The Baptist had done so by his too fervent preaching about repentance and the Kingdom, and had been promptly put out of the way by the Tetrarch
|November 16, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter fifteen||
As regards the Messianic expectations of the time, they were, in Volkmar’s opinion, such that Jesus could not possibly have come forward with Messianic claims. The Messianic Son of Man, whose aim was to found a super-earthly Kingdom, only arose in Judaism under the influence of Christian dogma. The contemporaries of Jesus knew only the political ideal of the Messianic King. And woe to any one who conjured up these hopes! The Baptist had done so by his too fervent preaching about repentance and the Kingdom, and had been promptly put out of the way by the Tetrarch. The version found even in Mark, which represents that it was on Herodias’ account, and at her daughter’s petition, that John was beheaded, is a later interpretation which, according to Volkmar, is evidently false on chronological grounds, since the Baptist was dead before Herod took Herodias as his wife. Had Jesus desired the Messiahship, He could only have claimed it in this political sense. The alternative is to suppose that He did not desire it.
Volkmar’s contribution to the subject consists in the formulating of this clean-cut alternative. Colani had indeed recognised the alternative, but had not taken up a consistent attitude in regard to it. Here, that way of escape from the difficulty is barred, which suggests that Jesus set Himself up as Messiah, but in another than the popular sense. What may be called Jesus’ Messianic consciousness consisted solely “in knowing Himself to be first-born among many brethren, the Son of God after the Spirit, and consequently feeling Himself enabled and impelled to bring about that regeneration of His people which alone could make it worthy of deliverance.” It is in any case clearly evident from Paul, from the Apocalypse, and from Mark, “the three documentary witnesses emanating from the circle of the followers of Jesus during the first century, that it was only after His crucifixion that Jesus was hailed as the Christ; never during His earthly life.” The elimination of the eschatology thus leads also to the elimination of the Messiahship of Jesus.
If we are told in Mark viii. 29 that Simon Peter was the first among men to hail Jesus as the Messiah, it is to be noticed, Volkmar points out, that the Evangelist places this confession at a time when Jesus’ work was over and the thought of His Passion first appears; and if we desire fully to understand the author’s purpose we must fix our attention on the Lord’s command not to make known His Messiahship until after His resurrection (Mark viii. 30, ix. 9 and 10), which is a hint that we are to date Jesus’ Messiahship from His death. For Mark is no mere naïve chronicler, but a conscious artist interpreting the history; sometimes, indeed, a powerful epic writer in whose work the historical and the poetic are intermingled.
Thus the conclusion is that Mark, in agreement with Paul, represents Jesus as becoming the Messiah only as a consequence of His resurrection. He really appeared, and His first appearance was to Peter. When Peter on that night of terror fled from Jerusalem to take refuge in Galilee, Jesus, according to the mystic prediction of Mark xiv. 28 and xvi. 7, went before him. “He was constantly present to his spirit, until on the third day He manifested Himself before his eyes, in the heavenly appearance which was also vouchsafed to the last of the apostles ‘as he was in the way’-and Peter, enraptured, gave expression to the clear conviction with which the whole life of Jesus had inspired him in the cry ‘Thou art the Christ.'”
Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus
|Also in print from Barnes and Noble
As an E-book at: