XII FURTHER IMAGINATIVE LIVES OF JESUS
|November 17, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter twelve||
FURTHER IMAGINATIVE LIVES OF JESUS
Charles Christian Hennell. Untersuchungen über den Ursprung des Christentums. (An Inquiry concerning the Origin of Christianity.) 1840. With a preface by David Friedrich Strauss. English edition, 1838.
Vichtige Enthüllungen über die wirkliche Todesart Jesu. Nach einem alten zu Alexandria gefundenen Manuskripte von einem Zeitgenossen Jesu aus dem heiligen Orden der Essäer. (Important Disclosures concerning the Manner of Jesus’ Death. From an ancient MS. found at Alexandria, written by a con- temporary of Jesus belonging to the sacred Order of the Essenes.) 1849. 5th ed., Leipzig. (Anonymous.)
Historische Enthüllungen über die wirklichen Ereignisse der Geburt und Jugend Jesu. Als Fortsetzung der zu Alexandria augefundenen alten Urkunden aus dem Essäerorden. (Historical Disclosures concerning the real circumstances of the Birth and Youth of Jesus. A Continuation of the ancient Essene MS. discovered at Alexandria.) 1849. 2nd ed., Leipzig.
August Friedrich Gfrörer. Kritische Geschichte des Urchristentums. (Critical History of Primitive Christianity.) Vol. i. 1st ed., 1831; 2nd, 1835. Part i. 543 pp.; Part ii. 406 pp. Vol. ii. 1838. Part i. 452 pp.; Part ii. 417 pp.
Richard von der Alm. (Pseudonym of Friedrich Wilhelm Ghillany.) Theologische Briefe an die Gebildeten der deutschen Nation, 1863. (Theological Letters to the Cultured Classes of the German People, 1863.) Vol. i. 929 pp.; Vol. ii. 656 pp.; Vol. iii. 802 pp.
Ludwig Noack. Die Geschichte Jesu auf Grund freier geschichtlicher Untersuchungen über das Evangelium und die Evangelien. (The History of Jesus on the Basis of a free Historical Inquiry regarding the Gospel and the Gospels.) 2nd ed., 1876, Mannheim. Book i. 251 pp.; Book ii. 187 pp.; Book iii. 386 pp.; Book iv. 285 pp.
STRAUSS CAN HARDLY BE SAID TO HAVE DONE HIMSELF HONOUR BY CONTRIBUTIMG a preface to the translation of Hennell’s work, which is nothing more than Venturini’s “Non-miraculous History of the Great Prophet of Nazareth” tricked out with a fantastic paraphernalia of learning.
The two series of “Important Disclosures” also are really “conveyed” with no particular ability from that classic romance of the Life of Jesus, but that did not prevent their making something of a sensation at the time when they appeared. Jesus, according to his narrative, was the son of a member of the Essene Order. The child was watched over by the Order and prepared for His future mission. He entered on His public ministry as a tool of the Essenes, who after the crucifixion took Him down from the cross and resuscitated Him.
These “Disclosures” only preserve the more external features of Venturini’s representation. His Life of Jesus had been more than a mere romance, it had been an imaginative solution of problems which he had intuitively perceived. It may be regarded as the Forerunner of rationalistic criticism. The problems which Venturini had intuitively perceived were not solved either by the rationalists, or by Strauss, or by Weisse. These writers had not succeeded in providing that of which Venturini had dreamed—a living purposeful connexion between the events of the life of Jesus—or in explaining His Person and Work as having a relation, either positive or negative, to the circumstances of Late Judaism. Venturini’s plan, however fantastic, connects the life of Jesus with Jewish history and contemporary thought much more closely than any other Life of Jesus, for that connexion is of course vital to the plot of the romance. In Weisse’s “Gospel History” criticism had deliberately renounced the attempt to explain Jesus directly from Judaism, finding itself unable to establish any connexion between His teach- ings and contemporary Jewish ideas. The way was therefore once more open to the imagination. Accordingly several imaginative Lives preluded a new era in the study of the subject, in so far as they endeavoured to understand Jesus on the basis of purely Jewish ideas, in some cases as affirming these, in others as opposing them in favour of a more spiritual conception. In Gfrörer, Richard von der Aim, and Noack, begins the skirmishing preparatory to the future battle over eschatology.
 Hennell, a London merchant, withdrew himself from his business pursuits for two years in order to make the preparatory studies for this Life of Jesus. [He is best known as a friend of George Eliot, who was greatly interested and influenced by the “Inquiry.”—TRANSLATOR.] To the same category as Hennell’s work belongs the Wohlgeprüfte Darstellung des Lebens Jesu. (An Account of the Life of Jesus based on the closest Examination) of the Heidelberg mathematician, Karl von Langsdorf. Mannheim, 1831. Supplement, with preface to a future second edition, 1833.
 Hase seems not to have recognised that the “Disclosures” were merely a plagiarism from Venturini. He mentions them in connexion with Bruno Bauer and appears to make him responsible for inspiring them; at least that is suggested by his formula of transition when he says: “It was primarily to him that the frivolous apocryphal hypotheses attached themselves.” This is quite inaccurate. The anonymous epitomist of Venturini had nothing to do with Bauer, and had probably not read a line of his work. Venturini, whom he had read, he does not name.
 One of the most ingenious of the followers of Venturini was the French Jew Salvator. In his Jesus-Christ et sa doctrine (Paris, 2 vols., 1838), he seeks to prove that Jesus was the last representative of a mysticism which, drawing its nutriment from the other Oriental religions, was to be traced among the Jews from the time of Solomon onwards. In Jesus this mysticism allied itself with Messianic enthusiasm. After He had lost consciousness upon the cross He was succoured by Joseph of Arimathea and Pilate’s wife contrary to His own expectation and purpose. He ended His days among the Essenes.
Salvator looks to a spiritualised mystical Mosaism as destined to be the successful rival of Christianity.
Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus
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