the next centre. The book concludes with 
a repetition of the stereotyped scene at Rome 
itself, in spite of the representation of the very 
source employed, that an important church 
had long existed there before Paul s coming, 
ending with a quotation of the classic passage 
from Isa. vi. 9 /. to prove God s original 
purpose to harden the heart of Israel, so that 


his " salvation might be sent unto the Gen 
tiles." The very fate of Paul himself has so 
little interest for Luke in comparison with 
this demonstration of Christianity as the one 
original, revealed religion, enclosed in Judaism 
as seeds are confined in the hardening seed-pod 
until disseminated by its bursting, that he 
leaves it unmentioned, like that of all other 
leaders of the church whose death was not 
directly contributory to the process. 

Many, and vitally important to the develop 
ment of Gospel Story as we know it, as were 
the sources of Luke, both by his own state 
ment (Luke i. 1) and the internal evidences 
of his work, he has made analysis extremely 
difficult by the skilful and elaborate stylistic 
embroidery with which he has overlaid the 
gaps and seams. Nor is this a proper occasion 
for entering the field of the higher critic. 
Luke-Acts represents the completed develop 
ment, not the naive beginnings of this type of 
the Literature of the Church Teacher. We 
have seen reason to think we may have traces 
of the earlier " narratives " (diegeses) to which 
Luke refers, not only in the great Roman work 
of Mark, but in a part of the Q material itself. 
If Antioch were the place of origin of this 
early source, if here too were found those 
archives of missionary activity whence came 
the famous Diary employed in Acts xvi.- 
xxviii., the contribution of this church to 
Gospel Story was such as to make Antioch the 
appropriate centre for the great " historical " 


school of interpretation of the fourth and 
fifth centuries. When we consider the 
dominant motive of Luke and his extra 
ordinary exaltation of apostolic authority 
we seem to be breathing the very atmosphere 
of Ignatius the great apostle of ecclesiasticism 
and apostolic order, discipline and succession. 
Ignatius hatred of Doketism, too, is not 
without a certain anticipation in the opening 
and closing chapters of Luke s Gospel, and 
perhaps in the fact that the great exsection 
from Mark begins with the story of the Walking 
on the Sea (Mark vi. 45-52). 



IN Paul s enumeration of the " gifts " by 
which the Spirit qualifies various classes of 
men to build in various ways upon the struc 
ture of the church, the class of " prophets " 
takes the place next after that of " apostles," 
a rank even superior (as more manifestly 
* spiritual ) to that of " pastors and 
teachers." The Book of Acts shows us as 
its most conspicuous centre of " prophecy " 
the house of Philip the Evangelist at Csesarea. 
This man had four unmarried daughters who 
prophesied, and in his house Paul received a 
prophetic warning of his fate from a 
certain Agabus who had come down from 
Judaea. There were also prophets in Antioch 
(Acts xiii. 1), though the only ones mentioned 
by name are this same Agabus l and Silas, or 
Silvanus, who is also from Judsea. In the 
Teaching of the Twelve the prophet still 
appears among the regular functionaries of 
the church, for the most part a traveller from 

1 The mention of Agabus, however, in xi. 27 f. is hardly 
consistent with xiii. 1 and xxi. 10-14. It seems to be 
due to the editorial recasting of xi. 22-30. 



place to place, and open to more or less 
suspicion, as is the case at Rome, where 
Hennas combines reverence for the " angel " 
that speaks through the true prophet, with 
warnings against the self-seeker. In 1st John 
the " false prophets " are a serious danger, 
propagating Doketic heresy wherever they go. 
In fact, this heresy was, as we know, the great 
peril in Asia. However, Asia, if plagued by 
wandering false prophets, had also become by 
this time a notable seat of true and authentic 
prophecy; for the same Papias who shows 
such sympathy with Polycarp against those 
who were " perverting the Sayings of the 
Lord to their own lusts," and had turned, as 
Polycarp advised, " to the tradition handed 
down from the beginning," had similar means 
for counteracting those who " denied the 
resurrection and judgment." Among those 
upon whom he principally relied as exponents 
of the apostolic doctrine were two of those 
same prophesying daughters of Philip the 
Evangelist, who with their father had migrated 
from Csesarea Palestina to Hierapolis, leaving, 
however, one, who had married, a resident till 
her death at Ephesus. As late as the time of 
Montanus (150-170), the " Phrygians " traced 
their succession of prophets and prophetesses 
back to Silvanus and the daughters of Philip. 
We cannot be sure that the traditions 
Papias reported from these prophetesses were 
derived at first hand, though it is not im 
possible that Papias himself may have seen 


them. However it is certain that many of 
his traditions of * the Elders had to do with 
eschatology, and aimed to prove the material 
and concrete character of the rewards of the 
kingdom; for we have several examples of 
these traditions, attributing to Jesus apocry 
phal descriptions of the marvellous fertility 
of Palestine in the coming reign of Messiah, 
and particularizing about the abodes of the 
blessed. Moreover Eusebius blames Papias 
for the crude ideas of Irenaeus and other 
second century fathers who held the views 
called " chiliastic " (i. e. based on the " thou 
sand " year reign of Christ in Rev. xx. 2 /.). 
We also know that Papias defended the 
" trustworthiness " of Revelation, a book 
which served as the great authority of the 
" chiliasts " for the next fifty years in their 
fight against the deniers of the resurrection. 
He quoted from it, in fact, the passage above 
referred to ; so that if reason must be sought 
for his placing " John and Matthew " together 
at the end of his list of seven apostles instead 
of in their usual place, it is probably because 
they were his ultimate apostolic authorities 
for the " word of prophecy " and for the 
" commandment of the Lord " respectively. 
Justin Martyr, Papias contemporary at Rome, 
though converted in Ephesus, and unquestion 
ably determined in his mould of thought by 
Asiatic Paulinism, has, like Papias, but two 
authorities for his gospel teaching : (1) the 
commandment of the Lord represented in the 


Petrine and Matthsean tradition ; (2) pro 
phecy, represented in the Christian continua 
tion of the Old Testament gift. This second 
authority, however, is not appealed to without 
the support of apostolicity. Revelation is 
quoted as among " our writings," like " the 
memorabilia of the apostles called Gospels," 
but not without the additional assurance that 
the seer was " John, one of the apostles of 

For prophecy, however acclimated else 
where, was in its origin distinctively a Pales 
tinian product. Its stock in trade was Jewish 
eschatology as developed in the long succession 
of writers of apocalypse since Daniel 
(165 B.C.). Of the nature of this curious and 
fantastic type of literature we have seen some 
examples in 2nd Thessalonians and the Synop 
tic eschatology (Mark xiii.=Matt. xxiv. = 
Luke xxi.). More can be learned by comparing 
the contemporary Jewish writings of this type 
known as 2nd Esdras and the Apocalypse of 
Baruch. Older examples are found in the 
prophecies and visions purporting to come 
from Enoch. For apocalypse became the 
successor of true prophecy in proportion as 
the loss of Israel s separate national existence 
and the enlargement of its horizon compelled 
it to make its messianic hopes transcendental, 
and its notion of the Kingdom cosmic. Hence 
comes all the phantasmagoria of allegorical 
monsters, spirits and demons, the great conflict 
no longer against Assyria and Babylon, but 


a war of the powers of light and darkness, 
heaven and hell. Yet all centres still upon 
Jerusalem as the ultimate metropolis of the 
world, whose empires, now given over to the 
leadership of Satan, will soon He prostrate 
beneath her feet. 

Some such eschatology of divine judgment 
and reward is an almost necessary complement 
to the legalistic type of religion. If Christi 
anity be conceived as a system of command 
ments imposed by supernatural authority it 
must have as a motive for obedience a system 
of supernatural rewards and punishments. 
Not merely, then, because for centuries the 
legal ism of the scribes had actually had its 
corresponding development of apocalypse, 
with visions of the great judgment and Day 
of Yahweh, but because of an inherent and 
necessary affinity between the two, " Judaea " 
continued to be the home of prophecy in 
New Testament times also. 

However, the one great example of this type 
of literature that has been (somewhat re 
luctantly) permitted to retain a place in the 
New Testament canon appears at first blush 
to be clearly and distinctively a product of 
Ephesus. Of no book has early tradition so 
clear and definite a pronouncement to make 
as of Revelation. Since the time of Paul the 
Jewish ideas of resurrection provoked opposi 
tion in the Greek mind. The Greek readily 
accepted immortality, but the crudity of 
Jewish millenarianism, with its return of the 


dead from the grave for a visible, concrete rule 
of Messiah in Palestine repelled him. The 
representation of Acts xvii. 32 is fully borne 
out by the constant effort of Paul in his Greek 
epistles to remove the stumbling-blocks of 
this doctrine. It is no surprise, then, to find 
the * prophecy of Revelation, and more 
particularly its doctrine of the thousand-year 
reign of Messiah in Jerusalem, a subject of 
dispute at least since Melito of Sardis (167), 
and probably since Papias (145). Fortunately 
controversy brought out with unusual definite- 
ness, and from the earliest times, positive 
statements regarding the origin of the book. 
Irenseus (186) declared it a work of the 
Apostle John given him in vision " in the end 
of the reign of Domitian." The same date 
(93), may be deduced from statements of 
Epiphanius regarding the history of the church 
in Thyatira. Justin Martyr (153), as we have 
seen, vouches for the crucial passage (Rev. 
xx. 2 /.) as from " one of ourselves, John, an 
apostle of the Lord." Papias (145) vouched 
for its orthodoxy at least, if not its authen 
ticity. There can be no reasonable doubt 
that it came to be accepted in Asia early in 
the second century, in spite of opposition, 
as representing the authority of the Apostle 
John, and as having appeared there c. 95. 
In fact, there is no book of the entire New 
Testament whose external attestation can 
compare with that of Revelation, in nearness, 
clearness, defmiteness, and positiveness of 


statement. John is as distinctively the father 
of prophecy in second century tradition 
as Matthew of Dominical Precepts and Peter 
of * Narratives. 

Moreover the book itself purports to be 
written from Patmos, an island off the coast 
of Asia. It speaks in the name of " John " 
as of some very high and exceptional author 
ity, well known to all the seven important 
churches addressed, the first of which is 
" Ephesus." By its references to local names 
and conditions it even proves, in the judg 
ment of all the most eminent modern scholars, 
that it really did see the light for the first 
time (at least for the first time in its present 
form) in Ephesus not far from A.D. 95. 

One would think the case for apostolic 
authenticity could hardly be stronger. And 
yet no book of the New Testament has had 
such difficulty as this, whether in ancient or 
modern times, to maintain its place in the 
canon. It must also be said that no book gives 
stronger internal evidence of having passed 
through at least two highly diverse stages in 
process of development to its present form. 

The theory of " another John " is indeed 
comparatively modern. Nobody dreamed of 
such a solution until Dionysius of Alexandria 
hesitatingly advanced the conjecture in his 
controversy with Nepos the Chiliast. Even 
then (c. 250) Dionysius (though he must have 
known the little work of Papias) could think 
of no other John at Ephesus than the Apostle, 


unless it were perhaps John Mark ! It is 
Eusebius who joyfully helps him out with the 
discovery in Papias of " John the Elder." 
But Eusebius himself is candid enough to 
admit that Papias only quoted " traditions 
of John " and " mentioned him frequently 
in his writings." When we read Papias 
own words, though they are cited by Eusebius 
for the express purpose of proving the debat 
able point, it is obvious that they prove 
nothing of the kind, but rather imply the 
contrary, viz. that John the Elder, though a 
contemporary of Papias, was not accessible, 
but known to him only at second hand, by 
report of travellers who " came his way." In 
short, as we have seen, " Aristion and John 
the Elder " were the surviving members of 
a group of apostles, elders and witnesses 
of the Lord in Jerusalem. If, then, one 
chose to attribute the prophecies of Rev. 
iv.-xxi. to this Elder there could be no serious 
objections on the score of doctrine, for the 
" traditions of John " reported by Papias 
were not lacking in millenarian colour. Only, 
it is not the prophecies of Rev. iv.-xxi. which 
contain the references to " John," but the 
enclosing prologue and epilogue ; and these 
concern themselves with the churches of Asia 
as exclusively as the prophecies with the 
quarrel of Jerusalem with Rome. 

