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emphasis and undue insistence upon details, the representation of Christ's teaching upon the three points that have been so often mentioned was that which was familiar to the early JewishChristian Church, and which influenced to some extent the entire Apostolic preaching in its earliest stages. Thus, the eschatological conception of the Kingdom and the belief in the imminent coming of Christ affect to some extent all the literature previous to the First Gospel. It is found in S. Mark (chap. 13). If Ac 1-12 may be taken as in any sense a generally accurate account of the belief of the early Church at Jerusalem, it prevailed there (111 320). It is frequently found in S. Paul's earlier letters, 1 Thess., 2 Thess., 1 Co 17 1623, Ph 320. It is found in S. James (57-8), in S. Peter (1 P 17-8), and in S. John (1 Jn 32).
Again the belief that Christ had taught that the Gospel was intended primarily for the Jew, explains the controversy that occupies so large a part of the narrative of the Acts. Pressure of circumstances alone seems to have opened the eyes of the Palestinian Apostles to those other aspects of Christ's teaching, which led logically to the Jew and the Gentile being placed in a position of equality.
And again: the belief that Christ had come, not to do away with the claims of the Old Testament upon the consciences of men, but to reinforce them with stronger sanction than ever before, is a part of the common Christian belief of the New Testament writers.
On these grounds, the representation of the First Gospel of Christ's teaching upon these points (due allowance being made for some over-insistence upon detail, and over-emphasis due to massing of sayings under a common head) has every claim to be regarded as historically accurate.
On the other side must be set the wider perspective of much of S. Paul's teaching, and of the Third and Fourth Gospels, with regard to the Second Coming, and to the scope of the Gospel; and the question is naturally raised, "Do these wider conceptions represent a gradual spiritualisation of Christ's actual teaching, or do they carry us back to the historical Christ, whose teaching was misunderstood and narrowed in range and conception by the early Palestinian Church? At this point the historian will bring into account some other considerations. He will observe that a good deal of the discourse-material in the First Gospel, which it seems necessary to interpret from the standpoint of the editor, in accordance with ideas that run through the entire book, would (taken by themselves and in a different context) lend themselves to a very different interpretation. Such parables, e.g., as the Sower, the Mustard Seed, the Draw-Net, may, where they stand, teach lessons about the nature of the coming Kingdom; but how possible
it is that, as originally uttered, they were intended to illustrate the gradual spread of Christianity in the world. The preaching to the Gentiles may, to the editor, have seemed no obstacle to the immediate coming of Christ, but the words, as originally spoken, may well have foreshadowed a still far-distant future. The "fulfilling of the law" may, to the editor, have involved the permanent validity of the smallest commandment, but, interpreted in the light of Christ's teaching elsewhere, it seems clear that the words must have had a much wider meaning,
The historian who notices points like these will shrink from the conclusion that upon such subjects the teaching of Christ was altogether and exclusively what the editor of the First Gospel represents it to have been, to the exclusion of representation of it to be found in other parts of the New Testament.
And this should lead us to what seems to me to be a right judgement upon the representation of Christ's teaching as found in this Gospel.
That teaching was no doubt many-sided. Much of it may have been uttered in the form of paradox and symbol. The earliest tradition of it, at first oral, and then written, was that of a local church, that of Jerusalem, which drew from the treasure-house of Christ's sayings such utterances as seemed to bear most immediately upon the lives of its members, who were at first all Jews or proselytes. In this process of selection the teaching of Christ was only partially represented, because choice involved over-emphasis. Paradox may sometimes have been interpreted as an expression of literal truth, symbol as reality, and to some extent, though not, I think, to any great extent, the sayings in process of transmission may have received accretions arising out of the necessities of the Palestinian Church life. Thus the representation of Christ's teaching in this Gospel, though early in date, suffers probably from being local in character. In the meantime much of Christ's teaching remained uncommitted to writing; and, not until S. Paul's teaching had made men see that Palestinian Christianity suffered in some respects from a too one-sided representation of Christ's teaching, did they go back to the utterances of Christ, and reinterpret them from a wider point of view; seeking out also other traditions of different aspects of His teaching which had been neglected by the Palestinian guardians of His words.
But in making such generalisations I am going beyond my allotted sphere as commentator on the Gospel, and I leave these questions now to judgements which are wiser than my own.
Abbott, xxix, xxxix, 12, 50, 97, 113,
Bacher, 10, 13, 25, 44, 47, 119, 242,
Blass, 11, 15, 25, 27, 30, 31, 37, 38,
Box, 7, 18, 21.
Briggs, 175, 230, 232, 265, 307, 309.
Conybeare, 21 f., 307.
Charles, 61, 104, 122, 212, 239, 252.
Chwolson, 269, 272, 273, 275.
Veil of the temple, 296.
Dalman, lxvi, lxviii, lxxiv, lxxv, 2,