My blood which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins
|November 7, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter eighteen||
This modern historical theology will not allow Jesus to have formed a “theory” to explain His thoughts about His passion. “For Him the certainty was amply sufficient; ‘My death will effect what My life has not been able to accomplish.'”
Is there then no theory implied in the saying about the “ransom for many,” and in that about “My blood which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins,” although Jesus does not explain it? How does von Soden know what was “amply sufficient” for Jesus or what was not?
Otto Schmiedel goes so far as to deny that Jesus gave distinct expression to an expectation of suffering; the most He can have done—and this is only a “perhaps”—is to have hinted at it in His discourses.
In strong contrast with this confidence in committing themselves to historical conjectures stands the scepticism with which von Soden and Schmiedel approach the Gospels. “It is at once evident,” says Schmiedel “that the great groups of discourses in Matthew, such as the Sermon the Mount, the Seven Parables of the Kingdom, and so forth, were not arranged in this order in the source (the Logia), still less by Jesus Himself. The order is, doubtless, due to the Evangelist. But what is the answer the question, “On what grounds is this ‘at once’ clear?” 
Von Soden’s pronouncement is even more radical. “In the composition of the discourses,” he says, “no regard is paid in Matthew, any more than in John, to the supposed audience, or to the point of time in the life of Jesus to which they are attributed.” As early as the Sermon on the Mount we find references to persecutions, and warnings against false prophets. Similarly, in the charge to the Twelve, there are also warnings, which undoubtedly belong to a later time. Intimate sayings, evidently intended for the inner circle of disciples, have the widest publicity given to them.
But why should whatever is incomprehensible to us be unhistorical? Would it not be better simply to admit that we do not understand certain connexions of ideas and turns of expression in the discourses of Jesus? But instead even of making an analytical examination of the apparent connexions, and stating them as problems, the discourses of Jesus and the sections of the Gospels are tricked out with ingenious headings which have nothing to do with them. Thus, for instance, von Soden heads the Beatitudes (Matt. v. 3-12), “What Jesus brings to men,” the following verses (Matt. v. 13-16), “What He makes of men.” P. W. Schmidt, in his “History of Jesus,” shows himself a past master in this art. “The rights of the wife” is the title of the dialogue about divorce, as if the question at stake had been for Jesus the equality of the sexes, and not simply and solely the sanctity of marriage. “Sunshine for the children” is his heading for the scene where Jesus takes the children in His arms—as if the purpose of Jesus had been to protest against severity in the upbringing of children. Again, he brings together the stories of the man who must first bury his father, of the rich young man, of the dispute about precedence, of Zacchaeus, and others which have equally little connexion under the heading “Discipline for Jesus’ followers.” These often brilliant creations of artificial connexions of thought give a curious attractiveness to the works of Schmidt and von Soden. The latter’s survey of the Gospels is a really delightful performance. But this kind of thing is not consistent with pure objective history.
Disposing in this lofty fashion of the connexion of events, Schmiedel and von Soden do not find it difficult to distinguish between Mark and “Ur-Markus”; that is, to retain just so much of the Gospel as will fit in to their construction. Schmiedel feels sure that Mark was a skilful writer, and that the redactor was “a Christian of Pauline sympathies.” According to “Ur-Markus,” to which Mark iv. 33 belongs, the Lord speaks in parables in order that the people may understand Him the better; “it was only by the redactor that the Pauline theory about hardening their hearts (Rom. ix.-xi.) was interpolated, in Mark iv. 10 ff. and the meaning of Mark iv. 33 was thus obscured.”
It is high time that instead of merely asserting Pauline influences in Mark some proof of the assertion should be given. What kind of appearance would Mark have presented if it had really passed through the hands of a Pauline Christian?
 Schmiedel is not altogether right in making “the Heidelberg Professor Paulus” follow the same lines as Reimarus, “except that his works, of 1804 and 1828, are less malignant, but only the more dull for that.” In reality the deistic Life of Jesus by Reimarus, and the rationalistic Life by Paulus have nothing in common. Paulus was perhaps influenced by Venturini, but not by Reimarus. The assertion that Strauss wrote his “Life of Jesus for the German people” because “Renan’s fame gave him no peace” is not justified, either by Strauss’s character or by the circumstances in which the second Life of Jesus was produced.
Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus
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