Malankara World

THE GOSPELS IN THE SECOND CENTURY

AN EXAMINATION OF THE CRITICAL PART OF A WORK ENTITLED
'SUPERNATURAL RELIGION'

By W. Sanday, M.A.


CHAPTER 12

THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCE FOR THE FOURTH GOSPEL

The fourth Gospel was, upon any theory, written later than the others, and it is not clear that it was published as soon as it was written. Both tradition and the internal evidence of the concluding chapter seem to point to the existence of somewhat peculiar relations between the Evangelist and the presbyters of the Asian Church, which would make it not improbable that the Gospel was retained for some time by the latter within their own private circle before it was given to the Church at large.

We have the express statement of Irenaeus [Endnote 269:1], who, if he was born as is commonly supposed at Smyrna about 140 A.D., must be a good authority, that the Apostle St. John lived on till the times of Trajan (98-117 A.D.). If so, it is very possible that the Gospel was not yet published, or barely published, when Clement of Rome wrote his Epistle to the Corinthians. Neither, considering its almost esoteric character and the slow rate at which such a work would travel at first, should we be very much surprised if it was not in the hands of Barnabas (probably in Alexandria) and Hermas (at Rome). In no case indeed could the silence of these two writers be of much moment, as in the Epistle of Barnabas the allusions to the New Testament literature are extremely few and slight, while in the Shepherd of Hermas there are no clear and certain references either to the Old Testament or the New Testament at all.

And yet there is a lively controversy round these two names as to whether or not they contain evidence for the fourth Gospel, and that they do is maintained not only by apologists, but also by writers of quite unquestionable impartiality like Dr. Keim. Dr. Keim, it will be remembered, argues against the Johannean authorship of the Gospel, and yet on this particular point he seems to be almost an advocate for the side to which he is opposed.

'Volkmar,' he says [Endnote 270:1], 'has recently spoken of Barnabas as undeniably ignorant of the Logos-Gospel, and explained the early date assigned to his Epistle by Ewald and Weizsäcker and now also by Riggenbach as due to their perplexity at finding in it no trace of St. John. There is room for another opinion. However much it may be shown that Barnabas gives neither an incident nor a single sentence from the Gospel, that he is unacquainted with the conception of the Logos, that expressions like 'water and blood,' or the Old Testament types of Christ, and especially the serpent reared in the wilderness as an object of faith, are employed by him independently--for all this the deeper order of conceptions in the Epistle coincides in the gross or in detail so repeatedly with the Gospel that science must either assume a connection between them, or, if it leaves the problem unsolved, renounces its own calling. "The Son of God" was to be manifested in the flesh, manifested through suffering, to go to his glory through death and the Cross, to bring life and the immanent presence of the Godhead, such is here and there the leading idea. Existing before the foundation of the world, the Lord of the world, the sender of the prophets, the object of their prophecies, beheld even by Abraham, in the person of Moses himself typified as the only centre of Israel's hopes, and in so far already revealed and glorified in type before his incarnation, he was at last to appear, to dwell among us, to be seen, not as son of David but as Son of God, in the garment of the flesh, by those who could not even endure the light of this world's sun. So did he come; nay, so did he die to fulfil the promise, in the very act of his apparent defeat to dispense purification, pardon, life, to destroy death, to overcome the devil, to show forth the Resurrection, and with the Resurrection his right to future judgment; at the same time, it is true, to fill up the measure of the sins of Israel, whom he had loved exceedingly and for whom he had done such great wonders and signs, and to prepare for himself again a new people who should keep his commandments, his new law. The mission that his Father gave him he has accomplished, of his own free will and for our sake--the true explanation of his death--did he suffer. "The Jews" have not hoped upon him, clearly as the typical design of the Old Testament and Moses himself pointed to him, and, in opposition to the spiritual teaching of Moses, they have been seduced into the carnal and sensual by the devil; they have set their trust and their hopes, not upon God, but upon the fleshly circumcision and upon the visible house of God, worshipping the Lord in the temple almost like the heathen. But the Christian raises himself above the flesh and its lusts, which disturb the faculties of knowledge as well as those of will, to the Spirit and the spiritual service of God, above the ways of darkness to the ways of light; he presses on to faith, and with faith to perfect knowledge, as one born again, who is full of the Spirit of God, in whom God dwells and prophesies, interpreting past and future without being seen or heard; as taught of God and fulfilling the commandments of the new law of the Lord, a lover of the brethren, and in himself the child of peace, of joy, and of love. For this class of ideas there is no analogy in St. Paul, or even in the Epistle to the Hebrews, but only in this Gospel, much as the connection has hitherto been overlooked. Indeed, though it may still in places be questioned on which side the relation of dependence lies (it might be thought that Barnabas supplied the ideas, John the application of them, and the conception of the Logos crowning all), in any case the Gospel appeared at a date near to that of the Epistle of Barnabas. With more reason may it be said that it is not until we come to the Epistle of Barnabas that we find stiff scholastic theory a more predominant typology, an artificialised view of Judaism; besides the points of view always appear as something received and not originated--water and blood, new law, new people--and in the solemn manifestation of the Son of God immediately after the selection of the Apostles, in the great but fruitless exhibition of miracle and love for Israel, there is evidently allusion to history, that is, to John ii and xii.'

'The Epistle of Barnabas,' Dr. Keim adds, 'after the lucid demonstration of Volkmar--in spite of Hilgenfeld and Weizäcker, and now also of Riggenbach--was undoubtedly written at the time of the rebuilding of the temple under the Emperor Hadrian, about the year 120 A.D. (according to Volkmar, at the earliest, 118-119), at latest 130.'

It is not to be expected that this full and able statement should carry conviction to every reader. And yet I believe that it has some solid foundation. The single instances are not perhaps such as could be pressed very far, but they derive a certain weight when taken together and as parts of a wider circle of ideas. The application of the type of the brazen serpent to Jesus in c. xii. may have been suggested by John iii. 14 sqq., but we cannot say that it was so with certainty. The same application is made by Justin in a place where there is perhaps less reason to assume a connection with the fourth Gospel; and we know that types and prophecies were eagerly sought out by the early Christians, and were soon collected in a kind of common stock from which every one drew at his pleasure. A stronger case, and one that I incline to think of some importance, is supplied by the peculiar combination of 'the water and the cross' in Barn. c. xi; not that here there is a direct and immediate, but more probably a mediate, connection with the fourth Gospel. The phrase [Greek: ho uios tou theou] is not peculiar to, though it is more frequent in, and to some degree characteristic of, the Gospel and First Epistle of St. John. [Greek: Phanerousthai] may be claimed more decidedly, especially by comparison with the other Gospels, though it occurs with similar reference to the Incarnation in the later Pauline Epistles. [Greek: 'Elthein en sarki] is again rightly classed as a Johannean phrase, though the exact counterpart is found rather in the Epistles than the Gospel. The doctrine of pre-existence is certainly taught in such passages as the application of the text, 'Let us make man in our image,' which is said to have been addressed to the Son 'from the foundation of the world' (c. v). Generally I think it may be said that the doctrine of the Incarnation, the typology, and the use of the Old Testament prophecies, approximate, most distinctly to the Johannean type, though under the latter heads there is of course much debased exaggeration. The soteriology we might be perhaps tempted to connect rather on the one hand with the Epistle to the Hebrews, and on the other with those of St. Paul. There may be something of an echo of the fourth Gospel in the allusion--to the unbelief and carnalised religion of the Jews. But the whole question of the speculative affinities of a writing like this requires subtle and delicate handling, and should be rather a subject for special treatment than an episode in an enquiry like the present. The opinion of Dr. Keim must be of weight, but on the whole I think it will be safest and fairest to say that, while the round assertion that the author of the Epistle was ignorant of our Gospel is not justified, the positive evidence that he made use of it is not sufficiently clear to be pressed controversially.


