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The Quest of the Historical Jesus

* IX *


David Friedrich Strauss. Streitschriften zur Verteidigung meiner Sclirift liber das Leben-Jesu und zur Charakteristik der gegenwartigen Theologie. (Replies to criticisms of my work on the Life of Jeaus; with an estimate of present-day theology.) Tubingen, 1837.

Das Leben-Jesu, 3te verbesserte Auflage (3rd revised edition). 1838-1839. Tubingen.

August Tholuck. Die Glaubwiirdigkeit der evangelischen Geschichte, zugleich eine Kritik des Lebens Jesu von Strauss. (The Credibility of the Gospel History, with an incidental criticism of Strauss's "Leben-Jesu.") Hamburg, 1837.

Aug. Wilh. Neander. Das Leben Jesu-Christi. Hamburg, 1837.

Dr. Neanders auf hohere Verlassung abgefasstes Gutachten liber das Buch des Dr. Strauss' "Leben-Jesu" und das in Beziehung auf die Verbreitung desselben zu beachtende Verfahren. (Dr. Neander's report, drawn up at the request of the authorities, upon Dr. Strauss's "Leben-Jesu" and the measures to be adopted in regard to its circulation.) 1836.

Leonhard Hug. Gutachten liber das Leben-Jesu, kritisch bearbeitet von D. Fr. Strauss. (Report on D. Fr. Strauss's critical work upon the Life of Jesus.) Freiburg, 1840.

Christian Gottlob Wilke. Tradition und Mythe. Ein Beitrag zur historischen Kritik der kanonischen Evangelien uberhaupt, wie insbesondere zur Wiirdigung des mythischen Idealismus im Leben-Jesu von Strauss. (Tradition and Myth. A Contribution to the General Historical Criticism of the Gospels; with special reference to the mythical idealism of Strauss's "Leben-Jesu.") Leipzig, 1837.

August Ebrard. Wissenschaftliche Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte. (Scientific Criticism of the Gospel History.) Frankfort, 1842.

Georg Heinr. Aug. Ewald. Geschichte Christus' und seiner Zeit. (History of Christ and His Times.) 1855. Fifth volume of the "Geschichte des Volkes Israel."

Christoph Friedrich von Ammon. Die Geschichte des Lebens Jesu mit steter Riicksicht auf die vorhandenen Quellen. (History of the Life of Jesus with constant reference to the extant sources.) 3 vols. 1842-1847.

SCARCELY EVER HAS A BOOK LET LOOSE SUCH A STORM OF CONTROVERSY; and scarcely ever has a controversy been so barren of immediate result. The fertilising rain brought up a crop of toad-stools. Of the forty or fifty essays on the subject which appeared in the next five years, there are


only four or five which are of any value, and even of these the value is very small.

Strauss's first idea was to deal with each of his opponents separately, and he published in 1837 three successive Streitschriften.[1] In the preface to the first of these he states that he has kept silence for two years from a rooted objection to anything in the nature of reply or counter-criticism, and because he had little expectation of any good results from such controversy. These essays are able, and are often written with biting scorn, especially that directed against his inveterate enemy, Steudel of Tubingen, the representative of intellectual supernaturalism, and that against Eschenmayer, a pastor, also of Tubingen. To a work of the latter, "The Iscariotism of our Days" (1835), he had referred in the preface to the second volume of his Life of Jesus in the following remark: "This offspring of the legitimate marriage between theological ignorance and religious intolerance, blessed by a sleep-walking philosophy, succeeds in making itself so completely ridiculous that it renders any serious reply unnecessary."

But for all his sarcasm Strauss does not show himself an adroit debater in this controversy, any more than in later times in the Diet.

It is indeed remarkable how unskilled in polemics is this man who had produced a critical work of the first importance with almost playful ease. If his opponents made no effort to understand him rightly—and many of them certainly wrote without having carefully studied the fourteen hundred pages of his two volumes—Strauss on his part seemed to be stricken with a kind of uncertainty, lost himself in a maze of detail, and failed to keep continually re-formulating the main problems which he had set up for discussion, and so compelling his adversaries to face them fairly.

Of these problems there were three. The first was composed of the

[1] For general title see above. First part: "Herr Dr. Steudel, or the Self-deception of the Intellectual Supernaturalism of our Time." 182 pp. Second part: "Die Herren Eschenmayer und Menzel." 247 pp. Third part: "Die evangelische Kirchemeitung, die Jahrbiicher filr wissenschaftliche Kritik und Die theologischen Studien und Kritiken in ihrer Stellung zu meiner Kritik des Lebens Jesu." (The attitude taken up by ... in regard to my critical Life of Jesus.) 179 pp. In the Studien und Kritiken two reviews had appeared: a critical review by Dr. Ullmann (vol. for 1836, pp. 770-816) and that of Miiller, written from the standpoint of the "common faith" (vol. for 1836, pp. 816-890). In the Evangelische Kirchemeitung the articles re- ferred to are the following: Vorwort (Editorial Survey), 1836, pp. 1-6, 9-14, 17-23, 25-31, 33-38, 41^1,5; "The Future of our Theology" (1836, pp. 281 ff.) ; "Thoughts suggested by Dr. Strauss's essay on 'The Relation of Theological Criticism and Speculation to the Church'" (1836, pp. 382 ff.) ; Strauss's essay had appeared in the Allgemeine Kirchemeitung for 1836, No. 39. "Die kritische Bearbeitung des Lebens Jesu von D. F. Strauss nach ihrem wissenschaftlichen Werte beleuchtet." (An Inquiry into the Scientific Value of D. F. Strauss's Critical Study of the Life of Jesus.) By Prof. Dr. Harless. Eriangen, 1836.


related questions regarding miracle and myth; the second concerned the connexion of the Christ of faith with the Jesus of history; the third referred to the relation of the Gospel of John to the Synoptists.

It was the first that attracted most attention; more than half the critics devoted themselves to it alone. Even so they failed to get a thorough grasp of it. The only thing that they clearly see is that Strauss altogether denies the miracles; the full scope of the mythological explanation as applied to the traditional records of the life of Jesus, and the extent of the historical material which Strauss is prepared to accept, is still a riddle to them. That is in some measure due, it must in fairness be said, to the arrangement of Strauss's own work, in which the unconnected series of separate investigations makes the subject unnecessarily difficult even for one who wishes to do the author justice.

The attitude towards miracle assumed in the anti-Strauss literature shows how far the anti-rationalistic reaction had carried professedly scientific theology in the direction of supernaturalism. Some significant symptoms had begun to show themselves even in Hase and Schleiermacher of a tendency towards the overcoming of rationalism by a kind of intellectual gymnastic which ran some risk of falling into insincerity. The essential character of this new kind of historical theology first came to light when Strauss put it to the question, and forced it to substitute a plain yes or no for the ambiguous phrases with which this school had only too quickly accustomed itself to evade the difficulties of the problem of miracle. The mottoes with which this new school of theology adorned the works which it sent forth against the untimely troubler of their peace manifest its complete perplexity, and display the coquettish resignation with which the sacred learning of the time essayed to cover its nakedness, after it had succumbed to the temptation of the serpent insincerity. Adolf Harless of Eriangen chose the melancholy saying of Pascal: "Tout tourne bien pour les elus, jusqu'aux obscurites de 1'ecriture, car ils les honorent a cause des clartes divines qu'ils y voient; et tout tourne en mal aux reprouves, jusqu'aux clartes, car ils les blasphement a cause des obscurites qu'ils n'entendent pas." [1]

Herr Wilhelm Hoffmann, [2] deacon at Winnenden, selected Bacon's aphorism: "Animus ad amplitudinem mysteriorum pro modulo suo dilatetur, non mysteria ad angustias animi constringantur." (Let the

[1] "Everything turns to the advantage of the elect, even to the obscurities of scripture, for they treat them with reverence because of its perspicuities; everything turns to the disadvantage of the reprobate, even to the perspicuities of scripture, for they blaspheme them because they cannot understand its obscurities." For the title of Harless's essay, see end of previous note.

