An Introduction to the New Testament

By Adolf Jülicher


Section 2


§ 2. A General View of the Literature of the Subject

1. We cannot expect to find anything resembling what we now call Introduction in ancient times or in the Middle Ages. Least of all would anyone in those days have thought of studying the history of the New Testament apart from that of the Old. The title ʽIntroduction to the divine Scripturesʼ (εἰσαγωγὴ εἰς θείας γραφάς) is first met with about 450 in a short treatise of 184 sections by one Adrianus,1 otherwise unknown, a theologian of the school of Antioch. But his book is nothing but a piece of Biblical rhetoric and didactics; the New Testament is scarcely touched upon at all. The celebrated M. Aurelius Cassiodorius, SENATOR († about 570), does indeed recommend in his most important theological work, the ʽInstitutio divinarum lectionum,ʼ the learned Donatist Tyconius,2 St. Augustine,3 Eucherius or Lyons4 and Junilius Africanus5 as ʽIntroductores Scripturae Divinaeʼ as well as the afore-mentioned Adrian, but he shows by the arguments he adduces that to him ʽintroductionʼ meant no more than a means to the understanding of difficult passages, sentences or words of the Scriptures. We still possess the books intact to which Cassiodorius was referring: Tyconius6 gives us but a summary of hermeneutics in his Seven Rules for the study and discovery of the meaning of the Holy Scriptures; Eucherius7 a smattering of exegetical sciences of a secondary order, while Augustine in the four books of his ʽDe Doctrina christianaʼ at any rate defines the limits of the Holy Scriptures and says something of the translations of the original texts. But the important point in his eyes is again but to describe the equipment necessary for him who would interpret the Bible, and the idea that historical knowledge, especially concerning the origin of the sacred books, plays any part whatever in such an equipment he does not consider worthy of mention. Our own notions of the qualities required in an introductor are perhaps best realised by Junilius, a court official of Justinian, probably of African extraction, who in the two books of his ʽInstituta regularia divinae Legisʼ8 gives us a eatechism of Biblical knowledge in the form of a dialogue between master and pupil, in exact conformity with the discourses of his own master, the Nestorian Paul of NIsiBis. In the section concerning the authority of the Scriptures, for instance, he distinguishes between the Biblical Books of absolute and of secondary authority, speaks of the authors of the Divine Books and whence our knowledge of some a least of them came, and discusses the modi scripturarum— though remaining, as he himself admits, very much ʽon the surface of the Scripture.ʼ Cassiodorius had these five ʽIntroductionsʼ written out together in a codex for the library of his monastery, and embodied a few items of some value to us concerning the history of the New Testament in his own ʽInstitutio.ʼ

All that the Middle Ages knew on questions of Introduction was derived from these sources, or else from the information given by historians like Eusebius, Rufinus, Jerome and Isidore or by commentators and revisers of Biblical Books concerning the circumstances under which these were written. The more important parts of such information were usually transmitted in close connection with the text of the book concerned as a superscription or postscript. A characteristic attempt at summarising these learned materials in concise form is afforded by the little book of Huauzs de Saint Victor, the great mystic (†1141), entitled ʽPraenotationes Elucidatoriae de Scriptura sacra et eius Scriptoribus.ʼ

2. After the beginning of the Reforming movement the interest in all questions relating to the Bible naturally increased, and most markedly so in the circles of the Roman Church itself. The name Introduction (εἰσαγωγή) for literary productions of this kind appears again at Lucca and Louvain, but none of these works represent a continuation of the impulse given by Junilius and Cassiodorius. On the other hand, a remarkable advance is shown by the ʽBibliotheca Sanctaʼ of Sixtus or Siena—baptised Jew, Franciscan and finally Dominican—which appeared in 1566. This is a gigantic work divided into eight books, of which but one is devoted to Hermeneutics, three are taken up with a history of Exegesis (highly meritorious, though not always trustworthy), and the rest consists in a positive enumeration of the books declared by orthodox doctrine to be Canonical, and a defence of this Canon against heretical objections. Here we regularly find information as to author, date, contents and order of succession of the different Biblical Books, bearing witness to considerable reading and even to the timid promptings of a critical sense. For some time Sixtus remained unsurpassed in the Catholic world, nor were the kindred productions of Protestants, which appeared under very various titles,9 of any higher value; criticism has no part in them whatever; all is subordinated to the dogmatic interest. Historical material is only made use of in so far as it can be made to lead up to the orthodox Protestant view of the Scriptures.

3. A new epoch was inaugurated for the science of Introduction—the creator of which he might be called—by Richard Simon, priest of the Oratory of Paris, who died in 1712. True that the great Arminian theologian and politician Hugo Grotius (†1645) had already applied an impartial criticism to certain Books of the Bible, and examined their authenticity with results not always favourable to tradition; true, too, that in his wonderfully suggestive ʽTractatus theologico-politicusʼ the philosopher Spinoza (†1677) had demanded an historical understanding and an historical treatment of the Bible, and shattered, in principle, the omnipotence of dogma on that field; but both these writers stopped short at occasional indications. Simon, on the other hand, published a ʽHistory of the New Testamentʼ at Rotterdam in 1689, 1690 and 1692,10 and thus not only set a new inquiry on foot, but proceeded at the same time to answer it.11 The History of Exegesis fills indeed the greater part of his space; relics of the older method, such as discussions on the inspiration of the New Testament Books, apologetic directed against Jews, philosophers ʽand heretics, dissertations on the style of the Evangelists and Apostles and on the Hellenistic tongue are to be found even here; but the dogmatic element is merely nominal, and Simonʼs interest in the New Testament is that of the historian. Though the history of the text is the chief object of his toil, he manages to deal with all the main questions which we shall discuss in the first two parts of our Introduction within 230 pages of his first volume—although, it is true, with varying degrees of energy: e.g. Chap. x. Du temps ett de l'ordre de chaque évangile; Chap. xii. De l'Evangile de St Luc; ce qui l'a pú obliger de le publier, y en ayant deux autres qui avoient esté publiés avant le sien; Chap. xvi. (on the Epistle to the Hebrews): si elle est de St Paul et canonique. Ce que l'antiquité a crû là-dessus tant dans l'Orient que dans l'Occident. Simon separated the New Testament from the Old; he gave the impulse towards the treatment of the New Testament as a branch of literary history; he drew attention to the incessant development it has undergone, and inaugurated the philological and historical criticism of the New Testament with tact and good taste. The spuriousness of the appendix to Mark, of John vii. 53-viii. 11 and of 1. John v. 7 fol. was demonstrated by him, as well as the uncertainty of the traditional text in many other places. That he himself did not go beyond the criticism of details—the so-called Lower Criticism—and was satisfied with the tradition on the more general questions of the origin of the separate books and of the Canon, is no blame to him; it was rather the healthy beginning of historical investigation, and to this limitation more than to anything else he owed the very great influence which he succeeded in gaining over Protestant as well as Catholic learning.

At first, indeed, Protestants and Catholics vied with one another in repelling these impudent attacks on the Word of God, but how dependent on the very thing they scorned were those who bewailed the way in which Simon—ʽad infringendam Sanctae Scripturae auctoritatem callidissimusʼ— ʽarbitrarily altered the true text of the New Testament and treated the most sacred books in the same manner as he would the writings of any profane author,ʼ is distinctly shown, for instance, by J. Millʼs ʽProlegomena in Novum Testamentumʼ (1707), and by the ʽIntroductioʼ of the Frankfurt pastor J. G. Pritius, which, first published in 1704, made its way to every part of Germany in numerous editions.12 In it the writer defends the authenticity of everything in the New Testament, even down to the appendix to Mark and 1. John v. 7 fol., but yet makes a pretence of giving a history of the Text, the individual Books and even the Canon (though this in very summary form), as Simon had done before him. In addition to this, however, he offers the strangest collection of information introductory to the exegesis of the New Testament; thus chap. xx., for instance, treats of the seventy disciples, chap. xxviii. of accents, chap. xl. of the coins occurring in the New Testament. We must suppose that even as late as 1776 it was thought desirable to popularise such useful services in refutation of Simonʼs classical works, for in that year Pritiusʼs ʽKritische Schriften über das Neue Testamentʼ were translated into German by Cramer at the suggestion of J. S. Semler.

4. In the external history of our subject conspicuous importance must be assigned to ʽRitterʼ J. David Michaelis, a Göttingen Professor who died in 1791 and whose ʽEinleitung in die gottlichen Schriften des Neuen Bundesʼ was republished four times,13 the first edition consisting of 686 pages of small octavo, and the third—even without the index—of 1356 of quarto. Scarcely any merit but that of using the German tongue for the first time can indeed be ascribed to the first edition; as far as the matter is concerned the improvement upon Simon is certainly not so enormous as the prologue would have us believe, while in form everything is remarkably ill-arranged; the reader learns nothing whatever, for instance, about books like the Epistle to the Hebrews, 2. Peter and Jude, and is merely referred to other parts of Scripture. But from the third edition onwards the material is treated more systematically, and divided in such a manner that vol. i. contains the general and vol. ii. the special introduction; and although the general part still contains sections on the language of the New Testament, on its quotations from the Old, on its inspiration, or on the question ʽwhether our faith is made insecure by the variants in the New Testamentʼ (§ 41), such portions are clearly assigned a secondary place. Instead of the divinity of the New Testament Books the writer seeks rather to defend their genuineness and credibility, but ventures even so to pronounce the defence ʽdifficultʼ in the case, for instance, of the Epistle of Jude, and to draw attention to the fact that the historical objections and the dogmatic complaints against the authenticity of that Epistle ʽdo but affect the Epistle of Jude, after all, and not the Books of the New Testament accepted as Canonical by the earliest Church, and therefore not religion itself.ʼ One would have thought that distinctions of this sort would have compelled a more careful investigation of the history of the Canon, but this was only accomplished by the above-mentioned theologian J. S. Semler of Halle († 1791) in his ʽAbhandlung von freier Untersuchung des Kanonsʼ(4 Parts, 1771-75). He showed that the New Testament Canon was the work of men and did not come into being till towards the end of the second century, simultaneously with the Catholic Church, and moreover that the judgment of these men as to the Apostolicity of any book ought not to debar their descendants from independent: verification. By the distinction he made between the Word of God and the Canonical he finally freed the study of the New Testament from the fear of destroying religion or faith by its results. Semler did not accomplish any connected attempt at an ʽIntroduction,ʼ nor was the gift of presentation or of the skilful distribution of his material vouchsafed to him; he cannot be acquitted of a tendency towards eccentric assertion, and yet by his numerous monographs on subjects connected with the New Testament he gave a mighty impulse to research in all departments, and in some actually advanced it—e.g. by his demonstration that the Apocalypse and the Gospel of John could not possibly have come from one and the same hand.