A similar condition of things may be predicated of the Shepherd of Hermas, though with a more decided leaning to the negative side. Here again Dr. Keim [Endnote 273:1], as well as Canon Westcott [Endnote 273:2], thinks that we can trace an acquaintance with the Gospel, but the indications are too general and uncertain to be relied upon. The imagery of the shepherd and the flock, as perhaps of the tower and the gate, may, be as well taken from the scenes of the Roman Campagna as from any previous writing. The keeping of the commandments is a commonplace of Christianity, not to say of religion. And the Divine immanence in the soul is conceived rather in the spirit of the elder Gospels than of the fourth.

There is a nearer approach perhaps in the identification of 'the gate' with the 'Son of God,' and in the explanation with which it is accompanied. 'The rock is old because the Son of God is older than the whole of His creation; so that He was assessor to His Father in the creation of the world; the gate is new, because He was made manifest at the consummation of the last days, and they who are to be saved enter by it into the kingdom of God' (Sim. ix. 12). Here too we have the doctrine of pre-existence; and considering the juxtaposition of these three points, the pre- existence, the gate (which is the only access to the Lord), the identification of the gate with the incarnation of Jesus, we may say perhaps a possible reference to the fourth Gospel; probable it might be somewhat too much to call it. We must leave the reader to form his own estimate.


A somewhat greater force, but not as yet complete cogency, attaches to the evidence of the Ignatian letters. A parallel is alleged to a passage in the Epistle to the Romans which is found both in the Syriac and in the shorter Greek or Vossian version. 'I take no relish in corruptible food or in the pleasures of this life. I desire bread of God, heavenly bread, bread of life, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was born in the latter days of the seed of David and Abraham; and I desire drink of God, His blood, which is love imperishable and ever-abiding life' [Endnote 275:1] (Ep. ad Rom. c. vii). This is compared with the discourse in the synagogue at Capernaum in the sixth chapter of St. John. It should be said that there is a difference of reading, though not one that materially influences the question, in the Syriac. If the parallel holds good, the peculiar diction of the author must be seen in the substitution of [Greek: poma] for [Greek: posis] of John vi. 55, and [Greek: aennaos zoae] for [Greek zoae aionios], of John vi. 54. [The Ignatian phrase is perhaps more than doubtful, as it does not appear either in the Syriac, the Armenian, or the Latin version.] Still this need not stand in the way of referring the original of the passage ultimately to the Gospel. The ideas are so remarkable that it seems difficult to suppose either are accidental coincidence or quotation from another writer. I suspect that Ignatius or the author of the Epistle really had the fourth Gospel in his mind, though not quite vividly, and by a train of comparatively remote suggestions.

The next supposed allusion is from the Epistle to the Philadelphians: 'The Spirit, coming from God, is not to be deceived; for it knoweth whence it cometh and whither it goeth, and it searcheth that which is hidden' [Endnote 275:2]. This is obviously the converse of John iii. 5, where it is said that we do not know the way of the Spirit, which is like the wind, &c. And yet the exact verbal similarity of the phrase [Greek: oiden pothen erchetai kai pou hupagei], and its appearance in the same connection, spoken of the Spirit, leads us to think that there was--as there may very well have been--an association of ideas. This particular phrase [Greek: pothen erchetai kai pou hupagei] is very characteristically Johannean. It occurs three times over in the fourth Gospel, and not at all in the rest of the New Testament. The combination of [Greek: erchesthai] and [Greek hupagein] also occurs twice, and [Greek: pou [opou] hupago [-gei, -geis]] in all twelve times in the Gospel and once in the Epistle ([Greek: ouk oide pou hupagei]); this too, it is striking to observe, not at all elsewhere. The very word [Greek: hupago] is not found at all in St. Paul, St. Peter, or the Epistle to the Hebrews. Taken together with the special application to the Spirit, this must be regarded as a strong case.

Neither do the arguments of 'Supernatural Religion' succeed in proving that there is no connection with St. John in such sentences as, 'There is one God who manifested Himself through Jesus Christ His Son, who is His eternal Word' (Ad Magn. c. viii), or who is Himself the door of the Father (Ad Philad. c. ix). In regard to the first of these especially, it is doubtless true that Philo also has 'the eternal Word,' which is even the 'Son' of God; but the idea is much more consciously metaphorical, and not only did the incarnation of the Logos in a historical person never enter into Philo's mind, but 'there is no room for it in his system' [Endnote 276:1].

It should be said that these latter passages are all found only in the Vossian recension of the Epistles, and therefore, as we saw above, are in any case evidence for the first half of the second century, while they may be the genuine works of Ignatius.


The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, which goes very much with the Ignatian Epistles and the external evidence for which it is so hard to resist, testifies to the fourth Gospel through the so-called first Epistle. That this Epistle is really by the same author as the Gospel is not indeed absolutely undoubted, but I imagine that it is as certain as any fact of literature can be. The evidence of style and diction is overwhelming [Endnote 277:1]. We may set side by side the two passages which are thought to be parallel.

Ep. ad Phil. c. vii.

[Greek: Pas gar hos an mae homologae Iaesoun Christon en sarki elaeluthenai antichristos esti; kai hos an mae homologae to marturion tou staurou ek tou diabolou esti; kai hos an methodeuae ta logia tou Kuriou pros tas idias epithumias, kai legae maete anastasin maete krisin einai, outos prototokos esti tou Satana.]

1 John vi. 2, 3.

[Greek: Pan pneuma ho homologei Iaesoun Christon en sarki elaeluthota ek tou Theou estin. Kai pan pneuma ho mae homologei tou Iaesoun ek tou Theou ouk estin, kai touto estin to tou antichristou, k.t.l.]

This is precisely one of those passages where at a superficial glance we are inclined to think that there is no parallel, but where a deeper consideration tends to convince us of the opposite. The suggestion of Dr. Scholten cannot indeed be quite excluded, that both writers I have adopted a formula in use in the early Church against various heretics' [Endnote 277:2]. But if such a formula existed it is highly probable that it took its rise from St. John's Epistle. This passage of the Epistle of Polycarp is the earliest instance of the use of the word 'Antichrist' outside the Johannean writings in which, alone of the New Testament, it occurs five times. Here too it occurs in conjunction with other characteristic phrases, [Greek: homologein, en sarki elaeluthenai, ek tou diabolou]. The phraseology and turns of expression in these two verses accord so entirely with those of the rest of the Epistle and of the Gospel that we must needs take them to be the original work of the writer and not a quotation, and we can hardly do otherwise than see an echo of them in the words of Polycarp.

