RETIREMENT TO THE MOUNT OF OLIVES, ARREST, TRIAL, CONDEMNATION
AND CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS.
§ 125. AGONY OF JESUS IN THE GARDEN.
According to the synoptical narratives, Jesus, immediately after the conclusion of the meal and the singing of the Hallel, it being his habit during this feast time to spend the night out of Jerusalem (Matt. xxi. 17 ; Luke xxii. 39), went to the Mount of Olives, into a garden cwrion (in John, khpoV) called Gethsemane (Matt. xxvi. 30, 36 parall.). John, who gives the additional particular that the garden lay over the brook Kedron, does not represent him as departing thither until after a long series of valedictory discourses (xiv.—xvii.), of which we shall hereafter have to speak again. While John makes the arrest of Jesus follow immediately on the arrival of Jesus in the garden, the synoptists insert between the two that scene which is usually designated the agony of Jesus.
Their accounts of this scene are not in unison. According to Matthew and Mark, Jesus takes with him his three most confidential disciples, Peter and the sons of Zebedee, leaving the rest behind, is seized with fearfulness and trembling, tells the three disciples that he is sorrowful even unto death, and admonishing them to remain wakeful in the mean time, removes to a distance from them also, that he may offer a prayer for himself, in which, with his face bent to the earth, he entreats that the cup of suffering may pass from him, but still resigns all to the will of his Father. When he returns to the disciples, he finds them sleeping, again admonishes them to watchfulness, then removes from them a second time, and repeats the former prayer, alter which he once more finds his disciples asleep. For the third time he retires to repeat the prayer, and returning, for the third time finds the disciples sleeping, but now awakes them, in order to meet the coming betrayer. Of the number three, which thus doubly figures in the narrative of the two first Evangelists, Luke says nothing; according to him, Jesus retires from all the disciples, after admonishing them to watch, for the distance of about a stone’s cast, and prays kneeling, once only, but
nearly in the same words as in the other gospels, then returns to the disciples and awakes them, because Judas is approaching with the multitude. But, on the other hand, Luke in his single scene of prayer, has two circumstances which are foreign to the other narrators, namely, that while Jesus was yet praying, and immediately before the most violent mental struggle, an angel appeared to strengthen him, and that during the agony agwnia which ensued, the sweat of Jesus was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground.
From the earliest times this scene in Gethsemane has been a stumbling-block, because Jesus therein appears to betray a weakness and fear of death which might be considered unworthy of him. Celsus and Julian, doubtless having in their minds the great examples of a dying Socrates and other heathen sages, expressed contempt for the fear of death exhibited by Jesus.* Vanini boldly extolled his own demeanour in the face of execution as superior to that of Jesus † and in the Evangelium Nicodemi, Satan concludes from this scene that Christ is a mere man.‡ The supposition resorted to in this apocryphal book, that the trouble of Jesus was only assumed in order to encourage the devil to enter into a contest with him,§ is but a confession of inability to reconcile a real truth of that kind with the ideal of Jesus. Hence appeal has been made to the distinction between the two natures in Christ; the sorrowfulness and the prayer for the removal of the cup having been ascribed to the human nature, the resignation to the will of the Father, to the divine.|| As however, in the first place, this appeared to introduce an inadmissible division in the nature of Jesus; and in the second place, even a fear experienced by his human nature in the prospect of approaching bodily sufferings appeared unworthy of him: his consternation was represented as being of a spiritual and sympathetic character—.as arising from the wickedness of Judas, the danger which threatened his disciples, and the fate which was impending over his nation.¶ The effort to free the sorrow of Jesus from all reference to
*Orig. c. Cels. ii. 24 : legei (o KelsoV), ti oun potniatai, kai oduretai, kai ton tou oleqrou fobon eucetai paradramein, legwn, k.t.l..: He says (i.e. Celsus): Why then does he supplicate help, and bewail himself, and pray for escape from the fear of death, saying, etc. Julian, in a Fragment of Theodore of Mopsuestia. ap. Münter, Fragm. Patr. græc. Fasc. 1, p. 121: alla kai toiauta proseucetai, fhsin, o I., oia aqlioV anqrwpoV, sumforan ferein eukolwV ou dunamenoV, kai up’aggelou, qeoV wn, enicuetai. Jesus, says he, also presents such petitions as a wretched mortal would offer, when unable to bear a calamity with serenity; and although divine, he is strengthened by an angel.
†Gramond. hist. Gall. ab. exc. Henr. IV. L. iii. p. 211: Lucilius Vanini—dum in patibulum trahitur—Christo illudit in haec eadem verba: illi in extremis prae timore imbellis sudor: ego imperterritus morior.
‡Evang. Nicod. c. xx. ap. Thilo, 1, s. 702 ff. : egw gar oida, oti anqrwpoV esti, kai hkousa autou legontoV, oti perilupoV estin h yuch mou ewV qanatou.
§Ibid. s. 706. Hades replies to Satan : ei de legeiV, oti hkousaV autou fobomenon ton qanaton, paixwn se kai gelwn efh touto, qelwn ina se arpash en ceiri dunath.
||Orig. c. Cels. ii. 25.
¶Hieron. Comm. in Matth. in loc. : Contristaba/ur non timore patiendi, qui ad hoc venerat, ut pateretur, sed propter infelicissimum Judam, et scandalum omnium apostolorum, et rejectionem populi Judæorurn, et eversionem miserae Hierusalem.
physical suffering, or to his own person, attained its highest pitch in the ecclesiastical tenet, that Jesus by substitution was burthened with the guilt of all mankind, and vicariously endured the wrath of God against that guilt.* Some have even supposed that the devil himself wrestled with Jesus.†
But such a cause for the trouble of Jesus is not found in the text; on the contrary, here as elsewhere (Matt. XX. 22 f. parall.), the cup pothrion for the removal of which Jesus prays, must be understood of his own bodily sufferings and death. Moreover, the above ecclesiastical opinion is founded on an unscriptural conception of the vicarious office of Jesus. It is trite that even in the conception of the synoptists, the suffering of Jesus is a vicarious one for the sins of many; but the substitution consists, according to them, not in Jesus having immediately borne these sins and the punishment due to mankind on account of them, but in a personal suffering being laid upon him on account of those sins, and in order to remove their punishment. Thus, as on the cross, it was not directly the sins of the world, and the anger of God in relation to them, which afflicted him, but the wounds which he received, and his whole lamentable situation, wherein he was indeed placed for the sins of mankind: so, according to the idea of the Evangelists, in Gethsemane also, it was not immediately the feeling of the misery of humanity which occasioned his dismay, but the presentiment of his own suffering, which, however, was encountered in the stead of mankind.
From the untenable ecclesiastical view of the agony of Jesus, a descent has in more modern times been made to coarse materialism, by reducing what it was thought hopeless to justify ethically, as a mental condition, to a purely physical one, and supposing that Jesus was attacked by some malady in Gethsemane ;‡ an opinion which Paulus, with a severity which he should only have more industriously applied to his own explanations, pronounces to be altogether unseemly and opposed to the text, though he does not regard as improbable Heumann’s hypothesis, that in addition to his inward sorrow, Jesus had contracted a cold in the clayey ground traversed by the Kedron.§ On the other hand, the scene has been depicted in the colours of modern sentimentalism, and the feelings of friendship, the pain of separation, the thoughts of parting, have been assigned as the causes which so lacerated the mind of Jesus :|| or a confused blending of all the different kinds of sorrow, selfish and sympathetic, sensual and spiritual, has been presupposed. ¶ Paulus explains ei dunaton esti, parelqetw to pothrion (if it be possible, let this cup
*Calvin, Comm. in harm. evangg. Matth. xxvi. 37: Non—mortem horruit simpliciter, quatenus transitus est e mundo sed quia formidabile Dei tribunal illi erat ante oculos, judex ipse incomprehensibili vindicta armatus, peccata vero nostra, quorum onus illi erat impositum, sua ingenti mole eum premebant. Comp. Luther’s Hauspostille, die erste Passionsprcdigt.
†Lightfoot, p. 884 f.
‡Thiess, Krit. Comm. 6. 418 ff.
§Ut sup. s. 549, 554 f., Anm.
||Schuster, zur Erläuterung des N. T., in Eichhorn’s Biblioth. 9, s. 1012 ff.
¶Hess, Gesch. Jesu, 2, s. 322 ff. ; Kuinöl, in Matth., p. 719.
pass from me) as the expression of a purely moral anxiety on the part of Jesus, as to whether it were the will of God that he should give himself up to the attack immediately at hand, or whether it were not more accordant with the Divine pleasure, that he should yet escape from this danger: thus converting into a mere inquiry of God, what is obviously the most urgent prayer.
While Olshausen falls back on the ecclesiastical theory, and authoritatively declares that the supposition of external corporeal suffering having called forth the anguish of Jesus, ought to be banished as one which would annihilate the essential characteristics of his mission; others have more correctly acknowledged that in that anguish the passionate wish to be delivered from the terrible sufferings in prospect, the horror of sensitive nature in the face of annihilation, are certainly apparent.* With justice also it is remarked, in opposition to the reproach which has been cast on Jesus, that the speedy conquest over rebellious nature removes every appearance of sinfulness † that, moreover, the shrinking of physical nature at the prospect of annihilation belongs to the essential conditions of life ‡ nay, that the purer the human nature in an individual, the more susceptible is it in relation to suffering and annihilation ; § that the conquest over suffering intensely appreciated is greater than a stoical or even, a Socratic insensibility.||
With more reason, criticism has attacked the peculiar representation of the third gospel. The strengthening angel has created no little difficulty to the ancient church on dogmatical grounds,—to modern exposition on critical grounds. An ancient scholium on the consideration, That he who was adored and glorified with fear and trembling, by all the celestial powers, did not need the strengthening qf the angel, oti thV iscuoV tou aggelou ouk epedeeto o upo pashV epouraniou dunamewV fobw kai tromw proskunoumenoV kai doxazomenoV, interprets the eniscuein ascribed to the angel as a declaring strong, ie. as the offering of a doxology¶ while others, rather than admit that Jesus could need to be strengthened by an angel, transform the aggeloV eniscuwn into an evil angel, who attempted to use force against Jesus.* The orthodox also, by founding a distinction between the state of humiliation and privation in Christ and that of his glorification, or in some similar way, have long blunted the edge of the dogmatical difficulty: but in place of this a critical objection has been only so much the more decidedly developed. In consideration of the suspicion which, according to our earlier observations, attaches to every alleged
*Ullmaun, über die Unsündlichkeit Jesu, in his Studien, 1, s. 61. Hasert, ib. 3, I, s. 66 ff.
†Ullmann, ut sup.
‡Hasert, ut sup.
§Luther, in der Predigt vom Leiden Christi im Garten.
||Ambrosius in Luc., Tom. x. 56.
¶In Matthaei’s N. T., p. 447.
*Lightfoot, ut sup.
angelic appearance, it has been sought to reduce the angel in this narrative first into a man,* and then into an image of the composure which Jesus regained.† But the right point in the angelic appearance for criticism to grapple with, is indicated by the ciicumstance that Luke is the only Evangelist from whom we learn it.‡ If, according to the ordinary presupposition, the first and fourth gospels are of apostolic origin; why this silence as to the angel on the part of Matthew, who is believed to have been in the garden, why especially on the part of John, who was among the three in the nearer neighbourhood of Jesus? If it be said: because sleepy as they were, and at some distance, and moreover under cover of the night, they did not observe him: it must be asked, whence are we to suppose that Luke received this information?§ That, assuming the disciples not to have themselves observed the appearance, Jesus should have narrated it to them on that evening, there is, from the intense excitement of those hours and the circumstance that the return of Jesus to his disciples was immediately followed by the arrival of Judas, little probability; and as little, that he communicated it to them in the days after the resurrection, and that nevertheless this information appeared worthy of record to none but the third Evangelist, who yet received it only at second hand. As in this manner there is every presumption against the historical character of the angelic appearance; why should not this also, like all appearances of the same kind which have come under our notice, especially in the history of the infancy of Jesus, he interpreted by us mythically? Gabler has been before us in advancing the idea, that in the primitive Christian community the rapid transition from the most violent mental conflict to the most tranquil resignation, which was observable in Jesus on that night, was explained, agreeably to the Jewish mode of thought, by the intervention of a strengthening angel, and that this explanation may have mingled itself with the narrative: Schleiermacher, too, finds it the most probable that this moment, described by Jesus himself as one of hard trial, was early glorified in hymns by angelic appearances, and that this embellishment, originally intended in a merely poetical sense, was received by the narrator of the third gospel as historical.||
The other feature peculiar to Luke, namely, the bloody sweat, was early felt to be no less fraught with difficulty than the strengthening by the angel. At least it appears to have been this more than anything else, which occasioned the exclusion of the entire addition in Luke, v. 43 and 44, from many ancient copies of the gospels. For as the orthodox, who according to Epiphanius ¶ rejected the passage, appear to have shrunk the most from the lowest degree of fear which is expressed by the bloody sweat: so to the docetic opinions of some who did not receive this passage,* this was the only particular which could give offence. Thus in an earlier age,
*Venturini, 3, 677, and conjecturally Paulus also, s. 561.
†Eichhorn, allg. Bibl. 1, s. 628; Thiess, in loc.
‡Comp. on this subject and the following, Gabler, neust. theol. Journal, 1, 2, s. 109 ff. 3, s. 217 ff.
§Comp. Julian, ap. Theod. of Mopsuestia in Münter’s Fragm. Patr. 1, p. 121 f.
|| Ueber den Lukas, s. 288; comp. De Wette, in loc. and Theile, zur. Biogr. Jesu, § 32. Neander also appears willing silently to abandon this trait and the following one.
*Vid. Wetstein, s. 807.
doubts were raised respecting the fitness of the bloody sweat of Jesus on dogmatical considerations: while in more modern times this has been done on physiological grounds. It is true that authorities are adduced for instances of bloody sweat from Aristotle * down to the more recent investigators of nature; † but such a phenomenon is only mentioned as extremely rare, and as a symptom of decided disease. Hence Paulus points to the wsei (as it were), as indicating that it is not directly a bloody sweat which is here spoken of, but only a sweat which might be compared to blood: this comparison, however, he refers only to the thick appearance of the drops, and Olshausen also agrees with him thus far, that a red colour of the perspiration is not necessarily included in the comparison. But in the course of a narrative which is meant as a prelude to the sanguinary death of Jesus, it is the most natural to take the comparison of the sweat to drops of blood, in its full sense. Further, here, yet more forcibly than in relation to the angelic appearance, the question suggests itself: how did Luke obtain this information? or to pass by all questions which must take the same form in this instance as in the previous one, how could the disciples, at a distance and in the night, discern the falling of drops of blood? According to Paulus indeed it ought not to be said that the sweat fell, for as the word katabainonteV, falling, refers not to idrwV sweat, but to the qromboi aimatoV, drops of blood, which are introduced merely for the purpose of comparison, it is only meant that a sweat as thick and heavy as falling drops of blood stood on the brow of Jesus. But whether it be said: the sweat fell like drops of blood to the earth, or: it was like drops of blood falling to the earth, it comes pretty much to the same thing; at least the comparison of a sweat standing on the brow to blood falling on the earth would not be very apt, especially if together with the falling, we are to abstract also the colour of the blood, so that of the words, as it were drops of blood falling on the ground, wsei qromboi aimatoV katabainonteV eiV thn ghn only wsei qromboi, as it were drops, would properly have any decided meaning. Since then we can neither comprehend the circumstance, nor conceive what historical authority for it the narrator could have had, let us, with Schleiermacher, rather take this feature also as a poetical one construed historically by the Evangelist, or better still, as a mythical one, the origin of which may be easily explained from the tendency to perfect the conflict in the garden as a prelude to the sufferings of Jesus on the cross, by showing that not merely the psychical aspect of that suffering was fore-shadowed in the mental trouble, but also its physical aspect, in the bloody sweat.
As a counterpoise to this peculiarity of Luke, his two predecessors have, as we have said, the twofold occurrence of the number three,—the three disciples taken apart, and the three retirements and prayers of Jesus. It has indeed been contended that so restless
*De part. animal. iii. 15.
†Vid. ap. Michaelis, not. in loc., and Kuinöl, in Luc., p. 691 f.
a movement hither and thither, so rapid an alternation of retirement and return, is entirely suited to the state of mind in which Jesus then was,* and also, that in the repetition of the prayer there is correctly shown an appropriate gradation; a more and more complete resignation to the will of the Father.† But that the two narrators count the retirements of Jesus, marking them by the expressions ek deuterou and ek tritou; at once shows that the number three was a point of importance to them; and when Matthew, though he certainly gives in the second prayer an expression somewhat different from that of the first, in the third makes Jesus only repeat the same words, ton auton logon, and when Mark does this even the second time,—this is a significant proof that they were embarrassed how to fill up the favourite number three with appropriate matter. According to Olshausen, Matthew, with his three acts of this conflict, must be right in opposition to Luke, because these three attacks made on Jesus through the medium of fear, correspond to the three attacks through the medium of desire, in the history of the temptation. This parallel is well founded; it only leads to an opposite result to that deduced by Olshausen. For which is more probable; that in both cases the threefold repetition of the attack had an objective ground, in a latent law of the kingdom of spirits, and hence is to be regarded as really historical; or that it had merely a subjective ground in the manner of the legend, so that the occurrence of this number here, as certainly as above in the history of the temptation, points to something mythical? ‡
If then we subtract the angel, the bloody sweat, and the precisely threefold repetition of the retirement and prayer of Jesus, as mythical additions, there remains so far, as an historical kernel, the fact, that Jesus on that evening in the garden experienced a violent access of fear, and prayed that his sufferings might be averted, with the reservation nevertheless of an entire submission to the will of God: and at this point of the inquiry, it is not a little surprising, on the ordinary view of the relation between our gospels, that even this fundamental fact of the history in question, is wanting in the Gospel of John.
§ 126. RELATION OF THE FOURTH GOSPEL TO THE EVENTS IN GETHSEMANE. THE FAREWELL DISCOURSES IN JOHN, AND THE SCENE FOLLOWING THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE GREEKS.
The relation of John to the synoptical narratives just considered has, when regarded more closely, two aspects: first, he has not what the synoptists present; and secondly, instead of this he has something which it is difficult to reconcile with their statements.
As regards the first and negative side, it has to be explained
*Paulus, ut sup. s. 549.
†Theile, in Winer’s and Engelhardt’s krit. Journal, 2, s. 353; Neander, L. J. Chr., s. 616 f.
‡Comp. Weisse, die evang. Gesch. 1, s. 611.
how, on the ordinary supposition concerning the author of the fourth gospel and the correctness of the synoptical account, it happens that John, who according to the two first gospels was one of the three whom Jesus took with him, to be the more immediate witnesses of his conflict, passes in silence over the whole event? It will not suffice to appeal to his sleepiness during the scene; for, if this was a hindrance to its narration, all the Evangelists must have been silent on the subject, and not John alone. Hence the usual expedient is tried here also, and he is said to have omitted the scene because he found it already presented with sufficient care in the writings of the synoptists.* But between the two first synoptists and the third there is here so important a divergency, as to demand most urgently that John, if he took their accounts into consideration, should speak a mediating word in this difference. If however, John had not the works of his predecessors lying before him, he might still, it is said, suppose that history to be sufficiently familiar to his readers as a part of evangelical tradition.† But as this tradition was the source of the divergent representations of the synoptists, it must itself have early begun to exhibit variations, and to narrate the fact first in one way, then in another: consequently on this view also there was a call on the author of the fourth gospel to rectify these wavering accounts. Hence of late an entirely new supposition has been adopted, namely, that John omits the events in Gethsemane lest, by the mention of the strengthening angel, he should give any furtherance to the Ebionitish opinion that the higher nature in Christ was an angel, which united itself with him at baptism; and now as it might be inferred, again departed from him before the hour of suffering.‡ But—not to urge that we have already found any hypothesis of this nature inadequate to explain the omissions in the Gospel of John—if this Evangelist wished to avoid any indication of a close relation between Jesus and angels, he must also have excluded other passages from his gospel : above all, as Lücke remarks,§ the declaration concerning the ascending and descending of angels upon him, i. 52; and also the idea, given indeed only as the conjecture of some bystanders, that an angel spake to him, aggeloV autw lelahken, xii. 29. If, however, he on any ground whatever, found special matter of hesitation in the appearance of the angel in the garden: this would only be a reason for omitting the intervention of the angel, with Matthew and Mark, and not for excluding the whole scene, which was easily separable from this single particular.
If the mere absence of the incident from the narrative of John is not to be explained, the difficulty increases when we consider what this Evangelist communicates to us instead of the scene in the garden, concerning the mental condition of Jesus during the last hours previous to his arrest. In the same place which the synoptists
*Olshausen, 2, s. 429.
†Lücke, 2, s. 591.
‡Schneckenburger, Beiträge, s. 65 f.
