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7 (inte eles

pr eT le ae ae ay ale ae 9

MYTH, MAGIC, AND MORALS

“And what is meant by intellectual honesty? Nothing but a refusal to allow other impulses, such as the love of gain, or of applause, or the desire to promote any other end which is not purely intellectual, to interfere with the operations of the intellect in ascer- taining and systematising facts. The decisive superiority of the Copernican theory over the Ptolemaic lies, not in its superior ease in working, but in its greater utility for purposes of system and prophecy. Without it there would have been no prospect of the great advances in astronomical theory which have since been made, or of our greatly increased accuracy in predicting astronomical phenomena. Results of this kind are not to be expected by a thinker who misrepresents his

_ facts, or distorts his theory in the interests of any end which is not purely intellectual.” —Wittuiam Benert, The Ethical Aspects of Evolution, p. 68.

OTS, 124 Col

MYTH, MAGIC, AND MORALS

A STUDY OF CHRISTIAN ORIGINS

BY

FRED. CORNWALLIS CONYBEARE, M.A.

(Late Fettow anD PRaELEcTOR oF Unty. Conn. Oxrorp; FELiow oF THE British AcAaDEMy; Docror oF THEoLoey, honoris causa, oF GIESSEN; OFFICIER D’ACADEMIE)

[ISSUED FOR THE RATIONALIST PRESS ASSOCIATION, LIMITED |

Lonpon: WATTS & CO., 17, JOHNSON’S COURT, FLEET STREET, E.C. 1909

‘Theology Library

Bs.) SCLOOL OF THEOL OEY

a. AT CLAREMONT.

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From the Library of CAROLINE RUUTZ-REES ad

FEB 8~ 1957

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SYNOPSIS OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION: ON METHOD

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Cuaptrer I.—PAUL P. 1. Pavcrry of tradition and lack of contemporary information about Jesus of Nazareth—p. 2. Paul’s Epistles contain the earliest mention of him—p. 3. Paul not interested in the historical Jesus, but only in the Jesus of his own ecstatic visions—p. 4. History of Paul—p. 6. He conceived of Christ as an ideal eternal being and Saviour of the world, and not of the Jews alone—p. 7. His conflict with the genuine Apostles of Jesus, who insisted on converts keeping the Law—p. 9. Paul silent about the moral teaching of Jesus—p. 11. The pact with James and John; Paul may preach to the Gentiles, if he will collect ample alms for the Church of Jerusalem—p. 19. In his visits to Jerusalem Panl avoided any general contact with the Church there—p. 15. Paul dogged in his missionary labours by Judaising emissaries—p. 16. Belief in the resurrection the only tenet he had in common with these opponents—p. 18. Paul’s visions the first stage in the deification of the Jewish Messiah.

Cuaprer I].—THE GOSPELS COMPILATIONS P, 20. The Fourth Gospel develops the Pauline view of Christ and elevates him into the Divine Logos—p. 21. Dependence on Mark of Matthew and Luke—p. 22. Plagiarism no reproach in ancient and medisval literature—p. 23. Modifications of Mark’s text made by Matthew and Luke—p. 24. The Non-Marcan source used by Matthew and Luke—p. 26. The First and Third Gospels compilations.

Cuaprer III.—MARK

P, 28. Chief episodes narrated by Mark—p. 32. His literary method —p. 33. He enables us to trace a development in the Messianic self- consciousness of Jesus; the esotericism ascribed to Jesus by Mark—p. 35. In Mark the disciples only gradually recognise Jesus to be the Messiah, and Jesus only gradually reveals himself as such, and that only to his intimates, and not to the Jews in general—p. 38. Peter’s recognition of Jesus as Messiah in the traditional Jewish

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sense—p. 39. Jesus’s figure of the Son of Man—p. 40. Philo’s presages of a peaceful but triumphant Messiah—p. 43. The belief in the Messiah’s return—p. 45. Why was Jesus sentenced to death ? —p. 46. J. Wellhausen’s appreciation of Mark. Cuaprer IV.—STRUCTURE OF MARK’S GOSPEL

P, 51. Examples of double narratives in Mark: explanation of them—p. 57. Mark compiled his Gospel from pre-existing written sources, which sometimes coincided with the Non-Marcan source of Matthew and Luke.

Cuarren V.—MATTHEW AND LUKE

P. 60. Mark supplies these evangelists with their general outline and framework of Jesus’s history—p. 61. They correct Mark’s Greek and omit his Aramaic idioms—p. 62. They also obliterate human traits related by Mark of Jesus, such as Jesus’s rejection by his own fellow townsmen, his inability to cure unless the patients believed in him, his prohibition to others to call him good—p. 65. In all this the first and third evangelists anticipate the fourth—p. 66. Other examples of human traits of Jesus effaced in Matthew and Luke— p. 69. The accusations levelled against Jesus by the Scribes, that he had a devil; and, by his mother and brethren, that he was mad— p- 72. The pious frauds of the English Revised Version—p. 76. Matthew’s exaggerations of, and Luke’s improvements upon, Mark’s narrative prepare the way for the Fourth Gospel—p. 77. But the twenty-first chapter of the Fourth Gospel enshrines some early traditions—p. 80. Prophetic gnosis in Matthew.

Cuarter VI.—LUKE

P. 83. Luke freely adjusts Mark’s narratives to his own dramatic ideals —p. 86. He manufactures the seventy or seventy-two disciples out of a doublet in his sources—p. 90. Later Christian literature furnishes biographies of these disciples, who yet only existed in Luke’s fancy— p. 91. Examples of how Luke could invert and travesty his sources— p. 92. His account of the gift of speaking with tongues is proved from Paul’s letters to be false—p. 100. His account of the resurrection a bold manipulation of Mark’s text—p. 102. Harnack on Luke’s pretensions to be an accurate historian—p. 104, But Luke, according to ancient standards of literary propriety, had a right to use a stray document as he chose.

Cuapter VII.—THE NON-MARCAN DOCUMENT

P. 107. Of this source Matthew best preserves the language, and Luke the order and arrangement p. 108. Professor Harnack’s reconstruction of it.

SYNOPSIS OF CONTENTS vii

Cuarter VIII.—THE NON-MARCAN DOCUMENT (Continued )

P. 127. Reasons for regarding it as a very old source: it ignores the death and resurrection of Jesus—p. 131. Its horizon wholly Jewish and Galilean—p. 132. It contains features alien and abhorrent except to the most primitive age—p. 133, It ignores the.miracles of Jesus—p. 134. It takes a Jewish view of the Messiah—p. 135. It ignores church organisation—p. 136. Does it preserve the sayings of Jesus which, according to Papias, were collected by Matthew ?— p. 137. How far can the sayings preserved in this document be regarded as authentic ?

Cuaprer IX.—THE TRUE JESUS

P. 139. There is not enough material for writing a life of Jesus— p. 141. Luke’s statement that Jesus and John the Baptist were almost exactly contemporaries improbable—p. 142. Jesus’s activity as an exorcist illustrated by parallels from contemporary Jewish, pagan, and other sources—p. 148. The accusation that he was an agent of Beelzebub—p. 149. Their conviction that he was the promised Jewish Messiah was for his disciples the psychological basis of their visions of him after his death, and of their belief in his Second Advent.

CuapTeR X.—JESUS’S MORAL TEACHING

P. 152. Some of his precepts inapplicable to civil society—p. 153. Their seeming universality due, partly to the fact that in his age no Jewish State existed, and partly to his expectation of the immediate advent of the Kingdom of God—p. 154. Similar precepts addressed by Philo to Gentile proselytes cut off by their change of faith from family ties—p. 156. Wide adoption of the Jewish Sabbath—p. 158, Philo’s testimony to the trials of Jewish proselytes—p. 160. Jesus did not address his precepts to such proselytes, but everywhere assumes his hearers to be Jews and monotheists—p. 161. He looked forward, like Philo, to a speedy, but peaceful, emancipation of the Jews from the Roman yoke—p. 162. The lofty intransigence of his teaching.

Cuaprer XI.—THE BAPTISM OF JESUS

P. 164. The psychology of conversion—p. 166. The descent of the Spirit as a dove—p. 167. The Bath Kol—p. 168. The parallel of Hillel—Philo on the Bath Kol—p. 169. Parallel from the Testament of Levi—p. 171. The light on the waters of Jordan—p. 172. Idea of the baptismal re-birth of Jesus explains his title of the great fish ’””— p. 174. This idea was exploited by the Adoptionists—p. 175. The feast of the Epiphany or of the Baptism—p. 177. Why was the age of thirty chosen as that of Jesus at Baptism ?—Parallel of Zoroaster— p. 178. Pauline view that Jesus became Son of God through his

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resurrection, and not at Baptism—p. 180. The Ebionites insisted on the Baptism, but did not deify the Messiah—p. 181. Probability that the early Roman Church held Ebionite views—p. 181. Minucius Felix, Lactantius, and Aphraates. admit godhood of Jesus Christ in a catachrestic sense only.