The second century is, as we have seen, 
unanimous in excluding from consideration 
any other John in Asia save the Apostle, and 


if the writer of Rev. i. and xxii. produced this 
impression in all contemporary minds without 
exception, including even such as opposed the 
book and its doctrine, it is superlatively 
probable that such was his intention. The 
deniers of the resurrection and judgment did 
not point out to Polycarp, Papias, Justin, 
Melito and Caius, that they were confusing 
two Johns, attributing the work of a mere 
Elder to the Apostle. They plumply declared 
the attribution to John fictitious ; and since 
the internal evidence from the condition of 
the churches and growth of heresy in chh. i.-iii. 
and the imperial succession down to Domitian 
in chh. xiii. and xvii. strongly corroborate the 
date assigned in antiquity (c. 93), we have no 
alternative, if we admit that the Apostle 
John had long before been " killed by the 
Jews," 1 but to suppose that this book, like 
nearly all the books of prophecy, is, indeed, 
pseudonymous. It does not follow that he 
who assumes the name of " John " in prologue 
and epilogue (i. 1 /., 4, 9 ; xxii. 8) to tell the 
reader definitely who the prophet is, was 
guilty of intentional misrepresentation. If 
anything can be made clear by criticism it is 
clear that the prophecies were not his own. 
They were taken from some nameless source. 
The " pseudonymity " consists simply in 
clothing a conjecture with the appearance of 
indubitable fact. 

But why should a writer who wished to 

1 See above, p. 104. 


clothe with apostolic authority the pro 
phecies he was promulgating, not assume 
boldly the title of " apostle," as the author 
of 2nd Peter has done in adapting similarly 
the Epistle of Jude ? Why, if he assumes 
the name of the martyred Apostle John at all, 
does he refrain from saying, " I John, an 
apostle, or disciple of the Lord," and content 
himself with the humbler designation and 
authority of prophet ? 

This question brings us face to face with 
the most remarkable structural phenomena of 
the book, and cannot be understandingly 
answered until we have considered them. 

The outstanding characteristic of Revelation 
is its adaptation of literary material dealing 
with, and applicable to, one historical and 
geographical situation, to another situation 
almost completely different. The opening 
chapters, devoted to " John s " vision on 
Patmos and the conditions and dangers of 
the seven Churches of Asia, employ indeed 
some of the expressions of the substance of 
the book. The promises of the Spirit to the 
churches recall the glories of the New Jeru 
salem of the concluding vision of the seer. 
There is some reference to local persecution at 
Smyrna incited by the Jews ("a synagogue 
of Satan ") and which is to last " ten days," 
and there is an isolated reference to a martyr 
dom of days long gone by in the message to 
the church in Pergamum (ii. 13) recalling 
remotely the blood and suffering of which the 


body of the work is full. This we should 
of course expect from an adapter of existing 
prophecies. But the converse, i. e. con 
sideration for the historical conditions of 
Ephesus and its sister churches, on the part 
of the body of the work, is absolutely wanting. 
On the one side is the situation of the Pauline 
churches on the east coast of the ^Egean in 
A.D. 93-95. The prologue and epilogue (Rev. 
i.-iii. andxxii. 6-21) are concerned with these 
churches of Asia, and their development in the 
faith, particularly their growth in good works, 
purity from defilements of the world, and 
resistance to the inroads of heretical teaching. 
The message of the Spirit, conveyed through 
" John," is meant to encourage the members 
of these churches to pure living in the face of 
temptations to worldliness and impurity. 
The epistles to the churches, in a word, belong 
in the same class with the Pastorals, Jude, 
and 2nd Peter, as regards their object and 
the situation confronted; though they are 
written to enclose apocalyptic visions which 
deal with a totally different situation. 

The visions, on the contrary, take not the 
smallest notice of (proconsular) Asia and its 
problems. Their scene is Palestine, their 
subject the outcome of Jerusalem s agonizing 
struggle against Rome. From, the moment 
the threshold of iv. 1 is crossed there is no 
consciousness of the existence of such places 
as Ephesus, Smyrna and Thyatira. The 
scenes are Palestinian. The great battle-field 


is Har-Magedon (i. e. city of Megiddo, on the 
plain of Esdraelon, the scene of Josiah s 
overthrow, 2nd Kings xxiii. 29 /.). " The 
city," " the great city," " the holy city " is 
Jerusalem ; though " spiritually (in allegory) 
it is called Sodom and Egypt " (i. e. a place 
from which the saints escape to avoid its 
doom). When the saints flee from the oppres 
sion of the dragon it is to " the wilderness." 
When the invading hordes rush in it is from 
beyond " the Euphrates." When the re 
deemed appear in company with the Christ 
it is on Mount Zion ; they constitute an army 
of 144,000, twelve thousand from each of 
the twelve tribes. Two antagonistic powers 
are opposed. On the one side is Jerusalem 
and its temple, now given over to the Gentiles 
to be trodden under foot forty and two months, 
on the other is Rome, no longer, as with Paul, 
a beneficent and protecting power, but the 
city of the beast, Babylon the great harlot, 
at whose impending judgment the Gentiles 
will mourn, but all the servants of God rejoice. 
Jerusalem rebuilt, glorified, the metropolis 
of the world, seat and residence of God and his 
Christ, will take the place of Rome, the seat 
of the beast and the false prophet. The gates 
of this New Jerusalem will stand open to 
receive tribute from all the Gentile nations, 
and will have on them the names of the 
twelve tribes of Israel. The foundations of 
the city wall will have on them " the names 
of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." 


All this is cumulative proof that the horizon 
of the seer of Rev. iv.-xx. is that of Palestine. 
Its expansion in the introductory Letters of 
the Spirit to the Churches to include the 
seven churches of (pro-consular) Asia, is as 
limited in its way as the original. The later 
writer merely adds the special province where 
he wishes the prophecy to circulate, with 
its special interests ; there is no real inter 
relation of the two parts. 

It is a problem of great complexity to 
disentangle the various strands of this strange 
and fantastic work, certain as it is that we 
have here a conglomerate whose materials 
come from various periods. Some elements, 
such as ch. xi. on the fate of Jerusalem, seem 
to date in part from before 70 ; others, such as 
ch. xviii. on the fate of Rome, show that while 
originally composed for the circumstances of 
the reign of Vespasian or Titus, the time has 
been extended to take in at least the begin 
ning of that of Domitian. 1 The author rests 
mainly upon the Hebrew apocalyptic prophets, 
such as Ezekiel, Daniel and Enoch, but he 
has not been altogether inhospitable to such 
originally Gentile mythology as the doctrine 
of the seven spirits of God, and the conflict 
of Michael and his angels with the dragon. 
He intimates himself that his prophesying 
had not been confined to one period or one 
people (x. 11). When he translates the 
" Hebrew " name of the angel of the abyss, 

1 Note the addition of an "eighth" emperor in ver. 11. 


" Abaddon," into its Greek equivalent (ix. 11), 
or uses Hebrew numerical equivalents for the 
letters of the name of a man (xiii. 18), it is 
not difficult to guess that this prophecy had 
at least its origin in Palestine. In fact, there 
is no other country where the geographical 
references hold true, and no other period save 
that shortly after the overthrow of Jerusalem 
by Titus, that affords the historical situation 
here presupposed, when worshipping " the 
beast and his image " is demanded of the 
saints by the earthly ruler (Domitian), and 
the overthrow of the seven-hilled city by one 
of its own rulers in league with lesser powers 
is looked forward to as about to avenge the 
sufferings inflicted on the Jews. As regards 
this hope of the overthrow of Rome, we know 
that the legend of Nero s prospective return 
at the head of hosts of Parthian enemies to 
recapture his empire gained currency in Asia 
Minor in Domitian s reign, and this legend 
is certainly developed in Rev. xiii. and xvii. 
On the other hand, the author, if he ever came 
to Asia, did not cease to be a Palestinian Jew. 
He operates exclusively (after iv. 1) with the 
materials and interests of Jewish and Jewish- 
Christian apocalypse. He has no interest 
w r hatever in the churches of Asia. He does not 
betray by one syllable a knowledge even of 
their existence, to say nothing of their dangers, 
their heresies, their temptations. He does 
make it abundantly clear that he is a Christian 
prophet (x. 7-11), and (to us) almost equally 


clear that he is not one of the twelve apostles 
whose names he sees written on the foundation- 
stones of the New Jerusalem (xxi. 14). But 
since his prophecy, with all its heterogeneous 
elements had to do with the final triumph of 
Messiah, and the establishment of His king 
dom, after the overthrow of the power of 
Satan since it depicted " the time of the 
dead to be judged, and the time to give their 
reward to thy servants the prophets, and to 
the saints and to them that fear thy name," 
it could not fail to be welcomed by orthodox 
Christians in (proconsular) Asia. For the 
churches of Asia were engaged at this time 
in a vigorous struggle against the heretical 
deniers of the resurrection and judgment. 
Only, a mere anonymous prophecy from 
Palestine could not obtain any authoritative 
currency in Asia. To be accepted, even among 
the orthodox, some name of apostolic weight 
must be attached to it, as we see in the case 
of the two Epistles of Peter and those of 
James and Jude. The Epistles of the Spirit 
to the churches are, then, as truly " letters 
of commendation " as though they introduced 
a living prophet and not merely a written 
prophecy. The John whom they present is 
not called an apostle for the very simple 
reason that the visions themselves every 
where refer to their recipient as a prophet. 
The author of the prologue and epilogue 
does not disregard the language of his material. 
As we have seen, he carefully weaves its 


phraseology into the letters. So with his 
insertion of the name " John." It occurs 
nowhere but in i. 1 /., 4, 9 and xxii. 8 /. 
All these passages, but especially xxii. 8 /., 
are based upon xix. 9b, 10, adding nothing 
to the representation but the name " John " 
and the location " Patmos." In fact, xxii. 6-9 
reproduces xix. 9 /., for the most part 
verbatim, although it is clearly insupposable 
that the seer of the former passage should 
represent himself as offering a second time to 
worship the angel, and as receiving again 
exactly the same rebuke he had received so 
shortly before. He who calls himself " John " 
in xxii. 8 is, therefore, not the prophet of 
xix. 10. The epilogue itself has apparently 
received successive supplements, and the 
prologue its prefix; but he who inserts the 
name John has done so with caution. He 
may not have intended to leave open the 
ambiguity found by Dionysius and Eusebius 
between the Apostle and the Elder, as a refuge 
in case of accusation, but he has at least been 
careful not to transgress the limits of the 
text he reproduces. The seer spoke of him 
self as a " prophet " writing from the midst 
of great tribulation, about the kingdom to 
follow to those that endured. He had said 
that he received " true words of God " from 
an angel who declared " I am a fellow servant 
with thee and with thy brethren that hold 
the testimony of Jesus " (i. e. the confession of 
martyrdom). The prologue, accordingly, de- 


scribes " John " as a servant of Jesus, who 
received from an angel the word of God and 
the testimony of Jesus (i. 1 /.). He is a brother 
and partaker in the tribulation and kingdom 
and endurance which are in Jesus. When 
he comes to Asia it is " for the word of God 
and the testimony of Jesus." The spot whence 
he issues his prophetic message is not located 
in Ephesus, or in any city where the residents 
could say, " But the Apostle John was never 
among us." He resides temporarily (as a 
prisoner in the quarries ?) in the unfrequented 
island of Patmos. Thence he could be 
supposed to see " in the Spirit " the condition 
of affairs in the churches of Asia without 
inconvenient questions as to when, and how, 
and why. 

We may think, then, of this book of 
prophecy as brought forth in the vicinity 
of Ephesus near " the end of the reign of 
Domitian " (95). But only the enclosing 
letters to the churches, and the epilogue 
guaranteeing the contents, originate here at 
this time. The prophecies, occupied as 
they are exclusively with the rivalry of 
Jerusalem and Rome, and the judgment to 
be executed for the former upon her ruthless 
adversary, bear unmistakable marks of their 
Palestinian origin, not only in the historical 
and geographic situations presupposed, but 
in the " defiant " Hebraisms of the language, 
and the avowed translations from " the 
Hebrew." They are an importation from 


Palestine like "the sound words, even the 
words of the Lord Jesus " referred to in the 
Pastorals. The churches of Asia are feeling 
the need of apostolic authority against the 
deniers of the resurrection and the judgment, 
as much as against the perverters of the 
Lord s words. Such centres as the homes 
of the prophesying daughters of Philip at 
Ephesus and Hierapolis \vere even more 
abundantly competent to supply this demand 
than the other. Agabus will not have been 
the only Judsean prophet who visited them, 
especially after the " great tribulation " which 
befell " those in Judsea." There is nothing 
foreign to the habit of the times, even in 
Christian circles, if nameless prophecies 
from such a source are translated, edited, 
and given out under cover of commendatory 
epistles written in the name of " John " at 
a time when John had indeed partaken both 
of the tribulation and of the kingdom of 
Jesus. They would hardly have obtained 
currency had they not been attributed to an 
apostle; for a denial of the apostolicity of 
this book has always deprived it of authority. 
On the other hand, the actual (Palestinian) 
prophet has no such exalted opinion of himself 
as of those whose names he sees written on 
the foundation of the walls of the New 
Jerusalem (xxi. 14). He is not an apostle 
and does not claim to be. He shows not the 
faintest trace of any association with the 
earthly Jesus, and indeed displays a vindic- 


tiveness tcward the enemies of Israel that 
has more of the spirit of the imprecatory 
psalms than the spirit of Jesus. He thinks 
of Jesus as a king and judge bestowing 
heavenly rewards upon the martyrs in a 
manner quite inconsistent with his rebuke of 
James and John (Mark x. 40). It is a far cry 
indeed from this to apostleship and personal 
intimacy with Jesus. 

