The Jesus Problem: A Restatement of the Myth Theory

By J. M. Robertson

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Jesus Problem, by J. M. Robertson

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most
other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of
the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at  If you are not located in the United States, you'll have
to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.

Title: The Jesus Problem
       A Restatement of the Myth Theory

Author: J. M. Robertson

Release Date: November 27, 2016 [EBook #53616]

Language: English


Produced by Jeroen Hellingman and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at for Project
Gutenberg (This file was produced from images generously
made available by Cornell University Digital Collections)

                           THE JESUS PROBLEM


                         J. M. ROBERTSON, M.P.


                              WATTS & CO.,
                17 JOHNSON'S COURT, FLEET STREET, E.C. 4


    Prefatory Note                                           vii

    Chapter I.--THE APPROACH                                   1
    Chapter II.--THE CENTRAL MYTH                             24

        § 1. The Ground of Conflict                           24
        § 2. The Sacrificial Rite                             31
        § 3. Contingent Elements                              39
        § 4. The Mock-King Ritual                             50
        § 5. Doctrinal Additions                              53
        § 6. Minor Ritual and Myth Elements                   57
        § 7. The Cross                                        61
        § 8. The Suffering Messiah                            64
        § 9. The Rock Tomb                                    67
        § 10. The Resurrection                                70

    Chapter III.--ROOTS OF THE MYTH                           72

        § 1. Historical Data                                  72
        § 2. Prototypes                                       91
        § 3. The Mystery-Drama                                96

    Chapter IV.--EVOLUTION  OF THE CULT                      107

        § 1. The Primary Impulsion                           107
        § 2. The Silence of Josephus                         121
        § 3. The Myth of the Twelve Apostles                 126
        § 4. The Process of Propaganda                       135
        § 5. Real Determinants                               148

    Chapter V.--ORGANIZATION AND ECONOMICS                   157

        § 1. The Economic Side                               157
        § 2. Organization                                    162

    Chapter VI.--EARLY BOOK-MAKING                           170

        § 1. The "Didachê"                                   170
        § 2. The Apocalypse                                  173
        § 3. Epistles                                        176

     Chapter VII.--GOSPEL-MAKING                             182

        § 1. Tradition                                       182
        § 2. Schmiedel's Tests                               188
        § 3. Tendential Tests                                192
        § 4. Historic Summary                                202

    Chapter VIII.--SUPPLEMENTARY MYTH                        207

        § 1. Myths of Healing                                207
        § 2. Birth Myths                                     209
        § 3. Minor Myths                                     217

    Chapter IX.--CONCLUSION                                  223

                 THE TWELVE APOSTLES," WITH NOTES            235
    Appendix B.--THE MYTH OF SIMON MAGUS                     248


Most of the propositions in mythology and anthropology in this
book are founded on bodies of evidence given in the larger works of
the author. It seemed fitting, therefore, to refer to those works
instead of repeating hundreds of references there given. Readers
concerned to investigate the issues are thus invited and enabled to do
so. For brevity's sake, Christianity and Mythology is cited as C.M.;
Pagan Christs as P.C.; and the Short Histories of Christianity and
Freethought as S.H.C. and S.H.F. respectively. In the first three
cases the references are to the second editions; in the last case,
to the third. The Evolution of States is cited as E.S. Another work
often referred to is Sir J. G. Frazer's great thesaurus, The Golden
Bough, which is cited as G.B., the references being to the last
edition. Other new references are given in the usual way. The Ecce
Deus of Professor W. B. Smith is cited in the English edition.

Passages in brackets, in unleaded type, may be passed at a first
perusal by readers concerned mainly to follow the constructive
theory. Such passages deal controversially with counter-polemic.



As was explained in the preamble to The Historical Jesus (1916),
that work was offered as prolegomena to a concise restatement of the
theory that the Gospel Jesus is a mythical construction. That theory
had been discursively expounded by the writer in two large volumes,
Christianity and Mythology and Pagan Christs, and summarily in A Short
History of Christianity, the argument in the two former combining a
negative criticism of the New Testament narrative with an exposition
of the myth-evidence. Criticism having in large part taken the form
of a denial that the records were unhistorical, it was necessary to
clear the ground by showing that all the various attempts of the
past generation to find in the gospels a historical residuum have
entirely failed to meet critical tests. Those attempts, conflicting
as they do with each other, and collapsing as they do in themselves,
give undesigned support to the conclusion that the gospel story is
without historic basis.

It remains to restate with equal brevity the myth-theory which, long
ago propounded on a very narrow basis, has latterly been re-developed
in the light of modern mythology and anthropology, and has in recent
years found rapidly increasing acceptance. Inevitably the different
lines of approach have involved varieties of speculation; Professors
Drews and W. B. Smith have ably and independently developed the theory
in various ways; and a conspectus and restatement has become necessary
for the sake of the theory itself no less than for the sake of those
readers who call for a condensed statement.

This in turn is in itself tentative. If the progressive analysis of
the subject matter from the point of view of its historicity has meant
a century and a half of debate and an immense special literature, it
is not to be supposed that the theory which negates the fundamental
assumptions of that literature can be fully developed and established
in one lifetime, at the hands of a few writers. The problem "What
really happened?" is in fact a far wider one for the advocate of the
myth-theory than for the critic who undertakes to extract a biography
from the documents. In its first form, as propounded by Dupuis and
Volney, the myth-theory was confined simply to certain parallelisms
between Christian and Pagan myth, and to the astronomical basis of a
number of these. From this standpoint the actual historic inception of
the cult was little considered. Strauss, again, developed with great
power and precision the view that most of the detail in the gospel
narrative is myth construction on the lines of Jewish prophecy and
dogma. But Strauss never fully accepted the myth-theory, having always
assumed the existence of a teacher as a nucleus for the whole. As
apart from the continuators of Dupuis and Volney, it was Bruno Bauer
who, setting out with the purpose of extracting a biography from the
gospels, and finding no standing ground, first propounded a myth-theory
from that point of view.

His construction, being the substantially arbitrary one of a
hypothetical evangelist who created a myth and thereby founded the
cultus, naturally made no headway; and its artificiality strengthened
the hands of those who claimed to work inductively on the documents. It
was by reason of a similar failure to find a historic footing where he
had at first taken it for granted that the present writer was gradually
led, on lines of comparative hierology and comparative mythology and
anthropology, to the conception of the evolution of the Jesus-cult from
the roots of a "pre-Christian" one. The fact that this view has been
independently reached by such a student as Professor W. B. Smith,
who approached the problem from within rather than by way of the
comparative method, seems in itself a very important confirmation.

What is now to be done is to revise the general theory in the light
of further study as well as of the highly important expositions of it
by Professor Smith and other scholars. An attempt is now definitely
made not merely to combine concisely the evidence for a pre-Christian
Jesus-cult, but to show how that historically grew into "Christianity,"
thus substituting a defensible historical view for a mythic narrative
of beginnings. And this, of course, is a heavy undertaking.

The question, "What do you put in its place?" is often addressed
to the destructive critic of a belief, not with any philosophic
perception of the fact that complete removal is effected only by
putting a tested or tenable judgment in place of an untested or
untenable one, but with a sense of injury, as if a false belief
were a personal possession, for the removal of which there must be
"compensation." In point of fact, the destructive process is rarely
attempted without a coincident process of substitution. Even to say
that a particular text is spurious is to say that some one forged or
inserted it where it is, for a purpose. That concept is "something in
its place." Some Comtists, again, are wont to commit the contradiction
of affirming that "no belief is really destroyed without replacement,"
and, in the next breath, of condemning rationalists who "destroy
without replacing." Both propositions cannot stand.

If it be meant merely to insist that explanation is replacement,
and that explanation is a necessary part of a successful or complete
process of destruction, the answer is that it is hardly possible even
to attempt to cancel a belief without putting a different belief in its
place; and that it is nearly always by way of positing a new belief
that an old one is assailed. The old charge against rationalism, of
"destroying without building up," is historically quite false. Almost
invariably, the innovator has offered a new doctrine or conception in
place of the old. True, it might not be ostensibly an equivalent, for
the believer who wanted an equivalent in kind. An exploded God-idea
is not for me replaceable by another God-idea: the only rational
"replacement" is a substitution of a reasoned for an authoritarian
cosmology and ethic. But in the way of reasoned replacements the
innovators have been only too quick, in general, to formulate
new conceptions, new creeds. They have really been too eager to
build afresh, and many untenable formulas and hypotheses are the

These very attempts, naturally, are constantly made the objects of
still more hasty counter-attack. Every form of the myth-theory with
which I am acquainted, whatever its defects, has been the result
of much labour, and even if astray can be fairly pronounced "hasty"
only in the sense that it proves to be inadequate. It is not so with
most of the counter-criticism. The reader may rest assured that
it is not possible for any exposition of the new theory to be as
"hasty" as is usually its rejection. [1] Professional theologians
who cast that epithet are in general recognizably men who believed
their hereditary creed before they were able to think, and have at
no later stage made good the first inevitable omission.

Myth-theories, sound or unsound, are the attempts of students who find
the record incredible as history to think out, in the light of the
documents and of comparative mythology and hierology, the process by
which it came to be produced; and even as all myth is but a form of
traditionary error, so any attempt to trace its growth runs the risk
of error. It is one thing to show, for instance, that the Pentateuch
cannot have been written by "Moses," seen to be a non-historical
figure: it is another thing to settle how the books were really
made. In such cases, the "something in the place" of the tradition
is to be ascertained only after long and patient investigation and
counter-criticism. So with the investigation of the fabulous history of
early Rome. After several scholars had set forth grounded doubts, the
problem was ably and systematically handled by the French freethinker
Louis de Beaufort in 1738. Early in the nineteenth century, Niebuhr,
confidently undertaking "with the help of God" to get at the truth,
and falsely disparaging Beaufort's work as wholly "sceptical," effected
a reconstruction which has since been found to be in large measure
unsound, though long acquiesced in by English students. [2] In such
matters there is really no finality. If well-documented history must
in every age be rewritten, no less inevitable is the re-writing of
that which is reached only by processes of inference. And the gospel
problem is the hardest of all. Still more than in the case of the
Pentateuch problem, many revisions will probably be needed before a
generally satisfactory solution is reached.

There is nothing for it but to trace and retrace, consider and
reconsider, the inferrible historic process. Met as he is by
alternate charges of reckless iconoclasm and "hasty" construction,
the proper course for the holder of the myth-theory is to repeat with
dispassionate vigilance both of his processes--to show first that the
progressive effort to extract from the gospels a tenable biography
has ended in complete critical collapse, revealing only a tissue of
myth; and then to attempt to indicate how the pseudo-history came
to be compiled: in other words, how the myth arose. Such has been my
procedure in the preceding volume and in this.

It may of course be argued that the previous negative criticism of
the gospel record is indecisive; that the avowal of Loisy: "If the
trial and condemnation of Jesus, as pretended Messiah, could be put
in doubt, we should have no ground for affirming the existence of the
Christ," does not commit other inquirers, or that the historicity of
the trial story has not really been exploded; that the nullity of
the alleged Evangel has not been established; or that the complete
destruction of previous biographical theories claimed by Schweitzer
for himself and Wrede has not been accomplished. The answer is that
these issues are not re-opened in the following chapters. They were
carefully handled in the previous volume, to which I have seen no
attempt at a comprehensive and reasoned answer.

[The latest attack I have seen comes from a former antagonist, who
appears to lay his main complaint against the book on the ground that
it "omits to notice the theory of the synoptic problem which appears in
every modern text-book," that is, "the two-documents hypothesis." And
there emerges this indictment:--

    As the theory has a vital bearing on the relative values of
    different strata of tradition, Mr. Robertson cannot afford to
    ignore it. If we apply to himself the crude principle he applies
    to Paul and the evangelists, to wit, that if they don't mention
    a thing they don't know it, we must assume that Mr. Robertson is
    still ignorant of the very elements of the problem he is professing
    to solve. Since he has no clear or tenable view of the documents
    and their relations to one another, he obviously cannot answer
    the historical questions they raise. [3]... Presumably he omits
    to mention it because he does not see its significance. [4]

Before coming to the main matter, it is necessary to elucidate
the charge as to a "crude principle" applied to Paul and the
evangelists. The "principle" really applied was this, that if "Paul" in
all his writings, apart from two interpolated passages, shows no real
knowledge whatever of the gospels, and no knowledge whatever either of
the life or the teachings of Jesus as there recorded, we are compelled
to infer either that these details were not in any form known to Paul,
or that, if he knew them, he did not believe them. It is not a matter
of his not knowing "a thing": that is the sophism of the critic; it is
a matter of his not knowing anything on the subject. And so with the
synoptics and the fourth gospel. When one side relates something vital
to the record, of which the other side shows no knowledge whatever
[5]--as, for instance, great miracles--we are bound to infer that
the silent side, when it is the earlier record, either did not know
or did not believe the story. Or, again, when John alleges that the
disciples baptized freely and the synoptics make no mention of it,
it is clear that we cannot suppose them, in the alleged circumstances,
to have been ignorant of such a fact; while, if they are supposed to
have known it and yet to have kept silence, their credit as historians
is gravely shaken. The "principle," in fact, is that of critical
common-sense; and the critic's version of it is a forensic perversion.

On the next issue, it is perhaps well to explain to the lay reader
that the "two-documents hypothesis" is simply what Schmiedel--with
a very justifiable implication--named "the so-called theory of two
sources," a mere aspect of "the borrowing hypothesis" which constitutes
the main substance of the bulk of the documentary discussion of the
gospels in the last century, and which is simply the most obvious
way of attempting to explain the documentary phenomena. It dates from
Papias. As the critic asseverates, it is the theory of the text-books
in general. And for the main purposes of historic comprehension, it
is neither here nor there. The theory of two sources cannot possibly
cover all the data, even from the biographical point of view. The
effect of Schmiedel's article--a model of critical honesty and general
good sense which his successors might usefully strive to copy in those
regards--is to show that the hypothesis is quite inadequate even as a
documentary theory; and from the point of view of the rational student
it is simply neutral to the vital question, What really did happen,
in the main? He who has realized that the Entry, the Betrayal, the
Last Supper, the Agony, the Trials, and the Crucifixion, are all as
mythical as the Resurrection, is not at that point concerned with the
dispute as to priority among the gospels, or any sections of them. No
documentary hypothesis can possibly make the myth true.

At the vital point, in fact, the two-documents hypothesis is not even
ostensibly applicable: the synoptic narrative is one primary narrative,
subjected to minor modifications. It is admitted by Harnack to have
been absent from "Q," the Logoi "source" held to have been drawn upon
by Matthew and Luke. And that one narrative, as I have argued, is
not in origin a "gospel" narrative at all, but the simple transcript
of a mystery-drama, with almost the minimum of necessary narrative
insertion. If the exegete could bring himself to contemplate rationally
my hypothesis, he might find his documentary labours lightened. [6]

It is doubtless true that the determination of the earlier as against
the later form of a minor narrative episode, or of a teaching, is
often essential to the framing of a true notion as to its mode of
entrance; and such determination I have attempted many times. But
the notion that historicity is a matter of priority of documents
is, as Schmiedel sees, the fallacy of fallacies. Prisoned in that
presupposition, exegetes defending the record achieve inevitably the
very failure they impute: they are "ignorant of the very elements
of the problem they are professing to solve"--that is, the problem
of what really happened. They cannot realize the conditions under
which the gospels were compiled. They construct what they think a
"clear or tenable" view of the documents by the process of evading
the considerations which make it untenable or inadequate, and then
demand that their documentary formula shall be met by one in pari
materia. The answer to them is that their psychological as well as
their historical assumptions are false. Things did not happen in
that way. And two versions of a palpable myth do not make for its
historicity. There are two or more versions of most myths.

The indictment before us, in short, is an illustration of the mode
of theological fence discussed above. You undertake to show that the
most alert presentments of a given historical conception fail to stand
critical tests, and you are met with the reply: "We are not concerned
to discuss the presentments you deal with, which are not generally
accepted: we demand that you discuss instead the documentary theory
which in those presentments is treated as obsolete. If you do not
do this, you show you are incompetent." When on the other hand the
critical significance of an older theory is indicated, the reply is
made that that theory is "obsolete." One theory is too new, another
is too old, for discussion. All the while, the theory founded-on for
the defence is really the oldest of all. It was in fact the obvious
inadequacy of the familiar documentary hypothesis that dictated our
discussion of more up-to-date theories, as it had elicited these. If
our exegete's favourite hypothesis had had any power of satisfying
independent students, we should not have had such treatises as those of
the Rev. Dr. Wright and Dr. Flinders Petrie, or the searching analysis
and commentary of M. Loisy, to say nothing of the vigorous Dr. Blass.

In dealing with such writers, and particularly in following the
"real" procedure of M. Loisy on the main issues of historical fact,
I took what seemed to me the candid controversial course. To resort
instead to a mere exposure of the obvious insufficiency of the
"two-documents hypothesis" would be like arguing as if Genesis
were the only alternative to the Darwinian theory. Dr. Wright's
"oral hypothesis" is a vivid and interesting revival of what, as
I pointed out, had long ago been the "predominant" view. [7] Our
exegete nevertheless affirms that I regard it "as something new in
England." To the lay reader I would again explain the situation thus
handled. Theological discussion on the gospels has moved in cycles,
by reason of the invariable presupposition as to historicity, which
was a main factor in the partial failure of the mythical theory as
introduced by Strauss. As I expressly stated, the oral hypothesis was
before Strauss "well established." Then ensued the age-long discussion
of documentary hypotheses. At the close of the nineteenth century we
find Schmiedel saying:

    Lastly, scholars are also beginning to remember that the
    evangelists did not need to draw their material from books alone,
    but that from youth up they were acquainted with it from oral
    narration and could easily commit it to writing precisely in
    this form in either case--whether they had it before them in no
    written form, or whether they had it in different written form. In
    this matter, again, we are beginning to be on our guard against
    the error of supposing that in the synoptical problem we have
    to reckon merely with given quantities, or with such as can be
    easily ascertained. [8]

If I had written that, I should doubtless be told that I regarded
the oral hypothesis as "new." Dr. Schmiedel, it is to be hoped, may
escape the aspersive method of my critic. In point of fact, a return
to the oral hypothesis was inevitable in view of the insufficiency
of the other. Unfortunately it has been made on the old and fatal
presupposition of the historicity of the myth; but, as made by
Dr. Wright, it seemed well worth critical consideration. My critic
disparages that and other propaganda as "commanding no large measure of
assent anywhere." My testimony, I fear, will not help Dr. Wright; but I
will say that I found him an honest and extremely interesting writer,
admirably free from theological malice, and above all exhibiting a
thoroughly independent hold of his thesis. What amount of assent he
has secured is an irrelevant issue. I can only say that I found him
very readable. The scholarly and intellectual status of Dr. Flinders
Petrie, again, is such as perhaps to make it unnecessary to say--as
against similar disparagement in his case--that a thesis seriously and
vigorously embraced by him as superseding the older documentary and
oral hypotheses alike, seemed to me well entitled to consideration.]

The examination of the recent positions of independent writers
seeking to construct a documentary theory has, I think, sufficed
to safeguard the honest lay student of the myth-theory against the
kind of spurious rebuttal set up by those who, themselves innocent
of all original research, pretend that the fundamental historicity
of the gospels is established by a "consensus of scholarship." There
is no consensus of scholarship. I observe that M. Loisy, to whom I
devoted special study, is journalistically disparaged by the Very
Rev. Dean Inge. That disparagement--which, I also observe, I have the
undeserved honour to share--will not impose upon serious students,
who will realize that Dean Inge, himself transparently unorthodox,
has no resource in such matters but to disparage all who labour
with any measure of rational purpose to put concrete conclusions
where church dignitaries inevitably prefer to maintain rhetorical
mystification. For the purposes of serious students, M. Loisy is an
important investigator, Dean Inge a negligible essayist.

It is true that one of the positions I discussed--that of the school of
Weiss--is not "new." But in that case the reason for selection was not
merely that it was one of the efforts to reach something less neutral
than the "two-documents hypothesis," but that it is in substance
the position of some of the most recent and most virulent English
critics of the myth-theory. It is in fact the gist of the polemic
of Dr. Conybeare. I have shown, accordingly, that the thesis of a
primary biography is psychologically absurd in itself; and, further,
that like all the other documentary hypotheses it has been left high
and dry by the latest German exegetes, who, expressly assuming the
historicity of a Jesus, and founding on the gospels for their case,
reduce these to a minimum of tradition at which M. Loisy must stand
aghast. It is in England, in short, that the biographical school,
as represented by Dean Inge and Dr. Conybeare, is seen to be most
entirely out of touch with the movement of rational criticism.

It is in England, too, that we find the most uncritical reliance
put upon the "impression of a personality" said to be set up by
the gospels. This argument is still used without any attempt at
psychological self-analysis, any effort to find out what an impression
is worth. A generation or two ago, exactly the same position was
taken up in regard to the fourth gospel: both the Arnolds, for
instance, were confident that the vision of Jesus there given was
peculiarly real. Critical study has since forced all save the sworn
traditionalists and the mere compromisers to the conclusion that it
cannot be real if there is any substantial truth in the presentment
of the synoptics. Slowly it has been realized that the methods
which produce a vivid impression of "personality" are methods open
to fictive art, and differ only in detail from the methods of the
Bhagavat Gîta or the methods of Homer. If a strong impression of a
personality be a certificate of historicity, what of Zeus and Hêrê,
Athênê and Achilles, Ulysses and Nestor? Most critics who handle the
problem seem to work in vacuo, without regard to the phenomena and
the machinery of fictive literature in general, even when they are
moved to accept a hypothesis of fiction.

The vision presented in the fourth gospel is prima facie more lifelike
than that of the synoptics, because its main author is more of an
artist than his predecessors. It has been justly affirmed by Professor
W. B. Smith that

    The received notion that in the early Marcan narratives the
    Jesus is distinctly human, and that the process of deification
    is fulfilled in John, is precisely the reverse of the truth. In
    Mark there is really no man at all: the Jesus is God, or at
    least essentially divine, throughout. He wears only a transparent
    garment of flesh. Mark historizes only. Matthew also historizes
    and faintly humanizes. Luke more strongly humanizes; while John
    not only humanizes but begins to sentimentalize. [9]

Contemporary German scholars, such as Wellhausen, working on
the synoptics, begin uneasily to note the lack of reality and
verisimilitude in the presentment there given, avowing a deficit
of biographical quality where English amateurs still heedlessly
affirm a veridical naïveté. Wellhausen, tacitly clinging to the
biographical assumption, gives up section after section of Mark,
where our amateurs primitively acclaim as genuine biographic detail
such an item as "asleep on the cushion" (Mk. iv, 38). Following
another will-o'-the-wisp, Wellhausen is moved to claim the episode
of the widow's mite (Lk. xxi, 1-4) as having biographical flavour,
as if the admitted inventor of other Lucan episodes could not have
doctrinally framed this. There is no science in such tentatives. They
do but tell of a search for a subjective basis of belief when criticism
has dissolved the objective bases of the old assumption.

When it is pretended, as by Dr. Conybeare, that the mythical theory
rests on and grows solely out of the supernaturalist details in
the gospel story, the case is simply falsified. This writer never
seems to master his subject matter. Before Strauss, as by Strauss,
the myth-theory was widely applied to non-supernatural matter;
and to surmise a historical Jesus behind those details has been
the first step in all modern inquiry. The assertion that the
rejection of the historicity of Jesus "is not really the final
conclusion of their [myth-theorists'] researches, but an initial
unproved assumption" [10] is categorically false. Professor Smith's
biographical statement negates it. [11] As I have repeatedly stated,
I began without misgivings by assuming a historical Jesus, and
sought historically to trace him, regarding the birth myth and the
others as mere accretions. But the very first step in the strictly
historical inquiry revealed difficulties which the biographical
school and the traditionalists alike had simply never faced. The
questions whether Jesus was "of Nazareth," "Nazarene" in that sense,
or "the Nazarite"; and why, if he was either of these, he was never
so named in the epistles, stood in the very front of the problem,
wholly unregarded by those who profess to trace a historical Jesus
by historical method. The problem of "the twelve" is to this day
passed with equal heedlessness by critics professing to work on
historico-critical lines; and the question of the authenticity of the
teachings is no more scientifically met. It was because at every step
the effort to find historical foundation failed utterly that after
years of investigation I sought and found in a thorough application
of the myth-theory the solution of the enigma. Invariably that gives
light where the historical assumption yields darkness.

It is thoroughly characteristic of the spirit in which some champions
of the biographical view work that, in sequel to the falsification
of the problem just noted, we have from them the plea that if we
give up the historicity of Jesus, we must give up that of Solon and
Pythagoras; and that "obviously Jesus has a far larger chance to
have really existed than Solon." [12] Such a use of the conception of
"chance" reveals the kind of dialectic we are dealing with. One recalls
Newman's derision of the Paleyan position that the "chances" were in
favour of there being a God. "If we deny all authenticity to Jesus's
teaching," we are asked, "what of Solon's traditional lore?" Well,
what of it? Is it to be authenticated by the threat that it must
go if we deny that the Sermon on the Mount is a sermon at all? The
fragments of Solon's verse purport to have been written by him:
have we anything purporting to have been written by Jesus? The very
fact that we have only fragments of Solon is in itself an argument
in favour of their genuineness: to Jesus any evangelist could ascribe
any sayings at will. [13]

As usual, the critic falsifies the debate, affirming that "the stories
of Plutarch about him [Solon] are, as Grote says, 'contradictory as
well as apocryphal.'" What Grote really says [14] is that Plutarch's
stories "as to the way in which Salamis was recovered are contradictory
as well as apocryphal." He makes no such assertion as to the stories
of Solon's life in general, though, like every critical historian,
he recognizes that many things were ultimately ascribed to Solon which
belong to later times. [15] But the genuine fragments of Solon's verse
and laws are sound historical material. As Meyer claims, [16] the
Archon list is as valid as the Roman Fasti. It is precisely because
of the solid elements in the record that Solon stands as a historic
figure, while Lycurgus is given up as a deity Evemerized. [17] On the
principles of Dr. Conybeare, we must give up Solon because we give up
Lycurgus, or accept Lykurgos if we accept Solon. Historical criticism
does no such thing. It decides the cases on their merits by critical
tests, and finds the fact of a Solonian legislation historically as
certain as the Lycurgean is fabulous. The item that Solon's family
claimed to be descended from Poseidon is no ground for doubting
the historicity of Solon, because such claims were normal in early
Greece. Is it pretended that claims to be the Son of God were normal
in later Jewry?

The device of saying that we must accept the historicity of Jesus if we
accept that of Solon is merely a new dressing of the old claim that we
must believe in the resurrection if we believe in the assassination
of Cæsar. Both theses rest on spurious analogies; and both alike
defeat themselves, the older by carrying the implication that the
prodigies at Cæsar's death are as historical as the assassination;
the newer by involving the consequence that Solon accredits not only
Lycurgus but Herakles and Dionysos, Ulysses and Achilles.

The argument from Pythagoras is a still more fatal device. Of him
"it is no easy task to give an account that can claim to be regarded
as history." [18] And "of the opinions of Pythagoras we know even
less than of his life." [19] It is held to be certain that he taught
the doctrine of transmigration and originated certain propositions in
mathematics; but while the mathematical element has no analogue in the
gospels, the residual view of Pythagoras as vending in religion only a
"thoroughly primitive" set of taboos [20] would sanction, by analogy,
the view that the real Jesus was the Talmudic Ben Pandira, who dates
about 100 B.C., and was reputed a worker of wonders by sorcery. This is
a sufficiently lame and impotent conclusion from a polemic in favour of
the gospel Jesus, whom it leaves, in effect, a myth, as the myth-theory
maintains. As for Apollonius of Tyana, one holds him historical [21]
just because his myth-laden story is finally intelligible as history,
which is precisely what the Jesus story is not.

This said, The Historical Jesus may be left, as it is, open to critical
refutation. The present volume is theoretically constructive, and
does not unnecessarily return upon the other. It is open in its turn
to refutative criticism.

That description, it may be remarked, would not be accorded by me to
a mere asseveration that there "must" be a historical basis for the
gospels in a person answering broadly to the Gospel Jesus. Any one
who confidently holds such a view need hardly trouble himself with
the present thesis at all: and for me any one who affects to dispose
of the issue by merely fulminating the "must" is simply begging the
question. Those who, on the other hand, do but lean instinctively to
such a belief may be respectfully invited to reconsider it in the
light of all hierology. That there "must" be a historic process of
causation behind every cult is a truism: it does not in the least
follow that the historic basis must be the historicity of the God or
Demigod round whose name the cult centres.

Many Saviour names have been the centres of cults, in the ancient
world as in the modern. There were extensive and long-lived worships
of Herakles, Dionysos, Osiris, Attis, Adonis, in addition to the
age-long cults of the "Supreme" Gods. Is it claimed that there "must"
have been a historical Herakles, or Dionysos, or Adonis? If so, is
it further contended that there must have been a historical Jehovah,
a Jove, a Cybelê, a Juno, a Venus? If the Father-Gods and Mother-Gods
could be evolved by protracted mythopoeia, why not the Son-Gods?

It is perfectly true, as was urged by the late Sir Alfred Lyall,
that in India and elsewhere distinguished men may to this day be
deified; that ancestor-worship played a great part in God-making;
and that tribal Gods are in many cases probably evolved from
distinguished chiefs. But such cases really defeat the inference
drawn from them. Such God-making can in no instance be shown ever
to have set up what can reasonably be termed a world-religion. The
world-religions are the product of a far more protracted and complex
causation. They grow from far further-reaching roots. Above all,
they have never grown up without the services either of a numerous
priesthood or of Sacred Books, or of both.

Is it then contended that a Sacred Book must represent the originative
teaching of a real person and his disciples? It may or may not;
but what does not at all follow is that the personality deified or
extolled in the Sacred Book was real. Mohammed was a real person:
he made no claim to deity: he acclaimed an established God. The names
of Zoroaster and Buddha were probably not those of real persons: the
first figures as a cult-building priest; the second as a Teacher,
enshrined from the first in a luxuriant myth, whence his practical
deification. In both cases the specific centre of the religion is
the Book or Books; and it is beyond question that in both cases many
hands wrought on these. To say that only a primary personality of
abnormal greatness could have inspired the writing of the books is
really equivalent to saying that there must have been a historical
Jehovah to account for the Old Testament, and a historical Allah to
account for the Koran. Let it be freely granted that the writers of
Sacred Books were in many cases remarkable personalities. That is a
totally different proposition from the one we are considering.

The claim that the gospels could only have originated round the memory
of an inspiring and love-creating personality is in effect an evasion
of the multitudinous facts of hierology. The European who sees nothing
in the fact that the mythic Krishna is loved by millions of Hindoos;
that in ages of antiquity millions of worshippers were absorbed in the
love of Dionysos, mutilated themselves for Attis, and wept for Adonis,
is not really ready for a verdict on what "must" have been as regards
the building up of any cult. Are the Psalms, once more, a testimony to
the historicity of Jehovah, or is the hymn of Hippolytos to Artemis,
in Euripides, a proof of anything but that men can love an imagination?

The special claim for a historical Jesus arises out of the very fact
that Jesus alone among the Saviour Gods of antiquity (Buddha being
excluded from that category) is celebrated in a set of Sacred Books in
which he figures as at once a Sacrificed God and a Teaching God. [22]
But the worships of the Saviours Dionysos and Herakles and Adonis,
without Sacred Books (apart from temple liturgies), were as confident
as the worship of Jesus. Is the production of Sacred Books in itself
any more of a testimony to a Saviour God's human actuality than the
worship with which they are associated?

Historically speaking, the emergence of Sacred Books as accompaniments
of a popular cultus is a result of special culture conditions. In
the case of Judaism these have never been scientifically traced,
by reason of the presuppositions of the past. [23] But we can trace
later cases. Early Christism founded primarily on the Sacred Books
of Judaism; and it needed to produce books of its own if it was
to survive as against the overshadowing parent cult. Save for these
books, Christism would have disappeared as did Mithraism, of which the
scanty hieratic literature remained occult, liturgical, unpopular,
where Christism was committed to publicity by the Jewish lead. To
make of Sacred Books produced under those special conditions a special
argument for the historicity of their contents, or of their narrative
groundwork, is to embrace the fallacy of the single instance. And when
the contents utterly fail to sustain the tests of rational documentary
criticism, to fall back on a "must" for certification of the actuality
of the figure they deify is merely to renounce critical reason.

The rational problem is to account historically for the projection
as a whole, to explain the main features and as many minor details
as may be, as we explain the "personality" and the myth of Herakles
or Samson or Adonis, the doctrines and fictions of the Books of Ruth
and Esther, the religions of Krishna and Mithra and Quetzalcoatl. We
are now compendiously to make the attempt.

M. Loisy has declared [24] that "One can explain to oneself Jesus:
one cannot explain to oneself those who invented him." In the previous
volume it has been contended that M. Loisy has decisively failed to
"explain Jesus" as a possible person: in this we essay to explain
"those who invented him." M. Loisy is an illustrious New-Testament
scholar: he is not a mythologist or a comparative hierologist. It is
very likely that he would find it difficult to explain to himself
those who invented Tezcatlipoca; but it would hardly follow that
Tezcatlipoca was not invented. In point of fact, a large portion
of M. Loisy's own important critical performance consists precisely
in explaining away as inventions a multitude of items in the gospel
narrative. He can understand invention of many parts, and admits that
unless removed they make an incongruous whole. There is really no
more difficulty in explaining the other parts as similar inventions
than in explaining these. Thus the alleged difficulty is illusory.

The occupation of "explaining to oneself" imaginary beings has been the
occupation of theologians through whole millenniums. There can still
be found even a hierologist or two who believe in the historicity of
Krishna; as the judicious Mosheim in the eighteenth century confidently
believed in the historicity of Mercury and Mithra. Those--and they
are many--who are now content to see myth in the figures of Mithra
and Krishna, with or without the nimbus of Sacred Books, may on that
score consent to consider the thesis of this volume.

It will be no adequate answer to that to say, as will doubtless be
said, that the outline of the evolution of the myth is unsatisfying. In
the very nature of the case, the connections of the data must be
speculative. It may well be that those here attempted--some of them
modifications of previous theories--will have to be at various
points reshaped; and I invite the reader to weigh carefully the
views of Professors Drews and Smith where I diverge from them. The
complete establishment of a historical construction will be a long and
difficult task. But in its least satisfying aspect the myth-theory
is a scientific substitution for what is wholly dissatisfying--the
entirely unhistorical construction furnished by the gospels.

That has been under revision for a hundred and fifty years, with an
outlay of labour that is appalling to think of, in view of the utter
futility of the search--or, let us say, the labour in proportion to
the result, for toil even upon false clues has yielded some knowledge
that avails for rectification. But the labour has meant a steadily
dwindling confidence in a dwindling residuum of supposed fact; though
every shortening of the line of defence has evoked furious outcry from
the unthinking faithful. The first pious framers of "harmonies" of the
gospels were indignantly told by the more stupid pious that there was
no strife to harmonize: the Schmiedels and Loisys of to-day, striving
their hardest to save something by rational methods from the rational
advance, are execrated by those who believe more than they. The more
instructed believers are as warm in their resentment of the latest
and coolest negative criticism as were their fathers towards the
contemptuous exposure of the contradictions of "inspiration." Anger,
it would seem, always leaps to the help of shaken confidence. Let
the believer perpend.

It is not orthodoxy that is to-day fighting the case of the historicity
of Jesus. Orthodoxy is committed to the miraculous, to Revelation,
to the Incarnation, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and, if it
would be consistent, to the Ascension, which is on the same plane
of belief. Upon such assumptions, there can be no critical defence
worthy of the name. The defence is being conducted mainly by the avowed
or non-avowed Neo-Unitarians of the various churches and countries;
and these are simply standing either at the position taken up fifty
years ago by Renan, whose "biography" of Jesus was received with a
far more widespread and no less violent storm of censure than that
now being turned upon the myth-theory; or at the more nearly negative
position of Strauss, which was still more fiercely censured. Renan's
position, or Strauss's, is now the position of the mass of "moderate"
scholars and students. Those who have thus seen a denounced heresy
become the standpoint of ordinary scholarly belief should be slow to
conclude that a newer heresy will not in time find similar acceptance.



§ 1. The Ground of Conflict

For the purposes of this inquiry, all miracles, strictly so-called,
are out of discussion. This does not mean that the myth-theory
of Jesus is an outcome of atheistic philosophy. One of the most
brilliant of modern books on Jesus is the work of an avowed atheist,
[25] who accepted substantially the whole of the non-supernatural
presentment of Jesus in the gospels, taking it to be a bad biography,
and subjecting the doctrine to keen but sympathetic criticism. This
writer, dismissing miracles as outside debate, had a conviction of the
historicity of Jesus which was in no way affected by a knowledge of
modern documentary criticism. On the other hand, Professor Arthur
Drews, author of The Christ Myth, expressly claims to urge the
myth-theory in the interest of theistic religion. Of course he too
dismisses miracles as outside discussion.

Those who are still concerned to discuss them, and to affirm such
beliefs as those of the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection, should
turn their attention to the well-known work of the late W. R. Cassels,
Supernatural Religion, [26] in which the whole supernaturalist case,
in its double aspect of "revelation" and miracles, is examined with an
abundance of learning, patience, and candour. Disparaged in its day
by professional orthodox scholars, that treatise has so completely
done its special work in the general criticism of supernaturalist
faith that, however common orthodoxy may still be, the matter is now
little debated among instructed men. Those who still hold the orthodox
position, therefore, are not here addressed. Our inquiry invites the
attention only of those who, abandoning the supernaturalist basis
of the Christian creed, seek to retain (it may be as the ground for
a transformed "Christianity") (1) the human personality which they
believe to have underlain the admitted myths of the record, and
(2) the teachings--or some of them--ascribed to the God-Man of the
Gospels. The problem is one of historical criticism, and does not turn
upon theism or atheism. The historicity of Jesus is maintained not only
by "Christians" of various degrees of heterodoxy but by some professed
rationalists; by critics eminent for judicial temper, as by Professor
Schmiedel of Zürich; and on the other hand by Dr. F. C. Conybeare.

These critics agree in regarding Jesus as a natural man, naturally
born, and it is to them that we must reply. When an orthodox Christian
like the Rev. Dr. T. J. Thorburn, holding by the Annunciation and the
Virgin Birth, sets himself to rebut the myth-theory [27] by scouting
myth analogies, it would be idle to argue with him. A writer who
can believe he has evidence for a story of human parthenogenesis
has no conception of evidence in common with us. It is accordingly
needless to point out that he constantly and absurdly misunderstands
the myth argument; [28] that he discusses Evemerism without knowing
what it means; [29] and that he merely juggles with such cruces as
the stories of the Transfiguration and the Ascension. From one at his
standpoint we can expect nothing else; and to those whom his exposition
satisfies no myth-theory can appeal. When he resorts to the device of
denying "spiritual insight" to those who accept scientific tests, he
merely exemplifies the normal procedure of orthodox incompetence. The
religious reasoner who flouts reason usually certificates and betrays
himself in that inexpensive fashion. Our argument is addressed to
those who profess to apply to Biblical matters the principles of
historical criticism.

The biographical school, as one may inoffensively term the variously
minded champions of the historicity of the record, abandon the Virgin
Birth and the Resurrection as impossibilities. That is to say, they
accept the myth-theory as regards those two cardinal items of the
Christian legend. They also in general recognize that the fourth
gospel, in so far as it differs vitally from the synoptics, is in
the main a process of myth-making. But, clinging to the alleged
substratum, most members of the school adhere to the fundamental
historicity of the Crucifixion. Here they stand with Strauss, who
found in the execution of Jesus by Pontius Pilate a solid historical
fact. Strauss is generally explicit as to his reasons for accepting
and rejecting; and while he resolves into myth at least nine-tenths
of the gospel narratives, finding them mere inventions to "fulfil"
supposed Old Testament predictions, he finds the testimony of Tacitus
unquestionable as to the execution. [30]

Now, the Annals of Tacitus is itself a questioned document; but
even if we take it as unquestionable it is admittedly only a late
statement of a narrative already made current by the Christists,
the Annals being commonly dated about 120 C.E. Either Tacitus was
founding on a Roman record of the Crucifixion or he was merely saying
what Christists said as to the origin of their sect. If the latter,
he supplies no historical basis. On the other hand, the unlikelihood
of there being a Roman record of executions in Palestine ninety
years before is so great that no Christian advocate now appears
to affirm it. Tacitus in fact gives no sign of consulting official
records, [31] his only traceable sources being previous historians,
notably Suetonius. Thus Strauss's express ground for accepting the
execution of a "Christ" by Pontius Pilate is really illusory; and
when we further find him pronouncing that the Barabbas episode must
be held fundamentally historical because it is "so firmly rooted in
the early Christian tradition," [32] we are again compelled to reject
his test. As we shall see, the Barabbas episode is unintelligible
as history, but highly intelligible as myth. At the very outset,
then, unverified assumptions are seen to be made by the biographical
school as to what may confidently be taken as historical, even when,
as in the case of Strauss, they affirm an abundance of myth.

Where Strauss was rash, later rationalistic writers have been more
so. My old friend, the English translator of Jules Soury's early work
on Jesus, took for granted that behind legendary heroes in general
there is always a nucleus of fact; but Soury, after postulating a
large part of the gospel story as veridical, gave up a number of his
own items. [33] As soon as he began to apply criticism, they were seen
to be arbitrary assumptions. Equally arbitrary is the assumption of
"some basis," made upon no scientific principle.

The biographical school in general adhere at least to the trial
and condemnation before Pilate, though many abandon as fiction the
trial before the Sanhedrim, which indeed was abandoned as long ago
as the third gospel, in favour of an equally fictitious trial before
Herod. As is seen by M. Loisy, the trial before Pilate is for the
historical critic the keystone of the tragedy story. If that goes,
there remains only a highly composite body of teaching, with no
identifiable historical personality to which to attach it.

But even as regards the trials there is wide divergence among the
biographical school. For instance, Mr. Charles Stanley Lester, an
ex-clergyman of Milwaukee, in his interesting work The Historic Jesus,
[34] entirely rejects the Sanhedrim trial, and likewise the gospel
account of the Pilate trial, but finds "probable history" in the view
that the priests privately persuaded Pilate to condemn Jesus on their
accusation without any trial. [35] Again, the anonymous author of The
Four Gospels as Historical Records, [36] an eminently keen, searching,
and candid critic, rejects alike the Judas story, the trial before the
Sanhedrim, and the trial before Pilate, [37] as he does most of the
other items of the gospel history, yet throughout seems to take for
granted the historicity of the "Great Teacher," the "Master," never
even raising that issue save in protesting that he has absolutely
nothing to say against him. [38] So completely does he destroy the
whole narrative, indeed, that he can hardly be said to maintain the
thesis of historicity, but he never calls it in question: he merely
destroys the biography. Mr. Lester, on the other hand, confidently
rejects a hundred details as myth, claiming that he presents the
gospels "relieved of the drapery of mythology and set free from all
dogmatic fictions"; [39] and yet no less confidently affirms a hundred
"undoubted" things, in a manner that almost outgoes M. Loisy.

If, faced by such procedures, the critical reader asks upon what
grounds the historical personality is accepted, he gets from the
able anonymous writer no answer, and from Mr. Lester, in effect, only
the answer that the teachings which appeal to him in the gospels are
self-certified as coming from the "Jesus" in whom he believes, while
the others are dismissed by him as inconsistent with his conception. As
a rule, the negative criticism is soundly reasoned; the constructive
is purely arbitrary. Yet Mr. Lester is an amiable and--apart from his
quaint animosity towards "the Semitic mind" [40]--a temperate critic,
warmly concerned for historic truth and loyally opposed to all kinds
of priestcraft, ancient and modern. What we must ask from such critics
is that they should bring to bear on their biographical assumption
the same critical method that they bring to bear on the multitude
of details which strike them as obviously unhistorical. Rejecting
miracles and self-contradictory narrative, they affirm a miraculous
and self-contradictory Person. That conception too must be analysed.

The Jesus of the Gospels is at once a Messiah (with no definite mission
as such), a Saviour God with whom the indefinite Messiah coalesces,
and a Teaching God who coalesces with both. The biographical school,
in the mass, posit a human Teacher, round whose teaching a Messianic
conception combined with a doctrine of salvation by blood sacrifice has
nucleated. If in this tissue there cannot be inserted the historical
detail of the trial before Pilate, there is nothing left but the
quasi-mythical detail of the crucifixion as an ostensible historical
basis for the Messianic and other teaching, so much of which is alien
to the early cult, so much of which is critically to be assigned to
previous and contemporary Jewish sources, and so much to later Jesuist
editors and compilers. Those laymen who are content to pick out of the
gospels certain teachings, such as the Sermon on the Mount, and call
these "Christianity," have not realized how completely documentary
analysis has disintegrated the teachings into pre-Jesuine Jewish
and post-Jesuine Gentile matter. The latest professional analysis,
as we have seen, leaves no Jesuine "Teaching" save an eschatology,
a doctrine of "last things," coming from a visionary Messiah with no
political or social message. [41] The bulk of the biographical school,
on the other hand, cling diversely to "something" in the Teaching which
shall be somehow commensurate with the "impression" made by the life
and death of the Teacher, which, from Renan onwards, they regard as the
real genesis of the myth of the Resurrection and the consequent cult.

Having shown, then, the cogent critical reasons for dismissing the
entire record of the triple episode of the Supper, the Agony, and the
Trials, as unhistorical, [42] it concerns us to show (1) that the whole
is intelligible only as myth, and (2) how the myth probably arose. The
sequence culminates in the Crucifixion, which, with the Sacrament,
is for the rational hierologist as for the orthodox theologian the
centre of Christianity. Equally the biographical school are committed
to maintaining the historicity of the event, without which they cannot
explain the rise of the cult. If then the myth-theory is to stand,
it must show that the central narrative belongs to the realm of myth.

§ 2. The Sacrificial Rite

In the Christian record, the Crucifixion is essentially a
sacrifice. "The essence of the Sacrament is not merely partaking of
a common cup or a common meal, but feasting upon a sacrifice ... and
this was found everywhere among Jews and Gentiles." [43] Thus the term
"Eucharist," which means "thanksgiving" or "thank-offering," applied
in the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles to the kind of sacrament
there indicated, and thence taken by Justin and other Fathers,
is clearly a misnomer for the thing specified in the gospels. Of
the gospel sacrifice, the sacrament is the liturgical and symbolic
application. [44] Or, otherwise, the crucifixion is the fulfilment of
the theory of the sacrament. On the view of the historicity of the
former, or of both, it would be necessary to show why the procedure
set forth in the gospels so closely simulated a human sacrifice; and
this is incidentally attempted in passing by M. Loisy. The scene of
derision by the soldiers, he says, "was perhaps connected with some
pagan festival usage." [45] But this at once admits the entrance of
the myth-theory, which affirms that an immemorial "festival" usage
is indicated. If Jesus was executed to please the Jewish multitude,
as is the view even of the most destructive of the later German
exegetes [46]--why should the execution take a pagan form? M. Loisy,
who had previously accepted as history the narrative of the Entry into
Jerusalem, with the public acclamation of Jesus as "the Son of David,"
is unprepared to believe with the German critic that within a week the
multitude cried "Crucify him!"; and he therefore wholly eliminates
that item from his biographical sketch. He implies, however, that
the doom of Jesus was passed by Pilate to please the priests, which
is equally fatal to the thesis of a pagan festival usage. He accepts,
further, the scene of the Mocking, with no ostensible critical reason,
but presumably in order to establish a history which would explain
the subsequent growth of the cult. In this process the salient episode
of Barabbas is dismissed by him as unhistorical. [47]

Thus the most distinguished critic of the biographical school has
no account to give of a second salient item in the record which,
being entirely non-supernatural, must be held to have been inserted
for some strong reason. It in fact closely involves the whole
myth-theory. Barabbas was in all probability a regular figure in
Semitic popular religion; and the name connects documentarily with
that of Jesus. The reading "Jesus Barabbas," in Mt. xxvii, 16, as
we have noted, [48] was long the accepted one in the ancient Church;
and its entrance and its disappearance are alike significant. It is
obviously probable that such a name as "Jesus the Son of the Father"
(= Bar-Abbas [49]), applied to a murderer, would give an amount of
offence to early Christian readers which would naturally lead in time
to its elimination from the current text. [50] But on that view there
is no explanation of its entrance. Such a stumbling-block could not
have been set up without a compulsive reason.

The anthropological and hierological data go to show that an annual
sacrifice of a "Son of the Father" was a long-standing feature in the
Semitic world. A story in Philo Judæus about a mummery in Alexandria
in ridicule of the Jewish King Agrippa, the grandson of Herod,
points pretty clearly to a local Jewish survival from that usage. A
lunatic named Karabas is said to have been paraded as a mock-king,
with mock-crown, sceptre and robe. [51] In all likelihood the K is a
mistranscription for B. In any case, "the custom of sacrificing the son
for the father was common, if not universal, among Semitic peoples,"
[52] as among others; and the Passover [53] was originally a sacrifice
of firstlings, human and animal, [54] the former being probably
most prevalent in times of disaster. "Devotion" was the principle:
surrogate sacrifices would normally be substituted. Sacrifice of a
king's son, in particular, was held to be of overwhelming efficacy by
early Hebrews and other Semites, as among other races in the savage
and barbaric stages. [55]

There is nothing peculiar to the Semites either in the general or
in the particular usage, both being once nearly universal; but it is
with the Semites that we are here specially concerned. The story of
Abraham and Isaac, to say nothing of that of Jephthah's daughter,
is a finger-post in the evolution of religion, being inferribly
a humane myth to promote the substitution of animal for human
sacrifice. And the Phoenician myth of "Ieoud," the "only-begotten"
son of King Kronos, "whom the Phoenicians call Israel," sacrificed
by his father at a time of national danger, after being dressed in
the trappings of royalty, [56] points towards the historic roots
of Christianity. Again and again we meet the conception of the
"only-begotten" "Son of the Father"--Father Abraham, Father Kronos,
Father Israel, the Father-King--as a special sacrifice in Hebrew and
other Semitic history. Kronos is a Semitic God; and in connection with
the Roman Saturnalia we have the record of a Greek oracle commanding to
"send a man to the Father"--that is, to Kronos. [57]

What is certain is that sacrifices of kings, which were at one stage of
social evolution normal, [58] inevitably tended to take other tribal
or communal forms; and a multitude of rites preserved plain marks
of the regal origin. Kings would inevitably pass off their original
tragic burden; the community, bent on the safeguard of sacrifice,
shifted it in turn. [59] Sacrifice of some kind, it was felt, there
must be, to avert divine wrath: [60] that conviction lies at the base
of the Christian as of the Jewish religion: it is fundamental to all
primitive religion; and it is happily beyond our power to realize
save symbolically the immeasurable human slaughter that the religious
conviction has involved.

Primarily, voluntary victims were desired; and in Roman and
Japanese history there are special or general records of their being
forthcoming, annually or in times of emergency. [61] Even in the case
of animal sacrifice, the Romans had a trick of putting barley in the
victim's ear to make him bow his head as if in submission. [62] But as
regards human sacrifices, which were felt to be specially efficacious,
the progression was inevitable from willing to compelled victims;
and out of the multitude of the forms of human sacrifice, for which
war captives and slaves at some stages supplied a large proportion
of the victims, we single that of the evolution from the voluntary
scape-goat or the sacrificed king or messenger, through the victim
"bought with a price," to the released criminal or other desperate
or resigned person bribed with a period of licence and abundance to
die for the community at the end of it.

In many if not in most of these cases, deification of the victim was
involved in the theory, the victim being customarily identified with
the God. [63] It was so in certain special sacrifices in pre-Christian
Mexico. [64] It was so in the human sacrifices of the Khonds of
Orissa, which subsisted till about the middle of last century. [65]
In the latter instance, of which we have precise record, the annual
victims were taken from families devoted by purchase to the function,
or were bought as children and brought up for the purpose. They
were "bought with a price." When definitely allotted, the males were
permitted absolute sexual liberty, being regarded as already virtually
deified. The victim was finally slain "for the sins of the world,"
and was liturgically declared a God in the process.

Such rites gradually dwindled in progressive communities from ritual
murders into ritual mysteries or masquerades; even as human sacrifices
in general, in most parts of the world, dwindled from bodies to parts
of bodies, fingers, hair, foreskins; from human to animal victims;
[66] from larger to smaller animals; from these to fowls; from real
animals to baked or clay models, fruits, grains, sheafs of rushes,
figures, paper or other symbols. It seems usually to have been humane
kings or chiefs who imposed the improvement on priesthoods. And as
with the victim, so with the sacramental meal which accompanied so
many sacrifices. Cannibal sacraments were once, probably, universal:
they have survived down till recent times in certain regions; but with
advance in civilization they early and inevitably tend to become merely
symbolic. In Mexico at the advent of Cortes, both the cannibal and the
symbolic forms subsisted--the former under conventional limitations;
the latter in the practice of eating a baked image which had been
raised on a cross and there pierced, for sanctification. [67] This
"Eating of the God" was very definitely a sacrament; but so were the
cannibalistic sacraments which preceded it.

Surveying the general evolution, we reach the inference that somewhere
in Asia Minor there subsisted before "our era" a cult or cults in which
a "Son of the Father" was annually sacrificed under one or other of the
categories of human sacrifice--Scapegoat, representative Firstling,
Vegetation God, or Messenger; possibly in some cases under all four
aspects in one. The usage may or may not have subsisted in post-exilic
Jerusalem: quite possibly it did, for not only do the Sacred Books
avow constant popular and legal resort to "heathen" practices of human
sacrifice, [68] but Jewish religious lore preserves in a variety of
forms clear evidence of institutions of human sacrifice which are
not recognized in the Sacred Books. [69] In any case, in connection
with the particular cult or rite in question there subsisted also a
Eucharist or Sacrament or Holy Supper, analogous to the sacraments
of the cults of Mithra, Dionysos, Attis, and many other Gods. [70]
At a remote period it had been strictly cannibalistic: in course of
time, it became symbolical. In other words, originally the sacrificed
victim was sacramentally eaten; in course of time the thing eaten was
something else, with at most a ritual formula of "body and blood." At a
certain stage, whether by regal or other compulsion or by choice of the
devotees, the annual rite of sacrifice became a mere ritual or Mystery
Drama--as in other cases it became a public masquerade. The former
evolution underlay the religions of Dionysos, Osiris, Adonis, and
Attis: the latter may or may not have gone on alongside of the former.

What does emerge from the gospel narrative concerning Barabbas and
Jesus is, not that such an episode happened: here the myth-theory is at
one with M. Loisy, who in effect pronounces the narrative to be myth:
but that in the first age of Christianity the name "Jesus Barabbas"
was well known, and stood for something well known. It was certainly
known to the Jews, for we have Talmudical mention, dating from a period
just after the fall of the Temple, that there was a Jewish ritual
"Week of the Son, or, as some call it, Jesus the Son," in connection
with the circumcision and redemption of the first-born child. [71]
From the inference of the currency of the name there is no escape:
attached to a robber and murderer it could never have got into the
gospels otherwise. And the myth-theory can supply the explanation
which neither the orthodox nor the biographical theory can yield. We
have outside evidence that a sacrifice of a "Son of the Father" was
customary in parts of the Semitic world. What the gospel story proves
is that it was known to have been a practice, either at Jerusalem or
elsewhere, to release a prisoner to the multitude in connection with a
popular festival, which might or might not have been the Passover. The
release may have been for the purpose either of a religious masquerade
or of a sacrifice. Either way, the religious rite involved was a rite
of "Jesus Barabbas"--Jesus the Son of the Father--and it involved
either a real or a mock sacrifice, in which the "Son" figured as a
mock king, with robe and crown.

The more the problem is considered, then, the more clear becomes the
solution. As soon as the Jesuist cult reached the stage of propaganda
in which it described its Son-God as having died, in circumstances of
ignominy, as an atoning sacrifice, it would be met by the memory of
the actual Barabbas rite. Given that the Barabbas victim was ritually
scourged and "crucified" (a term which has yet to be investigated),
it follows that wherever the early propaganda [72] went in areas
in which the memory of the rite subsisted, the Christists would be
told that their Jesus the Son was simply the Jesus Barabbas of that
popular rite; and the only possible--or at least the best--way to
override the impeachment was to insert a narrative which reduced the
regular ritual Jesus Barabbas to a single person, a criminal whom the
wicked Jewish multitude had chosen to save instead of the sinless
Jesus of the cult. In the circumstances given it was an absolutely
necessary invention; and no other circumstances could conceivably
have made it necessary. The story, by the unwilling admission of
M. Loisy, who conserves whatever he thinks he critically can of the
record, is a myth; and it is a myth which on the biographical theory
cannot be explained. The myth-theory has explained it. As for the
disappearance of the "Jesus" from the name of Barabbas in the records,
it hardly needs explanation. When the memory of the old annual rite
died away from general knowledge, the elision of the "Jesus" would
be desirable alike for the learned who still knew and the unlearned
who did not. [73]

§ 3. Contingent Elements

It is needless for the defender of the biographical theory to interject
a protest that the Barabbas story is only one item in the case. The
other items will all be dealt with in turn: that has been put in the
front because of its crucial significance. Incidentally it may be
further noted that the myth-theory explains the plainly unhistorical
item of "the thirty pieces of silver," confusedly explained from "the
prophet Jeremy" as "the price of him that was priced, whom [certain]
of the children of Israel did price" (Mt. xxvii, 9). The reference
is really to Zechariah (xi, 12, 13).

The story of the Betrayal is fiction on the very face of the narrative,
Judas being employed to point out a personage of declared notoriety,
about whose movements there had been no secrecy. [74] Judas is
demonstrably a somewhat late figure in the gospel legend, coming
from the later Mystery Drama, not from the rite on which it was
built. But, whatever may be the solution of the cryptogram about the
potter's field and the thirty pieces of silver in Zechariah, or the
historic fact about Aceldama, one thing is clear: "the price of him
that was priced," in Matthew, tells of the usage of paying a price
for sacrificial victims.

It does not follow that a price was regularly paid in the case of the
Jesus Barabbas rite, though the record actually insists on the item
by way of the Judas story: what is clear is that a memory of bought
victims subsisted after the fall of Jerusalem. It is not unlikely
that "Aceldama" was a field where sacrificial victims were either
slain or buried, or both. A passage in the Kalika Purana suggests
the procedure, and the probable significance of Golgotha, the "place
of skulls." In the Hindu rite, the human victim was immolated "at a
cemetery or holy place," upon which the sacrificer was not to look;
and the head was presented in "the place of skulls, sacred to Bhoiruvu"
(God of Fear). This could be in a special temple, or in a part of
the cemetery, "or on a mountain." [75]

At this point a warning must be given against the confusion set up by
the habitual assumption that "something of the kind" occurred under
Pontius Pilate. It is only on the biographical theory that that date is
valid. Pontius Pilate is simply a figure in the later Mystery Drama,
originally chosen, probably, because of his notoriety as a shedder
of Jewish blood. [76] We are not bound to prove that at his date
the usage of ritual human sacrifice, real or pretended, survived at
Jerusalem, though it may have done, as it survived at Rhodes in the
time of Porphyry in the form, perhaps, of a Semitic mystery drama. [77]

It is the assumption of the historicity of the Crucifixion that partly
disarms the theorem of Sir J. G. Frazer as to a coincidence of Jewish
sacrificial rites. [78] Noting that the details of the Crucifixion
closely conform to those of a human sacrifice sometimes practised
in the Christian era in connection with the Roman Saturnalia, and
also to those of a real or mock rite connected with the Babylonian
feast of the Sacæa, he resorts to the alternative hypotheses (a)
that the analogous Jewish feast of Purim, imported from Babylon after
the Return, and also involving either a real or a mock crucifixion,
chanced to coincide with the actual crucifixion of the gospel Jesus;
or that (b) Christian tradition "shifted the date of the crucifixion
by a month or so" to connect it with the Passover. As the official
Purim rite, though cognate with that of the Passover, cannot well have
been allowed to coincide with it, the theory of coincidence is barred;
and the theorist is assured by an expert colleague that "all that we
hear of the Passion is only explicable by the Passover festival," and
that "without the background of the festival all that we know of the
Crucifixion and of what led up to it is totally unintelligible." [79]

When, however, the unhistorical character of the gospel narrative is
realized, such difficulties disappear. The intention was certainly
to connect the Crucifixion with the Passover (in which the paschal
lamb--symbolizing Isaac--was customarily dressed in the form of a
cross [80]); and in the fourth gospel Jesus becomes an actual Passover
sacrifice. But the narrative is simply a reduction to historic form
of the procedure of a customary ritual sacrifice, habitual usages of
human sacrifice being represented as expedients of a single Roman
execution. With the exact seasonal date of the Jesus Barabbas rite
which here motived the gospel legend, the myth-theory is not primarily
concerned, though it has secondary interest. It was probably a Spring
Festival, and at the same time a New Year Festival, the period of
the vernal equinox having been both in east and west the time of
the New Year before that was placed after the winter solstice. It is
thus highly likely that there were analogous sacrificial festivals
at Yule and at Easter, one celebrating the new-birth of the sun and
the other the revival of vegetation. The Sacæa festival may or may
not have been identical with that known from the monuments to have
been called the Zakmuk [81] (New Year): either way, the features may
have been the same. There was in Judea, further, a hieratic year as
well as a civil, a Lesser Passover as well as the greater. [82] The
myth-theory does not depend on an agreed date, though the myth fixes
on an astronomical date, itself constantly varying in the calendar.

What leaps to the eyes is that the gospel legend preserves two
separated features of the festival of a Sacrificed Mock-King, which
as incidents in the life of the Teacher are wholly incompatible,
and which the biographical theory cannot reasonably explain--the
acclaimed and welcomed Entry into Jerusalem and within a week the
demand of the city multitude for the crucifixion. The Entry is an
elaboration of several myth elements, but it contains the item of the
acclaimed ride of the quasi-king, mounted on an ass (or two asses). If
the biographical school would but consider historical probabilities,
they would realize that the story as told cannot be historical,
with or without the strange antithesis of the multitude's speedy
demand for the prophet's death. Such a triumphal entry, for such a
person as the gospel Jesus, could not spontaneously have taken place:
it must have been planned; and, if arranged with such an effect as
the record describes, it would have given Pilate very sufficient
ground for intervention without waiting for a complaint from the
priests. Taken as history, it is wholly irreconcilable with the
"Crucify him" ascribed to a multitude whose support of Jesus had
been affirmed the day before; and accordingly M. Loisy, accepting
the Entry, rejects the latter episode. Strauss, hesitating to go,
"as has latterly often been done," the length of rejecting the Entry
on the ass as wholly mythical, finds it very much so; [83] and Brandt
incidentally dismisses it as "under the strongest suspicion of being
framed upon Old Testament motives from beginning to end." [84]

Thus the biographical school itself proffers a myth-theory,
without indicating an explanatory motive for the positing of a
contradiction. But when we realize that an acclamation of a quasi-king
riding on an ass was actually part of the ritual in a sacrificial
rite in which he was to be crucified, the two clashing elements
in the legend are at once explained in the full myth-theory. Their
separate handling and development was, just as intelligibly, part of
the process of gospel-making, the creation of an ideal Jesus. But
seeing that in the Sacæa festival the mock-king had a five days'
reign between his start and his death, [85] the original ritual gave
the interval which in the gospel story is filled with the acts of
the Teaching God. Five days is the accepted traditional interval from
Palm Sunday to Crucifixion Day.

[Even for the item of the two asses in Matthew there is a
myth-explanation. Many writers of the biographical school, who
compensate themselves for their difficulties by ascribing a peculiarly
crass stupidity to the apostles and evangelists at every opportunity,
decide that the narrator or interpolator posited the two asses, an
ass and its colt, because he found in Zechariah a Messianic prediction
so phrased, [86] and did not understand that the Hebraic idiom simply
meant "an ass." Yet one member of the school, Dr. Conybeare, fiercely
denounces myth-theorists for claiming to understand Jewish symbolism
better than the Jews did. Either principle serves the turn. When
Tertullian says that Jesus is the Divine Fish because fishes were
parthenogenetically born, and Jesus was born again in the waters of
the Jordan, Dr. Conybeare is sure of the wisdom of Tertullian. This
thesis, first found in Tertullian, is to decide the question, to
the exclusion of any reflection on the fact that the Sun at Easter
had before the Christian era passed from the sign Aries to the sign
Pisces in the zodiac. But when Matthew reads Zechariah's two asses
as meaning two asses, Matthew is to be dismissed as a Jew who did
not understand the commonest Hebrew idiom.

The simple fact that the Septuagint does not give the duplication,
putting only "a young colt," will serve to indicate to any careful
reader that the evangelist or interpolator was following the Hebrew,
and therefore is to be presumed to have known something of Hebrew
idiom. And the just critical inference is that both passages had
regard to the zodiacal figure of the Two Asses for the sign Cancer,
from which we have the myth of Bacchus riding on two asses. [87]
Further, it is probable that the similar passage in the Song of Jacob
[88] has also a zodiacal basis. These details, which Dr. Conybeare
absolutely withholds from his readers, indicate the mythological
induction put by the present writer. In an unconstruable sentence,
Dr. Conybeare appears to argue [89] that to secure any consideration
for such a thesis we must "prove that the earliest Christians, who
were Jews, must have been familiar with the rare legend of Bacchus
crossing a marsh on two asses," and "with the rare representation of
the zodiacal sign Cancer as an ass and its foal."

How the critic knows that the legend was rare at the beginning of
the Christian era he does not reveal; any more than he gives his
justification for calling the Asses sign rare in the face of the
statement of Lactantius that the Greeks call the sign of Cancer "(the)
Asses." This reference was given by me, as also the item that the
sign of the Ass and Foal is Babylonian. It was thus very likely to
be known in the Semitic world. Yet Dr. Conybeare obliviously informs
us that "it is next to impossible" that it should be known to "the
earliest Christians," when all the while he is arguing that Matthew
was not the gospel of "the earliest Christians." It is in perfect
keeping with this chaotic procedure that he first oracularly refers
me to Hyginus, whose version of the myth of Bacchus and the asses I
had actually cited and quoted; and then, discovering that I had done
so, yet leaving his written exhortation unaltered, he announces that
"by Mr. Robertson's own admission, Bacchus never rode on two asses
at all." It is difficult to be sure whether Dr. Conybeare does or
does not believe in the historicity of Bacchus, as he does in that of
Jesus; but seeing that Lactantius, as cited by me, expressly declares
that the two asses (= Cancer) carried Bacchus over the marsh, and
that Dr. Conybeare had already recognized that such a myth existed,
his absurd conclusion can be set down only to his habitual incoherence.

I have dealt in detail with his futile criticism at this point
by way of putting the reader on his guard against the method of
bluster. Comparative mythology is a difficult and thorny field, but
it has to be explored; and Dr. Conybeare, whose study of the subject
seems to have begun in the year of the issue of his book, [90] does
not even discern the nature of its problems. He avowedly supposes that
totems are Gods; and he argues that the Jewish and Hellenistic world
in the age of Augustus was at the mythopoeic stage of the Australian
aborigines of to-day. Of the phenomena of iconographic myth he is
evidently quite ignorant; and his dithyramb on the sun myth tells
of nothing but obsolete debate on the question. And it is in this
connection that he informs his antagonists, in his now celebrated
academic manner, that they are "a back number."

It has only to be added that as regards the documentary problem, in
this connection, Dr. Conybeare is equally distracted. It is far from
certain that at this point Mark's "colt" is not a "rectification"
of an original which Matthew accepted. The assumption--negatived
by themselves--that Mark and Matthew as we have them are both
primary forms, Matthew always following and elaborating Mark, is
one of the loose hypotheses which such critics when it suits them
take for certainties. But the question of priority of form does not
affect the fundamental issue. One of the suggestions put by me which
Dr. Conybeare has carefully withheld from his readers--if, indeed,
he ever really sees what is before him--is that the item of the
single ass or colt is probably a myth with another basis. "An ass
tied" appears to have been an Egyptian symbol pointing to a solar
date or a zodiacal or other myth, [91] and this symbol, which is
found in the Song of Jacob, is the form put upon the Mark story by
Justin Martyr. That the other symbol had a long Christian vogue is
indicated first by the fact that there actually exists a Gnostic
gem showing an ass suckling its foal, with the figure of the crab
(Cancer) above, and the inscription D.N. IHV. XPS., DEI FILIUS =
Dominus Noster Jesu (?) Christus, Son of God; [92] and, secondly, by
the mention of the ass and foal in the third Sermon of St. Proclus
(5th c.). [93] These details also Dr. Conybeare withholds from his
readers, for the purposes of his polemic.

That we are dealing with a conflict of symbolisms will probably be
the inference of those who will face the facts. But Dr. Conybeare,
who is here in good company, is quite satisfied that behind the Mark
story of Jesus riding in a noisy procession on an unbroken colt we have
unquestionable history. There must be no nonsense about two asses;
but for him the story of the unbroken colt raises no difficulty. He
further simplifies the problem by summarizing Mark as telling that
"an insignificant triumphal demonstration is organized for him [Jesus]
as he enters the sacred city on an ass"; [94] and by explaining that
"there was no other way of entering Jerusalem unless you went on
foot." [95] The "insignificant" is held to be sufficient to dispose
of the problem of the Roman Governor's entire indifference to a
Messianic movement. Thus functions the biographic method, in the
hands of our academician.

All the while, the item of the foal is, on his own interpretation,
a specified fulfilment of a prophecy, only in this case the prophecy
is in his opinion rightly understood, whereas in the two-ass story
it was misunderstood. By his own method, the critic is committed
to the position that the phrase "whereon no man ever yet sat" is
myth. [96] For serious critics in general, this is sufficient to
put in doubt the whole story. For our critic, a story of a triumphal
procession, with an unbroken colt, is simply resolved into one of an
"insignificant procession," with an ordinary donkey. Thus, under the
pretence of extracting history from a given document, the document is
simply manipulated at will to suit a presupposition. On this plan,
the twelve labours of Herakles are simply history exaggerated, and
any one can make any Life of Herakles out of it at his pleasure. We
must not say that Una rode on a lion, but we may infer that she rode
on a small yellow pony. It is the method of the early German deistic
rationalists, according to which the story of Jesus walking on the
water is saved by the explanation that he was walking on the shore.]

Part of the demonstration of the myth-theory, again, lies in the fact
that the first act of Jesus after his entry is to "cast out all them
that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrow the tables of the
money-changers, and the seats of them that sold the doves." That this
should have been accomplished without resistance seemed to Origen
so astonishing that he pronounced it among the greatest miracles of
Jesus, [97] adding the skeptical comment--"if it really happened." The
myth-theory may here claim the support of Origen.

Strauss could find no ground for rejecting the story as myth upon
his method of finding myth-motives only in the Old Testament. If he
had lived in our day he would probably have agreed that the episode
is singled out of the kinds of exploit which were permitted to the
victim in the Sacæa and the Saturnalia and such primitive sacrificial
festivals in general, and turned to a doctrinal account. Such liberties
as are described, all falling short of sacrilege, are among those
which could normally take place. It is by way of anti-Judaism that
the episode is utilized in the synoptics.

In the fourth gospel, where so many matters are turned to new account,
and so much new doctrine introduced, the purification is put with
symbolic purpose at the outset of the Messiah's career, in a visit to
Jerusalem of which the synoptics know nothing; and in this myth Jesus
makes "a scourge of small cords" to effect his purpose. That later
item was probably suggested by the effigy of the Egyptian Saviour
God Osiris, who bears a scourge as the God of retribution. In the
synoptics there is no symbol: the story is simply employed as part
of the superadded didactic machinery which alternately exhibits the
full development of the Messiah and the unfitness of the "Jewish
dispensation" to continue. Inferribly, the story of the fig-tree is
in the same case, signifying the condemnation of the Jewish cult,
though here there may be a concrete motive of which we have lost the
clue. But it is significant that while the gospel record could not
possibly assign to the holy Messiah such a general course as was
followed by the licensed sacrificial victim, it follows the story
of his Entry with that of one markedly disorderly act; whereafter
he goes to lodge in Bethany (Mt. xxi, 17) at a house which later is
indicated as that of a leper (xxvi, 6). There his head is anointed
by a woman; who in Luke, in a differently placed episode (vii, 37),
becomes "a sinner." Is not this another echo from the obscure tragedy
of the sacrificial victim, who was anointed for his doom?

§ 4. The Mock-King Ritual

Separately considered, the Crucifixion in the gospel story is as
impossible as the Entry. The cross, we are told, was headed with an
inscription: "This is the King of the Jews." Sir J. G. Frazer [98]
and M. Salomon Reinach [99] concur in recognizing that if the victim
had really been executed on the charge of making such a claim, no
Roman governor would have dared so to endorse it. [100] The argument
is that only by turning the execution into a celebration of a popular
rite could the procedure have been made officially acceptable. But to
extract such an explanation from the record is simply to stultify it as
such. If there really occurred such a manipulation of the death-scene
of an adored Teacher, how could the narrators possibly fail to say
as much? We are asked by the biographical school to believe that the
Crucifixion was made a farce-tragedy by treating the Teacher as the
victim in a well-known rite of human sacrifice, and also to believe
that the devotees who preserved the record, knowing this fact, chose
to say nothing about it, preferring to represent the procedure as a
unique incident.

It might perhaps be argued, on the biographical view, that the Roman
soldiers, who are held to have been Asiatics, chose to improvise
a version of a sacrificial rite which was unknown to the Jesuists,
and that the latter simply reported the episode without understanding
it, interpreting it from their prophets in their own way. But if the
record be historical it is incredible that in a cult which is claimed
to have made many adherents throughout the Roman Empire in east and
west in a generation or two, it should not quickly have become known
that the procedure of the Crucifixion was a copy of popular eastern
and western rites of human sacrifice. If there had taken place what
the hypothesis suggests, there was a purposive suppression. That is
to say, the credibility of the narrative is at this point vitally
impeached by a supporter of the biographical theory, which expressly
rests on the narrative as regards non-miraculous data.

And while on the one hand it is in effect charged with the gravest
suppressio veri, on the other it is charged, equally in the name of
the biographical view, with something more than suggestio falsi, with
absolute fiction. M. Loisy does not merely dismiss the Barabbas story
as unhistorical, offering no explanation of its strange presence: he
comes critically to the conclusion that Jesus on the cross uttered no
word, whether of despair, entreaty, or resignation. We need not ask
what kind of credit M. Loisy can ask for a record which he thus so
gravely discredits. The scientific question is, Upon what grounds
can he demur to the extension of a myth-theory to which he thus
contributes? If the record admittedly invented utterances for the
Teacher on the cross, why should not the whole be an invention? In
particular, why should not the trial before Pilate and the inscription
on the cross be inventions?

The inscription on the cross, we see, is for the great anthropologist
of the school impossible save as part of a simulated ritual. M. Loisy,
supporting the same general thesis, declares that "to say Jesus was not
condemned to death as king of the Jews, that is to say, as Messiah, on
his own avowal, amounts to saying [autant vaut soutenir] that he never
existed." [101] It is even so; and the supporter of the myth-theory is
thus doubly justified. The loyal induction is, not that in any rite
of human sacrifice exactly such a label was affixed to the gibbet,
but that probably some label was, and that the gospel framers (or
one of them) "invented" a label which stated their claim for Jesus
as Messiah. It was a fairly skilful thing to do, representing the
label as a Roman mockery, and thereby making it an appeal to every
Jew. [102] It is indeed conceivable that Roman soldiers taking part,
once in a way, in the rite of Jesus Barabbas, may have turned that
to a purpose of contempt by labelling the poor mock-king as the king
of the Jews. But such an episode would not be the enactment of the
scene described in the record. It would merely be a hint for it,
the acceptance of which was but an additional item of fiction.

That the Crucifixion, as described, is a normal act of ritual human
sacrifice, is even more true than it is shown to be by the parallels
of the Sacæa and the Saturnalia. The scourging, the royal robe, the
mock crown, were all parts of those rituals, which thus conform in
parody to the ritual of the mythic sacrifice of Ieoud, son of Kronos,
probably parodied in the ritual for the victim sacrificed to Kronos
at Rhodes. But so are the drink of wine and myrrh, the leg-breaking,
and the piercing with the spear. The crown is a feature of all ancient
sacrifice, in all parts of the world. Crowns of flowers were normal in
the case of human victims, in India, in Mexico, in Greece, and among
the North-American Indians, as in ordinary animal sacrifice among the
Greeks, Romans, and Semites. But even the crown of thorns had a special
religious vogue in Egypt, procured as such crowns were from thorn-trees
near Abydos whose branches curled into garland-form. Prometheus the
Saviour, too, receives from Zeus a crown of osiers; and his worshippers
wore crowns in his honour. [103] Either some such special motive or
the common practice in the popular rite will account for the record.

And these items of the mock-king ritual exclude the argument which
might possibly be brought from the fact that in the ancient world,
as among primitives in general, all executions, as such, tend to
assume the sacrificial form. The condemned criminal is "devoted,"
sacer, taboo, even as is the simply sacrificed victim, becoming the
appanage of the God as is the God's representative who is sacrificed
to the God. [104] It might therefore be argued that a man condemned on
purely political grounds could be treated as a sacrificial victim. But
there is no instance of the criminal executed as such being treated
as the mock-king. A criminal might be turned to that account, but
that would be by special arrangement: executed simply as a criminal,
he would not be crowned and royally robed. These details were features
of specific sacrifices: executions were only generically sacrificial,
and were of course in no way honorary. In the gospel story, the two
thieves are neither mocked, robed, nor crowned. They are not "Sons
of the Father," or deputies of the King.

§ 5. Doctrinal Additions

The question here arises, however, whether the triple execution was a
customary rite. All executions being, as aforesaid, quasi-sacrificial,
an ordinary execution might conceivably be combined with a specific
sacrifice. It is to be observed that no mention of the triple execution
occurs outside of the gospels: the Acts and the Epistles have no
allusion to it. It is thus conceivably, as was hinted by Strauss,
a late addition to the myth, motived by the verse now omitted as
spurious from Mark (xv, 28), but preserved in Luke (xxii, 37):
"And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, And he was reckoned
with transgressors." But we are bound to consider the possibility
that the triple execution was ritually primordial.

The story of such an execution in the "Acts of Saint Hitzibouzit,"
martyred at some time in Persia, is evidently doubtful evidence for
the practice, as Sir J. G. Frazer observes. The record runs that
the saint was "offered up as a sacrifice between two malefactors
on a hill top opposite the sun and before all the multitude," [105]
suggesting that the sacrifice was a solar one. This is possible; but
martyrology is dubious testimony. On the other hand Mr. W. R. Paton
has suggested that the triple execution was a Persian practice, and
was made to a triple God. [106] There is the notable support of the
statement in a fragment of Ctesias (36) that the Egyptian usurper
Inarus was crucified by Artaxerxes the First between two thieves. In
addition to the cases of Greek sacrifices of three victims may be
noted one among the Dravidians of Jeypore; [107] and the practice
among the Khonds of placing the victim between two shrubs. In the
Jeypore case one victim was sacrificed at the east, one at the west,
and one at the centre of a village; and in another case two victims
were sacrificed every third year. A triple execution might be a special
event, in which two victims were both actually and ritually criminals,
in order to enhance the divinity of the third. And we know that triple
sacrifices did occur. The throwing of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
into the fiery furnace was ostensibly a triple sacrifice: it will
hardly be claimed as a historical episode in its subsisting form.

On a careful balance, however, the presumption seems rather against a
triple rite. What is quite clear is that for the early Jesuists the
"prophecy" in 53rd Isaiah possessed the highest importance. For us,
that lyric chapter is still somewhat enigmatic. Gunkel, who is here
followed by Professor Drews, [108] takes the view that the suffering
figure described is really that of the typical victim of the human
sacrifice; and it certainly fits that conception at points where
it does not easily compose with that of the figure of oppressed
Israel. [109] The victim was "wounded for our transgressions,
bruised for our iniquities"; and conceptually "with his stripes we
are healed." On the other hand, who were "we" for "Isaiah" if not
Israel itself? The only interpretation seems to be that the past
generations had suffered for the present; and this does not yield an
intellectually satisfying figure. But still more improbable, on the
whole, is the suggestion that the Hebrew prophet or quasi-prophetic
lyrist--whatever date we may assign to the chapter--has really
perceived and figured the tragic vision of the sacrificial victim as
he is here supposed to have done. It would be a psychological feat
extremely remarkable even for that highly gifted writer; [110] and
moreover it would finally compose still less with the general idea
of the context than does the supposed presentment of the suffering
People. It is difficult to reach any satisfying notion of Isaiah's
general meaning on the view of Gunkel and Drews.

We are thus far held, then, to the inference that, as Isaiah's
chapter was certainly taken by the early Christists [111] who had
adopted the Messianic idea to be a prophecy of their Messiah, the
Christ myth was shaped in accordance with it. There are three main
strands in the Christ myth, the Jesuist, the Christist or Messianic,
and that of the Teaching God. The "suffering" motive serves to bind
the three together; and the concrete item, "he was numbered with
the transgressors," bracketed as it is with "he poured out his soul
unto death," gives a very definite ground for the item of the forced
companionship of the malefactors in the Crucifixion scene. It is,
in short, apparently one of the specifically Judaic motives in the
myth construction. Earlier in the narrative the Messiah is frequently
grouped with "publicans and sinners": he comes "eating and drinking,"
in contrast with the ascetic figure of the Baptist. That feature is
probably part of the atmosphere of the myth-motive of the sacrificial
victim, with the leper-host and the anointing by the "sinner." But the
"two thieves" are inferribly supplied from another side.

In the first two gospels, the character of the unnamed anointress
is tacitly suggested by the very reticence of the description,
"a woman." In Jewry and in the East generally, the woman who went
freely into men's houses was declassed; and the "sinner" of Luke
was only a specification of the already hinted. But the story in
Luke of the homage of the good thief is clearly new myth, coming
of the widened ethic of the "gospel of the Gentiles." Matthew and
Mark have no thought of anything but the association of the Messiah
with typical transgressors in death: for them the two thieves are
hostile. The "Gentile" gospel improves the occasion by converting one
of the transgressors. No critical inquirer, presumably, now fails to
see doctrinal myth at the second stage. It is only the atmosphere of
presupposition that can keep it imperceptible in the first. In the
making of the gospels, ritual myth, doctrinal myth, and traditional
myth are co-factors; and it may be that even where doctrinal myth
is quite clearly at work, as in the staging of the Messianic death
"with transgressors," an actual ritual is also commemorated.

§ 6. Minor Ritual and Myth Elements

In the later myth the robbers, as it happens, are made to embody
certain features of sacrificial ritual. We are told in the fourth
gospel that the Jews "asked of Pilate that their legs might be broken,
and that they might be taken away,"--"that the bodies should not remain
on the cross upon the sabbath, for the day of that sabbath was a high
day." Accordingly the soldiers break the legs of the two thieves,
"but when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they
brake not his legs." The implication is that the men's legs were to
be broken by way of killing them--a patently untrue suggestion. [112]
The spear-thrust which "howbeit" was given to Jesus would have been
the way of killing the others if they were alive: breaking the legs
was a brutality which would not ensure death.

The explanation is that both leg-breaking and spearing were features
of sacrificial rites. It may have been by way of purposive contrast
to the former procedure that in the priestly ritual [113] of the
passover it is enacted that no bone of the (unspecified) victim
shall be broken. The breaking of the leg-bones in human sacrifice was
one of the horrible expedients of the primitive world for securing
the apparent willingness of the victim: it is to be found alike in
Dravidian and in African sacrifice. [114] An alternative method, which
tended to supersede the other, was that of drugging or intoxication,
of which we find still more widespread evidence. In ancient Jerusalem,
we find the practice transferred to ordinary execution on the cross,
the humane women making a practice of giving a narcotic potion of wine
and incense to the victim. [115] Thus associated with the deaths of
ordinary criminals, it suggested to some of the Jesuist myth-makers
a ground for specializing the record.

In the first two gospels, a drink is offered to Jesus on the
cross--wine [116] mingled with gall, in Matthew; wine mingled with
myrrh in Mark--"but he received it not"; this, in Matthew, after
tasting. The Marcan form is probably the first, as it describes
the customary narcotic: the idea is to indicate that in the case
of the divine victim no artifice was needed to secure an apparent
acquiescence: he was a voluntary sufferer. "Gall," in Matthew, may have
reference to pagan mysteries in which a drink of gall figured. [117]
In Luke, vinegar is ostensibly offered as part of the derision. In
John, no drink is mentioned till the end, when the dying victim says,
"I thirst." Having partaken of "a sponge full of the vinegar upon
hyssop," he says, "It is finished," and dies. In Matthew, this act
of compassion takes a simpler form, the sponge of vinegar being given
on the utterance of the despairing cry, while other bystanders jeer:
in Mark, the giver of the sponge also jeers.

It is needless to debate long over the priorities of such details:
as regards the drink of vinegar, all alike have regard to Psalm lxix,
21: "They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave
me vinegar to drink." For that reason, the wine-and-myrrh item is
probably primordial: it tells of the sacrificial rite; and the drink
of vinegar is a doctrinal addition; even as the rejection of the
narcotic is doctrinal. For the variations which distinguish each
narrative from the others, there is no reasonable explanation on
the biographical view: if devoted onlookers could not preserve the
truth at such a point, where could they be trusted? The mythical
interpretation alone makes all intelligible.

The fourth gospel, with its tale of the leg-breaking, supplies the
strongest ground for surmising the occasional occurrence of a triple
rite, in which the lesser victims were treated as sacrificed slaves
normally have been in African and other human sacrifice, while the
central victim was put on another footing. The express enactment in
regard to the mysterious paschal sacrifice suggests that bone-breaking
took place in others. In all likelihood, the original paschal sacrifice
was that of a human victim of specially high grade: the substitution of
the lamb was part of the process of civilization indicated in the myth
of Abraham and Isaac. And if the knowledge of the death-rite of Jesus
Barabbas could subsist in the first century or later, knowledge of an
early triple rite could subsist also. But this remains open to doubt,
though at several points the fourth gospel specially emphasizes the
historical derivation of the cult from a sacrament of blood sacrifice.

Nowhere else is the literal basis of the symbol of "body and blood"
so insisted upon. Its writers had present to their minds an actual
ritual in which the eating of the body of a Sacrificed God, first
actually, then symbolically, was of cardinal importance. The later
myth puts new stress on the conception, as if it had been felt that
the earlier was not sufficiently explicit; and it makes the Jewish
high-priest lay down the doctrine of human sacrifice from the Judaic
side. [118] It is in this atmosphere of sacrificial ideas that we
get the item of the piercing of the divine victim with a spear. The
detail is turned specially to the account of the Johannine doctrine
of resurrection by putting what passed in popular physiology for a
certain proof of death--the issuing of "blood and water." [119] But
here again we find both a Hebrew motive [120] and a pagan motive for
the detail. In the sacrifice of the sacred slave of the Moon-Goddess
among the primitive Albanians, the victim was allowed the customary
year of luxury and licence, and was finally anointed and slain by
being pierced to the heart with a sacred lance through the side. And
there are other eastern analogues. [121]

It is the fourth gospel, finally, that introduces the "garment without
seam," combining a Hebraic with a pagan motive. In order to fulfil a
"prophecy" held to be Messianic, [122] the synoptics make the soldiers
cast lots for the garments of Jesus. The fourth gospel specifies a
simple allotment of the garments in general, as if they could have
been numerous enough to go round the soldiery, but limits the act of
"casting lots" to the chiton, the under garment. Thus the soldiers
both "divide the raiment" and cast lots for the "vesture." The making
of this "without seam" is at once an assimilation of Jesus to the
high-priest and an assimilation of the Slain God to the Sun-God and
other deities. [123] A special chiton was woven for Apollo in Sparta;
as a peplos or shawl was woven for Hêrê at Elis. And this in turn
had for the pre-Christian pagans mystic meanings as symbolizing
the indivisible solar robe of universal light, ascribed to Osiris;
the partless robe of Ahura Mazda; Pan's coat of many colours, and
yet other notions. Always the story is itemized in terms of myth,
of ritual, of symbol, of doctrine, never in terms of real biography.

§ 7. The Cross

It is not at all certain, and it is not probable, that in the earlier
stages of the myth the cross as such was prominent. Early crucifixion
was not always a nailing of outstretched hands in the cross form,
but often a hanging of the victim by the arms, tied together at the
wrists, with or without a support to the body at the thighs. [124]
The stauros was not necessarily a cross: it might be a simple pile
or stake. In the Book of Acts (v, 30) Peter and the Apostles are made
to speak of Jesus "whom ye slew, hanging him on a tree." This was in
itself a common sacrificial mode; and all sacrificial traditions are
more or less represented in the New Testament compilation.

But there was an irresistible compulsion to a divinizing of the
cross as of the victim. Ages before the Christian era the symbol had
been mystic and sacrosanct for Semites, for Egyptians, for Greeks,
for Hindus; and the Sacred Tree of the cults of Attis, Dionysos,
and Osiris lent itself alike to many symbolic significances. [125]
The cross had reference to the equinox, when the sacred tree was cut
down; to the victim bound to it; to the four points of the compass;
to the zodiacal sign Aries, thus connected with the sacrificial lamb;
[126] and to the universe as symbolized in the "orb" of the emperor,
with the cross-lines drawn on it. The final Christian significance
of the cross is a composite of ideas associated with it everywhere,
from Mexico to the Gold Coast, in both of which regions it was or
is a symbol of the Rain-God. [127] The Dravidian victim, the deified
sacrifice, was as-it-were crucified; [128] as was a victim in a Batak
sacrifice, where, as on the Gold Coast, the St. Andrew's-cross form
is enacted. [129] The commonness of some such procedure in African
sacrificial practice points to its general antiquity.

It would appear, too, that in the mysteries of the Saviour Gods not
only a crucified aspect of the God but a simulation of that on the
part of the devotees was customary. Osiris was actually represented in
crucifix form; [130] and in the ritual the worshipper became "one with
Osiris," apparently by being "joined unto the sycamore tree." [131]
When, then, in the Epistle to the Galatians [132] we find "Paul"
addressing the converts as "those before whose eyes Jesus Christ was
openly set forth (proegraphê) crucified," and declaring of himself:
[133] "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus," we are at once
pointed to the Syrian practice of stigmata, which appears to connect
with both Osirian and Christian usage. In his remarkable account of
the life of the sacred city of Hierapolis--a microcosm of eastern
paganism--Lucian, after telling how children are sacrificed with the
votive pretence that they are oxen, records that it is the universal
practice to make punctures in the neck or in the hands, and that
"all" Syrians bear such stigmata. [134] One of the principal cults
of the place was that of Attis, the castrated God of Vegetation,
in whose mysteries the image of a youth was bound to a tree, [135]
with a ritual of suffering, mourning, resurrection and rejoicing. As
Dionysos was also "he of the tree," it is not improbable that he,
who also died to rise again, may have been similarly adored. On the
other hand, the representation of the Saviour Prometheus suffering
in a crucified posture tells of an immemorial concept. [136]

For the Jews, finally, the cross symbol was already mystically potent,
being a mark of salvation in connection with the massacre-sacrifice
of the Passover, and by consequence salvatory in times of similar
danger. [137] When with this was combined the mystic significance of
the sign in Platonic lore as pointing to the Logos, [138] the mythic
foundation for Christism was of the broadest. The crucifix is late in
Christian art; but the wayside cross is as old as the cult of Hermes,
God of boundaries. [139]

§ 8. The Suffering Messiah

By way of accounting for the Jewish refusal to see in Jesus the
promised Messiah, orthodox exegesis has spread widely the belief
that it was no part of the Messianic idea that the Anointed One
should die an ignominious death; and some of us began by accepting
that account of the case. Clearly it was not the traditional or
generally prevailing Jewish expectation. Yet in the Acts we find
Peter and Paul alike (iii, 18; xvii, 3; xxvi, 23) made to affirm
that the prophets in general predicted that Christ should suffer;
and in Luke (xxiv, 26-27, 44-46) the same assertion is put in the
mouth of Jesus. Either then the exegetes regard these assertions as
unfounded or they admit that one school of interpretation in Jewry
found a number of "prophetical" passages which foretold the Messiah's
exemplary death. And the A. V. margin refers us to Ps. xxii; Isa. l,
6; liii, 5, etc.; Dan. ix, 26.

Now, these are adequate though not numerous documentary grounds for the
doctrine, on Jewish principles of interpretation. Jewish, indeed, the
Messianic idea is not in origin: it is Perso-Babylonian; [140] and the
idea of a suffering or re-arising Messiah may well have come in from
that side. But equally that may have found some Jewish acceptance. We
can see very well that in Daniel "the Anointed One"--that is, "the
Messiah" and "the Christ"--refers to the Maccabean hero; but that
as well as the other passages, on Jewish principles, could apply
to the Messiah of any period; and the Septuagint reading of Psalm
xxii, 16: "They pierced my hands and my feet," was a specification of
crucifixion. It is not impossible that that reading was the result of
the actual crucifixion of Cyrus, who had been specified as a "Christ"
in Isaiah. We have nothing to do here with rational interpretation:
the whole conception of prophecy is irrational; but the construing
of old texts as prophecies was a Jewish specialty.

When then a theistic rationalist of the last generation wrote of the
gospel Jesus:--

    His being a carpenter, occupying the field of barbaric Galilee,
    and suffering death as a culprit, are not features which the
    constructor of an imaginary tale would go out of his way to
    introduce wherewith to associate his hero, and therefore, probably,
    we have here real facts presented to us, [141]

he was far astray. Anything might be predicated of a Jewish
Messiah. Not only had the Messianic Cyrus been crucified: the anointed
and triumphant Judas Maccabæus, under whose auspices the Messianic
belief had revived in Israel in the second century B.C., had finally
fallen in battle; and his brother Simon, who was actually regarded
as the Messiah, was murdered by his son-in-law. [142]

It is not here argued that the Messianic idea had been originally
connected with the Jesus cult; on the contrary that cult is presented
as a non-national one, surviving in parts of Palestine in connection
with belief in an ancient deity and the practice of an ancient rite,
in a different religious atmosphere from that of Messianism. The
solution to which we shall find ourselves led is that at a certain
stage the Messianic idea was grafted on the cultus; and this stage
is likely to have begun after the fall of Jerusalem, when for most
Jews the hope of a Maccabean recovery was buried. Then it was that
the idea of a Messiah "from above," [143] supernaturally empowered
to make an end of the earthly scene, became the only plausible one;
and here the conception of a Slain God who, like all slain Gods,
rose again, invited the development. Jesuists could now make a new
appeal to Jews in general upon recognizably Jewish lines. They were
of course resisted, even as Sadducees were resisted by Pharisees, and
vice versa. The statement in the Messiah article in the Encyclopædia
Biblica that it is highly improbable that "the Jews" at the time of
Christ believed in a suffering and atoning Messiah is nugatory. No one
ever put such a proposition. But "the Jews" had in course of time added
much to their creed, and might have added this, were it not that the
Jesus cult became identified with Gentile and anti-Judaic propaganda.

In any case the idea arose among Jews, and quite intelligibly. The
picture drawn by Isaiah was a standing incitement to the rise of a
cult whose Hero-God had been slain. It was the one kind of Messianic
cult which the Romans would leave unmolested. At the same time it
committed the devotees to the position that the Messiah must come
again, "in the clouds, in great glory"; and the Christian Church was
actually established on that conception, which sufficed to sustain
it till the earthly Providence of the State came to the rescue. Some
of its modern adherents have not hesitated to boast that the common
expectation of the speedy end of the world gave the infant Church a
footing not otherwise obtainable. It was certainly a conditio sine
qua non for Christianity in its infancy.

As for the item of "the carpenter," we have seen [144] not only that
that is mythic, but that the myth-theory alone can account for it.

§ 9. The Rock Tomb

In the first gospel (xxvii, 57 sq.) we have a comparatively simple
version of the story of Joseph of Arimathea, a rich disciple of Jesus,
who gets the dead body of the crucified, wraps it in clean linen, and
lays it "in his own new tomb, which he had hewed out in the rock." In
Mark and Luke we have visibly elaborated accounts, in which, however,
while the rock tomb is specified, it is not described as Joseph's
"own," though it is represented as hitherto unused. Such a narrative
points very directly to the Mithraic rite in which the stone image of
the dead God, after being ritually mourned over, is laid in a tomb,
which, Mithra being "the God out of the rock," would naturally be of
stone--a simple matter in a cult whose chief rites were always enacted
in a cave. [145] Details thus thrown into special prominence, while
in themselves historically insignificant, can be understood only as
mythically motived. So noticeable is the Mithraic parallel that the
Christian Father who angrily records it exclaims, Habet ergo diabolus
Christos suos--"the devil thus has his Christs." In Mithraism the
rock tomb, which is an item in a ritual of death and resurrection,
is mythically motived throughout: in the gospel story, historically
considered, the item is meaningless.

Obvious as is the mythological inference, it is met by the assertion
that round Jerusalem "soil was so scarce that every one was buried in
a rock tomb." [146] Such a criticism at once defeats itself. If every
one was buried in a rock tomb, what was the point of the emphasised
detail in the gospels, which are so devoid of details of a really
biographical character? Obviously, rock tombs were the specialty of
the rich; and Joseph of Arimathea is described in all the synoptics
as a man of social standing. Is the motive of the story nothing better
than the desire to record that Jesus was richly buried?

"Scores of such tombs remain," cries the critic: "were they all
Mithraic?" The argument thus evaded is that there was no real tomb. If
there was one thing which the early Jesuists, on the biographical
theory, might be supposed to keep hold of, it was the place of
their Lord's sepulchre; yet nothing subsists but an admittedly
false tradition. At Jerusalem, as one has put it, there are shown
"two Zions, two Temple areas, two Bethanys, two Gethsemanes, two or
more Calvarys, three Holy Sepulchres, several Bethesdas." [147] It
is all myth. "There is not a single existing site in the Holy City
that is mentioned in connection with Christian history before the
year 326 A.D., when Constantine's mother adored the two footprints
of Christ on Olivet." [148] She was shown nothing else. [149] "The
position of the traditional sites of Calvary and the Holy Sepulchre,
in the middle of the north quarter of Jerusalem, seems to have given
rise to suspicions very early." [150] It well might. I have known a
modern traveller who, on seeing the juxtaposed sites, at once realized
that he was on the scene, if of anything, of an ancient ritual,
not of events such as are narrated in the gospels. The traditional
Golgotha is only fifty or sixty yards away from the Sepulchre; [151]
and near by is "Mount Moriah," upon which Abraham is recorded to have
sought to sacrifice Isaac.

Colonel Conder, who accepts without misgiving all four gospel
narratives, and attempts to combine them, avows that the "Garden
Tomb" chosen by General Gordon, in the latterly selected Calvary, is
impossible, being probably a work of the twelfth century; [152] and for
his own part, while inclined to stand by the new Golgotha, avows that
"we must still say of our Lord as was said of Moses, 'No man knoweth
of his sepulchre unto this day.'" [153] Placidly he concludes that "it
is well that we should not know." [154] But what does the biographical
theory make of such a conclusion? Its fundamental assumption is that
of Renan, that the personality of Jesus was so commanding as to make
his disciples imagine his resurrection. In elaborate and contradictory
detail we have the legends of that; and yet we find that all trace of
knowledge alike of place of crucifixion and tomb had vanished from
the Christian community which is alleged to have arisen immediately
after his ascension. The theory collapses at a touch, here as at
every other point. There is no more a real Sepulchre of Jesus than
there is a real Sepulchre of Mithra; and the bluster which offers
the solution that at Jerusalem every one was buried in a rock tomb
is a mere closing of the eyes to the monumental fact of the myth.

The critic is all the while himself committed to the denial that
there was any tomb. Professing to follow the suggestion [155] of
M. Loisy that Jesus was thrown into "some common foss," which in his
hands becomes "the common pit reserved for crucified malefactors,"
he affirms [156] that "the words ascribed in Acts xiii, 29, to Paul
certainly favour the Abbé's view." They certainly do not. The text
in question runs:

    And when they had fulfilled all things that were written of him
    they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a tomb.

The Greek word is mnêmeion--that used in the gospel story. There is
thus no support whatever either for the suggestion of "a common foss"
or for the allegation about "the common pit reserved for crucified
malefactors"--a wholly unwarranted figment. The second "they" of the
sentence is indefinite: it may mean either the Jews of the previous
sentence or another "they": but either way it expressly posits a
tomb. Yet after this deliberate perversion of the document, which of
course he does not quote, the critic proceeds (p. 302) to aver that
"the genuine tradition of Jesus having been cast by his enemies into
the common pit reserved for malefactors ... survived among the Jews";
and that the tomb story was invented as "the most effective way of
meeting" the imagined statement. Such an amateur inventor of myth is
naturally resentful of mythological tests!

§ 10. The Resurrection

If a suffering Messiah was arguable for the Jews, his resurrection
after death was a matter of course. The biographical theory, that
the greatness of the Founder's personality led his followers to
believe that he must rise again, is historically as unwarrantable
as any part of the biographical case. The death and resurrection of
the Saviour-God was an outstanding feature of all the most popular
cults of the near East; Osiris, Herakles, Dionysos, Attis, Adonis,
Mithra, all died to rise again; and a ritual of burial, mourning,
resurrection, and rejoicing was common to several. On any view such
rituals were established in other contemporary cults; and it is this
fact that makes it worth while in this inquiry to glance at a myth
which is now abandoned by all save the traditionally orthodox.

On the uncritical assumption that nothing but pure Judaism could exist
in Jewry in the age of the Herods, the notion of a dying and re-arising
Hero-God was impossible among Jews save as a result of a stroke of
new constructive faith. That simple negative position ignores not only
the commonness of the belief in immortality among Jews (the Pharisees
all held it) before the Christian era, but the special Jewish beliefs
in the "translation" of Moses and Elijah, and the story of Saul,
the witch of Endor, and the spirit of Samuel. The very belief that
the risen Elias was to be the forerunner of the Messiah was a lead
to the belief that the Messiah himself might come after a resurrection.

But it is practically certain that a liturgical resurrection was or had
been practised in contemporary cults which had at one time enacted an
annual sacrifice of the representative of the God, abstracted in myth
as the death of the God himself. And in our own time the survival of
an analogous practice has been noted in India. At the installation of
the Rajahs of Keonjhur it was anciently the practice for the Rajah
to slay a victim: latterly there is a mock-slaying, whereupon the
mock-victim disappears. "He must not be seen for three days; then he
presents himself to the Rajah as miraculously restored to life." [157]



§ 1. Historical Data

It does not follow from the proved existence of mystery-dramas in
pagan cults in the Roman empire in the first century, C.E., that the
Jesuists had a similar usage; but when we find in the New Testament
an express reference to such parallelism, and in the early Fathers
a knowledge that such parallels were drawn, we are entitled to ask
whether there is not further evidence. When "Paul" [158] tells his
adherents: "Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of daimons:
[159] ye cannot partake of the table of the Lord and of the table of
daimons," he is complaining that some converts are wont to partake
indifferently of the pagan and Christian sacraments. Few students
now, probably, will assent to the view that the "tables of daimons,"
with their similar rites, were sudden imitations of the Christian
sacraments. They were of old standing. But the Jesuist rite also was
in all likelihood much older, in some form, than the Christian era.

If there is any principle of comparative mythology that might fairly
have been claimed as generally accepted by experts a generation ago,
it is that "the ritual is older than the myth: the myth derives from
the ritual, not the ritual from the myth." [160] This principle,
expressly posited by himself as by others before him, Sir James
Frazer resolutely puts aside when he comes to deal with the Christian
mythus. Disinterested science cannot assent to such a course.

That there were "tables" in the cults of many Gods is quite certain:
temple-meals for devotees seem to have been normal in Greek religion;
[161] and in the cults of the Saviour-Gods there were special
collocations of sacramental meals with "mysteries." In particular,
apart from the famous Eleusinian mysteries there were customary
dramatic representations of the sufferings and death of the God in
the cults of Osiris, Adonis, Attis, and Dionysos: in addition to a
scenic representation of the death of Herakles; and a special system of
symbolic presentation of the life of the God in the rites of initiation
of the worship of Mithra. [162] It is not to be supposed that these
religious representations amounted to anything like a complete drama,
such as those of the great Attic theatre. Rather they represented
early stages in the evolution which ended in Greek drama as we know
it. Nearer analogues are to be found in the religious plays of various
savage races in our own time. [163] What the mystery-plays in general
seem to have amounted to was a simple representation of the life and
death of the God, with a sacramental meal.

The common objection to the hypothesis even of an elementary
mystery-play in the pre-gospel stages of Jesuism is that Hebrew
literature shows no dramatic element, the Jews being averse from this
as from other artistic developments of religious instinct. To this we
reply, first, that the mystery-play, as distinguished from the primary
sacrament, may or may not have been definitely Jewish at the outset;
and that the drama as seen developed in the supplement to the gospels
is certainly manipulated by Gentile hands. But the objection is in
any case invalid, overlooking as it does:

1. The essentially dramatic character of the Song of Solomon.

2. The partly dramatic character of the Book of Job.

3. The dramatic form of the celebration of Purim.

4. The existence in the Hellenistic period of theatres at Damascus,
Cæsarea, Gadara, Jericho and Scythopolis, the first two being, as we
learn from Josephus, built by Herod the Great.

5. The chronic pressure of Hellenistic culture influence upon Jewish
culture for centuries.

6. The prevalence of Greek culture influence at the city of Samaria,
Damascus, Gaza, Scythopolis, Gadara, Panias (Cæsarea Philippi).

7. The "half-heathen" character of the districts of Trachonitis,
Batanea, and Auranitis, east of the Lake of Gennesareth. [164] Galilee,
be it remembered, was late conquered "heathen" territory.

8. The long and deeply hostile sunderance, after the Return, between
the priestly and rabbinical classes and the common people of the
provinces. [165]

9. The "resuscitation of obsolete mysteries" among the Jews, and
the known survival of private sacraments and symbolic sacrifices of
atonement. [166]

10. The actual production of dramatic Greek poetry on Biblical subjects
by the Jewish poet Ezechiel (2nd c. B.C.). [167]

The eighth item needs to be specially insisted upon. It is frequently
asserted that nothing in the nature of a heteroclite cult could subsist
continuously in Jewry; that there were no religious ideas in the Jewish
world save those of the Sacred Books of the Rabbis. [168] This is a
historical delusion. The historical and prophetic books of the Old
Testament affirm a constant resort to pagan rites and Gods before the
Exile. There is official record of bitter strife and sunderance between
those of the Return and the people they found on the soil. Malachi
sounds the note of strife, lamenting popular lukewarmness, sacrilege
and unbelief. The simple fact that after the Exile Hebrew was no
longer the common language, and that the people spoke Aramaic or
"Chaldee," tells of a highly artificial relation between hierarchy and
populace. Never can even Judæa have been long homogeneous. "Neither
in Galilee nor Peræa must we conceive of the Jewish element as pure
and unmixed. In the shifting course of history Jews and Gentiles had
been here so often, and in such a variety of ways, thrown together,
that the attainment of exclusive predominance by the Jewish element
must be counted among the impossibilities. It was only in Judæa that
this was at least approximately arrived at by the energetic agency
of the scribes during the course of a century." [169]

The assumption commonly made is that all Jews and "naturalized" Jews
were of one theistic way of thinking, like orthodox Christians, and,
like these, could not imagine any other point of view. If for that
entirely one-sided conception the inquirer will even substitute one
in terms of the mixed realities of life in Christendom he will be
much nearer the truth. Over and above the hatreds between sects and
factions holding by the same formulas and Sacred Books, there were
in Jewry the innovators, then as now: the minds which varied from
the documentary norm in all directions, analogues of the devotees of
"Christian Science," Bâbists, British Buddhists, Swedenborgians,
Shakers, Second Adventists, Mormons, and so on, who from a more
or less common basis radiated to all the points of the compass of
creed. What faces us in the rise of Christianity is the development
of one of those variants, on lines of adaptation to popular need, with
an organization on lines already tested in the experience of Judaism.

Among the common cravings of the age was the need for a near God,
[170] one ostensibly more in touch with human sorrows and sufferings
than the remote Supreme God. For the earlier Hebrews, Yahweh was
a tribal God like Moloch or Chemosh, fighting for his people (when
they deserved it) like other tribal Gods; a magnified man who talked
familiarly with Abraham and Sarah, and wrestled with Jacob. [171]
Even then, the attractions of other cults set up constant resort
to them by many Yahwists, unless the historical Sacred Books are
as illusory upon this as upon other topics. To say nothing of the
continual charges against Jewish kings, from Solomon downwards, of
setting up alien worships, and the express assertion of Jeremiah [172]
that in Judah there were as many Gods as cities, and in Jerusalem as
many Baal altars as streets, we have the equally explicit assertion
in Ezekiel [173] that "women weeping for Tammuz" were to be seen in
or at the Temple itself. Now, Tammuz was a Semitic deity, borrowed,
it would seem, from the Akkadians, [174] an original or variant of
Adonis, the very type of the Saviour-God we are now tracing. Tammuz,
like Jesus, was "the only-begotten son." If it be argued that the
worship of Tammuz must have disappeared during or after the Exile,
since it would not be tolerated in the Second Temple, the answer
is that Saint Jerome expressly declares that in his day the pagans
celebrated the worship of Tammuz at the very cave in which Jesus
was said to have been born at Bethlehem [175]--a detail of some
significance in our inquiry. Tammuz = Adonis = "the Lord." That
worship, indeed, might conceivably be a revival occurring after the
fall of Jerusalem; but to say that there can have been no folklore
about Tammuz in Jewry or Galilee or Samaria between the time of
Ezekiel and that of Jerome would be to make an utterly unwarranted
assertion. The belief may even have survived under another God-name.

[Among the many obscurations of history set up by presuppositions
is that which rules out all evidence for community of source in
myths save that of philology, the most precarious of all proofs. The
argument on this subject has been conducted even by opposing schools
of philology as if all alike believed that every God, like every
man, is an entity with a name, traceable by his name, and remaining
substantially unchanged in his attributes through the ages. When Max
Müller propounded such derivations as that of Zeus from the Sanskrit
Dyaus, some scholars for whom Sanskrit was occult matter observed a
respectful deference, while others debated whether the derivations
were philologically sound. To mythological science, strictly speaking,
it mattered little whether they were or were not. God-ideas may pass
with little change from race to race through contacts of conquest,
the attached God-names changing alike for "absorbed" races and for
those which "absorb" them, whereas other God-names may endure with
little change for ages while the attributes connected with them
are being continuously modified, and the tales told under them are
being perpetually added to, and many are dismissed. The Zeus of
the Iliad is probably a wholly disparate conceptual figure from the
Dyaus of the early "Aryan," supposing the names to be at bottom the
same vocable. The philological fact is one thing, the mythological
fact another.

Writers like Dr. Conybeare, who have never even realized the nature
of a mythological problem, bewilder their readers by blusterously
affirming that there can be no homogeneity between myth-conceptions
unless the names attached to them in different regions and by
different races are etymologically akin. They irrationally ask
for linguistic "equations" where a linguistic equation by itself
would count for nothing, the relevant fact being the equation of the
myth-concepts. Blind to the salient facts that every "race" concerned
had undergone mutation by conquest; that God-names and God-ideas alike
passed from race to race by intermarriages, [176] by the effects of
enslavement, and by official adoption; [177] and that conquering races
constantly adopted wholly or partly the "Gods" of the conquered,
[178] they in effect assume that God-names and God-concepts are
fixed entities, traceable solely by glossology. As if glossology
could possibly pretend to trace, even on its own ground, all the
transformations of proper-names and appellatives through different
races and languages. The pretence that these are on all fours with
the general development of language is mere scientific charlatanism.

What mythology has to consider is the filiation and interconnection
of myth-concepts. This is so pervading a process that even Max Müller,
after denying that there could have been any "crossing" between Vedic
and alien lines of thought in respect of the closely similar Babylonian
fire-cult and that of Agni, consented to identify the Indian Soma,
God of Wine, with the Moon-God Chandra. [179] The transmutations of a
cognate myth-concept under the names of Dionysos (who has a hundred
other epithets) and of the Latin Liber, constitute a mythological
process which philology cannot elucidate. The scientifically traceable
facts are the prevalence and translation of such concepts as Wine-God,
Sun-God, War-God, Moon-God, Love-Goddess, Mother Goddess, Babe-God,
through many races and regions. One myth-factor of great importance,
unrecognized by many who dogmatize on such problems, is that of
the influence of sculpture, [180] through which such figures as
that of the Mother-Goddess become common property for many lands,
setting up community of belief on one line irrespective of prevailing
theologies. And it is quite certain that as the nations came to know
more and more of each other's Gods they borrowed traits and tales, thus
assimilating the general concepts attached to wholly different names.

Seeing, then, further, that, as in the case of Yahweh, it was often
a point of religious taboo that a deity should not be called by
"his real name," and that nearly all had many epithets, there was
no limit to the interaction and mutation of cults and God-norms. The
exact derivation and history of the worship of Tammuz in Jewry no one
can pretend to know; and no one therefore can pretend to know that it
was not interlinked with other cults of names associated with sets
of attributes, rites, and tales. In view of the idle declamation on
the subject, it seems positively necessary to remind the reader that
even if he believes in the historicity of Jesus he is not therefore
entitled to assume the historicity of Tammuz-Dumzi-Adonis, or Myrrha,
or Miriam, or Joshua; and that if he recognizes any connection,
in terms of attributes, between the God-concepts Mars and Arês, or
Zeus and Jupiter, or Aphroditê and Venus, or Artemis and Diana, and
does not in these cases fall back upon the nugatory thesis of "two
different deities," he is not entitled to do so over the suggestion
that one popular Syrian cult of a Lord-name may have connected with
another. There is really need here for a little critical vigilance,
not to say psychological analysis.]

Even if we assume the earlier Jewish cult of Tammuz to have been swept
away in the Captivity, the new conditions would tend to stimulate
similar popular cults. When, after the Exile, the conception of Yahweh
began under Perso-Babylonian influences to alter in the direction
of a universalist theism, the common tendency to seek a nearer God
was bound to come into play. There is no more universal feature in
religious history than the recession of the High Gods. [181] The more
"supreme" a deity becomes, in popular religion, the more generally
does popular devotion tend to elicit Son-Gods or Goddesses who seem
more likely to be "hearers and answerers of prayer." Sacred Books
certainly tend to check such a reversion; and in Islam the check has
been successful in virtue of the very fact that Allah, like the early
Yahweh, is in effect conceived as a racial God, or God of a single
cult. But the tendency is seen at work all over the earth.

The vogue of Apollo, of Dionysos, of Herakles, of Tammuz-Adonis,
of Krishna, of Buddha, of Balder, of Athênê, of the Virgin Mary,
of the countless deities propitiated by savage peoples who ignore
their Supreme Gods, are all testimonies to the natural craving
of religious ignorance for a near God. The same craving certainly
subsisted among the Hebrews in so far as it was not completely laid
by organized legalism. And seeing that the redactors of the Sacred
Books had actually reduced many early deities--Abraham, Jacob,
Joseph, Daoud = David, Moses, Joshua, and Samson--to the status
of patriarchs and heroes, [182] the craving would among some be
relatively strengthened. Jews who in time of trouble chronically
reverted to alien Gods and alien rites, even as did the Greeks and
Romans, could not conceivably fail altogether to adopt or cherish
cults analogous to those of Dionysos, Adonis, Osiris, so popular
among the neighbouring peoples.

The hypothesis forced upon us by the whole history, then, is that
there had subsisted in Jewry, in original connection with a sacrificial
rite of Jesus the Son of the Father, a Sacrament of a Hero-God Jesus,
whose Name was strong to save. If it took the form of a Sacrament of
Twelve, with the ritual-representative of the God, it would be closely
analogous to the traditional Sacrament of Twelve in which Aaron [the
Anointed One = Messiah] and the [twelve] elders of Israel "ate bread
with Moses' father-in-law before God." [183] Behind that narrative
lies a ritual practice. A sacrament of bread and wine is further
indicated in the mention of the mythic Melchisedek, "King of Peace"
and priest of "El Elyon," [184] "without father and without mother,
without genealogy, having neither beginning of days or end of life,
but made like unto the Son of God," who thus became for Christists
a type of Jesus. [185] A sacramental banquet of twelve seems to have
been involved in the sacrificial ritual of the Temple itself, where
a presiding priest and twelve others daily officiated. [186]

That Galilean or other Jews or semi-Jews, always in a partly
hostile relation to priests, scribes, and Pharisees, should in an
age of chronic war, disaster and revolution, maintain an old private
sacrament, with a subordinate worship of a Hero-God Jesus whose body
and blood had once literally and now symbolically brought salvation,
is not an unlikely but a likely hypothesis. The gospels themselves
indicate an attitude of demotic hostility alike to the king, the
priests, the scribes, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees. It is not
pretended that before and apart from Jesus there was no such hostility,
and that he generated it by his teaching. In a united community such
hostility could not be so generated. It was there to start with. If
then cults of Dionysos and Attis and Adonis, the annually dying and
suffering demigods, could openly subsist in the Hellenistic world
alongside of the State cults of Zeus and the other chief Gods, a secret
cult of a Hero-God Jesus could subsist in some part of Jewry, with its
survivals of rural paganism and its many contacts and mixtures with
Samaritan schism and Hellenistic culture. Yet further, if the popular
needs of the Hellenistic world could elicit and maintain a multitude
of private religious associations, each with its own sacramental meal,
[187] the same needs could elicit and maintain them elsewhere.

To this thesis it is objected that we have no mention of the existence
of a Jesus cult of any kind in the Hebrew books. But that is a
necessity of the case. The Sacred Books would naturally exclude all
mention of a cult which in effect meant the continued deification of
Joshua, [188] who had long been reduced to the status of a mere hero
in the history. That Joshua is a non-historical personage has long
been established by modern criticism. [189] That he did not do what
he is said in the Book of Joshua to have done is agreed by all the
"higher" critics. Who or what then was Joshua? He is in many respects
the myth-duplicate of Moses, whose work he repeats, passing the Jordan
as did Moses the Red Sea, appointing his twelve, "renewing" the rite of
circumcision, and writing the law upon stones. But he notably excels
Moses in that he causes the sun and moon to stand still by his word;
[190] and as this is cited from "Jasher," he is possibly the older
figure of the two.

And for the Jews he retained a special status. In his Book he is made
(with a "thus saith the Lord") to give a list of the conquests effected
by him against "the Amorite, and the Perizzite, and the Canaanite,
and the Hittite, and the Girgashite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite." In
Exodus xx, this very list of conquests, barring "the Girgashite,"
is promised, with this prelude:--

    Behold, I [Yahweh] send an angel before thee, to keep thee by the
    way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Take
    ye heed of him, and hearken unto his voice: provoke him not,
    for he will not pardon your transgression; for my name is in him.

The Angel who possesses or embodies the secret or magical name [191]
is to do what Joshua in the historical myth says has been done under
his leadership: [192] both passages stand. Further, the Angel of the
passage in Exodus is in the Talmud identified with the mystic Metatron,
[193] who corresponds generally with the Logos of Philo Judæus,
the Sophia or Power of the Gnostics, and the Nous of Plotinus. The
eminent Talmudic scholar, Emmanuel Deutsch, surmised that the Metatron
is "most probably nothing but Mithra," the Persian Sun-God; and as
the promised Divine One in the Septuagint version of Isaiah, ix, 6,
bears the Mithraic titles of "Angel of Great Counsel" and Judge,
there is perhaps ground for some such surmise. It may have been,
indeed, that the redactors of the sacred books originally meant to
substitute the Angel for Joshua in the esteem of the people, giving
the former the credit for the exploits of the latter; but such a
manipulation would be in itself a confession of Joshua's renown. And
in the Samaritan Targums "the Angel of God" commonly stood for the
divine names Jehovah and Elohim. [194]

However that may be, the pseudo-historical Joshua could not have
been elevated by the Talmudists to a divine status in other regards
had he been a historical personage; and when we find him specially
honoured in Samaria [195] we can draw no inference save that he was
once a Palestinian deity. The fact that the name means "Saviour" [196]
is of capital importance. In Jewish tradition and in his Book he is
specially associated with the choosing of the Paschal lamb, the rite
of the Passover, and the rite of circumcision. [197] Here then is the
presumptive God for the early rite of Jesus the Son of the Father. As
we shall see later, "the Angel of the Lord" is found to equate with
"the Word of the Lord"--another cue for the gospel-makers. And in
the Jewish New Year liturgy, to this day, Joshua-Jesus figures as
the "Prince of the Presence," which again is supposed to identify
him with Metatron as = meta thronou, "behind the throne." Only as a
Palestinian deity thus subordinated to Yahweh is he explicable. And
as the "Angel of the Presence" again occurs in Isaiah, lxiii, 9,
figuring as Saviour and Redeemer, it is fairly clear that there was
some Jewish doctrine which made of Joshua a Saviour deity.

A high authority [198] pronounces that the "Angel of the Presence" is
"probably Michael, who was the guardian angel of Israel." But Michael
is a wholly post-exilic figure: was there no Hebrew prototype? However
that may be, the ritual connection of the name Jesus (Joshua) with
the title of Prince of the Presence has survived the intervention of
Babylonian angelology, and remains to testify to a status for Joshua
which can be explained only as a result of his original Godhood. [199]

[To this inductive argument the only answer, thus far, seems to be
to argue, as does Dr. Conybeare, that while "no one nowadays accepts
the Book of Joshua offhand as sound history," nevertheless Joshua
is there "a man of flesh and blood." [200] On the same reasoning,
Samson cannot be an Evemerized deity, though his mythical character is
clear to every mythologist. Such considerations our amateur meets by
alleging that if "half-a-dozen or more" men "come along" mistaking an
"astral myth" for a man, we should "think we were bewitched, and take
to our heels." [201] In this connection Dr. Conybeare represents me
as declaring Jesus to be "an astral myth." It is not clear whether
Dr. Conybeare, who supposes totems to be Gods, knows what "astral
myth" means, so I impute rather hallucination than fabrication. The
rational reader is aware that no such theory has been put or suggested
by me. [202] But as to his thesis, which would seem to imply that
even solar deities could never be supposed by "half-a-dozen" to be
real men, it is sufficient to point out that Herakles, the typical
solar Hero-God, was believed by millions in antiquity to be a real
man; and that Samson, obviously = the Semitic Shamas or Shimshai,
a variant of Herakles, was believed by millions of Jews to have been
a real man. It is needless here to go into the cases of Achilles and
Ulysses; but the reader who would know more of mythology than has been
discovered by Dr. Conybeare and his newspaper reviewers may usefully
investigate these themes.

As to Joshua, Dr. Conybeare, attempting academic humour, argues (p. 17)
that if the hero is "interested in fruitfulness and foreskins" he
ought to be conceived as a "Priapic god." The humorist, who pronounces
his antagonists "too modest," seems to be unaware that Yahweh had
the interests in question. Becoming "serious," he argues (p. 30) that
"even if there ever existed such a cult, it had long vanished when the
book of Joshua was compiled." For other purposes, he resorts (p. 16)
to the test, "How do you know?" "Vanished," for Dr. Conybeare, means,
"is not mentioned in the canonical Hebrew books." With his simple
conceptions of the religious life of antiquity, he supposes himself
to be aware of all that went on, religiously, in the lives of the
much-mixed population of Palestine. His statement (p. 31) that "the
Jews" in the fifth century B.C. "no longer revered David and Joshua
and Joseph as sun-gods" is as relevant as would be the statement
that they did not worship Zeus. No one ever said that "the Jews"
carried on all their primitive cults in the post-exilic period: the
proposition is the expression of mere inability to conceive the issue.

When, on the other hand, Dr. Conybeare proceeds to notice the thesis
that the ancient Jesuine sacrament would presumably survive as a
secret rite, he disposes of the proposition by calling it "a literary
trick." That would be a mild term for his express assertion (p. 34)
that I have claimed that "the canonical Book of Joshua originally
contained" the tradition that Joshua was the son of Miriam--an explicit
untruth. My reference to deletions from the book expressly pointed to
the theses of Winckler, a scholar whom Dr. Conybeare supposes himself
to discredit by expressions of personal contempt. Winckler never put
the hypothesis as to Miriam. [203]

As to the survival of many private "mysteries" among the Jews,
I may refer the reader to the section in Pagan Christs on "Private
Jewish Eucharists" (p. 168 sq.), and in particular to the dictum,
there cited, of the late Professor Robertson Smith (who has not yet,
I believe, incurred Dr. Conybeare's tolerably indiscriminate contempt),
that "the causes which produced a resuscitation of obsolete mysteries
were at work at the same period [after the Captivity] among all the
Northern Semites," and that "they mark the first appearance in Semitic
history of the tendency to found religious societies on voluntary
association and mystic initiation." To the "first" I cannot subscribe,
save on a special construction of "appearance." But Robertson Smith's
proposition was founded on the documentary evidence; and when he writes
that "the obscure rites described by the prophets have a vastly greater
importance than has been commonly recognized," with the addendum that
"everywhere the old national Gods had shown themselves powerless to
resist the gods of Assyria and Babylon," we are listening to a great
Semitic scholar, an anthropologist, and a thinker, not to a "wilful
child," as Dr. Conybeare may charitably be described, in words which,
after his manner of polemic, he applies to me.]

Finally, we have seen that a rite of "Jesus the Son," otherwise known
as the "Week of the Son," was actually specified by the Talmudists of
the period of the fall of the Temple. Taken with the item of the name
Jesus Barabbas, "Jesus the Son of the Father," and the five-days'
duration of the ritual of the sacrificed Mock-King, it completes a
body of Jewish evidence for the pre-Christian currency of the name
Jesus as a cult-name of some kind. It is now possible to see at once
the force of the primary thesis of Professor W. B. Smith [204] that
the phrase ta peri tou Iêsou, "the things concerning the Jesus," in
the Gospels and the Acts, [205] tells of a body of Jesus-lore of some
kind prior to the gospel story; and also the significance of the fact
that the narrative of the Acts represents the new apostle as finding
Jesus-worshippers, albeit in small numbers, wherever he went.

To suppose that this could mean a far-reaching and successful
propaganda by "the Twelve" in the short period represented to have
elapsed between the Crucifixion and the advent of Paul is not merely
to take as history, or summary of history, the miracle of Pentecost,
but to ignore the rest of the narrative. First we are told (viii,
1) that after the martyrdom of Stephen the Christists "were all
scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judæa and Samaria, except
the apostles." It is only to Samaria that Philip goes at that stage,
and his doings are on the face of them mythical. Yet Saul on his
conversion finds the "disciple" Ananias at Damascus. Then Peter
"went throughout all parts" (ix, 32), reaching Lydda, where he finds
"saints"; and then it is that "the apostles and the brethren that were
in Judæa heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God"
(xi, 1). It is after this that "they that were scattered abroad
upon the tribulation that arose about Stephen travelled as far as
Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to none save only
to Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who
when they were come to Antioch spake unto the Greeks [or Grecian Jews]
also, preaching the Lord Jesus" (xi, 19). Already there is an ecclesia
at Antioch (xiii, 1) with nothing to account for its existence.

At this stage it is represented that Saul and Barnabas customarily
preach Jesuism in the Jewish synagogues; and that only after
"contradiction" from jealous Jews at Antioch of Pisidia do they
"turn to the Gentiles" (xiii, 46), continuing, however, to visit
synagogues, till the Jewish hostility becomes overwhelming. At
Jerusalem, meanwhile, after all the gospel invective against the
Pharisees, there are found "certain of the sect of the Pharisees who
believed," and who stand firm for circumcision. Ere long we find at
Ephesus the Alexandrian Jew Apollos, who "taught carefully the things
concerning Jesus, knowing only the baptism of John," having been
"orally instructed in the way of the Lord" (xviii, 25), but had to
be taught "more carefully" by Priscilla and Aquila. Then he passes on
to Corinth. Paul in turn (xix) shows at Ephesus, where he finds other
early Jesuists, that they of the baptism of John, though by implication
they held that "Jesus was the Christ," had not received "the Holy
Ghost," which went only with the baptism of Jesus--the baptism which
only the fourth gospel alleges (with contradictions), the synoptics
knowing nothing of any baptism by Jesus or the disciples; and only
Matthew and Mark even alleging that after resurrection he prescribed
it. In all this the hypnotized believer sees no untruth. To the eye
of reason there is revealed a process of primitive cult-building.

In whatever direction we turn, we thus find in the Jesuist documents
themselves the traces of a "pre-Christian" Jesuism and Christism. At
Ephesus, the believers "were in all about twelve men"--the number
required for the primitive rite. The subsequent statement (xix,
9-10) that after Paul had debated daily for two years at Ephesus "all
they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and
Greeks," is typical of the method of the pseudo-history. Either the
whole narrative is baseless fiction or there were prior developments
of the Jesus-cult.

It may be argued, indeed, that such a work of manipulation as the
Acts is no evidence for anything, and that its accounts indicating a
prior spread of Jesuism are no more to be believed than its miracle
stories. But however fictitious be its accounts of any one person,
it is certain that there was a cult; and all critics are now agreed
that the book is a redaction of previous matter--probably of Acts
of Paul, Acts of Peter, Acts of the Apostles, and so on. And whereas
the most advantageous fiction from the point of view of the growing
"catholic" church would be an account of the apostles as everywhere
making converts, stories of their finding them must be held to have
been imposed on the redactor by his material. There also it must be
held to stand for some reality in the history of the cult, for the same
reason, that there was nothing to be gained by inventing such a detail.

§ 2. Prototypes

Still we are met by the objection that whatever the Acts may say the
gospels give no indication of any previous Jesus-cult. But that is a
position untenable for the biographical school save by a temporary
resort to the theory of myth-making. As Professor W. B. Smith has
pointed out, the gospels expressly represent that the disciples healed
the sick in the name of Jesus in places where Jesus had never been. For
the supernaturalists, that is only one more set of miracles. But the
biographical school, though it is much inclined to credit Jesus with
occult "healing powers," can hardly affirm such healing by means of a
magic name, and has no resource but to dismiss all such matter. [206]
Yet why should the evangelists have framed such a narrative save on
the knowledge that the name of Jesus was a thing to conjure with in
Palestinian villages?

It is true that the story is fully told only of the mission of the
Seventy. In Matthew the Twelve are "sent" out but neither go nor
return, for the narrative continues with them present. In Mark and
Luke, the Twelve go and return without reporting anything, though
Mark tells that they preached repentance, cast out many devils, and
healed many sick by anointing them with oil. Evidently the mission
was a heedless addition to the older gospel or gospels: the third
attempts to give it some completeness. It is only the Seventy who
make a report; and it is only of them (Lk. x, 1) that we are told
they were to go to places "whither he himself was about to come." As
the episode of the Seventy is in effect given up as myth even by many
supernaturalists (who feel that, if historical, the episode could not
have been overlooked in Matthew and Mark), the biographical school
are so far entitled to say that for them the record does not posit
a previously current Jesus-Name. But what idea then do they connect
with the sending-out of the Twelve, if not the kind of idea that is
associated with the sending-out of the Seventy?

M. Loisy feels "authorized to believe" (1) that Jesus in some fashion
chose twelve disciples and sent them out to preach the simple "evangel"
that "the Kingdom of God was at hand"--that is, merely the evangel
of John the Baptist over again; and (2) that "it seems" that they
went two by two in the Galilean villages, and were "well received:
their warning was listened to: sick persons were presented to them
to heal, and there were cures." To say this is to say, if anything,
that for the first Christians the Name of Jesus was held to have
healing power before his deification, and that it was a known name.

But we have stronger documentary grounds than these. The Apocalypse is
now by advanced critics in general recognized to have been primarily
a Judaic, not a Christian document. [207] The critics apparently do
not realize that this verdict carries in it the pronouncement that
Jesus was probably a divine name for some section of the Jews before
the rise of the Christian cult. The twelve apostles enter only in an
interpolation: [208] in the main document we have the "four and twenty
elders" of an older cult, [209] answering to the twenty-four Counsellor
Gods of Babylonia. Even if we assign the book to a "Christian" writer
of the earliest years, at the very beginning of the Pauline mission,
[210] we are committed to connecting the cult at that stage with
the doctrine of the Logos, [211] with the Alpha and Omega, and with
the Mithraic or Babylonian lore of the Seven Spirits. Of the gospel
story there is no trace beyond the mention of slaying: on the other
hand the Child-God of the dragon-story is wholly non-Christian,
and derives from Babylon.

The entire book, in short, raises the question whether the Jesus-cult
may not have come in originally (as so much of Judaism did), or
been reinforced, from the side of Babylon, down even to the name of
Nazareth, since there was a Babylonian Nasrah. As Samaria, the seat of
the special celebration of Joshua, is historically known to have been
colonised from Assyria and Babylon, the possibilities are wide. Suffice
it that the Apocalypse indicates a strong Babylonian element in some
of the earliest real documentary matter we have in connection with
the Jesuist cult in the New Testament; and at the same time makes
certain the pre-Gospel currency of a Jesus-cult among professed Jews.

Yet another clue obtrudes itself in the Epistle of Jude--or, as
it ought to be named, Judas--a document notably Jewish in literary
colour. Mr. Whittaker [212] was the first of the myth-theorists to
lay proper stress on the fact that the reading "Jesus" (= Joshua)
in verse 5, [213] alone makes the passage intelligible:--

    Now I desire to put you in remembrance, though ye know all
    things once for all, how that Jesus [that is, Joshua, instead
    of "the Lord"] having saved a people out of the land of Egypt
    the second time [214] [Moses having saved them the first time],
    destroyed them that believed not. And angels which kept not their
    own principality, but left their proper habitation, he hath kept
    in everlasting bonds under darkness unto the judgement of the
    great day.

The reference is certainly to Joshua, who is here
quasi-deified. Plainly, as Mr. Whittaker observes, "the binding of
erring angels can only be attributed to a supernatural being, and
not to a mere national hero."

And, as Mr. Whittaker also notes, we have yet another clear indication
from the Jewish-Christian side that Joshua in Jewish theology had a
heavenly status. In the "Sibylline Oracles" there occurs the passage:--

    Now a certain excellent man shall come again from heaven, who
    spread forth his hands upon the very fruitful tree, the best of
    the Hebrews, who once made the sun stand still, speaking with
    beauteous words and pure lips. [215]

"The identification of Christ with Joshua," remarks the orthodox
translator cited, "is a mixture of Jewish and Christian legend
(sic) which is unique. It is no question of symbolism here, as
Joshua in Christian writings is treated as a type of Christ, but
rather the confusion is such as might be made by an ignorant person
reading, Heb. iv, 8, 'if Jesus had given them rest,' and concluding
that Jesus Christ led the Jews into Canaan. The author, indeed,
identifies himself with the Jews, as where he prays (vers. 327 ff.):
'Spare Judea, Almighty Father, that we may see thy judgments'; and
were it credible that the whole book was the work of one author, we
should regard his religion as syncretic, and in full accord neither
with law nor gospel. But the book ... is of composite character. One
writer may have been a Christian; another filches occasionally from
Christian sources, but has no lively faith in Christ: like many of
his countrymen at this time, he suspends his judgment, and instead of
making a decision expends his energies in denunciation of the hated
power of Rome, and in speculations concerning the future."

It matters not whether the writer was or was not a confident
Christian: Judaic by upbringing or tuition he certainly was; and
his identification of Jesus the Christ with Joshua is one more of
the proofs that for many Jews Joshua had a quasi-divine status,
as was fitting for a personage who "made the sun stand still." Taken
collectively, the proofs cannot be overridden or explained away. Joshua
was for the Jews of the Hellenistic period the actual founder of
the rite of circumcision: [216] that is to say, mythologically,
he was the God of the rite. But still more weighty is the evidence
that his name lived on as that of the God-victim of a kindred rite;
and it is on that basis that there was founded the rite which is for
Christianity what circumcision had been for Judaism. Circumcision is
a rite of redemption, the giving of a symbolic part of the body to
"redeem" the whole--a surrogate for the Passover sacrifice of the
first-born, developed into a racial theocratic rite. It is significant
that the Saviour-God of this rite becomes the Saviour-God of the
rite offered in place of that of the Passover, whereby the primordial
human sacrifice is re-typified in that of the deity who once for all
dies for all. It is upon such roots of pre-historic religion that
the world-religions grow.

§ 3. The Mystery-Drama

That there was an actual mystery-drama behind the gospel tragedy is
revealed by the document itself, which is demonstrably not primarily a
narrative at all, but a drama transcribed, with a minimum of necessary
elucidation. Only the habit of reading with uncritical reverence can
conceal from a student the dramatic bareness and brevity of the record
in the synoptics--a record which in the fourth gospel is grafted,
without any real development, on a protracted discourse that only
artificially suggests circumstantial reality. Chapter xiii is as it
were inserted in the middle of that discourse; and chapter xiv proceeds
as from the end of chapter xii. The original document cannot have had
the story of the tragedy in this form. At the close of chapter xiv the
"Arise, let us go hence," is a slight artifice to suggest action where
there is none. Only at chapter xviii is the action resumed; and it is
as bare and formal as in the synoptics. Broadly speaking, the action
is something superadded. A long discourse has been wrapped round the
first section, but without altering its compressed character. The
synoptics know nothing of the Johannine discourses: the Johannine
document knows no more of a historic episode than do the synoptics:
it can only invent monologues.

Reading the synoptic account, we find a series of separate scenes,
with the barest possible explanatory connection and introduction. The
treason of Judas, in itself a myth, [217] is announced beforehand in
three sentences, with no sign of reflection on the meaninglessness
of the situation posited. A mystico-mythical episode of a message
from the Master to one who is to prepare the passover meal comes
next. In Matthew the message is to "such a man"--undescribed: in Mark,
a man carrying a pitcher of water is to be seen and followed, and
"wheresoever he shall enter in" the message is to be delivered to
"the goodman of the house," and the room will be shown ready. To
read biography in this, or to ascribe a "primitive" trustworthiness
to the Marcan story, is to cast out criticism.

But the Supper itself is presented with the same ceremonial effect;
the whole content being the mention of the betrayal and the dogmatic
meaning of the ritual. In Mark, the whole episode of the Supper
occupies eight sentences: in Matthew, where Judas puts his question
and gets his answer, ten. After the singing of a hymn, the scene
changes instantly to the Mount of Olives. No reason is assigned for
the going out into the night: it is taken for granted that the Divine
One is going to his death, of his own will and prevision. Either we
believe this, making him a God, or we recognize a myth. Biography it
cannot be. And drama it clearly is.

On the Mount, there is another brief dialogue, committing Peter
and the other disciples--a wholly hostile presentment. Again the
scene changes to Gethsemane, where the three selected disciples with
whom Jesus withdraws actually sleep while he utters the prayer set
down. There was thus no one to hear it. Any biographical theory which
is concerned to respect verisimilitude must here recognize something
else than narrative, and will presumably posit invention. But why
should invention take this peculiar form? If the object was to
impeach the disciples--and they certainly are impeached--is it not
an impossibly crude device to tell of their sleeping throughout the
prayer and its repetition, leaving open the retort: "You report
the words of the prayer: from whom did you get them if not from
those disciples, who must have heard them?" But if we suppose the
scene first presented dramatically, no perplexity or counter-sense
is involved. The impeachment is effectual; the episode is seen;
and no one is concerned, in presence of a drama, to ask how certain
words came to be known to have been spoken by any personage. It is
the reduction to narrative form that betrays the dramatic source. And
when we find in both Matthew and Mark, which clearly embody the same
original document, this sequence:

    And again he came, and found them sleeping ... and they wist
    not what to answer him [nothing has been said]. And he cometh
    the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your
    rest: it is enough; the hour is come: behold, the son of man is
    betrayed.... Arise now ...,

the documentary crux, which the biographical school makes vainly
violent attempts to solve, is at once solved when we realize that in
the transcription two speeches have accidentally been combined. The
drama must have gone thus:--

    The disciples still asleep.

    Enter Jesus.

    Jes. Sleep on now and take your rest. [Exit.

    Enter Jesus. (Disciples still asleep.)

    Jes. It is enough: the hour is come, etc.

The transcriber, missing an exit and an enter, has simply run two
speeches together; and the gospel copyists have faithfully followed
their copy, putting "they wist not what to answer him" in the wrong
place. In an original narrative the combination could not happen. In
the transcription of the copy of a play it could easily happen. We
find instances in the printing of the plays of Shakespeare and other
early dramatists.

[One antagonist of the mystery-play theory, making no attempt
to rebut the above solution, denies that it can be applied to the
midnight trial before the priests, elders, and scribes. Of this trial
M. Loisy recognizes the impossibility: pronouncing that, sans doute,
the asserted search for witnesses by night never took place. But,
says the objector [218]:--

    (1) It may be incredible history; but it is impossible drama. I
    defy Mr. Robertson to say how it could have been represented on
    the stage, or why it should have been given a place in a drama
    at all. And he is searching for evidence of drama.

    (2) The incident exists only in Mr. Robertson's imagination. The
    Greek phrase in Mk. xiv, 55, is the regular phrase for sifting
    evidence, and does not imply or suggest any hunting up of witnesses
    throughout Jerusalem.

We have here three propositions:--

1. The midnight search for witnesses is impossible in drama.

2. It is impossible to give a reason why it should have been put in
a drama.

3. The record does not say that it took place.

The first is at once annihilated by briefly dramatizing the alleged

    Priest (or other official, to officials). Go and bring the
    witnesses to convict this fellow.        [Exeunt Officials.

    Priest consults with his fellows.

    Enter Officials with a witness. Exeunt Officials.

    Witness is examined: the evidence is confused.

    Enter Officials with another witness. Exeunt.

    Witness is examined: evidence conflicts with that already given.

    (And so with a series of witnesses.)

    Enter Officials with two more witnesses.

    Witnesses, examined, testify, with some contradictions in detail,
    "This man said"--etc.

    High Priest (standing). Answerest thou nothing? etc.

Where is the difficulty? It is precisely in drama, and in drama alone,
that the impossible narrative can pass as possible. Action on the
stage is always telescoped: time is always more or less ignored,
because the selected action must go on continuously. Again and
again in Shakespeare (or rather in pseudo-Shakespeare) we find
irrelevant and futile scenes interposed to create the semblance of
a time interval; but in Othello and Measure for Measure, to name no
other plays, the action is impossibly telescoped. The explanation
is that in the psychology of the theatre time is disregarded, save
by the most critical. The simple-minded audience of devotees which
witnessed the Christist mystery-play would never ask "How did they
hunt up those witnesses in Jerusalem at midnight?" Solvitur ambulando,
so to speak: they saw the trial. It is when the play is transmuted to
dead narrative, wherein a number of questions and answers are reduced
to a few bald statements, that the impossibility obtrudes itself.

Our critic defies us to explain how such a trial came to be put in
a drama. It is hard to see why he is puzzled. The general object
of the whole tragedy is to show Jesus as the victim, first, of the
priests, elders, and scribes--the Jewish ecclesiastical order, whose
hostility to Jesus is a constant datum of the gospels. At this stage
the mystery-play has become a Gentile-Christian performance, in which
even the Jewish disciples play a poor part, while the official class
are the mainspring of the tragedy. How could the priests be more
effectively impeached than by exhibiting them as producing plainly
suborned evidence to convict Jesus? Lord Tennyson, in our time, put
a bad freethinker in a bad play to discredit freethinking. And he
had non-canonical as well as canonical precedents. The apocryphal
"Acts of Pilate" appears to follow a drama in which a great many
gospel episodes were dramatized as well as the trial. [219]

As for the critic's assertion that a midnight search for witnesses
is not posited in the narrative, it is again impossible to follow
his reasoning. If the ezêtoun ... martyrian of Mark means "sifted
evidence," the ezêtoun pseudomartyrian of Matthew means "sifted false
evidence." The theory of "sifting" is impossible. I have had the
curiosity to examine ten translations--Latin, German, modern Greek,
Italian, French, and English, without finding that one translator
has ever dreamt of it. All agree with the current English rendering,
which means sought [false] testimony, because no other rendering is
possible. The record goes on, in Mark:--

    ... and found it [i. e. the required evidence] not. For many
    bare false witness against him and their witness agreed not
    together. And there stood up certain, and bare false witness
    against him.... And not even so did their witness agree
    together. And the high priest stood up....

According to the new theory, the prosecution "sifted evidence" which
"stood up," as did the high priest.

Defending his thesis, the exegete argues [220] that the "evidence" was
not written but oral; that is to say, the authorities had collected
witnesses during the day and had then kept them till midnight or
later without ascertaining what evidence they were able to give. The
narratives neither say nor hint anything of the kind; whereas if such
had been supposed to be the fact it would have been the natural thing
to say so.

But the thing alleged is unnatural. On the one hand we are asked to
believe that the authorities had before sunset collected a number of
witnesses, when they could not have any certainty of making the arrest;
on the other hand we are to believe that with all this extraordinary
fore-planning they had not taken the normal precaution of ascertaining
what the witnesses could say. In the transcribed drama as it stands,
the authorities are represented as knaves; in the interpretation
before us, framed to save the credit of the narrative, they are
represented as childishly foolish. The narrative as we have it defies
its vindicators. It tells that witnesses were sent for; and only in
a drama, in which time-conditions are ignored, could such a fiction
have been resorted to.] #/

The story is equally dramatic to the close. Everything is scenic,
detached, episodic: it is left to Luke (who elaborates the
Supper scene; gives a positive command of Jesus for the future
celebration where the previous documents merely show the rite as it
was practised; puts the denial of Peter before the trial; and drops
the whole procedure of the witnesses) to interpose the episode of the
daughters of Jerusalem between the Roman trial and the crucifixion;
and even that is parenthetic and dramatic, as are the burial and
the seeking; whereafter, in Mark, the gospel abruptly ends. The
rest is supplementary documentation. How much of that may have been
dramatized, it is impossible to say. That there had been evolution
in the mystery-play is involved in our conception of it. It began
with the simple Sacrament, at a remote period, the Sacrament itself
being evolved from a primitive and savage to a symbolic form, the God
being probably first represented, as in kindred rites, [221] by his
sacrificial priest; and later by the victim. [222] It is after the
primitive and localized cult seeks the status of a world-religion that
the ritual developes into a quasi-history; and we can see conflicting
influences in that. One writer causes Jesus to be buffeted and mocked
at the Jewish trial, as if to counterbalance the derision in the Roman
trial; even as Luke interposes a third trial before Herod, to make sure
that the guilt should ultimately lie with the Jewish government. In the
action as in the doctrine, the Gentile influence finally predominates.

The important point to note in the documentary evolution is that the
mystery-play remained a secret representation for some time after
written gospels were current. To begin with, all the mystery-plays
of the age were on the same footing of secrecy. What takes place
finally in the Jesuist cult is a simple adding-on of the mystery-play
to the gospels. It was not for nothing that the school of B. Weiss,
seeking to expiscate a "Primitive Gospel" from the synoptics, made
it end before the Tragedy. This was what they were bound to do by
their documentary tests; and the common objection that such an ending
is very improbable--a difficulty avowed by Weiss and weakly sought
to be solved by some of the school--is seen in the light of the
myth-theory to be a difficulty only for those who assume not merely
the historicity of a Jesus but the historicity of the whole tragedy
story down to the resurrection. Once it is realized that that story
is a dramatic development of an originally simple myth of sacrificial
death, the documentary difficulty disappears.

    [It should not be necessary to point out the absolute falsity of
    the assertion of Dr. Conybeare (Histor. Christ, p. 49) that in my
    theory "The Christian Gospels ... are a transcript of the annually
    performed ritual drama, just as Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare are
    transcripts of Shakespeare's plays." In Pagan Christs (p. 201)
    it is expressly argued that "the Mystery Play is an addition to
    a previously existing document.... The transcriber has been able
    to add to the previous gospel the matter of the mystery-play; and
    there he loyally stops." And it is repeatedly pointed out that
    the transcription has been made with the minimum of necessary
    narrative connection. Thus the parallel with Lamb's Tales is
    false even as regards the matter posited as constituting the play;
    while the assertion that the whole of the gospel is represented
    as a transcription of a play is pure fabrication. And this mere
    falsification of the theory passes with traditionalist critics
    as a confutation.]

Some account, indeed, the Jesuists must have given of the death
of their God or Son-God when they reached the stage of systematic
propaganda; and this was in all likelihood a bare statement such
as we have in the Epistles, that he was put to a humiliating death
and rose again. It is very likely that accounts of the manner of
the death varied in the first written accounts, as they certainly
would in the traditions or rituals current at various points; and we
may grant to the documentary critics that various versions may have
attached to early forms or sources of Mark and Matthew. A general
statement that Jesus was the "Son of the Father," and that he had
been put to death with ignominy, would elicit, as has been above
argued, the objection that "Jesus Barabbas" was certainly no divine
personage. The Barabbas story, then, explaining away that objection,
is a comparatively late development, of which, accordingly, we find
not a single trace in the Acts or the Epistles. But similarly the
Supper is not described in the Acts or the Epistles apart from the
plainly interpolated account in First Corinthians. And at the outset
the Supper would be emphatically secret matter, not to be written down.

Whatever conclusion, then, was given to the earlier gospel or
gospels, it did not include that. As little would it give the Agony,
or the trials before the Sanhedrim and before Pilate, throwing
the guilt of the tragedy on the Jews, or the episodes disparaging
the apostles. Judas is in all likelihood primarily a figure of a
Gentile form of the play, being just Judaios, a Jew, [223] created by
Gentile or Samaritan animus. What inferribly happened was a dramatic
development, by Gentile hands, of a primarily simple mystery drama,
consisting of the Supper, the death, and the resurrection, into the
play as it now stands transcribed in the synoptics, with the Betrayal,
the Agony, the Denial, the Trials, and the dramatic touches in the
crucifixion scene.

The school of Weiss, then, on our theory, reached by comparatively
consistent methods of documentary criticism a relatively sound
conclusion. The earlier forms of the gospel certainly had not the
present conclusion; and whatever simple conclusions they had were bound
to be superseded when the complete mystery play was transcribed--the
very transcription being a reason for their disappearance. At some
point, probably by reason of the Christian reaction against all pagan
procedure, the play, which in its present form must always have been
special to a town or towns, was dropped, and though the tendency was
to keep the Eucharist an advanced rite for initiates, and withhold
it from catechumens, [224] the reduction of the Tragedy to narrative
form became a necessity for purposes of propaganda. Without it,
the gospels were inadequate to their purposes; and it supplied the
needed confutation of the charge that Jesus was simply a victim in
the Barabbas rite.

This said, we have still to face the main problem of the evolution of
the Jesus-cult into a world-religion in which the God Sacrificed to
the God becomes also the Messiah of the Jews and the Teacher of those
who believe in him. And the tracing of that evolution must obviously
be difficult. The process of extracting true out of false history
is always so; and where the concocted history and its contingent
literature are the main documents, we can in the nature of things
reach only general conceptions. But general conceptions are attainable;
and we must frame them as scientifically as we can.



§ 1. The Primary Impulsion

Professor W. B. Smith, whose brilliant, independent, and powerful
advocacy of the myth-theory has brought conviction to readers not
otherwise attracted by it, has stressed two propositions in regard
to the evolution of the Jesus-cult. One is that the movement was
"multifocal," starting from a number of points; [225] the other that
the essential and inspiring motive was the monotheistic conception,
as against all forms of polytheism; Jesus being conceived as "the One
God." [226] That the first proposition is sound and highly important,
I am convinced. But after weighing the second with a full sense of the
acumen that guides all Professor Smith's constructive speculation, I
remain of the opinion that it needs considerable modification. [227]
In clearing up these two issues, we shall go a long way towards
establishing a clear theory of the whole historical process.

In the first place, a "multifocal" movement, a growth from many points,
is involved in all our knowledge of the highly important matters of the
history of the early Christian sects, and the non-canonical Christian
documents. Perhaps the proposition is even more widely true than
Professor Smith indicates. To begin with, we find at an early stage
the sects of (1) Ebionites and (2) Nazarenes or Nazareans, in addition
to (3 and 4) the Judaizing and Gentilizing movements associated with
"the Twelve" and Paul respectively; and yet further (5) the movement
associated with the name of Apollos. Further we have to note (6) the
Jesuism of the Apocalypse, partly extra-Judaic in its derivation;
and (7) that of the ninth section of the Teaching of the Twelve
Apostles, which emerges as a quasi-Ebionitic addition to a purely
Judaic document--not yet interpolated by the seventh section. Yet
further, we have (8) the factors accruing to the religious epithet
"Chrestos" [228] (= good, gracious), which specially attached to the
underworld Gods of the Samothracian mysteries; also to Hermes, Osiris,
and Isis; and (9 and 10) the Christist cult-movements connected with
the non-Jesuine Pastor of Hermas and the sect of the Eleesaites. [229]
And this is not an exhaustive list.

(11) That there was a general Jewish ferment of Messianism on foot in
the first century is part of the case of the biographical school. That
there actually arose in the first and second centuries various Jewish
"Christs" is also a historical datum. But the biographical school
are not wont in this connection to avow the inference that alone can
properly be drawn from the phrase of Suetonius as to a movement of
Jewish revolt at Rome occurring in the reign of Claudius impulsore
Chresto, "(one) Chrestus instigating." [230] This is not an allusion
to the Greek epithet Chrestos before referred to: it is either a
specification of an individual otherwise unknown or the reduction to
vague historic status of the source of a general ferment of Jewish
insurrection in Rome, founding on the expectation of the Christos,
the Messiah. In the reign of Claudius, such a movement could not have
been made by "Christians" on any view of the history. As the words were
pronounced alike they were interchangeably written, Chrestos (preserved
in the French chrétien) being used even among the Fathers. Giving to
the phrase of Suetonius the only plausible import we can assign to it,
we get the datum that among the Jews outside Palestine there was a
generalized movement of quasi-revolutionary Christism which cannot
well have been without its special literature.

(12) In this connection may be noted the appearance of a
quasi-impersonal Messianism and Christism on the border-land of
Jewish and early Christian literature. Of this, a main source is the
Book of Enoch, of which the Messianic sections are now by general
consent assigned to the first and second centuries B.C. There the
Messiah is called the Just or Righteous One; [231] the Chosen One;
[232] Son of Man; [233] the Anointed; [234] and once "Son of the
Woman." [235] Here already we have the imagined Divine One more or
less concretely represented. He is premundane, and so supernatural,
yet not equal with God, being simply God's deputy. [236] When then
we find in the so-called Odes of Solomon, recently recovered from an
Ethiopic version, a Messianic psalmody in which, apparently in the
first Christian century, "the name of the gospel is not found, nor
the name of Jesus;" and "not a single saying of Jesus is directly
quoted," [237] it is critically inadmissible to pronounce the
Odes Christian, especially when a number are admitted to have no
Christian characteristics. [238] When, too, the writer admittedly
appears to be speaking ex ore Christi, a new doubt is cast on all
logia so-called. Such literature, whether or not it be pronounced
Gnostic, points to the Gnostic Christism in which the personal Jesus
disappears [239] in a series of abstract speculations that exclude
all semblance of human personality. All the evidence points for its
origination to abstract or general conceptions, not to any actual
life or teaching. It spins its doctrinal web from within.

(13) And it is not merely on the Jewish side that we have evidence
of elements in the early Jesuist movement which derive from sources
alien to the gospel record. M. Loisy [240] admits that the hymn of the
Naassenes, given by Hippolytus, [241] in which Jesus appeals to the
Father to let him descend to earth and reveal the mysteries to men,
"has an extraordinary resemblance to the dialogue between the God
Ea and his son Marduk in certain Babylonian incantations." [242] He
disposes of the problem by claiming that before it can weigh with us
"it must be proved that the hymn of the Ophites is anterior to all
connection of their sect with Christianity." The implication is
that Gnostic syncretism could add Babylonian traits to the Jewish
Jesus. But when we find signal marks of a Babylonian connection for
the name Jesus in the Apocalypse we cannot thus discount, without
further evidence, the Babylonian connection set up by the Naassene
hymn. Nor can the defenders of a record which they themselves admit
to contain a mass of unhistorical matter claim to have a ground upon
which they can dismiss as a copyist's blunder the formula in which
in an old magic papyrus Jesus, as Healer, is adjured as "The God
of the Hebrews." [243] The very gospel records present the name of
Jesus as one of magical power in places where he has not appeared. A
strict criticism is bound to admit that the whole question of the
pre-Christian vogue of the name Jesus presents an unsolved problem.

There are further two quasi-historical Jesuses, one (14) given in
the Old Testament, the other (15) in the Talmud, concerning which we
can neither affirm nor deny that they were connected with a Jesuine
movement before the Christian era. One is the Jesus of Zechariah (iii,
1-8; vi, 11-15); the other is the Jesus Ben Pandira, otherwise Jesus
Ben Satda or Stada, of the Talmud. The former, Jesus the High Priest,
plays a quasi-Messianic part, being described as "The Branch" and
doubly crowned as priest and king. The word for "branch" in Zechariah
is tsemach, but this was by the pre-Christian Jews identified with the
netzer of Isaiah xi, 1; which for some the early Jesuists would seem
to have constituted the explanation of Jesus' cognomen of "Nazarite"
or "Nazaræan." [244] The historic significance of the allusions in
Zechariah appears to have been wholly lost; and that very circumstance
suggests some pre-Christian connection between the name Jesus and a
Messianic movement, which the Jewish teachers would be disposed to
let slip from history, and the Christists who might know of it would
not wish to recall. But the matter remains an enigma.

Equally unsolved, thus far, is the problem of the Talmudic
Jesus. Ostensibly, there are two; and yet both seem to have been
connected, in the Jewish mind, with the Jesus of the gospels. One,
Jesus son of Pandira, is recorded to have been stoned to death and then
hanged on a tree, for blasphemy or other religious crime, on the eve
of a Passover in the reign of Alexander Jannæus (B.C. 106-79). [245]
But in the Babylonian Gemara he is identified with a Jesus Ben Sotada
or Stada or Sadta or Sidta, who by one rather doubtful clue is put in
the period of Rabbi Akiba in the second century C.E. He too is said to
have been stoned and hanged on the eve of a Passover, but at Lydda,
whereas Ben Pandira is said to have been executed at Jerusalem. Some
scholars take the unlikely view that two different Jesuses were
thus stoned and hanged on the eve of a Passover: others infer one,
whose date has been confused. [246] As Ben Pandira entered into the
Jewish anti-Christian tradition, and is posited by the Jew of Celsus
in the second century, the presumption is in favour of his date. His
mother is in one place named Mariam Magdala = "Mary the nurse" or
"hair-dresser"--a quasi-mythical detail. But even supposing him to
have been a real personage, whose name may have been connected with
a Messianic movement (he is said to have had five disciples), it is
impossible to say what share his name may have had in the Jesuine
tradition. Our only practicable clues, then, are those of the sects
and movements enumerated.

It soon becomes clear from a survey of these sects and movements
(1) that a cult of a non-divine Jesus, represented by the Hebraic
Ebionites, subsisted for a time alongside of one which, also among
Jews, made Jesus a supernatural being. Only on the basis of an original
rite can such divergences be explained. The Ebionites come before us,
in the account of Epiphanius, as using a form of the Gospel of Matthew
which lacked the first two chapters (an addition of the second or
third century), denying the divinity of Jesus, and rejecting the
apostleship of Paul. [247] It is implied that they accepted the
story of the Last Supper and the Crucifixion. Here then were Jewish
believers in a Hero-Jesus, the Servant of God (as in the Teaching),
not a Son of God in any supernatural sense. Ebionism had rigidly
restricted the cult to a subordinate form.

On the other hand, we have in the Nazarean sect or fraternity a
movement which added both directly and indirectly to the Jesuist
evolution. In the so-called Primitive Gospel, as expiscated by the
school of B. Weiss from the synoptics, there is no mention of Nazareth,
and neither the epithet "Nazarene" nor "Nazarite" for Jesus. All three
names are wholly absent from the Epistles, as from the Apocalypse:
Jesus never has a cognomen after we pass the Acts. The inference is
irresistible that first the epithet "Nazarean," and later the story
about Nazareth, were additions to a primary cult in which Jesus had
no birth-location, any more than he had human parents.

I have suggested [248] that the term may have come in from the
Hebrew "Netzer" = "the branch," which would have a Messianic meaning
for Jews. Professor Smith, who makes a searching study of Hebrew
word-elements, has developed a highly important thesis to the effect
that the word Nazaraios, "Nazarean," which gives the residual name for
the Jesuist sect in the Acts and the predominant name for Jesus in the
gospels (apart from Mark, which gives Nazarenos), [249] is not only
pre-Christian but old Semitic; that the fundamental meaning of the name
(Nosri) is "guard" or "watcher" (= Saviour?), and that the appellation
is thus cognate with "Jesus," which signifies Saviour. [250] On the
negative side, as against the conventional derivations from Nazareth,
the case is very strong. More than fifty years ago, the freethinker
Owen Meredith insisted on the lack of evidence that a Galilean village
named Nazareth existed before the Christian era. To-day; professional
scholarship has acquiesced, to such an extent that Dr. Cheyne [251]
and Wellhausen have agreed in deriving the name from the regional
name Gennesareth, thus making Nazareth = Galilee; while Professor
Burkitt, finding "the ordinary view of Nazareth wholly unproved and
unsatisfactory," offers "a desperate conjecture" to the effect that
"the city of Joseph and Mary, the patris of Jesus, was Chorazin." [252]
In the face of this general surrender, we are doubly entitled to deny
that either the appellation for Jesus or the sect-name had anything
to do with the place-name Nazareth. [253]

That there was a Jewish sect of "Nazaræans" before the Christian era,
Professor Smith has clearly shown, may be taken as put beyond doubt
by the testimony of Epiphanius, which he exhaustively analyzes. [254]
Primitively orthodox, like the Samaritans, and recognizing ostensibly
no Bible personages later than Joshua, they appear to have merged in
some way with the "Christians," who adopted their name, perhaps turning
"Nazaræan" into "Nazorean." My original theory was that the "Nazaræans"
were just the "Nazarites" of the Old Testament--men "separated" and
"under a vow"; [255] and that the two movements somehow coalesced, the
place-name "Nazareth" being finally adopted to conceal the facts. But
Professor Smith is convinced, from the evidence of Epiphanius,
that between "Nazarites" and "Nazaræans" there was no connection;
[256] and for this there is the strong support of the fact that the
Jews cursed the Jesuist "Nazoræans" while apparently continuing to
recognize the Nazirs or Nazarites. That Professor Smith's derivation
of the name may be the correct one, I am well prepared to believe.

