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the literary excellence and artistic charm of the third Synoptic, but he does not conceal his estimate of the author's character. He considers Luke a disciple of Paul, a disciple certainly moderate, tolerant, full of respect for Peter, and even for James, but a decided partisan for the admission of heathens, Samaritans, publicans, sinners, and heretics of every kind into the Church. He attenuates, M. Renan considers, the Jewish origin of Christianity, and although he has many traits of tender compassion for Jerusalem, the Law only exists for him as a souvenir. The Gospel of Luke is par excellence the gospel of pardon, and of pardon obtained through faith. “Luke, without doubt, carefully avoids all that could wound the Judaic Christian party, and awaken controversies which he desires to allay; he is as respectful as it is possible to be to the apostles; he fears, however, that too exclusive a place may be assigned them. His policy in this respect has inspired him with an idea of the boldest description. At the side of the twelve, he creates, of his own authority, seventy disciples, to whom Jesus gives a mission which, in the other Gospels, is reserved for the twelve alone.” (P. 270.) Amongst other signs which betray the author's favourable intentions regarding Paul, M. Renan considers his omission of the famous words : “Thou art Peter, and on this rock will I build my Church,” which already had a place in tradition. “The demonology of Luke is material and bizarre. His thaumaturgy has also some of the materialistic crudity of Mark; elle fait peur.” M. Renan considers the historical value of the third Gospel to be certainly less than that of the first two. He dates its composition apparently about a.d. 91–94, and holds it to have been written in Rome.
M. Renan accepts the usual conclusion that “ Luke, or the author of the third Gospel, whoever he may be,” was likewise the author of the Acts of the Apostles. The preface to the Gospel does not necessarily suppose the intention then formed of composing the second book, and M. Renan considers that strong reasons lead to the belief that the two works were separated by some interval of time. He dates the Acts about the beginning of the second century. In his earlier work, Les Apôtres, M. Renan considered that it would be very near the truth to suppose that the Acts were written towards A.D. 80. (P. 22.) He holds that the author of the rucis portions was also the author of the rest of the book, for he thinks that, to admit that the vueis comes from a document inserted by the author in his narrative, is “souverainement invraisemblable." He points out that the period during which Jesus continued with his disciples after his resurrection, according to Luke, is represented as forty days, in remarkable coincidence with the fourth book of Ezra xiv. 23 ff. Luke, he considers, may have been, at Rome, one of the earliest readers of that work, which must have made a powerful
impression upon him. “The spirit of the Acts is the same as that of the third Gospel : mildness, tolerance, conciliation, sympathy for the humble, aversion for the proud.” (P. 437 f.) The procedure of the writer is likewise the same.
“We have elsewhere shown,” says M. Renan, “ the singular distortions which these excellent intentions have led him to give to historical accuracy, and how his book is the first document of the spirit of the Roman Church, indifferent to the truth of things, dominated throughout by official tendencies. Luke is the founder of that eternal fiction called ecclesiastical history, with its insipidity, its habit of smoothing every anglé, its sillily sanctimonious turns. The à priori dogma of a church always wise, always moderate, is the basis of his narrative. The essential point with him is to show that the disciples of Paul are the disciples, not of an intruder, but of an apostle like the others, who has been in perfect harmony with the others. The rest matters little to him. Everything passed as in an idyll. Peter, at bottom, was of the same mind as Paul, Paul of the same mind as Peter. An inspired assembly saw all the members of the apostolic college united in one same thought. The first heathen was baptized by Peter; Paul, on the other hand, submitted himself to legal prescriptions, and observed them publicly at Jerusalem. All frank expression of distinct opinion is repugnant to this prudent narrator. The Jews are treated as false witnesses, because they cite an authentic saying of Jesus; and because they attribute to the founder of Christianity the intention of effecting changes in Mosaism. According to the occasion, Christianity is mere Judaism, or is something quite different.” (P. 438 f.)
The object of Luke, in short, was “the reunion of the two opposing parties which divided the Church of Jesus.” Little need be added regarding the historical value of such a composition.
“ It is now very difficult for us,” says M. Renan, “to discern in these curious pages the truth of the legend or even of the myth. As the desire to find an evangelical basis for all the dogmas and all the institutions to which each day gave birth had burdened the life of Jesus with fabulous anecdotes, so the desire to find for these same institutions and for these same dogmas an apostolic basis burdened the history of the first years of the Church of Jerusalem with a multitude of narratives conceived à priori. Writing history ad narrandum, non ad probandum, is an act of disinterested curiosity, of which there is not an example in the creative epochs of faith.” (P. 441.)
The dates assigned by M. Renan to the Gospels, and more especially to the third Synoptic and Acts of the Apostles, are vague and apparently arbitrary, even fluctuating in the interval between one of his volumes and another, without direct recognition and justification of the fact. A merely “plausible explanation" of the origin of such works is at best unsatisfactory. It is not that we demand more positive or specific assertions, or more rigorous definition of dates, but on the contrary that we object to the constructive criticism which, upon insufficient grounds, pretends to fit every obscure and doubtful fact into an exact place. It is quite true that M. Renan only offers such statements as his own opinion, and he is of course fully entitled to do so. It is questionable, however, whether there
is any other safe and advantageous course than to seek for landmarks which indicate a limit beyond which a date cannot be set further back. As to limits to a forward date, they are in the highest degree uncertain. A writer who incidentally refers to the great fire of London must have lived and written at least after that event, although we may not be able to say how long after. The mere silence of a writer who does not incidentally refer to it, by no means proves
that he did not live and write a century later. The constructive critic is strongly tempted to define precisely how long after the event alluded to a writer composed his work. M. Renan considers that Luke xxi. 24 fixes the year of the reconstruction of Ælia Capitolina (c. A.D. 135) as the limit forwards for the composition of the third Gospel. It is not worth while to argue whether the passage is decisive evidence or not. Our author makes some ingenious conjectures as to the relations of Luke and his works with Roman society towards the end of the first century. He finds distinct analogies between him and the Roman Clement.1 The chapters xxv. and xxvi. of the Acts would, he says, create the belief that the author had relations, like Josephus, with Agrippa II., Berenice, and the small Jewish coterie of Rome.
“In conclusion,” he says, can one not discover a Roman practice in the dedication to Theophilus, which recalls that of Josephus to Epaphroditus, and seems altogether foreign to Syrian and Palestinian habits in the first century of our era? It is obvious, besides, how much such a situation recalls that of Josephus. Luke and Josephus, writing almost at the same time, relate one the origins of Christianity, the other the Jewish revolution, with very analogous sentiment, moderation, antipathy against extreme parties, official tone, implying more regard for positions to be defended than for truth, respect mingled with fear for the Roman authority, even whose severities they endeavour to present as excusable necessities, and by which they affect to have been several times protected. It is this which makes us believe that the time in which Luke lived, and th in hich lived Josephus, were very close to each other, and must have had more than one point of contact.” (P. 255 f.)
It may be interesting to show that the analogies between Luke and Josephus, to which M. Renan thus generally alludes, have perhaps a much closer and more important bearing upon the date of the composition of the third Gospel and Acts than he seems to suppose. Before discussing these, however, it is desirable briefly to survey some of the internal indications which seem to assist in determining, if not the time when these works were written, at least the time before which they cannot be dated.
We learn from the prologue to the Gospel, i. 143, that, before it was composed, a considerable evangelical literature had already come into existence. It seems evident, from the expressions used, that
(1) He says, with his characteristic mixture of assurance and hesitation : “Clement often quotes the words of Jesus after Luke, or a tradition analogous to that of Luke." (P. 254.)
