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Title: Supernatural Religion, Vol. II. (of III) - An Inquiry into the Reality of Divine Revelation
Author: Cassels, Walter Richard, 1826-1907
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Supernatural Religion, Vol. II. (of III) - An Inquiry into the Reality of Divine Revelation" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



By Walter Richard Cassels

In Three Volumes: Vol. II.

Complete Edition.

Carefully Revised.


Longmans, Greenland Co.,


PG EDITOR'S NOTE: This file has been provided with an image of the
original scan for each page which is linked to the page number in the
html file. Nearly every page in the text has many Greek passages which
have been indicated where they occur by [———] as have many complex
tables; these passages may be viewed in the page images. Some of the
pages have only a few lines of text and then the rest of the page is
taken up with complex footnotes in English, Greek and Hebrew. The reader
may click on the page numbers in the html file to see the entire page
with the footnotes. —DW




We must now as briefly as possible examine the evidence furnished by
the apocryphal religious romance generally known by the name of "The
Clementines," and assuming, falsely of course,(1) to be the composition
of the Roman Clement. The Clementines are composed of three principal
works, the Homilies, Recognitions, and a so-called Epitome. The
Homilies, again, are prefaced by a pretended epistle addressed by the
Apostle Peter to James, and another from Clement. These Homilies were
only known in an imperfect form till 1853, when Dressel(2) published
a complete Greek text. Of the Recognitions we only possess a Latin
translation by Rufinus (a.d. 402).


Although there is much difference of opinion regarding the claims to
priority of the Homilies and Recognitions, many critics assigning that
place to the Homilies,(1) whilst others assert the earlier origin of the
Recognitions,(2) all are agreed that the one is merely a version of the
other, the former being embodied almost word for word in the latter,
whilst the Epitome is a blending of the other two, probably intended
to purge them from heretical doctrine. These works, however, which are
generally admitted to have emanated from the Ebionitic party of the
early Church,(3) are supposed to be based upon older Petrine writings,
such as the "Preaching of Peter" [------], and the "Travels of Peter"


It is not necessary for our purpose to go into any analysis of the
character of the Clementines. It will suffice to say that they almost
entirely consist of discussions between the Apostle Peter and Simon
the Magician regarding the identity of the true Mosaic and Christian
religions. Peter follows the Magician from city to city for the purpose
of exposing and refuting him, the one, in fact, representing Apostolic
doctrine and the other heresy, and in the course of these discussions
occur the very numerous quotations of sayings of Jesus and of Christian
history which we have to examine.

The Clementine Recognitions, as we have already remarked, are only known
to us through the Latin translation of Rufinus; and from a comparison of
the evangelical quotations occurring in that work with the same in the
Homilies, it is evident that Rufinus has assimilated them in the course
of translation to the parallel passages of our Gospels. It is admitted,
therefore, that no argument regarding the source of the quotations can
rightly be based upon the Recognitions, and that work may, consequently,
be entirely set aside,(1) and the Clementine Homilies alone need occupy
our attention.

We need scarcely remark that, unless the date at which these Homilies
were composed can be ascertained, their value as testimony for the
existence of our Synoptic Gospels is seriously affected. The difficulty
of arriving at a correct conclusion regarding this point, great under
almost any circumstances, is of course increased by the fact that the
work is altogether apocryphal, and most certainly not held by any one to


been written by the person whose name it bears. There is in fact nothing
but internal evidence by which to fix the date, and that internal
evidence is of a character which admits of very wide extension down the
course of time, although a sharp limit is set beyond which it cannot
mount upwards. Of external evidence there is almost none, and what
little exists does not warrant an early date. Origen, it is true,
mentions [------],(1) which, it is conjectured, may either be the same
work as the [------], or Recognitions, translated by Rufinus, or
related to it, and Epiphanius and others refer to [------];(2) but
our Clementine Homilies are not mentioned by any writer before
pseudo-Athanasius.(3) The work, therefore, can at the best afford no
substantial testimony to the antiquity and apostolic origin of our
Gospels. Hilgenfeld, following in the steps of Baur, arrives at the
conclusion that the Homilies are directed against the Gnosticism of
Marcion (and also, as we shall hereafter see, against the Apostle Paul),
and he, therefore, necessarily assigns to them a date subsequent to a.d.
160. As Reuss, however, inquires: upon this ground, why should a still
later date not be named, since even Tertullian wrote vehemently against
the same Gnosis.(4) There can be little doubt that the author was a
representative of Ebionitic Gnosticism, which had once been the purest
form of primitive Christianity, but later, through its own development,
though still more through the rapid growth around it of Paulinian
doctrine, had


assumed a position closely verging upon heresy. It is not necessary
for us, however, to enter upon any exhaustive discussion of the date at
which the Clementines were written; it is sufficient to show that there
is no certain ground upon which a decision can be based, and that even
an approximate conjecture can scarcely be reasonably advanced. Critics
variously date the composition of the original Recognitions from about
the middle of the second century to the end of the third, though the
majority are agreed in placing them at least in the latter century.(1)
They assign to the Homilies an origin at different dates within a period
commencing about the middle of the second century, and extending to a
century later.2

In the Homilies there are very numerous quotations


of sayings of Jesus and of Gospel history, which are generally placed
in the mouth of Peter, or introduced with such formulae as: "The teacher
said," "Jesus said," "He said," "The prophet said," but in no case does
the author name the source from which these sayings and quotations are
derived. That he does, however, quote from a written source, and not
from tradition, is clear from the use of such expressions as "in another
place [------](1) he has said," which refer not to other localities or
circumstances, but another part of a written history.(2) There are in
the Clementine Homilies upwards of a hundred quotations of sayings of
Jesus or references to his history, too many by far for us to examine
in detail here; but, notwithstanding the number of these passages, so
systematically do they vary, more or less, from the parallels in our
canonical Gospels, that, as in the case of Justin, Apologists are
obliged to have recourse to the elastic explanation, already worn so
threadbare, of "free quotation from memory" and "blending of passages"
to account for the remarkable phenomena presented. It must, however,
be evident that the necessity for such an apology at all shows the
insufficiency of the evidence furnished by these quotations. De
Wette says: "The quotations of evangelical works and histories in the
pseudo-Clementine writings, from their nature free and inaccurate,
permit only an uncertain conclusion to be


drawn as to their written source."(1) Critics have maintained very
different and conflicting views regarding that source. Apologists, of
course, assert that the quotations in the Homilies are taken from
our Gospels only.(2) Others ascribe them to our Gospels, with a
supplementary apocryphal work: the Gospel according to the Hebrews, or
the Gospel according to Peter.(3) Some, whilst admitting a subsidiary
use of some of our Gospels, assert that the author of the Homilies
employs, in preference, the Gospel according to Peter;(4) whilst others,
recognizing also the similarity of the phenomena presented by these
quotations with those of Justin's, conclude that the author does not
quote our Gospels at all, but makes use of the Gospel according to
Peter, or the Gospel according to the Hebrews.(5) Evidence permitting of
such divergent conclusions manifestly cannot be of a decided character.
We may affirm, however, that few of those who are


willing to admit the use of our Synoptics by the author of the Homilies
along with other sources, make that concession on the strength of the
absolute isolated evidence of the Homilies themselves, but they are
generally moved by antecedent views on the point. In an inquiry like
that which we have undertaken, however, such easy and indifferent
judgment would obviously be out of place, and the point we have to
determine is not whether an author may have been acquainted with our
Gospels, but whether he furnishes testimony that he actually was in
possession of our present Gospels and regarded them as authoritative.

We have already mentioned that the author of the Clementine Homilies
never names the source from which his quotations are derived. Of these
very numerous quotations we must again distinctly state that only two or
three, of a very brief and fragmentary character, literally agree with
our Synoptics, whilst all the rest differ more or less widely from
the parallel passages in those Gospels. Some of these quotations are
repeated more than once with the same persistent and characteristic
variations, and in several cases, as we have already seen, they agree
more or less closely with quotations of Justin from the Memoirs of the
Apostles. Others, again, have no parallels at all in our Gospels, and
even Apologists are consequently compelled to admit the collateral
use of an apocryphal Gospel. As in the case of Justin, therefore, the
singular phenomenon is presented of a vast number of quotations of which
only one or two brief phrases, too fragmentary to avail as evidence,
perfectly agree with our Gospels; whilst of the rest, which all vary
more or less, some merely resemble combined passages of two Gospels,
others merely contain the sense, some


present variations likewise found in other writers or in various parts
of the Homilies are repeatedly quoted with the same variations, and
others are not found in our Gospels at all. Such phenomena cannot
be fairly accounted for by any mere theory of imperfect memory or
negligence. The systematic variation from our Synoptics, variation
proved by repetition not to be accidental, coupled with quotations which
have no parallels at all in our Gospels, more naturally point to the
use of a different Gospel. In no case can the Homilies be accepted as
furnishing evidence even of the existence of our Gospels.

As it is impossible here to examine in detail all of the quotations in
the Clementine Homilies, we must content ourselves with this distinct
statement of their character, and merely illustrate briefly the
different classes of quotations, exhausting, however, those which
literally agree with passages in the Gospels. The most determined
of recent Apologists do not afford us an opportunity of testing
the passages upon which they base their assertion of the use of our
Synoptics, for they simply assume that the author used them without
producing instances.(1)

The first quotation agreeing with a passage in our Synoptics occurs
in Hom. iii. 52: "And he cried, saying: Come unto me all ye that are
weary," which agrees with the opening words of Matt. xi. 28, but the
phrase does

     1 Teschendorf only devotes a dozen linos, with a note, to
     the Clemontinos, and only in connection with our fourth
     Gospel, which shall hero-after have our attention. Wann
     wurden u. s. w., p. 90. In the same way Canon Westcott
     passes them over in a short paragraph, merely asserting the
     allusions to our Gospels to be "generally admitted," and
     only directly referring to one supposed quotation from Mark
     which we shall presently examine, and one which he affirms
     to be from the fourth Gospel. On the Canon, p. 251 f. [In
     the 4th edition he has enlarged his remarks, p. 282 ff.]


not continue, and is followed by the explanation: "that is, who are
seeking the truth and not finding it."(1) It is evident, that so short
and fragmentary a phrase cannot prove anything.(2)

The next passage occurs in Hom. xviii. 15: "For Isaiah said: I will open
my mouth in parables, and I will utter things that have been kept secret
from the foundation of the world."(3) Now this passage, with a slightly
different order of words, is found in Matt. xiii. 35. After giving a
series of parables, the author of the Gospel says (v. 34), "All these
things spake Jesus unto the multitudes in parables; and without a
parable spake he not unto them; (v. 35) That it might be fulfilled which
was spoken by the prophet (Isaiah), saying: I will open my mouth in
parables, &c." There are two peculiarities which must be pointed out in
this passage. It is not found in Isaiah, but in Psalm lxxviii. 2,(4) and
it presents a variation from the version of the lxx. Both the variation
and the erroneous reference to Isaiah, therefore, occur also in the
Homily. The first part of the sentence agrees with, but the latter part
is quite different from, the Greek of the lxx., which reads: "I will
utter problems from the beginning," [------].(5)

The Psalm from which the quotation is really taken is, by its
superscription, ascribed to Asaph, who, in the Septuagint version of II.
Chronicles xxix. 30, is called a


prophet.(1) It was, therefore, early asserted that the original reading
of Matthew was "Asaph," instead of "Isaiah." Porphyry, in the third
century, twitted Christians with this erroneous ascription by their
inspired evangelist to Isaiah of a passage from a Psalm, and reduced the
Fathers to great straits. Eusebius, in his commentary on this verse
of the Psalm, attributes the insertion of the words, "by the prophet
Isaiah," to unintelligent copyists, and asserts that in accurate MSS.
the name is not added to the word prophet. Jerome likewise ascribes the
insertion of the name Isaiah for that of Asaph, which was originally
written, to an ignorant scribe,(2) and in the commentary on the Psalms,
generally, though probably falsely, ascribed to him, the remark is made
that many copies of the Gospel to that day had the name "Isaiah," for
which Porphyry had reproached Christians,(3) and the writer of the same
commentary actually allows himself to make the assertion that Asaph was
found in all the old codices, but ignorant men had removed it.(4) The
fact is, that the reading "Asaph" for "Isaiah" is not found in any
extant MS., and, although "Isaiah" has disappeared from all but a few
obscure codices, it cannot be denied that the name anciently stood in
the text.(5) In the Sinaitic Codex, which is probably the earliest
MS. extant, and which is assigned to the fourth century, "the prophet
_Isaiah_" stands in the text by the first hand, but is erased by the
second (b).


The quotation in the Homily, however, is clearly not from our Gospel.
It is introduced by the words "For Isaiah says:" and the context is so
different from that in Matthew, that it seems most improbable that the
author of the Homily could have had the passage suggested to him by the
Gospel. It occurs in a discussion between Simon the Magician and Peter.
The former undertakes to prove that the Maker of the world is not the
highest God, and amongst other arguments he advances the passage:
"No man knew the Father, &c.," to show that the Father had remained
concealed from the Patriarchs, &c., until revealed by the Son, and in
reply to Peter he retorts, that if the supposition that the Patriarchs
were not deemed worthy to know the Father was unjust, the Christian
teacher was himself to blame, who said: "I thank thee, Lord of heaven
and earth, that what was concealed from the wise thou hast revealed to
suckling babes." Peter argues that in the statement of Jesus: "No man
knew the Father, &c.," he cannot be considered to indicate another
God and Father from him who made the world, and he continues: "For the
concealed things of which he spoke may be those of the Creator himself;
for Isaiah says: 'I will open my mouth, &c.' Do you admit, therefore,
that the prophet was not ignorant of the things concealed,"(1) and so
on. There is absolutely nothing in this argument to indicate that the
passage was suggested by the Gospel, but, on the contrary, it is used in
a totally different way, and is quoted not as an evangelical text, but
as a saying from the Old Testament, and treated in connection with the
prophet himself, and not with its supposed fulfilment in Jesus. It may
be remarked, that in the corresponding part of


the Recognitions, whether that work be of older or more recent date, the
passage does not occur at all. Now, although it is impossible to say
how and where this erroneous reference to a passage of the Old Testament
first occurred, there is no reason for affirming that it originated in
our first Synoptic, and as little for asserting that its occurrence
in the Clementine Homilies, with so different a context and object,
involves the conclusion that their author derived it from the Gospel,
and not from the Old Testament or some other source. On the contrary,
the peculiar argument based upon it in the Homilies suggests a different
origin, and it is very probable that the passage, with its erroneous
reference, was derived by both from another and common source.

Another passage is a phrase from the "Lord's Prayer," which occurs in
Hom. xix. 2: "But also in the prayer which he commended to us, we have
it said: Deliver us from the evil one" [------]. It need scarcely be
said, however, that few Gospels can have been composed without including
this prayer, and the occurrence of this short phrase demonstrates
nothing more than the mere fact, that the author of the Homilies was
acquainted with one of the most universally known lessons of Jesus, or
made use of a Gospel which contained it. There would have been cause for
wonder had he been ignorant of it.

The only other passage which agrees literally with our Gospels is also
a mere fragment from the parable of the Talents, and when the other
references to the same parable are added, it is evident that the
quotation is not from our Gospels. In Hom. iii. 65, the address to
the good servant is introduced: "Well done, good and faithful servant"
[------], which agrees


with the words in Matt. xxv. 21. The allusion to the parable of the
talents in the context is perfectly clear, and the passage occurs in
an address of the Apostle Peter to overcome the modest scruples of
Zaccheus, the former publican, who has been selected by Peter as his
successor in the Church of Caesarea when he is about to leave in pursuit
of Simon the Magician. Anticipating the possibility of his hesitating
to accept the office, Peter, in an earlier part of his address, however,
makes fuller allusions to the same parable of the talents, which we must
contrast with the parallel in the first Synoptic. "But if any of those
present, having the ability to instruct the ignorance of men, shrink
back from it, considering only his own ease, then let him expect to



The Homily does not end here, however, but continues in words not found
in our Gospels at all: "And reasonably: 'For,' he says, 'it is thine,
O man, to put my words as silver with exchangers, and to prove them as
money/"(1) This passage is very analogous to another saying of Jesus,
frequently quoted from an apocryphal Gospel, by the author of the
Homilies, to which we shall hereafter more particularly refer, but
here merely point out: "Be ye approved money-changers" [------].(2) The
variations from the parallel passages in the first and third Gospels,
the peculiar application of the parable to the _words_ of Jesus, and
the addition of a saying not found in our Gospels, warrant us in denying
that the quotations we are considering can be appropriated by our
canonical Gospels, and, on the contrary, give good reason for the
conclusion, that the author derived his knowledge of the parable from
another source.

There is no other quotation in the Clementine Homilies which literally
agrees with our Gospels, and it is difficult, without incurring the
charge of partial selection, to illustrate the systematic variation
in such very numerous passages as occur in these writings. It would be
tedious and unnecessary to repeat the test applied to the quotations
of Justin, and give in detail the passages from the Sermon on the Mount
which are found in the Homilies. Some of these will come before us
presently, but with regard to the whole, which are not less than fifty,
we may broadly and positively state that they all more or less differ
from our Gospels. To take the


severest test, however, we shall compare those further passages which
are specially adduced as most closely following our Gospels, and neglect
the vast majority which most widely differ from them. In addition to
the passages which we have already examined, Credner(1) points out the
following. The first is from Hom. xix. 2.(2) "If Satan cast out Satan
he is divided against himself: how then can his kingdom stand?" In the
first part of this sentence, the Homily reads, [------] for the [------]
of the first Gospel, and the last phrase in each is as follows:--


The third Gospel differs from the first as the Homily does from both.
The next passage is from Hom. xix. 7.s "For thus, said our Father, who
was without deceit: out of abundance of heart mouth speaketh." The Greek
compared with that of Matt. xii. 34.


The form of the homily is much more proverbial. The next passage occurs
in Hom. iii. 52: "Every plant which the heavenly Father did not plant
shall be rooted up." This agrees with the parallel in Matt. xv. 13, with
the important exception, that although in the mouth of Jesus, "_the_
heavenly Father" is substituted for the "_my_ heavenly Father" of the
Gospel. The last passage pointed out by Credner, is from Hom. viii.
4: "But also 'many,' he said, 'called, but few chosen;'" which may be
compared with Matt. xx. 16, &c.



We have already fully discussed this passage of the Gospel in connection
with the "Epistle of Barnabas,"[1] and need not say more here.

The variations in these passages, it may be argued, are not very
important. Certainly, if they were the exceptional variations amongst a
mass of quotations perfectly agreeing with parallels in our Gospels, it
might be exaggeration to base upon such divergences a conclusion that
they were derived from a different source. When it is considered,
however, that the very reverse is the case, and that these are passages
selected for their closer agreement out of a multitude of others either
more decidedly differing from our Gospels or not found in them at all,
the case entirely changes, and variations being the rule instead of the
exception, these, however slight, become evidence of the use of a Gospel
different from ours. As an illustration of the importance of slight
variations in connection with the question as to the source from which
quotations are derived, the following may at random be pointed out. The
passage "See thou say nothing to any man, but go thy way, show thyself
to the priest" [------] occurring in a work like the Homilies would,
supposing our second Gospel no longer extant, be referred to Matt viii.
4, with which it entirely agrees with the exception of its containing
the one extra word [------]. It is however actually taken from Mark i.
44, and not from the first Gospel. Then again, supposing that our first
Gospel had shared the fate of so many others of the [------] of Luke,
and in some early work the following passage were found: "A prophet is
not without honour except in his own country


and in his own house" [------]t this passage would undoubtedly be
claimed by apologists as a quotation from Mark vi. 4, and as proving the
existence and use of that Gospel. The omission of the words "and among
his own kin" [------] would at first be explained as mere abbreviation,
or defect of memory, but on the discovery that part or all of these
words are omitted from some MSS., that for instance the phrase is erased
from the oldest manuscript known, the Cod. Sinaiticus, the derivation
from the second Gospel would be considered as established. The author
notwithstanding might never have seen that Gospel, for the quotation is
taken from Matt. xiii. 57.(2)

We have already quoted the opinion of De Wette as to the inconclusive
nature of the deductions to be drawn from the quotations in the
pseudo-Clementine writings regarding their source, but in pursuance
of the plan we have adopted we shall now examine the passages which he
cites as most nearly agreeing with our Gospels.(3) The first of these
occurs in Hom. iii. 18: "The Scribes and the Pharisees sit upon Moses'
seat; all things therefore, whatsoever they speak to you, hear them,"
which is compared with Matt, xxiii. 2, 3: "The Scribes and the Pharisees
sit upon Moses' seat; all things therefore, whatsoever they say to
you, do and observe." We subjoin the Greek of the latter half of these


That the variation in the Homily is deliberate and derived from the
Gospel used by the author is clear from the continuation: "Hear _them_
[------], he said, as entrusted with the key of the kingdom, which is
knowledge, which alone is able to open the gate of life, through which
alone is the entrance to eternal life. But verily, he says: They possess
the key indeed, but to those who wish to enter in they do not grant
it."(1) The [------] is here emphatically repeated, and the further
quotation and reference to the denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees
continues to differ distinctly from the account both in our first and
third Gospels. The passage in Matt, xxiii. 13, reads: "But woe unto you,
Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut the kingdom of heaven
against men; for ye go not in yourselves neither suffer ye them that are
entering to go in."(2) The parallel in Luke xi. 52 is not closer. There
the passage regarding Moses' seat is altogether wanting, and in ver.
52, where the greatest similarity exists, the "lawyers" instead of the
"Scribes and Pharisees" are addressed. The verse reads: "Woe unto you,
Lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in
yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered."(3) The first
Gospel has not the direct image of the key at all: the Scribes and
Pharisees "shut the kingdom of


heaven;" the third has "the key of knowledge" [------] taken away by the
lawyers, and not by the Scribes and Pharisees, whilst the Gospel of the
Homilies has the key of the kingdom [------], and explains that this
key is knowledge [------]. It is apparent that the first Gospel uses an
expression more direct than the others, whilst the third Gospel explains
it, but the Gospel of the Homilies has in all probability the simpler
original words: the "key of the kingdom," which both of the others have
altered for the purpose of more immediate clearness. In any case it is
certain that the passage does not agree with our Gospel.(1)

The next quotation referred to by De Wette is in Hom. iii. 51: "And also
that he said: 'I am not come to destroy the law.... the heaven and the
earth will pass away, but one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass
from the law.'" This is compared with Matt. v. 17, 18:(2) "Think not
that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to
destroy but to fulfil, (v. 18) For verily I say unto you: Till heaven
and earth pass away one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from
the law, till all be fulfilled." The Greek of both passages reads as



That the omissions and variations in this passage are not accidental is
proved by the fact that the same quotation occurs again literally in
the Epistle from Peter(1) which is prefixed to the Homilies in which the
[------] is

repeated, and the sentence closes at the same point The author in
that place adds: "This he said that all might be fulfilled" [------].

considers this Epistle of much more early date than the Homilies, and
that this agreement bespeaks a particular text.(2) The quotation does
not agree with our Gospels, and must be assigned to another source.

The next passage pointed out by De Wette is the erroneous quotation from
Isaiah which we have already examined.(3) That which follows is found
in Hom. viii. 7: "For on this account our Jesus himself said to one who
frequently called him Lord, yet did nothing which he commanded: Why dost
thou say to me Lord, Lord, and doest not the things which I say?" This
is compared with Luke vi. 46:(4) "But why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do
not the things which I say?"


This passage differs from our Gospels in having the second person
singular instead of the plural, and in substituting [------] for
[------] in the first phrase. The Homily, moreover, in accordance with
the use of the second person singular, distinctly states that the saying
was addressed to a person who frequently called Jesus "Lord," whereas
in the Gospels it forms part of the Sermon on the Mount with a totally
impersonal application to the multitude.


The next passage referred to by De Wette is in Hom. xix. 2: "And he
declared that he saw the evil one as lightning fall from heaven." This
is compared with Luke x. 18, which has no parallel in the other Gospels:
"And he said to them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven."


The substitution of [-------] for [-------], had he found the latter
in his Gospel, would be all the more remarkable from the fact that the
author of the Homilies has just before quoted the saying "If Satan cast
out Satan,"(1) &c. and he continues in the above words to show
that Satan had been cast out, so that the evidence would have been
strengthened by the retention of the word in Luke had he quoted that
Gospel. The variations, however, indicate that he quoted from another

The next passage pointed out by De Wette likewise finds a parallel only
in the third Gospel. It occurs in Hom. ix. 22: "Nevertheless, though all
demons with all the diseases flee before you, in this only is not to
be your rejoicing, but in that, through grace, your names, as of the
ever-living, are recorded in heaven." This is compared with Luke x. 20:
"Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not that the spirits are subject unto
you, but rejoice that your names are written in the heavens."



The differences between these two passages are too great and the
peculiarities of the Homily too marked to require any argument to
demonstrate that the quotation cannot be successfully claimed by
our third Gospel. On the contrary, as one of so many other passages
systematically varying from the canonical Gospels, it must rather be
assigned to another source.

De Wette says: "A few others (quotations) presuppose (voraussetzen) the
Gospel of Mark,"(1) and he gives them. The first occurs in Hom. ii. 19:
"There is a certain Justa(2) amongst us, a Syrophoenician, a Canaantte
by race, whose daughter was affected by a sore disease, and who came to
our Lord crying out and supplicating that he would heal her daughter.
But he being also asked by us, said: 'It is not meet to heal the
Gentiles who are like dogs from their using different meats and
practices, whilst the table in the kingdom has been granted to the sons
of Israel.' But she, hearing this and exchanging her former manner of
life for that of the sons of the kingdom, in order that she might, like
a dog, partake of the crumbs falling from that same table, obtained, as
she desired, healing for her daughter."(3) This is compared with
Mark vii. 24--30,(4) as it is the only Gospel which calls the woman
a Syrophoenician. The Homily, however, not only calls her so, a very
unimportant point, but gives her name as "Justa."


If, therefore, it be argued that the mention of her nationality supposes
that the author found the fact in his Gospel, and that as we know
no other but Mark(1) which gives that information, that he therefore
derived it from our second Gospel, the additional mention of the name
of "Justa" on the same grounds necessarily points to the use of a Gospel
which likewise contained it, which our Gospel does not. Nothing can
be more decided than the variation in language throughout this whole
passage from the account in Mark, and the reply of Jesus is quite
foreign to our Gospels. In Mark (vii. 25) the daughter has "an unclean
spirit" [------]; in Matthew (xv. 22) she is "grievously possessed by a
devil" [------], but in the Homily she is "affected by a sore disease"
[------]. The second Gospel knows nothing of any intercession on the
part of the disciples, but Matthew has: "And the disciples came and
besought him [------] saying: 'Send her away, for she crieth after
us,'"(2) whilst the Homily has merely "being also asked by us," [------]
in the sense of intercession in her favour. The second Gospel gives the
reply of Jesus as follows: "Let the children first be filled: for it is
not meet to take the bread of the children, and to cast it to the dogs.
And she answered and said unto him: 'Yea, Lord, for the dogs also eat
under the table of the crumbs of the children. And he said unto her: For
this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter."(3) The
nature of the reply of the woman is,


in the Gospels, the reason given for granting her request; but in
the Homily the woman's conversion to Judaism,(1) that is to say
Judeo-Christianity, is prominently advanced as the cause of her
successful pleading. It is certain from the whole character of this
passage, the variation of the language, and the reply of Jesus which is
not in our Gospels at all, that the narrative cannot rightly be assigned
to them, but the more reasonable inference is that it was derived from
another source.(2)

The last of De Wette's(3) passages is from Hom. iii. 57: "Hear, O
Israel; the Lord thy(4) God is one Lord." This is a quotation from
Deuteronomy vi. 4, which is likewise quoted in the second Gospel, xii.
29, in reply to the question, "Which is the first Commandment of all?
Jesus answered: The first is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one
Lord, and thou shalt love the Lord thy God," &c. &c. In the Homily,
however, the quotation is made in a totally different connection, for
there is no question of commandments at all, but a clear statement of
the circumstances under which the passage was used, which excludes the
idea that this quotation was derived from Mark xii. 29. The context in
the Homily is as follows: "But to those who were beguiled to imagine
many gods as the Scriptures say, he said: Hear, O Israel," &c, &c.(5)
There is no hint of the assertion of many gods in the Gospels; but, on
the contrary, the question is put by one of the scribes in Mark to whom
Jesus says: "Thou art not far from the Kingdom of God."6 The quotation,


therefore, beyond doubt, cannot be legitimately appropriated by the
second Synoptic, but may with much greater probability be assigned to a
different Gospel.

We may here refer to the passage, the only one pointed out by him in
connection with the Synoptics, the discovery of which Canon Westcott
affirms, "has removed the doubts which had long been raised about those
(allusions) to St. Mark."(1) The discovery referred to is that of the
Codex Ottobonianus by Dressel, which contains the concluding part of the
Homilies, and which was first published by him in 1853. Canon Westcott
says: "Though St Mark has few peculiar phrases, one of these is repeated
verbally in the concluding part of the 19th Homily."(2) The passage is
as follows: Hom. xix. 20: "Wherefore also he explained to his disciples
privately the mysteries of the kingdom of the heavens." This is compared
with Mark iv. 34.... "and privately to his own disciples, he explained
all things."


We have only a few words to add to complete the whole of Dr. Westcott's
remarks upon the subject. He adds after the quotation: "This is the only
place where [------] occurs in the Gospels."(4) We may, however, point
out that it occurs also in Acts xix. 39 and 2 Peter i. 20. It is upon
the coincidence of this word that


Canon Westcott rests his argument that this passage is a reference to
Mark. Nothing, however, could be more untenable than such a conclusion
from such an indication. The phrase in the Homily presents a very marked
variation from the passage in Mark. The "all things" [------] of the
Gospel, reads: "The mysteries of the kingdom of the heavens" [------] in
the Homily. The passage in Mark iv. 11, to which Dr. Westcott does not
refer, reads [------]. There is one very important matter, however,
which our Apologist has omitted to point out, and which, it seems to us,
decides the case--the context in the Homily. The chapter commences thus:
"And Peter said: We remember that our Lord and Teacher, as commanding,
said to us: 'Guard the mysteries for me, and the sons of my house.'
Wherefore also he explained to his disciples privately," &c.:(l) and
then comes our passage. Now, here is a command of Jesus, in immediate
connection with which the phrase before us is quoted, which does not
appear in our Gospels at all, and which clearly establishes the use of a
different source. The phrase itself which differs from Mark, as we have
seen, may with all right be referred to the same unknown Gospel.

It must be borne in mind that all the quotations which we have
hitherto examined are those which have been selected as most closely
approximating to passages in our Gospels. Space forbids our giving
illustrations of the vast number which so much more widely differ from
parallel texts in the Synoptics. We shall confine


ourselves to pointing out in the briefest possible manner some of the
passages which are persistent in their variations or recall similar
passages in the Memoirs of Justin. The first of these is the injunction
in Hom. iii. 55: "Let your yea be yea, your nay nay, for whatsoever is
more than these cometh of the evil one." The same saying is repeated
in Hom. xix. with the sole addition of "and." We subjoin the Greek
of these, together with that of the Gospel and Justin with which the
Homilies agree.


As we have already discussed this passage(1) we need not repeat our
remarks here. That this passage comes from a source different from our
Gospels is rendered still more probable by the quotation in Hom. xix. 2
being preceded by another which has no parallel at all in our Gospels.
"And elsewhere he said, 'He who sowed the bad seed is the devil'
[------](2): and again: 'Give no pretext to the evil one.'(2) [------].
But in exhorting he prescribes: 'Let your yea be yea.'" &c. The first
of these phrases differs markedly from our Gospels; the second is not in
them at all; the third, which we are considering, differs likewise in an
important degree in common with Justin's quotation, and there is every
reason for supposing that the whole were derived from the same unknown
source.(3) In the same Homily, xix. 2, there occurs also the passage
which exhibits variations likewise found in Justin, which we have
already examined,(4) and now


merely point out: "Begone into the darkness without, which the Father
hath prepared for the devil and his angels."(1) The quotation in Justin
(Dial. 76) agrees exactly with this, with the exception that Justin
has [------] instead of [------], which is not important, whilst the
agreement in the marked variation from the parallel in the first Gospel
establishes the probability of a common source different from ours.(2)

We have also already(3) referred to the passage in Hom. xvii. 4. "No one
knew [------] the Father but the Son, even as no one knoweth the Son
but the Father and those to whom the Son is minded to reveal him."
This quotation differs from Matt. xi. 27 in form, in language, and in
meaning, but agrees with Justin's reading of the same text, and as we
have shown the use of the aorist here, and the transposition of the
order, were characteristics of Gospels used by Gnostics and other
parties in the early Church, and the passage with these variations was
regarded by them as the basis of some of their leading doctrines.(4)
That the variation is not accidental, but a deliberate quotation from
a written source, is proved by this, and by the circumstance that the
author of the Homilies repeatedly quotes it elsewhere in the same
form.(5) It is unreasonable to suppose that the quotations in these
Homilies are so systematically and consistently erroneous, and not only
can they not, from their actual variations, be legitimately referred to
the Synoptics exclusively, but, considering all the circumstances, the


only natural conclusion is that they are derived from a source different
from our Gospels.(1)

Another passage occurs in Hom. iii. 50: "Wherefore ye do err, not
knowing the true things of the Scriptures; and on this account ye are
ignorant of the power of God." This is compared with Mark xii. 24:(2)
"Do ye not therefore err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of

The very same quotation is made both in Hom. ii. 51 and xviii. 20, and
in each case in which the passage is introduced it is in connection
with the assertion that there are true and false Scriptures, and that as
there are in the Scriptures some true sayings and some false, Jesus by
this saying showed to those who erred by reason of the false the cause
of their error. There can scarcely be a doubt that the author of the
Homilies quotes this passage from a Gospel different from ours, and this
is demonstrated both by the important variation from our text and also
by its consistent repetition, and by the context in which it stands.(3)

Upon each occasion, also, that the author of the Homilies quotes the
foregoing passage he likewise quotes another saying of Jesus which is
foreign to our Gospels: "Be ye approved money-changers," [------].(4)4

The saying is thrice quoted without


variation, and each time, together with the preceding passage, it refers
to the necessity of discrimination between true and false sayings in
the Scriptures, as for instance: "And Peter said: If, therefore, of the
Scriptures some are true and some are false, our Teacher rightly said:
'Be ye approved money-changers,' as in the Scriptures there are some
approved sayings and some spurious."(1) This is one of the best known
of the apocryphal sayings of Jesus, and it is quoted by nearly all the
Fathers,(2) by many as from Holy Scripture, and by some ascribed to the
Gospel of the Nazarenes, or the Gospel according to the Hebrews. There
can be no question here that the author quotes an apocryphal Gospel.(3)

There is, in immediate connection with both the preceding passages,
another saying of Jesus quoted which is not found in our Gospels: "Why
do ye not discern the good reason of the Scriptures?" "[------]; "(4)

This passage also comes from a Gospel different from ours,(5) and the
connection and sequence of these quotations is very significant.

One further illustration, and we have done. We find the following in
Hom. iii. 55: "And to those who


think that God tempts, as the Scriptures say, he said: 'The evil one
is the tempter,' who also tempted himself. "l This short saying is not
found in our Gospels. It probably occurred in the Gospel of the Homilies
in connection with the temptation of Jesus. It is not improbable that
the writer of the Epistle of James, who shows acquaintance with a Gospel
different from ours,(2) also knew this saying.(3) We are here again
directed to the Ebionite Gospel. Certainly the quotation is derived from
a source different from our Gospels.(4)

These illustrations of the evangelical quotations in the Clementine
Homilies give but an imperfect impression of the character of the
extremely numerous passages which occur in the work. We have selected
for our examination the quotations which have been specially cited by
critics as closest to parallels in our Gospels, and have thus submitted
the question to the test which is most favourable to the claims of
our Synoptics. Space forbids our adequately showing the much wider
divergence which exists in the great majority of cases between them and
the quotations in the Homilies. To sum up the case: Out of more than
a hundred of these quotations only four brief and fragmentary phrases
really agree with parallels in our Synoptics, and these, we have shown,
are either not used in the same context as in our Gospels or are of
a nature far from special to them. Of the rest, all without exception
systematically vary more or less from our Gospels, and many in their
variations agree with similar quotations in other writers,


or on repeated quotation always present the same peculiarities, whilst
others, professed to be direct quotations of sayings of Jesus, have no
parallels in our Gospels at all. Upon the hypothesis that the author
made use of our Gospels, such systematic divergence would be perfectly
unintelligible and astounding. On the other hand, it must be remembered
that the agreement of a few passages with parallels in our Gospels
cannot prove anything. The only extraordinary circumstance is that, even
using a totally different source, there should not have been a greater
agreement with our Synoptics. But for the universal inaccuracy of the
human mind, every important historical saying, having obviously only
one distinct original form, would in all truthful histories have been
reported in that one unvarying form. The nature of the quotations in the
Clementine Homilies leads to the inevitable conclusion that their author
derived them from a Gospel different from ours; at least, since the
source of these quotations is never named throughout the work, and there
is not the faintest direct indication of our Gospels, the Clementine
Homilies cannot be considered witnesses of any value as to the origin
and authenticity of the canonical Gospels. That this can be said of
a work written a century and a half after the establishment of
Christianity, and abounding with quotations of the discourses of Jesus,
is in itself singularly suggestive.

It is scarcely necessary to add that the author of the Homilies has no
idea whatever of any canonical writings but those of the Old Testament,
though even with regard to these some of our quotations have shown
that he held peculiar views, and believed that they contained spurious
elements. There is no reference in the


Homilies to any of the Epistles of the New Testament.(1)

One of the most striking points in this work, on the other hand, is
its determined animosity against the Apostle Paul. We have seen that a
strong anti-Pauline tendency was exhibited by many of the Fathers, who,
like the author of the Homilies, made use of Judeo-Christian Gospels
different from ours. In this work, however, the antagonism against the
"Apostle of the Gentiles" assumes a tone of peculiar virulence. There
cannot be a doubt that the Apostle Paul is attacked in it, as the great
enemy of the true faith, under the hated name of Simon the Magician,(2)
whom Peter follows everywhere for the purpose of unmasking and confuting
him. He is robbed of his title of "Apostle of the Gentiles," which,
together with the honour of founding the Church of Antioch, of Laodicaæ,
and of Rome, is ascribed to Peter. All that opposition to Paul which
is implied in the Epistle to the Galatians and elsewhere(3) is here
realized and exaggerated, and


the personal difference with Peter to which Paul refers(1) is widened
into the most bitter animosity. In the Epistle of Peter to James which
is prefixed to the Homilies, Peter says, in allusion to Paul: "For
some among the Gentiles have rejected my lawful preaching and accepted
certain lawless and foolish teaching of the hostile man."(2) First
expounding a doctrine of duality, as heaven and earth, day and night,
life and death,(3) Peter asserts that in nature the greater things come
first, but amongst men the opposite is the case, and the first is
worse and the second better.(4) He then says to Clement that it is easy
according to this order to discern to what class Simon (Paul) belongs,
"who came before me to the Gentiles, and to which I belong who have come
after him, and have followed him as light upon darkness, as knowledge
upon ignorance, as health upon disease."(5) He continues: "If he had
been known he would not have been believed, but now, not being known, he
is wrongly believed; and though by his acts he is a hater, he has been
loved; and although an enemy, he has been welcomed as a friend; and
though he is death, he has been desired as a saviour; and though fire,
esteemed as light; and though a deceiver, he is listened to as speaking
the truth."(6) There is much more of this acrimonious abuse put into
the mouth of Peter.(7) The indications that it is Paul who is really
attacked under the name of Simon are much too clear to admit of doubt.
In Hom. xi. 35, Peter, warning the Church against false


teachers, says: "He who hath sent us, our Lord and Prophet, declared to
us that the evil one.... announced that he would send from amongst his
followers apostles(1) to deceive. Therefore, above all remember to avoid
every apostle, or teacher, or prophet, who first does not accurately
compare his teaching with that of James called the brother of my Lord,
and to whom was confided the ordering of the Church of the Hebrews in
Jerusalem," &c., lest this evil one should send a false preacher to
them, "as he has sent to us Simon preaching a counterfeit of truth in
the name of our Lord and disseminating error."(2) Further on he speaks
more plainly still. Simon maintains that he has a truer appreciation
of the doctrines and teaching of Jesus because he has received his
inspiration by supernatural vision, and not merely by the common
experience of the senses,(3) and Peter replies: "If, therefore, our
Jesus indeed was seen in a vision, was known by thee, and conversed with
thee, it was only as one angry with an adversary.... But can any one
through a vision be made wise to teach? And if thou sayest: 'It is
possible,' then wherefore did the Teacher remain and discourse for a
whole year to us who were awake? And how can we believe thy story that
he was seen by thee? And how could he have been seen by thee when thy
thoughts are contrary to his teaching? But if seen and taught by him for
a single hour thou becamest an apostle:(4) preach his words, interpret
his sayings, love his


apostles, oppose not me who consorted with him. For thou hast directly
withstood me who am a firm rock, the foundation of the Church. If thou
hadst not been an adversary thou wouldst not have calumniated me, thou
wouldst not have reviled my teaching in order that, when declaring what
I have myself heard from the Lord.

I might not be believed, as though I were condemned.... But if thou
callest me condemned, thou speakest against God who revealed Christ to
me,'"(1) &c. This last phrase: "If thou callest me condemned" [------]
is an evident allusion to Galat. ii. II: "I withstood him to the face,
because he was condemned" [------].

We have digressed to a greater extent than we intended, but it is not
unimportant to show the general character and tendency of the work we
have been examining. The Clementine Homilies,--written perhaps about the
end of the second century, which never name nor indicate any Gospel
as the source of the author's knowledge of evangelical history, whose
quotations of sayings of Jesus, numerous as they are, systematically
differ from the parallel passages of our Synoptics, or are altogether
foreign to them, which denounce the Apostle Paul as an impostor,
enemy of the faith, and disseminator of false doctrine, and therefore
repudiate his Epistles, at the same time equally ignoring all the other
writings of the New Testament,--can scarcely be considered as giving
much support to any theory of the early formation of the New Testament
Canon, or as affording evidence even of the existence of its separate



Among the writings which used formerly to be ascribed to Justin
Martyr, and to be published along with his genuine works, is the short
composition commonly known as the "Epistle to Diognetus." The ascription
of this composition to Justin arose solely from the fact that in the
only known MS. of the letter there is an inscription [------] which,
from its connection, was referred to Justin.(1) The style and contents
of the work, however, soon convinced critics that it could not possibly
be written by Justin,(2) and although it has been ascribed by various
isolated writers to Apollos, Clement, Marcion, Quadratus, and others,
none of these guesses have been seriously supported, and critics are
almost universally agreed in confessing that the author of the Epistle
is entirely unknown.

Such being the case, it need scarcely be said that the difficulty of
assigning a date to the work with any degree of certainty is extreme, if
it be not absolutely impossible to do so. This difficulty, however,
is increased by several circumstances. The first and most important of
these is the fact that the Epistle to Diognetus is neither quoted nor
mentioned by any ancient


writer, and consequently there is no external evidence whatever to
indicate the period of its composition.(1) Moreover, it is not only
anonymous but incomplete, or, at least, as we have it, not the work of
a single writer. At the end of Chapter x. a break is indicated, and
the two concluding chapters are unmistakably by a different and later
hand.(2) It is not singular, therefore, that there exists a wide
difference of opinion as to the date of the first ten chapters, although
all agree regarding the later composition of the concluding portion. It
is assigned by critics to various periods ranging from about the end of
the first quarter of the second century to the end of the third century
or later,(3) whilst some denounce it as a mere modern forgery.(4)
Nothing can be more insecure in one


direction than the date of a work derived alone from internal evidence.
Allusions to actual occurrences may with certainty prove that a work
could only have been written after they had taken place. The mere
absence of later indications in an anonymous Epistle only found in a
single MS. of the thirteenth or fourteenth century, however, and which
may have been, and probably was, written expressly in imitation of early
Christian feeling, cannot furnish any solid basis for an early date.
It must be evident that the determination of the date of this Epistle
cannot therefore be regarded as otherwise than doubtful and arbitrary.
It is certain that the purity of its Greek and the elegance of its style
distinguish it from all other Christian works of the period to which so
many assign it.(1)

The Epistle to Diognetus, however, does not furnish any evidence even
of the existence of our Synoptics, for it is admitted that it does not
contain a single direct quotation from any evangelical work.(2)We shall
hereafter have to refer to this Epistle in connection with the fourth
Gospel, but in the meantime it may be well to add that in Chapter xii.,
one of those, it will be remembered, which are admitted to be of later
date, a brief quotation is made from 1 Cor. viii. 1, introduced merely
by the words, [------].


We must now turn back to an earlier period, and consider any evidence
regarding the Synoptic Gospels which may be furnished by the so-called
heretical writers of the second century. The first of these who claims
our attention is Basilides, the founder of a system of Gnosticism, who
lived in Alexandria about the year 125 of our era.(1) With the exception
of a very few brief fragments,(2) none of the writings of this Gnostic
have been preserved, and all our information regarding them is,
therefore, derived at second-hand from ecclesiastical writers opposed
to him and his doctrines; and their statements, especially where
acquaintance with, and the use of, the New Testament Scriptures are
assumed, must be received with very great caution. The uncritical and
inaccurate character of the Fathers rendered them peculiarly liable to
be misled by foregone devout conclusions.

Eusebius states that Agrippa Castor, who had written a refutation of
the doctrines of Basilides: "says that he had composed twenty-four books
upon the Gospel."(3)


This is interpreted by Tischendorf, without argument, and in a most
arbitrary and erroneous manner, to imply that the work was a commentary
upon our four canonical Gospels;(1) a conclusion the audacity of which
can scarcely be exceeded. This is, however, almost surpassed by the
treatment of Canon Westcott, who writes regarding Basilides: "It
appears, moreover, that he himself published a Gospel--a 'Life of
Christ' as it would perhaps be called in our days, or 'The Philosophy
of Christianity,(2)--but he admitted the historic truth of all the facts
contained in the canonical Gospels, and used them as Scripture. For,
in spite of his peculiar opinions, the testimony, of Basilides to our
'acknowledged' books is comprehensive and clear. In the few pages of his
writings which remain there are certain references to the Gospels of
St. Matthew, St. Luke, and St. John,"(3) &c. Now in making, in such
a manner, these assertions: in totally ignoring the whole of the
discussion with regard to the supposed quotations of Basilides in the
work commonly ascribed to Hippolytus and the adverse results of learned
criticism: in the unqualified assertions thus made and the absence
either of explanation of the facts or the reasons for the conclusion:
this statement must be condemned as only calculated to mislead readers
who must generally be ignorant of the actual facts of the case. We know
from the evidence of antiquity that Basilides made use of a Gospel,
written by himself it is said, but certainly called after his own
name.(4) An attempt has

     2  These names are pure inventions of Dr. Westcott's fancy,
     of course.

     3  On the Canon, p. 255 f. [Since these remarks were first
     made, Dr. Westcott has somewhat enlarged his account of
     Basilides, but we still consider that his treatment of the
     subject is deceptive and incomplete.]


been made to explain this by suggesting that perhaps the work mentioned
by Agrippa Castor may have been mistaken for a Gospel;(1) but the
fragments of that work which are still extant(2) are of a character
which precludes the possibility that any writing of which they formed a
part could have been considered a Gospel.(3) Various opinions have been
expressed as to the exact nature of the Gospel of Basilides. Neander
affirmed it to be the Gospel according to the Hebrews which he brought
from Syria to Egypt;(4) whilst Schneckenburger held it to be the Gospel
according to the Egyptians.(5) Others believe it to have at least been
based upon one or other of these Gospels.(6) There seems most reason
for the hypothesis that it was a form of the Gospel according to the
Hebrews, which was so generally in use.

Returning to the passage already quoted, in which Eusebius states, on
the authority of Agrippa Castor, whose works are no longer extant, that
Basilides had composed a work in twenty-four books on the Gospel


[------], and to the unwarrantable inference that this must have been
a work on our four Gospels, we must add that, so far from deriving
his doctrines from our Gospels or other New Testament writings, or
acknowledging their authority, Basilides professed that he received his
knowledge of the truth from Glaucias, "the interpreter of Peter," whose
disciple he claimed to be,(1) and thus practically sets Gospels aside
and prefers tradition.(2) Basilides also claimed to have received from
a certain Matthias the report of private discourses which he had heard
from the Saviour for his special instruction.(3) Agrippa Castor further
stated, according to Eusebius, that in his [------] Basilides named for
himself, as prophets, Barcabbas and Barcoph (Parchor(4)), as well as
invented others who never existed, and claimed their authority for his
doctrines.(5) With regard to all this Canon Westcott writes: "Since
Basilides lived on the verge of the apostolic times, it is not
surprising that he made use of other sources of Christian doctrine
besides the canonical books. The belief in Divine Inspiration was still
fresh and real,"(6) &c. It is apparent, however, that Basilides, in
basing his doctrines upon tradition and


upon these Apocryphal books as inspired, and in having a special Gospel
called after his own name, which, therefore, he clearly adopts as
the exponent of his ideas of Christian truth, completely ignores the
canonical Gospels, and not only does not offer any evidence for their
existence, but proves, on the contrary, that he did not recognize
any such works as of authority. There is no ground, therefore, for
Tischendorfs assumption that the commentary of Basilides "on the
Gospel" was written upon our Gospels, but that idea is negatived in
the strongest way by all the facts of the case.(1) The perfectly
simple interpretation of the statement is that long ago suggested by
Valesius,(2) that the Commentary of Basilides was composed upon his own
Gospel,(3) whether it was the Gospel according to the Hebrews or the

Moreover, it must be borne in mind that Basilides used the word "Gospel"
in a peculiar sense. Hippolytus, in the work usually ascribed to him,
writing of the Basilidians and describing their doctrines, says: "When
therefore it was necessary, he (?) says, that we, the children of God,
should be revealed, in expectation of whose revelation, he says, the
creation groaned and travailed, the Gospel came into the world, and
passed through every principality and power and dominion, and every name
that is named."(4) "The Gospel, therefore,


came first from the Sonship, he says, through the Son, sitting by the
Archon, to the Archon, and the Archon learnt that he was not the God of
all things but begotten,"(1) &c. "The Gospel, according to them, is
the knowledge of supramundane matters,"(2) &c. This may not be very
intelligible, but it is sufficient to show that "the Gospel" in a
technical sense(3) formed a very important part of the system of
Basilides. Now there is nothing whatever to show that the twenty-four
books which he composed "on the Gospel" were not in elucidation of the
Gospel as technically understood by him, illustrated by extracts from
his own special Gospel and from the tradition handed down to him by
Glaucias and Matthias. The emphatic assertion of Canon Westcott that
Basilides "admitted the historic truth of all the facts contained in the
canonical Gospels," is based solely upon the following sentence of the
work attributed to Hippolytus; Jesus, however, was generated according
to these (followers of Basilides) as we have already said.(4) But when
the generation which has already been declared had taken place, all
things regarding the Saviour, according to them, occurred in like manner
as they have been written in the Gospel."(5) There are, however, several
important points to be borne in mind in reference to this passage. The
statement in question is not made in


connection with Basilides himself, but distinctly in reference to his
followers, of whom there were many in the time of Hippolytus and long
after him. It is, moreover, a general observation the accuracy of which
we have no means of testing, and upon the correctness of which there
is no special reason to rely. The remark, made at the beginning of the
third century, however, that the followers of Basilides believed that
the actual events of the life of Jesus occurred in the way in which they
have been written in the Gospels, is no proof whatever that either
they or Basilides used or admitted the authority of our Gospels. The
exclusive use by any one of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, for
instance, would be perfectly consistent with the statement. No one who
considers what is known of that Gospel, or who thinks of the use made
of it in the first half of the second century by perfectly orthodox
Fathers, can doubt this. The passage is, therefore, of no weight as
evidence for the use of our Gospels. Canon Westcott himself admits that
in the extant fragments of Isidorus, the son and disciple of Basilides,
who "maintained the doctrines of his father," he has "noticed nothing
bearing on the books of the New Testament.."(1) On the supposition that
Basilides actually wrote a Commentary on our Gospels, and used them as
Scripture, it is indeed passing strange that we have so little evidence
on the point.

We must now, however, examine in detail all of the quotations, and they
are few, alleged to show the use of our Gospels, and we shall commence
with those of Tischendorf. The first passage which he points out is
found in the Stromata of Clement of Alexandria. Tischendorf guards
himself, in reference to these quotations,


by merely speaking of them as "Basilidian" (Basilidianisch),(1) but
it might have been more frank to have stated clearly that Clement
distinctly assigns the quotation to the followers of Basilides
[------],(2) and not to Basilides himself.(3) The supposed quotation,
therefore, however surely traced to our Gospels, could really not prove
anything in regard to Basilides. The passage itself compared with the
parallel in Matt. xix. 11, 12, is as follows:--


Now this passage in its affinity to, and material variation from, our
first Gospel might be quoted as evidence for the use of another Gospel,
but it cannot reasonably be cited as evidence for the use of Matthew.
Apologists in their anxiety to grasp at the faintest analogies as
testimony seem altogether to ignore the history of the creation of
written Gospels, and to forget the very existence of the [------] of

The next passage referred to by Tischendorf(5) is one


quoted by Epiphanius(1) which we subjoin in contrast with the parallel
in Matt. vii. 6:--


Here, again, the variation in order is just what one might have expected
from the use of the Gospel according to the Hebrews or a similar work,
and there is no indication whatever that the passage did not end here,
without the continuation of our first Synoptic. What is still more
important, although Teschendorf does not mention the fact, nor otherwise
hint a doubt than by the use, again, of an unexplained description of
this quotation as "Basilidianisch" instead of a more direct ascription
of it to Basilides himself, this passage is by no means attributed by
Epiphanius to that heretic. It is introduced into the section of his
work directed against the Basilidians, but he uses, like Clement, the
indefinite [------], and as in dealing with all these heresies there is
continual interchange of reference to the head and the later followers,
there is no certainty who is referred to in these quotations and, in
this instance, nothing to indicate that this passage is ascribed to
Basilides himself, His name is mentioned in the first line of the first
chapter of this "heresy," but not again before this [------] occurs in
chapter v. Teschendorf does not claim any other quotations.


Canon Westcott states: "In the few pages of his (Basilides') writings
which remain there are certain references to the Gospels of St. Matthew,
St. Luke,"(1) &c. One might suppose from this that the "certain"
references occurred in actual extracts made from his works, and that
the quotations, therefore, appeared sc(5) (sp.) in a context of his own
words. This impression is strengthened when we read as an introduction
to the instances: "The following examples will be sufficient to show his
method of quotation."(2) The fact is, however, that these examples
are found in the work of Hippolytus, in an epitome of the views of
the school by that writer himself, with nothing more definite than a
subjectless [------] to indicate who is referred to. The only examples
Canon Westcott can give of these "certain references" to our first
and third Synoptics, do not show his "method of quotation" to much
advantage. The first is not a quotation at all, but a mere reference to
the Magi and the Star. "But that every thing, he says [------], has its
own seasons, the Saviour sufficiently teaches when he says:... and
the Magi having seen the star,"(3) &c. This of course Canon Westcott
considers a reference to Matt. ii. 1, 2, but we need scarcely point out
that this falls to the ground instantly, if it be admitted, as it must
be, that the Star and the Magi may have been mentioned in other Gospels
than the first Synoptic. We have already seen, when examining the
evidence of Justin, that this is the case. The only quotation asserted
to be taken from Luke is the phrase: "The Holy Spirit shall come upon
thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow


thee,"(1) which agrees with Luke i. 35. This again is introduced by
Hippolytus with another subjectless "he says," and apart from the
uncertainty as to who "he" is, this is very unsatisfactory evidence as
to the form of the quotation in the original text, for it may easily
have been corrected by Hippolytus, consciously or unconsciously, in the
course of transfer to his pages. We have already met with this passage
as quoted by Justin from a Gospel different from ours.

As we have already stated, however, none of the quotations which we have
considered are directly referred to Basilides himself, but they are all
introduced by the utterly vague expression, "he says," [------] without
any subject accompanying the verb. Now it is admitted that writers of
the time of Hippolytus, and notably Hippolytus himself, made use of the
name of the founder of a sect to represent the whole of his school,
and applied to him, apparently, quotations taken from unknown and later
followers.(2) The passages which he cites, therefore, and which appear
to indicate the use of Gospels, instead of being extracted from the
works of the founder himself, in all probability were taken from
writings of Gnostics of his own time. Canon Westcott himself admits the
possibility of this, in writing of other early heretics. He says: "The
evidence that has been collected from


the documents of these primitive sects is necessarily somewhat vague. It
would be more satisfactory to know the exact position of their authors,
and the precise date of their being composed. It is just possible that
Hippolytus made use of writings which were current in his own time
without further examination, and transferred to the apostolic age forms
of thought and expression which had been the growth of two, or even of
three generations."(1) So much as to the reliance to be placed on
the work ascribed to Hippolytus. It is certain, for instance, that
in writing of the sect of Naaseni and Ophites, Hippolytus perpetually
quotes passages from the writings of the school, with the indefinite
[------],(2) as he likewise does in dealing with the Peratici,(3) and
Docetæ,(4) no individual author being named; yet he evidently quotes
various writers, passing from one to another without explanation, and
making use of the same unvarying [------] In one place,(5) where he
has "the Greeks say," [------] he gives, without further indication,
a quotation from Pindar.(6) A still more apt instance of his method is
that pointed out by Volkmar,(7) where Hippolytus, writing of "Marcion,
or some one of his hounds," uses, without further explanation, the
subjectless [------] to introduce matter from the later followers of
Marcion.(8) Now, with regard to


Basilides, Hippolytus directly refers not only to the heretic chief, but
also to his disciple Isidorus and all their followers,(1) [------]
and then proceeds to use the indefinite "he says," interspersed with
references in the plural to these heretics, exhibiting the same careless
method of quotation, and leaving the same complete uncertainty as to
the speaker's identity as in the other cases mentioned.(2) On the
other hand, it has been demonstrated by Hilgenfeld, that the gnosticism
ascribed to Basilides by Hippolytus, in connection with these
quotations, is of a much later and more developed type than that which
Basilides himself held,(3) as shown in the actual fragments of his own
writings which are still extant, and as reported by Irenæus,(4) Clement
of Alexandria,(5) and the work "Adversus omnes Hæreses," annexed to the
"Præscriptio hæreticorum" of Tertullian, which is


considered to be the epitome of an earlier work of Hippolytus. The
fact probably is that Hippolytus derived his views of the doctrines of
Basilides from the writings of his later followers, and from them made
the quotations which are attributed to the founder of the school.(1)
In any case there is no ground for referring these quotations with an
indefinite [------] to Basilides himself.

Of all this there is not a word from Canon Westcott,(2) but he ventures
to speak of "the testimony of Basilides to our 'acknowledged' books," as
"comprehensive and clear."(3) We have seen, however, that the passages
referred to have no weight whatever as evidence for the use of our
Synoptics. The formulae (as [------] to that compared with Luke i. 35,
and [------] with references compared with some of the Epistles) which
accompany these quotations, and to which Canon Westcott points as an
indication that the New Testament writings were already recognized as
Holy Scripture,(4) need no special attention, because, as it cannot be
shown that the expressions were used by Basilides himself at all,
they do not come into question. If anything, however, were required to
complete the evidence that these quotations are not from the works of
Basilides himself, but from later writings by his followers, it would
be the use of such formulae, for as the writings of pseudo-Ignatius,
Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Papias, Hegesippus,


and others of the Fathers in several ways positively demonstrate, the
New Testament writings were not admitted, even amongst orthodox Fathers,
to the rank of Holy Scripture, until a very much later period.(1)


Much of what has been said with regard to the claim which is laid to
Basilides, by some apologists, as a witness for the Gospels and the
existence of a New Testament Canon, and the manner in which that claim
is advanced, likewise applies to Valentinus, another Gnostic leader,
who, about the year 140, came from Alexandria to Rome and flourished
till about a.d. 160.(2) Very little remains of the writings of this
Gnostic, and we gain our only knowledge of them from a few short
quotations in the works of Clement of Alexandria, and some doubtful
fragments preserved by others. We shall presently have occasion to refer
more directly to these, and need not here more particularly mention

Tischendorf, the self-constituted modern Defensor fidei,(3) asserts,
with an assurance which can scarcely be characterized otherwise than
as an unpardonable calculation upon the ignorance of his readers, that
Valentinus used


the whole of our four Canonical Gospels. To do him full justice, we
shall as much as possible give his own words; and, although we set aside
systematically all discussion regarding the fourth Gospel for separate
treatment hereafter, we must, in order to convey the full sense of
Dr. Tischendorf s proceeding, commence with a sentence regarding that
Gospel. Referring to a statement of Irenæus, that the followers of
Valentinus made use of the fourth Gospel, Tischendorf continues:
"Hippolytus confirms and completes the statement of Irenæus, for he
quotes several expressions of John, which Valentinus employed. This most
clearly occurs in the case of John x. 8; for Hippolytus writes: 'Because
the prophets and the law, according to the doctrine of Valentinus, were
only filled with a subordinate and foolish spirit, Valentinus says: On
account of this, the Saviour says: All who came before me were thieves
and robbers.'"(l) Now this, to begin with, is a practical falsification
of the text of the Philosophumena, which reads: "Therefore all the
Prophets and the Law spoke under the influence of the Demiurge, a
foolish God, he says, (they themselves being) foolish, knowing nothing.
On this account, he says, the Saviour saith: All who came before me,"
&c. &c.(2) There is no mention whatever of the name of Valentinus in the
passage, and, as we shall presently


show, there is no direct reference in the whole chapter to Valentinus
himself. The introduction of his name in this manner into the text,
without a word of explanation, is highly reprehensible. It is true
that in a note Tischendorf gives a closer translation of the passage,
without, however, any explanation; and here again he adds, in
parenthesis to the "says he," "namely, Valentinus." Such a note,
however, which would probably be unread by a majority of readers, does
not rectify the impression conveyed by so positive and emphatic an
assertion as is conveyed by the alteration in the text.

Tischendorf continues: "And as the Gospel of John, so also were the
other Gospels used by Valentinus. According to the statement of Irenæus
(I. 7, § 4), he found the said subordinate spirit, which he calls
Demiurge, Masterworker, emblematically represented by the Centurion of
Capernaum (Matt. viii. 9, Luke vii. 8); in the dead and resuscitated
daughter of Jairus, when twelve years old, (Luke viii. 41), he
recognized a symbol of his 'Wisdom' (Achamoth), the mother of the
Masterworker (I. 8, § 2); in like manner, he saw represented in the
history of the woman who had suffered twelve years from the bloody
issue, and was cured by the Lord (Matt. ix. 20), the sufferings and
salvation of his twelfth primitive spirit (Aeon) (I. 3, § 3); the
expression of the Lord (Matt. v. 18) on the numerical value of the iota
('the smallest letter') he applied to his ten aeons in repose."l Now,
in every instance where Tischendorf here speaks of Valentinus by the
singular "he," Irenæus uses the plural "they," referring not to the
original founder of the sect, but to his followers in his own day, and


text is thus again in every instance falsified by the pious zeal of the
apologist. In the case of the Centurions "they say" [------] that he is
the Demiurge;(1) "they declare" [------] that the daughter of Jairus is
the type of Achamoth;(2) "they say" [------] that the apostasy of Judas
points to the passion in connection with the twelfth aeon, and also the
fact that Jesus suffered in the twelfth month after his baptism; for
they will have it [------] that he only preached for one year. The case
of the woman with the bloody issue for twelve years, and the power
which went forth from the Son to heal her, "they will have to be Horos"
[------]{3} In like manner they assert that the ten aeons are indicated
[------] by the letter "Iota," mentioned in the Saviour's expression,
Matt v. 18.(4) At the end of these and numerous other similar references
in this chapter to New Testament expressions and passages, Irenæus says:
"Thus they interpret," &c. [------].(5) The plural "they" is employed

Tischendorf proceeds to give the answer to his statement which is
supposed to be made by objectors.: "They say: all that has reference to
the Gospel of John was not advanced by Valentinus himself, but by his
disciples. And in fact, in Irenæus, 'they--the Valen-tinians--say,'
occurs much oftener than 'he--Valentinus--says.' But who is there so
sapient as to draw the line between what the master alone says, and that
which the disciples state without in the least repeating the


master?"(1) Tischendorf solves the difficulty by referring everything
indiscriminately to the master. Now, in reply to these observations,
we must remark in the first place that the admission here made by
Tischendorf, that Irenæus much more often uses "they say" than "he
says" is still quite disingenuous, inasmuch as invariably, and without
exception, Irenæus uses the plural in connection with the texts in
question. Secondly, it is quite obvious that a Gnostic, writing about
a.d. 185-195, was likely to use arguments which were never thought of by
a Gnostic, writing at the middle of the second century At the end of the
century, the writings of the New Testament had acquired consideration
and authority, and Gnostic writers had therefore a reason to refer to
them, and to endeavour to show that they supported their peculiar views,
which did not exist at all at the time when Valentinus propounded his
system. Tischendorf, however, cannot be allowed the benefit even of such
a doubt as he insinuates, as to what belongs to the master, and what to
the followers. Such doubtful testimony could not establish anything, but
it is in point of fact also totally excluded by the statement of Irenæus

In the preface to the first book of his great work, Irenæus clearly
states the motives and objects for which he writes. He says: "I
considered it necessary, having read the commentaries [------] _of
the disciples of Valentinus_, as they call themselves, and having had
personal intercourse with some of them and acquired full knowledge of
their opinions, to unfold to thee," &c., and he goes on to say that
he intends to set forth "the opinions of those who are _now_ teaching
heresy; I speak


particularly of the followers of Ptolemæus, whose system is an offshoot
of the school of Valentinus."(1) Nothing could be more explicit than
this statement that Irenæus neither intended nor pretended to write
upon the works of Valentinus himself, but upon the commentaries of
his followers of his own time, with some of whom he had had personal
intercourse, and that the system which he intended to attack was that
actually being taught in his day by Ptolemæus and his school, the
offshoot from Valentinus. All the quotations to which Tischendorf refers
are made within a few pages of this explicit declaration. Immediately
after the passage about the Centurion, he says: "such is their system"
[------, and three lines below he states that they derive their views
from unwritten sources [------].(2) The first direct reference to
Valentinus does not occur until after these quotations, and is for the
purpose of showing the variation of opinion of his followers. He says:
"Let us now see the uncertain opinions of these heretics, for there are
two or three of them, how they do not speak alike of the same things,
but contradicted one another in facts and names." Then he continues:
"For the first of them, Valentinus, having derived his principles from
the so-called Gnostic heresy, and adapted them to the peculiar character
of his school declared this:" &c., &c.3 And


after a brief description of his system, in which no Scriptural allusion
occurs, he goes on to compare the views of the rest, and in chap. xii.
he returns to Ptolemæus and his followers [------].

In the preface to Book ii, he again says that he has been exposing the
falsity of the followers of Valentinus (qui sunt a Valentino) and will
proceed to establish what he has advanced; and everywhere he uses the
plural "they," with occasional direct references to the followers of
Valentinus (qui sunt a Valentino).(1) The same course is adopted in
Book iii., the plural being systematically used, and the same distinct
definition introduced at intervals.(2) And again, in the preface to Book
iv. he recapitulates that the preceding books had been written against
these, "qui sunt a Valentino" (§ 2). In fact, it would almost be
impossible for any writer more frequently and emphatically to show that
he is not, as he began by declaring, dealing with the founder of the
school himself, but with his followers living and teaching at the time
at which he wrote.

Canon Westcott, with whose system of positively enunciating unsupported
and controverted statements we are already acquainted, is only slightly
outstripped by the German apologist in his misrepresentation of the
evidence of Valentinus. It must be stated, however, that, acknowledging,
as no doubt he does, that Irenæus never refers to Valentinus himself,
Canon Westcott passes over in complete silence the supposed references


which Teschendorf relies as his only evidence for the use of
the Synoptics by that Gnostic. He, however, makes the following
extraordinary statement regarding Valentinus:

"The fragments of his writings which remain show the same natural and
trustful use of Scripture as other Christian works of the same period;
and there is no diversity of character in this respect between the
quotations given in Hippolytus and those found in Clement of Alexandria.
He cites the Epistle to the Ephesians as 'Scripture,' and refers clearly
to the Gospels of St. Matthew, St. Luke, and St. John, to the Epistles
to the Romans,"(1) &c.

We shall now give the passages which he points out in support of these
assertions.(2) The first two are said to occur in the Stromata of the
Alexandrian Clement, who professes to quote the very words of a letter
of Valentinus to certain people regarding the passions, which are
called by the followers of Basilides "the appendages of the soul." The
passage is as follows: "But one only is good, whose presence is the
manifestation through the Son, and

1 On the Canon, p. 259 f. [In the 4th ed. of his work, published since
the above remarks were made, Dr. Westcott has modified or withdrawn
his assertions regarding Valentinus. As we cannot well omit the above
passage, it is right to state that the lines quoted now read: "The few
unquestionable fragments of Valentinus contain but little which points
to passages of Scripture. If it were clear that the anonymous quotations
in Hippolytus were derived from Valentinus himself, the list would be
much enlarged, and include a citation of the Epistle to the Ephesians
as 'Scripture,' and clear references to the Gospels of St. Luke and St.
John, to 1 Corinthians, perhaps also to the Epistle to the Hebrews, and
the first Epistle of St. John," (p. 295 f.). In a note he adds: "But a
fresh and careful examination of the whole section of Hippolytus makes
me feel that the evidence is so uncertain, that I cannot be sure in this
case, as in the case of Basilides, that Hippolytus is quoting the words
of the Founder" (p. 295, n. 5). Under these circumstances the statements
even in the amended edition present many curious features.]


through Him alone will the heart be enabled to become pure, by the
expulsion of every evil spirit from the heart. For many spirits dwelling
in it do not allow it to be pure, but each of them, while in divers
parts they riot there in unseemly lusts, performs its own works. And, it
seems to me, the heart is somewhat like an inn. For that, also, is both
bored and dug into, and often filled with the ordure of men, who abide
there in revelry, and bestow not one single thought upon the place,
seeing it is the property of another. And in such wise is it with the
heart, so long as no thought is given to it, being impure, and the
dwelling-place of many demons, but as soon as the alone good Father
has visited it, it is sanctified and shines through with light, and the
possessor of such a heart becomes so blessed, that he shall see God."(1)
According to Canon Westcott this passage contains two of the "clear
references" to our Gospels upon which he bases his statement, namely to
Matt. v. 8, and to Matt. xix. 17.