[2] Das Leben-Jesu kritisch bearbeitet van Dr. D. F. Strauss. Cepriift filr Theologen und Nicht-Theologen, von Wilhelm Hoffmann. 1836. (Strauss's Critical Study of the Life of Jesus examined for the Benefit of Theologians and non-Theologians.)


mind, so far as possible, be expanded to the greatness of the mysteries, not the mysteries contracted to the compass of the mind.)

Professor Ernst Osiander, [1] of the seminary at Maulbronn, appeals to Cicero: "0 magna vis veritatis, quae contra hominum ingenia, callidi- tatem, sollertiam facillime se per ipsam defendit." (0 mighty power of truth, which against all the ingenious devices, the craft and subtlety, of men, easily defends itself by its own strength!)

Franz Baader, of Munich, [2] ornaments his work with the reflection: "II faut que les hommes soient bien loin de toi, o Verite! puisque tu supporte (sic!) leur ignorance, leurs erreurs, et leurs crimes." (Men must indeed be far from thee, 0 Truth, since thou art able to bear with their ignorance, their errors, and their crimes!)

Tholuck [3] girds himself with the Catholic maxim of Vincent of Lerins: "Teneanmus quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus creditum est." (Let us hold that which has been believed always, every- where, by all.)

The fear of Strauss had, indeed, a tendency to inspire Protestant theologians with catholicising ideas. One of the most competent reviewers of his book, Dr. Ullmann in the Studien und Kritiken, had expressed the wish that it had been written in Latin to prevent its doing harm among the people. [4] An anonymous dialogue of the period shows us the schoolmaster coming in distress to the clergyman. He has allowed himself to be persuaded into reading the book by his acquaintance the Major, and he is now anxious to get rid of the doubts which it has

[1] Apologie des Lebens Jesu gegenuber dem neuesten Versuch, es in Mythem aufzulosen. (Defence of the Life of Jesus against the latest attempt to resolve it into myth.) By Job. Ernst Osiander, Professor at the Evangelical Seminary at Maulbronn.

[2] Uber das Leben-Jesu van Strauss, von Franz Baader, 1836. Here may be mentioned also the lectures which Krabbe (subsequently Professor at Rostock) delivered against Strauss: Vorlesungen ilber das Leben-Jesu fur Theologen und Nicht-Theologen (Lectures on the Life of Jesus for Theologians and non-Theologians), Hamburg, 1839. They are more tolerable to non-theologians than to theologians. The author at a later period distinguished himself by the fanatical zeal with which he urged on the deposition of his colleague, Michael Baumgarten, whose Geschichte Jesu, published in 1859, though fully accepting the miracles, was weighed in the balance by Krabbe and found light-weight by the Rostock standard.

[3] For the title, see head of chapter. Tholuck was born in 1799 at Breslau, and became in 1826 Professor at Halle, where he worked until his death in 1877. With the possible exception of Neander, he was the most distinguished representative of the mediating theology. His piety was deep and his learning was wide, but his judgment went astray in the effort to steer his freight of pietism safely between the rocks of rationalism and the shoals of orthodoxy.

[4] Stud. u. Krit., 1836, p. 777. In his "Open letter to Dr. Ullmann," Strauss examines this suggestion in a serious and dignified fashion, and shows that nothing would be gained by such expedients.—Streitschriften, 3rd pt., p. 129 ff.


aroused in him. When his cure has been safely accomplished, the reverend gentleman dismisses him with the following exhortation: "Now I hope that after the experience which you have had you will for the future refrain from reading books of this kind, which are not written for you, and of which there is no necessity for you to take any notice; and for the refutation of which, should that be needful, you have no equipment. You may be quite sure that anything useful or profitable for you which such books may contain will reach you in due course through the proper channel and in the right way, and, that being so, you are under no necessity to jeopardise any part of your peace of mind."

Tholuck's work professedly aims only at presenting a "historical argument for the credibility of the miracle stories of the Gospels." "Even if we admit," he says in one place, "the scientific position that no act can have proceeded from Christ which transcends the laws of nature, there is still room for the mediating view of Christ's miracle- working activity. This leads us to think of mysterious powers of nature as operating in the history of Christ—powers such as we have some partial knowledge of, as, for example, those magnetic powers which have survived down to our own time, like ghosts lingering on after the coming of day." From the standpoint of this spurious rationalism he proceeds to take Strauss to task for rejecting the miracles. "Had this latest critic been able to approach the Gospel miracles without prejudice, in the Spirit of Augustine's declaration, 'dandum est deo, eum aliquid facere posse quod nos investigare non possumus,' he would certainly—since he is a man who in addition to the acumen of the scholar possesses sound common sense—have come to a different conclusion in regard to these difficulties. As it is, however, he has approached the Gospels with the conviction that miracles are impossible; and on that assumption, it was certain before the argument began that the Evangelists were either deceivers or deceived."

Neander, in his Life of Jesus, [1] handles the question with more delicacy

[1] Das Leben Jesu-Christi. Hamburg, 1837. Aug. Wilhelm Neander was born in 1789 at Gottingen, of Jewish parents, his real name being David Mendel. He was baptized in 1806, studied theology, and in 1813 was appointed to a professorship in Berlin, where he displayed a many-sided activity and exercised a beneficent in- fluence. He died in 1850. The best-known of his writings is the Geschichte der Pflanzung und Leitung der christlichen Kirche durch die Apostel (History of the Propagation and Administration of the Christian Church by the Apostles), Ham- burg, 1832-1833, of which a reprint appeared as late as 1890. Neander was a man not only of deep piety, but also of great solidity of character.

Strauss, in his Life of Jesus of 1864, passes the following judgment upon Neander's work: "A book such as in these circumstances Neander's Life of Jesus was bound to be calls forth our sympathy; the author himself acknowledges in his preface that it bears upon it only too clearly the marks of the time of crisis, division, pain, and distress in which it was produced."

Of the innumerable "positive" Lives of Jesus which appeared about the end of the 'thirties we may mention that of Julius Hartmann (2 vols., 1837-1839). Among the later Lives of Jesus of the mediating theology may be mentioned that of Theodore Pressel of Tiibingen, which was much read at the time of its appearance (1857, 592 pp.). It aims primarily al edification. We may also mention the Leben des Herrn Jem Christi by Wil. Jak. Lichtenstein (Eriangen, 1856), which reflects the ideas of von Hofmann.


of touch, rather in the style of Schleiermacher. "Christ's miracles," he explains, "are to be understood as an influencing of nature, human or material." He does not, however, give so much prominence as Schleiermacher had done to the difficulty involved in the supposition of an influence exercised upon material nature. He repeats Schleiermacher's assertions, but without the imposing dialectic which in Schleiermacher's hands almost commands assent. In regard to the miracle at Cana he remarks: "We cannot indeed form any clear conception of an effect brought about by the introduction of a higher creative principle into the natural order, since we have no experience on which to base such a conception, but we are by no means compelled to take this extreme view as to what happned; we may quite well suppose that Christ by an immediate influence upon the water communicated to it a higher potency which enabled it to produce the effects of strong wine." In the case of all the miracles he makes a point of seeking not only the explanation, but the higher symbolical significance. The miracle of the fig-tree—which is sui generis—has only this symbolical significance, seeing that it is not beneficent and creative but destructive. "It nan only be thought of as a vivid illustration of a prediction of the Divine judgment, after the manner of the symbolic actions of the Old Testament prophets."

With reference to the ascension and the resurrection he writes: "Even though we can form no clear idea of the exact way in which the exaltation of Christ from the earth took place—and indeed there is much that is obscure in regard to the earthly life of Christ after His resurrection—yet, in its place in the organic unity of the Christian faith, it is as certain as the resurrection, which apart from it cannot be recognised in its true significance."

