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E. [See page 140.]

THE COUNCIL AT JERUSALEM.

The question of the Council and the Conference at Jerusalem is one of those which has called forth in modern times the most lively discussions. The Tübingen school, starting with the supposition that the narrative of the Acts, (chap. xv,) and that of the Epistle to the Galatians, (chap. ii,) refer to the same fact, naturally draw conclusions adverse to St. Luke. Two leading important contradictions are pointed out between the two accounts. 1st. In the Acts the conferences are public; in the Epistle to the Galatians they are private. Baur, "Paulus," p. 115. "Das Christenth. der drei erst. Jahrhund.," pp. 52, 53. We have already replied to this objection by showing that the very nature of the questions under debate explains the coincidence of public and private conferences, When Baur declares that the silence of Paul, in the Epistle to the Galatians, as to the decision at Jerusalem, is inexplicable, he forgets that the Apostle had to treat in 491Galatia only of the question touching his own apostleship, and that, consequently, the result of the private conferences alone concerned him. Let us remember, also, that the decree issued from Jerusalem was only of transitional force. 2d. Schwegler says, that according to the account in Acts the Apostles are perfectly agreed ("Nachapost. Zeit.," i, 126,) while in the Epistle to the Galatians they appear greatly at variance among themselves. Both assertions are equally inexact. The Apostles, in the Acts, show a broad and conciliatory spirit, but it is incontestible that there is, nevertheless, a wide distance between the view of Paul and that of James. On the other hand, it is impossible to find in the Galatians any trace of a serious opposition among the Apostles. We see them, on the contrary, giving each other the right hand of fellowship. Gal. ii, 9. Great stress is laid on the slightly ironical expressions of Paul: Ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν δοκούντων εἶναί τι. Οἱ δοκοῦντες στῦλοι εἶναι. Gal. ii, 6-9. But the irony here is directed not against the Apostles themselves, but against those who, fiom a party spirit, exaggerated their apostolic authority to the depreciation of that of Paul. 3d. The Tübingen school, in order to discredit utterly the narrative of Luke, seeks to establish a contradiction between the speeches made at the Council at Jerusalem, and the results obtained. These speeches, it is said, are animated by a liberal spirit, while the result of the council sanctions the triumph of the Judaizing party. But our adversaries forget that the speech of James is not identical with that of Peter. The former represented at that time the majority of the Church; he retained more than one Jewish scruple, while at the same time strongly desiring union and conciliation. In what deliberative assembly do we not often see the vote given to the middle party, though the most advanced liberalism may have found a voice? We do not admit, however, that the council did insure a triumph to the Judaizing party. That party received a death-blow from the decision, which declared that circumcision was no longer obligatory on proselytes brought out of paganism. The Tübingen school has supported itself mainly on the second of the conditions, which were imposed on the neophytes from foreign countries—the abstaining from all impurity. While Schwegler ("N. A. I.," 127) sees in the word πορνειά the prohibition of second marriages, Ritschl, in his learned work, ("Entstehung der Altcatholisch. Kirche," pp. 115-126,) sees in it the interdiction of those consanguineous marriages forbidden by the Levitical law. Leviticus xviii.655655A second edition has just appeared. In it the author shows himself still further removed from the views of the Tübingen school. But this is 492attaching a very remote meaning to a very simple expression. The able theologian endeavors to show that in its essence, the decree of the Jerusalem Council forms the foundation of the "Clementines" and of the Ebionite system. But it is evident to us that the renunciation of the rite of circumcision, after the lapse of a century or more from the time of the Council, was a matter of small importance. For the Council at Jerusalem it was a large concession; a century later it was an established fact; and the significance of the victory could not be revived. Ritschl's idea appears to us, then, only admissible, supposing the discussions at the Council to be inventions, and the decree itself alone authentic. The deliberation seems to us in perfect harmony with the result. We have already replied to the objection drawn from the quarrel between Peter and Paul at Antioch.


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