5. In the century that has elapsed since the death of Semler incredible industry has been devoted, especially in Germany, to the study of the New Testament, and in spite of various attempts of the reactionary party to compel a return to the traditional opinions, it has followed the principles and the methods of free historical investigation more and more closely. But from this time onwards the great advances made in our subject have depended less on the works embracing the history of the New Testament as a whole than on the monographs dealing, say, with the Pastoral Epistles, the Johannine writings or the Gospels, and on the numerous commentaries upon each separate Book of the New Testament. F. SchleieRMacHeRʼs doubts as to the genuineness of 1. Timothy were soon extended to 2. Timothy and Titus; the right of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Apocalypse, the Catholic Epistles, to bear the names of their supposed authors was denied with ever greater insistence and on ever new grounds. At first, indeed, the mere love of criticising outstripped the need for a positive estimation and understanding. The disputes on authenticity left no room for an appreciative analysis of the documents criticised, and as a natural consequence an insatiable desire arose for Setting up new hypotheses on all critical questions. The more startling and ingenious they were, so much the better, and a steady and well-founded advance from sure to less certain ground was seldom to be met with.

This phase of the study of Introduction was typified on its questionable side by the ʽEinleitung in das N. T. of F. Gottfried Eichhorn, the poly-historian of Göttingen14— a work full of broad deductions and extraordinary interpretations—and on its favourable side by the ʽLehrbuch der historisch-kritischen Hinleitung in die kanonischen Biicher des N. T.ʼ of W. M. L. de Wete, the great Biblical scholar (died at Basle in 1849)—a book which went through five editions, the first appearing in 1826 and the fifth in 1848. Unfortunately the history of the New Testament Canon, together with much indispensable matter besides, must here be sought for in the Introduction to the Old Testament, while the first section—dealing with the original language of the New Testament—is superfluous in the form in which he presents it; the writerʼs attitude towards critical problems varies very much with the different editions, and—chief defect of all—he thinks more of telling us the opinions of theologians about the New Testament Books than of giving us a plain account of the Books themselves; but his work is rendered useful even to students of to-day by its wealth of carefully collected information on the literature and history of research, by the uniformity of its treatment, the free, sober, earnest tone of its criticism and the lofty and objective attitude of its author, who is, if anything, too sparing of his words. In Opposition to the critical tendencies prevailing at that time, the cause of tradition was upheld by the Catholic J. L. Hug of Freiburg, whose ʽEinleitung in die Schriften des N. T.ʼsʼ appeared first in 1808, and the fourth edition in 1847. This elegantly written work, which excels in the art of satisfying all the wishes of the Church while maintaining an air of complete open-mindedness, has exercised a great influence, which would have been quite comprehensible even if the learning and tact of the writer had not in truth hit the mark often enough as compared with the exploits of the innovators. But its greatest interest to-day is for the ecclesiastical historian, who may study the difference between the Catholicism of the beginning of the century and the Catholicism of the present day to great advantage by comparing Hug with the more recent works of Introduction from the hands of Catholics—e.g. with Cornelyʼs ʽHistorica et critica introductio in Novi Testamenti libros sacrosanctos,ʼ vols. i. and iil. (Paris, 1885 and 1886), or with A. Schäferʼs ʽHinleitung in das N. T.ʼ (Paderborn, 1898).

C. August Credner (died at Giessen in 1857) rendered excellent service by his numerous and valuable works in all departments of New Testament Introduction; he did not live to carry out the plan of an Introduction which he drew up (although the first part of such a work appeared in 1836), but the task was undertaken in his stead by the Strasburg professor Edward Reuss (†1891), whose ʽGeschichte der heiligen Schriften des N. T.ʼsʼ first appeared in 1842 and reached a sixth edition in 1887. The most important parts of this very attractively written book are those concerned with the history of the translations and of Exegesis (§§ 421-600), which, however, we cannot regard as belonging to our subject; and in spite of the title ʽGeschichte der Entstehung der Neu Testamentlichen heiligen Schriften,ʼ the first section deals with the Epistles of Clement and of Barnabas, the Clementines, the Catholic Gospels of the Birth and Childhood, Hermas, the Symbolum, etc., in exactly the same way as with James or 1. Peter. In the many decades during which it has survived, this work has not only increased considerably in bulk, but its venerable author has with untiring energy and never-failing independence of judgment continued to supplement and improve it and to discuss the views put forward in more recent works. So much, however, has undergone transformation in our branch of science since 1842 that not even the art of a Reuss could succeed in entirely suppressing all traces of antiquation in the latest editions.

