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Full text of "Supernatural religion, an inquiry into the reality of divine revelation; popular edition carefully revised, issued for the Rationalist Press Association, Limited"

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[issued for the rationalist press association, limited] 


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\The right of translation is resei'ved'] 


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"Credulity is as real, if not so great, a sin as unbelief." — Archbishop 
Trench, Notes on the Miracles of our Lord, 8th ed., p. 27. 

'* The abnegation of reason is not the evidence of faith, but the confession of 
despair." — Dr. Lightfoot, St. PattV s Epistle to the Galatians, 4th ed., p. ix. 


In preparing this edition it has been thought desirable to make 
some changes, both with the view of rendering the book more 
convenient to the reader, and bringing the argument as much as 
possible up to date. On the one hand, an entirely new chapter 
has been introduced dealing with the evidence of " The Teaching 
of the Twelve Apostles," an ancient treatise which had not been 
published when the last edition was issued. Much pertinent 
matter regarding the martyrdom of Ignatius, which has hitherto 
only formed part of the preface to the sixth and complete editions, 
has now been suitably incorporated in the text. In a similar 
way, considerable additions have been made to the chapter on 
Tatian, dealing with more recent information on the nature of 
his Diatessaron. A still more important insertion in this edition 
is a critical examination of the use of the works of Josephus by 
the author of the third Synoptic and the Acts of the Apostles, 
by which fresh light has been thrown upon the date at which 
those writings must have been produced. 

On the other hand, the long lists of writers on different subjects 
treated in the text have been omitted, where direct quotations 
have not been made from their works, or where such references 
were not considered specially interesting. The long linguistic 
analyses of speeches in the Acts of the Apostles, and unneces- 
sary Greek quotations in the notes throughout, have also been 
omitted as of little interest to general readers. Any student 
desirous of examining these is referred to the complete or earlier 


editions. Nothing has been removed, however, which is of any 
importance to the main argument, and much that is of interest 
has been added. 

For the rest, whatever improvement could be effected in the 
style of the book has been carefully carried out, and it is hoped 
that this edition has considerably gained in clearness and pre- 
cision. Except in this respect, the Conclusions have not been 
materially altered, but, on the contrary, after bearing the test of 
many years of thought and study, they are repeated with 
unhesitating confidence. 











THE AGE OF MIRACLES - - - - - . - 55 








OF CRITICISM ....-.- 121 



CLEMENT OF ROME - - - - - - - 1 28 


THE PASTOR OF HERMAS - - " ' " . " ' ^4^ 




THE EPISTLE OF POLYCARP - - . . , - - - 175 









THE CLEMENTINES ------- 299 



BASILIDES - - - - - - - - - - 322 

VALENTINUS -------- 330 


MARCION --------- 344 


TATIAN --------- 366 



MELITO OF SARDIS - - - - - - - 3^7 


ATHENAGORAS --.----- 398 





CELSUS - - - - - - ^ - - - 422 


RESULTS --------- 433 












TIANITY ----.... 638 



MARTYR .-.---.- 659 







OF THE GENTILES -.--..- 686 










THE EVIDENCE OF PAUL - - - - - - 85 1 



Theoretically, the duty of adequate inquiry into the truth of 
any statement of serious importance before believing it is univer- 
sally admitted. Practically, no duty is more universally neglected. 
This is more especially the case in regard to Religion, in which 
our concern is so great, yet whose credentials so few personally 
examine. The difficulty of such an investigation and the inability 
of most men to pursue it, whether from want of opportunity or 
want of knowledge, are, no doubt, the chief reasons for this 
neglect ; but another, and scarcely less potent, obstacle has prob- 
ably been the odium which has been attached to any doubt 
regarding the dominant religion, as well as the serious, though 
covert, discouragement of the Church to all critical examination 
of the title-deeds of Christianity. The spirit of doubt, if not of 
intelligent inquiry, however, has, of late years, become too strong for 
repression, and, at the present day, the pertinency of the question 
of a German writer, "Are we still Christians?" receives uncon- 
scious illustration from many a popular pulpit and many a social 

The prevalent characteristic of popular theology in England at 
this time may be said to be a tendency to eliminate from Chris- 
tianity, with thoughtless dexterity, every supernatural element which 
does not quite accord with current opinion, and yet to ignore the 
fact that in so doing it has practically been altogether abandoned. 
This tendency is fostered with illogical zeal by many distin- 
guished men within the Church itself, who endeavour to arrest 
the pursuing wolves of doubt and unbelief which press upon 
it by practically throwing to them, scrap by scrap, the very 
doctrines which constitute the claims of Christianity to be regarded 
as a Divine Revelation at all. They try to spiritualise or dilute 
that which remains into a form which does not shock their 
reason; and yet they cling to the delusion that they still 
retain the consolation and the hope of truths which, if not divinely 


revealed, are mere human speculation regarding matters beyond 

Christianity itself distinctly claims to be a direct Divine 
Revelation of truths beyond the natural attainment of the human 
intellect. To submit the doctrines thus revealed, therefore, to 
criticism, and to clip and prune them down to the standard of 
human reason, whilst, at the same time, their supernatural 
character is maintained, is an obvious absurdity. Christianity 
mMSt either be recognised to be a Divine Revelation beyond man's 
criticism, and, in that case, its doctrines must be received even 
though Reason cannot be satisfied, or the claims of Christianity 
to be such a Divine Revelation must be disallowed, in which case 
it becomes the legitimate subject of criticism like every other 
human system. One or other of these alternatives must be 
adopted ; but to assert that Christianity is Divine, and yet to deal 
with it as human, is illogical and wrong. 

When we consider the vast importance of the interests involved, 
therefore, it must be apparent that there can be no more urgent 
problem for humanity to solve than the question : Is Christianity 
a supernatural Divine Revelation or not? To this we may 
demand a clear and decisive answer. The evidence must be of 
no uncertain character which can warrant our abandoning the 
guidance of Reason, and blindly accepting doctrines which, if not 
supernatural truths, must be rejected by the human intellect as 
monstrous delusions. We propose in this work to seek a con- 
clusive answer to this momentous question. 

We must, by careful and impartial investigation, acquire the 
right to,our belief, whatever it may be, and not float like a mere 
waif into the nearest haven. Even true conclusions which are 
arrived at either accidentally or by wrong methods are dangerous. 
The current which by good fortune led to-day to truth may 
to-morrow waft us to falsehood. 

If we look at the singular diversity of views entertained, not 
only with regard to the doctrines, but also to the evidences, of 
Christianity, we cannot but be struck by the deplorable position 
in which Divine Revelation is now placed. 

Orthodox Christians may be divided into two broad classes, 
one of which professes to base the Church upon the Bible, and 
the other the Bible upon the Church. The one party assert that 
the Bible is fully and absolutely inspired, that it contains God's 


revelation to man, and that it is the only and sufficient ground 
for all religious belief ; and they maintain that its authenticity is 
proved by the most ample and irrefragable external as well as 
internal evidence. On the other hand, men of undoubted piety 
and learning, as well as unquestioned orthodoxy, admit that the 
Bible is totally without literary or historical evidence, and cannot 
for a moment be upheld upon any such grounds as the revealed 
word of God ; that none of the great doctrines of ecclesiastical 
Christianity can be deduced from the Bible, but that, notwith- 
standing this absence of external and internal evidence, this 
Revelation stands upon the sure basis of the inspiration of the 
Church. Can the unsupported testimony of a Church which in 
every age has vehemently maintained errors and denounced truths 
which are now universally recognised, be considered sufficient 
guarantee of Divine Revelation ? Obviously, there is no ground 
for accepting from a fallible Church and fallacious tradition 
doctrines which, avowedly, are beyond the criterion of reason, and 
therefore require miraculous evidence. 

With belief based upon such uncertain grounds, and with such 
vital difference of views regarding evidence, it is not surprising that 
ecclesiastical Christianity has felt its own weakness, and entrenched 
itself against the assaults of investigation. Such inquiry, however, 
cannot be suppressed. Mere scientific questions may be regarded 
with apathy by those who do not feel their personal bearing. It 
may possibly seem to some a matter of little practical importance 
to them to determine whether the earth revolves round the sun, or 
the sun round the earth ; but no earnest mind can fail to perceive 
the immense personal importance of Truth in regard to Religion — 
the necessity of investigating, before accepting, dogmas, the right 
interpretation of which is represented as necessary to salvation — 
and the clear duty, before abandoning reason for faith, to exercise 
reason, in order that faith may not be mere credulity. 

It was in this conviction that the following inquiry into the 
reality of Divine Revelation was originally undertaken, and in this 
spirit others should enter upon it. An able writer, who will not be 
suspected of exaggeration on this subject, has said: "The majority 
of mankind, perhaps, owe their belief, rather to the outward 
influence of custom and education, than to any strong principle of 
faith within ; and it is to be feared that many, if they came to 
perceive how wonderful what they believed was, would not find 


their belief so easy, and so matter-of-course a thing as they appear 
to find it."^ If it is to be more than a mere question of priority of 
presentation whether we are to accept Buddhism, Mohammedanism, 
or Christianity, we must strictly and fearlessly examine the evidence 
upon which they profess to stand. The neglect of examination 
can never advance truth, as the severest scrutiny can never retard 
it ; but belief without discrimination can only foster ignorance and 

To no earnest mind can such inquiry be otherwise than a serious 
and often a painful task ; but, dismissing preconceived ideas and 
preferences derived from habit and education, and seeking only 
the Truth, holding it, whatever it may be, to be the only object 
worthy of desire or capable of satisfying a rational mind, the quest 
cannot but end in peace and satisfaction. In such an investigation, 
however, to quote words of Archbishop Whateley, " It makes all 
the difference in the world whether we place Truth in the first place 
or in the second place "; for if Truth acquired do not compensate 
for every pet illusion dispelled, the path is thorny indeed, although 
it must still be faithfully trodden. 

^ J. B. Mozley, B.D., on Miracles ; Batnpton Lectures, 1865, 2nd ed., 







At the very outset of inquiry into the origin and true character 
of Christianity we are brought face to face with the Supernatural. 
Christianity professes to be a Divine revelation of truths which 
the human intellect could not otherwise have discovered. It is 
not a form of religion developed by the wisdom of man and 
appeahng to his reason, but a system miraculously communicated 
to the human race, the central doctrines of which are either 
superhuman or untenable. If the truths said to be revealed were 
either of an ordinary character or naturally attainable, they would 
at once discredit the claim to a Divine origin. No one could 
maintain that a system discoverable by reason would be super- 
naturally communicated. The whole argument for Christianity 
turns upon the necessity of such a revelation, and the consequent 
probability that it would be made. 

There is nothing singular, it may be remarked, in the claim of 
Christianity to be a direct revelation from God. With the 
exception of the religions of Greece and Rome, which, however, 
also had their subsidiary supposition of Divine inspiration, there 
has scarcely been any system of religion which has not been 
proclaimed to the world as a direct Divine communication. Long 
before Christianity claimed this character, the religions of India 
had anticipated the idea. To quote the words of an accomplished 
scholar: "According to the orthodox views of Indian theologians, 



not a single line of the Veda was the work of human authors. 
The whole Veda is in some way or other the work of the Deity; 
and even those who received it were not supposed to be ordinary 
mortals, but beings raised above the level of common humanity, 
and less liable, therefore, to error in the reception of revealed 
truth. "^ The same origin is claimed for the religion of Zoroaster, 
whose doctrines, beyond doubt, exercised great influence at least 
upon later Jewish theology, and whose Magian followers are 
appropriately introduced beside the cradle of Jesus, as the first 
to do honour to the birth of Christianity. In the same way 
Mohammed announced his religion as directly communicated from 

Christianity, however, as a religion professing to be divinely 
revealed, is not only supernatural in origin and doctrine, but its 
claim to acceptance is necessarily based upon supernatural 
evidence ; for it is obvious that truths which require to be 
miraculously communicated do not come within the range of our 
intellect, and cannot, therefore, be intelligently received upon 
internal testimony. "And, certainly," says an able Bampton 
Lecturer, " if it was the will of God to give a revelation, there are 
plain and obvious reasons for asserting that miracles are necessary 
as the guarantee and voucher for that revelation. A revelation is, 
properly speaking, such only by virtue of telling us something 
which we could not know without it. But how do we know that 
that communication of what is undiscoverable by human reason 
is true ? Our reason cannot prove the truth of it, for it is by the 
very supposition beyond our reason. There must be, then, some 
note or sign to certify to it and distinguish it as a true communi- 
cation from God, which note can be nothing else than a miracle."^ 
In another place the same Lecturer stigmatises the belief of the 
Mohammedan "as in its very principle irrational," because he 
accepts the account which Mohammed gave of himself, without 
supernatural evidence. 3 The beUef of the Christian is contrasted 
with it as rational, " because the Christian believes in a super- 
natural dispensation upon the proper evidence of such a dispensa- 
tion — viz., the miraculous. "4 Mohammed is reproached with having 
" an utterly barbarous idea of evidence, and a total miscalculation 
of the claims of reason," because he did not consider miraculous 
evidence necessary to attest a supernatural dispensation; "whereas 

* M. ISIuller, Chips from a German Workshop, 1867, vol. i., p. 18. 

^ J. B. Mozley, B.D., Bampton Lecturer in 1865, on Miracles, 2nd ed., 
1867, p. 6f. 

3 lb., p. 30, cf. Butler, Analogy of Religion, pt. ii., chap, vii., § 3; Paley, 
A View of the Evidences of Christianity, ed. Whately, 1859, p. 324 ff. 

^//^,p. 31- 


the Gospel is adapted to perpetuity for this cause especially, with 
others, that it was founded upon a true calculation, and a foresight 
of the permanent need of evidence; our Lord admitting the 
inadequacy of His own mere word, and the necessity of a rational 
guarantee to His revelation of His own nature and commission."^ 

The spontaneous offer of miraculous evidence, indeed, has 
always been advanced as a special characteristic of Christianity, 
logically entitling it to acceptance in contradistinction to all other 
religions. " It is an acknowledged historical fact," says Bishop 
Butler, " that Christianity offered itself to the world, and demanded 
to be received, upon the allegation — i.e.^ as unbelievers would 
speak, upon the pretence — of miracles, publicly wrought to attest 

the truth of it in such an age ; and Christianity, including the 

dispensation of the Old Testament, seems distinguished by this 
from all other religions."^ 

Most of the great English divines have clearly recognised and 
asserted the necessity of supernatural evidence to establish the 
reality of a supernatural revelation. Bishop Butler affirms 
miracles and the completion of prophecy to be the " direct 
and fundamental proofs " of Christianity.3 Elsewhere he says : 
"The notion of a miracle, considered as a proof of a divine 
mission, has been stated with great exactness by divines, and is, 
I think, sufficiently understood by everyone. There are also 
invisible miracles — the Incarnation of Christ, for instance — which, 
being secret, cannot be alleged as a proof of such a mission, but 
require themselves to be proved by visible miracles. Revelation 
itself, too, is miraculous ; and miracles are the proof of it."'^ 
Paley states the case with equal clearness : " In what way can a 
revelation be made but by miracles ? In none which we are able 
to conceive."^ His argument, in fact, is founded upon the prin- 
ciple that "nothing but miracles could decide the authority" of 
Christianity.^ In another work he asserts that no man can 
prove a future retribution but the teacher " who testifies by 
miracles that his doctrine comes from God. "7 Bishop Atterbury, 
again, referring to the principal doctrines of ecclesiastical Chris- 
tianity, says : " It is this kind of Truth that God is properly said 
to reveal ; Truths, of which, unless revealed, we should have 

^ lb., p. 32. 

^ The Analogy of Religion, pt. ii. , ch. vli. , § 3. 

3 lb., pt. ii. , ch. vii, ^ lb., pt. ii., ch. ii., § I. 

5 A View of the Evidences of Christianity. " Preparatory Considerations," 
p. 12. 

^ lb., p. 14. 

7 Moral Philosophy, book v. Speaking of Christianity, in another place, 
he calls miracles and prophecy ' ' that splendid apparatus with which its 
mission was introduced and attested " (book iv. ). 


always continued ignorant ; and 'tis in order only to prove these 
Truths to have been really revealed that we affirm Miracles to be 

Dr. Heurtley, Margaret Professor of Divinity in the University 
of Oxford, after pointing out that the doctrines taught as the 
Christian Revelation are such as could not by any possibility have 
been attained by the unassisted human reason, and that, conse- 
quently, it is reasonable that they should be attested by miracles, 
continues : " Indeed, it seems inconceivable how without miracles 
— including prophecy in the notion of a miracle — it could suffi- 
ciently have commended itself to men's belief? Who would 
believe, or would be justified in believing, the great facts which 
constitute its substance on the ipse dixit of an unaccredited 
teacher ? and how, except by miracles, could the first teacher be 

accredited ? Paley, then, was fully warranted in the assertion 

that * we cannot conceive a revelation ' — such a revelation of 
course as Christianity professes to be, a revelation of truths which 
transcend man's ability to discover — ' to be substantiated without 
miracles.' Other credentials, it is true, might be exhibited in 
addition to miracles — and such it would be natural to look for — 
but it seems impossible that miracles could be dispensed with."^ 
Dr. Mansel bears similar testimony : " A teacher who proclaims 
himself to be specially sent by God, and whose teaching is to be 
received on the authority of that mission, must, from the nature 
of the case, establish his claim by proofs of another kind than 
those which merely evince his human wisdom or goodness. A 
superhuman authority needs to be substantiated by superhuman 
evidence ; and what is superhuman is miraculous."3 

Newman, in discussing the idea and scope of miracles, says : 
"A revelation — that is, a direct message from God to man — 

itself bears in some degree a miraculous character And as a 

revelation itself, so again the evidences of a revelation may all 

more or less be considered miraculous It might even be 

said that, strictly speaking, no evidence of a revelation is con- 
ceivable which does not partake of the character of a miracle ; 
since nothing but a display of power over the existing system of 
things can attest the immediate presence of Him by whom it was 
originally established. "-^ 

Dr. Mozley has stated in still stronger terms the necessity that 

' Sermons, etc. Sermon viii., " Miracles the Most Proper Way of Proving 
any Religion" (vol. iii., 1766, p. 199). 

- Replies to Essays and Reviews, 1862, p. 151. 

3 Aids to Faith, 4th ed., 1863, p. 35. 

4 Two Essays on Scripttire Miracles and on Ecclesiastical^ by John H. 
Newman, 2nd ed., 1870, p. 6 f. 


Christianity should be authenticated by the evidence of miracles. 
He supposes the case that a person of evident integrity and lofti- 
ness of character had appeared, eighteen centuries ago, announcing 
himself as pre-existent from all eternity, the Son of God, Maker 
of the world, who had come down from heaven and assumed the 
form and nature of man in order to be the Lamb of God that 
taketh away the sins of the w^orld, and so on, enumerating other 
doctrines of Christianity. Dr. Mozley then asks : " What would 
be the inevitable conclusion of sober reason respecting that person ? 
The necessary conclusion of sober reason respecting that person 

would be that he was disordered in his understanding By no 

rational being could a just and benevolent life be accepted as 
proof of such astonishing announcements. Miracles are the 
necessary complement, then, of the truth of such announcements, 
which, without them, are purposeless and abortive, the unfinished 
fragments of a design which is nothing unless it is the whole. 
They are necessary to the justification of such announcements, 
which indeed, unless they are supernatural truths, are the wildest 
delusions."'^ He, therefore, concludes that " Christianity cannot 
be maintained as a revelation undiscoverable by human reason, a 
revelation of a supernatural scheme for man's salvation, without 
the evidence of miracles. ""^ 

In all points Christianity is emphatically a Supernatural 
Religion, claiming to be divine in its origin, superhuman in its 
essence, and miraculous in its evidence. It cannot be accepted 
without an absolute belief in miracles, and those who profess to 
hold the religion whilst they discredit its supernatural elements— 
and they are many at the present day — have widely seceded from 
ecclesiastical Christianity. Miracles, it is true, are external to 
Christianity in so far as they are evidential, but inasmuch as it is 
admitted that miracles alone can attest the reality of Divine 
revelation they are still inseparable from it ; and as the contents 
of the revelation are, so to say, more miraculous than its attesting 
miracles, the supernatural enters into the very substance of Chris- 
tianity, and cannot be eliminated. It is obvious, therefore, that 
the reality of miracles is the vital point in the investigation which 
we have undertaken. If the reality of miracles cannot be estab- 
lished, Christianity loses the only evidence by which its truth can 
be sufficiently attested. If miracles be incredible, the super- 
natural revelation and its miraculous evidence must together be 

This fact is thoroughly recognised by the ablest Christian 
divines. Dean Mansel, speaking of the position of miracles in 

^ Bampton Lectures ^ 1865, p. 14. '^ /^., p. 23. 



regard to Christianity, says : " The question, however, assumes a 
very different character when it relates, not to the comparative 
importance of miracles as evidences, but to their reality as facts, 
and as facts of a supernatural kind. For, if this is denied, the 
denial does not merely remove one of the supports of a faith 
which may yet rest securely on other grounds. On the contrary, 

the whole system of Christian belief with its evidences all 

Christianity, in short, so far as it has any title to that name, so far 
as it has any special relation to the person or the teaching of 
Christ, is overthrown at the same time."' A little further on he 
/ 1 says : " If there be one fact recorded in Scripture which is 
/ entitled, in the fullest sense of the word, to the name of a 
I miracle, the Resurrection of Christ is that fact. Here, at 
least, is an instance in which the entire Christian faith must stand 
or fall with our belief in the supernatural."^ He, therefore, 
properly repudiates the view, " which represents the question of 
the possibility of miracles as one which merely affects the 
external accessories of Christianity, leaving the essential doctrines 
untouched"3 Dr. Mozley, in a similar manner, argues the insepar- 
able union of miracles with the Christian faith. " Indeed, not 
only are miracles conjoined with doctrine in Christianity, but 
miracles are inserted in the doctrine and are part of its contents. 
A man cannot state his belief as a Christian in the terms of the 
Apostles' Creed without asserting them. Can the doctrine of 
our Lord's Incarnation be disjoined from one physical miracle ? 
Can the doctrine of His justification of us and intercession for us 

be disjoined from another? If a miracle is incorporated as 

an article in a creed, that article of the creed, the miracle, and the 
proof of it by a miracle, are all one thing. The great miracles, 
therefore, upon the evidence of which the Christian scheme 
rested, being thus inserted in the Christian Creed, the belief in 
the Creed was of itself the belief in the miraculous evidence of 

it Thus miracles and the supernatural contents of Christianity 

must stand or fall together. "^ Dr. Heurtley, referring to the dis- 
cussion of the reality of miracles, exclaims : " It is not too much 
to say, therefore, that the question is vital as regards Christianity.''^ 
Dr. Westcott not less emphatically makes the same statement. 
" It is evident," he says, " that if the claim to be a miraculous 
religion is essentially incredible, apostolic Christianity is simply 

false The essence of Christianity lies in a miracle; and, if it 

can be shown that a miracle is either impossible or incredible, all 
further inquiry into the details of its history is superfluous in a 

' Aids to Faith y 1863, p. 3. "^ lb., p. 4. 

3 //;., p. 5. 4 Bamplon Lectures , 1865, p. 21 f. 

5 Replies to Essays and Reviews ^ 1862, p. 143. 


religious point of view."^ Similarly, Dr. Farrar has said : " How- 
ever skilfully the modern ingenuity of semi-belief may have 
tampered with supernatural interpositions, it is clear to every 
honest and unsophisticated mind that, if miracles be incredible, 
Christianity is false. If Christ wrought no miracles, then the 

Gospels are untrustworthy If the Resurrection be merely a 

spiritual idea, or a mythicised hallucination, then our religion has 

been founded on an error "^ 

It has been necessary clearly to point our this indissoluble 
connection between ecclesiastical Christianity and the supernatural, 
in order that the paramount importance of the question as to the 
credibility of miracles should be duly appreciated. Our inquiry 
into the reality of Divine Revelation, then, whether we consider 
its contents or its evidence, practically reduces itself to the very 
simple issue : Are miracles antecedently credible ? Did they 
ever really take place ? We do not intend to confine ourselves 
merely to a discussion of the abstract question, but shall also 
endeavour to form a correct estimate of the value of the specific 
allegations which are advanced. 

Having, then, ascertained that miracles are absolutely necessary 
to attest the reality of Divine revelation, we may proceed to 
examine them more closely, and for the present we shall confine 
ourselves to the representations of these phenomena which are 
given in the Bible. Throughout the Old Testament the doctrine 
is inculcated that supernatural communications must have super- 
natural attestation. God is described as arming his servants with 
power to perform wonders, in order that they may thus be 
accredited as his special messengers. The Patriarchs and the 
people of Israel generally are represented as demanding " a sign '' 
of the reality of communications said to come from God, without 
which, we are led to suppose, they not only would not have 
believed, but would have been justified in disbelieving, that the 
message actually came from him. Thus Gideons asks for a sign 
that the Lord talked with him, and Hezekiah+ demands proof of 
the truth of Isaiah's prophecy that he should be restored to health. 
It is, however, unnecessary to refer to instances, for it may be 
affirmed that, upon all occasions, miraculous evidence of an 
alleged divine mission is stated to haye been required and 

The startling information is at the same time given, however, 

^ The Gospel of the Resurreciion, 3rd ed., 1874, p. 34. 

^ The Witness of History to Christy Hulsean Lectures for 1870, 2nd ed., 
1872, p. 25. 
3 Judges vi. 17. ** 2 Kings xx. 8 f. 


that miracles may be wrought to attest what is false, as well as to 
accredit what is true. In one place^ it is declared that, if a 
prophet actually gives a sign or wonder, and it comes to pass, but 
teaches the people, on the strength of it, to follow other gods, they 
are not to hearken to him, and the prophet is to be put to death. 
The false miracle is, here,^ attributed to God himself : " For the 
Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord 
your God with all your heart and with all your soul," In the book 
of the Prophet Ezekiel the case is stated in a still stronger way, 
and God is represented as directly deceiving the prophet : " And 
if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the 
Lord have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand 
upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people 
Israel. "3 God, in fact, is represented as exerting his almighty 
power to deceive a man, and then as destroying him for being 
deceived. In the same spirit is the passage^ in which Micaiah 
describes the Lord as putting a lying spirit into the mouths of the 
prophets who incited Ahab to go to Ramoth-Gilead. Elsewhere, s 
and notably in the New Testament, we find an ascription of real 
signs and wonders to another power than God. Jesus himself is 
represented as warning his disciples against false prophets, who 
work signs and wonders : " Many will say to me in that day, Lord, 
Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name ? and in thy name 
cast out devils ? and in thy name done many wonderful works ?" 
of whom he should say : "I never knew you ; depart from me, ye 
that work iniquity."^ And again in another place : " For false 
prophets shall arise, and shall work signs and wonders (o-Tz/xcia 
Kal TepaTo) to seduce, if it were possible, the elect. "7 Also, 
when the Pharisees accuse him of casting out devils by Beelzebub, 
the prince of the devils, Jesus asks : "By whom do your children 
cast them out ?"^ a reply which would lose all its point if they were 
not admitted to be able to cast out devils. In another passage 
John is described as saying : " Master, we saw one casting out 
devils in thy name, who folio weth not us, and we forbad him. "9 
Without multiplying instances, however, there can be no doubt of 
the fact that the reality of false miracles and lying wonders is 
admitted in the Bible. 

The obvious deduction from this representation of miracles is 

* Deut; xiii; 1 ff. ° Deut. xlii. 3. 

3 Ezek; xiv. g. The narmtive of God's hardening the heart of Pharaoh in 
otder to bring other plagues upon the land of Egypt is in this vein, 

'* I Kings xxii. 14-23. 

5 The coiinter miracles of the Egyptian sorcerers need not be referred to as 
instances. Ex, vii. ii, 12, i2, 

^ Matt, vii, 22j 23. J" Mark xiii. 22» 

^ Matt. xii. 27, 9 Matk ix. 38. 


that the source and purpose of such supernatural phenomena 
must always be exceedingly uncertain.' Their evidential value is, 
therefore, profoundly affected, " it being," as Newman has said of 
ambiguous miracles, " antecedently improbable that the Almighty 
should rest the credit of His revelation upon events which but 
obscurely implied His immediate presence."^ As it is affirmed 
that other supernatural beings exist, as well as an assumed Personal 
God, by whose agency miracles are performed, it is impossible to 
argue with reason that such phenomena are at any time specially 
due to the intervention of the Deity. Newman recognises this, 
but passes over the difficulty with masterly lightness of touch. 
After advancing the singular argument that our knowledge of 
spirits is only derived from Scripture, and that their existence 
cannot be deduced from nature, whilst he asserts that the being of 
a God — a Personal God be it remembered — can be so discovered, 
and that, therefore, miracles can only properly be attributed to 
him, he proceeds : " Still, it may be necessary to show that on our 
own principles we are not open to inconsistency. That is, it has 
been questioned whether, in admitting the existence and power of 
Spirits on the authority of Revelation, we are not in danger of 
invalidating the evidence upon which that authority rests. For 
the cogency of the argument for miracles depends on. the assump- 
tion that interruptions in the course of nature must ultimately 
proceed from God, which is not true if they may be effected by other 
beings without His sanction. And it must be conceded that, 
explicit as Scripture is in considering miracles as signs of Divine 
agency, it still does seem to give created spirits some power of 
working them ; and even in its most literal sense intimates the 
possibility of working them in opposition to the true doctrine 
(Deut. xiii. 1-3; Matt. xxiv. 24; 2 Thess. ii. 9-1 1). "3 Newman 
repudiates the attempts of various writers to overcome this 
difficulty by making a distinction between great miracles %nd 
small, many miracles and few, or by referring to the nature of the 
doctrine attested in order to determine the author of the miracle, 
or by denying the power of spirits altogether, and explaining away 
Scripture statements of demoniacal possession and the narrative 
of the Lord's Temptation. " Without having recourse to any of 
these dangerous modes of answering the objection," he says, " it 

' Tertullian saw this difficulty, and in his work against Marcion he argues 
that miracles alone, without prophecy, could not sufficiently prove Christ to be 
the Son of God ; for he points out that Jesus himself forewarned his disciples 
that false Christs would come with signs and wonders, like the miracles which 
he himself had worked, whom he enjoined them beforehand not to believe. 
Adv. Mare., iii. 3. So also the Author of the Clementines, xvii. 14, 

^ Two Essays on Miracles, p. 31. 

3 lb., p. 50 f. 


may be sufficient to reply that since, agreeably to the antecedent 
sentiment of reason, God has adopted miracles as the seal of a 
divine message, we believe he will never suffer them to be so 
counterfeited as to deceive the humble inquirer."^ This is the 
only reply which even so powerful a reasoner as Newman can give 
to an objection based on distinct statements of Scripture itself. 
He cannot deny the validity of the objection; he can only hope or 
believe in spite of it. Personal belief, independent of evidence, 
is the most common and the weakest of arguments ; at the best, 
it is prejudice masked in the garb of reason. It is perfectly clear 
that miracles being thus acknowledged to be common both to God 
and to other spirits, they cannot be considered a distinctive 
attestation of divine intervention ; and, as Spinoza finely argued, 
not even the mere existence of God can be inferred from them ; 
for, as a miracle is a limited act, and never expresses more than a 
certain and limited power, it is certain that we cannot from such 
an effect conclude even the existence of a cause whose power is 

This dual character obviously leads to many difficulties in 
defining the evidential function and force of miracles, and we 
may best appreciate the dilemma which is involved by continuing 
to follow the statements and arguments of divines themselves. 
To the question whether miracles are absolutely to command the 
obedience of those in whose sight they are performed, and 
whether, upon their attestation, the doer and his doctrine are to 
be accepted as of God, Archbishop Trench unhesitatingly replies : 
" It cannot be so, for side by side with the miracles which serve 
for the furthering of the kingdom of God runs another line of 
wonders, the counter-workings of him who is ever the ape of the 
Most High. "3 The deduction is absolutely logical and cannot 
be denied. " This fact," he says, " that the kingdom of lies has 
its wonders no less than the kingdom of truth, is itself sufficient 
evidence that miracles cannot be appealed to absolutely and 
finally, in proof of the doctrine which the worker of them 
proclaims." This being the case, it is important to discover how 
miracles perform their function as the indispensable evidence for 
a Divine revelation, for with this disability they do not seem to 
possess much potentiality. Archbishop Trench, then, offers the 
following definition of the function of miracles : "A miracle 
does not prove the truth of a doctrine, or the divine mission of 
him that brings it to pass. That which alone it claims for him at 
the first is a right to be listened to ; it puts him in the alternative 

^ Two Essays on Scripture Miracles, p. 5 1 f. 

^ Opera, ed Tauchnitz, vol iii., cap. vi., 24. 

3 Notes on the Miracles of our Lord, 8th ed., 1866, p. 22. 


of being from heaven or from hell. The doctrine must first 
commend itself to the conscience as being good^ and only then 
can the miracle seal it as divine. But the first appeal is from the 
doctrine to the conscience, to the moral nature of man."^ Under 
certain circumstances, he maintains, their evidence is utterly to be 
rejected. " But the purpose of the miracle," he says, " being, as 
we have seen, to confirm that which is good, so, upon the other 
hand, where the mind and conscience witness against the doctrine, 
not all the miracles in the world have a right to demand sub- 
mission to the word which they seal. On the contrary, the great 
act of faith is to believe, against, and in despite of them all, in 
what God has revealed to, and implanted in the soul of the holy 
and the true; not to believe another Gospel, though an angel 
from heaven, or one transformed into such, should bring it 
(Deut. xiii. 3 ; Gal. i. 8) ; and instead of compelling assent, 
miracles are then rather warnings to us that we keep aloof, for 
they tell us that not merely lies are here, for to that the conscience 
bore witness already, but that he who utters them is more than a 
common deceiver, is eminently ' a liar and an Anti-christ,' a false 
prophet — standing in more immediate connection than other 
deceived and evil men to the kingdom of darkness, so that Satan 
has given him his power (Rev. xiii. 2), is using him to be an 
especial organ of his, and to do a special work for him."^ And 
he lays down the distinct principle that "The miracle must 
witness for itself, and the doctrine must witness for itself, and 
then, and then only, the firsfe is capable of witnessing for the 
second. "3 

These opinions are not peculiar to the Archbishop of Dublin, 
but are generally held by divines, although Dr. Trench expresses 
them with unusual absence of reserve. Dr. Mozley emphatically 
affirms the same doctrine when he says : "A miracle cannot oblige 
us to accept any doctrine which is contrary to our moral nature, 
or to a fundamental principle of religion."'^ Dr. Mansel speaks 

^ Notes, etc., p. 25. Dr. Trench's views are of considerable eccentricity, 
and he seems to reproduce in some degree the Platonic theory of Remi- 
niscence. He continues: "For all revelation presupposes in man a power 
of recognising the truth when it is shown him — that it will find an answer in 
him — that he will trace in it the lineaments of a friend, though of a friend 
from whom he has been long estranged, and whom he has well-nigh forgotten. 
It is the finding of a treasure, but of a treasure which he himself and no other 
had lost. The denial of this, that there is in man any organ by which truth 
may be recognised, opens the door to the most boundless scepticism — is, 
indeed, the denial of all that is god-like in man" {/b., p. 25). The Arch- 
bishop would probably be shocked if we suggested that the god-like organ of 
which he speaks is Reason. 

^ lb., p. 27 f. . 3 /^.j p. 33. 

•* Bainpton Lectures, 1865, p. 25. 


to the same effect : " If a teacher claiming to work miracles 
proclaims doctrines contradictory to previously established truths, 
whether to the conclusions of natural religion or to the teaching 
of a former revelation, such a contradiction is allowed, even by 
the most zealous defenders of the evidential value of miracles, to 
invalidate the authority of the teacher. But the right conclusion 
from this admission is not that true miracles are invalid as 
evidences, but that the supposed miracles in this case are not 
true miracles at all— /.<?., are not the effects of Divine power, but 
of human deception or of some other agency."^ A passage from 
a letter written by Dr. Arnold which is quoted by Dr. Trench in 
support of his views both illustrates the doctrine and the necessity 
which has led to its adoption : " You complain," says Dr. Arnold, 
writing to Dr. Hawkins, " of those persons who judge of a revela- 
tion not by its evidence, but by its substance. It has always 
seemed to me that its substance is a most essential part of its 
evidence ; and that miracles wrought in favour of what was foolish 
or wicked would only prove Manicheism. We are so perfectly 
ignorant of the unseen world that the character of any supernatural 
power can only be judged by the moral character of the state- 
ments which it sanctions. Thus only can we tell whether it be 
a revelation from God or from the Devil. "-^ In another place 
Dr. Arnold declares : " Miracles must not be allowed to overrule 
the Gospel ; for it is only through our belief in the Gospel that 
we accord our belief to them. "3 

^ Aids to Faith, p. 32. 

^ Life of Arnold, ii., p. 226. 

3 Lectures on Modern History, p. 137. Those who hold such views forget 
that the greatest miracles of ecclesiastical Christianity are not external to it, 
but are the essence of its principal dogmas. If the "signs" and "wonders" 
which form what may be called the collateral miracles of Christianity are only 
believed in consequence of belief in the Gospel, upon what basis does belief in 
the miraculous birth, the Incarnation, the Resurrection, Ascension, and other 
leading dogmas, rest? These are themselves the Gospel. Newman, the 
character of whose mind leads him to believe every miracle the evidence 
against which does not absolutely prohibit his doing so, rather than only those 
the evidence for which constrains him to belief, supports ecclesiastical miracles 
somewhat at the expense of those of the Gospels. He points out that only a 
few of the latter now fulfil the purpose of evidence for a Divine revelation, and 
the rest are sustained and authenticated by those few ; that " The many 
never have been evidence except to those who saw them, and have but held 
the place of doctrine ever since ; like the truths revealed to us about the unseen 
world, which are matters of faith, not means of conviction. They have no 
existence, as it were, out of the record in which they are found." He then 
proceeds to refer to the criterion of a miracle suggested by Bishop Douglas : 
•' We may suspect miracles to be false the account of which was not published 
at the time or place of their alleged occurrence, or, if so published, yet without 
careful attention being called to them." Newman then adds : " Yet St. Mark 
is said to have written at Rome> St. Luke in Rome or Greece, and St. John 


It is obvious that the mutual dependence which is thus estab- 
lished between miracles and the doctrines in connection with 
which they are wrought destroys the evidential force of miracles, 
and that the first and the final appeal is made to reason. The 
doctrine, in fact, proves the miracle instead of the miracle attesting 
the doctrine. Divines of course attempt to deny this, but no 
other deduction from their own statements is logically possible. 
Miracles, according to Scripture itself, are producible by various 
supernatural beings, and may be Satanic as well as Divine ; man, 
on the other hand, is so ignorant of the unseen world that 
avowedly he cannot, from the miracle itself, determine the agent 
by whom it was performed;^ the miracle, therefore, has no 
intrinsic evidential value. How, then, according to divines, does 
it attain any potentiality ? Only through a favourable decision on 
the part of Reason or the " moral nature in man " regarding the 
character of the doctrine. The result of the appeal to Reason 
respecting the morality and credibility of the doctrine determines 
the evidential status of the miracle. The doctrine, therefore, is 
the real criterion of the miracle which, without it, is necessarily an 
object of doubt and suspicion. 

We have already casually referred to Newman's view of such a 
relation between miracle and doctrine, but may here more fully 
quote his suggestive remarks. " Others, by referring to the nature 
of the doctrine attested," he says, "in order to determine the 
author of the miracle, have exposed themselves to the plausible 
charge of adducing, first the miracle to attest the divinity of the 
doctrine, and then the doctrine to prove the divinity of the 
miracle."^ This argument he characterises as one of the "dangerous 
modes " of removing a difficulty, although he does not himself 
point out a safer, and, in a note, he adds : " There is an appear- 
ance of doing honour to the Christian doctrines in representing 
them as intrinsically credible, which leads many into supporting 
opinions which, carried to their full extent, supersede the need of 
miracles altogether. It must be recollected, too, that they who 
are allowed to praise have the privilege of finding fault, and may 
reject, according to their a priori notions, as well as receive. 

at Ephesus ; and the earliest of the Evangelists wrote some years after the 
events recorded, while the latest did not write for sixty years ; and moreover, 
true though it be that attention was called to Christianity from the first, yet it 
is true also that it did not succeed at the spot where it arose, but principally 
at a distance from it" {Two Essays on Miracles, etc., 2nd ed., 1870, p. 232 f.). 
How much these remarks might have been extended and strengthened by one 
more critical and less ecclesiastical than Newman need not here be stated. 

' Newman says of a miracle : " Considered by itself, it is at most but the 
token of a superhuman being " ( Two Essays, p. 10). 

^ Two Essays, etc., p. 51. 


Doubtless the divinity of a clearly immoral doctrine could not be 
evidenced by miracles ; for our belief in the moral attributes of 
God is much stronger than our conviction of the negative proposi- 
tion that none but He can interfere with the system of nature. ^ 
But there is always the danger of extending this admission beyond 
its proper limits, of supposing ourselves adequate judges of the 
tendency of doctrines ; and, because unassisted reason informs us 
what is moral and immoral in our own case, of attempting to 

decide on the abstract morality of actions These remarks are 

in nowise inconsistent with using (as was done in a former section) 
our actual knowledge of God's attributes, obtained from a survey 
of nature and human affairs, in determining the probability of 
certain professed miracles having proceeded from Him. It is one 
thing to infer from the experience of life, another to imagine the 
character of God from the gratuitous conceptions of our own 
minds. "^ Although Newman apparently fails to perceive that he 
himself thus makes reason the criterion of miracles, and therefore 
incurs the condemnation with which our quotation opens, the 
very indecision of his argument illustrates the dilemma in which 
divines are placed. Dr. Mozley, however, still more directly 
condemns the principle which we are discussing — that the doctrine 
must be the criterion of the miracle — although he also, as we have 
seen, elsewhere substantially affirms it. He says : " The position 
that the revelation proves the miracles, and not the miracles the 
revelation, admits of a good qualified meaning ; but, taken 
literally, it is a double offence against the rule that things are properly 
proved by the proper proof of them ; for a supernatural fact is 
the proper proof of a supernatural doctrine ; while a supernatural 
doctrine, on the other hand, is certainly not the proper proof of a 
supernatural fact. "3 

' In another place, however, Newman, contrasting the " Rationalistic" and 
"Catholic" tempers, and condemning the former, says: "Rationalism is a 
certain abuse of reason — that is, a use of it for purposes for which it never was 
intended, and is unfitted. To rationalise in matters of revelation is to make 
our reason the standard and measure of the doctrines revealed ; to stipulate 
that those doctrines should be such as to carry with them their own justifica- 
tion ; to reject them if they come in collision with our existing opinions 
or habits of thought, or are with difficulty harmonised with our existing stock 
of knowledge" {Essays, Crit. and Hist., 1872, vol. i., p. 31); and a little 
further on: "A like desire of judging for one's self is discernible in the 
original fall of man. Eve did not believe the Tempter any more than God's 
word, till she perceived ' the fruit was good for food ' " {Ih., p. 33). Newman, 
of course, wishes to limit his principle precisely to suit his own convenience ; 
but in permitting the rejection of a supposed revelation in spite of miracles, on 
the ground of our disapproval of its morality, it is obvioUS th^it the doctrine is 
substantially made the final criterion of the miracle. 

2 Two Essays, etc., p. 51 f., note [k). 

3 Bampton Lectures, 1865, p. 19. 


This statement is obviously true, but it is equally undeniable 
that, their origin being uncertain, miracles have no distinctive 
evidential force. How far, then, we may inquire in order 
thoroughly to understand the position, can doctrines prove the 
reality of miracles or determine the agency by which they are 
performed? In the case of moral truths within the limits of 
reason, it is evident that doctrines which are in accordance with 
our ideas of what is good and right do not require miraculous 
evidence at all. They can secure acceptance by their own merits 
alone. At the same time, it is universally admitted that the truth 
or goodness of a doctrine is, in itself, no proof that it emanates 
directly from God, and consequently the most obvious wisdom 
and beauty in the doctrine could not attest the Divine origin of a 
miracle. Such truths, however, have no proper connection with 
revelation at all. '' These truths," to quote the words of Bishop 
Atterbury, " were of themselves sufficiently obvious and plain, and 
needed not a Divine testimony to make them plainer. But the 
truths which are necessary in this manner to be attested are 
those which are of positive institution ; those which, if God had 
not pleased to reveal them, human reason could not have 
discovered ; and those which, even now they are revealed, human 
reason cannot fully account for and perfectly comprehend."^ 
How is it possible, then, that reason or "the moral nature in man " 
can approve as good, or appreciate the fitness of, doctrines which 
in their very nature are beyond the criterion of reason P^ What 
reply, for instance, can reason give to any appeal to it regarding 
the doctrine of the Trinity or of the Incarnation ? If doctrines 
the truth and goodness of which are apparent do not afford any 
evidence of Divine revelation, how can doctrines w^hich reason 
can neither discover nor comprehend attest the Divine origin of 
miracles ? Dr. Mozley clearly recognises that they cannot do so. 
"The proof of a revelation," he says — and, w^e may add, the proof 
of a miracle, itself a species of revelation — "which is contained in 
the substance of a revelation, has this inherent check or limit in it : 
viz., that it cannot reach to what is undiscoverable by reason. 
Internal evidence is itself an appeal to reason, because at every 
step the test is our own appreciation of such and such an idea or 
doctrine, our own perception of its fitness; but human reason 
cannot in the nature of the case prove that which, by the 
very hypothesis, lies beyond human reason."3 It naturally follows 
that no doctrine which lies beyond reason, and therefore requires 

^ Sermons, 8th ed., 1766, vol. iii., p. 198. 

^ Bishop Butler says : " Christianity is a scheme quite beyond our compre- 
hension " {Analogy of Religion, part ii., ch. iv., § i). 
3 Bampton Lectures, 1865, p. 15. 


the attestation of miracles, can possibly afford that indication of 
the source and reality of miracles which is necessary to endow 
them with evidential value ; and the supernatural doctrine must, 
therefore, be rejected in the absence of miraculous evidence of a 
decisive character. 

Dr. Mozley labours earnestly, but unsuccessfully, to restore to 
miracles as evidence some part of that potentiality of which these 
unfortunate limitations have deprived them. Whilst, on the one 
hand, he says, " We must admit, indeed, an inherent modification 
in the function of a miracle as an instrument of proof,"' he argues 
that this is only a limitation, and no disproof of it, and he contends 
that " The evidence of miracles is not negative, because it has 
conditions."^ His reasoning, however, is purely apologetic, and 
attempts, by the unreal analogy of supposed limitations of natural 
principles and evidence, to excuse the disqualifying limitation of the 
supernatural. He is quite conscious of the serious difficulty of the 
position. " The question," he says, " may at first sight create a 
dilemma — If a miracle is nugatory on the side of one doctrine, 
what cogency has it on the side of another ? Is it legitimate to 
accept its evidence when we please, and reject it when we please ?" 
The only reply he seems able to give to these very pertinent 
questions is the remark which immediately follows them : " But in 
truth a miracle is never without an argumentative force, although 
that force may be counterbalanced. "3 In other words, a miracle is 
always an argument, although it is often a bad one. It is scarcely 
necessary to go to the supernatural for bad arguments. 

It might naturally be expected that the miraculous evidence 
selected to accredit a Divine revelation should possess certain 
unique and marked characteristics. It must, at least, be clearly 
distinctive of Divine power, and exclusively associated with Divine 
truth. It is inconceivable that the Deity, deigning thus to attest 
the reality of a communication from himself of truths beyond the 
criterion of reason, should not make the evidence simple and 
complete, because, the doctrines proper to such a revelation not 
being appreciable from internal evidence, it is obvious that the 
external testimony for them — if it is to be of any use — must be 
unmistakable and decisive. The evidence which is actually 
produced, however, so far from satisfying these legitimate 
anticipations, lacks every one of the qualifications which reason 
antecedently declares to be necessary. Miracles are not distinctive 
of Divine power, but are common to Satan, and they are admitted 
to be performed in support of falsehood as well as in the service of 
truth. They bear, indeed, so little upon them the impress of their 
■origin and true character that they are dependent for their 

' Bampton Lectures, p. 25. = Ih.^ p. 25. 3 lb., p. 25. 


recognition upon our judgment of the very doctrines to attest 
which they are said to have been designed. 

Even taking the representation of miracles, therefore, which 
divines themselves give, they are utterly incompetent to perform 
their contemplated functions. If they are superhuman they are 
not super-Satanic, and there is no sense in which they can be 
considered miraculously evidential of anything. To argue, as 
theologians do, that the ambiguity of their testimony is deliberately 
intended as a trial of our faith is absurd, for, reason being unable 
to judge of the nature either of supernatural fact or supernatural 
doctrine, it would be mere folly and injustice to subject to such a 
test beings avowedly incapable of sustaining it. Whilst it is 
absolutely necessary, then, that a Divine revelation should be 
attested by miraculous evidence to justify our believing it, the 
testimony so-called seems, in all respects, unworthy of the name, 
and presents anomalies much more suggestive of human invention 
than Divine originality. We are, in fact, prepared, even by the 
Scriptural account of miracles, to expect that further examination 
will supply an explanation of such phenomena which will wholly 
remove them from the region of the supernatural. 



Without at present touching the question as to their reaUty, it 
may be well to ascertain what miracles are considered to be, and 
how far, and in what sense, it is asserted that they are supernatural. 
We have, hitherto, almost entirely confined our attention to the 
arguments of English divines, and we must for the present 
continue chiefly to deal with them, for it may broadly be said that 
they alone, at the present day, maintain the reality and supernatural 
character of such phenomena. No thoughtful mind can fail to 
see that, considering the function of miracles, this is the only 
logical and consistent course.' The insuperable difficulties in the 
way of admitting the reality of miracles, however, have driven the 
great majority of continental, as well as very many English, 
theologians who still pretend to a certain orthodoxy, either to 
explain the miracles of the Gospel naturally, or to suppress them 
altogether. Since Schleiermacher denounced the idea of Divine 
interuptions of the order of nature, and explained away the super- 
natural character of miracles, by defining them as merely relative — 
miracles to us, but in reality mere anticipations of human 
knowledge and power — his example has been more or less followed 
throughout Germany, and almost every expedient has been 
adopted by would-be orthodox writers to reduce, or altogether 
eliminate, the miraculous elements. The attempts which have 
been made to do this, and yet to maintain the semblance of 
Unshaken belief in the main points of ecclesiastical Christianity, 
have lamentably failed, from the hopeless nature of the task and 
the fundamental error of the conception. The endeavour of 
Paulus and his school to get rid of the supernatural by a bold 
naturalistic interpretation of the language of the Gospel naratives, 
whilst the credibility of the record was represented as intact, was 
too glaring an outrage upon common sense to be successful; but it 
was scarcely more illogical than subsequent efforts to suppress the 

^ Newman writes : " Nay, if we only go so far as to realise what Christianity 
is, when considered merely as a creed, and what stupendous overpowering 
facts are involved in the doctrine of a Divine Incarnation, we shall feel that no 
miracle can be great after it, nothing strange or marvellous, nothing beyond 
expectation" {Two Essays on Scripture Miracles ^ etc., 1870, p. 185). 



miraculous, *yet retain the creed. The great majority of modern 
German critics, however, reject the miraculous altogether, and 
consider the question as no longer worthy of discussion ; and most 
of those who have not distinctly expressed this view either resort 
to every linguistic device to evade the difficulty, or betray by their 
hesitation the feebleness of their belief/ In dealing with the 
question of miracles, therefore, it is not to Germany we must turn, 
but to England, where their reality is still maintained. 

Archbishop Trench rejects with disdain the attempts of Schleier- 
macher and others to get rid of the miraculous elements of 
miracles, by making them relative, which he rightly considers to 
be merely " a decently veiled denial of the miracle altogether ";^ 
and he will not accept any reconciliation which sacrifices the 
miracle, " which," he logically affirms, " is, in fact, no miracle, if 
it lay in nature already, if it was only the evoking of forces latent 
therein, not a new thing, not the bringing in of the novel powers 
of a higher world ; if the mysterious processes and powers by 
which those works were brought about had been only undiscovered 
hitherto, and not undiscoverable, by the efforts of human 
inquiry."3 When Dr. Trench tries to define what he considers 

^ It may be well to refer more particularly to the views of Ewald, one of the 
most profound scholars, but, at the same time, arbitrary critics, of this time. 
In his great work, Geschichte des Volkes Israel, he rejects the supernatural 
from all the "miracles" of the Old Testament (cf. III. Ausg. 1864, Band i., 
p. 385 fif., ii., p. 88 f., loi fif., 353 ff.), and in the fifth volume Christus it.s, 
Zeif, he does not belie his previous opinions. He deliberately repudiates the 
miraculous birth of Jesus (v. p. 236), rejects the supernatural from the birth of 
John the Baptist, and denies the relationship (Luke i. 36) between him and 
Jesus (p. 230 ff.). The miraculous events at the Crucifixion are mere poetical 
imaginations (p. 581). The Resurrection is the creation of the pious longing 
and excited feeling of the disciples (Band vi. Gesch. des Apost. Zeitalters, 
1858, p. 71 f.), and the Ascension, its natural sequel (vi. p. 95 f. ). In regard 
to the miracles of Jesus, his treatment of disease was principally mental and 
by the exercise of moral influence on the mind of the sick ; but he also 
employed external means, inquired into the symptoms of disease, and his 
action was subject to the laws of Divine order (v. pp. 291-299). Ewald 
spiritualises the greater miracles until the physical basis is almost completely 
lost. In the miracle at the marriage of Cana, " water itself, under the 
influence of his spirit, becomes the best wine," as it still does wherever his 
spirit is working in full power (v. p. 329). The miraculous feeding of 5,000 
is a narrative based on some tradition of an occasion in which Jesus, '* with the 
smallest external means, but infinitely more through his spirit and word and 
prayer, satisfied all who came to him " — an allegory, in fact, of the higher 
satisfying power of the bread of life — which in course of time grew to the 
■consistency of a physical miracle (v. p. 442). The raising of the son of the 
'widow of Nain is represented as a case of suspended animation (v. p. 424). 
In his latest work. Die Lehre der Bibel von Goit, Ewald eliminates all the 
miraculous elements from Revelation, which he extends to all historical 
i-eligions (with the exception of Mohammedanism), as well as to the religion of 
the Bible (i., p. 18, §8). 

- Notes on Miracles., p. 74. 3 /^J., p. 75. 


the real character of miracles, however, he becomes, as might be 
expected, voluminous and obscure. He says : " An extra- 
ordinary Divine casualty, and not that ordinary which we acknow- 
ledge everywhere, and in everything, belongs, then, to the 
essence of the miracle ; powers of God other than those which 
have always been working ; such, indeed, as most seldom or 
never have been working before. The unresting activity of God, 
which at other times hides and conceals itself behind the veil of 
what we term natural laws, does in the miracle unveil itself; it 
steps out from its concealment, and the hand which works is 
laid bare. Beside and beyond the ordinary operation of nature, 
higher powers (higher, not as coming from a higher source, but as 
bearing upon higher ends) intrude and make themselves felt even 
at the very springs and sources of her power."^ "Not, as we 
shall see the greatest theologians have always earnestly contended, 
contra natUram, but p7'mter naturam, and supra naturam."^ 
Further on he adds : " Beyond nature, beyond and above the 
nature which we know, they are, but not co?itrary to it."3 
Newman, in a similar strain, though with greater directness, says : 
" The miracles of Scripture are undeniably beyond nature "; and 
he explains them as " wrought by persons consciously exercising, 
under Divine guidance, a power committed to them for definite 
ends, professing to be immediate messengers from heaven, and to 
evidencing their mission by their miracles. "^ 

Miracles are here described as "beside," and "beyond," and 
" above " nature ; but a moment's consideration must show that, 
in so far as these terms have any meaning at all, they are simply 
evasions, not solutions, of a difficulty. Dr. Trench is quite 
sensible of the danger in which the definition of miracles places 
them, and how fatal to his argument it would be to admit that 
they are contrary to the order of nature. "The miracle," he 
protests, "is not thus imnatural ; nor could it be such, since the 
unnatural, the contrary to order, is of itself the ungodly, and can 
in no way, therefore, be affirmed of a Divine work, such as that 
with which we have to do."5 The Archbishop, in this, however, is 
clearly arguing from nature to miracles, and not from miracles to 
nature. He does not, of course, know what miracles really are ; 
but, as he recognises that the order of nature must be maintained, 
he is forced to assert that miracles are not contrary to nature. He 
repudiates the idea of their being natural phenomena, and yet 
attempts to deny that they are unnatural. They must either be 
the one or the other. Indeed, that his distinction is purely 

^ Notes on Miracles, p. I2. ^ 7(5., p. 12, note 2. 3 lb., p. 14. 

^ Two Essays on Scripture Miracles, etc., p. 116. 
5 Notes on Aliracles, p. 15. 


imaginary, and inconsistent with the alleged facts of Scriptural 
miracles, is apparent from Dr. Trench's own illustrations. The 
whole argument is a mere quibble of words to evade a palpable 
dilemma. Newman does not fall into this error, and more boldly 
faces the difficulty. He admits that the Scripture miracles 
" innovate upon the impressions which are made upon us by the 
order and the laws of the natural world 'V and that " walking on 
the sea, or the resurrection of the dead, is a plain reversal of its 

Take, for instance, the multiplication of loaves and fishes. 
Five thousand people are fed upon five barley loaves and two 
small fishes ; " and they took up of the fragments which remained 
twelve baskets full. "3 Dr. Trench is forced to renounce all help 
in explaining this miracle from natural analogies, and he admits : 
" We must simply behold in the multiplying of the bread " (and 
fishes?) "an act of Divine omnipotence on His part who was the 
Word of God — not, indeed, now as at the first, of absolute 
creation out of nothing, since there was a substratum to work 
on in the original loaves and fishes, but an act of creative accre- 
tion."4 It will scarcely be argued by anyone that such an " act of 
Divine omnipotence " and " creative accretion " as this multiplica- 
tion of five baked loaves and two small fishes is not contrary to 
the order of nature, s For Dr. Trench has himself pointed out 
that there must be interposition of man's art here, and that "a 
grain of wheat could never by itself, and according to the laws of 
natural development, issue in a loaf of bread. "^ 

Undaunted by, or rather unconscious of, such contradictions, 
the Archbishop proceeds with his argument, and with new defini- 
tions of the miraculous. So far from being disorder of nature, he 
continues, with audacious precision : " The true miracle is a 
higher and a purer nature, coming down out of the world of 
untroubled harmonies into this world of ours, which so many 
discords have jarred and disturbed, and bringing this back again, 
though it be but for one mysterious prophetic moment, into 
harmony with that higher."7 In that " higher and purer nature " 
can a grain of wheat issue in a loaf of bread ? We have only to 
apply this theory to the miraculous multiplication of loaves and 

^ Two Essays on ScripHire Miracles, etc., p. 154. ^ lb., p. 158. 

3 Matt. xiv. 20. 4 X<fotes on Miracles, p. 274 f. 

5 Newman, referring to this amongst other miracles as "a far greater 
innovation upon the economy of nature than the miracles of the Church 
upon the economy of Scripture," says: "There is nothing, for instance, 
in nature at all to parallel and mitigate the wonderful history of the 
multiplication of an artificially prepared substance such as bread" {Two 
Essays, p. 157 f.). 

^ Notes on Miracles^ p. 274. ^ lb., p. 15. 


fishes to perceive how completely it is the creation of Dr. Trench's 
poetical fancy. 

These passages fairly illustrate the purely imaginary and arbitrary 
nature of the definitions which those who maintain the reality and 
supernatural character of miracles give of them. The favourite 
hypothesis is that which ascribes miracles to the action of unknown 
law. Archbishop Trench naturally adopts it. " We should see in 
the miracle," he says, "not the infraction of a law, but the 
neutralising of a lower law, the suspension of it for a time by a 
higher "; and he asks with indignation whence we dare conclude 
that, because we know of no powers sufficient to produce miracles, 
none exist. " They exceed the laws of our nature ; but it does 
not therefore follow that they exceed the laws of a// nature."^ It 
is not easy to follow the distinction here between " oi^r nature '' 
and " a// nature," since the order of nature, by which miracles are 
judged, is, so far as knowledge goes, universal, and we have nq 
grounds for assuming that there is any other. 

The same hypothesis is elaborated by Dr. Mozley. Assuming 
the facts of miracles, he proceeds to discuss the question of their 
''referribleness to unknown law," in which expression he includes 
both " unktioivn law^ or unknown connection with hibwn law."^ 

Taking first the supposition of unknown connection with known 
law, he argues that, as a law of nature, in the scientific sense, 
cannot possibly produce single or isolated facts, it follows that no 
isolated or exceptional event can come under a law of nature by 
direct observation ; but, if it comes under it at all, it can only do 
so by some explanation, which takes it out of its isolation and joins 
it to a class of facts, whose recurrence indeed constitutes the law. 
Now Dr. Mozley admits that no explanation can be given by which 
miracles can have an unknown connection with known law. 

' Notes on Miracles, p. 1 6. Dr. Liddon writes on the evidential purpose of 
miracles and their nature, as follows : " But how is man enabled to identify the 
Author of this law within him " (which the highest instincts of the human con- 
science derive from the Christian Revelation and the life of Christ), " perfectly 
reflected as it is in the Christ, with the Author of the law of the Universe 
without him ? The answer is, by miracle. Miracle is an innovation upon 
physical law — or at least a suspension of some lower physical law by the inter- 
vention of a higher one — in the interests of moral law. The historical fact that 
Jesus Christ rose from the dead identifies the Lord of physical life and death with 
the Legislator of the Sermon on the Mount. Miracle is the certificate of 
identity between the Lord of Nature and the Lord of Conscience — the proof 
that He is really a moral being who subordinates physical to moral interests. 
Miracle is the meeting-point between intellect and the moral sense, because it 
announces the answer to the efiforts and yearnings alike of the moral sense and 
the intellect ; because it announces revelation " {Softie Elements of Religion, 
Lent Lectures, 1870 ; H. P. Liddon, D.D., Canon of St, Paul's, 1872, p. 74 f.). 

^ Bampton Lectures, 1865, p. 145. 


Taking the largest class of miracles, bodily cures, the corre- 
spondence between a simple command or prophetic notification 
and the cure is the chief characteristic of miracles, and dis- 
tinguishes them from mere marvels. No violation of any law of 
nature takes place in either the cure or the prophetic announce- 
ment taken separately, but the two taken together are the proof of 
superhuman agency. He concludes that no physical hypothesis 
can be framed accounting for the superhuman knowledge and 
power involved in this class of miracles, supposing the miracles to 
stand as they are recorded in Scripture.^ 

The inquiry is then shifted to the other and different question : 
whether miracles may not be instances of laws which are as yet 
wholly unknown.^ This is generally called a question of " higher 
law " — that is to say, a law which comprehends under itself two or 
more lower or less wide laws. And the principle would be 
applicable to miracles by supposing the existence of an unknown 
law, hereafter to be discovered, under which miracles would come, 
and then considering whether this new law of miracles and the 
old law of common facts might not both be reducible to a still 
more general law, which comprehended them both; but Dr. Mozley, 
of course, recognises that the discovery of such a law of miracles 
would necessarily involve the discovery of fresh miracles, for to 
talk of a law of miracles without miracles would be an absurdity, 3 
The supposition of the discovery of such a law of miracles, how- 
ever, would be tantamount to the supposition of a future new 
order of nature, from which it immediately follows that the whole 
supposition is irrelevant and futile as regards the present question. 4 
For no new order of things could make the present order different, 
and a miracle, could we suppose it becoming the ordinary fact of 
another different order of nature, would not be less a violation of 
the laws of nature in the present one.s This explanation is also 

We pause here to remark that throughout the whole inquiry 
into the question of miracles we meet with nothing from 
theologians but mere assumptions. The facts of the narrative of 
the miracle are first assumed, and so are the theories by which it 
is explained. Now, with regard to every theory which seeks to 
explain miracles by assumption, we may quote words applied by 
one of the ablest defenders of miracles to some conclusion of; 
straw, which he placed in the mouth of an imaginary antagonist in 
order that he might refute it. " But the question is," said 
Dr. Mansel, " not whether such a conclusion has been asserted, as 
many other absurdities have been asserted, by the advocates of a 

' Bampton Lectures, 1865, pp. I45-I53- ' ^l'-^ PP- I53-I59- 

3 Ih., p. 154 f. ■* lb., p. 156. 5 ih., p. 157. 


theory, but whether it has been established on such scientific 
grounds as to be entitled to the assent of all duly-cultivated minds, 
whatever their own consciences may say to the contrary."^ 

Immediately after his indignant demand for scientific accuracy 
of demonstration. Dr. Mansel proceeds to argue as follows : In the 
will of man we have the solitary instance of an efficient cause, in 
the highest sense of the term, acting among the physical causes 
of the material world, and producing results which could not 
have been brought about by any mere sequence of physical 
causes. If a man of his own will throw a stone into the air, its 
motion, as soon as it has left his hand, is determined by a 
combination of purely material laws ; but by what laiv came it 
to be thrown at all ? The law of gravitation, no doubt, remains 
constant and unbroken, whether the stone is lying on the ground 
or moving through the air ; but all the laws of matter could not 
have brought about the particular result, without the interposition 
of the free will of the man who throws the stone. Substitute the 
will of God for the will of man, and the argument becomes 
applicable to the whole extent of creation and to all the phenomena 
which it embraces.^ 

It is evident that this argument merely tends to prove that every 
effect must have a cause — a proposition too obvious to require any 
argument at all. If a man had not thrown the stone, the stone 
would have remained lying on the ground. No one doubts this. 
We have here, however, this " solitary instance of an efficient 
cause acting among the physical causes of the material world," 
producing results which are wholly determined by natural laws, 3 
and incapable of producing any opposed to them. If, therefore, 
we substitute, as Dr. Mansel desires, "the will of God" for "the 
will of man," we arrive at no results which are not in harmony 
with the order of nature. We have no ground whatever for 
assumiag any efficient cause acting in any other way than in 
accordance with the laws of nature. It is, however, one of the 
gross fallacies of this argument, as applied to miracles, to pass 
from the efficient cause producing results which are strictly in 
accordance with natural laws, and determined by them, to an 
assumed efficient cause producing effects which are opposed to 
natural law. The restoration to life of a decomposed human 
body, and the miraculous multiplication of loaves and fishes, are 

^ Mansel, Aids to Faith, p. 19. = lb., p. 20. 

3 Throughout this argument we use the term "law" in its popular sense as 
representing the series of phenomena to which reference is made. We do not 
think it necessary to discuss the assumption that the will of man is an "efficient 
cause"; it is sufficient to show that even admitting the premiss, for the sake of 
argument, the supposed consequences do not follow, 


opposed to natural laws, and no assumed efficient cause conceiv- 
able, to which they may be referred, can harmonise them. 

Dr. Mozley continues his argument in a similar w^ay. He 
inquires : " Is the suspension of physical and material laws by a 
spiritual being inconceivable? We reply that, however incon- 
ceivable this kind of suspension of physical law is, it is a fact. 
Physical laws are suspended any time an animate being moves 
any part of its body; the laws of matter are suspended by the 
laws of life."' He goes on to maintain that, although it is true 
that his spirit is united with the matter in which it moves in a 
way in which the Great Spirit who acts on matter in the miracle 
is not, yet the action of God's Spirit in the miracle of walking on 
the water is no more inconceivable than the action of his own 
spirit in holding up his own hand. ''Antecedently, one step on 
the ground and an ascent to heaven are alike incredible. But 
this appearance of incredibility is answered in one case literally 
ambulando. How can I place any reliance upon it in the other ?"=^ 
From this illustration, with a haste very unlike his previous careful 
procedure, he jumps to the following conclusions: "The consti- 
tution of nature, then, disproves the incredibility of the Divine 
suspension of physical law ; but, more than this, it creates a 
presumption for it. "3 The laws of life of which we have experience, 
he argues, are themselves in an ascending scale. First come the 
laws which regulate unorganised matter ; next the laws of vegeta- 
tion ; then the laws of animal life, with its voluntary motion ; and, 
above these, again, the laws of moral being. A supposed intelligent 
being whose experience was limited to one or more classes in this 
ascending scale of laws would be totally incapable of conceiving 
the action of the higher classes. The progressive succession of 
laws is perfectly conceivable backward, but an absolute mystery 
forward. " Analogy," therefore, he contends, when in this ascend- 
ing series we arrive at man, leads us to expect that there is a 
higher sphere of law as much above him as he is above the lower 
natures in the scale, and " supplies a presumption in favour of 
such a belief. "4 And so we arrive at the question whether there 
is or is not a God, a Personal Head in Nature, whose free will 
penetrates the universal frame invisibly to us, and is an omnipresent 
agent. If there be. Dr. Mozley concludes, then every miracle 
in Scripture is as natural an event in the universe as any chemical 
experiment in the physical world, s 

This is precisely the argument of Dr. Mansel regarding the 
" Efficient Cause," somewhat elaborated ; but, however ingeniously 
devised, it is equally based upon assumption and defective in 

' Baniptoii Led tt res, 1865, p. 164. ^ lb., p. 164. 

3 lb., p. 164. 4 //;., p. 165. 5 lb., p. 165. 


analogy. The " classes of law " to which the Bampton lecturer 
refers are really in no ascending scale. Unorganised matter, 
vegetation, and animal life may each have special conditions 
modifying phenomena, but they are all equally subject to natural 
laws. Man is as much under the influence of gravitation as a 
stone is. The special operation of physical laws is not a modifi- 
cation of law, but law acting under different conditions. The 
law of gravitation suffers no alteration, whether it cause the fall of 
an apple or shape the orbit of a planet. The reproduction of the 
plant and of the animal is regulated by the same fundamental 
principle, acting through different organisms. The mere superiority 
of man over lower forms of organic and inorganic matter does not 
lift him above physical laws, and the analogy of every grade in 
nature forbids the presumption that higher forms may exist which 
are exempt from their control. 

If in animated beings, as is affirmed, we have the solitary 
instance of an " efificient cause " acting among the forces of nature, 
and possessing the power of initiation, this "efficient cause" 
produces no disturbance of physical law. Its action is a recog- 
nised part of the infinite variety of form within the order of nature ; 
and although the character of the force exercised by it may not be 
clearly understood, its effects are regulated by the same laws as 
govern all other forces in nature. If " the laws of matter are 
suspended by the laws of life" each time an animated being 
moves any part of its body, one physical law is counteracted in 
precisely the same manner, and to an equivalent degree, each 
time another physical law is called into action. • The law of gravi- 
tation, for instance, is equally neutralised by the law of magnetism 
each time a magnet suspends a weight in the air. In each case 
a law is successfully resisted precisely to the extent of the force 
employed. The arm that is raised by the animated being falls 
again, in obedience to law, as soon as the force which raised it is 
exhausted, quite as certainly as the weight descends when the mag- 
netic current fails. This, however, is not the suspension of law 
in the sense of a miracle, but, on the contrary, is simply the 
natural operation upon each other of co-existent laws. It is a 
recognised part of the order of nature,^ and instead of rendering 

^ Dr. Mozley says, in the preface to the second edition of his Bampton 
Lectures : " It is quite true that we see laws of nature any day and any hour 
neutralised and counteracted in particular cases and do not look upon such 
counteractions as other than the most natural events ; but it must be remem- 
bered that, when this is the case, the counteracting agency is as ordinary and 
constant an antecedent in nature as the agency which it counteracts. The 
agency of the muscles and the agency of the magnet are as ordinary as the 

agency of gravitation which they both neutralise The elevation of a body in 

the air by the force of an arm is a counteraction indeed of the law of gravita- 
tion, but it is a counteraction of it by another law as natural as that of gravity. 


^credible any supernatural suspension of laws, the analogy of 
animated beings distinctly excludes it. The introduction of life in 
no way changes the relation between cause and effect, which con- 
stitutes the order of nature. Life favours no presumption for the 
suspension of law, but, on the contrary, whilst acting in nature, 
universally exhibits the prevalence and invariability of law. 

The supposed " Efficient Cause " is wholly circumscribed by 
law. It is brought into existence by the operation of physical 
laws, and from the cradle to the grave it is subject to those laws. 
The whole process of life is dependent on obedience to natural 
laws, and so powerless is this efficient cause to resist their jurisdic- 
tion that, in spite of its highest efforts, it pines or ceases to exist 
in consequence of the mere natural operation of law upon the 
matter with which it is united, and without which it is impotent. 
It cannot receive an impression from without that is not conveyed 
in accordance with law, and perceived by an exquisitely ordered 
(Organism, in every part of which law reigns supreme ; nor can it 
communicate from within except through channels equally ordered 
by law. The " laws of life " act amongst the laws of matter, but 
are not independent of them, and the action of both classes of law 
is regulated by precisely the same principles. 

Dr. Mozley's affirmation, that antecedently one step on the 
ground and an ascent to heaven are alike incredible, does not help 
him. In that sense it follows that there is nothing that is not 
antecedently incredible, nothing credible until it has happened. 
This argument, however, while it limits us to actual experience, 
prohibits presumptions with regard to that which is beyond expe- 
rience. To argue that, because a step on the ground and an 
ascent to heaven are antecedently alike incredible, yet, as we 
subsequently make that step, therefore the ascent to heaven, which 

The fact, therefore, is in conformity with the laws of nature. But if the same 
body is raised in the air without any application of a known force, it is not a 
fact in conformity with natural law. In all these cases the question is not 
whether a law of nature has been counteracted, for that does not constitute a 
fact contradictory to the laws of nature ; but whether it has been counteracted 
by another natural law. If it has been, the conditions of science are fulfilled. 
But if a law of nature has been counteracted by a law out of nature, it is of no 
purpose, with a view to naturalise scientifically that counteraction of a law of 
nature, to say that the law of nature has been going on all the time, and only 
been neutralised, not suspended or violated. These are mere refinements of 
language, which do not affect the fact itself, that a new conjunction of ante- 
cedent and consequent, wholly unlike the conjunctions in nature, has taken 
place. The laws of nature have in that instance not worked, and an effect 
contrary to what would have issued from those laws has been produced. This 
is ordinarily called a violation or suspension of the laws of nature ; and it seems 
an unnecessary refinement not to call it such. But whatever name we give to 
it, the fact is the same ; and the fact is not according to the laws of nature in 
the scientific sense" (p. xii. f.). 



we cannot make, from incredible becomes credible, is a contradic- 
tion in terms. If the ascent be antecedently incredible, it cannot 
at the same time be antecedently credible. That which is 
incredible cannot become credible because something else quite 
different becomes credible. Experience comes with its sober 
wisdom to check such reasoning. We believe in our power to 
walk because we habitually exercise it ; we disbelieve in bodily 
ascensions because all experience excludes them, and if we leap 
into the air on the brink of a precipice, belief in an ascent to 
heaven is shattered to pieces at the bottom, to which the law of 
gravitation infallibly drags us. 

There is absolutely nothing in the constitution of nature, we 
may say, reversing Dr. Mozley's assertion, which does not prove 
the incredibility of a Divine suspension of physical laws, and does 
not create a presumption against it. A distinction between the 
laws of nature and the "laws of the universe,"^ by which he 
endeavours to make a miracle credible, is one which is purely 
imaginary. We know of no laws of the universe differing from the 
laws of nature. So far as human observation can range, these laws 
alone prevail. The occasional intervention of an unknown 
" efficient cause," producing the effects called " miracles " — effects 
which are not referrible to any known law — is totally opposed to 
experience, and such a hypothesis to explain alleged occurrences 
of a miraculous character cannot find a legitimate place within 
the order of nature. 

The proposition with which Dr. Mozley commences these 
Bampton Lectures, and for which he contends to their close, is 
this : " That miracles, or visible suspensions of the order of 
nature for a providential purpose, are not in contradiction to 
reason. "2 He shows that the purpose of miracles is to attest a 
supernatural revelation, which, without them, we could not 
be justified in believing. " Christianity," he distinctly states, 
*' cannot be maintained as a revelation undiscoverable by human 
reason — a revelation of a supernatural scheme for man's salvation 
without the evidence of miracles. "3 Out of this very admission 
he attempts to construct an argument in support of miracles. 
*' Hence it follows," he continues, " that, upon the supposition of 
the Divine design of a revelation, a miracle is not an anomaly or 
irregularity, but part of the system of the universe; because, 
though an irregularity and an anomaly in relation to either part, 
it has a complete adaptation to the whole. There being two 
worlds, a visible and invisible, and a communication between the 

^ ^Bampton Lectures, 1865, p. 163. 

''/^^..p. 6. 3/^., p. 23. 



two being wanted, a miracle is the instrument of that communi- 

This argument is based upon mere assumption. The sup- 
position of the Divine design of a revelation, by which a miracle 
is said to become " part of the system of the universe " and, 
therefore, neither an "anomaly" nor " irregularity," is the result 
of a foregone conclusion in its favour, and is not suggested by 
antecedent probability. It is, in fact, derived solely from the 
contents of the revelation itself. Divines assume that a com- 
munication of this nature is in accordance with reason, and was 
necessary for the salvation of the human race, simply because 
they believe that it took place. No attempt is seriously made, 
independently, to prove the reality of the supposed " Divine 
design of a revelation." A revelation having, it is supposed, been 
made, that revelation is consequently supposed to have been con- 
templated, and to have necessitated and justified suspensions of 
the order of nature to effect it. The proposition for which the 
evidence of miracles is demanded is viciously employed as 
evidence for miracles. 

The circumstances upon which the assumption of the necessity 
and reasonableness of a revelation is based, however, are in- 
credible, and contrary to reason. We are asked to believe that 
God made man in his own image, pure and sinless, and intended 
him to continue so, but that scarcely had this, his noblest work, 
left the hands of the Creator than man was tempted into sin by 
Satan, an all-powerful and persistent enemy of God, whose 
existence and antagonism to a Being in whose eyes sin is abomina- 
tion are not accounted for, and are incredible.^ Adam's fall 
brought a curse upon the earth, and incurred the penalty 
of death for himself and for the whole of his posterity. The 
human race, although created perfect and without sin, thus 
disappointed the expectations of the Creator, and became daily 
more wicked, the Evil Spirit having succeeded in frustrating 
the designs of the Almighty, so that God repented that he had 
made man, and at length destroyed by a deluge all the inhabitants 
of the earth, with the exception of eight persons who feared him. 
This sweeping purification, however, was as futile as the original 
design, and the race of men soon became more wicked than ever. 
The final and only adequate remedy devised by God for the salvation 
of his creatures, become so desperately and hopelessly evil, was 
the incarnation of himself in the person of " the Son," the second 

^ Baniptoti Lectures, p. 23. 

^ The history of the gradual development of the idea of the existence and 
personality of the Devil is full of instruction, and throws no small light 
upon the question of revelation. 


person in a mysterious Trinity, of which the Godhead is said to 
be composed (who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of 
the Virgin Mary), and his death upon the cross as a vicarious 
expiation of the sins of the world, without which supposed satis- 
faction of the justice of God his mercy could not possibly have 
been extended to the frail and sinful work of his own hands. 
The crucifixion of the incarnate God was the crowning guilt of a 
nation whom God himself had selected as his own peculiar people, 
and whom he had condescended to guide by constant direct revela- 
tions of his will, but who, from the first, had displayed the most 
persistent and remarkable proclivity to sin against him, and, in 
spite of the wonderful miracles wrought on their behalf, to forsake 
his service for the worship of other gods. We are asked to believe, 
therefore, in the frustration of the Divine design of creation, and 
in the fall of man into a state of wickedness hateful to God, 
requiring and justifying the Divine design of a revelation, and 
such a revelation as this, as a preliminary to the further proposi- 
tion that, on the supposition of such a design, miracles would not 
be contrary to reason. 

The whole theory of this abortive design of creation, with such 
impotent efforts to amend it, is emphatically contradicted by all 
that experience has taught us of the order of nature* It is 
difficult to say whether the details of the scheme or the circuiii- 
stances which are supposed to have led to its adoption are mord 
shocking to reason or to moral sense. The imperfection ascribed 
to the Divine work is scarcely more derogatory to the power and 
wisdom of a Creator than the supposed satisfaction of his justice 
in the death of himself incarnate, the innocent for the guilty, is 
degrading to the idea of his moral perfection. The supposed 
necessity for repeated interference to correct the imperfection of 
the original creation, the nature of the means employed, and the 
triumphant opposition of Satan are anthropomorphic conceptions 
totally incompatible with the idea of an infinitely wise and 
Almighty Being. The constitution of nature, so far from favouring 
any hypothesis of original perfection and subsequent deterioration, 
bears everywhere the record of systematic upward progression. 
Not only is the assumption that any revelation of the nature of 
ecclesiastical Christianity was necessary excluded upon philo- 
sophical grounds, but it is contradicted by the whole operation 
of natural laws, which contain in themselves inexorable penalties 
against retrogression, or even unprogressiveness, and furnish the 
only requisite stimulus to improvement. The survival only of 
the fittest is the stern decree of nature. The invariable action 
of law of itself efiminates the unfit. Progress is necessary to 
existence ; extinction is the doom of retrogression. The highest 
effect contemplated by the supposed revelation is to bring man 


into perfect harmony with law ; but this is ensured by law itself 
acting upon intelligence. Civilisation is nothing but the know- 
ledge and observance of natural laws. The savage must learn 
these laws or be extinguished ; the cultivated must observe them 
or die. The balance of moral and physical development cannot 
be deranged with impunity. In the spiritual as well as the 
physical sense, only the fittest eventually can survive in the 
struggle for existence. There is, in fact, an absolute upward 
impulse to the whole human race supplied by the invariable 
operation of the laws of nature, acting upon the common instinct 
of self-preservation. As, on the one hand, the highest human 
conception of infinite wisdom and power is derived from the 
universality and invariability of law ; so that universality and 
invariability, on the other hand, exclude the idea of interruption 
or occasional suspension of law for any purpose whatever, and 
more especially for the correction of supposed original errors of 
design which cannot have existed, or for the attainment of objects 
already provided for in the order of nature. 

Upon the first groundless assumption of a Divine design of 
such a revelation follows the hypothetical inference that, for the 
purpose of making the communication from the unseen world, a 
miracle or visible suspension of the order of nature is no irregu- 
larity, but part of the system of the universe. This, however, is 
a mere assertion, and no argument. An avowed assumption 
which is contrary to reason is followed by another which is 
contrary to experience. It is not permissible to speak of a visible 
suspension of the order of nature being part of the system of the 
universe. Such a statement has no meaning whatever within the 
range of human conception. Moreover, it must be remembered 
that miracles — or " visible suspensions of the order of nature " — 
are ascribed indifferently to Divine and to Satanic agency. If 
miracles are not an anomaly or irregularity on the supposition of 
the Divine design of a revelation, upon what supposition do 
Satanic miracles cease to be irregularities ? Is the order of nature, 
which it is asserted is under the personal control of God, at the 
same time at the mercy of the Devil ? 

Archbishop Trench has, as usual, a singular way of overcoming 
the difficulty. He says : " So long as we abide in the region of 
nature, miraculous and improbable, miraculous and incredible, may 
be admitted as convertible terms. But once lift up the whole dis- 
cussion into a higher region, once acknowledge something higher 
than nature, a kingdom of God, and men the intended denizens of 
it, and the whole argument loses its strength and the force of its 

conclusions He who already counts it likely that God will 

interfere for the higher welfare of men, who believes that there is 
a nobler world-order than that in which we live and move, and 


that it would be the blessing of blessings for that nobler to intrude 
into and to make itself felt in the region of this lower, who has 
found that here in this world we are bound by heavy laws of 
nature, of sin, of death, which no powers that we now possess can 
break, yet which must be broken if we are truly to live — he will 
not find it hard to believe the great miracle, the coming of the 

Son of God in the flesh, &c And as he believes that greatest 

miracle, so will he believe all other miracles, etc."^ In other 
words, if we already believe the premisses we shall not find it 
difficult to adopt the conclusions— if we already believe the 
greatest miracle we shall not hesitate to believe the less — if we 
already believe the dogmas we shall not find it hard to believe 
the evidence by which they are supposed to be authenticated. 
As we necessarily do abide in the region of nature, in which 
Dr. Trench admits that miraculous and incredible are convertible 
terms, it would seem rather difficult to lift the discussion into the 
higher region here described without having already abandoned 
it altogether. 

* Notes on Miracles, p. 71 f. Archbishop Trench believes that exemption 
from the control of the law of gravitation, etc., is a "lost prerogative" of our 
race, which we may one day recover. It would be difficult to produce a 
parallel to his reasoning in modern times. He says : " It has been already 
observed that the miracle, according to its true idea, is not a violation nor yet 
suspension of law, but the incoming of a higher law, as of a spiritual in the 
midst of natural laws, and the momentary assertion, for that higher law, of the 
predominance which it was intended to have, and but for man's fall it would 
always have had, over the lower ; and with this a prophetic anticipation of the 
abiding prevalence which it shall one day recover. Exactly thus was there 
here" (in the miracle of the Walking on the Sea) "a sign of the lordship of 
man's will, when that will is in absolute harmony with God's will, over 
external nature. In regard to this very law of gravitation, a feeble, and for 
the most part unconsciously possessed, remnant of his power survives to man 
in the well-attested fact that his body is lighter when he is awake than sleeping ; 
a fact which every nurse who has carried a child can attest. From this wc 
conclude that the human consciousness, as an inner centre, works as an 
opposing force to the attraction of the earth and the centripetal force of gravity, 
however unable now to overbear it" (!) lb., p. 292. 



The argument of those who assert the possibiHty and reahty of 
miracles generally takes the shape of an attack, more or less direct, 
upon our knowledge of the order of nature. To establish an 
exception they contest the rule. " Whatever difficulty there is in 
believing in miracles in general," he says, " arises from the circum- 
stance that they are in contradiction to or unlike the order of 
nature. To estimate the force of this difficulty, then, we must 
first understand what kind of belief it is which we have in the 
order of nature ; for the weight of the objection to the miraculous 
must depend on the nature of the belief to which the miraculous 
is opposed."^ Dr. Mozley defines the meaning of the phrase, 
" order of nature," as the connection of that part of the order of 
nature of which we are ignorant with that part of which we know, 
the former being expected to be such and such, because the latter 
is. But how do we justify this expectation of likeness P We 
cannot do so, he affirms, and all our arguments are mere state- 
ments of the belief itself, and not reasons to account for it. It 
may be said, e.g.^ that when a fact of nature has gone on repeating 
itself a certain time, such repetition shows that there is a per- 
manent cause at work, and that a permanent cause produces 
permanently recurring effects. But what is there, he inquires, to 
show the existence of a permanent cause ? Nothing. The effects 
which have taken place show a cause at work to the extent of 
these effects, but not further. That this cause is of a more 
permanent nature we have no evidence. Why, then, do we expect 
the further continuance of these effects ?3 We can only say : 
because we believe the future will be like the past. After a 
physical phenomenon has even occurred every day for years we 
have nothing but the past repetition to justify our certain ex- 
pectation of its future repetition.^ Do we think it giving a reason 
for our confidence in the future to say that, though no man has 
had experience of what is future, every man has had experience of 
what was future ? It is true, he admits, that what is future 
becomes at every step of our advance what was future, but that 

^ Bampton Lectures^ 1865, p. 33. = Ib.^ p. 34. 

3 lb., p. 36. 4 lb., p. 37. 

33 D 


which is now still future is not the least altered by that circum- 
stance ; it is as invisible, as unknown, and as unexplored as if it 
were the very beginning and the very starting-point of nature. At 
this starting-point of nature what would a man know of its future 
course ? Nothing. At this moment he knows no more.^ What 
ground of reason, then, can we assign for our expectation that any 
part of the course of nature will the next moment be like what it 
has been up to this moment — i.e.^ for our belief in the uniformity 
of nature? None. It is without a reason. It rests upon no 
rational ground, and can be traced to no rational principle.^ The 
belief in the order of nature being thus an " unintelligent im- 
pulse " of which we cannot give any rational account, Dr. Mozley 
concludes, the ground is gone upon which it could be maintained 
that miracles, as opposed to the order of nature, were opposed to 
reason. A miracle, then, in being opposed to our experience is 
not only not opposed to necessary reasoning, but to any reasoning. 3 
We need not further follow the Bampton Lecturer, as, with clear- 
ness and ability, he applies this reasoning to the argument of 
" Experience," until he pauses triumphantly to exclaim : " Thus, 
step by step, has philosophy loosened the connection of the order 
of nature with the ground of reason, befriending in exact pro- 
portion, as it has done this, the principle of miracles."^ 

We need not here enter upon any abstract argument regarding 
the permanence of cause : it will be sufficient to deal with these 
objections in a simpler and more direct way. Dr. Mozley, of 
course, acknowledges that the principle of the argument from 
experience is that " which makes human life practicable ; which 
utilises all our knowledge ; which makes the past anything 
more than an irrelevant picture to us ; for of what use is the 
experience of the past to us unless we believe the future will be 
like it ? "5 Our knowledge in all things is relative, and there are 
sharp and narrow limits to human thought. It is, therefore, evident 
that, in the absence of absolute knowledge, our belief must be 
accorded to that of which we have more full cognizance, rather 
than to that which is contradicted by all that we do know. It 
may be "irrational" to feel entire confidence that the sun will 
" rise " to-morrow, or that the moon will continue to wax and wane 
as in the past, but we shall without doubt retain this belief, and 
reject any assertion, however positive, that the earth will stand still 
to-morrow, or that it did so some thousands of years ago. Evidence 
must take its relative place in the finite scale of knowledge and 
thought, and if we do not absolutely know anything, so long as one 
thing is more fully established than another, we must hold to that 

^ Bampton Lectm-es, p. 38. = lb., p. 39. ^ Ji),^ p. 48. 

4 lb., p. 49. s Jd., p, 58. 


which rests upon the more certain basis. Our belief in the in- 
variability of the order of nature, therefore, being based upon 
more certain grounds than any other human opinion, we must of 
necessity refuse credence to a statement supported by infinitely 
less complete testimony, and contradicted by universal experience, 
that phenomena subversive of that order occurred many years, 
ago, or we must cease to believe anything at all. If belief based 
upon unvarying experience be irrational, how much more irrational 
must belief be which is opposed to that experience. According to 
Dr. Mozley, it is quite irrational to believe that a stone dropped 
from the hand, for instance, will fall to the ground. It is true that 
all the stones we ourselves have ever dropped, or seen dropped,, 
have so fallen, and equally true that all stones so dropped as far 
back as historic records, and those still more authentic and ancient 
records of earth's crust itself, go, have done the same ; but that, 
he contends, does not justify our belief, upon any grounds of 
reason, that the next stone we drop will do so. If we be told, 
however, that upon one occasion a stone so dropped, instead of 
falling to the ground, rose up into the air and continued there, 
we have only two courses open to us : either to disbelieve the 
fact, and attribute the statement to error of observation, or tO' 
reduce the past to a mere irrelevant picture, and the mind to a 
blank page equally devoid of all belief and of all intelligent 

Dr. Mozley's argument, however, is fatal to his own cause. It 
is admitted that miracles, " or visible suspensions of the order of 
nature,"^ cannot have any evidential force unless they be super- 
natural, and out of the natural sequence of ordinary phenomena. 
Now, unless there be an actual order of nature, how can there be 
any exception to it ? If our belief in it be not based upon any 
ground of reason — as he maintains, in order to assert that 
miracles or visible suspensions of that order are not contrary to 
reason — how can it be asserted that miracles are supernatural ? 
If we have no rational ground for believing that the future will be 
like the past, what rational ground can we have for thinking that 
anything which happens is exceptional, and out of the common 
course of nature ? Because it has not happened before ? That 
is no reason whatever ; because, according to his contention, the 
fact that a thing has happened ten millions of times is no rational 
justification of our expectation that it will happen again. If the 
reverse of that which had happened previously took place on the 
ten million and first time, we should, therefore, have no rational 
ground for surprise, and no reason for affirming that it did not 
occur in the most natural manner. Because we cannot explain its. 

^ BamUon Lectures, 1865, p. 6, 


cause? We cannot explain the cause of anything. Our belief 
that there is any permanent cause is, according to him, a mere 
unintelligent impulse ; we can only say that there is a cause suffi- 
cient to produce an isolated effect, but we do not know the nature 
of that cause, and it is a mere irrational instinct to suppose that 
any cause produces continuous effects, or is more than momentary. 
A miracle, consequently, becomes a mere isolated effect from an 
unknown cause, in the midst of other merely isolated phenomena 
from unknown causes, and it is as irrational to wonder at the 
occurrence of what is new as to expect the recurrence of what is 
old. In fact, an order of nature is at once necessary, and fatal, 
to miracles. If there be no order of nature, miracles cannot be 
considered supernatural occurrences, and have no evidential 
value ; if there be an order of nature, the evidence for its immu- 
tability must consequently exceed the evidence for these isolated 
deviations from it. If we are unable rationally to form expecta- 
tions of the future from unvarying experience in the past, it is 
still more irrational to call that supernatural which is merely 
different from our past experience. Take, for instance, the case 
of supposed exemption from the action of the law of gravitation, 
which Archbishop Trench calls " a lost prerogative of our race ":^ 
we cannot, according to Dr. Mozley, rationally affirm that next 
week we may not be able to walk on the sea, or ascend bodily 
into the air. To deny this because we have not hitherto been 
able to do so is unreasonable ; for, he maintains, it is a mere 
irrational impulse which expects that which has hitherto happened, 
when we have made such attempts, to happen again next week. 
If we cannot rationally deny the possibility, however, that we may 
be able at some future time to walk on the sea or ascend into the 
air, the statement that these phenomena have already occurred 
loses all its force, and such occurrences cease to be in any way 
supernatural. If, on the other hand, it would be irrational to 
affirm that we may next week become exempt from the operation 
of the law of gravitation, it can only be so by the admission that 
unvarying experience forbids the entertainment of such a 
hypothesis, and in that case it equally forbids belief in the state- 
ment that such acts ever actually took place. If we deny the 
future possibility on any ground of reason, we admit that we have 
grounds of reason for expecting the future to be like the past, 
and therefore contradict l^r. Mozley's conclusion; and if we 
cannot deny it upon any ground of reason, we extinguish the 
claim of such occurrences in the past to any supernatural 
character. Any argument which could destroy faith in the order 
of nature would be equally destructive to miracles. If we have 

^ Notes on Miracles^ p. 32 f., p. 291 f. 


no right to believe in a rule, there can be no right to speak of 
exceptions. The result in any case is this, that whether the 
principle of the order of nature be established or refuted, the 
supernatural pretensions of miracles are disallowed. 

Throughout the whole of his argument aganist the rationality 
of belief in the order of nature, the rigorous precision which Dr. 
Mozley unrelentingly demands from his antagonists is remarkable. 
They are not permitted to deviate by a hair's breadth from the 
line of strict logic, and the most absolute exactness of demonstra- 
tion is required. Anything like an assumption or argument from 
analogy is excluded ; induction is allowed to add no reason to 
bare and isolated facts ; and the belief that the sun will rise 
to-morrow morning is, with pitiless severity, written down as 
mere unintelligent impulse. Belief in the return of day, based 
upon the unvarying experience of all past time, is declared to be 
without any ground of reason. We find anything but fault with 
strictness of argument ; but it is fair that equal precision should 
be observed by those who assert miracles, and that assumption 
and inaccuracy should be excluded. Hitherto, as we have 
frequently pointed out, we have met with very little, or nothing, 
but assumption in support of miracles ; but, encouraged by the 
inflexible spirit of Dr. Mozley's attack upon the argument from 
experience, we may look for similar precision from himself. 

Proceeding, however, from his argument against the rationality 
of belief in the order of nature to his more direct argument for 
miracles, we are astonished to find a total abandonment of the 
rigorous exactness imposed upon his antagonists, and a complete 
relapse into assumptions. Dr. Mozley does not conceal the fact. 
" The peculiarity of the argument of miracles," he frankly admits, 
" is that it begins and ends with an assumption ; I mean relatively 
to that argument."' Such an argument is no argument at all ; it 
is a mere petitio prindpti, incapable of proving anything. The 
nature of the assumptions obviously does not in the slightest 
degree affect this conclusion. It is true that the statement of the 
particular assumptions may constitute an appeal to belief other- 
wise derived, and evolve feelings which may render the calm 
exercise of judgment more difficult ; but the fact remains absolute, 
that an argument which " begins and ends with an assumption " 
is totally impotent. It remains an assumption, and is not an 
argument at all. 

Notwithstanding this unfortunate and disqualifying " peculiarity," 
we may examine the argument. It is as follows : " We assume 
the existence of a Personal Deity prior to the proof of miracles 

^ Bampton Lectures^ 1865, p. 94. 


in the religious sense ; but with this assumption the question of 
miracles is at an end, because such a Being has necessarily the 
power to suspend those laws of nature which He has Himself 
enacted."^ The " question of miracles," which Dr. Mozley here 
asserts to be at an end on the assumption of a " Personal Deity," 
is, of course, merely that of the possibility of miracles ; but it is 
obvious that, even with the precise definition of Deity which is 
assumed, instead of the real " question " being at an end, it only 
commences. The power to suspend the laws of nature being 
assumed, the will to suspend them has to be demonstrated as 
also the actual occurrence of any such assumed suspension, 
which is contrary to reason. The subject is, moreover, com- 
plicated by the occurrence of Satanic as well as Divine sus- 
pensions of the order of nature, and by the necessity of assuming 
a Personal Devil as well as a Personal Deity, and his power to 
usurp that control over the laws of nature which is assumed as 
the prerogative of the Deity, and to suspend them in direct 
opposition to God. Even Newman has recognised this, and, in 
a passage already quoted, he says : " For the cogency of the 
argument from miracles depends on the assumption that inter- 
ruptions in the course of nature must ultimately proceed from 
God ; which is not true if they may be effected by other beings 
without His sanction."^ The first assumption, in fact, leads to 
nothing but assumptions connected with the unseen, unknown, 
and supernatural, which are beyond the limits of reason. 

Dr. Mozley is well aware that his assumption of a " Personal " 
Deity is not susceptible of proof ;3 indeed, this is admitted in the 
statement that the definition is an " assumption." He quotes the 
obvious reply which may be made regarding this assumption : 
'^' Everybody must collect from the harmony of the physical 
universe the existence of a God, but in acknowledging a God we 
do not thereby acknowledge this peculiar doctrinal conception of a 
God. We see in the structure of nature a mind — a universal 
mind — but still a mind which only operates and expresses itself by 
law. Nature only does and only can inform us of mind i7i nature, 
the partner and correlative of organised matter. Nature, therefore, 
•can speak to the existence of a God in this sense, and can speak 
to the omnipotence of God in a sense coinciding with the actual 

^ Bampton Lectures, 1865, p. 94. ^ Two Essays, etc., p. 50. 

3 Dr. Westcott frankly admits this. " Christianity, therefore," he says, "as 
the absolute religion of man, assumes as its foundation the existence of an 
Infinite Personal God and a finite human will. This antithesis is assumed, and 
not proved. No arguments can establish it. It is a primary intuition, and not 
a deduction. It is capable of illustration from what we observe around us ; but 
if either term is denied no reasoning can establish its truth " {The Gospel of the 
JResurrection, 3rd ed., 1874, p. 19 f.). 


facts of nature ; but in no other sense does nature witness to the 
existence of an Omnipotent Supreme Being. Of a universal mind 
out of nature, nature says nothing, and of an Omnipotence which 
does not possess an inherent limit in nature, she says nothing 
either. And, therefore, that conception of a Supreme Being which 
represents him as a Spirit independent of the physical universe, 
and able from a standing-place external to nature to interrupt its 
order, is a conception of God for which we must go elsewhere. 
That conception is obtained from revelation, which is asserted to 
be proved by miracles. But that being the case, this doctrine of 
Theism rests itself upon miracles, and, therefore, miracles cannot 
rest upon this doctrine of Theism."^ With his usual fairness. Dr. 
Mozley, while questioning the correctness of the premiss of this 
argument, admits that, if established, the consequence stated would 
follow, " and more, for miracles, being thrown back upon the same 
ground on which Theism is, the whole evidence of revelation 
becomes a vicious circle, and the fabric is left suspended in 
space, revelation resting on miracles, and miracles resting on 
revelation."^ He not only recognises, however, that the concep- 
tion of a " Personal " Deity cannot be proved, but he distinctly 
confesses that it was obtained from revelation, 3 and from nowhere 
else, and these necessary admissions obviously establish the 
correctness of the premiss, and involve the consequence pointed out, 
that the evidence of revelation is a mere vicious circle. Dr. Mozley 
attempts to argue that, although the idea was first obtained through 
this channel, " the truth once possessed is seen to rest upon grounds 
of natural reason. "4 The argument by which he seeks to show that 
the conception is seen to rest upon grounds of natural reason is : 
'' We naturally attribute to the design of a Personal Being a contri- 
vance which is directed to the existence of a Personal Being 

From personality at one end I infer personality at the other." Dr. 
Mozley 's own sense of the weakness of his argument, however, and 
his natural honesty of mind oblige him continually to confess the 
absence of evidence. A few paragraphs further on he admits : 
" Not, however, that the existence of a God is so clearly seen by 
reason as to dispense with faith " ;^ but he endeavours to convince 
us that faith is reason, only reason acting under peculiar 
circumstances : when reason draws conclusions which are not 
backed by experience, reason is then called faith. ^ The issue of 
the argument, he contends, is so amazing that if we do not 
tremble for its safety it must be on account of a practical 
principle, which makes us confide and trust in reasons, 

^ Bampton Lectures, 1865, p. 95 f. 
= lb., p. 96. 3 lb., p. 97 f. -» lb., p. 99. 

5 Ib.^ p. 100. ^ lb., p. loi. 


and that principle is faith. We are not aware that conviction can 
be arrived at regarding any matter otherwise than by confidence in 
the correctness of the reasons, and what Dr. Mozley really means 
by faith here is confidence and trust in a conclusion for which 
there are no reasons. 

It is almost incredible that the same person who had just been 
denying grounds of reason to conclusions from unvarying ex- 
perience, and excluding from them the results of inductive 
reasoning — who had denounced as unintelligent impulse and 
irrational instinct the faith that the sun, which has risen without 
fail every morning since time began, will rise again to-morrow, 
could thus argue. In fact, from the very commencement of the 
direct plea for miracles calm logical reasoning is abandoned, and 
the argument becomes entirely ad hominem. Mere feeling is sub- 
stituted for thought and, in the inability to be precise and logical, 
the lecturer appeals to the generally prevailing inaccuracy of 
thought.^ "Faith, then," he concludes, "is unverified reason; 
reason which has not yet received the verification of the final test, 
but is still expectant." In science this, at the best, would be 
called mere " hypothesis," but accuracy can scarcely be expected 
where the argument continues : " Indeed, does not our heart bear 
witness to the fact that to believe in a God " — />., a Personal God 
— " is an exercise of faith ?" etc.^ 

The deduction which is drawn from the assumption , of a 
" Personal " Deity is, as we have seen, merely the possibility of 
miracles. " Paley's criticism," said the late Dean of St. Paul's, " is, 
after all, the true one — ' once believe that there is a God, and 
miracles are not incredible.' "3 The assumption, therefore, although 
of vital importance in the event of its rejection, does not very 
materially advance the cause of miracles if established. We have 
already seen that the assumption is avowedly incapable of proof, 
but it may be well to examine it a little more closely in connection 
with the inferences supposed to be derivable from it. 

In his Bampton Lectures on "The Limit of Religious Thought," 
delivered in 1858, Dr. Mansel, the very able editor and disciple of 
Sir William Hamilton, discussed this subject with great minuteness, 
and although we cannot pretend here to follow him through the 
whole of his singular argument — a theological application of Sir 
William Hamilton's philosophy — we must sufficiently represent it. 
Dr. Mansel argues : We are absolutely incapable of conceiving or 
proving the existence of God as he is ; and so far is human 
reason from being able to construct a theology independent of 

' Cf. Bampton Lectures, 1865, p. loi ff. 

" lb., p, 104. 

3 Mansel, Aids to Faith, p. 30. 


revelation that it cannot even read the alphabet out of which that 
theology must be formed/ We are compelled by the constitution 
of our minds to believe in the existence of an Absolute and 
Infinite Being ; but the instant we attempt to analyse we are in- 
volved in inextricable confusion. Our moral consciousness 
demands that we should conceive him as a Personality, but person- 
ality, as we conceive it, is essentially a limitation ; to speak of an 
Absolute and Infinite Person is simply to use language to which 
no mode of human thought can possibly attach itself. ^ This 
amounts simply to an admission that our knowledge of God does 
not satisfy the conditions of speculative philosophy, and is in- 
capable of reduction to an ultimate and absolute truth. 3 It is, 
therefore, reasonable that we should expect to find that the 
revealed manifestation of the Divine nature and attributes should 
likewise carry the marks of subordination to some higher truth, of 
which it indicates the existence, but does not make known the 
substance ; and that our apprehension of the revealed Deity should 
involve mysteries inscrutable, and doubts insoluble by our present 
faculties, while at the same time it inculcates the true spirit in 
which doubt should be dealt with, by warning us that our 
knowledge of God, though revealed by himself, is revealed in 
relation to human faculties, and subject to the limitations and im- 
perfections inseparable from the constitution of the human mind.-* 
We need not, of course, point out that the reality of revelation is 
here assumed. Elsewhere, Dr. Mansel maintains that philosophy, 
by its own incongruities, has no claim to be accepted as a com- 
petent witness ; and, on the other hand, human personality cannot 
be assumed as an exact copy of the Divine, but only as that which 
is most nearly analogous to it among finite things. s As we are, 
therefore, incapable on the one hand of a clear conception of the 
Divine Being, and have only analogy to guide us in conceiving his 
attributes, we have no criterion of religious truth or falsehood. 

* Mansel, Baiitpton Lectures, 1858 (Murray, 4th ecL, 1859), p. 40. 

^ lb., p. 56. Dr. Westcott says upon this point : " But though we appeal to 
the individual consciousness for the recognition of the truth of the assumptions 
which have been made, the language in which one term of the antithesis is ex- 
pressed requires explanation. We speak of God as Infinite and Personal. The 
epithets involve a contradiction, and yet they are both necessary. In fact, the 
only approximately adequate conception which we can form of a Divine Being 
is under the form of a contradiction. For us, personality is only the name for 
special limitation exerting itself through will ; and will itself implies the idea of 
resistance. But as applied to God, the notions of limitation and resistance 
are excluded by the antithetic term infinite '" ( The Gospel of the Resurrection, 
1874, p. 21). 

3 lb., p. 94 f. 

4 lb., p. 95. 

s Mansel, The Philosophy of the Conditioned {Stvahan, 1866), p. 143 f. 


enabling us to judge of the ways of God, represented by revelation,^ 
and have no right to judge of his justice, or mercy, or goodness, 
by the standard of human morality. 

It is impossible to conceive an argument more vicious, or more 
obviously warped to favour already accepted conclusions of 
revelation : — As finite beings, we are not only incapable of proving 
the existence of God, but even of conceiving him as he is ; there- 
fore we may conceive him as he is not. To attribute personality 
to him is a limitation totally incompatible with the idea of an 
Absolute and Infinite Being, in which " we are compelled by the 
constitution of our minds to believe "; and to speak of him as a 
personality is "to use language to which no mode of human 
thought can possibly attach itself"; but, nevertheless, to satisfy 
supposed demands of our moral consciousness, we are to conceive 
him as a personality. Although we must define the Supreme Being 
as a personality, to satisfy our moral consciousness, we must not, 
we are told, make the same moral consciousness the criterion of the 
attributes of that personality. We must not suppose him to be 
endowed, for instance, with the perfection of morality according 
to our ideas of it ; but, on the contrary, we must hold that his 
moral perfections are at best only analogous, and often contra- 
dictory, to our standard of morality. ^ As soon as we conceive a 
Personal Deity to satisfy our moral consciousness, we have to 
abandon the personality which satisfies that consciousness, in 
order to accept the characteristics of a supposed revelation, to 
reconcile certain statements of which we must admit that we 
have no criterion of truth or falsehood enabling us to judge of the 
ways of God. 

