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We are expressly told (in iv. 44) of the reason which caused Jesus to retire from Judaea to Galilee, and it is rather implied that the stay there would be of considerable duration. (‘After the two days he went forth from thence into Galilee. For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.’) Again, in vii. 4, the brethren of Jesus taunt Him with avoiding the head quarters of Judaism. Their words imply that His work had been done in the obscurity of a province (‘No man doeth anything in secret, and himself seeketh to be known openly’). He had not as yet manifested Himself to the world. On the other hand, when we come to examine the 146evidence of the Synoptics we find that it too is by no means so clear as it might seem at first sight. From the critical point of view what we have to deal with is not our Gospels as we have them, but the original documents out of which they are composed. Thus their evidence is really reduced to that of the main document, which is common to all three and is practically identical with our present Gospel of St. Mark. The second leading document, commonly known as the Logia, was a collection (in the main) of sayings with very few exact notes of place or time; and one or two allusions in this would perhaps be better satisfied by a Judaean ministry. In any case that would be true of the special source, or sources, of St. Luke. For instance, the story of Mary and Martha (Luke x. 38-42) points to Bethany; and parables like those of the Good Samaritan and the Pharisee and the Publican would have more local colour if delivered in or near Jerusalem. Going back to the ground-document, we must remember that that too does not profess to be a biography: it is in the strictest sense a Gospel, the main object of which is to produce belief. If we may accept the well-attested tradition as to its origin—that it was put together from material supplied by the occasional preaching of St. Peter—completeness and consecutiveness are not what we should look for. There can be little doubt that this Gospel was really full of gaps, into which there is nothing to prevent us from inserting such southward excursions as we find 147described in the Fourth Gospel. It is true that there is something rather strange in the fact that our Second Gospel should be so predominantly taken up with Galilee. Nothing that we know quite serves to explain this. But, however that may be, the unsolved problem has more to do with St. Mark than with St. John. The antecedent probabilities of the case are really in favour of St. John’s narrative and not against it. It is not likely that a pious Jew would neglect the command to appear before the Lord in Jerusalem. Neither is it likely that a religious reformer would be content to work and teach only in a province. ‘It cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem’ (Luke xiii. 33) is a Synoptic saying; and it would be strange if the prophet only went to Jerusalem to die. It may be true that some of the traces of acquaintance with inhabitants of Judaea, such as the owners of the ass requisitioned for the public entry into Jerusalem and of the upper room in which the last Passover was eaten, might be accounted for by visits paid to the south before the active ministry of Jesus began. But this would not hold so well of cases like those of Judas Iscariot and Joseph of Arimathaea, whose relation to Jesus is associated with His religious work. Of course the proof is not decisive; but both these and many other indications would be better satisfied if the ministry had really been carried on in Judaea as well as Galilee. In that case we should better understand why the Pharisees sent emissaries to the north to watch what was going on (Mark iii. 22, vii. 1), and also how events gradually led up to the final crisis; 148how the populace was worked up to the enthusiasm which greeted the public entry, and how the hostility of the rulers was deepened until it could be satisfied with nothing short of death. If the Synoptic narrative had stood alone, the catastrophe would be too sudden and abrupt. ii. The Duration of the Ministry. The question as to the length of our Lord’s ministry is allied to that as to its place. As to this, however, I should not be prepared to speak with quite so much confidence. Antecedently we have no sufficient means of saying whether a period of a little over one year or a little over two years would be more probable. Over such work a year is soon gone; and the relation of the different Synoptic documents to each other seems to show that all are but fragmentary and give an imperfect account of the events. The plucking of the ears of corn (or ‘grain,’ Amer. R. V.) has been taken to point to the occurrence of a Passover in the course of the Galilean ministry, because it would be at Passover time that the grain was beginning to ripen. We cannot press this very far; the incident may have occurred (if we have not to work in the Johannean narrative as well) near the beginning of the ministry. On the other hand it is just possible that St. John’s story may be compressed within the shorter limits. All turns on the reading of John vi. 4, where it is well known that there is strong patristic evidence for omitting ‘the Passover,’ so that this feast, like that in 149ver. 1, would be unnamed. At the same time readings that rest entirely on patristic quotations are notoriously precarious; and I should hesitate as much to lay stress