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1851.]

Hypothesis of Weisse.

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believe them; and other stories were made from very trivial circumstances. From what he once casually said, that he whose feet are washed is every whit clean, arose the story of his having washed his disciples' feet; the apostles practised baptism, and after a while be gan to think (Weisse does not tell us why) that Jesus had instituted such a rite. Once, after Jesus' death, when the apostles were at supper together, they became greatly excited with the idea of prosecuting the work which he had left unfinished; and this gave rise to the story that Christ himself had instituted the Lord's Supper; and also to the tradition, so much like the theophanies of Homer, of his supping with the two disciples at Emmaus after his crucifixion.

(c) Origin of the written Gospels. According to the testimony of Papias, (says Weisse,) the Apostle Matthew wrote in the Hebrew of that time, a collection of the discourses of Jesus. According to the same authority, Mark, a scholar of Peter, wrote a biography of Jesus, as he had heard Peter relate it; and afterwards this narrative of Mark was combined with Matthew's collection of discourses, (now translated into Greek,) and this compilation is our present Greek Gospel of Matthew. Meanwhile, Luke, the companion of Paul, had written another biography from independent sources. Here we have the first three gospels. As to the fourth gospel, ascribed to John, it was not originally intended for a biography at all; but the Apostle John, when he was a very old man, continually pondering over his ideal of the life of Christ, (now growing very dim and shadowy,) that he might not lose entirely this image out of his mind, wrote down fragmentary notices, as they happened to occur to him, without any view to publication, and not even intending any real objective biography, but merely for the purpose of defining and fixing his own subjective ideal. But, after the good apostle's death, some unlucky elders found these papers in his study, and imagining they were written as an actual memoir of Jesus, arranged them for publication, and gave them to the world, with such modifications, additions, and connecting sentences, as the exigencies of the case seemed to require. Thus we have our present Gospel of John.

(d) Estimate of this hypothesis. The reader must understand that Weisse does not even pretend to have any testimony as to the facts being as he states them. He would think it unworthy of a philoso pher like him to come at a historical result in that way. It is but a specimen of the developing of history from internal consciousness, instead of learning it from external evidence. To illustrate the safety and accuracy of this method of developing historical facts, let VOL. VIII. No. 31.

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us try it in reference to some book of American biography. Marshall's Life of Washington, as we now have it, was not written by Judge Marshall, except detached portions of it, nor has the book been seen in the United States, till within a few months past. The origin of the work was this: During the nullification excitement of 1827, Hon. John Holmes of Maine amused himself by writing notes across the Senate Chamber, to Hon. T. H. Benton of Missouri. Mr. Benton preserved these notes, thinking he might sometime have occasion for them, and he added some of his own. Last winter, during Mr. Clay's compromise efforts, Mr. B., perceiving that his time had come, committed these papers to Hon. Amos Kendall, who, out of them and Judge Marshall's papers, forged the book called Marshall's Life of Washington. In consequence of this publication, Col. Benton was elected President of the United States, and Gen. Cass, amid much noise and confusion, migrated to California! This, if not exactly like the Hegelian hypotheses of Scripture history, is just as good and just as true as the most of them.

(3) Hypothesis of Gfrörer.

Aug. Gfrörer is a countryman of Strauss, and a writer of reputation. His church history especially (published in 1841-45) is spoken of by competent judges as a work of great merit. He began (as he says) to meditate his theories earlier than Strauss, but they are no better, and if possible, in some respects even worse. The gospel of John he considers genuine, but the other three, spurious and mythical. A few miracles, such as the healing of the nobleman's son and the sick man of Bethesda, he admits, and does not sympathize with Strauss in his rejection of all miraculous narratives. The three synoptical gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), according to him, owe their origin to the influence of the writings of Philo and other Jews; and many ideas in them are derived directly from the Talmud, the Fourth Book of Esdras, the Book of Enoch, and other apocryphal writings. (The thing counterfeited owes its existence to the counterfeit.) He is at much pains to prove the antiquity of these apocryphal and Talmudic writings, to make them, if possible, seem older than the gospels, but with very indifferent success. Even granting him the antiquity he claims, the resemblances on which he relies for the support of his theory are marvellously unlike, as if one should derive the wigs of the English bishops and judges from the head-dress of the Feejee islanders.

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To cite a few examples: According to the Jerusalem Talmud, one day when Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Jonathan were riding together, the former began to discourse, when the latter hastily dismounted from his ass, and said: "It is not reasonable that I should bear the honor of my Creator, and thereby ride on an ass." They both sat down under a tree, and there fell fire from heaven and surrounded them, (as a reward of their humility). From this and other similar passages, Gfrörer concludes that in the time of Christ the Jews held fire to be a necessary accompaniment of revelations from God. Hence arose the tradition that John Baptist had declared that Jesus should baptize with fire! In the same Talmud it is related that Deuteronomy came to God and said: "O Lord, thou hast written down thy law in me;" and then complained that Solomon, when he took to himself many wives, took away the jod out of the word

in Deut. 19: 19. Then God answered Deuteronomy and said: "Solomon and a thousand like him shall perish; but not a vowel shall perish from thee." Hence arose the tradition that Jesus had said, that not one jot or one tittle of the law should fail. The Targum of Jonathan, in Zech. 14: 21, translates the word " by merchant; hence the tradition that Christ drove the money-changers out of the temple! These derivations certainly exceed Knickerbocker's etymology of the word mango from the man Jeremiah King; for in this case the steps are quite obvious, thus: Jeremiah King, Jerry King, Jerkin, Cucumber, Mango.

