XV THE ESCHATOLOGICAL QUESTION
|November 16, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter fifteen||
THE ESCHATOLOGICAL QUESTION
Timothée Colani. Jésus-Christ et les croyances messianiques de son temps. Strassburg, 1864. 255 pp.
Gustav Volkmar. Jesus Nazarenus und die erste christliche Zeit, mit den beiden ersten Erzählern. (Jesus the Nazarene and the Beginnings of Christianity, with the two earliest narrators of His life.) Zurich, 1882. 403 pp.
Wilhelm Weiffenbach. Der Wiederkunftsgedanke Jesu. (Jesus’ Conception of His Second Coming.) 1873. 424 pp.
W. Baldensperger. Das Selbstbewusstsein Jesu im Lichte der messianischen Hoffnungen seiner Zeit. (The Self-consciousness of Jesus in the Light of the Messianic Hopes of His time.) Strassburg, 1888. 2nd ed., 1892, 282 pp.; 3rd ed, pt. i., 240 pp.
Johannes Weiss. Die Predigt Jesu vom Reiche Gottes. (The Preaching of Jesus concerning the Kingdom of God.) 1892. Göttingen. 67 pp. Second revised and enlarged edition, 1900, 210 pp.
SO LONG AS IT WAS MERELY A QUESTION OF ESTABLISHING THE DISTINCTIVE character of the thought of Jesus as compared with the ancient prophetic and Danielic conceptions, and so long as the only available storehouse of Rabbinic and Late-Jewish ideas was Lightfoot’s Horae Hebraicae et Talmudicae in quatuor Evangelistas, it was still possible to cherish the belief that the preaching of Jesus could be conceived as something which was, in the last analysis, independent of all contemporary ideas. But after the studies of Hilgenfeld and Dillmann had made known the Jewish apocalyptic in its fundamental characteristics, and the Jewish pseudepigrapha were no longer looked on as “forgeries,” but as representative documents of the last stage of Jewish thought, the necessity of taking account of them in interpreting the thought of Jesus became more and more emphatic. Almost two decades were to pass, however, before the full significance of this material was realised.
It might almost have seemed as if it was to meet this attack by anticipation that Colani wrote in 1864 his work, Jésus-Christ et les croyances messianiques de son temps.
Timothee Colani was born in 1824 at Lemé (Aisne), studied in Strassburg and became pastor there in 1851. In the year 1864 he was appointed Professor of Pastoral Theology in Strassburg in spite of some attempted opposition to the appointment on the part of the orthodox party in Paris, which was then growing in strength. The events of the year 1870 left him without a post. As he had no prospect of being called to a pastorate in France, he became a merchant. In consequence of some unfortunate business operations he lost all his property. In 1875 he obtained a post as librarian at the Sorbonne. He died in 1888.
How far was Jesus a Jew? That was the starting-point of Colani’s study. According to him there was a complete lack of homogeneity in the Messianic hopes cherished by the Jewish people in the time of Jesus, since the prophetic conception, according to which the Kingdom of the Messiah belonged to the present world-order, and the apocalyptic, which transferred it to the future age, had not yet been brought into any kind of unity. The general expectation was focused rather upon the Forerunner than upon the Messiah. Jesus Himself in the first period of His public ministry, up to Mark viii., had never designated Himself as the Messiah, for the expression Son of Man carried no Messianic associations for the multitude. His fundamental thought was that of perfect communion with God; only little by little, as the success of the preaching of the Kingdom more and more impressed His mind, did His consciousness take on a Messianic colouring. In face of the undisciplined expectations of the people He constantly repeats in His parables of the growth of the Kingdom, the word “patience.” By revealing Himself as the Lord of this spiritual kingdom He makes an end of the oscillation between the sensuous and the spiritual in the current expectations of the future blessedness. He points to mankind as a whole, not merely to the chosen people, as the people of the Kingdom, and substitutes for the apocalyptic catastrophe an organic development. By His interpretation of Psalm cx. in Mark xii. 35-37, He makes known that the Messiah has nothing whatever to do with the Davidic kingship. It was only with difficulty that He came to resolve to accept the title of Messiah; He knew what a weight of national prejudices and national hopes hung upon it.
But He is “Messiah the Son of Man”; He created this expression in order thereby to make known His lowliness. In the moment in which He accepted the office He registered the resolve to suffer. His purpose is, to be the suffering, not the triumphant, Messiah. It is to the influence which His Passion exercises upon the souls of men that He looks for the firm establishment of His Kingdom.
 Johannis Lightfooti, Doctoris Angli et Collegii S. Catharinae in Cantabrigiensi Academics Praefecti, Horae Hebraicae et Talmudicae in Quatuor Evangelistas . . . nunc secundum in Germania junctim cum Indicibus locorum Scriptürae rerumque ac verborum necessarüs editae e Museo lo. Benedicti Carpzovii. Lipsiae. Anno MDCLXXX1V.
 The pioneer works in the study of apocalyptic were Dillmann’s Henoch, 1851; and Hilgenfeld’s Jüdische Apokalyptik, 1857.
Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus
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