6. The most revolutionary change in the treatment of the history of the New Testament proceeded from the Tübingen ScHool, so called from its head, the Tübingen Professor FERDINAND CHRISTIAN Baur († 1860). Its most distinguished members (among whom David Friedrich Strauss cannot strictly be reckoned) are E. Zeller, ALBRECHT ScHWEGLER, K. R. Köstlin, Adolf Hilgenfeld (of Jena) and Gustav Volkmar (of Zürich, † 1891), and among the younger generation, with whom the original point of view continually undergoes new and important modifications, Carl Holsten of Heidelberg († 1896), and Otto Pfleiderer of Berlin. The organ of this school, pre-eminently devoted to studies connected with the history of primitive Christianity and of the New Testament, was the series of ʽTheologische Jahrbücherʼ which appeared from 1842 to 1857. Since 1867 a periodical of similar tendencies and contents has been published at Leyden, entitled the ʽTheologisch Tijdschrift,ʼ the contributors to which are Dutch theologians, disciples for the most part of J. H. Scholten († 1885), who allowed themselves to be converted with their master to the historical views of the Tübingen School about the beginning of the sixties. Before this, however, Baur had already found friends in France: Edmond Scherer, for instance, there upheld the principal doctrines of the Tübingen School from the year 1850 onwards, and TimotHéE Colani, editor from 1850 to 1869 of the ʽRevue de Théologie,ʼ was conspicuous among those who shared his views. In England a few isolated stragglers who have appeared since 1870 have gained no influence.

It is usual to designate the Tübingen writers briefly as ʽtendency-critics,ʼ because in the case of every book of the New Testament they inquire first of all into the ʽtendencyʼ it was meant to serve. But the epoch-making qualities of their criticism are thereby but poorly rendered. The reproach that they tore asunder the single unity formed by the New Testament documents and scattered it over two centuries is, however, still less appropriate; what was great in Baurʼs work was rather his demand that these documents should not be regarded each in a separate light as the accidental products of any one religious personality, but should be grasped in close connection with the history of Christianity, as the necessary outcome of a particular phase in its development. The key to the knowledge of this history Baur thought he had discovered in the antagonism between Paul and the Primitive Apostles, between the representative of a law-freed, universalist Christianity and the champions of a Messianic creed in bondage to all the prejudices of Judaism. This struggle, he considers, gradually became less and less acute from the second Christian generation onwards; concessions were made by both sides, and a middle course was finally agreed upon in order to save the very existence of the Church in the face of the hatred of Jews and Gentiles, and the disintegrating tendencies of Gnosticism. A theology at once super-Pauline and super-Judaistic became the foundation for the one Catholic Church, which at once proceeded to seal the compact by the creation of the New Testament Canon, thereby recognising all the Apostles without exception as the highest authority, as though no difference of opinion had ever existed among them. As this view of the early history of the Church is essentially drawn from New Testament writings— Galatians, 1. and 2. Corinthians, the Apocalypse (!)—so its logical consequence must be the arrangement of those writings along such a line of development; if they are really historical authorities they must stand in intimate relation to the dispute which formed the very life of the history of the time. They must have their definite place upon the line that runs from the Judaists of Jerusalem of about the year 40 to the champions of the Catholic Church of about 200, such as IrEnaeus of Lyons or Tertullian of Carthage; all of them, without. exception, must be written in the interests either of strife or of reconciliation. This then, in Baurʼs view, explains why we possess documents under the names of Paul, Peter or John, the ʽspuriousnessʼ of which is beyond question; in this manner the later writers appealed in entire good faith to the great authorities of their party for the defence of that which seemed to them indispensable. The divergency between their own point of view and that of these old authorities they did not perceive, and we can now reconstruct the course of development within the Pauline party by the writings of the so-called Paul and his disciple ʽLuke,ʼ as we can the gradual emancipation of the Primitive Apostolic tendency from its one-sidedness and the extinction of the antagonism between it and Paul in the Catholic Epistles, Matthew, Mark and the Johannine writings.

Thus the only witnesses left from the earliest period of Christianity before 70 a.p., would be four Pauline Epistles— Galatians, 1. and 2. Corinthians and Romans—and the Apocalypse of the Apostle John, a document of the bitterest hatred against Paul, inspired by Ebionism of the narrowest type; while the earliest record of the higher synthesis would be the Fourth Gospel (quite close to which come the Johannine Epistles), written some time after 160. 2. Peter belongs more or less to the same period, and was written with the object of pronouncing a sort of canonisation of the Epistles of his arch-enemy Paul through the mouth of Peter. Not long before, the Pastoral Epistles had exhorted the flock to put all their strength into the overthrow of Gnosticism, having already lost all sense of what had hitherto made union so difficult—the alternative implied in the question of Faith and Works. The rest of the New Testament Books spring from the time of the attempts at mediation, a statement which applies particularly to the Synoptics and the Acts. In their present form the Synoptics can only be understood as arising from the interests at work during the period of assimilation in the second century; Matthew is the conciliatory recast of a Judaistic original, just as Luke rests upon a strictly Pauline ʽPrimitive Luke,ʼ while Mark, a compilation of excerpts from Matthew and Luke with the omission of all that might foster a recollection of the original feud, is the Gospel of neutrality; its ʽtendencyʼ is the absence of tendency. The Acts, however, are pervaded even down to the most trifling details by the fundamental idea of setting up a parallel between Peter and Paul, of representing the leaders of the two contending parties as similar in word and deed, intentions and effects, and thus of winning support through history itself for the new watchword ʽPeter and Paul.ʼ