Cuarter XII.—BIRTH LEGENDS

P. 186. Waning of the legend of the Virgin Birth—p. 187. Mark implicitly denied the Davidic origin of Jesus—p. 188. ‘Joseph begat Jesus’’—p. 190. The legend that Jesus was born at Bethlehem unknown to Mark and the author of the Fourth Gospel—p. 191. Criticism of Luke’s stories of the Birth—p. 193. The star of the Magi —p. 194. Parallels to Matthew’s Birth legend—p. 195. Virgin birth of Plato—p. 196. Virgin births among animals; Virgin birth of Julius Cesar, of Alexander, of Perseus—p. 198. Virgil’s fourth Eclogue—p. 199. Philo on virgin births—p. 200. Literary method of Luke in narrating the births of John and Jesus—p. 202. His text interpolated from the Protevangel—p. 204. The virgin mother in Revelation—p. 206. Mark’s Gospel and the Ebionite churches of Palestine denied the virgin birth of Jesus—p. 207. Judas Thomas, the twin brother of Jesus—p. 208. Aquila and Theodotion corrected virgin to maiden in their Greek versions of Isaiah, vii. 14—p. 210. The legend was due to the encratism of the early Churches—p. 211. And especially to the institution of spiritual marriage, evidenced by Paul’s letters—p. 215. Encratism of Revelation, of Acts of Paul and Thekla—p. 216. Due to the belief in the imminence of the Second Advent and end of this world—p. 217. Spiritual wives in the Pastor of Hermas, in Cyprian’s letters, in Gregory of Nyssa, in the Syriac and Celtic Churches—p. 219. Survival of the institution in the Middle Ages—p, 220. Harris and Oliphant—p. 222, Chivalry—p. 223. Muratori on spiritual wives—p. 224. The legend of the virgin due to encratite influence—p. 226. Docetic influences worked even toa denial that Jesus was ever born at all—p. 229. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception ; feasts of the Virgin—p. 230. Belief that the Virgin con- ceived through her ears—p. 232. Monophysite belief about Christ’s flesh ; the Pearl—p. 233. Meaning of Paul’s precept that women must veil their heads,

Cuapter XIII.—MAGIC USE OF NAMES P. 235. In folklore the name embodies the personality—p. 236. Names of power—p. 238. Ra’s secret name—p. 239. Use of Jesus’s name in exorcisms—p. 243. In consecrations—p. 245. Binding and

loosing—p. 248. Magic use of keys—p, 249. The cursing of the fig- tree similar to Roman Fascinatio.

SYNOPSIS OF CONTENTS ix

Cuarter XIV.—_THE EHUCHARIST

P. 251, Paul’s account communicated to him in an ecstasy—p. 252. He invoked the analogy of Pagan and Jewish sacrifice—p. 253. His idealism dashed with fetishism—p. 255. Kinship and communion in food—p. 256. The meaning of the drinking of the blood of Christ— p. 258. Blood-brotherhoods—p. 259. Communion with devils and with Christ—p. 263. Were the bread and wine in Paul’s sacraments magical substitutes for Christ’s body and blood?—p. 265. Paul viewed the sacrament as a rehearsal of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross—p. 266. Accretions of fetish belief round the sacrament— p. 267. The accounts of the last supper in First and Second Gospels influenced by Pauline Epistles—p. 268. That in Luke directly inter- polated therefrom. His original text was free from Pauline influence, and merely ascribed to Jesus a presage of the imminent Kingdom of God—p, 271. The Essene daily sacrament of bread and water and that of the Therapeute influenced Christian practice—p. 274. The cleansing of sin by blood, especially by human blood—p. 275. Wine as a substitute for blood—p. 277. Pagan analogies.

CuHarteR XV.—THE END

P. 279. The Gospel stories of the trial of Jesus coloured by Christian hatred of the Jews—p. 280. Anxiety of the Church to exonerate Pilate —p. 281. This exemplified from Luke—p. 283. And from the pseudo- Petrine Gospel—p. 284. Pagan analogies to the darkness over all the earth—p. 286. Descents into Hell—p. 287. The rending of the veil of the Temple—p. 288. Psychological antecedents of the belief in the resurrection—p. 293. Resurrection after three days—p. 294. Jewish and Egyptian belief in a bodily resurrection—p. 296. The burial of Jesus—p. 298. The Gospel stories of the empty tomb invented to confute the Jews—p. 300. Reasons for fixing the resurrection on Sunday morning—p. 301. Matthew’s amplification of Mark’s tale— p. 304. The appearance on the mountain in Galilee—p. 308. Pseudo- Peter’s account of the resurrection probably conserves the lost ending of Mark’s Gospel—p. 312. Narrative of the Acts of Pilate.