the generation of those who, as eye-witnesses, delivered (napéborav) the reports upon which the Gospel narrations were based, had already passed away,' and at least a second generation had undertaken to put them into writing, to which, at the very most, the writer may, in accordance with his own words, have belonged; although, from the distance placed between himself and those who “took in hand” (Enexeipoav) to set forth these narratives, it is more probable that a still later period may be indicated.? It must be observed, however, that the passage by no means limits us to close proximity in time between the writer and those who delivered the substance of the Gospel narratives, but, on the contrary, in representing that “many” had previously undertaken to set them forth, a considerable lapse of time is necessarily implied. When we look further into the Gospel, we find unmistakable indications that the work was written long after the destruction of Jerusalem, and that variations introduced into the eschatological speeches put into the mouth of Jesus were modifications after the event. Let the reader carefully compare Matthew xxiv. 15 ff., Mark xiii. 14 ff., with Luke xxi. 20 ff., where it is said, verse 20, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is at hand ;” and in verse 24, " And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem shall be trodden by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”8 We have here a much more precise statement of facts than the mere mysterious reference in the other Synoptics written at an earlier period after the fall of the Holy City. The destruction of Jerusalem not only has taken place, but the place has long been trodden by the Gentiles. Had its fall only been recent, there would have been no motive for postponing the fulfilment of the prophecy; but a long time had passed away, and there was no immediate prospect of change, so the accomplishment was assigned to the vague epoch when “the times of the Gentiles” should be “fulfilled.” In the first two Synoptics the second advent and the end of all things are closely connected with the destruction of Jerusalem, whereas in the third they are carefully separated.
The first Gospel says, xxiv. 29, “And immediately (eüdéws) after the tribulation of those days," the end shall come. The second Synoptic has,
(1) Ewald, Jahrb. bibl. Wiss., ii. p. 183. Cf. Renan, “ Les Évangiles," p. 251 ff. Gfrörer, Die heil. Sage, i. p. 67.
(2) Cf. Banr, Unters. Kan. Evv., p. 517 f.; Scholten, Het Paulin. Evangelie, p. 410; Zeller, Die Apostelgesch., p. 466.
(3) In Matt. xxiv. 3 the disciples inquire : “When shall these things be ? and what the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world ?” In Luke xxi. 7: “When shall these things be ? and what the sign when these are about to come to pass ? ' The words quoted in the text from xxi. 24 are those which, according to M. Renan, determine that the work cannot have been written after the rebuilding of Ælia Capitulina.
xiii. 24, “But in these days (év éxeivais tais ruépais), after that tribulation,” &c.; but the third Gospel no longer connects these events with the second coming (cf. Luke xxi. 25), but rather seems to oppose the representation of the first Synoptic; for, after referring to the wars and tumults (Luke xxi. 9), the writer adds, “but the end is not immediately (oủk evOews);” and earlier (xvii. 20 f.), to the question of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, Jesus replies: “ The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, nor shall they say, Lo here, lo there! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” The passage in Matt. x. 23: “But when they persecute you in this city, flee into the other; for verily I say unto
: you, ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of Man be come,” which might have seemed suitable in some primitive Gospel, from which probably our first synoptist derived it, has now lost all significance, and is altogether omitted by the third, although he evidently wishes to give the discourses of Jesus with the greatest fulness. In the fourth Gospel, still more, all such sayings are omitted, as no longer applicable through lapse of time. The third synoptist likewise omits such details of that which is to take place after the coming of the Son of Man as are given in the other two Gospels (Matt. xxiv. 30, 31 ; Mark xiii. 27); and even the words of the first and second Synoptics, Matt. xxiv. 33 : “When ye shall see all these things, know that he is near at the doors ” (cf. Mark xiii. 29), are modified into (xxi. 28): “And when these things begin to come to pass, look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth near;” ver. 31, "When ye shall see these things coming to pass,
. know that the kingdom of God is near." It is difficult to note such altogether peculiar and characteristic alterations of these eschatological sayings impartially, without recognising that they proceed from a marked change in the historical circumstances at the time of the writer, which rendered such modifications necessary to preserve the significance of the prophecies. That these variations arose from such influence, and are indicative of a later period, is a fact recognised by able critics of all schools. We might add various other passages which show, by their modifications, an advanced stage of Christian development. For instance, the third Synoptic has, vi. 21 : “Blessed are ye that hunger now, for ye shall be filled ; blessed are that weep now,
ye shall laugh. 22. Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake" (cf. Matt. v. 4, 6, 11). It is scarcely possible to ignore the special application of these passages to Christians who had already been subjected to persecutions and reproach, not only in the insertion of the significant vov, but still more in verse 22 compared
(1) Ewald, Jahrb. bibl. Wiss., iii. p. 145.