Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, June 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
Take your personal ministry to the Next Level by helping StudyLight build churches and supporting pastors in Uganda.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries

International Critical Commentary NTInternational Critical

- Mark

by S.R. Driver, A.A. Plummer and C.A. Briggs






Professor of the New Testament Literature and Language, Divinity School of the Protestant Episcopal Church, Philadelphia







Copyright © T&T Clark Ltd

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of T & T Clark Ltd.

ISBN 0 567 05022 X



There is a lack of critical commentaries in the English language on the Gospel of Mark, and especially of commentaries based on the more recent criticism of the sources, and of the history contained in the book. Commentaries corresponding to those of Meyer, Weiss, and Holtzmann, not in ability, but in critical method and results, are wanting. This volume is an attempt to supply this lack. This criticism is based on the evident interdependence of the Synoptical Gospels, unmistakable proof of which is found in the accumulated verbal resemblances of the three books. The generally accepted solution of this Synoptical problem makes Mark the principal source of Matthew and Luke, his account being supplemented and modified by material taken from the Hebrew Logia of Matthew. This critical result is accepted by many English and American scholars, but no commentary based on it has appeared among us. A modification of this theory makes the Logia the older source, which Mark uses to a limited extent, the principal source of his information being the Apostle Peter. A few passages in which this dependence is probable have been noted and discussed. The critical theme of this volume is thus the interrelation of the Synoptics.

In carrying out this plan, the relations of the Synoptical Gospels, their harmonies and divergences, and especially their interdependence, have been made a special study, and, where the fourth Gospel is parallel to Mark, their relation has been discussed.

An important part of the critical question is the historicity of the miracles. This doubt—for the question has grown into a widespread doubt—I have attempted to meet on the general ground of the credibility of the narrative as contemporaneous history, and of the verisimilitude of the miracles.

But after all, since the result of criticism has been to establish the historicity of the Synoptical accounts of the ministry of our Lord, the main attempt has been to interpret him in the light of this history. I have not attempted to make this book a thesaurus of opinions, though the more recent critical literature has been cited and discussed. Nor have I sought to collect curious information of any kind for its own sake; but, by historical and literary methods, I have endeavored to arrive at the meanings of the life of Jesus as here set forth. It is recognized that this account is supplemented, and valuable additions made to it, by the other Gospels. But the use of it as the principal source of the other Synoptical accounts gives it an importance which it is hard to overestimate. What it has to say, therefore, about the life and character of the founder of Christianity, it has been the main endeavor of this volume to set forth. Other things have been used, but not for their own sake. Everything has been pressed into this service.

The volume contains, besides the Notes, an Introduction, stating the Synoptical problem, a discussion of the characteristics of Mark, and an analysis of events; a statement of the Person and Principles of Jesus in Mark; a discussion of the Gospels in the second century; a review of Recent Literature; and a statement of the Sources of the Text. There are also Notes on Special Subjects scattered through the book.


Philadelphia, January, 1896.




The main question in a study of any one of the Synoptical Gospels is its relation to the others. This is especially true of the questions belonging to Introduction. If writings are independent, the matter of their origin can be considered separately; but where an analysis shows intimate relations between them, the question must be discussed with reference to this relation. Now, our study of the Synoptical Gospels shows both interdependence and independence. There are two parts of the story where the independence amounts to divergence. In the account of the early life of Jesus given by Matthew and Luke, Bethlehem is in Matthew not only the birthplace of our Lord, but also the residence of his parents. Nazareth is introduced only as the place to which they turned aside after their return from Egypt, because Judæa was rendered unsafe for them by the succession of Archelaus. But in Luke, Nazareth is their residence, from which they go to Bethlehem only on account of the Roman census, and to which they return after the presentation in the Temple. And these marks of independent origin are found in the entire story of the infancy in Matthew and Luke. And in the account of the events from the resurrection to the ascension, Matthew and Mark, omitting the closing verses of the latter, make the scene of Jesus’ appearance to his disciples to be Galilee; whereas Luke places them all in the vicinity of Jerusalem, and on the day of the resurrection. In fact, one of the great arguments for the omission of the closing verses of Mark is that the scheme of appearances is that of Luke, and plainly out of gear with that of the previous part of Mark. Evidently, here, then, in the beginning and end of the Gospel narrative, the Gospels are quite independent of each other. And in the body of the history, containing the account of our Lord’s public ministry, there are not wanting evidences of the same independence. The general arrangement of events is the same, but individual events are scattered through this general scheme with a decided independence. Luke distributes discourses which Matthew collects into connected discourse, e.g. the parts of the Sermon on the Mount. And single events, such as the call of Peter, Andrew, James, and John, are given with differences of detail, which show marked independence. But, after all, the general impression made in this body of the narrative is that of interdependence. One of the most striking features of this is the selection of events and discourses out of the great body of material open to writers. The matter peculiar to either of the Gospels is very small, compared to the common material, and yet the whole is very small, compared with all that Jesus said and did. There is some individuality shown in this selection, especially of the discourses of our Lord, but it is not considerable. And we have noticed already the similarity in the general arrangement of events. We can imagine that in the interval of a generation between the close of our Lord’s life and the appearance of the Gospels, the oral tradition, which was for the time the chief source of knowledge of that life, may have acquired something like a fixed form in both these particulars. And so we may use the oral tradition, perhaps, to account for these items in the general account of interdependence. But when we come to the verbal resemblances existing between the Synoptical Gospels, our dependence on this solution of the Synoptical problem ceases. It is enough to say in this connection, that the oral tradition must have been in Aramaic, the language of Palestine, while these resemblances are in Greek Gospels, and verbal resemblances disappear in translation. But it is unnecessary to introduce this consideration even, in the face of such striking resemblances as these. Oral tradition does not tend to fix language to this extent. This verbal similarity is found in the Synoptics, wherever they give parallel accounts of the same event. Good examples of it are the accounts of the call of Peter, Andrew, James, and John, Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20; and of the healing of the demoniac in the synagogue, Mark 1:21-28, Luke 4:31-37. The effect of this verbal resemblance is very much enhanced, of course, when the words common to two or more accounts of the same thing are themselves uncommon words. E.g. the words πρωτοκαθεδρίας and πρωτοκλισίας in Matthew 23:6, and the parallel passage, Luke 11:43; Mark 12:39, and the parallel passage, Luke 20:46; and in a similar connection in Luke 14:7, Luke 14:8; do not occur elsewhere outside of ecclesiastical writers. ἐκολόβωσε, Mark 13:20, and the parallel passage, Matthew 24:22, is a rare Greek word, and is used in these passages, moreover, in an unusual sense. τέρατα, Mark 13:22, and the parallel passage, Matthew 24:25, does not occur elsewhere in the Synoptics.�Mark 13:33, and the parallel passage, Luke 21:36, does not occur elsewhere in the Synoptics, and only twice in the N.T. ἐμβάπτω and τρυβλίον, Mark 14:20, and the parallel passage, Matthew 26:23, are not found elsewhere in the N.T. These verbal resemblances can be explained only by the interdependence of the written accounts. Either the Gospels are drawn from each other, or from some common written source.

These phenomena of the Synoptical Gospels have given rise to a most protracted and intricate discussion, in which various theories, e.g. of original writings from which our Gospels were drawn, and of the priority of one Gospel or another, from which the rest were drawn, have been presented and thoroughly sifted. Fortunately, we are at the end of this sifting process, for the most part, and are in possession of its results. Tradition and internal evidence have concurred in giving us two such sources, one of which is the translation into Greek of Matthew’s Logia, or discourses of our Lord, and the other our present Gospel of Mark. There is ample evidence that the Logia cannot be our present Gospel of Matthew, and on the other hand, there is no evidence that there is any original Mark, distinct from our second Gospel. Papias, writing about 130 to 140 a.d., says that Matthew wrote his Logia in Hebrew, and each man interpreted them as he was able. Irenæus, Pantænus, and Origen all testify to the same, and in fact, there is no early tradition of Matthew’s writing which does not record also its Hebrew character. It is also against the identification of the Logia with our present Matthew, that the latter contains matter that does not come under the head of Logia. It is, moreover, dependent in its narrative portions on Mark, which is scarcely within the range of possibility, if it was itself the work of an eye witness. Papias tells us also that Mark, having become Peter’s interpreter, wrote down accurately all that he remembered, not however in order, both of the words and deeds of Christ. And tradition is consistent also in regard to this dependence of Mark on Peter. Moreover, this account agrees with the character of the second Gospel. It bears evident marks of the eye-witness in its vividness, and in the presence of those descriptive touches which reproduce for us not only the event, but the scene and surroundings as well.

Is there any evidence that Mark’s Gospel was in part a compilation? Did he draw upon the Logia in his account of discourse and conversation? Does not the supposition of the entire independence of Mark imply two sources of the Synoptical narrative in certain cases, in which the matter of the different Gospels would suggest only one? In the parables, e.g., we have a larger group in Matthew, and a smaller group in Mark. And of course, if Mark is independent here, as elsewhere, this supposes two sources. But the parables themselves, by their homogeneousness, would suggest rather one source, from which both drew. Moreover, Mark’s statement that Jesus used many such parables, in this connection, is another hint of a longer account containing more parables, from which he made selections. And the one parable peculiar to himself would show that this was a third source, independent of either Matthew or Mark. Turning now to the parable of the Wicked Husbandmen, Mark 12:1-12, we find Mark supplemented by Matthew in the same way. Mark says that Jesus spoke to them in parables, and proceeds to cite one parable, while Matthew gives us three parables in the course of the same controversy; that is, Mark implies in the plural παραβολαῖς, a source giving more abundant material than he uses, and Matthew apparently gives us that more abundant material. Moreover, the traditional source of Mark’s Gospel is unfavorable to the production of long discourse. And accordingly, we find only one example of such discourse in this Gospel, the eschatological discourse in ch. 13. Whereas, we find frequent examples of such discourse in Matthew and Luke, and it is a natural inference that it is characteristic of the Logia from which they both drew. It seems probable, therefore, that this one discourse in which Mark follows their example comes from the written Logia, and not from his transcription of Peter’s oral discourse.


Mark has a way of his own of handling his material. Whatever may be his reason, the fact is, that he dwells on the active life of our Lord, the period from the beginning of the Galilean ministry to the close of his natural life. The introduction to this career, including the ministry of John the Baptist, the baptism and the temptation, he narrates with characteristic brevity. But it is not brevity for the sake of brevity; it comes from a careful exclusion of everything not bearing directly on his purpose. The work of John the Baptist is introduced as the beginning of the glad tidings about Jesus Christ, and the material is selected which bears on this special purpose. The baptism is told as the inauguration of Christ into his office, and only the baptism, the descent of the Spirit, and the voice from heaven are narrated. And the temptation is merely noted in passing. All of these things have a value of their own, but they are evidently regarded by the writer as introductory to his theme, the active ministry of Jesus, and are abbreviated accordingly.