§Comm. 1, s. 177 f.
assign to the agony in the garden, John, it is true, has nothing, for he makes the capture of Jesus follow at once on his arrival in the garden: but immediately before, at and after the last meal, he has discourses inspired by a state of mind, which could hardly have as a sequel scenes like those which according to the synoptical narratives occurred in the garden In the farewell discourses in John, namely, xiv —xvii Jesus speaks precisely in the tone of one who has already inwardly triumphed over approaching suffering; from a point of view in which death is quenched in the beams of the glory which is to come after; with a divine peace which is cheerful in the certainty of its immovability: how is it possible that immediately after, this peace should give place to the most violent mental emotion, this tranquillity, to a trouble even unto death, and that from victory achieved he should sink again into doubtful contest, in which he needed strengthening by an angel? In those farewell discourses, he appears throughout as one who from the plenitude of his inward serenity and confidence, comforts his trembling friends: and yet he now seeks spiritual aid from the drowsy disciples, for he requests them to watch with him; there, he is so certain of the salutary effects of his approaching death, as to assure his followers, that it is well for them that he should go away, else the Comforter paraklhtoV would not come to them: here, he again doubts whether his death be really the will of the Father; there, he exhibits a consciousness which under the necessity of death, inasmuch as it comprehends that necessity, recovers freedom, so that his will to die is one with the divine will that he should die: here, these two wills are so at variance, that the subjective, submissively indeed, but painfully, bows to the absolute. And these two opposite states of mind are not even separated by any intervening incident of an appalling character, but only by the short space of time which elapsed during the walk from Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives, across the Kedron: just as if, in that brook, as in another Lethe, Jesus had lost all remembrance of the foregoing discourses.
It is true that we are here referred to the alternation of mental states, which naturally becomes more rapid in proportion as the decisive moment approaches ;* to the fact that not seldom in the life of believers there occurs a sudden withdrawal of the higher sustenance of the soul, an abandonment of them by God, which alone renders the victory nevertheless achieved truly great and admirable.† But this latter opinion at once betrays its unintelligent origin from a purely imaginative species of thought (to which the soul can appear like a lake, ebbing or flowing according as the floodgates of the conducting canals are opened or closed), by the contradictions in which it is on all sides involved. The triumph of Christ over the fear of death is said only to appear in its true magnitude, when we consider, that while a Socrates could only conquer because he remained in the full possession of his mental
energies, Christ was able to triumph over all the powers of darkness, even when forsaken by God and the fulness of his spirit, by his merely human soul yuch:—but is not this the rankest Pelagianism, the most flagrant contradiction of the doctrine of the church, as of sound philosophy, which alike maintain that without God, man can do no good thing, that only by his armour can man repel the shafts of the wicked one? To escape from thus contradicting the results of sober reflection, the imaginative thinker is driven to contradict himself, by supposing that in the strengthening angel (which, incidentally, contrary to the verbal significance of the text, is reduced to a merely internal vision of Jesus) there was imparted to Jesus, when wrestling in the extremity of his abandonment, an influx of spiritual strength; so that he thus would not, as it was at first vaunted, have conquered without, but only with Divine aid; if, in accordance with Luke, the angel be supposed to have appeared prior to the last, most violent part of the conflict, in order to strengthen Jesus for this ultimate trial. But rather than fall into so evident a self-contradiction, Olshausen prefers covertly to contradict the text, and hence transposes the order of the incidents, assuming, without further preliminary, that the strengthening came after the third prayer, consequently after the victory had been already gained, whence he is driven to the extreme arbitrariness of interpreting the phrase: kai genomenoV en agwnia ektenesteron proshuceto, and being in an agony he prayed, as the pluperfect—he had prayed.
But setting aside this figurative representation of the cause which produced the sudden change of mood in Jesus; such a change is in itself burthened with many difficulties. Correctly speaking, what here took place in Jesus was not a mere change, but a relapse of the most startling kind. In the so-called sacerdotal prayer, John xvii. especially, Jesus had completely closed his account with the Father; all fear in relation to what awaited him lay so far behind the point which he had here attained, that he spent not a single word on his own suffering, and only spoke of the afflictions which threatened his friends; the chief subject of his communion with the Father was the glory into which he was about to enter, and the blessedness which he hoped to have obtained for his followers : so that his departure to the scene of his arrest has entirely the character of an accessory fact, merely consummating by external realization what was already inwardly and essentially effected. Now if Jesus after this closing of his account with God, once more opened it; if after having held himself already victor, he once more sank into anxious conflict: must he not have laid himself open to the remonstrance: why didst thou not, instead of indulging in vain anticipations of glory, rather occupy thyself betimes with earnest thoughts of the coming trial, that by such a preparation, thou mightest spare thyself perilous surprise on its approach? why didst thou utter the words of triumph before thou hadst fought, so as to be obliged with shame
*Lücke, 2, s. 392 ff.
†Olshausen, 2, s. 429 f.
to cry for help at the on-coming of the battle? In fact after the assurance of already achieved victory expressed in the farewell discourses, and especially in the final prayer, the lapse into such a state of mind as that described by the synoptists, would have been a very humiliating declension, which Jesus could not have foreseen, otherwise he would not have expressed himself with so much confidence; and which, therefore, would prove that he was deceived in himself, that he held himself to be stronger than he actually found himself, and that he had given utterance to this too high self-valuation, not without a degree of presumption. Those who regard this as inconsistent with the equally judicious and modest character which Jesus manifests on other occasions, will find themselves urged to the dilemma, that either the farewell discourses in John, at least the final prayer, or else the events in Gethsemane, cannot be historical.
It is to be regretted that in coming to a decision in this case, theologians have set out rather from dogmatical prejudices than from critical grounds. Usteri’s assertion, at least, that the representation given in John of the state of mind of Jesus in his last hours is the only correct one, while that of the synoptists is unhistorical,* is only to be accounted for by that author’s then zealous adherence to the paragraphs of Schleiermacher’s Dogmatik, wherein the idea of the impeccability of Jesus is carried to an extent which excludes even the slightest degree of conflict; for that, apart from such presuppositions, the representation given in John of the last hours of Jesus, is the more natural and appropriate, it might be difficult to prove. On the contrary, Bretschneider might rather appear to be right, when he claims the superiority in naturalness and intrinsic evidence of truth for the synoptists :† were it not that our confidence in the decisions of this writer is undermined, by his dislike for the dogmatical and metaphysical purport of the discourses assigned to this period in John—a dislike which appears to indicate that his entire polemic against John originated in the discordance between his own critical philosophy of reflection, and the speculative doctrine of the fourth gospel.
John, indeed, as even the author of the Probabilia remarks, has not wholly passed over the anxiety of Jesus in relation to his approaching death; he has only assigned to it an earlier epoch, John xii. 27 ff. The scene with which John connects it takes place immediately after the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, when certain Greeks, doubtless proselytes of the gate, who had come among the multitude to the feast, wished to have an interview with him. With all the diversity of the circumstances and of the event itself; there is yet a striking agreement between what here occurs and what the synoptists place in the last evening of the life of Jesus, and in the seclusion of the garden. As Jesus here declares to his disciples,
*Commentatio critica, qua Evangelium Joannis genuinum esse —ostenditur, p. 57 ff.
†Probab., p. 33 ff.
my soul is troubled even unto death, perilupoV estin h yuch mou ewV qanatou (Matt. xxvi. 38): so there he says: Now is my soul troubled, nun h yuch mou tetaraktai (John xii, 27); as he here prays, that if it be possible, this hour may pass from him, ina, ei dunaton esti, parelqh ap’ autou h wra (Mark xiv. 35): so there he entreats: Father, save me from this hour, pater, swson me ek thV wraV tauthV (John xii. 27); as here he calms himself by the restriction nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt, all’ ou ti egw qelw, alla ti su (Mark xiv 36) so there by the reflection: but for this cause came I to this hour, alla dia touto hlqon eiV thn wran tauthn (John xii. 27); lastly, as here an angel appears strengthening Jesus, aggeloV eniscuwn (Luke xxii. 43): so there something happens which occasions the bystanders to observe that an angel spake to him, aggeloV autw lelalhken (John xii. 29). This similarity has induced many of the more modern theologians to pronounce the incident in John xii. 27 ff., and that in Gethsemane identical; and after this admission the only question was, on which side the reproach of inaccurate narration, and more especially of erroneous position, ought to fall.
Agreeably to the tendency of the latest criticism of the gospels, the burthen of error in this matter has been more immediately cast on the synoptists. The true occasion of the mental conflict of Jesus is said to be found only in John, namely, in the approach of those Greeks who intimated to him through Philip and Andrew their wish for an interview with him. These persons doubtless wished to make the proposal that he should leave Palestine and carry forward his work among the foreign Jews; such a proposal held out to him the enticement of escape from the threatening danger, and this for some moments placed him in a state of doubt and inward conflict, which however ended by his refusing to admit the Greeks to his presence.* Here we have the effects of a vision rendered so acute by a double prejudice, both critical and dogmatical, as to read statements between the lines of the text; for of such an intended proposal on the part of the Greeks, there is no trace in John; and yet, even allowing that the Evangelist knew nothing of the plan of the Greeks from these individuals themselves, there must have been some intimation in the discourse of Jesus that his emotion had reference to such a proposal. Judging from the context, the request of the Greeks had no other motive than that the solemn entrance of Jesus, and the popular rumour concerning him, had rendered them curious to see and know the celebrated man; and this desire of theirs was not connected with the emotion which Jesus experienced on the occasion, otherwise than that it led Jesus to think of the speedy propagation of his kingdom in the Gentile world, and of its indispensable condition, namely, his death. Here, however, the idea of his death is only mediately and remotely presented
*Goldhorn, über das Schweigen des Joh. Evangeliums über den Seelenkampf Jesu in Gethsemane, in Tzschirner’s Magazin. f. christl. Prediger, 1, 2, s. 1 ff.
to the soul of Jesus; hence it is the more difficult to conceive how it could affect him so strongly, as that he should feel himself urged to beseech the Father for delivery from this hour; and if he were ever profoundly moved by the presentiment of death, the synoptists appear to place this fear in a more suitable position, in immediate proximity to the commencement of his sufferings. The representation of John is also deficient in certain circumstances, presented by the synoptists, which appear to vindicate the trouble of Jesus. In the solitude of the garden and the gloom of night, such an ebullition of feeling is more conceivable; and its unrepressed utterance to his most intimate and worthy friends is natural and justifiable. But according to John that agitation seized Jesus in the broad daylight, in a concourse of people; a situation in which it is ordinarily more easy to maintain composure, or in which at least it is usual, from the possibility of misconstruction, to suppress the more profound emotions.
Hence it is more easy to agree with Theile’s opinion, that the author of the fourth gospel has inserted the incident, correctly placed by the synoptists, in a false position.* Jesus having said, as an introduction to the answer which he returned to the request of the Greeks, that they might see the man who had been so glorified by his entrance into the city: Yes, the hour of my glorification is come, but of glorification by death (xii. 23 f.): this led the narrator astray, and induced him, instead of giving the real answer of Jesus to the Greeks together with the result, to make Jesus dilate on the intrinsic necessity of his death, and then almost unconsciously to interweave the description of the .internal conflict which Jesus had to experience in virtue of his voluntary sacrifice, whence he subsequently, in its proper place, omits this conflict. There is nothing strange in Theile’s opinion, except that he supposes it possible for the Apostle John to have made such a transposition. That the scene in Gethsemane, from his having been asleep while it was passing, was not deeply imprinted on his mind, and that it was besides thrust into the background of his memory by the crucifixion which shortly followed, might have been considered explanatory of an entire omission, or a merely summary account of the scene on his part, but by no means of an incorrect position. If notwithstanding his sleepiness at the time, he had taken any notice of the event, he must at least have retained thus much—that that peculiar state of mind in Jesus befel him close upon the commencement of his sufferings, in the night and in privacy: how could he ever so far belie his memory as to make the scene take place at a much earlier period, in the open day, and among many people? Rather than thus endanger the authenticity of the Gospel of John, others, alleging the possibility that such a state of mind might occur more than once in the latter part of the life of Jesus, deny the identity of the two scenes. †
*Vid. the Review of Usteri’s Comm. crit., in Winer’s and Engelhardt’s n. krit. Journal, 2, s. 359 ff.
†Hase, L. J., § 134; Lücke, 2, s. 591 f.. Anm.
Certainly, between the synoptical representation of the mental conflict of Jesus and that given in John, besides the external difference of position, there exist important internal divergencies; the narrative in John containing features which have no analogy with anything in the synoptical account of the events in Gethsemane. it is true that the petition of Jesus in John for for deliverance from this hour, is perfectly in unison with his prayer in the synoptists: but, on the other hand, there is no parallel to the additional prayer in John: Father, glorify thy name pater, doxason sou to onoma (xii. 28) : further, though in both accounts an angel is spoken of, yet there is no trace in the synoptists of the heavenly voice which in the fourth gospel occasions the belief that an angel is concerned. Such heavenly voices are not found in the three first gospels elsewhere than at the baptism and again at the transfiguration; of which latter scene the prayer of Jesus in John: Father, glorify thy name, may remind us. In the synoptical description of the transfiguration, it is true the expressions doxa, glory and doxazein, to glorify, are not found: but the Second Epistle to Peter represents Jesus as receiving in the transfiguration honour and glory, timhn kai doxan, and the heavenly voice as coming from the excellent glory megaloprephV doxa (i. 17 f.). Thus in addition to the two narratives already considered, there presents itself a third as a parallel; since the scene in John xii. 27 ff. is on the one side, by the trouble of spirit and the angel, allied to the occurrences in Gethsemane, while on the other side, by the prayer for glorification and the confirmatory voice from heaven, it has some affinity with the history of the transfiguration. And here two cases are possible: either that the narrative of John is the simple root, the separation of which into its constituent elements has given rise in a traditional manner to the two synoptical anecdotes of the transfiguration and the agony in the garden; or that these last are the original formations, from the fusing and intermingling of which in the legend the narrative of John is the mixed product: between which cases only the intrinsic character of the narratives can decide. That the synoptical narratives of the transfiguration and the agony in the garden are clear pictures, with strongly marked features, can by itself prove nothing; since, as we have sufficiently shown, a narrative of legendary origin may just as well possess these characteristics as one of a purely historical nature. Thus if the narrative in John were merely less clear and definite, this need not prevent it from being regarded as the original, simple sketch, from which the embellishing hand of tradition had elaborated those more highly coloured pictures. But the fact is that the narrative in John is wanting not only in definiteness, but in agreement with the attendant circumstances and with itself. We have no intimation what was the answer of Jesus to the Greeks, or what became of those persons themselves; no appropriate motive is given for the sudden anguish of Jesus and his prayer for glorification. Such a mixture of heterogeneous parts is always the sign of a secondary product, of an alluvial conglomeration; and hence we seem warranted to conclude, that in the narrative of John the two synoptical anecdotes of the transfiguration and the agony in the garden are blended together. If, as is apparently the case, the legend when it reached the fourth Evangelist presented these two incidents in faded colours,* and in indistinct outline: it would be easy for him, since his idea of .glorification (doxazein) had the double aspect of suffering and exaltation, to confuse the two; what he gathered from the narrative of the agony in the garden, of a prayer of Jesus to the Father, he might connect with the heavenly voice in the history of the transfiguration, making this an answer to the prayer; to the voice, the more particular import of which, as given by the synoptists, was unknown to him, he gave, in accordance, with his general notion of this incident as a glory doxa conferred on Jesus, the import : I have both glorified and will glorify again, kai edoxasa kai palin doxasw, and to make it correspond with this divine response, he had to unite with the prayer of Jesus for deliverance that for glorification also; the strengthening angel, of which the fourth Evangelist had perhaps also heard something, was included in the opinion of the people as to the source of the heavenly voice; in regard to the time, John placed his narrative about midway between the transfiguration and the agony in the garden, and from ignorance of the original circumstances the choice in this respect was infelicitous.
If we here revert to the question from which we set out, whether we are rather to retain the farewell discourses in John as thoroughly historical, and renounce the synoptical representation of the scene in Gethsemane, or vice versa: we shall be more inclined, considering the result of the inquiry just instituted, to embrace the latter alternative. The difficulty, that it is scarcely conceivable how John could accurately remember these long discourses of Jesus, Paulus has thought to solve, by the conjecture, that the apostle, probably on the next Sabbath, while Jesus lay in the grave, recalled to his mind the conversations of the previous evening, and perhaps also wrote them down.† But in that period of depression, which John also shared, he would be scarcely in a condition to reproduce these discourses without obscuring their peculiar hue of unclouded serenity; on the contrary, as the author of the Wolfenbüttel fragments observes, had the narrative of the words and deeds of Jesus been committed to writing by the Evangelists in the couple of days after the death of Jesus, when they had no longer any hope, all promises would have been excluded from their gospels.‡ Hence even Lücke, in consideration of the mode of expression in the farewell discourses, and particularly in the final prayer, being so peculiarly
*Against the offence which it has pleased Tholuck (Glaubw. s. 41) to take at this expression (Verwischen), comp. the Aphorismen zur Apologie des Dr. Strauss und seines Werkes, s. 69 f.
†L. J. 1, b, s. 165 f.
‡Vom Zweck J. und seiner Jünger, s. 124.
that of John, has relinquished the position that Jesus spoke in the very words which John puts into his mouth, i.e. the authenticity of these discourses in the strictest sense; but only to maintain the more firmly their authenticity in the wider sense, i.e. the genuineness of the substantial thoughts.* Even this, however, has been attacked by the author of the Probabilia, for he asks, with especial reference to chap. xvii., whether it be conceivable that Jesus in the anticipation of violent death, had nothing of more immediate concern than to commune with God on the subject of his person, the works he had already achieved, and the glory to be expected? and whether it be not rather highly probable that the prayer flowed only from the mind of the writer, and was intended by him as a confirmation of his doctrine of Jesus as the incarnate word logoV, and of the dignity of the apostles? † This representation is so far true that the final prayer in question resembles not an immediate outpouring of soul, but a product of reflection—is rather a discourse on Jesus than a discourse from him. It presents everywhere the mode of thought of one who stands far in advance of the circumstances of which he writes, and hence already sees the form of Jesus in the glorifying haze of distance; an illusion which he heightens by putting his own thoughts, which had sprung from an advanced development of the Christian community, into the mouth of its Founder prior to its actual existence. But in the preceding farewell discourses also there are many thoughts which appear to have taken their shape from an experience of the event. Their entire tone may he the most naturally explained by the supposition, that they are the work of one to whom the death of Jesus was already a past event, the terrors of which had melted away in its blessed consequences, and in the devotional contemplation of the church. In particular, apart from what is said of the return of Christ, that era in the Christian cause which is generally called the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, is predicted in the declarations concerning the Paraclete, and the judgment which he would hold over the world (xiv. i6 ff. 25, xv. 26, xvi. 7 ff. 13 ff.), with a distinctness which seems to indicate light borrowed from the issue.
In relation, however, to the fact that the farewell discourses involve the decided foreknowledge of the immediately approaching result, the sufferings and death of Jesus (xiii. 18 ff., 33, 38, xiv. 30 f. xvi. 5 ff. 16, 32 f.), the narrative of John stands on the same ground with the synoptical one, since this also rests on the presupposition of the most exact prescience of the hour and moment when the sufferings will commence. It was not only at the last meal and on the departure to the Mount of Olives, that this foreknowledge was shown, according to the three first gospels, for in them as well as in John, Jesus predicts that the denial of Peter will take place before the cock crow; not only does the agony in the garden rest on the foreknowledge of the impending sufferings, but at the end of this conflict Jesus is able to say that now, at this very minute, the betrayer is in the act of approaching (Matt. xxvi. 45 f.). Paulus, it is true, maintains that Jesus saw from a distance the troop of guards coming out of the city, which, as they had torches, was certainly possible from a garden on the Mount of Olives: but without being previously informed of the plans of his enemies, Jesus could not know that he was the object of pursuit; and at any rate the Evangelists narrate the words of Jesus as a proof of his supernatural knowledge. But if according to our previous inquiry, the foreknowledge of the catastrophe in general could not proceed from the higher principle in Jesus, neither could that of the precise moment when it would commence; while that he in a natural way, by means of secret friends in the Sanhedrim, or otherwise, was apprised of the fatal blow which the Jewish rulers with the help of one of his disciples were about to aim at him in the coming night, we have no trace in our Evangelical accounts, and we are therefore not authorized to presuppose anything of the kind. On the contrary, as the above declaration of Jesus is given by the narrators as a proof of his higher knowledge, either we must receive it as such, or, if we cannot do this, we must embrace the negative inference, that they are here incorrect in narrating such a proof; and the positive conclusion on which this borders is, not that that knowledge was in fact only a natural one, but, that the evangelical narrators must have had an interest in maintaining a supernatural knowledge of his approaching sufferings on the part of Jesus; an interest the nature of which has been already unfolded.
The motive also for heightening the prescience into a real presentiment, and thus for creating the scene in Gethsemane, is easy of discovery. On the one hand, there cannot be a more obvious proof that a foreknowledge of an event or condition has existed, than its having risen to the vividness of a presentiment; on the other hand, the suffering must appear the more awful, if the mere presentiment extorted from him who was destined to that suffering, anguish even to bloody sweat, and prayer for deliverance. Further, the sufferings of Jesus were exhibited in a higher sense, as voluntary, if before they came upon him externally, he had resigned himself to them internally; and lastly, it must have gratified primitive Christian devotion, to withdraw the real crisis of these sufferings from the profane eyes to which he was exposed on the cross, and to enshrine it as a mystery only witnessed by a narrow circle of the initiated. As materials for the formation of this scene, besides the description of the sorrow and the prayer which were essential to it, there presented itself first the image of a cup pothrion, used by Jesus himself as a designation of his sufferings (Matt. XX. 22 f.); and secondly, Old Testament passages, in Psalms of lamentation, xlii. 6, 12, xliii. 5, where in the LXX. the yuch perilupoV (soul exceeding sorrowful) occurs, and in addition to this the expression ewV qanatou (unto death) the more naturally suggested itself since
*2, s. 588 f.
Jesus was here really about to encounter death. This representation must have been of early origin, because in the Epistle to the Hebrews (v. 7) there is an indubitable allusion to this scene.—Thus Gabler said too little when he pronounced the angelic appearance, a mythical garb of the fact
that Jesus in the deepest sorrow of that night suddenly felt an accession of mental strength; since rather, the entire scene in Gethsemane, because it rests on presuppositions destitute of proof, must be renounced.
