by Adolph (von) Harnack
originally translated and edited by James Moffatt in a
second, enlarged and revised English edition;
Theological Translation Library, volumes 19-20
The original German, Die
[[What follows represents an updating of the 1908 English version
(itself a 2nd ed) by incorporating new material and changes in the 4th German edition
of 1924 along with other revisions and updates introduced by RAK
use in early 21st century
Under what name is the appearance of the Christian religion in world history to be delivered? The Christian contemplation was never above doubt: the appearance of this religion indicates the entry of the true and complete religion opposite the power of the false (paganism) and the incomplete (Judaism) along with the message of the fulfilled redemption of the human race from the power of sin and death. But this contemplation may not be brought to general acceptance; because “belief is not for everyone.” Science must try, so here we extract a judgment, muting each contradiction. It must hold itself to the facts and it must reclaim from them the great significance in world history of the appearance of this religion. It will not exclude a value judgment—for without value judgment, it cannot at all give a historical reflection—but such a value judgment will be founded from particular religious experiences.
One must form an answer to the question given at the top by using its location in the fourth century, as the Christian religion was rising to victory in the Roman empire. Then one will immediately recognize that the factual answer to the important question is the red thread which passes through the inner history of the first three centuries of the empire: which religion is able to become the religious philosophy, while the current religion of the citizens of the state was developing in a transformation, seeing that the bankruptcy of the old Greco-Roman religion became increasingly more obvious from decade to decade and the cult of the emperor was not able to offer a satisfactory substitute? Once the Christian religion became the religion of the world-state, immediately, analysis began regarding to which quality victory was owed. Under what name, so to speak, is the Christian religion to be delivered? A four-fold answer is necessary: already out of both the great size of this religion as well as the extraordinarily complicated character it produces such a response: []
1) The Christian religion, along with its church, appears as unrestricted and because of this it perfected the Jewish religion. This was the prized religion that produced it at that time, but also at the same time, it was a sharp antithesis to it.
2) The Christian religion, together with the church, appears as the completion and the object of the Oriental-Greek syncretism, but also at the same time it was the abolition of the same (next to it) and with it all of polytheism and the pagan sacrificial being in favor of the honesty of transcendent monotheism. It appears also as competition for the Greek religious philosophy. It received from its thought and was soon in a position to rival it victoriously, while the other philosophy of religion remained essentially passive.
3) The Christian religion, together with the church, is a great moral movement, which concludes the ethical work of late Judaism and the Greeks and Romans. It democratizes and popularizes a strict and tender ethic, elevated over nature and politics, an eternal property of Eastern morals, to be the guiding principle of the private and public lives of humanity, from this happiness and bliss are alone dependent. But in this position, control required a lasting and solid community that would become a social-political power ("noluit, sed coacta voluit"). It had as such from the beginning in the recognized stately authority, and also the ethical dimensions, and in increasing size as the Episcopal theocracy of the state became superior.
4) The Christian religion, together with the church, was the community in which the general human religious idea of a revelation of the godhead in human form comprehensibly finds realization in history. It was necessary that the Christian religion be "holy," for it knew itself as the heir of the saintly (@@gottmenschlichen) estate of the redeemer and feels his lasting effects, forming a solid brotherly community from all peoples and also from all states. This community, equally strong ethically and religiously, is world-fleeing and world-remolding, moving against the state as "center."\1/ []
Under the sociological point of view, the new Christian movement in the
first three centuries was actually still not important and could not be
so. At first, its social program was so high above its real
situation that it was unrealizable. As it then began with it
(actually already from the beginning, see the "Haustafeln" of the
Apostle Paul), it met with reality at the same time and also its
world-fleeing quietism against the mundane situation [[2b]](family,
state, slavery, and so on) and the opposite demand of world-denial as
preserving conservatism. It found a middle way through the work
of Constantine, as it became a privileged power and must now continue
under the new situation or apprehend the new task. For further
details, see several of the following chapters; particularly book one,
chapter four, and Troeltsch in his Geschichte der Soziallehren der
christlichen Kirchen (I. Bd., 1912). The earliest church
could not bring it about without a change in the social condition of
its size, so one may not still underestimate its effectiveness as a
love and help alliance. This was really new.
The many-sided and complex total
character of the Christian religion is presented in the following
description, always keeping in sight how relatively quickly it
developed. The universality of all opposing religions soon
faded. Christianity saw itself as opposed to them. With
only a few of them individually it was necessary to have what one might
call a struggle and Judaism was already finished since the middle of
the second century. The Christian religion, after the coarse and
hostile mob instinct of the beginning of the third century had expired,
only still had to do with the state cult, the Greek religious
philosophy, astrological fatalism, and a difficultly defined “paganism”
(sun worship), fortifying itself behind all of the other religions
sublimating itself into a state of helplessness. []
The synagogue in the Diaspora was not only the wellspring of persecution (fontes persecutionum), as Tertullian testified, for young Christendom. At the same time, the synagogue was also an important prerequisite for the genesis and growth of the Christian community in the empire. The network of synagogues furnished the courses and center for the advance of Christian propaganda. The mission of the new religion, undertaken in the name of the God of Abraham and Moses, found a field already prepared for it.
A synopsis of the diffusion of the Jews in the beginning of our time period has often been given, most recently and with exceptional care by Schürer.\1/ We are interested here in the following points:
(1) Jews were in most of the provinces of the Roman empire, in any case they were in all provinces situated on or in the vicinity of the Mediterranean as well as the Black and Caspian Seas, eastward as well, beyond Syria, they were forced into compact masses in Mesopotamia, Babylonia, and Media.\2/ []
Geshichte des jüdischen Volks, v. 3, p. 1-70. Reinach,
“Diaspora” in the Jewish Encycl., v. 4 (1903). Wendland, Die
hellenistisch-römische Kultur (1912) p. 192-211. Reinach, Textes
d’auteurs Grecs et Romains relatifs au Judaïsme, 1895. Zur
Verbreitung der Judan im Zeitalter des Paulus s. die Karte by
Deißman, Paulus 1911.
\2/ The headquarters in Babylonia was the city Nehardea (Ναάρδα) and Nisibis [to distinguish from the well-known northern Nisibis, it was not far from Nehardea]. The conversion of the royal house of Adiabene (on the Tigris, on the Roman-Parthian border) to Judaism in the time of the Emperor Claudius is a particularly strange fact in the history of the expansion of the Jews and Josephus properly emphasized it. The conversion of the royal house of Edessa to Christianity one hundred and fifty years later is a noticeable parallel to it. Renan (Die Apostel, Deutsche Ausgabe p. 275f.) was not wrong when he said in his fashion, “the royal family of Adiabene belongs to the history of Christianity.” [[5b]] He does not mean this in the sense of Orosius (7.6) and Moses of Chorene (2.35), that the royal house was really Christian, but that “by accepting Judaism, they obeyed a feeling which would bring the entire heathen world to Christianity.” Incredibly, the virtue of Helena, the mother of Constantine, in Jerusalem also offers a noticeable parallel to the virtue of the queen of Adiabene (see Josephus, Antiq., 20.2ff.; Bell. Jud. 5.2-4; 5.6.1; 6.6.3). Perhaps the Christian empress used the Jewish queen as a model, for her virtue was remembered in Jerusalem and by the Jews (see Eus., H.E., 2.12, and the Talmudic tradition). To sum up, the evidence of the spread of Judaism in the empire is in Philo (Legat. 37 and Place. 7), Acts (2.9f.) and in Josephus (Bell., 2.16.4, 7.3. 3; Apion, 2.39). The statement of Josephus, “οὐκ ἔστιν ἐπὶ τῆς οἰκουμένης δῆμος ὁ μὴ μοῖραν ἡμετέραν ἔχων,” ("there is no people in the world which does not contain some part of us”) was already made two hundred years earlier by a Jewish Sybilline oracle (Orac., 3.271, “πᾶσα δὲ γαῖα σέθεν πλήρης καὶ πᾶσα θάλασσα,” "every land and sea is filled with thee"). Already in the year 138/9 BCE, a circular letter from the Roman senate for the protection of the Jews to the kings of Egypt, Syria, Pergamum, Cappadocia, and Parthia, as well as to Sampsame (Amisus?), Sparta, Sicyon (in the Peloponnese), Delos, Samos, the town of Gortyna, Caria and Myndus, Halicarnassus and Cnidus, Cos and Rhodes, the province of Lycia together with Phaselis, Pamphilia with Side, the Phoenician town Aradus, Cyrene and Cyprus. By the time of Sulla, Strabo had written (according to Josephus, Antiq. 14.7.2), “ἰς πᾶσαν πόλιν ἤδη παρεληλύθει, καὶ τόπον οὐκ ἔστι ῥᾳδίως εὑρεῖν τῆς οἰκουμένης ὃς οὐ παραδέδεκται τοῦτο τὸ φῦλον μηδ’ ἐπικρατεῖται ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ” ("They have now got into every city, and it is hard to find a spot on earth which has not admitted this tribe and come under their control").
For the intensive
expansion of the Jews Seneca’s report is particularly instructive
(according to August., De civit. dei, 6.11), “um interim usque
eo sceleratissimae gentis consuetude valuit, ut per omnes iam terras
recepta sit; victi victoribus leges dederunt” ("Meantime the customs of
this most accursed race have prevailed to such an extent that they are
everywhere received. The conquered have imposed their laws on the
conquerors"). Justin says (Dial. 117), “ἔστι τὰ ἔθνη ἐν
οἷς οὐδέπω οὐδεὶς ὑμῶν τοῦ γένους ᾤκησεν” (“there are nations in which
not one of your race [i.e. of the Jews] can be found"), but the claim
immediately following that there were Christians in each nation leaves
his statement to appear as a tendency, since it was natural or certain
the numerous barbarous nations at that time were the Jews were yet
(2) Their numbers were greatest in Syria\3/, next to that in Egypt (in all the nomes as far as upper Egypt)\4/, in Rome\5/ and in the provinces of Asia Minor\6/ []
\3/ The large number of Jews in
Antioch is especially striking.
La condizione giuridica dei Giudei di Alessandria, 1913.
L’Egitto dei Greci et dei Romani, 1895. It is particularly
instructive that we hear of the Jews from the same year in the
Elephantine (Abhandl. Der Berliner Akademie, 1907). With
the Jews, early Samaritans are coming from Egypt. (see Josephus, Antiq.,
11.8.6; 12.1; 13.3.4; Vopiscus, Vita Saturn.8; also later
reports are not missing).
For the expansion of the Jews in southern Arabia is Philostorgius (H.E.,
3.4). He says the local population “οὐκ ὀλίγον πλῆθος Ἰουδαίων
\5/ See now particularly
Nik. Müller, Die jüdische Katakombe am Monteverde zu Rom, 1912
and the publication of its inscription (Müller-Bees 1919). It is
the old graveyard of Jews of Trastevere from Porta Portuensis.
The older literature is by Schürer loc. cit. 34, 57f.
For the history of Simon Magus [[6b]] and his appearance in Rome
(without conclusive ground to doubt) it is important that Samaritans
are attested to for Rome, and for accounts from earlier and later time,
see Josephus, Antiq. 17.6.4: the wealthy Samaritan
Chronograph Thallus; Cassiodor, Variarum 3.45. In
addition, the imperial legislation in Theodosian Codex 12.5.18,
16.8.16, and 28. Justin.
Novell. 129, 144.
The extent and strength of their penetration in all local circumstances is shown particularly from the last-named region by evidence from the region. Here, as well as in the north coast of the Black Sea, Judaism also took part in religious mixing (the cult of “the most high God”\7/ and of the God “Sabbatistes”)\8/ and in Syria, the same is true, although the evidence is not so clearly drawn, but deduced from the past history of Christian Gnosticism\9/. In Africa, from the proconsular province to Mauritania, on the []
\6/ Philo, Legat.
33, “Ἰουδαῖοι καθ’ ἑκάστην πόλιν εἰσὶ παμπληθεῖς, Ἀσίας τε καὶ Συρίας”
(''The Jews abound in every city of Asia and Syria”) “ἑκάστην”
(“every”) receives its confirmation through numerous and particular
evidence, principally inscriptions. For Cilicia, this is through
Epiphanius (Har., 30.11). Here he says of the “apostle”
sent by the Jewish patriarch to collect the Jewish taxes in
Cilicia: ὃς ἀνελθὼν ἐκεῖσε ἀπὸ ἑκάστης πόλεως τῆς Κιλικίας τὰ
ἐπιδέκατα κτλ εἰσέπραττεν ("On his arrival there he proceeded to lift
the tithes, etc., from every city in Cilicia "). Concerning the
expansion of the Jews in Phrygia, Lydia, (transplanted by Antiochus the
Great from Mesopotamia and Babylonia to both these provinces:
Josephus, Antiq., 12.3.4) and the neighboring provinces (also
in the inner region), see both great works of Ramsay, The Cities
and bishoprics of Phrygia and Historical Geography of Asia Minor,
as well as his essay in The Expositor (January 1902: “The
Jews in the Greco-Asiatic cities” (see also his The Letters to the
Seven Churches of Asia, 1904, p. 142ff.); with it Schürer loc.
cit., p. 12-23.
Wherever a great number of inscriptions were found in each area, some
of them are always Jewish. The role played by the Jewish element
in Pisidian Antioch is shown by Acts 13, especially verses 44 and 50
(οἱ δὲ Ἰουδαῖοι παρώτρυναν τὰς σεβομένας γυναῖκας τὰς εὐσχήμονας καὶ
τοὺς πρώτους τῆς πόλεως); compare 17.13 (Thessalonia-Berea). The
significance of the Jewish element in Smyrna comes out from the
martyrdoms of Polycarp and Pionius: the appearance of the streets
on a Jewish day of celebration was changed. “The expansion and
significance of the Jews in Asia Minor is demonstrated, among other
things, by the attempt during the reign of Augustus, by the Ionian
cities, apparently after a collective agreement, to compel their Jewish
fellow citizens either abdicate from their faith of to fulfill their
the full burden of their citizenship” (Mommsen, Röm. Gesch. 5.
\7/ See Schürer, Die
Juden im bospor. Reiche usw. (Sitzungsber. Der Berliner Akad. 1897
\8/ See Graf Baudissin, Studien
zur semit. Relig.-Gesch. I, 1876, p. 187ff.; Cumont, Les
mystères de Sabazius et le Judaisme (Compt. Rend. de l’Acad. Des
Inscript. 1906, p. 63ff.).
\9/ See also the
comments of Epiphanius (Her., 80.1) on the cult of
coast, the Jews were not sparse.\10/ In Lyon at the time of Irenaeus, it appears that there were not many Jews.\11/ But, in southern Gaul, as later sources prove, they were not sparse,\12/ and in Spain, they were numerous and not without influence, as the resolutions of the synod of Elvira from around 300 CE indicate.\13/ Finally, we may assume that in the time of the earlier empire in Italy, apart from Rome\14/ and southern Italy, where they were very widespread,\15/ they were not numerous, although individual synagogues in upper Italy are not lacking from that period.\16/ It follows from the cultural history of Italy and is confirmed by evidence, that old Jewish inscriptions from outside Rome and southern Italy are rare and dubious. “The Jews were the first example of the kind of patriotism which later the Parsees, the Armenians, and, to a certain degree the later Greeks manifested—a patriotism with an extraordinary energy, but not attached to a definite place, a patriotism of []
\10/ See Monceaux,
Les colonies juives dans l’Afrique romaine (Rev. des Études juives
1902 p. 1ff.); and by the same author in the Rev.
archéol. IV. Série, T. III, 1904, p. 354ff.
Rachmuth, Die Juden in Nordafrika bis zur Invasion der Araber
(Monatsschr. f. Gesch. u. Wissensch. d. Judent. 1906, see 22ff.). Leclerq, L’Afrique
chrétienne, 1904, I p. 36f. Jewish communities are proven by
inscriptions for Carthage, Naro, Hadrumetum, Utica, Hippo, Simittu,
Volubilis, Cirta, Auzia, Sitifis, Caesarea, Tipasa, and also in Oea,
etc. The inscriptions are for the most part in Latin, but some are
also in Hebrew.
\11/ It appears,
therefore, that he knew no Jewish Christians from his own experience.
\12/ For Germany
(Cologne), we possess a reference in Theodos. Cod. 16.8.3 from the year
\13/ Compare also Görres,
Das Judentum im westgotischen Spanien (Ztschr. f. wissenschaftl.
Theol. 1905, see 353ff.).
\14/ It is strange how
frequently the names of Gentile emperors are found in Roman-Jewish
inscriptions: Aelius, Aurelius, Claudius, Flavius, Julius
Valerius. One makes the same observation in relation to Roman
\15/ They are detected in
Puteoli, probably in Pompeii, and from all Apulien, Calabrian, and
Sicilian states (extensive catacombs from Venosa). There are also
reports, mostly late, to show the decree from the year 398 in Theodos.
Cod. (12.1.158), that the longer time they were local in greater
numbers, even more did they determine the character of the individual
state, “Vacillare per Apuliam Calabriamque plurimos ordines
civitatum comperimus, quia Judaicae superstitionis sunt et quadam se
lege, quae in Orientis partibus lata est, necessitate subeundorum
munerum aestimant defendendos.”
\16/ They are detected in
Ravenna, Mailand, Brescia, Bologne, Aquileia, and Genoa. It is
probably not a coincidence that in the first five states the oldest
Christian communities in upper Italy are also demonstrated (see volume
two of this work.)
traders spread over all and who recognized themselves as brothers, a patriotism that applied itself not to the culture of great, compact states, but smaller, more autonomous communities under the aegis of other states.”\17/
(3) The precise number of Jews in the Diaspora can only be roughly estimated.\18/ What we posses in numbers is the following. Concerning the Jews in Babylonia, Josephus says they were “not a few myriads” or “countless myriads.”\19/ In Damascus, at the time of the great war, he relates that ten thousand Jews were massacred.\20/ In another place in the same book, he writes “eighteen thousand.”\21/ From the five city districts of Alexandria\22/, according to Philo,\23/ two were called “Jewish” because they were inhabited by Jews for the most part; Jews were also found in other city districts. Philo estimates the total number in Egypt (“as far as the border of Ethiopia”—this itself was confirmed through the discovery of the Elephantine, 1150 kilometers south of Alexandria) to have been at least one hundred myriads, equaling one million.\24/ Already in the time of Sulla, the Jews of Cyrene formed one of the four classes of the population according to Strabo,\25/ apart from the citizens, the peasants and resident aliens.\26/ In the great revolt under Trajan, they are said to have slaughtered 220,000 unbelievers;\27/ in revenge for which “many myriads” were killed under Marcus Turbo.\28/ The Jewish revolt extended also to Cyprus, where 240,000 Gentiles were said to have been slain.\29/ As for the number of Jews in Rome,[]
\17/ Renan, Die Apostel,
Deutsche Ausgabe, 299.
\18/ Justin has an
interpretation. He says they were as numerous as “the sand and
the sea.” See
Dial. 120.2.6-10: ς ἡ ἄμμος δὲ ἡ ἐπὶ τὸ χεῖλος
τῆς θαλάσσης ὄντες, ἥτις ἄγονός τε καὶ ἄκαρπος, πολλὴ μὲν καὶ
ἀναρίθμητος ὑπάρ-χουσα, οὐδὲν δὲ ὅλως καρπογονοῦσα, ἀλλὰ μόνον τὸ ὕδωρ
τῆς ουσα, οὐδὲν δὲ ὅλως καρπογονοῦσα, ἀλλὰ μόνον τὸ ὕδωρ τῆς θαλάσσης
πίνουσα· ὅπερ καὶ τὸ ἐν τῷ γένει ὑμῶν πολὺ πλῆθος ἐλέγχεται, πικρίας
μὲν διδάγματα καὶ ἀθεότητος συμπίνοντες, τὸν δὲ τοῦ θεοῦ λόγον
Antiq., 15.3.1 and 11.5.2.
\20/ Bell. Jud. 2.20.2.
\21/ loc. cit., 7.8.7.
\22/ Already at the
foundation of the state, the Jews were settled (Josephus, Bell. Jud.,
c. Apian., 2.4, Antiq., 19.5.2.).
\23/ In Flacc., 8.
\24/ In Flacc., 6.
\25/ Josephus, Antiq., 14.7.2.
\26/ Jews do it
themselves in such a remote state as Borion on the border of Tripoli,
though it first brings the testimony of Prokop, De aedif., 6.3.
\27/ Dio Cassius 68.32.
\28/ Euseb., H.E., 4.2.
\29/ Dio Cassius (loc.
cit.). The same author claims (69.4) that 580,000 Jews were
killed in Palestine during the rebellion of Barcochba.
we find the statement that in 4 BCE, eight thousand Roman Jews strengthened a Jewish delegation coming from Palestine,\30/ and in 19CE, when Tiberius deported the entire Jewish community from Rome, four thousand able-bodied Jews were sent to Sardinia. The last statement is therefore noteworthy because it was handed down from Tacitus as well as Josephus.\31/ After the overthrow of Sejanus, when Tiberius withdrew the order, the Jews immediately restored their number in Rome.\32/ But under Claudius in the year 49, the move for expulsion renewed, but the command however was soon withdrawn, seeing that the implementation appeared dubious, and it was limited to a ban on religious assemblies.\33/ In Rome, the Jews particularly inhabited Trastevere, but also lived in other districts of the city, from Mars Field to Subura, we have found, since Jewish graveyards have been uncovered in very different places in the city;\34/ up until now, eleven synagogues are known.[]
Antiq., 17.11.1; Bell., 2.6.1.
\31/ There is a
discrepancy in these accounts, as Josephus (Antiq., 18.3.5) only
speaks of the Jews, but Tacitus writes, “Actum et de sacris Aegyptiis
Judaicisque pellendis factumque patrum consultum, ut quattuor milia
libertini generis ea superstitione infecta, quis idonea aetas, in
insulam Sardiniam veherentur, coercendis illic latrociniis et, si ob
gravitatem caeli interissent, vile damnum; ceteri cederent Italia, nisi
certam ante diem profanos ritus exuissent” (" Measures were also
adopted for the extermination of Egyptian and Jewish rites, and the
Senate passed a decree that four thousand freedmen, able-bodied, who
were tainted with that superstition, should be deported to the island
of Sardinia to put a check upon the local brigands. Should the climate
kill them it would be no great loss! As for the rest, they were to
leave Italy unless they abjured their profane rites by a given
day"). The deportation is also reported by Suetonius (Tiber.
36), “Externas caeremonias, Aegyptios Judaicosque ritus compescuit,
coactis qui superstitione ea tenebantur religiosas vestes cum
instrumento omni comburere. Judaeorum juventum per speciem
sacramenti in provincias gravioris caeli distribuit, reliquos gentis
ejusdem vel similia sectantes urbe summovit, sub poena perpetuae
servitutis nisi obtemperassent” ("Foreign religions, including the
rites of Egyptians and Jews, he suppressed, forcing those who practiced
that superstition to burn their sacred vestments and all their
utensils. He scattered the Jewish youth in provinces of an unhealthy
climate, on the pretext of military service, whilst the rest of that
race or of those who shared their practices were expelled from Rome,
the penalty for disobedience being penal servitude for life").
\32/ Philo, Legat., 24.
\33/ Dio Cass., 60.6, “πλεονάσαντας αὖθις.”
\34/ The sources
contradict themselves here: Acts (18.2), Suetonius (Claud.,
25), and Orosius (7.6.15)—the latter appealing under mistake to
Josephus, who is silent about the event—speak of a formal, and
implemented, deportation, but Dio Cassius writes (60.6), “τούς τε
Ἰουδαίους πλεονάσαντας αὖθις, ὥστε χαλεπῶς ἂν ἄνευ ταραχῆς ὑπὸ τοῦ
ὄχλου σφῶν τῆς πόλεως εἰρχθῆναι, οὐκ ἐξήλασε μέν, τῷ δὲ δὴ πατρίῳ βίῳ
χρωμένους ἐκέλευσε μὴ συναθροίζεσθαι” ("As the Jews had once more
multiplied, so that it would have been difficult to remove them without
a popular riot, he did not expel them, but simply prohibited any
gatherings of those who held to their ancestral customs"). In my
opinion, we have no business eliminating two such excellent witnesses
by the testimony of Cassius. Nor is it a satisfactory expedient
to suppose, as in Schürer’s solution (III, p. 62), that the government
simply intended to expel the Jews. The command must have really
been issued, although very soon replaced, after the Jews had given a
guarantee, by a ban on meetings.
\35/ The older
inscriptions are, for the most part, in Greek, although Hebrew and
Latin words are mingled in.
A survey of these numerical statements\36/ reveals that only two have importance. First is Philo’s statement that the Egyptian Jews were not a little less than a million strong. Philo’s relatively precise manner of expression\37/ cohered with the fact of the exact tax register taken in Egypt, makes it probably that we do not have a fantastic number. Also, it appears the number itself is not too high, when one considers that the entire Jewish population of Alexandria is included. As the population of Egypt, during the time of Vespasian, was seven to eight million people, so the Jewish population made up a seventh or an eighth of the population, somewhere around 12-13%.\38/ Only for Syria must we accept a higher percentage for the Jewish population.\39/ In all of the other provinces of the Roman empire, the numbers were much lower.
The second lacuna of importance is the statement that Tiberius deported four thousand able-bodied Jews to Sardinia—Jews, not Jews and Egyptians, as Tacitus states (Annal., 2.85). The report of Josephus supports that of Suetonius (see above). He speaks first of the Jews and Egyptians, but then adds in specializing: []
\36/ I set aside a line of number
Josephus cites, for they are useless.
\37/ See In Flacc.,
43.4. οὐκ ἀποδέουσι μυριάδων ἑκατὸν οἱ τὴν Ἀλεξάνδρειαν καὶ τὴν
χώραν Ἰουδαῖοι κατοικοῦντες ἀπὸ τοῦ πρὸς Λιβύην καταβαθμοῦ μέχρι τῶν
\38/ See Mommsen,
Röm. Gesch., v., p. 578, Pietschmann in Pauly-Wissowas
Enzyklop., i., col. 990f., and Schürer, loc. cit., .i4
p. 512f. Beloch, Die Bevölkerung der grieschlisch-römischen
Welt, p. 258f, doubts the statement of Josephus (Bell.,
2.16.4) that the Egyptian population at the time of Nero was 7.5
million and he will not allow more than five million. He will not
cite any decisive evidence against Josephus. Still, as he
maintains it an exaggeration along with Philo to say that the Egyptian
Jewish population was a million strong (just as Wiedemann judges) he is
not against the hypothesis that the Jewish population of Egypt was 13%
of the whole population. Beloch estimates the size of the state
of Alexandria, including the slaves, at about half a million. Of
these, two hundred thousand were Jews, as the Alexandrian Jews numbered
about two-fifths of the whole.
Bell., 7.3.3, “Τὸ Ἰουδαίων γένος πολὺ μὲν κατὰ πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην
παρέσπαρται τοῖς ἐπιχωρίοις, πλεῖστον δὲ τῇ Συρίᾳ" (“The Jewish race is
thickly spread over the world among its inhabitants, but especially in
Syria"). Beloch (p. 242ff., 507) estimates the population of
Syria at the time of Augustus at around six million, at the time of
Nero at around seven million, while the free inhabitants of Antioch
during the time of Augustus at around three hundred thousand.
Since the percentage of the Jews in Syria, and particularly in Antioch,
was greater than in Egypt, somewhere around 12-13%, a population of
more than one million Jews can be assumed for Syria at the time of Nero.
“Iudaeorum iuventutem per speciem sacramenti in provincias gravioris caeli distribuit.” Four thousand able-bodied men accords with a number of at least twelve to fifteen thousand men.\40/ The Jewish population in Rome at that time was approximately this size. Admittedly, this calculation reconciles poorly to the other piece of information, that, twenty-three years earlier, eight thousand Roman Jews reinforced a Palestinian delegation. Josephus has either inserted the total number of Jews here or he has greatly exaggerated. The most reliable statement of the population of the Rome around the time of Augustus, around 5 BCE, gives 320,000 male plebeians over ten years old. This number represents approximately six hundred thousand inhabitants, joining with it the notorious minority of women in Rome, but not including slaves.\41/ Around twelve to fifteen thousand Jews would represent one-fiftieth to one-fortieth of the population.\42/ Tiberius could still dare to expel them; Claudius, thirty years later, trying to repeat the experiment, was not able to carry it out.
It can scarcely be assumed that the Jewish population in Rome after the time of the great revolt and the wars under Vespasian, Titus, Trajan, and Hadrian still increased considerably, since the decimation of the Jews in many provinces of the empire must have exerted relapse on the Jewish population in Rome. However, it is still undetermined.
If the Jewish population in Egypt was around one million, in Syria it was still more. Attributing five hundred thousand Jews in Palestine—today between 600-650,000 people live there; see Bädeker’s Palestine, 1900, p. lvii; []
\40/ Presupposing that
in an immigrating population, the number of men is considerably larger
than the women, I estimate between three to four thousand able-bodied
men and three to four thousand boys and old men and around four to six
thousand females. Nik. Müller, loc. cit., p. 14,
reconfigures the numbers. He thinks, not illuminated by Josephus
and Tacitus, that all able-bodied men in the city of Rome in the year
19 were deported to Sardinia. (ἐξ αὐτῶν --“quis idonea aetas”).
Following Suetonius, Tiberius has “iuventutem Judaeorum,” men between
twenty and forty years of age, expelled. One must allow to be
valid that there were four thousand, so one must always keep this age
group under watch. This amounts to 15.7-11.9% according to Schmoller in
the modern culture. Also, it is estimated that there were
thirty-two thousand Jews in Rome.
\41/ Compare Beloch, p.
292ff. His number, five hundred thousand, appears too low to me.
\42/ Renan (Antichrist,
Deutsche Ausgabe, p. 6) is inclined to estimate the number of Roman
Jews with woman children to be between twenty to thirty thousand.
\43/ With wanderers and
slaves, the total number would amount to 8-900,000 (according to
Beloch, 800,000 at the highest).
but the population of the Greek states are gone—we are within the mark at all events when he hold that the Jews in all other region, Asia Minor, Greece, in Mesopotamia, further in Rome, Italy, Africa, Gaul, and Spain, etc., total at least 1.5 million. It is very conspicuous and at first glance puts all population calculations under doubt, but now—according to Beloch—the population of the entire Roman empire at the time of the death of Augustus was around fifty-four million and then the Jews at this time in the empire cannot be estimated at under four to four and a half million. If one increases Beloch’s number to sixty million, how can the Jews have represented 7% of the entire population? Either our calculation is wrong—mistakes are almost inevitable in this region—or the propaganda of Jews in the province was very strong; for the fertility of the Jews simply cannot explain the number of Jews in the Diaspora. One must assume that a very large number of “heathens,” particularly of kindred Semites of the lower class, merged with the religion of Yahweh in droves.\44/ The Jews of the Diaspora were only partially really Jewish. But if Judaism in the empire was really so strong that it accounted for around 7% of the population at the time of Augustus,\45/ one understands first its great influence and social importance. Also to understand the propaganda and the spread of Christianity, it is important to know that this religion, under whose shadow (“umbraculum”) it was carried into the world, not only was very important, but expanded until it embraced a considerable fraction of the population.
Our overview would be incomplete, if we did not glance at the variety of Jewish propaganda in the empire, []
\44/ Since the edict of
Pius, which forbade in strictest terms the circumcision of non-Jews,
(compare also the edict of Hadrian), formal conversions must have
stopped or became rare; cf. Origen, Contra Celsus, 2.13. Converting from
Judaism to paganism was quite rare. The balance of Jews was
therefore not only always active, but also a guard against it was
lacking. At the end of the fourth century, Pseudo-Augustine
writes, “Cum tanta multitude sit per totum mundum, nemo immutetur ex
his ut fiat gentilis, cum videamus ex paganis, licet raro, fieri
Judaeos” (Quaest. Vet. Et Novi Test., 115.14, ed. Souter, p.
323). So it was always true; that the “licet raro” applied not
only for the earlier empire.