Now, in reference to the assumption of a Personal Deity as a 
preliminary to the proof of miracles, it must be clearly remembered 
that the contents of the revelation which miracles are to authenticate 
cannot have any weight. Antecedently, then, it is admitted that 
personality is a limitation which is absolutely excluded by the 

^ Mansel, The Philosophy of the Conditioned, (Strahan, 1866), p. 144 f. 
In another place Dean Mansel says : ' ' Ideas and images which do 
not represent God as He is may nevertheless represent Him as it is our 
duty to regard Him. They are not in themselves true ; but we must 
nevertheless believe and act as if they were true. A finite mind can form no 
conception of an Infinite Being which shall be speculatively true, for it must 
represent the Infinite under finite forms ; nevertheless, a conception which is 
speculatively untrue may be regulatively true. A regulative truth is thus de- 
signed not to satisfy our reason, but to guide our practice ; not to tell us what 
God is, but how He wills that we should think of Him " ( Man''s Conception of 
Eternity : An examination of Mr. Maurice's Theory of a Fixed State out of 
Time, in a letter to the Rev. L. T. Bernays, by Rev. H. L, Mansel, B.D., 

= lb., p. 143 f. ; Bainpton Lectures, 1858, pp. 131-175, pp. 94-130. 


ideas of the Deity which, it is asserted, the constitution of our 
minds compels us to form. It cannot, therefore, be rationally 
assumed. To admit that such a conception is false, and then to 
base conclusions upon it as though it were true, is inadmissible. 
It is child's play to satisfy our feeling and imagination by the 
conscious sacrifice of our reason. Moreover, Dr. Mansel admits 
that the conception of a Personal Deity is really derived from 
the revelation, which has to be rendered credible by miracles ; 
therefore the consequence already pointed out ensues, that the 
assumption cannot be used to prove miracles. " It must be 
allowed that it is not through reasoning that men obtain the 
first intimation of their relation to the Deity; and that, had they 
been left to the guidance of their intellectual faculties alone, it 
is possible that no such intimation might have taken place ; or, 
at best, that it would have been but as one guess, out of many 
equally plausible and equally natural."^ The vicious circle of the 
argument is here again apparent, and the singular reasoning by 
which Dr. Mansel seeks to drive us into acceptance of revelation 
is really the strongest argument against it. The impossibility of 
conceiving God as he is,^ which is insisted upon, instead of being 
a reason for assuming his personality, or for accepting Jewish 
conceptions of him, totally excludes such an assumption. 

This "great religious assumption" is not suggested by any 
antecedent considerations, but is required to account for miracles, 
and is derived from the very revelation which miracles are to 
attest. " In nature and from nature," to quote words of Pro- 
fessor Baden Powell, " by science and by reason, we neither have, 
nor can possibly have, any evidence of a Deity working miracles ; 
for that we must go out of nature and beyond science. If we 
could have any such evidence from nature^ it could only prove 
extraordinary natural effects, which would not be miracles in the 
old theological sense, as isolated, unrelated, and uncaused ; 
whereas no physical fact can be conceived as unique, or without 
analogy and relation to others, and to the whole system of natural 

Dr. Mansel " does not hesitate " to affirm with Sir William 
Hamilton, " that the class of phenomena which requires that kind 

^ Bmnptoii Lechn-es, 1858, p. 68. 

^ Sir William Hamilton says: "True therefore are the declarations of a 
pious philosophy. ' A God understood would be no God at all.' ' To think 
that God is as we can think Him to be is blasphemy.' The Divinity, in a 
certain sense, is revealed ; in a certain sense is concealed : He is at once 
known and unknown. But the last and highest consecration of all true religion 
must be an altar— 'Ayi'wcrTaj Gec^T — 'To the unknown and tinknowable God''"''' 
{Disaissions on Philosophy , 3rd ed., Blackwood & Sons, 1866, p. 15, note). 

3 "Study of the Evidences of Christianity," Essays and Reviews, 9th ed., 
p. 141 f. 


of cause we denominate a Deity is exclusively given in the pheno- 
mena of mind ; that the phenomena of matter, taken by them- 
selves, do not warrant any inference to the existence of a God."'^ 
After declaring a Supreme Being, from every point of view, incon- 
ceivable by our finite minds, it is singular to find him thrusting 
upon us, in consequence, a conception of that Being which almost 
makes us exclaim with Bacon : "It were better to have no opinion 
of God at all than such an opinion as is unworthy of him ; for the 
one is unbelief, the other is contumely."^ Dr. Mansel asks : " Is 
matter or mind the truer image of God ?"3 But both matter and 
mind unite in repudiating so unworthy a conception of a God, 
and in rejecting the idea of suspensions of law. In the words of 
Spinoza : " From miracles we can neither infer the nature, the 
existence, nor the providence of God, but, on the contrary, these 
may be much better comprehended from the fixed and immutable 
order of nature. "^ Indeed, as he adds, miracles, as contrary to 
the order of nature, would rather lead us to doubt the existence 
of God. 5 

Six centuries before our era a noble thinker, Xenophanes of 
Colophon, whose pure mind soared far above the base anthropo- 
morphic mythologies of Homer and Hesiod, and anticipated some 
of the highest results of the Platonic philosophy, finely said : — 

" There is one God supreme over all gods, diviner than mortals, 
Whose form is not like unto man's, and as unlike his nature ; 

But vain mortals imagine that gods, like themselves, are begotten 
With human sensations, and voice, and corporeal members ;^ 

So if oxen or lions had hands, and could work in man's fashion, 
And trace out with chisel or brush their conception of Godhead, 
Then would horses depict gods like horses, and oxen like oxen, 
Each kind the Divine with its own form and nature endowing." 

He illustrates this profound observation by pointing out that 
the Ethiopians represent their deities as black, with flat noses, 
while the Thracians make them blue-eyed, with ruddy com- 
plexions ; and, similarly, the Medes and the Persians and 
Egyptians portray their gods like themselves. The Jewish idea 
of God was equally anthropomorphic ; but their highest concep- 
tion was certainly that which the least resembled themselves, and 

^ lb., p. 25. Cf. Hamilton, Lectures on Metaphysics, vol. i., p. 26. 

= Bacon's Essays, xvii. ed. Whately, p. 183. 3 Aids to Faith, p. 25. 

4 Iract, Theolog. Polit., c. vi., § 16, ed. Tauchnitz. 5 /^,, yi., § 19. 

^ Clement of Alexandria, who quotes the whole of this passage from 
Xenophanes, makes a separation here from the succeeding lines, by Kal irdXiv ; 
but the sense is evidently continuous, and the fragments are generally united. 
Cf. C/e;u. A/., Strom., v. 14, § no. 


which described the Almighty as " without variableness or shadow 
of turning," and as giving a law to the universe which shall not be 

None of the arguments with which we have yet met have 
succeeded in making miracles in the least degree antecedently 
credible. On the contrary, they have been based upon mere 
assumptions incapable of proof and devoid of probability. On 
the other hand, there are the strongest reasons for affirming that 
such phenomena are antecedently incredible. Dr. Mozley's attack, 
which we discussed in the first part of this chapter, and which, of 
course, was chiefly based upon Hume's celebrated argument, never 
seriously grappled with the doctrine at all. The principle which 
opposes itself to belief in miracles is very simple. Our belief in the 
invariability of that sequence of phenomena which we call the 
order of nature is based upon universal experience, and it would, 
therefore, require an extraordinary amount of evidence to prove 
the truth of any allegation of miracles, or violations of that order. 
Where a preponderance of evidence in support of such allega- 
tions cannot be produced, reason and experience concur in attri- 
buting the ascription of miraculous character to any occurrences 
■said to have been witnessed, to imperfect observation, mistaken 
inference, or some other of the numerous sources of error. Any 
allegation of the interference of a new and supernatural agent, upon 
such an occasion, to account for results in contradiction of the known 
sequence of cause and effect is excluded by the very same prin- 
ciple, for, invariable experience being as opposed to the assertion 
that such interference ever takes place as it is to the occurrence 
of miraculous phenomena, the allegation is necessarily dis- 

Apologists find it much more convenient to evade the simple 
but effective arguments of Hume than to answer them, and where 
it is possible they dismiss them with a sneer, and hasten on to 
less dangerous ground. For instance, Dr. Farrar, arguing the 
antecedent credibility of the miraculous, makes the following 
remarks : " Now, as regards the inadequacy of testimony to 
establish a miracle, modern scepticism has not advanced one 
single step beyond the blank assertion. And it is astonishing that 
this assertion should still be considered cogent, when its logical 
consistency has been shattered to pieces by a host of writers, as 
well sceptical as Christian (Mill's Logic^ ii., 157-160). For, as the 
greatest of our living logicians has remarked, the supposed recondite 
and dangerous formula of Hume — that it is more probable that / 
testimony should be mistaken than that miracles should be true — 
reduces itself to the very harmless proposition that anything is 
incredible which is contrary to a complete induction. It is, in 


fact, a ^2igr2int petitio principiij used to support a wholly unphilo- 
sophical assertion."^ It is much more astonishing that so able a 
man as Dr. Farrar could so misunderstand Hume's argument, and 
so misinterpret and misstate Mill's remarks upon it. So far from 
shattering to pieces the logical consistency of Hume's reasoning, 
Mill substantially confirms it, and pertinently remarks that "it 
speaks ill for the state of philosophical speculation on such 
subjects " that so simple and evident a doctrine should have been 
accounted a dangerous heresy. It is, in fact, a statement of a 
truth which should have been universally recognised, and would 
have been so but for its unwelcome and destructive bearing upon 
popular theology. 

Mill states the evident principle : " If an alleged fact be in 
contradiction, not to any number of approximate generalisations, 
but to a completed generalisation grounded on a rigorous 
induction, it is said to be impossible, and is to be disbelieved 
totally." Mill continues : " This last principle, simple and 
evident as it appears, is the doctrine which, on the occasion of an 
attempt to apply it to the question of the credibility of miracles, 
excited so violent a controversy. Hume's celebrated doctrine, 
that nothing is credible which is contradictory to experience or at 
variance with laws of nature, is merely this very plain and 
harmless proposition, that whatever is contradictory to a complete 
induction is incredible. "=^ He then proceeds to meet possible 
objections : " But does not (it may be asked) the very statement 
of the proposition imply a contradiction? An alleged fact, 
according to this theory, is not to be believed if it contradict a 
complete induction. But it is essential to the completeness of an 
induction that it should not contradict any known fact. Is it not, 
then, a peiitio principii to say that the fact ought to be dis- 
believed because the induction to it is complete ? How can we 
have a right to declare the induction complete, while facts, 
supported by credible evidence, present themselves in opposition 
to it ? I answer, we have that right whenever the scientific canons 
of induction give it to us ; that is, whenever the induction can be 
complete. We have it, for example, in a case of causation in 
which there has been an experimentum crucisy It will be 
remarked that Dr. Farrar adopts Mill's phraseology in one of the 
above questions to affirm the reverse of his opinion. Mill 
decides that the proposition is not a petitio principii ; Dr Farrar 
says, in continuation of his reference to Mill, that it is a flagrant 

'■ The Witness of History to Christ, Hulsean Lectures, 1870, by the Rev. 
F. W. Farrar, J^.A., F.R.S., etc., etc., 2nd ed., 1872, p. 26 f. 

2 A System of Logic, by John Stuart Mill, 8th ed., 1872, ii., p. 165. 


petitio principii. Mill proceeds to prove his statement, and he 
naturally argues that, if observations or experiments have been 
repeated so often, and by so many persons, as to exclude all supposi- 
tion of error in the observer, a law of nature is established ; and so long 
as this law is received as such, the assertion that on any particular 
occasion the cause A took place, and yet the effect B did not 
follow, without any counteracting cause-, must be disbelieved. In 
fact, as he winds up this part of the argument by saying : " We 
cannot admit a proposition as a law of nature, and yet believe a 
fact in real contradiction to it. We must disbelieve the alleged 
fact, or believe that we were mistaken in admitting the supposed 
law."^ Mill points out, however, that, in order that any alleged 
fact should be contradictory to a law of causation, the allegation 
must be not simply that the cause existed without being followed 
by the effect, but that this happened in the absence of any 
adequate counteracting cause. " Now, in the case of an alleged 
miracle, the assertion is the exact opposite of this. It is, that the 
effect was defeated, not in the absence, but in consequence of a 
counteracting cause — namely, a direct interposition of an act of 
the will of some being who has power over nature ; and in par- 
ticular of a Being whose will, being assumed to have endowed all 
the causes with the powers by which they produce their effects, 
may well be supposed able to counteract them."^ A miracle, 
then, is no contradiction to the law of cause and effect; it is 
merely a new effect supposed to be introduced by the introduction 
of a new cause ; "of the adequacy of that cause, if present ^'^ 
there can be no doubt; and the only antecedent improbability 
which can be ascribed to the miracle is the improbability that 
any such cause existed." Mill then continues, resuming his 
criticism on Hume's argument : " All, therefore, which Hume has 
made out, and this he must be considered to have made out, is 
that (at least in the imperfect state of our knowledge of natural 
agencies, which leaves it always possible that some of the physical 
antecedents may have been hidden from us) no evidence can 
prove a miracle to any one who did not previously believe the 
existence of a being or beings with supernatural power ; or who 
believes himself to have full proof that the character of the Being 
whom he recognises is inconsistent with his having seen fit to 
interfere on the occasion in question." Mill proceeds to enlarge 
on this conclusion. " If we do not already believe in super- 
natural agencies, no miracle can prove to us their existence. The 
miracle itself, considered merely as an extraordinary fact, may be 
satisfactorily certified by our senses or by testimony ; but nothing 

' Mill, Logic, ii., p. 166 f. ^ /^_^ jj^ p^ 15-^^ 

3 The italics are ours. 


can ever prove that it is a miracle. There is still another possible 
hypothesis, that of its being the result of some unknown natural 
cause ; and this possibility cannot be so completely shut out as to 
leave no alternative but that of admitting the existence and inter- 
vention of a being superior to nature. Those, however, who 
already believe in such a being have two hypotheses to choose 
from, a supernatural and an unknown natural agency ; and they 
have to judge which of the two is the most probable in the 
particular case. In forming this judgment, an important element 
of the question will be the conformity of the result to the laws of 
the supposed agent ; that is, to the character of the Deity as they 
conceive it. But, with the knowledge which we now possess of 
the general uniformity of the course of nature, religion, following 
in the wake of science, has been compelled to acknowledge the 
government of the universe as being on the whole carried on by 
general laws, and not by special interpositions. To whoever holds 
this belief, there is a general presumption against any supposition 
of divine agency not operating through general laws, or, in other 
words, there is an antecedent improbability in every miracle 
which, in order to outweigh it, requires an extraordinary strength 
of antecedent probability derived from the special circumstances 
of the case."' Mill rightly considers that it is not more difficult 
to estimate this than in the case of other probabilities. " We 
are seldom, therefore, without the means (when the circumstances 
of the case are at all known to us) of judging how far it is likely 
that such a cause should have existed at that time and place 
without manifesting its presence by some other marks, and (in the 
case of an unknown cause) without having hitherto manifested its 
existence in any other instance. According as this circumstance, 
or the falsity of the testimony, appears more improbable, that is 
conflicts with an approximate generalisation of a higher order, 
we believe the testimony, or disbelieve it : with a stronger or 
weaker degree of conviction, according to the preponderance : at 
least until we have sifted the matter further."^ This is precisely 
Hume's argument weakened by the introduction of reservations 
which have no cogency. 

We have wished to avoid interrupting Mill's train of reasoning 
by any remarks of our own, and have, therefore, deferred till now 
the following observations regarding his criticism on Hume's 

In reducing Hume's celebrated doctrine to the very plain pro- 
position, that whatever is contradictory to a complete induction is 
incredible. Mill in no way diminishes its potency against miracles ; 
and he does not call that proposition " harmless " in reference to 

'"■ Mill, Lo£-tc, ii., p. i68 f. - lb., ii., p. 169. 


its bearing on miracles, as Dr. Farrar evidently supposes, but 
merely in opposition to the character of a recondite and 
" dangerous heresy " assigned by dismayed theologians to so 
obvious and simple a principle. The proposition, however, whilst 
it reduces Hume's doctrine in the abstract to more technical terms, 
does not altogether represent his argument. Without asserting 
that experience is an absolutely infallible guide, Hume maintains 
that — " A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence. In 
such conclusions as are founded on an infallible experience, he 
expects the event with the last degree of assurance, and regards 
his past experience as a full proof of the future existence of that 
event. In other cases he proceeds with more caution ; he weighs 
the opposite experiments ; he considers which side is supported by 
the greater number of experiments ; to that side he inclines with 
doubt and hesitation ; and when at last he fixes his judgment, the 
evidence exceeds not what we properly 0,2^ probability. All pro- 
bability, then, supposes an opposition of experiments and observa- 
tions, where the one side is found to overbalance the other, and to 
produce a degree of evidence proportioned to the superiority."^ 
After elaborating this proposition, Hume continues : "A miracle 
is a violation of the laws of nature ; and as a firm and unalterable 
experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, 
from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from 
experience can possibly be imagined. Why is it more than pro- 
bable that all men must die ; that lead cannot, of itself, remain, 
suspended in the air ; that fire consumes wood, and is extinguished 
by water ; unless it be that these events are found agreeable to the 
laws of nature, and there is required a violation of these laws, or, 
in other words, a miracle, to prevent them ? Nothing is esteemed 
a miracle if it ever happened in the common course of nature. It 
is no miracle that a man seemingly in good health should die on a 
sudden ; because such a kind of death, though more unusual than 
any other, has yet been frequently observed to happen. But it is 
a miracle that a dead man should come to life, because that has 
never been observed in any age or country. There must, there- 
fore, be an uniform experience against every miraculous event, 
otherwise the event would not merit that appellation. And as an 
uniform experience amounts to a proof, there is here a direct and 
full proof from the nature of the fact, against the existence of any 
miracle ; nor can such a proof be destroyed, or the miracle 
rendered credible, but by an opposite proof which is superior. 
The plain consequence is (and it is a general maxim worthy of our 
attention) : ' That no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle 

^ David Hume, Philosophical Works ; Boston and Edinburgh, 1854, iv., p. 


unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be 
more miraculous than the fact which it endeavours to establish ; 
and even in that case there is a mutual destruction of arguments, 
and the superior only gives us an assurance suitable to that degree 
of force which remains after deducting the inferior.' AVhen any 
one tells me that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately 
consider with myself whether it be more probable that this person 
should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact which he 
relates should really have happened. I weigh the one miracle 
against the other; and, according to the superiority which I 
discover, I pronounce my decision, and always reject the greater 
miracle. If the falsehood of his testimony would be more 
miraculous than the event which he relates, then, and not till then, 
can he pretend to command my belief or opinion."' 

The ground upon which Mill admits that a miracle may not be 
contradictory to complete induction is that it is not an assertion 
that a certain cause was not followed by a certain effect, but an 
allegation of the interference of an adequate counteracting cause. 
This does not, however, by his own showing, remove a miracle 
from the action of Hume's principle, but simply modifies the 
nature of the antecedent improbability. Mill qualifies his 
admission regarding the effect of the alleged counteracting cause 
by the all-important words, " if present " ; for, in order to be valid, 
the reality of the alleged counteracting cause must be established, 
which is impossible, therefore the allegations fall to the ground. 

In admitting that Hume has made out that no evidence can 
prove a miracle to any one who does not previously believe in a 
being of supernatural power willing to work miracles, Mill 
concedes everything to Hume, for his only limitation is based 
upon a supposition of mere personal belief in something which is 
not capable of proof, and which belief, therefore, is not more valid 
than any other purely imaginary hypothesis. The belief may 
seem substantial to the individual entertaining it, but, not being 
capable of proof, it cannot have weight with others, or in any way 
affect the value of evidence in the abstract. 

The assumption of a Personal Deity working miracles is excluded 
by Hume's argument, and, although Mill apparently overlooks the 
fact, Hume has not only anticipated but refuted the reasoning 
which is based upon it. In the succeeding chapter on a Particular 
Providence and a Future State he directly disposes of such an 
assumption, but he do5s so with equal effect also in the essay 
which we are discussing. Taking an imaginary miracle as an 
illustration, he argues : " Though the Being to whom the miracle 
is ascribed be in this case Almighty, it does not upon that account 

'■ Hume, Philos. Works, iv., p. 130 ft". 


become a whit more probable ; since it is impossible for us to 
know the attributes or actions of such a Being otherwise than 
from the experience which we have of his productions in the 
usual course of nature. This still reduces us to past observation, 
and obliges us to compare the instances of the violation of truth 
in the testimony of men with those of the violation of the laws 
of nature by miracles, in order to judge which of them is most 
likely and probable. As the violations of truth are more common in 
the testimony concerning religious miracles than in that concerning 
any other matter of fact, this must diminish very much the authority 
of the former testimony, and make us form a general resolution never 
to lend any attention to it, with whatever specious pretence it may be 
covered."^ A person who believes anything contradictory to a 
complete induction merely on the strength of an assumption which 
is incapable of proof is simply credulous ; but such an assumption 
cannot affect the real evidence for that thing. 

The argument of Paley against Hume is an illustration of the 
reasoning suggested by Mill. Paley alleges the interposition of a 
Personal Deity in explanation of miracles, but he protests that he 
does not assume the attributes of the Deity or the existence of a 
future state in order to prove their reality. " That reality," he 
admits, " always must be proved by evidence. We assert only 
that in miracles adduced in support of revelation there is not such 
antecedent improbability as no testimony can surmount." His 
argument culminates in the short statement : "In a word, once 
believe that there is a God [i.e., a Personal God, working miracles], 
and miracles are not incredible. "^ We have already quoted 
Hume's refutation of this reasoning, and we may at once proceed 
to the final argument by which Paley endeavours to overthrow 
Hume's doctrine, and upon which he mainly rests his case. 

" But the short consideration," he says, " which, independently 
of every other, convinces me that there is no solid foundation in 
Mr. Hume's conclusion is the following : When a theorem is 
proposed to a mathematician, the first thing he does with it is to 
try it upon a simple case, and if it produces a false result he is 
sure that there must be some mistake in the demonstration. 
Now, to proceed in this way with what may be called Mr. Hume's 
theorem. If twelve men, whose probity and good sense I had 
long known, should seriously and circumstantially relate to me an 
account of a miracle wrought before their eyes, and in which it 
was impossible that they should be deceived ; if the governor of 
the country, hearing a rumour of this account, should call these 

' Hume, Philos. Works, iv,, p. 148. 

- Paley, A Vieiv of the Evidences of Christianity, " Preparatory Con- 
siderations." . . 


men into his presence, and offer them a short proposal, either to 
•confess the imposture or submit to be tied up to a gibbet ; if they 
should refuse with one voice to acknowledge that there existed 
any falsehood or imposture in the case ; if this threat was com- 
municated to them separately, yet with no different effect ; if it 
was at last executed ; if I myself saw them, one after another, 
consenting to be racked, burned, or strangled, rather than give up 
the truth of their account — still, if Mr. Hume's rule be my guide, 
I am not to believe them. Now, I undertake to say that there 
exists not a sceptic in the world who would not believe them, or 
who would defend such incredulity."' 

It is obvious that this reasoning, besides being purely hypo- 
thetical, is utterly without cogency against Hume's doctrine. The 
evidence of the twelve men simply amounts to a statement that 
they saw, or fancied that they saw, a certain occurrence in contra- 
diction to the law ; but that which they actually saw was an 
external phenomenon, the real nature of which is a mere inference, 
and an inference which, from the necessarily isolated position of 
the miraculous phenomenon, is neither supported by other 
instances capable of forming a complete counter induction, nor 
by analogies within the order of nature.^ The bare inference 
from an occurrence supposed to have been witnessed by twelve 
men is all that is opposed to the law of nature, which is based 
upon a complete induction, and it is, therefore, incredible. 

If we examine Paley's " simple case " a little more closely, 
however, we find that not only is it utterly inadmissible as a 
hypothesis, but that as an illustration of the case of Gospel 
miracles it is completely devoid of relevancy and argumentative 
force. The only point which gives a momentary value to the 
supposed instance is the condition attached to the account of the 
miracle related by the twelve men, that not only was it wrought 
before their eyes, but that it was one " in which it was impossible 
that they should be deceived." Now, this qualification of infalli- 
bility on the part of the twelve witnesses is as incredible as the 
miracle which they are supposed to attest. The existence of 
twelve men incapable of error or mistake is as opposed to experi- 
ence as the hypothesis of a miracle in which it is impossible for 
the twelve men to be deceived is contradictory to reason. The 
exclusion of all error in the observation of the actual occurrence 
and its antecedents and consequences, whose united sum con- 
stitutes the miracle, is an assumption which deprives the argu- 
ment of all potency. On the other hand, the moment the 
possibility of error is admitted the reasoning breaks down, 
for the probability of error on the part of the observers, either as 

^ Paley, 1. c.  ^ Cf. Mill, System of Logic, ii., p. i66 f. 


regards the external phenomena or the inferences drawn from 
them, being so infinitely greater than the probability of mistake in 
the complete induction, we must unquestionably reject the testi- 
mony of the twelve men. 

It need scarcely be said that the assertion of liability to error 
on the part of the observers by no means involves any insinuation 
of wilful " falsehood or imposture in the case." It is quite intel- 
ligible that twelve men might witness an occurrence which might 
seem to them and others miraculous — but which was susceptible 
of a perfectly natural explanation — and truthfully relate what they 
believed to have seen, and that they might, therefore, refuse 
" with one voice to acknowledge that there existed any falsehood 
or imposture in the case," even although the alternative might be 
death on a gibbet. This, however, would in no way affect the 
character of the actual occurrence. It would not convert a 
natural, though by them inexplicable, phenomenon into a miracle. 
Their constancy in adhering to the account they had given would 
merely bear upon the truth of their own statements, and the fact 
of seeing them "one after another consenting to be racked^ 
burned, or strangled, rather than give up the truth of their 
account," would not in the least justify our believing in a miracle, j 
Even martyrdom cannot transform imaginations into facts. Thej 
truth of a narrative is no guarantee for the correctness of an infer- i 

As regards the applicability of Paley's illustration to the Gospel 
miracles, the failure of his analogy is complete. We shall 
presently see the condition of the people amongst whom these 
miracles are supposed to have occurred, and that, so far from the 
nature of the phenomena and the character of the witnesses 
supporting the inference that it was impossible that the observers 
could have been deceived, there is every reason for concluding 
with certainty that their ignorance of natural laws, their proneness. 
to superstition, their love of the marvellous, and their extreme 
religious excitement, rendered them peculiarly liable to incorrect- 
ness in the observation of the phenomena, and to error in the 
inferences drawn from them. We shall likewise see that we have 
no serious and circumstantial accounts of those miracles from 
eye-witnesses of whose probity and good sense we have any know- 
ledge, but that, on the contrary, the narratives of them which we 
possess were composed by unknown persons, who were not eye- 
witnesses at all, but wrote very long after the events related, and 
in that mythic period "in which reality melted into fable, and 
invention unconsciously trespassed on the province of history.'* 
The proposition, " That there is satisfactory evidence that many 
professing to be original witnesses of the Christian miracles passed 
their lives in labours, dangers, and sufferings, voluntarily under- 


gone in attestation of the accounts which they delivered, and 
solely in consequence of their belief of these accounts ; and that 
they also submitted, from the same motives, to new rules of 
conduct," is made by Paley the argument of the first nine 
chapters of his work, as the converse of the proposition, that 
similar attestation of other miracles cannot be produced, is of the 
following two. This shows the importance which he attaches to 
the point ; but, notwithstanding, even if he could substantiate this 
statement, the cause of miracles would not be one whit advanced. 
We have freely quoted these arguments in order to illustrate 
the real position of miracles ; and no one who has seriously 
considered the matter can doubt the necessity for very extra- 
ordinary evidence, even to render the report of such phenomena 
worthy of a moment's attention. The argument for miracles, 
however, has hitherto proceeded upon the merest assumption, and, 
as we shall further see, the utmost that they can do who support 
miracles, under the fatal disadvantage of being contradictory to 
uniform experience, is to refer to the alleged contemporaneous 
nature of the evidence for their occurrence, and to the character 
of the supposed witnesses. Mill has ably shown the serious 
misapprehension of so many writers against Hume's Essay on 
Miracles which has led them to what he calls " the extraordinary 
conclusion that nothing supported by credible testimony ought 
ever to be disbelieved."' In regard to historical facts, not contra- 
dictory to all experience, simple and impartial testimony may be 
sufficient to warrant belief; but even such qualities as these can 
go but a very small way tow^ards establishing the reality of an 
occurrence which is opposed to complete induction.^ It is 
admitted that the evidence requisite to establish the reality of a 
supernatural Divine revelation of doctrines beyond human reason, 
and comprising in its very essence such stupendous miracles as 
the Incarnation, Resurrection, and Ascension, must be miraculous. 
The evidence for the miraculous evidence, which is scarcely less 
astounding than the contents of the revelation itself, must, 
logically, be miraculous also, for it is not a whit more easy to 
prove the reality of an evidential miracle than of a dogmatic 
miracle. It is evident that the resurrection of Lazarus, for instance, 
is as contradictory to complete induction as the resurrection of 
Jesus. Both the supernatural religion, therefore, and its super- 
natural evidence labour under the fatal disability of being 
antecedently incredible. 

Mill, Logic, ii., pp. 173, 175. - Cf. Mill, Logic, ii., p. 168. 


thp: age of miracles 

Let us now, however, proceed to examine the evidence for the 
reality of miracles, and to inquire whether they are supported by 
such an amount of testimony as can in any degree outweigh the 
reasons which, antecedently, seem to render them incredible. It 
is undeniable that belief in the miraculous has gradually been dis- 
pelled, and that, as a general rule, the only miracles which are 
now maintained are limited to brief and distant periods of time. 
Faith in their reality, once so comprehensive, does not, except 
amongst a certain class, extend beyond the miracles of the New 
Testament and a few of those of the Old, and the countless 
myriads of ecclesiastical and other miracles, for centuries devoutly 
and implicitly believed, are now commonly repudiated, and have 
sunk into discredit and contempt. The question is inevitably 
suggested how so much can be abandoned and the remnant still 
be upheld. 

As an essential part of our inquiry into the value of the evidence 
for miracles, we must endeavour to ascertain whether those who 
are said to have witnessed the supposed miraculous occurrences 
were either competent to appreciate them aright, or likely to report 
them without exaggeration. For this purpose, we must consider 
what was known of the order of nature in the age in which 
miracles are said to have taken place, and what was the intellectual 
character of the people amongst whom they are reported to have 
been performed. Nothing is more rare, even amongst intelligent 
and cultivated men, than accuracy of observation and correctness 
of report, even in matters of sufficient importance to attract vivid 
attention, and in which there is no special interest unconsciously 
to bias the observer. It will scarcely be denied, however, that in 
persons of fervid imagination, and with a strong natural love of the 
marvellous, whose minds are not only unrestrained by specific 
knowledge, but predisposed by superstition towards false con- 
clusions, the probability of inaccuracy and exaggeration is 
enormously increased. If we add to this such a disturbing 
element as religious excitement, inaccuracy, exaggeration, and 
extravagance are certain to occur. The effect of even one of 
these influences, religious feeling, in warping the judgment is 
admitted by one of the most uncompromising supporters of 



miracles. "It is doubtless the tendency of religious minds," says 
Newman, " to imagine mysteries and wonders where there are 
none ; and much more, where causes of awe really exist, will they 
unintentionally misstate, exaggerate, and embellish, when they 
set themselves to relate what they have witnessed or have heard "; 
and he adds : " And further, the imagination, as is well known, is 
a fruitful cause of apparent miracles."' We need not offer any 
evidence that the miracles which we have to examine were 
witnessed and reported by persons exposed to the effects of the 
strongest possible religious feeling and excitement, and our atten- 
tion may, therefore, be more freely directed to the inquiry how far 
this influence w^as modified by other circumstances. Did the 
Jews at the time of Jesus possess such calmness of judgment and 
sobriety of imagination as to inspire us with any confidence in 
accounts of marvellous occurrences, unwitnessed except by them, 
and limited to their time, which contradict all knowledge and all 
experience ? Were their minds sufficiently enlightened and free 
from superstition to warrant our attaching weight to their report of 
events of such an astounding nature ? and were they themselves 
sufficiently impressed with the exceptional character of any 
apparent supernatural and miraculous interference with the order 
of nature ? 

Let an English historian and divine, who will be acknow- 
ledged as no prejudiced witness, bear testimony upon some of 
these points. "Nor is it less important," says Dean Milman, 
" throughout the early history of Christianity, to seize the spirit of 
the times. Events which appear to us so extraordinary that we 
can scarcely conceive that they should either fail in exciting a 
powerful sensation or ever be obliterated from the popular remem- 
brance, in their own day might pass off as of little more than 
ordinary occurrence. During the whole life of Christ, and the 
early propagation of the religion, it must be borne in mind that 
they took place in an age, and among a people, which superstition 
had made so familiar with what were supposed to be preternatural 
events that wonders awakened no emotion, or were speedily 
superseded by some new demand on the ever-ready belief. The 
Jews of that period not only believed that the Supreme Being had 
the power of controlling the course of nature, but that the same 
influence was possessed by multitudes of subordinate spirits, both 
good and evil. Where the pious Christian of the present day 
would behold the direct agency of the Almighty, the Jews would 

^ J. H. Newman, Two Essays on Scripture Miracles and on Ecclesiastical, 
1870, p. 171. This passage occurs in a reply Lo the argument against admitting 
ecclesiastical miracles as a whole, or against admitting certain of them, that 
certain others are rejected on all hands as fictitious or pretended. 



invariably have interposed an angel as the author or ministerial 
agent in the wonderful transaction. Where the Christian moralist 
would condemn the fierce passion, the ungovernable lust, or the 
inhuman temper, the Jew discerned the workings of diabolical 
possession. Scarcely a malady was endured, or crime committed, 
which was not traced to the operation of one of these myriad 
daemons, who watched every opportunity of exercising their malice 
in the sufferings and the sins of men."' 

Another English divine, of certainly not less orthodoxy, but of 
much greater knowledge of Hebrew literature, bears similar 
testimony regarding the Jewish nation at the same period. " Not 
to be more tedious, therefore, in this matter " (regarding the Bath 
Kol, a Jewish superstition), " let two things only be observed : 
(i) That the nation, under the second Temple, was given to 
magical arts beyond measure; and (2) That it was given to an 
easiness of believing all manner of delusions beyond measure."^ 
And in another place : " It is a disputable case, whether the 
Jewish nation were more mad with superstition in matters of 
religion, or with superstition in curious arts : — (i) There was not a 
people upon earth that studied or attributed more to dreams than 
they. (2) There was hardly any people in the whole world that 
more used, or were more fond of, amulets, charms, mutterings, 
exorcisms, and all kinds of enchantments. We might here produce 
innumerable instances."3 We shall presently see that these state- 
ments are far from being exaggerated. 

No reader of the Old Testament^ can fail to have been struck 
by the singularly credulous fickleness of the Jewish mind. 
Although claiming the title of the specially selected people of 
Jehovah, the Israelites exhibited a constant and inveterate 
tendency to forsake his service for the worship of other gods. The 
mighty " signs and wonders " which God is represented as 
incessantly working on their behalf, and in their sight, had 
apparently no effect upon them. The miraculous even then had, 
as it would seem, already lost all novelty, and ceased, according to 
the records, to excite more than mere passing astonishment. The 
leaders and prophets of Israel had a perpetual struggle to restrain 

^ Histojy of Christianity, by H. H. Milman, D.D., Dean of St. Paul's; 
Murray, 1867, i., p. 845. 

- John Lightfoot, D.D., Master of Catherine Hall, Cambridge. Hone 
Hebraicce et Talniudicce, Works (ed. Pitman), xi., p. 81, cf. p. 170. 

3 lb., xi., p. 299 f. Cf. Schoettgen, Horce Hebraicce et Talmudicce, i733j P- 


"* We do not, of course, touch here upon the results of critical examination of 
the writings of the Old Testament, although these completely confirm the 
results of this work, but simply refer to points which bear upon our argument in 
the common view. 


the people from " following after " heathen deities, and whilst the 
burden of the prophets is one long denunciation of the idolatry 
into which the nation was incessantly falling, the verdict of 
the historical books upon the several kings and rulers of Israel 
proves how common it was, and how rare even the nominal 
service of Jehovah. At the best, the mind of the Jewish nation, 
only after long and slow progression, attained the idea of a perfect 
monotheism, but added to the belief in Jehovah the recognition 
of a host of other gods, over whom it merely gave him supreipacy/ 
This is apparent even in the first commandment : " Thou shalt 
have no other gods before me " ; and the necessity for such a law 
received its illustration from a people who are represented as 
actually worshipping the golden calf, made for them by the com- 
plaisant Aaron, during the very time that the great Decalogue was 
being written on the Mount by his colleague Moses.^ It is not, 
therefore, to be wondered at that at a later period, and through- 
out patristic days, the gods of the Greeks and other heathen 
nations were so far gently treated that, although repudiated 
as deities, they were recognised as demons. In the Septuagint 
version of the Old Testament, where " idols " are spoken of in the 
Hebrew, the word is sometimes translated " demons " ; as, for 
instance. Psalm xcvi. 5 is rendered : " For all the gods of the 
nations are demons. "3 The same superstition is quite as clearly 
expressed in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul, for instance, 
speaking of things sacrificed to idols, says : " But (I say) that the 
things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and 
not to God ; and I would not that ye should be partakers with 
demons. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of 
demons ; ye cannot partake of the Lord's table, and of the table 
of demons. "4 

The apocryphal Book of Tobit affords some illustration of the 
opinions of the more enlightened Jews during the last century 

' This is unconsciously expressed throughout the Bible in such passages as 
Deut. X. 17 : " For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a 
great God, a mighty and a terrible," etc. (cf. Joshua xxii. 22, Deut. xi. 28, 
xii. 2 fif., Ps. Ixxxix. 6, 7, and a host of other passages). 

- An admirable inquiry into the religion of the Jewish nation is to be found 
in Dr. A. Kuenen's very able work, De Godsdienst van Israel, Haarlem. 
Eerste deel, 1869 ; tweede deel, 1870. 

3 "Ort Ttavri% ol deoi tQiv idvG}v 8ai/x6pia (Ps. xcv. 5, Sept.). This is not to 
1)6 wondered at, when in so many other passages the Israelites are repre- 
sented in the Hebrew as sacrificing to devils when they worshipped other 
gods : cf. Levit. xvii. 7 ; Deut. xxxii. 17 ; Ps. cvi. (Sept. cv.) 37. In Isaiah 
Ixv. II the words translated in the English version " that prepare a table fpr 
that troop " are referred to demons in the Septuagint : Kal eroLfid^ovr^s t(^ 
daL/uLovLif) rpdire^av. In Ps. xcvii. 7 the word translated "gods" in the English 
version becomes dyyeXoi avrov in the Sept. (xcvi. 7). 

^ I Cor. x. 20. 


before the commencement of the Christian era.' The angel 
Raphael prescribes, as an infallible means of driving a demon out 
of man or woman so effectually that it should never more come 
back, fumigation with the heart and liver of a fish.^ By this 
exorcism the demon Asmodeus, who, from love of Sara, the 
daughter of Raguel, has strangled seven husbands who attempted 
to marry her,3 is overcome, and flies into " the uttermost parts of 
Egypt," where the angel binds him.4 The belief in demons, and 
in the necessity of exorcism, is so complete that the author sees 
no incongruity in describing the angel Raphael, who has been 
sent, in answer to prayer, specially to help him, as instructing 
Tobias to adopt such means of subjecting demons. Raphael is 
described in this book as the angel of healing, s the office generally 
assigned to him by the Fathers. He is also represented as saying 
of himself that he is one of the seven holy angels which present 
the prayers of the saints to God.^ 

There are many curious particulars regarding angels and demons 
in the Book of Enoch. This work, which is quoted by the author 
of the Epistle of Jude,7 and by some of the Fathers, as inspired 
Scripture, was supposed by TertuUian to have survived the 
universal deluge, or to have been afterwards transmitted by means 
of Noah, the great-grandson of the author Enoch. ^ It may be 
assigned to about a century before Christ, but additions were 
made to the text, and more especially to its angelology, extending 
probably to after the commencement of our era. It undoubtedly 
represents views popularly prevailing about the epoch in which 
we are interested. The author not only relates the fall of the 
angels through love for the daughters of men, but gives the names 
of twenty-one of them and of their leaders ; of whom Jequn was 
he who seduced the holy angels, and Ashbeel it was who gave 
them evil counsel and corrupted them. 9 A third, Gadreel,'^ was 
he who seduced Eve. He also taught to the children of men the 
use and manufacture of all murderous weapons, of coats of mail, 
shields, swords, and of all the implements of death. Another 
evil angel, named Penemue, taught them many mysteries of 

' There is much discussion as to the dale of this book. It is variously 
ascribed to periods ranging from two centuries B.C., and even earHer, to one 
century after Christ. 

^ Tobit, vi. 7. 3 Jh,^ iii, 7 f. ; vi. 14. ■* lb., viii. 2 f. 

5 lb., iii. 17. 

^ lb., xii. 15. Origen also states that the archangel Michael presents the 
prayers of the saints to God {Horn. xiv. in Num., 0pp. ii., p. 323). 

7 v. 14 f. 

^ TertuUian, De Cnltufem., i. 3. 9 Cap. Ixix. i. fif., cf. vi. 

'° In the extract preserved by George Syncellus in his Chronography (p. 11) 
the angel who taught the use of weapons of war, etc., is called Az«;l or 


wisdom. He instructed men in the art of writing with paper 
(^a/3ri7§) and ink, by means of which, the author remarks, 
many fall into sin even to the present day. Kaodeja, another 
evil angel, taught the human race all the wicked practices of 
spirits and demons,^ and also magic and exorcism. =^ The offspring 
of the fallen angels and of the daughters of men were giants, 
whose height was 3,000 ells ;3 of these are the demons working 
evil upon earth.4 Azazel taught men various arts : the making 
of bracelets and ornaments ; the use of cosmetics, the way to 
beautify the eyebrows ; precious stones, and all dye-stuffs and 
metals ; whilst other wicked angels instructed them in all kinds of 
pernicious knowledge, s The elements and all the phenomena of 
nature are controlled and produced by the agency of angels. 
Uriel is the angel of thunder and earthquakes ; Raphael, of the 
spirits of men ; Raguel is the angel who executes vengeance on 
the world and the stars ; Michael is set over the best of mankind — 
i.e.^ over the people of Israel f Saraqael, over the souls of the 
children of men who are misled by the spirits of sin ; and Gabriel 
is over serpents and over Paradise, and over the Cherubim. 7 
Enoch is shown the mystery of all the operations of nature and 
the action of the elements, and he describes the spirits which 
guide them and control the thunder and lightning and the winds ; 
the spirit of the seas, who curbs them with his might, or tosses 
them forth and scatters them through the mountains of the earth ; 
the spirit of hoar frost, and the spirit of hail, and the spirit of 
snow. There are, in fact, special spirits set over every phenomenon 
of nature — frost, thaw, mist, rain, light, and so on.^ The heavens 
and the earth are filled with spirits. Raphael is the angel set 
over all the diseases and wounds of mankind, Gabriel over all 
powers, and Fanuel over the penitence and the hope of those 
who inherit eternal life.9 The decree for the destruction of the 
human race goes forth from the presence of the Lord because 
men know all the mysteries of the angels, all the evil works of 
Satan, and all the secret might and power of those who practise 
the art of magic, and the power of conjuring and such arts.^° The 
stars are represented as animated beings. Enoch sees seven 
stars bound together in space like great mountains, and flaming 
as with fire ; and he inquires of the angel who leads him, on 
account of what sin they are so bound ? Uriel informs him that 
they are stars which have transgressed the commands of the 


^ Enoch, c. Ixix. 

= C. vii. 

3 C. vii. 2 : one MS. has 300. 

■* C. XV. 

^ Cf. Daniel x. 13, 21 ; xii. i. 

7 C. XX. 

^ Enoch, c. Ix. 12 ff., cf. xli. xxxiv. 

9 C. xl. 9 f., cf. xxxix. 

" C. Ixv. 6 ff. 


Highest God, and they are thus bound until ten thousand worlds, 
the number of the days of their transgression, shall be accomplished.^ 
The belief that sun, moon, and stars were living entities possessed 
of souls was generally held by the Jews at the beginning of our 
era, along with Greek philosophers, and we shall presently see 
it expressed by the Fathers. Philo Judaeus considers the stars 
spiritual beings full of virtue and perfection, ^ and that to them is 
granted lordship over other heavenly bodies, not absolute, but as 
viceroys under the Supreme Being. 3 We find a similar view 
regarding the nature of the stars expressed in the Apocalypse,^ 
and it constantly appears in the Talmud and Targums. An 
angel of the sun and moon is described in the Ascensio Isaice.^ 

We are able to obtain a full and minute conception of the 
belief regarding angels and demons and their influence over 
cosmical phenomena, as well as of other superstitions current 
amongst the Jews at the time of Jesus, from the Talmud, 
Targums, and other Rabbinical sources. We cannot, however, 
do more, here, than merely glance at these voluminous materials. 
The angels are perfectly pure spirits, without sin, and not visible 
to mortal eyes. When they come down to earth on any mission, 
they are clad in light and veiled in air. If, however, they remain 
longer than seven days on earth, they become so clogged with the 
earthly matter in which they have been immersed that they cannot 
again ascend to the upper heavens.^ Their multitude is innumer- 
able, 7 and new angels are every day created, who in succession 
praise God and make way-lbr others.^ The expression, " host of 
heaven," is a common one in the Old Testament, and the idea 
was developed into a heavenly army. The first Gospel represents 
Jesus as speaking of "more than twelve legions of angels. "9 
Every angel has one particular duty to perform, and no more ; 
thus of the three angels who appeared to Abraham, one was sent 
to announce that Sarah should have a son, the second to rescue 
Lot, and the third to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. '° The 

^ C. xxi., cf. xviii. 13 f. 

^ De Mundo opijicio, § 48; De Gigantibus, § 2, cf. De Sojnniis, i., § 4 f., § 22. 

3 De Monarchia, '\.,%1. '^ Rev. i. 20, iii. I, iv. 5, ix. i, etc. 

3 C. iv. 18. This work referred to by Origen {Ep. ad Africannm), 
Epiphanius {Hcsr. xl. 2, Ixvii. 3), Jerome (in Esaice, Ixiv. 4), and others 
(cf. Fabricius, Cod. Vet. Test., i., p. 1086 ff.), as 'Ai'a/Sart/rdj' 'Hcraiou, is dated 
variously from the middle of the first to the beginning of the third century. 
The work, long lost, was discovered and published by Lawrence, in 1819. 

^ So/tar, Genesis, p. 124, p. 266 ; Pirke Elieser, xlvi. ; Eisenmenger, Enid. 
Jtid., ii., p. 387 f. ; Gfrorer, Das Jahrh. d. Heils, i., p. 366. 

7 Hieros. Ta7'g. Exod., xii. 12, xxxiii. 23 ; Deut. xxxiv. 5, etc., etc. 

^ Chagigah Bab., p. 14, 1,2; Eisenmenger, ib., ii., p. 371 ff. 

9 Matt. xxvi. 53. 

^° Hieros. Targ. Genes., xvii. 2 ; Gfrorer, ib., i., p. 363 f. 


angels serve God in the administration of the universe, and to 
special angels are assigned the different parts of nature. " There 
is not a thing in the world, not even a little herb, over which 
there is not an angel set, and everything happens according to the 
command of these appointed angels."'' It will be remembered 
that the agency of angels is frequently introduced in the Old 
Testament, and still more so in the Septuagint version, by altera- 
tions of the text. One notable case of such agency may be 
referred to, where the pestilence which is sent to punish David for 
numbering the people is said to be caused by an angel, whom 
David even sees. The Lord is represented as repenting of the 
evil, when the angel was stretching forth his hand against 
Jerusalem, and bidding him stay his hand after the angel had 
destroyed seventy thousand men by the pestilence.^ This theory 
of disease has prevailed until comparatively recent times. The 
names of many of the superintending angels are given — as, for 
instance : Jehuel is set over fire, Michael over water, Jechiel over 
wild beasts, and Anpiel over birds. Over cattle Hariel is 
appointed, and Samniel over created things moving in the waters, 
and over the face of the earth ; Messannahel over reptiles, Deliel 
over fish. Ruchiel is set over the winds, Gabriel over thunder 
and also over fire, and over the ripening of fruit ; Nuriel over hail, 
Makturiel over rocks, Alpiel over fruit-bearing trees, Saroel over 
those which do not bear fruit, and vSandalfon over the human 
race ; and under each of these there are subordinate angels.3 It 
was believed that there were two angels of Death, one for those 
who died out of the land of Israel, w^ho w^as an evil angel, called 
Samael (and at other times Satan, Asmodeus, etc.), and the other, 
who presided over the dead of the land of Israel, the holy angel 
Gabriel ; and under these there was a host of evil spirits 
and angels.4 We shall presently see how general this belief 
regarding angels was amongst the Fathers, but it is also expressed 
in the New Testament. In the Apocalypse there appears an angel 
who has power over fire, 5 and in another place four angels have 
power to hurt the earth and the sea.^ The angels were likewise 

"^ Jalktit Chadasch, p. 147, 3 ; Eisenmenger, ib., ii., p. y](i ff. ; Gfrorer, ib., i., 
p. 369. 

^ 2 Sam. xxiv. 15 f. 

3 Berith Minucha, p. 37, I ; cf. Tracf Pesachim, p. 118, i, 2 ; Sanhedn'n, 
95, 2 ; Eisenmenger, ib., ii., p. 378 ff ; Gfrorer, ib., i., p. 369. The Targum 
upon I Kings xix. 11, 12, reads : "A host of the angels of the wind, a host 
of the angels of commotion, a host of the angels of fire ; and after the host of 
the angels of fire, the voice of the silent singers." Lightfoot, Hoj-cc Heb. et. 
Tahn., Works, xii,, p. 35. 

^ Bava Mezia, 36, I ; Siiccah, 53, i ; Bava Bathra, 16, i ; Eisenmenger, 
ib., i., p. 821 f., p. 854 ff. ; Lightfoot, ib., xii., p. 428, p. 507 f. ; Schoettgen, 
Ho7-i2 Heb et Tabu., p. 935. 

5 C. xiv. 18. ^ C. vii. 2, cf. ix. 11 ; xix. 17. 


the instructors of men, and communicated knowledge to the 
Patriarchs. The angel Gabriel taught Joseph the seventy 
languages of the earth/ It appears, however, that there was 
one language — the Syriac — which the angels do not understand, 
and for this reason men were not permitted to pray for things 
needful in that tongue. ^ Angels are appointed as princes over the 
seventy nations of the world ; but the Jews consider the angels set 
over Gentile nations merely demons. 3 The Septuagint translation 
of Deuteronomy xxxii. 8 introduces the statement into the Old 
Testament. Instead of the Most High, when he divided to the 
nations their inheritance, setting the bounds of the people 
" according to the number of the children of Israel," the passage 
becomes, " according to the number of the angels of God " 
(/cara dptOfjiov dyyeXcov Oeov). The number of the nations was 
fixed at seventy, the number of the souls who went down into 
Egypt.4 The Jerusalem Targum on Genesis xi. 7, 8, reads as 
follows : " God spake to the seventy angels which stand before 
him : Come, let us go down and confound their language that they 
may not understand each other. And the word of the Lord 
appeared there (at Babel), with the seventy angels, according to the 
seventy nations, and each had the language of the people which 
was allotted to him, and the record of the writing in his hand, and 
scattered the nations from thence over the whole earth in seventy 
languages, so that the one did not understand what the other 
said. "5 Michael was the angel of the people of Israel,^ and he is 
always set in the highest place amongst the angels, and often 
called the High Priest of Heaven. 7 It was believed that the 
angels of the nations fought in heaven when their allotted peoples 
made war on earth. A\'e see an allusion to this in the Book of 
Daniel, s and in the Apocalypse there is " war in heaven : Michael 
and his angels fought against the dragon ; and the dragon fought 
and his angels."^ The Jews of the time of Jesus not only held 
that there were angels set over the nations, but also that each 

^ Tract, Sotah, 33, I ; Gfiorer, ih.^ i., p 366 ff ; Eisenmenger, ib.^ ii., p. 365, 
P- 374 f- 

- Beracoth, c. 2; Bah. Schabbath, 12, 2 ; Sotah, H, I ; Eightfoot, ib., xL, 
p. 22 ; Eisenmenger, ?7;., i., p. 675 f. ; ii., p. 392 f. 

3 Eisenmenger, ib., i., p. 805 ff., p. 816 f. 

■^ Gen. xlvi. 27, Exod. i. 5, Deut. x. 22. Seventy disciples were, therefore, 
chosen to preach the Gospel, Luke x. i f. Of course, we need not here speak 
of the import of this number. 

5 Cf. Pirke E/ieser, xxiv. ; Gfrorer, ib., i., p. 370 f. ; Eisenmenger, zb., i., 
p. 810. 6 Q^ Daniel x. 21. 

7 Bab. Meiiacoth, no, i ; Beracoth, 4, 2; .Sohar, Genes., {o\. 17, col. 66; 
Thosaphtah ChoUin, ii. 6 ; Jalkut Riibeui, 80, I, 92, 4 ; Sevachini, 62, i ; 
Gfrorer, ib., i., p. 371 f. ; Schoettgen, ib., p. 1219 ff. 

^ X. 10 ff., and more especially verse 13. ^ c. xii. 7. 


individual "had a -guardian angel.' This belief appears in several 
places in the New Testament. For instance, Jesus is represented 
as saying of the children : " For I say unto you that their angels 
do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. "^ 
Again, in the Acts of the Apostles, when Peter is delivered from 
prison by an angel and comes to the house of his friend, they will 
not believe the maid who had opened the gate and seen him, but 
say: "It is his angel" (6 ayyeXos avTov ea-rtv).^ The passage 
in the Epistle to the Hebrews will likewise be remembered where 
it is said of the angels : " Are they not all ministering spirits sent 
forth for ministry on account of them who -shall be heirs of 
salvation."-* There was at the same time a singular belief that 
when any person went into the private closet the guardian angel 
remained at the door till he came out again, and in the Talmud a 
prayer is given for strength and help under the circumstances, and 
that the guardian angel may wait while the person is there. The 
reason why the angel does not enter is that such places are 
haunted by demons. s 

The belief in demons at the time of Jesus was equally emphatic 
and comprehensive, and we need scarcely mention that the New 
Testament is full of references to them.^ They are in the air, on 
earth, in the bodies of men and animals, and even at the bottom 
of the sea. 7 They are the offspring of the fallen angels who loved 
the daughters of men.^ They have wings like the angels, and can 
fly from one end of heaven to another ; they obtain a knowledge 
of the future, like the angels, by listening behind the veil of the 
Temple of God in heaven.9 Their number is infinite. The earth 
is so full of them that if man had power to see he could not exist 
on account of them ; there are more demons than men, and they 
are about as close as the earth thrown up out of a newly-made 
grave. '° It is stated that each man has io,ooo demons at his right 
hand and i,ooo on his left, and the passage continues : " The 
crush on the Sabbath in the synagogue arises from them, also the 

^ Hieros. Targ. Genes., xxxiii. lo, xlviii. i6. ^ Matt, xviii. lo. 

3 Acts xii. 15. 4 Heb. i. 14. 

5 Hieros Beracoth, ix. 5 ; Bab. Beracoth, 60, I ; Gittin, 70, I ; Eisenmenger, 
ib., ii., p. 449 f. ; Gfrorer, ib., i., p. 374 f. ; Moise Schwab, Traite des Berak- 
hoth, 1 87 1, p. 169. 

^ Passing over the synoptic Gospels, in which references to demons abound, 
cf. I Cor. X. 20, 21 ; James ii. 19 ; I Tim. iv. i ; Eph. ii. 2, cf. iv. 12 ; Rev. 
ix. 20, xvi. 14, xviii. 2. 

7 Eisenmenger, ib. , ii. , p. 437 f. 

« /-^.,i.,p. 380 f. 

^ Bab. Chagigah, 16, I; Schoettgen, ib.,^. 1049; Eisenmenger, ib.,\\., 

P- 415- 

^° Beracoth, 6, i; Sohar, Genes., p. 171 ; ib., Numbers, p. 291; Eisenmenger, 
ib., ii., p. 446, p. 461 f.; Moise Schwab, Traits, des Berakhoth, 1871, p. 239. 


dresses of the Rabbins become so soon old and torn through 
their rubbing ; in Hke manner they cause the tottering of the feet. 
He who wishes to discover these spirits nmst take sifted ashes 
and strew them about his bed, and in the morning he will perceive 
their footprints upon them like a cock's tread. If anyone wish to 
see them, he must take the afterbirth of a black cat which has 
been littered by a first-born black cat, whose mother was also a 
first-birth, burn and reduce it to powder, and put some of it in his 
eyes, and he will see them."'' Sometimes demons assume the form 
of a goat. Evil spirits fly chiefly during the darkness, for they are 
children of night. ^ For this reason the Talmud states that men 
are forbidden to greet anyone by night, lest it might be a devil, 3 or 
to go out alone even by day, but much more by night, into solitary 
places. 4 It was likewise forbidden for any man to sleep alone in a 
house, because anyone so doing would be seized by the she-devil 
Lilith and die.s Further, no man should drink water by night on 
account of the demon Schafriri, the angel of blindness.^ An evil 
spirit descended on anyone going into a cemetery by night. 7 A 
necromancer is defined as one who fasts and lodges at night 
amongst tombs, in order that the evil spirit may come upon him.^ 
Demons, however, take more especial delight in foul and 
offensive places, and an evil spirit inhabits every private closet in 
the world. 9 Demons haunt deserted places, ruins, graves, and 
certain kinds of trees. "^ We find indications of these superstitions 
throughout the Gospels. The possessed are represented as 
dwelling among the tombs and being driven by the unclean spirits 
into the wilderness, and the demons can find no rest in clean 
places." Demons also frequented springs and fountains.'^ The 

' Bah. Beracoth, 6, r. In the Tract. Gittin (68, 2) of the Talmud, Asmo- 
deus is represented as coming to Solomon's wives by night with slippers on to 
conceal his cock's feet. Eisenmenger, ib., i., p. 356, • p. 424 f, ; ii.,p. 445; 
Gfrorer, //'., i., pp. 407, 409 ; Moise Schwab, Traiti! des Berakhoth, 187 1, p. 

239 f; 

^ Sohar, Exod., f. 67, col 267 ; Schoettgen, ib., p. 316; cf. Ephes. vi. 12. 

3 Sanhedriii, 44, I ; Megillah, 3, I ; Gfrorer, ib.^ i., p. 408 ; Eisenmenger, 
ib., ii., p. 452. 

■* Sohar, Genes., 387 ; Eisenmenger, jb., ii., p. 451 f. 

5 Schahhath, 151,2. 

^ Pesachini, 112, i ; Avoda Sarah, 12, 2 ; Eisenmenger, ib., i., p. 426 f. ; 
ii., p. 452. 

7 Chagigah, 3, 2 ; Truuioth, 40, 2 ; Bava Bathra, 100, 2 ; Bab. San- 
hedriii, 65, 2 ; Lightfoot, ib., xi., pp. 160, 170, xii., pp. 134, 349 ; Gfrorer, ib., 
i., p. 408. 

^ Bab. Sanhedrin, 65, 2 ; Lightfoot, ib., xi., p. 170 ; xii., p. 134 f 

9 Bab. Schabbath, 67, l; Bab. Beracoth, 62, l; Eisenmenger, ib., ii., p. 449 f. 
Schwab, Traite des Berakhoth, p. 495 f. 

" Bab. Beracoth, 3, i ; Pesachim, iii. 2 ; Targ. Hieros. Deut. xxx. 10 ; 
Schwab, ib., p. 227. 

" Matt. viii. 28, xii. 43 ; Mark v. 3, 5 ; Luke viii. 27, 29, xi. 24 f. 

'- Vajicra Rabba, % 24 ; Lightfoot, //;., xii., p. 282. 



episode of the angel who was said to descend at certain seasons 
and trouble the water of the pool of Bethesda, so that he who 
first stepped in was cured of whatever disease he had, may be 
mentioned here in passing, although the passage is not found in 
some of the older MSS. of the fourth Gospel,^ and it is argued by 
some that it is a later interpolation. There were demons who 
hurt those who did not wash their hands before meat. " Shibta 
is an evil spirit which sits upon men's hands in the night, and if 
any touch his food with unwashen hands that spirit sits upon that 
food, and there is danger from it."^ The demon Asmodeus is 
frequently called the king of the devils,3 and it was believed that 
he tempted people to apostatise ; he it was who enticed Noah into 
his drunkenness, and led Solomon into sin.^ He is represented as 
alternately ascending to study in the school of the heavenly 
Jerusalem, and descending to study in the school of the earth. s 
The injury of the human race in every possible way was believed 
to be the chief delight of evil spirits. The Talmud and other 
Rabbinical writings are full of references to demoniacal possession ; 
but we need not enter into details upon this point, as the New 
Testament itself presents sufficient evidence regarding it. Not 
only one evil spirit could enter into a body, but many took 
possession of the same individual. There are many instances 
mentioned in the Gospels, such as Mary Magdalene, " out of whom 
went seven demons" {^aifxovLa kirra),^ and the man whose 
name was Legion, because " many demons " (Saiixovia 7roX.Xa) 
were entered into him. 7 Demons likewise entered into the bodies 
of animals, and in the narrative to which we have just referred 
the demons, on being expelled from the man, request that they 
may be allowed to enter into the herd of swine, which, being per- 
mitted, " the demons went out of the man into the swine, and the 
herd ran violently down the clifif into the lake, and were drowned,"^ 

^ John V. 3, 4. The authenticity is fully discussed in S. 7v., complete ed., 
vol. ii., p. 420 f. 

- Ba/). 7'aan/7/i, 20, 2 ; Sohar, Bereschith ; Lightfoot, ih., xi., p. 215. 

3 Gittin, 68, I. -* Lightfoot, ib.^ xii., p. 1 11. 

s Gittin, 68, i ; Eisenmenger, ih., i., p. 351. Schoettgen, ih., p. 1233, 
§ iv. Schoettgen gives minute details from the Talmud, etc., regarding 
the Acadeinia Celestis, its constitution, and the questions discussed in it, 
pp. 1 230- 1 236. The representation of Satan in the book of Job will not be 

^ Luke viii. 2 ; cf. Mark xvi. 9. 

7 Luke viii. 30 ff. The name Legion does not only express a great number, 
but to the word was attached the idea of an unclean company, for a Legion 
passing from place to place and entering a house rendered it " unclean.'' The 
reason was: "For there is no legion which hath not some carcaphelion " 
{KapaKe pak-q) ; that is to say, the skin of the head pulled off from a dead person 
and used for enchantments. (Cf. Chollin, 1231 ; Lightfoot, ib., xi., p. 394.) 

^ Luke viii. 33. 


the evil spirits, as usual, taking pleasure only in the destruction and 
injury of man and beast. Besides "possession," all the diseases 
of men and animals were ascribed to the action of the devil and 
of demons/ In the Gospels, for instance, the woman with a 
spirit of infirmity, who was bowed together and could not lift 
herself up, is described as " bound by Satan," although the case 
was not one of demoniacal possession. ^ 

As might be expected from the universality of the belief in 
demons and their influence over the human race, the Jews at the 
time of Jesus occupied themselves much with the means of 
conjuring them. " There was hardly any people in the whole 
world," we have already heard from a great Hebrew scholar, " that 
more used, or were more fond of, amulets, charms, mutterings, 
exorcisms, and all kinds of enchantments. "3 Schoettgen bears 
similar testimony : " Cceteru7?i judceos magicis artibus admodum 
deditos esse, notissimum estT'^ All competent scholars are agreed 
upon this point, and the Talmud and Rabbinical writings are full 
of it. The exceeding prevalence of such arts alone proves the 
existence of the grossest ignorance and superstition. There are 
elaborate rules in the Talmud with regard to dreams, both as to 
how they are to be obtained and how interpreted, s Fasts were 
enjoined in order to secure good dreams, and these fasts were not 
only observed by the ignorant, but also by the principal Rabbins, 
and they were permitted even on the Sabbath, which was unlawful 
in other cases. ^ Indeed, the interpretation of dreams became a 
public profession. 7 It would be impossible within our limits to 
convey an adequate idea of the general superstition prevalent 
amongst Jews regarding things and actions lucky and unlucky, or 
the minute particulars in regard to every common act prescribed 
for safety against demons and evil influences of all kinds. Nothing 
was considered indifferent or too trifling, and the danger from the 
most trivial movements or omissions to which men were supposed 
to be exposed from the malignity of evil spirits was believed to be 

' Bab. Jo Ilia, 83, 2 ; Bab. Gittin, 67, 2 ; Hieros. Schabbath, 14, 3 ; 
Alischna, Gittin, vii. i ; Geinara, 67, 2; Sohar, Genes., 42; Gfiorer, ih., i. , 
p. 411 f. Eisenmenger, ib., ii.,p.454; Lightfoot, ih., xi., p. 237 f., xii., p. 134 f. 
Shibta, whom we have already met with, was said to take hold of the necks of 
infants, and to dry up and contract their nerves. Aruch, in Shibta ; Lightfoot, 
ib., xi., p. 237. 

^ Luke xiii. 11 ff.; cf. Mark ix. 25 ; Matt. xii. 22, ix. 32 ; Luke xi. 14. 

3 Lightfoot, ib., xi., p. 208. 

-* Hora Hebr. et Taliii., p. 474 ; cf. Edzard, Avoda Sarah, ii., pp. 311-356 ; 
Gfrorer, ib., i., p. 143. 

s Bah. Beracoth, 56 fif. ; Schwab, Traite des Berakhoth, p. 457 ff. 

^ Bab. Schabbath, 1 1, i ; Beracoth, 14, i ; Lightfoot, ib., xi., p. 299 f., 
p. 163. 

7 Bab. Beracoth, 55, 2, 56, I ; Maasar Sheni, 52, 2, 3 ; Lightfoot, ib., xi., 
p. 300 ; Schwab, Traits des Berakhoth, p. 457 ff. 


great/ Amulets, consisting of roots, or pieces of paper with 
charms written upon them, were hung round the neck of the sick 
and considered efficacious for their cure. Charms, mutterings, 
and spells were commonly said over wounds, against unlucky 
meetings, to make people sleep, to heal diseases, and to avert en- 
chantments.^ The Talmud gives forms of enchantments against 
mad dogs, for instance, against the demon of blindness, and the 
like, as well as formulae for averting the evil eye, and mutterings 
over diseases.3 So common was the practice of sorcery and 
magic that the Talmud enjoins " that the senior who is chosen into 
the council ought to be skilled in the arts of astrologers, jugglers, 
diviners, sorcerers, etc., that he may be able to judge of those 
who are guilty of the same. "4 Numerous cases are recorded of 
persons destroyed by means of sorcery.s The Jewish women 
were particularly addicted to sorcery and, indeed, the Talmud 
declares that they had generally fallen into it.^ The New Testa- 
ment bears abundant testimony to the prevalence of magic and 
exorcism at the time at which its books were written. In the 
Gospels, Jesus is represented as arguing with the pharisees, who 
accuse him of casting out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of the 
devils : " If I by Beelzebub cast out the demons (rot Sat/xovta), 
by whom do your sons cast them out ? Therefore, let them be 
your judges. "7 

The thoroughness and universality of the Jewish popular belief 
in demons and evil spirits and in the power of magic is exhibited 
in the ascription to Solomon, the monarch in whom the greatness 
and glory of the nation attained its culminating point, of the 
character of the powerful magician. The most effectual forms of 
invocation and exorcism and the most potent spells of magic were 
said to have been composed by him, and thus the grossest super- 
stition of the nation acquired the sanction of their wisest king. 
Rabbinical writings are never weary of enlarging upon the magical 
power and knowledge of Solomon. He was represented as not 
only king of the whole earth, but also as reigning over devils and 
evil spirits, and having the power of expelling them from the 
bodies of men and animals, and also of delivering people to them.^ 

^ See, for instance, Bab. Berakhoth, 51,1; Schwab, Traite des Berakhoth, 
p. 433 f. ^ Lightfoot, ib., xi., p. 301 f. 

3 See references, Lightfoot, ib.^ xi., p. 301 ; Bab. Beracoih, 57, 2, etc. ; 
Schwab, ib., p. 302, p. 456 f., etc., etc. 

4 Lightfoot, lb., xi., p. 301. 

5 Hieros. Schab., 14, 3 ; Sa7ihedr., 18, 3 ; Lightfoot, ib., xi. , p. 301 f. 

^ Hieros. Sanhedr., 23, 3 ; Bab. Sanhedr., 44, 2 ; Bab. Beracoth, 53, I ; 
Lightfoot, ib., xi., p. 302 ; Gfrorer, ib., i., p. 413 ; Schwab, ib., p. 444. 

7 Matt. xii. 27 ; cf. Luke xi. 19, ix. 49 ; Mark ix. 38 ; Acts xix. 13 ff. 

^ Gittin, 68, 1,2; Sticcah, 53, i ; Eisenmenger, ib., i., pp. 355, 358 ; ii., 
pp. 416, 440; Lightfoot, ib.^ xii., p. 428. 


It was, indeed, believed that the two demons Asa and Asael 
taught Solomon all wisdom and all arts/ The Talmud relates 
many instances of his power over evil spirits, and, amongst others, 
how he made them assist in building the Temple. Solomon 
desired to have the help of the worm Schamir in preparing the 
stones for the sacred building, and he conjured up a devil and 
a she-devil to inform him where Schamir was to be found. They 
referred him to Asmodeus, whom the King craftily captured, and 
by whom he was informed that Schamir is under the jurisdiction 
of the Prince of the Seas ; and Asmodeus further told him how he 
might be secured. By his means the Temple was built, but, from the 
moment it was destroyed, Schamir for ever disappeared.^ It was 
likewise believed that one of the Chambers of the second Temple 
was built by the magician called Parvah, by means of magic. 3 
The Talmud narrates many stories of miracles performed by 
various Rabbins.^ 

The Jewish historian Josephus informs us that, among other 
gifts, God bestowed upon King Solomon knowledge of the way to 
expel demons, an art which is useful and salutary for mankind. 
He composed incantations by which diseases are cured, and he 
left behind him forms of exorcism by which demons may be so 
effectually expelled that they never return — a method of cure, 
Josephus adds, which is of great efficacy to his own day. He 
himself had seen a countryman of his own, named Eliezer, 
release people possessed of devils in the presence of the Emperor 
Vespasian and his sons, and of his army. He put a ring con- 
taining one of the roots prescribed by Solomon to the nose of the 
demoniac, and drew the demon out by his nostrils ; and, in the 
name of Solomon, and reciting one of his incantations, he adjured 
it to return no more. In order to demonstrate to the spectators 
that he had the power to cast out devils, Eliezer was accustomed 
to set a vessel full of water a little way off, and he commanded the 
demon as he left the body of the man to overturn it, by which 
means, says Josephus, the skill and wisdom of Solomon were 
made very manifest, s Jewish Rabbins generally were known as 
powerful exorcisers, practising the art according to the formulae of 
their great monarch. Justin Martyr reproaches his Jewish oppo- 

^ Eisenmenger, ib., i,, p. 361 f. 

^ Gittin, 68, i, 2 ; Sotak, 48, 2 ; Eisenmenger, ib., i., p, 350 ff. ; Gfrorer, 
ib., i., p, 414 f. ; Buxtorf, Lexic. Talmud., p. 2455. Moses is also said to have 
made use of Schamir. Fabricius, Cod. Vet. Test., ii., p. 119. 

3 Gloss on Middoth, cap, 5, hal. 3 ; Lightfoot, ib., xi., p. 301. 

^ Bava Mezia, 59, 1,2; Bab. Beracoth, 33, 34, 54, I ; Hieros. Sanhedr., 
25, 4 ; Bab. Taanith, 24 ; Jtichas, 20, I ; 56, 2 ; Lightfoot, ib., xi., p. 301 f.; 
Eisenmenger, ib., \., 14 f. ; Schwab, ib., p. 358 fF., p. 448 f. 

s Aiitiq., viii.,2, § 5. 


nent, Tryphon, with the fact that his countrymen use the same art 
as the Gentiles, and exorcise with fumigations and charms 
(/caTaSecr/xot), and he shows the common belief in demoniacal 
influence when he asserts that, while Jewish exorcists cannot 
overcome demons by such means, or even by exorcising them in 
the name of their kings, prophets, or patriarchs, though he 
admits that they might do so if they adjured them in the name of 
the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, yet Christians at once sub- 
dued demons by exorcising them in the name of the Son of God.^ 
The Jew and the Christian were quite agreed that demons were 
to be exorcised, and merely differed as to the formula of exorcism. 
Josephus gives an account of a root potent against evil spirits. It 
is called Baaras, and is flame-coloured, and in the evening sends 
out flashes like lightning. It is certain death to touch it, except 
under peculiar conditions. One mode of securing it is to dig 
down till the smaller part of the root is exposed, and then to 
attach the root to a dog's tail. When the dog tries to follow its 
master from the place, and pulls violently, the root is plucked 
up, and may then be safely handled ; but the dog instantly dies, 
as the man would have done had he plucked it up himself. 
When the root is brought to sick people, it at once expels 
demons.^ According to Josephus, demons are the spirits of the 
wicked dead ; they enter into the bodies of the living, who die 
unless succour be speedily obtained. 3 This theory, however, was 
not general, demons being commonly considered the offspring of 
the fallen angels and of the daughters of men. 

The Jewish historian gives a serious account of the preternatural 
portents which warned the Jews of the approaching fall of 
Jerusalem, and he laments the infatuation of the people, who 
disregarded these Divine denunciations. A star in the shape of a 
sword, and also a comet, stood over the doomed city for the space 
of a whole year. Then, at the feast of unleavened bread, before 
the rebellion of the Jews which preceded the war, at the ninth 
hour of the night, a great light shone round the altar and the 
Temple, so that for half an hour it seemed as though it were 
brilliant daylight. At the same festival other supernatural 
warnings were given. A heifer, as she was led by the high priest 
to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the Temple ; moreover, 
the eastern gate of the inner court of the Temple, which was of 
brass, and so ponderous that twenty men had much difficulty in 
closing it, and which was fastened by heavy bolts descending deep 
into the solid stone floor, was seen to open of its own accord, about 
the sixth hour of the night. The ignorant considered some of 

' Dial. c. Tryph., 85 ; cf. ApoL, ii., 6 ; Acts xix., 13 ff. 

= De Bella Jtid., viii., 6, § 3. 3 /^., vii., 6, § 3. 


these events good omens, but the pries. s interpreted them as 
portents of evil. Another prodigious phenomenon occurred, 
which Josephus supposes would be considered incredible were it 
not reported by those who saw it, and were the subsequent events 
not of sufficient importance to merit such portents : before sunset, 
chariots and troops of soldiers in armour were seen among the 
clouds, moving about, and surrounding cities. And further, at 
the feast of Pentecost, as the priests were entering the inner court 
of the Temple to perform their sacred duties, they felt an earth- 
quake, and heard a great noise, and then the sound as of a great 
multitude saying, " Let us remove hence."^ There is not a 
shadow of doubt in the mind of Josephus as to the reality of any 
of these wonders. 

If we turn to patristic literature, we find everywhere the same 
superstitions and the same theories of angelic agency and demoni- 
acal interference in cosmical phenomena. According to Justin 
Martyr, after God had made the world and duly regulated the 
elements and the rotation of the seasons, he committed man and 
all things under heaven to the care of angels. Some of these 
angels, however, proved unworthy of this charge and, led away by 
love of the daughters of men, begat children, who are the demons 
who have corrupted the human race, partly by magical writings 
(Sta iiayiKMv ypacfuov) and partly by fears and punishments, and 
who have introduced wars, murders, and other evils among them, 
which are ignorantly ascribed by poets to God himself.^ He 
considers that demoniacs are possessed and tortured by the souls 
of the wicked dead,3 and he represents evil spirits as watching to 
seize the soul at death. -^ The food of the angels is manna. 5 I'he 
angels, says Clement of Alexandria, serve God in the administra- 
tian of earthly affairs.^ The host of angels and of gods (Oeon') is 
placed under subjection to the Logos. 7 Presiding angels are 
distributed over nations and cities, and perhaps are also deputed 
to individuals,^ and it is by their agency, either visible or 
invisible, that God gives all good things. 9 He accuses the Greeks 
of plagiarising their miracles from the Bible, and he argues that, 
if certain powers do move the winds and distribute showers, they 
are agents subject to God.'° Clement affirms that the Son gave 
philosophy to the Greeks by means of the inferior angels," and 
argues that it is absurd to attribute it to the devil. '^ Theophilus 

' Be Bella Jud.,w{.,S,%Z. 

- ApoL, ii., 5 ; cf. ApoL, i., 5, 14. ^ jpoL, i., 18. 

^ Dial. f. Tryph., 105. 5 Dial., 57, cf. 131. 

^ Stroiiia/a, vii., i, § 3. ^ Strom., vii., 2, ^ 5. 

^ Strom., vii., 2, {5 6 ; vi., 17, § 157. ^ Strom., vi., 17, ^ 161. 

"^ Strom., vi., 3, § 30. , " Strom., vii., 2, >i 6. 

'- Strom., vi., 17,. § 159. 


of Antioch, on the other hand, says that the Greek poets were 
inspired by demons/ Athenagoras states, as one of the principal 
points of belief among Christians, that a multitude of angels and 
ministers are distributed and appointed by the Logos to occupy 
themselves about the elements and the heavens and the universe 
and the things in it, and the regulating of the whole."" For it is 
the duty of the angels to exercise providence over all that God has 
created, so that God may have the universal care of the whole, 
but the several parts be ministered to by the angels appointed 
over them. There is freedom of will amongst the angels as 
among human beings, and some of the angels abused their trust, 
and fell through love of the daughters of men, of whom were 
begotten those who are called giants. 3 These angels who have 
fallen from heaven busy themselves about the air and the earth ; 
and the souls of the giants,^ which are the demons that roam 
about the world, work evil according to their respective natures. 5 
There are powers which exercise dominion over matter, and by 
means of it, and more especially one who is opposed to God. 
This Prince of matter exerts authority and control in opposition 
to the good designed by God.^ Demons are greedy for sacrificial 
odours and the blood of the victims, which they lick, and they 
influence the multitude to idolatry by inspiring thoughts and 
visions which seem to come from idols and statues. 7 According 
to 'J atian, God made everything which is good, but the wickedness 
of demons perverts the productions of nature for bad purposes, 
and the evil in these is due to demons and not to God.^ None of 
the demons have bodies — they are spiritual, like fire or air, and 
can only be seen by those in whom the Spirit of God dwells. 
They attack men by means of lower forms of matter, and come to 
them whenever they are diseased ; and sometimes they cause 
disorders of the body, but when they are struck by the power of 
the word of God they flee in terror, and the sick person is healed.9 
Various kinds of roots and the relations of bone and sinew are 
the material elements through which demons work.'° Some of 
those who are called gods by the Greeks, but are in reality demons, 

' Ad Autolycnm, ii. 8. Theophilus sees the punishment of the serpent in 
the repulsive way in which he crawls on his belly and eats the dust. This and 
the pains of women in childbirth are proofs of the truth of the account of the 
fall in Genesis. Ad AiifoL, ii. 23. 

'^ Legatio p7'o Christ.^ x. ; cf. xxiv. '^ Legatio pro Chrisl., xiv. 

•♦ It is said in the Cleinetitine Recognitions that the giants were born in the 
ninth generation of the human race, and that their bones are still preserved in 
some places ; i. 29. Cf. Clement, Horn. viii. 15. 

5 Legatio pro Christ., xxv. ^ lb., xxiv., xxv. 

" J(K, Nxvi. , xxvii. , ^ Orat. ad Griccos, 12. 

9 iQ.^ l6, '° lb., 17. 


possess the bodies of certain men, and then, by publicly leaving 
them, they destroy the disease they themselves had created, and 
the sick are restored to health.^ Demons, says Cyprian of Carthage, 
lurk under consecrated statues, and inspire false oracles and con- 
trol the lots and omens. "^ They enter into human bodies and feign 
various maladies in order to induce men to offer sacrifices for 
their recovery, that they may gorge themselves with the fumes, and 
then they heal them. They are really the authors of the miracles 
attributed to heathen deities.3 

Tertullian enters into minute details regarding angels and 
demons. Demons are the offspring of the fallen angels, and their 
work is the destruction of the human race. They inflict diseases 
and other painful calamities upon our bodies, and lead astray our 
souls. From their wonderful subtleness and tenuity they find their 
way into both parts of our composition. Their spirituality enables 
them to do much harm to men, for, being invisible and impalpable, 
they appear rather in their effects than in their action. They 
blight the apples and the grain while in the flower as by some 
mysterious poison in the breeze, and kill them in the bud, or nip 
them before they are ripe, as though in some inexpressible way the 
tainted air poured forth its pestilential breath. In the same way 
demons and angels breathe into the soul and excite its corruptions, 
and especially mislead men by inducing them to sacrifice to false 
deities, in order that they may thus obtain their peculiar food of 
fumes of flesh and blood. Every spirit, whether angel or demon, 
has wings ; therefore, they are everywhere in a moment. The 
whole world is but one place to them, and all that takes place any- 
where they can know and report with equal facility. Their swift- 
ness is believed to be divine because their substance is unknown, 
and thus they seek to be considered the authors of effects which 
they merely report, as, indeed, they sometimes are of the evil, but 
never of the good. They gather intimations of the future from 
hearing the prophets read aloud, and set themselves up as rivals of 
the true God by stealing his divinations. From inhabiting the 
air, and from their proximity to the stars and commerce with the 
clouds, they know the preparation of celestial phenomena, and 
promise beforehand the rains which they already feel coming. 
They are very kind in reference to the cure of diseases, Tertullian 
ironically says, for they first make people ill, and then, by way of 
performing a miracle, they prescribe remedies either novel or 
contrary to common experience, and, removing the cause, they 

' //)., 18 ; cf. Tertullian, Jpo/., § 22 ; Origen, Contra Ce/s., viii. 31 f. 
- Cf. Tertullian, De Spectaculis, %% 12, 13 ; Clem., Recog., iv. 19 ft". 
■' Cyprian, De Idol. Vanitate, § 7 ; cf. Minutius Felix, Octavhis, § 27 ; 
Tertullian, ApoL^ 22 ; Eusebius, Pncp. Evang., vii. 16. 


are believed to have healed the sick.^ If anyone possessed by a 
demon be brought before a tribunal, Tertullian affims that the evil 
spirit, when ordered by a Christian, will at once confess that he is 
a demon. ^ The fallen angels were the discoverers of astrology 
and magic. 3 Unclean spirits hover over waters in imitation of the 
brooding {gestatio) of the Holy Spirit in the beginning, as, for 
instance, over dark fountains and solitary streams and cisterns in 
baths and dwelling-houses and similar places, which are said to 
carry one off irapere) — that is to say, by the force of the evil 
spirit. 4 The fallen angels disclosed to the world unknown material 
substances and various arts such as metallurgy, the properties of 
herbs, incantations, and interpretation of the stars ; and to women 
specially they revealed all the secrets of personal adornment. 5 
There is scarcely any man who is not attended by a demon ; and 
it is well known that untimely and violent deaths which are 
attributed to accidents are really caused by demons.^ Those who 
go to theatres may become specially accessible to demons. There 
is the instance, the Lord is witness {domi?w teste), of the woman who 
went to a theatre and came back possessed by a demon, and, on 
being cast out, the evil spirit replied that he had a right to act as 
he did, having found her within his limits. There was another 
case, also well known, of a woman who at night, after having been 
to a theatre, had a vision of a winding sheet {linteiim), and heard 
the name of the tragedian whom she had seen mentioned with 
reprobation, and five days after the woman was dead. 7 Origen 
attributes augury and divination through animals to demons. In 
his opinion, certain demons, offspring of the Titans or giants, who 
haunt the grosser parts of bodies and the unclean places of the 
earth, and who, from not having earthly bodies, have some power 
of divining the future, occupy themselves with this. They secretly 
enter the bodies of the more brutal and savage animals, and force 
them to make flights or indications of divination to lead men away 
from God. They have a special leaning to birds and serpents, and 
even to foxes and wolves, because the demons act better through 
these in consequence of an apparent analogy in wickedness 
between them.^ It is for this reason that Moses, who had either 
been taught by God what was similar in the nature of animals and 
their kindred demons, or had discovered it himself, prohibited 
as unclean the particular birds and animals most used for divina- 
tion. Therefore, each kind of demon seems to have an affinity 

' Terlullian, JpoL, § 22 ; cf. 23, ad Scapula/ii, § 2. ^ Apol., § 23. 

3 De Idolotria, ^ g ; Be Cidtu Fe/ii., i., i^ 2. -^ De Baptisino, ^ 5. 

5 De CiUtit Fern., i., §§ 2, 10; Cf. Commodianus, Instit., % 3 ; Lactantius, 
Instil. Div., ii. 16 ; Clem. Horn., viii. 14. 

^ De Anima, % 57. ^ j)e Spectacidis, % 26. 

*^ Contra Cets. , iv. 92 ; cf. viii. 1 1 . 


with a certain kind of animal. They are so wicked that demons 
even assume the bodies of weasels to foretell the future/ They 
feed on the blood and odour of the victims sacrificed in idol 
temples. 2 The spirits of the wicked dead wander about sepulchres, 
and sometimes for ages haunt particular houses and other places. 3 
The prayers of Christians drive demons out of men, and from 
places where they have taken up their abode, and even sometimes 
from the bodies of animals, which are frequently injured by them. 4 
In reply to a statement of Celsus that we cannot eat bread or 
fruit, or drink wine or even water, without eating and drinking with 
demons, and that the very air we breathe is received from demons, 
and that, consequently, we cannot inhale without receiving air 
from the demons who are set over the air,5 Origen maintains, on 
the contrary, that the angels of God, and not demons, have the 
superintendence of such natural phenomena, and have been 
appointed to communicate all these blessings. Not demons but 
angels have been set over the fruits of the earth and over the birth 
of animals and over all things necessary for our race.^ Scripture 
forbids the eating of things strangled, because the blood is still in 
them — and blood, and more especially the fumes of it, is said to 
be the food of demons. If we ate strangled animals, we might 
have demons feeding with us \i but, in Origen's opinion, a man 
only eats and drinks with demons when he eats the flesh of idol 
sacrifices, and drinks the wine poured out in honour of demons.^ 
Jerome states the common belief that the air is filled with demons.9 
Chrysostum says that angels are everywhere in the atmosphere. ^° 

Not content, however, with peopling earth and air with angels 
and demons, the Fathers also shared the opinion, common to 
Jews" and heathen philosophers, that the heavenly bodies were 
animated beings. After fully discussing the question, with much 
reference to Scripture, Origen determines that sun, moon, and 
stars are living and rational beings, illuminated with the light of 
knowledge by the wisdom which is the reflection (a7ravyao-ju,a) of 
eternal light. They have free will and, as it would appear from a 
passage in Job (xxv. 5), they are not only liable to sin, but actually 
not pure from the uncleanness of it. Origen is careful to explain 
that this has not reference merely to their physical part, but to the 
spiritual ; and he proceeds to discuss whether their souls came 
into existence at the same time with their bodies, or existed 

' lb., iv. 93 ; cf. iii. 29, 35, 16, v. 5 ; Barnabas, Epist., x. ; Clemens Al. 
Pie dag., ii. 10. 

- Contra Cels., vii. 35, cf. 5, viii. 61, cf. 60. 3 /^.^ yii. 5. 

^ Contra Cels., vii. 67. = /^.^ viii. 28, 31. 

^ lb., viii. 57, 31 f. ^ lb., viii. 30. 

^ lb., viii. 31, cf. 57. ^ 5 Hieron., Epist. ad Ephes., iii. 6. 

'° In Ascens. /. C. " Cf. Philo, De Somniis, \., § 22. 


previously, and whether, at the end of the world, they will be released 
from their bodies or will cease from giving light to the world. He 
argues that they are rational beings because their motions could 
not take place without a soul. "As the stars move with so much 
order and method," he says, " that under no circumstances what- 
ever does their course seem to be disturbed, is it not the extreme 
of absurdity to suppose that so much order, so much observance 
of discipline and method, could be demanded from or fulfilled by 
irrational beings ?"' They possess life and reason, he decides, and 
he proves from Scripture that their souls were given to them, not 
at the creation of their bodily substance, but like those of men 
implanted strictly from without, after they were made.^ They are 
" subject to vanity " with the rest of the creatures, and " wait for 
the manifestation of the sons of God. "3 Origen is persuaded that 
sun, moon, and stars pray to the Supreme Being through his only 
begotten Son.^ To return to angels, however, Origen states that 
the angels are not only of various orders of rank, but have appor- 
tioned to them specific offices and duties. To Raphael, for 
instance, is assigned the task of curing and healing ; to Gabriel 
the management of wars ; to Michael the duty of receiving the 
prayers and the supplications of men. Angels are set over the 
different churches, and have charge even of the least of their 
members. These offices were assigned to the angels by God 
agreeably to the qualities displayed by each.s Elsewhere Origen 
explains that it is necessary for this world that there should be 
angels set over beasts and over terrestrial operations, and also 
angels presiding over the birth of animals, and over the propaga- 
tion and growth of shrubs ; and, again, angels over holy w^orks, 
who eternally teach men the perception of the hidden ways of 
God and knowledge of divine things ; and he warns us not to 
bring upon ourselves those angels who are set over beasts, by 
leading an animal life, nor those which preside over terrestrial 
works, by taking delight in fleshly and mundane things, but rather 
to study how we may approximate to the companionship of the 
Archangel Michael, to whose duty of presenting the prayers of the 
saints to God he here adds the office of presiding over medicine.^ 

^ De Principiis, i. 7, § 3 ; cf. Contra Cels., v. 10, 1 1. - 7(5. , i. 7, § 4. 

3 7(5., i. 7, § 5 ; cf. iii. 5, § 4. Origen applies to sun, moon, and stars the 
wish of Paul (Phil. i. 23). Tatian likewise ascribes spirituality to stars, plants, 
and waters ; but, although one and the same with the soul in angels and 
animals, there are certain differences. Orat. ad Gnccos, 12 ; cf. Eusebius, 
Pnep. Evang., vii. 15. 

^ Contra Cels., v. 1 1. 

s De Principiis, i. 8, § I, cf. § 4; Contra Cels., v. 4, 5. Cf. Hermas, 
Pastor, ii., Mand. vi., §§ I, 2 ; Tertullian, DeOrat., § 12 ; De Anima, § 37 ; 
Clemens Al., Strom., v. 14, § 92, vii. 13, § 81. 

^ Hom. xiv. in Num.^ OpP- "•» P« S^S- 


It is through the ministry of angels that the water-springs in 
fountains and running streams refresh the earth, and that the air 
we breathe is kept pure/ In the Sheplierd of Hermas, a work 
quoted by the Fathers as inspired Scripture, which was pubUcly 
read in the churches, which almost secured a permanent place in 
the New Testament canon, and which appears after the canonical 
books in the Codex Sinaiticus, the oldest extant MS. of the New 
Testament, mention is made of an angel who has rule over beasts, 
and whose name is Hegrin.^ Jerome also quotes an apocryphal 
work in which an angel of similar name is said to be set over 
reptiles, and in which fishes, trees, and beasts are assigned to the 
care of particular angels. 3 

Clement of Alexandria mentions, without dissent, the prevailing 
belief that hail-storms, tempests, and similar phenomena do not 
occur merely from material disturbance, but also are caused by 
the anger of demons and evil angels.4 Origen states that, while 
angels superintend all the phenomena of nature, and control what 
is appointed for our good, famine, the blighting of vines and fruit 
trees, and the destruction of beasts and of men, are, on the other 
hand, the personal workss of demons, they, as public executioners, 
receiving at certain times authority to carry into effect divine 
decrees.^ We have already quoted similar views expressed by 
Tertullian,7 and the universality and permanence of such opinions 
may be illustrated by the fact that, after the lapse of many 
centuries, we find St. Thomas Aquinas as solemnly affirming that 
disease and tempests are the direct work of the devil f indeed, 
this belief prevailed throughout the middle ages until very recent 
times. The Apostle Peter, in the Recognitions of Clement, 
informs Clement that, when God made the world, he appointed 
chiefs over the various creatures, even over the trees and the 
mountains and springs and rivers, and over everything in the 
universe. An angel was set over the angels, a spirit over spirits, a 
star over the stars, a demon over the demons, and so on.9 He 
provided different offices for all his creatures, whether good or 
bad ;'° but certain angels, having left the course of their proper 
order, led men into sin and taught them that demons could, by 
magical invocations, be made to obey man." Ham was the dis- 
coverer of the art of magic. ''^ Astrologers suppose that evils 

^ Contra Cels., viii. 57, 31. 

- i. Visio, iv. 2 ; in the Sinailic Codex, the name is Qeypi. Cotelerius, 
in the Greek version, has " Ay piov. 
^ Hieron., in Habacuc, i. i, 14, 

^ Stromata, vi. 3, § 31. s Cf. Matt. viii. 31 ff. 

^ Contra Cels., viii. 31. ^ Apolog., % 22 f. 

^ Sunima Theolog., i, queest., 80, § 2. 

9 Clem., Recog., i. 45. ''° lb., iv. 25. " lb., iv. 26. 

'^/<^.,''iv. 27. 


happen in consequence of the motions of the heavenly bodies, 
and represent certain climacteric periods as dangerous, not 
knowing that it is not the course of the stars, but the action of 
demons, that regulates these things.' God has committed the 
superintendence of the seventy-two nations into which he has 
divided the earth to as many angels.^ Demons insinuate them- 
selves into the bodies of men, and force them to fulfil their 
desires ;3 they sometimes appear visibly to men, and by threats or 
promises endeavour to lead them into error ; they can transform 
themselves into whatever forms they please.4 The distinction 
between what is spoken by the true God through the prophets or 
by visions, and that which is delivered by demons, is this : that 
what proceeds from the former is always true, whereas that which 
is foretold by demons is not always true.s Lactantius says that 
when the number of men began to increase, fearing that the 
Devil should corrupt or destroy them, God sent angels to protect 
and instruct the human race, but the angels themselves fell 
beneath his wiles, and from being angels they became the 
satellites and ministers of Satan. The offspring of these fallen 
angels are unclean spirits, authors of all the evils which are done, 
and the Devil is their chief. They are acquainted with the 
future, but not completely. The art of the magi is altogether 
supported by these demons, and at their invocation they deceive 
men with lying tricks, making men think they see things which do 
not exist. These contaminated spirits wander over all the earth, 
and console themselves by the destruction of men. They fill 
every place with frauds and deceits, for they adhere to individuals, 
and occupy whole houses, and assume the name of genii, as 
demons are called in the Latin language, and make men worship 
them. On account of their tenuity and impalpability, they 
insinuate themselves into the bodies of men, and through their 
viscera injure their health, excite diseases, terrify their souls with 
dreams, agitate their minds with phrenzies, so that they may by 
these evils drive men to seek their aid.^ Being adjured in the 
name of God, however, they leave the bodies of the possessed, 
uttering the greatest howling, and crying out that they are beaten, 
or are on fire. 7 These demons are the inventors of astrology, 
divination, oracles, necromancy, and the art of magic. ^ The 
universe is governed by God through the medium of angels. The 
demons have a foreknowledge of the purposes of God, from 
having been his ministers and, interposing in what is being done, 

' Ih., ix. 12. ^ Ih., ii. 42. 

3 Clem., Recog., iv. 15 ff. ^ lb., iv. 19. s //;.^ jy. 21. 

^ Instit. Dh<., ii. 14 ; cf. Inst. Epit. ad Pentad., 27 f. 

7 lb., ii. 15 ; cf. iv. 27, v. 21 ; cf. Arnobius, Adv. Gentes, i. 46. 

s lb., ii. 16. 


they ascribe the credit to themselves.' The sign of the cross is a 
terror to demons, and at the sight of it they flee from the bodies 
of men. When sacrifices are being offered to the gods, if one 
be present who bears on his forehead the sign of the cross, the 
sacred rites are not propitious {sacra ?iu!Io 77iodo litant)^ and the 
oracle gives no reply. ^ 

Eusebius, like all the Fathers, represents the gods of the Greeks 
and other heathen nations as merely wicked demons. Demons, 
he says, whether they circulate in the dark and heavy atmosphere 
which encircles our sphere or inhabit the cavernous dwellings 
which exist within it, find charms only in tombs and in the 
sepulchres of the dead, and in impure and unclean places. They 
delight in the blood of animals, and in the putrid exhalations 
which rise from their bodies, as well as in earthly vapours. Their 
leaders, whether as inhabitants of the upper regions of the atmos- 
phere or plunged in the abyss of hell, having discovered that the 
human race had deified and offered sacrifices to men who were 
dead, promoted the delusion in order to savour the blood which 
flowed and the fumes of the burning flesh. They deceived men 
by the motions conveyed to idols and statues, by the oracles they 
delivered, and by healing diseases, with which, by the power 
inherent in their nature, they had before invisibly smitten -bodies, 
and which they removed by ceasing to torture them. These 
demons first introduced magic amongst men. 3 We may here 
refer to the account of a miracle which Eusebius seriously quotes, 
as exemplifying another occasional function of the angels. The 
heretical Bishop Natalius, having in vain been admonished by 
God in dreams, was at last lashed through the whole of a night 
by holy angels, till he was brought to repentance and, clad in 
sackcloth and covered with ashes, he at length threw himself at 
the feet of Zephyrinus, then Bishop of Rome, pointing to the 
marks of the scourges which he had received from the angels, and 
implored to be again received into communion with the Church.'* 
Augustine says that demons inhabit the atmosphere, as in a prison, 
and deceive men, persuading them, by their w^onderful and false 
signs or doings or predictions, that they are gods.s He considers 
the origin of their name in the Sacred Scriptures worthy of notice ; 
they are called Aat/xove? in Greek, on account of their knowledge.^ 
By their experience of certain signs, which are hidden from us, 
they can read much more of the future, and sometimes even 
announce beforehand what they intend to do. Speaking of his 

' Instit. Div,, ii. 16. 

'^ lb., iv. 27 ; cf. Arnobius, Ad^). Gentes, i. 46. 

3 Pj-tBp. Evang., V. 2 f. 

■^ H. E., V. 28. 5 De Civitate Dei, viii. 22. 

* Cf. Lactantius,V«^///. Div.^ ii. 14. 


own time, and with strong expressions of assurance, Augustine 
says that not only Scripture testifies that angels have appeared to 
men with bodies which could not only be seen, but felt ; but, what 
is more, it is a general report, and many have personal experience 
of it, or have learned it from those who have knowledge of the 
fact, and of whose truth there is no doubt, that satyrs and 
fauns, generally called Incubi, have frequently perpetrated their 
peculiar wickedness ;^ and also that certain demons, called by 
the Gauls Dusii, every day attempt and effect the same unclean- 
ness, as witnesses equally numerous and trustworthy assert, so that 
it would be impertinence to deny it.^ 

Lactantius, again, ridicules the idea that there can be antipodes, 
and he can scarcely credit that there can be anyone so silly as to 
believe that there are men whose feet are higher than their heads, 
or that grain and trees grow downwards, and rain, snow, and hail 
fall upwards to the earth. After jesting at those who hold such 
ridiculous views, he points out that their blunders arise from sup- 
posing that the heaven is round, and the world, consequently, 
round like a ball, and enclosed within it. But if that were 
the case, it must present the same appearance to all parts 
of heaven, with mountains, plains, and seas, and consequently 
there would be no part of the earth uninhabited by men 
and animals. Lactantius does not know what to say to those 
who, having fallen into such an error, persevere in their folly 
{stuUttia), and defend one vain thing by another ; but sometimes 
he supposes that they philosophise in jest, or knowingly defend 
falsehoods to display their ingenuity. Space alone prevents his 
proving that it is impossible for heaven to be below the earth. 3 
St. Augustine, with equal boldness, declares that the stories told 
about the antipodes — that is to say, that there are men whose feet 
are against our footsteps, and upon whom the sun rises when it 
sets to us — are not to be believed. Such an assertion is not sup- 
ported by any historical evidence, but rests upon mere conjecture, 
based on the rotundity of the earth. But those who maintain 
such a theory do not consider that, even if the earth be round, it 
does not follow that the opposite side is not covered with water. 
Besides, if it be not, why should it be inhabited, seeing that, on 

^ ' ' Improhos scepe exstitisse Diulierihus, et eartiiii appetisse ac peregisse concti- 

^ De Civ. Dei., xv. 23. So undeniable was the existence of these evil 
spirits, Inaihi and Sticaihi, considered, and so real their wicked practices, 
that Pope Innocent VIII. denounced them in a Papal Bull in 1484. Burton 
most seriously believed in them, as he shows in his Anatomy of Melancholy 
(iii. 2). Similar demons are frequently mentioned in the Talmudic literature. 
Cf. Eisenmenger, Entd. Judenthum, i., p. 374 ; ii., p. 421 ff., 426 fif. 

3 Instil. Div., iii. 24. 


the one hand, it is in no way possible that the Scriptures can lie, 
and, on the other, it is too absurd {jiimisipie absiD'duvi est) to affirm 
that any men can have traversed such an immensity of ocean to 
establish the human race there from that one first man Adam ?^ 

Clement of Rome had no doubt of the truth of the story of 
the Phoenix,^ that wonderful bird of Arabia and the adjoining 
countries which lives 500 years, at the end of which time, 
its dissolution being at hand, it builds a nest of spices, in which it 
dies. From the decaying flesh, however, a worm is generated, 
which, being strengthened by the juices of the bird, produces 
feathers and is transformed into a phoenix. Clement adds that 
it then flies away with the nest containing the bones of its defunct 
parent to the city of Heliopolis in Egypt, and in full daylight and 
in the sight of all men it lays them on the altar of the sun. On 
examining their registers, the priests find that the bird has returned 
precisely at the completion of the 500 years. This bird, Clement 
considers, is an emblem of the Resurrection. 3 So does Tertullian, 
who repeats the story with equal confidence.^ It is likewise 
referred to in the Apostolic Constitutions. 5 Celsus quotes the 
narrative in his work against Christianity as an instance of the 
piety of irrational creatures, and although Origen, in reply, while 
admitting that the story is indeed recorded, puts in a cautious " if 
it be true," he proceeds to account for the phenomenon on the 
ground that God may have made this isolated creature in order 
that men might admire not the bird, but its creator.^ Cyril of 
Jerusalem likewise quotes the story from Clement. 7 The author 
of the almost canonical Epistle of Barnabas, explaining the typical 
meaning of the code of Moses regarding clean and unclean 
animals which were or were not to be eaten, states as a fact that 
the hare annually increases the number of its forami?ta^ for it has 

' De Civ. Dei, xvi. 9. The Roman Clement, in an eloquent passage on the 
harmony of the universe, speaks of " the unsearchable places of abysses and 
the inexplicable arrangements of the lower world," and of " the ocean, 
impassable to man, and the worlds beyond it" {Ep. ad Corinth., xx.). 
Origen refers to this passage in the following terms : " Clement, indeed, a 
disciple of the Apostles, makes mention also of those whom the Greeks call 
' kvTixQovf.%, and of those parts of the orb of the earth to which neither can any 
of our people approximate, nor can any of those who are there cross over to 
us, which he called 'worlds,' saying," etc. {De Principiis, ii. 3, 5^ 6). Such 
views, however, were general. 

^ The Talmud speaks frequently of the Phoenix. It is not subject to the 
angel of death, but is immortal, because when Eve offered it, together with all 
other created things, the forbidden fruit to eat, it alone refused. See authorities, 
Eisenmenger, Entd. Jiid., i., p. 371, p. 867 ff. 

3 Ep. ad Corinth., xxix. ^ De Resurr., % ly ^ v. 7. 

^ Contra Cels., iv. 98. The same fable is referred to by Herodotus (ii. ']'}y), 
and also by Pliny {Nat. Hist., x. 2). 

7 Catech., xviii. 8. 


as many as the years it lives/ He also mentions that the hyena 
changes its sex every year, being alternately male and female.^ 
Tertullian also points out as a recognised fact the annual change 
of sex of the hyena, and he adds : " I do not mention the stag, 
since itself is the witness of its own age ; feeding on the serpent, 
it languishes into youth from the working of the poison. "3 The 
geocentric theory of the Church, which elevated man into the 
supreme place in the universe, and considered creation in general 
to be solely for his use, naturally led to the misinterpretation of all 
cosmical phenomena. Such spectacles as eclipses and comets 
were universally regarded as awful portents of impending evil, 
signs of God's anger, and forerunners of national calamities.'^ 
We have already referred to the account given by Josephus of the 
portents which were supposed to announce the coming destruction 
of the Holy City, amongst which were a star shaped like a sword, 
a comet, and other celestial phenomena. Volcanoes were con- 
sidered openings into hell, and not only does Tertullian hold them 
to be so, but he asks. Who will not deem these punishments some- 
times inflicted upon mountains as examples of the judgments 
which menace the wicked ?5 

' "Osa yip err] ^g, Toaa'jras ^x^t rpvirai. c. x. 
. ^ c. X. He also says of the weasel : To yap ^u}Oi' toOto rq) aToixan ki'cl. Cf. 
Origen, Contra Cels., iv. 93 ; Clement of Alex, refers to the common belief 
rjgarding these animals. Picdag., ii. 10. 

3 "■HyucHiJ, si obsei-ves, sexus annalis est, marein et fentinatii alteniaf. 'J'aceo 
cerviiin quod ct ipse ictatis siuc a -biter, serpente pastus, veneno languescit in 
juventiiteiii'''' {De Pallio. §3). 

•* Cf. Tertullian, Ad. iScap., § 3; Sozomen, H.E., viii. 4, iv. 5. 

5 De Penitentia, % 12. (Gregory the Great gives a singular account (Z^/«/. 
iv. 30) which he had heard of a hermit who had seen Theodoric, and one of 
the Popes, John, in chains, cast into the crater of one of the Lipari volcanoes, 
which were believed to be entrances into hell. 



We have given a most imperfect sketch of some of the opinions 
and superstitions prevalent at the time of Jesus, and when the 
books of the New Testament were written. These, as we have 
seen, continued with little or no modification throughout the first 
centuries of our era. . It must, however, be remembered that the 
few details we have given, omitting most of the grosser particulars, 
are the views deliberately expressed by the most educated and 
intelligent part of the community, and that it would have required 
infinitely darker colours adequately to have portrayed the dense 
ignorance and superstition of the mass of the Jews. It is impos- 
sible to receive the report of supposed marvellous occurrences 
from an age and people like this without the gravest suspicion. 
Even so thorough a defender of miracles as Newman admits that 
"Witnesses must be not only honest, but competent also; that 
is, such as have ascertained the facts which they attest, or who 
report after examination";' and although the necessities of his 
case oblige him to assert that " the testimony of men of science 
and general knowledge " must not be required, he admits, under 
the head of " deficiency of examination," that " Enthusiasm, 
ignorance, and habitual credulity are defects which no number 
of witnesses removes."^ We have shown how rank were these 
"defects" at the commencement of the Christian era, and among 
the chief witnesses for Christianity. Miracles which spring from 
such a hot-bed of superstition are too natural in such a soil to be 
objects of surprise and, in losing their exceptional character, their 
claims upon attention are proportionately weakened, if not altogether 
destroyed. Preternatural interference with the affairs of life and 
the phenomena of nature was the rule in those days, not the 
exception, and miracles, in fact, had lost all novelty and, through 
familiarity, had become degraded into mere commonplace. The 
Gospel miracles were not original in their character, but were 
substantially mere repetitions of similar wonders well known among 
the Jews, or commonly supposed to be of daily occurrence even 
.at that time. In fact, the idea of such miracles, in such an age 
and performed among such a people, as the attestation of a 

^ Two Essays, etc., p. 78. ^ lb., p. 81. 