on this point as on the other. If I myself give the preference to the Johannean reckoning, it would be not because I thought that a clear case could be made out for it in itself, but only on the ground of the general superiority of the Fourth Gospel in chronological precision. iii. The Cleansing of the Temple. Another well-known difference is that as to the place assigned to the cleansing of the Temple. In the Fourth Gospel this comes at the beginning of the ministry, and in the Synoptic Gospels at the end. Really the opposition is only between one document and another. The three Synoptics have in this instance a single base, which is practically our St. Mark. In matters of chronology the authority of this document does not rank very high; so that on external grounds it is possible enough that the Fourth Gospel should be preferred. It is, however, often assumed that the internal grounds in this case outweigh the external. It is held that so strong a measure as the expulsion of the buyers and sellers could only fall in the later period, when the tension between the two sides was reaching its climax and the end was drawing near. I am not sure that this is not to exaggerate the significance of the action. It is really very much in the spirit of the Old Testament prophets. Compared (e. g.) to the 150slaughter of Baal’s prophets by Elijah, it may well seem a small thing. I agree that the act was in the strict sense Messianic rather than prophetic. This I think comes out in the saying, ‘Make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise’ (John ii. 16). And yet, when we remember that the Lord had not long before come up from His baptism in the Jordan, and still had the Divine Voice proclaiming His sonship as it were sounding in His ear, it seems natural enough that He should mark the beginning of His ministry by some emphatic act. The conscience of the bystanders would be on His side, and one could well understand that they would be abashed and make no defence, like the accusers of the woman taken in adultery. For these reasons it seems to me that the inferiority of St. John’s version is not so self-evident as is supposed. If it were, how was it that the Evangelist came to change the accepted story as it reached him? At the same time I quite allow that memory may have played him false. The point is not really of any great importance, and I would not ask for more than that the question should be kept open. iv. The Date of the Last Supper and of the Crucifixion. Few subjects connected with the Fourth Gospel are more difficult and more complicated than this question of the date (i. e. the day of the month) of the Last Supper and the Crucifixion. As the texts stand there is a real difference between the dates assigned to these events in the Synoptics and in the Fourth Gospel. There is agreement as to the day of the week. In 151any case the Last Supper was eaten on the evening of Thursday, and our Lord suffered on the afternoon of Friday. But according to the Synoptics this Thursday would be Nisan 14, though on the Jewish reckoning (which counted the days from sunset to sunset) the Last Supper would fall on the beginning of Nisan 15. The Supper itself would be the regular passover, and the Crucifixion will have taken place after the passover. According to St. John we are expressly told that the Last Supper was held ‘before the passover’ (xiii. 1), on what we should call the evening of Nisan 13, and the Jews the beginning of Nisan 14; and our Lord will have suffered on the afternoon of the following day, that still belonged to Nisan 14, and His death will have taken place at the time devoted to the slaughter of the Paschal lambs (3-5 p.m.). It is said that this date is chosen for typological reasons, to identify Christ as the true Paschal Lamb. If that is so, the Evangelist has at least not said a word to emphasize the point, and to appreciate its significance we have to go to St. Paul (1 Cor. v. 7, ‘For our passover also hath been sacrificed, even Christ’). But the argument may just as well be inverted, and St. Paul may be taken as corroborating the statement in the Fourth Gospel. It is indeed, as I cannot but think in this as in other cases, more probable that the fact gave rise to the idea, than that the idea came first and was afterwards translated into fact. There does not, therefore, seem to be any real presumption against the accuracy of the Fourth 152Gospel. Probably, if the truth were known, the presumption so far as it went would be rather in its favour, from the early date and excellent character of the evidence supplied by St. Paul. But when we come to compare the two narratives in detail, the favourable presumption is increased by the fact that, whereas the Fourth Gospel is throughout entirely consistent with itself, the Synoptics are by no means so consistent. An interesting point was raised by the late Dr. Chwolson, an eminent Russian savant, who was a great authority on things Jewish—he was a Jew by birth, though he embraced Christianity, and became Professor at St. Petersburg and a member of the Imperial Academy. In an elaborate monograph, Das letzte Passamahl Christi und der Tag seines Todes (St. Petersburg, 1892), Dr. Chwolson tried with great learning and ingenuity to bring the Synoptic narrative into harmony with that of St. John. The attempt was carefully examined by Dr. Schürer[54], and I am not prepared to say that it was successful. But I am not sure that one of the items in Dr. Chwolson’s criticism of the Synoptic story was completely disposed of, even though so formidable a triad as Schürer himself, H. J. Holtzmann and Zahn agree in taking the other side. The three Synoptic Gospels all place the Last Supper on the evening of ‘the first day of unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the passover’ (Mark xiv. 12: cf. Matt. xxvi. 17, Luke xxii. 7). Chwolson challenges the accuracy of this expression and asserts 153that ‘From the Mosaic writings down to the Book of Jubilees (chap. xlix), Philo, Flavius Josephus, the Palestinian Targum ascribed to Jonathan ben Uziel, the Mishnah, the Talmud, the Rabbinical writings of the Middle Ages, indeed down to the present day, the Jews have always understood by the expression “the first day of the feast of unleavened bread,” only the 15th of the month, never the 14th.’ There is something of an answer to this criticism; and it is perhaps made good that by a laxity of expression the Synoptists might write as they have done. Of course the fundamental text is that of St. Mark, and Chwolson’s ingenious solution by emending the text of St. Matthew is so much labour thrown away. Still the comprehensive statement as to Jewish usage does not seem to be invalidated, and the laxity of expression remains somewhat curious. I can conceive it possible that the Synoptists may be brought into closer agreement with St. John—perhaps on the lines of a paper by the Rev. G. H. Box (Journ. of Theol. Studies, April, 1902), which I am glad to see is spoken of with some approval by Dr. Drummond—on the hypothesis that the meal of which our Lord and His disciples partook was really the ceremony of Kidd?sh, a solemn ‘sanctification’ which preceded the weekly Sabbath and great festivals like the Passover. But in any case the Synoptic version is too much burdened by contradictions to be taken as it stands. Many of these have been often pointed out In Mark xiv. 2 (Matt. xxvi. 5) we are expressly told that the 154Sanhedrin determined to arrest Jesus, but ‘not during the feast,’ lest there should be a tumult among the people. But, according to the Synoptic account, it was on the most sacred day of the feast, and after the Passover had been eaten, that the arrest was carried out. Further, we observe that although the Last Supper is described as a Passover, there is no hint or allusion to its most characteristic feature, the paschal lamb. The events of the night would involve sacrilege for a devout Jew. On such a holy day it was not allowed to bear arms; and yet Peter is armed, and the servants of the High Priest, if not themselves armed, accompany an armed party. Then we have the hurried meeting of the Sanhedrin who, according to the Synoptic version, would have just risen from the paschal meal. Jesus is taken to the praetorium of the Roman Governor, to enter which would cause defilement, and that on the most sacred day of the feast. Simon of Cyrene is represented as coming in from the country, which though perhaps not necessarily implying a working day, looks more like it than a day treated as a sabbath. The haste with which the bodies were taken down from the cross is accounted for by the sanctity of a day that is about to begin, not of one that is just ending (Mark xv. 42). If it had been the latter, Joseph of Arimathaea could not have ‘bought’ the linen cloth in which the body was laid. We may add to the above a point specially brought out by Mr. Box. ‘In all the accounts it is noticeable that one cup only is mentioned which was partaken 155of by all; whereas at the Passover a special point is made of each man bringing his own cup to drink from.’ It seems on the whole to be safe to say that if the two accounts are to be harmonized, it is not St. John who will need to be corrected from the Synoptists, but the Synoptists who will have to be corrected by St. John. And the result of the investigation on which we have been engaged will be that, of the four points commonly alleged against the Gospel, two are more or less clearly in its favour, and the remaining two are not more than open questions on which either side may be right. Even if the investigation had been more adverse than it is, it would by no means have followed that the Fourth Gospel was not the work of an eye-witness: but its position appears to be strengthened rather than the reverse. II. The alleged Want of Development in St. John’s Narrative. More serious than any criticism in detail is the general objection that the narrative of the Fourth Gospel does not, like the ground-document of the Synoptics, supply a reasonable and natural evolution of events. It is said—and not without cause—that in the Fourth Gospel we see the end from the very beginning. Whereas in the Synoptics, and more particularly in St. Mark, Jesus does not at first put Himself forward as the Messiah, and is not recognized as such even by His disciples before the Confession of St. Peter, or by the public before the triumphal 156entry into Jerusalem; in the very first chapter of St. John He is twice over greeted as the Messiah (vers. 41, 45) and twice described as the Son of God (vers. 34, 49), and the Baptist also at this early stage already points to Him as ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’ (ver. 29, cf. 36). Nor is it enough that His disciples are said to have believed on Him from the first (ii. 11), but we are also told that in Jerusalem at the Passover ‘many believed on his name’ (ii. 23). In chap. iii advanced teaching is given to