\45/ In modern Germany,
the number of Jews total only a little more than one percent of the
population; in Austro-Hungary, four and two-thirds percent.
if only briefly.\46/ Christians have at least inherited a part of the Jewish missionary zeal. I will need to come back to the Jewish mission where means of Christian propaganda were taken over from the Jews. I restrict myself here to some general comments.
It is surprising that a religion, which erected a wall so sharply between itself and all other religions, and in its practical appearance and its promises was so obliged to its national tradition, in the Diaspora, possessed such a lively missionary impulse\47/ and had such great success. In the end, domineering and ambition do not explain it. Rather, it is a proof that Judaism as a religion was already blossoming through outer influence and internal transmutation,\48/ that it was a cross between a national religion and a world religion (confession and church). The Jew felt proud that he had something to say to and something he must bring to the world, which concerned all of humankind—the one and spiritual God,\49/ creator of the heavens and earth, and his holy moral law. From this consciousness (Romans 2.19f), he felt a missionary obligation. The Jewish propaganda in the empire was primarily a proclamation of one God, his moral law and his judgment. All remaining things were trodden back against. In many instances, the only goal may have been conversion (Matt. 23.15): Judaism was just as serious about overthrowing dumb idols and the persuasion of pagans to recognition of the creator and judge; for the honor of the God of Israel was involved. []
\46/ Compare here the
report of Schürer, loc. cit. III4, p. 150ff. (Eng.
\47/ The obligation and
hope of missions was already spoken of in the earliest Jewish Sibylline
books and almost the entire literature of Alexandrian Judaism has
apocalyptical inclinations and propaganda tendencies.
\48/ Compare Bousset,
Die Religion des Judentums im neutestamentlichen Zeitalter, 1903
(2nd edition 1906). See especially the section (p. 186-232), “Die
Theologen, Die Kirche and die Laien, Die Frommen, Bekenntis (Dogma,
Glaube), Die Synagoge als Heilsanstalt,“ but also see all of the
following sections. If a national religion becomes a confession
and church, individual belief and its strain will come into view with
the church. Concerning the propaganda in the pagan world, see p.
60-99. For a general assessment, see also Staerk, Neutestamentliche
Zeitgeschichte 2.T. (1907):
Die Religion des Judentums im Zeitalter des Hellenismus und der
Römerherrschaft, see also ch. 9, p. 119-42, “Das Judentums als
\49/ In this respect, it
is instructive that Jews in the Diaspora frequently used the single
term “θεός” for their God.
From here it is possible to assess the appearance that is misunderstood, provided one explain it from apparent analogies—the different degrees and forms of Jewish proselytism. In other religions, differences of the rule derive from the endeavor to make it easier to claim proselytes, particularly the moral laws, which the religion imposes. This tendency is not in Judaism, at least not in every case. It was decided that it was more crucial to retain the moral laws unchanged so that one could reduce the demands to cult and ceremonial because the acceptance of God and his book was the main point. The different types of Jewish proselytism produced derived exclusively from the different rules for the observation of the legal-ceremonial rules. Facilitating this was admittedly made easier by the fact that whoever gave only his little finger to this religion became a Jew.\50/ On the other hand, one must also consider that a person born a Jew was really only a proselyte as soon as he left Palestine. At that point, he left the sacrificial cult and he was not able to observe adequately the law in foreign lands.\51/ With the inner neutralization of the sacrificial cult in Judaism gradually over generations—even among Pharisees—together with a historical situation in which the greater portion of the followers of this religion lived under outer and inner conditions for a long time that alienated them from the sacrificial cult. This placed them on the periphery of spiritual entities and made cults and philosophies accessible. From this, the Greco-Jewish and Persian hybrid came into being. This emergence even considerably and dubiously modified monotheism. The destruction of the temple by the Romans really destroyed nothing; as it can be understood as an organic event in the history of this religion. The religious Jews deceived themselves when they maintained that God’s way at this point was incomprehensible. []
\50/ And if he himself did not, then
his son did.
circumcision always remained a baleful wall of separation. Born
Jews placed the greatest weight on this rule and the pagans
uncomfortably submitted themselves to this operation.
\52/ See Windisch,
Der Untergang Jerusalems im Urteil der Christen und Juden, Leiden,
1914. The point can yet be brought out more sharply.
In the empire, one recognized for a long time that the Jews worship God without images and they had no temple. As in atheism, both of these features may appear impious and contemptuous to the common masses, even more so than circumcision, the Sabbath law, and the ban on pig flesh, etc., they made a deep impression on wide sections of the educated population.\53/ The Jewish religion appeared through these traits, together with monotheism, for which the time was ready,\54/ to be exalted to the rank of philosophy and at the same time it was still a religion, it offered a type of spiritual-intellectual life that appeared to be superior to all others.\55/ It was not an artificial production when a Philo or a Josephus depicted Judaism as a philosophical religion, the art of apologetics corresponded to the matter, as they must have felt at the time.\56/ As the revealed and, at the same time, philosophical religion, equipped with “the oldest book in the world,”\57/ Judaism developed its great []
\53/ The rigid
exclusivity in this religion naturally deterred the majority and
elicited honest indignation. This exclusivity, then, was
something of a paradox and must have been felt as stubbornly inhumane
and impudent. Anti-Semitism can be traced to the time of the
Roman empire already around 100 CE. It grew steadily in the first
century CE and discharged itself in terrible persecution.
\54/ It was also ready
for the notion of individual retribution in the afterlife as an outcome
of a heightened evaluation of individual morality and also the idea of
\55/ For the related
appearances of all the schools of idealistic popular philosophy, see
Wendland, Philo and die stoisch-kynische Diatribe, 1895; but with these
Judaism also completed itself; see Bousset, Jüdisch-christlicher
Schultrieb in Alexandria und Rom, 1915.
\56/ See Friedländer,
Gesch. Der jüdischen Apologetik als Vorgeschichte des Christentums,
1903. At the zenith of apologetics, the Jewish religion placed
itself as the ideal philosophy, resting on revelation (the holy book),
and also as materially as an ideological rationalism and formally as
suprarational—the “most-satisfying” religious form, retaining
especially a concept of God, a liveliness, precision, and certainty, as
is not possessed in the related apparitions and the ancient
“prophecies.” Their overwhelming number and so-called certainty
subdued every doubt.
\57/ In what area this
was made known to the world through not only its creation account the
overwhelming book of the Jews—not only in synagogue worship of God,
also through the performance of private reading—I have addressed
briefly in “Über den privaten Gebrauch der h. Schriften in der altern
Kirche” (1912), p. 20ff. A place to be added is the
familiarity of the Jew with the Bible and their relevant apologetic
Demonstr., 2.1.1, “αὐτοὶ τὰς ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν χρηστοτέρας φωνὰς [[16b]]
(scil. from the Bible) ἀναλέγεσθαι εἰώθασι καὶ ταύτας διὰ στόματος
propaganda.\58/ Josephus\59/ says from his location in Antioch, “The Jews continually drew a great number of Greeks to their worship of God and, to a degree, they made them part of themselves in a sense.” This applies to the entire mission of Judaism.\60/ Membership in Judaism for Greeks and Romans constituted all possible degrees of power, from the superstitious reception of rites to the complete identity of “God-fearer,” who were the majority of converted pagans; proselytes, who were named Jews with the obligation to observe the whole law, were certainly a relatively small number.\61/ Circumcision was as imperative as the reception of baptism.\62/
All of this is of the greatest importance for the Christians following the Jewish mission, but at least as important was the severe void Jewish missionary preaching left: in the first generation, no Gentile could become a true son of Abraham. His status before God remained subordinate and it also remained doubtful in what measure the []
\58/ “As a philosophical
religion, Judaism may have attracted a few educated people, but as a
religious and social community with a life it won the masses.” So
Axenfeld in “Die jüdische Propaganda als Vorläuferin der
urchristlichen Mission,” p. 34 in his Missionswiss. Studien,
Festschrift f. Warneck, 1904, p. 1-80). As a religious community
with a life of its own it made a philosophical impression, upon the
uneducated. Incidentally, I agree with Axenfeld that the Jewish
propaganda owed its success not the literary activity of individual
Hellenistic Jews, but to the communities’ assimilation of their
religious living, their strong maintenance of conviction, their
recognition of their own advantage and satisfaction of national pride,
as recognized in their demands for proselytes to the honor of Yahweh.
\59/ Bell., 7.3.3.
\60/ The keenness of
Jewish propaganda in the empire in the first century, “the time in
which the Christian operation began its operation, is concurrently the
time in which the Jewish propaganda reached the zenith of its success,”
is itself indicated from for the introduction of the Jewish week and
the Sabbath in the empire. See Schürer, Die siebentägige
Woche im Gebrauch der christlichen Kirche der ersten Jahrhndrete in
der Ztschr. Für Ntliche Wissensch., 1905, p. 40ff. Many
pagans observed the Sabbath, just as Jews today observe Sunday.
\61/ See Eus.,
H.E., 1.7 for the extent to which proselytes became fused with
those who were Jews by birth.
\62/ It must not
be forgotten that even in the Diaspora there was exclusivity and
fanaticism. The first persecution of the Christians was initiated
from the synagogues of the Jews of the Diaspora in Jerusalem and that
fanatic Saul was a Diaspora Jew and a Pharisee.
proselyte—to say nothing of the "God-fearer"—had a part in the marvelous future promises. The religion that repairs this omission will drive Judaism from the field.\63/ And when the competing proclamation is explained, that the law will be first, that freedom from "law" is normal and higher, the observation of the ceremonial law, even in the most favorable instances, is only to be tolerated, it will win thousands where the earlier missionary preaching won only hundreds.\64/ The propaganda of the Jewish religion did not succeed only by its higher, inner value, but also through the great social and political advantages which confession []
\63/ Regarding the
removal and downfall of the Jewish mission in the empire after the
second destruction of temple, I know of no reliable examination as of
yet. It appears to me a certain fact that the Jews of the
Diaspora loosened their connection with the Greek, that it may be
dropped entirely—one only needs to compare the chain of the LXX
following the Greek Biblical translation and its end—and that the
literature of Hellenistic Judaism suddenly became sparse, destined it
to disappear entirely. But whether we are to see in all this
merely the outer destruction and the inner tightening of Judaism—but
why does it strengthen the law?—or other reasons, for example the
growing rivalry of Christianity, I dare not venture a judgment. The Greek language
held the Jewish Diaspora steady naturally in the first instance because
it had no other, but gradually it grasped the relevant national
languages. Meanwhile, it wholly and entirely stopped, so that it
may oblige itself, where a choice was offered, associating itself with
the language of highest nation in the land. So it is still today. On the rejection of Hellenism
by Palestinian Judaism even prior to the first destruction of the
temple, see below.
\64/ A remarkable
parallel from world history to the preaching of Paul in relation to the
Jewish preaching is the proclamation of Luther, in relation to the
Catholic preaching, that the truly perfect individual was not a monk,
but a Christian living his vocation. Luther also explained that
the last, those who engaged in daily business, were the first.
The implementation of the text given is contradicted by Friedländer, in
Dr. Blochs Österr. Wochenschrift, Zentralorgan f.d. ges.
Interessen des Judentums, 1902, nr. 49f, who asserts that
proselytes ranked entirely the same as full-blooded Jews.
Friedländer himself limits in his implementation this liberal position
of the Jews to the Judaism of the Greek Diaspora; he refers it to the
influence of Hellenism and supports it simply by Philo (and John the
Baptist). In this limitation, one observes incidentally with it,
that Philo says in rule that Jewish birth identity is not useful, if
one is a wicked person. In this case, it is much better to be
born a pagan. No objection to this thesis can be accepted.
I myself go still further, for there is no question that the Judaism of
the Diaspora before the rise of Christianity practice the allegorizing
of ceremonial law and that this directly prepared for the emergence of
the church of the pagans. The only questions are 1) if the
strength of Palestinian Judaism in its obscure origins was [[18b]]
essentially affected by this softening, 2) if it did not also exert an
increasingly strong influence on Judaism in the Diaspora, 3) if Judaism
in the Diaspora really relinquished all of the privileges of
birth. To the first and third question, I must answer negatively,
even with regard to Philo, but the second question, I answer in the
brought. Compare Schürer’s position, in loc. cit. III4, p. 71-134, about the inner organization of the Jewish community in the Diaspora and, further, about their position under national law and civil “equality”\65/ and one will find how advantageous it was in the Roman empire to belong to the Jewish community. Under circumstances as a Jews, one bore ridicule and disdain, but this inequity was offset by imperial privileges that one enjoyed as a follower of this religio licita. One had with it the civil rights of a citizen—it was not very difficult to attain—or even that of Rome, one was more secure and better situated than most of one’s fellow imperial members. No wonder, therefore, that in the time of persecutions, Christians threatened to fall away from Judaism\66/ and that the disentanglement from the synagogue also effected deep economic ramifications in circumstances of those who were born Jews and became Christians.\67/
In conclusion, I make one more observation: all of the religions imported by traffic and commerce imported were religions of the city first and remained so for some time. That Judaism in the Diaspora was a city religion without exception, this cannot be claimed and is refuted for several large provinces. In the main, however, it remained a city religion and from the Jews of the land we know little. []
\65/ The Jewish
communities in the Diaspora also formed small states within states or
in the city. Only thinks of the civil jurisdiction they exerted,
even up to criminal jurisdiction. For Palestine, we possess only
from the third century the report of Origen (Ep. ad. Afric., 14)
concerning the power of the ethnarch, or patriarch, which was so great
“that he was not distinguished from the kings” and “legal hearings were
held in private instead of according to the law and many were condemned
to death, not with authority, but also not as such that the rulers were
unaware.” Similar events would take place in the Diaspora.
The time of Hadrian and Pius brought a truly terrible interruption, but
later that which was lose was partially recaptured.
\66/ Reports of this are
not existent for that in any number.
\67/ Through their
religious and national peculiarities, as well as through legal
recognition, which they enjoyed through the empire, the Jews stood out
in their strength from all other races included in the Roman
empire. This is more strikingly obvious from the fact that they
were even described as “the second race.” We will prove later
that the Christians, therefore, were called “the third race,” because
the Jews were already accepted as the second.
As long as the temple stood, and one paid taxes to it, a bond formed between the Jews of the Diaspora and Palestine.\68/ Later, rabbinical authority took the place of the Jerusalem college of priests and they understood how to raise and use the tax. The head of this authority stood as patriarch; money was collected through the “apostles,” which he sent out.\69/ These “apostles” appear also to have had other duties (on which see below).
The Christian mission owed to the preceding Jewish mission, first, an ordered field in all of the empire, further, religious communities already formed over all the cities, additionally, what Axenfeld calls “the help of materials” through the previous knowledge of the Old Testament, with it excellent catechetical and liturgical instruction, which could be used with few changes and with that habituation of regular worship of God and a control over private lives, as well as an impressive apologetic for monotheism, historical teleology, together with “judgment day” and ethics, and finally the feeling of obligation of “self-diffusion.” The debt is so large that one could probably say that the Christian mission is a continuation of the Jewish propaganda. “A generation of fanatics has robbed Judaism of its wages and it was prevented from gathering in that which it prepared,” Renan observes. But were these “fanatics” not nurtured from Judaism and has Judaism not also received its wages in the success of the Christians?
To what extent, on the other hand, Judaism was prepared for the gospel, one can estimate by the syncretism. This development was itself not only in ancillary matters. The transformation of a national religion into a world religion can happen in two ways: through the reduction of great cardinal points or through the reception of a wealth of newer elements from other religions. Both happened at the same time in Judaism.\70/ []
\68/ Messengers and
letters came with it which maintained the connection of the Jewish
“holy church” with Jerusalem. We find a good example at the end
\69/ Concerning the
“patriarch”, see Schürer, III4, p. 119ff. That the
“patriarch” himself also personally went to the Diaspora is known from
Egypt through Vopisc., Saturn, 8. See book 3, ch. 1,
section 2 in regard to the “apostles.”
“syncretism,” see all of the last chapter in Bousset’s work, p.
540-94. Syncretism softened in the Jewish religion each of its
older components and introduced a wealth of entirely new
elements. But nothing softened the claim [[20b]] that Judaism
alone was the true religion and the conviction that in “Moses” all
truth was possessed.
But the most important preparation is the reduction and this is derived from the great scene preserved in Mark 12.28-34. This, in its simplicity, is the greatest monument of religious history which we posses at the time of the religion’s turning point:\71/
“A scribe asked Jesus, ‘What is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus answered, ‘This is the first: Hear, Israel, the Lord our God is one God and you should love the Lord your God with all with all of your heart and all of your soul and all of your mind. The second is, ‘You should love your neighbor as yourself;’ a greater command than this is not given.’ And the scribe said to him, ‘So it is, o teacher, what you have said is right, that God is one and there is no other beside him, and that to love him with all the heart and with all of the mind and with all the strength and that to love the neighbor as oneself is much more valuable than all holocausts and sacrifices.’ And Jesus, seeing that he answered intelligently, said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’”
Additionally, concerning the position of Palestinian Judaism toward the idea of mission, universalism and the duty of systematic propaganda, things in the age of Christ and the apostles are such that one can plead for and against the issue (see Bertholet, Die Stellung der Israeliten und Juden zu den Fremden, 1896, Schürer, loc. cit., III, p. 125ff; Bousset, loc. cit., p. 99ff; Axenfeld, loc. cit.). Before each epoch, there were two ages with totally different tendencies. The older, from second Isaiah, based on the universalism of the Jewish religion and a religious ethic raised nearly to humanitarianism, was strongly expressed in Palestine. It was reflected in numerous psalms, the book of Jonah, and in the Wisdom literature. The pious are aware that Yahweh rules over the nations and over all of humankind, that he is the God of each individual, and that he demands worship, first and foremost. Therefore, they hope for the final conversion of all pagans, inviting the nations and kings to prostrate before Yahweh and to praise him. They desire that Yahweh’s name is proclaimed over all in the pagan world and that his rule, in sense of conversion to him, be displayed. But, in the time of the Maccabees, a barricade was placed before this tendency. Apocalypticism directed its eye more sharply to the subjection of the heathen nations than []
\71/ One compares with
it the nearest approach of Paul in his missionary speech on the
their conversion; the exclusive tendency began to emerge again clearly in the protection of the peculiarity of the nation. “One of the most important results of the violent acts of Antiochus was that it discredited for all time the idea of a Judaism free from any limitation unconditionally, and that it either made pro-Hellenism, in the sense of Jason and Alcimus, impossible for Palestine and the Diaspora, or at least exposed it to a sharp correction” (Axenfeld, p. 28). Now in the time of Christ and the apostles, the progressive wave and that of nationalism were slowing and muddling each other.\72/ The Pharisees themselves appear split. In some psalms and textbooks, as well as in the thirteenth Blessing of the Schmone Esre, universalism still breaks out and “the most famous representative of the Jewish scribal teaching, Hillel and his school especially attended to propaganda.” “Love the people and conduct them to the law” is one of his traditional proverbs (Pirke Aboth, 1.12). Also Gamaliel, the teacher of Paul, is also placed among the propagandists of the time. It was not impossible to remain exclusive and propagandizing at the same time: the requirements of the mission increased into the demand to observe the entire law. If I am not mistaken, Jesus was principally against this variety of Pharisaism in Jerusalem. Ever more the opposition in Palestine sharpened against foreign domination and the nearer the great catastrophe came, all the more the aversion against it developed, as well as the idea that all that was not Jewish would be destroyed in judgment. Shortly before the destruction of the temple ended the controversy between the school of Hillel and Shammai with a complete victory for the latter, but he was not an opponent of the mission in principle, but he placed it under the most difficult requirements. The eighteen rules which were adopted included among other things a ban on Greek learning and accepting gifts for the []
\72/ Axenfeld rightly
comments (loc. cit., p. 8f), “the history of Jewish propaganda can be
explained by the continual tension between the demand from pagan
contact and the anxiety derived from it. The Judaism which felt
the impulse of propaganda was like a conquering army who offensive was
inhibited by the considerations from the connection with the operation
base.” But it appears to me to be an artificial theological
reflection, when the same scholar places the greatest weight on the
Jewish propaganda without an “awareness of mission,” but, in
distinction to the Christian mission, merely proclaimed their God
enthusiastically and their own religious superiority, without humility
and without obedience. In vain, I have troubled myself with this
thesis and its defense of the historicity of Matthew 28.19. It is
not doubted that the Christian missionary endeavor later must have been
particularly stressed due to the belief that it was a direct command of
temple from the pagans. Contact with the pagans was placed under the strictest laws and should be stopped entirely. Along with it, this prepared the Judaism of the Mishna and the Talmud. Judaism of the Diaspora followed this development, however more slowly.
EXTERNAL REQUIREMENT FOR THE UNIVERSAL EXPANSION
OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION
Only in the headings, as it were, shall I here explain which external conditions facilitated a faster and farther dissemination of the Christian religion into the empire. One of the most important has already been named above, the spread of Judaism, which preceded and prepared the way for Christianity. Next we come to a consideration of the following points:\1/
(1) The Hellenization of the East and at the time also the West that progressively continued since the days of Alexander the Great which created a relative uniformity in language, koine,\2/ and in perspective. Only at the end of the second century of our calendar does this progressive Hellenization appear to have exhausted itself.\3/ In the fourth century, when the residence []
\1/ Compare Wendland, Die
hellenestich-römische Kultur in ihren Beziehungen zu Judentum und
Christentum, 2.u.3. Aufl., 1912, Wilamowitz-Moellendorff,
Gesch. Der griech. Literatur, 1907, and by the same author, Staat
und Gesellschaft der Griechen, 1910.
\2/ For Palestine and
the neighboring territories, see the careful investigation of Zahn, Einl.
i.d.N.T.I3, p. 1-52 as well as the extensive
explanations of Schürer, Geschichte d. jüd. Volks II4,
p. 27ff, III4, p. 420ff. Concerning Hellenistic Greek
in general and its particular relationship to Palestine and Judaism,
compare the works of Blass, Dalman, Debrunner, Deißmann, Hatch,
Helbing, Kennedy, Kretschner, Moulton, Norden, Radermacher, Thackeray,
Thumb, Wackernagel, etc.
\3/ I am not aware of any examinations concerning the period of Hellenism’s advance into Rome and the West, above all of the Greek language, and the decline and cessation of the movement. From my limited knowledge, I would place the limit at the end of the second or beginning of the third century. [[23b]] Marcus Aurelius still wrote his confessions in Greek. One cannot find similar symptoms later. Greek in the West was disintegrated by sinking culture, but this was also the nature of the thing—the tidal wave grew ever shallower the farther it spread. In the third century, Rome began to shed Greek and in the course of the fourth century it became a purely Latin city again. What applies to Rome also applies to the provinces of the West, provided they had received the Greek element, the same with southern Italy and Gaul, although here the process took much longer. In the second century one could probably still make himself understood in each of the larger states of the West with the help of Greek; in the third century, a stranger who did not understand Latin, though not often, could find himself in a dilemma, in the fourth century no traveler in the West could any longer dispense with Latin. Only in southern Gaul and lower Italy was Greek sufficient.
of the empire transferred to the East, the movement experienced a later reinforcement from very important directions. Christianity very quickly yoked itself to the language and spirit of Hellenism, though not completely, so it could share a large part of the success of Hellenism for itself. In return, it carried forward the progress of Hellenism and stopped the regression.
(2) The Roman world empire and the political unity of the nations on the coast of the Mediterranean it secured; the relative consistency of the outer living conditions implemented by the world state, and the relative certainty of communal life. In many provinces of the East, one felt the emperors really stood for peace after all the dreadful storms and wars; they welcomed his law as protection and patronage.\4/ The fact of the earthly world monarchy with the imperial god promoted []
\4/ Origen, in
Contra Celsus, 2.30, after Melito, judges rightly the importance of
the facts of the case for the mission, “In the days of Jesus,
righteousness has arisen and the fullness of peace. This began
with his birth. God prepared the nations for his teaching and
made the Roman emperor the ruler of the world. There should no
longer be many empires or else the nations would have remained as
strangers to one another and the execution of Jesus’ orders given to
the apostles, “Go and teach all nations,” would have been more
difficult. It is known that the birth of Jesus happened under the
rule of Augustus, who fused and united the many nations into a single
empire. The existence of many nations would have been an obstacle
to the spread of the teaching of Jesus throughout all the world, not
merely for the reasons already mentioned, but also because the nations
in that event would have been obliged to go to war in defense of their
native lands…How, then, could this doctrine of peace, which does not
even permit vengeance upon an enemy, have prevailed throughout the
world, had not the circumstances of the world passed everywhere into a
milder phase at the advent of Jesus?” Compare also the apology of
Melito of Sardis from the time of Marcus Aurelius and Euseb., Demonstr.,
also the idea of an archetypal, heavenly monarchy and at the same time created the condition for the emergence of a catholic, also called universal, church.
(3) The extraordinary facilities, increase, and protection of international transport,\5/ the excellent roads, the mixing of nations,\6/ the exchange of goods and ideas, the personal interchange, the ubiquitous tradesman and omnipresent soldier, one could add the numberless professors, whom one could find in Antioch as in Cadiz, in Alexandria as in Bordeau. The church found the way paved for spread. The means were prepared and the people in the larger cities were as mixed and as ahistoric as they could need.
(4) By the fact of the orbis Romanus on the one hand and philosophical development on the other produced or strengthened a practical and theoretical conviction of the essential unity of humankind, human rights, and human duty, reinforced by the truly enlightened Roman system of legislation, especially in the time from Nerve to Alexander Severus. The church had no reason to oppose, but many grounds to approve of the greatest and permanent creation of the empire, the Roman law in all of its fundamental points.\7/ []
\5/ Compare Stephan
Raumer, Histor. Taschenbuch (1868), p. 1ff and Zahn, Weltverkehr
und Kirche während der drei ersten Jahrhunderte (1877). The
fact that an epitaph of a Phyrgian merchant in the second century
states that he journeyed to Rome seventy-two times must always be
\6/ It is exciting
to note the intermixture of nations where an inscription provides a
larger number of names and with it records their origins—soldiers,
pages, martyrs, etc.
\7/ Here, for
points one through four, I would like to offer the famous summary of
Renan (Die Apostel, Deutsche Ausgabe, p. 296f.), “The unity of
the empire was the necessary precondition of any extensive proselytism
movement that sought to rise above national borders. In the
fourth century, this empire was realized, it became Christian, it
perceived that Christianity was the religion which it had matured
involuntarily, it recognized in Christianity the religion whose limits
were the same as its own, the religion which was identified with itself
and capable of infusing new life into its being. The church, for
its part, became thoroughly Roman, and to this day has remained a
remnant of the old Roman empire. Had anyone told Paul that
Claudius was his main coadjutor, had anyone told Claudius that this
Jew, starting from Antioch, was preparing the ground for the most
enduring part of the imperial system, both Paul and Claudius would have
been mightily astonished. Nevertheless both sayings would have
(5) The decomposition and democratization of the older society, the gradual equalizing between the cives Romani and the provincials,\8/ the Greeks and the barbarians, the relative balance of social rank, the improvement of the slave class, also through corrosion the ground was prepared for new formations. Moreover, the subversion of the essence of the military in the third century made it necessary to search for a new support, a new basis for the state.\9/
(6) The Roman religious policy, which furthered the interchange of religions by tolerance, hardly caused any difficulty for their natural history—growth, transmutation, or death—although it would not tolerate any real contempt for the ceremonies of the state cult. The seriousness of restraint, which the maintenance of the state cult imposed upon the spread of the Christian religion, was amply compensated by the freedom the religious policy granted otherwise.
(7) The free societies, as well as communal and provincial Roman-state organizations. Each in many respects helped to prepare the ground for the reception of Christianity and in many instances perhaps served as protection for it.\10/ The latter were virtually models for the most important church organizations and saved the community from the difficult task of first conceiving organizations of their own and then commending them.
(8) The invasion of Near Eastern, Syrian, Persian, and Egyptian religions in the empire, especially from the time of Hadrian and Pius. These religions, in their sublimated form, had certain formulations of questions in common with Christianity. What these religions at first took from the church was abundantly replaced by new religious desires produced in the mind by these religions whose satisfaction could be granted by the reception of Christianity.
(9) Through the democratization of society and, at the same time, the popularization of science, through the development of a principally world-denying philosophy as well as through other unknown []
Caracalla gave all of the provincials the rights of a Roman citizen,
that is to say, he disestablished them.
this, Delbrück is especially attentive in his Krieggeschichte,
my opinion, J.B. de Rossi overestimates the importance of the
reasons the decay of exact science and a rising reputation of a mystical religious philosophy searching for revelation and desiring miracle enters.
All of these outer conditions coincide, the last two both could have been included amongst the inner, brought about a drastic change in the entire existence of humankind in the empire, a reversal that must have been very beneficial to the spread of Christianity. The narrow world had widened, the divided had become united, the barbarian became Greek and Roman, but with it an increase in barbarian area which unbelievers were pleased to take as a sensation or consolation. One empire, one universal language, one system of travel, one culture, a common development towards monotheism, and a common longing for a redeemer!\11/ []
\11/ Uhlhorn rightly
says in Die christliche Liebestätigkeit in der alten Kirche
(1882), p. 37, “from the time of the emperors onwards a new influence
made itself felt, and unless we notice this influence, we cannot
understand the first centuries of the early Christian church, we cannot
understand its rapid extension and its relatively rapid triumph. ....
Had the stream of new life issuing from Christ encountered ancient life
when the latter was still unbroken, it would have recoiled impotent
from the shock. But ancient life had by this time begun to break up;
its solid foundations had begun to weaken; and, besides, the Christian
stream fell in with a previous and cognate current of Jewish opinion.
In the Roman empire there had already appeared a universalism foreign
to the ancient world. Nationalities had been effaced. The idea of
universal humanity had disengaged itself from that of nationality. The
Stoics had passed the word that all men were equal, and had spoken of
brotherhood as well as of the duties of man towards man. Hitherto
despised, the lower classes had asserted their position. The treatment
of slaves became milder. If Cato had compared them to cattle, Pliny
sees in them his 'serving friends.' The position of the artisan
improved, and freedmen worked their way up, for the guilds provided
them not simply with a center of social life, but also with the means
of bettering their social position. Women, hitherto without any legal
rights, received such in increasing numbers. Children were looked
after. The distribution of grain, originally a political institution
and nothing more, became a sort of poor-relief system, and we meet with
a growing number of generous deeds, gifts, and endowments, which
already exhibit a more humane spirit," etc. But this accurate
depiction cannot be allowed to overlook the opposite--that science and
the brave, sharp, and sober though turned out to be in decay, that the
social circumstances—the gap between the rich and poor—was not becoming
better, but worse and that the average person arose in the Roman empire
in the third century represented as much as a million people, but it
was nearly impossible to rise as higher, inner, and more free
INTERNAL REQUIREMENTS FOR THE UNIVERSAL SPREAD OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION—RELIGIOUS SYNCRETISM
In a series of chapters in this book, we will speak of the most important inner conditions for the universal expansion of the Christian religion. That the Christians preaching was for the poor, the burdened, and for the outcasts, that they preached and practiced love, that rocky and barren soil was transformed into a fruitful field for the church. Where no other religion could sow and harvest, this religion managed to scatter its seeds and to gather fruit.
The decisive precondition for the propaganda of the religion lied in the entire religious, moral, and cultural condition of the imperial age. It is impossible to make an attempt to sketch a picture of this condition or even to express a portrayal of its totality. We are just now, after the commendable descriptions of Tzschirner, Friedländer, Boissier, Rèville, Wissowa, and others\1/ in the fortunate position to possess an excellent works which treat the great problem in extensive detail and precisely under the viewpoint to support our purpose in Wendland, Die hellenistisch-römische Kultur in ihren Beziehungen zu Judentum und Christentum, 2 und 3 Aufl., 1912. He covers the basics and the older time, as well as the greatest part of the second and third centuries. This work can by supplemented by Cumont, Les religions orientales dans le paganisme Romain, 1907, 2 Aufl., 1909, and, in German, von Gehrich, Die orientalischen Religionen im römischen Heidentum, 1910.