• supernatural Revelation, may with singular propriety be ascribed 
to the mind of that period, but can scarcely be said to bear any 
traces of the divine. Indeed, anticipating for a moment a part 
of our subject regarding which we shall have more to say hereafter, 
we may remark that, so far from being original either in its evidence 
or form, almost every religion which has been taught in the world 
has claimed the same divine character as Christianity, and has 
surrounded the person and origin of its central figure with the 
same supernatural mystery. Even the great heroes of history, 
long before our era, had their immaculate conception and 
miraculous birth. 

There can be no doubt that the writers of the New Testament 
shared the popular superstitions of the Jews. We have already 
given more than one instance of this, and now we have only to 
refer for a moment to one class of these superstitions, the belief 
in demoniacal possession and origin of disease, involving clearly 
both the existence of demons and their power over the human 
race. It would be an insult to the understanding of those who 
are considering this question to pause here to prove that the 
historical books of the New Testament speak in the clearest and 
most unmistakable terms of actual demoniacal possession. Now, 
what has become of this theory of disease ? The Archbishop of 
Dublin is probably the only one who asserts the reality of demo- 
niacal possession formerly and at the present day,' and in this we 
must say that he is consistent. Milman, on the other hand, 
who spoke with the enlightenment of the nineteenth century, 
" has no scruple in avowing his opinion on the subject of demo- 
niacs to be that of Joseph Mede, Lardner, Dr. Mead, Paley, and 

all the learned modern writers. It Avas a kind of insanity and 

nothing was more probable than that lunacy should take the turn 
and speak the language of the prevailing superstition of the times."^ 
The Dean, as well as " all the learned modern writers " to whom 
he refers, felt the difficulty ; but, in seeking to evade it, they sacri- 
fice the Gospels. They overlook the fact that the writers of these 
narratives not only themselves adopt " the prevailing superstition 
of the times," but represent Jesus as doing so with equal complete- 
ness. There is no possibility, for instance, of evading such state- 
ments as those in the miracle of the country of the Gadarenes, 
where the objectivity of the demons is so fully recognised that, on 
being cast out of the man, they are represented as requesting to be 
allowed to go into the herd of swine j and, being permitted by 
Jesus to do so, the entry of the demons into the swine is at once 
signalised by the herd running violently down the cliff into the 

' Notes on Miracles, p. 164 f. 
^ History of Christianity, i., p. 217, note (e). 


lake, and being drowned.' Archbishop Trench adopts no such 
ineffectual evasion, but rightly objects : " Our Lord Himself uses 
language which is not reconcilable with any such explanation. 
He everywhere speaks of demoniacs not as persons of disordered 
intellects, but as subjects and thralls of an alien spiritual might ; 
He addresses the evil spirit as distinct from the man : ' Hold thy 
peace, and come out of him ' " ; and he concludes that " our idea 
of Christ's absolute veracity, apart from the value of the truth 
which He communicated, forbids us to suppose that He could 
have spoken as He did, being perfectly aware all the while that 
there was no corresponding reality to justify the language which 
He used."^ Milman, on the other hand, finds "a very strong 
reason," which he does not remember to have seen urged with 
sufficient force, " which may have contributed to induce our Lord 
to adopt the current language on the point. The disbelief in these 
spiritual influences was one of the characteristics of the unpopular 
sect of the Sadducees. A departure from the common language, 
or the endeavour to correct this inveterate error, would have raised 
an immediate outcry against Him from His watchful and malignant 
adversaries as an unbelieving Sadducee."3 Such ascription of 
politic deception for the sake of popularity might be intelligible in 
an ordinary case, but when referred to the central personage of a 
Divine revelation, who is said to be God incarnate, it is perfectly 
astounding. The Archbishop, however, rightly deems that if 
Jesus knew that the Jewish belief in demoniacal possession was 
baseless, and that Satan did not exercise such power over the 
bodies or spirits of men, there would be in such language " that 
absence of agreement between thoughts and words in which the 
essence of a lie consists."^ It is difficult to say whether the 
dilemma of the Dean or of the Archbishop is the greater — the 
one obliged to sacrifice the moral character of Jesus in order to 
escape the admission for Christianity of untenable superstition, 
the other obliged to adopt the superstition in order to support 
the veracity of the language. At least, the course of the Arch- 
bishop is consistent, and worthy of respect. The attempt to 
eliminate the superstitious diagnosis of the disease, and yet to 
preserve intact the miraculous cure, is quite ineffectual. 

Dr. Trench anticipates the natural question, why there are no 
demoniacs now, if there were so many in those days,5 and he is 
logically compelled to maintain that there may still be persons 

' Luke viii. 26, 33 ; Mark v. 12, 13 ; cf. Matt. viii. 28, 34. In the 
latter Gospel the miracle is said to be performed in the country of the 
Gergesenes, and there are two demoniacs instead of one. 

' Notes on Miracles, p. 152 f. 

3 Milman, History of Christianity, i., p. 218, note. 

"* Notes on Miracles, p. 154. s /^^.^ p^ 152. 


possessed. "It may well be a question, moreover," he says, "if 
an apostle, or one with apostolic discernment of spirits, were to 
enter into a madhouse now, how many of the sufferers there he 
might not recognise as possessed?"^ There can scarcely be a 
question upon the point at all, for such a person issuing direct 
from that period, without subsequent scientific enlightenment, 
would most certainly pronounce them all " possessed." It did 
not, however, require an apostle, nor even one with apostolic dis- 
cernment of spirits, to recognise the possessed at that time. All 
those who are represented as being brought to Jesus to be healed 
are described by their friends as having a devil or being possessed, 
and there was no form of disease more general or more commonly 
recognised by the Jews. For what reason has the recognition of, 
and belief in, demoniacal possession passed away with the igno- 
rance and superstition which were then prevalent ? 

It is important to remember that the theory of demoniacal 
possession, and its supposed cure by means of exorcism and 
invocations, was most common among the Jews long before the 
commencement of the Christian era. As casting out devils was 
the most common type of Christian miracles, so it was the 
commonest belief and practice of the Jewish nation. Christianity 
merely shared the national superstition, and changed nothing but 
the form of exorcism. Christianity did not, through a " clearer 
perception of spirits," therefore, originate the belief in demoniacal 
possession, or first recognise its victims ; nor did such superior 
enlightenment accompany the superior morality of Christianity as 
to detect the ignorant fallacy. In the Old Testament we find the 
most serious evidence of the belief in demonology and witchcraft. 
The laws against them set the example of that unrelenting severity 
with which sorcery was treated for so many centuries. We read in 
Exodus xxii. i8 : " Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Levit. 
xix. 31 : " Regard not them which have familiar spirits, neither seek 
after wizards to be defiled by them." Levit. xx. 6 : " And the soul 
that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, 
to go a-whoring after them, I will even set my face against that 
soul, and cut him off from among his people" ; and verse 27 : "A 
man also, or a woman, that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a 
wizard, shall surely be put to death ; they shall stone them with 
stones ; their blood shall be upon them." Deut. xviii. 10: " There 
shall not be found among you anyone that maketh his son or his 
daughter to pass through the fire, or an enchanter, or a witch ; 
II. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, 

' Notes on Miracles, p. 165. In a note the Archljishop says that "he 
understands that Esquirol recognises demoniacs now, and that there could 
not be a higher authority." 


or a necromancer ; 12. For all that do these things are an abomi- 
nation unto the Ivord," etc. The passages which assert the reaHty 
of demonology and witchcraft, however, are much too numerous 
to permit their citation here. But not only did Christianity thus 
inherit the long-prevalent superstition, but it transmitted it intact 
to succeeding ages ; and there can be no doubt that this demon- 
ology, with its consequent and inevitable belief in witchcraft, 
sorcery, and magic, continued so long to prevail throughout 
Christendom, as much through the authority of the sacred writings 
and the teaching of the Church as through the superstitious 
ignorance of Europe. 

It would be impossible to select for illustration any type of the 
Gospel miracles whose fundamental principle — belief in the reality, 
malignant action, and power of demons, and in the power of man 
to control them — has received fuller or more permanent living 
acceptance from posterity, down to very recent times, than the 
cure of disease ascribed to demoniacal influence. The writings 
of the Fathers are full of the belief ; the social history of Europe 
teems with it. The more pious the people, the more firm was 
their conviction of its reality. From times antecedent to Chris- 
tianity, until medical science slowly came into existence, every 
form of disease was ascribed to demons. Madness, idiotcy, 
epilepsy, and every shape of hysteria were the commonest forms 
of their malignity ; and the blind, the dumb, and the deformed 
were regarded as unquestionable victims of their malice. Every 
domestic calamiity, from the convulsions of a child to the death of 
a cow, was unhesitatingly attributed to their agency. The more 
ignorant the community, the greater the number of its possessed. 
Belief in the power of sorcery, witchcraft, and magic was inherent 
in the superstition, and the universal prevalence shows how catholic 
was the belief in demoniacal influence. The practice of these 
arts is solemnly denounced as sin in the New Testament and 
throughout Patristic literature, and the Church has in all ages 
fulminated against it. No accusation was more common than 
that of practising sorcery, and no class escaped from the fatal 
suspicion. Popes were charged with the crime, and bishops were 
found guilty of it. St. Cyprian was said to have been a magician 
before he became a Christian and a Father of the Church.' 
Athanasius was accused of sorcery before the Synod of Tyre.^ 
Not only the illiterate, but even the learned, in the estimation of 
their age, believed in it. No heresy was ever persecuted with 
more unrelenting hatred. Popes have issued bulls vehemently 
anathematising witches and sorcerers, councils have proscribed 

" Greg. Nazianz., Orat., xviii. 

"" Theodoret, fl. E., i. 30; cL Milman, Hisf. of Chn's/mn/'fy, ii., p. 37S. 


them, ecclesiastical courts have consigned tens of thousands of 
persons suspected of being such to the stake, monarchs have 
written treatises against them and invented tortures for their con- 
viction, and every nation in Europe, and almost every generation, 
have passed the most stringent laws against them. Upon no 
point has there ever been greater unanimity of belief. Church 
and State have vied with each other for the suppression of the 
abominable crime. Every phenomenon of nature, every unwelcome 
occurrence of social life, as well as every natural disease, has been 
ascribed to magic and demons. The historical records of Europe 
are filled with the deliberate trial and conviction, upon what 
was deemed evidence, of thousands of sorcerers and witches. 
Hundreds have been found guilty of exercising demoniacal 
influence over the elements, from Sopater the philosopher, executed 
under Constantine for preventing, by adverse winds, the arrival 
of corn ships at Constantinople, to Dr. Fian and other witches 
horribly tortured and burnt for causing a stormy passage on the 
return of James I. from Denmark.' Thousands of men and tens 
of thousands of women have been done to death by every con- 
ceivable torment for causing sickness or calamity by sorcery, or 
for flying through the air to attend the witches' sabbath. When 
scepticism as to the reality of the demoniacal powers of sorcery 
tardily began to arise, it was fiercely reprobated by the Church as 
infidelity. Even so late as the seventeenth century, a man like Sir 
Thomas Browne not only did not include the belief among the 
vulgar errors which he endeavoured to expose, but, on the contrary, 
wrote : " For my part, I have ever believed, and do now know, 
that there are witches. They that doubt of them do not only 
deny them, but spirits ; and are obliquely, and upon consequence, 
a sort not of infidels, but Atheists."^ In 1664 Sir Thomas Hale, 
in passing sentence of death against two women convicted of 
being witches, declared that the reality of witchcraft was undeniable, 
because " first, the Scriptures had afiirmed so much ; and, secondly, 
the wisdom of all nations had provided laws against such persons, 
which is an argument of their confidence in such a crime. "3 Even 
the eighteenth century was stained with the blood of persons 
tortured and executed for sorcery. 

Notwithstanding all this persistent and unanimous confirmation, 

' Pitcairn's Criniinal Trials of Scotland, i., pp. 213, 223. 

^ Religio Medici, Works (Bohn), ii., p. 43 f. 

3 Collection of Rare and Curious Tracts Relating to Witchcraft, London, 
1838. Cf. Lecky, Hist, of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationolisf?i 
in Europe, 3rd ed., 1866, i., p. 120. The reader is referred to this able work, 
as well as to Buckie's Hist, of Civilisation, for much interesting information 
regarding magic and witchcraft, as well as religious superstition and miraculous 
pretensions generally. 


we ask again : AV'hat has now become of the belief in demoniacal 
possession and sorcery ? It has utterly disappeared. " Joseph 
Mede, Lardner, Dr. Mead, Paley, and all the learned modern 
writers " with Dean Milman, as we have seen, explain it away, and 
such a theory of disease and elemental disturbance is universally 
recognised to have been a groundless superstition. The countless 
number of persons tormented and put to death for the supposed 
crime of witchcraft and sorcery were mere innocent victims to 
ignorance and credulity. At the commencement of our era every 
disease was ascribed to the agency of demons simply because the 
nature of disease was not understood, and the writers of the 
Gospels were not, in this respect, one whit more enlightened than 
the Jews. The progress of science, however, has not only dispelled 
the superstitious theory as regards disease in our time ; its effects 
are retrospective. Science not only declares the ascription of 
disease to demoniacal possession or malignity to be an idle super- 
stition now, but it equally repudiates the assumption of such a 
cause at any time. The diseases referred by the Gospels, and by 
the Jews of that time, to the action of devils, exist now, but they 
are known to proceed from purely physical causes. The same 
superstition and medical ignorance would enunciate the same 
diagnosis at the present day. The superstition and ignorance, 
however, have passed away, and with them the demoniacal 
theory. In that day the theory was as baseless as in this. This 
is the logical conclusion of every educated man. 

It is obvious that, with the necessary abandonment of the 
theory of " possession " and demoniacal origin of disease, the 
largest class of miracles recorded in the Gospels is at once 
exploded. The asserted cause of the diseases of this class, said 
to have been miraculously healed, must be recognised to be a 
mere vulgar superstition, and the narratives of such miracles, 
ascribing as they do, in perfect simplicity, distinct objectivity to the 
supposed " possessing " demons, and reporting their very words 
and actions, at once assume the character of mere imaginative and 
fabulous writings based upon superstitious tradition, and cannot be 
accepted as the sober and intelligent report of eye-witnesses. We 
shall presently see how far this inference is supported by the 
literary evidence regarding the date and composition of the 

The deduction, however, does not end here. It is clear that, 
this large class of Gospel miracles being due to the superstition of 
an ignorant and credulous age, the insufficiency of the evidence 
for any of the other supposed miraculous occurrences narrated in 
the same documents becomes at once apparent. Nothing but the 
most irrefragable testimony could possibly warrant belief in state- 
ments of supernatural events which contradict all experience, and 


are opposed to all science. When these statements, however, are 
not only rendered, a priori^ suspicious by their proceeding from a 
period of the grossest superstition and credulity, but it becomes 
evident that a considerable part of them are due solely to that 
superstition and credulity, by which, moreover, the rest may 
likewise be most naturally explained, they cannot stand against the 
opposing conviction of invariable experience. The force of the 
testimony is gone. We are far from using this language in an 
offensive sense concerning the Gospel narratives, which, by the 
simple faith of the writers, present the most noble aspect of the 
occurrences of which superstition is capable. Indeed, viewed as 
compositions gradually rising out of pious tradition, and 
representing the best spirit of their times, the Gospels, even in 
ascribing such miracles to Jesus, are a touching illustration of the 
veneration excited by his elevated character. Devout enthusiasm 
surrounded his memory with the tradition of the highest exhibi- 
tions of power within the range of Jewish imagination, and that 
these conceptions represent merely an idealised form of prevalent 
superstition was not only natural, but inevitable. We shall here- 
after fully examine the character of the Gospels, but it will be 
sufficient here to point out that none of these writings lays claim 
to any special inspiration, or in the slightest degree pretends to be 
more than a human composition,' and subject to the errors of 
human history. 

We have seen how incompetent those who lived at the time 
when the Gospel miracles are supposed to have taken place were 
to furnish reliable testimony regarding such phenomena ; and the 
gross mistake committed in regard to the largest class of these 
miracles, connected with demoniacal possession, altogether destroys 
the value of the evidence for the rest, and connects the whole, as 
might have been expected, with the general superstition and 
ignorance of the period. It may be well to inquire, further, 
whether there is any valid reason for excepting any of the miracles 
of Scripture from this fate, and whether there was any special 
" Age of Miracles " at all, round which a privileged line can be 
drawn on any reasonable ground. 

We have already pointed out that the kind of evidence which 
is supposed to attest the Divine revelation of Christianity, so far 
from being invented for the purpose, was so hackneyed, so to 
speak, as scarcely to attract the notice of the nation to which the 
revelation was, in the first instance, addressed. Not only did the 

' See, for instance, the reasons for the composition of the third Gospel stated 
in the first four verses. It was clearly intended in the first instance to be a 
private document for the use of Theophilus. 


Old Testament contain accounts of miracles of every one of the 
types related in the New, but most of them were believed to be 
commonly performed both before and after the commencement of 
the Christian era. That demons were successfully exorcised, and 
diseases cured, by means of spells and incantations, was never 
doubted by the Jewish nation. Satanic miracles, moreover, are 
not only recognised throughout the Old and New Testaments, but 
formed a leading feature of the Patristic creed. The early 
Christians were as ready as the heathen to ascribe every inexplicable 
occurrence to supernatural agency, and the only difference between 
them was as to the nature of that agency. The Jews and their 
heathen neighbours were too accustomed to supposed preter- 
natural occurrences to feel much surprise or incredulity at the 
account of Christian miracles ; and it is characteristic of the 
universal superstition of the period that the Fathers did not dream 
of denying the reality of Pagan miracles, but merely attributed 
them to demons, whilst they asserted the Divine origin of their 
own. The reality of the powers of sorcery was never questioned. 
Every marvel and every narrative of supernatural interference 
with human affairs seemed matter of course to the superstitious 
credulity of the age. However much miracles are exceptions to 
the order of nature, they have always been the rule in the history 
of ignorance. In fact, the excess of belief in them throughout 
many centuries of darkness is fatal to their claims to credence 
now. The Christian miracles are rendered as suspicious from 
their place in a long sequence of similar occurrences, as they are 
by being exceptions to the sequence of natural phenomena. It 
would indeed be extraordinary if whole cycles of miracles occurring 
before and since those of the Gospels, and in connection with 
every religion, could be repudiated as fables, and those alone 
maintained as genuine. 

No attempt is made to deny the fact that miracles are common 
to all times and to all religious creeds. Newman states among 
the conclusions of his essay on the miracles of early ecclesiastical 
history : " That there was no Age of Miracles, after which miracles 
ceased ; that there have been at all times true miracles and false 
miracles, true accounts and false accounts ; that no authoritative 
guide is supplied to us for drawing the line between the two."" 
Dr. Mozley also admits that morbid love of the marvellous in the 
human race " has produced a constant stream of miraculous 
pretension in the world, which accompanies man wherever he is 
found, and is a part of his mental and physical history. "^ Igno- 
rance and its invariable attendant, superstition, have done more 

^ Two Essays on Scriphii-e Miracles^ etc., 1870, p. 100. 
" Bavipton Lectures, p. 206. 


than mere love of the marvellous to produce and perpetuate 
belief in miracles, and there cannot be any doubt that the removal 
of ignorance always leads to their cessation/ The Bampton 
lecturer proceeds : " Heathenism had its running stream of super- 
natural pretensions in the shape of prophecy, exorcism, and the 
miraculous cures of diseases, which the temples of Esculapius 
recorded with pompous display."^ So far from the Gospel miracles 
being original, and a presentation, for the first time, of phenomena 
until then unknown and unlikely to suggest themselves to the 
mind, " Jewish supernaturalism was indeed going on side by side 
with our Lord's miracles."3 Dr. Mozley, however, rebuts the 
inference which has been drawn from this, " That His miracles 
could not, in the very nature of the case, be evidences of His 
distinctive teaching and mission, inasmuch as miracles were 
common to Himself and His opponents," by the assertion that a 
very marked distinction exists between the Gospel miracles and 
all others/ He perfectly recognises the consequence if such a 
distinction cannot be clearly demonstrated. "The criticism, 
therefore, which evidential miracles, or miracles which serve as 
evidence of a revelation, must come up to, if they are to accom- 
plish the object for which they are designed, involves at the outset 
this condition— that the evidence of such miracles must be 
distinguishable from the evidences of this permanent stream of 
miraculous pretension in the world ; that such miracles must be 
separated by an interval not only from the facts of the order of 
nature, but also from the common running miraculous, which is 
the simple offshoot of human nature. Can evidential miracles 
be inserted in this promiscuous mass, so as not to be confounded 
with it, but to assert their own truth and distinctive source ? If 
they cannot, there is an end to the proof of a revelation by miracles; 
if they can, it remains to see whether the Christian miracles are 
thus distinguishable, and whether their nature, their object, and 
their evidence vindicate their claim to this distinctive truth and 
Divine source. "5 

Now, regarding this distinction between Gospel and other 
miracles, it must be observed that the religious feeling which 
influenced the composition of the Scripture narratives of miracles 
naturally led to the exclusion of all that was puerile or ignoble in 
the traditions preserved regarding the Great Master. The elevated 
character of Jesus afforded no basis for what was petty, and the 
devotion with which he was regarded when the Gospels were 
written insured the noblest treatment of his history within certain 

' Cf. Buckle, Hist, of Civilisation, i., p. 373 ff.; cf. p. 122 ff.; iii., p. 35. 

^ Baviptoii Lectures, p. 206. 

3 lb., p. 209, ^ lb., p. 209. 5 Ji),^ p. 208. 


limits. We must, therefore, consider the bare facts composing 
the miracles, rather than the narrative of the manner in which 
they are said to have been produced, in order rightly to judge of 
the comparative features of different miracles. If we take the 
case of a person raised from the dead, literary skill may invest 
the account with more or less of dramatic interest and dignity; 
but, whether the main fact be surrounded with pathetic and 
picturesque details, as in the account of the raising of Lazarus in 
the fourth Gospel, or the person be simply restored to life without 
them, it is the fact of the resurrection which constitutes the 
miracle, and it is in the facts alone that we must seek distinction, 
disregarding and distrusting the accessories. In the one case the 
effect may be much more impressive, but in the other the bare 
raising of the dead is not a whit less miraculous. We have been 
accustomed to read the Gospel narratives of miracles with so 
much special veneration that it is now difficult to recognise how 
much of the distinction of these miracles is due to the composition, 
and to their place in the history of Jesus. No other miracles, or 
account of miracles, ever had such collateral advantages. 

The Archbishop of Dublin says : " Few points present greater 
difficulties than the attempt to fix accurately the moment when 
these miraculous powers were withdrawn from the Church " ; and 
he argues that they were withdrawn when it entered into what he 
calls its permanent state, and no longer required " these props and 
strengthenings of the infant plant."' That their retrocession was 
gradual he considers natural, and he imagines the fulness of 
Divine power as gradually waning as it was subdivided, first 
among the Apostles and then among the ever-multiplying 
members of the Church, until by sub-division it became virtually 
extinct, leaving as a substitute "the standing wonder of a 
Church.''^ This, of course, is not argument, but merely the Arch- 
bishop's fanciful explanation of a serious difficulty". The fact is, 
however, that the Gospel miracles were preceded and accompanied 
by others of the same type, and were also followed by a long 
succession of others, quite as well authenticated, whose occurrence 
only became less frequent in proportion as the diffusion of 
knowledge dispelled popular credulity. Even at the present day 
a stray miracle is from time to time reported in outlying districts, 
where the ignorance and superstition which formerly produced so 
abundant a growth of them are not yet entirely dispelled. 

Papias of Hierapolis narrates a wonderful story, according to 
Eusebius, which he had heard from the daughters of the Apostle 
Philip, who lived at the same time in Hierapolis : " For he relates 
that a dead man was restored to life in his day."^ Justin Martyr, 

' Notes on Miracles, p. 54. - lb. , p. 55. ^ Eusebius, //. E. , iii. 39. 


speaking of his own time, frequently asserts that Christians still 
receive the gift of healing, of foreknowledge, and of prophecy,' 
and he points out to the Roman Senate, as a fact happening under 
their own observation, that many demoniacs throughout all the 
world and in their own city have been healed, and are healed, 
many of the Christian men among us exorcising them in the name 
of Jesus Christ, subduing and expelling the possessing demons 
out of the man, although all the other exorcists, with incantations 
and spells, had failed to do so.^ Theophilus of Antioch likewise 
states that to his day demons are exorcised. 3 Irenaeus, in the 
clearest manner, claims for the Church of his time the continued 
possession of the Divine xapixrixara. He contrasts the miracles 
of the followers of Simon and Carpocrates, which he ascribes to 
magical illusions, with those of Christians. "For they can neither 
give sight to the blind," he continues, " nor to the deaf hearing, 
nor cast out all demons, but only those introduced by themselves 
— if they can even do that— nor heal the sick, the lame, the 
paralytic, nor those afflicted in other parts of the body, as has 

been often done in regard to bodily infirmity But so far are 

they from raising the dead, as the Lord raised them and the 
Apostles by prayer, and as frequently in the brotherhood, when 
the whole Church in a place made supplication with much fasting 
and prayer, the spirit of the dead was constrained to return, and 
the man was freely restored in answer to the prayers of the saints, 
— that they do not believe this can possibly be done.''-^ Dr. 
Mozley, who desires, for the purpose of his argument, to weaken 
the evidence of patristic belief in the continuance of miracles, 
says, regarding this last passage on raising the dead : " But the 
reference is so vague that it possesses but little weight as testi- 
mony."5 The language of Irenaeus is vague only in so far as 
specific detailed instances are not given of the miracles referred 
to ; but no language could be more definite or explicit to express 
his meaning — namely, the assertion that the prayers of Christian 
communities had frequently restored the dead to life. Eusebius, 
who quotes the passage and who has preserved to us the original 
Greek, clearly recognised this. He says, when making the 
quotations : " In the second book of the same work he [Irenaeus] 
testifies that up to his time tokens of Divine and miraculous 
power remained in some Churches."^ In the next chapter, Irenaeus 
further says : " On which account also his true disciples, receiving 

' Cf. Dial. c. Tryph.^ xxxix., Ixxxii., Ixxxviii., etc. 

^ ApoL, ii. 6, cf. Dial. c. Tryphon., xxx., Ixxvi., Ixxxv., etc. 

3 Ad Ajitolyaini, ii. 8. 

'* Ireneeus, Adv. Hcsr., ii. 31, § 2 ; Eusebius, H. E., v. 7. 

5 Banipton Lectures^ Note i. on Lecture VIII. (p. 210), p. 371. 

^ H. E., V. 7. 


grace from him, work (miracles) in his name for the benefit of the 
rest of mankind, according to the gift received from him by each 
of them. For some do certainly and truly (pe/Satois Kal dXyjdoJs) 
cast out demons, so that frequently those very men who have thus 
been cleansed from the evil spirits both believe and are now in the 
Church. And some have foreknowledge of future occurrences 
and visions and prophetic utterances. Others heal the sick by the 
imposition of hands, and make them whole. Indeed, as we have 
already stated, even the dead have been raised up, and have 
remained with us for many years. And what more shall I say ? 
It is not possible to state the number of the gifts which the 
Church throughout the world has received from God in the name 
of Jesus Christ, crucified under Pontius Pilate, and which she 
each day employs for the benefit of the heathen," etc' 

Tertullian speaks with the most perfect assurance of miracles 
occurring in his day, and of the power of healing and of casting 
out devils still possessed by Christians. In one place, for instance, 
after asserting the power which they have generally over demons, 
so that, if a person possessed by a devil be brought before one of 
the Roman tribunals, a follower of Christ can at once compel the 
wicked spirit within him to confess that he is a demon, even if he 
had before asserted himself to be a god, he proceeds to say : " So, 
at our touch and breathing, violently affected by the contempla- 
tion and representation of those fires [of hell], they [demons] also 
depart at our command out of bodies, reluctant and complaining, 
and put to shame in your presence."^ He declares that, although 
dreams are chiefly inflicted upon us by demons, yet they are also 
sent by God, and, indeed, "almost the greater part of mankind 
derive their knowledge concerning God from visions. "s He, else- 
where, states that he himself knows that a brother was severely 
castigated by a vision the same night on which his slaves had, 
without his knowledge, done something reprehensible.^ He 
narrates, as an instance of the continued possession of spiritual 
charismata by Christians : " There is at this day amongst us a sister 
who has the gift of revelations, which she receives in church 
amidst the solemnities of the Lord's Day by ecstasy in the spirit ; 
she converses with angels, and sometimes also with the Lord, and 
she both hears and sees mysteries {sacramenfa), and she reads the 
hearts of some men, and prescribes medicines to those who are in 
need. "5 Tertullian goes on to say that, after the people were 

' Eusebius, H. E., v. 7 ; Adv. Hicr., ii. 32, § 4 ; cf. v. 6, S i- ; cf. Theophilus, 
Ad AiitoL, i. 13. 

- Apologeticus, % 23, d. De Idol., § 11 ; De Specfac, % 29; De Exhort. 
Castit., % 10 ; Ad Scapula;/!, § 4 ; De Anima, $5 57. 

3 De Anj;na, § 47 ; Z>(? Idol., § 15. ^ De Idol., ^ 15. 

5 De Anima, % 9. 


dismissed from the church, this sister was in the regular habit of 
reporting what she had seen, and that most diligent inquiries were 
made in order to test the truth of her communications ;^ and, 
after narrating a vision of a disembodied soul vouchsafed to her, 
he states : " This is the vision, God being witness, and the Apostle^ 
having foretold that such spiritual gifts should be in the Church. "^ 
Further on Tertullian relates a story within his own knowledge : 
" I know the case of a woman, born within the fold of the Church, 
who was in the prime of life and beauty. After being but once, 
and only a short time, married, having fallen asleep in peace, in 
the interval before interment, when the presbyter began to pray, as 
she was being made ready for burial, at the first breath of prayer she 
removed her hands from her sides, folded them in the attitude of 
supplication, and again, when the last rites were over, restored them 
to their former position."'^ He then mentions another story known 
amongst them — that a dead body in a cemetery moved itself in 
order to make room beside it for another body;5 and then he 
remarks : " If similar cases are also reported amongst the heathen, 
we conclude that God displays signs of his power for the consola- 
tion of his own people, and as a testimony to others."^ Again, he 
mentions cases where Christians had cured persons of demoniacal 
possession, and adds : "And how many men of position (for we 
do not speak of the vulgar) have been delivered either from devils 
or from diseases ?"7 Tertullian, in the same place, refers to the 
miracle of the " Thundering Legion,"^ and he exclaims : " When, 
indeed, have not droughts been removed by our prayers and 
fastings ?"9 Minucius Felix speaks of the casting out of devils 
from sick persons by Christians in his own day as a matter of 
public notoriety even among Pagans. '° St. Cyprian echoes the 
same assertions." He likewise mentions cases of miraculous 
punishment inflicted upon persons who had lapsed from the 
Christian faith. One of these, who ascended the Capitol to make 
denial of Christ, suddenly became dumb after he had spoken the 
words.'^ Another — a woman — ^was seized by an unclean spirit even 
at the baths, and bit with her own teeth the impious tongue which 
had eaten the idolatrous food, or spoken the words, and she 
shortly expired in great agony. ^3 He likewise maintains that 
Christians are admonished by God in dreams and by visions, of 
which he mentions instances. '4 Origen claims for Christians the 

' De Aniina, § 9. - i Cor. xii. i ff. 3 De Anima, § 9. -* /(^. , § 51. 

s 7/5. § 51. ^ Ih.,^ Si. 7 Ad Si-apuliim, § 4. 

^ Cf. Eusebius, //. E., v. 5. ^ Ad Scapnlum, % 4. '" Octaviiis, % 27. 

" Tract, ii., De Idol. Vanitate, § 7; Ad Deinetrianum, Jj 15. 
'^ De Lapsis, § 24. '3 /$., iij 24, cf. §j^ 25, 26. 

"* Ep., liii., §§ 1-5 ; Ixii., % 17 ; Ixviii., §§9, 10 (ed. Migne) ; De Moiiolali- 
tate, % 19. 



power still to expel demons and to heal diseases in the name of 
Jesus, ^ and he states that he had seen many persons so cured of 
madness and countless other evils, which could not be otherwise 
cured by men or devils.^ Lactantius repeatedly asserts the power 
of Christians over demons ; they make them flee from bodies 
when they adjure them in the name of God.3 

Passing over the numerous apocryphal writings of the early 
centuries of our era, in which many miracles are recorded, we 
find in the pages of Eusebius narratives of many miraculous 
occurrences. Many miracles are ascribed to Narcissus, Bishop of 
Jerusalem, of which Eusebius relates several. While the vigils of 
the great watch of the Passover were being kept, the oil failed ; 
whereupon Narcissus commanded that water from the neigh- 
bouring well should be poured into the lamps. Having prayed 
over the water, it was changed into oil, of which a specimen had 
been preserved until that time.^ On another occasion, three men 
having spread some vile slanders against Narcissus, which they 
confirmed by an oath, and with imprecations upon themselves of 
death by a miserable disease, of death by fire, and of blindness, 
respectively, if their statements were not true, omnipotent justice 
in each case inflicted upon the wretches the curse which each had 
invoked. 5 The election of Fabianus to the episcopal chair of 
Rome was marked by the descent of a dove from on high, which 
rested upon his head, as the Holy Ghost had descended upon our 
Saviour.^ At Caesarea Philippi there is a statue of Jesus Christ, 
which Eusebius states that he himself had seen, said to have been 
erected by the woman healed of the bloody issue, and on the 
pedestal grows a strange plant as high as the hem of the brazen 
garment, which is an antidote to all diseases. 7 Great miracles 
are recorded as taking place during the persecutions in Caesarea.^ 

Gregory of Nyssa gives an account of many wonderful works 
performed by his namesake Gregory of Neo-Csesarea, who was 
called Thaumahirgus from the miraculous power which he 
possessed and very freely exercised. The Virgin Mary and the 
Apostle John appeared to him, on one occasion, when he was in 
doubt as to the doctrine which he ought to preach, and, at the 
request of Mary, the Apostle gave him all needful instructions. 9 
If his faith did not move mountains, it moved a huge rock to 
convert a pagan priest. '° He drove a demon out of a heathen 

^ Contra Cels., i. 67, 2, 6, 46 ; ii. 33 ; ii. 24, 28, 36. 

^ lb., iii. 24. 3 insHt. Div., ii. 16, iv. 27, v. 22. 

4 Eusebius, H. E., vi. 9. s lb., vi. 9. ^ lb., vi. 29. 

7 lb., H. E., vii. 18 ; cf. Sozomen, H. E., v. 21. 

^ Eusebius, De Martyr. Palcest., iv., ix. ; cf. Theodoret, H. E., iv. 22. 

9 Greg. Nyss., De Vit. Greg. Thaum., iii., p. 545 f. 

- lb., p. 550. 



temple in which he had taken refuge, and the evil spirit could not 
re-enter until he gave permission/ Nyssen relates how St. Gregory 
averted an armed contest of two brothers who quarrelled about 
the possession of a lake on their father's property. The saint 
passed the night in prayer beside the lake, and in the morning it 
was found dried up.^ On another occasion he rescued the 
country from the devastation of a mountain stream, which periodi- 
cally burst the dykes by which it was restrained and inundated 
the plain. He went on foot to the place and, invoking the name 
of Christ, fixed his staff in the earth at the place where the torrent 
had broken through. The staff took root and became a tree, and 
the stream never again burst its bounds. The inhabitants of the 
district were converted to Christianity by this miracle. The tree 
was still Hving in Nyssen's time, and he had seen the bed of the 
lake covered with trees, pastures, and cottages. 3 Two vagabond 
Jews once attempted to deceive him. One of them lay down and 
pretended to be dead, while the other begged money from the 
saint wherewith to buy him a shroud. St. Gregory quietly took 
off his cloak and laid it on the man, and walked away. His 
companion found that he was really dead. 4 St. Gregory expelled 
demons from persons possessed, healed the sick, and performed 
many other miracles ;5 and his signs and wonders are not only 
attested by Gregory of Nyssa, but by St. Basil,^ whose grand- 
mother, St. Macrina, was brought up at Neo-Csesarea by the 
immediate followers of the saint. 

Athanasius, in his memoir of St. Anthony, who began to lead 
the life of a recluse about a.d. 270, gives particulars of many 
miracles performed by the saint. Although he possessed great 
power over demons, and delivered many persons possessed 
by them, Satan tormented him sadly, and he was constantly 
beset by legions of devils. One night Satan with a troop of 
evil spirits so belaboured the saint that he lay on the ground 
speechless and almost dead from their blows. 7 We have already 
referred to the case of Natalius, who was scourged by angels 

^ Greg., Nyss., Z)^ Vit. Greg. Thatim., p. 548. Cf. Socrates, H. E., iv. 27. 
He gave this permission in writing " Gregory to Satan : Enter." — Vprjydpios 
rip ^aTavq., El'creX^e. 

-/-^.,p. 555f. 3/^., p. 558ff. 

'' lb., iii., p. 561 f. The same story is related of St. Epiphanius of 
Cyprus, and Sozomen sees no ground for doubting the veracity of either 
account. He states that St. Epiphanius also performed many other miracles 
{H. E., vii. 27). 

5 lb., pp. 541, 551, 552, 553, 566, 567, 577. 

^ De Spir. Sancto, c. 29, torn, iii,, pp. 62, 63, Bened.; cf. Ep. 204, p. 

7 S. Athanasii, Vita et Convers. S. Anto7iii, §§ 8, 0pp. tom. i., pars, ii., 
p. 802 ff., Bened. 


during a whole night, till he was brought to repentance.' Upon 
one occasion, when St. Anthony had retired to his cell resolved to 
pass a time in perfect solitude, a certain soldier came to his door 
and remained long there knocking and supplicating the saint to 
come and deliver his daughter, who was tormented by a demon. 
At length St. Anthony addressed the man and told him to go, 
and if he believed in Jesus Christ and prayed to God his prayer 
should be fulfilled. The man believed, invoked Jesus Christ, and 
his daughter was delivered from the demon. ^ As Anthony was 
once travelling across the desert to visit another monastery, the 
water of the caravan failed them, and his companions in despair 
threw themselves on the ground. St. Anthony, however, retired 
a little apart, and in answer to his prayer a spring of water issued 
at the place where he was kneeling. 3 A man named Fronto, who 
was afflicted with leprosy, begged his prayers, and was ordered by 
the saint to go into Egypt, where he should be healed. Fronto at 
first refused, but, being told that he could not be healed if he 
remained, the sick man went believing, and as soon as he came in 
sight of Egypt he was made whole.-^ Another miracle was 
performed by Anthony at Alexandria in the presence of St. 
Athanasius. As they were leaving the city a woman cried after 
him, " Man of God, stay ; my daughter is cruelly troubled by a 
demon "; and she entreated him to stop lest she herself should die 
in running after him. At the request of Athanasius and the rest, 
the saint paused, and, as the woman came up, her daughter fell on 
the ground convulsed. St. Anthony prayed in the name of Jesus 
Christ, and immediately the girl rose perfectly restored to health, 
and delivered from the evil spirit. s Fie astonished a number of 
pagan philosophers, who had come to dispute with him, by 
delivering several demoniacs, making the sign of the cross over 
them three times, and invoking the name of Jesus Christ.^ It is 
unnecessary, however, to multiply instances of his miraculous 
power to drive out demons and heal diseases,7 and to perform 
other wonderful works. St. Athanasius, who was himself for a 
long time a personal follower of St. Anthony, protests in his 
preface to the biography his general accuracy, he having every- 
where been mindful of the truth. ^ 

Hilarion, again, a disciple of St. Anthony, performed many 
miracles, an account of some of which is given by St. Jerome. 
He restored sight to a woman who had been blind for no less than 

^ Eusebius, H. E., v. 28. = Vita, § 48, p. 832. 

^Ib., §54, p. 836 f. ^Ib., §57, p. 839. 

5 /^., § 71, p. 849. "" Ib.,% 72, p. 849. 

7 Cf. lb., §§ 55, 58, 61, 62, 63, 64, 70, etc. 
«/^., p. 797. 


ten years ; he cast out devils, and miraculously cured many 
diseases. Rain fell in answer to his prayers, and he further 
exhibited his power over the elements by calming a stormy sea. 
When he was buried, ten months after his death, not only was his 
body as perfect as though he had been alive, but it emitted a 
delightful perfume. He was so favoured of God that, long after, 
diseases were healed and demons expelled at his tomb.^ 
St. Macarius, the Egyptian, is said to have restored a dead man 
to life in order to convince an unbeliever of the truth of the 
resurrection.^ St. Martin, of Tours, restored to life a certain 
catechumen who had died of a fever, and Sulpicius, his disciple, 
states that the man, who lived for many years after, was known to 
himself, although not until after the miracle. He also restored 
to life a servant who had hung himself.3 He performed a multi- 
tude of other miracles, to which we need not here more minutely 
refer. The relics of the two martyrs Protavius and Gervasius, 
whose bones, with much fresh blood, the miraculous evidence of 
their martyrdom and identity, were discovered by St. Ambrose, 
worked a number of miracles. A mian suffering from demoniacal 
possession indicated the proximity of the relics by his convulsions. 
St. Augustine states that he himself was in Milan when a blind 
man, who merely touched the cloth which covered the two bodies 
as they were being moved to a neighbouring church, regained his 
sight.'^ Paulinus relates many miracles performed by his master, 
St. Ambrose, himself. He not only cast out many demons and 
healed the sick,5 but he also raised the dead. Whilst the saint 
was staying in the house of a distinguished Christian friend, his 
child, who a few days before had been delivered from an unclean spirit, 
suddenly expired. The mother, an exceedingly religious woman, full 
of faith and the fear of God, carried the dead boy down and laid 
him on the saint's bed during his absence. When St. Ambrose 
returned, filled with compassion for the mother and struck by her 
faith, he stretched himself, like Elisha, on the body of the child, 
praying, and restored him living to his mother. Paulinus relates 
this miracle with minute particulars of name and address.^ 

St. Augustine asserts that miracles are still performed in his day 
in the name of Jesus Christ, either by means of his sacraments or 
by the prayers or relics of his saints, although they are not so well 
known as those of old, and he gives an account of many miracles 
which had recently taken place. 7 After referring to the miracle 

* Sozomen, H. E.^m.. 14. ^ Ib.^ H. E., iii. 14. 

3 Sulpicius, Vita S. Mart.; cf. Sozomen, H. E., iii. 14. 
"* Ambrose, Epist. Class. , i. 22 ; August. , De Civ. Dei, xxii. 8 ; Paulinus, 
Vita S. Amhrosii, § 14 f. 
5 Vita S. Ambr., §§ 21, 43, 44. 
^ Ib.,% 28. 7 De Civ. Dei, xxii. 8. 


performed by the relics of the two martyrs upon the blind man in 
Milan, which occurred when he was there, he goes on to narrate 
the miraculous cure of a friend of his own, named Innocent, 
formerly advocate of the prefecture in Carthage, where Augustine 
was, and beheld it with his own eyes {ubi nos interfuimus et oculis 
aspeximus nostris). A lady of rank in the same city was 
miraculously healed of an incurable cancer, and St. Augustine is 
indignant at the apathy of her friends which allowed so great 
a miracle to be so little known. ^ An inhabitant of the 
neighbouring town of Curubis was cured of paralysis and other 
ills by being baptised. When Augustine heard of this, although 
it was reported on very good authority, the man himself was 
brought to Carthage by order of the holy bishop Aurelius in order 
that the truth might be ascertained. Augustine states that on one 
occasion, during his absence, a tribunitian man among them named 
Hesperius, who had a farm close by called Zubedi, in the P^ussalian 
district, begged one of the Christian presbyters to go and drive 
away some evil spirits whose malice sorely afBicted his servants 
and cattle. One of the presbyters accordingly went and offered 
the sacrifice of the body of Christ with earnest prayer, and by the 
mercy of God the evil was removed. Now, Hesperius happened 
to have received from one of his friends a piece of the sacred 
earth of Jerusalem, where Jesus Christ was buried and rose again 
the third day, and he had hung it up in his room to protect 
himself from the evil spirits. When his house had been freed 
from them, however, he begged St. Augustine and his colleague 
Maximinus, who happened to be in that neighbourhood, to come 
to him, and, after telling them all that had happened, he prayed 
them to bury the piece of earth in some place where Christians 
could assemble for the worship of God. They consented and did 
as he desired. A young peasant of the neighbourhood who was 
paralytic, hearing of this, begged that he might be carried without 
delay to the holy spot, where he offered up prayer, and rose up 
and went away on his feet perfectly cured. About thirty miles 
from Hippo, at a farm called Victoriana, there was a memorial to 
the two martyrs Protavius and Gervasius. To this, Augustine 
relates, was brought a young man who, having gone one summer 
day at noon to water his horse in the river, was possessed by a 
demon. The lady to whom the place belonged came, according 
to her custom, in the evening with her servants and some holy 
women to sing hymns and pray. On hearing them, the demoniac 
started up and seized the altar with a terrible shudder, without 
daring to move and as if bound to it, and the demon, praying with 
a loud voice for mercy, confessed where and when he had entered 

' De Civ. Dei, xxii. 8. 


into the young man. At last the demon named all the members 
of his body, with threats to cut them off as he made his exit, and 
saying these words came out of him. In doing so, however, the 
eye of the youth fell from its socket on to his cheek, retained only 
by a small vein, as by a root, whilst the pupil became altogether 
white. Well pleased, however, that the young man had been 
freed from the evil spirit, they returned the eye to its place as well 
as they could, and bound it up with a handkerchief, praying 
fervently, and one of his relatives said : " God, who drove out the 
demon at the prayer of his saints, can also restore the sight." On 
removing the bandage seven days after, the eye was found perfectly 
whole. St. Augustine knew a girl of Hippo who was delivered 
from a demon by the application of oil, with which had mingled 
the tears of the presbyter who was praying for her. He also knew 
a bishop who prayed for a youth possessed by a demon, although 
he had not even seen him, and the young man was at once 

Augustine further gives particulars of many miracles performed 
by the relics of the most glorious martyr Stephen.' By their 
virtue the blind receive their sight, the sick are healed, the 
impenitent converted, and the dead are restored to life. " Andurus 
is the name of an estate," Augustine says, " where there is a church, 
and in it is a shrine dedicated to the martyr Stephen. A certain 
little boy was playing in the court, when unruly bullocks drawing 
a waggon crushed him with the wheel, and immediately he lay in 
the agonies of death. Then his mother raised him up, and placed 
him at the shrine, and he not only came to life again, but had 
manifestly received no injury. A certain reHgious woman, who 
lived in a neighbouring property called Caspalianus, being dan- 
gerously ill and her life despaired of, her tunic was carried to the 
same shrine; but before it was brought back she had expired. 
Nevertheless, her relatives covered the body with this tunic, and 
she received back the spirit and was made whole. At Hippo a 
certain man named Bassus, a Syrian, was praying at the shrine of 
the same martyr for his daughter, who was sick and in great peril, 
and he had brought her dress with him ; when lo ! some of his 
household came running to announce to him that she was dead. 
But, as he was engaged in prayer, they were stopped by his friends, 
who prevented their telling him, lest he should give way to his 
grief in public. When he returned to his house, which already 
resounded with the wailing of his household, he cast over the 
body of his daughter her mantle, which he had with him, and 
immediately she was restored to life. Again, in the same city, 
the son of a certain man among us named Irenseus, a collector of 

' De Civ. Dei, xxii. 8. 


taxes, became sick and died. As the dead body lay, and they 
were preparing, with wailing and lamentation, to bury it, one 
of his friends, consoling him, suggested that the body should 
be anointed with oil from the same martyr. This was done, and 
the child came to life again. In the same way a man among us 
named Elusinus, formerly a tribune, laid the body of his child, 
who had died from sickness, on a memorial of the martyr which 
is in his villa in the suburbs, and after he had prayed, with many 
tears, he took up the child living."' St. Augustine further relates 
some remarkable cases : " Eucharius, a presbyter from Spain, 
resided at Calama, who had for a long time suffered from stone. 
By the relics of the same martyr, which the Bishop Possidius 
brought to him, he was made whole. The same presbyter, after- 
wards succumbing to another disease, lay dead, so that they were 
already binding his hands. Succour came from the relics of the 
martyr, for the tunic of the presbyter being brought back from 
the relics and placed upon his body, he revived. "^ 

Two objections have been raised to the importance of the 
miracles reported by St. Augustine, to which we must briefly 
refer.3 (i) That "his notices of the cases in which persons had 
been raised to life again are so short, bare, and summary that they 
evidently represent no more than mere report, and report of a 
very vague kind." (2) " That, with the preface which Augustine 
prefixes to his list, he cannot be said even to profess to guarantee 
the truth or accuracy of the different instances contained in it." 

It is true that in several cases Augustine gives the account of 
miraculous cures at greater length than those of restoration to 
life. It seems to us that this is almost inevitable at all times, and 
that the reason is obvious. Where the miracle consists merely of 
the cure of disease, details are naturally given to show the nature 
and intensity of the sickness, and they are necessary not only for 
the comprehension of the cure, but to show its importance. In 
the case of restoration to life, the mere statement of the death and 
assertion of the subsequent resurrection exclude all need of 
details. The pithy reddita est vitcz^ or factuin est et revixit, is 
more striking than any more prolix narrative. In fact, the greater 
the miracle the more natural is conciseness and simplicity ; and, 
practically, we find that Augustine gives a more lengthy and 
verbose report of trifling cures, whilst he relates the more 
important with greater brevity and force. He narrates many of 
his cases of miraculous cure, however, as briefly as those in which 
the dead are raised. We have quoted the latter, and the reader 
must judge whether they are unduly curt. One thing may be 

^ De Civ. Dei, xxii. 8. ^ lb., xxii. 8. 

3 Mozley, Bampton Lectures, p. 372 f. 


affirmed, that nothing of importance is omitted, and in regard to 
essential details they are explicit as the mass of other cases 
reported. In every instance names and addresses are stated, and 
it will have been observed that all these miracles occurred in, or 
close to, Hippo, and in his own diocese. It is very certain that 
in every case the fact of the miracle is asserted in the most direct 
and positive terms. There can be no mistake either as to the 
meaning or intention of the narrative, and there is no symptom 
whatever of a thought on the part of Augustine to avoid the 
responsibility of his statements, or to give them as mere vague 
report. If we compare these accounts with those of the Gospels, 
we do not find them deficient in any essential detail common to 
the latter. There is in the Synoptic Gospels only one case in 
which Jesus is said to have raised the dead. The raising of 
Jairus' daughter' has long been abandoned, as a case of restora- 
tion to life, by all critics and theologians, except the few who still 
persist in ignoring the distinct and positive declaration of Jesus, 
" The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth." The only case, there- 
fore, in the Synoptics is the account in the third Gospel of the 
raising of the widow's son,^ of which, strange to say, the other 
Gospels know nothing. Now, although, as might have been 
expected, this narrative is much more highly coloured and 
picturesque, the difference is chiefly literary, and, indeed, there are 
really fewer important details given than in the account by 
Augustine, for instance, of the restoration to life of the daughter 
of Bassus the Syrian, which took place at Hippo, of which he was 
bishop, and where he actually resided. Augustine's object in 
giving his list of miracles did not require him to write picturesque 
narratives. He merely desired to state bare facts, whilst the 
authors of the Gospels composed the Life of their Master, in 
which interesting details were everything. For many reasons we 
refrain here from alluding to the artistic narrative of the raising 
of Lazarus, the greatest miracle ascribed to Jesus, which is never- 
theless unknown to the other three Evangelists, who, so readily 
repeating the accounts of trifling cures, would most certainly not 
have omitted this wonderful event had they ever heard of it. 

A complaint is made of the absence of verification and proof 
of actual death in these cases, or that they were more than mere 
suspension of the vital powers. We cordially agree in the desire 
for such evidence, not only in these, but in all miracles. We 
would ask, however, what verification of the death have we in the 
case of the widow's son which we have not here ? If we apply 

* Matt. ix. i8, 19, 23-26; Mark v. 22, 24, 35-43; Luke viii. 41, 42, 

= Luke vii. 11 -16. 


such a test to the miracles of the Gospels, we must reject them as 
certainly as those of St. Augustine. In neither case have we 
more than a mere statement that the subjects of these miracles 
were dead or diseased. So far are we from having any competent 
medical evidence of the reality of the death, or of the disease, 
or of the permanence of the supposed cures in the Gospels, that 
we have little more than the barest reports of these miracles by 
writers who, even if their identity were established, were not, and 
do not pretend to have been, eye-witnesses of the occurrences 
which they relate. Take, for instance, this very raising of the 
widow's son in the third Gospel, which is unknown to the other 
Evangelists, and the narrative of which is given only in a Gospel 
which is not attributed to a personal follower of Jesus. 

Now we turn to the second statem.ent : " That with the preface 
which Augustine prefixes to his list he cannot be said even to 
profess to guarantee the truth or accuracy of the different instances 
contained in it." We shall as briefly as possible state what is 
actually the " preface " of St. Augustine to his list of miracles, 
and his avowed object for giving it. In the preceding chapter 
Augustine has been arguing that the world believed in Christ by 
virtue of divine influence, and not by human persuasion. He 
contends that it is ridiculous to speak of the false divinity of 
Romulus when Christians speak of Christ. If, in the time of 
Romulus, some 600 years before Cicero, people were so enlightened 
that they refused to believe anything of which they had not experi- 
ence, how much more, in the still more enlightened days of 
Cicero himself, and notably in the reigns of Augustus and 
Tiberius, would they have rejected belief in the resurrection and 
ascension of Christ, if divine truth and the testimony of miracles 
had not proved not only that such things could take place, but 
that they had actually done so. When the evidence of prophecy 
joined with that of miracles, and showed that the new doctrines 
were only contrary to experience and not contrary to reason, the 
world embraced the faith. ^ " Why, then, say they, do these 
miracles, which you declare to have taken place formerly, not 
occur nowadays ?" Augustine, in replying, adopts a common 
rhetorical device. " I might, indeed, answer," he says, " that 
miracles were necessary before the world believed, in order that 
the world might believe. Anyone who now requires miracles 
in order that he may believe is himself a great miracle in not 
believing what all the world believes. But, really, they say this in 
order that even those miracles should not be believed either." 
And he reduces what he considers to be the position of the world 
in regard to miracles and to the supernatural dogmas of Christianity 

' De Civ. Dei, xxii. 7. 


to the following dilemma : " Either things incredible which never- 
theless occurred and were seen, led to belief in something else 
incredible which was not seen ; or that thing was in itself so credible 
that no miracles were required to establish it, and so much more 
is the unbelief of those who deny confuted. This might I say to 
these most frivolous objectors." He then proceeds to affirm that 
it cannot be denied that many miracles attest the great miracle of 
the ascension in the flesh of the risen Christ, and he points out 
that the actual occurrence of all these things is not only recorded 
in the most truthful books, but the reasons also given why they 
took place. These things have become known that they might 
create belief; these things by the belief they have created have 
become much more clearly known. They are read to the people, 
indeed, that they may believe ; yet, nevertheless, they would not 
be read to the people if they had not been believed. After thus 
stating the answer which he might give, Augustine now returns to 
answer the question directly. " But, furthermore," he continues, 
" miracles are performed now in his name, either by means of his 
sacraments or by the prayers or relics of his saints, but they are 
not brought under the same strong light as caused the former to 
be noised abroad with so much glory ; inasmuch as the canon of 
sacred scriptures, which must be definite, causes those miracles to 
be everywhere publicly read, and become firmly fixed in the 
memory of all peoples ; but these are scarcely known to the whole 
of a city itself in which they are performed, or to its neighbour- 
hood. Indeed, for the most part, even there very few know of 
them, and the rest are ignorant, more especially if the city be 
large ; and when they are related elsewhere and to others, the 
authority does not so commend them as to make them be believed 
without difficulty or doubt, albeit they are reported by faithful 
Christians to the faithful." He illustrates this by pointing out 
that the miracle in Milan by the bodies of the two martyrs, 
which took place when he himself was there, might reach 
the knowledge of many because the city is large, and the 
Emperor and an immense crowd of people witnessed it ; but 
who knows of the miracle performed at Carthage upon his friend 
Innocent, when he was there also, and saw it with his own eyes ? 
Who knows of the miraculous cure of cancer, he continues, in a 
lady of rank in the same city ? at the silence regarding which he is 
so indignant. Who knows of the next case he mentions in his 
list ? the cure of a medical man of the same town, to which he 
adds : " We, nevertheless, do know it, and a few brethren to whose 
knowledge it may have come."' Who, out of Curubus, besides 
the very few who may have heard of it, knows of the miraculous 

^ De Civ. Dei, xxii. 8, 


cure of the paralytic man, whose case Augustine personally 
investigated? And so on. Observe that there is merely a 
question of the comparative notoriety of the Gospel miracles 
and those of his own time, not a doubt as to the reality 
of the latter. Again, towards the end of his long list, immediately 
after the narrative of the restoration to Hfe of the child of 
Eleusinus, which we have quoted, Augustine says : " What can I 
do ? The promise of the completion of this work is pressing, so 
that I cannot here recount all [the miracles] that I know ; and 
without doubt many of our brethren, when they read this work, 
will be grieved that I have omitted so very much, which they 
know as well as I do. This, even now, I beg that they will pardon, 
and consider how long would be the task of doing that which, for 
the completion of the work, it is thought necessary not to do. 
For if I desired to record merely the miracles of healing, without 
speaking of others, which have been performed by this martyr — 
that is to say, the most glorious Stephen — in the district of 
Calama and in ours of Hippo, many volumes must be composed ; 
yet will it not be possible to make a complete collection of them, 
but only of such as have been published for public reading. For 
that was our object, since we saw repeated in our time signs of 
divine power similar to those of old, deeming that they ought not 
to be lost to the knowledge of the multitude. Now, this relic has 
not yet been two years at Hippo-Regius, and accounts of many of 
the miracles performed by it have not been written, as is most 
certainly known to us ; yet the number of those which have been 
published up to the time this is written amounts to about seventy. 
At Calama, however, where these relics have been longer, and 
more of the miracles were recorded, they incomparably exceed 
this number."' Augustine goes on to say that, to his knowledge, 
many very remarkable miracles were performed by the relics of 
the same martyr also at Uzali, a district near to Utica, and of one 
of these, which had recently taken place when he himself was 
there, he gives an account. Then, before closing his list with the 
narrative of a miracle which took place at Hippo, in his own 
church, in his own presence, and in the sight of the whole con- 
gregation, he resumes his reply to the opening question. " Many 
miracles, therefore," he says, "are also performed now; the same 
God who worked those of which we read performing these by 
whom he wills, and as he wills ; but these miracles neither become 
similarly known, nor, that they may not slip out of mind, are they 
stamped, as it were like gravel, into memory, by frequent reading. 
For even in places where care is taken, as is now the case among 
us, that accounts of those who receive benefit should be pubHcly 

^ De Civ. Dei. xxii. 8. 


read, those who are present hear them only once, and many are 
not present at all, so that those who were present do not, after a 
few days, remember what they heard, and scarcely a single person 
is met with who repeats what he has heard to one whom he may 
have known to have been absent."^ 

We shall not attempt any further detailed reference to the myriads 
of miracles with which the annals of the Church teem up to very 
recent times. The fact is too well known to require evidence. 
The saints in the calendar are legion. It has been computed that 
the number of those whose lives are given in the Bollandist 
Collection^ amounts to upwards of 25,000, although, the saints 
being arranged according to the Calendar, the unfinished work 
only reaches the 24th of October. When it is considered that all 
those upon whom the honour of canonisation is conferred have 
worked miracles, many of them, indeed, almost daily performing 
such wonders, some idea may be formed of the number of miracles 
which have occurred in unbroken succession from Apostolic days, 
and have been beUeved and recognised by the Church. Vast 
numbers of these miracles are in all respects similar to those 
narrated in the Gospels, and they comprise hundreds of cases of 
restoration of the dead to Hfe. If it be necessary to point out 
instances in comparatively recent times, we may mention the 
miracles of this kind liberally ascribed to St. Francis of Assisi, in 
the thirteenth century, and to his namesake St. P^ancis Xavier in 
the sixteenth, although we might refer to much more recent 
miracles authenticated by the Church. At the present day such 
phenomena have almost disappeared, and, indeed, with the excep- 
tion of an occasional winking picture, periodical liquefaction of 
blood, or apparition of the Virgin, confined to the still ignorant 
and benighted corners of the earth, miracles are extinct. 

* De Civ. Dei, xxii. 8. 

- Acta Sanctorum quotquot toto orbe coluntur ; collegit, etc., Johannes 
Bollandus,. a//// contin. Henschenii, 54 vol. fol. Venetiis, 1734-1861. 



We have maintained that the miracles reported after apostoHc 
days are precisely of the same types in all material points 
as the earlier miracles. Setting aside miracles of a trivial and 
unworthy character, there remain a countless number cast in the 
same mould as those of the Gospels — miraculous cure of diseases, 
expulsion of demons, transformation of elements, supernatural 
nourishment, resurrection of dead — of many of which we have 
quoted instances. A natural objection is anticipated by Dr. 
Mozley : " It will be urged, perhaps, that a large portion even of 
the Gospel miracles are of the class here mentioned as ambiguous — 
cures, visions, expulsions of evil spirits ; but this observation does 
not affect the character of the Gospel miracles as a body, because 
we judge of the body or whole from its highest specimen, not, 
from its lowest." He takes his stand upon, " e.g., our Lord's 
Resurrection and Ascension."^ Now, without discussing the 
principle laid down here, it is evident that the great distinction 
between the Gospel and other miracles is thus narrowed to a very 
small compass. It is admitted that the mass of the Gospel 
miracles are of a class characterised as ambiguous, because "the 
current miracles of human history " are also chiefly of the same 
type, and the distinctive character is derived avowedly only from a 
few high specimens such as the Resurrection. We have already 
referred to the fact that in the Synoptic Gospels there is only one 
case, reported by the third Gospel alone, in which Jesus is said to 
have raised the dead. St. Augustine alone, however, chronicles 
several cases in which life was restored to the dead. Post-apostolic 
miracles, therefore, are far from lacking this ennobling type. 
Observe that there is not here so much a discussion of the reality of 
the subsequent miracles of the Church as a contrast drawn between 
them and other reputed miracles and those of the Gospel ; but 
from this point of view it is impossible to maintain that the 
Gospels have a monopoly of the highest class of miracles. Such 
miracles are met with long before the dawn of Christianity, and 
continued to occur long after apostolic times. 

Much stress is laid upon the form of the Gospel miracles ; but, 

^ Bampton Lectures, p. 214. 


as we have already shown, it is the actual resurrection of the 
dead, for instance, which is the miracle, and this is not affected by 
the more or less dramatic manner in which it is said to have been 
effected, or in which the narrative of the event is composed. 
Literary skill and the judicious management of details may make 
or mar the form of any miracle. The narrative of the restoration 
of the dead child to life by Elisha might have been more impressive 
had the writer omitted the circumstance that the child sneezed seven 
times before opening his eyes, and the miracle would probably have 
been considered greater had the prophet merely said to the child, 
"Arise !" instead of stretching himself on the body; but, setting 
aside human cravings for the picturesque and artistic, the essence 
of the miracle would have remained the same. There is one point, 
however, regarding which it may be well to make a few remarks. 
Whilst a vast number of miracles are ascribed to direct personal 
action of saints, many more are attributed to their reUcs. Now, 
this is Ao exclusive characteristic of later miracles, but Christianity 
itself shares it with still earlier times. The case in which a dead 
body which touched the bones of Elisha was restored to life will 
occur to everyone. " And it came to pass, as they were burying 
a man, that, behold, they spied a band of Moabites ; and they cast 
the man into the sepulchre of Elisha : and when the man was let 
down and touched the bones of EHsha, he revived, and stood up 
on his feet."' The mantle of Elijah smiting asunder the waters 
before EUsha may be cited as another instance.^ The woman who 
touches the hem of the garment of Jesus in the crowd is made 
whole, 3 and all the sick and "possessed" of the country are 
represented as being healed by touching Jesus, or even the mere 
hem of his garment.^ It was supposed that the shadow of Peter 
falling on the sick as he passed had a curative effect,^ and it is 
very positively stated : "And God wrought miracles of no common 
kind by the hands of Paul ; so that from his body were brought 
unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed 
from them, and the evil spirits went out of them."^ 

The argument which assumes an enormous distinction between 
Gospel and other miracles betrays the prevalent scepticism, 
even in the Church, of all miracles except those which it is 
considered an article of faith to maintain. If we inquire how 
those think who are more logical and thorough in their belief 
in the supernatural, we find the distinction denied. "The 

^ 2 Kings xiii. 21. 

^ 2 'Kings ii. 14, cf. 8. In ra-sing the dead child, Elisha sends his staff to be 
laid on the child. 

3 Mark v. 27 ft". ; cf. Luke viii. 44 fiF. ; Matt. ix. 20 ff. 

4 Matt. xiv. 36 ; cf. Luke vi. 19 ; Mark iii. 10. 

s Acts V. 15. ^ lb., xix. II, 12. 


question," says Newman, " has hitherto been argued on the 
admission that a distinct line can be drawn in point of character 
and circumstances between the miracles of Scripture and those 
of Church history ; but this is by no means the case. It is true, 
indeed, that the miracles of Scripture, viewed as a whole, recom- 
mend themselves to our reason, and claim our veneration beyond 
all others, by a peculiar dignity and beauty ; but still it is only as 
a whole that they make this impression upon us. Some of them, 
on the contrary, fall short of the attributes which attach to them 
in general ; nay, are inferior in these respects to certain ecclesias- 
tical miracles, and are received only on the credit of the system of 
which they form part. Again, specimens are not wanting in the 
history of the Church, of miracles as awful in their character, and 
as momentous in their effects, as those which are recorded in 
Scripture."' Now here is one able and thorough supporter of 
miracles denying the enormous distinction between those of the 
Gospel and those of human history, which another admits to be 
essential to the former as evidence of a revelation. 

Such a difficulty, however, is met by asserting that there would 
be no disadvantage to the Gospel miracles, and no doubt 
regarding them involved, if for some later miracles there was 
evidence as strong as for those of the Gospel. " All the result 
would be, that we should admit these miracles over and above 
the Gospel ones."^ The equality of the evidence, however, is 
denied, in any case. " Between the evidence, then, upon which 
the Gospel miracles stand, and that for later miracles, we see a 
broad distinction arising, not to mention again the nature and 
type of the Gospel miracles themselves — from the contemporaneous 
date of the testimony to them, the character of the witnesses, the 
probation of the testimony; especially when we contrast with 
these points the false doctrine and audacious fraud which rose up 
in later ages, and in connection with which so large a portion of 
the later miracles of Christianity made their appearance. "3 We 
consider the point touching the type of the Gospel miracles 
disposed of, and we may, therefore, confine ourselves to the rest 
of this argument. If we look for any external evidence of the 
miracles of Jesus in some marked effect produced by them at the 
time they are said to have occurred, we find anything but con- 
firmation of the statements of the Gospels. It is a notorious fact 
that, in spite of these miracles, very few of the Jews amongst 
whom they were performed believed in Jesus, and that Christianity 
made its chief converts not where the supposed miracles took 
place, but where an account of them was alone given by 

'J. H. Newman, Two Essays on Miracles, p. i6o f. 

^ Mozley, Bampton Lectures ^ p. 231. 3 73. ^ p. 220 f. 


enthusiastic missionaries. Such astounding exhibitions of power 
as raising the dead, giving sight to the blind, walking on the sea, 
changing water into wine, and indefinitely multiplying a few loaves 
and fishes, not only did not make any impression on the Jews 
themselves, but were never heard of out of Palestine until long 
after the events are said to have occurred, when the narrative 
of them was slowly disseminated by Christian teachers and 

Dr. Mozley refers to the contemporary testimony " for certain 
great and cardinal Gospel miracles which, if granted, clears away 
all antecedent objection to the reception of the rest," and he says : 
"That the first promulgators of Christianity asserted as a fact 
which had come under the cognizance of their senses the Resur- 
rection of our Lord from the dead is as certain as anything in 
history."' What they really did assert, so far from being certain, 
must, as we shall hereafter see, be considered matter of the 
/greatest doubt. But if the general statement be taken that the 
'^ Resurrection, for instance, was promulgated as a fact which the 
early preachers of Christianity themselves believed to have taken 
place, the evidence does not in that case present the broad 
distinction he asserts. The miracles recounted by St. Athanasius 
and St. Augustine, for example, were likewise proclaimed with 
equal clearness, and even greater promptitude and publicity, at the 
very spot where many of them were said to have been performed, 
and the details were much more immediately reduced to writing. 
The mere assertion in neither case goes for much as evidence, but 
the fact is that we have absolutely no contemporaneous testimony 
as to what the first promulgators of Christianity actually 
asserted, or as to the real grounds upon which they made such 
assertions. We shall presently enter upon a thorough examination 
of the testimony for the Gospel narratives, their authorship and 
authenticity ; but we may here be permitted so far to anticipate 
as to remark that, applied to documentary evidence, any reasoning 
from the contemporaneous date of the testimony, and the character 
of the witnesses, is contradicted by the whole history of New 
Testament literature. Whilst the most uncritically zealous assertors 
of the antiquity of the Gospels never venture to date the earliest 
of them within a quarter of a century from the death of Jesus, 
every tyro is aware that there is not a particle of evidence of the 
existence of our Gospels until very long after that interval — 
hereafter we shall show how long — that two of our Synoptic 
Gospels, at least, were not composed in their present form 
by the writers to whom they are attributed; that there is, 
indeed, nothing worthy of the name of evidence that any one of 

' Bampton Lectures^ p. 219. 


these Gospels was written by the person whose name it bears; 
that the second Gospel is attributed to one who was not an eye- 
witness, and of whose identity there is the greatest doubt, even 
amongst those who assert the authorship of Mark ; that the third 
Gospel is an avowed later compilation,^ and likewise ascribed to 
one who was not a follower of Jesus himself ; and that the author- 
ship of the fourth Gospel and its historical character are amongst 
the most unsettled questions of criticism, not to use here any more 
definite terms. This being the state of the case, it is absurd to lay 
such emphasis on the contemporaneous date of the testimony, 
and on the character of the witnesses, since it has not even been 
determined who those witnesses are, and two even of the supposed 
evangelists were not personal eye-witnesses at all.^ Surely the 
testimony of Athanasius regarding the miracles of St. Anthony, 
and that of Augustine regarding his list of miracles occurring in, 
or close to, his own diocese within two years of the time at which 
he writes, or, to refer to more recent times, the evidence of Pascal 
for the Port-Royal miracles, it must be admitted, not only does not 
present the broad distinction of evidence asserted, but, on the 
contrary, is even more unassailable than that of the Gospel 
miracles. The Church, which is the authority for those miracles, 
is also the authority for the long succession of such works wrought 
by the saints. The identity of the writers we have instanced has 
never been doubted ; their trustworthiness in so far as stating 
what they believe to be true is concerned has never been impugned; 
the same could be affirmed of writers in every age who record 
such miracles. The fact is that theologians demand evidence for 
later miracles which they have not for those of the Gospels, and 
which transmitted reverence forbids their requiring. They strain 
out a gnat and swallow a camel. 

The life of sacrifice and suffering of the Apostles is pointed out 
as a remarkable and peculiar testimony to the truth of the Gospel 
miracles, and notably of the Resurrection and Ascension. Without 
examining, here, how much we really know of those lives and 
sufferings, one thing is perfectly evident : that sacrifice, suffering, 
and martyrdom itself are evidence of nothing except of the 
personal belief of the person enduring them ; they do not prove 
the truth of the doctrines believed. No one doubts the high 
religious enthusiasm of the early Christians, or the earnest and 
fanatical zeal with which they courted martyrdom ; but this is no 

' Luke i. 1-4, 

^ We need scarcely point out that Paul, to whom so many of the writings of 
the New Testament are ascribed, and who practically is the author of eccle- 
siastical Christianity, not only was not an eye-witness of the Gospel miracles, 
but never even saw Jesus. 


exclusive characteristic of Christianity. Every religion has had 
its martyrs, every error its devoted victims. Does the marvellous 
endurance of the Hindoo, whose limbs wither after years of 
painful persistence in vows to his Deity, prove the truth of 
Brahmanism ? or do the fanatical believers who cast themselves 
under the wheels of the car of Jagganath establish the soundness 
of their creed ? Do the Jews, who for centuries bore the fiercest 
contumely of the world, and were persecuted, hunted, and done 
to death by every conceivable torture for persisting in their denial 
of the truth of the Incarnation, Resurrection, and Ascension, and 
in their rejection of Jesus Christ — do they thus furnish a convincing 
argument for the truth of their belief and the falsity of Chris- 
tianity ? Or have the thousands who have been consigned to the 
stake by the Christian Church herself, for persisting in asserting 
what she has denounced as damnable heresy, proved the correct- 
ness of their views by their sufferings and death ? History is full 
of the records of men who have honestly believed every kind of 
error and heresy, and have been steadfast to the death, through 
persecution and torture, in their mistaken belief. There is nothing 
so inflexible as superstitious fanaticism, and persecution, instead of 
extinguishing it, has invariably been the most certain means of its 
propagation. The sufferings of the Apostles, therefore, cannot 
prove anything beyond their own belief, and the question, what it 
was they really did believe and .suffer for, is by no means so 
simple as it appears. 

Now the long succession of ecclesiastical and other miracles 
has an important bearing upon those of the New Testament, 
whether we believe or deny their reality. If we regard the 
miracles of Church history to be in the main real, the whole force 
of the Gospel miracles, as exceptional supernatural evidence of a 
Divine Revelation, is annihilated. The " miraculous credentials 
of Christianity" assume a very different aspect when they are 
considered from such a point of view. Admitted to be scarcely 
recognisable from miracles wrought by Satanic agency, they are 
seen to be a continuation of wonders recorded in the Old Testa- 
ment, to be preceded and accompanied by pretension to similar 
power on the part of the Jews and other nations, and to be 
succeeded by cycles of miracles, in all essential respects the same, 
performed subsequently for upwards of fifteen hundred years. 
Supernatural evidence of so common and prodigal a nature 
certainly betrays a great want of force and divine speciality. How 
could that be considered as express evidence for a new Divine 
revelation which was already so well known to the world, and 
which is scattered broadcast over so many centuries, as well as 
successfully simulated by Satan ? 

If, on the other hand, we dismiss the miracles of later ages as 


false, and as merely the creations of superstition or pious imagina- 
tion, how can the miracles of the Gospel, which are precisely the 
same in type, and not better established as facts, remain unshaken ? 
The Apostles and Evangelists were men of like passions, and also 
of like superstitions, with others of their time, and must be 
measured by the same standard. 

If we consider the particular part which miracles have played 
in human history, we find precisely the phenomena which might 
have been expected if, instead of being considered as real occur- 
rences, they are recognised as the mistakes or creations of 
ignorance and superstition during that period in which " reality 
melted into fable, and invention unconsciously trespassed on the 
province of history." Their occurrence is limited to ages which 
were totally ignorant of physical laws, and they have been 
numerous or rare precisely in proportion to the degree of imagina- 
tion and love of the marvellous characterising the people amongst 
whom they are said to have occurred. Instead of a few evidential 
miracles taking place at one epoch of history, and filling the 
world with surprise at such novel and exceptional phenomena, we 
find miracles represented as occurring in all ages and in all 
countries. The Gospel miracles are set in the midst of a series 
of similar wonders, which commenced many centuries before the 
dawn of Christianity and continued, without interruption, for 
fifteen hundred years after it. They did not in the most remote 
degree originate the belief in miracles, or give the first suggestion 
of spurious imitation. It may, on the contrary, be much more 
truly said that the already existing belief created these miracles. 
No divine originality characterised the evidence selected to 
accredit the Divine Revelation. The miracles with which the 
history of the world is full occurred in ages of darkness and 
superstition, and they gradually ceased when enlightenment became 
more generally diffused. At the very time when knowledge of the 
laws of nature began to render men capable ot judging of the reality 
of miracles, these wonders entirely failed. This extraordinary 
cessation of miracles, precisely at the time when their evidence 
might have acquired value by an appeal to persons capable of 
appreciating them, is perfectly unintelligible if they be viewed as 
the supernatural credentials of a Divine revelation. If, on the 
other hand, they be regarded as the mistakes of imaginative 
excitement and ignorance, nothing is more natural than their 
extinction at the time when the superstition which created them 
gave place to knowledge. 

As a historical fact, there is nothing more certain than that 
miracles, and the belief in them, disappeared exactly when educa- 
tion and knowledge of the operation of natural laws became 


diffused throughout Europe, and that the last traces of belief in 
supernatural interference with the order of nature are only to be 
found in localities where ignorance and superstition still prevail, 
and render delusion or pious fraud of that description possible. 
Miracles are now denied to places more enHghtened than Naples 
or La Salette. The inevitable inference from this fact is fatal to 
the mass of miracles, and it is not possible to protect them from 
it. Miracle cures by the relics of saints, upheld for fifteen 
centuries by all the power of the Church, utterly failed when 
medical science, increasing in spite of persecution, demonstrated 
the natural action of physiological laws. The theory of the 
demoniacal origin of disease has been entirely and for ever 
dispelled, and the host of miracles in connection with it retro- 
spectively exploded by the progress of science. Witchcraft and 
sorcery, the belief in which reigned supreme for so many centuries, 
are known to have been nothing but the delusions of ignorant 

Notwithstanding the facts which we have stated, it has been 
argued : " Christianity is the religion of the civilised world, and it 
^ is believed upon its miraculous evidence. Now, for a set of 
miracles to be accepted in a rude age, and to retain their authority 
throughout a succession of such ages, and over the ignorant and 
superstitious part of mankind, may be no such great result for the 
miracle to accomplish, because it is easy to satisfy those who do 
not inquire. But this is not the state of the case which we have 
to meet on the subject of the Christian miracles. The Christian 
being the most intelligent, the civilised portion of the world, these 
miracles are accepted by the Christian body as a whole, by the 
thinking and educated, as well as the uneducated, part of it, and 
the Gospel is believed upon that evidence."^ The picture of 
Christendom here suggested is purely imaginary. We are asked to 
believe that succeeding generations of thinking and educated, as 
well as uneducated, men since the commencement of the period 
in which the adequate inquiry into the reality of miracles became 
possible, have made that adequate inquiry, and have intelligently 
and individually accepted miracles and believed the Gospel in 
consequence of their attestation. The fact, however, is that 
Christianity became the religion of Europe before men either 
possessed the knowledge requisite to appreciate the difficulties 
involved in the acceptance of miracles, or minds sufficiently freed 
from ignorant superstition to question the reality of the supposed 
supernatural interference with the order of nature, and belief had 
become so much a matter of habit that, in our time, the 
great majority of men have professed belief for no better reason 

* Mozley, Bampton Lectures, p. 27. 


than that their fathers beheved before them. Belief is now little 
more than a transmitted quality or hereditary custom. Few men, 
even now, have either the knowledge or the leisure requisite to 
enable them to enter upon such an examination of miracles as can 
entitle them to affirm that they inteUigently accept miracles for 
themselves. We have shown, moreover, that so loose are the ideas 
even of the clergy upon the subject that dignitaries of the Church 
fail to see either the evidential purpose of miracles or the 
need for evidence at all, and the first intelligent step towards 
inquiry — doubt — has generally been stigmatised almost as a 

So far from the statement which we are considering being 
correct, it is notorious that the great mass of those who are 
competent to examine, and who have done so, altogether reject 
miracles. Instead of the " thinking and educated " men of 
science accepting miracles, they, as a body, distinctly deny them, 
and hence the antagonism between science and ecclesiastical 
Christianity; and it is surely not necessary to point out how many 
of the profoundest critics and scholars of Germany, and of all 
other countries in Europe, who have turned their attention to 
Biblical subjects, have long ago rejected the miraculous elements 
of the Christian religion. » 

It is necessary that we should now refer to the circumstance 
that all the arguments which we have hitherto considered in 
support of miracles, whether to explain or account for them, have 
proceeded upon an assumption of the reaHty of the alleged 
phenomena. Had it been first requisite to establish the truth of 
facts of such an astounding nature, the necessity of accounting 
for them would never have arisen. It is clear, therefore, that an 
assumption which permits the argument to attain any such position 
begs almost the whole question. Facts, however astounding, the 
actual occurrence of which had been proved, would claim a latitude 
of explanation, which a mere narrative of those alleged facts, written 
by an unknown person some eighteen centuries ago, could not 
obtain. If, for instance, it be once established as an absolute 
fact that a man actually dead, and some days buried, upon whose 
body decomposition had already made some progress,^ had been 
restored to life, the fact of his death and of his subsequent 
resuscitation being so absolutely proved that the possibility of 
deception or of mistake on the part of the witnesses was totally 
excluded, it is clear that an argument, as to whether such an 
occurrence should be ascribed to known or unknown laws, would 
assume a very different character from that which it would 
have borne if the argument merely sought to account for so 

^ Cf. John xi. 39. 


astounding a phenomenon of whose actual occurrence there was 
no sufficient evidence. 

It must not be forgotten, therefore, that, as the late Professor 
Baden Powell pointed out, " At the present day it is not a miracle^ 
but the narrative of a miracle^ to which any argument can refer, 
or to which faith is accorded."^ The discussion of miracles, then, 
is not one regarding miracles actually performed within our own 
knowledge, but merely regarding miracles said to have been 
performed eighteen hundred years ago, the reality of which was 
not verified at the time by any scientific examination, and whose 
occurrence is merely reported in the Gospels. Now, although 
Paley and others rightly and logically maintain that Christianity 
requires, and should be believed only upon, its miraculous 
evidence, the fact is that popular Christianity is not believed 
because of miracles, but miracles are accepted because they are 
related in the Gospels which are supposed to contain the doctrines 
of Christianity. The Gospels have for many generations been 
given to the child as inspired records, and doubt of miracles has, 
therefore, either never arisen or has been instantly suppressed, 
simply because miracles are recorded in the sacred volume. It 
could scarcely be otherwise, for in point of fact the Gospel 
miracles stand upon no other testimony. We are therefore in 
this position : We are asked to believe astounding announcements 
beyond the limits of human reason, which we could only be 
justified in believing upon miraculous evidence, upon the testimony 
of miracles which are only reported by the records which also 
alone convey the announcements which those miracles were 
intended to accredit. There is no other contemporary evidence 
whatever. The importance of the Gospels, therefore, as the 
almost solitary testimony to the occurrence of miracles can 
scarcely be exaggerated. We have already made an anticipatory 
remark regarding the nature of these documents, to which we may 
add that they are not the work of perfectly independent historians, 
but of men who were engaged in disseminating the new doctrines, 
and in saying this we have no intention of accusing the writers of 
conscious deception ; it is, however, necessary to state the fact 
in order that the value of the testimony may be fairly estimated. 
The narratives of miracles were written by ardent partisans, with 
minds inflamed by religious zeal and enthusiasm, in an age of 
ignorance and superstition, a considerable time after the supposed 
miraculous occurrences had taken place. All history shows how 
rapidly pious memory exaggerates and idealises the traditions of 
the past, and simple actions might readily be transformed into 
miracles, as the narratives circulated, in a period so prone to 

• Order of Nature, p. 285. 


superstition and so characterised by love of the marvellous. 
Religious excitement could not, under such circumstances and in 
such an age, have escaped this exaggeration. How few men in 
more enlightened times have been able soberly to appreciate, and 
accurately to record, exciting experiences, where feeling and 
religious emotion have been concerned. Prosaic accuracy of 
observation and of language, at all times rare, are the last qualities 
we could expect to find in the early ages of Christianity. In the 
certain fact that disputes arose among the Apostles themselves so 
shortly after the death of their great Master, we have one proof 
that even amongst them there was no accurate appreciation of the 
teaching of Jesus, ^ and the frequent instances of their misunder- 
standing of very simple matters, and of their want of enlighten- 
ment, which occur throughout the Gospels are certainly not 
calculated to inspire much confidence in their intelligence and 
accuracy of observation. 

Now it is apparent that the evidence for miracles requires to 
embrace two distinct points : the reality of the alleged facts, and 
the accuracy of the inference that the phenomena were produced 
by supernatural agency. The task would even then remain of 
demonstrating the particular supernatural Being by whom the 
miracles were performed, which is admitted to be impossible. 
We have hitherto chiefly confined ourselves to a consideration of 
the antecedent credibility of such events, and of the fitness of 
those who are supposed to have witnessed them to draw accurate 
inferences from the alleged phenomena. Those who have formed 
any adequate conception of the amount of testimony which 
would be requisite in order to establish the reality of occurrences 
in violation of an order of nature, which is based upon universal 
and invariable experience, must recognise that, even if the 
earliest asserted origin of our four Gospels could be established 
upon the most irrefragable grounds, the testimony of the writers — 
men of like ignorance with their contemporaries, men of like passions 
with ourselves — would be utterly incompetent to prove the reality 
of miracles. We have already sufficiently discussed this point, 
more especially in connection with Hume's argument, and need 
not here resume it. Every consideration, historical and philo- 
sophical, has hitherto discredited the whole theory of miracles, 
and further inquiry might be abandoned as unnecessary. In 
order, however, to render our conclusion complete, it remains 
for us to see whether, as affirmed, there be any special evidence 
regarding the alleged facts entitling the Gospel miracles to 
exceptional attention. If, instead of being clear and direct, the un- 
doubted testimony of known eye-witnesses free from superstition, 

' £.£-., Ga.\.n. 11 ff. 


and capable, through adequate knowledge, rightly to estimate the 
alleged phenomena, we find that the actual accounts have none 
of these qualifications, the final decision with regard to miracles 
and the reality of Divine revelation will be easy and conclusive. 




Before commencing our examination of the evidence as to the 
date, authorship, and character of the Gospels, it may be well to 
make a few preliminary remarks, and clearly state certain canons 
of criticism. We shall make no attempt to establish any theory 
as to the date at which any of the Gospels was actually written, 
but simply examine all the testimony which is extant, with the view 
of ascertaining w^hat is known of these works and their authors, 
certainly and distinctly, as distinguished from what is merely con- 
jectured or inferred. Modern opinion in an Inquiry like ours 
must not be taken for ancient evidence. We propose, therefore, 
as exhaustively as possible to search all the writings of the early 
Church for information regarding the Gospels, and to examine 
even the alleged indications of their use. 

It is very important, however, that the silence of early writers 
should receive as much attention as any supposed allusions to the 
Gospels. When such writers, quoting largely from the Old Testa- 
ment and other sources, deal with subjects which would naturally 
be assisted by reference to our Gospels, and still more so by 
quoting such works as authoritative; and yet we find that not only 
they do not show any knowledge of those Gospels, but actually 
quote passages from unknown sources, or sayings of Jesus derived 
from tradition ; the inference must be that our Gospels were either 
unknown or not recognised as works of authority at the time. 

It is still more important that we should constantly bear in mind 
that a great number of Gospels existed in the early Church which 
are no longer extant, and of most of which even the names are 
lost. We need not here do more than refer, in corroboration of 
this remark, to the preliminary statement of the author of the third 
Gospel : " Forasmuch as many (ttoXXoI) took in hand to set forth in 
order a declaration of the things which have been accomplished 


among us," etc.'' It is, therefore, evident that before our 
third Synoptic was written many similar works were already in 
circulation. Looking at the close similarity of large portions of 
the three Synoptics, it is almost certain that many of the writings 
here mentioned bore a close analogy to each other and to our 
Gospels, and this is known to have been the case, for instance, 
amongst the various forms of the " Gospel according to the 
Hebrews." When, therefore, in early writings we meet with quota- 
tions closely resembling, or, we may add, even identical with, 
passages which are found in our Gospels, the source of which, 
however, is not mentioned, nor is any author's name indicated, the 
similarity, or even identity, cannot by any means be admitted as 
proof that the quotation is necessarily from our Gospels, and not 
from some other similar work now no longer extant, and more 
especially not when, in the same writings, there are other quota- 
tions from sources different from our Gospels. Whether regarded 
as historical records or as writings embodying the mere tradition 
of the early Christians, our Gospels cannot be recognised as the 
exclusive depositories of the genuine sayings and doings of Jesus. 
So far from the common possession by many works in early times 
of sayings of Jesus in closely similar form being either strange or 
improbable, the really remarkable phenomenon is that such 
material variation in the report of the more important historical 
teaching should exist amongst them. But whilst similarity to our 
Gospels in passages quoted by early writers from unknown sources 
cannot prove the use of our Gospels, variation from them would 
suggest or prove a different origin, and, at least, it is obvious that 
anonymous quotations which do not agree with our Gospels 
cannot, in any case, necessarily indicate their existence. It may 
be well, before proceeding further, to illustrate and justify the 
canons of criticism which we have laid down by examples in our 
three Synoptics themselves. 

Let us for a moment suppose the " Gospel according to Luke " 
to have been lost like the " Gospel according to the Hebrews," 
and so many others. In the works of one of the Fathers we 
discover the following quotation from an unnamed evangelical 
work : " And he said unto them (eXeyev Se tt/oo? avrous) : 
The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few : pray ye 
therefore the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth labourers 
into his harvest. Go your ways : (vTrdyere) behold I send 
you forth as lambs {apva<s) in the midst of wolves." Apologetic 
critics would probably maintain that this was a compilation from 
memory of passages quoted freely from our first Gospel, that is to 
say Matt. ix. 37 : "Then saith he unto his disciples (rore Xeyei 

^ Luke i. I. 


rot? [xadrjTah avrov) the harvest," etc., and Matt. x. 16 : " Behold 
I (eyw) send you forth as sheep (TrpofSara) in the midst of 
wolves : be ye therefore," etc., which, with the differences which 
we have indicated, agree. It would probably be in vain to argue 
that the quotation indicated a continuous order, and the variations 
combined to confirm the probability of a different source; and still 
more so to point out that, although parts of the quotation separated 
from their context might, to a certain extent, correspond with 
scattered verses in the first Gospel, such a circumstance was no 
proof that the quotation was taken from that and from no other 
Gospel. The passage, however, is a literal quotation from Luke x. 
2, 3, which, as we have assumed, had been lost. 

Again, still supposing the third Gospel no longer extant, we 
might find the following quotation in a work of the Fathers : 
" Take heed to yourselves (eavrois) of the leaven of the 
Pharisees, which is hypocrisy (17T19 icrrlv v7roK/3to-t§). For 
there is nothing covered up (crvyKeKaXvixfjievov) which shall 
not be revealed, and hid which shall not be known." It would, of 
course, be affirmed that this was evidently a combination of two 
verses of our first Gospel, quoted almost literally, with merely a 
few very immaterial slips of memory in the parts we note, and the 
explanatory words " which is hypocrisy " introduced by the Father, 
and not a part of the quotation at all. The two verses are Matt. 
xvi. 6 : " Beware and {opare koI) take heed of the leaven of 
the Pharisees and Sadducees" (koI 2a88ovAcaia>v), and Matt. 

X. 26 "For (yo-p) there is nothing covered {KeKaXvpfx^vov) 

that shall not be revealed, and hid that shall not be known." It 
would probably be argued that the sentence should be divided, and 
each part would then have its parallel in separate portions of the 
Gospel. That such a system is mistaken is clearly estabfished by 
the fact that the quotation, instead of being such a combination, 
is simply taken as it stands from the Gospel according to 
Luke xii. i, 2. 

To give another example, and such might easily be multiplied, 
if our second Gospel had been lost and the following passage were 
met with in one of the Fathers without its source being indicated, 
what would be the argument of those who insist that quota- 
tions, though differing from our Gospels, were yet taken from 
them ? " If any one have (et rt? e^et) ears to hear, let him 
hear. And he said unto them : Take heed what (rt) ye hear ; 
with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you : and more 
shall be given unto you. For he (o?) that hath to him shall be 
given, and he (^at 09) that hath not from him shall be taken 
even that which he hath." Upon the principle on which patristic 
quotations are treated, it would probably be positively affirmed 
that this passage was a quotation from our first and third Gospels 


combined and made from memory. The exigencies of the occasion 
might probably lead to the assertion that the words, " And 
he said to them," really indicated a separation of the latter 
part of the quotation from the preceding, and that the Father 
thus showed that the passage was not consecutive ; and as to the 
phrase, " and more shall be given unto you," that it was evidently 
an addition of the Father. The passage would be dissected, and 
its different members compared with scattered sentences, and 
declared almost literal quotations from the Canonical Gospels. 
Matt. xiii. 9 : " He that hath (6 e'xojv) ears to hear, let him hear."^ 
Luke viii. 18 : "Take heed, therefore, how (ovv ttw?) ye hear." 

Matt. vii. 2 : " with what measure ye mete it shall be measured 

to you."2 Matt. xiii. 12: "For whosoever (oo-n?) hath, to him 
shall be given (and he shall have abundance) ; but whosoever 
(oo-Ttg 8e) hath not from him shall betaken even that which he hath. "3 
In spite of these ingenious assertions, however, the quotation in 
reality is literally and consecutively taken from Mark iv. 23-25. 

These examples may suffice to show that any argument which 
commences by the assumption that the order of a passage quoted 
may be entirely disregarded, and that it is sufficient to find 
parallels scattered irregularly up and down the Gospels to warrant 
the conclusion that the passage is compiled from them, and is not 
a consecutive quotation from some other source, is utterly 
unfounded and untenable. The supposition of a lost Gospel 
which has just been made to illustrate this argument is, however, 
not a mere supposition, but a fact ; for we no longer have the 
Gospel according to Peter, nor that according to the Hebrews, 
not to mention the numerous other works in use in the early 
Church. The instances we have given show the importance of 
the order, as well as the language, of quotations, and while they 
prove the impossibility of demonstrating that a consecutive 
passage which differs not only in language, but in order, from the 
parallels in our Gospels must be derived from them, they likewise 
attest the probability that such passages are actually quoted from 
a different source. 

If we examine further, however, in the same way, quotations 
which differ merely in language, we arrive at the very same con- 
clusion. Supposing the third Gospel to be lost, what would be 
the source assigned to the following quotation from an unnamed 
Gospel in the work of one of the Fathers ? " No servant (ovSeh 
otKerrj^) can serve two lords, for either he will hate the one 
and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise 
the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." Of course the 

' Cf. Matt. x;. 15 ; Luke viii. 8. 
= Cf. Luke vi. 38. 3 Cf. Matt. xxv. 29 ; Luke viii. 18, xix. 26. 


passage would be claimed as a quotation from memory of Matt, 
vi. 24, with which it perfectly corresponds, with the exception of 
the addition of the second word oikctt/s, which, it would no 
doubt be argued, is an evident and very natural amplification of 
the simple ovSels of the first Gospel. Yet this passage, only 
differing by the single word from Matthew, is a literal quotation 
from the Gospel according to Luke xvi. 13. Or, to take another 
instance, supposing the third Gospel to be lost, and the following 
passage quoted, from an unnamed source, by one of the Fathers : 
" Beware (irpoa-ex^Te) of the Scribes which desire to walk in 
long robes, and love (<j>iXovvto)v) greetings in the markets, and 
chief seats in the synagogues and uppermost places at feasts ; 
which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long 
prayers : these shall receive greater damnation." This would, 
without hesitation, be declared a quotation from memory of Mark 

xii. 38-40: " Beware (/SAeTrere) of the Scribes which desire 

to walk in long robes and greetings in the markets, and chief seats 
in the synagogues and uppermost places at feasts ; which devour 
widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers : these shall 
receive," etc. It is, however, a literal quotation of Luke xx. 46, 
47 ; yet, probably, it would be in vain to submit to apologetic 
critics that the passage was not derived from Mark, but 
from a lost Gospel. To quote one more instance, let us 
suppose the " Gospel according to Mark " no longer extant, 
and that in some early work there existed the following 
quotation : " It is easier for a camel to go through the eye 
(rpyfiaXtas) of a needle than for a rich man to enter into 
the Kingdom of God." This would, of course, be claimed as a 
quotation ' from memory of Matt. xix. 24,^ with which it agrees, 
with the exception of the substitution of r/avTrrJ/xaro? for the 
rpvfxaXLa<s. It would not the less have been an exact quotation 
from Mark x. 25.^ 

The actual agreement of any saying of Jesus, quoted by one of 
the early Fathers from an unnamed source, with a passage in our 
Gospels is by no means conclusive evidence that the quotation 
was actually derived from that Gospel. It must be apparent that 


Luke xviii. 25 

For further instances ( 
Luke xiv. 11 ^ 

compare — 
with Matt. 


1 2 and Luke xviii. 





)f )> 











,',' Luke 






55 55 






5 5 xiii. 34. 
-36 with Mark xiii. 31 

0-32 and Luke 



literal agreement in reporting short and important sayings is not 
in itself so surprising as to constitute proof that, occurring in two 
histories, the one must have copied from the other. The only 
thing which is surprising is that such frequent inaccuracy should 
exist. When we add, however, the fact that most of the larger 
early evangelical works, including our Synoptic Gospels, must 
have been compiled out of the same original sources, and have 
been largely indebted to each other, the common possession of 
such sayings becomes a matter of natural occurrence. Moreover, 
it must be admitted even by apologetic critics that, in a case of 
such vast importance as the report of sayings of Jesus, upon the 
verbal accuracy of which the most essential doctrines of Chris- 
tianity depend, it cannot be a wonder, to the extent of proving 
plagiarism so to say, if various Gospels report the same saying of 
Jesus in the same words. Practically the Synoptic Gospels differ 
in their reports a great deal more than is right or desirable ; but 
we may take them as an illustration of the fact that identity of 
passages, where the source is unnamed, by no means proves that 
such passages in a work of the early Fathers were derived from 
one Gospel, and not from any other. Let us suppose our first 
Gospel to have been lost, and the following quotation from an 
unnamed source to be found in an early work : " Every tree that 
bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the 
fire." This, being in literal agreement with Luke iii. 9, would 
certainly be declared by modern apologists conclusive proof that 
the Father was acquainted with that Gospel ; and although the 
context in the work of the Father might, for instance, be : "Ye 
shall know them from their works, and every tree," etc., and 
yet, in the third Gospel, the context is : " And now also, the axe 
is laid unto the root of the trees : and every tree," etc., that would 
by no means give them pause. The explanation of combination 
of texts, and quotation from memory, is sufficiently elastic for 
every emergency. Now, the words in question might in reality 
be a quotation from the lost Gospel according to Matthew, in 
which they twice occur ; so that here is a passage which is literally 
repeated three times — Matt. iii. 10, vii. 19, and Luke iii. 9. 
In Matt. iii. 10, and in the third Gospel, the words are part of 
a saying of John the Baptist ; whilst in Matt. vii. 1 9 they are 
given as part of the Sermon on the Mount, with a different 

Another illustration of this may be given, by supposing the 
Gospel of Luke to be no longer extant, and the following sentence 
in one of the Fathers : " And ye shall be hated by all men, for 
my name's sake." These very words occur both in Matt. x. 23 
and Mark xiii. 13, in both of which places there follow the words : 
*' but he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved." 


There might here have been a doubt as to whether the Father derived 
the words from the first or second Gospel, but they would have 
been ascribed either to the one or to the other, whilst in reality 
they were taken from a different work altogether — Luke xxi. 17. 
Here again we have the same words in three Gospels. In how 
many more of them may not the same passage have been found ? 
One more instance to conclude. The following passage might be 
quoted from an unnamed source by one of the Fathers : " Heaven 
and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." If 
the Gospel according to Mark were no longer extant, this would 
be claimed as a quotation either from Matt. xxiv. 35 or Luke 
xxi. 33, in both of which it occurs ; but, notwithstanding, the 
Father might not have been acquainted with either of them, and 
simply have quoted from Mark xiii. 31.^ And here again the 
three Gospels contain the same passage without variation. 

Now, in all these cases not only is the selection of the Gospel 
from which the quotation was actually taken completely an open 
question, since they all have it, but still more is the point 
uncertain, when it is considered that many other works may also 
have contained it, historical sayings being naturally common 
property. Does the agreement of the quotation with a passage 
which is equally found in the three Gospels prove the existence of 
all of them ? and if not, how is the Gospel from which it was 
actually taken to be distinguished ? If it be difficult to do so, 
how much more when the possibility and probability, demonstrated 
by the agreement of the three extant, that it might have formed 
part of a dozen other works is taken into account. 

It is unnecessary to add that, in proportion as we remove from 
apostolic times without positive evidence of the existence and 
authenticity of our Gospels, so does the value of their testimony 
dwindle away. Indeed, requiring as we do clear, direct, and irre- 
fragable evidence of the integrity, authenticity, and historical 
character of these Gospels, doubt or obscurity on these points 
must inevitably be fatal to them as sufficient testimony — if they 
could, under any circumstances, be considered sufficient testimony 
— for miracles and a direct Divine revelation like ecclesiastical 

We propose to examine, first, the evidence for the three 
Synoptics, and then, separately, the testimony regarding the fourth 

Cf. Matt. vii. 7-8 with Luke xi. 9-10 ; Matt. xi. 25 with Luke x. 2] 



The first work which presents itself for examination is the so- 
called first Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, which, together 
with a second Epistle to the same community, likewise attributed 
to Clement, is preserved to us in the Codex Akxandrtnus, a MS. 
assigned by the most competent judges to the second half of the 
fifth or beginning of the sixth century, in which these Epistles 
follow the books of the New Testament. The second Epistle, 
which is evidently not epistolary, but the fragment of a Homily, 
although it thus shares with the first the honour of a canonical 
position in one of the most ancient codices of the New Testa- 
ment, is not mentioned at all by the earlier Fathers who refer to 
the first / and Eusebius, who is the first writer who mentions it, 
expresses doubt regarding it, while Jerome and Photius state that 
it was rejected by the ancients. It is now universally regarded as 
spurious, and dated about the end of the second century, or 
later. We shall hereafter see that many other pseudographs 
were circulated in the name of Clement, to which, however, we 
need not further allude at present. 

There has been much controversy as to the identity of the 
Clement to whom the first Epistle is attributed. In early days he 
was supposed to be the Clement mentioned in the Epistle to the 
Philippians (iv. 3),^ but this is now generally doubted or 
denied, and the authenticity of the Epistle has, indeed, been 
called in question both by earfier and later critics. It is unneces- 
sary to detail the various traditions regarding the supposed writer, 
but we must point out that the Epistle itself makes no mention of 
the author's name. It merely purports to be addressed by "The 
Church of God which sojourns at Rome to the Church of God 
sojourning at Corinth " ; but in the Codex Alexandrinus the title 
of " The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians " is added at 

' Dionysius, Cor. in Euseb. , H. E., iv. 23 ; Irenaeus, Adv. Hcer. , iii. 3 ; 
Clemens Al., Stromata, iv. 17, § 107, i. 7, § 38, v. 12, § 81, vi. 8, § 65 ; 
Origen, De Princip.^ ii. 3, 6; in Ezech. 8; Epiphanius, Hcer.^ xxvii. 6. 
Cf. Cyril, Hieros. , Catech., xviii. 8. 

= Eusebius, H.E., iii. 15, 16; Hieron., de Vir. III., 15 ; Photius, Bibl. Cod. 



the end. Clement of Alexandria calls the supposed writer the 
"Apostle Clement 'V Origen reports that many also ascribed to 
him the authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews f and Photius 
mentions that he was likewise said to be the writer of the Acts of 
the Apostles.3 We know that, until a comparatively late date, this 
Epistle was quoted as Holy Scripture, ^ and was publicly read in 
the churches at the Sunday meetings of Christians.^ It has, as 
we have seen, a place amongst the canonical books of the New 
Testament in the Codex Alexandrinus^ but it did not long retain 
that position in the canon, for, although in the Apostolic Canons^ 
of the sixth or seventh century both Epistles appear, yet in the 
Stichometry of Nicephorus, a work of the ninth century, derived, 
however, as Credner7 has demonstrated, from a Syrian catalogue 
of the fifth century, both Epistles are classed among the 

Great uncertainty prevails as to the date at which the Epistle 
was written. Reference is supposed to be made to it by the so- 
called Epistle of Polycarp, but, owing to the probable inauthenti- 
city of that work itself, no weight can be attached to this circum- 
stance. The first certain reference to it is by Hegesippus, in the 
second half of the second century, mentioned by Eusebius.9 
Dionysius of Corinth, in a letter ascribed to him, addressed to 
Soter, Bishop of Rome, is the first who distinctly mentions the 
name of Clement as the author of the Epistle.^° There is some 
difference of opinion as to the order of his succession to the 
Bishopric of Rome. Iren?eus" and Eusebius^^ say that he followed 
Anacletus, and the latter adds the date of the twelfth year of the 
reign of Domitian (a.d. 91-92), and that he died nine years after, 
in the third year of Trajan's reign (a.d. 100). ^3 Internal evidence'^ 
shows that the Epistle was written after some persecution of the 
Roman Church, and the selection lies between the persecution 
under Nero, which would suggest the date a.d. 64-70, or that 
under Domitian, which would assign the letter to the end of the 
first century, or to the beginning of the second. Those who 
adhere to the view that the Clement mentioned in the Epistle to 
the Philippians is the author maintain that the Epistle was 
written under Nero. One of their principal arguments for this 

' Strom, iv. 17, § 107. ^ Eusebius, H.E., vi. 25. 

3 Qticesl. AinphiL, Gallandi, Bibi. Patr.,i'j6^, xiii., p. 722. 
'^ Irenseus, Adv. Har.^'w. 3 ; Clemens Al., Strom.., I.e. 

s Dion., Cor. in Euseb. H. E., iv. 23, iii. 16 ; Epiphanius, Har., xxx. 15 ; 
Ilieron., de Vir. III., 15. 
^ Can. 76 (85). 7 Zur Gesch. des Kanons, 1847, p. 97 ff. 

^ Credner, ib., p. 122. '^ H. E., iii. 16, iv. 22. '° Euseb., H. E., iv. 23. 
" Adv. Hcer., iii. 3, § 3 ; Euseb., i^. E., v. 6.. 
'= H. E., iii. 15, cf. 4. '3 H. E., iii. 15, 34. ^^ Ch. i. 



conclusion is a remark occurring in chapter xli.: "Not everywhere, 
brethren, are the daily sacrifices offered up, or the votive offerings, 
or the sin-offerings and the trespass-offerings, but only in 
Jerusalem. But even there they are not offered in every place, 
but only at the altar before the Sanctuary, examination of the 
sacrifice offered being first made by the High Priest and the 
ministers already mentioned." From this it is concluded that the 
Epistle was written before the destruction of the Temple. It has, 
however, been shown that Josephus,' the author of the "Epistle to 
Diognetus " (c. 3), and others, long after the Jewish worship of the 
Temple was at an end, continually speak in the present tense of 
the Temple worship in Jerusalem ; and it is evident, as Cotelier 
long ago remarked, that this may be done with propriety even in 
the present day. The argument is therefore recognised to be 
without value. Tischendorf, who systematically adopts the earliest 
possible or impossible dates for all the writings of the first two 
centuries, decides, without stating his reasons, that the grounds for 
the earlier date, about a.d. 69, as well as for the episcopate of 
Clement from a.d. 68-7 7, ^ are conclusive ; but he betrays his more 
correct impression by classing Clement, in his index, along with 
Ignatius and Poly carp as representatives of the period, " First and 
second quarters of the second century ";3 and in the Prolegomena 
to his New Testament he dates the episcopate of Clement " ab 
anno 92 usque 10 2. "4 The earlier episcopate assigned to him by 
Hefele upon most insufficient grounds is contradicted by the 
direct statements of Iraeneus, Eusebius, Jerome, and others who 
give the earliest lists of Roman Bishops, s as well as by the internal 
evidence of the Epistle itself. In chapter xliv. the writer speaks 
of those appointed by the apostles to the oversight of the Church, 
" or afterwards by other notable men, the whole Church consenting 

who have for a long time been commended by all, etc.," 

which indicates successions of Bishops since apostolic days. In 
another place (chap. xlvii.)he refers the Corinthians to the Epistle 
addressed to them by Paul "in the beginning of the Gospel," and 
speaks of "the most stedfast and ancient Church of the 
Corinthians," which would be absurd in an Epistle written about 
A.D. 69. Moreover, an advanced episcopal form of Church 
government is indicated throughout the letter, which is quite 

^ Antiq.^ iii. 6, 12 ; Contra Apion.^ i. 7, ii. 23. 

'^ He refers in a note particularly to Hefele, Pair. Ap., 1855, p. 33 ff. 