Cuaprrer XVI.—BAPTISM

P. 313. Origin of Bishops—p. 314. The rite of name-giving on the eighth day from birth; the “churching” of the child on the fortieth day—p. 315. Tertullian’s condemnation of the baptising of children reflects the feeling of the entire early Church—p. 316. The rite of sealing with the Spirit survived as the Cathar consolamentum— p. 317. Survival of adult baptism in the Order of the Bath—p. 317. Catechumenate and adult baptism in the early Church described—

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p. 818. Origin of triple immersion—-p. 319. Use of living water— p. 320. Use of holy, water and salt; the belief that post- baptismal sin was inexpiable, being sin against the Holy Spirit, led men to defer baptism until moment of death—p. 321. Invention by Pope Calixtus of the rite of penitence—p. 322. Relative unimport- ance of priests in the early Church; communication of Spirit by imposition of hands, and analogies in Mithraism and in folklore— p. 324. Use of rings against demons—p. 325. Significance of baptism of Jesus obscured in the later Christology which grew up with infant baptism—>p. 327. Stress laid in early Church on continuity of baptism.

CuarteR XVII.—MARCION

P. 329. Charles Darwin on Jewish origin of Christianity—p. 330. Marcion’s attempt to deny that origin; he rejected, rather than allegorise, the Jewish Scriptures, and denied them to be inspired by the good God—p. 332. He ascribed the creation of the universe and of man to a Demiurge, whom he identified with the vindictive God of the Jews—p. 333. He denied that Jesus upheld the Jewish Law— p- 334. He was the spiritual father of the Western Manicheans— p. 336. Progressive revelation an implicit denial of the claims of Christianity to be the one true religion—p. 340. The conception of an omnipotent, but merciful, God contradicts all experience—p. 341. Paul’s comparison of the Creator to a potter—p. 342. The idea of a first cause criticised—p. 343. Matter and mind, subject and object.

CuapteR XVIII.—DEVELOPMENT

P. 347. J. H. Newman’s Development of Christian Doctrine—p. 348. Criticism of the New Testament a new science—p. 349. Comparison with the hagiological studies of the Bollandists—p, 350. The early Church and Jesus himself believed that the end of the world was close at hand—p. 352. Apostolic belief in the messiahship of Jesus conditioned the subsequent belief in his second coming—p. 354. The Church was .born of the waiting for a Second Advent which never occurred—p. 355. Growth of Christology in the first two centuries— p. 356, Criticism of the idea of a Chosen People—p. 357. Cosmogony of the Church wholly mythical and antiquated—p. 360, In Italy and Spain the ingrained fetishism of the poor a greater obstacle to intellectual emancipation than official Catholicism—p. 361. Timidity of Anglican divines.

INTRODUCTION

Or all the great figures which look down upon us across the gulf and void of time, Jesus of Nazareth is the most gracious and winning of aspect; and, although his memory was soon associated with that policy of craft and exclusive- ness, of cruelty and credulity, which in East and West styled itself orthodoxy, nevertheless his name has ever been for the poor and oppressed, for the despised and dis- inherited of the earth, a bond and symbol of union in peace and charity. It behoves us, then, more than ever in this age, when old faiths are loosening their hold on us, and new superstitions, like Spiritualism, Occultism,and Christian Science, threaten to imprison our minds afresh, to inquire carefully who Jesus of Nazareth was, what were his real aims and ideas, what the means at his command for realising them, how the great institutions connected with his name origin- ated and grew up. This I have tried to do in the follow- ing pages, in as simple and straightforward a manner as I could, without ambiguity, but also without sarcasm or mockery. For these qualities of style could only enlist me readers in circles where I would rather not find them, and “are in any case inappropriate in such a discussion.

The orthodox reader will probably here exclaim: Then why choose such a title for your book? Can it do otherwise than wound and shock Christian sentiment ? I do not think it should do so, and can only entreat such readers to be patient and hear me out; especially if, like most Christians, they can allege no better reason for holding the faith they profess than they can for the colour of their hair being what it is. For it is undeniable that

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most people merely inherit their religious beliefs, accepting them without question, and never asking what was the previous history of these opinions before they floated into their minds; nor how they tally with the ascertained results of astronomy, geology, and zoology, of history, anthropology, and other new learning.

I have, then, chosen the words myth” and “magic” because there is no other way of characterising certain beliefs and practices of the early Church which in this work I have chosen to describe; and they can only offend those who imagine that. Christianity is the one religion in the world entitled to respect, and that all other religions are systems of fraud and imbecility. JI hold, on the contrary, that every creed and rite, from which men have drawn comfort in their trials and strength to bear their sufferings, should be treated with respect. Let it be the faith of Mahomet or the following of Buddha, the spell of the Malay or the Consolamentum of the Cathars of Albi, we must not scoff at anything in which our fellow beings have found a refuge from elemental terrors, and a panacea— none the less real to them because to us imaginary—for the many pains and aches of the flesh.