That extract is typical of Neander's Life of Jesus, which in its time was hailed as a great achievement, calculated to provide a learned refutation of Strauss's criticism, and of which a seventh edition appeared as late as 1872. The real piety of heart with which it is imbued cannot conceal the fact that it is a patchwork of unsatisfactory compromises. It is the child of despair, and has perplexity for godfather. One cannot read it without pain.

Neander, however, may fairly claim to be judged, not by this work, but by his personal attitude in the Strauss controversy. And here he ap-


pears as a magnanimous and dignified representative of theological science. Immediately after the appearance of Strauss's book, which, it was at once seen, would cause much offence, the Prussian Government asked Neander to report upon it, with a view to prohibiting the circulation, should there appear to be grounds for doing so. He presented his report on the 15th of November 1835, and, an inaccurate account of it having appeared in the Allgemeine Zeitung, subsequently published it.[1] In it he censures the work as being written from a too purely rationalistic point of view, but strongly urges the Government not to suppress it by an edict. He describes it as "a book which, it must be admitted, constitutes a danger to the sacred interests of the Church, but which follows the method of endeavouring to produce a reasoned conviction by means of argument. Hence any other method of dealing with it than by meeting argument with argument will appear in the unfavourable light of an arbitrary interference with the freedom of science."

In holding that scientific theology will be able by its own strength to overthrow whatever in Strauss's Life of Jesus deserves to be overthrown, Neander is at one with the anonymous writer of "Aphorisms in Defence of Dr. Strauss and his Work," [2] who consoles himself with Goethe's saying—

Das Tiichtige, auch wenn es falsch ist,
Wirkt Tag fur Tag, von Haus zu Haus;
Das Tiichtige, wenn's wahrhaftig ist,
Wirkt liber alle Zeiten hinaus. [3]

(Strive hard, and though your aim be wrong,
Your work shall live its little day;
Strive hard, and for the truth be strong,
Your work shall live and grow for aye.)

"Dr. Strauss," says this anonymous writer, "does not represent the author's views, and he on his pait cannot undertake to defend Dr. Strauss's conclusions. But it is clear to him that Dr. Strauss's work con- sidered as a scientific production is more scientific than the works opposed to it from the side of religion are religious. Otherwise why are they so passionate, so apprehensive, so unjust?"

This confidence in pure critical science was not shared by Herr Privat-Docent Daniel Schenkel of Basle, afterwards Professor at Heidelberg. In a dreary work dedicated to his Gottingen teacher Liicke, on

[1] For title see head of chapter.

[2] Aphorismen zur Apologie des Dr. Strauss und seines Werkes. Grimma, 1838.

[3] From the Xame Xenien, p. 259 of Goethe's Works, ed. Hempel.


"Historical Science and the Church," [1] he looks for future salvation towards that middle region where faith and science interpenetrate, and hails the new supernaturalism which approximates to a scientific treatment of these subjects "as a hopeful phenomenon." He rejoices in the violent opposition at Zurich which led to the cancelling of Strauss's appointment, regarding it as likely to exercise an elevating influence. A similarly lofty position is taken up by the anonymous author of "Dr. Strauss and the Zurich Church," [2] to which De Wette contributed a preface. Though professing great esteem for Strauss, and admitting that from the purely historical point of view he is in the right, the author feels bound to congratulate the Zurichers on having refused to admit him to the office of teacher.

The pure rationalists found it much more difficult than did the mediating theologians, whether of the older or younger school, to adjust their attitude to the new solution of the miracle question. Strauss himself had made it difficult for them by remorselessly exposing the absurd and ridiculous aspects of their method, and by refusing to recognise them as allies in the battle for truth, as they really were. Paulus would have been justified in bearing him a grudge. But the inner greatness of that man of hard exterior comes out in the fact that he put his personal feelings in the background, and when Strauss became the central figure in the battle for the purity and freedom of historical science he ignored his attacks on rationalism and came to his defence. In a very remarkable letter to the Free Canton of Zurich, on "Freedom in Theological Teaching and in the Choice of Teachers for Colleges," [3] he urges the council and the people to appoint Strauss because of the principle at stake, and in order to avoid giving any encouragement to the retrograde movement in historical science. It is as though he felt that the end of rationalism had come, but that, in the person of the enemy who had defeated it, the pure love of truth, which was the only thing that really mattered, would triumph over all the forces of reaction.

It would not, however, be true to say that Strauss had beaten rationalism from the field. In Ammon's famous Life of Jesus, [4] in which the

[l] Die Wissenschaft und die Kirche. Zur Verstandigung fiber die Straussische Angelegenheit. (A contribution to the adjustment of opinion regarding the Strauss affair.) By Daniel Schenke], Licentiate in Theology and Privat-Docent of the University of Basle, with a dedicatory letter to Herr Dr. Liicke, Konsistorialrat. Basle, 1839.

[2] Dr. Strauss und die Zilricher Kirche. Eine Stimme aus Norddeutschland. Mit einer Vorrede von Dr. W. M. L. de Wette. (A voice from North Germany. With an introduction by Dr. W. M. L. de Wette.) Basle, 1839.

[3] Uber theologische Lehrfreiheit und Lehrerwahl fur Hochschulen. Zurich, 1839.

[4] For full title see head of chapter. Reference may also be made to the same author's Forthbildung des Christentums zur Weltreligion. (Development of Chris- tianity into a World-religion.) Leipzig, 1833-1835. 4 vols. Ammon was born in 1766 at Bayreuth; became Professor of theology at Eriangen in 1790; was Professor in Giittingen from 1794 to 1804, and, after being back in Eriangen in the meantime, became in 1813 Senior Court Chaplain and "Oberkonsistorialrat" at Dresden, where he died in 1850. He was the most distinguished representative of historico-critical rationalism.


author takes up a very respectful attitude towards Strauss, there is a vigorous survival of a peculiar kind of rationalism inspired by Kant. For Ammon, a miraculous event can only exist when its natural causes have been discovered. "The sacred history is subject to the same laws as all other narratives of antiquity." Liicke, in dealing with the raising of Lazarus, had thrown out the question whether Biblical miracles could be thought of historically at all, and in so doing supposed that he was putting their absolute character on a firmer basis. "We," says Ammon, "give the opposite answer from that which is expected; only historically conceivable miracles can be admitted." He cannot away wilh the constant confusion of faith and knowledge found in so many writers "who swim in an ocean of ideas in which the real and the illusory are as inseparable as salt and sea-water in the actual ocean." In every natural process, he explains, we have to suppose, according to Kant, an interpenetration of natural and supernatural. For that very reason the purely supernatural does not exist for our experience. "It is no doubt certain," so he lays it down on the lines of Kant's Kritik der reinen Vernunft, "that every act of causation which goes forth from God must be immediate, universal, and eternal, because it is thought as an effect of His will, which is exalted above space and time and interpenetrates both of them, but without abolishing them, leaving them undisturbed in their continuity and succession. For us men, therefore, all action of God is mediate, because we are completely surrounded by time and space, as the fish is by the sea or the bird by the air, and apart from these relations we should be incapable of apperception, and therefore of any real experience. As free beings we can, indeed, think of miracle as immediately Divine, but we cannot perceive it as such, because that would be impossible without seeing God, which for wise reasons is forbidden to us." "In accordance with these principles, we shall hold it to be our duty in what follows to call attention to the natural side even of the miracles of Jesus, since apart from this no fact can become an object of belief."

It is only in this intelligible sense that the cures of Jesus are to be thought of as "miracles." The magnetic force, with which the mediating theology makes play, is to be rejected. "The cure of psychical diseases by the power of the word and of faith is the only kind of cure in which the student of natural science can find any basis for a conjecture re- garding the way in which the cures of Jesus were effected."