A large number of the theses laid down by the Tübingen School have been proved to be untenable. Even within the school itself the fact was recognised, and first asserted definitely by Hilgenfeld, that among the Epistles bearing the name of Paul, 1. Thessalonians, Philippians and Philemon could not be ascribed on grounds of internal evidence alone to any other than the writer of Galatians and Corinthians, and that a conciliatory tendency had only been forced upon them. Nor could it be permanently denied that even external evidence forbade us to assign any large number of New Testament writings to a date so far into the second century. But the most important point is that, thanks to the labours of Housren, the majority of the Tübingen critics now admit that it is impracticable to regard Peter and the Primitive Apostles as the champions of extreme Judaism at all, but that Peter rather maintained towards the Judaistic agitators an attitude of greater freedom and mildness in comparison with the uncompromising hostility of Paul, that in fact his point of view was not very clearly defined. In short, they recognise that here, too, the antagonism is in a certain sense the later growth, and a relatively tolerant unity the primitive condition. But the historical system of Baur suffers above all from the mistake, first, of over-rating the importance of Judaism in the early days of Christianity and of ascribing to Paul alone the championship of universalistic tendencies and the edification of Gentile Christian communities, and, secondly, of insisting with rigid one-sidedness that the history of primitive Christianity was dominated till far into the second century by the sole interest of the battle round the Law and the prerogatives of the Jews; whereas in reality this battle was only one factor among many in the formation of its history, and innumerable Christians of the first two generations not only did not understand it, but did not even know anything about it. It is not mainly from ideas and principles that a new religion draws its life: the decisive influences are emotions, feelings, hopes; and Baurʼs picture of the historical development of the Apostolic and post-Apostolic ages is too logical and correct, too deficient in warmth of colour to have probability on its side. Nevertheless the fact remains that Baur inaugurated a new epoch in the study of the New Testament, not only by his numerous flashes of new and unerring insight on questions of Introduction as well as of exegesis and New Testament theology, but principally by the fact that he raised the pursuit of this branch of science to a higher level, and did away with the subjective and detached method of investigation. Since Baurʼs day the literary history of the New Testament can no longer be dealt with apart from its connection with the history of Christianity as a whole; he has taught us to regard the Books of the New Testament from a truly historical point of view, as the products of and the witnesses to the Christian spirit of a definite age.

Of Baurʼs writings the most important for our subject are: ʽDie Christuspartei in Korinthʼ (an essay in the ʽTübinger Zeitschrift für Theologieʼ for 1831, pp. 61 fol.), ʽPaulus, der Apostel Jesu Christi, sein Leben und Wirken, seine Briefe und Lehreʼ (1845 and 1866), ʽKritische Untersuchungen iiber die kanonischen Evangelienʼ (1847) and the comprehensive summary of his system in the ʽKirchengeschichte der drei ersten Jahrhunderteʼ (1853). His immediate disciples did no more, for the most part, than carry out the ideas of their master in individual portions of the literature of the New Testament, but an exception to this rule was formed by Schwegler, who in his ʽNachapostolisches Zeitalter in den Hauptmomenten seiner Entwicklungʼ treated his subject in such a way that it included a discussion of almost all the writings of the New Testament. HilgenFELD produced a ʽHistorisch-kritische Einleitung in das N.T.ʼ in 1875, in which he gave the history of the individual documents between that of the Canon and that of the Text. Not only in questions of the authenticity of Pauline Epistles or the dating of spurious writings were his decisions more conservative than Baurʼs; even in the case of the Gospels he gave up the attempt to explain the divergencies between them solely on the ground of their different interests, and accordingly placed Mark at any rate between Matthew and Luke. The post-Apostolic age, in so far as it continued to produce New Testament writings at all, he considered to have been influenced rather by the persecution of the Christians undertaken by the Roman State, and by the internal crisis produced by Gnosticism, than by the antagonism between the parties of the Primitive Apostles and of Paul which dominated the Apostolic age itself. Both before and after the appearance of this ʽEinleitungʼ he repeatedly advanced and defended the same views as those put forward there in numerous essays and monographs, large and small. But unfortunately there is a certain. self-willed obstinacy in this ʽclearly and smoothly written book, which will never allow the writer to go back upon what he has once asserted, and which makes its appearance even outwardly, in the different treatment he bestows on his materials according as he spends a greater or less degree of interest and industry upon them. Still further removed than Hilgenfeld from the prejudices of Baur is Otto Pfleiderer, whose tastefully written work on ʽDas Urchristentum,; seine Schriften und Lehrenʼ (1887, 891 pp.; new edit. 1902) deals, as we might expect from the title, with all the problems of Special Introduction to the New Testament. Here the breach between Paulinism and the Christianity of the Primitive Apostles, the community of Jerusalem, is represented as far slighter from the outset, and the reconciliation as having been effected by Paul himself; a decisive factor in the development of Christianity is recognised in Hellenism, which, however, did not, in the writerʼs opinion, suddenly force its way into the Church in the middle of the second century, and then produce a complete falling-away from the old ideas, but was already at work in the mind of Paul; while in those of the later generations it was continually forming new and peculiar combinations with the primitive Christian spirit.