Now it is clear that there is no actual quotation from any evangelical
work in this passage from the Epistle of Valentinus, and the utmost
for which the most zealous apologist could contend is, that there is a
slight similarity with some words in the Gospel, and Canon


Westcott himself does not venture to call them more than "references."
That such distant coincidences should be quoted as evidence for the
use of the first Gospel shows how weak is his case. At best such vague
allusions could not prove anything, but when the passages to which
reference is supposed to be made are examined, it will be apparent that
nothing could be more unfounded or arbitrary than the claim of reference
specially to our Gospel, to the exclusion of the other Gospels then
existing, which to our knowledge contained both passages. We may,
indeed, go still further, and affirm that if these coincidences are
references to any Gospel at all, that Gospel is not the canonical, but
one different from it.

The first reference alluded to consists of the following two phrases:
"But one only is good [------]..... the alone good Father" [------].
This is compared with Matt. xix. 17:{1} "Why askest thou me concerning
good? there is one that is good" [------].(2) Now the passage in the
epistle, if a reference to any parallel episode, such as Matt. xix. 17,
indicates with certainty the reading: "One is good the Father" [------].
There is no such reading in any of our Gospels. But although this
reading does not exist in any of the Canonical Gospels, it is well known
that it did exist in uncanonical Gospels no longer extant, and that
the passage was one upon which various sects of so-called heretics laid
great stress. Irenseus quotes it as one of


the texts to which the Marcosians, who made use of apocryphal
Gospels,(1) and notably of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, gave a
different colouring: [------](2) Epiphanius also quotes this reading as
one of the variations of the Marcionites: [------].(3) Origen, likewise,
remarks that this passage is misused by some Heretics: "Velut proprie
sibi datum scutum putant (hæretici) quod dixit Dominus in Evangelio:
Nemo bonus nisi unus Deus pater."(4) Justin Martyr quotes the same
reading from a source different from our Gospels,(5) [------](6) and in
agreement with the repeated similar readings of the Clementine Homilies,
which likewise derived it from an extra canonical source,(7) [------.8
The use of a similar expression by Clement of Alexandria,9 as well as
by Origen, only serves to prove the existence of the reading in extinct
Gospels, although it is not found in any MS. of any of our Gospels.

The second of the supposed references is more diffuse: "One is good and
through him alone will the heart be enabled to become pure [------]...
but when the alone good Father has visited it, it is sanctified and
shines through with light, and the possessor of such a heart becomes so
blessed, that he shall see God" [------]


[------]. This is compared(1) with Matthew v. 8: "Blessed are the pure
in heart, for they shall see God" [------]. It might be argued that this
is quite as much a reference to Psalm xxiv. 3-6 as to Matt. v. 8, but
even if treated as a reference to the Sermon on the Mount, nothing is
more certain than the fact that this discourse had its place in much
older forms of the Gospel than our present Canonical Gospels,(2) and
that it formed part of the Gospel according to the Hebrews and other
evangelical writings in circulation in the early Church. Such a
reference as this is absolutely worthless as evidence of special
acquaintance with our first Synoptic.(3)

Tischendorf does not appeal at all to these supposed references
contained in the passages preserved by Clement, but both the German
and the English apologist join in relying upon the testimony of
Hippolytus,(4) with regard to the use of the Gospels by Valentinus,
although it must be admitted that the former does so with greater
fairness of treatment than Canon Westcott. Tischendorf does refer to,
and admit, some of the difficulties of the case, as we shall presently
see, whilst Canon Westcott, as in the case of Basilides, boldly makes
his assertion, and totally ignores all adverse facts. The only Gospel


reference which can be adduced even in the Philosophumena, exclusive
of one asserted to be to the fourth Gospel, which will be separately
considered hereafter, is advanced by Canon Westcott, for Teschendorf
does not refer to it, but confines himself solely to the supposed
reference to the fourth Gospel. The passage is the same as one also
imputed to Basilides: "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the
power of the Highest shall overshadow thee;" which happens to agree with
the words in Luke i. 35; but, as we have seen in connection with Justin,
there is good reason for concluding that the narrative to which it
belongs was contained in other Gospels.(1) In this instance, however,
the quotation is carried further and presents an important variation
from the text of Luke. "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the
power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore the thing begotten
of thee shall be called holy"(2) [------]. The reading of Luke is:
"Therefore also the holy thing begotten shall be called the Son of God"
[------]. It is probable that the passage referred to in connection with
the followers of Basilides may have ended in the same way as this, and
been derived from the same source. Nothing, however, can be clearer than
the fact that this quotation, by whoever made, is not taken from our
third Synoptic, inasmuch as there does not exist a single MS. which
contains such a passage.

We again, however, come to the question: Who really made the quotations
which Hippolytus introduces so indefinitely? We have already, in
speaking of Basilides,


pointed out the loose manner in which Hippolytus and other early
writers, in dealing with different schools of heretics, indifferently
quote the founder or his followers without indicating the precise person
quoted. This practice is particularly apparent in the work of Hippolytus
when the followers of Valentinus are in question. Tischendorf himself
is obliged to admit this. He asks: "Even though it be also incontestable
that the author (Hippolytus) does not always sharply distinguish between
the sect and the founder of the sect, does this apply to the present
case"?(1) He denies that it does in the instance to which he refers,
but he admits the general fact. In the same way another apologist of
the fourth Gospel (and as the use of that Gospel is maintained in
consequence of a quotation in the very same chapter as we are now
considering, only a few lines higher up, both the third and fourth are
in the same position) is forced to admit: "The use of the Gospel of John
by Valentinus cannot so certainly be proved from our refutation-writing
(the work of Hippolytus). Certainly in the statement of these doctrines
it gives abstracts, which contain an expression of John (x. 8), and
there cannot be any doubt that this is taken from some writing of the
sect. But the apologist, in his expressions regarding the Valentinian
doctrines, does not seem to confine himself to one and the same work,
but to have alternately made use of different writings of the school,
for which reason we cannot say anything as to the age of this quotation,
and from this testimony, therefore, we merely have further confirmation
that the Gospel was early(2) (?) used in the

     2 Why "early"? since Hippolytus writes about a.d. 225.


School of the Valentinians,"(1) &c. Of all this not a word from Canon
Westcott, who adheres to his system of bare assertion.

Now we have already quoted(2) the opening sentence of Book vi. 35, of
the work ascribed to Hippolytus, in which the quotation from John x.
8, referred to above occurs, and ten line3 further on, with another
intermediate and equally indefinite "he says" [------], occurs the
supposed quotation from Luke i. 35, which, equally with that from
the fourth Gospel, must, according to Weizsäcker, be abandoned as a
quotation which can fairly be ascribed to Valentinus himself, whose
name is not once mentioned in the whole chapter. A few lines below the
quotation, however, a passage occurs which throws much light upou the
question. After explaining the views of the Valentinians regarding
the verse: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee," &c., the writer thus
proceeds: "Regarding this there is among them [------] a great question,
a cause both of schism and dissension. And hence their [------] teaching
has become divided, and the one teaching according to them [------] is
called Eastern ['------] and the other Italian. They from Italy, of
whom is Heracleon and Ptolemæus, say [------] that the body of Jesus was
animal, and on account of this, on the occasion of the baptism, the Holy
Spirit like a dove came down--that is, the Logos from the Mother above,
Sophia--and became joined to the animal, and raised him from the dead.
This, _he says_ [------] is the declaration [------],"--and here be it
observed we come to another of the "clear


references" which Canon Westcott ventures, deliberately and without a
word of doubt, to attribute to Valentinus himself,(1)--"This, he says,
is the declaration: 'He who raised Christ from the dead shall also
quicken your mortal bodies,'(3) that is animal. For the earth has come
under a curse: 'For dust, he says [------] thou art and unto dust shalt
thou return.'(3) On the other hand, those from the East [------], of
whom is Axionicus and Bardesanes, say [------] that the body of the
Saviour was spiritual, for the Holy Spirit came upon Mary, that is the
Sophia and the power of the Highest."(4) &c.

In this passage we have a good illustration of the mode in which the
writer introduces his quotations with the subjectless "he says." Here he
is conveying the divergent opinions of the two parties of Valentinians,
and explaining the peculiar doctrines of the Italian school "of whom is
Heracleon and Ptolemæus," and he suddenly departs from the plural "they"
to quote the passage from Romans viii. 11, in support of their views
with the singular "he says." Nothing can be more obvious than that "he"
cannot possibly be Valentinus himself, for the schism is represented as
taking place


amongst his followers, and the quotation is evidently made by one
of them to support the views of his party in the schism, but whether
Hippolytus is quoting from Heraclcon or Ptolemæus or some other of the
Italian(1) school, there is no means of knowing. Of all this, again,
nothing is said by Canon Westcott, who quietly asserts without
hesitation or argument, that Valentinus himself is the person who here
makes the quotation.

We have already said that the name of Valentinus does not occur once in
the whole chapter (vi. 35) which we have been examining, and if we turn
back we find that the preceding context confirms the result at which we
have arrived, that the [------] has no reference to the Founder himself,
but is applicable only to some later member of his school, most probably
contemporary with Hippolytus. In vi. 21, Hippolytus discusses the heresy
of Valentinus, which he traces to Pythagoras and Plato, but in Ch. 29
he passes from direct reference to the Founder to deal entirely with
his school. This is so manifest, that the learned editors of the work
of Hippolytus, Professors Duncker and Schneidewin, alter the preceding
heading at that part from "Valentinus" to "Valentiniani." At the
beginning of Ch. 29 Hippolytus writes: "Valentinus, therefore, and
Heracleon and Ptolemæus and the whole school of these (heretics)...
have laid down as the fundamental principle of their teaching the
arithmetical system. For according to these," &c. And a few lines
lower down: "There is discernible amongst them, however, considerable
difference of opinion. For many of them, in order that

     1 The quotation from an Epistle to the Romans by the Italian
     school is appropriate.


the Pythagorean doctrine of Valentinus may be wholly pure, suppose, &c.,
but others," &c. He shortly after says that he will proceed to state
their doctrines as they themselves teach them [------]. He then
continues: "There is, he says [------]" &c. &c., quoting evidently one
of these followers who want to keep the doctrine of Valentinus pure, or
of the "others," although without naming him, and three lines further
on again, without any preparation, returning to the plural "they say"
[------] and so on through the following chapters, "he says" alternating
with the plural, as the author apparently has in view something said
by individuals or merely expresses general views. In the Chapter (34)
preceding that which we have principally been examining, Hippolytus
begins by referring to "the Quaternion according to Valentinus,"
but after five lines on it, he continues: "This is what they say:
[------]"(1) and then goes on to speak of "their whole teaching"
[------], and lower down he distinctly sets himself to discuss the
opinions of the school in the plural: "Thus these (Valentinians)
subdivide the contents of the Pleroma," &c. [------], and continues with
an occasional "according to them "[------] until, without any name being
mentioned, he makes use of the indefinite "he says" to introduce the
quotation referred to by Canon Westcott as a citation by Valentinus
himself of "the Epistle to the Ephesians as Scripture."(2) "This is,
he says, what is written in Scripture," and there follows a quotation
which, it may merely be mentioned as Canon Westcott says nothing of it,
differs considerably from the passage in the Epistle


iii. 14--18. Immediately after, another of Canon West-cott's quotations
from 1 Cor. ii. 14, is given, with the same indefinite "he says," and in
the same way, without further mention of names, the quotations in Ch. 35
compared with John x. 8, and Luke i. 35. There is, therefore, absolutely
no ground whatever for referring these [------] to Valentinus himself;
but, on the contrary, Hippolytus shows in the clearest way that he is
discussing the views of the later writers of the sect, and it is one of
these, and not the Founder himself, whom in his usual indefinite way he
thus quotes.

We have been forced by these bald and unsupported assertions of
apologists to go at such length into these questions at the risk of
being very wearisome to our readers, but it has been our aim as much
as possible to make no statements without placing before those who are
interested the materials for forming an intelligent opinion. Any other
course would be to meet mere assertion by simple denial, and it is only
by bold and unsubstantiated statements which have been simply and in
good faith accepted by ordinary readers who have not the opportunity, if
they have even the will, to test their veracity, that apologists have so
long held their ground. Our results regarding Valentinus so far may be
stated as follows: the quotations which without any explanation are
so positively imputed to Valentinus are not made by him, but by
later writers of his school;(1) and, moreover, the passages which are
indicated by the English apologist as references to our two Synoptic
Gospels not only do


not emanate from Valentinus, but do not agree with our Gospels, and are
apparently derived from other sources.(1)

The remarks of Canon Westcott with regard, to the connection of
Valentinus with our New Testament are on a par with the rest of his
assertions. He says: "There is no reason to suppose that Valentinus
differed from Catholic writers on the Canon of the New Testament."(2) We
might ironically adopt this sentence, for as no writer whatever of the
time of Valentinus, as we have seen, recognized any New Testament Canon
at all, he certainly did not in this respect differ from the other
writers of that period. Canon Westcott relies upon the statement of
Tertullian, but even here, although he quotes the Latin passage in a
note, he does not fully give its real sense in his text. He writes in
immediate continuation of the quotation given above: "Tertullian says
that in this he differed from Marcion, that he at least professed to
accept 'the whole instrument,' perverting the interpretation, where
Marcion mutilated the text." Now the assertion of Tertullian has a
very important modification, which, to any one acquainted with the very
unscrupulous boldness of the "Great African" in dealing with religious
controversy, is extremely significant. He does not make the assertion
positively and of his own knowledge, but modifies it by saying: "Nor,
indeed, if Valentinus seems to use the

     2  On the Canon, p. 259. [Dr. Westcott omits these words
     from his 4th ed., but he uses others here and elsewhere
     which imply very nearly the same assertion.]


whole instrument, (neque enim si Valentinus integro instrumento uti
videtur),"(1) &c. Tertullian evidently knew very little of Valentinus
himself, and had probably not read his writings at all.(2) His treatise
against the Valentinians is avowedly not original, but, as he himself
admits, is compiled from the writings of Justin, Miltiades, Irenæus, and
Proclus.(3) Tertullian would not have hesitated to affirm anything
of this kind positively, had there been any ground for it, but his
assertion is at once too uncertain, and the value of his statements
of this nature much too small, for such a remark to have any weight as
evidence.(4) Besides, by his own showing Valentinus altered Scripture
(sine dubio emen-dans),(5) which he could not have done had he
recognized it as of canonical authority.(6) We cannot, however, place
any reliance upon criticism emanating from Tertullian.

All that Origen seems to know on this subject is that the followers of
Valentinus [------] have altered the form of the Gospel [------].(7)
Clement of Alexandria, however, informs us that Valentinus, like
Basilides, professed to have direct traditions from the Apostles, his
teacher being Theodas, a disciple of the Apostle Paul.(8) If he had
known any Gospels which he believed to have apostolic authority, there
would clearly not have been any need of such tradition. Hippolytus
distinctly affirms that Valentinus derived his system from Pythagoras
and Plato,


and "not from the Gospels" [-----], and that consequently he might more
properly be considered a Pythagorean and Platonist than a Christian.(1)
Irenæus, in like manner, asserts that the Valentinians derive their
views from unwritten sources [------],(2) and he accuses them of
rejecting the Gospels, for after enumerating them,(3) he continues:
"When, indeed, they are refuted out of the Scriptures, they turn round
in accusation of these same Scriptures, as though they were not correct,
nor of authority....

For (they say) that it (the truth) was not conveyed by written records
but by the living voice."(4) In the same chapter he goes on to show that
the Valen-tinians not only reject the authority of Scripture, but also
reject ecclesiastical tradition. He says: "But, again, when we refer
them to that tradition which is from the Apostles, which has been
preserved through a succession of Presbyters in the Churches, they
are opposed to tradition, affirming themselves wiser not only than
Presbyters, but even than the Apostles, in that they have discovered the
uncorrupted truth. For (they say) the Apostles mixed up matters which
are of the law with the words of the Saviour, &c.... It comes to this,
they neither consent to Scripture nor to tradition. (Evenit itaque,
neque Scripturis jam, neque Traditioni consentire eos.)"(6) We find,
therefore, that even in the time of Irenæus the Valentinians rejected
the writings


of the New Testament as authoritative documents, which they certainly
would not have done had the Founder of their sect himself acknowledged
them. So far from this being the case, there was absolutely no New
Testament Canon for Valentinus himself to deal with,(1) and his
perfectly orthodox contemporaries recognized no other Holy Scriptures
than those of the Old Testament.

Irenæus, however, goes still further, and states that the Valentinians
of his time not only had many Gospels, but that they possessed one
peculiar to themselves. "Those indeed who are followers of Valentinus,"
he says, "again passing beyond all fear, and putting forth their own
compositions, boast that they have more Gospels than there actually are.
Indeed they have proceeded so far in audacity that they entitle their
not long written work, agreeing in nothing with the Gospels of the
Apostles, the Gospel of Truth, so that there cannot be any Gospel among
them without blasphemy."(2) It follows clearly, from the very name of
the Valentinian Gospel, that they did not consider that others contained
the truth,(3) and indeed Irenæus himself perceived this, for he
continues: "For if what is published by them be the Gospel of Truth,
yet is dissimilar from those which have been delivered to us by the
Apostles, any may perceive who please, as is demonstrated by these very
Scriptures, that that which has been handed down from the Apostles is
not the Gospel of Truth."(4) These passages speak for


themselves. It has been suggested that the "Gospel of Truth" was a
harmony of the four Gospels.(1) This, however, cannot by any possibility
have been the case, inasmuch as Irenæus distinctly says that it did
not agree in anything with the Gospels of the Apostles. We have been
compelled to devote too much space to Valentinus, and we now leave him
with the certainty that in nothing does he afford any evidence even of
the existence of our Synoptic Gospels.



We must now turn to the great Heresiarch of the second century, Marcion,
and consider the evidence regarding our Gospels which may be derived
from what we know of him. The importance, and at the same time the
difficulty, of arriving at a just conclusion from the materials within
our reach have rendered Marcion's Gospel the object of very elaborate
criticism, and the discussion of its actual character has continued with
fluctuating results for nearly a century.

Marcion was born at Sinope, in Pontus, of which place his father was
Bishop,(1) and although it is said that he aspired to the first place in
the Church of Rome,(2) the Presbyters refused him communion on account
of his peculiar views of Christianity. We shall presently more fully
refer to his opinions, but here it will be sufficient to say that he
objected to what he considered the debasement of true Christianity by
Jewish elements, and he upheld the teaching of Paul alone, in opposition
to that of all the other Apostles, whom he accused of mixing


up matters of the law with the Gospel of Christ, and falsifying
Christianity,(1) as Paul himself had protested.(9) He came to Rome about
a.d. 139--142,(3) and continued teaching for some twenty years.(4) His
high personal character and elevated views produced a powerful effect
upon his time,(5) and, although during his own lifetime and long
afterwards vehemently and with every opprobrious epithet denounced by
ecclesiastical writers, his opinions were so widely adopted that in the
time of Epiphanius his followers were to be found throughout the whole

Marcion is said to have recognized as his sources of Christian doctrine,
besides tradition, a single Gospel and ten Epistles of Paul, which in
his collection stood in the following order;--Epistle to Galatians,
Corinthians (2), Romans, Thessalonians (2), Ephesians (which he had with


the superscription "to the Laodiceans"),(1) Colossians, Philippians,
and Philemon.(2) None of the other books which now form part of
the canonical New Testament were either mentioned or recognized by
Marcion.(3) This is the oldest collection of Apostolic writings of
which there is any trace,(4) but there was at that time no other "Holy
Scripture" than the Old Testament, and no New Testament Canon had yet
been imagined. Marcion neither claimed canonical authority for
these writings,(5) nor did he associate with them any idea of divine
inspiration.(6) We have already seen the animosity expressed by
contemporaries of Marcion against the Apostle Paul.

The principal interest in connection with the collection of Marcion,
however, centres in his single Gospel, the nature, origin, and identity
of which have long been actively and minutely discussed by learned men
of all shades of opinion with very varying results. The work itself is
unfortunately no longer extant, and our only knowledge of it is derived
from the bitter and very inaccurate opponents of Marcion. It seems to
have borne much the same analogy to our third Canonical Gospel which
existed between the Gospel according to


the Hebrews and our first Synoptic.(1) The Fathers, whose uncritical
and, in such matters, prejudiced character led them to denounce every
variation from their actual texts as a mere falsification, and without
argument to assume the exclusive authenticity and originality of our
Gospels, which towards the beginning of the third century had acquired
wide circulation in the Church, vehemently stigmatized Marcion as an
audacious adulterator of the Gospel, and affirmed his evangelical work
to be merely a mutilated and falsified version of the "Gospel according
to Luke."(2)

This view continued to prevail, almost without question or examination,
till towards the end of the eighteenth century, when Biblical criticism
began to exhibit the earnestness and activity which have ever since
more or less characterized it. Semler first abandoned the prevalent
tradition, and, after analyzing the evidence, he concluded that
Marcion's Gospel and Luke's were different versions of an earlier
work,(3) and that the so-called heretical Gospel was one of the numerous
Gospels from amongst which the Canonical had been selected by the
Church.(4) Griesbach about the same time also rejected the ruling
opinion, and denied the close relationship usually asserted to exist
between the two Gospels.(5) Loffler(6) and Corrodi(7) strongly supported


conclusion, that Marcion was no mere falsifier of Luke's Gospel, and J.
E. C. Schmidt(1) went still further, and asserted that Marcion's Gospel
was the genuine Luke, and our actual Gospel a later version of it
with alterations and additions. Eichhorn,(2) after a fuller and more
exhaustive examination, adopted similar views; he repudiated the
statements of Tertullian regarding Marcion's Gospel as utterly
untrustworthy, asserting that he had not that work itself before him at
all, and he maintained that Marcion's Gospel was the more original
text and one of the sources of Luke. Bolten,(3) Bertholdt,(4)
Schleiermacher,(5) and D. Schulz(6) likewise maintained that Marcion's
Gospel was by no means a mutilated version of Luke, but, on the
contrary, an independent original Gospel A similar conclusion was
arrived at by Gieseler,(7) but later, after Hahn's criticism, he
abandoned it, and adopted the opinion that Marcion's Gospel was
constructed out of Luke.(8)

On the other hand, the traditional view was maintained by Storr,(9)
Arneth,(10) Hug,(11) Neander,(12) and Gratz,(13) although with little
originality of investigation or argument; and


Paulus(1) sought to reconcile both views by admitting that Marcion had
before him the Gospel of Luke, but denying that he mutilated it, arguing
that Tertullian did not base his arguments on the actual Gospel
of Marcion, but upon his work, the "Antitheses." Hahn,(2) however,
undertook a more exhaustive examination of the problem, attempting
to reconstruct the text of Marcion's Gospel(3) from the statements of
Tertullian and Epiphanius, and he came to the conclusion that the
work was a mere version, with omissions and alterations made by the
Heresiarch in the interest of his system, of the third Canonical Gospel.
Olshausen(4) arrived at the same result, and with more or less of
modification but no detailed argument, similar opinions were expressed
by Credner,(5) De Wette,(6) and others.(7)

Not satisfied, however, with the method and results of


Hahn and Olshausen, whose examination, although more minute than any
previously undertaken, still left much to be desired, Ritschl(l) made a
further thorough investigation of the character of Mansion's Gospel, and
decided that it was in no case a mutilated version of Luke, but, on the
contrary, an original and independent work, from which the Canonical
Gospel was produced by the introduction of anti-Marcionitish passages
and readings. Baur(2) strongly enunciated similar views, and maintained
that the whole error lay in the mistake of the Fathers, who had, with
characteristic assumption, asserted the earlier and shorter Gospel of
Marcion to be an abbreviation of the later Canonical Gospel, instead of
recognizing the latter as a mere extension of the former. Schwegler(3)
had already, in a remarkable criticism of Marcion's Gospel declared
it to be an independent and original work, and in no sense a mutilated
Luke, but, on the contrary, probably the source of that Gospel.
Kostlin,(4) while stating that the theory that Marcion's Gospel was
an earlier work and the basis of that ascribed to Luke was not very
probable, affirmed that much of the Marcionitish text was more original
than the Canonical, and that both Gospels must be considered versions of
the same original, although Luke's was the later and more corrupt.

These results, however, did not satisfy Volkmar,(5) who entered afresh
upon a searching examination of the whole subject, and concluded that
whilst, on the one hand, the


Gospel of Marcion was not a mere falsified and mutilated form of the
Canonical Gospel, neither was it, on the other, an earlier work, and
still less the original Gospel of Luke, but merely a Gnostic compilation
from what, so far as we are concerned, may be called the oldest codex
of Luke's Gospel, which itself is nothing more than a similar Pauline
edition of the original Gospel. Volkmar's analysis, together with
the arguments of Hilgenfeld, succeeded in convincing Ritschl,{1} who
withdrew from his previous opinions, and, with those critics, merely
maintained some of Marcion's readings to be more original than those
of Luke,{2} and generally defended Marcion from the aspersions of the
Fathers, on the ground that his procedure with regard to Luke's Gospel
was precisely that of the Canonical Evangelists to each other;{3} Luke
himself being clearly dependent both on Mark and Matthew.{4} Baur was
likewise induced by Volkmar's and Hilgenfeld's arguments to modify his
views;{5} but although for the first time he admitted that Marcion had
altered the original of his Gospel frequently for dogmatic reasons, he
still maintained that there was an older form of the Gospel without the
earlier chapters, from which both Marcion and Luke directly constructed
their Gospels;--both of them stood in the same line in regard to the
original; both altered it; the one abbreviated, the other extended
it.{6} Encouraged by this success, but not yet satisfied, Volkmar
immediately undertook a further and more exhaustive examination of the
text of Marcion, in the hope of finally settling the


discussion, and he again, but with greater emphasis, confirmed his
previous results.(1) In the meantime Hilgenfeld(2) had seriously
attacked the problem, and, like Hahn and Volkmar, had sought to
reconstruct the text of Marcion, and, whilst admitting many more
original and genuine readings in the text of Marcion, he had also
decided that his Gospel was dependent on Luke, although he further
concluded that the text of Luke had subsequently gone through another,
though slight, manipulation before it assumed its present form. These
conclusions he again fully confirmed after a renewed investigation of
the subject.(3)

This brief sketch of the controversy which has so long occupied the
attention of critics will at least show the uncertainty of the data upon
which any decision is to be based. We have not attempted to give more
than the barest outlines, but it will appear as we go on that most of
those who decide against the general independence of Mansion's Gospel,
at the same time admit his partial originality and the superiority of
some of his readings over those of the third Synoptic, and justify
his treatment of Luke as a procedure common to the Evangelists, and
warranted not only by their example but by the fact that no Gospels had
in his time emerged from the position of private documents in limited

Marcion's Gospel not being any longer extant, it is important to
establish clearly the nature of our knowledge regarding it, and the
exact value of the data from which various attempts have been made to
reconstruct the text. It is manifest that the evidential force of any
deductions from a reconstructed text is almost wholly


dependent on the accuracy and sufficiency of the materials from which
that text is derived.

The principal sources of our information regarding Marcion's Gospel are
the works of his most bitter denouncers Tertullian and Epiphanius, who,
however, it must be borne in mind, wrote long after his time,--the work
of Tertullian against Marcion having been composed about A.D. 208,(1)
and that of Epiphanius a century later. We may likewise merely mention
here the "_Dialogus de recta in deum fide_," commonly attributed to
Origen, although it cannot have been composed earlier than the middle of
the fourth century.(3) The first three sections are directed against the
Marcionites, but only deal with a late form of their doctrines.(3) As
Volkmar admits that the author clearly had only a general acquaintance
with the "Antitheses," and principal proof passages of the Marcionites,
but, although he certainly possessed the Epistles, had not the Gospel of
Marcion itself,(4) we need not now more particularly consider it.

We are, therefore, dependent upon the "dogmatic and partly blind and
unjust adversaries"(5) of Marcion for our only knowledge of the text
they stigmatize; and when the character of polemical discussion in
the early centuries of our era is considered, it is certain that great
caution must be exercised, and not too much weight attached to the
statements of opponents who regarded a heretic with abhorrence, and
attacked him with an acrimony which carried them far beyond the limits
of fairness and truth. Their religious controversy bristles with


misstatements, and is turbid with pious abuse. Tertullian was a master
of this style, and the vehement vituperation with which he opens(1) and
often interlards his work against "the impious and sacrilegious Marcion"
offers anything but a guarantee of fair and legitimate criticism.
Epiphanius was, if possible, still more passionate and exaggerated
in his representations against him.(2) Undue importance must not,
therefore, be attributed to their statements.(3)

Not only should there be caution exercised in receiving the
representations of one side in a religious discussion, but more
particularly is such caution necessary in the case of Tertullian,
whose trustworthiness is very far from being above suspicion, and whose
inaccuracy is often apparent.(4) "Son christianisme," says Reuss, "est
ardent, sincere, profondément ancré dans son âme. L'on voit qu'il en
vit. Mais ce christianisme est âpre, insolent, brutal, ferrailleur. II
est sans onction et sans charité, quelquefois merae sans loyauté, des
qu'il se trouve en face d'une opposition quelconque. C'est un soldat
qui ne sait que se battre et qui oublie, tout en se battant, qu'il faut
aussi respecter son ennemi. Dialecticien subtil et rusé, il excelle
h, ridiculiser ses adversaires. L'injure, le sarcasme, un langage
qui rappelle parfois en vérité le genre de Rabelais, une effronterie
d'affirmation dans les moments de faiblesse qui frise et atteint meme
la mauvaise foi, voila ses armes. Je sais ce qu'il faut en cela mettre
surde compte de l'époque.... Si, au second siècle,


tous les partis, sauf quelques gnostiques, sont intolerants, Tertullian
Test plus que tout le monde."(1)

The charge of mutilating and interpolating the Gospel of Luke is first
brought against Marcion by Irenæus,(2) and it is repeated with still
greater vehemence and fulness by Tertullian,(3) and Epiphanius;(4) but
the mere assertion by Fathers at the end of the second and in the
third centuries, that a Gospel different from their own was one of the
Canonical Gospels falsified and mutilated, can have no weight whatever
in itself in the inquiry as to the real nature of that work.(5) Their
arbitrary assumption of exclusive originality and priority for the four
Gospels of the Church led them, without any attempt at argument, to
treat every other evangelical work as an offshoot or falsification of
these. The arguments by which Tertullian endeavours to establish that
the Gospels of Luke and the other Canonical Evangelists were more
ancient than that of Marcion(6) show that he had no idea of historical
or critical evidence.(7) We are, however, driven back upon such actual
data regarding the text and contents of Marcion's Gospel as are given
by the Fathers, as the only basis, in the absence of the Gospel itself,
upon which any hypothesis as to its real character can be built. The
question therefore is: Are these data sufficiently ample and trustworthy
for a decisive judgment


from internal evidence? if indeed internal evidence in such a case can
be decisive at all.

All that we know, then, of Marcion's Gospel is simply what Tertullian
and Epiphanius have stated with regard to it. It is, however,
undeniable, and indeed is universally admitted, that their object in
dealing with it at all was entirely dogmatic, and not in the least
degree critical(1). The spirit of that age was indeed so essentially
uncritical(2) that not even the canonical text could waken it into
activity. Tertullian very clearly states what his object was in
attacking Marcion's Gospel. After asserting that the whole aim of the
Heresiarch was to prove a disagreement between the Old Testament and the
New, and that for this purpose he had erased from the Gospel all that
was contrary to his opinion, and retained all that he had considered
favourable, Tertullian proceeds to examine the passages retained,(3)
with the view of proving that the Heretic has shown the same "blindness
of heresy" both in that which he has erased and in that which he has
retained, inasmuch as the passages which Marcion has allowed to remain
are as opposed to his system, as those which he has omitted. He conducts
the controversy in a free and discursive manner, and whilst he appears
to go through Marcion's Gospel with some regularity, it will be
apparent, as we proceed, that


mere conjecture has to play a large part in any attempt to reconstruct,
from his data, the actual text of Marcion. Epiphanius explains his
aim with equal clearness. He had made a number of extracts from the
so-called Gospel of Marcion which seemed to him to refute the heretic,
and after giving a detailed and numbered list of these passages, which
he calls [------], he takes them consecutively and to each adds his
"Refutation." His intention is to show how wickedly and disgracefully
Marcion has mutilated and falsified the Gospel, and how fruitlessly he
has done so, inasmuch as he has stupidly, or by oversight, allowed much
to remain in his Gospel by which he may be completely refuted.(1)

As it is impossible within our limits fully to illustrate the procedure
of the Fathers with regard to Marcion's Gospel, and the nature and value
of the materials they supply, we shall as far as possible quote the
declarations of critics, and more especially of Volkmar and Hilgenfeld,
who, in the true and enlightened spirit of criticism, impartially state
the character of the data available for the understanding of the text.
As these two critics have, by their able and learned investigations,
done more than any others to educe and render possible a decision of the
problem, their own estimate of the materials upon which a judgment has
to be formed is of double value.

With regard to Tertullian, Volkmar explains that his desire is totally
to annihilate the most dangerous heretic of his time,--first (Books
i.--iii.), to overthrow Marcion's system in general as expounded in
his "Antitheses,"--and then (Book iv.) to show that even the Gospel of


only contains Catholic doctrine (he concludes, "_Christus Jesus in
Evangelio tuo mens est_" c. 43); and therefore he examines the Gospel
only so far as may serve to establish his own view and refute that
of Marcion. "To show," Volkmar continues, "wherein this Gospel was
falsified or mutilated, _i.e._, varied from his own, on the contrary,
is in no way his design, for he perceives that Marcion could retort the
reproach of interpolation, and in his time proof from internal grounds
was hardly possible, so that only exceptionally, where a variation seems
to him remarkable, does he specially mention it."(1) On the other hand
Volkmar remarks that Tertullian's Latin rendering of the text of Marcion
which lay before him,--which, although certainly free and having
chiefly the substance in view, is still in weightier passages verbally
accurate,--directly indicates important variations in that text. He goes
on to argue that the silence of Tertullian may be weighty testimony
for the fact that passages which exist in Luke, but which he does
not mention, were missing in Marcion's Gospel, but he does so with
considerable reservation. "But his silence _alone_," he says, "can only
under certain conditions represent with diplomatic certainty an omission
in Marcion. It is indeed probable that he would not lightly have passed
over a passage in the Gospel of Marcion which might in any way be
contradictory to its system, if one altogether similar had not preceded
it, all the more as he frequently drags in by force such proof passages
from Marcion's text, and often plainly with but a certain sophistry
tries to refute his adversary out of the words of his own Gospel. But it
remains always possible that in his eagerness he has


overlooked much; and besides, he believes that by his replies to
particular passages he has already sufficiently dealt with many others
of a similar kind; indeed, avowedly, he will not willingly repeat
himself. A certain conclusion, therefore, can only be deduced from the
silence of Tertullian when special circumstances enter."(l) Volkmar,
however, deduces with certainty from the statements of Tertullian
that, whilst he wrote, he had not before him the Gospel of Luke, but
intentionally laid it aside, and merely referred to the Marcionitish
text, and further that, like all the Fathers of the third Century, he
preferred the Gospel according to Matthew to the other Synoptics, and
was well acquainted with it alone, so that in speaking of the Gospel
generally he only has in his memory the sense, and the sense alone of
Luke except in so far as it agrees or seems to agree with Matthew.(2)

With regard to the manner in which Tertullian performed the work he had
undertaken, Hilgenfeld remarks: "As Tertullian, in going through the
Marcionitish Gospel, has only the object of refutation in view, he very
rarely states explicitly what is missing in it; and as, on the one hand,
we can only venture to conclude from the silence of Tertullian that a
passage is wanting, when it is altogether inexplicable that he should
not have made use of it for the purpose of refutation; so, on the other,
we must also know how Marcion used and interpreted the Gospel, and
should never lose sight of Tertullian's refutation and defence."(3)

Hahn substantially expresses the same opinions. He


says: "Inasmuch as Tertullian goes through the Mar-cionitish text with
the view of refuting the heretic out of that which he accepts, and not
of critically pointing out all variations, falsifications, and passages
rejected, he frequently quotes the falsified or altered Marcionitish
text without expressly mentioning the variations.(1)... Yet he cannot
refrain--although this was not his object--occasionally, from noticing
amongst other things any falsifications and omissions which, when he
perhaps examined the text of Luke or had a lively recollection of it,
struck and too grievously offended him."(2)

Volkmar's opinion of the procedure of Epiphanius is still more
unfavourable. Contrasting it with that of Tertullian, he characterizes
it as "more superficial," and he considers that its only merit is its
presenting an independent view of Marcion's Gospel. Further than this,
however, he says: "How far we can build upon his statements, whether
as regards their completeness or their trustworthiness is not yet made
altogether clear."(3) Volk-mar goes on to show how thoroughly Epiphanius
intended to do his work, and yet that, although from what he himself
leads us to expect, we might hope to find a complete statement of
Marcion's sins, the Father himself disappoints such an expectation by
his own admission of incompleteness. He complains generally of his
free and misleading method of quotation, such, for instance, as his
alteration of the text without explanation; alteration of the same
passage on different occasions in more than one way; abbreviations, and
omissions of parts of quotations; the sudden breaking off of passages
just commenced with


the indefinite [------], without any indication how much this may

Volkmar, indeed, explains that Epiphanius is only thoroughly trustworthy
where, and _so far as_, he wishes to state in his Scholia an omission or
variation in Marcion's text from his own Canonical Gospel, in which
case he minutely registers the smallest point, but this is to be clearly
distinguished from any charge of falsification brought against Marcion
in his Refutations; for only while earlier drawing up his Scholia had
he the Mar-cionitish Gospel before him and compared it with Luke; but in
the case of the Refutations, on the contrary, which he wrote later,
he did not at least again compare the Gospel of Luke. "It is, however,
altogether different," continues Volkmar, "as regards the statements of
Epiphanius concerning the part of the Gospel of Luke which is preserved
in Marcion. Whilst he desires to be _strictly literal_ in the account of
the _variations_, and also with two exceptions _is_ so, he so generally
adheres _only to the purport_ of the passages retained by Marcion,
that altogether literal quotations are quite exceptional; _throughout_,
however, where passages of greater extent are referred to, these are
not merely abbreviated, but also are quoted in _very free_ fashion,
and nowhere can we reckon that the passage in Marcion ran verbally as
Epiphanius quotes it."(2) And to this we may add a remark made further
on: "We cannot in general rely upon the accuracy of his statements in
regard to that which Marcion had in common with Luke."(3) On the other
hand Volkmar had previously


said: "Absolute completeness in regard to that which Marcion's Gospel
did not contain is not to be reckoned upon in his Scholia. He has
certainly not intended to pass over anything, but in the eagerness which
so easily renders men superficial and blind much has escaped him."(l)

Hahn bears similar testimony to the incompleteness of Epiphanius. "It
was not his purpose," he says, "fully to notice all falsifications,
variations, and omissions, although he does mark most of them, but
merely to extract from the Gospel of Marcion, as well as from
his collection of Epistles, what seemed to him well suited for
refutation."(2) But he immediately adds: "When he quotes a passage
from Marcion's text, however, in which such falsifications occur, he
generally,--but not always,--notes them more or less precisely, and
he had himself laid it down as a subsidiary object of his work to pay
attention to such falsifications."(3) A little further on he says: "In
the quotations of the remaining passages which Epiphanius did not find
different from the Gospel of Luke, and where he therefore says nothing
of falsification or omission, he is often very free, neither adhering
strictly to the particular words, nor to their arrangement, but his
favourite practice is to give their substance and sense for the purpose
of refuting his opponent. He presupposes the words known from the Gospel
of Luke."(4)

It must be stated, however, that both Volkmar(5) and Hilgenfeld(6)
consider that the representations of


Tertullian and Epiphanius supplement each other and enable the contents
of Marcion's Gospel to be ascertained with tolerable certainty. Yet
a few pages earlier Volkmar had pointed out that: "The ground for a
certain fixture of the text of the Marcionitish Gospel, however, seems
completely taken away by the fact that Tertullian and Epiphanius, in
their statements regarding its state, not merely repeatedly seem to, but
in part actually do, directly contradict each other."(1) Hahn endeavours
to explain some of these contradictions by imagining that later
Marcionites had altered the text of their Gospel, and that Epiphanius
had the one form and Tertullian another;(2) but such a doubt only
renders the whole of the statements regarding the work more uncertain
and insecure. That it is not without some reason, however, appears from
the charge which Tertullian brings against the disciples of Marcion:
"for they daily alter it (their Gospel) as they are daily refuted by
us."(3) In fact, we have no assurance whatever that the work upon
which Tertullian and Epiphanius base their charge against Marcion of
falsification and mutilation of Luke was Marcion's original Gospel at
all, and we certainly have no historical evidence on the point.(4)

The question even arises, whether Tertullian, and indeed Epiphanius, had
Marcion's Gospel in any shape before them when they wrote, or merely his
work the


"Antitheses."(1) In commencing his onslaught on Marcion's Gospel,
Terlullian says: "Marcion seems (videtur) to have selected Luke,
to mutilate it."(2) This is the first serious introduction of his
"mutilation hypothesis," which he thenceforward presses with so much
assurance, but the expression is very uncertain for so decided a
controversialist, if he had been able to speak more positively.(3)
We have seen that it is admitted that Epiphanius wrote without again
comparing the Gospel of Marcion with Luke, and it is also conceded that
Tertullian at least had not the Canonical Gospel, but in professing to
quote Luke evidently does so from memory, and approximates his text
to Matthew, with which Gospel, like most of the Fathers, he was better
acquainted. This may be illustrated by the fact that both Tertullian
and Epiphanius reproach Marcion with erasing passages from the Gospel of
Luke, which never were in Luke at all.(4) In one place Tertullian says:
"Marcion, you must also remove this from the Gospel: 'I am not sent but
unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel,'(3) and: 'It is not meet
to take the children's bread, and give it to dogs,'(6) in order, be
it known, that Christ may not seem to be an Israelite."(7) The "Great


thus taunts his opponent, evidently under the impression that the two
passages were in Luke, immediately after he had accused Marcion of
having actually expunged from that Gospel, "as an interpolation,"(1) the
saying that Christ had not come to destroy the law and the prophets, but
to fulfil them,(2) which likewise never formed part of it. He repeats
a similar charge on several other occasions.(3) Epiphanius commits the
same mistake of reproaching Marcion with omitting from Luke what is
only found in Matthew.(4) We have, in fact, no certain guarantee of the
accuracy or trustworthiness of their statements.

We have said enough, we trust, to show that the sources for the
reconstruction of a text of Marcion's Gospel are most unsatisfactory,
and no one who attentively studies the analysis of Hahn, Ritschl,
Volkmar, Hilgenfeld, and others, who have examined and systematized
the data of the Fathers, can fail to be struck by the uncertainty which
prevails throughout, the almost continuous vagueness and consequent
opening, nay, necessity, for conjecture, and the absence of really sure
indications. The Fathers had no intention of showing what Marcion's text
actually was, and their object being solely dogmatic and not critical,
their statements are very insufficient for the purpose.(5) The materials
have had to be ingeniously collected and sifted from polemical writings
whose authors, so far from professing to furnish them, were only bent
upon seeking in Marcion's Gospel such points as could legitimately, or
by sophistical skill, be used against him. Passing observations, general


remarks, as well as direct statements, have too often been the only
indications guiding the patient explorers and, in the absence of certain
information, the silence of the angry Fathers has been made the basis
for important conclusions. It is evident that not only is such a
procedure necessarily uncertain and insecure, but that it rests upon
assumptions with regard to the intelligence, care and accuracy of
Tertullian and Epiphanius, which are not sufficiently justified by
that part of their treatment of Marcion's text which we can examine and
appreciate. And when all these doubtful landmarks have failed, too many
passages have been left to the mere judgment of critics, as to whether
they were too opposed to Marcion's system to have been retained by him,
or too favourable to have been omitted. The reconstructed texts, as
might be expected, differ from each other, and one Editor finds the
results of his predecessors incomplete or unsatisfactory,1 although
naturally at each successive attempt, the materials previously collected
and adopted have contributed to an apparently more complete result.
After complaining of the incompleteness and uncertainty of the
statements of Tertullian and Epiphanius, Ritschl affirms that they
furnish so little solid material on which to base a hypothesis, that
rather by means of a hypothesis must we determine the remains of the
Gospel from Tertullian.(3) Hilgenfeld quotes this with approval, and
adds, that at least Ritschl's opinion is so far right, that all the
facts of the case can no longer be settled from external data, and that
the general view regarding the


Gospel only can decide many points.(1) This means of course that
hypothesis is to supply that which is wanting in the Fathers. Volkmar,
in the introduction to his last comprehensive work on Marcion's Gospel,
says: "And, in fact, it is no wonder that critics have for so long, and
substantially to so little effect, fought over the protean question,
for there has been so much uncertainty as to the very basis (Fundament)
itself,--the precise text of the remarkable document,--that Baur has
found full ground for rejecting, as unfounded, the supposition on which
that finally-attained decision (his previous one) rested."(2) Critics
of all shades of opinion are forced to admit the incompleteness of
the materials for any certain reconstruction of Marcion's text and,
consequently, for an absolute settlement of the question from internal
evidence,(3) although the labours of Volkmar and Hilgenfeld have
materially increased our knowledge of the contents of his Gospel.
We must contend, however, that, desirable and important as it is to
ascertain as perfectly as possible the precise nature of Marcion's text,
the question of its origin and relation to Luke would not by any means
be settled even by its final reconstruction. There would, as we shall
presently show, remain unsolved the problem of its place in that
successive manipulation of materials by which a few Gospels gradually
absorbed and displaced the rest. Our own synoptics


exhibit unmistakable traces of the process, and clearly forbid our
lightly setting aside the claim of Marcion's Gospel to be considered a
genuine work, and no mere falsification and abbreviation of Luke.

Before proceeding to a closer examination of Marcion's Gospel and the
general evidence bearing upon it, it may be well here briefly to refer
to the system of the Heresiarch whose high personal character exerted so
powerful an influence upon his own time,(1) and whose views continued
to prevail widely for a couple of centuries after his death. It was the
misfortune of Marcion to live in an age when Christianity had passed
out of the pure morality of its infancy, when, untroubled by complicated
questions of dogma, simple faith and pious enthusiasm had been the one
great bond of Christian brotherhood, into a phase of ecclesiastical
development in which religion was fast degenerating into theology, and
complicated doctrines were rapidly assuming that rampant attitude which
led to so much bitterness, persecution, and schism. In later times
Marcion might have been honoured as a reformer, in his own he was
denounced as a heretic.(2) Austere and ascetic in his opinions, he aimed
at superhuman purity, and although his clerical adversaries might scoff
at his impracticable doctrines regarding marriage and the subjugation of
the flesh, they have had their parallels amongst those whom the Church
has since most delighted to honour; and at least the whole tendency
of his system was markedly towards the side of virtue.(3) It would of
course be foreign to our


purpose to enter upon any detailed statement of its principles, and we
must confine ourselves to such particulars only as are necessary to an
understanding of the question before us.

As we have already frequently had occasion to mention, there were
two broad parties in the primitive Church, and the very existence of
Christianity was in one sense endangered by the national exclusiveness
of the people amongst whom it originated. The one party considered
Christianity a mere continuation of the Law, and dwarfed it into an
Isrealitish institution, a narrow sect of Judaism; the other represented
the glad tidings as the introduction of a new system applicable to
all and supplanting the Mosaic dispensation of the Law by a universal
dispensation of grace. These two parties were popularly represented in
the early Church by the Apostles Peter and Paul, and their antagonism
is faintly revealed in the Epistle to the Galatians. Marcion, a gentile
Christian, appreciating the true character of the new religion and its
elevated spirituality, and profoundly impressed by the comparatively
degraded and anthropomorphic features of Judaism, drew a very sharp line
of demarcation between them, and represented Christianity as an entirely
new and separate system abrogating the old and having absolutely no
connection with it. Jesus was not to him the Messiah of the Jews, the
son of David come permanently to establish the Law and the Prophets, but
a divine being sent to reveal to man a wholly new spiritual religion,
and a hitherto unknown God of goodness and grace. The Creator [------],


the God of the Old Testament, was different from the God of grace
who had sent Jesus to reveal the Truth, to bring reconciliation and
salvation to all, and to abrogate the Jewish God of the World and of the
Law, who was opposed to the God and Father of Jesus Christ as Matter is
to Spirit, impurity to purity. Christianity was in distinct antagonism
to Judaism, the Spiritual God of heaven, whose goodness and love were
for the Universe, to the God of the World, whose chosen and peculiar
people were the Jews, the Gospel of Grace to the dispensation of the Old
Testament. Christianity, therefore, must be kept pure from the Judaistic
elements humanly thrust into it, which were so essentially opposed to
its whole spirit.

Marcion wrote a work called "Antitheses" [------], in which he
contrasted the old system with the new, the God of the one with the
God of the other, the Law with the Gospel, and in this he maintained
opinions which anticipated many held in our own time. Tertullian attacks
this work in the first three books of his treatise against Marcion,
and he enters upon the discussion of its details with true theological
vigour: "Now, then, ye hounds, yelping at the God of truth, whom the
Apostle casts out,(1) to all your questions! These are the bones of
contention which ye gnaw!"(2) The poverty of the "Great African's"
arguments keeps pace with his abuse. Marcion objected: If the God of the
Old Testament be good, prescient of the future, and able to avert evil,
why did he allow man, made in his own image, to be deceived


by the devil, and to fall from obedience of the Law into sin and
death?(1) How came the devil, the origin of lying and deceit, to be made
at all?(2) After the fall, God became a judge both severe and cruel;
woman is at once condemned to bring forth in sorrow and to serve her
husband, changed from a help into a slave; the earth is cursed which
before was blessed, and man is doomed to labour and to death.(3) The law
was one of retaliation and not of justice,--lex talionis--eye for eye,
tooth for tooth, stripe for stripe.(4) And it was not consistent, for in
contravention of the Decalogue, God is made to instigate the Israelites
to spoil the Egyptians, and fraudulently rob them of their gold and
silver;(5) to incite them to work on the Sabbath by ordering them to
carry the ark for eight days round Jericho;(6) to break the second
commandment by making and setting up the brazen serpent and the golden
cherubim.(7) Then God is inconstant, electing men, as Saul and Solomon,
whom he subsequently rejects;(8) repenting that he had set up Saul, and
that he had doomed the Ninevites,(9) and so on. God calls out: Adam,
where art thou? inquires whether he had eaten the forbidden fruit; asks
of Cain where his brother was, as if he had not yet heard the blood
of Abel crying from the ground, and did not already know all these
things.(10) Anticipating the results of modem criticism, Marcion denies
the applicability to Jesus of the so-called Messianic prophecies. The
Emmanuel of


Isaiah (vii. 14, cf. viii. 4) is not Christ;(1) the "Virgin" his mother
is simply a "young woman" according to Jewish phraseology;(2) and the
sufferings of the Servant of God (Isaiah lii. 13--liii. 9) are not
predictions of the death of Jesus.(3) There is a complete severance
between the Law and the Gospel, and the God of the latter is the
Antithesis of that of the former.(4) "The one was perfect, pure,
beneficent, passionless; the other, though not unjust by nature,
infected by matter,--subject to all the passions of man,--cruel,
changeable; the New Testament, especially as remodelled by Marcion,(5)
was holy, wise, amiable; the Old Testament, the Law, barbarous, inhuman,
contradictory, and detestable."(6)

Marcion ardently maintained the doctrine of the impurity of matter,
and he carried it to its logical conclusion, both in speculation and
practice. He, therefore, asserting the incredibility of an incarnate
God, denied the corporeal reality of the flesh of Christ. His body was
a mere semblance and not of human substance, was not born of a human
mother, and the divine nature was not degraded by contact with the
flesh.(7) Marcion finds in Paul the purest promulgator of the truth as
he understands it, and emboldened by the Epistle to the Galatians, in
which that Apostle rebukes even Apostles for "not walking uprightly
according to the truth of the Gospel," he accuses the other Apostles of
having depraved the pure form of the Gospel doctrines delivered to them

     5 We give this quotation as a resume by an English historian
     and divine, but the idea of the "New Testament remodelled by
     Marcion," is a mere ecclesiastical imagination.


Jesus,(1) "mixing up matters of the Law with the words of the

Tertullian reproaches Marcion with having written the work in which he
details the contrasts between Judaism and Christianity, of which we
have given the briefest sketch, as an introduction and encouragement to
belief in his Gospel, which he ironically calls "the Gospel according
to the Antitheses;"(3) and the charge which the Fathers bring against
Marcion is that he laid violent hands on the Canonical Gospel of Luke,
and manipulated it to suit his own views. "For certainly the whole
object at which he laboured in drawing up the 'Antitheses.'" says
Tertullian, "amounts to this: that he may prove a disagreement between
the Old and New Testament, so that his own Christ may be separated from
the Creator, as of another God, as alien from the Law and the Prophets.
For this purpose it is certain that he has erased whatever was contrary
to his own opinion and in harmony with the Creator, as if interpolated
by his partisans, but has retained everything consistent with his own
opinion."(4) The whole hypothesis that Marcion's Gospel is a mutilated
version of our third Synoptic in fact rested upon this accusation. It
is obvious that if it cannot be shown that Marcion's Gospel was our
Canonical Gospel merely garbled by the Heresiarch for dogmatic reasons
in the interest of his system,--for there could not be any other


reason for tampering with it,--the claim of Marcion's Gospel to the rank
of a more original and authentic work than Luke's acquires double force.
We must, therefore, inquire into the character of the variations between
the so-called heretical, and the Canonical Gospels, and see how far the
hypothesis of the Fathers accord with the contents of Marcion's Gospel
so far as we are acquainted with it.

At the very outset we are met by the singular phenomenon, that both
Tertullian and Epiphanius, who accuse Marcion of omitting everything
which was unfavourable, and retaining only what was favourable to
his views, undertake to refute him out of what remains in his Gospel.
Tertullian says: "It will then be proved that he has shown the same
defect of blindness of heresy both in that which he has erased and that
which he has retained."(1) Epiphanius also confidently states that, out
of that which Marcion has allowed to remain of the Gospel, he can prove
his fraud and imposture, and thoroughly refute him.(2) Now if Marcion
mutilated Luke to so little purpose as this, what was the use of his
touching it at all? He is known as an able man, the most influential and
distinguished of all the heretical leaders of the second century, and
it seems unreasonable to suppose that, on the theory of his erasing or
altering all that contradicted his system, he should have done his work
so imperfectly.(3) The Fathers say that he endeavours to get rid of the
contradictory passages which remain by a system of false interpretation;
but surely he would not have allowed himself to be driven


to this extremity, leaving weapons in the hands of his opponents, when
he might so easily have excised the obnoxious texts along with the rest?
It is admitted by critics, moreover, that passages said to have been
omitted by Marcion are often not opposed to his system at all, and
sometimes, indeed, even in favour of it;(1) and on the other hand, that
passages which were retained are contradictory to his views.(2) This is
not intelligible upon any theory of arbitrary garbling of a Gospel in
the interest of a system.

It may be well to give a few instances of the anomalies presented, upon
this hypothesis, by Marcion's text. Some critics believe that the verses
Luke vii. 29--35, were wanting in Marcion's Gospel.(3) Hahn accounts for
the omission of verses 29, 30, regarding the baptism of John, because
they represented the relation of the Baptist to Jesus in a way which
Marcion did not admit.(4) But as he allowed the preceding verses to
remain, such a proceeding was absurd. In verse 26 he calls John a
prophet, and much more than a prophet, and in the next verse (27) quotes
respecting him the words of


Malachi iii. 1: "This is he of whom it is written: Behold I send my
messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee." It
is impossible on any reasonable ground to account for the retention of
such honourable mention of the Baptist, if verses 29, 30 were erased
for such dogmatic reasons.(1) Still more incomprehensible on such a
hypothesis is the omission of Luke vii. 31--35, where that generation
is likened unto children playing in the market-place and calling to each
other: "We piped unto you and ye danced not," and Jesus continues: "For
John is come neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath
a devil (34). The Son of Man is come, eating and drinking; and ye say:
Behold a gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and
sinners." Hahn attributes the omission of these verses to the sensuous
representation they give of Jesus as eating and drinking.(2) What was
the use of eliminating these verses when he allowed to remain unaltered
verse 36 of the same chapter,(3) in which Jesus is invited to eat with
the Pharisee, and goes into his house and sits down to meat? or v.
29--35,(4) in which Jesus accepts the feast of Levi, and defends his
disciples for eating and drinking against the murmurs of the Scribes and
Pharisees? or xv. 2,(5)


where the Pharisees say of him: "This man receiveth sinners and eateth
with them?" How absurdly futile the omission of the one passage
for dogmatic reasons, while so many others were allowed to remain

The next passage to which we must refer is one of the most important in
connection with Marcion's Docetic doctrine of the person of Jesus. It is
said that he omitted viii. 19: "And his mother and his brethren came to
him and could not come at him for the crowd," and that he inserted in
verse 21, [------]; making the whole episode in his Gospel read (20):
"And it was told him by certain which said: Thy mother and thy brethren
stand without desiring to see thee: 21. But he answered and said unto
them: Who are my mother and brethren? My mother and my brethren are
these," &c. The omission of verse 19 is said to have been made because,
according to Marcion, Christ was not born like an ordinary man, and
consequently had neither mother nor brethren.(3) The mere fact, however,
that Marcion retains verse 20, in which the crowd simply state as a
matter fully recognized, the relationship of those who were seeking
Jesus, renders the omission of the preceding verse useless,(4) except on
the ground of mere redundancy.

Marcion is reported not to have had the word [------] in x. 25,(5) "so
that the question of the lawyer simply ran:


"Master, what shall I do to inherit life?" The omission of this word is
supposed to have been made in order to make the passage refer back to
the God of the Old Testament, who promises merely long life on earth for
keeping the commandments, whilst it is only in the Gospel that _eternal_
life is promised.(1) But in the corresponding passage, xviii. 18,(2) the
[------] is retained, and the question of the ruler is: "Good master,
what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" It has been argued that the
introduction of the one thing still lacking (verse 22) after the keeping
of the law and the injunction to sell all and give to the poor, changes
the context, and justifies the use there of _eternal_ life as the reward
for fulfilment of the higher commandment.(3) This reasoning, however,
seems to us without grounds, and merely an ingenious attempt to account
for an embarrassing fact. In reality the very same context occurs in the
other passage, for, explaining the meaning of the word "neighbour,"
love to whom is enjoined as part of the way to obtain "life," Jesus
inculcates the very same duty as in xviii. 22, of distributing to the
poor (cf. x. 28--37). There seems, therefore, no reasonable motive
for omitting the word from the one passage whilst retaining it in the

The passage in Luke xi. 29--32, from the concluding words of verse 29,
"but the sign of the prophet Jonah"


was not found in Marcion's Gospel.(1) This omission is accounted for
on the ground that such a respectful reference to the Old Testament was
quite contrary to the system of Marcion.(2) Verses 49--51 of the same
chapter, containing the saying of the "Wisdom of God," regarding the
sending of the prophets that the Jews might slay them, and their blood
be required of that generation, were also omitted.(3) The reason given
for this omission is, that the words of the God of the Old Testament are
too respectfully quoted and adopted to suit the views of the Heretic.(4)
The words in verses 31--32, "And a greater than Solomon--than Jonah
is here," might well have been allowed to remain in the text, for the
superiority of Christ over the kings and prophets of the Old Testament
which is asserted directly suits and supports the system of Marcion. How
much less, however, is the omission of these passages to be explained
upon any intelligent dogmatic principle, when we find in Marcion's text
the passage in which Jesus justifies his conduct on the Sabbath by
the example of David (vi. 3--4),(5) and that in which he assures
the disciples of the greatness of their reward in heaven for the
persecutions they were to endure:


"For behold your reward is great in heaven: for after the same manner
did their fathers unto the prophets" (vi. 23).(1) As we have seen,
Jesus is also allowed to quote an Old Testament prophecy (vii. 27) as
fulfilled in the coming of John to prepare the way for himself. The
questions which Jesus puts to the Scribes (xx. 41--44) regarding the
Christ being David's son, with the quotation from Ps. ex. 1, which
Marcion is stated to have retained,(2) equally refute the supposition as
to his motive for "omitting" xi. 29 ff. It has been argued with
regard to the last passage that Jesus merely uses the words of the Old
Testament to meet his own theory,(3) but the dilemma in which Jesus
places the Scribes is clearly not the real object of his question: its
aim is a suggestion of the true character of the Christ. But amongst
his other sins with regard to Luke's Gospel, Marcion is also accused of
interpolating it. And in what way? Why the Heresiarch, who is so averse
to all references to the Old Testament that he is supposed to erase
them, actually, amongst his few interpolations, adds a reference to the
Old Testament. Between xvii. 14 and 15 (some critics say in verse 18)
Marcion introduced the verse which is found in Luke iv. 27: "And many
lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of
them was cleansed saving Naaman, the Syrian."(4) Now is it conceivable
that a man who inserts, as it is said, references to the


Old Testament into his text so gratuitously, can have been so
inconsistent as to have omitted these passages because they contain
similar references? We must say that the whole of the reasoning
regarding these passages omitted and retained, and the fine distinctions
which are drawn between them, are anything but convincing. A general
theory being adopted, nothing is more easy than to harmonise everything
with it in this way; nothing is more easy than to assign some reason,
good or bad, apparently in accordance with the foregone conclusion, why
one passage was retained, and why another was omitted, but in almost
every case the reasoning might with equal propriety be reversed if the
passages were so, and the retention of the omitted passage as well as
the omission of that retained be quite as reasonably justified. The
critics who have examined Marcion's Gospel do not trouble themselves to
inquire if the general connection of the text be improved by the absence
of passages supposed to be omitted, but simply try whether the supposed
omissions are explainable on the ground of a dogmatic tendency in
Marcion. In fact, the argument throughout is based upon foregone
conclusions, and rarely upon any solid grounds whatever. The retention
of such passages as we have quoted above renders the omission of the
other for dogmatic reasons quite purposeless.(1)

The passage, xii. 6, 7, which argues that as the sparrows are not
forgotten before God, and the hairs of our head are numbered, the
disciples need not fear, was not found in Mansion's Gospel.(2) The
supposed omission


is explained on the ground that, according to Marcion's system, God does
not interest himself about such trifles as sparrows and the hairs of
our head, but merely about souls.(1) That such reasoning is arbitrary,
however, is apparent from the fact, that Marcion's text had verse 24 of
the same chapter:(2) "Consider the ravens," &c., &c., and "God feedeth
them:" &c., and also v. 28,(3) "But if God so clothe the grass," &c.,
&c., "how much more will he clothe you, O! ye of little faith?" As no
one ventures to argue that Marcion limited the providence of God to the
ravens, and to the grass, but excluded the sparrows and the hair, no
dogmatic reason can be assigned for the omission of the one, whilst the
other is retained.(4)

The first nine verses of ch. xiii. were likewise absent from Marcion's
text,(5) wherein Jesus declares that like the Galilæans, whose blood
Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices (v. 1, 2), and the eighteen upon
whom the tower in Siloam fell (v. 4), "except ye repent, ye shall all
likewise perish," (v. 3 and 5), and then recites the parable of the
unfruitful fig-tree (v. 6--9), which the master of the vineyard orders
to be cut down (v. 7), but then spares for a season (v. 8, 9). The
theory advanced to account for the asserted "omission" of these


verses is that they could not be reconciled with Marcion's system,
according to which the good God never positively punishes the wicked,
but merely leaves them to punish themselves in that, by not accepting
the proffered grace, they have no part in the blessedness of
Christians.(1) In his earlier work, Volkmar distinctly admitted that the
whole of this passage might be omitted without prejudice to the text
of Luke, and that he could not state any ground, in connection with
Marcion's system, which rendered its omission either necessary or even
conceivable. He then decided that the passage was not contained at all
in the version of Luke, which Marcion possessed, but was inserted at
a later period in our Codices.(2) It was only on his second attempt to
account for all omissions on dogmatic grounds that he argued as above.
In like manner Hilgenfeld also, with Rettig, considered that the passage
did not form part of the original Luke, so that here again Marcion's
text was free from a very abrupt passage, not belonging to the more
pure and primitive Gospel.(3) Baur recognizes not only that there is no
dogmatic ground to explain the omission, but on the contrary, that
the passage fully agrees with the system of Marcion.(4) The total
insufficiency of the argument to explain the omission, however, is
apparent from the numerous passages, which were allowed to remain in the
text, which still more clearly outraged this part of Marcion's system.
In the parable of the great supper, xiv. 15--24, the Lord is angry (v.
21), and declares that none of those who were


bidden should taste of his supper (v. 24). In xii. 5, Jesus warns his
own disciples: "Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast
into hell; yea, I say unto you: fear him." It is not permissible to
argue that Marcion here understands the God of the Old Testament, the
Creator, for he would thus represent his Christ as forewarning his own
disciples to fear the power of that very Demiurge, whose reign he had
come to terminate. Then again, in the parable of the wise steward, and
the foolish servants, xii. 41 ff, he declares (v. 46), that the lord of
the foolish servant "will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his
portion with the unbelievers," and (vs. 47, 48) that the servants shall
be beaten with stripes, in proportion to their fault. In the parable of
the nobleman who goes to a far country and leaves the ten pounds with
his servants, xix. 11 ff, the lord orders his enemies, who would not
that he should reign over them, to be brought and slain before him (v.
27). Then, how very much there was in the Epistles of Paul, which he
upheld, of a still more contradictory character. There is no dogmatic
reason for such inconsistency.(1)

Marcion is accused of having falsified xiii. 28 in the following manner:
"There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see _all
the just_ [------] in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves being
thrust, _and bound_ [------] without." The substitution of "all the
just" for "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets," is one of
those variations which the supporter of the dogmatic theory
greedily lays hold of, as bearing evident tokens of falsification in
anti-judaistic interest.(2) But Marcion had in his Gospel


the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, xvi. 19--31, where the beggar
is carried up into Abraham's bosom.(1) And again, there was the account
of the Transfiguration, ix. 28--36, in which Moses and Elias are seen in
converse with Jesus.(2) The alteration of the one passage for dogmatic
reasons, whilst the parable of Lazarus is retained, would have been
useless. Hilgenfeld, however, in agreement with Baur and Ritschl, has
shown that Marcion's reading [------] is evidently the contrast to
the [------] of the preceding verse, and is superior to the canonical
version, which was either altered after Matth. viii. 12, or with the
anti-Marcionitish object of bringing the rejected Patriarchs into
recognition.(3) The whole theory in this case again goes into thin air,
and it is consequently weakened in every other.

Marcion's Gospel did not contain the parable of the Prodigal Son, xv.
11--23.(4) The omission of this passage,


which is universally recognized as in the purest Paulinian spirit, is
accounted for partly on the ground that a portion of it (v. 22--32) was
repugnant to the ascetic discipline of Marcion, to whom the killing of
the fatted calf, the feasting, dancing and merry-making, must have been
obnoxious, and, partly because, understanding under the similitude
of the elder son the Jews, and of the younger son the Gentiles,
the identity of the God of the Jews and of the Christians would be
recognized.(1) There is, however, the very greatest doubt admitted as
to the interpretation which Marcion would be likely to put upon
this parable, and certainly the representation which it gives of the
Gentiles, not only as received completely on a par with the Jews, but
as only having been lost for a time, and found again, is thoroughly in
harmony with the teaching of Paul, who was held by Marcion to be the
only true Apostle. It could not, therefore, have been repugnant to him.
Any points of disagreement could very easily have been explained away,
as his critics are so fond of asserting to be his practice in other
passages.(3) As to the supposed dislike of Marcion for the festive
character of the parable, what object could he have had for omitting
this, when he retained the parable of the


great supper, xiv. 15--24; the feast in the house of Levi, v. 27--32;
the statements of Jesus eating with the Pharisees, vii. 36, xv. 2?
If Marcion had any objection to such matters, he had still greater to
marriage, and yet Jesus justifies his disciples for eating and drinking
by the similitude of a marriage feast, himself being the bridegroom:
v. 34, 35, "Can ye make the sons of the bridechamber fast, while the
bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom
shall be taken away from them: then will they fast in those days." And
he bids his disciples to be ready "like men that wait for their lord,
when he shall return from the wedding," (xii. 36), and makes another
parable on a wedding feast (xiv. 7--10). Leaving these passages, it is
impossible to see any dogmatic reason for excluding the others.(1)

The omission of a passage in every way so suitable to Marcion's system
as the parable of the vineyard, xx. 9--16, is equally unintelligible
upon the dogmatic theory.

Marcion is accused of falsifying xvi. 17, by altering [------],(2)
making the passage read: "But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass,
than for one tittle of my words to fail." The words in the canonical
Gospel, it is argued, were too repugnant to him to be allowed to remain
unaltered, representing as they do the permanency of "the Law" to which
he was opposed.(3) Upon this hypothesis, why did he leave


x. 25 f. (especially v. 26) and xviii. 18 ff, in which the keeping of
the law is made essential to life? or xvii. 14, where Jesus bids the
lepers conform to the requirements of the law? or xvi. 29, where the
answer is given to the rich man pleading for his relatives: "They have
Moses and the prophets, let them hear them"?(l) Hilgenfeld, however,
with others, points out that it has been fully proved that the reading
in Marcion's text is not an arbitrary alteration at all, but the
original expression, and that the version in Luke xvi. 17, on the
contrary, is a variation of the original introduced to give the passage
an anti-Marcionitish tendency.(2) Here, again, it is clear that the
supposed falsification is rather a falsification on the part of the
editor of the third canonical Gospel.(3)

One more illustration may be given. Marcion is accused of omitting from
xix. 9 the words: "forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham," [------]
leaving merely:

"And Jesus said unto him: This day is salvation come to this house."4
Marcion's system, it is said, could not tolerate the phrase which was
erased.(5) It was one, however, eminently in the spirit of his Apostle
Paul, and in his favourite Epistle to the Galatians he retained the very


passage iii. 7, "Ye know, therefore, that they which are of faith,
these are the sons of Abraham."(1) How could he, therefore, find any
difficulty in such words addressed to the repentant Zacchaeus, who had
just believed in the mission of Christ? Moreover, why should he have
erased the words here, and left them standing in xiii. 16, in regard
to the woman healed of the "spirit of infirmity:" "and ought not this
woman, _being a daughter of Abraham_, whom Satan hath bound, lo! these
eighteen years, to be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?" No
reasoning can explain away the substantial identity of the two phrases.
Upon what principle of dogmatic interest, then, can Marcion have erased
the one while he retained the other?(2)

We have taken a very few passages for illustration, and treated them
very briefly, but it may roundly be said that there is scarcely a single
variation of Marcion's text regarding which similar reasons are not
given, and which do not present similar anomalies in consequence of what
has elsewhere been retained.(3) As we have already stated, much that is
really contradictory to Marcion's system was found in his text, and much
which either is not opposed or is favourable to it is omitted


and cannot be set down to arbitrary alteration. Moreover, it has
never been shown that the supposed alterations were made by Marcion
himself,(1) and till this is done the pith of the whole theory is
wanting. There is no principle of intelligent motive which can account
for the anomalies presented by Marcion's Gospel, considered as a version
of Luke mutilated and falsified in the interest of his system. The
contrast of what is retained with that which is omitted reduces the
hypothesis _ad absurdum_. Marcion was too able a man to do his work so
imperfectly, if he had proposed to assimilate the Gospel of Luke to
his own views. As it is avowedly necessary to explain away by false and
forced interpretations requiring intricate definitions(2) very much
of what was allowed to remain in his text, it is inconceivable that he
should not have cut the Gordian knot with the same unscrupulous knife
with which it is asserted he excised the rest The ingenuity of most able
and learned critics endeavouring to discover whether a motive in the
interest of his system cannot be conceived for every alteration is,
notwithstanding the evident scope afforded by the procedure, often
foiled. Yet a more elastic hypothesis could not possibly have been
advanced, and that the text obstinately refuses to fit into it, is even
more than could have been expected. Marcion is like a prisoner at the
bar without witnesses, who is treated from the first as guilty, attacked
by able and passionate adversaries who warp every possible circumstance
against him, and yet who cannot be convicted. The foregone conclusion
by which every supposed omission from his Gospel is explained, is, as we
have shown, almost in


every case contradicted by passages which have been allowed to remain,
and this is rendered more significant by the fact, which is generally
admitted, that Marcion's text contains many readings which are
manifestly superior to, and more original than, the form in which the
passages stand in our third Synoptic.(1) The only one of these to which
we shall refer is the interesting variation from the passage in Luke xi.
2, in the substitution of a prayer for the Holy Spirit for the "hallowed
be thy name,"--[------]. The former is recognized to be the true
original reading. This phrase is evidently referred to in v. 13. We are,
therefore, indebted to Marcion for the correct version of "the Lord's

There can be no doubt that Marcion's Gospelbore great analogy to
our Luke, although it was very considerably shorter. It is, however,
unnecessary to repeat that there were many Gospels in the second century
which, although nearly related to those which have become canonical,
were independent works, and the most favourable interpretation which
can be given of the relationship between our three Synoptics leaves
them very much in a line with Marcion's work. His Gospel was chiefly


by a shorter text,(1) but besides large and important omissions there
are a few additions,(2) and very many variations of text. The whole of
the first two chapters of Luke, as well as all the third, was wanting,
with the exception of part of the first verse of the third chapter,
which, joined to iv. 31, formed the commencement of the Gospel. Of
chapter iv. verses 1--13, 17--20 and 24 were likewise probably absent.
Some of the other more important omissions are xi. 29--32, 49--51, xiii.
1--9, 29--35, xv. 11--32, xvii. 5--10 (probably), xviii. 31--34, xix.
29--48, xx. 9--19, 37--38, xxi. 1--4, 18, 21--22> xxii. 16--18, 28--30,
35--38, 49--51, and there is great doubt about the concluding verses of
xxiv. from 44 to the end, but it may have terminated with v. 49. It is
not certain whether the order was the same as Luke,(3) but there are
instances of decided variation, especially at the opening. As the
peculiarities of the opening variations have had an important effect
in inclining some critics towards the acceptance of the mutilation
hypothesis,(4) it may be well for us briefly to examine the more
important amongst them.

Marcion's Gospel is generally said to have commenced thus: "In the
fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, Jesus came down to
Capernaum, a city of Galilee."(5)


There are various slightly differing readings of this. Epiphanius
gives the opening words, [------].1 Tertullian has: Anno quintodecimo
principatus Tiberiani.... de-scendisse in civitatem Galilsææ
Capharnaum."(2) The [-------]s of Epiphanius has permitted the
conjecture that there might have been an additional indication of the
time, such as "Pontius Pilate being governor of Judæa,"(3) but this has
not been generally adopted.(4) It is not necessary for us to discuss the
sense in which the "came down" [------] was interpreted, since it is
the word used in Luke. Marcion's Gospel then proceeds with iv. 31: "and
taught them on the sabbath days, (v. 32), and they were exceedingly
astonished at his teaching, for his word was power." Then follow vs.
33--39 containing the healing of the man with an unclean spirit,(5) and
of Simon's wife's mother, with the important omission of the expression
"of Nazareth" (Najapipc)6 after "Jesus" in the cry of the possessed (v.
34). The vs. 16--307 immediately _follow_ iv. 39, with important


omissions and variations. In iv. 16, where Jesus comes to Nazareth,
the words "where he had been brought up" are omitted, as is also the
concluding phrase "and stood up to read."(1) Verses 17--19, in which
Jesus reads from Isaiah, are altogether wanting.(2) Volkmar omits the
whole of v. 20, Hilgenfeld only the first half down to the sitting down,
retaining the rest; Hahn retains from "and he sat down" to the end.(3)
Of v. 21 only: "He began to speak to them" is retained.(4) From v.
22 the concluding phrase: "And said: Is not this Joseph's son" is
omitted,(5) as are also the words "in thy country" from v. 23.(6)
Verse 24, containing the proverb: "A prophet has no honour" is wholly
omitted,(7) but the best critics differ regarding the two following
verses 25--26; they are omitted according to Hahn, Ritschl and De
Wette,(8) but retained by Volkmar and Hilgenfeld.(9) Verse 27,


referring to the leprosy of Naaman, which, it will be remembered, is
interpolated at xvii. 14, is omitted here by most critics, but retained
by Vojkmar.(1) Verses 28--30 come next,(2) and the four verses iv.
40--44, which then immediately follow, complete the chapter. This brief
analysis, with the accompanying notes, illustrates the uncertainty of
the text, and, throughout the whole Gospel, conjecture similarly plays
the larger part. We do not propose to criticise minutely the
various conclusions arrived at as to the state of the text, but must
emphatically remark that where there is so little certainty there
cannot be any safe ground for delicate deductions regarding motives and
sequences of matter. Nothing is more certain than that, if we criticise
and compare the Synoptics on the same principle, we meet with the most
startling results and the most irreconcileable difficulties.(3) The
opening of Marcion's Gospel is more free from abruptness and crudity
than that of Luke.

It is not necessary to show that the first three chapters of Luke
present very many differences from the other Synoptics. Mark omits them
altogether, and they do not even agree with the account in Matthew. Some
of the oldest Gospels of which we have any knowledge, such as the Gospel
according to the Hebrews, are said not to have had the narrative of the
first two chapters at all,(4) and there is much more than doubt as to
their originality. The mere omission of the history of


the infancy, &c., from Mark, however, renders it unnecessary to show
that the absence of these chapters from Marcion's Gospel has the
strongest support and justification. Now Luke's account of the early
events and geography of the Gospel history is briefly as follows:
Nazareth is the permanent dwelling-place of Joseph and Mary,(1) but on
account of the census they travel to Bethlehem, where Jesus is born;(2)
and after visiting Jerusalem to present him at the Temple,(3) they
return "to their own city Nazareth."(4) After the baptism and temptation
Jesus comes to Nazareth "where he had been brought up,"(5) and in the
course of his address to the people he says: "Ye will surely say unto me
this proverb: Physician heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done
in Capernaum do also here in thy country."(6) No mention, however, has
before this been made of Capernaum, and no account has been given of any
works done there; but, on the contrary, after escaping from the angry
mob at Nazareth, Jesus goes for the first time to Capernaum, which, on
being thus first mentioned, is particularized as "a city of Galilee,"(7)
where he heals a man who had an unclean spirit, in the synagogue,
who addresses him as "Jesus of Nazareth;"(8) and the fame of him goes
throughout the country.(9) He cures Simon's wife's mother of a fever(10)
and when the sun is set they bring the sick and he heals them.(11)

The account in Matthew contradicts this in many points, some of which
had better be indicated here. Jesus is born in Bethlehem, which is the


dwelling-place of the family;(1) his parents fly thence with him into
Egypt,(2) and on their return, they dwell "in a city called Nazareth;
that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets: He shall be
called a Nazarene."(3) After John's imprisonment, Jesus leaves
Nazareth, and goes to dwell in Capernaum.(4) From that time he begins to
preach.(5) Here then, he commences his public career in Capernaum.

In Mark, Jesus comes from Nazareth to be baptized,(6) and after the
imprisonment of John, he comes into Galilee preaching.(7) In Capernaum,
he heals the man of the unclean spirit, and Simon's wife's mother,(8)
and then retires to a solitary place,(9) returns after some days to
Capernaum(10) without going to Nazareth at all, and it is only at a
later period that he comes to his own country, and quotes the proverb
regarding a prophet.(11)

It is evident from this comparison, that there is very considerable
difference between the three Synoptics, regarding the outset of the
career of Jesus, and that there must have been decided elasticity in the
tradition, and variety in the early written accounts of this part of the
Gospel narrative. Luke alone commits the error of making Jesus appear
in the synagogue at Nazareth, and refer to works wrought at Capernaum,
before any mention had been made of his having preached or worked
wonders there to justify the allusions

     3  ii. 33. We need not pause here to point out that there
     is no such prophecy known in the Old Testament. The
     reference may very probably bo a singularly mistaken
     application of the word in Isaiah xi. 1, the Hebrew word for
     branch being [----] Nazer.


and the consequent agitation. It is obvious that there has been
confusion in the arrangement of the third Synoptic and a transposition
of the episodes, clearly pointing to a combination of passages from
other sources.(1) Now Marcion's Gospel did not contain these anomalies.
It represented Jesus as first appearing in Capernaum, teaching in
the synagogue, and performing mighty works there, and _then_ going to
Nazareth, and addressing the people with the natural reference to
the previous events at Capernaum, and in this it is not only more
consecutive, but also adheres more closely to the other two Synoptics.
That Luke happens to be the only one of our canonical Gospels, which has
the words with which Marcion's Gospel commences, is no proof that
these words were original in that work, and not found in several of the
writings which existed before the third Synoptic was compiled. Indeed,
the close relationship between the first three Gospels is standing
testimony to the fact that one Gospel was built upon the basis of others
previously existing. This which has been called "the chief prop of the
mutilation hypothesis,"(2) has really no solid ground to stand on beyond
the accident that only one of three Gospels survives out of many which
may have had the phrase. The fact that Marcion's Gospel really had the
words of Luke, moreover, is mere conjecture, inasmuch as Epiphanius, who
alone gives the Greek, shows a distinct variation of reading. He has:

     1 Cf. Luke iv. 23; Matt. viii. 54; Mark vi. 1--6. We do not
     go into the question as to the sufficiency of the motives
     ascribed for the agitation at Nazareth, or the contradiction
     between the facts narrated as to the attempt to kill Jesus,
     and the statement of their wonder at his gracious words, v.
     22, &o. There is no evidence where the various discrepancies
     arose, and no certain conclusions can be based upon such


[------].(1) Luke reads: [------]. We do not of course lay much stress
upon this, but the fact that there is a variation should be noticed.
Critics quietly assume, because there is a difference, that Epiphanius
has abbreviated, but that is by no means sure. In any case, instances
could be multiplied to show that if one of our Synoptic Gospels were
lost, one of the survivors would in this manner have credit for passages
which it had in reality either derived from the lost Gospel, or with it
drawn from a common original source.

Now starting from the undeniable fact that the Synoptic Gospels are
in no case purely original independent works, but are based upon older
writings, or upon each other, each Gospel remodelling and adding to
already existing materials, as the author of the third Gospel, indeed,
very frankly and distinctly indicates,(2) it seems a bold thing to
affirm that Marcion's Gospel must necessarily have been derived from the
latter. Ewald has made a minute analysis of the Synoptics assigning the
materials of each to what he considers their original source. We do not
of course attach any very specific importance to such results, for it
is clear that they must to a great extent be arbitrary and incapable of
proof, but being effected without any reference to the question before
us, it may be interesting to compare Ewald's conclusions regarding the
parallel part of Luke, with the first chapter of Marcion's Gospel. Ewald
details the materials from which our Synoptic Gospels

     2  Luke i. 1--4. He professes to write in order the things
     in which Theophilus had already been instructed, not to tell
     something new, but merely that he might know the certainty


were derived, and the order of their composition as follows, each
Synoptic of course making use of the earlier materials: I. the oldest
Gospel. II. the collection of Discourses (Spruchsammlung). III. Mark.
IV. the Book of earlier History. V. our present Matthew. VI. the sixth
recognizable book. VII. the seventh book. VIII. the eighth book; and IX.
Luke.(1) Now the only part of our third canonical Gospel corresponding
with any part of the first chapter of Marcion's Gospel which Ewald
ascribes to the author of our actual Luke is the opening date.(2) The
passage to which the few opening words are joined, and which constitute
the commencement of Marcion's Gospel, Luke iv. 31--39, is a section
commencing with verse 31, and extending to the end of the chapter,
thereby including verses 40--44, which Ewald assigns to Mark.(3) Verses
16--24, which immediately follow, also form a complete and isolated
passage assigned by Ewald, to the "sixth recognizable book."(4) Verses
25--27, also are the whole

     2 The verses iv. 14--15, which. Volkmar wished to include,
     but which all other critics reject (see p. 128, note 7),
     from Marcion's text, Ewald likewise identifies as an
     isolated couple of verses by the author of our Luke inserted
     between episodes derived from other written sources. Cf.
     Ewald, 1. c.


of another isolated section attributed by Ewald, to the "Book of earlier
history," whilst 28--30, in like manner form another complete and
isolated episode, assigned by him to the "eighth recognizable book."(1)
According to Ewald, therefore, Luke's Gospel at this place is a mere
patchwork of older writings, and if this be in any degree accepted, as
in the abstract, indeed, it is by the great mass of critics, then
the Gospel of Marcion might be an arrangement different from Luke of
materials not his, but previously existing, and of which, therefore,
there is no warrant to limit the use and reproduction to the canonical

The course pursued by critics, with regard to Marcion's Gospel,
is necessarily very unsatisfactory. They commence with a definite
hypothesis, and try whether all the peculiarities of the text may not
be more or less well explained by it. On the other hand, the attempt
to settle the question by a comparison of the reconstructed text
with Luke's is equally inconclusive. The determination of priority of
composition from internal evidence, where there are no chronological
references, must as a general rule be arbitrary, and can rarely be
accepted as final. Internal evidence would, indeed, decidedly favour the
priority of Marcion's Gospel. The great uncertainty of the whole system,
even when applied under the most favourable circumstances, is well
illustrated by the contradictory results at which critics have arrived
as to the order of production and dependence on each other of our three
Synoptics. Without going into details, we may say that critics who are
all agreed upon the mutual dependence of those Gospels have variously
arranged them in the following order: I. Matthew--


Mark--Luke.(1) II. Matthew--Luke--Mark.(3) III. Mark--Matthew--Luke.(3)
IV. Mark--Luke--Matthew.(4) V. Luke--Matthew--Mark.(5) VI. All three
out of common written sources.(6) Were we to state the various
theories still more in detail, we might largely increase the variety of
conclusions. These, however, suffice to show the uncertainty of results
derived from internal evidence. It is always assumed that Marcion
altered a Gospel to suit his own particular system, but as one of his
most orthodox critics, while asserting that Luke's narrative lay at
the basis of his Gospel, admits: "it is not equally clear that all the
changes were due to Marcion himself;"(7) and, although he considers that
"some of the omissions can be explained by his peculiar doctrines,"
he continues: "others are unlike arbitrary corrections, and must be
considered as various readings of the greatest interest, dating as they
do from a time anterior to all

     1 Of course we only pretend to indicate a few of the critics
     who adopt each order. So Bengel, Bolton, Ebrard, Grotius,
     Hengstenberg, Hug, Hilgenfeld, Holtzmann, Mill, Seiler,
     Townson, Wetstein.

     2 So Ammon, Baur, Bleek, Delitzsch, Fritzsche, Gfrorer,
     Griesbach, Kern, Eostlin, Neudecker, Saunier, Schwarz,
     Schwegler, Sieffert, Stroth, Theilo, Owon, Paulus, De Wette.

     3 So Credner, Ewald, Hitzig, Lachmann, (?) Xteuss, Bitschl,
     Meyer, Storr, Thiersch.

     4 B. Bauer, Hitzig (?) Schnockonburger, Volkmar, Weisse,

     5 Busching, Eyanson.

     6  Bortholdt, Le Clerc, Corrodi, Eichhorn, Gratz, Hanlein,
     Koppe, Kuinoel, Leasing, Marsh, Michaelis, Niemeyer, Semler,
     Schleiermacher, Schmidt, Weber. This view was partly shared
     by many of those mentioned under other orders.


other authorities in our possession."(1) Now, undoubtedly, the more
developed forms of the Gospel narrative were the result of additions,
materially influenced by dogmatic and other reasons, made to earlier
and more fragmentary works, but it is an argument contrary to general
critical experience to affirm that a Gospel, the distinguishing
characteristic of which is greater brevity, was produced by omissions in
the interest of a system from a longer work.

In the earlier editions of this work, we contended that the theory that
Marcion's Gospel was a mutilated form of our third Synoptic had not been
established, and that more probably it was an earlier work, from which
our Gospel might have been elaborated. We leave the statement of the
case, so far, nearly in its former shape, in order that the true nature
of the problem and the varying results and gradual development of
critical opinion may be better understood. Since the sixth edition of
this work was completed, however, a very able examination of Marcion's
Gospel has been made by Dr. Sanday,(2) which has convinced us that our
earlier hypothesis is untenable, that the portions of our third Synoptic
excluded from Marcion's Gospel were really written by the same pen which
composed the mass of the work and, consequently, that our third Synoptic
existed in his time, and was substantially in the hands of Marcion. This
conviction is mainly the result of the linguistic analysis, sufficiently
indicated by Dr. Sanday and, since, exhaustively carried out for
ourselves. We still consider the argument based upon the mere dogmatic
views of Marcion, which has hitherto been almost


exclusively relied on, quite inconclusive by itself, but the linguistic
test, applied practically for the first time in this controversy by Dr.
Sanday, must, we think, prove irresistible to all who are familiar
with the comparatively limited vocabulary of New Testament writers.
Throughout the omitted sections, peculiarities of language and
expression abound which clearly distinguish the general composer of
the third Gospel, and it is, consequently, not possible reasonably
to maintain that these sections are additions subsequently made by a
different hand, which seems to be the only legitimate course open to
those who would deny that Marcion's Gospel originally contained them.

Here, then, we find evidence of the existence of our third Synoptic
about the year 140, and it may of course be inferred that it must have
been composed at least some time before that date. It is important,
however, to estimate aright the facts actually before us and the
deductions which may be drawn from them. The testimony of Marcion does
not throw any light upon the authorship or origin of the Gospel of
which he made use. Its superscription was simply: "The Gospel," or, "The
Gospel of the Lord" [------],(1) and no author's name was attached to
it. The Heresiarch did not pretend to have written it himself, nor did
he ascribe it to any other person. Tertullian, in fact, reproaches him
with its anonymity. "And here


already I might make a stand," he says at the very opening of his attack
on Marcion's Gospel, "contending that a work should not be recognized
which does not hold its front erect... which does not give a pledge of
its trustworthiness by the fulness of its title, and the due declaration
of its author."(1) Not only did Marcion himself not in any way connect
the name of Luke with his Gospel, but his followers repudiated the idea
that Luke was its author.(2) In establishing the substantial identity of
Marcion's Gospel and our third Synoptic, therefore, no advance is
made towards establishing the authorship of Luke. The Gospel remains
anonymous still. On the other hand we ascertain the important fact that,
so far from its having any authoritative or infallible character at
that time, Marcion regarded our Synoptic as a work perverted by Jewish
influences, and requiring to be freely expurgated in the interests
of truth.(3) Amended by very considerable omissions and alterations,
Marcion certainly held it in high respect as a record of the teaching of
Jesus, but beyond this circumstance, and the mere fact of its existence
in his day, we learn nothing from the evidence of Marcion. It can
scarcely be maintained that this does much to authenticate the third
Synoptic as a record of miracles and a witness for the reality of Divine


There is no evidence whatever that Marcion had any knowledge of the
other canonical Gospels in any form.(1) None of his writings are extant,
and no direct assertion is made even by the Fathers that he knew them,
although from their dogmatic point of view they assume that these
Gospels existed from the very first, and therefore insinuate that as he
only recognized one Gospel, he rejected the rest.(2) When Irenæus says:
"He persuaded his disciples that he himself was more veracious than were
the apostles who handed down the Gospel, though he delivered to them not
the Gospel, but part of the Gospel,"(3) it is quite clear that he speaks
of the Gospel--the good tidings--Christianity--and not of specific
written Gospels. In another passage which is referred to by Apologists,
Irenæus says of the Marcionites that they have asserted: "That even
the apostles proclaimed the Gospel still under the influence of Jewish
sentiments; but that they themselves are more sound and more judicious
than the apostles. Wherefore also Marcion and his followers have had
recourse to mutilating the Scriptures, not recognizing some books at
all, but curtailing the Gospel according to Luke and the Epistles of
Paul; these they say are alone authentic which they themselves have


These remarks chiefly refer to the followers of Marcion, and as we have
shown, when treating of Valentinus, Irenæus is expressly writing against
members of heretical sects living in his own day and not of the founders
of those sects.(1) The Marcionites of the time of Irenæus no doubt
deliberately rejected the Gospels, but it does, not by any means follow
that Marcion himself knew anything of them. As yet we have not met with
any evidence even of their existence.

The evidence of Tertullian is not a whit more valuable. In the passage
usually cited, he says: "But Marcion, lighting upon the Epistle of Paul
to the Gaia-tians, in which he reproaches even Apostles for not walking
uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel, as well as accuses
certain false Apostles of perverting the Gospel of Christ, tries with
all his might to destroy the status of those Gospels which are put forth
as genuine and under the name of Apostles or at least of contemporaries
of the Apostles, in order, be it known, to confer upon his own the
credit which he takes from them."(2) Now here again it is clear that
Tertullian is simply applying, by inference, Marcion's views with
regard to the preaching of the Gospel by the two parties in the Church,
represented by the Apostle Paul and the "pillar" Apostles whose leaning
to Jewish doctrines he condemned, to the written Gospels recognized
in his day though not in Marcion's. "It is uncertain," says even Canon


"whether Tertullian in the passage quoted speaks from a knowledge of
what Marcion may have written on the subject, or simply from his own
point of sight."(1) Any doubt is, however, removed on examining the
context, for Tertullian proceeds to argue that if Paul censured Peter,
John and James, it was for changing their company from respect of
persons, and similarly, "if false apostles crept in," they betrayed
their character by insisting on Jewish observances. "So that it was _not
on account of their preaching_, but of their conversation that they were
pointed out by Paul,"(2) and he goes on to argue that if Marcion thus
accuses Apostles of having depraved the Gospel by their dissimulation,
he accuses Christ in accusing those whom Christ selected.(3) It is
palpable, therefore, that Marcion, in whatever he may have written,
referred to the preaching of the Gospel, or Christianity, by Apostles
who retained their Jewish prejudices in favour of circumcision and legal
observances, and not to written Gospels. Tertullian merely assumes, with
his usual audacity, that the Church had the four Gospels from the very
first, and therefore that Marcion, who had only one Gospel, knew the
others and deliberately rejected them.



From Marcion we now turn to Tatian, another so-called heretic leader.
Tatian, an Assyrian by birth,(1) embraced Christianity and became a
disciple of Justin Martyr(2) in Rome, sharing with him, as it seems,
the persecution excited by Crescens the Cynic(3) to which Justin fell a
victim. After the death of Justin, Tatian, who till then had continued
thoroughly orthodox, left Rome, and joined the sect of the Encratites,
of which, however, he was not the founder,(4) and became the leading
exponent of their austere and ascetic doctrines.(5)

The only one of his writings which is still extant is his "Oration to
the Greeks"[------]. This work was written after the death of Justin,
for in it he refers to that event,(6) and it is generally dated between


a. d. 170-175. (l) Teschendorf does not assert that there is any
quotation in this address taken from the Synoptic Gospels;(2) and Canon
Westcott only affirms that it contains a clear reference" to "a parable
recorded by St. Matthew," and he excuses the slightness of this evidence
by adding: "The absence of more explicit testimony to the books of the
New Testament is to be accounted for by the style of his writing, and
not by his unworthy estimate of their importance."(3) This remark is
without foundation, as we know nothing whatever with regard to Tatian's
estimate of any such books.

The supposed "clear reference" is as follows: "For by means of a certain
hidden treasure [------] he made himself lord of all that we possess, in
digging for which though we were covered with dust, yet we give it the
occasion of falling into our hands and abiding with us."(4) This is
claimed as a reference to Matt. xiii. 44: "The kingdom of heaven is like
unto treasure hidden [------] in the field, which a man found and hid,
and for his joy he goeth and selleth all that he hath and buyeth that
field." So faint a similarity could not prove anything, but it is
evident that there are decided differences here. Were the probability
fifty times greater than it is that Tatian had in his mind the
parable, which is reported in our first Gospel, nothing could be more
unwarrantable than the deduction that he must have derived it from our
Matthew, and not from any other of the numerous Gospels which we know
to have early been in circulation. Ewald ascribes the parable in Matthew
originally to the "Spruchsammlung" or collection of Discourses, the
second of the four works out of which he considers our first Synoptic to
have been compiled.(1) As evidence even for the existence of our first
canonical Gospel, no such anonymous allusion could have the slightest

Although neither Tischendorf nor Canon Westcott think it worth while to
refer to it, some apologists claim another passage in the Oration as
a reference to our third Synoptic. "Laugh ye: nevertheless you shall
weep."(2) This is compared with Luke vi. 25: "Woe unto you that laugh
now: for ye shall mourn and weep,"(3) Here again, it is impossible to
trace a reference in the words of Tatian specially to our third Gospel,
and manifestly nothing could be more foolish than to build upon such
vague similarity any hypothesis of Tatian's acquaintance with Luke. If
there be one part of the Gospel which was more known than another in the
first ages of Christianity, it was the Sermon on the Mount, and there
can be no doubt that many evangelical works now lost contained versions
of it. Ewald likewise assigns this passage of Luke originally to the
Spruchsammlung,4 and no one can doubt that the saying was recorded long
before the writer of the third Gospel


undertook to compile evangelical history, as so many had done before

Further on, however, Canon Westcott says: "it can be gathered from
Clement of Alexandria... that he (Tatian) endeavoured to derive
authority for his peculiar opinions from the Epistles to the Corinthians
and Galatians, and probably from the Epistle to the Ephesians, and the
Gospel of St. Matthew."(1) The allusion here is to a passage in the
Stromata of Clement, in which reference is supposed by the apologist
to be made to Tatian. No writer, however, is named, and Clement merely
introduces his remark by the words: "a certain person," [------] and
then proceeds to give his application of the Saviour's words "not
to treasure upon earth where moth and rust corrupt" [------].(2) The
parallel passage in Matthew vi. 19, reads: "Lay not up for yourselves
treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt," [------].
Canon Westcott, it is true, merely suggests that "probably" this may be
ascribed to Tatian, but it is almost absolutely certain that it was not
attributed to him by Clement. Tatian is several times referred to in the
course of the same chapter, and his words are continued by the use of
[------] or [------], and it is in the highest degree improbable that
Clement should introduce another quotation from him in such immediate
context by the vague and distant reference "a certain person" [------].
On the other hand reference is made in the chapter to

     1 On the Canon, p. 279. [In the 4th edition Dr. Westcott has
     altered the "probably" of the above sentence to "perhaps,"
     and in a note has added: "These two last references are from
     an anonymous citation [------] which has been commonly
     assigned to Tatian."   P. 318, n. 1.]


other writers and sects, to one of whom with infinitely greater
propriety this expression applies. No weight, therefore, could be
attached to any such passage in connection with Tatian. Moreover the
quotation not only does not agree with our Synoptic, but may much more
probably have been derived from the Gospel according to the Hebrews.(1)
It will be remembered that Justin Martyr quotes the same passage,
with the same omission of "[------]," from a Gospel different from our

Tatian, however, is claimed by apologists as a witness for the existence
of our Gospels--more than this he could not possibly be--principally on
the ground that his Gospel was called by some Diatessaron [------] or
"by four," and it is assumed to have been a harmony of four Gospels. The
work is no longer extant and, as we shall see, our information regarding
it is of the scantiest and most unsatisfactory description. Critics have
arrived at very various conclusions with regard to the composition
of the work. Some of course affirm, with more or less of hesitation
nevertheless, that it was nothing else than a harmony of our four
canonical Gospels;(3) many of these, however, are constrained to
admit that it was also partly based upon the Gospel according to the
Hebrews.(4) Some maintain that it was


a harmony of our three Synoptics together with the Gospel according to
the Hebrews;(1) whilst many deny that it was composed of our Gospels
at all,(2) and either declare it to have been a harmony of the Gospel
according to the Hebrews with three other Gospels whose identity cannot
be determined, or that it was simply the Gospel according to the Hebrews
itself,(3) by which name, as Epiphanius states, it was called by some in
his day.(4)

Tatian's Gospel, however, was not only called Diatessaron, but,
according to Victor of Capua, it was also called Diapente [------]
"by five,"(5) a complication which shows the incorrectness of the
ecclesiastical theory of its composition.

Tischendorf, anxious to date Tatian's Gospel as early as possible, says
that in all probability it was composed earlier than the address to the
Greeks.(6) Of this, however, he does not offer any evidence, and upon


examination it is very evident that the work was, on the contrary,
composed or adopted after the Oration and his avowal of heretical
opinions. Theodoret states that Tatian had in it omitted the genealogies
and all other passages showing that Christ was born of David according
to the flesh, and he condemned the work, and caused it to be abandoned,
on account of its evil design.(1) If the assumption be correct,
therefore, as Tischendorf maintains, that Tatian altered our Gospels,
and did not merely from the first, like his master Justin, make use of
Gospels different from those which afterwards became canonical, he must
have composed the work after the death of Justin, up to which time he
is stated to have remained quite orthodox.(2) The date may with much
greater probability be set between a.d. 170--180.(3)

The earliest writer who mentions Tatian's Gospel is Eusebius,(4) who
wrote some century and a half after its supposed composition, without,
however, having himself seen the work at all, or being really acquainted
with its nature and contents.(5) Eusebius says: "Tatian, however, their
former chief, having put together a certain amalgamation and collection,
I know not how, of the Gospels, named this the Diatessaron, which even
now is current with some."(6)


It is clear that such hearsay information is not to be relied on.

Neither Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, nor Jerome, who refer to other
works of Tatian, make any mention of this one. Epiphanius, however, does
so, but, like Eusebius, evidently without having himself seen it.(1)
This second reference to Tatian's Gospel is made upwards of two
centuries after its supposed composition. Epiphanius says: "It is said
that he (Tatian) composed the Diatessaron, which is called by some the
Gospel according to the Hebrews."(2) It must be observed that it is not
said that Tatian himself gave this Gospel the name of Diates-saron,(3)
but on the contrary the expression of Epiphanius implies that he did
not do so,(4) and the fact that it was also called by some the Gospel
according to the Hebrews, and Diapente, shows that the work had no
superscription from Tatian of a contradictory character. Theodoret,
Bishop of Cyrus (+457), is the next writer who mentions Tatian's Gospel,
and he is the only one who had personally seen it He says: "He (Tatian)
also composed the Gospel which is called _Diatessaron_, excising the
genealogies and all the other parts which declare that the Lord was born
of the seed of David according to the flesh. This was used not only
by those of his own sect, but also by those who held the apostolic
doctrines, who did not perceive the evil of the composition, but made
use of the book in simplicity on account of its conciseness. I myself
found upwards of two hundred such books held in honour among our
churches, and collecting them all together, I had them put aside and,
instead, introduced the Gospels of the four Evangelists." Again it must
be observed that Theodoret does not say that the Gospel of Tatian _was_
a Diatessaron, but merely that it was called so [------].(1)

After quoting this passage, and that from Epiphanius, Canon Westcott
says with an assurance which, considering the nature of the evidence,
is singular:--"Not only then was the Diatessaron grounded on the four
canonical Gospels, but in its general form it was so orthodox as to
enjoy a wide ecclesiastical popularity. The heretical character of the
book was not evident upon the surface of it, and consisted rather in
faults of defect than in erroneous teaching. Theodoret had certainly
examined it, and he, like earlier writers, regarded it as a compilation
from the four Gospels. He speaks of omissions which were at least in
part natural in a Harmony, but notices no such apocryphal additions
as would have found place in any Gospel not derived from canonical
sources."(2) Now it must be remembered that the evidence regarding
Tatian's Gospel is of the very vaguest description. It is not mentioned
by any writer until a century and a half after the date of its supposed

     2  On the Canon, p. 281. [In the 4th edition, the first
     sentence in the above passage is altered to: "From this
     statement it is clear that the Diatessaron was so orthodox
     as to enjoy a wide ecclesiastical popularity." P. 320.]


composition, and then only referred to by Eusebius, who had not seen the
work, and candidly confesses his ignorance with regard to it, so that a
critic who is almost as orthodox as Canon Westcott himself acknowledges:
"For the truth is that we know no more about Tatian's work than what
Eusebius, who never saw it, knew."(1) The only other writer who refers
to it, Epiphanius, had not seen it either, and while showing that the
title of Diatessaron had not been given to it by Tatian himself, he
states the important fact that some called it the Gospel according to
the Hebrews. Theodoret, the last writer who mentions it, and of whom
Dr. Donaldson also says: "Theodoret's information cannot be depended
upon,"(2) not only does not say that it is based upon our four Gospels,
but, on the contrary, points out that Tatian's Gospel did not contain
the genealogies and passages tracing the descent of Jesus through the
race of David, which our Synoptics possess, and he so much condemned
the mischievous design of the work that he confiscated the copies in
circulation in his diocese as heretical. Canon Westcott's assertion
that Theodoret regarded it as a compilation of our four Gospels is
most arbitrary. Omissions, as he himself points out, are natural to a
Harmony, and conciseness certainly would be the last quality for which
it could have been so highly prized, if every part of the four Gospels
had been retained. The omission of the parts referred to, which are
equally omitted from the canonical fourth Gospel, could not have been
sufficient to merit the condemnation of the work as heretical, and had
Tatian's Gospel not been different in various respects from our four
Gospels, such summary treatment would have been totally


unwarrantable. The statement, moreover, that in place of Tatian's
Gospel, Theodoret "introduced the Gospels of the four Evangelists,"
seems to indicate that the displaced Gospel was not a compilation from
them, but a substantially different work. Had this not been the case,
Theodoret would naturally have qualified such an expression.

Speaking of the difficulty of distinguishing Tatian's Harmony from
others which must, the writer supposes, have been composed in his time,
Dr. Donaldson points out: "And then we must remember that the Harmony of
Tatian was confounded with the Gospel according to the Hebrews; and it
is not beyond the reach of possibility that Theodoret should have made
some such mistake."(1) That is to say, that the only writer who refers
to Tatian's Gospel who professes to have seen the work is not only "not
to be depended on," but may actually have mistaken for it the Gospel
according to the Hebrews. There is, therefore, no authority for saying
that Tatian's Gospel was a harmony of four Gospels at all, and the name
Diatessaron was not only not given by Tatian himself to the work, but
was probably the usual foregone conclusion of the Christians of the
third and fourth centuries, that everything in the shape of evangelical
literature must be dependent on the Gospels adopted by the Church.
Those, however, who called the Gospel used by Tatian the Gospel
according to the Hebrews must apparently have read the work, and all
that we know confirms their conclusion. The Gospel was, in point of
fact, found in wide circulation precisely in the places in which,
earlier, the Gospel according to the Hebrews was more particularly
current.(2) The singular


fact that the earliest reference to Tatian's "Harmony," is made a
century and a half after its supposed composition, and that no writer
before the fifth century had seen the work itself, indeed that only
two writers before that period mention it at all, receives its natural
explanation in the conclusion that Tatian did not compose any Harmony at
all, but simply made use of the same Gospel as his master Justin Martyr,
namely, the Gospel according to the Hebrews,(1) by which name his Gospel
had been actually called by those best informed.

Although Theodoret, writing in the fifth century, says in the usual
arbitrary manner of early Christian writers, that Tatian "excised" from
his Gospel the genealogies and certain passages found in the Synoptics,
he offers no explanation or proof of his assertion, and the utmost that
can be received is that Tatian's Gospel did not contain them.(3) Did he
omit them or merely use a Gospel which never included them? The latter
is the more probable conclusion. Neither Justin's Gospel nor the Gospel
according to the Hebrews contained the genealogies or references to the
Son of David, and why, as Credner suggests, should Tatian have taken the
trouble to prepare a Harmony with these omissions when he already found
one such as he desired in Justin's Gospel? Tatian's Gospel, like that of
his master Justin, or the Gospel according to the Hebrews, was different
from, yet nearly related to, our canonical Gospels, and as we have
already seen, Justin's Gospel, like Tatian's, was considered by many to
be a harmony of our Gospels.(3) No


one seems to have seen Tatian's "Harmony," probably for the very simple
reason that there was no such work, and the real Gospel used by him was
that according to the Hebrews, as some distinctly and correctly called
it. The name Diatessaron is first heard of in a work of the fourth
century, when it is naturally given by people accustomed to trace every
such work to our four Gospels, but as we have clearly seen, there is not
up to the time of Tatian any evidence even of the existence of three of
our Gospels, and much less of the four in a collected form. Here is an
attempt to identify a supposed, but not demonstrated, harmony of Gospels
whose separate existence has not been heard of. Even Dr. Westcott states
that Tatian's Diatessaron "is apparently the first recognition of a
fourfold Gospel,"(1) but, as we have seen, that recognition emanates
only from a writer of the fourth century who had not seen the work
of which he speaks. No such modern ideas, based upon mere foregone
conclusions, can be allowed to enter into a discussion regarding a work
dating from the time of Tatian.(2)

The fact that the work found by Theodoret in his diocese was used by
orthodox Christians without

     2 Dr. Lightfoot (Contemp. Rev., 1876-77, p. 1137) refers to
     an apocryphal work, "The Doctrine of Addai," recently edited
     and published by Dr. Phillips, in which it is stated that a
     large multitude assembled daily at Edessa for prayer and the
     reading of the Old Testament, "and the new of the
     Diatessaron." Dr. Lightfoot assumes that this is Tatian's
     Gospel. Even if it were so, however, we cannot discover in
     this any addition to our information regarding the
     composition of the work. We have already the fuller
     statement of Theodoret respecting the use of Tatian's work
     in the churches of his diocese, so that beyond an
     interesting reference, no fresh light is thrown upon the
     question by the phrase quoted. But we cannot see any ground
     for asserting that the Diatessaron here spoken of was
     Tatian's Gospel. On the contrary, it seems perfectly clear
     that the writer speaks only of the four Gospels of the New


consciousness of its supposed heterodoxy, is quite consistent with the
fact that it was the Gospel according to the Hebrews, which at one
time was in very general use, but later gradually became an object of
suspicion and jealousy in the Church as our canonical Gospels took its
place. The manner in which Theodoret dealt with Tatian's Gospel, or that
"according to the Hebrews," recalls the treatment by Serapion of another
form of the same work: the Gospel according to Peter. He found that work
in circulation and greatly valued amongst the Christians of Rhossus, and
allowed them peaceably to retain it for a time, until, alarmed at the
Docetic heresy, he more closely examined the Gospel, and discovered in
it what he considered heretical matter.(1) The Gospel according to the
Hebrews, which narrowly missed a permanent place in the Canon of the
Church, might well seem orthodox to the simple Christians of Cyrus, yet
as different from, though closely related to, the Canonical Gospels, it
would seem heretical to their Bishop. As different from the Gospels
of the four evangelists, it was doubtless suppressed by Theodoret with
perfect indifference as to whether it were called Tatian's Gospel or the
Gospel according to the Hebrews. It is obvious that there is no evidence
of any value connecting Tatian's Gospel with those in our Canon. We
know so little about the work in question, indeed, that as Dr. Donaldson
frankly admits, "we should not be able to identify it, even if it did
come down to us, unless it told us something reliable about itself."(2)
Its earlier history is enveloped in obscurity, and as Canon Westcott
observes: "The later history of the Diatessaron is


involved in confusion."(1) We have seen that in the sixth century it
was described by Victor of Capua as Diapente, "by five," instead of "by
four." It was also confounded with another Harmony written, not
long after Tatian's day, by Ammonius of Alexandria (+243). Dionysius
Bar-Salibi,(2) a writer of the latter half of the twelfth century,
mentions that the Syrian Ephrem, about the middle of the fourth century,
wrote a commentary on the Diatessaron of Tatian, which Diatessaron
commenced with the opening words of the fourth Gospel: "In the beginning
was the word." The statement of Bar-Salibi, however, is contradicted by
Gregory Bar-Hebraeus,

Bishop of Tagrit, who says that Ephrem Syrus wrote his Commentary on the
Diatessaron of Ammonius, and that this Diatessaron commenced with the
words of the fourth Gospel: "In the beginning was the word."(3) The
Syrian Ebed-Jesu (+l308) held Tatian and Ammonius to be one and the
same person; and it is probable that Dionysius mistook the Harmony of
Ammonius for that of Tatian. It is not necessary further to follow this
discussion, for it in no way affects our question, and no important
deduction can be derived from it.(4) We allude to the point for the mere
sake of showing that, up to the last, we have no certain information
throwing light on the composition of Tatian's Gospel. All that we
do know of it,--what it did not contain--the places where it largely
circulated, and the name by which it was


called, tends to identify it with the Gospel according to the Hebrews.

For the rest, Tatian had no idea of a New Testament Canon, and evidently
did not recognize as inspired, any Scriptures except those of the Old
Testament.(1) It is well known that the sect of the Encratites made
use of apocryphal Gospels until a much later period, and rejected
the authority of the Apostle Paul, and Tatian himself is accused of
repudiating some of the Pauline Epistles, and of altering and mutilating


Dionysius of Corinth need not detain us long. Eusebius informs us
that he was the author of seven Epistles addressed to various Christian
communities, and also of a letter to Chrysophora, "a most faithful
sister." Eusebius speaks of these writings as Catholic Epistles, and
briefly characterizes each, but with the exception of a few short
fragments preserved by him, none of these fruits of the "inspired
industry" [------] of Dionysius are now extant.(3) These fragments are
all from an Epistle said to have been addressed to Soter, Bishop of
Rome, and give us a clue to the time at which they were written. The
Bishopric of Soter is generally dated between a.d. 168--176,(4) during
which years the Epistle must have been composed. It could not have


been written, however, until after Dionysius became Bishop of Corinth in
a.d. 170,(1) and it was probably written some years after.(2)

No quotation from, or allusion to, any writing of the New Testament
occurs in any of the fragments of the Epistles still extant; nor does
Eusebius make mention of any such reference in the Epistles which have
perished. As testimony for our Gospels, therefore, Dionysius is an
absolute blank. Some expressions and statements, however, are put
forward by apologists which we must examine. In the few lines which
Tischendorf accords to Dionysius he refers to two of these. The first
is an expression used, not by Dionysius himself, but by Eusebius, in
speaking of the Epistles to the Churches at Amastris and at Pontus.
Eusebius says that Dionysius adds some "expositions of Divine
Scriptures" [------].(3) There can be no doubt, we think, that this
refers to the Old Testament only, and Tischendorf himself does not deny

The second passage which Tischendorf(5) points out, and which he claims
with some other apologists as evidence of the actual existence of a
New Testament Canon when Dionysius wrote, occurs in a fragment from the


to Soter and the Romans which is preserved by Eusebius. It is as
follows: "For the brethren having requested me to write Epistles, I
wrote them. And the Apostles of the devil have filled these with tares,
both taking away parts and adding others; for whom the woe is destined.
It is not surprising then if some have recklessly ventured to adulterate
the Scriptures of the Lord [------] when they have formed designs
against these which are not of such importance."(1) Regarding this
passage, Canon Westcott, with his usual boldness, says: "It is
evident that the 'Scriptures of the Lord'--the writings of the New
Testament--were at this time collected, that they were distinguished
from other books, that they were jealously guarded, that they had been
corrupted for heretical purposes."(2) We have seen, however, that there
has not been a trace of any New Testament Canon in the writings of the
Fathers before and during this age, and it is not permissible to put
such an interpretation upon the remark of Dionysius. Dr. Donaldson, with
greater critical justice and reserve, remarks regarding the expression
"Scriptures of the

     2 On the Canon, p. 166. Dr. Westcott, in the first instance,
     translates the expression: [------] "the Scriptures of the
     New Testament." In a note to his fourth edition, however, he
     is kind enough to explain: "Of course it is not affirmed
     that the collection here called [------] was identical with
     our 'New Testament,' but simply that the phrase shows that a
     collection of writings belonging to the New Testament
     existed," p. 188, n. 2. Such a translation, in such a work,
     assuming as it does the whole question, and concealing what
     is doubtful, is most unwarrantable. The fact is that not
     only is there no mention of the New Testament at all, but
     the words as little necessarily imply a "collection" of
     writings as they do a "collection" of the Epistles of


Lord:" "It is not easy to settle what this term means," although he adds
his own personal opinion, "but most probably it refers to the Gospels
as containing the sayings and doings of the Lord. It is not likely, as
Lardner supposes, that such a term would be applied to the whole of the
New Testament"(1) The idea of our collected New Testament being referred
to is of course quite untenable, and although it is open to argument
that Dionysius may have referred to evangelical works, it is obvious
that there are no means of proving the fact, and much less that he
referred specially to our Gospels. In fact, the fragments of Dionysius
present no evidence whatever of the existence of our Synoptics.

In order further to illustrate the inconclusiveness of the arguments
based upon so vague an expression, we may add that it does not of
necessity apply to any Gospels or works of Christian history at all,
and may with perfect propriety have indicated the Scriptures of the
Old Testament. We find Justin Martyr complaining in the same spirit as
Dionysius, through several chapters, that the Old Testament Scriptures,
and more especially those relating to the Lord, had been adulterated,
that parts had been taken away, and others added, with the intention
of destroying or weakening their application to Christ.(2) Justin's
argument throughout is, that the whole of the Old Testament Scriptures
refer to Christ, and Tryphon, his antagonist, the representative of
Jewish opinion, is made to avow that the Jews not only wait for Christ,
but, he adds: "We admit that all the Scriptures which you have cited
refer to him."(3) Not only, therefore, were the Scriptures of the Old


closely connected with their Lord by the Fathers and, at the date of
which we are treating, were the only "Holy Scriptures" recognised, but
they made the same complaints which we meet with in Dionysius that these
Scriptures were adulterated by omissions and interpolations.(1) The
expression of Eusebius regarding "expositions of Divine Scriptures"
[------] added by Dionysius, which applied to the Old Testament, tends
to connect the Old Testament also with this term "Scriptures of the

If the term "Scriptures of the Lord," however, be referred to Gospels,
the difficulty of using it as evidence continues undiminished. We have
no indication of the particular evangelical works which were in the
Bishop's mind. We have seen that other Gospels were used by the Fathers,
and in exclusive circulation amongst various communities, and even until
much later times many works were regarded by them as divinely inspired
which have no place in our Canon. The Gospel according to the Hebrews
for instance was probably used by some at least of the Apostolic
Fathers,(2) by pseudo-Ignatius,(3) Polycarp,(4) Papias,(5)
Hegesippus,(6) Justin Martyr,(7) and at least employed along with our
Gospels by Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Jerome.(8) The fact that
Serapion, in the third century allowed the Gospel of Peter to be used
in the church of Rhossus(9) shows at the same time the consideration in
which it was held, and the incompleteness of the Canonical position of
the New Testament writings. So does the circumstance

     1 This charge is made with insistance  throughout the
     Clementine Homilies.


that in the fifth century Theodoret found the Gospel according to the
Hebrews, or Tatians Gospel, widely circulated and held in honour amongst
orthodox churches in his diocese.(1) The Pastor of Hermas, which was
read in the Churches and nearly secured a permanent place in the Canon,
was quoted as inspired by Irenæus.(2) The Epistle of Barnabas was held
in similar honour, and quoted as inspired by Clement of Alexandria(3)
and by Origen,(4) as was likewise the Epistle of the Roman Clement. The
Apocalypse of Peter was included by Clement of Alexandria in his account
of the Canonical Scriptures and those which are disputed, such as the
Epistle of Jude and the other Catholic Epistles,(5) and it stands side
by side with the Apocalypse of John in the Canon of Muratori, being long
after publicly read in the Churches of Palestine.(6) Tischendorf indeed
conjectures that a blank in the Codex Sinaiticus after the New Testament
was formerly filled by it. Justin, Clement of Alexandria, and Lactantius
quote the Sibylline books as the Word of God, and pay similar honour to
the Book of Hystaspes.(7) So great indeed was the consideration and use
of the Sibylline Books in the Church of the second and third centuries,
that Christians from that fact were nicknamed Sibyllists.(8) It is
unnecessary to multiply, as

     7 Justin, Apol., i. 20, 44; Clem. Al., Strom., vi. 5, §§ 42,
     43; Ladantius, Instit. Div., i. 6, 7, vii. 15, 19. Clement
     of Alexandria quotes with perfect faith and seriousness some
     apocryphal book, in which, he says, the Apostle Paul
     recommends the Hellenic books, the Sibyl and the books of
     Hystaspes, as giving notably clear prophetic descriptions of
     the Son of God.    Strom., vi. 5, § 42, 43.


might so easily be done, these illustrations; it is too well known that
a vast number of Gospels and similar works, which have been excluded
from the Canon, were held in the deepest veneration by the Church in the
second century, to which the words of Dionysius may apply. So vague
and indefinite an expression at any rate is useless as evidence for the
existence of our Canonical Gospels.

Canon Westcott's deduction from the words of Dionysius, that not only
were the writings of the New Testament already collected, but that they
were "jealously guarded," is imaginative indeed. It is much and devoutly
to be wished that they had been as carefully guarded as he supposes,
but it is well known that this was not the case, and that numerous
interpolations have been introduced into the text. The whole history of
the Canon and of Christian literature in the second and third centuries
displays the most deplorable carelessness and want of critical judgment
on the part of the Fathers. "Whatever was considered as conducive to
Christian edification was blindly adopted by them, and a vast number of
works were launched into circulation and falsely ascribed to Apostles
and others likely to secure for them greater consideration. Such pious
fraud was rarely suspected, still more rarely detected in the early ages
of Christianity, and several of such pseudographs have secured a place
in our New Testament. The words of Dionysius need not receive any wider
signification than a reference to well-known Epistles. It is clear from
the words attributed to the Apostle Paul in 2 Thess. ii. 2, iii. 17,
that his Epistles were falsified, and setting aside some of those which
bear his name in our Canon, spurious Epistles were long


ascribed to him, such as the Epistle to the Laodiceans and a third
Epistle to the Corinthians. We need not do more than allude to the
second Epistle falsely bearing the name of Clement of Rome, as well as
the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions, the Apostolical Constitutions,
and the spurious letters of Ignatius, the letters and legend of Abgarus
quoted by Eusebius, and the Epistles, of Paul and Seneca, in addition to
others already pointed out, as instances of the wholesale falsification
of that period, many of which gross forgeries were at once accepted
as genuine by the Fathers, so slight was their critical faculty and so
ready their credulity.(1) In one case the Church punished the author
who, from mistaken zeal for the honour of the Apostle Paul, fabricated
the _Acta Pauli et Theclæ_ in his name,(2) but the forged production was
not the less made use of in the Church. There was, therefore, no lack
of falsification and adulteration of works of Apostles and others of
greater note than himself to warrant the remark of Dionysius, without
any forced application of it to our Gospels or to a New Testament Canon,
the existence of which there is nothing to substantiate, but on the
contrary every reason to discredit.

Before leaving this passage we may add that although even Tischendorf
does not, Canon Westcott does find in it references to our first
Synoptic, and to the Apocalypse. "The short fragment just quoted," he
says, "contains two obvious allusions, one to the Gospel of St Matthew,
and one to the Apocalypse."(3) The words: "the Apostles of the devil
have filled these with tares," are, he supposes,

     1 The Epistle of Jude quotes as genuine the Assumption of
     Moses, and also the Book of Enoch, and the defence of the
     authenticity of the latter by Tertullian (de Cultu fem., i.
     3) will not be forgotten.


an allusion to Matt. xiii. 24 ff. But even if the expression were an
echo of the Parable of the Wheat and Tares, it is not permissible to
refer it in this arbitrary way to our first Gospel, to the exclusion
of the numerous other works which existed, many of which doubtless
contained it Obviously the words have no evidential value.

Continuing his previous assertions, however, Canon Westcott affirms with
equal boldness: "The allusion in the last clause"--to the "Scriptures of
the Lord"--"will be clear when it is remembered that Dionysius 'warred
against the heresy of Marcion and defended the rule of truth '"
[------].(1) Tischendorf, who is ready enough to strain every
expression into evidence, recognizes too well that this is not capable
of such an interpretation. Dr. Westcott omits to mention that the words,
moreover, are not used by Dionysius at all, but simply proceed from
Eusebius.(2) Dr. Donaldson distinctly states the fact that, "there is no
reference to the Bible in the words of Eusebius: he defends the rule of
the truth "(3) [------].

There is only one other point to mention. Canon Westcott refers to the
passage in the Epistle of Dionysius, which has already been quoted
in this work regarding the reading of Christian writings in churches.
"Today," he writes to Soter, "we have kept the Lord's holy day, in
which we have read your Epistle, from the reading of which we shall
ever derive admonition, as we do from the former one written to us by
Clement."(4) It is evident that there was no idea, in selecting the
works to be read at the weekly assembly of Christians, of any


Canon of a New Testament. We here learn that the Epistles of Clement
and of Soter were habitually read, and while we hear of this, and of the
similar reading of Justin's "Memoirs of the Apostles,"(1) of the Pastor
of Hermas,(2) of the Apocalypse of Peter,(3) and other apocryphal works,
we do not at the same time hear of the public reading of our Gospels.



We might here altogether have passed over Melito, Bishop of Sardis in
Lydia, had it not been for the use of certain fragments of his writings
made by Canon Westcott. Melito, naturally, is not cited by Tischendorf
at all, but the English Apologist, with greater zeal, we think, than
critical discretion, forces him into service as evidence for the Gospels
and a New Testament Canon. The date of Melito, it is generally agreed,
falls after a.d. 176, a phrase in his apology presented to Marcus
Antoninus preserved in Eusebius(l) [------] indicating that Commodus had
already been admitted to a share of the Government.(3)

Canon Westcott affirms that, in a fragment preserved by Eusebius, Melito
speaks of the books of the New Testament in a collected form. He says:
"The words of Melito on the other hand are simple and casual, and
yet their meaning can scarcely be mistaken. He writes to Onesimus, a
fellow-Christian who had urged him 'to


make selections for him from the Law and the Prophets concerning the
Saviour and the faith generally, and furthermore desired to learn the
accurate account of the Old [------] Books;' 'having gone therefore to
the East,' Melito says, 'and reached the spot where [each thing] was
preached and done, and having learned accurately the Books of the
Old Testament, I have sent a list of them.' The mention of 'the Old
Books'--'the Books of the Old Testament,' naturally implies a definite
New Testament, a written antitype to the Old; and the form of language
implies a familiar recognition of its contents."(1) This is truly
astonishing! The "form of language" can only refer to the words:
"concerning the Saviour and the faith generally," which must have an
amazing fulness of meaning to convey to Canon West-cott the implication
of a "familiar recognition" of the contents of a supposed already
collected New Testament, seeing that a simple Christian, not to say a
Bishop, might at least know of a Saviour and the faith generally from
the oral preaching of the Gospel, from a single Epistle of Paul, or from
any of the [------] of Luke. This reasoning forms a worthy pendant
to his argument that because Melito speaks of the books of the
Old Testament he implies the existence of a definite collected New
Testament. Such an assertion is calculated to mislead a large class of

The fragment of Melito is as follows: "Melito to his

     1 On the Canon, p. 193. [In the fourth edition Dr. Westcott
     omits the last phrase, making a full stop at "Old." p. 218.]

     2 It must be said, however, that Canon Westcott merely
     follows and exaggerates Lardner, here, who says: "From this
     passage I would conclude that there was then also a volume
     or collection of books called the New Testament, containing
     the writings of Apostles and Apostolical men, but we cannot
     from hence infer the names or the exact number of those
     books."   Credibility, &c., Works, ii. p. 148.


brother Onesimus, greeting. As thou hast frequently desired in thy zeal
for the word [------] to have extracts made for thee, both from the law
and the prophets concerning the Saviour and our whole faith; nay, more,
hast wished to learn the exact statement of the old books [------], how
many they are and what is their order, I have earnestly endeavoured to
accomplish this, knowing thy zeal concerning the faith, and thy desire
to be informed concerning the word [------], and especially that thou
preferrest these matters to all others from love towards God, striving
to gain eternal salvation. Having, therefore, gone to the East,
and reached the place where this was preached and done, and having
accurately ascertained the books of the Old Testament [------], I
have, subjoined, sent a list of them unto thee, of which these are the
names"--then follows a list of the books of the Old Testament, omitting,
however, Esther. He then concludes with the words: "Of these I have made
the extracts dividing them into six books."(1)

Canon Westcott's assertion that the expression "Old Books," "Books of
the Old Testament," involves here by antithesis a definite _written_ New
Testament, requires us to say a few words as to the name of "Testament"
as applied to both divisions of the Bible. It is of course well known
that this word came into use originally from the translation of the
Hebrew word "covenant" [------], or compact made between God and the
Israelites,(2) in the Septuagint version, by the Greek word [------],
which in a legal sense also means a will or Testament,(3) and that word
is adopted throughout the New

     2  The legal sense of [------] as a Will or Testament is
     distinctly intended in Heb. ix. 16. "For where a Testament
     [------] is, there must also of necessity be the death of
     the testator" [------]. The same word [------] is employed
     throughout the whole passage. Heb. ix. 15--20.


Testament.(l) The Vulgate translation, instead of retaining the original
Hebrew signification, translated the word in the Gospels and Epistles,
"Testamentum" and [------] became "Vetus Testamentum" instead of "Vetus
Foedus" and whenever the word occurs in the English version it is almost
invariably rendered "Testament" instead of covenant. The expression
"Book of the Covenant," or "Testament," [------], frequently occurs
in the LXX version of the Old Testament and its Apocrypha,(2) and in
Jeremiah xxxi. 31-34,(3) the prophet speaks of making a "new covenant"
[------] with the house of Israel, which is indeed quoted in Hebrews
viii. 8. It is the doctrinal idea of the new covenant, through Christ
confirming the former one made to the Israelites, which has led to the
distinction of the Old and New Testaments. Generally the Old Testament
was, in the first ages of Christianity, indicated by the simple
expressions "The Books" [------], "Holy Scriptures" [------],(5) or "The
Scriptures" [------,(6) but the preparation for the distinction of "Old
Testament" began very early in the development of the doctrinal idea
of the New Testament of Christ, before there was any part of the New
Testament books written at all. The expression "New Testament," derived


antithetically from the "Old Testament," occurs constantly throughout
the second part of the Bible. In the Epistle to the Hebrews viii. 6-13,
the Mosaic dispensation is contrasted with the Christian, and Jesus
is called the Mediator of a better Testament [------].(1) The first
Testament not being faultless, is replaced by the second, and the writer
quotes the passage from Jeremiah to which we have referred regarding a
New Testament, winding up his argument with the words, v. 13: "In that
he saith a new (Testament) he hath made the first old." Again, in our
first Gospel, during the Last Supper, Jesus is represented as saying:
"This is my blood of the New Testament" [------];(2) and in Luke he
says: "This cup is the New Testament [------] in my blood."(3) There is,
therefore, a very distinct reference made to the two Testaments as "New"
and "Old," and in speaking of the books of the Law and the Prophets
as the "Old Books" and "Books of the old Testament," after the general
acceptance of the Gospel of Jesus as the New Testament or Covenant,
there was no antithetical implication whatever of a written New
Testament, but a mere reference to the doctrinal idea. We might multiply
illustrations showing how ever-present to the mind of the early Church
was the contrast of the Mosaic and Christian Covenants as Old and New.
Two more we may venture to point out. In Romans ix. 4, and Gal. iv.
24, the two Testaments or Covenants [------], typified by Sinai and the
heavenly Jerusalem, are discussed, and the superiority of the latter
asserted. There is, however, a passage, still more clear and decisive.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians iii. 6: "Who also (God) made us sufficient to
be ministers of the New


Testament [------] not of the letter, but of the spirit" [------]. Why
does not Canon Westcott boldly claim this as evidence of a definite
written New Testament, when not only is there reference to the name, but
a distinction drawn between the letter and the spirit of it, from which
an apologist might make a telling argument? But proceeding to contrast
the glory of the New with the Old dispensation, the Apostle, in
reference to the veil with which Moses covered his face, says: "But
their understandings were hardened: for until this very day remaineth
the same veil in the reading of the Old Testament" [------];(l ) and as
if to make the matter still clearer he repeats in the next verse: "But
even unto this day when Moses is read, the veil lieth upon their
heart." Now here the actual reading of the _Old_ Testament [------]
is distinctly mentioned, and the expression quite as aptly as that of
Melito, "implies a definite New Testament, a written antitype to the
Old," but even Canon Westcott would not dare to suggest that, when the
second Epistle to the Corinthians was composed, there was a "definite
written New Testament" in existence. This conclusively shows that the
whole argument from Melito's mention of the books of the Old Testament
is absolutely groundless.

On the contrary, Canon Westcott should know very well that the first
general designation for the New Testament collection was "The Gospel"
[------] and "The Apostle" [------], for the two portions of the
collection, in contrast with the divisions of the Old Testament, the Law
and the Prophets [------]


[------],(1) and the name New Testament occurs for the very first time
in the third century, when Tertullian called the collection of Christian
Scriptures _Novum Instrumentum and Novum Testamentum._(2) The term
[------] is not, so far as we are aware, applied in the Greek to
the "New Testament" collection in any earlier work than Origen's _De
Principiis_, iv. 1. It was only in the second half of the third century
that the double designation [------] was generally abandoned.(3)

As to the evidence for a New Testament Canon, which Dr. Westcott
supposes he gains by his unfounded inference from Melito's expression,
we may judge of its value from the fact that he himself, like Lardner,
admits: "But there is little evidence in the fragment of Melito to show
what writings he would have included in the new collection."(4) Little
evidence? There is none at all.

There is, however, one singular and instructive point in this fragment
to which Canon Westcott does not in any way refer, but which well merits
attention as


illustrating the state of religious knowledge at that time, and,
by analogy, giving a glimpse of the difficulties which beset early
Christian literature. We are told by Melito that Onesimus had frequently
urged him to give him exact information as to the number and order of
the books of the Old Testament, and to have extracts made for him from
them concerning the Saviour and the faith. Now it is apparent that
Melito, though a Bishop, was not able to give the desired information
regarding the number and order of the books of the Old Testament
himself, but that he had to make a journey to collect it. If this was
the extent of knowledge possessed by the Bishop of Sardis of what was
to the Fathers the only Holy Scripture, how ignorant his flock must have
been, and how unfitted, both, to form any critical judgment as to the
connection of Christianity with the Mosaic dispensation. The formation
of a Christian Canon at a period when such ignorance was not only
possible but generally prevailed, and when the zeal of believers led to
the composition of such a mass of pseudonymic and other literature, in
which every consideration of correctness and truth was subordinated to
a childish desire for edification, must have been slow indeed and
uncertain; and in such an age fortuitous circumstances must have mainly
led to the canonization or actual loss of many a work. So far from
affording any evidence of the existence of a New Testament Canon, the
fragment of Melito only shows the ignorance of the Bishop of Sardis as
to the Canon even of the Old Testament.

We have not yet finished with Melito in connection with Canon Westcott,
however, and it is necessary to follow him further in order fully to
appreciate the nature of the evidence for the New Testament Canon,
which, in default


of better, he is obliged to offer. Eusebius gives a list of the works of
Melito which have come to his knowledge, and in addition to the fragment
already quoted, he extracts a brief passage from Melito's work on the
Passover, and some much longer quotations from his Apology, to which
we have in passing referred.(1) With these exceptions, none of Melito's
writings are now extant. Dr. Cureton, however, has published a Syriac
version, with translation, of a so-called "Oration of Meliton, the
Philosopher, who was in the presence of Antoninus Caesar," together with
five other fragments attributed to Melito.(2) With regard to this Syriac
Oration, Canon Westcott says: "Though if it be entire, it is not the
Apology with which Eusebius was acquainted, the general character of
the writing leads to the belief that it is a genuine book of Melito
of Sardis;"(3) and he proceeds to treat it as authentic. In the first
place, we have so little of Melito's genuine compositions extant,
that it is hazardous indeed to draw any positive deduction from the
"character of the writing." Cureton, Bunsen, and others maintain that
this Apology is not a fragment, and it cannot be the work mentioned
by Eusebius, for it does not contain the quotations from the authentic
Orations which he has preserved, and which are considerable. It is,
however, clear from the substance of the composition that it cannot have
been spoken before the Emperor,(4) and, moreover, it has in no way the
character of an "Apology," for there is not a single word in it about
either Christianity or Christians. There is


every reason to believe that it is not a genuine work of Melito.(1)
There is no ground whatever for supposing that he wrote two Apologies,
nor is this ascribed to him upon any other ground than the inscription
of an unknown Syriac writer. This, however, is not the only spurious
work attributed to Melito. Of this work Canon Westcott says: "Like
other Apologies, this oration contains only indirect references to the
Christian Scriptures. The allusions in it to the Gospels are extremely
rare, and except so far as they show the influence of St. John's
writings, of no special interest."(2) It would have been more correct to
have said that there are no allusions in it to the Gospels at all.

Canon Westcott is somewhat enthusiastic in speaking of Melito and his
literary activity as evinced in the titles of his works recorded by
Eusebius, and he quotes a fragment, said to be from a treatise "On
Faith," amongst these Syriac remains, and which he considers to be "a
very striking expansion of the early historic creed of the Church."(3)
As usual, we shall give the entire fragment: "We have made collections
from the Law and the Prophets relative to those things which have been
declared respecting our Lord Jesus Christ, that we may prove to your
love that he is perfect Reason, the Word of God; who was begotten
before the light; who was Creator together with the Father; who was
the Fashioner of man; who was all in all; who among the Patriarchs was
Patriarch; who in the Law was the Law; among the Priests chief Priest;
among Kings Governor; among the Prophets the Prophet;


among the Angels Archangel; in the voice the Word; among Spirits Spirit;
in the Father the Son; in God God the King for ever and ever. For this
was he who was Pilot to Noah; who conducted Abraham; who was bound with
Isaac; who was in exile with Jacob; who was sold with Joseph; who was
captain with Moses; who was the Divider of the inheritance with
Jesus the son of Nun; who in David and the Prophets foretold his own
sufferings; who was incarnate in the Virgin; who was born at Bethlehem;
who was wrapped in swaddling clothes in the manger; who was seen of
shepherds; who was glorified of angels; who was worshipped by the Magi;
who was pointed out by John; who assembled the Apostles; who preached
the kingdom; who healed the maimed; who gave light to the blind; who
raised the dead; who appeared in the Temple; who was not believed by the
people; who was betrayed by Judas; who was laid hold of by the Priests;
who was condemned by Pilate; who was pierced in the flesh; who was
hanged upon the tree; who was buried in the earth; who rose from the
dead; who appeared to the Apostles; who ascended to heaven; who sitteth
on the right hand of the Father; who is the Rest of those who are
departed; the Recoverer of those who are lost; the Light of those who
are in darkness; the Deliverer of those who are captives; the Finder of
those who have gone astray; the Refuge of the afflicted; the Bridegroom
of the Church; the Charioteer of the Cherubim; the Captain of the
Angels; God who is of God; the Son who is of the Father; Jesus Christ,
the King for ever and ever. Amen."(l)


Canon Westcott commences his commentary upon this passage with the
remark: "No writer could state the fundamental truths of Christianity
more unhesitatingly, or quote the Scriptures of the Old and New
Testaments with more perfect confidence."(1) We need not do more than
remark that there is not a single quotation in the fragment, and that
there is not a single one of the references to Gospel history or
to ecclesiastical dogmas which might not have been derived from the
Epistles of Paul, from any of the forms of the Gospel according to the
Hebrews, the Protevangelium of James, or from many another apocryphal
Gospel, or the oral teaching of the Church. It is singular, however,
that the only hint which Canon Westcott gives of the more than doubtful
authenticity of this fragment consists of the introductory remark, after
alluding to the titles of his genuine and supposititious writings: "Of
these multifarious writings very few fragments remain in the original
Greek, but the general tone of them is so decided in its theological
character as to go far to establish the genuineness of those which are
preserved in the Syriac translation."(2)

Now, the fragment "On Faith" which has just been quoted is one of the
five Syriac pieces of Dr. Cureton to which we have referred, and which
even Apologists agree "cannot be regarded as genuine."(3) It is well
known that there were other writers in the early Church bearing the
names of Melito and Miletius or Meletius,(4)


which were frequently confounded.