In the case of the other miracles Ammon assumes a kind of Oc-


casionalism, in the sense that it may have pleased the Divine Providence "to fulfil in fact the confidently spoken promises of Jesus, and in that way to confirm His personal authority, which was necessary to the establishment of His doctrine of the Divine salvation."

In most cases, however, he is content to repeat the rationalistic explanation, and portrays a Jesus who makes use of medicines, allows the demoniac himself to rush upon the herd of swine, helps a leper, whom he sees to be suffering only from one of the milder forms of the disease, to secure the public recognition of his being legally clean, and who exerts himself to prevent by word and act the premature burial of persons in a state of trance. The story of the feeding of the multitude is based on some occasion when there was "a bountiful display of hospitality, a generous sharing of provisions, inspired by Jesus' prayer of thanksgiving and the example which He set when the disciples were inclined selfishly to hold back their own supply." The story of the miracle at Cana rests on a mere misunderstanding, those who report it not having known that the wine which Jesus caused to be secretly brought forth was the wedding-gift which he was presenting in the name of the family. As a disciple of Kant, however, Ammon feels obliged to refute the imputation that Jesus could have anything to promote excess, and calculates that the present of wine which Jesus had intended to give the bridal pair may be estimated as equivalent to not more than eighteen bottles.1 He explains the walking on the sea by claiming for Jesus an acquaintance with "the art of treading water."

Only in regard to the explanation of the resurrection does Ammon break away from rationalism. He decides that the reality of the death of Jesus is historically proved. But he does not venture to suppose a real reawaking to life, and remains at the standpoint of Herder.

But the way in which, in spite of the deeper view of the conception of miracle which he owes to Kant, he constantly falls back upon the most pedestrian naturalistic explanations, and his failure to rid himself of the prejudice that an actual, even if not a miraculous fact must underlie all the recorded miracles, is in itself sufficient to prove that we have

[1] He is at one with Strauss in rejecting the explanation of this miracle on the analogy of an expedited natural process, to which Hase had pointed, and which was first suggested by Augustine in Tract viii. in loann.: "That Christ changed water into wine is nothing wonderful to those who consider the works of God. What was there done in the water-pots. God does yearly in the vine." [Augustine's words are: Miraculum quidem Domini nostri Jesu Christi, quo de aqua vinum fecit, non est mirum eis qui noverunt quia Deus fecit (i.e. that He who did it was God.) Ipse enim fecit vinum illo die .... in sex hydriis, qui omni anno tacit hoc in vitibus.] Nevertheless the poorest naturalistic explanation is at least better than the resigna- tion of Liicke, who is content to wait "until it please God through the further prog- ress of Christian thought and life to bring about the solution of this riddle in its natural and historical aspects." Liicke, Johannes-Kommentar, p. 474 ff.


here to do with a mere revival of rationalism: that is, with an untenable theory which Strauss's refutation of Paulus had already relegated to the past.

It was an easier task for pure supernaturalism than for pure rationalism to come to terms with Strauss. For the former Strauss was only the enemy of the mediating theology—there was nothing to fear from him and much to gain. Accordingly Hengstenberg's Evangelische Kirchenzeitung hailed Strauss's book as "one of the most gratifying phenomena in the domain of recent theological literature," and praises the author for having carried out with logical consistency the application of the mythical theory which had formerly been restricted to the Old Testament and certain parts only of the Gospel tradition. "All that Strauss has done is to bring the spirit of the age to a clear consciousness of itself and of the necessary consequences which flow from its essential character. He has taught it how to get rid of foreign elements which were still present in it, and which marked an imperfect stage of its development."

He has been the most influential factor in the necessary process of separation. There is no one with whom Hengstenberg feels himself more in agreement than with the Tiibingen scholar. Had he not shown with the greatest precision how the results of the Hegelian philosophy, one may say, of philosophy in general, reacted upon Christian faith? "The relation of speculation to faith has now come clearly to light."

"Two nations," writes Hengstenberg in 1836, "are struggling in the womb of our time, and two only. They will be ever more definitely opposed to one another. Unbelief will more and more cast off the elements of faith to which it still clings, and faith will cast off its elements of un- belief. That will be an inestimable advantage. Had the Time-spirit continued to make concessions, concessions would constantly have been made to it in return." Therefore the man who "calmly and deliberately laid hands upon the Lord's anointed, undeterred by the vision of the millions who have bowed the knee, and still bow the knee, before His appearing," has in his own way done a service.

Strauss on his part escaped with relief from the musty atmosphere of the study—beloved by theology in carpet-slippers—to the bracing air of Hengstenberg's Kirchenzeitung. In his "Replies" he devotes to it some fifty-four pages. "I must admit," he says, "that it is a satisfaction to me to have to do with the Evangelische Kirchenzeitung. In dealing with it one knows where one is and what one has to expect. If Herr Hengstenberg condemns, he knows why he condemns, and even one against whom he launches his anathema must admit that the attitude becomes him. Any one who, like the editor of the Evangelische Kirchenzeitung, has taken upon him the yoke of confessional doctrine with all its implica


tions, has paid a price which entitles him to the privilege of condemning those who differ from his opinions." [l]

Hengstenberg's only complaint against Strauss is that he does not go far enough. He would have liked to force upon him the role of the Wolfenbiittel Fragmentist, and considers that if Strauss did not, like the latter, go so far as to suppose the apostles guilty of deliberate deceit, that is not so much from any regard for the historical kernel of Christianity as in order to mask his attack.

Even in Catholic theology Strauss's work caused a great sensation. Catholic theology in general did not at that time take up an attitude of absolute isolation from Protestant scholarship; it had adopted from the latter numerous rationalistic ideas, and had been especially influenced by Schleiermacher. Thus, Catholic scholars were almost prepared to regard Strauss as a common enemy, against whom it was possible to make common cause with Protestants. In 1837 Joseph Mack, one of the Professors of the Catholic faculty at Tiibingen, published his "Report on Herr Dr. Strauss's Historical Study of the Life of Jesus." [2] In 1839 appeared "Dr. Strauss's Life of Jesus, considered from the Catholic point of view," [3] by Dr. Maurus Hagel, Professor of Theology at the Lyceum at Dillingen; in 1840 that lover of hypotheses and doughty fighter, Johann Leonhard Hug,[4] presented his report upon the work. [5]

Even French Catholicism gave some attention to Strauss's work. This marks an epoch—the introduction of the knowledge of German critical theology into the intellectual world of the Latin nations. In the Revue des deux mondes for December 1838, Edgar Quinet gave a clear and accurate account of the influence of the Hegelian philosophy upon the religious ideas of cultured Germany. [6] In an eloquent peroration he lays

[1] Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg was born in 1802 at Frondenberg in the "county" (Grafschaft) of Mark, became Professor of Theology in Berlin in 1826, and died there in 1869. He founded the Evangelische Kirchenseitung in 1827.

[2] Bericht iiber des Herrn Dr. Strauss' historische Bearbeitung des Lebens Jesu.

[3] Dr. Strauss' Leben-Jesu aus dem Standpunkt des Catholicismus betrachtvt.

[4] Johann Leonhard Hug was born in 1765 at Constance, and had been since 1791 Professor of New Testament Theology at Freiburg, where he died in 1846. He had a wide knowledge of his own department of theology, and his Introduction to the New Testament Writings won him some reputation among Protestant theologians also.

[5] Among the Catholic "Leben-Jesu," of which the authors found their incentive in the desire to oppose Strauss, the first place belongs to that of Kuhn of Tubingen. Unfortunately only the first volume appeared (1838, 488 pp.). Here there is a serious and scholarly attempt to grapple with the problems raised by Strauss. Of less importance is the work of the same title in seven volumes, by the Munich Priest and Professor of History, Nepomuk Sepp (1843-1846; 2nd ed. 1853-1862).

[6] Uber das Leben-Jesu, von Doctor Strauss. By Edgar Quinet. Translated from the French by Georg Kleine. Published by J. Erdmann and C. C. Muller, 1839. In 1840 Strauss's book was translated into French by M, Littre. It failed, however, to exercise any influence upon French theology or literature. Strauss is one of those German thinkers who always remain foreign and unintelligible to the French mind. Could Reman have written his Life of Jesus as he did if he had had even a partial understanding of Strauss?


bare the danger which was menacing the Church from the nation of Strauss and Hegel. His countrymen need not think that it could be charmed away by some ingenious formula; a mighty effort of the Catholic spirit was necessary, if it was to be successfully opposed. "A new barbarian invasion was rolling up against sacred Rome. The barbarians were streaming from every quarter of the horizon, bringing their strange gods with them and preparing to beleaguer the holy city. As, of yore, Leo went forth to meet Attila, so now let the Papacy put on its purple and come forth, while yet there is time, to wave back with an authoritative gesture the devastating hordes into that moral wilderness which is their native home."

Quinet might have done better still if he advised the Pope to issue, as a counterblast to the unbelieving critical work of Strauss, the Life of Jesus which had been revealed to the faith of the blessed Anna Katharina Emmerich. [1] How thoroughly this refuted Strauss can be seen from the fragment issued in 1834, "The Bitter Sufferings of Our Lord Jesus Christ," where even the age of Jesus on the day of His death is exactly given. On that Maundy Thursday the 13th Nisan, it was exactly thirty-three years and eighteen weeks less one day. The "pilgrim" Clement Brentano would certainly have consented, had he been asked, to allow his note-books to be used in the sacred cause, and to have given to the world the Life of Jesus as it was revealed to him by this visionary

[1] Anna Katharina Emmerich was born in 1774 at Flamske near Coesfeld. Her parents were peasants. In 1803 she took up her abode with the Augustinian nuns of the convent of Agnetenberg at Diilmen. After the dissolution of the convent, she lived in a single room in Diilmen itself. The "stigmata" showed themselves first in 1812. She died on the 9th of February 1824. Brentano had been in her neighbourhood since 1819. Das bittere Leiden unseres Herrn Jesu Christi (The Bitter Sufferings of Our Lord Jesus Christ) was issued by Brentano himself in 1834. The Life of Jesus was published on the basis of notes left by him—he died in 1842—in three volumes, 1858-1860, at Regensburg, under the sanction of the Bishop of Limberg.

First volume.—From the death of St. Joseph to the end of the first year after the Baptism of Jesus in Jordan. Communicated between May 1, 1821, and October 1, 1822.

Second volume.—From the beginning of the second year after the Baptism in Jordan to the close of the second Passover in Jerusalem. Communicated between October 1, 1822, and April 30, 1823.

Third volume.—From the close of the second Passover in Jerusalem to the Mis- sion of the Holy Spirit. Communicated between October 21, 1823, and January 8, 1824, and from July 29, 1820, to May 1821.

Both works have been frequently reissued, the "Bitter Sufferings" as late as 1894.


from the end of July 1820 day by day for three years, instead of allowing this treasure to remain hidden for moie than twenty years longer. He himself ascribed to these visions the most strictly historical character, and insisted on considering them not merely as reflections on what had happened, but as the immediate reflex of the facts themselves, so that the picture of the life of Jesus is given in them as in a mirror. Hug, it may be mentioned, in his lectures, called attention to the exact agreement of the topography of the passion story in Katharina's vision with the description of the locality in Josephus. If he had known her complete Life of Jesus he would doubtless have expressed his admiration for the way in which she harmonises John and the Synoptists; and with justice, for the harmony is really ingenious and skilfully planned.

Apart from these merits, too, this Life of Jesus, written, it should be observed, earlier than Strauss's, contains a wealth of interesting information. John at first baptized at Aenon, but later was directed to remove to Jericho. The baptisms took place in "baptismal springs."

Peter owned three boats, of which one was fitted up especially for the use of Jesus, and carried a complement of ten persons. Forward and aft there were covered-in spaces where all kinds of gear could be kept, and where also they could wash their feet; along the sides of the boat were hung receptacles for the fish.

When Judas Iscariot became a disciple of Jesus he was twenty-five years old. He had black hair and a red beard, but could not be called really ugly. He had had a stormy past. His mother had been a dancing-woman, and Judas had been born out of wedlock, his father being a military tribune in Damascus. As an infant he had been exposed, but had been saved, and later had been taken charge of by his uncle, a tanner at Iscariot. At the time when he joined the company of Jesus' disciples he had squandered all his possessions. The disciples at first liked him well enough because of his readiness to make himself useful; he even cleaned the shoes.

The fish with the stater in its mouth was so large that it made a full meal for the whole company.

A work to which Jesus devoted special attention—though this is not mentioned in the Gospels—was the reconciliation of unhappy married couples. Another matter which is not mentioned in the Gospels is the voyage of Jesus to Cyprus, upon which He entered after a farewell meal with His disciples at the house of the Canaanitish woman. This voyage took place during the war between Herod and Aretas while the disciples were making their missionary journey in Palestine. As they could not give an eye-witness report of it they were silent; nor did they make any mention of the feast to which the Proconsul at Salamis invited the Saviour. In regard to another journey, also, which Jesus made to the land of the wise men of the East, the "pilgrim's" oracle has the advantage of knowing more than the Evangelists.

In spite of these additional traits a certain monotony is caused by the fact that the visionary, in order to fill in the tale of days in the three years, makes the persons known to us from the Gospel history meet with the Saviour on several occasions previous to the meeting narrated in the Gospels. Here the artificial character of the composition comes out too clearly, though in general a lively imagination tends to conceal this. And yet these naive embellishments and inventions have something rather attractive about them; one cannot handle the book without a certain reverence when one thinks amid what pains these revelations were received. If Brentano had published his notes at the time of the excitement produced by Strauss's Life of Jesus, the work would have had a tremendous success. As it was, when the first two volumes appeared at the end of the 'fifties, there were sold in one year three thousand and several hundred copies, without reckoning the French edition which appeared contemporaneously.

In the end, however, all the efforts of the mediating theology, of rationalism and supernaturalism, could do nothing to shake Strauss's conclusion that it was all over with supernaturalism as a factor to be reckoned with in the historical study of the Life of Jesus, and that scientific theology, instead of turning back from rationalism to supernaturalism, must move straight onward between the two and seek out a new path for itself. The Hegelian method had proved itself to be the logic of reality. With Strauss begins the period of the non-miraculous view of the Life of Jesus; all other views exhausted themselves in the struggle against him, and subsequently abandoned position after position without waiting to be attacked. The separation which Hengstenberg had hailed with such rejoicing was really accomplished; but in the form that supernaturalism practically separated itself from the serious study of history. It is not possible to date the stages of this process. After the first outburst of excitement everything seems to go on as quietly as before; the only difference is that the question of miracle constantly falls more and more into the background. In the modern period of the study of the Life of Jesus, which begins about the middle of the 'sixties, it has lost all importance.

That does not mean that the problem of miracle is solved. From the historical point of view it is really impossible to solve it, since we are not able to reconstruct the process by which a series of miracle stories arose, or a series of historical occurrences were transformed into miracle stories, and these narratives must simply be left with a question mark standing ageinst them. What has been gained is only that the exclusion


of miracle from our view of history has been universally recognised as a principle of criticism, so that miracle no longer concerns the historian either positively or negatively. Scientific theologians of the present day who desire to show their "sensibility," ask no more than that two or three little miracles may be left to them—in the stories of the childhood, perhaps, or in the narratives of the resurrection. And these miracles are, moreover, so far scientific that they have at least no relation to those in the text, but are merely spiritless, miserable little toy-dogs of criticism, flea-bitten by rationalism, too insignificant to do historical science any harm, especially as their owners honestly pay the tax upon them by the way in which they speak, write, and are silent about Strauss.