(1) Despite the inner development of polytheism toward monotheism noted in this period, the contrast in the relations between Christianity and paganism came down to polytheism versus monotheism and polytheism, in the first instance of the great struggle, as a political religion, the imperial cult. From here, Christianity and paganism were simply opposed. Christians burned what the pagans worshipped and pagans burned Christians as traitors. Christian apologists and martyrs were entirely right when, in their speeches, they frequently reduced everything down to this simple contrast and were silent about everything else. []
\1/ Compare especially
the outline of the history of Greek religion by
Jahrb. Des Freien deutschen Hochstiftes, 1904.
Judaism shared with Christianity this position toward polytheism, but (a) it was a national religion and along with that its monotheism was quite misunderstood widely and, therefore, it was tolerated, (b) it avoided conflict with the state authorities as a rule and it was not committed to martyrdom. The condition that one must become a monotheist to become a Jews appears entirely ignorant. It degraded the creator of heaven and earth to a national god. If he was a national god, then he was not alone. Rumors flew of Jewish atheism due to their lack of images; but this reproach was not made in earnest, or, more likely, the wavering of judgment permitted the political consequence: in dubio pro reo.
It was otherwise with Christianity. Here the polytheists could have no doubt. Deprived of a basis as a nation or a state, with images or a temple, Christianity was atheistic. The contrast between polytheism and monotheism was here clear and curt. The struggle between religious forms was waged by Christianity and not by Judaism from the second century. Christianity was aggressive, while Judaism had not fought at all, but had captured proselytes.
But from the beginning, the struggle was not without hope. The polytheism of the state cult had not yet been uprooted as Christianity began to rise,\2/ but there were enough forces already looming to cause its overthrow. It had survived the critical epoch, the period when the republic became a dyarchy and then a monarchy, but the wealth of new religions which forced their way in and subverted it could not be taken care of with the wand of the emperor cult or with the rays of a protean cult of the sun, which sought to bring everything within its sweep. Yet, it was still destined for a long life, if it was not attacked openly or in secret by general knowledge, philosophy, and ethics, and if it had not been encumbered with a ridiculous and preposterous backwards mythology. Statesmen, poets, and philosophers could disregard all this, since each group was in a position to devise a way preserve a contact with the religious state of the past, but once the “people” became aware, or were made aware, the conclusion they drew in such a case was thoughtless. []
restorations were not lacking, see the brief passage in (2) in this
The onset against deities that were feathered and scaly, adulterous and vicious, and on the other hand idols of wood and stone was an impressive and effective component of Christian preaching among wide circles. These wide circles reached into the lowest levels of society—here they were primarily looked to—through inner and outer experiences just now reached a position so that the fiery words against the horror of idolatry seized them and guided them to monotheism. The situation of polytheism as state religion was found to be favorable to the propaganda of Christianity. Religion stood against religion, but while one was new and living, the other was—with the exception of the imperial cult in which it was again able to gather strength—old and withdrawn and no one was able to say what really had happened to it. Was it only a political legality or was it one of the multiple, interwoven, and immense number of religiones licitae in the empire?
(2) This is only touching on one side of the matter. The religious state, along with its tendencies and formations, were complicated in the imperial age. So as important as the simple differences between “monotheism against polytheism,” “strong morality against laxity and vice” were, it is impossible to transform the inner postures with these differences. The state of affairs in the empire cannot be sufficiently denoted by the word “polytheism” as Christianity, as it was preached then, cannot be defined simply by “monotheism.” Nor did virtue simply stand against vice. We must enter into some greater detail here.
One who considers the dominance of the inner life over the outer empiricism and politics as an illusion and perversion must date the decomposition of the ancient world from Socrates and Plato. Here the two minds divide! But one who considers the development of this supremacy as the highest advance is not obliged to accompany this development down as far as neo-Platonism. One will not misjudge that, to the end, to the time of Augustine, a real advance was not lacking, but one admits that they were expensive, in fact, too expensive. This undesirable development began as introspection disregarded and allowed to atrophy its correlate in precise natural science and replaced it with mysticism, theurgy, astrology, or magic. For more than a century before the Christian calendar, this process had begun. At the threshold of this transition in worldview stands Posidonius, like a second Janus. On one hand, he embraces a rational idealism, but on the other, he combines it with illogical and mystical elements. The sad thing is that these [] elements had to be sought after and received to express new feelings, but that this rational idealism could not succeed in guaranteeing its means because it was helpless and spell-bound in intellectualism. Language itself declined to fix the value of anything that was not intellectual by nature. Therefore, the 'Υπερνοητόν’ emerged and this concept attracted various measures of myths beside the absurd and allowed it to pass unchallenged. Myths were not merely a symbol, rather they were the matter in which the highest needs of the mind and religion were expressed because their real nature and art remained closed to thinkers. Following this level after Posidonius was Philo.
A relapse into all of the past stages must have been the consequence, but at the same time, this relapse took, as always, strong steps toward a sad innovation. The old mythology was naïve or political and lived in ceremony, while the new was a confession. It was philosophical, or pseudo-philosophical, and it won power over the mind. It stultified the mind gradually and—its highest triumph!—it silences the sense of the real and paralyzed the function of all the senses. The eyes grew dark and the ears could no longer hear. A revival and restoration of religious feeling correlates with this side effect, as following the philosophical development. This took place at about the close of the first century. It gradually permeated all the layers of society and since the middle of the second century it grew from decade to decade. This came out in two ways, in such a dual development that religious revolts always represents themselves. The first was a series of not unsuccessful attempts to revive and inculcate the old religions by the careful observance of traditional customs and restoration of oracle sites and places of worship. Meanwhile, new religious needs of the time were neither strong nor clear in their expression in these attempts. Further, these attempts were partially artificial and superficial. Christianity was simply not possessed by the conditions of this restoration of religion. They were two different magnitudes, neither understood the other, and each must try to eradicate the other (see above).
But the second means of religious revival was much more energetic. Since the days of Alexander and his successors, ever since the day of Augustus, the nations upon whom the development of the advance of humankind was founded understood they were under a new sign. The drastic change in the outer conditions of their existence [] has already been emphasized, but corresponding to this, and partly following from it, an inner religious revolution occurred that was at least somewhat due to mixing religions, but of foremost importance was the progress of culture and inner and outer experience. A time in which the mixing of religions began cannot be given for the nations between the Tigris and the Euphrates, from Persia\3/ to Egypt. As far back as we are able to trace their history, these nations, and therefore their religions, stood in a constant interchange and their religious wisdom were a matter of mutual exchange. Now the Greek world joined with its hotly and joyfully acquired knowledge and ideas, open minded to every element the East offers and in its turn subjugating each component to its own wisdom and speculation.
The product of the interchange of Oriental religions, including that of Israel, was already termed “Oriental religious philosophy” by science one hundred years ago. This term includes the entire complex of cultic rituals, cult wisdom, religious ideas, and scientific speculations (astronomical, astrological and other knowledge connected in religion). All this was as uncertain as the title that was meant to comprehend it. Today we have come a good bit further\4/ and we are able to both perceive the entire complex more definitely and also to analyze the individual appearance more exactly. The best help in this—and this appears paradoxical—next to the more developed thought of Oriental religion in its later development is Christian Gnosticism. Nowhere else are these ideas so clearly and coherently implemented.
In what follows, the most important parts of “Orientalism”—in its concluding development, it would become solar Henotheism—will be emphasized. Naturally, it was not a closed system, but at every point different subjects and ideas were presented. Belief in parts of handed down mythology in realistic form not yet expired or renewal of these beliefs was one of the general characteristics of “Orientalism.” To this, ideas were added. Where and to what degree the ideas outweighed and oppressed the realistic []
\3/ Whether and to what
extent India was involved is an on-going controversy, although its
participation is likely.
\4/ The provenance of
individual elements is in many instances obscure—whether Indian,
Persian, Babylonian, anterior Asian, Egyptian, etc., whether they were
generated by a spontaneous development—but it is beginning to become
form cannot be determined in every instance as a rule and this circumstance makes our knowledge of “Orientalism” appears very incomplete because what is the use of fixing down a piece of mythology to some definite period and circle, if we cannot be sure of its exact value? Was it held literally or was it translated into an idea? Was it an image or an object of misunderstood piety? Was it really only ornamental? Did it have cultish, theological, cosmological, historical, or ethical significance? Was it a report on something from prehistoric times or was it something ongoing, or was it only to be realized in the future? Or did these interpretations and evaluations intermingle? Was the myth felt to be holy and of uncertain size, as it were, something that could unite with every conceivable coefficient, serving as the starting point for any interpretation whatsoever that one chose to put before the world? I think the last question is to be affirmed and at the same time we must not forget that concurrently and in one and the same circle many coefficients were attached to any piece of mythology.
We must not fail to overview the diversity of the origins of myths. The oldest come from a primitive view of nature in which the clouds fought the light and the night consumes the sun or from the wonder of procreation and the terror of death. Or they come from the dream world of the soul, derived from the separation of soul and body and the cult of the soul. The next stratum may have come into being from old historical memories, fantastically enlarged and elevated into the supernatural. Then what follows from the first attempts at “science,” which had not continued further than observation of the heavens and nature, leading to the knowledge of regularity that was connected with religious opinions. All of this the soul enlivened and furnished with the power of consciousness. From this level upon which the sun and stars are gods and governed all arose the great religions of the Orient, as we know them in history, with their particular mythology and cult wisdom.\5/ Then followed the stage of astrology, at the same time with the stratum of conceptual development and with the philosophical knowledge placed in contact with religion. Half of this was apologetic []
\5/ A role for the
Persian religion in the concert was overheard from the Greek religions.
and the other was critical. Yet even there myths still took shape. Finally, the last stage emerged, the glaciation of old fantasies and religions produced by a new idea of the world from outer and inner experience. It was mixed under the pressure of all this, what had been before was muddled, divergent thought was forced together, all structures were broken, while the surface of the movement was covered by broken fragments thrown out in a broad moraine, in which the debris of all earlier strata were to be found. This is “syncretism.” Viewed from far away, it offered a unity, although the image is also mottled. The power that developed it is not what one is able to see. What appears is the old components, the new elements lay in the depth under the surface.
The new elements consisted in political and social experience and inner observation. It appears that before the contact with the Greek spirit, “Orientalism” had reached this stage, but one of the most severe gaps in our knowledge of the history of religion is that we are unable to decide how much this was independent from the Greek spirit. We must be content to ascertain what actually happened. The new knowledge and mood that meets us on the ground of Hellenism, the Hellenism which in the development of its older mysteries and its philosophy along with a mature Platonism, met at the time with “Orientalism.”\6/ These new features are somewhat as follows:\7/ []
\7/ The convergence of
these lines of development with the various nations in the time of
Hellenism is one of the most secure pieces of knowledge.
Contemporary ideas of a cognate or similar nature were not simply the
result of mutual exchange, but also through parallel
developments. This makes a decision concerning which branch each
of these developments evolved from more difficult, if not
impossible. The similarity of the parallel developments embraced
not only the ideas, but also often the method of expression and the
form under which they were conceived. The bounds of human fantasy
in this province are narrower than is commonly supposed. It had already been
a task to arrange an annotated vocabulary for the most important words
in religious teachings, and then different religions appear or are
closer in the foreground and are identical. But only two great
unresolved questions are given here. Namely, to pursue and to
observe from interaction the relation of the sublimated mystery
knowledge to the simultaneous historical philosophy, also to compare
and to ascertain the vocabulary, as it appears and reverses
“Iamblichian” before Iamblichus and which philosophical mystery
knowledge was impressionable.
\8/ Compare the essay of
Loofs, “Die Krisis des Christentums im 2. Jahrhundert,” (Deutsch-evangel.
Blätter, 1904, Heft 7 in which the problem [[34b]] occasioned by
the meeting of Christianity and syncretism is outlined. Along
with it, the penetrating essay in Wernles, Angängen unserer Religion,
2 ed., 1904.
(1) The sharp division between the soul, or spirit, and the body, more or less exclusive importance given to the spirit and the idea that the soul comes from another higher world and carries with it the potential for eternal life. Along with it, the individualism placed in this.
(2) The sharp division between God and the world and the destruction of the naïve idea that they formed a coherent unity.
(3) As following this division, the sublimation of the Godhead via negationis et eminentiae. Now for the first time the Godhead becomes incomprehensible and indescribable, but also great and good. It is the basis of all things, but the final basis, which is only posited, cannot really be comprehended.
(4) Further from this division and exclusive importance of the spirit, the degradation of the world, the explanation that it were better for it to have never existed, that it emerged from a transgression, that it was hell for the soul or a prison, or, at best, a penitentiary.
(5) The conviction that the connection with the flesh, “the soiled jacket,” was degrading for the soul and polluted it. In fact, the latter must be ruined unless the connection was relaxed or its power broken.
(6) The longing after redemption as release from the evil of the world, the flesh, mortality, and death.
(7) The conviction that all redemption is release to eternal life, that it is tied to a knowledge and expiation. Only the knowing soul, that knows itself, the Godhead, and nature and value of being, and the pure, purged, can be saved.
(8) The certainty that the redemption of the soul is carried as a return to God gradually, just as the soul once upon a time departed from God by stages, until it ended in the present vale of tears. All explanation about the redemption is instruction about “the return and the way” and the performance of redemption is nothing other than a gradual ascent.
(9) The admittedly dangerous thought that the hoped for redemption or redeemer was already present, [] and must only be called upon, either in an ancient cult which only had to be properly examined or in a mystery which only must be made more accessible universally, or in a personality whose power and commands had to be obeyed, or in the spirit itself, if it would only reflect upon itself.
(10) The conviction that all means of liberation should service knowledge, but they cannot be exhaustive, although they must ultimately supply and transfer a true godly force. Only with the initiation connected with "consecration" of the mystery or sacrament, by which the spirit is overwhelmed, is one really saved and through mystical excess one is conducted from finitude and sin.
(11) Contained in all of this, indeed, it forms the basis of the insight that knowledge of the world, religion, and strict ethical disciplining of the individual's life must form a closed unity, an independent unity, which has absolutely nothing to do with the state, society, family and one's daily calling and one must deny oneself in all these areas, as in asceticism.
Soul, God, knowledge, expiation, asceticism, redemption, eternal life corresponding with individualism and humanity in place for nationalism—these were the noble thoughts, seriously expressed in myth, that developed as a result of intense inner and exterior movement, as the product of greater souls and as the sublimation of all living cults in the imperial period. Where true religion existed, it was in this circle of experience and thought that it breathed. How many there were who lived within the circle is a matter of indifference because faith is not for everyone and the history of religion, provided that it is really a history of a living religion, always progresses only within narrow lines.
But it is wonderful how many different guises these thoughts circulate under! It requires for itself a great apparatus, as do all worldwide religious declarations, which bring a monistic and dualistic theory into unity. But here they were pleased to enhance the apparatus, partly to accommodate all possible old things and valuable appearances, partly because single details did not appear strong enough and by accumulation they hoped to arrive at the goal. Through the differences in apparatus, these syncretistic appearances often appear [] entirely disparate on the surface. A glance at their motives and goals will reveal a surprising unity, even a simplicity. In the act, the final motives are simple and powerful, inasmuch as they are from simple, but powerful inner experiences. It was due to them that the development of religion advanced, so far as any such advance took place apart from Christianity.
With this "syncretism" or Hellenism in its final form, under the symbol of the sun and "Oversun" overall and always developing uniformly to solar Henotheism, the Christian religion had to deal with along with the emperor cult. But it is immediately obvious that it is not sufficient to describe the conflict between Christianity and "paganism" simply as a conflict between monotheism and polytheism. Certainly, any form of syncretism was in a position to take on polytheism. It even demanded it and must strengthen it. The "apparatus" for both the explanation of the origin of the world as we all as the description of the "return" required aeons, intermediate beings, semi-gods, and delivers and the highest god was highest or most perfect, if it was alone. The foundation for this way of thinking was entirely monotheistic, raising the highest god as the archetypal god high over all other gods and interlocking the soul and the archetypal god exclusively, not to subordinate deities.\9/ Polytheism was banished to a lower level []
\9/ The difference
between the Christian God and the god of syncretistic Hellenism is put
by the pagan Porphyry in Macarius Magnes, 4.20 with striking lucidity, (see my edition of
the fragment of Porphyry’s work Gegen die Christen, Abhandl. D.
Preuß. Akademie der Wissenschaft, 1916, p. 91 Nr. 75), “τὸ μέντοι περὶ πῆς μοναρχίας τοῦ
μόνου θεοῦ καὶ τῆς πολυαρχίας τῶν σεβομένων θεῶν διαρρήδην ζητήσωμεν,
ὧν οὐκ οἶδας οὐδὲ τῆς μοναρχίας τὸν λόγον ἀφηγήσασθαι. Μονάρχης
γάρ ἐστὶν οὐχ ὁ μόνος ὤν ἀλλ’ ὁ μόνος ἄρχων · ἄρχει δ’ ὁμοφύλων δηλαδὴ
καὶ ὁμοίων, οἷον Ἁδριανὸς ὁ βασιλεὺς μονάρχης γέγονεν, οὐχ ὅτι μόνς ἦν
οὐδ’ ὅτι βοῶν καὶ προβάτων ἦρχεν, ὧν ἄρχουσι ποιμένες ἢ βουκόλοι, ἀλλ’
ὅτι ἀνθρώπων ἐβασίλευσε τῶν ὁμογενῶν τὴν αὐτὴν φύοιν ἐχόντων · ὡσαύτως
θεὸς οὐκ ἂν μονάρχης κυρίως ὲκλήθη, εἰ μὴ θεῶν ἦρχε. τοῦτο γὰρ
ἔπρεπε τῷ θείῳ μεγέθει καὶ τῷ οὐρανίῳ καὶ πολλῷ ἀξιώματι” (" Let us,
however, proceed to inquire explicitly about the monarchy of the one
God alone and the joint-rule of those deities who are worshipped, but
of whom, as of divine monarchy, you cannot give any account. A monarch
is not one who is alone but one who rules alone, ruling subjects of
kindred nature like himself -- such as the emperor Hadrian, for
example, who was a monarch not because he stood alone or because he
ruled sheep and cattle, which are commanded by shepherds and herdsmen,
hut because he was king over human beings whose nature was like his
own. Even so, it would not have been accurate to term God a monarch, if
he did not rule over gods. For such a position befitted the dignity of
God and the high honor of heaven "). Cf. 4.23 (p. 93, Nr. 78), πάνυ
σφάλλεσθε (scil. the Christians) νομίζοντες χαλεπαίνειν τὸν θεόν, εἴ
τις καὶ ἄλλος κληθείη θεὸς καὶ τῆς αὐτοῦ προσηγορίας τυγχάνοι, ὁπότε
καὶ ἄρχοντες ὑπηκόοις καὶ δούλοις δεσπόται τῆς ὁμωνυμίας οὐ φθονοῦσιν·
οὐ θεμιτὸν γοῦν μικροψυχότερον ἀνθρώπων τὸν θεὸν εἶναι νομίζειν.
(Frag., 78, line 15 added by dmb) Here the contrast with the Christian and Greek
monarchianism is clearly formulated. Only, it should be said,
that many philosophical Christians, already in the second century, did
not share this strictly monotheistic idea of God. In fact,
already in the first century modifications of it appear.
Tertullian, in Adv. Prax., 3, [[37b]] even in repeating the
orthodox concept of God at the time, comes dangerously near to Porphyry
in his defense of the Christian Logos-teaching against modalism, "
Nullam dico dominationem ita unius esse, ita singularem, ita
monarchiam, ut non etiam per alias proximas personas administretur,
quas ipsa prospexerit officiates sibi" ("No dominion, I hold, belongs
to any one person in such a way, or is in such a sense singular, or in
such a sense a monarchy, as not also to be administered through other
persons who are closely related to it, and with whom it has provided
itself as its officials "). The school of Origen went further
still in the reception of syncretistic monotheism. It was first
at Nicea that Christendom brought it to an end through the irrational
teaching of the Trinity which demanded that the Logos and the Spirit
were included in a single God and were not to be acknowledged as other
"gods." Although the pagan idea of Monarchianism was beaten from
the field, it had already entrenched itself in the teaching about
angels. That this is entirely Hellenic, since it admitted
polytheism through a back door, is remarked by Porphyry in 4.21.
In 4.23, he sought to prove to Christians that their holy writings
teach a plurality of gods and the idea of the monarchy of gods, in a
circle of lesser gods, which the Greeks taught. He refers to
Exod. 22.28, Jerem. 7.6, Deut. 12.30, Joshua 24.14, I Cor. 8.5.
from the height it no longer enjoyed. But further, as soon as Christianity itself began to reflect, it partook of this "syncretism," borrowing its thought, even developing itself with the help of its thought. Christianity was not syncretistic from the beginning because Jesus Christ did not belong to these circles and the disciples of Jesus first gave form to the Christian religion. But as soon as it thought about God, Jesus, sin, redemption, eternal life, it summoned from the general experiences of religious development and adopting its help,
Christian preaching was confronted with the old polytheism culminating in the imperial cult on the one hand and on the other, the internalized solar henotheism, which represented the last stage of Hellenism. These constituted the inner conditions under which the young religion carried out its mission. All remaining appearances of "paganism"—astrology was defunct—were meaningless in the struggle. From the conflict with polytheism, it found the power of antithesis and exclusivity, as long as it was in a position to seize it, which is a force at once needed and intensified by any independent religion. In the internalized solar Henotheism, in all that deserved the name "religion," they had, without foreseeing it, a secret ally. It must only purify, simplify—and complicate—it. After Christianity had received from it, it pushed all of its remnants into the abyss. In the struggle against the emperor and state cult, it stood against the universal religion and the religion of patriotism. [] In the clash with solar Henotheism in which all the religious strength of paganism came together, the "light" struggled against light.
JESUS CHRIST, THE SENDING OUT OF DISCIPLES
AND THE WORLD MISSION\1/
It is impossible to answer the question of Jesus' relation to the world mission without a study of the Gospels. They were written as the world mission of Christianity was already in full course and with it they—in a few aristocratic places, it was not yet told—lead back to the direct instruction of Jesus. But they still allow us to know clearly the true facts of the case.
Jesus Christ focused his message—the preaching of coming of the kingdom of God and of judgment, of God’s fatherly providence, of repentance, holiness, and love—exclusively to his countrymen. Not a word did he have for other nations nor did he explain the traditional religion as worthless. On the contrary, his preaching could appear as its sharpest confirmation. He also had no affiliation with the numerous “liberal” or syncretistic Jewish conventicles and schools nor did he accept their ideas. He stood upon the soil of Jewish law, in other words, the piousness as maintained by the Pharisees. He showed that while the Pharisees held to what was good, they were also perverting it and that the perversion was the worst of sins. He fought against the selfishness and self-righteousness, which are at bottom unkind and godless, in which numerous Pharisees pursued and fulfilled their piety. This already produced with it a break from the national religion, for the Pharisaic posture was valid as the national religion and, in fact, it was the national religion. But going further, Jesus thwarted the claim that the sons of Abraham through their descent were already certain of salvation and placed the idea of divine sonship exclusively on the pillars of atonement and humility, faith, and love. Along with this, he removed the inner religion from national soil and made men, not the []
chapter has experienced popular criticism because it is too negative,
although it is essentially positive, especially from Meinertz and
Spitta. I am not able to change it.
Jews, to be its representative. Eventually, the clearer it became that the Jewish people as a whole through its representatives rejected his preaching, he preached more firmly about the judgment of “the children of the empire,” and more confidently employed a prophecy, as his forerunner had proclaimed, that the table of his father would not lack guests, but that a crowd would come, morning, noon, and night, from the country and hedges. In the end, he foretold the rejection of the nation and the destruction of the temple, but these were not to involve the downfall of his work. On the contrary, he saw in them, as in his own passion, the prerequisite for the fulfillment of his work.
That is the “universalism” of the preaching of Jesus. Another kind cannot be proven for him and consequently, he cannot give an order for a mission to the world. The gospels contain such a command, but it is easy to show that it is neither real nor belongs to the oldest tradition. They would introduce an entirely strange feature in the preaching of Jesus and would make many of his real sayings incomprehensible or worthless. One might also say that the world mission must have been a necessity of the religion and spirit of Jesus and that its genesis without an explicit word from Jesus, but actually in external contradiction to many of his words, is really a stronger reference to the methods, strength, and greatness of his preaching than if it were the implementation of a given orders. From the fruit, one knows the true; but one must not look for the fruit in the root. What concerns the methods in which he worked and collected disciples, his peculiarity and that of his preaching emerges clearly. He neither sought to gather a school or a sect nor to build a church. He did not establish any external rules for outward affiliation with him. He wanted to bring people to God and to prepare them for the kingdom of God. He elected disciples for himself and gave them special instruction. He approved of them as colleagues and missionaries, but even here he did not lay down any rules. There was an inner circle of three, an outer circle of twelve, and beyond that a few dozen men and women he drew to himself. But aside from that he had close friends who remained in their houses and occupations and he aroused and found God’s children all over the land. Without rules and law, they were bound together; they merely zealously held out for a participation in the greatest and most special thing—the kingdom of their father and the individual soul. In all of the kinds of missions, Jesus had only one follower and he came twelve hundred years later—the holy Francis of Assisi. []
Regarding the fact that the world mission was very early on attributed to Jesus and he expressed the order to the twelve disciples, it was of a greater meaning that Jesus himself had sent out his disciples in his lifetime to a missionary trip in Palestine. This will not allow doubt and also it is so good as to be certain that he at that time considered the sending out as the first and last. Of course, it turned out very quickly to not be the last; the disciples soon returned. The oldest source Q, according to the probable production has, caught the instruction of Jesus in the following words:\2/
Jesus sent the twelve out and exhorted them also: “Do not turn toward the way of the pagans and do not step into a city of Samaritans, but go especially to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Go and preach: the kingdom of God is coming near; heal the sick. Abide without a money purse, without a bag, without shoes and greet no one from the way…But when you enter a house, offer a greeting and if the house is worthy, you should offer your peace, if the house is not worthy, you should take back your peace. Remain in the house and eat and drink what is given to you. The worker is worth his food. In a city that you come to and you are received, eat there and speak to the superiors: the kingdom of God is coming near. But in a city in which you come and are not received, then go out from there to its streets and say, ‘We leave behind the dust on our feet from your city, we shake it off and leave it behind. I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for a city such as yours.’ See, I send you out as sheep among wolves. But when you are persecuted in a city, escape to another. Truly, I say to you, it will not have been completed until the son of man comes to the cities of Israel. Nothing is disguised, what should not be uncovered, and nothing is hidden, if it would be well known. What I say to you in darkness, I will say clearly on the day and what you hear in whispers will be preached from the roofs. And do not be afraid of them who can kill the body, but cannot kill the soul; be more afraid of them who can ruin the soul and body in Gehanna. Who does not buy two (five) sparrows for one (two) cent? And without God they would fall to the earth, but also even the hairs of your head are numbered. Also, if you do not say it; how much more valuable []
recognizes in these instructions many hystera protera. In
my opinion, without sufficient grounds, they are united as one likes
from biased events.
are you than a sparrow! He who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge before the angels of God.”
Mark also presents, in chapter six, a similar speech of instruction. He comments that Jesus sent out his disciples two by two and that it was necessary that they depart on the road with a staff, but without a pouch, without bread, and without gold in their belts. He reports the acts of the missionary travels in 6.12-30. Luke includes the sending out of the seventy disciples in 10.1ff. But this is not historically possible. As they return and report with joy of their exorcism, Jesus spoke these words, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See I have given you the power to tread on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemies, and you will not be hurt. But do not be happy that the spirits are subject to you, but be glad that your name is written in heaven.”
This saying from Q was also important for the mission, “Do you imagine that I have come to bring peace over the land? I have not come to bring peace, but the sword. I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a bride against her in-laws.”
In the actions of his disciples that were carried out under his name, Jesus sees already victory over Satan. If already in the following generation a general missionary order was already placed in his mouth, that was the cause and the basis for the sending out of disciples in Palestine. “Go out and teach all nations” (Matt. 28.19) and “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creatures” (Mark 16.15) is the command for universal expansion. “Go and preach” from Q, Matthew 10.7, and Luke 10.3, 9 was valid for Palestine. Now it is of particular importance that both the first vision of Christ, (1 Cor. 15), and the last, that of Paul, which they received have instruction to missions. With it the missionary task was assured to become the last and supreme command of the master to the disciples.
One sees from these words from the earlier gospel placed in the mouth of Jesus after his resurrection, and found in similar false supplements to the second gospel\3/ and, further, the history of the manner of the Orient and []
\3/ Matthew 28.19ff., cf. Mark 16.15, 20.
certain Old Testament quotations, which the first evangelist had woven into his portrayal,\4/ one must recognize the attempt of Mark and Matthew to record the beginning of the pagan mission in the words and history of Jesus, which had been resisted almost without exception. That Jesus called to sinners and ate with tax collectors, that he healed on the Sabbath, that he fought the Pharisees and their observation of the law, that he prophesied the downfall of the temple—these attest to his universalism. But the history of the choice, or rather, the sending out of the twelve was reported without connection to the world mission (Mark 3.13ff, 6.7ff, and Matthew 10.1ff); Matthew explicitly limited the sending out to Palestine. “Neither go the way of the pagan nor enter a Samaritan city, but go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (10.5-6) and in 10.23 he writes, “You will not go to all of the cities of Israel before the son of man comes.”\5/ The account of the Canaanite woman is almost characteristic; neither gospel accounts for the twelve, that the history in the sense of Jesus appears as an exception,\6/ also confirms the rule.
In Mark, the missionary activity of Jesus appears explicitly restricted to the Jewish people in Palestine in a single pericope. But Matthew presents in the missionary speech in 19.28 that the twelve disciples were directed to the twelve tribes of Israel. The pagan mission is noticeably restrained here.\7/
Mark allows Jesus to speak only twice of future preaching of the gospel in the world, namely in the eschatological teaching in 13.10, “the gospel must be preached to all nations” before the end comes, and in the history of anointing in 14.9 it says, “wherever this gospel []
\4/Cf. Matthew 4.13ff., 12.18ff.
\5/ These verses make it
impossible that the words of Jesus could be envisaged as only a
temporary mission. The word is real, so one cannot have a formal
pagan mission on a horizon with Jesus. By the words used,
ἡγεμόνες (“governors”) and βασιλεῖς (“kings”) (Matthew 10.18 and Mark
13.9), one may not think they are pagan, but the words Matthew employs,
not in Mark, καὶ τοῖς ἔθνεσιν (“for a testimony to them”), one finds an
addition εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς (“and to the nations”) one can hardly
understand an addition in the sense of Matthew 28.19f, Mark 6.7ff
(compare Luke 1.9ff). The limitation to Palestine and the Jewish
people was allowed to drop, but a universal provision was not
ventured. “Although Mark never explicitly says it and without
placing any weight on it, it is understood that Jesus limited his
effectiveness to the Jews” (Wellhausen on Mark 7.29).
\6/ According to Matthew
15.24, Jesus explicitly says, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the
house of Israel.” The “πρῶτον” in Mark 7.27 is not to be pressed,
as it is by many interpreters.
\7/ Also the words, “Ask
that your escape may not be on the Sabbath” (Matthew 24.20) one would
like to reckon here. It is noteworthy that the parable of two
sons (Matthew 21.28ff) does not indicate Jews and pagans. The
worker in the vineyard (Matthew 20.1ff) according to the account of the
evangelist similarly does not relate to the pagans and also Matthew
22.9 is not a reference to them.
is preached in the entire world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of here.” The first passage places a historical theologoumenon in the mouth of Jesus, which is hardly correct; the other does not raise a reference to the event itself, but perhaps a reference to a sharp misgiving in Jesus’ speech in verses eight and nine. This is a hysteron proteron and to them it is a conspicuously solemn assurance. It must not form the basis of a controversy since the event did not occur then, but was not evoked until later. How was it emerged in doubt?\8/ Incidentally, one must understand “in the entire world” with a grain of salt.
Matthew presents both of these speeches also in 24.14 and 26.13, but he hands down a saying\9/ that has the pagan world in sight. However, he does not excite suspicion in his prophetic posture in reference to his authenticity. Matthew 8.11 states, “I say to you that many will come from the east and west and sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the table in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out.” Why did Jesus speak so, although in Mark he never spoke in such a fashion? Such a notion also appears in the speech of John the Baptist in Matthew 3.9, “Do not say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for a father,’ then I say to you that God is able to raise Abraham’s children from these stones.”
It also resulted that the evangelist recorded in the setting of Jesus’ public preaching nothing of the pagan mission in the eschatological speeches and the story of anointing at Bethany. Matthew has positively and unambiguously marked a narrow limit to Jesus’ effectiveness, but on the other hand, he included the pagans not only in 8.11, but also in his Old Testament []
\8/ I cannot here
reconcile the pericope of the wicked vineyard tenants; neither in the
setting of Mark 12.1ff nor in that of Matthew 21.33ff is a pagan
mission spoken of. The words of Matthew 21.43, “the kingdom of
God will be given to a people that will produce fruit,” does not refer
to the pagans, but rather the “people” who stood in conflict against
the official Israel; Mark deliberately writes only of “others” to whom
the vineyard will be given. I say deliberately because precisely
in this allegory, Jesus himself could not easily adjudicate (see
Jülicher, Gleichniss II, p. 405f.; I myself cannot decide so
certainly), one can perceive how strongly Mark maintains an extreme
position in regard the pagan mission and how consistently Matthew holds
onto the setting of the Jewish people. The parable perfectly
prompts Jesus to speak of the pagan mission, but both gospels reject
such a demand (see also Luke 20.9ff). Wellhausen also writes
about Matthew 21.43, “Under the other “people” one can understand
Jewish and not merely heathen Christians, “ἔθνος” (“people”) is not
national, but characterizes a morality.
\9/ One may disregard the words from the speech in 5.13-4, “You are the salt of the earth; you are the light of the world.” It is also unimportant that only Mark 11.17 states, “My house is a temple”; and adds (from Isaiah 56.7), “πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσιν.” This addition “does not place the emphasis on the universality of temples, but on the bare concept of the temple itself,” according to Wellhausen.
citations in 4.13ff.; 12.18ff. Mark comports an entirely neutral position, though he does not suppress the history of the Canaanite woman. Provided that one finds in two gospels, or actually only in Matthew a universal missionary speech, it is therefore a horizontal kingdom of God, as distinguished by the Old Testament prophets.\10/
This only more strongly distinguishes the words of the resurrected Jesus in Matthew 28.18ff. Matthew himself must have felt the disparity and must have deliberately chosen to express it.\11/ A lord and []
\10/ With what has
already been stated, that in the oldest evangelical record, the Q
source, one will not find a command to go out, see my “Sprüche and
Reden Jesu” (1907), p. 160 u.a.a. St.(@@): The Jewish horizon and
varieties Q show in itself that the salvation in the kingdom of God is
represented as a meal with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the disciples
were promised the government of the twelve tribes (Matthew has
reproduced this speech). But in contrast to the present house of
Israel, the “evil and adulterous nation,” which the men of God will
command, and the struggle against the spiritual rulers, the Pharisees,
is nowhere more sharply revealed than in Q. The children of the
kingdom were expelled, their teeth chattering and howling. Sodom
would fare better than Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum and a terrible
woe threatened the Pharisees. Friendliness to pagans—they were
feed in the place of the children of the kingdom with Abraham—found a
place without difficulty in the general outlook or were offered rather
with greater difficulty as similar to earlier readings of the
announcements of the prophets. They also heard an emphasis on the
belief of the heathen captains—a single historical account in Q!
The particularly uncertain reading of Matthew 10.5-6 cannot be assigned
with any certainty to Q (Luke does not present it), but it is probable
that Q heard of it, against my earlier opinion. The same applies
to Matthew 10.23.
\11/ Unless 28.19 is a
later addition to the gospel. Full certainty about this cannot be
gained. There is a certain cunningness which one would not like
to believe of the gospel writer in first in keeping the Gentile
Christian readers on the tenterhooks, as it were, with sayings that
restrict the gospel to the people of Israel, as to relieve the tension
in the last sentence of the text. The restrictions are not
narrated in such a fashion so that they should later be reversed.
On the other hand, we must consider that the first gospels begin with
the wise men of the east, although this pericope allows for a strict
Jewish Christian interpretation. We must also consider that
Matthew 8.11, and, further that the author in 4.13, shows his interest
for those people who remain in darkness. Similarly, we must
recognize that he describes Jesus in 12.21 as the one whose name the
pagans hope, that he contemplates the preaching of the gospel to all
pagans in the eschatological sayings and in the story of anointing at
Bethany, and that conclusive grounds cannot be found for regarding
28.19ff as an interpolation. It is then advisable to credit the
author with a remarkable historical sense that made him retain the
frame of the preaching of Jesus truly almost without exception.
Mark proceeded in a more simple fashion while eliminating the missions
question—this must be the explanation for his behavior. Incidentally, the
formulation of the manifesto [[45b]] of Matthew 28.18ff—as one might
well call it—a masterpiece, as soon as one looks at its contents and
rejects all historical scruples from his head. The sentences
which have been conceived (though arguably those of the author first
gospel himself) already have an impression of the person of Jesus and
the greatness and future of his works that one cannot at all outpace:
(1) Jesus possessed all power in heaven and on earth, (2) Jesus is
always present in the world by his being (3) Jesus as son constitutes
with the Father and the Holy Spirit one “name,” (4) Jesus has ordered
that all people become his disciples and along with that sent out his
disciples before leaving earth, (5) Jesus has arranged the means of the
mission in baptism within the community in the each of the three names,
and the observation of all his precepts in which the world should be
instructed. One cannot say more in forty words.
savior who had limited his preaching to the Jewish people without giving an order to a world mission was an impossibility\12/ in this time in which the gospels were written. If he had not given this order before his death, then he must have issued it as the transfigured one.
The facts of the case imply that such an order does not stem from Jesus at all, that it was also constructed from historical development of a later time and the words were appropriately put in the resurrected Jesus’ mouth. Paul also knew nothing of such a general command.\13/
Luke’s position as reporter of the words of Jesus does not differ from either of the first gospels and this is perhaps the most significant fact. He has softly and quietly biased the past history\14/ and at the conclusion, clearly and sharply, as in Matthew, the resurrected Jesus gives the order to preach the gospel to all nations.\15/ But what lies between, following Mark, he treats, that is, he presents no speeches that expressly restrict the mission of Jesus to the Jewish people,\16/ but he describes neither word []
\12/ Only in the strict
Ebionite gospel was there another, but our gospel of Matthew is far
removed from there. It is written for the Greek speaking
Christians in Palestine, unless everyone is deceived, which consist of
former Jews, Jewish proselytes, and Gentiles. It was under the
direction of Stephen and Philip that the gospel came to them.
\13/ It is impossible
and completely pointless to argue with those who see an inadmissible
bias in the rejection of tradition that Jesus after his death had
eaten, drunk, and taught his disciples.
\14/ Compare 1.32 (“Son
of the Highest”); 2.11 (“The savior which is Christ”); 2.14 (“Glory in
the highest,” see the conclusion); 2.31 (“a light to lighten the
Gentiles); and also 3.23ff., the genealogy traced back to Adam.
\15/ See 24.47 and with
Acts 1.8, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and all of Judea and
Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
\16/ Yet one finds in Q an indirect allusion to the limitation of his mission in 22.30=Matthew 19.28, (compare page 43), but it does not need to be understood this way.
nor account that marks the work as universal\17/ and nowhere does he deliberately correct the probable situation.\18/
In this connection, this fourth gospel can be entirely set aside. It extended the horizon of Jesus’ preaching, and even of John the Baptist’s, in accordance with the success of the pagan mission of the first two generations of Christians and it correspondingly allowed “the Jews” to appear as a depraved mass from the beginning, in spite of the historical comment in 4.22. If one is allowed to set aside the prologue, then one immediately encounters the words of the Baptist in 1.29, “See, the Lamb of God that carries the sins of the universe.” As a whole, direct universal statements pervade the gospel. Jesus is the savior of the world and God so beloved the world that he sent him. Along with it, one finds passages such as the one that mentions “the other” sheep and the one flock in 10.16. But the most remarkable thing is that this gospel has the “Greeks” ask after Jesus in 12.20ff, and the latter gives an explanation why he cannot yet satisfy the Greeks. He must first die, but then he will rise as the exalted one and all will be drawn to him. One sees here a very difficult problem.
To sketch\19/ a portrayal the preaching of Jesus, even only of its essential features, would be misleading because it did not become the direct missionary preaching of the later period, not even against the Jews. It supported the missionary preaching—the Gospels were written down to serve as a means for evangelization—but from there it handed down that Jesus was the messiah, that he would soon return, that the kingdom was established, if Jews were met, and the unity of God, the creation, the Son of God, the savior, and the judge, if pagans were encountered. Next to these concerns, the sayings of Jesus exerted an admittedly quiet and effective mission, and the historical picture, which []
\17/ All kinds of
attempts have been made to include this—at Peter’s wonderful haul of
fish (5.1ff), the Samaritan stories (10.33ff, 17.16), the parable of
the prodigal son (15.11ff, see. Jülicher, loc. cit., ii., p. 333ff),
but these do not constitute valuable evidence. Even the sending
of the apostles in 6.13ff and the impossible parable of the seventy in
10.1ff are not at all narrated in a sense to imply the pagan
mission. That the twelve were called “apostle” a few times is
hysteron proteron. The programmatic speech in Nazareth in
4.26-7 carries the most weight, but in it the universalism of Jesus
does not appear to rise above that of the prophets. In regard to
21.24=Mark 3.10=Matthew 24.14, Luke was the most careful of all of
those who attempted to restore the style of the prophets with excellent
feeling. He never states the necessity that the gospel must be
preached in the whole world before the end comes, but rather he writes,
“ἄχρι οὗ πληρωθῶσιν καιροὶ ἔθνων” ("till the times of the Gentiles be
fulfilled "). As far as the Samaritan stories are concerned, it
appears that Luke did not have an extensive religious and historical
tendency, as is unmistakable in John 4.
\18/ The story of the
Canaanite woman, which stands between the two miraculous feeding
stories in Matthew and Mark, was probably not left out by Luke, but was
not at all known. If he knew it, one must see this omission as a
\19/ Compare my lectures on What is Christianity?
the gospels offer, in addition to belief in the exalted Christ, gained a deep influence on catechism and believers.
People are no longer aware of the particular features of this historical picture and the sayings and that is right and good. One finds here a lively love of God and humans that could be describe as intensive universalism, a setting aside of all externals, such as position, personality, gender, outward worship, etc., which necessarily compelled an inwardness, a protest against what “the ancients” had learned, that gradually made antiquity worthless.\20/ One of the greatest revolutions that the history of religion can know is here initiated and became justified without a revolution. Jesus Christ had only pronounced the destruction of the temple and the judgment of the nation and its leaders. He shook Judaism and exposed the core of Israel’s religion. With it, through his preaching about God as father and through his death, he founded a world religion, which was at the same time the religion of the Son.
“Christ’s death was more powerful than his life,” says on old ecclesial author. The death of Jesus was not able to upset belief in him as the ambassador of God and that is exactly why the conviction of his resurrection arose. He was still the messiah because the situation only lent itself to an either-or proposition: either Jesus was damned or he was resurrected. He could not die, so he lived. He lived, so he is the messiah and will soon return in splendor. The disciples were appointed as comrades of the kingdom, witnesses and apostles. They attested not only to his preaching and his death, but they testified also to his resurrection, because they had seen him,\1/ and they had received his spirit. []
The Attitude of Jesus towards the Old Testament, see the accurate
reading of E. Klostermann (1904) under this title. Whoever
realizes this position in Jesus’ preaching will not make any more
unhistorical claims about a “world mission.”
\1/ The kerygma which
Paul (1 Cor. 15.1ff.) discloses and which contains Jesus’ appearance
before Peter and the twelve (Paul places two further appearances [those
in 2 and 5 are wholly identical] and in addition to his own; see my
essay in the minutes of the Preußian Academy 1922, p. 62ff), are to be
understood in the sense of Paul that each of the mentioned appearances
were of particular significance for the historical grounds for the new
religion. That Peter was first to behold the resurrected Jesus
(as he already beheld Jesus in glory once during his lifetime) is known
from 1 Cor. 15.5, Luke 24.34, John 21 (rightly understood) [[48b]] and
from Peter’s gospel. One should also suspect with greater
possibility that the lost conclusion of Mark also told of it. But
it did not enter into tradition during the time of the apostles and it
was foreign to the Palestinian tradition that Peter successfully
disputed with James for this position as leader of the community of
Jerusalem or rather another witness was substituted as first.
(Paul placed two rivaling traditions in succession in 1 Cor. 15, “ὤφθη
Κηφᾷ, εἶτα τοῖς δώδεκα…ὤφθη Ἰακώβῳ, εἶτα τοῖς ἀποστόλοις πᾶσιν.)
So it has come about that the historical account in our fourth gospel
and in the Hebrew gospel of Peter has been discredited. Matthew
has the women at the grave of the first to see him, John and the false
ending of Mark has Mary Magdalene, Luke has the disciples on the way to
Emmaus—before this appearance of Jesus, Peter is mentioned though as
the first to examine the grave—after the Hebrew gospel of James.
They became new men. A current of divine life seized them and a new fire burned in their souls. Fear, doubt, and cowardice were all extinguished. The duty and right to preach this Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ pushed them with irresistible power. How could they be silent when they knew that the new age of the world would come and that God had already begun to deliver his people? An old tradition (Acts 1.2) reports that missionary preaching of the disciples began on the fifty-first day after the crucifixion in Jerusalem. We have no grounds to mistrust such a definite detail. After Jerusalem, they returned to Galilee and gathered together. Already this relocation indicates that they wished to work more openly, in the middle of the Jewish community. Here they focused themselves and remained in the same place for many years\2/, twelve years according to one early report,\3/ ignored by the book of Acts (see 12.17). From []
\2/ One perhaps may
assume that they wished to be on the very spot where the Lord would
soon return and the heavenly Jerusalem descended. What is strange
is that Galilee now entirely recedes. One hears almost nothing
more about this place (yet see Acts 9.31).
\3/ This early report in
the kerygma of Peter as recorded in Clement, Strom., 6.5.43 is
admittedly suspect because it alleges to know a word from the Lord to
his disciples that reads, “After twelve years, go out into the world,
lest any should say, we have not heard" (μετὰ ιβ’ ἔτη ἐξέλθετε εἰς τὸν
κόσμον, μή τις εἴπῃ οὐκ ἠκούσαμεν). But the statement about
twelve years could be accurate without the false, apologetic foundation
because in the Acta Petri cum Simone 5 and in Apollonius (in
Eusebius, H.E., 5.18.14), the word, similarly from the Lord,
runs that the disciples should remain in Jerusalem twelve years,
without mentioning the excerpt “εἰς τὸν κόσμον.” The “word from
the Lord” lacks all support, but the fact that the disciples remained
in Jerusalem twelve years was hardly invented. Twelve or eleven
years after the resurrection is the period of time that is demarcated
by other sources (see Dobschütz in Texten u. Unters
xi.i.p.53f). It even underlies the later calculation of the year
of Peter’s death: 30+12+25=67 CE. The claim of
Recognitions (1.43, 9.29) that the apostles remained in Jerusalem
seven years stands isolated.
Jerusalem they would undertake missionary journeys in the vicinity (the choice of James, who was not one of the twelve, as the leader of the Jerusalem community\4/ speaks to the fact that the apostles were not in Jerusalem longer, yet this choice arguably has yet another foundation). This is taught in Acts and above all in 1 Cor. 9.5.
Nevertheless, one must keep in mind that it was not the twelve apostles, or even Peter that appointed the successor of Jesus. The appointed missionary who really carried on the work of Jesus was Paul. But he was not as evil as the previous church opinion had interpreted him. It either gave him too much or too little. Compared to these opinions, one must connect his letters and the oldest depiction following Acts to restore an accurate portrayal. One will know then that he was neither the first pagan missionary, nor an enemy to Jewish Christianity, but that he was above all a missionary of the pagan mission and, as it were, the discoverer of the Christian religion as a new religion.
The gospel was first preached exclusively to the Jews. The community in Jerusalem was formed shortly before communities in Judea (1 Thess. 2.14, “The churches of God which are in Judea,” and Gal. 1.22, “But I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea that are in Christ.”) as well as Galilee, Samaria (Acts 1.8, 8.1ff; 9.31; 15.3) and on the coast (Acts 9.32ff\5/). The initial relationship []
\4/ Acts presupposes
that in the first year the apostles shepherded the Jerusalem
community. Suddenly, in 12.17, James appears as the leader.
\5/ The continuing
parallel mission of Simon Magus may be mentioned here briefly. It
had great success in its homeland, but tried in vain to pull the
Christian mission to its’ advantage. The details are very
obscure, but it is certain that Simon considered himself a religious
founder (perhaps he was attempting to copy Jesus?) and that later a
Hellenistic Theosophy or gnosis was associated with this new
religion. Christians from the beginning treated this appearance
with the greatest repulsion. There must have been in a much
earlier time a moment in which it was a real temptation for a part of
the young community, but to what extent it was a threat is
unclear. Did Simon contemplate any fusion? (Acts 8 and later
sources.) It is not impossible that he later went to Rome. While
there he went [[50b]] to a Samaritan synagogue. One can find a
valuable critical essay in relation to the credibility of Simon Magus
in Zahn’s Kommentar zur Apostelgeschichte.
of these communities to Judaism does not appear very clear. Not only is it entirely unclear, but it is also full of inconsistencies. On one hand, the report of Acts (see ch. 3ff.) that the Jerusalem community suffered persecution in fits and starts almost from the beginning is attested to by Paul (1 Thess. 2.14, “You also suffered the same woes from your countrymen that the community in Judea suffered from the Jews). Therefore, the opinion of some Jewish scholars that originally and for decade after decade a peaceful relationship existed between the Christians and Jews appears untenable.\6/ On the other hand, it remains certain that peace and toleration also ruled,\7/ as for some time the community remained unmolested (Acts 9.31, “the church in all of Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace”) and several Christians were highly regarded by their Jewish brethren.\8/ Their strict observation of the law and also their eager devotion to the temple\9/ fulfilled the most important duties of a Jew, and since they anticipated Jesus as messiah—his first arrival was only a precursor; that he really was the messiah waited for public proof—so one may view this with a kind judgment in light of their observation of the law []
\6/ Compare Joël,
Blicke in die Religionsgeschichte (part 2, 1883). The
course of events in the Palestinian mission can be deduced from Matthew
10.17ff, “παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς συνέδρια καὶ ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν
μαστιγώσουσιν ὑμᾶς . . . . παραδώσει δὲ ἀδελφδς ἀδελφδν εἰς θάνατον καὶ
πατὴρ τέκνον καὶ ἐπαναστήσονται τέκνα ἐπὶ γονεῖς καὶ θανατώσουσιν
αὐτούς . . . . ὅταν δὲ διώκωσιν ὑμᾶς ἐν τῇ πόλει ταύτῃ, φεύγετε εἰς τὴν
\7/ Some have the apostles not remaining in Jerusalem very long.
\8/ Hegesippus (in
Euseb. H.E., 2.22) relates this of James. His portrayal
is admittedly very opaque, but the appearances of James among the Jews
may be deduced from it.
\9/ See Acts 21.20 where
the Jerusalem Christians say to Paul, “θεωρεῖς, ἀδελφέ, πόσαι μυριάδες
εἰσὶν ἐν τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις τῶν πεπιστευκότων, καὶ πάντες ζηλωταὶ τοῦ νόμου
ὑπάρχουσιν.” This passages illuminates and justifies the main
point of Hegessipus’ report about James. From an old tradition
(in Hippolytus and a Latin prologue to Mark), Mark
became a Christian, he cut off his thumbs so that he would not have to
serve as a priest, one may then conclude that many Christian Jews from
the priesthood in Jerusalem continued to function as priests in the
as an idiosyncrasy.\10/ At least this is the only way we can picture things. The most eager of their Jewish compatriots could only have praise for the fact that they expected the messiah so confidently and so soon. In the eyes of the Jews it was admittedly a mistake to believe that the person of the future messiah was known already. But the crucifixion appeared to have already removed this unbelief at the root and every zealous Jews []
\10/ Weizsäcker rightly
comments (Apost. Zeitalter (2), p. 38; Eng. Trans., i.46f.),
“The primitive Christians held fast to the faith and polity of their
nation. They had no desire to be renegades, nor was it possible to
regard them as such. Even if they did not maintain the whole cultus,
this did not endanger their allegiance, for Judaism tolerated not
merely great latitude in doctrinal views, but also a partial observance
of the cultus -- as is sufficiently proved by the contemporary case of
the Essenes. The Christians did not lay themselves open to the charge
of violating the law. They assumed no aggressive attitude. That they
appeared before the local courts as well as before the Sanhedrim, the
supreme national council, tallies with the fact that, on the whole,
they remained Jews. It is in itself quite conceivable (cp. Matt. 10.17)
that…individual Christians should have been prosecuted, but discharged
on the score of insufficient evidence, or that this discharge was
accompanied by some punishment…The whole position of Jewish Christians
within the Jewish commonwealth precludes the idea that they made a
practice of establishing a special synagogue for themselves on Jewish
soil, or avowedly formed congregations beside the existing synagogues.
As the synagogue was a regular institution of the Jewish community,
such a course of action would have been equivalent to a complete
desertion of all national associations and obligations whatsoever, and
would therefore have resembled a revolt. The only question is, whether
the existence of synagogues for foreigners in Jerusalem gave them a
pretext for setting up an independent one there. It is our Acts that
mentions this in a passage that is beyond suspicion; it speaks (6.9)
about the synagogue of the Libertini, Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and
those from Cilicia and Asia who disputed with Stephen. It is not quite
clear whether we are to think here of a single synagogue embracing all
these people, or of several -- and if so, how many. The second
alternative is favored by this consideration that the foreigners who,
according to this account, assembled in meeting-places of their own
throughout Jerusalem, proceeded on the basis of their nationality. In
that case one might conjecture that the Christians, as natives of
Galilee (Acts 1:11, 2.7), took up a similar position. Yet it cannot be
proved that the name was applied to them. From Acts 24.5 we must assume
that they were known rather by the name of ' Nazarenes,' and as this
title probably described the origin, not of the body, but of its
founder, its character was different. .... But even if the Christians
had, like the Libertini, formed a synagogue of Galileans in Jerusalem,
this would not throw much light upon the organization of their society,
for we know nothing at all about the aims or regulations under which
the various nationalities organized themselves into separate
synagogues. And in regard to the question as a whole, we must not
overlook the fact that in our sources the term synagogue is never
applied to Christians."
could expect that “the offense” to collapse shortly, while the messianic enthusiasm would remain. The Jewish authorities could wait on events and be content with observation. For the time being, the entire movement was limited to the lower classes.\11/
The period of leniency or of spasmodic and not very strong reactions of Judaism must stop and give way to the sharpest repression as soon as the unconditional or entirely lax limits, from the Jewish perspective, of the pagan mission became an obvious fact. The pagan mission first split the small Christian flock and gave rise to those who repudiated it to move nearer to their non-Christian brothers. The apostle Paul must lament about and fight against a double opposition: both the Jewish Christians who strictly observed the law persecuted him, as did the Jews, as 1 Thess. 2.14f. indicates (“they have persecuted us…and hindered us from preaching to the pagans, so that they would be saved”). Consequently, they were not concerned with the Christian mission to the pagans, although they did not watch with crossed arms.
The beginning of the pagan mission is not completely clear. Paul was not the first pagan missionary.\12/ However, from a priori considerations and from definite evidence, we can conclude that []
\11/ One can compare
what is said about Gamaliel in Acts 5.34ff. Concerning common
people, see John 7.48-49, “μή τις ἐκ τῶν ἀρχόντων ἐπίστευσεν εἰς αὐτὸν
ἤ ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων; ἀλλὰ
ὁ ὄχλος οὗτος ὁ μὴ γινώσκων τὸν νόμον ἐπάρατοί εἰσιν.” Yet Acts 6.7
indicates the fact that priests (allegedly a “πολὺς ὄχλος” of them)
converted, as did Pharisees (15.5).
\12/ Paul never claims
in his letter to have begun the pagan mission. If he had started
it, then he certainly would not have kept it a secret. Gal. 1.16
only states that the apostle already understood his conversion as a
vocation to pagan mission, but this does not mean that he began to
implement it as if it were something entirely new. One does also
not need to conclude that Paul immediately started as a
missionary. The purpose of the revelation of the son of God (“Ἱνα
εὐαγγελίζωμαι αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν”) may have only been revealed to
him gradually. (One also does not need to conclude
that immediately after his conversion he went to Arabia to rush
directly to the pagan mission there. Whether he immediately went
to Arabia, how long he was there, and whether he already began a pagan
mission there is unknown.)
All that can be assumed is that for him after the conversion, a new
calling and a new inner struggle was no longer necessary for him to
undertake the pagan mission. Nevertheless, it is certain that he
remains the pagan missionary. He really justified the right and
responsibility of the mission and he elevated the movement from an
uncertain beginning to a mission that spanned the world.
the transition to the pagan mission was gradual, but that it was imposed with urgent power. Also here all was prepared by the inner situation of Judaism, namely through the Jewish missionary zeal, the corrosion that provided for universalism, and graduated proselytism. We have already pointed these details out in the first chapter.
According to Acts 6.7\13/ the oldest Christian community in Jerusalem was composed of two elements: Palestinian Hebrews and Diaspora Judaism (Hellenism\14/). There was tension\15/ between these from an earlier time—the latter appeared originally to be the majority. This led to the appointment of seven guardians of the poor\16/ belonging to the second group and bearing Greek names. Within this group, whom we may consider []
\13/ For the author of
Acts, the transition from the Jewish mission to the pagan mission and
the resulting rejection of Judaism was a matter of greatest
importance. Indeed, one may say that the depiction of this
transition was made the high point of his book. This is proved by
the tendency of the first fifteen chapters as well as the end of the
book in 28.23-28, with verses thirty and thirty-one as a
postscript. After a quotation from Isaiah 6.9-10, a devastating
prophecy for Judaism that the author now sees as fulfilled, he allows
Paul to say to the Jews, “γνωστὸν οὖν ἔστω ὑμῖν ὅτι τοῖς ἔθνεσιν
ἀπεστάλη τοῦτο τὸ σωτήριον τοῦ θεοῦ · αὐτοὶ καὶ ἀκούσονται.”
Clearly, one cannot say that the gospel has not been given to the Jews,
but to the other nations and the same thought also occurs
already in the course of the account of fitting passages. The above text of the work
of the pagan mission is based on Acts, in so far as I hold the report
to be reliable. The author is an intimate friend, admirer, and
temporary companion of Paul, but he is not really of his school.
He was motivated to Christian universalism on more simple grounds than
Paul or rather, he was not quite motivated to it (the gospel being
universal) since he did not ignore that in the beginning it was
preached only to Jews only slowly and under great difficulty the pagan
mission developed. The intra-Christian tensions were hardly
the sympathy of Luke toward the law placed him against the pagan
mission without serious difficulty.
\14/ Acts 6.5 teaches
that there were Christians in Jerusalem who had previously been
proselytes, “Νικόλαον προσήλυτον.” The added “Ἀντιοχέα” shows a
particular interest for this city by the author of the text.
\15/ See Zahn, Einleitung
in das N.T. I2 p. 30, 46f. The original community
was also from the beginning linguistically mixed and half Greek.
\16/ As the Hebrews became more numerous so did the Hellenists.
\17/ They were hardly
“poor relief.” From the story of Stephen and Philip, one
conceives an entirely different concept. They were arguably
elders or high administrators of Christian Hellenists in the community.
as wholly enlightened, that is to say, as less strict in the literal observation of the law,\18/ Stephen emerged to particular significance. The prosecution on the part of fanatic fellow countrymen against him before the Sanhedrin consisted of the fact that Stephen continued to utter blasphemy against “the holy place” and the law, while asserting that Jesus destroyed the temple and changed the customs Moses offered. Acts describes the charge as made up, but as the speech of Stephen justifies, it was well founded as far as it went, and the lie only consists of the words given. Stephen did not speak against the temple and the law at all, but he maintained the restricted duration of these institutions.\19/ Along with them, he placed himself in contradiction to the vulgar Judaism of his time, but scarcely in contradiction to all things that were Jewish. In Judaism itself, principally in the Diaspora, tendencies were already given through which the temple cultus\20/ and particularly bloody sacrifice was considered irrelevant and even dubious. Even so, it is also know that for external and internal reasons in many Jewish circles the outer observation of the law was not highly esteemed. It was more or less surpassed by the moral law. Therefore, it is historically and psychologically wholly understandable that Diaspora Jews won by the gospel should associate the sovereign and exclusive []
\18/ See Weizsäcker,
Apost. Zeitalter (2), p. 51ff; Eng. Trans., i. p. 62f.
Naturally, there were “good” Jews. Otherwise they would not have
established themselves in Jerusalem, but we may assume that these
synagogues of the Libertini (Romans), the Cyrenians, the Alexandrians,
the Cilicians, and Asians (Acts 6.9) also contained Hellenistic Jews
who softened the Jewish religion with their knowledge of
Hellenism. On the other hand, they also counted exclusive
fanatics in their midst and from them the first onslaught against
Christianity was issued. Palestinian Judaism (the Sanhedrin)
sided with them. In the embryonic stage, the first Christian
persecution appears as a quarrel and rupture within Diaspora Judaism in
\19/ The speech of
Stephen compared with the charge establishes a single and entirely more
difficult problem. One would think it just if one observed (1)
that Luke wanted to insert in this place in his work a largely
programmatic speech against unbelieving and obstinate Judaism, which
had itself to blame (the speech is the longest in Acts.) (2) that
he edited a handed down speech (whether from Stephen and before the
Sanhedrin?) and inserted it to make the prosecution against Stephen
look bad, (3) that the conclusion of the speech is itself from Luke
with the last sentence showing in a surprising manner his deep respect
for pious observation of the law (by Jewish Christians).
\20/ Especially after a
secularized priesthood had repeatedly profaned it.
moral points which it presented\21/ with the already existing disposition toward the relative worthlessness of the temples and the ceremonial law with the result that the messiah Jesus will abolish the temple cultus and alter the ceremonial law. Observe the future tense. Acts appears here to report precisely. Stephen did not prompt changes—Jesus would create changes when he returned as messiah. Stephen particularly prophetically foresaw these changes and claimed that all things in the existing order were unworthy. He did not prompt the pagan mission, but he helped establish it through his words and his death.
When Stephen was stoned, he died, like Hus, for a matter whose consequences he scarcely could yet overlook. His stoning is not striking—orthodox Judaism could little tolerate this type of believer in Jesus and as such an execution happened to fanatics and others.\22/ Stephen’s followers were also persecuted—the grave peril of the little company of Christians being revealed. All but the apostles had to leave Jerusalem (Acts 8.1). The apostles had not yet expressed solidarity with Stephen in the matter of his prosecution.\23/ The scattered Christians went abroad to Judea and Samaria and []
\21/ At this point, one
may remember that Jesus himself prophesied the destruction of the
temples. I hold with Weizsäcker (loc. cit., p. 53) that this
saying of the Lord is real. It became the starting point for an
inner development of his disciples that in the end lead to the pagan
mission. Compare Wellhausen’s Kommentare zu den Synoptiken
concerning the saying of the Lord about the destruction of the temples
and its significance.
\22/ Incidentally, I have
not observed from Acts, whether the Sanhedrin gave Stephen the death
sentence or whether the fanatic mob snatched the defendant away from
his judge and stoned him without a judicial sentence. The first
option is more probable to me.
