Schleiermacher’s Life of Jesus introduces us to quite a different order of transitional ideas.
|November 22, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter six||
But Hase again rises superior to this rationalistic conception of the history when he refuses to explain away the Jewish elements in the plan and preaching of Jesus as due to mere accommodation, and maintains the view that the Lord really, to a certain extent, shared this Jewish, system of ideas. According to Hase there are two periods in the Messianic activity of Jesus. In the first He accepted almost without reservation the popular ideas regarding the Messianic age. In consequence, however, of His experience of the practical results of these ideas. He was led to abandon this error, and in the second period He developed His own distinctive views. Here we meet for the first time the idea of two different periods in the life of Jesus, which, especially through the influence of Holtzmann and Keim, became the prevailing view, and down to Johannes Weiss, determined the plan of all Lives of Jesus. Hase created the modern historico-psychological picture of Jesus. The introduction of this more penetrating psychology would alone suffice to place him in advance of the rationalists.
Another interesting point is the thorough way in which he traces out the historical and literary consequences of this idea of development. The apostles, he thinks, did not understand this progress of thought on the part of Jesus, and did not distinguish between the sayings of the first and second periods. They remained wedded to the eschatological view. After the death of Jesus this view prevailed so strongly in the primitive community of disciples that they interpolated their expectations into the last discourses of Jesus. According to Hase, the apocalyptic discourse in Matt. xxiv. was originally only a prediction of the judgment upon and destruction of Jerusalem, but this was obscured later by the influx of the eschatological views of the apostolic community. Only John remained free from this error. Therefore the noneschatological Fourth Gospel preserves in their pure form the ideas of Jesus in His second period.
Hase rightly observes that the Messiahship of Jesus plays next to no part in His preaching, at any rate at first, and that, before the incident at Caesarea Philippi, it was only in moments of enthusiastic admiration, rather than with settled conviction, that even the disciples looked on Him as the Messiah. This indication of the central importance of the declaration of the Messiahship at Caesarea Philippi is another sign-post pointing out the direction which the future study of the life of Jesus was to follow.
Schleiermacher’s Life of Jesus introduces us to quite a different order of transitional ideas. Its value lies in the sphere of dogmatics, not of history. Nowhere, indeed, is it so clear that the great dialectician had not really a historical mind than precisely in his treatment of the history of Jesus.
From the first it was no favourable star which presided over this undertaking. It is true that in 1819 Schleiermacher was the first theologian who had ever lectured upon this subject. But his Life of Jesus did not appear until 1864. Its publication had been so long delayed, partly because it had to be reconstructed from students’ note-books, partly because immediately after Schleiermacher, in 1832, had delivered the course for the last time, it was rendered obsolete by the work of Strauss. For the questions raised by the latter’s Life of Jesus, published in 1835, Schleiermacher had no answer, and for the wounds which it made, no healing. When, in 1864, Schleiermacher’s work was brought forth to view like an embalmed corpse, Strauss accorded to the dead work of the great theologian a dignified and striking funeral oration.
Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus
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