an assured position in the critical study of the Life of Jesus
|November 16, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter fourteen||
The desire to escape in some way from the alternative between the Synoptists and John was native to the Marcan hypothesis. Weisse had endeavored to effect this by distinguishing between the sources in the Fourth Gospel. Schenkel and Weizsäcker are more modest. They do not feel the need of any clear literary view of the Fourth Gospel, of any critical discrimination between original and secondary elements in it; they are content to use as historical whatever their instinct leads them accept. “Apart from the fourth Gospel,” says Schenkel, “we should miss in the portrait of the Redeemer the unfathomable depths and the inaccessible heights.” “Jesus,” to quote his aphorism, “was not always thus in reality, but He was so in truth.” Since when have historians had the right to distinguish between reality and truth? That was one of the bad habits which the author of this characterisation of Jesus brought with him from his earlier dogmatic training.
Weizsäcker expresses himself with more circumspection. “We possess,” he says, “in the Fourth Gospel genuine apostolic reminiscences as much as in any part of the first three Gospels; but between the facts on which the reminiscences are based and their reproduction in literary form there lies the development of their possessor into a great mystic, and the influence of a philosophy which here for the first time united itself in this way with the Gospel; they need, therefore, to be critically examined; and the historical truth of this gospel, great as it is, must not be measured with a painful literality.”
One wonders why both these writers appeal to Holtzmann, seeing that they practically abandon the Marcan plan which he had worked out at the end of his very thorough examination of this Gospel. They do not accept as sufficient the controversy regarding the ceremonial regulations in Mark vii. which, with the rejection at Nazareth, constitute, in Holtzmann’s view, the turning-point of the Galilaean ministry, but find the cause of the change of attitude on the part of the people rather in the Johannine discourse about eating and drinking the flesh and blood of the Son of Man. The section Mark x.-xv., which has a certain unity, they interpret in the light of the Johannine tradition, finding in it traces of a previous ministry of Jesus in Jerusalem and interweaving with it the Johannine story of the Passion. According to Schenkel the last visit to Jerusalem must have been of considerable duration. When confronted with John, the admission may be wrung from the Synoptists that Jesus did not travel straight through Jericho to the capital, but worked first for a considerable time in Judaea. Strauss tartly observes that he cannot see what the author of the “characterisation” stood to gain by underwriting Holtzmann’s Marcan hypothesis.
Weizsäcker is still bolder in making interpolations from the Johannine tradition. He places the cleansing of the Temple, in contradiction to Mark, in the early period of Jesus’ ministry, on the ground that “it bears the character of a first appearance, a bold deed with which to open His career.” He fails to observe, however, that if this act really took place at this point of time, the whole development of the life of Jesus which Holtzmann had so ingeniously traced in Mark, is at once thrown into confusion. In describing the last visit to Jerusalem, Weizsäcker is not content to insert the Marcan stones into the Johannine cement; he goes farther and expressly states that the great farewell discourses of Jesus to His disciples agree with the Synoptic discourses to the disciples spoken during the last days, however completely they of all others bear the peculiar stamp of the Johannine diction.
Thus in the second period of the Marcan hypothesis the same spectacle meets us as in the earlier. The hypothesis has a literary existence, indeed it is carried by Holtzmann to such a degree of demonstration that it can no longer be called a mere hypothesis, but it does not succeed in winning an assured position in the critical study of the Life of Jesus. It is common-land not yet taken into cultivation.
 Ch. H. Weisse, Die Evangelische Geschichte, Leipzig, 1838. Die Evangelienfrage in ihrem gegenwärtigen Stadium. (The Present Position of the Problem of the Gospels.) Leipzig, 1856. He regarded the discourses as historical the narrative portions as of secondary origin. Alexander Schweizer, again, wished to distinguish a Jerusalem source and a Galilaean source, the latter being unreliable. Das Evangelium Johannis nach seinem inneren Werte und seiner Bedeutung für das Leben Jesu, 1841. (The Gospel of John considered in Relation to its Intrinsic Value, its Importance as a Source for the Life of Jesus.) See p. 127 f. Renan takes narrative portions as authentic and the discourses as secondary.
 Kar1 Heinrich Weizsäcker was born in 1822 at Ohringen in Würtemberg. He qualified as Privat-Docent in 1847 and, after acting in the meantime as Court-Chaplain and Oberkonsistorialrat at Stuttgart, became in 1861 the successor of Baur at Tübingen. He died in 1899.
 The works of a Dutch writer named Stricker, Jesus von Nazareth (1868), and of the Englishman Sir Richard Hanson, The Jesus of History (1869), were based on Mark without any reference to John.
Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus
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