But beginning with the Galilean ministry, our Gospel is as full in its narrative of separate events as either Matthew or Luke. He omits events and discourses, but what he does tell he tells as fully as they. In the matter of discourse, especially, still more of prolonged discourse, this Gospel is resolutely either brief or silent. As regards the general distribution of material, there is an earlier group of narratives, in which Matthew and Luke are parallel to each other; another further along, in which Matthew and Mark are parallel; and then a third, in which Luke stands alone. But what Mark tells in this period he narrates with pictorial fulness.

When we come, however, to the account of the resurrection, and of the appearances to the disciples after the resurrection, this Gospel returns to its policy of brevity regarding what precedes and follows the period of the public ministry. These appearances are to the disciples alone, they are mainly mere appearances, and Mark gives merely the announcement of the resurrection to the women by the angels, and closes with this. This, instead of being strange, and requiring explanation, is quite in accordance with the character of Mark disclosed in the narration of the early events. Those were introductory, these are supplementary of the subject, and both are treated therefore with the same conciseness.

We have discovered a like parsimony in the choice of material for this main theme, the public ministry. But this is for the sake, evidently, of sharpness of impression, and, for this purpose, Mark joins with it an effective grouping of his matter. He is not telling a number of disconnected stories of our Lord’s work, but the one story of his public ministry, and he selects and groups his material in order to show the progress of events, their division into separate periods, and their culmination in the final catastrophe. The first period is one of immediate popularity, and of a corresponding reserve. The effect of Jesus’ miracles in spreading his fame, and in drawing a multitude after him, is emphasized, and at the same time Jesus withdraws from the multitude, and forbids the spreading of the report of his miracles. We are not told about the subjects of his teaching, but of its impression, and its effect in increasing his popularity.

The second period, beginning with Jesus’ return from his first tour in Galilee to Capernaum, is marked by the contrast between this continued popularity and the growing opposition of the Pharisees. We are shown in a series of rapid sketches the causes of this opposition in the revolutionary character of Jesus’ ministry, and his quiet disregard of Pharisaic traditions and customs. He calls a publican to the inner circle of his disciples, and eats with publicans and sinners; he decries formal fastings, heals on the Sabbath, defends eating with unwashed hands, and denounces all traditionalism. There can be no doubt that this rapid succession of events, all of the same character, is intended to produce the effect described, and to show us how, early in the ministry of Jesus, he was forced into opposition to the ruling sect, and so the way was prepared for the end. But the picture has lights as well as shadows, and the mixture with these conflicts of other events, such as the appointment of the twelve, the sending of them on a separate mission, the teaching in parables, and sundry miracles, produces the biographical effect.

But at last this short ministry in Galilee comes to an end, and is followed by a period in which Jesus journeys with his disciples into the Gentile territory about Galilee, and there prepares them for his death at the hands of his enemies. There is added to this the confession of his Messianic claim, the story of his Transfiguration, a few miracles in the strange places where these travels take him; but the characteristic mark of the whole period is this secret conference with his disciples about the crisis in his life.

The succeeding period, beginning with his final departure from Galilee, and ending with his entry into Jerusalem, is one into which Matthew and Luke have put much of their characteristic material, and in which Mark is unusually brief. And the matter selected by him is of an unusually mixed kind. It begins with one of those disputes between him and the Pharisees which mark these last days. It proceeds with various conversations and instructions, in which different aspects of the kingdom of God are shown; it gives a strange picture of the impression of fear produced on Jesus’ disciples by his manner on the road to Jerusalem; and it tells of one miracle at Jerusalem. In brief, this is a period of waiting, in which the events themselves, and the turn given to them, foreshadow and prepare for the final crisis. Then comes the last week, with its story of the final conflicts between Jesus and the authorities at Jerusalem, of his trial and death. The entry into Jerusalem is evidently intended to be his announcement of himself as the Messiah, and the cleansing of the Temple a manifestation of his authority. This authority is immediately challenged by the Sanhedrim, and in the parable of the Wicked Husbandmen, Jesus makes his charge against them. Then they ply him with their legal puzzles, attempting to discredit his teaching, and their discomfiture only hastens the end.

This brief analysis will show the principle on which Mark selects his material and groups it. Both contribute to the one object of sharpness of impression. The different periods are marked off, and the effect is not blurred by the introduction of confusing or voluminous detail. The life of Jesus has not made on him the effect of mere wonder which he seeks to reproduce in disconnected stories, but of a swift march of events toward a tragic end, and he marks off the stages of this progress.

But Mark’s effectiveness as a story-teller is due not only to his selection and grouping of material, but also to his pictorial fulness. He gives us the scene of events more frequently than the other writers, whether in the house, or by the sea, or on the road. On one occasion, this vividness, where he tells of the green grass on which the five thousand reclined, gives us an invaluable mark of time, telling us what we should not know from the other Synoptics, that there was a Passover during the Galilean ministry. He tells us of the multitudes about Jesus, and gives us a lively description of the way in which they ran about as he entered one village after another, bringing the sick to him on their pallets. He tells us of the astonishment and fear of the disciples, as Jesus went before them to Jerusalem. His style lends itself to the same purpose. He uses the imperfect, the still more effective ἦν with the participle, and the historical present. But he does it all in the rapid and effective way characteristic of him. It is by a stroke here, and a bit of color there, that the effect is produced.


The places in which Mark’s name occurs in the N.T. are Acts 12:12, Acts 12:25, Acts 12:13:5, Acts 12:13, Acts 12:15:37, Colossians 4:10, 2 Timothy 4:11, Philemon 1:24, 1 Peter 5:13. From these we learn that he was the son of Mary, to whose house Peter went after his release from imprisonment, and cousin of Barnabas. His original Hebrew name was John, and to this was appended a Roman surname Mark. Peter includes him in the salutation of his first epistle, and calls him his son (in the faith). He makes his first appearance in the history as the companion of Barnabas and Saul, whom they took back to Antioch with them on their return from Jerusalem, where they had been to carry the offerings of the churches on the occasion of a famine. And when they start, immediately after, on their first missionary journey, Mark accompanies them, but only to turn back again after the completion of their mission to Cyprus. Then, at the beginning of their second missionary tour, he becomes the source of contention to his superiors, Barnabas wishing to take his cousin along with them again, and Paul refusing his company on account of his previous defection. But in the epistle to the Colossians he appears again as the assistant of Paul, being mentioned by him as one who sends greetings to that church. And in 2 Tim., Paul writes Timothy to bring Mark with him as one who is useful to him in the ministry. Again, in the epistle to Philemon he is with Paul, and is included in the salutations of that letter.


Mark was evidently written for Gentile readers, as it contains explanations of Hebrew terms and customs.1 Tradition says that it was written after the death of Peter and Paul. There is one decisive mark of time in the Gospel itself. In the eschatological discourse attention is called to the sign given by Jesus of the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, which leads us to infer that the Gospel was written before that time, but when the event was impending. This would fix the time as about 70 a.d. Tradition says also that it was written at Rome. And there is a certain support given to this by the use of Latin words peculiar to this Gospel.2



Matthew begins his account of Jesus’ public ministry, as Mk. does, with the statement that Jesus came into Galilee after the imprisonment of John, and began to proclaim the good news of the coming kingdom, accompanying this with miracles of healing. But he follows this immediately with the Sermon on the Mount, which serves as a basis for all the subsequent teaching, and gives us as the subject of that teaching the Kingdom of God. Lk. introduces this in another place, giving first some of the detached sayings, and so preparing the way for the connected discourse, instead of making the connected discourse an introduction to the detached sayings. But the effect of the discourse, and its relation to the teaching as a whole, are the same. Mk., on the other hand, gives only detached sayings, unrelated to any central group of teachings, and in his gospel, therefore, we have to study out the problem of our Lord’s life and teaching after a different fashion.

He appears in the first place as a herald of the kingdom, taking up the work of John. Then he calls four men into personal association with himself. His first Sabbath in Capernaum is a memorable one. It is evident that he is regarded as a teacher, for he is asked to preach in the synagogue, and his hearers are impressed with the note of authority in his teaching, so different from the manner of the Scribes, the recognized authorities. But they are still more impressed with a miracle performed by him, and as soon as the law allows, they bring all the sick of the city to him, and the whole town is in an uproar. The two things together stamp him as a prophet, making a decided advance on the character of teacher, in which he appears at first. But so far as he is recognized at all, the popular voice after this accords to him these two titles, rabbi and prophet.

But Jesus evidently sees elements of danger in this popular uprising. The emphasis is on the wrong side of their lack, and of his power. If his message had reached them, and they had clamored to hear more of that, and especially had shown any disposition to follow his teaching, he might have stayed to preach, instead of going out to pray. But he did not wish to pose as a miracle-worker, and to have the inference “Messiah” follow from that in the popular imagination. And so he retires to pray, he refuses the clamorous call to return, and when a man whom he has healed disobeys his command to keep it silent, he retires into the wilderness to escape the inevitable effect of this publicity.

Now Mk.’s method begins to appear. Jesus does not lay down a programme of the Messianic kingdom in a set discourse, but the principles regulating his activity are slowly evolved by the occasions of his life. And after the same fashion Jesus himself begins to appear on the canvas—a herald of the kingdom of God, a teacher, a prophet, a miracle-worker, who represses and deprecates the impetuous desire of the multitude to emphasize the miracle-worker rather than the prophet. This is the picture so far, and it is full of promise and suggestion.

Then in connection with another miracle, Jesus claims the power as the Son of Man to forgive sins. The way it happened was this: the man’s disease was occasioned by some vice, and Jesus announces the cure therefore as a forgiveness of the sins which had caused it. Then, this being challenged by the Scribes as blasphemy, he adduces the cure itself as an example of the power which he had to remove the evils caused by sin. Here is another step forward, for here is a real, but veiled claim of a Messianic title, and the authority coupled with it is that of forgiveness, which forgiveness consists in the removal of the various ills of mankind wrought by sin. The Messianic claim is there, but it is veiled, for we do not find that the people understood him to make the claim, though after this he uses the title familiarly. And the title chosen, Son of Man, is such as to show that Jesus emphasized that side of his work which allied and identified him with man.

This intimation that his work has to do with sin, as a physician has to do with disease, is repeated when he calls the tax-gatherer into the circle of his disciples, and defends himself by the statement that he came to call not righteous men, but sinners. And when they charge him with collusion with Satan in his expulsion of demons, his answer is substantially that his attitude is opposition to Satan, and that his power to cast out demons can have been obtained only as the result of a conflict, in which he had overmastered Satan. Here, as in the case of the paralytic, this aspect of his work as a conflict with sin comes out in connection with his cures, and this is really the only chance that he has to present it, as he has had as yet very little opportunity to deal with sin as sin, only in its occasional intrusion into other than the moral sphere. But he deals with it as already master of the situation. He can despoil Satan of his instruments, because he has already met him and bound him. He can deal with sin in others victoriously, because he has met and mastered it in himself.

But meantime, another element in the situation is making itself felt. In dealing with the people, Jesus has to contend against a sudden and superficial popularity, and is able only to cure their diseases, not to cope with their sins. But the necessary and unavoidable conspicuousness of his work bring him under the notice of their leaders, and here he encounters active opposition. It develops only gradually. It is evident that the Scribes and Pharisees are watching him at first, as it is always possible that religious enthusiasm may play into the hands of the religious authorities. But the elements of opposition accumulate at every step. The first is the evident lack of sympathy or affiliation with them, and Jesus’ association with men at the other end of the social and ecclesiastical scale, the despised people whose ignorance of the law made them dangerous company for the scrupulous Pharisee, with the remote and insignificant Galilean, and even finally, the hated servant of a foreign government, the Jewish collector of Roman tribute. Jesus’ answer, that, as a physician, his business is with the sick rather than the well, is complete, but like all such answers, it only increased the irritation. The next question is more vital, as it has to do not with themselves, but with their system. Pharisaic Judaism was the climax and reductio ad absurdum of religious formalism. For ethics it substituted casuistry, for principles rules, for insight authority, for worship forms, for the word of God tradition, for spirituality the most absolute and intricate externalism. Jesus did not seek to break with it, but it was inevitable that the break should come. The law prescribed an annual fast, but they had multiplied this into two a week, whereas, it is recorded of Jesus that he came eating and drinking, and himself called attention to this characteristic. When he is challenged about this practice of his disciples, he shows that fasting, like everything else that has a proper place in religion, is a matter of principle, and not of rule. Men are not to fast on set days, but on fit occasions. And in general, he shows the absurdity of attempting to piece out the old with the new, or to pour his new wine into their old wine-skins. The next place where they made a stand against Jesus’ innovating views was in the matter of their absurd Sabbatarianism. That it was absurd, the occasions of their attack show; first, plucking ears of corn to eat on the spot, and secondly, healing. These things, forsooth, were expressly forbidden on the Sabbath. In answer, Jesus does not attempt to meet them on the ground of casuistry, but, as usual, lays down principles. First, the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath; and secondly, to refuse to confer a benefit in case of need is to inflict a positive injury, on the Sabbath as well as any other day.

Here the narrative pauses, and passes over to other matter. But it is evident that Mk. has grouped this material for a purpose. He wishes to show how, with one occasion after another, the teaching of our Lord acquired substance and shape, and encountered a sharp and well-defined opposition. And how boldly and greatly the figure of Jesus himself begins to stand out. How it is becoming evident that sanity, breadth, insight, ethical and spiritual quality, are in this man not relative, but absolute. And as he faces the gathering storm, how steadfast he is, and regardless of everything but truth.

It needs only a little reading between the lines to see how the next events come in. The evidence is accumulating that our Lord’s own career is to last not very long, and that he must have followers, successors, to whom he can commit his work, and that these must be men whose close attendance on himself will familiarize them with his message. Hence the twelve are appointed. And it is expressly stated that his family had started out to restrain him, at the time when he pointed out that his real family were the disciples who did the will of God. His own family was not to be classed among his enemies, but it is evident that they sought to protect him against what they considered his own extravagance.

And the parables also grew out of the immediate situation. They are the first direct statement of the nature of the kingdom of God. The postponement of the subject, and the veiled presentation of it, both show it to be a matter that Jesus approached with extreme caution. But what he treated with so much reserve in the presence of the others, he explained frankly to his disciples. This means that the time had come when the situation, even among the disciples, needed clearing up. They were not repelled by his differences with the Pharisees; the indications are rather that they were in sympathy with him. But their difficulty, which the parables were intended to meet, came from their sharing the national expectation, that the kingdom was to be set up by a tour de force, an expectation which Jesus’ methods and delay, if not defeat, discouraged. This is the immediate occasion of the parables. But their immense importance appears from the fact that they are the only direct statement of the nature of the kingdom, which otherwise we should have to gather from side-lights and inferences. The kingdom is seed; it is subject to all the vicissitudes of seed sown broadcast into all kinds of soil; it is nevertheless sure of success because it is native to the soil; humanity as such is hospitable to it, and its small beginnings do not interfere with ultimate greatness.

The next event requiring special notice is Jesus’ visit to Nazareth, where he encounters his first rejection. Other places have known only the greatness of his public life, Nazareth, unfortunately, knows the obscurity of his private life, and they reject his greatness as spurious. Here, therefore, he finds even his miracles impossible, whereas in other places, cut off from everything else, he does find a place for these. Jesus marvelled at their unbelief, and no wonder. It was here that this perfect life had matured, grown into an unmatched beauty and power, and yet they had missed it all because it lacked outward greatness. But one is reminded by this episode of a singular fact in our Lord’s life—that he appears largely as a miracle-worker. It was not a role that he coveted, but, for the most part, it was all that he could do. We have some record of the way in which he dealt with the other and larger half of human ill and need. We have the story of Matthew and Zacchæus, and the sinful woman, and the rich young man, and Peter; we know that he was the friend of publicans and sinners. But, for the most part, he was shut out from all this, and shut up to physical healings. Even here, he found a unique field for the display of his greatness. His possession of a divine power he shared with other men, but his divine use of that power is his own; he shares it with no one. But if he had had an equal chance to show us the other side of his power, what a story there might have been.

But the time has now come for Jesus to try his disciples in the work. They have heard his message and seen his miracles, and he sends them out to carry forward both the preaching and the healing. His instructions to them are, briefly, to pay no attention to outfit nor entertainment, but to be occupied solely with their ministry.

On Jesus’ return to Capernaum, the opposition to him comes to a head. His enemies are there on the watch for him, and in that apparently careless and unscrupulous life they soon find their opportunity. To be sure, it seems only a slight thing that the disciples should be eating with unwashed hands. But to those men it meant liability to every defilement mentioned in the law. It is their opportunity, but then it is Jesus’ opportunity too. It gives him his chance to strike at traditionalism and ceremonialism, the twin foes of spiritual religion. Over against tradition, he sets the word of God,—against the idea that a thing is true because it is handed down, he posits the word of God, which becomes more true as humanity grows. And against ceremonialism, the idea that man’s spirit can be reached for either good or evil from the outside, he puts the eternal truth, that it is reached and affected only from within, by things akin to itself.

This really marks the end of Jesus’ work in Galilee. It has resulted in proving the inaccessibility of the people to his spiritual work, in the unsympathetic attitude of his family, in his total rejection at Nazareth, and in active hostility on the part of the religious leaders. But his work with his disciples is not ended, and he accordingly departs with them to Syrophœnicia. Here, he desired to keep his presence unknown, as his work was not with Gentiles, but Jews. But the extraordinary faith of the Syrophœnician woman overcame his scruples, so that he healed her daughter. This confinement of his work on earth to his own nation, while evidently announcing the broadest universalism, is easily explained. He was laying foundations, and the human material for that, such as it was, existed in only one nation.

On the occasion of only a brief return to Galilee, during this Wanderjahr, the Pharisees make another attack on him, demanding a sign from heaven. They want something plainly and indisputably of heavenly origin, not open to the suspicion of collusion with Satan, nor of originating in the lower air, and plainly nothing more nor less than an attestation by God of our Lord’s claim. Something merely a sign, not complicated with other characters and purposes which might obscure the plain issue, was their demand. Jesus refused it. He would do his work, including cures and miracles, and let that tell his story, but a mere sign he refused to give. We must pause again to notice Mk.’s method, and to say now that it bears all the appearance of being the method of Jesus himself. He meets questions as they arise, instead of projecting discourse from himself. But the wisdom and completeness of his answer anticipates the controversies of Christendom. This question of signs, e.g., of external evidence, our Lord answers by refusing a sign, and he emphasizes it by his allusion to the generation which had seen him. He was his own sign, and needed no other. The question belonged to that age, but no age nor any other man has arrived at the wisdom of the answer.

We are coming now to the close of Jesus’ ministry, and his method has not yet led him to any declaration of himself nor of his mission. It would almost seem as if he had no consciousness of a mission of any definite sort, so content has he been to let things merely happen, great as has been his use of these happenings. But now the time has come, not for him to declare himself, but to bring the thought of men about him into expression. And first of all, his own disciples. He asks them what men say about him,—what they call him. They say briefly, a prophet. Then he asks them if that is all they have to say. No, Simon Peter says; we call you the Messiah. The value of this is in the fact, that it is not their assent to his claim, but their estimate of his greatness. They, as Jews, had inherited an idea, an expectation of a man in whom human greatness was to culminate. As far as Jesus’ activity went, the answer of the people was enough. But the feeling of the disciples was, it may describe his activity, but is inadequate to describe his own greatness. The race has culminated in him, and he is therefore the Messiah whom we are to expect.

There are two things noticeable here: first, the title itself, and then the manner of its assumption. It is no wonder that Jesus was dissatisfied with the title prophet, when his real title was king, king of men. And when we examine what he says in elucidation of this claim, we find that there are just two things which he emphasizes as involved in this, viz. love and obedience. Careless of everything else, he proposes to himself just this, to conquer for himself the love and obedience of all men everywhere and in all things. There is no lack of definiteness nor adequacy in this. And yet, though Jesus is very explicit in this, we are altogether missing the point, as usual. We are very busy organizing his church, devising the ways and means of his worship, defining his person, and meantime the world, the flesh, and the devil are dictating terms not only to government and society, but to the church. They are well satisfied to have the church scatter its fire, instead of concentrating its energy upon doing the will of its Lord, and getting that will done. But besides the title, and of almost equal importance with it, is the manner of its assumption. Jesus waits for men to give it to him. This does not mean any lowering of his claims, any disposition to meet men half-way, and accept some compromise with them. It means just the opposite of this, the most absolute and apparently extravagant claim that he could make. It means mastery, not from without, but from within,—a mastery of convictions, affections, and will, and from that centre controlling the whole of life. He will have, not the enforced obedience of men who would throw off the yoke if they could, or any part of it, but the self-devotion and homage of those who come voluntarily to him,—the unforced mastery of man over man. By this means, and in this sense, he will rule the world. To be sure, since it is included in his programme that he is to die and still be king, that rule is to be exercised from heaven, that centre from which the network of law and self-enforcing order overspreads the world. But that universal law leaves one domain free, and within the sphere of human action it exercises no compulsions but those which leave the spirit free. And yet within that province, it is meant that God shall exercise absolute control.

This is the meaning of our Lord’s words in the light of all that he said and did, and of all that has happened since. But at present, he has said only that he is king,—the Messianic king, and he has said it to men sure to misunderstand it if he leaves it in its present unconditional form. Hence he immediately puts over against it the prediction of his own fate. He is to be rejected and put to death. Their idea of the Messianic king was that through him righteousness was to be victorious. God had been holding off for his own wise purposes, not asserting himself, but in the times of the Messiah, he was to intervene with his almightiness, and sin was to be put down, and righteousness established. And this power to put down all enemies was to be lodged in the Messiah. This was the Jewish Messianic programme. We have seen already that Jesus, in all probability, did not, at any time before his death, predict his violent death and his resurrection with any definiteness. The utter dismay of the disciples over the actual event, their hopelessness between the death and the resurrection, and their failure to accept the fact of the resurrection, make such a prediction psychologically impossible. But it is equally evident that he did make statements which, in the light of the later events, they saw implied and involved those events. And this means Jesus’ repudiation of the Jewish Messianic programme. His enemies were not to be in his power, but he in theirs. God was not to intervene in his behalf, nor was his own divine power to be used in this way.

But Jesus is not satisfied with the statement about himself, which might make it appear that his fate was unique, and that his case stood by itself. But he goes on to state that any one who wishes to follow him must deny himself and take his life in his hands in the same way. In his kingdom, to save is to lose, and the only way to save is to lose. Instead of getting God on his side so that he is saved from the ordinary mishaps of life, the disciple only multiplies indefinitely the chances of mishap without adding anything to the safeguards. Any one can see that if righteousness was to become a spiritual power in the world, it could only be by such a sacrifice of safety. A padded and steel-clad righteousness protects the person, but its power to propagate is gone. And as we have seen, the Transfiguration itself was not a revelation of the glory that was covered up and concealed by this human weakness of our Lord, but of the glory of the sacrifice itself. It is as much as to say that gentleness, self-effacement, and weakness, instead of power, are in themselves glorious, and are to be crowned.

But the disciples themselves give Jesus an opportunity to define himself still further. They were disputing who among their number was greatest. He does not deny that there is such a thing, nor that it is to be coveted, but it is the greatness of humility and service. In the world, greatness is the power to make others tributary to yourself, but in the kingdom of God, the greatness even of the king is service, the power to contribute to the common weal.

At last, then, Jesus has declared himself. He is the divinely appointed king of men, and as such demands obedience, and finds greatness in service. But the obedience is to be voluntary and unenforced, and his own road to kingship is through repudiation and death. This absolute self-effacement is, moreover, the principle of the kingdom, and required of all its members.

From this, he passes over again to more incidental matters. John brings to his attention the case of a man whom they had caught casting out demons in his name, but who had not attached himself to the circle of disciples. Jesus’ reply is, virtually, that they ought to have inferred from his casting out the demons that he really belonged with them, instead of from his not associating with them that he had no right to cast out the demons. This shows that whatever exclusiveness has grown up since then among his followers did not originate with Jesus. He did not organize a society, though his principles justify the later organization; but those principles exclude a hierarchy.

With the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Judæa, begins a series of discourses occasioned by the attempt of the Pharisees to put his authority as a teacher to the test, and, if possible, to discredit it. In general, the questions propounded were either in dispute between the different schools, or the standing puzzles of the schoolmen. It is significant, as showing that Mk.’s development of Jesus’ position in occasional, rather than set, discourse, is the method of Jesus himself, that some of his most important teaching is occasioned by these questions. And it shows his position as a teacher that these answers are final, revealing in every case the principles involved. His treatment of divorce is one of the safeguards of civilization. His answer to the question about paying tribute to the Roman government shows that citizenship in the kingdom of God does not conflict with citizenship in the State. The one, as the other, is based on fundamental facts. Their question is an inference from their political conception of the kingdom of God. His answer is a corollary from his spiritual conception. His answer to the Sadducees about the resurrection not only puts that question to rest, but establishes the right to argue from fundamental conceptions of God, the right of reason in matters of faith. In what he says about the two great commands, he establishes fundamental principles and sentiments instead of rules, in control of life. But more than this, he selects the one principle that does contain in itself all righteousness, and which still condemns the essential parts of life. And still more, he shows the final and conclusive reason why the kingdom is spiritual. Outward conduct can be controlled by civil authority, but love is capable of only inward enforcement.

Meantime, other things have been happening by which his position is still further defined. The scene with the rich young man whose wealth alone kept him from following our Lord leads him to say that his difficulty is not peculiar to him, but belongs to his class. The difficulty that all men have in accepting the principle of the kingdom becomes, in the case of wealth, a human impossibility to be overcome only by God. This means only that the principle of the kingdom is self-sacrifice and love, and that the acquisition and possession of wealth, on the other hand, tend almost certainly to selfishness.

Christ’s entry into Jerusalem is his public claim of the Messianic kingship. This is followed immediately by his one act of authority, the cleansing of the temple. But the power is only that of a masterful personality,—the power of a prophet or righteous man. But he not only claims authority for himself, he denies the authority of the constituted authorities to judge his claim. He puts them to the test, as they have put him, by putting them a question in regard to John the Baptist, which will show whether they can judge such a case or not. The question of authority in the kingdom of God is a question of fitness, of ability to do the thing.

Jesus has one more word to say to his disciples. It is the prediction of the destruction of the temple, city, and nation, and the transfer of the kingdom from them to others. He sees that their rejection of a spiritual Messiah, and their insistence on political independence and greatness, will certainly lead to destruction. That, moreover, will be a coming of the Son of Man in clouds, clothed with power. Not that that will be the beginning of his reign, for he is to be seated at the right hand of power, and to come in the clouds, immediately. But this is to be his first great appearance as the arbiter of human affairs. The overthrow of the nation will come directly, as for the divine side of it, not by force, but by the inevitable operation of cause and effect, from the denial of his principle of a spiritual kingdom. And so, by the operation of the same inexorable law working in human affairs, his principles are to be everywhere vindicated. And at the same time, the spiritual power accumulated in his life and death are to be wielded by him in the spiritual sphere, until finally, in the exercise of both powers, his kingdom becomes universal.

Two things remain to be spoken of: the death of Jesus, and his enshrinement of that in a memorial rite. The way has been opening ever since that time for a right understanding of that event, and yet even now one needs to weigh his words to speak with even partial truth about it, let alone adequacy. In the first place, then, looked at simply as a matter governed by the ordinary conditions of human life, it was natural and necessary. Nothing else could come of the opposition that he encountered from the religious and civil authority. There were two ways of escape morally possible to any other man, but not to him. One was to compromise in some way with the authorities, or to make some alliance with the people, that should neutralize the opposition of the Sanhedrim. His insight, his grasp of principles, his mastery of the situation, his influence with the people, might have given him political power, to which his instinct for righteousness would have given the last touch of greatness. But that was the way of compromise, which was demanded at every turn of the perplexing situation. And that admits us to one secret of the uniqueness of Jesus’ death. It was entirely for righteousness’ sake. The opposition to him was purely on that account, unmixed with any other oppositions or repugnances, growing out of the ordinary weakness or disagreeableness of men. But Jesus died because his righteousness was uncompromising and absolute, not because its manner was hard and obtrusive. Another way of escape was by the use of his supernatural power. Both friends and enemies saw this. The Jews did not expect deliverance, except supernaturally, and the hope of the people was that Jesus, who evidently possessed this power, would use it in the appointed way. And the Jews taunted him, because at the last moment his power had forsaken him. But Jesus died because he would do his work as a man, and under the ordinary conditions and limitations of humanity.

In other words, Jesus’ death crowned the complete self-surrender of his life. All of us know that just here is where ordinary righteousness is lacking. It is righteousness with a saving clause. We follow it just so far as it does not involve a complete sacrifice of self-interest. Some draw the line in one place, and some in another, but everybody somewhere. Jesus seeing more clearly than any other the sacrifice involved, undertook the task of absolute righteousness, and carried it out to the end. And he would accept no immunity, wield no power, and exercise no self-defence, that would mar the completeness of that ideal.

But he was, nevertheless, king. He did not propose to himself simply to be righteous, in which case men might have let him alone. He proposed to establish this complete, and principled, and radical righteousness in the world as its supreme law. Men felt in his first words the note of authority, and he did not attempt in any way to disguise the uncompromising nature of his demand. He told them that if any one would follow him, he must deny himself as he did. And in his own life, he showed them how, at every turn, the acceptance of this principle involved the hostility, not of the vicious and degraded, but that opposition of the constituted authorities, and of the higher class, which means loss of caste.

But we must not think of Jesus’ death as simply sacrifice to a principle. He died primarily because he loved men supremely. He was the Son of Man, whose life was bound up with the life of the world, who was identified with humanity. Here was where the danger came of abating any of the demand that he made upon men, since in the law which he sought to enforce is the only true life of man, and any abatement meant something less than his highest good. Nay, more, it meant the admission somewhere of the opposite principle to sap and undermine the whole fabric, and the danger also of abating any of the rigor of his demand upon himself, since his own righteousness was the foundation of his authority, and loss of power here meant loss of power to confer this highest good.

And here is where the bitterness of his death came in. Here was a man who loved men supremely, to whom any evil or lack of men was known so surely and felt so deeply, and to whom in his own death was revealed the whole depth and bitterness of that human ill which was to find its only cure in him.

And, finally, it is this self-surrendering love which makes the cross to-day the very seat and secret of his power. For love is Lord of life, and love culminated here. It is the constraint and inspiration of his love that makes him king of men. A clear-sighted and far-seeing love which chose for himself the thorn-crowned road to power and kingship, and that leads men over the same long and hard way to ultimate and complete good.

And, as we have said, he enshrines this death in a memorial rite. He bids men take the bread, which is his body, and the cup, which is his blood, and find in them the food and drink of their souls. It is in his death that he wishes especially to be remembered. But, above all, it is in his death that he wishes to be understood, and to have himself brought intimately into the life of men, until the things that made him die have become the material and substance of man’s spiritual life.



The reason that this subject is given a large place in N.T. Introduction is the fact that prominent and influential literature will leave its traces upon other writings just as soon as that literature has time to circulate, and so the later literature becomes a witness to the earlier. Especially is that the case with what is called Scripture. Scripture is a court of appeal in regard to religious matters to which other writers on the same subject necessarily refer, and that a thing is written, that is, a part of Scripture, establishes its authority. In turn, other religious literature becomes thereby a test by which we may determine whether any particular writing which claims to be Scripture is put in that category at any period, or is extant even. For instance, if we found Paul’s writings generally accepted as Scripture, and, at the same time, lack of reference to Galatians, it would raise doubts about that epistle. However, Scripture is not in a class by itself in this matter; it presents only an extreme case of a general fact which applies to all prominent and influential literature. The question whether the Gospels were in existence early in the second century—a really vital question—is one to be answered by the second-century literature. Considering the unique position of Jesus in Christianity, no writings of any account telling the story of his life are going to be ignored,—and this entirely apart from the question whether they are classed as Scripture. But there is another still more vital question, whether the Jesus of the Synoptical Gospels is a true, historical figure. Now, supposing that we found no special reverence attached to the Gospels themselves, and yet nothing else quoted in the earliest succeeding Christian literature in regard to him, the inference would be conclusive that these were regarded at the time as the only standard books on the subject, which would go far toward establishing the historical character of the writings themselves and of the personage presented in them. But, on the other hand, supposing that this earliest succeeding literature quoted from other, extra-canonical sources freely and without apology, and yet the historical figure remained unchanged, the additional matter, whether meagre or abundant, being almost entirely in keeping with the account in the canonical Gospels, the historicity is more triumphantly established by the corroborative testimony than by the absence of other witness. In fact, this state of things in the second-century literature would be the most favorable possible for historicity. And the historical character of these Gospels—not whether they are the only Gospels, nor even whether they are Scripture—is the main question in Apologetics.

What, then, is the relation of the second-century literature to the Synoptical Gospels? We have, in the first place, two epistles bearing the name of Clement of Rome. The second of these is wrongly attributed to Clement, but belongs to the same period. In the genuine epistle, then, the O.T. is quoted frequently and at great length. But the N.T. quotations are very few and meagre. With one exception, too, the writers are not mentioned. The words of our Lord are quoted as his, but not the writer who reports them. In one case, 1 Cor. is quoted as St. Paul’s, but this stands alone.1 The quotations from the Gospels are only two, and these are so inexact as to make it doubtful whether the writer had before him at the time our present Gospels.2

In the spurious writing, the number of quotations from the Gospel history is considerably greater, and the comparison with the amount of O.T. matter much more favorable. But, on the other hand, the mixed origin and uncertain character of these citations are equally noticeable. Four of them are quoted with considerable exactness.3 Five are quoted ad sensum, but so as to indicate that the passages in our Gospels were in the writer’s mind, but were cited by him from memory.4 But three, which Lightfoot assigns to the Gospel of the Egyptians(?), contain strange matter. In one, our Lord says, “If you are gathered with me in my bosom, and do not my commands, I will cast you out, and say to you, Depart from me, I know you not whence you are, workers of lawlessness.”1 In another, after Jesus’ statement, “You will be as lambs in the midst of wolves,” Peter says, “If then the wolves scatter the lambs?” and Jesus answers, “Let not the lambs fear the wolves after their death. And you, fear not those who kill you, and can do nothing to you, but fear him who, after you die, has power over soul and body to cast into the Gehenna of fire.”2 Then, as to the coming of the kingdom, he says that it will be “whenever the two (things) are one, and the outside as the inside, and the male with the female, neither male nor female.”3

In the seven epistles of Ignatius, quotations are infrequent, but the N.T. is treated quite as generously as the O.T. There are, however, only three unimportant passages from the Gospels, but, in these, the language is significantly preserved.4 But, in a fourth, our Lord’s language, “Handle me, and see. For a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me have,” becomes, “Handle me, and see that I am not a bodiless spirit”—δαιμόνιον. This use of δαιμόνιον is foreign to the N.T. vocabulary.5

The Epistle of Polycarp, belonging to the same period, bristles with quotations, mostly from the N.T. Of these, however, only five are from the Gospels. Of these, four preserve the language so as to show undisputed acquaintance with our Gospels, and without mixture of matter derived from other sources.6 The fifth presents such a resemblance to the mixed quotation in Ep. of Clem. XIII. as to suggest a common extra-canonical source.7

In the Teaching of the Apostles, which belongs apparently to the very beginning of the century, there are sixteen quotations from the Synoptics.8 In these, the words of our Lord are quoted quite exactly, the supplementary matter attached to them being evidently the writer’s own reflections. But the title, which gives the authority of the apostles to an inferior and frequently trivial writing of the second century, is an instructive commentary on the way in which great names may be misused for pious purposes.

The Epistle of Barnabas—not, however, the companion of Paul, and possibly no Barnabas at all—is rich again in O.T. quotations, but poor in N.T. sayings, there being only four quoted from the Synoptics.1

The Shepherd of Hermas contains infrequent reflections of scriptural language rather than quotations. The one quotation, therefore, of the language of Mk. in regard to the difficulty obstructing a rich man’s entrance into the kingdom, is the more noteworthy.2

Justin Martyr is rich in quotations, which are not scattered, as in the other writers of this period, but collected mostly in a group in the first Apology, for the purpose of showing for apologetic purposes what our Lord’s teaching was. The variations from the synoptical accounts would be more difficult to deal with, if we did not find the same freedom of quotation in the passages from the O.T. As it is, we have to find a common cause, and that is to be found in Justin’s idiosyncrasy, which makes him more than usually independent and individual in his handling of quotations. E.g. he quotes our Lord thus: “If ye love them that love you, what new thing do you? For even fornicators do this.”3 This same “new thing” appears again just below in regard to lending with hope of return, and coupled with a like inexactness in regard to the sinners who do the same thing.3 Again, “Whosoever shall be angry is in danger of the fire.”4 This is quoted quite out of its connection, and in the original, he who is angry is liable only to the judgment (of the local tribunal which tries minor offences), while only he who calls his brother a fool is liable to the Gehenna of fire. In the great commandment he makes our Lord require the worship of God alone, instead of love, and in this, and other places, he calls attention to God as the Creator, a pure interpolation.4 Another singular variation is in his quotation in regard to those who claim association with Christ, but whom he has to turn away as disobedient. He has mixed together here sayings from Mt. and Lk., and made the men say, “Did we not eat and drink in thy name?” instead of “in thy presence?”1 On the whole, it is remarkable that with all this variation in form Justin quotes only two extra-canonical sayings of our Lord. As for the peculiarities of these sayings, the combination of the different accounts in the Synoptics, a habit of free quotation, an evident eye for the point of a saying, which allows freedom of detail—in other words, the strong individuality of the writer—will account for these phenomena. But, on the other hand, Justin introduces several extracanonical incidents. These are the birth of Jesus in a cave,2 the miraculous fire in the Jordan at the baptism,3 and the statement in regard to his work as a carpenter, that he made plows and yokes.4 These can be traced directly to their sources in uncanonical Gospels. The birth in a cave we find in the Protevangelium of James, and the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy;5 the fire in the Jordan in the Gospel according to the Hebrews; and the plows and yokes in the Gospel of Thomas.6 This settles the fact that Justin used such writings. By parity of reasoning, if we trace the sayings, in spite of certain difficulties, to the Synoptics as the main source, these incidents are to be credited to uncanonical Gospels. Moreover, he quotes the Acts of Pilate in confirmation of the miracles, evidently referring to the testimony of those healed by Jesus at the time of his trial before Pilate.7 On the whole then, the testimony is conclusive, that Justin used the Synoptics, but also other Gospels.

Athenagoras, in his Apology, makes two quotations from Mt.,8 and two in which he combines Mt. and Luk_9 It has been doubted whether these are quotations, but the freedom of quotation is slight, certainly not greater than the N.T. writers use in quoting from the O.T.

In the fragments preserved to us from Papias, the statements in regard to Mk.’s Gospel and the Logia of Mt. are the most important, and they occupy the same rank among the second-century witnesses to the canonical Gospels.10 We should not expect to find much in the way of quotation, as he says expressly that he prefers the oral testimony of men who had associated with the disciples to anything that he could get from the books.1 But he does make one quotation from Mar_2 He is one writer who gives us distinctly strange, apocryphal matter in regard to Jesus’ life and teachings, the general absence of which is so noteworthy and important in this second-century literature.3

In Tatian, a heretical writer of the last part of the century, before the discovery of the Diatessaron, there was little contributing to our subject. The only complete work of his, at that time, an oration to the Greeks, contains several quotations from J., but none from the Synoptics. But, in a few fragments preserved in other writings, we find two quotations from the Synoptics.4 The Diatessaron of Tatian, however, a compilation of the four Gospels made some time in the third quarter of the century, is one of the most important of the recent discoveries. It was partly known before through a commentary of Ephræm the Syrian. The only important omissions are the genealogies of our Lord in Mt. and Lk., and the account of the woman taken in adultery from J. 8. The genealogies were omitted, not as a matter of evidence, but of opinion. The Appendix to Mk. is inserted, but this is not important, as we already have the testimony of the versions to its existence in the early part of the century, and the real question of its authorship remains untouched. But the real value of the Diatessaron is in the fact, established at last, that it was compiled from the four canonical Gospels, and from no other source. The importance of this is unmistakable.

In the Clementine Homilies, an Ebionite production of the latter part of the century, falsely ascribed to Clement of Rome, there are over seventy quotations from the Synoptics, and thirteen either entirely strange, or very considerably modifying the synoptical account. Our Lord is represented as exhorting his disciples to become good money-changers, which obtains a significant meaning from the mixed quality ascribed to the Scriptures in the Homilies, making it necessary to discriminate carefully between the good and bad, between the genuine and counterfeit coin of Scriptures.1 In the same connection occurs several times a serious modification of the text in which our Lord charges the Sadducees with not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God, where, for “the Scriptures” is substituted “the true things of Scripture,” distinguished from the false.1 In the account of the Syrophœnician woman, her name is given as Justa, and the account of the conversation is paraphrased.2 But this is a part of the romancing of this work, and does not need to be treated seriously. Several times the saying, “The tempter is the wicked one,” is attributed to our Lord.3 The idea of the money-changers is extended into this saying: “It is thine, O man, to prove my words, as silver and money are proved among the exchangers.”4 The blessing which Jesus pronounces on the faithful servant is changed to a blessing on “the man whom the Lord shall appoint to the ministry of his fellow-servants.”5 His prediction that many shall come from the east and west, and recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God, is changed to “many will come from the east, west, north, and south, and will recline on the bosom of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”6 “Gold and silver, and the luxury of this world,” are added to the things promised to Jesus by Satan in the temptation.7 Different parts are run together in the saying about false teachers, so that it reads: “Many will come to me in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”8 So also Justin, Apol. 1Ch_16. And Satan is made to promise to “send apostles from among his subjects to deceive.”8 As an offset to the statement that stumbling-blocks must come, but woe to him through whom they come, Jesus says that “good things must come, and blessed is he through whom they come.”9 And then we have the entirely strange exhortation, “Give no pretext to the evil one,”10 and this enlargement of the idea of the μυστήριον in our Lord’s remarks on his parabolic teaching, “Keep the mysteries for me and the sons of my house.”11

The apocryphal Gospels are of interest, not because they contain important matter, most of it being quite trivial and impossible, but because they are the only writings outside of the canonical Gospels which carry that name. Their date is very uncertain, but one of them, the lately discovered Gospel of Peter, is assigned a place in the second century. The Protevangelium of James, the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy, the Gospel according to the Hebrews, and the Gospel of Thomas contain the apocryphal matter of Justin, whether they are the source of it or not; and the Acts of Pilate are quoted by Justin by name.1 Now, it is evident all through this second-century literature that the writers had and used other sources of information, in regard to the Gospel history, outside of the canonical Gospels, and Lk. himself speaks of many such accounts. The interest that attaches to these apocryphal Gospels, therefore, is that they are the only literary remains of this kind that have come down to us. What are they therefore? They are mostly incredible accounts of the birth and infancy of Jesus himself, of his mother, of Joseph, of the trial of our Lord before Pilate, of his descent into Hades, and finally a docetic account of his death. The only extra-canonical matter in the second-century literature which can be traced to them is what relates to the infancy, the private life, and the baptism of Jesus, and possibly the rehearsal of the miracles in the Acts of Pilate. The unwritten sayings, and unfamiliar forms of the written sayings, are not to be found in them. While there are, therefore, extracanonical sources quoted by the second-century writers, these Gospels can figure only slightly among these sources.

The earliest attempt at a canon, or authoritative list of N.T. writings, did not come from an orthodox source, but was published by Marcion, a Gnostic heretic of the latter half of the century. He declared war against Judaism, and, since he believed the original apostles to be Judaistic in their tendency, he rejected them, and, with them, all the extant N.T. writings, except ten epistles of Paul (omitting the pastoral epistles) and a Gospel.2 What this Gospel was, we have to gather from Tertullian, who wrote at length against him, and this question has been one of the most debated critical problems, opinion wavering between a mutilated Lk., and an earlier Gospel on which Lk. was based. Either theory makes Marcion a witness for Lk.’s Gospel, and certainly no other theory is possible in view of the Pauline universalism that characterizes this Gospel.

When we come to the close of the century, we are at last in the presence of a canon, not the same as our present canon, nor a definitely settled list, but still a selection of Christian literature regarded as Scripture, and put on the same footing as the O.T. Among the witnesses to this is the canon of Muratori. This was discovered in Milan during the seventeenth century; the manuscript belongs to the eighth or ninth century, and the writing claims for itself a second-century date. Though this latter date is in dispute, it is probable if we make it late in the century. Unfortunately, there is a gap at the very beginning, so that Lk. is the first Gospel mentioned. But as the mention begins with the title, “Third book of the Gospel according to Lk.,” it becomes a witness to the four Gospels, and to an acceptance of these among the rest as authoritative.

What, then, is the conclusion of the whole matter? Clement makes two quotations, the canonical source of which is doubtful. Pseudo-Clement gives twelve,—nine of them canonical but free, and three extra-canonical; Ignatius, four,—one of them probably uncanonical; Polycarp, five,—four canonical but free, and one probably extra-canonical; the Didache, sixteen, quite canonical; Pseudo-Barnabas, four, canonical; Shepherd of Hermas, one, normal; the rest mere reflections of Scripture. Justin quotes largely but freely, and introduces incidents from apocryphal sources, one of which, the Acts of Pilate, he cites by name as authority for the miracles of our Lord; Athenagoras, four, quoted freely; Papias, one from Mk., with distinctly apocryphal matter. The Clementine Homilies give us canonical and uncanonical matter in the proportion of about seventy to thirteen. One of these, about good money-changers, is a distinct addition to the probable sayings of our Lord. Finally, we have the testimony of Papias to the composition of Mk., and of the Logia, the probable witness of Marcion to Lk., the more than probable testimony of the Canon of Muratori to the canonical Gospels, and the Diatessaron of Tatian, with its unmistakable use of the four Gospels as the exclusive source of information about the Gospel history. The conclusions are inevitable: first, that the second-century literature certainly uses extra-canonical sources of information about our Lord, and does it freely and without apology; secondly, that the four Gospels were the main stream to which the rest was tributary,—the standard writings on the subject; thirdly, they were not Scripture in the sense which we attach to that word,—they were not separated from other writings by any such line; fourthly, that the amount and importance of extra-canonical matter is after all small. Substantially, the Jesus of the second-century literature is the Jesus of the Gospels. This fact is, as we have seen, the most important and favorable result to be obtained, more important in every way than the attempted exclusion of extra-canonical sources. The unrestricted use of extra-canonical sources, without any important change of the record or of the historical figure, is an ideal result.



What we may call the newer criticism of the Gospels accepts the historical character of those writings as being substantially contemporaneous history. It receives our present Gospel of Mk., and the Logia of Mt., both of them coming from the inner circle of the disciples, as the basis of our Synoptical Gospels. Criticism thus confines itself at present—and this may be taken as an ultimate position—to the details of these documents, and has ceased to attack, or even to minimize, the historicity of the documents themselves. But there is one reservation which some of the critics feel themselves justified in making as one of the axioms,—the accepted data of historical criticism,—the axiom, namely, that miracles do not happen. How plausible this position is becomes evident when we consider how universally, and as a matter of course, we apply it outside of the Biblical history. And, in general, we can say with perfect confidence that the grounds on which it rests are such as to establish the a priori improbability of any miracle, and to justify historical criticism in scrutinizing with extreme care any story of supernatural happenings. If we ask, then, in this matter, for an ultimate result, an accepted conclusion, we shall not find it. But, on the other hand, the acknowledged historicity of the Gospels, we believe, carries with it a strong presumption of the verity of the miraculous element in their story. And when we add to this the verisimilitude of these miracles, we are convinced that the inherent improbability is, in the case of these miracles, quite overcome. It is a modification of this adverse criticism when the miracles are reduced, as they are by some critics, to those cures which can be explained by the extraordinary action of Jesus’ unique personality on the minds of men, and the reaction of this on their bodies.

This review of the literature is confined to the writers representing conspicuously this newer criticism. This is done with more confidence because they are, for the most part, trustworthy exegetical guides, and in this department, as in that of criticism, give a largely antiquarian or historical interest to the preceding literature.

The first of these is Meyer, whose commentary on the entire N.T.—that part of it written by himself, including everything from Mt. to the pastoral epistles—being easily first among commentaries. He had the exegetical faculty beyond all other commentators, so that you can omit any other in studying a book, but Meyer no scholar can omit. He represents the school of which we are speaking, accepting the history, criticising the details with combined freedom and caution, and, as for miracles, accepting the general fact while criticising single cases.

The next is Weiss, the posthumous editor of Meyer, with a commentary of his own on Mk. and its Synoptical parallels, a Life of our Lord, an Introduction to the N. T., and a Biblical Theology of the N. T. Like Meyer, he is a conservative critic, but far behind Meyer in the keenness and sureness of his exegetical sense. In his treatment of the Gospels especially, we have to deal with idiosyncracies of opinion that make one forget the real value of his contribution to biblical learning. At the very outset, he denies that our Lord’s teachings form an independent, and especially a superior, source of Christian doctrine. This is not of so much consequence, but the reason for it betrays a singular lack of discernment, and involves a far-reaching and destructive theory of the Gospels. It is that the source of both these and the other N.T. writings is apostolic, and that therefore you cannot expect any different view of the Gospel in the one and the other. This is to forget several essential things. First, the act of reporting is distinct from that of original presentation; and my ability to keep myself out of a report is a test of my fitness. Just how far it is done has to be decided in each case; and there are decisive proofs that the Synoptical writers have made a considerable success of it. In the first place, while the Synoptics are not independent, there are two distinct sources of their account, viz. Mk.’s apostolic authority and the Logia of Mt. But the unity of the matter drawn from these sources—the impress of one strongly differentiated and individual personality upon it all—is the most marked impression left by the three accounts. Furthermore, the person and teaching of our Lord in them make a distinct type, with individual characteristics that make them stand out as clearly as the figure of St. Paul. To take one instance of the way in which the apostolic source has reported teaching different from the apostolic teaching about the same,—it taught the immediateness of the second visible coming of our Lord, but it does not report him as teaching the same. Another example of the way in which the Christ of the apostolic source is differentiated from its representation of the same thing in other persons is its story of his miracles compared with the morals of the apostolic miracles. Again, Weiss maintains that Jesus upheld the entire Jewish law,—ceremonial and moral alike,—but without the traditions of the Pharisees. It is enough to say, in reply to this, that Jesus abolished the distinction between clean and unclean, and denied the possibility of external defilement of the inner man. But the difficulty lies deeper. It involves forgetfulness of the conflict between priest and prophet in the O.T. itself, and of the impossibility that any man should maintain both sides of an irrepressible conflict. It represents our Lord, of all men that ever lived, as unable to distinguish between things that differ. Finally, Weiss asserts that it was the intention of Jesus to set up a political kingdom in Judæa in accordance with the national expectation, and in fulfilment of the natural and obvious meaning of the prophecies; only, it was to be a righteous kingdom;—it required as the indispensable condition the conversion of the nation, and it was to be established as the voluntary act of the people, not by violence. The point is, however, that the kingdom was to come by a Divine tour de force. The form which it ultimately took, involving the final overthrow of the national hope, was due to the final refusal of the people to repent. Here is a place in which definitions and discriminations are absolutely necessary. If by a political kingdom is meant an enforced rule,—and this is the only meaning that accorded with the national expectation,—then Jesus did not intend nor expect any such kingdom. All that he says implies a spiritual kingdom, with worldly power arrayed against it, and no Divine power to meet this hostile power on its own ground. All the subsequent history is of such a spiritual kingdom, and what our Lord says implies that this was not an afterthought, but the permanent policy of God in ruling his kingdom.

