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in some nature or historical myth and interpreted in terms of an early cult, the Gospels being the personification and dramatization of a socio-religious movement among the lower classes in the Graeco-Roman world.37
Bacon38 gives the following account of his theory of "pragmatic values":
The theory ... is called the theory, or better, method, of "pragmatic values", because it starts from the principle that the beginnings of gospel story were not biographies or books, but anecdotes, and were rehearsed not in the abstract endeavor to make up history, but for the concrete and particular occasion, the narrator having in mind that special practice or belief of his own church which at the time was in immediate need of explanation or defense. The inference from such a postulate must be, of course, that we must seek first the practice and belief of the church, resorting to the oldest and best authenticated literature for it. We must take the greater Pauline Epistles and make as it were a cross-section of primitive Christian faith and practice from what we here see before us (as, e.g., in the Corinthian correspondence), and apply this standard to the later formulated narrative literature. . . . Under the theory of "pragmatic values" early church practice and Gospel anecdote
reciprocally illuminate one another. As thus outlined the theory is not so much a principle of differentiation as of construction; only in its application the question must be raised,—are the "anecdotes” and “agglutinated sayings,”39 whose organization into the Gospel story was occasioned by such a practical interest, true and faithful reminiscences.
Heitmüller40 in his article on Jesus Christ presents the principle and its results with clearness. After stating, in general agreement with Schmiedel, the principle of contradiction--that those elements of Gospel tradition may be accepted as trustworthy which are not in accord with the faith of the early Christian community-and maintaining
On the “Entpersönlichung des christlichen Urdatums” cf. Holtzmann, op. cit., p. 419, n. 2.
Journal of Biblical Literature, 1910, pp. 41 f., 53 f. Harvard Theological Review, 1908, p. 68. “ Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, iii. p. 361; reprinted in his Jesus, 1913, p. 40.
that the earliest sources of the Gospels do not go back of but reflect the view of Jesus that was current in the Palestinian Christian community between 50 and 70, Heitmüller says:
Our scrupulousness must be especially active against all the things that were especially dear to the early Christians; to which belong the faith in Jesus' Messiahship, His approaching return, the whole subject of so-called eschatology (the Kingdom of God), the passion and resurrection, and the miraculous power of Jesus. Where the heart and the theology or the apologetic of the early Christians were especially interested, an influence
on historical tradition or construction must be feared. Weinel, 41 after criticising the extreme views of Wrede and Wellhausen, says:
The entire tradition concerning Jesus is Christian, including Mark-in fact Wellhausen's Urmarkus has Christian traits; and the Christian must be stripped off from the portraiture of Jesus before He can Himself be found. But still only the Christian in a particular sense. Jesus was certainly no Jew, but something new; the Christian is to be denied to Him only in so far as it concerns ideas-representations and tendencies—which only the
later church could have had. And so Weinel, after insisting on a more thorough literary criticism, formulates the following principle :42
For this si.e. historical criticism] the sole standard by which the authentic is to be separated from the unauthentic is the principle: only such traits of the tradition are to be rejected as unauthentic which cannot have had their origin in an interest of Jesus but only in an interest of the church. This principle (however] is not to be broadened to include the other that wherever the church had an interest but where there is no reason that Jesus also should not have had it, the tradition is to be declared altogether unauthentic. But since the process is always one of separation, the proof must rather be brought that
the particular interest can only have emerged later. There is need, however, according to Weinel, to separate not merely the authentic from the unauthentic but the essential from the authentic; and the principle of this is "originality”.4
"Op. cit., p. 28; cf. also pp. 29 ff.
Not what Jesus shared with His people and His time-this naturally is very often the authentic in the tradition; but what separated Him from His people and His time, that is His, that is the essential in Him and in His preaching.
