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[Gottes bewusstsein] that he could truly say: "No man knoweth the Father but the Son"; but he had no existence before his life on earth. The expressions in John which seem to favor this doctrine, are to be referred rather to God's foreknowledge and fore-ordination of Jesus' relation to his work of redemption.
Schleiermacher's treatment of the miracles of Christ is a very interesting part of the book. It is quite evident that if the most striking miracles had been recorded only in the synoptical Gospels, Schleiermacher would have explained them all away, as invented or exaggerated by a later generation. But this not being the case, he resorts to the hypothesis that the miracles of healing were effected in a natural way, although in a very remarkable degree, by the force of Christ's spiritual nature acting on the physical constitution of others through the medium of an excited and expectant state of their emotions. This makes the greater number of the miraculous occurrences "comprehensible." In general, if we can understand Christ's motive, and also his mode of working, in a given case, there is no trouble. When either of these conditions is unfulfilled, the problem is difficult; when both fail, the accuracy of the narrative may be doubted. Thus, there was no need of Jesus feeding the five thousand, and we cannot see how, with so small a quantity of food, he could have done it; hence, probably nothing wonderful took place. This seems also to be indicated by the expression in John vi. 26. The daughter of Jairus was not dead, and probably the same is true of the young man at Nain. Lazarus was not raised by Christ, but, as Christ himself says, directly by God.
We cannot enumerate further particulars. The discussion of this subject, though not lacking in acuteness, must strike every reader as very unsatisfactory. Indeed, Schleiermacher himself acknowledges that no settled doctrine respecting this matter should be looked for until the origin of the Gospels is more critically investigated.
In sketching the sufferings and death of the Saviour,
Schleiermacher, following John, as usual, doubts the truth of the account of the agony in the garden, and of the miraculous occurrences mentioned in the other Gospels. The different narratives of the resurrection are compared, and the discrepancies presented, but no positive result is obtained. One can hardly tell whether the author has any opinion or not. Having begun with the promise to make the life of Christ comprehensible, he brings us at last to a most important point, where the real state of the case is left entirely unexplained. We are left in doubt whether the crucifixion resulted in a real death; in doubt, therefore, whether there was a real resurrection, and in still greater doubt how Jesus' life finally ended. Schleiermacher evidently discredits the whole story of the ascension. Yet he cannot believe that the apostles knew of Christ's actually dying a natural death after the resurrection. Hence we are told that the question is involved in uncertainty, this only being certain, that it was better for the disciples that Jesus himself should be away, so as not to overawe them, and thus render them unable to work independently.
Schleiermacher's Lectures on the Life of Jesus were heard by so many, and their purport, therefore, was so generally known, that the appearance of this book, of course, excites no very great attention. Yet not an inconsiderable party in Germany occupy still substantially Schleiermacher's theological point of view, and welcome its appearance. It is not unworthy of its great author, however faulty in many, and those even important, particulars. Though he often wrenches the scriptures, following his strong bent to develop everything out of his consciousness, yet he seems not to be conscious that this is a questionable course; he does not write in the spirit of a narrow controversialist, but seems rather to be driven by an inward impulse. He is sceptical, we may say, but not a sceptic who looks at Christianity from the outside, and affects thus impartially to examine it. He not only professes to be a Christian, but his spirit, in spite of all which is open to criticism in his views, is one which no true Christian can fail to respect.
Prof. Schenkel's "Characterbild Jesu" deserves notice, not so much because it is a specially valuable contribution to theological literature, as because it is the work of a prominent theologian, and indicates a certain tendency in German speculations. If we were in general terms to compare Schenkel's work with Renan's, we should say that the latter is as truthful a picture of the life of Jesus as one could expect from an infidel, and that the former is as untruthful a picture as one could expect from a Christian. As is well known, Schenkel has been for several years receding more and more from his former orthodox ground; this work may be taken as an index of his present position.