'^ '■'■ Erstes und zweites Viertel des 2 Jahrh. Clemens v. Rom. Ignatius und 
Polycarpy Wann wurden uns. Evangelien verfasst? 4th Aufl., 1866, p. 20, 
cf. Uebersicht des Inhalts. 

4 Nov. Test. Graece, Lips. Sumpt. Ad. Winter, Ed. septima Crit. min. 
Proleg., p. cxxix. 

s Cf. Lipsius, Chronologie der rdm. Bisckofe, i86g. 


inconsistent with such a date. The great mass of critics, therefore, 
have decided against the earlier date of the episcopate of Clement, 
and assign the composition of the Epistle to the end of the first 
century (a.d. 95-100). Others, however, date it still later. There 
is no doubt that the great number of Epistles and other writings 
falsely circulated in the name of Clement may well excite 
suspicion as to the authenticity of this Epistle also, which is far 
from unsupported by internal proofs. Of these, however, we shall 
only mention one. We have already incidentally remarked that 
the writer mentions the Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, the 
only instance in which any New Testament writing is referred to 
by name ; but along with the Epistle of the " blessed Paul " the 
author also speaks of the " blessed Judith," and this leads to the 
inquiry : When was the Book of Judith written ? Hitzig, Volkmar, 
and others, contend that it must be dated a.d. 117-118,^ and if 
this be admitted, it follows, of course, that an Epistle which 
already shows acquaintance with the Book of Judith cannot have 
been written before a.d. 120-125 ^^ ^^^ earliest, which many, for 
this and other reasons, affirm to be the case with the Epistle of 
pseudo-Clement. Whatever date be assigned to it, however, it is 
probable that the Epistle is interpolated, although it must be 
added that this is not the view of the majority of critics. 

It is important to ascertain whether or not this ancient Chris- 
tian Epistle affords any evidence of the existence of our Synoptic 
Gospels at the time when it was written. Tischendorf, who is 
ever ready to claim the slightest resemblance in language as a 
reference to New Testament writings, states that, although this 
Epistle is rich in quotations from the Old Testament, and that 
Clement here and there also makes use of passages from Pauline 
Epistles, he nowhere refers to the Gospels.^ This is perfectly 
true, but several passages occur in this Epistle which are either 
quotations from Evangelical works different from ours, or derived 
from tradition, and in either case they have a very important bear- 
ing upon our inquiry. 

The first of these passages occurs in ch. xiii., and for greater 
facility of comparison we shall at once place it both in the Greek 
and in translation, in juxta-position with the nearest parallel 
readings in our Synoptic Gospels ; and, as far as may be, we shall 
in the English version indicate differences existing in the original 
texts. The passage is introduced thus : " Especially remembering 

' Hitzig, Zur Kritik d. apokr. Biicher d. A. T., Zeitschr. f. wiss. Theol.,, 
i860, p. 240 fif. ; Volkmar, Theol. Jahrb., 1856, p. 362 ff., 1857, p. 441 ff. 
H^huch. Einl. in d. Apokr., i860, i. p. 268; Baur, Lehrb. chr. Dogmen- 
geschichte, 1858, p. 82 anm.; Groetz, Gesch. d. Juden vom Unterg. d. jiid. 
Staates u. s. w., 1866, p. 132 ff. 

^ '■^ Aber nirgends atif die Evangelieny Wann wurdai ti. s. w., p. 20 f. 



the words of the Lord Jesus, which he spake teaching gentle- 
ness and long-suffering. For thus he said " : — 

Epistle, xiii. 

(a) Be pitiful, that ye 
may be pitied ; 

(13) forgive, that it may 
be forgiven to you ; 

(7) as ye do, so shall 
it be done to you ; 

(5) as ye give, so shall 
it be given to you ; 

(e) as ye judge, so 
shall it be judged to you ; 

(^) as ye show kind- 
ness shall kindness be 
shown to you ; 

{rj) with what mea- 
sure ye mete, with the 
same shall it be mea- 
sured to you. 

(a) 'EXcare, tva eXerj- 

(/3) d(f)l€T€, 'iva d(f>e6ri 

(7) d)S TTOielTe, OVTU} 

TTOirjd^aeTaL vfJAV. 

(5) ujs dldore, oiircos 
dod-^creraL vjxlv. 

{e) cl)s Kpivere, o6tios 
Kpidrjaeade v/juv. 

it) (^^ XPVC"''^^^C^^: 


{7]) (f fM^rpci} ixeTpelre, 
€v aiiTip fX€Tpridri<TeTai 

VfUV. - 


V. 7. Blessed are the 
pitiful, for they shall 
obtain pity. 

vi. 14. For if ye for- 
give men their tres- 
passes, &c. 

vii. 12. Therefore all 
things whatsoever ye 
would that men should 
do to you, do ye even so 
to them. 

vii. 2. For with what 
judgment ye judge, ye 
shall be judged, 


with what measure ye 
mete, it shall be mea- 
sured to you. 

V. 7 Ma/cdptot ot eXe77- 
fjioves, 6tl avTol iXer]- 

vi. 14 'Edv yap d(pT]Te 
Tois avdpibiroLS rd irap- 
aTTTibixara avTuiv, k.t.X. 

vii. 12 HdvTa odv 6<ra 
dp deXrjre 'iva ttoiOktiv 


Kai vfiels iroieiTe avrois. 

vii. 2 iv cp yap Kpi/maTt 
Kpivere Kpidrjaecrde, 

Kai ev ip nierpcp fie- 
Tpelre fxeTprfdrjaeTai vpuv. 


vi. 36. Be ye there- 
fore merciful, as your 
Father also is merciful. 

vi. 37 pardon' and 

ye shall be pardoned, 

vi. 31. And as ye 
would that men should 
do to you, do ye also to 
them likewise. 

vi. 38 give, and it 

shall be given to you. 

vi. 37. Judge not, and 
ye shall not be judged. 

vi. 38. For with the 
same measure that ye 
mete withal, it shall be 
measured to you again. 

vi. 36 yivecrde ovv 

OlKTipflOVeS, K.T.X. 

vi. 37 diroXijeTe, Kai 

vi. 31 Koi Kaddjs deXere 
'iva TTOiCbcrLV vpuv oi 
dvdpwiroi, Kai vfieis 
TTOteire avrols o/noLws. 

vi. 38 dldore, Kai 
dodriaerat v/uuv. 

vi. 37 Kai /ATj Kpivere 
Kai ov jxTj Kpidijre' 

vi. 38 ry yap avrip 
ixerpip (^ ixerpelre dvri- 
/jLerpijdricrerai v/uuv. 

^ We use this word not as the best equivalent of diroXiere, but merely to 
indicate to readers unacquainted with Greek the use of a different word from 
the d<f>riT€ of the first Gospel, and from the dcpiere of the Epistle ; and this 
system we shall adopt as much as possible throughout. 

^ Cf. Mark iv. 24. Cf. Horn. Clem, xviii. 16. 


Of course, it is understood that, although for convenience of 
comparison we have broken up this quotation into these phrases, 
it is quite continuous in the Epistle. It must be evident to 
anyone who carefully examines the parallel passages that "the 
words of the Lord Jesus" in the Epistle cannot have been 
derived from our Gospels. Not only is there no similar con- 
secutive discourse in them, but the scattered phrases which are 
pointed out as presenting superficial similarity with the quotation 
are markedly different both in thought and language. In it, as in 
the " beatitudes " of the " Sermon on the Mount " in the first 

Gospel, the construction is peculiar and continuous : " Do this 

in order that (iVa) "; or, "As (w?) ye do so (ovroj?) " 

The theory of a combination of passages from memory, which 
is usually advanced to explain such quotations, cannot serve here, 
for thoughts and expressions occur in the passage in the Epistle 
which have no parallel at all in our Gospels, and such dismem- 
bered phrases as can be collected from our first and third Synoptics, 
for comparison with it, follow the course of the quotation in the 
ensuing order: Matt. v. 7, vi. 14, part of vii. 12, phrase without 
parallel, first part of vii. 2, phrase without parallel, last part of 
vii. 2 ; or Luke vi. 36, last phrase of vi. 37, vi. 31, first phrase of 
vi. 38, first phrase of vi. 37, phrase without parallel, last phrase 
of vi. 38. 

The only question with regard to this passage, therefore, is 
whether the writer quotes from an unknown written source or 
from tradition. He certainly merely professes to repeat "words 
of the Lord Jesus," and does not definitely indicate a written 
record ; but it is much more probable, from the context, that he 
quotes from a gospel now no longer extant than that he derives 
this teaching from oral tradition. Reintroduces the quotation not 
only with a remark implying a well-known record : " Remembering 
the words of the Lord Jesus which he spake, teaching," etc.; but 
he reiterates : " For thus he said," in a way suggesting careful and 
precise quotation of the very words ; and he adds at the end : 
"By this injunction and by these instructions let us estabHsh our- 
selves, that we may walk in obedience to his holy words, thinking 
humbly of ourselves."^ It seems improbable that the writer 
would so markedly have indicated a precise quotation of words of 
Jesus, and would so emphatically have commended them as the 
rule of life to the Corinthians, had these precepts been mere 
floating tradition, until then unstamped with written permanence. 
The phrase, " As ye show kindness {xp'qfrrevecrdey etc., which is 

^ Tai^TT; ry ivroXy Kal rols TrapayyiXixaaL tovtol^ (XTrjpt^iafMev eavrovs eis rb 
TTopeveadai. vtttjkoovs 6i>Tas TOis ay toirpeire a i. \6yoi.$ avrov, TaTrei.vo(t>povodvTes. 
c. xiii. 



nowhere found in our Gospels, recalls an expression quoted by 
Justin Martyr, apparently from a Gospel different from ours, and 
frequently repeated by him in the same form : " Be ye kind and 
merciful (xp/crroi /cat oLKTLpfxoves:) as your Father also is kind 
(x/>^o-Tos) and merciful."' In the very next chapter of the Epistle a 
similar reference again occurs : " Let us be kind to each other 
{xp^^o-Tevariojxeda avTOLs), according to the mercy and benignity 
of our Creator. "2 Without, however, going more minutely into 
this question, it is certain, from its essential variations in language, 
thought, and order, that the passage in the Epistle cannot be 
claimed as a compilation from our Gospels ; and we shall pre- 
sently see that some of the expressions in it which are foreign to 
our Gospels are elsewhere quoted by other Fathers, and there is 
reason to believe that these " words of the Lord Jesus " were not 
derived from tradition, but from a written source different from 
our Gospels. When the great difference which exists between the 
parallel passages in the first and third Synoptics, and still more 
between these and the second, is considered, it is easy to under- 
stand that other Gospels may have contained a version differing 
as much from them as they do from each other. 

We likewise subjoin the next passage to which we must refer 
with the nearest parallels in our Synoptics. We may explain that 
the writer of the Epistle is rebuking the Corinthians for strifes 
and divisions amongst them, and for forgetting that they "are 
members one of another," and he continues (c. xlvi.) : " Remember 
the words of our Lord Jesus ; for he said : — " 

Epistle, xlvi. 
Woe to that man ; 

(it were) well for him if 
he had not been born 
(rather) than that he 
should offend one of my 
elect ; 

it were) better for 
him (that) a millstone 
should be attached (to 
him) and he should be 
drowned in the sea, 
(rather) than that he 
should pervert one of my 


XX vi. 24. Woe to 
that man by whom 
the Son of Man is 
delivered up ; (it were) 
well for him if that 
man had not been 

xviii. 6. But whoso 
shall offend one of 
these little ones which 
believe in me, it were 
profitable for him that 
a great millstone were 
suspended upon his 
neck, and that he were 
drowned in the depth 
of the sea. 


xvii. I... but 
through whom 
(offences) come. 


xvii. 2. It were ad- 
vantageous for him 
that a great millstone 
were hanged about his 
neck, and he cast in 
the sea, (ratiier) than that 
he offend one of these 
little ones. 


Mark xiv. 21 but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is delivered 

ApoL, i. 15, and again twice in Dial. 96. 



up, (it were) well for him if that man had not been born ix. 42. And 

whosoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it is well 
for him rather that a great millstone were hanged about his neck, and he thrown 
in the sea. 

Epistle, xlvi. 
Oval T(^ avdpihiri^ 

KaXou 'Tjv avTip el ovk 

rj eva tQv iKXeKTUJV jxov 

KpecTTOV Tjv avTip irepi- 
Tedijuai ixvXov, 

Kal KarairovTia-drjuaL 

els TTiv daXaaaav, 

^ eva tCjv eKKeKTQiv fiov 


XXVI. 24 oval 5k Tw 
dvOpuiTrip iKeivii} 51 ov 6 
vtos Tou dvOpibirov irapa- 

KaXov rjv avT<^ el ovk 
eyepvrjdr} 6 dvdpb)iros 
iKelvos. XVIII. 6 6s S'aj/ 
(rKav5aXia7i '^va tQ)v 
fjeiKpCJv to6tu)v tQiv 
TTLO'TevdvTiav els e/J.i, 
(Tv/j.(p^peL avT(^ 'iva 

Kpe/iMacrdrj /x}jXo% ovlkos 
irepl rbv rpdxv^ov avrov 
Kal KaTatrovTiadrj 
iv T(^ TreXdyei 
rrjs daXdcraTjs. 


XVII. I oval 5k 5i o5 
^pX^rai. (rA crKdv5aXay 

XVII. 2 

XvaireXe? avT<^ el 
fivXos 6vik6s^ ireplKeirai 
irepl Tov TpdxtfXov avrov 
Kal ^ppiTTTai 

els T7]v ddXaacray, ■^ tVa 
(rKav5aXl<xri 'iva^ tCov 



This quotation is clearly not from our Gospels, but must be 
assigned to a different written source. The writer would scarcely 
refer the Corinthians to such words of Jesus if they were merely 
traditional. It is neither a combination of texts nor a quotation 
from memory. The language throughout is markedly different 
from any passage in the Synoptics, and to present even a super- 
ficial parallel it is necessary to take a fragment of the discourse of 
Jesus at the Last Supper regarding the traitor who should deliver 
him up (Matt. xxvi. 24), and join it to a fragment of his remarks 
in connection with the little child whom he set in the midst 
(xviii. 6). The parallel passage in Luke has not the opening 
words of the passage in the Epistle at all, and the portion which 
it contains (xvii. 2) is separated from the context in which it 
stands in the first Gospel, and which explains its meaning. If we 
contrast the parallel passages in the three Synoptics, their differ- 
ences of context are very suggestive ; and, without referring to 
their numerous and important variations in detail, the confusion 
amongst them is evidence of very varying tradition.-^ This alone 
would make the existence of another form like that quoted in the 
Epistle before us more than probable. 

Tischendorf, in a note to his statement that Clement nowhere 

^ TAe Cod. Sin. and Cod. D. (Bez£e), insert ttXtjj/ before ovai. 
^ Cod. Sin. and D. read Xldos fivXiKos instead of fiiXos. 

3 The Vatican (B. ) and Sinaitic, as well as most of the other Codices, put 
eva at the end of the phrase. 
* Cf. Matt, xviii. 1-8 ; Mark ix. 33-43 ; Luke ix. 46-48, 49-50, xvii. 1-3. 


refers to the Gospels, quotes the passage we are now considering, 
the only one to which he alludes, and says : "These words are 
expressly cited as ' words of Jesus our Lord,' but they denote 
much more oral apostolic tradition than a use of the parallel 
passages in Matt. (xxvi. 24 ; xviii. 6) and Luke (xvii. 2)."^ It is 
now, of course, impossible to determine finally whether the passage 
was actually derived from tradition or from a written source different 
from our Gospels ; but, in either case, the fact is that the Epistle 
not only does not afford the slightest evidence for the existence of 
any of our Gospels, but, from only making use of tradition or an 
apocryphal work as the source of information regarding words of 
Jesus, it is decidedly opposed to the pretensions made on behalf 
of the Synoptics. 

Before passing on, we may, in the briefest way possible, refer to 
one or two other passages, with the view of further- illustrating the 
character of the quotations in this Epistle. There are many 
passages cited which are not found in the Old Testament, and 
others which have no parallels in the New. At the beginning of 
the very chapter in which the words which we have just been con- 
sidering occur there is the following quotation : " It is written : 
Cleave to the holy, for they who cleave to them shall be made 
holy,"^ the source of which is unknown. In a previous chapter 
the writer says : " And our Apostles knew, through our Lord 
Jesus Christ, that there will .be contention regarding the name 
(ovo/xaT09, office, dignity) of the episcopate."3 What was the 
writer's authority for this statement? We find Justin Martyr 
quoting, as an express prediction of Jesus : " There shall be 
schisms and heresies,"^ which is not contained in our Gospels, 
but evidently derived from an uncanonical source — a fact rendered 
more apparent by the occurrence of a similar passage in the 
Clementine Ho7?iilies^ still more closely bearing upon our Epistle : 
" For there shall be, as the Lord said, false apostles, false prophets, 
heresies, desires for supremacy.''^ Hegesippus also speaks in a 
similar way : " From these came the false Christs, false prophets, 
false apostles who divided the unity of the Church."^ As 

^ IVann warden, u. s. w., p. 21, anm. 2. Cf. Lightfoot, Apost. Fathers, 
ii. Clement of Rome, 1890, p. 141. 

^ r^7a7rTat 70./)' "Ko\Xaa6ero7s ayiois, on oi Ko\\u)iJ.€voi.avTo2s ayiacrdifjaovTai. 
c. xlvi., cf. c. XXX. A similar expression occurs in Clement of Alexandria. 
StroDi. V. 8, § 53. 

3 Kai ol airoffToKoL rjixCbv ^yv(3i<ja.v 5td toxj Kvplov i)fxQv 'Irjcrov Xpiarov, on ^pis 
^arai eiri rod ovo/xaros ttjs iTrt.crKOTrrjs. C. xliv., cf xlv. , xlvi. 

4 "Ecrovrai cxia-yLtara Kal alp^aeis. Dial. c. Tryph. 35, cf 51. 

5 "Eo-oiTat yap, cus 6 K^pios elirev, xJ/evdaTrdcTToXoi, xpevdeis irpocprJTai, alpicreis, 
(f)i\apxi.aL- C/em, Hom., xvi. 21 ; cf Constit. Apost., vi. 13 ; Clem. Recog., 
iv. 34. 

*^ 'A7r6 Toi^TWJ' \//ev86'xpi-CT0L \p€v5btrpo(f)i)TaL, xpevdaTrdaToXoi, o'invcs ifi^picrap 
TT}v ^vo}(nv TT]s iKKKricrLas, k, t. X. Eusebius, H. E. , iv. 22. 


Hegesippus, and in all probability Justin Martyr and the author 
of the Clementines^ made use of the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews, or to Peter, it is probable that these Gospels con- 
tained passages to which the words of the Epistle may refer.' 
It may be well to point out that the author also cites a passage 
from the fourth Book of Ezra, ii. 1 6 -.^ " And I shall remember 
the good day, and I shall raise you from your tombs."3 Ezra 
reads : " Et resuscitabo mortiws de locis suis et de monumentts 
educam illos^^^ etc. The first part of the quotation in the Epistle, 
of which we have only given the latter clause above, is taken from 
Isaiah xxvi. 20 ; but there can be no doubt that the above is from 
this apocryphal book, which, as we shall see, was much used in 
the early Church. 

We now turn to the so-called " Epistle of Barnabas," another 
interesting relic of the early Church, many points in whose history 
have considerable analogy with that of the Epistle of pseudo- 
Clement. The letter itself bears no author's name, is not dated 
from any place, and is not addressed to any special community. 
Towards the end of the second century, however, tradition began 
to ascribe it to Barnabas, the companion of Paul.'^ The first 
writer who mentions it is Clement of Alexandria, who calls its 
author several times the " Apostle Barnabas ";5 and Eusebius says 
that he gave an account of it in one of his works now no longer 
extant.^ Origen also refers to it, calling it a " Catholic Epistle," 
and quoting it as Scripture. 7 We have already seen in the case of 
the Epistles ascribed to Clement of Rome— and, as we proceed, 
we shall become only too familiar with the fact — the singular 
facility with which, in the total absence of critical discrimination, 
spurious writings were ascribed by the Fathers to Apostles and 
their followers. In many cases such writings were deliberately 
inscribed with names well known in the Church ; but both in the 
case of the two Epistles to the Corinthians and the letter we are 
now considering no such pious fraud was attempted, nor was it 
necessary. Credulous piety, which attributed writings to every 
Apostle, and even to Jesus himself, soon found authors for each 
anonymous work of an edifying character. To Barnabas, the 

^ See other instances in chapters xvii., xxiii., xxvi., xxvii., xxx., xlii., 
xlvii., etc. 

'^ 2 Esdras of the English authorised Apocrypha. 

3 KoX ixv7]ad'r)(rofiaL rj/mepas dyadrjs, Kal dvaarriau} v/xds iK tCjv drjKQiv vixCbv. c. L. 

* Acts iv. 36, xi. 22 f., 30, xii. 25, etc. 

s Stromata ii., 6, § 31, 7, § 35, 20, § 1 16, v. lo, § 64, cf. 15, § 67, 18, § 84, 
V. § 52. 

"^ H. E., vi. 14, cf. 13. 

^ yeypoLTTTai drj iv rrj BapvdjSa KadoXcKyj eiriaToXy, k. t. X. Contra Cels. , i. 63, 
cf. De Princip., iii. 2, § 4. 


friend of Paul, not only this Epistle was referred, but he was also 
reported by TertuUian and others to be the author of the Epistle 
to the Hebrews ;' and an apocryphal " Gospel according to 
Barnabas," said to have had close affinity with our first Synoptic, is 
condemned, along with many others, in the decretal of Gelasius.^ 
Eusebius, however, classes the so-called " Epistle of Barnabas " 
amongst the spurious books (ev toU v66ots),^ and elsewhere also 
speaks of it as uncanonical.^ Jerome mentions it as read amongst 
apocryphal writings. s Had the Epistle been seriously regarded as 
a work of the " Apostle " Barnabas, it could scarcely have failed 
to attain canonical rank. That it was highly valued by the early 
Church is shown by the fact that it stands, along with the Shepherd 
of Hermas, after the canonical books of the New Testament in 
the Codex Sinaiticus, which is probably the most ancient MS. of 
them now known. In the earlier days of criticism some writers, 
without much question, adopted the traditional view as to the 
authorship of the Epistle ; but the great mass of critics are now 
agreed in asserting that the composition, which itself is perfectly 
anonymous, cannot be attributed to Barnabas, the friend and 
fellow- worker of Paul. Those who maintain the former opinion 
date the Epistle about a.d. 70-73, or even earlier; but this is 
scarcely the view of any living critic. There are many indications 
in the Epistle which render such a date impossible ; but we do 
not propose to go into the argument minutely, for it is generally 
admitted that, whilst there is a clear limit further back than which 
the Epistle cannot be set, there is little or no certainty how far 
into the second century its composition may not reasonably be 
advanced. Critics are divided upon the point ; a few are disposed 
to date the Epistle about the end of the first or beginning of the 
second century, while a still greater number assign it to the reign 
of Hadrian (a.d. i 17-138); and others, not without reason, 
consider that it exhibits marks of a still later period. It is 
probable that it is more or less interpolated. Until the discovery 
of the Sinaitic MS. a portion of the " Epistle of Barnabas " was 
only known through an ancient Latin version, the first four and a 
half chapters of the Greek having been lost. The Greek text. 

^ De Pudic, § 20; Hieron., De vir. ill. 5. Many modern writers have 
supported the tradition. Cf. Credner, Gesch. N. T. Kanoti, p. 175 ff. ; 
Thiersch, Die Kirche im ap. Zeit., p. 199 ff. ; Ullmann, Theol. Stud. u. 
Krit,, 1828, p. 377 ft. ; Wieseler, Unters. iib. d. Hebnier brief, 1 86 1, i., p. 
32 ff. 

^ Decretum de Hbris recipiendis et non recipiendis, in Credner, Zur Gesch. 
des Kmtons, 1847, p. 215. Cf. Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. 7^., i., p. 341 ; Grabe, 
Spicil. Pair., i., p. 303. 

3 H. E., iii. 25. '^ H. E., vi. 14, cf. 13. 

s Hieron, De vir. ill. 6, Comment, in Ezech., xliii. 19. 



however, is now complete, although often very corrupt. The author 
quotes largely from the Old Testament, and also from apocryphal 
works. He nowhere mentions any book or writer of the New 
Testament, and, with one asserted exception, which we shall 
presently examine, he quotes no passage agreeing with our 
Gospels. We shall refer to these, commencing at once with 
the most important. 

In the ancient Latin translation of the Epistle the only form, 
as we have just said, in which, until the discovery of the Codex 
Sinaiticus^ the first four and a half chapters were extant, the 
following passage occurs : ^'' Adtendamus ergo,  ne forte, sicut 
scrip turn est, -multi vocati pauci electi inveniamur.^'^ " Let us, there- 
fore beware lest, as it is written : Many are called, few are chosen." 
These words are found in our first Gospel (xxii. 14), and, as the 
formula by which they are here introduced — 'Mt is WTitten" — is 
generally understood to indicate a quotation from Holy Scripture, 
it was, and is, argued by some that here we have a passage from 
one of our Gospels quoted in a manner which shows that, at the 
time the Epistle of Barnabas was written, the " Gospel according 
to Matthew was already considered Holy Scripture."^ Whilst 
this portion of the text existed only in the Latin version, it was 
argued that the " sicut scriptu7ti est,''^ at least, must be an interpola- 
tion, and in any case that it could not be deliberately applied, at 
that date, to a passage in any writings of the New Testament. 
On the discovery of the Sinaitic MS., however, the words were 
found in the Greek text in that Codex : Trpoo-exw/xei/, fx-qTrore, ws 
ykypaTrrai,Tro\Xol kXi^tol, oAtyot Se €k\€KtoI evpeBcojjiev. The question, 
therefore, is so far modified that, however much we may suspect the 
Greek text of interpolation, it must be accepted as the basis of 
discussion that this passage, whatever its value, exists in the 
oldest, and indeed only (and this point must not be forgotten), 
complete MS. of the Greek Epistle. 

Now, with regard to the value of the expression "it is written," 
it may be remarked that in no case could its use in the Epistle of 
Barnabas indicate more than individual opinion, and it could not, 
for reasons to be presently given, be considered to represent the 
decision of the Church. In the very same chapter in which the 
formula is used in connection with the passage we are considering, 
it is also employed to introduce a quotation from the Book of 
Enoch,3 7r€/3t ov y€y/)a7rTai, ws 'Eva>x Aeyet, and elsewhere (c. xii.) 
he quotes from another apocryphal book'^ as one of the prophets. 
"Again, he refers to the Cross of Christ in another prophet, 

^ Ch. iv. ^ Tischendorf, Wanii wurden, u. s. w. , p. 92 ff. 

3 Enoch Ixxxix. 61 f., xc. 17. This book is again quoted in ch. xvi. 

4 Cf. 4 Ezra iv. 33, v. 5. 


saying : 'And when shall these things come to pass ? and the Lord 

saith : When,' etc ev aXXw 7rpo(fi'qTrj Xeyovn XeyeL Kvptos ' 

k.tA." He also quotes (ch. vi.) the apocryphal " Book of Wisdom " 
as Holy Scripture, and in like manner several other unknown 
works. When it is remembered that the Epistle of Clement to 
the Corinthians, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Barnabas 
itself, and many other apocryphal works, have been quoted by the 
Fathers as Holy Scripture, the distinctive value of such an expres- 
sion may be understood. 

With this passing remark, however, we proceed to say that this 
supposed quotation from Matthew as Holy Scripture, by proving 
too much, destroys its own value as evidence. The generality of 
competent and impartial critics are agreed that it is impossible 
to entertain the idea that one of our Gospels could have held the 
rank of Holy Scripture at the date of this Epistle, seeing that, for 
more than half a century after, the sharpest line was drawn between 
the writings of the Old Testament and of the New, and the former 
alone quoted as, or accorded the consideration of, Holy Scripture. 
If this were actually a quotation from our first Gospel, already in 
the position of Holy Scripture, it would, indeed, be astonishing 
that the Epistle, putting out of the question other Christian 
writings for half a century after it, teeming, as it does, with 
extracts from the Old Testament, and from known and unknown 
apocryphal works, should thus limit its use of the Gospel to a few 
words, totally neglecting the rich store which it contains, and 
quoting, on the other hand, sayings of Jesus not recorded at all 
in any of our Synoptics. It is most improbable that, if the author 
of the " Epistle of Barnabas " was acquainted with any one of our 
Gospels, and considered it an inspired and canonical work, he 
could have neglected it in such a manner. The peculiarity of the 
quotation which he is supposed to make, which we shall presently 
point out, renders such Hmitation to it doubly singular upon any 
such hypothesis. The unreasonable nature of the assertion, how- 
ever, will become more apparent as we proceed with our examina- 
tion, and perceive that none of the early writers quote our Gospels, 
if they knew them at all, but, on the other hand, make use of other 
works, and that the inference that Matthew was considered Holy 
Scripture, therefore, rests solely upon this quotation of half-a-dozen 

The application of such a formula to a supposed quotation from 
one of our Gospels, in so isolated an instance, led to the belief 
that, even if the passage were taken from our first Synoptic, the 
author of the Epistle, in quoting it, laboured under the impres- 
sion that it was derived from some prophetical book. We daily 
see how difficult it is to trace the source even of the most familiar 
quotations. Instances of such confusion of memory are frequent 


in the writings of the Fathers, and many can be pointed out in the 
New Testament itself. For instance, in Matt, xxvii. 9 f. the 
passage from Zechariah xi. 12, 13, is attributed to Jeremiah; in 
Mark i. 2 a quotation from Malachi iii. i is ascribed to Isaiah. 
In I Corinthians ii. 9 a passage is quoted as Holy Scripture 
which is not found in the Old Testament at all, but which is 
taken, as Origen and Jerome state, from an apocryphal work, 
" The Revelation of Elias " ;^ and the passage is similarly quoted 
by the so-called Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians (xxxiv.). 
Then in what prophet did the author of the first Gospel find the 
words (xiii. 35) : " That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by 
the prophet,^ saying, I will open my mouth in parables ; I will utter 
things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the 

Orelli,3 afterwards followed by many others, suggested that the 
quotation was probably intended for one in 4 Ezra viii. 3 : " Nam 
multi creati sunt^ pauci autem salvabuntury'^ " For many are 
created, but few shall be saved." Bretschneider proposed, as an 
emendation of the passage in Ezra, the substitution of " vocati " 
for ^^ creati " ; but, however plausible, his argument did not meet 
with much favour. Along with this passage was also suggested a 
similar expression in 4 Ezra ix. 15: ^^ P lures sunt gui pereunt^ 
quam qui salvabuntur^ " There are more who perish than who 
shall be saved. "5 The Greek of the three passages may read as 
follows : — 

Mt. xxii. 14. rioWot yap elfftv, kXtjtoI, oXiyoi. 5^ iKXeKToL 

Ep. Bar, iv. IToXXot kXtjtoL, oXiyoi 8^ iKXcKToL 

4 Ezra, viii. 3 IloXXot yap iyevvqdTjcrav , 6X1701 8k awdrjcroPTat. 

There can be no doubt that^ the sense of the reading in 4 Ezra 
is exactly that of the Epistle, but the language is somewhat 
different. We must not forget, however, that the original Greek 
of 4 Ezra is lost, and that we are wholly dependent on the 
versions and MSS. extant, regarding whose numerous variations 
and great corruption there are no differences of opinion. Orelli's 
theory, moreover, is supported by the fact that the Epistle, else- 
where (c. xii.), quotes from 4 Ezra (iv. 33 ; v. 5). 

On examining the passage as it occurs in our first Synoptic, we 
are, at the very outset, struck by the singular fact that this short 

' Origen, Tract., xxxv. , § 17 Matt. ; Hieron. ad Isaice, Ixiv., Epist. ci. ; cf. 
Fabricius, Cod. Apocr., N. T., i., p. 342. 

^ In the Cod. Sinaiticus a later hand has here inserted " Isaiah." 

3 Selecta Patr., p. 5. * Cf. Volkmar, H buck Einl. Apocr. ii., p. 105. 

5 We might also point to the verse x. 97, " For thou art blessed above many, 
and art called near to the Most High, and so are but few." "Zi< enhn beatus 
es prce multis, et vocatus es apud Altissimum, sicut et pauci.'''' 


saying appears twice in that Gospel with a different context, and 
in each case without any propriety of application to what precedes 
it, whilst it is not found at all in either of the other two Synoptics. 
The first time we meet with it is at the close of the parable of the 
labourers in the vineyard.^ The householder engages the labourers 
at different hours of the day, and pays those who had worked but 
one hour the same wages as those who had borne the burden and 
heat of the day, and the reflection at the close is (xx. i6) : " Thus 
the last shall be first, and the first last ; for many are called, but 
few chosen." It is perfectly evident that neither of these sayings, 
but especially not that with which we are concerned, has any con- 
nection with the parable at all. There is no question of many or 
few, or of selection or rejection ; all the labourers are engaged and 
paid alike. If there be a moral at all to the parable, it is the justi- 
fication of the master : " Is it not lawful for me to do what I will 
with mine own ?" It is impossible to imagine a saying more 
irrelevant to its context than " many are called, but few chosen," 
in such a place. The passage occurs again (xxii. 14) in connection 
with the parable of the king who made a marriage for his son. 
The guests who are at first invited refuse to come, and are 
destroyed by the king's armies ; but the wedding is, nevertheless, 
" furnished with guests " by gathering together as many as are 
found in the highways. A new episode commences when the king 
comes in to see the guests (v. 11). He observes a man there who 
has not on a wedding garment, and he desires the servants to 
(v. 13) " Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness 
without," where " there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth ";^ 
and then comes our passage (v. 14), " For many are called, but few 
chosen." Now, whether applied to the first or to the latter part 
of the parable, the saying is irrelevant. The guests first called 
were in fact chosen as much as the last, but themselves refused to 
come, and of all those who, being "called" from the highways and 
byways, ultimately furnished the wedding with guests in their 
stead, only one was rejected. It is clear that the facts here dis- 
tinctly contradict the moral that "few are chosen." In both 
places the saying is, as it were, "dragged in by the hair." On 
examination, however, we find that the oldest MSS. of the New 
Testament omit the sentence from Matthew xx. 16. It is neither 
found in the Sinaitic nor Vatican codices, and whilst it has not the 
support of the Codex Alexandrinus, which is defective at the 

' Matt. XX. 1-16. 

- This is not the place to criticise the expectation of finding a wedding 
garment on a guest hurried in from highways and byways, or the punishment 
inflicted for such an offence, as questions affecting the character of the 


part, nor of the Dublin rescript (z), which omits it, many other 
MSS. are also without it. The total irrelevancy of the saying to 
its context, its omission by the oldest authorities from Matt. xx. 
16, where it appears in later MSwS., and its total absence from 
both of the other Gospels, must at once strike everyone as peculiar, 
and as very unfortunate, to say the least of it, for those who make 
extreme assertions with regard to its supposed quotation by the 
Epistle of Barnabas. Weizsacker, with great probability, suggests 
that in this passage we have merely a well-known proverb,^ which 
the author of the first Gospel has introduced into his work from 
some uncanonical or other source, and placed in the mouth of 
Jesus. ^ Certainly, under the circumstances, it can scarcely be 
maintained in its present context as a historical saying of Jesus. 
Ewald, who naturally omits it from Matthew xx. 16, ascribes the 
parable: xx. 1-16, as well as that: xxii. 1-14, in which it stands, 
originally to the Spruchsammlung3 or collection of discourses, out 
of which, with intermediate works, he considers that our first 
Gospel was composed. ^ However this may be, there is, it seems 
to us, good reason for believing that it was not originally a part of 
these parables, and that it is not in that sense historical; and there 
is, therefore, no ground for asserting that it may not have been 
derived by the author of the Gospel from some older work, from 
which also it may have come into the " Epistle of Barnabas.''^ 

There is, however, another passage which deserves to be men- 
tioned. The Epistle has the following quotation : " Again, I will 
show thee how, in regard to us, the Lord saith. He made a new 
creation in the last times. The Lord saith. Behold I make the 
first as the last."^ Even Tischendorf does not claim this as a 

^ An illustration of such proverbial sayings is found in the Phaedo of 
Plato : ei'crt yap 8rj, (f)aalp oi irepl tcls reXeras, vapdrjKocpdpoL fj^kv ttoWoL, ^olkxol 
54 re iravpoi, ed Steph. ^'\. , p. 69, "For many, as they say in the Mysteries, are 
the thyrsus-bearers, but few are the mystics." Cf. Jowett, Plato, i., p. 441, 
p. 381. 

^ Zur Kr. des Barnabasbr. , p. 34 f. [In the fourth edition of his work 
on the Canon, Dr. Westcott very fairly states in a note: "On the other 
hand, it is just to add that the proverbial form of the saying (' Many are 
called, but few chosen') is such as to admit of the supposition that it may 
have been derived by Barnabas from some older book than St. Matthew," 
p. 51, note 2.] 

3 Die drei ersten Evv., 1850. ^ Jahrb. bibl. Wiss., ii., 1849, P- 191 ff- 

5 Professor A. D. Loman, who impartially and ably discusses this quotation, 
is unable to admit that the passage is taken from our first Synoptic ; and he 
conjectures that the common source from which both the Synoptist and the 
author of the Epistle may have derived the saying may be a work which he 
supposes to be referred to in Luke xi. 49, TheoL fijdschrift, 1872, p. 196 f. ; 

cf 1867, P- 553, P- 559- , , . , , , 

IldXtJ' crot iindei^Ci}, iruis irpbs rjfids \eyeL Kvpior devrepav TrXdaiv iir 
eax^Tuv eiroiricrev. \e7e1 Kvpior 'ISoO, ttoiw to. ^crxara ws tcl irpCoTa. c. vi. 


quotation of Matt. xx. 16/ "Thus the last shall be first and the 
first last " (ovtq)'? ccrovTat ol ^o-yaToi Trpoyroi kol ol TrpMrot 
eo-xarot), the sense of which is quite different. The applica- 
tion of the saying in this place in the first, and, indeed, in the 
other, Synoptic Gospels is evidently quite false, and depends 
merely on the ring of words and not of ideas. In xix. 30 it is 
quoted a second time, quite irrelevantly, with some variation : 
" But many first shall be last, and last first" (ttoXXoI Se 
eo-ovrat Tr/owrot ea-yaroi kol 'icryaroi x/owrot). Now, it will be 
remembered that at xx. 16 it occurs in several MSS. in connection 
with " Many are called, but few are chosen," although the oldest 
codices omit the latter passage, and most critics consider it inter- 
polated. The separate quotation of these two passages by the 
author of the Epistle, with so marked a variation in the second, 
renders it most probable that he found both in the source from 
which he quotes. We have, however, more than sufficiently dis- 
cussed this passage. The author of the Epistle does not indicate 
any source from which he makes his quotation; and the mere 
existence in the first Synoptic of a proverbial saying like this does 
not in the least involve the conclusion that it is necessarily the 
writing from which the quotation was derived, more especially as 
apocryphal works are repeatedly cited in the Epistle. If it be 
maintained that the saying is really historical, it is obvious that the 
prescriptive right of our Synoptic is at once excluded, and it may 
have been the common property of a score of evangelical works. 

There can be no doubt that many Scriptural texts have crept 
into early Christian writings which originally had no place there ; 
and where attendant circumstances are suspicious, it is always well 
to remember the fact. An instance of the interpolation of which 
we speak is found in the " Epistle of Barnabas." In one place, 
the phrase, "Give to everyone that asketh of thee" (Travri tw 
alrovvTi a-e StSov),^ occurs, not as a quotation, but merely woven 
into the Greek text as it existed before the discovery of the Sinaitic 
MS. This phrase is the same as the precept in Luke vi. 30, 
although it was argued by some that, as no other trace of the third 
Gospel existed in the Epistle, it was more probably an alteration 
of the text of Matt. v. 42. Omitting the phrase from the 
passage in the Epistle, the text read as follows : " Thou 
shalt not hesitate to give, neither shalt thou murmur when thou 

givest so shalt thou know who is the good Recompenser of the 

reward." The supposed quotation, inserted where we have left a 

^ Dr. Westcott does not make any reference to it either. [In the 
4th ed. of his work on the Canon (p. 62) he expresses an opinion that it 
is a reference "to some passage of the O. T.,"' and suggests Ezek. 
;cxxvi. II.] 

'^ Ch. xix. 


blank, really interrupted the sense, and repeated the previous 
injunction. The oldest MS., the Codex Sinaiticus, omits the 
quotation, and so ends the question, but it is afterwards inserted 
by another hand. Some pious scribe, in fact, seeing the relation 
of the passage to the Gospel, had added the words in the margin 
as a gloss, and they afterwards found their way into the text. In 
this manner very many similar glosses have crept into texts which 
they were originally intended to illustrate.^ 

Tischendorf, who does not allude to this, lays much stress upon 
the following passage : " But when he selected His own apostles, 
who should preach His Gospel, who were sinners above all sin, in 
order that he might show that He came not to call the righteous, 
but sinners, then He manifested Himself to be the Son of God."^ 
We may remark that in the common Greek text the words " to 
repentance " were inserted after " sinners," but they are not found 
in the Sinaitic MS. In like manner many Codices insert them in 
Matt. ix. 13 and Mark ii. 17, but they are not found in some of 
the oldest MSS., and are generally rejected. Tischendorf con- 
siders them a later addition both to the text of the Gospel and of 
the Epistle. 3 But this very fact is suggestive. It is clear that a 
supposed quotation has been deUberately adjusted to what was 
considered to be the text of the Gospel. Why should the whole 
phrase not be equally an interpolation ? We shall presently see 
that there is reason to think that it is so. Although there is no 
quotation in the passage, who, asks Tischendorf,^ could mistake 
the words as they stand in Matt. ix. 13, "For I came not to call 
the righteous, but sinners " ? This passage is referred to by 
Origen in his work against Celsus, in a way which indicates that 
the supposed quotation did not exist in his copy. Origen says : 
" And as Celsus has called the Apostles of Jesus infamous men, 
saying that they were tax-gatherers and worthless sailors, we have 

to remark on this, that, etc Now, in the Catholic Epistle of 

Barnabas, from which, perhaps, Celsus derived the statement that 
the Apostles were infamous and wicked men, it is written that 
'Jesus selected his own Apostles, who were sinners above all 
sin,' "5 and then he goes on to quote the expression of Peter to 
Jesus (Luke v. 8), and then i Timothy i. 15 ; but he nowhere 

^ The phrase, "Give to everyone that asketh of thee," occurs also in the 
" Teaching of the Twelve Apostles," i., § 5, with which little treatise, published 
since the complete edition of this work was issued, several other passages in the 
Epistle agree — cf. p. 149 ff. 

^ "Ore be roii^ idiovs dirocTToXovs rovs /j^eWovrai KrfpOaaeiv rb evayy^Xiop 
avTOv ^^eXe^aro, 6vTas vwep Traaav afiapriay avoixwT^pov}, tVa bei^rj, 6ti ovk 
ijXdev KaXecraL diKaiovs, dXXa dfiaprcoXods, t6t€ i(t)av^p(j}(jev eavrbv ehai. vlop deov. 
c. V. 

3 Wann wnrdeti, u. s. w., p. 96, anm. 1. 

-* /d., p. 96. 5 Contra Cels., i. 63. 



refers to the supposed quotation in the Epistle. Now, if we read 
the passage without the quotation, we have : " But when he 
selected his own Apostles who should preach his Gospel, who 

were sinners above all sin then he manifested himself to be 

the Son of God." Here a pious scribe very probably added in 
the margin the gloss, " in order that he might show that he came 
not to call the righteous, but sinners," to explain the passage; and, 
as in the case of the phrase, " Give to every one that asketh of 
thee," the gloss became subsequently incorporated with the text. 
The Epistle, however, goes on to give the only explanation which 
the author intended, and which clashes with that of the scribe. 
" For, if he had not come in the flesh, how could men have been 
saved by beholding him ? Seeing that looking on the sun that 
shall cease to be, the work of his hands, they have not even power 
to endure his rays. Accordingly, the Son of Man came in the 
flesh for this, that he might bring to a head the number of their 
sins who had persecuted to death his prophets."^ The argument 
of Origen bears out this view, for he does not at all take the 
explanation of the gloss as to why Jesus chose his disciples from 
such a class, but he reasons : " What is there strange, therefore, 
that Jesus, being minded to manifest to the race of men his power 
to heal souls, should have selected infamous and wicked men, and 
should have elevated them so far that they became a pattern of 
the purest virtue to those who were brought by their persuasion to 
the Gospel of Christ P"^ The argument, both of the author of the 
Epistle and of Origen, is different from that suggested by the 
phrase under examination, and we consider it a mere gloss intro- 
duced into the text; which, as the els fxerdvoiav shows, has, in 
the estimation of Tischendorf himself, been deliberately altered. 
Even if it originally formed part of the text, however, it would be 
wrong to affirm that it aff'ords proof of the use or existence of the 
first Gospel. The words of Jesus in Matt. ix. 12-14 evidently 
belong to the oldest tradition of the Gospel, and, in fact, Ewald 
ascribes them, apart from the remainder of the chapter, originally 
to the Spruchsammlung, from which, with two intermediate books, 
he considers that our present Matthew was composed.3 Nothing 
can be more certain than that such sayings, if they be admitted 
to be historical at all, must have existed in many other works, and 
the mere fact of their happening to be also in one of the Gospels 
which has survived cannot prove its use, or even its existence at 
the time the Epistle of Barnabas was written, more especially as 
the phrase does not occur as a quotation, and there is no indica- 
tion of the source from which it was derived. 

Tischendorf, however, finds a further analogy between the 

^ c. V. ^ Contra Cels., i. 63. 3 Die drei ersten Evv., p. 15, p. i. 



Epistle and the Gospel of Matthew, in ch. xii. " Since, therefore, 
in the future they were to say that Christ is the son of David, 
fearing and perceiving clearly the error of the wicked, David him- 
self prophesies : ' The Lord said unto my Lord, sit at my right 
hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.' " Tischendorf, 
upon this, inquires, "Could Barnabas so write without the sup- 
position that his readers had Matt. xxii. 41 ff. before them, 
and does not such a supposition likewise infer the actual authority 
of Matthew's Gospel ?"' Such rapid argument and extreme con- 
clusions are startling indeed; but, in his haste, our critic has 
forgotten to state the whole case. The author of the Epistle has 
been elaborately showing that the Cross of Christ is repeatedly 
typified in the Old Testament, and at the commencement of the 
chapter, after quoting the passage from 4 Ezra iv. 33, v. 5, he 
points to the case of Moses, to whose heart " the spirit speaks that 
he should make a form of the cross," by stretching forth his arms 
in supplication, and so long as he did so Israel prevailed over 
their enemies ; and again he typified the cross when he set up the 
brazen serpent upon which the people might look and be healed. 
Then, that which Moses as a prophet said to Joshua (Jesus), the 
son of Nave, when he gave him that name, was solely for the 
purpose that all the people might hear that the Father would 
reveal all things regarding his Son to the son of Nave. This name 
being given to him when he was sent to spy out the land, Moses 
said : "Take a book in thy hands, and write what the Lord saith, 
that the Son of God will in the last days cut off by the roots all 
the house of Amelek." This, of course, is a falsification of the 
passage. Exodus xvii. 14, for the purpose of making it declare 
Jesus to be the " Son of God." Then, proceeding in the same 
strain, he says : " Behold again, Jesus is not the son of Man, but 
the Son of God, manifested in the type and in the flesh. Since, 
therefore, in«the future, they were to say that Christ is the son of 
David " (and here follows the passage we are discussing) " fearing 
and perceiving clearly the error of the wicked, David himself 
prophesied : ' The Lord said unto my Lord, sit at my right hand 
until I make thine enemies thy footstool.' And again, thus speaks 
Isaiah : ' The Lord said to Christ my Lord, whose right hand I 
have held, that the nations may obey Him, and I will break in 
pieces the strength of kings.' Behold how David calleth Him 
Lord, and the Son of God." And here end the chapter and the 
subject. Now it is quite clear that the passage occurs, not as a 
reference to any such dilemma as that in Matt. xxii. 41 ff., but 
simply as one of many passages which, at the commencement of 
our era, were considered prophetic declarations of the divinity of 

^ Wann wurden^ u. s. w., p. 96. 


Christ, in opposition to the expectation of the Jews that the 
Messiah was to be the son of David ;^ and, as we have seen, in 
order to prove his point, the author alters the text. To argue that 
such a passage of a Psalm, quoted in such a manner in this Epistle, 
proves the use of our first Synoptic is in the highest degree 

We have already pointed out that the author quotes apocryphal 
works as Holy Scripture, and we may now add that he likewise 
cites words of Jesus which are nowhere found in our Gospels. 
For instance, in ch. vii. we meet with the following expressions 
directly attributed to Jesus. " Thus he says : ' Those who desire 
to behold me and to attain my kingdom must through tribulation 
and suffering receive me.' " Hilgenfeld^ compares this with another 
passage, similar in sense, in 4 Ezra vii. 14 ; but in any case it is 
not a quotation from our Gospels ; and, with so many passages in 
them suitable to his purpose, it would be amazing if he knew and 
held Matthew in the consideration which Tischendorf asserts, that 
he should neglect their stores, and go elsewhere for such quotations. 
There is nothing in this Epistle worthy of the name of evidence 
even of the existence of our Gospels. 

The " Shepherd " of Hermas is another work which very nearly 
secured permanent canonical rank with the writings of the New 
Testament. It was quoted as Holy Scripture by the Fathers, and 
held to be divinely inspired, and it was publicly read in the 
churches.3 It has a place with the " Epistle of Barnabas," in the 
Sinaitic Codex after the canonical books. In early times it was 
attributed to the Hermas who is mentioned in the Epistle to the 
Romans xiv. 14, in consequence of a mere conjecture to that effect 
by Origen ;4 but the Canon of Muratoris confidently ascribes it to 
a brother of Pius, Bishop of Rome, and, at least, there does not 
seem any ground for the statement of Origen. It may have 
been written about the middle of the second century or a little 

Tischendorf dismisses this important memorial of the early 
Christian Church with a note of two Hnes, for it has no quota- 

' Cf. Gfrorer, Das Jahrh. des Heils, ii., p. 219 ff., 258 ff., 292 ff. 
^ Die Proph. Ezra n. Daniel, p. 70. 

3 Irenseus, Adv. Hcer., iv. 20, § 2; Clemens Al., Strom., i. 29, § 181, ii. 
I, § 3, vi. 15, § 131 ; Tertullian, De Orat., 12. He rejected it later, De 
Pudic, 10 ; Origen, Comm. in Rom., lib. x. 31, Horn., viii. in Num., H0171. i. 
in Psalm 37, DePrincip., ii. I, § 3, iii. 2, § 4 ; cf. Eusebius, H. E., iii. 3, v. 8 ; 
iii. 25 ; Cotelier, Patr. Ap. , i. 68 f. 

4 Pulo aulem quod Herman, iste sit scriptor libelli illius qui Pastor appelatur, 
quce scriptura valde mihi utilis videtur, et utputo divinitus inspirata. In Pom. 
lib. X. 31. 

5 Routh, Reliq. Sacra, \., p. 396; Tregelles, Canon Mural., p. 20. 


tions either from the Old or New Testament.^ He does not even 
suggest that it contains any indications of acquaintance with our 
Gospels. The only direct quotation in the " Shepherd " is from 
an apocryphal work which is cited as Holy Scripture : " The Lord 
is nigh unto them who return to him, as it is written in Eldad and 
Modat, who prophesied to the people in the wilderness. "^ This 
work, which appears in the Stichometry of Nicephorus amongst 
the apocrypha of the Old Testament, is no longer extant. 


In i873,Bryennius, then Metropolitan of Serrae,and now Patriarch 
of Nicomedia, discovered an interesting MS. volume in the library 
of the Jerusalem Monastery of the Most Holy Sepulchre at 
Constantinople. It contained seven Greek documents, amongst 
which may be mentioned the Epistle of Barnabas, the first Epistle 
of Clement in the only complete form known, the spurious second 
Epistle of Clement, Epistle of Mary of Cassoboli to Ignatius the 
Martyr of Antioch, twelve Epistles of pseudo-Ignatius, and the 
"Teaching of the Twelve Apostles," with which we are now 
concerned. At the end of the MS. volume is the signature of 
the copyist, " Leon, notary and sinner," with a date which cor- 
responds with A.D. 1056. In 1875, Bryennius published the two 
Epistles of Clement; but it was not until the close of 1883 that 
he was able to lay before the world the Greek text of the short 
treatise in which we are now interested,3 and, as an able writer 
has truly remarked, it has ever since been "the spoiled child of 
criticism."^ Bryennius himself assigns the " Teaching " to a date 
between a.d. 120-160. 

Several ancient writers mention a work with a similar, yet 
different, title. The first of these is Eusebius. After speaking of 
the " Shepherd " of Hermas, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the 
Epistle of Barnabas, he adds : " the so-called ' Teachings of tne 
Apostles ' " (tmv aTToo-ToAwv at Xeyofxevat 8iSaA(at).5 Somewhat 
later Athanasius^ mentions " the so-called Teaching of the 
Apostles " (AtSa^c^ KaXovjxkvr] rwv aTToo-roAwv), along with Other 
uncanonical works, such as the Wisdom of Solomon, the Wisdom 
of Sirach, Esther, Judith, Tobit, and the " Shepherd." Twenty 
years after Athanasius, Rufinus7 substantially repeats his state- 

' Watm warden, //. s. w., p. 182 ; Westcott, On the Canon, p. 175 ; Reuss, 
Hist, du Canon, p. 48 f. 

- Vis. ii. 3 ; cf. Numbers xi. 26 f. , Sept. Vers. 

3 The complete edition of this work had been published some years earlier, 
so that we now deal with the Didache for the first time. 

'* Charles Bigg, D.D., The Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles, 1898, p. 21. 

5 Hist. Eccl., iii. 25. ^ Ep. Test., 39. ^ Conwi. in Symb. Apost., § 38. 


ments ; but, in regard to the apocrypha of the New Testament, 
for the so-called " Teaching of the Apostles " he substitutes " that 
which is called * The Two Ways, or Judgment of Peter ' " {qui 
appellatur Duce VicB vel Judicium Petri). We shall have more to 
say presently regarding this work. Our tract bears the title of 
" The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles " (At^ax"^/ twv SwSe/ca 
a7roo-ToA,o>v), and this is confirmed and enlarged by a sub-title : "The 
Teaching of the Lord, by the Twelve Apostles, to the Gentiles " 
it^ihayj] Kvptov 8ia Twv StoSeKtt a7ro(TToA,wi/ rots Wvifriv). Dr. 
Lightfoot and many other writers prefer to call it simply " The 
Teaching of the Apostles," in spite of this double heading, 
because that "is the designation in several ancient writers who 
refer to it,"' thus calmly assuming the identity of the two works ; 
but we must protest against so unwarrantable an alteration of the 
title of a MS. to make it more closely agree with supposed 
references in the Fathers, for which no other justification is 

In connection with this, we may point out that we have some 
very instructive testimony concerning the "Teaching of the 
Apostles " to which probably Eusebius and Athanasius refer 
in the Stichometry of Nicephorus. He gives a list of apocryphal 
books, amongst which he mentions the " Teaching of the Apostles " 
as containing 200 lines (o-Ttxoi). Does this at all confirm the 
supposed application of these references to our " Teaching of the 
Twelve Apostles" in its present form? Unfortunately it does 
not, but quite the contrary, for Harnack has calculated that our 
little work extends to 300 o-rtxot.^ It could not, therefore, as we 
now have it, have been the " Teaching of the Apostles " to which 
reference has been made. 

It may be well here to refer to the contents of our Didache. 
It commences with a dissertation on the " Two Ways." " There 
are two ways — one of life and one of death, and there is a great 
difference between the two ways." This text is expounded 
throughout the first six divisions of the work ; the sixth, however, 
being very brief, and evidently added to lead up to the remainder 
of the "Teaching," which deals (vii.-x.) with Baptism, Fasting, 
Prayer, and the Eucharist ; whilst the third (xi.-xvi.) is devoted 
to later orders in the Church — apostles, prophets, bishops, and 
deacons — and lays down rules for their conduct and treatment. 
The first theme of the " Two Ways " has evidently been suggested 
by Jeremiah xxi. 8 : " Behold, I set before you the way of life 
and the way of death "; which may also be connected with Deut. 
XXX. 19: "I have set before you life and death, blessing and 

* Lightfoot, The Apost. Fathers, 1898, p. 215. 

= Harnack, Die Apostellehre, 1886, p. 35, ed. of 1 896, p. 41 f. 



cursing ; therefore choose life." The same texts are very probably 
the basis of the saying in Matt. vii. 13, 14; which shows how 
much the idea had influenced thought amongst the Jews. The 
" Teaching " is written, or rather adapted, by the compiler him- 
self, and no attempt is made to connect it with the Apostles ; 
whilst the section i. 3-6 is manifestly of a much later date than 
the rest of the dissertation on the " Two Ways," and consists of 
reminiscences of the " Sermon on the Mount " introduced by the 
compiler. With that exception, probably the whole of the first 
and second divisions (i.-vi., vii.-x.) are of Jewish origin.^ Dr. Light- 
foot says of our little treatise : " The manual consists of two parts : 
(i) a moral treatise founded on an ancient work called 'The Two 
Ways,' and setting forth the paths of righteousness and unrighteous- 
ness, of life and death, respectively. This first part is not neces- 
sarily altogether of Christian origin ; indeed, there is reason to 
believe that some portions of it were known to the Jews, and 
perhaps also to the Greeks, though it has undoubtedly gathered 
by accretions."^ It is interesting to note, however, that, notwith- 
standing the Hebraistic character of the ancient work embodied 
in the " Teaching," the compiler represents a time when a complete 
breach between Jew and Christian had been accomplished in the 
Church. The Jews to him are simply " the hypocrites "3 (viii. i) : 
" Let not your fastings be with the hypocrites "; " Neither pray ye 
as the hypocrites "; and, still more strongly to point his meaning 
and mark the difference between Jew and Christian, the fasts kept 
by the former on the second and fifth days of the week are to be 
abandoned, and kept by Christians on the fourth and sixth days. 

But the substance of the treatise on the " Two Ways " is far 
from being confined to the " Teaching of the Twelve Apostles." 
It is also found more or less fully set forth in the Epistle of 
Barnabas, and the " Shepherd " of Hermas, and a large part of the 
critical battle regarding the date of our Didache has been fought 
round the connection of the three works to each other ; one section 
of critics asserting the priority of the "Teaching," another the 
dependence of the tract on the Epistle and the "Shepherd," and a 
third maintaining that all three drew their material from an earlier 
work, whilst a fourth dates the " Teaching " very much later and 

' Dr. Taylor gives interesting illustrations of this by comparison with the 
Talmud and Talmudic writings {The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, 1886). 
Mr. Rendel Harris even says: "The teaching is Hebraistic from cover to 
cover" {The Teaching of the Apostles, 1887, p. 78). 

^ Apost. Fathers, p. 215. The idea of the "Two Ways" is found in classical 
works as early as Hesiod {Op. et Dies, 285). It is used in "The Choice of 
Hercules," which is usually ascribed to Prodicus the Sophist (Zenophont. 
Mem., ii. 1-21). 

3 Harnack, Chron. altchristl. Lit., 1897, i., p. 428. 


considers that the author derived his matter from works of the 
third or fourth century. But the subject of the " Two Ways " is 
not limited to these writings, but is found embodied in much later 
works. In 1843, Bickell' published a Greek tract from a Vienna 
MS. which is generally known as the " Ecclesiastical Canons," or 
the Epitome of the Holy Apostles. Hilgenfeld conjectures this 
tract to be the work referred to by Rufinus under the name of 
" Duce Vice vel Judicium Petri ^^^ and in this he is supported by 
many able scholars. In this work, which contains a large part of 
the "Two Ways" as it exists in our "Teaching" and in the "Epistle 
of Barnabas," the doctrine is divided into twelve parts, each of 
which is put into the mouth of an apostle, the opening being 
enunciated by John in identically the same words as our Didache. 
This tract is generally dated at least in the third century. In the 
same way the dissertation on the "Two Ways" is practically embodied 
in the seventh book of the Apostolic Constitutions, which is 
usually assigned to a still later date. In the Epistle of Barnabas, 
the " Shepherd " of Hermas, the Epitome and the Apostolic 
Constitutions, therefore, nearly the whole treatise of the " Two 
Ways " is included, and the only question is as to the chronological 
order of these various forms of the doctrine. That our Didache 
was not the original source, as we have already pointed out, is 
certain, and it may, on the other hand, have been the last, col- 
lecting from the foregoing what may have seemed to the compiler 
the most striking passages. 

This is not all, however, for in 1884, after the publication of our 
Didache by Bryennius, von Gebhardt brought to light the short 
fragment of a Latin translation of the "Two Ways," with which 
he had met some years before, and which approximates to the 
form of our "Teaching," with the important diiTerence that it 
omits all the references to the Sermon on the Mount, which, taken 
in connection with the similar omission elsewhere,^ are thus shown 
to be the later amplification of the compiler. 

Not only is it maintained by many that, in spite of its different 
title, our Didache is the work referred to by Eusebius and 
Athanasius, but it is asserted to be the work from which Clement 
of Alexandria quoted as " Scripture." Clement says : " Such an 

' Gesch. d. Kirchenrechts, 1843. ^^ bears the title Ai hiara.'yoX at hih 
KX'TifiePTOs /cat Kav6i'€$ iKKKTjaiaa-TiKol tQv aylwv diroaTdXcov. Cardinal Pitra 
found the same tract in a MS. in the Ottobonian library bearing the title 
'BTTtTOyUTj bpwv tG}v ajlcap cLTroaTdXuv KadoKiKrjs Trapaddaecos. It is also given 
by Hilgenfeld in his A/'. T. extra Can. Kecept.^ 1884, Fasc. iv. Codices in 
Syriac, Coptic, and Ethiopic have since been discovered. 

- Lactantius, Epit. div. Instif., c. lix, for instance, and in writings of pseudo- 
Athanasius, but still more markedly in the Epistle of Barnabas, the writer of 
which could have no reason for omitting them if they had stood in the original 
treatise of which he made use, 


one is called a thief by the Scripture ; at least, it says, ' Son (Yte), 
become not a liar, for (yap) lying leads to (tt/do?) theft.'" In the 
" Teaching " these words occur (iii. 5) : " My child (Tckvov /xov), 
become not a liar, since (eTretSri) lying leads to (els) theft." 
Now, it is remarkable that the quotation in Clement begins with 
" Son " ; but if there be anything more characteristic of the 
Didache than another, it is the use of the phrase " My child " as 
the precursor of such admonitions. In the first six chapters, 
devoted to the "Two Ways," it is used six times, and "Son" is 
never introduced. No one reading this form of the "Two Ways," 
and even quoting from memory, would be in the least likely to 
couple with these admonitions any other style of address, and 
when we bear in mind the numerous works in which the ancient 
text of the "Two Ways" has been incorporated, of which we 
have already mentioned five, it is evidently extremely hazardous to 
affirm that the few works used by Clement identify this particular 
tract. The phrase, in fact, is found in the Epitome (ii.), " Child, 
become not a liar, since lying leads unto (cTrt) theft," which may, 
with equal reason, be identified as the source of Clement's 

No work has recently received more keen attention from critics 
of all schools than the " Teaching of the Twelve Apostles," and 
few have excited deeper interest or received more divergent judg- 
ments. Whilst many have pronounced it to be one of the earliest 
Christian writings extant, emanating even from about the middle 
of the first century, others have assigned it to the fourth century.^ 

' Middle of the first century — Sabatier La Didache, 1885, p. 159. 

Second half first century — Bestmann, Gesch. christl. Sitte, 1885, ii. , p. 136 
fit". ; Jacquier, La Doctrine d. cbuze Ap., 1 89 1, p. 97 ; Majocchi, La Dottrina 
dei dod. Ap., 1886, p. 71; Petersen, Lehre d. zwolf Ap., 1884, p. 12; 
H. de Romestin, Teaching of Twelve Aps., 1884, p. 6, 1885 Pref. 2nd ed. ; 
Spence, Teaching of the Aps., 1885, p. 98; Wunsche, Lehre d. zw. Ap., 1884, 

End first century or beginning of second — -Binnie, Br. and Foreign Ev. Rev. , 
Oct., 1885, p. 640 fir. ; Farrar, Contemp. Rev., 1884, p. 698 fif. ; Expositor, 
1884, p. 380 fif. ; Funk, Theol. Quartalschrift, 1884, p. 401 ; Doctrina 
dtwdecim Apost., 1887, p. xxxii. ; Heron, Church of Sub-ap. Age, 1888, p. 
83 ; Hitchcock and Brown, Teaching of Twelve Aps., 1885, p. xc. f. Light- 
foot, Apost. Fathers, 1898, p. 216 ; Expositor, 1885, p. 6 ; Lechler, Urkun- 
denfunde Gesch. christl. Altertums, 1886, p. 75 ; Massebieau, V Enseigne- 
ment des doiize Ap., 1884, p. 35 ; E. von Renesse, Die L^ehre zwolf Ap., 1897, 
p. 85; Schafif, Oldest Church Manual, 1885, p. 119 fif. ; Taylor, Teaching 
Twelve Aps., 1886, p. 118 ; Venables, Brit. Quarterly Rev., 1885, p. 333 fif. ; 
Warfield, Bibl. Sacra, 1886, p. 100 ff. ; Wordsworth, Guardian, Mar. 19th, 
1884; 'Z.^ihn, Theol. Literaturblatt, June 27th, July nth, 1884; Forsch. Gesch. 
N. T. Kanons, 1884, iii., p. 318 f. 

First half second century— Baltzer, IViedergef. Zwolfapostellehre, 1886, 
p. 13. A.D. 1 10-130 Robinson, i?«r;/t7(7/. Bibl., 1899, i., p. 676. a.d. 120 too 


It only remains for us now briefly to examine the supposed 
references to our Gospels in the " Teaching of the Twelve 
Apostles." The compiler does not in the least endeavour to 
associate the Apostles directly with his dissertation, nor does he 
even mention the name of any one of them. He does not, of 
course, indicate the title of any work in the New Testament. 
For him, apparently, the Old Testament books are the only holy 
" Scripture," and to these he twice refers. Harnack has counted 
some twenty-three Gospel expressions which are considered more 
or less like some in our Synoptics ; but of these seventeen are 
said more nearly to approximate to passages in Matthew, and he 
regards one of these at least as a mixture of the first and third of 
our Gospels, though he is in doubt whether the compiler may not 
have used Tatian's Diatessm-on^ or even the Gospel of Peter.' 
All of these passages are more or less near coincidences with 
expressions in the " Sermon on the Mount," and it is argued that 
it is not possible they could be derived from oral tradition, and 
that consequently they indicate a "written Gospel." As these 
expressions have closer similarity to our first Synoptic than to any 
of the others, it is at once claimed by eager critics that they prove 
the use of that Gospel. A circumstance which, in most cases, 
strengthens this view is the fact that in several instances these 
expressions are said by the writer to come " in the Gospel." This 
form occurs in the following cases (viii. 2): "As the Lord com- 
manded in his Gospel" (ws iKcXeva-ev 6 Kvpio<i kv rco evayyeXtw 
avrov) ; xi. 3 : "But regarding the apostles and prophets, according 
to the decree of the Gospel (Kara to 8oy/xa rov evayyektov 
ovTOis), so do ye "; xv. 3 : " But reprove one another, not in 
anger, but in peace, as ye find in the Gospel " (cos e'xere h rw 
emyyeXiO)) ; and in xv. 4 : " But your prayers and alms and all 
your deeds do as ye find in the Gospel of our Lord " (ws exere 
€v Tw evayyeXup rov Kvptov rjfjLMv). We may simply make the 
remark that only in the first of these— which we shall presently 

early, A.D. 160, too late for parts, Gordon, Modern Rev., 1884, p. 457. A.D. 
133-135 Volkmar, Die Lehre d. z. Ap., 1885, p. 44. 

Later than A.D, 130-140 — Van Manen, Encydop. BibL, iii., 1902, p. 3,484. 
A.D. 131-160, Harnack, Chronol. altehristl. Lit., 1897, i., p. 438; Die 
Apostellehre, 1896, p. 20 f. ; Bryennius, AtSax"?? r(^v dihdcKa ' AiroaTdXcov , 
1883, p. 20. After middle of second century, Hilgenfeld, Zeitschr. wiss. 
Theol., 1885, p. 100. A.D, 140-165, Lipsius, Lit. Centraiblatt, Jan., 1885, cf, 
Deutsche Lite^-aturzeit., 1884, p. 1,449 ff. Before A.D. 140— Addis, Dtiblin 
Rev., Oct., 1884, p. 442 ff. A.D. 140-165, Meyboom, Theol. Tijdschr., 1885, 
p. 628 ff. A.D, 160-190 Bonet- Maury, L.a Dodri^te des douze Ap., 1884, 
p, 34 ff. A.D. 200 Krawutzcky, Theol. Quartalschr., 1884, p. 585 ff. 

Fourth century — Bigg, Dodrine of Twelve Ap., 1898, p. 23; Cotterill, 
Scottish Church Rev. 1884, July and Sept. ; Hoole, The Didache, 1894, p. 
45 f ; Long, Baptist Quarterly, 1884, July and September. 
' Harnack, Die Apostellehre, 1896, p. 8 ff. 


discuss — is there any direct reference to any passage resembling 
our Gospels ; though the last, with its admonition regarding 
prayers, alms, and actions, may be taken as a general reference to 
the teaching of Jesus. Now, though no one would maintain that, 
at the time when this Didache was compiled, there was no written 
"Gospel," too much stress must not be laid upon these expres- 
sions. It is certain that, to the majority of Christians in early 
times, oral tradition must have been the means of rendering 
familiar the more remarkable sayings of Jesus much more than 
written documents, which could only be in limited circulation, 
and to the mass of these converts his teaching must therefore 
have been more a spoken than a written Gospel. If we 
look in the New Testament itself, we find similar words used, 
which no one will assert to refer to a written Gospel. For 
instance (Matt. iv. 23): "And he went about in all Galilee, 
teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the 
kingdom" {to evayy cXlov tt/s /^ao-iAeia?) ; cf. ix. 35, xxvi. 13. 
In Mark viii. 35 there is a similar expression : "Whosoever shall 
lose his life for my sake and the Gospel's (^at tov evayyeXtov) 
will save it." In i Cor. iv. 15, again, we read: "For in Christ 
Jesus I begot you through the Gospel " (Sta rod evayyeXlov) — 
cf. ix. 14 ; and in Gal. ii. 2 : " And communicated to them the 
Gospel [to evayyeXiov] which I preach among the Gentiles." 

We may now consider the first of the above passages, which 
contains the principal of the supposed references. Matt. viii. 2 : 
" Neither pray ye as the hypocrites, but as the Lord commanded 
in his Gospel, thus pray ye "; and then follows what is known as 
the Lord's Prayer. The prayer is given as it appears in our first 
Synoptic (vi. 9-13), but with some noteworthy alterations. " Our 
Father which art in heaven " (ev rw ovpavw) is used instead of 
"in the heavens" (cv tols ovpavoh) ; and "forgive us our debt" 
(r-qv 6(fi€iXr]V rj[X(jiv) instead of " our debts " (ra 6cfi€iXrjfJLara rjjJLWv). 
A still more important divergence occurs in the doxology, which 
in the Didache is given : " For thine is the power, and the glory 
for ever," omitting both " the kingdom " and the final " amen."^ 
Of course, it may be noted that the oldest and best texts, of 
Matt. vi. 13 omit the doxology altogether, and it has now dis- 
appeared even from the Revised Version ; but the variation we 
point out makes the Didache differ even from the Codices which 
contain it. That the omission of " kingdom " is not accidental is 
proved by the fact that the very same peculiar doxology is again 
used in the "Teaching " in connection with another prayer (x. 5). 
Probably no part of the so-called Sermon on the Mount was more 

' We do not mention the substitution of eXderw for eXOdru} and dipiefxei' 
for dcpriKajmev, for this is supported by some of our oldest texts. 


spread abroad in oral tradition than this prayer, and to suppose 
that this faulty agreement is evidence of the use specially of the 
first Synoptic is not permissible. 

The same remark applies to all the reminiscences of the 
" Sermon " in this tract, and we do not consider it necessary 
further to examine them here. Nothing is more remarkable than 
the habit, even of able critics when examining supposed quotations in 
early writings, boldly to ascribe them to our Synoptics, however much 
they differ from our texts, in total forgetfulness of the fact that 
many records of doings and sayings of Jesus, which are no longer 
extant, existed before our Gospels were composed, and circulated 
with them. Many of these, subsequently absorbed by our Gospels, 
or displaced by them, undoubtedly contained the best passages in 
the teaching of Jesus in very similar shape, and were long very 
widely read. More especially does this remark apply to reminis- 
cences of the " Sermon on the Mount," to which the expressions 
in the Didache are confined. We have even in our first and third 
Synoptics an illustration of this statement. In the first Gospel 
we have the " Sermon on the Mount " with all these passages 
joined together in one long discourse. In the third Synoptic we 
find no " Sermon on the Mount " at all, but part of that long 
discourse is given as a "Sermon on the Plain," whilst other 
portions are scattered throughout the Gospel. In the second 
Synoptic we have neither a " Sermon on the Mount " nor on the 
plain, but many fragments are separately introduced. In all three 
the various passages are put in a context which is often contradictory 
of each other. Who can doubt that the Logia and the documents 
which lie behind the three Synoptics contained them in one shape 
or another, and that it is impossible to claim the use in any ancient 
work of such sayings from unnamed sources as proof of the exist- 
ence of any particular Gospel ? 

There is one further passage to which we may refer. In his first 
chapter, § 6, the compiler of our Didache says : " But regarding 
this it is also said : ' Let thine alms sweat into thy hands until thou 
knowest to whom to give.' "^ This saying, which is quoted in some 
way as Scripture, "it is also said" (etp/rat), is not found in our 
Synoptics, and is referred to an apocryphal Gospel. It is in 
immediate sequence to admonitions, in which are incorporated 
reminiscences of the " Sermon on the Mount," which wind up 
with words like those in Matt. v. 26, " He shall not come out 
thence till he hath given back the last farthing." Then at once 
follow the words just discussed. If these words were "also 
said" in the work in which the expression like Matt. v. 26 was 

' aXka KoX wepi tovtov de ^Lprjrai' tS/swrdrco i] iXerjimoavvr) aovcis rds xet/Jcts croi' 


found, why should all the reminiscences from the " Sermon on 
the Mount " not have been derived from the same apocryphal 
source ? 

We have, however, devoted more space to this little book than 
may seem necessary, for in so far as our particular purpose is con- 
cerned a decision is perfectly certain and easy. The " Teaching 
of the Twelve Apostles" is anonymous, and nothing is either 
known or surmised as to its compiler. He does not mention any 
of the Apostles, and gives no indication whatever of the writer of 
any work in our New Testament. He does not afford the slightest 
evidence, therefore, even of the existence of any of our Gospels, 
and in no way bears testimony to their credibility as witnesses for 
miracles and the reality of Divine revelation. 



Although in reality appertaining to a very much later period, we 
shall here refer to the so-called "Epistles of Ignatius," and examine 
any testimony which they afford regarding the date and authenticity 
of our Gospels. There are in all fifteen Epistles bearing the name 
of Ignatius ; three of these, addressed to the Virgin Mary and the 
Apostle John (2), exist only in a Latin version, and these, together 
with five others directed to Mary of Cassobola, to the Tarsians, 
to the Antiochans, to Hero of Antioch, and to the Philippians, 
of which there are versions both in Greek and Latin, are universally 
admitted to be spurious, and may, so far as their contents are 
concerned, be at once dismissed from all consideration. They are 
not mentioned by Eusebius, nor does any early writer refer to 
them. Of the remaining seven Epistles, addressed to the Ephesians, 
Magnesians, Trallians, Romans, Philadelphians, Smyrnaeans, and 
to Polycarp, there are two distinct versions extant : one long 
version, of which there are both Greek and Latin texts; and 
another much shorter, and presenting considerable variations, of 
which there are also both Greek and Latin texts. After a couple 
of centuries of discussion, critics, almost without exception, have 
finally agreed that the longer version is nothing more than an 
interpolated version of the shorter and more ancient form of the 
Epistles. The question regarding the authenticity of the Ignatian 
Epistles, however, was re-opened and complicated by the pubHca- 
tion in 1845, by Dr. Cureton, of a Syriac version of three Epistles 
only — to Polycarp, to the Ephesians, and to the Romans— in a 
still shorter form, discovered amongst a large number of MSS. 
purchased by Dr. Tattam from the monks of the Desert of Nitria. 
These three Syriac Epistles have been subjected to the severest 
scrutiny, and many of the ablest critics have pronounced them to 
be the only authentic Epistles of Ignatius, whilst others, who do 
not admit that even these are genuine letters emanating from 
Ignatius, still prefer them to the version of seven Greek Epistles, 
and consider them the most ancient form of the letters which we 
possess. As early as the sixteenth century, however, the strongest 
doubts were expressed regarding the authenticity of any of the 
Epistles ascribed to Ignatius. The Magdeburg Centuriators first 
attacked them, and Calvin declared them to be spurious, an 



opinion fully shared by Daille and others; Chemnitz regarded 
them with suspicion ; and similar doubts, more or less definite, 
were expressed throughout the seventeenth century, and onward to 
comparatively recent times, although the means of forming a 
judgment were not then so complete as now. That the Epistles 
were interpolated there was no doubt. Fuller examination and 
more comprehensive knowledge of the subject have confirmed 
earlier doubts, and a large mass of critics has either recognised 
that the authenticity of none of these Epistles can be established, 
or that they can only be considered later and spurious composi- 

Omitting for the present the so-called Epistle of Polycarp to the 
Philippians, the earliest reference to any of these Epistles, or to 
Ignatius himself, is made by Irenseus, who quotes a passage which 
is found in the Epistle to the Romans (ch. iv.), without, however, 
any mention of name, introduced by the following words : " As a 
certain man of ours said, being condemned to the wild beasts on 
account of his testimony to God : ' I am the wheat of God, and 
by the teeth of beasts I am ground, that I may be found pure 
bread.' "' Origen likewise quotes two brief sentences w^hich he 
refers to Ignatius. The first is merely : " But my love is crucified,"^^ 
which is likewise found in the Epistle to the Romans (ch. vii.) ; 
and the other quoted as "out of one of the Epistles" of the 
martyr Ignatius : " From the Prince of this world was concealed 
the virginity of Mary, "3 which is found in the Epistle to the 
Ephesians (ch. xix.). Eusebius mentions seven Epistles,^ and 
quotes one passage from the Epistle to the Romans (ch. v.), and 
a few words from an apocryphal Gospel contained in the Epistle 
to the Smyrngeans (ch. iii.), the source of which he says that he 
does not know, and he cites from Irengeus the brief quotation 
given above, and refers to the mention of the Epistles in the letter 
of Polycarp, which we reserve. Elsew^heres he further quotes a 
short sentence found in the Epistle to the Ephesians (ch. xix.), 
part of w^hich had previously been cited by Origen. It will be 
observed that all these quotations, with the exception of that from 
Irenaeus, are taken from the three Epistles which exist in the 
Syriac translation, and they are found in that version ; and the 
first occasion on which any passage attributed to Ignatius is quoted 
which is not in the Syriac version of the three Epistles occurs in 
the second half of the fourth century, when Athanasius, in his 

^ Irenseus, Adv. Hcer., v. 28, § 4 ; Eusebius, H. E.y iii. 36. Lardner 
expresses a doubt whether this is a quotation at all. 
^ Prolog, in Cantic. Canticor. 

3 Horn. vi. in Lucam. ^ H. £., iii. 36. 

5 Qimst. ad Steph. ; cf. Cureton, Corp. Ign.^ p. 164. 


Epistle regarding the Synods of Ariminum and Selucia,' quotes a 
few words from the Epistle to the Ephesians (ch. vii.) ; but, 
although foreign to the Syriac text, it is to be noted that the words 
are at least from a form of one of the three Epistles which exist in 
that version. It is a fact, therefore, that up to the second half of 
the fourth century no quotation ascribed to Ignatius, except one 
by Eusebius, exists, which is not found in the three short Syriac 

As we have already remarked, the Syriac version of the three 
Epistles is very much shorter than the shorter Greek version ; the 
Epistle to the Ephesians, for instance, being only about one-third 
of the length of the Greek text. Those who still maintain the 
superior authenticity of the Greek shorter version argue that the 
Syriac is an epitome of the Greek. This does not, however, seem 
tenable when the matter is carefully examined. Although so 
much is absent from the Syriac version, not only is there no 
interruption of the sense, and no obscurity or undue curtness in 
the style, but the Epistles read more consecutively, without faults 
of construction or grammar ; and passages which in the Greek 
text were confused, and almost unintelligible, have become quite 
clear in the Syriac. The interpolations of the text, in fact, had 
been so clumsily made that they had obscured the meaning, and 
their mere omission, without any other alteration of grammatical 
construction, has restored the epistles to clear and simple order. 
It is, moreover, a remarkable fact that the passages which, long 
before the discovery of the Syriac epistles, were pointed out as 
chiefly determining that the epistles were spurious, are not found 
in the Syriac version at all. Archbishop Usher, who only 
admitted the authenticity of six epistles, showed that much 
interpolation of these letters took place in the sixth century f 
but this very fact increases the probability of much earlier inter- 
polation also, to which the various existing versions most clearly 
point. The interpolations can be explained upon the most 
palpable dogmatic grounds, but not so the omissions upon the 
hypothesis that the Syriac version is an abridgment made upon 
any distinct dogmatic principle, for that which is allowed to remain 
renders the omissions ineffectual for dogmatic reasons. There is 
no ground of interest, therefore, upon which the portions omitted 
and retained by the Syriac version can be intelligently explained. 
Finally, here, we may mention that the MSS. of the three Syriac 
epistles are more ancient by some centuries than those of any of 
the Greek versions of the Seven epistles. 3 The strongest internal 
as well as other evidence, into which space forbids our going in 

^ Opera, Bened. ed., i., p. 761, 
^ Dissert., ch. vi., p. xxxiii. 3 Cureton, The Anc. Syr. Vers., p. xl. 


detail, has led the majority of critics to recognise the Syriac 
version as the most ancient form of the letters of Ignatius extant, 
and this is admitted by many of those who nevertheless deny the 
authenticity of any of the epistles.^ 

Seven Epistles have been selected out of fifteen extant, all 
equally purporting to be by Ignatius, simply because only that 
number was mentioned by Eusebius, from whom, for the first time 
in the fourth century, except the general reference in the so- 
called Epistle of Polycarp, to which we shall presently refer, we 
hear of them. Now, neither the silence of Eusebius regarding 
the eight Epistles, nor his mention of the seven, can have much 
weight in deciding the question of their authenticity. The only 
point which is settled by the reference of Eusebius is that, at the 
date at which he wrote, seven Epistles were known to him which 
were ascribed to Ignatius. He evidently knew little or nothing 
regarding the man or the Epistles beyond what he had learnt from 
themselves, and he mentions the martyr-journey to Rome as a 
mere report : "It is said that he was conducted from Syria to Rome 
to be cast to wild beasts on account of his testimony to Christ."^ 
It would be unreasonable to argue that no other Epistles existed 
simply because Eusebius did not mention them ; and, on the other 
hand, it would be still more unreasonable to affirm that the seven 
Epistles are authentic merely because Eusebius, in the fourth 
century — that is to say, some two centuries after they are supposed 
to have been written — had met with them. Does anyone believe 
the letter of Jesus to Abgarus, Prince of Edessa, to be genuine 
because Eusebius inserts it in his history3 as an authentic docu- 
ment out of the public records of the city of Edessa ? There is, 
in fact, no evidence that the brief quotations of Irenaeus and 
Origen are taken from either of the extant Greek versions of the 
Epistles ; for, as we have mentioned, they exist in the Syriac 
Epistles, and there is nothing to show the original state of the 
letters from which they were derived. Nothing is more certain 
than the fact that, if any writer wished to circulate letters in the 
name of Ignatius, he would insert such passages as were said to have 
been quoted from genuine Epistles of Ignatius, and, supposing those 
quotations to be real, all that could be inferred on finding such pas- 
sages would be that, at least, so much might be genuine. It is a total 
mistake to suppose that the seven Epistles mentioned by Eusebius 
have been transmitted to us in any special way. These Epistles 
are mixed up in the Medicean and corresponding ancient Latin 

* Regarding the Armenian version, see Preface to 6th ed., p. xliv. ft". 
^ \6yos §' ^^et TOVTOV dirb 'Evpias eirl ttjv 'Fcj/xaicov ir6\iv, k.t.X., H. E., 
iii. 36. 

^H. E.,i. 13. 



MSS. with the other eight Epistles, universally announced to be 
spurious, without distinction of any kind, and all have equal 
honour. The recognition of the number seven may, therefore, be 
ascribed simply to the reference to them by Eusebius, and his 
silence regarding the rest. 

What, then, is the position of the so-called Ignatian Epistles ? 
Towards the end of the second century, Irenaeus makes a very 
short quotation from a source unnamed, which Eusebius, in the 
fourth century, finds in an Epistle attributed to Ignatius. Origen, 
in the third century, quotes a very few words, which he ascribes to 
Ignatius, although without definite reference to any particular 
Epistle; and in the fourth century Eusebius mentions seven 
Epistles ascribed to Ignatius. There is no other evidence. There 
are, however, fifteen Epistles extant attributed to Ignatius, 
of all of which, with the exception of three which are only 
known in a Latin version, we possess both Greek and Latin 
versions. Of seven of these Epistles— and they are those men- 
tioned by Eusebius — we have two Greek versions, one of which is 
very much shorter than the other ; and, finally, we now possess a 
Syriac version of three Epistles only, in a form still shorter than 
the shorter Greek version, in which are found all the quotations of 
the Fathers, without exception, up to the fourth century. Eight 
of the fifteen Epistles are universally rejected as spurious. The 
longer Greek version of the remaining seven Epistles is almost 
unanimously condemned as grossly interpolated ; and the majority 
of critics recognise that the shorter Greek version is also much 
interpolated ; whilst the Syriac version, which so far as MSS. are 
concerned is by far the most ancient text of any of the letters 
which we possess, reduces their number to three, and their 
contents to a very small compass. It is not surprising that the 
majority of critics have expressed doubt more or less strong 
regarding the authenticity of all of these Epistles, and that so 
large a number have repudiated them altogether. One thing is 
quite evident, that amidst such a mass of falsification, interpolation, 
and fraud, the Ignatian Epistles cannot, in any form, be considered 
evidence on any important point. 

These doubts, however, have been intensified by consideration 
of the circumstances under which the Ignatian Epistles are repre- 
sented as having been composed. They profess to have been 
written by Ignatius during his journey from Antioch to Rome, in 
the custody of Roman soldiers, in order to be exposed to wild 
beasts, the form of martyrdom to which he had been condemned. 
The writer describes the circumstances of his journey as follows : 
" From Syria even unto Rome I fight with wild beasts, by sea and 
by land, by night and day ; being bound amongst ten leopards, 
which are the band of soldiers, who, even receiving benefits, 


become worse."^ Now, if this account be in the least degree 
true, how is it possible to suppose that the martyr could have 
found means to write so many long Epistles, entering minutely 
into dogmatic teaching, and expressing the most deliberate and 
advanced views regarding ecclesiastical government ? Indeed, it 
may be asked why Ignatius should have considered it necessary in 
such a journey, even if the possibility be for a moment conceded, 
to address such Epistles to communities and individuals to whom, 
by the showing of the letters themselves, he had just had oppor- 
tunities of addressing his counsels in person. The Epistles them- 
selves bear none of the marks of composition under such 
circumstances, and it is impossible to suppose that soldiers, such 
as the quotation above describes, would allow a prisoner, con- 
demned to wild beasts for professing Christianity, deliberately to 
write long Epistles at every stage of his journey, promulgating the 
very doctrines for which he was condemned. And not only this, 
but on his way to martyrdom, he has, according to the Epistles,^ 
perfect freedom to see his friends. He receives the bishops, 
deacons, and members of various Christian communities, who come 
with greetings to him, and devoted followers accompany him on 
his journey. All this without hindrance from the " ten leopards," 
of whose cruelty he complains, and without persecution or harm 
to those who so openly declare themselves his friends and fellow- 
believers. The whole story is absolutely incredible. 

Against these objections Dr. Lightfoot advances arguments, 
derived from Zahn, regarding the Roman procedure in cases that 
are said to be " known." These cases, however, are neither 
analogous nor have they the force which is assumed. That 
Christians imprisoned for their religious belief should receive their 
nourishment, while in prison, from friends, is anything but extra- 
ordinary, and that bribes should secure access to them in many 
cases, and some mitigation of suffering, is possible. The case of 
Ignatius, however, is very different. If the meaning of ot Kal 
evepyerovfxevoi ^eipovs ytvovTat be that, although receiving bribes, 
the " ten leopards " only became more cruel, the very reverse of the 
leniency and mild treatment ascribed to the Roman procedure is 
described by the writer himself as actually taking place, and 
certainly nothing approaching a parallel to the correspondence of 
pseudo-Ignatius can be pointed out in any known instance. The 
case of Saturus and Perpetua, even if true, is no confirmation, the 

^ 'A7r6 livpias jui-^XP'- 'P'^,".'?? dTjpio/uiaxf^ Sta yrjs /cat daXdacrrjs, vvktos koL rjfihpai, 
evdede/x^pos 5^/ca Xeoirapdois, 8 eariv (rrpaTLOJTLKOV rdyfia' ot /cat evepyerotjirevoc 
X^ipovs ylvovrai. Ep. Ad. Rom. , v. 

"^ Cf. ad Ephes., i. ii., ad Magnes. ii. xv., ad Trail, i., ad Rom. x., ad 
Philadelph. xi., ad Smyrn. x. xiii., etc. 


circumstances being very different;^ but, in fact, there is no 
evidence whatever that the extant history was written by either of 
them,^ but, on the contrary, every reason to believe that it was not. 

Dr. Lightfoot advances the instance of Paul as a case in point 
of a Christian prisoner treated with great consideration, and who 
" writes letters freely, receives visits from his friends, communicates 
with churches and individuals as he desires. "3 It is scarcely 
possible to imagine two cases more dissimilar than those of 
pseudo-Ignatius and Paul, as narrated in the " Acts of the 
Apostles," although doubtless the story of the former has been 
framed upon some of the lines of the latter. Whilst Ignatius is 
condemned to be cast to the wild beasts as a Christian, Paul is 
not condemned at all, but stands in the position of a Roman 
citizen, rescued from infuriated Jews (xxiii. 27), repeatedly declared 
by his judges to have done nothing worthy of death or of bonds 
(xxv. 25, xxvi. 31), and who might have been set at liberty but 
that he had appealed to Caesar (xxv. 11 f., xxvi. 32). His posi- 
tion was one which secured the sympathy of the Roman soldiers. 
Ignatius " fights with beasts from Syria even unto Rome," and is 
cruelly treated by his "ten leopards"; but Paul is represented as 
receiving very different treatment. Felix commands that his own 
people should be allowed to come and minister to him (xxiv. 23), 
and when the voyage is commenced it is said that Julius, who had 
charge of Paul, treated him courteously, and gave him liberty to 
go to see his friends at Sidon (xxvii. 3). At Rome he was allowed 
to live by himself with a single soldier to guard him (xxviii. 16), 
and he continued for two years in his own hired house (xxviii. 28). 
These circumstances are totally different from those under which 
the Epistles of Ignatius are said to have been written. 

" But the most powerful testimony," Dr. Lightfoot goes on to 
say, "is derived from the representations of a heathen writer. "^ 
The case of Peregrinus, to which he refers, seems to us even more 
unfortunate than that of Paul. Of Peregrinus himself, historically, 
we really know little or nothing, for the account of Lucian is 
scarcely received by anyone as serious. Lucian narrates that this 
Peregrinus Proteus, a cynic philosopher, having been guilty of 
parricide and other crimes, found it convenient to leave his own 
country. In the course of his travels he fell in with Christians 
and learnt their doctrines, and, according to Lucian, the Christians 
soon were mere children in his hands, so that he became in his 
own person " prophet, high priest, and ruler of a synagogue "; 

^ Ruinart, Acta Mart.^ p. 137 ff. ; cf. Baronius, Mart. Rom., 1631, p. 152. 
"^ Cf. Lardner, Credibility, etc., Works, iii., p. 3. 
^ Contemporary Review, February, 1875, p. 349. 
''lb., p. 350. 


and, further, "they spoke of him as a god, used him as a law- 
giver, and elected him as their chief man."^ After a time he was 
put in prison for his new faith, which, Lucian says, was a real 
service to him afterwards in his impostures. During the time he 
was in prison he is said to have received those services from 
Christians which Dr. Lightfoot quotes. Peregrinus was subsequently 
set at liberty by the Governor of Syria, who loved philosophy, ^ 
and travelled about, living in great comfort at the expense of the 
Christians, until at last they quarrelled, in consequence, Lucian 
thinks, of his eating some forbidden food. Finally, Peregrinus 
ended his career by throwing himself into the flames of a funeral 
pile during the Olympian games. An earthquake is said to have 
taken place at the time ; a vulture flew out from the pile, crying 
out with a human voice ; and shortly after Peregrinus rose again, 
and appeared clothed in white raiment, unhurt by the fire. 

Now, this writing, of which we have given the barest sketch, is 
a direct satire upon Christians, or even, as Baur affirms, " a parody 
of the history of Jesus. "3 There are no means of ascertaining 
that any of the events of the Christian career of Peregrinus were 
true ; but it is obvious that Lucian's policy was to exaggerate the 
facility of access to prisoners, as well as the assiduity and attention 
of the Christians to Peregrinus, the ease with which they were 
duped being the chief point of the satire. 

There is another circumstance which must be mentioned. 
Lucian's account of Peregrinus is claimed by supporters of the 
Ignatian Epistles as evidence for them.4 "The singular corres- 
pondence in this narrative with the account of Ignatius, combined 
with some striking coincidences of expression," they argue, show 
" that Lucian was acquainted with the Ignatian history, if not with 
the Ignatian letters." These are the words of Dr. Lightfoot, 
although he guards himself, in referring to this argument, by the 
words, "if it be true," and does not express his own opinion ; but 
he goes on to say : "At all events it is conclusive for the matter 
in hand, as showing that Christian prisoners were treated in the 
very way described in these Epistles. "s On the contrary, it is in 
no case conclusive of anything. If it were true that Lucian 
employed, as the basis of his satire, the Ignatian Epistles and 
Martyrology, it is clear that his narrative cannot be used as inde- 
pendent testimony for the truth of the statements regarding the 
treatment of Christian prisoners. On the other hand, as this 
cannot be shown, his story remains a mere satire, with very little 

^ De Morte Peregr., 1 1. ^ 73., 14. 

3 Gesch. chr. Kirche, i., p. 410 f. 

^ See, for instance, Denzinger, Ueber die Aechtheit d. bish. Textes d. Ignat. 
Brief e, 1849, P- 87 ff. ; Zahn, Ignatius v. Ant., 1873, p. 517 ff. 
5 Contemporary Review, February, 1875, p. 350 f. 


historical value. Apart from all this, however, the case of 
Peregrinus, a man confined in prison for a short time, under a 
favourable governor, and not pursued with any severity, is no 
parallel to that of Ignatius, condemned ad bestias, and, according 
to his own express statement, cruelly treated by the " ten leopards "; 
and, further, the liberty of pseudo-Ignatius must greatly have 
exceeded all that is said of Peregrinus, if he was able to write 
such Epistles, and hold such free intercourse as they represent. 

There seems to be good reason for believing that Ignatius was 
not sent to Rome at all, but suffered martyrdom in Antioch itself 
on the 2oth December a.d. 115, being condemned to be cast to 
wild beasts in the amphitheatre, in consequence of the fanatical 
excitement produced by the earthquake which occurred on the 
13th of that month. There are no less than three martyrologies 
of Ignatius giving an account of the martyr's supposed journey 
from Antioch to Rome, but these can have no weight, as they are 
all recognised to be mere idle legends, of whose existence we do 
not hear till a very late period. 

We shall briefly state the case for holding that the martyrdom 
took place in Antioch, and not in Rome. The Ignatian Epistles 
and martyrologies set forth that, during a general persecution of 
Christians, in Syria at least, Ignatius was condemned by Trajan, 
when he wintered in Antioch during the Parthian War, to be 
taken to Rome and cast to wild beasts in the amphitheatre. 
When we inquire whether these facts are supported by historical 
data, the reply is emphatically adverse. All that is known of the 
treatment of Christians during the reign of Trajan, as well as of 
the character of the Emperor, is opposed to the supposition that 
Ignatius could have been condemned by Trajan himself, or even 
by a provincial governor, to be taken to Rome and there cast to 
the beasts. It is well known that, under Trajan, there was no 
general persecution of Christians, although there may have been 
instances in which prominent members of the body were either 
punished or fell victims to popular fury and superstition.^ An 
instance of this kind was the martyrdom of Simeon, Bishop of 
Jerusalem, reported by Hegesippus. He was not condemned 
ad bestias, however, and much less deported to Rome for the 
purpose. Why should Ignatius have been so exceptionally 
treated? In fact, even during the persecutions under Marcus 
Aurelius, although Christians in Syria were frequently enough 
cast to the beasts, there is no instance recorded in which anyone 
condemned to this fate was sent to Rome. Such a sentence is 

^ Milman says : " Excepting of Ignatius, probably of Simeon of Jerusalem, 
there is no authentic martyrdom in the reign of Trajan." — Hist, of Chris- 
tianity, 1867, ii., p. 103 note. 


quite at variance with the clement character of Trajan and his 
principles of government. Neander, in a passage quoted by 
Baur, says : " As he (Trajan), like Pliny, considered Christianity 
mere fanaticism, he also probably thought that if severity were 
combined with clemency, if too much noise were not made about 
it, the open demonstration not left unpunished, but also minds not 
stirred up by persecution, fanatical enthusiasm would more easily 
cool down, and the matter by degrees come to an end."' This 
was certainly the policy which mainly characterised his reign. 
Now, not only would such a severe sentence have been contrary to 
such principles, but the agitation excited would have been 
enormously increased by sending the martyr a long journey by 
land through Asia, and allowing him to pass through some of 
the principal cities, hold constant intercourse with the various 
Christian communities, and address long epistles to them. With 
the fervid desire for martyrdom then prevalent, such a journey 
would have been a triumphal progress, spreading everywhere 
excitement and enthusiasm. It may not be out of place, as an 
indication of the results of impartial examination, to point out 
that Neander's inability to accept the Ignatian epistles largely 
rests on his disbelief of the whole tradition of this sentence and 
martyr-journey. " We do not recognise the Emperor Trajan in 
this narrative " (the martyrology), he says, "therefore cannot but 
doubt everything which is related by this document, as well as 
that, during this reign. Christians can have been cast to the wild 

If, for a moment, we suppose that, instead of being condemned 
by Trajan himself, Ignatius received his sentence from a provincial 
governor, the story does not gain greater probability. It is not 
credible that such an official would have ventured to act so much 
in opposition to the spirit of the Emperor's government. Besides, 
if such a governor did pronounce so severe a sentence, why did 
he not execute it in Antioch ? Why send the prisoner to Rome ? 
By doing so he made all the more conspicuous a severity which 
was not likely to be pleasing to the clement Trajan. The cruelty 
which dictated a condemnation ad bestias would have been more 
gratified by execution on the spot. The transport to Rome is in 
no case credible, and the utmost that can be admitted is that 
Ignatius, like Simeon of Jerusalem, may have been condemned to 
death during this reign, more especially if the event be associated 
with some sudden outbreak of superstitious fury against the 
Christians, to which the martyr may at once have fallen a victim. 
We are not without indications of such a cause operating in the 
case of Ignatius. 

' K. G., 1842, i., p. 171. = //'., p. 172 anm. 


It is generally admitted that the date of Trajan's visit to Antioch 
is A.D. 115, when he wintered there during the Parthian war. An 
earthquake occurred on the 1 3th of December of that year, which 
was well calculated to excite popular superstition. It may not be 
out of place to quote here the account of the earthquake given 
by Dean Milman, who, although he mentions a different date, and 
adheres to the martyrdom in Rome, still associates the condemna- 
tion of Ignatius with the earthquake. He says : " Nevertheless, 
at that time there were circumstances which account with singular 

likelihood for that sudden outburst of persecution in Antioch 

At this very time an earthquake, more than usually terrible and 
destructive, shook the cities of the East. Antioch suffered its 
most appalling ravages — Antioch, crowded with the legionaries 
prepared for the Emperor's invasion of the East, with ambassadors 
and tributary kings from all parts of the East. The city shook 
through all its streets; houses, palaces, theatres, temples fell 
crashing down. Many were killed : the Consul Pedo died of his 
hurts. The Emperor himself hardly escaped through a window, 
and took refuge in the Circus, where he passed some days in the 
open air. Whence this terrible blow but from the wrath of the 
Gods, who must be appeased by unusual sacrifices ? This was 
towards the end of January; early in February the Christian 
Bishop, Ignatius, was arrested. We know how, during this 
century, at every period of public calamity, whatever that calamity 
might be, the cry of the panic-stricken Heathens was, ' The 
Christians to the lions !' It may be that, in Trajan's humanity, 
in order to prevent a general massacre by the infuriated populace, 
or to give greater solemnity to the sacrifice, the execution was 
ordered to take place, not in Antioch, but in Rome."' These 
reasons, on the contrary, render execution in Antioch infinitely 
more probable. To continue, however : the earthquake occurred 
on the 13th, and the martyrdom of Ignatius took place on the 
20th of December, just a week after the earthquake. His remains, 
as we know from Chrysostom and others, were interred at Antioch. 
The natural inference is that the martyrdom, the only part of the 
Ignatian story which is credible, occurred not in Rome, but in 
Antioch itself, in consequence of the superstitious fury against the 
aOeoL aroused by the earthquake. 

We must now go more into the details of the brief statements 
just made, and here we come to John Malalas. In the first place 
he mentions the occurrence of the earthquake on the 13th of 
December. We shall quote Dr. Lightfoot's own rendering of his 
further important narrative. He says : — 

" The words of John Malalas are : 

^ IlisL of Christianity, ii., p. loi f. 


" The same king Trajan was residing in the same city (Antioch) when the 
visitation of God {i.e., the earthquake) occurred. And at that time the holy 
Ignatius, the bishop of the city of Antioch, was martyred (or bore testimony, 
ifiapTvp-qae) before him {eirl avrov) ; for he was exasperated against him 
because he reviled him.' "' 

Dr. Lightfoot endeavours in every way to discredit this state- 
ment. He argues that Malalas tells foolish stories about other 
matters, and, therefore, is not to be believed here ; but so simple 
a piece of information may well be correctly conveyed by a writer 
who elsewhere may record stupid traditions. ^ If the narrative of 
foolish stories and fabulous traditions is to exclude belief in 
everything else stated by those who relate them, the whole of the 
Fathers are disposed of at one fell swoop, for they all do so. Then 
Dr. Lightfoot actually makes use of the following extraordinary 
argument to explain away the statement of Malalas : — 

" But it may be worth while adding that the error of Malalas is capable 
of easy explanation. He has probably misinterpreted some earlier authority, 
whose language lent itself to misinterpretation. The words fxaprvpeiv, fiap- 
Tvpia, which were afterwards used especially of martyrdom, had in the earlier 
ages a wider sense, including other modes of witnessing to the faith : the 
expression e-rri Tpal'dvov again is ambiguous and might denote either ' during 
the reign of Trajan ' or ' in the presence of Trajan.' A blundering writer like 
Malalas might have stumbled over either expression. "3 

It would be difficult, indeed, to show that the words fxaprvpetv, 
ixaprvpia, already used in that sense in the New Testament, were 
not, at the date at which any record of the martyrdom of Ignatius 
which Malalas could have had before him was written, employed 
to express martyrdom when applied to such a case, as Dr. Light- 
foot, indeed, has in the first instance rendered the phrase. Even 
Zahn, whom Dr. Lightfoot so implicitly follows, emphatically 
decides against him on both points. " The gttI avrov together 
with TOTc can only signify ' coram Trajano ' (' in the presence of 
Trajan '), and cixaprvprjare only the execution. "^ Let anyone 
simply read over Dr. Lightfoot's own rendering, which we have 
quoted above, and he will see that Malalas seems excellently 
well, and directly, to have interpreted his earlier authority. 

That the statement of Malalas does not agree with the reports 
of the Fathers is no real objection, for we have good reason to 
believe that none of them had information from any other source 
than the Ignatian Epistles themselves, or tradition. Eusebius 
evidently had not. Irenseus, Origen, and some later Fathers 
tell us nothing about him. Jerome and Chrysostom clearly take 
their accounts from these sources. Malalas is the first who, by 
his variation, proves that he had another and different authority 

' P. 276 (ed. Bonn), Contemporajy Review, February, 1875, p. 352. 

= lb., p. 353 f. 3 ih., p. 353 f. 4 Ignatius v. Ant., p. 66, anm. 3. 


before him, and, in abandoning the martyr-journey to Rome, his 
account has infinitely greater apparent probability. Malalas lived 
at Antioch, which adds some weight to his statement. It is 
objected that so, also, did Chrysostom, and at an earlier period, 
and yet he repeats the Roman story. This, however, is no valid 
argument against Malalas. Chrysostom was too good a Church- 
man to doubt the story of Epistles so much tending to edification, 
which were in wide circulation, and had been quoted by earlier 
Fathers. It is in no way surprising that, some two centuries and 
a half after the martyrdom, he should quietly have accepted the 
representations of the Epistles purporting to have been written by 
the martyr himself, and that their story should have shaped the 
prevailing tradition. 

The remains of Ignatius, as we are informed by Chrysostom 
and Jerome, long remained interred in the cemetery of Antioch, 
but finally — in the time of Theodosius, it is said — were translated 
with great pomp and ceremony to a building which, such is the 
irony of events, had previously been a Temple of Fortune. The 
story told, of course, is that the relics of the martyr had been 
carefully collected in the Coliseum and carried from Rome 
to Antioch. After reposing there for some centuries, the relics, 
which are said to have been transported from Rome to Antioch, 
were, about the seventh century, carried back from Antioch to 
Rome.^ The natural and more simple conclusion is that, instead 
of this double translation, the bones of Ignatius had always 
remained in Antioch, where he had suffered martyrdom, and the 
tradition that they had been brought back from Rome was merely 
the explanation which reconciled the fact of their actually being in 
Antioch with the legend of the Ignatian Epistles. 

The 2oth of December is the date assigned to the death of 
Ignatius in the Martyrology,^ and Zahn admits that this interpre- 
tation is undeniable. 3 Moreover, the anniversary of his death was 
celebrated on that day in the Greek churches and throughout the 
East. In the Latin Church it is kept on the ist of February. 
There can be little doubt that this was the day of the translation 
of the relics to Rome, and this was evidently the view of Ruinart, 
who, although he could not positively contradict the views of his 
own Church, says: ^^ Ignatii festum Graeci vigesima die mensis 
Decembris celebrant^ quo ipsum passumfuisse Acta testantur ; Latini 
vero die prima Februarii^ an ob aliquam sacrarum ejus religuiarum 

^ I need not refer to the statement of Nicephorus that these relics were 
first brought from Rome to Constantinople and afterwards translated to 

^ Ruinart, Acta Mart., pp. 59, 6g. 

^ Ignatius v. Ant, , p. 68. 



translationem ? phires €?iim fuisse constatP"- Zahn^ states that the 
Feast of the translation in later calendars was celebrated on the 
29th of January, and he points out the evident ignorance which 
prevailed in the West regarding Ignatius.3 

On the one hand, therefore, all the historical data which we 
possess regarding the reign and character of Trajan discredit the 
story that Ignatius was sent to Rome to be exposed to beasts in the 
Coliseum ; and all the positive evidence which exists, independent 
of the Epistles themselves, tends to establish the fact that he 
suffered martyrdom in Antioch itself. On the other hand, all the 
evidence which is offered for the statement that Ignatius was sent 
to Rome is more or less directly based upon the representations of 
the letters, the authenticity of which is in discussion, and it is sur- 
rounded with improbabilities of every kind. 

