Marcion’s Luke. This Evangelist is under Pauline influence, and writes with an apologetic purpose.
|November 17, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter twelve||
And yet the fundamental critical ideas which can be detected beneath this narrative, in spite of its having the form of fiction, give this work a significance such as the contemporary Lives of Jesus which won the applause of theologians did not possess. It is the only Life of Jesus hitherto produced which is written consistently from the Johannine point of view from beginning to end. Strauss had not, after all, in Noack’s opinion, conclusively shown the absolute incompatibility of the Synoptics with the Fourth Gospel; neither he nor any other critic had felt the full difficulty of the question why the Fourth Evangelist should be at pains to invent the numerous journeys to the Feasts, seeing that the development of the Logos Christology did not necessarily involve any alteration of the scene of the ministry; on the contrary, it would, one might think, have been the first care of the Evangelist to inweave his novel theory with the familiar tradition in order to avoid discrediting his narrative in advance by his innovations. Noack’s conclusion is that the inconsistency is not due to a single author; it is the result of a long process of redaction in which various divergent tendencies have been at work. But as the Fourth Gospel is not the logical terminus of the process of alteration, the only alternative is to place it at the beginning. What we have to seek in it is the original Gospel from which the process of transforming the tradition started.
There is also another line of argument based on the contradictions in the Gospel tradition which leads to the hypothesis that we have to do with redactions of the Gospels. Either Jesus was the Jewish Messiah of the Synoptics, or a Son of God in the Greek, spiritual sense, whose self-consciousness must be interpreted by means of the Logos doctrine: He cannot have been both at the same time. But it is inconceivable that a Jewish claimant of the Messiahship would have been left unmolested up to the last, and have had virtually to force the authorities to put him to death. On the other hand, if He were a simple enthusiast claiming to be a Son of God, a man who lived only for his own “self-consciousness,” He might from the beginning have taken up this attitude without being in any way molested, except by the scorn of men. In this respect also, therefore, the primitive Gospel which we can recover from John has the advantage. It was only later that this “Son of God” became the Jewish Messiah.
We arrive at the primitive Johannine writing when we cancel in the Fourth Gospel all Jewish doctrine and all miracles. Its date is the year 60 and it was composed by—Judas, the beloved disciple. This primitive Gospel received little modification and still shows clearly “the wonderful reality of its history.” It aims only at giving a section of Jesus’ history, a representation of His attitude of mind and spirit. With “simple ingenuousness” it gives, “along with the kernel of the historical material of the Gospel, Jesus’ thoughts about His own Person in the mysterious oracular sayings and deeply thoughtful and moving discourses by which the Nazarene stirred rather than enlightened the world.” Events of a striking character were, however, absent from it. The feeding of the multitude was represented in it as effected by natural means. It was a philanthropic feeding of a multitude which certainly did not number thousands, the numbers are a later insertion; Jesus fed them with bread and fish which He purchased from a “sutler-lad.” The healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda was the unmasking of a malingerer, whom the Lord exposed and ordered to depart. As He had bidden him carry his bed, and it was on the Sabbath, this brought Him into conflict with the authorities. His only “acts” were acts of self-revelation—mystical sayings which He threw out to the people. “The problem which meets us in His history is in truth a psychological problem, how, namely. His exalted view of Himself came to be accepted as the purest and highest truth—in His lifetime, it is true, only by a limited circle of disciples, but after His departure by a constantly growing multitude of believing followers.” The gospel of the beloved disciple Judas made its way quietly into the world, understood by few, even as Jesus Himself had been understood by a few only.
About ten years later, according to Noack, appeared the original form of Luke, which we can reconstruct from what is known of Marcion’s Luke. This Evangelist is under Pauline influence, and writes with an apologetic purpose. He desires to refute the calumny that Jesus was “possessed of a devil,” and he does this by making Him cast out devils. It was in this way that miracle forced itself into the Gospel history.
 For Noack’s reconstruction of it see Book iii. pp. 196-225.
 For the reconstruction see Book iii. pp. 326-386.
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