But even that is better than the delusive fashion in which some writers of the present day succeed in discussing the narratives of the resurrection "as pure historians" without betraying by a single word whether they themselves believe it to be possible or not. But the reason modern theology can allow itself these liberties is that the foundation laid by Strauss is unshakable.

Compared with the problem of miracle, the question regarding the mythical explanation of the history takes a very subordinate place in the controversy. Few understood what Strauss's real meaning was; the general impression was that he entirely dissolved the life of Jesus into myth.

There appeared. Indeed, three satires ridiculing his method. One showed how, for the historical science of the future, the life of Luther would also become a mere myth, [1] the second treated the life of Napoleon in the same way; [2] in the third, Strauss himself becomes a myth. [3]

M. Eugene Mussard, "candidat au saint ministere," made it his business to set at rest the minds of the premier faculty at Geneva by his thesis, Du systeme mythique applique a I'histoire de la vie de Jesus, 1838, which bears the ingenious motto ou sesofismenoiV muqoiV (not ... in cunningly devised myths, 2 Peter i. 16). He certainly did not exaggerate the difficulties of his task, but complacently followed up an "Exposition of the Mythical Theory," with a "Refutation of the Mythical Theory as applied to the Life of Jesus."

The only writer who really faced the problem in the form in which it

[1] Ausziige aus der Schrift "Das Leben. Luthers kritisch bearbeitet." (Extracts from a work entitled "A Critical Study of the Life of Luther.") By Dr. Casuar ("Cas- sowary"; Strauss = Ostrich). Mexico, 2836. Edited by Julius Ferdinand Wurm.

[2] Das Leben Napoleons kritisch gepriift. (A. Critical Examination of the Life of Napoleon.) From the English, with some pertinent applications to Strauss's Life of Jesus, 1836. [The English original referred to seems to have been Whateley's Historic Doubts relative to Napoleon Bonaparte, published in 1819, and primarily directed against Hume's Essay on Miracles.—TRANSLATOR.]

3 La Vie de Strauss. Scrite en I'an 2839. Paris, 1839.


had been raised by Strauss was Wilke in his work "Tradition and Myth." [1] He recognises that Strauss had given an exceedingly valuable impulse towards the overcoming of rationalism and supernaturalism and to the rejection of the abortive mediating theology. "A keener criticism will only establish the truth of the Gospel, putting what is tenable on a firmer basis, sifting out what is untenable, and showing up in all its nakedness the counterfeit theology of the new evangelicalism with its utter lack of understanding and sincerity." Again, "the approval which Strauss has met with, and the excitement which he has aroused, sufficiently show what an advantage rationalistic speculation possesses over the theological second-childishness of the new evangelicals." The time has come for a rational mysticism, which shall preserve undiminished the honesty of the old rationalism, making no concessions to supernaturalism, but, on the other hand, overcoming the "truculent rationalism of the Kantian criticism" by means of a religious conception in which there is more warmth and more pious feeling.

This rational mysticism makes it a reproach against the "mythical idealism" of Strauss that in it philosophy does violence to history, and the historic Christ only retains His significance as a mere ideal. A new examination of the sources is necessary to decide upon the extent of the mythical element.

The Gospel of Matthew cannot, Wilke agrees, have been the work of an eyewitness. "The principal argument against its authenticity is the absence of the characteristic marks of an eyewitness, which must neces- sarily have been present in a gospel actually composed by a disciple of the Lord, and which are not present here. The narrative is lacking in

[1] Ch. G. Wilke, Tradition und Mythe. A contribution to the historical criticism of the Gospels in general, and in particular to the appreciation of the treatment of myth and idealism in Strauss's "Life of Jesus." Leipzig, 1837.

Christian Gottlob Wilke was born in 1786 at Werm, near Zeitz, studied theology and became pastor of Hermannsdorf in the Erzgebirge. He resigned this office in 1837 in order to devote himself to his studies, perhaps also because he had become conscious of an inner unrest. In 1845 he prepared the way for his conversion to Catholicism by publishing a work entitled "Can a Protestant go over to the Roman Church with a good conscience?" He took the decisive step in August 1846. Later he removed to Wurzburg. Subsequently he recast his famous Clavis Nova Testamenti Philogica—which had appeared in 1840-1841—in the form of a lexicon for Catholic students of theology. His Hermeneutik des Neuen Testaments, published in 1843-1844, appeared in 1853 as Biblische Hermeneutik nach katholischen Grundsatzen (The Science of Biblical Interpretation according to Catholic principles). He was engaged in recasting his Clavis when he died in 1854.

Of later works dealing with the question of myth, we may refer to Emanuel Marius, Die Personlichkeit Jesu mit besonderer Rilcksicht auf die Mythologien und Mysterien der alten Volker (The Personality of Jesus, with special reference to the Mythologies and Mysteries of Ancient Nations), Leipzig, 1879, 395 pp.; and Otto Frick, Mythus und Evangelism (Myth and Gospel), Heilbronn, 1879, 44 pp.


precision, fragmentary and legendary, tradition everywhere manifest in its very form." There are discrepancies in the legends of the first and second chapters, as well as elsewhere, e.g. the stories of the baptism, the temptation, and the transfiguration. In other cases, where there is a basis of historic fact, there is an admixture of legendary material, as in the narratives of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

In the Gospel of Mark, Wilke recognises the pictorial vividness of many of the descriptions, and conjectures that in some way or other it goes back to the Petrine tradition. The author of the Fourth Gospel is not an eyewitness; the kata (according to) only indicates the origin of the tradition; the author received it, either directly or indirectly, from the Apostle, but he gave to it the gnosticising dialectical form of the Alexandrian theology.

As against the Diegesentheorie [1] Wilke defends the independence and originality of the individual Gospels. "No one of the Evangelists knew the writing of any of the others, each produced an independent work drawn from a separate source."

In the remarks on points of detail in this work of Wilke's there is evidence of a remarkable grasp of the critical data; we already get a hint of the "mathematician" of the Synoptic problem, who, two years later, was to work out convincingly the literary argument for the priority of Mark. But the historian is quite subordinated to the literary critic, and, when all is said, Wilke takes up no clearly defined position in regard to Strauss's main problem, as is evident from his seeking to retain, on more or less plausible grounds, a whole series of miracles, among them the miracle of Cana and the resurrection.

For most thinkers of that period, however, the question "myth or history" yielded in interest to the philosophical question of the relation of the historical Jesus to the ideal Christ. That was the second problem raised by Strauss. Some thought to refute him by showing that his exposition of the relation of the Jesus of history to the ideal Christ was not justified even from the point of view of the Hegelian philosophy, arguing that the edifice which he had raised was not in harmony with the ground-plan of the Hegelian speculative system. He therefore felt it necessary, in his reply to the review in the Jahrbucher fur wissenschaftliche Kritik, to expound "the general relationship of the Hegelian philosophy to theological criticism," [2] and to express in more precise

[1] See p. 89 above.

[2] Streitschriften. Drittes Heft, pp. 55-126: Die Jahrbilcher fiir wissenschaftliche Kritik: i. Allgemeines Verhaltnis der Hegel'schen Philosophic zur theologischen Kritik: ii. Hegels Ansicht fiber den historischen. W ert der evangelischen Geschichte (Hegel's View of the Historical Value of the Gospel History) ; iii. Verschiedene Richtungen innerhalb der Hegel'schen Schule in Betreff der Christologie (Various Tendencies within the Hegelian School in regard to Christology). 1837.


form the thoughts upon speculative and historical Christology which he had suggested at the close of the second volume of his "Life of Jesus."