Of these five Syriac fragments one bears the superscription: "Of
Meliton, Bishop of the city of Attica," and another, "Of the holy
Meliton, Bishop of Utica," and Cureton himself evidently leant to the
opinion that they are not by our Melito, but by a Meletius or Melitius,
Bishop of Sebastopolis in Pontus.(1) The third fragment is said to be
taken from a discourse "On the Cross," which was unknown to Eusebius,
and from its doctrinal peculiarities was probably written after his
time.(2) Another fragment purports to be from a work on the "Soul and
Body;" and the last one from the treatise "On Faith," which we are
discussing. The last two works are mentioned by Eusebius, but these
fragments, besides coming in such suspicious company, must for other
reasons be pronounced spurious.(3) They have in fact no attestation
whatever except that of the Syriac translator, who is unknown, and which
therefore is worthless, and, on the other hand, the whole style and
thought of the fragments are unlike anything else of Melito's time, and
clearly indicate a later stage of theological development.(4) Moreover,
in the Mechitarist Library at Venice there is a shorter version of the
same passage in a Syriac MS., and an Armenian version of the extract as
given above, with some variation of the opening lines, in both of which
the passage is distinctly ascribed to Irenæus.(5) Besides the Oration
and the five Syriac fragments, we have other two works extant falsely
attributed to Melito, one, "De Transitu Virginis Mariæ," describing the
miraculous presence of the Apostles at the


death of Mary;(1) and the other, "De Actibus Joannis Apostoli,"
relates the history of miracles performed by the Apostle John. Both are
universally admitted to be spurious,(2) as are a few other fragments
also bearing his name. Melito did not escape from the falsification to
which many of his more distinguished predecessors and contemporaries
were victims, through the literary activity and unscrupulous religious
zeal of the first three or four centuries of our era.


Very little is known regarding Claudius Apollinaris to whom we must
now for a moment turn. Eusebius informs us that he was Bishop of
Hierapolis,(3) and in this he is supported by the fragment of a letter
of Serapion Bishop of Antioch preserved to us by him, which refers to
Apollinaris as the "most blessed."(4) Tischendorf, without any precise
date, sets him down as contemporary with Tatian and Theophilus (the
latter of whom, he thinks, wrote his work addressed to Autolycus about
A.D. 180--181 ).(5) Eusebius(6) mentions that, like his somewhat earlier
contemporary Melito of Sardis, Apollinaris presented an "Apology" to
the Emperor Marcus Antoninus, and he gives us further materials for a
date(7) by stating that Claudius Apollinaris, probably in his Apology,
refers to

     1 It is worthy of remark that the Virgin is introduced into
     all these fragments in a manner quite foreign to the period
     at which Melito lived.

     7 Eusebius himself sets him down in his Chronicle as
     flourishing in the eleventh year of Marcus, or a.d. 171, a
     year later than he dates Melito.


the miracle of the "Thundering Legion," which is said to have occurred
during the war of Marcus Antoninus against the Marcomanni in a.d.
174.(1) The date of his writings may, therefore, with moderation be
fixed between a.d. 177--180.(2)

Eusebius and others mention various works composed by him,(3) none of
which, however, are extant; and we have only to deal with two brief
fragments in connection with the Paschal controversy, which are ascribed
to Apollinaris in the Paschal Chronicle of Alexandria. This controversy,
as to the day upon which the Christian Passover should be celebrated,
broke out about a.d. 170, and long continued to divide the Church.(4) In
the preface to the Paschal Chronicle, a work of the seventh century, the
unknown chronicler says: "Now even Apollinaris, the most holy Bishop of
Hiera-polis, in Asia, who lived near apostolic times, taught the like
things in his work on the Passover, saying thus: 'There are some,
however, who through ignorance raise contentions regarding these matters
in a way which

     1 Eusebius, H. E., v. 5; Mosheim, Inst. Hist. Ecclee., Book
     i. cent. ii. part. i. ch. i. § 9. Apollinaris states that in
     consequence of this miracle, the Emperor had bestowed upon
     the Legion the name of the "Thundering Legion." We cannot
     here discuss this subject, but the whole story illustrates
     the rapidity with which a fiction is magnified into truth by
     religious zeal, and is surrounded by false circumstantial
     evidence. Cf. Tertullian, Apol. 5, ad Scapulam, 4; Dion
     Cassius, lib. 55; Scaliyer, Animadv. in Euseb., p. 223 f.;
     cf. Donaldson, Hist. Chr. Lit. and Doctr., iii. p. 241 f.


should be pardoned, for ignorance does not admit of accusation, but
requires instruction. And they say that the Lord, together with his
disciples, ate the sheep [------] on the 14th Nisan, but himself
suffered on the great day of unleavened bread. And they state [------]
that Matthew says precisely what they have understood; hence their
understanding of it is at variance with the law, and according to them
the Gospels seem to contradict each other.'"(1) The last sentence is
interpreted as pointing out that the first synoptic Gospel is supposed
to be at variance with our fourth Gospel. This fragment is claimed by
Teschendorf(2) and others as evidence of the general acceptance at that
time both of the Synoptics and the fourth Gospel. Canon Westcott, with
obvious exaggeration, says: "The Gospels are evidently quoted as books
certainly known and recognized; their authority is placed on the same
footing as the Old Testament.:(3) The Gospels are referred to merely for
the settlement of the historical fact as to the day on which the last
Passover had been eaten, a narrative of which they contained.

There are, however, very grave reasons for doubting the authenticity of
the two fragments ascribed to


Apollinaris, and we must mention that these doubts are much less those
of German critics, who, on the whole, either do not raise the question
at all, or hastily dispose of it, than doubts entertained by orthodox
Apologists, who see little ground for accepting them as genuine.(1)
Eusebius, who gives a catalogue of the works of Apol-linaris which had
reached him,(2) was evidently not acquainted with any writing of his on
the Passover. It is argued, however, that "there is not any sufficient
ground for doubting the genuineness of these fragments 'On Easter,' in
the fact that Eusebius mentions no such book by Apollinaris."(3) It is
quite true that Eusebius does not pretend to give a complete list of
these works, but merely says that there are many preserved by many,
and that he mentions those with which he had met.(4) At the same time,
entering with great interest, as he does, into the Paschal Controversy,
and acquainted with the principal writings on the subject,(5) it would
indeed have been strange had he not met with the work itself, or at
least with some notice of it in the works of others. Eusebius gives
an account of the writings of Melito and Apollinaris together. He was
acquainted with the work of Melito on the Passover, and quotes it,(6)
and it is extremely improbable that he could have been ignorant of a
treatise by his distinguished contemporary

     3  Westcott, On the Canon, p. 198, note 3; cf. Baur,
     Unters. kan. Evv., p. 340 f. This is the only remark which
     Dr. Westcott makes as to any doubt of the authenticity of
     these fragments. Tischendorf does not mention a doubt at


on the same subject, had he actually written one. Not only, however,
does Eusebius seem to know nothing of his having composed such a work,
but neither do Theodoret,(1) Jerome,(2) nor Photius,(3) who refer to his
writings, mention it; and we cannot suppose that it was referred to
in the lost works of Irenæus or Clement of Alexandria on the Passover.
Eusebius, who quotes from them,(4) would in that case have probably
mentioned the fact, as he does the statement by Clement regarding
Melito's work, or at least would have been aware of the existence
of such a writing, and alluded to it when speaking of the works of

This silence is equally significant whether we regard Apollinaris as a
Quartodeciman or as a supporter of the views of Victor and the Church
of Rome. On the one hand, Eusebius states that "all the churches of
Asia"(5) kept the 14th Nisan, and it is difficult to believe that, had
Apollinaris differed from this practice and, more especially, had he
written against it, the name of so eminent an exception would not have
been mentioned. The views of the Bishop of Hierapolis, as a prominent
representative of the Asiatic Church, must have been quoted in many
controversial works on the subject, and even if the writing itself had
not come into their hands, Eusebius and others could scarcely fail
to become indirectly acquainted with it. On the other hand, supposing
Apollinaris to have been a Quartodeciman, whilst the ignorance of
Eusebius and others regarding any contribution by him to the discussion
is scarcely less remarkable, it is still more surprising that no
allusion is made to


him by Polycrates(1) when he names so many less distinguished men of
Asia, then passed away, who kept the 14th Nisan, such as Thaseas of
Eumenia, Sagoris of Laodicea, Papirius of Sardis, and the seven Bishops
of his kindred, not to mention Polycarp of Smyrna and the Apostles
Philip and John. He also cites Melito of Sardis: why does he not refer
to Apollinaris of Hierapolis? If it be argued that he was still living,
then why does Eusebius not mention him amongst those who protested
against the measures of Victor of Rome?(2)

There has been much discussion as to the view taken by the writer of
these fragments, Hilgenfeld and others(3) maintaining that he is opposed
to the Quartodeciman party. Into this it is not necessary for us to
enter, as our contention simply is that in no case can the authenticity
of the fragments be established. Supposing them, however, to be directed
against those who kept the 14th Nisan, how can it be credited that this
isolated convert to the views of Victor and the Roman Church, could
write of so vast and distinguished a majority of the Churches of Asia,
including Polycarp and Melito, as "some who through ignorance raised
contentions" on the point, when they really raised no new contention at
all, but, as Polycrates represented, followed the tradition handed
down to them from their Fathers, and authorized by the practice of the
Apostle John himself?

None of his contemporaries nor writers about his own time seem to have
known that Apollinaris wrote any work from which these fragments can
have been taken, and there is absolutely no independent evidence that he


ever took any part in the Paschal controversy at all. The only ground
we have for attributing these fragments to him is the Preface to the
Paschal Chronicle of Alexandria, written by an unknown author of the
seventh century, some five hundred years after the time of Apollinaris,
whose testimony has rightly been described as "worth almost nothing."(1)
Most certainly many passages preserved by him are inauthentic,

and generally allowed to be so.(2) The two fragments have by some been
conjecturally ascribed to Pierius of Alexandria,(3) a writer of the
third century, who composed a work on Easter, but there is no evidence
on the point In any case, there is such exceedingly slight reason for
attributing these fragments to Claudius Apollinaris, and so many strong
grounds for believing that he cannot have written them, that they have
no material value as evidence for the antiquity of the Gospels.


We know little or nothing of Athenagoras. He is not mentioned by
Eusebius, and our only information regarding him is derived from
a fragment of Philip Sidetes, a writer of the fifth century, first
published by

     2  Dr. Donaldson rightly calls a fragment in the Chronicle
     ascribed to Melito, "unquestionably spurious." Hist. Chr.
     Lit. and Doctr., iii. p. 231.


Dodwell.(1) Philip states that he was the first leader of the school of
Alexandria during the time of Hadrian and Antoninus, to the latter
of whom he addressed his Apology, and he further says that Clement of
Alexandria was his disciple, and that Pantsenus was the disciple
of Clement. Part of this statement we know to be erroneous, and the
Christian History of Philip, from which the fragment is taken, is very
slightingly spoken of both by Socrates(2) and Photius.(3) No reliance
can be placed upon this information.(4)

The only works ascribed to Athenagoras are an Apology--called an
Embassy, [------]--bearing the inscription: "The Embassy of Athenagoras
the Athenian, a philosopher and a Christian, concerning Christians, to
the Emperors Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus,
Armeniaci Sarmatici and, above all, philosophers"; and further, a
Treatise: "On the Resurrection of the Dead," A quotation from the
Apology by Methodius in his work on the Resurrection of the Body, is
preserved by Epiphanius(5) and Photius,(6) and this, the mention by
Philip Sidetes, and the inscription by an unknown hand, just quoted, are
all the evidence we possess regarding the Apology. We have no
evidence at all regarding the treatise on the Resurrection, beyond the
inscription. The authenticity of neither, therefore, stands on very sure
grounds.(7) The address of the Apology and internal evidence furnished
by it, into which we need not go, show that it could not


have been written before a.d. 176--177, the date assigned to it by most
critics,(1) although there are many reasons for dating it some years

In the six lines which Tischendorf devotes to Athenagoras, he says that
the Apology contains "several quotations from Matthew and Luke,"(2)
without, however, indicating them. In the very few sentences which Canon
Westcott vouchsafes to him, he says: "Athenagoras quotes the words of
our Lord as they stand in St. Matthew four times, and appears to allude
to passages in St. Mark and St. John, But he nowhere mentions the name
of an Evangelist."(3) Here the third Synoptic is not mentioned. In
another place he says: "Athenagoras at Athens, and Theophilus at
Antioch, make use of the same books generally, and treat them with the
same respect;" and in a note: "Athenagoras quotes the Gospels of St
Matthew and St. John."(4) Here it will be observed that also the Gospel
of Mark is quietly dropped out of sight, but still the positive manner
in which it is asserted that Athenagoras quotes from "the Gospel of
St. Matthew," without further explanation, is calculated to mislead. We
shall refer to each of the supposed quotations.

Athenagoras not only does not mention any Gospel, but singularly enough
he never once introduces the


name of "Christ" into the works ascribed to him, and all the "words of
the Lord" referred to are introduced simply by the indefinite "he says,"
[------], and without any indication whatever of a written source.(1)
The only exception to this is an occasion on which he puts into the
mouth of "the Logos" a saying which is not found in any of our Gospels.
The first passage to which Canon Westcott alludes is the following,
which we contrast with the supposed parallel in the Gospel:--


It is scarcely possible to imagine a greater difference in language
conveying a similar idea than that which exists between Athenagoras and
the first Gospel, and the parallel passage in Luke is in many respects
still more distant. No echo of the words in Matthew has lingered in
the ear of the writer, for he employs utterly different phraseology
throughout, and nothing can be more certain


than the fact that there is not a linguistic trace in it of acquaintance
with our Synoptics.

The next passage which is referred to is as follows:


The same idea is continued in the next chapter, in which the following
passage occurs:


There is no parallel at all in the first Gospel to the phrase "and lend
to them that lend to you," and in Luke vi. 34, the passage reads: "and
if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye?"


[------]; It is evident, therefore, that there are decided variations
here, and that the passage of Athenagoras does not agree with either of
the Synoptics. We have seen the persistent variation in the quotations
from the "Sermon on the Mount" which occur in Justin,(1) and there is no
part of the discourses of Jesus more certain to have been preserved by
living Christian tradition, or to have been recorded in every form of
Gospel. The differences in these passages from our Synoptic present the
same features as mark the several versions of the same discourse in
our first and third Gospels, and indicate a distinct source. The same
remarks also apply to the next passage:


The omission of [------], "with her," is not accidental, but is an
important variation in the sense, which we have already met with in the
Gospel used by Justin Martyr.(4) There is another passage, in the next
chapter, the parallel to which follows closely on this in the great
Sermon as reported in our first Gospel, to which Canon Westcott does not
refer, but which we must point out:




It is evident that the passage in the Apology is quite different from
that in the "Sermon on the Mount" in the first Synoptic. If we compare
it with Matt. xix. 9, there still remains the express limitation
[------], which Athenagoras does not admit, his own express doctrine
being in accordance with the positive declaration in his text. In the
immediate context, indeed, he insists that even to marry another wife
after the death of the first is cloaked adultery. We find in Luke
xvi. 18, the reading of Athenagoras,(3) but with important linguistic


It cannot, obviously, be rightly affirmed that Athenagoras must have
derived this from Luke, and the sense of the passage in that Gospel,
compared with the passage in Matthew xix. 9, on the contrary, rather
makes it certain that the reading of Athenagoras was derived from a
source combining the language of the one and the thought of the other.
In Mark x. 11, the reading is nearer that of Athenagoras and confirms
this conclusion; and the addition there of [------] "against her" after


[------], further tends to prove that his source was not that Gospel.

We may at once give the last passage which is supposed to be a quotation
from our Synoptics, and it is that which is affirmed to be a reference
to Mark. Athenagoras states in almost immediate context with the above:
"for in the beginning God formed one man and one woman."(1) This is
compared with Mark x. 6: "But from the beginning of the creation God
made them male and female":


Now this passage differs materially in every way from the second
Synoptic. The reference to "one man" and "one woman" is used in a
totally different sense, and enforces the previous assertion that a man
may only marry one wife. Such an argument directly derived from the Old
Testament is perfectly natural to one who, like Athenagoras, derived
all his authority from it alone. It is not permissible to claim it as
evidence of the use of Mark.

Now we must repeat that Athenagoras does not name any source from which
he derives his knowledge of the sayings of Jesus. These sayings are
all from the Sermon on the Mount, and are introduced by the indefinite
phrase [------], and it is remarkable that all differ distinctly from
the parallels in our Gospels. The whole must be taken together as coming
from one source, and while the decided variation excludes the inference
that they must have been taken from our Gospels, there is reasonable
ground for assigning them to a different


source. Dr. Donaldson states the case with great fairness: "Athenagoras
makes no allusion to the inspiration of any of the New Testament
writers. He does not mention one of them by name, and one cannot be sure
that he quotes from any except Paul. All the passages taken from the
Gospels are parts of our Lord's discourses, and may have come down to
Athenagoras by tradition."(1) He might have added that they might also
have been derived from the gospel according to the Hebrews or many
another collection now unhappily lost. One circumstance strongly
confirming this conclusion is the fact already mentioned, that
Athenagoras, in the same chapter in which one of these quotations
occurs, introduces an apocryphal saying of the Logos, and connects it
with previous sayings by the expression "The Logos again [------] saying
to us." This can only refer to the sayings previously introduced by
the indefinite [------]. The sentence, which is in reference to the
Christian salutation of peace, is as follows: "The Logos again saying
to us: 'If any one for this reason kiss a second time because it pleased
him (he sins);' and adding: 'Thus the kiss or rather the salutation must
be used with caution, as, if it be defiled even a little by thought, it
excludes us from the life eternal.'"(2) This saying, which is directly
attributed to the Logos, is not found in our Gospels. The only natural
deduction is that it comes from the same source as the other sayings,
and that source was not our synoptic Gospels.


The total absence of any allusion to New Testament Scriptures in
Athenagoras, however, is rendered more striking and significant by
the marked expression of his belief in the inspiration of the Old
Testament.(1) He appeals to the prophets for testimony as to the
truth of the opinions of Christians: men, he says, who spoke by the
inspiration of God, whose Spirit moved their mouths to express God's
will as musical instruments are played upon:(2) "But since the voices of
the prophets support our arguments, I think that you, being most learned
and wise, cannot be ignorant of the writings of Moses, or of those
of Isaiah and Jeremiah and of the other prophets, who being raised in
ecstasy above the reasoning that was in themselves, uttered the things
which were wrought in them, when the Divine Spirit moved them, the
Spirit using them as a flute player would blow into the flute."(3) He
thus enunciates the theory of the mechanical inspiration of the writers
of the Old Testament, in the clearest manner,(4) and it would indeed
have been strange, on the supposition that he extended his views of
inspiration to any of the Scriptures of the New Testament, that he never
names a single one of them, nor indicates to the Emperors in the same
way, as worthy of their attention, any of these Scriptures along with
the Law and the Prophets. There can be no doubt that he nowhere gives
reason for supposing that he regarded any other writings than the Old
Testament as inspired or "Holy Scripture."(5)

     5  In the treatise on the Resurrection there are no
     arguments derived from Scripture.



In the 17th year of the reign of Marcus Aurelius, between the 7th March,
177-178, a fierce persecution was, it is said,(1) commenced against the
Christians in Gaul, and more especially at Vienne and Lyons, during the
course of which the aged Bishop Pothinus, the predecessor of Irenæus,
suffered martyrdom for the faith. The two communities some time after
addressed an Epistle to their brethren in Asia and Phrygia, and also to
Eleutherus, Bishop of Rome,(2) relating the events which had occurred,
and the noble testimony which had been borne to Christ by the numerous
martyrs who had been cruelly put to death. The Epistle has in great part
been preserved by Eusebius,(3) and critics generally agree in dating it
about a.d. 177,(4) although it was most probably not written until the
following year.(5)

No writing of the New Testament is mentioned in this Epistle,(6) but
it is asserted that there are "unequivocal coincidences of language"(7)
with the Gospel of Luke, and others of its books. The passage which is
referred to as


showing knowledge of our Synoptic, is as follows. The letter speaks of
one of the sufferers, a certain Vettius Epagathus, whose life was
so austere that, although a young man, "he was thought worthy of the
testimony [------] borne by the elder [------] Zacharias. He had
walked, of a truth, in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord
blameless, and was untiring in every kind office towards his neighbour;
having much zeal for God and being fervent in spirit."(1) This is
compared with the description of Zacharias and Elizabeth in Luke i.
6: "And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the
commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless."(2) A little further
on in the Epistle it is said of the same person: "Having in himself the
advocate [------], the spirit [------], more abundantly than Zacharias,"
&c.(3) which again is referred to Luke i. 67, "And his father Zacharias
was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying," &c.(4)

A few words must be said regarding the phrase [------], "the testimony
of the presbyter Zacharias." This, of course, may either be rendered:
"the testimony borne to Zacharias," that is to say, borne by others to
his holy life; or, "the


testimony borne by Zacharias," his own testimony to the Faith: his
martyrdom. We adopt the latter rendering for various reasons. The
Epistle is an account of the persecution of the Christian community of
Vienne and Lyons, and Vettius Epagathus is the first of the martyrs who
is named in it: [------] was at that time the term used to express the
supreme testimony of Christians--martyrdom, and the Epistle seems here
simply to refer to the martyrdom, the honour of which he shared
with Zacharias. It is, we think, very improbable that, under such
circumstances, the word [------] would have been used to express a mere
description of the character of Zacharias given by some other writer.
The interpretation which we prefer is that adopted by Tischendorf.1 We
must add that the Zacharias here spoken of is generally understood to
be the father of John the Baptist, and no critic, so far as we can
remember, has suggested that the reference in Luke xi. 51, applies
to him.(2) Since the Epistle, therefore, refers to the martyrdom of
Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, when using the expressions
which are supposed to be taken from our third Synoptic, is it not
reasonable to suppose that those expressions were derived from some work
which likewise contained an account of his death, which is not found
in the Synoptic? When we examine the matter more closely, we find that,
although none of the Canonical Gospels, except the third, gives any
narrative of the birth of John the Baptist, that portion of the Gospel,
in which are the words we are discussing, cannot be considered an

     2  The great majority of critics consider it a reference to
     2 Chron. xxiv., 21, though some apply it to a later


production by the third Synoptist, but like the rest of his work is
merely a composition based upon earlier written narratives.(1) Ewald,
for instance, assigns the whole of the first chapters of Luke (i. 5--ii.
40) to what he terms "the eighth recognizable book."(2)

However this may be, the fact that other works existed at an earlier
period in which the history of Zacharias the father of the Baptist was
given, and in which not only the words used in the Epistle were found
but also the martyrdom, is in the highest degree probable, and, so far
as the history is concerned, this is placed almost beyond doubt by the
Protevangclium Jacobi which contains it. Tischendorf, who does not make
use of this Epistle at all as evidence for the Scriptures of the New
Testament, does refer to it, and to this very allusion in it to the
martyrdom of Zacharias, as testimony to the existence and use of the
Protevangelium Jacobi, a work whose origin he dates so far back as the
first three decades of the second century,(3) and which he considers was
also used by Justin, as Hilgenfeld had already observed.(4) Tischendorf
and Hilgenfeld, therefore, agree in affirming that the reference to
Zacharias which we have quoted, indicates acquaintance with a different
Gospel from our third Synoptic. Hilgenfeld rightly maintains that the
Protevangelium Jacobi in its present shape is merely an


altered form of an older work,(1) which he conjectures to have been the
Gospel according to Peter, or the Gnostic work [------],(2) and both he
and Tischendorf show that many of the Fathers(3) were either acquainted
with the Protevangelium itself or the works on which it was based.

The state of the case, then, is as follows: We find a coincidence in a
few words in connection with Zacharias between the Epistle and our third
Gospel, but so far from the Gospel being in any way indicated as their
source, the words in question are connected with a reference to events
unknown to our Gospel, but which were indubitably chronicled elsewhere.
As part of the passage in the epistle, therefore, could not have been
derived from our third Synoptic, the natural inference is that the whole
emanates from a Gospel, different from ours, which likewise contained
that part In any case, the agreement of these few words, without the
slightest mention of the third Synoptic in the epistle, cannot be
admitted as proof that they must necessarily have been derived from it
and from no other source.



We have now reached the extreme limit of time within which we think
it in any degree worth while to seek for evidence as to the date and
authorship of the synoptic Gospels, and we might now proceed to the
fourth Gospel; but before doing so it may be well to examine one or two
other witnesses whose support has been claimed by apologists, although
our attention may be chiefly confined to an inquiry into the date of
such testimony, upon which its value, even if real, mainly depends so
far as we are concerned. The first of these whom we must notice are the
two Gnostic leaders, Ptolemæus and Heracleon.

Epiphanius has preserved a certain "Epistle to Flora" ascribed to
Ptolemseus, in which, it is contended, there are "several quotations
from Matthew, and one from the first chapter of John."(1) What date must
be assigned to this Epistle? In reply to those who date it about the end
of the second century, Tischendorf produces the evidence for an earlier
period to which he assigns it. He says: "He (Ptolemæus) appears in all
the oldest sources

     1 Tischendorf Wann wurden, u. s. w., p. 46. Canon Westcott
     with greater caution says: "He quoted words of our Lord
     recorded by St. Matthew, the prologue of St. John's Gospel,
     &c." On the Canon, p. 267.


as one of the most important, most influential of the disciples of
Valentinus. As the period at which the latter himself flourished falls
about 140, do we say too much when we represent Ptolemæus as working at
the latest about 160? Irenæus (in the 2nd Book) and Hippolytus name him
together with Heracleon; likewise pseudo-Tertullian (in the appendix to
De Præscriptionibus Hæreticorum) and Philastrius make him appear
immediately after Valentinus. Irenæus wrote the first and second books
of his great work most probably (hochst warscheinlich) before 180, and
in both he occupies himself much with Ptolemæus."(1) Canon Westcott,
beyond calling Ptolemæus and Heracleon disciples of Valentinus, does not
assign any date to either, and does not of course offer any further
evidence on the point, although, in regard to Heracleon, he admits the
ignorance in which we are as to all points of his history,(2) and states
generally, in treating of him, that "the exact chronology of the early
heretics is very uncertain."(3)

Let us, however, examine the evidence upon which Tischendorf relies
for the date he assigns to Ptolemæus. He states in vague terms that
Ptolemæus appears "in all the oldest sources" (in alien den altesten
Quellen) as one of the most important disciples of Valentinus. We shall
presently see what these sources are, but must now follow the argument:
"As the date of Valentinus falls about 140, do we say too much when we
represent Ptolemæus as working at the latest about 160?" It is obvious
that there is no evidence here, but merely assumption, and the manner in
which the period "about 160" is begged, is a clear admission that there
are no certain data. The year


might with equal propriety upon those grounds have been put ten years
earlier or ten years later. The deceptive and arbitrary character of the
conclusion, however, will be more apparent when we examine the grounds
upon which the relative dates 140 and 160 rest. Tischendorf here states
that the time at which Valentinus flourished falls about a.d. 140, but
the fact is that, as all critics are agreed,(1) and as even Tischendorf
himself elsewhere states,(2) Valentinus came out of Egypt to Rome
in that year, when his public career practically commenced, and he
continued to flourish for at least twenty years after.(3) Tischendorf
s pretended moderation, therefore, consists in dating the period when
Valentinus flourished from the very year of his first appearance, and
in assigning the active career of Ptolemseus to 160 when Valentinus was
still alive and teaching. He might on the same principle be dated 180,
and even in that case there could be no reason for ascribing the Epistle
to Flora to so early a period of his career. Tischendorf never even
pretends to state any ground upon which Ptolemæus must be connected with
any precise part of the public life of Valentinus, and still less
for discriminating the period of the career of Ptolemæus at which the
Epistle may have been composed. It is obvious that a wide limit for date
thus exists.

After these general statements Tischendorf details the only evidence
which is available. (1) "Irenæus (in the 2nd Book) and Hippolytus name
him together with Heracleon; likewise (2) pseudo-Tertullian (in the


appendix to _De Præscriptionibus Hæreticorum_) and Philastrius make him
appear immediately after Valentinus," &c. We must first examine these
two points a little more closely in order to ascertain the value of such
statements. With regard to the first (1st) of these points, we shall
presently see that the mention of the name of Ptolemseus along with that
of Heracleon throws no light upon the matter from any point of view,
inasmuch as Tischendorf has as little authority for the date he assigns
to the latter, and is in as complete ignorance concerning him, as in the
case of Ptolemseus. It is amusing, moreover, that Tischendorf employs
the very same argument, which sounds well although it means nothing,
inversely to establish the date of Heracleon. Here, he argues: "Irenæus
and Hippolytus name him (Ptolemæus) together with Heracleon;"(l) there,
he reasons: "Irenæus names Heracleon together with Ptolemæus,"(2) &c. As
neither the date assigned to the one nor to the other can stand alone,
he tries to get them into something like an upright position by propping
the one against the other, an expedient which, naturally, meets with
little success. We shall in dealing with the case of Heracleon show how
untenable is the argument from the mere order in which such names are
mentioned by these writers; meantime we may simply say that Irenæus only
once mentions the name of Heracleon in his works, and that the occasion
on which he does so, and to which reference is here made, is merely an
allusion to the Æons "of Ptolemseus himself, and of Heracleon, and all
the rest who hold these views."(3) This phrase might have been used,
exactly as it stands, with


perfect propriety even if Ptolemæus and Heracleon had been separated by
a century. The only point which can be deduced from this mere coupling
of names is that, in using the present tense, Irenæus is speaking of his
own contemporaries. We may make the same remark regarding Hippolytus,
for, if his mention of Ptolemæus and Heracleon has any weight at all,
it is to prove that they were flourishing in his time: "Those who are of
Italy, of whom is Heracleon and Ptolemæus, say..."(1) &c. We shall have
to go further into this point presently. As to (2) pseudo-Tertullian and
Philastrius we need only say that even if the fact of the names of the
two Gnostics being coupled together could prove anything in regard to
the date, the repetition by these writers could have no importance
for us, their works being altogether based on those of Irenæus
and Hippolytus,(2) and scarcely, if at all, conveying independent
information.(3) We have merely indicated the weakness of these arguments
in passing, but shall again take them up further on. The next and final
consideration advanced by Tischendorf is the only one which merits
serious attention. "Irenæus wrote the first and second book of his great
work most probably before 180, and in both he occupies himself much with
Ptolemæus." Before proceeding to examine the accuracy of this statement
regarding the time at which Irenæus wrote, we may ask what conclusion
would be involved if Irenæus really did compose the two books in a.d.
180 in which he mentions

     3 Indeed the direct and avowed dependence of Hippolytus
     himself upon the work of Irenæus deprives the
     Philosophumena, in many parts, of all separate authority.


our Gnostics in the present tense? Nothing more than the simple fact
that Ptolemæus and Heracleon were promulgating their doctrines at that
time. There is not a single word to show that they did not continue to
flourish long after; and as to the "Epistle to Flora" Irenæus apparently
knows nothing of it, nor has any attempt been made to assign it to
an early part of the Gnostic's career. Tischendorf, in fact, does not
produce a single passage nor the slightest argument to show that
Irenæus treats our two Gnostics as men of the past, or otherwise than as
heretics then actively disseminating their heterodox opinions, and, even
taken literally, the argument of Tischendorf would simply go to prove
that about a.d. 180 Irenseus wrote part of a work in which he attacks
Ptolemæus and mentions Heracleon.

When did Irenæus, however, really write his work against Heresies?
Although our sources of credible information regarding him are
exceedingly limited, we are not without materials for forming a judgment
on the point Irenæus was probably born about a.d. 140-145, and is
generally supposed to have died at the beginning of the third century
(a.d. 202).(1) We know that he was deputed by the Church of Lyons to
bear to Eleutherus, then Bishop of Rome, the Epistle of that Christian
community describing their sufferings during the persecution commenced
against them in the seventeenth year of the reign of Marcus Aurelius
Antoninus (7th March, 177--178).(2) It is very improbable that this
journey was undertaken, in any case, before the spring of a.d. 178 at
the earliest, and, indeed, in accordance with the given data, the


persecution itself may not have commenced earlier than the beginning of
that year, so that his journey need not have been undertaken before the
close of 178 or the spring of 179, to which epoch other circumstances
might lead us.(1) There is reason to believe that he remained some time
in Rome. Baronius states that Irenæus was not appointed Bishop of Lyons
till a.d. 180, for he says that the see remained vacant for that period
after the death of Pothinus in consequence of the persecution. Now
certain expressions in his work show that Irenæus did not write it until
he became Bishop.(2) It is not known how long Irenæus remained in
Rome, but there is every probability that he must have made a somewhat
protracted stay, for the purpose of making himself acquainted with the
various tenets of Gnostic and other heretics then being actively taught,
and the preface to the first Book refers to the pains he took. He wrote
his work in Gaul, however, after his return from this visit to Rome.
This is apparent from what he himself states in the Preface to the first
Book: "I have thought it necessary," he says, "after having read the
Memoirs [------] of the disciples of Valentinus as they call themselves,
and _having had personal intercourse with some of them_ and acquired
full knowledge of their opinions, to unfold to thee,"(3) &c. A little
further on, he claims from the friend to whom he addresses his work
indulgence for any defects of style on the score of his being resident
amongst the Keltæ.(4) Irenæus no doubt during his stay in Rome came in


contact with the school of Ptolemæus and Heracleon, if not with the
Gnostic leaders themselves, and shocked as he describes himself as being
at the doctrines which they insidiously taught, he undertook, on his
return to Lyons, to explain them that others might be exhorted to avoid
such an "abyss of madness and blasphemy against Christ."(1) Irenæus
gives us other materials for assigning a date to his work. In the third
Book he enumerates the bishops who had filled the Episcopal Chair of
Rome, and the last whom he names is Eleutherus (a.d. 177--190), who, he
says, "now in the twelfth place from the apostles, holds the inheritance
of the episcopate."(2) There is, however, another clue which, taken
along with this, leads us to a close approximation to the actual date.
In the same Book, Irenæus mentions Theodotion's version of the Old
Testament: "But not as some of those say," he writes, "who now [------]
presume to alter the interpretation of the Scripture: 'Behold the
young woman shall conceive, and bring forth a son,' as Theodotion,
the Ephesian, translated it, and Aquila of Pontus, both Jewish
proselytes."(3) Now we are informed by Epiphanius that Theodotion
published his translation during the reign of the Emperor Commodus(4)
(a.d. 180--192). The Chronicon Paschale adds that it was during the
Consulship of Marcellus, or as Massuet(5) proposes to read Marullus,
who, jointly with Ælianus, assumed office a.d. 184. These dates
decidedly agree with the passage of Irenæus and with the other data, all
of which lead


us to about the same period within the episcopate of Eleutherus (+ c.
190).(1) We have here, therefore, a clue to the date at which Irenæus
wrote. It must be remembered that at that period the multiplication and
dissemination of books was a very slow process. A work published about
184 or 185 could scarcely have come into the possession of Irenæus in
Gaul till some years later, and we are, therefore, brought towards the
end of the episcopate of Eleutherus as the earliest date at which
the first three books of his work against Heresies can well have been
written, and the rest must be assigned to a later period under the
episcopate of Victor (+ 198--199).(2)

At this point we must pause and turn to the evidence which Tischendorf
offers regarding the date to be assigned to Heracleon.(3) As in the case
of Ptolemæus, we shall give it entire and then examine it in detail. To
the all-important question: "How old is Heracleon?" Tischendorf replies:
"Irenæus names Heracleon, together

     3 Canon Westcott adds no separate testimony. He admits that:
     "The history of Heracleon, the great Valentinian
     Commentator, is full of uncertainty. Nothing is known of his
     country or parentage." On the Canon, p. 263, and in a note:
     "The exact chronology of the early heretics is very
     uncertain," p. 264, note 2. p 2


with Ptolemaeus II. 4, § 1, in a way which makes them appear
as well-known representatives of the Valentinian school. This
interpretation of his words is all the more authorized because he never
again mentions Heracleon. Clement, in the 4th Book of his Stromata,
written shortly after the death of Commodus (193), recalls an
explanation by Heracleon of Luke xii. 8, when he calls him the most
noted, man of the Valentinian school [------] is Clement's expression).
Origen, at the beginning of his quotation from Heracleon, says that he
was held to be a friend of Valentinus [------]. Hippolytus mentions
him, for instance, in the following way: (vi. 29); 'Valentinus, and
Heracleon, and Ptolemæus, and the whole school of these, disciples of
Pythagoras and Plato....' Epiphanius says (Hser. 41): 'Cerdo (the same
who, according to Irenæus III. 4, § 3, was in Rome under Bishop Hyginus
with Valentinus) follows these (the Ophites, Kainites, Sethiani), and
Heracleon.' After all this Heracleon certainly cannot be placed later
than 150 to 160. The expression which Origen uses regarding his relation
to Valentinus must, according to linguistic usage, be understood of a
personal relation."(1)

We have already pointed out that the fact that the names of Ptolemæus
and Heracleon are thus coupled together affords no clue in itself to the
date of either, and their being mentioned as leading representatives of
the school of Valentinus does not in any way involve the inference that
they were not contemporaries of Irenæus, living and working at the
time he wrote. The way in which Irenæus mentions them in this the only
passage throughout his whole work in which he names


Heracleon, and to which Tischendorf pointedly refers, is as follows:
"But if it was not produced, but was generated by itself, then that
which is void is both like, and brother to, and of the same honour
with, that Father who has before been mentioned by Valentinus; but it
is really more ancient, having existed long before, and is more exalted
than the rest of the Æons of Ptolemseus himself, and of Heracleon, and
all the rest who hold these views."(1) We fail to recognize anything
special, here, of the kind inferred by Tischendorf, in the way in which
mention is made of the two later Gnostics. If anything be clear, on
the contrary, it is that a distinction is drawn between Valentinus and
Ptolemaeus and Heracleon, and that Irenæus points out inconsistencies
between the doctrines of the founder and those of his later followers.
It is quite irrelevant to insist merely, as Tischendorf does, that
Irenæus and subsequent writers represent Ptolemaeus and Heracleon
and other Gnostics of his time as of "the school" of Valentinus. The
question simply is, whether in doing so they at all imply that these men
were not contemporaries of Irenæus, or necessarily assign their period
of independent activity to the lifetime of Valentinus, as Tischendorf
appears to argue? Most certainly they do not, and Tischendorf does
not attempt to offer any evidence that they do so. We may perceive how
utterly worthless such a fact is for the purpose of affixing an early
date by merely considering the quotation which Tischendorf himself makes
from Hippolytus: "Valentinus, therefore, and Heracleon and Ptolemæus,


the whole school of these, disciples of Pythagoras and Plato.... "(l) If
the statement that men are of a certain school involves the supposition
of coincidence of time, the three Gnostic leaders must be considered
contemporaries of Pythagoras or Plato, whose disciples they are said
to be. Again, if the order in which names are mentioned, as Teschendorf
contends by inference throughout his whole argument, is to involve
strict similar sequence of date, the principle applied to the whole
of the early writers would lead to the most ridiculous confusion.
Teschendorf quotes Epiphanius: "Cerdo follows these (the Ophites,
Kainites, Sethiani), and Heracleon."

Why he does so it is difficult to understand, unless it be to give the
appearance of multiplying testimonies, for two sentences further on he
is obliged to admit: "Epiphanius has certainly made a mistake, as in
such things not unfrequently happens to him, when he makes Cerdo, who,
however, is to be placed about 140, follow Heracleon."(2) This kind of
mistake is, indeed, common to all the writers quoted, and when it
is remembered that such an error is committed where a distinct and
deliberate affirmation of the point is concerned, it will easily be
conceived how little dependence is to be placed on the mere mention of
names in the course of argument. We find Irenæus saying that "neither
Valentinus, nor Marcion, nor Saturninus, nor Basilides" possesses
certain knowledge,(3) and elsewhere: "of such an one as Valentinus, or
Ptolemæus, or Basilides."(4) To base


an argument as to date on the order in which names appear in such
writers is preposterous.

Tischendorf draws an inference from the statement that Heracleon was
said to be a [------] of Valentinus, that Origen declares him to have
been his friend, holding personal intercourse with him. Origen, however,
evidently knew nothing individually on the point, and speaks from mere
hearsay, guardedly using the expression "said to be" [------]. But
according to the later and patristic use of the word, [------] meant
nothing more than a "disciple," and it cannot here be necessarily
interpreted into a "contemporary."(1) Under no circumstances could such
a phrase, avowedly limited to hearsay, have any weight. The loose manner
in which the Fathers repeat each other, even in serious matters, is too
well known to every one acquainted with their writings to require any
remark. Their inaccuracy keeps pace with their want of critical judgment
We have seen one of the mistakes of Epiphanius, admitted by Tischendorf
to be only too common with him, which illustrates how little such data
are to be relied on. We may point out another of the same kind committed
by him in common with Hippolytus, pseudo-Tertullian and Philastrius.
Mistaking a passage of Irenæus,(2) regarding the sacred Tetrad
(Kol-Arbas) of the Valentinian Gnosis, Hippolytus supposes Irenæus to
refer to another heretic leader. He at once treats the Tetrad as such a
leader named "Kolarbasus," and after dealing (vi. 4) with the doctrines
of Secundud, and Ptolemæus, and Heracleon, he proposes, § 5, to show
"what are the opinions held by Marcus and


Kolarbasus."(1) At the end of the same book he declares that Irenæus, to
whom he states that he is indebted for a knowledge of their inventions,
has completely refuted the opinions of these heretics, and he proceeds
to treat of Basilides, considering that it has been sufficiently
demonstrated "whose disciples are Marcus and Kolarbasus, the successors
of the school of Valentinus."(2) At an earlier part of the work he
had spoken in a more independent way in reference to certain who had
promulgated great heresies: "Of these," he says, "one is Kolarbasus,
who endeavours to explain religion by measures and numbers."(3) The same
mistake is committed by pseudo-Tertullian,(4) and Philastrius,(5) each
of whom devotes a chapter to this supposed heretic. Epiphanius, as
might have been expected, fell into the same error, and he proceeds
elaborately to refute the heresy of the Kolarbasians, "which is Heresy
XV." He states that Kolarbasus follows Marcus and Ptolemæus,(6) and
after discussing the opinions of this mythical heretic he devotes the
next chapter, "which is Heresy XVI.," to the Heracleonites, commencing
it with the information that: "A certain Heracleon follows after
Kolarbasus."(7) This absurd mistake(8) shows how little these writers


knew of the Gnostics of whom they wrote, and how the one ignorantly
follows the other.

The order, moreover, in which they set the heretic leaders varies
considerably. It will be sufficient for us merely to remark here that
while pseudo-Tertullian(1) and Philastrius(2) adopt the following order
after the Valentinians: Ptolemæus, Secundus, Heracleon, Marcus, and
Kolarbasus, Epiphanius(3) places them: Secundus, Ptolemæus, Marcosians,
Kolarbasus, and Heracleon; and Hippolytus(4) again: Secundus, Ptolemæus,
Heracleon, Marcus, and Kolarbasus. The vagueness of Irenæus had left
some latitude here, and his followers were uncertain. The somewhat
singular fact that Irenæus only once mentions Heracleon whilst he so
constantly refers to Ptolemæus, taken in connection with this order, in
which Heracleon is always placed after Ptolemæus,(5) and by Epiphanius
after Marcus, may be reasonably explained by the fact that whilst
Ptolemæus had already gained considerable notoriety when Irenæus wrote,
Heracleon may only have begun to come into notice. Since Tischendorf
lays so much stress upon pseudo-Tertullian and Philastrius making
Ptolemaeus appear immediately after Valentinus, this explanation is
after his own principle.

We have already pointed out that there is not a single passage in
Irenæus, or any other early writer, assigning Ptolemæus and Heracleon
to a period anterior to the time when Irenæus undertook to refute their
opinions. Indeed, Tischendorf has not attempted to show that


they do, and he has merely, on the strength of the general expression
that these Gnostics were of the school of Valentinus, boldly assigned
to them an early date. Now, as we have stated, he himself admits that
Valentinus only came from Egypt to Rome in a.d. 140, and continued
teaching till 160,(1) and these dates are most clearly given by Irenæus
himself.(2) Why then should Ptolemæus and Heracleon, to take an extreme
case, not have known Valentinus in their youth, and yet have flourished
chiefly during the last two decades of the second century? Irenæus
himself may be cited as a parallel case, which Tischendorf at least
cannot gainsay. He is never tired of telling us that Irenæus was the
disciple of Polycarp,(3) whose martyrdom he sets about A.D. 165, and
he considers that the intercourse of Irenæus with the aged Father must
properly be put about a.d. 150,(4) yet he himself dates the death of
Irenæus, a.d. 202,(5) and nothing is more certain than that the period
of his greatest activity and influence falls precisely in the last
twenty years of the second century. Upon his own data, therefore, that
Valentinus may have taught for twenty years after his first appearance
in Rome in a.d. 140--and there is no ground whatever for asserting that
he did not teach for even a much longer period--Ptolemaeus and Heracleon
might well have personally sat at the feet of Valentinus in their youth,
as Irenseus is said to have done about the very same period at those of
Polycarp, and yet, like him, have flourished chiefly towards the end of
the century.


Although there is not the slightest ground for asserting that Ptolemæus
and Heraclcon were not contemporaries with Irenæus, flourishing like
him towards the end of the second century, there are, on the other hand,
many circumstances which altogether establish, the conclusion that they
were. "We have already shown, in treating of Valentinus,(1) that Irenæus
principally directs his work against the followers of Valentinus living
at the time he wrote, and notably of Ptolemæus and his school.(2) In the
preface to the first book, having stated that he writes after personal
intercourse with some of the disciples of Valentinus,(3) he more
definitely declares his purpose: "We will, then, to the best of our
ability, clearly and concisely set forth the opinions of those who are
now [------] teaching heresy, _I speak particularly of the disciples
of Ptolemæus_ [------] whose system is an offshoot from the school of
Valentinus."(4) Nothing could be more explicit. Irenæus in this passage
distinctly represents Ptolemæus as teaching at the time he is writing,
and this statement alone is decisive, more especially as there is not a
single known fact which is either directly or indirectly opposed to it.

Tischendorf lays much stress on the evidence of Hippolytus in coupling
together the names of Ptolemæus and Heracleon with that of Valentinus;
similar testimony of the same writer, fully confirming the above
statement of Irenæus, will, therefore, have the greater force.
Hippolytus says that the Valentinians differed materially among
themselves regarding certain points which led to divisions, one party
being called the


Oriental and the other the Italian. "They of the Italian party, of whom
is Heracleon and Ptolemæus, say, &c.... They, however, who are of the
Oriental party, of whom is Axionicus and Bardesanes, maintain," &c.(1)
Now, Ptolemæus and Heracleon are here quite clearly represented as
being contemporary with Axionicus and Bardesanes, and without discussing
whether Hippolytus does not, in continuation, describe them as all
living at the time he wrote,(2) there can be no doubt that some of them
were, and that this evidence confirms again the statement of Irenæus.
Hippolytus, in a subsequent part of his work, states that a certain
Prepon, a Marcionite, has introduced something new, and "now in our
own time [------] has written a work regarding the heresy in reply to
Bardesanes."(3) The researches of Hilgenfeld have proved that Bardesanes
lived at least over the reign of Heliogabalus (218--222), and the
statement of Hippolytus is thus confirmed.(4) Axionicus again was still
flourishing when Tertullian wrote his work against the Valentinians


(201--226). Tertullian says: "Axionicus of Antioch alone to the present
day (ad hodiernum) respects the memory of Valentinus, by keeping
fully the rules of his system."(1) Although on the whole they may be
considered to have flourished somewhat earlier, Ptolemæus and Heracleon
are thus shown to have been for a time at least contemporaries of
Axionicus and Bardesanes.(2)

Moreover, it is evident that the doctrines of Ptolemæus and Heracleon
represent a much later form of Gnosticism than that of Valentinus. It
is generally admitted that Ptolemæus reduced the system of Valentinus to
consistency,(3) and the inconsistencies which existed between the views
of the Master and these later followers, and which indicate a much more
advanced stage of development, are constantly pointed out by Irenæus and
the Fathers who wrote in refutation of heresy. Origen also represents
Heracleon as amongst those who held opinions sanctioned by the
Church,(4) and both he and Ptolemæus must indubitably be classed amongst
the latest Gnostics.(5) It is clear, therefore, that Ptolemæus and
Heracleon were contemporaries of Irenæus(6) at the time he composed his
work against Heresies (185--195), both, and especially


the latter, flourishing and writing towards the end of the second

We mentioned, in first speaking of these Gnostics, that Epiphanius has
preserved an Epistle, attributed to Ptolemæus, which is addressed to
Flora, one of his disciples.(2) This Epistle is neither mentioned by
Irenæus nor by any other writer before Epiphanius. There is nothing
in the Epistle itself to show that it was really written by Ptolemæus
himself. Assuming it to be by him, however, the Epistle was in all
probability written towards the end of the second century, and it does
not, therefore, come within the scope of our inquiry. We may, however,
briefly notice the supposed references to our Gospels which it contains.
The writer of the Epistle, without any indication whatever of a written
source from which he derived them, quotes sayings of Jesus for which
parallels are found in our first Gospel. These sayings are introduced
by such expressions as "he said," "our Saviour declared," but never as
quotations from any Scripture. Now, in affirming that they are taken
from the Gospel according to Matthew, Apologists exhibit their usual
arbitrary haste, for we must clearly and decidedly state that there
is not a single one of the passages which does not present decided
variations from the parallel passages in our first Synoptic. We subjoin
for comparison in parallel columns the passages from the Epistle and




It must not be forgotten that Iræneus makes very explicit statements
as to the recognition of other sources of evangelical truth than our
Gospels by the Valentinians, regarding which we have fully written when
discussing the founder of that sect.(5) We know that they professed to
have direct traditions from the Apostles through Theodas, a disciple of
the Apostle Paul;(6) and in the


Epistle to Flora allusion is made to the succession of doctrine
received by direct tradition from the Apostles.(1) Irenæus says that the
Valentinians profess to derive their views from unwritten sources,(2)
and he accuses them of rejecting the Gospels of the Church,(3) but, on
the other hand, he states that they had many Gospels different from what
he calls the Gospels of the Apostles.(4)

With regard to Heracleon, it is said that he wrote Commentaries on
the third and fourth Gospels. The authority for this statement is very
insufficient. The assertion with reference to the third Gospel is
based solely upon a passage in the Stromata of the Alexandrian Clement.
Clement quotes a passage found in Luke xii. 8, 11, 12, and says:
"Expounding this passage, Heracleon, the most distinguished of the
School of Valentinus, says as follows," &c.(5) This is immediately
interpreted into a quotation from a Commentary on Luke.(6) We merely
point out that from Clement's remark it by no means follows that
Heracleon wrote a Commentary at all, and further there is no evidence
that the passage commented upon was actually from our third Gospel.(7)
The Stromata of Clement were not written until after a.d. 193, and in
them we find the first and only reference to this supposed Commentary.
"We need not here refer to the Commentary on the fourth Gospel, which is


inferred from references in Origen (c. a.d. 225), but of which we have
neither earlier nor fuller information.(1) We must, however, before
leaving this subject, mention that Origen informs us that Heracleon
quotes from the Preaching of Peter [------], Pesedicatio Petri), a work
which, as we have already several times mentioned, was cited by Clement
of Alexandria as authentic and inspired Holy Scripture.(2)

The epoch at which Ptolemæus and Heracleon flourished would in any
case render testimony regarding our Gospels of little value. The actual
evidence which they furnish, however, is not of a character to prove
even the existence of our Synoptics, and much less does it in any way
bear upon their character or authenticity.


A similar question of date arises regarding Celsus, who wrote a work,
entitled [------], True Doctrine, which is no longer extant, of which
Origen composed an elaborate refutation. The Christian writer takes the
arguments of Celsus in detail, presenting to us, therefore, its general
features, and giving many extracts; and as Celsus professes to base much
of his accusation upon the writings in use amongst Christians, although
he does not name a single one of them, it becomes desirable to ascertain
what those works were, and the date at which


Celsus wrote. As usual, we shall state the case by giving the reasons
assigned for an early date.

Arguing against Volkmar and others, who maintain, from a passage at the
close of his work, that Oligen, writing about the second quarter of the
third century, represents Celsus as his contemporary,(1) Tischendorf,
referring to the passage, which we shall give in its place, proceeds to
assign an earlier date upon the following grounds: "But indeed, even
in the first book, at the commencement of the whole work, Origen says:
'Therefore, I cannot compliment a Christian whose faith is in danger of
being shaken by Celsus, who yet does not even [------] still [------]
live the common life among men, but already and long since [------] is
dead.'... In the

same first book Origen says: 'We have heard that there were two men of
the name of Celsus, Epicureans, the first under Nero; this one' (that
is to say, ours) 'under Hadrian and later.' It is not impossible that
Origen mistakes when he identified his Celsus with the Epicurean living
'under Hadrian and later;' but it is impossible to convert the same
Celsus of whom Origen says this into a contemporary of Origen. Or would
Origen himself in the first book really have set his Celsus 'under
Hadrian (117--138) and later,' yet in the eighth have said: 'We will
wait (about 225), to see whether he will still accomplish this design of
making another work follow?' Now, until some better discovery regarding
Celsus is attained, it will be well to hold to the old opinion that
Celsus wrote his book about the middle of the second century, probably
between 150--160," &c.(2)


It is scarcely necessary to point out that the only argument advanced
by Tischendorf bears solely against the assertion that Celsus was a
contemporary of Origen, "about 225," and leaves the actual date entirely
unsettled. He not only admits that the statement of Origen regarding the
identity of his opponent with the Epicurean of the reign of Hadrian
"and later," may be erroneous, but he tacitly rejects it, and having
abandoned the conjecture of Origen as groundless and untenable, he
substitutes a conjecture of his own, equally unsupported by reasons,
that Celsus probably wrote between 150-160. Indeed, he does not attempt
to justify this date, but arbitrarily decides to hold by it until a
better can be demonstrated. He is forced to admit the ignorance of
Origen on the point, and he does not conceal his own.

Now it is clear that the statement of Origen in the preface to his
work, quoted above, that Celsus, against whom he writes, is long since
dead,(1) is made in the belief that this Celsus was the Epicurean who
lived under Hadrian,(2)


which Tischendorf, although he avoids explanation of the reason, rightly
recognizes to be a mistake. Origen undoubtedly knew nothing of his
adversary, and it obviously follows that, his impression that he is
Celsus the Epicurean being erroneous, his statement that he was long
since dead, which is based upon that impression, loses all its value.
Origen certainly at one time conjectured his Celsus to be the Epicurean
of the reign of Hadrian, for he not only says so directly in the passage
quoted, but on the strength of his belief in the fact, he accuses him
of inconsistency: "But Celsus," he says, "must be convicted of
contradicting himself; for he is discovered from other of his works to
have been an Epicurean, but here, because he considered that he could
attack the Word more effectively by not avowing the views of Epicurus,
he pretends, &c.... Remark, therefore, the falseness of his mind,"
&c.(1) And from time to time he continues to refer to him as an
Epicurean,(2) although it is evident that in the writing before him
he constantly finds evidence that he is of a wholly different school.
Beyond this belief, founded avowedly on mere hearsay, Origen absolutely
knows nothing whatever as to the personality of Celsus, or the time
at which he wrote,(3) and he sometimes very naively expresses his
uncertainty regarding him. Referring in one place to certain passages
which seem to imply a belief in magic on the part of Celsus, Origen
adds: "I do not know whether he is the same who has written several


against magic."(1) Elsewhere he says: "... the Epicurean Celsus (if he
be the same who composed two other books against Christians)," &c.(2)

Not only is it apparent that Origen knows nothing of the Celsus with
whom he is dealing, however, but it is almost impossible to avoid
the conviction that during the time he was composing his work his
impressions concerning the date and identity of his opponent became
considerably modified. In the earlier portion of the first book(3) he
has heard that his Celsus is the Epicurean of the reign of Hadrian, but
a little further on,(4) he confesses his ignorance as to whether he
is the same Celsus who wrote against magic, which Celsus the Epicurean
actually did. In the fourth book(5) he expresses uncertainty as to
whether the Epicurean Celsus had composed the work against Christians
which he is refuting, and at the close of his treatise he seems to
treat him as a contemporary. He writes to his friend Ambrosius, at whose
request the refutation of Celsus was undertaken: "Know, however, that
Celsus has promised to write another treatise after this one.... If,
therefore, he has not fulfilled his promise to write a second book, we
may well be satisfied with the eight books in reply to his Discourse.


however, he has commenced and finished this work also, seek it and "send
it in order that we may answer it also, and confute the false teaching
in it," &C.(1) From this passage, and supported by other considerations,
Volkmar and others assert that Celsus was really a contemporary of
Origen.(2) To this, as we have seen, Tischendorf merely replies by
pointing out that Origen in the preface says that Celsus was already
dead, and that he was identical with the Epicurean Celsus who flourished
under Hadrian and later. The former of these statements, however, was
made under the impression that the latter was correct, and as it is
generally agreed that Origen was mistaken in supposing that Celsus the
Epicurean was the author of the [------],(3) and Tischendorf himself
admits the fact, the two earlier statements, that Celsus flourished
under Hadrian and consequently that he had long been dead, fall
together, whilst the subsequent doubts regarding his identity not only
stand, but


rise into assurance at the close of the work in the final request to
Ambrosius.(1) There can be no doubt that the first statements and the
closing paragraphs are contradictory, and whilst almost all critics
pronounce against the accuracy of the former, the inferences from the
latter retain full force, confirmed as they are by the intermediate
doubts expressed by Origen himself.

Even those who, like Tischendorf, in an arbitrary manner assign an early
date to Celsus, although they do not support their conjectures by
any satisfactory reasons of their own, all tacitly set aside these
of Origen.(2) It is generally admitted by these, with Lardner(3) and
Michaelis,(4) that the Epicurean Celsus to "whom Origen was at one time
disposed to refer the work against Christianity, was the writer of
that name to whom Lucian, his friend and contemporary, addressed his
Alexander or Pseudomantis, and who really wrote against magic,(5) as
Origen mentions.(6) But although on this account Lardner assigns to
him the date of a.d. 176, the fact is that Lucian did not write his
Pseudomantis, as Lardner is obliged to admit,(7) until the reign of the


Emperor Commodus (180--193), and even upon the supposition that this
Celsus wrote against Christianity, of which there is not the slightest
evidence, there would be no ground whatever for dating the work before
a.d. 180. On the contrary, as Lucian does not in any way refer to such
a writing by his friend, there would be strong reason for assigning the
work, if it be supposed to be written by him, to a date subsequent to
the Pseudo-mantis. It need not be remarked that the references of Celsus
to the Marcionites,(1) and to the followers of Marcellina,(2) only so
far bear upon the matter as to exclude an early date.(3)

It requires very slight examination of the numerous extracts from,
and references to, the work which Origen seeks to refute, however, to
convince any impartial mind that the doubts of Origen were well founded
as to whether Celsus the Epicurean were really the author of the
[------]. As many critics of all shades of opinion have long since
determined, so far from being an Epicurean, the Celsus attacked by
Origen, as the philosophical opinions which he everywhere expresses
clearly show, was a Neo-Platonist.(4) Indeed, although Origen seems to
retain some impression that his antagonist must be an Epicurean, as he
had heard, and frequently refers to him as such, he does not point out


sentiments in his writings, but on the contrary, not only calls upon him
no longer to conceal the school to which he belongs and avow himself
an Epicurean,(1) which Celsus evidently does not, but accuses him
of expressing views inconsistent with that philosophy,(2) or of so
concealing his Epicurean opinions that it might be said that he is
an Epicurean only in name.(3) On the other hand, Origen is clearly
surprised to find that he quotes so largely from the writings, and shows
such marked leaning towards the teaching, of Plato, in which Celsus
indeed finds the original and purer form of many Christian doctrines,(4)
and Origen is constantly forced to discuss Plato in meeting the
arguments of Celsus.

The author of the work which Origen refuted, therefore, instead of
being an Epicurean, as Origen supposed merely from there having been an
Epicurean of the same name, was undoubtedly a Neo-Platonist, as Mosheim
long ago demonstrated, of the School of Ammonius, who founded the sect
at the close of the second century.(5) The promise of Celsus to write
a second book with practical rules for living in accordance with the
philosophy he promulgates, to which Origen refers at the close of his
work, confirms this conclusion, and indicates a new and recent system
of philosophy.(6) An Epicurean would not have thought of such a work--it
would have been both appropriate and necessary in connection with

We are, therefore, constrained to assign the work of


Celsus to at least the early part of the third century, and to the reign
of Septimius Severus. Celsus repeatedly accuses Christians, in it, of
teaching their doctrines secretly and against the law, which seeks them
out and punishes them with death,(1) and this indicates a period of
persecution. Lardner, assuming the writer to be the Epicurean friend of
Lucian, from this clue supposes that the persecution referred to must
have been that under Marcus Aurelius (f 180), and practically rejecting
the data of Origen himself, without advancing sufficient reasons of his
own, dates Celsus a.d. 176.(2) As a Neo-Platonist, however, we are more
accurately led to the period of persecution which, from embers never
wholly extinct since the time of Marcus Aurelius, burst into fierce
flame more especially in the tenth year of the reign of Severus(3) (a.d.
202), and continued for many years to afflict Christians.

It is evident that the dates assigned by apologists are wholly
arbitrary, and even if our argument for the later epoch were very much
less conclusive than it is, the total absence of evidence for an earlier
date would completely nullify any testimony derived from Celsus. It is
sufficient for us to add that, whilst he refers to incidents of Gospel
history and quotes some sayings which have pandlels, with more or less
of variation, in our Gospels, Celsus nowhere mentions the name of any
Christian book, unless we except the Book of Enoch;(4) and he accuses
Christians, not without reason, of interpolating the books of the Sibyl,
whose authority, he states, some of them acknowledged.(5)



The last document which we need examine in connection with the synoptic
Gospels is the list of New Testament and other writings held in
consideration by the Church, which is generally called, after its
discoverer and first editor, the Canon of Muratori. This interesting
fragment, which was published in 1740 by Muratori in his collection of
Italian antiquities,(1) at one time belonged to the monastery of Bobbio,
founded by the Irish monk Columban, and was found by Muratori in the
Ambrosian Library at Milan in a MS. containing extracts of little
interest from writings of Eucherius, Ambrose, Chrysostom, and others.
Muratori estimated the age of the MS. at about a thousand years, but so
far as we are aware no thoroughly competent judge has since expressed
any opinion upon the point. The fragment, which is defective both at
the commencement and at the end, is written in an apologetic tone, and
professes to give a list of the writings which are recognised by the
Christian Church. It is a document which has no official character,(2)
but which merely conveys the private views and information of the
anonymous writer, regarding whom nothing whatever is known. From any
point of view, the composition is of a nature permitting the widest
differences of opinion. It is by some affirmed to be a complete treatise
on the books received by the Church, from which fragments have been
lost;(3) whilst


others consider it a mere fragment in itself.(1) It is written in Latin
which by some is represented as most corrupt,(2) whilst others uphold it
as most correct.(3) The text is further rendered almost unintelligible
by every possible inaccuracy of orthography and grammar, which is
ascribed diversely to the transcriber, to the translator, and to
both.(4) Indeed such is the elastic condition of the text, resulting
from errors and obscurity of every imaginable description, that by means
of ingenious conjectures critics are able to find in it almost any sense
they desire.(5) Considerable difference of opinion exists as to the
original language of the fragment, the greater number of critics
maintaining that the composition is a translation from the Greek,(6)
whilst others assert it to


have been originally written in Latin.(1) Its composition is variously
attributed to the Church of Africa(2) and to a member of the Church in

The fragment commences with the concluding portion of a sentence....
"quibus tamen interfuit et ita posuit"--"at which nevertheless he was
present, and thus he placed it." The MS. then proceeds: "Third book of
the Gospel according to Luke. Luke, that physician, after the ascension
of Christ when Paul took him with him..., wrote it in his name as he
deemed best (ex opinione)--nevertheless he had not himself seen the Lord
in the flesh,--and he too, as far as he could obtain information, also
begins to speak from the nativity of John." The text, at the sense of
which this is a closely approximate guess, though several other


interpretations might be maintained, is as follows: Tertio evangelii
librum secundo Lucan Lucas iste medicus post ascensum Christi cum eo
Paulus quasi ut juris studiosum secundum adsumsisset numeni suo ex
opinione concribset dominum tamen nec ipse vidit in carne et idem prout
asequi potuit ita et ad nativitate Johannis incipet dicere.

The MS. goes on to speak in more intelligible language "of the fourth
of the Gospels of John, one of the disciples." (Quarti evangeliorum
Johannis ex decipolis) regarding the composition of which the writer
relates a legend, which we shall quote when we come to deal with
that Gospel The fragment then proceeds to mention the Acts of the
Apostles,--which is ascribed to Luke--thirteen epistles of Paul in
peculiar order, and it then refers to an Epistle to the Laodiceans and
another to the Alexandrians, forged, in the name of Paul, after the
heresy of Marcion, "and many others which cannot be received by the
Catholic Church, as gall must not be mixed with vinegar." The Epistle to
the Ephesians bore the name of Epistle to the Laodiceans in the list
of Marcion, and this may be a reference to it.(1) The Epistle to the
Alexandrians is generally identified with the Epistle to the Hebrews,(2)
although some critics think this doubtful, or deny the fact, and
consider both Epistles referred to pseudographs


attributed to the Apostle Paul.1 The Epistle of Jude, and two (the
second and third) Epistles of John are, with some tone of doubt,
mentioned amongst the received books, and so is the Book of Wisdom. The
Apocalypses of John and of Peter only are received, but some object to
the latter being read in church.

The Epistle of James, both Epistles of Peter, the Epistle to the
Hebrews (which is, however, probably indicated as the Epistle to the
Alexandrians), and the first Epistle of John are omitted altogether,
with the exception of a quotation which is supposed to be from the
last-named Epistle, to which we shall hereafter refer. Special reference
is made to the Pastor of Hermas, which we shall presently discuss,
regarding which the writer expresses his opinion that it should be
read privately but not publicly in church, as it can neither be classed
amongst the books of the prophets nor of the apostles. The fragment
concludes with the rejection of the writings of several heretics.(2)

It is inferred that, in the missing commencement of the fragment, the
first two Synoptics must have been mentioned. This, however, though
of course most probable, cannot actually be ascertained, and so far as
these Gospels are concerned, therefore, the "Canon of Muratori" only
furnishes conjectural evidence. The statement regarding the third
Synoptic merely proves the existence of that Gospel at the time the


was composed, and we shall presently endeavour to form some idea of that
date, but beyond this fact the information given anything but tends
to establish the unusual credibility claimed for the Gospels. It is
declared by the fragment, as we have seen, that the third Synoptic was
written by Luke, who had not himself seen the Lord, but narrated the
history as best he was able. It is worthy of remark, moreover, that even
the Apostle Paul, who took Luke with him after the Ascension, had not
been a follower of Jesus either, nor had seen him in the flesh, and
certainly he did not, by the showing of his own Epistles, associate
much with the other Apostles, so that Luke could not have had much
opportunity while with him of acquiring from them any intimate knowledge
of the events of Gospel history. It is undeniable that the third
Synoptic is not the narrative of an eye-witness, and the occurrences
which it records did not take place in the presence, or within the
personal knowledge, of the writer, but were derived from tradition, or
from written sources. Such testimony, therefore, could not in any case
be of much service to our third Synoptic; but when we consider the
uncertainty of the date at which the fragment was composed, and the
certainty that it could not have been written at an early period, it
will become apparent that the value of its evidence is reduced to a

We have already incidentally mentioned that the writer of this fragment
is totally unknown, nor does there exist any clue by which he can be
identified. All the critics who have assigned an early date to the
composition of the fragment have based their conclusion, almost solely,
upon a statement made by the Author regarding the Pastor of Hennas. He
says: "Hermas in


truth composed the Pastor very recently in our times in the city of
Rome, the Bishop Pius his brother, sitting in the chair of the church
of the city of Rome. And, therefore, it should indeed be read, but it
cannot be published in the church to the people, neither being among
the prophets, whose number is complete, nor amongst the apostles in the
latter days."