A myth is a religious narrative that purports to be histori- cally true, but is not; and magic may for our purpose be defined as any rite or religious operation which, in ignorance of true causes, seeks to realise ends, necessary or unnecessary to the well-being of society, by an appeal to occult or supernatural forces, no matter whether the latter be regarded as personal or not.

Let me illustrate my meaning by examples. We all talk of the myth of Danae, and no one to-day believes that Danae really conceived Perseus in a shower of gold poured out by Zeus. I may go further, and say that no one believes nowadays that Danae and Perseus and Zeus were ever real personalities at all. In the same way, those who reject the story of the virgin birth of Christ, as devoid of historical

INTRODUCTION xiii

‘substance, have every right to call it what it is—namely, a myth. If it be answered that the story of Christ’s birth is in the Bible, while that of Danae is not, I should answer that in modern Church Congresses clergymen constantly stand up and declare the contents of the first chapters of Genesis not only to be mythical, but to have been borrowed from older Assyrian myths. Yet Paul attached so much weight to the story of the Temptation and Fall of Adam and Eve as to make it the basis of his doctrine of Christ and of Christ’s redemption of ourrace. Here, then, is myth no less in the New than in the Old Testament; and I am ‘by no means the first to find it therein.

It will certainly be also argued that the evidence of the saints of the early Church ought to be accepted by us, because they derived their faith direct, or almost direct, from Jesus Christ. I should reply that, morally gifted as Jesus was above his contemporaries, he nevertheless shared with them the chief superstitions of his age. And I will add, what will be new to those who are not versed in the literature of the early Church, that the Christians of the first three or four centuries, though they renounced the religious uses and rites of the pagan societies among whom they were recruited, were far from renouncing pagan beliefs. They ceased to offer sacrifice to the old gods, but they continued to believe in them. They merely changed their names and titles, and called them wicked demons instead of gods. .They continued to believe that Zeus and Apollo, Mars and Venus, Mithras and Cybele, were supernatural beings, gifted with superhuman faculties and knowledge; and the main argument adduced by Christian homilists against sacrificing to the ancient gods was ever this, that they were hungry ghouls clamouring to be fed with the blood and reek of victims slain in their honour. Stop the sacrifices, they argued, and the demons that masquerade as gods will be starved out and reduced to weakness and impotence. Intellectually, then, conversion to Christianity counted for

XIV INTRODUCTION

little, and involved but a slight advance; and yet we are asked to accept blindly “the faith delivered to the saints,” as if the latter were infallible authorities. The present Dean of Canterbury has gravely proposed that the English Church should retain or revive, as a norm for modern Anglican belief and usage, whatever was catholic or universally received during the first six centuries; as if, along with much else that is alien to modern thought and manners, that would not include the practice of sacrificing animal victims, for this continued for centuries in Christian shrines, and still flourishes in the churches of Syria and the Caucasus.

I pass on to sacraments. I should be the last to deny that Christians derive from these a great deal of moral comfort and edification. None the less, when a priest undertakes by certain movements of his hauds, by use of certain invocations, of certain names and forms of words, which must on no account be varied, to impart to bread and wine, to water, oil, salt, bells, or what not, certain occult qualities and values, which they had not before and could not otherwise gain, he moves in the realm of pure magic. That such rites are attended with exhortations to repentance from sin and purification of the will and character is indeed fortunate, and a matter upon which we may well congratulate those who assist; but it does not alter the character of such ceremonies, and there is no use in not recognising that the atmosphere of a church— where animistic belief is allowed to colour and shape the rite of communion, where the women come fasting and the officiating clergy wear white gloves in handling the elements, where a bit of bread is carried about in procession and exposed or elevated for the adoration of the faithful—is an atmosphere which, if we encountered it among the medicine-men of the Congo, we should not scruple to say was impregnated with a belief in fetish and taboo. If, then, we are too frank and candid to uphold one set of weights and

INTRODUCTION XV

measures for our own religion, merely because it is ours, and another set for all other faiths, we must avoid circum- locutions, and boldly schedule the survivals or revivals which are to be witnessed in so many of our ritualistic churches, just where they really belong in the scheme of a comparative study of religions—namely, among fetish cults. Now the germs of such a sacramentalism are beyond doubt present in the New Testament, especially in Paul’s Epistles.

It will be urged against me that in this book I seldom give references in support of my statements. I have not done so because, in a work intended to be brief and popular, it was impossible. To have done so efficiently would have required a score of volumes of the same size. Behind my book, however, lie twenty years of close study of the Christian literature and rituals of the first five centuries; and I doubt if anyone who has pursued the same course of reading for an equal length of time, and with an open mind, will condemn many of my conclusions.