Nicodemus, and John the Baptist is represented as using very exalted language about Him (iii. 31-6). In chap. iv Jesus reveals Himself as the Messiah to the Samaritan woman (ver. 26); and we are not only told that many of the Samaritans believed on Him, but that they actually acknowledged Him as ‘the Saviour of the world’ (vers. 39-42). In chap. v He is accused of ‘making himself equal with God’ (ver. 18). In chap. vi the people are so carried away by enthusiasm that they want to force Him to place Himself at their head (ver. 15); and once more very advanced teaching is imparted (vers. 26-58). These earlier chapters are the more important because in the latter part of the ministry the advanced teaching that we find may seem more in place. The difficulty that we have to deal with is threefold: it relates partly to the anticipated confessions, partly to the free use of the word ‘believed,’ and partly to the advanced character of the teaching. This last point may be dealt with more appropriately when 157we come to speak of the teaching generally; but the other two call for consideration at once. Before passing on to this, I should like to say frankly that I am not going to deny or to minimize the facts. I do not honestly believe that everything happened exactly as it is, or seems to be, reported. But in saying this I must add that I also do not believe that, even if the argument were made good to the full extent that is alleged, it would at all decisively impugn the conclusion at which we have hitherto seemed to arrive—that the Gospel is really the work of an eye-witness and of St. John. In looking back over a distant past it is always difficult to keep the true perspective; the mind is apt to forget, or at least to foreshorten, the process by which its beliefs have been reached; and when once a settled conviction has been formed it is treated as though it had been present from the beginning. It would have been strange indeed if the aged disciple had nowhere allowed the cherished beliefs of more than half a lifetime to colour the telling of his story, or to project themselves backwards into those early days when his faith was not as yet ripe but only ripening. It would not in the least disturb our conclusion to admit, that in the earlier chapters of the Gospel there are a number of expressions that are heightened in character and more definite in form than those that were really used. i. Anticipated Confessions. What has just been said will apply especially to 158the terms in which the first disciples who gathered round our Lord are described as giving in their adhesion. The author of the Gospel was himself a convinced Christian—a Christian so convinced that he could hardly recall the time when he had been anything else. It was natural to him to think of his comrades in the faith as he thought of himself. And if he puts into their mouths stronger expressions than they actually used, it was only a little antedating the fact. But, apart from this, it is a question whether we ourselves do not read into the words more than they really contain. There can be no doubt that the half-century, or rather more, before the fall of Jerusalem was a time of high-strung expectation on the part of the Jews. The belief that the Messiah was about to appear was widely diffused among all classes of the people. It was this belief which gave a transient success to the many pretenders of whom we read in the Acts and in the pages of Josephus. There was the feeling that the Messiah might come at any moment, and no Jew would have been surprised if He had appeared in his own immediate neighbourhood. Vague rumours were everywhere about, and we may be sure would readily attach themselves to individuals. It is probable enough that among the crowds which gathered round the Baptist this expectation was even more rife than elsewhere. Those who came to his baptism, we may well believe, were among the most earnest, the most patriotic, and the most sanguine spirits of the nation. That little groups, united by local ties, would be readily formed, 159and readily seek to attach themselves to one who seemed to possess the qualities of a leader, would be only what we should expect. And if their enthusiasm was easily aroused, that would be all in harmony with their surroundings. Perhaps the most remarkable of all the anticipations in these early chapters is the announcement attributed to the Baptist, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!’ There is no doubt that the Baptist had a prophetic gift. In all our authorities he is represented as predicting the coming greatness of his successor. But it was one thing to feel a dim presentiment of a mission higher than his own, and another thing to predict for that mission at the very outset a form which it did indeed actually take, but which it seems impossible that anything should have suggested at the moment. It would be difficult to find a better example of what we may call the ‘interpretative function’ of the Evangelist. It is evident that the events of these first days made the deepest impression upon him, an impression that no lapse of time could obliterate. Certainly something occurred which in later years gave its shape to this remarkable saying. In the next chapter we have a similar saying, the history of which is fully related: ‘When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he spake this; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.’ In this case the whole process was consciously realized; the Evangelist distinguished in his own mind between the word 160as originally spoken and the sense which he was led to put upon it. May we not suppose that in regard to the earlier saying a similar process went on, but with just the difference that it was in great part unconscious, and not conscious? The Baptist is represented as repeating his exclamation twice; but on the second occasion the qualifying clause is dropped; the words are only, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ Is it not possible that this, or something like it, is all that was actually spoken? Perhaps not so much even as this; but in some way or other we may believe that the Baptist did, as a matter of fact, compare the Figure approaching him to a lamb. This comparison sank deep into the mind of one at least of his hearers; and imperceptibly the words filled out with all the full religious significance of the lamb—the paschal lamb, the lamb dumb before his shearers, the suffering Servant, whose sufferings were also an atonement, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. This is a process which psychologically we can follow. But here, as in so many other places, we can follow it far more easily, if we take as our starting-point some actual phrase which the Evangelist had heard and which had lodged in his mind, than if we are compelled to regard it as pure invention. We may well ask what conceivable train of thought could put it into the head of a second-century writer to introduce so strange and remote a thought at a point in his narrative with which it seems to have no natural connexion. 161 ii. The Use of the Word ‘Believe.’ I have long suspected that one of the reasons for the apparent want of progressive development in the Fourth Gospel has been the ambiguity of its use of the word ‘believe.’ We are told from the first that disciples and others ‘believed,’ and it is natural enough that we should take the word in the full sense of complete conversion and acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah. But there can be little doubt that to do so is to read into the word a great deal more than the writer intended. We do not make sufficient allowance for the extreme simplicity of his vocabulary. He has but one word to denote all the different stages of belief. We must attend closely to the context if we would see when he means the first dawning of belief and when he means full conviction. Many times over he uses the word of what must have been a quite transient impression. The impression might be confirmed and become rooted, or it might pass rapidly away. As applied to members of the Twelve the word denotes successive stages of acceptance, culminating—but even then only provisionally—in St. Peter’s confession. As applied to the Samaritans and to the mixed crowds in Galilee and Jerusalem, the word probably does not cover more than faint stirrings of curiosity and emotion which lightly came and lightly passed away. One example of the use of the word is especially interesting. The writer is speaking of the visit of Peter and the unnamed 162disciple to the tomb, and he tells how, after Peter had entered, the other disciple also entered, ‘and he saw, and believed’ (xx. 8); but he immediately adds: ‘For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.’ We might perhaps paraphrase: ‘The wonder of the resurrection began to dawn upon them, though they were not prepared for it. At a later date they came to understand that prophecy had distinctly pointed to it, and that the whole mission of the Messiah would have been incomplete without it: but as yet this was hidden from them. They saw that something mysterious had happened, and they felt that what had happened was profoundly important; as yet they could not say more. The first step towards a full belief had been taken, though the full belief itself was still in the future.’ iii. Traces of Development in the Fourth Gospel. So far I have not questioned the indictment that the Gospel is wanting in historical development. All that I have done has been to urge some mitigating or qualifying considerations. But I believe that the extent within which it can be said that there is no development, and that the end appears from the beginning, is often much exaggerated. The unfavourable instances are observed and the favourable are neglected. If, instead of fixing our attention upon what is said of the disciples in the first few chapters, we were to look at the attitude of those who are not disciples from chap. vii onwards, we should find a state of things 163differing somewhat from our expectations, and one that really bears out the Synoptic version of the great reserve and reticence with which the claims of Christ were prosecuted. Use has already been made of the opening paragraph of chap. vii to show that in the conception of the Fourth Evangelist as well as in that of his predecessors the ministry of Christ had been in the main carried on in a province and not in Judaea or Jerusalem. The evidence of the same passage, and indeed of the whole chapter, is not less clear that He did not go about definitely proclaiming Himself as the Messiah, but that He left His claim to be inferred, and doubtfully inferred, from the indirect implications of His teaching. The brethren of Jesus insinuate that He shrank from putting His claims really to the test. It was a paradox to suppose that He could work in secret, and yet expect public recognition. If He desired this He should go about the right way to obtain it; He should come forward to the front of the stage, where He could be seen and known (vii. 3, 4). On the other hand, the answer which the brethren received implies that the time for this complete manifestation was not yet come; it was to come before His work was finished, but the hour had not yet struck. Again, when Jesus does at last go up to the feast, the crowds begin to speculate about Him; but their speculations are as yet quite vague. Was He really a good man or a deceiver? (ver. 12). Had He really a mission from God? (vers. 15-18). Only by degrees 164do some throw out the tentative question, ‘Can it be that the rulers indeed know that this is the Christ?