The chief value of Revelation to the student 
of Christian origins is that by means of its 
clearly determinable date (Ephesus, 93-95) 
he can place himself at a point of vantage 
whence to look not only around him at the 
conditions of the Pauline churches as de 
picted in the letters, vexed with growing 
Gnostic heresy and moral laxity, but also 
both backward and forward. The backward 
glance shows Palestine emerging from the 
horrors of the Jewish war, filled with bitter 
ness against Rome, held down under hateful 
tyranny and longing for vengeance vipon the 
despot with his " names of blasphemy " and 
his demands of worship for " the image of 
the beast " (emperor-worship). Here Jewish 
apocalyptic (as in 2nd Esdras) and Christian 
prophecy are closely in accord. Indeed 
a considerable part of the material of Rev. 
iv.-xxi., especially in chh. xi.-xii. is ultimately 
of Jewish rather than Christian origin. What 
the development of Christian prophecy 
was in Palestine from apostolic times until 
the scattering of the church of " the apostles 


and elders " after the war of Bar Cocheba 
(135), we can only infer from the kindred 
Jewish apocalypses and the chiliastic " tradi 
tions of the Elders " quoted by Irenasus 
from Papias. A forward look from our 
vantage point in Ephesus c. A.D. 95, shows 
the effects of the Palestinian importation ex 
tending down from generation to generation, 
first in the long chiliastic controversy against 
the Doketie Gnostics, including Montanist 
prophecy ; secondly, in the growth of a 
claim to apostolic succession from John. 

(1) In the chiliastic controversy for a century 
the chief bones of contention are the (non- 
Pauline) doctrine of the resurrection of the 
flesh (so the Apostles Creed and the second- 
century fathers), and that of a visible reign 
of Christ for a thousand years in Jerusalem. 
The new form of resurrection-gospel which 
at about this time begins to take the place 
of the apostolic of 1st Cor. xv. 3-11, centering 
upon the emptiness of the sepulchre and the 
tangibility and food-consuming functions of 
Jesus* resurrection body, instead of the 
" manifestations " to the apostles, is char 
acteristic of this struggle against the Greek 
disposition to spiritualize. Luke and Ignatius 
represent the attitude of the orthodox, 
Ignatius opponents that of those who denied 
that Jesus was " in the flesh after his resur 
rection." Revelation, like the " traditions of 
the Elders," champions the visible kingdom 
of Messiah in Jerusalem. 


(2) In the effort for apostolic authority 
the writings which came ultimately to re 
present Asian orthodoxy have all been 
brought under the name and authority of 
the Apostle John, although for many decades 
after the appearance of Revelation, Paul, 
and not John, remains the apostolic authority 
to which appeal is made, and although the 
writings themselves were originally anony 
mous. There was, indeed, a contributory 
cause for the growth of this tradition in the 
accidental circumstance that a Palestinian 
Elder from whom Papias derived indirect, 
and Polycarp in all probability direct, tradi 
tions, bore also the name of John, and sur 
vived until A.D. 117. Still, the main reason 
why this particular apostolic name was 
ultimately placed over the Gospel and Epistles 
of Ephesian Christendom, can only have been 
its previous adoption to cover the compilation 
of Palestinian * prophecies of A.D. 95. 




ASIA, as we have come to know it through 
a succession of writings dating from Colos- 
sians-Ephesians (c. G2) down to Papias 
(145), had come to be the chief scene of 
mutual reaction between apostolic and 
Pauline Christianity at the close of the first 
century. Here at Ephesus had been the 
great headquarters of Paul s missionary 
activity. Here he had reasoned daily in the 
school of one Tyrannus, a philosopher, and 
had found " many adversaries." Here he 
had encountered the " strolling Jews, exor 
cists," and had secured the destruction of 
an immense mass of books of magic. Here, 
according to Acts, he predicted the inroads 
of heresy after his " departure," and here the 
succeeding literature abundantly witnesses 
the fulfilment of the prediction. Ephesians 
and Colossians begin the series, the Pastoral 
Epistles (c. 90) continue it. Then follow 



the 4 letters to the churches of Revelation 
(95) and the Ignatiaii Epistles (110-117), 
not to mention those whose origin is uncertain, 
such as Jude and 2nd Peter. 

The Pastorals already make it apparent that 
even the Pauline churches are not exempt 
from the inevitable tendency of the age to 
fall back upon authority. The very sublimity 
of Paul s consciousness of apostolic inspiration 
made it the harder for the next generation to 
assert any for itself. Moreover heresy was 
growing apace. If even the outward pressure 
of persecution tended to drive the churches 
together in brotherly sympathy, still more 
indispensable would appear the need of 
traditional standards to maintain the " type 
of sound doctrine," " the faith once for all 
delivered to the saints." Without such it 
would be impossible to check the individual 
ism of errorists who took Paul s sense of 
personal inspiration and mystical insight as 
their model, without Paul s sobriety of critical 
control under the standard of " the law of 
Christ." It is no surprise, then, to find even 
at the headquarters of Paulinism early in 
the second century a sweeping tendency to 
react toward the k apostolic standards. In 
particular, as Gnostic exaggeration of the 
Pauline mysticism led continually further 
toward disregard of the dictates of common 
morality, and a wider divergence from the 
Jewish conceptions of the world to come, 
it was natural that men like Polycarp and 


Papias should turn to the Matthsean and 
Petrine tradition of the Lord s oracles, and 
to the Johannine prophecies regarding the 
resurrection and judgment. 

Had nothing intervened between Gnostics 
and reactionaries the most vital elements of 
Paul s gospel might well have disappeared, 
even at this great headquarters of Paulinism. 
The Doketists, with their exaggerated Hellen 
istic mysticism, were certainly not the true 
successors of Paul. They showed an almost 
contemptuous disregard for the historic Jesus, 
a one-sided aim at personal redemption, by 
mystic union of the individual soul with 
the Christ-spirit, to the disregard of " the 
law of Christ," even in some cases of common 
morality. Paul was characterized by a 
splendid loyalty to personal purity, to the 
social ideal of the Kingdom, and to the unity 
of the brotherhood in the spirit of reciprocal 
service. On the other hand men like the 
author of the Pastoral Epistles, Ignatius and 
Polycarp, with their almost panic-stricken 
resort to the authority of the past, were not 
perpetuating the true spirit of the great 
Apostle. Their reliance was on ecclesiastical 
discipline, concrete and massive miracle in 
the story of Jesus, particularly on the point 
of the bodily or, as they would have said, 
the " fleshly " resurrection. Their concep 
tion of his recorded " words," made of them 
a fixed, superhuman standard and rule, a 
" new law." Teachers of this type, much as 


they desired and believed themselves to be 
perpetuating the " sacred deposit " of Paul, 
were in reality conserving its form and missing 
its spirit. Such men would gladly " turn 
to the tradition handed down," of the Mat- 
thoean Sayings, and the Petrine Story. But in 
the former they would not find reflections of 
the sense of sonship. They would find only 
a supplementary Law, a new and higher set 
of rules. In the story they would not discover 
the Pauline view of the pre-existent divine 
Wisdom tabernacling in man, producing a 
second Adam, as elder brother of a new race, 
the children and heirs of God. They would 
take the mysticism of Paul and bring it down 
to the level of the man in the street. Jesus 
would be to them either a completely super 
human man, approximating the heathen 
demi-god, a divinity incognito ; or else a man 
so endowed with " the whole fountain of the 
Spirit " as to exercise perpetually and un 
interruptedly all its miraculous functions. 
The story of the cross would be hidden 
behind the prodigies. 

Least of all could the importation of 
apocalyptic prophecy do justice to the Pauline 
doctrine of the last things. True, Paul is 
himself a prophet, thoroughly imbued with 
the fantastic Palestinian doctrines. He, too, 
believes in a world-conflict, a triumph of the 
Messiah over antichrist. More particularly 
in one of his very earliest epistles (2nd 
Thessalonians) we get a glimpse into these 


Jewish peculiarities. But these are always 
counterbalanced in Paul by a wider and soberer 
view, which tends more and more to get the 
upper hand. His doctrine of spiritual union 
with Christ, present apprehension of " the 
life that is hid with Christ in God," a doctrine 
of Greek rather than Hebrew parentage, pre 
vails over the imagery of Jewish apocalypse. 
In the later epistles he expects rather to 
" depart and be with Christ " than to be 
" caught up into the air " with those that are 
alive and remain at the Coming. So even 
if Paul did have occasion again and again 
to defend his Jewish resurrection-doctrine 
against the Greek disposition to refine it 
away into a mere doctrine of immortality, 
his remedy is not a mere falling back into 
the crudities of Jewish millenarianism. Least 
of all could he have sympathized with the 
nationalistic, and even vindictive spirit of 
Rev. iv.-xxi., with its great battle of Jeru 
salem helped by Messiah and the angels, 
against Rome helped by Satan and the 
Beast. Paul s doctrine of the resurrection 
of the " body " by " clothing " of the spirit 
with a " tabernacle " derived " from heaven," 
his hope of a messianic Kingdom which is the 
triumph of humanity under a " secondAdam," 
has its apocalyptic traits. It is a victory over 
demonic enemies, " spiritual hosts of wicked 
ness in the heavenly places " ; but it has the 
reserve of an educated Pharisee against the 
cruder forms of Jewish prophecy. It shows 


the mind of the cosmopolitan Roman citizen 
and philosophic thinker, not merely that of 
the Jewish Zealot. 

How salutary if Paul himself could have 
lived to control the divergent elements among 
his churches, to check the subjective in 
dividualism of the Gnostics on the one hand, 
and the reactionary tendencies of the orthodox 
on the other. His parting words to his 
beloved Philippians are sadly appreciative 
of how needful it was for their sake that he 
should "abide in the flesh" (Phil. i. 24). 
Yet there was one thing still more expedient 
that he should abide with them in the spirit. 
And that is just what we find evidenced in 
the great spiritual Gospel and its accom 
panying Epistles from Ephesus. 

Debate still rages over a mere name, 
attached by tradition to these writings that 
themselves bear no name. The titles pre 
fixed by early transcribers attribute them to 
" John." But they are never employed 
before 175-180 in a way to even remotely 
suggest that they were then regarded as 
written by John, or even as apostolic in any 
sense. And when we trace the tradition back 
to its earliest form, in the Epilogue attached 
to the Gospel (John xxi.) it seems to be no 
more than a dubious attempt to identify 
that mysterious figure, the " disciple whom 
Jesus loved." If, however, we postpone this 
question raised by the Epilogue, the writings 
can at least be assigned to a definite locality 


(Ephesus) and a fairly definite date (c. 105- 
110), with the general consent both of ancient 
tradition and of modern criticism. This is 
for us the important thing, since it enables 
us to understand their purpose and bearing; 
whereas even those who contend that they 
were written by the Apostle John can make 
little use of the alleged fact. For (1) the little 
that is known of John from other sources is 
completely opposed to the characteristics of 
these writings. They are characterized by a 
broad universalism, and reproduce the mysti 
cism of Paul. To attribute them to the Pillar 
of Gal. ii. 9, or the Galilean fisherman of Mark 
i. 19 and ix. 38, it becomes necessary to sup 
pose that John after migrating to Ephesus 
underwent a transformation so complete as 
to make him in reality another man. (2) 
The meagre possibility that the basis of 
Revelation might represent the Apostle John 
becomes more remote than ever. Now it is 
a curious fact that critics who hold to the 
much-disputed tradition that the Apostle 
John wrote the Gospel and Epistles, although 
these writings make no such claim, and have 
no affinity with the known character, show as 
a rule remarkable alacrity to dismiss the 
claims of Revelation, which positively declares 
John to have been its author, and has far 
stronger evidence, both internal and external, 
in support of the claim, than have either 
the Gospel or the Epistles. We may prefer 
the style and doctrine of the Gospel and 


Epistles, but this playing fast and loose with 
the evidence can only discredit criticism of this 
type. (3) The value of the demonstration of 
Johannine authorship would lie in the fact 
that we should then have a first-hand witness 
to the actual life and teaching of Jesus, 
immeasurably superior to the remote and 
indirect tradition of the present Synoptic 
sources But as a matter of real fact those 
who maintain the Johannine authorship do not 
venture to assert any such historical supe 
riority. On the contrary they consider the 
Synoptic tradition not only historically supe 
rior to " John," as respects both sayings and 
course of events, but they are apt to attribute 
to this Galilean apostle an extreme of Philonic 
abstraction, so that he even prefers deliberate 
" fiction " to fact. Thus the reasoning em 
ployed to defend the tradition destroys the 
only factor which could give it value. 

On the other hand it is possible to disregard 
these secondary disputes, which aim only to 
increase or diminish the authority of the 
writings by asserting or denying that they were 
written by the Apostle John, and to approach 
the interpretation of them on the basis only 
of what is really known, accredited both by 
ancient tradition and by modern criticism. 
On this basis we can safely affirm that they 
originated in Ephesus early in the second 
century, spiritualizing what we have desig 
nated apostolic teaching, while at the same 
time strongly reacting against Doketic and 

Antinomian heresy. By such a procedure we 
shall be employing modern critical methods 
to the highest practical advantage in the 
interest of genuinely historical interpretation. 
Even those who find minute distinctions in 
style and point of view between the Epistles 
and Gospel of John will admit that all four 
documents emanate from the same period, 
situation, and circumstances, and represent 
the same school of thought. We shall make 
no serious mistake, then, if we treat them as 
written by the same individual, and even as 
intended to accompany one another. We 
shall have the example of so high an authority 
as Lightfoot, who considered 1st John an 
Epilogue composed to accompany the Gospel 
in place of the present Epilogue (John xxi.). 
Moreover the distinctions in the ancient treat 
ment of 1st John and the two smaller Epistles 
are all subsequent to the attribution of the 
Gospel and First Epistle to the Apostle, and 
a consequence of it. For 1st John and the 
Gospel had always been inseparable, and hav 
ing no name attached could easily be treated 
as the Apostle s. But 2nd and 3rd John 
distinctly declare themselves written by an 
" Elder " ; and in the days when men still 
appreciated the distinction between an Elder 
and an Apostle it was felt to be so serious a 
difficulty that 2nd and 3rd John were put in 
the class of " disputed " writings. In reality 
1st John and the Gospel are just as certainly 
the work of an " Elder " as 2nd John and 3rd 


John, though no declaration to that effect is 
made. Moreover 1st John and the Gospel 
may safely be treated as from the same author ; 
for such minute differences as exist in style 
nnd point of view can be fully accounted for 
by the processes of revision the Gospel 
has demonstrably undergone. This is more 
reasonable than to imagine two authors so 
extraordinarily similar to one another and 
extraordinarily different from everybody else. 
" The Elder " does not give his name, and it 
is hopeless for us to try to guess it, though it 
was of course well known to his " beloved " 
friend " Gains," to whom the third letter (the 
outside envelope) was addressed. We have 
simply three epistles, one (3rd John) personal, 
to the aforesaid Gaius, who is to serve as 
the writer s intermediary with " the church," 
because Diotrephes, its bishop, violently 
opposes him. Another (2nd John) is ad 
dressed to a particular church (" the elect 
lady and her children "), in all probability 
the church of Diotrephes and Gaius. It may 
be the letter referred to in 3rd John 9. The 
third (1st John) is entirely general, not even 
so much modified from the type of the homily 
toward that of the epistle as Hebrews or 
James ; for it has neither superscription nor 
epistolary close. And yet it is, and speaks of 
itself (i. 4 ; ii. 1, 7, 9, 12-14, etc.) as a literary 
product. It is not impossible that this group 
of epistles, one individual, one to a particu 
lar church, one general, was composed after 


the plan of the similar group addressed by 
Paul to churches of this same region, Philemon, 
Colossians, and the more general epistle known 
to us as Ephesians. They may have been 
intended to accompany and introduce the 
Gospel written by the same author, just as 
the prophecies of Rev. iv.-xxi. are introduced 
by the epistles of Rev. i.-iii., or as Luke- 
Acts is sent under enclosure to Theophilus 
for publication under his patronage. At all 
events, be the connection with the Gospel 
closer or more remote, to learn anything really 
reliable about the writer and his purpose and 
environment we must begin with his own refer 
ences to them, first in the letter to Gaius, then 
in that to " the elect lady and her children," 
then in his word of exhortation to young and 
old, of 1st John. Thus we shall gain a historical 
approach finally to that treatise on the mani 
festation of God in Christ which has won him 
the title since antiquity of the theologian. 

Third John shows the author to be a man 
of eminence in the (larger ?) church whence he 
writes, old enough to speak of Gaius with 
commendation as one of his " children, 
though Gaius himself is certainly no mere 
youth, and eminent enough to call Diotrephes 
to answer for his misconduct. He has sent 
out evangelistic workers, some of whom have 
recently returned and borne witness " before 
the church " to their hospitable reception by 
Gaius. For this he thanks Gaius, and urges 
him to continue the good work. The main 


object of the letter, however, is to commend 
Demetrius, who is doubtless the bearer of this 
letter as well as another written " to the 
church " (2nd John ?). This letter, the author 
fears, will never reach its destination if 
Diotrephes has his way. There is very little 
to indicate whence the opposition of Diotre 
phes arises, but what little there is (ver. 11) 
points to those who make claims to " seeing " 
God and being " of " Him, without adequate 
foundation in a life of purity and beneficence. 
The letter " to the church " is more explicit. 

Second John is perfectly definite in its 
purpose. After congratulating the " elect 
lady " on those of her children (members) 
whom the writer has found leading consistent 
Christian lives, he entreats the church to 
remember the " new commandment " of 
Jesus, which yet is not new but the founda 
tion of all, the commandment of ministering 
love. The reason for this urgency is that 
" many deceivers are gone forth into the 
world, even they that confess not that Jesus 
Christ cometh in the flesh " (ver. 7). And 
here we come upon a very novel and distinc 
tive application of an ancient datum of 
* prophecy, clearly differentiating this writer 
from the author of Revelation. The Doketic 
heresy is explicitly identified with " the 
deceiver and the antichrist." That must 
have been a new and surprising turn for men 
accustomed to connect the antichrist idea with 
the persecuting power of Rome. Satan, as we 


know, had been repeatedly conceived as 
operating through the coercion of outward 
force brought against the Messiah and his 
people through the Beast and the false 
Prophet (Rev. xiii.). There was good authority, 
too, for a mystical " man of sin " setting him 
self forth as God in the temple (2nd Thess. ii. 
4), or for connecting Daniel s " abomination 
that maketh desolate " with the sufferings 
of the Jewish war and the later attempts of 
false prophets to deceive the elect with lying 
wonders (2nd Thess. ii. 9 ; Mark xiii. 22 ; Rev. 
xiii. 14). But this was a new application of 
the prophecy. To declare that the heretical 
teachers were themselves antichrists was to 
call the attention of the church back from 
outward opposition to inward disloyalty as 
the greater peril. And the identification is 
not enunciated in this general warning alone, 
but fully developed and defended in two 
elaborate paragraphs of the word of exhorta 
tion (1st John ii. 18-29 ; iv. 1-6). When, 
therefore, we find Polycarp in his letter (110- 
171) quietly adopting the idea, almost as an 
understood thing, declaring " For every one 
who shall not confess that Jesus Christ is come 
in the flesh, is antichrist" (vii. 1), it becomes 
almost a certainty that he had read 1st John. 1 

1 Not 2nd John ; for it is only in 1st John ii. 18 that the 
elder speaks of " many antichrists," identifying each 
separate Doketist with the apocalyptic figure. In 2nd John 
vii. it is the heresy itself as a phenomenon which con 
stitutes the antichrist. 


Our elder s warning " to the church " (per 
haps more particularly its governing body) is 
to beware of these deceivers ; not to receive 
them, nor even to greet them, because they 
" go onward " (are progressives ) and do not 
" abide in the teaching of Christ." To abide 
in this " teaching " is the church s only safe 

If next we turn to the more general epistle 
known as 1st John the lack of any super 
scription is more than counterbalanced by 
the writer s full and explicit declarations 
regarding motive and occasion. The epistle 
was certainly intended to be read before 
entire congregations. Of part of it at least 
the author himself says that it was " written 
concerning them that would lead you astray " 
(ii. 26). Comparison of the full denunciation 
with what we know of Doketism from its 
own writings, such as the so-called Acts of 
John (c, 175), shows very plainly what type 
of heresy is meant. Moreover we have the 
Epistles of Ignatius, written to these same 
churches but a few years later, and the detailed 
descriptions of the Doketist Cerinthus and his 
doctrines given by Irenaeus, together with the 
explicit statement that the writings of John 
were directed against this same Cerinthus. 

Yet 1st John is far more than a mere 
polemic. The author writes to those " that 
believe on the name of the Son of God, that 
they may know that they have eternal life " 
(v. 13) This certainly is the result of the. 


conscious indwelling of the Spirit of Jesus. 
It is not evidenced, however, by boastful 
words as to illumination, insight and know 
ledge, but by practical obedience to the one 
new commandment ; for " God is love, and he 
that loveth (not he that hath gnosis) is begotten 
of God and knoweth God." This inward 
witness of the Spirit is a gift, or (to use 
our author s term) an " anointing " (i. e. a 
Christ -ening), whose essence is as much 
beyond the Greek s ideal of wisdom, on the 
one side, as it is beyond the Jew s ideal of 
miraculous powers on the other. It is a 
spirit of ministering love corresponding to 
and emanating from the nature of God him 
self. This is " the teaching of Christ - in 
which alone it is safe to " abide." 

But again as respects the historic tradition 
of the church our author is not less emphatic. 
He values the record of an actual, real, and 
tangible experience of this manifested life 
of God in man. The " progressives " may 
repudiate the mere Jesus of " the flesh," in 
favour of one who comes by water only (i.e. in 
the outpouring of the Spirit in baptism), and 
not by the blood of the cross. For the 
doctrine of the cross was a special stumbling- 
block to Doketists, who rejected the sacra 
ment of the bread and wine. 1 The actual 

1 In the Acts of John the Christ spirit which had been 
resident in Jesus comes to John after he has fled to a 
cave on the Mount of Olives from the posse that arrested 
the Lord. The sweet voice of the invisible Christ informs 


sending of God s only-begotten Son into the 
world, the real " propitiation " for our sins 
(so lightly denied by the illuminati), is a vital 
point to the writer. The sins " of the whole 
world " were atoned for in Jesus blood 
actually shed on Calvary. The church pos 
sesses, then, in this story a record of fact 
of infinite significance to the world. The 
Doketists are playing fast and loose with this 
record of the historic Jesus. They deny any 
value to the " flesh " in which the scon 
Christ had merely tabernacled as its " recep 
tacle " between the period of the baptism and 
the ascension an event which they date 
before the death on the cross i 1 They are met 
here with a peremptory challenge and declara 
tion. The experience of contact with the 
earthly Jesus which the Church cherishes as 
its most inestimable treasure is the assurance, 
and the only assurance that we have, of real 
fellowship with the Father ; for " the life, the 
eternal life " of God in man, the Logos to 
borrow frankly the Stoic expression is known 
not by mere mystical dreams, but by the 
historic record of those who personally knew 
the real Jesus. The manifestation of God, in 

him there that the blinded multitude below had tortured 
a mere bodily shape which they took to be Christ, " while 
I stood by and laughed." In the Gospel of Peter Jesu.s 
hung upon the cross "as one who feels no pain" aud was 
" taken up " before the end. 
1 See note preceding. 


short, is objective and historical, and not 
merely inward and self-conscious; and that 
outward and objective manifestation may be 
summed up in what we of the Christian 
brotherhood have seen and known of Jesus. 