\23/ This appears to me
to be very important that at the same time attests the truth of the
reporting of Acts on this point. Evidently, the Christians were
persecuted with exceptions. Those whose devotion to the temple
and law undoubtedly remained unmolested and at first this included James, Peter, and the other
apostles. Acts makes it clear enough that Peter awhile later,
though not much later, took his first step from strict Judaism.
According to Weizsäcker’s interpretation (loc. cit., p, 60f; Eng.
trans., i.75), the first step was taken at this period, but he is
essentially right in commenting, “it is obvious that nothing was so
likely to create and strengthen this conviction (viz., that the future,
the salvation to be obtained in the kingdom itself, could no longer
rest upon the obligations of the law) as Pharisaic attacks prompted by
the view that faith in Jesus and his kingdom was prejudicial to the
inviolable duration [[56b]] of the law, and to belief in its power of
securing salvation. The persecution, therefore, liberated the Christian
faith; it was the means by which it came to know itself. And in this
sense it was not without its fruits in the primitive church." Zahn offers another
explanation. According to him, the view that the apostles
courageously remained in Jerusalem fulfilling their duties is
intolerable. Those whom Jerusalem needed did not voluntarily
emigrate, but rather were driven off. The apostles were expelled
(and there leader more than ever) because they had identified the
ruling opinion with that of Stephen and his like-minded
colleagues. The apostles could only remain if the Jewish
authority and fanatical people tolerated them; they also had to be
patient with them.
worked involuntarily or voluntary as missionaries, i.e. as apostles (Acts 8.4). The most important leader of the community was Philip. He preached in Samarian and on the coast. There is a detailed report about how he convinced and baptized and Ethiopian authority, a eunuch (Acts 8.26ff). This is entirely comprehensible. The man was not a Jew, but he was a “God-fearer.” Incidentally, if he had circumcision as a Jew, he could not have become a Jew. Thus, when he joined the Christian community, this “half” proselyte and eunuch, a stiff barrier had already fallen.
A single case it not decisive and even a second similar case—Peter baptizing the “God-fearer” Cornelius in Caesarea—cannot have had the primary importance which the author of Acts gave to it.\24/ As long as it was a matter of proselytes, even in the widest meaning of the word, the strictest Jewish Christian himself could find a view to tolerably accept them. He could regard the reception of proselytes as members of Christian community in a wider sense, that is, still as proselytes.
The next and more crucial step happened in Antioch. It originated through the scattered friends of Stephen and also from Hellenists (Acts 11.19ff.), who had went to Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch through the missionary travels. But the majority []
\24/ At the least the
importance did not lie where the author sought it, but inasmuch as it
was a matter of higher importance in that it forced Peter to join the
attitude and practice of Stephen’s friends which, until then, they
alone had followed without the first apostles (see the previous
note). The conversion of the Caesarean officer led Peter and with
him a part of the Jerusalem community considerably further. It
must be admitted that the entire pericope excites insurmountable
thought in regard to its historicity. Luke has given it with the
conviction that it is the great turning point and treated it with a
particularity missing in the rest of his work. Only the account of
the conversion of Paul has greater side pieces.
of them restrained themselves strictly to the Jewish mission, but some who were from Cyprus and Cyrene\25/ preached in the greatest city of the world, Antioch []
\25/ Names were not
given here, but in chapter thirteen, Barnabas the Cyprian, Simon-Niger,
Lucius of Cyrene, Manahem, the close friend of the Tetrarch
Herod (one cannot translate as “milk brother”), and Saul were named as prophets and
teachers at Antioch. According to Acts 11.22ff, Barnabas and Saul
had not yet come to Antioch until after the founding of the community,
so one may perhaps acknowledge the other three individuals as the
founders of the community and the first pagan missionaries. But
Barnabas must be named first among the founders of the pagan mission.
He must have acquired the free opinion independently. This shows
his relationship with Paul. A Cyprian Levite, he belongs to the
beginning of the Jerusalem community (perhaps he was already a follower
of Jesus, see Clement, Strom., 2.20; Euseb., H.E.,
1.12; Clement of Rome, Hom. 1.9) and an act of voluntary
sacrifice provided him with an important position. (Act 4.36ff.).
Without a doubt, he was the intermediary between Paul and the first
apostles, as long as such a position was necessary (Acts 9.27) and even
as the mediator between Jerusalem and Antioch (Acts 11.22ff.). He
was nearly the central figure on the so-called first missionary journey
of Paul (Acts 13-14). Since he dedicated himself entirely to the
pagan mission, it appears that his reputation in Jerusalem did not
remain high. They did not trust him and he had to justify his
behavior, as did Paul (Acts 15; Gal. 2). In the critical
situation that occurred in Antioch, he had not withstood the test after
being tempted by Peter (at least according to Paul’s report in Gal.
2.13, but what was hypocrisy for Paul did not have to be so for
Barnabas). The cooperation with Paul in the missionary task now
ended (Acts also ends their relationship due to discord, but according
to 15.36ff. they argued over whether Mark could come along).
Barnabas went with Mark to Cyprus. As Paul wrote 1 Corinthians
and Galatians, Barnabas was still active as a missionary and his name
was not unknown to the Corinthians (see 1 Corinthians 9.6). That
Paul told the Galatians of the “hypocrisy” of Barnabas with precise
chronology is evidence that this catastrophe when the entire pagan
mission was at stake was unforgettable for the apostle, but it does not
support the assumption that Paul considered himself separate from
Barnabas. The account only mentions him at all to strikingly
characterize the immensity of the disaster that had been prepared by
Peter’s cowardice. The refined expression (“καὶ Βαρνάβας
συναπήχθη”) shows that he was torn away with a weak will. 1
Corinthians 9.6 proves that Paul always saw Barnabas as an apostle of
Christ and in this sense spoke of him in the communities (see also Col.
4.10; this passage indicates that Barnabas was known to Asiatic
Christians as an important figure). But a warm relationship
between them could not have been restored, in spite of the experiences
they shared for so long a time. The silence in Paul’s letters and
in Acts (after chapter 15) is eloquent. But in the matter of the
pagan mission, Barnabas must be judged after Paul as the most
meritorious. In fact, we could anticipate, because the sources
permit us to, that his merit derived from the appeasement [[58b]] of
the worries and suspicions of the Jerusalem mother community were
greater than the preserved accounts relate. According to the
very old tradition of the western church, and also recent scholars, we may possess a writing of
Barnabas—not the alleged Letter of Barnabas, but the Epistle to the
Hebrews. The old report falls sharply in support, but inner
grounds speak against this assumption. Did he go from Cyprus to
Alexandria and work there, as the pseudo-Clementine Homilies
make out (Book 1. U. 2)?
to the Greeks\26/ with effectiveness. These men were the first pagan missionaries and founded the first pagan church, that of Antioch. In their work, they were joined by Barnabas and Paul (Acts 11.23ff.), who quickly became the real leaders.\27/
The converted Greeks in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, that Barnabas and Paul soon developed during their long-standing mission, in the first years were for the most part from the earlier “God-fearers,”\28/ but they were hardly exclusively from this group. In any case, they formed a community in Antioch which consisted of a majority of uncircumcised people and who now themselves took the mission to the pagans in hand.\29/ This community was the first—pagan opponents coined the name—to be called “Christian” (Acts 11.26). This description []
\26/ So Acts 11.20,
reading “Hellenists.” It is not surprising that the pagan
Christian preaching began in Antioch. Only in an international,
leveling great city was this change possible or rather could impose
itself, provided that it was not limited by new knowledge of a
principle. With high probability, these first missionaries were
not limited as such. It is very strange that there is not any
word of an opposition between Jewish Christians and pagan Christians in
Antioch. The local Jews must themselves have converted, scattered
and cosmopolitan as they were, to the community free of the law.
The Jerusalem community first carried an argument into Antioch (see
Acts 15.1 and Gal. 2.11-3).
\27/ All allusions to
Antioch, whether direct or remote, in Acts are particularly noticeable
because the tradition that Luke was a physician from Antioch deserves
belief. Already in chapter six and the immediately following
parts of Acts, there is a tendency toward Antioch.
\28/ Cf. Havet,
Le Christianisme, vol. 4, p. 102, “Je ne sais s'il y est entre, du
vivant de Paul, un seui paien, je veux dire un homme qui ne connut pas
deja, avant d'y entrer le judaisme et la Bible." This is wholly
exaggerated, but it is essentially correct.
\29/ Acts 13.1ff.
The community—that arises out of it—had also strong
self-assurance. Out of that, an acknowledged tension with the
Jerusalem community resulted.
is a proof itself that the new community in Antioch withdrew from Judaism.\30/
The pagan Christian community in Syria and Cilicia did not observe the law, but they acknowledged them as the people of God in the fullest sense of the words and must be concerned not to mar the community in Jerusalem.\31/ Most of the converted cosmopolitan Jews and Geeks were satisfied with the assurance that God already proclaimed through the prophets the unworthiness of the sacrifice,\32/ and that, therefore, one must understand the ceremonial part of the law allegorical and moral. The other communities of pagan Christians, formed by unknown missionaries, like that of Rome, judged so first.
The apostle Paul alone could not so simply compensate his position with the law.\33/ For him, no part of the law had been cancelled through any satisfying dissolution through the operation of time; rather, it remained []
\30/ For further details
about the name “Christian,” see book three. The pagan Christian
theological vocabulary, in addition to what pagan
Christians had received from Jerusalem, must also have developed in
\31/ Compare the
narrative of Acts 11.29; 12.25 regarding a collection that the recently
founded Antioch community sent to Jerusalem at the time of famine under
Claudius. This was the famine in which Queen Helena of Adiabene
amply supported the poor of Jerusalem.
\32/ Regarding the
sacrificial system, the right to abandon the letter of the law had been
made clear without exception; because the sacrificial system was
already moved into the distance and devalued for wide sections of
people. The rest of the law followed as a matter of course.
\33/ The post-apostolic
literature recognizes that this was a popular opinion of pagan
Christians with particularly clarity. It must have retained its
power despite the diverse and energetic teaching of Paul.
\34/ I have treated the date of his conversion in my Chronologie v. 1, p. 233ff. and again in den Sitzungsber. Der Berliner Akademie, 1912, p. 673ff. I have ascertained there that the conversion of Paul was probably in the year 30 CE, that is, either in the year of Christ’s death or in the following year. I have proved this with probability based on three substantiating and at the same different reports that offer three identical statements:
Ophiten (through Irenaeus, 1.30.14), “remoratum Jesum post resurrectionem XVIII mensibus,”
Valentinus (L.C., 1.3.2), “τοὺς ιή αἰῶνας φανεροῦσθαι διὰ τοῦ μετὰ τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀνάστασιυ ιή μησὶ λέγειν διατετριφέναι Ἰησοῦν σὺν τοῖς μαθηταῖς”
Ascens. Isaiah 9.16, “et cum depeculatus est angelum mortis, ascendet [surget] Jesus tertio die et manebit in isto mundo DXLV dies,”
These hardly allow for a different terminus ad quem for the conversion of Paul (1 Cor. 15.8, “ἔσχατον πάντων ὤφθη κἀμοί.”), therefore, the conversion happened eighteen months after the resurrection. Since then a report has yet to come along. Westberg’s correspondence with me directed me toward it in “Excerpta Latina Barbari” in its own style it flatly reports, “Paulus apostolus post ascensionem domini…ordinatur…menses octo.” The author calculates only from the ascension, taking eight months as a basis and it also derives the day before the Epiphany. That is not at all impossible because the time appears to be very short. But did the original tradition calculate from the resurrection and in place of MHN H (the “Excerpta” are a rough overview from the Greeks and we only have a manuscript) read rather MHN IH? The three reports named above serve as confirmation and only hypothetically report on the conversion of Paul. This combination appears to me very probable. What concerns the conversion produces a critical triple examination of the tradition in Acts that the gleam of light and perhaps also a detonation observed by his companions and that not only Paul himself testifies to an appearance as that of Jesus—then he would have known him—compelled his conscience to end his persecution. That a report includes the apocryphal words (“It is difficult to kick against the goads.”) can be entirely his description of his painful and fruitless previous endeavors. He also responded many times regarding his background against his inner state as persecutor. But the words in 9.6 (“Get up and go into the city, and you will be told was you should do”) (further implementations of parallel reports naturally are not under consideration) are not a transition from this scene to the following history, just as the commission of the angels to the women at the empty grave. Every sensible ancient reader must have known the account in chapter nine, that Paul had also heard at the event the words, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” If one remembers this, one must admire the precision of this account and entirely accept that it derived from Paul himself because the words do not imply more as Paul assuredly feels after and during the celestial manifestation that ends the persecution for him and Jesus called him to account. Nothing more was necessary and nothing more was said.
valid in all its senses. It could only be abrogated by him who had given it, that is, by God himself. God could only remove it while at the same time affirming his law, that is, he must cancel the law through by providing for its fulfillment. All of this happened through the crucifixion of God’s son, Jesus Christ, and the resurrection fulfilled and cancelled the law. Whether this contemplation and speculation was secondary and derivative (the apostle himself felt that the possession of the spirit and of new lives had already been achieved), whether they were primary (the certainty of forgiveness had been won), whether both coalesced is a question that does not need to occupy us here. It is enough that it was convincing that through the death and resurrection of Christ, [] a new age had dawned, “The future is already present and the Spirit reigns.” He firmly recognized this certainty of the gospel to be a new level of religion, as he felt himself to be a new creature. The new religious level was the level of the spirit and rebirth, grace and belief, peace and freedom: everything old, also all earlier revelations of God, were behind and below it since these religions pertained to the state of sin. From here he was able, as a Jew and Pharisee, to risk even the great conception with which he founded any healthy philosophy of religion and the entire history of comparative religion, namely, the combination of the “natural” knowledge of God possessed by humankind, i.e., that which developed under the principle of the conscience with the law of the chosen people (Rom. 1f.). Both were revelations of God, although in different ways and not of the same value—both possessed what had been the best of humankind until then—and both had not been sufficient, particularly because they increased the state of sin and lead to death.
A new religion was given—and that is exactly why the pagan mission was not a possibility, but a duty, the freedom of the law was not a concession, but a decisive and blissful form of the gospel. That this was without a sense of the law, but grace and a gift therein justified his way. Christians who were born Jews were allowed to be circumcised and observe the law—he held with this that the Jewish people still had a role to play in the history of God’s plan for the world\35/ --but for salvation, the law was trivial. The pagan convert was neither permitted to be circumcised nor keep the law, for he explained this would mean that Christ died in vain.
In this sense the great apostle preached to the pagans of Christ crucified and not only justified the pagan mission, but also actually realized it. What the others accomplished before him was, when measured []
\35/ Concerning the
question of how Paul independently came to the problem of justice and
salvation place the law, or rather, how he placed the observation of
the law n the perimeter for Jewish Christians and how he himself
behaved on Jewish soil in regard to his relationship to the law, I have
detailed in my “Neuen Unters. Zur Apostelgeschichte” (1911) and
attempted to overcome the Protestant prejudice—without much
success. One cannot find a willing sacrifice or any other kind in
the irrefutable report of Acts and Paul himself truly created an idea
he maintained that he also protected with his principle.
by his conviction, weak and dubious; it appeared to lead to the same goal, but it was entirely just to neither the law nor the gospel. Paul smashed the religion of Israel with the cross of Christ, while he enfolded it with greater reverence and stricter obedience. He explained the time of Israel had expired. With an almost incomprehensible piety, he honored the Jewish Christian community at Jerusalem, from which so much hostility had been shown toward him, but he allowed no doubt that now “the time of the pagans” had arrived, that if the Jewish Christian community did not unite with the pagan Christians to form the “church of God,” they forfeited by this exclusivity their very right to existence. His concept of religion and religious history was, if one looks at the core, about greater simplicity because they rested on a single fact. It cannot be reduced into a single phrase without being distorted into a platitude. It is never vital except in the form of a paradox. In place of forms and the expressions, he had used and by means of which he made the conception valid and secure for himself, it was possible that others might arise, as was the case in the very next generation with the author of Hebrews and with the anonymous genius who composed the Johannine writings. Since then many other teachers appeared to find another basis for the Pauline gospel. I name two very different teachers from the second century, Marcion and Clement of Alexandria, but what they transformed was not the fruit of the kernel. In the core, they were at one with the apostle. It is the prerogative of a historian of later times to be able to see there a unity in the first and last things where the foundation and evidence are very different.
Historically, Paul, a Pharisee and always an ardent Jewish patriot, had dethroned the people and religion of Israel\36/ []
\36/ Now wonder that the
Jews later claimed that he was a pagan in disguise. See Epiph.,
Haer., 30.16, “καὶ τοῦ Παύλου κατηγοροῦντες οὐκ αἰσχύνονται
ἐπιπλάστοις τισὶ τῆς τῶν ψευδαποστόλων αὐτῶν κακουργίας καὶ πλάνης
λόγοις πεποιημένοις. Ταρσέα μὲν αὐτόν, ὡς αὐτὸς ὁμολογεῖ καὶ οὐκ
ἀρνεῖται, λέγοντες ἐξ Ἑλλήνων δὲ αὐτὸν ὐποτίθενται, λαβόντες τὴν
προφάσιν ἐκ τοῦ τόπου διὰ τὸ φιλάληθες ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ ῥηθὲν, ὅτι, Ταρσεύς
εἰμι, οὐκ ἀσήμου πόλεως πολίτης. εἶτα φάσκουσιν αὐτὸν εἶναι Ἕλληνα καὶ
Ἑλληνίδος μητρὸς καὶ Ἕλληνος πατρὸς παῖδα, ἀναβεβηκέναι δὲ εἰς
Ἱεροσόλυμα καὶ χρόνον ἐκεῖ μεμενηκέναι ἐπιτεθυμηκέναι δὲ θυγατέρα τοῦ
ἱερέως πρὸς γάμον ἀγαγέσθαι καὶ τούτου ἕνεκα προσήλυτον γενέσθαι καὶ
περιτμηθῆναι, εἶτα μὴ λαβόντα τὴν κόρην [[63b]]ὠργίσθαι καὶ κατὰ
περιτομῆς γεγραφέναι καὶ κατὰ σαββάτου καὶ νομοθεσίας.” (" Nor are they
ashamed to accuse Paul with false charges concocted by the villainy and
fraud of these false apostles. While a native of Tarsus (as he himself
frankly admits) they avow that he was born of Greek parentage, taking
as their pretext for this assertion the passage in which Paul's love of
truth leads him to declare, ' I am of Tarsus, a citizen of no mean
city.' Whereupon they allege that he was the son of a Greek father and
a Greek mother; that he went up to Jerusalem, where he resided for some
time; that he resolved to marry the daughter of the high priest, and
consequently became a proselyte and got circumcised; and that on
failing to win the girl, he vented his anger in writing against
circumcision and the Sabbath and the Mosaic legislation "). This even summoned
up a racy novel. This is something of the highest frequency in
old historical legends. The apostle was circumcised entirely in
vain to marry a Jewish maid and writes only because he did not get her
against circumcision! From this pure tendency toward fable is the
tradition one finds in Jerome (he says “fabula,” but he must
have taken care to not disown Acts) and is probably traced back to
Origen. Paul’s parents were transplanted from Rome after the
devastation of Judea to Tarsus and their young son when with them
(Jerome, Comm. in ep. Philem., 23), “Quis sit Epaphras
concaptivus Pauli talem fabulam accepimus: Ajut parentes apostoli
Pauli de Gyscalis regione fuisse Judaeae, et eos, cum tota provincia
Romana vastaretur manu et dispergerentur in orbem Judaei, in Tarsum
urbem Ciliciae fuisse translatos, parentum conditionen adolescentulum
Paulum secutum” (see the shortened statement in De vir. Inl., 5
and the piracies in the Bibel-Argumentum; the corresponding statements
in Photius can probably be traced directly back to Origen.)
According to Zahn (Einleit. I3, p. 48), the last
statement is probably correct from the Acts of Paul and is
credible. The last statement is also probable to me (“ ρισαῖος ἐκ
Φαρισαίων explain themselves very splendidly, it was made during
certain difficulties when the family already had lived in Tarsus for a
long time and moreover the information appears incomprehensible); I do
not use the Acts of Paul as a source to compare against it, as far as
we are able to grant it only contains a few sections that are
credible. The devastation, which is handled by the Acts of Paul,
suffered under Varus in 4 BCE in Galilee was very difficult to
bear. Πόλις Γίσχαλα lies north by northwest from the Sea of
Galilee, see Thomsen, Loca Sancta I, p. 52=ed-dschisch, and is
frequently mentioned by Josephus.
He tore the gospel from Jewish soil and transplanted it to the soil of humankind.\37/ No wonder that the full reaction of Judaism against the gospel now began—the reaction of Jews and Jewish Christians. The hostility of Jews appears on every page of Acts from chapter twelve on,\38/ and one can also learn of it from []
\37/ No one has
expressed the outcome of the transplantation in a loftier style than
Luke in Jesus’ birth narrative in chapter two, especially in the words
he places in the angels and in the mouths of the angels. From Paul’s
appraisal in the pagan church a very complex problem arises that cannot
be handled here. One finds the highest assessment among the
Marcionites. Origen (Hom. XXV in Lucam, t. 5 p. 181f, ed.
Lommatzsch) tells us that they taught that Paul sit in heaven at the
right hand of Christ and Marcion on his left. He continues on,
“Porro alii legentes: Mittam vobis advocatu spiritum veritatis,
volunt intellegere apostolum Paulum.” If one was to look for the
latter in catholic circles, it seems unlikely to me that this view is
characteristic of the larger church, but was characteristic of a
\38/ Now began the
persecution of King Herod and he particularly directed himself against
the college of twelve (Acts 12). He made an example by allowing
the execution of James Zebedee (why he selected him, we do not
know). Then he allowed Peter to be placed in chains, but he
escaped from death, although he had to [[64b]] leave Jerusalem.
This happened twelve years after the death of Christ. Since then
it appears that only on one occasion were individual apostles in
Jerusalem. At the time of the so-called Apostles Council, Peter
was in Jerusalem again, but the convention concludes that Paul was not
among the twelve, but rather with Jesus’ brother, James, and
John. Where were the others?
the evangelical reports. The Jews then tried to exterminate the Palestinian community and to silence the Christian missionaries. They sought to hinder the work of Paul at every step. They cursed belief in Christ and Christ in their synagogues.\39/ They incited the masses and the authorities everywhere;\40/ they made terrible accusations against the Christians. Already in the time of Trajan, they played a role, systematically and officially setting in the world these accusations (“They are the originators of the worst prejudices against the righteous one and against us, his disciples”) and they initiated slander about Jesus.\41/ []
\39/ See Justin, Dial.
16, 47, 93, 95, (Here it says, “If they could, they would even kill
us.) 96, 108, 117, 133, 137 (here Justin says that the cursing of
Christ in the synagogue of God’s worship derived from an order from the
archsynagogue "μετὰ τὴν προσευχήν"). Epiph.,
Haer., 29.9 and Jerome, in Isaiah, 52.5 (T.iv., p. 604),
“Judai diebus ac noctibus blasphemant salvatorem et sub nomine
Nazaraeorum ter in die [in synagogis] in Christianos congerunt
maledicta.” Christians were forbidden to say this: Justin, Dial.,
\40/ Justin, Dial.,
16, “οὐ γὰρ ἐξουσίαν ἔχετε αὐτόχειρες γενέσθαι ἡμῶν διὰ τοὺς νῦν
ἐπικρατοῦντας· ὁσάκις δὲ ἂν ἐδυνήθητε, καὶ τοῦτο ἐπράξατε.” In Dialogue
122, Justin says that the Jewish proselytes (the “γηόρα”) in the
Diaspora were as hostile toward the Christians as the Jews themselves,
“οἱ προσήλυτοι οὐ μόνον οὐ πιστεύουσιν, ἀλλὰ διπλότερον ὑμῶν
βλασφημοῦσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα Χριστοῦ, καὶ ἡμᾶς τοὺς εἰς ἐκεῖνον
πιστεύοντας καὶ φονεύειν καὶ αἰκίζειν βούλονται κατὰ πάντα γὰρ
ὑμῖν ἐξομοιοῦσθαι σπεύδουσι.” One should remind oneself of the
behavior of the Jews of Asia Minor toward Paul during his last
residence in Jerusalem.
\41/ Justin (Dial.,
17. ; cp. 108, 117.), after making out that the Jews were responsible
for the calumnies against the Christians, observes that the Jewish
authorities in Jerusalem sent out, “ἄνδρας ἐκλεκτοὺς ἀπὸ Ἰερουσαλὴμ εἰς
πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν, λέγοντας αἵρεσιν ἄθεον Χριστιανῶν πεφηνέναι,
καταλέγοντας ταῦτα, ἅπερ καθ’ ἡμῶν οἱ ἀγνοοῦντες ἡμᾶς πάντες λέγουσιν,
ὥστε οὐ μόνον ἑαντοῖς ἀδικίας αἴτιοι ὑπάρχετε, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις
ἅπασιν ἁπλῶς ἀνθρώποις” ("Chosen men from Jerusalem into every land,
declaring that a godless sect of Christians had appeared, and uttering
everything that those who are ignorant of us say unanimously against
us. So that you are the cause not only of your own unrighteousness, but
also of that of all other men"). Cf. 117, “τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ ὄνομα
βεβηλωθῆναι κατὰ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν καὶ βλασφημεῖσθαι οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς τοῦ λαοῦ
ὑμῶν καὶ διδάσκαλοι εἰργάσαντο” ("The name of the Son of God have the
chief priests of your nation and your teachers caused to be profaned
throughout all the earth and to be blasphemed"). Also 108, “ἄνδρας
χειροντονήσαντες ἐκλεκτοὺς εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην ἐπέμψατε,
κηρύσσοντας ὅτι ἅιρεσις τις ἄθεος καὶ ἄνομος ἐγήγερται ἀπὸ Ἰησοῦ τινος
Γαλιλαίου πλάνου, ὃν σταυρωσάντων ἡμῶν οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τοῦ
μνήματος νυκτός...πλανῶσι τοὺς ἀνθρώπους λέγοντες ἐγηγέρθαι αὐτὸν ἐκ
νεκρῶν καὶ εἰς οὐρανὸν ἀνεληλυθέναι, κατειπόντες [[65b]] δεδιδαχέναι
καὶ ταῦτα ἅπερ κατὰ τῶν ὁμολογούντων Χριστὸν καὶ διδάσκαλον καὶ υἱὸν
θεοῦ εἶναι παντὶ γένει ἀνθρώπων ἄθεα καὶ ἄνομα καὶ ἀνόσια λέγετε” ("You
have sent chosen and appointed men into all the world to proclaim that
' a godless and lawless sect has arisen from a certain Jesus, a
Galilean impostor, whom we crucified ; his disciples, however, stole
him by night from the tomb…and now deceive people by asserting that he
rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.' You accuse him of having
taught the godless, lawless, and unholy doctrines which you bring
forward against those who acknowledge him to be Christ, a teacher from
God, and the Son of God"). Justin, Apol., 1.10, 1.31 (in
the war of Bacochba, the Jewish Christians were bloodily persuected by
the Jews.) Tert., ad Nat., 1.14, “et credidit vulgus
Judaeo ; quod enim aliud genus semmarium est infamiae nostrae?” ("The
crowd believed the Jew. In what other set of people lies the seedplot
of calumny against us?"); adv. Marc., 3.23; adv. Jud.,
13, “ab illis enim incepit infamia” (" They started the calumny ");
Scorpiace 10, “synagogae Judaeorum fontes perseculionum;” Iren.,
4.21.3, “ecclesia insidias et persecutiones a Judaeis patitur;” 4.28.3,
“Judaei interfectores domini .... apostolos interficientes et
persequentes ecclesiam.” Justin (Dial., 17) and Origen
repeatedly testifies to the fact that the Jews were the originators of
the calumnies against Christians; (see
Contra Celsus, 6.27, “Καὶ δοκεῖ μοι παραπλήσιον Ἰουδαίοις
πεποιηκέναι, τοῖς κατὰ τὴν ἀρχὴν τῆς τοῦ χριστιανισμοῦ
διδασκαλίας κατασκεδάσασι δυσφημίαν τοῦ λόγου, ὡς ἄρα καταθύσαντες
παιδίον μεταλαμβάνουσιν αὐτοῦ τῶν σαρκῶν, καὶ πάλιν ὅτι οἱ ἀπὸ τοῦ
λόγου τὰ τοῦ σκότου πράττειν βουλόμενοι σβεννύουσι μὲν τὸ φῶς, ἕκαστος δὲ τῇ
παρατυχούσῃ μίγνυται· ἥτις δυσφημία παραλόγως πάλαι μὲν πλείστων ὅσων
ἐκράτει πείθουσα τοὺς ἀλλοτρίους τοῦ λόγου ὅτι τοιοῦτοί εἰσι
Χριστιανοί, καὶ νῦν δὲ ἔτι ἀπατᾷ τινας ἀποτρεπομένους διὰ τὰ τοιαῦτα κἂν εἰς κοινωνίαν
ἁπλουστέραν λόγων ἥκειν πρὸς Χριστιανούς.” In Contra Celsus,
6.40, it says that the these dreadful accusations as
“κατεψευσμένα” were also known “ὑπὸ τῶν πολλῶν καὶ πάντῃ
ἀλλοτρίων τῆς καθ’ ἡμᾶς θεοσεβείας.” Along with it, see passages
like Hom. I. on Ps. 36. (t. 12, p. 54, ed. Lomm.), “etiam nunc
Judaei non moventur adversus gentiles, adversus eos, qui idola colunt
et deum blasphemant, et illos non oderunt nee indignantur adversus eos;
adversus Christiano vero insatiabili odio feruntur” ("The Jews even now
are not angry at the heathen who worship idols and blaspheme God; they
do not hate them, but they attack Christians with insatiable hatred;"
cp. also p. 155). Further, Commentary 20 § 30 on John, where the Jews say,
“Ἤμεῖς μᾶλλον ἔνα πατέρα ἔχομεν τὸν θεόν, ἥπερ σύ, ὁ φάσχων μὲν ἐκ
παρθένου γεγεννῆσθαι, ἐκ πορνείας δὲ γεγεννημένος” and Homily 19.12 on
Jeremiah, “Εἶσελθε εἰς τὰς τῶν Ἰουδαίων συναγωγὰς καὶ ἴδε τὸν Ἰησοῦν
ὑπ’ αὐτῶν τῇ λώσσῃ τῆς βλασθημίας μαστιγούμενον.” By far the most important
notice is that preserved by Eusebius (On Isa., 18.1 f.),
although its source is unfortunately unknown--at any rate it did not
come from Justin. It runs as follows, “εὕρομεν ἐν τοῖς τῶν παλαιῶν
συγγράμμασιν, ὡς οἱ τῆν Ἰερουσαλὴμ οἰκοῦντες τοῦ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἔθνους
ἱερεῖς καὶ πρεσβύτεροι γράμματα διαχαράξαντες εἰς πάντα διεπέμψαντο τὰ
ἔθνη τοῖς ἁπανταχοῦ Ἰουδαίοις διαβάλλοντες τὴν Χριστοῦ διδασκαλίαν ὡς
αἵρεσιν καινὴν καὶ ἀλλοτρίαν τοῦ θεοῦ, παρήγγελλόν τε δι’ ἐπιστολῶν μὴ
παραδέξασθαι αὐτήν...οἵ τε ἀπόστολοι αὐτῶν ἐπιστολὰς βιβλίνας
κομιζόμενοι...ἀπανταχοῦ γῆς διέτρεχον, τὸν περὶ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν
ἐνδιαβάλλοντες λόγον. ἀποστόλους δὲ εἰσέτι καὶ νῦν ἔθος ἐστὶν
Ἰουδαίοις ὀνομάζειν τοὺς ἐγκύκλια γράμματα παρὰ τῶν ἀρχόντων αὐτῶν
ἐπικομιζομένονς” ("In the writings of the ancients we find that the
priests and elders of the Jewish people resident at Jerusalem drew up
and dispatched written instructions for the Jews throughout every
country, slandering the doctrine of Christ as a newfangled heresy which
was alien to God, and charging them by means of letters not to accept
it. .... Their apostles also, conveying formal letters...swarmed
everywhere on earth, calumniating the gospel of our Savior. And even at
the present day it is still the custom of the Jews to give the name of
' apostle ' to those who convey encyclical epistles from their
rulers"). Compare this also with Macarius Magnes, 3.22.29 (see my
collection of Fragments of Porphyry, 1916, S. 56 Nr. 26). Pagan
opponents had subscribed to Peter it would seem from 2 Corinthians
11.13, thereupon he comments of Christ, “Παῦλος οὐ τοὺς [[65c]] περὶ
Πέτρον ψευδαποστόλους θρυλλεῖ, ἀλλὰ τοὺς ὑπὸ Ἰουδαίων ἀνὰ τὴν
οἰκουμένην ἐκπεμπομένους τοὺς τὰ ἐγκύκλια γράμματα περιφέροντας, οὓς
ἐξαποστέλλοντες ἀποστόλους ἐκάλουν” (Apocr., 3., Blondel, p.
123). According to
these passages (the second flows from the first) Paul would be an
"apostle" before he became an apostle, and the question might be raised
whether the former capacity did not contribute in some way to the
feeling he had, on becoming a Christian, that he was thereby called
immediately to be an apostle of Christ.
They established an organized countermission; they supplied pagan enemies of the Christians with literary material. They—if all the evidence is not misleading—inspired the Neronian persecution and almost as a rule in later blood persecutions [] they stood either in the background or the foreground of the action.\42/ Tertullian called the synagogues “the fountain of persecution.” They felt pagan Christians were by instinct their real enemy, although it appeared that they were no concern of theirs. The Jews did what they had to: they accelerated the process that signified the entire liberation of the new religion from the old and prevented Judaism from developing the solution to a problem that it had already begun to address and that is the problem of becoming a world religion. In this sense, Jewish hostility was unsatisfying: it helped to make both religions completely separate from each other and it strengthened a feeling, at a time when it was necessary to do so, in the pagan Christian community that their religion appeared to be a new religion and that they were not only authorized as a second order, but were the new people of God, that they had taken the place of the old.\43/ []
\42/ See Origen, Hom.
I in Psalm 36, Tom. XII, p. 154ff., “Etiam nunc Judaei non moventur
adversus gentiles…adversus Christianos vero insatiabili odio feruntur,
qui utique relictis idolis ad deum conversi sunt…irritantur in nos et
idio nos habent velut entem insipientem, dicentes se esse sapientes,
quoniam quidem primis ipsis commissa sunt eloquis dei,” u. Comm. Ser.
114 in Matth., Tom., V, p. 19, “Judaei denegare frequentes compulerunt
\43/ In this connection,
one must also note the Christian usage of “ἔθνη” (“gentes,”
“Gentiles”). The Old Testament placed “ἔθνη” against the people
of Israel (under the circumstances, they were naturally reckoned
amongst the “peoples”) and it was entirely common for Jews to merely
characterize other religions as religions of “ἔθνη.”
Consequently, “ἔθνη” in the time before Christ already had a meaning
that approximately coincided with our word “pagan” (perhaps this is
where German received the word ἔθνη, see later about that). Paul, and obviously he was
not alone in this, could not allow anyone won over by the gospel of
non-Jewish to be reckoned as ἔθνη. It once pertained to him, but
not any longer (cf. I Cor. 12.2, “οἴδατε ὅτι ὅτε ἔθνη ἦτε πρός τὰ
εἴδωλα...ἤγεσθε,” "you know that when you were Gentiles, you
were led away to idols;” now he belongs to the true Israel or the new
people.) Clearly, this did not originally that he had to really
change his nationality, it must have stimulate Christian
cosmopolitanism, as well as the self-awareness that they occupied a
special political position when one contrasted them with all the
“ἔθνη,” on the other hand they were thought of as the new people,
[[67b]] who repudiated all connections with the Jews. We scarcely
need to mention that where the connection was unmistakable and it only
depended on a non-Jewish descent, Christians were still described as
part of “ἔθνη.”
But the Jewish Christians entered the struggle. From Jerusalem a demand was sent that the Antioch community should be circumcised. The consequence of this demand was the so-called apostolic council. We have two report of this event (Galatians 2 and Acts 15); but each leaves much to be desired and both are hardly consistent. Paul’s account is more thrown-down than written and it strives so forcibly to emphasize the conclusion that its disjointed sentences partly obscure the early states. The other account perhaps confused the final conclusion through the surprising combination with another later action and also otherwise excited scruples. But one can ascertain that Peter, John, and James recognized Paul’s work and gave him no prescriptions for his missionary work and they remained exclusively concerned with the Jewish mission until later. The mixing of Jewish and Gentile Christians into a single community of worship and life was not at first achieved by Paul. Only the principle was victorious. Amongst wider circles of Jewish Christians, an agreement, which was admittedly insecure and ephemeral, could be ignored. Nevertheless, much had been won through the agreement itself, as was other agreements put forward later. Jewish Christians themselves split up. How they could still continue to hold together in Jerusalem and elsewhere is a great mystery. A part continued with ardent hostility toward Paul and his work and by all means sought to persecute. They sought to destroy him. It was also certain that they had honest convictions that Paul was not able to understand. He made concessions to the last for these “fanatics for the law” on Palestinian soil; only outside of Palestine did he repudiate them so that he could win pagans for their form of Christianity. The other part, and also on this soil Peter and possibly the other original apostles stood, soon began, even if tentatively and hesitantly, to go outside the convention and they began long-term relationships with pagan Christians outside of Palestine and to guide Jewish Christians in this direction. These uncertain attempts culminated in a new convention through which they now really became a living community. After this Peter and perhaps also several of the number of the original apostles [] entered into the pagan mission. The last barrier had fallen.\44/ If we admire the greatness of Paul, we should not marvel less at the original apostles, who for the gospel were willing to adopt a new lifestyle that the lord and master, with whom they had eaten and drunken, had not taught them.
The Jewish Christians, in associating with the pagan Christians, abolished itself. Peter in this second period of his effectiveness was no longer a “Jewish Christian,” but became Greek.\45/ Yet, two Jewish Christian parties remained, []
\44/ One can certainly
assume that in the Diaspora—not only in provinces neighboring
Palestine—there were originally Jewish Christian communities, not only
Jewish Christian existing within the pagan Christian community.
But such Jewish Christian communities in Asia or wherever else they
existed must have been absorbed relatively quickly with the pagan
Christians or Pauline communities. The communities of Smyrna and
Philadelphia appear to have consisted of essentially converted Jews
about 93 CE (cp. Rev. 2-3), but they stand in association with other
communities, as if they were pagan Christians. But a question
arises here: did Paul start a community or was he required to
tolerate for a long time the observance of Jewish Christianity, a
social-national special existence? I do not see how these
questions can be answered negatively. Paul must have been
determined to administer the Jews as born Christians or had rejected it
for a long time, until they abandoned observation of the law and this
is not probable. In my opinion, 2 Thessalonians is proof for the
first opinion in that in Thessalonica the Jewish Christian part of the
community formed a group for itself and, therefore, the apostle
determined to send a special letter to them (see Sitzungsber. der
Preuß. Akad. der Wiss., 1910, p. 60ff.)
\45/ See Pseudo-Clement,
Hom. XI, 16, “ἔὰν ὁ ἀλλόφυλος τὸν νόμος πράξῃ, Ἰουδαῖός ἐστιν, μὴ
πράξας δὲ Ἰουδαῖος Ἕλλην ("If one of other nation observe the law, he
is a Jew ; the Jew who does not observe it is a Greek"). Peter’s
labors in the mission field must have brought him to the side of Paul
(see 1 Clem. 5) or else his standing in the pagan church would be
completely incomprehensible. But we do not know any further
details about it. Incidentally, we learn from Galatians 2 that he
was in Antioch. 1 Corinthians makes it probable that he came to
Corinthians shortly after the founding of the Corinthian
community. It is entirely by chance that we know this. Luke
loses interest in Peter’s missionary activity after Acts 12; why this
is so is not really clear. Meanwhile, if he had dealt with Jewish
Christians in a universal sense without immediately liberating them
from the Jewish lifestyle, one can understand that the pagan Christian
tradition had no special interest in his work. But there must
have been a moment in which he must have put himself entirely into the
principles of pagan Christian. One can suspect that it did not
happen during his first time in Rome, but already when he was in
Corinth. (He was hardly in Rome a few months, then he was
crucified. We possess [[69b]] a documentary report that has been
strangely overlooked until now. Porphyry writes in Macarius
Magnes (3.22), “Peter is narrated to have been crucified, after
pasturing the lambs for several months" (ἱστορεῖται μήδ’ ὀλίγους μῆνας
βοσκήσας τὰ προβάτια ὁ Πέτρος ἐσταυρῶσθαι). This can only refer
to his residence in Rome. The report is so important since
Porphyry lived in Rome for a long time and had close dealings with
Christians. But if the pagan cited by Macarius is not Porphyry,
then he has written like him). Nevertheless, we must understand
that means are lacking to really be able to explain Peter’s position
next to Paul (see Clement and Ignatius) and then above him. Also
that the letter we read as 1 Peter in the New Testament is attributed
to him is a mystery that has hardly fewer difficulties than the
assumption that the author was really him, if Silas was also his conception.
Namely, that which held to the convention of the apostles’ council; it gave the pagan Christians their blessing, but disassociated themselves from their life, and that which continued to fight the pagan church as a pseudo-church. Neither party counts in latter church history, due to their numerical weakness. Justin, who must have known the facts, says in Apol., 1.53 that the Jewish nation rejected Jesus " with few exceptions" (“πλὴν ὀλίγων τινῶν”). In addition, Origen’s Com. In 1 John 7, “It is improbable that 144,000 Christians were on Jewish soil.” In the Diaspora, apart from Syria and Egypt, Jewish Christians hardly appeared;\46/ there the pagan Christians felt as lords, in fact they were almost alone,\47/ and this did not last beyond 180 CE when the catholic church inserted Jewish Christians in their catalog of heretics. Pagan Christians paid them back with the same coin: the heretics made their earlier judges heretics.
But the relationship of Jewish Christians to their kinsmen, the Jews, deteriorated quickly—that is, so far as real relationships existed. The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple provoked the last crisis, and led to a complete break []
\46/ Individual attempts
at propaganda were not lacking. The main types of propaganda
include the pseudo-Clement literature, Symmachus and his literary
activities at the end of the second century and also that of Elkesait
Alcibiades of Apamea in Syria, who went to Rome ad Hippolytus in the Philosophumena.
Gnostic Jewish Christianity, to which all of these phenomenons
subscribed, entitled it to expect a better hearing in the pagan world
than the stricter form of belief. It would take us too far from
our purpose to go into these details.
\47/ One knows from
Justin, Dial., 47 how the pages turned. For a long time,
the pagan Christians ceased to create any more conditions, but they
considered whether and to what extent they could recognize Jewish
Christians as Christians. They proceeded with considerable rigor
in this matter.
between them.\48/ No Christian, even one who was a simple Jew, could see the catastrophe of the Jewish state, with its capital and its sanctuary, as anything else than a just punishment of a people who had crucified their Messiah. With that, he ceased to be a real Jew—certainly the catastrophe decimated the exclusive Jewish Christianity of Palestine and drove a considerable number back to Judaism or forward into the catholic church—for a Jew who accepted the destruction of his state and temples as divine judgment, himself died along with it.\49/ How inconsistencies cannot be felt when they are tightly bound to tradition! Jewish Christians remained after the fall of Jerusalem were they were and also obviously lamented the fall of the temple and also saw in this event a proper punishment! Did they wish that the temple would be built again or did they wish it to not be rebuilt? That they were a double-offense to their fellow-countrymen, the real Jews, is wholly understandable. These poor people were always caught in cross-fire: the Jews persecuted them with furious hatred,\50/ and the pagan church judged them as heretics, that is to say, not as Christians. Jerome, who knew them personally, called them “semi-Jews” and “semi-Christians” at the same time.\51/ He was not wrong. They really were “half,” although they followed the way of life Jesus himself taught. Under the pressure of Jesus’ words, they slowly died.
There is hardly any fact as worthy of meditation as this that the religion of Jesus could never root itself in Jewish or even Semitic soil.\52/ There must have been something in this []
\48/ We do not know when
Jewish Christians broke off their relationship or were forced to
separate from the synagogue. We can only surmise that if these
relationships survived until 70 CE, they very quickly ended then.
\49/ See Windisch,
Der Untergang Jerusalems (ann. 70) im Urteil der Christen und Juden
\50/ Epiphanius (H.,
29.9), “οὐ μόνον οἱ τῶν Ἰουδαίων παῖδες πρὸς τούτους κέκτηνται μῖσος, ἀλλὰ
ἀνιστάμενοι ἕωθεν καὶ μέσης ἡμέρας καὶ περὶ τὴν ἑσπέραν, τρίς τῆς
ἡμέρας, ὅτε εὐχὰς ἐπιτελοῦσιν ἐν ταῖς αὐτὼν συναγωγαῖς ἐπαρῶνται αὐτοῖς
καὶ ἀναθεματίζουσι φάσκοντες ὅτι Ἐπικαταράσαι ὁ θεὸς τοὺς
Ναζωραίους. καὶ γὰρ τούτοις περισσότερον ἐνέχουσι, διὰ τὸ ἀπὸ
Ἰουδαίων αὐτοὺς ὄντας Ἰησοῦν κηρύσσειν εἶναι Χριστόν, ὅπερ ἐστὶν
ἐναντίον πρὸς τοὺς ἔτι Ἰουδαίους τοὺς Χριστὸν μὴ δεξαμένους” ("Not
merely are they visited with hatred at the hands of Jewish children,
but rising at dawn, at noon, and eventide, when they perform their
orisons in their synagogues, the Jews curse them and anathematize them,
crying ' God curse the Nazarenes !' For, indeed, they are assailed all
the more bitterly because, being themselves of Jewish origin, they
proclaim Jesus to be the Messiah -- in opposition to the other Jews who
\51/ Epiphanius (l.c.)
says of them, “Ἰουδαῖοι μᾶλλον καὶ οὐδὲν ἕτερον · πάνυ δὲ οὗτοι ἐχθροὶ
τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις ὑπάρχουσιν” (" They are Jews more than anything else,
and yet they are detested by the Jews").
\52/ The Syrians were a
known exception, yet how very Hellenized the Syrian church was, it
retained a single language!
religion, something that related to the freer Greek spirit. In a certain way, Christianity has remained Greek until the modern day. The forms assumed from this soil are in the catholic Church—and also in Protestantism—entirely modified, but they have never been shed. What tests of strength this religion experienced in early childhood! “Go out from your homeland and from your friends into a land that I will show you and I will make you a great nation.” Islam came into being in Arabia and remains entirely an Arab religion. The power of its youth was also the power of its manhood. The Christian religion directly after its appearance was driven out from the country it belonged to. It must, almost from the very beginning, learn to distinguish between the kernel and the shell.\53/
Paul is only partially responsible for the determined anti-Judaism that already developed in the oldest pagan Christianity. He also taught that the time of the Jews (“whom all people detest,” 1 Thess. 2.15) had already ended, but he could not and would not believe in a definitive repudiation of God’s people. His final word on the matter is spoken in Romans 11, “I wish not to leave you ignorant of the mystery, that obstinacy befell on part of Israel until the full number of pagans will be drawn in, and so all of Israel will be saved…for the merciful declarations and the calling of God are irrevocable.” In this sense, Paul remained a Jewish Christian. The duality of humankind (Jews and “nations”) remained in a sense, despite the church of God that spanned them both, and this church did not abrogate the special promises given to the Jews. []
\53/ The gospel closely
associated itself with Hellenism, but this association was not
exclusive in our period. On the contrary, one places the greatest
weight, as Paul already had, on the fact that all people were
called and the gospel received members from all nations.
The Greeks obtained the rank of primi inter pares, and their
esteem must grow in the matter as tradition was allowed to increase in
importance and since it could not and was not permitted to trace the
latter back to the Jews (since the middle of the second century, the
calling from the Jerusalem community was a calling to a Greek
community, not a Jewish one). In this sense, Latins felt
themselves as secondary against the Greeks, yet it was not long before
the Roman church offset this disadvantage. In the Easter
controversy around 190 CE, certain rivalries came to be expressed for
the first time, but they were not national—the Roman community was at
that time already overwhelmingly Greek—but rather provincial.
But this point of view remained Pauline. To those who relieved themselves from the letter of the Old Testament religion and the religion itself through the means of allegory—these formed the great majority—the Pauline contemplation had no draw for them and they did not think it was at all valid since the legitimacy of the allegorical conception, and inferentially the legitimacy of the pagan church as a whole, was called into question if the Pauline view remained valid at any point.\54/ If the nation of Israel retained a special privilege, if a single special promise still had any meaning whatsoever, if even one letter remained in force, then how could the rest be spiritualized and transferred to foreign people? The consequence following from this reflection is that the Jewish people were abandoned, that it is Ishmael, not Isaac, Esau and not Jacob. But this opinion was not sufficient. If the spiritual interpretation of the Old Testament is right and the literal is false, then the first was right from the beginning and what was false yesterday could not be right today. But only the Jewish people followed it from the beginning and they always held a literal interpretation. It allowed for circumcision. It needed bloody sacrifices. It observed the food laws. They were always in error and this error shows that they never were the chosen people. The chosen people were always the Christian people. It always existed latently--the younger brother is in truth the older—though it first appeared with Christ. The Jewish people had lost the promise from the beginning; indeed it was also a question whether it was valid for them. At any rate, the literal interpretation of God’s revealed will proves that they abandoned God and had fallen under the direction of the devil. This was clear so the last step must be taken and the last judgment spoken: the Old Testament, the entire book, did not concern the Jews at all. They had unlawfully and insolently seized it and they sought to be its sole owner through falsifying their interpretations and even by corrections and omissions. Every Christian must deny their possession. It would be a sin for Christians to say, “This book belongs to us and the Jews.” The book pertains from the beginning, []
\54/ The Pauline
teaching of the law and the old covenant was not understood in wide
circles and was not received or only received in fragments, as post-apostolic literature
now and always, to Christians alone.\55/ The Jews are the worst, the most godless and the most God-forsaken of all nations,\56/ truly the people of the devil, the synagogue of Satan, a community of hypocrites.\57/ The crucifixion of the Lord is the signature of these people.\58/ God has not brought them to open ruin before all the world: their temple was burned, their capital was destroyed, their community was destroyed, their people were scattered—never again would Jerusalem be entered.\59/ One can doubt whether God wanted the conversion of these people, whether one who undertook to win a single Jew intervenes unlawfully in his punishment. This nation will not move so that by their obstinacy and hostility to Christ, they relieve Christians from answering these questions.
This was the consistent position of the pagan church against Judaism. The inclination of self-preservation and the justification of the appropriation of the Old Testament met with the old antipathy of the Greeks and Romans against Judaism. The last consequence, as the unknown author of the Epistle of Barnabas draws (c. 4.6f., 14.1f.), not all ventured to draw. Most []
\55/ It was an
uncomfortable fact that the book had not been wrested from the Jews and
that they continued to have it and use it, but pseudo-Justin (Cohort,
13) ascribes this to the Jews preserving of the Old Testament was
according to God’s order so that they could provide a refutation of
pagan opponents who objected Christianity because of its forgeries
(i.e. the prophecies). But Justin makes an accusation against the
Jews in his Dialogue that they falsified the Old Testament in
anti-Christian sense. His proofs are trivial.
\56/ Justin, for
example, judges that the Jews are not more favorable than the pagans
(see Apol. 1.37, 39, 43, 44, 47, 53, 60). Aristides’ more
friendly position in Apol., 14 is an exception.
\57/ Compare Revelation
2.9, 3.9; Didache 8, and also the treatment of the Jews in John and the
Gospel of Peter. Barnabas 9.4 says that an evil angel from the
beginning tempted them. In 2 Clement 2.3, the Jews are called,
“οἱ δοκοῦντες ἔχειν θεόν” (" they that seem to have God"); similarly in
the teaching of Peter in Clement,
Strom., 6.5.41, “ἐκεῖνοι μόνοι οἰόμενοι τὸν θεὸν γιγνώσκειν οὐκ
ἐπίστανυαι” ("They suppose they alone know God, but they do not
understand him"). Zeno of Verona writes (2.64), “The
Red Sea continued to unite them to the land once they were scattered”
and in 2.65, “Judah! Go into the desert, if you want to
absolutely imitate your ancestors.”
\58/ Pilate was increasingly exonerated.
\59/ Cf. Tertullian,
Apol., 21, “dispersi, palabundi et soli et caeli sui extorres
vagantur per orbem sine homine, sine deo rege, quibus nee advenarum
iure terram patriam saltim vestigio salutare conceditur” ("Scattered,
wanderers, exiles from their own land and clime, they roam through the
world without a human or a divine king, without so much as a stranger's
right to set foot even in their native land ").
\60/ For the following,
see my Lehrbuch der Dogmenschichte, I4, p. 197ff.
conceded in an unclear manner that in earlier times a special relationship existed between God and this people, but they also insisted that all of the promises in the Old Testament applied to the Christians. While “Barnabas” discerned in the literal observation of the law a proof of a fiendish seduction to which the Jewish people submitted,\61/ most saw circumcision as a sign given by God\62/ and recognized that the literal observation of the law was temporary for that purpose and was the commandment of God, although righteousness never extended from observance of the law. However, they saw in the spiritual sense the only true interpretation, through the fault of the Jews they misunderstood it, they judged that the burden of the ceremonial law was a pedagogical necessity to counter the stubbornness and the idolatrous inclination of the people (a protection of monotheism) and gave the sign of circumcision an interpretation through which it no longer appeared as a good thing, bur rather more as a feature of the execution of judgment on Israel.\63/
Israel therefore was really for all times the inferior or church of the devil. In truth, the “older” people did not precede the “younger” []
\61/ See Epistle of
Barnabas, 9f. One misunderstands the position of Barnabas toward
the Old Testament if one believes that his interpretations in chapters
six through ten can be crossed over as “strange” and “capricious” and
set aside as careless and “unmethodical.” “Unmethodical” is not
at all true and consequently it is not arbitrary either. The
strictest spiritual concept of God in Barnabas and the conviction that
all (Jewish) ceremonies are devilish compel him to his interpretation,
from the perspective of Barnabas, no mere ingenious idea unless he must
completely abandon the Old Testament. For example, the entire
authority of the Old Testament must have been destroyed for Barnabas,
unless he had succeeded in finding some fresh interpretation of the
statement that Abraham circumcised his servants. He does this by
combining another passage from Genesis and now he does not find in the
report circumcision, but a prophecy of the crucified Christ (c. 9).
\62/ Barnabas, 9.6,
“ἀλλ’ ἐρεῖς· καὶ μὴν περιτέτμηται ὁ λαὸς εἰς σφραγῖδα” ("But thou wilt
say, this people hath been certainly circumcised for a seal").
Barnabas has the vulgar pagan Christians speak; he himself does not
share in this opinion.
\63/ Compare Justin,
Dial., 16, 18, 20, 30, 40-46. He establishes three judgments
at the same time: (1) that the ceremonial law was a pedagogical
discipline of God to counteract the stubbornness of people inclined
toward apostasy, (2) that, as in circumcision, they should make known
the people in the future judgment which was to be executed by divine
order, (3) that the Jewish worship of God through the ceremonial law
portrayed the particular depravity and misdeeds of the nation.
Justin, however, approved of the Decalogue as the natural law of reason
and therefore as distinct from the ceremonial law.
for temporally, the latter was more ancient and the “new” law was the original law. But the patriarchs, prophets, and men of God who had been counted worthy of the announcement of God’s word had nothing in common inwardly with the Jewish people. They were God’s elect who distinguished themselves by holy conduct corresponding to their election and they must be looked at as the precursors and fathers of the latent Christian people.\64/ To the question of how it is to be explained that these men must not be looked at as Jews, they appeared externally almost within the nation, no satisfactory answer has been received from early documents. One could probably assume that God in his mercy took care to bring the worst nation to correct knowledge through the sharpest means, but even this does not bear any fruit.
Such an injustice as the pagan church employed against Judaism is almost unprecedented in history. The pagan church denied it everything; it took away its holy book, and while it is only transformed Judaism, cut every connection with Judaism. The daughter disowned the mother, and then she looted her! But is this observation really true? From a certain perspective, it is certainly true and perhaps no one can force one to desert it. But from a higher place, the facts have a different look: the Jewish people, through the rejection of Jesus, denied their calling and dealt the deathblow to themselves. []
\64/ This is the
consistent view of all of the authors of the post-apostolic
period. Christians are the true Israel; with it all of the
honorable titles of the nation of Israel were proper to them.
They are they twelve tribes (see James 1.1) and Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob are the Christian’s father (this idea which dominated in the
pagan church with no doubt is not only to be traced back to the apostle
Paul); the men of God in the Old Testament were Christians, see
Ignatius, ad Magn., 8.2, “οἱ προφῆται κατὰ Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν
ἔζησαν” ("the prophets lived according to Christ Jesus"). But it
is to be observed that not a small section of Christians, the majority
of whom were called Gnostic and Marcionites, rejected the Old Testament
with Judaism (Barnabas in his letter stands close to this rejection,
but it avoids it by his determined literal reinterpretation.)
They appear as the consistent group, but they were not at all, for
cutting off the Old Testament meant that Christianity had to search for
a new historical basis and this could only be found in some other
religion or another cult system. Only Marcion made a consistent
attempt to abandon the Old Testament (for example, he discerned it as
reliable as a religious-canonical book, as a historical book) and worked exclusively
with the teaching of Paulinism, but Marcion is not penetrated.
Their place was taken by the Christians as the new people and it assumed the entire tradition of Judaism; what was useless in this tradition was reinterpreted or dropped. In truth, this account was not sudden or unexpected; only the particular form was unexpected. Pagan Christianity only took the process to the end that had already begun in part in Judaism long ago—the process by which the Jewish religion was being inwardly emancipated and transformed into a world religion.
Around 140 CE, the whole transition of the Christian religion to the “pagans” and the disentanglement from Judaism was complete.\65/ Only educated opponents among Greeks and Jews reminded the Christians that the must really be Jews. A Jewish counter-mission had, since the fall of Jerusalem, with the exception of local attempts,\66/ were hardly attempted,\67/ rather Christians established themselves in the strongholds of Jewish propaganda and Jewish proselytes: Japhet obtained the tents of Shem\68/ and Shem had to retreat. []
\65/ Forty years later,
Irenaeus could regard the Old Testament and its real religion more
impartially, for one feels the possession of the Old Testament was
hardly more seriously disturbed by Judaism. Irenaeus was even
able to concede again as Luke had that the literal observation of the
Old Testament in earlier times was good and pious and the
following fathers of old catholic church went further. On one
side, they went closer to Paulinism, but at the same time, they moved
further from the earlier generations since they understood his
antinomianism even less and with it had to defend the Old Testament
against the Gnostics. Their impartial recognition of the literal
sense of the Old Testament was not only caused by the certainty of
their position against Judaism, but was especially due to the growing
pleasure in the law and cult rules of the Old Testament.
\66/ Jewish attempts to
entice Christians into apostasy are mentioned in literature, but not
frequently, for example, Serapion’s writing quoted by Eusebius,
H.E., 6.12 and Acta Pionii, 13 (here also is a criticism of
Christ as suicidal and a sorcerer).
\67/ See Lucas, Zur
Gesch. der Juden im 4. Jahrh (1910), p. 41f, 130. In every
century of the early period even up to the early Middle Ages, the
church gave land to them, in them the Jews were socially powerful
enough that they stifled and at times tempted them, compare, for
example, the Acts of the Spanish Synod.
\68/ The incomplete and
hybrid creation of Jewish propaganda in the empire was transferred into
independent and attractive forms, far surpassing that of the
synagogues. It was only natural that the former must enter into
the sharpest direct conflict with the latter.
At any rate, one point remains unclear: why had Jesus not appeared in the midst of the “nations” rather than among the Jews?\69/ That was a vexing problem. It is important (see above, p. 47) that the Gospel of John describes Greeks as wanting to see Jesus (12.20ff.). The words which the Evangelist placed on the mouth of Jesus\70/ were intended to explain why the savior did not undertake the pagan mission. And the same Evangelist has Jesus say with unmistakable clarity in 10.16, “And I have other sheep that are not of this stable, and I must bring them, and they will her my voice.” He himself will bring them. The mission his disciples executed is his mission. It is as if he drew them himself.\71/ For he sent the Holy Spirit himself, who will lead them into all truth and will communicate to them previously hidden wisdom, and his own power would work in them.
A consequence of this observation was that the twelve were understood as a kind of personal duplication of Christ and that one received their sending into the whole world, that is, allegedly Jesus ordered the pagan mission, in the kerygma. Compare the Aristides, Apology, 2; Justin, Apol., 1.39; Ascens. Isaiah, 3.13ff (the coming of the twelve []
\69/ Josephus’ famous
report maintains that Jesus himself won many “ἐν τοῦ Ἑλληνικοῦ,”
whether it is real or not one cannot place weight on this point.
\70/ '' The hour has
come for the Son of man to be glorified. Verily, verily, I say to you,
unless the grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it abides by
itself alone; but if it dies it bears much fruit. .... A voice then
came from heaven, 'I have glorified it, and I will glorify it
again.'.... Jesus said, 'This voice has come, not for my sake but for
yours; now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this
world be cast out. Yet when Ι am lifted up from the earth, I will
draw all men to myself,' "
\71/ Of course, there
was not a complete and total assurance with this. Indeed, even
legend did not dare to transfer Jesus in the midst of the pagan nation
in early times, but already the Magi from the Orient were made to come
to the child and worship him, after the star of his birth made it known
to the whole world (Matthew 2); angels at the birth of Jesus announced
great joy to “all nations” (Luke 2); and when the star appeared,
Ignatius says, in ad Eph., 19, that the appearance attests,
“All sorcery was dissolved and every wicked spell vanished, ignorance
was overthrown and the old kingdom was destroyed, when God appeared in
human guise unto newness of eternal life. Then that which had been
prepared within God's counsels began to take effect. Then all things
were perturbed, because the abolition of death was being undertaken”
(“ἐλύετο πᾶσα μαγεία, καὶ πᾶς δεσμὸς ἠφανίζετο κακίας, ἄγνοια
καθῃρεῖτο, παλαιὰ βασιλεία διεφθείρετο, θεοῦ ἀνθρωπίνως φανερουμένου
εἰς καινότητα ἀϊδίου ζωῆς · ἀρχὴν δὲ ἐλάμβανεν τὸ παρὰ θεῷ
ἀπηρτισμένον. ἔνθεν τὰ πάντα συνεκινεῖτο διὰ τὸ μελετᾶσθαι
θανάτου κατάλυσιν”). Christians of Edessa were still
bolder. They claimed in the third century that Jesus corresponded
with King Abgar and cured him. Eusebius (H.E., 1. fin.)
thought this story was very important, because it appeared to him to
place a direct work of Jesus among pagans.
disciples pertains to the fundamental facts of the gospel); Irenaeus, Fragm., 29;\72/ Tertullian, Apol., 21, adv. Marc., 3.22, “habes et apostolurm opus praedicatum [foretelling]; Hippolytus, de Antichr., 61; Origen, Contra Celsus, 3.28; Novat., de Trinit., 8; Acta Joh. (ed. Zahn, p. 246), “the god who chose us for mission to the nations, who sent us out into the world, who showed himself through the apostles.”\73/ Serapion in Eusebius H.E., 6.12, “We accept Peter and other apostles as Christ.” Recently, von Morin discovered an alleged Jeromian review of old Roman symbols that included the phrase “Apparuit apostolic” after “resurrexit.” Additionally, the subject of the majority of apocryphal apostolic “teaching,” “canons,” “constitutions,” and “sayings” is the twelve (about the Didache).\74/ Further details about the apostle will be found in book three.
THE OUTCOME OF THE MISSION OF PAUL
AND THE FIRST MISSIONARIES
THE FIRST MISSIONS HISTORY (ACTS)
1. Before his last journey to Jerusalem, Paul wrote from Corinth to Rome (Rom 15.19ff), “I have passed on the preaching of Christ, from Jerusalem even to Illyricum, whereby I have always placed my glory, where the gospel has not been preached, where Christ []
\72/ Harvey II, p. 494,
“οὗτος [ὁ χριστὸς] ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ τῆς γῆς, ἐν χώματι κρυβεὶς καὶ τριημέρῳ
μέγιστον δένδρον γεννηθεὶς, ἐξέτεινε τοὺς ἑαυτοῦ κλάδους εἰς τὰ πέρατα
τῆς γῆς. ἐκ τούτου προκύψαντες οἱ ιβ’ ἀπόστολοι, κλάδοι ὡραῖοι, καὶ
εὐθαλεῖς γενηθέντες σκέπη ἐγγενήθησαν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, ὡς πετεινοῖς
οὐρανοῦ, ὑφ’ ὧν κλάδων σκεπασθέντες οἱ πάντες, ὡς ὄρνεα ὑπὸ καλιὰν
συνελθόντα μετέλαβον τῆς ἐξ αὐτῶν προερχομένης ἐδωδίμου καὶ ἐπουρανίον
τροφῆς” (“Within the heart of the earth, hidden in the tomb, he became
in three days the greatest of all trees [Iren. Had previously compared
Christ to the seed of corn in Luke 13.19], and stretched out his
branches to the ends of the earth. His outstretched branches, waxing
ripe and fresh, even the twelve apostles, became a shelter for the
birds of heaven, even for the nations. By these branches all were
shadowed, like birds gathered in a nest, and partook of the food and
heavenly nourishment which came forth from them." Origen,
Hom. 17 in Genes. t. 8, p. 287, “Christus a fratribus suis, i.e. ab
apostolis, quos ipse fratres in evangelio nominavit, merito
\73/ This idea suggests
one of the motives which prompted people to devise tales of apostolic
\74/ See, for example,
“Gespräche Jesu mit seinen Jüngern nach der Auferstehung” (ed. Carl
Schmidt i.d. Texten u. Unters. Bd. 43, 1919), p. 26, “We, following the
names of the twelve, write of the church of the East and West, North
and South, while we preach to you and tell you what concerns our lord,
Jesus Christ [[79b]]…as we heard and touched him, after he raised from
the dead.” Compare page 94f., “As my father made me, so I
would also make you…You have also been given this power and with it, as
an inheritance, you have also been given the nations.
was already well known, so that I would not build on another’s soil. I was also prevented often from coming to you. Now finally, I have no more work in this area, and for a long time having longed to come to you, I will implement my plan as soon as I go to Spain. For I hope to see you on my journey and to be led to you, if first in some measure, I shall have been satisfied with you.”
The preaching of the gospel in the pagan world is now complete, that is indicated by “even to Illyricum,” for here begins the Latin world.\1/ Paul’s way of expressing explains his missionary preaching as a narrow line from Jerusalem to Illyria for the preaching of the gospel in the entire eastern half of the world, an idea that is only comprehensible on the assumption that the certainty of the nearing end of the world made no other kind of mission possible than one which hastily covered the world. The idea that formed the basis that the gospel must be preached everywhere during the short span of the present world age\2/ while at the same time this is only feasible by means of mission tours across the world. It is presupposed that the fire would spread from right to left.\3/
The thought that the world must be crossed, it appears, was conceived by the apostle on his so-called second missionary journey.\4/ Naturally, he regarded it as a divine directive. It is in this sense that Acts 16.6-8 should be interpreted. He had undertaken the second missionary journey, []
\1/ Egypt cannot be
lost. If Paul neither here or elsewhere names it, he must have
known that another missionary was busy there. The Greek world
without Egypt would be incomplete. Or was Egypt a godless land to
him, that nothing more could be hoped for it, as John did (Revelation
\2/ The thought recurs
in the gospel (Mark 13.10). Was Paul the first to apprehend it
and place it on course? Hardly!
\3/ Compare with it 1 Thess. 1.8, Romans 1.8, and Colossians
\4/ But this was not so
earlier. The entirety of the so-called first missionary journey
remains incomprehensible if Paul already had this at that time.
Wendt is right when he observes in regard to Acts 13.13 that Paul at
this time did not yet feel himself to be apostle to the Greeks, but
only to the barbarians. Only in this way is the choice of a
mission field in southwest Asia Minor comprehensible.
going only to the Greek districts on the coast of Asia Minor, and if he had become aware that he was selected as the apostle to the Greeks, then on the western border of Phyrgia this consciousness passed into the sense of a still higher duty. He is not only the apostle of the barbarians (Syrians, Cilicians, Lycaonians), nor is he only the apostle to the barbarians and the Greeks. He is an apostle to the world. He has the duty to carry the gospel to the entire Roman empire even to the western boundaries, or he would preach for others to supplement the gaps in the whole territory. Therefore he swings to the border of Phrygia, not to the west to Asia and not to the north to Bithynia, as one might expect and as he originally planned, but to the northwest. Even Mysia he only rushes through. The former decision to pass by Asia and Bithynia meant he was undertaking the mission to Macedonia, Achaia, and beyond that to the west from the beginning.
Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Corinth, or more accurately in the sense of Paul, Macedonia and Achaia heard the gospel. Why did he remain in Corinth eighteen months? Why didn’t he immediately go to Rome and farther in the west? Why did he undertake a new journey at this time to Asia Minor and take a three-year residence in Ephesus? The answer is not difficult: certainly, at that time, the first time he advanced to Corinth, he thought about going to Rome and the west (see Romans 1.13), but happily the circumstances were strongly opposed to this ambitious idea. If I understand correctly, there were three considerations. First, Paul would not and could not lose contact with Jerusalem and Antioch, the two mother communities. He was obliged to return to them twice. Secondly, he felt pressed in an imperious case of duty to found communities in addition to building up their interior instead of deserting them in a few weeks. The duty of organization and the work in small-scale\5/ won over the fantastic and putitative duty of crossing the world with the gospel. The latter hid a seed of ambition. Finally, it was shown that no one raised the flag of the gospel in the great region that he had passed by on the way, namely Western Asia Minor, []
\5/ Yet, he certainly
made longer stays in Corinth and Ephesus on the same trip; we even know
of one definite case (a journey to Corinth from Ephesus during
the three year residence is not told by Luke).
the core of the Greek world. He had certainly reckoned that others had preached the word of God there, but his hope was aborted. Indeed, on his first trip, from Corinth to Jerusalem, he left behind the outstanding missionary Prisca with her husband Aquila in Ephesus, but on his so-called third missionary trip, he arrived there and found John’s disciples, in addition to the small beginning of a Christian community whose mission he could not ignore. But it was such a rich and fruitful field of work that he saw himself as forced to become settled. Here in Ephesus, he proceeded in the spiritual contention with the Greeks that he had begun in Corinth. Evidence for this is in 1 Corinthians. In Antioch, this contention was not yet possible. The city was still a great Greek colony, Greek in the sense in which Calcutta is English.
The apostle had not given up the plan of crossing the world. His implementation was only delayed, as also the return of Christ was prolonged. He probably would have remained in Ephesus longer (in the nearer and further vicinity of which new communities sprung up) and kept more intimate contact with the Greeks if he had not been clouded by news coming from Corinth and driven from the city by a small riot.
Through Paul’s labor, Ephesus became the third capital of Christianity, its truly Greek capital, and for a time it appeared it would become the definitive center. It already developed a rival in the distant west, which was to outshine the Asiatic metropolis—the fourth city of Christianity and soon the first, Rome.
After Paul had left Ephesus and traveled through Macedonia and Achaia, he became the wandering apostle again, the unforgotten idea of traversing the world won the upper hand. From Corinth, he wrote to Rome the words with which we opened this chapter. They lose something of their hyperbolic touch if one thinks of the extraordinary success of the apostle in Macedonia and Achaia, in Asia and Phyrgia. He had the feeling that, despite the poor result in Athens, he had conquered the Greek world and in this awareness of a religious and intellectual victory, it appeared to him that the task was exhausted here.
God did not need him in Rome or even throughout Italy. The gospel had already been preached there, a great [] community, “whose faith had been heard in the whole world” had already been formed by unknown missionaries. Only Spain remained. Gaul and Africa, lying on the edge, were not then untouched. Spain is selected instead of Africa or Gaul so that he could run a transversal line. Clement of Rome rightly understood him (Letter 1.5) with words in which one believes one is almost hearing the apostle himself, “seven times in chains, exiled, stoned, a herald in the land from the beginning and decline, a teacher of righteousness in the whole world to the borders of the west.”
Was he really this successful? Not in the first instance, at any rate. He had to return to the far East again and the bitterest ideas were fulfilled when he began his journey to Jerusalem. When he came to Rome several years later, it was as a prisoner. But if he was no longer able to work as he wished, his effectiveness was not lesser—by preaching in Rome, through letters to the farthest communities, and personal communication with friends from the east.
When he was executed with the sword in the summer of 64 CE, he had fully redeemed his promissory note to the nations of the world. He was the apostle of Jesus Christ. He brought the gospel to barbarians, Greeks, and Latins. But his greatness does not lie in that he went to Illyria, Rome and probably even Spain as a missionary, but rater in the way he trained his colleagues and formed and organized his communities. He had transplanted the Christian religion onto Greek soil, although all that was profoundly Greek always remained closed to him. He was not alone, but only his thought that was a new ferment in Hellenism. The Gnostics, Irenaeus, Origen, and, above all, Augustine attest to this. Provided that there was an original Christian Hellenism, it was impressed by Pauline thought. In his letters, Paul lived on. They are not only records of his personality and work—only a few documents of world literature can be compared with them in this respect—rather, as they were born from a deep living religion and a ceaseless inner struggle, they are also perennial sources of religious power. Every age has understood them differently, yet without exhausting their meaning. Even in their periods of depreciation, they have been most effective.
From the centers of Christianity in the first century—Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, and Rome—only one, Ephesus, [] was the creation of Paul and even it did not remain loyal to him, as one should expect. As the “father,” he retreated everywhere, he was displaced, and displaced by indifference, through “natural” piety that gets along on its own. Neither his strength nor his weakness was passed along as influences to his communities. In this sense, he was always a solitary man, but he remained the teacher of Christianity, and he became this in increasing measure.
2. His legacy, along with his letters is his communities. He termed them himself as his “letters.” Neither his letters nor his restless progress as a missionary nor his temperament, nor his religious characteristics (ecstatic enthusiast and exclusive theologian) appear to qualify him as an organizer, and, nevertheless he understood as no one else how to found and construct a church.\6/ In faith, love, hope, and the related virtues, he recognized the highest fruits of the spirit, submitting the outbreak of enthusiasm for the purpose of edification, subordinating the individual to the whole organism, asserting the natural order of joined life despite their deficient and worldliness as God’s order, he conquered the danger of enthusiasm and created a community that could live in the world without being of the world. But the organization was never an end in itself to him or a means to worldly aggrandizement and he never wished for these. “Unity in brotherly love, the reign of God in human hearts, not lordship of the virtuosos or priests over laity, were the goals of his church labors.” In his theology and in his struggle again Judaists, he appeared sometimes as an inquisitor or as a fanatic scribe, and it has been said that he inoculated the church with theological narrowness and heresy mongering. But the truth is he only knew a confession, next to the confession of the living God, namely, “Christ the Lord” and at the end of his life he testified that he would tolerate any teaching on this ground. The spirit of Christ, freedom, love—against his temperament and his education, he secured and gained these heights and, therefore, sought to place the community on these heights. “But only these three, faith, love, and hope, remain, but love is the greatest of these.”
3. Between him and his colleagues, there was a great distance. Among the more independent, Barnabas, Silas (Silvanus), the married couple Prisca and Aquila, Luke, as well as Apollo, deserve mention. We handled Barnabas []
\6/ Compare Weinel, Paulus als
kirchlicher Organisator, 1899.
on page 58. Silas, the prophet of the original Jerusalem community, took his place next to Paul and for the so-called second missionary journey stood as Barnabas had in the first. It indicates a kind of reassurance as regards Jerusalem that Paul took him along. But as far as we see, (compare 2 Cor. 1.19) no discord troubled their relationship. Silas was co-founder of the communities in Macedonia and Achaia. Then he completely disappeared from the life of Paul and Acts, only to reappear, to our surprise, at the end of the epistle to Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, appearing to correct Peter’s letter, indeed, as author of the letter inspired by Peter (for this is probably the meaning of the words in 5.12, “διὰ Σιλουανοῦ ὑμῖν τοῦ πιστοῦ ἀδελφοῦ, ὡς λογίζομαι, δι’ ὀλίγων ἔγραψα”). This disjointed message must remain in isolation as a mystery. The married couple Prisca and Aquila (or more accurately, the missionary Prisca and her husband Aquila), who escaped from Rome to Corinth at the time of Claudius, stand nearest to Paul above all of the independent missionaries. They worked with him in Corinth, they prepared his work in Ephesus, Prisca had converted Apollo, the Alexandrian disciple of John—evidence of her Christian wisdom—they once saved the apostle’s life, and they had, after returning to Rome, worked there in his method.\7/ There is much to be said for the theory that Hebrews was from them, whether it is from the pen of Prisca or Aquila.\8/ Luke, the true doctor of the apostles, of Antiochene descent, was already converted before meeting Paul. Perhaps he was a Jewish proselyte before and familiar with the baptist movement. He was indisputably the most intellectual and most educated of all of the independent companions of Paul. This Greek was the greatest gain the apostle had. Apollo, the Alexandrian, worked in Corinth as an independent missionary on the field Paul planted. Only in 1 Corinthians does Paul refer to him and, undoubtedly, with appreciation and friendliness because he knew that a tension and rivalry had been constructed between them in Corinth. Nevertheless, it may be asked whether he was sympathetic to the work of this wise comrade whom he had not selected without exception. The disjointed note in Titus 3.13 about him unfortunately does not teach any more []
\7/ See my study in Sitzungsberichte
der Berliner Akademie, Jan. 11, 1900.
\8/ See my essay in Zeitschrift
für Neues Testament Wissenschaft, vol. 1, p. 1ff. (1900).
than that later the relationship between the men had not suffered.
Among the missionaries that Paul himself drew or trained, Timothy stands in the foreground. We hear quite a lot about him and he was so important to the author of Acts that he tells of his origin and selection (16.1). However, we are not able to produce a proper image of this most faithful of the apostle’s younger disciples, perhaps because he was dependent on him above all. After the death of the apostle--he was in Rome with him and had gained a relationship with this community—he continued his work and was imprisoned for a time and lived until the time of Domitian (Heb. 13.23). Of the two remaining colleagues, Mark (the oldest Jerusalemite) and Titus are emphasized. With regard to Mark, Paul did not take him along on the so-called second missionary trip, but later he could be found in his company again (Philemon 24; Colossians 4.10; 2 Timothy 4.11). It is possible that the tradition has made two people out of one, though, in my opinion, it is not probable. He is the one who, according to the report of Presbyter John, made the evangelical record. Titus, of whom little is known, was a full-blooded pagan (Gal. 2.1f.) and worked for some time at Crete. The last words about his colleagues that we possess from Paul are not pleasant. Already Philippians speaks of loneliness and 2 Timothy 4.9f says, “Hurry quickly to come to me, for Demas has abandoned me, having a love of this world, and went to Thessalonica, Crescens went to Galatia, Titus went to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus…Alexander the blacksmith has done great evil to me…At my first defense, no one took my side, but all left me.” It would be unjust to judge the colleagues of the apostles after these more annoyed words. Obviously, they have not done what he wished, but we do not know the grounds of their decisions.
4. The so-called 1 Peter is a very dubious document we possess for the idea that Peter (after Paul? with Paul?) went on a mission to Asia Minor, but it is certain that, after the destruction of Jerusalem, outstanding Palestinian Christians went to Asia and Phrygia and there deployed important activity. On the point, one man remained who came to Ephesus and died there at a ripe age at the beginning of the rule of Trajan. [] This is John “the Presbyter,” as he called himself and was called by his circle. He worked in the Pauline communities of Asia personally and through letters. He developed them, organized their inner relationships, and stepped against heresy with extraordinary severity. He retained the oversight of the community of the communities and exercised it through wandering emissaries. His appearance was like that of an apostle or equal to an apostle, but towards the end of his life several communities tried, feeling their independence, with their bishops, to shake off his sovereignty. As he closed his eyes, the mission organization entirely disappeared, which survived only in his person. The independent local authorities came forward above all. Twelve to fifteen years later, when Ignatius came to Asia, it was no longer existing and also the memory gave way to the memory of Paul. In the end, the circle of John must have been limited, he himself was isolated.\9/ Assuredly, second and third John in the New Testament belong to him and that is exactly why one would like to ascribe the first letter and the fourth gospel to him with higher probability. One would like to go still a step further and claim for him those books with the seven letters and the Christian arranging of one or more Jewish apocalypses—the Revelation of John. This hypothesis is the most simple that can be put forward. It meets tradition the best and meets with no great difficulty. All that can be said of this John within the limits of probability is that he was not Zebedee, but rather an unknown Jerusalemite of priestly origin and a “disciple of the Lord,”\10/ further that, as he shows in his gospel, he must have had a special relationship with John of Zebedee.\11/ If at the end of has life his authority was shaken off []
\9/ It appears that the
same fate overtook him that he had prepared for Paul. Of course,
one remains in a fog here, but the complete concealment of Paul in his
seven letters of the apocalypse is a problem and cannot be described as
insignificant. Also, the silence in the Gospel of John, in which
many historical references are reflected, is highly noticeable.
Those are certainly entirely in the wrong who refer the mission of the
Paraclete to Paul (Origen tells as such in see above, p. 64), but they
are right if they try to find Paul in the gospel and they could not
find any other.
\10/ This description
suggests, but does not necessarily prove that he was a personal
disciple, since this happens not in Jerusalem, but in Asia.
\11/ The most probable
assumption is that the disciple whom the Lord loved was John the son of
Zebedee, for everything follows from this. [[87b]] The
Presbyter’s relationship with him need not have happened in Asia, but
can be wholly traced back to Jerusalem. The formal impulse of the
two Johns must be addressed, but the name was very common. But if
some critical problems would be lessened through the assumption that
John of Zebedee also came from Asia, one might credit this to
tradition. Justin already testifies to this belief. Through
these affirmations, the problem of the authorship of the Johannine
writings is not changed. But it would assuage the fact of
explanation that one relatively so early in the Asian tradition had upheld the son of
Zebedee as the author of the Johannine writings.
or was limited to a small circle, this circle (“of presbyters”) succeeded in restoring his authority and expanding it by “editing” his writings and establishing them in the church. They probably deliberately identified the disciple of the Lord, the “apostle,” and the presbyter or at least they did not oppose this mistake.
Other than this John, we can name the evangelist Philip and his four prophetic daughters, also the “disciple of the Lord” Aristion, and perhaps also the apostle Andrew as those who came to Asia Minor. As for Philip (one has incidentally already confused him with the apostle of the same name in the second century) and his daughters, we have certain solid report of his work in Hierapolis in Phrygia. Pappias names the disciple of the Lord Aristion along with John as the oldest witnesses and an Armenian manuscript ascribes the false conclusion of Mark to him, which is related to Luke and the Gospel of John, and probably emerged in Asia. That Andrew came to Asia may be assumed on the basis of old legends in the Muratorian Fragment. The tradition that Andrew died in Greece, although it is admittedly late, is certainly not worthless in confirming this as well.\12/
At the end of the first century, Asia and Phyrgia were the only provinces in which Palestinian traditions were still living through personal representatives. At the same time, probably in no other part of the empire could one find more closely aligned Christian communities as here and in Bithynia and Pontus. This must have given them a great appearance, especially the community of Ephesus. When Clement of Alexandria searched for old traditions, []
\12/ One may refer to
Ignatius, ad Ephes., 11, “ἵνα ἐνὶ κλήρῳ Ἐφεσίων εὑρεθῶ τῶν
Χριστιανῶν, οἳ καὶ τοῖς ἀποστόλοις πάντοτε συνῄνεσαν (v. l., συνῆσαν)
ἐν δυνάμει Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ” ("That I may be found in the company of those
Ephesian Christians who moreover were ever of one mind with the
apostles in the power of Jesus Christ"). The reading “συνῄνεσαν”
does not necessarily prove the personal presence of the apostle in
he looked to Asia, and even in Rome, one knew the importance of the communities that came along with their traditions. But in Rome, they would never be willing to accept second place. Around 50 CE, Christianity was an ellipse whose midpoints were in Ephesus and Rome. The greatness of the works of Paul and the first Christian missionaries most clearly emerge in these facts.
As extraordinary as the oldest missions- and history of the spread of Christianity appears, the facts are also extraordinary that the new religion, already in one generation after its beginning,\13/ a historical portrayal of its development and advance had been given, as one also judges the details, according to the plan and implementation, must judge it an excellent work—the “Acts” (Πράξεις Ἀποστόλων) of Luke.\14/
One can blame the greatness and the difficulty of this work on Luke himself. The power and art, along with the greatness and difficulty, cannot easily be overestimated. About crossing over, what he achieved, one places himself in the situation in which he has written.\15/ It was []
Everything is disputed; in my opinion, it is not necessary to offer
reasons that Acts was written after the lifetime of Paul (shortly
before his second Roman captivity). The majority of critics agree
that it was written near the end of the first century (c. 75-95),
although another theory that places it in the Trajan-Hadrian period is,
of course, entirely impossible. It is certain that the same
author did not release two editions of the work, but that already early
it suffered adaptations and changes (during the second or third
generation). It is not improbable that many of the important
passages of the text are lost to us because all of our manuscripts are
That Luke, the doctor and companion of Paul, is the author (so is the
unanimous tradition of the church) will be almost as disputed as the
early composition history, against this view see my
Lucas der Arzt, der Verfasser des dritten Evangeliums und der
Apostelgeschichte (1906) and Neue Untersuchungen zur
Apostelgeschichte (1911). In these, I find nothing else,
despite many criticisms. It is my great pleasure that Eduard
Meyer, in his work about the origin of the beginning of
Christianity, neither the authorship of Luke, nor the essential
credibility of this excellent book has been doubted. The same
applies to Ramsay, who worked through the book with the greatest
following is essentially literally according to my study, Die
in the middle of the reign of Emperor Nero, and he no longer lived in the empire. He went to Jerusalem and Rome in the company of Paul and he probably wrote it there or in a city on the coast of the eastern Mediterranean Sea.\16/ The Christian movement in these lands was, first, a short time in operation. He himself kept a lively interest in their spread and had personal contact not only with Paul, but also with outstanding members of the community. He received the details of the evangelical history from such a tradition, “from the beginning, there were eyewitnesses and servants of the words.” An overwhelming wealth of experience assailed him from this Greek man\17/--overwhelming where they harmonize and form a uniform impression and overwhelming by their differences and paradoxes. The apostle and the communities received a holy book, the Old Testament, the inexhaustible content of the figure of Jesus Christ in a concordia discors of testimonies, reports, and speculations, and performed many phenomenon, miracles, and signs! In accordance with the perpetually renewing utterances of the surging movement, about the darkening heaven and the beginning of the expectation of the end of the world, at the same time, they made a most serious attempt to arrange themselves with the new in the world and to reorganize their lifestyles! Finally, tension everywhere—Greeks and Jews, Paul and the others, experience and determined content of all knowledge, spirit and letter, tradition and prophecy, speculation against speculation, facts and commentary, living and asceticism. In such a situation, Luke seizes the pen and takes it down, not only for history, as all he saw has become, but to unite history as a part of the gospel history.\18/ []
During the second Roman captivity, he was again a companion of the
had a deeper relationship to Judaism in all probability than before his
conversion and to the community of John’s disciples. The first
chapter of his gospel or rather 5.1-25, 46-55, 57-80 arise from the
circle of the latter and merged something false with the birth
narrative of Jesus. John appears in these sections as the
forerunner of God himself, but not as a messiah or Jesus.
Deißmann (Licht vom Osten4, p. 376) has earnest doubt
about the Greek origin of Luke and the attempts to defend it, but this
ancestry appears certain to me to be his work, even if the direct
report does not account for it.
first writing, the gospel, is not so important because it is not
original, rather the plan and implementation were already sketched out
for the most part, [[90b]] but also, these works which carefully and
piously cast the gospel history in Greek form and consulted sources,
his predecessors did not understand the law, are great accomplishments.
The first was a risk, hardly comprehended psychologically, for he was without direct and personal contact with the past events that he portrayed. Whoever made him the redactor pushes the difficulty of the problem only back to someone unknown and whoever pushes it back to a later generation misjudges the character of his book because he cannot see the forest for the trees. Only direct contact could facilitate such a historical writing as is present in Acts. Such an achievement is entirely astonishing. What old or new religious movement of ancient times has authored something similar or even wanted it? Mithra or Magna Mater? Would the author not be instructed as through personal knowledge with the biography of Paul—in so far as he had it—to approach the material and had he not had in this knowledge a principle and rudder, as would only be conceivable, that would allow him to master this enormous, even chaotic material or he only thought he had mastery! He also must have an unusual measure of the marvelous gift he possessed as a native Greek for arranging and ordering and the art of selection that the goal required.
But the second is already more astonishing—what was accomplished through Mark, Luke, by modifying the Gospel of Mark, connected the author of this “history” as a sequel.\19/ He gave with the material its valid depiction from the highest altitude and at the same time his own work was equal to it. The boldness is []
Therefore, it follows—what is actually donated—that this kind of
account of the history of Jesus is not yet formally valid as
“holy.” I see correctly in this manner that at first “Matthew,” it
was not called that itself, the gospel was a community book
and additionally treated as a quasi-holy book. From
here out this reputation was also transferred to Mark and Luke.
Matthew had through the prefixed “Βίβλος γεὐέσέλεων Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ”
pushed aside the Old Testament and the manner of his account—he always
had the community before him and spoke liturgically—the anonymity and
the conclusion prove that he produced a primer for cult use. Luke
wrote under his own name and did so for private use. Acts 1.1
proves that before Luke 1.1 something fell away, namely, the
address. Also, the beginning of Mark appears to have been
corrected. Mark is also not a liturgical book for home.
Marcion explains the canonization of the gospels in the
great in the objective and subjective alike. For the holy history of Jesus, one treads through two parts of this history and additionally the portrayal of the first, already a firmly possessed type, put itself in this new type of history! The range is about the whole of the work of Luke and the account is not diminished. For the latter, the gospel type can hardly come near his example. He must discretely consult the Septuagint and the Greeks to make an entirely new example\20/ and no one has been able to imitate him with luck or success, although many have tried later, but the task immediately narrowed.\21/
The new religion, almost in its beginning, already received a history and they obtained it not from a Jewish or Palestinian Christian, but from a Greek. That was immensely important! The Greek, already converted, gave them a history and forces the follower of this religion to see from the enormous material of their history what he offered them. In the entire undertaking and in a hundred places, he failed and his book sinks to ineffectiveness or ostracism. Yet it remains—something only faute de mieux? Certainly not. No doubt it does not achieve all that one expected from him later,\22/ but it remains because its excellence established itself.\23/
One can tell history in two ways: one can collect an assortment of more or less important and characteristic “stories”—memorabilia—or one can concentrate on all []
\20/ The evangelist’s style is hardly effective.
\21/ I think the
so-called apocryphal Acts began with the Acts of
Paul, but see also the Kerygma of Peter.
Already they wanted in the book a work which preserved news of the acts
(and testimonies) of all (twelve) apostles, “Πράξεις τῶν ὰποστόλων” was
prefixed to the book, (the title with which it was generally received
and Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and the author of the Muratorian
Fragments already knew it cannot be the original (as Zahn), but it
cannot have been given later or much before 150 CE; the title “Πράξεις”
is only an abbreviation) because one shortly needed such a book as a
proof of evangelical truth against heresy. But the book did not
accomplish what was desired or did so only in part. The name
“Commentary of Luke” that Tertullian used once (De Jejun., 10)
is not bad, but is a free description of Tertullian.
Within the pagan church it is the book—as far as we know—that is
rejected only by the Marcionites (entirely also from a single Gnostic
society) and from the puzzling Severianus (Eusebius, H.E.,
4.29; they are perhaps not all to be reckoned to the pagan Christians
because they rejected Paul).
the centers of activity. These centers can be a personality or an idea. The idea can be put forward as inoperative or as developing. What did Luke do? He spurned it to satisfy himself with “stories,” as the manufacturers of Acts did after him. He did not place a person in the middle, but places his relationship and admiration for Paul near to it. With these facts, he knew much more because he wanted to place this new history as the second part of his evangelical history. He did not want to make an individual personality the center because in those moments the singleness of the master, Jesus Christ, would be threatened and dimmed. He must also assort the materials of an idea. If the work was to be portrayed as a continuation of the first, it must have yielded this idea from the work of Jesus himself. “The power of the spirit of Jesus was displayed in the apostles historically”—this single theme achieved what here appeared important.\24/ All of that which was worthy in the memory of the oldest communities subordinated itself without compulsion to this theme, any thing else was allowed to be eliminated, and at the same time he combined the theme from the safest material with the first part, with the history of the words and deeds of Jesus. It was a relatively brilliant thought. Nothing was lost through his ingenuity so that he appears to us later as entirely independent.
“The power of the spirit of Jesus was displayed in the apostles historically”—the concept “apostle” is here in Luke not yet understood in a wholly more related way. Admittedly, the facts themselves stand against a stricture. Of the great majority of the twelve, Luke knew nothing or it was not for him to tell what went beyond a modest work. The concept “apostle” must become something wider and that concedes at the time a valid usage of language. It was to tell of the work of Philip, Barnabas, Silas, and Apollo, but above all that of Paul. And now the general themes can be put in the shadows and subordinated to the great personalities of the early history of Christianity to their full right—Peter and Paul. Acts is a parte potiori description of the work of Peter and Paul. In the first part, Peter prevails and in the second, Paul dominates entirely. But no one looks at the book as an arrangement of two apostolic biographies. With rather concise art []
should remind oneself, as often as “Holy Ghost” (“the Spirit of the
Lord”) occurs in Acts and all appears to be accomplished by the Spirit.
the object is shown so that the biographical element does not cross a certain threshold. The biographical thirst for knowledge was not wholly satisfied. It must be allowed to drop to be content with the very important points.
Peter and Paul—this arrangement occupied in the memory of the church the most dignified place after the founder—is certainly not created by Luke; history itself created them.\25/ But whether they were so extraordinary and so imprinted the memory of posterity without Acts, one would probably like to ask. Had “John,” who came a little later in Asia and gathered a circle of presbyters around himself, found a biographer like Luke, perhaps the dyarchy of the great apostles may have had doubt cast upon it in the memory of the church and had James, the brother of the Lord, gained a completely Greek writer for himself, so this James of Jerusalem could easily be envisioned as the high personality of the apostolic age. Both attempted it, but too late and from unbidden men.\26/ But the second pair, Peter and Paul, remained fixed in their high place in the end due to Acts and they could not never again be overturned. Concerning the displacement, after a time they entered into a mutual relationship, here is not the place to speak. I will only comment that Luke was without preference for them both. He speaks of Paul as a personal acquaintance of his, of Peter, he only speaks from reports—this naturally explains an important distinction, but except for this insurmountable difference, he speaks of both with the same admiration and does not at all place the question of rivalry within his horizon. If he allowed himself to divorce the circle of Peter from the circle of Paul only once–from the highpoint of his description (c. 15)—during itself, as Acts 9.27, Gal. 1.18, 1 Cor. 1.12 teaches, he now and then touched this circle, as it connects with a certain version of his themes, until respect remained.
The power of the spirit of Jesus was displayed in the apostles historically—that was Luke’s general theme. But how uncertain was this perpetual theme against the fullness of the appearance []
Yet, a counter current was not lacking. Even in the ecclesial
gospels, as they are available to us, Peter’s place as the first
witness of the resurrection above all was almost lost and a person like
Justin, in his Dialogue, completely secluded Paul.