‘ They throw out the question, but they seem inclined for themselves to answer it in the negative (vers. 26, 27). Others think that even the Christ, when He came, would not do greater wonders (ver. 31). As these discussions went on, some were emboldened to go further, and expressed the belief that Jesus was really that great Prophet whom they were expecting. Yet others—but still tentatively—returned to the idea that He may be the Christ. But no sooner do they suggest this than they are met by the reply that the Christ must be born at Bethlehem, and cannot come out of Galilee. Thus there is a division of opinion, and no advance is made (vers. 40-3). This tentative and interrogative attitude is not confined to the crowds. Even in the Sanhedrin itself, though the great majority scornfully reject Him, there is at least one (Nicodemus) who pleads that the accused should be heard before He is condemned. He too is met by the same test; ‘out of Galilee ariseth no prophet’ (vers. 45-52). It is very clear that no sharply defined issue was set before the people. They are left to draw their own conclusions; and they draw them as well as they can by the help of such criteria as they have. But there is no Entweder-oder—either Messiah or not Messiah—peremptorily propounded by Jesus Himself. Nor does this state of things last only to the Feast of Tabernacles. It still continues at the end of the December before the Passion. At the Feast of the Encaenia, as Jesus is walking in Solomon’s Porch, 165the Jews are represented as coming round Him and saying to Him, ‘how long dost thou hold us in suspense (τ?ν ψυχ?ν ?μ?ν α?ρει?)? If thou art the Christ, tell us plainly’ (x. 24). It is evident that up to this point, so near the end, the claim of Jesus to be the Christ had never been so plainly made as to be a matter of notoriety. It is true that Jesus replied, ‘I told you, and ye believed not.’ The reference no doubt is to the rather enigmatical sayings found in this Gospel. But even from these it would seem that the inference was not direct and inevitable; and our Lord is represented as going on to appeal not to His words, but to His works (ver. 25). As to the nature of the sayings, there will be more to be said later. But the broad conclusion seems to be that the writer of this Gospel is as clearly conscious as any of the Synoptists of the real course of events, and that he too was well aware that the Messiah, when He came, had not forced a peremptory claim upon an unwilling people. It may thus be seen that the anticipated confessions of the early chapters, whatever we may otherwise think of them, are really subordinate and (so to speak) accidental; the main course of the ministry is not conceived differently in the Fourth Gospel and in the Synoptics. III. The Nature of the Discourses. Another of the objections brought against the Fourth Gospel that is not without a certain amount of foundation is that from the nature of the Discourses. 166It is said with some degree of truth that the discourses put into the mouth of our Lord in this Gospel are different from those in the Synoptics. We notice at once that the parables, which contribute so much to our conception of the outward form and manner of our Lord’s teaching, have dropped out. What St. John calls by that name, although similar, is not exactly the same thing. Many of the discourses are longer; for instance, that which is apparently addressed to Nicodemus in chap. iii, the discourse after the healing of the impotent man in chap. v, the discourse in the synagogue at Capernaum in chap. vi, and the last discourses in chaps. xiv-xvii. And we observe further that the style of many parts of these discourses, while it is not like that which we find in the Synoptic Gospels, corresponds remarkably with the style of St. John’s Epistles. It is not the case that the speeches in the Fourth Gospel are systematically longer than those in the Synoptics. We perhaps have an impression that they are; but, if so, it is not borne out by the facts. For the proof of this I may refer to the statistics carefully worked out by Dr. Drummond on p. 24. There is no doubt that the speeches of our Lord were, as Justin said, ‘short and concise.’ They had nothing in common with the elaborate compositions and rounded periods of Greek rhetoric. The type on which they were modelled was wholly different. We find the nearest parallel to it in the so-called ‘Sayings of the Jewish Fathers’ (Pirke Aboth). Each saying is a sort of aphorism; and a longer discourse is only a string of 167aphorisms, unless it takes the form of a simple narrative or description, like the parables in the Synoptic Gospels or allegories, like those of the Good Shepherd and the Vine and its Branches, in the Fourth Gospel.


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