"Pastorem vero nuperrime temporibus nostris in urbe Roma Herma
conscripsit sedente cathedra urbis Romæ ecclesiæ Pio episcopus fratre
ejus et ideo legi eum quidem oportet se publicare vero in ecclesia
populo neque inter prophetas completum numero neque inter apostolos in
fine temporum potest."(1)

Muratori, the discoverer of the MS., conjectured for various reasons,
which need not be here detailed, that the fragment was written by Caius
the Roman Presbyter, who flourished at the end of the second (c. a.d.
196) and beginning of the third century, and in this he was followed by
a few others.(2) The great mass of critics, however, have rejected this
conjecture, as they have likewise negatived the fanciful ascription of
the composition by Simon de Magistris to Papias of Hierapolis,(3) and
by Bunsen to Hegesippus.(4) Such attempts to identify the unknown author
are obviously mere speculation, and it is impossible to suppose that,
had Papias, Hegesippus, or any other well-known writer of the same
period composed such a list, Eusebius could have failed to refer to


it, as so immediately relevant to the purpose of his work. Thiersch even
expressed a suspicion that the fragment was a literary mystification on
the part of Muratori himself.(1)

The mass of critics, with very little independent consideration, have
taken literally the statement of the author regarding the composition of
the Pastor "very recently in our times" (nuperrime temporibus nostris),
during the Episcopate of Pius (a.d. 142--157), and have concluded the
fragment to have been written towards the end of the second century,
though we need scarcely say that a few writers would date it even
earlier.(2) On the other hand, and we consider with reason, many


including men who will not be accused of opposition to an early Canon,
assign the composition to a later period, between the end of the second
or beginning of the third century and the fourth century.(1)

When we examine the ground upon which alone an early date can be
supported, it becomes apparent how slight the foundation is. The only
argument of any weight is the statement with regard to the composition
of the Pastor, but with the exception of the few apologists who do not
hesitate to assign a date totally inconsistent with the state of the
Canon described in the fragment, the great majority of critics feel that
they are forced to place the composition at least towards the end of the
second century, at a period when the statement in the composition may
agree with the actual opinions in the Church, and yet in a sufficient
degree accord with the expression "very recently in our times," as
applied to the period of Pius of Rome, 142--157. It must be evident
that, taken literally, a very arbitrary interpretation is given to this
indication, and in supposing that the writer may have appropriately used
the phrase thirty or forty years after the time of Pius, so much licence
is taken that there is absolutely no reason why a still greater interval
may not be allowed. With this sole exception, there is not a single word
or statement in the fragment which would oppose our assigning the


composition to a late period of the third century. Volkmar has very
justly pointed out, however, that in saying "very recently in our times"
the writer merely intended to distinguish the Pastor of Hermas from the
writings of the Prophets and Apostles: It cannot be classed amongst the
Prophets whose number is complete, nor amongst the Apostles, inasmuch
as it was only written in our post-apostolic time. This is an accurate
interpretation of the expression,(1) which might with perfect propriety
be used a century after the time of Pius. We have seen that there has
not appeared a single trace of any Canon in the writings of any of the
Fathers whom we have examined, and that the Old Testament has been the
only Holy Scripture they have acknowledged; and it is therefore unsafe,
upon the mere interpretation of a phrase which would be applicable even
a century later, to date this anonymous fragment, regarding which we
know nothing, earlier than the very end of the second or beginning of
the third century, and it is still more probable that it was not written
until an advanced period of the third century. The expression used
with regard to Pius: "Sitting in the chair of the church," is quite
unprecedented in the second century or until a very much later date.(2)
It is argued that the fragment is imperfect, and that sentences have
fallen out; and in regard to this, and to the assertion that it is a
translation from the Greek, it has been well remarked by a writer whose
judgment on the point will scarcely be called prejudiced: "If it is
thus mutilated, why might it not also be interpolated? If moreover the


was so ignorant of Latin, can we trust his translation? and what
guarantee have we that he has not paraphrased and expanded the original?
The force of these remarks is peculiarly felt in dealing with the
paragraph which gives the date. The Pastor of Hermas was not well known
to the Western Church, and it was not highly esteemed. It was regarded
as inspired by the Eastern, and read in the Eastern Churches. We have
seen, moreover, that it was extremely unlikely that Hermas was a real
personage. It would be, therefore, far more probable that we have
here an interpolation, or addition by a member of the Roman or African
Church, probably by the translator, made expressly for the purpose
of serving as proof that the Pastor of Hennas was not inspired. The
paragraph itself bears unquestionable mark of tampering,"(1) &c. It
would take us too far were we to discuss the various statements of the
fragment as indications of date, and the matter is not of sufficient
importance. It contains nothing involving an earlier date than the third

The facts of the case may be briefly summed up as follows, so far as
our object is concerned. The third Synoptic is mentioned by a totally
unknown writer, at an unknown, but certainly not early, date, in all
probability during the third century, in a fragment which we possess
in a very corrupt version very far from free from suspicion of
interpolation in the precise part from which the early date is inferred.
The Gospel is attributed to Luke, who was not one of the followers of
Jesus, and of whom it is expressly said that "he himself had not seen
the Lord in the flesh," but wrote "as he deemed best (ex opinione)," and
followed his history as he was able (et


idem prout assequi potuit).(1) If the fragment of Muratori, therefore,
even came within our limits as to date, its evidence would be of no
value, for, instead of establishing the trustworthiness and absolute
accuracy of the narrative of the third Synoptic, it distinctly tends to
discredit it, inasmuch as it declares it to be the composition of one
who undeniably was not an eye-witness of the miracles reported, but
collected his materials, long after, as best he could.(2)


We may now briefly sum up the results of our examination of the evidence
for the synoptic Gospels. After having exhausted the literature and
the testimony bearing on the point, we have not found a single distinct
trace of any of those Gospels, with the exception of the third, during
the first century and a half after the death of Jesus. Only once during
the whole of that period do we find even a tradition that any of our
Evangelists composed a Gospel at all, and that tradition, so far from
favouring our Synoptics, is fatal to the claims of the first and second.
Papias, about the middle of

     1  The passage is freely rendered thus by Canon Westcott:
     "The Gospel of St. Luke, it is then said, stands third in
     order [in the Canon], having been written by 'Luke the
     physician,' the companion of St. Paul, who, not being
     himself an eye-witness, based his narrative on such
     information as he could obtain, beginning from tho birth of
     John." On the Canon, p. 187.

     2  We do not propose, to consider the Ophites and Peratici,
     obscure Gnostic sects towards the end of the second century.
     There is no direct evidence regarding them, and the
     testimony of writers in the third century, like Hippolytus,
     is of no value for the Gospels.


the second century, on the occasion to which we refer, records that
Matthew composed the Discourses of the Lord in the Hebrew tongue,
a statement which totally excludes the claim of our Greek Gospel to
apostolic origin. Mark, he said, wrote down from the casual preaching of
Peter the sayings and doings of Jesus, but without orderly arrangement,
as he was not himself a follower of the Master, and merely recorded what
fell from the Apostle. This description, likewise, shows that our actual
second Gospel could not, in its present form, have been the work of
Mark. There is no other reference during the period to any writing of
Matthew or Mark, and no mention at all of any work ascribed to Luke. The
identification of Marcion's Gospel with our third Synoptic proves the
existence of that work before A.D. 140, but no evidence is thus obtained
either as to the author or the character of his work, but on the
contrary the testimony of the great heresiarch is so far unfavourable to
that Gospel, as it involves a charge against it, of being interpolated
and debased by Jewish elements. The freedom with which Marcion
expurgated and altered it clearly shows that he did not regard it either
as a sacred or canonical work. Any argument for the mere existence of
our Synoptics based upou their supposed rejection by heretical leaders
and sects has the inevitable disadvantage, that the very testimony which
would show their existence would oppose their authenticity. There is
no evidence of their use by heretical leaders, however, and no direct
reference to them by any writer, heretical or orthodox, whom we have
examined. It is unnecessary to add that no reason whatever has been
shown for accepting the testimony of these Gospels as sufficient to
establish the reality of


miracles and of a direct Divine Revelation.(1) It is not pretended that
more than one of the synoptic Gospels was written by an eye-witness of
the miraculous occurrences reported, and whilst no evidence has been, or
can be, produced even of the historical accuracy of the narratives,
no testimony as to the correctness of the inferences from the external
phenomena exists, or is now even conceivable. The discrepancy between
the amount of evidence required and that which is forthcoming, however,
is greater than under the circumstances could have been thought

     1 A comparison of the contents of the three Synoptics would
     have confirmed this conclusion, but this is not at present
     necessary, and we must hasten on.




"We shall now examine, in the same order, the witnesses already cited in
connection with the Synoptics, and ascertain what evidence they furnish
for the date and authenticity of the fourth Gospel

Apologists do not even allege that there is any reference to the
fourth Gospel in the so-called Epistle of Clement of Rome to the

A few critics(2) pretend to find a trace of it in the Epistle of
Barnabas, in the reference to the brazen Serpent as a type of Jesus.
Tischendorf states the case as follows:--


"And when in the same chapter xii. it is shown how Moses in the brazen
serpent made a type of Jesus 'who should suffer (die) and yet himself
make alive,' the natural inference is that Barnabas connected therewith
John iii. 14, f. even if the use of this passage in particular cannot be
proved. Although this connection cannot be affirmed, since the author of
the Epistle, in this passage as in many others, may be independent, yet
it is justifiable to ascribe the greatest probability to its dependence
on the passage in John, as the tendency of the Epistle in no
way required a particular leaning to the expression of John. The
disproportionately more abundant use of express quotations from the Old
Testament in Barnabas is, on the contrary, connected most intimately
with the tendency of his whole composition."(1)

It will be observed that the suggestion of reference to the fourth
Gospel is here advanced in a very hesitating way, and does not indeed go
beyond an assertion of probability. We might, therefore, well leave the
matter without further notice, as the reference in no case could be of
any weight as evidence. On examination of the context, however, we find
that there is every reason to conclude that the reference to the brazen
serpent is made direct to the Old Testament. The author who delights in
typology is bent upon showing that the cross is prefigured in the Old
Testament. He gives a number of instances, involving the necessity for a
display of ridiculous ingenuity of explanation, which should prepare us
to find the comparatively simple type of the brazen serpent naturally
selected. After pointing out that Moses, with his arms stretched out in
prayer that the Israelites might prevail in the fight, was a type of the


cross, he goes on to say: "Again Moses makes a type of Jesus, that he
must suffer and himself make alive [------], whom they will appear
to have destroyed, in a figure, while Israel was falling;"(l) and
connecting the circumstance that the people were bit by serpents and
died with the transgression of Eve by means of the serpent, he goes on
to narrate minutely the story of Moses and the brazen serpent, and then
winds up with the words: "Thou hast in this the glory of Jesus; that in
him are all things and for him."(2) No one can read the whole passage
carefully without seeing that the reference is direct to the Old
Testament.(3) There is no ground for supposing that the author was
acquainted with the fourth Gospel.

To the Pastor of Hermas Tischendorf devotes only two lines, in which
he states that "it has neither quotations from the Old nor from the New
Testament."(4) Canon


Westcott makes the same statement,(1) but, unlike the German apologist,
he proceeds subsequently to affirm that Hermas makes "clear allusions
to St. John;" which few or no apologists support. This assertion he
elaborates and illustrates as follows:--

"The view which Hermas gives of Christ's nature and work is no less
harmonious with apostolic doctrine, and it offers striking analogies to
the Gospel of St. John. Not only did the Son 'appoint angels to preserve
each of those whom the Father gave to him;' but 'He himself toiled
very much and suffered very much to cleanse our sins.... And so when he
himself had cleansed the sins of the people, he showed them the paths of
life by giving them the Law which he received from his. Father.'(2)
He is 'a Rock higher than the mountains, able to hold the whole world,
ancient, and yet having a new gate.'(3) 'His name is great and infinite,
and the whole world is supported by him.'(4) 'He is older than Creation,
so that he took counsel with the Father about the


creation which he made.'(1) 'He is the sole way of access to the Lord;
and no one shall enter in unto him otherwise than by his Son.'"(2)

This is all Canon Westcott says on the subject.(3) He does not attempt
to point out any precise portions of the fourth Gospel with which to
compare these "striking analogies," nor does he produce any instances
of similarity of language, or of the use of the same terminology as the
Gospel in this apocalyptic allegory. It is evident that such evidence
could in no case be of any value for the fourth Gospel.

When we examine more closely, however, it becomes certain that these
passages possess no real analogy with the fourth Gospel, and were not
derived from it. There is no part of them that has not close parallels
in writings antecedent to our Gospel, and there is no use of terminology
peculiar to it. The author does not even once use the term Logos. Canon
Westcott makes no mention of the fact that the doctrine of the Logos and
of the pre-existence of Jesus was enunciated long before the composition
of the fourth Gospel, with almost equal clearness and fulness, and that
its development can be traced through the Septuagint translation,
the "Proverbs of Solomon," some of the Apocryphal works of the Old
Testament, the writings of Philo, and in the Apocalypse, Epistle to the
Hebrews, as well as the Pauline Epistles. To any one who examines the
passages cited from the works of Hennas, and still more to any one
acquainted with the history of the Logos doctrine, it will, we fear,


seem wasted time to enter upon any minute refutation of such imaginary
"analogies." We shall, however, as briefly as possible refer to each
passage quoted.

The first is taken from an elaborate similitude with regard to true
fasting, in which the world is likened to a vineyard and, in explaining
his parable, the Shepherd says: "God planted the vineyard, that is, he
created the people and gave them to his Son: and the Son appointed
his angels over them to keep them: and he himself cleansed their sins,
having suffered many things and endured many labours.... He himself,
therefore, having cleansed the sins of the people, showed them the paths
of life by giving them the Law which he received from his Father."(1)

It is difficult indeed to find anything in this passage which is in the
slightest degree peculiar to the fourth Gospel, or apart from the
whole course of what is taught in the Epistles, and more especially the
Epistle to the Hebrews. We may point out a few passages for comparison:
Heb. i. 2-4; ii. 10-11; v. 8-9; vii. 12, 17-19; viii. 6-10; x. 10-16;
Romans viii. 24-17; Matt. xxi. 33; Mark xii. 1; Isaiah v. 7, liii.

The second passage is taken from an elaborate parable on the building
of the Church: [------] "And in the middle of the plain he showed me
a great white rock which had risen out of the plain, and the rock was
higher than the mountains, rectangular so as to be able to hold the
whole world, but that rock was old having a gate [------] hewn out
of it, and the hewing out of the gate [------] seemed to me to be
recent."(2) Upon this rock the tower of the Church is built. Further on
an explanation is given of the similitude, in which occurs another of


passages referred to.[------] "This rock [------] and this gate [------]
are the Son of God. 'How, Lord,' I said, 'is the rock old and the gate
new?' 'Listen,' he said, 'and understand, thou ignorant man. [------]
The Son of God is older than all of his creation [------], so that he
was a councillor with the Father in his work of creation; and for this
is he old.' [------] 'And why is the gate new, Lord?' I said; 'Because,'
he replied, 'he was manifested at the last days [------] of the
dispensation; for this cause the gate was made new, in order that they
who shall be saved might enter by it into the kingdom of God.'"(1)

And a few lines lower down the Shepherd further explains, referring
to entrance through the gate, and introducing another of the passages
cited: [------] "'In this way,' he said, 'no one shall enter into the
kingdom of God unless he receive his holy name. If, therefore, you
cannot enter into the City unless through its gate, so also,' he said,
'a man cannot enter in any other way into the kingdom of God than by the
name of his Son beloved by him'... 'and the gate [------] is the Son of
God. This is the one entrance to the Lord.' In no other way, therefore,
shall any one enter in to him, except through his Son."(2)

Now with regard to the similitude of a rock we need scarcely say that
the Old Testament teems with it; and we need not point to the parable
of the house built upon a rock in the first Gospel.(3) A more apt
illustration is the famous saying with regard to Peter: "And upon this
rock [------] I will build my Church," upon which


indeed the whole similitude of Hermas turns; and in 1 Cor. x. 4, we
read: "For they drank of the Spiritual Rock accompanying them; but the
Rock was Christ" [------]. There is no such similitude in the fourth
Gospel at all.

We then have the "gate," on which we presume Canon Westcott chiefly
relies. The parable in John x. 1--9 is quite different from that of
Hermas,(1) and there is a persistent use of different terminology. The
door into the sheepfold is always [------], the gate in the rock always
[------]. "I am the door,"(2) [------] is twice repeated in the fourth
Gospel. "The gate is the Son of God" [------] is the declaration of
Hermas. On the other hand, there are numerous passages, elsewhere,
analogous to that in the Pastor of Hermas. Every one will remember the
injunction in the Sermon on the Mount: Matth. vii. 13, 14. "Enter in
through the strait gate [------], for wide is the gate [------], &c.,
14. Because narrow is the gate [------] and straitened is the way which
leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."(3) The limitation
to the one way of entrance into the kingdom of God: "by the name of his
Son," is also found everywhere throughout the Epistles, and likewise in
the Acts of the Apostles; as for instance: Acts iv. 12, "And there is no
salvation in any other: for neither is there any other name under heaven
given among men whereby we must be saved."

The reasons given why the rock is old and the gate new [------] have
anything but special analogy with

     3 Compare the account of the new Jerusalem, Rev. xxi. 12
     ff.; cf. xxii. 4, 14. In Simil. ix. 13, it is insisted that,
     to enter into the kingdom, not only "his name" must be
     borne, but that we must put on certain clothing.


the fourth Gospel. We are, on the contrary, taken directly to
the Epistle to the Hebrews in which the pre-existence of Jesus is
prominently asserted, and between which and the Pastor, as in a former
passage, we find singular linguistic analogies. For instance, take the
whole opening portion of Heb. i. 1: "God having at many times and in
many manners spoken in times past to the fathers by the prophets, 2. At
the end of these days [------] spake to us in the Son whom he appointed
heir [------](1) of all things, by whom he also made the worlds, 3.
Who being the brightness of his glory and the express image of his
substance, upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had
made by himself a cleansing of our sins sat down at the right hand of
Majesty on high, 4. Having become so much better than the angels,"(2)
&c., &c; and if we take the different clauses we may also find them
elsewhere constantly repeated, as for instance: [------] The son older
than all his creation: compare 2 Tim. i. 9, Colossiansi. 15 ("who is...
the first born of all creation"--[------], 16, 17, 18, Rev. iii. 14, x.
6. The works of Philo are full of this representation of the Logos. For
example: "For the Word of God is over all the universe, and the oldest
and most universal of all things created" [------]


[------].(1) Again, as to the second clause, that he assisted the Father
in the work of creation, compare Heb. ii. 10, i. 2, xi. 3, Rom. xi. 36,
1 Cor. viii. 6, Coloss. i. 15, 16.(2)

The only remaining passage is the following: "The name of the Son of
God is great and infinite and supports the whole world." For the first
phrase, compare 2 Tim. iv. 18, Heb. i. 8; and for the second part of
the sentence, Heb. i. 3, Coloss. i. 17, and many other passages quoted

The whole assertion(4) is devoid of foundation, and might well have been
left unnoticed. The attention called to it, however, may not be wasted
in observing the kind of evidence with which apologists are compelled to
be content.

Tischendorf points out two passages in the Epistles of pseudo-Ignatius
which, he considers, show the use of the fourth Gospel.(5) They are as
follows--Epistle to the Romans vii.: "I desire the bread of God, the
bread of


heaven, the bread of life, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ the son of
God, who was born at a later time of the seed of David and Abraham; and
I desire the drink of God [------], that is his blood, which is love
incorruptible, and eternal life" [------].(1) This is compared with John
vi. 41: "I am the bread which came down from heaven" 48.... "I am the
bread of life," 51.... "And the bread that I will give is my flesh;"
54. "He who eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath everlasting life"
[------]. Scholten has pointed out that the reference to Jesus as "born
of the seed of David and Abraham" is not in the spirit of the fourth
Gospel; and the use of [------] for the [------] of vi. 55, and
[------]; instead of [------] are also opposed to the connection with
that Gospel.(3) On the other hand, in the institution of the Supper, the
bread is described as the body of Jesus, and the wine as his blood; and
reference is made there, and elsewhere, to eating bread and drinking
wine in the kingdom of God,(3) and the passage seems to be nothing but
a development of this teaching.(4) Nothing could be proved by such an

The second passage referred to by Tischendorf is in the Epistle to the
Philadelphians vii.: "For if some


would have led me astray according to the flesh, yet the Spirit is not
led astray, being from God, for it knoweth whence it cometh and whither
it goeth, and detecteth the things that are hidden."(1) Teschendorf
considers that these words are based upon John iii. 6--8, and the last
phrase: "And detecteth the hidden things," upon verse 20. The sense of
the Epistle, however, is precisely the reverse of that of the Gospel,
which reads: "The wind bloweth where it listeth; and thou hearest the
sound thereof but _knowest not_ whence it cometh and whither it goeth;
so is every one that is born of the Spirit;"(3) whilst the Epistle does
not refer to the wind at all, but affirms that the Spirit of God does
know whence it cometh, &c. The analogy in verse 20 is still more remote:
"For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the
light, lest his deeds should be detected."(3) In 1 Cor. ii. 10, the
sense is found more closely: "For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea,
even the deep things of God."(4) It is evidently unreasonable to assert
from such a passage the use of the fourth Gospel.(5) Even Tischendorf
recognizes that in themselves the phrases which he points out in
pseudo-Ignatius could not, unsupported by other corroboration, possess
much weight as testimony for the use of our Gospels. He says: "Were
these allusions of Ignatius to Matthew and John a wholly isolated
phenomenon, and one which perhaps other undoubted results


of inquiry wholly contradicted, they would hardly have any conclusive
weight. But--."(1) Canon Westcott says: "The Ignatian writings, as might
be expected, are not without traces of the influence of St. John. The
circumstances in which he was placed required a special enunciation
of Pauline doctrine; but this is not so expressed as to exclude
the parallel lines of Christian thought. Love is 'the stamp of the
Christian.' (Ad Magn. v.) 'Faith is the beginning and love the end of
life.' (Ad Ephes. xiv.) 'Faith is our guide upward' [------], but love
is the road that 'leads to God.' (Ad Eph. ix.) 'The Eternal [------]
Word is the manifestation of God' (Ad Magn. viii.), 'the door by which
we come to the Father' (Ad Philad. ix., cf. John x. 7), 'and without Him
we have not the principle of true life' (Ad Trail, ix.: [------]. cf.
Ad Eph. iii.: [------]. The true meat of the Christian is the 'bread of
God, the bread of heaven, the bread of life, which is the flesh of Jesus
Christ,' and his drink is 'Christ's blood, which is love incorruptible'
(Ad Rom. vii., cf. John vi. 32, 51, 53). He has no love of this life;
'his love has been crucified, and he has in him no burning passion
for the world, but living water (as the spring of a new life) speaking
within him, and bidding him come to his Father' (Ad Rom. 1. c).
Meanwhile his enemy is the enemy of his Master, even the 'ruler of this
age.' (Ad Rom. 1. c, [------]. Cf. John xii. 31, xvi. 11: [------] and
see 1 Cor. ii. 6, 8.(2))"

Part of these references we have already considered;


others of them really do not require any notice whatever, and the only
one to which we need to direct our attention for a moment may be the
passage from the Epistle to the Philadelphians ix., which reads: "He is
the door of the Father, by which enter in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and
the prophets, and the apostles, and the Church."(l) This is compared
with John x. 7. "Therefore said Jesus again: Verily, verily, I say unto
you, I am the door of the Sheep" [------]. We have already referred, a
few pages back,(2) to the image of the door. Here again it is obvious
that there is a marked difference in the sense of the Epistle from
that of the Gospel. In the latter Jesus is said to be the door into the
Sheepfold;(3) whilst in the Epistle, he is the door into the Father,
through which not only the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles enter,
but also the Church itself. Such distant analogy cannot warrant the
conclusion that the passage shows any acquaintance with the fourth
Gospel.(4) As for the other phrases, they are not only without special
bearing upon the fourth Gospel, but they are everywhere found in the
canonical Epistles, as well as elsewhere. Regarding love and faith, for
instance, compare Gal. v. 6, 14, 22; Rom. xii. 9, 10, viii. 39, xiii. 9;
1 Cor. ii. 9, viii. 3; Ephea iii. 17, v. 1, 2, vi. 23; Philip, i. 9, ii.
2; 2 Thess. iii. 5; 1 Tim. i. 14, vi. 11; 2 Tim. i. 13; Heb. x. 38 f.,
xi., &c., &c.

We might point out many equally close analogies in


the works of Philo,(1) but it is unnecessary to do so, although we may
indicate one or two which first present themselves. Philo equally has
"the Eternal Logos" [------],(2) whom he represents as the manifestation
of God in every way. "The Word is the likeness of God, by whom the
universe was created" [------].(3) He is "the vicegerent" [------]
of God,(4) "the heavenly incorruptible food of the soul," "the bread
[------] from heaven." In one place he says: "and they who inquired what
is the food of the soul... learnt at last that it is the Word of God,
and the Divine Logos.... This is the heavenly nourishment, and it is
mentioned in the holy Scriptures... saying, 'Lo! I rain upon you bread
[------] from heaven.' (Exod. xvi. 4.) 'This is the bread [------] which
the Lord has given them to eat'" (Exod. xvi. 15).(5) And again: "For the
one indeed raises his eyes towards the sky, contemplating the manna, the
divine Word, the heavenly incorruptible food of the longing soul."(6)
Elsewhere: "... but it is


taught by the Hierophant and Prophet Moses, who will say: 'This is the
bread [------], the nourishment which God gave to the soul'--that he
offered his own Word and his own Logos; for this is bread [------] which
he has given us to eat, this is the Word [------]."(1) He also says:
"Therefore he exhorts him that can run swiftly to strive with breathless
eagerness towards the Divine Word who is above all things, the fountain
of Wisdom, in order that by drinking of the stream, instead of death he
may for his reward obtain eternal life"(2) It is the Logos who guides
us to the Father, God "by the same Logos both creating all things
and leading up [------] the perfect man from the things of earth to
himself."(3) These are very imperfect examples, but it may be asserted
that there is not a representation of the Logos in the fourth Gospel
which has not close parallels in the works of Philo.

We have given these passages of the pseudo-Ignatian Epistles which are
pointed out as indicating acquaintance with the fourth Gospel, in order
that the whole case might be stated and appreciated. The analogies are
too distant to prove anything, but were they fifty times more close,
they could do little or nothing to establish an early origin for the
fourth Gospel, and nothing at all to elucidate the question as to its
character and authorship.(4)

     4 In general the Epistles follow the Synoptic narratives,
     and not the account of the fourth Gospel.   See for instance
     the reference to the anointing of Jesus, Ad Eph. xvii., cf.
     Matt. xxvi. 7 ff.; Mark ziy. 3 flf.; cf. John xii. 1 ff.


The Epistles in which the passages occur are spurious and of no value as
evidence for the fourth Gospel. Only-one of them is found in the three
Syriac Epistles. We have already stated the facts connected with the
so-called Epistles of Ignatius,(1) and no one who has attentively
examined them can fail to see that the testimony of such documents
cannot be considered of any historic weight, except for a period
when evidence of the use of the fourth Gospel ceases to be of any

There are fifteen Epistles ascribed to Ignatius--of these eight are
universally recognized to be spurious. Of the remaining seven, there are
two Greek and Latin versions, the one much longer than the other. The
longer version is almost unanimously rejected as interpolated. The
discovery of a still shorter Syriac version of "the three Epistles of
Ignatius," convinced the majority of critics that even the shorter Greek
version of seven Epistles must be condemned, and that whatever matter
could be ascribed to Ignatius himself, if any, must be looked for in
these three Epistles alone. The three martyrologies of Ignatius are
likewise universally repudiated as mere fictions. From such a mass of
forgery, in which it is impossible to identify even a kernel of truth,
no testimony could be produced which could in any degree establish the
apostolic origin and authenticity of our Gospels.

It is not pretended that the so-called Epistle of Polycarp to the
Philippians contains any references to the fourth Gospel. Tischendorf,
however, affirms that it is weighty testimony for that Gospel, inasmuch
as he discovers in it a certain trace of the first "Epistle of


John," and as he maintains that the Epistle and the Gospel are the
works of the same author, any evidence for the one is at the same time
evidence for the other.(1) We shall hereafter consider the point of the
common authorship of the Epistles and fourth Gospel, and here confine
ourselves chiefly to the alleged fact of the reference.

The passage to which Teschendorf alludes we subjoin, with the supposed
parallel in the Epistle.[------]


This passage does not occur as a quotation, and the utmost that can
be said of the few words with which it opens is that a phrase somewhat
resembling, but at the same time materially differing from, the Epistle
of John is interwoven with the text of the Epistle to the Philippians.
If this were really a quotation from the canonical Epistle, it would
indeed be singular that, considering the supposed relations of Polycarp
and John, the name of the apostle should not have been mentioned, and a
quotation have been distinctly and correctly made.(1) On the other hand,
there is no earlier trace of the canonical Epistle, and, as Volkmar
argues, it may well be doubted whether it may not rather be dependent
on the Epistle to the Philippians, than the latter upon the Epistle of

We believe with Scholten that neither is dependent on the other, but
that both adopted a formula in use in the early Church against various
heresies,3 the superficial coincidence of which is without any weight
as evidence for the use of either Epistle by the writer of the other.
Moreover, it is clear that the writers refer to different classes of
heretics. Polycarp attacks the Docetæ who deny that Jesus Christ has
come in the flesh, that is with a human body of flesh and blood; whilst
the Epistle of John is directed against those who deny that Jesus who
has come in the flesh is the


Christ the Son of God.(1) Volkmar points out that in Polycarp the word
"Antichrist" is made a proper name, whilst in the Epistle the expression
used is the abstract "Spirit of Antichrist." Polycarp in fact says that
whoever denies the flesh of Christ is no Christian but Antichrist, and
Volkmar finds this direct assertion more original than the assertion of
the Epistle; "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in
the flesh is of God,"(2) &c. In any case it seems to us clear that in
both writings we have only the independent enunciation, with decided
difference of language and sense, of a formula current in the Church,
and that neither writer can be held to have originated the condemnation,
in these words, of heresies which the Church had begun vehemently to
oppose, and which were merely an application of ideas already well
known, as we see from the expression of the Epistle in reference to the
"Spirit of Antichrist, of which ye have heard that it cometh."
Whether this phrase be an allusion to the Apocalypse xiii., or to 2
Thessalonians ii., or to traditions current in the Church, we need not
inquire; it is sufficient that the Epistle of John avowedly applies a
prophecy regarding Antichrist already known amongst Christians, which
was equally open to the other writer and probably familiar in the
Church. This cannot under any circumstances be admitted as evidence of
weight for the use of the 1st Epistle of John. There is no testimony
whatever of the existence of the Epistles ascribed to John previous to
this date, and that fact would have to


be established on sure grounds before the argument we are considering
can have any value.

On the other hand, we have already seen(1) that there is strong reason
to doubt the authenticity of the Epistle attributed to Polycarp, and
a certainty that in any case it is, in its present form, considerably
interpolated. Even if genuine in any part, the use of the 1st Epistle
of John, if established, could not be of much value as evidence for the
fourth Gospel, of which the writing does not show a trace. So far from
there being any evidence that Polycarp knew the fourth Gospel, however,
everything points to the opposite conclusion. About A.D. 154-155 we
find him taking part in the Paschal controversy,(2) contradicting the
statements of the fourth Gospel,(3) and supporting the Synoptic view,
contending that the Christian festival should be celebrated on the 14th
Nisan, the day on which he affirmed that the Apostle John himself had
observed it.(4) Irenæus, who represents Polycarp as the disciple of
John, says of him: "For neither was Anicetus able to persuade Polycarp
not to observe it (on the 14th) because he had always observed it with
John the disciple of our Lord, and with the rest of the apostles with
whom he consorted."(5) Not only, therefore, does Polycarp not refer to
the fourth Gospel, but he is on the

     2  The date has, hitherto, generally been fixed at A.D. 160,
     but the recent investigations referred to in vol. i. p. 274
     f. have led to the adoption of this earlier date, and the
     visit to Rome must, therefore, probably have taken place
     just after the accession of Anicetus to the Roman bishopric.
     Cf. Lipsius, Zeitschr. w. Theol. 1874, p. 205 f.


contrary an important witness against it as the work of John, for he
represents that apostle as practically contradicting the Gospel of which
he is said to be the author.

The fulness with which we have discussed the character of the
evangelical quotations of Justin Martyr renders the task of ascertaining
whether his works indicate any acquaintance with the fourth Gospel
comparatively easy. The detailed statements already made enable us
without preliminary explanation directly to attack the problem, and
we are freed from the necessity of making extensive quotations to
illustrate the facts of the case.

Whilst apologists assert with some boldness that Justin made use of our
Synoptics, they are evidently, and with good reason, less confident
in maintaining his acquaintance with the fourth Gospel. Canon Westcott
states: "His references to St John are uncertain; but this, as has been
already remarked, follows from the character of the fourth Gospel. It
was unlikely that he should quote its peculiar teaching in apologetic
writings addressed to Jews and heathens; and at the same time he
exhibits types of language and doctrine which, if not immediately
drawn from St. John, yet mark the presence of his influence and the
recognition of his authority."(1) This apology for the neglect of the
fourth Gospel


illustrates the obvious scantiness of the evidence furnished by Justin.

Tischendorf, however, with his usual temerity, claims Justin as a
powerful witness for the fourth Gospel. He says: "According to our
judgment there are convincing grounds of proof for the fact that
John also was known and used by Justin, provided that an unprejudiced
consideration be not made to give way to the antagonistic predilection
against the Johannine Gospel." In order fully and fairly to state the
case which he puts forward, we shall quote his own words, but to avoid
repetition we shall permit ourselves to interrupt him by remarks and
by parallel passages from other writings for comparison with Justin.
Tischendorf says: "The representation of the person of Christ altogether
peculiar to John as it is given particularly in his Prologue i. 1 (" In
the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was
God"), and verse 14 ("and the word became flesh"), in the designation
of him as Logos, as the Word of God, unmistakably re-echoes in not a
few passages in Justin; for instance:(1) 'And Jesus Christ is alone
the special Son begotten by God, being his Word and first-begotten and

With this we may compare another passage of Justin from the second
Apology. "But his son, who alone is rightly called Son, the Word before
the works of creation,

     1 Tischendorf uses great liberty in translating some of
     these passages, abbreviating and otherwise altering them as
     it suits him. We shall therefore give his German translation
     below, and we add the Greek which Tischendorf does not
     quote--indeed he does not, in most cases, even state where
     the passages are to be found.


who was both with him and begotten when in the beginning he created and
ordered all things by him,"(1) &c.

Now the same words and ideas are to be found throughout the Canonical
Epistles and other writings, as well as in earlier works. In the
Apocalypse,(2) the only book of the New Testament mentioned by Justin,
and which is directly ascribed by him to John,(3) the term Logos is
applied to Jesus "the Lamb," (xix. 13): "and his name is called the Word
of God" [------]. Elsewhere (iii. 14) he is called "the Beginning of the
Creation of God" [------]; and again in the same book (i. 5) he is "the
first-begotten of the dead" [------]. In Heb. i 6 he is the "first-born"
[------], as in Coloss. i. 15 he is "the first-born of every creature"
[------]; and in 1 Cor. i. 24 we have: "Christ the Power of God and the
Wisdom of God"[------], and it will be remembered that "Wisdom" was
the earlier term which became an alternative with "Word" for the
intermediate Being. In Heb. i. 2, God is represented as speaking to us
"in the Son.... by whom he also made the worlds" [------]. In 2 Tim. i.
9, he is "before all worlds" [------], cf. Heb. L 10, ii. 10, Kom. xi.
36, 1 Cor. viii. 6, Ephes. iii. 9.

The works of Philo are filled with similar representations of the Logos,
but we must restrict ourselves to a very


few. God as a Shepherd and King governs the universe "having appointed
his true Logos, his first begotten Son, to have the care of this sacred
flock, as the Vicegerent of-a great King."(1) In another place Philo
exhorts men to strive to become like God's "first begotten Word"
[------],(2) and he adds, a few lines further on: "for the most ancient
Word is the image of God" [------]. The high priest of God in the world
is "the divine Word, his first-begotten son" [------].(3) Speaking of
the creation of the world Philo says: "The instrument by which it was
formed is the Word of God" [------].(4) Elsewhere: "For the Word is the
image of God by which the whole world was created" [------].(5) These
passages might be indefinitely multiplied.

Tischendorf's next passage is: "The first power [------] after the
Father of all and God the Lord, and Son, is the Word [------]; in what
manner having been made flesh [------] he became man, we shall in what
follows relate."(6)


We find everywhere parallels for this passage without seeking them in
the fourth Gospel. In 1 Cor. i. 24, "Christ the Power [------] of God
and the Wisdom of God;" cf. Heb. i. 2, 3, 4, 6, 8; ii. 8. In Heb. ii.
14--18, there is a distinct account of his becoming flesh; cf. verse 7.
In Phil. ii. 6--8: "Who (Jesus Christ) being in the form of God, deemed
it not grasping to be equal with God, (7) But gave himself up, taking
the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men," &c. In Rom.
viii. 3 we have: "God sending his own Son in the likeness of the flesh
of sin," &c. [------] It must be borne in mind that the terminology of
John i. 14, "and the word became flesh" [------] is different from that
of Justin, who uses the word [------]. The sense and language here is,
therefore, quite as close as that of the fourth Gospel We have also
another parallel in 1 Tim. iii. 16, "Who (God) was manifested in the
flesh" [------], cf. 1 Cor. xv. 4, 47.

In like manner we find many similar passages in the Works of Philo. He
says in one place that man was not made in the likeness of the most high
God the Father of the universe, but in that of the "Second God who is
his Word" [------].(1) In another place the Logos is said to be the
interpreter of the highest God, and he continues: "that must be God of
us imperfect beings" [------].(2)

Elsewhere he says: "But the


divine Word which is above these (the Winged Cherubim).... but being
itself the image of God, at once the most ancient of all conceivable
things, and the one placed nearest to the only true and absolute
existence without any separation or distance between them ";(1) and a
few lines further on he explains the cities of refuge to be: "The Word
of the Governor (of all things) and his creative and kingly power, for
of these are the heavens and the whole world."(2) "The Logos of God
is above all things in the world, and is the most ancient and the most
universal of all things which are."(3) The Word is also the "Ambassador
sent by the Governor (of the universe) to his subject (man)"
[------].(4) Such views of the Logos are everywhere met with in the
pages of Philo.

Tischendorf continues: "The Word (Logos) of God is his Son."(5) We
have already in the preceding paragraphs abundantly illustrated this
sentence, and may proceed to the next: "But since they did not know
all things concerning the Logos, which is Christ, they have frequently
contradicted each other."(6) These words are


used with reference to Lawgivers and philosophers. Justin, who frankly
admits the delight he took in the writings of Plato(1) and other Greek
philosophers, held the view that Socrates and Plato had in an elementary
form enunciated the doctrine of the Logos,(2) although he contends that
they borrowed it from the writings of Moses, and with a largeness of
mind very uncommon in the early Church, and indeed, we might add, in any
age, he believed Socrates and such philosophers to have been Christians,
even although they had been considered Atheists.(3) As they did not of
course know Christ to be the Logos, he makes the assertion just
quoted. Now the only point in the passage which requires notice is the
identification of the Logos with Jesus, which has already been dealt
with, and as this was asserted in the Apocalypse xix. 13, before the
fourth Gospel was written, no evidence in its favour is deducible from
the statement. We shall have more to say regarding this presently.

Tischendorf continues: "But in what manner through the Word of God,
Jesus Christ our Saviour having been made flesh,"(4) &c.

It must be apparent that the doctrine here is not that of the fourth
Gospel which makes "the word become flesh" simply, whilst Justin,
representing a less advanced form, and more uncertain stage, of its
development, draws a distinction between the Logos and Jesus, and
describes Jesus Christ as being made flesh by the power


of the Logos. This is no accidental use of words, for he repeatedly
states the same fact, as for instance: "But why through the power of the
Word, according to the will of God the Father and Lord of all, he was
born a man of a Virgin,"(1) &c.

Tischendorf continues: "To these passages out of the short second
Apology we extract from the first (cap. 33).(2) By the Spirit,
therefore, and power of God (in reference to Luke i. 35: 'The Holy
Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall
overshadow thee') we have nothing else to understand but the Logos,
which is the first-born of God."(3)

Here again we have the same difference from the doctrine of the fourth
Gospel which we have just pointed out, which is, however, so completely
in agreement with the views of Philo,(4) and characteristic of a less
developed form of the idea. We shall further refer to the terminology
hereafter, and meantime we proceed to the last illustration given by

"Out of the Dialogue (c. 105): 'For that he was the only-begotten of
the Father of all, in peculiar wise begotten of him as Word and Power
[------], and afterwards became man through the Virgin, as we have
learnt from the Memoirs, I have already stated.'"(5)


The allusion here is to the preceding chapters of the Dialogue, wherein,
with special reference (c. 100) to the passage which has a parallel in
Luke i. 35, quoted by Tischendorf in the preceding illustration, Justin
narrates the birth of Jesus.

This reference very appropriately leads us to a more general discussion
of the real source of the terminology and Logos doctrine of Justin. We
do not propose, in this work, to enter fully into the history of the
Logos doctrine, and we must confine ourselves strictly to showing, in
the most simple manner possible, that not only is there no evidence
whatever that Justin derived his ideas regarding it from the fourth
Gospel, but that, on the contrary, his terminology and doctrine may be
traced to another source. Now, in the very chapter (100) from which this
last illustration is taken, Justin shows clearly whence he derives the
expression: "only-begotten."

In chap. 97 he refers to the Ps. xxii. (Sept. xxi.) as a prophecy
applying to Jesus, quotes the whole Psalm, and comments upon it in the
following chapters; refers to Ps. ii. 7: "Thou art my Son, this day have
I begotten thee," uttered by the voice at the baptism, in ch. 103, in
illustration of it; and in ch. 105 he arrives, in his exposition of it,
at Verse 20: "Deliver my soul from the sword, and my(1) only-begotten
[------] from the hand of the dog." Then follows the passage we are
discussing, in which Justin affirms that

     1 This should probably be "thy."


he has proved that he was the only-begotten [------] of the Father, and
at the close he again quotes the verse as indicative of his sufferings.
The Memoirs are referred to in regard to the fulfilment of this
prophecy, and his birth as man through the Virgin. The phrase in Justin
is quite different from that in the fourth Gospel, i. 14: "And the
Word became flesh [------] and tabernacled among us, find we beheld his
glory, glory as of the only-begotten from the Father" [------], &c.

In Justin he is "the only-begotten of the Father of all" [------],
and he "became man [------] through the Virgin," and Justin never once
employs the peculiar terminology of the fourth Gospel, [------], in any
part of his writings.

There can be no doubt that, however the Christian doctrine of the Logos
may at one period of its development have been influenced by Greek
philosophy, it was in its central idea mainly of Jewish origin, and the
mere application to an individual of a theory which had long occupied
the Hebrew mind. After the original simplicity which represented God as
holding personal intercourse with the Patriarchs, and communing face to
face with the great leaders of Israel, had been outgrown, an increasing
tendency set in to shroud the Divinity in impenetrable mystery, and to
regard him as unapproachable and undiscernible by man. This led to the
recognition of a Divine representative and substitute of the Highest God
and Father, who communicated with his creatures, and through whom alone
he revealed himself. A new system of interpretation of the ancient
traditions of the nation was rendered necessary, and in the Septuagint
translation of the Bible we are fortunately able to trace


the progress of the theory which culminated in the Christian doctrine
of the Logos. Wherever in the sacred records God had been represented
as holding intercourse with man, the translators either symbolized the
appearance or interposed an angel, who was afterwards understood to
be the Divine Word. The first name under which the Divine Mediator
was known in the Old Testament was Wisdom [------], although in its
Apocrypha the term Logos was not unknown. The personification of the
idea was very rapidly effected, and in the Book of Proverbs, as well
as in the later Apocrypha based upon it: the Wisdom of Solomon, and
the Wisdom of Sirach, "Ecclesiasticus:" we find it in ever increasing
clearness and concretion. In the School of Alexandria the active Jewish
intellect eagerly occupied itself with the speculation, and in the
writings of Philo especially we find the doctrine of the Logos--the
term which by that time had almost entirely supplanted that of
Wisdom--elaborated to almost its final point, and wanting little or
nothing but its application in an incarnate form to an individual man
to represent the doctrine of the earlier Canonical writings of the
New Testament, and notably the Epistle to the Hebrews,--the work of
a Christian Philo,(1)--the Pauline Epistles, and lastly the fourth


In Proverbs viii. 22 ff., we have a representation of Wisdom
corresponding closely with the prelude to the fourth Gospel, and still
more so with the doctrine enunciated by Justin: 22. "The Lord created
me the Beginning of his ways for his works. 23. Before the ages he
established me, in the beginning before he made the earth. 24. And
before he made the abysses, before the springs of the waters issued
forth. 25. Before the mountains were settled, and before all the
hills he begets me. 26. The Lord made the lands, both those which are
uninhabited and the inhabited heights of the earth beneath the sky. 27.
When he prepared the heavens I was present with him, and when he set
his throne upon the winds, 28, and made strong the high clouds, and the
deeps under the heaven made secure, 29, and made strong the foundations
of the earth, 30, I was with him adjusting, I was that in which he
delighted; daily I rejoiced in his presence at all times."(1) In the
"Wisdom of Solomon" we find the writer addressing God: ix. 1... "Who
madest all things by thy Word" [------]; and further on in the same
chapter, v. 9, "And Wisdom was with thee who knoweth thy works, and was
present when thou madest the world, and knew what was acceptable


in thy sight, and right in thy commandments. "(1) In verse 4, the writer
prays: "Give me Wisdom that sitteth by thy thrones" [-----].(2) In a
similar way the son of Sirach makes Wisdom say (Ecclesiast. xxiv. 9):
"He (the Most High) created me from the beginning before the world, and
as long as the world I shall not fail."(3) We have already incidentally
seen how these thoughts grew into an elaborate doctrine of the Logos in
the works of Philo.

Now Justin, whilst he nowhere adopts the terminology of the fourth
Gospel, and nowhere refers to its introductory condensed statement of
the Logos doctrine, closely follows Philo and, like him, traces it
back to the Old Testament in the most direct way, accounting for the
interposition of the divine Mediator in precisely the same manner as
Philo, and expressing the views which had led the Seventy to modify the
statement of the Hebrew original in their Greek translation. He is, in
fact, thoroughly acquainted with the history of the Logos doctrine and
its earlier enunciation under the symbol of Wisdom, and his knowledge of
it is clearly independent of, and antecedent to, the statements of the
fourth Gospel.

Referring to various episodes of the Old Testament in which God is
represented as appearing to Moses and the Patriarchs, and in which it
is said that "God went up from Abraham,"(4) or "The Lord spake to
Moses,"(5) or "The Lord came down to behold the town," &c.,(6) or "God


shut Noah into the ark,"(1) and so on, Justin warns his antagonist that
he is not to suppose that "the unbegotten God" [------] did any of these
things, for he has neither to come to any place, nor walks, but from his
own place, wherever it may be, knows everything although he has neither
eyes nor ears. Therefore he. could not talk with anyone, nor be seen by
anyone, and none of the Patriarchs saw the Father at all, but they saw
"him who was according to his will both his Son (being God) and the
Angel, in that he ministered to his purpose, whom also he willed to be
born man by the Virgin, who became fire when he spoke with Moses
from the bush."(2) He refers throughout his writings to the various
appearances of God to the Patriarchs, all of which he ascribes to the
pre-existent Jesus, the Word,(3) and in the very next chapter, after
alluding to some of these, he says: "he is called Angel because he came
to men, since by him the decrees of the Father are announced to men...
At other times he is also called Man and human being, because he appears
clothed in these forms as the Father wills, and they call him Logos


he bears the communications of the Father to mankind."(1)

Justin, moreover, repeatedly refers to the fact that he was called
Wisdom by Solomon, and quotes the passage we have indicated in Proverbs.
In one place he says, in proof of his assertion that the God who
appeared to Moses and the Patriarchs was distinguished from the Father,
and was in fact the Word (ch. 66--70): "Another testimony I will give
you, my friends, I said, from the Scriptures that God begat before all
of the creatures [------] a Beginning [------],(2) a certain rational
Power [------] out of himself, who is called by the Holy Spirit, now the
Glory of the Lord, then the Son, again Wisdom, again Angel, again God,
and again Lord and Logos;" &c., and a little further on: "The Word
of Wisdom will testify to me, who is himself this God begotten of the
Father of the universe, being Word, and Wisdom, and Power [------], and
the Glory of the Begetter," &c.,(3) and he quotes, from the Septuagint
version, Proverbs viii. 22--36, part of which we have given above, and
indeed, elsewhere (ch. 129), he quotes the passage a second time as
evidence, with a similar context. Justin refers to it


again in the next chapter, and the peculiarity of his terminology in all
these passages, so markedly different from, and indeed opposed to,
that of the fourth Gospel, will naturally strike the reader: "But this
offspring [------] being truly brought forth by the Father was with the
Father before all created beings [------], and the Father communes
with him, as the Logos declared through Solomon, that this same, who is
called Wisdom by Solomon, had been begotten of God before all created
beings [------], both Beginning [------] and Offspring [------]," &C.(1)
In another place after quoting the words: "No man knoweth the Father
but the Son, nor the Son but the Father, and they to whom the Son will
reveal him," Justin continues: "Therefore he revealed to us all that we
have by his grace understood out of the Scriptures, recognizing him to
be indeed the first-begotten [------] of God, and before all creatures
[------].... and calling him Son, we have understood that he proceeded
from the Father by his power and will before all created beings
[------], for in one form or another he is spoken of in the writings
of the prophets as Wisdom," &c.;(2) and again, in two other places he
refers to the same fact.(3) On further examination, we find on every
side still


stronger confirmation of the conclusion that Justin derived his Logos
doctrine from the Old Testament and Philo, together with early New
Testament writings. We have quoted several passages in which Justin
details the various names of the Logos, and we may add one more.
Referring to Ps. lxxii., which the Jews apply to Solomon, but which
Justin maintains to be applicable to Christ, he says: "For Christ is
King, and Priest, and God, and Lord, and Angel, and Man, and Captain,
and Stone, and a Son born [------], &c. &c., as I prove by all of the
Scriptures."(1) Now these representations, which are constantly repeated
throughout Justin's writings, are quite opposed to the Spirit of the
fourth Gospel, but are on the other hand equally common in the works of
Philo, and many of them also to be found in the Philonian Epistle to the
Hebrews. Taking the chief amongst them we may briefly illustrate them.
The Logos as King, Justin avowedly derives from Ps. lxxii., in which he
finds that reference is made to the "Everlasting King, that is to say
Christ."(2) We find this representation of the Logos throughout the
writings of Philo. In one place already briefly referred to,(3) but
which we shall now more fully quote, he says: "For God as Shepherd and
King governs according to Law and justice like a flock of sheep, the
earth, and water, and air, and fire, and all the plants and living
things that are in them, whether they be mortal or divine, as well
as the course of heaven, and the periods of sun and moon, and the
variations and harmonious revolutions of the other stars; having
appointed his true Word [------]


[------] his first-begotten Son [------] to have the care of this sacred
flock as the Vicegerent of a great King;"(1) and a little further on,
he says: "very reasonably, therefore, he will assume the name of a King,
being addressed as a Shepherd."(2) In another place, Philo speaks of the
"Logos of the Governor, and his creative and kingly power, for of these
is the heaven and the whole world."(3)

Then if we take the second epithet, the Logos as Priest [------], which
is quite foreign to the fourth Gospel, we find it repeated by Justin,
as for instance: "Christ the eternal Priest" [------],(4) and it is not
only a favourite representation of Philo, but is almost the leading
idea of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in connection with the episode of
Melchisedec, in whom also both Philo,(5) and Justin,(6) recognize the
Logos. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, vii. 3, speaking of Melchisedec:
"but likened to the Son of God, abideth a Priest for ever:"(7) again
in iv. 14: "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest that is passed
through the heavens, Jesus the Son


of God," &c.;(1) ix. 11: "Christ having appeared a High Priest of the
good things to come;"(2) xii. 21: "Thou art a Priest for ever."(3)
The passages are indeed far too numerous to quote.(4) They are equally
numerous in the writings of Philo. In one place already quoted,(5) he
says: "For there are as it seems two temples of God, one of which
is this world, in which the High Priest is the divine Word, his
first-begotten Son" [------].(6) Elsewhere, speaking of the period
for the return of fugitives, the death of the high priest, which taken
literally would embarrass him in his allegory, Philo says: "For we
maintain the High Priest not to be a man, but the divine Word, who is
without participation not only in voluntary but also in involuntary
sins;"(7) and he goes on to speak of this priest as "the most sacred
Word" [------].(8) Indeed, in many long passages he descants upon the
"high priest Word" [------].(9) Proceeding to the next representations
of the Logos


as "God and Lord," we meet with the idea everywhere. In Hebrews i. 8:
"But regarding the Son he saith: Thy throne, O God, is for ever and
ever" [------], and again in the Epistle to the Philippians, ii. 6, "Who
(Jesus Christ) being in the form of God, deemed it not grasping to
be equal with God" [------].(1) Philo, in the fragment preserved by
Eusebius, to which we have already referred,(2) calls the Logos the
"Second God" [------].(3) In another passage he has: "But he calls
the most ancient God his present Logos," &c. [------];(4) and a little
further on, speaking of the inability of men to look on the Father
himself: "thus they regard the image of God, his Angel Word, as himself"
[------].(5) Elsewhere discussing the possibility of God's swearing by
himself, which he applies to the Logos, he says: "For in regard to us
imperfect beings he will be a God, but in regard to wise and perfect
beings the first. And yet Moses, in awe of the superiority of the
unbegotten [------] God, says: 'And thou shalt swear by his name,' not
by himself; for it is sufficient for the creature to receive assurance
and testimony by the divine Word."(6)

It must be remarked, however, that both Justin and


Philo place the Logos in a position more clearly secondary to God the
Father, than the prelude to the fourth Gospel i. 1. Both Justin and
Philo apply the term [------] to the Logos without the article. Justin
distinctly says that Christians worship Jesus Christ as the Son of
the true God, holding him in the second place [------],(1) and this
secondary position is systematically defined through Justin's writings
in a very decided way, as it is in the works of Philo by the contrast of
the begotten Logos with the unbegotten God. Justin speaks of the Word as
"the first-born of the unbegotten God" [------],(2) and the distinctive
appellation of the "unbegotten God" applied to the Father is most common
throughout his writings.(3) We may in continuation of this remark point
out another phrase of Justin which is continually repeated, but is
thoroughly opposed both to the spirit and to the terminology of the
fourth Gospel, and which likewise indicates the secondary consideration
in which he held the Logos. He calls the Word constantly "the first-born
of all created beings" [------] "the first-born of all creation,"
echoing the expression of Col. i. 15. (The Son) "who is the image of the
invisible God, the first-born of all creation" [------].

This is a totally different view from that of the fourth Gospel, which
in so emphatic a manner


enunciates the doctrine: "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was
with God, and the Word was God," a statement which Justin, with Philo,
only makes in a very modified sense.

To return, however, the next representation of the Logos by Justin is
as "Angel." This perpetually recurs in his writings.(1) In one place, to
which we have already referred, he says: "The Word of God is his Son,
as we have already stated, and he is also called Messenger [------] and
Apostle, for he brings the message of all we need to know, and is sent
an Apostle to declare all the message contains."(2) In the same chapter
reference is again made to passages quoted for the sake of proving:
"that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Apostle, being aforetime
the Word and having appeared now in the form of fire, and now in the
likeness of incorporeal beings;"(3) and he gives many illustrations.(4)
The passages, however, in which the Logos is called Angel, are too
numerous to be more fully dealt with here. It is scarcely necessary to
point out that this representation of the Logos as Angel, is not only
foreign to, but opposed to the spirit of, the fourth Gospel, although it
is thoroughly in harmony with the writings of Philo. Before illustrating
this, however, we may incidentally remark that the ascription to the
Logos of the name "Apostle" which occurs in the two passages just quoted
above, as well as in other parts of the writings of Justin,(5)


is likewise opposed to the fourth Gospel, although it is found in
earlier writings, exhibiting a less developed form of the Logos
doctrine; for the Epistle to the Hebrews iii. 1, has: "Consider the
Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus," &c. [------]. We are,
in fact, constantly directed by the remarks of Justin to other sources
of the Logos doctrine, and never to the fourth Gospel, with which his
tone and terminology do not agree. Everywhere in the writings of Philo
we meet with the Logos as Angel. He speaks "of the Angel Word of God"
in a sentence already quoted,(1) and elsewhere in a passage, one of many
others, upon which the lines of Justin which we are now considering (as
well as several similar passages)(2) are in all probability moulded.
Philo calls upon men to "strive earnestly to be fashioned according
to God's first-begotten Word, the eldest Angel, who is the Archangel
bearing many names, for he is called


the Beginning [------], and Name of God, and Logos, and the Man
according to his image, and the Seer of Israel."(1) Elsewhere, in a
remarkable passage, he says: "To his Archangel and eldest Word, the
Father, who created the universe, gave the supreme gift that having
stood on the confine he may separate the creature from the Creator.
The same is an intercessor on behalf of the ever wasting mortal to the
immortal; he is also the ambassador of the Ruler to his subjects. And he
rejoices in the gift, and the majesty of it he describes, saying: 'And
I stood in the midst between the Lord and you' (Numbers xvi 48); being
neither unbegotten like God, nor begotten like you, but between the two
extremes," &c.(2) We have been tempted to give more of this passage than
is necessary for our immediate purpose, because it affords the reader
another glimpse of Philo's doctrine of the Logos, and generally
illustrates its position in connection with the Christian doctrine.

The last of Justin's names which we shall here notice is the Logos
as "Man" as well as God. In another place Justin explains that he is
sometimes called a Man and human being, because he appears in these
forms as the Father wills.(3) But here confining ourselves merely


to the concrete idea, we find a striking representation of it in 1 Tim.
ii. 5: "For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the
Man Christ Jesus; [------]; and again in Rom. v. 15: "... by the grace
of the one man Jesus Christ" [------], as well as other passages.(1) We
have already seen in the passage quoted above from "De Confus. Ling." §
28, that Philo mentions, among the many names of the Logos, that of "the
Man according to (God's) image" [------],(2) or "the typical man"). If,
however, we pass to the application of the Logos doctrine to Jesus, we
have the strongest reason for inferring Justin's total independence of
the fourth Gospel. We have already pointed out that the title of Logos
is given to Jesus in New Testament writings earlier than the fourth
Gospel. We have remarked that, although the passages are innumerable in
which Justin speaks of the Word having become man through the Virgin, he
never once throughout his writings makes use of the peculiar expression
of the fourth Gospel: "the Word became flesh" [------].

On the few occasions on which he speaks of the Word having been _made_
flesh, he uses the term [------].(3) In one instance he has [------],(4)
and speaking of the Eucharist Justin once explains that it is in memory
of Christ's having made himself _body_, [------]5 Justin's most common


however, and he repeats it in numberless instances, is that the Logos
submitted to be born, and become man [------], by a Virgin, or he uses
variously the expressions: [------].(1) In several places he speaks
of him as the first production or offspring [------] of God before
all created beings, as, for instance: "The Logos... who is the first
offspring of God" [------];(2) and again, "and that this offspring was
begotten of the Father absolutely before all creatures the Word was
declaring" [------].(3) We need not say more of the expressions:
"first-born" [------], "first-begotten" [------], so constantly applied
to the Logos by Justin, in agreement with Philo; nor to "only begotten"
[------], directly derived from Ps. xxii*. 20 (Ps. xxi. 20, Sept.).

It must be apparent to everyone who seriously examines the subject, that
Justin's terminology is markedly different from, and in spirit
sometimes opposed to, that of the fourth Gospel, and in fact that
the peculiarities of the Gospel are not found in Justin's writings at
all.(4) On the


other hand, his doctrine of the Logos is precisely that of Philo,(1) and
of writings long antecedent to the fourth Gospel, and there can be no
doubt, we think, that it was derived from them.(2)

{ 297}

We may now proceed to consider other passages adduced by Tischendorf
to support his assertion that Justin made use of the fourth Gospel. He
says: "Passages of the Johannine Gospel, however, are also not wanting
to which passages in Justin refer back. In the Dialogue, ch. 88, he
writes of John the Baptist: 'The people believed that he was the Christ,
but he cried to them: I am not the Christ, but the voice of a preacher.'
This is connected with John i. 20 and 23; for no other Evangelist has
reported the first words in the Baptist's reply."(1) Now the passage in
Justin, with its context, reads as follows: "For John sat by the Jordan
[------] and preached the Baptism of repentance, wearing only a leathern
girdle and raiment of camel's hair, and eating nothing but locusts and
wild honey; men supposed [------] him to be the Christ, wherefore
he himself cried to them: 'I am not the Christ, but the voice of one
crying: For he shall come [------] who is stronger than I, whose shoes
I am not meet [------] to bear.'"(2) Now the only ground upon which this
passage can be compared with the fourth Gospel is the reply: "I am not
the Christ" [------], which in John i. 20 reads:[------]


[------]: and it is perfectly clear that, if the direct negation
occurred in any other Gospel, the difference of the whole passage in the
Dialogue would prevent even an apologist from advancing any claim to its
dependence on that Gospel. In order to appreciate the nature of the two
passages, it may be well to collect the nearest parallels in the Gospel,
and compare them with Justin's narrative. [------]


The introductory description of John's dress and habits is quite
contrary to the fourth Gospel, but corresponds to some extent with Matt.
iii. 4. It is difficult to conceive two accounts more fundamentally
different, and the discrepancy becomes more apparent when we consider
the scene and actors in the episode. In Justin, it is evident that the
hearers of John had received the impression that he was the Christ, and
the Baptist becoming aware of it voluntarily disabused their minds of
this idea. In the fourth Gospel the words of John are extracted from him
("he confessed and denied not") by emissaries sent by the Pharisees
of Jerusalem specially to question him on the subject. The account
of Justin betrays no knowledge of any such interrogation. The utter
difference is brought to a climax by the concluding statement of the
fourth Gospel:-- [------]

In fact the scene in the two narratives is as little the same as their
details. One can scarcely avoid the conclusion, in reading the fourth
Gospel, that it quotes some other account and does not pretend to report
the scene direct. For instance, i. 15, "John beareth witness of him, and
cried, saying: 'This was he _of whom I said_: He that cometh after me
is become before me, because he was before me,'" &c. V. 19: "And this
is the testimony of John, _when the Jews sent priests and Levites from
Jerusalem to ask him: Who art thou?_ and he confessed and denied not,
and confessed that I am not the Christ," &c. Now, as usual, the Gospel
which Justin uses more nearly approximates to our first Synoptic


than the other Gospels, although it differs in very important points
from that also--still, taken in connection with the third Synoptic, and
Acts xiii. 25, this indicates the great probability of the existence of
other writings combining the particulars as they occur in Justin. Luke
iii. 15, reads: "And as the people were in expectation, and all mused
in their hearts concerning John whether he were the Christ, 16. John
answered, saying to them all: I indeed baptize you with water, but he
that is stronger than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not
worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with
fire," &c.

Whilst, however, with the sole exception of the simple statement of the
Baptist that he was not the Christ, which in all the accounts is clearly
involved in the rest of the reply, there is no analogy whatever between
the parallel in the fourth Gospel and the passage in Justin, many
important circumstances render it certain that Justin did not derive
his narrative from that source. We have already(1) fully discussed the
peculiarities of Justin's account of the Baptist, and in the context
to the very passage before us there are details quite foreign to our
Gospels which show that Justin made use of another and different work.
When Jesus stepped into the water to be baptized a fire was kindled in
the Jordan, and the voice from heaven makes use of words not found in
our Gospels; but both the incident and the words are known to have been
contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews and other works. Justin
likewise states, in immediate continuation of the passage before us,
that Jesus was considered the son of


Joseph the carpenter, and himself was a carpenter and accustomed to make
ploughs and yokes.(1) The Evangelical work of which Justin made use
was obviously different from our Gospels, therefore, and the evident
conclusion to which any impartial mind must arrive is, that there is
not only not the slightest ground for affirming that Justin quoted the
passage before us from the fourth Gospel, from which he so fundamentally
differs, but every reason on the contrary to believe that he derived it
from a Gospel different from ours.(2)

The next point advanced by Tischendorf is, that on two occasions he
speaks of the restoration of sight to persons born blind,3 the only
instance of which in our Gospels is that recorded, John ix. 1. The
references in Justin are very vague and general. In the first place he
is speaking of the analogies in the life of Jesus with events believed
in connection with mythological deities, and he says that he would
appear to relate acts very similar to those attributed to Æsculapius
when he says that Jesus "healed the lame and paralytic, and the maimed
from birth [------], and raised the dead."(4) In the Dialogue, again
referring to Æsculapius, he says that Christ "healed those who were from
birth and according to the flesh blind [------], and deaf, and lame."(5)
In the fourth Gospel


the born-blind is described as [------]. There is a variation it will be
observed in the term employed by Justin, and that such a remark should
be seized upon as an argument for the use of the fourth Gospel serves to
show the poverty of the evidence for the existence of that work. Without
seeking any further, we might at once reply that such general references
as those of Justin might well be referred to the common tradition of
the Church, which certainly ascribed all kinds of marvellous cures and
miracles to Jesus. It is moreover unreasonable to suppose that the only
Gospel in which the cure of one born blind was narrated was that which
is the fourth in our Canon. Such a miracle may have formed part of a
dozen similar collections extant at the time of Justin, and in no case
could such an allusion be recognized as evidence of the use of the
fourth Gospel. But in the Dialogue, along with this remark, Justin
couples the statement that although the people saw such cures: "They
asserted them to be magical illusion; for they also ventured to call
him a magician and deceiver of the people."(1) This is not found in our
Gospels, but traces of the same tradition are met with elsewhere, as we
have already mentioned;(2) and it is probable that Justin either found
all these particulars in the Gospel of which he made use, or that he
refers to traditions familiar amongst the early Christians.

Tischendorfs next point is that Justin quotes the words of Zechariah
xii. 10, with the same variation from the text of the Septuagint as John
xix. 37--"They shall look on him whom they pierced" [------]


[------] instead of [------], arising out of an emendation of the
translation of the Hebrew original. Tischendorf says: "Nothing can be
more opposed to probability, than the supposition that John and Justin
have here, independently of each other, followed a translation of the
Hebrew text which elsewhere has remained unknown to us."(2) The fact is,
however, that the translation which has been followed is not elsewhere
unknown. We meet with the same variation, much earlier, in the only book
of the New Testament which Justin mentions, and with which, therefore,
he was beyond any doubt well acquainted, Rev. i. 7: "Behold he cometh
with clouds, and every eye shall see him [------], and they which
pierced [------] him, and all the tribes of the earth shall bewail him.
Yea, Amen." This is a direct reference to the passage in Zech. xii. 10.
It will be remembered that the quotation in the Gospel: "They shall look
upon him whom they pierced," is made solely in reference to the thrust
of the lance in the side of Jesus, while that of the Apocalypse is a
connection of the prophecy with the second coming of Christ, which,
except in a spiritual sense, is opposed to the fourth Gospel. Now,
Justin upon each occasion quotes the whole passage also in reference
to the second coming of Christ as the Apocalypse does, and this alone
settles the point so far as these two sources are concerned. If Justin
derived his variation from either of the Canonical works,


therefore, we should be bound to conclude that it must have been from
the Apocalypse. The correction of the Septuagint version, which has thus
been traced back as far as a.d. 68 when the Apocalypse was composed,
was noticed by Jerome in his Commentary on the text;(1) and Aquila, a
contemporary of Irenæus, and later Symmachus and Theodotion, as well
as others, similarly adopted [------]. Ten important MSS., of the
Septuagint, at least, have the reading of Justin and of the Apocalypse,
and these MSS. likewise frequently agree with the other peculiarities of
Justin's text. In all probability, as Credner, who long ago pointed out
all these circumstances, conjectured, an emendation of the rendering of
the LXX. had early been made, partly in Christian interest and partly
for the critical improvement of the text,(2) and this amended version
was used by Justin and earlier Christian writers. Ewald(3)3 and some
others suggest that probably [------] originally stood in the Septuagint
text. Every consideration is opposed to the dependence of Justin upon
the fourth Gospel for the variation.(4)

The next and last point advanced by Tischendorf is a passage in Apol. i.
61, which is compared with John iii.


3--5, and in order to show the exact character of the two passages, we
shall at once place them in parallel columns:--[------]

This is the most important passage by which apologists endeavour to
establish the use by Justin of the


fourth Gospel, and it is that upon which the whole claim may be said
to rest. We shall be able to appreciate the nature of the case by the
weakness of its strongest evidence. The first point which must have
struck any attentive reader, must have been the singular difference
of the language of Justin, and the absence of the characteristic
peculiarities of the Johannine Gospel. The double "verily, verily,"
which occurs twice even in these three verses, and constantly throughout
the Gospel(1), is absent in Justin; and apart from the total difference
of the form in which the whole passage is given (the episode of
Nicodemus being entirely ignored), and omitting minor differences, the
following linguistic variations occur: Justin has: [------]

Indeed it is almost impossible to imagine a more complete difference,
both in form and language, and it seems to us that there does not
exist a single linguistic trace by which the passage in Justin can be
connected with the fourth Gospel. The fact that Justin knows nothing
of the expression [------] ("born from above"), upon which the whole
statement in the fourth Gospel turns, but uses a totally different word,
[------] (born again),


is of great significance. Tischendorf wishes to translate [------]
"anew" (or again), as the version of Luther and the authorised English
translation read, and thus render the [------] of Justin a fair
equivalent for it; but even this would not alter the fact that so little
does Justin quote the fourth Gospel, that he has not even the test word
of the passage. The word [------], however, certainly cannot here
be taken to signify anything but "from above"(l)--from God, from
heaven,--and this is not only its natural meaning, but the term is
several times used in other parts of the fourth Gospel, always with
this same sense,(2) and there is nothing which warrants a different
interpretation in this place. On the contrary, the same signification
is manifestly indicated by the context, and forms the point of the whole
lesson. "Except a man be born of water and _of Spirit_(3) he cannot
enter into the kingdom of God. 6. That which hath been born of the flesh
is flesh, and that which hath been born of the Spirit is Spirit. 7.
Marvel not that I said unto thee: ye must be born from above" [------].