But it is difficult to connect such a derivation of an important
section of the early Jesuist movement with the thesis that Jesuism
at its historic outset was essentially a monotheistic crusade. On
this side we seem to face an old sect for whom, as for the adherents
of the early sacrament, Jesus was a secondary or subordinate divine
personage. Standing at an early Hebraic standpoint, the Nazaræans
would have no part in the monotheistic universalism of the later
prophets. The early Hebrews had believed in a Hebrew God, recognizing
that other peoples also had theirs. How or when had the Nazaræans
transcended that standpoint?

In the absence of any elucidation, the very ably argued thesis of
Professor Smith as to the name "Nazaræan" seems broadly out of keeping
with the thesis that a monotheistic fervour was a main and primary
element in the development of the Christian cult; and that Jesus was
conceived by his Jewish devotees in general as "the One God." This
would have meant the simple dethroning of Yahweh, a kind of procedure
seen only in such myths as that of Zeus and Saturn, where one racial
cult superseded another. But the main form of Christianity was always
Yahwistic, even when Paul in the Acts is made to proclaim to the
Athenians an "unknown God"--an idea really derived from Athens. Only
for a few, and these non-Jews, can "the Jesus" originally have been
the One God; unless in so far as the use of the name "the Lord" may
for some unlettered Jews have identified Jesus with Yahweh, who was
so styled. The Ebionites denied his divinity all along. The later
Nazareans were Messianists who did not any more than the Jews seem
to conceive that the Messiah was Yahweh.

The whole doctrine of "the Son" was in conflict with any purely
monotheistic idea. Nowhere in the synoptics or the Epistles is the
Christ doctrine so stated as really to serve monotheism: the "I and the
Father are one" of the fourth gospel is late; and the opening verses of
that gospel show tampering, telling of a vacillation as to whether the
Logos was God or "with God"--or rather "next to God," in the strict
meaning of pros. Here we have a reflex of Alexandrian philosophy,
[257] not the evangel of the popular cult. Formally monotheistic the
cult always was, even when it had become actually Trinitarian; and all
along, doubtless, the particularist monotheism of the Jews was at work
against all other God-names in particular and polytheism in general;
but that cannot well have been the moving force in a cult which was
professedly beginning by establishing an ostensibly new deity, and
was ere long to make a trinity.

So far as anything can be clearly gathered from the scattered polemic
in the Talmud against "the Minim," the standing title for Jewish
heretics, including Christians as such, [258] they at least appear
not as maintaining the oneness of God but rather as affirming a
second Deity, [259] and this as early as the beginning of the second
century. That the Jewish Rabbis took this view of their doctrine
is explained in terms of the actual theology of the Epistle to the
Hebrews. If there was any new doctrine of monotheism bound up with
Jesuism, it must have been outside of the Jewish sphere, where the
unity of God was the very ground on which Jesuism was resisted. As
such, the Jewish Christians did not even repudiate the Jewish law,
being expressly aspersed by the Rabbis as secret traitors who professed
to be Jews but held alien heresies. [260]

I have said that "the Jesus" can have been "the one God" only for
non-Jews. Conceivably he may have been so for some Samaritans. There
is reason to believe that in the age of the Herods only a minority
of the Samaritan people held by Judaism; [261] and there is Christian
testimony that in the second century a multitude of them worshipped as
the One God Sem or Semo, the Semitic Sun-God whose name is embodied in
that of Samson. Justin Martyr, himself a Samaritan, expressly alleges
that "almost all the Samaritans, and a few even of other nations"
worship and acknowledge as "the first God" Simon, whom he describes
as a native of Gitta or Gitton, emerging in the reign of Claudius
Cæsar. [262] Justin's gross blunder in identifying a Samaritan of the
first century with the Sabine deity Semo Sancus, whose statue he had
seen in Rome, [263] is proof that he could believe in the deification
of an alien as Supreme God, in his lifetime, in a nation with ancient
cults. The thing being impossible, we are left to the datum that
Sem or Semo or Sem-on = Great Sem was widely worshipped in Samaria,
as elsewhere in the near East. [264]

Returning to the subject of "the magician Simon" in his Dialogue with
Trypho, [265] Justin there repeats that the Samaritans call him "God
above all power, and authority, and might." Remembering that the Jewish
Shema, "the Name," is the ordinary appellative for Yahweh, we note
possibilities of syncretism as to which we can only speculate. The
fact that the Jews actually called their God in general by a word
meaning "Name" and also equating with the commonest Semitic name for
the Sun-God, while in their sacred books they professedly transmuted
the sacred name (altering the consonants) to Adonai = Lord ("plural
of majesty"), the name of the Syrian God Adonis, is a circumstance
that has never been much considered by hierologists. It suggests
that the Samaritan Sem also may have been "known" by other names;
and the certain fact of the special commemoration of Joshua among the
Samaritan Judaists gives another ground for speculation. The words
of Jesus to the Samaritan woman in the fourth gospel, "Ye worship
ye know not what," seem to signify that from the Alexandrian-Jewish
standpoint Samaritans worshipped a name only.

What does emerge clearly is that Samaria played a considerable part
in the beginnings of Christism. In a curious passage of the fourth
gospel (viii, 48) the Jews say to Jesus, "Say we not well that thou
art a Samaritan, and hast a daimon?": and he answers with a denial
that he has a daimon, but makes no answer on the other charge. The
fact that Matthew makes the Founder expressly forbid his disciples
to enter any city of the Samaritans, while an interpolator of Luke
[266] introduces the story of the good Samaritan to counteract the
doctrine, tells that there was a sunderance between Samaritan and
Judaizing Christists just as there was between the Judaizers and the
Gentilizers in general. From Samaria, then, came part of the impulse
to the whole Gentilizing movement; and the Samaritan Justin shows
the anti-Judaic animus clearly enough.

That Samaritan Jesuism, then, may early have outgone the Pauline in
making Jesus "the One God," in rivalry to the Jewish Yahweh, is a
recognizable possibility. But still we do not reach the conception
of a zealously monotheistic cult, relying specially on a polemic
of monotheism. Justin fights for monotheism as against paganism,
but on the ordinary Judaic-Christian basis. This is a later polemic
stage. Nor does the thesis of a new monotheism seem at all essential
to the rest of Professor Smith's conception of the emergence of
Jesuism. He agrees that it exfoliated from a scattered cult of
secret mysteries: the notion, then, that it was at the time of its
open emergence primarily a gospel of One God, and that God Jesus,
is ostensibly in excess of the first hypothesis. It is also somewhat
incongruous with the acceptance of the historic fact that it spread
as a popular religion, in a world which desired Saviour Gods. [267]
Saviour Gods abounded in polytheism; the very conception is primarily
polytheistic; and all we know of the cast and calibre of the early
converts in general is incompatible with the notion of them as zealous
for an abstract and philosophical conception of deity. Whether we take
the epistles to the Corinthians as genuine or as pseudepigraphic,
they are clearly addressed to a simple-minded community, not given
to monotheistic idealism, and indeed incapable of it.

In positing, further, a rapid "triumph" of Christism in virtue
of its monotheism, Professor Smith seems to me to outgo somewhat
the historical facts. There is really no evidence for any rapid
triumph. Renan, after accepting as history the pentecostal dithyramb
of the Acts, came to see that no such quasi-miraculous spread of the
faith ever took place; and that the Pauline epistles all presuppose not
great churches but "little Bethels," or rather private conventicles,
scattered through the Eastern Empire. [268] He justifiably doubted
whether Paul's converts, all told, amounted to over a thousand
persons. At a much later period, sixty years after Constantine's
adoption of the faith, the then ancient church of Antioch, the city
where first the Jesuists "were called Christians," numbered only
about a fifth part of the population. [269] "At the end of the second
century, probably not a hundredth part even of the central provinces
of the Roman Empire was Christianized, while the outlying provinces
were practically unaffected."

Rather we seem bound to infer that Christianity made headway
by assimilating pagan ideas and usages on a basis of Judaic
organization. It is ultimately organization that conserves cults;
and the vital factor in the Christian case is the adaptation of the
model set by the Jewish synagogues and their central supervision. Of
course even organization cannot avert brute conquest; and the organized
pagan cults in the towns of the Empire went down ultimately before
Christian violence as the Christian went down before violence in
Persia in the age of the Sassanides. But Christian organization,
improving upon Jewish, with no adequate rivalry on the pagan side,
developed the situation in which Constantine saw fit to imperialize
the cultus, as the one best fitted to become that of the State.

How then did the organization begin and grow? The data point
insistently to a special group in Jerusalem; and behind the myth of
the gospels we have historical and documentary ground for a hypothesis
which can account for that as for the other myth-elements.

§ 2. The Silence of Josephus

When we are considering the possibilities of underlying historical
elements in the gospel story, it may be well to note on the one hand
the entirely negative aspect of the works of Josephus to that story,
and on the other hand the emergence in his writings of personages
bearing the name Jesus. If the defenders of the historicity of the
gospel Jesus would really stand by Josephus as a historian of Jewry
in the first Christian century, they would have to admit that he
is the most destructive of all the witnesses against them. It is
not merely that the famous interpolated passage [270] is flagrantly
spurious in every aspect--in its impossible context; its impossible
language of semi-worship; its "He was (the) Christ"; its assertion of
the resurrection; and its allusion to "ten thousand other wonderful
things" of which the historian gives no other hint--but that the
flagrant interpolation brings into deadly relief the absence of all
mention of the crucified Jesus and his sect where mention must have
been made by the historian if they had existed. If, to say nothing of
"ten thousand wonderful things," there was any movement of a Jesus of
Nazareth with twelve disciples in the period of Pilate, how came the
historian to ignore it utterly? If, to say nothing of the resurrection
story, Jesus had been crucified by Pilate, how came it that there is
no hint of such an episode in connection with Josephus' account of
the Samaritan tumult in the next chapter? And if a belief in Jesus
as a slain and returning Messiah had been long on foot before the
fall of the Temple, how comes it that Josephus says nothing of it
in connection with his full account of the expectation of a coming
Messiah at that point?

By every test of loyal historiography, we are not merely forced to
reject the spurious passage as the most obvious interpolation in all
literature: we are bound to confess that the "Silence of Josephus," as
is insisted by Professor Smith, [271] is an insurmountable negation
of the gospel story. For that silence, no tenable reason can be
given, on the assumption of the general historicity of the gospels
and Acts. Josephus declares himself [272] to be in his fifty-sixth
year in the thirteenth year of Domitian. Then he was born about the
year 38. By his own account, [273] he began at the age of sixteen to
"make trial of the several sects that were among us"--the Pharisees,
the Sadducees, and the Essenes--and in particular he spent three years
with a hermit of the desert named Banos, who wore no clothing save
what grew on trees, used none save wild food, and bathed himself daily
and nightly for purity's sake. Thereafter he returned to Jerusalem,
and conformed to the sect of the Pharisees. In the Antiquities, [274]
after describing in detail the three sects before named, he gives an
account of a fourth "sect of Jewish philosophy," founded by Judas
the Galilean, whose adherents in general agree with the Pharisees,
but are specially devoted to liberty and declare God to be their only
ruler, facing torture and death rather than call any man lord.

A careful criticism will recognize a difficulty as to this section. In
§ 2, as in the Life, "three sects" are specified; and the concluding
section has the air of a late addition. Seeing, however, that the sect
of Judas is stated to have begun to give trouble in the procuratorship
of Gessius Florus, when Josephus was in his twenties, it is quite
intelligible that he should say nothing of it when naming the sects who
existed in his boyhood, and that he should treat it in a subsidiary
way in his fuller account of them in the Antiquities. It is not so
clear why he should in the first section of that chapter call Judas "a
Gaulanite, of a city whose name was Gamala," and in the final section
call him "Judas the Galilean." There was a Gamala in Gaulanitis and
another in Galilee. But the discrepancy is soluble on the view that
the sixth section was added some time after the composition of the
book. There seems no adequate ground for counting it spurious.

On what theory, then, are we to explain the total silence of Josephus
as to the existence of the sect of Jesus of Nazareth, if there
be any historical truth in the gospel story? It is of no avail to
suggest that he would ignore it by reason of his Judaic hostility
to Christism. He is hostile to the sect of Judas the Galilean. There
is nothing in all his work to suggest that he would have omitted to
name any noticeable sect with a definite and outstanding doctrine
because he disliked it. He seems much more likely, in that case,
to have described and disparaged or denounced it.

And here emerges the hypothesis that he did disparage or denounce the
Christian sect in some passage which has been deleted by Christian
copyists, perhaps in the very place now filled by the spurious
paragraph, where an account of Jesuism as a calamity to Judaism
would have been relevant in the context. This suggestion is nearly
as plausible as that of Chwolson, who would reckon the existing
paragraph a description of a Jewish calamity, is absurd. And it is the
possibility of this hypothesis that alone averts an absolute verdict
of non-historicity against the gospel story in terms of the silence of
Josephus. The biographical school may take refuge, at this point, in
the claim that the Christian forger, whose passage was clearly unknown
to Origen, perhaps eliminated by his fraud a historic testimony to
the historicity of Jesus, and also an account of the sect of Nazaræans.

But that is all that can be claimed. The fact remains that in the Life,
telling of his youthful search for a satisfactory sect, Josephus
says not a word of the existence of that of the crucified Jesus;
that he nowhere breathes a word concerning the twelve apostles,
or any of them, or of Paul; and that there is no hint in any of
the Fathers of even a hostile account of Jesus by him in any of his
works, though Origen makes much of the allusion to James the Just,
[275]--also dismissible as an interpolation, like another to the same
effect cited by Origen, but not now extant. [276] There is therefore
a strong negative presumption to be set against even the forlorn
hypothesis that the passage forged in Josephus by a Christian scribe
ousted one which gave a hostile testimony.

Over a generation ago, Mr. George Solomon of Kingston, Jamaica, noting
the general incompatibility of Josephus with the gospel story and the
unhistorical aspect of the latter, constructed an interesting theory,
[277] of which I have seen no discussion, but which merits notice
here. It may be summarized thus:--

1. Banos is probably the historical original of the gospel figure of
John the Baptist.

2. Josephus names and describes two Jesuses, who are blended in the
figure of the gospel Jesus: (a) the Jesus (Wars, VI, v, 3) who predicts
"woe to Jerusalem"; is flogged till his bones show, but never utters
a cry; makes no reply when challenged; returns neither thanks for
kindness nor railing for railing; and is finally killed by a stone
projectile in the siege; and (b) Jesus the Galilean (Life, §§ 12,
27), son of Sapphias, who opposes Josephus, is associated with Simon
and John, and has a following of "sailors and poor people," one of
whom betrays him (§ 22), whereupon he is captured by a stratagem,
his immediate followers forsaking him and flying. [278] Before this
point, Josephus has taken seventy of the Galileans with him (§ 14) as
hostages, and, making them his friends and companions on his journey,
sets them "to judge causes." This is the hint for Luke's story of
the seventy disciples.

3. The "historical Jesus" of the siege, who is "meek" and venerated
as a prophet and martyr, being combined with the "Mosaic Jesus"
of Galilee, a disciple of Judas of Galilee, who resisted the Roman
rule and helped to precipitate the war, the memory of the "sect" of
Judas the Gaulanite or Galilean, who began the anti-Roman trouble,
is also transmuted into a myth of a sect of Jesus of Galilee, who has
fishermen for disciples, is followed by poor Galileans, is betrayed
by one companion and deserted by the rest, and is represented finally
as dying under Pontius Pilate, though at that time there had been no
Jesuine movement.

4. The Christian movement, thus mythically grounded, grows up after
the fall of the Temple. Paul's "the wrath is come upon them to the
uttermost" (1 Thess. ii, 16) tells of the destruction of the Temple,
as does Hebrews xii, 24-28; xiii, 12-14.

This theory of the construction of the myth out of historical elements
in Josephus is obviously speculative in a high degree; and as the
construction fails to account for either the central rite or the
central myth of the crucifixion it must be pronounced inadequate
to the data. On the other hand, the author developes the negative
case from the silence of Josephus as to the gospel Jesus with an
irresistible force; and though none of his solutions is founded-on in
the constructive theory now elaborated, it may be that some of them
are partly valid. The fact that he confuses Jesus the robber captain
who was betrayed, and whose companions deserted him, with Jesus the
"Mosaic" magistrate of Tiberias, who was followed by sailors and poor
people, and was "an innovator beyond everybody else," does not exclude
the argument that traits of one or the other, or of the Jesus of the
siege, may have entered into the gospel mosaic.

§ 3. The Myth of the Twelve Apostles

All careful investigators have been perplexed by the manner of the
introduction of "the Twelve" in the gospels; and they would have
been still more so if they had realized the total absence of any
reason in the texts for the creation of disciples or apostles at
all. Disciples to learn--what? Apostles to teach--what? The choosing
is as plainly mythical as the function. In Mark (i, 16) and Matthew
(iv, 18), Jesus calls upon the brothers Simon and Andrew to leave
their fishing and "become fishers of men." They come at the word; and
immediately afterwards the brothers James and John do the same. There
is no pretence of previous teaching: it is the act of the God. [279]
In Matthew, at the calling of the apostle Matthew (ix, 9), who in Mark
(ii, 14) becomes Levi the son of Alphæus, the procedure is the same:
"Follow me."

Then, with no connective development whatever, we proceed at one
stroke to the full number. [280] Matthew actually makes the mission
of the twelve the point of choosing, saying simply (x, 1): "And he
called unto him his twelve disciples," adding their names. In Mark
(iii, 13) we have constructive myth:--

    And he goeth up into the mountain, and calleth unto him whom he
    himself would: and they went unto him. And he appointed twelve,
    that they might be with him, and that he might send them forth
    to preach, and to have authority to cast out devils.

And the lists converge. Levi has now disappeared from Mark's record,
and we have instead "James the son of Alphæus," but with Matthew in
also. The lists of the first two synoptics have been harmonized. In
Luke, where only three are at first called, after a miracle (v,
1-11), the twelve are also summarily chosen on a mountain; and
here the list varies: Levi, who has been separately called (v, 27)
as in Mark, disappears here also in favour of "James of Alphæus";
but there is no Thaddæus, and there are two Judases, one being "of
James," which may mean either son or brother. And this Judas remains
on the list in the Acts. Candid criticism cannot affirm that we have
here the semblance of veridical biography. The calling of the twelve
has been imposed upon an earlier narrative, with an arbitrary list,
which is later varied. The calling of the fishermen, to begin with,
is a symbolical act, as is the calling of a tax-gatherer. The calling
of the twelve is a more complicated matter.

In searching for the roots of a pre-Christian Jesus-cult in Palestine,
we have noted the probability that it centred in a rite of twelve
participants, with the "Anointed One," the representative of the God,
and anciently the actual victim, as celebrating priest. The Anointed
One is "the Christ"; and the Christ, on the hypothesis, is Jesus Son
of the Father. The twelve, as in the case of the early Jesus-cult
at Ephesus, form as it were "the Church." A body of twelve, then,
who might term themselves "Brethren of the Lord," may well have been
one of the starting-points of Jewish Jesuism.

But the first two synoptics, clearly, started with a group of only
four disciples, to which a fifth was added; and in John (i, 35-49)
the five are made up at once, in a still more supernatural manner
than in the synoptics, two being taken from the following of John
the Baptist. Then, still more abruptly than in the synoptics, we have
the completion (vi, 70):--"Did not I choose you the twelve, and one
of you is a devil?" It would be idle to say merely that the twelve
are suddenly imposed on the narrative, leaving a biographical five:
the five are just as evidently given unhistorically, for some special
reason, mythical or other.

Now, though fives and fours and threes are all quasi-sacred
numbers in the Old Testament, it is noteworthy that in one of the
Talmudic allusions to Jesus Ben-Stada he is declared to have had five
disciples--Matthai, Nakai or Neqai, Nezer or Netzer, Boni or Buni, and
also Thoda, all of whom are ostensibly though not explicitly described
as having been put to death. [281] As this passage points to the Jesus
who is otherwise indicated as post-Christian, it cannot critically
be taken as other than a reference to a current Christian list of
five, though it may conceivably have been a miscarrying reference
to the Jesus of the reign of Alexander Jannæus. In any case, it is
aimed at a set of five; and there is never any Talmudic mention of a
twelve. If, then, the Talmudic passage was framed by way of a stroke
against the Christians it must have been made at a time when the list
of twelve had not been imposed on the gospels. Further, it is to be
noted that it provides for a Matthew, and perhaps for a "Mark," the
name "Nakai" being put next to Matthew's; while in Boni and Netzer
we have ostensible founders for the Ebionites and Nazaræans. Finally,
Thoda looks like the native form of Thaddæus; though it might perhaps
stand for the Theudas of Acts v, 36. Seeing how names are juggled with
in the official list and in the MS. variants ("Lebbæus whose surname
was Thaddæus" stood in the Authorised Version, on the strength of
the Codex Bezae), it cannot be argued that the Gemara list is not
possibly an early form or basis of that in the synoptics; though on
the other hand the names Boni and Netzer suggest a mythopoeic origin
for Ebionites and Nazarenes. Leaving this issue aside as part of the
unsolved problem of the Talmudic Jesus, we are again driven to note
the unhistoric apparition of the twelve.

Following the documents, we find the later traces equally
unveridical. Matthew is introduced in the Acts as being chosen to
make up the number of the twelve, on the death of Judas; but never
again is such a process mentioned; and Matthew plays no part in
the further narrative. And of course the cult was interdicted from
further maintenance of the number as soon as it was settled that
the twelve were to sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes
of Israel, which had apparently been done in an early Judaic form
of the Apocalypse before it was intimated in the gospels. Even in
the Epistles, however, there is no real trace of an active group
of twelve. The number is mentioned only in a passage (1 Cor. xv,
5) where there is interpolation upon interpolation, for after
the statement that the risen Jesus appeared "then to the twelve"
there shortly follows "then to all the apostles," that is, on the
traditionist assumption, to the twelve again--the exclusion of Judas
not being recognized. The first-cited clause could be interpolated in
order to insert the number; the second could not have been inserted
if the other were already there.

That is the sole allusion. We find none where we might above all
expect it, in the pseudo-biographical epistle to the Galatians,
though there is mention in the opening chapter of "them which were
apostles before me," "the apostles," "James the brother of the Lord"
(never mentioned as an apostle in the gospels unless he be James the
son of Alphæus or James the son of Zebedee: that is, not a brother
of Jesus but simply a group-brother), and "James and Cephas and John,
who were [or are] reputed to be pillars." The language used in verse 6
excludes the notion that the writer believed "the apostles" to have had
personal intercourse with the Founder. Thus even in a pseudepigraphic
work, composed after Paul's time, there is no suggestion that he had
to deal with the twelve posited by the gospels and the Acts. And
all the while "apostles" without number continue to figure in the
documents. They were in fact a numerous class in the early Church. It
is not surprising that the late Professor Cheyne not only rejected
the story of the Betrayal but declared that "The 'Twelve Apostles,'
too, are to me as unhistorical as the seventy disciples." [282]

On the other hand, we have a decisive reason for the invention of the
Twelve story in the latterly recovered Teaching of the Twelve Apostles
[283] (commonly cited as the Didachê), a document long current in the
early church. Of that book, the first six chapters, forming nearly
half of the matter, are purely ethical and monotheistic, developing
the old formula of the "Two Ways" of life and death; and saying nothing
of Jesus or Christ or the Son, or of baptism or sacrament. Then comes
a palpably late interpolation, giving a formula for baptism in the
name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Even in the ninth
section, dealing with the Eucharist, we have only "the holy vine of
David thy Servant, which thou hast made known to us through Jesus thy
Servant." [284] The tenth, which is evidently later, and is written as
a conclusion, retains that formula. After that come warnings against
false apostles and prophets; and only in the twelfth section does the
word "Christian" occur. Still later there is specified "the Lord's-day
(kyriakên) of the Lord." Then comes a prescription for the election
of bishops; and the document ends with a chapter preparing for the
expected "last days."

Here then we have an originally Jewish document, bearing the title
Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, adopted and gradually added to
by early Jesuists who did not deify Jesus, though like the early
Christians in general they expected the speedy end of the world. Though
their Jesus is not deified, he has no cognomen. He is neither "of
Nazareth," nor "the Nazarite;" and he is an ostensibly mythical figure,
not a teacher but a rite-founder, for his adherents. They do not belong
to an organized Church; and the baptismal section, with its Trinitarian
formula, is quite certainly one of the latest of all. The eighth,
which connects quite naturally with the sixth, and which contains
the "Lord's Prayer," raises the question whether it belonged to the
pre-Christian document, and has been merely interpolated with the
phrase as to "the Lord ... his gospel." There are strong reasons for
regarding the Lord's Prayer as a pre-Christian Jewish composition,
[285] founded on very ancient Semitic prayers. Seeing that "the Lord"
has in all the previous sections of the treatise clearly meant "God"
and not "Christ," the passage about the gospel is probably Jesuist;
but it does not at all follow that the Prayer is.

Mr. Cassels, in the section on the Teaching added by him in the
one-volume reprint of his great work, points [286] to the fact that in
the recovered fragment of a Latin translation of an early version of
"The Two Ways," there do not occur the passages connecting with the
Sermon on the Mount which are found in the Teaching; and as the same
holds of the Two Ways section of the Epistle of Barnabas, it may fairly
be argued that it was a Christian hand that added them here. But when
we note that at the points at which the passages in the Teaching vary
from the gospel--as "Gentiles" for "tax-gatherers," [287]--the term in
the former is perfectly natural for Jewish teachers addressing Jews
in Gentile countries, and that in the latter rather strained in an
exhortation to Jews in their own country, it becomes very conceivable
that this is the original, or a prior form, of the gospel passage. The
Sermon on the Mount is certainly a compilation. This then may have
been one of the sources. And it is quite conceivable that the Jewish
Apostles should teach their people not to pray "as do the hypocrites,"
an expression which Mr. Cassels takes to be directed by Jesuists
against Jews in general.

Seeing that even conservative critics have admitted the probable
priority of the Teaching to Barnabas, it is no straining of the
probabilities to suggest that the Two Ways section of Barnabas is
either a variant, inspired by the Teaching, on what was clearly
a very popular line of homily, [288] or an annexation of another
Jewish homily of that kind. That in the Teaching is distinctly the
better piece of work, as we should expect the official manual of
the Apostles of the High Priest to be. It is inexact to say, as does
Dr. M. R. James, [289] that the section "reappears" in Barnabas. There
are many differences, as well as many identities. The other is not a
mere copy, but an exercise on the same standard theme, with "light
and darkness" for the stronger "life and death." It is a mistake
to suppose that there was a definite "original" of "The Two Ways":
it is a standing ethical theme, evidently handled by many. [290] If,
then, the Teaching preceded Barnabas, it may already have contained,
in its purely Jewish form, the Lord's Prayer, which is so thoroughly
Jewish, and items of the Sermon on the Mount, which is certainly a
Jewish compilation. And the justified critical presumption is that
it did contain them. The onus of disproof lies on the Christian side.

We now reach our solution. The original document was in any case a
manual of teaching used among the scattered Jews and proselytes of the
Dispersion by the actual and historical Twelve Apostles either of the
High Priest before or of the Patriarch after the fall of Jerusalem. The
historic existence of that body before and after the catastrophe
is undisputed; [291] and the nature of its teaching functions can
be confidently inferred from the known currency of a Judaic ethical
teaching in the early Christian period. The demonstration of that is
supplied by an expert of the biographical school who considers the
Teaching to have been "known to Jesus and the Baptist." [292] Such a
document cannot rationally be supposed to be a compilation made by or
for Christists using the gospels: such a compilation would have given
the gospel view of Jesus. [293] The primary Teaching, including as it
probably does the Lord's Prayer, is the earlier thing: the gospels
use it. It is in fact one of the first documents of "Christianity,"
if not the first. And its titular "twelve apostles" are Jewish and
not Christian.

Given, then, such a document in the hands of the early Jesuist
organization--or one of the organizations--twelve apostles had to be
provided in the legend to take the credit for the Teaching. [294]
The new cult, once it was shaped to the end of superseding the
old, had to provide itself to that extent, by myth, with the same
machinery. No step in the myth-theory is better established than this;
and no non-miraculous item in the legend is more recalcitrant than
the twelve story to the assumptions of the biographical school. The
gospel list of the twelve is one of the most unmanageable things
in the record. In a narrative destitute of detail where detail is
most called for, we get a list of names, most of which count for
nothing in the later history, to give a semblance of actuality to
an invented institution. We have clearly unhistorical detail as to
five, no detail whatever as to further accessions, and then a body
of twelve suddenly constituted. For some of us, the discovery of the
Teaching was a definite point of departure in the progression toward
the myth-theory; and it supplies us with the firmest starting-point
for our theoretic construction of the process by which the organized
Christian Church took shape.

§ 4. The Process of Propaganda

On the view here taken, there was at Jerusalem, at some time in the
first century, a small group of Jesuist "apostles" among whom the chief
may have been named James, John, and Cephas. They may have been members
of a ritual group of twelve, who may have styled themselves Brothers
of the Lord; but that group in no way answered to the Twelve of the
gospels. Of the apostle class the number was indefinite. Besides the
apostles, further, there would seem to have been an indefinite number
of "prophets," indicative of a cult of somewhat long standing. The
adherents believed in a non-historic Jesus, the "Servant" of the
Jewish God, somehow evolved out of the remote Jesus-God who is reduced
to human status in the Old Testament as Joshua. And their central
secret rite consisted in a symbolic sacrament, evolved out of an
ancient sacrament of human sacrifice, in which the victim had been
the representative of the God, sacrificed to the God, in the fashion
of a hundred primitive cults. This rite had within living memory,
if not still at the time from which we start, been accompanied by an
annual popular rite in which a selected person--probably a criminal
released for the purpose--was treated as a temporary king, then
derided, and then either in mock show or in actual fact executed,
under the name of Jesus Barabbas, "the Son of the Father."

Of this ancient cult there were inferribly many scattered centres
outside of Judea, including probably some in Samaria, the special
region of the celebration of the Hero-God Joshua. There was one such
group in Ephesus; and probably another at Alexandria, and another at
Antioch; Jews of the Dispersion having possibly taken the cult with
them. But the cult outside Jewry may have had non-Jewish roots, though
it merged with Jewish elements. So long as the Temple at Jerusalem
lasted, the small cult counted for very little; and it was probably
after the fall of Jerusalem [295] that its leaders added to their
machinery the rite of baptism, which the synoptic gospels treat as a
specialty of the movement of John the Baptist. Him they represent as a
"forerunner" of the Christ, who under divine inspiration recognizes the
Messianic claims of Jesus. All this is plainly unhistorical, even on
the assumption of the historicity of Jesus. [296] Whatever may be the
historic facts as to John the Baptist, who is a very dubious figure,
[297] the marked divergence between the synoptics and the fourth gospel
on the subject of baptism [298] show that that rite was not originally
Jesuist, but was adopted by the Jesuists as a means of popular appeal.

The recognition of this fact is a test of the critical good faith
of those who profess to found on the synoptics for a history of
the beginnings of the Jesuist cult. Canon Robinson [299] treats as
unquestionably historical one of the contradictory statements in John
iv, 1-2, of which the first affirms that Jesus baptized abundantly,
while the second, an evidently interpolated parenthesis, asserts that
only the disciples baptized, not Jesus. Though this interpolation
hinges on the first dictum, the Canon accepts it to the exclusion
of that, its basis. But the original writer could not have put the
proposition thus had he believed it. What he affirmed was abundant
baptizing by Jesus. Of this, however, the synoptics have no more hint
than they have of baptizing by the disciples. On any possible view
of the composition of the synoptics, it is inconceivable that they
should omit all mention of baptizing by Jesus or the disciples if such
a practice was affirmed in the early tradition. For them baptism is
the institution of the Forerunner, who is mythically represented as
hailing in Jesus his successor or supersessor, with no suggestion of
a continuance of the rite. If there is to be any critical consistency
in the biographical argument, it must at least recognize that baptism
is non-Jesuine.

The embodiment of the rite of baptism on the basis of the Baptist's
alleged acclamation of Jesus as the Messiah, either carried with it
or followed upon the claim that Jesus, hitherto regarded as a simple
Saviour-God, was a Messiah. After the fall of Jerusalem, the old
dream of an earthly Messiah who should restore the Kingdom of Judah
or Israel [300] was shattered for the vast majority of Jews. Even in
the Assumption of Moses, in the main the work of a Quietist Pharisee,
written in Hebrew probably between 7 and 29 of the first century,
[301] there is a virtual abandonment of Messianism, the task of
overthrowing the Gentiles being assigned to "the Most High." [302]
In the composite Apocalypse of Baruch, written in Hebrew, mainly by
Pharisaic Jews, in the latter half of the first century, probably as an
implicit polemic against early Jesuism, [303] we see the effect of the
catastrophe. In the sections written before the fall of Jerusalem,
the hope of a Messianic Kingdom is proclaimed; in those written
later there is either at most a hope of a Messianic Kingdom without
a Messiah or a complete abandonment of mundane expectations. [304]
What the Jesuist movement did was to develop, outside of Jewry, [305]
the earlier notion of a Messiah "concealed," pre-appointed, and coming
from heaven to effect the consummation of all things earthly. [306]

Such Messianism may have either preceded or proceeded-on an adoption
of the rite of baptism. Given a resort to Messianism by the Jesuists
after the fall of Jerusalem, the alleged testimony of the Baptist to
Jesus as the Appointed One might be the first step; and the resort
to the baptismal rite would follow on the myth that Jesus had been
actually baptized by John. In Acts, i, 5, Jesus is in effect made
to represent John's baptism with water as superseded by a baptism
in the Holy Ghost. [307] In the Pauline epistles we have trace of a
conflict over this as over other Judaic practices, Paul being made
to declare (1 Cor. i, 17) that "Christ sent me not to baptize but
to preach the gospel," though he admits having baptized a few. [308]
All that is clear is that the Jesuists were not primarily baptizers;
that they began to baptize "in the name of Jesus Christ," [309] with
a formula of the Holy Ghost and fire, but really in the traditional
manner with water; and that long afterwards they feigned that the
Founder had prescribed baptism with a trinitarian formula. [310]

Thus far, the local movement was not only Jewish but Judaic. It may
or may not have been before the fall of Jerusalem that a Jesuist
"apostle" named Paul conceived the idea of creating by propaganda a
new Judæo-Jesuist movement appealing to Gentiles. Such an idea is not
the invention of Paul or any other Jesuist; the idea of a Messianic
Kingdom in which the Gentiles should be saved is found in the Jewish
Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, written in Hebrew by a Pharisee
between the years 109 and 106 B.C. [311] But, thus made current,
it might well be adopted by Jesuists. The reason for supposing this
to have begun before the year 70 is not merely the tradition to that
effect but the fact that in none of the epistles do we have any trace
of that "gospel of the Kingdom" which in the synoptics is posited
as the evangel of Jesus. That evangel, which is a simple duplication
of the alleged evangel of the Baptist, and which we have seen to be
wholly mythical, being devoid of possible historic content, [312]
is part of the apparatus of the retrospective Messianic claim. But
the Pauline Epistles, even as they show no knowledge of the name
Nazareth, or Nazaræan, or Nazarene, or of any gospel teaching, also
show no concern over a "gospel of the Kingdom." Whether or not, then,
they are wholly pseudepigraphic, they suggest that a Paulinism of
some kind was an early feature in the Jesuist evolution.

According to the Acts, Paul's name was originally Saul, though no such
avowal is ever made in the epistles. The purpose of the statement
seems to be to strengthen the case as to his Jewish nationality,
which is affirmed in the epistles, as is the item that he had been a
murderous persecutor of the early Jesuists. All this suggests a late
manipulation of the traditions of an early strife. To claim that the
Gentilizing apostle had been a Jew born and bred would be as natural
on the Gentilizing side as to allege that the typically Judaic Peter
had denied his Lord; while the charge of persecuting the infant church
would be a not less natural invention of the Judaic Christians who
accepted the tradition that Paul had been a Pharisee and a pupil of
Gamaliel. In point of fact we find the Ebionites, the typical Judaic
Jesuists, knowing him simply as "Paul of Tarsus" in their version of
the Acts or in a previous document upon which that founded. [313]
And many Jewish scholars have declared that they cannot conceive
the Pauline epistles to have been written by a Rabbinically trained
Jew. [314] This does not preclude the possibility that the original
Paul, of whose "few very short epistles" personally penned [315]
we have probably nothing left that is identifiable, [316] may have
been such a Jew, but the presumption is to the contrary.

On the face of the case, nothing was more natural than that the Jesuist
movement should appeal to civilized Gentiles. Judaism itself did so,
striving much after proselytes. The question was whether the Jesuist
proselytes should be made on a strictly Judaic basis. Now, even if
the fall of Jerusalem had not given the impetus to a severance of the
cult from the dominating religion, the sacred domicile being gone, it
is obvious that an abandonment of such a Jewish bar as circumcision
would give the developing cult a great advantage over the other
in propaganda among Gentiles. Circumcision must have been a highly
repellent detail for Hellenistic Gentiles in general; and a gospel
which dispensed with it would have a new chance of making headway. And
such a severance certainly took place, though we can put no reliance
on the chronology of the Acts. [317] Paul [318] remains a doubtfully
dated figure, because the chronology of the whole cult is problematic.

But we can broadly distinguish between a "Petrine" and a "Pauline"
Christism. In the Acts (ii, 22-40), which clearly embodies earlier
lore, prior to that of the gospels, the Jesus Christ preached by Peter
is not represented as a saving sacrifice. As little is he a Teacher,
though he is a doer of "mighty works and wonders and signs." If
we were to apply the biographical method, the presentment might be
held to indicate the Talmudic Jesus. Only after his resurrection "God
hath made him both Lord and Christ"--that is, Messiah; and the Jewish
hearers are invited to "repent" and be "baptized ... in the name of
Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins." Peter's Jesus, like him
of the Teaching, is the "Servant" of God, not his Son. And there is
no mention of a sacrament, though there is noted a "breaking of bread
at home" (42, 46) recalling the "broken" (bread) of the Didachê. The
sacrament, then, was apparently a secret rite for the Jewish group.

The speeches, of course, are quite unhistorical: we can but take them
as embodying a traditional "Petrine" teaching with later matter. Thus
we have baptism figuring as a Jesuist rite, whereas in the synoptics,
as we have seen, there had been no such thing. The story of Peter
being brought to the pro-Gentile view is pure ecclesiastical myth,
probably posterior to the Pauline epistles, which are ignored but
counteracted in so far as they posit strife between Pauline and
Petrine propaganda. Peter and Paul alike are made to teach that
"it behoved the Christ to suffer" (iii, 18; xvii, 3), even as they
duplicate their miracles, their escapes, and their sufferings. But
while Peter is pretended to have accepted Gentilism, it is Paul
who acts on the principle; and he it is who is first represented as
fighting pagan polytheism, notably at Ephesus (xix, 26). At Athens,
in a plainly fictitious speech, he is made to expound the "unknown
God" of an Athenian agnostic cult in terms of Jewish opposition
to image-worship, indicating Jesus merely as "a man" raised by God
from the dead to judge the world at the judgment day. It is after
this episode that he is made to tell the Jews of Corinth he will
"henceforth go unto the Gentiles." Nevertheless he is made to go on
preaching to the Jews. The narrative as a whole is plainly factitious:
all we can hope to do is to detect some of its historic data.

Two things must be kept clearly and constantly in view: first, that
what we understand by a literary and a historical conscience simply
did not exist in the early Christian environment; second, that in
all probability the Acts, which to start with would be a blend of
tradition and fiction, is much manipulated during a long period. We
are not entitled to assume that an "original" writer duplicated
the careers of Peter and Paul for purposes of edification. One or
more may have wrought one narrative, and a later hand or hands may
have systematically interpolated the other. [319] We are to remember
further that it was an age in which most Christians, assimilating the
eschatology of the Persians and the Jews--the spontaneous dream of
crushed peoples--expected the speedy end of the world, and did their
thinking on that basis. In such a state of mind, critical thought
could not exist save as a small element in religious polemic.

Let us then see what we reach on the hypothesis that early Jesuism even
in the first century, and possibly even before the fall of Jerusalem,
was running in two different channels--one movement adhering to
Jewish usage, making Jesus the Servant of God, and conceiving him as a
God-gifted Healer whose death raised him to the status of the Messiah,
the promised Christ or Anointed One who should either close the earthly
scene or bring about a new God-ruled era for the Jews. For the holders
of this view, the Kingdom of God was coming. Jesus was ere long to
come in the clouds in great glory and inaugurate the new life. To
ask for clear conceptions on such a matter from such minds would
be idle. There were none. The one idea connected with the mythical
evangel was that Jews should repent and prepare for the new life. To
that elusive minimum the latest biographical analysis, assuming the
historicity, reduces the "ministry" of the gospel Jesus. [320] The rest
is all post-apostolic accretion. On the other hand, the Petrine Jesus
has proved his mission for his devotees, first and last, by miracles,
and by his resurrection--things which the biographical school rejects
as imaginary.

Upon this movement there enters an innovator, Paul of Tarsus. Round
him, as round Peter, there are clouds of myth. That he was
originally Saul, a Pharisee, a pupil of Gamaliel; that he began as
a bitter persecutor of the Jesuists; and that he was converted by
a supernatural vision, become common data for the church. That the
charge of persecution was a Judaic figment, on the other hand, is
perhaps as likely as that the story of Peter's denial of his Master
was a Gentile figment. We are in a world of purposive fiction. But the
broad divergence of doctrine seems to underlie all the fables. Saul,
on the later view, changes his Jewish name to the Grecian Paul when
he plans to make the Jesus-cult non-Jewish, using the tactic of
monotheism against pagan polytheism in general, in the very act of
adding a Son-God to the Jewish Father-God, as so many Son-Gods had
been added to Father-Gods throughout religious history. To the early
Jewish Jesuists, the notion of the Son had been given by the old cult
of sacrifice, with its Jesus the Son--an idea obscurely but certainly
present, as we have seen, in the lore of the Talmudists.

Clearly it was the Pauline movement that made of Christism a "viable"
world religion. As an unorganized Saviour-cult it would have died
out like others. As a phase of Judaism, it could have had no Jewish
permanence, simply because its Messianism was a matter of looking
daily for an "end of the world" that did not come. After two centuries
of waiting, the Jews would have had as clear a right to pronounce
Jesus a "false Messiah" as they had in the case of Barcochab or
any other before or since. The mere belief in a future life, at one
time excluded from their Sacred Books, had become the common faith,
only the aristocratic Sadducees (probably not all of them) rejecting
it. On that side, Jesuism gave them nothing. Well might Paul "turn
to the Gentiles"--albeit not under the circumstances theologically
imagined for him in the book of Acts.

Even for the Gentiles, Jesuism was but one of many competing cults,
offering similar attractions. In the religions of Adonis, Attis,
Isis and Osiris, Dionysos, Mithra, and the Syrian Marnas ("the Lord,
a variant of Adonis = Adonai, one of the Jews' exoteric names for
Yahweh"), a resplendent ever-youthful God who had died to rise again
was sacramentally adored, mourned for, and rejoiced over, by devotees
just as absorbed in their faith as were the Jesuists. With vague
pretences of biographical knowledge, to which nobody now attaches any
credence, they were as sure of the historicity of their Vegetation-Gods
and Sun-Gods as the Christists were of the actuality of theirs. Had
a Frazer of the second century told them that their Adonis and Attis
were but abstractions of the annual sacrificial victim of old time,
they would have told him, in the manner of Festus (not yet obsolete),
that much learning had made him mad. They "knew" that their Redeemer
had lived, died, and risen again. The unbelief of philosophers,
or of scoffers like Lucian, affected them no more than scientific
and critical unbelief to-day disturbs the majority of unthinking
Christians. The busy sacrificial and devotional life of Hierapolis
would be as little affected by Lucian's tranquil exhibition of it as
the life at Lourdes has been by Zola's novel. On that side, we can
very easily understand the past by the present.

So little psychic or intellectual difference was there between
Jesuism and the other "isms" that Paul's propaganda made no measurable
sensation in the colluvies of the Roman empire. As Renan avows, even on
the assumption of the genuineness of the Epistles, he was the missioner
of a number of small conventicles, all convinced that they alone were
the "true Church of God upon earth." It is an error of perspective to
ascribe extraordinary faculty to the missionary who either converted or
"stablished" such believers; and it is plainly unnecessary to assume
in his case any abnormal sincerity or persuasiveness. If we were to
estimate him in terms of the records we should describe him either
as a halluciné or as a fanatic who had shed Christian blood in his
Judaic stage and never in the least learned humility on that score,
his phrases of contrition being balanced by the fiercest asperities
towards all who withstood him in his Christian stage. But we have no
right to draw a portrait of "Paul," who is left to us a composite
of literary figments testifying only to the previous activity of a
propagandist so-named.

One conclusion, however, holds alike whether or not we accept any of
the epistles as genuine: or rather, the more we lean on the epistles
the more it holds: Paul had no concern about the life, teachings, or
"personality" of his Jesus. [321] His Jesus, be it said once more,
is a speechless abstraction. One of the strangest fallacies in the
procedure of the biographical school is the assumption that the
acceptance of the epistles as genuine involves the admission of the
historicity of the Founder. In actual fact, it was a belief in the
substantial genuineness of the main epistles that first strengthened
the present writer in his first surmises of the non-historicity of the
entire gospel record; just as a perception of the historical situation
broadly set forth in Judges confirms doubt as to the historicity of the
record of the Hexateuch. The two will not consist. On the other hand,
Van Manen, who had previously been troubled about the historicity of
Jesus, was positively set at rest on that score when he reached the
conclusion that all the Paulines were supposititious. This happened
simply because he had scientifically covered the field only on
the Pauline side: had he applied equivalent tests to the gospels,
he would have reached there too a verdict of fabrication. There is
strictly no absolute sequitur in such a case. The myth-theory is
neither made nor marred by the rejection of the Paulines.

Even those who cannot realize the indifference of "Paul" to all
personal records of his Jesus--or, recognizing it, are content to
explain it away by formulas--must see on consideration that belief in
a Saviour God no more needed biographical basis in the case of Paul
than in the case of the priests of Mithra, who, it may be noted, had a
strong centre at Tarsus. [322] There is a certain plausibility in the
argument that only a great personality could have made possible the
belief in the Resurrection story--though that too is fallacy--but there
is no plausibility in inferring that a conception of a personality he
had never personally known was needed to impel Paul to his evangel,
which is simply one of future salvation by divine sacrifice for all
who believe. That is the substitution made by Gentile Christism for
the miscarrying Messianism of the Petrine doctrine. It was probably
the normal doctrine of many pagan cults--Mithraism for one, which
for three hundred years, by common consent, was the outstanding
rival of Christianity in the Roman empire. [323] It was, then, no
specialty of dogma that ultimately determined the success of the one
and the disappearance of the other. It was a concatenation of real or
"external" causes, not a peculiarity of mere belief.

§ 5. Real Determinants

The more we study comparatively the fortunes of the Christian and
the rival cults, the more difficult it is to conceive that it made
headway in virtue of sheer monotheism. If we assume that Judaism
had made its proselytes in the pagan world by reason of the appeal
made by its monotheism to the more thoughtful minds, we are bound
to infer that Christism was on that side rather at a disadvantage,
inasmuch as it was really adding a new deity, with a "Holy Spirit"
superadded, to the God of the Jews.

But the ordinary argument as to the vogue of "pure monotheism" at any
time is in the main a series of traditional assumptions. For the more
thoughtful of the ancients, polytheism was always tending to pass into
monotheism. We see the process going on in the Vedas, in Brahmanism,
in the Egyptian system, in the Babylonian--to say nothing of the
Greek. [324] It proceeded partly by way of henotheism--the tendency
to exalt any particular deity as the deity: partly by way of the
compelled surmise that all the deities of the popular creeds were but
aspects or names of one all-controlling Power. Wherever creeds met,
the more thoughtful were driven to ask themselves whether the heavens
could be a mere reflex of the earth, with every nation represented
by its special God; and to fuse the national Gods into one was but a
step to fusing the Gods of the various natural forces into one. Since
religions became organized, there must always have been monotheists,
as there must always have been unbelievers.

Nevertheless, polytheism is just as surely popular as monotheism
is inevitable to the more thoughtful who remain "religious" in the
natural sense of the term. One of the great delusions maintained by the
acceptance of the falsified history of Judaism and the conventional
religion of the Bible is the notion that the Jews were a specially
monotheistic people. They were not. [325] They were originally
tribalists like their neighbours, holding by a tribal God and a
hierarchy of inferior Gods. To this day we are seriously told that
Abraham made a new departure as a monotheist. Abraham is a mythical
patriarch, himself once a deity; and the deity represented to have been
believed in by Abraham is a tribal God. And not even the tribal God
was monotheistically worshipped. The Sacred Books are one long chain
of complaints against the Israelites for their perpetual resort to
"strange Gods"--and Goddesses. [326]

Two brilliant French scholars have advanced the thesis that this
alleged polytheism is imaginary; [327] and that the Israelites in
the mass always worshipped only the One God Yahweh. [328] But this
position, which is grounded on the inference that the mass of the
historical and prophetic literature is post-exilic, outgoes its own
grounds. Even if we assume, with the theorists, that Jewish monotheism
was universalist from the moment it took shape as monotheism in
literature, [329] we get rid neither of the question of pre-exilic
polytheism nor of that of popular survival. To say that the post-exilic
Jews are "the only Jews known to history," and that the apparently old
lore in Genesis is "perhaps really the most modern," being invented
for purposes of parable, is only a screening of the fact that the
Hebrews evolved religiously like other peoples. A resort to alien
Gods is seen to be universal in the religious history of the ancient
world. Every conquered race was suspected to have secret power in
respect of "the God of the land [330]"; and wherever races mixed,
cults mixed. It is only on a provision of special Sacred Books,
themselves treated as fetishes, that the attractions of alien cults
can be repelled; and not even Sacred Books can make real monotheists
of an uncultured majority. Even later Judaism, with its angels, its
Metatron, its Satan, was never truly monotheistic. [331] Islam is
not. The universalism which in later Judaism still commonly passes
for a specialty of the Hebrew mind was really an assimilation and
development of Perso-Babylonian ideas; [332] and Satan made a dualism
of the Jewish creed even as Ahriman did of the Persian.

In the Romanized world, Judaism had never a really great success of
proselytism, just because the more cultured had their own monotheism,
and had in Greek literature something more satisfactory than the
Hebraic, with its barbaric basis of racialism and its apparatus of
circumcision, synagogues and Sabbaths. The proselytes were made in
general among the less cultured--not the populace, but the serious
men of religious predilections, who were the more impressed by the
Sacred Books as rendered in the Septuagint because they were not at
home in the higher literature of Greece. And if Judaism could not
sweep the Roman empire in virtue of monotheism, Christism could not,
especially while it lacked sacred books of its own.

Professor Smith's thesis of a rapid monotheistic triumph is partly
founded on his own vivid interpretation of many of the gospel stories
of cast-out demons and diseases as a symbolism for successes against
polytheism. And his symbolistic interpretation, which is at first sight
apt to seem arbitrary, is really important at many points, accounting
as it does convincingly for a number of gospel stories. But if we
are to assume that all the gospel stories of casting out devils,
curing lepers, healing the lame, and giving sight to the blind,
were composed with a symbolic intent, we shall still be left asking
on what grounds the Name of Jesus made any popular appeal before and
after the symbolizing gospels were compiled.

Professor Smith draws a powerful picture of the relief given by
monotheism to polytheists. In his eloquent words, the "tyranny of
demons" had "trodden down humanity in dust and mire since the first
syllable of recorded time"; and the new proclamation "roused a world,
dissolved the fetters of the tyrannizing demons, set free the prisoners
of superstition, poured light upon the eyes of the blind, and called
a universe to life." [333] But let us be clear as to the facts. If
by "demons" we understand the Gods of the heathen, there was really
no more "bondage" under polytheism than under monotheism. Spiritual
bondage can be and is set up by the fear of One God who is supposed
to meddle actively with all life; [334] and the Jewish law was in
itself notoriously an intellectual and social bondage. It is expressly
represented as such in the Pauline epistles. If again we have regard
to the fear of "evil spirits," there was really no difference between
Jew and Gentile, for the "superstition" of the Jew in those matters
was unbounded. [335] Nor is there any ground for thinking that the
Jew had more confidence than other people in divine protection from
the spirits of evil.

In what respect, then, are we to suppose Jesuist monotheism to
have been an innovation? The argument seems to require that Jesuism
delivered the polytheist from belief in the existence either of his
daimon Gods or of his evil spirits. But obviously it negated neither
of these. Daimons of all sorts are constantly presupposed in Jesuist
polemic. The "freedom in Christ" proffered to Jews and Gentiles by
the Pauline evangel is, in the terms of the case, not a freedom from
the terrors of polytheism as such. It was certainly not regarded as
a freedom, from "demons," for exorcism against demons was a standing
function in the early church for centuries; and the fear of a demon
or demons is implicit in the "Lord's Prayer." What is proffered is
primarily a freedom from the Jewish ceremonial law, and secondarily
a freedom from fear in respect of the judgment-day and the future
life, the divine sacrifice having taken away all sin. We are told by
eloquent missionaries in our own day [336] that the Christian doctrine
gives a new sense of freedom and security to negroes, in particular to
the women; though we also learn on the other hand that where the two
religions can compete freely Islam makes the stronger claim in respect
of its exclusion of the race bar which Christianity always sets up
in the rear of its evangel. But here, if the fear of evil spirits is
really cast out, it is by a modern doctrine of their non-existence,
not found in the New Testament, but generated by modern science.