7. The merit of having induced the Tübingen School to change its tone does not belong to the party of bitter opposition which rose up against it from the most diverse quarters. The fanatical outcry against the heresy of Baur, as raised, for instance, by H. Thiersch in Marburg, T. Peter Lange in Bonn, and H. Ebrard, with his heavy facetiousness, in Erlangen, affected only those circles which had no need of such influence, and the ʽIsagogikʼ of Prof. Guericke of Halle— strictly correct in an ecclesiastical sense—has long since fallen into oblivion. Some profit might, however, be found even at the present day in G. V. LecHlerʼs ʽApostolisches und Nachapostolisches Zeitalterʼ (3rd edit. 1885), which gives a sort of history of each individual document of the New Testament by means of a running discussion of the Tübingen propositions, but does not venture to support the tradition under all circumstances, as, for instance, in the case of 9. Peter. But highest in point of intelligence among those whose dogmatic standpoint forced them into an uncompromising opposition to all negative criticism was Prof. J. C. K. von Hofmann of Erlangen († 1877), who was never able to complete the detailed exposition of the New Testament which he had in his mind; his lectures, however, on so-called Introduction to the New Testament were edited by Volck in 1881 as the ninth part of that work. But they contain not a word on textual history, and the account of the rise of the New Testament Canon is worse than inadequate (it fills just eight pages), while the examination of the individual documents is also unequal and sometimes incomplete. Hofmann ends by justifying the tradition of the Church in the case of all the books of the New Testament: even 2. Peter, he considers, is from the hand of the Apostle; even Hebrews as well as the three Pastoral Epistles was written by Paul after his first imprisonment; but as in his exegesis and analytical reproduction of the documents in question, so in his criticism of them, Hofmann shows himself to be a past master in the art of preferring the far-fetched and the improbable to the natural and the obvious.

Nevertheless theologians were never wanting who protested against the Tübingen ideas while sharing Baurʼs attitude of freedom towards tradition and dogma. This may be said without qualification at least of E. Reuss, of the celebrated Church historian K. Hase of Jena, of that gifted and imaginative Frenchman Ernest Renan, author of the ʽHistoire des origines du Christianisme,ʼ15 and of the Heidelberg professor DanieL SCHENKEL; while in the main it is also true of H. Ewald, from whose furious attacks on Baur no one would guess how frequent is the agreement even in detail between the two scholars. Among the supporters of the theology of compromise represented by SculeierMacher, F. Bleek of Bonn (†1859) rendered conspicuous services in the study of the New Testament. His ʽEinleitung in das N. T.ʼ appeared posthumously, edited by J. F. Bleek (1862), and the third and fourth editions were carefully and piously revised by W. Maneoutp in 1875 and 1886 in accordance with the progress of knowledge up to that time. In the preliminary remarks to this work, which is still widely read at the present day, relics of the old Introductions may yet be found, in the shape of paragraphs on the original language of the New Testament Books and the character of the Greek in which they are written; the order, too, in the first main division, dealing with the origin of the individual books, is remarkable; the four Gospels and Acts are there placed first and the Pauline Epistles second, but here the arrangement suddenly ceases to follow the traditional order of the Canon, and is determined by the chronological order of their composition. Otherwise this somewhat prolix work (it covers 1085 pages) has many merits; the writer combines a warm love of his subject and great discretion in judgment with wide knowledge and many-sided interests, while in controversy he always maintains a standard of high-bred decorum. Many shortcomings which were due to his excessively conservative bent have been made good by the more drastic proceedings of Mangold, though here the reader is too often perplexed by the discrepancy between Bleekʼs text and Mangoldʼs notes, which contradict one another flatly, for instance, in such questions as that of the second imprisonment of Paul. Much has also been suffered to remain in the text which the editor afterwards proves to be either inaccurate or erroneous.

In its general attitude Bleekʼs ʽEinleitungʼ is far too similar to that of De Wette to have had the power to break the influence of the Tübingen School; Baurʼs historical system was not to be combated by pointing out a few difficulties and improbabilities contained in it: it was necessary to replace it by a wholly different conception of the period of history it covers, in which its mistakes should be avoided while its established results should not be ignored. It was ALBRECHT Ritschl of Göttingen († 1889) who, as early as 1846, in his ʽDas Evangelium Marcions und das kanonische Evangelium des Lucas,ʼ and afterwards in his ʽEntstehung der altkatholischen Kircheʼ (esp. the 2nd edit., 1857), showed, while keeping strictly to the methods of Baur, that the Tübingen over-estimate of the importance of Jewish Christianity was unwarranted, and that Hellenic thought was a powerful auxiliary factor in the formation of the primitive Catholic Church. Beyond this Ritschl himself took no part in the special study of the New Testament, and his own views on the development of Primitive Christianity might with advantage have been corrected and supplemented in many ways; he underrates the influence of the Jewish element, for instance, in the Early Church, and systematises where it is rather a question of individualities; but almost all students of the present day who possess any independence of judgment are agreed that it is the great merit of Ritschl to have shown, in the most convincing manner, what was the chief defect in the historical system of the Tübingen School.