It is when we approach the Fourth Gospel 
by way of its own author s adaptation of his 
message to the conditions around him that 
we begin to appreciate it historically, and 
in its true worth. The spirit of polemic is 
still prominent in 1st John, but the Gospel 
shows the effect of opposition only in the 
more careful statement of the evangelist s 
exact meaning. It is a theological treatise, 
an interpretation of the doctrine of the 
person of Christ, written that the readers 
" may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the 
Son of God, and that believing they may have 
life in his name " (xx. 31). In an age so 
eagerly bent on ascertaining the historic facts 
regarding Jesus life, and the true sequence 
of events (Luke i. 1-4), it is insupposable that 
an author so strenuous to uphold the concrete 
reality of the church s historic tradition 
should not give real history so far as he was 
able. He could not afford to depreciate it 
in the face of Doketic myth and fancy and 
contempt for a " Christ in the flesh." The 
idea that such a writer could deliberately 
prefer fiction to fact is most improbable ; ten 
times more so if he was the only surviving 
representative of the twelve, a Galilean disciple 
even more intimate than Peter with Jesus 


from the outset. But real history was no 
longer attainable. The author of the Fourth 
Gospel reports no event which he does not 
take in good faith to be fact. Yet it must 
be apparent from his own statement of his 
purpose as well as from the very structure of 
the book that he does not aim to be a his 
torian, but an interpreter of doctrine. He 
aims to give not fact but truth. And his 
handling of (supposed) fact has the freedom 
we should expect in a church teacher of that 
age, and of the school of Paul the mystic. 
The seven progressive " signs " that he nar 
rates, culminating in the raising of Lazarus, 
are avowedly (xx. 31) illustrative selections 
from a multitude of current tales of miracle, 
aiming to produce that faith in Jesus as the 
Son of God which will result in " life," i. e. 
the eternal life which consists in his indwelling 
(1st John v. 20). They are not described as 
acts of pity, drawn from one with whom the 
power of God was found present to heal. 
Jesus does not yield as in the Synoptics when 
compassion for trusting need overcomes reluct 
ance to increase the importunity that interfered 
with his higher mission. Their prime purpose 
is to " manifest the glory " of the incarnate 
Logos, and Jesus performs them only when, 
and as, he chooses. Pity and natural affection 
are almost trampled upon that this " manifes 
tation of his glory " may be made more effec 
tive (ii. 4; iv. 48; ix. 3; xi. 4-6, 15). As 
in Paul, there is no exorcism. This most 

typical and characteristic miracle of Petrine 
story (Mark iii. 15; Acts x. 38) has dis 
appeared. Or rather (as in Paul) the casting 
out of Satan from his dominion over the 
entire world has transcended and superseded 
it (John xii. 31-33; cf. Col. ii. 15). In John, 
requests for miracle, whether in faith or un 
belief, always incur rebuke (ii. 4; iv. 48; 
vi. 30-36; vii. 4-7; xi. 8-15). Jesus offers 
and works them when " his hour " comes, 
whether applied for or not (v. 6-9; vi. 6; 
ix. 1-7). His reserve is not due to a limitation 
of almighty power ; for the power is declared 
explicitly to be his, in his own right (v. 21 ; 
xi. 22, 25, 42). He restrains it only that faith 
may rest upon conviction of the truth rather 
than mere wonder (ii. 23-25; iii. 2 /. ; iv. 39- 
42, 48; vi. 29-46; xiv. 11). He is, in short, 
an omniscient (i. 47-50; ii. 25), omnipotent 
Being, temporarily sojourning on the earth 
(iii. 13; xvi. 28). 

The dialogue interwoven with these seven 
signs is closely related in subject to them. 
It does not aim to repeat remembered Sayings, 
but follows that literary form which since 
Plato had been the classic model for presenting 
the themes of philosophy. The subject-matter 
is no longer, as in the Synoptics, the Righteous 
ness required by God, the Nature and Coming 
of the Kingdom, Duty to God and Man. It 
is the person and function of the speaker 
himself. Instead of the parables we have 
allegories : " seven I am s " of Jesus, in 


debate with " the Jews " about the doctrine 
of his own person as Son of God. 

This uniformity of topic corresponds with 
a complete absence of any attempt to differ 
entiate in style between utterances of Jesus, 
or the Baptist, or the evangelist himself, in 
Gospel or Epistles. Had the writer desired, it 
is certain that he could have collected sayings 
of Jesus, and given them a form similar to 
those of Matthew and Luke. He does not try. 
The only device he employs to suggest a dis 
tinction is an oracular ambiguity at first mis 
understood, and so requiring progressive un 
folding. The main theme is often introduced 
by a peculiar and solemn " Verily, verily." 

As with the signs the lingering Synoptic 
sense of progress and proportion has dis 
appeared. At the very outset John the 
Baptist proclaims to his followers that his 
own baptism has no value in itself. It is 
not " for repentance unto remission of sins." 
It is only to make the Christ " manifest " 
(i. 19-34). Christ s atonement alone will 
take away the sin (i. 29), Christ s baptism alone 
will convey real help (i. 34). Jesus, too, 
proclaims himself from the outset the Christ, 
in the full Pauline sense of the word (i. 45-51 ; 
iv. 26, etc.). He chooses Judas with the 
express purpose of the betrayal, and forces 
on the reluctant agents of his fate (vi. 70 /. ; 
xiii. 26 f. ; xviii. 4-8; xix. 8-11). 

All this, and much more which we need 
not cite, makes hardly the pretence of being 


history. It is frankly theology, or rather 
apologetics. We have as a framework the 
general outline of Mark, a Galilean and a 
Judaean ministry (chh. i.-xii. ; xiii.-xx.), with 
traces of a Perean journey (vii. 1 $.). This 
scheme, however, is broken through by another 
based on the Mosaic festal system, Jesus show 
ing in each case as he visits Jerusalem, the 
higher symbolism of the ceremonial (ii. 13 ff. 
Passover ; v. 1 ff. Pentecost ; vii. 1 $. Taber 
nacles ; x. 22 ff. Dedication ; xii. 1 ff. Passover). 
There is in chh. i.-iv. a teaching of baptisms 
and of endowment with the Spirit correspond 
ing roughly to Mark i. 1-45. There is in ch. 
v. a teaching of the authority of Jesus against 
Moses and the Law, corresponding to Mark ii. 
1 iii. 6. There is a teaching of the breaking 
of bread corresponding to Mark vi. 30 viii. 
26 in John vi., though this last has been related 
not merely to the brotherhood banquet ( love- 
feast ) as in Mark, but anticipates and takes 
the place of the teaching as to the Eucharist 
(cf. John vi. 52-59 with John xiii.). There is 
a Commission of the Twelve like Matt. x. 
16-42, though placed (with Luke xxii. 35-38) 
as a second sending on the night of betrayal 
(xiii. 31 xviii. 26). There is dependence on 
Petrine Story, and to some extent on Matthsean 
Sayings. In particular John xii. 17 combines 
the data of Mark xiv. 3-9 with those of Luke 
vii. 36-50; x. 38-42 in a curious compound, 
making it certain that the evangelist employed 
these two and Matthew as well, if xii. 8 be 


genuine (it is not found in the ancient Syriac). 
Yet our Synoptic Gospels are not the only 
sources, and the material borrowed is handled 
with sovereign superiority. In short, as even 
the church fathers recognized, this Gospel is 
of a new type. It does aim to " supplement " 
the others, as they recognized; but not as 
one narrative may piece out and complete 
another. Rather as the unseen and spiritual 
supplements the external and visible. This 
Gospel uses the established forms of miracle- 
story and saying; but it transforms the one 
into symbol, the other into dialogue and 
allegory. Then by use of this material (supple 
mented from unknown, perhaps oral, sources) 
it constructs a series of interpretations of the 
person and work of the God-man. 

Of one peculiarly distinctive feature we 
have still to speak. Where the reader has 
special need of an interpreter to attest and 
interpret a specially vital fact, such as the 
scenes of the night of the betrayal, or the 
reality of Jesus propitiatory death (denied 
by the Doketists), or the beginning of the 
resurrection faith, Peter s testimony is supple 
mented and transcended by that of a hitherto 
unknown figure, who anticipates all that Peter 
only slowly attains. This is the mysterious, 
unnamed " disciple whom Jesus loved " (xiii. 
23 ff. ; xviii. 15 /. ; xix. 25-37; xx. 1-10; 
cf. Gal. xx. 20), a Paul present in the spirit, 
to see things with the eye of spiritual insight. 
There is no transfiguration-scene and no 

prayer of Gethsemane in this Gospel Trans 
figuration is needless where the glory shines 
uninterrupted through the whole career. 
Prayer itself is impossible where oneness with 
the God-head makes difference of thought or 
purpose inconceivable. Hence the prayers of 
Jesus are often only " for the sake of those 
that stand by " (xi. 41 /.). The same is true 
of the Voice from heaven at the scene which 
takes the place of Transfiguration and Geth 
semane in one (xii. 27-33). Jesus will not 
ask for deliverance from that hour, because 
he had sought it from the beginning. His 
prayer is " Father, glorify thy name." The 
Voice, which some take to be an angel speaking 
to him (cf. Luke ix. 35 ; xxii. 43) is for the sake 
of the bystanders. The Voice at his baptism 
likewise is not addressed to him (the incarnate 
Logos does not need a revelation of his own 
identity) but to the Baptist. 

So again and again Synoptic scenes are 
retouched and new scenes are added in a way 
to present a consistent picture of the " taber 
nacling " of the pre-existent Son of God in 
human flesh. As we review the whole, and 
ask ourselves, What is the occasion of this 
strange new presentation of the evangelic 
message ? we begin to realize how indis 
pensable is the key which the evangelist has 
himself hung before the door. Many and 
complex are the problems which confront us 
as we move through this heaped-up tangle 
of anecdote, dialogue, and allegory There 


is room for the keenest scrutiny of criticism 
to determine, if possible, when, and how, and 
from what sources these meditations were 
put together. But nothing that critical in 
sight, analysis, and comparison can furnish 
avails so much to throw real light upon the 
work as what the evangelist himself has done, 
by setting forth in a prologue (i. 1-18) the 
fundamental principles of his conception. 

In a word evangelic tradition as it had 
hitherto found currency still lacked the funda 
mental thing in the Christology of Paul the 
Incarnation doctrine. Paul conceived the 
story of Jesus as a supernal drama, beginning 
and ending in heaven at God s right hand. 
Even Matthew and Luke, carrying back the 
adoption to Sonship from the baptism to the 
birth of Jesus, had not essentially changed the 
pre-Pauline point of view. Still there was no 
pre-existence. Jesus was not yet shown as the 
Wisdom of God, through whom all things 
were created, the " heavenly man," the second 
Adam, taking upon him the form of a servant, 
humbling himself and becoming obedient unto 
death, rich, and for our sakes becoming poor. 
He was still, even in Mark, just the prophet 
mighty in deed and word, raised up by God 
from among his brethren, and for his obedience 
exalted to the messianic throne of glory. 
How could this satisfy churches trained in 
the doctrine of Paul ? We should almost 
rather marvel that the Synoptic narratives 
ever found lodgment at all, where Paul had 

preached from the beginning a doctrine of 
the eternal Christ. 

And the transformation is not one whit 
more radical than we ought to anticipate. 
The Transfiguration story had been a halting 
attempt to embody Pauline doctrine in Petrine 
story. But apart from the obvious hold 
afforded to mere Doketism, how inadequate 
to Paul s conception of the " Man from 
heaven " ! The Fourth evangelist depicts 
the person of Jesus consistently and through 
out, despite his meagre and refractory 
material, along the lines of Pauline Chris- 
tology. There is no concession to Doketism, 
for in spite of all, and designedly (iv. 6; xix. 
28, 34), Jesus is still no phantasm, but true 
man among men. There is no hesitation to 
override, where needful, on vital points the 
great and growing authority of apostolic 
tradition. Tacitly, but uncompromisingly, 
Petrine tradition is set aside. The " dis 
ciple whom Jesus loved " sees the matter 
otherwise. In particular, apocalyptic escha- 
tology is firmly repressed in favour of a doc 
trine of eternal life in the Spirit. The second 
Coming is not to be a manifestation " to the 
world." It will be an inward indwelling of 
God and Christ in the heart of the believer 
(xiv. 22 /.). 1 The place of future reward is 

1 Some few passages inconsistent with this are found 
in the body of the Gospel. Like that of the appendix 
(xxi. 22) they are later modifications of a doctrine too 
Hellenic for the majority. 


not a glorified Palestine and transfigured, 
rebuilt Jerusalem. The disciple, like Paul, 
will " depart to be with Christ." The Father s 
house is wider than the Holy Land. It has 
" many mansions," and the servant must be 
content to know that his Master will receive 
him where he dwells himself (xiv. 1-3; xvii. 