There is naturally a certain hesitation in using evidence for the Epistle as available also for the Gospel, but I have little doubt that it may justly so be used and with no real diminution of its force. The chance that the Epistle had a separate author is too small to be practically worth considering.

This then will apply to the case of Papias, of whose relations to the fourth Gospel we have no record, but of whom Eusebius expressly says, that 'he made use of testimonies from the first Epistle of John.' There is the less reason to doubt this statement, as in every instance in which a similar assertion of Eusebius can be verified it is found to hold good. It is much more probable that he would overlook real analogies than be led astray by merely imaginary ones--which is rather a modern form of error. In textual matters the ancients were not apt to go wrong through over-subtlety, and Eusebius himself does not, I believe, deserve the charge of 'inaccuracy and haste' that is made against him [Endnote 278:1].


In regard to the much disputed question of the use of the fourth Gospel by Justin, those who maintain the affirmative have again emphatic support from Dr. Keim [Endnote 278:2]. We will examine some of the instances which are adduced on this side.

And first, in his account of John the Baptist, Justin has two particulars which are found in the fourth Gospel and in no other. That Gospel alone makes the Baptist himself declare, 'I am not the Christ;' and it alone puts into his mouth the application of the prophecy of Isaiah, 'I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.' Justin combines these two sayings, treating them as an answer made by John to some who supposed that he was the Christ.

Justin, Dial. c. 88.

To whom he himself also cried: 'I am not the Christ, but the voice of one crying [Greek: ouk eimi o Christos, alla phonae boontos]; for there shall come one stronger than I,' &c.

John i. 19, 20, 23.

And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not: but confessed, I am not the Christ [Greek: oti ouk eimi ego o Christos]... I am the voice of one crying [Greek: ego phonae boontos] in the wilderness,' &c.

The passage in Justin does not profess to be a direct quotation; it is merely a historical reproduction, and, as such, it has quite as much accuracy as we should expect to find. The circumstantial coincidences are too close to be the result of accident. And Dr. Keim is doubtless right in ridiculing Volkmar's notion that Justin has merely developed Acts xiii. 25, which contains neither of the two phrases ([Greek: ho Christos, phonae boontos]) in question. To refer the passage to an unknown source such as the Gospel according to the Hebrews--all we know of which shows its affinities to have been rather on the side of the Synoptics--when we have a known source in the fourth Gospel ready to hand, is quite unreasonable [Endnote 280:1].

No great weight, though perhaps some fractional quantity, can be ascribed to the statement that Jesus healed those who were maimed from their birth ([Greek: tous ek genetaes paerous] [Endnote 280:2]). The word [Greek: paeros] is used specially for the blind, and the fourth Evangelist is the only one who mentions the healing of congenital infirmity, which he does under this same phrase [Greek: ek genetaes], and that of a case of blindness (John ix. 1). The possibility urged in 'Supernatural Religion,' that Justin may be merely drawing from tradition, may detract from the force of this but cannot altogether remove it, especially as we have no other trace of a tradition containing this particular.

Tischendorf [Endnote 280:3] lays stress on a somewhat remarkable phenomenon in connection with the quotation of Zech. xvi. 10, 'They shall look on him whom they pierced.' Justin gives the text of this in precisely the same form as St. John, and with the same variation from the Septuagint, [Greek: opsontai eis hon exekentaesan] for [Greek: epiblepsontai pros me anth hon katorchaesanto]--a variation which is also found in Rev. i. 7. Those who believe that the Apocalypse had the same author as the Gospel, naturally see in this a confirmation of their view, and it would seem to follow that Justin had had either one or both writings before him. But the assumption of an identity of authorship between the Apocalypse and the Gospel, though I believe less unreasonable than is generally supposed, still is too much disputed to build anything upon in argument. We must not ignore the other theory, that all three writers had before them and may have used independently a divergent text of the Septuagint. Some countenance is given to this by the fact that ten MSS. of the Septuagint present the same reading [Endnote 281:1]. There can be little doubt however that it was in its origin a Christian correction, which had the double advantage of at once bringing the Greek into closer conformity to the Hebrew, and of also furnishing support to the Christian application of the prophecy. Whether this correction was made before either the Apocalypse or the Gospel were written, or whether it appeared in these works for the first time and from them was copied into other Christian writings, must remain an open question.

The saying in Apol. i. 63, 'so that they are rightly convicted both by the prophetic Spirit and by Christ Himself, that they knew neither the Father nor the Son' ([Greek: oute ton patera oute ton uion egnosan]), certainly presents a close resemblance to John xvi. 3, [Greek: ouk egnosan ton patera oude eme]. But a study of the context seems to make it clear that the only passage consciously present to Justin's mind was Matt. xi. 27. Dr. Keim thinks that St. John supplied him with a commentary oh the Matthaean text; but the coincidence may be after all accidental.

But the most important isolated case of literary parallelism is the well-known passage in Apol. i. 61 [Endnote 281:2].

Apol. i. 61.

For Christ said: Except ye be born again ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Now that it is impossible for those who have once been born to return into the wombs of those who bare them is evident to all.

[Greek: Kai gar ho Christos eipen, An mae anagennaethaete, ou mae eiselthaete eis taen Basileian ton ouranon. Hoti de kai adunaton eis tas maetras ton tekouson tous hapax gennomenous embaenai, phaneron pasin esti.]

John iii. 3-5.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except any one be born over again (or possibly 'from above'), he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except any one be born of Water and Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

[Greek: Apekrithae Iaesous kai eipen auto Amaen amaen lego soi, ean mae tis gennaethae anothen ou dunatai idein taen Basilaian tou Theou. Legei pros aouton ho Nikodaemos, Pos dunatai anthropos gennaethaenai geron on; mae dunatai eis taen koilian taes maertros autou deuteron eiselthein kai gennaethaenai; k.t.l.]

Here we have first to determine the meaning of the word [Greek: anothen] in the phrase [Greek: gennaethae anothen] of John iii. 3 on which the extent of the parallelism to some degree turns. Does it mean 'be born over again,' like Justin's [Greek: anagennaethaete]? Or does it mean 'be born from above,' i.e. by a heavenly, divine, regeneration? To express an opinion in favour of the first of these views would naturally be to incur the charge of taking it up merely to suit the occasion. It is not however necessary; for it is sufficient to know that whether or not this meaning was originally intended by the Evangelist, it is a meaning that Justin might certainly put upon the words. That this is the case is sufficiently proved by the fact that the Syriac version (which is quoted in 'Supernatural Religion,' by a pardonable mistake, on the other side [Endnote 283:1]) actually translates the words thus. So also does the Vulgate; with Tertullian ('renatus'), Augustine, Chrysostom (partly), Luther, Calvin, Maldonatus, &c. For the sense 'from above' are the Gothic version, Origen, Cyril, Theophylact, Bengel, &c.; on the whole a fairly equal division of opinion. The question has been of late elaborately re-argued by Mr. McClellan [Endnote 283:2], who decides in favour of 'again.' But, without taking sides either way, it is clear that Justin would have had abundant support, in particular that of his own national version, if he intended [Greek: anagennaethaete] to be a paraphrase of [Greek: gennaethae anothen].