Herewith the dilemma above stated falls to the ground, since we must pronounce unhistorical not only one of the two, but both representations of the last hours of Jesus before his arrest. The only degree of distinction between the historical value of the synoptical account and that of John is, that the former is a mythical product of the first era of traditional formation, the latter of the second,—or more correctly, the one is a product of the second order, the other of the third. The representation common to the synoptists and to John, that Jesus foreknew his sufferings even to the day and hour of their arrival, is the first modification which the pious legend gave to the real history of Jesus; the statement of the synoptists , that he even had an antecedent experience of his sufferings, is the second step of the mythical; while, that although he foreknew them, and also in one instance had a foretaste of them (John xii. 27 ff.), he had yet long beforehand completely triumphed over them, and when they stood immediately before him, looked them in the face with unperturbed serenity—this representation of the fourth gospel is the third and highest grade of devotional, but unhistorical embellishment.
§ 127. ARREST OF JESUS.
In strict accordance with the declaration of Jesus that even now the betrayer is at hand, Judas while he is yet speaking approaches with an armed force (Matt. xxvi. 47 parall., comp. John xvii. 3). This band, which according to the synoptists came from the chief priests and elders, was according to Luke led by the captains of the temple strathgoiV tou ierou, and hence was probably a detachment of the soldiers of the temple, to whom, judging from the word ocloV, and from staves xuloi being mentioned among the weapons, was apparently joined a tumultuous crowd: according to the representation of John, who, together with the servants or officers of the chief priests and Pharisees, uphretaiV twn arcierewn kai Farisaiwn speaks of a band speira, and a captain ciliarkoV without mentioning any tumultuary force, it appears as if the Jewish magistrates had procured as a support a detachment of Roman soldiery.*
According to the three first Evangelists, Judas steps forth and kisses Jesus, in order by this preconcerted sign to indicate him to the approaching band as the individual whom they were to seize:
according to the fourth gospel, on the contrary, Jesus advances apparently out of the garden (exelqwn) to meet them, and presents himself as the person whom they seek. In order to reconcile this divergency, some have conceived the occurrences thus: Jesus, to prevent his disciples from being taken, first went towards the multitude, and made himself known; hereupon Judas stepped forth, and indicated him by the kiss.† But had Jesus already made himself known, Judas might have spared the kiss; for that the people did not believe the assertion of Jesus that he was the man whom they sought, and still waited for its confirmation by the kiss of the bribed disciple, is a supposition incompatible with the statement of the fourth gospel that the words I am he, made so strong an impression on them that they went backward and fell to the ground. Hence others have inverted the order of the scene, imagining that Judas first stepped forward and distinguished Jesus by the kiss, and that then, before the crowd could press into the garden, Jesus himself advanced and made himself known.‡ But if Judas had already indicated him by the kiss, and he had so well understood the object of the kiss as is implied in his answer to it, Luke v. 48: there was no need for him still to make himself known, seeing that he was already made known; to do so for the protection of the disciples was equally superfluous, since he must have inferred from the traitor’s kiss, that it was intended to single him out and carry him away from his followers; if he did so merely to show his courage, this was almost theatrical : while, in general, the idea that Jesus, between the kiss of Judas, and the entrance of the crowd, which was certainly immediate, advanced towards the latter with questions and answers, throws into his demeanour a degree of hurry and precipitancy so ill suited to his circumstances, that the Evangelists can scarcely have meant such an inference to be drawn. It should therefore be acknowledged that neither of the two representations is designed as a supplement to the other,§ since each has a different conception of the manner in which Jesus was made known, and in which Judas was active in the affair. That Judas was guide to them that took Jesus, odhgoV toiV sullabousi ton Ihsoun (Acts i. 16), all the Evangelists agree. But while according to the synoptical account the task of Judas includes not only the pointing out of the place, but also the distinguishing of the person by the kiss, John makes the agency of Judas end with the indication of the place, and represents him after the arrival on the spot as standing inactive among the crowd (eisthkei de IoudaV—met’autwn, v.5). Why John does not assign to Judas the task of personally indicating Jesus, it is
*Vid. Lücke, in loc.; Hase, L. J., § 135.
†Paulus, exeg. Handb. 3, b, s. 567.
‡Liicke, 2, s. 599; Hase, ut sup.; Olshausen, 2. s, 435.
§how can Lücke explain the omission of the kiss of Judas in the Gospel of John from its having been too notorious a fact? and how can he adduce as an analogous instance the omission of the transaction between the betrayer and the Sanhedrim by John? for this, as something passing behind the scenes, might very well be left out, but by no means an incident which, like that kiss, happened so conspicuousby in the foreground and centre of the scene.
easy to see because, namely, he would have Jesus appear, not as one delivered up but as delivering himself up, so that his sufferings may be manifested in a higher degree as undertaken voluntarily. We have only to remember how the earliest opponents of Christianity imputed the retirement of Jesus out of the city into the distant garden, as an ignominious flight from his enemies,* in order to find it conceivable that there arose among the Christians at an early period the inclination to transcend the common evangelical tradition in representing his demeanour on his arrest in the light of a voluntary self-resignation.
In the synoptists the kiss of Judas is followed by the cutting question ot Jesus to the traitor; in John, after Jesus has uttered the egw eimi, I am he, it is stated that under the influence of these commanding words, the multitude who had come out to seize him went backward and fell to the ground, so that Jesus had to repeat his declaration and as it were encourage the people to seize him. Of late it has been denied that there was any miracle here: the impression of the personality of Jesus, it is said, acted psychologically on those among the crowd who had already often seen and heard Jesus; and in support of this opinion reference is made to the examples of this kind in the life
5 So says the Jew of Celsus, Orig. c. Cels. ii. 9: When we, having convicted and condemned him, had determined that he should sufer punishment; concealing himself and endeavouring to escape, he experienced a most shameful capture.
of Marius, Coligny, and others.† But neither in the synoptical account, account, according to which there needed the indication of Jesus by the kiss, nor in that of John, according to which there needed the declaration of Jesus, I am he, does Jesus appear to be known to the crowd, at least in such a manner as to exercise any profound influence over them; while the above examples only show that sometimes the powerful impression of a man’s personality has paralyzed the murderous hands of an individual or of a few, but not that a whole detachment of civil officers and soldiers has been made, not merely to draw back, but to fall to the ground. It answers no purpose for Lücke to make first a few fall down and then the whole crowd, except that of rendering it impossible to imagine the scene with gravity. Hence we turn to the old theologians, who here unanimously acknowledge a miracle. The Christ who by word of his mouth cast down the hostile multitude, is no other than he who according to 2 Thess. ii. 8, shall consume the Antichrist with the spirit of his mouth, i.e. not the historical Christ, but the Christ of the Jewish and primitive Christian imagination. The author of the fourth gospel especially, who had so often remarked how the enemies of Jesus and their creatures were unable to lay hands on him, because his hour was not yet come (vii. 30, 32, 44 ff., viii. 20), had an inducement, now, when the hour was come, to represent the ultimately successful attempt as also failing at the first in a thoroughly astounding manner; especially as this fully accorded with the interest by which he is governed throughout the description of this whole scene—the demonstrating that the capture of Jesus was purely an act of his own free will When Jesus lays the soldiers prostrate by the power of his word he gives them a proof of what he could do, if to liberate himself were his object, and when he allows himself to be seized immediately after, this appears as the most purely voluntary self-sacrifice. Thus in the fourth gospel Jesus gives a practical proof of that power, which in the first he only expresses by words, when he says to one of his disciples: Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my FaTher, and he shall presently give me twelve legions oj angels (v. 53)?
After this, the author of the fourth gospel very inappropriately holds up the solicitude which Jesus manifested that his disciples should not be taken captive with him, as a fulfilment of the declaration of Jesus (xvii. 12), that he had lost none of those intrusted to him by the Father; a declaration which was previously more suitably referred to the spiritual preservation of his disciples. As the next feature in the scene, all the Evangelists agree, that when the soldiers began to lay hands on Jesus, one of his disciples drew his sword, and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant, an act which met with a reproof from Jesus. Still Luke and John have each a peculiar trait. Not to mention that both particularize the ear as the right ear, while thcir two predecessor had left this point undetermined; the latter not only gives the name of the wounded servant, but states that the disciple who wounded him was Peter. Why the synoptists do not name Peter, it has been sought to explain in different ways. The supposition that they wished to avoid compromising the apostle, who at the time of the composition of their gospels was yet living,† belongs to the justly exploded fictions of an exegesis framed on the false principle of supplying conjecturally all those links in the chain of natural causation which are wanting in the gospels. That these Evangelists elsewhere for the most part omit names,‡ is too sweeping an accusation as regards Matthew, though he does indeed leave unnamed indifferent persons, such as Jairus, or Bartimæus; but that the real Matthew, or even the common evangelical tradition, thus early and generally should have lost the name from an anecdote of Peter, so thoroughly accordant with the part played by this apostle, can scarcely be considered very probable. To me, the reverse would be much more conceivable, namely, that the anecdote was originally current
*Lücke, 2, s. 597 f.; Obshausen, 2, s. 435; Tholuck, s, 299. The reference to the murderer of Coligny is, however, unwarranted, as any one will find who will look into the book incorrectly cited by Tholuck : Serrani commentatorium de statu religionis et reip. in regno Galliæ, L. x. p. 32, b. The murderer was not in the least withheld from the prosecution of his design by the firmness of the noble old man. Comp. also Schiller, Werke, 1 Bd. s. 382 f., 384; Ersch and Gruber’s Encyclopadie, 7 Band, s. 452 f. Such inaccuracies in the department of modern history cannot indeed excite surprise in a writer who elsewhere (Glaubwürdigkeit, s. 437) speaks of the duke of Orleans, Louis Philippe’s father, as the brother of Louis XVI. How can a knowledge so diversified as that of Dr. Tholuck be always quite accurate.
†Paulus, exeg. Handb. 3, b, s. 570.
without the mention of any name, (and why should not a less distinguished adherent of Jesus—for from the synoptists it is not necessarily to be inferred that it was one of the twelve—whose name was therefore the more readily forgotten, have had courage and rashness enough to draw his sword at that crisis?), but a later narrator thought such a mode of conduct particularly suited to the impetuous character of Peter, and hence ascribed it to him by a combination of his own. On this supposition, we need not appeal, in support of the possibility that John could know the servant’s name, to his acquaintance with the household of the high priest,* any more than to a peculiar acquaintance of Mark with some inhabitants of Jericho, in explanation of his obtaining the name of the blind man.
The distinctive trait in Luke’s account of this particular is, that Jesus heals the servant’s ear, apparently by a miracle. Olshausen here makes the complacent remark, that this circumstance best explains how Peter could escape uninjured—astonishment at the cure absorbed the general attention: while according to Paulus, Jesus by touching the wounded ear (ayamenoV) only meant to examine it, and then told what must be done for the purpose of healing (iasato auton); had he cured it by a miracle there must have been some notice of the astonishment of the spectators. Such pains-taking interpretations are here especially needless, since the fact that Luke stands alone in giving the trait in question, together with the whole tenor of the scene, tells us plainly enough what opinion we are to form on the subject. Should Jesus, who had removed by his miraculous power so much suffering of which he was innocent, leave uncured suffering which one of his disciples out of attachment to him, and thus indirectly he himself, had caused? This must soon have been found inconceivable, and hence to the stroke of the sword of Peter was united a miraculous cure on the part of Jesus—the last in the evangelical history.
Here, immediately before he is led away, the synoptists place the remonstrance which Jesus addressed to those who had come to take him prisoner: that though, by his daily public appearance in the temple he had given the best opportunity for them to lay hands upon him, yet—a bad augury for the purity of their cause—they came to a distance to seek him with as many preparations, as against a thief? In the fourth gospel, he is made to say something similar to Annas, to whose inquiries concerning his disciples and his doctrine, he replies by referring him to the publicity of his entire agency, to his teaching in the temple and synagogue (xviii. 20 f.). Luke, as if he had gathered from both, that Jesus had said something of this kind to the high priest, and also at the time of his arrest, represents the chief priests and elders themselves as being present in the garden, and Jesus as here speaking to them in the above manner, which is certainly a mere blunder.†
*As Lücke, Tholuck and Olshausen, in loc.
†Schleiermacher, über den Lukas, s. 290.
According to the two first Evangelists, all the disciples now fled. Here Mark has the special particular, that a young man with a linen cloth cast about his naked body, when he was in danger of being seized, left the linen cloth and fled naked. Apart from the industrious conjectures of ancient and even modern expositors, as to who this young man was; this information of Mark’s has been regarded as a proof of the very early origin of this gospel, on the ground that so unimportant an anecdote, and one moreover to which no name is attached, could have no interest except for those who stood in close proximity to the persons and events.* But this inference is erroneous; for the above trait gives even to us, at this remote distance of time, a vivid idea of the panic and rapid flight of the adherents of Jesus, and must therefore have been welcome to Mark, from whatever source he may have received it, or how late soever he may have written.
§ 128. EXAMINATION OF JESUS BEFORE THE HIGH PRIEST.
From the place of arrest the synoptists state Jesus to have been led to the high priest, whose name, Caiaphas, is, however, only mentioned by Matthew; while John represents him as being led in the first instance to Annas, the father-in-law of the existing high priest; and only subsequently to Caiaphas (Matt. xxvi. 57 ff. parall. ; John xviii. 12 ff.). The important rank of Annas renders this representation of John as conceivable as the silence of the synoptists is explicable, on the ground that the ex-high priest had no power of deciding in this cause. But it is more surprising that, as must be believed from the first glance, the fourth Evangelist merely gives some details of the transaction with Annas, and appears entirely to pass by the decisive trial before the actual high priest, except that he states Jesus to have been led away to Caiaphas. There was no more ready expedient for the harmonists than the supposition, which is found e.g. in Euthymius, that John, in consistency with the supplementary character of his gospel, perserved the examination before Annas as being omitted by the synoptists, while he passed by that before Calaphas, because it was described with sufficient particularity by his predecessors.† This opinion, that John and the synoptists speak of two entirely distinct trials, has a confirmation in the fact that the tenor of the respective trials is totally different. In that which the synoptists describe, according to Matthew and Mark, the false witnesses first appear against Jesus; the high priest then asks him if he really pretends to be the Messiah, and on receiving an affirmative answer, declares him guilty of blasphemy, and worthy of death, whereupon follows maltreatment of his person. In the trial depicted by John, Jesus is merely questioned concerning his disciples and his doctrine, he appeals to the publicity of his conduct,
*Paulus, exeg. Handb. 3, b, s. 576.
†Paulus, ut sup. s. 577; Olshausen, 2, s. 244.
and after having been maltreated for this reply by an attendant (uphrethV), is sent away without the passing of any sentence. That the fourth Evangelist should thus give no particulars concerning the trial before Caiaphas is the more surprising, since in the one before Annas, if it be this which he narrates, according to his own representation nothing was decided, and consequently the grounds for the condemnation of Jesus by the Jewish authorities, and the sentence itself, are altogether wanting in his gospel. To explain this by the supplementary object of John is to impute to him too irrational a mode of procedure; for if he omitted facts because the other Evangelists had already given them, without intimating that he did so purely for that reason, he could only reckon on introducing confusion, and entailing on himself the suspicion of having given a false narrative, He can hardly have had the opinion, that the trial before Annas was the principal one, and that therefore it was allowable to omit the other, since he reports no judgment as having been passed in the former; but if he knew the trial before Caiaphas to have been the principal one, and yet gave no more particular information concerning it, this also was a highly singular course for him to take.
Thus the very simplest view of the case seems at once to point to the attempt to discover in the account of the fourth gospel indications that it also is to be understood of the trial before Caiaphas. What affords the strongest presumption of the identity of the two trials is the identity of an incident concomitant with both, John as well as the synoptists making Peter deny Jesus during the trial detailed. It is further remarkable that after Annas has been spoken of, at v. 13, as the father-in-law of Caiaphas, there follows at V. 14, a more precise designation of Caiaphas as the author of the fatal counsel, recorded in John xi. 50, although apparently the Evangelist proceeds to narrate a trial held, not before Caiaphas, but before Annas. Moreover in the description of the trial itself, there is mention throughout of the palace and of questions from the high priest, a title which John nowhere else applies to Annas, but only to Caiaphas. But that in accordance with the above supposition, the Evangelist from v. 15, should be describing something which passed before Caiaphas, appears impossible from v. 24, for it is there first said that Annas sent Jesus to Caiaphas, so that he must until then have been before Annas. With ready thought this difficulty was first met by removing the 24th verse to the place where it was wanted, namely, after v. 13, and laying the blame of its present too late position on the negligence of transcribers.* As, however, this transposition, being destitute of any critical authority, must appear an arbitrary and violent expedient for getting rid of the difficulty, it was next tried whether the statement in v. 24, without being actually moved from its place, might not receive such an interpretation as to come in point of sense after v. 13; i.e., the word
*Thus e.g. Erasmus, in loc.
apesteilenwas taken as a pluperfect, and it was supposed that John intended here to supply retrospectively what he had forgotten to observe at v. 13, namely, that Annas immediately sent Jesus to Caiaphas, so that the trial just described was conducted by the latter.* As the general possibility of such an enallage temporum is admissible, the only question is whether it be accordant with the style of the present writer, and whether it be intimated in the context. In the latter respect it is certainly true that if nothing important had occurred in the presence of Annas, the Evangelist, in annexing to his notice of the relationship of Annas to Caiaphas the more precise designation of the latter, might be drawn on to speak without further preface of the trial before Caiaphas, and might afterwards, by way of appendix, at some resting place, as here at the close of the transactions of the high priest with Jesus, intimate the transition which he had made. An accurate Greek writer certainly in this case, if he did not use the pluperfect, would at least have made evident the explanatory reference to what had preceded, by the addition of a gar to the aorist. Our Evangelist, however, in whom the characteristic of the Hellenistic writers to connect their propositions but loosely, in accordance with the genius of the Hebrew language, is very strongly marked, might perhaps have introduced that supplementary observation even without a particle, or, according to the ordinary reading, by oun, which is not merely indicative that a subject is continued, but also that it is resumed.† If these considerations be held to establish that he also intended to narrate the trial before Caiaphas: it is clear from the aspect of his account taken by itself, as well as from the previous comparison with the synoptical one, that his narrative cannot be complete.
We turn, therefore, to the account of the synoptists, and among them also, namely, between the two first and the third, we find numerous divergencies. According to the former, when Jesus was brought into the palace of the high priest, the scribes and elders were already assembled, and while it was still night proceeded to hold a trial, in which first witnesses appeared, and then the high priest addressed to him the decisive question, on the answer to which the assembly declared him worthy of death (in John also the trial goes forward in the night, but there is no intimation of the presence of the great council). According to the representation of the third gospel, on the other hand, Jesus throughout the night is merely kept under guard in the high priest’s palace, and maltreated by the underlings; and when at the break of day the Sanhedrin assembles, no witnesses appear, but the high priest precipitates the sentence by the decisive question. Now, that in the depth of the night, while Judas was gone out with the guard, the members of the council should have assembled themselves for the reception of Jesus, might he regarded as improbable, and in so far, the preference might
*Thus Winer, N. T. Gramm., § 41, 5; Thuluck and Lücke, in loc.
†Winer, Gramm., § 57, 4.
be given to the representation of the third gospel, which makes them assemble at daybreak only:* were it not that Luke himself neutralizes this advantage by making the high priests and elders present at the arrest; a zeal which might well have driven
them straightway to assemble for the sake of accelerating the conclusion. But in the account of Matthew and Mark also there is this singularity, that after they have narrated to us the whole trial together with the sentence, they yet (xxvii. 1 and xv. 1) say : when the morning was come, they took counsel, proiaV de genomenhV sumboulion elabon, thus making it appear, if not that the members of the Sanhedrim reassembled in the morning, which could hardly be, seeing that they had been together the whole night; yet that they now first came to a definite resolution against Jesus, though, according to these same Evangelists, this had already been done in the nocturnal council. † It may be said that to the sentence of death already passed in the night, was added in the morning the resolution to deliver Jesus to Pilate: but according to the then existing state of the law, this followed as a matter of course, and needed no special resolution. That Luke and John omit the production of the false witnesses, is to be regarded as a deficiency in their narrative. For from the coincidence of John ii. 19 and Acts vi. 14 with Matthew and Mark, it is highly probably that the declaration about the destruction and rebuilding of the temple was really uttered by Jesus; while that that declaration should be used as an article of accusation against him on his trial was an almost necessary result. The absence of this weighty point in Luke, Schleiermacher explains by the circumstance, that the author of this passage in the third gospel had indeed followed the escort which conducted Jesus from the garden, but had with most others been excluded from the palace of the high priest, and consequently narrated what occurred there merely from hearsay. But, not to anticipate future points, the single trait of the cure of the servant’s ear suffices to preclude our attributing to the author of this portion of Luke’s gospel so close a proximity to the fact. It rather appears that the above declaration came to the third Evangelist under the form of an article of accusation against Stephen, instead of Jesus; while the fourth has it only as a declaration from Jesus, and not as an article of accusation against him. This subject having however necessarily come under our observation at an earlier point of our inquiry, it is needless to pursue it further here.‡
When Jesus made no answer to the allegations of the witnesses, he was asked, according to the two first Evangelists, by the high priest,—in the third gospel, without the above cause, by the Sanhedrim,—whether he actually maintained that he was the Messiah (the Son of God)? To this question, according to the two former, he
*Thus Schieiermacher, über den Lukas, s. 295.