The doctrine of the Trinity, Gfrörer thinks is of Rabbinic origin. The text, Zech. 14: 4, the predicted disruption of the Mount of Olives, is explained of the Messiah and his sister the Holy Ghost, who are both ninety-six miles high and twenty-four miles wide. Hence comes the whole Christian doctrine of the Trinity! O, Gfrörer, thou art beside thyself; much learning hath made thee mad.

Ebrard, in the first edition of his work, with great significancy certainly, if not with scrupulous delicacy, illustrates the probability of Gfrörer's hypothesis of the origin of the gospels, by the following figure: A company of leprous beggars wash themselves in a river, and from this river a beautiful young man is seen to emerge; the inference is certain that this young man was made of the beggars' scabs! How much more certain the inference when it is proved that the young man emerged from the river before the beggars had washed in it!!

(4) Hypothesis of Bruno Bauer.

Bruno Bauer is a younger man than Strauss, and he may well be

regarded as the extreme extremity of the extreme left wing of Hegelianism. In him self-deification and the annihilation of all objective truth have reached their culminating point. No subtility or refinement or locomotive force of Hegelianism can ever go beyond Bruno Bauer. His thoughts are so misty, and his expressions so bombastic and overstrained, that it is exceedingly difficult to get his meaning, and still more difficult to give a translation of it in another language; for like very tenuous gasses, it all seems to evaporate as soon as it meets the air. It is, however, sufficiently plain that Bruno has a very high opinion of himself, a very low opinion of all theologians, and of God no opinion at all. At the very outset he annihilates all historical truth. There was indeed a Jesus, and there was a community in the Jewish nation which formed the nucleus of the Christian church; and this is nearly the whole of the historical basis which he is disposed to acknowledge.. There were no Messianic prophecies or expectations among the Jews, there was no baptism of Jesus, there were no discourses, no miracles, no anything to give an objective foundation to the historical narratives in the gospels. These narratives are not records of facts which once actually occurred; but they are the spontaneous efflorescence of the innermost religious consciousness of the age. The writers did not even profess to themselves to record facts, nor did they pretend to make other people think they were recording facts. How it is that men could write long narratives without thinking they were facts and without intending to write fiction, Bauer himself explains in a way of his own. We will translate his language as well as we are able, and leave the reader to guess his meaning. Says Bauer: "The religious spirit is that disruption of the self-consciousness, in which the essential definiteness of the same steps over against the consciousness as a power separate from it. Before this power the self-consciousness must naturally lose itself; for it has therein cast out its own contents out of itself, and so far as it can still sustain itself as a Me for itself, it feels itself before that power as nothing, so as it must regard the same as the nothing of its own self. Nevertheless the Me as self-consciousness cannot entirely lose itself-in its subjective, secular thought filled with moral ends and its willing, it still maintains its freedom; and into this freedom also the religious consciousness and the historical development of the same are involuntarily drawn. Both the religious consciousness and the free selfconsciousness thus come into contact, to interpenetration, without which the first could be neither individually living nor capable of a historical growth. But so as this livingness and growth, after their

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first contact, become the subject of religious reflection, they are again torn from the self-consciousness, they step before the consciousness as the deed of another; and now also, necessarily, the interposition which had placed them in the self-consciousness as its own movement, becomes a machinery whose bands are guided in another world." (Kritik der evang. Geschichte der Synoptiker, I. 25 f.) Such is his explanation of this wonderful phenomenon, and doubtless it is very profound and satisfactory.

These principles being settled, the origin of the first three gospels, according to Bruno, was as follows: Somebody wrote the book which bears the name of Mark, and others very strangely mistook it for a veritable biography of Jesus. Another afterwards took this book in hand, and without thinking it was not historical, changed and modified it according to his own ideas, and thus we have the Gospel of Luke. Now comes a third, and compares these two writings together, seeks to reconcile the contradictions he finds, compiles and combines, reading first a verse in one and then a verse in the other. In this writer's reflection, subjectivity predominates; yet he, as well as his predecessors, is all unaware, that what he writes is simply the product of his own imagination, and not real, objective history. Here we have the Gospel of Matthew.

This Bruno is very confident, and feels great contempt for theologians. He says: "See how they (the theologians) stand there; how the theological hate glows from their eyes. Ha! would you grasp the thunder? Miserable mortals! well that it was not given to you!" "Now, after the above exploitations, ask them whether they really think their Jesuitism can hold on; whether they believe that their deception and lying will endure forever? When the time comes that their falsehood must be a conscious and determined lie, then their judgment is no longer far off."

This will do for Bruno Bauer; surely no one will undertake to refute him. We leave him alone with his glory.

It is scarcely necessary to give any specimens of Schwegler, F. C. Baur, and other critics of the Tübingen school. Though differing somewhat from the Hegelians already noticed, practically they belong to the same category. There is the same self-conceit and self-deification, the same reckless disregard of facts, the same extravagant baselessness and groundlessness of speculation. In one species of folly, they even exceed Gfrörer; for while they admit the writings of the apostolic fathers, Papias, Ignatius, Irenæus, etc., to be ancient and genuine, they affirm that the writings of the New Testament ascribed to

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