As for the miracles, Weiss admits them, and does not attempt any reasoned discrimination among them. But he does show his sense of the strength of the unbelief in the supernatural by insisting on leaving a way of escape to the naturalistic explanation of at least some of them, lest the unbelief in the miraculous involve the whole history in a common ruin.

Beyschlag, in his Leben Fesu, is another example of the same school, which combines acceptance of the apostolic source and historical character of the Synoptical accounts with free critical handling of the details. He modifies the theory of Meyer and Weiss, and before them Weisse, in regard to the origin of the Synoptics, by relegating our Mk., as well as Mt. and Lk., to the rank of secondary documents, and making the sources of all three to be an original Mk., and the Logia of Mt. But this does not materially alter the general conclusion. His work does not show the abundant learning of Weiss, and it is not so carefully orthodox, but it is more sympathetic; it has a finer historical sense and a sounder judgment. Its point of view is expressed in the author’s repeated statement that the Jesus of our faith is identical with the Jesus of history, and is not a product of Aberglaube. Beyschlag’s theory of miracles includes the most of those performed by our Lord, but omits those in which the law of cause and effect is manifestly broken, such as the miracle of the loaves and fishes. The cures of our Lord he traces to his marvellous personality, its power over other men’s spiritual natures, and the well-known reaction of a powerfully moved mind on the bodily condition. But where the process and connection of events is plainly lacking, and there is only a word,—a command,—he rejects the miracle as a violation of natural law; that is, to him, as to the ordinary unbeliever in the supernatural, the miraculous, in the sense of the inexplicable, does not happen. The difference is that the ordinary anti-supernaturalist proceeds from this denial to a disbelief in religion generally, and especially in Jesus. Beyschlag, by explaining the miracles, putting them in the ordinary sequence of nature, defends the historicity of the Gospels even from the point of view of the anti-supernaturalist. The particular sequence in our Lord’s miracles—the reaction of mind on body—is common enough, only in Jesus’ unique personality it is raised to the nth degree.

Holtzmann, in his Commentary on the Synoptical Gospels, and in his Introduction, is the clearest and cleverest of the exponents of this now accepted theory of the Synoptical Gospels. It would be hard to find a more transparent or convincing piece of critical work than his discussion of the Synoptical problem in the Introduction to his commentary. He wavers somewhat in his consideration of the question whether our Mk. is the original Mk., but is decided in his statement that the two are for substance identical, and that for all practical purposes, it is our Mk. which may be taken as the basis of Mt. and Lk. These Gospels were formed by the combination of Mk. with the Logia. This Mk.-hypothesis he characterizes strongly, but justifiably, as no longer hypothesis, but established and accepted critical fact. Moreover, he regards both of these sources as historical, and all the Synoptical Gospels, therefore, as having a historical basis. They are not historical in their purpose, since what we may call their apologetic aim is evident in all three. They are intended to represent Jesus as the Messiah, and to show that his death, so far from defeating his purpose and disproving his claim, was foreseen by him, and included in his purpose. But the events and teachings used in this showing are, substantially, facts. The miracles Holtzmann rejects, however; and, while the obvious reason for this is his acceptance of the critical assumption that miracles do not happen, and are therefore to be set aside simply as miracles, nevertheless, his showing up of them as echoes of O.T. miracle-stories is very clever, although fallacious. That a writer of his unusual clearness and judgment should not see the contradiction between the general historicity of these books and the spuriousness of the miracles is wonderful. And that the absolute verisimilitude of the miracles should escape him is even stranger still. But that Holtzmann, with his evident skepticism, and his absolute and unqualified rejection of mere traditionalism, should accept the general historicity of the Synoptics, is the most noticeable element in the whole situation.

It would be unfair to close this review of the literature which combines criticism and faith without mentioning an admirable American contribution to it by Dr. Orello Cone.1 He says that the total result of criticism is, “that the divine doctrine of Jesus stands forth clearly defined, and of his personality there emerge not only ‘a few ineffaceable lineaments which could belong only to a figure unique in grace and majesty,’ but the figure itself emerges in its majesty and grace.” For a balanced statement of the predominance of the Jewish outlook in Mt., and of the Pauline universalism in Lk., which, however, does not prevent either writer from introducing material which shows the true middle ground of fact, we can commend this book. And this is only a sample of the careful and judicious spirit characterizing the whole. His estimate of the legendary and dogmatic element in the Gospels is exaggerated, to say the least, but his acceptance of their historical kernel is hearty and important.

Of a very different sort is the commentary of Dr. James Morison, to which the present writer has had frequent recourse, and gladly acknowledges indebtedness. There is an abundance of helpful information in it, especially in regard to the various English translations. And his summarizing of different views is, in many passages, exhaustive, and his archæological information extensive. But, while his exegetical sense is sometimes fine, it is far from that on the whole. In his criticism of the text, he is free, and his textual conclusions agree with those of the established critical texts in the main. But in the higher criticism, he seems to lack judgment and fairness. He is as well informed in this as in other departments. But when, after a long review of the literature in regard to the Synoptical problem, he concludes that all the theories are alike baseless, and that there is really no problem there; that the resemblances are not uncommon, nor such as may not be accounted for mostly by the growing fixity of the oral tradition, his case becomes hopeless. And his conclusion, after a minute examination of the last twelve verses of ch. 16, that the omission is probably due to an accidental omission in some early copy, and that the “whole fabric of opposition and doubt must, as biblical criticism advances, crumble into dust,” is amazing.

In view of the universal discarding of this critical theory of the Synoptics by English commentators, it is well to call attention to the cumulative nature of the proof. The phenomena of verbal resemblance, on which the traditional view of independence goes to pieces, are not isolated, but prolonged and repeated. And the same is true of the verbal peculiarities of the last twelve verses, which many English textual critics reject, but which English commentaries defend with unanimity and spirit.1 Dr. Morison thinks that he answers this objection by citing with each case a parallel instance from some other author. But the real question is whether he can match the accumulation of these in the same space elsewhere.*



The text followed in this commentary is not either of the critical texts, the author preferring to choose in each case between the several texts on the strength of the evidence. His authority for the texts has been Scrivener’s edition of the text of Stephens, with the various readings of Beza, Elzevir, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Westcott and Hort, and the Revised Version, Cambridge, 1887. The text of Treg. is based too entirely on the older authorities for independent use, while that of the Revisers is too conservative to satisfy a critical judgment. Either the text of Tischendorf’s edition, or of WH., would be satisfactory, but an independent text, based on both, but following neither without exception, seems still better. The authority for the sources is Tischendorf’s magnum opus, the Editio Major of his eighth edition.

An analysis of the various readings adopted shows something like 650 variations from the Tex. Rec., and in these the several sources appear as follows:

Whole Number, 6571

א 604 Td 4 16 1 59 2 108 6 209 58 258 4 301 1

B 626 U 29 18 1 60 1 115 8 218 1 259 1 340 1

A 99 V 23 22 2 61 5 116 2 225 2 262 3 346 55

C 325 W 2 27 2 63 3 118 30 229 5 271 3 406 2

D 270 Wb 6 28 114 64 2 121 1 237 2 282 1 433 2

E 32 X 37 30 1 66 1 122 2 238 8 299 7 435 3

F 23 Γ 43 33 148 67 4 124 50 239 1 Lat. Vet. . . 303

G 30 Δ 440 40 5 69 102 127 7 240 3 Vulg. . . 152

H 24 Π 68 42 2 71 1 131 17 241 1 Memph. . . 293

K 52 1 117 46 1 73 2 150 1 242 1 Theb. . . 53

L 520 2 1 51 1 78 1 157 6 244 4 Pesh. . . 115

M 57 6 2 53 2 91 5 171 1 245 2 Harcl. . . 50

N 30 10 2 56 2 104 1 201 2 248 1 Harcl. mg. . . 30

P 5 11 5 57 1 106 5 205 1 251 9 Jer. Syr. . . 25

S 18 13 85 58 1 206 1 253 3

It changes somewhat the proportions of the above statement, that in C, about three chapters are wanting, in L 32 verses, in F 86 verses, in G 19 verses, in H 19 verses, in N some 7 chapters, in P all but fragments, Td the same, in X the first 6 chapters, and in Γ nearly 3 chapters. The Theb. version is also in fragments only.

From this analysis, it appears that substantially the critical text of to-day, as it appears in Tisch. and WH., is that of א and B, the two oldest mss. of the N.T., both of which belong to the fourth century. It is, moreover, strongly supported by C and D of the fifth and sixth centuries, by L of the eighth, and Δ of the ninth century. The only first-rate authority that can be excepted from this convergent testimony is A of the fifth century. The testimony of the versions is to the same effect, the older versions furnishing strong support to the readings of these oldest mss. The Old-Latin version, e.g., concurs with them twice as frequently as the Vulgate, and the Peshito, the oldest Syriac version, twice as frequently as the later versions in the same language. And one of the strong supports of these readings is the Memphitic, which is of about the same age as these oldest Latin and Syriac versions. As far as the material now in hand goes, then, it points strongly to the conclusion of the textual critics that the oldest texts extant are comparatively pure. If א and B stood by themselves, we might say that possibly they had been more open than usual to corrupting influences, and that a purer form of the text was to be found in some later text of a purer strain. But, as a matter of fact, as we get back towards the fourth century, we find the text converging towards the form of these oldest extant sources, which shows conclusively that they belong in the main current of the text, and not in some side-stream more or less impure. A, which stands nearest to א and B in point of time, furnishes us with a convenient comparison. Here is a text different from the combination א B, and very much nearer the later texts. Does this represent the main stream, and א B the divergence, or the reverse? The fact that, as we go back, the text converges towards א B, and not towards A, proves conclusively that the older mss. are comparatively pure. We have, in the oldest versions, and in the Fathers, some traces of the state of the text in the first two centuries, and these confirm the type of text found in א B. There is a distinct type of text in these and in their cognates which lacks the smoothness and orthodoxy of the later texts: e.g. the omission of Καὶ νηστείᾳ in 9:29 is contrary to second-century and later orthodoxy; and, to take a more important case, the omission of 16:9-20, with its account of the resurrection and ascension, subtracts not from the creed, but from confirmations of the creed. The onward movement of the text is toward smoothness and conformity, the later text supplying here and there the apparent deficiencies of the earlier type. Now, as we get still further back, going from the fourth century to the third and second, we find the reverse movement toward a certain roughness and non-conformity still kept up, which shows still further, and more strongly, that the great textual critics have not been lacking in critical judgment in giving to א B and their cognates the preference naturally due to the oldest known type of text.