8. At the present day we have little to fear from the one-sidedness of that school, but all the more from the arrogance of the party of tradition, which behaves—and endeavours so to persuade the public—as though the labours of Baur had left our knowledge in exactly the same state as it was in before. A glance at the works of Introduction most widely read in Germany to-day will confirm this statement. They are H. J. Holtzmannʼs ʽLehrbuch der historisch-kritischen EHinleitung in das N. T.ʼ (1885, 1886 and 1892); B. Weissʼs ʽLehrbuch der Hinleitung in das N. T.ʼ (1886, 1889 and 1897); F. Godetʼs ʽKinleitung in das N. T.ʼ (1893 sqq., translated from the French)16 and T. Zahnʼs ʽKinleitung in das N. T.ʼ in two volumes published respectively in 1897 and 1899.17, These works are carried out on very different scales; Godet and Zahn present only Special Introduction, for which Zahn covers 1150 pages in all, Godet 878 for the Pauline Epistles alone; whereas Weiss and Holtzmann with 500 pages apiece give us not only this but also the history of the Canon and the New Testament Text (Weiss at any rate a sketch of this last); while Holtzmann adds an appendix conspicuous for its precision and exhaustiveness on the New Testament Apocrypha. Holtzmannʼs special merit is that he gives full and always accurate information as to the arguments employed by both sides on each controverted question; indeed his objectivity sometimes goes too far, in that his own well-reasoned judgment does not always appear clearly enough above the mass of opinions and ideas he quotes from other writers. The object of Weiss, on the other hand, is rather to state each problem plainly and lucidly and then to solve it, and he seldom allows the reader to perceive how many objections may be and have been raised against his attempts at solution. Godet, with his edifying tone, never lays firm hold of any single problem; what he gives us is a sermon on the New Testament Books richly adorned with quotations and occasionally ingenious and striking, but the very opposite of a guide to methodical investigation, Zahn excels in coolness and confidence, and presents us with an enormous wealth of individual disquisitions of great learning, as well as with many original combinations of ideas.

But only one of these four, Holtzman, follows the good traditions of German criticism—and moreover without any school preconceptions—in pointing out the very different degrees of certainty with which we can proceed to formulate decisions within its domain. The three others regard the ʽauthenticityʼ of every New Testament Book—with the exception of Hebrews, which, however, does not even profess to be by Paul—as above all question, although indeed with this shade of difference between them, that Weiss looks upon the negative critics merely as purblind, Godet as impious, and Zahn as stupid and malignant. Thus the ecclesiastical tradition is saved, and even ApolF Harnack in his preface to the ʽChronologie der altchristlichen Literaturʼ18 sees a time approaching ʽin which we shall no longer trouble ourselves much about the deciphering of problems of literary history in connection with Primitive Christianity, because the thing which it is our main object to prove, viz. the essential trustworthiness of the tradition, with few important exceptions, will have attained universal recognition.ʼ In the whole of the New Testament, according to Harnack,19 there is probably but a single document which can be called pseudonymous in the strictest sense of the word—the Second Epistle of Peter.

To me, however, this new cult for the ʽtradition "—by which, as a matter of fact, Harnack understands something quite different from the ʽtraditionʼ of Zahn and his followers —seems quite as questionable as the earlier prejudice against it; we shall indeed have to take it as our starting-point again and again, but we must always be prepared to leave it. What violent means must be used in order to assert the truth of the tradition from beginning to end, may be gathered, as we know, from Zahnʼs book. Harnack, indeed, exclaims at the end of the above-quoted Preface, ʽIt is in history, not in literary criticism, that the problems of the future lie,ʼ thus as it were condemning Zahnʼs dogmatism in advance. But is it possible to write history at all without including literary criticism?

A work like Carl Weizsäckerʼs ʽApostolisches Zeitalter der christlichen Kircheʼ20 has proved with masterly skill how intimately connected is the history of the earliest Christianity with that of the literature of the New Testament. There we find the history of New Testament literature interwoven with that of the primitive Christian religion during the first century of its existence, and nearly all the New Testament Books analysed, examined and given their true value at their proper place; nor can any unprejudiced reader fail to recognise the convincing force that belongs to this presentation of history, in spite of the fact that the writer avoids all polemical discussion. But is Weizsäckerʼs book, which gives the most perfect expression to one of the fundamental ideas of Baur, calculated to confirm ʽthe essential trustworthiness of the traditionʼ? Perhaps Zahnʼs ʽHinleitungʼ has convinced Harnack since then, that the time of ʽuniversal recognitionʼ in the matter of problems of literary history connected with Primitive Christianity is still far distant, and that we may not relinquish the tasks set by the study of Introduction as though they were already accomplished, but must labour more strenuously than before for their discharge in the right spirit, in a loftier tone than of old, and without the former pretence of universal knowledge, the traffic in hypotheses, and the mania for accumulating details—shortcomings, all of them, of which the ʽTraditionalistsʼ may be accused no less than the ʽCritics.ʼ

No very great advance in the study of Introduction can be expected in the immediate future. Lost literature of the first century will scarcely be restored to us by discoveries in the monasteries of Syria or the sand of Egypt; we must be content with what we already possess. And here literary criticism will do well to return to a closer union with separate exegesis and so-called New Testament theology. The chief blame for the mistakes of the Lower and the Higher Criticism is due to faultiness of exegesis, which is still very general in spite of the abundance of good commentaries. The science of New Testament Introduction cannot aspire to be more than @ coadjutor in the history of the origin of the Christian religion; by that aim she should limit her range and estimate the value of her results.

9. Brief mention must finally be made of a form of pseudo-criticism—for it has itself deprecated the name of hyper-criticism—which considers itself called upon simply to upset all previous views of the development of the earliest Christian literature. It had a precursor about 1840 in Bruno Bauer, a theologian of Berlin, whose doctrine was that the great figures of the New Testament, Jesus and Paul, must be regarded as literary fictions and Christianity as the product of Roman popular philosophy. In the last twenty-five years similar theories have been put forward in Holland by A. Pierson, A. D. Loman, van Manen and Naber, but in Germany very few serious investigators have as yet taken up the idea; among them, however, are R. Steck of Berne with his ʽDer Galaterbrief nach seiner Echtheit untersucht, nebst kritischen Bemerkungen zu den paulinischen Hauptbriefenʼ (1888), and, in principle, the Swabian professor D. VöltER, now in Amsterdam. These modern sceptics differ from one another in innumerable points, but they are all agreed in asserting that the chief Pauline Epistles are precisely those which cannot possibly spring from the historical Paul, but belong to the time immediately before Marcion, in whom the development from below upwards, the antinomian tendency, reached its highest point. Here the Acts must actually serve to throw suspicion on the Epistle to the Galatians!

We shall decline to make the smallest compromise with such a system, first, because Epistles like those to the Galatians and the Corinthians appear to us to be beyond the range of forgery, if only on account of the many ʽillogical,ʼ incongruous things that they contain, highly natural as these would have been in the situations implied; secondly, because we can find no room in the second century for the artist who, immediately before the authorityloving Marcion, proceeded with a sovereign disdain for all authority to create the authorities for the next stage of development; and, thirdly, because we reject, as an idea that has never been found consistent with history, the fundamental assumption that the Christianity of the year 50 was connected by an exact and rigid line of evolution with the Christianity of a hundred years later. The miserable ambition of explaining historical personages as the mere products of their age, of calculating them out as though they were a mechanical combination of the factors that determined the intellectual life of their time and their surroundings, is not likely to be fulfilled in face of the great men of the worldʼs history. The author of the ʽprincipalʼ Pauline Epistles will always remain to a certain extent a mystery to us, whether we look for him in the second or the first century. In short, this latest school seems to me to be no more than a symptom of disease, which, however, is the less to be feared because to all appearances the tendency to find a solution for every difficulty that may confront exegete or critic, in the light-hearted rejection of documents as spurious, or to fill up the gaps in our knowledge with piquant conjectures and ingenious ideas, is growing weaker and weaker throughout the whole field of historical research. It is to be hoped that this may soon be said of a thing but little less offensive: the passion, if not for declaring the great Epistles themselves to be non-Pauline, at least for robbing them of all value by the assertion that they are full of interpolations, and by the endless production of irresponsible conjectures. Unfortunately, the example in this department was set by C. H. Weisse, otherwise a scholar of great repute, and was followed in Holland by J. W. Straatmann and M. A. N. Rovers, and in Germany by E. Sulze and D. Völter. Indeed, the production of schemes for the dismemberment of New Testament Books will soon reach its utmost limit;21 the partition of the Epistles to the Corinthians by H. Hagge and H. Lisco may be called typical of its methods. If these gentlemen are right, the Almighty must have set from 90 to 120 hands in motion during the first and second centuries, to produce a mutilation, unparalleled elsewhere, of all the New Testament texts, with the sole object of creating a field for the brilliant display of the ingenuity of modern theologians, for whom no other task is now worthy of notice.



1) Edited by F. Gössling, 1887.

2) About 380.

3) †430.

4) About 450.

5) About 550.

6) Best edition by F. C. Burkitt, in Texts and Studies, iii. 1 (1894).

7) Best edition of his Formulae spiritalis Intelligentiae and Instructionwn Libri II. by C. Wotke, 1894.

8) Best edition by H. Kihn, Theodorus von Mopsuestia und Junilius Africanus (1880).

9) E.g., that of A. Riverus (died in Holland in 1651): Isagoge sive introductio generalis ad sacram scripturam Veteris et Novi Testamenti, in qua eius natura, existentia, auctoritas, necessitas, puritas, versionum et interpretum rationes et modi indagantur, eiusque dignitas, perfectio et usus adversus veteres et novos scriptores lucifugas asseritur et de vero controversiarum fidei indice fusius disputatur.

10) Part I.: Histoire critique du texte du Nouveau Testament; Part II.: Histoire critique des versions du N.T.; Part III: Histoire critique des principaux commentateurs du N.T. Valuable supplements to Parts I. and II. appeared in 1695 in Paris, entitled Nouvelles observations sur le texte et les versions du N.T.: the whole together taking up well over 2,000 quarto pages.

11) Cf. H. Margival: R. Simon et la critique biblique au XVIIe siecle (Paris, 1900).

12) The third enlarged and revised by Karp, and the fourth by C. G. HofMANN.

13) In 1750, 1765, 1777 and 1788.

14) In five vols., 1804-1827.

15) Seven vols., 1863-1883.

16) As yet only vols. i. and ii. have appeared, in incomplete form, vol. i. on the Pauline Epistles, and vol. ii. on the Gospels and Acts.

17) A second edition of both volumes appeared in 1900.

18) 1897, vol. i. p. x.

19) P. viii.

20) 1886 and 1892; translated into English for the Theological Translation Library (Williams and Norgate), by James Millar, B.D. 1894.

21) A complete account of them down to 1894 may be found in Clemenʼs Die Hinheitlichkeit der paulinischen Briefe an der Hand der bisher mit Bezug auf sie aufgestellten Interpolationswnd Compilationshypothesen gepriift (1894).