Some of my readers may also find fault with me for not having discussed methodically and more at length the date and authorship of each Gospel. On the whole, the traditional dating seems to me the most satisfactory. Thus I should set the composition of Mark’s Gospel, as we have it, about a.v. 70, of Luke’s at any time between 80 and 95, of Matthew’s about 100, of John’s about 110. I see little difficulty in supposing that the John Mark mentioned in Paul’s Epistles drew up some time after Peter’s death (as Ireneus affirms) the Gospel named after him; and I am inclined to think that Luke, the com- panion of Paul, really wrote the third Gospel and the Acts, though there is, of course, much to recommend the counter- hypothesis. The Gospel of Matthew is recognised even by conservative critics to be the work of an unknown writer ; and the old view that the Fourth Gospel was written by an apostle and eye-witness is quite exploded.

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How far back the Aramaic traditions exploited by Mark may go, we do not know. In estimating their age, however, we must bear in mind that it was not antiquarian or historical interest that led to their being collected and redacted. Had it been so, the world must have waited much longer; for few or none were interested to know about the brief ministry of a Messiah who was expected to come again, and that shortly. The eyes of believers were, up to the end of the first century, fixed on the future and not on the past; and the aim of the second evangelist was rather to prove, as against the Jews who denied it, that Jesus was Messiah and Son of God, than to set on record for posterity the facts of his earthly career. It is, therefore, merely incidentally that he supplies us with an outline of that career. Primarily his work was a party pamphlet. The sayings of Jesus must have been written. down at an earlier stage, because they were wanted as a manual of moral teaching. They were rules which every candidate for the kingdom of God, soon to be manifested, had to lay to heart and observe. I should not, therefore, be surprised to learn that the Aramaic text of these sayings was current within a short generation after the death of Jesus.

Of the Epistles of Paul, very few are now disputed by competent critics. Iam disposed to accept as authentic all of them, not excepting the ones addressed to Timothy and Titus. For the latter form a group, of which it is difficult to accept one member and not the others. Now it is quite inconceivable that a forger of Pauline Epistles, wishing, if not to honour Paul, at least not to bring him into disrepute, would attribute to his pen the statements that we find in the Second Epistle to Timothy—namely, that all the believers in Asia had “turned away from” him, and that at the very first hearing of his appeal to the Cesar in Rome “no one took my part, but all forsook me.” “May it not be laid to their account!” he adds, showing how reprehensible he felt their desertion of him to be. A

INTRODUCTION Xvil

forger would not thus have gone out of his way to reveal to us that the entire Church of Rome belonged to the Judaising party of James and John, and that their hatred of the Apostle of the Gentiles continued to be so intense that they abandoned him in his hour of need. I believe no one would ever have disputed the authenticity of this letter if a pagan had written it instead of Paul. If, then, it is authentic, the other two must be accepted also. A tendency set in very early among Christian writers to glose over and obliterate all traces of the quarrel between Paul and the pillars of the Church, which in the Epistle to the Galatians, probably the earliest of the letters of Paul, is so vividly described. In the Acts of the Apostles this tendency is very clearly exhibited, and any forger of Pauline letters would have been dominated by it. The Epistle to the Hebrews has never been seriously attributed to Paul, but it is clearly anterior to a.p. 70, and Tertullian was probably right in attributing it to Barnabas.

I have cited the Book of Revelation as a work of the last decade of the first century. This was the tradition of Ireneeus, and the fact that a rescript of Domitian of the year 93 is cited in it verbatim confirms that tradition. This, however, does not preclude us from seeing in it a working up of an earlier document of about the year 68 or 69, to which date Renan assigned it.

It remains to acknowledge my indebtedness to the three greatest Christian scholars of our age—the Abbé Loisy, Prof. Adolf Harnack, and J. Wellhausen. I have here and there cited them by name; but those who are acquainted with their works will recognise their influence in almost every page of my book.

I fear most of my readers will find my first few chapters, in which I set forth the textual problem, stiff reading. If so, I need not be disappointed ; for in the field of criticism no results can be worth much which do not involve hard study. Nothing is so contemptible as the facile orthodoxy

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which would fain raise no questions, and the exponents of which are accustomed to plead that it is so much simpler to take every statement in the Bible at its face value.

Such exhortations are in vain in the present day, when the dogmatic repose of earlier generations has been widely and ruthlessly disturbed. It cannot be restored. We must face the problems of our age, and adopt the solutions which an enlightened criticism provides. Those who decline to do so, and try to maintain in their minds what has aptly been called a water-tight compartment for their religious convictions, are in danger of ruining themselves as well as their fellows. For a man’s character is all of a piece, and we cannot burke awkward questions, thrust our heads into the sand, and practise sophistry and make-believe in so intimate a concern as religious belief, without sooner or later forfeiting all round those qualities of manliness, honesty, and painstaking thoroughness which alone can enable Englishmen in these days of keen competition to hold their own.