The key-note of this work, as of the two just considered, is the professed determination to make the life of Jesus thoroughly comprehensible. In his introduction, Schenkel reviews the past and present church doctrine respecting the person of Christ. He declares the notion of the union of two natures absurd; laments that the Reformers should have left their work half done, by omitting to attack this error; finds herein the chief source of rationalism — a movement which went too far, was checked by Schleiermacher, but not overcome, since he started from a too subjective point of view, thus leaving the way open for Strauss, by a stricter historical criticism, to attack the foundations of Christianity, by which attack many were frightened back to orthodoxy, but to a worse one than the former, because not so sincere. Hence, Schenkel concludes, a truthful presentation of the life of the Founder of Christianity is urgently needed. This he here attempts to give.
As to the sources of his biography, Schenkel accepts as satisfactory the investigations of Holzmann, and takes Mark as furnishing the most authentic narrative. The order of events as given by Mark is followed, as being chronologically correct. He thinks that Mark himself wrote somewhere between A.D. 45 and 48. His priority to all others is proved by his having no apparent special design in writing, by the lack of artistic arrangement, by the absence
of all accounts of Jesus' childhood and of different journeys to Jerusalem, and by his giving less of the miraculous. Matthew wrote, probably, before A.D. 60, Luke still later, and is the least trustworthy of the three. As for the fourth Gospel, Schenkel cannot away with it. He denies its genuineness; finds in it no "development" of Jesus' character; declares it utterly irreconcilable with the others; detects everywhere a distinct dogmatic purpose, viz. to exalt and deify the character of Christ; declares it impossible that Christ should have talked so long and in such a strain as is here often represented, and concludes that, though it contains trustworthy records, and may partially and indirectly be traced to John, it is yet of comparatively late origin, being written after A.D. 110. Schenkel's treatment of this topic is conducted neither with candor nor with critical thoroughness. He seizes at every item which may serve to weaken the authority of John, and ignores every effort that may be made to reconcile his Gospel with the others.
According to Schenkel, Christ was a mere man, yet a man of unexampled dignity, the hope and light of the world, the Saviour of men, etc. Schenkel does not affirm Jesus' sinlessness so emphatically as Schleiermacher, yet he seems to hold it. This, however, he can do with less difficulty than Schleiermacher, for he believes in no kind of innate depravity. Christ had naturally remarkably strong religious sensibilities. Luke ii. 41 seq. is probably authentic, "especially as all marks of legendary embellishment are lacking." Jesus' relation to the Baptist is "difficult," but we must suppose that curiosity led him to visit. John, and a desire to identify himself with the people, not a sense of sin, to have induced him to be baptized. At that time he began to feel himself called to a great work, but he had yet no conviction that he was the Messiah. He had no plan respecting his labors in general. He preached a more thorough kind of repentance than that required by John. He never looked with favor on the Mosaic law; hence it is certain that the Sermon on the
VOL. XXII. No. 86.
Mount as given by Matthew is less accurate than in Luke. Hence, too, Matt. xxiii. 3, and other similar expressions, are spurious. In Mark viii. 27 we find the first intimation that Jesus began to think that he must call himself the Messiah. "This was the only way, at least with a part of the Jews, to make his thoughts gain entrance, and to attain the object of his mission." His opposition to Judaism grew more and more decided. He did not go to Judaea but once; that was, however, several months before his crucifixion. The cleansing of the temple indicated that the fall of the temple service was "an already accomplished fact." Christ's agony in the garden was occasioned by his fear of death, dread of disgrace, and especially by the thought that he must bear the hate of men. When on the cross he did not address John, for John was not there. Luke's account of the conversion of the thief is also wrong. The death was real, and there followed no resurrection. The subsequent appearances of Christ are to be considered as spiritual. This is indicated by Paul, who puts his own vision of Christ by the side of that of the other disciples, as if of the same nature.
As to miracles, Schenkel of course rejects them, but allows, like Renan and Schleiermacher, to Jesus a peculiar healing power. Whenever this cause is not a sufficient explanation of a recorded effect, it is only necessary to say that the record is "a later tradition." If it is found also in Mark, it is the work of "the subsequent reviser." Whenever it suits his purpose, Schenkel prefers Matthew or Luke's statement to Mark's. Sometimes he even gives the preference to John. In such cases he has only to remark that the expression or narrative is " genuinely historical."
But the task proposed of making Christ's life comprehensible, as being that of a mere man-is it accomplished? In the sense of having denied to him divinity, it is indeed done; this requires only a few strokes of the pen. In the sense of pronouncing all narratives of miraculous events