To realize what it meant to produce the 
spiritual Gospel that comes to us from 
Ephesus shortly after the close of the first 
century we must place ourselves side by side 
with men who had learned the gospel of Paul 
about Jesus, the drama of the eternal, pre- 
existent, " heavenly Man," incarnate, triumph 
ant through the cross over the Prince of this 
world and powers of darkness. We must 
realize how they found it needful to im 
pregnate the apostolic material of Petrine 
and Matthasan tradition with this deeper sig 
nificance, preserving the concrete, historic fact, 
and the real manhood, and yet supplementing 
the disproportionately external story with a 
wealth of transcendental meaning. The spirit 
of Paul was, indeed, not dead. Neither Gnostic 
heresy could dissipate it, nor reactionary 
Christianized legalism absorb it. It had been 
reborn in splendid authority and power. In 
due time it would prove itself the very mould 
of catholic doctrine. The Fourth gospel, 
as its Prologue forewarns, is an application to 
the story of Jesus as tradition reported it of 
the Pauline incarnation doctrine formulated 


under the Stoic Logos theory. It represents 
a study in the psychology of religion applied 
to the person of Christ. Poor as Paul himself 
in knowledge of the outward Jesus, unfamiliar 
with really historical words and deeds, its 
doctrine about Jesus became, nevertheless, 
like that of the great Apostle to the Gentiles, 
the truest exposition of the heart of Christ, 



FEW of the great writings cherished and 
transmitted by the early church have escaped 
the natural tendency to attachments at 
beginning and end. In the later period 
such attachments took the form of prefixed 
argumenta, i. e. prefatory descriptions of 
author and contents, and affixed subscriptions, 
devoted to a similar purpose. These, like 
the titles, were clearly distinguished from 
the text itself, and in modern editions are 
usually not printed, though examples of 
subscriptions may be seen in the King 
James version after the Pauline Epistles. 
Before the time when canonization had made 
such a process seem sacrilege they were 
attached to the text itself, with greater or 
less attempt to weld the parts together. We 
need not add to what has been already said 
as to certain superscriptions of the later 
epistolary literature, such as James and Jude, 
where the relation to the text impresses us as 
closer than is sometimes admitted ; nor need 
we delay with the preamble to Revelation 
(Rev, i. 1-3). That which has been added at 



the close, in cases where real evidence exists 
of such later supplementation, is of special 
significance to our study, inasmuch as it 
tends to throw light where light is most 
required. For that is an obscure period, 
early in the second century, when not only 
the churches themselves were drawing together 
toward catholic unity under the double 
pressure of inward and outward peril, but 
were bringing with them their treasured 
writings, sometimes a collection of Epistles, 
sometimes a Gospel, or a book of Prophecy, 
sometimes, as in the groups of writings 
attributed to John and Peter, a full canon of 
Gospel, Epistles and Apocalypse, followed 
but little later by Acts as well. 

The most ancient list of books authorized 
to be publicly read that we possess is that of 
the church of Rome c. 185, called after its 
discoverer the Canon of Muratori. From this 
fragment, mutilated at beginning and end, 
we learn that Paul s letters to the churches 
were arranged in a group of seven l of which 
Romans stood last. It is probably due to its 
position at the end that Romans has been 
supplemented by the addition of Pauline 
iragments, which did not appear in some 
early editions of the text. The letter proper 
ends with ch. xv. though xvi. 21-23 probably 

1 The personal letters formed a separate group. Two 
letters to tlie same church (1st Cor., 2nd Cor.) were counted 
as one. Marcion (140) counted ten in all, aud had a 
different order. 


followed, perhaps concluding with ver. 24, 
which some texts insert after ver. 19. Ver. 
25-27 is another fragment omitted in some 

We have seen above (p. 200) how Revelation 
has received conclusion after conclusion, so 
that the relation of personalities has become 
almost unintelligible. We have very meagre 
textual material for Revelation, and can 
scarcely judge whether any of the process 
represented in Rev. xxii. 6-21 belongs to the 
period of transmission, after the publication 
of the book in its present form. Until the 
discovery of new textual evidence the pheno 
mena in Revelation must be treated by prin 
ciples of the higher criticism, as pertaining 
to its history before publication. At all 
events we know that the attribution to 
" John " (ver. 8 /.) was current as early as 
Justin s Apology (153). 

The longer and shorter supplements to 
Mark belong again to the field of textual 
criticism. The manuscripts and early trans 
lations carry us back to a time when neither 
ending was known ; though only to leave us 
wondering how the necessity arose for com 
posing them a question of the higher criti 
cism. Mark xvi. 9-20 shows acquaintance 
with Luke, and probably with John xx. It 
is noteworthy, however, in view of the author s 
attempt to cover the resurrection appearances 
of these two gospels, that he betrays no sign 
of acquaintance with John xxi. In this case of 


the Roman gospel, however, textual evidence 
enables us to trace something of the history of 
supplementation. The so-called Shorter ? 
ending provides a close for the incomplete 
story, resembling Matthew, while the Longer 
is drawn from Luke and John, i.-xx. Subse 
quent employments show that the Longer 
ending had been attached (perhaps at Rome) 
not later than c. 150. It is the first evidence 
we have of combination of the Fourth gospel 
with the Synoptics ; for even Justin, though 
affected by John, does not use it as he uses 
Matthew, Mark and Luke. Parity among 
the four is not traceable earlier than Tatian 
(c. 175), the father of gospel harmonies. 
The Shorter ending, if not the Longer 
as well, would seem to have been added 
in Egypt. The supplements to Mark have 
this at least of singular interest, that they 
show the progress of a process whose be 
ginnings we traced back to Palestine itself 
in the church of the apostles, elders and 
witnesses of the Lord, where " the Elder " 
in the tradition reported by Papias is already 
offering explanations of the disagreements of 
Matthew and Mark with a view to their 
concurrent circulation. 

After the addition of Mark to Matthew it 
was comparatively easy to take in Luke- Acts 
as a third, and to form composites out of the 
three such as the Gospel of Peter (North Syria 
c. 130) and the Gospel of the Nazarenes (Coele- 
Syria c. 140). Justin at Rome (c. 153) is still 


such a three-gospel man, though affected by 
the Fourth; whereas his predecessor Hennas 
(125-140) seems to rest on Mark alone, 
though perhaps acquainted with Matthew. 
The step was a harder one which aimed to 
take in the Fourth gospel. Tatian at Rome 
(c. 175) and Theophilus at Antioch (181) are 
the agents of its accomplishment; and, as 
we have seen, it was not effected without a 
determined opposition, led at Rome by the 
presbyter Gaius, and answered by Irenaeus 
(c. 186) and Hippolytus (c. 215). Such 
opposition from the side of advocates of 
Petrine apostolicity is anticipated in the 
most significant and important of all the 
epilogues, the so-called Appendix or Epilogue 
to the Fourth gospel (John xxi.). 

Just when, or where, this supplement was 
added is one of the most difficult problems 
of the higher criticism. On the side of exter 
nal evidence we have the fact that it shows 
no effect in Mark xvi. 9-21, where John xx is 
employed, and that there is a great change 
about A.D. 170 in the treatment of this 
Gospel and its related Epistles, those who use 
them before this time showing no disposi 
tion to treat them as having high apostolic 
authority. On the side of internal evidence 
there are such data as the use of the second- 
century name for the Sea of Galilee (" Sea 
of Tiberias," xxi. 1), and references to the 
martyrdom of Peter at Rome (xxi. 18 /.) and to 
legends of John as the witness - who should 


survive until the Coming (xxi. 23). Whether 
these data suggest an origin at Ephesus, 
or at Rome, and at just what date, are pro 
blems for technical research. That which 
is of chief interest for us is the motive and 
function of this supplement to the Ephesian 
Gospel, and the light it throws upon conditions 
in the church at large. 

It is quite apparent that John xxi. forms a 
subsequent attachment after the formal con 
clusion of the Gospel proper in xx. 30 /. For, 
apart from differences in style and doctrinal 
standpoint, it makes a complete new depar 
ture along the lines of Mark s story of Gali 
lean resurrection manifestations ; whereas the 
Gospel follows the Lukan type, and brings 
everything to a close without removal from 
Jerusalem. The message to the disciples 
by the women at the sepulchre is here given 
by Jesus in person as in Matt, xxviii. 10, and 
is actually delivered as in Luke xxiv. 10 /. It 
is followed by the promised manifestation to 
the disciples with the overcoming of their 
incredulity, and by the great Commission, 
accompanied by the Gift of the Spirit. The 
story has thus been brought to a formal con 
clusion, the invariable and necessary conclu 
sion of all evangelic narratives. The author s 
recapitulation of the nature and contents of 
his book and assurance in direct address to 
the reader of his purpose in writing (" that 
ye may believe ") follows appropriately as a 
winding up of the whole. It is not conceivable 


that the same writer should resume immedi 
ately after this, at an earlier point in the 
narrative, where the disciples are still scattered 
in Galilee, unconscious of their vocation and 
commission. For in spite of the endeavour 
of the supplementer in ver. 14 to make this 
out " the third l time that Jesus was mani 
fested " they have manifestly returned to 
their original means of livelihood unawakened 
to the resurrection faith. Moreover the story 
culminates with a restoration of Peter to 
favour, with unmistakable reference to his 
humiliating failure to live up to the promise 
(xiii. 36-38), " Lord, why cannot I follow thee 
even now ? I will lay down my life for thee " 
(cf. xxi. 15-19). If it had been the evange 
list s intention to tell this he would have told 
it before the Commission in xx. 19-23. In 
short, we have here two widely variant forms 
of the tradition of the rallying of the disciples 
from their unbelief by the risen Christ and 
commissioning of them to their task. The 
two commissions, one a general commission 
of all " the twelve," like Matt, xviii. 18, the 
other a special commission of Peter like Matt. 
xvi. 19, are attached one after the other, 
with the curious infelicity that the restoration 
of Peter from his defection, together with his 
installation as chief under-shepherd of the 
flock, comes after the commission in which 

1 A miscount for "fourth," unless we disregard xx. 11- 
18, or else (with \Vellhausen) consider xx. 21-29 au 
insertion later than the Epilogue. 


he has already appeared with the rest, 
restored to full faith and favour, and gifted 
with the inspiration and authority of the 

It is true that the function of "tending the 
flock of God " (cf. 1st Pet. v. 2) committed to 
Peter in xxi. 15-19 is a more special one than 
the apostolate conferred on all in xx. 21-23; 
but the Epilogue has previously (xxi. 1-14) 
given to Peter a special and commanding 
part in the apostolate (extension of the 
gospel to the world). No one will question 
that in such a writer as the Fourth evangelist 
(and if anything still more the writer of the 
Epilogue) narratives of miracle are intended 
to have a symbolical sense. Nor will it be 
denied that the miraculous draft of fishes, 
which in Luke v. 1-11 attends the original 
vocation of " Simon," 1 is here applied to the 
work the twelve are to accomplish in the now 
opening future as " fishers of men." The parti- 
eularization of the number of the fishes, and 
the statement that the peril of the rending of 
the net (cf. Luke v. 6) was happily avoided, 
are, of course, also intended to convey a 
symbolical sense, which Jerome makes still 
easier to grasp by informing us that 153 was 
taken by naturalists of the time to be the 
full number of all species of fish. John xxi. 
1-14 is therefore a primitive story of the 

1 The addition in ver. lOo and the plural "they" in 
ver. II, are mere editorial adaptations ol the story to 
Mark i. 16-20. 


appearance of Jesus after his resurrection " to 
Peter and them that were with him," in 
Galilee (not in Jerusalem as in John i.-xx. 
and Luke), having a relation to Luke v. 1-11, 
and probably also to Matt. xiv. 28-33 (c/. 
John xxi. 7). It is also nearly akin to the 
fragment at the end of the Gospel of Peter. 
It symbolizes the work of the apostolic 
mission under the figure of the fishing of men 
(c/. Mark i. 17; Matt. xiii. 47-50), and gives 
to Peter the leading part. In fact Peter not 
only comes to the Lord in advance of all the 
rest, and alone maintains with him something 
like the intimate relations of the past, but 
performs after his private interview with 
Jesus the gigantic feat of bringing unaided 
to land the entire miraculous catch. The 
great and various multitude, which all work 
ing in common had enclosed in the net, but 
had not been able to lift into the boat, Peter, 
at Jesus word, brought safely home. The 
writer who so employs the already con 
ventionalized symbols of ecclesiastical imagery, 
surety had no mean idea of the apostlcship of 
Peter. In at least as high degree as the 
author of Acts he conceives of Peter as 
commissioned in a special sense to be the 
great director and leader of all missionary 
activity, to Gentiles as well as Jews (Acts xv. 
7), and to have been the saviour of the unity 
of the church in the hour of its threatened 
disruption. When in addition he is invested 
by Jesus with the insignia and office of chief 


under-shepherd of the flock of God, the stain 
of his threefold denial wiped out by a three 
fold opportunity to prove his special love 
by special service, and the ignominy of his 
previous failure to " follow " (xiii. 36-38) 
atoned for by the promise that in old age 
he shall have opportunity to follow Jesus in 
martyrdom (xxi. 18 /.), there remains nothing 
that the most exacting friend of catholic 
apostolicity could demand in the way of 
tribute to its great representative. 