†Schieiermacher, ut sup. ; comp. Fritzsche, in loc. Matth.
‡Vol. II. § 67. Vol. III. § 114.
at once replies in the affirmative, in the words su eipaV, thou hast said, and egw eimi, I am, and adds that hereafter or immediately (ap’arti) they would see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the divine power, and coming in the clouds of heaven; according to Luke, on the other hand, he first declares that his answer will be of no avail, and then adds that hereafter the Son of man shall sit on the right hand of the power of God; whereupon all eagerly ask: Art thou then the Son of God? and he replies in the affirmative. Thus Jesus here expresses the expectation that by his death he will at once enter into the glory of sitting as Messiah at the right hand of God, according to Ps. cx. 1, which he had already, Matt. xxii. 44, interpreted of the Messiah. For even if he at first perhaps thought of attaining his messianic glorification without the intervention of death, because this intervention was not presented to him by the ideas of the age; if it was only at a later period, and as a result of circumstances, that the foreboding of such a necessity began to arise and gradually to acquire distinctness in his mind; now, a prisoner, forsaken by his adherents, in the presence of the rancorously hostile Sanhedrim, it must, if he would retain the conviction of his messiahship, become a certainty to him, that he could enter into his messianic glorification by death alone. When, according to the two first Evangelists, Jesus adds to the sitting on the right hand of power, the coming in the clouds of heaven, he pródicts, as on an earlier occasion, his speedy advent, and in this instance he decidedly predicts it as a return. Olshausen maintains that the ap’arti of Matthew ought to be referred only to kaqhmenon k. t. l., because it would not suit ercomenon k. t. l., since it is not to be conceived that Jesus could then have represented himself as about to come in the clouds: a purely dogmatical difficulty, which does not exist in our point of view, but which cannot in any point of view warrant such an offence against grammatical interpretation as this of Olshausen. On the above declaration of Jesus, according to Matthew and Mark the high priest rends his clothes, declaring Jesus convicted of blasphemy, and the council pronounces him guilty of death; and in Luke also, all those assembled observe that now there is no need of any further witness, since the criminal declaration has been uttered by Jesus in their own hearing.*
To the sentence is then added in the two first Evangelists the maltreatment of Jesus, which John, who here mentions no sentence, represents as following the appeal of Jesus to the publicity of his work, while Luke places it before the trial; more probably because it was not any longer precisely known when this maltreatment occurred, than because it was repeated at various times and under various circumstances. In John the maltreatment is said to proceed from an attendant, uphrethV, in Luke, from the men that held Jesus, andreV suneconteV ton I.; in Mark, on the contrary, those who began to spit in the face of Jesus (kai hrxanto tineV emptuein autw) must have been some of those (panteV) who had just before condemned
him, since he distinguishes the uphretaV, servants, from them; and in Matthew also, who, without introducing a new nominative proceeds merely with tote hrxanto, then began they, it is plainly the members of the Sanhedrim themselves who descend to such unworthy conduct: which Schleiermacher justly considers improbable, and in so far prefers the representation of Luke to that of Matthew.* In John the maltreatment consists in a blow on the cheek with the palm of the hand, rapisma, which an attendant gives Jesus on account of a supposed insolent answer to the high priest; in Matthew and Mark, in spitting on the face (eneptusan eiV to proswpon autou), and blows on the head and cheek, to which it is added, in Luke also, that he was blindfolded, then struck on the face, and scoffingly asked to attest his messianic second sight by telling who was the giver of the blow.† According to Olshausen, the spirit of prophecy did not scorn to predict these rudenesses in detail, and at the same time to describe the state of mind which the Holy One of God opposed to the unholy multitude. He correctly adduces in relation to this scene Isa. 1. 6 f.; (LXX.): I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting, etc., ton nwton mou dedwka eiV mastigaV, taV de siagonaV mou eiV rapismata, to de proswpon mou ouk epestreya apo aiscunhV emptuomatwn k.t.l.. (comp. Mic. iv. 14); and for the manner in which Jesus bore all this, the well-known passage Isa. liii. 7, where the servant of God is represented as enduring maltreatment in silence. But the interpretation of these passages in Isaiah as prophecies concerning the Messiah is equally opposed to the context in both instances : ‡ consequently the agreement of the result with these passages must either have been the effect of human design, or purely accidental. Now it is certain that the servants and soldiers in their maltreatment had not the intention of causing prophecies to be fulfilled in Jesus; and it will hardly be chosen to suppose that Jesus affected silence with this view; while to deduce from mere chance a coincidence which certainly, as Olshausen says, extends to minutiæ, is always unsatisfactory. Probable as it is from the rude manners of that age, that Jesus was maltreated when a prisoner, and moreover that amongst other things he received just such insults as are described by the Evangelists: it is yet scarcely to be denied, that their descriptions are modelled on prophecies which, when once Jesus appeared as a sufferer and maltreated person, were applied to him; and however consistent it may be with the character of Jesus that he should have borne this maltreatment patiently, and repelled improper questions by a dignified silence: the Evangelists would scarcely have noticed this so often and so solicitously, § if it had not been their intention thus to exhibit the fulfilment of Old Testament oracles.
§ 129. THE DENIAL OF PETER.
The two first Evangelists state, that at the moment in which Jesus was led away from the garden, all the disciples forsook him and fled; but in their accounts, as well as in those of Luke and John, Peter is said to have followed him at a distance, and to have obtained admission with the escort into the court of the high priest’s palace: while, according to the synoptists, it is Peter alone who gives this proof of courage and attachment to Jesus, which however soon enough issues in the deepest humiliation for him; the fourth Evangelist gives him John for a companion, and moreover represents the latter as the one who, by means of his acquaintance with the high priest, procures admittance for Peter into his palace; a divergency which, with the whole peculiar relation in which this gospel places Peter with respect to John, has been already considered.||
According to all the Evangelists, it was in this court, aulh, that Peter, intimidated by the inauspicious turn in the fortunes of Jesus, and the high priest’s domestics by whom he was surrounded, sought to allay the repeatedly expressed suspicion that he was one of the followers of the arrested Galilean, by reiterated asseverations that he knew him not. But, as we have already intimated, in relation to the owner of this habitation, there exists an apparent divergency between the fourth gospel and the synoptists. In John, to judge from the first glance at his narrative, the first denial (xviii. 17) happens during the trial before Annas, since it stands after the statement that Jesus was led to Annas (v. 13), and before the verse in which he is said to have been sent to Caiaphas (v. 24), and only the two further acts of denial (v. 25—27), in so far as they follow the last-named statement, and as immediately after them the delivery to Pilate is narrated (v. 28), appear in John also to have occurred during the trial before Caiaphas and in his palace. But to this supposition of a different locality for the first denial and the two subsequent ones, there is a hindrance in the account of the fourth gospel itself. After the mention of the first denial, which happened at the door of the palace (of Annas apparently), it is said that the night being cold the servants and officers had made a fire of coals, and Peter stood with them and warmed himself, hn de kai met’ autwn o PetroV estwV kai qermainimenoV (v. 18). Now, when farther on, the narrative of the second and third denial is opened with nearly the same words:
†Matthew does not mention the blindfolding, and appears to imagine that Jesus named the person who maltreated him, whom he saw, but did not otherwise know.
‡Vid. Gesenius, in loc.
§Matth. xxvi. 63; comp. Mark xiv. 61: o de IhsouV esiwpa.
Matth. xxvii. 12: ouden apekrinato.
Matth. xxvii. 14; comp. Mark xv. 5: kai ouk apekrinato autw proV oude en rhma, wste qaumazein ton hyemona lian.
Luke xxiii. 9: autoV de ouden apekrinato autw.
John xix. 9: o de I. apokrisin ouk edwken autw
||Vol. II. § 74.
And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself hn de Simwn PetroV estwV kai qermainomenoV (v. 25): this cannot be understood otherwise than as an allusion to the previously noticed circumstances of the fire of coals, and of Peter’s standing by it to warm himself, and hence it must be inferred that the Evangelist intended to represent the second and third denial as having occurred by the same fire, consequently, on the above supposition, likewise in the house of Annas. It is true that the synoptists speak of a fire in the court of the palace of Caiaphas also (Mark v. 54.; Luke v. 55), at which Peter warmed himself (here, however, sitting, as in John standing): but it does not thence follow that John also imagined a similar fire to have been in the court of the actual high priest, and according to the supposition on which we have hitherto proceeded, he only mentions such a fire in the house of Annas. They who regard as too artificial an expedient the conjecture of Euthymius, that the dwellings of Annas and Caiaphas perhaps had a common court, and that consequently Peter could remain standing by the same fire after Jesus had been led away from the former to the latter, prefer the supposition that the second and third denial occurred, according to John, not after, but during the leading away of Jesus from Annas to Caiaphas.* Thus on the presupposition that John narrates a trial before Annas, the difference between the gospels in relation to the locality of the denial remains a total one; and in this irreconcilable divergency, some have decided in favour of John, on the ground that the scattered disciples had only fragmentary information concerning this scene,—that Peter himself being a stranger in Jerusalem did not know in which palace he had, to his misfortune, entered; but that he, and after him the first Evangelists, supposed the denials to have taken place in the court of Caiaphas; whereas John, from his more intimate acquaintance with the city and the high priest’s palace, was able to rectify this mistake.† But even admitting the incredible supposition that Peter erroneously believed himself to have denied Jesus in the palace of Caiaphas, still John, who in these days was in the society of Peter, would certainly at once have corrected his assertion, so that such an erroneous opinion could not have become fixed in his mind. Hence it might be preferred to reverse the attempt, and to vindicate the synoptists at the expense of John: were it not that the observations contained in the foregoing section (according to which John, after having merely mentioned that Jesus was led away to Annas, may speak from V. 15 of what occurred in the palace of Caiaphas), present a possible solution of this contradiction also.
In relation to the separate acts of denial, all the Evangelists agree in stating that there were three of them, in accordance with the prediction of Jesus; but in the description of the several instances they are at variance. First, as it regards place and persons; according
*Thus Schleiermacher, über den Lukas, s, 289; Olshausen, 2, s. 445.
†Thus Paulus, ut sup. s. 577 f.
to John the first denial is uttered on the very entrance of Peter, to a damsel that kept the door, paidiskh qurwroV (v. 17); in the synoptists, in the inner court, where Peter sat at the fire, to a damsel, paidiskh (Matt. v. 69 f. parall.). The second takes
place, in John (v. 25), and also in Luke, who at least notices no change of position (v. 58), at the fire: in Matthew (v. 71) and Mark (v. 68 ff.), after Peter was gone out into the porch, pulwn, proaulion; further, in John it is made to several persons; in Luke, to one; in Matthew to another damsel than the one to whom he made the first denial; in Mark, to the same. The third denial happened, according to Matthew and Mark, who mention no change of place after the second, likewise in the porch; according to Luke and John, since they likewise mention no change of place, undoubtedly still in the inner court, at the fire; further, according to Matthew and Mark, to many bystanders, according to Luke to one: according to John, to one who happens to be a relative of the servant who had been wounded in the garden. As regards the conversation which passed on this occasion, the suspicious queries are at one time addressed to Peter himself at another to the bystanders, in order to point him out to their observation, and in the two first instances they are given by the different Evangelists with tolerable agreement, as merely expressing the opinion that he appeared to be one of the adherents of the man recently taken prisoner. But in the third instance, where the parties render a motive for their suspicion, they according to the synoptists mention his Galilean dialect as a proof of its truth; while in John the relative of Malchus appeals to his recollection of having seen Peter in the garden. Now the former mode of accounting for the suspicion is as natural as the second, together with the designation of the individual who adduced it as a relative of Malchus, appears artificial, and fabricated for the sake of firmly interweaving into the narrative the connexion of the sword-stroke given in the garden with the name of Peter.* In the answers of Peter there is the divergency, that according to Matthew he already the second time fortifies his denial by an oath, while according to Mark this is not the case until the third denial, and in the two other Evangelists this circumstance is not mentioned at all; moreover, Matthew, to preserve a gradation, adds on the third denial that Peter began to curse katanaqematizeinas well as to swear omnuein, a representation which when compared with the other gospels may appear exaggerated.
So to adjust these very differently narrated denials in such a manner that no Evangelist may be taxed with having given an incorrect or even a merely inexact account, was no light labour for the harmonists. Not only did the older, supranaturalistic expositors, such as Bengel, undertake this task, but even recently, Paulus has given himself much trouble to bring the various acts of denial recounted by the Evangelists into appropriate order, and thus to show
that they have a natural sequence. According to him, Peter denies the Lord,
1. Before the portress (1st denial in John);
2. Before several standing at the fire (2nd in John);
3. Before a damsel at the fire (1st in the synoptists);
4. Before one who has no particular designation (2nd in Luke);
5. On going out into the porch, before a damsel (2nd in Matthew and Mark. Out of this denial Paulus should in consistency have made two, since the damsel, who points out Peter to the bystanders, is according to Mark the same as the one in No. 3, but according to Matthew another);
6. Before the relative of Malchus (3rd in John);
7. Before one who professes to detect him by his Galilean dialect (3rd in Luke), and who forthwith
8. is seconded by several others, to whom Peter yet more strongly affirms that he knows not Jesus (3rd in Matthew and Mark).
Meanwhile by such a discrimination of the accounts out of respect to the veracity of the Evangelists, there was incurred the danger of impeaching the yet more important veracity of Jesus; for he had spoken of a threefold denial: whereas, on the plan of discrimination, according to the more or less consequent manner in which it is carried out, Peter would have denied Jesus from 6 to 9 times. The old exegesis found help in the canon: abnegatio ad plures plurium interrogationes facta uno paroxysmo, pro una numeratur.† But even granting such a mode of reckoning admissible, still, as each of the four narrators for the most part notices a greater or less interval between the separate denials which he recounts; in each instance, denials related by different Evangelists, e.g. one narrated by Matthew, one by Mark, and so forth, must have occurred in immediate succession: a supposition altogether abitrary. Hence of late it has been a more favourite expedient to urge that the thrice triV in the mouth of Jesus was only a round number intended to express a repeated denial, as also that Peter, once entangled in the confusion to a supposed necessity for falsehood, would be more likely to repeat his asseverations to 6 or 7 than merely to three inquirers.6‡ But even if, according to Luke (v. 59 f.), the interval from the first denial to the last be estimated as more than an hour, still such a questioning from all kinds of people on all sides, as well as the ultimate impunity of Peter amid so general a suspicion, is extremely improbable; and when expositors describe the state of mind of Peter during this scene as a complete stupefaction,§ they rather present the condition which befals the reader who has to arrange his ideas in such a crowd of continually repeated questions and answers having an identical meaning—like the incessant and lawless beating of a watch out of order. Olshausen has justly discarded the attempt to
*Comp. Weisse, die evang. Geschichte, 1, s. 609.
†Bengel, in the Gnomon.
‡Paulus, ut sup. s. 578.
§ Hess, Geschichte Jesu, 2, s. 343.
remove such differences as a fruitless labour: nevertheless he, on the one hand, immediately proceeds to a forced reconciliation of the divergencies at some points of the narrative; and on the other, he maintains that there were precisely three denials, whereas Paulus again has evinced a more correct discernment in pointing out the premeditated effort of the Evangelists to show that the denial was threefold. What on that evening happened repeatedly (not, however, eight or nine times), was represented as having happened precisely three times, in order to furnish the closest fulfilment to the prediction of Jesus, which was understood in its strictest literality.
The termination, and as it were the catastrophe, of the whole history of the denial is, in all the narratives, according to the prediction of Jesus, introduced by the crowing of the cock. In Mark, it crows after the first denial (v. 68), and then a second time after the third; in the other Evangelists only once, after the last act of denial. While John concludes his account with this particular, Matthew and Mark proceed to tell us that on hearing the cock crow, Peter remembered the words of Jesus and wept; but Luke has an additional feature peculiar to himself, namely, that on the crowing of the cock Jesus turned and looked at Peter, whereupon the latter, remembering the prediction of Jesus, broke out into bitter weeping. Now according to the two first Evangelists, Peter was not in the same locality with Jesus: for he is said to have been without exw (Matt. v. 69) or beneath katw (Mark v. 66) in the court en th aulh, and it is thus implied that Jesus was in an inner or upper apartment of the palace: it must be asked, therefore, how could Jesus hear the denial of Peter, and thereupon turn to look at him? In relation to the latter part of the difficulty, the usual answer is that Jesus was at that moment being led from the palace of Annas to that of Caiaphas, and looked significantly at the weak disciple in passing* But of such a removal of Jesus Luke knows nothing; and his expression, the Lord turned and looked on Peter, kai strafeiV o KurioV enebleye tw Petrw, would not so well imply that Jesus looked at Peter in passing, as that he turned round to do so when standing; besides, the above supposition will not explain how Jesus became aware that his disciple had denied him, since in the tumult of this evening he could not well, as Paulus thinks, have heard when in a room of the palace the loud tones of Peter in the court. It is true that the express distinction of the places in which Jesus and Peter were is not found in Luke, and according to him Jesus also might have had to remain some time in the court: but first, the representation of the other Evangelists is here more probable: secondly, Luke’s own narrative of the denial does not previously create the impression that Jesus was in the immediate vicinity. But hypotheses for the explanation of that look of Jesus might have been spared, had a critical glance been directed to the origin of the
incident. The unaccountable manner in which Jesus, who in the whole previous occurrence is kept behind the scene, here all on a sudden casts a glance upon it, ought itself together with the silence of the other Evangelists, to have been taken as an indication of the real character of this feature in Luke’s
8 Paulus and Olshausen, in loc.; Schleiermacher, ut sup. 289 ; Neander, s. 622, Anm.
narrative. When also it is added, that as Jesus looked on Peter the latter remembered the words which Jesus had earlier spoken to him concerning his coming denial; it might have been observed that the glance of Jesus is nothing else than the sensible image of Peter’s remorseful recollection. The narrative of John, which is in this case the simplest, exhibits the fulfilment of the prediction of Jesus objectively, by the crowing of the cock; the two first Evangelists add to this the subjective impression, which this coincidence made on Peter; while Luke renders this again objective, and makes sorrowful remembrance of the words of the master, with the force of a penetrating glance, pierce the inmost soul of the disciple.†
§ 130. THE DEATH OF THE BETRAYER.
On hearing that Jesus was condemned to death, Judas, according to the first gospel (xxvii. 3 ff.), was smitten with remorse, and hastened to the chief priests and elders to return to them the thirty pieces of silver, with the declaration that he had betrayed an innocent person. When however the latter scornfully retorted that on him alone rested all responsibility for that deed, Judas, after casting down the money in the temple, impelled by despair, went away and hanged himself. Hereupon the Sanhedrists, holding it unlawful to put the money returned by Judas into the treasury, since it was the price of blood, bought with it a potter’s field as a burying place for strangers. To this particular the Evangelist appends two remarks: first, that from this mode of purchase, the piece of ground was called the field of blood up to his time : and secondly, that by this course of things an ancient prophecy was fulfilled.—The rest of the Evangelists are silent concerning the end of Judas ; but on the other hand we find in the Acts of the, Apostles (1. 16 ff.) some information on this subject which in several points diverges from that of Matthew. Peter, when about to propose the completion of the apostolic number by the choice of a new colleague, thinks proper, by way of preliminary to remind his hearers of the manner in which the vacancy in the apostolic circle had arisen, i.e. of the treachery and the end of Judas; and in relation to the latter he says, that the betrayer purchased himself a field with the reward of his crime, but fell headlong, and burst asunder in the midst, so that all his bowels gushed out, which being known in all Jerusalem, the piece of ground was called akeldama i.e. the field of blood. In addition to this, the narrator makes Peter observe that these occurrences were a fulfilment of two passages in the Psalms.
Between these two accounts there exists a double divergency: the one pertaining to the manner of the death of Judas, the other to the statement when and by whom the piece of ground was bought. As regards the former, Matthew declares that Judas laid violent hands on himself out of remorse and despair: whereas in the Acts nothing is saidof remorse on the part of the traitor, and his death has not the appearance of suicide, but of an accident, or more accurately, of a calamity decreed by heaven as a punishment; further, in Matthew he inflicts death on himself by the cord : according to the representation of Peter, it is a fall which puts an end to his life by causing a horrible rupture of the body.
How active the harmonists of all times have been in reconciling these divergencies, may be seen in Suïcer ‡ and Kuinöl: here we need only briefly adduce the principal expedients for this purpose. As the divergency lay chiefly in the words aphgxato, he hanged himself in Matthew, and prhnhV genomenoV, falling headlong, in Luke, the most obvious resource was to see whether one of these expressions could not be drawn to the side of the other. This has been tried with aphgxato in various ways; this word being interpreted at one time as signifying only the torments of a guilty conscience,§ at another, a disease consequent on these,|| at another, any death chosen out of melancholy and despair ; ¶ and to this it has been thought that the statement prhnhV genomenoV k. t. l. in the Acts added the more precise information, that the kind of death to which Judas was driven by an evil conscience and despair was precipitation from a steep eminence. Others on the contrary have sought to accommodate the meaning of prhnhV genomenoV to aphgxato, understanding it merely to express as a circumstance what aphgxato expresses as an act: and accordingly maintaining that if the latter should be rendered se suspendit, the former should be translated by suspensus.* From repugnance to the obvious violence of this attempt, others, sparing the natural meaning of the expressions on both sides, have reconciled the divergent accounts by the supposition that Matthew narrates an earlier, the author of the Acts a later, stage of the events which marked the end of Judas. Some of the ancient commentators indeed separated these two stages so widely as to see in Matthew’s statement (aphgxato) only an unsuccessful attempt at self-destruction, which from the bough whereon he suspended himself having broken, or from some other cause, Judas outlived, until the judgment of heaven overtook him in the prhnhV genomenoV, falling headlong.† But since Matthew evidently intends in his expression aphgxato to
*Comp. de Wette, in loc.
†Thesauius, vid. apagcw.
¶Thus the Vulgate and Erasmus. See in opposition to all these interpretations, Kuinöl, in. Matth, p. 473 ff.
*Œcumenius, on the Acts, I.: o IoudaV ouk enapeqane th agconh, all’ epebiw katenecqeiV pro tou apopnighnai. Comp. Theophylact, on Matth. xxvii. and a Schol. Apolinariou ap. Matthæi.
narrate the last moments of the traitor: the two epochs, the account of which is supposed to be respectively given by Matthew and the Acts, have in later times been placed in closer proximity, and it has been held that Judas attempted to hang himself to a tree on an eminence, but as the rope gave way or the branch broke, he was precipitated into the valley over steep cliffs and sharp bushes, which lacerated his body.* The author of a treatise on the fate of Judas in Schmidt’s Bibliothek† has already remarked as a surprising circumstance, how faithfully according to this opinion, the two narrators have shared the information between them: for it is not the case that one gives the less precise statement, the other the more precise; but that one of them narrates precisely the first part of the incident without touching on the second, the other, the second without intruding on the first; and Hase justly maintains that each narrator knew only the state of the fact which he has presented, since otherwise he could not have omitted the other half.‡
After thus witnessing the total failure of the attempts at reconciliation in relation to the first difference; we have now to inquire whether the other, relative to the acquisition of the piece of ground, can be more easily adjusted. It consists in this : according to Matthew, it is the members of the Sanhedrim who, after the suicide of Judas, purchase a field with the money which he had left behind (from a potter moreover—a particular which is wanting in the Acts); whereas, according to the Acts, Judas himself purchases the piece of ground, and on this very spot is overtaken by sudden death; and from this difference there results another, namely, that according to the latter account, it was the blood of the betrayer shed on the piece of ground, according to the former, the blood of Jesus cleaving to the purchase money, which caused the ground to be named the field of blood, agroV or xwrion aimatoV. Now here Matthew’s manner of expressing himself is so precise, that it cannot well be twisted so as to favour the other narrative; but the word ekthsato (he purchased or acquired) in the Acts presents inviting facilities for its adaptation to Matthew. By the reward of treachery, Judas acquired a field—such, it is said, is the meaning in the Acts—not immediately, but mediately; since by returning the money he gave occasion for the purchase of a piece of ground; not for himself, but for the Sanhedrim or the public good.|| But however numerous the passages adduced in which ktasqai has the signification: to acquire for another, still in such instances it is necessary that the other party for whom one acquires should be specified or intimated, and when this is not the case, as in the passage in the Acts, it retains the
*Thus, after Casaubon, Paulus, 3, b, s. 457 f.; Kuinöl, in Matth. 747 f.; Winer, b. Realw. Art. Judas, and with some indecision Olshausen, 2, s. 455 f. Even Fritzsche is become so weary on the long way to these last chapters of Matthew, that he contents himself with this reconciliation, and, on the presupposition of it, maintains that the two accounts concur amicissime.
†2 Band, 2 Stück, s, 248 1.
‡L. J., § 132. Comp. Theile, zur Biographie Jesu, § 33.
||Vid. Kuinöl, in Matth., p. 748.
original meaning: to acquire for one’s self.* This Paulus felt, and hence gave the facts the following turn: the terrible fall of Judas into a lime pit was the cause of this piece of ground being purchased by the Sanhedrim, and thus Peter might very well say of Judas ironically, that in death by the fall of his corpse he had appropriated to himself a fine property.† But in the first place this interpretation is in itself strained; and in the second, the passage cited by Peter from the Psalms: let his habitation be desolate, genhqhtw h epauliV autou erhmoV shows that he thought of the piece of ground as the real property of Judas, and as being judicially doomed to desolation as the scene of his death.
According to this, neither the one difference nor the other admits of a favourable reconciliation; indeed the existence of a real divergency was admitted even by Salmasius, and Hase thinks that he can explain this discrepancy, without endangering the apostolic origin of the two statements, from the violent excitement of those days, in consequence of which only the general fact that Judas committed suicide was positively known, and concerning the more particular circumstances of the event, various reports were believed. But in the Acts nothing is said of suicide, and that two apostles, Matthew and Peter (if the first gospel be supposed to proceed from the former, the discourse in the Acts from the latter), should have remained so entirely in the dark concerning the death of their late colleague, a death which took place in their immediate vicinity, that one of them represented him as dying by accident, the other voluntarily, is difficult to believe. That therefore only one of the two accounts can be maintained as apostolic, has been correctly perceived by the author of the above-mentioned treatise in Schmidt’s Bibliothek. And in choosing between the two he has proceeded on the principle that the narrative the least tending to glorification is the more authentic; whence he gives the preference to the account in the Acts before that in the first gospel, because the former has not the glorifying circumstances of the remorse of Judas, and his confession of the innocence of Jesus. But, it is ever the case with two contradictory narratives, not only that if one stands it excludes the other, but also that if one falls it shakes the other: hence, if the representation of the facts which is attested by the authority of the Apostle Matthew be renounced, there is no longer any warrant for the other, which professedly rests on the testimony of the Apostle Peter.
If then we are to treat the two narratives on the same footing, namely as legends, with respect to which it is first to be discovered how far their historical nucleus extends, and how far they consist of traditional deposits; we must, in order to be clear on the subject, consider the data which form the roots of the two narratives. Here we find one which is common to both, with two others of which
*Vid. Schmidt’s Biblioth., ut sup. s. 251 f.
†Paulus, 3, b, s. 457 f. ; Fritzsche, p. 799.
each has one peculiarly to itself. The datum common to both narratives is, that there was in Jerusalem a piece of ground which was called the field of blood agroV or cwrion aimatoV, or in the original tongue, according to the statement of the Acts, akeldama. As this information is concurrently given by two narratives in other respects totally divergent, and as, besides, the author of the first gospel appeals to the actual practice of his day in proof that the field was called by this name: we cannot well doubt the existence of a piece of ground so named. That it really had a relation to the betrayer of Jesus is less certain, since our two narratives give different accounts of this relation: the one stating that Judas himself bought the property, the other that it was not purchased until after his death, with the thirty pieces of silver. We can therefore draw no further conclusion than that the primitive Christian legend must have early attributed to that field of blood a relation to the betrayer. But the reason wherefore this relation took various forms is to be sought in the other datum from which our narratives proceed, namely, in the Old Testament passages, which the authors cite (from different sources, however), as being fulfilled by the fate of Judas.
In the passage of the Acts, Ps. lxix. 25, and Ps. cix. 8, are quoted in this manner. The latter is a psalm which the first Christians from among the Jews could not avoid referring to the relation of Judas to Jesus. For not only does the author, alleged to be David, but doubtless a much later individual,* dilate from the opening of the psalm on such as speak falsely and insidiously against him, and return him hatred for his love, but from v. 6, where the curses commence, he directs himself against a particular person, so that the Jewish expositors thought of Doeg, David’s calumniator with Saul, and the Christians just as naturally of Judas. From this psalm is gathered the verse which, treating of the transfer of one office to another, appeared perfectly to suit the case of Judas. The other psalm, it is true, speaks more vaguely of such as hate and persecute the author without cause, yet this also is ascribed to David, and is so similar to the other in purport and style, that it might be regarded as its parallel, and if curses might be applied to the betrayer out of the former, they might be so out of the latter.† Now if Judas had actually bought with the wages of his treachery a piece of land, which from being the scene of his horrible end, subsequently remained waste: it was a matter of course to refer to him precisely those passages in this psalm which denounce on the enemies the desolation of their habitation epauliV. As, however, from the divergency of Matthew, the fact that Judas himself bought that piece of ground and came to his end upon it, is doubtful: while it can scarcely be supposed that the piece of land on which the betrayer of Jesus met his end would be so abhorrent to the Jews
*Vid. De Wette, in loc.
†In other parts of the N. T. also we find passages from this psalm messianically applied:
as v. 4, John xv. 25, v. 9; John ii. 17; and John xix. 28 f., probably v. 21.
that they would let it lie waste as a land of blood; it is more probable that this name had another origin no longer to be discovered, and was interpreted by the Christians in accordance with their own ideas; so that we must not derive the application of the passage in the Psalms, and the naming of that waste piece of land, from an actual possession of it by Judas, but on the contrary, we must refer to those two causes the existence of the legend, which ascribes such a possession to Judas. For if the two psalms in question were once applied to the betrayer, and if in one of them the desolation of his epauliV (LXX.) was denounced, he must have previously been in possession of such an epauliV, and this it was thought, he would probably have purchased with the reward of his treason. Or rather, that out of the above psalms the desolation of the epauliV was a particular specially chosen, appears to have been founded on the natural presupposition, that the curse would be chiefly manifested in relation to something which he had acquired by the wages of his iniquity; added to the circumstance that among the objects anathematized in the psalm, the one most capable of being bought was the epauliV. This conception of the facts was met in the most felicitous manner by the akeldama lying near Jerusalem, which, the less was known of the origin of its name and of the horror attached to it, might the more easily be applied by the primitive Christian legend to its own purposes, and regarded as the desolate habitation, epauliV hrhmwmenh, of the betrayer.
Instead of these passages from the Psalms, the first gospel cites as being fulfilled by the last acts of Judas, a passage which it attributes to Jeremiah, but to which nothing corresponding is to be found except in Zech. xi. 12 f., whence it is now pretty generally admitted that the Evangelist substituted one name for the other by mistake.* How Matthew might be led by the fundamental idea of this passage-—an unreasonably small price for the speaker in the prophecy—to an application of it to the treachery of Judas, who for a paltry sum had as it were sold his master, has been already shown.† Now the prophetic passage contains a command from Jehovah to the author of the prophecy, to cast the miserable sum with which he had been paid, into the house of the Lord, and also [Heb. letters] el-hayyotser, which, it is added, was done. The person who casts down the money is in the prophecy the same with the speaker, and consequently with him who is rated at the low price, because the sum here is not purchase money but hire, and hence is received by the person so meanly estimated, who alone can cast it away again: in the application of the Evangelist, on the contrary, the sum being considered as purchase money, another than the one so meanly estimated was to be thought of as receiving and casting away the sum. If the one sold for so paltry a price was Jesus: he who received the money and finally rejected it could be no other than his betrayer. Hence it is said of the latter, that he cast down the pieces of silver
*Still for other conjectures see Kuinöl, in loc.
in the temple en tw naw corresponding to the phrase [Heb. letters] wa’ashliyk ‘otho in the prophetic passage, although these very words happen to be absent from the extremely mutilated citation of Matthew. But in apposition to the [Heb. letters] beyth yhowah wherein the money was cast, there stood besides [Heb. letters] el-hayyotser. The LXX. translates: eiV to cwveuthrion, into the melting furnace; now, it is with reason conjectured that the pointing should be altered thus:
and the word rendered: into the treasury; * the author of our gospel adhered to the literal translation by kerameuV potter. But what the potter had to do here,—why the money should be given to him, must at first have been as incomprehensible to him as it is to us when we adhere to the common reading. Here however there occurred to his recollection the field of blood, to which, as we gather from the Acts, the Christian legend gave a relation to Judas, and hence resulted the welcome combination, that it was probably that field for which the thirty pieces of silver were to be given to the potter. As, however, it was impossible to conceive the potter as being in the temple when receiving the money, and yet according to the prophetic passage the pieces of silver were cast into the temple: a separation was made between the casting into the temple and the payment to the potter. If the former must be ascribed to Judas, if he had thus once cast away the money, he himself could no longer purchase the piece of ground from the potter, but this must be done by another party, with the money which Judas had cast away. Who this party must be followed of course: if Judas gave up the money, he would give it up to those from whom he had received it; if he cast it into the temple, it would fall into the hands of the rulers of the temple: thus in both ways it would revert to the Sanhedrim. The object of the latter in purchasing the ground was perhaps drawn from the use to which that waste place was actually appropriated. Lastly, if Judas cast away again the reward of his treachery, this, it must be inferred, could only be out of remorse. To make Judas manifest remorse, and thus win from the traitor himself a testimony to the innocence of Jesus, was as natural to the conception of the primitive Christian community, as to convert Pilate, and to make Tiberius himself propose in the Roman senate the deification of Christ,† But how would the remorse of Judas further manifest itself? A return to the right on his part, was not only unattested by any facts, but was besides far too good a lot for the traitor: hence repentance must have become in him despair, and he must have chosen the end of the well-known traitor in the history of David,
*Hitzig, in Ullmann’s and Umbreit’s Studien, 1830, 1, s, 35; Gesenius, Wörterbuch comp. Rosenmüller’s Scholia in V. T. 7, 4, s. 320 ff.
†Tertuli. Apologet. c. xxi. : Ea omnia super Christo Pilatus, et ipse jam pro sua conscientia Christianus, Cæsari tum Tiberio nunciavit. c. v. : Tiberius ergo, cujus tempore nomen Christianum in seculum introit, annunciatum sibi ex Syria Palæstina, quod illic veritatem illius Divinitatis revelaverat, detulit ad Senatum cum prærogativa suffragii sui. Senatus, quia non ipse probaverat, respuit. For further details on this subject, see Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T. s,p. 214 ff., 298 ff.; comp. 2, p. 505.
Ahithophel, of whom it is said, 2 Sam. xvii. 23:anesth kai aphlqen—kai aphgxato, he arose, and went—and hanged himself as of Judas here: anecqrhse kai apelqwn aphgxato, he departed, and went and hanged himself.
A tradition referred to Papias appears to be allied to the narrative in the Acts rather than to that of Matthew. (Ecumenius, quoting the above collector of traditions, says, that Judas, as an awful example of impiety, had his body distended to such a degree, that a space where a chariot could pass was no longer sufficiently wide for him, and that at last being crushed by a chariot, he burst asunder and all his bowels were pressed out.* The latter statement doubtless arose from a misconstruction of the ancient legend; for the chariot was not originally brought into immediate contact with the body of Judas, but was merely used as a measure of his size, and this was afterwards erroneously understood as if a chariot in passing had crushed the swollen body of Judas. Hence, not only in Theophylact and in an ancient Scholium.† without any distinct reference to Papias, but also in a Catena with an express citation of his exhghseiV, we actually find the fact narrated without that addition.‡ The monstrous swelling of Judas, spoken of in this passage, might, it is supposed, originally he only an explanation of the displacing and protrusion of the viscera, and in like manner the dropsy into which Theophylact represents him as falling might be regarded as an explanation of this swelling: when, however, in Ps. cix., applied in the Acts to Judas, amongst other maledictions, we read: [Heb. letters] watabo’ (qalalah) kammayim bqirbo LXX: eishlqen (h katara) wsei udwr eiV ta egkata autou, so let it (cursing) come into his bowels like water (v. 18): it appears possible that the dropsical disease,nosoV uderikh), may have been also taken from this passage; as also one of the features in the monstrous description which Papias gives of the condition of Judas, namely, that from the enormous swelling of his eyelids he could no longer see the light of day, might remind us of
*Oecumen. ad Act. i.
‡In Münter’s Fragm. Patr. 1, p. 27 ff. For the rest the passage is of very similar tenor with that of Œcumenius, and is partly an exaggeration of it: Papias, the disciple of John, gives a clearer account of this (in the fourth section of his exegesis of our Lord’s words) as follows: Judas moved about in this world a terrible example of impiety, being swollen in body to such a degree that where a chariot could easily pass he was not able to find a passage, even for the bulk of his head. His eyelids, they say, were so swelled out that he could not see the light, nor could his eyes be made visible even by the physician’s dioptra, etc. After suffering many torments and Judgments, dying, as they say, in his own field, etc.
v. 23 in the other psalm applied to Judas, where, among the curses this is enumerated: Let their eyes be darkened that they see not, skotisqhtwsan oi ofqalmoi autwn tou mh blepein, a hindrance to sight, which when once the swollen body of Judas was presupposed, must necessarily assume the form of a swelling up of the eyelids. If then the tradition which is allied to the account in Acts i. developed its idea of the end of Judas chiefly in correspondence with the ideas presented in these two psalms; and if in that passage of the Acts itself the account of the connexion of Judas with the piece of ground is derived from the same source: it is no farfetched conjecture that what is said in the Acts concerning the end of the betrayer may have had a similar origin. That he died an early death may be historical; but even if not so, in Psalm cix. in the very same verse (v. 8), which contains the transfer of the office, episkoph, to another, an early death is predicted for the betrayer in the words: Let his days be few, genhqhtwsan ai hmerai autou oligai, and it might also be believed that the death by falling headlong also was gathered from Ps. lxix. 22, where it is said: Let their table became a snare before them, genhqhtw h trapeza autwn—eiV skandalon [Heb. letters] (lmoqesh).
Thus we scarcely know with certainty concerning Judas even so much as that he came to a violent and untimely death, for if, as was natural, after his departure from the community of Jesus, he retired, so far as the knowledge of its members was concerned, into an obscurity in which all historical information as to his further fate was extinguished: the primitive Christian legend might without hindrance represent as being fulfilled in him all that the prophecies and types of the Old Testament threatened to the false friend of the Son of David, and might even associate the memory of his crime with a well-known desecrated place in the vicinity of Jerusalem.*
§ 131. JESUS BEFORE PILATE AND HEROD.
According to all the Evangelists it was in the morning when the Jewish magistrates, after having declared Jesus worthy of death,† caused him to be led away to the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate (Matt. xxvii. 1 ff. parall.; John xviii. 28). According to Matthew and Mark, Jesus was bound preparatory to his being conducted before Pilate, according to John xviii. I2, immediately on his arrest in the garden; Luke says nothing of his being bound. To this measure of sending him to Pilate they were compelled, according to John xviii. 31, by the circumstance that the Sanhedrim was deprived of the authority to execute the punishment of death (without the concurrence of the Roman government) :‡ but at all events the Jewish rulers must in this instance have been anxious to call in the agency of the Romans, since only their power could afford security against an uproar among the people qoruboV en tw law, which the former feared as a result of the execution of Jesus during the feast time (Matt. xxvi. 5 parall.).
Arrived at the Prætorium, the Jews, according to the representation of the fourth gospel, remained without, from fear of Levitical defilement, but Jesus was led into the interior of the building: so that Pilate must alternately have come out when he would speak to the Jews, and have gone in again when he proceeded to question Jesus (xviii. 28 ff.). The synoptists in the sequel represent Jesus as in the same locality with Pilate and the Jews, for in them Jesus immediately hears the accusations of the Jews, and answers them in the presence of Pilate. Since they, as well as John, make the condemnation take place in the open air (after the condemnation they represent Jesus as being led into the Prætorium, Matt. xxvii. 27, and Matthew, like John, xix. 13, describes Pilate ascending the judgment seat bhma, which according to Josephus§ stood in the open air), without mentioning any change of place in connexion with the trial: they apparently conceived the whole transaction to have passed on the outer place, and supposed, in divergency from John, that Jesus himself was there.
The first question of Pilate to Jesus is according to all the gospels: Art thou the king of the Jews?su ei o basileuV twn Ioudaiwn, i.e. the Messiah? In the two first Evangelists this question is not introduced by any accusation on the part of the Jews (Matt. v. 11 ; Mark v. 2); in John, Pilate, stepping out of the Prætorium, asks the Jews what accusation they have to bring against Jesus (xviii. 29), on which they insolently reply: If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee: an answer by which they could not expect to facilitate their obtaining from the Roman a ratification of their sentence,|| but only to embitter him. After Pilate, with surprising mildness, has rejoined that they may take him and judge him according to their law— apparently not supposing a crime involving death—and the Jews have opposed to this permission their inability to administer the punishment of death: the procurator re-enters and addresses to Jesus the definite question:
*Comp. De Wette, exeg. Handb. 1, 1, s. 231 f.; 1, 4, s. 10 f.
†According to Babl. Sanhedrin, ap. Lightfoot, p. 486, this mode of procedure would have been illegal. It is there said :Judicia de capitalibus finiunt eodem die si sint ad absolutionem; si vero sint ad damnationem, finiuntur die sequente.
‡Besides this passage of John: , hmin ouk exestin apokteinai oudena , it is not lawful for us to put any man to death, there is no other authority for the existence of this state of things than an obscure and variously interpreted tradition, Avoda Zara f. viii. 2 (Lightfoot, p. 1123 f.): Rabh Cahna dicit, curn aegrotaret R. Isinael bar Jose, miserunt ad eum, dicentes: dic nobi, o Domine, duo aut tria, quæ aliquando dixisti nobis nomine patris tui. Dicit iis —quadraginta annis ante excidium templi migravit Synedrium et sedit in tabernis. Quid sibi vult haec traditio? Rabh Isaac, bar Abdimi dicit: non judicarunt judicia mulctativa. Dixit R. Nathman bar Isaac: ne dicat, quod non judicarunt judicia mulctativa, sed quod non judicarunt judicia capitalia. With this may be compared moreover the information given by Josephus, Antiq. xx. ix. 1, that it was not lawful for Ananus (the high priest) to assemble the Sanhedrim without the consent of the procurator. On the other hand the execution of Stephen (Acts vii.) without the sanction of the Romans might seem to speak to the contrary; but this was a tumultuary act, undertaken perhaps in the confidence that Pilate was absent. Compare on this point Lücke, 2, s. 631 ff.
§De bell. Jud. II. ix. 3.
||As Lücke supposes, s. 631.