We might well spare our readers the trouble of examining 
further the contents of the Epistles themselves, for it is manifest 
that they cannot afford testimony of any value on the subject of 
our inquiry. We shall, however, briefly point out all the passages 
contained in the seven Greek Epistles which have any bearing 
upon our Synoptic Gospels, in order that their exact position may 
be more fully appreciated. Tischendorf^ refers to a passage in the 
Epistle to the Romans, c. vi., as a verbal quotation of Matt. xvi. 
26, but he neither gives the context nor states the facts of the case. 
The passage reads as follows : " The pleasures of the world shall 
profit me nothing, nor the kingdoms of this time ; it is better for 
me to die for Jesus Christ than to reign over the ends of the earth. 
For what is a man profited if he gain the whole world but lose his 
soul ?"5 Now, this quotation not only is not found in the Syriac 
version of the Epistle, but it is also omitted from the ancient Latin 
version, and is absent from the passage in the work of Timotheus 
of Alexandria against the Council of Chalcedon, and from other 
authorities. It is evidently a later addition, and is recognised as 

^ Ruinart, Acta Mart., p. 56. Baronius makes the anniversary of the 
martyrdom 1st February, and that of the translation 17th December. Mart. 
Rom., p. 87, p. 766 ff. 

^ Ignatius v. Ant., p. 27, p. 68, anm. 2. 

3 There is no sufficient evidence for the statement that in Chrysostom's 
time the day dedicated to Ignatius was in June. The mere allusion, in a 
Homily delivered in honour of Ignatius, that "recently" the feast of Sta. 
Pelagia (in the Latin Calendar 9th June) had been celebrated, by no means 
justifies such a conclusion and there is nothing else to establish it. 

"^ Wann wurden, u. s. w., p. 22. 

5 Ovd^p fxe ih^eXrjaei. ra ir^para rod Kdcrfiov, ovd^ ai ^aaiXeTai tov alCovos 
T01JTOV. KaXov fioL dwodaveXv did Xptarbv 'Irjaovv, ij ^aaiXeveiv rwv irepdrwv rrjs 
yrjs. Tt 7dp dxpeXelrai dvOpooiros, edv Kepdrjcr'd tov Kocrfiov 6\ov, tt]v de ^pvxw 
avTou ^TjfiLcodrj ; c. vi. 


such by most critics.^ It was probably a gloss, which subsequently 
was inserted in the text. Of these facts, however, Tischendorf 
does not say a word.^ 

The next passage to which he refers is in the Epistle to the 
Smyrnaeans, c. i., where the writer says of Jesus, " He was baptised 
by John in order that all righteousness might be fulfilled by 
Him, "3 which Tischendorf considers a reminiscence of Matt. iii. 
15, " For thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. "^ The 
phrase, besides being no quotation, has, again, all the appearance 
of being an addition ; and when in ch. iii. of the same Epistle we 
find a palpable quotation from an apocryphal Gospel, w^hich 
Jerome states to be the " Gospel according to the Hebrews," to 
which we shall presently refer, a Gospel which w^e know to have 
contained the baptism of Jesus by John, it is not possible, even if 
the Epistle were genuine, which it is not, to base any such con- 
clusion upon these words. There is not only the alternative of 
tradition, but the use of the same apocryphal Gospel, elsewhere 
quoted in the Epistle, as the source of the reminiscence. 

Tischendorf does not point out any more supposed references 
to our Synoptic Gospels, but we proceed to notice all the other 
passages which have been indicated by others. In the Epistle to 
Polycarp, c. ii., the following sentence occurs : "Be thou wise as 
the serpent in everything, and harmless as the dove." This is, of 
course, compared with Matt. x. 16, " Be ye therefore, wise as 
serpents, and innocent as doves." The Greek of both is as 
follows : — 


^pdvifjLOS yivov ws 6 30ts iv iraaiv kuI 
dK^paLOs ws i] irepL<XTepd. 

Matt. x. i6. 
Vlvecde odv (pp6pifjt,0L u>s oi 30ets5 Kal 
OLK^paioi ws al irepiarepai, 

In the Syriac version the passage reads, " Be thou wise as the 
serpent in everything, and harmless as to those things which are 
requisite as the dove."^ It is unnecessary to add that no source is 
indicated for the reminiscence. Ewald assigns this part of our 
first Gospel originally to the Spruchsammlung, and, even apart 
from the variations presented in the Epistle, there is nothing to 

^ Anger, Synops. Ev., p. 119 f. ; Cureton, Ancient Syriac Version, etc., 
p. 42 ff. ; Dressel, Pair. Ap., p. 170; Grabe, Spicil Pair., ii., p. 16; 
Jacobson, Patr. Ap., ii., p. 402; Kirchhofer, QuellensanmiL, p. 48, anm. 
6 ; etc. 

^ Dr. Lightfoot omits the supposed quotation from his text of the Epistle — 
Apost. Fathers, p. 122. Dr. Westcott does not refer to the passage at all. 

3 ^e^aTrTKXixivov virb '\u}dvvov, Xva TrXr/piodrj irdaa diKaio(rijvr) inr avrov, k.t.X. 
c. i. 

* ovTWs yap irp^irov iarh ijjuuv wXripQcrai irdaav StKaioavvrjv. 

5 7'/ie Cod. Sin. alone reads ws 6 6<pL$ here. 

*" Cf. Cureton, Ancient Syriac Version, etc., p. 5, p. 72. 



warrant exclusive selection of our first Gospel as the source of 
the saying. The remaining passages we subjoin in parallel 
columns : — 

Ep. to the Ephesians v. 

For if the prayer of one or two 
has such power, how much more 
that of the bishop and of all the 

Ep. to Ephesians vi. 

For every one whom the Master 
of the house sends to be over his own 
household we ought to receive as 
we should him that sent {Tr^ixxpavTa) 

WdvTa yap 8v wefiTreL 6 olKodecnroTrjs 
ets Idlay oiKovofxLav, ovtojs del tj/ulcls 
avTov 6^xe(r^at, Cos avrbv Tbv wefi^avra. 

Ep. to Trallians xi. 

For these are not a planting of 
the Father. 

06toi yap o^k elaif (pvreia irarpos. 

Matt, xviii. 19. 

Again I say unto you that if two 
of you shall agree on earth as touch- 
ing anything that they shall ask it 
shall be done for them by my 
Father, v. 20. For where two or 
three are gathered together, etc. 

Matt. x. 40. 

He that receiveth you receiveth 
me, and he that receiveth me re- 
ceiveth him that sent {(XTroa-TeLXavTa) 

'0 8exo/Ji.€vos vfjids ifie Sexerai, Kal p 
ifie dex^fievos dix^Tai tov diro(XTd\avTd 

Matt. xv. 13. 

Every plant which my heavenly 
Father did not plant shall be rooted 

nScra (pVTeia fju ovk i<f>vT€v<j€V 
Trar-qp fiov 6 ovpdvios iKpL^wO-qcreTaL. 

Matt. xix. 12. 

He that is able to receive it let him 
receive it. 

'0 dwajxevos x^P^^'^ x^P^'-'''^- 

Ep. to Smyrn^ans vi. 

He that receiveth it let him 
receive it. 

x'^P^^ x^P^'-'^^- 

None of these passages are quotations, and they generally present 
such marked linguistic variations from the parallel passages in our 
first Gospel that there is not the slightest ground for specially 
referring them to it. The last words cited are introduced without 
any appropriate context. In no case are the expressions indicated 
as quotations from, or references to, any particular source. They 
may either be traditional, or reminiscences of some of the numerous 
Gospels current in the early Church, such as the Gospel according 
to the Hebrews. That the writer made use of one of these cannot 
be doubted. In the Epistle to the Smyrngeans, c. iii., there occurs 
a quotation from an apocryphal Gospel to which we have already, 
in passing, referred : " For I know that also after his resurrection 
he was in the flesh, and I believe he is so now. And when he 
came to those who were with Peter he said to them : Lay hold, 
handle me, and see that I am not an incorporeal spirit (5ai/xovtov). 

' Et yap hbs Kal devr^pov Trpoaevxv rocravTrjv icx^v ^xet, irScru} fJidWov ij re 
ToO iTTia-Kdirov Kal irda-qs rijs eKKXrjffias ; 


And immediately they touched him and believed, being convinced 
by his flesh and spirit."' Eusebius, who quotes this passage, 
says that he does not know whence it is taken. ^ Origen, however, 
quotes it from a work well known in the early Church, called " The 
Teaching of Peter " (At8ax>) Hhpov) ;3 and Jerome found it in 
the " Gospel according to the Hebrews," in use among the 
Nazarenes,'^ which he translated, as we shall hereafter see. It 
was, na doubt, in both of those works. The narrative, Luke 
xxiv. 39 f., being neglected, and an apocryphal Gospel used here, 
the inevitable inference is clear, and very suggestive. As it is 
certain that this quotation was taken from a source different from 
our Gospels, there is reason to suppose that the other passages 
which we have cited are reminiscences of the same work. The 
passage on the three mysteries in the Epistle to the Ephesians, 
c. xix., is evidently another quotation from an uncanonical 
source. 5 

We must, however, again point out that, with the single excep- 
tion of the short passage in the Epistle to Polycarp, c. ii., which 
is not a quotation, none of these supposed reminiscences of 
our Synoptic Gospels are found in the Syriac version of the three 

With regard to Scriptural quotations in all the seven Ignatian 
letters, it may be well to quote the words of Dr. Lightfoot. " The 
Ignatian letters do, indeed, show a considerable knowledge of the 
writings included in our Canon of the New Testament ; but this 
knowledge betrays itself in casual words and phrases, stray 
metaphors, epigrammatic adaptations, and isolated coincidences 
of thought. Where there is an obligation, the borrowed figure or 
expression has passed through the mind of the writer, has been 
assimilated, and has undergone some modification in the process. 
Quotations from the New Testament, strictly speaking, there 
are none."^ Dr. Lightfoot is speaking here, not only of the 
Gospels, but of the whole New Testament, and he adds, in 
regard to such approaches : " Even such examples can be 
counted on the fingers." Without discussing how such know- 
ledge can be limited to special writings, it is obvious that, whatever 
view may be taken of the Ignatian letters, they afford no evidence 

^ 'Eycb ycip /cat /xera tt]v avdaraa-iv ev aapKl avrbv oTda Kai Triarevu} 6vra. Kal 
6t€ irphs rovs irepl Uerpov ffkOev, ^(pr) avrocs' " AdjSere, \j/7}\a<l>7](raTe ixe, Kai 
tdere otl ovk elfii dai/mdviov dcrihfxaTOV.'' Kai evdds avrov fi\j/avTO, Kai eTriarevaav, 
Kpa04vT€S TTJ aapKi avrou Kai r^ aifMari. 

^ OVK old' birddev prjrois crvyKexpV'''^^'- H. E. , iii. 36. 

3 Be Princip. Pro:/., § 8. 

-* De vir. ill., 16 ; cf. Comm. in Is. lib. xviii., prcef. 

s Cf. Ewald, Gesch. d. Volkes Isr., vii., p. 318, anm. i. 

^ Apostolic Fathers, part ii., vol. i., 1885, p. 580. 


even of the existence of our Gospels, and throw no light whatever 
on their authorship and trustworthiness as witnesses for miracles 
and the reality of Divine revelation. 

We have hitherto deferred all consideration of the so-called 
Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, from the fact that, instead 
of proving the existence of the Epistles of Ignatius, with which 
it is intimately associated, it is itself 'discredited in proportion as 
they are shown to be inauthentic. We have just seen that the 
martyr-journey of Ignatius to Rome is, for cogent reasons, declared 
to be wholly fabulous, and the Epistles purporting to be written 
during that journey must be held to be spurious. The Epistle of 
Polycarp, however, not only refers to the martyr-journey (c. ix.), 
but to the Ignatian Epistles which are inauthentic (c. xiii.), and 
the manifest inference is that it also is spurious. 

Polycarp, who is said by Irenasus' to have been in his youth a 
disciple of the Apostle John, became Bishop of Smyrna, and 
suffered martyrdom at a very advanced age.^ On the authority of 
Eusebius and Jerome it has hitherto been generally believed that 
his death took place in a.d. 166-167. In the account of his 
martyrdom, which we possess in the shape of a letter from the 
Church of Smyrna, purporting to have been written by eye- 
witnesses, which must be pronounced spurious, Polycarp is said 
to have died under the Proconsul Statius Quadratus.3 If this 
statement be correct, the date hitherto received can no longer be 
maintained, for recent investigations have determined that Statius 
Quadratus was proconsul in a.d. 155-5 or 155-6.'^ Some critics, 
who affirm the authenticity of the Epistle attributed to Polycarp, 
date the Epistle before a.d. 120, but the preponderance of 
opinion assigns it to a much later period. Doubts of its authen- 
ticity, and of the integrity of the text, were very early expressed, 
and the close scrutiny to which later and more competent 
criticism has subjected it has led very many to the conclusion 
that the Epistle is either largely interpolated or altogether spurious. 
The principal argument in favour of its authenticity is the fact 
that the Epistle is mentioned by Irenseus,^ who in his extreme 

^ Adv. Hcer., iii., 3, § 4 ; cf. Eusebius, H. E., v. 20. 

= In the Alart. Poly carpi (c. 9) he is represented as declaring that he had 
served Christ eighty-six years. 

3 Mart. Poly car pi, c. 21. 

^ Waddington, Mdm. de V Inst. imp. de France, Acad, des Inscript. et Belles 
Lettres, T. xxvi., i Part., 1867, p. 232 ff. ; cf. Pastes des Provinces A siatiques, 
1872, I Part., p. 219 ff. It should be mentioned, however, that in A.D. 167 
there was a Consul of the name of Ummidius Quadratus (Waddington, I.e., 
p. 238). Wieseler and Keim reject M. Waddington's conclusions, and adhere to 
the later date. 

5 Adv. Hcer., iii. 3, § 4. 


youth was acquainted with Polycarp/ We have no very precise 
information regarding the age of Irenaeus ; but Jerome states that 
he flourished under Commodus (180-192), and we may, as a 
favourable conjecture, suppose that he was then about 35-37. In 
that case his birth must be dated about a.d. 145. There is reason 
to beUeve that he fell a victim to persecution under Septimius 
Severus, and it is only doubtful whether he suffered during the 
first outbreak in a.d. 202 or later. According to this calculation 
the martyrdom of Polycarp, in a.d. 155-156, took place when he 
was ten or eleven years of age. Even if a further concession be 
made in regard to his age, it is evident that the intercourse of 
Irenaeus with the Bishop of Smyrna must have been confined to 
his very earliest years — a fact which is confirmed by the almost 
total absence of any record in his writings of the communications 
of Polycarp. This certainly does not entitle Irenaeus to speak 
more authoritatively of an Epistle ascribed to Polycarp than 
anyone else of his day. 

In the Epistle itself there are several anachronisms. In ch. ix. 
the " blessed Ignatius " is referred to as already dead, and he is 
held up with Zosimus and Rufus, and also with Paul and the rest 
of the Apostles, as examples of patience — men who have not run 
in vain, but are with the Lord ; but in ch. xiii. he is spoken of as 
living, and information is requested regarding him, "and those 
who are with him."^ Yet, although thus spoken of as alive, the 
writer already knows of his Epistles, and refers, in the plural, to 
those written by him " to us, and all the rest which we have by 
us."3 The reference here, it will be observed, is not only to the 
Epistles to the Smyrnaeans, and to Polycarp himself, but to other 
spurious Epistles which are not included in the Syriac version. 
Daille-^ pointed out long ago that ch. xiii. abruptly interrupts the 
conclusion of the Epistle, and most critics, including those who 
assert the authenticity of the rest of the Epistle, reject it, at least, 
although many of these likewise repudiate ch. ix. as interpolated. 
Others, however, consider that the latter chapter is quite consistent 
with the later date, which, according to internal evidence, must be 
assigned to the Epistle. The writer vehemently denounces, s as 
already widely spread, the Gnostic heresy and other forms of false 
doctrine which did not exist until the time of Marcion, to whom 

^ 'Ei' TTJ TTpihTTj Tj/uLuv rjXiKLg. K.T.X. Adv. HcBT., iii. 3, § 4, Eusebius, H. E., 
iv., 14, cf. V. 20. 

^ Et de ipso Ignatio, et de his qui cum eo stmt, quod certius agitoveritis , 
significate. Cf. Donaldson, Hist. Chr. Lit. and Doctr., i., p. 184 f. 

3 Tas iwKTToXas 'lyvariov raj ireixcpdelcras ijfilv vir avrov, /cat dXXas 6cras 
etxoixev 7ra/5 i^ixiv, k.t.X. 

'* De Scriptis, etc., 427 ff. 

^ Cf. chaps, vi., vii. 


and to whose followers he refers in unmistakeable terms. An 
expression is used in ch. vii., in speaking of these heretics, which 
Polycarp is reported by Irenseus to have actually applied to 
Marcion in person, during his visit to Rome. He is said to have 
called Marcion the " first-born of Satan " {Trpiiir6TOKo<i rov ^araj/a),^ 
and the same term is employed in this Epistle with regard to 
everyone who holds such false doctrines. The development of 
these heresies, therefore, implies a date for the composition of the 
Epistle, at earliest, after the middle of the second century, a date 
which is further confirmed by other circumstances.^ The writer of 
such a letter must have held a position in the Church, to which 
Polycarp could only have attained in the latter part of his life, 
when he was deputed to Rome for the Paschal discussion, and the 
Epistle depicts the developed ecclesiastical organisation of a later 
time. 3 The earlier date which has now been adopted for the 
martyrdom of Polycarp by limiting the period during which it is 
possible that he himself could have written any portion of it, only 
renders the inauthenticity of the Epistle more apparent. Hilgen- 
feld has pointed out, as another indication of the same date, the 
injunction, "Pray for the kings" {Orate pro regibus), which, in i 
Peter ii. 17, is "Honour the King" {rov fSaa-tXea Tt/xare), 
which, he argues, accords with the period after Antoninus Pius had 
elevated Marcus Aurelius to joint sovereignty (a.d. 147), or, better 
still, with that in which Marcus AureHus appointed Lucius Verus 
his colleague, a.d. 161 ; for to rulers outside the Roman Empire 
there can be no reference. If authentic, however, the Epistle 
must have been written, at latest, shortly after the martyrdom of 
Ignatius in a.d. 115; but, as we have seen, there are strong internal 
characteristics excluding such a supposition. The reference to the 

' Adv. Hcer., iii. 3, § 4 ; Eusebius, H. E., iv. 14. 

^ Schwegler, Das nachap. Zeit, ii., p. 155 f. ; Hilgenfeld, Die ap. Vciter, p. 
272 f. ; Lipsius, Zeitschr. wiss. TheoL, 1874, P- 208 f. ; Scholten, Die alt. 
Zeugttisse, p. 41 ff . ; Volkmar, Der Ursprung, p. 44 ff. Schwegler and 
Hilgenfeld consider the insertion of this phrase, reported to have been 
actually used in Rome against Marcion, as proof of the inauthenticity of 
the Epistle. They argue that the well-known saying was employed to give 
an appearance of reality to the forgery. In any case, it shows that the 
Epistle cannot have been written earlier than the second half of the second 

3 Schwegler, Das nachap. Zeit., ii., p. 158; Hilgenfeld, Die ap. Vdter, 
p. 273 ; Ritschl., Efist. altk. Kirche, p. 402 f. ; Scholten, Die. alt. Zeugnisse, 
p. 42. It has been pointed out that, in the superscription, Polycarp is 
clearly distinguished, as Bishop, from the Presbyters of Smyrna : noXi;/ca/)7ros 
/cat ol (xbv avT(^ Trpecr^vTepoi. Dorner, Lehre Pers. Christi, 1 85 1, i., p. 172 f. 
anm. ; Rothe, Anfdnge chr. Kirche, 1837, i., p. 408 f. anm. 107, 108 ; Hil- 
genfeld, 1. c. ; Ritschl., 1. c. The writer, in admonishing the Philippians, 
speaks of their "being subject to the Presbyters and Deacons as to God and 
Christ " \}Trora.a<xo}xkvov% roh irpecr^uT^pois /cat StaKdvoii ws t<^ Qecp Kal Xpicrri^ 
K.T.X. c. 5. 




martyr-journey of Ignatius and to the Epistles falsely ascribed to 
him is alone sufficient to betray the spurious nature of the compo- 
sition, and to class the Epistle with the rest of the pseudo-Ignatian 

We shall now examine all the passages in this Epistle which are 
pointed out as indicating any acquaintance with our Synoptic 
Gospels.^ The first occurs in ch. ii., and we subjoin it in con- 
trast with the nearest parallel passages of the Gospels ; but, although 
we break it up into paragraphs, it will, of course, be understood 
that the quotation is continuous in the Epistle : — 

Epistle, c. ii. 

Remembering what the Lord said, 
teaching : 
Judge not, that ye be not judged ; 

forgive, and it shall be forgiven to 
you ; 

be pitiful, that ye may be pitied ; 

with what measure ye mete it shall 
be measured to you again ; and that 
blessed are the poor and those 
that are persecuted for righteousness 
sake, for theirs is the kingdom of 

Epistle c. ii. 

MvT]/ji.ov€6oPTes d^ S}v eXirev 6 KijpLos 

Mt] Kpivere, 'iva fii] KpidriTe. 
d(f>i€T€, Kai d(f)€6rj(r€TaL vfuv. 

iXedre, 'iva iXerjOrjre' 

(^ jmirpo) iieTpeXre, dvTifierprjd'^creTac 

Kai 8tl fxaKapioi oi Trrwxot Kai oi 
diOJKdfiepoL eveKev diKaioavvrjs, 6tl ovtCov 
iariv 7] ^aaiXeia rod deov. 


vn. I. 

Judge not, that ye be not judged. 

vi. 14. For if ye forgive men their 
trespasses your heavenly Father 
will also forgive you : (cf. Luke vi. 

37 pardon and ye shall be 

pardoned. ) 

V. 7. Blessed are the pitiful, for 
they shall obtain pity. 

vii. 2. With what measure ye mete 
it shall be measured to you. 

V. 3. Blessed are the poor in 

spirit V. 10. Blessed are they 

that are persecuted for righteous- 
ness sake, for theirs is the kingdom 
of heaven. 


vn. 1. 

Mr/ Kpivere, 'iva /llt] KpidrJTe. 

vi. 14. 'Eaj' yap d(l)TjT€ rois JvdpdoTrois 
K. T. X. (cf. Luke vi. 37, 'AiroXvere 
Kai dTroXvdrjcrea-de.) 

V. 7. Ma/cdptot oi eXerj/xoves, on avroi 

vii. 2. €V cp fxirpcp ixerpelre p-erpr]- 
d-qaerai vfilv. 

V. 3. Ma/cdpiot oi irrcoxoi rip irvev- 
fiari — 10 yua/f. oi dediuyp-^voi EveKev 
8LKatO(r6v7]s, otl avroov iariv t] ^aaiXeia 
Tcjv ovpavuv. 

It will be remembered that an almost similar direct quotation of 
words of Jesus occurs in the so-called Epistle of Clement to the 
Corinthians, ch. xiii., which we have already examined.^ There the 

^ Teschendorf, Wamt wurden, u. s. zv., p. 23 f. ; Westcott, On the Canon, 
p. 48, note. 
= P. 223 f. 


passage is introduced by the same words, and in the midst of 
brief phrases which have parallels in our Gospel there occurs 
in both Epistles the same expression, " Be pitiful, that ye 
may be pitied," which is not found in any of our Gospels. 
In order to find parallels for the quotation, upon the 
hypothesis of a combination of texts, we have to add 
together portions of the following verses in the order 
shown : Matt. vii. i, vi. 14 (although, with complete linguistic 
variations, the sense of Luke vi. 37 is much closer), v. 7, vii. 2, 
V. 3, V. 10. Such fragmentary compilation is in itself scarcely con- 
ceivable in an Epistle of this kind, but when in the midst we find 
a passage foreign to our Gospels, which occurs in another 
work in connection with so similar a quotation, it is reasonable to 
conclude that the whole is derived from tradition or from a 
Gospel different from ours. In no case can such a passage be 
considered material evidence even of the existence of any one of 
our Gospels. 

Another expression which is pointed out occurs in ch. vii., 
" beseeching in our prayers the all-searching God not to lead us 
into temptation, as the Lord said : The spirit, indeed, is willing, 
but the flesh is weak."^ This is compared with the phrase in 
"the Lord's Prayer" (Matt. vi. 13), or the passage (xxvi. 41): 
" Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation : the spirit, 
indeed, is willing, but the flesh is weak."^ The second Gospel, 
however, equally has the phrase (xiv. 38), and shows how unreason- 
able it is to limit these historical sayings to a single Gospel. The 
next passage is of a similar nature (ch. vi.) : " If, therefore, we pray 
the Lord that he may forgive us, we ought also ourselves to 
forgive. "3 The thought, but not the language, of this passage 
corresponds with Matt. vi. 12-14, but equally so with Luke xi. 4. 
Now, we must repeat that all such sayings of Jesus were the 
common property of the early Christians — were, no doubt, orally 
current amongst them, and still more certainly were recorded by 
many of the numerous Gospels then in circulation, as they are by 
several of our own. In no case is there any written source indi- 
cated from which these passages are derived ; they are simply 
quoted as words of Jesus, and, being all connected either with 
the " Sermon on the Mount " or the " Lord's Prayer," the two 
portions of the teaching of Jesus which were most popular, 
widely known, and characteristic, there can be no doubt that they 
were familiar throughout the whole of the early Church, and must 

' Sei^creaLy aiTOVfiepoL top iravTeTrdirriqv deov, /xr) elcreveyKelv 7]jxas els Treipaa- 
fibv, Kadihs elwep 6 Kvpcos' to fx^v irvevfia irpoOvfiov, ij d^ crap^ dffdevqs. c. vii. 

^ ypVyopelTe Kal irpoaevx^c^de, iva fir) ela^Xdrjre els ireipaa/jiov. t6 fiev -rrveu/xa 
TTpddvjxov, 7] 8^ aap^ dadevrjs. Matt. xxvi. 41. 

3 El odv dedfieda tou Kvpiov, 'iva iffjup d,(t>^, 6(p€i\ofi€P Kal ijixels d(f)L^vai. c. vi. 


have formed a part of most, or all, of the many collections of the 
words of the Master. The anonymous quotation of historical 
expressions of Jesus cannot prove even the existence of one special 
document among many to which we may choose to trace it, much 
less establish its authorship and character. 



We shall now consider the evidence furnished by the works of 
Justin Martyr regarding the existence of our Synoptic Gospels at 
the middle of the second century, and we may remark, in anticipa- 
tion, that, whatever differences of opinion may finally exist 
regarding the solution of the problem which we have to examine, 
at least it is clear that the testimony of Justin Martyr is not of a 
nature to establish the date, authenticity, and character of Gospels 
professing to communicate such momentous and astounding 
doctrines. The determination of the source from which Justin 
derived his facts of Christian history has for a century attracted 
more attention, and excited more controversy, than almost any 
other similar question in connection with patristic literature, and 
upon none have more divergent opinions been expressed. 

Justin, who suffered martyrdom about a.d. 166-167' under 
Marcus Aurelius, probably at the instigation of the cynical philo- 
sopher, Crescens, was born in the Greek-Roman colony, Flavia 
Neapolis,^ established during the reign of Vespasian, near the 
ancient Sichem in Samaria. By descent he was a Greek, and 
during the earlier part of his life a heathen ; but, after long and 
disappointed study of Greek philosophy, he became a convert to 
Christianity3 strongly tinged with Judaism. It is not necessary to 
enter into any discussion as to the authenticity of the writings 
which have come down to us bearing Justin's name, many of 
which are undoubtedly spurious, for the two Apologies and the 
Dialogue with Trypho, with which we have almost exclusively to 
do, are generally admitted to be genuine. It is true that there 
has been a singular controversy regarding the precise relation to 
each other of the two Apologies now extant, the following 
contradictory views having been maintained : that they are the 
two Apologies mentioned by Eusebius, and in their original 
order ; that they are Justin's two Apologies, but that Eusebius was 
wrong in affirming that the second was addressed to Marcus 
Aurelius ; that our second Apology was the preface or appendix 
to the first, and that the original second is lost. The shorter 

' Eusebius, J^. E., iv. 16, Chroii. Pasch.^ a.d. 165. ^ ApoL, i. I. 





. 165. 


Dial, c 

: Tryph. 

, ii. 



Apology contains nothing of interest connected with our inquiry. 
There has been much controversy as to the date of the two 
Apologies, and much difference of opinion still exists on the 
point. Many critics assign the larger to about a.d. 138-140, and 
the shorter to a.d. 160-161. A passage, however, occurs in the 
longer Apology, whigh indicates that it must have been written 
about a century and a half after the commencement of the 
Christian era, or, according to accurate reckoning, about a.d. 147. 
Justin speaks, in one part of it, of perverted deductions being 
drawn from his teaching "that Christ was born 150 years ago 
under Cy renins."^ Those who contend for the earlier date have 
no stronger argument against this statement than the unsupported 
assertion, that in this passage Justin merely speaks " in round 
numbers " ; but many important circumstances confirm the date 
which Justin thus gives us. In the superscription of the Apology, 
Antoninus is called " Pius," a title which was first bestowed upon 
him in the year 139. Moreover, Justin directly refers to Marcion, 

as a man "now living and teaching his disciples and who has, 

by the aid of dem.ons, caused many of all nations to utter 
blasphemies," etc.^ Now the fact has been established that 
Marcion did not come to Rome, where Justin himself was, until 
A.D. 139-142, when his prominent public career commenced, and 
it is apparent that the words of Justin indicate a period when his 
doctrines had already become widely diffused. For these and 
many other strong reasons, which need not here be detailed, the 
majority of competent critics agree in more correctly assigning the 
first Apology to about a.d. 147. The Dialogue with Trypho^ as 
internal evidence shows, 3 was written after the longer Apology, 
and it is therefore generally dated some time within the first 
decade of the second half of the second century. 

In these writings Justin quotes very copiously from the Old 
Testament, and he also very frequently refers to facts of Christian 
history and to sayings of Jesus. Of these references, for instance, 
some fifty occur in the first Apology, and upwards of seventy in 
the Dialogue with Trypho^ a goodly number, it will be admitted, 
by means of which to identify the source from which he quotes. 
Justin himself frequently and distinctly says that his information 
and quotations are derived from the Memoirs of the Apostles 
(^aTTOfivrjiJiovevfxaTa tmv aTrocrroAwv), but except upon one occa- 
sion, which we shall hereafter consider, when he indicates 
Peter, he never mentions an author's name. Upon examination 
it is found that, with only one or two brief exceptions, the 
numerous quotations from these Memoirs differ more or less 
widely from parallel passages in our Synoptic Gospels, and in 

^ Aj>ot., i. 46. ^ Apot., i. 26. 3 Dial. c. Tr.y cxx. 


many cases differ in the same respects as similar quotations found 
in other writings of the second century, the writers of which are 
known to have made use of uncanonical Gospels ; and, further, 
that these passages are quoted several times, at intervals, by 
Justin with the same variations. Moreover, sayings of Jesus are 
quoted from these Memoirs which are not found in our Gospels 
at all, and facts in the life of Jesus and circumstances of Christian 
history derived from the same source, not only are not found in 
our Gospels, but are in contradiction with them. 

These peculiarities have, as might have been expected, created 
much diversity of opinion regarding the nature of the Memoirs 
of the Apostles. In the earlier days of New Testament 
criticism more especially, many of course at once identified the 
Memoirs with our Gospels exclusively, and the variations were 
explained by conveniently elastic theories of free quotation from 
memory, imperfect and varying MSS., combination, condensation, 
and transposition of passages, with slight additions from tradition, 
or even from some other written source, and so on. Others 
endeavoured to explain away difficulties by the supposition that 
they were a simple harmony of our Gospels, or a harmony of the 
Gospels, with passages added from some apocryphal work. A 
much greater number of critics, however, adopt the conclusion 
that, along with our Gospels, Justin made use of one or more 
apocryphal Gospels, and more especially of the Gospel according 
to the Hebrews, or according to Peter, and also perhaps of 
tradition. Others assert that he made use of a special unknown 
Gospel, or of the Gospel according to the Hebrews or according 
to Peter, with the subsidiary use of a version of one or two of our 
Gospels, to which, however, he did not attach much importance, 
preferring the apocryphal work ; whilst others have concluded 
that Justin did not make use of our Gospels at all, and that his 
quotations are either from the Gospel according to the Hebrews, 
or according to Peter, or from some other special apocryphal 
Gospel now no longer extant. 

Evidence permitting of such wide diversity of results to serious 
and laborious investigation of the identity of Justin's Memoirs 
of the Apostles cannot be of much value towards establishing the 
authenticity of our Gospels, and, in the absence of any specific 
mention of our Synoptics, any very elaborate examination of the 
Memoirs might be considered unnecessary, more especially as it is 
admitted almost universally by competent critics that Justin did 
not himself consider the Memoirs of the Apostles inspired, or of 
any dogmatic authority, and had no idea of attributing canonical 
rank to them. In pursuance of the system which we desire 
invariably to adopt of enabling every reader to form his own 
opinion, we shall, as briefly as possible, state the facts of the 


case, and furnish materials for a full comprehension of the 

Justin himself, as we have already mentioned, frequently and 
distinctly states that his information regarding Christian history 
and his quotations are derived from the Memoirs of the Apostles 
{oMoiivy]\mv^v\i<xT<x twv a7ro<TToA.wv), to adopt the usual trans- 
lation, although the word might more correctly be rendered 
" Recollections," or " Memorabilia." It has frequently been sur- 
mised that this name was suggested by the aTro/xv^^/xovev/xara 
^(DKpdrovs of Xenophon, but, as Credner has pointed out, the 
similarity is purely accidental, and, to constitute a parallel, 
the title should have been Memoirs of Jesus .^ The word 
d7rofxv')]fjiovevixara is here evidently used merely in the sense 
of records written from memory, and it is so employed by Papias 
in the passage preserved by Eusebius regarding Mark, who, 
although he had not himself followed the Lord, yet recorded his 
words from what he heard from Peter, and who, having done so 
without order, is still defended for '' thus writing some things as 
he remembered them " {ovtms €vta ypd\pa<i ws dTre/Jivrjixovevcrev).^ 
In the same way Irenaeus refers to the " Memoirs of a certain 
Presbyter of apostolic times " [dTroixvi^ixovev/jLara dTroa-ToXiKov 
TLvos 7rp€(TfivT€pov\3 whosc namc he does not mention ; and 
Origen still more closely approximates to Justin's use of the 
word when, expressing his theory regarding the Epistle to the 
Hebrews, he says that the thoughts are the Apostle's, but the 
phraseology and the composition are of one recording from 
memory what the Apostle said {dTropLvrjixovevo-avTos rtvos rot 
aTToo-ToXiKa), and as of one writing at leisure the dictation of 
his master.4 Justin himself speaks of the authors of the Memoirs 
as ol dTrofj-vrifjioveva-avTes,^ and the expression was then and 
afterwards constantly in use amongst ecclesiastical and other 

This title. Memoirs of the Apostles^ however, although the 
most appropriate to mere recollections of the life and teaching of 
Jesus, evidently could not be applied to works ranking as canonical 
Gospels, but, in fact, excludes such an idea ; and the whole of 
Justin's views regarding Holy Scripture prove that he saw in the 
Memoirs merely records from memory to assist memory. He 
does not call them ypa(f)aL, but adheres always to the familiar 
name of dTrofxvTjfxovevfjiara, and whilst his constant appeals to a 

' Credner, Beitrdge, i., p. 105. ^ Eusebius, H.E., iii. 39. 

3 lb , V. 8. 4 7/;.^ vi. 25. 5 Apot., i. 33. 

^ Credner, Beitrdge, i., p. 105 f., Gesch. N. T. Kanon, p. 12 ; Reuss, Hist, 
du Cation, p. 53 f. ; Westcott, On the Canon, p. 95, note i. The Clementine 
Recognitions (ii. i ) make the Apostle Peter say : In consuetudine habtii verba 
domini niei, qtice ab ipso audieravi I'evocare ad memoriattt. 


written source show very clearly his abandonment of oral tradition, 
there is nothing in the name of his records which can identify 
them with our Gospels. 

Justin designates the source of his quotations ten times, the 
Memoirs of the Aj>ostles,^ and five times he calls it simply the 
" Memoirs."^ He says, upon one occasion, that these Memoirs were 
composed "by his Apostles and their followers,"3 but except in one 
place to which we have already referred, and which we shall hereafter 
fully examine, he never mentions the author's name, nor does he 
ever give any more precise information regarding their composition. 
It has been argued that, in saying that these Memoirs were 
recorded by the Apostles and their followers, Justin intentionally 
and literally described the four canonical Gospels, the first and 
fourth of which are ascribed to Apostles and the other two to 
Mark and Luke, the followers of Apostles ; but such an inference 
is equally forced and unfounded. The language itself forbids this 
explanation, for Justin does not speak indefinitely of Memoirs of 
Apostles and their followers, but of Memoirs of the Apostles, 
invariably using the article which refers the Memoirs to the 
collective body of the Apostles. Moreover, the incorrectness of 
such an inference is manifest from the fact that circumstances are 
stated by Justin as derived from these Memoirs, which do not 
exist in our Gospels at all, and which, indeed, are contradictory to 
them. Vast numbers of spurious writings, moreover, bearing the 
names of Apostles and their followers, and claiming more or less 
direct apostolic authority, were in circulation in the early Church — 
Gospels according to Peter,^ to Thomas,^ to James,^ to Judas,7 
according to the Apostles, or according to the Twelve,^ to 
Barnabas,9 to Matthias,'° to Nicodemus," etc., and ecclesiastical 

^ ApoL, i. 66, 6^, cf. i. 33 ; Dial. c. Tr., 88, 100, loi, 102, 103, 104, and 
twice in 106. ^ Dial., 103, 105, thnce 107. 

3 'Ej/ 7ctp rots diro/xvyj/Movev/xacn a (f>r]fjbL VTrb tu>v airocTTdXwv airov /cat tu}v 
eKelyoLS TrapaKoXovdrjo-avTiov (rvvT€TdxBai, k.t.X. Dial., I03. 

4 Eusebius, H. E., iii., 3, 25, vi. 12 ; Hieron., De Vir. III., i ; Origen, in 
Matth., X. 17. 

5 Eusebius, H. E., iii., 25; Origen, Hodi. i. in Lucani', Irenaeus, Adv. 
Hm-., i. 20; cf. Tischendorf, Evang. Apocr., 1853, p7-oleg., p. xxxviii. ff. ; 
Wann wta-den, u. s. w., p. 89 f. ; liieron., Praf. in Matth. 

^Tischendorf, Evang. Apocr. proleg., p. xii. ff. ; Epiphanius, Hcer., Ixxix., 
§ 5» etc. 

7 Iren?eus, Adv. Hcbv., i. 31, § i ; Epiphanius, Hcer., xxxviii., § i ; Theo- 
doret. Fab. Hcer., i. 15. 

^ Origen, Horn. i. in Lucani; Hieron,, Prcsf. in Matth. ; Adv. Pelcegianos, 
iii. I ; Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T., i., p. 339 f. 

^ Decret, Gelasii, vi. , § 10. 

'° Origen, Horn. i. in Lucani; Eusebius, H. E., iii., 25; Decret. Gelasii, 
vi. 8 ; Hieron., Prcsf. in Matth. 

" If this be not its most ancient title, the Gospel is in the Prologue 
directly ascribed to Nicodemus. The superscription which this apocryphal 


writers bear abundant testimony to the early and rapid growth of 
apocryphal literature. ' The very names of most of such apocry- 
phal Gospels are lost, whilst of others we possess considerable 
information ; but nothing is more certain than the fact that there 
existed many works bearing names which render the attempt to 
interpret the title of Justin's Gospel as a description of the four 
in our canon quite unwarrantable. The words of Justin evidently 
imply simply that the source of his quotations is the collective 
recollections of the Apostles, and those who followed them, regard- 
ing the life and teaching of Jesus. 

The title. Memoirs of the Apostles^ by no means indicates a 
plurality of Gospels. A single passage has been pointed out in 
which the Memoirs are said to have been called ci'ayyeXia in 
the plural : " For the Apostles in the Memoirs composed by them, 
which are called Gospels,"^ etc. The last expression, a KaXeiTat 
evayyeXta, as many scholars have declared, is probably an 
interpolation. It is, in all likelihood, a gloss on the margin of 
some old MS. which some copyist afterwards inserted in the text. 3 
If Justin really stated that the Memoirs were called Gospels, it 
seems incomprehensible that he should never call them so himself. 
In no other place in his writings does he apply the plural to them, 
but, on the contrary, we find Trypho referring to the " so-called 
Gospel," which he states that he has carefully read,'^ and which, of 
course, can only be Justin's " Memoirs "; and, again, in another 
part of the same dialogue, Justin quotes passages which are 
written "in the Gospel "S [iv tm evayyeXtci) yeypairraL). The 
term " Gospel " is nowhere else used by Justin in reference to a 
written record.^ In no case, however, considering the numerous 
Gospels then in circulation, and the fact that many of these, 
different from the canonical Gospels, are known to have been 

Gospel bears in the form now extant, vTrofMvrifxaTa tov Kvpiov ijfiQv 'Irjaou 
Xpia-Tou, recalls the titles of Justin's Memoirs. Tischendorf, Evang. 
Apocr., p. 203 f,, cf. Proleg., p. liv. ff. ; Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T., i., 
p. 213 ff. ; Thilo, Cod. Apocr. N. T., p. cxviii.-cxlii., p. 487 fif. 

^ Luke i. I ; Irenseus, Adv. Hcer., i. 20, § I ; Origen, Ilo/n. i. in Lucam. 
Eusebius, H. E., iii. 3, 25, iv. 22, vi. 12 ; Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T. ; 
Thilo, Cod. Apocr. N. T. ; Tischendorf, Evang. Apocr. 

^ Oi yap dir6(XTo\oL iv rois yepo/m^voLS vir avrcov (XTroiivrjixovevixaaLV , S, /caXeirai 
evayyiXia. k.t.X. ApoL, i. 66. 

3 An instance of such a gloss getting into the text occurs in Dial. 107, 
where in a reference to Jonah's prophecy that Nineveh should perish in three 
days, according to the version of the Ixx. which Justin always quotes, there is 
a former marginal gloss "in other versions forty," incorporated parenthetically 
with the text. 

* rh iv Tt^ \€yofJiev(f evayyeXiif irapayy^Xfiara. k.t.X. Dial. c. Tr., lO. 

5 Dial., 100. 

^ There is one reference in the singular to the Gospel in the fragment De 
Eesurr., 10, which is of doubtful authenticity. 


exclusively used by distinguished contemporaries of Justin, and by 
various communities of Christians in that day, could such an 
expression be taken as a special indication of the canonical 

Describing the religious practices amongst Christians in another 
place, Justin states that, at their assemblies on Sundays, " the 
Afemoirs of the Apostles or the writings of the prophets are read 
as long as time permits."^ This, however, by no means identifies 
the Memoirs with the canonical Gospels, for it is well known that 
many writings which have been excluded from the canon were 
publicly read in the churches until very long after Justin's day. 
We have already met with several instances of this. Eusebius 
mentions that the Epistle of the Roman Clement was publicly 
read in churches in his time, 3 and he quotes an Epistle of 
Dionysius of Corinth to Soter, the Bishop of Rome, which states 
that fact for the puipose of " showing that it was the custom to 
read it in the churches, even from the earliest times."4 Dionysius 
likewise mentions the public reading of the Epistle of Soter to the 
Corinthians. Epiphanius refers to the reading in the churches of 
the Epistle of Clement, 5 and it continued to be so read in Jerome's 
day.^ In like manner the Shepherd of Hermas,7 the "Apocalypse 
of Peter, "^ and other works excluded from the canon, were publicly 
read in the church in early days.9 It is certain that Gospels which 
did not permanently secure a place in the canon, such as the Gospel 
according to the Hebrews, the Gospel according to Peter, the 
Gospel of the Ebionites, and many kindred Gospels, which in 

' Credner argues that, had Justin intended such a limitation, he must have 
said, d /caXetrat ra reacrapa evayy^Xia. Gesch. d. N. T. Kan., p. 10. 

^ rk diroixv7)fxoveviJ.aTa ru)v aTroaToXcov, rj tol crvy'ypdiJ.iJ.aTa roiv irpo(pr]TOjv 
dv ay LVibaKeTai fJiexpis e'yxwpei. ApoL, i. 67. 

^ H. E., iii. 16. 

^ H. E., iv. 23. 

5 Hcer., XXX. 15. 

^ De Vir. III., 15 '■'■ quce in nonnullis ecclesiis publice legit ur.^^ 

7 Eusebius, H. E., iii. 3 ; Hieron., De Vir. III., 10. 

^ Sozom., H. E., vii. 19 ; Canon Murator., Tregelles, p, 56 f. 

9 The Shepherd of Hermas and the Apocalypse of Peter are enumerated 
amongst the books of Holy Scripture in the Stichometry of the Codex 
Claramontanus (ed. Tischendorf, p. 469 ; cf. Credner, Gesch. N. T. Kan., p. 
175 f. ), and the latter is placed amongst the dvTCKeyoixeva in the Stichometry 
of Nicephorus, together with the Apocalypse of John and the Gospel according 
to the Hebrews. (Credner, Zur Gesch. d. Kan., p. 117 fif.) In the Can. 
Murat. the Apoc. of Peter is received along with that of John, although some 
object to its being read in the Church. {Can. Murat., Tregelles, p. 65; 
Credner, Gesch. N. T. Kan., p. 175 f.) Tischendorf conjectures that the 
Apocalypse of Peter may have been inserted between the Ep. of Barnabas and 
the Shepherd of Hermas, where six pages are missing in the Codex Sinaiticus. 
{Nov. Test. Sinait., Lipsiee, 1863, Proleg., p. xxxii.) 


early times were exclusively used by various communities,' must 
have been read at their pubHc assemblies. The public reading of 
Justin's Memoirs, therefore, does not prove anything, for this 
practice was by no means limited to the works now in our canon. 

The idea of attributing inspiration to the Memoirs, or to any 
other work of the Apostles, with the single exception, as we shall 
presently see, of the Apocalypse of John,^ which, as prophecy, 
entered within his limits, was quite foreign to Justin, who recog- 
nised the Old Testament alone as the inspired Word of God, 
Indeed, as we have already said, the very name " Memoirs " in 
itself excludes the thought of inspiration, which Justin attributed 
only to prophetic writings ; and he could not in any way regard 
as inspired the written tradition of the Apostles and their followers, 
or a mere record of the words of Jesus. On the contrary, he 
held the accounts of the Apostles to be credible solely from their 
being authenticated by the Old Testament, and he clearly states 
that he believes the facts recorded in the Memoirs because the 
spirit of prophecy had already foretold them. 3 According to 
Justin, the Old Testament contained all that was necessary for 
salvation, and its prophecies are the sole criterion of truth — the 
Memoirs, and even Christ himself, being merely its interpreters.^ 
He says that Christ commanded us not to put faith in human 
doctrines, but in those proclaimed by the holy prophets, and 
taught by himself. 5 Prophecy and the words of Christ himself 
are alone of dogmatic value ; all else is human teaching. Indeed, 
from a passage quoted with approval by Irenseus, Justin, in his 
lost work against Marcion, said : " I would not have believed the 
Lord himself if he had proclaimed any other God than the 
Creator — that is to say, the God of the Old Testament. "^ 

That Justin does not mention the name of the author of the 
Memoirs would, in any case, render any argument as to their 
identity with our canonical Gospels inconclusive ; but the total 
omission to do so is the more remarkable from the circumstance 
that the names of Old Testament writers constantly occur in his 

' Cf. Irenseus, Adv. H<2r.^ i. 26, § 2, iii., 11, § 7 ; Origen, Comni. in Ezech., 
xxiv. 7; Eusebius, H. E., iii. 25, 27, vi. 12; Epiphanius, Har., xxix. 9, 
XXX. 3, 13 f. ; Theodoret, Hcer. Fad., ii. 22 ; Hieron., Adv. Pelag., iii. 2, 
Contm. in Matth., xii. 13. 

= Dial. c. 7>., 81. 

3 ApoL, i. 33 ; cf. Dial. c. Tr., 119, ApoL, i. 32, Dial. c. Tr., 48, 53. 

4 Cf. Apol.,^ i. 30, 32, 52, 53, 61, Dial. c. Tr., 32, 43, 48, 100. 

5 iireidr) ovk dvOpwirelois diSdyfiaffL KeKeKevcrfxeda vtt' avrov toO X.pLaTov 
irelOeadai, a'XXct tois did twv fiaKapiuv trpocprjTLOP Ki]pvxdei<TL /cat 5t' avrov 
diSaxBelaL. Dial. c. Tr., 48. 

^ Kat fcaXws 6 '\ov<yTivo<i iv rip irpbs MapKluva avvrdy/JLaTi (pr]aiV "On avT(^ t(^ 

KVpL({) OVK hv eireia-drip, AWov debv KarayyiWoPTi trapd rbv drffiiovpybv 

Adv. H(Er.y iv. 6, § 2. Eusebius, H. E., iv. 18. 


writings. Semisch counts 197 quotations of the Old Testament, 
in which Justin refers to the author by name, or to the book, and 
only 117 in which he omits to do so, ^ and the latter number might 
be reduced by considering the nature of the passages cited, and 
the inutility of repeating the reference.^ When it is considered, 
therefore, that notwithstanding the numerous quotations and refer- 
ences to facts of Christian history, all purporting to be derived 
from the Memoirs, he absolutely never, except in the one 
instance referred to, mentions an author's name, or specifies more 
clearly the nature of the source, the inference must not only be 
that he attached small importance to the Memoirs, but also that 
he was actually ignorant of the author's name, and that his Gospel 
had no more definite superscription. Upon the theory that the 
Memoirs of the Apostles were simply our four canonical Gospels, 
the singularity of the omission is increased by the diversity of con- 
tents and of authors, and the consequently greater necessity and 
probability that he should, upon certain occasions, distinguish 
between them. The fact is that the only writing of the New 
Testament to which Justin refers by name is, as we have already 
mentioned, the Apocalypse, which he attributes to "a certain man 
whose name was John, one of the Apostles of Christ, who 
prophesied by a revelation made to him," etc.3 The manner in 
which John is here mentioned, after the Memoirs had been so 
constantly indefinitely referred to, clearly shows that Justin did not 
possess any Gospel also attributed to John. That he does name 
John, however, as author of the Apocalypse, and so frequently 
refers to Old Testament writers by name, yet never identifies the 
author of the Memoirs, is quite irreconcilable with the idea that they 
were the canonical Gospels. 

It is perfectly clear, however — and this is a point of very great 
importance, upon which critics of otherwise widely diverging views 
are agreed — that Justin quotes from a written source, and that oral 
tradition is excluded from his system. He not only does not, like 
Papias, attach value to tradition, but, on the contrary, he affirms 
that in the Memoirs is recorded ^^ everything that concerns our 

^ Semisch, DenJiwilrd. Justinus, p. 84. 

^ It is not requisite that we should in detail refute the groundless argument 
that the looseness of Justin's quotations from the Old Testament justifies the 
assumption that his evangelical quotations, notwithstanding their disagreement 
and almost universal inaccuracy, are taken from our Gospels. Those, however, 
who desire to examine the theory further may be referred to Semisch, Die ap. 
Denkw. d. Mart. Justinus, pp. 239-273, and Bindemann, Th. Stud. u. 
Kritiken, 1 842, p. 412 ff., on the affirmative side, and to its refutation by 
Hilgenfeld, Die Ew. Justin's, pp. 46-62, Theol. Jahrb., 1850, pp. 385-439, 
567-578 ; and Credner, Beitrdge, ii. 

3 Kal eireidr) /cat Trap rjfuu dvifjp ris, (^ bvofia Iwdvvrjs, eh tQv diro(XT6\o}v rod 
Xpi<TTov, fcV diroKa\v\pei yepofi^vy avrip, k.t.\. Dial. c. Tr., 81. 


Saviour Jesus Christ."^ He constantly refers to them, directly, as 
the source of his information regarding the history of Jesus, and 
distinctly states that he has derived his quotations from them. 
There is no reasonable ground for affirming that Justin supple- 
mented or modified the contents of the Memoirs by oral 
tradition. It must, therefore, be remembered, in considering the 
nature of these Memoirs, that the facts of Christian history and 
the sayings of Jesus are derived from a determinate written source, 
and are quoted as Justin found them there. Those who attempt 
to explain the divergences of Justin's quotations from the canonical 
Gospels, which they still maintain to have been his Memoirs, on 
the plea of oral tradition, defend the identity at the expense of the 
authority of the Gospels ; for nothing could more forcibly show 
Justin's disregard and disrespect for the Gospels than would the 
fact that, possessing them, he not only never names their authors, 
but considers himself at liberty continually to contradict, modify, 
and revise their statements. 

As we have already remarked, when we examine the contents 
of the Memoirs of the Apostles through Justin's numerous quota- 
tions, we find that many parts of the Gospel narratives are 
apparently quite unknown, whilst, on the other hand, we meet 
with facts of evangelical history which are foreign to the canonical 
Gospels, and others which are contradictory of Gospel statements. 
Justin's quotations, almost without exception, vary more or less 
from the parallels in the canonical text, and often these variations 
are consistently repeated by himself, and are found in other works 
about his time. Moreover, Justin quotes expressions of Jesus 
which are not found in our Gospels at all. The omissions, 
though often very singular, supposing the canonical Gospels 
before him, and almost inexplicable when it is considered 
how important they would often have been to his argument, 
need not, as merely negative evidence, be dwelt on here ; 
but we shall briefly illustrate the other peculiarities of Justin's 

The only genealogy of Jesus which is recognised by Justin is 
traced through the Virgin Mary. She it is who is descended from 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and from the house of David, and 
Joseph is completely set aside. ^ Jesus " was born of a virgin of 
the lineage of Abraham and tribe of Judah and of David, Christ, 
the Son of God."3 "Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has been 

^ ol dTroixv7]ixov€V(TavTes iravra rd wepi rod aiOTTjpos T^fxCbv 'IrjaoO X-piaTOV 
ediSa^ap. ApoL, i. 33. 

^ Dial. c. Tr. 23, 43 twice, 45 thrice, 100 twice, loi, 120, Apol, i. 32 ; cf. 
Matt. i. 1-16 ; Luke iii. 23-28. 

3 eh Tov 8id Trjs dirb rod yivovs rod 'A^padfi, /cat 0i;X^s 'Io6da, Kai Aa^id 
irapdivov yevvrid^yra viby tov Qeov XpiarSp.- Dial. c. Tr., 43. 


born without sin, of a virgin sprung from the lineage of Abraham."^ 
" For of the virgin of the seed of Jacob, who was the father of 
Judah, who, as we have shown, was the father of the Jews, by the 
power of God was he conceived ; and Jesse was his forefather 
according to the prophecy, and he (Jesus) was the son of Jacob 
and Judah according to successive descent."^ The genealogy of 
Jesus in the canonical Gospels, on the contrary, is traced solely 
through Joseph, who alone is stated to be of the lineage of David. 3 
The genealogies of Matthew and Luke, though differing in 
several important points, at least agree in excluding Mary. That 
of the third Gospel commences with Joseph, and that of the first 
ends with him : "And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, 
of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ."^ The angel who 
warns Joseph not to put away his wife addresses him as " Joseph, 
thou son of David ";5 and the angel Gabriel, who, according to the 
third Gospel, announces to Mary the supernatural conception, is 
sent " to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of 
the house of David."^ So persistent, however, is Justin in 
ignoring this Davidic descent through Joseph that not only does 
he at least eleven times trace it through Mary, but his Gospel 
materially differs from the canonical, where the descent of Joseph 
from David is mentioned by the latter. In the third Gospel 
Joseph goes to Judaea, " unto the city of David, which is called 
Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David."7 

Justin, however, simply states that he went "to Bethlehem for 

his descent was from the tribe of Judah, w^hich inhabited that 
region."'^ There can be no doubt that Justin not only did not 
derive his genealogies from the canonical Gospels, but that, on the 
contrary, the Memoirs, from which he did learn the Davidic descent 
through Mary only, differed persistently and materially from them. 
Many traces still exist to show that the view of Justin's 
Memoirs of the Apostles of the Davidic descent of Jesus through 
Mary instead of through Joseph, as the canonical Gospels 
represent it, was anciently held in the Church. Apocryphal 
Gospels of early date, based without doubt upon more ancient 
evangelical works, are still extant, in which the genealogy of Jesus 
is traced, as in Justin's Memoirs, through Mary. One of these 
is the Gospel of James, commonly called the Frotevangelium, a 
w^ork referred to by ecclesiastical writers of the third and fourth 
centuries,9 and which Tischendorf even ascribes to the first three 

^ Dial. c. Tr., 23. ^ ApoL, i. 32. 3 Matt. i. 1-16 ; cf. Luke iii. 23-28. 

'^ Matt. i. 16 ; cf. Luke iii. 23. s Matt. i. 20. ^ Luke i. 27. 

7 Luke ii. 4. 8 Dial. c. Tr., 78. 

9 Clemens, Al., Strom., vii. 16, § 93 ; Origan, Co?fi?fi. in Matth. iii. ; 
Epiphanius, Hcer., Ixxix., § 5 ; cf. Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T., i., p. 39 ff. ; 
Thiio, Cod. Apocr. N. T. proleg. , xlv. ff. 


decades of the second century,^ in which Mary is stated to be of 
the lineage of David. ^ She is also described as of the royal race 
and family of David in the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary ;3 and 
in the Gospel of pseudo-Matthew her Davidic descent is promi- 
nently mentioned. 4 There can be no doubt that all of these 
works are based upon earlier originals,5 and there is no reason 
why they may not have been drawn from the same source from 
which Justin derived his version of the genealogy in contradiction 
to the Synoptics.^ 

In the narrative of the events which preceded the birth of 
Jesus, the first Gospel describes the angel as appearing only to 
Joseph and explaining the supernatural conception,7 and the 
author seems to know nothing of any announcement to Mary.^ 
The third Gospel, on the contrary, does not mention any such 
angelic appearance to Joseph, but represents the angel as 
announcing the conception to Mary herself alone.9 Justin's 
Memoirs know of the appearances, both to Joseph and to Mary ; 
but the words spoken by the angel on each occasion differ 
materially from those of both Gospels. ^° In this place only one 
point, however, can be noticed. Justin describes the angel as 

' Wann wurden u. s. w., p. 76 fiF., cf. Evangelia Apocr. Proleg., p. xii. ff. 

^ Kai en-vr^aQt] 6 iepeds tt)s iraidbs MapLa/x, on 9jv ck ttjs 0i;X^s Aa/3to, k.t.\. 
Protevangeli7i7n Jacobi, x. Tischendorf, Evangelia Apocr., p. 19 f. ; Fabricius, 
Cod. Apocr. N. T., i., p. 90. 

3 Maria de stiipe 1-egia et faniilia David or iunda. Evang. de Nativ. 

Maric£, i. ; Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T.,\.,t^. 19; Tischendorf, Ev. Apocr., 
p. 106. 

* Pseudo-Matth. Evang., \., xiii., etc.; Tischendorf, Ev. Apocr., p. 54, 
73; cf. Hist, de Nativ. Mar. et de Inf. Salv., xiii; Thilo, Cod. ap. N. T., 
p. 374. Regarding the antiquity of some of these works, cf. Tischendorf, Ev. 
Apocr. Proleg., p. xxv. ff. 

s Hilgenfeld, Die Evv. /tistin's, p. 154 fif. Hilgenfeld conjectures that the 
Protevangelium may have been based upon the Gnostic work, the V^vva. 
Mapias mentioned by Epiphanius, or on the Gospel according to Peter, id., 
p. 1 59 ff. ; cf. Volkmar, Der Ursprung, p. 84 ff. ; Tischendorf, Wann wurden, 
n. s. w., p. 78 ff. 

^ Several of the Fathers in like manner assert the Davidic descent through 
Mary. Irenajus states that she was " of the lineage of David " (oSt6s icTtv eK 
TTJs Aa/3i5 irapdevov yevd/xevos. Adv. Hcer., iii., 21, § 5), and he argues 
that the Davidic descent through the Virgin was clearly indicated by prophecy. 
The same argument is taken up by TertuUian, who distinctly traces the descent 
of Christ through Mary {ex stirpe autem Jesse deputatum per Mariam inde 
censendutn. Adv. Marcionem, iii. 17. Eundem ex genere David secundum 
Maria; censutn, lb. , iv. i , cf. v. 8). It is most probable that both Irenaeus and 
TertuUian, who were well acquainted with the writings of Justin, followed him in 
this matter, for they very closely adopt his arguments. They may, however, 
have known apocryphal works containing the Davidic descent through Mary. 
They certainly did not derive it from the canonical Gospels. 

7 Matt. i. 20 f. 8 Cf jyjatt. i. 18. 9 Luke i. 26 f., cf. ii. ^-d. 

^° ApoL, i. 33, Dial. c. Tr., 78, 100. 


saying to Mary, " ' Behold, thou shalt conceive of the Holy Ghost, 
and shalt bear a son, and he shall be called the Son of the Highest, 
and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people 
from their sins,' as they taught who recorded everything that con- 
cerns our Saviour Jesus Christ."^ Now, this is a clear and direct 
quotation, but, besides distinctly differing in form from our 
Gospels, it presents the important peculiarity that the words, " for 
he shall save his people from their sins," are not, in Luke, 
addressed to Mary at all, but that they occur in the first Gospel 
in the address of the angel to Joseph. ^ 

These words, however, are not accidentally inserted in this 
place, for we find that they are joined in the same manner to the 
address of the angel to Mary in the Protevangelium of James : 
" For the power of the Lord will overshadow thee ; wherefore also 
that holy thing which is born of thee shall be called the Son of 
the Highest, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save 
his people from their sins. "3 Tischendorf states his own opinion 
that this passage is a recollection of the Protevangelium uncon- 
sciously added by Justin to the account in Luke,-^ but the arbitrary 
nature of the limitation " unconsciously " {ohne dass er sich desse?t 
bewusst war) here is evident. There is a point in connection with 
this which merits a moment's attention. In the text of the 
Protevangelium^ edited by Tischendorf, the angel commences his 
address to Mary by saying, " Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found 
favour before the Lord, and thou shalt conceive of His Word " 
(koI orvXX-i^xl/r} €K Xoyov avTov).^ Now, Justin, after quoting 
the passage above, continues to argue that the Spirit and the 
power of God must not be misunderstood to mean anything else 
than the Word, who is also the first-born of God, as the prophet 
Moses declared ; and it was this which, when it came upon the 
Virgin and overshadowed her, caused her to conceive.^ The 
occurrence of the singular expression in the Protevangelium 

' 'I5o(7 (rvKk-qxprj ev yaarpl eK irvevfxaros ay iov, Kal ri^rj vlbv, koll vlos vipia-TOV 
KXrjdrjaeTaL' Kal KoX^aecs to 6vofjia avrov 'Irjcrovv ' avros yap adocrei rbv \abv avrov 
dirb tCov aixapTLwv avTCbv ihs ol diroixvrifioveijaavTes travra rd irepi rod crojTTJpoi 
ijfiQv ^I-rjaov XpLarov edida^ai'. ApoL, i. 33. 

^ Matt. i. 21. 

3 Ai^J'ayUts yap Kvpiov eVtcr/ciacrei trot' 5i6 Kal rb yevvdo/mevov eK aov ayiov 
K\t)d'f}a€TaL vlb% v\l/i(rT0V Kal KaX^creis rb 6vo[xa avrov 'Irjaovv. airbs yap a-ibaei 
rbv \abv avrov dirb rdv ajxapriCov avrGiv. Protev. Jacobi, xi. ; Tischendorf, 
Evang. Apocr., p. 22 ; Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T., i., p. 93. 

"* Wann wurden, u. s. w., p. 77. 

^Protev. Jac, xi. ; Tischendorf, Evang. Apocr., p. 21 f. The peculiar 
expression is wanting in most of the other known MSS. 

^ To TTvevfia odv Kal rrjv 86pafj,i.v rrjv irapd rov deov ov8ev dWo vorjcrat d^fiis ^ 
rbv \6yov, ds Kal TrpoirbroKos rep Beep i<rri, (is Mwer^j 6 TrpodedrfXcj/Jiivos irpo(f>'fjrT]% 
e/x-rjuvae. Kal rovro, iXdbv eirl rrjv irapdhov Kal ^iriaKLdaav, K.r.X. ApoL, i. 33. 




and the similar explanation of Justin immediately accompanying a 
variation from our Gospels, which is equally shared by the 
apocryphal work, strengthens the suspicion of a similarity of 
origin. Justin's divergences from the Protevangelium prevent our 
supposing that, in its present state, it could have been the actual 
source of his quotations ; but the wide differences which exist 
between the extant MSS. of the Protevangelium show that even 
the most ancient does not present it in its original form. It is 
much more probable that Justin had before him a still older work, 
to which both the Protevangelium and the third Gospel were 

Justin's account of the removal of Joseph to Bethlehem is 
peculiar, and evidently is derived from a distinct uncanonical 
source. It may be well to present his account and that of Luke 
side by side : — 

Justin. Dial. c. Tr. 78. 

On the occasion of the first census 
which was taken in Judcea {iv rrj 

under Cyrenius {first Procurator 

{ixirpoiros) of Judcea. Apol., i. 34), 

Joseph had gone up from Nazareth, 

where he dwelt, 

to Bethlehem, from whence he was, 

to enrol himself; 

for his descent was from the tribe 

of Judah, which inhabited that 


Luke ii. 1-5. 

I there went out a decree 

from Ctesar Augustus that all the 
world {Traaav ttjv olKovfxev7)v) should 
be enrolled. 

2. And this census was first 
made when Cyrenius was Governor 
(Tjyefidbv) of Syria. 4. And Joseph 
went up from Galilee, out of the 
city of Nazareth into Judaea, U7ito 
the City of David, which is called 
Bethlehem ; 

because he was of the house and 
lineage of David ; 5. to enrol him- 

Attention has already been drawn to the systematic manner in 
which the Davidic descent of Jesus is traced by Justin through 
Mary, and to the suppression in this passage of all that might 
seem to indicate a claim of descent through Joseph. As the con- 
tinuation of a peculiar representation of the history of the infancy 
of Jesus, differing materially from that of the Synoptics, it is 
impossible to regard this, with its remarkable variations, as an 
arbitrary correction by Justin of the canonical text, and we must 
hold it to be derived from a different source — perhaps, indeed, one 
of those from which Luke's Gospel itself first drew the elements 
of the narrative ; and this persuasion increases as further variations 
in the earlier history, presently to be considered, are taken into 
account. It is not necessary to enter into the question of the 
correctness of the date of this census, but it is evident that Justin's 
Memoirs clearly and deliberately modify the canonical narrative. 
The limitation of the census to Judea, instead of extending it to 
the whole Roman Empire ; the designation of Cyrenius as 


cTTiTpoTTo^ of Judaea instead of ^ye/xcov of Syria; and the 
careful suppression of the Davidic element in connection with 
Joseph, indicate a peculiar written source different from the 

Had Justin departed from the account in Luke with the view of 
correcting inaccurate statements, the matter might have seemed 
more consistent with the use of the third Gospel, although, at the 
same time, it might have evinced but little reverence for it as a 
canonical work. On the contrary, however, the statements of 
Justin are still more inconsistent with history than those in Luke, 
inasmuch as, so far from being the first Procurator of Judea, as 
Justin's narrative states in opposition to the third Gospel, Cyrenius 
never held that office, but was really, later, the imperial proconsul 
over Syria, and, as such, when Judaea became a Roman province 
after the banishment of Archelaus, had the power to enrol the 
inhabitants, and instituted Caponius as first Procurator of Judaea. 
Justin's statement involves the position that at one and the same 
time Herod was the King, and Cyrenius the Roman Procurator of 
Judaea.' In the same spirit, and departing from the usual narra- 
tive of the Synoptics, which couples the birth of Jesus with " the 
days of Herod the King," Justin, in another place, states that 
Christ was born "under Cyrenius."^ Justin evidently adopts, 
without criticism, a narrative which he found in his Memoirs, and 
does not merely correct and remodel a passage of the third Gospel, 
but, on the contrary, seems altogether ignorant of it. 

The genealogies of Jesus in the first and third Gospels differ 
irreconcileably from each other. Justin differs from both. In 
this passage another discrepancy arises. While Luke seems to 
represent Nazareth as the dwelling-place of Joseph and Mary, and 
Bethlehem as the city to which they went solely on account of the 
census,3 Matthew, who appears to know nothing of the census, 
makes Bethlehem, on the contrary, the place of residence of 
Joseph j'^ and, on coming back from Egypt, with the evident 
intention of returning to Bethlehem, Joseph is warned by a dream 
to turn aside into Galilee, and he goes and dwells — apparently for 
the first time — " in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled 
which was spoken by the prophets : He shall be called a Nazarene."5 
Justin, however, goes still further than the third Gospel in his 

^ Cf. Joseph., Antiq., xviii. I, § I ; Tertullian, Adv. Marc, iv. 19. 

^ Apol.y i. 46. 3 Luke ii. 4. 

^ Matt. ii. I ; cf. Alford, Greek Test., i., p. 14. 

5 Matt. ii. 22 f. It is scarcely necessary to point out that the author of 
the first Gospel quotes some apocryphal work, and that the last word is a 
total misconception of the phrase. The word '^a^wpalos should have been 
Naftpaios, and the term has nothing whatever to do with the town of 



departure from the data of Matthew, and where Luke merely 
infers, Justin distinctly asserts Nazareth to have been the dwelling- 
place of Joseph (evda MK€t), and Bethlehem, in contradistinction, 
the place from which he derived his origin (oOev rjv). 

The same view is to be found in several apocryphal Gospels 
still extant. In the Protevangelium of James, again, we find 
Joseph journeying to Bethlehem with Mary before the birth of 
Jesus. ^ The census here is ordered by Augustus, who commands : 
" That all who were in Bethlehem of/udcea should be enrolled,"^ 
a limitation worthy of notice in comparison with that of Justin. 
In like manner the Gospel of the Nativity. This Gospel represents 
the parents of Mary as living in Nazareth, in which place she was 
born, 3 and it is here that the angel Gabriel announces to her 
the supernatural conception.^ Joseph goes to Bethlehem to set 
his house in order and prepare what is necessary for the marriage, 
but then returns to Nazareth, where he remains with Mary until 
her time was nearly accomplished, s " when Joseph, having taken 
his wife, with whatever else was necessary, went to the city of 
Bethlehem, whence he was."^ The phrase " unde ipse erat'^ recalls 
the o^ev r\v of Justin. 7 

As we continue the narrative of the birth and infancy of Jesus 
we meet with further variations from the account in the canonical 
Gospels for which the preceding have prepared us, and which 
indicate that Justin's Memoirs certainly differed from them. 

Justin. Dial. 78. 

But the child having been born in 
Bethlehem — for Joseph, not being 
able to find a lodging in the village, 
lodged in a certain cave near the 
village, and then while they were 
there Mary had brought forth the 
Christ and had placed him in a 
manger, etc. 

Luke ii. 7. 

And she brought forth her first- 
born son, and wrapped him in 
swaddling clothes and laid him in 
the manger ; because there was no 
room in the inn. 

^ Protev. Jac., xvii., cf. xxi. ; Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T., i., p. 103; 
Tischendorf, Evang, Apocr., p. 30, p. 39. 

^ KAeftris 5e iyivero airb Avyoijcrrov ^aaiX^cos diroypacpeadaL iravras toxjs iv 
BrjdXe^fi TTjs 'lov8aia^. Protev. Jac, xvii. 

3 Evang. de Nativ. Marice, i. and viii. ; cf. Evang. Tho7?i(e Lat. , iii. ; 
Tischendorf, Evang. Apocr., p. 158. 

4 Ev. de Nat. Marice, ix. s lb., viii., ix. 

^Joseph, tixore cum aliis quce necessaria erant assunita Bethlehem civitatem, 
tmde ipse erat, tetendit. Evang. de Nat. Mar. , x. ; Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. 
N. T., \., p. 37 ; Tischendorf, Ev. Apocr., p. 114, cf. Evang. infantice Arab., 
ii. ; Fabricius, ib., \., p. 169; Tischendorf, ib., p. 171. Here Joseph goes 
from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, his native city. 

7 Cf. Hist, de Nat. Mar. et de Inf. Salv., xiii. " Necesse atite?n fuerat, ut 
et Joseph cum Maria proficisceretur in Bethlehem, quia exinde erat, et Maria 
de tribu Juda et de domo ac patria David." Thilo, Cod. Apocr. N. T., 
P- 374- 


At least it is clear that these particulars of the birth of Jesus — 
not taking place in Bethlehem itself, but in a cave (ev a-TrrjXaifi)) 
near the village, because Joseph could not find a lodging there — 
are not derived from our Gospels ; and here even Semisch^ is 
forced to abandon his theory that Justin's variations arise merely 
from imperfectly quoting from memory, and to conjecture that he 
must have adopted tradition. It has, however, been shown that 
Justin himself distinctly excludes tradition, and in this case, more- 
over, there are many special reasons for believing that he quotes 
from a written source. Ewald rightly points out that here, and in 
other passages where, in common with ancient ecclesiastical 
writers, Justin departs from our Gospels, the variation can in no 
way be referred to oral tradition ;^ and, moreover, that when 
Justin proves3 from Isaiah xxxiii, 16 that Christ musf be born in 
a cave, he thereby shows how certainly he found the fact of the 
cave in his written Gospel. ^ The whole argument of Justin 
excludes the idea that he could avail himself of mere tradition. 
He maintains that everything which the prophets had foretold of 
Christ had actually been fulfilled, and he perpetually refers to the 
Memoirs and other written documents for the verification of his 
assertions. He either refers to the prophets for the confirmation 
of the Memoirs or shows in the Memoirs the narrative of facts 
which are the accomplishment of prophecies ; but in both cases 
it is manifest that there must have been a record of the facts 
which he mentions. There can be no doubt that the circum- 
stances we have just quoted, and which are not found in the 
canonical Gospels, must have been narrated in Justin's Memoirs. 

We find, again, the same variations as in Justin in several 
extant apocryphal Gospels. The Protevangelium of James 
represents the birth of Jesus as taking place in a cave ;5 so, also, 
the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy,^ and several others.7 This 
uncanonical detail is also mentioned by. several of the Fathers, 
Origen and Eusebius both stating that the cave and the manger 
were still shown in their day.^ Tischendorf does not hesitate to 

^ Denkwiirdigk. d. Mart. Just. , p. 390 f. 

~ Jahrb. bibl. Wiss, 1853-54, p. 60. 

3 Dial, 71, cf. 70. 4 7(5.^ p. 60, anm. i. 

'=> Protev. Jac.yy.\\\\. ; Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T., i., p. 105; Tischen- 
dorf, Evang. Apocr., p. 32. 

^ Evang. Infantice Arab., ii., iii. ; P'abricius, ib., i., p. 169 f. ; Tischendorf, 
ib., p. 171 f. 

T Pseudo-Matt. Ev., xiii. , xiv. ; Tischendorf, ib., p. 74 f. ; Historia 
Josephi Fab. Lign., vii. ; Tischendorf, i^., p. 118 ; Hist, de Nat. Mar. et de 
Inf. Salv., xiv.; Thilo, Cod. Apocr. N. 7'., p. 381. 

^ Origen, Contra Cels., i. 51 ; Eusebius, Vita Const., iii. 40 f. Their only 
variation from Justin's account is, that they speak of the cave as in Beth- 
lehem, while Justin describes it as near the village. Credner remarks that 


affirm that Justin derived this circumstance from the Protevan- 
gelium.^ Justin, however, does not distinguish such a source ; 
and the mere fact that we have still extant a form of that Gospel 
in which it occurs by no means justifies such a specific con- 
clusion, when so many other works, now lost, may equally have 
contained it. If the fact be derived from the Protevangelium^ 
that work, or whatever other apocryphal Gospel may have supplied 
it, must be admitted to have at least formed part of the Memoirs 
of the Apostles^ and with that necessary admission ends all special 
identification of the Memoirs with our canonical Gospels. Much 
more probably, however, Justin quotes from the more ancient 
source from which the Proteva7igelium and, perhaps, Luke drew 
their narrative. There can be very little doubt that the Gospel 
according to the Hebrews contained an account of the birth in 
Bethlehem, and, as it is at least certain that Justin quotes other 
particulars known to have been in it, there is fair reason to suppose 
that he likewise found this fact in that work. In any case, it is 
indisputable that he derived it from a source different from our 
canonical Gospels. 

Justin does not apparently know anything of the episode of the 
shepherds of the plain, and the angelic appearance to them, 
narrated in the third Gospel.^ 

To the cave in which the infant Jesus is born came the Magi ; 
but, instead of employing the phrase used by the first Gospel, 
" Magi from the East "3 ([xdyoi aTro avaroAwv), Justin always 
describes them as " Magi from Arabia " (fxayot oltto 'ApafSias). 
Justin is so punctilious that he never speaks of these Magi 
without adding " from Arabia," except twice, where, however, he 
immediately mentions Arabia as the point of the argument for 
which they are introduced ; and in the same chapter in which this 
occurs he four times calls them directly Magi from Arabia.-* He 
uses this expression not less than nine times. 5 That he had no 
objection to the term " the East," and that with a different context 
it was common to his vocabulary, is proved by his use of it else- 
where.^ It is impossible to resist the conviction that Justin's 
Memoirs contained the phrase, " Magi from Arabia," which is 
foreign to our Gospels. 

the sacredness of the spot might by that time have attracted people, and led 
to the extension of the town in that direction, till the site might have become 
really joined to Bethlehem. Credner, Beitrdge, i., p. 235, cf. Socrates, 
H. E.,'\. 17 ; Sozomen, H. E., ii. 2 ; Epiphanius, Hcer., xx. i ; Hieron., 
Ep., Iviii., ad Paul. 

^ Evang. Apocr. Proleg., p. xiii., Wann wurden, u. s. w., p. 76 ff. 

= Luke ii. 8, 20. 3 Matt. ii. i. ^ Dial. c. Tr., 78. 

s Dial, 'j'j, 78 four times, 88, 102, 103, 106. 

^ Dial. 76, 120, 121, 126, 140, etc. ; cf. Hilgenfeld, Die Ew. Jusiin's, 
p. 149. 


Again, according to Justin, the Magi see the star " in the heaven " 
(h Toj ovpavw),^ and not "in the East" (h rfj dvaToXfj), as the 
first Gospel has it :^ " When a star rose in heaven (h ovpav^) at 
the time of his birth, as is recorded in the Memoirs of the 
Apostles.^' i He apparently knows nothing of the star guiding 
them to the place where the young child was> Herod, moreover, 
questions the elders {7rp€(Tl3vrepot)5 as to the place where the 
Christ should be born, and not the " chief priests and scribes of 
the people " (apxte/aet? /cat ypapLpardq tov Xaov).^ These diver- 
gences, taken in connection with those which are interwoven with 
the whole narrative of the birth, can only proceed from the fact 
that Justin quotes from a source different from ours. 

Justin relates that when Jesus came to Jordan he was believed 
to be the son of Joseph, the carpenter, and he appeared without 
comeliness, as the Scriptures announced ; " and being considered 
a carpenter — for, when he was amongst men, he made carpenter's 
works, ploughs, and yokes (aporpa koX ivya) ; by these both 
teaching the symbols of righteousness and an active life. "7 These 
details are foreign to the canonical Gospels. Mark has the expres- 
sion, " Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary ?"^ but Luke 
omits it altogether.9 The idea that the Son of God should do 
carpenter's work on earth was very displeasing to many Christians, 
and attempts to get rid of the obnoxious phrase are evident in 
Mark. Apparently the copy which Origen used had omitted even 
the modified phrase, for he declares that Jesus himself is nowhere 
called a carpenter in the Gospels current in the Church. '° A few 
MSS. are still extant without it, although it is found in all the 
more ancient Codices. 

Traces of these details are found in several apocryphal works ; 
especially in the Gospel of Thomas, where it is said : " Now, his 
father was a carpenter, and made at that time ploughs and yokes " 
(aporpa Kal fvyovs)" — an account which, from the similarity of 

^ Dial 106. ^ Matt. ii. 2, cf. ii. 9. 3 Dial 106. 

4 Matt. ii. 9. s £)ial 78. ^ Matt. ii. 4. 

7 Kal TeKTOvos vofiL^ojx^vov ravra ycLp rd TCKTOvLKoi ^pya eipyd^ero iv 

dvdpuiirois (bv, Aporpa Kal ^vyd' did toOtwv Kal rd rrjs 5iKaio<Tvvr]s (rv/n^oXa 
diddcTKuy, Kal evepyrj ^lov. Dial. 88. 

^ ovx o^TOS i(TTiv 6 t4kto}v, 6 vlbs Mapias ; Mark vi. 3. 

9 Cf. Luke iii. 23. 

'° OTL ouSafiov tCov ev rats iKKXrjcriaLS (pepofievcov evayyeXltav t^ktuv avrbs 6 

'Irjaovs dvay^ypaTTTai. Contra Cels., vi. 36 ; cf. Credner, Beitrdge, i., p. 239 ; 
Hilgenfeld, Die Evv. Jtisthis, p. 152. 

" '0 5^ irar^p avrou t^ktcov 9jv, koI iiroleL iv t^ Kaipip iKUPi^ Aporpa Kal ^vyo6s. 
Evang. ThomcE Greece, A. xiii.; Tischendorf, Ev. Apocr., p. 144 cf. ; Evang. 
Thomce Lai., xi. ; Tischendorf, ib., p. 166 ; Psetido-Matth. Ev., xxxvii. ; 
Tischendorf, ib., p. 99'; Evang. Infant. Arab., xxxviii. ; Tischendorf, ib., 
p. 193 ; Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T., p. 200, 


language, was in all probability derived from the same source as 
that of Justin. The explanation which Justin adds, " by which 
he taught the symbols of righteousness and an active life," seems 
to indicate that he refers to a written narrative containing the 
detail, already, perhaps, falling into sufficient disfavour to require 
the aid of symbolical interpretation. 

In the narrative of the baptism there are many peculiarities 
which prove that Justin did not derive it from our Gospels. 
Thrice he speaks of John sitting by the river Jordan : " He cried 
as he sat by the river Jordan 'V " While he still sat by the river 
Jordan "f and " For when John sat by the Jordan."3 This 
peculiar expression, so frequently repeated, must have been derived 
from a written Gospel. Then Justin, in proving that Jesus pre- 
dicted his second coming, and the reappearance of Elijah, states : 
"And therefore our Lord, in his teaching, announced that this 
should take place, saying Elias also should come " (etVwv Kal 'UXiav 
kXiva-ecrOai). A little lower down he again expressly quotes the 
words of Jesus : " For which reason our Christ declared on earth 
to those who asserted that Elias must come before Christ : Elias, 
indeed, shall come," etc. ('HA.ta§ ^ikv eXeva-erat, K.r.X).4 Matthew, 
however, reads : " Elias indeed cometh," 'HXm? fiev epx^Tat, k.t.A.5 
Now, there is no version in which lAevo-erat is substituted for 
epx^rai as Justin does ; but, as Credner has pointed out,^ the 
whole weight of Justin's argument lies in the use of the future 
tense. As there are so many other variations in Justin's context, 
this likewise appears to be derived from a source different from 
our Gospels. 

When Jesus goes to be baptised by John many striking 
peculiarities occur in Justin's narrative : "As Jesus went down 
to the water a fire also was kindled in the Jordan ; and when he 
came up from the water the Holy Spirit, like a dove, fell upon 

him, as the apostles of this very Christ of ours wrote and at 

the same time a voice came from the heavens Thou art my 

son ; this day have I begotten thee. "7 

The incident of the fire in Jordan is, of course, quite foreign 
to our Gospels ; and, further, the words spoken by the heavenly 
voice differ from those reported by them, for, instead of the passage 

' offTLS eiri TOP ^lopddvrjv iroTafibv Kade'^ofievos, e^da- k.t.X. Dial. 49. 

^ <£Ti avTov Kade^ojii^vov iirl tov 'lopddvov irora/xov, k.t.X. Dial. 51. 

3 ''Ywavvov yap Kade^ofxhov eirl tov 'lopddvov, k.t.X. Dial. 88. 

'^ Dial. 49. 5 xvii. 11. Many MSS. add irpQiTov. ^ Beitrdge, i., p. 219. 

7 KaTeXd6pT0$ tov 'Irjcrov iwl to vdcjp, /cat wvp dv'q(f>dr} iv Ti^'Iopddvrj- Kal 

dvaSvPTOs aiTOv dirb tov f)5aro9, ojs vepiaTepap t6 dyiop irpev/xa iTrnrTTJpai iir'' 

avThp iypaxf/ap oi dir6(TToXoL avTov tovtov tov 'KpiaTov rjixCbv kol (pcopr] €k tQp 

odpapCop cifia iXrjXijdei " Tios fiov el cr& iyoo ariixepop yeyhptjKd ae." 

Dial. 88. 


from Psalm ii. 7, the Gospels have : " Thou art my beloved son ; 
in thee I am well pleased."' Justin repeats his version a second 
time in the same chapter, and again elsewhere he says, regarding 
the temptation : " For this devil also, at the time when he (Jesus) 
went up from the river Jordan, when the voice declared to him : 
' Thou art my son ; this day have I begotten thee,' it is written in 
the Memoirs of the Apostles, came to him and tempted him," etc.^ 
In both of these passages it will be perceived that Justin 
directly refers to the Memoirs of the Apostles as the source of his 
statements. Some have argued that Justin only appeals to them 
for the fact of the descent of the Holy Ghost, and not for the rest 
of the narrative. It has of course been felt that, if it can be shown 
that Justin quotes from the Memoirs words and circumstances 
which are not to be found in our canonical Gospels, the identity 
of the two can no longer be maintained. It is, however, in the 
highest degree arbitrary to affirm that Justin intends to limit his 
appeal to the testimony of the apostles to one-half of his sentence. 
To quote authority for one assertion, and to leave another in the 
same sentence, closely connected with it and part indeed of the 
very same narrative, not only unsupported, but weakened by 
direct exclusion, would indeed be singular, for Justin affirms 
with equal directness and confidence the fact of the fire in Jordan, 
the descent of the Holy Ghost, and the words spoken by the 
heavenly voice. If, in the strictest grammatical accuracy, there 
be no absolute necessity to include in the quotation more than 
the phrase immediately preceding, there is not, on the other hand, 
anything which requires or warrants the exclusion of the former 
part of the sentence. The matter must therefore be decided 
according to fair inference and reasonable probability ; and these, 
as well as all the evidence concerning Justin's use of the Memoirs, 
irresistibly point to the conclusion that the whole passage is derived 
from one source. In the second extract given above it is per- 
fectly clear that the words spoken by the heavenly voice, which 
Justin again quotes, and which are not in our Gospels, were 
recorded in the Memoirs, for Justin could not have referred to 
them for an account of the temptation at the time when Jesus 
went up from Jordan and the voice said to him, " Thou art my 
son ; this day have I begotten thee," if these facts and words were 
not recorded in them at all. 3 It is impossible to doubt, after 

^ 2i> el 6 vlh'i ixov 6 dyaTrrjTos, ev aoi evdoK-rjaa. Mark i. II, Luke iii. 22. 
The first Gospel has a slight variation : " This is my son, etc., in whom, etc.," 

06t6s eariv 6 vids fiov k.t.X eV y e6d6KT](ra. Matt. iii. 17 ; cf. 2 Peter i. 

17, which agrees with Matt. 

^ £>ta/. 103. 

3 //). 103. The quotations regarding the temptation do not agree with our 
Gospels, but they will be referred to later. 


impartial consideration, that the incident of the fire in Jordan, the 
words spoken by the voice from heaven, and the temptation were 
taken from the same source : they must collectively be referred to 
the Memoirs. 

Of one thing we may be sure : had Justin known the form of 
words used by the voice from heaven according to our Gospels, he 
would certainly have made use of it in preference to that which he 
actually found in his Memoirs. He is arguing that Christ is pre- 
existing God, become incarnate by God's will through the Virgin 
Mary, and Trypho demands how he can be demonstrated to have 
been pre-existent, who is said to be filled with the power of the 
Holy Ghost, as though he had required this. Justin replies that 
these powers of the Spirit have come upon him, not because he 
had need of them, but because they would accomplish Scripture, 
which declared that after him there should be no prophet.' The 
proof of this, he continues, is that, as soon as the child was born, 
the Magi from Arabia came to worship him, because even at his 
birth he was in possession of his power,^ and after he had grown 
up like other men by the use of suitable means, he came to the 
river Jordan, where John was baptising, and as he went into the 
water a fire was kindled in the Jordan, and the Holy Ghost 
descended like a dove. He did not go to the river because he had 
any need of baptism or of the descent of the Spirit, but because of 
the human race which had fallen under the power of death. Now 
if, instead of the passage actually cited, Justin could have quoted 
the words addressed to Jesus by the voice from heaven according 
to the Gospels : " Thou art my beloved son ; in thee I am well 
pleased," his argument would have been greatly strengthened by 
such direct recognition of an already existing, and, as he affirmed, 
pre-existent, divinity in Jesus. Not having these words in his 
Memoirs of the Apostles^ however, he was obliged to be content 
with those which he found there : " Thou art my son ; this day 
have I begotten thee " — words which, in fact, destroyed the 
argument for pre-existence, and dated the divine begetting of 
Jesus as the son of God that very day. The passage, indeed, 
supported those who actually asserted that the Holy Ghost 
first entered into Jesus at his baptism. These considerations, and 
the repeated quotation of the same words in the same form, make 
it clear that Justin quotes from a source different from our Gospel. 

In the scanty fragments of the "Gospel according to the 
Hebrews " which have been preserved, we find both the incident 
of the fire kindled in Jordan and the words of the heavenly voice 
as quoted by Justin. " And as he went up from the water the 
heavens were opened, and he saw the Holy Spirit of God in the 

^ Dial, 87, ^ Kdt 7ct/3 ^ej'j'T^^eis, dvva/j-iv tt]v avTQv ecr^e. Dial. 88, 


form of a dove which came down and entered into him. And a 
voice came from heaven saying : ' Thou art my beloved son ; in 
thee I am well pleased '; and again : ' This day have I begotten 
thee.' And immediately a great light shone round about the 
place."' Epiphanius extracts this passage from the version in use 
among the Ebionites, but it is well known that there were many 
other varying forms of the same Gospel ; and Hilgenfeld,^ with all 
probability, conjectures that the version known to Epiphanius was 
no longer in the same purity as that used by Justin, but represents 
the transition stage to the canonical Gospels — adopting the 
words of the voice which they give without yet discarding the 
older form. Jerome gives another form of the words from the 
version in use amongst the Nazarenes : " Factum est autem cum 
ascendisset Dominus de aqua, descendit fons omnis Spiritus vSancti 
et requievit super eum, et dixit illi : Fili mi, in omnibus Prophetis 
expectabam te ut venires et requiescerem in te, tu es enim requies 
mea, tu es filius meus primogenitus qui regnas in sempiternum."^ 
This supports Justin's reading. Regarding the Gospel according 
to the Hebrews more must be said hereafter, but when it is 
remembered that Justin, a native of Samaria, probably first knew 
Christianity through believers in Syria, to whose Jewish view of 
Christianity he all his life adhered, and that these Christians 
almost exclusively used this GospeH under various forms and 
names, it is reasonable to suppose that he also, like them, knew and 
made use of it — a supposition increased almost to certainty when 
it is found that Justin quotes words and facts foreign to the 
canonical Gospels which are known to have been contained in it. 
The argument of Justin, that Jesus did not need baptism, may also 
be compared to another passage of the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews preserved by Jerome, and which preceded the circum- 
stances narrated above, in which the mother and brethren of Jesus 
say to him that John the Baptist is baptising for the remission of 
sins, and propose that they should go to be baptised by him. 
Jesus replies : " In what way have I sinned that I should go and 
be baptised by him ?"5 The most competent critics agree that 

' Kai ws dvTjXdev dirb tov iidaros, rjvoiyrjaav oi ovpavol, Kai elde to irpev/xa toO 
deov TO dyiov iv etdec Treptcrrepas KaTeXdoijarjs Kai elaeXdovarjs els ai}rw. Kai 
(fxavT] iyeviTo iK tov ovpavov, Xeyovaa, liv jxov el 6 vibs 6 dyairriTos, iv aoi 
rjvdoKTjaa' Kai irdXiv, 'E7U) Cffjixepov yey^vvqKd ae. Kat evdijs irepLeXafixpe tov 
tSitov (f>Qs fxeya. Epiphanius, Hcer., xxx. 13. 

^ Die Evv. Justiit^s, p. 165 f., anm, i. 3 Hieron., Comm. inEsaice, xi. 2. 

■* Origen, Comment, in Ezech., xxiv. 7 ; Epiphanius, Hmr., xxx. 3 ; 
Eusebius, H. E., iii. 27 ; Hieron., Adv. Pelag., iii. i f. 

s Ecce mate)' Domini et fratres ejus dicebant ei : Johannes Baptista 
baptizat in remissionem peccatorum, eamus et baptizemur ab eo. Dixit autem 
eis : Quid peccavi ut vadam et baptizer ab eo ? Nisi forte hoc ipstwi, quod 
dixif ignorantia est. Hieron, , Adv. Pelag. , iii. 2, 


Justin derived the incidents of the fire in Jordan and the words 
spoken by the heavenly voice from the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews or some kindred work, and there is every probability 
that the numerous other quotations in his works differing from our 
Gospels are taken from the same source. 

The incident of the fire in Jordan likewise occurs in the ancient 
work, Prcedicatio Fauli,^ coupled with a context which forcibly 
recalls the passage of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, 
which has just been quoted, and apparent allusions to it are found 
in the Sibylline Books and early Christian literature.^ Credner 
has pointed out that the marked use which was made of fire or 
lights at Baptism by the Church, during early times, probably rose 
out of this tradition regarding the fire which appeared in Jordan 
at the baptism of Jesus. 3 The peculiar form of words used by the 
heavenly voice according to Justin and to the Gospel according 
to the Hebrews was also known to several of the Fathers. ^ 
Augustine mentions that some MSS. in his time contained that 
reading in Luke iii. 22, although without the confirmation of more 
ancient Greek codices. s It is still extant in the Codex Bezce. (D). 
The Itala version adds to Matt. iii. 15: "and when he was 
baptised a great light shone round from the water, so that all who 
had come were afraid" {et cum baptizarettir, lumen ingens circumfuhit 
de agua, ita ut timerent omnes qui advenerant) ; and again at Luke 
iii. 22 it gives the words of the voice in a form agreeing, at least, in 
sense with those which Justin found in his Memoirs of the Apostles. 

These circumstances point with certainty to an earlier original 
corresponding with Justin, in all probability the Gospel according 
to the Hebrews, and to the subsequent gradual elimination of the 
passage from the Gospels finally adopted by the Church for 
dogmatic reasons, as various sects based on it doctrines which were 
at variance with the ever-enlarging belief of the majority. 

Then Justin states that the men of his time asserted that the 
miracles of Jesus were performed by magical art (/xayiKr) 

* In quo libro contra omnes Scripttiras et de peccato propria confitentem 
invenies Christum, qui solus omnino nihil deliquit, et ad accipiendtun Joannis 
haptisma pcene invitum a matre sua Maria esse compulsum; item, cum 
baptizaretur, ignem super aquam esse visum. Quod in Evangelio millo est 
scriptum. Auctor tract, de Rebaptismate ; F'abricius, Cod. Apocr. , i. , p. 800. 

^ Sibyll Oracula, lib. , vii. , viii. 

3 Credner, Beitrdge, i., p. 237 ; cf. Hilgenfeld, Die Evv. Justifies, p. 167 f. ; 
Volkmar, Die Evangelien, p. 43. 

^ Clemens Al., Pcedag.^'x. 6; Methodius, Conviv. Virg., ix. Lactantius, 
Ins tit. Div., iv. 15 ; Augustine, Enchirid. ad Laurent., 49. 

5 Illud vero, quod nonnulli lodices habent secundum Lucam, hoc ilia voce 
somiisse, quod in Psalmo scriptum est : Filitis metis es tu ; ego hodie genui te : 
quatnquam in antiquioribus codicibus grcecis non inveniri perhibeatur, etc. 
De Consensu Evang., ii. 14. 


(ftavTaa-ca), " for they ventured to call him a magician and 
deceiver of the people."^ This cannot be accepted as a mere 
version of the charge that Jesus cast out demons by Beelzebub, 
but must have been found by Justin in his Memoirs. In the 
Gospel of Nicodemus or Ac^a Pilati the Jews accuse Jesus before 
Pilate of being a magician, ^ coupled with the assertion that he 
casts out demons through Beelzebub, the prince of the demons ; 
and again they simply say : " Did we not tell thee that he is a 
magician ?"3 We shall presently see that Justin actually refers to 
certain acts of Pontius Pilate in justification of other assertions 
regarding the trial of Jesus.'^ In the Clementine Recognitions, 
moreover, the same charge is made by one of the Scribes, who 
says that Jesus did not perform his miracles as a prophet, but as a 
magician. 5 Celsus makes a similar charge,^ and Lactantius refers 
to such an opinion as prevalent amongst the Jews at the time of 
Jesus, 7 which we find confirmed by many passages in Talmudic 
literature.^ There was, indeed, a book called Magia Jesu Christie 
of which Jesus himself, it was pretended, was the author.9 

In speaking of the trial of Jesus, Justin says : " For also as 
the prophet saith, reviling him (Stao-y/aovres avrov), they set him 
(e/ca^to-ai/) upon a judgment seat (Itti /^rj/xaros), and said: 'Judge 
for us ' {^plvov rjfjLtv).^'^° — a peculiarity which is not found in the 
canonical Gospels. Justin had just quoted the words of Isaiah 

(Ixv. 2, Iviii. 2) : " They now ask of me judgment, and dare to 

draw nigh to God"; and then he cites Psalm xxii. 16, 22 : "They 
pierced my hands and my feet, and upon my vesture they cast 
lots." He says that this did not happen to David, but was fulfilled 
in Christ, and the expression regarding the piercing the hands and 
feet referred to the nails of the cross which were driven through 
his hands and feet. And after he was crucified they cast lots 
upon his vesture. "And that these things occurred," he continues, 
" you may learn from the Acts drawn up under Pontius Pilate."" 

* Kat yap fidyop elpaL avrbv irdX/xoiv Xeyeiv /cat XaoTrXdvov. Dial. 69. 

- \kyov<XLv avT(^ 7677s ecrriv, k.t.\. Evang. Nicod. sive Gesta Pilati, Pars. 
I. A. i. ; Tischendorf, Evajig. Apoc?'., p. 208; cf. Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. 
N. T.,'\. ; Nicod. Evang. Lat., i., p. 239, xxvii., p. 296, cf. 417. 

3 Mr] ovK €LTrafM€v aoL Stl ydrjs icrriv ; k.t.X. c. ii. ; Tischendorf, Ev. Ap., 
p. 214; Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T., {., p. 243. ^ ApoL, i. 35, 48. 

5 Ei ecce quidam de Scribis de medio populi exclamans ait : Jesus veste 
signa et p7'odigia quce fecit, ut magus non utpropheta fecit., i. 58 ; cf. 40. 

^ Origen, Contra Cels., ii. 50, 51. ^ Instit. Div., v. 3, et passim. 

^ Lightfoot, Horce Hebraicce, Works, xi., p. 195 ff. 

9 Cf. August, de Consensu Evang., i. 9; Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T., i., 
p. 305 ff. 

^° Kai yap, (is tX-Kev 6 Trpo<f)TfiT'r}s, 5ia<rijpovT€s avrbv, iKAdiaav iirl ^-qixaros, /cat 
elirov Kpivov ijfxiv. ApoL, i. 35. 

" Kai raOra 6'rt ykyove, 86va(xde fiadelv e/c rdv iirl HovtIov liCKdrov yevoixevwv 
&KTUV. ApoL, i. 35. 


He likewise upon another occasion refers to the same Acta for 
confirmation of statements.^ The Gospel of Nicodemus or Gesta 
Pilati, now extant, does not contain the circumstance to which 
we are referring, but, in contradiction to the statement in the 
fourth Gospel (xviii. 28, 29), the Jews in this apocryphal work 
freely go in to the very judgment seat of Pilate.^ Tischendorf 
maintains that the first part of the Gospel of Nicodemus, or Acta 
Pilati, still extant, is the work, with more or less of interpolation, 
which, existing in the second century, is referred to by Justin. 3 
A few reasons may here be given against such a conclusion. The 
fact of Jesus being set upon the judgment seat is not contained 
in the extant Acta Pilati at all, and therefore this work does not 
correspond with Justin's statement. It seems most unreasonable 
to suppose that Justin should seriously refer Roman Emperors to 
a work of this description, so manifestly composed by a Christian, 
and the Acta to which he directs them must have been a presumed 
official document, to which they had access, as, of course, no other 
evidence could be of any weight with them. The extant work 
neither pretends to be, nor has in the slightest degree the form of, 
an official report. Moreover, the prologue attached to it dis- 
tinctly states that Ananias, a provincial warden in the reign of 
Flavius Theodosius (towards the middle of the fifth century), 
found these Acts written in Hebrew by Nicodemus, and that he 
translated them into Greek. 4 The work itself, therefore, only 
pretends to be a private composition in Hebrew, and does not 
claim any relation to Pontius Pilate. The Greek is very corrupt 
and degraded, and considerations of style alone would assign it to 
the fifth century, as would still more imperatively the anachronisms 
with w^hich it abounds. Tischendorf considers that Tertullian 
refers to the same work as Justin ; but it is evident that he implies 
an official report, for he says distinctly, after narrating the circum- 
stances of the crucifixion and resurrection : " All these facts 

regarding Christ, Pilate reported to the reigning Emperor 

Tiberius."5 It is extremely probable that in saying this Tertullian 
merely extended the statement of Justin. He nowhere states that 
he himself had seen this report, nor does Justin, and, as is the 
case with the latter, some of the facts which Tertullian supposes 
to be reported by Pilate are not contained in the apocryphal 
work. There are still extant some apocryphal writings in 

^ Apol., i. 48. Cf. Tertullian, ApoL xxi. 

^ Evang. Nicod. sive Gesta Pilati, Pars i. A., i. ii. ; Tischendorf, Evang. 
Apocr., p. 208 ff. 

'^ Evang. Apocr. Proleg., p. Ixiv. ff. ; Wann wurden, u. s. w., pp. 82-89. 

4 Evang. Nicod. Proleg. ; Tischendorf, Ev. Apocr. , p. 203 f. 

^ Ea omnia super Chrislo Pilatus Ccesari turn Tiberio nuntiavit. 

Atpol. xxi. 


the form of ofificial reports made by Pilate of the trial, cruci- 
fixion, and resurrection of Jesus, ^ but none are of very ancient 
date. It is certain that, on the supposition that Pilate may have 
made an official report of events so important in their estimation, 
Christian writers, with greater zeal than conscience, composed 
fictitious reports in his name, in the supposed interest of their 
religion ; and there was in that day little or no critical sense to 
detect and discredit such forgeries. There is absolutely no 
evidence to show that Justin was acquainted with any official 
report of Pilate to the Roman Emperor, nor, indeed, is it easy to 
understand how he could possibly have been, even if such a 
document existed ; and it is most probable, as Scholten con- 
jectures, that Justin merely referred to documents which tradition 
supposed to have been written, but of which he himself had no 
personal knowledge.^ Be this as it may, as he considered the 
incident of the judgment seat a fulfilment of prophecy, there can 
be little or no doubt that it was narrated in the Memoirs which 
contained "everything relating to Jesus Christ," and, finding it 
there, he all the more naturally assumed that it must have been 
mentioned in some official report. 

In the Akhmim fragment of the Gospel of Peter, published in 
1893, we have a similar passage to that quoted by Justin. The 
fragment states : *' They said : ' Let us drag along (o-v/aw/xcv) the 

son of God' and they sat him (cKadto-av avrov) upon a seat of 

judgment (KadeSpav K/ato-ew?), saying : ' Judge justly (Ac/caiws KpLve)^ 
King of Israel.' " This is not in our Gospels, but it has singular 
points of agreement with the passage in Justin. The Septuagint 
version of Isaiah, which Justin had previously cited, reads : " They 
ask me for just judgment " (atVovo-iV /xe vvv Kpia-iv SiKaiav), and 
doubtless the narrative, like that of all the Gospels regarding the 
trial and crucifixion of Jesus, was compiled to show the fulfilment 
of supposed prophecies like this. 

We may here go on to quote more fully Justin's allusions to the 
parting of the garments, which are also in close agreement with 
the fragment of the Gospel of Peter. Justin says : " And those 
who were crucifying him parted his garments (ifiepia-av ra lixdna 
avTov) amongst themselves, casting lots {Xa^fxbv /SaXXovres), each 
taking what pleased him, according to the cast of the lot " {tov 
KXripov).^ This account, which differs materially from that of our 
Gospels, may be compared with the words in the fragment. 
"And they laid the clothes (to, ei/Sv/xara) before him, and 
distributed them (Sup^epia-avTo); and cast lots (Xaxp^ov 'i/SaXov) for 

' Cf. Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T., i., p. 298 ff.; Thilo, Cod. Apocr. N. T., 
p. 796 ff.; Tischendorf, Evang. Apocr., p. 411. 

^ Scholten, Die alt. Zeugnisse, p. 165 ff. 3 Dial, xcvii. 


them." The use of the pecuHar expression, " kaxfj^ov f^akXeiv," 
both in the fragment and by Justin, is most striking, for its 
employment in this connection is Umited, so far as we know, to 
the Gospel of Peter, Justin, and Cyril.' Justin, here, is not 
making an exact quotation, but merely giving an account of what 
he believes to have occurred, yet the peculiar words of his text 
remained in his mind and confirm the idea that it was the Gospel 
of Peter. 

In narrating the agony in the Garden, there are further varia- 
tions. Justin says: "And the passage, 'All my bones are 
poured out and dispersed like water ; my heart has become like 
wax melting in the midst of my belly,' was a prediction of that 
which occurred to him that night when they came out against him 
to the Mount of Olives to seize him. For in the Memoirs, com- 
posed, I say, by his Apostles and their followers, it is recorded 
that his sweat fell down like drops while he prayed, saying : 'If 
possible, let this cup pass.' "^ It will be observed that this is a 
direct quotation from the Memoirs, but there is a material differ- 
ence from our Gospels. Luke is the only Gospel which mentions 
the bloody sweat, and there the account reads (xxii. 44), "as it 
were drops of blood falling down to the ground." 

Luke, uxrei dpdfi^oi aifxaros Kara^aivovTes iiri rrjv yijp. 
Justin, thael dpd/m^oi /carexetro. 

In addition to the other linguistic differences Justin omits the 
emphatic ai/xaro?, which gives the whole point to Luke's account, 
and which evidently could not have been in the text of the 
Memoirs. Semisch argues that Opofx^oL alone, especially in 
medical phraseology, meant " drops of blood," without the addition 
of ai/xaTo§;3 but the author of the third Gospel did not think so, and 
undeniably makes use of both, and Justin does not. Moreover, 
Luke introduces the expression dpofi/^ot at)aaTos to show the 
intensity of the agony, whereas Justin evidently did not mean to 
express " drops of blood " at all, his intention in referring to the 
sweat being to show that the prophecy, "All my bones are 
poured out, etc., like water," had been fulfilled, with which the 
reading in his Memoirs more closely corresponded. The prayer 
also so directly quoted decidedly varies from Luke xxii. 42, which 
reads : " Father, if thou be willing to remove this cup from me " : 

Luke, ndrep, ei /3oi)Xet irapeveyKe^v tovto to iroTrjpiop d7r' i/xoD- 
Justin. HapeXderw, el bvvardv, rb irorrjpiov tovto. 

