Holtzmann read into this Gospel that Jesus had endeavoured in Galilee to found the Kingdom of God in an ideal sense
|November 16, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter fourteen||
That is due in no small measure to the fact that Holtzmann did not work out the hypothesis from the historical side, but rather on literary lines, recalling Wilke—as a kind of problem in Synoptic arithmetic—and in his preface expresses dissent from the Tübingen school, who desired to leave no alternative between John on the one side and the Synoptics on the other, whereas he approves the attempt to evade the dilemma in some way or other, and thinks he can find in the didactic narrative of the Fourth Gospel the traces of a development of Jesus similar to that portrayed in the Synoptics, and has therefore no fundamental objection to the use of John alongside of the Synoptics. In taking up this position, however, he does not desire to be understood a meaning that “it would be to the interests of science to throw Synoptic and Johannine passages together indiscriminately and thus construct a life of Jesus out of them.” “It would be much better first to reconstruct separately the Synoptic and Johannine pictures of Christ, composing each of its own distinctive material. It is only when this has been done that it is possible to make a fruitful comparison of the two.” Exactly the same position had been taken up sixty-seven years before by Herder. In Holtzmann’s case, however, the principle was stated with so many qualifications that the adherents of his view read into it the permission to combine, in a picture treated “in the grand style,” Synoptic with Johannine passages.
In addition to this, the plan which Holtzmann finally evolved out of Mark was much too fine-drawn to bear the weight of the remainder of the Synoptic material. He distinguishes seven stages in the Galilaean ministry, of which the really decisive one is the sixth, in which Jesus leaves Galilee and goes northward, so that Schenkel and Weizsäcker are justified in distinguishing practically only two great Galilaean periods, the first of which—down to the controversy about ceremonial purity—they distinguish as the period of success, the second—down to the departure from Judaea—as the period of decline. What attracted these writers to the Marcan hypothesis was not so much the authentification which it gave to the detail of Mark, though they were willing enough to accept that, but the way in which this Gospel lent itself to the a priori view of the course of the life of Jesus which they unconsciously brought with them. They appealed to Holtzmann because he showed such wonderful skill in extracting from the Marcan narrative the view which commended itself to the spirit of the age as manifested in the sixties.
Holtzmann read into this Gospel that Jesus had endeavoured in Galilee to found the Kingdom of God in an ideal sense; that He concealed His consciousness of being the Messiah, which was constantly growing more assured, until His followers should have attained by inner enlightenment to a higher view of the Kingdom of God and of the Messiah; that almost at the end of His Galilaean ministry He declared Himself to them as the Messiah at Caesarea Philippi; that on the same occasion He at once began to picture to them a suffering Messiah, whose lineaments gradually became more and more distinct in His mind amid the growing opposition which He encountered, until finally. He communicated to his disciples His decision to put the Messianic cause to the test in the capital, and that they followed Him thither and saw how His fate fulfilled itself. It was this fundamental view which made the success of the hypothesis. Holtzmann, not less than his followers, believed that he had discovered it in the Gospel itself, although Strauss, the passionate opponent of the Marcan hypothesis, took essentially the same view of the development of Jesus’ thought. But the way in which Holtzmann exhibited this characteristic view of the sixties as arising naturally out of the detail of Mark, was so perfect, so artistically charming, that this view appeared henceforward to be inseparably bound up with the Marcan tradition. Scarcely ever has a description of the life of Jesus exercised so irresistible an influence as that short outline—it embraces scarcely twenty pages—with which Holtzmann closes his examination of the Synoptic Gospels. This chapter became the creed and catechism of all who handled the subject during the following decades. The treatment of the life of Jesus had to follow the lines here laid down until the Marcan hypothesis was delivered from its bondage to that a priori view of the development of Jesus. Until then any one might appeal to the Marcan hypothesis, meaning thereby only that general view of the inward and outward course of development in the life of Jesus, and might treat the remainder of the Synoptic material how he chose, combining with it, at his pleasure, material drawn from John. The victory, therefore, belonged, not to the Marcan hypothesis pure and simple, but to the Marcan hypothesis as psychologically interpreted by a liberal theology.
 1, Mark i.; 2, Mark ii.1-iii.6; 3, Mark iii.7-19; 4, Mark iii. 19-iv. 34; 5, Mark iv. 35-vi.6; 6, Mark vi. 7-vii. 37; 7, Mark viii. i-ix. 50.
Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus
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