« Prev 22. The Fourth Gospel not the Work of Several… Next »

22. THE FOURTH GOSPEL NOT THE WORK OF SEVERAL AUTHORS.

We have reserved a question for discussion last, which, it might be thought, ought to have been dealt with first. Can it be that the Fourth Gospel is not by one and the same author? If not, whenever any assertion is made with regard to the author, it must of course be stated very care fully to what part it refers. But the question is not of serious importance. We have mentioned that the story of 202the woman taken in adultery (vii. 53-viii. 11) and chap. xxi. are later additions (pp. 39 and 186 f.; see also p. 209). But this does not make the least difference to our explanation of the Gospel as a whole.

The case would be altered, only if we were obliged to partition the first twenty chapters in large part between two or more authors. The attempt to do this as a rule rests upon the supposition that one half is due to a trust worthy historian and an eye-witness, the other to a badly informed contributor. In an earlier part of this volume (p. 110 f.), we have already realised how far such assumptions are from making anything contained in the Gospel really credible. But in conclusion we will try to show the contradictions in which people involve themselves when they make a division of the kind.

One of the most recent of these attempts explains that the eye-witness Peter, whose record Mk. preserves in his Gospel, tells us that on the last evening of Jesus’ life he celebrated the Supper with his disciples; and the eye-witness John that he washed their feet. Peter therefore knew nothing of the washing, and John nothing of the Supper. The eye-witness Peter—we are told further as regards—Jesus’ idea of the judgment of the world, preserved the record that it would begin for all men on one and the same day at the end of the world; the eye-witness John recorded that for those who believed in Jesus it would never take place (v. 24), and it is the badly informed contributor who has added the version in v. 28 f. which agrees with the statement of Peter. The eye-witness Peter, we are told, finally, left a record which suggests that .Jesus never betrayed that he was conscious of having lived a life with God in heaven before his earthly life; the eye-witness John is able to tell us that Jesus said “before Abraham was, I am,” “Glorify 203thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (viii. 58; xvii. 5); and he wrote in the Prologue the sentences in which Jesus is described as the Logos who was with God before the be ginning of the world. In face of such contradictions, it is really no use bringing forward passages here in which the context is said to have been interrupted by some intervention on the part of the contributor. We have already found out the carelessness of the Evangelist (pp. 76-78, 81-83) and it sufficiently explains the contradictions which appear in his book, even if no one else helped to compose it.

« Prev 22. The Fourth Gospel not the Work of Several… Next »



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |