this “event” an “historical” miracle which in reality is harder to believe than the supernatural event
|November 4, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter nineteen||
But how did the appearance of the risen Jesus suddenly become for them a proof of His Messiahship and the basis of their eschatology? That Wrede fails to explain, and so makes this “event” an “historical” miracle which in reality is harder to believe than the supernatural event.
Any one who holds “historical” miracles to be just as impossible as any other kind, even when they occur in a critical and sceptical work, will be forced to the conclusion that the Messianic eschatological significance attached to the “resurrection experience” by the disciples implies some kind of Messianic eschatological references on the part of the historical Jesus which gave to the “resurrection” its Messianic eschatological significance. Here Wrede himself, though without admitting it, postulates some Messianic hints on the part of Jesus, since he conceives the judgment of the disciples upon the resurrection to have been not analytical, but synthetic, inasmuch as they add something to it, and that, indeed, the main thing, which was not implied in the conception of the event as such.
Here again the merit of Wrede’s contribution to criticism consists in the fact that he takes the position as it is and does not try to improve it artificially. Bruno Bauer and others supposed that the belief in the Messiahship of Jesus had slowly solidified out of a kind of gaseous state or had been forced into primitive theology by the literary invention of Mark. Wrede, however, feels himself obliged to base it upon an historical fact, and, moreover, the same historical fact which is pointed to by the sayings in the Synoptics and the Pauline theology. But in so doing he creates an almost insurmountable difficulty for his hypothesis.
We can only briefly refer to the question what form the accounts of the resurrection must have taken if the historic fact which underlay them was the first surprised apprehension and recognition of the Messiahship of Jesus on the part of the disciples. The Messianic teaching would necessarily in that case have been somehow or other put into the mouth of the risen Jesus. It is, however, completely absent, because it was already contained in the teaching of Jesus during His earthly life. The theory of Messianic secrecy must therefore have re-moulded not merely the story of the passion, but also that of the resurrection, removing the revelation of the Messiahship to the disciples from the latter in order to insert it into the public ministry!
Wrede, moreover, will only take account of the Marcan text as it stands, not of the historical possibility that the “futuristic Messiahship” which meets us in the mysterious utterances of Jesus goes back in some form to a sound tradition. Further he does not take the eschatological character of the teaching of Jesus into his calculations, but works on the false assumption that he can analyse the Marcan text in and by itself and so discover the principle on which it is composed. He carries out experiments on the law of crystallisation of the narrative material in this Gospel, but instead of doing so in the natural and historical atmosphere he does it in an atmosphere artificially neutralised, which contains no trace of contemporary conceptions. Consequently the conclusion based on the sum of his observations has in it something arbitrary. Everything which conflicts with the rational construction of the course of the history is referred directly to the theory of the concealment of the Messianic secret. But in the carrying out of that theory a number of self-contradictions, without which it could not subsist, must be recognised and noted.
Thus, for example, all the prohibitions, whatever they may refer to, even including the command not to make known His miracles, are referred to the same category as the injunction not to reveal the Messianic secret. But what justification is there for that? It presupposes that according to Mark the miracles could be taken as proofs of the Messiahship, an idea of which there is no hint whatever in Mark. “The miracles,” Wrede argues, “are certainly used by the earliest Christians as evidence of the nature and significance of Christ. … I need hardly point to the fact that Mark, not less than Matthew, Luke, and John, must have held the opinion that the miracles of Jesus encountered a wide-spread and ardent Messianic expectation.”
 Certain of the conceptions with which Wrede operates are simply not in accordance with the text, because he gives them a different significance from that which they have in the narrative. Thus, for example, he always takes the “resurrection,” when it occurs in the mouth of Jesus, as a reference to that resurrection which as an historical fact became a matter of apprehended experience to the apostles. But Jesus speaks without any distinction of His resurrection and of His Parousia. The conception of the resurrection, therefore, if one is to arrive at it inductively from the Marcan text, is most closely bound up with the Parousia. The Evangelist would thus seem to have made Jesus predict a different kind of resurrection from that which actually happened. The resurrection, according to the Marcan text, is an eschatological event, and has no reference whatever to Wrede’s “historical resurrection.” Further, if their resurrection experience was the first and fundamental point in the Messianic enlightenment of the disciples, why did they only begin to proclaim it some weeks later? This is a problem which was long ago recognised by Reimarus, and which is not solved by merely assuming that the disciples were afraid.
 P. 33 ff. The prohibitions in Mark i. 43 and 44, v. 43, vii. 36, and viii. 26 are put on the same footing with the really Messianic prohibitions in viii. 30 and ix. 9, with which may be associated also the imposition of silence upon the demoniacs who recognise his Messiahship in Mark i. 34 and iii. 12.
Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus
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