The Life of Jesus of Nazareth - Part 13

Part 13

When, however, he found himself opposed by the criticism of the Pharisees he spoke with unhesitating self-a.s.sertion and exalted personal claim, even as he did in like situations in Galilee. During his earlier ministry in Judea he had not shown this reserve. The cleansing of the temple, although it was no more than any prophet sure of his divine commission would have done, was a bold challenge to the people to consider who he was who ventured thus to criticise the priestly administration of G.o.d's house. In his subsequent dealings with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman Jesus manifested a like readiness to draw attention to himself. From the time of the feeding of the mult.i.tudes all four of the gospels represent him as a.s.serting his claims, with this difference, however, that in John it is the rule rather than the exception to find sayings similar to the two in which the self-a.s.sertion in the other gospels reaches its highest expression. Although the method of Jesus varied at different times and in different localities, yet it is evident that he stood before the people from the first with the consciousness that he had the right to claim their allegiance as no one of the prophets who preceded him would have been bold to do.

258. During the course of his ministry Jesus used of himself, or suffered others to use with reference to him, many of the t.i.tles by which his people were accustomed to refer to the Messiah. Thus he was named "the Messiah" (Mark viii. 29; xiv. 61; John iv. 26); "the King of the Jews"

(Mark xv. 2; John i. 49; xviii. 33, 36, 37); "the Son of David" (Mark x.

47, 48; Matt. xv. 22; xxi. 9, 15); "the Holy One of G.o.d" (John vi. 69; compare Mark i. 24); "the Prophet" (John vi. 14; vii. 40). It is evident that none of these t.i.tles was common; they represent, rather, the bold venture of more or less intelligent faith on the part of men who were impressed by him. There are two names, however, that are more significant of Jesus' thought about himself,--"the Son of G.o.d" and "the Son of Man."

259. The latter of these t.i.tles is unique in the use Jesus made of it.

Excepting Stephen's speech (Acts vii. 56), it is found in the New Testament only in the sayings of Jesus, and its precise significance is still a subject of learned debate. The expression is found in the Old Testament as a poetical equivalent for Man, usually with emphasis on human frailty (Ps. viii. 4; Num. xxiii. 19; Isa. li. 12), though sometimes it signifies special dignity (Ps. lx.x.x. 17). Ezekiel was regularly addressed in his visions as Son of Man (Ezek. ii. 1 and often; see also Dan. viii.

17), probably in contrast with the divine majesty.

260. In one of Daniel's visions (vii. 1-14) the world-kingdoms which had oppressed G.o.d's people and were to be destroyed were symbolized by beasts that came up out of the sea,--a winged lion, a bear, a four-headed winged leopard, and a terrible ten-horned beast; in contrast with these the kingdom of the saints of the Most High was represented by "one like unto a son of man," who came with the clouds of heaven (vii. 13, 14). Here the language is obviously poetic, and is used to suggest the unapproachable superiority of the kingdom of heaven to the kingdoms of the world. The expression "one like unto a son of man" is equivalent, therefore, to "one resembling mankind." The vision in Daniel had great influence over the author of the so-called Similitudes of Enoch (Book of Enoch, chapters x.x.xvii. to lxxi.). He, however, personified the "one like unto a son of man," and gave the t.i.tle "the Son of Man" to the heavenly man who will come at the end of all things, seated on G.o.d's throne, to judge the world.

This author used also the t.i.tles "the Elect One" and "the Righteous One"

(or "the Holy One of G.o.d"), but "the Son of Man" is the prevalent name for the Messiah in these Similitudes.

261. The facts thus stated do not account for Jesus' use of the expression. Many of his sayings undoubtedly suggest a development of the Daniel vision resembling that in the Similitudes. This does not prove that Jesus or his disciples had read these writings, though it does suggest the possibility that they knew them. It is probable, however, that the apocalypses gave formulated expression to thoughts that were more widely current than those writings ever came to be. The likeness between the language of Jesus and that found in the Similitudes may therefore prove no more than that the Daniel vision was more or less commonly interpreted of a personal Messiah in Jesus' day.

262. Much of the use of the t.i.tle by Jesus, however, is completely foreign to the ideas suggested by Enoch and Daniel. Besides apocalyptic sayings like those in Enoch (Mark viii. 38 and often), the name occurs in predictions of his sufferings and death (Mark viii. 31 and often), and in claims to extraordinary if not essentially divine authority (Mark ii. 10, 28 and parallels); it is also used sometimes simply as an emphatic "I"

(Matt. xi. 19 and often). Whatever relation Jesus bore to the Enoch writings, therefore, the name "the Son of Man" as he used it was his own creation.

263. Students of Aramaic have in recent years a.s.serted that it was not customary in the dialect which Jesus spoke to make distinction between "the son of man" and "man," since the expression commonly used for "man"

would be literally translated "son of man." It is a.s.serted, moreover, that if our gospels be read subst.i.tuting "man" for "the Son of Man" wherever it appears, it will be found that many supposed Messianic claims become general statements of Jesus' conception of the high prerogatives of man, while in other places the name stands simply as an emphatic subst.i.tute for the personal p.r.o.noun. Thus, for instance, Jesus is found to a.s.sert that authority on earth to forgive sins belongs to man (Mark ii. 10), and, toward the end of his course, to have taught simply that he himself must meet with suffering (Mark viii. 31), and will come on the clouds to judge the world (Mark viii. 38). The proportion of cases in which the general reference is possible is, however, very small; and even if the equivalence of "man" and "son of man" should be established, most of the statements of Jesus in which our gospels use the latter expression exhibit a conception of himself which challenges attention, transcending that which would be tolerated in any other man. The debate concerning the usage in the language spoken by Jesus is not yet closed, however, and Dr. Gustaf Dalman (WJ I. 191-197) has recently argued that the equivalence of the two expressions holds only in poetic pa.s.sages, precisely as it does in Hebrew, and that our gospels represent correctly a distinction observed by Jesus when they report him, for instance, as saying in one sentence, "the Sabbath was made for man" (Mark ii. 27), and in the next, "the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath." The antecedent probability is so great that the dialect of Jesus' time would be capable of expressing a distinction found in the Hebrew of the Old Testament and in the Syriac of the second-century version of the New Testament, that Dalman's opinion carries much weight.

264. Many of those who look for a distinct significance in the t.i.tle "the Son of Man," find in it a claim by Jesus to be the ideal or typical man, in whom humanity has found its highest expression. It thus stands sharply in contrast with "the Son of G.o.d," which is held to express his claim to divinity. So understood, the t.i.tles represent truth early recognized by the church in its thought about its Lord. Yet it must be acknowledged that the conception "the ideal man" is too h.e.l.lenic to have been at home in the thought of those to whom Jesus addressed his teaching. If the phrase suggested anything more to his hearers than the human frailty or the human dignity of him who bore it, it probably had a Messianic meaning like that found in the Similitudes of Enoch. A hint of this understanding of the name appears in the perplexed question reported in John (xii. 34): "We have heard out of the law that the Messiah abideth forever; and how sayest thou, The Son of Man must be lifted up? who is this Son of Man?" Here the difficulty arose because the people identified the Son of Man with the Messiah, yet could not conceive how such a Messiah could die. In fact, if the conception of the Son of Man which is found in Enoch had obtained any general currency among the people, either from that book or independently of it, it was so foreign to the earthly condition and manner of life of the Galilean prophet, that it would not have occurred to his hearers to treat his use of the t.i.tle as a Messianic claim until after that claim had been published in some other and more definite form. Their Son of Man was to come with the clouds of heaven, seated on G.o.d's throne, to execute judgment on all sinners and apostates; the Nazarene fulfilled none of these conditions. The name, as used by Jesus, was probably always an enigma to the people, at least until he openly declared its Messianic significance in his reply to the high-priest's question at his trial (Mark xiv. 62), and gave the council the ground it desired for a charge of blasphemy against him.

265. What did this t.i.tle signify to Jesus? His use of it alone can furnish answer, and in this the variety is so great that it causes perplexity.

"The Son of Man came eating and drinking" is his description of his own life in contrast with John the Baptist (Matt. xi. 18, 19). "The Son of Man hath not where to lay his head" was his reply to one over-zealous follower (Matt. viii. 20). Unseemly rivalry among his disciples was rebuked by the reminder that "even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister" (Mark x. 42-45). When it became needful to prepare the disciples for his approaching death he taught them that "the Son of Man must suffer many things ... and be killed, and after three days rise again" (Mark viii. 31). On the other hand, the paralytic's cure was made to demonstrate that "the Son of Man hath authority upon the earth to forgive sins" (Mark ii. 10). Similarly it is the Son of Man who after his exaltation shall come "in the glory of his Father with the holy angels" (Mark viii. 38). In these typical cases the t.i.tle expresses Jesus'

consciousness of heavenly authority as well as self-sacrificing ministry, of coming exaltation as well as present lowliness; and the suffering and death which were the common lot of other sons of men were appointed for this Son of Man by a divine necessity. The name is, therefore, more than a subst.i.tute for the personal p.r.o.noun; it expresses Jesus' consciousness of a mission that set him apart from the rest of men.

266. We do not know how Jesus came to adopt this t.i.tle. Its a.s.sociation with the predictions of his coming glory shows that he knew that in him the Daniel vision was to have fulfilment. The predictions of suffering and death, however, are completely foreign to that apocalyptic conception, being akin rather, as Professor Charles has suggested, to the prophecies of the suffering servant in the Book of Isaiah (Book of Enoch, p.

314-317). Moreover, it may not be fanciful to find in his claims to heavenly authority a hint of the thought of the eighth Psalm, "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet" (see Dalman WJ I. 218). Although the name expresses a consciousness of dignity, vicarious ministry, and authority, similar to thoughts found in Daniel, Isaiah, and the Psalms, it was not deduced from these scriptures by any synthesis of diverse ideas. It rather indicates that Jesus in his own nature realized a synthesis which no amount of study of scripture would ever have suggested. He drew his conception of himself from his own self-knowledge, not from his Messianic meditations. On his lips, then, "the Son of Man" indicates that he knew himself to be the Man whom G.o.d had chosen to be Lord over all (compare Dalman as above). The lowly estate which contradicted the Daniel vision prevented Jesus' hearers from recognizing in the t.i.tle a Messianic claim; for him, however, it was the expression of the very heart of his Messianic consciousness.

267. If Jesus gave expression to his official consciousness when he used the name "the Son of Man," the t.i.tle "the Son of G.o.d" may be said to express his more personal thought about himself. It is necessary to distinguish between the meaning of this t.i.tle to the contemporaries of Jesus and his own conception of it. In the popular thought "the Son of G.o.d" was the designation of that man whom G.o.d would at length raise up and crown with dignity and power for the deliverance of his people. This meaning followed from the Messianic interpretation of the second Psalm, in which the theocratic king is called G.o.d's son (Ps. ii. 7). In another psalm, which Jesus himself quotes (John x. 34), magistrates and judges are called "sons of the Most High" (lx.x.xii. 6). Another Old Testament use casts light on this,--the designation of Israel as G.o.d's son, his firstborn (Ex. iv. 22; Hos. i. 10), with which may be compared a remarkable expression in the so-called Psalms of Solomon (xviii. 4), "Thy chastis.e.m.e.nt was upon us [that is, Israel] as upon a son, firstborn, only begotten." In all these pa.s.sages that which const.i.tutes a man the son of G.o.d is G.o.d's choice of him for a special work, while Israel collectively bears the t.i.tle to suggest G.o.d's fatherly love for the people he had taken for his own. The Messianic t.i.tle, therefore, described not a metaphysical, but an official or ethical, relation to G.o.d. It is certainly in this sense that the high-priest asked Jesus "Art thou the Messiah the son of the Blessed?" (Mark xiv. 61), and that the crowd about the cross flung their taunts at him (Matt, xxvii. 43), and the demoniacs proclaimed their knowledge of him (Mark iii. 11; v. 7). The name must be interpreted in this sense also in the confession of Nathanael (John i. 49); moreover, it was not the coupling of the names "Messiah" and "son of the living G.o.d" in Peter's confession that gave it its great significance for Jesus. In all of these cases there is no evidence that there has been any advance over the theocratic significance which made the t.i.tle "the Son of G.o.d" fitting for the man chosen by G.o.d for the fulfilment of his promises.

268. The case is different with the name by which Jesus was called at his baptism (Mark i. 11). The difference here, however, arises not from anything in the name as used on this occasion, but from that in Jesus which acknowledged and accepted the t.i.tle. With Jesus the consciousness that G.o.d was his Father preceded the knowledge that as "his Son" he was to undertake the work of the Messiah. The force of the call at the baptism is found in the response which his own soul gave to the word "Thou art my Son." The nature of that response is seen in his habitual reference to G.o.d as in a peculiar sense _his_ Father. The name "Father" for G.o.d was used by him in all his teaching, and there is no evidence that he or any of his hearers regarded it as a novelty. Psalm ciii. 13 and Isaiah lxiii. 16 indicate that the conception was natural to Jewish thinking. The unique feature in Jesus' usage is his careful distinction between the general references to "your Father" and his constant personal allusions to "my Father." Witness the reply to his mother in the temple (Luke ii. 49); his word to Peter, "Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. xvi. 17), his solemn warning, "Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. vii.

21), and the promise, "Every one who shall confess me before men ... him will I also confess before my Father" (Matt. x. 32). In the fourth gospel the same intimate reference is common: so, for example, the temple is "my Father's house" (ii. 16), the Sabbath cure is defended because "my Father worketh even until now" (v. 17), the cures are done "in My Father's name"

(x. 25), "I am the vine, and my Father is the husbandman" (xv. 1). This mode of expression discloses a consciousness of unique filial relation to G.o.d which is independent of, even as it was antecedent to, the consciousness of official relation.

269. The full name "the Son of G.o.d" was seldom applied by Jesus to himself, the only recorded instances being found in the fourth gospel (v.

25; ix. 35?; x. 36; xi. 4). He frequently acquiesced in the use of the t.i.tle by others in addressing him (for example, John i. 49; Matt. xvi. 16; xxvi. 63f.; Mark xiv. 61f.; Luke xxii. 70); but for himself he preferred the simpler phrase "the Son." This mode of expression occurs often in John, and is found also in the two pa.s.sages, already noticed, in which the other gospels give clearest expression to the extraordinary self-a.s.sertion of Jesus (Matt. xi. 27; Luke x. 22; and Mark xiii. 32). In the first of them his claim to be the only one who can adequately reveal G.o.d is founded on the consciousness that the relation between himself and G.o.d is so intimate that G.o.d alone adequately knows him, whom men were so ready to set at nought, and he alone knows G.o.d. This relation, in which he and G.o.d stand together in contrast with all other men, is expressed by the unqualified names, "the Father" and "the Son." In the second pa.s.sage Jesus confessed the limitation of his knowledge, but again in such a way as to set himself and G.o.d in contrast not only with men, but also with "the angels in heaven." Such a.s.sertions as these indicate that he who, knowing his full humanity, chose the t.i.tle "the Son of Man" to express his consciousness that he had been appointed by G.o.d to be the Messiah, was yet aware in his inner heart that his relation to G.o.d was even closer than that in which he stood to men.

270. There is no word in John which goes beyond the two self-declarations of Jesus which crown the record of the other evangelists, yet in the fourth gospel the same claim to unique relation to G.o.d is more frequently and frankly avowed. The most unqualified a.s.sertion of intimacy--"I and the Father are one" (x. 30)--states what is clearly implied throughout the gospel (so xiv. 6-11; xvi. 25; and particularly xvii. 21, "that they may be one, even as we are one"). It has often been said, and truly, that this claim to unity with the Father, taken by itself, signifies no more than perfect spiritual and ethical harmony with G.o.d. Yet when the words are considered in their connection, and more particularly when the two supreme self-declarations in the synoptic gospels are a.s.sociated with them, they express a sense of relation to G.o.d so utterly unique, so strongly contrasting the Father and the Son with all others, that we cannot conceive of any other man, even the saintliest, taking like words upon his lips.

271. These t.i.tles in which Jesus gave expression to his official and his personal consciousness present clearly the problem which he offers to human thought. Jesus stands before us in the gospels as a man aware of completest kinship with his brethren, yet conscious at the same time of standing nearer to G.o.d than he does to men.

272. It is highly significant that the gospel which records most fully the claim of Jesus to be more closely related to G.o.d than he was to men, most fully records also his definite acknowledgment of dependence on his Father, and of that Father's supremacy over him and all others. "The Son can do nothing of himself" (John v. 19), "I speak not from myself" (xiv.

10), "my Father is greater than all" (x. 29), "the Father is greater than I" (xiv. 28),--these confessions join with the common reference to G.o.d as "him that sent me" (v. 30 and often) in giving voice to his own spirit of reverence. It appears as clearly in his habitual submission to his Father's will,--"My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to accomplish his work" (John iv. 34); "I am come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me" (John vi. 38). This submission reached its fulness in the prayer of Gethsemane, recorded in the earlier gospels,--"Father, all things are possible unto thee; remove this cup from me: howbeit not what I will, but what thou wilt" (Mark xiv.

36). Jesus was a man of prayer; not only in Gethsemane, but also throughout his ministry he habitually sought his Father in that communion in which the soul of man finds its light and strength for life's duty.

When he was baptized (Luke iii. 21), after the first flush of success in Capernaum (Mark i. 35), before choosing the twelve (Luke vi. 12), before the question at Caesarea Philippi (Luke ix. 18), at the transfiguration (Luke ix. 29), on the cross (Luke xxiii. 46),--at all the crises of his life he turned to G.o.d in prayer. Moreover, prayer was his habit, for it was after a night of prayer which has no connection with any crisis reported for us (Luke xi. 1), that he taught his disciples the Lord's prayer in response to their requests. The prayer beside the grave of Lazarus (John xi. 41, 42) suggests that his miracles were often, if not always (compare Mark ix. 29), preceded by definite prayer to G.o.d. His habit of prayer was the natural expression of his trust in G.o.d. From the resistance to the temptations in the wilderness to the last cry, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit," his life is an example of childlike faith in G.o.d.

273. Yet throughout his life of obedience and trust Jesus never gave one indication that he felt the need of penitence when he came before G.o.d. He perceived as no one else has ever done the searching inwardness of G.o.d's law, and demanded of men that they tolerate no lower ambition than to be like G.o.d, yet he never breathed a sigh of conscious failure, or gave sign that he blushed when the eternal light shone into his own soul. He was baptized, but without confession of sin. He challenged his enemies to convict him of sin (John viii. 46). Such a challenge might have rested on a man's certainty that his critics did not know his inner life; but hypocrisy has no place in the character of Jesus. The reply to the rich young ruler, "Why callest thou me good?" (Mark x. 18), even if it was a confession that freedom from past sin was still far less than that absolute goodness that G.o.d alone possesses, simply sets in stronger light his silence concerning personal failure, and his omission in all his praying to seek forgiveness. It is probable, however, that that reply deals not with the "good" as the "ethically perfect," but as the "supremely beneficent," so that Jesus simply reminded the seeker after life that G.o.d alone is the one to be approached as the Gracious and Merciful One by sinful men (see Dalman WJ I. 277). Thus the reply becomes a fresh expression of the reverence of Jesus, and still further emphasizes his failure to confess his sinfulness.

274. In all this thought about himself Jesus stands before us as a man, conscious of his close kinship with his fellows. Like them he hungered and thirsted and grew weary, like them he longed for friendship and for sympathy, like them he trusted G.o.d and prayed to G.o.d and learned still to trust when his request was denied. He stands before us also as a man conscious of being anointed by G.o.d for the great work which all the prophets had foretold, and of being fully equipped with authority and power and the promise of unapproachable dignity. Of deep religious spirit and great reverence for the scriptures of his people, he yet used these scriptures as a master does his tools, to serve his work rather than to instruct him in it. He drew his knowledge from within and from above, and proclaimed his own fulfilment of the scriptures when he filled them with new meaning. A man always devout, always at prayer, he is never seen, like Isaiah, prostrate before the Most High, crying, "I am undone" (Isa. vi.

5). In his moments of greatest seriousness and most manifest communion with heaven he looked to G.o.d as his nearest of kin, and felt himself a stranger on the earth fulfilling his Father's will. He felt heaven to be his home not simply by G.o.d's gracious promise, but by the right of previous possession. His kinship with men was a condescension, his natural fellowship was with G.o.d.

275. The miracles with which the gospels have filled the record of Jesus'

life have caused perplexity to many, and they belong with other mysterious things recorded for us in the story of the past or occurring under the incredulous observation of our scientific generation. They all pale, however, before the unaccountable exception presented to universal human experience by this Man of Nazareth. It confronts us when we think of the unschooled Jew who, in his thought of G.o.d, rose not only above all of his generation, but higher than all who had gone before him, or have come after, one who built on the foundation of the past a superstructure of religion new, and simple, and clearly heavenly. It confronts us when we think of this Man who believed that it was given to him to establish the kingdom that should fill the whole earth, and who had the boldness and the faith to ignore the opposition of all the world's wisdom and of all its enthroned power, and to fulfil his task as the woman does who hides her leaven in the meal, content to wait for years, or millenniums, until his truth shall conquer in the realization of G.o.d's will on earth even as it is done in heaven. It confronts us when we consider that the Man who has shown his brethren what obedience means, who has taught them to pray, who has been for all these centuries the Way, the Truth, the Life, by whom they come to G.o.d, habitually claimed without shadow of abashment or slightest hint of conscious presumption, a nature, a relation to G.o.d, a freedom from sin, that other men according to the measure of their G.o.dliness would shun as blasphemy. If the personal claim was true, and not the blind pretence of vanity, the Jesus of the gospels is the exception to the uniform fact of human nature, but he is no longer unaccountable; and if his claim was true, his knowledge of the absolute religion, and his choice of the irresistible propaganda, are no less extraordinary, but they are not unaccountable. Paul, whose life was transformed and his thinking revolutionized by his meeting with the risen Jesus, thought on these things and believed that "the name which, is above every name" was his by right of nature as well as by the reward of obedience (Phil. ii. 5-11).

John, who leaned on Jesus' breast during his earthly life, and who meditated on the meaning of that life through a ministry of many decades, came to believe that he whom he had seen with his eyes, heard with his ears, handled with his hands, was, indeed, "the Word made flesh" (John i.

14), through whom the very G.o.d revealed his love to men. Through all the perplexities of doubt, amidst all the obscurings of irrelevant speculations, the hearts of men to-day turn to this Jesus of Nazareth as their supreme revelation of G.o.d, and find in him "the Master of their thinking and the Lord of their lives."

"Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and know that thou art the Holy One of G.o.d."


Books of Reference on the Life of Jesus

1. A concise account of the voluminous literature on this subject maybe found at the close of the article JESUS CHRIST by Zockler in _Schaff-Herzog, Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge_. Of the earlier of the modern works it is well to mention David Friedrich Strauss, _Das Leben Jesu_ (2 vols. 1835), in which he sought to reduce all the gospel miracles to myths. August Neander, _Das Leben Jesu Christi_, 1837, wrote in opposition to the att.i.tude taken by Strauss. Both of these works have been translated into English. Ernst Renan, _Vie de Jesus_ (1863, 16th ed.

1879), translated, _The Life of Jesus_ (1863), is a charming, though often superficial and patronizing, presentation of the subject. For vivid word pictures of scenes in the life of Jesus his book is unsurpa.s.sed. Renan's inability to appreciate the more serious aspects of the work of Christ appears constantly, while his effort to discover romance in the life of Jesus is offensive. More important than any of these is Theodor Keim, _Geschichte Jesu von Nazara_ (1867-72, 3 vols.), translated, _The History of Jesus of Nazara_ (1876-81, 6 vols.). The author rejects the fourth gospel and holds that Matthew is the most primitive of the synoptic gospels; he does not reject the supernatural as such, but reduces it as much as possible by recognizing a legendary element in the gospels. When the work is read with these peculiarities in mind, it is one of the most stimulating and spiritually illuminating treatments of the subject.

2. Critically more trustworthy, and exegetically very valuable, is Bernhard Weiss, _Das Leben Jesu_ (3d ed. 1889, 2 vols.), translated from the first ed., _The Life of Christ_ (1883, 3 vols.). It is more helpful for correct understanding of details than for a complete view of the Life of Jesus. Rivalling Weiss in many ways, yet neither so exact nor so trustworthy, though more interesting, is Willibald Beyschlag, _Das Leben Jesu_ (3d ed. 1893, 2 vols.). The most important discussion in English is Alfred Edersheim, _The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah_ (1883 and later editions, 2 vols.). This is valuable for its ill.u.s.tration of conditions in Palestine in the time of Jesus by quotations from the rabbinic literature. The material used is enormous, but is not always treated with due criticism, and the book should be read with the fact in mind that most of the rabbinic writings date from several centuries after Christ. Schurer (see below) should be used wherever possible as a counter-balance. Dr. Edersheim follows the gospel story in detail; his book is, therefore, a commentary as well as a biography.

3. Albert Reville, _Jesus de Nazareth_ (1897, 2 vols.), aims to bring the work of Renan up to date, and to supply some of the lacks which are felt in the earlier treatise. The book is pretentious and learned. In some parts, as in the treatment of the youth of Jesus, and of the sermon on the mount, it is helpfully suggestive. The Jesus whom the author admires, however, is the Jesus of Galilee. The journey to Jerusalem was a sad mistake, and the a.s.sumption of the Messianic role a fall from the high ideal maintained in the teaching in Galilee. In criticism M. Reville accepts the two doc.u.ment synoptic theory, and a.s.signs the fourth gospel to about 140 A.D. He rejects the supernatural, explaining many of the miracles as legendary embellishments of actual events.