It is obvious that if he is quoting St. John the quotation is throughout paraphrastic. And yet it is equally noticeable that he does not use the exact Johannean phrase, he uses others that are in each case almost precisely equivalent. He does not say [Greek: our dunatai idein--taen basileian ton ouranon], but he says [Greek: ou mae eiselthaete eis--taen basileian ton ouranon], the latter pair phrases which the Synoptics have already taught us to regard as convertible. He does not say [Greek: mae dunatai eis taen koilian taes maetros autou deuteron eiselthein kai gennaethaenai], but he says [Greek: adunaton eis tas maetras ton tekouson tous hapax gennomenous embaebai]. And the scale seems decisively turned by the very remarkable combination in Justin and St. John of the saying respecting spiritual regeneration with the same strangely gross physical misconception. It is all but impossible that two minds without concert or connection should have thought of introducing anything of the kind. Nicodemus makes an objection, and Justin by repeating the same objection, and in a form that savours so strongly of platitude, has shown, I think we must say, conclusively, that he was aware that the objection had been made.

Such are some of the chief literary coincidences between Justin and the fourth Gospel; but there are others more profound. Justin undoubtedly has the one cardinal doctrine of the fourth Gospel-- the doctrine of the Logos.

Thus he writes. 'Jesus Christ is in the proper sense [Greek: idios] the only Son begotten of God, being His Word [Greek: logos] and Firstborn Power' [Endnote 284:1]. Again, 'But His Son who alone is rightly [Greek: kurios] called Son, who before all created things was with Him and begotten of Him as His Word, when in the beginning He created and ordered all things through Him,' &c. Again, 'Now the next Power to God the Father and Lord of all, and Son [Endnote 284:2], is the Word, of whom we shall relate in what follows how He was made flesh and became Man.' Again, 'The Word of God is His Son.' Again, speaking of the Gentile philosophers and lawgivers, 'Since they did not know all things respecting the Word, who is Christ, they have also frequently contradicted each other.' These passages are given by Tischendorf, and they might be added to without difficulty; but it is not questioned that the term Logos is found frequently in Justin's writings, and in the same sense in which it is used in the Prologue of the fourth Gospel of the eternal Son of God, who is at the same time the historical person Jesus Christ.

The natural inference that Justin was acquainted with the fourth Gospel is met by suggesting other sources for the doctrine. These sources are of two kinds, Jewish or Alexandrine.

It is no doubt true that a vivid personification of the Wisdom of God is found both in the Old Testament and in the Apocrypha. Thus in the book of Proverbs we have an elaborate ode upon Wisdom as the eternal assessor in the counsels of God: 'The Lord possessed me in' the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains of water ... When He prepared the heavens, I was there: when He set a compass upon the face of the deep ... Then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him' [Endnote 285:1]. The ideas of which this is perhaps the clearest expression are found more vaguely in other parts of the same book, in the Psalms, and in the book of Job, but they are further expanded and developed in the two Apocryphal books of Wisdom. There [Endnote 285:2] Wisdom is represented as the 'breath of the power of God, and a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty,' as 'the brightness [Greek: apaugasma] of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of His goodness.' Wisdom 'sitteth by the throne' of God. She reacheth from one end to another mightily: and sweetly doth she order all things.' 'She is privy to the mysteries of the knowledge of God and a lover of His works.' God 'created her before the world' [Endnote 286:1]. We also get by the side of this, but in quite a subordinate place and in a much less advanced stage of personification, the idea of the Word or Logos: 'O God of my fathers ... who hast made all things with thy word, and ordained man through thy wisdom' [Endnote 286:2]. 'It was neither herb nor mollifying plaister that restored them to health: but thy word, O Lord, which healeth all things.' It was 'the Almighty word' ([Greek: ho pantodunamos logos]) 'that leaped down from heaven' to slay the Egyptians.

But still it will be seen that there is a distinct gap between these conceptions and that which we find in Justin. The leading idea is that of Wisdom, not of the Word. The Word is not even personified separately; it is merely the emitted power or energy of God. And the personification of Wisdom is still to a large extent poetical, it does not attain to separate metaphysical hypostasis; it is not thought of as being really personal.

The Philonian conception, on the other hand, is metaphysical, but it contains many elements that are quite discordant and inconsistent with that which we find in Justin. That it must have been so will be seen at once when we think of the sources from which Philo's doctrine was derived. It included in itself the Platonic theory of Ideas, the diffused Logos or anima mundi of the Stoics, and the Oriental angelology or doctrine of intermediate beings between God and man. On its Platonic side the Logos is the Idea of Ideas summing up the world of high abstractions which themselves are also regarded as possessing a separate individuality; they are Logoi by the side of the Logos. On its Stoic side it becomes a Pantheistic Essence pervading the life of things; it is 'the law,' 'the bond' which holds the world together; the world is its 'garment.' On its Eastern side, the Logos is the 'Archangel,' the 'Captain of the hosts of heaven,' the 'Mother-city' from which they issue as colonists, the 'Vice- gerent' of the Great King [Endnote 287:1].

It needed a more powerful mind than Justin's to reduce all this to its simple Christian expression, to take the poetry of Judaea and the philosophy of Alexandria and to interpret and realise both in the light of the historical events of the birth and life of Christ. 'The Word became flesh' is the key by which Justin is made intelligible, and that key is supplied by the fourth Gospel. No other Christian writer had combined these two ideas before--the divine Logos, with the historical personality of Jesus. When therefore we find the ideas combined as in Justin, we are necessarily referred to the fourth Gospel for them; for the strangely inverted suggestion of Volkmar, that the author of the fourth Gospel borrowed from Justin, is on chronological, if not on other grounds, certainly untenable. We shall see that the fourth Gospel was without doubt in existence at the date which Volkmar assigns to Justin's Apology, 150 A. D.


The history of the discussion as to the relation of the Clementine Homilies to the fourth Gospel is highly instructive, not only in itself, but also for the light which it throws upon the general character of our enquiry and the documents with which it is concerned. It has been already mentioned that up to the year 1853 the Clementine Homilies were only extant in a mutilated form, ending abruptly in the middle of Hom. xix. 14. In that year a complete edition was at last published by Dressel from a manuscript in the Vatican containing the rest of the nineteenth and the twentieth Homily. The older portion occupies in all, with the translation and critical apparatus, 381 large octavo pages in Dressel's edition; the portion added by Dressel occupies 34. And yet up to 1853, though the Clementine Homilies had been carefully studied with reference to the use of the fourth Gospel, only a few indications had been found, and those were disputed. In fact, the controversy was very much at such a point as others with which we have been dealing; there was a certain probability in favour of the conclusion that the Gospel had been used, but still considerably short of the highest. Since the publication of the conclusion of the Homilies the question has been set at rest. Hilgenfeld, who had hitherto been a determined advocate of the negative theory, at once gave up his ground [Endnote 288:1]; and Volkmar, who had somewhat less to retract, admitted and admits [Endnote 288:2] that the fact of the use of the Gospel must be considered as proved. The author of 'Supernatural Religion' stands alone in still resisting this conviction [Endnote 288:3], but the result I suspect will be only to show in stronger relief the one- sidedness of his critical method.