In Matt. xxvi. 39 this part of the prayer is more like the reading 

^ This is also pointed out by Dr. Swete, T/ie AMmim Fragment, 1893, 
p. xxxiv. Mr. Rendel Harris says : " I regard it as certain that the reading 
XaxAtos implies connection between Justin and Peter, either directly or through 
a third source accessible to both" {Contemp. Rev., August, 1893, p. 231). 

"^ Dial. 103. 3 Z>. ap. Denkw. Just., p. 146. 


of Justin : " Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from 
me " (TLoLTep, el Swarov ea-nv, irapeXOaTd) oltt' efiov to TroTr/ptov 
TovTO') ; but that Gospel has nothing of the sweat of agony, 
which excludes it from consideration. In another place Justin 
also quotes the prayer in the Garden as follows : " He prayed, 
saying : ' Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me ' ; and 
besides this, praying, he said : ' Not as I wish, but as thou 
wiliest.'" The first phrase,^ apart from some transposition of 
words, agrees with Matthew; but even if this reading be preferred, 
the absence of the incident of the sweat of agony from the first 
Gospel renders it impossible to regard it as the source ; and, 
further, the second part of the prayer which is here given differs 
materially both from the first and third Gospels. 

Matt. Nevertheless not as I will but as thou. 
Luke. Nevertheless not my will but thine be done. 
Justin. Not as I wish but as thou wiliest. 

Matt. ttXtju oux «s ^7^^ deXw dW w? (TV. 
Luke. ttXt^v /jltj to deXrjfia. jxov aXXd to aov yLveadw. 
Justin. fir] ws e7tb (BovXo/JLat., dW djs (TV ^eXets. 

The two parts of this prayer, moreover, seem to have been 
separate in the Memoirs, for not only does Justin not quote the 
latter portion at all in Dia/. 103, but here he markedly divides it 
from the former. Justin knows nothing of the episode of the 
Angel who strengthens Jesus, which is related in Luke xxii. 43. 
There is, however, a still more important point to mention — that 
although verses 43, 44, with the incidents of the angel and the 
bloody sweat, are certainly in a great number of MSS., they are 
omitted by some of the oldest codices, as, for instance, by the 
Alexandrian and Vatican MSS.^ It is evident that in this part 
Justin's Memoirs differed from our first and third Gospels much in 
the same way that they do from each other. 

In the same chapter Justin states that, when the Jews went out 
to the Mount of Olives to take Jesus, " there was not even a 
single man to run to his help as a guiltless person."3 This is in 
direct contradiction to all the Gospels, ^ and Justin not only com- 
pletely ignores the episode of the ear of Malchus, but in this 
passage excludes it, and his Gospel could not have contained it. 
Luke is specially marked in generalising the resistance of those 

' Bta/. 99, 

^ In the Sinaitic Codex they are marked for omission by a later hand. 
Lachmann brackets, and Drs. Westcott and Hort double-bracket them. 
The MS. evidence maybe found in detail in Scrivener's Int. to Crit. N. T., 2nd 
ed., p. 521, stated in the way which is most favourable for the authenticity. 

3 OuSets 7dp ovbk jxexpf-^ ^vos dvOpihirov ^orjdeiv avTc^ cbs avafxapT'qTi^ ^orjdos 
VTrrjpx^. Dial. 103. 

'' Matt. xxvi. 51 ff.; Mark xiv. 46 ff.; Luke xxii. 49 ff.; John xviii., 10 f. 



about Jesus to his capture : " When they which were about him 
saw what would follow, they said unto him : ' Lord, shall we smite 
with the sword ?' And a certain one of them smote the servant 
of the high priest and cut off his right ear."^ As this episode 
follows immediately after the incident of the bloody sweat and prayer 
in the Garden, and the statement of Justin occurs in the very same 
chapter in which he refers to them, this contradiction further tends 
to confirm the conclusion that Justin employed a different Gospel. 
It is quite in harmony with the same peculiar account that 
Justin states that, "after he (Jesus) was crucified, all his friends 

» (the Apostles) stood aloof from him, having denied him^ 

(who, after he rose from the dead, and after they were convinced 
by himself that before his passion he had told them that he must 
suffer these things, and that they were foretold by the prophets, 
repented of their flight from him when he was crucified), and 
while remaining among them he sang praises to God, as is made 
evident in the Memoirs of the Apostles. ''^'^ Justin, therefore, 
repeatedly asserts that after the crucifixion all the Apostles forsook 
him, and he extends the denial of Peter to the whole of the 
twelve. It is impossible to consider this distinct and reiterated 
affirmation a mere extension of the passage, " they all forsook 
him and fled " (Travres <xcf>€VTes avrov e^vyov),'^ when Jesus 
was arrested, which proceeded mainly from momentary fear. 
Justin seems to indicate that the disciples withdrew from and 
denied Jesus when they saw him crucified, from doubts which 
consequently arose as to his Messianic character. Now, on the 
contrary, the canonical Gospels represent the disciples as being 
together after the crucifixion. 5 Justin does not exhibit any 
knowledge of the explanation given by the angels at the sepulchre 
as to Christ having foretold all that had happened,^ but makes this 
proceed from Jesus himself. Indeed, he makes no mention of 
these angels at all. 

There are some traces elsewhere of the view that the disciples 
were offended after the Crucifixion. 7 Hilgenfeld points out the 

^ Luke xxii. 49, 50. 

^ Merct odv to aravpujdijvaL avrov, Kal ol 'yvdipLfioi avrov irdvres aTre arrjcav, 
dpV7]crdfi€voi avrSv. ApoL, i. 50. 

3 (otrtj'ej yLterct to dva<yrr\vai avrov €k PCKpQv, Kal TreKxdijvaL vir airov, 8ri Kal 
irpo rod iradelv iXeyev aurots, 3rc ravra avrov 5e? iradetv, Kal diro rQv irpO(p7]TC!}v 
6tl Trpo€K€KripvKTO ravra, jxerevdrjcrov iirl rip d^iaracrdai avrov Sre iaravpfhdri), Kal 
fier'' avrdv didyojv, {jfivrjae rov QeSv, cos Kal iv roh dTrofivrj/MOvevfiacri rdv diroa- 
rdXiov SrjXovrac yeyevrjfM^vov, k.t.X. Dial. 106 ; ci. Apol. \. 50; Dial. 53 ; de 
Resiirr. , 9. ^ Matt. xxvi. 56 ; Mark xiv. 50. 

s Luke xxiv. 9-12, 33 ; Mark xvi. 10 ; John xx. 18, 19 ; cf. Luke xxiii. 49. 

^ Luke xxiv. 4-8 ; Matt, xxviii. 5-7 ; Mark xvi. 5-7. 

7 In the Ascensio Isaice, iii. 14, the following passage occurs : '■^ Et diwdecim, 
qui cum eo, offensionem accipient in eum, et custodes constituentur, qtci 
custodient sepulchrum." Hilgenfeld, Die Evv. Justifies, p. 246, anm. 2. 


appearance of special Petrine tendency in this passage, in the 
fact that it is not Peter alone, but all the Apostles, who are said 
to deny their master ; and he suggests that an indication of the 
source from which Justin quoted may be obtained from the 
kindred quotation in the Epistle to the Smyrnseans (iii.) by pseudo- 
Ignatius : " For I know that also after his resurrection he was in 
the flesh, and I believe that he is so now. And when he came to 
those that were with Peter he said to them : Lay hold, handle me, 
and see that I am not an incorporeal spirit. And immediately 
they touched him and believed, being convinced by his flesh and 
spirit." Jerome, it will be remembered, found this in the Gospel 
according to the Hebrews used by the Nazarenes, which he trans- 
lated,^ from which we have seen that Justin in all probability 
derived other particulars differing from the canonical Gospels, 
and with which we shall constantly meet, in a similar way, in 
examining Justin's quotations. Origen also found it in a work 
called the "Teaching of Peter" (AtSax^ Hhpov),^ which must 
have been akin to the " Preaching of Peter " (K-qpy-yfia IleTpov).^ 
Hilgenfeld suggests that, in the absence of more certain informa- 
tion, there is no more probable source from which Justin may have 
derived his statement than the Gospel according to Peter, or the 
Gospel according to the Hebrews, which is known to have con- 
tained so much in the same spirit.^ 

It may well be expected that, at least in touching such serious 
matters as the Crucifixion and last words of Jesus, Justin must 
adhere with care to authentic records, and not fall into the faults 
of loose quotation from memory, free handling of texts, and care- 
less omissions and additions, by which those who maintain the 
identity of the Memoirs with the canonical Gospels seek to explain 
the systematic variations of Justin's quotations from the text of the 
latter. It will, however, be found that here also marked discre- 
pancies occur. Justin says, after referring to numerous prophecies 
regarding the treatment of Christ: "And again, when he says: 
' They spake with their lips, they wagged the head, saying : Let 
him deliver himself.' That all these things happened to the Christ 
from the Jews, you can ascertain. For when he was being crucified 
they shot out the lips and wagged their heads, saying : ' Let him 
who raised the dead deliver himself.' "s And in another place, 
referring to the same Psalm (xxii.) as a prediction of what was to 
happen to Jesus, Justin says : " For they who saw him crucified 

^ De Vzr. III., i6. ^ De Princip., proem. 3 Grabe, Spicil. Pair., i., p. 56. 

■* Hilgenfeld, Die Evv. Jtistin^s, p. 248 fif. 

3 Kat ttolXlv Srav Xeyrj- ^EXdXrfaav ev xc^^f<''"'j iKiv'r}<Tav K€(pa\T]v, Xeyovres' 
'Fvcrdcrdo) eavrov. " Ariva Travra (hs yeyovev viro tCov ^lovdaiujv Tip ILpicrTcp, fiadeiv 
bvvoAjde. 'LravpoodevTos yap avrov, e^ecrTpecpov rd X^^^V} KaiiKlKovvrds KccpaXds, 
Xeyovres- '0 veKpoijs dveyelpas pvcrdadw eavrov. ^/<3/., i. 38. 


also wagged their heads, each one of them, and distorted 
(Stea-Tpe^ov) their lips, and sneeringly and in scornful irony 
repeated among themselves those words which are also written in 
the Memoirs of his Apostles : He declared himself the Son of 
God ; (let him) come down, let him walk about ; let God save 
him."' In both of these passages Justin directly appeals to 
written authority. The fiadelv Svvaa-de may leave the source 
of the first uncertain,^ but the second is distinctly stated to contain 
the actual words "written in the Memoirs of his Apostles," and it 
seems reasonable to suppose that the former passage is also derived 
from them. It is scarcely necessary to add that both differ very 
materially from the canonical Gospels. 3 The taunt contained in 
the first of these passages is altogether peculiar to Justin : " Let 
him who raised the dead deliver himself" ('O veKpovs dveyetpas 
pva-da-doi kavrov) ;4 and even if Justin did not indicate 
a written source, it would not be reasonable to suppose that 
he should himself for the first time record words to which he 
refers as the fulfilment of prophecy. s It would be still more 
ineffectual to endeavour to remove the difficulty presented by such 
a variation by attributing the words to tradition, at the same time 
that it is asserted that Justin's Memoirs were actually identical with 
the Gospels. No aberration of memory could account for such a 
variation, and it is impossible that Justin should prefer tradition 
regarding a form of words, so liable to error and alteration, with 
written Gospels within his reach. Besides, to argue that Justin 
affirmed that the truth of his statement could be ascertained 
(p^aOeiv SvvacrOe), whilst the words which he states to have been 
spoken were not actually recorded, would be against all reason. 

^ Ot yap deujpovvTes avrov ecrravpoifievov Kai /ce0aXas eKaaros ckIpovp, Kai to. 
%ei\7; di€aTp€(f>ov, Kai roh ixv^wTrjpaiv iv dWrfXoLS diepLvovvres ^Xeyov eipiovevofievoi 
TavTa & Kai ip ro?s diro/JLvri/JiOPev/ji.aa'L tQp diroaTuXojp avrov yeypairrai' " Tiop 
Qeov eavTOP ^Xeye- Kara^ds irepnraTeiTOi}' aojadru} avrop b Geos." Dial. loi. 

^ Some writers consider that this is a reference to the Ada Pilati as in 
ApoL, i. 35. 

3 Dr. Westcott admits that in the latter passage Justin does profess to give 
the exact words which were recorded in the Memoirs, and that they are not 
to be found in our Gospels; "but," he apologetically adds, "we do find 
these others so closely connected with them that few readers would feel the 
difference"! This is a specimen of apologetic criticism. Dr. Westcott goes 
on to say that as no MS. or Father known to him has preserved any reading 
more closely resembling Justin's, " if it appear not to be deducible from our 
Gospels, due allowance being made for the object which he had in view, 
its source must remain concealed" {On the Canon, p. 114 f. ). Cf. Matt, xxvii. 
39-43 ; Mark xv. 29-32 ; Luke xxiii. 34-37. 

'^ The nearest parallel in our Gospels is in Luke xxiii. 35 : " He saved 
others ; let him save himself if tiiis man be the Christ of God, his chosen " 
("AXXows ^(Tojaep, crojadTU} eavrop, k.t.X.). 

5 Hilgenfeld, Die Evv. Justin^ s, p. 244 f. 



The second of the mocking speeches^ of the lookers-on is 
referred distinctly to the Memoirs of the Apostles ; but is also, 
with the accompanying description, foreign to our Gospels. The 
nearest approach to it occurs in our first Gospel, and we subjoin 
both passages for qpmparison : — 

He declared himself the Son of 
God ; (let him) come down, let him 
walk about : let God save him. 

'^lov deov eavTOP (Xeye' Kara^as 
TrepiTraretrw crcocrdTU} avrou 6 deos. 

Justin, Dial. ioi. Matt, xxvii. 40, and 42, 43. 

40. Thou that destroyest the temple, 
and buildest it in three days, save 
thyself ; if thou art the Son of God, 
come down from the cross. 

42. He saved others, himself he 
cannot save. He is the King of 
Israel ; let him now come down from 
the cross, and we will believe in him. 

43. He trusted in God ; let him 
deliver him now, if he will have him, 
for he said, I am the Son of God. 

42 Kara^cLTio vvv airo rod 

aravpov Kai TLaTevcro/jiev e7r' avTip. 
43. TTeTToidev ^TTt Tov deov, pvadadu} vvv 
avTov^ el deXei avrov elirev yap otl 
deov elixl vios. 

It is evident that Justin's version is quite distinct from this, and 
cannot have been taken from our Gospels, although professedly 
derived from the Memoirs of the Apostles. 

Justin likewise mentions the cry of Jesus on the cross, " O God, 
my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" {'() ^eo?, 6 ^eos ixov, iva tl 
eyKareXiTres jxe ;),3 as a fulfilment of the words of the Psalm, which 
he quotes here, and elsewhere,^ with the peculiar addition of the 
Septuagint version: "attend to me" {■Trpocrx^'s /Aot), which, how- 
ever, he omits when giving the cry o'f Jesus, thereby showing that 
he follows a written source which did not contain it, for the quota- 
tion of the Psalm, and of the cry which is cited to show that it 
refers to Christ, immediately follow each other. He apparently 
knows nothing of the Chaldaic cry, " Eli, Eli, lama sabac- 
thani," of the Gospels, s The first and second Gospels give 
the words of the cry from the Chaldaic differently from Justin, 
from the version of the LXX., and from each other. Matt, 
xxvii. 46, Oee fiov, Oee fxov, 'Iva rt fxe ey/careAtTres ; Mark XV. 34, '0 

' Semisch argues that both forms are quotations of the same sentence, and 
that there is consequently a contradiction in the very quotations themselves ; 
but there can be no doubt that the two phrases are distinct parts of the 
mockery, and the very same separation and variation occur in each of the 
canonical Gospels. Die ap. Denkw. Mart. Just. , p. 282 ; cf. Hilgenfeld, 
Die Evv. fustin's, p. 244. 

^ The Cod. Sin. omits avrov. 3 j[)ia/. 99, 

^ Dial. 98. 5 Matt, xxvii. 46 ; Mark xv. 34. 


Oeh<s, 6 $e6<i fxov, els tl cyKArcXtTres /xe ; the third Gospel makes no 
mention at all of this cry, but, instead, has one altogether foreign 
to the other Gospels : "And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and 
said : P^ather, into thy hands I commend my spirit : and having 
said this, he expired."' Justin has this cry also, and in the same 
form as the third Gospel. He says : " For when he (Jesus) was 
giving up his spirit on the cross, he said : ' Father, into thy hands 
I commend my spirit,' as I have also learned from the Memoirs."^ 
Justin's Gospel, therefore, contained both cries, and as even the 
first two Synoptics mention a second cry of Jesus3 without, how- 
ever, giving the words, it is not surprising that other Gospels 
should have existed which included both. Even if we had no 
trace of this cry in any other ancient work, there would be no 
ground for asserting that Justin must have derived it from the 
third Gospel, for, if there be any historical truth in the statement 
that these words were actually spoken by Jesus, it follows, of 
course, that they may have been, and probably were, reported in 
a dozen Christian writings now no longer extant, and in all pro- 
bability they existed in some of the many works referred to in the 
prologue to the third Gospel. Both cries, however, are given in 
the Gospel of Nicodemus, or Gesta Filati, to which reference has 
already so frequently been made. In the Greek versions edited 
by Tischendorf we find only the form contained in Luke. In the 
Codex A the passage reads : "And crying with* a loud voice, Jesus 
said : Father, Baddach ephkid roiichi—\\\2X is, interpreted : ' into 
thy hands I commend my spirit ': and, having said this, he gave 
up the ghost. "4 In the Codex B the text is : " Then Jesus, having 
called out with a loud voice, 'Father, into thy hands will I 
commend my spirit,' expired. "5 In the ancient Latin version, 
however, both cries are given : "And about the ninth hour Jesus 
cried with a loud voice, saying, Hely^ Hely, lama zabacthani^ 
which, interpreted, is : ' My God, my God, why hast thou for- 
saken me ?' And after this Jesus said : ' Father, into thy 

* Kai (t>o}vi)(ra<i (puvrj fxeydXy 6 'Irjaovs elirev, Hdrep, els x"P<is (roi; 7ra/)aW^6;«.ai 
TO TTPevjULOL fiov. TovTO 5e e'nrihv e^iirvevaev. Luke xxiii. 46. 

^ Kai yap dTroSibobs to irveufia iirl t<^ aravpi^, etire, ndrep, els xet/ads (xov 
xapaTide/nai to irvev(x6. fiov <hs Kai iK tCjv dirofxvrjixovevjxdTwv Kai tovto ^fiadov. 
Dial. 105. 

3 Matt, xxvii, 50 ; Mark xv. 37. 

^ Kai (fxavTjaas <f>(j)V'? fjt.eyd\r) 6 'Itjctovs elirev UaT-^jp, ^a88dx i<f>Ki5 poveX, S 
epfiriveveTat Eis x^'P^s aov TrapaTidrj/xi to irvev/xd fiov. Kai tovto el-jruiv irap^dooKe 
TO irvevfjLa. Evang. Nicod., Pars I. A. sive Gesta Pilati, xi. ; Tischendorf, 
Evang. Apocr. , p. 233 ; cf. Thiio, Cod. Apocr. N. T. , p. 590 f. 

5 "ETreira 6 'It/o-ous Kpd^as (puvrj ixeydXrj HcLTep, els x^M^ <^^^ irapadilia-ofxai 
TO TTvevfid /XOV, direirvevae. Ev. Nicod., Pars I. B. sive Acta Pilati B., xi. ; 
Tischendorf, Ev. Apocr,, p. 287. 


hands I commend my spirit'; and, saying this, he gave up the 

One of the Codices of the same apocryphal work hkewise gives 
the taunting speeches of the Jews in a form more nearly approaching 
that of Justin's Memoirs than any found in our Gospels. " And 
the Jews that stood and looked ridiculed him, and said : If thou 
saidst truly that thou art the Son of God, come down from the 
cross, and at once, that we may believe in thee. Others, ridicu- 
ling, said : He saved others, he healed others, and restored the 
sick, the paralytic, lepers, demoniacs, the blind, the lame, the 
dead, and himself he cannot heal."^ The fact that Justin actually 
refers to certain Acta Pilati in connection with the Crucifixion 
renders this coincidence all the more important. Other texts of 
this Gospel read : " And the Chief Priests, and the rulers with 
them, derided him, saying : He saved others, let him save him- 
self; if he is the Son of God, let him come down from the 
cross. "3 

It is clear from the whole of Justin's treatment of the narrative 
that he followed a Gospel adhering more closely than the canonical 
to Psalm xxii., but yet with peculiar variations from it. Our 
Gospels differ very much from each other ; Justin's Memoirs of 
the Apostles in like manner differed from them. It had its 
characteristic features clearly and sharply defined. In this way 
his systematic variations are natural and perfectly intelligible, 
but they become quite inexplicable if it be supposed that, 
having our Gospels for his source, he thus persistently and in 
so arbitrary a way ignored, modified, or contradicted their 

Upon two occasions Justin distinctly states that the Jews sent 
persons throughout the world to spread calumnies against Christians. 

' Et circa horatn%tonam exclamavit Jesus voce magna dicens : Heiy, Hely, 
lama zabacthani, quod est interpretatum : Deus metis, Deus mens, tit qtiid 
dereliqtiisti me ? Et post hac dicit Jesus : Pater in mantis ttias commendo 
spiritum meum. Et hcec dicens emisit spirittim.'''' Nicod. Ev., xi. ; 
Fabricius, Cod. Ap. N. T., i., p. 261; cf. Thilo, Cod. Apocr. N. T,, 
p. 591 f. 

^ 01 de ^lovdaloi oi laTafievoL kol ^Xeirovres KareyeXojv avrov Kal ^Xeyov 'Eav 
dXrjdQs ^Xe7€s 8ti vlos e'i rod deou, Kard^rjOi. diro rod (TTavpov, Kal irapevdvs 'iva 
Tn(TT€V(XWfj.ev els ae. erepoL ^Xeyov KaTayeXG^VTes" AXXovs ^aucrev, &XXovs idepd- 
irevaev, /cat idcraro dadeveis, irapaXeXvfievovs, Xeirpovs, daifiovi^Ofievovs, rvcpXovs, 
X^Xovs, veveKpufxevovs, Kal eavrop ov dvyarai depairevaai. Evatig. Nicod., Pars 
I. B., sive Acta Pilati, b. x. ; Tischendorf, Ev. Apocr., p. 286. 

3 Ev. Nicod. , Pars I. A. x. ; Tischendorf, Ev. Apocr. , p. 232 ; cf. Thilo. , 
Cod. Apocr. N. T., p. 584; Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T., i., p. 259; 
Tischendorf, ib., p. 340. There are differences between all these texts — 
indeed, there are scarcely two MSS. which agree — clearly indicating that 
we have now nothing but corrupt versions of a more ancient text. 


" When you knew that he had risen from the dead, and ascended 
into heaven, as the prophets had foretold, not only did you (the 
Jews) not repent of the wickedness which you had committed, 
but at that time you selected and sent forth from Jerusalem 
throughout the land chosen men, saying that the atheistic heresy 

of the Christians had arisen," etc.^ "from a certain Jesus, a 

Galilaean impostor, whom we crucified, but his disciples stole him 
by night from the tomb where he had been laid when he was 
unloosed from the cross, and they now deceive men, saying that 
he has risen from the dead and ascended into heaven. "=^ This 
circumstance is not mentioned by our Gospels, but, reiterated 
twice by Justin in almost the same words, it was in all probability 
contained in the Memoirs. Eusebius quotes the passage from 
Justin without comment, evidently on account of the information 
which it conveyed. The fragment of the Gospel of Peter describes 
the elders as going to Pilate and asking for soldiers to watch the 
grave for three days, " lest his disciples steal him, and the people 
believe that he rose from the dead." 

These instances, which, although far from complete, have 
already occupied too much of our space, show that Justin quotes 
from the Memoirs of the Apostles many statements and facts of 
Gospel history which are not only foreign to our Gospels, but in 
some cases contradictory to them, whilst the narrative of the most 
solemn events in the life of Jesus presents distinct and systematic 
variations from parallel passages in the Synoptic records. It will 
now be necessary to compare his general quotations from the 
same Memoirs with the Canonical Gospels, and here a very wide 
field opens before us. As we have already stated, Justin's works 
teem with these quotations, and to take them all in detail would 
be impossible within the limits of this work. Such a course, 
moreover, is unnecessary. It may be broadly stated that even 
those who maintain the use of the Canonical Gospels can only 
point out two or three passages out of this vast array which 
verbally agree with them. 3 This extraordinary anomaly — on the 
supposition that Justin's Memoirs were in fact our Gospels — is, 
as we have mentioned, explained by the convenient hypothesis 
that Justin quotes imperfectly from memory, interweaves and 

^ Dial. 17. 

^ lb., 108. This passage commences with statements to the same effect as 
the preceding. 

3 Credner, Beitrd^e, i., p. 229 ; Hilgenfeld, Die Evv. JustitCs, p. 252 ff., 
p. 255 ; Kirchhofer, Quellensamnil. , p. 34 f., p. 89 ; Reuss, Hist, du Canon, 
p. 56 ; Schwegler, Das Nachap. Zeit., i., p. 222 f. ; Semisch, Die ap. Denkw. 
M.Just., p. 140 f.; De Wette, Lehrb. Einl. N. T., p. 104 f.; Westcott, On 
the Canon, p. 106 f. 


modifies texts, and, in short, freely manipulates these Gospels 
according to his argument. Even strained to the uttermost, 
however, could this be accepted as a reasonable explanation of 
such systematic variation, that only twice or thrice out of the vast 
number of his quotations does he literally agree with passages in 
them ? In order to illustrate the case with absolute impartiality 
we shall first take the instances brought forward as showing 
agreement with our Synoptic Gospels. 

Tischendorf only cites two passages in support of his affirma- 
tion that Justin makes use of our first Gospel.^ It might be 
supposed that, in selecting these, at least two might have been 
produced literally agreeing ; but this is not the case, and this may 
be taken as an illustration of the almost universal variation of 
Justin's quotations. The first of Tischendorf s examples is the 
supposed use of Matt. viii. 11, 12 : "Many shall come from 
the east and from the west, and shall sit down," etc. (rLoAXoi 
(XTTo dvaToXwv KOL Svcr/jiwv ij^ova-Lv, k.t.A..) Now this passage 
is repeated by Justin no less than three times in three very 
distinct parts of his Dialogue with Trypho,'^ with a uniform 
variation from the text of Matthew — " They shall come from the 
west and from the east," etc. ("HJovo-tv aTro 8vo-//,tui/ Kat 
avaroXQiv, K.r.X.y That a historical saying of Jesus should be 
reproduced in many Gospels, and that no particular work can have 
any prescriptive right to it, must be admitted, so that even if the 
passage in Justin agreed literally with our first Synoptic, it would 
not afford any proof of the actual use of that Gospel ; but when, 
on the contrary, Justin upon three several occasions, and at 
distinct intervals of time, repeats the passage with the same 
persistent variation from the reading in Matthew, not only can it 
not be ascribed to that Gospel, but there is reason to conclude 
that Justin derived it from another source. It may be added that 
TToXkoi is anything but a word uncommon in his vocabulary, 
and that elsewhere, for instance, he twice quotes a passage 
similar to one in Matthew, in which, amongst other variations, he 
reads ^''Many shall come (ttoXXoI tj^ovo-lv)," instead of the phrase 
found in that Gospel.^ 

The second example adduced by Tischendorf is the supposed 
quotation of Matt. xii. 39 ; but in order fully to comprehend the 
nature of the affirmation, we quote the context of the Gospel and 
of Justin in parallel columns — 

^ JVann wurden, u. s. w., p. 27, anm. 2. 

^ Dta/. 76, 120, 140. 

3 In Dial. 76 the text reads " from the east and from the west.' 

* ApoL, i. 16, Dial. 35 ; cf. Matt. vii. 15. 


Justin. Dial. 107. 

And that he should rise again on 
the third day after the crucifixion, it 
is written in the Memoirs that some 
of your neighbours questioning him 
said: "Show us a sign;" and he 
answered them : " An evil and 
adulterous generation seeketh after 
a sign, and there shall no sign be 
given to them {avrois) but the sign of 
Jonah ('Iwm)." 

Kat 6'ti r,'/ Tpirrj rfixepq. '^jxeWev 
avacTT-qaea 6 ai fiercL to aTavpojdrjvai, 
yeypairrai iv tols aTro/nvrj/iiovevpLacnv, 
oTi 01 diro rod yevovs v/iiCov (jv^tjtqvv- 
T€s avT<^ 'iXeyov, on, '^^ei^ov ijfuv 
arjfieiov." Kai direKplvaro avroh, Teved 
TTOvrjpd, /c.T.A. 

Matthew xii. 38, 39, 

38. Then certain of the scribes and 
Pharisees answered him, saying : 
Master, we would see a sign from 

39. But he answered and said unto 
them : An evil and adulterous genera- 
tion seeketh after a sign, and there 
shall no sign be given to it (aiirrj), but 
the sign of the prophet Jonah Clcova 
ToO irpoip-qTOv). 

Tore dT€Kpi6rj(rav avT<^ rivh tQjv 
ypafjLfiaTeoiv Kai ^apiaaiwv Xeyovres, 
"Ai8d<TKa\€, 6e\o/j.€v diro (rod arjfjieTov 
ideiv." 6 S^ dxoKpidels elirev avrois, 
Veved Trovrjpd, k.t.X. 

Now it is clear that Justin here directly professes to quote from 
the Memoirs, and consequently that accuracy may be expected ; 
but passing over the preliminary substitution of " some of your 
nation " for " certain of the scribes and Pharisees," although it 
recalls the " some of them," and " others," by which the parallel 
passage, otherwise so different, is introduced in Luke xi. 15, 16, 
29 ff.,^ the question of the Jews, which should be literal, is quite 
different from that of the first Gospel, whilst there are variations 
in the reply of Jesus, which, if not so important, are still un- 
deniable. We cannot compare with the first Gospel the parallel 
passages in the second and third Gospels without recognising that 
other works may have narrated the same episode with similar 
variations, and whilst the distinct differences which exist totally 
exclude the affirmation that Justin quotes from Matthew, every- 
thing points to the conclusion that he makes use of another source. 
This is confirmed by another important circumstance. After 
enlarging during the remainder of the chapter upon the example of 
the people of Nineveh, Justin commences the next by returning to 
the answer of Jesus, and making the following statement : " And 
though all of your nation were acquainted with these things which 
occurred to Jonah, and Christ proclaimed among you that he 
would give you the sign of Jonah, exhorting you, at least, after his 
resurrection from the dead to repent of your evil deeds, and like 
the Ninevites to supplicate God, that your nation and city might 
not be captured and destroyed as it has been destroyed ; yet not 
only have you not repented on learning his resurrection from the 
dead, but, as I have already said,^ you sent chosen3 and select 

' Cf. Mark viii. ii. 

^ Dial. 17. The passage quoted above, p. 215 f. 

3 x^i'POTOPrio-avTes. Literally, ' ' elected by a show of hands " — by vote. 


men throughout all the world, proclaiming that an atheistic and 
impious heresy had arisen from a certain Jesus, a Galilaean 
impostor," etc.^ Now, not only do our Gospels not mention this 
mission, as we have already pointed out, but they do not contain 
the exhortation to repent, at least, after the resurrection of Jesus 
here referred to, and which evidently must have formed part of the 
episode in the Memoirs. 

Tischendorf does not produce any other instances of supposed 
quotations of Justin from Matthew, but rests his case upon these. 
As they are the best examples, apparently, which he can point 
out, we may judge of the weakness of his argument. De Wette 
divides the quotations of Justin, which may be compared with our 
first and third Gospels, into several categories. Regarding the 
first class, he says : " Some agree quite literally, which, however, 
is seldom " ;^ and under this head he can only collect three 
passages of Matthew, and refer to one of Luke. Of the three 
from Matthew, the first is that, viii. 11, 12,3 also brought forward 
by Tischendorf, of which we have already disposed. The second 
is Matt. V. 20 : " For I say unto you, that except your righteous- 
ness shall exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall not 
enter into the kingdom of heaven." A parallel passage to this 
exists in Dial. 105, a chapter in which there are several quotations 
not found in our Gospels at all, with the exception that the first 
words, " For I say unto you that," are not in Justin. We shall 
speak of this passage presently. De Wette's third passage is 
Matt. vii. 19: "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is 
hewn down and cast into the fire," which, with the exception of 
one word, " but," at the commencement of the sentence in Justin, 
also agrees with his quotation.4 In these two short passages there 
are no peculiarities specially pointing to the first Gospel as their 
source, and it cannot be too often repeated that the mere 
coincidence of short historical sayings in two works by no means 
warrants the conclusion that the one is dependent on the other. 
In order, however, to enable the reader to form a correct estimate 
of the value of the similarity of the two passages above noted, and 
also, at the same time, to examine a considerable body of evidence, 
selected with evident impartiality, we propose to take all Justin's 
readings of the Sermon on the Mount, from which the above 
passages are taken, and compare them with our Gospels. This 
should furnish a fair test of the composition of the Memoirs of the 

Taking first, for the sake of continuity, the first Apology, we 
find that chapters xv., xvi., xvii., are composed almost entirely of 

^ Dial. 108. ^ De Wette, Lehrb. Einl. N.T., p. 104. 

3 Dial. 76, 120, 140 ; cf. p. 347. ^ Apol., i. 16. 

220 Supernatural religion 

examples of what Jesus himself taught, introduced by the remark 
with which chapter xiv. closes, that " Brief and concise sentences 
were uttered by him, for he was not a sophist, but his word was 
the power of God."' It may broadly be affirmed that, with the 
exception of the few words quoted above by De Wette, not a 
single quotation of the words of Jesus in these three chapters 
agrees with the canonical Gospels. We shall, however, confine 
ourselves at present to the Sermon on the Mount. We must 
mention that Justin's text is quite continuous, except where we 
have inserted asterisks. We subjoin Justin's quotations, together 
with the parallel passages in our Gospels, side by side, for greater 
facility of comparison. ^ 

Justin. | Gospel. 

ApoL, i., 15. He (Jesus) spoke ' Matt. v. 28. But I say unto you, 

thus of chastity : Whosoever may gaze 
on a woman to lust after her hath 
committed adultery already in the 
heart before God. 

j3. And, if thy right eye offend thee 
cut it out, 

for it is profitable for thee to enter 
into the kingdom of heaven with one 
eye (rather) than having two to be 
thrust into the everlasting fire 

that everyone that looketh on a 
woman to lust after her hath com- 
mitted adultery with her already in 
his heart. 

29. But if thy right eye offend 
thee, pluck it out and cast it from 
thee : for it is profitable for thee that 
one of thy members should perish, 
and not that thy whole body should 
be cast into hell. 

Ilepi ixkv odp ffu}(j)pocF()vrjs to(Xovtov 1 'E7CU 5^ Xe-yw vfuv on iras b ^X^irup. 

elirev "Os &v i fJL^X^yprj yvvaiKl irpbs 
TO iTndv/ji7](raL avTTJs ijdr] ijxoLx^vGe rrj 
Kapdiq. irapa t(^ Gecjj. 

^. Kat-3 El 6 6(p6a\fi6s aov 6 8e^i6s 
(TKavdaXi^ei ae, ^KKO\pov avTov 

avfjt.(p^p€i yap aoi fxop6(p6a\fiov 
eicreXdeiv eis t7]v ^acnXeiap tQp ovpa- 

yvvaiKa irpos to iTridv/nrjaat. avTTjv ijdr] 
i/jLoLx€va€P avT7]P ep ttj Kapdiq. avTOv. 

Et d^ 6 6(f>daXix6s aov 6 Sextos 
cTKavdaXi^eL ae, ^^eXeS ai/TOP Kai /3d\e 
diro aov- crvfKp^peL ydp aoi iVa 
diroXrjTai ip tCjp fieXwp aov, k.t.X.; cf. 

* Bpaxels dk Kal avPTOfxoL irap avTov Xoyoi yeyopacrip. Oi) yap cro(pi(rTT]s 
VTTTjpx^p, dXXcL dvpafiii Qeov 6 Xoyos avTov 9jp. ApoL, i. 14. This description 
completely contradicts the representation in the fourth Gospel of the discourses 
of Jesus. It seems clearly to indicate that Justin had no knowledge of that Gospel. 

^ It need not be said that the variations between the quotations of Justin 
and the text of our Gospels must be looked for only in the Greek. For the 
sake of the reader unacquainted with Greek, however, we shall endeavour as 
far as possible to indicate in translation where differences exist, although this 
cannot of course be fully done, nor often without being more literal than is 
desirable. Where it is not necessary to amend the authorised version of the 
New Testament for the sake of more closely following the text, and marking 
differences from Justin, we shall adopt it. We divide the quotations where 
desirable by initial letters, in order to assist reference at the end of our quotations 
from the Sermon on the Mount. 

3 The " /cat " here forms no part of the quotation, and seems to separate the 
two passages, which were, therefore, probably distinct in Justin's Memoirs, 
although consecutive verses in Matthew. 

'* Origen repeatedly uses 8s idp i/M^Xixpri, and only once ttSs 6 ^Xiirwp. 
Griesbach, Symb. Criticce, 1785, ii., p. 251, 

5 Clem. Al. reads iKKO'^op like Justin. Griesbach, ib., ii., p. 252. 



i>Qv 7j fxera rdv dvo ■jr€fi(f>dr]vaL els to 
alihvLOV irvp. 

y. And, Whoever marrieth a 
woman divorced from another man 
committeth adultery. 

Kai, "Os yafiel aTroXeKvfievqv a(p^ 
erepov dvdpds, /Aotxarat. 

* * * * 

5. And regarding our affection for 
all, he taught thus : 
If ye love them which love you, what 
new thing do ye ? for even the forni- 
cators do this ; but I say unto you : 
Pray for your enemies and love them 
which hate you, and bless them which 
curse you, and pray for them which 
despitefully use you. 


Matt, xviii. 9.* KaXov aoi iariv 

fjiOp6(pda\/uLOV ei's tt]v ^cotjj' elaeXdeiv, 9i 
bvo d<pda\fxovs 'ix^vra fSXyjO^vai els Tr}v 
yeevvav tou irvpos. 

Matt. V. 32. And whosoever shall 
marry a woman divorced 
committeth adultery. 

/cat 8s eav aiTo\e\v[xev7]v 

ya/jt-rjarj, /Aotxarai.^ 

Matt. V. 46. 

For if ye should love them which 
love you, what reward have ye ? do 
not even the publicans the same ? 
V. 44.3 But I say unto you : Love 
your enemies** (bless them which curse 
you, do good to them which hate you), 
and pray for them which (despitefully 
use you and) persecute you.s 

^ Matt. V. 29, 30, it will be remembered, are repeated with some variation 
and also reversed in order, and with a totally different context, Matt, xviii. 
8, 9. The latter verse, the Greek of the concluding part of which we give 
above, approximates more nearly in form to Justin's, but is still widely different. 
"And if thine eye (' right' omitted) offend thee pluck it out and cast it from 
thee ; it is good for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having 
two eyes to be cast into hell fire." The sequence of Matt. v. 28, 29, points 
specially to it. The double occurrence of this passage,, however, with a 
different context, and with the order reversed in Matthew, rend:;rs it almost 
certain that the two passages a. and /3. were separate in the Memoirs. The 
reading of Mark ix. 47 is equally distinct from Justin's : And if thine eye 
offend thee cast it out {^KjSaXe avrdu) ; it is good for thee {KaXov iariv ae) to 
enter into the kingdom of God {rod deov) with one eye, rather than having two 
eyes to be cast into hell. (^ bvo ocpOaXfioiis ^x^^'''"- ^X-qdrivaL eis yiepvav.) 

^ Cf. Matt. xix. 9, Luke xvi. 18. The words d0' iripov dp8pbs are 
peculiar to Justin. The passage in Luke has dirb dvdpbs, but differs in the rest. 

3 It will be observed that here again Justin's Gospel reverses the order in 
which the parallel passage is found in our Synoptics. It does so indeed 
with a clearness of design which, even without the actual peculiarities of 
diction and construction, would indicate a special and different source. The 
passage varies throughout from our Gospels, but Justin repeats the same 
phrases in the same order elsewhere. In Dial. 133 he says: "While we all 
pray for you, and for all men as our Christ and Lord taught us to do, enjoining 
us to pray even for our enemies, and to love them that hate us, and to bless 
them that curse us" (ef/xecr^at /cat i^Tr^p tG)v ix^P'^^t ^'^'- dyaTrq.v tovs jxicrovvras, 
Kai evXoyely rovs Karapoifievovs). And again in ApoL, i. 14, he uses the expres- 
sion that Christians pray for their enemies {v-wkp rdv ^x^P^^ evx^/nevoi) 
according to the precepts of Christ. The variation is therefore not accidental, 
but from a different text. 

■* The two passages within brackets are not found in any of the oldest MSS., 
and are only supported by Codices D, E, and a few obscui'e texts. All modern 
critics reject them. They are omitted from the revised version. 

5 The parallel passage in Luke vi. 32, 27, 28, presents similar variations 
from Matt. , though not so great as those of Justin from them both. 



llepi Sk Tou aripycLV diravras, ravra 
idida^ev El dyaTrdre rods dyairCivTas 
vfids, tL Kaivov iroieire ; koL ydp ol iropvoi 


E^'xecr^e vir^p tQv ix^P^^ vfjiCop kol 
dyaTrdre rods /xicrovvTas vfids, Kal ed- 
Xoyeire rods Karapwixivovs vjxiv, kol 
eC^xeo-^e virkp t(2v iirripea^ovTwv vfids. 

e. And that we should communicate 
to the needy and do nothing for praise, 
he said thus : 

Give ye to every one that asketh, and 
from him that desireth to borrow turn 
not ye away ; for if ye 

lend to them from whom ye hope to 
receive, what new thing do ye? for 
even the publicans do this. 

But ye, lay not up for yourselves upon 
the earth, where moth and rust doth 
corrupt and robbers break through, 

but lay up for yourselves 

in the heavens, where neither 

nor rust doth corrupt. 


For what is a man profited if he 
shall gain the whole world, but destroy 
his soul ? or what shall he give in 
exchange for it ? Lay up, therefore, 
in the heavens, where neither moth nor 
rust doth corrupt.^ 

E/s 5^ TO KOLV(aveiv tols deofxevois, Kal 
fitjd^v irpos 86^av iroieiv, Tavra ^(pr), 

Havri ry airovvTi Sidore, Kal top ^ov- 
Xo/xepop dapeLcraadai, fir] diroa-TpacpT^re- 

el ydp dapei^ere trap' Cop i\irl^eTe 
XajSetp, tL Kaipop Trotetre ; toOto Kai oi 
TcXwpaL TTOiovcnp. 

'Tyuets 5e fir] drjaavpl^ere eavroTs irrl 
rrjs 7775, drrov ar]S /cat ^pQais dipapi^ei, 
Kal XrjaTal diopOcraovar 


V. 46. 

'Ectv ydp dyamfia-rjTe roi/s dyairwpras 
vfids, Tipa fiiadop ^xere ; oi''xi Kal oi 
reXcDvat oihcos iroiova-tp ; 

V. 44. 'E7cb 5^ X^7w vfiip, dyairdre 
rods ix^po^^ vfidp {euXoyeire rovs 
Karapwfiepovs vfiip, koXQs Troietre rots 
fii(Tov(TLP vfids,) Kal irpoaeOx^o'Ge vir^p 
TU)P^ {irrrfpea^oPTdiP Kal) diUKOPTUP vfids. 

Matt. V. 42. 

Give thou to him that asketh thee, 
and from him that would borrow of 
thee turn not thou away." 

Cf. Luke vi. 34. 

And if ye lend to them from whom 
ye hope to receive, what thank have 
ye ? for sinners lend, etc. 

Matt. vi. 19. 

Lay not up for yourselves treasures 
upon the earth, where moth and rust 
doth corrupt, and where thieves break 
through and steal ; 

vi, 20. But lay up for yourselves 
treasures in heaven, where neither moth 
nor rust doth corrupt, and where 
thieves do not break through nor 

Matt. xvi. 26. For what shall a 
man be profited if he shall gain the 
whole world, but lose his soul? or 
what shall a man give in exchange 
for his soul ? 

Matt. V. 42. 

T(^ aiTouPTi <ye bos, Kal top deXoPTa 
diro (Tov dapeiaaadai, fir] dirocrTpac[)-^s. 

Cf. Luke vi. 34. 

Kat idp 5api^€T€ Trap' &p iXwi^eTe 
Xa^elp, TToia vfup x«'/)is icrrip ; Kat dfiap- 
TcoXol dfiapTcaXois 8apii^ov<np, k.t.X. 

Matt. vi. 19. 

Mr] (prfffavpl^eTe vfUP drjaavpoiis eirl 
TTjs yrjs, oTTov <Tr]S Kal /Spwcrts dcpapi^ei, 
Kal dirov KXeTTTai diopijcrcrovaip Kal 

^ In the first Gospel the subject breaks of at the end of v. 42. v. 46 may 
be compared with Justin's continuation, but it is fundamentally different. 
The parallel passages in Luke vi. 30, 34, present still greater variations. We 
have given vi. 34 above, as nearer Justin than Matt. v. 46. It will be remarked 
that to find a parallel for Justin's continuation, without break, of the subject, we 
must jump from Matt. v. 42, 46, to vi. 19, 20. ^ See next page, note i. 




67]<TavpL^€Te de eavrols iv toZs ovpa- 
vois, 6irov ovre arjs oUre (ipQats d(f>a- 

Tt yap a)0eXetrai dvdpwwos, hv top 
KotXfiov o\op Kepdrjcrr), tt]v 8h -^vxh^, 
avTou airoKearj ; i) tL duxxei avrijs dv- 
rdWayfia ; 

dT}aavpi^eT€ ottv ev toIs ovpavoh, Sirov 
o{jT€ <r^j oUre ^pQcns d(pavitei.^ 

^. And : Be ye kind and merciful 
as your P'ather also is kind and merci- 
ful, and maketh his sun to rise on 
sinners, and just and evil.^ 

But be not careful what ye shall 
eat and what ye shall put on. 

Are ye not better than the birds and 
the beasts ? And God feedeth them. 

what ye shall eat, 
ye shall put on, 


not careful 
or what 

for your heavenly Father knoweth 
that ye have need of these things, 

I Gospel. 

i vi. 20. dr](Tavpi^€T€ 5e v/xiv drjaav- 

I povs €v ovpavip, 8irov oijre crrjs oiire 

jipOxris d(pavi^€L, Kai 6irov KXeirrai ov 

8L0p(>(T(X0V(TtV Ov8k KKilTTOVCXLV. 

xvi. 26. Ti yap djcpeXrjdrjcreTaL 

I dpdpwTros, idv tov Kocrfiov 6\ov KepdrjO-r], 

TT]v 5e ^vxw olvtov ^rjimiwdrj ; 7} ri 

ddjaeL &p6pb}7ros dprdWay/xa T7j<r '/'I'X'^s 

Luke vi. 36.3 Be ye merciful even 
as your Father also is merciful. 

Matt. V. 45. "* for he maketh his 

sun to rise on evil and good and 
sendeth rain on just and unjust. 

Matt. vi. 25. 

Therefore I say unto you. Be not 
careful for your life what ye shall eat 
and what ye shall drink, nor yet for 
your body what ye shall put on 

vi. 26. Behold the birds of the air 
that they sow not, &c., &c., yet your 
heavenly Father feedeth them. Are 
ye not much better than they ? 

vi. 3 1. 5 Therefore be not careful, 
saying : what shall we eat ? or what 
shall we drink, or with what shall we 
be clothed ? 

vi. 32. For after all these things do 
the Gentiles seek : for your heavenly 
Father knoweth that ye need all these 

' This phrase, it will be observed, is also introduced higher up in the 
passage, and its repetition in such a manner, with the same variations, 
emphatically demonstrates the unity of the whole quotation. 

^ This passage (f) is repeated with the peculiar xpT^trrot Kai oIkt. twice 
in Dial. 96, and in connection with the same concluding words, which are 
quite separate in our Synoptics. In that place, however, in paraphrasing 
and not quoting, he adds, "and sending rain on holy and evil." Critics 
conjecture with much probability that the words /cat /Spe^et eTrt bfrlovs have 
been omitted above after diKaiovs, by a mistake either of the transcriber or 
of Justin. In the Clementine Ho?nilies (iii. 57) a similar combination to 
that of Justin's occurs together with a duplication recalling that of Justin, 
although dyadol is substituted for xPV<^toI. Tiveade dyadoi Kai OLKrip/noves 
ojs d iraTTjp 6 ev rocs ovpavoh 6s dvareWei tov rfKiov eV dyadoTs, k.t.X. 
Epiphanius also twice makes use of a similar combination, although with 
variations in language ; cf. Ilaer. Ixvi. 22, xxxiii. 10. Origen likewise com- 
bines Matt. V. 48 and 45 ; cf. de Princip., ii. 4, § i. These instances 
confirm the indication of an ancient connection of the passage as quoted by Justin, 

3 There is no parallel to this in the first Gospel. Matt. v. 48 is too remote 
in sense as well as language. 

^ The first part of v. 45 is quite different from the context in Justin : " That 
ye may be sons of your Father which is in heaven : for he maketh," etc. 

5 There is a complete break here in the continuity of the parallel passage. 



ye the kingdom 

but seek 

heavens, and all these 

be added unto you 

of the 
things shall 

for where the treasure is there is also 
the mind of the man. 

Kat, Tlv€(T6e 5e XPT^'^^'- '<^ct' olKrip- 
/xoves, ws Kal 6 irarTjp vfiQv XPV<^'^^^ 

i<XTL Kal olKTipfllCV, 

Kal Tov rfkiov avrov avareWeL iirl 
a/j,apTU}\ovs Kal diKaiovs Kal irovr^povs. 

Mt) juepifivare d^, rl (pdyrjTe, rj tL 

ovx vfieis tG)v Trereiviiov Kal tCop 
d'qpiwv dLa(pip€Te ; Kal 6 deos Tp^<peL 

Mtj odv /j.epLfxv'^a'TjTe ri (pdyrjTe, 

^ TL ivdvariade. 

6l5e ydp 6 xar^p vfiQv 6 ovpdvios, 6tl 
TOVTUV XP^'-^^ ^xere- 

^T]reiTc 5^ t})v ^aaiXelav t(2v ovpavQv, 

Kal Tavra iravra TrpotrTedrjaeTaL vfiiv. 

"Otov yhp 6 dr](ravp6s icrnv, iKet Kal 
6 vovs TOV dvdpibtrov. 

7]. And : Do not these things to be 
seen of men, otherwise ye have no 
reward of your Father which is in 

Kal, Mt} TToirjTe TavTa irphs t6 deaOrjvai 
VTTO T<2v dvdpibiTiov el 8k fiTj ye, fuadbv 
ovK ^x^'^^ irapd tov rraTpbs vfiiov tov ev 
rois ovpavoXs. 

Apol. i., 1 6. 

B. And regarding our being patient 
under injuries, and ready to help all, 


vi. 33. But seek ye first the king- 
dom of God and his righteousness, 
and all these things shall be added 
unto you. 

vi. 21.' For where thy treasure is 
there will thy heart be also. 

Luke vi. 36. V[ve(xde odv oUrip- 
fioves, Kadu>s Kal 6 iraTrjp vfiQv o'lKTip- 
fiiov iaTLv. 

Matt. V. 45 on tov rfKiov avTov 

dvaT^Wei iirl Trovrjpovs Kal dyadovs Kal 
jSp^X^'- ^'f^ diKaiovs Kal ddiKovs. 

Matt. vi. 25. 

Atct TOVTO Xe^w v/xlv, fXT] fiepifivaTe 
Trj \pvxrj vfxCjv tL (pdyrjTe Kal tL TrirjTe,^ 
fMr}dk T(^ aibfiaTL v/ulQv tL ivdvcrrjcrde 

vi. 26. ^E/x^X^xpaTe els to, ireTeLvd 
TOV ovpavov, K.T.X. Kal 6 iraT-qp vfiQv 6 
ovpdvtos Tp^tpei aiiTd' ovx ^fiels adWov 
5ia(f)^peTe avTQv ; 

vi. 31. fXT] odv /iiepifMvi^crrjTe XiyovTes' 
Ti (pdyojfMev 7) tL irioi/ixev 
i) tI Trepi^aXu3/M€da ; 

vi. 32. irdvTa yap TavTa Ta ^dvr) 
iTTi^rjTovcriv oTdev yap 6 iraTT^p vfxuip 6 
ovpdvLot, 6'ti x/)J7fere to^tusv dirdvTwv. 

vi. 33- ^rjTeTTe dk irpdjTov ttjv /Sacrt- 
Xeiav TOV deov Kal ttjv diKatoavvTjv 
avTOv, Kal TavTa irdvTa irpodTed-qaeTai 

vi. 21. "Ottou ydp €(Xtlv drjaavpds 
crov, eK€L 'icTTaL Kal 7} Kapdla crov. 

Matt. vi. I. 

But take heed that ye do not your 
righteousness before men to be seen of 
them, otherwise ye have no reward 
from your Father which is in heaven. 

vi. I. llpoa^x^T^ ^^ '''W ^LKaiodvv-qv 
vfiCbv fiT} TTOLeiv ^jULwpocrdev^ tQv dvdpu)- 
TTbiv TTpbs TO deadijvai avTOis- el 5k 
fi-qye, /xiadov ovk ^Xfre irapd ry iraTpl 
vfiQv Tifi ev Tocs ovpavoh. 

Matt. V. 39. 

But I say unto you that ye resist 
not evil,'^ but whosoever shall smite 

^ Cf. Luke xii. 22-34, which, however, is equally distinct from Justin's text. 
The difference of order will not have escaped notice. 

^ The Cod. Sinaiticus omits koX tL TrirjTe. Codices A, C, and D are 
defective at the part. Cod. B and most other MSS. have the words. 

3 A few MSS. read "alms," eXeyjixodvvrjv, here ; but the Cod. Sin. Vat., and 
all the older Codices, have the reading of the text which is adopted by all 
modern editors. 

^ It is apparent that if Justin could have quoted this phrase it would have 
suited him perfectly. 




and free from anger, this is what he 
said : Unto him striking thy cheek 
offer the other also ; 
and him who carrieth off thy cloak or 
thy coat do not thou prevent. 

But whosoever shall be angry 
is in danger of the fire. 

But every one who compelleth thee 
to go a mile, follow twain. 

And let your good works shine 
before men so that, perceiving, they 
may adore your Father which is in 

TtJ; Td-KTOVTi crov TTJv ffLayova, Trdpex^ 

Kal TTJP &X\t]V 

Kal Tbv atpovTOi <rov top xtrwi'a, ij to 
ifi6.TL0v ixri KoiKdarj^. 

*0s S'hv opyiadrj, ^vox6s icTTiv els to 

liavTl 8k dyyapevovTi cot fiiXiov, 
uKoXovdrjcrop 8vo. 

AafxxpdTU) 8k vjxQiv to. KaXa ^pya^ 
^^irpoadev tCov dpdpdoTrcov, iVa ^XiiroPTes, 

davfid^coaL top Trarkpa vfiuip top €P 

Tois ovpapois. 

* * * * 

t. And regarding our not swearing 
at all, but ever speaking the truth, he 
thus taught : — 


thee on thy right cheek turn to him 
the other also, 

V. 40. And to him who would sue 
thee at law and take away thy coat, 
let him have thy cloak also. 

V. 22.^ But I say unto you that 
every one who is angry with his 
brother shall be in danger of the 
judgment, etc. 

V. 41. And whosoever shall com- 
pel thee to go a mile, go with him 

V, 16. Even so let your light shine 
before men that they may see your 
good works and glorify your Father 
which is in heaven. 

Matt. V. 39.3 

'Eyoj 5^ Xkyu) vfuv fx-rj dpTi<rT7JpaL t^j 
iroPTfpC- aXX' 6(XTLS ere payriaei evi ttjp 
Se^idp aov aiaySpa, <XTpe\pop avTcp Kal 
TTJp dXXrjp' 

V. 40. Kal Tip deXoPTi aot KpidrjpaL 
Kal t6p X"''<^''<^ (Tov Xa^etp, defies ai'ry 
Kal t6 IfidTiop' 

V. 22. '£70; 5^ Xeyu} v/jup 8tc ttcLs 
6 6pyL^6ixepos Tip dSeX(p(p avTOV'^ ^poxos 
^(TTai TT] Kpiaec k.t.X. 

V. 41. Kai 6<XTLS ere dyyapevaei 
fxiXiop 'ep, viraye jxeT^ avTOv 8ijo. 

V. 16. OvTws Xapi.'ipdTi)} TO (j>Q}s v/nCop 
^/jLirpocrOep tQp dpdpibirwp, Birios tScocriP 
vfxQp Ta KaXd '4pya KaX 8o^d(rci3aip t6p 
iraTepa vfxu>p top ep toXs odpapois. 

Matt. V. 34. 

But I say unto you. Swear not at 

' Clement of Alexandria has in one place Xaix-^. aov tcl ipya, and again Ta 
dyadd v/xwp epya Xafirj/dTW. Cf. Griesbach, Sy7)ib. Crit., ii. , p. 250. 

^ That part of Matt. v. 22 intrudes itself between parallels found in v. 40 
and 41 will not have been overlooked. 

3 The parallel passage, Luke vi. 29, is closer to Justin's, but still presents 
distinct variations : " Unto him smiting thee on the cheek offer the other also, 
and from him that carrieth off thy coat do not thou withhold {ixrj KojXvarjs) thy 
cloak also." T<p tvtttoptL ere iirl ttjp <nay6pa, irdpexe Kal ttjp dWr/p, Kal djrd 
Tov aipoPTds aov to l/ndTiop Kal t6p xtrcGj'a /ultj KwXvarjs. The whole context, 
however, excludes Luke ; cf. Mayerhoff, Einl. petr. Schr., p. 272. 

'^ eLKTj being omitted from Cod. Sin. Vat., and other important MSS., we do 
not insert it. 





may not swear at all, but let 

your yea be yea, and your nay nay, 
for what is more than these (is) of the 
evil one. 

Hep! dk Tov 1X7} ofivvvat. clXws, tclXtjOt] 
d^ XeyeLv del, oOrws irapeKeXeucraTO- 
Mr] 6/j,6(n]Te 6\cos- ' 

"Ecrrw 5^ vfi(2v to val pal' Kal to oi) 
06.^ TO de irepLcxadv tovtwv iK tov 


* * * * 

AC. For not those who merely make 
profession, but those who do the 
works, as he said, shall be saved. 
For he spake thus : 

K I. Not every one that saith unto 
me. Lord, Lord, shall, etc, 

K 2. For whosoever heareth me and 
doeth what I say, heareth him that 
sent me. 

K 3. But many will say to me : 
Lord, Lord, did we not eat and drink 
in thy name, and do wonders ? 

K 4. And then will I say unto 
them : 

Depart from me, workers of iniquity. 

K 5. There shall he weeping and 
gnashing of teeth, when indeed the 
righteous shall shine as the sun, but 


all, neither by heaven, etc. 

V. 37. But let your speech be yea 
yea, nay nay, for what is more than 
these is of the evil one. 

Matt. V. 34. 

'Eyw dk Xeyoj v/uuv /xt? 6/ji.6crai 6Xu)r 
fjLTjTe iv T(^ ovpavcp, k.t.X. 

V. 37. "Eo-rw si 6 Xdyos vfxQv val val, 
01) oH' t6 5^ irepLffabv tovtwv iK tov 
TTOVrjpOV idTlv. 

Matt. vii. 21. 

Not every one that saith unto me, 
Lord, Lord, shall, etc. 

Luke X. 16.^ He hearing you 
heareth me, and he despising you, 
etc., and he that despiseth me, de- 
spiseth him that sent me. 

Matt. vii. 22. 

Many will say to me in that day : 
Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in 
thy name ? and in thy name cast out 
devils ? and in thy name do many 
wonders ? 

vii. 23. And then will I confess 
unto them that : i never knew you : 
Depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 

Matt. xiii. 42 

and shall cast them into the furnace 
of fire : there shall be the weeping and 
the gnashing of teeth. 

^ This agrees with a passage which occurs twice in the Clementine Homilies. 
The version in Ep. of James v. 12 is evidently a quotation from a source 
different from Matthew, and supports Justin. Clement Al. twice uses a similar 
expression, and Epiphanius does so once, though probably following the Ep. 
of James. The Apostolic Constitutions also quotes- in similar manner. The 
context of the Clementine Homilies corresponds with that of Justin, but not so 
the others. We contrast all these passages below : — 


James v. 1 2 

Clem. Horn., iii. 55 
Ih., xix. 2 

Justin, ApoL, i. 16 

QXtn\. P^.,St)-om.,\. 14, \ 
Epiph. , H(27\ , xix. 6 

Constit. Ap., v. 12 

Cf. Matt. X. 40, Mark ix. 
Matt. vii. 24 we find : 

■^rw 5e vixQiv to val val, Kal to oi> oH. 

... ^(TTW vfxQv TO val val, to oi) o\i. 

^(TTco vfiujv TO val val, Kal to oi) ov. 

ea-Toj de vfiuv to val val, Kal to oi) ov. 

100 ^(TTU} v/jlQv Tb val val, Kal to oi) ov. 

TJTU} vjxQv TO val val, Kal to ov o\i. 

elvai dk TO val val, Kal to oi) oif. 

37, Luke ix. 48, which are still more remote. 

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings 

of mine and doeth them (/cat Troiet avTov$), I will liken him unto, etc. 
This, however, as the continuation of v. 21-23 quoted above immediately 
before this passage, is very abrupt, but it seems to indicate the existence of 
such a passage as we find in Justin's Memoirs. 



the wicked are sent into everlasting 

K 6. For many shall arrive in my 
name, outwardly, indeed, clothed in 
sheep's skins, but inwardly being 
ravening wolves. 

K 7. Ye shall know them from their 

K 8. And every tree that bringeth 
not forth good fruit is hewn down and 
cast into the fire. 

K I. Ovxl TTcis 6 \e7wi' jiioi, Kvpie, 

Kljpie, K.T.X.^ 

K 2. *0s yap cLKOveL fiov, Kal iroLei S, 
X^7W, aKOvei rod aTrocTTelXaPTds /xe-- 

K 3. IloXXoi 5^ epovai /uloi' 
Kvpte, Kvpie, ov ri^ crip ovdfxaTL ecpd- 
yojuev Kal iiriofiev, Kal dwdfiets eiroiT)- 

K 4. Kai Tdre ipQ) avroh. 'ATroxwpetre 
citt' ejxov epydraL rijs dvojxlas.^ 


xiii. 43. Then shall the righteous 
shine forth as the sun in the kingdom 
of their Father. 

Matt. vii. 15. 

But beware of false prophets which 
come to you in sheep's clothing, but 
inwardly are ravening wolves. 

i vii. 16. Ye shall know them by 
j their fruit. Do men gather grapes 
from thorns, or figs from thistles ? 

vii. 19. Every tree that bringeth 
not forth good fruit is hewn down and 
cast into the fire. 
Matt. vii. 21. 
Ov irds 6 X^yojp fxoi, Kvpie, Kijpie, 


Luke X. 16. 

'O dKo6wv vix(Zv i[xov aKovei, Kal 6 
dderwv vfids efxk dderei- 6 d^ i/xk dderwp 
dderei tov 'iroaTeiXavrd fie-* 

Matt. vii. 22. 

IIoAXot epovaiv jxol ev eKeivrj rrj T^jxipcf., 
Kivpte, KvpLe, Oh Tip (x^ ovdjxaTi eirpo- 
(pyjrevaafMev, Kal T<p acp ovdfiaTL daifiSpia 
e^€^d\ofxev, Kal T(p aip ovdixari dvvdfieis 
TroXXds eiroLTjaafiev ; 

vii. 23. Ka^ t6t€ ofioXoy/jau avroXs 
OTL ovSeiroTe eypcov vfxdr dTroxoopelTe 

' This is one of the passages quoted by De Wette {Einl. N. T., p. 105) as 
agreeing except in a single word. 

^ Justin repeats part of this passage, omitting "and doeth what I say," 
in ApoL, i. 63: "As our Lord himself also says: He that heareth me 
heareth him that sent me." Justin, however, merely quotes the portion relative 
to his subject. He is arguing that Jesus is the Word, and is called Angel and 
Apostle, for he declares whatever we require to know, " as our Lord himself 
also says," etc.; and therefore the phrase omitted is a mere suspension of the 
sense, and unnecessary. 

3 In Dial. 76, Justin makes use of a similar passage. "And many will say 
to me in that day : Lord, Lord, did we not eat and drink in thy name, and 
prophesy and cast out devils. And I will say to them Depart from me." Kal- 
IloXXoi epovai [xoi ttj rifxepg. eKeivrj- Kvpie, Kijpie, ov Tip aip 6p6/xaTL icpdyo/nev Kal 
iTriofiep Kal wpoecpTjTevaafiev Kal daipidvia i^e^akop-ev ; Kal ipQ avToXs' 'Aj/ax^petre 
dir' ep.ov. This is followed by one which differs from our Gospels in agree- 
ment with one in the Clementine Homilies, and by others varying also from 
our Gospels. Although Justin may quote these passages freely, he is per- 
sistent in his departure from our Synoptics, and the freedom of quotation is 
towards his own peculiar source, for it is certain that neither form agrees with 
the Gospels. 

* Cod. D. (Bezse) reads for the last phrase 6 5^ epiov aKo^xav, aKovei tov 
dTToiTTeiXavTSs fie- but all the older MSS. have the above. A very few obscure 
MSS. and some translations add : " He hearing me, heareth him that sent me." 
Kal 6 efiov dKOviov, aKovei tov dwoaTeiXavTSs /xe. 




K 5. T6t€ AfXau^/xos e'o-Ttti Kal j3pvyfi6s 
tQ}v 686vtu3v brav ol [xkv diKaioi 
Xd/xxj/oiaiv (hs 6 -ijXios' oi 5^ &8ikol 
TrifiiruvTat. els to aldbvtov irvp. 

K 6. IIoXXoi yd.p fj^ovaiv eirl ry 
dvdjxaTl /xov, ^^udev jxkv evdedvfi^pOL 
d^pfxara irpo^aTWv, eacodev, 5^ 6vt€% 
XvKOL dpirayer^ 

K 7. eK tQv epyojp avrwy eTTLyvibaecrde 

K 8. Hav bk bivdpov fxr] ttolovv Kapirbv 
Ka\6v iKKdiTTerai Kal els irvp /SdWerat. 


air ifiov oi epya^dfxevoi ttjv dvofiiav.^ 

Matt. xiii. 42. 

Kal ^aXoucriv avrovs els t^v 

Kdfxivov Tov TTvpds- eKeiecTTai 6 KXavdfws 
Kal 6 ^pvy/xos t(2v 686pto}p. 

43. Tdre ol dlKaiOL eKXd/xypovaiv^ ojs 
6 T^XtoseV TTJ j3a(riXelg. tov iraTpos avT(2v.'^ 

Matt. vii. 15. 

WpoaexeTe 5k diro tCjv xpevdoTpoipr)' 
T(2v, o'lTLves epxovTat irpos v/xds ev 
ivdtj/xaaip TrpojSdTwv, ^awOev be elaiv 
XvKOL dpirayes. 

16. 'A7r6 Tu)v KapirCou avTUp eiri- 
ypibaearde avTovs, k.t.X. 

19. Udp d^pdpop [XT) iroLOVP Kapirop 
KoXbp iKKdiTTeTai. Kal els irvp ^dXXerai.^ 

^ Justin makes use of this passage with the same variations from our 
Gospel in Dta/. c. 7>. , 35. IIoXXol iXevaoPTai eirl Tcp dp6/xaTi fxov, k^udev 
ip5e8vfj.^poL bepjxaTa irpo^aTUP, eawdep d^ elai Xvkol dpirayes. With only a 
separating /cat, Justin proceeds to quote a saying of Jesus not found in our 
Gospels at all. " And : There shall be schisms and heresies," Kar Ecrovrai 
(Tx^o-ytiara Kal alp^aeis. And then, with merely another separating "And," he 
quotes another passage similar to the above, but differing from Matt. "And : 
Beware of false prophets who shall come to you outwardly clothed in sheep's 
skins, but inwardly are ravening wolves,"T-and with the usual separating 
"And," he ends with another saying not found in our Gospels: "And: 
Many false Christs and false Apostles shall arise, and shall deceive many of the 
faithful, Kat- ' KpacTTTfcroPTai iroXXol xj/evSSxpt.o'TOc Kal \pevboair6(XToXoL, Kal 
TToXXods tCop ttlo-twp irXaPTjcrova-LP. Both passages must have been in his 
Memoirs, and both differ from our Gospels. 

- The parallel passage, Luke xiii. 26, 27, is still more remote. Origen in 
four places, in Joh. xxxii. 7, 8, Contra Cels., ii. 49, de Principiis, quotes a 
passage nominally from Matt., more nearly resembling Justin's : iroXXol epovarl 
fxoi ep eKeiprj tt) ijfxepq.' Kvpie, Kvpie, ov Tip opSfxaTl aov i^dyofxep, Kal Tcp opSjuaTi 
(TOV iiriofiep, Kal Tip opSfiaTt aov dai/ndpia i^e^dXo/iiep, k.t.X. Cf. Griesbach, 
Symb. Crit., ii., p. 61 f. ; Origen may have here confused the Gospel according 
to the Hebrews with Matthew. 

3 The Cod. D. (Bezse) has XdixxpwaLP, and so also quotes Origen. Cf. 
Griesbach, Symb. Crit., ii., p. 278. 

'^ The corresponding passage in Luke (xiii. 2.^-2.%) much more closely 
follows the order which we find in Justin, but linguistically and otherwise it is 
remote from his version, although in connection of ideas more similar than the 
passage in the first Gospel. In Luke, the weeping and gnashing of teeth are 
to be when the wicked see the righteous in heaven whilst they are excluded ; 
whereas in Matt. xiii. 42, 43, the weeping, etc., are merely a characteristic of 
the furnace of fire, and the shining forth of the righteous is mentioned as a 
separate circumstance. Matt. xiii. 42, 43, has a different context, and is 
entirely separated from the parallel passage in Justin, which precedes, and 
naturally introduces this quotation. 

s This passage occurs in Matt. iii. 10 and Luke iii. 9, literally, as a 
saying of John the Baptist, so that in Matt. vii. 19 it is a mere quota- 




ApoL, i. 17. 

\. As Christ declared saying : To 
whom God gave more, of him shall 
more also be demanded again. 

(is 6 XptCTOS €fJi7]VV(X€U dlTibv 

'ill vrXeov eSwKev 6 deds, irXeou Kal 
diraiTT]d'q(TeTaL irap avTOV.^ 

* *  * 

Dial. c. Tr., 105. 

/u. Except your righteousness shall 
exceed, etc. 


Luke xii. 48 (not found in 

For unto whom much is given, 

of him shall much be required : and 
to whom men have committed much, 
of him they will demand a greater 

Luke xii. 48. 

Ilaj'ri 5e c^ ibddfj iroKv, iroKi) 

^rjTrjdrjaeTai wapavTov, /cat y irapidevTO 
irdkb, irepiacoTepov airTfjiXova-tv- avrdv. 

Matt. V. 20. 

For I say unto you^ that except 
your righteousness shall exceed, 

We have taken the whole of Justin's quotations from the 
Sermon on the Mount not only because, adopting so large a test, 
there can be no suspicion that we select passages for any special 
purpose, but also because, on the contrary, amongst these quota- 
tions are more of the passages claimed as showing the use of our 
Gospels than any series which could have been selected. It will 
have been observed that most of the passages follow each other 
in unbroken sequence in Justin, for with the exception of a short 
break between y and 8 the whole extract down to the end of 6 
is continuous, as indeed, after another brief interruption at the end 
of t, it is again to the close of the very long and remarkable 
passage k. With two exceptions, therefore, the whole of these 
quotations from the Sermon on the Mount occur consecutively in 
two succeeding chapters of Justin's first apology, and one passage 
follows in the next chapter. Only a single passage comes from a 
distant part of the dialogue with Trypho. These passages are 
bound together by clear unity of idea and context, and as, where 
there is a separation of sentences in his Gospel, Justin clearly 
marks it by /cat, there is every reason to decide that those quota- 
tions which are continuous in form and in argument were likewise 
consecutive in the Memoirs. Now, the hypothesis that these 

' Clement of Alexandria {Stroniata, ii. 23, § 146) has this passage as 
follows : ^ irpXeiov edddr), odros Kal d7raLT7]6r](X€Tai. Cf. Griesbach, Symb. 
Crit., ii., p. 380. This version more nearly approximates to Justin's, though 
still distinct from it. 

^ The Codex D. (Bezje) reads irXeov diraLTrjcrovcnv instead of ireptcraoTepov 

3 Xe7aj v/Mv 6tl are wanting in Justin. 

^ This passage, quoted by De Wette, was referred to p. 219, and led to 
this examination. 


quotations are from the canonical Gospels requires the assump- 
tion that Justin, with singular care, collected from distant and 
scattered portions of those Gospels a series of passages in close 
sequence to each other, forming a whole unknown to them, but 
complete in itself; and yet, although this is carefully performed, 
he at the same time, with the most systematic carelessness, mis- 
quoted and materially altered almost every precept he professes to 
cite. The order of the canonical Gospels is as entirely set at 
naught as their language is disregarded. As Hilgenfeld has 
pointed out, throughout the whole of this portion of his quotations 
the undeniable endeavour after accuracy, on the one hand, is in the 
most glaring contradiction with the monstrous carelessness on the 
other, if it be supposed that our Gospels are the source from which 
Justin quotes. Nothing is more improbable than the conjecture 
that he made use of the canonical Gospels, and we must accept 
the conclusion that Justin quotes with substantial correctness the 
expressions in the order in which he found them in his peculiar 

It is a most arbitrary proceeding to dissect a passage, quoted by 
Justin as a consecutive and harmonious whole, and finding 
parallels more or less approximate to its various phrases scattered 
up and down distant parts of our Gospels, scarcely one of which 
is not materially different from the reading of Justin, to assert that 
he is quoting these Gospels freely from memory, altering, excising, 
combining, and interweaving texts, and introverting their order, 
but nevertheless making use of them and not of others. It is per- 
fectly obvious that such an assertion is nothing but the merest 
assumption. Our synoptic Gospels themselves condemn it utterly, 
for precisely similar differences of order and language exist in them 
and distinguish between them. Not only the language but the 
order of a quotation must have its due weight, and we have no 
right to dismember a passage and, discovering fragmentary 
parallels in various parts of the Gospels, to assert that it is com- 
piled from them, and not derived, as it stands, from another 

It must have been apparent to all that, throughout his quotations 
from the Sermon on the Mount, Justin follows an order which is 
quite different from that in our synoptic Gospels ; and, as might 

' Cf. Hilgenfeld, Die Evv. Jttstin^s, p. 129 f . ; Credner, Beitrdge, i., p. 


^ For the arguments of apologetic criticism the reader may be referred to 
Dr. Westcott's work On the Canon, pp. 1 12-139. Dr. Westcott does not, of 
course, deny the fact that Justin's quotations are different from the text of our 
Gospels, but he accounts for his variations on grounds which seem to us purely 
imaginary. It is evident that, so long as there are such variations to be 
explained away, at least no proof of identity is possible. 


have been expected, the inference of a different source, which is 
naturally suggested by this variation in order, is more than 
confirmed by persistent and continuous variations in language. 
If it be true that examples of confusion of quotation are to be 
found in the works of Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and other 
Fathers, it must at the same time be remembered that these 
are quite exceptional, and we are scarcely in a position to judge 
how far confusion of memory may not have arisen from 
reminiscences of other forms of evangelical expressions occurring 
in apocryphal works, with which we know the Fathers to have 
been well acquainted. The most vehement asserter of the 
identity of the Memoirs with our Gospels, however, must 
absolutely admit as a fact, explain it as he may, that variation 
from our Gospel readings is the general rule in Justin's quotations, 
and agreement with them the very rare exception. Now, such a 
phenomenon is elsewhere unparalleled in those times, when 
memory was more cultivated than with us in these days of cheap 
printed books ; and it is unreasonable to charge Justin with such 
universal want of memory and carelessness about matters which 
he held so sacred, merely to support a foregone conclusion, when 
the recognition of a difference of source, indicated in every 
direction, is so much more simple, natural, and justifiable. It is 
argued that Justin's quotations from the Old Testament likewise 
present constant variation from the text. This is true to a 
considerable extent, but they are not so persistently inaccurate as 
the quotations we are examining, supposing them to be derived 
from our Gospels. This plea, however, is of no avail, for it is 
obvious that the employment of the Old Testament is not 
established merely by inaccurate citations ; and it is quite un- 
deniable that the use of certain historical documents out of many 
of closely similar, and in many parts probably identical, character 
cannot be proved by anonymous quotations differing from any- 
thing actually in these documents. 

There are very many of the quotations of Justin which bear 
unmistakable marks of exactness and verbal accuracy, but which 
yet differ materially from our Gospels, and most of his quotations 
from the Sermon on the Mount are of this kind. For instance, 
Justin introduces the passages which we have marked a, f3, y, with 
the words : " He (Jesus) spoke thus of Chastity " ;^ and, after 
giving the quotations, a, p, and 7, the first two of which, although 
finding a parallel in two consecutive verses (Matt. v. 28, 29), are 
divided by the separating Kal, and therefore do not appear to have 
been united in his Gospel, Justin continues : " Just as even those 
who, with the sanction of human law, contract a second marriage 

' P. 220 f. 


are sinners in the eye of our Master, so also are those who look 
upon a woman to lust after her. For not only he who actually 
commits adultery is rejected by him, but also he who desires to 
commit adultery, since not our acts alone are open before God, 
but also our thoughts."^ Now, it is perfectly clear that Justin 
here professes to give the actual words of Jesus, and then 
moralises upon them ; and both the quotation and his own 
subsequent paraphrase of it lose all their significance if we sup- 
pose that Justin did not correctly quote in the first instance, but 
actually commences by altering the text. These passages a, jS, and 
y, however, have all marked and characteristic variations from the 
Gospel text ; but, as we have already shown, there is no reason 
for asserting that they are not accurate verbal quotations from 
another Gospel. 

The^ passage 8 is likewise a professed quotation,^ but not only 
does it differ in language, but it presents deliberate transpositions 
in order, which clearly indicate that Justin's source was not our 
Gospels. The nearest parallels in our Gospels are found in 
Matt. V. 46, followed by 44. The same remarks apply to the 
next passage e, which is introduced as a distinct quotation, 3 but 
which, like the rest, differs materially, linguistically and in order, 
from the canonical Gospels. The whole of the passage is consecu- 
tive, and excludes the explanation of a mere patchwork of passages 
loosely put together, and very imperfectly quoted from memory. 
Justin states that Jesus taught that we should communicate to 
those who need, and do nothing for vain glory, and he then gives 
the very words of Jesus in an unbroken and clearly continuous 
discourse. Christians are to give to all who ask, and not merely 
to those from whom they hope to receive again, which would be 
no new thing — even the publicans do that ; but Christians must 
do more. They are not to lay up riches on earth, but in heaven, 
for it would not profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his 
soul ; therefore, the teacher a second time repeats the injunction 
that Christians should lay up treasures in heaven. If the unity of 
thought which binds this passage so closely together were not suffi- 
cient to prove that it stood in Justin's Gospel in the form and 
order in which he quotes it, the requisite evidence would be 
supplied by the repetition at its close of the injunction : " Lay up, 
therefore, in the heavens," etc. It is impossible that Justin should, 
through defect of memory, quote a second time in so short a 
passage the same injunction if the passage were not thus appro- 
priately terminated in his Gospel. The common sense of the 

^ ApoL, i. 15. After the passages a, /3, 7, and before the above, there is 
another quotation compared with Matt. xix. 12, but distinctly different from it. 
^ P. 221. 3 p. 222. 


reader must at once perceive that it is impossible that Justin, pro- 
fessedly quoting words of Jesus, should thus deliberately fabricate 
a discourse rounded off by the repetition of one of its opening 
admonitions, with the addition of an argumentative " therefore." 
He must have found it so in the Gospel from which he quotes. 
Nothing indeed but the difficulty of explaining the marked 
variations presented by this passage, on the supposition that Justin 
must quote from our Gospels, could lead apologists to insinuate 
such a process of compilation, or question the consecutive 
character of this passage. The nearest parallels to the dismembered 
parts of the quotation, presenting everywhere serious variations, 
however, can only be found in the following passages in the order 
in which we cite them : — Matt. v. 42, Luke vi. 34, Matt. vi. 
19, 20, xvi. 26, and a repetition of part of vi. 20, with variations. 
Moreover, the expression, " What new thing do ye ?" is quite 
peculiar to Justin. We have already met with it in the preceding 
section S. "If ye love them which love you, what new thing do 
ye ? for even," etc. Here, in the same verse, we have : " If ye lend 
to them from whom ye hope to receive, what new thing do ye ? for 
even," etc. It is evident, both from its repetition and its distinct 
dogmatic view of Christianity as a new teaching in contrast to the 
old, that this variation cannot have been the result of defec- 
tive memory, but must have been the reading of the 
Memoirs, and, in all probability, it was the original form of the 
teaching. Such antithetical treatment is clearly indicated in many 
parts of the Sermon on the Mount : for instance, Matt. v. 21, 

"Ye have heard that it hath been said l^y them of old but / 

say unto you," etc., cf. v. 33, 38, 43. It is certain that the whole 
of the quotation e differs very materially from our Gospels, and 
there is every reason to believe that not only was the passage not 
derived from them, but that it was contained in the Memoirs of 
the Apostles substantially in the form and order in which Justin 
quotes it. 

The next passage ({■)^ is separated from the preceding merely by 
the usual /cat, and it moves on to its close with the same continuity 
of thought and the same peculiarities of construction which 
characterise that which we have just considered. Christians are 
to be kind and merciful (xpiqa-Tol koI oLKripixoves) to all as their 
Father is, who makes his sun to shine alike on the good and 
evil, and they need not be anxious about their own temporal 
necessities : what they shall eat and what put on ; are they not 
better than the birds and beasts whom God feedeth ? Therefore, 
they are not to be careful about what they are to eat and what 
put on, for their heavenly Father knows they have need of these 

P. 223. 


things ; but they are to seek the kingdom of heaven, and all 
these things shall be added : for where the treasure is — the thing 
he seeks and is careful about — there will also be the mind of the 
man. In fact, the passage is a suitable continuation of e, inculca- 
ting, like it, abstraction from worldly cares and thoughts in reliance 
on the heavenly Father ; and the mere fact that a separation is 
made where it is between the two passages e and C shows further 
that each of those passages was complete in itself. There is 
absolutely no reason for the separating Kal if these passages were 
a mere combination of scattered verses. This quotation, however, 
which is so consecutive in Justin, can only find distant parallels 
in passages widely divided throughout the synoptic Gospels, which 
have to be arranged in the following order : — Luke vi. 36, Matt. v. 
45, vi. 25, 26, 31, 32, 33, vi. 21, the whole of which present 
striking differences from Justin's quotation. The repetition of the 
injunction " be not careful " again with the illative " therefore " is 
quite in the spirit of e. This admonition, "Therefore, be not 
careful," etc., is reiterated no less than three times in the first 
Gospel (vi. 25, 31, 34), and confirms the characteristic repetition 
of Justin's Gospel, which seems to have held a middle course 
between Matthew and Luke, the latter of which does not repeat 
the phrase, although the injunction is made a second time in more 
direct terms. The repetition of the passage, " Be ye kind and 
merciful," etc., in JDia/. 96, with the same context and peculiarities, 
is a remarkable confirmation of the natural conclusion that Justin 
quotes the passage from a Gospel different from ours. The 
expression y^py^a-Tol Kal oLKTipixoves, thrice repeated by Justin 
himself, and supported by a similar duplication in the Clementine 
Hofnilies (iii. 57),' cannot possibly be an accidental departure from 
our Gospels.^ For the rest, it is undeniable that the whole passage 
{" differs materially, both in order and language, from our Gospels, 
from which it cannot, without unwarrantable assumption, be main- 
tained to have been taken either collectively or in detail, and 
strong internal reasons lead us to conclude that it is quoted 
substantially as it stands from Justin's Gospel, which must have 
been different from our Synoptics. 

In ^, again, we have an express quotation introduced by the 
words : "And regarding our being patient under injuries and 
ready to help all, and free from anger, this is what he said "; and 

' See p. 223, note 4. 

^ Delitzsch admits the very striking nature of this triple quotation, and of 
another (in our passage k 3 and 4), although he does not accept them as neces- 
sarily from a different source. ^'Auffdllig, aber allerdings sehr auffdllig sind 
nur folgende 2 citate yivecrOe xPVf^Tol k.t.X.^' ApoL, i. 15 ; Dial. 96, tind 
Kupte, Kxipie, k.t.X. ApoL, i, 16 ; Dial. 76; Unters. u. d. Entst. d. Matth, 
Bvang., 1853, p. 34. 


then he proceeds to give the actual words/ At the close of the 
quotation he continues : " For we ought not to strive, neither 
would he have us be imitators of the wicked, but he has exhorted 
us by patience and gentleness to lead men from shame and the 
love of evil," etc.^ It is evident that these observations, which 
are a mere paraphrase of the text, indicate that the quotation 
itself is deliberate and precise. Justin professes first to quote the 
actual teaching of Jesus, and then makes his own comments ; 
but if it be assumed that he began by concocting out of stray 
texts, altered to suit his purpose, a continuous discourse, the 
subsequent observations seem singularly useless and out of place. 
Although the passage forms a consecutive and harmonious dis- 
course, the nearest parallels in our Gospels can only be found by 
uniting parts of the following scattered verses : — Matt. v. 39, 40, 
22, 41, 16. The Christian who is struck on one cheek is to turn 
the other, and not to resist those who would take away his cloak 
or coat ; but if, on the contrary, he be angry, he is in danger of 
fire ; if, then, he be compelled to go one mile, let him show his 
gentleness by going two, and thus let his good works shine before 
men that, seeing them, they may adore his Father which is in 
heaven. It is evident that the last two sentences, which find 
their parallels in Matt, by putting v. 16 after 41, the former verse 
having quite a different context in the Gospel, must have so 
followed each other in Justin's text. His purpose is to quote the 
teaching of Jesus, "regarding our being patient under injuries, 
and ready to help all and free from anger " ; but his 
quotation of " Let your good works shine before men," etc., has 
no direct reference to his subject, and it cannot reasonably be 
supposed that Justin would have selected it from a separate part 
of the Gospel. Coming as it no doubt did in his Memoirs in the 
order in which he quotes it, it is quite appropriate to his purpose. 
It is difficult, for instance, to imagine why Justin further omitted 
the injunction in the parallel passage. Matt. v. 39, "that ye 
resist not evil," when supposed to quote the rest of the verse, since 
his express object is to show that " we ought not to strive," etc. 
The whole quotation presents the same characteristics as those 
which we have already examined, and in its continuity of thought 
and wide variation from the parallels in our Gospels, both in 
order and language, we must recognise a different and peculiar 

The passage t, again, is professedly a literal quotation, for 
Justin prefaces it with the words : " And regarding our not 
swearing at all, but ever speaking the truth, he taught thus " ; and 
having in these words actually stated what Jesus did teach, he 

' l\ 224 f. 2 A/>o/,, i. 16. 


proceeds to quote his very words.' In the quotation there is a 
clear departure from our Gospel, arising, not from accidental 
failure of memory, but from difference of source. The parallel 
passages in our Gospels, so far as they exist at all, can only be 
found by taking part of Matt. v. 34 and joining it to v. 37, 
omitting the intermediate verses. The quotation in the Epistle of 
James v. 12, which 'is evidently derived from a source different 
from Matthew, supports the reading of Justin. This, with the 
passage twice repeated in the Clementine Homilies in agreement 
with Justin, and, it may be added, the peculiar version found in 
early ecclesiastical writings, ^ all tend to confirm the belief that 
there existed a more ancient form of the injunction which Justin 
no doubt found in his Memoirs. The precept, terse, simple, and 
direct, as it is here, is much more in accordance with Justin's own 
description of the teaching of Jesus, as he evidently found it in 
his Gospel, than the diffused version contained in the first Gospel, 

V. 33-37. 

Another remarkable and characteristic illustration of the 
peculiarity of Justin's Memoirs is presented by the long passage /<:, 
which is also throughout consecutive and bound together by clear 
unity of thought.3 It is presented with the context: "For not those 
who merely make professions, but those who do the works, as he 
(Jesus) said, shall be saved. For he spake thus."'^ It does not, 
therefore, seem possible to indicate more clearly the deliberate 
intention to quote the exact expressions of Jesus, and yet not only 
do we find material difference from the language in the parallel 
passages in our Gospels, but those parallels, such as they are, can 
only be made by patching together the following verses in the 
order in which we give them : — Matt. vii. 21, Luke x. 16, Matt. vii. 
22, 23, xiii. 42, 43, vii. 15, part of 16, 19. It will be remarked 
that the passage {k 2), Luke x. 16, is thrust in between two 
consecutive verses in Matthew, and taken from a totally different 
context as the nearest parallel to /c 2 of Justin, although it is 
widely different from it, omitting altogether the most important 
words: "and doeth what I say." The repetition of the same 
phrase, " He that heareth me heareth him that sent me," in 
Apol.^ i. 63,5 makes it certain that Justin accurately quotes his 

^ P. 225 f. " P. 226, note I. 

3 Dr. Westcott considers that "the coincidence between Justin and the 
Clementine Gospel illustrates still more clearly the existence of a traditional as 
well as of an evangelical form of Christ's words " {On the Canon, p. 132). 
But why merely a " traditional," if by that he means oral tradition ? Luke i. 
I shows how many written versions there may have been ; cf. Tischendorf, 
Wann wtirden, u. s. w., p. 28 f., and anm. 1, p. 29. 

4 P. 226 ff. s See p. 227, note 2. 


Gospel, whilst the omission of the words in that place, " and 
doeth what I say," evidently proceeds from the fact that they are 
an interruption of the phrase for which Justin makes the quotation 
— namely, to prove that Jesus is sent forth to reveal the Father. It 
may be well to compare Justin's passage, k 1-4, with one occurring 
in the so-called Second Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, iv. 
" Let us not, therefore, only call him Lord, for that will not save 
us. For he saith : ' Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, 

shall be saved, but he that worketh righteousness.' the Lord 

said : ' If ye be with me gathered together in my bosom, and do 
not my commandments, I will cast you off and say to you : 
Depart from me ; I know you not whence you are, workers of 
iniquity.' " The expression epydrat avo/ztas here strongly recalls the 
reading of Justin. This passage, which is foreign to our Gospels, 
at least shows the existence of others containing parallel discourses 
with distinct variations. Some of the quotations in this spurious 
Epistle are stated to be taken from the " Gospel according to the 
Egyptians,"^ which was in all probabiUty a version of the Gospel 
according to the Hebrews.^ The variations which occur in 
Justin's repetition, in Z>/«/. 76, of his quotation k 3 are not 
important, because the more weighty departure from the Gospel 
in the words, " did we not eat and drink in thy name " (ov t<^ 
(TM dvo/xari ecfxiyofxev Kal cTrto/xev), is deliberately repeated ;3 and 
if, therefore, there be freedom of quotation, it is free quotation 
not from the canonical, but from a different Gospel. Origen's 
quotation^ does not affect this conclusion, for the repetition of the 
phrase (ov) tw dro/xaTt aov has the form of the Gospel, and 
besides, which is much more important, we know that Origen was 
well acquainted with the Gospel according to the Hebrews and 
other apocryphal works from which this may have been a reminis- 
cence. We must add, moreover, that the passage in Dia/. 76 
appears in connection with others widely differing from our 
Gospels. The passage k 5 not only materially varies from 
the parallel in Matt. xiii. 42, 43, in language, but in con- 
nection of ideas.5 Here also, upon examination, we must 
conclude that Justin quotes from a source different from our 
Gospels, and, moreover, that his Gospel gives with greater cor- 
rectness the original form of the passage. The weeping and 

' Cf. Clemens Al., Stroiti., iii. 9, 63 ; 13, 93. 

^ Compare the quotation, Cle?n. 11 ad Corinth., ii. 9, with the quota- 
tions from the Gospel according to the Hebrews in Epiphanius, Hcer., 
XXX. 14. 

3 Delitzsch admits the very striking character of this repetition. Unters. 
Entst. Matth. Ev., p. 34, see back, p. 373, note 2. 

4 Cf. p. 228, note I. s p, 228, cf. note 3. 


gnashing of teeth are distinctly represented as the consequence 
when the wicked see the bliss of the righteous while they are sent 
into everlasting fire, and not as the mere characteristics of hell. It 
will be observed that the preceding passages, k 3 and 4, find 
parallels to a certain extent in Matt. vii. 22, 23, although Luke 
xiii. 26, 27, is, in some respects, closer to the reading of 
Justin. K 5 finds no continuation of parallel in Matt, vii., from 
which the context comes, but we have to seek it in xiii. 42, 43. 
K 5, however, does find its continuing parallel in the next verse, 
in Luke xiii. 28, where we have "There shall be (the) weeping 
and (the) gnashing of teeth when ye shall see Abraham," etc. 
There is here, it is evident, the connection of ideas which is 
totally lacking in Matt. xiii. 42, 43, where the verses in question 
occur as the conclusion to the exposition of the Parable of the 
Tares. Now, although it is manifest that Luke xiii. 28 cannot 
possibly have been the source from which Justin quotes, still the 
opening words and the sequence of ideas demonstrate the great 
probability that other Gospels must have given, after k 4, a con- 
tinuation which is wanting after Matt. vii. 23, but which is 
indicated in the parallel Luke xiii. (26, 27) 28, and is somewhat 
closely followed in Matt. xiii. 42, 43. When such a sequence is 
found in an avowed quotation from Justin's Gospel, it is certain 
that he must have found it there substantially as he quotes it. 
The passage k 6,^ " For many shall arrive," etc., is a very 
important one, and it departs emphatically from the parallel in 
our first Gospel. Instead of being, like the latter, a warning 
against false prophets, it is merely the announcement that many 
deceivers shall come. This passage is rendered more weighty by 
the fact that Justin repeats it with little variation in Dial 35, and 
immediately after quotes a saying of Jesus of only five words 
which is not found in our Gospels ; and then he repeats a quota- 
tion to the same effect in the shape of a warning : " Beware of 
false prophets," etc., like that in Matt. vii. 15, but still distinctly 
differing from it.^ It is perfectly clear that Justin quotes two 
separate passages. It is impossible that he could intend to repeat 
the same quotation at an interval of only five words ; it is equally 
impossible that, having quoted it in the one form, he could so 
immediately quote it in the other through error of memory. The 
simple, and very natural, conclusion is that he found both passages 
in his Gospel. The object for which he quotes would more than 
justify the quotation of both passages ; the one referring to the 
many false Christians, and the other to the false prophets of whom 
he is speaking. That two passages so closely related should be 
found in the same Gospel is not in the least singular. There are 

^ P. 228. ^ Cf. p. 228, note I. 


numerous instances of the same in our Synoptics.^ The actual 
facts of the case, then, are these : Justin quotes in the Dialogue^ 
with the same marked deviations from the parallel in the 
Gospel, a passage quoted by him in the Apology^ and after an 
interval of only five words he quotes a second passage to the 
same effect, though with very palpable difference in its character, 
which likewise differs from the Gospel, in company with other 
texts which still less find any parallels in the canonical Gospels. 
The two passages, by their differences, distinguish each other as 
separate, whilst, by their agreement in common variations from 
the parallel in Matthew, they declare their common origin from a 
special Gospel, a result still further made manifest by the agree- 
ment between the first passage in the Dialogue and the quotations 
in the Apology. In k 72 Justin's Gospel substitutes e/ayojv 
for KapTTMy^ and is quite in the spirit of the passage d. " Ye 
shall know them from their works " is the natural reading. The 
Gospel version clearly introduces "fruit" prematurely, and weakens 
the force of the contrast which follows. It will be observed, 
moreover, that, in order to find a parallel to Justin's passage k 7, 8, 
only the first part of Matt. vii. 16 is taken, and the thread is 
only caught again at vii. 19, k 8 being one of the two passages 
indicated by de Wette which we are considering, and it agrees 
with Matt. vii. 19, with the exception of the single word Se. We 
must again point out, however, that this passage in Matt. vii. 19 is 
repeated no less than three times in our Gospels, a second time in 
Matt. iii. 10, and once in Luke iii. 19. Upon two occasions it is 
placed in the mouth of John the Baptist, and forms the second 
portion of a sentence, the whole of which is found in literal 
agreement both in Matt. iii. 10 and Luke iii. 9, " But now the axe 
is laid unto the root of the trees, therefore every tree," etc. The 
passage pointed out by de Wette as the parallel to Justin's anony- 
mous quotation. Matt. vii. 19 — a selection which is, of course, 
obligatory from the context — is itself a mere quotation by Jesus of 
part of the saying of the Baptist, presenting, therefore, double 
probabihty of being well known ; and as we have three instances 
of its literal reproduction in the Synoptics, it would, indeed, be 
arbitrary to affirm that it was not likewise given literally in other 
The passage ^3 is very emphatically given as a literal quotation 

' Cf. Matt. V. 29, 30, with xviii. 8, 9. 
xix. 30 with XX. 16. 
xiii. 12 ,, XXV. 29, 
iii. 10 ,, vii. 19. 

XX. 16 ,, xxii. 14 ; and viii. 12, xiii. 42, 50, xxii. 13, xxiv. 51, 
and XXV. 30, together ; Luke xiv. 1 1 with xviii. 14, etc. 
^ P. 228. 3 p. 229. 


of the words of Jesus, for Justin cites it directly to authenticate 
his own statements of Christian belief. He says : " But if you 
disregard us both when we entreat, and when we set all things 
openly before you, we shall not suffer loss, believing, or rather 
being fully persuaded, that everyone will be punished by eternal 
fire, according to the desert of his deeds, and in proportion to 
the faculties which he received from God will his account be 
required, as Christ declared when he said : ' To whom God gave 
more, of him shall more also be demanded again.' " This quota- 
tion has no parallel in the first Gospel, but we add it here as part 
of the Sermon on the Mount. The passage in Luke xii. 48, it 
will be perceived, presents distinct variation from it, and that 
Gospel cannot for a moment be maintained as the source of 
Justin's quotation. 

The last passage, /x,^ is one of those advanced by de Wette 
which led to this examination.^ It is, likewise, clearly a quotation ; 
but, as we have already shown, its agreement with Matt. v. 20 is 
no evidence that it was actually derived from that Gospel. Occur- 
ring, as it does, as one of numerous quotations from the Sermon 
on the Mount, whose general variation, both in order and language, 
from the parallels in our Gospel points to the inevitable conclusion 
that Justin derived them from a different source, there is no reason 
for supposing that this sentence also did not come from the same 

No one who has attentively considered the whole of these 
passages from the Sermon on the Mount, and still less those who 
are aware of the general rule of variation in his mass of quota- 
tions as compared with parallels in our Gospels, can fail to be 
struck by the systematic departure from the order and language of 
the Synoptics. The hypothesis that they are quotations from our 
Gospels involves the accusation against Justin of an amount of 
carelessness and negligence which is quite unparalleled in literature. 
Justin's character and training, however, by no means warrant any 
such aspersion, 3 and there are no grounds for it. Indeed, but for 
the attempt arbitrarily to establish the identity of the Memoi?'s of 
the Apostles with our Gospels, such a charge would never have 
been thought of. It is unreasonable to suppose that avowed and 
deliberate quotations of sayings of Jesus, made for the express 
purpose of furnishing authentic written proof of Justin's state- 
ments regarding Christianity, can, as an almost invariable rule, be 
so singularly incorrect, more especially when it is considered that 
these quotations occur in an elaborate apology for Christianity 
addressed to the Roman emperors, and in a careful and studied 

^ P. 229. ^ Cf. p. 219. 

3 Cf. Eusebius, H. E.,jy. 11- 18. 


controversy with a Jew in defence of the new faith. The simple 
and natural conclusion, supported by many strong reasons, is that 
Justin derived his quotations from a Gospel which was different 
from ours, although naturally, by subject and design, it must have 
been related to them. His Gospel, in fact, differs from our 
Synoptics as they differ from each other. 

We now return to Tischendorf's statements with regard to 
Justin's acquaintance with our Gospels. Having examined the 
supposed references to the first Gospel, we find that Tischendorf 
speaks much less positively with regard to his knowledge of the 
other two Synoptics. He says: "There is the greatest proba- 
bility that in several passages he also follows Mark and Luke."^ 
First taking Mark, we find that the only example which Tischendorf 
gives is the following. He says : "Twice {Dial. 76 and 100) he 
quotes as an expression of the Lord: 'The Son of Man must 
suffer many things, and be rejected by the Scribes and Pharisees 
(ch. 100, by the 'Pharisees and Scribes'), and be crucified, and 
the third day rise again.'^ This agrees better with Mark viii. 31 
and Luke ix. 22 than with Matt. xvi. 21, only in Justin the 
' Pharisees ' are put instead of the ' Elders and Chief Priests ' (so 
Matthew, Mark, and Luke), likewise ' be crucified ' instead of ' be 
killed.' "3 This is the only instance of similarity with Mark that 
Tischendorf can produce, and we have given his own remarks to 
show how weak his case is. The passage in Mark viii. 31 
reads : "And he began to teach them that the Son of Man 
must suffer many things, and be rejected by the Elders and 
the Chief Priests {yiro rwv Trpea-fSyrepcov koI tmv apy^tepkoiv) and the 
Scribes, and be killed (/cat airoKravdrjvai), and after three days 
{kol fxera rpds rifxipas) rise again." And the following is the 
reading of Luke ix. 22 : " Saying that the Son of man must suffer 
many things, and be rejected by the Elders and Chief Priests 
(aTTo rwv 7rp€(r/3vT€p(x)v Kal a/))(ie/o€a>v) and Scribes, and be killed 
{kol dTTOKTavdy^vai), and the third day rise again." It will be 
perceived that, different as it also is, the passage in Luke is nearer 
than that of Mark, which cannot in any case have been the source 
of Justin's quotation. Tischendorf, however, does not point out 
that Justin, elsewhere, a third time refers to this very passage in 

the very same terms. He says: "And Christ having come 

and himself also preached, saying that he must suffer 

many things from the Scribes and Pharisees and be crucified, and 

' Wann Wtirden^ u. s. w. , p. 28. 

- Aei TOP vlbv Tov avOpdoirov iroWa iradeXp, Kai dTTodoKLimaadrjvaL vwb t(2v 
Fpa/x./xarewj' Kal ^apicroiiwv, Kal aTavpwdijvai., Kal rrj TpLrrj rjfiepg. dvaaTTJvai. 
Dial. 76 (c. 100, ^apiaaiiav Kal TpaixfiaTitov). 

3 Wann wurden, u. s. w., p. 28, anm. I. 



the third day rise again. "^ Although this omits the words " and 
be rejected," it gives the whole of the passage Hterally as before. 
And thus there is the very remarkable testimony of a quotation 
three times repeated, with the same marked variations from our 
Gospels, to show that Justin found those very words in his 
Memoirs. The persistent variation clearly indicates a different 
source from our Synoptics. We may, in reference to this reading, 
compare Luke xxiv. 6 : " He is not here, but is risen : remember 
how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee (v. 7), saying 
that the Son of Man must be delivered up into the hands of sinful 
men, and be crucified^ and the third day rise again." This reference 
to words of Jesus, in which the words koX a-ravpbiOrjvaL occurred, 
as in Justin, indicates that, although our Gospels do not contain 
it, some others may well have done so. In one place Justin 
introduces the saying with the following words : " For he exclaimed 
before the crucifixion, the Son of Man," etc.,^ both indicating a 
time for the discourse and also quoting a distinct and definite 
saying in contradistinction to this report of the matter of his 
teaching, which is the form in which the parallel passage occurs 
in the Gospels. In Justin's Memoirs it no doubt existed as an 
actual discourse of Jesus, which he verbally and accurately quoted. 
With regard to the third Gospel, Tischendorf says : " It is in 
reference to Luke (xxii. 44) that Justin recalls in the Dialogue 
(103) the falling drops of the sweat of agony on the Mount of 
Olives, and certainly with an express appeal to the ' Memoirs 
composed by his Apostles and their followers.' "3 Now we have 
already seen^ that Justin, in the passage referred to, does not 
make use of the peculiar expression which gives the whole of its 
character to the account in Luke, and that there is no ground for 
af^rming that Justin derived his information from that Gospel. 
The only other reference to passages proving the " probability " of 
Justin's use of Luke or Mark is that which we have just discussed 
— " The Son of Man must," etc. From this the character of 
Tischendorf's assumptions may be inferred. De Wette does not 
advance any instances of verbal agreement either with Mark or 
Luke. 5 He says, moreover : " The historical references are much 
freer still (than quotations), and combine in part the accounts of 
Matthew and Luke ; some of the kind, however, are not found at 

^ 6'ri Bet avrbp iroWa iradeiv dirb t(2v Vpa/xfxaT^biv /cat ^apLaaicov, Kal aravpu)- 
drjvai, Kal rrj Tpirri ijfiepg, dvaarTjpac. Dial. 51. - Dial. 76. 

3 IVann wurden, u. s. w. , p. 28, anrn. i . ^ P. 208 f. 

5 We may point out, however, that he says : " Andere w'drtliche Ueber- 
einstimmungen kommen mitten tinier Abweichungen vor, wie ApoL, ii., p. 75, 
vgl. Matt. i. 21, wo Luc. i. 35, daniit combinirt ist." Einl., N. T.. p. 105 ; 
but a single phrase combined with a passage very like one in a different Gospel 
is a very poor argument. 


all in our canonical Gospels."' This we have already sufficiently 

We might now well terminate the examination of Justin's 
quotations, which has already taken up too much of our space ; 
but before doing so it may be very advisable briefly to refer to 
another point. In his work, On the Canon, Dr. Westcott adopts 
a somewhat singular course. He evidently feels the very great 
difficulty in which any one who asserts the identity of the source 
of Justin's quotations with our Gospels is placed by the fact that, 
as a rule, these quotations differ from parallel passages in our 
Gospels ; and whilst on the one hand maintaining that the 
quotations generally are from the canonical Gospels, he on the 
other endeavours to reduce the number of those which profess 
to be quotations at all. He says : " To examine in detail the 
whole of Justin's quotations would be tedious and unnecessary. 
It will be enough to examine (i) those which are alleged by him 
as quotations, and (2) those also which, though anonymous, are 
yet found repeated with the same variations either in Justin's 
own writings or (3) in heretical works. It is evidently on these 
quotations that the decision hangs. "^ Now under the first 
category Dr. Westcott finds very few. He says : In seven 
passages only, as far as I can discover, does Justin profess to 
give the exact words recorded in the Memoirs ; and in these, if 
there be no reason to the contrary, it is natural to expect that 
he will preserve the exact language of the Gospels which he used, 
just as in anonymous quotations we may conclude that he is 
trusting to memory. "3 Before proceeding further, we may point 
out the straits to which an apologist is reduced who starts with 
a foregone conclusion. We have already seen a number of 
Justin's professed quotations; but here, after reducing the 
number to seven only, our critic prepares a way of escape 
even out of these. It is difficult to understand what "reason 
to the contrary " can possibly justify a man " who professes 
to give the exact words recorded in the Memoirs" for not 
doing what he professes ; and, further, it passes our compre- 
hension to understand why, in anonymous quotations, " we 
may conclude that he is trusting to memory." The cautious 
exception is as untenable as the gratuitous assumption. Dr. 
Westcott continues, as follows, the passage which we have just 
interrupted : " The result of a first view of the passages is striking. 
Of the seven, five agree verbally with the text of St. Matthew or 
St. Luke, exhibiting indeed three slight various readings not 
elsewhere founds but such as are easily explicable ; the sixth is a 
compound summary of words related by St. Matthew ; the seventh 

' Einl.^ iV. Z:, p. III. '^ On the Canon, p. 112 f. 3 Jb.^ 114. 


dXowQ presents an important variation in the text of a verse^ which is, 
however, otherwise very uncertain."' The italics of course are ours. 
The " first view " of the passages and of the above statement is 
indeed striking. It is remarkable how easily difficulties are 
overcome under such an apologetic system. The striking result, 
to summarise Dr. Westcott's own words, is this : out of seven 
professed quotations from the Memoirs, in which he admits we 
may expect to find the exact language preserved, five present 
three variations ; one is a compressed summary, and does not agree 
verbally at all ; and the seventh presents an important variation. 
Dr. Westcott, on the same easy system, continues : " Our inquiry 
is thus confined to the two last instances, and it must be seen 
whether their disagreement from the synoptic Gospel is such as to 
outweigh the agreement of the remaining five."^ Before proceeding 
to consider these seven passages admitted by Dr. Westcott, we 
must point out that, in a note to the statement of the number, he 
mentions that he excludes other two passages as "not merely 
quotations of words, but concise narratives. "3 But surely this is 
a most extraordinary reason for omitting them, and one the 
validity of which cannot be admitted. As Justin introduces 
them deliberately as quotations, why should they be excluded 
simply because they are combined with a historical statement? 
We shall produce them. The first is in ApoL, i. 66 : " For the 
Apostles, in the Memoirs composed by them which are called 
Gospels,^ handed down that it was thus enjoined on them that 
Jesus, having taken bread and given thanks, said : ' This do in 
remembrance of me. This is my body.' And similarly, having 
taken the cup and given thanks, he said : ' This is my blood,' and 
delivered it to them alone."5 This passage, it will be remembered, 
occurs in an elaborate apology for Christianity addressed to the 
Roman emperors, and Justin is giving an account of the most 
solemn sacrament of his religion. Here, if ever, we might 
reasonably expect accuracy and care ; and Justin, in fact, carefully 
indicates the source of the quotation he is going to make. It is 
difficult to understand any ground upon which so direct a quota- 
tion from the Memoirs of the Apostles could be set aside by Dr. 
Westcott. Justin distinctly states- that the Apostles in these 
Memoirs have " thus " (ovtw?) transmitted what was enjoined 
on us by Jesus, and then gives the precise quotation. Had the 
quotation agreed with our Gospels, would it not have been claimed 
as a professedly accurate quotation from them ? Surely no one 
can reasonably pretend, for instance, that when Justin, after this 
preamble, states that, having taken bread, etc., Jesus said : " This 

' On the Canon, p. 113 f. "" lb., p. 114. 3 lb., p. 1 13, note I. 