The results of the application of these theories to the Gospels differ in detail, but they fall within the limits of the two views,—the partial and the negative. In regard to the adequacy of the principles and the validity of the results, it does not follow that the representation of Jesus is untruslworthy because the Gospels are Christian documents or unhistorical because it agrees with primitive Christian faith. It must be shown that the primitive idea of Jesus can not have been true, that the interests or values which manifest themselves in the early Church and are discernible also in the Gospels can not have been valid also for Jesus.44 And finally the results attained by these principles must be subjected to the test of sufficient reason. Do they explain the origin of the Gospels in the religious movement of which they form a part? Do they give a satisfactory explanation of the Christian faith itself to which creative powers of such significance are attributed and which as an effect demands an adequate cause. But any and every theory of the Gospels must be brought to the test of fact and only that theory will accredit itself which the facts permit and which in turn explains the facts. The evidence must be heard, whether literary or historical, and the well established conclusions in the phenomenal sphere will determine certain limits within which a judgment of value apart from theoretical considerations may be justified. Otherwise we may experience the misery of those of whom Harnack45 writes who, taking their knowledge of New Testament criticism at second hand,
are like reeds swaying with the blasts of the most extreme and mutually exclusive hypotheses, and find everything in this con
* Cf. Warfield, The Lord of Glory, 1907, pp. 146 ff.; PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL REVIEW, 1913, pp. 261 ff.
Sprüche und Reden Jesu, 1907, pp. 3 f., n. 2; The Sayings of Jesus, 1908, p. xiii.
nection which is offered them "very worthy of consideration”. To-day they are ready to believe that there was no such person as Jesus, while yesterday they regarded Him as a neurotic visionary, shown to be such with convincing force by His own words, if only they are rightly interpreted—which words, by the way, have been excellently transmitted by tradition. To-morrow He has become for them an Essene, as may be proved likewise from His own words; and yet the day before yesterday none of these words were His own; and perhaps on the very same day it was accounted correct to regard Him as belonging to some Greek sect of esoteric Gnostics—a sect which still remains to be discovered and which with its symbols and sacraments represented a religion of a chaotic and retrograde character, nay, exercised a beneficial influence upon the development of culture. Or rather, He was an anarchist monk like Tolstoi; or, still better, a genuine Buddhist, who had, however, come under the influence of ideas originating in ancient Babylon, Egypt and Greece; or, better still, He was the eponymous hero of the mildly revolutionary and moderately radical fourth estate in the capital of the Roman world. It is evident, forsooth, that He may possibly have been all of these things, and may be assumed to have been one of them. If therefore one only keeps hold of all these reins, naturally with a loose hand, one is shielded from the reproach of not being up to date, and this is more important by far than the knowledge of the facts themselves, which indeed do not so much concern us, seeing that in this twentieth century we must of course wean ourselves from
a contemptible dependence upon history in matters of religion. We may turn then to the phenomenal sphere of criticism and consider the evidence bearing on the historical origin and trustworthiness of the Gospels apart from a particular solution of the issue of principle and its influence on the genetic theories. We shall approach the Gospels and seek to under
. stand them from their own point of view and premises “in the light of their own presuppositions”—and reserve the final decision for the sphere of values in which the data and conclusion of the phenomenal sphere must be weighed and estimated in the light of the Christian faith and its ultimate grounds. Princeton.
WILLIAM P. ARMSTRONG.
THE AUTHORITY OF HOLY SCRIPTURE
It is part of the confessional system of all the Protestant Churches that Holy Scripture is invested with divine authority and that in virtue of this fact it is "the only infallible rule of faith and practice”. The truth of this statement may be seen by a consideration of the following citations. The Confessio Fidei Gallicana (1559), Article V, “We believe that the Word contained in these books (the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments) has proceeded from God, and receives its authority from him alone, and not from
. . Whence it follows that no authority, whether of antiquity, or custom, or numbers, or human wisdom, or judgments, or proclamations, or edicts, or decrees, or councils, or visions, or miracles, should be opposed to these Holy Scriptures, but, on the contrary, all things should be examined, regulated, and reformed according to them.” The Confessio Helvetica Posterior (1566), Cap. I. 2, "And in this Holy Scripture the universal Church of Christ has, fully explained, whatever belongs both to saving faith and to life pleasing to God. . 3, We believe therefore that in these Scriptures are to be sought true wisdom and piety, the manner of reforming and governing the church, etc.” The Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England (1571), Article VI, “Holy Scripture conteyneth all thinges necessarie to saluation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proued therby, is not to be required of anye man, that it shoulde be belieued as an article of fayth, or be thought requisite as necessarie to saluation." The Formula Concordiae (1576), Epitome Articulorum I, "We believe, confess, and teach that the only rule and norm, according to which all dogmas and all doctors ought to be esteemed and judged, is no other whatever than the prophetic and apostolic writings both of the Old and of the New Testament." The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647), I, 4, “The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony