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The Quest of the Historical Jesus

* XV *

THE ESCHATOLOGICAL QUESTION

Timothee Colani. Jesus-Christ et les croyances messianiques de son temps. Strata. burg, 1864. 255 pp.

Gustav Volkmar. Jesus Nazarenus und die erste christliche Zeit, mit den beiden ersten Erzahlern. (Jesus the Nazarene and the Beginnings of Christianity, with the two earliest narrators of His life.) Zurich, 1882. 403 pp.

Wilhelm Weiffenbach. Der Wiederkunftsgedanke Jesu. (Jesus' Conception of His Second Coming.) 1873. 424 pp.

W. Baldensperger. Das Selbstbewusstsein Jesu im Lichte der messianischen Hoff- nungen seiner Zeit. (The Self-consciousness of Jesus in the Light of the Mes- sianic Hopes of His time.) Strassburg, 1888. 2nd ed., 1892, 282 pp.; 3rd ed, pt. i., 240 pp.

Johannes Weiss. Die Predigt Jesu vom Reiche Gottes. tThe Preaching of Jesus concerning the Kingdom of God.) 1892. Gottingen. 67 pp. Second revised and enlarged edition, 1900, 210 pp.

SO LONG AS IT WAS MERELY A QUESTION OF ESTABLISHING THE DISTINCTIVE character of the thought of Jesus as compared with the ancient prophetic and Danielic conceptions, and so long as the only available storehouse of Rabbinic and Late-Jewish ideas was Lightfoot's Horae Hebraicae et Talmudicae in quatuor Evangelistas, [1] it was still possible to cherish the belief that the preaching of Jesus could be conceived as something which was, in the last analysis, independent of all contemporary ideas. But after the studies of Hilgenfeld and Dillmann [2] had made known the Jewish apocalyptic in its fundamental characteristics, and the Jewish pseudepigrapha were no longer looked on as "forgeries," but as representative documents of the last stage of Jewish thought, the necessity of taking account of them in interpreting the thought of Jesus became more

[1] Johannis Lightfooti, Doctoris Angli et Collegii S. Catharinae in Cantabrigiensi Academics Praefecti, Horae Hebraicae et Talmudicae in Quatuor Evangelistas . . . nunc secundum in Germania junctim cum Indicibus locorum Scriptiirae rerumque ac verborum necessariis editae e Museo lo. Benedicti Carpzovii. Lipsiae. Anno MDCLXXX1V.

[2] The pioneer works in the study of apocalyptic were Dillmann's Henoch, 1851; and Hilgenfeld's Judische Apokalyptik, 1857.

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and more emphatic. Almost two decades were to pass, however, before the full significance of this material was realised.

It might almost have seemed as if it was to meet this attack by anticipation that Colani wrote in 1864 his work, Jesus-Christ et les croyances messianiques de son temps.

Timothee Colani was born in 1824 at Leme (Aisne), studied in Strassburg and became pastor there in 1851. In the year 1864 he was appointed Professor of Pastoral Theology in Strassburg in spite of some attempted opposition to the appointment on the part of the orthodox party in Paris, which was then growing in strength. The events of the year 1870 left him without a post. As he had no prospect of being called to a pastorate in France, he became a merchant. In consequence of some unfortunate business operations he lost all his property. In 1875 he obtained a post as librarian at the Sorbonne. He died in 1888.

How far was Jesus a Jew? That was the starting-point of Colani's study. According to him there was a complete lack of homogeneity in the Messianic hopes cherished by the Jewish people in the time of Jesus, since the prophetic conception, according to which the Kingdom of the Messiah belonged to the present world-order, and the apocalyptic, which transferred it to the future age, had not yet been brought into any kind of unity. The general expectation was focused rather upon the Forerunner than upon the Messiah. Jesus Himself in the first period of His public ministry, up to Mark viii., had never designated Himself as the Messiah, for the expression Son of Man carried no Messianic associations for the multitude. His fundamental thought was that of perfect communion with God; only little by little, as the success of the preaching of the Kingdom more and more impressed His mind, did His consciousness take on a Messianic colouring. In face of the undisciplined expectations of the people He constantly repeats in His parables of the growth of the Kingdom, the word "patience." By revealing Himself as the Lord of this spiritual kingdom He makes an end of the oscillation between the sensuous and the spiritual in the current expectations of the future blessedness. He points to mankind as a whole, not merely to the chosen people, as the people of the Kingdom, and substitutes for the apocalyptic catastrophe an organic development. By His interpretation of Psalm ex., in Mark xii. 35-37, He makes known that the Messiah has nothing whatever to do with the Davidic kingship. It was only with difficulty that He came to resolve to accept the title of Messiah; He knew what a weight of national prejudices and national hopes hung upon it.

But He is "Messiah the Son of Man"; He created this expression in order thereby to make known His lowliness. In the moment in which He accepted the office He registered the resolve to suffer. His purpose is, to be the suffering, not the triumphant, Messiah. It is to the influence

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which His Passion exercises upon the souls of men that He looks for the firm establishment of His Kingdom.

This spiritual conception of the Kingdom cannot possibly be combined with the thought of a glorious Second Coming, for if Jesus had held this latter view He must necessarily have thought of the present life as only a kind of prologue to that second existence. Neither the Jewish, nor the Jewish-Christian eschatology as represented in the eschatological discourses in the Gospels, can, therefore, in Colani's opinion, belong to the preaching of Jesus. That He should sometimes have made use of the imagery associated with the Jewish expectations of the future is, of course, only natural. But the eschatology occupies far too important a place in the tradition of the preaching of Jesus to be explained as a mere symbolical mode of expression. It forms a substantial element of that preaching. A spiritualisation of it will not meet the case. Therefore, if the conviction has been arrived at on other grounds that Jesus' preaching did not follow the lines of Jewish eschatology, there is only one possible way of dealing with it, and that is by excising it from the text on critical grounds.

The only element in the preaching of Jesus which can, in Colani's opinion, be called in any sense "eschatological" was the conviction that there would be a wide extension of the Gospel even within the existing generation, that Gentiles should be admitted to the Kingdom, and that in consequence of the general want of receptivity towards the message of salvation, judgment should come upon the nations.

These views of Colani furnish him with a basis upon which to decide on the genuineness or otherwise of the eschatological discourses. Among the sayings put into the mouth of Jesus which must be rejected as impossible are: the promise, in the discourse at the sending forth of the Twelve, of the imminent coming of the Son of Man, Matt. x. 23; the promise to the disciples that they should sit upon twelve thrones judging the tribes of Israel, Matt. xix. 28; the saying about His return in Matt. xxiii. 39; the final eschatological saying at the Last Supper, Matt. xxvi. 29, "the Papias-like Chiliasm of which is unworthy of Jesus"; and the prediction of His coming on the clouds of heaven with which He closes His Messianic confession before the Council. The apocalyptic discourses in Mark xiii., Matt. xxiv., and Luke xxi. are interpolated. A Jewish-Christian apocalypse of the first century, probably composed before the destruction of Jerusalem, has been interwoven with a short exhortation which Jesus gave on the occasion when He predicted the destruction of the temple.

According to Colani, therefore, Jesus did not expect to come again from Heaven to complete His work. It was completed by His death, and the purpose of the coming of the Spirit was to make manifest its com-

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pletion. Strauss and Renan had entered upon the path of explaining Jesus' preaching from the history of the time by the assumption of an intermixture in it of Jewish ideas, but it was now recognized "that this path is a cul-de-sac, and that criticism must turn round and get out of it as quickly as possible."

The new feature of Colani's view was not so much the uncompromising rejection of eschatology as the clear recognition that its rejection was not a matter to be disposed of in a phrase or two, but necessitated a critical analysis of the text.

The systematic investigation of the Synoptic apocalypse was a contribution to criticism of the utmost importance.

In the year 1882 Volkmar took up this attempt afresh, at least in its main features. [1] His construction rests upon two main points of support; upon his view of the sources and his conception of the eschatology of the time of Jesus. In his view the sole source for the Life of Jesus is the Gospel of Mark, which was "probably written exactly in the year 73," five years after the Johannine apocalypse.

The other two of the first three Gospels belong to the second century, and can only be used by way of supplement. Luke dates from the beginning of the first decade of the century; while Matthew is regarded by Volkmar, as by Wilke, as being a combination of Mark and Luke, and is relegated to the end of this first decade. The work is in his opinion a revision of the Gospel tradition "in the spirit of that primitive Christianity which, while constantly opposing the tendency of the apostle of the Gentiles to make light of the Law, was nevertheless so far universalistic that, starting from the old legal ground, it made the first steps towards a catholic unity." Once Matthew has been set aside in this way, the literary elimination of the eschatology follows as a matter of course; the much smaller element of discourse in Mark can offer no serious resistance.

As regards the Messianic expectations of the time, they were, in Volkmar's opinion, such that Jesus could not possibly have come forward with Messianic claims. The Messianic Son of Man, whose aim was to

[1] Jesus Nazarenus und die erste christliche Zeit, mit den beiden ersten Erzahlern, von Gustav Volkmar, Zurich, 1882. To which must be added Markus und die Synapse der Evangelien, nach dem urkundlichen Text; und das Geschichtliche vom Leben Jesu. (Mark and Synoptic Material in the Gospels, according to the original text; and the historical elements in the Life of Jesus.) Zurich, 1869; 2nd edition, 1876, 738 pp. Volkmar was born in 1809, and was living at Fulda as a Gymnasium (High School) teacher, when in 1852 he was arrested by the Hessian Government on account of his political views, and subsequently deprived of his post. In 1853 he went to Zurich, where a new prospect opened to him as a Docent in theology. He died in 1893.

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found a super-earthly Kingdom, only arose in Judaism under the influence of Christian dogma. The contemporaries of Jesus knew only the political ideal of the Messianic King. And woe to any one who conjured up these hopes! The Baptist had done so by his too fervent preachine about repentance and the Kingdom, and had been promptly put out of the way by the Tetrarch. The version found even in Mark, which represents that it was on Herodias' account, and at her daughter's petition, that John was beheaded, is a later interpretation which, according to Volkmar, is evidently false on chronological grounds, since the Baptist was dead before Herod took Herodias as his wife. Had Jesus desired the Messiahship, He could only have claimed it in this political sense. The alternative is to suppose that He did not desire it.

Volkmar's contribution to the subject consists in the formulating of this clean-cut alternative. Colani had indeed recognised the alternative, but had not taken up a consistent attitude in regard to it. Here, that way of escape from the difficulty is barred, which suggests that Jesus set Himself up as Messiah, but in another than the popular sense. What may be called Jesus' Messianic consciousness consisted solely "in knowing Himself to be first-born among many brethren, the Son of God after the Spirit, and consequently feeling Himself enabled and impelled to bring about that regeneration of His people which alone could make it worthy of deliverance." It is in any case clearly evident from Paul, from the Apocalypse, and from Mark, "the three documentary witnesses emanating from the circle of the followers of Jesus during the first century, that it was only after His crucifixion that Jesus was hailed as the Christ; never during His earthly life." The elimination of the eschatology thus leads also to the elimination of the Messiahship of Jesus.

If we are told in Mark viii. 29 that Simon Peter was the first among men to hail Jesus as the Messiah, it is to be noticed, Volkmar points out, that the Evangelist places this confession at a time when Jesus' work was over and the thought of His Passion first appears; and if we desire fully to understand the author's purpose we must fix our attention on the Lord's command not to make known His Messiahship until after His resurrection (Mark viii. 30, ix. 9 and 10), which is a hint that we are to date Jesus' Messiahship from His death. For Mark is no mere naive chronicler, but a conscious artist interpreting the history; sometimes, indeed, a powerful epic writer in whose work the historical and the poetic are intermingled.

Thus the conclusion is that Mark, in agreement with Paul, represents Jesus as becoming the Messiah only as a consequence of His resurrection. He really appeared, and His first appearance was to Peter. When Peter on that night of terror fled from Jerusalem to take refuge in Galilee, Jesus, according to the mystic prediction of Mark xiv. 28 and

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xvi. 7, went before him. "He was constantly present to his spirit, until on the third day He manifested Himself before his eyes, in the heavenly appearance which was also vouchsafed to the last of the apostles 'as he was in the way'-and Peter, enraptured, gave expression to the clear conviction with which the whole life of Jesus had inspired him in the cry 'Thou art the Christ.'"

The historical Jesus therefore founded a community of followers without advancing any claims to the Messiahship. He desired only to be a reformer; the spiritual deliverer of the people of God, to realise upon earth the Kingdom of God which they were all seeking in the beyond, and to extend the reign of God over all nations. "The Kingdom of God is doubtless to win its final and decisive victory by the almighty aid of God; our duty is to see to its beginnings"-that is, according to Volkmar, the lesson which Jesus teaches us in the parable of the Sower. The ethic of this Kingdom was not yet confused by any eschatological ideas. It was only when, as the years went on, the expectation of the Parousia rose to a high pitch of intensity that "marriage and the bringing up of children came to be regarded as superfluous, and were consequently thought of as signs of an absorption in earthly interests which was out of harmony with the near approach to the goal of these hopes." Jesus had renewed the foundations on which "the family" was based and had made it, in turn, a corner stone of the Kingdom of God, even as He had consecrated the common meal by making it a love feast.

In most things Jesus was conservative. The ritual worship of the God of Israel remained for Him always a sacred thing. But in spite of that He withdrew more and more from the synagogue, the scene of His earliest preaching, and taught in the houses of His disciples. "He had learned to fulfil the law as implicit in one highest commandment and supreme principle, therefore 'in spirit and in truth'; but He never, as appears from all the evidence, declared it to be abolished." "We may be equally certain, however, that Jesus, while He asserted the abiding validity of the Ten Commandments, never explicitly declared that of the Mosaic Law as a whole. The absence of any such saying from the tradition regarding Jesus made it possible for Paul to take his decisive step forward."

As regards the Gospel discourses about the Parousia, it is easy to recognise that, even in Mark, these "are one and all the work of the narrator, whose purpose is edification. He connects his work as closely as possible with the Apocalypse, which had appeared some five years earlier, in order to emphasize, in contrast to it, the higher truth." Jesus' own hope, in all its clearness and complete originality, is recorded in the parables of the seed growing secretly and the grain of mustard seed, and in the saying about the immortality of His words. Nothing beyond

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this is in any way certain, however remarkable the saying in Mark ix. 1 may be, that the looked-for consummation is to take place during the lifetime of the existing generation.

"It is only the fact that Mark is preceded by 'the book of the Birth (and History) of Christ according to Matthew'-not only in the Scriptures, but also in men's minds, which were dominated by it as the 'first Gospel'-which has caused it to be taken as self-evident that Jesus, knowing Himself from the first to be the Messiah, expected His Parousia solely from heaven, and therefore with, or in, the clouds of heaven. . . . But since He who was thought of as by birth the Son of God, is now thought of as the Son of Man, born an Israelite, and becoming the Son of God after the spirit only at His baptism, the hope that looks to the clouds of heaven cannot be, or at least ought not to be, any longer explained otherwise than as an enthusiastic dream."

If, even at the beginning of the 'eighties, a so extreme theory on the other side could, without opposition, occupy all the points of vantage, it is evident that the theory which gave eschatology its due place was making but slow progress. It was not that any one had been disputing the ground with it, but that all its operations were characterised by a nervous timidity. And these hesitations are not to be laid to the account of those who did not perceive the approach of the decisive conflict, or refused to accept battle, like the followers of Reuss, for instance, who were satisfied with the hypothesis that thoughts about the Last Judgment had forced their way into the authentic discourses of Jesus about the destruction of the city; [1] even those who like Weiffenbach are fully convinced that "the eschatological question, and in particular the question of the Second Coming, which in many quarters has up to the present been treated as a noli me tangere, must sooner or later become the battle-ground of the greatest and most decisive of theological controversies"-even those who shared this conviction stopped half-way on the road on which they had entered.

Weiffenbach's [2] work, "Jesus' Conception of His Second Coming," published in 1873, sums up the results of the previous discussions of the saliect. He names as among those who ascribe the expectation of the Parousia, in the sensuous form in which it meets us in the documents, to a misunderstanding of the teaching of Jesus on the part of the disciples

[1] Kiemen. "Die eschatologische Rede Jesu Matt. xxiv. cum Parall." (Tha Eschatological Discourse of Jesus in Matt. xxiv. with the parallel passages), fahrbuch fur die Theologie, 1869, pp. 706-709. Analysis of other attempts directed to the same end in Weiffenbach, Der Wiederkunftsgedanke, p. 31 ff.

[2] Wilhelm Weiffenbach, Director of the Seminary for Theological Students at Freidherg, was born in 1842 at Bornheim in Rhenish Hesse.

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and the writers who were dependent upon them-Schleiermaeher, Bleek, Holtzmann, Schenkel, Colani, Baur, Hase, and Meyer. Among those who maintained that the Parousia formed an integral part of Jesus' teaching, he cites Keim, Weizsacker, Strauss, and Renan. He considers that the readiest way to advance the discussion will be by undertaking a critical review of the attempt to analyse the great Synoptic discourse about the future in which Colani had led the way.

The question of the Parousia is like, Weiffenbach suggests, a vessel which has become firmly wedged between rocks. Any attempt to get it afloat again will be useless until a new channel is found for it. His detailed discussions are devoted to endeavouring to discover the relation between the declarations regarding the Second Coming and the predictions of the Passion. In the course of his analysis of the great prophetic discourse he rejects the suggestion made by Weisse in his Evangelienfrage of 1856, that the eschatological character of the discourse results from the way in which it is put together; that while the sayings in their present mosaic-like combination certainly have a reference to the last things, each of them individually in its original context might well bear a natural sense. In Colani's hypothesis of conflation the suggestion was to be rejected that it was not "Ur-Markus," but the author of the Synoptic apocalypse who was responsible for the working in of the "Little Apocalypse." [1] It was an unsatisfactory feature of Weizsacker's position [2] that he insisted on regarding the "Littel Apocalypse" as Jewish, not Jewish-Christian; Pfleiderer had distinguished sharply what belongs to the Evangelist from the "Little Apocalypse," and had sought to prove that the purpose of the Evangelist in thus breaking up the latter and working it into a discourse of Jesus was to tone down the eschatological hopes expressed in the discourse, because they had remained unfulfilled even at the fall of Jerusalem, and to retard the rapid development of the apocalyptic process by inserting between its successive phases passages from a different discourse. [3] Weiffenbach carries this series of tentative suggestions to its logical conclusion, advancing the view that the link of connexion between the Jewish-Christian Apocalypse and the Gospel material in which it is imbedded is the thought of the Second Coming.

[1] The English reader will find a constructive analysis of what is known as the "Little Apocalypse" in Encyclopaedia Biblica, art. "Gospels," col. 1857. It con- sists of the verses Matt. xxiv. 6-8, 15-22, 29-31, 34, corresponding to Mark xiii. 7-9ff, 14-20, 24-27, 30. According to the theory first sketched by Colani these verses formed an independent Apocalypse which was embedded ia the Gospel by the Evangelist-F. C. B.

[2] Untersuchungen iiber die evangelische Geschichte, 1864, pp. 121-126.

[3] "Uber die Komposition der eschatologischen Rede Matt. xxiv. 4 ff." (The Composition of the Eschatological Discourse in Matt. xxiv. 4 ff.), Jahrbuch f- " Theol. vol. xiii., 186E5, pp. 134-149.

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This was the thought which gave the impulse from without towards the transmutation of Jewish into Jewish-Christian eschatology. Jesus must have given expression to the thought of His near return; and Jewish- Christianity subsequently painted it over with the colours of Jewish eschatology.

In developing this theory, Weiffenbach thought that he had succeeded in solving the problem which had been first critically formulated by Keim, who is constantly emphasising the idea that the eschatological hopes of the disciples could not be explained merely from their Judaic pre-suppositions, but that some incentive to the formation of these hopes must be sought in the preaching of Jesus; otherwise primitive Christianity and the life of Jesus would stand side by side unconnected and unexplained, and in that case we must give up all hope "of distinguishing the sure word of the Lord from Israel's restless speculations about the future."

When the Jewish-Christian Apocalypse has been eliminated, we arrive at a discourse, spoken on the Mount of Olives, in which Jesus exhorted His disciples to watchfulness, in view of the near, but nevertheless undefined, hour of the return of "the Master of the House."

In this discourse, therefore, we have a standard by which criticism may test all the eschatological sayings and discourses. Weiffenbach has the merit of having gathered together all the eschatological material of the Synoptics and examined it in the light of a definite principle. In Colani the material was incomplete, and instead of a critical principle he offered only an arbitrary exegesis which permitted him, for example, to conceive the watchfulness on which the eschatological parables constantly insist as only a vivid expression for the sense of responsibility "which weighs upon the life of man."

And yet the outcome of this attempt of Weiffenbach's, which begins with so much real promise, is in the end wholly unsatisfactory. The "authentic thought of the return" which he takes as his standard has for its sole content the expectation of a visible personal return in the "ear future "free from all more or less fantastic apocalyptic and JewishChristian speculations about the future." That is to say, the whole of the eschatological discourses of Jesus are to be judged by the standard of a colourless, unreal figment of theology. Whatever cannot be squared "ith that is to be declared spurious and cut away! Accordingly the eschatological closing saying at the Last Supper is stigmatised as a Chiliastic-Capernaitic" [1] distortion of a "normal" promise of the Second Coming; the idea of the paliggenesia, Matt. xix. 28, is said to be wholly foreign to Jesus' world of thought; it is impossible, too, that

[1] By "Capernaitic" 'Weiffenbach apparently means literalistic; cf. John vi. 52 f.

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Jesus can have thought of Himself as the Judge of the world, for the Jewish and Jewish-Christian eschatology does not ascribe the conduct of the Last Judgment to the Messiah; that is first done by Gentile Christians, and especially by Paul. It was, therefore, the later eschatology which set the Son of Man on the throne of His glory and prepared "the twelve thrones of judgment for the disciples." The historian ought only to admit such of the sayings about bearing rule in the Messianic Kingdom as can be interpreted in a spiritual, non-sensuous fashion.

In the end Weiffenbach's critical principle proves to be merely a bludgeon with which he goes seal-hunting and clubs the defenceless Synoptic sayings right and left. When his work is done you see before you a desert island strewn with quivering corpses. Nevertheless the slaughter was not aimless, or at least it was not without result.

In the first place, it did really appear, as a by-product of the critical processes, that Jesus' discourses about the future had nothing to do with an historical prevision of the destruction of Jerusalem, whereas the supposition that they had, had hitherto been taken as self-evident, the prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem being regarded as the historic nucleus of Jesus' discourses regarding the future, to which the idea of the Last Judgment had subsequently attached itself.

Here, then, we have the introduction of the converse opinion, which was subsequently established as correct; namely, that Jesus foresaw, indeed, the Last Judgment, but not the historical destruction of Jerusalem.

In the next place, in the course of his critical examination of the eschatological material, Weiffenbach stumbles upon the discourse at the sending forth of the Twelve in Matt. x., and finds himself face to face with the fact that the discourse which he was expected to regard as a discourse of instruction was really nothing of the kind, but a collection of eschatological sayings. As he had taken over along with the Marcan hypothesis the closely connected view of the composite character of the Synoptic discourses, he does not allow himself to be misled, but regards this inappropriate charge to the Twelve as nothing else than an impossible anticipation and a bold anachronism. He knows that he is at one in this with Holtzmann, Colani, Bleek, Scholten, Meyer, and Keim, who also made the discourse of instruction end at the point beyond which they find it impossible to explain it, and regard the predictions of persecution as only possible in the later period of the hf6 of Jesus. "For these predictions," to express Weiffenbach's view in the words of Keim, "are too much at variance with the essentially gracious and happy mood which suggested the sending forth of the disciples' and reflect instead the lurid gloom of the fierce conflicts of the later period and the sadness of the farewell discourses."

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It was a good thing that Bruno Bauer did not hear this chorus. If he had, he would have asked Weiffenbach and his allies whether the poor fragment that remained after the critical dissection of the "charge to the Twelve" was "a discourse of instruction," and if in view of these difficulties they could not realise why he had refused, thirty years before, to believe in the "discourse of instruction." But Bruno Bauer heard nothing; and so their blissful unconsciousness lasted for nearly a generation longer.

The expectation of His Second Coming, repeatedly expressed by Jesus towards the close of His life, is on this hypothesis authentic; it was painted over by the primitive Christian community with the colours of its own eschatology, in consequence of the delay of the Parousia; and in view of the mission to the Gentiles a more cautious conception of the nearness of the time commended itself; nay, when Jerusalem had fallen and the "signs of the end" which had been supposed to be discovered in the horrors of the years 68 and 69 had passed without result, the return of Jesus was relegated to a distant future by the aid of the doctrine that the Gospel must first be preached to all the heathen. Thus the Parousia, which according to the Jewish-Christian eschatology belonged to the present age, was transferred to the future. "With this combination and making coincident-they were not so at the first-of the Second Coming, the end of the world, and the final Judgment, the idea of the Second Coming reached the last and highest stage of its development."

Weiffenbach's view, as we have seen, empties Jesus' expectation of His return of almost all its content, and to that is due the fact that his investigation did not prove so useful as it might have done. His purpose is, following suggestions thrown out by Schleiermacher and Wiesse, to prove the identity of the predictions of the Second Coming and of the Resurrection, and he takes as his starting-point the observation that the conduct of the disciples after the death of Jesus forbids us to suppose that the Resurrection had been predicted in clear and unambiguous sayings, and that, on the other hand, the announcement of the Second Coming coincides in point of time with the predictions of the Resurrection, and the predictions buih of the Second Coming and of the Resurrection stand in organic connexion with the announcement of His approaching death. The two are therefore identical.

It was only after the death of their Master that the disciples differentiated the thought of the Resurrection from that of the Second Coming. The Resurrection did not bring them that which the Second Coming had promised; but it produced the result that the eschatological hopes, ^hich Jesus had with difficulty succeeded in damping, flamed up again in the hearts of His disciples. The spiritual presence of the Deliverer ^ho had manifested Himself to them did not seem to them to be the

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fulfilment of the promise of the Second Coming; but the expectation of the latter, being brought into contact with the flame of eschatological hope with which their hearts were a-fire, was fused, and cast into a form quite different from that in which it had been derived from the words of Jesus.

That is all finely observed. For the first time it had dawned upon historical criticism that the great question is that concerning the identity or difference of the Parousia and the Resurrection. But the man who had been the first to grasp that thought, and who had undertaken his whole study with the special purpose of working it out, was too much under the influence of the spiritualised eschatology of Schleiermacher and Weisse to be able to assign the right values in the solution of his equation. And, withal, he is too much inclined to play the apologist as a subsidiary role. He is not content merely to render the history intelligible; he is, by his own confession, urged on by the hope that perhaps a way may be found of causing that "error" of Jesus to disappear and proving it to be an illusion due to the want of a sufficiently close study of His discourses. But the historian simply must not be an apologist; he must leave that to those who come after him and he may do so with a quiet mind, for the apologists, as we learn from the history of the Lives of Jesus, can get the better of any historical result whatever. It is, therefore, quite unnecessary that the historian should allow himself to be led astray by following an apologetic will-o'-the-wisp.

Technically regarded, the mistake on which Weiffenbach's investigation made shipwreck was the failure to bring the Jewish apocalyptic material into relation with the Synoptic data. If he had done this, it would have been impossible for him to extract an absolutely unreal and unhistorical conception of the Second Coming out of the discourses of Jesus.

The task which Weiffenbach had neglected remained undone-to the detriment of theology-until Baldensperger 1 repaired the omission. His book, "The Self-consciousness of Jesus in the Light of the Messianic Hopes of His Time," 2 published in 1888, made its impression by reason of the fullness of its material. Whereas Colani and Volkmar had still

[1] Wilhelm Baldensperger, at present Professor at Giessen, was born in 1856 at Miilhausen in Alsace.

[2] A new edition appeared in 1891. There is no fundamental alteration, but in consequence of the polemic against opponents who had arisen in the meantime lt is fuller. The first pan of a third edition appeared in 1903 under the title Die messianisch-apokalyptischen Hoffnungen des Judentums.

See also the interesting use made of Late-Jewish and Rabbinic ideas in Altrett Edersheim's The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, 2nd ed., London, 1884, 2 vols.

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been able to deny the existence of a fully formed Messianic expectation in the time of Jesus, the genesis of the expectation was now fully traced out, and it was shown that the world of thought which meets us in Daniel had won the victory, that the "Son of Man" Messiah of the Similitudes of Enoch was the last product of the Messianic hope prior to the time of Jesus; and that therefore the fully developed Danielic scheme with its unbridgeable chasm between the present and the future world furnished the outline within which all further and more detailed traits were inserted. The honour of having effectively pioneered the way for this discovery belongs to Schurer. [1] Baldensperger adopts his ideas, but sets them forth in a much more direct way, because he, in contrast with Schurer, gives no system of Messianic expectation-and there never in reality was a system-but is content to picture its many-sided growth.

He does not, it is true, escape some minor inconsistencies. For example, the idea of a "political Messiahship," which is really set aside by his historical treatment, crops up here and there, as though the author had not entirely got rid of it himself. But the impression made by the book as a whole was overpowering.

Nevertheless this book does not exactly fulfil the promise of its title, any more than Weiffenbach's. The reader expects that now at last Jesus' sayings about Himself will be consistently explained in the light of the Jewish Messianic ideas, but that is not done. For Baldensperger, instead of tracing down and working out the conception of the Kingdom of God held by Jesus as a product of the Jewish eschatology, at least by way of trying whether that method would suffice, takes it over direct from modern historical theology. He assumes as self-evident that Jesus' conception of the Kingdom of God had a double character, that the eschatological and spiritual elements were equally represented in it and mutually conditioned one another, and that Jesus therefore began, in pursuance of this conception, to found a spiritual invisible Kingdom, al-

[1] Emil Schiirer, Geschichte des judischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi. (History of the Jewish People in the Time of Christ.) 2nd ed., part second, 1886, pp. 417 S. Here is to be found also a bibliography of the older literature of the subject. 3rd ed., 1889, vol. ii. pp. 498 ff.

Emil Schurer was born at Augsburg in 1844, and from 1873 onwards was successively Professor at Leipzig, Giessen, and Kiel, and is now (1909) at Gottingen.

The latest presentment of Jewish apocalyptic is Die judische Eschatologie van Daniel bis Akiba, by Paul Volz, Pastor in Leonberg. Tubingen, 1903. 412 pp. The material is very completely given. Unfortunately the author has chosen the systematic method of treating his subject, instead of tracing the history of its development, the only right way. As a consequence Jesus and Paul occupy far too little space ln this survey of Jewish apocalyptic. For a treatment of the origin of Jewish eschatology from the point of view of the history of religion see Hugo Gressmann, now Professor at Berlin, Der Ursprung der israelitisch-judischen Eschatologie (The Origin of the Israelitish and Jewish Eschatology), Gottingen, 1905. 377 pp.

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though He expected its fulfilment to be effected by supernatural means. Consequently there must also have been a duality in His religious consciousness, in which these two conceptions had to be combined. Jesus' Messianic consciousness sprang, according to Baldensperger, "from a religious root"; that is to say, the Messianic consciousness was a special modification of a self-consciousness in which a pure, spiritual, unique relation to God was the fundamental element; and from this arises the possibility of a spiritual transformation of the Jewish-Messianic self-consciousness. In making these assumptions, Baldensperger does not ask himself whether it is not possible that for Jesus the purely Jewish consciousness of a transcendental Messiahship may itself have been religious, nay even spiritual, just as well as the Messiahship resting on a vague, indefinite, colourless sense of union with God which modern theologians arbitrarily attribute to Him.

Again, instead of arriving at the two conceptions, Kingdom of God and Messianic consciousness, purely empirically, by an unbiased comparison of the Synoptic passages with the Late-Jewish conceptions, Baldensperger, in this following Holtzmann, brings them into his theory in the dual form in which contemporary theology, now becoming faintly tinged with eschatology, offered them to him. Consequently, everything has to be adapted to this duality. Jesus, for example, in applying to Himself the title Son of Man, thinks not only of the transcendental significance which it has in the Jewish apocalyptic, but gives it at the same time an ethico-religious colouring.

Finally, the duality is explained by an application of the genetic method, in which the "course of the development of the self-consciousness of Jesus" is traced out. The historical psychology of the Marcan hypothesis here shows its power of adapting itself to eschatology. From the first, to follow the course of Baldensperger's exposition, the eschatological view influenced Jesus' expectation of the Kingdom and His Messianic consciousness. In the wilderness, after the dawn of His Messianic consciousness at His baptism, He had rejected the ideal of the Messianic king of David's line and put away all warlike thoughts. Then He began to found the Kingdom of God by preaching. For a time the spiritualised idea of the Kingdom was dominant in His mind, the Messianic eschatological idea falling rather into the background.

But His silence regarding His Messianic office was partly due to paedagogic reasons, "since He desired to lead His hearers to a more spiritual conception of the Kingdom and so to obviate a possible political movement on their part and the consequent intervention of the Roman government." In addition to this He had also personal reasons for not revealing Himself which only disappeared in the moment when His death and Second Coming became part of His plan; previous to

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that He did not know how and when the Kingdom was to come. Prior to the confession at Caesarea Philippi, the disciples "had only a faint and vague suspicion of the Messianic dignity of their Master."

This was "rather the preparatory stage of His Messianic work." Objectively, it may be described "as the period of growing emphasis upon the spiritual characteristics of the Kingdom, and of resigned waiting and watching for its outward manifestation in glory; subjectively, from the point of view of the self-consciousness of Jesus, it may be characterised as the period of the struggle between His religious conviction of His Messiahship and the traditional rationalistic Messianic belief."

This first period opens out into a second in which He had attained to perfect clearness of vision and complete inner harmony. By the acceptance of the idea of suffering, Jesus' inner peace is enhanced to the highest degree conceivable. "By throwing Himself upon the thought of death He escaped the lingering uncertainty as to when and how God would fulfil His promise. . . ." "The coming of the Kingdom was fixed down to the Second Coming of the Messiah. Now He ventured to regard Himself as the Son of Man who was to be the future Judge of the world, for the suffering and dying Son of Man was closely associated with the Son of Man surrounded by the host of heaven. Would the people accept Him as Messiah? He now, in Jerusalem, put the question to them in all its sharpness and burning actuality; and the people were moved to enthusiasm. But so soon as they saw that He whom they had hailed with such acclamation was neither able nor willing to fulfil their ambitious dreams, a reaction set in."

Thus, according to Baldensperger, there was an interaction between the historical and the psychological events. And that is right!-if only the machinery were not so complicated, and a "development" had not to be ground out of it at whatever cost. But this, and the whole manner of treatment in the second part, encumbered as it is with parenthetic qualifications, was rendered inevitable by the adoption of the two aforesaid not purely historical conceptions. Sometimes, too, one gets the impression that the author felt that he owed it to the school to which he belonged to advance no assertion without adding the limitations which scientifically secure it against attack. Thus on every page he digs himself into an entrenched position, with palisades of footnotes-in fact the book actually ends with a footnote. But the conception which underlay the whole was so full of vigour that in spite of the thoughts not being always completely worked out, it produced a powerful impression. Baldensperger had persuaded theology at least to admit the hypothesis-whether it took up a positive or negative position in regard to it-that Jesus possessed a fully-developed eschatology. He thus provided a new basis for discussion and gave an impulse to the study of the subject

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such as it had not received since the 'sixties, at least not in the same degree of energy. Perhaps the very limitations of the work, due as they were to its introduction of modern ideas, rendered it better adapted to the spirit of the age, and consequently more influential, than if it had been characterised by that rigorous maintenance of a single point of view which was abstractly requisite for the proper treatment of the subject. It was precisely the rejection of this rigorous consistency which enabled it to gain ground for the cause of eschatology.

But the consistent treatment from a single point of view was bound to come; and it came four years later. In passing from Weiffenbach and Baldensperger to Johannes Weiss [1] the reader feels like an explorer who after wsary wanderings through billowy seas of reed-grass at length reaches a wooded tract, and instead of swamp feels firm ground beneath his feet, instead of yielding rushes sees around him the steadfast trees. At last there is an end of "qualifying clause" theology, of the "and yet," the "on the other hand," the "notwithstanding"! The reader had to follow the others step by step, making his way over every footbridge and gang-plank which they laid down, following all the meanderings in which they indulged, and must never let go their hands if he wished to come safely through the labyrinth of spiritual and eschatological ideas which they supposed to be found in the thought of Jesus.

In Weiss there are none of these devious paths: "behold the land lies before thee."

His "Preaching of Jesus concerning the Kingdom of God," [2] published in 1892, has, on its own lines, an importance equal to that of Strauss's first Life of Jesus. He lays down the third great alternative which the study of the life of Jesus had to meet. The first was laid down by Strauss: either purely historical or purely supernatural. The second had been worked out by the Tubingen school and Holtzmann: either Synoptic or Johannine. Now came the third: either eschatological or non-eschatological!

Progress always consists in taking one or other of two alternatives, in abandoning the attempt to combine them. The pioneers of progress have therefore always to reckon with the law of mental inertia which manifests itself in the majority-who always go on believing that it is possible to combine that which can no longer be combined, and in fact claim it as a special merit that they, in contrast with the "one-sided"

[1] Johannes Weiss, now Professor at Marburg, was born at Kiel in 1863.

[2] It may be mentioned that this work had been preceded (in 1891) by two Leiden prize dissertations, Uber die Lehre vom Reich Gottes im Neuen Testament (Concerning the Kingdom of God in the New Testament), one of them by Issel, the other, which lays especially strong emphasis upon the eschatology, by Schmoller.

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writers, can do justice to the other side of the question. One must just let them be, till their time is over, and resign oneself not to see the end of it, since it is found by experience that the complete victory of one of two historical alternatives is a matter of two full theological generations.

This remark is made in order to explain why the work of Johannes Weiss did not immediately make an end of the mediating views. Another reason perhaps was that, according to the usual canons of theological authorship, the book was much too short-only sixty-seven pages-and too simple to allow its full significance to be realised. And yet it is precisely this simplicity which makes it one of the most important works in historical theology. It seems to break a spell. It closes one epoch and begins another.

Weiffenbach had failed to solve the problem of the Second Coming, Baldensperger that of the Messianic consciousness of Jesus, because both of them allowed a false conception of the Kingdom of God to keep its place among the data. The general conception of the Kingdom was first rightly grasped by Johannes Weiss. All modern ideas, he insists, even in their subtlest forms, must be eliminated from it; when this is done, we arrive at a Kingdom of God which is wholly future; as is indeed implied by the petition in the Lord's prayer, "Thy Kingdom come." Being still to come, it is at present purely supra-mundane. It is present only as a cloud may be said to be present which throws its shadow upon the earth; its nearness, that is to say, is recognised by the paralysis of the Kingdom of Satan. In the fact that Jesus casts out the demons, the Pharisees are bidden to recognise, according to Matt. xii. 25-28, that the Kingdom of God is already come upon them.

This is the only sense in which Jesus thinks of the Kingdom as present. He does not "establish it," He only proclaims its coming. He exercises no "Messianic functions," but waits, like others, for God to bring about the coming of the Kingdom by supernatural means. He does not even know the day and hour when this shall come to pass. The missionary journey of the disciples was not designed for the extension of the Kingdom of God, but only as a means of rapidly and widely making known its nearness. But it was not so near as Jesus thought. The impenitence and hardness of heart of a great part of the people, and the implacable enmity of His opponents, at length convinced Him that the establishment of the Kingdom of God could not yet take place, that such penitence as had been shown hitherto was not sufficient, and "lat a mighty obstacle, the guilt of the people, must first be put away. It becomes clear to Him that His own death must be the ransom-price. He dies, not for the community of His followers only, but for the nation; that is why He always speaks of His atoning death as "for many,"

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not "for you." After His death He would come again in all the splendour and glory with which, since the days of Daniel, men's imaginations had surrounded the Messiah, and He was to come, moreover, within the lifetime of the generation to which He had proclaimed the nearness of the Kingdom of God.

The setting up of the Kingdom was to be preceded by the Day of Judgment. In describing the Messianic glory Jesus makes use of the traditional picture, but He does so with modesty, restraint, and sobriety. Therein consists His greatness.

With political expectations this Kingdom has nothing whatever to do. "To hope for the Kingdom of God in the transcendental sense which Jesus attaches to it, and to raise a revolution, are two things as different as fire and water." The transcendental character of the expectation consists precisely in this, that the State and all earthly institutions, conditions, and benefits, as belonging to the present age, shall either not exist at all in the coming Kingdom, or shall exist only in a sublimated form. Hence Jesus cannot preach to men a special ethic of the Kingdom of God, but only an ethic which in this world makes men free from the world and prepared to enter unimpeded into the Kingdom. That is why His ethic is of so completely negative a character; it is, in fact, not so much an ethic as a penitential discipline.

The ministry of Jesus is therefore not in principle different from that of John the Baptist: there can be no question of a founding and development of the Kingdom within the hearts of men. What distinguishes the work of Jesus from that of the Baptist is only His consciousness of being the Messiah. He awoke to this consciousness at His baptism. But the Messiahship which He claims is not a present office; its exercise belongs to the future. On earth He is only a man, a prophet, as in the view implied in the speeches in the Acts of the Apostles. "Son of Man" is therefore, in the passages where it is authentic, a purely eschatological designation of the Messiah, though we cannot tell whether His hearers understood Him as speaking of Himself in His future rank and dignity, or whether they thought of the Son of Man as a being quite distinct from Himself, whose coming He was only proclaiming in advance.

"The sole object of this argument is to prove that the Messianic self-consciousness of Jesus, as expressed in the title 'Son of Man,' shares in the transcendental apocalyptic character of Jesus' idea of the Kingdom of God, and cannot be separated from that idea." The only partially correct evaluation of the factors in the problem of the Life of Jesus which Baldensperger had taken over from contemporary theology, and which had hitherto prevented historical science from obtaining a solution of that problem, had now been corrected from the history itself, and it was now only necessary to insert the corrected data into the calculation.

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Here is the point at which it is fitting to recall Reimarus. He was the first, and indeed, before Johannes Weiss, the only writer who recognised and pointed out that the preaching of Jesus was purely eschatological. It is true that his conception of the eschatology was primitive and that he applied it not as a constructive, but as a destructive principle of criticism. But read his statement of the problem "with the signs changed," and with the necessary deduction for the primitive character of the eschatology, and you have the view of Weiss.

Ghillany, too, has a claim to be remembered. When Weiss asserts that the part played by Jesus was not the active role of establishing the Kingdom, but the passive role of waiting for the coming of the Kingdom; and that it was, in a sense, only by the acceptance of His sufferings that He emerged from that passivity; he is only asserting what Ghillany had maintained thirty years before with the same arguments and with the same decisiveness. But Weiss places the assertion on a scientifically unassailable basis.


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Kirby, Peter. "Historical Jesus Theories." Early Christian Writings. <http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/1clement-hoole.html>.