We will follow the example that is set us in presenting the whole of the passages alleged to contain allusions to the fourth Gospel; and it is the more interesting to do so with the key that the recent discovery has put into Our hands. The first runs thus:--

Hom. iii. 52.

Therefore he, being a true prophet, said: I am the gate of life; he that entereth in through me entereth into life: for the teaching that can save is none other [than mine].

[Greek: Dia touto autos alaethaes on prophaetaes elegen; Ego eimi hae pulae taes zoaes; ho di' emou eiserchomenos eiserchetai eis taen zoaen; hos ouk ousaes heteras taes sozein dunamenaes didaskalias.]

John x. 9.

I am the door: by me if any one enter in, he shall be saved, and shall come in and go out, and shall find pasture.

[Greek: Ego eimi hae thura; di' emou ean tis eiselthae sothaesetai kai eiseleusetai kai exeleusetai kai nomaen heuraesei.]

Apart from other evidence it would have been somewhat precarious to allege this as proof of the use of the fourth Gospel, and yet I believe there would have been a distinct probability that it was taken from that work. The parallel is much closer--in spite of [Greek: thura] for [Greek: pulae]--than is Matt. vii. 13, 14 (the 'narrow gate') which is adduced in 'Supernatural Religion,' and the interval is very insufficiently bridged over by Ps. cxviii. 19, 20 ('This is the gate of the Lord'). The key-note of the passage is given in the identification of the gate with the person of the Saviour ('I am the door') and in the remarkable expression 'he that entereth in through me,' which is retained in the Homily. It is curious to notice the way in which the [Greek: sothaesetai] of the Gospel has been expanded exegetically.

Less doubtful--and indeed we should have thought almost beyond a doubt--is the next reference; 'My sheep hear my voice.'

Hom. iii. 52.

[Greek: ta ema probata akouei taes emaes phonaes.]

John x. 27. [Greek: ta probata ta ema taes phonaes mou akouei.]

'There was no more common representation amongst the Jews of the relation of God and his people than that of Shepherd and his sheep' [Endnote 290:1]. That is to say, it occurs of Jehovah or of the Messiah some twelve or fifteen times in the Old and New Testament together, but never with anything at all closely approaching to the precise and particular feature given here. Let the reader try to estimate the chances that another source than the fourth Gospel is being quoted. Criticism is made null and void when such seemingly plain indications as this are discarded in favour of entirely unknown quantities like the 'Gospel according to the Hebrews.' If the author of 'Supernatural Religion' were to turn his own powers of derisive statement against his own hypotheses they would present a very strange appearance.

The reference that follows has in some respects a rather marked resemblance to that which we were discussing in Justin, and for the relation between them to be fully appreciated should be given along with it:--

Justin, Apol. i. 61.

Except ye be born again ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

[Greek: An mae anagennaethaete ou mae eiselthaete eis taen basileian ton ouranon.]

Clem. Hom. xi. 26.

Verily I say unto you, Except ye be born again with living water, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

[Greek: Amaen humin lego, ean mae anagennaethaete hudati zonti eis onoma patros, uhiou, hagiou pneumatos, ou mae eiselthaete eis taen basileian ton ouranon.]

John iii. 3, 5. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except any one be born over again (or 'from above') he cannot see the kingdom of God ... Except any one be born of water and Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

[Greek: Amaen amaen lego soi, ean mae tis gennaethae anothen, ou dunatai idein taen basileian tou Theou ... ean mae tis gennaethae ex hudatos kai pneumatos, ou dunatai eiselthein eis taen basileian tou Theou.]

[Greek: pneum]. add. [Greek: hagiou] Vulg. (Clementine edition), a, ff, m, Aeth., Orig. (Latin translator).

Here it will be noticed that Justin and the Clementines have four points in common, [Greek: anagennaethaete] for [Greek: gennaethae anothen], the second person plural (twice over) for [Greek: tis] and the singular, [Greek: ou mae] and the subjunctive for [Greek: ou dunatai] and infinitive, and [Greek: taen basileian ton ouranon], for [Greek: taen basileian tou Theou]. To the last of these points much importance could not be attached in itself, as it represents a persistent difference between the first and the other Synoptists even where they had the same original. As both the Clementines and Justin used the first Gospel more than the others, it is only natural that they should fall into the habit of using its characteristic phrase. Neither would the other points have had very much importance taken separately, but their importance increases considerably when they come to be taken together.

On the other hand, we observe in the Clementines (where it is however connected with Matt. xxviii. 19) the sufficiently near equivalent for the striking Johannean phrase [Greek: ex hudatos kai pneumatos] which is omitted entirely by Justin.

The most probable view of the case seems to be that both the Clementines and Justin are quoting from memory. Both have in their memory the passage of St. John, but both have also distinctly before them (so much the more distinctly as it is the Gospel which they habitually used) the parallel passage in Matt. xviii. 3-- where all the last three out of the four common variations are found, besides, along with the Clementines, the omission of the second [Greek: amaen],--'Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven' ([Greek: on mae eiseathaete eis taen basileian ton ouranon]). It is out of the question that this only should have been present to the mind of the writers; and, in view of the repetition of Nicodemus' misunderstanding by Justin and of the baptism by water and Spirit in the Clementine Homilies, it seems equally difficult to exclude the reference to St. John. It is in fact a Johannean saying in a Matthaean framework.

There is the more reason to accept this solution, that neither Justin nor the Clementines can in any case represent the original form of the passages quoted. If Justin's version were correct, whence did the Clementines get the [Greek: hudati zonti k.t.l.]? if the Clementine, then whence did Justin get the misconception of Nicodemus? But the Clementine version is in any case too eccentric to stand.

The last passage is the one that is usually considered to be decisive as to the use of the fourth Gospel.

Hom. xix. 22.

Hence too our Teacher, when explaining to those who asked of him respecting the man who was blind from his birth and recovered his sight, whether this man sinned or his parents that he should be born blind, replied: Neither this man sinned, nor his parents; but that through him the power of God might be manifested healing the sins of ignorance.

[Greek: Hothen kai didaskalos haemon peri tou [Endnote 293:1] ek genetaes paerou kai anablepsantos par' autou exetazon erotaesasin, ei ohutos haemarten ae oi goneis autou, hina tuphlos gennaethae [Endnote 293:1] apekrinato oute ohutos ti haemarten, oute oi goneis autou, all' hina di autou phanerothae hae dunamis tou Theou taes agnoias iomenae ta hamartaemata.]

John ix. 1-3.

And as he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be manifested in him.

[Greek: Kai paragon eiden anthropon tuphlon ek genetaes. Kai aerotaesan auton oi mathaetai autou legontes, Rhabbei, tis haemarten, ohutos ae oi goneis autou, hina tuphlos gennaethae; apekrithae Iaesous, Oute ohutos haemarten oute oi goneis autou, all' hina phanerothae ta erga tou Theou en auto.]

The author of 'Supernatural Religion' undertakes to show 'that the context of this passage in the Homily bears positive characteristics which render it impossible that it can have been taken from the fourth Gospel' [Endnote 293:2]. I think we may venture to say that he does indeed show somewhat conspicuously the way in which he uses the word 'impossible' and the kind of grounds on which that and such like terms are employed throughout his work.

It is a notorious fact, abundantly established by certain quotations from the Old Testament and elsewhere, that the last thing regarded by the early patristic writers was context. But in this case the context is perfectly in keeping, and to a clear and unprejudiced eye it presents no difficulty. The Clementine writer is speaking of the origin of physical infirmities, and he says that these are frequently due, not to moral error, but to mere ignorance on the part of parents. As an instance of this he gives the case of the man who was born blind, of whom our Lord expressly said that neither he nor his parents had sinned--morally or in such a way as to deserve punishment. On the contrary they had erred simply through ignorance, and the object of the miracle was to make a display of the Divine mercy removing the consequences of such error. 'And in reality,' he proceeds, 'things of this kind are the result of ignorance. The misfortunes of which you spoke, proceed from ignorance and not from any wicked action.' This is perfectly compatible with every word of the Johannean narrative. The concluding clause of the quotation is merely a paraphrase of the original (no part of the quotation professes to be exact), bringing out a little more prominently the special point of the argument. There is ample room for this. The predetermined object of the miracle, says St. John, was to display the works of God, and the Clementine writer specifies the particular work of God displayed--the mercy which heals the evil consequences of ignorance. If there is anything here at all inconsistent with the Gospel it would be interesting to know (and we are not told) what was the kind of original that the author of the Homily really had before him.

A further discussion of this passage I should hardly suppose to be necessary. Nothing could be more wanton than to assign this passage to an imaginary Gospel merely on the ground alleged. The hypothesis was less violent in regard to the Synoptic Gospels, which clearly contain a large amount of common matter that might also have found its way into other hands. We have evidence of the existence of other Gospels presenting a certain amount of affinity to the first Gospel, but the fourth is stamped with an idiosyncracy which makes it unique in its kind. If there is to be this freedom in inventing unknown documents, reproducing almost verbatim the features of known ones, sober criticism is at an end.

That the Clementine Homilies imply the use of the fourth Gospel may be considered to be, not indeed certain in a strict sense of the word, but as probable as most human affairs can be. The real element or doubt is in regard to their date, and their evidence must be taken subject to this uncertainty.


It is perhaps hardly worth while to delay over the Epistle to Diognetus: not that I do not believe the instances alleged by Tischendorf and Dr. Westcott [Endnote 295:1] to be in themselves sound, but because there exists too little evidence to determine the date of the Epistle, and because it may be doubted whether the argument for the use of the fourth Gospel in the Epistle can be expressed strongly in an objective form. The allusions in question are not direct quotations, but are rather reminiscences of language. The author of 'Supernatural Religion' has treated them as if they were the former [Endnote 296:1]; he has enquired into the context &c., not very successfully. But such enquiry is really out of place. When the writer of the Epistle says, 'Christians dwell in the world but are not of the world' [Greek: ouk xisi de ek tou kosmou] = exactly John xvii. 14; note peculiar use of the preposition); 'For God loved men for whose sakes He made the world ... unto whom He sent His only begotten Son' (= John iii. 16, 'God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son'); 'How will you love Him who so beforehand loved you' [Greek: proagapaesanta]; cf. i John iv. 19, [Greek: protos aegapaesen] 'He sent His Son as wishing to save ... and not to condemn' ([Greek: sozon ... krinon] of. John iii. 16),--the probability is about as great that he had in his mind St. John's language as it would be if the same phrases were to occur in a modern sermon. It is a real probability; but not one that can be urged very strongly.


Of more importance--indeed of high importance--is the evidence drawn from the remains of earlier writers preserved by Irenaeus and Hippolytus. There is a clear reference to the fourth Gospel in a passage for which Irenaeus alleges the authority of certain 'Presbyters,' who at the least belonged to an elder generation than his own. There can be little doubt indeed that they are the same as those whom he describes three sentences later and with only a momentary break in the oblique narration into which the passage is thrown, as 'the Presbyters, disciples of the Apostles.' It may be well to give the language of Irenaeus in full as it has been the subject of some controversy. Speaking of the rewards of the just in the next world, he says [Endnote 297:1]:--

'For Esaias says, "Like as the new heaven and new earth which I create remain before me, saith the Lord, so your seed and your name shall stand." And as the Presbyters say, then too those who are thought worthy to have their abode in Heaven shall go thither, and some shall enjoy the delights of Paradise, while others shall possess the splendor of the City; for everywhere the Saviour shall be seen according as they shall be worthy who look upon Him. [So far the sentence has been in oratio recta, but here it becomes oblique.] And [they say] that there is this distinction in dwelling between those who bear fruit an hundred fold and those who bear sixty and those who bear thirty, some of whom shall be carried off into the Heavens, some shall stay in Paradise, and some shall dwell in the City. And for this reason, [they say that] the Lord declared ([Greek: eipaekenai]) that in my Father's [realm] are many mansions; for all things [are] of God, who gives to all the fitting habitation: even as His Word saith (ait), that to all is allotted by the Father as each is or shall be worthy. And this is (est) the couch upon which they shall recline who are bidden to His marriage supper. That this is (esse) the order and disposition of the saved, the Presbyters, disciples of the Apostles, say,' etc.

That Irenaeus is here merely giving the 'exegesis of his own day,' as the author of 'Supernatural Religion' suggests [Endnote 297:2], is not for a moment tenable. Irenaeus does indeed interpose for two sentences (Omnia enim... ad nuptias) to give his own comment on the saying of the Presbyters; but these are sharply cut off from the rest by the use of the present indicative instead of the infinitive. There can be no question at all that the quotation 'in My Father's realm are many mansions' [Greek: en tois ton Patros mon monas einai pollas] belongs to the Presbyters, and there can be but little doubt that these Presbyters are the same as those spoken of as 'disciples of the Apostles.'

Whether they were also 'the Presbyters' referred to as his authority by Papias is quite a secondary and subordinate question. Considering the Chiliastic character of the passage, the conjecture [Endnote 298:1] that they were does not seem to me unreasonable. This however we cannot determine positively. It is quite enough that Irenaeus evidently attributes to them an antiquity considerably beyond his own; that, in fact, he looks upon them as supplying the intermediate link between his age and that of the Apostles.


Two quotations from the fourth Gospel are attributed to Basilides, both of them quite indisputable as quotations. The first is found in the twenty-second chapter of the seventh book of the 'Refutation,' 'That was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world [Endnote 298:2] ([Greek: aen to phos to alaethinon, o photizei panta anthropon erchomenon eis ton kosmon] = John i. 9), and the second in the twenty-seventh chapter, 'My hour is not yet come' ([Greek: oupo aekei aeora mon] = John ii. 4). Both of these passages are instances of the exegesis by which the Basilidian doctrines were defended.