The explanation of [------] is given in verse 6. The birth "of the
Spirit" is the birth "from above," which is essential to entrance into
the kingdom of God.(4)


The sense of the passage in Justin is different and much more simple.
He is speaking of regeneration through baptism, and the manner in which
converts are consecrated to God when they are made new [------] through
Christ. After they are taught to fast and pray for the remission of
their sins, he says: "They are then taken by us where there is water,
that they may be regenerated ("born again," [------]), by the same
manner of regeneration (being born again, [------]) by which we also
were regenerated (born again, [------]. For in the name of the Father of
the Universe the Lord God, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the
Holy Spirit they then make the washing with the water. For the Christ
also said, 'unless ye be born again [------], ye shall not enter into
the kingdom of heaven., Now that it is impossible for those who have
once been born to go into the matrices of the parents is evident to
all." And then he quotes Isaiah i. 16--20, "Wash you, make you clean,
&c.," and then proceeds: "And regarding this (Baptism) we have been
taught this reason. Since at our first birth we were born without our
knowledge, and perforce, &c., and brought up in evil habits and wicked
ways, therefore in order that we should not continue children of
necessity and ignorance, but become children of election and knowledge,
and obtain in the water remission of sins which we had previously
committed, the name of the Father of the Universe and Lord God is
pronounced over him who desires to be born again [------], and has
repented of his sins, &c."(1) Now it is clear that whereas Justin speaks
simply of regeneration by baptism, the fourth Gospel indicates a later
development of the doctrine by spiritualizing the idea,


and requiring not only regeneration through the water ("Except a man be
born of water"), but that a man should be born from above ("and of the
Spirit"), not merely [------], but [------]. The word used by Justin
is that which was commonly employed in the Church for regeneration, and
other instances of it occur in the New Testament.(1)

The idea of regeneration or being born again, as essential to
conversion, was quite familiar to the Jews themselves, and Lightfoot
gives instances of this from Talmudic writings: "If any one become a
proselyte he is like a child 'new born.' The Gentile that is made a
proselyte and the servant that is made free he is like a child
new born."(2) This is, of course, based upon the belief in special
privileges granted to the Jews, and the Gentile convert admitted to
a share in the benefits of the Messiah became a Jew by spiritual new
birth. Justin in giving the words of Jesus clearly professed to make an
exact quotation:(3) "For Christ also said: Unless ye be born again,
&c." It must be remembered, however, that Justin is addressing the Roman
emperors, who would not understand the expression that it was necessary
to be "born again" in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. He,
therefore, explains that he does not mean a physical new birth by men
already born; and this explanation may be regarded as natural, under the
circumstances, and independent of any written source. In any case, the
striking difference of his language from that of the fourth Gospel at
least forbids the inference that it must necessarily have been derived
from that Gospel.


To argue otherwise would be to assume the utterly untenable premiss that
sayings of Jesus which are maintained to be historical were not recorded
in more than four Gospels, and indeed in this instance were limited
to one. This is not only in itself inadmissible, but historically
untrue,(1) and a moment of consideration must convince every impartial
mind that it cannot legitimately be asserted that an express quotation
of a supposed historical saying must have been taken from a parallel in
one of our Gospels, from which it differs so materially in language and
circumstance, simply because that Gospel happens to be the only one
now surviving which contains particulars somewhat similar. The express
quotation fundamentally differs from the fourth Gospel, and the natural
explanation of Justin which follows is not a quotation at all, and
likewise fundamentally differs from the Johannine parallel. Justin not
only ignores the peculiar episode in the fourth Gospel in which the
passage occurs, but neither here nor anywhere throughout his writings
makes any mention of Nicodemus. The accident of survival is almost the
only justification of the affirmation that the fourth Gospel is the
source of Justin's quotation. On the other hand, we have many strong
indications of another source. In our first Synoptic (xviii. 3), we
find traces of another version of the saying of Jesus, much more nearly
corresponding with the quotation of Justin: "And he said, verily I say
unto you: Except ye be turned and become as the little children ye shall
not enter into the kingdom of heaven."(2) The last phrase of this saying
is literally the same as the quotation of Justin,


and gives his expression, "kingdom of heaven," so characteristic of
his Gospel, and so foreign to the Johannine. We meet with a similar
quotation in connection with baptism, still more closely agreeing with
Justin, in the Clementine Homilies, xi. 26: "Verily I say unto you:
Except ye be born again [------] by living water in the name of Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."(1)
Here again we have both the [------], and the [------] as well as the
reference only to water in the baptism, and this is strong confirmation
of the existence of a version of the passage, different from the
Johannine, from which Justin quotes. As both the author of the
Clementines and Justin probably made use of the Gospel according to
the Hebrews, some most competent critics have, with reason, adopted the
conclusion that the passage we are discussing was probably derived from
that Gospel; at any rate it cannot be maintained as a quotation from our
fourth Gospel,(2) and it is, therefore, of no value as evidence even


for its existence. "Were it successfully traced to that work, however,
the passage would throw no light on the authorship and character of the
fourth Gospel.

If we turn for a moment from this last of the points of evidence adduced
by Tischendorf for the use of the fourth Gospel by Justin, to consider
how far the circumstances of the history of Jesus narrated by Justin
bear upon this quotation, we have a striking confirmation of the results
we have otherwise attained. Not only is there a total absence from his
writings of the peculiar terminology and characteristic expressions of
the fourth Gospel, but there is not an allusion made to any one of the
occurrences exclusively narrated by that Gospel, although many of these,
and many parts of the Johannine discourses of Jesus, would have been
peculiarly suitable for his purpose. We have already pointed out the
remarkable absence of any use of the expressions by which the Logos
doctrine is stated in the prologue. We may now point out that Justin
makes no reference whatever to any of the special miracles of the fourth
Gospel. He is apparently quite ignorant even of the raising of Lazarus:
on the other hand, he gives representations of the birth, life, and
death of Jesus, which are ignored by the Johannine Gospel, and are
indeed opposed to its whole conception of Jesus as the Logos; and when
he refers to circumstances which are also narrated in that Gospel, his
account is different from that which it gives. Justin perpetually
refers to the birth of Jesus by the Virgin of the race of David and the
Patriarchs; his Logos thus becomes man,(1) (not "flesh"--[------],not
[------]); he is born in a cave in Bethlehem;(2) he grows in stature and
intellect by the use of ordinary means like other men; he is accounted

{ 313}

the son of Joseph the carpenter and Mary: he himself works as a
carpenter, and makes ploughs and yokes.(1) When Jesus is baptized by
John, a fire is kindled in Jordan; and Justin evidently knows nothing
of John's express declaration in the fourth Gospel, that Jesus is the
Messiah, the Son of God.(2) Justin refers to the change of name of Simon
in connection with his recognition of the Master as "Christ the Son of
God,"(3) which is narrated quite differently in the fourth Gospel (i.
40--42), where, indeed, such a declaration is put into the mouth
of Nathaniel (i. 49), which Justin ignores. Justin does not mention
Nicodemus either in connection with the statement regarding the
necessity of being "born from above," or with the entombment (xix. 39).
He has the prayer and agony in the garden,(4) which the fourth Gospel
excludes, as well as the cries on the cross, which that Gospel ignores.
Then, according to Justin, the last supper takes place on the 14th
Nisan,(5) whilst the fourth Gospel, ignoring the Passover and last
supper, represents the last meal as eaten on the 13th Nisan (John xiii.
1 f., cf. xviii. 28). He likewise contradicts the fourth Gospel, in
limiting the work of Jesus to one year. In fact, it is impossible for
writings, so full of quotations of the words of Jesus and of allusions
to the events of his life, more completely to ignore or vary from the
fourth Gospel throughout; and if it could be shown that Justin was
acquainted with such a work, it would follow certainly that he did not
consider it an Apostolical or authoritative composition.

     5  "And it is written that on the day of the Passover you
     seized him, and likewise during the Passover you crucified
     him." Dial., Ill; cf. Dial. 70; Matt, xxvi. 2, 17 ff., 30,


We may add that, as Justin so distinctly and directly refers to the
Apostle John as the author of the Apocalypse,(1) there is confirmation
of the conclusion, otherwise arrived at, that he did not, and could not,
know the Gospel and also ascribe it to him. Finally, the description
which Justin gives of the manner of teaching of Jesus excludes the idea
that he knew the fourth Gospel. "Brief and concise were the sentences
uttered by him: for he was no Sophist, but his word was the power of
God."(2) No one could for a moment assert that this description applies
to the long and artificial discourses of the fourth Gospel, whilst,
on the other hand, it eminently describes the style of teaching in the
Synoptics, with which the numerous Gospels in circulation amongst early
Christians were, of course, more nearly allied.

The inevitable conclusion at which we must arrive is that, so far from
indicating any acquaintance with the fourth Gospel, the writings of
Justin not only do not furnish the slightest evidence of its existence,
but offer presumptive testimony against its Apostolical origin.

Tischendorf only devotes a short note to Hegesippus,(3) and does not
pretend to find in the fragments of his writings, preserved to us by
Eusebius, or the details of his life which he has recorded, any evidence
for our Gospels. Apologists generally admit that this source, at least,
is barren of all testimony for the fourth Gospel, but Canon Westcott
cannot renounce so important a witness without an effort, and he
therefore boldly says: "When he, (Hegesippus) speaks of 'the door of
Jesus' in his account of the death of St. James, there can be little


doubt that he alludes to the language of our Lord recorded by St.
John."(1) The passage to which Canon Westcott refers, but which he does
not quote, is as follows:--"Certain, therefore, of the seven heretical
parties amongst the people, already described by me in the Memoirs,
inquired of him, what was the door of Jesus; and he declared this
([------]--Jesus) to be the Saviour. From which some believed that Jesus
is the Christ. But the aforementioned heretics did not believe either a
resurrection, or that he shall come to render to every one according
to his works. As many as believed, however, did so, through James." The
rulers fearing that the people would cause a tumult, from considering
Jesus to be the Messiah [------], entreat James to persuade them
concerning Jesus, and prevent their being deceived by him; and in order
that he may be heard by the multitude, they place James upon a wing
of the temple, and cry to him: "O just man, whom we all are bound
to believe, inasmuch as the people are led astray after Jesus, the
crucified, declare plainly to us what is the door of Jesus."(2) To
find in this a reference to the fourth Gospel, requires a good deal of
apologetic ingenuity. It is perfectly clear that, as an allusion to John
x. 7, 9: "I am the door," the question: "What is the door of Jesus?"
is mere nonsense, and the reply of James totally irrelevant. Such a
question in reference to the discourse


in the fourth Gospel, moreover, in the mouths of the antagonistic
Scribes and Pharisees, is quite inconceivable, and it is unreasonable to
suppose that it has any connection with it. Various emendations of the
text have been proposed to obviate the difficulty of the question, but
none of these have been adopted, and it has now been generally accepted,
that [------] is used in an idiomatic sense. The word is very frequently
employed in such a manner, or symbolically, in the New Testament,(1) and
by the Fathers. The Jews were well acquainted with a similar use of
the word in the Old Testament, in some of the Messianic Psalms, as for
instance: Ps. cxviii. 19, 20 (cxvii. 19, 20 Sept.). 19," Open to me the
gates [------] of righteousness; entering into them, I will give praise
to the Lord;" 20, "This is the gate [------] of the Lord, the righteous
shall enter into it"(2) Quoting this passage, Clement of Alexandria
remarks: "But explaining the saying of the prophet, Barnabas adds: Many
gates [------] being open, that which is in righteousness is in Christ,
in which all those who enter are blessed."(3) Grabe explains the passage
of Hegesippus, by a reference to the frequent allusions in Scripture to
the two ways: one of light, the other of darkness; the one leading to
life, the other to death; as well as the simile of two gates which is
coupled with them, as in Matt. viL 13 ff. He, therefore, explains the
question of the rulers: "What is the door of Jesus?" as an inquiry into
the judgment of James concerning him:


whether he was a teacher of truth or a deceiver of the people; whether
belief in him was the way and gate of life and salvation, or of death
and perdition.(1) He refers as an illustration to the Epistle of
Barnabas, xviii.: "There are two ways of teaching and of power: one of
light, the other of darkness. But there is a great difference between
the two ways."(2) The Epistle, under the symbol of the two ways,
classifies the whole of the moral law.(3) In the Clementine Homilies,
xviii. 17, there is a version of the saying, Matt. vii. 13f, derived
from another source, in which "way" is more decidedly even than in our
first Synoptic made the equivalent of "gate:" "Enter ye through the
narrow and straitened way [------] through which ye shall enter into
life." Eusebius himself, who has preserved the fragment, evidently
understood it distinctly in the same sense, and he gave its true meaning
in another of his works, where he paraphrases the question into
an enquiry, as to the opinion which Jamas held concerning Jesus

This view is supported by many learned men, and Routh has pointed out
that Ernesti considered he would have been right in making [------],
doctrine, teaching, the equivalent of [------], although he admits
that Eusebius does not once use it in his history, in connection with
Christian doctrine.(5)


He might, however, have instanced this passage, in which it is clearly
used in this sense, and so explained by Eusebius. In any other sense the
question is simple nonsense. There is evidently no intention on the part
of the Scribes and Pharisees here to ridicule, in asking: "What is the
door of Jesus?" but they desire James to declare plainly to the people,
what is the teaching of Jesus, and his personal pretension. To suppose
that the rulers of the Jews set James upon a wing of the temple,
in order that they might ask him a question, for the benefit of the
multitude, based upon a discourse in the fourth Gospel, unknown to the
Synoptics, and even in relation to which such an inquiry as: "What is
the door of Jesus?" becomes mere ironical nonsense, surpasses all that
we could have imagined even of apologetic zeal.

We have already(1) said all that is necessary with regard to Hegesippus,
in connection with the Synoptics, and need not add more here. It is
certain that had he said anything interesting about our Gospels and,
we may say, particularly about the fourth, the fact would have been
recorded by Eusebius.

Nor need we add much to our remarks regarding Papias of Hierapolis.(2)
It is perfectly clear that the works of Matthew and Mark,(3) regarding
which he records

     3 It is evident that Papias did not regard the works by
     "Matthew" and "Mark" which he mentions, as of any authority.
     Indeed, all that he reports regarding the latter is merely
     apologetic, and in deprecation of criticism.


such important particulars, are not the Gospels in our Canon, which pass
under their names; he does not seem to have known anything of the third
Synoptic; and there is no reason to suppose that he referred to the
fourth Gospel or made use of it. He is, therefore, at least, a total
blank so far as the Johannine Gospel and our third Synoptic are
concerned, but he is more than this, and it may, we think, be concluded
that Papias was not acquainted with any such Gospels which he regarded
as Apostolic compositions, or authoritative documents. Had he said
anything regarding the composition or authorship of the fourth Gospel,
Eusebius would certainly have mentioned the fact, and this silence of
Papias is strong presumptive evidence against the Johannine Gospel.(1)
Tischendorfs argument in regard to the Phrygian Bishop is mainly
directed to this point, and he maintains that the silence of Eusebius
does not make Papias a witness against the fourth Gospel, and does not
involve the conclusion that he did not know it, inasmuch as it was not,
he affirms, the purpose of Eusebius to record the mention or use of
the books of the New Testament which were not disputed.(2) It might be
contended that this reasoning is opposed to the practice and express
declaration of Eusebius himself, who says: "But in the course of the
history I shall, with the successions (from the Apostles), carefully
intimate what ecclesiastical writers of the various periods made use of


the Antilegomena (or disputed writings), and which of them, and what
has been stated by these as well regarding the collected [------] and
Homologumena (or accepted writings), as regarding those which are not of
this kind."(1) It is not worth while, however, to dwell upon this, here.
The argument in the case of Papias stands upon a broader basis. It is
admitted that Eusebius engages carefully to record what ecclesiastical
writers state regarding the Homologumena, and that he actually does
so. Now Papias has himself expressed the high value he attached to
tradition, and his eagerness in seeking information from the Presbyters.
The statements regarding the Gospels composed by Matthew and Mark,
quoted by Eusebius, are illustrative at once both of the information
collected by Papias and of that cited by Eusebius. How comes it,
then, that nothing whatever is said about the fourth Gospel, a work so
peculiar and of such exceptional importance, said to be composed by the
Apostle whom Jesus loved? Is it possible to suppose that when Papias
collected from the Presbyter the facts which he has recorded concerning
Matthew and Mark he would not also have inquired about a Gospel by
John had he known of it? Is it possible that he could have had nothing
interesting to tell about a work presenting so many striking and
distinctive features? Had he collected any information on the subject he
would certainly have recorded it, and as certainly Eusebius would have
quoted what he said,(2) as he did the account of the other two Gospels,
for he even mentions that Papias


made use of the 1st Epistle of John, and 1st Epistle of Peter, two
equally accepted writings. The legitimate presumption, therefore, is
that, as Eusebius did not mention the fact, he did not find anything
regarding the fourth Gospel in the work of Papias, and that Papias
was not acquainted with it. This presumption is confirmed by the
circumstance that when Eusebius writes, elsewhere (H. E. iii. 24), of
the order of the Gospels, and the composition of John's Gospel, he has
no greater authority to give for his account than mere tradition: "they
say" [------].

Proceeding from this merely negative argument, Tischendorf endeavours
to show that not only is Papias not a witness against the fourth Gospel,
but that he presents testimony in its favour. The first reason he
advances is that Eusebius states: "The same (Papias) made use of
testimonies out of the first Epistle of John, and likewise out of that
of Peter."(l) On the supposed identity of the authorship of the Epistle
and Gospel, Tischendorf, as in the case of Polycarp, claims this as
evidence for the fourth Gospel. Eusebius, however, does not quote the
passages upon which he bases this statement, and knowing his inaccuracy
and the hasty and uncritical manner in which he and the Fathers
generally jump at such conclusions, we must reject this as sufficient
evidence that Papias really did use the Epistle, and that Eusebius did
not adopt his opinion from a mere superficial analogy of passages.(2)
But if it were certain that Papias actually quoted from the Epistle, it
does not in the least follow that he


ascribed it to the Apostle John, and the use of the Epistle would
scarcely affect the question as to the character and authorship of the
fourth Gospel

The next testimony advanced by Tischendorf is indeed of an extraordinary
character. There is a Latin MS. (Vat. Alex. 14) in the Vatican, which
Tischendorf assigns to the ninth century, in which there is a preface
by an unknown hand to the Gospel according to John, which commences as
follows: "Evangelium iohannis manifestatum et datum est ecclesiis ab
iohannc ad hue in corpore constituto, sicut papias nomine hicrapolitanus
discipulus iohannis carus in exotericis id est in extremis quinque
libris retulit." "The Gospel of John was published and given to the
churches by John whilst he was still in the flesh, as Papias, named of
Hierapolis, an esteemed disciple of John, related in his 'Exoterics'
that is his last five books." Tischendorf says: "There can, therefore,
be no more decided declaration made of the testimony of Papias for the
Johannine Gospel."(1) He wishes to end the quotation here, and
only refers to the continuation, which he is obliged to admit to be
untenable, in a note. The passage proceeds: "Disscripsit vero evangelium
dictante iohanne recte." "He (Papias) indeed wrote out the Gospel,
John duly dictating;" then follows another passage regarding Marcion,
representing him also as a contemporary of John, which Tischendorf
likewise confesses to be untrue.(2) Now Tischendorf admits that the
writer desires it to be understood that he derived the information that
Papias wrote the fourth Gospel at the dictation of John likewise from
the work of Papias, and as it is perfectly impossible, by his own
admissions, that Papias, who was not a


contemporary of the Apostle, could have stated this, the whole passage
is clearly fabulous and written by a person who never saw the book at
all. This extraordinary piece of evidence is so obviously absurd that
it is passed over in silence by other critics, even of the strongest
apologetic tendency, and it stands here a pitiable instance of the
arguments to which destitute criticism can be reduced.

In order to do full justice to the last of the arguments of Tischendorf,
we shall give it in his own words: "Before we separate from Papias,
we have still to consider one testimony for the Gospel of John which
Irenæus, v. 36, § 2, quotes out of the very mouth of the Presbyters,
those high authorities of Papias: 'And therefore, say they, the Lord
declared: In my Father's house are many mansions(1) (John xiv. 2). As
the Presbyters set this declaration in connection with the blessedness
of the righteous in the City of God, in Paradise, in Heaven, according
as they bear thirty, sixty, or one hundred-fold fruit, nothing is
more probable than that Irenæus takes this whole declaration of the
Presbyters, which he gives, §§ 1-2, like the preceding description of
the thousand years' reign, from the work of Papias. But whether this be
its origin or not, the authority of the Presbyters is in any case higher
than that of Papias," &c.(1) Now in the quotation from Irenseus given in


passage, Tischendorf renders the oblique construction of the text by
inserting "say they," referring to the Presbyters of Papias, and, as he
does not give the original, he should at least have indicated that these
words are supplementary. We shall endeavour as briefly as possible to
state the facts of the case.

Irenæus, with many quotations from Scripture, is arguing that our bodies
are preserved, and that the Saints who have suffered so much in the
flesh shall in that flesh receive the fruits of their labours. In v. 33,
§ 2, he refers to the saying given in Matt. xix. 29 (Luke xviii. 29, 30)
that whosoever has left lands, &c., because of Christ shall receive a
hundred-fold in this world, and in the next, eternal life; and then,
enlarging on the abundance of the blessings in the Millennial kingdom,
he affirms that Creation will be renovated, and the Earth acquire
wonderful fertility, and he adds: § 3, "As the Presbyters who saw John
the disciple of the Lord, remember that they heard from him, how
the Lord taught concerning those times and said:" &c. ("Quemadmodum
pres-byteri meminerunt, qui Joannem discipulum Domini viderunt, audisse
se ab eo, quemadmodum de temporibus illis docebat Dominus, et dicebat,"
&c.), and then he quotes the passage: "The days will come in which vines
will grow each having ten thousand Branches," &c.; and "In like manner
that a grain of wheat would produce ten thousand ears," &c. With regard
to these he says, at the beginning of the next paragraph, v. 33, § 4,
"These things are testified in writing by Papias, a hearer of John and
associate of Polycarp, an ancient


man, in the fourth of his books: for there were five books composed
by him.(1) And he added saying: 'But these things are credible to
believers. And Judas the traitor not believing, and asking how shall
such growths be effected by the Lord, the Lord said: They who shall come
to them shall see.' Prophesying of these times, therefore, Isaiah says:
'The Wolf also shall feed with the Lamb,' &c. &c. (quoting Isaiah xi.
6--9), and again he says, recapitulating: 'Wolves and lambs shall then
feed together,'" &c. (quoting Isaiah lxv. 25), and so on, continuing his
argument. It is clear that Irenæus introduces the quotation from Papias,
and ending his reference at: "They who shall come to them shall see," he
continues, with a quotation from Isaiah, his own train of reasoning. We
give this passage to show the manner in which Irenæus proceeds. He then
continues with the same subject, quoting (v. 34,35) Isaiah, Ezekiel,
Jeremiah, Daniel, the Apocalypse, and sayings found in the New Testament
bearing upon the Millennium. In c. 35 he argues that the prophecies he
quotes of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the Apocalypse must not be allegorized
away, but that they literally describe the blessings to be enjoyed,
after the coming of Antichrist and the resurrection, in the New
Jerusalem on earth, and he quotes Isaiah vi. 12, lx. 5, 21, and a long
passage from Baruch iv. 36, v. 9 (which he ascribes to Jeremiah), Isaiah
xlix. 16, Gala-tians iv. 26, Rev. xxi. 2, xx. 2--15, xxi. 1--6, all
descriptive, as he maintains, of the Millennial kingdom prepared for the
Saints; and then in v. 36, the last chapter of his work on Heresies, as
if resuming his

     1 Eusebius has preserved the Greek of this passage (H. E.,
     iii. 39), and goes on to contradict the statement of Irenæus
     that Papias was a hearer and contemporary of the Apostles.
     Eusebius states that Papias in his prefaco by no means
     asserts that he was.


previous argument, he proceeds:(1) § 1. "And that these things shall
ever remain without end Isaiah says: 'For like as the new heaven and the
new earth which I make remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your
seed and your name continue,'(2) and as the Presbyters say, then those
who have been deemed worthy of living in heaven shall go thither, and
others shall enjoy the delights of Paradise, and others shall possess
the glory of the City; for everywhere the Saviour shall be seen as those
who see him shall be worthy. § 2. But that there is this distinction of
dwelling [------] of those bearing fruit the hundred fold, and of the
(bearers) of the sixty fold, and of the (bearers of) the thirty fold: of
whom some indeed shall be taken up into the heavens, some shall live
in Paradise, and some shall inhabit the City, and that for this reason
[------] propter hoc) the Lord declared: In the... (plural) of my Father
are many mansions [------].(3) For all things are of God, who prepares
for all the fitting habitation, as his Word says, that distribution is
made to all by the Father according


as each is or shall be worthy. And this is the couch upon which they
recline who are invited to banquet at the Wedding. The Presbyters
disciples of the Apostles state that this is the order and arrangement
of those who are saved, and that by such steps they advance,"(1) &c. &c.

Now it is impossible for any one who attentively considers the whole of
this passage, and who makes himself acquainted with the manner in which
Irenæus conducts his argument, and interweaves it with quotations, to
assert that the phrase we are considering must have been taken from
a book referred to three chapters earlier, and was not introduced by
Irenæus from some other source. In the passage from the commencement of
the second paragraph Irenæus enlarges upon, and illustrates, what "the
Presbyters say" regarding the blessedness of the saints, by quoting the
view held as to the distinction between those bearing fruit thirty fold,
sixty fold, and one hundred fold,(2) and the interpretation given of the


saying regarding "many mansions," but the source of his quotation is
quite indefinite, and may simply be the exegesis of his own day. That
this is probably the case is shown by the continuation: "And this is
the Couch upon which they recline who are invited to banquet at the
Wedding"--an allusion to the marriage supper upon which Irenæus had
previously enlarged;(1) immediately after which phrase, introduced
by Irenæus himself, he says: "The Presbyters, the disciples of the
apostles, state that this is the order and arrangement of those who are
saved," &c. Now, if the preceding passages had been a mere quotation
from the Presbyters of Papias, such a remark would have been out of
place and useless, but being the exposition of the prevailing views,
Irenæus confirms it and prepares to wind up the whole subject by the
general statement that the Presbyters, the disciples of the Apostles,
affirm that this is the order and arrangement of those who are saved,
and that by such steps they advance and ascend through the Spirit to the
Son, and through the Son to the Father, &c., and a few sentences after
he closes his work.

In no case, however, can it be legitimately affirmed that the citation
of "the Presbyters," and the "Presbyters, disciples of the Apostles," is
a reference to the work of Papias. When quoting "the Presbyters who
saw John the disciple of the Lord," three chapters before, Irenæus
distinctly states that Papias testifies what he quotes in writing in the
fourth of his books, but there is nothing whatever to indicate that
"the Presbyters," and "the Presbyters, disciples of the Apostles,"
subsequently referred to, after a complete change of context, have
anything to do with Papias. The references to Presbyters in this


work of Irenæus are very numerous, and when we remember the importance
which the Bishop of Lyons attached to "that tradition which comes from
the Apostles, which is preserved in the churches by a succession
of Presbyters,"(1) the reference before us assumes a very different
complexion. In one place, Irenæus quotes "the divine Presbyter"
[------], "the God-loving Presbyter" [------],(2) who wrote verses
against the heretic Marcus. Elsewhere he supports his extraordinary
statement that the public career of Jesus, instead of being limited to
a single year, extended over a period of twenty years, and that he was
nearly fifty when he suffered,(3) by the appeal: "As the gospel and all
the Presbyters testify, who in Asia met with John the disciple of the
Lord (stating) that these things were transmitted to them by John.
For he continued among them till the times of Trajan."(4) That these
Presbyters are not quoted from the work of Papias may be inferred
from the fact that Eusebius, who had his work, quotes the passage from
Irenseus without allusion to Papias, and as he adduces two witnesses
only, Irenæus and Clement of Alexandria, to prove the assertion
regarding John, he would certainly have referred to the earlier
authority, had the work of Papias contained the statement, as he does
for the stories regarding the


daughters of the Apostle Philip; the miracle in favour of Justus, and
other matters.(1) We need not refer to Clement, nor to Polycarp, who had
been "taught by Apostles," and the latter of whom Irenæus knew in his
youth.(2) Irenæus in one place also gives a long account of the teaching
of some one upon the sins of David and other men of old, which he
introduces: "As I have heard from a certain Presbyter, who had heard
it from those who had seen the Apostles, and from those who learnt from
them."(3) &c. Further on, speaking evidently of a different person,
he says: "In this manner also a Presbyter disciple of the Apostles,
reasoned regarding the two Testaments:"(4) and quotes fully. In another
place Irenæus, after quoting Gen. ii. 8, "And God planted a Paradise
eastward in Eden," &c., states: "Wherefore the Presbyters who are
disciples of the Apostles [------], say that those who were translated
had been translated thither," there to remain till the consummation of
all things awaiting immortality, and Irenæus explains that it was into
this Paradise that Paul was caught up (2 Cor. xii. 4).(5) It seems
highly probable that these "Presbyters the disciples of the Apostles"
who are quoted on Paradise, are the same "Presbyters the disciples of
the Apostles" referred to on the same subject (v. 36, §§ 1,2) whom we


are discussing, but there is nothing whatever to connect them with
Papias. He also speaks of the Scptuagint translation of the Bible as the
version of the "Presbyters,"(1) and on several occasions he calls Luke
"the follower and disciple of the Apostles" (Sectator et discipulus
apostolorum)(2), and characterizes Mark as "the interpreter and follower
of Peter" (interpres et sectator Petri)(3), and refers to both as having
learnt from the words of the Apostles.(4) Here is, therefore, a wide
choice of Presbyters, including even Evangelists, to whom the
reference of Irenæus may with equal right be ascribed,(5) so that it
is unreasonable to claim it as an allusion to the work of Papias.(6) In
fact, Dr. Tischendorf and Canon Westcott(7) stand almost alone in

     5   In the New Testament the term Presbyter is even used in
     reference to Patriarchs and Prophets.   Heb. xi. 2; cf.
     Matt xv. 2; Mark vii. 3, 5.

     6  With regard to the Presbyters quoted by Irenæus
     generally. Cf. Routh, Reliq. Sacrse, i. p. 47 ff.


advancing this passage as evidence that either Papias or his
Presbyters(1) were acquainted with the fourth Gospel, and this renders
the statement which is made by them without any discussion all the more
indefensible. Scarcely a single writer, however apologetic, seriously
cites it amongst the external testimonies for the early existence of the
Gospel, and the few who do refer to the passage merely mention, in
order to abandon, it.(2) So far as the question as to whether the fourth
Gospel was mentioned in the work of Papias is concerned, the passage has
practically never entered into the controversy at all, the great mass
of critics having recognized that it is of no evidential value whatever,
and, by common consent, tacitly excluded it.(3) It is


admitted that the Bishop of Hierapolis cannot be shown to have known
the fourth Gospel, and the majority affirm that he actually was not
acquainted with it. Being, therefore, so completely detached from
Papias, it is obvious that the passage does not in any way assist the
fourth Gospel, but becomes assignable to vague tradition, and subject to
the cumulative force of objections, which prohibit an early date being
ascribed to so indefinite a reference.

Before passing on there is one other point to mention: Andrew of
Cæsarea, in the preface to his Commentary on the Apocalypse, mentions
that Papias maintained "the credibility" [------] of that book, or in
other words, its apostolic origin.(1) His strong millenarian opinions
would naturally make such a composition stand high in his esteem, if
indeed it did not materially contribute to the formation of his views,
which is still more probable. Apologists admit the genuineness of this
statement, nay, claim it as undoubted evidence of the acquaintance of
Papias with the Apocalypse.(2) Canon Westcott, for instance, says: "He
maintained, moreover, 'the divine inspiration' of the Apocalypse, and
commented, at least, upon part of it."(3) Now, he must, therefore,
have recognized the book as the work of the Apostle John, and we shall,
hereafter, show that it is impossible that the author of the Apocalypse
is the author of the Gospel; therefore, in this way also, Papias


is a witness against the Apostolic origin of the fourth Gospel.

We must now turn to the Clementine Homilies, although, as we have
shown,(1) the uncertainty as to the date of this spurious work, and
the late period which must undoubtedly he assigned to its composition,
render its evidence of very little value for the canonical Gospels. The
passages pointed out in the Homilies as indicating acquaintance with
the fourth Gospel were long advanced with hesitation, and were generally
felt to be inconclusive, but on the discovery of the concluding portion
of the work and its publication by Dressel in 1853, it was found to
contain a passage which apologists now claim as decisive evidence of
the use of the Gospel, and which even succeeded in converting some
independent critics.(2) Tischendorf(3) and Canon Westcott,(4) in the
few lines devoted to the Clementines, do not refer to the earlier proof
passages, but rely entirely upon that last discovered. With a view,
however, to making the whole of the evidence clear, we shall give all of
the supposed allusions to the fourth Gospel, confronting them with the
text. The first is as follows:-- [------]



The first point which is apparent here is that there is a total
difference both in the language and real meaning of these two passages.
The Homily uses the word [------] instead of the [------] of the Gospel,
and speaks of the gate of life, instead of the door of the Sheepfold. We
have already(1) discussed the passage in the Pastor of Hernias in which
similar reference is made to the gate [------] into the kingdom of God,
and need not here repeat our argument. In Matt. vii. 13, 14, we have the
direct description of the gate [------] which leads to life [------],
and we have elsewhere quoted the Messianic Psalm cxviii. 19, 20: "This
is the gate of the Lord [------],(2) the righteous shall enter into it."
In another place, the author of the Homilies, referring to a passage
parallel to, but differing from, Matt. xxiii. 2, which we have elsewhere
considered,(3) and which is derived from a Gospel different from ours,
says: "Hear _them_ (Scribes and Pharisees who sit upon Moses' seat), he
said, as entrusted with the key of the kingdom which is knowledge, which
alone is able to open the gate of life [------], through which alone is
the entrance to Eternal life."(4) Now in the very next chapter to that
in which the saying which we are discussing occurs, a very few lines
after it indeed, we have the following passage: "Indeed he said further:
'I am he


concerning whom Moses prophesied, saying: 'a prophet shall the Lord our
God raise up to you from among your brethren as also (he raised) me;
hear ye him regarding all things, but whosoever will not hear that
prophet he shall die.'"(1) There is no such saying in the canonical
Gospels or other books of the New Testament attributed to Jesus, but a
quotation from Deuteronomy xviii. 15 f., materially different from this,
occurs twice in the Acts of the Apostles, once being put into the mouth
of Peter applied to Jesus,(2) and the second time also applied to him,
being quoted by Stephen.(3) It is quite clear that the writer is quoting
from uncanonical sources, and here is another express declaration
regarding himself: "I am he," &c., which is quite in the spirit of the
preceding passage which we are discussing, and probably derived from the
same source. In another place we find the following argument: "But the
way is the manner of life, as also Moses says: 'Behold I have set before
thy face the way of life, and the way of death'(4) and in agreement the
teacher said: 'Enter ye through the narrow and straitened way through
which ye shall enter into life,' and in another place a certain person
inquiring: 'What shall I do to inherit eternal life?' he intimated the
Commandments of the Law."(5) It has to be observed that the Homilies
teach the doctrine


that the spirit in Jesus Christ had already appeared in Adam, and by a
species of transmigration passed through Moses and the Patriarchs and
prophets: "who from the beginning of the world, changing names and
forms, passes through Time [------] until, attaining his own seasons,
being on account of his labours anointed by the mercy of God, he shall
have rest for ever."(1) Just in the same way, therefore, as the Homilies
represent Jesus as quoting a prophecy of Moses, and altering it to a
personal declaration: "I am the prophet," &c., so here again they make
him adopt this saying of Moses and, "being the true prophet," declare:
"I am the gate or the way of life,"--inculcating the same commandments
of the law which the Gospel of the Homilies represents Jesus as coming
to confirm and not to abolish. The whole system of doctrine of the
Clementines, as we shall presently see, indicated here even by the
definition of "the true prophet," is so fundamentally opposed to that of
the fourth Gospel that there is no reasonable ground for supposing that
the author made use of it, and this brief saying, varying as it does
in language and sense from the parallel in that work, cannot prove
acquaintance with it. There is good reason to believe that the author
of the fourth Gospel, who most undeniably derived materials from earlier
Evangelical works, may have drawn from a source likewise used by the
Gospel according to the Hebrews, and thence many analogies might well
be presented with quotations from that or kindred Gospels.(2) We find,
further, this community of source in the fact,


that in the fourth Gospel, without actual quotation, there is a
reference to Moses, and, no doubt, to the very passage (Deut. xviii.
15), which the Gospel of the Clementines puts into the mouth of Jesus,
John v. 46: "For had ye believed Moses ye would believe me, for he wrote
of me." Whilst the Ebionite Gospel gave prominence to this view of the
case, the dogmatic system of the Logos Gospel did not permit of more
than mere reference to it.

The next passage pointed out as derived from the Johannine Gospel occurs
in the same chapter: "My sheep hear my voice." [------]

There was no more common representation amongst the Jews of the relation
between God and his people than that of a Shepherd and his Sheep,(1)
nor any more current expression than: hearing his voice. This brief
anonymous saying was in all probability derived from the same source
as the preceding,(2) which cannot be identified with the fourth Gospel.
Tradition, and the acknowledged existence of other written records of
the teaching of Jesus oppose any exclusive claim to this fragmentary

We have already discussed the third passage regarding the new birth in
connection with Justin,(3) and may therefore pass on to the last and
most important passage, to which we have referred as contained in the
concluding portion of the Homilies first published by Dressel in


1853. We subjoin it in contrast with the parallel in the fourth Gospel

It is necessary that we should consider the context of this passage in
the Homily, the characteristics of which are markedly opposed to the
theory that it was derived from the fourth Gospel We must mention that,
in the Clementines, the Apostle Peter is represented as maintaining that
the Scriptures are not all true, but are mixed up with what is false,
and that on this account, and in order to inculcate the necessity
of distinguishing between the true and the false, Jesus taught his
disciples, "Be ye approved money changers,"(1) an injunction not found
in our Gospels. One of the points which Peter denies is the fall
of Adam, a doctrine which, as Neander remarked, "he must combat as
blasphemy."(2) At the part we are


considering he is discussing with Simon,--under whose detested
personality, as we have elsewhere shown, the Apostle Paul is really
attacked,--and refuting the charges he brings forward regarding the
origin and continuance of evil. The Apostle Peter in the course of the
discussion asserts that evil is the same as pain and death, but that
evil does not exist eternally and, indeed, does not really exist at all,
for pain and death are only accidents without permanent force--pain is
merely the disturbance of harmony, and death nothing but the separation
of soul from body.(1) The passions also must be classed amongst the
things which are accidental, and are not always to exist; but these,
although capable of abuse, are in reality beneficial to the soul when
properly restrained, and carry out the will of God. The man who gives
them unbridled course ensures his own punishment.(2) Simon inquires why
men die prematurely and periodical diseases come, and also visitations
of demons and of madness and other afflictions; in reply to which Peter
explains that parents by following their own pleasure in all things and
neglecting proper sanitary considerations, produce a multitude of evils
for their children, and this either through


carelessness or ignorance.(1) And then follows the passage we are
discussing: "Wherefore also our Teacher," &c., and at the end of the
quotation, he continues: "and truly such sufferings ensue in consequence
of ignorance," and giving an instance,(2) he proceeds: "Now the
sufferings which you before mentioned are the consequence of ignorance,
and certainly not of an evil act, which has been committed,"(3) &c. Now
it is quite apparent that the peculiar variation from the parallel in
the fourth Gospel in the latter part of the quotation is not accidental,
but is the point upon which the whole propriety of the quotation
depends. In the Gospel of the Clementines the man is not blind from
his birth, "that the works of God might be made manifest in him,"--a
doctrine which would be revolting to the author of the Homilies,--but
the calamity has befallen him in consequence of some error of ignorance
on the part of his parents which brings its punishment; but "the power
of God" is made manifest in healing the sins of ignorance. The reply of
Jesus is a professed quotation, and it varies very substantially from
the parallel in the Gospel, presenting evidently a distinctly different
version of the episode. The substitution of [------] for [------] in the
opening is also significant, more especially as Justin likewise in his
general remark, which we have discussed, uses the same word. Assuming
the passage in the fourth Gospel to be the account of a historical
episode, as apologists, of course, maintain, the case stands thus:--The
author of the Homilies introduces a narrative of a historical


incident in the life of Jesus, which may have been, and probably was,
reported in many early gospels in language which, though analogous
to, is at the same time decidedly different, in the part which is
a professed quotation, from that of the fourth Gospel, and presents
another and natural comment upon the central event. The reference to the
historical incident is, of course, no evidence whatever of dependence
on the fourth Gospel, which, although it may be the only accidentally
surviving work which contains the narrative, had no prescriptive and
exclusive property in it, and so far from the partial agreement in the
narrative proving the use of the fourth Gospel, the only remarkable
point is, that all narratives of the same event and reports of words
actually spoken do not more perfectly agree, while, on the other hand,
the very decided variation in the reply of Jesus, according to the
Homily, from that given in the fourth Gospel leads to the distinct
presumption that it is not the source of the quotation.

It is perfectly unreasonable to assert that such a reference, without
the slightest indication of the source from which the author derived his
information, must be dependent on one particular work, more especially
when the part which is given as distinct quotation substantially differs
from the record in that work. We have already illustrated this on
several occasions, and may once more offer an instance. If the first
Synoptic had unfortunately perished, like so many other gospels of the
early Church, and in the Clementines we met with the quotation: "Blessed
are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" [------],
apologists would certainly assert, according to the principle upon which
they act in


the present case, that this quotation was clear evidence of the use of
Luke vi. 20: "Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God."
[------], more especially as a few codices actually insert [------], the
slight variations being merely ascribed to free quotation from memory.
In point of fact, however, the third Synoptic might not at the time have
been in existence, and the quotation might have been derived, as it is,
from Matt. v. 3. Nothing is more certain and undeniable than the fact
that the author of the fourth Gospel made use of materials derived from
oral tradition and earlier records for its composition.(1) It is equally
undeniable that other gospels had access to the same materials, and
made use of them; and a comparison of our three Synoptics renders very
evident the community of materials, including the use of the one by
the other, as well as the diversity of literary handling to which those
materials were subjected. It is impossible with reason to deny that the
Gospel according to the Hebrews, for instance, as well as other earlier
evangelical works now lost, may have drawn from the same sources as the
fourth Gospel, and that narratives derived from the one may, therefore,
present analogies with the other whilst still perfectly independent of
it.(2) Whatever private opinion, therefore, any one may form as to the
source of the anonymous quotations which we have been considering, it is
evident that they are totally insufficient to prove that the Author of


the Clementine Homilies must have made use of the fourth Gospel, and
consequently they do not establish even the contemporary existence of
that work. If such quotations, moreover, could be traced with fifty
times greater probability to the fourth Gospel, it is obvious that
they could do nothing towards establishing its historical character and
apostolic origin.

Leaving, however, the few and feeble analogies by which apologists
vainly seek to establish the existence of the fourth Gospel and its use
by the author of the pseudo-Clementine Homilies, and considering the
question for a moment from a wider point of view, the results already
attained are more than confirmed. The doctrines held and strongly
enunciated in the Clementines seem to us to exclude the supposition that
the author can have made use of a work so fundamentally at variance
with all his views as the fourth Gospel, and it is certain that, holding
those opinions, he could hardly have regarded such a Gospel as an
apostolic and authoritative document. Space will not permit our entering
adequately into this argument, and we must refer our readers to works
more immediately devoted to the examination of the Homilies for a close
analysis of their dogmatic teaching,(1) but we may in the briefest
manner point out some of their more prominent doctrines in contrast with
those of the Johannine Gospel.


One of the leading and most characteristic ideas of the Clementine
Homilies is the essential identity of Judaism and Christianity. Christ
revealed nothing new with regard to God, but promulgated the very same
truth concerning him as Adam, Moses, and the Patriarchs, and in fact
the right belief is that Moses and Jesus were essentially one and the
same.(1) Indeed, it may be said that the teaching of the Homilies is
more Jewish than Christian.(2) In the preliminary Epistle of the Apostle
Peter to the Apostle James, when sending the book, Peter entreats
that James will not give it to any of the Gentiles,(3) and James says:
"Necessarily and rightly our Peter reminded us to take precautions for
the security of the truth, that we should not communicate the books of
his preachings, sent to us, indiscriminately to all, but to him who
is good and discreet and chosen to teach, and who is _circumcised_,(4)
being faithful."(5) &c. Clement also is represented as describing his
conversion to Christianity in the following terms: "For this cause I
fled for refuge to the Holy God and Law of the Jews, with faith in the
certain conclusion that, by the righteous judgment of God, both the Law
is prescribed, and the soul beyond doubt everywhere receives


the desert of its actions."(1) Peter recommends the inhabitants of Tyre
to follow what are really Jewish rites, and to hear "as the God-fearing
Jews have heard "(2) The Jew has the same truth as the Christian: "For
as there is one teaching by both (Moses and Jesus), God accepts him who
believes either of these."(3) The Law was in fact given by Adam as a
true prophet knowing all things, and it is called "Eternal," and neither
to be abrogated by enemies nor falsified by the impious.(4) The author,
therefore, protests against the idea that Christianity is any new thing,
and insists that Jesus came to confirm, not abrogate, the Mosaic
Law.(5) On the other hand the author of the fourth Gospel represents
Christianity in strong contrast and antagonism to Judaism.(6) In his
antithetical system, the religion of Jesus is opposed to Judaism as well
as all other belief, as Light to Darkness and Life to Death.(7) The Law
which Moses gave is treated as merely national, and neither of


general application nor intended to be permanent, being only addressed
to the Jews. It is perpetually referred to as the "Law of the Jews,"
"your Law,"--and the Jewish festivals as Feasts of the Jews, and Jesus
neither held the one in any consideration nor did he scruple to shew his
indifference to the other.(1) The very name of "the Jews" indeed is used
as an equivalent for the enemies of Christ.(2) The religion of Jesus is
not only absolute, but it communicates knowledge of the Father which
the Jews did not previously possess.(3) The inferiority of Mosaism is
everywhere represented: "and out of his fulness all we received, and
grace for grace. Because the Law was given through Moses; _grace and
truth_ came through Jesus Christ."(4) "Verily verily I say unto you:
Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but my Father giveth
you the true bread from heaven."(6) The fundamental difference of
Christianity from Judaism will further appear as we proceed.

The most essential principle of the Clementines, again, is
Monotheism,--the absolute oneness of God,--which the author vehemently
maintains as well against the ascription of divinity to Christ as
against heathen Polytheism and the Gnostic theory of the Demiurge as
distinguished from the Supreme God.(6) Christ not only is not God,


but he never asserted himself to be so.(1) He wholly ignores the
doctrine of the Logos, and his speculation is confined to the [------],
the Wisdom of Proverbs viii., &c., and is, as we shall see, at the
same time a less developed and very different doctrine from that of the
fourth Gospel.(2) The idea of a hypostatic Trinity seems to be quite
unknown to him, and would have been utterly abhorrent to his mind as
sheer Polytheism. On the other hand, the fourth Gospel proclaims the
doctrine of a hypostatic Trinity in a more advanced form than any other
writing of the New Testament. It is, indeed, the fundamental principle
of the work,(3) as the doctrine of the Logos is its most characteristic
feature. In the beginning the "Word not only was with God, but "the Word
was God" [------].(4)

He is the "only begotten God" [------],(5) equivalent to the "Second
God" [------] of Philo, and, throughout, his absolutely divine nature is
asserted both by the Evangelist, and in express terms in the discourses
of Jesus.(6) Nothing could be more opposed to the principles of the


According to the Homilies, the same Spirit, the [------], appeared in
Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and finally in Jesus,
who are the only "true prophets" and are called the seven Pillars
[------] of the world.(1) These seven(2) persons, therefore, are
identical, the same true Prophet and Spirit" who from the beginning of
the world, changing names and forms, passes through Time,"(3) and these
men were thus essentially the same as Jesus.(4) As Neander rightly
observes, the author of the Homilies "saw in Jesus a new appearance of
that Adam whom he had ever venerated as the source of all the true and
divine in man."(5) We need not point out how different these views are
from the Logos doctrine of the fourth Gospel.(6) In other points there
is an equally wide gulf between the Clementines and the fourth Gospel.
According to the author of the Homilies, the chief dogma of

     6 It is very uncertain by what means the author of the
     Homilies considered this periodical reappearance to be
     effected, whether by a kind of transmigration or otherwise.
     Critics consider it very doubtful whether he admitted the
     supernatural birth of Jesus (though some hold it to be
     probable), but at any rate he does not explain the matter:
     Uhlhorn, Die Homilien, p. 209 f.; Neander, K. G., ii. p.
     618, anm. 1; Credner thought that he did not admit it, 1. c.
     p. 253; Schliemann, whilst thinking that he did admit it,
     considers that in that case he equally attributed a
     supernatural birth to the other seven prophets: Die
     Clementinen, p. 207 ff.


true Religion is Monotheism. Belief in Christ, in the specific Johannine
sense, is nowhere inculcated, and where belief is spoken of, it is
merely belief in God. No dogmatic importance whatever is attached to
faith in Christ or to his sufferings, death, and resurrection, and
of the doctrines of Atonement and Redemption there is nothing in the
Homilies,(1)--everyone must make his own reconciliation with God,
and bear the punishment of his own sins.(2) On the other hand, the
representation of Jesus as the Lamb of God taking away the sins of
the world,(3) is the very basis of the fourth Gospel. The passages are
innumerable in which belief in Jesus is insisted upon as essential. "He
that believeth in the Son hath eternal life, but he that believeth
not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him
"(4)...."for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your
sins."(5) In fact, the "whole of Christianity according to the author
of the fourth Gospel is concentrated in the possession of faith in
Christ.(6) Belief in God alone is never held to be sufficient; belief
in Christ is necessary for salvation; he died for the sins of the world,
and is the object of faith, by which alone forgiveness and justification
before God can be secured.(7) The same discrepancy is apparent in
smaller details. In the Clementines the Apostle Peter


is the principal actor, and is represented as the chief amongst the
Apostles. In the Epistle of Clement to James, which precedes the
Homilies, Peter is described in the following terms: "Simon, who, on
account of his true faith and of the principles of his doctrine, which
were most sure, was appointed to be the foundation of the Church, and
for this reason his name was by the unerring voice of Jesus himself
changed to Peter; the first-fruit of our Lord; the first of the Apostles
to whom first the Father revealed the Son; whom the Christ deservedly
pronounced blessed; the called and chosen and companion and
fellow-traveller (of Jesus); the admirable and approved disciple, who as
fittest of all was commanded to enlighten the West, the darker part
of the world, and was enabled to guide it aright," &C.(1) He is here
represented as the Apostle to the Heathen, the hated Apostle Paul
being robbed of that honourable title, and he is, in the spirit of
this introduction, made to play, throughout, the first part amongst the
Apostles.(2) In the fourth Gospel, however, he is assigned a place quite
secondary to John,(3) who is the disciple whom Jesus loved and who leans
on his bosom.(4) We shall only mention one "other point The Homilist,
when attacking the Apostle Paul, under the


name of Simon the Magician, for his boast that he had not been taught by
man, but by a revelation of Jesus Christ,(1) whom he had only seen in
a vision, inquires: Why, then, did the Teacher remain and discourse
a whole year to us who were awake, if you became his Apostle after a
single hour of instruction?(2) As Neander aptly remarks: "But if the
author had known from the Johannine Gospel that the teaching of
Christ had continued for _several years_, he would certainly have had
particularly good reason instead of one year to set _several_."(3) It is
obvious that an author with so vehement an animosity against Paul
would assuredly have strengthened his argument, by adopting the more
favourable statement of the fourth Gospel as to the duration of the
ministry of Jesus, had he been acquainted with that work.

Our attention must now be turned to the anonymous composition, known as
the "Epistle to Diognetus," general particulars regarding which we have
elsewhere given.(4) This epistle, it is admitted, does not contain
any quotation from any evangelical work, but on the strength of some
supposed references it is claimed by apologists as evidence for the
existence of the fourth Gospel. Tischendorf, who only devotes a dozen
lines to this work, states his case as follows: "Although this short
apologetic epistle contains no precise quotation from any gospel, yet
it contains repeated references to evangelical, and particularly to
Johannine, passages. For when the author writes, ch. 6: 'Christians
dwell in the world, but they are not of the world;' and in


ch. 10: 'For God has loved men, for whose sakes he made the world....
to whom he sent his only begotten Son,' the reference to John xvii. 11
('But they are in the world'); 14 ('The world hateth them, for they are
not of the world'); 16 ('They are not of the world as I am not of the
world'); and to John iii. 16 ('God so loved the world that he gave his
only begotten Son'), is hardly to be mistaken."(1)

Dr. Westcott still more emphatically claims the epistle as evidence for
the fourth Gospel, and we shall, in order impartially to consider the
question, likewise quote his remarks in full upon the point, but as he
introduces his own paraphrase of the context in a manner which does
not properly convey its true nature to a reader who has not the epistle
before him, we shall take the liberty of putting the actual quotations
in italics, and the rest must be taken as purely the language of Canon
Westcott. We shall hereafter show also the exact separation which
exists between phrases which are here, with the mere indication of some
omission, brought together to form the supposed references to the fourth
Gospel. Canon Westcott says: "In one respect the two parts of the
book are united,(2) inasmuch as they both exhibit a combination of the
teaching of St. Paul and St. John. The love of God, it is said in the
letter to Diognetus, is the source of love in the Christian, who
must needs 'love God who thus first loved him' [------], and find an
expression for this love by loving his neighbour,


whereby he will be '_an imitator of God!_' For God loved men, for whose
sakes He made the world, to whom He subjected all things that are in
the earth.... unto whom [------] He sent His only begotten Son, to whom He
promised the kingdom in heaven [------], _and will give it to those who
love Him._' God's will is mercy; '_He sent His Son as wishing to save
[------].... and not to condemn'_ and as witnesses of this, '_Christians
dwell in the world, though they are not of the world!_(1) At the close
of the paragraph he proceeds: "The presence of the teaching of St.
John is here placed beyond all doubt. There are, however, no direct
references to the Gospels throughout the letter, nor indeed any
allusions to our Lord's discourses."(2)

It is clear that as there is no direct reference to any Gospel in the
Epistle to Diognetus, even if it were ascertained to be a composition
dating from the middle of the second century, which it is not, and even
if the indirect allusions were ten times more probable than they are,
this anonymous work could do nothing towards establishing the apostolic
origin and historical character


of the fourth Gospel. Written, however, as we believe it to have been,
at a much later period, it scarcely requires any consideration here.

We shall, however, for those who may be interested in more minutely
discussing the point, at once proceed to examine whether the composition
even indicates the existence of the Gospel, and for this purpose we
shall take each of the passages in question and place them with their
context before the reader; and we only regret that the examination of
a document which, neither from its date nor evidence can be of any real
weight, should detain us so long. The first passage is: "Christians
dwell in the world but are not of the world" [------]. Dr. Westcott,
who reverses the order of all the passages indicated, introduces this
sentence (which occurs in chapter vi.) as the consequence of a passage
following it in chapter vii. by the words "and as witnesses of this:
Christians," &c.... The first parallel which is pointed out in the
Gospel reads, John xvii. 11: "And I am no more in the world, and
these are in the world [------], and I come to thee, Holy Father keep
them,"&c. Now it must be evident that in mere direct point of language
and sense there is no parallel here at all. In the Gospel, the disciples
are referred to as being left behind in the world by Jesus who goes to
the Father, whilst, in the Epistle, the object is the antithesis that
while Christians _dwell_ in the world they are not of the world. In the
second parallel, which is supposed to complete the analogy, the Gospel
reads: v. 14, "I have given them thy word: and the world hated them
because they are not of the world, [------] even as I am not of the
world." Here, again, the parallel words are merely introduced as a
reason why the world hated them, and not antithetically, and from this
very connection we shall see that the resemblance between the Epistle
and the Gospel is merely superficial.

In order to form a correct judgment regarding the nature of the passage
in the Epistle, we must carefully examine the context. In chapter v. the
author is speaking of the manners of Christians, and he says that they
are not distinguished from others either


by country or language or by their customs, for they have neither cities
nor speech of their own, nor do they lead a singular life. They dwell in
their native countries, but only as sojourners [------], and the writer
proceeds by a long sequence of antithetical sentences to depict their
habits. "Every foreign land is as their native country, yet the land of
their birth is a foreign land" [------], and so on. Now this epistle
is in great part a mere plagiarism of the Pauline and other canonical
epistles, whilst professing to describe the actual life of Christians,
and the fifth and sixth chapters, particularly, are based upon the
epistles of Paul and notably the 2nd Epistle to the Corinthians, from
which even the antithetical style is derived. We may give a specimen
of this in referring to the context of the passage before us, and it is
important that we should do so. After a few sentences like the above
the fifth chapter continues: "They are in the flesh, but do not live
according to the flesh. They continue on earth, but are citizens of
heaven "[------].(1)

It is very evident here, and throughout the Epistle, that the Epistles
of Paul chiefly, together with the other canonical Epistles, are the
sources of the writer's inspiration. The next chapter (vi) begins and
proceeds as follows: "To say all in a word: what the soul is in the
body, that Christians are in the world. The soul is dispersed throughout
all the members of the body, and Christians throughout all the cities
of the world. The soul dwells in the body but is not of the body, and
Christians dwell in the world, but are not of the world. [------]. The
invisible soul is kept in the visible body, and Christians are known,
indeed, to be in the world, but their worship of God remains invisible.
The flesh hates the soul and wages war against it, although in no way
wronged by it, because it is restrained from indulgence in sensual
pleasures, and the world hates Christians,


although in no way wronged by them, because they are opposed to sensual
pleasures [------]. The soul loves the flesh that hates it, and the
members, and Christians love those who hate them "[------]. And so on
with three or four similar sentences, one of which, at least, is taken
from the Epistle to the Corinthians,(1) to the end of the chapter.

Now the passages pointed out as references to the fourth Gospel, it will
be remembered, distinctly differ from the parallels in the Gospel, and
it seems to us clear that they arise naturally out of the antithetical
manner which the writer adopts from the Epistles of Paul, and are based
upon passages in those Epistles closely allied to them in sense and
also in language. The simile in connection with which the words occur
is commenced at the beginning of the preceding chapter, where Christians
are represented as living as strangers even in their native land,
and the very essence of the passage in dispute is given in the two
sentences: "They are in the flesh, but do not live according to the
flesh" [------], which is based upon 2 Cor. x. 3, "For we walk in the
flesh, but do not war(2) according to the flesh" [------], and similar
passages abound; as for instance, Rom. viii. 4... "in us who walk not
according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit; 9. But ye are not
in the flesh but in the Spirit [------]: 12...

So then, brethren, we are debtors not to the flesh, that we should live
after the flesh" [------] &c., &c. (Cf. 4, 14.). And the second: "They
continue on earth but are citizens of heaven" [------], which recall
Philip, iii. 20: "For our country (our citizenship) is in heaven"
[------].(3) The sense of the passage is everywhere found, and nothing
is more natural than


the use of the words arising both out of the previous reference to
the position of Christians as mere sojourners in the world, and as the
antithesis to the preceding part of the sentence: "The soul dwells in
the body, but is not of the body," and: "Christians dwell in the world
but are not of the world." Cf. 1 Cor. ii. 12; vii. 31; 2 Cor. L 12. Gal.
iv. 29, v. 16 ff. 24, 25, vi. 14. Rom. viii. 3 ff. Ephes. ii. 2, 3, 11
ff. Coloss. iii. 2 ff: Titus ii. 12. James i. 27. There is one point,
however, which we think shows that the words were not derived from the
fourth Gospel. The parallel with the Epistle can only be made by taking
a few words out of xvii. 11 and adding to them a few words in verse 14,
where they stand in the following connection "And the world hated
them, because they are not of the world" [------]. In the Epistle, in a
passage quoted above, we have: "The flesh hates the soul, and wages war
against it, although unjustly, because it is restrained from indulgence
in sensual pleasures, and the world hates Christians, _although in no
way wronged by them, because they are opposed to sensual pleasures_."
[------].Now nothing could more clearly show that these analogies are
mere accidental coincidence, and not derived from the fourth Gospel,
than this passage. If the writer had really had the passage in the
Gospel in his mind, it is impossible that he could in this manner have
completely broken it up and changed its whole context and language. The
phrase: "they are not of the world" would have been introduced here as
the reason for the hatred, instead of being used with quite different
context elsewhere in the passage. In fact, in the only place in which
the words would have presented a true parallel with the Gospel, they are
not used. Not the slightest reference is made throughout the Epistle to
Diognetus to any of the discourses of Jesus. On the other hand, we
have seen that the whole of the passage in the Epistle in which
these sentences occur is based both in matter, and in its peculiar
antithetical form, upon the Epistles of Paul, and in these and other
canonical Epistles again, we find the source of the sentence just
quoted: Gal. iv. 29. "But as then, he that was born after the flesh


persecuted him (that was born) after the Spirit, even so it is now."(1)
v. 16. "Walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the
flesh. 17. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit
against the flesh: for these are contrary the one to the other, that ye
may not do the things that ye would."(2) There are innumerable passages
in the Pauline Epistles to the same effect.

We pass on now to the next passage in the order of the Epistle. It is
not mentioned at all by Tischendorf: Dr. West-cott introduces it with
the words: "God's will is mercy," by which we presume that he means to
paraphrase the context "He sent his Son as wishing to save [------]....
and not to condemn."(3) This sentence, however, which is given as
quotation without any explanation, is purely a composition by Canon
Westcott himself out of different materials which he finds in the
Epistle, and is not a quotation at all. The actual passage in
the Epistle, with its immediate context, is as follows: "This
(Messenger--the Truth, the holy Word) he sent to them; now, was it,
as one of men might reason, for tyranny and to cause fear and
consternation? Not so, but in clemency and gentleness, as a King sending
his Son [------] a king, he sent [------]; as God he sent (him); as
towards men he sent; as saving he sent[------] (him); as persuading

not forcing, for violence has no place with God. He sent as inviting,
not vindictively pursuing; he sent as loving, not condemning [------].
For he will send him to judge, and who shall abide his presence?"(4) The
supposed parallel in the Gospel is as follows (John iii. 17): "For God
sent not his Son into the world that he might condemn the


world, but that the world through him might be saved"(1) [------].

Now, it is obvious at a glance that the passage in the Epistle is
completely different from that in the Gospel in every material point of
construction and language, and the only similarity consists in the idea
that God's intention in sending his Son was to save and not to condemn,
and it is important to notice that the letter does not, either here
or elsewhere, refer to the condition attached to salvation so clearly
enunciated in the preceding verse: "That whosoever believeth in him
might not perish." The doctrine enunciated in this passage is the
fundamental principle of much of the New Testament, and it is expressed
with more especial clearness and force, and close analogy with the
language of the letter, in the Epistles of Paul, to which the letter
more particularly leads us, as well as in other canonical Epistles, and
in these we find analogies with the context quoted above, which
confirm our belief that they, and not the Gospel, are the source of the
passage--Rom. v. 8: "But God proveth his own love towards us, in that
while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. 9. Much more then.......
shall we be saved [------] through him from the wrath (to come).'" Cf.
16,17. Rom. viii. 1: "There is, therefore, now no condemnation [------]
to them which are in Christ Jesus.(2) 3.... God sending his own Son"
[------] &c. And coming to the very 2nd Epistle to the Corinthians, from
which we find the writer borrowing wholesale, we meet with the different
members of the passage we have quoted: v. 19.... "God was reconciling
the world unto himself in Christ, not reckoning unto them their
trespasses..... 20. On Christ's behalf, then, we are ambassadors,
as though God were entreating by us; we pray on Christ's behalf: Be
reconciled to God. v. 10. For we must all appear before the judgment
seat of Christ, &c. 11. Knowing, then, the fear of


the Lord, we persuade [------] men," &c. Galatians iv. 4: "But when the
fulness of time came, God sent out his Son [------], 5. That he might
redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption
of sons,"(1) &c. Ephes. ii. 4. "But God being rich in mercy because of
his great love wherewith he loved us, 5. Even when we were dead in our
trespasses, quickened us together with Christ--by grace ye have been
saved"--cf. verses 7,8. 1 Thess. v. 9. "For God appointed us not to
wrath, but to the obtaining salvation [------] through our Lord Jesus
Christ." 1 Tim. i. 15. "This is a faithful saying.... that Christ Jesus
came into the world to save sinners" [------]. 1 Tim. ii. 3. "For this
is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour [------]. 4. Who
willeth all men to be saved "[------]. Cf. v. 5, 6. 2 Tim. i. 9. "Who
saved us [------], and called us with a holy calling, not according to
our works, but according to his own purpose, and the grace which was
given to us in Christ Jesus before time began; 10. But hath been made
manifest by the appearing of our Saviour [------] Jesus Christ"3 These
passages might be indefinitely multiplied; and they contain the sense
of the passage, and in many cases the language, more closely than the
fourth Gospel, with which the construction and form of the sentence has
no analogy. Now, with regard to the Logos doctrine of the Epistle to


Diognetus, to which we may appropriately here refer, although we
must deal with it in the briefest manner possible, so far is it from
connecting the Epistle with the fourth Gospel, that it much more proves
the writer's ignorance of that Gospel. The peculiar terminology of the
prologue to the Gospel is nowhere found in the Epistle, and we have
already seen that the term Logos was applied to Jesus in works of the
New Testament, acknowledged by all to have been written long before the
fourth Gospel. Indeed, it is quite certain, not only historically, but
also from the abrupt enunciation of the doctrine in the prologue, that
the theory of the Logos was well known and already applied to Jesus
before the Gospel was composed. The author knew that his statement would
be understood without explanation. Although the writer of the Epistle
makes use of the designation "Logos," he shows his Greek culture by
giving the precedence to the term Truth or Reason. It has indeed been
remarked(1) that the name Jesus or Christ does not occur anywhere in the
Epistle. By way of showing the manner in which "the Word" is spoken
of, we will give the entire passage, part of which is quoted above; the
first and only one in the first ten chapters in which the term is used:
"For, as I said, this was not an earthly invention which was delivered
to them (Christians), neither is it a mortal system which they deem
it right to maintain so carefully; nor is an administration of human
mysteries entrusted to them, but the Almighty and invisible God himself,
the Creator of all things [------] has implanted in men, and established
in their hearts from heaven, the Truth and the Word, the holy and
incomprehensible [------], not as one might suppose, sending to men some
servant or angel or ruler [------], or one of those ordering earthly
affairs, or one of those entrusted with the government of heavenly
things, but the artificer and creator of the universe [------] himself,
by whom he created the heavens [------];(3) by


whom he confined the sea within its own bounds; whose commands [------]
all the stars [------]--elements) faithfully observe; from whom (the
sun) has received the measure of the daily course to observe; whom
the moon obeys, being bidden to shine at night; whom the stars obey,
following in the course of the moon; by whom all things have been
arranged and limited and subjected, the heavens and the things in the
heavens, the earth and the things in the earth, the sea and the things
in the sea [------], fire, air, abyss, the things in the heights,
the things in the depths, the things in the space between. This
(Messenger--the truth, the Word) he sent to them. Now, was it, as one of
men might reason, for tyranny and to cause fear and consternation? Not
so, but in clemency and gentleness, as a King sending his Son, a king,
he sent; as God he sent (him); as towards men he sent, as saving he sent
(him); as persuading," &c., &c.(1) The description here given, how
God in fact by Reason or Wisdom created the Universe, has much closer
analogy with earlier representations of the doctrine than with that in
the fourth Gospel, and if the writer does also represent the Reason in
a hypostatic form, it is by no means with the concreteness of the Gospel
doctrine of the Logos, with which linguistically, moreover, as we
have observed, it has no similarity. There can be no doubt that his
Christology presents differences from that of the fourth Gospel.(2)

We have already seen how Jesus is called the Word in works of the New
Testament earlier than the fourth Gospel,(3) and how the doctrine is
constantly referred to in the Pauline Epistles and the Epistle to the
Hebrews, and it is to these, and not to the fourth Gospel, that the
account in the Epistle to Diognetus may be more properly traced. Heb. L
2. "The Son of God by whom also he made the worlds. 10. The heavens are
works of thy hands" [------]. xi. 3. "By faith we understand that the
worlds were framed [------], by the word of God" [------]. 1 Cor. viii.
6. "Jesus Christ by whom are all things" [------]. Coloss. i. 13. "...


Son of his love: 15. Who is the image of the invisible God [------] the
first-born of all creation; 16. Because in him were all things created,
the things in the heavens, and the things in the earth, the things
visible and the things invisible [------] whether they be thrones or
dominions, or principalities, or powers; All things have been created
by him and for him [------]. 17. And he is before all things, and in him
all things subsist. 18. And he is the head of the body, the Church, who
is the Beginning(1) [------]; the first-born from the dead; that in all
things he might be the first. 19. Because he was well pleased that in
him should all the fulness dwell. 20. And through him to reconcile
all things unto himself," &c., &c. These passages might be greatly
multiplied, but it is unnecessary, for the matter of the letter is
substantially here. As to the titles of King and God they are everywhere
to be found. In the Apocalypse, the Lamb whose name is "The Word of God"
[------], (xix. 18) has also his name written (xix. 16), "King of kings
and Lord of lords" [------].(2) We have already quoted the views of
Philo regarding the Logos, which also merit comparison with the passage
of the Epistle, but we cannot repeat them here.

The last passage to which we have to refer is the following: "For God
loved men, for whose sakes He made the world, to whom He subjected
all things that are in the earth... Unto whom [------] He sent his
only-begotten Son, to whom He promised the kingdom in heaven [------]
and will give it to those who love Him."(3) The context is as follows:
"For God loved men [------] for whose sake he made the world, to whom
he subjected all things that are in it, to whom he gave reason and
intelligence, to whom alone he granted the right of looking towards him,
whom he formed after his own image, to whom he sent his only begotten
son [------], to whom he has promised the kingdom in heaven, and will
give it to those who have loved him. And when you know this, with what


gladness, think you, you will be filled? Or how will you love him,
who beforehand so loved you? [------]. But if you love, you will be
an _imitator of his kindness_," &c. [------].(1) This is claimed as a
reference to John iii. 16 f. "For God so loved the world [------] that
he gave his only begotten son [------] that whosoever believeth in him
might not perish," &c. 17. "For God sent not his son into the world
that he might judge the world," &c. [------]. Here, again, a sentence is
patched together by taking fragments from the beginning and middle of a
passage, and finding in them a superficial resemblance to words in the
Gospel. We find parallels for the passage, however, in the Epistles from
which the unknown writer obviously derives so much of his matter. Rom.
v. 8: "But God giveth proof of his love towards us, in that while we
were yet sinners Christ died for us. 10.... through the death of his
son." Chap. viii. 8, "God sending his son, &c. 29.... Them he also
foreordained to bear the likeness of the image of his son, &c. 32. He
that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all," &c. 39.
(Nothing can separate us) "from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus
our Lord." Gal. ii. 20.... "by the faith of the Son of God who loved me
and gave himself for me." Chap. iv. 4. "God sent out his son [------]
.... that he might redeem," &c. Ephes. ii. 4. "But God being rich in
mercy because of his great love wherewith he loved us. 5. Even when we
were dead in our trespasses hath quickened us together with Christ. 7.
That he might show forth the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness
[------] towards us in Christ Jesus." Chap. iv. 32. "Be ye kind [------]
one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God also
in Christ forgave you."* Chap. v. 1. "Beye therefore imitators [------]
of God as beloved children. 2. And walk


in love [------] even as Christ also loved you [------], and gave
himself for us," &c., &c. Titus iii. 4. "But when the kindness [------]
and love towards men [------] of our Saviour God was manifested. 5...
according to his mercy he saved us.... 6.... through Jesus Christ our
Saviour. 7. That being justified by his grace, we should become heirs
according to the hope of Eternal life."

The words: "Or how will you love him who so beforehand loved you?"
[------], Canon Westcott refers to 1 John iv. 19, "We love God(2)
because he first loved us" [------]. The linguistic differences,
however, and specially the substitution of [------], distinctly oppose
the claim. The words are a perfectly natural comment upon the words in
Ephesians, from which it is obvious the writer derived other parts
of the sentence, as the striking word "kindness" [------], which is
commonly used in the Pauline Epistles, but nowhere else in the New
Testament,(3) shows.

Dr. Westcott "cannot call to mind, a parallel to the phrase 'the kingdom
in heaven'"(4) which occurs above in the phrase "to whom he has promised
the kingdom in heaven, and will give it to those who have loved
him" [------]. This also we find in the Epistles to which the writer
exclusively refers in this letter: James il 5, "heirs of the kingdom
which he promised to them that love him" [------] i. 12. "... he shall
receive the crown of life which he promised to them that love him"
[------]. In 2 Tim. iv. 18, we have: "The Lord... shall preserve me safe
unto his heavenly kingdom" [------](5)

The very fact that there is no exact parallel to the phrase "kingdom in
heaven" in our Gospels is unfavourable to the argument that they were
used by the author. Whatever evangelical works he may have read,


it is indisputable that the writer of this Epistle does not quote any of
them, and he uses no expressions and no terminology which warrants the
inference that he must have been acquainted with the fourth Gospel.

As we have already stated, the writer of the Epistle to Diognetus is
unknown; Diognetus, the friend to whom it is addressed, is equally
unknown; the letter is neither mentioned nor quoted by any of the
Fathers, nor by any ancient writer, and there is no external evidence as
to the date of the composition. It existed only in one codex, destroyed
at Strasburg during the Franco-German war, the handwriting of which was
referred to the thirteenth or fourteenth century, but it is far from
certain that it was so old. The last two chapters are a falsification
by a later writer than the author of the first ten. There is no internal
evidence whatever in this brief didactic composition requiring or even
suggesting its assignment to the second or third centuries, but on the
contrary, we venture to assert that there is evidence, both internal and
external, justifying the belief that it was written at a comparatively
recent date. Apart from the uncertainty of date, however, there is no
allusion in it to any Gospel. Even if there were, the testimony of a
letter by an unknown writer at an unknown period could not have any
weight, but under the actual circumstances the Epistle to Diognetus
furnishes absolutely no testimony at all for the apostolical origin and
historical character of the fourth Gospel.(1)

The fulness with which we have discussed the supposed testimony of
Basilides(2) renders it unnecessary for us to re-enter at any
length into the argument as to his knowledge of the fourth Gospel.
Tischendorf(3) and


Canon Westcott(l) assert that two passages, namely: "The true light
which lighteth every man came into the world," corresponding with John
i. 9, and: "mine hour is not yet come," agreeing with John ii. 4, which
are introduced by Hippolytus in his work against Heresies(2) with a
subjectless [------]" he says,"are quotations made in some lost work by
Basilides. We have shown that Hippolytus and other writers of his time
were in the habit of quoting passages from works by the founders of
sects and by their later followers without any distinction, an utterly
vague [------] doing service equally for all. This is the case in the
present instance, and there is no legitimate reason for assigning
these passages to Basilides himself,(3) but on the contrary many
considerations which forbid our doing so, which we have elsewhere

These remarks most fully apply to Valentinus, whose supposed quotations
we have exhaustively discussed,(4) as well as the one passage given by
Hippolytus containing a sentence found in John x. 8,(5) the only one
which can be pointed out. "We have distinctly proved that the quotations
in question are not assignable to Valentinus himself, a fact which
even apologists admit. There is no just ground for asserting that his
terminology was derived from the fourth Gospel, the whole having been in
current use long before that Gospel was composed.


There is no evidence whatever that Valentin us was acquainted with such
a work.(1)

We must generally remark, however, with regard to Basilides, Valentinus
and all such Heresiarchs and writers, that, even if it could be shown,
as actually it cannot, that they were acquainted with the fourth Gospel,
the fact would only prove the existence of the work at a late period in
the second century, but would furnish no evidence of the slightest value
regarding its apostolic origin, or towards establishing its historical
value. On the other hand, if, as apologists assert, these heretics
possessed the fourth Gospel, their deliberate and total rejection of
the work furnishes evidence positively antagonistic to its claims. It
is difficult to decide whether their rejection of the Gospel, or their
ignorance of its existence is the more unfavourable alternative.

The dilemma is the very same in the case of Marcion. We have already
fully discussed his knowledge of our Gospels,(2) and need not add
anything here. It is not pretended that he made any use of the fourth
Gospel, and the only ground upon which it is argued that he supplies
evidence even of its existence is the vague general statement of
Tertullian, that Marcion rejected the Gospels "which are put forth as
genuine, and under the name of Apostles or at least of contemporaries
of the Apostles," denying their truth and integrity, and maintaining the


authority of his own Gospel.(1) We have shown(2) how unwarrantable it is
to affirm from such data that Marcion knew, and deliberately repudiated,
the four canonical Gospels. The Fathers, with uncritical haste and
zeal, assumed that the Gospels adopted by the Church at the close of
the second and beginning of the third centuries must equally have been
invested with canonical authority from the first, and Tertullian took
it for granted that Marcion, of whom he knew very little, must have
actually rejected the four Gospels of his own Canon. Even Canon Westcott
admits that: "it is uncertain whether Tertullian in the passage quoted
speaks from a knowledge of what Marcion may have written on the subject,
or simply from his own point of sight."(3) There is not the slightest
evidence that Marcion knew the fourth Gospel,(4) and if he did, it is
perfectly inexplicable that he did not adopt it as peculiarly
favourable to his own views.(5) If he was acquainted with the work and,
nevertheless, rejected it as false and adulterated, his testimony is
obviously opposed to the Apostolic origin and historical accuracy of
the fourth Gospel, and the critical acumen which he exhibited in his
selection of the Pauline Epistles renders his judgment of greater weight
than that of most of the Fathers.

We have now reached an epoch when no evidence regarding the fourth
Gospel can have much weight,


and the remaining witnesses need not detain us long. "We have discussed
at length the Diatessaron of Tatian,(1) and shown that whilst there is
no evidence that it was based upon our four Gospels, there is reason to
believe that it may have been identical with the Gospel according to the
Hebrews, by which name, as Epiphanius(2) states, it was actually called.
We have only now briefly to refer to the address to the Greeks [------],

to ascertain what testimony it bears regarding the fourth Gospel. It was
composed after the death of Justin, and scarcely dates earlier than the
beginning of the last quarter of the second century. No Gospel and
no work of the New Testament is mentioned in this composition, but
Tischendorf(3) and others point out one or two supposed references
to passages in the fourth Gospel. The first of these in order, is one
indicated by Canon Westcott,(4) but to which Tischendorf does not call
attention: "God was in the beginning, but we have learned that the
beginning is the power of Reason [------]. For the Lord of the Universe
[------] being himself the substance [------] of all, in that creation
had not been accomplished was alone, but inasmuch as he was all power,
and himself the substance of things visible and invisible, all things
were with him [------].

With him by means of rational power the Reason [------] itself also
which was in him subsisted. But by the will of his simplicity, Reason
[------] springs forth; but the Reason [------] not


proceeding in vain, because the first-born work [------] of the Father.
Him we know to be the Beginning of the world [------]. But he came into
existence by division, not by cutting off, for that which is cut off
is separated from the first: but that which is divided, receiving the
choice of administration, did not render him defective from whom it was
taken, &c., &c. And as the Logos (Reason), in the beginning begotten,
begat again our creation, himself for himself creating the matter
[------], so I," &c., &C.(1)

It is quite evident that this doctrine of the Logos is not that of the
fourth Gospel, from which it cannot have been derived. Tatian himself(2)
seems to assert that he derived it from the Old Testament. We have
quoted the passage at length that it might be clearly


understood; and with the opening words, we presume, for he does not
quote at all but merely indicates the chapter, Canon Westcott compares
John i. 1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
God, and the Word was God" [------]. The statement of Tatian is quite
different; _God_ was in the beginning" [------], and he certainly did
not identify the Word with God, so as to transform the statement of the
Gospel into this simple affirmation. In all probability his formula
was merely based upon Genesis i. 1: "In the beginning God created the
heavens and the earth" [------].(1)1 The expressions: "But we have
learned that the Beginning [------] was the power of Reason," &c., "but
the Reason [------] not proceeding in vain became the first-born work
[------] of the Father. Him we know to be the Beginning [------] of the
world," recall many early representations of the Logos, to which we have
already, referred: Pro v. viii. 22: "The Lord created me the Beginning
[------] of ways for his works [------], 23. Before the ages he
established me, in the beginning [------] before he made the earth,"
&c., &c. In the Apocalypse also the Word is called "the Beginning
[------] of the creation of God," and it will be remembered that Justin
gives testimony from Prov. viii. 21 if. "that God begat before all the
creatures a Beginning [------] a certain rational Power [------], out
of himself," 2 &c., &c., and elsewhere: "As the Logos declared through
Solomon, that this same.... had been begotten of God, before all created
beings, both Beginning [------]" &c.(3) We need not, however, refer to


the numerous passages in Philo and in Justin, not derived from the
fourth Gospel, which point to a different source for Tatian's doctrine.
It is sufficient that both his opinions and his terminology differ
distinctly from that Gospel.(1)

The next passage we at once subjoin in contrast with the parallel in the
fourth Gospel: [------]

The context to this passage in the Oration is as follows: Tatian is
arguing about the immortality of the soul, and he states that the
soul is not in itself immortal but mortal, but that nevertheless it is
possible for it not to die. If it do not know the truth it dies, but
rises again at the end of the world, receiving eternal death as a
punishment. "Again, however, it does not die, though it be for a time
dissolved, if it has acquired knowledge of God; for in itself it is
darkness, and there is nothing luminous in it, and this, therefore, is
(the meaning of) the saying: The darkness comprehends not the light. For
the soul [------] did not itself save the spirit [------], but was saved
by it, and the light comprehended the darkness. The Logos (Reason) truly
is the light of God, but the ignorant soul is darkness [------]. For
this reason, if it remain

     1 We have already mentioned that the Gospel according to
     Peter contained the doctrine of the Logos.


alone, it tends downwards to matter, dying with the flesh," &c., &c.(1)
The source of "the saying" is not mentioned, and it is evident that,
even if it were taken to be a reference to the fourth Gospel, nothing
would thereby be proved but the mere existence of the Gospel. "The
saying," however, is distinctly different in language from the parallel
in the Gospel, and it may be from a different Gospel. We have already
remarked that Philo calls the Logos "the Light,"(2) and quoting in a
peculiar form Ps. xxvi. 1: "For the Lord is my light [------] and my
Saviour," he goes on to say that, as the sun divides day and night, so,
Moses says, "God divides light and darkness" [------].(3) When we turn
away to things of sense we use "another light," which is in no way
different from "darkness."(4) The constant use of the same similitude of
Light and darkness in the Canonical Epistles(5) shows how current it
was in the Church; and nothing is more certain than the fact that it was
neither originated by, nor confined to, the fourth Gospel.

The third and last passage is as follows:



Tatian here speaks of God, and not of the Logos, and in this respect,
as well as in language and context, the passage differs from the fourth
Gospel. The phrase is not introduced as a quotation, and no reference
is made to any Gospel. The purpose for which the words are used, again,
rather points to the first chapters of Genesis than to the dogmatic
prologue enunciating the doctrine of the Logos.(1) Under all these
circumstances, the source from which the expression may have been
derived cannot with certainty be ascertained and, as in the preceding
instance, even if it be assumed that the words show acquaintance with
the fourth Gospel, nothing could be proved but the mere existence of the
work about a century and a half after the events which it records. It is
obvious that in no case does Tatian afford the slightest evidence of the
Apostolic origin or historical veracity of the fourth Gospel.

Dr. Lightfoot points out another passage, § 4, [------], which he
compares with John iv. 24, where the same words occur. It is right to
add that he himself remarks: "If it had stood alone I should certainly
not have regarded it as decisive. But the epigrammatic form is
remarkable, and it is a characteristic passage of the fourth Gospel.(2)
Neither Tischendorf nor Dr. Westcott refer to it. The fact is, however,
that the epigrammatic form only exists when the phrase is quoted without
its context. "God is a spirit, not pervading matter, but the creator of
material spirits, and of the forms that are in it. He is invisible and
impalpable," &c. &c. Further on, Tatian says (§15), "For the perfect God
is without flesh, but man is flesh." &c. A large


part of the oration is devoted to discussing the nature of God, and
the distinction between spirit [------] and soul [------], and it
is unreasonable to assert that a man like Tatian could not make the
declaration that God is a spirit without quoting the fourth Gospel.

We have generally discussed the testimony of Dionysius of Corinth,(1)
Melito of Sardis,(2) and Claudius Apol-linaris,(3) and need not say more
here. The fragments attributed to them neither mention nor quote
the fourth Gospel, but in no case could they furnish evidence to
authenticate the work. The same remarks apply to Athenagoras.(4) Canon
Westcott only ventures to say that he "appears to allude to passages in
St. Mark and St. John, but they are all anonymous."(5) The passages
in which he speaks of the Logos, which are those referred to here,
are certainly not taken from the fourth Gospel, and his doctrine is
expressed in terminology which is different from that of the Gospel,
and is deeply tinged with Platonism.(6) He appeals to Proverbs viii. 22,
already so frequently quoted by us, for confirmation by the Prophetic
Spirit of his exposition of the Logos doctrine.(7) He nowhere identifies
the Logos with Jesus;(8) indeed he does not once make use of the name
of Christ in his works. He does not show the slightest knowledge of the
doctrine of salvation so constantly enunciated in the fourth Gospel.
There can be no doubt, as we have already shown,(9) that he considered
the Old Testament to


be the only inspired Holy Scriptures. Not only does he not mention nor
quote any of our Gospels, but the only instance in which he makes any
reference to sayings of Jesus, otherwise than by the indefinite [------]
"he says," is one in which he introduces a saying which is not found in
our Gospels by the words: "The Logos again saying to us:" [------], &c.
From the same source, which was obviously not our Canonical Gospels,
we have, therefore, reason to conclude that Athenagoras derived all
his knowledge of Gospel history and doctrine. We need not add that this
writer affords no testimony whatever as to the origin or character of
the fourth Gospel.

It is scarcely worth while to refer to the Epistle of Vienne and Lyons,
a composition dating at the earliest a.d. 177-178, in which no direct
reference is made to any writing of the New Testament.(1) Acquaintance
with the fourth Gospel is argued from the following passage: [------]

Now such a passage cannot prove the use of the fourth Gospel. No source
is indicated in the Epistle from which the saying of Jesus, which of
course apologists assert to be historical, was derived. It presents
decided variations from the parallel in the fourth Gospel; and in the


Synoptics we find sufficient indications of similar discourses l to
render it very probable that other Gospels may have contained the
passage quoted in the Epistle. In no case could an anonymous reference
like this be of any weight as evidence for the Apostolic origin of the
fourth Gospel.

We need not further discuss Ptolemoeus and Heracleon. We have shown(2)
that the date at which these heretics flourished places them beyond
the limits within which we propose to confine ourselves. In regard to

all that is affirmed is that, in the Epistle to Flora ascribed to him,
expressions found in John i. 3 are used. The passage as it is given by
Epiphanius is as follows: "Besides, that the world was created by the
same, the Apostle states (saying all things have been made [------] by
him and without him nothing was made)." [------].(3) Now the supposed
quotation is introduced here in a parenthesis interrupting the sense,
and there is every probability that it was added as an illustration by
Epiphanius, and was not in the Epistle to Flora at all. Omitting the
parenthesis, the sentence is a very palpable reference to the Apostle
Paul, and Coloss. i. 16.(4) In regard to Heraclcon, it is asserted from
the unsupported references of Origen(5) that he wrote a commentary on
the fourth Gospel. Even if this be a fact, there is not a single word
of it preserved by Origen which in the least degree bears upon the
Apostolic origin


and trustworthiness of the Gospel. Neither of these heresiarchs,
therefore, is of any value as a witness for the authenticity of the
fourth Gospel.

The heathen Celsus, as we have shown,(1) wrote at a period when no
evidence which he could well give of his own could have been of much
value in supporting our Gospels. He is pressed into service,(2) however,
because after alluding to various circumstances of Gospel history he
says: "These things, therefore, being taken out of your own writings, we
have no need of other testimony, for you fall upon your own swords,"(3)
and in another place he says that certain Christians "alter the Gospel
from its first written form in three-fold, four-fold, and many-fold
ways, and re-mould it in order to have the means of contradicting the
arguments (of opponents)." (4) This is supposed to refer to the four
Canonical Gospels. Apart from the fact that Origen replies to the first
of these passages, that Celsus has brought forward much concerning Jesus
which is not in accordance with the narratives of the Gospels, it is
unreasonable to limit the accusation of "many-fold" corruption to
four Gospels, when it is undeniable that the Gospels and writings long
current in the Church were very numerous. In any case, what could such
a statement as this do towards establishing the Apostolic origin and
credibility of the fourth Gospel?

We might pass over the _Canon of Muratori_ entirely,


as being beyond the limit of time to which we confine ourselves,(1) but
the unknown writer of the fragment gives a legend with regard to the
composition of the fourth Gospel which we may quote here, although
its obviously mythical character renders it of no value as evidence
regarding the authorship of the Gospel. The writer says:

Quarti euangeliorum Iohannis ex decipolis Cohortantibus condescipulis et
episcopis suis dixit conieiunate mihi hodie triduo et quid cuique fuerit
reuelatum alterutrum nobis ennarremus eadem nocte reue latum Andrew
ex apostolis ut recognis centibus cunctis Iohannis suo nomine cuncta
describeret et ideo (2) licit uaria sin culis euangeliorum libris
principia docoantur nihil tamen diffort creden tium fidei cum uno ac
principali spiritu de clarata sint in omnibus omnia de natiui tate de
passione de resurrectione de conuersatione cum decipulis suis ac de
gemino eius aduentu primo in humilitate dispectus quod fo... .u (3)
secundum potestate regali... pre clarum quod futurum est (4) quid
ergo minim si Iohannes tarn constanter sincula etiam in epistulis suis
proferat dicens in semeipsu quae uidimus oculis nostris et auribus
audiuimus et manus nostra palpauerunt heec scripsimus nobis sic enim
non solum uisurem sed et auditorem sed et scriptorem omnium mirabilium
domini per ordi nem profetetur


"The fourth of the Gospels, of John, one of the disciples. To his
fellow-disciples and bishops (Episcopis) urging him he said: 'Fast with
me to-day for three days, and let us relate to each other that which
shall be revealed to each.' On the same night it was revealed to Andrew,
one of the Apostles, that, with the supervision of all, John should
relate all things in his own name. And, therefore, though various
principles (principia) are taught by each book of the Gospels,
nevertheless it makes no difference to the faith of believers, since,
in all, all things are declared by one ruling Spirit concerning
the nativity, concerning the passion, concerning the resurrection,
concerning the intercourse with the disciples, and concerning his double
advent; the first in lowliness of estate, which has taken place, the
second in regal power and splendour, which is still future. What
wonder, therefore, if John should so constantly bring forward each thing
(singula) also in his Epistles, saying in regard to himself: The things
which we have seen with our eyes, and have heard with our ears, and our
hands have handled, these things have we written unto you. For thus he
professes himself not only an eye-witness and hearer, but also a writer
of all the wonders of the Lord in order."

It is obvious that in this passage we have an apologetic defence of the
fourth Gospel,(1) which unmistakably implies antecedent denial of its
authority and apostolic origin. The writer not only ascribes it to John,
but he clothes it with the united authority of the rest of the Apostles,


a manner which very possibly aims at explaining the supplementary
chapter xxi., with its testimony to the truth of the preceding
narrative. In his zeal, the writer goes so far as to falsify a passage
of the Epistle, and convert it into a declaration by the author of the
letter himself that he had written the Gospel. "'The things which we
have seen, &c., these things have we written unto you' (hæc scripsi-mus
vobis).(1) For thus he professes himself not only an eye-witness and
hearer, but also a writer of all the wonders of the Lord in order."
Credner argues that in speaking of John as "one of the disciples" (ex
discipulis), and of Andrew as "one of the Apostles," the writer intends
to distinguish between John the disciple, who wrote the Gospel and
Epistle, and John the Apostle, who wrote the Apocalypse, and that it was
for this reason that he sought to dignify him by a special revelation,
through the Apostle Andrew, selecting him to write the Gospel. Credner,
therefore, concludes that here we have an ancient ecclesiastical
tradition ascribing the Gospel and first Epistle to one of the disciples
of Jesus different from the Apostle John.(2) Into this, however, we need
not enter, nor is it necessary for us to demonstrate the mythical nature
of this narrative regarding the origin of the Gospel. We have merely
given this extract from the fragment to make our statement regarding it
complete. Not only is the evidence of the fragment of no value, from the
lateness of its date and the uncritical character of its author, but a
vague and fabulous tradition recorded by an unknown writer could not, in
any case, furnish testimony calculated to establish the Apostolic origin
and trustworthiness of the fourth Gospel.



The result of our inquiry into the evidence for the fourth Gospel is
sufficiently decided to render further examination unnecessary. We have
seen that, for some century and a half after the events recorded in
the work, there is not only no testimony whatever connecting the fourth
Gospel with the Apostle John, but no certain trace even of the existence
of the Gospel. There has not been the slightest evidence in any of the
writings of the Fathers which we have examined even of a tradition that
the Apostle John had composed any evangelical work at all, and the claim
advanced in favour of the Christian miracles to contemporaneous evidence
of extraordinary force and veracity by undoubted eye-witnesses so
completely falls to the ground, that we might here well bring this
part of our inquiry to a close. There are, however, so many peculiar
circumstances connected with the fourth Gospel, both in regard to its
authorship and to its relationship with the three Synoptics, which
invite further attention, that we propose briefly to review some of
them. We must, however, carefully restrict ourselves to the limits
of our inquiry, and resist any temptation to enter upon an exhaustive
discussion of the problem presented by the fourth Gospel from a more
general literary point of view.


The endeavour to obtain some positive, or at least negative, information
regarding the author of the fourth Gospel is facilitated by the fact
that several other works in the New Testament Canon are ascribed to him.
These works present such marked and distinct characteristics that, apart
from the fact that their number extends the range of evidence, they
afford an unusual opportunity of testing the tradition which assigns
them all to the Apostle John, by comparing the clear indications which
they give of the idiosyncrasies of their author with the independent
data which we possess regarding the history and character of the
Apostle. It is asserted by the Church that John the son of Zebedee, one
of the disciples of Jesus, is the composer of no less than five of our
canonical writings, and it would be impossible to select any books of
our New Testament presenting more distinct features, or more widely
divergent views, than are to be found in the Apocalypse on the one hand,
and the Gospel and three Epistles on the other. Whilst a strong family
likeness exists between the Epistles and the Gospel, and they exhibit
close analogies both in thought and language, the Apocalypse, on the
contrary, is so different from them in language, in style, in religious
views and terminology, that it is almost impossible to believe that the
writer of the one could be the author of the other. The translators of
our New Testament have laboured, and not in vain, to eliminate as far
as possible all individuality of style and language, and to reduce
the various books of which it is composed to one uniform smoothness of
diction. It is, therefore, impossible for the mere English reader to
appreciate the immense difference which exists between the harsh and
Hebraistic Greek of the Apocalypse and the polished


elegance of the fourth Gospel, and it is to be feared that the rarity
of critical study has prevented any general recognition of the almost
equally striking contrast of thought between the two works. The
remarkable peculiarities which distinguish the Apocalypse and Gospel
of John, however, were very early appreciated, and almost the first
application of critical judgment to the Canonical books of the New
Testament is the argument of Dionysius Bishop of Alexandria, about the
middle of the third century, that the author of the fourth Gospel
could not be the writer of the Book of Revelation.(1) The dogmatic
predilections which at that time had begun to turn against the
Apocalypse, the nonfulfilment of the prophecies of which disappointed
and puzzled the early Church, led Dionysius to solve the difficulty by
deciding in favour of the authenticity of the Gospel, but at least he
recognized the dilemma which has since occupied so much of biblical

It is not necessary to enter upon any exhaustive analysis of the
Apocalypse and Gospel to demonstrate anew that both works cannot have
emanated from the same mind. This has already been conclusively done by
others. Some apologetic writers,--greatly influenced, no doubt, by the
express declaration of the Church, and satisfied by analogies which
could scarcely fail to exist between two works dealing with a similar
theme,--together with a very few independent critics, have asserted the
authenticity of both works.(2) The great majority of


critics, however, have fully admitted the impossibility of recognizing
a common source for the fourth Gospel and the Apocalypse of John.(1) The
critical question regarding the two works has, in fact, reduced itself
to the dilemma which may be expressed as follows, in the words of
Llicke: "Either the Gospel and the first Epistle are genuine writings of
the Apostle John, and in that case the Apocalypse is no genuine work of
that Apostle, or the inverse."(2) After an elaborate comparison of the
two writings, the same writer, who certainly will not be suspected of
wilfully subversive criticism, resumes: "The difference between the
language, way


of expression, and mode of thought and doctrine of the Apocalypse and
the rest of the Johannine writings, is so comprehensive and intense, so
individual and so radical; the affinity and agreement, on the
contrary, are so general, and in details so fragmentary and uncertain
(zuruckweichend), that the Apostle John, if he really he the author
of the Gospel and of the Epistle--which we here assume--cannot have
composed the Apocalypse either before or after the Gospel and the
Epistle. If all critical experience and rules in such literary questions
are not deceptive, it is certain that the Evangelist and Apocalyptist
are two different persons of the name of John,"(l) &c.

De Wette, another conservative critic, speaks with equal decision. After
an able comparison of the two works, he says: "From all this it follows
(and in New Testament criticism no result is more certain), that the
Apostle John, if he be the author of the fourth Gospel and of the
Johannine Epistles, did not write the Apocalypse, or, if the Apocalypse
be his work, that he is not the author of the other writings."(2) Ewald
is equally positive: "Above all," he says, "we should err in tracing
this work (the Gospel) to the Apostle, if the Apocalypse of the New
Testament were by him. That this much earlier writing cannot have been
composed by the author of the later is an axiom which I consider I have
already, (in 1826-28) so convincingly demonstrated, that it would be
superfluous now to return to it, especially as, since then, all men
capable of forming a judgment are of the same opinion, and what has been
brought forward by a few writers against it too clearly depends upon


influences foreign to science."(1) We may, therefore, consider the point
generally admitted, and proceed very briefly to discuss the question
upon this basis.

The external evidence that the Apostle John wrote the Apocalypse is more
ancient than that for the authorship of any book of the New Testament,
excepting some of the Epistles of Paul, and this is admitted even by
critics who ultimately deny the authenticity of the work.(2) Passing
over the very probable statement of Andrew of Cæsarea,(3) that Papias
recognized the Apocalypse as an inspired work, and the inference drawn
from this fact that he referred it to the Apostle, we at once proceed to
Justin Martyr, who affirms in the clearest and most positive manner the
Apostolic origin of the work. He speaks to Tryphon of "a certain man
whose name was John, one of the Apostles of Christ, who prophesied by
a revelation made to him," of the Millennium, and subsequent general
resurrection and judgment.(4) The statement of Justin is all the more
important from the fact that he does not name any other writing of the
New Testament, and that the Old Testament was still for him the only
Holy Scripture. The genuineness of this


testimony is not called in question by any one. Eusebius states that
Melito of Sardis wrote a work on the Apocalypse of John,(1) and Jerome
mentions the treatise.(2) There can be no doubt that had Melito thrown
the slightest doubt on the Apostolic origin of the Apocalypse, Eusebius,
whose dogmatic views led him to depreciate that writing, would have
referred to the fact. Eusebius also mentions that Apollonius, a
Presbyter of Ephesus, quoted the Apocalypse against the Montanists,
and there is reason to suppose that he did so as an Apostolic work.(3)
Eusebius further states that Theophilus of Antioch made use of testimony
from the Apocalypse of John;(4) but although, as Eusebius does not
mention anything to the contrary, it is probable that Theophilus really
recognized the book to be by John the Apostle, the uncritical haste of
Eusebius renders his vague statement of little value. We do not think
it worth while to quote the evidence of later writers. Although Irenæus,
who repeatedly assigns the Apocalypse to John, the disciple of the
Lord,(5) is cited by Apologists as a very important witness, more
especially from his intercourse with Polycarp, we do not attribute any
value to his testimony, both from the late date at which he wrote, and
from the uncritical and credulous character of his mind. Although he
appeals to the testimony of those "who saw John face to face" with
regard to the number of the name of the Beast, his own utter ignorance
of the interpretation shows how little information he can have derived
from Polycarp.(6) The same remarks apply still more strongly to
Tertullian, who, however, most


unhesitatingly assigns the Apocalypse to the Apostle John.(1) It would
be useless more particularly to refer to later evidence, however,
or quote even the decided testimony in its favour of Clement of
Alexandria,(2) or Origen.(3)

The first doubt cast upon the authenticity of the Apocalypse occurs in
the argument of Dionysius of Alexandria, one of the disciples of Origen,
in the middle of the third century. He mentions that some had objected
to the whole work as without sense or reason, and as displaying such
dense ignorance, that it was impossible that an Apostle or even one in
the Church, could have written it, and they assigned it to Cerinthus,
who held the doctrine of the reign of Christ on earth.(4) These
objections, it is obvious, are merely dogmatic, and do not affect to be
historical. They are in fact a good illustration of the method by
which the Canon was formed. If the doctrine of any writing met with the
approval of the early Church, it was accepted with unhesitating faith,
and its pretension to Apostolic origin was admitted as a natural
consequence; but if, on the other hand, the doctrine of the writing
was not clearly that of the community, it was rejected without further
examination. It is an undeniable fact, that not a single trace exists of
the application of historical criticism to any book of the New Testament
in the early ages of Christianity. The case of the Apocalypse is most
intelligible:--so long as the expectation and hope of a second advent
and of a personal reign of the risen and glorified Christ, of the
prevalence of which we have abundant testimony in the Pauline Epistles
and other early works, continued to animate the Church, the


Apocalypse which excited and fostered them was a popular volume: but as
years passed away and the general longing of Christians, eagerly marking
the signs of the times, was again and again disappointed, and the hope
of a Millennium began either to be abandoned or indefinitely postponed,
the Apocalypse proportionately lost favour, or was regarded as an
incomprehensible book misleading the world by illusory promises. Its
history is that of a highly dogmatic treatise esteemed or contemned in
proportion to the ebb and flow of opinion regarding the doctrines which
it expresses.

The objections of Dionysius, resting first upon dogmatic grounds and his
inability to understand the Apocalyptic utterances of the book, took the
shape we have mentioned of a critical dilemma:--The author of the Gospel
could not at the same time be the author of the Apocalypse. Dogmatic
predilection decided the question in favour of the apostolic origin of
the fourth Gospel, and the reasoning by which that decision is arrived
at has, therefore, no critical force or value. The fact still remains
that Justin Martyr distinctly refers to the Apocalypse as the work of
the Apostle John and, as we have seen, no similar testimony exists in
support of the claims of the fourth Gospel.

As another most important point, we may mention that there is
probably not another work of the New Testament the precise date of the
composition of which, within a very few weeks, can so positively be
affirmed. No result of criticism rests upon a more secure basis and is
now more universally accepted by all competent critics than the fact
that the Apocalypse was written in A.D. 68-69.(1) The writer distinctly
and repeatedly mentions his name: i. 1, "The revelation of Jesus


unto his servant John;"(1) i. 4, "John to the seven churches which are
in Asia;"(2) and he states that the work was written in the island of
Patmos where he was "on account of the Word of God and the testimony of
Jesus."(3) Ewald, who decides in the most arbitrary manner against the
authenticity of the Apocalypse and in favour of the Johannine authorship
of the Gospel, objects that the author, although he certainly calls
himself John, does not assume to be an Apostle, but merely terms
himself the servant [------] of Christ like other true Christians, and
distinctly classes himself amongst the Prophets(4) and not amongst the
Apostles.(5) We find, however, that Paul, who was not apt to waive his
claims to the Apostolate, was content to call himself: "Paul a servant
[------] of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle," in writing to the
Romans; (i. 1) and the superscription of the Epistle to the Philippians
is: "Paul and Timothy servants [------] of Christ Jesus."(6) There was,
moreover, reason why


the author of the Book of Revelation, a work the form of which was
decidedly based upon that of Daniel and other Jewish Apocalyptic
writings, should rather adopt the character of Prophet than the less
suitable designation of Apostle upon such an occasion. It is clear that
he counted fully upon being generally known under the simple designation
of "John," and when we consider the unmistakeable terms of authority
with which he addresses the Seven Churches, it is scarcely possible to
deny that the writer either was the Apostle, or distinctly desired to
assume his personality. It is not necessary for us here to enter into
any discussion regarding the "Presbyter John," for it is generally
admitted that even he could not have had at that time any position
in Asia Minor which could have warranted such a tone. If the name of
Apostle, therefore, be not directly assumed--and it was not necessary to
assume it--the authority of one is undeniably inferred.

Ewald, however, argues that, on the contrary, the author could not more
clearly express that he was not one of the Twelve, than when he imagines
(Apoc. xxi. 14) the names of the 'twelve apostles of the Lamb' shining
upon the twelve foundation stones of the wall of the future heavenly
Jerusalem. He considers that no intelligent person could thus publicly
glorify himself or anticipate the honour which God alone can bestow.
"And can any one seriously believe," he indignantly inquires, "that one
of the Twelve, yea, that even he whom we know as the most delicate and
refined amongst them could have written this of himself?"(1) Now, in the
first place, we must remark that in this discussion


it is not permissible to speak of our knowing John the Apostle as
distinguished above all the rest of the Twelve for such qualities.
Nowhere do we find such a representation of him except in the fourth
Gospel, if even there, but, as we shall presently see, rather the
contrary, and the fourth Gospel cannot here be received as evidence. We
might, by way of retort, point out to those who assert the inspiration
of the Apocalypse, that the symbolical representation of the heavenly
Jerusalem is held to be practically objective, a revelation of things
that "must shortly come to pass," and not a mere subjective sketch
coloured according to the phantasy of the writer. Passing on, however,
it must be apparent that the whole account of the heavenly city is
typical, and that in basing its walls upon the Twelve, he does not
glorify himself personally, but simply gives its place to the idea which
was symbolised when Jesus is represented as selecting twelve disciples,
the number of the twelve tribes, upon whose preaching the spiritual city
was to be built up. The Jewish belief in a special preference of the
Jews before all nations doubtless suggested this, and it forms a leading
feature in the strong Hebraistic form of the writer's Christianity.
The heavenly city is simply a glorified Jerusalem; the twelve Apostles,
representatives of the twelve tribes, set apart for the regeneration of
Israel, are the foundation-stones of the New City with its twelve gates,
on which are written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel(1) for
whom the city is more particularly provided. For 144,000 of Israel
are first sealed, 12,000 of each of the twelve tribes before the Seer
beholds the great multitude of all nations and tribes and peoples.(2)
The whole description is a


mere allegory characterized by the strongest Jewish dogmatism, and it is
of singular value for the purpose of identifying the author.

Moreover, the apparent glorification of the Twelve is more than
justified by the promise which Jesus is represented by the Synoptics(l)
as making to them in person. When Peter, in the name of the Twelve, asks
what is reserved for those who have forsaken all and followed him, Jesus
replies: "Verily I say unto you that ye which have followed me, in the
regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory,
ye also shall be set upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of
Israel."(2) Ewald himself, in his distribution of the materials of our
existing first Synoptic to the supposed original sources, assigns this
passage to the very oldest Gospel.(3) What impropriety is there, and
what improbability, therefore, that an Apostle, in an apocalyptic
allegory, should represent the names of the twelve Apostles as inscribed
upon the twelve foundation stones of the spiritual Jerusalem, as the
names of the twelve tribes of Israel were inscribed upon the twelve
gates of the city? On the contrary, we submit that it is probable under
the circumstances that an Apostle should make such a representation, and
in view of the facts regarding the Apostle John himself which we have
from the Synoptics, it is particularly in harmony with his character,
and these characteristics directly tend to establish his identity with
the author.

"How much less is it credible of the Apostle John," says Ewald,
elsewhere, pursuing the same argument, "who, as a writer, is so
incomparably modest and


delicate in feeling, and does not in a single one of the writings really
emanating from him name himself as the author, or even proclaim his own
praise."(l) This is merely sentimental assumption of facts to which we
shall hereafter allude, but if the "incomparable modesty" of which he
speaks really existed, nothing could more conclusively separate the
author of the fourth Gospel from the son of Zebedee whom we know in the
Synoptics, or more support the claims of the Apocalypse. In the first
place, we must assert that, in writing a serious history of the life and
teaching of Jesus, full of marvellous events and astounding doctrines,
the omission of his name by an Apostle can not only not be recognized
as genuine modesty, but must be condemned as culpable neglect. It is
perfectly incredible that an Apostle could have written such a work
without attaching his name as the guarantee of his intimate acquaintance
with the events and statements he records. What would be thought of
a historian who published a history without a single reference to
recognized authorities, and yet who did not declare even his own name
as some evidence of his truth? The fact is, that the first two Synoptics
bear no author's name because they are not the work of any one man, but
the collected materials of many; the third Synoptic only pretends to
be a compilation for private use; and the fourth Gospel bears no simple
signature because it is neither the work of an Apostle, nor of an
eye-witness of the events and hearer of the teaching it records.

If it be considered incredible, however, that an Apostle could, even
in an Allegory, represent the names of the Twelve as written on the
foundation stones of the New Jerusalem, and the incomparable modesty and


of feeling of the assumed author of the fourth Gospel be contrasted with
it so much to the disadvantage of the writer of the Apocalypse, we ask
whether this reference to the collective Twelve can be considered at
all on a par with the self-glorification of the disguised author of the
Gospel, who, not content with the simple indication of himself as John
a servant of Jesus Christ, and with sharing distinction equally with
the rest of the Twelve, assumes to himself alone a pre-eminence in the
favour and affection of his Master, as well as a distinction amongst
his fellow disciples, of which we first hear from himself, and which is
anything but corroborated by the three Synoptics? The supposed author of
the fourth Gospel, it is true, does not plainly mention his name, but he
distinguishes himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved," and represents
himself as "leaning on Jesus' breast at supper."(1) This distinction
assumed to himself, and this preference over the other disciples in
the love of him whom he represents as God, is much greater
self-glorification than that of the author of the Apocalypse. We shall
presently see how far Ewald is right in saying, moreover, that the
author does not clearly indicate the person for whom at least he desires
to be mistaken.

We must conclude that these objections have no weight, and that there
is no internal evidence whatever against the supposition that the "John"
who announces himself as the author of the Apocalypse was the Apostle.
On the contrary, the tone of authority adopted throughout, and the
evident certainty that his identity would everywhere be recognized,
denote a position in the Church which no other person of the name of
John could well have held at the time when the Apocalypse was written.


The external evidence, therefore, which indicates the Apostle John
as the author of the Apocalypse is quite in harmony with the internal
testimony of the book itself. We have already pointed out the strong
colouring of Judaism in the views of the writer. Its imagery is
thoroughly Jewish, and its allegorical representations are entirely
based upon Jewish traditions, and hopes. The heavenly City is a New
Jerusalem; its twelve gates are dedicated to the twelve tribes of
Israel; God and the Lamb are the Temple of it; and the sealed of the
twelve tribes have the precedence over the nations, and stand with the
Lamb on Mount Zion (xiv. 1) having his name and his Father's written on
their foreheads. The language in which the book is written is the most
Hebraistic Greek of the New Testament, as its contents are the most
deeply tinged with Judaism. If, finally, we seek for some traces of
the character of the writer, we see in every page the impress of an
impetuous fiery spirit, whose symbol is the Eagle, breathing forth
vengeance against the enemies of the Messiah and impatient till it be
accomplished, and the whole of the visions of the Apocalypse proceed to
the accompaniment of the rolling thunders of God's wrath.

We may now turn to examine such historical data as exist regarding John
the son of Zebedee, and to inquire whether they accord better with
the character and opinions of the author of the Apocalypse or of the
Evangelist. John and his brother James are represented by the Synoptics
as being the sons of Zebedee and Salome. They were fishermen on the
sea of Galilee, and at the call of Jesus they left their ship and their
father and followed him.(1) Their fiery and impetuous character led


Jesus to give them the surname of [------]: "Sons of thunder,"(1) an
epithet justified by several incidents which are related regarding them.
Upon one occasion, John sees one casting out devils in his master's
name, and in an intolerant spirit forbids him because he did not follow
them, for which he is rebuked by Jesus.(2) Another time, when the
inhabitants of a Samaritan village would not receive them, John and
James angrily turn to Jesus and say: "Lord, wilt thou that we command
fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did?"(3)
A remarkable episode will have presented itself already to the mind of
every reader, which the second Synoptic Gospel narrates as follows: Mark
x. 35, "And James and John the sons of Zebedee come unto him saying unto
him: Teacher, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall
ask thee. 36. And he said unto them: What would ye that I should do for
you? 37. They said unto him: Grant that we may sit, one on thy right
hand, and the other on thy left hand in thy glory. 38. But Jesus said to
them: Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink the cup that I drink? or
be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? 39. And they said
unto him: We can. And Jesus said unto them: The cup that I drink ye
shall drink; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be
baptized: 40. But to sit on my right hand or on my left hand is not mine
to give, but for whom it has been prepared. 41. And when the ten
heard it they began to be much displeased with James and John." It is
difficult to say whether the


effrontery and selfishness of the request, or the assurance with which
the brethren assert their power to emulate the Master is more striking
in this scene. Apparently, the grossness of the proceeding already
began to be felt when our first Gospel was edited, for it represents
the request as made by the mother of James and John; but that is a very
slight decrease of the offence, inasmuch as the brethren are obviously
consenting, if not inciting, parties to the prayer, and utter their
"We can," with the same absence of "incomparable modesty."(1) After the
death of Jesus, John remained in Jerusalem,(2) and chiefly confined
his ministry to the city and its neighbourhood.(3) The account which
Hegesippus gives of James the brother of Jesus who was appointed
overseer of the Church in Jerusalem will not be forgotten,(4) and we
refer to it merely in illustration of primitive Christianity. However
mythical elements are worked up into the narrative, one point is
undoubted fact, that the Christians of that community were but a sect
of Judaism, merely superadding to Mosaic doctrines belief in the actual
advent of the Messiah whom Moses and the prophets had foretold; and we
find, in the Acts of the Apostles, Peter and John represented as "going
up into the Temple at the hour of prayer,"(6) like other Jews. In the
Epistle of Paul to the Galatians, we have most valuable evidence with
regard to the Apostle John. Paul found him still in Jerusalem on the
occasion of the visit referred to in that letter, about a.d. 50--53. We
need not quote at length the important passage Gal. ii. 1 ff., but the


is undeniable, and stands upon stronger evidence than almost any other
particular regarding the early Church, being distinctly and directly
stated by Paul himself: that the three "pillar" Apostles representing
the Church there were James, Peter, and John. Peter is markedly termed
the Apostle of the circumcision, and the differences between him and
Paul are evidence of the opposition of their views. James and John
are clearly represented as sharing the views of Peter, and whilst Paul
finally agrees with them that he is to go to the Gentiles, the three
[------] elect to continue their ministry to the circumcision.(1)
Here is John, therefore, clearly devoted to the Apostleship of the
circumcision as opposed to Paul, whose views, as we gather from
the whole of Paul's account, were little more than tolerated by the
[------]. Before leaving New Testament data, we may here point out the
statement in the Acts of the Apostles that Peter and John were known to
be "unlettered and ignorant men"(2) [------]. Later tradition mentions
one or two circumstances regarding John to which we may briefly refer.
Irenæus states: "There are those who heard him (Polycarp) say that
John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus and perceiving
Cerinthus within, rushed forth from the bath-house without bathing, but
crying out: 'Let us fly lest the bath-house fall down: Cerinthus, the
enemy of the truth, being within it.'... So great was the care which the
Apostles and their disciples took not to hold even verbal intercourse
with any of the corrupters of the truth,"(3) &c. Polycrates, who was
Bishop of Ephesus


about the beginning of the third century, states that the Apostle John
wore the mitre and petalon of the high priest [------],(1) a tradition
which agrees with the Jewish tendencies of the Apostle of the
circumcision as Paul describes him.(2)

Now if we compare these data regarding John the son of Zebedee with the
character of John the author of the Apocalypse, as we trace it in
the work itself, it is impossible not to be struck by the singular
agreement. The Hebraistic Greek and abrupt inelegant diction are natural
to the unlettered fisherman of Galilee, and the fierce and intolerant
spirit which pervades the book is precisely that which formerly forbade
the working of miracles, even in the name of the Master, by any not
of the immediate circle of Jesus, and which desired to consume an
inhospitable village with fire from heaven.(3) The Judaistic form of
Christianity which is represented throughout the Apocalypse, and the
Jewish elements which enter so largely into its whole composition, are
precisely those

     2 We need not refer to any of the other legends regarding
     John, but it may be well to mention the tradition common
     amongst the Fathers which assigned to him the cognomen of
     "the Virgin." One Codex gives as the superscription of the
     Apocalypse: "t[------]" and we know that it is reported in
     early writings that, of all the Apostles, only John and the
     Apostle Paul remained unmarried, whence probably, in part,
     this title. In connection with this we may point to the
     importance attached to virginity in the Apocalypse, xiv. 4;
     cf. Schwegler, Das naohap. Zeit, ii. p. 264; Lilcke, Comm.
     lib. d. Br. Joh., 1836, p. 32 f.; Craftier, Einl. N. T., i.
     p. 21.

     3 The very objection of Ewald regarding the glorification of
     the Twelve, if true, would be singularly in keeping with the
     audacious request of John and his brother, to sit on the
     right and left hand of the glorified Jesus, for we find none
     of the  "incomparable modesty" which the imaginative critic
     attributes to the author of the fourth Gospel in the John of
     the Synoptics.


which we might expect from John the Apostle of the circumcision and the
associate of James and of Peter in the very centre of Judaism. Parts of
the Apocalypse, indeed, derive a new significance when we remember the
opposition which the Apostle of the Gentiles met with from the Apostles
of the circumcision, as plainly declared by Paul in his Epistle to the
Galatians ii. 1. ff., and apparent in other parts of his writings.

We have already seen the scarcely disguised attack which is made on Paul
in the Clementine Homilies under the name of Simon the Magician,
the Apostle Peter following him from city to city for the purpose of
denouncing and refuting his teaching. There can be no doubt that the
animosity against Paul which was felt by the Ebionitic party, to which
John as well as Peter belonged, was extreme, and when the novelty of the
doctrine of justification by faith alone, taught by him, is considered,
it is very comprehensible. In the Apocalypse, we find undeniable traces
of it which accord with what Paul himself says, and with the undoubted
tradition of the early Church. Not only is Paul silently excluded from
the number of the Apostles, which might be intelligible when the typical
nature of the number twelve is considered, but allusion is undoubtedly
made to him, in the Epistles to the Churches. It is clear that Paul is
referred to in the address to the Church of Ephesus: "And thou didst try
them which say that they are Apostles and are not, and didst find them
false;"(1) and also in the words to the Church of Smyrna: "But I have
a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the
teaching of Balaam, who taught


Balak to cast a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat
things sacrificed unto idols,"(1) &c., as well as elsewhere.(2) Without
dwelling on this point, however, we think it must be apparent to every
unprejudiced person that the Apocalypse singularly corresponds in every
respect--language, construction, and thought--with what we are told
of the character of the Apostle John by the Synoptic Gospels and by
tradition, and that the internal evidence, therefore, accords with
the external in attributing the composition of the Apocalypse to that


We may without hesitation affirm, at least, that with the exception of
one or two of the Epistles of Paul there is


no work of the New Testament which is supported by such close evidence.

We need not discuss the tradition as to the residence of the Apostle
John in Asia Minor, regarding which much might be said. Those who accept
the authenticity of the Apocalypse of course admit its composition in
the neighbourhood of Ephesus,(1) and see in this the confirmation of the
wide-spread tradition that the Apostle spent a considerable period of
the latter part of his life in that city. We may merely mention, in
passing, that a historical basis for the tradition has occasionally been
disputed, and has latterly again been denied by some able critics.(2)
The evidence for this, as for everything else connected with the early
ages of Christianity, is extremely unsatisfactory. Nor need we trouble
ourselves with the dispute as to the Presbyter John, to whom many
ascribe the composition, on the one hand, of the Apocalypse and, on the
other, of the Gospel, according as they finally accept the one or the
other alternative of the critical dilemma which we have explained. We
have only to do with the Apostle John and his connection with either of
the two writings.

If we proceed to compare the character of the Apostle John, as we
have it depicted in the Synoptics and other writings to which we have
referred, with that of the author of the fourth Gospel, and to contrast
the peculiarities of both, we have a very different result. Instead of
the Hebraistic Greek and harsh diction which might


be expected from the unlettered and ignorant fisherman of Galilee, we
find, in the fourth Gospel, the purest and least Hebraistic Greek of
any of the Gospels (some parts of the third Synoptic, perhaps, alone
excepted), and a refinement and beauty of composition whose charm has
captivated the world, and in too many cases prevented the calm exercise
of judgment Instead of the fierce and intolerant temper of the Son of
thunder, we find a spirit breathing forth nothing but gentleness
and love. Instead of the Judaistic Christianity of the Apostle of
Circumcision who merely tolerates Paul, we find a mind which has so
completely detached itself from Judaism that the writer makes the very
appellation of "Jew" equivalent to that of an enemy of the truth. Not
only are the customs and feasts of the Jews disregarded and spoken of
as observances of a people with whom the writer has no concern, but he
anticipates the day when neither on Mount Gerizim nor yet at Jerusalem
men shall worship the Father, but when it shall be recognized that the
only true worship is that which is offered in spirit and in truth. Faith
in Jesus Christ and the merits of his death is the only way by which man
can attain to eternal life, and the Mosaic Law is practically abolished.
We venture to assert that, taking the portrait of John the son of
Zebedee, which is drawn in the Synoptics and the Epistle of Paul to the
Galatians, supplemented by later tradition, to which we have referred,
and comparing it with that of the writer of the fourth Gospel, no
unprejudiced mind can fail to recognize that there are not two features

It is the misfortune of this case, that the beauty of the Gospel under
trial has too frequently influenced the decision of the judges, and men
who have, in other


matters, exhibited sound critical judgment, in this abandon themselves
to sheer sentimentality, and indulge in rhapsodies when reasons would
be more appropriate. Bearing in mind that we have given the whole of
the data regarding John the son of Zebedee furnished by New Testament
writings,--excluding merely the fourth Gospel itself, which, of
course, cannot at present be received in evidence,--as well as the only
traditional information possessing, from its date and character, any
appreciable value, it will become apparent that every argument which
proceeds on the assumption that John was the beloved disciple, and
possessed of characteristics quite different from those we meet with in
the writings to which we have referred, is worthless and a mere petitio
principii. We can, therefore, appreciate the state of the case when, for
instance, we find an able man like Credner commencing his inquiry as
to who was the author of the fourth Gospel, with such words as the
following: "Were we entirely without historical data regarding the
author of the fourth Gospel, who is not named in the writing itself,
we should still, from internal grounds in the Gospel itself--from the
nature of the language, from the freshness and perspicacity of the
narrative, from the exactness and precision of the statements, from
the peculiar.manner of the mention of the Baptist and of the sons of
Zebedee, from the love and fervour rising to ecstacy which the writer
manifests towards Jesus, from the irresistible charm which is poured
out over the whole ideally-composed evangelical history, from the
philosophical considerations with which the Gospel begins--be led to
the result: that the author of such a Gospel can only be a native of
Palestine, can only be a direct eye-witness, can only be an Apostle, can


only be a favourite of Jesus, can only be that John whom Jesus held
captivated to himself by the whole heavenly spell of his teaching, that
John who rested on the bosom of Jesus, stood beneath his cross, and
whose later residence in a city like Ephesus proves that philosophical
speculation not merely attracted him, but that he also knew how to
maintain his place amongst philosophically cultivated Greeks."(1) It is
almost impossible to proceed further in building up theory upon baseless
assumption; but we shall hereafter see that he is kept in countenance
by Ewald, who outstrips him in the boldness and minuteness of his
conjectures. We must now more carefully examine the details of the case.

The language in which the Gospel is written, as we have already
mentioned, is much less Hebraic than that of the other Gospels, with the
exception of parts of the Gospel according to Luke, and its Hebraisms
are not on the whole greater than was almost invariably the case with
Hellenistic Greek, but its composition is distinguished by peculiar
smoothness, grace, and beauty, and in this respect it is assigned the
first rank amongst the Gospels. It may be remarked that the connection
which Credner finds between the language and the Apostle John arises out
of the supposition, that long residence in Ephesus had enabled him to
acquire that fecility of composition in the Greek language which is one
of its characteristics. Ewald, who exaggerates the Hebraism of the work,
resorts nevertheless to the conjecture, which we shall hereafter more
fully consider, that the Gospel was written from dictation by young
friends of John in Ephesus, who put the aged Apostle's thoughts, in many
places, into purer Greek as they


wrote them down.(1) The arbitrary nature of such an explanation, adopted
in one shape or another by many apologists, requires no remark, but we
shall at every turn meet with similar assumptions advanced to overcome
difficulties. Now, although there is no certain information as to the
time when, if ever, the Apostle removed into Asia Minor, it is at least
pretty certain that he did not leave Palestine before a.d. 60.(2) We
find him still at Jerusalem about a.d. 50--53, when Paul went thither,
and he had not at that time any intention of leaving, but, on the
contrary, his dedication of himself to the ministry of the circumcision
is distinctly mentioned by the Apostle.(3) The "unlettered and ignorant"
fisherman of Galilee, therefore, had obviously attained an age when
habits of thought and expression have become fixed, and when a new
language cannot without great difficulty be acquired. If we consider the
Apocalypse to be his work, we find positive evidence of such markedly
different thought and language actually existing when the Apostle must
have been between sixty and seventy years of age, that it is quite
impossible to conceive that he could have subsequently acquired the
language and mental characteristics of the fourth Gospel.(4) It would be
perfectly absurd, so far as language goes, to find in the fourth Gospel
the slightest indication of the Apostle John, of whose language we have
no information whatever except from the Apocalypse, a composition


which, if accepted as written by the Apostle, would at once exclude all
consideration of the Gospel as his work. There are many circumstances,
however, which seem clearly to indicate that the author of the fourth
Gospel was neither a native of Palestine nor a Jew, and to some of
these we must briefly refer. The philosophical statements with which the
Gospel commences, it will be admitted, are anything but characteristic
of the Son of thunder, the ignorant and unlearned fisherman of Galilee
who, to a comparatively advanced period of life, continued preaching in
his native country to his brethren of the circumcision. Attempts have
been made to trace the Logos doctrine of the fourth Gospel to the purely
Hebraic source of the Old Testament, but every impartial mind must
perceive that here there is no direct and simple transformation of the
theory of Wisdom of the Proverbs and Old Testament Apocrypha, and no
mere development of the later Memra of the Targums, but a very advanced
application to Christianity of Alexandrian philosophy, with which we
have become familiar through the writings of Philo, to which reference
has so frequently been made. It is quite true that a decided step beyond
the doctrine of Philo is made when the Logos is represented as [------]
in the person of Jesus, but this argument is equally applicable to the
Jewish doctrine of Wisdom, and that step had already been taken before
the composition of the Gospel. In the Alexandrian philosophy everything
was prepared for the final application of the doctrine, and nothing is
more clear than the fact that the writer of the fourth Gospel was well
acquainted with the teaching of the Alexandrian school, from which he
derived his philosophy, and its elaborate and systematic application to
Jesus alone indicates a late


development of Christian doctrine, which we maintain could not have been
attained by the Judaistic son of Zebedec.(1)

We have already on several occasions referred to the attitude which the
writer of the fourth Gospel assumes towards the Jews. Apart from the
fact that he places Christianity generally in strong antagonism to
Judaism, as light to darkness, truth to a lie, and presents the doctrine
of a hypostatic Trinity in the most developed form to be found in the
New Testament, in striking contrast to the three Synoptics, and in
contradiction to Hebrew Monotheism, he writes at all times as one who
not only is not a Jew himself, but has nothing to do with their laws and
customs. He speaks everywhere of the feasts "of the Jews," "the passover
of the Jews," "the manner of the purifying of the Jews," "the Jews'
feast of tabernacles," "as the manner of the Jews is to bury," "the
Jews' preparation day," and so on.(2) The Law of Moses is spoken of as
"your law," "their law," as of a people with which the writer was not
connected.(3) Moreover, the Jews are represented as continually in
virulent opposition to Jesus, and seeking to kill him; and the word
"Jew" is the unfailing indication of the enemies of the truth, and the
persecutors of the Christ.(4) The Jews are not once spoken of as the
favoured people of God, but they are denounced as "children of
the devil," who is "the father of lies and a murderer from the
beginning."(5) The author makes Caiaphas and the chief

     1  Most critics agree that the characteristics of the fourth
     Gospel render the supposition that it was the work of an old
     man untenable.


priests and Pharisees speak of the Jewish people not as [------], but as
[------], the term employed by the Jews to designate the Gentiles.(1) We
need scarcely point out that the Jesus of the fourth Gospel is no longer
of the race of David, but the Son of God. The expectation of the Jews
that the Messiah should be of the seed of David is entirely set aside,
and the genealogies of the first and third Synoptics tracing his descent
are not only ignored, but the whole idea absolutely excluded.

Then the writer calls Annas the high priest, although at the same time
Caiaphas is represented as holding that office.(2) The expression which
he uses is: "Caiaphas being the high priest that year"[------]. This
statement, made more than once, indicates the belief that the office
was merely annual, which is erroneous. Josephus states with regard to
Caiaphas, that he was high priest for ten years from A.D. 25--36.(3)
Ewald and others argue that the expression "that year" refers to the
year in which the


death of Jesus, so memorable to the writer, took place, and that it
does not exclude the possibility of his having been high priest for
successive years also.(1) This explanation, however, is quite arbitrary
and insufficient, and this is shown by the additional error in
representing Annas as also high priest at,the same time. The Synoptists
know nothing of the preliminary examination before Annas, and the reason
given by the writer of the fourth Gospel why the soldiers first took
Jesus to Annas: "for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, who was high
priest that same year,"(2) is inadmissible. The assertion is a clear
mistake, and it probably originated in a stranger, writing of facts and
institutions with which he was not well acquainted, being misled by an
error equally committed by the author of the third Gospel and of the
Acts of the Apostles. In Luke iii. 2, the word of God is said to come
to John the Baptist: "in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas"
[------], and again, in Acts iv. 6, Annas is spoken of as the high
priest when Peter and John healed the lame man at the gate of the Temple
which was called "Beautiful," and Caiaphas is mentioned immediately
after: "and Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and
Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest." Such
statements, erroneous in themselves and not understood by the author of
the fourth Gospel, may have led to the confusion in the narrative.
Annas had previously been high priest, as we know from Josephus,(3) but
nothing is more certain than the fact that the title was not continued
after the office was resigned; aud Ishmael


Eleazar, and Simon, who succeeded Annas and separated his term of
office from that of Caiaphas, did not subsequently bear the title. The
narrative is a mistake, and such an error could not have been committed
by a native of Palestine,(1) and much less by an acquaintance of the
high priest.(2)

There are also several geographical errors committed which denote a
foreigner. In i. 28, the writer speaks of a "Bethany beyond Jordan,
where John was baptizing." The substitution of "Bethabara," mentioned by
Origen, which has erroneously crept into the vulgar text, is of course
repudiated by critics, "Bethany" standing in all the older codices. The
alteration was evidently proposed to obviate the difficulty that, even
in Origen's time, there did not exist any trace of a Bethany beyond
Jordan in Peræa. The place could not be the Bethany near


Jerusalem, and it is supposed that the writer either mistook its
position or, inventing a second Bethany, which he described as "beyond
Jordan," displayed an ignorance of the locality improbable either in a
Jew or a Palestinian.(1) Again, in iii. 23, the writer says that "John
was baptizing in Ænon, near to Salim, because there was much water
there." This Ænon near to Salim was in Judaea, as is clearly stated in
the previous verse. The place, however, was quite unknown even in the
third century, and the nearest locality which could be indicated as
possible was in the north of Samaria and, therefore, differing from the
statements in iii. 22, iv. 3.(2) Ænon, however, signifies "springs," and
the question arises whether the writer of the fourth Gospel, not knowing
the real meaning of the word, did not simply mistake it for the name of
a place.(3) In any case, there seems to be here another error into which
the author of the fourth Gospel, had he been the Apostle John, could not
have fallen.(4)


The account of the miracle of the pool of Bethesda is a remarkable one
for many reasons. The words which most pointedly relate the miraculous
phenomena characterizing the pool, are rejected by many critics as
an interpolation. In the following extract we put them in italics:
v. 3.--"In these (five porches) lay a multitude of the sick, halt,
withered, _waiting for the moving of the water. 4. For an angel went
down at certain seasons into the pool and was troubling the water: he,
therefore, who first went in after the troubling of the water was made
whole of whatsoever disease he had_." We maintain, however, that the
obnoxious passage is no spurious interpolation, but that there is ample
evidence, external and internal, to substantiate its claim to a place in
the text. It is true that the whole passage is omitted by the Sinaitic
and Vatican Codices, and by C: that A(1), L, 18, and others omit the
last phrase of verse 3, and that D, 33, which contain that phrase, omit
the whole of verse 4, together with 157, 314 and some other MSS.:
that in many codices in which the passage is found it is marked by
an asterisk or obelus, and that it presents considerable variation in
readings. It is also true that it is omitted by Cureton's Syriac, by the
Thebaic, and by most of the Memphitic versions. But, on the other hand,
it exists in the Alexandrian Codex, C3, E, F, G, H, I, K, L, M, IT,
V, r, A and other MSS(1), and it forms part of the Peschito, Jerusalem
Syriac, Vulgate, Watkin's Memphitic, Æthiopic and Armenian versions.(2)


More important still is the fact that it existed in the ancient Latin
version of Tertillian, who refers to the passage;(1) and it is quoted by
Didymus, Chrysostom, Cyril, Ambrose, Theophylact, Euthymius, and
other Fathers. Its presence in the Alexandrian Codex alone might not
compensate for the omission of the passage by the Sinaitic and Vatican
Codices and C, D, but when the Alexandrian MS. is supported by the
version used by Tertullian, which is a couple of centuries older than
any of the other authorities, as well as by the Peschito, not to mention
other codices, the balance of external evidence is distinctly in its

The internal evidence is altogether on the side of the authenticity of
the passage. It is true that there are a considerable number of
[------] in the few lines: [------] and perhaps [------]; but it must
be remembered that the phenomena described are exceptional, and may
well explain exceptional phraseology. On the other hand, [------] is
specially a Johannine word, used v. 4 and six times more in the fourth
Gospel, but only five times in the rest of the New Testament; and
[------] with [------] occurs in v. 4, 6, 9, 14, and with [------] in
v. 11, 15, vii. 23 and nowhere else. [------] also may be indicated as
employed in v. 4, 7 and five times more in other parts of the Gospel,
and only eleven times in the rest of the New Testament, and the use of
[------] in v. 4 is thus perhaps naturally


accounted for. The context, however, forbids the removal of this
passage. It is in the highest degree improbable that verse 3 could have
ended with "withered" [------], and although many critics wish to retain
the last phrase in verse 3, in order to explain verse 7, this only shows
the necessity, without justifying the arbitrary maintenance, of these
words, whilst verse 4, which is still better attested, is excluded to
get rid of the inconvenient angel. It is evident, however, that the
expression: "when the water was troubled" [------] of the undoubted
verse 7 is unintelligible without the explanation that the angel "was
troubling the water," [------] of verse 4, and also that the statement
of the verse 7, "but while I am coming, another goeth down before me"
[------] absolutely requires the account: "he, therefore, who first went
in &c." [------] of verse 4. The argument that the interpolation
was made to explain the statement in verse 7 is untenable, for that
statement necessarily presupposes the account in the verses under
discussion, and cannot be severed from it. Even if the information
that the water was "troubled" at certain seasons only could have been
dispensed with, it is obvious that the explanation of the condition of
healing, given in verse 4, is indispensable to the appreciation of the
lame man's complaint in verse 7, for without knowing that priority was
essential, the reason for the protracted waiting is inconceivable. It is
also argued, that the passage about the angel may have been interpolated
to bring out^the presence of supernatural agency, but it is much more
reasonable to believe that attempts have been made to omit these verses,
of which there is such ancient attestation, in order to eliminate an
embarrassing excess of


supernatural agency, and get rid of the difficulty presented by the
fact, for which even Tertullian(1) endeavoured to account, that the
supposed pool had ceased to exhibit any miraculous phenomena. This
natural explanation is illustrated by the alacrity with which apologists
at the present day abandon the obnoxious passage.(2) The combined force
of the external and internal evidence, however, cannot, we think, be
fairly resisted.(3)

Now, not only is the pool of Bethesda totally unknown at the present
day, but although possessed of such miraculous properties, it was
not known even to Josephus, or any other writer of that time. It is
inconceivable that, were the narrative genuine, the phenomena could have
been unknown and unmentioned by the Jewish historian.(4) There is here
evidently neither the narrative of an Apostle nor of an eye-witness.

Another very significant mistake occurs in the account of the
conversation with the Samaritan woman, which is said to have taken place
(iv. 5) near "a city of Samaria

     2  "The Biblical critic is glad that he can remove these
     words from the record, and cannot be called upon to explain
     them."--Rev. H. W. Watkins, M.A., in "A New Test. Commentary
     for English Readers," edited by Charles John Ellicott, D.D.,
     Lord Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, i. p. 416.


which is called Sychar." It is evident that there was no such place--and
apologetic ingenuity is severely taxed to explain the difficulty. The
common conjecture has been that the town of Sichem is intended, but
this is rightly rejected by Delitzsch,(1) and Ewald.(2) Credner,(3)
not unsupported by others, and borne out in particular by the theory
of Ewald, conjectures that Sychar is a corruption of Sichem, introduced
into the Gospel by a Greek secretary to whom this part of the Gospel
was dictated, and who mistook the Apostle's pronunciation of the
final syllable. We constantly meet with this elastic explanation of
difficulties in the Gospel, but its mere enunciation displays at
once the reality of the difficulties and the imaginary nature of the
explanation. Hengstenberg adopts the view, and presses it with pious
earnestness, that the term is a mere nickname for the city of Sichem,
and that, by so slight a change in the pronunciation, the Apostle called
the place a city of Lies [------] a lie), a play upon words which he
does not consider unworthy.(4) The only support which this latter theory
can secure from internal evidence is to be derived from the fact that
the whole discourse with the woman is ideal. Hengstenberg(5) conjectures
that the five husbands of the woman are typical of the Gods of the five
nations with which the King of Assyria peopled Samaria, II. Kings, xvii.
24--41, and which they worshipped instead of the God of Israel, and as
the actual God of the Samaritans was not recognized as the true God by
the Jews, nor their


worship of him on Mount Gerizim held to be valid, he considers that
under the name of the City of Sychar, their whole religion, past and
present, was denounced as a lie. There can be little doubt that the
episode is allegorical, but such a defence of the geographical error,
the reality of which is everywhere felt, whilst it is quite insufficient
on the one hand, effectually destroys the historical character of
the Gospel on the other.(1) The inferences from all of the foregoing
examples are strengthened by the fact that, in the quotations from the
Old Testament, the fourth Gospel in the main follows the Septuagint
version, or shows its influence, and nowhere can be shown directly to
translate from the Hebrew.