He admits that Hegel's philosophy is ambiguous in this matter, since it is not clear "whether the evangelical fact as such, not indeed in its isolation, but together with the whole series of manifestations of the idea (of God-manhood) in the history of the world, is the truth; or whether the embodiment of the idea in that single fact is only a formula of which consciousness makes use in forming its concept." The Hegelian "right," he says, represented by Marheineke and Goschel, emphasises the positive side of the master's religious philosophy, implying that in Jesus the idea of God-manhood was perfectly fulfilled and in a certain sense intelligibly realised. "If these men," Strauss explains, "appeal to Hegel and declare that he would not have recognised my book as an expression of his meaning, they say nothing which is not in accordance with my own convictions. Hegel was personally no friend co historical criticism. It annoyed him, as it annoyed Goethe, to see the historic figures of antiquity, on which their thoughts were accustomed lovingly to dwell, assailed by critical doubts. Even if it was in some cases wreaths of mist which they took for pinnacles of rock, they did not want to have this forced upon their attention, nor to be disturbed in the illusion from which they were conscious of receiving an elevating influence."

But though prepared to admit that he had added to the edifice of Hegel's religious philosophy an annexe of historical criticism, of which the master would hardly have approved, Strauss is convinced that he is the only logical representative of Hegel's essential view. "The ques- tion which can be decided from the standpoint of the philosophy of religion is not whether what is narrated in the Gospels actually happened or not, but whether in view of the truth of certain conceptions it must necessarily have happened. And in regard to this, what I assert is that from the general system of the Hegelian philosophy it by no means necessarily follows that such an event must have happened, but that from the standpoint of the system the truth of that history from which actually the conception arose is reduced to a matter of indifference; it may have happened, but it may just as well not have happened, and the task of deciding on this point may be calmly handed over to historical criticism."

Strauss reminds us that, even according to Hegel, the belief in Jesus as God-made-man is not immediately given with His appearing in the world of sense, but only arose after His death and the removal of His sensible presence. The master himself had acknowledged the existence of mythical elements in the Life of Jesus; in regard to miracle he had expressed the opinion that the true miracle was "Spirit." The con-


ception of the resurrection and ascension as outward facts of sense was not recognised by him as true.

Hegel's authority may, no doubt, fairly be appealed to by those who believe, not only in an incarnation of God in a general sense, "but also that this manifestation of God in flesh has taken place in this man (Jesus) at this definite time and place." . . . "In making the asser- tion," concludes Strauss, "that the truth of the Gospel narrative cannot be proved, whether in whole or in part, from philosophical considerations, but that the task of inquiring into its truth must be left to historical criticism, I should like to associate myself with the 'left wing' of the Hegelian school, were it not that the Hegelians prefer to exclude me altogether from their borders, and to throw me into the arms of other systems of thought—only, it must be admitted, to have me tossed back to them like a ball."

In regard to the third problem which Strauss had offered for discussion, the relation of the Synoptists to John, there was practically no response. The only one of his critics who understood what was at stake was Hengstenberg. He alone perceived the significance of the fact that critical theology, having admitted mythical elements first in the Old Testament, and then in the beginning and end of the Gospel history, and having, in consequence of the latter admission, felt obliged to give up the first three Gospels, retaining only the fourth, was now being besieged by Strauss in its last stronghold. "They withdrew," says the Evangelische Kirchenzeitung, "into the Gospel of John as into a fortress, and boasted that they were safe there, though they could not suppress a secret consciousness that they only held it at the enemy's pleasure; now the enemy has appeared before it; he is using the same weapons with which he was formerly victorious; the Gospel of John is in as desperate case as formerly the Synoptists. The time has come to make a hold resolve, a decisive choice; either they must give up everything, or else they must successively re-occupy the more advanced positions which at an earlier date they had successively abandoned." It would be impossible to give a more accurate picture of the desperate position into which Hase and Schleiermacher had brought the mediating theology by their ingenious expedient of giving up the Synoptics in favour of the Gospel of John. Before any danger threatened, they had abandoned the outworks and withdrawn into the citadel, oblivious of the fact that they thereby exposed themselves to the danger of having their own guns turned upon them from the positions they had abandoned, and being obliged to surrender without striking a blow the position of which they had boasted as impregnable. It is impossible to emphasise strongly enough the fact that it was not Strauss, but Hase and Schleiermacher, who had brought the mediating theology into this hopeless position, in


which the fall of the Fourth Gospel carried with it the surrender of the historical tradition as a whole.

But there is no position so desperate that theology cannot find a way out of it. The mediating theologians simply ignored the problem which Strauss had raised. As they had been accustomed to do before, so they continued to do after, taking the Gospel of John as the authentic framework, and fitting into it the sections of the Synoptic narrative wherever place could best be found for them. The difference between the Johan- nine and Synoptic representations of Jesus' method of teaching, says Neander, is only apparently irreconcilable, and he calls out in support of this assertion all the reserves of old worn-out expedients and artifices, among others the argument that the Pauline Christology is only ex- plicable as a combination of the Synoptic and Johannine views. Other writers who belong to the same apologetic school, such as Tholuck, Ebrard,1 Wieseler,2 Lange,3 and Ewald,4 maintain the same point of view, only that their defence is usually much less skilful.

[1] Wissenschaftliche Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte. (Scientific Criticism of the Gospel History.) August Ebrard. Frankfort, 1842; 3rd ed., 1868.

Johannes Heinrich Aug. Ebrard was born in 1818 at Eriangen, was, first, Pro- fessor of Reformed Theology at Zurich and Eriangen, afterwards (1853) went to Speyer as "Konsistorialrat," but was unable to cope with the Liberal opposition there, and returned in 1861 to Eriangen, where he died in 1888.

A characteristic example of Ebrard's way of treating the subject is his method of meeting the objection that a fish with a piece of money in its jaws could not have taken the hook. "The fish might very well," he explains, "have thrown up the piece of money from its belly into the opening of the jaws in the moment in which Peter opened its mouth." Upon this Strauss remarks: "The inventor of this argument tosses it down before us as who should say, 'I know very well it is bad, but it is good enough for you, at any rate so long as the Church has livings to distribute and we Konsistorialrats have to examine the theological candidates.'" Strauss, therefore, characterises Ebrard's Life of Jesus as "Orthodoxy restored on a basis of impudence." The pettifogging character of this work made a bad impression even in Conservative quarters.

[2] Chronologische Synapse der vier Evangelien. (Chronological Synopsis of the four Gospels.) By Karl Georg Wieseler. Hamburg, 1843. Wieseler was born in 1813 at Altencelle (Hanover), and was Professor successively at Giittingen, Kiel, and Greifswald. He died in 1883.

[3] Johann Peter Lange, Pastor in Duisburg, afterwards Professor at Zurich in place of Strauss. Das Leben Jesu. 5 vols., 1844-1847.

[4] Georg Heinrich August Ewald, Geschichte des Volkes Israel. (History of the People of Israel.) 7 vols. Gottingen, 1843-1859; 3rd ed., 1864-1870. Fifth vol., Geschichte Christus' und seiner Zeit. (History of Christ and His Times.) 1855; 2nd ed., 1857.

Ewald was born in 1803 at Gottingen, where in 1827 he was appointed Professor of Oriental Languages. Having made a protest against the repeal of the fundamental law of the Hanoverian Constitution he was removed from his office and went to Tubingen, first as Professor of philology; in 1841 he was transferred to the theological faculty. In 1848 he returned to Gottingen. When, in 1866, he refused to take the oath of allegiance to the King of Prussia, he was compulsorily retired, and, in consequence of imprudent expressions of opinion, was also deprived of the right to lecture. The town of Hanover chose him as its representative in the North German and in the German Reichstag, where he sat among the Guelph opposition, in the middle of the centre party. He died in 1875 at Gottingen. His contributions to New Testament studies were much inferior to his Oriental and Old Testament researches. His Life of Jesus, in particular, is worthless, in spite of the Old Testament and Oriental learning with which it was furnished forth. He lays great stress upon making the genitive of "Christus" not "Christi," but, according to German inflection, "Christus'."