And yet the main object of the Epilogue 
has not yet been touched. It was not 
written, we may be sure, merely to glorify 
Peter; though it is, of course, insupposable 
that the Gospel in its primitive form simply 
left Peter in the attitude of a renegade after 
xviii. 27, to reappear quite as if nothing had 
happened in xx. 1 $. 1 It pays its tribute 
to Peter as chief witness to the resurrection, 
chief apostle, chief saviour of the unity of 
the church, chief under-shepherd of the 
flock of God, in the interest of that catholic 
apostolic unity which all churchmen were so 
earnestly labouring to achieve in the writer s 
time, and for which the name of Peter was 
increasingly significant. But the chief object 
of the Epilogue is something else. It was 
written primarily to commend and find room 

1 We must conclude that both these data from Synoptic 
tradition, the denial (xiii. 36-38 ; xviii. 15-18,, 25-27) and 
the restoration (ch. xxi.) are supplements to the original 
form of the Gospel. 


for another authority, the authority of the 
Gospel to which it is appended, and which 
repeatedly sets over against Peter a mysterious 
unnamed figure, who always sees when Peter 
is blind, believes when Peter is unbelieving, 
is faithful when Peter and all the rest have 
fled in cowardly desertion. The object of 
the Epilogue is to find room alongside the 
growing and salutary authority of Peter for 
the authority and message of " the disciple 
whom Jesus loved." Its purpose appears 
in its conclusion, " This (the disciple whom 
Jesus loved) is the disciple which beareth 
witness of these things, and wrote these 
things, and we (the church which cherishes 
and gives forth this spiritual Gospel) know 
that his witness is true." 

The writer does not explicitly say that he 
means the Apostle John (reputed in Ephesus 
the author of Revelation) ; for such direct 
identification might well endanger his own 
object. But he makes it clear in two ways 
that John is really intended, as, indeed, 
subsequent writers immediately infer. 1 (1) 
" The sons of Zebedee " are introduced for 
the first time in the entire work in xxi. 2, 
among the group who are present with Peter. 
An easy process of elimination, 2 then, leaves 

1 The Muratorianum bases its legendary account of the 
writing of the Fourth gospel by "John" with the en 
dorsement of " his fellow-disciples and bishops " on John 
xxi. 24. 

- The early death of James the son of Zebedee (Acts 
xii. 1) excludes him from consideration. 


open to identification as " the disciple whom 
Jesus loved " (ver. 7) only John, or else 
one of the two unnamed " other disciples," 
who could hardly be reckoned among Jesus 
closest intimates. 

(2) The scene of the prediction of Peter s 
martyrdom (xxi. 18 /.) is followed immediately 
(ver. 20-23) by a reference to traditions 
which we know to have been current before 
the close of the first century regarding the 
martyrdom of the two sons of Zebedee, in 
particular regarding John. Peter in xxi. 21 
raises the question as to the fate of " the 
disciple whom Jesus loved " (literally, " and as 
to this man, what ? "). The pregnant com 
mand of Jesus to Peter, " Follow me," is 
clearly intended to have reference to martyr 
dom (cf. xiii. 36 /.), and it is obeyed by " the 
disciple whom Jesus loved " as well as Peter. 
Peter s inquiry and the Lord s reply had 
given rise " among the brethren " to the belief 
that this disciple would " tarry " till the 
Coming. Now it is of John, son of Zebedee, 
and only of him, that we have a curious 
vacillation of ancient tradition between belief 
in his martyrdom in the same sense as his 
brother James (Mark x. 39), and a belief 
(probably based on Mark ix. 1) that he would 
tarry as an abiding witness until the Coming 
( white martyrdom ). The writer of the 
Epilogue has manifestly these traditions 
about the fate of John in mind. He would 
have his readers understand that the enigmatic 


prophecy of Jesus neither promised the 
permanent survival of John, nor his violent 
death, but was at least capable of an inter 
pretation which set John alongside of Peter, 
not as a rival of his leadership, or directive 
control, but simply as a witness ( martyr ) 
to the truth. Peter is willingly granted the 
office of ruling elder in the church, if only 
" the disciple whom Jesus loved " may have 
the function of the prophet and teacher in 
the Spirit, the man of faith and insight, 
whose function it is to interpret * the mind 
of Christ. 

Few things could be more significant of 
the conditions of Christian life and thought 
in the earlier years of the second century 
than this Epilogue, appended to the spiritual 
Gospel to commend it to general acceptance 
in the church. It is not vitally important 
whether the cautiously suggested identifica 
tion of the Beloved Disciple with John, the 
son of Zebedee, be correct or not. It is 
important to a historical appreciation of the 
great literary contribution of the churches 
of Paul to the * catholic Christianity of the 
second century, that we realize what Petrine 
catholicity had then come to mean, and how 
the Pauline spiritual gospel came half-way 
to meet it. On this point a study of the 
epilogues is rewarding, but especially of the 
great Epilogue to the Gospel of John. 

We have reached the period for our own 

concluding words. The process of combina 
tion and canonization of the New Testament 
writings, which followed upon the consolida 
tion of the churches in the second century 
falls outside our province. We have sought 
only to give some insight into the origins, 
considering the Making of the New Testament 
to apply rather to the creations of the forma 
tive period, when conscious inspiration was 
still in its full glow, than to the period of 
collection into an official canon. As we look 
back over the two leading types of Christian 
thought, Pauline and Apostolic, the Greek- 
Christian gospel about Jesus, and the Jewish- 
Christian gospel of Jesus, the gospel of the 
Spirit and the gospel of authority, we cannot 
fail to realize how deep and broad and ancient 
are the two great currents of religious thought 
and life that here are mingling, contending, 
coming to new expression and clearer defini 
tion. Each has its various subdivisions and 
modifications, Pauline Christianity in the 
Greek world has its problems of resistance 
to Hellenistic perversion on the one side, to 
reaction toward Jewish external authority on 
the other. Apostolic Christianity whether 
in its more conservative form at Jerusalem, 
or in broader assimilation to Pauline doctrine 
at Antioch and Rome, has also its divergent 
streams, its more primitive and its more 
developed stages. The literature, as we 
slowly come to appreciate it against the 
background of the times, more and more 


reveals itself as an index to the life. Not to 
the mere idiosyncrasies of individuals, but 
to the great Gulf-stream of the human instinct 
for social Righteousness and for individual 
Redemption, as it sweeps onward in its 
mighty tide. 

The literature of the New Testament must 
be understood historically if understood at 
all. It must be understood as the product, 
we might almost say the precipitate, of the 
greatest period in the history of religion. 
It represents the meeting and mutual adjust 
ment of two fundamental and complementary 
conceptions of religion. The antithesis is not 
merely that between the particularism of the 
Jew and the univcrsalism of the Gentile. It 
is an antithesis of the social ideal of Law and 
Prophets against the individual ideal of 
personal redemption through union with the 
divine Spirit, which lay at the heart of all 
vital Hellenistic religious thought in this 
period of the Empire. Christianity as we 
know it, the religion of humanity as it has 
come to be, the ultimate world-religion as 
we believe it destined to become, is a resultant 
of these two factors, Semitic and Aryan, the 
social and the individual ideal. Its canonized 
literature represents the combination. On 
the one side the social ideal is predominant. 
It perpetuates the gospel of Jesus in the form 
of Matthaean and Petrine tradition, supple 
mented by apocalypse, which tradition at 
taches conjecturally to the name of John. 


The goal it seeks is the Kingdom of God, 
righteousness and peace on earth as in heaven. 
On the other side the individual ideal pre 
dominates. It perpetuates the gospel about 
Jesus in the form of the Pauline and Johannine 
doctrine of his person, regarded as the norm 
and type of spiritual life. The goal it seeks 
is personal immortality by moral fellowship 
with God. Its faith is Sonship, by participa 
tion in the divine nature, without limitation 
in time, without loss of individual identity. 
Both types of gospel are justified in claiming 
to emanate from Jesus of Nazareth; but 
neither without the other can claim to fully 
represent the significance of his spirit ancl 

The unity of the New Testament is a unity 
in diversity. Just because it presents so 
widely divergent conceptions of what the 
gospel is, it gives promise of perennial 
fecundity. Studied not after the manner of 
the scribes, who think that in their book of 
precept and prophecy they have a passport 
to rewards in a magical world to come, but 
studied as a " manifestation of the life, even 
the eternal life " of the Spirit of God in man, 
it will continue to reproduce the spirit and 
mind of Christ. Studied as a reflection at 
various times and in divers manners of that 
redemptive Wisdom of God, which " in 
every generation entering into holy souls 
makes men to be prophets and friends of 
God " (Sap. vii. 27), and which the Greeks, 


considering it, unfortunately, in its intellectual 
rather than its moral aspect, call the Logos 
of God, it will prove, as in so many generations 
past it has proved, an " incorruptible seed," 
a " word of good tidings preached unto " 
the world, a " word of the Lord that abideth 
for ever. 


1. General Introductions to N.T. Literature. 

MMKFATT, JAS. "Internet?. Theol. Library" Series. 
Scribner s, 1911. Standard, comprehensive, progressive. 
Best compendium of the subject in English. A book for 
experts. 671 pp., 8vo. 

JiJLlCHER, A. Engl. transl, by D. A. Ward, from 4th 
German ed. London, Smith, Elder & Co., 1903. Tim 
most serviceable of modern German Introductions, based 
on the standard work of the "liberal" school, by H. J. 
Holtzmann. 650 pp., large Svo. 

ZAHV, TIIEO. Engl. transl. from 3rd German ed., by 
M. W. Jacobus. Scribner s, 1909. Standard "conserva 
tive " work. Immense scholarship in the harness of 
apologetics. Total, 1750 pp., in 3 vols. , large Svo. 

BACOX, B. W. " Neio Test. Handbook" Series. Mao- 
millan 1900. Similar to Moff;itt s in standpoint, but 
without the survey of the literature. For readers less 
technically advanced. 300 pp., small Svo. 

PEAKE, A. S. N.Y., Scribner s, 1910. 250 pp., 12mcw 
An excellent primer of the subject, generally conservative. 

2. Critical Treatments of Pauline Literature. 

SHAAV, R. D. The Pauline. Epistles, Introductory and 
Expository Studies, 2nd ed. T. & T. Clarke, 1904. 518 
pp., large Svo. Sober and cautious. For general readers. 

RAMSAY, W. M. Pauline and other Studies in Early 
Cliristian History. Hodder & Stoughton, 1906. 425pp., 
large Svo. The Cities of St. Paul (1907, 468 pp.) is by the 
same author, an eminent geographer and archaeologist 
ardently enlisted against German criticism. Interesting 
but diffuse. 



PFLEIDERER, 0. Paulinism. Engl. traiisl. by E. Peters. 
2nd ed. 1891. Williams & Norgate. 2 vols. 8vo. Total, 
580 pp., 8vo. Still a standard exposition of Paul s system 
of thought. A book for experts. 

BAUB, F. 0. Paul tJie Apostle of Jesus Clirist, his Life 
and Work, Epistles arid Doctrine. Engl. transl. of Zeller s 
(2nd), German ed. , by A. Menzies. Williams & Norgate, 
1876. T\vo vols. 8vo (375 + 350 pp.). An epoch-making 
book, the starting-point of modern criticism. 

SCHWEITZER, A. This able, though one-sided, critic has 
issued already (1912) the conclusion to his study of modern 
Lives of Christ (see below, The Quest of the Historical Jesus) 
under the title Geschichte der PauliniscJien Forschung. 
It may be expected that this comprehensive survey and 
searching criticism of the literature of Pauline study will 
soon be made accessible to the English reader. 

WREDE, W. Paul. Engl. transl. by E. Lummis. P. 
Green, London, 1907. 190 pp., 12mo. A brief, brilliant, 
popular sketch, radical, suggestive. Needs the balance of 
more cautious criticism. 

WEISS, J. Paul and Jesus. Engl. transl. by H. J. 
Chaytor. London and New York, Harper & Bros., 1909. 
130 pp., 12mo. An effective answer to Wrede s view of 
Paul as the real creator of Christianity, by a progressive 
and able critic. 

Lives of Paul by Cone, Clemen (German) and others are 
abundant in recent years. See the Encyclopaedias and 
Dictionaries of the Bible, s.v. " Paul." 