\26/ Those in the strange Acts of
John, these in Hebrews.
offered by the historian! How should he manage it and where does he draw the material, geographic, and biographic boundaries? He must try to take it in hand to steer toward a goal along a steady course in these seas. On the other hand, he finds an inspired and simple solution to this problem. The power of the Spirit of Jesus portrays itself impressively in the mission, in the triumphal march, in taking the evangelical preaching from Jerusalem to Rome. With these facts, that the new religion circulated from tiny Galilee or from Jerusalem in less than a decade throughout the entire empire, that Greeks and Romans had been converted, and even kings and governors requested a hearing, allowing no comparison with others and all were subordinated to it, it was a worthy story. These facts of the dissemination must tread as principles of selection and exclusion and as a plastic idea of the point. They were at the same time from the beginning most definitely announced, “You will receive the power of the Holy Spirit and will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all of Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth,” and they were quite impressive in immensity. In truth the proleptic account in the second chapter used this expression, where the words were read as a triumphal enumeration of conquered people after a great triumphal mission, “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, Mesopotamia, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, etc.” This is far as the Roman emperor ruled and yet the boundaries of his dominion in the world now heard the evangelical message and accepted it!
It is admirable, how certainly, extraordinarily, and single-mindedly Luke holds in mind the idea of mission and dissemination in the entire book and hardly allows a digression anywhere.\27/ The long accounts in single cities of interrogations of Paul and the more perilous sea voyages, until he finally came to Rome, scarcely formed an exception, for each inquisition is a great confession before the world and its rulers, since the Roman governor and King Agrippa represented them and the dangerous sea voyage enhances the tension of whether Paul would be successful in bringing the message of the gospel to the capital of the world for hearing. []
Only one secondary aim is entirely acknowledged: for the
apology of Paul against the Jewish attack, see below.
“And so we came to Rome”\28/--these words mark the conclusion of the book, and the final verses of the end reads, “And Paul preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ with all honesty and unhindered.”
But this triumphal procession had a darkening reversal which was hardly less important for Luke and his history as the bright shine: the Jewish people, in which Jesus Christ appeared and undertook his entire movement since the beginning, not only rejected their messiah, rather they had in greater degrees obdurately acted against his preaching, and above all, they attempted to make the greatest of difficulties for them amongst the nations of the world and instigated persecutions against the Christians. Through the evil machinations, these unholy nations were the story that Luke had to write, the drama, so he had to depict it. But he must not only portray these machinations, rather he also tried to show that despite all of the tireless and foul attempts, the apostles, including Paul, the Jews changed their mind since they were always hostile.
But how? Isn’t it a sign of weakness of the gospel that it was not able to win the Jews and thus migrated to the Greeks and the barbarians? No thought of Luke’s is stranger than this one lying so near to us! He presents it in his opposite, by seeing in, along with Paul, the declining and hostile relationship to the Jews a godly organization and a criminal court. The prophets already foretold the rejection of the Jews; by calling out to the pagans, they fulfilled it. They are the seal of legitimacy of Christianity, even by that it appeared as the fulfillment of the Old Testament and now also that book takes for itself in binding. The lost verses of the works seize the negatively determined themes, as a central theme runs through the book, once again, impressively, in a speech synced to the Jews, “I say to you to know that this holy salvation has been sent to the pagans: and they will also listen to it!”
The Jews are the opponents in this dramatic history, but the Jews did not become an abstract and, as it were, evil principle, as in John and Revelation. Rather without any generalizations and exaggerations, the Jews were really portrayed in diverse shades as Pharisees, Sadducees, authoritative []
“καὶ οὕτως εἰς τὴν Ῥώμην ἤλθαμεν.” The product is to
follow: the goal, long ago formulated, was reached.
people, Palestinians, and Diaspora Jews. Where Luke more favorably whitens individual Jewish groups and personalities, he did not conceal it and did not sacrifice the effectiveness of his theology of history. He reports that very many Jewish priests joined the new community; he reports of converted Pharisees; he records the prudent choice of Gamaliel; he does not conceal that the entire Jewish community in the Macedonian city Berea received the preaching of Paul with greater willingness and that the Roman Jewish community had been partially converted by the apostle. This impartialness in reporting lies near a point where his extraordinary partiality is a valuable proof for the historicity that the historian Luke has cultivated.
But not only through this consideration of the behavior of the Jews comes the movement and counter-movement in this portrayal, rather in the first half of this book through the open exposition of facts that it did not present a pagan mission since the beginning. Rather, no one had originally thought about it and they first prepared a slow process and gained it. Almost all implementations of the book from the beginning of the sixth chapter to the end of chapter fifteen, as much as a third, were dedicated to historical proof, as it actually came to the pagan mission.
As long as I have studied the work of Luke, I have surprised myself, that the facts of his criticism did not gain more respect, as they appear, but not as much to use their astuteness, but examinations rarely present ideas in more important details in the book in relation to the great line of the works. It is partly hidden, partly taken as independent, partly immediate criticizing because it is better aware of it. Independent, but it is not true that the author raised the question, treated immediately as the high question and replies to it with the historical force, “How is it that the original Jewish movement came to the pagan mission?” Who has raised the question at all after Luke in the old church? And if he has raised it—how have the others handled it, by approving, completely lead astray in dogmatic proofs, seeing the pagan mission already arranged in the Old Testament and additionally Jesus even explicitly ordered it? Do the apostolic fathers and other apologists know it? Still to say nothing of “Matthew” (c. 28) and “Mark” (c. 16) who know of it differently? Also, the facts already, that Luke raised the question and its [] treatment makes it the high point of his historical work, promise a critical-historical action of the highest recognition. On the other hand, incidentally, it is a proof that Luke himself somehow participated in the great process or stood near to it, for how in all of the world should an uninvolved Greek make some scruple against it near the end of the first century, as it came to the pagan mission, how should he raise the question at all, with a succinct proposition and absolutely not as a historical question, or rather merely present it as a dogmatic postulation and an executed fact at the same time?
Luke deserves still higher recognition, as he determined the type of the character of the question, as he replied to it. Of course, one must ceaselessly criticize his account here, but one can see clearly what is indisputably right in his account, as the inlaid criticism in passages. This precise scrutiny must be judged as unassailable. First of all, one has to observe which answers were not given. He had the beginning of the pagan mission neither from Paul—what must have been so near to him—nor from the twelve, nor is it traced back to Peter, yet he explicitly portrays the development of the pagan mission in that Peter had been given a unique divine directive to baptize a pagan without a further episode for years. Acts is not a stylized portrayal in favor of an apostle. What he reports of the Christian Greeks in Jerusalem and their conflict with Christian Hebrews, of the Greek Stephen, of the destruction of the temple, and the alteration of the arrangement of customs given by Moses through the preaching of Jesus, of the evangelist Philip, who converted Samaritans, and baptized the eunuch of the Ethiopian king, of the many Cyprians and Cyrenes, the first Greeks who had the gospel preached to them and created a community, of the leading college in Jerusalem, which quietly authorized that Jerusalem Christians went further than Antioch and required circumcision for the pagan Christians there, finally of the college, then in the end, through a great fait accompli, were obligated to recognize the pagan mission,\29/ which Paul and Barnabas created in southern Asia Minor—all of this carried the stamp of historical []
Chapters thirteen and fourteen were merely written to report this and
chapter fifteen to disseminate it and how it must be understood from
reality. And if he casually commented near the end of his report that in Jerusalem the great majority of Christians still appear zealous for the law and it would be dangerous for them to present slander against the faith of Paul. Who may reproach him that he disguised the development of the thing? He might have been wrong often in these things or only on an individual part and reported with a certain carelessness in individual parts. One cannot blame him for having a tendency or a dark ignorance. That he was silent about what we would like to know today one cannot rightly reprimand him for!
It may have come about less as he himself strictly upheld his history of missions theme, as he himself delimited it. The apparent gaps in his portrayal disappear, as soon as one moves only in his task. In this, what was until now explained was already completely specified: the power of the spirit of Jesus in the apostles, as they established the original community, created the pagan mission, the gospel went from Jerusalem to Rome and in the place of the increasingly obstinate Jewish people the more receptive peoples of the world were placed. Alongside this point of view of the portrayal, the affair abstracts from itself the happiest thing, Luke hardly followed another. One must strictly keep in mind, so that one would not be more surprised by it, that he tells so little of the community and that he hardly touches the inner life of the individual—also that of Paul—and the totality.\30/ If he creates for the missionary a new place, he only asks himself: how they came there, what reception did they find among the Jews, among the pagans, and—if material was existing for it—amongst the Roman authority, as long as something remained there, how they hardly went away again? If he reports more, it must have been an entirely different person or thing from who portrayed the power of the Spirit in an extraordinary manner. Rather, one has inserted unjustly a political-apologetic tendency. As the work itself in its dedication already directs a person to Christian teaching, []
must remind oneself here of the boundaries of ancient historical
so all references are not lacking that Luke himself thought of a pagan as his reader. It is not impossible, but they did not have him in mind. Nevertheless, if he laid such great weight on it to show that authorities, governors, and kings had heard the gospel and that these had not received it in an entirely hostile way, so these facts do not need an explanation through a special kind of political purpose. For each new religious movement, it was very quickly a question of the highest interest, as they placed themselves in the general public, and the general public was represented in the first line by the authorities. But here came another special interest beside it that the behavior of the Roman authority must accept in contrast to the Jewish authority. What Luke tells in this respect corresponded on the whole, we would like to be able to control the simple facts, and if he, beginning with Paul, held the hostile behavior of the Roman authority as widely forgivable as that of the Jewish authority, so they were in a position to judge without Christ. Incidentally, he little suppressed the hostility and unfriendliness of the Roman and city police and the ridicule of the Greek philosophers, as he conversely had not reticently told of the friendly behavior of the Jews (see above).
During the first half of the first part (c. 1-5), the reader is captivated by the shining history and the great speeches, through the speeches performed by the first community, he pressed in the second part of the first part (c. 6-15) through its own fullness and entirely different facts, from all of these, it finally aims at gaining the pagan mission, preserving a dramatic tension. It was nearly unbearable, had the author not understood it, and moderated the tension through his storytelling art and language, as something epic and lively, but not upsetting or unsettling. Whether Stephen was a martyr, whether Paul first disappeared from the scene, whether Peter gave divine order without further result, whether uninvited Jerusalem guests attempted to destroy the pagan church in Antioch—in the end, they existed after all, Jerusalem and Antioch, the gospel and the nations of the world!
The second half of the book lacked, in addition to the high theme, a special theme of such a lifestyle as the first. Now it only depicted the dissemination of the gospel as far as Rome.\31/ []
cut lies entirely obvious after 16.5, but 15.36-16.5 is
tradition. The first part ends with 15.35.
What means does Luke use here to protect the continued interest of his reader? First, the “we-report” immediately enters here and gives greater sections more liveliness and a particular attraction.\32/ Then, the interest and tension of the first half of this part was obtained through faster advance of the story, the exchange of important events, and the change of scenery (Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus), and finally by the passing of the long residence in Ephesus and the important rousing farewell speech before the Ephesians.\33/ At the end of the third quarter, Rome appears from afar and remains the goal for only the last quarter of the story. As one stretches into the second quarter alone, one wonders whether they will find the gospel and the nations of the world. In the fourth quarter alone then, Paul finds success, the gospel is carried to Rome. Arrest followed from arrest—yet they provided Paul the opportunity to preach about Christ in the public forum. In the end, the sea and weather appear to have conspired against his performance, but he still reached what wished: he took the gospel to Rome. But in these last chapters, Luke perhaps followed still another interest that was related to the second quarter (the appearance and legitimization of the pagan mission). Paul and his work should stand there pure and superior, that is, his pagan mission should be legitimate (he makes his appeal three times!). The gospel is not unworthy; rather through the “qualifications of the chosen one” the nations of the world were presented. The apostle is not the destroyer of the Jewish religion, rather he was a powerful affirmer of its hope; he was not a revolutionary, “neither in relation to the Jewish law, []
Luke, the companion of Paul, was not the author of the entire
book. We are divided over whether to assign the “We part” to him
or not, and further how it would be divided. The last question
concerns a single criticism that goes very far and extends to numerous
and large sections in which “We” does not appear in the source.
Again, another criticism assumes that the author of the entire work of
the “We part” took more or less drastic measures in editing and also
left out parts. Still another holds that “we” implies a literary
form and is not to be taken seriously. If one overlooks all of
these attempts, then they are united in the rejection of the simple
facts of the case, pushing themselves to the biting words of an old
Italian author, “A clear text is opposed to a dark commentary without
To avoid repetition and not to weaken the impression of the advance in
the spread, the account is composed in a truly brilliant fashion so
that the reader scarcely notices the double effectiveness of Paul in
nor the temple, nor the emperor.” The expressions derive thus—strange to say!—from his relationship to the Jewish religion (not from the emperor). Is this further evidence that Luke did not stand personally very near to the old time; the Old Testament piousness from the Jewish religion for which the Greek had such tenderness, a nearly incomprehensible consideration to us, and compared to Christianity, as he expressed it here and elsewhere in his work?\34/ First, from Irenaeus, the sense of the pagan church for the Old Testament piousness was raised again, but this was an artificial revival, created through the struggle against Gnosticism.
Another very important question raises from the material of the work—why did Luke cease to describe the implementation of his theme, the dissemination of the gospel to Rome and the extraordinary effectiveness of Paul? He must know of multiple provinces that had it had been given to Christians, that had not been converted by Paul (he casually indicates that Apollo was converted to the Christian movement in Alexandria). He must also know that the preaching did not first come to Rome through Paul. The question answers itself, in my opinion, through the assumption that Luke did not very closely follow an already very defined concept of apostle and that the account of the spread was shortened in this regard, as he was following the missionary errand of Paul (see above, p. 80), contenting himself with the crossing of the world from Jerusalem to Rome. The last was certainly wise, for his account came to all measure because he also refrained from approaching geographic-statistic completeness. The first must necessarily decline a glorification of Paul because the twelve had not yet become missionaries in the nations of the world and Luke hardly saw in Stephen, Philip, Silas, Prisca and her spouse and Apollo, but only in Paul and Barnabas, a definite equivalence to the apostles. For men like Mark and Timothy, he was sensitive above all, but one notices how Luke indicated his own missionary activity only from a most immodest decision in his work. The concept “apostle” was already unique and he really legitimized the mission. How many unbidden missionaries, “Jesus” []
Perhaps he even went out further than Paul, but he essentially brought
to expression the piety, Paul himself harbored for his people and its
hope, see my Neuen Unters. Z. Apostelgeschichte, p.
preached, must have already been impelled in the provinces, as the apostleship itself for so pneumatic and truly inwardly free people as Luke so quickly obtained such an exclusive authority! Incidentally, Peter was at the time of Paul’s work not in Antioch, rather he was temporarily in Corinth—this is not entirely improbable (see p. 69)—so the silence about him in Acts is adequately explained by the purpose of the book, it does not permit it to tell what an individual community experienced after its founding.
From the freedom the ancient historian had in inserting speeches into more suitable places, it appears lectures were really held, it appears they were outlined, Luke had made extensive, but happy use. As the words and deeds of Jesus were alternated in the gospel,\35/ so must they be presented in the second part. The speeches outweigh in the first and last quarter, while they were resigned in the second and third, but they were more influential. The high point cultivated according to our taste and perhaps also according to those of the first readers of the sayings in chapters fifteen, seventeen—the speech in Athens is the high point, despite its failure—and twenty, but the speech at the beginning were basically really sayings of Christ and assured the reader to the end that their great missionary Paul was the appointed tool for the mission of God and the great witness before governors and kings.
In the language Luke composed his work penetrates ever deeper in the last decade and has eliminated old prejudices. A very great part of the alleged Semitism has dissolved itself: “Koine” already contains this Semitism, but it is not be judged as such as a rule, rather as the product of “Koine” that more or less happened to correspond with Semitism. A few things remained sure enough, namely in particular sections of the book, still remaining and it is to be examined—similarly as in the gospel—whether these sections were not translations from Aramaic sources. In general, Luke’s style is very near to that of the Septuagint, namely of the book of Maccabees (but it is not another style than the spoken language, used by educated men). Non-classical and vulgar words are relatively rare. Syntax and certain stereotypical syntactical formulas are “vulgar” and non-classical, but they had probably already []
Acts 1.1, “περὶ πάντων ὧν ἤρξατο Ἰησοῦς ποιεῖν τε καὶ διδάσκειν.”
grafted popular speech into literary language. One also knows further that Luke was a grammarian who deliberately conformed the purpose of his style in the different parts of the scenery and the dignity of the matter. He so stylized the past history of Jesus in the gospel that one believes one is reading a historical piece of the Septuagint, so he kept the Jerusalem portions of Acts in this style, namely, at the beginning and concludes it while he was staying on Palestinian soil. In word usage, syntax, and stylization, he closely follows the gospel in the manner of the account. He entirely crosses over gradually to a freer and, at the same time, more classic depiction. The display format becomes, as it were, more profane, through this, more bourgeois, but without disturbing the dignity of the account. In the last quarter, although the scene is for the most part in Palestine again, it becomes certain: the new movement is not even simply Palestinian; rather it occurs only on the stage of the world. That should also come to expression in style. But the strangest thing is that Luke, despite all of the differences of stylistic design he applied, is still understood to prove the stylistic unity of his work. No reader received the impression of the motley colorfulness and the composite nature. But also each stylistic pose alike lacks all trivial and empty rhetoric. He scarcely anywhere says a word too much. Above all, he had only to do with the thing he was able to report a lot with few words and sought to corrupt the rhetoric nowhere. From the observed style, these works themselves can compare with the best produced in the Greco-Roman period. One reads the description of Pentecost or the conversion of Paul or the residence of the apostles in Athens or the sea voyage and many other things!
Where lies the only weakness of this author? One can call him, in general, neither credulous nor uncritical. Credulous and uncritical writers in every age have unearthed entirely different products! Additionally, this historian stands in relation to the greater half of his work under a control, as they can scarcely be more sharply thought, namely, the control of Paul’s letter. That these documentary products are of the moment and arise from the subjectivity of a distinctive man raises still the sharpness of the examination. Therefore, one can only misjudge the scrupulosity and hair-splitting that Acts insisted on in dozens of important and unimportant places in scrutiny, which the letters of Paul [] signified for them.\36/ What remains is, apart from odds and ends, the account of the apostles’ council and the depiction of Paul’s apology in the last speech and, above all, his behavior against the Jews during his last residence in Jerusalem. But in relation to the latter, in my opinion, Luke has allowed himself to tell what very likely combines with the character formation and theology of Paul (see p. 61f.), if one draws this not only one-sided and fixed according to Galatians, but rather on what always happened. And that in relation to the apostolic council in the book stands serious errors so that the composition by Luke is impossible, another view cannot be maintained. His true weakness as a historian lies elsewhere, in my opinion—first, in his credulity in relation to faith healing and spiritual success, then in an often quite extensive thoughtlessness and error as a narrator, explained in part by his aspiration for brevity, finally probably also in the inclination to stylize important events. The last is, measured by the standard of ancient history writing, hardly judged as a methodical mistake and to the first one must bring an attack, as in each enthusiastic religious movement “wonders” and “signs” happen and indeed in relation to this field which one today calls “Christian Science.” But however much religious darkness, magical deceptions, pious absurdities, etc., he has freely preserved can only be estimated. In them, the religious frauds of the age and his monstrous products are recognized. We know that these also, at that time or soon after, penetrated Christianity. Luke has only freely preserved them.
One has to also remind oneself here that Paul, in Col. 4.14, named Luke explicitly and in a connection, each epithet is of double weight, “the doctor, the beloved.” He also approved of him as doctor and friend, he had proved himself, and it crushed him to give this report before the community. Perhaps in addition, as decided upon, Luke certainly casually indicates his more favorable healer episode,\37/ so one still does not gain an image of a doctor as a wild enthusiast, rather a man who always practiced his medical art with success and in its recognition so choleric a man as Paul
Concerning the arrangement of the evidence I have given Acts, see p.
199ff. and the majority are equally as striking.
Acts 28.9-10, “ἐθεραπεύοντο, οἳ καὶ πολλαῖς τιμαῖς ἐτίμησαν
ἡμᾶς.” With power,
Ramsey placed weight upon the fact that it is said of Paul in c. 8,
had acquired and maintained. That he counted on healing prayer, facing them uncritically and one cannot actually separate the boundary between science and magic—how can one wonder about it! What finally pertains to his carelessness and error as a narrator that has damaged him the most, that presents the possibility to darken his image as a storyteller, would be to dissolve him in “editing.” They have methodized, but to overturn truthful historical criticism of an incompetent scholar would be to reduce and tousle his work. And yet these are many negligences, even because they are constant, they are easy to see through, according to the rule, they are harmless and improper to form records for extensive critical operations.\38/
The sources of the book are from the author’s own diaries. For the second half of his work, he operates with a certain probability removed from the first half and were determined according to their approximate extent and origin: an Antiochene-Jerusalem source (6.18, 4.11, 19-30, 12.25 [13.1]-15.35), a Jerusalem-Caesarean source (3.1-5, 16, 8.5-40, 9.31-11.18, 12.1-23), and an inferior Jerusalem source (2.5, 17-42), from around the same time as the Jerusalem-Antiochene source. Whether these sources were written (in Aramaic) or oral, one cannot be fully certain, for each assumption commends itself.\39/ []
\38/ See Apostelgeschichte, p. 159ff.
Penetrating examinations about the tension between the Hebrews and the
Greeks (also Galilee and Judea) in their meaning for the oldest history
of Christianity are from Schütz (Apostel und Jünger:
eine quellenkritische und geschichte Untersuchung über die Entstehung
des Christentums, 1921), Bultmann above all in the last
years has been employed in partially continuing my work about Acts and
partly eavesdropping on the historical tradition of the evangelical
materials, and Krüger has twice reworked editions of the great
Bousset, Kyrios Christos (1921). One penetrated an
important place deep within the dark history of the oldest Jewish
Christians and still takes some pleasure in Acts; these examinations
still partly hung alone, partly they attempted to win recognition
where, in my opinion, it was not to receive more, partly they
investigated will-o’-the-wisps or false questions. So I still
have an array of questions in relation to the genesis of Christ worship
about which Bousset places the greatest weight which I find
superfluous and misleading and find also in the more meritorious
examination of Schütz exaggerations that cannot be justified
from the source (for example, his sharp distinction between “apostle”
and “disciple” as a source critical standard [[106b]] cannot be
implemented, in my opinion, so they certainly cannot form the basis of
a correct observation), but, it is regrettable, on the other hand, that
Zahn, in his great and instructive Kommentar zur
Apostelgeschichte (1919), sets aside the deeper problem or does not
see it. Holl published a very worthy study about
Den Kirchenbegriff des Paulus in seinem Verhältnis zu dem der Urgemeinde
(Sitzungsber. der Preuß. Akad., 1921, p. 920ff.). That the
Jerusalem community was governed by the twelve, or the appointed ones
of Christ, through his appearance to the new appointed twelve—Peter in
the lead—with the belief in Jerusalem elaborated that they felt
themselves originally as the church of Christ and the desire to
enhypostatically join the whole Diaspora through supervision and right
of taxation is sharp for them, perhaps too sharp. “From this
concept of church (see
Jülicher, Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 1922 Nr. 5) Paul assumed a
composition: the idea that the church was a structured whole, the
authority of the “apostle” and the importance of Jerusalem remained as
centers. On the other hand, he slides next to the apostle and
above it, as the highest authority, the living Christ, as a result of
which the apostle ceased to appear indispensable; also the “spiritual”
had the same fundamental authority as the apostle. Jerusalem’s
significance was pressed down by a device; every community bloomed in
the new life in the Spirit through Christ. They were right to
call themselves the community of God. However, Paul established
in this his concept of church with help of the historical development
of the abolition of the Jerusalem primate (therefore, he then
disengaged the sphere, for a new primate, that of Rome).” This
series of thoughts—they were long anticipated at the time of his
history of the Roman church, but with careless and intolerable
arrangement in details—is probably right, but they cannot be carried by
the poverty of our sources to fuller certainty, especially the problem
of “Jerusalem, Peter, and James” (“apostle” and “relatives of the
Lord”) cannot be released from the darkness in which it lies.
The oldest church did not preserve more works like Acts. The manner of the excellent Church History of Eusebius, a collection of documents under an apologetic perspective, does not allow itself to be compared with it, especially since the Eusebian work is not and does not want to be a history of missions. It did not want to be because the first apostles had already fulfilled the mission; only the fulfillment of the frame was necessary. This describes one of the many barriers of the book.
THE BEGINNING OF THE MISSIONS LEGEND
The missions legend first grew around the fourth century, but its beginning is already found in our period. It requires here only a brief explanation because we will exclude later legends. []
The starting point for the entire missions legend lies in the first Christian conviction that the end of the world was approaching, but that before it arrive, the gospel must be preached to all nations. The combination of both these thoughts, already found in our gospel (see chapter four), involved the construction of a missions order of Christ and the transmission of these instructions to the apostle (see the end of chapter five, yet an order of Christ was construed, as long as the apostles still remained in Jerusalem). It lasted, as much as we know, almost a century, until one sought to supplement through a few free legends formation, with what one knew or believed to know about the undertaking of the mission on the part of the twelve apostles and other missionaries. That the evangelist Philip, the apostle Andrew, and perhaps also the apostle John went to Asia (Andrew also went to Scythia), that Thomas went to Parthia or “India” and Mark went to Alexandria is partly certain and partly plausible. The legend only institutes, actually through the kind of apocryphal Acts since the last quarter of the second century, first of all, that embellished the activity of the apostles in them, that they were really active as great missionaries (Peter, Paul, and Thomas) and then also overlap with the other apostles. Already in the period in which these apostle novels originated, but never in later time, someone was out to learn something about them. As a rule, one would like not to assume here more general elementary memories and it must claim that the pure image of Acts was painted over completely by the flagrant colors of the apostles’ legends.\1/
The emergence of the missions legend was assisted, at the time of the transition from the second to the third century, possibly earlier, first by the waxing ambitions of the nations and by the apostles themselves conceiving of Christianity, second through the special ambition of the bishops to possess a substantiated chair from an apostle or at least from the school of an apostle. Still, the African church gratefully recognized that they received Christianity from Rome without an apostolic apprentice also only indirect in claim, []
this case, one must doubt that the Christian preaching actually already
went into the land at that time, as the narrator of the activities of
an apostle spun a yarn. “Acts” belong to their literary genre
even in the description of undiscovered lands and peoples.
and was not yet claimed of the Gallic church that they were indirectly founded by Peter, that of Milan was not yet certainly accounted to Barnabas. But in so far as the tradition was clouded entering the transition between the second and third century, one took a strange interest in the wider history of people in Acts and of those who were called companions and assistants of Paul. Already with Origen, they were certainly not “invented,” they found more legends about them, their later activities, and their “dioceses.” Here in one case or another, the written records were still effective; we are still not able to control more of them.
In the oldest apocryphal Acts, one finds a few singularities, probably based on historical lore, that so paint over the figure of the apostolic missionaries and first martyrs in Thecla in the Acts of Paul and traits of the Roman community in the oldest Acts of Peter
Those which are best known to us of the relatively old missions legend is the legend of the Christianization of the royal house of Edessa and the city. It is strange that Eusebius already acquiesced to this religious legend (see under “Edessa” in the Verbreitungsgeschichte).
Eusebius writes, “Τῶν δὲ ἱερῶν τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ἀποστόλων τε καὶ μαθητῶν ἐφ’ ἅπασαν κατασπαρέντων τὴν οἰκουμένην, Θωμᾶς μέν, ὡς ἡ παράδοσις περιέχει, τὴν Παρθίαν εἴληχεν, (Without authorization, Rufinus places “Matthaeus Aethiopiam, Bartholomaeus Indiam citeriorem” in his translation here.) Ἀνδρέας δὲ τὴν Σκυθίαν, Ἰωάννης τὴν Ἀσίαν, πρὸς οὓς καὶ διατρίψας ἐν Ἐφέσῳ τελευτᾷ, Πέτρος δ’ ἐν Πόντῳ καὶ Γαλατίᾳ καὶ Βιθυνίᾳ Καππαδοκίᾳ τε καὶ Ἀσίᾳ κεκηρυχέναι τοῖς [ἐκ] διασπορᾶς Ἰουδαίοις ἔοικεν· ὃς καὶ ἐπὶ τέλει ἐν Ῥώμῃ γενόμενος, ἀνεσκολοπίσθη κατὰ κεφαλῆς, οὕτως αὐτὸς ἀξιώσας παθεῖν. τί δεῖ περὶ Παύλου λέγειν, ἀπὸ Ἱερουσαλὴμ μέχρι τοῦ Ἰλλυρικοῦ πεπληρωκότος τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ ὕστερον ἐν τῇ Ῥώμῃ ἐπὶ Νέρωνος μεμαρτυρηκότος;--ταῦτα Ὠριγένει κατὰ λέξιν ἐν τρίτῳ τόμῳ τῶν εἰς τὴν Γένεσιν ἐξηγητικῶν εἴρηται.”
Valesius raised the question whether the quotation begins with Origen and whether only the announcement about Peter and Paul pertains to him; Lipsius (Apokr. Apostelgesch., I, p. 14), if also uncertainly, commented against this that Eusebius appeared to heavily influence it to return to a place in Origen only to legitimize the universally confessed statement about the apostolic princes. E. Schwartz looks at the entire piece as Origenistic. []
According to my treatise, “Texten u. Unters.,” volume 42, book
3, “The exegetical works of Origen are the revenue of church history.”
One must only cherish strong thoughts. First of all, it clearly consists of two pieces; the first is a fragment of the distribution over the earth and the twelve to their lot (for one may not understand “εἴληχεν” another way because the apostles testify to it in relation to the distribution of the countries), the second is a report about missionary action and the death of Peter and Paul, therefore, the second part hardly pertains to the first half, because it also stands in “Asia.” Secondly, the received works of Origen do not prove to us that he already knew the history of the distribution of the earth as a missionary field of the apostles; he made frequent references in his commentaries and homilies because he knew of them, and he speaks objectively against the countries that had not yet received the gospel. Third, “ἱερός” is a rather common epithet for “apostle” (see H.E., 3.8.11) and evangelists in Eusebius, even characteristic of his ecclesiastical language (see the Index of Schwartz, p. 181). On these grounds, it is improbable that the first half of the fragments was from Origen. Where the fracture lies is not easy to show. In my opinion, it reaches from “Παράδοσις to τὴν Ἀσίᾳν” because Eusebius places the sentence “πρὸς οὓς καὶ διατρίψας ἐν Ἐφέσῳ τελευτᾷ” and follows it with the statement of Origen about the death of Peter and Paul. (The insertion of this statement appears to confess that one who accepts that Eusebius appeals to it because of Origen is not correct). One would like to accept that in the excerpts he collected excerpts about the missionary area of the apostles and their end and, therefore, moved from one to the other.
The antiquity of the message is not right in saying that Thomas appears to have gone to Parthia, as Origen says, for while the legend was more general, Thomas appears as the missionary to India (Matthew was still displaced in Parthia), so he is also found in Parthia according to Clement, Recogn., 9.29, Ephraem., Expos. Ev. Concord., p. 286, Rufinus, H.E., 1.6 (Socrat., H.E., 1.19); the accounts are not incompatible. But what concerns the mystery of why only three apostles (or five) were reported remains whether one maintains that Origen was the author of the whole piece, based on an incomplete repeated paradosis, or whether one accepts absolute paradosis, alongside Origen, as the source of Eusebius, provided that it indeed presupposes a distribution of the apostles of the earth, but only reports about Thomas, Andrew, and John.
But also as one likes to be—we have in the paradosis about the three apostles the oldest, rather fragmentary report about the assignment of the countries of the earth to the apostles, but we are without guarantee that it belongs to the time before Origen or that of the theologian. []