FF, Ged, January 31st, 1909.

Carter I. PAUL

Tue late Master of Balliol, Benjamin Jowett, once wrote to a lady who sought his opinion, that the Gospels are fragments of unknown age, full of incredible things; and few will to-day maintain the narratives, which survived among the Christians, of the life of the founder, Jesus of Nazareth, to be as full, accurate, and authentic as the supposed import- ance of their subject-matter demands. Of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and many other teachers of antiquity, not to mention great military and political leaders, we can out of the records bequeathed to us construct lifelike pictures, can trace with certainty the gradual development of their minds and characters, and exhibit in detail their careers. Often we have their very letters and writings; and coins and sculptures preserve to us the lineaments of their countenances. Yet of Jesus, whose birth is supposed to have opened a new era, not only for this earth, but for the entire universe, we know all too little; and we have not enough material to write a life of him, in the sense in which we write lives of Julius Cesar, of Cicero, of Augustus, and of many others who were nearly his contemporaries.

But the Gospels are not the earliest Christian documents which we possess ; for the earliest of them —that of Mark—is nearly a generation later than the Epistles of Paul, of which several were written within

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a generation of Jesus’s death. And this is not all. Paul was in personal relations—often strained, it is true, yet none the less actual—with Peter and John, the immediate disciples of Jesus, and with James, his brother, and first president of the Church of Jerusalem. Anxious to ascertain the facts of Jesus’s life, it is to these Epistles that we naturally turn. We do so in vain! Paul had unique opportunities of informing himself about the earthly career of Jesus, of handing on this information to his converts; but of set purpose he declined to do anything of the sort. ‘“* Hven though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more,’’! he writes to his flock at Corinth—words which imply that he had probably seen Jesus, and, if not that much, that he anyhow was acquainted with the facts of his life through others who knew him personally. Yet he deprecates such knowledge. If he ever saw Jesus in the flesh, he would fain forget that he did so, and have others forget it also. He attaches no importance to the fact, nor desires others to do so. On one event alone in Jesus’s life he lays stress—namely, on his crucifixion. ‘The Jews,” he writes to the same converts, ‘‘ ask for signs’’—that is to say, for miracles worked before their eyes; ‘‘ the Greeks seek after wisdom’’—that is to say, after a system of ethical philosophy and a rational synthesis of reality. Jesus the Messiah, or Christ, so he hints, could supply neither of these needs. ‘‘ We,” he continues, ‘‘ preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumbling-block, and unto Gentiles foolish- ness.’ 2 In the real Jesus, in the humble teacher of men, the healer of their souls and bodies, Paul was

1 2 Cor. v. 16. 2 1 Cor. 1,, 23.

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not interested. And yet this enthusiast’s letters are not wholly barren, but reveal, though quite inciden- tally, the following facts about Jesus. We learn from them that he was born of woman—that is to say, like any other human being; that he was born of the seed of David, and was under the law—in other words, that he was an orthodox Jew; that he shared with us all the weakness and infirmities of the flesh; that he was obedient unto death, and died on the cross suffering as ordinary men suffer and die.

But this earthly life of Jesus, beginning with birth and ending with crucifixion, was, according to Paul, a mere incident in a larger divine life and existence. And at this point it is important to notice that Paul was pre-eminently a man of visions and dreams, prizing what in moments of ecstasy he beheld more highly than waking realities. The crucified Jesus, who had been raised from the dead, not in the corruptible flesh, but with such a spiritual and in- corruptible body as, according to Paul, could alone inherit incorruption, had been seen after death by a multitude of his followers, and last of all had appeared and spoken to himself during his journey to Damascus. He even relates how, on this or perhaps some other occasion, he was caught up into the third heaven, whether in the body or out of the body he knew not.} Thus ‘‘ caught wp into paradise,’ he had “heard un- speakable words, which itis not lawful for aman to utter.” Lest he should be exalted overmuch by the exceeding greatness of these revelations, there had been given to him a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet him. Of this he had prayed to bedelivered; but the Lord

1 2 Cor. xii, 1 foll.

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had appeared to him and said, My grace is sufficient for thee.! The affliction in question was undoubtedly the epilepsy which often attends such temperaments.

From such incidents as the above we can under- stand the character of Paul’s gospel. He was, like many a later saint, of a temperament naturally ecstatic, and perpetually saw Christ and conversed with him in visions; his words and actions, even his missionary movements, as he is careful to inform us, were inspired and directed not by reflection but “by revelation.”