Art thou the king of the Jews? which thus here likewise has no suitable introduction. This is the case only in Luke, who first adduces the accusations of the Sanhedrists against Jesus, that he stirred up the people and encouraged them to refuse tribute to Cæsar, giving himself out to be Christ a king; Criston basileian (xxiii. 2).
If in this manner the narrative of Luke enables us to understand how Pilate could at once put to Jesus the question whether he were the king of the Jews; it leaves us in all the greater darkness as to how Pilate, immediately on the affirmative answer of Jesus, could without any further inquiries declare to the accusers that he found no fault in the accused, He must first have ascertained the grounds or the want of grounds for the charge of exciting the populace, and also have imformed himself as to the sense in which Jesus claimed the title of king of the Jews, before he could pronounce the words: I find no fault in this man. In Matthew and Mark, it is true, to the affirmation of Jesus that he is the king of the Jews is added his silence, in opposition to the manifold accusations of the Sanhedrists—a silence which surprises Pilate: and this is not followed by a precise declaration that no fault is to be found in Jesus, but merely by the procurator’s attempt to set Jesus at liberty by coupling him with Barabbas; still what should move him even to this attempt does not appear from the above gospels. On the other hand, this point is sufficiently clear in the fourth gospel. It is certainly surprising that when Pilate asks whether he be really the King of the Jews, Jesus should reply by the counter-question, whether he say this of himself or at the suggestion of another. In an accused person, however conscious of innocence, such a question cannot be held warrantable, and hence it has been sought in every possible way to give the words of Jesus a sense more consonant with propriety: but the question of Jesus is too definite to be a mere repulse of the accusation as absurd,* and too indefinite to be regarded as an inquiry, whether the Procurator intended the title basileuV twn Ioudaiwn in the Roman sense (af’eautou) or in the Jewish (alloi soi eipon).† And Pilate does not so understand it, but as an unwarrantable question to which it is a mark of his indulgence that he replies ;—in the first instance, it is true, with some impatience, by the second counter-question, whether he be a Jew, and thus able of himself to have information concerning a crime so specifically Jewish; but hereupon he good-naturedly adds that it is the Jews and their rulers by whom Jesus has been delivered to him, and that he is therefore at liberty to speak more particularly of the crime which these lay to his charge. Now on this Jesus gives Pilate an answer which, added to the impression of his whole appearance, might certainly induce in the Procurator a conviction of his innocence. He replies, namely, that his kingdom basileia is not of this world ek tou kosmou toutou, and adduces as a proof of this, the peaceful, passive conduct of his adherents on his
*Calvin, in loc.
†Lücke and Tholuck, in loc.
arrest (v. 36). On the further question of Pilate, whether, since Jesus has thus ascribed to himself a kingdom, although no earthly one, he then claims to be a king? he replies that certainly he is so, but only in so far as he is born to be a witness to the truth: whereupon follows the famous question of Pilate: What is truth?ti estin alhqeia; Although in this latter reply of Jesus we cannot but be struck by its presenting the peculiar hue of thought whlch characterizes the author of the fourth gospel, in the use of the idea of truth alhqeia, as we were before surprised at the unwarrantable nature of the counter-question of Jesus; still this account in John renders it conceivable how Pilate could immediately step forth and declare to the Jews that he found no fault in Jesus. But another point might easily create suspicion against this narrative of John. According to him the trial of Jesus went forward in the interior of the Prætorium, which no Jew would venture to enter; who then are we to suppose heard the conversation of the Procurator with Jesus, and was the informant who communicated it to the author of the fourth gospel? The opinion of the older commentators that Jesus himself narrated these conversations to his disciples after the resurrection is renounced as extravagant; the more modern idea that perhaps Pilate himself was the source of the information concerning the trial, is scarcely less improbable, and rather than take refuge, with Lücke, in the supposition that Jesus remained at the entrance of the Prætorium, so that those standing immediately without might with some attention and stillness (?) have heard the conversation, I should prefer appealing to the attendants of the Procurator, who would scarcely be alone with Jesus. Meanwhile it is easily conceivable that we have here a conversation, which owes its origin solely to the Evangelist’s own combination, and in this case we need not bestow so much labour in ascertaining the precise sense of Pilate’s question : what is truth? since this would only be an example of the fourth Evangelist’s favourite form of dialogue, the contrast of profound communications on the part of Jesus, with questions either of misapprehension or of total unintelligence on the part of the hearers, as xii. 34, the Jews ask who is this Son of man?tiV estin outoV o uioV t. a.; so here Pilate: ti estin alhqeia what is truth? ti estin alhqeia ;*
Before the introduction of Barabbas, which in all the other Evangelists comes next in order, Luke has an episode peculiar to himself. On the declaration of Pilate that he finds no guilt in the accused, the chief priests and their adherents among the multitude persist in asserting that Jesus stirred up the people by his agency as a teacher from Galilee to Jerusalem: Pilate notices the word Galilee, asks whether the accused be a Galilean, and when this is confirmed, he seizes it as a welcome pretext for ridding himself of the ungrateful business, and sends Jesus to the Tetrarch of Galilee, Herod Antipas, at that time in Jerusalem in observance of the feast;
*Comp. Kaiser, bibl. Theol.1, s. 252.
perhaps also designing as a secondary object, what at least was the result, to conciliate the petty prince by this show of respect for his jurisdiction. This measure, it is said, gave great satisfaction to Herod, because having heard much of Jesus, he had long been desirous to see him, in the hope that he would perhaps perform a miracle. The Tetrarch addressed various questions to him, the Sanhedrists urged vehement accusations against him, but Jesus gave no answer; whereupon Herod with his soldiers betook themselves to mockery, and at length, after arraying him in a gorgeous robe, sent him back to Pilate (xxiii. 4 ff.). This narrative of Luke’s, whether we consider it in itself or in its relation to the other gospels, has much to astonish us. If Jesus as a Galilean really belonged to the jurisdiction of Herod, as Pilate, by delivering the accused to him, appears to acknowledge: how came Jesus (and the question is equally difficult whether we regard him as the sinless Jesus of the orthodox system, or as the one who in the history of the tribute-penny manifested his subjection to the existing authorities) to withhold from him the answer which was his due? and how was it that Herod, without any further procedures, sent him away again from his tribunal? To say, with Olshausen, that the interrogation before Herod had elicited the fact that Jesus was not born in Nazareth and Galilee, but in Bethlehem, and consequently in Judæa, is on the one hand an inadmissible appeal to the history of the birth of Jesus, of the statements in which there is no further trace in the whole subsequent course of Luke’s gospel; and on the other hand, a totally accidental birth in Judæa, such as that represented by Luke, the parents of Jesus, and even Jesus himself, being both before and after resident in Galilee, would not have constituted Jesus a Judæan; but above all we must ask, through whom was the Judæan origin of Jesus brought to light, since it is said of Jesus that he gave no answer, while according to all the information we possess, that origin was totally unknown to the Jews? It would be preferable to explain the silence of Jesus by the unbecoming manner of Herod’s interrogation, which manifested, not the seriousness of the judge, but mere curiosity; and to account for his being sent back to Pilate by the fact, that not only the arrest, but also a part of the ministry of Jesus had occurred within the jurisdiction of Pilate. But why do the rest of the Evangelists say nothing of the entire episode? Especially when the author of the fourth gospel is regarded as the Apostle John, it is not easy to see how this omission can be explained. The common plea, that he supposed the fact sufficiently known from the synoptists, will not serve here, since Luke is the sole Evangelist who narrates the incident, and thus it does not appear to have been very widely spread; the conjecture, that it may probably have appeared to him too unimportant,* loses all foundation when it is considered that John does not scorn to mention the leading away to Annas, which nevertheless was equally indecisive; and in general, the narrative of these events in John is, as Schleiermacher himself confesses, so consecutive that it nowhere presents a break in which such an episode could be inserted. Hence even Schleiermacher at last takes refuge in the conjecture that possibly the sending to Herod may have escaped the notice of John, because it happened on an opposite side to that on which the disciple stood, through a back door; and that it came to the knowledge of Luke because his informant had an acquaintance in the household of Herod, as John had in that of Annas: the former conjecture, however, is figuratively as well as literally nothing more than a back door; the latter, a fiction which is but the effort of despair. Certainly if we renounce the presupposition that the author of the fourth gospel was an apostle, we lose the ground of attack against the narrative of Luke, which in any case, since Justin knows of the consignment to Herod,† is of very early origin. Nevertheless, first, the silence of the other Evangelists in a portion of their common history, in which, with this exception, there prevails an agreement as to the principal stages in the development of the fate of Jesus; and secondly, the internal difficulties of the narrative, remain so suspicious, that it must still be open to us to conjecture, that the anecdote arose out of the effort to place Jesus before all the tribunals that could possibly be gathered together in Jerusalem; to make every authority not hierarchical, though treating him with ignominy, still either explicitly or tacitly acknowledge his innocence; and to represent him as maintaining his equable demeanour and dignity before all. If this be probable with respect to the present narrative, in which the third Evangelist stands alone, a similar conjecture concerning the leading away to Annas, in which we have seen that the fourth Evangelist stands alone, would only be warded off by the circumstance that this scene is not described in detail, and hence presents no internal difficulties.
After Jesus, being sent back by Herod, was returned upon his hands, Pilate, according to Luke, once more called together the Sanhedrists and the people, and declared, alleging in his support the judgment of Herod as accordant with his own, his wish to dismiss Jesus with chastisement; for which purpose he might avail himself of the custom of releasing a prisoner at the feast of the passover.‡ This circumstance, which is somewhat abridged in Luke, is more fully exhibited in the other Evangelists, especially in Matthew. As the privilege to entreat the release of a prisoner belonged to the people, Pilate, well knowing that Jesus was persecuted by the rulers out of jealousy, sought to turn to his advantage the better disposition of the people towards him; and in order virtually to oblige them to free Jesus, whom, partly out of mockery of the Jews, partly
*Schleiermacher, über den Lukas, s. 291.
†Dial. cum Tryph. 103.
‡It is doubted whether this custom, of which we should have known nothing but for the N. T., was of Roman or Jewish origin; comp. Fritzsche and Paulus, in loc., and Baur, über die ursprungliche Bedeutung des Passahfestes, u. s. f., Tüb. Zeitschr. 1. Theol. 1832, 1, s. 94.
to deter them from his execution as degrading to themselves, he named the Messiah or King of the Jews, he reminded them that their choice lay between him and a notable prisoner, desmioV epishmoV, Barabbas* whom John designates as a robber, lhsthV, but Mark and Luke as one who was imprisoned for insurrection and murder. This plan however failed, for the people, suborned, as the two first Evangelists observe, by their rulers, with one voice desired the release of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus.
As a circumstance which had especial weight with Pilate in favour of Jesus, and moved him to make the proposal relative to Barabbas as urgently as possible, it is stated by Matthew that while the procurator sat on his tribunal, his wife,† in consequence of a disturbing dream, sent to him a warning to incur no responsibility in relation to that just man (xxvii. 19). Not only Paulus, but even Olshausen, explains this dream as a natural result of what Pilate’s wife might have heard of Jesus and of his capture on the preceding evening; to which may be added as an explanatory conjecture, the notice of the Evangelium Nicodemi, that she was pious, qeosebhV, and judaizing, ioudaizousa.‡ Nevertheless, as constantly in the New Testament, and particularly in the Gospel of Matthew, dreams are regarded as a special dispensation from heaven, so this assuredly in the opinion of the narrator happened non sine numine; and hence it should be possible to conceive a motive and an object for the dispensation. If the dream were really intended to prevent the death of Jesus, taking the orthodox point of view, in which this death was necessary for the salvation of man, we must be led to the opinion of some of the ancients, that it may have been the devil who suggested that dream to the wife of the procurator, in order to hinder the propitiatory death;§ if on the contrary, the dream were not intended to prevent the death of Jesus, its object must have been limited to Pilate or his wife. But as far as Pilate was concerned, so late a warning could only aggravate his guilt, without sufficing to deter him from the step already half taken; while that his wife was converted by means of this dream, as many have supposed,|| is totally unattested by history or tradition, and such an object is not intimated in the narrative. But, as the part which Pilate himself plays in the evangelical narrative is such as to exhibit the blind
*According to one reading, the full name of this man was Jesus Barabbas, which we mention here merely because Olshausen finds it "remarkable." Bar Abba meaning Son of the father, Olshausen exclaims: All that was essential in the Saviour appears in the murderer as caricature! and he quotes as applicable to this case the verse : ludit in humanis divina potentia rebus. For our own part, we can only see in this idea of Olshausen’s a lusus humanæ impotentiæ.
†In the Evang. Nicodemi and in later ecclesiastical historians she is called Procula Proklh. Comp. Thilo. Cod. Apocr. N. T., p. 522, Paulus, exeg. Handb., 2, b, s. 640 f.
‡Cap. II. s, 520, ap. Thilo.
§Ignat. ad Philippens. iv. : (The devil) terrifies the woman, troubling her in her dreams, and endeavour: to put a stop to the things of the cross. The Jews in the Evang. Nicodemi, c. II. p. 524, explain the dream as a result of the magic arts of Jesus: He is a magician—see, he has sent messages in a dream to thy wife.
||E.g. Theophylact, vid. Thilo, p. 523.
hatred of the fellow-countrymen of Jesus in contrast with the impartial judgment of a Gentile; so his wife is made to render a testimony to Jesus, in order that, not only out of the mouth of babes and sucklings (Matt. xxi. 16), but also out of the mouth of a weak woman, praise might be prepared for him; and to increase its importance it is traced to a significant dream. To give this an appearance of probability, similar instances are adduced from profane history of dreams which have acted as presentiments and warnings before a sanguinary catastrophe * but the more numerous are these analogous cases, the more is the suspicion excited that as the majority of these; so also the dream in our evangelical passage, may have been fabricated after the event, for the sake of heightening its tragical effect.
When the Jews, in reply to the repeated questions of Pilate, vehemently and obstinately demand the release of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus, the two intermediate Evangelists represent him as at once yielding to their desire; but Matthew first interposes a ceremony and a colloquy (xxvii. 24 ff.). According to him Pilate calls for water, washes his hands before the people, and declares himself innocent of the blood of this just man. The washing of the hands, as a protestation of purity from the guilt of shedding blood, was a custom specifically Jewish, according to Deut. xxi. 6 f.† It has been thought improbable that the Roman should have here intentionally imitated this Jewish custom, and hence it has been contended, that to any one who wished so solemnly to declare his innocence nothing would more readily suggest itself than the act of washing the hands.‡ But that an individual, apart from any allusion to a known usage, should invent extemporaneously a symbolical act, or even that he should merely fall in with the custom of a foreign nation, would require him to be deeply interested in the fact which he intends to symbolize. That Pilate, however, should be deeply interested in attesting his innocence of the execution of Jesus, is not so probable as that the Chnstians should have been deeply interested in thus gaining a testimony to the innocence of their Messiah whence there arises a suspicion that perhaps Pilate’s act of washing his hands owes its origin to them alone. This conjecture is confirmed, when we consider the declaration with which Pilate accompanies his symbolical act: I am innocent of the blood of this just man, aqwoV eimi apo tou aimatoV tou dikaiou toutou. For that the judge should publicly and emphatically designate as a just man, &acatoc, one whom he was nevertheless delivering over to the severest mnflic tionof the law,—this even Paulus finds so contradictory that he here, contrary to his usual mode of exposition, supposes that the narrator himself expresses in these words his own interpretation of Pilate’s symbolical act. It is surprising that he is not
*Vid. Paulus and Kuinöl, in loc. They especially adduce the dream of Cæsar’s wife the night before his assassination,
†Comp. Sota, viii. 6.
‡Fritzsche, in Matth., p. 808.
also struck by the equal improbability of the answer which is attributed to the Jews on this occasion. After Pilate has declared himself guiltless of the blood of Jesus, and by the addition: see ye to it, has laid the responsibility on the Jews, it is said in Matthew that all the people paV o laoV, cried: His blood be on us and on our children, to aima autouef’hmaV kai ta tekna hmwn. But this is obviously spoken from the point of view of the Christians, who in the miseries which shortly after the death of Jesus fell with continually increasing weight on the Jewish nation, saw nothing else than the payment of the debt of blood which they had incurred by the crucifixion of Jesus: so that this whole episode, which is peculiar to the first gospel, is in the highest degree suspicious.
According to Matthew and Mark, Pilate now caused Jesus to be scourged, preparatory to his being led away to crucifixion. Here the scourging appears to correspond to the virgis cædere, which according to Roman usage preceded the securi percutere, and to the scourging of slaves prior to crucifixion.* In Luke it has a totally different character. While in the two former Evangelists it is said: When he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified,; in Luke, Pilate repeatedly (v. 16 and 22) makes the proposal : having chastised him I will let him go, paideusaV auton apolusw: i. e. while there the scourging has the appearance of a mere accessory of the crucifixion, here it appears to be intended as a substitute for the crucifixion: Pilate wishes by this chastisement to appease the hatred of the enemies of Jesus, and induce them to desist from demanding his execution. Again, while in Luke the scourging does not actually take place,—because the Jews will in nowise accede to the repeated proposal of Pilate: in John the latter causes Jesus to be scourged, exhibits him to the people with the purple robe and the crown of thorns and tries whether his pitiable aspect, together with the repeated declaration of his innocence, will not mollify their embittered minds : this, however, proving also in vain (xix. 1 ff.). Thus there exists a contradiction between the Evangelists in relation to the scourging of Jesus, which is not to be conciliated after the method of Paulus, namely by paraphrasing the words ton de I. fragellwsaV paredwken ina staurwqh in Matthew and Mark thus : Jesus, whom he had already before scourged in order to save him, suffered this in vain, since he was still delivered over to crucifixion. But, acknowledging the difference in the accounts, we must only ask, which of the two has the advantage as regards historical probability? Although it is certainly not to be proved that scourging before crucifixion was a Roman custom admitting no exception: still, on the other hand, it is a purely harmonistic effort to allege, that scourging was only made to precede crucifixion in cases where the punishment was intended to be particularly severe,† and that consequently Pilate,
*Comp. in particular the passages cited by Wetstein, on Matth. xxvii. 26.
†Paulus, ut sup. s, 647.
who had no wish to be cruel to Jesus, can only have caused him to be scourged with the special design which Luke and John mention, and which is also to be understood in the narratives of their predecessors. It is far more probable that in reality the scourging only took place as it is described by the two first Evangelists, namely, as an introduction to the crucifixion, and that the Christian legend (to which that side of Pilate’s character, in virtue of which he endeavoured in various ways to save Jesus, was particularly welcome as a testimony against the Jews) gave such a turn even to the fact of the scourging as to obtain from it a new attempt at release on the part of Pilate. This use of the fact is only incipient in the third gospel, for here the scourging is a mere proposal of Pilate : whereas in the fourth, the scourging actually takes place, and becomes an additional act in the drama.
With the scourging is connected in the two first gospels and the fourth, the maltreatment and mockery of Jesus by the soldiers, who attired him in a purple robe, placed a crown of thorns on his head,* put, according to Matthew, a reed in his hand, and in this disguise first greeted him as King of the Jews, and then smote and maltreated him.† Luke does not mention any derision on the part of the soldiers here, but he has something similar in his narrative of the interrogation of Jesus before Herod, for he represents this prince with his men of war sun toiV strateumasin autou, as mocking Jesus, and sending him back to Pilate in a gorgeous robe, esqhV lampra. Many suppose that this was the same purple robe which was afterwards put on Jesus by the soldiers of Pilate; but it must rather have been thrice that Jesus had to wear this disguise, if we take the narrative of John into the account and at the same time refuse to attribute error to any of the synoptists: first in the presence of Herod (Luke); secondly, before Pilate brought Jesus forth to the Jews, that he might excite their compassion with the words: Behold the man, ide o anqrwpoV (John); thirdly, after he was delivered to the soldiers for crucifixion (Matthew and Mark). This repetition is as improbable as it is probable that the one disguising of Jesus, which had come to the knowledge of the Evangelists, was assigned by them to different places and times, and ascribed to different persons.
While in the two first gospels the process of trial is already concluded before the scourging, and in the third, on the rejection of his proposal to scourge and release Jesus by the Jews, Pilate forthwith delivers him to be crucified: in the fourth Evangelist the scene of the trial is further developed in the following manner. When even the exhibition of Jesus scourged and disguised avails nothing, but his crucifixion is obstinately demanded, the Procurator is incensed,
*From the explanation of Paulus, s. 649 f., it appears highly probable that the stefanoV ex akanqwn was not a crown of sharp thorns, but one taken from the nearest hedge, in order to deride Jesus by the vilissima corona, spineola. (Plin. H. N. xxi. 10).
†A similar disguising of a man, in derision of a third party, is adduced by Wetstein, (p. 533 f.) from Philo, in Flaccum.
and cries to the Jews, that they may take him and crucify him themselves, for he finds no fault in him. The Jews reply that according to their law, he must die, since he had made himself the Son of God uioV qeou; a remark which affects Pilate with a superstitious fear, whence he once more leads Jesus into the Prætorium, and inquires concerning his origin (whether it be really heavenly), on which Jesus gives him no answer, and when the procurator seeks to alarm him by reminding him of the power which he possesses over his life, refers to the higher source from whence he had this power. Pilate, after this reply, seeks (yet more earnestly than before) to release Jesus; but at last the Jews hit upon the right means of making him accede to their will, by throwing out the intimation that, if he release Jesus who has opposed himself to Cæsar as an usurper, he cannot be Cæsar’s friend. Thus, intimidated by the possibility of his being calumniated to Tiberius, he mounts the tribunal, and, since he cannot prosecute his will, betakes himself to derision of the Jews in the question, whether they then wish that he should crucify their king? Whereupon they, keeping to the position which they had last taken with such evident effect, protest that they will have no king but Cæsar. The procurator now consents to deliver Jesus to be crucified, for which purpose, as the two first Evangelists remark, the purple mantle was removed, and he was again attired in his own clothes.