Whatever preaching of monotheism, then, entered into early Jesuism,
it gave no deliverance from belief in evil spirits: rather it added
to their number by turning good daimons into bad. What is more,
there enters into Christian polemic at a fairly early stage a use
of the terms "God" and "Gods" for the "saints" which is on all fours
with the common language of Paganism; [337] and this is a much more
common note than the "high" monotheism of the Apology of Aristides,
which has hardly any Christian characteristics. His monotheism is
rather Pagan than Christian. The broad fact remains that so far as
we can know the early Jesuist polemic from the gospels, the Acts,
the Epistles, the Apocalypse, or the patristic literature, it was
not a wide and successful assault on polytheism as such by an appeal
to monotheistic instinct, but just a proffer to Jews and Gentiles of
a kind of creed common enough in the pagan world, its inconsistent
monotheism appealing only to a minority of the recipients. [338] The
very miracle-stories which Professor Smith interprets as allegories of
monotheistic propaganda became part of the popular appeal as soon as
they were made current in documents; and they appealed (he will admit)
as miracle-stories, not as allegories. Peter and Paul in their turn
are represented as working miracles of healing. It was all finally
part of the appeal to primary religious credulity.

Of two positions, then, we must choose one. Either the miracle-stories
of the gospels, and by consequence those of the Acts, were as such
otiose inventions for an audience which, on the view under discussion,
would have been much more responsive to an explicit claim of triumph
over polytheistic beliefs, the thing they are said to have been most
deeply concerned about, or the miracle stories in general were meant
as miracle-stories, only some later symbolists seeking to impose a
symbolic sense on the records along with the Gnostic conception that
the Christ had spoken in allegories which the people were not meant to
understand. This later manipulation undoubtedly did take place. The
parable of the Rich One, as Professor Smith convincingly shows, is
an allegory of Jew and Gentile--the Rich One being Israel. But it is
not by such manipulation that cults are made popular, congregations
collected, and revenue secured. And it was on these practical lines
that Christianity was "stablished."

The factors which made this one Eastern cult gradually gain ground,
and finally hold its ground, as against the many rival cults, were--

1. The system of ecclesiæ, modelled at once on the Jewish synagogue
and the pagan collegia.

2. The practice of mutual help, making the churches Friendly
Societies--again an assimilation of common pagan practice.

3. The colligation of the churches, primarily by means of a new sacred
literature of gospels and epistles, and secondarily by a system of
centralized government, partly modelled on the imperial system.

4. The backing of the new Christian Sacred Books by the Jewish Sacred
Books, giving an ancient Eastern background and basis for the faith
in a world in which Eastern religious elements were progressively
overriding the Western, which had in comparison no documentary basis.

5. The giving to the whole process a relatively democratic character,
again after the model of the Jewish system, wherein the people had
their main recognition as human beings with rights. Thus Christianity
was at once a "secret society" under an autocracy, as were so many
Hellenistic religious groups, drawing members as such societies always
do in autocratically governed States, [339] and a popular movement as
contrasted with Mithraism, which always remained a mere secret society,
whence its easy ultimate suppression by the Christianized government.

6. It was the wide ramification and popular importance of the Christian
system that at length made it worth the while of the emperor to cease
persecuting it as a partly anti-imperial organization and to turn it
into an imperial instrument by making it the religion of the State.

To explain the process as the morally deserved success of a religion
superior from the start, in virtue of the superiority of its nominal
Founder, would be to adhere to pre-scientific conceptions of causation,
akin to the geocentric assumption in astronomy. Hierology ultimately
merges in sociology, as mythology and anthropology (in the English
limitation of the term) merge in hierology; and sociology is a study of
the reaction of environments as well as of the action of institutions
and doctrines. The Christian success was finally achieved by the
assimilation of all manner of pagan modes of attraction on the side
of creed, and the absolute ultimate subordination of the specialties
of early Christian ethic to the business of political adaptation.

And to all attempts to obscure the problem by figuring Christianity as
a continuously beneficent and purifying force it is sufficient here to
answer that it is in strict fact a religious variant which survived in
a decaying civilization, a politically and socially decaying world;
that it lent itself to that decay; and that it did less than nothing
to avert it.

Where superior hostile power efficiently fought it, it was suppressed
just as it suppressed the organized cults of paganism and some
(not all) of its own heretical sects. Its further survival, which
does not here properly concern us, was but a matter of the renewed
"triumph" of an organized over unorganized religions, and of the
adoption of that organization by the new barbaric States as before
by the declining Roman empire.



§ 1. The Economic Side

It is important to realize in some detail the operation of the economic
factor in particular, and of organization in general, before we try
to grasp synthetically the total process of documentary and doctrinal
construction. The former is somewhat sedulously ignored in ordinary
historiography, by reason of a general unwillingness even among
rationalists to seem to connect mercenary motives with religious
beginnings; and of the general assumption among religionists that
"true" or "early" religion operates in spite of, in defiance or
in independence of and not by aid of, economic motives. No one
will dispute that the history of the Roman Catholic Church is one
of economic as well as doctrinal action and reaction, or that
Protestantism from the first was in large measure an economic
processus. But it is commonly assumed, at least implicitly, that
"primitive" religion, religion "in the making," is not at all an
affair of economic motive or reaction.

Those who have at all closely studied primitive religious life know
that this is not so. [340] The savage medicine-man is up to his lights
as keenly concerned about his economic interest as were the priests
of ancient Babylon and Egypt--to take instances that can hardly give
modern offence. [341] And to say this is not to say that the "religion"
involved is insincere, in the case of the savage or the pagan any more
than in that of the modern ecclesiastic or missionary. It is merely
to say that religion has always its economic side, and that faith
may go with economic self-seeking as easily as with self-sacrifice. I
at least am not prepared to say that when the Franciscans in general
passed from the state of voluntary poverty to that of corporate wealth
they ceased to be sincere believers; or that a bishop is necessarily
less pious than a Local Preacher.

I have seen, in Egypt, the life of a Moslem "saint" in the making. He
fasted much, certainly never eating more than one meal a day, and he
was visibly emaciated and feeble as a result of his abstinences. Over
his devout neighbours he had an immense influence. To his religious
addresses they listened with rapt reverence; and when once in my
presence he gave to a young man a religious charm to cure his sick
sister, in the shape of a cigarette paper inscribed with a text
from the Koran and rolled up to be swallowed, the youth's face was
transfigured with joyous faith, his eyes shining as if he had seen
a glorious vision. I have not seen more radiant faith, in or out of
"Israel." And the saint, all the same, took unconcealed satisfaction
in showing privately the heavy purse of gold he had recently collected
from his faithful. To call him insincere would be puerile. I believe
him to have been as sincere as Luther or Loyola. He simply happened,
like so many Easterns and Westerns, to combine the love of pelf with
the love of God.

If I am told there were no such men among the early Jesuists or
Christian propagandists, I answer that if there had not been the
cult would not have gone very far. Of course the records minimize
the economic side. In the gospels we are told that Judas carried
"the bag," but never anything of what he got to put in it. But in the
Acts, the economic factor obtrudes itself even in myth. A picture
is there drawn (ii, 44), for the edification of later Christians,
of the first community as having "all things common"--a statement
which we have no reason to believe true of any ancient Christian
community whatever--unless in the "pre-apostolic" period. [342]
The picture never recurs, in the apostolic history or elsewhere. And
the purpose of edification is unconsciously turned to the account of
revelation. Of the faithful it is represented that they "sold their
possessions and goods and parted them to all, according as any man had
need." The assertion is reiterated (iv, 34) to the extent of alleging
that all who had houses or lands sold all, bringing the proceeds to
the apostles for distribution "according as any one had need." Among
these having need would certainly be the "apostles."

Soon one of the faithful, Joseph surnamed Barnabas, "a Levite, a man
of Cyprus by race," is held up to honour for that "having a field,"
he "sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles'
feet." Then comes the story of Ananias and Sapphira, who, or at least
the former, have ever since supplied Christendom with its standing
name for the fraudulent liar. The sin of Ananias consisted in his
not having given the apostles the whole price of a possession he had
voluntarily sold for behoof of the community. There could be no more
striking instance of the power of ecclesiastical ethic to paralyse
the general moral sense. Ananias in the legend was giving liberally,
but not liberally enough to satisfy the apostle, who accordingly
denounces him as sinning against the Holy Ghost, [343] and miraculously
slays him for his crime. One might have supposed that no Christian
reader, remembering that the ultra-righteous apostle, in the previous
sacrosanct record, had just before been represented as basely denying
his Lord, could fail to be struck with shame and horror by the savage
recital. But of such shame and horror I cannot recall one Christian
avowal. And we are to remember that the devout recipients of that
recital are assumed to have been the ideal Christian converts.

Soon the twelve are made to explain (vi, 2-4) to the growing "multitude
of the disciples" that "it is not fit that we should forsake the
word of God, and serve tables. Look ye out ... seven men of good
report, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint over
this business. But we will continue stedfastly in prayer, and in the
ministry of the word." From the date of that writing the apostle and
his successors could claim to be worthy of their hire, though they
had long to squabble for it. In the early Jesuist additions to the
Teaching we see how the issue was raised. At first (xi) there is a
succession of wandering apostles or "prophets." Every apostle is to
be received "as the Lord; but he shall not remain [except for?] one
day; if however there be need, then the next [day]; but if he remain
three days, he is a false prophet. But when the apostle departeth,
let him take nothing except bread enough till he lodge [again]; but
if he ask money, he is a false prophet." That is the first stage,
probably quite Judaic.

The next section (xii) still adheres broadly to the same view. Every
entrant must work for his living. "If he will not act according to
this, he is a Christmonger (christemporos)." Evidently there were
already Christmongers. But in chapter xiii the primitive stage has
been passed, and there is systematic enactment of economic provision
for the installed prophet or teacher as such:--

    But every true prophet who will settle among you is worthy of his
    food. Likewise a true teacher, he also is worthy, like the workman,
    of his food. Every first-fruit, then, of the produce of wine-press
    and threshing-floor, of oxen and of sheep, thou shalt take and give
    to the prophets; for they are your high-priests. But if ye have no
    prophet, give [it] to the poor. If thou makest a baking of bread,
    take the first [of it] and give according to the commandment. In
    like manner when thou openest a jar of wine or oil, take the first
    [of it] and give to the prophets; and of money and clothing and
    every possession, take the first, as may seem right to thee,
    and give according to the commandment.

This economic development, too, may have been Jewish, as it was
heathen. [344] It is certainly also Christian. The "prophets" are
represented in the Acts (xi, 27) as at work already in the days
of Claudius; and they were an established class at the time of the
writing of First Corinthians (xii, 28), standing next to "apostles"
and above "teachers." That passage is obviously post-Pauline, if
we are to think of Paul as spending only a few years in his eastern
propaganda. But the prophets are ostensibly numerous in the earliest
days of the church, [345] and seem to have subsisted alongside
of "apostles" at the outset. All along they must have found some
subsistence: in time they are "established." The eleventh, twelfth,
and thirteenth sections of the Teaching, which are our best evidence
of the progression, show a gradual triumph of the economic factor,
registering itself in the additions. The fifteenth section divides
in two parts, an economic and an ethical, the economic coming first:--

    Now elect for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord,
    men meek and not avaricious, and upright and proved; for they too
    render you the service of the prophets and the teachers. Therefore
    neglect them not; for they are the ones who are honoured of you,
    together with the prophets and teachers.

It was for a community thus supporting various classes of teachers
and preachers, first poorly and primitively, later in an organized
fashion, that the gospels were built up and the epistles composed.

§ 2. Organization

Organization, which in our days has become "a word to conjure with,"
is no new factor in human life. It is the secret of survival for
communities and institutions; and the survival of Christism in
its competition with other cults must be traced mainly to the
early process of adaptation. That, however, takes place in terms
of three concurrent factors: (1) the appeal made by the cult which
is the ground of association; (2) the practice of the community as
regards the relations of members; (3) the administration, as regards
propaganda, expansion and co-ordination of groups. And it is through
primary adaptations in respect of the first and second, with a constant
stimulus from the third, that the Christian Church can be seen to have
succeeded in the struggle for existence. That is to say, it is in the
element in which conscious organization is most prominent as distinct
from usage or tradition that the determining influence chiefly lies.

The writer who in England was the first to take a comparatively
scientific view of church organization from the ecclesiastical side,
the late Dr. Edwin Hatch, puts in the forefront of his survey "the
preliminary assumption that, as matter of historical research, the
facts of ecclesiastical history do not differ in kind from the facts
of civil history." [346] For those who see in the religion itself a
processus of natural social history, this assumption is a matter of
course; but the ecclesiastical recognition of the fact is an important
step; and the churchman's analysis of the process is doubly serviceable
in that he keeps the study avowedly separate from that of the evolution
of doctrine. What he could not have supplied on scientific lines
without falling into heresy, the rationalist can supply for himself.

As our historian recognizes, the Christian movement in the Eastern
Empire had from the outset a strong basis in the democratic spirit
which it derived alike from Jewish and from Hellenistic example. In
the day of universal autocracy, social life lay more and more in
the principles of voluntary association; and the first Christian
churches were but instances of an impulse seen in operation on all
sides. In the Jewish environment, the synagogue; in the Hellenistic the
ecclesia or private association, were everywhere in evidence. Greek
religious associations--thiasoi, eranoi, orgeones--were but types
of the prevailing impetus to find in voluntary organized groups
a substitute for the democratic life of the past. [347] Whereas
the older associations for the promotion of special worships were
limited to male free citizens, the new admitted foreigners, slaves,
and women. Besides religious associations there were a multitude of
others which had the double aspect of clubs and friendly societies;
trade guilds existed "among almost every kind of workmen in almost
every town in the empire:" [348] and burial clubs, dining clubs,
financial societies, and friendly societies met other social needs.

Almost every society, however, had its tutelary divinity, "in the
same way as at the present day similar associations on the continent
of Europe"--as in England before the Reformation--"invoke the name
of a patron saint; and their meetings were sometimes called by a
name which was afterwards consecrated to Christian uses--that of a
'sacred synod.'" [349] In many of them "religion was, beyond this, the
basis and bond of union.... Then, as now, many men had two religions,
that which they professed and that which they believed; for the
former there were temples and State officials and public sacrifices;
for the latter there were associations; and in these associations,
as is shown from extant inscriptions, divinities whom the State
ignored had their priests, their chapels, and their ritual." [350]

The Christists, then, when they began to form groups, were doing what
a swarm of other movements did. Their ecclesiæ were called by a pagan
name, as were the Jewish synagogues. Two things it behoved them to do
if they were collectively to gain ground and outlive or out-top the
rest: they must multiply in membership, and they must co-ordinate their
groups; and both things they did on lines of common action. Membership
was from the first promoted by the simplest of all methods, systematic
almsgiving to poor adherents; a practice long before initiated by the
Jewish synagogues and to this day fixed among them. Given the basis
of free association, the inculcated duty of almsgiving, the eastern
belief in its saving virtue, [351] and the special Christian belief
in the speedy end of the world, the problem of membership was early
solved. The poor, helped one day, would themselves help the next,
as is their human way in all ages; and in an age of general poverty,
the result of an autocratic fiscal system in the Empire as afterwards
in the Turkish Empire which in the East took its place, such mutual
sympathy constituted a broad social basis of corporate existence.

For our ecclesiastical historian, the poverty is the main determinant
on the side of early organization. With a note of profound pessimism,
which alternates strangely with passages of professional eulogy of the
Church, he notes that pauperism and philanthropy were going hand in
hand already throughout the Empire before the advent of Christianity,
rich men and municipalities proclaiming an "almost Christian sentiment"
on the subject. "The instinct of benevolence was fairly roused. And
yet to the mass of men life was hardly worth living. It tended to
become a despair." [352] And he claims that the Christian practice
of almsgiving--which he knows to have been warmly inculcated among
the Jews, as it has always been in Eastern countries--was one of the
conservative forces that "arrested decay. They have prevented the
disintegration, and possibly the disintegration by a vast and ruinous
convulsion, of the social fabric. Of those forces the primitive bishops
and deacons were the channels and the ministers.... They bridged over
the widening interval between class and class. They lessened to the
individual soul the weight of that awful sadness of which, then as now,
to the mass of men, life was the synonym and the sum." [353]

The generalization as to the widening of the interval between classes
is hardly borne out by the evidence; and the pessimism of the last
sentence partly defeats the argument, by putting the life of the early
Christian period on the same general level with that of to-day and of
all the time between. The true summary would be that in that age the
springs of social life were lamed by the suppression of all national
existence; that the rule of Rome tended to general impoverishment in
respect of a vicious system of taxation; and that the subject peoples,
deprived of the old impulses to collective energy, at once turned
more and more to private association and became ready to believe in a
coming "end of the world" which in some way was to mean a new life. And
as the Church's doctrine was pre-eminently one of salvation in that
new life, it behoved it in every way to resort to propaganda while
maintaining the eleemosynary system which gave it a broad basis of
membership. Thus the organization which controlled the simple financial
system must also have regard to the spread of doctrine. And for the
means of spreading doctrine, again, as we have already noted, the cue
was obviously given by Judaism, which stood out from all religious
systems in the Roman world as a religion of Sacred Books. Sacred
Books of its own the Jesuist movement must have if it was to hold
its own against the prestige of the Jewish Bible. The production of
Sacred Books, then, was a task which devolved upon the organizers of
the Christian ecclesiæ throughout the Eastern Empire, equally with
the task of co-ordination, of which, in fact, it was a main part. A
common religious literature was the basis of Jewish cohesion. Only
by means of a common religious literature could Christism cohere.

No literature, indeed, could avert schism. Schism and strife are among
the first notes sounded in the epistles; and a religion which aimed
at dogmatic teaching, as against the purely liturgical practice of
the old pagan cults, was bound to multiply them. Judaism itself was
divided into antagonistic groups of Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes,
to say nothing of the Zealots, the Essenes, and other diverging
groups. But sects do not destroy a religion any more than parties
destroy a State; and the way of success for Christism was a way which,
while it involved a multiplication of schism so long as the voluntary
basis remained, made a growing aggregate which was at least a unity
as having a special creed, distinct from all competing with it.

Thus the Christian movement was doubly a copy and competitor of
Judaism, upon whose books it primarily founded. As the dispersed Jewish
synagogues were co-ordinated from Jerusalem by the High Priest, and
later from Tiberias by the Patriarch, by means of Twelve Apostles and
possibly by a subordinate grade of seventy-two collectors who brought
in the contributions of the faithful scattered among the Gentiles,
so the Jesuists, beginning with an organization centred in Jerusalem
and likewise aiming at the collection of funds for which almsgiving
in Jerusalem was the appealing pretext, were bound after the fall
of the Temple to aim at a centralization or centralizations of their
own. A literature became more and more necessary if the new faith was
to extend. That was the way at once to glorify the new Hero-God and
to multiply his devotees. And it would seem to have been from the
starting-point of the Jewish Teaching of the Twelve Apostles that
the new departure on one line was made.

To say who, or what class in the new organization, began the evolution,
seems impossible in the present state of our knowledge. The point at
which the Christist organization in course of time most noticeably
diverges from the Jewish model is in the creation and aggrandisement
of the episcopos, the bishop, a title and a function borrowed
from the pagan societies. These had officials called epimeletai
(superintendents) and episcopoi, whose function it was to receive
funds and dispense alms. [354] The early Christists adopted the latter
title, and constituted for each group a single official so named, who
as president of the assembly received the offerings of donors and was
personally responsible for their distribution. This is not the place
to trace the effects of the institution in the general development of
the churches. It must suffice to note that while in their presbyters
these preserved the democratic element which they had derived from
Judaism and which gave them their social foundation, their creation
of a supreme administrator, whose interest it was always to increase
the influence of his church by increasing his own, gave them a special
source of strength in comparison with the Judaic system. [355]

For the dispersed Jews, held by a racial tie, association was a matter
of course. Marked off by religion if not by aspect from Gentiles
everywhere, they were a community within the Gentile community. For
the first Jesuists, association was not thus a matter of course all
round. For the slaves, seeking friendship, and the poor, seeking help,
it may have been; but the more prosperous were for that very reason
less spontaneously attracted. The fundamental tie was the so-called
"Eucharist," which at first, in varying forms, was probably only an
annual rite: the agapae or love feasts were common to the multitude
of pagan associations. Accordingly many adherents tended to "forsake
the assembling of themselves together," [356] and it was plainly
the function of the bishop to act upon these. Not only the Epistle
to the Hebrews and that of Jude but those of Barnabas and Ignatius,
and The Shepherd of Hermas, anxiously or sternly urge the duty of
regular meeting. Addresses by bishops and "prophets" would be natural
means of promoting the end.

Who then produced the literature? Once more, there is no evidence. If
any of the Epistles might at first sight seem "genuine," they are
those ascribed to James and Jude, essentially Judaic or Judaistic
documents, especially the former, in which (ii, 1) the cumbrous formula
"the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory" exhibits a Christian
interpolation. It is essentially in the spirit of the Teaching,
a counsel of right living, calling for works in opposition to the
new doctrine that faith is the one thing needful, and sounding the
Ebionitic note (v, 1): "Go to now, ye rich, weep and howl for your
miseries that are coming upon you." But save for the interpolation and
the naming of Jesus Christ in the sentence of preamble, there is no
specific Jesuist or Christist teaching whatever. If this document was
current among the Jesuists, it was borrowed from a Jewish author who
had at most one special item of belief in common with them, that of
"the coming [or presence] of the Lord" (v. 7, 8); and here there is
no certainty that "the Lord" meant for the writer the Christ.

Once more, then, we turn for our first clue to the Judaic Teaching,
which on its face exhibits the gradual accretion of Jesuist elements,
beginning with an Ebionitic mention of the "Servant" Jesus, and
proceeding step by step from a stage in which wandering "apostles"
or "prophets" must subsist from hand to mouth and from day to day,
to one in which settled prophets are supported by first fruits, and
yet a further one in which bishops and deacons appear to administer
while prophets and teachers continue to teach. And as the "prophets"
constitute a class which in the third century has disappeared from
the church, as if its work were done; and as they bear the name given
to the chief producers of the sacred literature of Judaism, it would
seem to be the natural surmise that they were the primary producers
of special literature for the early Christian churches.



§1. The "Didachê"

Evidently the Teaching (Didachê) of the Twelve Apostles was humbly
used by some of the early Jesuists as an authoritative Jewish manual
which supplied them with their rule of conduct, they only later
supplying (c. ix) their special rite of the "Eucharist" of wine and
broken [357] bread, and vaguely mentioning "the life and knowledge
which thou hast made known to us by Jesus thy Servant." There is
no mention of crucifixion, no naming of Jesus as Messiah. We are
confronted with a primary Judaic Jesuism which is not that of the
gospels, nor that of the Paulines, nor that of the Acts, though it
agrees with the latter in calling Jesus the Servant of the Lord. It
is even of older type than Ebionism; for the Ebionites carried their
cult of poverty and asceticism to the point of using water instead
of wine in the Eucharist; [358] whereas the Didachê specifies wine,
the older practice. The cup of the Eucharist is "the holy wine of
David thy servant, which thou hast made known to us through Jesus thy
servant"; and the thanks which follow (c. 10) are to the holy Father
"for thy holy name, which thou hast caused to dwell in our hearts,
and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which thou hast made
known to us through Jesus thy servant."

It is quite clear that in this form of Jesuism, visibly early as
compared with that set forth in the gospels and the Acts, we have
something different from that in its derivation. The Eucharist,
here so called ostensibly for the first time, is only inferribly
derived from a sacrament of the body and blood of the sacrificed
Jesus. Eucharistia means thanksgiving or thank-offering, and this
ritual-meal is intelligibly so named. Applied, as by Justin Martyr
and later Fathers, to the sacrificial sacrament of the gospels and the
epistles, the name is a false description: yet the false description
becomes canonical. The licit inference appears to be that the cult
of a Jesus who outside of Judaism was a Sacrificed Saviour-God had
here, under Judaic control, been presented as that of a Hero-Jesus,
connected like Dionysos with the gift of the vine, and associated
with a ritual meal of thanksgiving to Yahweh, whose "servant" he is.

Taking the Didachê as a stage in the Christian evolution, we further
infer that the conception and name of a "Eucharist" was thence imposed
on another and older species of ritual-meal, in which the Jesus is
slain as a sacrifice and commemorated in a sacrificial sacrament. The
more Judaic form of the cult absorbs an older and non-Judaic form,
forced to the front by a death-story which gives to its sacrament a
higher virtue for the devotee. It is a case of competition of cult
forms for survival, the weaker being superseded. And as the sacrament,
so the Jesus, is developed on other lines. He of the Didachê is
neither Son of God nor Saviour, as he is not the Messiah, though
he has somehow conveyed "knowledge and faith and immortality." What
the Didachê does is to begin the process of a doctrinal and ethical
teaching which coalesces with that of evolving the God.

In the eighth section, the "Lord's Prayer" is introduced with the
formula "Nor pray ye like the hypocrites, but as the Lord commanded
in his gospel." Now "the Lord" has in every previous mention
clearly meant, not Jesus, who is mentioned solely in the "servant"
passages, but "God," "the Father," the Jewish deity. Either, then,
"the Lord ... in his gospel" refers to some "gospel" of Yahweh or,
as is highly probable, the whole clause is a late interpolation. This
is the more likely because the seventh section, prescribing baptism in
the name of "the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit," is flagrantly
interpolated. That being so, the provision at the end of c. 9, that
no one shall partake of the Eucharist except those baptized in the
name of the Lord, must be held to be also a late interpolation. Thus
the document has been manipulated to some extent even in its early
portions. The only other mentions of the gospel are in chapters 11
and 15, which follow after the "Amen" of the tenth, and represent the
progressive provisions for the apostles and prophets of the growing
church. The introduction of Jesuism in chapters 9 and 10 is pre-gospel.

This will be disputed only by those who, like the first American and
German editors, cannot see that the first five or six sections are
purely Judaic. After Dr. Charles Taylor and other English editors
did so, coinciding with an early suggestion of M. Massebieau, [359]
the rest have mostly come into line; and even the American editors at
the outset saw that the Epistle of Barnabas, which has so much of the
matter of the Teaching, is the later and not the earlier document. Thus
the Lord's Prayer takes its place as originally a Jewish and not
a Christian document; and the passages in the early chapters which
coincide with the Sermon on the Mount are equally Jewish. [360]

We can now understand the tradition that Matthew, of which the present
opening chapters are so plainly late, was the first of the gospels,
and was primarily a collection of logia. But the logia were in the
terms of the case not logia Iesou at all, being but a compilation of
Jewish dicta on the lines of the Teaching, and, as regards the form
of beatitude, probably an imitation of other Jewish literature as
exampled in the "Slavonic Enoch." [361]

It must be repeated, however, that the ninth and tenth sections of
the Teaching are not to be taken as giving us "the" original Jesus
of the Jesuist movement. We have posited, with Professor Smith, a
"multifocal" movement; and concerning the Jesus here given we can only
say that the document tells of the primary connection of the Jesus-Name
with a non-sacrificial Eucharist. Whether the name stood historically
for Joshua or for the Jesus of Zechariah, or for yet another, it is
impossible to pronounce. What is clear is that it does not point to
the Jesus of the gospels. When the Jesus-sections of the Teaching were
penned, the gospels were yet to come; and the crucified Saviour-God of
Paul was not preached, though his myth was certainly current somewhere.

§ 2. The Apocalypse

The "Revelation of John the Theologian" is also, in respect of much of
its matter, pre-gospel, and even in its later elements independent of
the gospels. It is noteworthy that the latest professional criticism
has after infinite fumbling come (without acknowledging him) to the
view of Dupuis that the episode of the woman and the child and the
dragon belong to sun-myth; [362] and the exegetes would probably save
themselves a good deal of further guessing by contemplating Dupuis's
solution that the special details are simply derived from an ancient
planisphere or fuller zodiac, in which the woman and the dragon and
the hydra are prominent figures. [363] It is in any case particularly
important to realize that this palpably mythical conception of a Jesus
Christ, figured as "the Lamb," evidently with a zodiacal reference,
is found in one of the earliest documents of the cult, outside of
the gospels.

In these, as we have seen, the original God-Man is progressively
humanized from the hieratic figure of the opening chapters of Mark,
through Matthew and Luke, till in the fourth, which declares him Logos
and premundane, he has close personal friends and (ostensibly) weeps
for the death of one. But not even the thoughtless criticism which
professes to find a recognizable human figure in Mark can pretend
to find one in Revelation. There, admittedly on Jewish bases, there
is limned an unearthly figure, who has been "pierced," we are not
told where; who has the keys of death and Hades, and carries on his
right hand seven stars; and has eyes like a flame of fire and feet
like unto burnished brass. With this pre-Christian apparatus, which
on the astrological side goes back to Persia and Babylon, there is
carried on a fierce polemic against certain of the "seven churches,"
the sect of the Nicolaitans, and "them which say they are Jews and
are not, but are a synagogue of Satan." The churches named are not
those of the Acts and the Pauline epistles: Jerusalem and Antioch are
not named, though Ephesus is. Jewish and pre-Jewish myth and doctrine
overlay the Jesuist, which at many points is visibly a mere verbal
interpolation; so that the question arises whether even the seven
churches are primarily Christian or Jewish.

If "Babylon" stands for Rome, it is but an adaptation of an older
polemic; for Babylon is declared to have actually fallen, before it is
announced that she "shall be cast down." [364] The eleventh chapter
dilates on the Jewish temple; again and again we listen to a purely
Jewish declamation over Jewish woes; the four-and-twenty elders and the
Lamb "as though it had been slain, having seven horns, and seven eyes,
which are the seven Spirits of God," are of Babylonian and Persian
derivation; and the "second death" is Egyptian. In the new Jerusalem,
"coming down out of heaven," twelve angels are at the gates, which
bear the names of the twelve tribes; and the "twelve apostles of the
Lamb" are represented only by "twelve basement courses" of the wall.

How much such a document stood for in the early building-up of the cult
it is impossible to gather from the records, which indicate that it
was long regarded askance by the gospel-reading and epistle-reading
churches. But it gives a definite proof that the cult had roots
wholly unlike those indicated in the "catholic" tradition, and wholly
incompatible with the beginnings set out in the gospels and the Acts.

§ 3. Epistles

The outstanding problem in regard to the Epistles in the mass is that
while criticism is more and more pressing them out of the "apostolic"
period into the second century, they show practically no knowledge of
the gospels. As little do they show any trace of the "personality"
of the Founder, which is posited by the biographical school as the
ground for the resurrection myth. Of Jesus as a remarkable personality
there is no glimpse in the whole literature; and it must be a relief
for the defenders of his historicity to be invited to pronounce both
James and Jude pseudepigraphic documents, the former written with
direct polemic reference to the Pauline doctrine of faith. [365]
The puzzle is to conceive how, on that view, the document can still
remain so destitute of Jesuist colouring.

Save for the two namings of Jesus (i, 1; ii, 1) at the beginnings
of chapters, there is no trace of Jesuine doctrine; the epistle is
addressed to "the twelve tribes of the Dispersion"; and there is a
reference (ii, 2) to "your synagogue," not to "your ecclesia." When
therefore we note the extremely suspicious character of the second
naming of Jesus, "our Lord Jesus Christ of glory," we are doubly
entitled to diagnose interpolation; and the first naming at once comes
under suspicion. It is not surprising therefore that such a critic
as Spitta pronounces the epistle a Jewish document. [366] Even if it
were true, then, that the eschatological matter has a gospel colouring,
that would carry us no further than a surmise that the Jewish document
had been slightly developed for Jesuine purposes. And this may be
the solution as to the anti-Pauline element. An originally Jewish
document may have been used by a Judæo-Christian to carry an attack
on a doctrine of Gentilizing Christism. The residual fact is that a
section of the Jesuist movement in the second century was satisfied
with a quasi-apostolic document which has no hint of the teaching of
a historical Jesus. Naturally it soon passed into "catholic" disfavour.

But the remaining epistles differ historically from this only in
respect of their asseveration of a crucified Christ, by faith in
whom men are saved. They too are devoid of biographical data. Neither
parable nor miracle, doctrine nor deed, family history nor birthplace,
of the Founder is ever mentioned in the epistolary literature,
any more than in the Apocalypse or the Didachê. And yet the mass of
the epistles are being, as aforesaid, more and more pressed upon by
criticism as pseudepigraphic. Second Peter was always in dispute;
and First Peter has few save traditionalist supporters. If First John
is to be bracketed with the fourth gospel, it is dismissed with that
as outside the synoptic tradition: and the second and third epistles
are simply dropped as spurious. Hebrews is anonymous, though our
Revisers saw fit to retain its false title; and that epistle too is
utterly devoid of testimony to a historical Jesus. It tells simply of
a human sacrifice, in which the victim "suffered without the gate,"
in accordance with the regular sacrificial practice. Late or early,
then, the epistles give no support to the gospels--or, at least,
to the biographical theory founded on these.

It is thus quite unnecessary to argue here the interesting question
of the genuineness of any of the Pauline epistles. Long ago, nine
were given up by the Tübingen school, and four only claimed to be
genuine. Remembering the datum of Eusebius that Paul personally
penned "only a few very short" epistles, though specially gifted in
the matter of style, we are not unprepared to find even these called
in question. And latterly the Dutch school whose work culminated in
Van Manen has built up an impressive case [367] for the rejection
of the whole mass, the supreme "four" included; and the defence so
far made by the traditionalists is the reverse of impressive. [368]
The ablest counter-criticism comes from other men of the left wing,
as Schmiedel, who makes havoc of the Acts.

From the point of view of the historical as distinguished from
the documentary critic, all that need here be said on the issue is
that the negative case may have to be restated if there is faced
the hypothesis that the Jesuine movement was of comparatively old
standing, and of some degree of development, when Paul came on the
scene. Van Manen assumes the substantial historicity not only of
Jesus but of the Jesuine movement as set forth in the Gospels; and
whereas he found it hard to make that assumption on the view that any
of the Paulines was genuine, he had no difficulty about it when he
relegated them all to the second century. It should be asked, then,
whether the view that the Jesus-cult is "pre-Christian" might not
re-open the case for some of the Paulines.

Having put that caveat, the historical critic has simply to consider
the question of the historicity of Jesus in relation to the Paulines
from both points of view, asking what evidence they can be supposed
to yield either on the view of the genuineness of some or on that
of the spuriousness of all. And the outcome is that on neither view
do they tell of a historical Jesus. If "the four" are genuine, Paul,
declared to be so near the influence of the "personality" of Jesus,
not only shows no trace of impression from it but expressly puts
aside the question. In the Epistle to the Galatians he declares that
he had not learned his gospel from the other apostles but received
it by special revelation, actually avoiding intercourse with the
other apostles apart from Peter--a proposition certainly savouring
strongly of post-Pauline dialectic, as does the text (2 Cor. v, 16):
"Even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know
[him so] no more." Instead then of the Paulines, on the view of their
genuineness, confirming the conception of a remarkable personality
which had profoundly impressed those who came in contact with it,
they radically and unmanageably conflict with that conception. So
far Van Manen is justified.

If on the other hand we accept the strongly supported thesis that
they are all pseudepigraphic, the historicity of the gospels is in no
way accredited. We reach the view that early in the second century,
when such early gospels as the Matthew and Mark of Papias may be
supposed to have been current, even the devotees who wrote in Paul's
name took no interest in the human personality of Jesus, but were
concerned simply about the religious significance of his death. The
passages in First Corinthians (xi, 23 sq.; xv, 3 sq.) which deal with
the Supper and the Resurrection expressly repudiate knowledge of the
gospels; the first claiming to have "received of the Lord" the facts
retailed, and the second, after a similar formula, proffering data
not given in any gospel. And both passages have been demonstrably
interpolated, even if we do not pronounce them, as we are entitled
to do, interpolations as wholes. The first breaks the continuity
of an exhortation as to the proper way of eating the Lord's Supper;
the second is introduced (xv, 1) with a strange profession to "make
known unto you the gospel which I preached unto you." And even the
second passage, with its mention of "the twelve," excludes knowledge
of the story of Judas; while the first, at the point at which our
revisers translate "was betrayed," really says only "delivered up"
(paredidoto), which may or may not imply betrayal.

How Van Manen could find in all this any support for the gospel
story in general he never explained; and obviously no support
is given. Historically considered, the epistles undermine the
biographical theory whether we reckon them early or late, genuine
or pseudepigraphic. If early, they discredit completely the notion
of a historical Jesus of impressive personality. If as late as Van
Manen makes them (120-140) they tell not only of indifference to the
personality of Jesus but of ignorance of the gospel story as we have
it, strongly suggesting that the complete story of the tragedy was
yet unknown, and that only in still later interpolations, made before
the Judas story was current, was it to be indicated.

What is more, the Paulines, like other Epistles, tell of vital
unbelief as to the reality of Jesus. Paul is made to protest that
"some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead"
(1 Cor. xv, 12). These Jesuists, then, held at most only a faith in
future salvation by virtue of the sacrament. So in First John it is
implied (iv, 2-3) that some of the adherents confess not that Jesus
is come in the flesh, which is declared to be the doctrine of "the
antichrist," a type of which "many" (ii, 18) have arisen.

We are critically forced, then, to the conclusion that for a century
after the alleged death of the Founder the Jesuist movement had either
no literature whatever save one of primarily Jewish documents such as
the Didachê or problematic short Pauline epistles which have either
disappeared or been absorbed in much longer documents of later date,
which in turn still tell of no Jesuine Sacred Books. All alike exclude
the conception of a historical Jesus of remarkable personality. In
the doctrinal quarrels which have already driven deep furrows in the
faith, the personality of Jesus counts for nothing. In that connection
no one cites any teaching of the Master. He is simply an abstract
sacrifice; and even in that aspect he is not clearly present in
the Jewish-Christian Didachê. Of his earthly parentage, domicile,
or career, there is not a word. Everything goes to confirm our
hypothesis that the cult is of ancient origin, rooted in a sacrament
which evolved out of a rite of human sacrifice and connected with
non-Jewish as well as Jewish myths which from the first tended to
the deification of the Slain One.

It remains, then, to consider the gospels anew as compilations made in
the second century of (1) previously current Jewish lore, written and
unwritten; (2) doctrinal elements indicated by the sectarian disputes
already active; (3) pseudo-historic elements justifying Messianic
doctrine and practice; and (4) the Mystery-Drama, now developed under
Gentile hands. Upon all this followed (5) the new theology and new
pseudo-biography of the fourth gospel, which was but another stage
in the general process of myth-making.



§ 1. Tradition

According to the tradition preserved through Papias (d. circa 165),
from "John the presbyter," who is not pretended to have been John the
Apostle, the first gospels were those of Mark, the "interpreter" of
Peter, who set down in no chronological order the "sayings and doings"
of the Lord as he had gathered them from Peter; and of Matthew, who
wrote the logia or sayings "in the Hebrew dialect" [369]--presumably
Aramaic. This, the earliest written tradition concerning the matter
embodied in the gospels, is preserved to us from Papias' lost
"Exposition of the Dominical [370] Oracles" (Logiôn kyriakôn) by
Eusebius. For his own part, Papias professed to set more store by what
he received from Aristion and the Presbyter John and other disciples of
the Lord than by anything "out of books." And it chances that he gave
out as a Dominical Oracle [371] thus certificated a crude picture of
millennial marvels which is actually taken from either the Apocalypse
of Baruch, which here imitated the Book of Enoch, or from an older
source. [372] Concerning this utterance of the Lord, further, Papias
narrated a conversation between Jesus and Judas, in which the latter
figures as a freethinker, expressing disbelief in the prediction.

Eusebius, scandalized by such testimony, pronounced Papias a man of
small understanding. But he is the first Christian authority as to
the history of the gospels; and the very fact that he set less store
by them than by oral tradition is evidence that he had no reason for
thinking them more authoritative than the matter that reached him by
word of mouth. It may be that he knew only Greek, and that he could
not read for himself the Aramaic logia, concerning which he says that
"every one interpreted them for himself as he was able." From the
logia and the proto-Mark to the first two synoptics the evolution
can only be guessed. No one now claims that we possess the original
documents even in translation. Matthew as it stands is admittedly
not a translation; and Dr. Conybeare, who idly alleges that I pay no
heed to the order of priority of the gospels, and insists chronically
on the general priority of Mark, avows that "Mark, the main source
of the first and third evangelists, is himself no original writer,
but a compiler, who pieces together and edits earlier documents in
which his predecessors had written down popular traditions of the
miracles and passion of Jesus." [373] And he predicates in one part
"four stages of documentary development." [374] How in this state of
things the existing Mark can be proved to be the main source of Matthew
and Luke is not and cannot be explained. Mark too is admittedly not
a translation from Aramaic; but some of his sources may have been.

Concerning Matthew, again, the tradition runs that according to
Papias he told a story of a woman accused of many sins before the
Lord; and Eusebius adds, apparently on his own part, that this
is contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews. If this was
the story (now bracketed in R.V.) found only in late copies of the
fourth gospel, the "Hebrew" gospel contained matter notably special
to itself; and such is the conclusion established by a collation
of all the 33 fragments preserved. "We arrive ... at a Gospel (a)
in great part independent of the extant text of our gospels, and (b)
showing no signs of relationship to Mark or John, but (c) bearing a
very marked affinity to Matthew, and (d) a less constant but still
obvious affinity to Luke." [375] The hypothesis of Nicholson is "that
Matthew wrote at different times the canonical gospel and the gospel
according to the Hebrews, or at least that large part of the latter
which runs parallel to the former." [376]

On this view, "Matthew" in one of his versions deliberately omitted (1)
the remarkable story of the woman taken in adultery; (2) the remarkable
story that "the mother of the Lord and his brethren" proposed to him
that they should all go and be baptized by John, whereupon he asked
"Wherein have I sinned?" but added: "except perchance this very
thing that I have said in ignorance," and went accordingly; (3) the
statement that at baptism Jesus saw the dove "entering into him"; (4)
the further item that "the entire fountain of the Holy Spirit descended
and rested upon him," addressing him as "My son"; and (5) Jesus'
use of the phrase, "My mother, the Holy Spirit." Such a hypothesis,
if accepted, deprives of all meaning the notion of an "author" of
a document. The only fair inference is that a Greek translation of
the Hebrew gospel was one of the sources of the present Matthew,
and that either (a) many of its details have been rejected, or (b)
that many of the preserved fragments were additions to the original.

On either view, we must pronounce that the Hebrew gospel, as exhibited
in the fragments, has none of the marks of a real biographical
record. The items of narrative are wholly supernaturalist; the items
of teaching belong to the more advanced Jewish ethic which we find
progressively developed from Matthew to Luke. Once more, the critical
inference is either (a) that the ethically-minded among the Jesuist
"prophets" set out by putting approved doctrines in the mouth of the
legendary Saviour-God, whereafter doctrinary episodes were invented
for cult purposes, or (b) that the miraculous life was first pieced
out in terms of Old Testament prophecies held for Messianic. Having
regard to the ethical nullity of the primary evangel posited in the
synoptics, the presumption is wholly against any primary manufacture
of new logia. If we take the Sermon on the Mount as typical, the
matter is all pre-Christian. [377] If we pronounce the method of the
first canonical gospel to be secondary in relation to that of Mark,
the ethical element enters only after the cult has gone a long way,
and is then Jewish matter subsumed, as in the Didachê.

On bases so laid, there accrue a multitude of expletions, stones added
to the cairn, as: episodes favouring this or that view of the proper
Messianic heredity; of the Messiah's ascetic or non-ascetic character;
of his attitude for or against Samaritans; of his thaumaturgic
principles; of the universality or selectness of the salvation he
brings; of his attitude towards the Roman power, towards divorce,
towards the Scribes and Pharisees, and so on. Up to the point of the
establishment of something like a Canon, the longer the cult lasted,
the greater would be the variety of the teaching. Different views of
the descent and character of the Messiah, put forward by Davidists
and non-Davidists, Nazarites and non-Nazarites, Jews and Samaritans,
would all tend to find currency, and all would tend to find a place
in the scroll of some group, whence they could ill be ousted by any
"Catholic" movement. Still later, definitely anti-Jewish matter
is grafted piecemeal by Gentile adherents: the "good Samaritan"
is an impeachment of Jewish character; and the legendary apostles
are progressively belittled--notably so in the mystery play which
finally supersedes the earlier accounts of the Tragedy.

That such a general process actually took place is of necessity
admitted by the biographical school, their problem consisting in
delimiting the amount of tradition which they can plausibly claim as
genuine. From the point of that delimitation they posit a process of
doctrinal and other myth-making. The decision now claimed is that there
is no point of scientific delimitation, and that the process which
they carry forward from an arbitrarily fixed point must logically be
carried backwards.

No more general or more far-reaching result can be reached by a
mere collation and analysis of the synoptics on purely documentary
lines--a process which has gone on for a century without even a
documentary decision. The conclusion forced upon Schmiedel, even
on the assumption of the historicity of Jesus, that none of the
current theories of gospel-composition can meet the problem, [378]
becomes part of the case of the myth-theory. The assumption that a
"source," once established, gives a historic foundation, is no more
tenable in this than in any other case of a challenged myth; and
the current methods of establishing sources, rooted as they are in
the assumption of historicity, are often quite arbitrary even when
they profess to follow documentary tests. Nevertheless, the normal
pressure of criticism is seen driving champions of the priority of
Mark to the confession that Mark not only contains late additions
but is in itself a secondary or tertiary document, pointing to an
earlier Mark, an Ur-Markus. The primary flaw in the process is the
habit of looking to an author rather than at a compilation; and this
habit roots in the assumption of historicity. At no point can we be
sure whether we are reading a transcript of oral lore or a redaction.

Granting that Mark has pervading peculiarities of diction which suggest
one hand, we are still not entitled to say that such peculiarities
would not be adopted by a redactor. Again, as against the relative
terseness or simplicity of a number of passages which suggest
an earlier form, we have many which by their relative diffuseness
admittedly suggest deliberate elaboration. [379] And if we are to ask
ourselves what was likely to be the method of an early evangelist,
how shall we reconcile the "in the stern, asleep on the cushion" (iv,
38) with the absolute traditionalism and supernaturalism of the first
chapter? John, "clothed with camel's hair," is simply a duplicate of
Elijah. [380] Is one realistic detail to pass for personal knowledge
when the other is sheer typology? In the opening chapter, Jesus comes
as the promised "Lord," is prophesied of by John as the Coming One,
is hailed by God from heaven as his beloved son, sees the heavens rent
asunder and the Spirit descending as a dove, fasts forty days in the
wilderness, is ministered to by angels, calls on men to follow him
at his first word, proceeds to give marvellous teaching of which not
a word is preserved, is hailed by a demoniac as the Holy One of God,
expels a devil, cures a fever instantaneously, heals a multitude, casts
out many devils, who know him, goes through the synagogues of Galilee,
casting out devils and preaching, cures a leper instantaneously,
commands secrecy, is disobeyed, and is then flocked-to by more
multitudes. And we are invited to believe that we are reading the
biography of a real man, who always speaks to Jews as one Jew to
another, and is "not too bright and good for human nature's daily
food." And the confident champion of this biographical theory assures
us that we "need not doubt" that Jesus was a "successful exorcist."

§ 2. Schmiedel's Tests

Either the first chapter of Mark is primordial gospel-writing or
it is not. If it is, the biographical theory is as idle as those
ridiculed by Socrates in the Phædrus. If it is not, upon what does
the biographical theory found? The details of "mending their nets" and
"in the boat with the hired servants"? Professor Schmiedel, conscious
of the unreality of such narrative, falls back upon nine selected
texts, seven of them in Mark, which he claims as "pillars" of a real
biography of Jesus, [381] on the score that they present him as (a)
flouted in his pretensions or (b) himself disclaiming deity, or (c)
declining to work wonders, or (d) apparently denying a miracle story,
or (e) crying out to God on the cross that he is forsaken. Now, of
all such texts, only b and e types can have any such evidential force
as Schmiedel ascribes to them. [382] Type a counts for nothing: not
only the suffering Saviour-Gods but Apollo and Arês, to say nothing of
Hephaistos, Hêrê, and Aphroditê, are flouted in the pagan literature
which treats them as Gods. If to quote "he is beside himself" is to
prove historicity, why not quote the taunts to Jesus in the fourth
gospel, nay, the crucifixion itself?

In his able and interesting work on The Johannine Writings, Schmiedel
carefully developes the thesis that the Johannine Jesus is an invented
figure, conceived from the first as supernatural; and he puts among
other things the notable proposition that when Jesus weeps it is
implied by the evangelist that he does so not out of human sympathy,
but "simply because they [the kinsfolk of Lazarus] did not believe
in his power to work miracles." [383] Assuming for the argument's
sake that this is a true interpretation, we are driven to ask how the
thesis consists with that of the "pillar texts." The Johannine writer
starts with a supernatural Jesus, yet not only represents his attached
personal friends as not believing in his power to work miracles but
describes Jesus as weeping because of their unbelief. Nothing in Mark
is for moderns more incongruous with a supernaturalist view of Jesus,
yet Schmiedel sees no difficulty in believing that the Johannine
writer could deliberately frame the incongruity. Why then should even
an original author of Mark be held to regard Jesus as mortal because
in Mark he is flouted, or declines to work wonders, or is unable to
do so at Nazareth? If one writer can represent the Eternal Logos as
weeping from chagrin, why should not the other think him God even when
he cries out that God has forsaken him? And if, finally, the cry is
held to cite Psalm xxii, 1, and to imply the triumphant conclusion
of that psalm, what value has the passage for the critic's purpose?

An unbiassed criticism will of course recognize that the "Jesus wept"
may be an interpolation, for it is admitted that the Greek words
rendered "groaned in the spirit" may mean "was moved with indignation
in the spirit"; and, yet again, Martha is represented (xi, 22) as
avowing the belief that "even now" Jesus can raise Lazarus by the power
of God. Nay, the whole story may be an addition, not from the pen of
the writer who makes Jesus God. But equally the incongruities in Mark
may come of interpolation. A fair inference from the characteristics of
that document is that parts of it, notably the first dozen paragraphs,
represent a condensation of previously current matter, while others
are as plainly expansive; and even if these diversely motived sections
be from the same hand, interpolations might be made in either.

In reply to my argument [384] that texts in which Jesus figures
as a natural man would at most represent only Ebionitic views,
Professor Schmiedel puts the perplexing challenge, concerning the
Ebionites:--"Were they not also worshippers of Jesus as well? Were
they really men of such wickedness that they sought to bring the true
humanity of Jesus into acceptance by falsifying the Gospels? And
if they were, was it in their power to effect this falsification
with so great success?" [385] I cannot think that Dr. Schmiedel,
who is invariably candid, has thought out the positions here taken
up. The point that the Ebionites were "worshippers" of Jesus is
surely fatal to his own thesis. "Worshippers" could in their case
go on worshipping while maintaining that the worshipped one was
a mortal. Then to assert that he avowed himself a mortal was not
inconsistent with "worship." But the challenge obscures the issue;
and it is still more obscured when the Professor goes on to ask: "Had
they [the Ebionites] no predecessors in this view of his person? Must
we not suppose that precisely the earliest Christians, the actual
companions of Jesus--supposing Him really to have lived--were their
predecessors?" This argument, the Professor must see, has small
bearing on my position.

Three questions are involved, from the mythological point of view:
first, whether actual believers in an alleged divinity could represent
him as flouted, humiliated, or temporarily powerless; second, whether
the Ebionitic view of Jesus can be accounted for otherwise than as
the persistence of a proto-Christian view, arising among the immediate
adherents of a man Jesus; third, whether in the second century Jesuists
of Ebionitic views could invent, and insert in the gospels, sayings
of or concerning Jesus which were meant to countervail the belief in
his divinity.

On the first head, the answer is, as aforesaid, that throughout
all ancient religion we find derogatory views of deity constantly
entertained, at different stages of culture, without any clear
consciousness of incongruity. Yahweh in the Old Testament "repents"
that he made man; wrangles with Sarah; and is unable to overcome
worshippers of other Gods who have "chariots of iron." Always he is a
"jealous" God; and at a later stage he is alleged to be consciously
thwarted by the Israelites when they insist on having a king. These
are all priest-made stories. Among the early Greeks, the Gods are
still less godlike. In Homer, Athênê is almost the only deity who
is treated with habitual reverence: the others are so constantly
satirized, humanized, thwarted, or humiliated, that it is difficult
to associate reverence, in our sense, with the portrayal at all. The
statement of Arno Neumann that "it is impossible (here every historian
will agree) for one who worships a hero to think and speak in such
a way as to contradict or essentially modify his own worship" [386]
is an astonishingly uncritical pronouncement, which simply ignores
the main mass of ancient religious literature.

As regards the Demigods in particular it belongs to the very nature of
the case that they should be at times specially thwarted and reviled
by mortals, since it is their fate to die, albeit to rise again. If,
then, sayings were once invented which fastened human limitations upon
the Divine One for the Jesuists, there was nothing in the psychology of
worshippers on their intellectual plane that should make them pronounce
such sayings forgeries. As we have seen, even in the fourth gospel,
which puts the Divine One higher than ever, he is made, on Professor
Schmiedel's own view, to weep for sheer chagrin.

§ 3. Tendential Tests

More complex is the second question, as to how the Ebionite view of
Jesus emerged. But the answer has already been indicated in terms of
the myth-theory. And the question really cannot be answered on the
biographical view, for the canonical documents give no hint [387]
of a persistence of a "human" view among the early Christists as
against a "divine" one. The Judaizers are represented equally with
the Paulinists as making Jesus "Lord"; and it is on the Paulinist side
that we hear of adherents who do not believe in the resurrection. That
is really a divergence from the Judaistic view, for Jews in general
accepted immortality. The moment, however, we put the hypothesis
of a primitive cult of a Saviour-God whose sacrifice in some way
benefits men, and whose Sacrament is the machinery of that benefit,
we account for all the varieties of Jesuism known to us. The cult
was primordially Semitic, a thing on the outskirts of later Judaism,
which would be Judaized in so far as it came under Jewish influence,
and then theologically re-cast for Gentilism by Gentilizing Jews. Thus
there would be Judaistic Ebionites, and Jesuists such as those taught
by the Didachê, who would insist on connecting Jesus only with the
Eucharist, making him a subordinate figure, upon whose legend were
slowly grafted moral teachings.