What was the previous history of this enthusiast ? He was, so he tells us, a Jew of the Jews, and a Pharisee as well. As such he had, during his early manhood, sought to win the approval of a jealous God by meticulous observance of the taboos and prescrip- tions of the Mosaic law. At Tarsus, his native place, he learned to talk and write Greek, without, however, forfeiting his own Aramaic dialect, as did most of the Jews when once they were Grecised. In that part of Asia an enormous number of pagans, without adopting all the practices of Judaism, had yet assimilated Jewish monotheism, and his knowledge of this outer fringe of his religion taught Paul later on to remit for his converts the heavy yoke of the Jewish law.

After the death of Jesus, Paul, ever-zealous, what- ever party he espoused, threw himself into the persecu- tion of the followers of the new Messiah; yet not for long. Struck with the fortitude with which his victims met their death, he began to entertain mis- givings of the righteousness of his cause. Christian Inquisitors have easily stifled such misgivings, if they

1 2Cor. xii. 9.

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ever felt them. But Paul was cast in another mould; his scruples, once excited, gathered force in his sensitive conscience, and ripened at last into a vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus, when he heard the voice of the risen Messiah calling to him from heaven: “Saul, Saul, why kickest thou against the pricks 2”? The pricks were those of his own conscience. It is untrue to say that from this crisis Paul emerged a different man, inspired with new ideals. He had already formed or imbibed from others the ideal of a univer- salist Messiah, perhaps even of a suffering saviour of humanity. This scheme lay ready in his mind; and he fitted it, not without some violence, on to Jesus of Nazareth, whose own teaching and example had so strongly impressed his personal followers. Their faith in their master impressed Paul in turn, and led him, as it were, to appropriate Jesus nolens volens as his own, and to superimpose on him ail the transcendental réle and cosmic importance which in previous training he had learned to assign to the expected Messiah. Thus conversion signified for Paul not an acceptance of new principles, but only a new application of old ones.

Let us illustrate this point. There is some uncer- tainty about the teaching of Jesus; but this much is clear, that he had no message except for hisowncountry- men, nor ever dreamed of any but Jews sharing in the heavenly kingdom whose near approach he proclaimed. He expressly forbad his disciples to missionise the heathen, or even the Samaritans, who yet in the Pentateuch reverenced the same sacred books as himself, and were in reality the most genuine Jews of that age. Paul, however, had, from early training, learned to conceive of the coming Messiah or Christ as a heavenly being, the power and wisdom of God,

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second only to the divine father, an uncorrupted image of God, an ideal type of humanity, such as was Adam before he clutched at equality with God and fell. The immediate followers of Jesus entertained no such lofty conception of the Messiah. He was to them a man sent from God, who had met with a cruel fate, but was still alive and was to appear again within © their generation and restore the kingdom of David. But to Paul he was an ideal and eternal being, who had condescended to quit the right hand of God and to be found on earth in the likeness of sinful flesh, and, as the man Jesus, to die on the cross the death of a malefactor, in order that he might, as a perfect victim, conciliate the wrath of an angry God, and mediate the salvation, not of Jews alone, but of all mankind.

Thus Paul’s Christ is an a priori construction of his own, owing to the historical man of Nazareth and to those who knew that man and cherished his memory little except the bare name of Jesus. Paul’s Jesus is an ideal superhuman Saviour, destined, from the beginning of the world, to play an ecumenie réle. Raised by the spirit of God from the dead, the saviour has left behind in the grave, together with the flesh now given over to corruption, all his Jewish exclusive- ness, all his human traits, even his sex.! ‘‘ Ye areall,” writes Paul to the Galatians, ‘‘ sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus....... There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female : for ye all are one in Christ Jesus.” From such a standpoint there could obviously be no reason why Gentiles converted to Messianic Judaism

1 Gal. iii, 26 foll.

PAUL ow should accept the Jewish law and undergo circum- cision, why they should keep sabbaths, or observe the many ritual taboos which hedged in the dinner- table of the Jews and prevented their eating in the company of Gentiles. It was just here that Paul could not fail to come into conflict with Peter and James and John, and other personal followers of Jesus. The latter had indeed known how to interpret in a rational manner the rule of the sabbath, but had never dreamed of repealing it, any more than of repudiating circumcision or the Jewish sacrificial system. His followers, accordingly, could but resent Paul’s denial that the law was binding for his converts, his allowing them to participate in the meals of Gentiles, his contempt for taboos in general. They denounced the short cut to salvation which he had invented for Gentiles, and insisted that there was no way into the impending messianic kingdom except through the very works and observance of the law which Paul reckoned un- necessary. The Messiah, they argued, was a Messiah of the Jews alone, not of the Gentiles, for whom the divine promises were never made, and between whom and Jehovah no covenant ever existed. Therefore a Gentile who desired to enter the kingdom must enter it through the narrow