The real question is here, as in regard to the Synoptics, whether the quotations were made by Basilides himself or by his disciples, 'Isidore and his crew.' The second instance I am disposed to think may possibly be due to the later representatives of this school, because, though the quotation is introduced by [Greek: phaesi] in the singular, and though Basilides himself can in no case be excluded, still there is nothing in the chapter to identify the subject of [Greek: phaesi] specially with him, and in the next sentence Hippolytus writes, 'This is that which they understand ([Greek: ho kat' autous nenoaemenos]) by the inner spiritual man,' &c. But the earlier instance is different. There Basilides himself does seem to be specially singled out.

He is mentioned by name only two sentences above that in which the quotation occurs. Hippolytus is referring to the Basilidian doctrine of the origin of things. He says, 'Now since it was not allowable to say that something non-existent had come into being as a projection from a non-existent Deity--for Basilides avoids and shuns the existences of things brought into being by projection [Endnote 299:1]--for what need is there of projection, or why should matter be presupposed in order that God should make a world, just as a spider its web or as mortal man in making things takes brass or wood or any other portion of matter? But He spake--so he says--and it was done, and this is, as these men say, that which is said by Moses: "Let there be light, and there was light." Whence, he says, came the light? Out of nothing; for we are not told--he says--whence it came, but only that it was at the voice of Him that spake. Now He that spake--he says--was not, and that which was made, was not. Out of that which was not--he says-- was made the seed of the world, the word which was spoken, "Let there be light;" and this--he says--is that which is spoken in the Gospels; "That was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.'" We must not indeed overlook the fact that the plural occurs once in the middle of this passage as introducing the words of Moses; 'as these men say.' And yet, though this decidedly modifies, I do not think that it removes the probability that Basilides himself is being quoted. It seems a fair inference that at the beginning of the passage Hippolytus had the work of Basilides actually before him; and the single digression in [Greek: legousin houtoi] does not seem enough to show that it was laid aside. This is confirmed when we look back two chapters at the terms in which the whole account of the Basilidian system is introduced. 'Let us see,' Hippolytus says, 'how flagrantly Basilides as well as (B. [Greek: homou kai]) Isidore and all their crew contradict not only Matthias but the Saviour himself.' Stress is laid upon the name of Basilides, as if to say, 'It is not merely a new-fangled heresy, but dates back to the head and founder of the school.' When in the very next sentence Hippolytus begins with [Greek: phaesi], the natural construction certainly seems to be that he is quoting some work of Basilides which he takes as typical of the doctrine of the whole school. A later work would not suit his purpose or prove his point. Basilides includes Isidore, but Isidore does not include Basilides.

We conclude then that there is a probability--not an overwhelming, but quite a substantial, probability--that Basilides himself used the fourth Gospel, and used it as an authoritative record of the life of Christ. But Basilides began to teach in 125 A.D., so that his evidence, supposing it to be valid, dates from a very early period indeed: and it should be remembered that this is the only uncertainty to which it is subject. That the quotation is really from St. John cannot be doubted.

The account which Hippolytus gives of the Valentinians also contains an allusion to the fourth Gospel; 'All who came before Me are thieves and robbers' (cf. John x. 8). But here the master and the disciples are more confused. Less equivocal evidence is afforded by the statements of Irenaeus respecting the Valentinians. He says that the Valentinians used the fourth Gospel very freely (plenissime) [Endnote 301:1]. This applies to a date that cannot be in any case later than 180 A.D., and that may extend almost indefinitely backwards. There is no reason to say that it does not include Valentinus himself. Positive evidence is wanting, but negative evidence still more. Apart from evidence to the contrary, there must be a presumption against the introduction of a new work which becomes at once a frequently quoted authority midway in the history of a school.

But to keep to facts apart from presumptions. Irenaeus represents Ptolemaeus as quoting largely from the Prologue to the Gospel. But Ptolemaeus, as we have seen, had already gathered a school about him when Irenaeus became acquainted with him. His evidence therefore may fairly be said to cover the period from 165-175 A.D. The author of 'Supernatural Religion' seems to be somewhat beside the mark when he says that 'in regard to Ptolemaeus all that is affirmed is that in the Epistle to Flora ascribed to him expressions found in John i. 3 are used.' True it is that such expressions are found, and before we accept the theory in 'Supernatural Religion' that the parenthesis in which they occur is due to Epiphanius who quotes the letter in full himself [Endnote 302:1], it is only right that some other instance should be given of such parenthetic interruption. The form in which the letter is quoted, not in fragments interspersed with comments but complete and at full length, with a formal heading and close, really excludes such a hypothesis. But, a century and a half before Epiphanius, Irenaeus had given a string of Valentinian comments on the Prologue, ending with the words, 'Et Ptolemaeus quidem ita' [Endnote 302:2]. Heracleon, too, is coupled with Ptolemaeus by Irenaeus [Endnote 302:3], and according to the view of the author of 'Supernatural Religion,' had a school around him at the time of Irenaeus' visit to Rome in 178 A.D. But this Heracleon was the author of a Commentary on St. John's Gospel to which Origen in his own parallel work frequently alludes. These are indeed dismissed in 'Supernatural Religion' as 'unsupported references.' But we may well ask, what support they need. The references are made in evident good faith. He says, for instance [Endnote 302:4], that Heracleon's exegesis of John i. 3, 'All things were made by Him,' excluding from this the world and its contents, is very forced and without authority. Again, he has misinterpreted John i. 4, making 'in Him was life' mean not 'in Him' but 'in spiritual men.' Again, he wrongly attributes John i. 18 not to the Evangelist, but to the Baptist. And so on. The allusions are all made in this incidental manner; and the life of Origen, if he was born, as is supposed, about 185 A.D., would overlap that of Heracleon. What evidence could be more sufficient? or if such evidence is to be discarded, what evidence are we to accept? Is it to be of the kind that is relied upon for referring quotations to the Gospel according to the Hebrews, or the Gospel according to Peter, or the [Greek: Genna Marias]? There are sometimes no doubt reasonable grounds for scepticism as to the patristic statements, but none such are visible here. On the contrary, that Heracleon should have written a commentary on the fourth Gospel falls in entirely with what Irenaeus says as to the large use that was made of that Gospel by the Valentinians.


As we approach the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarter of the second century the evidence for the fourth Gospel becomes widespread and abundant. At this date we have attention called to the discrepancy between the Gospels as to the date of the Crucifixion by Claudius Apollinaris. We have also Tatian, the Epistle of the Churches of Vienne and Lyons, the heathen Celsus and the Muratorian Canon, and then a very few years later Theophilus of Antioch and Irenaeus.

I imagine that there can be really no doubt about Tatian. Whatever may have been the nature of the Diatessaron, the 'Address to the Greeks' contains references which it is mere paradox to dispute. I will not press the first of these which is given by Dr. Westcott, not because I do not believe that it is ultimately based upon the fourth Gospel, still less that there is the slightest contradiction to St. John's doctrine, but because Tatian's is a philosophical comment perhaps a degree too far removed from the original to be quite producible as evidence. It is one of the earliest speculations as to the ontological relation between the Father and the Son. In the beginning God was alone--though all things were with Him potentially. By the mere act of volition He gave birth to the Logos, who was the real originative cause of things. Yet the existence of the Logos was not such as to involve a separation of identity in the Godhead; it involved no diminution in Him from whom the Logos issued. Having been thus first begotten, the Logos in turn begat our creation, &c. The Logos is thus represented as being at once prior to creation (the Johannean [Greek: en archae]) and the efficient cause of it--which is precisely the doctrine of the Prologue.