On the other hand there would be non-Jewish Jesuists who valued the
Sacrament as they and others valued those of Paganism, counting
on magical benefits from it (as "Catholics" in general did for
many centuries), but making light of the Jewish future life. The
one thing in common was the primordial sacrament, at once Jewish
and non-Jewish. For Jews it would easily connect with the belief in
immortality, already much connected with Messianism; for Gentiles who
accepted the former belief, it would be still more easily connected
with a doctrine of future individual salvation. All is broadly
intelligible on the myth-theory. On the biographical theory, the
Jesuists of the Didachê are as inexplicable as the Gentile Jesuists
who denied a future life, or the Docetists who denied that Jesus had
come in the flesh.

Given such Jewish Jesuists, and given Docetism, the invention of
sayings and episodes in which Jesus is thwarted or flouted, or disavows
Godhood, is perfectly simple. Why Professor Schmiedel should raise the
question of "wickedness" in this connection I cannot divine. On his
own showing, the invention of sayings and episodes was normal among
the Christists in general; and it affected all of the synoptics. Does
he impute "wickedness" to the author of the fourth gospel, whom he
represents as inventing discourses and episodes systematically? The
Ebionites and Docetists had as much right to invent as any one else;
and once their inventions were current, they stood a fair chance
of being embodied in a gospel or gospels by reason of the general
incapacity of the Christists for critical reflection.

From the biographical standpoint, the Ebionites and their counterparts
the Nazaræans are indeed enigmatic. It is important to have a clear
view of what is known as to both sects. [388] Origen, noting that the
Hebrew name of the former means "the poor," angrily implies that it was
given to them as describing their poverty of mind, [389] but leaves
open the rational inference that the name originally described their
chosen social status, which connected with a belief in the speedy end
of the world. In his book Against Celsus, [390] he tells that they
include believers in the Virgin Birth and deniers of it. Here arises
the surmise that the former were the socii Ebionitarum mentioned by
Jerome, who diverged from Judaic views, and may have been of the
general cast of the Nazaræans. [391] These bodies constituted the
mass of the Christians in Judæa in the second century. According to
the ecclesiastical tradition, the church of Jerusalem had withdrawn
during the siege to Pella and the neighbouring region beyond the
Jordan. In the reign of Hadrian, after the revolt and destruction of
the Messiah Bar-Cochab, who had attempted to rebuild the temple, the
new Roman city of Ælia Capitolina was built on the ruins of Jerusalem;
and in that no Jews were permitted to dwell. Only those Christians
who renounced Judaic usages, then, could enter; and a number of such
Christians, Jew and Gentile, did so. Others, probably including
both Ebionites and Nazaræans, remained at Pella, and these appear
to have furnished the types of heresy discussed by Irenæus, Origen,
Jerome, and Epiphanius under the head of Ebionism. Those who set up
in Jerusalem were in the way of substituting for "voluntary poverty"
a propaganda and organization which meant comfort. Those who stayed
behind would represent the primitive type.

Now, neither Ebionism nor Nazaræanism offers any semblance of
support for the biographical view. Some Ebionites denied the Virgin
Birth; some, presumably the Nazaræans in particular, accepted it,
the latter being described as accepting the canonical Matthew (or a
Hebrew gospel nearly equivalent) with the present opening chapters,
while the Ebionites had a Matthew without them. Of the two views,
neither testified to any impression made by a "personality." The Virgin
Birth myth is a reversion to universal folk-lore by way of enlarging
the supernaturalist claim: the Ebionite denial is either a rejection
of all purely human claim for Jesus or only supernaturalism with a
difference, inasmuch as it inferribly posits a divinization of the
Founder either at the moment of his baptism or at his anointing. His
"personality" is the one thing never heard of in the discussion, so
far as we can trace it. In one account, "the" Ebionites are said to
have alleged that Christ became so because he perfectly fulfilled
the law, and that they individually might become Christs if they
fulfilled it as perfectly. [392] Ebionites and Nazaræans between them,
on the biographical view, let slip all knowledge of the Sacred Places,
of Golgotha, of the place of the Sepulchre.

If it be asked how, on the biographical view, there came to be Jewish
Jesuists of the Ebionite type, men such as those described by Justin
Martyr and his Jewish antagonist Trypho, believing in a Jesus "anointed
by election" who thus became Christ, but adhering otherwise to Judaic
practices, [393] what is the answer? What idea, what teaching, had
Jesus left them? The notion which seems to have mainly differentiated
Ebionites from Jews was simply that Jesus had been the Messiah, and
that his Second Coming would mean the end of the world. Expectation of
the Second Coming would at once promote and be promoted by poverty,
which would thus have a special religious significance. Nazaræans,
on the other hand, were latterly marked by a general opposition to the
Pharisees. [394] But this could perfectly well be a simple development
of sectarianism. If it be claimed as a result of the teaching of Jesus,
what becomes of the other teaching as to the love of enemies? Which
species of teaching is supposed to have represented the "personality"?

Given a general hostility between Nazaræans and Pharisees, the
ascription of anti-Pharisaic teachings to the Master would have been
in the ordinary way of all Jewish doctrinal propaganda. In so far as
they acclaimed sincerity and denounced formalism, they are intelligible
as part of a general revolt against Judaic legalism. Nazaræans would
invent anti-Pharisaic teachings just as they or "Catholics" would
invent pro-Samaritan teachings. And in so far as the Ebionites resisted
the assimilation of fresh supernaturalist folk-lore they would tend
to put appropriate sayings in the mouth of the Master just as did the
others. They are expressly charged not only with inventing a saying
[395] in denunciation of sacrifices, by way of sanctifying their
vegetarianism, which was presumably an aspect of their poverty, but of
tampering in various ways with their texts. [396] This is precisely
what the gospel-makers in general did; and to impeach the Ebionites
in particular is merely to ignore the general procedure. When, then,
we say that Ebionites might well invent a saying in which the Master
was made to repudiate Godhood, and that such a saying might find its
way into many manuscripts, as did other passages from their Hebrew
gospel, it is quite irrelevant to raise questions of "wickedness"
and of "worship."

But it is important here to note the point, insisted on by Professor
W. B. Smith, that most of Professor Schmiedel's "pillar" texts
could be framed with no thought of lowering the status of Jesus,
while some, on the contrary, betray the motive of discrediting the
Jews. The story of Jesus' people (hoi par' autou, not "friends"
as in our versions) saying "He is beside himself" (Mk. iii, 21), is
simply a Gentile intimation that even among his own kin or associates
he was treated as a madman. The idea is exactly the same as that of
the story in the fourth gospel, that "the Jews" said he "had a devil"
and was a Samaritan. Similarly "tendential" is the avowal (Mk. vi, 5)
that at Nazareth the wonder-worker "could do no mighty work ... and
he marvelled because of their unbelief." Healing in other texts
is declared to depend on faith; and to call the people of Nazareth
unbelievers was either to explain why Jesus of Nazareth there had no
following or to emphasize the point that the Jews had rejected the
Lord. Such a doctrine, again, as that of Mt. xii, 31, that blasphemy
against the Son of Man was pardonable, was perfectly natural at a stage
at which the cult was seeking eagerly for converts. Had not Peter,
in the legend, denied his Lord with curses, and Paul persecuted the
Church to the death?

In other cases, the bearing of Professor Schmiedel's texts is so much
a matter of arbitrary interpretation that the debate is otiose; and
in yet others there are insoluble questions of text corruption. The
thesis that any text "could not have been invented," and must infer the
existence of a teacher regarded as mortal, is so infirm in logic that
it is not surprising to find it regarded with bitter dislike by the
orthodox, transparently honest as is Professor Schmiedel's use of it.

There is really more force in his argument [397] that the predictions
of the immediate re-appearance of the Christ after "the tribulation
of those days" could not have been invented long after the fall of
Jerusalem, the apparent impulse being rather to minimize them. They
may perfectly well have been predictions made at the approach of
danger by professed prophets. But it does not in the least follow
that they were made by one answering to the description of the
gospel Jesus, predicting his own Second Coming, though some one may
have so prophesied. Any Messiah would be "the Lord"; and the gospel
predictions as to false Christs tell of "many" Messiahs, every one
of whom would speak as "the Lord." Such utterances, after a little
while, could no more be discriminated by the Christists than the
certainly pre-Christian sayings put by their propagandists in the
mouth of Jesus. And, once a prediction had been written down, it
lived by the tenure of uncertainty that attached to all prediction
among blind believers. When one "tribulation" had apparently passed
without a Second Coming, there was nothing for it but to look forward
to the next.

After generations of expectation, the early eschatology of the Church
became a burden to its conductors, inasmuch as expectation of the end
of the world made for disorder, and neglect of industry; and Second
Thessalonians was written to explain away previous predictions
of imminent ending. After the whole mass of such prediction had
been falsified by ages of continuance, there was still no critical
reaction, simply because religious belief excludes the practice of
radical criticism. To this day, orthodoxy has no rational account to
give of the pervading doctrine of the New Testament as to the speedy
end of the world. The biographical school finds in it a measure of
support for its belief in a real Jesus, who shared the delusions of
his age. But as that explanation equally applies to all men in the
period, it gives the biographical view no standing as against the
myth-theory. Christian prophets spoke for "the Lord" just as Jewish
prophets did before them.

In this connection, finally, it has to be noted that Professor
Schmiedel finds an à priori authenticity in a prediction in which
Jesus claims supernatural status, though the ostensibly unhistorical
character of such claims was his avowed ground for positing the
"pillar-texts" which alone defied all skepticism. And the formula
in both cases is the same--"it could not have been invented." [398]
The major premiss involved is: "No passage could be invented which
would stultify the position of the believers." But do none of the
admitted inventions [399] in the gospels stultify the position of the
believers? The two genealogies do; the anti-Davidic passages stultify
these; the pro-Samaritan teaching stultifies the anti-Samaritan;
and so on through twenty cases of contradiction. M. Loisy, indeed,
claims the pro-Samaritan passage as genuine: does he then admit the
anti-Samaritan to be spurious?

The biographical school cannot have it both ways. The very fact that
they have to oust so many passages on the score of incompatibility
is the complete answer to the plea of "genuine because unsuitable
to the purposes of the propaganda." The fact that a multitude of
contradictions are left standing proves simply that when once an
awkward passage was installed it was nearly impossible to get rid of
it; because some copies were always left which retained it; and in
the stage of increasing respect for the written word it was generally
restored. The "Jesus" before Barabbas was at last ejected only because
everybody recoiled from it. Predictions were not so easily dropped.

On the page on which he claims that Jesus' prediction of his Second
Coming could not have been invented, Professor Schmiedel avows that
various passages in Mt. xxiv really belong to "a small composition,
perhaps Jewish, on the signs of the end of the world, written shortly
before the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70." If the one set of
passages are borrowed, why not the other? Was it unlikely that Jewish
eschatologists should predict the coming of the Son of Man at the
near end of the world, and that Jesuists should put the prediction in
the mouth of their Lord and make him say it of himself? The à priori
negative is quite untenable.

While, then, the argument from unsuitableness is logically barred for
the biographical school by their own frequent rejection of passages
on the score of incompatibility, no aspect or portion of the New
Testament supplies a conclusive argument against the mythological
view. The whole constitutes an intelligible set of growths from the
point of view of the myth-theory; and from no other is the medley
explicable. A biographical theory, having posited a Messiah whose
Messianic claim is a mystery, a Teacher whose alleged teachings are
a mass of conflicting tendencies, and whose disciples admittedly
have no Messianic gospel till after his inexplicable execution,
following on an impossible trial, may make the assumption that by way
of popular myth he was then fortuitously deified by Messianist Jews,
and later transformed by other Jews into a Saviour for Gentiles;
but the biographical theory cannot even pretend to account for the
Apocalypse and the Didachê; and it has to renounce its own ground
principle of "personality" in order to assimilate the Epistles. On
critical principles, assent must go to the theory which explains
things, reducing the otherwise inexplicable to a natural evolution
on the known lines and bases of hierology.

§ 4. Historic Summary

We may now bring together in one outline the series of inductive
hypotheses by which we seek to recover the natural evolution of the
historic cult.

1. A primitive Semitic sacramental cult, whose sacrament centres in a
slain Saviour-God, a Jesus, who has assimilated to an abstraction of
the victim annually sacrificed to him--as in the case of the cults of
Adonis and Attis, both also Asiatic. Of the sacrificial rite, which in
the historic cult is embodied in the Last Supper and the dramatized
story of the Passion, the memory was preserved in particular by a
Jewish rite of Jesus Barabbas, Jesus the Son of the Father, in which
a victim goes through a mock coronation, ending latterly, perhaps, in
a mock-execution, where once there had been an actual human sacrifice.

2. This cult, with its sacrament, existed sporadically in various
parts of Asia Minor, whence it spread to Greece and Egypt. Its forms
would vary, and under Jewish control the sacrificial sacrament tended
to be reduced to a Eucharist or thankoffering in which the "body and
blood" are only vaguely, if at all, reminiscent of the Divine One's
death. As a God can always be developed indefinitely out of a God-Name,
and personal Gods are historically but conceptual aggregates shaped
round names or functions, the adherents of this could proselytize
like others. When the Temple of Jerusalem fell in the year 70, the
adherents of the cult there had a new opportunity and motive, which
some of them actively embraced, to cut loose from the Judaic basis
and proclaim a religion of universal scope, freed from Judaic trammels
and claims. Economic motives played a considerable part in the process.

3. The first tendency of the new Jewish promoters had been to develop
the Saviour-God of the sacramental rite (which they may at this stage
have adopted in its "pagan" form, now taken as canonical) into a
Messiah who was to "come again," introducing the Jewish "kingdom
of heaven." At a later stage they adopted the rite of baptism,
traditionally associated with John, whom they represented as a
Forerunner of the Messiah who had met, baptized, and acclaimed him,
playing the part assigned by Jewish prophecy to Elias.

4. As time passed on, such a cult would of necessity die out among
Jews, in default of the promised "Second Coming." The connection of
the idea of salvation with a future life for all believers, Jew or
Gentile, gave it a new and larger lease of life throughout the Roman
Empire, in every part of which there were Asiatics. But the Jewish
doctrine of the Second Coming remained part of the developed teaching.

5. Further machinery was accordingly necessary to spread and sustain
the cult; and this was spontaneously provided by (a) developments
of the early and simple propagandist organization, and (b) provision
for the needs of the poor, who among the Gentiles as among the Jews
were the natural adherents of a faith promising the speedy closing
of the earthly scene. Richer sympathizers won esteem by giving their
aid; but the poor, as always, helped each other. The propaganda
included the services of travelling "prophets," and "apostles" who
would be the natural compilers and inventors of Jesuine lore. The
administrative organization, framed on Hellenistic lines, put more
and more power in the hands of the bishop, whose interest it was
to develop his diocese. At first the "prophets" and "apostles" were
strictly peripatetic, being called upon to avoid the appearance of
mercenariness. In course of time they were enabled to settle down,
being systematically provided for.

6. Under the hands of this organization grew up the Christian Sacred
Books, which gave the cult its footing as against, or rather alongside
of, the Jewish, which in the circumstances had an irresistible and
indispensable prestige. Thus on the literary side the Jewish influence
overlaid the non-Jewish, assimilating the outside elements of scattered
Jesuism. The earliest literature is Jewish, as in the case of the
Didachê, or a Jewish-Jesuist manipulation of outside Semitic matter,
as in the Apocalypse. On these foundations are laid "Christian" strata.

7. The Didachê ("Teaching of the Twelve Apostles of the Lord") was
primarily a brief manual of monotheistic and moral instruction used by
the Twelve Apostles of the Jewish High Priest. To this, Jesuist matter
was gradually added. The result was that "Twelve Apostles" became part
of the Christian tradition; and they had ultimately to be imposed on
the gospel record, which obviously had not originally that item.

8. The Epistles represent a polemic development, perhaps on the
basis of a few short Paulines. That of James, which has no specific
"Christian" colour, represents Judaic resistance, in the Ebionite
temper of "voluntary poverty," to the Gentilizing movement. The
Paulines carry on doctrinal debate and construction against the
Judaistic influence. The synoptic gospels, which in their present
forms were developing about the same time, reflect those struggles
primarily in anti-Samaritan and pro-Samaritan pronouncements,
both ascribed to Jesus. Primarily the gospels are Judaic, and the
Gentilizing movement had naturally not employed them. Paul is made
in effect to disclaim their aid. In time they are adopted and partly
turned to anti-Judaic ends.

9. The chief Gentile achievement in the matter is the development of
the primitive sacrament-motive and ritual (fundamentally dramatic)
into the mystery-play which is transcribed in the closing chapters
of Matthew and Mark. Previous accounts of the foundation of the
Sacrament and the death of the Lord are now superseded by a vivid
though dramatically brief narrative in which the Jewish people
are collectively saddled with the guilt of his death and the Roman
government is crudely and impossibly exonerated. The apostles in
general are made to play a poor part; one plays an impossible rôle
of betrayer; and the legendary Judaizing apostle is made to deny his
Master. The whole story is thoroughly unhistorical, from the triumphal
Entry to the quasi-regal crucifixion; but it embodied the main ritual
features of the traditional human sacrifice, and, there being simply
no biographical record to compete with it, it held its ground. The
mystery-play in its complete form was inferribly developed and played
in a Gentile city; and its transcription probably coincided with its
cessation as a drama. But the Sacrament was long a quasi-secret rite.

10. The picture drawn in the Acts, in which Peter and Paul alike
"turn to the Gentiles"--Peter taking the initiative--is the work of
a late and discreet redactor, bent on reconciling Jewish and Gentile
factors. It is a highly factitious account of early Christism; but
it preserves traces of the early state of things, in which no Jesuine
teaching was pretended to be current, and the cult is seen to exist in
a scattered form independently of the central propaganda. It evidently
had a footing in Samaria. The synoptics themselves reveal the absence
of baptism from the early procedure of the cult. Only in the latest
of the four canonical gospels is it pretended that either Jesus or
his disciples had baptized.

11. The fourth gospel is only one more systematic step in the
process of myth-making. The biographical school, in giving this
up as unhistorical, in effect admits that the "personality" of the
alleged Teacher had been so ineffectual as to admit of a successful
interposition of a new and thoroughly mythical figure, entirely
supernatural in theory, but more "impressive" as a speaking and
quasi-human personage. The "Logos" of John is again an adaptation of
a Jewish adaptation of a pagan conception, the doctrine of the Logos
set forth by the Alexandrian Jew Philo having come through Greek and
Eastern channels. [400] There was no critical faculty in the early
Church that could secure its rejection, though it was somewhat slow
of acceptance. The doctrine of the Trinity is again an assimilation
from paganism, proximately Egyptian. [401]

Such, in outline, is our working hypothesis. As explained at the
outset, it is not supposed that so complex a problem can in so
brief a space and time be conclusively solved; and criticism will
doubtless involve modification when criticism is scientifically
applied. To such scientific criticism the production of a complete
outline may be an aid; previous debate, even when rational in temper,
having been spent on some of the "trees" without regard to the "wood"
in general. All that is claimed for the complete hypothesis is that
it is at all points inductively reached, and that for that reason it
squares better with the whole facts than any form of the biographical
theory--including the highly attenuated "eschatological" form in which
Jesus is conceived solely as a proclaimer of "the last things." That
thesis, indeed, reduces the biographical theory to complete nullity
by leaving the mass of the record without any explanation save the
mythical one, which suffices equally to account for eschatology.



§ 1. Myths of Healing

It is significant that the later myth-making of the synoptics is partly
by way of reversion to the folk-lore in which the myth had risen,
partly by way of meeting non-Jewish Messianic requirements, partly by
way of Gentilism, partly by way of concessions to the Gnosticism or
occultism whose pretensions in the second century exercised so strong
a pressure on the Church. As Professor Smith points out, the story
in Mark (xiv, 51-52) of the youth who at the betrayal fled naked,
leaving his linen cloth in the hands of the captors, [402] is a
crude provision for the Docetic theory that the real Christ did not
suffer. Cerinthus taught that "at last Christ departed from Jesus,
and that then Jesus suffered and rose again, while Christ remained
impassible, inasmuch as he was a spiritual being." [403]

In this connection there arises for us the problem, stressed by
Professor Smith, as to the significance of the stories of wholesale
healing and casting out of devils. His thesis is that they were an
occult way of conveying the claim that Jesus by preaching monotheism
had cast out in Galilee the diseases and corruptions of polytheism,
pagan deities being "devils" for the Jew. And in view of the repeated
assertion, on Gnostic lines, that Jesus declared his teaching to
be made purposely occult, so as not to be understood by the people,
we cannot deny the possibility that some of the stories of healing
may have been so intended. Professor Smith, as I understand him,
argues [404] that a straightforward claim of wholesale overthrowing
of paganism would have offended the Roman Government; and that the
claim was put by metaphor to avoid that. The difficulty arises that
if the metaphor was not understood by Gentiles it missed its mark with
them; while if they did understand it their susceptibilities would be
particularly wounded by the metaphors of leprosy and blindness and
"devils." And there is the further difficulty that, as Professor
Smith notes, the stories of casting out devils relate solely to
half-heathen Galilee, while, as he also notes, there is no ultimate
trace of Jesuism there. [405] Why then should an allegory of casting
out polytheism have been framed concerning Galilee?

On any view, it can hardly be doubted that the stories of healing
made their popular appeal as simple miracles. Professor Schmiedel's
argument that the claim of Jesus (Mt. xi, 5; Lk. vii, 22) to heal
blindness and lameness and leprosy, and to raise the dead, must be
understood in a spiritual sense, seems to me a complete failure. He
contends that if it be taken literally the final claim that "the
poor have the gospel preached to them" is an anti-climax. But if we
take the miracle-claims to be merely spiritual, the anti-climax is
absolute; for the proposition then runs that the blind, the lame, the
leprous, and the spiritually dead have the gospel preached to them,
and the poor have the gospel preached to them also. On the other hand,
there is no real anti-climax on a literal interpretation. Plainly,
the provision of good tidings for the merely poor, the most numerous
suffering class of all, was the one thing that could be said to be
done for them. It could not be pretended that they had been made
wealthy. Thus a "pillar-text" falls, and we are left committed to the
literal interpretation as against both Professor Smith and Professor
Schmiedel. Both, however, will probably agree that most readers always
took the literal view. [406]

§ 2. Birth-Myths

And it was to the popular credulity that appeal was made by the stories
of the Annunciation, the Virgin Birth, the Adoration by the Magi and
the Shepherds, the stable, the manger, [407] the menace of Herod,
the massacre, and the flight. [408] The question that here arises for
the mythologist is whether the birth-myths had belonged to the early
Jesus-myth at a stage before gospel-making commenced, and had at first
been ignored, only to be embodied later. For suggesting that they had
been connected with the early myth I have been told by Dr. Carpenter
and Dr. Conybeare that I ignored the late acceptance of the Christmas
Birthday by "the Church," after I had expressly noted the late date
of that acceptance. These critics, as usual, miss the whole problem.

Either the birth-stories were old lore in Syria (or elsewhere in the
East) [409] or they were not. If not, their imposition on the gospel
story in the second century represents an assimilation of quite alien
pagan matter, with the assent of the main body of Jewish Nazaræans,
who accepted the opening chapters of the canonical Matthew. Of
such an assent, no explanation can be given from the standpoint
or standpoints of Dr. Conybeare and Dr. Carpenter. It would be a
gratuitous capitulation to Gentilism in a Jewish atmosphere, and
this without any sign on the Pauline side of a Gentile obtrusion of
such matter. [410] But if, on the other hand, we put the hypothesis
that such matter had been connected in Syrian folk-lore with the old
Jesus-myth, we at once find an explanation for the additions to the
gospel-story and a new elucidation of the myth-theory. The spread of
the Jesus cult would bring to the front the primitive myths connected
with it which the reigning Judaic sentiment had at first kept out
of sight as savouring of heathenism; and all Jesus-lore would have
a progressive interest for converts. Judaism, in its redacted sacred
books, admitted of quasi-supernatural births in such cases as those
of Sarah and Hannah; but an absolute virgin birth, a commonplace in
heathen mythology, [411] had there no recognition. Yet the idea was
as likely to survive in folk-lore in Syria as anywhere else; and as
Judaism became more and more a hostile thing, Judaic views would tend
in various ways to be set aside.

The hypothesis put by me is (1) that the certainly unhistorical
Miriam of the Pentateuch is inferribly, like Moses and Joshua,
an ancient deity; and that in old Palestinian myth she was the
mother of Joshua. In the Pentateuch she is degraded, as part of the
Evemeristic process of reducing the ancient popular Gods to human
status. That process, which affects Goddesses as well as Gods in
several ancient religions, [412] was for the Hebrew priesthood a
necessary rule. Polytheism was everywhere, in antiquity, and for
the Yahwists it must be cast out. A late Persian tradition that
Joshua was the son of Miriam [413] accents the query whether there
were no family relationships in the old Palestinian myths. That the
birth in a stable, with a ritual of babe-worship at the winter or
summer solstice, is very ancient both in the East and in the West,
is the conclusion forced on the mythologist by a mass of evidence;
and the location of the stable at Bethlehem in a cave connects the
Christian myth yet further with a number of those of paganism. [414]
If the matter of the myth was ancient for Syria, why should not the
names of the mother and the child be so?

The fashion in which the hypothesis is met by the more impassioned
adherents of the biographical view is instructive. Dr. Conybeare,
who thinks it inconceivable that "a myth" should be mistaken for "a
man"--though that mistake is the gist of masses of mythology--finds no
difficulty in conceiving that a real woman may be turned into a myth
within a century. For him, the gospel "Mary" (Maria or Mariam) must
be a real Jewess because in Mark (vi, 3) the people of Nazareth ask:
"Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James,
and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? and are not his sisters with us?" Any
thoughtful reader, comparing such a suddenly projected passage with
the opening chapters, realizes that it is on a wholly different plane
of ideas; that no one "author" can have posited both; and that the
later is part of a process of localization and debate, in connection
with the thesis that the healer could "do no wonder-work" at home
because of the unbelief of his own people. Furthermore, in Mark xv,
40, we have the group of women which includes "Mary the mother of James
the Little and of Joses," concerning whom we are told that when Jesus
was in Galilee they "followed him, and ministered unto him." How many
Maries, then, were mothers of James and Joses? Evidently the Mary
of the latter passage is not regarded by its writer as the mother
of Jesus. Then the prior passage is the later in order of time,
and alien to the other legends.

Our exegete, nevertheless, is not only at once dogmatically certain
that he has found a real Jesus, son of Mary, but proceeds to assert,
in three separate passages, that in Mark's gospel Jesus is known as
"the son of Joseph and Mary," though Joseph is never mentioned in that
gospel. It is of a piece with his instantaneous invention of a "genuine
tradition" out of a modern hint, perverted. And it is this operator
who, meeting with a list of analogies (so described) which suggest that
"Miriam" and "Mariam" are variants of a Mother-Goddess name generally
current through the East, becomes incoherent in explosive protest,
and begins by informing me that the "original form of the name is
not Maria but Miriam, which does not lend itself to [these] hardy
equations." As Miriam had been expressly named and discussed by me
in the very first instance, the intimation tells only of the mental
disconnection which is the general mark of this writer's procedure.

The question, of course, is not philological at all; and not only
was no philological "equation" ever hinted at, but the very passage
attacked begins with the avowal that it is impossible to prove
historical connections, and that what is in question is analogy of
"name and epithets." Nothing in philology is more speculative than
the explanation of early names. Any one who has noted the discussion
over "Moses," and noted the diverging theories, from the Coptic
"water-rescued" or "water-child" (mo-use) of Josephus and Philo and
Jablonski and Deutsch to the Egyptian "child" (mes or mesu) of Lepsius
and Dillmann, and the inference of an "abbreviation of a theophorous
Egyptian name" drawn by Renan and Guthe, will see that there is
small light to be had from "equations." When "Miriam" is expertly
described as "a distortion either of Merari [misri] or of Amramith,"
[415] the mythologist is moved to seek for other clues. The philology
of Maria and Mariam is a hopeless problem.

Now, if the Moses legend is to be held Egyptian, the Miriam legend
may well be so too; and in the items that the Egyptian princess who
saves the child Moses is in a Jewish legend named Merris, and that
one of the daughters of Ramses II is found to be named Meri, [416] the
analogy is worth noting. But the central mythological fact is that a
Mother-Goddess, a "Madonna" nursing a child, is one of the commonest
objects of ancient worship throughout Asia and North Africa. [417]
When, then, mothers of Gods born in caves, or Dying Demigods, are found
bearing such names as Myrrha and Maia; when Maia is noted to have the
meaning "nurse," and Mylitta that of "the child-bearing one," we are
not only moved to surmise a Mother-Goddess-name of many variants, of
which Miriam-Mariam is one, but to infer a wide diffusion of legends
concerning such a goddess-type. Figures of such a goddess abounded
throughout the East. [418] That is, in brief, the mythological case at
this point. Mary in the gospels, the virgin bearing a divine child,
flying from danger, and bearing her child on a journey, in a cave,
is the analogue of a dozen ancient myths of the Divine Child; the
Menaced Child is common to the myths of Moses and Sargon, Krishna
and Cyrus, Arthur and Herakles; the stable-ritual of the Adoration
is prehistoric in India in connection with Krishna; the "manger"
(a basket) belongs equally to the myths of Zeus, Hermes, Ion and
Dionysos; and the threatening king is a myth-figure found alike in
East and West. [419]

All this is ostensibly "sun-myth." And we are asked by Dr. Conybeare
to believe, on the strength of one late and palpable interpolation in
Mark, which has no other word concerning the childhood, parentage,
or birthplace of Jesus, its Son of God, that his mother Mary was
a well-known figure in Nazareth about the year 30, and that it is
merely she who is made to play the mythic part in Matthew about a
century later. The simple use of common-sense, even by a reader who
has not studied comparative mythology, will reveal the improbability
of such a development; and Dr. Conybeare, who vehemently denies, for
other purposes, that the early Christians in Palestine could have any
knowledge of pagan myths, is the last person who could consistently
affirm it. But when we realize that under the shell of official Judaism
there subsisted in Palestine as everywhere else the folk-lore of the
past; [420] when we remember the "weeping for Tammuz" at Jerusalem
and the location of the birth of Adonis in the very stable-cave of
the Christ-legend at Bethlehem, we can quite rationally conceive how,
once the Jesus-myth was well re-established, old pre-Judaic elements
of it came to the front, and found from the later gospel-compilers
a welcome they could not have had in the Judaizing days. [421]

The Joseph myth, again, is a very obvious construction. In Mark,
which Dr. Conybeare repeatedly and shrilly declares to be the primary
authority, Joseph is never once mentioned, though Dr. Conybeare,
with the eye of imagination, finds that he is. In Matthew, he figures
throughout the birth-story of the opening section, admittedly a late
addition. In Luke, still later, he is still further developed, Mark's
"son of Mary" becoming (iv, 22) "the son of Joseph," in a palpably late
fiction. Any critical method worthy of the name would reckon with such
plain marks of late fabrication. Joseph has been super-imposed on the
myth for a reason; and the reason is that a Messiah "the Son of Joseph"
was demanded from the Samaritan side as a Messiah the Son of David
was demanded (albeit not universally) from the Judaic side. [422] By
naming Jesus' earthly putative father Joseph, in the Davidic descent,
both requirements were met, on lines of traditionalist psychology.

When this solution is met by the Unitarian thesis that the idea
of a Messiah Ben Joseph is late in Judaism, and that it arose out
of the gospel story, we can but appeal to the common-sense of the
reader. [423] For the Rabbis to set up such a formula on such a
motive would be an inconceivable self-stultification. The lateness
of Rabbinical discussion on the subject can be quite reasonably
explained through its Samaritan origination. All the while, the
Joseph story in the gospels belongs precisely to that late legend
which the neo-Unitarian school is bound in consistency to reject as
myth. But the prepossession in favour of a "human Jesus" balks at
no inconsistency, and selects its items not on critical principles
but simply in so far as they can be made to compose with a "human"
figure that is to be conserved at all costs.

The curious myth-motive of the "taxing" [424] at Bethlehem in Luke,
an utterly unhistorical episode, has a remarkable parallel in the
Krishna-myth, [425] which has been cited in support of the thesis
that that myth in general is derived from the Christian story. The
general thesis breaks down completely; [426] and in this one instance
we are obviously entitled to ask whether the Christian myth is not
derived from some intermediate Asiatic source connecting with the
Indian. [427] As a mere invention to motive the birth at Bethlehem
the story seems exceptionally extravagant.

§ 3. Minor Myths

To discuss in similar detail the myths of the Apocryphal gospels
and the still later myths of Catholic Christendom would only be to
extend the area of our demonstration without adding to its scientific
weight. The general result would only be to prove derivations from
pagan sources and to exhibit more fully the process (a) of inventing
sayings of Jesus to vindicate different views of his Messianic
and other functions, and (b) of enforcing ethical views by his
authority. The legend of St. Christopher, for instance, is but a
variant, probably iconographic in motive, of a multiform pagan myth
which probably roots in a ritual of child-carrying. [428] Iconography
yields many evidences. The conventional figure of the Good-Shepherd
carrying a sheep, which like the Birth-Story has counted for so much
in popularizing Christianity, is admittedly derived from pagan art,
[429] like the conventional angel-figure. Even the figure of Peter
[430] as the bearer of the keys, head of the Twelve, and denier of his
Lord, connects curiously with the myths of Proteus and Janus Bifrons,
[431] both bearers of the cosmic keys.

Iconography, again, is probably the source, for the gospels, of the
myth of the Temptation, which professional scholars continue solemnly
to discuss as a "biographical" episode to be somehow reduced to
historicity. The story coincides so absolutely with the Græco-Roman
account, evidently derived from painting or sculpture, of Pan (in
figure the Satan of the Jews) standing by the young Jupiter on a
mountain-top before an altar, [432] that it might seem unnecessary
to go further. But, recognizing that "of myth there is no 'original,'
save man's immemorial dream," and remembering that there are similar
Temptation myths concerning Buddha and Zarathustra, we are bound to
extend the inquiry. The results are very interesting.

We are specially concerned with the versions of Matthew and Luke,
of which Dr. Spitta, by analysis, finds the Lucan the earlier,
[433] pronouncing the Marcan to be a curtailment and manipulation,
not the primary source, as was maintained by Von Harnack and many
others. [434] The essence of the story, as episode, is the presence
of the God and the Adversary on a high place, surveying "the kingdoms
of the world." This originates proximately in Babylonian astronomy
and astrology, where the Goat-God is represented standing beside
the Sun-God on "the mountain of the world," that is, the height of
the heavens, at the beginning of the sun's yearly course in the
sign Capricorn, which, personified, figures as the sun's tutor
and guide. Graphically represented, it is the origin of a series
of Greek myths--Pan and Zeus; Marsyas and Apollo; Silenus and
Dionysos--all turning on a goat-legged figure beside a young God on
a mountain-top. Satan and Jesus are but another variant, probably
deriving from Greek iconography, but possibly more directly from the
East, where the idea of a Temptation goes back to the Vedas.

The theologians, reluctantly admitting, of late, that the Devil could
not carry Jesus through the air, anxiously debate as to whether or
not Jesus had strange psychic experiences which he communicated to
his disciples; and, utterly ignoring comparative mythology, look for
motivation, as usual, only in the Old Testament. Spitta, after checking
these researches, and declaring that the man is not to be envied who
hopes to explain the story by Old Testament parallels from the forty
years of wandering in the wilderness, [435] confidently concludes
that it stands for the spiritual experience of Jesus in regard to
his Messianic ideal. [436] To such a biographical inference he has
not the slightest critical right on his own principles. The gospels
say nothing whatever of any communication on the subject by Jesus
to his disciples. The story is myth pure and simple, and belongs to
universal mythology.

Mark turned the story to the illustration of the doctrine laid down
in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, [437] that devils and wild
beasts will flee from the righteous man; and Luke and Matthew turn it
into an affirmation of the theological maxims of Jewish monotheism; but
these are simply the invariable practices of the evangelists, steeped
in the habits of thought of Jewish symbolism. The myth remains; and the
story, as story, has counted for a great deal more in Christian popular
lore than the theology. When the writer of the fourth gospel put the
miracle of turning water into wine in the forefront of his work, he
doubtless had symbolic intentions; [438] but his story is simply an
adaptation of the annual Dionysiac rite of turning water into wine at
the festival of the God on Twelfth Night. [439] It may have come either
from the Greek or from the eastern side. The duplicated tale of the
Feeding of the Five Thousand, again, is either an adaptation of or an
attempt to excel the story of the feeding of the host of Dionysos in
a waterless desert in his campaign against the Titans. [440] As the
God had the power of miraculously producing, by touch, corn and wine
and oil, his lore doubtless included miracles of feeding. The touch
of the seating of the people "in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties"
(Mk. vi, 40) suggests a pictorial source.

Thus did paganism, chased out of the window of early Judaic
Christianity, re-enter by all the doors, supplying the growing Church
with the forms of psychic and literary attraction which ultimately
served to give it a general hold over the ignorant and uncivilized
masses of decadent and barbaric Europe. [441] Even with that machinery,
the Church was dissolving in universal schism when Constantine saved
it--or at least its body--by establishing it. As the Church broadened
its basis, especially after its establishment, its assimilation of
pagan ideas, names and practices, became so general that the process
has long been made a standing ground of Protestant impeachment of the
Church of Rome. [442] Middleton's Letter from Rome (1729) may be said
to begin the scientific investigation, which is still going on. [443]

Of that process the myth-theory is simply the attempted scientific
consummation. It is resisted as every previous step was resisted,
before and after Middleton, partly in sincere religious conviction,
partly on the simple instinctive resentment felt for every "upsetting"
theory about matters which men have habitually taken for granted. Some
of the best reasoned resistance comes from professional theologians who
have been disciplined by the habit of exact argument in the documentary
field; some of the worst, as we have seen, comes from professed
rationalists or Neo-Unitarians, who bring to the problem first and
last the temper of spleen and bluster which history associates with
the typical priest. Bluster never settles anything: argument, given
free play under conditions which foster the intellectual life, in the
end settles everything, even for the emotionalists who worship their
instincts. But as historical like physical science is a process of
continuous expansion and reconsideration, there can in this contest
be no "triumph" for anything but the principle of unending renewal
of thought, which is but an aspect of the principle of life. Insofar
as the solution now offered is inadequate, it will in due course be
improved upon; insofar as it is false, it will be ousted.

The average cleric, of course, does not attempt confutation. Realizing
that it is prudent to avoid debate on such matters, he relies on the
proved proclivity of "human nature" to beliefs which fall-in with
habit, normal emotion, and normal religiosity; and his faith is,
practically speaking, not ill-grounded. A thesis which looks first
and last to scientific truth is therefore not addressed to him. It is
addressed to the more earnest of the laity and the clerisy--hardly to
those indeed who hold, as an amiable curate once put it to me, that
"in the providence of God" all heresy is short-lived; but to those who,
caring for righteousness, do not on that score cast out the spirit of
truth. Many such are honestly convinced that the teaching on which
they have been taught to found their conceptions of goodness cannot
be the accretion of a myth; and many who acknowledge an abundance of
myth in the documents are still insistent on elements of "religious"
truth which they find even in systematic forgeries. The countenance
thus given by the more liberal and critical theologians to the more
uncritical stands constantly in the way even of the acceptance of the
comparatively rational views of the former. [444] There is reason then
to ask whether the notion that human conduct is in any way dependent
on visionary beliefs is any sounder than those beliefs themselves. On
this head, something falls to be said in conclusion.



Not only to the myth-theory but to every attempt at ejecting historical
falsity from religion there has been offered the objection that
religion "does good"; that mankind needs "some religion or other";
and that to "undermine faith" does social harm, even if it be by
way of driving out delusion. This position is not at all special to
orthodoxy. It was taken up by Middleton; by Kant, when he shaped a
"practical" basis for theistic belief after eliminating the theoretic,
and counselled unbelieving clergymen to use the Bible for purposes of
popular moral education; by Voltaire when he combated atheism after
bombarding Christianity; and by Paine when he wrote his Age of Reason
to save the belief in God.

Insofar as the general plea merely amounts to saying that mankind
cannot conceivably give up its traditional religion at a stroke; that
liberal-minded priests are better than illiberal, for all purposes;
and that in a world dominated by economic need it is impossible for
many enlightened clergymen to secure a living save in the profession
for which they were trained, I am not at all concerned to combat
it. For the liberal priest, enlightened too late to reshape his
economic career, I have nothing but sympathy, provided that he in no
way hampers the intellectual progress of others. Insofar, again, as the
plea for "religion" is merely a plea for a word, or a thesis that all
earnest conviction about life is religion, it is quite irrelevant to
the present discussion. The rationalists who feel they cannot face the
world without the label of "religion" for their theory of the cosmos
and of conduct will be in the same position whether they believe
in a "historical Jesus" or not; and those who must have a humanist
"liturgy" of some sort in place of the ecclesiastical are apparently
not troubled by problems of historicity. What we are concerned with
is the notion that to deny the historicity of Jesus is somehow to
imperil not only ethics but historical science.

M. Loisy puts the last point in his suggestion, in criticism of Drews,
that he who thinks to break down either all the traditional or the
"liberal" orthodoxies by denying the historic actuality of Jesus
will find he has "only furnished to their defenders the occasion
to persuade a certain not uncultivated public that the divinity of
Christ, or at least the unique character of his personality, is as
well guaranteed as the reality of his life and his death." [445]
Had M. Loisy then forgotten that his own attempts to elide from the
documents a number of details which he saw to be mythical have given
occasion to the defenders of the faith to assure a not uncultivated
public that the disintegration of the gospels destroyed all ground
for belief in any part of them? [446]

We on this side of the Channel might meet such challenges, grounded
on the susceptibilities of the "public," with the demand of our great
humorist, Mr. Birrell: "What, in the name of the Bodleian, has the
general public got to do with literature? The general public ... has
its intellectual, like its lacteal sustenance, sent round to it in
carts." [447]

But we must not turn the jest to earnest. There are plenty of
honest laymen to play the jury; and to them let it be put. The issue
between us and M. Loisy, as he virtually admits, must be fought out by
argument. It is perfectly true, as he says, that "in principle, nothing
is more legitimate, more necessary, than the comparative method;
but nothing is more delicate to handle." [448] Every issue, then,
must be vigilantly debated. But the obligation is reciprocal. In these
inquiries we have found M. Loisy many times in untenable positions,
and resorting to inconsistent arguments. The tests which he applies to
a mass of tradition are equally destructive to most of what he retains.

Let illicit employments of the comparative method be discredited by all
means; but let us also have done with a criticism which on one leaf
claims that Jesus gave a "homogeneous" teaching which his disciples
could not have "combined," and on the next avows that "the gospel ethic
is no more consistent than the hope of the kingdom." [449] And when
the myth-theorists are called upon to make no unwarranted assumptions,
let us also have an end of such assertions as that "twenty-five or
thirty years after the death of Jesus the principal sentences and
parables of which the apostolic generation had kept memory were put
in writing." [450] This is pure hypothesis, unsupported by evidence.

The issue between us and M. Loisy, once more, is not one in which
merely he assails the myth-theory as outgoing its proofs: it is one
in which his positions are at the same time assailed all along the
line, and particularly at its centre, as incapable of resisting
critical pressure. By all means let us seek that "the science of
religion should be applied without preoccupations of contemporary
propaganda or polemic." The present writer reached the myth-theory
not by way of propaganda but as a result of sheer protracted failure
to establish a presupposed historical foundation. Professor Smith
disclaims all criticism of "Christianity." And if Professor Drews
be blamed for avowing a religious aim, the answer is that he would
otherwise be assailed as "irreligious," alike in his own country and
elsewhere. The myth-theory has to meet other foes than M. Loisy.

It is remarkable that Professor Schmiedel, who has gone nearly as far
as M. Loisy in recognizing in detail the force of the pressures on the
historical position, makes the avowal: "My inmost religious convictions
would suffer no harm, even if I now felt obliged to conclude that
Jesus never lived," [451] though as a critical historian he "sees no
prospect of this." He further avows that his religion does not require
him "to find in Jesus an absolutely perfect model," and that in effect
he does not find him so. [452] And he wrote in 1906 that "for about six
years the view that Jesus never really lived has gained an ever-growing
number of supporters," [453] adding that "it is no use to ignore it,
or to frame resolutions against it." It is accordingly with no kind of
polemic motive as against so entirely candid a writer that I suggest
certain criticisms of his emotional positions as tending unconsciously
to affect his judgment of the critical problem.

It is after the avowals above cited that he writes:-- [454]

    Nor do I ask whether in Jesus' faith and ethical system what he had
    to offer was new. Was it able to give me something that would warm
    my heart and strengthen my life?--that is all I ask. What does it
    matter if one of the ideas of Jesus had been expressed once already
    in India, another once already in Greece, a third once already, or
    many times, by the Old Testament prophets, or by the much-praised
    Jewish Rabbis shortly before the time of Jesus? Such ideas may
    be found in books: that is all. What we ought to feel grateful to
    Jesus for, is that he was destined for the first time to make the
    ideas take effect and influence the lives of mankind in general.

It would, I think, be difficult to over-estimate the amount of
psychic bias involved in that pronouncement, which contains a theorem
no more fitly to be taken for granted than any concrete historic
proposition. The Professor, it will be observed, does not specify
a single teaching of Jesus as new, while admitting that some were
not. What he says is, in effect, that other utterances of Jesuine
doctrines do not "warm the heart"; that those of Jesus do; and that
they "for the first time" caused certain doctrines to "take effect
and influence the lives of mankind in general." What doctrines then
are meant, and what effects are posited? And why do other utterances
of the doctrines not "warm the heart"?

Presumably the doctrines in question are those of mutual love, of
forgiveness of enemies, of doing as we would be done by. Concerning
the gospel doctrine of reward the Professor makes a disclaimer; and
concerning the doctrine that God cares for men as for the lilies
and the birds he pronounces that it is "to-day not merely untrue:
it is not even religious in the deepest sense of the term." [455]
It is not then clear that he would acclaim the doctrine that to help
the distressed is to succour the Lord. In any case, the detailed
religious prescription of beneficence was not merely a Jewish maxim:
it was an article of Egyptian religion; [456] and it can hardly be in
respect of such teaching that the Professor affirms a new "influence
on the lives of mankind in general."

Is it then in respect of mutual love and the forgiveness of
enemies? If so, when did the change begin? Among the apostles? Among
the Fathers? Among the bishops? Among the Popes? To put the issue
broadly, was there more of good human life in Byzantium than in pagan
Greece; or even in the Rome of the Decadence and the Dark and Middle
Ages than in the Rome of the Republic? Was it because of Christian
goodness that the decline of Rome was accelerated instead of being
checked? And, to come to our own day, is the World War an evidence
for an ethical change wrought by the teaching of Jesus--a war forced
on the world by a Germany where there are more systematic students of
the gospels than in all the rest of Europe? I leave it to Professor
Schmiedel and Professor Drews to settle the point between them. They
would perhaps agree--though as to this I am uncertain--on the Jesuine
doctrine that morality is "nothing more than obedience to the will
of God"; and that "every deed is to be judged by the standard, Will
it bear the gaze of God?" [457] In any case I will affirm, for the
consideration of those who on any such ground cling to the notion of
something unique in the teaching of Jesus, that humanity is likely to
make a much better world when it substitutes for such a moral standard,
which is but a self-deluding substitution of God for the conscience
that delimits God, the principle of goodwill towards men, and the law
of reciprocity, articulately known to the mass of mankind millenniums
before the Christian era, and all along disobeyed, then as now,
partly because religious codes intervene between it and life. [458]

If it be admitted--and who will considerately deny it?--that the moral
progress of mankind is made in virtue of recognition of the law of
reciprocity, the case for the general moral influence of Christianity
is disposed of, once for all. If the affirmation be still made, let
it confront the challenge of rational sociology, [459] founded on the
survey of all history--and the World War. Professor Schmiedel's large
affirmation is vain in the face of all that. His real psychic basis,
which in my judgment determines his critical presuppositions, lies in
the phrase: "warms my heart." And that phrase is a tacit confession
of religious partisanship, the result of his Christian training. [460]

The more the moral teaching of the gospels is comparatively studied,
as apart from their myths of action and dogma, the more clear becomes
its entire dependence on previous lore, [461] and its failure even
to maintain the level of the best of that. The Sermon on the Mount
is wholly pre-Christian. [462] It is a Christian scholar who points
out that the Christian doctrine of forgiveness is fully set forth
in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, a century before the
Christian era. In his view, those verses [463] "contain the most
remarkable statement on the subject of forgiveness in all ancient
literature." [464] Why then does it not warm the heart of Professor
Schmiedel equally with the doctrine of the gospels? Simply because he
was brought up to assign pre-eminence to the teaching of Jesus--God
or Man. And here we have, in its fundamental form, that unchecked
assumption of "uniqueness" which secretly dictates the bulk of the
denials of the myth-theory. Canon Charles explicitly traces the
Jesuine teaching to the verses in question:

    That our Lord was acquainted with them, and that His teaching
    presupposes them, we must infer from the fact that the parallel
    is so perfect in thought and so close in diction between them and
    Luke xvii, 3; Matt. xvii, 15. [465] The meaning of forgiveness
    in both cases is the highest and noblest known to us....

One puts with diffidence the challenge, Was it then high and noble for
the Teacher to give out as his own the teaching of another, instead
of acknowledging it? Is it not incomparably more likely, on every
aspect of the case, that the older teaching was thus appropriated by
gospel-makers bent at once on giving the Divine One a high message
and on securing acceptance for it by putting it in his mouth? Is not
this the strict critical verdict, apart from any other issue?

The bias which balks at such a decision is the sign of the harm done
to intellectual ethic by the inculcated presupposition. It ought to
"warm the heart" of a good man to realize that the ideas which he has
been taught to think the noblest were not the "unique" production of
a Superman, but could be and were reached by Jews and Gentiles--for
they are Gentile also--whose very names are unknown to us. A doctrine
of forgiveness arose in prostrate Jewry precisely because rancour
had there reached its maximum. As a doctrine of asceticism rises in
a society where license has been at the extreme, so the phenomena of
hate breed a recoil from that. The doctrine of non-resistance was
current among the Pharisees of the period of the Maccabean revolt;
and the Testaments of the Patriarchs is the work of a Pharisee. And
the gospels have nevertheless taught all Christians to regard the
Pharisees collectively, with the Scribes, as a body devoid of all
goodness. There is, be it said--not for the first time--a pessimism
in the Christian conception of things; a pessimism which denies
the element of goodness in man in the very act of ascribing it as a
specialty to One, and relying on his "influence" to spread it among
men incapable of rising to it for themselves. The story of Lycurgus and
Alcander is the best ancient example to the precept, quite transcending
that of the good Samaritan, [466] and it is one of the antidotes to
the Christian pessimism which stultifies its own parable by denying
in effect that The Samaritan could think as ethically as The Jew.

It is pessimism, yet again, that accepts the verdict: "Christianity is
the truth of humanity." [467] Were it not that Dr. Schmiedel endorses
it, I should have been inclined to use a stronger term. This too is
myth-making. It would be strange indeed if any depth of truth were
sounded by men who had not the first elements of a conscience for
truth of statement, truth of history: whose very notion of truth
was a production of fiction. The "truth of humanity" is something
infinitely wider than the structure raised by the "prophets" and
"apostles" of the Jesus-cult, out of pre-existing materials, some
two thousand years ago; and humanity will outlive that presentment of
its cosmos and its destinies as it has outlived others. If it should
carry something of the one with it, so does it from the others--even
as the one drew from its predecessors; and it will certainly jettison
more than it will keep. I have not noted in the Testaments of the
Patriarchs any such nullification of its doctrine of forgiveness
as is embodied in the promise of future perdition for Chorazin and
Bethsaida, or in the story of Ananias and Sapphira, to say nothing
of the Jesuine doctrine of future torment. The hate that breathes in
"Ye brood of vipers"; in the continual malediction against Scribes
and Pharisees as universally hypocrites, "sons of Gehenna," making
their proselytes twice as bad as themselves; and in the Johannine
"your father the devil"--all these are "Christian" specialties,
turning to naught the Jewish precept of forgiveness.

And I can "see no prospect" of a long currency for Professor
Schmiedel's panegyric of fictitious sayings in Acts [468] as "of the
deepest that can be said about the inner Christian life." If that
be so, what amount of profundity goes to the whole construction
of the faith? How long is it to be maintained that the secret or
inspiration of good life lies in the ideas of men for whom the framing
of false history was a pious occupation? The main ethical content
of the Christian system, the moral doctrine by which the Church
has lived down till the other day, is the ethic-defying doctrine
of the redemption of mankind by a blood sacrifice--a survival of
immemorial savagery. That is still the specifically "evangelical"
view of Christianity. After living by the doctrine through two eras,
the slowly civilizing conscience of the Church has itself begun
to repudiate it; and we have the characteristic spectacle of its
defenders declaring that the very terms of the historic creed form a
libel framed by its enemies. Taught at last by human reason that the
doctrine of sacrifice is the negation of morality, they pretend that
that doctrine is not Christian. Without it, their Church would never
have taken its historic form. To eliminate it, they have to suppress
half their literature, prose and verse. The accommodations by which
the fundamental immorality has been modified in the interests of
saner morality are but the dictates of human experience; and these
dictates are in turn pretended to be the revelation of the faith that
flouted them.

Unless the world is again to retrogress collectively in its
civilization, this polemic will not long avail to obscure historic
issues. It is not merely the "religion" of Professor Drews, it is
the emancipated human reason, that denies the mortmain of ancient
Syria over the field of ethical thought, and claims the birthright
of modern man in his own moral law. Not one day has passed since the
penning of the Apocalypse without men's hating each other in the name
of Jesus. Wars generations long have been waged for interpretations
of the lore. Hatred and malice and all uncharitableness stamp all
the Sacred Books; and the literature of the Fathers imports into the
dwindling intellectual life of the West all the rancour of battling
Judaism. In our own day, Professor Schmiedel is malignantly assailed
in the name of the divinity of the figure of which he claims to
prove the exemplary humanity, his reasoned argument winning him
no goodwill from the supernaturalists. And around him there figure
virulent partisans, incapable of his candour, so little capable of
love for enemies that they cannot conduct a debate without passion,
perversion and insolence. A multitude of those who acclaim the gospel
Jesus as the supreme Teacher reveal themselves as below the standards
of normal candour.

From such pretenders to moral authority, the seeker for truth turns to
the layman similarly concerned, and to those professional scholars who
are capable of debating without passion, and in good faith. Professor
Schmiedel and M. Loisy are still, it is to be hoped, types of many. The
problem is in the end, unalterably, one of historical science; and
only by the use of all the methods of sound historical science will
it ever be solved.

It is not merely in regard to the study of Christian origins that
sociological problems are vitiated by the habitual passing of
à priori judgments on issues never critically considered. When
an expert hierologist like Dr. Budge tells us repeatedly that
in ancient Egypt a "highly spiritual," "lofty spiritual" and
"elevated" religion went hand in hand with a system of sorcery of
"degrading" savagery, [469] we are led to inquire how the estimates
of altitude are reached or justified. There appears to be no answer
save that Dr. Budge holds certain theories about the universe, and,
finding these more or less akin to the esoteric theology of Egypt,
laurels his own opinions in this fashion. But Dr. Budge is no more
entitled than any one else to settle such questions without rational
discussion, and the reason of some of us revolts at the concept of a
conjoined sublimity and imbecility as a spurious paradox. It is but a
convention of supernaturalist apriorism, figuring where it has no right
of entry. In precisely the same fashion, Dr. Estlin Carpenter credits
to the Aztecs a "lofty religious sentiment," avowed to be "strangely
blended with a hideous and sanguinary ritual." [470] The "lofty" is
again a wreath for the writer's own philosophy of religion, in terms
of which the act of the "good Samaritan," performed a million times by
unpretending human beings, was imaginable only by a supernormal Jew,
and unmatchable in pagan thought.

In a word, these moral pretensions had better be withdrawn from
the area of historical discussion proper. Involving as they do the
inference that "lofty" religious conceptions are not merely of no
moral value but potent sanctions for all manner of evil, they very
effectually stultify themselves. But rationalism needs not, and should
not seek, to turn such blunders to its account. As M. Loisy claims,
the ground of historic criticism is not the place for such polemic,
which tends only to confuse the scientific issue. That is hard enough
to solve, with the best will and the best methods.



(Nov. 1 and 8, 1891.)

[The following is a revised translation of the Didachê tôn dôdeka
apostolôn, discovered by Philotheos Bryennios, Metropolitan of
Nicomedia (then of Serres), in 1873, in the library attached to the
Monastery of the Most Holy Sepulchre, in the Phanar, or Greek quarter,
of Constantinople. It was part of a manuscript containing several
ancient documents, including two Epistles of Clement of Rome, which
Bryennios published in 1875. Not till 1883 did he publish the Didachê.

Of the genuineness of the MS. there can be no reasonable doubt. That
there was current in the early Church a "Teaching of the Twelve
Apostles" appears from Eusebius (H. E. iii, 25) and Athanasius (Festal
Epistle 39, C.E. 367). There were very good reasons why the Church,
as time went on, should desire to drop the Teaching from her current
literature. It is obviously in origin a purely Jewish document,
and the first six chapters show no trace of Jesuism. We have already
stated the reasons for concluding that the primary "Teaching" was the
official doctrine of the twelve Jewish apostles of the High Priest to
the Jews dispersed through the Roman Empire; that the Gospels borrowed
from it, and not the converse; that Judaic Jesuists adopted it, and
gradually interpolated it; and that it is the real foundation of the
legend of the twelve Jesuist apostles. The sub-title: "Teaching of
[the] Lord through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations" may have been
the original. "Lord" here has the force of "God."

On a first study, we found reasons [471] for deciding that the Epistle
of Barnabas, which in part closely coincides with the "Teaching,"
borrows from it, and not the converse. That view, though naturally
opposed by many orthodox scholars, who want to date the Teaching as
late as possible, was from the first, we find, put by Farrar and
by Zahn, and is convincingly maintained by the American editors,
though of course they take the conventional view that the document
is of Christian origin. Yet its Græco-Jewish origin, we feel certain,
will be plain to every open-minded reader at the first perusal. That
view was maintained by the Rev. Dr. C. Taylor, of St. John's College,
Cambridge, in two lectures given at the Royal Institution in 1886;
and it has been accepted by Dr. Salmon in his Introduction to the
Study of the New Testament. It was admitted to be probable by the
Rev. A. Gordon, in the Modern Review, July, 1884, but rejected by
the American editors (1885).

We have followed, with but few serious variations, the translation of
the American editors, Professors Hitchcock and Brown, which, on careful
comparison, we find to be the most faithful. Reasons for the main
variations are given in the notes. Of the elucidatory notes, some are
borrowed (with additions) from the American and French editions. The
English student may refer to the edition of Professors Hitchcock and
Brown, or to that of Canon Spence (1885), for the literature of the
matter. Needless to say, the clerical reasoning on the matter must
be viewed with constant caution.]

Teaching of the Twelve Apostles

Teaching of [the] Lord, through the Twelve Apostles, to the nations

Chap. I.--Two ways there are, one of life and one of death, and great
is the difference between the two ways. [473] The way of life, then,
is this: First, thou shalt love the God who made thee; secondly, thy
neighbour as thyself; [474] and all things whatsoever thou wouldest
not have befall thee, thou, too, do not to another. [475] And of these
words the teaching is this: Bless them that curse you, and pray for
your enemies, and fast for them that persecute you; [476] for what
thank [have ye] if ye love them that love you? Do not foreigners
[477] do the same? But love ye them that hate you and ye shall have
no enemy. Abstain from the fleshly and worldly lusts. [478] If any
one give thee a blow on the right cheek, turn to him the other also,
and thou shalt be perfect; [479] if any one compel thee to go one mile,
go with him twain; if any one take thy cloak, give him thy tunic also;
if any one take from thee what is thine, ask it not back; for indeed
thou canst not. [480] To every one that asketh thee give, and ask not
back; for to all the Father desireth to have given of his own free
gifts. [481] Blessed is he that giveth according to the commandment;
for he is guiltless; woe to him that receiveth; [482] for if, indeed,
one receiveth who hath need, he shall be guiltless; but he who hath
no need shall give account, why he took, and for what purpose, and
coming under confinement, [483] shall be examined concerning what he
did, and shall not go out thence until he pay the last farthing. And
it hath also been said concerning this: Let thine alms sweat in thy
hands, until thou knowest to whom thou shouldst give. [484]

Chap. II.--And a second commandment of the teaching is: Thou shalt not
kill, nor commit adultery, nor corrupt boys, not commit fornication,
nor steal, nor do magic, nor use sorcery, nor slay a child by abortion,
nor destroy what is conceived. Thou shalt not lust after the things
of thy neighbour, nor forswear thyself, nor bear false witness, nor
revile, nor be revengeful, nor be double-minded or double-tongued;
for a snare of death is the double tongue. Thy speech shall not be
false, nor empty, but filled with doing. Thou shalt not be covetous,
nor rapacious, nor a hypocrite, nor malicious, nor arrogant. Thou
shalt not take evil counsel against thy neighbour. Thou shalt hate
no man, but some thou shalt reprove, and for some thou shalt pray,
and some thou shalt love above thy life.

Chap. III.--My child, flee from every evil thing, and from everything
like it. Be not wrathful, for anger leadeth to murder; [485] nor
a zealot, [486] nor contentious, nor passionate; for of all these
murders are begotten. My child, become not lustful; for lust leadeth
to fornication; nor foul-mouthed, nor bold of gaze; [487] for of
all these things adulteries are begotten. My child, become not an
omen-watcher; [488] since it leadeth into idolatry; nor an enchanter,
nor an astrologer, nor a purifier, [489] nor be willing to look upon
these things; for of all these things idolatry is begotten. My child,
become not a liar; since lying leadeth to theft; nor avaricious,
nor vain-glorious; for of all these things thefts are begotten. My
child, become not a murmurer; since it leadeth to blasphemy; nor
self-willed, nor evil-minded; for of all these things blasphemies are
begotten. But be meek, since the meek shall inherit the earth. [490]
Become long-suffering and merciful and guileless and gentle and good,
and tremble continually at the words which thou hast heard. Thou shalt
not exalt thyself, nor allow over-boldness to thy soul. Thy soul shall
not cleave to the great, [491] but with the righteous and lowly thou
shalt consort. The experiences that befall thee shalt thou accept as
good, knowing that without God nothing happeneth.

Chap. IV.--My child, him that speaketh to thee the word of God thou
shalt remember night and day, [492] and honour him as [the] Lord;
for where that which pertaineth to the Lord [493] is spoken there
[the] Lord is. And thou shalt seek out daily the faces of the saints,
that thou mayest be refreshed by their words. Thou shalt not desire
division, but shall make peace between those who contend; thou
shalt judge justly; thou shalt not respect persons in reproving for
transgressions. Thou shalt not hesitate [494] whether it shall be or
not. Be not one who for receiving stretcheth out the hands, but for
giving draweth them in; if thou hast anything, by thy hands thou shalt
give a ransom for thy sins. [495] Thou shalt not hesitate to give,
nor when giving shalt thou murmur, for thou shalt know who is the good
dispenser of the recompense. Thou shalt not turn away from the needy,
but shalt share all things with thy brother, and shalt not say they
are thine own; for if ye are partners in that which is imperishable,
how much more in the perishable things? [496] Thou shalt not take off
thy hand from thy son and from thy daughter, [497] but from youth
shalt thou teach them the fear of God. Thou shalt not lay commands
in thy bitterness upon thy slave or girl-slave, who hope in the same
God, lest they perchance shall not fear the God over you both; for
he cometh not to call men according to the appearance, but to those
whom the spirit hath prepared. And ye, slaves, ye shall be subject to
your lords, as to God's image, [498] in modesty and fear. Thou shalt
hate every hypocrisy, and whatever is not pleasing to the Lord. Thou
shalt by no means forsake [the] Lord's commandments, but shall keep
what thou hast received, neither adding to it nor taking from it. In
church thou shalt confess thy transgressions, and shalt not draw near
for thy prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life.

Chap. V.--But the way of death is this: First of all it is evil,
and full of curse; murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts,
idolatries, magic arts, sorceries, robberies, false testimonies,
hypocrisies, duplicity, guile, arrogance, malice, self-will, greed,
foul speech, jealousy, [499] over-boldness, haughtiness, boasting;
persecutors of the good, hating truth, loving falsehood, knowing not
the reward of righteousness, not cleaving to that which is good nor to
righteous judgment, on the watch not for good but for evil; far from
whom are meekness and patience; loving vanities, seeking reward, [500]
not pitying a poor man, not grieving with one [501] in distress, not
knowing him that made them, murderers of children, destroyers of God's
image, [502] turning away from the needy, oppressing the afflicted,
advocates of the rich, lawless judges of the poor, universal sinners;
may ye be delivered, children, from all these.

Chap. VI.--See that no one lead thee astray from this way of the
teaching, because apart from God doth he teach thee. For if thou
art able to bear the whole yoke of the Lord, thou shalt be perfect;
but if thou art not able, what thou art able that do. And concerning
food, what thou art able, bear; but of that offered to idols, beware
exceedingly; for it is a worship of dead Gods.

[It will be observed that while there is a very marked transition after
ch. vi, a division may be held to begin after ch. v. In this connection
may be noted an interesting fact, brought out by the Rev. A. Gordon
in his examination of the Didachê. Nicephoros of Constantinople
(fl. 750-820) knew of a certain Teaching of the Apostles, which he
mentioned as containing 200 lines. Nicephoros also speaks of the
combined lengths of the two Epistles of Clement as amounting to
2,600 lines. Now, in the Jerusalem MS., which is closely written,
the Clementine Epistles occupy only 1,200 lines, which would give
for the Didachê, in the same writing, on the proportions mentioned
by Nicephoros, only 92 lines, whereas it occupies 203. Mr. Gordon
simply noted the fact as a difficulty. If however he had followed
up his own observation that the Didachê shows a division after the
fifth chapter, he would have found that the proportion of the first
five sections to the rest is nearly as 86 to 203; while with ch. vi
we should have a still closer approximation--88 to 203. We have here,
then, a virtual proof that Nicephoros had before him only these first
five or six chapters, and that the subsequent additions were not to be
found in all copies of the Teaching. The inference from the internal
evidence is thus remarkably confirmed. The original Teaching, once
more, was a purely Jewish document, without even a mention of Jesus.

It will be noted further that, while the first six chapters contain
no suggestion of anything beyond simple monotheism and general ethics,
and the sixth chapter ends with a warning against eating food offered
to idols, the seventh suddenly plunges into a prescription of baptism,
which introduces the formula of "the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit," and minutely provides for the manner of the ceremony. But the
eighth chapter evidently connects directly with the sixth, a direction
as to fasting following on the warning in that section against eating
meat offered to idols. It is thus perfectly clear that the entire
Trinitarian section on baptism is an interpolation. In the eighth
chapter, again, we have an interpolation of the words "as the Lord
commanded in his gospel." In C.M. (415 sq.) are set forth the weighty
reasons for concluding that the Lord's prayer, which is lacking in
Mark, and different in Luke, was a Jewish formula long before the
Christian era.

While the Christist interpolations are thus obvious after the sixth
chapter, it is not here assumed that the first six chapters as they
stand are a single original document. On the contrary, we are inclined
to think that the scheme of the "two ways" is itself a redaction of
an original document which gave the first "way" without preamble,
the present preamble and the fifth chapter being inserted to give
the dual form. On that view, the pre-Christian document may not
have stopped with the sixth chapter, though the definitely Christian
redaction begins with the seventh, as the document now stands. The
Trinitarian seventh chapter was almost certainly one of the latest
of the Christian additions. In the ninth, rules are laid down for the
Eucharist without any allusion to the Godhead of Jesus, who is spoken
of in Ebionitic terms as "Jesus thy servant," though Jesus Christ is
further on spoken of in more distinctly Christist terms. These are
evidently further additions. In the tenth chapter the Ebionitic tone
is resumed, Jesus being still only "thy servant"; while throughout the
rest of the document there is much teaching that might have come from
the Judaic apostles who propagated that of the earlier chapters. As to
this, however, it is difficult to come to a definite conclusion. All
that is certain is that the nucleus of the document was Judaic,
and that the Christian tamperings were made at different stages,
the earlier indicating the primary Ebionitic creed, in which Jesus
was merely a holy man, no more God than any other "Anointed."]

Chap. VII.--Now concerning baptism, thus baptise ye: having first
uttered all these things, baptise into the name of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if thou hast
not living water, [503] baptise in other water; and if thou canst
not in cold, [then] in warm. But if thou hast neither, pour water
upon the head thrice, [504] into the name of Father and Son and Holy
Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptiser and baptised fast,
and whatever others can; but the baptised thou shalt command to fast
for one or two days before.

Chap. VIII.--But let not your fastings be in common with the
hypocrites; for they fast on the second day of the week and on the
fifth; [505] but do ye fast during the fourth, and the preparation
[day]. [506] Nor pray ye like the hypocrites, but as the Lord [507]
commanded in his gospel, thus pray: Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, as in heaven,
so on earth; our daily bread give us to-day, and forgive us our debt
as we also forgive our debtors, and bring us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil; for thine is the power and the glory
forever. Three times in the day pray ye thus.

Chap. IX.--Now, concerning the Eucharist, [508] thus give thanks:
first, concerning the cup: We thank thee, our Father, for the holy
vine of David [509] thy servant, which thou hast made known to us
through Jesus thy servant; [510] to thee be the glory for ever. And
concerning the broken [bread]: We thank thee, our Father, for the
life and knowledge which thou hast made known to us through Jesus
thy servant; to thee be the glory for ever. [511] Just as this broken
[bread] was scattered over the hills and having been gathered together
became one, so let thy church be gathered from the ends of the earth
into thy kingdom; for thine is the glory and the power through Jesus
Christ forever.[3] But let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist,
except those baptised into the name of [the] Lord; for in regard to
this the Lord hath said: Give not that which is holy to the dogs. [512]

Chap. X.--Now after ye are filled [513] thus do ye give thanks: We
thank thee, holy Father, for thy holy name, which thou hast caused to
dwell in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality
which thou hast made known to us through Jesus thy servant; to thee
be the glory forever. Thou, Sovereign [514] Almighty, didst create
all things for thy name's sake; both food and drink thou didst give
to men for enjoyment, that they might give thanks to thee; but to us
thou hast graciously given spiritual food and drink and eternal life
through thy servant. Before all things we thank thee that thou art
mighty; to thee be the glory for ever. Remember, Lord, thy Church,
to deliver it from every evil and to make it perfect in thy love, and
gather it from the four winds, [it] the sanctified, into thy kingdom,
which thou hast prepared for it; for thine is the power and the glory
forever. Let grace come and let this world pass away. Hos-anna to the
God [515] of David! Whoever is holy, let him come, whoever is not,
let him repent. Maranatha. [516] Amen. But permit the prophets to
give thanks as much as they will.

Chap. XI.--Now, whoever cometh and teacheth you all these things
aforesaid, receive him; but if the teacher himself turn aside and
teach another teaching, so as to overthrow [this], do not hear him;
but [if he teach] so as to promote righteousness and knowledge of
[the] Lord, receive him as [the] Lord. Now in regard to the apostles
and prophets, according to the ordinance of the Gospel, so do ye. And
every apostle who cometh to you, let him be received as [the] Lord;
but he shall not remain [except for?] one day; if, however, there be
need, then the next [day]; but if he remain three days, he is a false
prophet. [517] But when the apostle departeth, let him take nothing
except bread enough till he lodge [again]; but if he ask money, he is
a false prophet. And every prophet who speaketh in the spirit, ye shall
not try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall
not be forgiven. [518] But not every one that speaketh in the spirit is
a prophet; but [only] if he have the ways of [the] Lord. So from their
ways shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. And no prophet
appointing a table [519] in the spirit, eateth of it, unless indeed
he is a false prophet; and every prophet who teacheth the truth, if he
do not that which he teacheth, is a false prophet. But every prophet,
tried, true, acting with a view to the mystery of the Church on earth,
[520] but not teaching [others] to do all that he himself doeth,
shall not be judged among you; for with God he hath his judgment;
for so did the ancient prophets also. But whoever, in the spirit,
saith: Give me money, or something else, ye shall not hear him;
but if for others in need he bids [you] give, let none judge him.

Chap. XII.--And let every one that cometh in [the] Lord's name be
received, but afterwards ye shall test and know him; for ye shall
have understanding, right and left. If he who cometh is a wayfarer,
help him as much as ye can; but he shall not remain with you, unless
for two or three days, if there be necessity. But if he will take
up his abode among you, being a craftsman, let him work and so eat;
but if he have no craft, provide, according to your understanding;
that no idler live with you as a Christian. But if he will not act
according to this, he is a Christmonger; [521] beware of such.

Chap. XIII.--But every true prophet who will settle among you is
worthy of his food. Likewise a true teacher, he also is worthy, like
the workman, of his food. [522] Every firstfruit, then, of the produce
of wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and of sheep, thou shalt
take and give to the prophets; for they are your high-priests. But
if ye have no prophet, give [it] to the poor. If thou makest a
baking of bread, take the first [of it] and give according to the
commandment. In like manner when thou openest a jar of wine or oil,
take the first [of it] and give to the prophets; and of money and
clothing and every possession, take the first, as may seem right to
thee, and give according to the commandment.

Chap. XIV.--And on the Lord's-day of [the] Lord [523] being assembled,
break bread, and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions,
in order that your sacrifice may be pure. But any one that hath
variance with his friend, let him not come together with you, until
they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be defiled. For this
is that which was spoken by [the] Lord: [524] At every place and time,
bring me a pure sacrifice; for a great king am I, saith [the] Lord,
and my name is marvellous among the nations. [525]

Chap. XV.--Now elect for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy
of the Lord, men meek and not avaricious, and upright and proved;
for they, too, render you the service [526] of the prophets and the
teachers. Therefore neglect them not; for they are the ones who are
honoured of you, together with the prophets and teachers.

And reprove one another, not in anger, but in peace, as ye have [it]
in the gospel; and to every one who erreth against another, let no
one speak, nor let him hear [anything] from you, until he repent. But
your prayers and your alms and all your deeds so do ye, as ye have
[it] in the gospel of our [527] Lord.

Chap. XVI.--Watch for your life; let not your lamps be gone out,
and let not your loins be loosed, but be ready; for ye know not the
hour in which our Lord cometh. But ye shall come together often,
and seek the things which befit your souls; for the whole time of
your faith will not profit you, if ye be not made perfect in the last
season. For in the last days the false prophets and the corruptors
shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and
love shall be turned into hate; for when lawlessness increaseth they
shall hate one another, and shall persecute and shall deliver up;
and then shall appear the world-deceiver as the Son of God, [528]
and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be given unto his
hands, and he shall commit iniquities which have never yet been done
since the beginning. Then all created men shall come into the fire
of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish. But
they that endure in their faith shall be saved from under even this
curse. And then shall appear the signs of truth; first the sign of
an opening [529] in heaven, then the sign of a trumpet's voice, and
thirdly, the resurrection of the dead; yet not of all, [530] but as it
hath been said: The Lord will come and all the saints with him. Then
shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.




Two questions are raised under this heading--the question whether,
as was argued by F. C. Baur, the "Simon Magus" of the "Clementine
Recognitions" and "Homilies" is a mask-name for a polemic directed
primarily at the Apostle Paul; and the more fundamental question
whether the Simon Magus of the Acts is or is not a historical

The reasons for holding Simon to be a mythical personage (as apart from
the reasons for supposing the Clementine Simon to be meant for Paul,
and the story of the Acts to be a misconceiving adaptation of the
Clementine narrative) are overwhelming. To begin with, Justin Martyr,
a Samaritan born, expressly says [531] that almost all the Samaritans
worshipped Simon. [532] This alone might dispose of the notion that the
"Simonians" dated merely from the time of Paul and Peter. It is absurd
to suppose that nearly all the Samaritans, a people with old cults,
could be converted within a century to a new Deity originating in
one man. The cult must date further back than that. And that Justin,
though of Samaritan birth, could widely misconceive the cults around
him, is pretty clear from his famous blunder of finding his Simon
Magus as Simo Sanctus in the Semo Sancus of Rome, the old Sabine
counterpart of the Eastern Semo. [533]

For there is abundant evidence, to begin with, that a name of which
the basis is Sem is one of the oldest of Semitic God-names. We have
the forms Shem, Sime-on, Sams-on, S(h)amas (the Babylonian name
of the sun; Hebrew Shemesh), San-d-on, or Samdan [534] Semen and
Sem, all plainly connected with a sun-myth. Shamas or Samas was an
Assyrian Sun-God, the duplicate of Melkarth and Hercules. Samson
or Simson or Shimshai (= the Sun-man), the Hebrew Sun-hero, is
unquestionably a mere variant of that myth. Sand-on, also a Sun-God,
is the same myth over again. Baal-Samen, "the Lord of Heaven,"
[535] is the same conception as Baal-Melkarth; Baal, "the Lord,"
a Sun-God himself as well as Supreme God, being joined with the
Sun-God proper. The name Sem, again, is found as signifying Hercules,
in conjunction with those of Harpocrates and the Egyptian Hermes,
[536] and is probably involved in the mythical queen-name Semiramis
(Sammuramat), since she in one of the myths gets her name from Simmas,
"keeper of the king's flocks," who rears her [537]--another form of
the Sun-God, belike. Simeon, in the myth of the twelve tribes, is
one of the twin-brethren, who in all mythologies are at bottom solar
deities. The "on" means "great," as in Samson, Dagon, Solomon, etc.;
[538] and the Dioscuri of the Greek and Roman myth were "the Great Twin
Brethren." It was added to the name of the Samaritan God Êl Êlyon,
"Great Êl," [539] who is just the Êl (singular of Elohim) of the
Hebrews. But the name Shem itself means "the Lofty"; [540] and the
name of the mythical ancestor of the Shemites is at bottom a God-name,
just as are those of Noach, Abram, Jacob, and Isra-el. It may also, it
appears, have had the significance of "red-shining." [541] And, last
but not least, the same vocable also has the significance of "name,"
so that the Semites or sons of S(h)em were also "the men with names"
[542]; and the Hebrew "Shem hemmaphorash" or Tetragrammaton was the
name of four letters (IEUE = Yahweh) or "the peculiar name." [543]
Lenormant declares [544] that this last tenet came from Chaldea, where
"they considered the divine name, the Shem, as endowed with properties
so special and individual that they succeeded in making of it a
distinct person." But this idea of the sacredness of the God-name was
one of the most prevalent of ancient religious notions. It was still
devoutly held by the Christian Origen, who argued [545] that the Hebrew
divine names must be held to because they alone were potent to conjure
with. It appears in the Judaic Teaching of the Twelve Apostles in its
Christianised form (c. x), in the passage of thanksgiving beginning,
"We thank thee, holy Father, for thy holy name, which thou hast made
to dwell in our hearts." In the Jewish Sepher Toledoth Jeschu, Jesus
is made to do his magic works by virtue of the "Shem hemmaphorash,"
the Tetragrammaton, of which he has furtively possessed himself. Thus
could an ancient God-name retain its mysterious prestige even after
the mystery-mongers (reversing the process imagined by Lenormant) had
taken the name-quality out of it, and left only the word for "name." In
other ways it clung to the Jewish cult. It is highly probable that the
pre-eminent Jewish prayer, the "Shema" (or the "Shemoneh Esreh"),
of which the name is explained away into insignificance, is an
extremely ancient prayer to the Sun-God. [546] Even this is sought
to be connected with a historical "Simon." [547] And all the while
the original God Sem survives in the Jewish mythology as "Shamma-el,"
the Prince of Demons and angel of death, who has power over all peoples
except the Jews; [548] and at the same time in the legend of Samu-el,
the unshorn, the child of the heretofore sterile mother (vexed by her
rival as Rachel by Leah), the potentate who makes and unmakes kings,
and who is called up as a "God" [549] from the earth by incantation.

But all this connects decisively with Samaria. It is not improbable
that the name Samaria itself was derived from the name of the Sun-God,
it being very much more likely that the mountain would be named
from the God who was worshipped on it than from a man Shemer. [550]
The last is obviously a worthless gloss. A reasonable alternative
view is that as the God-name Asshur is identified with the name of
the Assyrian country and people, whether giving or following their
race-name, so the Semitic God-name Shem is bound up with the name
Samaria, as that of Athênê with Athens. It is at all events clear
that, as is claimed by Volkmar, [551] Sem or Simon was the chief God
of the Samaritans. They declared to Antiochus, according to Josephus,
[552] that their temple on Mount Gerizim had no name, but was that of
"the greatest God"; and this squares with the other evidence, whether
or not it be true that they offered, as Josephus states, to dedicate
the temple to Zeus of the Hellenes. For, S(h)em being "the high,"
Sem-on would be the Great High One or Greatest God, just as Êl Êlyon
was the great Êl, the Great Power, Greatest of Powers. And as Sem-on
was also the Great Name, the God was in that sense without a name,
which circumstance is the explanation of the otherwise pointless
phrase of the Johannine Jesus (John iv, 22) to the Samaritan woman,
"Ye worship that which ye know not what." And all the ideas converge
in the phrases in the Acts (viii, 9-10), that Simon claimed to be
"some great one" (heauton megan) and was spoken of as "that power of
God which is called Great." In fine, Simon Magus, the Mage, is just
a version of Simon Megas, Great Simon.

We know from their version of the Pentateuch that the later Samaritans,
being strong "monotheists" in one of the senses of that elastic and
misleading term, sought always to substitute angels for Elohim in
the old narratives of divine action (e. g. Gen. iii, 5; v, 1; v, 24;
xvii, 22), "lest a corporeal existence should be attributed to the
Deity." [553] And it is instructive to note how their theological
drift exhibits itself in early Christism. The doctrine of the "Logos"
is not merely Alexandrian-Christian, it is Judaic. Some of the Aramaic
paraphrasts of the Old Testament at times wrote "the Word of Jehovah"
instead of the angel of Jehovah, sometimes the "She-kin-ah," which
means "the abode of the Word of Jehovah." [554] On the other hand,
we know from the Gospel of Peter that one of the early Christian sects
regarded Jesus as having received his dynamis, his power, at baptism,
and yielded it up at crucifixion. Here we are close to Samaritanism,
in which the angels were regarded [555] as "uncreated influences
proceeding from God (dynameis, powers)," pretty much as Simon is
described in the Acts. Thus "Simon" for the Samaritans would just be
"Êl," which the Samaritan Justin, like the writer of "Peter," held
to mean "Power." And at the same time, be it observed, Simon was
"the Word."

But still the proof abounds. In Lucian's account of the Syrian
Goddess we are told [556] that in the temple at Byblos there was a
statue, apparently epicene or double-sexed, called by some Dionysos,
by others Deucalion, and by others Semiramis, but to which the Syrians
gave no specific name, calling it only Semeion, a word which in Greek
properly means "sign," but may mean image. There can be little doubt
that Movers [557] was right in surmising this statue to be just the
primordial Sem or Sem-on, the Great Sem of the Semitic race. The
two-sexed character is in perfect keeping with the ideal duality of
the old Assyrian Nature-Gods; [558] and the peculiar detail of the name
which was not a name brings us again to the Sem-on of the Samaritans.

Everything in the Christian legend falls in with this
identification. The Fathers [559] tell us of one Helen, a prostitute
from Tyre, with whom Simon went about, and whom he gave out to be a
reincarnation of Helen of Troy, and also his "Thought." Helen is almost
unquestionably, as Baur [560] surmised, the Selene or Luna of the old
sun-cultus. In the paragraph following his account of the Semeion,
Lucian tells us that in the forepart of the same temple stands the
throne of Helios, but without a statue; Helios and Selene, the sun and
moon, being the only divinities not sculptured in the temple--though
he goes on to mention that behind the throne is a statue of a clothed
and bearded Apollo, quite different from the Greek form. Here, again,
we have a mystic conception of the Sun-God, a conception necessarily
confusing to ordinary visitors, even supposing the priests themselves
to have had any consistent ideas about it; and the fact [561] that the
temple further contained among other statues one of Helena (herself an
old Moon-Goddess), gave ample opportunity for the usual mythological
variants. Thus it came about that while Justin and Irenæus connect
Simon Magus with Helen, Irenæus says the Simonians have "an image of
Simon in the likeness of Jupiter, and of Helen in that of Minerva"--a
curious statement, which at once recalls that of Lucian [562] that the
Hêrê of the temple of Byblos "has something of Athênê and Aphrodite, of
Selene and Rhea, of Artemis, of Nemesis, and of the Parcæ." This again
squares with the fact that in the Chaldeo-Babylonian system Samas was
associated with the goddess Gula, "triform as personating the moon, and
sometimes replaced by a group of three spouses of equal rank, Malkit,
Gula, and Anunit." [563] And in the Latin translation by Rufinus of
the pseudo-Clementine "Recognitions," for Helena we actually have Luna.

The chain is complete. We are dealing not with a historic person or
persons, but with an ancient cult, which Christian ignorance and Judaic
"monotheism" between them strove to reduce somehow to a historical
narrative, as the myths of Abraham and Samson and Israel and Elijah
and a dozen others had been reduced, as the mythic ritual had been in
the gospels, and as indeed the rituals of Paganism had been in the
current pagan mythologies. There was no Samaritan Simon the Mage,
who met a Christian Peter; it was not a preaching Simon who taught
of himself, but the Samaritan populace who traditionally believed of
their God Sem or Simon, that "he appeared among the Jews as the Son,
while in Samaria he descended as the Father, and in the rest of the
nations he came as the Holy Spirit." [564] The parallel holds down
to the last jot. The Semeion of the temple of Byblos had a dove
on his head, [565] and there are abundant Jewish charges as to the
worship of a dove by the Samaritans at Mount Gerizim; [566] so that
Simon was the Logos receiving the Holy Spirit, the dynamis, just as
Jesus did in the Gospels; and the Christists' doctrine that the Holy
Spirit should be given to the nations is simply an adaptation of the
Samaritan syncretism, which they sought to override by a syncretism
of their own in their latest gospel, where it comes out that their
Galilean Jesus was called a Samaritan by Jews, [567] a charge which
curiously enough he does not dispute, denying only that he has "a
daimon." This is exactly the myth of Simon turned into a story of
an incarnate Messiah, who affirms his reality. [568] Well might the
Fathers call their imaginary "Simon" the Father of all heresies. He
was the "Father" in a sense of their own creed, as well as of all
the Gnosticisms into which it broke.


What hinders ordinary students from accepting Baur's view of
the "Clementine" Simon, which we have here sought to support,
is the existence of the fragments of writings attributed to Simon,
together with the circumstantialities of the story in the Acts and the
Fathers. But these circumstantialities are just the marks of all the
ancient myths, Jewish, Christian, and Gentile; and the attribution
of writings to Simon Magus no more proves his historical existence
than the same process proves the historical existence of Orpheus and
Moses. [569] The fragments and paraphrases preserved by the Fathers
are just part of the mass of ancient Occultism; and their connection
with the name of Simon the Mage is merely a variation of the Jewish
myth which attributes the authorship of the Zohar to Simon Ben Jochaï,
a mythical or mythicised personage if ever there was one. He is fabled
to have lived in a cave for twelve years, studying the Cabbala,
during which time he was visited by Elias. At his death fire was
seen in the cave, and a voice from heaven was heard saying, "Come
ye to the marriage of Simon Ben Jochaï: he is entering into peace,
and shall rest in his chamber." At his burial there was heard a voice
crying, "This is he who caused the earth to quake and the kingdoms to
shake." [570] Simon is said to have belonged to the first century of
the Christian era; while the Zohar is held to have been composed in
the 13th century. [571] In all probability the matter of the Zohar
is largely ancient; and the association of it (as of the Shema or
Shemoneh Esreh prayer) with the name Simon points distinctly to a
traditional vogue of the name in Semitic Gnosticism. But there is no
more reason to believe that an actual Simon composed the Zohar, or the
"Great Denial" (perhaps = antinomy) attributed to Simon the Mage,
than to believe in the above stories of the voices from heaven and
those of the miracles of the Mage in the Acts. The Talmudic legends
clearly point to a sun myth, bringing Simon into connection with Elias,
Eli-jah, an unquestionable Sun-God, who combines the names El and Jah,
though reduced by the Judaic Evemerising monotheists to the rank of a
judge-prophet, as was Samu-el, and as Sams-on was made a "judge." It
lay in the essence of ancient religiosity to do this, and at the same
time to seek to father all its documents on sacrosanct names. That a
real Samaritan Simon of the first century should write a new occultist
book and publish it as his own, is contrary to the whole spirit of
the time. Only centuries after the period of its composition could
such a book be attributed to an ordinary human author by those who
accepted it. If it was current in the first century, it must have
been either fathered on an ancient and mythical Simon or regarded as
a book of the mysteries of the God Simon. The opinions or statements
of the Christian Fathers concerning it are quite worthless save as
embodying a name-tradition.


There remains to be considered the theory of the Tübingen school that
the Christian legend of Simon Magus is to be found in its earliest form
in the "Clementines," that body of early sectarian forged literature
which has been made to yield so much light as to the early history
of the Christist Church. Here, in a set of writings ("Recognitions"
and "Homilies," of which books one is a redaction of the other),
purporting to be by Clement of Rome, we have a propaganda that is on
the face of it strongly Petrine, and that turns out on analysis to be
strongly anti-Pauline, though the gist of the matter is a series of
disputations between Peter and Simon the Mage. It is impossible at
present to settle what was the first form of these documents, which
as they stand bear marks of the third century, and survive only in
the Latin translation of Rufinus (d. 410); but it is plain that they
preserve elements of the early Ebionitic or Judæo-Christian opposition
to the Gentile Christism of Paul. The Tübingen theory is that under
the name of Simon Magus Paul is attacked throughout. This, at first
sight, certainly seems a fantastic thesis; but an examination of the
matter shows that it is very strongly founded. A leading feature in
the conduct of Simon Magus in the Clementines, as in the Acts, is his
attempt to purchase apostleship with money. Now, this corresponds very
closely with the act of Paul in bringing to Jerusalem a subsidy from
the Western churches, an act which, on the part of one not recognised
as an apostle, and exhibited in the Epistles as always on jealous
terms [572] with the Jerusalem apostles, would naturally rank as an
attempt to purchase the Holy Ghost with lucre. Again, Simon Magus
in the Clementines claims to rest his authority on divine visions,
which is exactly the position of Paul; [573] and Peter denies that
visions have such authority. Once recognise the primary strife between
Judaising and Gentilising Christians, of which there are so many
traces in New Testament and Patristic literature, and it is easy to
see that these are the very points on which the anti-Paulinists would
most bitterly oppose Paul and his movement. In the Clementines, Peter
not only opposes the Magus in Palestine, but follows him to Rome,
thus carrying the antagonism between the two sects over the whole
theoretic field. The fact that both Simon Peter and Simon Magus,
Cephas and Paul, are made to journey from East to West, and to die
in the West, like the immemorial Sun-God, is suggestive.

That the Judaists should give Paul a symbolical name, again, was quite
in keeping with the usual dialectic of the time, in which Rome, for
instance, figured as "Babylon," the typical great hostile city of
Jewish remembrance. Just as Babylon symbolised heathen oppression,
Samaria typified heathen heresy, the divergence from the Jewish cult
in a heathen direction. Such divergence was the Judaist gravamen
against Paul, who broke away from the law; and as Simon, Semo,
typified Samaritan heresy in general, it was peculiarly suited to
the arch-heretic who sought to overthrow the supreme privilege of
Jerusalem. Simon was the Samaritan "false Christ," and Paul's preaching
falsified the Judaic Christ. [574] And nothing is more remarkable in
the matter than the way in which the plainly patched-up reconciliatory
narrative of the Acts squares with this theory. The book of Acts is
explicable only on the hypothesis that it was designed, in its final
form, to reconcile the long-opposed sects by reconciling Peter and
Paul in a quasi-historical narrative. The narrative plainly clashes
with Paul's alleged Epistles. For the rest, it is managed largely
on the plan of duplicating the exploits of the two heroes, so that
Paul confutes Elymas as Peter does Simon, and closely duplicates
one of Peter's miracles. [575] Some legends were in existence to
start with, and others were invented to match them. Similarly the
dispute between Paul and Barnabas at Antioch was to supersede the
strife there between Paul and Peter. [576] If then the composer of
the Acts had before him a legend of Peter confuting Simon the Mage,
it would suit him to retain it, since thus would he best dissociate
the Mage from Paul. But, as Zeller points out, he is careful, first
of all, to place the story of the Mage before Paul's conversion;
and at the same time he shows he knows the original significance of
the charge against Simon Magus as to offering money, by ignoring the
most important of Paul's subsidies. [577]

The application of a great mass of the polemic against Simon Magus
in the Clementines is so obvious that the evasion of the problem by
Harnack and Salmon and others on futile pleas of "false appearances"
and "common-sense" is simply a confession of defeat. Baur's case,
after being dismissed on pretexts of "common-sense" by those who
could not meet it, is irresistibly restated by Schmiedel, on a
full survey of its development by Lipsius and others. The only
solution is, that the Clementines adapt for new purposes a mass of
old anti-Pauline matter. At the time at which they were redacted,
Paul had been established as a "catholic" figure; and there could be
no such hatred to him as breathes through the fierce impeachments of
the teaching of the Paulines in the Recognitions and Homilies. For it
is at the Epistles that the bulk of the attacks are directed. What has
been done is to use up, for a new polemic with heretics, a quantity of
old anti-Pauline literature in which the disguising of Paul under the
name of Simon Magus probably blinded the redactors to its purpose. For
them Simon was simply the arch-heretic, and it was against his detested
memory and persisting influence that they operated.

The theory is no doubt a complicated one; but when taken in its full
extent, as recognising the addition of the heresy of the Gnostic
Paulinist Marcion to that of Paul, it is perfectly consistent with
the documents; and there is really no other view worth discussing, as
regards the connection of Simon Magus with Peter. The orthodox belief
that Simon was an actual Samaritan who suddenly persuaded the people
of Samaria to regard him as a divine incarnation, as told in the Acts,
will not explain the mass of identities in the Clementines between the
teaching ascribed to him and the actual Pauline Epistles. In explaining
the choice of the name Simon for Paul by his Judaic antagonists, the
myth-theory is far more helpful than the view of Simon's historicity. A
"false God" Simon, the God of the typically misbelieving Samaritans,
would be by Jews reduced to human status as a matter of course, unless
he were simply classed as a "daimon." A "Simon the Mage" was for them
just the type they wanted wherewith to identify Paul, the new False
Teacher. To identify, on the other hand, a contemporary or lately
deceased Paul with a contemporary or lately deceased Simon would be
an idle device, missing the end in view. The name of such a Simon
would for purposes of aspersion be worth little or nothing. The name
had to be a widely and long notorious one, and the myth supplied it.


In conclusion, let it be noted that the bearing of the myth of
Simon Magus on Christianity is not limited to the explanation of
the Samaritan origins and the elucidation of the Paul-and-Peter
antagonism. The more the matter is looked into, the more reason is
seen for surmising that Samaria played a large part in the beginnings
of the Christian system. Samaria seems to have been beyond all other
parts of Palestine a crucible in which manifold cult-elements tended
to be fused by syncretic ideas; and the extent to which Samaria figures
in the fourth gospel is a phenomenon not yet adequately explained. The
fact that Jesus is there said to have been called a Samaritan reminds
us that among the movements of the "false Christs" so often alluded
to in the Gospels [578] a Samaritan cult of the mystic Christ may
have counted for much. The fourth gospel itself would come under the
anti-Pauline ban, inasmuch as, while Simon Magus is said to have sought
to substitute Mount Gerizim for Jerusalem, Jesus here [579] is made
to set aside both the Samaritan mountain and Jerusalem. The very fact
that the Samaritan woman professedly expects the coming of Messiah,
is a hint that the story of the well and the living water may be of
Samaritan Messianic origin. Nay more, since we know that the Samaritans
in particular laid stress on the Messiah Ben Joseph rather than on the
Messiah Ben David, they regarding themselves as of Josephite descent,
it is probable that the very legend of Jesus being the putative son
of one Joseph, which we know was absent from the Ebionite version
of Matthew, was framed to meet the Samaritan view. These matters are
still far from having been exhaustively considered.


[1] The charge of haste is posited as a preliminary to criticism by
the Rev. Dr. Thorburn in his work on The Mythical Interpretation of
the Gospels. Some examples of Dr. Thorburn's own haste will be found
in the following pages.

[2] Twenty years ago a French scholar gently included me in this

[3] I omit personalities.

[4] Art. by H. G. Wood in The Cambridge Magazine, Jan. 1917.

[5] Cp. H.J. 128-139.

[6] In the course of a second attack, the critic avows that he knows
of "no theory of gospel-origins, living or dead," which concedes
that the tragedy-story was added to the gospels as a separate
block. Reminded that the school of B. Weiss make their "Primitive
Gospel" end before the tragedy, he replies in a third attack that
that school is "obsolete"--i. e. neither living nor dead?

[7] It seems to have been the view of Mr. Cassels.

[8] Art. Gospels in Encyc. Bibl., ii, col. 1869.

[9] Ecce Deus, p. 93.

[10] Historical Christ, p. 182.

[11] Ecce Deus, pref. p. ix.

[12] Dr. Conybeare, The Historical Christ, p. 5.

[13] H.J. 112, 113, 128, 157 sq., 177 sq.

[14] Hist. of Greece, 10 vol. ed. 1888, ii, 462.

[15] Id. p. 500.

[16] Gesch. des Alterthums, ii (1893), 649. See the context for the
historic basis in general.

[17] Id. 427, 564.

[18] Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, 2nd ed. p. 91. Cp. 93 sq.

[19] Id. p. 100. Cp. 106-7, 123.

[20] Id. p. 105. Cp. 109.

[21] P.C. 274 sq. A proselytizing Catholic Professor in Glasgow
has represented me as denying the historicity of Apollonius, having
reached that opinion by intuition.

[22] The Bhagavat Gîta, which glorifies Krishna, is late relatively
to the cult.

[23] Cp. Gunkel, Zum religionsgeschichtlichen Verständnis des N.T.,
1903, p. 5 sq.

[24] Apropos d'histoire des religions, p. 290.

[25] Jesus, by William Renton. Pub. by author, Keswick, 1879.

[26] Rep. by R.P.A. 1907.

[27] The Mythical Interpretation of the Gospels, 1916.

[28] E. g. He takes as applying to Jesus (p. 377) a remark applied
expressly and solely to the myth of Herakles.

[29] Work cited, p. 10.

[30] Second Leben Jesu, § 91 (3te Aufl. p. 569).

[31] See refs. in Drews, The Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus,
Eng. trans. p. 23.

[32] As cited, p. 572.

[33] Jesus and Israel, Eng. tr., pp. viii, ix, 29.

[34] Putnams, 1912. I had not met with this work when I chose my own
title, The Historical Jesus, else I should have framed another.

[35] Work cited, pp. 335-353.

[36] Williams and Norgate, 1895.

[37] Work cited, p. 420.

[38] Id. p. 17, etc.

[39] The Historic Jesus, p. vii.

[40] In this connection he puts the theory--derived from the celebrated
Herr Chamberlain--that Jesus was not a Jew but an "Amorite."

[41] H.J. chs. xvii and xix.

[42] H.J. 199. On this compare The Four Gospels as Historical Records,
chs. vi-xiii.

[43] Canon Cheetham, Hulsean Lectures on The Mysteries, 1897, p. 115.

[44] "The primitive idea of the sacrificial meal, namely, that it is
by participation in the blood of the god that the spirit of the god
enters into his worshipper."--Prof. Jevons, Introd. to the Hist. of
Religion, 1896, p. 291. "Originally the death of the god was nothing
else than the death of the theanthropic victim."--Robertson Smith,
Religion of the Semites, 1889, p. 394.

[45] Jésus et la tradition évangélique, 1910, p. 106.

[46] H.J. 202-3.

[47] Loisy, p. 171.

[48] See refs. in H.J. 171; others in G.B. ix. 420 n. An overwhelming
case for the reading "Jesus (the) Barabbas" is established by
E. B. Nicholson, The Gospel according to the Hebrews, 1879, pp. 141-2.

[49] Mr. Lester translates "Son of a Teacher," but this (adopted by
Brandt) is an evasive rendering. He thinks the story, even if true,
had no connection with the condemnation of Jesus.

[50] Cp. Nicholson, as cited, p. 142.

[51] G.B. ix, 418; P.C. 146.

[52] G.B. ix, 419.

[53] Id. iv, ch. vi; P.C. 124.

[54] P.C. 152, 64; G.B. iv (Pt. III, The Dying God), 170 sq.

[55] P.C. 161. Cp. Turner, Samoa, 1884, 274-5; G.B. iv, ch. vi.

[56] P.C. 137, 161, 186; G.B. iv (Pt. III), 166.

[57] Macrobius, Saturnalia, i, 7. Cp. Varro, cit. by Lactantius,
Div. Inst. i, 21.

[58] G.B. iv, 14 sq., 46 sq., x, 1 sq.

[59] Cp. Ward's View of the Religion of the Hindoos, 5th ed. 1863,
p. 92.

[60] See P.C. 105 sq. as to the various motives of human sacrifice.

[61] Livy, viii, 9, 10; Lafcadio Hearn, Japan, 166; P.C., 138.

[62] Cp. Kalisch, Comm. on Leviticus, 1867, i, 366; P.C. 121.

[63] Robertson Smith, Semites, 391; F. B. Jevons, Introd. to Hist. of
Religion, pp. 274-93.

[64] P.C. 363.

[65] Id. 108 sq.

[66] Cp. G.B. Pt. III, The Dying God (vol. iv), 166 n., 214 sq.;
P.C. 116-117, 140.

[67] P.C. 364-8.

[68] Cp. Kalisch, as cited; G.B., as last cited; Ps. 106, etc.

[69] P.C. 158 sq. Hebrews, ix, 7, 25, suggests a cryptic meaning for
the sacrifice of atonement.

[70] As to Hebrew private sacraments, see P.C. 168 sq.

[71] P.C. 166. I do not find that Mr. R. T. Herford deals with this
matter in his valuable work on Christianity in Talmud and Midrash,

[72] See below, p. 104, as to the inferrible early forms of the
propaganda of the crucifixion.

[73] Mr. Joseph McCabe (Sources of Gospel Morality, p. 21) argues
against the myth-theory that the early Rabbis never question the
historicity of Jesus. But it is extremely likely that early Rabbis
did use the Barabbas argument before the gospel story was framed. In
an age destitute of historical literature and of critical method or
practice, it sufficed to turn their flank.

[74] C.M. 352, § 21, and refs. A fair "biographical" inference would
be that the betrayed Jesus had been an obscure person, not publicly
known. This inference, however, is never drawn.

[75] Ward's View of the Religion of the Hindoos, 5th ed. 1863, p. 91.

[76] Cp. Prof. Drews, The Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus,
Eng. tr. p. 54 sq., for Niemojewski's theory that Pilate = the
constellation Orion, pilatus, the javelin-bearer. This theory is not
endorsed by Drews.

[77] P.C. 137.

[78] G.B. ix, 412 sq.

[79] G.B. ix, 415, note.

[80] Justin Martyr, Dial. with Trypho, c. 40.

[81] G.B. ix, 357 sq.

[82] P.C. 146; G.B. ix, 359.

[83] Second Leben Jesu, § 83.

[84] Die evang. Geschichte, p. 156.

[85] G.B. Pt. III (vol. iv), 113-114.

[86] "Upon an ass and [even in R.V.] upon a colt, the foal of an ass,"
Zech. ix, 9. I should explain that in denying that such "tautologies"
were normal in the Old Testament I had in view narrative passages.

[87] C.M. 338-341.

[88] Gen. xlix, 11.

[89] The Historical Christ, p. 22.

[90] See p. 19, note, ref. to M. Durkheim. M. Durkheim is one of the
greatest of anthropologists; he is not a mythologist at all.

[91] C.M. 340.

[92] Id. 341.

[93] Id. 218, note.

[94] Work cited, p. 14.

[95] Id. p. 76.

[96] See his Myth, Magic, and Morals, 2nd ed. p. 302.

[97] Comm. in Joh. x, 16, cited by Strauss. See his first Life of
Jesus, Pt. II, ch. vii, § 88, for the views of the commentators on
the episode.

[98] G.B. ix, 417.

[99] Cultes, mythes, et religions, i, 338.

[100] In John, the high priest is actually made to remonstrate from
a Jewish point of view, by way of enforcing the Christian conclusion.

[101] Jésus et la tradition, p. 76.

[102] There might be involved, again, a reminiscence of the
crucifixion of the last independent king of the Jews, Antigonus,
by Mark Antony. C.M. 364.

[103] C.M. 365.

[104] P.C. 130 sq., 363. Cp. Robertson Smith, Religion of the Semites,
p. 391; Greenidge, Roman Public Life, p. 55, citing Pliny, H.N. xviii,
iii, 12.

[105] Apology and Acts of Apollonius, etc., ed. by F. C. Conybeare,
1894, p. 270. Here Dr. Conybeare momentarily appears as a

[106] Id. p. 258.

[107] P.C. 115.

[108] The Christ Myth, Eng. trans. pp. 65-68.

[109] Cp. Cheyne, Introd. to Isaiah, 1895, pp. 304-5, as to Ewald's
theory that Jeremiah may have been meant.

[110] So to be estimated whether he be "the" Deutero-Isaiah or a
song-writer whose work has been incorporated. Cp. Cheyne, as cited,
and his art. Isaiah in Encyc. Bib.

[111] The terms "Christists" and "Jesuists" are, it need hardly be
said, used for the sake of exactitude. The term "early Christians"
would often convey a different and misleading idea. There were Jesuists
and Christists before the "Christian" movement arose. Dr. Conybeare
pronounces such terms "jargon" (Histor. Christ, p. 94). In the next
line he illustrates the delicacy of his own academic taste by the
terms "tag-rag and bobtail." Such slang abounds in his book, and this
particular phrase recurs (p. 183).

[112] It is interesting to note that in the Gospel of Peter one of
the malefactors is represented as speaking to the Jews in defence of
Jesus, whereupon they break his legs in vengeance.

[113] Ex. xii, 46; Num. ix, 12. Cp. Ps. xxxiv, 20.

[114] P.C. 113, 155.

[115] Granum turis in poculo vini, ut alienetur mens ejus. Talmud,
tract. Sanhedrin.

[116] Vinegar in the Alexandrian Codex.

[117] C.M. 367.

[118] John xi, 50.

[119] See the whole question minutely discussed in Strauss, Pt. III,
ch. iv, § 134.

[120] Zech. xii, 10.

[121] P.C. 125-6.

[122] Ps. xxii, 18. The citation in Mt. xxvii, 35 (omitted in R.V.) is
a late interpolation, found in the Codex Sangallensis.

[123] C.M. 380.

[124] C.M. 364.

[125] C.M. 369 sq.; P.C. 150 sq.

[126] P.C. 319.

[127] P.C. 151, 368, note.

[128] P.C. 113, top. The preceding hypothesis with regard to the
Meriah post is an error. Mr. H. G. Wood informs me he has learned
from the Museum authorities at Madras that the apparent cross-bar
was really a projection, representing the head of an elephant, to
the trunk of which the victim was tied.

[129] P.C. App. A.

[130] C.M. 376.

[131] P.C. 196.

[132] Gal. iii, 1.

[133] vi, 17.

[134] De Dea Syria, 59.

[135] C.M. 373.

[136] P.C. 371.

[137] P.C. 157.

[138] C.M. 375.

[139] Id. 377.

[140] P.C. 166. Cp. Drews, Christ Myth, 42.

[141] Judge T. L. Strange, Contributions, etc., 1881. "The Portraiture
and Mission of Jesus," p. 6.

[142] Cp. Charles, introd. to The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs,
1908, p. xvi, as to John Hyrcanus.

[143] Cp. Charles, The Apocalypse of Baruch, 1896, pp. 52-53,
notes. The Messiah, in the view there discussed, was to have been
"concealed"--another cue for the evangelists.

[144] H.J. 153 sq.

[145] P.C. 304-6, 316-18; C.M. 331 and note.

[146] Conybeare, Historical Christ, p. 19.

[147] Col. Conder, The City of Jerusalem, 1909, p. 3, citing Rix.

[148] Id. p. 9.

