the blind man at Bethsaida (Mark viii. 22-26)—whose eyes Jesus first anointed with spittle
|November 20, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter eight||
This prejudice against Mark has a twofold cause. In the first place, this Gospel with its graphic details had rendered great service to the rationalistic explanation of miracle. Its description of the cure of the blind man at Bethsaida (Mark viii. 22-26)—whose eyes Jesus first anointed with spittle, whereupon he at first saw things dimly, and then, after he had felt the touch of the Lord’s hand upon his eyes a second time, saw more clearly—was a veritable treasure-trove for rationalism. As Strauss is disposed to deal much more peremptorily with the rationalists than with the supernaturalists, he puts Mark upon his trial, as their accessory before the fact, and pronounces upon him a judgment which is not entirely unprejudiced. Moreover, it is not until the Gospels are looked at from the point of view of the plan of the history and the inner connexion of events that the superiority of Mark is clearly realised. But this way of looking at the matter does not enter into Strauss’s purview. On the contrary, he denies that there is any traceable connexion of events at all, and confines his attention to determining the proportion if myth in the content of each separate narrative.
Of the Synoptic question he does not, strictly speaking, take any account. That was partly due to the fact that when he wrote it was in a thoroughly unsatisfactory position. There was a confused welter of the most various hypotheses. The priority of Mark, which had had earlier champions in Koppe, Storr, Gratz, and Herder, was now maintained by Credner and Lachmann, who saw in Matthew a combination of the logia-document with Mark. The “primitive Gospel” hypothesis of Eichhorn, according to which the first three Gospels went back to a common source, not identical with any of them, had become somewhat discredited. There had been much discussion and various modifications of Griesbach’s “dependence theory,” according to which Mark was pieced together out of Matthew and Luke, and Schleiermacher’s Diegesentheorie, which saw the primary material not in a gospel, but in unconnected notes; from these, collections of narrative passages were afterwards formed, which in the post-apostolic period coalesced into continuous descriptions of the life of Jesus such as the three which have been preserved in our Synoptic Gospels.
 Koppe, Marcus non epitomator Matthäi, 1782.
 Storr, De Fontibus Evangeliorum Mt. et Lc., 1794.
 Gratz, Neuer Versuch, die Entstehung der drei ersten Evangelien zu erklären, 1812.
 V. sup. p. 35 f. For the earlier history of the question see F. C. Baur, Krit. Untersuch, über die kanonischen Evangelien, Tübingen, 1847, pp. 1-76.
 So called because largely based on the reference in Luke i. 1, to the “many” who had “taken in hand to draw up a narrative (di?ghsiV).”— TRANSLATOR.
Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus
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