Necessarily, the information in regard to the sources of the text possible in a volume like this is very slight. The student is referred to the Prolegomena of Tischendorf’s Editio Major, edited by Dr. C. R. Gregory, and to Scrivener’s Introduction to The Criticism of the N. T., London, 1894.


א = Codex Sinaiticus, discovered by Tischendorf in the convent of St. Catharine, Mt. Sinai, 1859, and now at St. Petersburg. A manuscript of the fourth century.

B = Codex Vaticanus, in the Vatican Library at Rome, where it seems to have been brought very soon after the founding of the Library in 1448. Also of the fourth century, and slightly older than א.

A = Codex Alexandrinus, in the British Museum from its foundation in 1753. Brought from Constantinople, in 1528, as a present from the patriarch Cyril Lucar to Charles I. Belongs to the fifth century.

C = Codex Ephraemi, in the Royal Library of Paris. Brought from the East by the Medici family in the sixteenth century, and into France by Catharine de Medici. A valuable palimpsest of the fifth century.

D = Codex Bezae, a Græco-Latin manuscript of the Gospels and Acts, presented to the University Library at Cambridge by the reformer Theodore Beza in 1581. Previously in the monastery of St. Irenæus, Lyons. Belongs to the sixth century. A singularly corrupt text, but bearing important witness to the accepted critical text. The corruptions are largely interpolations, and the text on which these are inlaid contains abundant confirmation of the purer form of the text.

L = Codex Regius, in the Royal Library at Paris. Belongs to the eighth century. Contains the four Gospels, with some omissions. Those in Mk. are 10:16-30, 15:2-20. Though of this late date, it is so evidently a copy of an early manuscript that it acquires great value in the criticism of the text.

Δ = Codex Sangallensis of the four Gospels, in the great monastery of St. Gall, Switzerland, where it probably originated. It is evidently, like L, a copy of an old manuscript, and of great critical value.

Other uncials of less importance are:

E = Codex Basiliensis, of the eighth century.

F = Codex Borelli, of the ninth century.

G = Codex Wolfii A, of the tenth century.

H = Codex Wolfii B, of the ninth century.

K = Codex Cyprius, of the ninth century.

M = Codex Campianus, of the ninth century.

N = Codex Purpureus, of the sixth century.

P = Codex Guelpherbytanus A, of the sixth century.

S = Codex Vaticanus 354, of the tenth century.

Td = fragment of Lectionary, containing in Mk. only 1:1-3, 12:35-37.

U = Codex Nanianus I.

V = Codex Mosquensis, of the eleventh century.

X = Codex Monacensis, of the tenth century.

Γ = Codex Tischendorfianus, of the ninth century.

Π = Codex Petropolitianus, of the ninth century.


1 = Codex Basiliensis, of the tenth century.

13 = Codex Regius 50, of the twelfth century.

28 = Codex Regius 379, of the eleventh century.

33 = Codex Regius 14, of the eleventh century, called “The Queen of the Cursives.”

69 = Codex Leicestrensis, of the fourteenth century.

102 = Codex Bibliothecae Mediceae.

209 An unnamed, valuable manuscript.

346 = Codex Ambrosianus 23, of the twelfth century.



Vetus, or Itala. This version itself belongs to the very beginning of the second century, though there are no copies earlier than the fourth century.

Vulgate, the Latin version of Jerome, made in the latter part of the fourth century.

The Egyptian versions are:

1.Memphitic, or Bohairic, in the dialect of Lower Egypt, and belonging to the second century.

2.Thebaic, or Sahidic, in the dialect of Upper Egypt; belonging also to the second century. Extant only in fragments.

The Syriac versions are:

1.Peshito, of the second century.

2.Harclean, which contains itself a statement of its date = 508. Value largely due to Thomas of Harkel, from whom it derives its name, and who collated it with the aid of three Greek mss. These marginal additions give this value.

3.Jerusalem Syriac, a lectionary of the sixth century.



The Fathers are quoted in the manner usual in critical commentaries (Amb., Aug., Chrys., Jer., Orig., etc.).

Egyptt. Egyptian Versions.

Memph. Memphitic.

Theb. Thebaic.

Aeth. Ethiopic Version.

Latt. Latin Versions.

Lat. Vet. Vetus Latina.

Vulg. Vulgate.

Syrr. Syriac Versions.

Pesh. Peshito.

Harcl. Harclean.

Hier. Jerusalem Lectionary.

AV. Authorised Version.

RV. Revised Version.

RV. marg. Revised Version marg.

Tisch. Tischendorf.

Treg. Tregelles.

WH. Westcott and Hort.

Beng. Bengel.

De W. De Wette.

Mey. Meyer.

Bib. Dic. Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible (1st or 2d edition).

Thay.-Grm. Lex. Thayer’s Grimm.

Win Winer’s Grammar of N. T. Greek.

1 E.g. the explanatory τῆς Γαλιλαίας after Ναζαρέτ; the translation of Βοανεργές; of Ταλιθά, κούμ; the explanation of κοιναῖς χερσί as =�

2 Par. XIII. Matthew 5:7, Matthew 5:6:14, Matthew 5:7:1, Matthew 5:2, Luke 6:31, Luke 6:36-38; XLVI. Matthew 26:24, Matthew 18:6, Mark 14:21, Mark 9:42, Luke 22:22, Luke 22:17:1, Luke 22:2.

3 II. Mat 9:13, Mark 2:17; III. Mar 12:30; VI. Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13, Matthew 16:26, Mark 8:36.

4 III. Mat 10:32, Luke 12:8; IV. Matthew 7:21; VIII. Luke 16:10, Luke 16:11; IX. Matthew 12:50; XIII. Luke 6:32, Luke 6:35.

1 IV.

2 V.

3 XII.

4 Eph. XIV. Matthew 12:33; Smyrn. I. Mat 3:15; VI. Matthew 19:12; Poly. II. Mat 10:16.

5 Smyrn. III.

6 II. Matthew 5:10; Matthew 5:10; V. Mark 9:35; VII. Matthew 6:13, Matthew 26:41, Mark 14:38; XII. Matthew 5:44.

7 II. Mat 7:1-2, Luke 6:36-38.

8 I. Matthew 22:39; Matthew 22:39Matthew 5:44; Matthew 5:44Matthew 5:46; Matthew 5:46, Luke 6:27, Luke 6:28, Luke 6:32, Luke 6:33, Luke 6:35, Matthew 5:39-42, Luke 6:29, Luke 6:30, Matthew 5:26; III. Mat 5:5; VII. Matthew 28:19; VIII. Matthew 6:5, Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4; IX. Matthew 7:6; X. Matthew 24:31; XII. Matthew 21:9, Mark 11:9, Luke 19:38? XIII. Matthew 10:10; XVI. Matthew 25:13, Luke 12:35, Luke 12:40, Matthew 24:10, Matthew 24:24, Matthew 24:30, Luke 21:12, Matthew 24:13, Matthew 24:30.

1 IV. Matthew 22:14; V. Matthew 9:13; VI. Matthew 20:16? XII. Matthew 22:45.

2 XX. Mark 10:23, Mark 10:24.

3 1 Apol. ch. 15.

3 1 Apol. ch. 15.

4 1 Apol. ch. 16.

4 1 Apol. ch. 16.

1 Apol. ch. 16.

2 Dial. with Trypho, ch. 78.

3 Dial. with Trypho, ch. 88.

4 Dial. with Trypho, ch. 89.

5 Protev. of Jas. par. 18, 19; Arab. Gos. of Inf. par. 2, 3.

6 Gos. Thos. par. 13.

7 Apol. ch. 48; Acts of Pil. ch. 6, 7, 8.

8 Matthew 5:28, Matthew 19:9.

9 Matthew 5:44, Matthew 5:45, Luke 6:27, Luke 6:28, Matthew 5:46, Luke 6:32, Luke 6:34.

10 Euseb. Ch. His. III.

1 Ferm. de vir illust. 18; Eus. III. 39; Georg. Hamartolus. Chron.

2 Mark 10:38, Mark 10:39.

3 Iren. Her. V. 33, 3, 4; Cramer, Catena ad Acta S. S. Apos. p. 12 sq.

4 Clem. Alex. III. 12, 86; Matthew 6:19, Luke 20:35.

1 II. ch. 51; III. ch. 50; XVIII. ch. 20.

1 II. ch. 51; III. ch. 50; XVIII. ch. 20.

2 2Ch_19.

3 III. ch. 55.

4 III. ch. 61.

5 III. ch. 60.

6 VIII. ch. 4.

7 VIII. ch. 21.

8 XI. ch. 35.

8 XI. ch. 35.

9 XII. ch. 29.

10 XIX. ch. 2.

11 XIX. ch. 20.

1 See paragraph on Justin Martyr.

2 Tertullian vs. Marcion V. 21, IV. 2, 3.

1 Gospel Criticism, G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

1 I should note one exception,—a commentary by Dr. W. N. Clarke, published in Philadelphia by the American Baptist Pub. Soc., who shows here the admirable judgment characteristic of his general work.

Treg. Tregelles.

WH. Westcott and Hort.

1 Numbers approximate only.

אԠCodex Sinaiticus.

T fragment of Lectionary.

209 An unnamed, valuable manuscript.

B Codex Vaticanus.

U Codex Nanianus.

A Codex Alexandrinus.

V Codex Mosquensis.

346 Codex Ambrosianus.

C Codex Bezae.

D Codex Ephraemi.

28 Codex Regius.

E Codex Basiliensis.

X Codex Wolfi A.

F Codex Borelli.

Γ̠Codex Tischendorfianus

33 Codex Regius.

Lat. Vet. Vetus Latina.

Δ̠Codex Sangallensis

69 Codex Leicestrensis.

102 Codex Bibliothecae Mediceae.

Vulg. Vulgate.

H Codex Wolfi B.

Π̠Codex Petropolitianus

Memph. Memphitic.

K Codex Cyprius.

Theb. Thebaic.

L Codex Regius.

Pesh. Peshito.

M Codex Campianus.

Harcl. Harclean.

N Codex Purpureus.

P Codex Guelpherbytanus.

S Codex Vaticanus.

13 Codex Regius.

Tisch. Tischendorf.

Ads FreeProfile