[149] Id. p. 10; Eusebius, Life of Constantine, iii, 42.

[150] Conder, p. 13.

[151] Walter Menzies, Notes of a Holiday Excursion, 1897, p. 89.

[152] Work cited, pp. 154-5.

[153] Id. p. 156.

[154] Id. p. 140.

[155] "Il est à supposer," are M. Loisy's words. Jésus et la
trad. évang., p. 107.

[156] Myth, Magic, and Morals, 2nd edit. p. 297.

[157] G.B. iv, 56. Cp. 154.

[158] 1 Cor. x, 21. I say "Paul" as I say "Matthew" or "John,"
for brevity's sake, not at all as accepting the ascriptions of
the books. Van Manen's thesis that all the Epistles of "Paul" are
pseudepigraphic is probably very near the truth.

[159] The retention of "devils" in the Revised Version, with
"Gr. demons" only in the margin, is an abuse. For the Greeks,
there were good daimons as well as bad; and "demon" is not the real
equivalent of "daimon."

[160] C.M. 179, note.

[161] Cp. Athenæus, vi, 26-27; Schömann, Griechische Alterthümer,
3te Aufl. ii, 418-19; Foucart, Des associations religieuses, 50-52;
Miss Harrison, Themis, p. 154; Menzies, History of Religion, p. 292.

[162] P.C. 194 sq., 306; C.M. 381, note.

[163] G.B. ix, 374 sq.

[164] On the points enumerated under heads 4-7 see Schürer, Jewish
People in the Time of Christ, Eng. tr. Div. II, i, 11-36. In regard to
my former specification of such influences (P.C. 204), Dr. Conybeare
alleges (p. 49) that I "hint" that the Jesuist mystery-play was
performed "in the temples (sic) built by Herod at Damascus and Jericho,
and in the theatres of the Greek town at Gadara." This cannot be
regarded as one of Dr. Conybeare's hallucinations: it is one of his
random falsifications. No "hint" of the kind was ever given. The
mystery-play is always represented by me as secretly performed.

[165] Cp. Ezra and Nehemiah.

[166] P.C. 168 sq.

[167] Schürer, as cited, iii, 225.

[168] Thus Dr. Conybeare, constantly. Upon his view, the Essenes can
never have existed.

[169] Schürer, as cited, i, 3-4.

[170] Cp. Gunkel, Zum Verständnis des N.T., as cited, p. 20.

[171] The later documentists in such cases substituted an angel;
but that was certainly not the early idea. See C.M. 112; Etheridge,
Targums on the Pentateuch, i, 1862, p. 5.

[172] Jer. xi, 13.

[173] Ezek. viii, 14.

[174] P.C. 162.

[175] P.C. 321.

[176] E.g. the Biblical accounts of the adoption of Canaanite Gods
by Israelites who married Canaanite women.

[177] E.g. the special adoption of Greek deities by Romans, apart
from the political practice of enrolling deities of conquered States
in the Roman Pantheon.

[178] S.H.F. i, 44-45.

[179] S.H.F. i, 48-49.

[180] C.M. 35, and note.

[181] See many details in C.M., pp. 52-57.

[182] Refs. in P.C. 51, note 6. Dr. Conybeare (pp. 29, 30) meets such
conclusions of scholars (Stade, Winckler, Sayce, etc.) by excluding
them from his list of "serious Semitic scholars."

[183] Exod. xviii, 12.

[184] Gen. xiv, 18; Ps. cx, 4.

[185] Heb. vii, 3. Cp. v, 6, 10; vii, 11, 17.

[186] P.C. 179.

[187] E.S. 115; Hatch, Hibbert Lectures, p. 291 sq.

[188] Or Jehoshua--the Hebrew name of which Iesous is the Greek

[189] P.C. 163.

[190] The miracle of hastening the sun's setting is in Homer
(Il. xviii, 239) assigned to Hêrê, the chief Goddess.

[191] P.C. 220.

[192] Josh. v, 13-15 is clearly late. In ch. xxiv the angel is not

[193] P.C. 314, 315.

[194] Etheridge, The Targums on the Pentateuch, 1862, p. 5.

[195] The Samaritans have a late book ascribing to him many feats
not given in the Jewish records. Concerning this Professor Drews
wrote (Christ Myth, p. 57, note):--"The Samaritan Book of Joshua
(Chronicon Samaritanum, published 1848) was written in Arabic
during the thirteenth century in Egypt, and is based upon an old
work compiled in the third century B.C." Dr. Conybeare (Hist. Christ,
p. 33) declares the last statement to be "founded on pure ignorance,"
adding: "and the Encyclopædia Biblica declares it to be a medieval
production of no value to anyone except the student of the Samaritan
sect under Moslem rule." Be it observed (1) that Dr. Drews had
actually described the book as a medieval production; (2), that
his whole point was that it was legendary, not historical; and (3)
that the Ency. Bib. article, which bears out both propositions,
uses no such language as Dr. Conybeare ascribes to it after the word
"production," and says nothing whatever on the hypothesis that the
book is founded on a compilation of the third century B.C. That
hypothesis, framed by Hebraists, is one upon which Dr. Conybeare
has not the slightest right to an opinion. Dr. A. E. Cowley, in the
Encyc. Brit., describes the book as derived from "sources of various
dates." That being so, Dr. Conybeare, who as usual has wholly failed
to understand what he is attacking, has never touched the position,
which is that Joshua legends so flourished among the Samaritans that
they are preserved in a medieval book--unless he means to allege that
the legends are of medieval invention, a proposition which, indeed,
would fitly consummate his excursion.

[196] Yeho-shua = "Yah [or Yeho] is welfare."

[197] Cp. Josh. v, 2-10.

[198] Canon Charles, The Book of Jubilees, 1902, p. 9, note 29.

[199] This thesis was substantially put by me in the first edition of
Pagan Christs (1903). Dr. Conybeare, who appears incapable of accuracy
in such matters, ascribes the Joshua theory (Hist. Christ, pp. 32,
35) and the special hypothesis that Joshua was mythically the son of
Miriam, to Professor Smith, who never broached either. His pretext
is a passage in the preface to the second edition of Christianity
and Mythology, which he perverts in defiance of the context. On this
basis he proceeds to charge "imitation." Aspersion in Dr. Conybeare's
polemic is usually thus independent of fact.

[200] Historical Christ, p. 17.

[201] Id. pp. 8-9.

[202] Neither is it put by Prof. Drews, who merely cites (above,
p. 41, note) from Niemojewski, without endorsing it, an "astral"
theory of Jesus and Pilate. Dr. Conybeare appears incapable of giving
a true account of anything he antagonizes, whether in politics
or in religion. Elsewhere Drews speaks of astral elements in the
Christ story; but so do those adherents of the biographical school
who recognize the zodiacal source of the Woman-and-Child myth in

[203] At another point (p. 87, note) Dr. Conybeare triumphantly
cites Winckler as saying that "the humanization of the Joshua myth
was complete when the book of Joshua was compiled." This grants
the whole case. "Humanization" tells of previous deity; and just as
Achilles remained a God after being presented in the Iliad, Joshua
was "human" only for those whose sole lore concerning him was that
of the Hexateuch.

[204] Der vorchristliche Jesus, p. 1 sq.

[205] Mk. v, 27; Lk. xxiv, 19; Acts xviii, 25; xxviii, 31.

[206] Perhaps an exception should be made of Dr. Conybeare,
who believes Jesus to have been a "successful exorcist"
(M.M.M. p. 142). This writer sees no difficulty in the fact that in
Mark Jesus is no exorcist at Nazareth, and refuses to work wonders.

[207] P.C. 164.

[208] Rev. xxi, 14.

[209] iv, 4.

[210] Cp. ii, 9; iii, 9.

[211] iii, 14, 15; xix, 13.

[212] Origins of Christianity, ed. 1914, p. 27.

[213] Found in the Alexandrian and Vatican codices, and preferred by
Lachmann, Tregelles, and Westcott and Hort.

[214] to deuteron. The R.V. puts "afterward" in the text, with
"Gr. the second time" in the margin. Mr. Whittaker reads "afterward"
also, after "the second time"--apparently by oversight.

[215] Deane, Pseudepigrapha, 1891, p. 312.

[216] Josh. xxiv, 31, in Septuagint.

[217] C.M. 352.

[218] Art. by H. G. Wood in The Cambridge Magazine, Jan. 20, 1917,
p. 216.

[219] P.C. 202.

[220] Cambridge Magazine, Feb. 3, 1917, p. 289.

[221] G.B. v, 45 sq., 223; P.C. 364, 373-4.

[222] P.C. 112 sq., 131 sq., 140, 142, 144, 352, 362-4, 368.

[223] C.M. 354. I find that Volkmar (there cited) had in one of his
later works put the theory that the traitor, whom he held to be an
invention of the later Paulinists, would be named Juda as typifying
Judaism. The myth-theory is not necessarily committed to the whole of
this thesis, but the objections of Brandt (Die evang. Gesch. pp. 15-18)
seem to me invalid. He always reasons on the presupposition of
a central historicity, and argues as if Mark could not have been
interpolated at the points where Judas is named.

[224] C.M. 208, notes.

[225] Der vorchristliche Jesus, 1906, Vorwort by Schmiedel, p. vii,
and pp. 27-28. Ecce Deus, 1912, pp. 18, 332.

[226] Ecce Deus, pp. 16, 18, 50 sq., 70, 135; Der vorchr. Jesus,
p. 40. But see Ecce Deus, pp. 66 and 196, where the thesis is modified.

[227] In the Literary Guide of June, 1913, Professor Smith defends his
thesis against another critic. The reader should consult that article.

[228] S.H.C. 33 sq.

[229] Id. 35-36.

[230] On this problem cp. Prof. Smith, Ecce Deus, 251 sq.; and
Prof. Drews, Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus, Eng. tr. p. 19.

[231] Enoch, xxxviii, 2; liii, 6.

[232] Id. xl, 5, and often.

[233] Id. xlvi, 2, 3, etc.

[234] Id. xlviii, 10; lii, 4.

[235] Id. lxii, 5.

[236] Schodde's introd. p. 51.

[237] Dr. Rendel Harris, Odes of Solomon, 1909, introd. p. 72.

[238] Harris, as cited, pp. 118, 125, 128, etc.

[239] Dr. Harris pronounces that an account in the Odes of the Virgin
Birth (xix) must be later than the first century (p. 116). But this
begs the question as to the source of that myth.

[240] Apropos d'hist. des religions, p. 272.

[241] Refutation of all Heresies, v, 5 (11).

[242] Cp. Drews, The Christ Myth, p. 54; and 2nd ed. of original,
p. 24.

[243] Drews, p. 59; Loisy, p. 273.

[244] C.M. 316 sq.

[245] C.M. 363.

[246] Id. 364.

[247] Hæres. XXX.

[248] S.H.C. 6; C.M. 316.

[249] C.M. 314.

[250] Der vorchristliche Jesus, pp. 42-70; Ecce Deus, pt. vi.

[251] C.M. 314.

[252] Paper on "The Syriac Forms of New Testament Names," in Proc. of
the British Academy, vol. v, 1912, pp. 17-18.

[253] C.M. 312. The thesis was put by me twenty-eight years ago.

[254] Der vorchr. Jesus, p. 54 sq.

[255] C.M. 316.

[256] Der vorchr. Jesus, pp. 56, 65.

[257] Cp. Philo Judæus, De Profugis:--"The Divine Word ... existing
as the image of God, is the eldest of all things that can be known,
placed nearest, and without anything intervening, to him who alone
is the self-existent."

[258] Friedländer's thesis that the Minim were early Gnostics seems to
be completely upset by Mr. Herford, Christianity in Talmud, p. 368 sq.

[259] Id. pp. 255-266.

[260] The fact that the Talmudic allusions to the Minim include no
discussion of the Christist doctrine of the Messiah (Herford, pp. 277,
279) goes to show that a Messianic doctrine had been no part of the
early cult, and that among the Jesuists who kept up their connection
with Judaism it gathered, or kept, no hold.

[261] Cp. Volkmar, Die Religion Jesu, 1857, p. 287.

[262] Justin, 1 Apol. 26.

[263] Id. ib.

[264] See the whole subject discussed in Appendix B.

[265] C. 120, end.

[266] See H. J. 182.

[267] Ecce Deus, p. 68. In his article in the Literary Guide, June,
1913, Professor Smith argues that only as a protest against idolatry
and a crusade for monotheism could Proto-Christianity have succeeded
with the Gentiles. But that was simply the line of Judaism, which had
no Son-God to cloud its monotheism. Surely Jesuism appealed to the
Gentiles primarily as did other Saviour-cults, ultimately distancing
these by reason of organization.

[268] Cp. Les Apôtres, p. 107; Saint Paul, pp. 562-3.

[269] Cp. S.H.C. 82.

[270] 19 Antiq. iii, 3.

[271] Ecce Deus, p. 230 sq.

[272] 20 Antiq. xi, 3.

[273] Life, § 2.

[274] XVIII, i, 6.

[275] 20 Antiq. ix, 1.

[276] Ecce Deus, pp. 235-6.

[277] The Jesus of History and the Jesus of Tradition Identified. By
George Solomon. Reeves and Turner, 1880.

[278] Here Mr. Solomon, without offering any explanation, identifies
Josephus's Jesus son of Sapphias, who was chief magistrate in Tiberias,
with Jesus the robber captain of the borders of Ptolemais (§ 22)--a
different person. I give his theory as he puts it. (Work cited,
pp. 164-179.)

[279] Dr. Conybeare puts it as axiomatic that Jesus always speaks in
Mark "as a Jew to Jews." Thus are facts "gross as a mountain, open,
palpable," sought to be outfaced by verbiage.

[280] This aspect of the problem seems to be ignored by Erich Haupt
(Zum Verständnis des Apostolats im neuen Testament 1896), who finds
the choice of the twelve historical.

[281] See the passage in Baring Gould's Lost and Hostile Gospels,
1874, p. 61; and in Herford's Christianity in Talmud and Midrash,
1903, p. 90.

[282] Hibbert Journal, July, 1911, cited by Prof. Smith, Ecce Deus,
p. 318.

[283] C.M. 344. For the convenience of the reader I reprint in an
Appendix an annotated translation I published in 1891--a revision of
that of Messrs. Hitchcock and Brown, compared with a number of others.

[284] Cp. "His Servant Jesus" in Acts iii, 13, 26; iv, 27, 30.

[285] C.M. 415 sq.

[286] Supernatural Religion, R.P.A. rep. p. 153.

[287] See the notes to translation in Appendix.

[288] It goes back to Jeremiah, xxi, 8.

[289] Encyc. Bib. i, 261.

[290] Cp. Prof. A. Seeberg, Die Didache des Judentums und der
Urchristenheit, 1908, p. 8; and his previous works, cited by him.

[291] C.M. 344.

[292] A. Seeberg, work cited, p. 1.

[293] Dr. Conybeare nevertheless (Histor. Christ, p. 3) calls it a
"characteristically Christian document," in an argument which maintains
the early currency and general historicity of Mark.

[294] This thesis was put in C.M. 345. Yet Dr. Conybeare alleges
(p. 20) that I represent Jesus as surrounded by twelve disciples solely
because of the twelve signs of the zodiac. The latter item is given
simply as an explanation of the calling of the twelve on a mountain
(412), which Dr. Conybeare finds quite historical.

[295] It was probably about the year 80 that the Jewish authorities
framed the formula by which they sought to mark off "the Minim"
from the Judaic fold.--Herford, Christianity in Talmud, pp. 135, 385-7.

[296] Mr. Lester (The Historic Jesus, p. 84) argues that the baptism
of Jesus by John must be historical, since to invent it would be
gratuitously to make him "in a way subordinate to John." But when
John is put as the Forerunner, acclaiming the Messiah, where is the

[297] C.M. 396.

[298] H.J. 135-6.

[299] Encyc. Bib. art. Baptism.

[300] A temporary Messianic Kingdom is set forth about 100 B.C. in
the Book of Jubilees (ed. Charles, 1902, introd. p. lxxxvii).

[301] Charles, introd. to the Assumption of Moses, 1897, pp. xiii-xiv,

[302] Id. pp. xi, 41.

[303] Charles, introd. to the Apocalypse of Baruch, 1896, pp. vii-viii.

[304] Id. p. lv, and refs.

[305] See above, p. 117, n.

[306] Above, p. 66.

[307] Cp. Mk. i, 8.

[308] In Hebrews vi, 2, also, baptism appears to be disparaged. But
vv. 1-2 are incoherent. Green's translation gives a passable sense:
the R.V. does not.

[309] Acts x, 48.

[310] Mt. xxviii, 19. Cp. Mk. xvi, 16.

[311] Testaments, ed. Charles, 1908, pp. xvi, 121.

[312] H.J. ch. vi.

[313] Van Manen, as summarized by Mr. Whittaker, Origins of
Christianity, ed. 1914, p. 78, citing Epiphanius, Hær. xxx, 16.

[314] Id. pp. 124-5, 199.

[315] Eusebius, Eccles. Hist. iii, 24.

[316] Cp. Van Manen in Whittaker, p. 182.

[317] E.g. the dating of the rising of Theudas before the "enrolment"
of Luke (6 C.E.); whereas Josephus places it about the year 45.

[318] The reference to "Aretas the King" in 2 Cor. xi, 32, one of the
few possible clues in the Epistles, yields no certain date, and indeed
creates a crux for the historians. See art. Aretas in Encyc. Bib.

[319] Cp. Van Manen, as cited.

[320] H.J. 199-203.

[321] Cp. Schmiedel, art. Gospels in Encyc. Bib. col. 1890.

[322] P.C. 316 n.

[323] P.C. 281.

[324] See S.H.F., chs. iii and v; and cp. Whittaker, Priests,
Philosophers, and Prophets, 1911.

[325] P.C. 67 sq.

[326] S.H.F. ch. iv.

[327] First put by M. Maurice Vernes, Du prétendu polythéisme des
Hebreux, 1891.

[328] See The Source of the Christian Tradition, by E. Dujardin:
Eng. trans. R.P.A., p. 32; and the citations from MM. Vernes and
Dujardin in Mr. Whittaker's Priests, Philosophers, and Prophets,
1911, pp. 124-127.

[329] Mr. Whittaker (p. 128) puts the view that Jewish monotheism was
really a reduction of the universalist monotheism of the Mesopotamian
priesthoods to the purposes of a nationalist God-cult.

[330] S.H.F. i, 44-46.

[331] Even Dean Inge avows that "The distinctive feature of the Jewish
religion is not, as is often supposed, its monotheism. Hebrew religion
in its golden age was monolatry rather than monotheism; and when
Jehovah became more strictly the only God, the cult of intermediate
beings came in, and restored a quasi-polytheism."--Art. "St. Paul"
in Quarterly Review, Jan. 1914, p. 54.

[332] See, however, the contrary thesis maintained by Dr. A. Causse,
Les Prophètes d'Israel et les religions de l'orient, 1913.

[333] Ecce Deus, pp. 71, 75.

[334] Cp. Whittaker, Priests, Philosophers, and Prophets, p. 45.

[335] Cp. Supernatural Religion, ch. iv.

[336] E.g. Art. in The Atlantic Monthly, Nov. 1916, p. 605.

[337] Cp. J. A. Farrer, Paganism and Christianity, R.P.A. rep. pp.,
19-20; Dr. J. E. Carpenter, Phases of Early Christianity, 1916,
p. 57 sq.

[338] It may be argued that the really swift triumph of Islam in a
later age goes to support Professor Smith's thesis. But the triumph
of Islam was primarily military. And Islam too kept its cortège of

[339] E.g. in modern China.

[340] P.C. 62-63.

[341] S.H.F. i, 34, 72.

[342] Cp. Weizsäcker, The Apostolic Age, Eng. trans, i, 55. It is
just possible that among people devoutly awaiting the imminent end
of the world, some such communions might have a brief existence.

[343] A good support to Hobbes's thesis that the sin against the Holy
Ghost is sin against the ecclesiastical power.

[344] S.H.C. 70.

[345] Cp. Acts xiii, 1; xv, 32; Rev. xvi, 6; xviii, 20, 24.

[346] Bampton Lectures on The Organization of the Early Christian
Churches, 3rd. ed. 1888, p. ix.

[347] E.S. 113-115.

[348] Hatch, 26. Cp. his Hibbert Lectures, p. 291 sq.

[349] Id. Organization 28.

[350] Id. 28; Foucart, as there cited.

[351] As Hatch notes, p. 35, Clemens Romanus (ii, 16) echoes Tobit,
xii, 8, 9, as to the blessedness of almsgiving. Cp. his citations
from Lactantius, Chrysostom, and the Apostolical Constitutions.

[352] Hatch, p. 35.

[353] Id. p 35.

[354] Hatch, p. 37.

[355] S.H.C. 87 sq.

[356] Hatch, 29.

[357] "The Broken" is used as a noun: bread is only
understood. Evidently the breaking was vitally symbolic, as is
explained in the context. Cp. Luke xxiv, 30, 35.

[358] Irenæus, Against Heresies, v, 3.

[359] See Introd. to Messrs. Hitchcock and Brown's (American) ed.,
1885, p. lxxviii.

[360] Above, p. 132.

[361] C.M. 422.

[362] Bousset in Encyc. Bib. i, 209, following Gunkel, Schöpfung
und Chaos.

[363] Cp. R. Brown, Jr., Primitive Constellations, 1899, i, 64-65,
104, 119, etc.; G. Schiaparelli, Astronomy in the O. T., 1905, p. 72;
Hon. Emmeline M. Plunket, Ancient Calendars and Constellations, 1903,
117-123, and maps; and Hippolytus, Ref. of all Heresies, v, 47-49.

[364] Rev. xviii, 2, 21.

[365] Encyc. Bib. art. James.

[366] A view independently put before his (1896) by the present writer.

[367] Admirably summarized by Mr. T. Whittaker in his Origins of
Christianity. Cp. Van Manen's art. Paul in Encyc. Bib.

[368] Dr. F. C. Conybeare has indicated the view that, Van Manen's
chair having been offered to him after Van Manen's death, he is in
a position to dispose of Van Manen's case by expressing his contempt
for it. And Dr. Conybeare is prepared to accept as genuine the whole
of the epistles, a position rejected by all the professional critics
except the extreme traditionalists.

[369] Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. iii, 39, end.

[370] This term, it will be noted, tells of an abstract or generalized
and not of a "personal" tradition.

[371] Irenæus, Against Heresies, v, 33.

[372] Canon Charles, note on Apoc. Baruch, xxix, 5.

[373] Myth, Magic, and Morals, 2nd ed. p. 58.

[374] Id. p. 53.

[375] E. B. Nicholson, The Gospel according to the Hebrews, 1879,
p. 101.

[376] Id. p. 104.

[377] C.M. 403 sq.

[378] Art. Gospels in Encyc. Bib. cols. 1868, 1872.

[379] Art. Gospels in Encyc. Bib. cols. 1767, 1846.

[380] 2 Kings i, 8: R.V. marg.

[381] This thesis is put by the Professor in art. Gospels in
Encyc. Bib. col. 1881; also, at greater length, in his lecture,
Jesus in Modern Criticism, and his work on The Johannine Writings
(Eng. trans.; Black, 1907, 1908).

[382] I have dealt with the nine texts seriatim in C.M. 441 sq.,
and P.C. 229 sq. They are more fully and very ably discussed by
Prof. Smith (Ecce Deus, Part III), with most though not with all of
whose criticism I am in agreement.

[383] Eng. trans. p. 31.

[384] P.C. 234.

[385] Pref. to Eng. trans. of Arno Neumann's Jesus, 1906, p. xx.

[386] Work cited, p. 9.

[387] Unless we take the story of Thomas to be an invention to
confute doubters.

[388] See above, p. 113 sq., as to the Nazaræans.

[389] De Principiis, iv, 22.

[390] B. v, c. 61.

[391] Cp. Neander, Church Hist. Bohn trans. i, 482-3. Jerome speaks
(In Matt. xii, 13) of the gospel quo utuntur Nazaraei et Ebionitae,
as if they held it in common. Cp. Nicholson, p. 28.

[392] Hippolytus, Ref. of all Heresies, vii, 22.

[393] Dialogue with Trypho, 47-49.

[394] Neander, as cited, p. 482 and refs.

[395] Epiphanius, Hær. xxx, 16.

[396] Nicholson, pp. 15, 34, 61, 77.

[397] Jesus in Modern Criticism, p. 33.

[398] Cp. the Professor's work on The Johannine Writings, p. 90,
where the same query: "Who could have invented them?" is put as
establishing special sayings of Buddha, Confucius, Zarathustra,
and Mohammed. I cannot follow the logic.

[399] The argument is the same whether we say "inventions of the
evangelists" or "appropriations from other documents, or from hearsay."

[400] P.C. 218 sq.; C.M. 395.

[401] P.C. 206, 223, 228; C.M. 395.

[402] Compare the story of Joseph, Gen. xxxix.

[403] Irenæus, Against Heresies, i, 26.

[404] Ecce Deus, p. 60.

[405] Id. pp. 171-2.

[406] Cp. Ecce Deus, p. 26.

[407] Dr. Thorburn (Mythical Interpretation, p. 34) sees fit to argue
that the Christian phatnê was a "totally different thing" from the
pagan liknon (that is, if he argues anything at all). He carefully
ignores the sculptures which show them to be the same. (C.M. 192, 307.)

[408] Cp. Soltau on the appeal made by the story (Birth of Jesus
Christ, Eng. tr. p. 4). "What is there," he asks, "that can be compared
with this in the religious literature of any other people?" The critic
should compare the literature of Krishnaism.

[409] Ludwig Conrady argues (Die Quelle der kanonischen
Kindheitsgeschichte Jesus', 1900, p. 272 sq.) that the stories of
the Infancy in the Apocryphal Gospels, which appear to be at that
point the sources for Matthew and Luke, probably derive from Egypt,
where the hieratic ideals of virginity were high. This may be, but
the evidence is very imperfect.

[410] The precedents of the divine paternity of Alexander and Augustus,
stressed by Soltau, would surely be inadequate. Heathen emperors
would hardly be "types" for early Christians.

[411] The Rev. Dr. Thorburn idly argues (Mythical Interpretation,
pp. 38-39) that such stories do not affirm parthenogenesis where
a Goddess or a woman is described as married. As if Mary were not
in effect so described! But in Greek mythology we have the special
case of the spouse-goddess Hêrê, who is repeatedly represented as
conceiving without congress. (C.M. 295.)

[412] P.C. 166, note 3.

[413] C.M. 99; P.C. 165.

[414] C.M. 191 sq., 306 sq.

[415] Encyc. Bib. art. Moses, col. 3206.

[416] C.M. 298.

[417] Id. 167 sq.

[418] C.M. 168-9. Cp. Dr. G. Contenau, La déesse nue Babylonienne,
1914, pp. 7, 15, 16, 57, 78, 80, 101, 129, 131.

[419] C.M. 180-205.

[420] Soltau argues not only that the belief in the Virgin Birth
"could not have originated in Palestine; anyhow, it could never
have taken its rise in Jewish circles," but that "the idea that the
Holy Spirit begat Jesus can have no other than a Hellenic origin"
(Birth of Jesus Christ, Eng. trans, pp. 47-48). He forgets the "sons
of God" in Genesis vi, 2. The stories of the births of Isaac and
Samson inferribly had an original form less decorous than the Biblical.

[421] It is doubly edifying to remember that the writer who pretends
to find in avowed analogies of divine names, functions, and epithets
a theory of a philological "equation," himself insists on finding
in every New Testament naming of a Jesus, and every pagan allusion
to a "Chrestus" or "Christus," a biographical allusion to Jesus of
Nazareth. For Dr. Conybeare, the Jesus of the Apocalypse and the
"Chrestus" of Suetonius are testimonies to the existence of Jesus
the son of Mary and Joseph. The very absurdity he seeks to find in
the myth-theory is inherent in his own method.

[422] C.M. 301-2 and refs.

[423] The Rev. Dr. Thorburn (Mythical Interpretation, p. 21) cites
from the Encyc. Bib. as "the words of Dr. Cheyne" words which are not
Cheyne's at all, but those of Robertson Smith. Smith, so scientific
in his anthropology, is always irrationalist in his theology.

[424] R.V. "enrolment." Dr. Thorburn appears to argue (p. 39) that the
"taxing" story in the Krishna-myth is derived from "ignorant copying"
of the English Authorized Version! The "to be taxed" of the A.V. of
course represents the traditional interpretation--that taxing was
the object of the enrolment.

[425] C.M. 189-90.

[426] C.M. 273.

[427] I have been represented, by scholars who will not take the
trouble to read the books they attack, as deriving the Christ-myth in
general from the Krishna-myth. This folly belongs solely to their own
imagination. Dr. Conybeare's assertion (Histor. Christ, p. 69) that in
my theory the Proto-Christian Joshua-God was a composite myth "made up
of memories of Krishna ... and a hundred other fiends," is of the same
order. In his case, of course, I do not charge omission to read the
statement he falsifies: it is simply a matter of his normal inability
to understand any position he attacks. As regards the Krishna-myth I
suggest only in the detail of the "taxing" the possibility of Christian
borrowing through an intermediate source: in another, that of "the bag"
which is carried by a hostile demon-follower of Krishna (C.M. 241-3),
I suggest the possibility of Indian borrowing from the fourth gospel,
where "the bag" is presumptively derived from a stage accessory in
the mystery-drama, Judas carrying a bag to receive his reward.

[428] C.M. 205 sq.

[429] C.M. 207.

[430] Id. 347 sq.; Drews, Die Petrus Legende (pamphlet), 1910.

[431] Dr. Conybeare, undeviating in error, represents me
(Histor. Christ, p. 73) as suggesting that the epithet bifrons led to
the invention of the story of Peter's Denial. I had expressly pointed
out that the epithet bifrons did not carry an aspersive sense, and
suggested that the figure of Janus, with its Petrine characteristics,
might have inspired the story of the Denial (C.M. 350-1). The subject
of iconographic myth is evidently unknown matter to Dr. Conybeare.

[432] C.M. 318 sq.

[433] Die Versuchung Jesu (in Zur Gesch. und Litt. des Urchristentums,
III, ii, 1907, pp. 53, 65.)

[434] The simple principle of holding Mark for primary wherever it
is brief has meant many such assumptions, in which many of us once
uncritically acquiesced.

[435] As cited, p. 85.

[436] Id. pp. 92-93.

[437] Test. Naphtali, viii, 4.

[438] This is ably argued by Prof. Smith.

[439] C.M. 329 sq.

[440] Id. 335 sq.

[441] Cp. Soltau, Das Fortleben des Heidentums in d. altchr. Kirche,
1906; S.H.C. 67 sq., 101 sq.; J. A. Farrer, Paganism and Christianity,
R.P.A. rep. passim.

[442] C.M. 220 and note 2. Cp. W. J. Wilkins, Paganism in the Papal
Church, 1901.

[443] Cp. Saint-Yves, Les Saints successeurs des Dieux, 1907; J. Rendel
Harris, The Dioscuri in the Christian Legends, 1903.

[444] Compare Soltau's remarks on the hostility still shown to
professional scholars who merely reject the Virgin Birth (work
cited, p. 2), and the plea of Brandt for his piety (Die evangelische
Geschichte, Vorwort).

[445] Apropos d'histoire des religions, end.

[446] Compare the recent volume of debate between Dr. Sanday
and the Rev. N. P. Williams on Form and Content in the Christian
Tradition. Mr. Williams argues against Dr. Sanday--who is less
destructive in his criticism than M. Loisy--in this very fashion.

[447] Essay on Dr. Johnson (1884).

[448] Apropos d'histoire des religions, p. 320.

[449] Jésus et la trad. évang. pp. 286, 288.

[450] Id. p. 277.

[451] Jesus in Modern Criticism, p. 85.

[452] Id. p. 86.

[453] Id. p. 12.

[454] Id. p. 87.

[455] Jesus in Modern Criticism, pp. 79-81.

[456] C.M. 392.

[457] C.M. p. 90.

[458] So far as I am aware, the only explicit condemnation passed in
the German Reichstag on the German submarine policy has been delivered
by the Socialist Adolf Hoffmann, a professed Freethinker. He pronounced
it "shameful," and was duly called to order.

[459] I have briefly put the case in pref. to S.H.C.

[460] Dr. Rendel Harris, on the other hand, in effect avows that his
heart is warmed by fictitious "Odes of Solomon," in which the writer
puts imaginary language in the mouth of the Christ.

[461] See J. McCabe, Sources of the Morality of the Gospels, R.P.A.,

[462] C.M. 403 sq.

[463] Test. Gad, vi, 1-7.

[464] Canon Charles, in loc.

[465] There are many such close parallels of thought and diction
between the two books. See Canon Charles's introduction, § 26.

[466] In The Historical Jesus, pp. 23-26, I had to point out how two
Doctors of Divinity, of high pretensions, had scornfully denied that
that story had ever been transcended, and how signally they erred. The
second, the Rev. Dr. T. J. Thorburn, has since produced another work,
in which the subject is carefully ignored. When theologians thus
exhibit themselves as morally colour-blind, they relieve us of the
necessity of proving at any length how congenitally incompetent they
are to determine the moral problems of sociology by the authority
they presume to flaunt.

[467] Schmiedel, Jesus, end.

[468] Art. Acts in Encyc. Bib., citing iv, 20; xiv, 22; xx, 24; xxi,
13; xxiv, 16.

[469] Egyptian Magic, 1899, pref.

[470] Comparative Religion, 1912, p. 57.

[471] Set forth in the National Reformer, May 15, 1887. Barnabas in
effect avows that he is copying previous teaching.

[472] There are two titles. It is surmised, with good reason, that this
was the original, though Mr. Gordon argues that it may be Sabellian,
and of the third or fourth century. The "Lord" (the name is here used
without the article, which was normally used in Christian writings)
refers to the God of the Jews, not to Jesus.

[473] A pagan as well as a Jewish commonplace. Cp. Jeremiah xxi,
8; Hesiod, Works and Days, 285 sq.; Xenophon, Memorabilia, ii, 1;
Persius, Sat. iii, 56. Persius followed Pythagoras, who taught that
the ways of virtue and vice were like the thin and thick lines of the
letter Y. This is the origin of the Christian formula of the broad
and the narrow path. The conception of "the right way" is found among
the ancient Persians. Meyer, Geschichte des Alterthums, i, 539 (§ 448).

[474] Cp. Levit. xix, 18; Matt. xxii, 37-39.

[475] Cp. Tobit iv, 15; Matt. vii, 12. Hillel (Talmud, Sabbath, 306)
puts the rule, as here, in the sane negative form, which is also the
Chinese. The gospel form is less rational. The sentiment is the first
principle of morals, and is common to all religions and all races.

[476] Cp. Matt. v, 44; Prov. xxv, 21; Talmud refs. in C.M. 406;
and Test. of Twelve Patr. Dan. iii, iv; Gad, iii-vi. Canon Spence
notes that the resemblance between the Testaments and the Didachê is
"very marked." Note that in the Revised Version the text in Matthew
is cut down--a recognition of tampering, in imitation of Luke vi, 27-8.

[477] Gr. "the nations" = "the Gentiles." Here, as elsewhere, we render
by an English idiom, which gives the real force of the original. It
will be observed that the compilers of the first gospel (v, 46)
substitute "tax-gatherers" for the original, by way of applying the
discourse to Jews in Palestine, where the tax-gatherers represented
foreign oppression.

[478] A probable interpolation.

[479] Cp. Lament. iii, 30, and the pagan parallels cited by Mr. McCabe,
Sources of Mor. of Gospels, pp. 229, 231.

[480] This clause, which is not in Matthew, is intelligible only as
an exhortation to Jews in foreign lands. The reference to 1 Cor. vi,
1, cannot make it plausible as a Christian utterance.

[481] This is otherwise translated by the Rev. Mr. Heron, Church of
the Sub-Apostolic Age, p. 16, thus: "the Father wisheth men to give to
all from their private portion"; and by Dr. Taylor, Teaching, 1886,
p. 122, thus: "the Father wills that to all men there be given of
our own free gifts."

[482] Cp. Acts xx, 35. That passage probably derives from this,
and loses point in the transference.

[483] Mr. Heron renders this "under discipline," because the early
Church had no prison for its backsliders. Quite so. The reference is to
Pagan prisons, and the warning is to Jewish beggars. The Greek phrase,
en synochê, here clearly refers to a prison, though in Luke xxi, 25,
it is rendered "distress" and in 2 Cor. ii, 4, "anguish." Cp. Josephus,
8 Ant. iii, 2. Canon Spence, who translates "being in sore straits,"
offers the alternative "coming under arrest."

[484] Cp. Ecclesiasticus, xii, 1 sq. It will be observed that the
concluding clause modifies the earlier precept of indiscriminate
giving. It may be an addition.

[485] A more developed teaching is found in the Testaments of the
Patriarchs, as above cited.

[486] Gr. zêlôtês. The American editors translate this "jealous";
but Mr. Heron and Dr. Taylor more faithfully render it "a zealot,"
though this, a natural warning to Jews, would come oddly to
Christians. "Zealot" specified a fanatical Jewish type (Luke vi, 15;
Acts i, 13; xxi, 20), but the Jesuists were exhorted to be "zealous"
(same word) in 1 Cor. xiv, 12; Tit. ii, 14. Nowhere are Christian
"zealots" rebuked; but Jewish fanatics in foreign lands needed warning
from peace-loving teachers. On the other hand, the rendering "jealous"
is evidently adopted because of the very difficulty of conceiving
that Christian teachers would warn their flocks against being either
"zealous" or "zealots." The context, however, clearly justifies
our translation.

[487] Gr. "high-eyed." The meaning evidently is "always looking at
people," and there is implied the injunction to look down, as is
the wont of nuns. Since deciding on the rendering given, we notice
that the Rev. A. Gordon, in his translation (sold at Essex Hall,
Essex Street), has "bold of eye." Dr. Taylor has "of high looks."

[488] Mr. Gordon has "a diviner from birds"; M. Sabatier "augure";
Dr. Taylor "given to augury."

[489] Mr. Gordon has "a fire lustrator."

[490] Cp. Matt. v, 5.

[491] Gr. "the high" = the upper or ruling classes.

[492] Cp. Heb. xiii, 7.

[493] Gr. hê kyriotês. Messrs. Gordon and Heron render "whence the
lordship is spoken" or "proclaimed." In the New Testament (Eph. i,
21; Col. i, 16; Jude viii; 2 Pet. ii, 10) the same word is rendered
"dominion" by the Revisers.

[494] Mr. Gordon adds here "in praying" in brackets. This is a guess,
which seems to have no warrant, though Canon Spence leans to it. The
sentence connects with the preceding one.

[495] Cp. Dan. iv, 27; Test. Patr. Zabulon, viii.

[496] Cp. Acts iv, 32. Here we seem to have the hint for the legend.

[497] Cp. Prov. xiii, 24; xxii, 15; xxiii, 13-14; xxix, 17;
Ecclus. vii, 23-4; xxx, 1-2. A common Jewish sentiment, not found in
the New Testament. Cp. Eph. vi, 4.

[498] Or type. Here, as in the New Testament, there is not the faintest
pretence of impugning slavery. The resistance to that began among
Pagans, not among Jews or Christians.

[499] Gr. zêlotypia. This is the normal Greek word for jealousy. Here,
however, Mr. Heron has "envy," perhaps rightly.

[500] The American editors have "pursuing revenge."

[501] So Mr. Heron, we think rightly. M. Sabatier agrees. The American
editors have "toiling for," and Mr. Gordon "labouring for."

[502] Or, handiwork.

[503] Probably a river or the sea. Cp. Carpenter, Phases of
Christianity, p. 244, citing the Canons of Hippolytus.

[504] The Syrian method, introduced into Europe after the Crusades.

[505] The Jews, at least the Pharisees, fasted on Monday and Thursday,
the days of the ascent and descent of Moses to and from Sinai.

[506] That is, Friday, called "the preparation" (for the Sabbath) by
the Jews. Mr. Heron notes that the Christians fasted on Wednesdays
and Fridays, but does not explain how a Christian document came to
use the Jewish expression with no Christian qualification.

[507] After all the previous allusions to "the Lord" (without the
article, save once in ch. iv and once in ch. vi) had plainly signified
"God," we here have "the Lord" (with the article) suddenly used in a
clearly Christian sense, to signify Jesus. The transition is flagrant.

[508] That is, in the original sense, thank-offering, as Mr. Gordon
notes. Now, the sacrament, as instituted in the gospels, is not
a thank-offering. It is evidently from the Didachê, or similar
early lore, that the word comes to be used for the sacrament by the
Fathers. It is never so used in the New Testament.

[509] As the American editors note, Clement of Alexandria (Quis
Dives Salvetur, § 29) calls Jesus "the vine of David." As Jesus is
"the vine" in the fourth gospel, but not in the synoptics, we may
surmise that the Didachê was current at Alexandria.

[510] Gr. paidos. Canon Spence and Mr. Heron render "Son"; but this
is not the normal word for son (huios), and the same term is used
for David and Jesus. It is rendered "servant" in Acts iii, 13, 26;
iv, 27, R.V.

[511] Gr. "in the ages."

[512] Cp. Matt. vii, 6. There is no such application there.

[513] Mr. Heron takes this to signify that the love-feast accompanied
the Eucharist. But he notes, from Dr. Taylor, that the Jews had
their chagigah before the Passover, in order that the latter might
be eaten "after being filled." Mr. Gordon translates: "After the
full reception."

[514] Gr. despota. The American editors (who render it "Master")
note that this word becomes rare in Christian literature towards the
latter part of the second century.

[515] So in the MS. Bryennios conjectures huiô (Son) for theô, but
this does not justify the alteration of the text by several editors.

[516] A Syriac phrase meaning not, as is sometimes said, "The Lord
cometh," but "The Lord is come." It was presumably an ancient formula
in the prayers hailing the rise of the sun.

[517] It is difficult to reconcile this arrangement with any of the New
Testament data as to the practice of the Jesuist apostles. Cp. Canon
Spence, p. 91, as to "the Jewish habit of wandering from place
to place."

[518] Cp. Mk. iii, 28-30; Matt. xii, 31; 1 Thess. v, 19, 20.

[519] The American editors have "a meal"; Canon Spence "a
Love-Feast." See his note. And cp. Jevons, Introd. to Hist. of
Religion, p. 333, as to the Greek agyrtes.

[520] On this obscure passage Mr. Heron has a long note, which,
however, supplies little light. Dr. Taylor notes that a "cosmic
mystery" [Gr. mystêrion kosmikon] is "the manifestation in the
phenomenal world of a 'mystery of the upper world,'" citing the
Zohar. Canon Spence suggests that the "table" connects with the

[521] Gr. christemporos. Warnings of this kind are given in the
Epistles of Barnabas, Ignatius, and Polycarp. See Canon Spence's note.

[522] Note the remarkable advance in the economic provision for the
preacher, clearly a later item than ch. xi.

[523] Canon Spence rightly translates: "on the Lord's Lord's-day." This
singular phrase is obscured by the American editors, who simply
translate "the Lord's day." The Greek is kyriakên Kyriou. It is
thus clear that the expression "Lord's day" was in Pagan use, and
that the phrase "Lord's-day of [the] Lord" was an adaptation of the
standing expression to either Jewish or Jesuist use. This chapter may
have belonged to the pre-Christian document. There is no allusion to
the crucifixion.

[524] Here the reference is clearly to Yahweh. The document cannot
have been originally written with the same title used indifferently
of Yahweh and Jesus.

[525] Mal. i, 11.

[526] Literally, "perform the liturgy" = "serve the (public) service."

[527] Here we have the Christist expression.

[528] This may have been a Jesuist allusion to Bar Cochab, about the
year 135.

[529] Or "outspreading."

[530] An early support for the "Conditional Immortality Association."

[531] Apol. i, 26.

[532] If we could but trust the assertion of Origen in the next century
(Against Celsus, vi, 11) that there were then no Simonians left,
the presumption would be that they had been absorbed by another cult.

[533] Ovid, Fasti, vi, 213; Livy, viii, 20.

[534] Cory's Ancient Fragments, ed. 1876, p. 92; Lenormant's Chaldean
Magic, Eng. tr., p. 131.

[535] Sanchoniathon, in Cory, as cited, p. 5.

[536] Eratosthenes' Canon of Theban Kings, in Cory as cited,
pp. 139-141.

[537] Diodorus Siculus, ii, 4.

[538] Bible Folk Lore, 1884, p. 45; cp. Steinthal on Samson, Eng. tr.,
with Goldziher, p. 408.

[539] Movers, Die Phönizier, i, 558.

[540] Goldziher, Hebrew Mythology, Eng. tr., p. 132; cp. Buttmann,
Mythologus, 1828, i, 221, and Sanchoniathon, as above.

[541] Volkmar, Die Religion Jesu, 1857, p. 281.

[542] Meyer, Geschichte des Alterthums, 1884, i, 214 n.

[543] McClintock and Strong's Bib. Cycl. s. v.

[544] Chaldean Magic, Eng. tr., p. 44.

[545] Against Celsus, v, 45.

[546] See it in McClintock and Strong's Cycl. s. v.; cp. Schürer,
Jewish Nation in Time of Christ, Eng. tr., Div. ii, Vol. ii, p. 83,
where the prayer is given as the Shemoneh Esreh.

[547] Schürer, p. 88.

[548] McClintock and Strong's Bib. Cycl. s. v.

[549] 1 Samuel xxviii, 13.

[550] 1 Kings xvi, 24.

[551] Die Religion Jesu, as cited.

[552] 12 Antiq. v, 5.

[553] G. L. Bauer, Theol. of the Old Test., Eng. tr., 1837, p. 5;
Etheridge, The Targums on the Pentateuch, i (1862), introd., pp. 5,
14, 17.

[554] Bauer and Etheridge, as cited.

[555] Gieseler, Comp. of Ec. Hist., Eng. tr., i, 48.

[556] De Dea Syria, c. 33.

[557] Die Phönizier, i, 417, 634.

[558] Lenormant, as cited, p. 129.

[559] Justin, Apol. i, 26; Irenæus, i, 23, § 2; Tertullian, De
Anima, 34.

[560] Die christliche Gnosis, 1835, p. 309.

[561] De Dea Syria, 40.

[562] Id. 32.

[563] Lenormant, as cited, p. 117.

[564] Irenæus, as cited.

[565] Lucian, as cited.

[566] Reland, Dissertat. Miscellan., Pars i, 1706, p. 147;
cp. Enc. Bib. art. Samaritans, 4a. The dove was everywhere regarded in
Syria as sacred, in connection with the myth of Semiramis (Diodorus,
ii, 4), which bears so closely on the name Samaria.

[567] John viii, 48.

[568] Mem. the aged Simeon of Luke ii, who blessed the child
Jesus. "The Holy Spirit was upon him" (v. 25). With him is associated
Anna the Prophetess. Cp. Hannah, mother of Samuel.

[569] Professor Smith, who accepts the historicity of Simon (Ecce Deus,
pp. 11, 103) does so without noting that it has been challenged. It
would be interesting to have his grounds for discriminating between
the God and the man.

[570] McClintock and Strong's Bib. Cyc.

[571] Kuenen, Religion of Israel, Eng. tr., iii, 314.

[572] 1 Cor. xv, 10; 2 Cor. xi, 13, 23; Gal. i, 7; ii, 11.

[573] 1 Cor. xv, 9; 2 Cor. xii, 4; Gal. i, 12.

[574] Even a late copyist or reader of one of the Clementine
MSS. confusedly recognised a hostility to Paul as underlying his
text. See Anti-Nicene Lib. trans., Recog. i, 70.

[575] Acts iii, 1-12, etc.; xiv, 8-15, etc.

[576] Gal. ii, 11-14.

[577] See the whole data discussed in Baur, Ch. Hist. of the First
Three Cent., Eng. tr., i, 91-98, etc.; Paul, Eng. tr., i, 88, 95,
etc.; Zeller, Contents and Origin of the Acts, Eng. tr., i, 250 sq.;
Volkmar, Die Religion Jesu; Schmiedel, art. Simon Magus in Encyc. Bib.

[578] Cp. 2 Cor. xi, 4.

[579] John iv, 21.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Jesus Problem, by J. M. Robertson


***** This file should be named 53616-8.txt or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Jeroen Hellingman and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at for Project
Gutenberg (This file was produced from images generously
made available by Cornell University Digital Collections)

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions will
be renamed.

Creating the works from print editions not protected by U.S. copyright
law means that no one owns a United States copyright in these works,
so the Foundation (and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United
States without permission and without paying copyright
royalties. Special rules, set forth in the General Terms of Use part
of this license, apply to copying and distributing Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works to protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm
concept and trademark. Project Gutenberg is a registered trademark,
and may not be used if you charge for the eBooks, unless you receive
specific permission. If you do not charge anything for copies of this
eBook, complying with the rules is very easy. You may use this eBook
for nearly any purpose such as creation of derivative works, reports,
performances and research. They may be modified and printed and given
away--you may do practically ANYTHING in the United States with eBooks
not protected by U.S. copyright law. Redistribution is subject to the
trademark license, especially commercial redistribution.



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full
Project Gutenberg-tm License available with this file or online at

Section 1. General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works

1.A. By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement. If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or
destroy all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your
possession. If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a
Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound
by the terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the
person or entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph

1.B. "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark. It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement. There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement. See
paragraph 1.C below. There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this
agreement and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works. See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C. The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the
Foundation" or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection
of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works. Nearly all the individual
works in the collection are in the public domain in the United
States. If an individual work is unprotected by copyright law in the
United States and you are located in the United States, we do not
claim a right to prevent you from copying, distributing, performing,
displaying or creating derivative works based on the work as long as
all references to Project Gutenberg are removed. Of course, we hope
that you will support the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting
free access to electronic works by freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm
works in compliance with the terms of this agreement for keeping the
Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with the work. You can easily
comply with the terms of this agreement by keeping this work in the
same format with its attached full Project Gutenberg-tm License when
you share it without charge with others.

1.D. The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work. Copyright laws in most countries are
in a constant state of change. If you are outside the United States,
check the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this
agreement before downloading, copying, displaying, performing,
distributing or creating derivative works based on this work or any
other Project Gutenberg-tm work. The Foundation makes no
representations concerning the copyright status of any work in any
country outside the United States.

1.E. Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1. The following sentence, with active links to, or other
immediate access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear
prominently whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work
on which the phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed,
performed, viewed, copied or distributed:

  This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and
  most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no
  restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it
  under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this
  eBook or online at If you are not located in the
  United States, you'll have to check the laws of the country where you
  are located before using this ebook.

1.E.2. If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is
derived from texts not protected by U.S. copyright law (does not
contain a notice indicating that it is posted with permission of the
copyright holder), the work can be copied and distributed to anyone in
the United States without paying any fees or charges. If you are
redistributing or providing access to a work with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the work, you must comply
either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 or
obtain permission for the use of the work and the Project Gutenberg-tm
trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.3. If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any
additional terms imposed by the copyright holder. Additional terms
will be linked to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works
posted with the permission of the copyright holder found at the
beginning of this work.

1.E.4. Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5. Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6. You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including
any word processing or hypertext form. However, if you provide access
to or distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format
other than "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official
version posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site
(, you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense
to the user, provide a copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means
of obtaining a copy upon request, of the work in its original "Plain
Vanilla ASCII" or other form. Any alternate format must include the
full Project Gutenberg-tm License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7. Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8. You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
provided that

* You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
  the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
  you already use to calculate your applicable taxes. The fee is owed
  to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he has
  agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the Project
  Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. Royalty payments must be paid
  within 60 days following each date on which you prepare (or are
  legally required to prepare) your periodic tax returns. Royalty
  payments should be clearly marked as such and sent to the Project
  Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the address specified in
  Section 4, "Information about donations to the Project Gutenberg
  Literary Archive Foundation."

* You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
  you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
  does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
  License. You must require such a user to return or destroy all
  copies of the works possessed in a physical medium and discontinue
  all use of and all access to other copies of Project Gutenberg-tm

* You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of
  any money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
  electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days of
  receipt of the work.

* You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
  distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9. If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work or group of works on different terms than
are set forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing
from both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and The
Project Gutenberg Trademark LLC, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm
trademark. Contact the Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1. Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
works not protected by U.S. copyright law in creating the Project
Gutenberg-tm collection. Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may
contain "Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate
or corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other
intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or
other medium, a computer virus, or computer codes that damage or
cannot be read by your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from. If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium
with your written explanation. The person or entity that provided you
with the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in
lieu of a refund. If you received the work electronically, the person
or entity providing it to you may choose to give you a second
opportunity to receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund. If
the second copy is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing
without further opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4. Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS', WITH NO

1.F.5. Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of
damages. If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement
violates the law of the state applicable to this agreement, the
agreement shall be interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or
limitation permitted by the applicable state law. The invalidity or
unenforceability of any provision of this agreement shall not void the
remaining provisions.

1.F.6. INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in
accordance with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the
production, promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works, harmless from all liability, costs and expenses,
including legal fees, that arise directly or indirectly from any of
the following which you do or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this
or any Project Gutenberg-tm work, (b) alteration, modification, or
additions or deletions to any Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any
Defect you cause.

Section 2. Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of
computers including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers. It
exists because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations
from people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come. In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future
generations. To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation and how your efforts and donations can help, see
Sections 3 and 4 and the Foundation information page at

Section 3. Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service. The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541. Contributions to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent permitted by
U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is in Fairbanks, Alaska, with the
mailing address: PO Box 750175, Fairbanks, AK 99775, but its
volunteers and employees are scattered throughout numerous
locations. Its business office is located at 809 North 1500 West, Salt
Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887. Email contact links and up to
date contact information can be found at the Foundation's web site and
official page at

For additional contact information:

    Dr. Gregory B. Newby
    Chief Executive and Director
    [email protected]

Section 4. Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment. Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States. Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements. We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance. To SEND
DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any particular
state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States. U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses. Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations. To
donate, please visit:

Section 5. General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works.

Professor Michael S. Hart was the originator of the Project
Gutenberg-tm concept of a library of electronic works that could be
freely shared with anyone. For forty years, he produced and
distributed Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of
volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as not protected by copyright in
the U.S. unless a copyright notice is included. Thus, we do not
necessarily keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.