The only writer who really in some measure enters into the difficulties is Ammon. He, indeed, is fully conscious of the difference, and thinks we cannot rest content with merely recognising it, but must find a solution, even if rather a forced one, "by subordinating the indefinite chronological data of the Synoptists, of whom, after all, only one was, or could have been, an eyewitness, to the ordered narrative of John." The fourth Evangelist makes so brief a reference to the Galilaean period because it was in accordance with his plan to give more prominence to the discourses of Jesus in the Temple and His dialogues with the Scribes as compared to the parables and teaching given to the people. The cleansing of the Temple falls at the outset of Jesus' ministry; Jesus begins His Messianic work in Jerusalem by this action of making an end of the unseemly chaffering in the court of the Temple. The question regarding the relative authenticity of the reports is decisively settled by a comparison of the two accounts of the triumphal entry, because there it is quite evident that "Matthew, the chief authority among the Synoptists, adapts his narrative to his special Jewish-Messianic standpoint." According to Ammon's rationalistic view, the work of Jesus consisted precisely in the transformation of this Jewish-Messianic idea into the conception of a "Saviour of the world." In this lies the explanation of the fate of Jesus: "The mass of the Jewish people were not prepared to receive a Christ so spiritual as Jesus was, since they were not ripe for so lofty a view of religion."

Ammon here turns his Kantian philosophy to account. It serves especially to explain to him the consciousness of pre-existence avowed by the Jesus of the Johannine narrative as something purely human. We, too, he explains, can "after the spirit" claim an ideal existence prior to the spatial creation without indulging any delusion, and without, on the other hand, thinking of a real existence. In this way Jesus is for Himself a Biblical idea, with which He has become identified. "The purer and deeper a man's self-consciousness is, the keener may his consciousness of God become, until time disappears for him, and his partaking in the Divine nature fills his whole soul."


But Ammon's support of the authenticity of John's Gospel is, even from a purely literary point of view, not so unreserved as in the case of the other opponents of Strauss. In the background stands the hypothesis that our Gospel is only a working-over of the authentic John, a suggestion in regard to which Ammon can claim priority, since he had made it as early as 1811, [1] nine years before the appearance of Bretschneider's Probabilia. Were it not for the ingenuous fashion in which he works the Synoptic material into the Johannine plan, we might class him with Alexander Schweizer and Weisse, who in a similar way seek to meet the objections of Strauss by an elaborate theory of editing. [2]

The first stage of the discussion regarding the relation of John to the Synoptists passed without result. The mediating theology continued to hold its positions undisturbed—and, strangest of all, Strauss himself was eager for a suspension of hostilities.

It is as though history took the trouble to countersign the genuineness of the great critical discoveries by letting the discoverers themselves attempt to cancel them. As Kant disfigures his critical idealism by making inconsistent additions in order to refute a reviewer who had put him in the same category with Berkeley, so Strauss inserts additions and retractations in the third edition of his Life of Jesus in deference to the uncritical works of Tholuck and Neander! Wilke, the only one of his critics from whom he might have learned something, he ignores. "From the lofty vantage ground of Tholuck's many-sided knowledge I have sometimes, in spite of a slight tendency to vertigo, gained a juster point of view from which to look at one matter or another," is the avowal which he makes in the preface to this ill-starred edition.

It would, indeed, have done no harm if he had confined himself to stating more exactly here and there the extent of the mythical element, had increased the numbel of possible cures, had inclined a little less to the negative side in examining the claims of reported facts to rank as historical, and had been a little more circumspect in pointing out the factors which produced the myths; the serious thing was that he now

[1] Ammon, Johannem evangelii auctorem ab editors huius libri fuisse diversum. Eriangen, 1811.

[2] No value whatever can be ascribed to the Life of Jesus by Werner Hahn, Berlin, 1844, 196 pp. The "didactic presentation of the history" which the author offers is not designed to meet the demands of historical criticism. He finds in the Gospels no bare history, but, above all, the inculcation of the principle of love. He casts to the winds all attempt to draw the portrait of Jesus as a true historian, being only concerned with its inner truth and "idealises artistically and scientifically" the actual course of the outward life of Jesus. "It is never the business of a history," he explains, "to relate only the bare truth. It belongs to a mere planless and aimless chronicle to relate everything that happened in such a way that if words are a mere slavish reflection of the outward course of events."


began to hesitate in his denial of the historical character of the Fourth Gospel—the very foundation of his critical view.

A renewed study of it, aided by De Wette's commentary and Neander's Life of Jesus, had made him "doubtful about his doubts regarding the genuineness and credibility of this Gospel." "Not that I am convinced of its genuineness," he admits, "but I am no longer convinced that it is not genuine."

He feels bound, therefore, to state whatever makes in its favour, and to leave open a number of possibilities which formerly he had not recognised. The adhesion of the first disciples may, he now thinks, have happened essentially in the form in which it is reported in the Fourth Gospel; in transferring the cleansing of the Temple to the first period of Jesus' ministry, John may be right as against the Synoptic tradition "which has no decisive evidence in its favour"; in regard to the question whether Jesus had been only once, or several times, in Jerusalem, his opinion now is that "on this point the superior circumstantiality of the Fourth Gospel cannot be contested."

As regards the prominence allowed to the eschatology also all is toned down and softened. Everywhere feeble compromises! But what led Strauss to place his foot upon this shelving path was the essentially just perception that the Synoptists gave him no clearly ordered plan to set against that of the Fourth Gospel; consequently he felt obliged to make some concessions to its strength in this respect.

Yet he recognised almost immediately that the result was a mere patchwork. Even in the summer of 1839 be complained to Hase in conversation that he had been deafened by the clamour of his opponents, and had conceded too much to them. [1] In the fourth edition he retracted all his concessions. "The Babel of voices of opponents, critics, and supporters," he says in his preface, "to which I had felt it my duty to listen, had confused me in regard to the idea of my work; in my diligent comparison of various views I had lost sight of the thing itself. In this way I was led to make alterations which, when I came to consider the matter calmly, surprised myself; and in making which it was obvious that I had done myself an injustice. In all these passages the earlier text has been restored, and my work has therefore consisted, it might be said, in removing from my good sword the notches which had not so much been hewn in it by the enemy as ground into it by myself."

Strauss's vacillation had, therefore, not even been of any indirect advantage to him. Instead of endeavouring to find a purposeful connexion in the Synoptic Gospels by means of which he might test the plan of the Fourth Gospel, he simply restores his former view unaltered, thereby

[1] Hase, Geschichte Jesu, 1876, p. 128.


showing that in the decisive point it was incapable of development. In the very year in which he prepared his improved edition, Weisse, in his Evangelische Geschichte, had set up the hypothesis that Mark is the ground-document, and had thus carried criticism past the "dead-point" which Strauss had never been able to overcome. Upon Strauss, however, the new suggestion made no impression. He does, it is true, mention Weisse's book in the preface to his third edition, and describes it as "in many respects a very satisfactory piece of work." It had appeared too late for him to make use of it in his first volume; but he did not use it in his second volume either. He had, indeed, a distinct antipathy to the Marcan hypothesis.

It was unfortunate that in this controversy the highly important suggestions in regard to various historical problems which had been made incidentally in the course of Strauss's work were never discussed at all. The impulse in the direction of progress which might have been given by his treatment of the relation of Jesus to the law, of the question regarding His particularism, of the eschatological conception, the Son of Man, and the Messiahship of Jesus, wholly failed to take effect, and it was only after long and circuitous wanderings that theology again came in sight of these problems from an equally favourable point of view. In this respect Strauss shared the fate of Reimarus; the positive solutions of which the outlines were visible behind their negative criticism escaped observation in consequence of the offence caused by the negative side of their work; and even the authors themselves failed to realise their full significance.

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