3. Critical Treatments of the Synoptic Gospels and Acts. 

STAXTOX, V. H. The Gospels as Historical Documents, 
Parts I and II. Cambridge University Press, 1903-1909. 
297 + 400 pp., 8vo. A standard survey of Gospel criticism 
from a conservative standpoint, the work of a scholar for 

CONE, 0. Gospel Criticism and Historical Christianity. 
Putnam s, N.Y., 1891. 375 pp., small 8vo. Liberal, 

BURKITT, F. C. The Earliest Sources for the Life of 
Jesus. Houghton & Mifflin, Boston and New York, 1910. 
130 pp., 12mo. Simple and popular. Burkitt is a leading 
progressive scholar. 


4. The Johannine Writings. 

DIUTMMOND, JAS. Cltaradcr and Authorship of Hie 
Fourth Gospel. Scribner s, N.Y., 1904. 544 pp., 8vo. 
The ablest recent defence of the traditional authorship. 
Scholarly discussion of the literary history. 

BACON, B. W. The Fourth Gospel in Research and 
Debate. Moffat, Yard & Co., N.Y., 1910. 556 pp., 8vo. 
A similar discussion of the evidences reaching the reverse 

Sc OTT, E. F. The Fourth Gospel, its Purpose and 
Theology. T. & T. Clarke, Edinburgh, 1906. 386 pp., 
8vo. Admirable in temper, lucid in style, semi-popular. 

SCHMIEDEL, P. W. The Jolianninc Writings. Engl. 
transl., by M. A. Cauney. London, A. & C. Black, 1903. 
295 pp., l 2mo. Brief, popular, radical, by one of tho 
uMest of N.T. critics. 


REUSS, E. History of th : X.T. Engl. transl. from 5th 
German ed., by E. L. 11 "._!. LUII. Boston, Houghton, 
Mifflin & Co., 1834. 619 pp. 2 vols. large 8vo. A 
standard treasury of scholarly information. 

WKKXLE, P. The Beginnings of Christianity. Engl. 
transl. , by G. A. Bienemann. London, Williams & Nor- 
gate, 1904. 388 + 404 pp., 8vo. 2 vols. Able, scholarly, 

PKLEIPERER, 0. Christian Origins. Engl. transl., by D. 
Huobsch. New York, B. W. Huebsch, 1906. 295pp., 
12mo. Popular lectures showing something of the views 
of the modern school of critics known as religions- 
gcschicJdlich. Pfleiderer s critical opinions are fully 
expressed in his Primitive Christianity (Engl. trausl., by 
\V. Montgomery, in four vols., 8vo. Putnams, 1909). 

MUZZEY, D. S. The llise of the N.T. New York, 
Macmillan, 1900. 156 pp., 12mo. An excellent primer 
for beginners. 

WREDE, W. The Origin of the N. T. Engl. transl. by 
J. S. Hill. Harper & Bros., London k New York, 1909. 
151 pp., 12mo. An admirable primer by a brilliant leader 
of advanced criticism. 

YON SODEN. The History of Early Christian Literature. 
Writings of the N.T. Engl. transl., by J. K. Wilkinson. 


Williams & Norgate, 1906. 476 pp., 12mo. A book for 
beginners by a great N.T. scholar of liberal views. A 
closely connected field is covered by various Histories of 
the Apostolic Age, of which the most recent and important 
are those of Weizsacker (Engl. transl., 1895) and McGiffert 
(1897). Less technical and more orthodox are those of 
Vemon-Bartlett (1899) and J. H. Ropes (1906). Critical 
Lives of Christ present the results of critical study of the 
Gospels. A survey of this field of research, keenly 
analytical and severely critical, is given by A. Schweitzer 
in The Quest of the Historical Jesus (Engl. transl. by W. 
Montgomery. A. & 0. Black, 1910. 416 pp., 8vo). 
Schweitzer writes with great scholarship and power, but 
decided polemic interest as a " consistent eschatologist." 


ABOMINATION, 161, 218 
Acts, 57 ff., 04 ff., 174 ff. 
Agabus, 1S5, 202 
Allegory (in John), 224 
Angelology and demonology, 95 
Antichrist, 217 f. 
Anti-legalism (of Mark). 166 
Antinomiaii lien-ay, 14 . , 214 
Antioch, 71, 175 ff. , 183 f. 
Apocalypses, _> .>, 51. 87, 1*8. 197 
Apostolic Christianity, 4. , 120, 
lli i. -.Ml) 

Commission, 238 f. 

Council. 00, 63, 67 

Apotheosis doctrine, 49 
Appendix to John, 107, 147, 211, 

230 ff. 

Asia, Churches of, 197 ff. 
Athanasius, 2;> f. 

Babylon ( = Rome), 115, 190 

liaprist (in John), 225 

Bar Cocheba, 204 

Sarifh. Apocalypse of, 188 

Banr, K. C., 37 ff. 

Beloved disciple, the, 227, 243 ff. 

-.. ,s"j 
Calvin, 87 

Canonization of the Law, 12 
G erimhus, 21 y 
Chilia.-r^. 1-7 
Christol.^-iciil Epistles, 97 
Christ-p:.rty, 45 
Clement of Rome, 19 f., 79, 115, 119 

of Alexandria, 25 

Clcm ntine HoMiliet and Recogni 
tions, MS 
Colossians, OS 
Corinthian Epistles, 70 ff. 

Decrees of Jerusalem, 60 
Diary of Acts, 1S3 
Dionysius of Alexandria, 191 
Disputed books, 30 
Doketism, 21, 110, 120, 153, 163, 
184, 186, 214, 217, 219 

Elder (of 2nd and 3rd John), 215 

Elements. 70. ! J 

Ephesians, 98 

Ephesus, 70, 97, 111 f., 191, 201, 211 

Epiphanius, 131 

Epistles (Major), 43 

of the Captivity, 42, 85, 100 

Eschatologieal discourse, 161 
Esdras (Apocalypse of), 1SS 
External evidence, 33 

Knlso brethren, 41 
Feasts (in John), J20 
Fornication, 00, 77 

Gains (3rd John), 21 "> f. 

of Rome, 31, 237 

Galatians, 50, 74 
Gentile liberty, 61 ff. 
Gnosticism, -to, KM, -Jo 7 f. 
(jcspd uccordiiiy to the Ifabrfics, 135, 

oftheycKnraiet, 132, 14. r ,fT., -. 36 

Ilarnack, 98 
Hebrews, 107, IIP ff. 

Apostolic authority in, 18 

(.. anunical standing of, 31 

ippns, 10") f., Ill 
Hellenistic religion, U 17 
Hennas, 21, 28, 119 f., 237 

Ignatius, 20 f., 23, 111, 124, 12t , 2(18 
Incarnation Doctrine, 49, l. >4, 2-J9, 

Infancy of Jesus (in Matthew and 

Luke), 152 

Internal evidence, 3S 
Ireiucus, 81, 133, 219 

James, 104 ff., 107, 112 f., 130 
Jerusalem Conference, 07, 71 

succession, 105 f., ll .i 

John, the Apostle, a martyr, 104, 

U 4. 243 

Gospel of, 25, 31, 43, 54, 200 ff. 

Revelation of. 30, 43, 03, 107, 

131, 187, lS9ff., 235 

Epistles of, 43, 111, 120, 211 ff. 

Aclt of, 219 f. 

the Elder, 20, 131, 133, 230 

Josephus (used by Luke), 174 
Judaism v. Hellenism, j l f. 
Judaizers, 68 
Jude, 19, 30, 107, 130. 
Justin Martyr, 1S7, 190, 235 f. 

Kindred of the Lord, 164 f. 




Laodiceans, 98 

Law v. grace, 8, 14, 66, 74, 81, 123 

Looia, 136, 141 

Logos-doctrine, 55, 221, 232 

Lordship (of Christ), 96 

Luke, 27, 139, 173 f. 

his omissions from Mark, 178 f. 

his purpose in writing, 180 f. 

Luther, 37 

Magic, 93 ff. 
Marcion, 22 ff., 40 
Mark, 129, 134, 159 ff. 

Duplication in, 172 

Endings of, 168 ff., 235 f. 

Matthew, 131 ff., 187 

Melito of Sardis, 19, 190 

Michaelis, 35 

Missionary Journey, First, 58 f. 

Journey, Second, 72 

Moffatt, Jas., 151 

Montanus, 28 f. 

Muratorian Fragment, 30, 234 

Nepos, the Chiliast, 191 
Offering for the poor, 69 

Palestine, Origin of Revelations, 

195 ff. 
Papias, 26, 105 f., 130 f., 186 f., 190, 


Parables (in Matthew), 149 f. 
Passover, 101, 173 
Pastoral Epistles, 19, 31, 83, 108, 

111, 123 

Patmos, 191, 200 f. 
Paul, Original Apostle of Asia, 205 

his religious experience, 16 

martyrdom, 105 

Pauline v. Petrine gospel, 49 
Paulinism of Mark, 162 
Persecution, 13, 122 
Peter (the Apostle). 24, 26, 106, 133, 


Apocalypse of, 29 f . 

Commission of, 240 i. 

Epistles of, 41, 108 f., 112 ff. 

Gospel of, 171, 221, 236 

Preaching of, 139 

Pharisaic Judaism, 121 
Philemon, 88 

Philip, Daughters of, 185 f. 
Philippians, 89 ff. 
Phrygian heresy, 28 

Pirke Aloth, 141 
Polycarp, 26, 110, 130, 136, 218 
Porphyry, 106 

Post-Keformation doafina, 33 f. 
Precepts (of Jesus), 137 
Prologue (of John), 231 
Prophecy, 188 f., 209 

Q-ruaterial, 141 ff. 

Reconciliation with God, 103 
Redeemer-gods, 50 
Redemption doctrines, 86, 93 
Reformation, 37 
Repentance (the Great), 156 f. 
Resurrection-doctrine, 73, 78, 125, 

155, 158, 204, 210 

Revelation (See John, Revelation 


Romans, 75, 80 ff. 
Rome, 120, 129 

Satan, Dominion of, 157 
Scripture, Use in Paul, 17 

Use in John, 25 

Second Coming, 230 

Sermon on Mount, 9 

Signs in Fourth gospel, 223 

Simon, Richard, 35 

Spirit, Doctrine of the, 17, 67, 101 

156, 220 

Subscriptions, 233 
Superstitious Judaism, 93 f. 
Symeon, son of Clopas, 105 
Synoptic writings, 44, 107 

writings in John, 223 

Syria and Cilicia, 61 , 129 

Teaching of the Twelve, 28, 63, 185 
Tertullian, 19, 29 
TheBsalonian Epistles. 73 
Timothy (See Pastoral Epistles), 78 
Titus (See Pastoral Epistles) 
Transfiguration, 165, 167, 228, 230 
Tubingen School, 43 ff. 

Unity of the Church, 70, 103, 120 
of the N.T., 248 

Way (= sect), 8 
Weak (party of the), 45 
Wisdom of God, 99, 209, 229 
Wisdom of Solomon (Sap.), 51 
Words of Jesus, 19, 129 f., 144 f. 

Zahn, 115 

Richard Clay <t Som, Limited, London and Bungay. 






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6o. MISSIONS, A.D 313-1910 Mrs. CREIGHTON 


600 B.C.-A.D. 1912 Prof. J. B. BURY LL.D. 

102. A HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY, 600 B.C.-A.D. 1910 

Prof. CLEMENT C. J. WEBB, M.A., F.B.A. 


54. ETHICS Prof. G. E. MOORE, M.A., LITT.D. 







115. BIOLOGY (Illus.) Profs. J. ARTHUR THOMSON and P. GEDDES 
no. HEREDITY (Illus.) E. W. MACBRIDE, M.A., D.SC. 


Revised 1928 by Prof. J. A. MACWILLIAM, M.D., F.R.S. 







119. MICROSCOPY (Illustrated) ROBERT M. NEILL 

79. NERVES. Revised 1928 Prof. D. FRASER HARRIS, M.D., F.R.S.E. 


28. PSYCHICAL RESEARCH, 1882-191 1 Sir W. F. BARRETT, F.R.S. 


19. THE ANIMAL WORLD (Illustrated) Prof. F. W. GAMBLE 



72. PLANT LIFE (Illustrated) Prof. Sir J. B. FARMER, D.SC., F.R.S. 


Prof. A. N. WHITEHEAD, D.SC., F.R.S. 
31. ASTRONOMY, circa 1860-1911 A. R. HINKS, M.A., F.R.S.; 



Revised 1928 by Prof. ALEXANDER FINDLAY, D.SC., F.I.C. 
122. GAS AND GASES (Illustrated) Prof. R. M. CAVEN, D.SC. 

53. THE MAKING OF THE EARTH (Illustrated) 

Prof. J. W. GREGORY, F.R.S. LL.D. 




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