§132. THE CRUCIFIXION.
Even concerning the progress of Jesus to the place of crucifixion there is a divergency between the synoptists and John, for according to the latter Jesus himself carried his cross thither (xix. 17), while the former state that one Simon a Cyrenian bore it in his stead (Matt. xxvii. 32 parall.). The commentators indeed, as if a real agreement were assumed as a matter of course, reconcile these statements thus : at first Jesus himself endeavoured to bear the cross, but as the attempt made it obvious that he was too much exhausted, it was laid on Simon.* But when John says: And he bearing his cross went forth into — Golgotha, where they crucified him, kai bastazwn ton stauron autou exhlqen eiV Golgoqa opou auton estaurwsan: he plainly presupposes that the cross was borne by Jesus on the way thither.† But the statement so unanimously given by the synoptists respecting the substitution of Simon appears the less capable of being rejected, the more difficult it is to discover a motive which might lead to its fabrication. On the contrary, this individual trait might very probably have remained unknown in the circle in which the fourth gospel had its origin, and the author might
*Thus Paulus, Kuinöl, Tholuck and Olshausen in their Commentaries; Neander, L. J. Chr., s. 634.
†Fritzsche, in Marc. 684 Significat Joannes, Jesum suam crucein portavisse, donec ad Calvariæ locurn pervenisset.
have thought that, according to the general custom, Jesus must have carried his cross. All the synoptists designate this Simon as a Cyrenian, i.e. probably one who had come to Jerusalem to the feast, from the Libyan city of Cyrene, where many Jews resided.* According to all, the carrying of the cross was forced upon him, a circumstance which can as little be urged for as against the opinion that he was favourable to Jesus.† According to Luke and Mark, the man came directly out of the country, ap’ agrou, and as he attempted to pass by the crowd advancing to the place of crucifixion, he was made use of to relieve Jesus. Mark designates him yet more particularly as the father of Alexander and Rufus, who appear to have been noted persons in the primitive church (comp. Rom. xvi. 1; Acts xix. 33 (?); 1 Tim. i. 20 (?); 2 Tim. iv. 14 (?) ).‡
On the way to the place of execution, according to Luke, there followed Jesus, lamenting him, a great company, consisting especially of women, whom he however admonished to weep rather for themselves and their children, in prospect of the terrible time, which would soon come upon them (xxiii. 27 ff.). The details are taken partly from the discourse on the second advent, Luke xxi. 23; for as there it is said, Ouai de taiV en gastri ecousaiV, kai taiV qhlazousaiV, en ekeinaiV taiV hmeraiV, so here Jesus says, that the days are coming in which ai steirai kai koiliai ai ouk egennhsan, kai mastoi oi ouk eqhlasan, will be pronounced blessed; partly from Hosea x. 8, for the words tote arxontai legein toiV oresi k. t. l. (then shall they begin to say to the mountains, etc.) are almost exactly the Alexandrian translation of that passage.
The place of execution is named by all the Evangelists Golgotha, the Chaldaic [Heb. letters] gulgalta’ and they all interpret this designation by kraniou topoV the place of a skull, or kranion a skull (Matt. v. 33 parall.). From the latter name it might appear that the place was so called because it resembled a skull in form; whereas the former interpretation, and indeed the nature of the case, renders it probable that it owed its name to its destination as a place of execution, and to the bones and skulls of the executed which were heaped up there. Where this place was situated is not known, but doubtless it was out of the city; even that it was a hill, is a mere conjecture.§
The course of events after the arrival at the place of execution is narrated by Matthew (v. 34 ff.) in a somewhat singular order. First, he mentions the beverage offered to Jesus; next, he says that after they had nailed him to the tross, the soldiers shared his clothes among them; then, that they sat down and watched him; after this he notices the superscription on the cross, and at length, and not as if supplying a previous omission, but with a particle expressive of succession in time (tote), the fact that two thieves were crucified with him. Mark follows Matthew, except that instead of the statement
*Joseph., Antiq. xiv. vii. 2.
†It is used in the former way by Grotius; in the latter, by Olshausen, ‡ . s, 481
§Comp. Paulus, Fritzsche, and De Wette, in loc.
||Vid. Paulus and Fritzsche, in loc. Winer, bibl. Realw. art. Golgotha.
about the watching of the cross, he has a determination of the time at which Jesus was crucified: while Luke more correctly relates first the crucifixion of the two malefactors with Jesus, and then the casting of lots for the clothes; and the same order is observed by John. But it is inadmissible on this account to transpose the verses in Matthew (34, 37, 38, 35, 36), as has been proposed ;* and we must rather abandon the author of the first gospel to the charge, that in his anxiety not to omit any of the chief events at the crucifixion of Jesus, he has neglected the natural order of time.†
As regards the mode of the crucifixion there is now scarcely any debated point, if we except the question, whether the feet as well as the hands were nailed to the cross. As it lay in the interest of the orthodox view to prove the affirmative: so it was equally important to the rationalistic system to maintain the negative. From Justin Martyr ‡ down to Hengstenberg § and Olshausen, the orthodox find in the nailing of the feet of Jesus to the cross a fulfilment of the prophecy Ps. xxii. 17, which the LXX. translates: wruxan ceiraV mou kai podaV, but it is doubtful whether the original text really speaks of piercing, and in no case does it allude to crucifixion: moreover the passage is nowhere applied to Christ in the New Testament. To the rationalists, on the contrary, it is at once more easy to explain the death of Jesus as a merely apparent death, and only possible to conceive how he could walk immediately after the resurrection, when it is supposed that his feet were left unwounded; but the case should rather be stated thus: if the historical evidence go to prove that the feet also of Jesus were nailed, it must be concluded that the resuscitation and the power of walking shortly after, either happened supernaturally or not at all. Of late there have stood opposed to each other two learned and profound investigations of this point, the one by Paulus against, the other by Bähr, in favour of the nailing of the feet. || From the evangelical narrative, the former opinion can principally allege in its support, that neither is the above passage in the Psalms anywhere used by the Evangelists, though on the presupposition of a nailing of the feet it was so entirely suited to their mode of accounting for facts, nor in the history of the resurrection is there any mention of wounds in the feet, together with the wounds in the hands and side (John xx. 20, 25, 27). The other opinion appeals not without reason to Luke xxiv. 39, where Jesus invites the disciples to behold his hands and his feet (idete taV ceiraV mou kai touV podaV mou): it is certainly not here said that the feet were pierced, but it is difficult to understand
*Wassenbergh, Diss. de trajectionibus N. T. in Balcknaer’s scholæ in 11 quosdam N. T. 2, p. 31.
†Comp. Schleiermacher, über den Lukas, s. 295; Winer, N. T. Gramm., s. 226, and Fritzsche, in Matt., p. 814.
‡Apol. i. 35. Dial. c. Tryph. xcvii.
§Christologie des A. T. 1, a, s. 182 ft.
||Paulus, exeg. Handbuch 3, b, s. 669—754; Bähr, in Tholuck’s liter. Anzeiger für christl. Theol. 1835, No. 1-6. Comp. also Neander, L. J. Chr., s. 636, Anm.
how Jesus should have pointed out his feet merely to produce a conviction of the reality of his body. The fact that among the fathers of the church, those who, living before Constantine, might be acquainted with the mode of crucifixion from personal observation, as Justin and Tertullian, suppose the feet of Jesus to have been nailed, is of weight. it might indeed be concluded from the remark of the latter: Qui (Christus) solus a populo tam insigniter crucifixus est,* that for the sake of the passage in the Psalms these fathers supposed that in the crucifixion of Christ his feet also were pierced by way of exception; but, as Tertuilian had before called the piercing of the hands and feet the propria atrocia crucis, it is plain that the above words imply, not a special manner of crucifixion, but the special manner of death by crucifixion, which does not occur in the Old Testament, and by which therefore Jesus was distinguished from all the characters therein celebrated. Among the passages in profane writers, the most important is that of Plautus, in which, to mark a crucifixion as extraordinarily severe, it is said: offigantur bis pedes, bis brachia.† Here the question is: does the extraordinary feature lie in the bis, so that the nailing of the feet as well as of the hands only once is presupposed as the ordinary usage; or was the bis offigere of the hands, i.e. the nailing of both the hands, the usual practice, and the nailing of the feet an extraordinary aggravation of the punishment? Every one will pronounce the former alternative to be the most accordant with the words. Hence it appears to me at present, that the balance of historical evidence is on the side of those who maintain that the feet as well as the hands of Jesus were nailed to the cross.
It was before the crucifixion, according to the two first Evangelists, that there was offered to Jesus a beverage, which Matthew (v. 34) describes as vinegar mingled with gall, oxoV meta colhV memigmenon, Mark (v. 23) as wine mingled with myrrh, esmurnismenon oinon, but which, according to both, Jesus (Matthew says, after having tasted it) refused to accept. As it is not understood with what object gall could be mixed with the vinegar, the colh of Matthew is usually explained, by the aid of the esmurnismenon of Mark, as implying bitter vegetable ingredients, especially myrrh; and then either oinon wine is actually substituted for oxoV vinegar, or the latter is understood as sour wine ;‡ in order that the beverage offered to Jesus may thus appear to have been the stupefying draught consisting of wine and strong spices, which, according to Jewish usage, was presented to those about to be executed, for the purpose of blunting their susceptibility to pain.§ But even if the text admitted of this reading, and the words of this interpretation, Matthew would assuredly protest strongly against the real gall and the vinegar being thus
*Adv. Marcion, iii. 19.
†Mostellaria, ii. 1.
‡Vid. Kuinöl, Paulus, in loc.
§Sanhedrim, f. xliii. 1, ap. Wetstein, p. 635: Dixit R. Chaja, f. R. Asther, dixisse R. Chasdam: exeunti, ut capite plectatur, dant bibendum granum turis in poculo vini, ut alienetur nuns ejus, sec. d. Prov. xxxi. 6 : date siceram pereunti et vinum amaris anima.
explained away from his narrative, because by this means he would lose the fulfilment of the passage in the psalm of lamentation elsewhere used messianically: (LXX.) kai edwkan eiV to brwma mou colhn, kai eiV thn diyan mou epotisan me oxoV, they gave me also gall for my meat, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink (Ps. lxix. 21). Matthew incontestably means, in accordance with this prophecy, real gall with vinegar, and the comparison with Mark is only calculated to suggest the question, whether it be more probable that Mark presents the incident in its original form, which Matthew has remodelled into a closer accordance with the prophecy; or that Matthew originally drew the particular from the passage in the Psalm, and that Mark so modified it as to give it an appearance of greater historical probability?
In order to come to a decision on this question we must take the two other Evangelists into consideration. The presentation to Jesus of a drink mingled with vinegar is mentioned by all four, and even the two who have the vinegar mingled with gall, or the myrrhed wine, as the first drink offered to Jesus, mention afterwards the offering of simple vinegar. According to Luke, this offering of vinegar, oxoV prosferein, was an act of derision committed by the soldiers not very long after the crucifixion, and before the commencement of the darkness (v. 36 f.); according to Mark, shortly before the end, three hours after the darkness came on, one of the bystanders, on hearing the cry of Jesus: my God, my God, etc., presented vinegar to him, likewise in derision, by means of a sponge fixed on a reed (v. 36); according to Matthew, one of the bystanders, on the same cry, and in the same manner, presented vinegar to him, but with a benevolent intention, as we gather from the circumstance that the scoffers wished to deter him from the act (v. 48 f.);* whereas in John it is on the exclamation: .I thirst, that some fill a sponge with vinegar from a vessel standing near, and raise it on a stem of hyssop to the mouth of Jesus (v. 29). Hence it has been supposed that there were three separate attempts to give a beverage to Jesus: the first before the crucifixion, with the stupefying drink (Matthew and Mark); the second after the crucifixion, when the soldiers in mockery offered him some of their ordinary beverage, a mixture of vinegar and water called posca† (Luke); and the third, on the complaining cry of Jesus (Matt., Mark and John).‡ But if the principle of considering every divergent narrative as a separate event be once admitted, it must be consistently carried out: if the beverage mentioned by Luke must be distinguished from that of Matthew and Mark on account of a difference in the time, then must that of Matthew be distinguished from that of Mark on account of the difference in the design; and, again, the beverage mentioned by John must not be regarded as the same with that of the two first synoptists, since it follows a totally different exclamation. Thus
*Vid. Fritzsche, in loc.
†Camp. Paulus, in loc.
‡Thus Kuinöl, in Luc., p. 710 f.; Tholuck, s. 316.
we should obtain in all five instances in which a drink was offered to Jesus, and we should at least be at a loss to understand why Jesus after vinegar had already been thrice presented to his lips, should yet a fourth time have desired to drink. If then we must resort to simplification, it is by no means only the beverage in the two first gospels, and that in the fourth, which, on account of the agreement in the time and manner of presentation, are to be understood as one; but also that of Mark (and through this the others) must be pronounced identical with that of Luke, on account of their being alike offered in derision. Thus there remain two instances of a drink being offered to Jesus, the one before the crucifixion, the other after; and both have a presumptive support from history, the former in the Jewish custom of giving a stupefying draught to persons about to be executed, the other in the Roman custom, according to which the soldiers on their expeditions,—and the completing an execution was considered as such,—-were in the habit of taking with them their posca. But together with this possible historical root, there is a possible prophetic one in Ps. lxix., and the two have an opposite influence: the latter excites a suspicion that the narrative may not have anything historical at its foundation; the former throws doubt on the explanation that the whole story has been spun out of the prophecies.
On once more glancing over the various narratives, we shall at least find that their divergencies are precisely of a nature to have arisen from a various application of the passage in the Psalms. The eating of gall and the drinking of vinegar being there spoken of, it appears as if in the first instance the former particular had been set aside as inconceivable, and the fulfilment of the prophecy found in the circumstance (very possibly historical, since it is mentioned by all the four Evangelists), that Jesus had vinegar presented to him when on the cross. This might either be regarded as an act of compassion, as by Matthew and John, or of mockery, with Mark and Luke. In this manner the words: they gave me vinegar to drink, epotisan me oxoV, were indeed literally fulfilled, but not the preceding phrase: in my thirst,eiV thn diyan mou; hence the author of the fourth gospel might think it probable that Jesus actually complained of thirst, i.e.cried, I thirst, diyw, an exclamation, which he expressly designates as a fulfilment of the scripture, grafh, by which we are doubtless to understand the above passage in the Psalms (comp. Ps. xxii. 16); nay, since he introduces the ina teleiwqh h grafh, that the scripture might be fulfilled, by eidwV o IhsouV oti panta hdh tetlestai, Jesus. knowing that all things were now accomplished, he almost appears to mean that the fulfilment of the prophecy was the sole object of Jesus in uttering that exclamation: but a man suspended on the cross in the agonies of death is not the one to occupy himself with such typological trifling—this is only the part of his biographer who finds himself in perfect ease. Even this addition, however, only showed the fulfilment of
one half of the messianic verse, that relating to the vinegar: there still remained what was said of the gall, which, as the concentration of all bitterness, was peculiarly adapted to be placed in relation to the suffering Messiah. It is true that the presentation of the gall, colh as meat brwma, which the prophecy strictly taken required, was still suppressed as inconceivable: but it appeared to the first Evangelist, or to the authority which he here follows, quite practicable to introduce the gall as an ingredient in the vinegar, a mixture which Jesus might certainly be unable to drink, from its unpalatableness. More concerned about historical probability than prophetic connexion, the second Evangelist, with reference to a Jewish custom, and perhaps in accordance with historical fact, converted the vinegar mingled with gall, into wine mingled with myrrh, and made Jesus reject this, doubtless from a wish to avoid stupefaction. As however the narrative of the vinegar mingled with gall reached these two Evangelists in company with the original one of the presentation of simple vinegar to Jesus; they were unwilling that this should be excluded by the former, and hence placed the two side by side. But in making these observations, as has been before remarked, it is not intended to deny that such a beverage may have been offered to Jesus before the crucifixion, and afterwards vinegar also, since the former was apparently customary, and the latter, from the thirst which tormented the crucified, natural: it is merely intended to show, that the Evangelists do not narrate this circumstance, and under such various forms, because they knew historically that it occurred in this or that manner, but because they were convinced dogmatically that it must have occurred according to the above prophecy, which however they applied in different ways.*
During or immediately after the crucifixion Luke represents Jesus as saying: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (v. 34); an intercession which is by some limited to the soldiers who crucified him,† by others, extended to the real authors of his death, the Sanhedrists and Pilate.‡ However accordant such a prayer may be with the principles concerning love to enemies elsewhere inculcated by Jesus (Matt. v. 44), and however great the internal probability of Luke’s statement viewed in this light: still it is to be observed, especially as he stands alone in giving this particular, that it may possibly have been taken from the reputed messianic chapter, Isa. liii., where in the last verse, the same from which the words: he was numbered with the transgressors meta anomwn elogisqh are borrowed, it is said : [Heb. letters] wlapposh‘iym yapgiya‘(he made intercession for the transgressors), which the LXX. erroneously translate dia taV anomiaV autwn paredoqh, he was delivered for their transgressions, but which already the Targum Jonathan renders by pro peccatis (it should be peccatoribus) deprecatus est.
*Comp. also Bleek, Comm. zum Hebräerbrief, 2, s. 312, Anm.; De Wette, exeg. Handb. 1, 3, s. 198.
†Kuinöl, in Luc. p. 710.
‡Olshausen, p. 484; Neander, s. 637.
All the Evangelists agree in stating that two malefactors duo kakourgoi (Matthew and Mark call them lhstaV thieves) were crucified, one on each side of Jesus; and Mark, if his 28th verse be genuine, sees in this a literal fulfilment of the words: he was numbered with the transgressors, which, according to Luke xxii. 37, Jesus had the evening before quoted as a prophecy about to be accomplished in him. Of the further demeanour of these fellow-sufferers, John says nothing; the two first Evangelists represent them as reviling Jesus (Matt. xxvii. 44; Mark xv. 32): whereas Luke narrates that only one of them was guilty of this offence, and that he was rebuked by the other (xxiii. 39 ff.). In order to reconcile this difference, commentators have advanced the supposition, that at first both criminals reviled Jesus, but that subsequently one of them was converted by the marvellous darkness ; * more modern ones have resorted to the supposition of an enallage numeri:† but without doubt those only are right who admit a real difference between Luke and his predecessors.‡ It is plain that the two first Evangelists knew nothing of the more precise details which Luke presents concerning the relation of the two malefactors to Jesus. He narrates, namely, that when one of them derided Jesus by calling upon him, if he were the Messiah, to deliver himself and them, the other earnestly rebuked such mockery of one with whom he was sharing a like fate, and moreover as a guilty one with the guiltless, entreating for his own part that Jesus would remember him when he should come into his kingdom basileia: whereupon Jesus gave him the promise that he should that very day be with him in Paradise en tw paradeisw. In this scene there is nothing to create difficulty, until we come to the words which the second malefactor addresses to Jesus. For to expect from one suspended on the cross a future coming to establish the messianic kingdom, would presuppose the conception of the whole system of a dying Messiah, which before the resurrection the apostles themselves could not comprehend, and which therefore, according to the above representation of Luke, a thief must have been beforehand with them in embracing. This is so improbable, that it cannot excite surprise to find many regarding the conversion of the thief on the cross as a miracle,§ and the supposition which commentators call in to their aid, namely, that the man was no common criminal, but a political one, perhaps concerned in the insurrection of Barabbas,|| only serves to render the incident still more inconceivable. For if he was an Israelite inclined to rebellion, and bent on liberating his nation from the Roman yoke, his idea of the Messiah was assuredly the most incompatible with the acknowledgment as such,
*Thus Chrysostom and others.
†Beza and Grotius.
‡Paulus, s. 763; Winer, N. T. Gramm., s, 243; Fritzsche, in Matth., p. 817.
§Vid. Thilo, Cod. apocr. 1, s. 143. Further apocryphal information concerning the two malefactors crucified with Jesus is to be found in the evang. infant. arab. c. xxiii. ap. Thilo, p. 92 f. ; comp. the note p. 143; in the evang. Nicod. c. ix. 10, Thilo, p. 581 ff.; c. xxvi. p. 766 ff.
||Paulus and Kuinöl, in loc.
of one so completely annihilated in a political view, as Jesus then was. Hence we are led to the question, whether we have here a real history and not rather a creation of the legend? Two malefactors were crucified with Jesus: thus much was indubitably presented by history (or did even this owe its origin to the prophecy, Isa. liii. 12?). At first they were suspended by the side of Jesus as mute figures, and thus we find them in the narrative of the fourth Evangelist, into whose region of tradition only the simple statement, that they were crucified with Jesus, had penetrated. But it was not possible for the legend long to rest contented with so slight a use of them : it opened their mouths, and as only insults were reported to have proceeded from the bystanders, the two malefactors were at first made to join in the general derision of Jesus, without any more particular account being given of their words (Matt. and Mark). But the malefactors admitted of a still better use. If Pilate had borne witness in favour of Jesus; if shortly after, a Roman centurion—nay, all nature by its miraculous convulsions—had attested his exalted character: so his two fellow-sufferers, although criminals, could not remain entirely impervious to the impression of his greatness, but, though one of them did indeed revile Jesus agreeably to the original form of the legend, the other must have expressed an opposite state of feeling, and have shown faith in Jesus as the Messiah (Luke). The address of the latter to Jesus and his answer are besides conceived entirely in the spirit of Jewish thought and expression; for according to the idea then prevalent, paradise was that part of the nether world which was to harbour the souls of the pious in the interval between their death and the resurrection: a place. in paradise and a favourable remembrance in the future age were the object of the Israelite’s petition to God, as here to the Messiah * and it was believed concerning a man distinguished for piety that he could conduct those who were present at the hour of his death into paradise.†
To the cross of Jesus was affixed, according to the Roman custom,‡ a superscriptiion epigrafh (Mark and Luke), or a title titloV (John) which contained his accusation thn aitian autou (Matthew and Mark), consisting according to all the Evangelists in the words: o basileuV twn Ioudaiwn, the king of the Jews. Luke and John state that this superscription was couched in three different tongues, and the latter informs us that the Jewish rulers were fully alive to the derision which this form of superscription reflected on their nation, and on this account entreated Pilate, but in vain, for an alteration of the terms (v. 21 f.).
*Confessio Judæi ægroti, ap. Wetstein, p. 820 :—da portionem meam in horta Edenis, et memento me in seculo futuro, quod absconditum est justis. Other passages are given, ib, p. 819.
†Cetuboth, f. ciii. ap. Wetstein, p. 819: Quo die Rabbi moriturus erat, venit vox de coelo, dixitque: qui praesens aderit morienti Rabbi, ille intrabit in paradisum.
‡Vid. Wetstein, in loc. Matth.
Of the soldiers, according to John four in number, who crucified Jesus, the Evangelists unanimously relate that they parted the clothes of Jesus among themselves by lot. According to the Roman law de bonis damnatorum * the vestments of the executed fell as spolia to the executioners, and in so far that statement of the Evangelists has a point of contact with history. But, like most of the features in this last scene of the life of Jesus, it has also a point of contact with prophecy. It is true that in Matthew the quotation of the passage Ps. xxii. 18 is doubtless an interpolation; but on the other hand the same quotation is undoubtedly genuine in John (xix. 24): ina h grafh plhrwqh h legousa (verbally after the LXX.) mou eautoiV, kai epi ton imatismon mou ebalon klhron, that the scripture might be fulfilled which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. Here also, according to the assertion of orthodox expositors, David the author of the psalm, under divine guidance, in the moments of inspiration chose such figurative expressions as had a literal fulfilment in Christ.† Rather we must say, David, or whoever else may have been the author of the psalm, as a man of poetical imagination used those expressions as mere metaphors to denote a total defeat; but the petty, prosaic spirit of Jewish interpretation, which the Evangelists shared without any fault of theirs, and from which orthodox theologians, by their own fault however, have not perfectly liberated themselves after the lapse of eighteen centuries, led to the belief that those words must be understood literally, and in this sense must be shown to be fulfilled in the Messiah. Whether the Evangelists drew the circumstance of the casting of lots for the clothes more from historical information which stood at their command, or from the prophetic passage which they variously interpreted, must be decided by a comparison of their narratives. These present the divergency, that while according to the synoptists all the clothes were parted by lot, as is evident from the words: diemerisanto ta imatia autou, ballonteV klhron, they parted his garment, casting lots, in Matthew (v. 35), and the similar turn of expression in Luke (v. 34), but still more decidedly from the addition of Mark: tiV ti arh, what every man should take (v. 24): in John it is the coat or tunic, citwn alone for which lots are cast, the other garments being parted equally (v. 23 f.). This divergency is commonly thought of much too lightly, and is tacitly treated as if the synoptical representation were related to that of John as the indefinite to the definite. Kuinöl in consideration of John translates the words diemerizanto ballonteV of Matthew thus: partim dividebant, partim in sortem conjiciebant: but the meaning is not to be thus distributed, for the diemerizonto, they parted, states what they did, the ballonteV klhron, casting lots, how they did it: besides Kuinöl passes in total silence over the words tiV ti arh, because they undeniably
*Quoted ia Wetstein, p. 536; compare, however, the correction of the text in Paulus, ex. handb. 3, b, s, 751.
†Tholuck, in loc.
imply that lots were cast for several articles: while according to John the lots had reference only to one garment. If it be now asked, which of the two contradictory narratives is the correct one, the answer given from the point of view to which the comparative criticism of the gospels has at present attained is, that the eye-witness John gives the correct particulars, but the synoptists had merely received the indefinite information, that in parting the clothes of Jesus the soldiers made use of the lot, and this, from unacquaintance with the more minute particulars, they understood as if lots had been cast for all the garments of Jesus.* But not only does the circumstance that it is John alone who expressly cites the passage in the Psalms prove that he had an especial view to that passage: but, in general, this divergency of the Evangelists is precisely what might be expected from a difference in the interpretation of that supposed prophecy. When the psalm speaks of the parting of the garments and a casting of lots for the vesture: the second particular is, according to the genius of the Hebrew language which abounds in parallelism, only a more precise definition of the first, and the synoptists, correctly understanding this, make one of the two verbs a participle. One however who did not bear in mind this peculiarity of the Hebrew style, or had an interest in exhibiting the second feature of the prophecy as specially fulfilled, might understand the and, which in reality was indicative only of more precise definition, as denoting addition, and thus regard the casting, of lots and the distribution as separate acts. Then the imatismoV [Heb. letters] (lebush) which was originally a synonyme of imatia [Heb. letters] (begadiym) must become a distinct garment, the closer particularization of which, since it was not in any way conveyed in the word itself, was left to choice. The fourth Evangelist determined it to be the citwn tunic, and because he believed it due to his readers to show some cause for a mode of procedure with respect to this garment, so different from the equal distribution of the others, he intimated that the reason why it was chosen to cast lots for the tunic rather than to divide it, probably was that it had no seam (arrafoV) which might render separation easy, but was woven in one piece (ufantoV di’olou). † Thus we should have in the fourth Evangelist exactly the same procedure as we have found on the side of the first, in the history of the entrance into Jerusalem: in both cases the doubling of a trait originally single, owing to a false interpretation of the in the Hebrew parallelism; the only difference being that the first Evangelist in the passage referred to is less arbitrary than the fourth is here, for he at least spares us the tracing out of the reason why two asses must then have been required for one rider. The more evident it thus becomes that the representation of the point in question in the different
*E. G. Theile, zur Biographie Jesu, § 36, Anm. 33.
†Expositors observe in connexion with this particular, that the coat of the Jewish high priest was also of this kind. Jos. Antiq. iii. vii. 4—The same view of the above difference has been already presented in the Probabilia, p. 8o f.
Evangelists is dependent on the manner in which each interpreted that supposed prophecy in the Psalms: the less does a sure historical knowledge appear to have had any share in their representation, and hence we remain ignorant whether lots were cast on the distribution of the clothes of Jesus, nay whether in general a distribution of clothes took place under the cross of Jesus; confidently as Justin appeals in support of this very particular to the Acts of Pilate, which he had never seen.*
Of the conduct of the Jews who were present at the crucifixion of Jesus, John tells us nothing; Luke represents the people as standing to look on, and only the rulers arconteV and the soldiers as deriding Jesus by the summons to save himself if he were the Messiah, to which the latter adds the offer of the vinegar (v. 35 ff.); Matthew and Mark have nothing here of mockery on the part of the soldiers, but in compensation they make not only the chief priests, scribes, and elder; but also the passers by, paraporeomenoi vent insults against Jesus (v. 39 ff., 29 ff.). The expressions of these people partly refer to former discourses and actions of Jesus; thus, the sarcasm: Thou that destroyest the temple and buildest it again in three days, save thyself (Matt. and Mark), is an allusion to the words of that tenor ascribed to Jesus; while the reproach: he saved others, himself he cannot save, or save thyself (in all three), refers to his cures. Partly however the conduct of the Jews towards Jesus on the cross, is depicted after the same psalm of which Tertullian justly says that it contains totam Christi passionem.† When it is said in Matthew and Mark: And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads and saying: oi de paraporeuomenoi ablasfhmoun ayton, kinonteV taV kefalaV autwn kai legonteV (Luke says of the rulers arconteV they derided him
exemukthrizon), this is certainly nothing else than a mere reproduction of what stands in Ps. xxii. 8 (LXX.): All they that see me laugh me to scorn, they shoot out the lip and shake the head: panteV oi qewrounteV me exemukthrisan me, elalhsan en ceilesin, ekinhsan kefalhn; and the words which are hereupon lent to the Sanhedrists in Matthew: He trusted in God; let him deliver him now if he will have him, pepoiqen epi ton qeon, pusasqw nun ei qelei auton, are the same with those of the following verse in that Psalm: He trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him, hlpusen epi Kurion, rusasqw auton, swsatw auton, oti qelei auton. Now though the taunts and shaking of the head on the part of the enemies of Jesus may, notwithstanding that the description of them is drawn according to the above Old Testament passage, still very probably have really happened: it is quite otherwise with the words which are attributed to these mockers. Words which, like those above quoted, are in the Old Testameut put into the mouth of the enemies of the godly, could not be adopted by the Sanhedrists without their voluntarily
*Apol. i. 35.
†Adv. Marcion, ut sup.
assuming the character of the ungodly: which they would surely have taken care to avoid. Only the Christian legend, if it once applied the Psalm to the sufferings of Jesus, and especially to his last hours, could attribute these words to the Jewish rulers, and find therein the fulfilment of a prophecy.
The two first Evangelists do not tell us that any one of the twelve was present at the crucifixion of Jesus: they mention merely several Galilean women, three of whom they particularize: namely, Mary Magdalene; Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses; and, as the third, according to Matthew, the mother of the sons of Zebedee, according to Mark, Salome, both which designations are commonly understood to relate to the same person (Matt. v. 55 f.; Mark v. 40 f.): according to these Evangelists the twelve appear not yet to have reassembled after their flight on the arrest of Jesus.* In Luke, on the contrary, among all his acquaintance, panteV oi gnwstoi autou, whom he represents as beholding the crucifixion (v. 49) the twelve would seem to be included: but the fourth gospel expressly singles out from among the disciples the one whom Jesus loved, i.e. John, as present, and among the women, together with Mary Magdalene and the wife of Cl eopas, names instead of the mother of James and John, and the mother of Jesus himself. Moreover, while according to all the other accounts the acquaintances of Jesus stood afar off , makroqen, according to the fourth gospel John and the mother of Jesus must have been in the closest proximity to the cross, since it represents Jesus as addressing them from the cross, and appointing John to be his substitute in the filial relation to his mother (v. 25 ff.). Olshausen believes that he can remove the contradiction which exists between the synoptical statement and the presupposition of the fourth gospel as to the position of the friends of Jesus, by the conjecture that at first they did indeed stand at a distance, but that subsequently some approached near to the cross: it is to be observed, however, in opposition to this, that the synoptists mention that position of the adherents of Jesus just at the close of the scene of crucifixion and death, immediately before the taking down from the cross, and thus presuppose that they had retained this position until the end of the scene; a state of the case which cannot but be held entirely consistent with the alarm which filled the minds of the disciples during those days, and still more with feminine timidity. If the heroism of a nearer approach might perhaps be expected from maternal tenderness: still, the total silence of the synoptists, as the interpreters of the common evangelical tradition, renders the historical reality of that particular doubtful. The synoptists cannot have known anything of the presence of the mother of Jesus at the cross, otherwise they would have mentioned her as the chief person, before all the other women; nor does anything appear to have been known of a more intimate relation between her and John: at least in the Acts (i. 12 f.) the mother of Jesus is supposed to be with the twelve in general, his brothers, and the women of the society. It is at least not so easy to understand how the memory of that affecting presence and remarkable relation could be lost, as to conceive how the idea of them might originate in the circle from which the fourth gospel proceeded. If this circle be imagined as one in which the Apostle John enjoyed peculiar veneration, on which account our gospel drew him out of the trio of the more confidential associates of Jesus, and isolated him as the beloved disciple : it will appear that nothing could be more strikingly adapted to confirm this relation than the statement that Jesus bequeathed, as it were, the dearest legacy, his mother (in reference to whom, as well as to the alleged beloved disciple, it must have been a natural question, whether she had left the side of Jesus in this last trial), to John, and thus placed this disciple in his stead,—made him vicarius Christi.
As the address of Jesus to his mother and the favourite disciple is peculiar to the fourth gospel: so, on the other hand, the exclamation, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me hli, hli, lama sabacqani; is only found in the two first gospels (Matt. v. 46; Mark v. 34). This exclamation, with the mental state from which it proceeded, like the agony in Gethsemane, constitutes in the opinion of the church a part of the vicarious suffering of Christ. As however in this instance also it was impossible to be blind to the difficulties of the supposition, that the mere corporeal suffering, united with the external depression of his cause, overwhelmed Jesus to such a degree that he felt himself forsaken by God, while there have been both before and after him persons who, under sufferings equally severe, have yet preserved composure and fortitude: the opinion of the church has here also, in addition to the natural corporeal and spiritual affliction, supposed as the true cause of that state of mind in Jesus, a withdrawal of God from his soul, a consciousness of the divine wrath, which it was decreed that he should bear in the stead of mankind, by whom it was deserved as a punishment.† How, presupposing the dogma of the church concerning the person of Christ, a withdrawal of God from his soul is conceivable, it is the part of the defenders of this opinion themselves, to decide. Was it the human nature in him which felt so forsaken? Then would its unity with the divine have been interrupted, and thus the very basis of the personality of Christ, according to the above system, removed. Or the divine? In that case the second person in the Godhead would have been separated from the first. As little can it have been the God-man, consisting of both natures, that felt forsaken by God, since the very essence of this is the unity and inseparableness of the divine and the human. Thus urged by the self-contradiction of this supranaturalistic explanation, to fall
*Justin, Apol. 1. 50, and elsewhere, even speaks of apostacy and denial on the part of all the disciples after the crucifixion.
†Vid. Calvin, Comm. in harm. evv. in Matth. xxvii. 46; Olshausen, in loc.
back on the natural mode of accounting for the above exclamation by the sense of external suffering, and yet repelled from the idea that Jesus should have been so completely subdued by this, commentators have attempted to mollify the sense of the exclamation. It consists of the opening words of Ps. xxii., a passage which is classical for this last scene in the life of Jesus. Now this psalm begins with a complaining description of the deepest suffering, but in the course of its progress soars into joyful hope of deliverance; hence it has been supposed that the words which Jesus immediately utters do not give his entire experience, and that in thus reciting the first verse he at the same time quotes the whole psalm and especially its exulting close, just as if he meant to say: It is true that I, like the author of this psalm, appear now forsaken of God, but in me, as in him, the divine succour will only be so much the more glorified.* But if Jesus uttered this exclamation with a view to the bystanders, and in order to assure them that his affliction would soon be merged in triumph, he would have chosen the means the least adapted to his purpose, if he had uttered precisely those words of the Psalm which express the deepest misery; and instead of the first verse he would rather have chosen one from the 10th to the 12th, or from the 20th to the end. If however in that exclamation he meant merely to give vent to his own feeling, he would not have chosen this verse if his actual experience in these moments had been, not what is there expressed, but what is described in the succeeding verses. Now if this experience was his own, and if, all supernatural grounds of explanation being dismissed, it proceeded from his external calamities; we must observe that one who, as the gospels narrate of Jesus, had long included suffering and death in his idea of the Messiah, and hence had regarded them as a part of the divine arrangements, could scarcely complain of them when they actually arrived as an abandonment by God; rather, on the above supposition, we should be led to think that Jesus had found himself deceived in the expectations which he had previously cherished, and thus believed himself forsaken by God in the prosecution of his plan.† But we could only resort to snch conjectures if the above exclamation of Jesus were shown to have an historical foundation. In this respect the silence of Luke and John would not, it is true, be so serious a difficulty in our eyes, that we should take refuge in explanations like the following: John suppressed the exclamation, lest it should serve to countenance the Gnostic opinion, by admitting the inference that the Æon which was insusceptible of suffering, departed from Jesus in that moment.‡ But the relation of the words of Jesus to the 22nd Psalm does certainly render this particular suspicious. If the Messiah was once conceived of as suffering, and
*Thus Paulus, Gratz, in loc. Schleiermacher, Glaubenslebre, 2, s, 154, Anm.
†Such is the inference drawn by the author of the Wolfenbüttel Fragments, von Zweck Jesu und seiner Jünger, s. 153.
‡ Schneckenburger, Beiträge, s. 66 f.
§According to Olshausen, s 495, there is no syllable in this speech by which such a meaning is intimated; on the contrary, a secret horror had already diffused itself over the minds of the scoffers, and they trembled at the thought that Elias might appear in the storm. But when one who attempts to give a beverage to Jesus is dissuaded under the pretext of waiting to see if Elias would come to save film, ei ercetai HliaV swswn auton, this pretext is plainly enough shown to be meant in derision, and hence the horror and trembling belong only to the unscientific animus of the biblical commentator, which makes him contemplate the history of the passion above all else, as a mysterium tremendum, and causes him to discover even in Pilate a depth of feeling which is nowhere attributed to this Roman in the gospels.
if that psalm was used as a sort of programme of his suffering — for which it was by no means necessary as an inducement that Jesus should have really quoted one of its verses on the cross :—the opening words of the psalm which are expressive of the deepest suffering must appear singularly adapted to be put into the mouth of the crucified Messiah. In this case the derisive speech§ of the bystanders, he calleth for Elias, etc., can have had no other origin than this—that the wish for a variety of taunts to complete this scene after the model of the psalm, was met by the similarity of sound between the hli in the exclamation lent to Jesus, and the name of Elias which was associated with the Messiah.*
Concerning the last words which the expiring Jesus was heard to utter, the Evangelists differ. According to Matthew and Mark, it was merely a loud voice, fwnh megalh, with which he departed (v. 50, 37); according to Luke it was the petition: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit, pater, eiV ceiraV sou paraqhsomai to pneuma mou (v. 46); while according to John it was on the brief expression: it is finished, tetelestai, that he bowed his head and expired (v. 30). Here it is possible to reconcile the two first Evangelists with one or other of the succeeding ones by the supposition, that what the former describe indefinitely as a loud cry, and what according to their representation might be taken for an inarticulate expression of anguish, the others, with more particularity, give in its precise verbal form. It is more difficult to reconcile the two last gospels. For whether we suppose that Jesus first commended his soul to God, and hereupon cried: it is finished; or vice versa; both collocations are alike opposed to the intention of the Evangelists, for the expression of Luke ,kai tauta eipwn exepneusen cannot be rendered, as Paulus would have it, by: soon after he had said this, he expired; and the very words of the exclamation in John define it as the last utterance of Jesus ; the two writers forming different conceptions of the closing words. In the account of Luke, the common form of expression for the death of Jesus: paredwke to pneuma (he delivered up his spirit) appears to have been interpreted as an actual commending of his soul to God on the part of Jesus, and to have been further developed with reference to the passage Ps. xxxi. 5: (Lord) into thy hands I commend my spirit, (kurie) eiV ceiraV sou paraqhsomai to pneuma mou (LXX.),—a passage which from the strong resemblance of this Psalm to the 22nd would be
apt to suggest itself.* Whereas the author of the fourth gospel appears to have lent to Jesus an expression more immediately proceeding from his position in relation to his messianic office, making him express in the word tetelestai is finished the completion of his work, or the fulfilment of all the prophecies (with the exception, of course, of what could only be completed and fulfilled in the resurrection).
Not only these last words, however, but also the earlier expressions of Jesus on the cross, will not admit of being ranged in the succession in which they are generally supposed. The speeches of Jesus on the cross are commonly reckoned to be seven; but so many are not mentioned by any single Evangelist, for the two first have only one: the exclamation my God, my God, etc. hli, hli, k. t. l. Luke has three; the prayer of Jesus for his enemies, the promise to the thief, and the commending of his spirit into the hands of the Father; John has likewise three, but all different: the address to his mother and the disciple, with the exclamations, diyw and it is finished tetelestai. Now the intercessory prayer, the promise and the recommendation of Mary to the care of the disciple, might certainly be conceived as following each other: but the diyw and the hli come into collision, since both exclamations are followed by the same incident, the offering of vinegar by means of a sponge on a reed. When to this we add the entanglement of the tetelestai with the pater, k. t. l., it should surely be seen and admitted, that no one of the Evangelists, in attributing words to Jesus when on the cross, knew or took into consideration those lent to him by the others; that on the contrary each depicted this scene in his own manner, according as he, or the legend which stood at his command, had developed the conception of it to suit this or that prophecy or design.
A special difficulty is here caused by the computation of the hours. According to all the synoptists the darkness prevailed from the sixth hour until the ninth hour, apo ekthV wraV ewV wtaV ennathV (in our reckoning, from twelve at midday to three in the afternoon); according to Matthew and Mark, it was about the ninth hour that Jesus complained of being forsaken by God, and shortly after yielded up the ghost; according to Mark it was the third hour wra trith (nine in the morning) when Jesus was crucified (v. 25). On the other hand, John says (xix. 14.) that it was about the sixth hour (when according to Mark Jesus had already hung three hours on the cross) that Pilate first sat in judgment over him. Unless we are to suppose that the sun-dial went backward, as in the time of Hezekiah, this is a contradiction which is not to be removed by a violent alteration of the reading, nor by appealing to the wsei (about) in John, or to the inability of the disciples to take note of the hours under such afflictive circumstances; at the utmost it might perhaps
*Credner, Einleitung in das N. T. 1, s. 198.
be cancelled if it were possible to prove that the fourth gospel throughout proceeds upon another mode of reckoning time than that used by the synoptists.*
* Thus Rettig, exegetische Analekten, in Ullmann’s und Umbreit’s Studien, 1830, 1, s. 106ff; Tholuck, Glaubwürdigkeit, s, 307 ff.; comp. on the various attempts at reconciliation Lücke and De Wette, in loc. Joh.
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