After the confession of Peter at Caesarea Philippi
|November 7, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter eighteen||
Where are we told that there was any question of an old and a new “religion”? The disciples certainly did not think of things in this way as is shown by their conduct at the time of His death and the discourses of Peter in Acts. Where do we read that the people turned away from Jesus? In Mark vii. 17 and 24 all that is said is, that Jesus left the people, and in Mark vii. 33 the same multitude is still assembled when Jesus returns from the “banishment” into which Holtzmann relegates Him.
Oskar Holtzmann declares that we cannot tell what was the size of the following which accompanied Jesus in His journey northwards, and is inclined to assume that others besides the Twelve shared His exile. The Evangelists, however, say clearly that it was only the ???????, that is, the Twelve, who were with Him. The value which this special knowledge, independent of the text, has for the author, becomes evident a little farther on. After Peter’s confession Jesus calls the “multitude” to Him (Mark viii. 34) and speaks to them of His sufferings and of taking up the cross and following Him. This “multitude” Holtzmann wants to make “the whole company of Jesus’ followers,” “to which belonged, not only the Twelve whom Jesus had formerly sent out to preach, but many others also.” The knowledge drawn from outside the text is therefore required to solve a difficulty in the text.
But how did His companions in exile, the remnant of the previous multitude, themselves become a multitude, the same multitude as before. Would it not be better to admit that we do not know how, in a Gentile country, a multitude could suddenly rise out of the ground as it were, continue with Him until Mark ix. 30, and then disappear into the earth as suddenly as they came, leaving Him to pursue His journey towards Galilee and Jerusalem alone?
Another thing which Oskar Holtzmann knows is that it required a good deal of courage for Peter to hail Jesus as Messiah, since the “exile wandering about with his small following in a Gentile country” answered “so badly to the general picture which people had formed of the coining of the Messiah.” He knows too, that in the moment of Peter’s confession, “Christianity was complete” in the sense that “a community separate from Judaism and centering about a new ideal, then arose.” This “community” frequently appears from this point onwards. There is nothing about it in the narratives, which know only the Twelve and the people.
Oskar Holtzmann’s knowledge even extends to dialogues which are not reported in the Gospels. After the incident at Caesarea Philippi, the minds of the disciples were, according to him, pre-occupied by two questions. “How did Jesus know that He was the Messiah?” and “What will be the future fate of this Messiah?” The Lord answered both questions. He spoke to them of His baptism, and “doubtless in close connexion with that” He told them the story of His temptation, during which He had laid down the lines which He was determined to follow as Messiah.
Of the transfiguration, Oskar Holtzmann can state with confidence, “that it merely represents the inner experience of the disciples at the moment of Peter’s confession.” How is it then that Mark expressly dates that scene, placing it (ix. 2) six days after the discourse of Jesus about taking up the cross and following Him? The fact is that the time indications of the text are treated as non-existent whenever the Marcan hypothesis requires an order determined by inner connexion. The statement of Luke that the transfiguration took place eight days after, is dismissed in the remark “the motive of this indication of time is doubtless to be found in the use of the Gospel narratives for reading in public worship; the idea was that the section about the transfiguration should be read on the Sunday following that on which the confession of Peter formed the lesson.” Where did Oskar Holtzmann suddenly discover this information about the order of the “Sunday lessons” at the time when Luke’s Gospel was written?
It was doubtless from the same private source of information that the author derived his knowledge regarding the gradual development of the thought of the Passion in the consciousness of Jesus. “After the confession of Peter at Caesarea Philippi,” he explains, “Jesus’ death became for Him only the necessary point of transition to the glory beyond. In the discourse of Jesus to which the request of Salome gave occasion, the death of Jesus already appears as the means of saving many from death, because His death makes possible the coming of the Kingdom of God. At the institution of the Supper, Jesus regards His imminent death as the meritorious deed by which the blessings of the New Covenant, the forgiveness of sins and victory over sin, are permanently secured to His ‘community.’ We see Jesus constantly becoming more and more at home with the idea of His death and constantly giving it a deeper interpretation.”
Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus
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