The other two passages are however quite unequivocal.

Orat. ad Graecos, c. xiii.

And this is therefore that saying: The darkness comprehends not the light.

[Greek: Kai touto estin ara to eiraemenon Hae skotia to phos ou katalambanei.]

John i. 5.

And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

[Greek: Kai to phos en tae skotia phainei, kai hae skotia auto ou katelaben.]

On this there is the following comment in 'Supernatural Religion' [Endnote 305:1]: '"The saying" is distinctly different in language from the parallel in the Gospel, and it may be from a different Gospel. We have already remarked that Philo called the Logos "the Light," and quoting in a peculiar form, Ps. xxvi. 1: 'For the Lord is my light ([Greek: phos]) and my Saviour,' he goes on to say that as the sun divides day and night, so Moses says, 'God divides light and darkness' ([Greek: Theon phos kai skotos diateichisai]), when we turn away to things of sense we use 'another light' which is in no way different from 'darkness.' The constant use of the same similitude of light and darkness in the Canonical Epistles shows how current it was in the Church; and nothing is more certain than the fact that it was neither originated by, nor confined to, the fourth Gospel.' Such criticism refutes itself, and it is far too characteristic of the whole book. Nothing is adduced that even remotely corresponds to the very remarkable phrase [Greek: hae skotia to phos katalambanei], and yet for these imaginary parallels one that is perfectly plain and direct is rejected.

The use of the phrase [Greek: to eiraemenon] should be noticed. It is the formula used, especially by St. Luke, in quotation from the Old Testament Scriptures.

The other passage is:--

Orat. ad Graecos, c. xix.

All things were by him, and without him hath been made nothing.

[Greek: Panta hup' autou kai choris autou gegonen oude hen.]

John i. 3.

All things were made through him; and without him was nothing made [that hath been made].

[Greek: Panta di' autou egeneto, kai choris autou egeneto oude hen [ho gegonen]]. 'The early Fathers, no less than the early heretics,' placed the full stop at [Greek: oude hen], connecting the words that follow with the next sentence. See M'Clellan and Tregelles ad loc.

'Tatian here speaks of God and not of the Logos, and in this respect, as well as language and context, the passage differs from the fourth Gospel' [Endnote 306:1], &c. Nevertheless it may safely be left to the reader to say whether or not it was taken from it.

The Epistle of the Churches of Vienne and Lyons contains the following:--

Ep. Vienne. et Lugd. § iv.

Thus too was fulfilled that which was spoken by our Lord; that a time shall come in which every one that killeth you shall think that he offereth God service.

[Greek: Eleusetai kairos en o pas ho apokteinas humas doxei latreian prospherein to Theo.]

John xvi. 2.

Yea, the hour cometh, that every one that killeth you will think he offereth God service.

[Greek: All' erchetai hora hina pas ho apokteinas humas, doxae latreian prospherein to Theo.]

It is true that there are 'indications of similar discourses' in the Synoptics, but of none containing a trait at all closely resembling this. The chances that precisely the same combination of words ([Greek: ho apokteinas humas doxei latreian prospherein to Theo]) occurred in a lost Gospel must be necessarily very small indeed, especially when we remember that the original saying was probably spoken in Aramaic and not in Greek [Endnote 307:1].

Dr. Keim, in the elaborate monograph mentioned above, decides that Celsus made use of the fourth Gospel. He remarks upon it as curious, that more traces should indeed be found 'both in Celsus and his contemporary Tatian of John than of his two nearest predecessors' [Endnote 307:2]. Of the instances given by Dr. Keim, the first (i. 41, the sign seen by the Baptist) depends on a somewhat doubtful reading ([Greek: para to Ioannae], which should be perhaps [Greek: para to Iordanae]); the second, the demand for a sign localised specially in the temple (i. 67; of. John x. 23, 24), seems fairly to hold good. 'The destination of Jesus alike for good and evil' (iv. 7, 'that those who received it, having been good, should be saved; while those who received it not, having been shown to be bad, should be punished') is indeed an idea peculiarly Johannean and creates a presumption of the use of the Gospel; we ought not perhaps to say more. I can hardly consider the simple allusions to 'flight' ([Greek: pheugein], ii. 9; [Greek: taede kakeise apodedrakenai], i. 62) as necessarily references to the retreat to Ephraim in John xi. 54. So too the expression 'bound' in ii. 9, and the 'conflict with Satan' in vi. 42, ii. 47, seem too vague to be used as proof. Still Volkmar too declares it to be 'notorious' that Celsus was acquainted with the fourth Gospel, alleging i. 67 (as above), ii. 31 (an allusion to the Logos), ii. 36 (a satirical allusion to the issue of blood and water), which passages really seem on the whole to justify the assertion, though not in a quite unqualified form.

We ought not to omit to mention that there is a second fragment by Apollinaris, bishop of Hierapolis, besides that to which we have already alluded, and preserved like it in the Paschal Chronicle, which confirms unequivocally the conclusion that he knew and used the fourth Gospel. Amongst other titles that are applied to the crucified Saviour, he is spoken of as 'having been pierced in His sacred side,' as 'having poured out of His side those two cleansing streams, water and blood, word and spirit' [Endnote 308:1]. This incident is recorded only in the fourth Gospel.

In like manner when Athenagoras says 'The Father and the Son being one' ([Greek: henos ontos tou Patros kai tou Uiou]), it is probable that he is alluding to John x. 30, 'I and my Father are one,' not to mention an alleged, but perhaps somewhat more doubtful, reference to John xvii. 3 [Endnote 308:2].

But the most decisive witness before we come to Irenaeus is the Muratorian Canon. Here we have the fourth Gospel definitely assigned to its author, and finally established in its place amongst the canonical or authoritative books. It is true that the account of the way in which the Gospel came to be composed is mixed up with legendary matter. According to it the Gospel was written in obedience to a dream sent to Andrew the Apostle, after he and his fellow disciples and bishops had fasted for three days at the request of John. In this dream it was revealed that John should write the narrative subject to the revision of the rest. So the Gospel is the work of an eyewitness, and, though it and the other Gospels differ in the objects of their teaching, all are inspired by the same Spirit.

There may perhaps in this be some kernel of historical fact, as the sort of joint authorship or revision to which it points seems to find some support in the concluding verses of the Gospel ('we know that his witness is true'). However this may be, the evidence of the fragment is of more real importance and value, as showing the estimation in which at this date the Gospel was held. It corresponds very much to what is now implied in the word 'canonical,' and indeed the Muratorian fragment presents us with a tentative or provisional Canon, which was later to be amended, completed, and ratified. So far as the Gospels were concerned, it had already reached its final shape. It included the same four which now stand in our Bibles, and the opposition that they met with was so slight, and so little serious, that Eusebius could class them all among the Homologoumena or books that were universally acknowledged.

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