4. The most important treatment of the subject is the article JESUS CHRIST by William Sanday in the _Hastings Bible Dictionary_ (1899). It is of the highest value, discussing the subject topically with great clearness and with a rare combination of learning and common sense. S. T. Andrews, _The Life of Our Lord_ (2d ed. 1892), is a thorough and very useful study of the gospels, considering minutely all questions of chronology, harmony, and geography. It presents the different views with fairness, and offers conservative conclusions. G. H. Gilbert, _The Student's Life of Jesus_ (1896), is complete in plan and careful in treatment, while being very concise. Dr. Gilbert faces the problems of the subject frankly, and his treatment is scholarly and reverent. James Stalker, _The Life of Jesus Christ_ (1880), is a short work whose value lies in the good conception which it gives of the ministry of Jesus viewed as a whole. In simplicity, insight, and clearness the book is a cla.s.sic, though now somewhat out of date. _Studies in the Life of Christ_, by A.M. Fairbairn (1882), is of great value for the topics considered. The t.i.tle indicates that the treatment is fragmentary. The long treatises of Farrar (1875, 2 vols.) and Geikie (1877, 2 vols.) are useful as commentaries on the words and works of Jesus. Farrar often interprets most helpfully the essence of an incident, and Geikie furnishes a ma.s.s of ill.u.s.trative material from rabbinic sources, though with less criticism than even Edersheim has used.

Neither of these works, however, deals with the fundamental problems of the composition of the gospels, nor are they satisfactory on other perplexing questions, for example, the miraculous birth.

5. The most important accessory for the study of the life of Jesus is Emil Schurer, _Geschichte des Judischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi_ (2d ed. 1886, 1890, 2 vols. A 3d ed. of 2d part in 2 vols., 1898), translated, _A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ_ (1885-6, 5 vols.). The political history of the Jews from 175 B.C. to 135 A.D., and the intellectual and religious life of the times in which Jesus lived, with the Jewish literature of Palestine and the dispersion, are all treated with thoroughness and masterful learning. W. Baldensperger, _Das Selbstbewusstsein Jesu im Lichte der messianischen Hoffnungen seiner Zeit_ (2d ed. 1892), furnishes in the first part a survey of the Messianic hopes of the Jews which is in many respects the most satisfactory account that is accessible. The second part discusses the problem of Jesus'

conception of himself in a reverent and learned way. George Adam Smith, _The Historical Geography of the Holy Land_ (1894), is indispensable for the study of the physical features of the land as they bear on its history, and on the work of Jesus. The maps are the best that have yet appeared.

6. Discussions of the Teaching of Jesus in works on Biblical Theology have much that is important for the study of Jesus' life. The most significant is H. H. Wendt, _Die Lehre Jesu_ (1886, 2 vols.). The second volume has been translated _The Teaching of Jesus_ (1892, 2 vols.); the first volume of the original work is an elaborate discussion of the sources, and has not been done into English. Reference may be made especially to H. J.

Holtzmann, _Lehrbuch der Neutestamentlichen Theologie_ (1897, 2 vols.), and also to G. H. Gilbert, _The Revelation of Jesus_ (1899). Gustaf Dalman, _Die Worte Jesu_ (1898), of which the first volume only has appeared, is a study of the meaning of the most significant expressions used in the gospel records of the teaching of Jesus, made with the aid of thorough knowledge of Aramaic usage and of the language of post-canonical Jewish literature.

7. A good synopsis or Harmony of the gospels is most useful. The best _Harmony is_ that of Stevens and Burton (1894), which exhibits the divergencies of the parallel accounts in the gospels as faithfully as the agreements. A good synopsis of the Greek text of the first three gospels is Huck, _Synapse_ (1892). Robinson's _Greek Harmony of the Gospels_, edited by M. B. Biddle, using Tischendorf's text, has also valuable notes discussing questions of harmony.


AndLOL Andrews, The Life of Our Lord, 2d ed., 1892.

BaldSJ Baldensperger, Das Selbstbewusstsein Jesu, 2d ed., 1892.

BeysLJ Beyschlag, Das Leben Jesu, 3d ed., 2 vols., 1893.

BovonNTTh Bovon, Theologie du Nouveau Testament, 1892.

DalmanWJ Dalman, Die Worte Jesu, I., 1898.