These instances might be multiplied, but we must proceed to examine more
closely the indications given in the Gospel as to the identity of its
author. We need not point out that the writer nowhere clearly states who
he is, nor mentions his name, but expressions are frequently used which
evidently show the desire that a particular person should be understood.
He generally calls himself "the other disciple," or "the disciple whom
Jesus loved."(2) It is universally understood that he


represents himself as having previously been a disciple of John the
Baptist (i. 35 ff.),(1) and also that he is "the other disciple" who
was acquainted with the high priest (xviii. 15, 16),(2) if not an actual
relative as Ewald and others assert.(3) The assumption that the disciple
thus indicated is John, rests principally on the fact that whilst
the author mentions the other Apostles, he seems studiously to avoid
directly naming John, and also that he never distinguishes John the
Baptist by the appellation [------], whilst he carefully distinguishes
the two disciples of the name of Judas, and always speaks of the Apostle
Peter as "Simon Peter," or "Peter," but rarely as "Simon" only.(4)
Without pausing to consider the slightness of this evidence, it is
obvious that, supposing the disciple indicated to be John the son of
Zebedee, the fourth Gospel gives a representation of him quite different
from the Synoptics and other writings. In the fourth Gospel (i. 35 ff.)
the calling of the Apostle is described in a peculiar manner. John (the
Baptist) is standing with two of his disciples, and points out Jesus to
them as "the Lamb of God," whereupon the two disciples follow Jesus and,
finding out where he lives,


abide with him that day and subsequently attach themselves to his
person. In verse 40 it is stated: "One of the two which heard John
speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother." We are left
to imagine who was the other, and the answer of critics is: John. Now,
the "calling" of John is related in a totally different manner in the
Synoptics--Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, sees "two brethren,
Simon called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea,
for they were fishers, and he saith unto them: Follow me, and I will
make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets and
followed him. And when he had gone from thence, he saw other two
brethren, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the ship
with Zebedee their father mending their nets; and he called them. And
they immediately left the ship and their father and followed him."(1)
These accounts are in complete contradiction to each other, and both
cannot be true. We see, from the first introduction of "the other
disciple" on the scene, in the fourth Gospel, the evident design to give
him the precedence before Peter and the rest of the Apostles. We have
above given the account of the first two Synoptists of the calling
of Peter, according to which he is the first of the disciples who is
selected, and he is directly invited by Jesus to follow him and become,
with his brother Andrew, "fishers of men." James and John are not called
till later in the day, and without the record of any special address.
In the third Gospel, the calling of Peter is introduced with still more
important details. Jesus enters the boat of Simon and bids him push out
into the Lake and let down his net, and the miraculous draught of fishes
is taken: "When Simon Peter


saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying: Depart from me, for I am
a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him,
at the draught of fishes which they had taken." The calling of the sons
of Zebedee becomes even less important here, for the account simply
continues: "And so was also James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who
were partners with Simon." Jesus then addresses his invitation to Simon,
and the account concludes: "And when they had brought their boats to
land, they forsook all, and followed him."(1) In the fourth Gospel, the
calling of the two disciples of John is first narrated, as we have seen
and the first call of Peter is from his brother Andrew, and not from
Jesus himself. "He (Andrew) first findeth his own brother Simon, and
saith unto him: We have found the Messias (which is, being interpreted,
Christ), and he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked on him and said: Thou
art Simon, the son of Jonas;(2) thou shalt be called Cephas (which is by
interpretation, Peter)."(3) This explanation of the manner in which
the cognomen Peter is given, we need not point out, is likewise
contradictory to the Synoptics, and betrays the same purpose of
suppressing the prominence of Peter.

The fourth Gospel states that "the other disciple," who is declared to
be John, the author of the Gospel, was known to the high priest, another
trait amongst many others elevating him above the son of Zebedee as he
is depicted elsewhere in the New Testament. The


account which the fourth Gospel gives of the trial of Jesus is in very
many important particulars at variance with that of the Synoptics. We
need only mention here the point that the latter know nothing of the
preliminary examination by Annas. We shall not discuss the question
as to where the denial of Peter is represented as taking place in the
fourth Gospel, but may merely say that no other disciple but Peter is
mentioned in the Synoptics as having followed Jesus; and Peter enters
without difficulty into the high priest's palace.(1) In the fourth
Gospel, Peter is made to wait without at the door until John, who is
a friend of the high priest and freely enters, obtains permission
for Peter to go in, another instance of the precedence which is
systematically given to John. The Synoptics do not in this particular
case give any support to the statement in the fourth Gospel, and
certainly in nothing that is said of John elsewhere do they render his
acquaintance with the high priest in the least degree probable. It is,
on the contrary, improbable in the extreme that the young fisherman of
Galilee, who shows very little enlightenment in the anecdotes told
of him in the Synoptics, and who is described as an "unlettered and
ignorant" man in the Acts of the Apostles, could have any acquaintance
with the high priest. Ewald, who, on the strength of the word
[------],(2) at once elevates him into a relation of the high priest,
sees in the statement of Polycrates that late in life he wore the
priestly [------], a confirmation of the supposition that he was of the
high priest's race and family.(3) The


evident Judaistic tendency, however, which made John wear the priestly
mitre may distinguish him as author of the Apocalypse, but it is fatal
to the theory which makes him author of the fourth Gospel, in which
there is so complete a severance from Judaism.

A much more important point, however, is the designation of the author
of the fourth Gospel, who is identified with the Apostle John, as "the
disciple whom Jesus loved." It is scarcely too much to say, that this
suggestive appellation alone has done more than any arguments to
ensure the recognition of the work, and to overcome doubts as to its
authenticity. Religious sentimentality, evoked by the influence of this
tender epithet, has been blind to historical incongruities, and has been
willing to accept with little question from the "beloved disciple" a
portrait of Jesus totally unlike that of the Synoptics, and to elevate
the dogmatic mysticism and artificial discourses of the one over the
sublime morality and simple eloquence of the other. It is impossible to
reflect seriously upon this representation of the relations between one
of the disciples and Jesus without the conviction that every record of
the life of the great Teacher must have borne distinct traces of the
preference, and that the disciple so honoured must have attracted the
notice of every early writer acquainted with the facts. If we seek for
any evidence, however, that John was distinguished with such special
affection,--that he lay on the breast of Jesus at supper--that even the
Apostle Peter recognised his superior intimacy and influence(1)--and
that he received at the foot of the cross the care of his mother from
the dying Jesus,(2)--we seek in vain. The Synoptic Gospels, which
minutely record the details


of the last supper and of the crucifixion, so far from reporting any
such circumstances or such distinction of John, do not even mention his
name, and Peter everywhere has precedence before the sons of Zebedee.
Almost the only occasions upon which any prominence is given to them are
episodes in which they incur the Master's displeasure, and the cognomen
of "Sons of thunder" has certainly no suggestion in it of special
affection, nor of personal qualities likely to attract the great
Teacher. The selfish ambition of the brothers who desire to sit on
thrones on his right and on his left, and the intolerant temper which
would have called down fire from heaven to consume a Samaritan village,
much rather contradict than support the representation of the fourth
Gospel. Upon one occasion, indeed, Jesus in rebuking them, adds: "Ye
know not what manner of spirit ye are of."(1) It is perfectly undeniable
that John nowhere has any such position accorded to him in the Synoptics
as this designation in the fourth Gospel implies. In the lists of the
disciples he is always put in the fourth place,(3) and in the first two
Gospels his only distinguishing designation is that of "the brother of
James," or one of the sons of Zebedee. The Apostle Peter in all of
the Synoptics is the leader of the disciples. He it is who alone is
represented as the mouth-piece of the twelve or as holding conversation
with Jesus; and the only occasions on which the sons of Zebedee address
Jesus are those to which we have referred, upon which

1 Luke ix. 55. These words are omitted from some of the oldest MSS., but
they are in Cod. D (Bezae) and many other very important texts, as well
as in some of the oldest Torsions, besides being quoted by the Fathers.
They were probably omitted after the claim of John to be the "beloved
disciple" became admitted.


his displeasure was incurred. The angel who appears to the women after
the resurrection desires them to tell his disciples "and Peter" that
Jesus will meet them in Galilee,(1) but there is no message for any
"disciple whom he loved." If Peter, James, and John accompany the Master
to the mount of transfiguration, and are witnesses of his agony in the
garden, regarding which, however, the fourth Gospel is totally silent,
the two brethren remain in the back ground, and Peter alone acts a
prominent part. If we turn to the Epistles of Paul, we do not find a
single trace of acquaintance with the fact that Jesus honoured John
with any special affection, and the opportunity of referring to such a
distinction was not wanting when he writes to the Galatians of his visit
to the "Pillar" Apostles in Jerusalem. Here again, however, we find
no prominence given to John, but the contrary, his name still being
mentioned last and without any special comment. In none of the Pauline
or other Epistles is there any allusion, however distant, to any
disciple whom Jesus specially loved. The Apocalypse, which, if any
book of the New Testament can be traced to him, must be ascribed to the
Apostle John, makes no claim whatever to such a distinction. In none of
the Apocryphal Gospels is there the slightest indication of knowledge
of the fact, and if we come to the Fathers even, it is a striking
circumstance that there is not a trace of it in any early work, and
not the most remote indication of any independent tradition that Jesus
distinguished John or any other individual disciple with peculiar
friendship. The Roman Clement, in referring to the example of the
Apostles, only mentions Peter and Paul.(2) Polycarp, who is described as
a disciple of the


Apostle John, apparently knows nothing of his having been especially
loved by Jesus. Pseudo-Ignatius does not refer to him at all in the
Syriac Epistles, or in either version of the seven Epistles.(1) Papias,
in describing his interest in hearing what the Apostles said, gives John
no prominence: "I inquired minutely after the words of the Presbyters:
What Andrew, or what Peter said, or what Philip or what Thomas or James,
or what John or Matthew, or what any other of the disciples of the Lord,
and what Aristion and the Presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord,
say,"(2) &c.

As a fact, it is undenied and undeniable that the representation of
John, or of any other disciple, as specially beloved by Jesus, is
limited solely and entirely to the fourth Gospel, and that there is not
even a trace of independent tradition to support the claim, whilst on
the other hand the total silence of the earlier Gospels and of the other
New Testament writings on the point, and indeed their data of a positive
and unmistakeable character, oppose rather than support the correctness
of the later and mere personal assertion. Those who abandon sober
criticism, and indulge in mere sentimental rhapsodies on the
impossibility of the author of the fourth Gospel being any other than
"the disciple whom Jesus loved," strangely ignore the fact that we
have no reason whatever, except the assurance of the author himself, to
believe that Jesus specially loved any disciple, and much less John the
Son of Zebedee. Indeed, the statements of the fourth Gospel itself on
the subject are

     1  Indeed in the universally repudiated Epistles, beyond the
     fact that two are addressed to John, in which he is not
     called "the disciple whom Jesus loved," the only mention of
     him is the statement, "John was banished to Patmos."   Ad
     Tars., iii.


so indirect and intentionally vague that it is not absolutely clear what
disciple is indicated as "the beloved," and it has even been maintained
that not John the son of Zebedee, but Andrew the brother of Simon Peter
was "the disciple whom Jesus loved," and consequently the supposed
author of the fourth Gospel.(1)

We have hitherto refrained from referring to one of the most singular
features of the fourth Gospel, the chapter xxi., which is by many cited
as the most ancient testimony for the authenticity of the work, and
which requires particular consideration. It is obvious that the Gospel
is brought to a conclusion by verses 30, 31 of chapter xx., and critics
are universally agreed at least that, whoever may be its author, chapter
xxi. is a supplement only added after an interval. By whom was it
written? As may be supposed, critics have given very different replies
to this important question. Many affirm, and with much probability,
that chapter xxi. was subsequently added to the Gospel by the author
himself.(2) A few, however, exclude the last two verses, which they
consider to have been added by another hand.(3) A much larger number
assert that the whole


chapter is an ancient appendix to the Gospel by a writer who was not the
author of the Gospel.(1) A few likewise reject the last two verses of
the preceding chapter. In this supplement (v. 20), "the disciple whom
Jesus loved, who also leaned on his breast at the supper and said: Lord,
which is he that betrayeth thee?" is (v. 24) identified with the author
of the Gospel.

We may here state the theory of Ewald with regard to the composition
of the fourth Gospel, which is largely deduced from considerations
connected with the last chapter, and which, although more audaciously
minute in its positive and arbitrary statement of details than any other
with which we are acquainted, introduces more or less the explanations
generally given regarding the composition of chapter xxi. Out of all the
indications in the work, Ewald decides:

"1. That the Gospel, completed at the end of chapter xx., was composed
by the Apostle about the year 80, with the free help of friends, not to
be immediately circulated


throughout the world, but to remain limited to the narrower circle of
friends until his death, and only then to be published as his legacy
to the whole of Christendom. In this position it remained ten years, or
even longer.

2. As the preconceived opinion regarding the life or death of the
Apostle (xxi. 23) had perniciously spread itself throughout the whole
of Christendom, the Apostle himself decided, even before his death,
to counteract it in the right way by giving a correct statement of the
circumstances. The same friends, therefore, assisted him to design the
very important supplement, chapter xxi., and this could still be very
easily added, as the book was not yet published. His friends proceeded,
nevertheless, somewhat more freely in its composition than previously
in writing the book itself, and allowed their own hand more clearly to
gleam through, although here, as in the rest of the work, they conformed
to the will of the Apostle, and did not, even in the supplement, openly
declare his name as the author. As the supplement, however, was to form
a closely connected part of the whole work, they gave at its end (verses
24 f.), as it now seemed to them suitable, a new conclusion to the
augmented work.

3. As the Apostle himself desired that the preconceived opinion
regarding him, which had been spread abroad to the prejudice of
Christendom, should be contradicted as soon as possible, and even
before his death, he now so far departed from his earlier wish, that he
permitted the circulation of his Gospel before his death. We can
accept this with all certainty, and have therein trustworthy testimony
regarding the whole original history of our book.

4. When the Gospel was thus published it was for


the first time gradually named after our Apostle, even in its external
superscription: a nomination which had then become all the more
necessary and permanent for the purpose of distinction, as it was united
in one whole with the other Gospels. The world, however, has at all
times known it only under this wholly right title, and could in no way
otherwise know it and otherwise name it."(1)

In addressing ourselves to each of these points in detail, we shall
be able to discuss the principal questions connected with the fourth

The theory of Ewald, that the fourth Gospel was written down with the
assistance of friends in Ephesus, has been imagined solely to conciliate
certain phenomena presented throughout the Gospel, and notably in the
last chapter, with the foregone conclusion that it was written by the
Apostle John. It is apparent that there is not a single word in the work
itself explaining such a mode of composition, and that the hypothesis
proceeds purely from the ingenious imagination of the critic. The
character of the language, the manner in which the writer is indirectly
indicated in the third person, and the reference, even in the body of
the work (xix. 35), to the testimony of a third person, combined with
the similarity of the style of the supplementary chapter, which is an
obvious addition intended, however, to be understood as written by a
different hand, have rendered these conjectures necessary to reconcile
such obvious incongruities with the ascription of the work to the
Apostle. The substantial identity of the style and vocabulary of chapter
xxi. with the rest of the Gospel is asserted by a multitude of the most
competent critics. Ewald, whilst he recognizes the great


similarity, maintains at the same time a real dissimilarity, for which
he accounts in the manner just quoted. The language, Ewald admits,
agrees fully in many rare _nuances_ with that of the rest of the Gospel,
but he does not take the trouble to prove the decided dissimilarities
which, he asserts, likewise exist. A less difference than that which he
finds might, he thinks, be explained by the interval which had elapsed
between the writing of the work and of the supplement, but "the
wonderful similarity, in the midst of even greater dissimilarity, of
the whole tone and particularly of the style of the composition is not
thereby accounted for. This, therefore, leads us," he continues, "to the
opinion: The Apostle made use, for writing down his words, of the
hand and even of the skill of a trusted friend who later, on his own
authority (fur sich allein), wrote the supplement. The great similarity,
as well as dissimilarity, of the style of both parts in this way becomes
intelligible: the trusted friend (probably a Presbyter in Ephesus)
adopted much of the language and mode of expression of the youthful old
Apostle, without, however, where he wrote more in his own person, being
carefully solicitous of imitating them. But even through this contrast,
and the definite declaration in v. 24, the Apostolical origin of
the book itself becomes all the more clearly apparent; and thus the
supplement proves from the most diverse sides how certainly this Gospel
was written by the trusted disciple."(1) Elsewhere, Ewald more clearly
explains the share in the work which he assigns to the Apostle's
disciple: "The proposition that the Apostle composed in a unique way our
likewise unique Gospel is to be understood only with the


important limitation upon which I have always laid so much stress: for
John himself did not compose this work quite so directly as Paul did
most of his Epistles, but the young friend who wrote it down from his
lips, and who, in the later appendix, chapter xxi., comes forward in the
most open way, without desiring in the slightest to conceal his separate
identity, does his work at other times somewhat freely, in that he never
introduces the narrator speaking of himself and his participation in the
events with 'I' or 'we' but only indirectly indicates his presence at
such events and, towards the end, in preference refers to him, from his
altogether peculiar relation to Christ, as 'the disciple whom the Lord
loved,' so that, in one passage, in regard to an important historical
testimony (xix. 35), he even speaks of him as of a third person." Ewald
then maintains that the agreement between the Gospel and the Epistles,
and more especially the first, which he affirms, without vouchsafing a
word of evidence, to have been written down by a different hand, proves
that we have substantially only the Apostle's very peculiar composition,
and that his friend as much as possible gave his own words.(1)

It is obvious from this elaborate explanation, which we need scarcely
say is composed of mere assumptions, that, in order to connect the
Apostle John with the Gospel, Ewald is obliged to assign him a very
peculiar position in regard to it: he recognizes that some of the
characteristics of the work exclude the supposition that the Apostle
could himself have written the Gospel, so he represents him as dictating
it, and his Secretary as taking considerable liberties with the
composition as he writes it


down, and even as introducing references of his own; as, for instance,
in the passage to which he refers, where, in regard to the statement
that at the Crucifixion a soldier pierced the side of the already dead
Jesus and that forthwith there came out blood and water (xix. 35), it is
said: "And he that saw it hath borne witness, and his witness is true;
and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye may believe."(1) It is
perfectly clear that the writer refers to the testimony of another
person(2)--the friend who is writing down the narrative, says Herr
Ewald, refers to the Apostle who is actually dictating it. Again, in the
last chapter, as elsewhere throughout the work, "the disciple whom Jesus
loved," who is the author, is spoken of in the third person, and also
in verse 24: "This is the disciple which testifieth of these things,
and wrote these things" [------]. This, according to Ewald, is the same
secretary, now writing in his own person. The similarity between this
declaration and the appeal to the testimony of another person in xix.
35, is certainly complete, and there can be no doubt that both proceed
from the same pen; but beyond the assertion of Herr Ewald there is
not the slightest evidence that a secretary wrote the Gospel from the
dictation of another, and ventured to interrupt the narrative by such a
reference to testimony, which, upon the supposition that the


Apostle John was known as the actual author, is singularly out of place.
If John wrote the Gospel, why should he appeal in utterly vague terms
to his own testimony, and upon such a point, when the mere fact that he
himself wrote the statement was the most direct testimony in itself? An
author who composed a work which he desired to ascribe to a "disciple
whom Jesus loved" might have made such a reference as xix. 35, in his
anxiety to support such an affirmation, without supposing that he had
really compromised his design, and might have naturally added such a
statement as that in the last two verses, but nothing but the foregone
conclusion that the Apostle John was the real author could have
suggested such an explanation of these passages. It is throughout
assumed by Ewald and others, that John wrote in the first instance, at
least, specially for a narrow circle of friends, and the proof of
this is considered to be the statement of the object with which it was
written: "that ye may believe,"(l) &c., a phrase, we may remark, which
is identical with that of the very verse (xix. 35) with which the
secretary is supposed to have had so much to do. It is very remarkable,
upon this hypothesis, that in xix. 35, it is considered necessary even
for this narrow circle, who knew the Apostle so well, to make such an
appeal, as well as to attach at its close (xxi. 24), for the benefit
of the world in general as Ewald will have it, a certificate of the
trustworthiness of the GospeL

Upon no hypothesis which supposes the Apostle John the author of the
fourth Gospel is such an explanation credible. That the Apostle himself
could have written of himself the words in xix. 35 is impossible. After


having stated so much that is much more surprising and contradictory to
all experience without reference to any witness, it would indeed
have been strange had he here appealed to himself as to a separate
individual, and on the other hand it is quite inadmissible to assume
that a Mend to whom he is dictating should interrupt the narrative to
introduce a passage so inappropriate to the work, and so unnecessary for
any circle acquainted with the Apostolic author. If, as Ewald argues,
the peculiarities of his style of composition were so well known that it
was unnecessary for the writer more clearly to designate himself either
for the first readers or for the Christian world, the passages we are
discussing are all the more inappropriate. That any guarantee of the
truth of the Gospel should have been thought desirable for readers who
knew the work is to be composed by the Apostle John, and who believed
him to be "the disciple whom Jesus loved," is inconceivable, and that
any anonymous and quite indirect testimony to its genuineness should
either have been considered necessary or of any value is still more
incredible. It is impossible that nameless Presbyters of Ephesus could
venture to accredit a Gospel written by the Apostle John; and any
intended attestation must have taken the simple and direct course
of stating that the work had been composed by the Apostle. The
peculiarities we are discussing seem to us explicable only upon the
supposition that the unknown writer of the Gospel desired that it should
be understood to be written by a certain disciple whom Jesus loved,
but did not choose distinctly to name him or directly to make such an

It is, we assert, impossible that an Apostle who composed a history of
the life and teaching of Jesus could


have failed to attach his name, naturally and simply, as testimony
of the trustworthiness of his statements, and of his fitness as an
eye-witness to compose such a record. As the writer of the fourth
Gospel does not state his name, Herr Ewald ascribes the omission to the
"incomparable modesty and delicacy of feeling" of the Apostle John. We
must further briefly examine the validity of this explanation. It is
universally admitted, and by Ewald himself, that although the writer
does not directly name himself, he very clearly indicates that he is
"the other disciple" and "the disciple whom Jesus loved." We must affirm
that such a mode of indicating himself is incomparably less modest than
the simple statement of his name, and it is indeed a glorification
of himself beyond anything in the Apocalypse. But not only is the
explanation thus discredited but, in comparing the details of the Gospel
with those of the Synoptics, we find still more certainly how little
modesty had to do with the suppression of his name. In the Synoptics a
very marked precedence of the rest of the disciples is ascribed to the
Apostle Peter; and the sons of Zebedee are represented in all of them
as holding a subordinate place. This representation is confirmed by
the Pauline Epistles and by tradition. In the fourth Gospel, a very
different account is given, and the author studiously elevates the
Apostle John,--that is to say, according to the theory that he is the
writer of the Gospel, himself,--in every way above the Apostle Peter.
Apart from the general pre-eminence claimed for himself in the very name
of "the disciple whom Jesus loved," we have seen that he deprives Peter
in his own favour of the honour of being the first of the disciples who
was called; he suppresses the account of the circumstances under which


that Apostle was named Peter, and gives another and trifling version of
the incident, reporting elsewhere indeed in a very subdued and modified
form, and without the commendation of the Master, the recognition of the
divinity of Jesus, which in the first Gospel is the cause of his change
of name.(1) He is the intimate friend of the Master, and even Peter
has to beg him to ask at the Supper who was the betrayer. He describes
himself as the friend of the High Priest, and while Peter is excluded,
he not only is able to enter into his palace, but he is the means of
introducing Peter. The denial of Peter is given without mitigation, but
his bitter repentance is not mentioned. He it is who is singled out by
the dying Jesus and entrusted with the charge of his mother. He outruns
Peter in their race to the Sepulchre, and in the final appearance of
Jesus (xxi. 15) the more important position is assigned to the disciple
whom Jesus loved. It is, therefore, absurd to speak of the incomparable
modesty of the writer, who, if he does not give his name, not only
clearly indicates himself, but throughout assumes a pre-eminence which
is not supported by the authority of the Synoptics and other writings,
but is heard of alone from his own narrative.

Ewald argues that chapter xxi. must have been written, and the Gospel
as we have it, therefore, have been completed, before the death of the
Apostle John. He considers the supplement to have been added specially
to contradict the report regarding John (xxi. 23). "The supplement must
have been written whilst John still lived," he asserts, "for only before
his death was it worth while to contradict such a false hope; and if his
death had actually taken place, the result itself would


have already refuted so erroneous an interpretation of the words of
Christ, and it would then have been much more appropriate to explain
afresh the sense of the words 'till I come.' Moreover, there is no
reference here to the death as having already occurred, although a small
addition to that effect in ver. 24 would have been so easy. But if we
were to suppose that John had long been dead when this was written, the
whole rectification as it is given would be utterly without sense."(1)
On the contrary, we affirm that the whole history of the first two
centuries renders it certain that the Apostle was already dead, and
that the explanation was not a rectification of false hopes during his
lifetime, but an explanation of the failure of expectations which had
already taken place, and probably excited some scandal. We know how the
early Church looked for the immediate coming of the glorified Christ,
and how such hopes sustained persecuted Christians in their sorrow and
suffering. This is very clearly expressed in 1 Thess. iv. 15--18, where
the expectation of the second coming within the lifetime of the writer
and readers of the Epistle is confidently stated, and elsewhere, and
even in 1 John ii. 18, the belief that the "last times" had arrived
is expressed. The history of the Apocalypse in relation to the Canon
illustrates the case. So long as the belief in the early consummation of
all things continued strong, the Apocalypse was the favourite writing of
the early Church, but when time went on, and the second coming of
Christ did not take place, the opinion of Christendom regarding the
work changed, and disappointment, as well as the desire to explain the
non-fulfilment of prophecies upon which so much hope had been based, led
many to reject the Apocalypse


as an unintelligible and fallacious book. We venture to conjecture that
the tradition that John should not die until the second coming of Jesus
may have originated with the Apocalypse, where that event is announced
to John as immediately to take place, xxii. 7, 10, 12, and the words
with which the book ends are of this nature, and express the expectation
of the writer, 20: "He which testifieth these things saith: Surely I
come quickly. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus." It was not in the spirit of the
age to hesitate about such anticipations, and so long as the Apostle
lived, such a tradition would scarcely have required or received
contradiction from any one, the belief being universal that the coming
of Jesus might take place any day, and assuredly would not be long
delayed. When the Apostle was dead, however, and the tradition that
it had been foretold that he should live until the coming of the
Lord exercised men's minds, and doubt and disappointment at the
non-fulfilment of what may have been regarded as prophecy produced a
prejudicial effect upon Christendom, it seemed to the writer of this
Gospel a desirable thing to point out that too much stress had been laid
upon the tradition, and that the words which had been relied upon in the
first instance did not justify the expectations which had been formed
from them. This also contradicts the hypothesis that the Apostle John
was the author of the Gospel.

Such a passage as xix. 35, received in any natural sense, or interpreted
in any way which can be supported by evidence, shows that the writer of
the Gospel was not an eye-witness of the events recorded, but appeals to
the testimony of others. It is generally admitted that the expressions
in ch. i. 14 are of universal application, and capable of being adopted
by all Christians, and,


consequently, that they do not imply any direct claim on the part of the
writer to personal knowledge of Jesus. We must now examine whether
the Gospel itself bears special marks of having been written by an
eye-witness, and how far in this respect it bears out the assertion that
it was written by the Apostle John. It is constantly asserted that the
minuteness of the details in the fourth Gospel indicates that it must
have been written by one who was present at the scenes he records. With
regard to this point we need only generally remark, that in the works of
imagination of which the world is full, and the singular realism of
many of which is recognized by all, we have the most minute and natural
details of scenes which never occurred, and of conversations which never
took place, the actors in which never actually existed. Ewald admits
that it is undeniable that the fourth Gospel was written with a fixed
purpose, and with artistic design and, indeed, he goes further and
recognizes that the Apostle could not possibly so long have recollected
the discourses of Jesus and verbally reproduced them, so that, in fact,
we have only, at best, a substantial report of the matter of those
discourses coloured by the mind of the author himself.(1) Details
of scenes at which we were not present may be admirably supplied by
imagination, and as we cannot compare what is here described as taking
place with what actually took place, the argument that the author
must have been an eyewitness because he gives such details is without
validity. Moreover, the details of the fourth Gospel in many cases do
not agree with those of the three Synoptics, and it is an undoubted
fact that the author of the fourth Gospel gives the details of scenes at
which the Apostle John was not


present, and reports the discourses and conversations on such occasions,
with the very same minuteness as those at which he is said to have been
present; as, for instance, the interview between Jesus and the woman of
Samaria. It is perfectly undeniable that the writer had other Gospels
before him when he composed his work, and that he made use of other
materials than his own.(1)

It is by no means difficult, however, to point out very clear
indications that the author was not an eye-witness, but constructed
his scenes and discourses artistically and for effect. We shall not, at
present, dwell upon the almost uniform artifice adopted in most of the
dialogues, in which the listeners either misunderstand altogether the
words of Jesus, or interpret them in a foolish and material way,
and thus afford him an opportunity of enlarging upon the theme. For
instance, Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, misunderstands the expression
of Jesus, that in order to see the kingdom of God a man must be born
from above, and asks: "How can a man be born when he is old? can he
enter a second time into his mothers womb and be born?"(2) Now, as it is
well known, and as we have already shown, the common expression used
in regard to a proselyte to Judaism was that of being born again, with
which every Jew, and more especially every "ruler of the Jews," must
have been well acquainted. The stupidity which he displays


in his conversation with Jesus, and with which the author endowed all
who came in contact with him, in order, by the contrast, to mark more
strongly the superiority of the Master, even draws from Jesus the
remark: "Art thou the teacher of Israel and understandest not these
things?"(l) There can be no doubt that the scene was ideal, and it is
scarcely possible that a Jew could have written it. In the Synoptics,
Jesus is reported as quoting against the people of his own city,
Nazareth, who rejected him, the proverb: "A prophet has no honour in his
own country."(2) The appropriateness of the remark here is obvious. The
author of the fourth Gospel, however, shows clearly that he was neither
an eye-witness nor acquainted with the subject or country when he
introduces this proverb in a different place. Jesus is represented as
staying two days at Sychar after his conversation with the Samaritan
woman. "Now after the two days he departed thence into Galilee. For
[------] Jesus himself testified that a prophet hath no honour in
his own country. When, therefore [------], he came into Galilee, the
Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that he did in
Jerusalem, at the feast--for they also went unto the feast."(3) Now it
is manifest that the quotation here is quite out of place, and none
of the ingenious but untenable explanations of apologists can make
it appropriate. He is made to go into Galilee, which was his country,
because a prophet has no honour in his country, and the Galilaeans are
represented as receiving him, which is a contradiction of the proverb.
The writer evidently misunderstood the facts of the case or


deliberately desired to deny the connection of Jesus with Nazareth and
Galilee, in accordance with his evident intention of associating the
Logos only with the Holy City. We must not pause to show that the
author is generally unjust to the Galilaeans, and displays an ignorance
regarding them very unlike what we should expect from the fisherman of
Galilee.(1) We have already alluded to the artificial character of the
conversation with the woman of Samaria, which, although given with so
much detail, occurred at a place totally unknown (perhaps allegorically
called the "City of Lies"), at which the Apostle John was not present,
and the substance of which was typical of Samaria and its five nations
and false gods. The continuation in the Gospel is as unreal as the

Another instance displaying personal ignorance is the insertion into
a discourse at the Last Supper, and without any appropriate connection
with the context, the passage "Verily, verily, I say unto you: he that
receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me, and he that receiveth me
receiveth him that sent me."(2) In the Synoptics, this sentence is
naturally represented as part of the address to the disciples who are
to be sent forth to preach the Gospel;(3) but it is clear that its
insertion here is a mistake.(4) Again, a very obvious slip, which
betrays that what was intended for realistic detail is nothing but a
reminiscence of some earlier Gospel misapplied, occurs in a later part


of the discourses very inappropriately introduced as being delivered on
the same occasion. At the end of xiv. 31, Jesus is represented, after
saying that he would no more talk much with the disciples, as suddenly
breaking off with the words: "Arise, let us go hence" [------]. They

do not, however, arise and go thence, but, on the contrary, Jesus at
once commences another long discourse: "I am the true vine," &c. The
expression is merely introduced artistically to close one discourse,
and enable the writer to begin another, and the idea is taken from some
earlier work. For instance, in our first Synoptic, at the close of the
Agony in the Garden which the fourth Gospel ignores altogether, Jesus
says to the awakened disciples: "Rise, let us go" [------].(1) We need
not go on with these illustrations, but the fact that the author is not
an eyewitness recording scenes which he beheld and discourses which
he heard, but a writer composing an ideal Gospel on a fixed plan, will
become more palpable as we proceed.

It is not necessary to enter upon any argument to prove the fundamental
difference which exists in every respect between the Synoptics and the
fourth Gospel. This is admitted even by apologists, whose efforts to
reconcile the discordant elements are totally unsuccessful. "It is
impossible to pass from the Synoptic Gospels to that of St John,"
says Canon Westcott, "without feeling that the transition involves the
passage from one world of thought to another. No familiarity with the
general teaching of the Gospels, no wide conception of the character of
the Saviour is sufficient to destroy the


contrast which exists in form and spirit between the earlier and
later narratives."(l) The difference between the fourth Gospel and the
Synoptics, not only as regards the teaching of Jesus but also the facts
of the narrative, is so great that it is impossible to harmonize them,
and no one who seriously considers the matter can fail to see that both
cannot be accepted as correct. If we believe that the Synoptics give a
truthful representation of the life and teaching of Jesus, it follows of
necessity that, in whatever category we may decide to place the fourth
Gospel, it must be rejected as a historical work. The theories which are
most in favour as regards it may place the Gospel in a high position as
an ideal composition, but sober criticism must infallibly pronounce that
they exclude it altogether from the province of history. There is no
option but to accept it as the only genuine report of the sayings and
doings of Jesus, rejecting the Synoptics, or to remove it at once to
another department of literature. The Synoptics certainly contradict
each other in many minor details, but they are not in fundamental
disagreement with each other and evidently present the same portrait of
Jesus, and the same view of his teaching derived from the same sources.

The vast difference which exists between the representation of Jesus in
the fourth Gospel and in the Synoptics is too well recognized to
require minute demonstration. We must, however, point out some of the
distinctive features. We need not do more here than refer to the fact
that, whilst the Synoptics relate the circumstances of the birth of
Jesus, two of them at least, and give some history of his family and
origin, the fourth Gospel, ignoring all this, introduces the great


Teacher at once as the Logos who from the beginning was with God and
was himself God. The key-note is struck from the first, and in the
philosophical prelude to the Gospel we have the announcement to those
who have ears to hear, that here we need expect no simple history, but
an artistic demonstration of the philosophical postulate. According
to the Synoptics, Jesus is baptized by John, and as he goes out of the
water the Holy Ghost descends upon him like a dove. The fourth Gospel
says nothing of the baptism, and makes John the Baptist narrate vaguely
that he saw the Holy Ghost descend like a dove and rest upon Jesus, as
a sign previously indicated to him by God by which to recognize the Lamb
of God.(1) From the very first, John the Baptist, in the fourth Gospel,
recognizes and declares Jesus to be "the Christ,"(2) "the Lamb of God
which taketh away the sins of the world."(3) According to the Synoptics,
John comes preaching the baptism of repentance, and so far is he from
making such declarations, or forming such distinct opinions concerning
Jesus, that even after he has been cast into prison and just before his
death,--when in fact his preaching was at an end,--he is represented as
sending disciples to Jesus, on hearing in prison of his works, to ask
him: "Art thou he that should come, or look we for another?" (4) Jesus
carries on his ministry and baptizes simultaneously with John, according
to the fourth Gospel, but his public career, according to the Synoptics,
does not begin until after the Baptist's has concluded, and John is cast
into prison.(5) The Synoptics clearly


represent the ministry of Jesus as having been limited to a single
year,(1) and his preaching is confined to Galilee and Jerusalem,
where his career culminates at the fatal Passover. The fourth Gospel
distributes the teaching of Jesus-between Galilee, Samaria, and
Jerusalem, makes it extend at least over three years, and refers to
three Passovers spent by Jesus at Jerusalem.(2) The Fathers felt this
difficulty and expended a good deal of apologetic ingenuity upon it;
but no one is now content with the explanation of Eusebius, that the
Synoptics merely intended to write the history of Jesus during the one
year after the imprisonment of the Baptist, whilst the fourth Evangelist
recounted the events of the time not recorded by the others, a theory
which is totally contradicted by the four Gospels themselves.(3)

The fourth Gospel represents the expulsion of the money-changers by
Jesus as taking place at the very outset of his career,(4) when he could
not have been known, and when such a proceeding is incredible; whilst
the Synoptics place it at the very close of his ministry, after his
triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when, if ever, such an act, which might
have contributed to the final catastrophe, becomes conceivable.(5) The
variation from the parallels in the Synoptics, moreover, is exceedingly
instructive, and further indicates the amplification of a later writer
imperfectly acquainted with the circumstances. The


first and second Synoptists, in addition to the general expression
"those buying and selling in the Temple," mention only that Jesus
overthrew the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those
selling doves. The third Synoptist does not even give these particulars.
The author of the fourth Gospel, however, not only-makes Jesus expel the
sellers of doves and the moneychangers, but adds: "those selling oxen
and sheep." Now, not only is there not the slightest evidence that sheep
and oxen were bought and sold in the Temple, but it is obvious that
there was no room there to do so. On the contrary, it is known that the
market for cattle was not only distant from the Temple, but even from
the city.(1) The author himself betrays the foreign element in his
account by making Jesus address his words, when driving them all out,
only "to them selling doves." Why single these out and seem to exclude
the sellers of sheep and oxen? He has apparently forgotten his own
interpolation. In the first Gospel, the connection of the words of Jesus
with the narrative suggests an explanation: xxi. 12 "... and overthrew
the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats _of those selling doves,
and saith to them_, &c." Upon the occasion of this episode, the fourth
Gospel represents Jesus as replying to the demand of the Jews for a sign
why he did such things: "Destroy this temple, and within three days I
will raise it up," which the Jews understand very naturally only in
a material sense, and which even the disciples only comprehended and
believed "after the resurrection." The Synoptists not only know nothing
of this, but represent the saying as the false testimony which the false
witnesses bare


against Jesus.(1) No such charge is brought against Jesus at all in the
fourth Gospel. So little do the Synoptists know of the conversation of
Jesus with the Samaritan woman, and his sojourn for two days at Sychar,
that in his instructions to his disciples, in the first Gospel, Jesus
positively forbids them either to go to the Gentiles or to enter into
any city of the Samaritans.(2) The fourth Gospel has very few miracles
in common with the Synoptics, and those few present notable variations.
After the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus, according to the
Synoptics, constrains his disciples to enter a ship and to go to the
other side of the Lake of Gennesaret, whilst he himself goes up a
mountain apart to pray. A storm arises, and Jesus appears walking to
them over the sea, whereat the disciples are troubled, but Peter says to
him: "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee over the water," and
on his going out of the ship over the water, and beginning to sink, he
cries: "Lord save me;" Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and
when they had come into the ship, the wind ceased, and they that were in
the ship came and worshipped him, saying: "Of a truth thou art the
Son of God." (3) The fourth Gospel, instead of representing Jesus as
retiring to the mountain to pray, which would have been opposed to
the authors idea of the Logos, makes the motive for going thither the
knowledge of Jesus that the people "would come and take him by force
that they might make him a king."(4) The writer altogether ignores the
episode of Peter walking on the sea, and adds a new miracle by stating
that, as soon as Jesus was received on


board, "the ship was at the land whither they were going."(1) The
Synoptics go on to describe the devout excitement and faith of all
the country round, but the fourth Gospel, limiting the effect on the
multitude in the first instance to curiosity as to how Jesus had crossed
the lake, represents Jesus as upbraiding them for following him, not
because they saw miracles, but because they had eaten of the loaves
and been filled,(2) and makes him deliver one of those long dogmatic
discourses, interrupted by, and based upon, the remarks of the crowd,
which so peculiarly distinguish the fourth Gospel.

Without dwelling upon such details of miracles, however, we proceed
with our slight comparison. Whilst the fourth Gospel from the very
commencement asserts the foreknowledge of Jesus as to who should betray
him, and makes him inform the Twelve that one of them is a devil,
alluding to Judas Iscariot,(3) the Synoptists represent Jesus as having
so little foreknowledge that Judas should betray him that, shortly
before the end and, indeed, according to the third Gospel, only at the
last supper, Jesus promises that the disciples shall sit upon twelve
thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel,(4) and it is only at the
last supper, after Judas has actually arranged with the chief priests,
and apparently from knowledge of the fact, that Jesus for the first
time speaks of his betrayal by him.(5) On his way to Jerusalem, two days
before the Passover,(6) Jesus comes to Bethany where,


according to the Synoptics, being in the house of Simon the leper, a
woman with an alabaster box of very precious ointment came and poured
the ointment upon his head, much to the indignation of the disciples,
who say: "To what purpose is this waste? For this might have been sold
for much, and given to the poor."(1) In the fourth Gospel the episode
takes place six days before the Passover,(2) in the house of Lazarus,
and it is his sister Mary who takes a pound of very costly ointment, but
she anoints the feet of Jesus and wipes his feet with her hair. It
is Judas Iscariot, and not the disciples, who says: "Why was not this
ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor?" And Jesus
makes a similar reply to that in the Synoptics, showing the identity of
the occurrence described so differently.(3)

The Synoptics represent most clearly that Jesus on the evening of the
14th Nisan, after the custom of the Jews, ate the Passover with his
disciples,(4) and that he was arrested in the first hours of the
15th Nisan, the day on which he was put to death. Nothing can be more
distinct than the statement that the last supper was the Paschal feast.
"They made ready the Passover [------], and when the hour was come, he
sat down and the apostles with him, and he said to them: With desire I
desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer" [------].(5)
The fourth Gospel, however, in accordance with the principle which is
dominant throughout, represents the last repast


which Jesus eats with his disciples as a common supper [------], which
takes place, not on the 14th, but on the 13th Nisan, the day "before
the feast of the Passover" [------],(1) and his death takes place on the
14th, the day on which the Paschal lamb was slain. Jesus is delivered
by Pilate to the Jews to be crucified about the sixth hour of "the
preparation of the Passover" [------],(2) and because it was "the
preparation," the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus were broken,
that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the great day of the
feast.(3) The fourth Gospel totally ignores the institution of the
Christian festival at the last supper, but, instead, represents Jesus
as washing the feet of the disciples, enjoining them also to wash each
other's feet: "For I gave you an example that ye should do according
as I did to you."(4) The Synoptics have no knowledge of this incident.
Immediately after the warning to Peter of his future denial, Jesus goes
out with the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane

and, taking Peter and the two sons of Zebedee apart, began to be
sorrowful and very depressed and, as he prayed in his agony that if
possible the cup might pass from him, an angel comforts him. Instead
of this, the fourth Gospel represents Jesus as delivering, after the
warning to Peter, the longest discourses in the Gospel: "Let not your
heart be troubled," &c; "I am the true vine,"(5) &c; and, although said
to be written by one of the sons of Zebedee who were with Jesus on the
occasion, the fourth Gospel does not mention the agony in the garden
but, on the contrary, makes Jesus utter the long


prayer xvii. 1--26, in a calm and even exulting spirit very far removed
from the sorrow and depression of the more natural scene in Gethsemane.
The prayer, like the rest of the prayers in the Gospel, is a mere
didactic and dogmatic address for the benefit of the hearers.

The arrest of Jesus presents a similar contrast. In the Synoptics, Judas
comes with a multitude from the chief priests and elders of the people
armed with swords and staves, and, indicating his Master by a kiss,
Jesus is simply arrested and, after the slight resistance of one of
the disciples, is led away.(1) In the fourth Gospel, the case is very
different. Judas comes with a band of men from the chief priests and
Pharisees, with lanterns and torches and weapons, and Jesus--"knowing
all things which were coming to pass"--himself goes towards them and
asks: "Whom seek ye?" Judas plays no active part, and no kiss is given.
The fourth Evangelist is, as ever, bent on showing that all which
happens to the Logos is predetermined by himself and voluntarily
encountered. As soon as Jesus replies: "I am he," the whole band of
soldiers go backwards and fall to the ground, an incident thoroughly
in the spirit of the early apocryphal Gospels still extant, and of an
evidently legendary character. He is then led away first to Annas, who
sends him to Caiaphas, whilst the Synoptics naturally know nothing of
Annas, who was not the high priest and had no authority. We need not
follow the trial, which is fundamentally different in the Synoptics and
fourth Gospel; and we have already pointed out that, in the Synoptics,
Jesus is crucified on the 15th Nisan, whereas in the fourth Gospel he is
put to death--the spiritual Paschal lamb--on the 14th Nisan. According


to the fourth Gospel, Jesus bears his own cross to Calvary,(1) but the
Synoptics represent it as being borne by Simon of Cyrene.(2) As a very
singular illustration of the inaccuracy of all the Gospels, we may point
to the circumstance that no two of them agree even about so simple a
matter of fact as the inscription on the cross, assuming that there was
one at all. They give it respectively as follows: "This is Jesus the
King of the Jews;" "The King of the Jews;" "This (is) the King of
the Jews;" and the fourth Gospel: "Jesus the Nazarene the King of
the Jews."(3) The occurrences during the Crucifixion are profoundly
different in the fourth Gospel from those narrated in the Synoptics. In
the latter, only the women are represented as beholding afar off,(4)
but "the beloved disciple" is added in the fourth Gospel, and instead
of being far off, they are close to the cross; and for the last cries
of Jesus reported in the Synoptics we have the episode in which Jesus
confides his mother to the disciple's care. We need not at present
compare the other details of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, which are
differently reported by each of the Gospels.

We have only indicated a few of the more salient differences between the
fourth Gospel and the Synoptics, which are rendered much more striking,
in the Gospels themselves, by the profound dissimilarity of the
sentiments uttered by Jesus. We merely point out, in passing, the
omission of important episodes from the fourth


Gospel, such as the Temptation in the wilderness; the Transfiguration,
at which, according to the Synoptics, the sons of Zebedee were present;
the last Supper; the agony in the garden; the mournful cries on the
cross; and, we may add, the Ascension; and if we turn to the miracles
of Jesus, we find that almost all of those narrated by the Synoptics are
ignored, whilst an almost entirely new series is introduced. There is
not a single instance of the cure of demoniacal possession in any form
recorded in the fourth Gospel. Indeed the number of miracles is reduced
in that Gospel to a few typical cases; and although at the close it is
generally said that Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his
disciples, these alone are written with the declared purpose: "that ye
might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God."(1)

We may briefly refer in detail to one miracle of the fourth Gospel--the
raising of Lazarus. The extraordinary fact that the Synoptists are
utterly ignorant of this the greatest of the miracles attributed to
Jesus has been too frequently discussed to require much comment here.
It will be remembered that, as the case of the daughter of Jairus is,
by the express declaration of Jesus, one of mere suspension of
consciousness,(2) the only instance in which a dead person is distinctly
said, in any of the Synoptics, to have been restored to life by Jesus
is that of the son of the widow of Nain.(3) It is, therefore, quite
impossible to suppose that the Synoptists could have known of the
raising of Lazarus and wilfully omitted it. It is equally impossible to
believe that the authors of the Synoptic Gospels, from whatever sources
they may have drawn their materials,


could have been ignorant of such a miracle had it really-taken place.
This astounding miracle, according to the fourth Gospel, created such
general excitement that it was one of the leading events which led to
the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus.(1) If, therefore, the Synoptics had
any connection with the writers to whom they are referred, the raising
of Lazarus must have been personally known to their reputed authors
either directly or through the Apostles who are supposed to have
inspired them, or even if they have any claim to contemporary origin
the tradition of the greatest miracle of Jesus must have been fresh
throughout the Church, if such a wonder had ever been performed.(2) The
total ignorance of such a miracle displayed by the whole of the works of
the New Testament, therefore, forms the strongest presumptive evidence
that the narrative in the fourth Gospel is a mere imaginary scene,
illustrative of the dogma: "I am the resurrection and the life," upon
which it is based. This conclusion is confirmed by the peculiarities of
the narrative itself. When Jesus first hears, from the message of the
sisters, that Lazarus whom he loved was sick, he declares, xi. 4: "This
sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of
God may be glorified thereby;" and v. 6: "When, therefore [------], he
heard that he was sick, at that time he continued two days in the
place where he was." After that time he proposes to go into Judaea, and
explains to the disciples, v. 11: "Our friend Lazarus is fallen asleep;
but I go that I may awake him out of sleep." The disciples reply, with
the stupidity with which the fourth Evangelist endows all those who hold
colloquy with Jesus,


v. 12: "Lord, if he is fallen asleep, he will recover. Howbeit, Jesus
spake of his death; but they thought that he was speaking of the taking
of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly: Lazarus is dead,
and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent that ye
may believe." The artificial nature of all this introductory matter will
not have escaped the reader, and it is further illustrated by that which
follows. Arrived at Bethany, they find that Lazarus has lain in the
grave already four days. Martha says to Jesus (v. 21 £): "Lord, if
thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. And I know that even now
whatsoever thou shalt ask of God, God will give thee. Jesus saith
unto her: They brother shall rise again." Martha, of course, as usual,
misunderstands this saying as applying to "the resurrection at the last
day," in order to introduce the reply: "I am the resurrection and the
life," &c. When they come to the house, and Jesus sees Mary and the Jews
weeping, "he groaned in spirit and troubled himself," and on reaching
the grave itself (v. 35. f.), "Jesus wept: Then said the Jews: Behold
how he loved him!" Now this representation, which has ever since been
the admiration of Christendom, presents the very strongest marks of
unreality. Jesus, who loves Lazarus so much, disregards the urgent
message of the sisters and, whilst openly declaring that his sickness
is not unto death, intentionally lingers until his friend dies. When
he does go to Bethany, and is on the very point of restoring Lazarus
to life and dissipating the grief of his family and friends he actually
weeps and groans in his spirit. There is so total an absence of reason
for such grief at such a moment that these tears, to any sober reader,
are unmistakably mere theatrical adjuncts of a scene


elaborated out of the imagination of the writer. The suggestion of the
bystanders (v. 37), that he might have prevented the death, is not
more probable than the continuation (v. 38): "Jesus, therefore, again
groaning in himself cometh to the grave." There, having ordered the
stone to be removed, he delivers a prayer avowedly intended merely
for the bystanders (v. 41 ff): "And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said,
Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me, and I knew that thou
hearest me always: but for the sake of the multitude which stand around
I said this, that they may believe that thou hast sent me." This prayer
is as evidently artificial as the rest of the details of the miracle
but, as in other elaborately arranged scenic representations, the charm
is altogether dispelled when closer examination shows the character of
the dramatic elements. A careful consideration of the narrative and of
all the facts of the case must, we think, lead to the conclusion that
this miracle is not even a historical tradition of the life of Jesus,
but is wholly an ideal composition by the author of the fourth Gospel.
This being the case, the other miracles of the Gospel need not detain

If the historical part of the fourth Gospel be in irreconcilable
contradiction to the Synoptics, the didactic is infinitely more so. The
teaching of the one is totally different from that of the others, in
spirit, form, and terminology; and although there are undoubtedly fine
sayings throughout the work, in the prolix discourses of the fourth
Gospel there is not a single characteristic of the simple eloquence of
the Sermon on the Mount. In the diffuse mysticism of the Logos, we can
scarcely recognise a trace of the terse practical wisdom of Jesus of
Nazareth. It must, of course, be apparent even to the most superficial


observer that, in the fourth Gospel, we are introduced to a perfectly
new system of instruction, and to an order of ideas of which there is
not a vestige in the Synoptics. Instead of short and concise lessons
full of striking truth and point, we find nothing but long and involved
dogmatic discourses of little practical utility. The limpid spontaneity
of that earlier teaching, with its fresh illustrations and profound
sentences uttered without effort and untinged by art, is exchanged for
diffuse addresses and artificial dialogues, in which labour and design
are everywhere apparent. From pure and living morality couched in brief
incisive sayings, which enter the heart and dwell upon the ear, we turn
to elaborate philosophical orations without clearness or order, and to
doctrinal announcements unknown to the Synoptics. To the inquiry: "What
shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus replies, in the Synoptics:
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy
soul, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself,... this do,
and thou shalt live."(1) In the fourth Gospel, to the question: "What
must we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answers, "This
is the work of God, that ye should believe in him whom he sent."(2) The
teaching of Jesus, in the Synoptics, is almost wholly moral and, in the
fourth Gospel, it is almost wholly dogmatic. If Christianity consist of
the doctrines preached in the fourth Gospel, it is not too much to say
that the Synoptics do not teach Christianity at all. The extraordinary
phenomenon is presented of three Gospels, each professing to be complete
in itself and to convey the good tidings of salvation to man,


which have actually omitted the doctrines which are the condition of
that salvation. The fourth Gospel practically expounds a new religion.
It is undeniable that morality and precepts of love and charity for
the conduct of life are the staple of the teaching of Jesus in the
Synoptics, and that dogma occupies so small a place that it is regarded
as a subordinate and secondary consideration. In the fourth Gospel,
however, dogma is the one thing needful, and forms the whole substance
of the preaching of the Logos. The burden of his teaching is: "He that
believeth on the Son, hath eternal life, but he that believeth not the
Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him."(1) It
is scarcely possible to put the contrast between the Synoptics and
the fourth Gospel in too strong a light If we possessed the Synoptics
without the fourth Gospel, we should have the exposition of pure
morality based on perfect love to God and man. If we had the fourth
Gospel without the Synoptics, we should have little more than a system
of dogmatic theology without morality. Not only is the doctrine and the
terminology of the Jesus of the fourth Gospel quite different from
that of the Jesus of the Synoptics, but so is the teaching of John
the Baptist. In the Synoptics, he comes preaching the Baptism
of repentance(2) and, like the Master, inculcating principles of
morality;(3) but in the fourth Gospel he has adopted the peculiar views
of the author, proclaims "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of
the world,"(4) and bears witness that he is "the Son of God."(5) We
hear of the Paraclete for the first time in the fourth Gospel It is so
impossible to ignore the distinct individuality


of the Jesus of the fourth Gospel, and of his teaching, that even
apologists are obliged to admit that the peculiarities of the author
have coloured the portrait, and introduced an element of subjectivity
into the discourses. It was impossible, they confess, that the Apostle
could remember verbally such long orations for half a century, and at
best that they can only be accepted as substantially correct reports of
the teaching of Jesus.(1) "Above all," says Ewald, "the discourses of
Christ and of others in this Gospel are clothed as by an entirely new
colour: on this account also scepticism has desired to conclude that the
Apostle cannot have composed the Gospel; and yet no conclusion is more
unfounded. When the Apostle at so late a period determined to compose
the work, it was certainly impossible for him to reproduce all the words
exactly as they were spoken, if he did not perhaps desire not merely
to recall a few memorable sentences but, in longer discussions of more
weighty subjects, to charm back all the animation with which they
were once given. So he availed himself of that freedom in their
revivification which is both quite intelligible in itself, and
sufficiently warranted by the precedent of so many great examples of
antiquity: and where the discourses extend to greater length, there
entered involuntarily into the structure much of that fundamental
conception and language regarding the


manifestation of Christ, which had long become deeply rooted in the
Apostle's soul. But as certainly as these discourses bear upon them the
colouring of the Apostle's mind, so certainly do they agree in
their substantial contents with his best recollections--because the
Spruchsammlung proves that the discourses of Christ in certain moments
really could rise to the full elevation, which in John only surprises us
throughout more than in Matthew. To deny the apostolical authorship
of the Gospel for such reasons, therefore, were pure folly, and in the
highest degree unjust. Moreover, the circumstance that, in the drawing
up of such discourses, we sometimes see him reproduce or further develop
sayings which had already been recorded in the older Gospels, can prove
nothing against the apostolical origin of the Gospel, as he was indeed
at perfect liberty, if he pleased, to make use of the contents of such
older writings when he considered it desirable, and when they came to
the help of his own memory of those long passed days: for he certainly
retained many or all of such expressions also in his own memory."(1)
Elsewhere, he describes the work as "glorified Gospel history," composed
out of "glorified recollection."(2)

Another strenuous defender of the authenticity of the fourth Gospel
wrote of it as follows: "Nevertheless, everything is reconcilable," says
Gfrörer, "if one accepts that testimony of the elders as true. For as
John must have written the Gospel as an old man, that is to say not
before the year 90--95 of our era, there is an interval of more than
half a century between the time


when the events which he relates really happened, and the time of the
composition of his book,--space enough certainly to make a few mistakes
conceivable, even presupposing a good memory and unshaken love of truth.
Let us imagine, for instance, that to-day (in 1841) an old man of
eighty to ninety years of age should write down from mere memory the
occurrences of the American War (of Independence), in which he himself
in his early youth played a part. Certainly in his narrative, even
though it might otherwise be true, many traits would be found which
would not agree with the original event. Moreover, another particular
circumstance must be added in connection with the fourth Gospel.
Two-thirds of it consist of discourses, which John places in the mouth
of Jesus Christ. Now every day's experience proves that oral impressions
are much more fleeting than those of sight. The happiest memory scarcely
retains long orations after three or four years: how, then, could John
with verbal accuracy report the discourses of Jesus after fifty or sixty
years! We must be content if he truly render the chief contents and
spirit of them, and that he does this, as a rule, can be proved. It has
been shown above that already, before Christ, a very peculiar philosophy
of religion had been formed among the Egyptian Jews, which found its way
into Palestine through the Essenes, and also numbered numerous adherents
amongst the Jews of the adjacent countries of Syria and Asia Minor. The
Apostle Paul professed this: not less the Evangelist John. Undoubtedly,
the latter allowed this Theosophy to exercise a strong influence upon
his representation of the life-history of Jesus,"(1) &c.


Now all such admissions, whilst they are absolutely requisite to
explain the undeniable phenomena of the fourth Gospel, have one obvious
consequence: The fourth Gospel, by whomsoever written,--even if it could
be traced to the Apostle John himself,--has no real historical value,
being at best the "glorified recollections" of an old man, written
down half a century after the events recorded. The absolute difference
between the teaching of this Gospel and of the Synoptics becomes
perfectly intelligible, when the long discourses are recognized to
be the result of Alexandrian Philosophy artistically interwoven with
developed Pauline Christianity, and put into the mouth of Jesus. It will
have been remarked that along with the admission of great subjectivity
in the report of the discourses, and the plea that nothing beyond the
mere substance of the original teaching can reasonably be looked
for, there is, in the extracts we have given, an assertion that there
actually is a faithful reproduction in this Gospel of the original
substance. There is not a shadow of proof of this, but on the contrary
the strongest reason for denying the fact; for, unless it be admitted
that the Synoptics have so completely omitted the whole doctrinal part
of the teaching of Jesus, have so carefully avoided the very peculiar
terminology of the Logos Gospel, and have conveyed so unhistorical and
erroneous an impression of the life and religious system of Jesus that,
without the fourth Gospel, we should not actually have had an idea of
his fundamental doctrines, we must inevitably recognize that the fourth
Gospel cannot possibly be a true reproduction of his teaching. It
is impossible that Jesus can have had two such diametrically opposed
systems of teaching,--one purely moral, the other wholly dogmatic; one
expressed in


wonderfully terse, clear, brief sayings and parables, the other in long,
involved, and diffuse discourses; one clothed in the great language of
humanity, the other concealed in obscure philosophic terminology;--and
that these should have been kept so distinct as they are in the
Synoptics, on the one hand, and the fourth Gospel, on the other.
The tradition of Justin Martin applies solely to the system of the
Synoptics: "Brief and concise were the sentences uttered by him: for he
was no Sophist, but his word was the power of God."(1)

We have already pointed out the evident traces of artificial
construction in the discourses and dialogues of the fourth Gospel, and
the more closely these are examined, the more clear does it become that
they are not genuine reports of the teaching of Jesus, but mere ideal
compositions by the author of the fourth Gospel. The speeches of
John the Baptist, the discourses of Jesus, and the reflections of the
Evangelist himself,(2) are marked by the same peculiarity of style and
proceed from the same mind. It is scarcely possible to determine where
the one begins and the other ends.(3) It is quite clear, for instance,
that the author himself, without a break, continues the words which he
puts into the mouth of Jesus, in the colloquy with Nicodemus, but it
is not easy to determine where. The whole dialogue is artificial in the
extreme, and is certainly not genuine, and this is apparent not only
from the replies attributed to the "teacher of Israel," but to the
irrelevant manner in which the reflections loosely ramble from the new
birth to the dogmatic statements in the thirteenth and following verses,
which are the never-failing resource of the


Evangelist when other subjects are exhausted. The sentiments and almost
the words either attributed to Jesus, or added by the writer, to which
we are now referring, iii. 12 ff., we find again in the very same
chapter, either put into the mouth of John the Baptist, or as
reflections of the author, verses 31--36, for again we add that it
is difficult anywhere to discriminate the speaker. Indeed, while the
Synoptics are rich in the abundance of practical counsel and profound
moral insight, as well as in variety of illustrative parables, it is
remarkable how much sameness there is in all the discourses of the
fourth Gospel, a very few ideas being constantly reproduced. Whilst
the teaching of Jesus in the Synoptics is singularly universal and
impersonal, in the fourth Gospel it is purely personal, and rarely
passes beyond the declaration of his own dignity, and the inculcation of
belief in him as the only means of salvation. There are certainly some
sayings of rare beauty which tradition or earlier records may have
preserved, but these may easily be distinguished from the mass of the
work. A very distinct trace of ideal composition is found in xvii. 3:
"And this is eternal life, to know thee the only true God, and him whom
thou didst send, even Jesus Christ." Even apologists admit that it is
impossible that Jesus could speak of himself as "Jesus Christ." We need
not, however, proceed further with such analysis. We believe that no
one can calmly and impartially examine the fourth Gospel without being
convinced of its artificial character. If some portions possess real
charm, it is of a purely ideal kind, and their attraction consists
chiefly in the presence of a certain vague but suggestive mysticism. The
natural longing of humanity for any revelation regarding a future state
has not been


appealed to in vain. That the diffuse and often monotonous discourses
of this Gospel, however, should ever have been preferred to the grand
simplicity of the teaching of the Synoptics, illustrated by such
parables as the wise and foolish virgins, the sower, and the Prodigal
Son, and culminating in the Sermon on the Mount, each sentence of which
is so full of profound truth and beauty, is little to the credit of
critical sense and judgment.

The elaborate explanations by which the phenomena of the fourth Gospel
are reconciled with the assumption that it was composed by the Apostle
John are in vain, and there is not a single item of evidence within the
first century and a half which does not agree with internal testimony in
opposing the supposition. To one point, however, we must briefly refer
in connection with this statement. It is asserted that the Gospel and
Epistles--or at least the first Epistle--of the Canon ascribed to
the Apostle John are by one author, although this is not without
contradiction,(1) and very many of those who agree as to the identity of
authorship by no means admit the author to have been the Apostle John.
It is argued, therefore, that the use of the Epistle by Polycarp and
Papias is evidence of the apostolic origin of the Gospel. We have,
however, seen, that not only is it very uncertain that Polycarp made
use of the Epistle at all, but that he does not in any case mention its
author's name. There is not a particle of evidence that he ascribed the
Epistle, even supposing he knew it, to the


Apostle John. With regard to Papias, the only authority for the
assertion that he knew the Epistle is the statement of Eusebius already
quoted and discussed, that: "He used testimonies out of John's first
Epistle,"(1) There is no evidence, however, even supposing the
statement of Eusebius to be correct, that he ascribed it to the Apostle.
The earliest undoubted references to the Epistle, in fact, are by
Irenæus and Clement of Alexandria, so that this evidence is of little
avail for the Gospel. There is no name attached to the first Epistle,
and the second and third have the superscription of "the Presbyter,"
which, applying the argument of Ewald regarding the author of the
Apocalypse, ought to be conclusive against their being written by an
Apostle. As all three are evidently by the same writer, and intended to
be understood as by the author of the Gospel, and that writer does not
pretend to be an Apostle, but calls himself a simple Presbyter, the
Epistles likewise give presumptive evidence against the apostolic
authorship of the Gospel.

There is another important testimony against the Johannine origin of the
fourth Gospel to which we must briefly refer. We have pointed out that,
according to the fourth Gospel, Jesus did not eat the Paschal Supper
with his disciples, but that being arrested on the 13th Nisan, he was
put to death on the 14th, the actual day upon which the Paschal lamb was
sacrificed. The Synoptics, on the contrary, represent that Jesus ate
the Passover with his disciples on the evening of the 14th, and was
crucified on the 15th Nisan. The difference of opinion indicated by
these contradictory accounts actually prevailed in various Churches, and
in the


second half of the second century a violent discussion arose as to the
day upon which "the true Passover of the Lord" should be celebrated, the
Church in Asia Minor maintaining that it should be observed on the 14th
Nisan,--the day on which, according to the Synoptics, Jesus himself
celebrated the Passover and instituted the Christian festival,--whilst
the Roman Church as well as most other Christians,--following the fourth
Gospel, which represents Jesus as not celebrating the last Passover,
but being himself slain upon the 14th Nisan, the true Paschal lamb,--had
abandoned the day of the Jewish feast altogether, and celebrated the
Christian festival on Easter Sunday, upon which the Resurrection was
supposed to have taken place. Polycarp, who went to Rome to represent
the Churches of Asia Minor in the discussions upon the subject, could
not be induced to give up the celebration on the 14th Nisan, the day
which, according to tradition, had always been observed, and he appealed
to the practice of the Apostle John himself in support of that date.
Eusebius quotes from Irenæus the statement of the case: "For neither
could Anicetus persuade Polycarp not to observe it (the 14th Nisan),
because he had ever observed it with John the disciple of our Lord, and
with the rest of the Apostles with whom he consorted."(1) Towards the
end of the century, Polycrates, the Bishop of Ephesus, likewise appeals
to the practice of "John who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord," as
well as of the Apostle Philip and his daughters, and of Polycarp and
others in support of the same day: "All these observed


the 14th day of the Passover, according to the Gospel, deviating from it
in no respect, but following according to the rule of the faith."(l) Now
it is evident that, according to this undoubted testimony, the Apostle
John by his own practice, ratified the account of the Synoptics, and
contradicted the data of the fourth Gospel, and upon the supposition
that he so long lived in Asia Minor it is probable that his authority
largely contributed to establish the observance of the 14th Nisan there.
We must, therefore, either admit that the Apostle John by his practice
reversed the statement of his own Gospel, or that he was not its author,
which of course is the natural conclusion. Without going further into
the discussion, which would detain us too long, it is clear that the
Paschal controversy is opposed to the supposition that the Apostle John
was the author of the fourth Gospel.(2)

We have seen that, whilst there is not one particle of evidence during
a century and a half after the events recorded in the fourth Gospel that
it was composed by the son of Zebedee, there is, on the contrary, the
strongest reason for believing that he did not write it. The first
writer who quotes a passage of the Gospel with the mention of his name
is Theophilus of Antioch, who gives the few words: "In the beginning
was the Word and the Word was with God," as spoken by "John," whom he
considers amongst the divinely inspired [------]


[------],(1) though even he does not distinguish. him as the Apostle.
We have seen the legendary nature of the late traditions regarding the
composition of the Gospel, of which a specimen was given in the defence
of it in the Canon of Muratori, and we must not further quote them.
The first writer who distinctly classes the four Gospels together is
Irenæus; and the reasons which he gives for the existence of precisely
that number in the Canon of the Church illustrate the thoroughly
uncritical character of the Fathers, and the slight dependence which can
be placed upon their judgments. "But neither can the Gospels be more in
number than they are," says Irenæus, "nor, on the other hand, can they
be fewer. For as there are four quarters of the world in which we
are, and four general winds [------], and the Church is disseminated
throughout all the world, and the Gospel is the pillar and prop of the
Church and the spirit of life, it is right that she should have four
pillars, on all sides breathing out immortality and revivifying men.
From which it is manifest that the Word, the maker of all, he who
sitteth upon the Cherubim and containeth all things, who was manifested
to man, has given to us the Gospel, four-formed but possessed by one
spirit; as David also says, supplicating his advent: 'Thou that
sittest between the Cherubim, shine forth.' For the Cherubim also are
four-faced, and their faces are symbols of the working of the Son of
God.... and the Gospels, therefore, are in harmony with these amongst
which Christ is seated. For the Gospel according to John relates his
first effectual and glorious generation from the Father, saying: 'In the

     1 Ad Autolyc, ii. 22.    Tischendorf dates this work about
     a.d. 180. Wann wurden, a. s. w., p. 16, anm. 1.


beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was
God,' and 'all things were made by him, and without him nothing was
made.' On this account also this Gospel is full of all trustworthiness,
for such is his person.(1) But the Gospel according to Luke, being as it
were of priestly character, opened with Zacharias the priest sacrificing
to God.... But Matthew narrates his generation as a man, saying: 'The
book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of
Abraham,' and 'the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise,' This Gospel,
therefore, is anthropomorphic, and on this account a man, humble and
mild in character, is presented throughout the Gospel. But Mark makes
his commencement after a prophetic Spirit coming down from on high unto
men, saying: 'The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it is
written in Isaiah the prophet;' indicating the winged form of the
Gospel; and for this reason he makes a compendious and precursory
declaration, for this is the prophetic character....

Such, therefore, as was the course of the Son of God, such also is the
form of the living creatures; and such as is the form of the living
creatures, such also is the character of the Gospel. For quadriform
are the living creatures, quadriform is the Gospel, and quadriform the
course of the Lord. And on this account four covenants were given to the
human race.... These things being thus: vain and ignorant and, moreover,
audacious are those who set aside the form of the Gospel, and declare
the aspects of the Gospels as either more or less than has been
said."(2) As such principles of criticism presided

     1 The Greek of this rather unintelligible sentence is not
     preserved. The Latin version reads as follows: Propter hoc
     et omni fiducia plenum est Evangelium istud; talis est enim
     persona ejus.


over the formation of the Canon, it is not singular that so many of the
decisions of the Fathers have been reversed. Irenæus himself mentioned
the existence of heretics who rejected the fourth Gospel,(1) and
Epiphanius(2) refers to the Alogi, who equally denied its authenticity,
but it is not needful for us further to discuss this point. Enough has
been said to show that the testimony of the fourth Gospel is of no value
towards establishing the truth of miracles and the reality of Divine


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