'^ We have already discussed these words, p. 185 f. s Apol., i. 66. 

JUSTIN Martyr 245 

do in remembrance of me : this is my body "; or, having taken 
the cup, etc., he said: "This is my blood" — Justin does not 
deliberately mean to quote what Jesus actually did say ? Now, the 
account of the episode in Luke is as follows (xxii. 17) : " And he 
took a cup, gave thanks, and said : " Take this and divide it 
among yourselves. 18. For I say unto you, I will not drink of 
the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God shall come. 19. 
And he took bread, gave thanks, brake it, and gave it unto them, 
saying : This is my body which is given for you : this do in 
remembrance of me. 20. And in like manner the cup after 
supper, saying : This is the new covenant in my blood, which is 
shed for you."' Dr. Westcott, of course, only compares this 
passage of Justin with Luke, to which, and the parallel in 
I Cor. xi. 24, wide as the difference is, it is closer than to the 
accounts in the other two Gospels. That Justin professedly 
quoted literally from the Memoirs is evident, and is rendered 
still more clear by the serious context with which the quota- 
tion is introduced, the intention being to authenticate his 
explanations by actual written testimony. His dogmatic 
views, moreover, are distinctly drawn from a Gospel, which, 
in a more direct way than our Synoptics do, gave the 
expressions: "This is my body," and "This is my blood," and 
it must have been observed that Luke, with which Justin's 
reading alone is compared, not only has not : Tovt ka-Ti to ai/xa 
\t^ov, at all, but makes use of a totally different expression : 
"This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for 

The second quotation from the Memoirs which Dr.. Westcott 
passes over is that in Dial. 103, compared with Luke xxii. 42, 43,'' 
on the Agony in the Garden, which we have already examined^ 
and found at variance with our Gospel, and without the peculiar 
and distinctive expressions of the latter. 

We now come to the seven passages which Dr. Westcott admits 
to be professed quotations from the Memoirs, and in which " it 
is natural to expect that he will preserve the exact words of the 
Gospels which he used." The first of these is a passage in the 
Dialogue^ part of which has already been discussed in connection 
with the fire in Jordan and the voice at the Baptism, and found to 
be from a source different from our Synoptics.^ Justin says: "For 
even he, the devil, at the time when he also (Jesus) went up from 
the river Jordan when the voice said to Him : ' Thou art my Son, 
this day have I begotten thee,' is recorded in the Memoirs of the 
Apostles to have come to him and tempted him even so far as 

' Luke xxii. 17-20 ; cf. Matt. xxvi. 26 ff. ; Mark xiv. 22 ff. 

'^ On the Canon, p. 113, note i. 3 p. 208 f. ^ p, 200 ff. 


saying to him : ' Worship me ' ; and Christ answered him {Kal 
aTTOKpLvaarOai avro) rov ^picrTov^j ' Get thee behind me, 
Satan' ("YTraye oTTtcrw fxov, '2arava-), ' thou shalt worship 
the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.'"' This 
passage is compared with the account of the temptation in 
Matt. iv. 9, lo : " And he said unto him, All these things will I 
give thee, if thou will fall down and worship me. lo. Then saith 
Jesus unto him (rore Aeyei avT(^ o 'lr](rovs), Get thee hence, 
Satan ("YTraye Sarava-) : /V ts written^ Thou shalt worship," 
etc. All the oldest Codices^ it should be stated, omit the oTrto-oj 
/xov, as we have done, but Cod. D. (Bezae) and a few others of 
infirm authority insert these two words. Dr. Westcott, however, 
justly admits them to be " probably only a very early interpola- 
tion."2 We have no reason for supposing that they existed 
in Matthew during Justin's time. The oldest Codices omit the 
whole phrase from the parallel passage, Luke iv. 8, but Cod. A. 
is an exception, and reads : "Yxaye oTrto-w />tov, Sarava. The 
best modern editions, however, reject this as a mere recent 
addition to Luke. A comparison of the first and third Gospels 
with Justin clearly shows that the Gospel which he used followed 
the former more closely than Luke. Matthew makes the climax of 
the temptation the view of all the kingdoms of the world, and the 
offer to give them to Jesus if he will fall down and worship Satan. 
Luke, on the contrary, makes the final temptation the suggestion 
to throw himself down from the pinnacle of the temple. Justin's 
Gospel, as the words, " so far as saying to him " (p^^xp'- '^^^' dirdv 
avTw), etc., clearly indicate, had the same climax as Matthew. 
Now, the following points must be observed. Justin makes the 
words of Satan, " Worship me " {Jlpo(TKvv7](r6v /xot), a distinct 
quotation ; the Gospel makes Satan offer all that he had shown 
" if thou wilt fall down and worship me " (lav ttco-wv Trpo(TKvvricry<i 
/xoi). Then Justin's quotation proceeds : " And Christ answered 
him " (/cat aTroKpivaa-Qai avria rov X/owttov) ; whilst Matthew 
has : " Then Jesus saith to him " (totc Xeyet avrw 6 'Iiyo-ovs), 
which is a marked variation. 3 The oTrto-o) /aov of Justin, 
as we have already said, is not found in any of the older 
Codices of Matthew. Then the words, " it is written," which form 
part of the reply of Jesus in our Gospels, are omitted in Justin's ; 
but we must add that in Dial. 125, in again referring to the 
temptation, he has, "it is written." Still, in that passage he 
also inserts the whole phrase, " Get thee behind me, Satan," and 
commences : "For he answered him: It is written. Thou shalt 
worship," etc. 

' Dial. 103. ^ On the Canon, p. 113, note 2, i. 

3 Luke iv. 12 reads, koX diroKpidels avrt^ eXirev 6 'IrjaoOs. 


We must, however, again point out the most important fact that 
this account of the temptation is directly connected with another 
which is foreign to our Gospels. The Devil is said to come at the 
time Jesus went up out of the Jordan and the voice said to him : 
"Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee" — words which 
do not occur at all in our Gospels, and which are again bound up 
with the incident of the fire in Jordan. It is altogether unreason- 
able to assert that Justin could have referred the fact which he 
proceeds to quote from the Memoirs to the time those words 
were uttered, if they were not to be found in the same Memoirs. 
The one incident was most certainly not derived from our Gospels, 
inasmuch as they do not contain it, and there are the very strongest 
reasons for asserting that Justin derived the account of the temp- 
tation from a source which contained the other. Under these 
circumstances every variation is an indication, and those which 
we have pointed out are not accidental, but clearly exclude the 
assertion that the quotation is from our Gospels. 

The second of the seven passages of Dr. Westcott is one of 
those from the Sermon on the Mount, Dial. 105, compared with 
Matt. V. 20, adduced by de Wette, which we have already con- 
sidered.^ With the exception of the opening words, Aeyw yap 
vijlv on, the two sentences agree, but this is no proof that Justin 
derived the passage from Matthew; while, on the contrary, the 
persistent variation of the rest of his quotations from the Sermon 
on the Mount, both in order and language, forces upon us the 
conviction that he derived the whole from a source different from 
our Gospels. 

The third passage of Dr. Westcott is that regarding the sign of 
Jonas the prophet. Matt. xii. 39, compared with jDia/. 107, which 
was the second instance adduced by Tischendorf. We have 
already examined it,^ and found that it presents distinct variations 
from our first Synoptic, both linguistically and otherwise, and that 
many reasons lead to the conclusion that it was quoted from a 
Gospel different from ours. 

The fourth of Dr. Westcott's quotations is the following, to part 
of which we have already had occasion to refer :3 " For which 
reason our Christ declared on earth to those who asserted that 
Elias must come before Christ : Elias indeed shall come ('HXia? 
fx€v eXevareTat), and shall restore all things : but I say unto you 
that Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but did unto 
him (avTw) whatsoever they listed. And it is written that then 
the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the 
Baptist. "4 The " express quotation " in this passage, which is 
compared with Matt. xvii. 11-13, is limited by Dr. Westcott to 

' Cf. pp. 219, 240 f. = P. 217 f. 3 p. 200. 2 Dm/. 49. 


the last short sentence^ corresponding with Matt. xvii. 13, and he 
points out that Credner admits that it must have been taken from 
Matthew. It is quite true that Credner considers that if any 
passage of Justin's quotations proves a necessary connection 
between Justin's Gospels and the Gospel according to Matthew, it 
is this sentence : "And it is written that then the disciples," etc. 
He explains his reason for this opinion as follows : " These words 
can only be derived from our Matthew, with which they literally 
agree ; for it is thoroughly improbable that a remark of so special 
a description could have been made by two different and inde- 
pendent individuals so completely in the same way."^ We totally 
differ from this argument, which is singularly opposed to Credner's 
usual clear and thoughtful mode of reasoning. No doubt, if such 
Gospels could be considered to be absolutely distinct and inde- 
pendent works, deriving all their matter from individual and 
separate observation of the occurrences narrated by their authors 
and personal report of the discourses given, there might be greater 
force in the argument, although even in that case it would have 
been far from conclusive here, inasmuch as the observation we 
are considering is the mere simple statement of a fact necessary to 
complete the episode, and it might well have been made in the 
same terms by separate reporters. Now, such an expression as 
Matt. xvii. 13 in some early record of the discourse might have 
been transferred to a dozen of other Christian writings. Ewald 
assigns the passage to the oldest Gospel, Matthew, in its present 
form, being fifth in descent. 3 

Our three canonical Gospels are filled with instances in which 
expressions still more individual are repeated, and these show that 
such phrases cannot be limited to one Gospel ; but, if confined in 
the first instance to one original source, may have been transferred 
to many subsequent evangelical works. Take, for instance, a 

passage in Matt. vii. 28, 29: " the multitudes were astonished 

at his teaching : for he taught them as having authority, and not 
as their scribes."^ Mark i. 22 has the very same passage,5 with 
the mere omission of "the multitude" (ol 6x^01), which does 
not in the least affect the argument ; and Luke iv. 32 : "And they 
were astonished at his teaching : for his word was power. "^ 

' On the Canon, p. 114, note 4. ^ Credner, Beitrdge, i., p. 237. 

3 Die drei ersten Evangelien, p. 34, cf. p. i -, Jahrb. bibl. Wiss., 1849, p. 
190 ff. 

'^ e^eirXiflcraovTo oi ox^oi eirl rrj dt8axv avrov- ijv yap dLddaKuv avrods ws 

e^ovaiav ex'^v, Kal oi'x ws ol ypa/bLfxaTeh ai/'rwV. Matt. vii. 28, 29. 

5 The final avrQv is omitted from the end of the passage in Matthew in 
many MSS., and added by others in Mark. 

^ Kal €^e7r\7i<TaovTO ivl rrj didaxi} avTov, on iv e^ovcLq. ijv 6 Xdyos avrov. 
Luke iv. 32. 


Although the author of the third Gospel somewhat alters the 
language, it is clear that he follows the same original, and retains 
it in the same context as the second Gospel. Now the occurrence 
of such a passage as this in one of the Fathers, if either the first 
or second Gospels were lost, would, on Credner's grounds, be 
attributed undoubtedly to the survivor, although in reality derived 
from the Gospel no longer extant, which likewise contained it. 
Another example may be pointed out in Matt. xiii. 34 : "All these 
things spake Jesus unto the multitudes in parables ; and without 
a parable spake he not unto them,'^ compared with Mark iv. 33, 34, 

" And with many such parables spake he the word unto them 

and without a parable spake he not unto them." The part of this 
very individual remark which we have italicised is literally the 
same in both Gospels, as a personal comment at the end of the 
parable of the grain of mustard seed. Then, for instance, in the 
account of the sleep of the three disciples during the Agony in 
the Garden (Matt. xxvi. 43, Mark xiv. 40), the expression, "and he 
found them asleep, for their eyes were heavy,'" which is equally 
individual, is literally the same in the first two Gospels. Another 
special remark of a similar kind regarding the rich young man, 
" He went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions," is found 
both in Matt. xix. 22 and Mark x. 22. Such examples^ might be 
multiplied, and they show that the occurrence of passages of the 
most individual character cannot, in Justin's time, be limited to 
any single Gospel. 

Now, the verse we are discussing. Matt. xvii. 13, in all proba- 
bility, as Ewald supposes, occurred in one or more of the older 
forms of the Gospel from which our Synoptics, and many other 
similar works, derived their matter, and nothing is more likely 
than that the Gospel according to the Hebrews, which in many 
respects was nearly related to Matthew, may have contained it. At 
any rate, we have shown that such sayings cannot, however appa- 
rently individual, be considered evidence of the use of a particular 
Gospel simply because it happens to be the only one now extant 
which contains it. Credner, however, whilst expressing the opinion 
whjch we have quoted, likewise adds his belief that by the expres- 
sion, KOi yeypaTTTat, Justin seems expressly to indicate that this 
sentence is taken from a different work from what precedes it, 
and he has proved that the preceding part of the quotation was 
not derived from our Gospels. ^ We cannot, however, coincide 
with this opinion either. It seems to us that the expression, "and 

* Cf. Matt. iii. 3, Mark i. 2, 3, Luke iii. 4 ; Matt. iii. 5, 6, Mark i. 5 ; 
Matt. xiv. 3, 4, Mark vi. 17, 18 ; Matt. xiv. 9, Mark vi. 26 ; Matt, xxviii. 
14, Mark xv. 5 ; Matt, xxvii. 39, Mark xv. 29, etc. 

'^ Credner, Beitrcige, i., p. 237. 


it is written," simply was made use of by Justin to show that the 
identification of Elias with John the Baptist is not his, but was 
the impression conveyed at the time by Jesus to his disciples. 
Now, the whole narrative of the baptism of John in Justin bears 
characteristic marks of being from a Gospel different from ours,' 
and in the first part of this very quotation we find distinct variation. 
Justin first affirms that Jesus in his teaching had proclaimed that 
Elias should also come (/cat 'HAiav eXeva-ea-Bai), and then 
further on he gives the actual words of Jesus : 'HA.ta§ fiev 
iXev(T€Tai, K.T.A,., which we have before us, whilst in Matthew the 
words are : 'HXtas /xev cpx^rat, and there is no MS. which 
reads eXeva-erat for ep^^erai; and yet, as Credner remarks, the 
whole force of the quotation rests upon the word, and Justin is 
persistent in his variation from the text of our first Synoptic. It 
is unreasonable to say that Justin quotes loosely the important 
part of his passage, and then about a few words at the close 
pretends to be so particularly careful. Considering all the facts of 
the case, we must conclude that this quotation also is from a source 
different from our Gospels. 

Another point, however, must be noted. Dr. Westcott claims 
this passage as an express quotation from the Memoirs, apparently 
for no other reason than that the few words happen to agree with 
Matt. xvii. 13, and that he wishes to identify the Memoirs with 
our Gospels. Justin, however, does not once mention the Memoirs 
in this chapter ; it follows, therefore, that Dr. Westcott, who is so 
exceedingly strict in his limitation of express quotations, assumes 
that all quotations of Christian history and words of Jesus in 
Justin are to be considered as derived from the Memoirs, whether 
they be mentioned by name or not. We have already seen that 
amongst these there are not only quotations differing from the 
Gospels, and contradicting them, but others which have no 
parallels at all in them. 

The fifth of Dr. Westcott's express quotations occurs in Dial. 
105, where Justin says : " For when he (Jesus) was giving up his 
spirit on the cross he said : ' Father, into thy hands I commend 
my spirit,' as I have also learned from the Memoirs." This short 
sentence agrees with Luke xxiii. 46, it is true ; but, as we have 
already shown,^ Justin's whole account of the Crucifixion differs 
so materially from that in our Gospels that it cannot have been 
derived from them. 

We see this forcibly in examining the sixth of Dr. Westcott's 
quotations, which is likewise connected with the Crucifixion. " For 
they who saw him crucified also wagged their heads, each one of 
them, and distorted their lips, and sneeringly, and in scornful 

* P. 200 ff. = P. 213 f. 



irony, repeated among themselves those words which are also 
written in the Memoirs of his Apostles : He declared himself the 
son of God : (let him) come down, let him walk about : let God 
save him."' We have ourselves already quoted and discussed this 
passage,^ and need not further examine it here. Dr. Westcott has 
nothing better to say regarding this quotation, in an examination 
of the accuracy of parallel passages, than this : " These exact 
words do not occur in our Gospels, but we do find there others so 
closely connected with them that few readers would feel the differ- 
ence "!3 When criticism descends to language like this, the case 
is, indeed, desperate. It is clear that, as Dr. Westcott admits, 
the words are expressly declared to be a quotation from the 
Memoirs of the Apostles, but they do not exist in our Gospels, 
and consequently our Gospels are not identical with the Memoirs. 
Dr. Westcott refers to the taunts in Matthew, and then, with com- 
mendable candour, he concludes his examination of the quotation 
with the following words : " No manuscript or Father (so far as we 
know) has preserved any reading of the passage more closely 
resembling Justin's quotation ; and if it appear not to be deducible 
from our Gospels, due allowance being made for the object which 
he had in view, its source must remain concealed."^ We need 
only add that it is futile to talk of making " due allowance " for 
the object which Justin had in view. His immediate object was 
accurate quotation, and no allowance can account for such variation 
in language and thought as is presented in this passage. That this 
passage, though a professed quotation from the Memoirs, is not 
taken from our Gospels is certain, both from its own variations and 
the differences in other parts of Justin's account of the Crucifixion, 
an event whose solemnity and importance might well be expected 
to secure reverential accuracy. It is impossible to avoid the con- 
clusion that Justin's Memoirs of the Apostles were not identical 
with our Gospels, and the systematic variation of his quotations 
thus receives its natural and reasonable explanation. 

The seventh and last of Dr. Westcott's express quotations is, 
as* he states, " more remarkable." We subjoin the passage in 
contrast with the parallel texts of the first and third Gospels : — 

Justin, Dial. 100. Matt. xi. 27. 1 Luke x. 22. 

And in the Gospel 
it is written that he 
said : 

All things have been 
delivered to me by the 

All things were de- 
livered to me by theS 

All things were 
livered to me by 


^ Dial. 10 1. 
3 On the Canon, p. 
2 Most Codices read " my, 
more favourable. 

114 f. 

' but the Cod. 


= P. 211 f. 
4 Ib.,^^. 115. 
having "the," we give 



Justin, Dial. ioo. 

Father, and no one 
knoweth (yivibcrKei) the 
Father but the Son, nor 
the Son but the Father 

those to whomsoever 
the Son shall reveal 

Kat eV T(^ €vayy€\i({} 
8^ yiy paTTTai. e'nrujv 
WdvTa fxoi 7rapa8i8oTaL 
virb ToO Trarpds /cat ov8€ls 
yivuxTKCL rbv irarepa ei 
fir] 6 vl6s- ov8e rbv vibv 
el fXTj 6 vaTTTjp KoL oh hv 
6 vlbs a.TTOKa\(i\pri. 

Matt. xi. 27. 

Father, and no one 
knoweth {eTnytPuxXKeL) 
the Son but the Father, 
nor knoweth {iinyLvih- 
(tkcl) anyone the Father 
but the Son, and he 
to whomsoever the Son 
is minded to reveal 

lldvTa [XOL irapeSodr] 
vrro Tov Trarpds,^ /cat ovSeU 
iirLyLvd}(7K€L xbv vlbv ei 
fiT] 6 Trarrip, ov8e top 
Trarepa rts eTriyivdbaKei 
el fiT] 6 vib^ Kal cp edv 
^ovXrjTai 6 vibs diroica- 

Iaikk X. 22. 

P^ather, and no one 
knoweth {yiPihaKeL) 

who the Son is but the 
Father, and who the 
Father is but the Son, 

and he to whomsoever 
the Son is minded to 
reveal him. 

IldPTa fioL irapeSodr] 
virb rod irarpSs fiov, Kal 
ov8els yLPcoaKei rh eariv 
6 vlbs el fxrj 6 irarrjp, 
Kal tLs ea-Tip 6 iraTifjp, 
el jxr] 6 vlbs Kal ^ eap 
^ovXrjTai 6 vlbs diroKa- 

It is apparent that Justin's quotation differs very materially 
from our Gospels in language, in construction, and in meaning. 
These variations, however, acquire very remarkable confirmation 
and significance from the fact that Justin in two other places^ 
quotes the latter and larger part of the passage from ovSets in 
precisely the same way, with the sole exception that, in both of 
these quotations, he used the aorist eyvoj instead of yiv(oa-Kei. 
This threefold repetition in the same peculiar form clearly stamps 
the passage as being a Hteral quotation from his Gospel, and 
the one exception to the verbal agreement of the three passages, 
in the substitution of the present for the aorist in the Dialogue^ 
does not remove or lessen the fundamental variation of the 
passage from our Gospel. As the cyvw is twice repeated, it 
was probably the reading of his text. Now it is well known 
that the peculiar form of the quotation in Justin occurred in 
what came to be considered heretical Gospels, and constituted 
the basis of important Gnostic doctrines. 3 Dr. Westcott speaks 
of the use of this passage by the Fathers in agreement with 
Justin in a manner which, unintentionally we have no doubt, 
absolutely misrepresents important facts. He says : " The trans- 
position of the words still remains ; and how little weight can be 
attached to that will appear upon an examination of the various 
forms in which the text is quoted by Fathers like Origen, Irenseus, 
and Epiphanius, who admitted our Gospels exclusively. It occurs 

' See last note. ^ ApoL, i. 63. 

3 Dr. Westcott merely alludes to this in the briefest way in a note {On the 
Canon, p. 115, note 2). 


in them as will be seen from the table of readings' with almost 
every possible variation. Irenaeus in the course of one chapter 
quotes the verse first as it stands in the canonical text ; then in 
the same order, but with the last clause like Justin's ; and once 
again altogether as he has given it. Epiphanius likewise quotes 
the text seven times in the same order as Justin, and four times 
as it stands in the Gospels."^ Now in the chapter to which 
reference is made in this sentence Irenseus commences by stating 
that the Lord had declared: '■^ JVemo cognoscit Filium nisi Pater ; 
negue Pair em quis cognoscit nisi Filius^ etcuivolueritFilius revelarej'^^ 
as he says, " Thus Matthew has set it down and Luke similarly, 
and Mark the very same."^ He goes on to state, however, that 
those who would be wiser than the Apostles write this verse as 
follows : ''''Nemo cognovit Patrem nisi Filius ; nee Filium nisi Pater ^ 
et cui voluerit Filius revelare.^^ And he explains: "They interpret 
it as though the true God was known to no man before the coming 
of our Lord ; and that God who was announced by the Prophets 
they affirm not to be the Father of Christ. "5 Now in this passage 
we have the cyi/w of Justin in the ^^ cognovit" in contradistinction 
to the ^^ cognoscit'' of the Gospel, and his transposition of order as 
not by any possibility an accidental thing, but as the distinct basis 
of doctrines. Irenaeus goes on to argue that no one can know the 
Father unless through the Word of God, that is through the Son, 
and this is why he said : " ' Nemo cognoscit Patrem nisi Filius ; 
neque Filium nisi Pater ^ et quibuscunque Filius revelaveritj Thus 
teaching that he himself also is the Father, as indeed he is, in 
order that we may not receive any other Father except him who is 
revealed by the Son."^ In this third quotation Irenseus alters the 
€yi/(o into yivwo-Ket, but retains the form, for the rest, of the 
Gnostics and of Justin, and his aim apparently is to show that, 
adopting his present tense instead of the aorist, the transposition 
of words is of no importance. A fourth time, however, in the same 
chapter, which in fact is wholly dedicated to this passage and to 
th^ doctrines based upon it, Irenseus quotes the saying : ^'' Nemo 
cognoscit Filium nisi Pater ; neque Patrem nisi Filius^ et quibus- 
cunque Filius revelaverit.''7 Here the language and order of the 

' In the few readings given in this table, Dr. Westcott does not distinguish 
the writers at all. Cf. On the Canon, p. 116, note 3. 

^ On the Canon, p. 116. 3 Adv. Hear., iv. 6, § I. 

'^ Sic et Mathceus posuit, et Lucas similiter, et Marcus idem ipsum. We 
need not point out that this is a misstatement, for our Mark has not got the 
passage at all. 

5 '■^ Et interpretantur, quasi a nulla cognitus sit verus Deus ante Domini 
nostri adventum : et eum Deum, qui a prophetis sit annuntiatus, dicunt nan 
esse Patrem Christi.'" Adv. Hcer., iv. 6, § I. 

^ Docens semetipsum et Patrem, sicut est, ut alterum non recipiamus Patrem, 
nisi eum qui a Filio revelatur. lb., iv. 6, § 3. 7 Adv. Hcer., iv. 6, § 7. 


Gospel are followed with the exception that ^Uui voluerit revelare^' 
is altered to the ^'' quibuscunque revelaverW of Justin; and that this 
is intentional is made clear by the continuation: "For revelaverit 
was said not with reference to the future alone, "^ etc. 

Now, in this chapter we learn very clearly that, although the 
canonical Gospels, by the express declaration of Irenaeus, had 
their present reading of the passage before us, other Gospels of 
considerable authority even in his time had the form of Justin, for 
again, in a fifth passage, he quotes the opening words : " He who 
was known, therefore, was not different from him who declared : 
' No one knoweth the Father,' but one and the same."^ With the 
usual alteration of the verb to the present tense, Irenaeus, in this 
and in one of the other quotations of this passage just cited, gives 
some authority to the transposition of the words " Father " and 
" Son," although the reading was opposed to the Gospels ; but he 
invariably adheres to yivwo-Kci and condemns eyvw, the reading 
maintained by those who, in the estimation of Irenaeus, " would 
be wiser than the Apostles." Elsewhere, descanting on the pas- 
sages of Scripture by which heretics attempt to prove that the 
Father was unknown before the advent of Christ, Irenaeus, after 
accusing them of garbling passages of Scripture, 3 goes on to say 
of the Marcosians and others : " Besides these, they adduce a 
countless number of apocryphal and spurious works which they 
themselves have forged to the bewilderment of the foolish, and 
of those who are not versed in the Scriptures of truth. "-^ He 
also points out passages occurring in our Gospels to which they 
give a peculiar interpretation, and, among these, that quoted by 
Justin. He says : " But they adduce as the highest testimony, 
and, as it were, the crown of their system, the following passage. 

'All things were delivered to me by my Father, and no one 

knew (eyvw) the Father but the Son, and the Son but the Father, 
and he to whomsoever (^ av) the Son shall reveal ihroKoXv-^yj).^^ 

^ Revelaverit enim, non solum in futuruni dictum est, etc. ; lb., iv. 6, § 7. 

' Non ergo alius erat qui cogn oscebatur, et alius qui dicebat : ^^ Nemo 
cognoscit Patrem :''"' sed tmus et id em, etc. ; Ib.,'\w. 6, § 7. In another place 
Irenaeus again quotes the passage in the same order, with the same careful 
adherence to the present tense. Adv. Hcer., ii. 6, § i. 

3 Adv. Hcer., i. 19, § i. 

^ Iljods 5^ TovroL'i dfivdr^Tov TrXrjdos diroKpxxfxav Kal v6dwv ypatpdv, &s avroi 
ewXaaav, TrapeLacpepovcnv els KaTdir\-qt,i.v tCov dvo-^Twv Kal rd. tt]s dXrjdeias firj 
itnarafievuiv ypdfjLfiara. Adv. Hcer., i. 20, § I. 

s Adv. Hcer., i. 20, § 3. And again, referring to Valentinus and his 
followers, and endeavouring to show the inconsistency of their views, he says : 
^^ Salvator ergo, secundum eos, erit jiientitus, dicens : ' Ne??to cognovit Patrem 
nisi Filius.'' Si enim cognitus est vel a matre, vel a semine ejus ; solutum 
est illud, quod, ^ nemo ognovit Patrem nisi Filius.'''''' Adv. Hcer., ii. 14, 
§ 7. Irenaeus then ende-^avours out of their own form of the text to confute 
their doctrines. 


In these words they assert that he clearly demonstrated that the 
Father of truth whom they have invented was known to no one 
before his coming; and they desire to interpret the words as 
though the Maker and Creator had been known to all, and the 
Lord spoke these words regarding the Father unknown to all, 
whom they proclaim."^ Here we have the exact quotation twice 
made by Justin, with the ey vw and the same order, set forth as the 
reading of the Gospels of the Marcosians and other sects, and 
the highest testimony to their system. It is almost impossible 
that Justin could have altered the passage by an error of memory 
to this precise form, and it must be regarded as the reading of his 
Memoirs. The evidence of Irenaeus is clear : The Gospels had 
the reading which we now find in them, but apocryphal Gospels, 
on the other hand, had that which we find twice quoted by Justin, 
and the passage was, as it were, the text upon which a large sect 
of the early Church based its most fundamental doctrine. The 
eyvw is invariably repudiated, but the transposition of the words 
"Father" and "Son" was apparently admitted to a certain extent, 
although the authority for this was not derived from the Gospels 
recognised by the Church, which contained the contrary order. 

We must briefly refer to the use of this passage by Clement of 
Alexandria. He quotes portions of the text eight times, and, 
although with some variation of terms, he invariably follows the 
order of the Gospels. Six times he makes use of the aorist eyva),^ 
once of yfcv(oo-K€fc,3 and once of eiriyLvuxTKeiA He only once 
quotes the whole passage ;S but on this occasion, as well as six 
others in which he only quotes the latter part of the sentence,^ he 
omits /SovXrjTai, siud reads "and he to whom the Son shall reveal," 
thus supporting the aTroKaXvxprj of Justin. Twice he has "God" 
instead of " Father,"7 and once he substitutes ixrjSet^ for ovSets.^ 
It is evident, from the loose and fragmentary way in which Clement 
interweaves the passage with his text, that he is more concerned 
with the sense than the verbal accuracy of the quotation ; but 
the result of his evidence is that he never departs from the Gospel 
order of " Father" and " Son," although he frequently makes use 
of ey 1/(0 and also employs aTroKakyxj/rj in agreement with Justin, 
and, therefore, he shows the prevalence of forms approximating to, 
though always presenting material difference from, the reading 
of Justin. 

* Adv. Hcer., i. 20, § 3. 

= P(ed., i. 9, § 88 ; i. 5, § 20 ; Strom 
58 ; Cohort,, i. 10. 

•* Qtns Div. Salv. , 9. 

^ Cok., i., § 10; Feed., i. 5, § 20; 
18, § 109 ; Quis Div. Salv., 8. 

7 Coh., i., § 10; Feed., i. 5, § 20. 

., i. 28, § 178 

3 Strom., 

5 Strom. 

Stro?n., V. 13, 

; V. 13, § 95 ; vii. 10, 
vii. 18, § 109. 
i. 28, § 178. 
§ 85 ; vii. 10, § 58 ; vi. 

^ Strom. 

V. 13, § 85. 


Epiphanius refers to this passage no less than ten times, ^ 
but he only quotes it fully five times, and upon each of these 
occasions with variations. Of the five times to which we refer, he 
thrice follows the order of the Gospels,^ as he does likewise in 
another place where he does not complete the sentence. 3 On the 
remaining two occasions he adopts the same order as Justin, with 
variations from his readings, however, to which we shall presently 
refer ;^ and where he only partially quotes he follows the same 
order on other three occasions, 5 and in one other place the 
quotation is too fragmentary to allow us to distinguish the order.^ 
Now, in all of these ten quotations, with one exception, Epiphanius 
substitutes olSe for kTriytvidcTKei at the commencement of the 
passage in Matthew, and only thrice does he repeat the verb in 
the second clause as in that Gospel, and on these occasions he 
twice makes use of ot^eJ and once of eyi/w.^ He once uses 
eyvw with the same order as Justin, but does not complete the 
sentence.9 Each time he completes the quotation he uses 
§ kav with the Gospel, and aTroKaXvi/^r) with Justin ;^° but only 
once out of the five complete quotations does he insert 6 vlhs 
in the concluding phrase. It is evident from this examination, 
which we must not carry further, that Epiphanius never verbally 
agrees with the Gospel in his quotation of this passage, and never 
verbally with Justin, but mainly follows a version different from 
both. It must be remembered, however, that he is writing against 
various heresies, and it does not seem to us improbable that he 
reproduces forms of the passage current amongst those sects. 

In his work against Marcion, Tertullian says : " With regard to 
the Father, however, that he was never seen, the Gospel which is 
common to us will testify, as it was said by Christ : JVemo cognovit 
patrem nisi jilius^^'"^^ but elsewhere he translates ^''Nemo scit,'"^'^ 
evidently not fully appreciating the difference of eyvw.^s The 
passage in Marcion's Gospel reads like Justin's : ovSeis eyvw tov 
irarepa, d fxr] 6 vtb?, oL'Se rov vlov rts ytvcoa-Kei, el fir] 6 irar'qp.^'^ 
The use of eyvw as applied to the Father and ytvwo-Ket 
as regards the Son in this passage is suggestive. Origen almost 

' Hrer., liv. 4, ed. Peiav., p. 466 ; Ixiv. 9, p. 532 ; xlv. 6, p. 613 ; Ixix. 43, 
p. 766 ; Ixxiv. 4, p. 891, 10, p. 898 ; Ixxvi. 7, p. 943, 29, p. 977, 32, p. 981. 

^ HcBK., Ixxvi. 7, p. 943 ; liv. 4, p. 466 ; Ixv. 6, p. 613. 

3 Hcer., Ixvi. 9, p. 532. ^ Hcsr., Ixxiv. 4, p. 891 ; Ixxvi. 29, p. 977. 

5 Htsr., Ixix. 43, p. 766; Ixxiv. 10, p. 898 ; Ixxvi. 32, p. 981. 

^ HcBr., Ixxvi. 32, p. 981. 7 ffcsr., liv. 4, p. 466 ; Ixix. 43, p. 766. 

^ HcBr., Ixv. 6, p. 613. ^ Hcer., Ixxiv. 10, p. 898. 

^° Except once when he has a-woKoXvinei. Hcer., Ixxiv. 4, p. 891. 

" Adv. Marc, ii. 27. '- lb., iv. 25, cf. 6. 

^3 Cf. Hilgenfeld, Die Evv. Justin's, p. 202 f. 

^4 Dial, de recta in Deic/n fide, i ; Origen, Op., \., p. 817 D ; Thilo, Cod. 
Apocr. N- T-, p. 433 ; Hahn, Das Evang. Marcions, p. 160. 


invariably uses ly vw, sometimes adopting the order of the Gospels 
and sometimes that of Justin, and always employing aTro/'Ty.^ 
The Ck?fientine Homilies always read eyvw, and always follow 
the same order as Justin, presenting other and persistent variations 
from the form in the Gospels. OvSet? tyvw rbv Trarcpa el [xrj 
6 vlo<s, MS ovSe Tov vlov Tt? etSev^ el jxyj 6 TraTrjp, Kal oh av /3ov\rjTaL 
6 vlos dTroKaXvxf/at.^ This reading occurs four times. The 
Clementine Recog?iitions have the»aorist with the order of the 

There only remain a few more lines to add to those already 
quoted to complete the whole of Dr. Westcott's argument 
regarding this passage. He continues and concludes thus : "If, 
indeed, Justin's quotations were made from memory, no transposi- 
tion could be more natural ; and if we suppose that he copied the 
passage directly from a manuscript, there is no difficulty in 
believing that he found it so written in a manuscript of the 
canonical St. Matthew, since the variation is excluded by no 
internal improbability, while it is found elsewhere, and its origin 
is easily explicable. "5 It will be observed that Dr. Westcott does 
not attempt any argument, but simply confines himself to supposi- 
tions. If such explanations were only valid, there could be no 
difficulty in believing anything, and every embarrassing circumstance 
would be easily explicable. 

The facts of the case may be briefly summed up as follows : 
Justin deliberately and expressly quotes from his Gospel, himself 
calling it "Gospel," be it observed, a passage whose nearest 
parallel in our Gospels is Matt. xi. 27. This quotation presents 
material variations from our canonical Gospel, both in form and 
language. The larger part of the passage he quotes twice in a 
difl^rent work, written years before, in precisely the same words as 
the third quotation, with the sole exception that he uses the aorist 
instead of the present tense of the verb. No MS. of our Gospel 
extant approximates to the reading in Justin, and we are expressly 
told by Irenseus that the present reading of our Matthew was that 
existing in his day. On the other hand, Irenaeus states with equal 
distinctness that Gospels used by Gnostic sects had the reading of 
Justin, and that the passage was " the crown of their system," and 
one upon whose testimony they based their leading doctrines. 
Here, then, is the clear statement that Justin's quotation disagrees 
with the form in the Gospels, and agrees with that of other 
Gospels. The variations occurring in the numerous quotations of 

^ Cf. Griesbach, Synib. Crit., ii., pp. 271, 373. 

^ Credner, Beitriige, i., p. 250. 

3 Clem. Horn., xvii. 4 ; xviii. 4, 13, 20 ; xviii. 1 1. 

^ Clem. Recog.y ii. 47. 5 Q^ tfig Canon., p. 117. 


the same passage by the Fathers, which we have analysed, show 
that they handled it very loosely, but also indicate that there must 
have been various readings of considerable authority then current. 
It has been conjectured with much probability that the form in 
which Justin quotes the passage twice in his Apology may have 
been the reading of older Gospels, and that it was gradually 
altered by the Church to the form in which we now have it for 
dogmatic reasons, when Gnostic sects began to base doctrines 
upon it inconsistent with the prevailing interpretation.^ Be this as 
it may, Justin's Gospel clearly had a reading different from ours, 
but in unison with that known to exist in other Gospels, and this 
express quotation only adds additional proof to the mass of 
evidence already adduced that the Memoirs of the Apostles were 
not our canonical Gospels. 

We have already occupied so much space even with this cursory 
examination of Justin's quotations that we must pass over in 
silence passages which he quotes from the Memoirs with variations 
from the parallels in our Gospels, which are also found in the 
Clemefitine Homilies and other works emanating from circles in 
which other Gospels than ours were used. We shall now only 
briefly refer to a few sayings of Jesus, expressly quoted by Justin, 
which are altogether unknown to our Gospels. Justin says : " For 
the things which he foretold would take place in his name, these 
we see actually coming to pass in our sight. For he said : ' Many 
shall come," etc.,^ and ' There shall be schisms and heresies,'3 and 
' Beware of false prophets, '^ etc., and ' Many false Christs and 
false Apostles shall arise and shall deceive many of the faithful.' "s 
Neither of the two prophecies here quoted is to be found any- 
where in our Gospels, and to the second of them Justin repeatedly 
refers. He says in one place that Jesus " foretold that in the 
interval of his coming, as I previously said,^ heresies and false 
prophets would arise in his name."7 It is admitted that these 
prophecies are foreign to our Gospels. It is very probable that 
the Apostle Paul refers to the prophecy, "There shall be schisms 

and heresies" in i Cor. xi. 18-19, where it is said, " I hear 

that schisms exist amongst you; and I partly believe it. For there 

^ Schwegler, Das nachap. Zeit. , i. , p. 254 fif. Cf. Credner, Beitrdge, i. , 
p. 250 f. Delitzsch, N. Unters. Ka7i. Evv., p. 35 f. Scholten, Het Paulin. 
Evangelie, 1870, p. 103 f. 

^ Cf. p. 228, note 4, p. 238 f. 

3 eTre '^6.p I'^aovrai. (xylcryi.ara koX atp^creis. Dial. 35. 

4 Cf. 228, note 4, p. 238 f. 

s 'AvaaTrjcroPTaL iroWol xj/euddxpt'O'TOL, Kai xj/evdairdcrToXoL /cat iroXXovs tup 
TnaTLOP irXav-qaovaLV. Dial. 35. ; cf. ApoL, '\. 12.. ^ Dial. 35. 

7 Kai ep Ti^ fxera^v rrjs Trapovcrias avrou XP'^^V: '^^ Trpoe(f)'rjp, yeprjaeadai 
aipecreis Kai \p€vboTrpo(f>-qTa$ iwi Tip opd/xaTi avToO wpoe/j^rjpvae, k.t.X. Dial. 51 ; 
cf. 82. 


must also be heresies amongst you," etc. (aKovco a-y^iarjmTo. 
kv vfMu vTrdp-^etv, Kal jxkpo'i n Trta-revco. Set yap Kal at^ecreis ev 
vpXv €ivai, K.T.X.) We find also, elsewhere, traces both of 
this saying and that which accompanies it. In the Clementine 
Homilies, Peter is represented as stating, " For there shall be, as 
the Lord said, false apostles, false prophets, heresies, desires for 
supremacy," etc. (ea-ovrai yap, w? o Kvpcos enrev, xj/evSaTrocTToXoi, 
il/ev8eL<i 7rpocf)rJTai, alpecreis, c^tXapy^Lat, k.t.X,^ We are likewise 
reminded of the passage in the Epistle attributed to the 
Roman Clement, xliv. : " Our Apostles knew through our Lord 
Jesus Christ that there would be contention regarding the dignity 
of the episcopate."^ In our Gospel there is no reference 
anywhere to schisms and heresies, nor are false Apostles once 
mentioned, the reference being solely to " false Christs " and 
"false prophets." The recurrence here and elsewhere of the peculiar 
expression " false apostles " is very striking,3 and the evidence for 
the passage as a saying of Jesus is important. Hegesippus, after 
enumerating a vast number of heretical sects and teachers, 
continues : " From these sprang the false Christs, false prophets, 
false apostles, who divided the union of the Church by corrupting 
doctrines concerning God and concerning his Christ. "4 It will be 
remembered that Hegesippus made use of the Gospel according 
to the Hebrews, and the Clementine literature points to the same 
source. In the Apostolic Constitutions we read : " For these are 
false Christs and false prophets, and false apostles, deceivers, and 
corrupters," etc. ,5 and in the Clementine Recognitions the Apostle 
Peter is represented as saying that the Devil, after the temptation, 
terrified by the final answer of Jesus, " hastened immediately to 
send forth into this world false prophets, and false apostles, and 
false teachers, who should speak in the name of Christ indeed, 
but should perform the will of the demon. "^ Justin's whole 
system forbids our recognising in these two passages mere tradition, 
and we must hold that we have here quotations from a Gospel 
different from ours. 

Elsewhere, Justin says : "Out of which (affliction and fiery trial of 
the Devil) again Jesus, the Son of God, promised to deliver us, 
and to put on us prepared garments, if we do his commandments, 
and he is proclaimed as having provided an eternal kingdom for 
us. "7 This promise is nowhere found in our Gospel. 

Immediately following the passage (k 3 and 4) which we have 
discussed^ as repeated in the Dialogue : " Many shall say to me. 

' Ho77i., xvi. 21. ^ xliv. See Greek passage quoted, p. 136, note 3. 

3 Semisch, Die Ap. Denkw. d. Mart, fust., p. 391, anm. 2. 

4 Eusebius, H. E., iv. 22. s Constit. Apost., vi. 13; cf. vi. 18. 
* Recog., iv. 34. 7 Dial. 116. ^ P. 227, note 4. 



etc., and I will say to them, ' Depart from me,' " Justin continues : 
" And in other words by which he will condemn those who are 
unworthy to be saved, he said that he will say : Begone into the 
darkness without, which the Father hath prepared for Satan and 
his angels."^ The nearest parallel to this is in Matt. xxv. 41 : 
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand : Depart 
from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the 
devil and his angels." 

Justin, Dial. 76. 

Kai iv &WoLS X6701S ols KaradiKa^eLP 
rovs dva^lovs fxrj (Tib^eadai /xeXXei, e^i; 
ipelv 'TirdyeTe els to (tk6tos to e^usTepov, 
6 rjTolixaaev 6 TraT7)p Tip Zarava Kal toIs 
dyyeXois avTov. 

Matt. xxv. 41. 

T6t€ epel Kai tols e^ evujvvfxup Ilopei;- 
eade air' ifiov oi KaTTjpafMevoi els to irvp 
Th al(hviov TO i]ToifxaafiePOP Tip dia^dXip 
/cat Tois dyyeXois avTov. 

It is apparent that Justin's quotation differs very widely from the 
reading of our Gospel. The same reading, with the exception of 
a single word, is found in the Clementi?ie Hofnilies (xix. 2); that is 
to say, that " Devil " is substituted for " Satan," and this variation 
is not important. The agreement of the rest, on the other hand, 
seems to establish the conclusion that the quotation is from a 
written Gospel different from ours, and here we have further strong 
indications of Justin's use of the Ebionite Gospel. 

Another of the sayings of Jesus which are foreign to our 
Gospels is one in reference to the man who falls away from 
righteousness into sin, of whom Justin says : " Wherefore also our 
Lord Jesus Christ said : In whatsoever things I may find you, in 
these I shall also judge you."^ (Ato koX 6 rjfxerepos Kvptos 
'l7](Tovs X/3to-TO? €L7rev' " 'Ev OLS OLv vfjLois KaTaXdjSo), kv TOVrOLS 
Kal Kptvdr) A similar expression is used by some of 
the Fathers, and, in some cases, is ascribed to the prophets.3 
Clement of Alexandria has quoted a phrase closely resembling 
this without indicating the source. 'E<^' oh yap av evp<x) vfias, 
(f)7](Tlv, €7rt rovTois Koi KpcvioA Grabe was of opinion that 
Justin derived the passage from the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews, 5 an opinion shared by the greater number of modern 
critics, and which we are prepared to accept from many previous 
instances of agreement. Even the warmest asserters of the theory 
that the Memoirs are identical with our Gospels are obliged to 
admit that this saying of Jesus is not contained in them, and that 
it must have been derived from an extra-canonical source. 

Other passages of a similar kind might have been pointed out, 

^ Dm/. 76. 

3 Grabe, Spicil. pair.., i., p. 327 
333 f., ii., p. 524. 

4 Quis Div. Salv.y 40. 

= lb. 47. 
Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T., i., p. 

s Spicil. Fatr.y i., p. 14, p. 327. 


but we have already devoted too much space to Justin's quotations, 
and must hasten to a conclusion. There is one point, however, 
to which we must refer. We have more than once alluded to the 
fact that, unless in one place, Justin never mentions an author's 
name in connection with the Memoirs of the Apostles. The 
exception to which we referred is the following: — Justin says : 
"The statement also that he (Jesus) changed the name of Peter, 
one of the Apostles, and that this is also written in his Memoirs 
as having been done, together with the fact that he also changed 
the name of other two brothers, who were sons of Zebedee, to 
Boanerges ; that is, sons of Thunder," etc' According to the 
usual language of Justin, and upon strictly critical grounds, the 
avTov in this passage must be referred to Peter; and Justin, 
therefore, seems to ascribe the Memoirs to that Apostle, and to 
speak of a Gospel of Peter. ^ Some critics maintain that the 
auTOL does not refer to Peter, but to Jesus, or, more probable 
still, that it should be amended to ai'rojv, and apply to the 
Apostles. The great majority, however, are forced to admit the 
reference of the Memoirs to Peter, although they explain it, as we 
shall see, in different ways. It is argued by some that this expres- 
sion is used when Justin is alluding to the change of name, not 
only of Peter, but of the sons of Zebedee, the narrative of which 
is only found in the Gospel according to Mark. Now, Mark was 
held by many of the Fathers to have been the mere mouthpiece 
of Peter, and to have written at his dictation ;3 so that, in fact, in 
calling the second Gospel by the name of the Apostle Peter, they 
argue, Justin merely adopted the tradition current in the early 
Church, and referred to the Gospel now known as the Gospel 
according to Mark. It must be evident, however, that, after 
admitting that Justin speaks of the Memoirs " of Peter," it is 
hasty in the extreme to conclude from the fact that the 

^ Kai TO eiTreiv fMeruvofiaKevai avrbv llerpov eva t(2v dirocfToKwv, koL yeypdtp- 
dai €P Tols dTTO/iivrifiovev/iiacrLV avrov yeyevTjjxevov kcu tovto, fierd tov Kai dXXovs 
5vo ddeXipovs vlods 7je(3e8aiov 6vTas fiercovofiaKevac dvdfiaTi tov Boavepyes, 6 ^(ttlv 
viol PpovTTJ^, k.t.X. Dial. 106. 

^ In the course of explorations in Egypt in 1886-87 ^he fragment of a 
Gospel was discovered at Akhmim, the peculiarities of which leave little 
doubt that it is part of a "Gospel according to Peter," and bears singular 
analogies to Justin's Memoirs, for it is written in the first person : " I, Simon 
Peter," etc. The fragment is too short to permit any considerable comparison 
with Justin's quotations, but some remarkable coincidences exist, and many 
critics, amongst whom may be mentioned Plarnack, Hilgenfeld, J. Rendel 
Harris, Lods, and Van Manen, consider that this Gospel was used by Justin. 
For full particulars see The Gospel According to Peter, which we separately 
published 1894 (Longmans, Green, & Co.). 

3 Eusebius, H. E., ii. 15, iii. 39, v. 8, vi, 14, 25 ; Irenteus, Adv. Hcer., 
iii. I. § I ; Tertullian, Adv. Marc.,\\. 5; Hieron. De Vir. III., i. Cf. 
Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T., i., p. 375. 


mention of the sons of Zebedee being surnamed Boanerges is only 
recorded in Mark iii. 17, and not in the other canonical Gospels, 
that, therefore, the Memoirs of Peter and our Gospel according to 
Mark are one and the same. We shall, hereafter, in examining 
the testimony of Papias, see that the Gospel according to Mark, 
of which the Bishop of Hierapolis speaks, was not our canonical 
Mark at all. It would be very singular indeed, on this hypothesis, 
that Justin should not have quoted a single passage from the only 
Gospel whose author he names, and the number of times he seems 
to quote from a Petrine Gospel, which was quite different from 
Mark, confirms the inference that he cannot possibly here refer to 
our second Gospel. It is maintained, therefore, by numerous 
other critics that Justin refers to a Gospel according to Peter or 
according to the Hebrews, and not to Mark. 

We learn from Eusebius that Serapion, who became Bishop of 
Antioch about a.d. 190, composed a book on the Gospel, 
called "according to Peter" (Tre/at tov keyofxevov Kara Jlerpov 
evayyeXiov), which he found in circulation in his diocese. At 
first Serapion had permitted the use of this Gospel, as it evidently 
was much prized, but he subsequently condemned it as a work 
favouring Docetic views, and containing many things superadded 
to the Doctrine of the Saviour. "^ Origen likewise makes mention 
of the Gospel according to Peter (tov cTrtyeypa/x/xevov Kara 
Herpov evayyeXiov) as agreeing with the tradition of the 
Hebrews.^ But its relationship to the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews becomes more clear when Theodoret states that the 
Nazarenes made use of the Gospel according to Peter, 3 for we 
know by the testimony of the Fathers generally that the Nazarene 
Gospel was that commonly called the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews (Et'ayyeXtov KaO' 'E/Spaiovs)' The same Gospel was in 
use amongst the Ebionites, and in fact, as almost all critics 
are agreed, the Gospel according to the Hebrews, under various 
names, such as the Gospel according to Peter, according to the 
Apostles, the Nazarenes, Ebionites, Egyptians, &c., with modi- 
fications certainly, but substantially the same work, was circulated 
very widely throughout the early Church.^ A quotation occurs 
in the so-called Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnseans, to which 

^ Eusebius, JI. ^., vi. 12 ; cf. Hieron., De Vir. III., 41. 

^ Ad. Matt. xiii. 54-56. He couples it with the Book of James, or the 
Protevangelmm Jacobi. 

3 Hczret. Fab., ii. 2 ; cf. Hieron. hb. vi. Comment, in Ezech. xviii., in Matt, 
xii. 13 ; Dc Vir. III., 2. The Marcosians also used this Gospel, and we have 
seen them in agreement with Justin's quotation ; cf. p. 254 ff. 

'* Eusebius, H. E., iii. 25; Epiphanius, II(er., xxx. 13; Hieron., Adv. 
Pelag., iii, i, ad Matt. vi. 11, xii. 13, xxiii. 35 ; Theodoret, Hceret, Fab., ii. 2 ; 
Ambrose, Proem. Ev. Lttcce. 


we have already referred, which is said by Origen to be in the 
work called the Teaching of Peter' (At8a)(^ Herpov), but Jerome 
states that it is taken from the Hebrew Gospel of the Nazarenes.^ 
Delitzsch finds traces of the Gospel according to the Hebrews 
before a.d. 130 in the Talmud.3 Eusebius^ informs us that 
Papias narrated a story regarding a woman accused before the 
Lord of many sins which was contained in the Gospel according 
to the Hebrews.5 The same writer likewise states that Hegesippus, 
who came to Rome and commenced his public career under 
Anicetus, quoted from the same Gospel.^ The evidence of this 
" ancient and apostolic " man is very important, for, although he 
evidently attaches great value to tradition, does not seem to 
know of any canonical Scriptures of the New Testament, and, like 
Justin, apparently rejected the Apostle Paul, he still regarded the 
Gospel according to the Hebrews with respect, and probably 
made exclusive use of it. The best critics consider that this 
Gospel was the evangelical work used by the author of the 
Clementine Homilies. Cerinthus and Carpocrates made use of 
a form of it, 7 and there is good reason to suppose that Tatian, 
like his master Justin, used the same Gospel ; indeed, his Diates- 
saron, we are told, was by some called the Gospel according to 
the Hebrews.^ Clement of Alexandria quotes it as an authority, 
with quite the same respect as the other Gospels. He says : " So 
also in the Gospel according to the Hebrews : ' He who wonders 
shall reign,' it is written, 'and he who reigns shall rest."'9 A form 
of this Gospel, "according to the Egyptians," is quoted in the 
second Epistle of pseudo-Clement of Rome, as we are informed 
by the Alexandrian Clement, who likewise quotes the same 
passage.'*^ Origen frequently made use of the Gospel according 
to the Hebrews," and that it long enjoyed great consideration in 

' De Princip. Prcef., § 8. 

^ Hieron., Proem, in EsaicE, xviii., De Vir. III., 16; cf. Fabricius, Cod. 
Apocr. N. T., i. , p. 359 f. A similar passage was in the Krjpvyfia llerpov. 
cf. Hilgenfeld, D/e Evv. Justin'' s, p. 249. Credner, Beitriige, i. , p. 407 f. 

3 Tract. Sabbath, f. 116; Delitzsch, N. Unters. Enst. kan. Evv., p. 18. 

^ Eusebius, H. E., iii. 39. 

s This is generally believed to be the episode inserted in the fourth Gospel, 
viii. i-ii, but not originally belonging to it. 

^ Eusebius, H. E., iv. 22. 

7 Epiphanius, Hcer., xxvii. 5, cf. xxx. 26, xxx. 14. Cf. De Wette, Einl. 
vV. 7"., p. 116 f , 119 ; Schwegler, Das nachap. Zeit., i., p. 204. 

^ Epiphanius, Hcer., xlvi. i. 

' 77 Kav Ti^ Kad' 'E/3patoi/s evayyeXii^ "d davfidcras ^acrtXevcrei,'' yeypairrai, 
" Acai d ^acriKevcras duaTravdrjaeraL." Clem. Al., Strom., ii. 9, § 45. 

'° 2 Ep. ad Coritith., xii. ; cf. Clem. Al., Stro?n., iii. 9, § 13. 

" Evangelium qtioque, quod appellatur secundum Hebr(£os quo et 

Origenes scepe utitur. Hieron. De Vir. III., 2 ; Origen, in Joh., vol. iv., 63, 
Matt. xix. 19, vol. iii., p. 771, etc. 


the Church is proved by the fact that Theodoret found it in 
circulation not only amongst heretics, but also amongst orthodox 
Christian communities ;^ and even in the fourth century Eusebius 
records doubts as to the rank of this Gospel amongst Christian 
books, speaking of it under the second class in which some 
reckoned the Apocalypse of John.^ Later still Jerome translated 
it ;3 whilst Nicephorus inserts it, in his Stichometry, not amongst 
the Apocrypha, but amongst the Antilegomena, or merely doubtful 
books of the New Testament, along with the Apocalypse of John. 
In such repute was this Gospel amongst the earliest Christian 
communities that it was generally believed to be the original of 
the Greek Gospel of Matthew. Irenaeus states that the Ebionites 
used solely the Gospel according to Matthew and reject the 
Apostle Paul, asserting that he was an apostate from the law.-* 
We know from statements regarding the Ebionites^ that this 
Gospel could not have been our Gospel according to Matthew, 
and besides both Clement^ of Alexandria and Origen7 call it the 
Gospel according to the Hebrews. Eusebius, however, still more 
clearly identifies it, as we have seen above. Repeating the 
statements of Irenaeus, he says: "These indeed [the Ebionites] 
thought that all the Epistles of the Apostle [Paul] should be 
rejec;i:ed, calling him an apostate from the law; making use only 
of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, they took little 
account of the rest."^ Epiphanius calls both the Gospel of the 
Ebionites and of the Nazarenes the " Gospel according to the 
Hebrews," and also the Gospel according to Matthew,9 as does 
also Theodoret. ^° Jerome translated the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews both into Greek and Latin," and it is clear that his 
belief was that this Gospel, a copy of which he found in the 
library collected at Cassarea by the Martyr Pamphilus (1309), was 
the Hebrew original of Matthew ; and in support of this view he 
points out that it did not follow the version of the LXX. in its 
quotations from the Old Testament, but quoted directly from the 

' Fab. Hcer., i. 20; cf. Epiphanius, Zf'^^pn , xlvi. i. 

- Eusebius, H.E., iii. 25. It is very doubtful indeed whether he does not say 
that some class it amongst the ofxoXoyovfieva, whilst himself placing it in the 
second class. Cf. Guericke, Gesammtgesch. N. 7", p. 219; Schwegler, Z)aj- 
nachap. Zeitalte7', i., p. 211, anm. I. 

3 De Vir. III., 2. ^ Adv. Hcer., \. 26, § 2 ; cf. iii. 12, § 7. 

5 Origen, Contra Cels., v. 61 ; Eusebius, H. E., iii. 27. 

^ Strom., ii. 9, § 45. 

7 In/oh. t. ii. 6 (Op. iv., p. 63 f.), Horn, in Jerem., xv. 4; cf. Hieron., in 
Mich. vii. 6 ; in Es. xl. 12, De Vir. III., 2. ^ H. E., iii. 27. 

9 Har., XXX. 3 ; cf. Hcer. xxix. 9, xxx. 14. '° Hcer. Fad., ii. i. 

" Evangelium quoque, quod appellatur secundum HebrcBos, eta me nuper in 
grcecum latinumque sermonem ti'anslatum est, quo et Origenes scepe utitur, etc. 
Hieron., De Vir. III. 2 ; cf. Adv. Pelag., i.- 


Hebrew.' An attempt has been made to argue that, later, Jerome 
became doubtful of this view, but it seems to us that this is not 
the case, and certainly Jerome in his subsequent writings states 
that it was generally held to be the original of Matthew.^ That 
this Gospel was not identical with the Greek Matthew is evident 
both from the quotations of Jerome and others, and also from the 
fact that Jerome considered it worth while to translate it twice. 
If the Greek Gospel had been an accurate translation of it, of 
course there could not have been inducement to make another. 
As we shall hereafter see, the belief was universal in the early 
Church that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew. Attempts 
have been made to argue that the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews was first written in Greek and then translated into 
Hebrew, but the reasons advanced seem quite insufficient and 
arbitrary, and it is contradicted by the whole tradition of the 

It is not necessary for our purpose to enter fully here into the 
question of the exact relation of our canonical Gospel according 
to Matthew to the Gospel according to the Hebrews. It is 
sufficient for us to point out that we meet with the latter before 
Matthew's Gospel, and that the general opinion of the early 
Church was that it was the original of the canonical Gospel. This 
opinion, as Schwegler3 remarks, is supported by the fact that 
tradition assigns the origin of both Gospels to Palestine, and that 
both were intended for Jewish Christians, and exclusively used by 
them. That the two works, however originally related, had by 
subsequent manipulation become distinct, although still amidst 
much variation preserving some substantial affinity, cannot be 
doubted ; and, in addition to the evidence already cited, we may 
point out that in the Stichometry of Nicephorus the Gospel 
according to Matthew is said to have 2,500 o-rtxot, whilst that 
according to the Hebrews has only 2,200. 

Whether this Gospel formed one of the writings of the ttoXXol 
of Luke it is not our purpose to inquire ; but enough has been 

' Porro ipsuni Jiebraicuin ( Matthcei) habetur usque hodie in Ciesarierisi 
bibliotheca quani Patnphilus martyr studiosissinie coufecit, mihi quoque 
a Nazarccis qui in Bercea, urbe Syrice hoc volumine utuniur, dcscribendi 
facultas fuit, in quo animadvertendum, quod ubicunque Evangelista sive 
ex persona Domini Salvatoris veteris ScripturiB testimoniis uiitur, nan 
sequatur LXX translatorum auctoritatem sed hebraicam, etc. De Vir. 
III., 3. 

^ In Evangeho juxta Hebrceos quod Chaldaico quidem Syroque sermone sed 
hebraicis Uteris scriptum est, quo utuntur usque hodie Nazareni secundum 
Apostolos, sive tit plerique auttimant Juxta Matthceum quod et in Ccesariensi 
habetur Bibliotheca, narrat historia, etc. Hieron., Adv. Pelag., iii. 2 ; cf. 
Comment, in Esaice, xi. 2, ad. Matt. xii. 13. 

3 Das nachap. Zeit alter, i., p. 241. 


said to prove that it was one of the most ancient and most valued 
evangelical works, and to show the probability that Justin Martyr, 
a Jewish Christian living amongst those who are known to have 
made exclusive use of this Gospel, may well, like his contemporary 
Hegesippus, have used the Gospel according to the Hebrews ; 
and this probability is, as we have seen, greatly strengthened by 
the fact that many of his quotations agree with passages which we 
know to have been contained in it ; whilst, on the other hand, 
almost all differ from our Gospels, presenting generally, however, a 
greater affinity to the Gospel according to Matthew, as we might 
expect, than to the other two. It is clear that the title " Gospel 
according to the Hebrews " cannot have been its actual super- 
scription, but merely was a name descriptive of the readers for 
whom it was prepared, or amongst whom it chiefly circulated, and 
it is most probable that it originally bore no other title than " The 
Gospel " (to ewxyyeXtov), to which were added the different 
designations under which we find it known amongst different com- 
munities.^ We have already seen that Justin speaks of " The 
Gospel," and seems to refer to the Memoirs of Feter, both 
distinguishing appellations of this Gospel ; but there is another of 
the names borne by the " Gospel according to the Hebrews," 
which singularly recalls the Memoirs of the Apostles^ by which 
Justin prefers to call his evangelical work. It was called the Gospel 
according to the Apostles [evay-ykXtov Kara rovs (XTrocrToXovs), 
and, in short, comparing Justin's Memoirs with this Gospel, we find 
at once similarity of contents, and even of name.^ 

It is not necessary, however, for the purposes of this examina- 
tion to dwell more fully upon the question as to what specific 
Gospel, now no longer extant, Justin employed. We have shown 
that there is no evidence that he made use of any of our Gospels, 
and he cannot, therefore, be cited even to prove their existence, 
and much less to attest the authenticity and character of records 
whose authors he does not once name. On the other hand, it has 
been made evident that there were other Gospels, now lost, but 
which then enjoyed the highest consideration, from which his 
quotations might have been, and probably were, taken. We have 
seen that Justin's Memoirs of the Apostles contained facts of Gospel 
history unknown to our Gospels, which were contained in apocry- 
phal works, and notably in the Gospel according to the Hebrews ; 

^ Schwegler, Das nachap. Zeitalter, i., p. 202 ; Baur, Unters. kan. Evv., 

P- 573- 

^ Schwegler rightly remarks that if it can be shown that Justin even once 
made use of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, or any other uncanonical 
source, there is no ground for asserting that he may not always have done so. 
Das nachap. Zeit, i., p. 229 f. ; Credner, Beitrdge, i., p. 229 ; Hilgenfeld, Die 
Evv. fustiit's, p. 256 f. 


that they further contained matter contradictory to our Gospels, 
and sayings of Jesus not contained in them ; and that his quota- 
tions, although so numerous, systematically vary from similar 
passages in our Gospels. No theory of quotation from memory 
can satisfactorily account for these phenomena, and the reasonable 
conclusion is that Justin did not make use of our Gospels, but 
quoted from another source. In no case can the testimony of 
Justin afford the requisite support to the Gospels as records of 
miracles and of a Divine Revelation. 



We now turn to Hegesippus, one of the contemporaries of Justin, 
and, like him, a Palestinian Jewish Christian. Most of our 
information regarding him is derived from Eusebius, who fortu- 
nately gives rather copious extracts from his writings. Hegesippus 
was born in Palestine, of Jewish parents,^ and in all probability 
belonged to the primitive community of Jerusalem. In order to 
make himself thoroughly acquainted with the state of the Church, 
he travelled widely and came to Rome when Anicetus was Bishop. 
Subsequently he wrote a work of historical Memoirs, iVo/xvrjjaara, 
in five books, and thus became the first ecclesiastical historian of 
Christianity. This work is lost, but portions have been preserved 
to us by Eusebius, and one other fragment is also extant. It must 
have been, in part at least, written after the succession of 
Eleutherus to the Roman bishopric (a.d. 177-193), as that event 
is mentioned in the book itself, aifd his testimony is allowed by all 
critics to date from an advanced period of the second half of the 
second century. 

The testimony of Hegesippus is of great value, not only as that 
of a man born near the primitive Christian tradition, but also as 
that of an intelligent traveller amongst many Christian com- 
munities. Eusebius evidently held him in high estimation as 
recording the unerring tradition of the Apostolic preaching in the 
most simple style of composition,^ and as a writer of authority who 
was '' contemporary with the first successors of the Apostles "3 
(eTTi rrjs irpMTrjs tmv aTTocTToXiov yevofxevos StaSo^^s). Any 
indications, therefore, which we may derive from information 
regarding him, and from the fragments of his writings which 
survive, must be of peculiar importance for our inquiry. 

As might have been expected from a convert from Judaism^ 
(TreTTta-TevKm ef ^Kf3pato)v), we find in Hegesippus manifest 
evidences of general tendency to the Jewish side of Christianity. 
For him, " James, the brother of the Lord," was the chief of the 

^ Eusebius, //. £., iv. 22. 

^ T7)j/ dirXavrj irapddocnv tov dtrocTTokLKOv KTjpvyfjLaTOS dirXovaTaTrj crvvrd^eL 
yparprjs vTro/xvrjfjLaTiad/xevos, k.t.X. Eusebius, //. £., iv. 8. 
3 Eusebius, H. E., ii. 23 : cf. Hieron. De Vir. III., 22. 
'' Eusebius, H. E., iv. 22. 



Apostles, and he states that he had received the government of 
the Church after the death of Jesus. ^ The account which he gives 
of him is remarkable. " He was holy from his mother's womb. 
He drank neither wine nor strong drink, nor ate he any living 
thing. A razor never went upon his head, he anointed not 
himself with oil, and did not use a bath. He alone was allowed 
to enter into the Holies. For he did not wear woollen garments, 
but linen. And he alone entered into the Sanctuary, and was 
wont to be found upon his knees seeking forgiveness on behalf of 
the people ; so that his knees became hard like a camel's, through 
his constant kneeling in supplication to God, and asking for 
forgiveness for the people. In consequence of his exceeding 
great righteousness he was called Righteous and ' Oblias,' that is. 
Protector of the people and Righteousness, as the prophets 
declare concerning him,"^ and so on. Throughout the whole of 
his account of James, Hegesippus describes him as a mere Jew, 
and as frequenting the temple, and even entering the Holy of 
Holies as a Jewish High Priest. Whether the account be 
apocryphal or not is of little consequence here ; it is clear that 
Hegesippus sees no incongruity in it, and that the difference 
between the Jew and the Christian was extremely small. The 
head of the Christian community could assume all the duties of 
the Jewish High Priest, 3 and his Christian doctrines did not offend 
more than a small party amongst the Jews. 

We are not, therefore, surprised to find that his rule (KavMv) 
of orthodoxy in the Christian communities which he visited was 
" the Law, the Prophets, and the Lord." Speaking of the result 
of his observations during his travels, and of the succession of 
Bishops in Rome, he says : " The Corinthian Church has 
continued in the true faith until Primus, now Bishop of Corinth. 
I conversed with him on my voyage to Rome, and stayed many days 
with the Corinthians, during which time we were refreshed together 
with true doctrine. Arrived in Rome, I composed the succession 
until Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus. After Anicetus 
succeeded Soter, and afterwards Eleutherus. But with every 
succession, and in every city, that prevails which the Law, and 
the Prophets, and the Lord enjoin. "^^ The test of true doctrine 
(6p06<i Xoyog) with Hegesippus, as with Justin, therefore, is no 
New Testament Canon, which does not yet exist for 'him, but the 
Old Testament, the only Holy Scriptures which he acknowledges, 
and the words of the Lord himself, which, as in the case of 

^ Eusebius, JI. E., ii. 23. ^ Euseb., H. E., ii. 23. 

3 Epiphanius also has the tradition that James alone, as High Priest, once a 
year went into the Holy of Holies. Hcer., Ixxviii. 13 ; cf. 14 ; xxix. 4. 
* Eusebius, H. E.. iv. 22. 


Jewish Christians like Justin, were held to be established 
by, and in direct conformity with, the Old Testament. He 
carefully transmits the unerring tradition of apostolic preaching 
(ry^jv (XTrXavrj Trapd8o(Tiv tov oLTroarToXtKov K7]pvyjjiaTO<s), but he 
apparently knows nothing of any canonical series even of apostolic 

The care with which Eusebius searches for information regard- 
ing the books of the New Testament in early writers, and his 
anxiety to produce any evidence concerning their composition 
and authenticity, render his silence upon the subject almost as 
important as his distinct utterance when speaking of such a man 
as Hegesippus. Now, while Eusebius does not mention that 
Hegesippus refers to any of our canonical Gospels or Epistles, he 
very distinctly states that he made use in his writings of the 
" Gospel according to the Hebrews " (ck re tov kuB' 'E/^/aaiovs 

evayyeXiov Ttva ridrjcrtv). It may be well, however, to 

give his remarks in a consecutive form. " He sets forth some 
matters from the Gospel according to the Hebrews and the Syriac, 
and particularly from the Hebrew language, showing that he was a 
convert from among the Hebrews, and other things he records 
as from unwritten Jewish tradition. And not only he, but also 
Irenaeus, and the whole body of the ancients, called the Proverbs 
of Solomon : all-virtuous Wisdom. And regarding the so-called 
Apocrypha, he states that some of them had been forged in his 
own time by certain heretics."'' 

It is clear that Eusebius, who quotes with so much care the 
testimony of Papias, a man of whom he speaks disparagingly, 
regarding the composition of the first two Gospels, would not have 
neglected to have availed himself of the evidence of Hegesippus, 
for whom he has so much respect, had that writer furnished him 
with any opportunity, and there can be no doubt that he found no 
facts concerning the origin and authorship of our Gospels in his 
writings. It is, on the other hand, reasonable to infer that 
Hegesippus exclusively made use of the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews, together with unwritten tradition. In the passage 
regarding the Gospel according to the Hebrews, as even Lardner^ 
conjectures, the text of Eusebius is in all probability confused, and 
he doubtless said what Jerome later found to be the fact, that 
"the Gospel according to the Hebrews is written in the Chaldaic 
and Syriac (or Syro-Chaldaic) language, but with Hebrew 
characters."3 It is in this sense that Rufinus translates it. It 

. ^ H. E., iv. 22. 

^ Credibility, etc., Works, ii., p. 144. 

3 In Evangelio juxta HehrcBOS quod Chaldaico quideni Syroque sermone sed 
hebraicis Hte7'is scriptum est, etc. Adv. Pelag. , iii. I . 


may not be inappropriate to point out that fragments of the 
Gospel according to the Hebrews which have been preserved 
show the same tendency to give some pre-eminence to James 
amongst the Apostles which we observe in Hegesippus.' It has 
been argued by a few that the words, " and regarding the so-called 
Apocrypha, he states that some of them had been forged in his 
own times by certain heretics," are contradictory to his attributing 
authority to the Gospel according to the Hebrews, or at least that 
they indicate some distinction amongst Christians between recog- 
nised and apocryphal works. The apocryphal works referred to, 
however, are clearly Old Testament Apocrypha. ^ The words are 
introduced by the statemeut that Hegesippus records matters " as 
from unwritten Jewish tradition," and then proceeds, "and not 
only he, but also Irenaeus and the whole body of the ancients, 
called the Proverbs of Solomon : all-virtuous wisdom." Then 
follow the words, " And with regard to the so-called Apocrypha," 
etc., evidently passing from the work just mentioned to the Old 
Testament Apocrypha, several of which stand also in the name of 
Solomon, and it is not improbable that amongst these were 
included the Ascensio Esaice and the Apocalypsis Elice, to which is 
referred a passage which Hegesippus, in a fragment preserved by 
Photius,3 strongly repudiates. As Hegesippus does not, so far as 
we know, mention any canonical work of the New Testament, but 
takes as his rule of faith the Law, the Prophets, and the words of 
the Lord, probably as he finds them in the Gospel according to 
the Hebrews, quotes also Jewish tradition and discusses the 
Proverbs of Solomon, the only possible conclusion at which we 
can reasonably arrive is that he spoke of Old Testament Apocrypha. 
There cannot be a doubt that Eusebius would have recorded 
his repudiation of New Testament " Apocrypha," regarding which 
he so carefully collects information, and his consequent recognition 
of New Testament canonical works implied in such a distinction. 

We must now see how far in the fragments of the works of 
Hegesippus which have been preserved to us there are references 
to assist our inquiry. In his account of certain surviving members 
of the family of Jesus who were brought before Domitian, 
Hegesippus says : " For Domitian feared the appearing of the 
Christ as much as Herod. "4 It has been argued that this may be 
an allusion to the massacre of the children by Herod related in 

^ Cf. Hieron. De Vir. III., 2. 

^ Even Dr. Westcott admits : " There is indeed nothing to show distinctly 
that he refers to the apocryphal books of the New Testament, but there is 
nothing to limit his words to the Old" {On the Canon, p. 184). 

3 BibL, 232 ; cf. Routh, Reliq. Sacrce, 1846, i., p. 281 f. 

^ e^o^eiTo yap ttjv irapovalav tov Xpiarov, ws Kal 'Upcbdrjs. Euseb., H. E., 
iii. 20. 


Matt, ii., more especially as it is doubtful whether the parallel 
account to that contained in the first two chapters of the first 
Gospel existed in the oldest forms of the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews,^ But the tradition which has been preserved in our 
first Synoptic may have formed part of many other evangelical 
works, in one shape or another, and certainly cannot be claimed 
with reason exclusively for that Gospel. This argument, there- 
fore, has* no weight, and it obviously rests upon the vaguest 

The principal passages w^hich apologists^ adduce as references 
to our Gospels occur in the account which Hegesippus gives of 
the martyrdom of James the Just. The first of these is the reply 
which James is said to have made to the Scribes and Pharisees : 
" Why do ye ask me concerning Jesus the Son of Man ? He sits 
in heaven on the right hand of great power, and is about to come 
on the clouds of heaven."3 This is compared with Matt. xxvi. 64 : 
" From this time ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right 
hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven. "4 It is not 
necessary to point out the variations between these two passages, 
which are obvious. If we had not the direct intimation that 
Hegesippus made use of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, 
which no doubt contained this passage, it w^ould be apparent 
that a man who valued tradition so highly might well have 
derived it from that source. This is precisely one of those 
sayings which were most current in the early Church, whose 
hope and courage were sustained amid persecution and suffer- 
ing by such Chiliastic expectations, with which, according to 
the apostolic injunction, they comforted eachother.s In any case, 
the words do not agree with the passage in the first Gospel ; and 
with such discrepancy, without any evidence that Hegesippus 
knew anything of our Gospels, but, on the contrary, with 
the knowledge that he made use of the Gospel according to 
the Hebrews, we must decide that any such quotations must rather 
be derived from it than from our Gospels. 

It is scarcely necessary to say anything regarding the phrase, 
"for we and all the people testify to thee that thou art just, and 
that thou respectest not persons."^ Dr. Westcott points out 

^ Cf. Epiphanius, Hcer., xxix. 9; Hieron., De Vir. 11/., 2>, Comni. ad Matt. 
ii. 6, xii. 13, ad Es. xi. i ; ad Habac, iii. 3. 

^ Westcott, On the Canon, p. 182, note 4. 

3 T/ /xe ^TrepcoToiTe irepl 'It/ctoG tov vlov tov dvdpdoTrov ; Kal avrbs KadriTai iv tuj 
ovpav^ €K de^MP ttjs /xeydXrjs dvvdixeu)s, /cat fieXKei epx^o^dcLL eirl tQv P€(p€Xivv tov 
ovpavov. Euseb., H. £., ii. 23. 

^ dTr' dpTL 'oxpeade tov vlbv tov dvdpdnrov Kadr)fxevov €K de^iup ttjs Svvd/xeios Kai 
kpx^l^^vov iirl TWP v€(f)e\(j}v tov ovpavov. Matt. xxvi. 64. 

s I Thess. iv. 18. ^ Euseb., JI. £., ii 23. 


that KOL ov ka/ji/Sdvets tt/joo-wttov only occurs in Luke xx. 21, 
and Galatians ii. 6 ;^ but the similarity of this single phrase, which 
is not given as a quotation, but in a historical form put into the 
mouth of those who are addressing James, cannot be accepted 
as evidence of a knowledge of Luke. The episode of the 
tribute money is generally ascribed to the oldest form of 
the Gospel history, and, although the other two Synoptics^ read 
^Xe7r€ts €is for XaixfSdvets, there is no ground for asserting 
that some of the ttoXXol who preceded Luke did not use the 
latter form, and as little for asserting that it did not so stand, for 
instance, in the Gospel according to the Hebrews. The employ- 
ment of the same expression in the Epistle, moreover, at once 
deprives the Gospel of any individuality in its use. 

Hegesippus represents the dying James as kneeling down and 
praying for those who were stoning him : "I beseech (thee). Lord 
God Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do " 
(IlapaKaXio, Kvpie 066 irdrep, defies avrots' ov yap oi'Sacrt 
Tt 7roLov(riv).3 This is compared with the prayer which Luke-^ 
puts into the mouth of Jesus on the cross : "Father, forgive 
them, for they know not what they do" (IlaTc^, a<^es avrols' 
ov yap oLSaa-iv rt Trotovtrii/), and it is assumed from this 
partial coincidence that Hegesippus was acquainted with the third 
of our canonical Gospels. We are surprised to see an able and 
accomplished critic like Hilgenfeld adopting such a conclusion 
without either examination or argument of any kind.s Such a 
deduction is totally unwarranted by the facts of the case, and if 
the partial agreement of a passage in such a Father with a 
historical expression in a Gospel which, alone out of many 
previously existent, has come down to us can be considered evi- 
dence of the acquaintance of the Father with that particular 
Gospel, the function of criticism is at an end. 

It may here be observed that the above passage of Luke xxiii. 
34 is omitted altogether from the Vatican MS. and Codex D 
(Bezae), and in the Codex Sinaiticus its position is of a very 
doubtful character.^ The Codex Alexandrinus which contains it 

^ On the Canon, p. 182, note 4. ^ Matt. xxii. 16 ; Mark xii. 14. 

3 Euseb., H. E., ii. 23. -* xxiii. 34. 

s Zeitschr. wiss. TheoL, 1863, p. 354, p. 360, anm. I ; Die Evv. Jtistin^s, 
p. 369 ; Dey Kanon, p. 28. In each of these places the bare assertion is 
made, and the reader is referred to the other passages. In fact, there is 
merely a circle of references to mere unargued assumptions. Bunsen {Bibel- 
zverk, Win., p. 543) repeats the assertion of Hilgenfeld, and refers to the 
passages above, wh.3re, however, as we have stated, no attempt whatever is 
made to establish the truth of the assumption. Cf. Scholten, Die lilt. Zeug- 
nisse, p. 19 ; Het Paulin. Evangelie, p. 3. 

^ The passage is put within brackets by Lachmann, and within double 
brackets by Westcott and Hort. 



omits the word irdrep^ Luke's Gospel was avowedly composed 
after many other similar works were already in existence, and we 
know from our Synoptics how closely such writings often followed 
each other, and drew from the same sources.^ If any historical 
character is conceded to this prayer of Jesus, it is natural to 
suppose that it must have been given in at least some of these 
numerous Gospels which have unfortunately perished. No one 
could reasonably assert that our third Gospel is the only one 
which ever contained the passage. It would be unwarrantable to 
affirm, for instance, that it did not exist in the Gospel according 
to the Hebrews, which Hegesippus employed. On the supposition 
that the passage is historical, which apologists at least will not 
dispute, what could be more natural or probable than that such a 
prayer, "emanating from the innermost soul of Jesus,"3 should 
have been adopted under similar circumstances by James his 
brother and successor, who certainly could not have derived it 
from Luke. The tradition of such words, expressing so much of 
the original spirit of Christianity, setting aside for the moment 
written Gospels, could scarcely fail to have remained fresh in the 
mind of the early Church, and more especially in the primitive 
community among whom they were uttered, and of which Hege- 
sippus was himself a later member; and they would certainly 
have been treasured by one who was so careful a collector and 
transmitter of " the unerring tradition of the apostolic preaching." 
No saying is more likely to have been preserved by tradition, both 
from its own character, brevity, and origin, and from the circum- 
stances under which it was uttered, and there can be no reason 
for limiting it amongst written records to Luke's Gospel. The 
omission of the prayer from very important codices of Luke 
further weakens the claim of that Gospel to the passage. Beyond 
these general considerations, however, there is the important and 
undoubted fact that the prayer which Hegesippus represents 
James as uttering does not actually agree with the prayer of Jesus in 
the third Gospel. So far from proving the use of Luke, therefore, this 
merely fragmentary and partial agreement, on the contrary, rather 
proves that he did not know that Gospel, for on the supposition of 
his making use of the third Synoptic at all for such a purpose, and not 
simply giving the prayer which James may in reality have uttered, 
why did he not quote the prayer as he actually found it in Luke? 

^ The Clementine Homilies give the prayer of Jesus : Ilare/), df0es aJrots 
ras CLfjiapTias avruiv, k.t.X. Hom., xi. 20. 

^ The passage we are considering was certainly not an original addition by 
the author of our present thifd gospel, but was derived from earlier sources. 
Cf. Ewald, Die drei ersten Ew., p. 150. 

3 ^'Ganz aus dem innersten Geiste Jesus' geschopft.'''' Ewald, Die drei erst. 
Ew.y p. 361. 



We have still to consider a fragment of Hegesippus preserved to 
us by Stephanus Gobarus, a learned monophysite of the sixth 
century, which reads as follows : " That the good things prepared 
for the righteous neither eye saw, nor ear heard, nor entered they 
into the heart of man. Hegesippus, however, an ancient and 
apostolic man, how moved I know not, says in the fifth book of 
his Memoirs that these words are vainly spoken, and that those 
who say these things give the lie to the divine writings and to the 
Lord, saying : ' Blessed are your eyes that see, and your ears that 
hear,' " etc. (MaKapcot ol ocfiOaXfxol vixmv ol ^XeTTOvres, Kal ra coxa 
v/xwv ra oLKovovTa, Kal ra e^rjs).^ We believe that we have here an 
expression of the strong prejudice against the Apostle Paul and 
his teaching, which continued for so long to prevail amongst 
Jewish Christians, and which is apparent in many writings of that 
period. The quotation of Paul, i Cor. ii. 9, differs materially 
from the Septuagint version of the passage in Isaiah Ixiv. 4, and, 
as we have seen, the same passage quoted by Clement of Rome,^ 
differs both from the version of the LXX. and from the epistle, 
although closer to the former. Jerome, however, found the 
passage in the apocryphal work called Ascensio EsaicE,^ and 
Origen, Jerome, and others, likewise ascribe it to the Apocalypsis 
Elice.^ This, however, does not concern us here, and we have 
merely to examine the " saying of the Lord," which Hegesippus 
opposes to the passage : " Blessed are your eyes that see and your 
ears that hear." This is compared with Matt. xiii. 16, "But 
blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear " 
(vfiMV 8e fxaKapioi ol ocfiOaXfiol on f^Xkirovcnv^ kol toL tSra vfxwv on 
oLKovova-Lv), and also with Luke x. 23, " Blessed are the eyes which 
see the things that ye see," etc. We need not point out that the 
saying referred to by Hegesippus, whilst conveying the same sense 
as that in the two Gospels, differs from them both as they do from 
each other, and as we might expect a quotation taken from a different 
though kindred source, like the Gospel according to the Hebrews, 
to do. The whole of the passages which we have examined, 
indeed, exhibit the same natural variation. 

We have already referred to the expressions of Hegesippus 
regarding the heresies in the early Church : " From these sprang 
the false Christs, and false prophets, and /a/se apostles^ who divided 
the unity of the Church by corrupting doctrines concerning God 
and his Christ. "5 We have shown how this recalls quotations in 
Justin of sayings of Jesus foreign to our Gospels, in common 
with similar expressions in the Clementine Homilies ^^ Apostolic 

' Photius, Bibl. Cod., 232, col. 893. 

- Ep. ad Corinth, xxxiv. 3 Comni. Es., Ixiv. 4. 

'* Cf. Cotelerius, Patr. Aposf., innotis ad. Cons tit. Apost., vi. 16. 

s Euseb., H. E., iv. 22. ^ xvi. 21. 


Constitutions^^ and Clementine Recognitions^'^ and we need not 
discuss the matter further. This community of reference, in a 
circle known to have made use of the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews, to matters foreign to our Synoptics, furnishes collateral 
illustration of the influence of that Gospel. 

Tischendorf, who so eagerly searches for every trace, real or 
imaginary, of the use of our Gospels and of the existence of a New 
Testament Canon, passes over in silence, with the exception of a 
short note3 devoted to the denial that Hegesippus was opposed to 
Paul, this first writer of Christian Church history, whose evidence, 
could it have been adduced, would have been so valuable. He 
does not pretend that Hegesippus made use of the canonical 
Gospels, or knew of any other Holy Scriptures than those of the 
Old Testament ; but, on the other hand, he does not mention that 
he possessed, and quoted from, the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews. There is no reason for supposing that Hegesippus 
found a New Testament Canon in any of the Christian commu- 
nities which he visited, and such a rule of faith certainly did not 
yet exist in Rome in a.d. 160-170. There is no evidence 
to show that Hegesippus recognised any other evangelical 
work than the Gospel according to the Hebrews, as the written 
source of his knowledge of the words of the Lord. 

The testimony of Papias is of great interest and importance in 
connection with our inquiry, inasmuch as he is the first ecclesi- 
astical writer who mentions the tradition that Matthew and Mark 
composed written records of the life and teaching of Jesus ; but 
no question has been more continuously contested than that of 
the identity of the works to which he refers with our actual 
canonical Gospels. Papias was Bishop of Hierapolis, in Phrygiaj-^ 
in the first half of the second century, and is said to have suffered 
martyrdom under Marcus Aurelius about a.d. i 64-1 67.5 About 
the middle of the second century he wrote a work in five books, 
entitled " Exposition of the Lord's Oracles "^ (Aoytwv KvpiaKoyv 
^$riyr]a-is), which, with the exception of a few fragments pre- 
served to us chiefly by Eusebius and Irenaeus, is, unfortunately, 
no longer extant. In the preface to his book he stated : " But I 
shall not hesitate also to set beside my interpretations all that I 
rightly learnt from the Presbyters, and rightly remembered, 
earnestly testifying to their truth; for I was not, like the multitude, 
taking pleasure in those who speak much, but in those who teach 

' vi. 18 ; cf. 18. 2 iv. 34. 

3 Wann ivurden, ti. s. w., p. 19. 

* Eusebius, H. E., iii. 36, 39; Hieron., De Vir. III., 18. 

5 Chron. Pasch., i. 481. ^ Euseb., H. E.^ iii. 39. 


the truth ; nor in those who relate alien commandments, but in 
those who record those delivered by the Lord to the faith, and 
which come from the truth itself. If it happened that anyone 
came who had followed the Presbyters, I inquired minutely after 
the words of the Presbyters, what Andrew or what Peter said, or 
what Philip or what Thomas or James, or what John or Matthew, 
or what any other of the disciples of the Lord, and what Aristion 
and the Presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, say ; for I held 
that what was to be derived from books did not so profit me as 
that from the living and abiding voice "' (Oi; yap ra €k twv 
/3i/5A.tcov Too-ovTOv fxe M(f)eXdv virekafifSavov, ocrov to. Trapa ^a)(rrf<i 
(^(ovt)? Kal fxevovcr7]s). It is clear from this that Papias preferred 
tradition to any written works with which he was acquainted, 
that he attached little or no value to any Gospels with 
which he had met,^ and that he knew nothing of canonical 
Scriptures of the New Testament. His work was evidently 
intended to furnish a collection of the discourses of Jesus 
completed from oral tradition, with his own expositions; and 
this is plainly indicated, both by his own words and by the state- 
ments of Eusebius, who, amongst other things, mentions that 
Papias sets forth strange parables of the Saviour, and teachings 
of his from unwritten tradition (e/c irapaSocrecos dypdcfiov).^ It 
is not, however, necessary to discuss more closely the nature of 
the work, for there is no doubt that written collections of discourses 
of Jesus existed before it was composed, of which it is probable 
he made use. 

The most interesting part of the work of Papias which is pre- 
served to us is that relating to Matthew and Mark. After stating 
that Papias had inserted in his book accounts of Jesus given by 
Aristion, of whom nothing is known, and by the Presbyter John, 
Eusebius proceeds to extract a tradition regarding Mark comnmni- 
cated by the latter. There has been much controversy as to the 
identity of the Presbyter John, some affirming him to have been 

^ Eusebius, H. E., iii. 39. 

^ With reference to the last sentence of Papias, Tischendorf asks : ' ' What 
books does he refer to here, perhaps our Gospels? According to the 
expression this is not impossible, but from the whole character of the book in 
the highest degree improbable" {Wann wiirden, u. s. w., p. 109). We 
know little or nothing of the "whole character" of the book, and what we 
do know is contradictory to our Gospels. The natural and only reasonable 
course is to believe the express declaration of Papias, more especially as it is 
made, in this instance, as a prefatory statement of his belief. 

^ H. E., iii. 39. Bleek [Einl. N. T., 1866, p. 94), Credner {Beitrdge, i., 
p. 23 f. ; Gesch. N. T. Kan., p. 27 f. ), and others, consider that Papias used 
oral tradition solely or mainly in his work. Hilgenfeld {Zeitschr. w. TheoL, 
1875, P- 238 f.; Eml. N. T., 1875, p. 53 ff. ) and others suppose that the 
Hebrew X&yta of Matthew were the basis of his Exposition, together with 
tradition, but that he did not use any of our Gospels. 


the Apostle, but the great majority of critics deciding that he was 
a totally different person. Irenaeus, who, sharing the Chiliastic 
opinions of Papias, held him in high respect, boldly calls him 
" the hearer of John " (meaning the Apostle) " and a companion 
of Polycarp " (6 'Iwawov /xev dKov(rrrj<s, TLoXvKapTrov Se iraipos 
yeyovm) ;^ but this is expressly contradicted by Eusebius, 
who points out that, in the preface to his book, Papias by no 
means asserts that he was himself a hearer of the Apostles, but 
merely that he received their doctrines from those who had 
personally known them ;^ and, after making the quotation from 
Papias which we have given above, he goes on to point out that 
the name of John is twice mentioned — once together with Peter, 
James, and Matthew and the other Apostles, "evidently the Evan- 
gelist," and the other John he mentions separately, ranking him 
amongst those who are not Apostles, and placing Aristion before 
him, distinguishing him clearly by the name of Presbyter.3 He 
further refers to the statement of the great Bishop of Alexandria, 
Dionysius,4 that at Ephesus there were two tombs, each bearing 
the name of John, thereby leading to the inference that there were 
two men of the name.s There can be no doubt that Papias 
himself, in the passage quoted, mentions two persons of the name 
of John, distinguishing the one from the other, and classing the 
one amongst the Apostles and the other after Aristion, an unknown 
" disciple of the Lord," and, but for the phrase of Irenaeus, so 
characteristically uncritical and assumptive, there probably never 
would have been any doubt raised as to the meaning of the 
passage. The question is not of importance to us, and we may 
leave it with the remark that a writer who suffered martyrdom 
under Marcus Aurelius, c. a.d. 165, can scarcely have been a hearer 
of the Apostles.^ 

The account which the Presbyter John is said to have given of 
Mark's Gospel is as follows : '" This also the Presbyter said : 
Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote accurately 
whatever he remembered, though he did not arrange in order the 

' Adv. Hcer., v. 33, § 4. = Eusebius, H. E., iii. 39. 

3 Euseb., H. E., iii. 39. Cf. Hieron. De Vir. III., 18. 

4 lb., H. E., vii. Proem. 

s lb., vii. 25. Cf. Hieron. De Vir. III., 9. 

^ Ewald, Gesch. Volkes Isr., vii., p. 226, anm. i ; Tischendorf, Wann 
wurden, u. s. w., p. 105. Dr. Lightfoot argues that the Chronicon Paschale, 
from which this date is derived, has inserted the name of Papias in mistake 
for Papylus, which stands in the History of Eusebius (iv. 15), from which, he 
contends, the author of the Chronicle derived his information. He, there- 
fore, concludes that the above date may henceforth be dismissed, and at once 
proceeds in a singularly arbitrary manner to fix dates for the career of Papias 
which he considers more acceptable. The matter does not require elaborate 
argument here. Cf. Lightfoot, Contenip. Rev., 1875, P- 381 ff 



things which were either said or done by Christ. For he neither 
heard the Lord, nor followed him ; but afterwards, as I said,^ 
accompanied Peter, who adapted his teaching to the occasion, and 
not as making a consecutive record of the Lord's oracles. Mark, 
therefore, committed no error in thus writing down some things as 
he remembered them. For of one point he was careful, to omit 
none of the things which he heard, and not to narrate any of 
them falsely.' These facts Papias relates concerning Mark."^ 
The question to decide is, whether the work here described is our 
canonical Gospel or not. 

The first point in this account is the statement that Mark was 
the interpreter of Peter (e/a/xT^vevr^js Uerpov). Was he merely 
the secretary of the Apostle, writing in a manner from his dictation, 
or does the passage mean that he translated the Aramaic narrative 
of Peter into Greek ? The former is the more probable supposi- 
tion, and that which is most generally adopted ; but the question 
is not material here. The connection of Peter with the Gospel 
according to Mark was generally affirmed in the early Church, as 
was also that of Paul with the third Gospel, 3 with the evident 
purpose of claiming apostolic origin for all the canonical Gospels.^ 
Irenaeus says : "After their (Peter and Paul) decease, Mark, the 
disciple and interpreter of Peter, delivered to us in writing that 
which had been preached by Peter. "5 Eusebius quotes a similar 
tradition from Clement of Alexandria, embellished, however, with 

further particulars. He says: " The cause for which the 

Gospel according to Mark was written was this : When Peter had 

^ Dr. Lightfoot [Contemp. Kev., 1875, P- ^42)) in the course of a highly 
fanciful argument, says, in reference to this "as I said" : " It is quite clear 
that Papias had already said something of the relations existing between St. 
Peter and St. Mark previously to the extract which gives an account of the 
Second Gospel, for he there refers back to a preceding notice." It is quite 
clear that he refers back, but only to the preceding sentence, in which he " had 
already said something of the relations " in stating the fact that " Mark, 
having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote, etc." 

^ " Kat Tovd^ 6 irpea^vrepos eXeye. Mctp/cos /x^f ipjuiTjvevTris Uerpov yevofxivos 
ocra iimvTjfjiopeva-ev, aKpt^ds eyparpep, ou fiev tol rd^ei to, vtto tou Xpiarod r) 
\exdevTa rj irpaxdevTa. Ovre yap iJKOvcre tou Kvpiov, ovre 7rapT)Ko\o69r]cr€v avTip- 
iij-repop 8^, cos e(prjy, Ylerpip, ds irpbs ras XP^'cts eiroLeiTO tcls 8i8a(rKa\las, aXX' oux 
ibairep (Tovra^LV tQv KvpLaKuiv iroi.ovjxevos \6yu3v, wore ov8ev ij/xapre Ma/)/cos, ourws 
evLa ypa\pas cjs dire/xvTjfioi'evcrev. 'Evbs ya.p iiroL-qjciTO irpdvoLav, tou fxrjSep ihv 
fjKouffe irapaKLTrelv, t) ^pevaaadai ti iv au'rois." Taura ixev odv ia-ToprjTai T<f 
IlaTTia Trepl tov M.dpKou. Euseb. , JH. £., iii. 39. 

3 Irenaeus, Adv. Hcsr., iii. i ; cf. Eusebius, H. E., v. 8 ; Tertullian, Adv. 
Marc.,\w. 5; Origen, a/. Euseb., H. E., vi. 25; Eusebius, v^. E., iii. 4; 
Hieron. De Vir. III., 7. 

4 Cf. Tertullian, Adv. Marc, iv. 5. 

5 Mera 5^ T-r\v tovto}v e^oSov, MdpKos 6 /xadTjTrjs Kai epfXTjvevT-^s TLcTpov, Kal 
avTos TO. VTTO UeTpou K'rjpucro'oiuLeva eyy pd(f>(t)3 rj/uuv TapaSeSujKe. Adv. Uisr., iii. 
I, § I ; Euseb., H. E., v. 8. 


publicly preached the word at Rome, and proclaimed the Gospel 
by the Spirit, those who were present, being many, requested 
Mark, as he had followed him from afar, and remembered what 
he had said, to write down what he had spoken ; and, when he 
had composed the Gospel, he gave it to those who had asked it 
of him ; which, when Peter knew, he neither absolutely hindered 
nor encouraged it."' Tertullian repeats the same tradition. He 
says : "And the Gospel which Mark published may be affirmed to 

be Peter's, whose interpreter Mark was for it may rightly appear 

that works which disciples publish are of their masters."^ We 
have it again from Origen : " The second (Gospel) is according to 
Mark, written as Peter directed him."3 Eusebius gives a more 
detailed and advanced version of the same tradition. " So much, 
however, did the effulgence of piety illuminate the minds of those 
(Romans) who heard Peter that it did not content them to hear 
but once, nor to receive only the unwritten doctrine of the divine 
teaching; but, with reiterated entreaties, they besought Mark, to 
whom the Gospel is ascribed, as the companion of Peter, that he 
should leave them a written record of the doctrine thus orally 
conveyed. Nor did they cease their entreaties until they had 
persuaded the man, and thus became the cause of the writing of 
the Gospel called according to Mark. They say, moreover, that 
the Apostle (Peter), having become aware, through revelation to 
him of the Spirit, of what had been done, was delighted with the 
ardour of the men, and ratified the work, in order that it might 
be read in the churches. This narrative is given by Clement in 
the sixth book of his Institutions^ whose testimony is supported 
by that of Papias, the Bishop of Hierapolis."'!^ The account given 
by Clement, however, by no means contained these details, as we 
have seen. In his Demons t?'ation of the Gospel^ Eusebius, referring 
to the same tradition, affirms that it was the modesty of Peter 
which prevented his writing a Gospel himself.5 Jerome almost 
repeats the preceding account of Eusebius : " Mark, the disciple 
and interpreter of Peter, being entreated by the brethren 
of Rome, wrote a short Gospel according to what he had 

^ T6 5e /cara Ma/>/fov ravTTjp ecxxriKevaL rrjv olKOPOjuciav. Tov Ilerpov drj/iiocria iu 
'Vibfir) Kr]pv^avTos rov \6yov, koL HvevjxaTL rb evayyeXiov e^eLTrSpros, rods Trapdvras 
TToWo))? 6uTas irapctKaXecrai top MapKov, Jjs civ aKoXovdrjcravra avrtp iroppcadep Kal 
fMefxvrjfievov ti2v XexdevTOjv, dvaypdxl/ai to. elprjfieua- iroLT^aavra d^ rb evayy^Xiov, 
fieradovvaL roh deo/xepois avTOu. "Oirep eirtyvdvTa rbv VLerpov, irpoTpeirTiKuis 
l^-qre Kui\v<TaL fi-^re irpoTpk^paadaL. Euseb. , II. E., vi. 14. 

^ Licet et Marcus quod edidit Petri afflrmetur, cuj'us ifiterpres Marcus 
Capit majistrorum videri, qucB discipuli promulgarint. Adv. Marc, 

iv. 5- , , . , , , . , 

3 de^repov 8k rb KarcL M.apKOP, (lis Il^rpos v(fyr]yr]<xaTo avTLp, TronjcraPTa. Com- 
ment, in Matt. Euseb., If. £., vi. 25. 

* Euseb., H. ^., u. 15. 5 Demonstr. Evang., iii. 5. 


received from Peter, which, when Peter heard, he approved, 
and gave his authority for its being read in the churches, as 
Clement writes in the sixth book of his Institutions,^^^ etc. 
Jerome, moreover, says that Peter had Mark for an interpreter, 
" whose Gospel was composed : Peter narrating and he writing " 
{cujus evangeliuin Petro narrante et illo scribente compositum est).'^ 
It is evident that all these writers merely repeat with variations 
the tradition regarding the first two Gospels which Papias origi- 
nated. Irengeus dates the writing of Mark after the death of 
Peter and Paul in Rome. Clement describes Mark as writing 
during Peter's Hfe, the Apostle preserving absolute neutrality. By the 
time of Eusebius, however, the tradition has acquired new and 
miraculous elements, and a more decided character ; Peter is 
made aware of the undertaking of Mark through a revelation of 
the Spirit, and, instead of being neutral, is delighted, and lends 
the work the weight of his authority. Eusebius refers to Clement 
and Papias as giving the same account, which they do not, how- 
ever, and Jerome merely repeats the story of Eusebius without 
naming him ; and the tradition which he had embellished thus 
becomes endorsed and perpetuated. Such is the growth of 
tradition ;3 it is impossible to overlook the mythical character of 
the information we possess as to the origin of the second canonical 

In a Gospel so completely inspired by Peter as the tradition of 
Papias and of the early Church indicates we may reasonably 
expect to find unmistakeable traces of Petrine influence ; but, on 
examination, it will be seen that these are totally wanting. Some 
of the early Church did not fail to remark this singular discrepancy 
between the Gospel and the tradition of its dependence on Peter, 
and, in reply, Eusebius adopts an apologetic tone.^ For instance, 
in the brief account of the calling of Simon in Mark, the dis- 
tinguishing addition, "called Peter," of the first Gospel is omitted,^ 
and, still more notably, the whole narrative of the miraculous 
draught of fishes which gives the event such prominence in the 
third Gospel.^ In Matthew, Jesus goes into the house of " Peter" 
to cure his wife's mother of a fever, whilst in Mark it is "into the 

^ De Vir. III., 8. ^ Ad Hedib., c. 2. 

3 A similar discrepancy of tradition is to be observed as to the place in 
which the Gospel was written, Irenseus and others dating it from Rome, and 
others (as Chrysostom, in yJ/^://. HomiL,'\.) assigning it to Egypt. Indeed, 
some MSS. of the second Gospel have the words iypd(p7) iv AiyvTrrc}} in 
accordance with this tradition as to its origin. Cf. Scholz, Einl. N. T., i., 
p. 201. Various critics have argued for its composition at Rome, Alexandria, 
and Antioch. We do not go into the discussion as to whether Peter ever was 
in Rome. 

^ Dein. Ev., iii. 3. 

5 Cf. Mark i. 16, 17 ; Matt. iv. 18. ^ Luke v. i-ii. 


house of Simon and Andrew," the less honourable name being 
still continued.' Matthew commences the catalogue of the twelve 
by the pointed indication : " The first, Simon, who is called Peter, "^ 
thus giving him precedence, whilst Mark merely says, "And Simon 
he surnamed Peter."3 The important episode of Peter's walking 
on the sea, of the first Gospel, 4 is altogether ignored by Mark. The 
enthusiastic declaration of Peter, " Thou art the Christ, "5 is only 
followed by the chilling injunction to tell no one, in the second 
Gospel,^ whilst Matthew not only gives greater prominence to the 
declaration of Peter, but gives the reply of Jesus, " Blessed art 
thou, Simon Bar-jona," &c. — of which Mark apparently knows 
nothing — and then proceeds to the most important episode in the 
history of the Apostle, the celebrated w^ords by which the surname 
of Peter was conferred upon him : " And I say unto thee, that 
thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church," etc. 7 
The Gospel supposed to have been inspired by Peter, however, 
totally omits this most important passage, as it also does the 
miracle of the finding the tribute money in the fish's mouth, 
narrated by the first Gospel.^ Luke states that " Peter and John " 
are sent to prepare the Passover, whilst Mark has only "two 
disciples ";9 and in the account of the last Supper, Luke gives the 
address of Jesus to Peter : " Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath 
desired to have you (all) that he may sift you as wheat ; but I 
have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not ; and when thou art 
converted, strengthen thy brethren."'^ Of this Mark does not say 
a word. Again, after the denial, Luke reads : " And the Lord 
turned and looked upon Peter, and Peter remembered the word 
of the Lord, etc., and Peter went out and wept bitterly ";" whereas 
Mark omits the reproachful look of Jesus, and makes the penitence 
of Peter depend merely on the second crowing of the cock, and 
further modifies the penitence by the omission of "bitterly" — 
" And when he thought thereon, he wept."'^ There are other 
instances to which we need not refer. Not only are some of the 
most important episodes in which Peter is represented by the other 
Gospels as a principal actor altogether omitted, but throughout the 
Gospel there is a total absence of anything which is specially 
characteristic of Petrine influence and teaching. The argument 
that these omissions are due to the modesty of Peter is quite 
untenable, for not only does Irenseus, the most ancient authority 

' Mark i. 29. - Matt. x. 2. 

3 Mark iii. 16. * Matt. xiv. 22-33. 

5 Matt, adds, "the son of the living God," xvi. 16. 
^ Mark viii. 27-30; cf. Baur, Das Markus Ev., p. 133. 
7 Matt. xvi. 16-19. ^ Matt. xvii. 24-27. 

9 Luke xxii. 8 ; Mark xiv. 13. '° Luke xxii. 31, 32. 

" lb., 61, 62 ; cf. Matt. xxvi. 75. ^^ Mark xiv. 27. 


on the point, state that this Gospel was only written after the death 
of Peter, ^ but also there is no modesty in omitting passages of 
importance in the history of Jesus, simply because Peter himself 
was in some way concerned in them, or, for instance, in decreasing 
his penitence for such a denial of his master, which could not 
but have filled a sad place in the Apostle's memory. On the other 
hand, there is no adequate record of special matter, which the 
intimate knowledge of the doings and sayings of Jesus possessed 
by Peter might have supplied, to counterbalance the singular 
omissions. There is much more of the spirit of Peter in the 
first Gospel than there is in the second. The whole internal evi- 
dence, therefore, shows that this part of the tradition of the 
Presbyter John transmitted by Papias does not apply to our 

The discrepancy is still more marked when we compare 
with our actual second Gospel the account of the work of 
Mark which Papias received from the Presbyter. Mark wrote 
down from memory some parts (eVta) of the teaching of Peter 
regarding the life of Jesus, but as Peter adapted his instructions 
to the actual circumstances (irpos ra? x/o^tas), and did not give 
a consecutive report ((rvvra^c^) of the sayings or doings of 
Jesus, Mark was only careful to be accurate, and did not trouble 
himself to arrange in historical order (rajts) his narrative of the 
things which were said and done by Jesus, but merely wrote down 
facts as he remembered them. This description would lead us 
to expect a work composed of fragmentary reminiscences of the 
teaching of Peter, without regular sequence or connection. The 
absence of orderly arrangement is the most prominent feature in 
the description, and forms the burden of the whole. Mark writes 
" what he remembered" ; "he did not arrange in order the things 
that were either said or done by Christ." And then follow the 
apologetic expressions of explanation — he was not himself a hearer 
or follower of the Lord, but derived his information from the 
occasional preaching of Peter, who did not attempt to give a con- 
secutive narrative. Now, it is impossible in the work of Mark, 
here described, to recognise our present second Gospel, which 
does not depart in any important degree from the order of the 
other two Synoptics, and which throughout has the most evident 
character of orderly arrangement. Each of the Synoptics com- 
pared with the other two would present a similar degree of 
variation, but none of them could justly be described as not 
arranged in order, or as not being consecutive. The second 
Gospel opens formally, and, after presenting John the Baptist as 
the messenger sent to prepare the way of the Lord, proceeds to 

' Adv. Hcer., iii. i, § i ; Euseb., H. E., v. 8. See quot., p. 279, note 5. 


the baptism of Jesus, his temptation, his entry upon public life, 
and his calling of the disciples. Then, after a consecutive narra- 
tive of his teaching and works, the history ends with a full 
account of the last events in the life of Jesus, his trial, 
crucifixion, and resurrection. There is in the Gospel every 
characteristic of artistic and orderly arrangement, from the striking 
introduction by the prophetic voice crying in the wilderness to the 
solemn close of the marvellous history.' The great majority of 
critics, therefore, are agreed in concluding that the account of the 
Presbyter John recorded by Papias does not apply to our second 
canonical Gospel at all. Many of those who affirm that the 
description of Papias may apply to our second Gospel do so with 
hesitation, and few maintain that we now possess the original 
work without considerable subsequent alteration. Some of these 
critics, however, feeling the difficulty of identifying our second 
Gospel with the work here described, endeavour to reconcile the 
discrepancy by a fanciful interpretation of the account of Papias. 
They suggest that the first part, in which the want of chronological 
order is pointed out, refers to the rough notes which Mark made 
during the actual preaching and lifetime of Peter, and that the 
latter part applies to our present Gospel, which he later remodelled 
into its present shape. This most unreasonable and arbitrary 
application of the words of Papias is denounced even by 

It has been well argued that the work here described as pro- 
duced by Mark in the character of e/o/xr/i/evr?)? Hhpov is much 
more one of the same family as the Clementine Homilies than of 
our Gospels. The work was no systematic narrative of the history 
of Jesus, nor report of his teaching, but the dogmatic preaching 
of the Apostle, illustrated and interspersed with passages from the 
discourses of Jesus, or facts from his life. Of this character 
seems actually to have been that ancient work. The Preaching of 
Peter (Kn'jpvyixa Uerpov), which was used by Heracleon,^ and 
by Clements of Alexandria, as an authentic canonical work,4 
denounced by Origens on account of the consideration in which it 
was held by many, but still quoted with respect by Gregory of 
Nazianzum.^ There can be no doubt that the Krjpvyfxa llerpov, 
although it failed to obtain a permanent place in the canon, was 

^ Augustine calls Mark the follower and abbreviator of Matthew. '■'■Tan- 
quatn pedisequus et breviator Matthcei.'''' De Consensu Evang., i. 2. 

° Origen, Comment, hi Joan. ^ xiii. 17. 

3 Strom., i. 29, § 182, vi. 5, § 39, 6, § 48, 15, § 128. 

'^ The work is generally quoted by the latter with the introduction, "Peter 
in the Preaching says : " JltVpos h tl^ KTjpvyfjiaTi Xeyei, k.t.X. 

5 De Princip. Praf. , 8. 
£p. xvi. {ad CcBsai\, i.). Cf. Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. 7\, i., p. 812. 


one of the most ancient works of the Christian Church, dating 
probably from the first century, and, like the work described 
by Papias, it also was held to have been composed in Rome 
in connection with the preaching there of Peter and Paul. 
It must be noted, moreover, that Papias does not call the work 
ascribed to Mark a Gospel, but merely a record of the preaching 
of Peter. 

It is not necessary for us to account for the manner in which 
the work referred to by the Presbyter John disappeared, and the 
present Gospel according to Mark became substituted for it. The 
merely negative evidence that our actual Gospel is not the work 
described by Papias is sufficient for our purpose. Any one 
acquainted with the thoroughly uncritical character of the Fathers, 
and with the literary history of the early Christian Church, will 
readily conceive the facility with which this can have been 
accomplished. The great mass of intelligent critics are agreed 
that our Synoptic Gospels have assumed their present form only 
after repeated modifications by various editors of earlier evangelical 
works. These changes have not been effected without traces 
being left by which the various materials may be separated and 
distinguished ; but the more primitive Gospels have entirely 
disappeared, naturally supplanted by the later and amplified 
versions. The critic, however, who distinguishes between the 
earlier and later matter is not bound to perform the now im- 
possible feat of producing the originals, or accounting in 
any but a general way for the disappearance of the primitive 

Tischendorf asks : "How then has neither Eusebius nor any 
other theologian of Christian antiquity thought that the expressions 
of Papias were in contradiction with the two Gospels (Mt. and 
Mk.)?"^ The absolute credulity with which those theologians 
accepted any fiction, however childish, which had a pious tendency, 
and the frivolous character of the only criticism in which they 
indulged, render their unquestioning application of the tradition 
of Papias to our Gospels anything but singular, and it is only 
surprising to find their silent acquiescence elevated into an 
argument. We have already, in the course of these pages, seen 
something of the singularly credulous and uncritical character of 
the Fathers, and we cannot afford space to give instances of the 
absurdities with which their writings abound. No fable could be 
too gross, no invention too transparent, for their unsuspicious 
acceptance, if it assumed a pious form or tended to edification. 
No period in the history of the world ever produced so many 
spurious works as the first two or three centuries of our era. The 

' Warm wurden, u. s. w., p. 107. 


name of every Apostle, or Christian teacher, not excepting that of 
the great Master himself, was freely attached to every description 
of religious forgery. False gospels, epistles, acts, martyrologies, 
were unscrupulously circulated, and such pious falsification was 
not even intended, or regarded, as a crime, but perpetrated for the 
sake of edification. It was only slowly and after some centuries 
that many of these works, once, as we have seen, regarded with 
pious veneration, were excluded from the canon ; and that genuine 
works shared this fate, while spurious ones usurped their places, is 
one of the surest results of criticism. The Fathers omitted to 
inquire critically when such investigation might have been of 
value, and mere tradition credulously accepted and transmitted is 
of no critical value.' In an age when the multiplication of copies 
of any work was a slow process, and their dissemination a matter 
of difficulty and even danger, it is easy to understand with what 
facility the more complete and artistic Gospel could take the place 
of the original notes as the work of Mark. 

The account given by Papias of the work ascribed to Matthew 
is as follows : " Matthew composed the oracles in the Hebrew 
dialect, and every one interpreted them as he was able."^ Critics 
are divided in opinion as to whether this tradition was, like that 
regarding Mark, derived from the Presbyter John, or is given 
merely on the authority of Papias himself. Eusebius joins the 
account of Mark to that given by Matthew merely by the following 
words : " These facts Papias relates concerning Mark ; but 
regarding Matthew he has said as follows : "3 Eusebius distinctly 
states that the account regarding Mark is derived from the 
Presbyter, and the only reason for ascribing to him also that 
concerning Matthew is that it is not excluded by the phraseology of 
Eusebius ; and, the two passages being given by him consecutively 
— however they may have stood in the work of Papias — it is 
reasonable enough to suppose that the information was derived 
from the same source. The point is not of much importance, but 
it is clear that there is no absolute right to trace this statement 
to the Presbyter John, as there is in the case of the tradition 
about Mark. 

This passage has excited even more controversy than that 
regarding Mark, and its interpretation and application are still 

' Dr. Westcott himself admits that "the proof of the Canon is rendered 
more difficult by the uncritical character of the first two centuries." He says : 
"The spirit of the ancient world was essentially uncritical " [Ori the Canott, 
p. 7f.). 

^ 'M.ardalos fiev odv 'E^patdi StaXe/cr^fj ra \6yLa avveypaxparo. ^Rpfi-^vevae 
8^avTa uis 9jv dvvarbs eKaaros. Euseb. , H. E., iii. 39. 

3 Taura fxev odv IcrTdprjTaL ri^ IlaTriq. irepl tov MdpKOV. llepl Se rod Mardaiov 
ravT etprjTai. Euseb., H. £., iii. 39. 


keenly debated. The intricacy and difficulty of the questions 
which it raises are freely admitted by some of the most earnest 
defenders of the canonical Gospels, but the problem, so far as our 
examination is concerned, can be solved without much trouble. 
The dilemma in which apologists find themselves when they 
attempt closely to apply the description of this work given by 
Papias to our canonical Gospel is the great difficulty which 
complicates the matter and prevents a clear and distinct solution 
of the question. We shall avoid minute discussion of details, 
contenting ourselves with the broader features of the argument, 
and seeking only to arrive at a just conclusion as to the bearing of 
the evidence of Papias upon the claim to authenticity of our 
canonical Gospel. 

The first point which we have to consider is the nature of the 
work which is here described. Matthew is said to have composed 
the Aoyia or Oracles, and there can be little doubt from the 
title of his own book. Exposition of the Lord^s Oracles {Koymv 
KvptaKMv €^i]yr]crLs), that these oracles referred to by Papias 
were the Discourses of Jesus. Does the word Xoyta, however, 
mean strictly oracles or discourses alone, or does it include within 
its fair signification also historical narrative ? Were the " Aoyta " 
here referred to a simple collection of the discourses of Jesus, or 
a complete Gospel like that in our canon bearing the name of 
Matthew ? That the natural interpretation of the word is merely 
" oracles " is indirectly admitted, even by the most thorough 
apologists, when they confess the obscurity of the expression — 
obscurity, however, which simply appears to exist from the diffi- 
culty of straining the word to make it apply to the Gospel. " In 
these sentences," says Tischendorf, referring to the passage about 
Matthew, " there is much obscurity ; for instance, it is doubtful 
whether we have rightly translated ' Discourses of the Lord,' "^ 
and he can only extend the meaning to include historical narrative 
by leaving the real meaning of the word, and interpreting it by 
supposed analogy. 

There can be no doubt that the direct meaning of the word 
Xoyta anciently and at the time of Papias was simply — words 
or oracles of a sacred character, and, however much the signification 
became afterwards extended, that it was not then at all applied to 
doings as well as sayings. There are many instances of this 
original and limited signification in the New Testament f and 

^ Wann wurden, u. s. w., p. 106 f, 

^ " They were entrusted with the oracles of God," ra \671a rod Geow, 
Rom. iii. 2. "The first principles of the oracles of God," t<2v Xoyiwv tov 
6eoG, Heb. v. 12. " Let him speak as the oracles of God," Cos Xdyia Qeov, 
I Pet. iv. II. Cf. Suicer, Thes. Eccies., ii., p. 247 f. Dr. Lightfoot {Con- 
temp. Rev., 1875, p. 400 f.) argues that in the first of the above passages 


there is no linguistic precedent for straining the expression used 
at that period to mean anything beyond a collection of sayings of 
Jesus which were estimated as oracular or divine, nor is there any 
reason for thinking that ra Xoyia was here used in any other 
sense. It is argued, on the other hand, that in the preceding 
passage upon Mark a more extended meaning of the word is 
indicated. The Presbyter John says that Mark, as the interpreter 
of Peter, wrote, without order, " the things which were either said 
or done by Christ " (to, vtto tov X^pta-rov ^ Xe^^evra rj irpa^d^vTo)^ 
and then, apologising for him, he goes on to say that 
Peter, whom he followed, adapted his teaching to the occasion, 
"and not as making a consecutive record of the oracles 
(Xoytoov) of the Lord." Here, it is said, the word Xoyiaiv is 
used in reference both to sayings and doings, and, therefore, in 
the passage on Matthew ra Xoyta must not be understood to 
mean only Xex^^vTa, but also includes, as in the former case, 
the Trpdy^dkvra. For these and similar reasons — in very many 
cases largely influenced by the desire to see in these Xoyia our 
actual Gospel according to Matthew — ^many critics have maintained 
that Tot Xoyia in this place may be understood to include historical 
narrative as well as discourses. The arguments by which they 
arrive at this conclusion, however, seem to us to be based upon 
thorough misconception of the direct meaning of the passage. 
Few, or none, of these critics would deny that the simple inter- 

Paul's expression, " the oracles of God," cari mean nothing else than the O. T. 
Scriptures, and, therefore, includes the historical books of Genesis, Joshua, 
Samuel, etc. We must maintain that Paul certainly does not refer to a col- 
lection of writings, but to the communications or revelations of God, and, as 
the context shows, probably more immediately to the Messianic prophecies. 
The advantage of the Jews, in fact, according to Paul here, was that to them 
were first communicated the divine oracles ; that they were made the medium 
of God's utterances to mankind. There seems almost an echo of the 
expression in Acts vii. 38, where Stephen is represented as saying to the Jews 
of their fathers on Mount Sinai: " who received living oracles {A67ta ^wfra) 
to give unto us." Of this nature were "the oracles of God" entrusted to 
the Jews. Further, the phrase, " the first principles of the oracles of God" 
(Heb. v. 12), is no application of the term to narrative, as is argued, how- 
ever much the author may illustrate his own teaching by O. T. history ; but the 
writer of the Epistle clearly explains his own meaning in the first and second 
verses of his letter, when he says : ' ' God having spoken to the fathers in time past 
in the prophets, at the end of these days spake unto us in his Son." Dr. 
Lightfoot also urges that Philo applies the term "oracle" {\6yLov) to the 
narrative in Gen. iv. 15, etc. The fact is, however, that Philo considered 
almost every part of the O. T. as allegorical, and held that narrative or 
descriptive phrases frequently veiled divine oracles. When he applies the 
term "oracle" to any of these, it is not to the narrative, but to the divine 
utterance which he believes to be mystically contained in it, and which 
he extracts and expounds in the usual extravagant manner of Alexandrian 


pretation of ra Xoyia, at that period, was oracular sayings.^ 
Papias shows his preference for discourses in the very title of his 
lost book, Exposition of the Xoytoiv of the Lord, and in the 
account which he gives of the works attributed to Mark and 
Matthew the discourses evidently attracted his chief interest. 
Now, in the passage regarding Mark, instead of Xoy'nnv being 
made the equivalent of XexOevra and irpa^divTa, the very 
reverse is the fact. The Presbyter says Mark wrote what he 
remembered of the things which were said or done by Christ, 
although not in order, and he apologises for his doing this on the 
ground that he had not himself been a hearer of the Lord, but 
merely reported what he had heard from Peter, who adapted his 
teaching to the occasion, and did not attempt to give a consecutive 
record of the oracles iXoy'nav) of the Lord. Mark, therefore, 
could not do so either. Matthew, on the contrary, he states, did 
compose the oracles (ra Xoyio). There is an evident contrast 
made — -Mark wrote r) Xeydivra -17 Trpa-^Oevra because he had not 
the means of writing the oracles ; but Matthew composed the 
Xoyta. Papias clearly distinguishes the work of Mark, who 
had written reminiscences of what Jesus had said and done 
from that of Matthew, who had made a collection of hi 

It is impossible upon any but arbitrary grounds, and from a 
foregone conclusion, to maintain that a work commencing with a 
detailed history of the birth and infancy of Jesus, his genealogy, 
and the preaching of John the Baptist, and concluding with an 
equally minute history of his betrayal, trial, crucifixion, and 
resurrection ; which relates all the miracles, and has fof its 
evident aim throughout the demonstration that Messianic prophecy 
was fulfilled in Jesus, could be entitled ra Xoyca : the oracles or 
discourses of the Lord. 

Partly for these, but also for other important reasons, some of 
which shall presently be referred to, the great majority of critics 
deny that the work described by Papias can be the same as the 
Gospel in our canon bearing the name of Matthew. Whilst of 
those who suppose that the (Aramaic) original of which Papias 
speaks may have been substantially similar to it in construction, 
very few affirm that the work did not receive much subsequent 

^ Tischendorf himself, in a note, says : " Rufinus translates the word Xoyta, 
according to the old linguistic usage, by oraciila. It is in the highest degree 
probable that in fact the book of Papias, according to the Millenarian 
standing-point of the man, was dedicated specially to prophecies of the Lord. 
Christian linguistic usage, however, gave the word a wider signification, so 
that the sayings of the Lord and of the Apostles, even when they had not the 
particular character of prophecy, were so called, and Holy Scripture was 
designated Qela \671a" {Waiin wurden, u. s. w., p. 102, note i). 



manipulation, addition, and alteration, necessarily including 
translation, before it assumed the form in which the Gospel now 
lies before us ; and many of them altogether deny its actual 
apostolic origin. 

The next most important and obvious point is that the work 
described in this passage was written by Matthew in the Hebrew 
or Aramaic dialect, and each one who did not understand that 
dialect was obliged to translate as best he could. Our Gospel 
according to Matthew, however, is in Greek. Tischendorf, who is 
obliged to acknowledge the Greek originality of our actual Gospel, 
and that it is not a translation from another language, recognises 
the inevitable dilemma in which this fact places apologists, and 
has, with a few other critics, no better argument with which to 
meet it than the simple suggestion that Papias must have been 
mistaken in saying that Matthew wrote in Hebrew.^ Just as much 
of the testimony as is convenient or favourable is eagerly claimed 
by such apologists, and the rest, which destroys its applicability to 
our Gospel, is set aside as a mistake. Tischendorf perceives the 
difficulty, but, not having arguments to meet it, he takes refuge in 
feeling. " In this," he says, " there lies before us one of the most 
complicated questions, whose detailed treatment would here not be 
in place. For our part, we are fully at rest concerning it, in the 
conviction that the assumption by Papias of a Hebrew original 
text of Matthew, which already in his time cannot have been 
limited to himself and was soon repeated by other men, arises 
only from a misunderstanding. "^ It is difficult to comprehend 
why it should be considered out of place, in a work specially 
written to establish the authenticity of the Gospels, to discuss fully 
so vital a point ; and its deliberate evasion in such a manner alone 
can be deemed out of place. 3 

We may here briefly remark that Tischendorf and others^ 
repeat with approval the disparaging expressions against Papias 
which Eusebius, for dogmatic reasons, did not scruple to use, and 
in this way they seek somewhat to depreciate his testimony, or at 
least indirectly to warrant their free handling of it. It is true that 
Eusebius says that Papias was a man of very limited comprehen- 
sionS (cr(f>68pa yap tol cr/xtK/ao? wv tov vovv), but this is 

' Tischendorf, Wann wurden, u. s. w., p. 107 f. 

^ Wann wurden, u. s. w., p. 107 f. 

3 Dr. Westcott scarcely refers to the subject at all, and indeed on other 
points which are inconvenient in the evidence of Papias regarding Matthew's 
work he preserves almost complete silence, and assumes, with hardly a hint of 
doubt or uncertainty, the orthodox conclusions {On the Canon, pp. 59-62; 
4th ed., p. 68 ff.). 

■* Tischendorf, Wann wtirden, it. s. w., pp. 106-111. 

^ H. E., iii. 39. The passage (iii. 36) in which, on the contrary, Papias 
is called " a man in all respects most learned" {dv-qp ra iravTa otl ixoKLara 


acknowledged to be on account of his Millenarian opinions, to 
which Eusebius was vehemently opposed. It must be borne in 
mind, however, that the Chiliastic passage from Papias quoted by 
Irenaeus, and in which he certainly saw nothing foolish, is given on 
the authority of the Presbyter John, to whom, and not to Papias, 
any criticism upon it must be referred. If the passage be not of a 
very elevated character, it is quite in the spirit of that age. The 
main point, however, is that in regard to the testimony of Papias 
we have little to do with his general ability, for all that was 
requisite was the power to see, hear, and accurately state very 
simple facts. He repeats what is told him by the Presbyter, and, 
in such matters, we presume that the Bishop of Hierapolis must 
be admitted to have been competent. 

There is no point, however, on which the testimony of the 
Fathers is more invariable and complete than that the work of 
Matthew was written in Hebrew or Aramaic. The first mention 
of any work ascribed to Matthew occurs in the account communi- 
cated by Papias, in which, as we have seen, it is distinctly said 
that Matthew wrote " in the Hebrew dialect." Irenaeus, the next 
writer who refers to the point, says : " Matthew also produced a 
written Gospel amongst the Hebrews in their own dialect," and 
that he did not derive his information solely from Papias may be 
inferred from his going on to state the epoch of Matthew's 
writings : " when Peter and Paul were preaching and founding the 
Church in Rome."^ The evidence furnished by Pantsenus is 
certainly independent of Papias. Eusebius states, with regard to 
him : " Of these Pantaenus is said to have been one, and to have 
penetrated as far as India (Southern Arabia), where it is reported 
that he found the Gospel according to Matthew, which had been 
delivered before his arrival to some who had the knowledge of 
Christ, to whom Bartholomew, one of the Apostles, as it is said, 
had preached, and left them that writing of Matthew in Hebrew 
letters " (avrots re 'E^patcov' ypa/x/Att(ri T'qv tov MarOatov KaraXaxpai 
ypacf)7]v).^ Jerome gives a still more circumstantial account 
of this : " Pantaenus found that Bartholomew, one of the twelve 
Apostles, had there (in India) preached the advent of our Lord 
Jesus Christ according to the Gospel of Matthew, which was 
written in Hebrew letters {^uod Hebraicis Uteris scriptum\ and 

XoyiihraTos) is doubtful, as it is not found in the St. Petersburg Syriac 
edition, nor in several other old Greek MSS.; but, treated even as an ancient 
note by some one acquainted with the writings of Papias, it may be mentioned 

^ 'O jxev 8ri Mar^atos ev tois 'E/Spatots rrj idiq. avTOJU dLoXeKTU) Kal ypa<f>rjv 
i^-qveyKev evayyeXiov, rod Herpov /cat tov llavXov ev 'PdofMij evayyeXi^ofxevuv Kal 
defieKLovvTwv t7]v eKKXrjaiav. Adv. Hcer., iii. I, § I ; Euseb. , H. E., v. 8. 

"" Euseb., H. E., v. 10. 


which, on returning to Alexandria, he brought with him."^ It is 
quite clear that this was no version specially made by Bartholomew, 
for had he translated the Gospel according to Matthew from the 
Greek, for the use of persons in Arabia, he certainly would not 
have done so into Hebrew. Origen, according to Eusebius, 
" following the ecclesiastical canon," states what he has under- 
stood from tradition (Iv TrapaSoo-ei) of the Gospels, and says : 
" The first written was that according to Matthew, once a pubUcan, 
but afterwards an Apostle of Jesus Christ, who delivered it to the 
Jewish believers, composed in the Hebrew language."^ Eusebius, 
in another place, makes a similar statement in his own name: 
" Matthew, having first preached to the Hebrews, when he was 
about to go also to others delivered to them his Gospel written in 
their native language, and thus compensated those from whom he 
was departing for the want of his presence by the writing. "3 Cyril 
of Jerusalem says : " Matthew, who wrote the Gospel, wrote it in 
the Hebrew language.""^ Epiphanius, referring to the fact that the 
Nazarenes called the only Gospel which they recognised the 
"Gospel according to the Hebrews," continues: "As in very 
truth we can affirm that Matthew alone, in the New Testament, 
set forth and proclaimed the Gospel in the Hebrew language and 
in Hebrew characters ";5 and elsewhere he states that " Matthew 
wrote the Gospel in Hebrew."^ The same tradition is repeated 
by Chrysostom,7 Augustine,^ and others. 

Whilst the testimony of the Fathers was thus unanimous as to 
the fact that the Gospel ascribed to Matthew was originally written 
in Hebrew, no question ever seeftis to have arisen in their minds as 
to the character of the Greek version ; much less was any examina- 
tion made with the view of testing the accuracy of the translation. 
" Such inquiries were not in the spirit of Christian learned men 
generally of that time,"9 as Tischendorf remarks in connection 
with the belief current in the early Church, and afterwards shared 
by Jerome, that the Gospel according to the Hebrews was the 
original of the Greek Gospel according to Matthew. The first 
who directly refers to the point, frankly confessing the total 
ignorance which generally prevailed, was Jerome. He states : 
" Matthew, who was also called Levi, who, from a publican, 

' De Vir. III., 36. = Euseb., H. E., vi.' 25. 3 Euseb., H. E., iii. 24. 

^ M-ardatos 6 ypd\J/as to evayyeXcov, 'E^patdt yXibaay tovto eypa\pev. Cat. 14. 

5 cJs rd dXrjdTJ e<TTLv elirelv 6tl Mardalos fidvos ^BjSpal'arl Kai 'E/Spal'/cois ypd/m,- 
/xaacv eV ry Kaivrj 8ia6i]Kri eiroL-qaaro rrjv tov evayyeXiov eKdealv re Kai Ktjpvy/ma. 
H(zr., XXX. 3 : ed. Petav., p. 127. 

^ Mar^atos 'E^Spat'/cois ypafifxaai ypd4>ei rb evayyeKiov, k.t.X. Hcer.^ 

li. 5 ; ed. Pet. , p. 426. 

7 Horn, in Matth. , i. ^ P>e Consensu Evang. , i. 2. 

9 Tischendorf, Wann wurden, u. s. w., p. 108. 


became an Apostle, was the first who wrote a Gospel of Christ in 
Judaea in Hebrew language and letters, on account of those from 
amongst the circumcision who had believed ; but who afterwards 
translated it into Greek is not sufficiently certain."^ It was only 
at a much later period, when doubt began to arise, that the 
translation was wildly ascribed to the Apostles John, James, and 

The expression in Papias that "everyone interpreted them (the 
Aoyia) as he was able " (rjpjj.rjvev(re S'avra Cos rjv Swaro^i eVao-Tos) 
has been variously understood by different critics, like the rest of 
the account. Schleiermacher explained the ryppjvewre as trans- 
lation by enlargement — Matthew merely collected the Aoyux, 
and everyone added the explanatory circumstances of time and 
occasion as best he could.-'' This view, however, has not been 
largely adopted. Others consider that the expression refers to the 
interpretation which was given on reading it at the public meetings 
of Christians for worship ; but there can be no doubt that, coming 
after the statement that the work was written in the Hebrew 
dialect, e/opy vereti/ can only mean simple translation. Some main- 
tain that the passage implies the existence of many written trans- 
lations, amongst which very probably was ours ; whilst others 
affirm that the phrase merely signifies that, as there was no recognised 
translation, each one who had but an imperfect knowledge of the 
language, yet wished to read the work, translated the Hebrew for 
himself as best he could. Some consider that Papias or 
the Presbyter uses the verb in the past tense, ^jpfiyveva-e, as con- 
trasting the time when it was necessary for each to interpret as 
best he could with the period when, from the existence of a 
recognised translation, it was no longer necessary for them to do 
so, whilst others deny that any written translation of an authentic 
character was known to Papias at all. Now, the words in Papias 
are merely : " Matthew composed the Aoyta in the Hebrew 
dialect,-!^ and everyone interpreted them as he was able." The 
statement is perfectly simple and direct, and it is, at least, quite clear 
that it conveys the fact that when the work was composed transla- 

^ Matthceus, qui et Levi, ex puhlicano apostolus, primus in Judcea, propter 
eos qui ex circumcisione crediderant , evangelium Christi Hebraicis litteris 
verbisque coiiiposuit : quod quis postea in Grcectmi transtulerit, non satis 
certuDi est. Hieron. De Vir. III., 3. 

- Cf. Theophylact, Com. in Matth. , Prcem. ; Auctor Synops. Script. Sacr. ; 
Athanasius, 0pp. Paris., ii., p. 155 ; Evang. sec. Matth. ed. Matthcei^ p. 10. 

3 Th. Studien u. Krit., 1832, p. 735 f. 

^ In connection with this it may be of interest to remember that, in the 
account of his conversion and the vision which he saw on his way to 
Damascus which Paul gives to King Agrippa in the Acts of the Apostles, he 
states that Jesus spoke to him " in the Hebrew dialect " ('E/Spait'Si 5taXe/cr(fj), 
Acts xxvi. 14. 


tion was requisite, and, as each one translated "as he was able,*^ 
that no recognised translation existed to which all might have 
recourse. There is no contrast either necessarily or probably 
implied in the use of the past tense. The composition of the 
Aoym being, of course, referred to in the past tense, the same 
tense is simply continued in completing the sentence. The pur- 
pose is obviously to convey the fact that the work was composed 
in the Hebrew language. But even if it be taken that Papias 
intentionally uses the past tense in reference to the time when 
translations did not exist, nothing is gained. Papias may have 
known of many translations, but there is absolutely not a syllable 
which warrants the conclusion that he was acquainted with an 
authentic Greek version, although it is possible that he may have 
known of the existence of some Greek translations of no authority. 
The words used, however, imply that, if he did, he had no respect 
for any of them. 

Thus the account of Papias, supported by the perfectly unani- 
mous testimony of the Fathers, declares that the work composed 
by Matthew was written in the Hebrew or Aramaic dialect. The 
only evidence which asserts that Matthew wrote any work at all 
distinctly asserts that he wrote it in Hebrew. It is quite impossible 
to separate the statement of the authorship from that regarding the 
language. The two points are so indissolubly united that they 
stand or fall together. If it be denied that Matthew wrote in 
Hebrew, it cannot be asserted that he wrote at all. It is therefore 
perfectly certain from this testimony that Matthew cannot be 
declared the direct author of the Greek canonical Gospel bearing 
his name. At the very best it can only be a translation, by an 
unknown hand, of a work the original of which was early lost. 
None of the earlier Fathers ever ventured a conjecture as to how, 
when, or by whom the translation was effected. Jerome explicitly 
states that the translator of the work was unknown. The deduction 
is clear : our Greek Gospel, in so far as it is associated with 
Matthew at all, cannot at the utmost be more than a translation, 
but as the work of an unknown translator there cannot, in the 
absence of the original, or of satisfactory testimony of its accuracy, 
be any assurance that the translation faithfully renders the work of 
Matthew, or accurately conveys the sense of the original. All its 
Apostolical authority is gone. Even Michaelis long ago recog- 
nised this : " If the original text of Matthew be lost, and we have 
nothing but a Greek translation, then, frankly, we cannot ascribe 
any divine inspiration to the words; yea, it is possible that in various 
places the true meaning of the Apostle has been missed by the 
translator."'' This was felt and argued by the Manicheans in the 

^ Einl. N. T., ii., p. 997, cf. p. 1,003. 


fourth century,^ and by the Anabaptists at the time of the 
Reformation.^ A wide argument might be opened out as to the 
dependence of the other two Gospels on this unauthenticated 

The dilemma, however, is not yet complete. It was early 
remarked that our first canonical Gospel bears no real marks of 
being a translation at all, but is evidently an original, independent 
Greek work. Even men like Erasmus, Calvin, Cajetan, and 
CEcolampadius began to deny the statement that our Gospels 
showed any traces of Hebrew origin, and the researches of later 
scholars have so fully confirmed their doubts that few now 
maintain the primitive belief in a translation. We do not propose 
here to enter fully into this argument. It is sufficient to say that 
the great majority of competent critics declare that our first 
canonical Gospel is no translation, but an original Greek text ; 
whilst of those who consider that they find in it traces of translation 
and of Hebrew origin, some barely deny the independent originality 
of the Greek Gospel, and few assert more than substantial agreement 
with the original, with more or less variation and addition often of 
a very decided character. The case, therefore, stands thus : The 
whole of the evidence which warrants our believing that Matthew 
wrote any work at all, distinctly, invariably, and emphatically 
asserts that he wrote that work in Hebrew or Aramaic ; a Greek 
Gospel, therefore, as connected with Matthew, can only be a 
translation by an unknown hand, whose accuracy we have not, and 
never have had, the means of verifying. Our Greek Gospel, 
however, being an independent original Greek text, there is no 
ground whatever for ascribing it even indirectly to Matthew at all, 
the whole evidence of antiquity being emphatically opposed, and 
the Gospel itself laying no claim, to such authorship. 

One or other of these alternatives must be adopted for our first 
Gospel, and either is absolutely fatal to its direct Apostolic origin. 
Neither as a translation from the Hebrew nor as an original Greek 
text can it claim Apostolic authority. This has been so well 
recognised, if not admitted, that some writers, with greater zeal 
than discretion, have devised fanciful theories to obviate the 
difficulty. These maintain that Matthew himself wrote both in 
Hebrew and in Greek, or at least that the translation was made 
during his own lifetime and under his own eye, and so on. There 
is not, however, a particle of evidence for any of these assertions, 
which are merely the arbitrary and groundless conjectures of 
embarrassed apologists. 

It is manifest that upon this evidence both those who assert the 

' Augustine, Contra Faust., 32, 2 ; 33, 3. 
^ Sixtus Senensis, Bibl. Sancta, vii. 2, p. 924. 


Hebrew original of Matthew's work and those who maintain that 
our Gospel is not a translation, but an original Greek composition, 
should logically deny its apostolicity. We need not say that this 
is not done, and that for dogmatic and other foregone conclusions 
many profess belief in the Apostolic authorship of the Gospel, 
although in doing so they wilfully ignore the facts, and in many 
cases merely claim a substantial, but not absolute, Apostolic origin 
for the work. A much greater number of the most able and 
learned critics, however, both from external and internal evidence, 
deny the Apostolic origin of our first canonical Gospel. 

There is another fact to which we may briefly refer, which, from 
another side, shows that the work of Matthew, with which Papias 
was acquainted, was different from our Gospel. In a fragment 
from the fourth book of his lost work, which is preserved to us by 
(Ecumenius and Theophylact, Papias relates the circumstances of 
the death of Judas Iscariot in a manner which is in contradiction 
to the account in the first Gospel. In Matthew xxvii. 5 the death 
of the traitor is thus related : " And he cast down the pieces of 
silver in the temple, and departed and went and hanged himself."' 
The narrative in Papias is as follows : " Judas walked about in 
this world a great example of impiety ; for his body having 
swollen so that, on an occasion when a waggon was moving on 
its way he could not pass it, he was crushed by the waggon, and 
his bowels gushed out."^ Theophylact, in connection with this 
passage, adds other details, also apparently taken from the work 
of Papias ; as, for instance, that, from his excessive corpulency, 
the eyes of Judas were so swollen that they could not see, and so 
sunk in his head that they could not be perceived even by the 
aid of the optical instruments of physicians; and that the 
rest of his body was covered with running sores and maggots, and 
so on in the manner of the early Christian ages, whose imagination 
conjured up the wildest " special providences " to punish the 
enemies of the faith. As Papias expressly states that he eagerly 
inquired what the Apostles and, amongst them, what Matthew 
said, we may conclude that he would not have deliberately contra- 
dicted the account given by that Apostle had he been acquainted 
with any work attributed to him which contained it. 

It has been argued, from some very remote and imaginary 
resemblance between the passage from the preface to the work of 
Papias quoted by Eusebius with the prologue to Luke, that 
Papias was acquainted with that Gospel ; but nothing could be 
more groundless than such a conclusion based upon such 

* In Acts i. 18 f. an account is given which again contradicts both Matthew 
and the version of Papias. 

^ CEcuinenius, Comm. in Acta AposL, cap. ii. 


evidence, and there is not a word in our fragments of Papias 
which warrants such an assertion. Eusebius does not mention 
that Papias knew either the third or fourth Gospel. Is it 
possible to suppose that if Papias had been acquainted with 
those Gospels he would not have asked for information about 
them from the Presbyters, or that Eusebius would not have 
recorded it as he did that regarding the works ascribed to Matthew 
and Mark? Eusebius states, however, that Papias "made use of 
testimonies from the first Epistle of John and, likewise, from that 
of Peter."^ As Eusebius, however, does not quote the passages 
from Papias, we must remain in doubt whether he did not, as else- 
where, assume from some similarity of wording that the passages 
were quotations from these Epistles, whilst in reality they might 
not be. Andrew, a Cappadocian bishop of the fifth century, 
mentions that Papias, amongst others of the Fathers, con- 
sidered the Apocalypse inspired.^ No reference is made to this 
by Eusebius, but, although from his Millenarian tendencies it is 
very probable that Papias regarded the Apocalypse with peculiar 
veneration as a prophetic book, this evidence is too vague and 
isolated to be of much value. 

We find, however, that Papias, like Hegesippus and others of 
the Fathers, was acquainted with the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews. Eusebius says : " He (Papias) has likewise related 
another history of a woman accused of many sins before the Lord, 
which is contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews. "3 
This is generally believed to be the episode inserted in the later 
MSS. of the fourth Gospel, viii. i-ii. 

Whatever books Papias knew, however, it is certain, from his 
own express declaration, that he ascribed little importance to 
them, and preferred tradition as a more beneficial source of 
information regarding evangelical history. " For I held that what 
was to be derived from books," he says, " did not so profit me as 
that from the living and abiding voice. "^ If, therefore, it could even 
have been shown that Papias was acquainted with any of our 
canonical Gospels, it must, at the same time, have been admitted 
that he did not recognise them as authoritative documents. It is 
manifest from the evidence adduced, however, that Papias did not 
know our Gospels. It is not possible that he could have found it 
better to inquire "what John or Matthew, or what any other of 

the disciples of the Lord say "if he had known of Gospels 

such as ours, and believed them to have been actually written by 
those Apostles, deliberately telling him what they had to say. 

' Euseb., H. E., iii. 39. 

^ Proleg. Comment, in Apocalypsin ; Routh, Reliq. Sacrce, 1846, i., p. 15. 

^ H. E., iii. 39. 4 Euseb., H. E., iii. 39. 


The work of Matthew, which he mentions, being, however, a mere 
collection of discourses of Jesus, he might naturally inquire what 
the Apostle' himself said of the history and teaching of the 
Master. The evidence of Papias is, in every respect, most im- 
portant. He is the first writer who mentions that Matthew and 
Mark were believed to have written any works at all ; but, whilst 
he shows that he does not accord any canonical authority even to 
the works attributed to them, his description of those works and 
his general testimony come with crushing force against the pre- 
tensions made on behalf of our Gospels to Apostolic origin and 

' We may merely remark that Papias does not call the Matthew who 

wrote the \671a an Apostle. In this sentence he speaks of the Apostle, 

but he does not distinctly identify him with the Matthew of the other 



We must now as briefly as possible examine the evidence furnished 
by the apocryphal religious romance generally known by the name 
of "The Clementines," and assuming, falsely of course, to be the 
composition of the Roman Clement. The Clementines are 
composed of three principal works, the Homilies^ Recognitions^ 
and a so-called EpHoine. The Homilies^ again, are prefaced by a 
pretended epistle addressed by the Apostle Peter to James, and 
another from Clement. These Homilies were only known in an 
imperfect form till 1853, when DresseP published a complete 
Greek text. Of the Recognitions we only possess a Latin trans- 
lation by Rufinus (a.d. 402). Although there is much difference 
of opinion regarding the claims to priority of the Homilies and 
Recognitions^ many critics assigning that place to the Homilies^ 
whilst others assert the earlier origin of the Recognitions^ all are 
agreed that the one is merely a version of the other, the former 
being embodied almost word for word in the latter, whilst the 
Epitome is a blending of the other two, probably intended to 
purge them from heretical doctrine. These works, which are 
generally admitted to have emanated from the Ebionitic party of 
the early Church, are supposed to be based upon older Petrine 
writings, such as the " Preaching of Peter " (XTJ/avy/xa Mkr^ov), and 
the "Travels of Peter" (IleptoSot Ylkr^ov). It is not necessary 
for our purpose to go into any analysis of the character of 
the Clementines. It will suffice to say that they mainly 
consist of discussions between the Apostle Peter and Simon the 
Magician regarding the identity of the true Mosaic and Christian 
religions. Peter follows the Magician from city to city for the 
purpose of exposing and refuting him, the one, in fact, representing 
Apostolic doctrine and the other heresy; and in the course of 
these discussions occur the very numerous quotations of sayings of 
Jesus and of Christian history which we have to examine. 

The Clementine Recognitions^ as we have already remarked, 
are only known to us through the Latin translation of Rufinus ; 
and, from a comparison of the evangelical quotations occurring in 

' Cletnentis R. qua; fermitur Homilice xx. nunc pi-imum ititegrce. Ed. 
A. R. M. Dressel. 



that work with the same in the Homilies^ it is evident that Rufinus 
has assimilated them, in the course of translation, to the parallel 
passages of our Gospels. It is admitted, therefore, that no 
argument regarding the source of the quotations can rightly be 
based upon the Recognitions^ and that work may, consequently, 
be entirely set aside, and the Clementine Homilies alone occupy 
our attention. 

We need scarcely remark that, unless the date at which these 
Homilies were composed can be ascertained, their value as 
testimony for the existence of our Synoptic Gospels is seriously 
affected. The difficulty of arriving at a correct conclusion 
regarding this point, great under almost any circumstances, is 
increased by the fact that the work is altogether apocryphal, and 
most certainly not held by any one to have been written by the person 
whose name it bears. There is, in fact, nothing but internal 
evidence by which to fix the date, and that evidence is of a 
character which admits of very wide extension down the course 
of time, although a sharp limit is set beyond which it cannot 
mount upwards. Of external evidence there is almost none, and 
what little exists does not warrant an early date. Origen, it is true, 
mentions Ile/aioSot KAtJ/xci/tos,^ which, it is conjectured, may 
either be the same work as the 'Avayi/(o/3ia-/xo§, or Recognitions^ 
translated by Rufinus, or related to it, and Epiphanius and others 
refer to 11 €/9io8ot Ylkr^ov f but our Clementine Homilies are not 
mentioned by any writer before pseudo-Athanasius.3 The work, 
therefore, can at the best afford no substantial testimony to the 
antiquity and apostolic origin of our Gospels. Hilgenfeld, following 
in the steps of Baur, arrives at the conclusion that the Homilies 
are directed against the Gnosticism of Marcion (and also, as we 
shall hereafter see, against the Apostle Paul), and he, therefore, 
necessarily assigns to them a date subsequent to a.d. i6o. As 
Reuss, however, inquires : upon this ground, why should a still 
later date not be named, since even TertuUian wrote vehemently 
against the same Gnosis P'^ There can be little doubt that the 
author was a representative of Ebionitic Gnosticism, which had 
once been the purest form of primitive Christianity; but later, 
through its own development, though still more through the rapid 
growth around it of Paulinian doctrine, had assumed a position 
closely verging upon heresy. It is not necessary for us, however, 
to enter upon any exhaustive discussion of the date at which the 

^ Co7mnent. in Genes in Philoc, 22. 

^ Hilgenfeld considers Recog. iv.-vi., Horn, vii.-xi., a version of the 
IIe/3^o5ot n^rpoi;- Die ap. VaUr, p. 291 ff. ; Ritschl does not consider that this 
can be decidedly proved, Entst. Altk. Kirche, p. 204 f.; so also Uhlhorn, 
Die Horn. u. Recog., p. 71 ft". 

3 Syjtops. Sarr. Sc?'ipt., siihjineni. ^ Gesch. N. 7\, p. 254. 


Clementines were written ; it is sufficient to show that there is no 
certain ground upon which a decision can be based, and that even 
an approximate conjecture can scarcely be reasonably advanced. 
Critics variously date the composition of the original Recognitions 
from about the middle of the second century to the end of the 
third, though the majority are agreed in placing them at least in 
the latter century. They assign to the Homilies an origin at 
different dates within a period commencing about the middle of 
the second century, and extending to one or two centuries later. 

In the Homilies there are very numerous quotations of sayings 
of Jesus and of Gospel history, which are generally placed in the 
mouth of Peter, or introduced with such formulae as : " The 
teacher said," "Jesus said," "He said," "The prophet said"; but 
in no case does the author name the source from which these 
sayings and quotations are derived. That he does, how^ever, 
quote from a written source, and not from tradition, is clear from 
the use of such expressions as " in another place (aA,A.r; irovy 
he has said," which refer not to other localities or circumstances, 
but another part of a written history. There are in the Clementine 
Hofnilies upwards of a hundred quotations of sayings of Jesus 
or references to his history, too many for us to examine in 
detail here ; but, notwithstanding the number of these passages, so 
systematically do they vary, more or less, from the parallels in our 
canonical Gospels that, as in the case of Justin, apologists are 
obliged to have recourse to the elastic explanation, already worn 
so threadbare, of "free quotation from memory" and "blending 
of passages " to account for the remarkable phenomena presented. 
It must be evident that the necessity for such an apology 
shows the insufficiency of the evidence furnished by these 
quotations. De Wette says: "The quotations of evangelical 
works and histories in the pseudo-Clementine writings, from their 
nature free and inaccurate, permit only an uncertain conclusion to 
be drawn as to their written source."^ Critics have maintained 
very different and conflicting views regarding that source. Apolo- 
gists, of course, assert that the quotations in the Homilies are taken 
from our Gospels only. Others ascribe them to our Gospels, with 
a supplementary apocryphal work : the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews, or the Gospel according to Peter. Some, whilst 
admitting a subsidiary use of some of our Gospels, assert 
that the author of the Homilies employs, in preference, 
the Gospel according to Peter ; whilst others, recognising 
also the similarity of the features presented by these quota- 
tions with those of Justin's, conclude that the author does 
not quote our Gospels at all, but makes use of the Gospel 

* See several instances, Horn. xix. 2. ^ Einl, N. T. , p. 115. 


according to Peter, or the Gospel according to the Hebrews.^ 
Evidence permitting of such divergent conclusions manifestly 
cannot be of a decided character. We may affirm that few 
of those who are willing to admit the use of our Synoptics 
by the author of the Homilies^ along with other sources, 
make that concession on the strength of the isolated evidence 
of the Homilies themselves, but they are generally moved by 
antecedent views on the point. In an inquiry like that which 
we have undertaken, however, such easy and indifferent judgment 
would obviously be out of place, and the point we have to 
determine is not whether an author may have been acquainted 
with our Gospels, but whether he furnishes testimony that he 
actually was in possession of our present Gospels and regarded 
them as authoritative. 

We have already mentioned that the author of the Clementine 
Homilies never names the source from which his quotations are 
derived. Of these very numerous quotations we must again 
distinctly state that only two or three, of a very brief and fragmen- 
tary character, literally agree with our Synoptics, whilst all the rest 
differ more or less widely from the parallel passages in those 
Gospels. Some of these quotations are repeated more than once 
with the same persistent and characteristic variations, and in 
several cases, as we have already stated, they agree more or less 
closely with quotations of Justin from the Memoirs of the Apostles. 
Others, again, have no parallels at all in our Gospels, and even 
apologists are consequently compelled to admit the collateral use 
of an apocryphal Gospel. As in the case of Justin, therefore, 
the singular phenomenon is presented of a vast number of 
quotations of which only one or two brief phrases, too fragmentary 
to avail as evidence, perfectly agree with our Gospels ; whilst of 
the rest, which all vary more or less, some merely resemble 
combined passages of two Gospels, others only contain the sense, 
some present variations likewise found in other writers or in various 
parts of the Homilies^ and are repeatedly quoted with the same 
variations, and others are not found in our Gospels at all. Such 
characteristics cannot be fairly accounted for by any mere theory of 
imperfect memory or negligence. The systematic variation from 
our Synoptics, variation proved by repetition not to be accidental, 
coupled with quotations which have no parallels at all in our 
Gospels, more naturally point to the use of a different Gospel. In 
no case can the Homilies be accepted as furnishing evidence even 
of the existence of our Gospels. 

As it is impossible here to examine in detail all of the quotations 

' Credner, Schwegler, Hilgenfeld, Volkmar, Zeller, and others, consider that 
the author uses the same Gospel as Justin. 


in the Clementine Homilies^ we must content ourselves with 
this distinct statement of their character, and merely illustrate 
the different classes of quotations, exhausting, however, those 
which literally agree with passages in the Gospels, The most 
determined of recent apologists do not afford us an opportunity 
of testing the passages upon which they base their assertion of the 
use of our Synoptics, for they simply assume that the author used 
them without producing instances.^ 

The first quotation agreeing with a passage in our Synoptics 
occurs in Horn. iii. 52 : "And he cried, saying: Come unto me 
all ye that are weary," which agrees with the opening words of 
Matt. xi. 28 ; but the phrase does not continue, and is followed 
by the explanation, " that is, who are seeking the truth and not 
finding it."^ It is evident that so short and fragmentary a phrase 
cannot prove anything. 

The next passage occurs in Horn, xviii. 15 : "For Isaiah said : 
I will open my mouth in parables, and I will utter things that 
have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. "3 
This passage, with a slightly different order of words, is found in 
Matt. xiii. 35. After giving a series of parables, the author of the 
Gospel says (v. 34) : " All these things spake Jesus unto the 
multitudes in parables ; and without a parable spake he not unto 
them ; (v. 35) That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the 
prophet (Isaiah), saying : I will open my mouth in parables, &c." 
There are two peculiarities which must be pointed out in this 
passage. It is not found in Isaiah, but in Psalm Ixxviii. 2,4 and 
it presents a variation from the version of the Ixx. Both the 
variation and the erroneous reference to Isaiah, therefore, occur 
also in the Homily, and it is upon this similarity of mistake that 
the apologetic argument mainly rests. The first part of the 
sentence agrees with, but the latter part is quite different from, 
the Greek of the Ixx., which reads : "I will utter problems from 
the beginning," ^<9ey^o/xat irpo/SX-qiJiara oltt' dpx'yjS'^ 

The Psalm from which the quotation is really taken is, by its 
superscription, ascribed to Asaph, who, in the Septuagint version 

' Tischendorf only dev'otes a dozen lines, with a note, to the Clementines, 
and only in connection with our fourth Gospel, which shall hereafter have our 
attention [Wann wnrden u. s. w., p. 90). In the same way Dr. Westcott 
passes them over in a short paragraph, merely asserting the allusions to our 
Gospels to be "generally admitted," and only directly referring to one supposed 
quotation from Mark which we shall presently examine, and one which he 
affirms to be from the fourth Gospel [On the Canon, p. 251 f. In the 4th 
edition he has enlarged his remarks, p. 282 ff. ), 

^ Horn. iii. 52. 3 Horn, xviii. 15. 

" The Vulgate reads : aperiant in parabolis os nieum : loquar propositiones 
ab initio. Ps. Ixxvii. 2. 

5 Ps. Ixxvii. 2. 


of 2 Chronicles xxix. 30, is called a prophet. It was, therefore, 
early asserted that the original reading of Matthew was " Asaph," 
instead of " Isaiah." Porphyry, in the third century, twitted 
Christians with this erroneous ascription by their inspired evange- 
list to Isaiah of a passage from a Psalm, and reduced the Fathers 
to great straits. Eusebius, in his commentary on this verse of the 
Psalm, attributes the insertion of the words, " by the prophet 
Isaiah," to unintelligent copyists, and asserts that in accurate 
MSS. the name is not added to the word prophet. Jerome 
likewise ascribes the insertion of the name Isaiah for that of 
Asaph, which was originally written, to an ignorant scribe,^ and 
in the commentary on the Psalms, generally, though probably 
falsely, ascribed to him, the remark is made that many copies of 
the Gospel to that day had the name " Isaiah," for which Porphyry 
had reproached Christians,^ and the writer of the same commentary 
actually allows himself to make the assertion that Asaph was found 
in all the old codices, but ignorant men had removed it.3 The 
fact is, that the reading "Asaph" for "Isaiah" is not found in 
any extant MS., and, although " Isaiah " has disappeared from all 
but a few obscure codices, it cannot be denied that the name 
anciently stood in the text. In the Sinaitic Codex, which is 
probably the earliest MS. extant, and which is assigned to the 
fourth century, " the prophet Isaiah " stands in the text by the 
first hand, but is erased by the second (b). 

The quotation in the Homily, however, is clearly not from our 
Gospel. It is introduced by the words " For Isaiah says "; and 
the context is so different from that in Matthew that it seems 
most improbable that the author of the Homily could have had 
the passage suggested to him by the Gospel. It occurs in a 
discussion between Simon the Magician and Peter. The former 
undertakes to prove that the Maker of the world is not the 
highest God, and amongst other arguments he advances the 
passage, " No man knew the Father," etc., to show that the 
Father had remained concealed from the Patriarchs, etc., until 
revealed by the Son ; and in reply to Peter he retorts, that if the 
supposition that the Patriarchs were not deemed worthy to know 
the Father was unjust, the Christian teacher himself was to blame 
who said, " I thank thee. Lord of heaven and earth, that what 
was concealed from the wise thou hast revealed to suckling babes." 

^ Comment. Matt., xiii. 35. 

- Multa evangelia usque hodie ita habent : Ut implerettir, quod scriptiim est 
per Isaiaxw propketam, etc. Hieron. , 0pp., vii., p. 270 f. 

3 Asaph invenitur in omnibns veteribus codicibtcs, sed homines ignorantes 
tulerttnt illud. To this Credner pertinently rerjiarks : ^'' Die Noth, in welche 
die guten Kirchenvdter durch Porphyrins gekommen waren, erlaubte auch eine 
Liige. Sie geschahja: in juajorem Dei gloriam'''' {Beitrdge, i., p. 304). 


Peter argues that in the statement of Jesus, " No man knew the 
Father," etc., he cannot be considered to indicate another God 
and Father from him who made the world, and he continues : 
" For the concealed things of which he spoke may be those of 
the Creator himself; for Isaiah says, 'I will open my mouth,' etc. 
Do you admit, therefore, that the prophet was not ignorant of the 
things concealed ?"' and so on. There is absolutely nothing in 
this argument to indicate that the passage was suggested by the 
Gospel, but, on the contrary, it is used in a totally different way, 
and is quoted not as an evangelical text, but as a saying from the 
Old Testament, and treated in connection with the prophet him- 
self, and not with its supposed fulfilment in Jesus. It may be 
remarked that in the corresponding part of the Recognitions^ 
whether that work be of older or more recent date, the passage 
does not occur at all. Now, although it is impossible to say how 
and where this erroneous reference to a passage of the Old 
Testament first occurred, there is no reason for affirming that it 
originated in our first Synoptic, and as little for asserting that its 
occurrence in the Clementine Homilies^ with so different a context 
and object, involves the conclusion that their author derived it 
from the Gospel, and not from the Old Testament or some other 
source. On the contrary, the peculiar argument based upon it in 
the Homilies suggests a different origin, and it is very probable 
that the passage, with its erroneous reference, was derived by both 
from another and common source. 

Another passage is a phrase from the " Lord's Prayer," which 
occurs in Horn. xix. 2 : " But also in the prayer which he com- 
mended to us we have it said : Deliver us from the evil one " 
('Pijo-at i^/^a? aTTo tov irovTjpov). It need scarcely be said that 
few Gospels can have been composed without including this 
prayer, and the occurrence of this short phrase demonstrates 
nothing more than the mere fact that the author of the Homilies 
was acquainted with one of the most universally known lessons 
of Jesus, or made use of a Gospel which contained it. There 
would have been cause for wonder had he been ignorant of it. 

The only other passage which agrees literally with our Gospels 
is also a mere fragment from the parable of the Talents, and when 
the other references to the same parable are added, it is evident 
that the quotation is not from our Gospels. In Hom. iii. 65 the 
address to the good servant is introduced, " Well done, good and 
faithful servant" (Ev, SovAe aya^e koI Trurre), which agrees 
with the words in Matt. xxv. 21. The allusion to the parable of 
the talents in the context is perfectly clear, and the passage 
occurs in an address of the Apostle Peter to overcome the 

Horn, xviii. 1-15. 



modest scruples of Zaccheus, the former publican, who has been 
selected by Peter as his successor in the Church of Caesarea when 
he is about to leave in pursuit of Simon the Magician. Anticipa- 
ting the possibility of his hesitating to accept the office, Peter, in 
an earlier part of his address, however, makes fuller allusions to 
the same parable of the talents, which we must contrast with the 
parallel in the first Synoptic. " But if any of those present, 
having the ability to instruct the ignorance of men, shrink back 
from it, considering only his own ease, then let him expect to 
hear :" 

HoM. III. 6i. 
Thou wicked and slothful servant ; 

Matt. xxv. 26-30. 

V, 26. Thou wicked and slothful 
servant, thou knewest that I reap 
where I sowed not, and gather from 
where I strawed not. 

V. 27. Thou oughtest therefore to 
have put my money to the exchangers, 
and at my coming I should have 
received mine own with usury. 

v. 28, 29. Take therefore, etc. 

V. 30. And cast ye the unprofit- 
able servant into the darkness with- 
out ; there shall be weeping and 
gnashing of teeth. 

v. 26. Ilov7)p^ dovXe Kai OKViqpe, 
rjbets 6'ri depl^w, k.t.X. 

V. 27. idei (re odv ^aXelv to apydpidv 
fxov ToTs Tpaire^iraLS, Koi i\dd}V iyui 
iKOjXLcrdixriv^ av to ifiby avv tokuj. 

V. 28, 29. apare odv, k.t.X. 

V. 30. Kai TOP d-xpftoj' 5od\ov iK^d- 
Xere eis t6 <xk6tos to i^djTepov iKel 
^cTTai 6 K\av6fx6s, k.t.X. 

The Homily does not end here, however, but continues in 
words not found in our Gospels at all : "And reasonably : 'For,' 
he says, "it is thine, O man, to put my words as silver with 
exchangers, and to prove them as money.' "^ This passage is 
very analogous to another saying of Jesus, frequently quoted from 
an apocryphal Gospel, by the author of the Homilies^ to which we 
shall hereafter more particularly refer, but here merely point out : 
"Be ye approved • money-changers " (yivea-de TpaTre^lraL ^oKCfiot).^ 
The variations from the parallel passages in the first and third 
Gospels, the peculiar application of the parable to the ivords of 
Jesus, and the addition of a saying not found in our Gospels, 
warrant us in denying that the quotations we are considering can 

thou oughtest to have put out my 
money with the exchangers, and at 
my coming I should have exacted 
mine own. 

Cast ye the unprofitable servant into 
the darkness without. 

AoDXe TTOvqpk koX OKvyjpi, 

idei ae to dpyvpiov fxov irpo- 
paKeTv iirl tCjv Tpaire'^LTCov, Kai iyCj diP 
iXdoop iirpa^a to ifiov 

eK^dXcTe top dxpelop douXop els Tb 
ckStos to i^b}Tepop. 

^ Luke xix. 23 substitutes ^irpa^a for iKOjXLadfxr^v. 

^ Kat evX6yu}S. 2oi; yap, (p7)crip, dudpcaire, Tods Xdyovs fiov ws dpyvpiop iirl 
Tpa7re^iTU)p ^aXeip, Kai (jJS %/37^/iara doKifidaai, Honi. iii. 61. 
3 Horn. iii. 50 ; ii. 51, etc. 


be appropriated by our canonical Gospels, and, on the contrary, 
give good reason for the conclusion that the author derived his 
knowledge of the parable from another source. 

There is no other quotation in the Clementine Homilies which 
literally agrees with our Gospels, and it is difficult, without incur- 
ring the charge of partial selection, to illustrate the systematic 
variation in such very numerous passages as occur in these writings. 
It would be tedious and unnecessary to repeat the test applied to 
the quotations of Justin, and give in detail the passages from the 
Sermon on the Mount which are found in the Homilies. Some of 
these will come before us presently ; but with regard to the whole, 
which are not less than fifty, we may broadly and positively state 
that they all more or less differ from our Gospels. To take the 
severest test, however, we shall compare those further passages 
which are specially adduced as most closely following our Gospels, 
and neglect the vast majority which widely differ from them. 
In addition to the passages which we have already examined, 
Credner"" points out the following. The first is from Horn. xix. 2^ : 
" If Satan cast out Satan he is divided against himself: how then 
can his kingdom stand ?" In the first part of this sentence the 
Homily reads, kK^aXkiq for the €K/3dXXei of the first Gospel, and the 
last phrase in each is as follows : — 

Horn, irds odv avrov (TTifjKrj 7} ^aaiXeia ; 
Matt. TTWS odv aradriaeTai. 7} daaLXeia avrov ; 

The third Gospel differs from the first as the Homily does from 
both. The next passage is from Horn. xix. 73 : " For thus, said 
our Father, who was without deceit : out of abundance of heart 
mouth speaketh." The Greek compared with that of Matt. xii. 34. 

Horn. 'E/c Trepiacre^fMaTOS /capStas arofia \a\ei 

Matt. 'E/c yap rod Trepiacre{ifxaTos ttjs Kapdia^ rb aTO/j-a XaXet. 

The form of the Homily is much more proverbial. The next 
passage occurs in Hom. iii. 52 : "Every plant which the heavenly 
Father did not plant shall be rooted up." This agrees with the 
parallel in Matt. xv. 13, with the important exception, that 
although in the mouth of Jesus, " lAe heavenly Father " is substi- 
tuted for the ^' my heavenly Father" of the Gospel. The last 
passage pointed out by Credner is from Ho/n. viii. 4 : " But also 
' many,' he said, ' called, but few chosen ' "; which may be com- 
pared with Matt. XX. 16, etc. 

Horn. AWa /cat, ttoWoI, (prjcrlp, kXtjtoI, oXiyoL d^ ^/cXe/cro^ 
Matt. TToXXoi ydp elcriv kXtjtoI, oXlyoL 8k iKKeKToL 

We have already fully discussed this passage of the Gospel in 
connection with the " Epistle of Barnabas,"^ and need not say 
more here. 

^ Credner, Beitrdge, i. , p. 285 ; cf. p. 302. ^ Cf. Matt. xii. 26. 

3 Cf. Matt. xii. 34. 4 p. 139 ff. 


The variations in these passages, it may be argued, are not very 
important. Certainly, if they were the exceptional variations 
amongst a mass of quotations perfectly agreeing with parallels in 
our Gospels, it might be exaggeration to base upon such diver- 
gences a conclusion that they were derived from a different source. 
When it is considered, however, that the very reverse is the case, 
and that these are passages selected for their closer agreement out 
of a multitude of others, either more decidedly differing from our 
Gospels or not found in them at all, the case entirely changes ; 
and, variations being the rule instead of the exception, these, 
however slight, become evidence of the use of a Gospel different 
from ours. 

As an illustration of the importance of slight variations in 
connection with the question as to the source from which 
quotations are derived, the following may, at random, be pointed 
out : The passage, " See thou say nothing to any man, but go thy 
way, show thyself to the priest " ("Opa fxr]8evl diryjs, dWa VTraye 
creavTov Set^ov tco lepei), occurring in a work like the Homilies 
would, supposing our second Gospel no longer extant, be referred to 
Matt. viii. 4, with which it entirely agrees. It is, however, actually 
taken from Mark i. 44, and not from the first Gospel. Then, 
again, supposing that our first Gospel had shared the fate of so 
many others of the ttoXXoi of Luke, and in some early work the 
following passage was found : "A prophet is not without honour, 
except in his own country and in his own house " {Ovk eWtv Trpo- 
(firjT'Q<i ari/xos el p-q ev Ttj Trarpt^L avTov koi ev ry oIklo. avTOv), 
this passage would, undoubtedly, be claimed by apologists as a 
quotation from Mark vi. 4, and as proving the existence and use 
of that Gospel. The omission of the words "and among his own 
kin " (/cat €v TOLs a-vyyevea-cv avrov) would at first be explained as 
mere abbreviation, or defect of memory ; but on the discovery 
that part or all of these words are omitted from some MSS., that, 
for instance, the phrase is erased from the oldest manuscript 
known — the Cod. Sinaiticus — the derivation from the second 
Gospel would be considered as established. The author, notwith- 
standing, might never have seen that Gospel, for the quotation is 
taken from Matt. xiii. 57.^ 

We have already quoted the opinion of De Wette as to the incon- 
clusive nature of the deductions to be drawn from the quotations 
in the pseudo-Clementine writings regarding their source, but in 
pursuance of the plan we have adopted we shall now examine the 
passages which he cites as most nearly agreeing with our Gospels. ^ 
The first of these occurs in Horn, iii. 18 : " The Scribes and the 

Cf. Matt. viii. 19-22 ; Luke ix. 57-60, etc. 
^ Einl. N. r., p. 115. 


Pharisees sit upon Moses' seat ; all things, therefore, whatsoever 
they speak to you, hear them," which is compared with Matt, 
xxiii. 2, 3 : " The Scribes and the Pharisees sit upon Moses' 
seats ; all things, therefore, whatsoever they say to you, do and 
observe." We subjoin the Greek of the latter half of these 
passages : — 

Horn. TrdvTa ovv ocra Xiywcriv vfiiv, dKOiiere avrdv. 
Matt. Trdvra odv oaa iav e'liruaLP vfxiv woLrjaaTe Kai TTjp^lre. ^ 

That the variation in the Homily is deliberate and derived from 
the Gospel used by the author is clear from the continuation : 
" Hear them (avTojv), he said, as entrusted with the key of the 
kingdom, which is knowledge, which alone is able to open 
the gate of life, through which alone is the entrance to 
eternal life. But verily, he says : They possess the key 
indeed, but to those who wish to enter in they do not grant 
it."^ The avTwi/ is here emphatically repeated, and the further 
quotation and reference to the denunciation of the Scribes and 
Pharisees continue to differ distinctly from the account both in 
our first and third Gospels. The passage in Matt, xxiii. 13 reads: 
" But woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye 
shut the kingdom of heaven against men ; for ye go not in your- 
selves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in."3 The 
parallel in Luke xi. 52 is not closer. There the passage regarding 
Moses' seat is altogether wanting, and in verse 52, where the 
greater similarity exists, the "lawyers," instead of the "Scribes 
and Pharisees," are addressed. The verse reads : " Woe unto you. 
Lawyers ! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge : ye 
entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye 
hindered. "4 The first Gospel has not the direct image of the key 
at all : the Scribes and Pharisees "shut the kingdom of heaven"; 
the third has " the key of knowledge " (/cXeiSa rr]? yvojo-eoos) 
taken away by the lawyers, and not by the Scribes and Pharisees, 
whilst the Gospel of the Homilies has the key of the kingdom 
(KketSa TTJs /Sao-iXetas), and explains that this key is knowledge 
(i7Tts eo-Tt yvMCTis:). It is apparent that the first Gospel uses an 

' It is unnecessary to point out the various readings of the three last words 
in various MSS. Whether shortened or inverted, the difference from the 
Homily remains the same. 

- AvtQv d^, elirev, co? t7]v KXeida rrjs jSaciXeias TreinaTevfxiviav, ijris ecrri 
ypuJa-LS, 7) fidvT] rrjp ttuXtjv rrjs ^wtjs dvo2^aL duvarai, 5t' ^s fiSvrjs els ttjp aiwviav 
('wrjj' eicreXdeiv ^cttlv 'AXXa vai, (prjcriv, KparoiKXi fxev ttjv kXc'lu, Toh de fSovXo- 
fxeuois eiaeXdelv ov Trap^x^fo'"'- JIo/zi. iii. 18 ; cf. I/bm. iii. 70, xviii. 15, 16. 

3 Oi^ai, K.T.X OTL KXeiere ttjv ^aaiXeiau tCov ovpavdv ^fiirpocrdev tQu 

dvdpwTTdOP- vfieis yap ovk eia^pxecrde, ovde tovs ela-epxofxevovs d(f>i€T€ elaeXdelu. 
Matt, xxiii. 13. 

 Oval vjuuv TOLS vofxiKoXs, 6ti ifpare tt]v KXeida rrjs yvd^aeior avroi ovk elayfXdaTe 
Kai Tovs eiaepxojxivovs iK0jX6craT€. Luke xi. 52. 



expression more direct than the others, whilst the third Gospel 
explains it ; but the Gospel of the Homilies has in all probability 
the simpler original words, the " key of the kingdom," which both 
of the others have altered for the purpose of more immediate 
clearness. In any case, it is certain that the passage does not 
agree with our Gospel. 

The next quotation referred to by De Wette is in Horn. iii. 5 1 : 

"And also that he said : ' I am not come to destroy the law 

the heaven and the earth will pass away, but one jot or one tittle 
shall in nowise pass from the law.' " This is compared with Matt. 
V. 17, 18 '} "Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the 
prophets : I am not come to destroy but to fulfil, (v. 18) For 
verily I say unto you : Till heaven and earth pass away one jot or 
one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." 
The Greek of both passages reads as follows : — 

HoM. III. 51. Matt. v. 17, 18. 

To 5e Kol elweiv aiirov 

OvK ffKdov KaToKvaai top po/ulov. 

Mtj vofiicTTjre 6tl rfkdov KaraXvaaL 

TOP POflOV 7} TOVS 7rpO0^TaS- OVK ijXdop 

KaraXvcrai dXXa TrXrjpwaai. 

V. 18. dfirip yap Xeyca vfxip, ews cLv 
'0 ovpapbs Kal i] yij irapeXevaoPTaL IQra irapiXdrj 6 ovpapbs Koi i] yij, Icora ^p f) 
8^ ^p -^ fiia Kcpaia ov [xt) irap^Xdrj dird fxia Kepaia ov jxt) TrapeXdrj aTrb toO 
Tov poixov. pofjiov, ews dp irdpTa yeprjrai. 

That the omissions and variations in this passage are not acci- 
dental is proved by the fact that the same quotation occurs again 
literally in the Epistle from Peter^ which is prefixed to the 
Homilies in which the TrapeXeva-ovrat is repeated, and the 
sentence closes at the same point. The author in that place 
adds : " This he said that all might be fulfilled " {tovto Se etpr)Kev, 
Lva ra iravra ytvy^rat). Hilgenfeld considers the Epistle of much 
more early date than the Homilies, and that this agreement 
bespeaks a particular text. 3 The quotation does not agree with 
our Gospels, and must be assigned to another source. 

The next passage pointed out by De Wette is the erroneous 
quotation from Isaiah which we have already examined.^ That 
which follows is found in Horn. viii. 7 : " For on this account our 
Jesus himself said to one who frequently called him Lord, yet did 
nothing which he commanded : Why dost thou say to me Lord, 
Lord, and doest not the things which I say ?" This is compared 
with Luke vi. 465 : " But why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not 
the things which I say ?" 

HoM. VIII. 7. Luke vi. 46. 

T^ fie XeyeLS, Kvpie, Kvpie, /cat ov Ti 5c fie KoXeire Kvpie, Kvpie, /cat ov 
TTotets S. \e7w ; vrotetre S. Xeyoi ; 

' Cf. Luke xvi. 17. ^ § "• ^ Die Ew. Justin's, p. 340. 

'' P. 303 f. ; cf. Horn, xviii. 15, Matt. xiii. 35. s Cf. Matt. vii. 21. 


This passage differs from our Gospels in having the second 
person singular instead of the plural, and in substituting Aeyets 
for KaA,€tT€ in the first phrase. The Homily, moreover, in accor- 
dance with the use of the second person singular, distinctly 
states that the saying was addressed to a person who frequently 
called Jesus " Lord," whereas in the Gospels it forms part of the 
Sermon on the Mount, with a totally impersonal application to the 

The next passage referred to by De Wette is in Horn. xix. 2 : 
" And he declared that he saw the evil one as lightning fall from 
heaven." This is compared with Luke x. 18, which has no 
parallel in the other Gospels : " And he said to them, I beheld 
Satan as lightning fall from heaven." 

HoM. XIX. 2. I Luke x. 18. 

Kai <!>Ti edbpaKe top irourjpbv Wirep de avToh^^deibpovv t6v (Taravav 
w? aarpair^v ireaovra €k tou ovpavov oJs aaTpaiTT^v iK toO ovpavov ireadpTa. 
idrfKwaep. I 

The substitution of rov -rrov-qpov for rov craravav, had he found the 
latter in his Gospel, would be all the more remarkable from the 
fact that the author of the Homilies has just before quoted the 
saying, " If vSatan cast out Satan, "^ etc. ; and he continues in the 
above words to show that Satan had been cast out, so that the 
evidence would have been strengthened by the retention of the 
word in Luke, had he quoted that Gospel. The variations 
indicate that he quoted from another source. 

The next passage pointed out by De Wette likewise finds a 
parallel only in the third Gospel. It occurs in Horn. ix. 22 : 
" Nevertheless, though all demons with all the diseases flee before 
you, in this only is not to be your rejoicing, but in that, through 
grace, your names, as of the ever-living, are recorded in heaven." 
This is compared with Luke x. 20: "Notwithstanding, in this 
rejoice not that the spirits are subject unto you, but rejoice that 
your names are written in the heavens." 

HoM. IX. 22. 

Luke x. 20. 

\Wt]P €P TOVTlfi fXT] X^lp^Te, OTL T^ 

irvevfiaTa vfup viroTd<x<7eTaL, xatpere be 
OTL TO, dpofxaTa v/jlQp eyyeypaTTaL ip 
Tols ov pap 61s. 

'AW o[X(jos Khp irdpTes daifj.opes /terd 
irdPTCOP tQv TradQp vfids (pevy(jocriP, ovk 
^(TTiP ip TOVTi^ fxopii} x'^lpeLP, dW ip 
Tip 5t' evapeaTiap rd opofxaTa vfxQp ep 
ovpaP(^ ihs del ^ujptwp dvaypafprjpaL. 

The differences between these two passages are too great, and the 
peculiarities of the Homily too marked, to require any argument to 
demonstrate that the quotation cannot be successfully claimed by 
our third Gospel. On the contrary, as one of so many other 
passages systematically varying from the canonical Gospels, it 
must be assigned to another source. 

^ See p. 307. 


De Wette says : " A few others (quotations) presuppose 
{voraussetzen) the Gospel of Mark,"' and he gives them. The 
first occurs in Horn. ii. 19 : "There is a certain Justa^ amongst us, 
a Syrophoenician, a Canaanite by race, whose daughter was affected 
by a sore disease, and who came to our Lord crying out and 
suppHcating that he would heal her daughter. But he, being also 
asked by us, said : ' It is not meet to heal the Gentiles who are 
like dogs from their using different meats and practices, whilst the 
table in the kingdom has been granted to the sons of Israel.' But 
she, hearing this and exchanging her former manner of Hfe for that 
of the sons of the kingdom, in order that she might, Hke a dog, 
partake of the crumbs falling from the same table, obtained, as she 
desired, healing for her daughter. "3 This is compared with 
Mark vii. 24-30,4 as it is the only Gospel which calls the woman 
a Syrophoenician. The Homily, however, not only calls her so, 
but gives her name as "Justa." If, therefore, it be argued 
that the mention of her nationality supposes that the author 
found the fact in his Gospel, and because we know no 
other but Marks which gives that information, that he therefore 
derived it from our second Gospel, the additional mention of the 
name of " Justa " on the same grounds necessarily points to the 
use of a Gospel which likewise contained it, which our Gospel 
does not. Nothing can be more decided than the variation in 
language throughout this whole passage from the account in Mark, 
and the reply of Jesus is quite foreign to our Gospels. In Mark 
(vii. 25) the daughter has "an unclean spirit " (7rvet/xa aKadaprov) ; 
in Matthew (xv. 22) she is "grievously possessed by a devil" 
(KaKco5 ^aijxovL^erai)^ but in the Homily she is "affected by a 
sore disease" (iVo ^akeTrri<i voa-ov (rvv€ix^To). The second 
Gospel knows nothing of any intercession on the part of the 
disciples, but Matthew has : " And the disciples came and 
besought him {-qpMTiav avrov), saying : ' Send her away, for she 
crieth after us,'"^ whilst the Homily has merely " being also asked 
by us" (a^iOiO^h), in the sense of intercession in her favour. The 
second Gospel gives the reply of Jesus as follows : " Let the 
children first be filled ; for it is not meet to take the bread of the 
children, and to cast it to the dogs. And she answered and said 
unto him : ' Yea, Lord, for the dogs also eat under the table of the 
crumbs of the children.' And he said unto her : ' For this saying 

' Einl. N. T., p. 115. "^ Cf. Horn. iii. 73 ; xiii. 7. 

3 Horn. ii. 19. 4 Cf. Matt. xv. 21-28. 

5 " The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by nation." {t} 5e yvvi] ^v 
'EWt/vis, 'Zvpo(f)oivlKL<X(Ta t{^ yhet). Mark vii. 26. "A woman of Canaan" 
(71'j'r; ^avavala). Matt. xv. 22. 

^ Matt. XV. 23. 


go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.'"^ The 
nature of the reply of the woman is, in the Gospels, the reason 
given for granting her request ; but in the Homily the woman's 
conversion to Judaism, ^ that is to say Judeo-Christianity, is 
prominently advanced as the cause of her successful pleading. It 
is certain from the whole character of this passage, the variation 
of the language, and the reply of Jesus which is not in our Gospels 
at all, that the narrative cannot rightly be assigned to them ; but 
the more reasonable inference is that it was derived from another 

The last of I)e Wette'ss passages is from Horn. iii. 57 : "Hear, 
O Israel ; the Lord thy^ God is one Lord." This is a quotation 
from Deuteronomy vi. 4, which is likewise quoted in the second 
Gospel, xii. 29, in reply to the question, " Which is the first 
Commandment of all ? Jesus answered : The first is. Hear, O 
Israel ; the Lord our God is one Lord, and thou shalt love the 
Lord thy God," etc. In the Homily, however, the quotation 
is made in a totally different connection, for there is no question 
of commandments at all, but a clear statement of the circumstances 
under which the passage was used, which excludes the idea that 
this quotation was derived from Mark xii. 29. The context in the 
Homily is as follows : " But to those who were beguiled to imagine 
many Gods as the Scriptures say, he said : Hear, O Israel," 
etc. 5 There is no hint of the assertion of many gods in the 
Gospels : but, on the contrary, the question is put by one of the 
scribes in Mark to whom Jesus says : " Thou art not far from the 
Kingdom of God."^ The quotation, therefore, cannot be legiti- 
mately appropriated by the second Synoptic, but may with much 
greater probability be assigned to a different Gospel. 

We may here refer to the passage, the only one pointed out by 
him in connection with the Synoptics, the discovery of which. Dr. 
Westcott affirms, "has removed the doubts which had long been 
raised about those (allusions) to St. Mark. "7 The discovery 
referred to is that of the Cedex Ottobonianus by Dressel, which 
contains jthe concluding part of the Homilies^ and which was first 
published by him in 1853. Dr. Westcott says: "Though St. 
Mark has few peculiar phrases, one of these is repeated verbally in 
the concluding part of the 19th Homily."^ The passage is as 
follows : Horn. xix. 20 : " Wherefore also he explained to his 
disciples privately the mysteries of the kingdom of the heavens." 

' Mark vii. 27-29. ^ Cf. Horn. xiii. 7. 3 Einl. N. T., p. 115. 

** Althougli most MSS. have aov in this place, some, as, for instance, that 
edited by Cotelerius, read vfiQu. 

5 I/om. iii. 57. 6 Mark xii. 34. 

' Ou the Canon, p. 251. ^ Cf. lb., p. 252. 



This is compared with Mark iv. 34 " and privately, to his own 

disciples, he explained all things." 

Mark iv. 34. 

/car' I8iav de rots Idlois /xadrj- 

Tots eireXvev irdvTa.^ 

HoM. XIX. 20. 

Al6 Kal Tots avTOv fiadrjTais /car' Idiav 
iTeXve ttjs tQp ovpavQiv /SaatAe^as ra 


We have only a few words to add to complete the whole of Dr- 
Westcott's remarks upon the subject. He adds after the quotation : 
"This is the only place where kiriXvoi occurs in the Gospels."^ 
We may, however, point out that it occurs also in Acts xix. 39 
and 2 Peter i. 20. It is upon the coincidence of this word that 
Dr. Westcott rests his argument that this passage is a reference to 
Mark. Nothing, however, could be more untenable than such a 
conclusion from such an indication. The phrase in the Homily 
presents a very marked variation from the passage in Mark. The 
"all things " (iravra) of the Gospel reads : "The mysteries of the 
kingdom of the heavens " (tt/s rQ>v ovpavojv ftaa-iXeLas ra fxvo-ri^pia) 
in the Homily. The passage in Mark iv. 11, to which Dr. West- 
cott does not refer, reads to /xvo-r^y/otov ttjs ^ao-tXetas tov Oeov. 
There is one very important matter, however, which our apologist 
has omitted to point out, and which, it seems to us, decides the 
case — the context in the Homily. The chapter commences thus : 
" And Peter said : We remember that our Lord and Teacher, as 
commanding, said to us : ' Guard the mysteries for me, and the 
sons of my house.' Wherefore, also he explained to his disciples 
privately," etc. 3 ; and then comes our passage. Now, here is a 
command of Jesus, in immediate connection with which the 
phrase before us is quoted, which does not appear in our Gospels, 
and which clearly establishes the use of a different source. 
The phrase itself, which differs from Mark, as we have seen, may, 
with all right, be referred to the same unknown Gospel. 

It must be borne in mind that all the quotations which we have 
hitherto examined are those which have been selected as most 
closely approximating to passages in our Gospels. Space forbids 
our giving illustrations of the vast number which so much more 
widely differ from parallel texts in the Synoptics. We shall confine 
ourselves to pointing out, in the briefest possible manner, some of 
the passages which are persistent in their variations, or recall 
similar passages in the Memoirs of Justin. The first of these is 
the injunction in Horn. iii. 55 : " Let your yea be yea, your nay 

^ Dr. Westcott quotes this reading, which is supported by the Codices B, C, 
Sinaiticus, and others. The Codex Alexandrimts and a majority of other 
MSS. read for rots I'S^ois fiadjjTa'is, — " tois fjLadrjTois ai'roO," which is closer to the 
passage in the Homily. It is fair that this should be pointed out. 

^ On the Canon, p. 252, note i. 3 Horn. xix. 20, 


nay, for whatsoever is more than these cometh of the evil one." 
The same saying is repeated in Horn. xix. with the sole addition 
of "and." We subjoin the Greek -of these, together with that of 
the Gospel and Justin with which the Homilies agree : — 

Horn. iii. 55. "Bcrrw v}xC:v to val val rb oi) oH' 

Horn. xix. 2. "Ecrw hiidv to pal val Kal Tb oi) ov. 

ApoL, i. 16. "EoTW 5^ hiiCbv Tb vox vai Kal Tb oO ov- 

Matt. V. 37. "Ecrrw d^ 6 \6yos vfxQv val vai oi) ov. 

As we have already discussed this passage,' we need not repeat our 
remarks here. That it comes from a source different from 
our Gospels is rendered still more probable by the quotation 
in Horn. xix. 2 being preceded by another which has no parallel 
in our Gospels. "And elsewhere he said : 'He who sowed 
the bad seed is the devil ' ('0 Se to kukov cnrepixa oTret/aas ia-rlv 6 
Sid/SoXos^) ; and again : ' Give no pretext to the evil one ' (Mr) 
Sore irpocfiaa-iv rw 7roi'7//o(p). But in exhorting he prescribes : ' Let 
your yea be yea,' " etc. The first of these phrases differs markedly 
from our Gospels ; the second is not in them at all ; the third, 
which we are considering, differs likewise in an important degree 
in common with Justin's quotation, and there is every reason for 
supposing that the whole were derived from the same unknown 

In the same Homily (xix. 2) there occurs also a passage 
which exhibits variations likewise found in Justin, which we have 
already examined, 3 and now merely point out : " Begone into the 
darkness without, which the Father hath prepared for the devil 
and his angels. "^ The quotation in Justin (Dia/. 76) agrees 
exactly with this, with the exception that Justin has larav'a instead 
of SiaPoXo), which is not important, whilst the agreement in the 
marked variation from the parallel in the first Gospel establishes 
the probability of a common source different from ours. 

We have also already^ referred to the passage in Horn. xvii. 4: 
" No one knew (eyi'w) the Father but the Son, even as no one 
knoweth the son but the Father and those to whom the Son is 
minded to reveal him." This quotation differs from Matt. xi. 27 
in form, in language, and in meaning ; but agrees with Justin's 
reading of the same text, and, as we have shown, the use of the 
aorist here, and the transposition of the order, were characteristics 
of the Gospels used by Gnostics and other parties in the early 
Church ; and the passage, with these variations, was regarded by 
them as the basis of some of their leading doctrines.^ That the 

' P. 226, n, I, p. 235 f. = Cf. Matt. xiii. 39. 

3 P. 226, n. 4, p. 235 f. '^ Jlom. xix. 2 ; cf. Matt. xxv. 41 

s P. 252 ff. 

^ Irenaeus, Adv. Hcer., iv. 6, §§ i, 3, 7 ; cf. p. 254 f. 


variation is not accidental, but a deliberate quotation from a 
written source, is proved by this, and by the circumstance that the 
author of the Homilies repeatedly quotes it elsewhere in the same 
form.^ It is unreasonable to suppose that the quotations in these 
Homilies are so systematically and consistently erroneous, and not 
only can they not, from their actual variations, be legitimately 
referred to the Synoptics exclusively, but, considering all the 
circumstances, the only natural conclusion is that they are derived 
from a source different from our Gospels. 

Another passage occurs in Horn. iii. 50 : " Wherefore ye do err, 
not knowing the true things of the Scriptures ; and on this account 
ye are ignorant of the power of God." This is compared with 
Mark xii. 24 •? " Do ye not therefore err, not knowing the 
Scriptures nor the power of God ?" 

HoM. III. 50. 

Ata TOVTO irXavacrde, fii] eldores ra 
dXridrj tGjv ypacpQp, od e'iveKev ayvoeiTe 
Trjv SvyafJLiv rod Qeov. 

Mark xii. 24. 

Ou 5ia TOVTO TrXavdade fir) eldoTes 
ras ypa(f>as /j.7}Se rrjv 5vva/XLP tov 
Qeov : 

The very same quotation is made both in Hom. ii. 51 and 
xviii. 20, and in each case in which the passage is introduced it is 
in connection with the assertion that there are true and false 
Scriptures, and that, as there are in the Scriptures some true sayings 
and some false, Jesus, by these words, showed to those who erred 
by reason of the false the cause of their error. There can scarcely 
be a doubt that the author of the Homilies quotes this passage from 
a Gospel different from ours, and this is demonstrated by the 
important variation from our text, by its consistent repetition, 
and by the context in which it stands. 

Upon each occasion, also, that the author of the Homilies 
quotes the foregoing passage he likewise quotes another saying of 
Jesus which is foreign to our Gospels : " Be ye approved money- 
changers," yLvecrde r/oaTre^trat SoKLfxot.^ The sentence is thrice 
quoted without variation, and each time, together with the pre- 
ceding passage, it refers to the necessity of discrimination between 
true and false sayings in the Scriptures, as, for instance : " And 
Peter said : If, therefore, of the Scriptures some are true and some 
are false, our Teacher rightly said : ' Be ye approved money- 
changers,' as in the Scriptures there are some approved sayings and 
some spurious."4 This is one of the best known of the apocryphal 
sayings of Jesus, and it is quoted by nearly all the Fathers, 5 by 

' Hovi. xviii. 4, 6, 7, 8, 13, 20. 
^ Cf. Matt. xxii. 29, which is still more remote. 
3 Hom. ii. 51, iii. 50, xviii. 20. '^ Horn. ii. 51. 

5 Apost. Constit.^ ii. 36 ; cf. 37 ; Clem. Al., Strom., i. 28, § 177 ; cf. ii. 4, 
§ 15, vi. 10, § 81, vii. 15, § 90; Origen, m. Joan. T. xix., vol. iv.,p. 289; 


many as from Holy Scripture, and by some ascribed to the Gospel 
of the Nazarenes, or the Gospel according to the Hebrews. There 
can be no question here that the author quotes an apocryphal 

There is, in immediate connection with, both the preceding 
passages, another saying of Jesus quoted which is not found in 
our Gospels : " Why do ye not discern the good reason of the 
Scriptures?" "Ata rt ov vodre to evXoyov twv y/oa</)wv."^ This 
passage also comes from a Gospel different from ours, and the 
connection and sequence of these quotations is very significant. 

One further illustration and we have done. We find the 
following in Horn. iii. 55 : "And to those who think that God 
tempts, as the Scriptures say, he said : ' The evil one is the 
tempter,' who also tempted himself."^ This short saying is not 
found in our Gospels ; it probably occurred in the Gospel of the 
Homilies in connection with the temptation of Jesus. It is not 
improbable that the writer of the Epistle of James, who shows 
acquaintance with a Gospel different from ours, 3 also knew this 
saying.4 We are here again directed to the Ebionite Gospel. 
Certainly the quotation is derived from a source different from 
our Gospels. 

These illustrations of the evangelical quotations in the Clementine 
Homilies give but an imperfect impression of the character of the 
extremely numerous passages which occur in the work. We 
have selected for our examination the quotations which have 
been specially cited by critics as closest to parallels in our Gospels, 
and have thus submitted the question to the test which is most 
favourable to the claims of our Synoptics. Space forbids our 
adequately showing the much wider divergence which exists in 
the great majority of cases between them and the quotations in 
the Homi/ies. To sum up the case : Out of more than a hundred 
of these quotations only four brief and fragmentary phrases 
really agree with parallels in our Synoptics, and these are 
either not used in the same context as in our Gospels, or are 
of a nature far from special to them. Of the rest, all 
without exception vary more or less from our Gospels, and 
many in their variations agree with similar quotations in other 
writers, or on repeated quotation always present the same 
peculiarities, whilst others, professed to be direct quotations of 

Epiphanius, Hce)-., xliv. 2, p. 382 ; Hieron., Ep. ad Minerv. et Alex., 119 (al. 
152); Comm. in Ep, ad Ephes., iv. ; Grabe, Spicil. Patr.,'\., p. 13 f., 326; 
Cotelerius, Patr. Ap., i., p. 249 f. ; Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T., ii., p. 524. 

' Horn, iii, 50. 

^ Tois hk oiofx^vois 6tl 6 debs ireipd^ei, tbs ai Vpa(pal X^yovcnv ^(prj- '0 irovqpds 
iarip 6 ireipd^tov, 6 Kai avrbv ireipdaas. Horn. iii. 55. 

3 Cf. V. 12. 4 Cf. i. 13. 


sayings of Jesus, have no parallels in our Gospels at all. Upon 
the hypothesis that the author made use of our Gospels, such 
systematic divergence would be perfectly unintelligible and 
astounding. On the other hand, it must be remembered that the 
agreement of a few passages with parallels in our Gospels cannot 
prove anything. The only extraordinary circumstance is that, 
even using a totally different source, there should not have been 
a greater agreement with our Synoptics. But for the universal 
inaccuracy of the human mind, every important historical saying, 
having obviously only one distinct original form, would in all 
truthful histories have been reported in that one unvarying form. 
The nature of the quotations in the Clementme Homilies leads to 
the inevitable conclusion that their author derived them from a 
Gospel different from ours ; at least, since the source of these quota- 
tions is never named throughout the work, and there is not the 
faintest direct indication of our Gospels, the Clementine Homilies 
cannot be considered witnesses of any value as to the origin and 
authenticity of the canonical Gospels. That this can be said of 
a work written at least a century and a half after the establish- 
ment of Christianity, and abounding with quotations of the 
discourses of Jesus, is in itself singularly suggestive. 

It is scarcely necessary to add that the author of the Homilies 
has no idea of any canonical writings but those of the Old 
Testament, though, even with regard to these, some of our 
quotations have shown that he held peculiar views, and believed 
that they contained spurious elements. There is no reference in 
the Hotnilies to any of the Epistles of the New Testament. 

One of the most striking points in this work, on the other 
hand, is its determined animosity against the Apostle Paul. We 
have seen that a strong anti-Pauline tendency was exhibited by 
many of the Fathers, who, like the author of the Ho7nilies^ made 
use of Judeo-Christian Gospels different from ours. In this work, 
however, the antagonism against the " Apostle of the Gentiles " 
assumes a tone of peculiar virulence. There cannot be a doubt 
that the Apostle Paul is attacked in it, as the great enemy of the 
true faith, under the hated name of Simon the Magician, whom 
Peter follows everywhere for the purpose of unmasking and con- 
futing him. He is robbed of his title of "Apostle of the Gentiles," 
which, together with the honour of founding the Church of 
Antioch, of Laodicaea, and of Rome, is ascribed to Peter. All 
that opposition to Paul which is impHed in the Epistle to the 
Galatians and elsewhere^ is here realised and exaggerated, and the 
personal difference with Peter to which Paul refers^ is widened 

^ I Cor. i. II, 12 ; 2 Cor. xi. 13, 20 f. ; Philip, i. 15, 16. 
^ Gal. ii. II ; cf. I Cor. i. 11, 12. 


into the most bitter animosity. In the Epistle of Peter to James, 
which is prefixed to the Bo??ulies, Peter says, in allusion to Paul: 
" For some among the Gentiles have rejected my lawful preaching 
and accepted certain lawless and foolish teaching of the hostile 
man."^ First expounding a doctrine of duality, as heaven and 
earth, day and night, life and death, ^ Peter asserts that in Nature 
the greater things come first ; but amongst men the opposite is 
the case, and the first is worse, and the second better.3 He then 
says to Clement that it is easy, according to this order, to discern 
to what class Simon (Paul) belongs, " who came before me to the 
Gentiles ; and to which I belong who have come after him, and 
have followed him as light upon darkness, as knowledge upon 
ignorance, as health upon disease."'^ He continues : " If he had 
been known he would not have been believed ; but now, not 
being known, he is wrongly believed ; and though by his acts 
he is a hater, he has been loved ; and, although an enemy, he 
has been welcomed as a friend ; and, though he is death, 
he has been desired as a saviour; and, though fire, esteemed 
as light ; and, though a deceiver, he is listened to as speaking the 
truth. "5 There is much more of this acrimonious abuse put into 
the mouth of Peter. ^ The indications that it is Paul who is really 
attacked under the name of Simon are much too clear to admit 
of doubt. In I{o7?L xi. 35, Peter, warning the Church against 
false teachers, says : " He who hath sent us, our Lord and 

Prophet, declared to us that the evil one announced that he 

would send, from amongst his followers, apostles7 to deceive. 
Therefore, above all, remember to avoid every apostle, or 
teacher, or prophet, who first does not accurately compare his 
teaching with that of James, called the brother of my Lord, and 
to whom was confided the ordering of the Church of the Hebrews 
in Jerusalem," etc., lest this evil one should send a false preacher 
to them, " as he has sent to us Simon preaching a counterfeit of 
truth in the name of our Lord and disseminating error. "^ Further 
on he speaks more plainly still. Simon maintains that he has a 
truer appreciation of the doctrines and teaching of Jesus, because 
he has recieved his inspiration by supernatural vision, and not 
merely by the common experience of the senses,9 and Peter 
replies : "If, therefore, our Jesus, indeed, was seen in a vision, 
was known by thee, and conversed with thee, it was only as one 

^ Epist. Petri adjarobitfn, § 2. Dr. Westcott quotes this passage with the 
observation, "There can be no doubt that St. Paul is referred to as 'the 
enemy*" {On the Carton, p. 252, note 2). 

"" Horn. ii. 15. 3 /^.^ ii. 16. 4 Jh,^ ii. 17. 

5 lb., ii. 18. ^ Cf. Horn. iii. 59; vii. 2, 4, 10, 1 1. 

1 We have already pointed out that this declaration is not in our Gospels. 

^ Horn. xi. 35 ; cf. Galat. i. 7 ff. 9 Jb.^ xvii. 13 ff. 


angry with an adversary But can anyone, through a vision, be 

made wise to teach ? And if thou sayest ' It is possible,' then, 
wherefore did the Teacher remain and discourse for a whole year 
to us who were awake ? And how can we believe thy story that 
he was seen by thee ? And how could he have been seen by thee 
when thy thoughts are contrary to his teaching ? But if seen and 
taught by him for a single hour, thou becamest an apostle^ — preach 
his words, interpret his sayings, love his apostles, oppose not me 
who consorted with him. For thou hast directly withstood me 
who am a firm rock, the foundation of the Church. If thou hadst 
not been an adversary, thou wouldst not have calumniated me, thou 
wouldst not have reviled my teaching, in order that, when declaring 
what I have myself heard from the Lord, I might not be believed, 

as though I were condemned But if thou callest me condemned, 

thou speakest against God, who revealed Christ to me,' "^ etc. This 
last phrase, "If thou callest me condemned " ("H el KaTeyvaya-jjievov 
fie Xeyeis), is an evident allusion to Galat. ii. 1 1 : "I withstood him 
to the face, because he was condemned " (on Kareyvwcr/xevos r]v). 

We have digressed to a greater extent than we intended, but it 
is not unimportant to show the general character and tendency of 
the work we have been examining. The Clementine Homilies — 
written certainly not earlier than the end of the second century ; 
which never name nor indicate any Gospel as the source of the 
author's knowledge of evangelical history ; whose quotations of 
sayings of Jesus, numerous as they are, systematically differ from the 
parallel passages of our Synoptics, or are altogether foreign to them ; 
which denounce the Apostle Paul as an impostor, enemy of the 
faith, and disseminator of false doctrine, and therefore repudiate 
his Epistles, at the same time equally ignoring all the other writings 
of the New Testament — can scarcely be considered as giving 
much support to any theory of the early formation of the New 
Testament Canon, or as affording evidence even of the existence 
of its separate books. 

Among the writings which used formally to be ascribed to Justin 
Martyr, and to be published along with his genuine works, is the 
short composition commonly known as the "Epistle to Diognetus." 
The ascription of this composition to Justin arose solely from the 
fact that in the only known MS. of the letter there is an inscription, 
Hov avTov Trpos AtoyvrjTov, which, from its connection, was referred 
to Justin.3 The style and contents of the work, however, soon 

^ Cf. I Cor. ix. I ff. "Am I not an Apostle? have I not seen Jesus our 
Lord?" Cf. Galat. i. i ; i. 12, "For neither did I myself receive it by man, 
nor was I taught it but by revelation of Jesus Christ." 

^ Jlofn. xvii. 19. 

3 Otto, £p. ad Diognetum, etc., 1852, p. ii f. 


convinced critics that it could not possibly have been written by 
Justin, and although it has been ascribed by various isolated writers 
to Apollos, Clement, Marcion, Quadratus, and others, none of these 
guesses have been seriously supported, and critics are almost 
universally agreed in confessing that the author of the Epistle is 
entirely unknown. 

Such being the case, the difficulty of assigning a date to the work 
with any degree of certainty is extreme, if it be not absolutely impos- 
sible to do so. This difficulty is increased by several circumstances. 
The first and most important of these is the fact that the Epistle to 
Diognetus is neither quoted nor mentioned by any ancient writer, 
and consequently there is no external evidence to indicate the 
period of its composition. Moreover, it is not only anonymous 
but incomplete, or, at least, as we have it, not the work of a single 
writer. At the end of chap. x. a break is indicated, and the two 
concluding chapters are unmistakably by a different and later 
hand. It is not singular, therefore, that there exists a wide 
difference of opinion as to the date of the first ten chapters, 
although all agree regarding the later composition of the 
concluding portion. It is assigned by critics to various 
periods ranging from about the end of the first quarter 
of the second century to the end of the third century or later, 
whilst many denounce it as a mere modern forgery. Nothing can 
be more insecure in one direction than the date of a writing derived 
alone from internal evidence. Allusions to actual occurrences 
may with certainty prove that a work could only have been 
written after they had taken place. The mere absence of later 
indications in an anonymous Epistle only found in a single MS. of 
the thirteenth or fourteenth century, however, and which may have 
been, and probably was, written expressly in imitation of early 
Christian feeling, cannot furnish any solid basis for an early date. 
It must be evident that the determination of the date of this 
Epistle cannot, therefore, be regarded as otherwise than doubtful 
and arbitrary. It is certain that the purity of its Greek and the 
elegance of its style distinguish it from all other Christian works 
of the period to which so many assign it. 

The Epistle to Diognetus does not furnish any evidence 
even of the existence of our Synoptics, for it is admitted 
that it does not contain a single direct quotation from any 
evangelical work. We shall hereafter have to refer to this Epistle 
in connection with the fourth Gospel, but in the meantime it may 
be well to add that in chap, xii., one of those, it will be remem- 
bered, which are admitted to be of later date, a brief quotation is 
made from i Cor. viii. i, introduced merely by the words, 
6 aTTOcTToXos Aeyet. 



We must now turn back to an earlier period, and consider any 
evidence regarding the synoptic Gospels which may be furnished 
by the so-called heretical writers of the second century. The first 
of these who claims our attention is Basilides, the founder of a 
system of Gnosticism, who lived in Alexandria about the year 125 
of our era/ With the exception of a very few brief fragments, ^ 
none of the writings of this Gnostic have been preserved, and all 
our information regarding them is, therefore, derived at second- 
hand from ecclesiastical writers opposed to him and his doctrines ; 
and their statements, especially where acquaintance with, and the 
use of, the New Testament Scriptures are assumed, must be 
received with very great caution. The uncritical and inaccurate 
character of the Fathers rendered them peculiarly liable to be 
misled by foregone devout conclusions. 

Eusebius states that Agrippa Castor, who had written a refutation 
of the doctrines of Basilides, " says that he had composed twenty- 
four books upon the Gospel. "3 This is interpreted by Tischendorf, 
without argument, and in a most arbitrary and erroneous manner, 
to imply that the work was a commentary upon our four canonical 
Gospels ;4 a conclusion the audacity of which can scarcely be 
exceeded. This is, however, almost surpassed by the treatment 
of Dr. Westcott, who writes regarding Basilides : "It appears, 
moreover, that he himself published a Gospel — a ' Life of Christ,' 
as it would perhaps be called in our days, or 'The Philosophy 
of Christianity 's — but he admitted the historic truth of all the 
facts contained in the canonical Gospels, and used them as 
Scripture. For, in spite of his peculiar opinions, the testimony of 
Basilides to our 'acknowledged' books is comprehensive and 
clear. In the few pages of his writings which remain there are 
certain references to the Gospels of St. Matthew, St. Luke, and 
St. John,"^ etc. Now, such representations as these, made in 

^ Eusebius, H. E., iv. 7, 8, 9. 

= Grabe, SpiciL Pair., ii., p. 39 ff., 65 ff. 

3 H. E., iv. 7. 4 Wann wurden, zi. s. w., p. 51 f. 

s These names are, of course, pure inventions of Dr. Westcott's fancy. 

^ On the Canon, p. 255 f. [Since these remarks were first made, Dr. 
Westcott has somewhat enlarged his account of Basilides, but we still consider 
that his treatment of the subject is deceptive and incomplete.] 



the absence of any explanation of the facts, or any statement of 
the reasons for such unqualified assertions, and totally ignoring 
the whole of the discussion with regard to the supposed quota- 
tions of Basilides in the work commonly ascribed to Hippolytus, 
and the adverse results of learned criticism, must be condemned 
as only calculated to mislead readers unacquainted with the 
facts of the case. 

We know from the evidence of antiquity that Basilides made 
use of a Gospel, written by himself, it is said, but certainly called 
after his own name.^ An attempt has been made to explain this 
by suggesting that perhaps the work mentioned by Agrippa Castor 
may have been mistaken for a Gospel ; but the fragments of that 
work which are still extant^ are of a character which precludes the 
possibility that any writing of which they formed a part could have 
been considered a Gospel. Various opinions have been expressed 
as to the exact nature of the Gospel of Basilides. Neander affirmed 
it to be the Gospel according to the Hebrews which he brought 
from Syria to Egypt ;3 whilst Schneckenburger held it to be the 
Gospel according to the Egyptians. 4 Others believe it to have at 
least been based upon one or other of these Gospels. There 
seems most reason for the hypothesis that it was a form of 
the Gospel according to the Hebrews which was so generally 
in use. 

Returning to the passage already quoted, in which Eusebius 
states, on the authority of Aggrippa Castor, whose works are no 
longer extant, that BasiHdes had composed a work in twenty-four 
books on the Gospel (to emyyeXtov), and to the unwarrantable 
inference that this must have been a work on our four Gospels, 
we must add that, so far from deriving his doctrines from our 
Gospels or other New Testament writings, or acknowledging their 
authority, Basilides professed that he received his knowledge of 
the truth from Glaucias, " the interpreter of Peter," whose disciple 
he claimed to be, 5 and thus practically sets Gospels aside and 
prefers tradition. Basilides also claimed to have received from a 
certain Matthias the report of private discourses which he had 
heard from the Saviour for his special instruction.^ Agrippa 
Castor further stated, according to Eusebius, that in his e^rjyTjriKd 

' Austis fuit et BasiHdes scribere Evangelium et suo ilhid nomine iitulare. 
Origen, Horn. i. in Lticam. Ausus est etiam Basilides Evangelitiin scribere 
quod dicitur secundtim Basilidem. Ambros., Comment, in Ltic. Proem. 
Hieron., Praf. in Matt. 

^ Grabe, Spicil. Patr., ii., p. 39 fF., 65 ff. ; Clemens Al., Strom., iv. 12. 

3 Gnost. Syst., p. 84 ; cf. K. G., 1843, ii.,p. 709, anm. 2. 

4 Ueb. d. Ev. d. yEgypL, 1834, 

s Clem. AL, Strom., vii. 17, § 106. 

^ Hippolytus, Refut. Omn. Hcer., vii. 20; ed. Duncker et Schneidewin, 


Basilides named for himself, as prophets, Barcabbas and Barcoph 
(Parchor^), as well as invented others who never existed, and 
claimed their authority for his doctrines.'^ With regard to all 
this Dr. Westcott writes : " Since Basilides lived on the verge of 
the apostolic times, it is not surprising that he made use of other 
sources of Christian doctrine besides the canonical books. The 
belief in Divine Inspiration was still fresh and real,"3 etc. It is 
apparent, however, that Basilides, in basing his doctrines upon 
tradition and upon these apocryphal books as inspired, and in 
having a special Gospel called after his own name, which, there- 
fore, he clearly adopts as the exponent of his ideas of Christian 
truth, completely ignores the canonical Gospels, and not only 
does not offer any evidence for their existence, but proves, on the 
contrary, that he did not recognise any such works as of authority. 
There is no ground, therefore, for Tischendorf's assumption that 
the commentary of BasiHdes "on the Gospel" was written upon 
our Gospels, but that idea is negatived in the strongest way by all 
the facts of the case. The perfectly simple interpretation of the 
statement is that long ago suggested by Valesius,4 that the Com- 
mentary of Basilides was composed upon his own Gospel, whether 
it was the Gospel according to the Hebrews or the Egyptians. 

Moreover, it must be borne in mind that Basilides used the 
word " Gospel " in a peculiar sense. Ilippolytus, in the work 
usually ascribed to him, writing of the Basilidians and describing 
their doctrines, says : " When therefore it was necessary, he (?) 
says, that we, the children of God, should be revealed, in 
expectation of whose revelation, he says, the creation groaned and 
travailed, the Gospel came into the world, and passed through 
every principality and power and dominion, and every name that is 
named," etc, " The Gospel, therefore, came first from the Sonship, 
he says, through the Son, sitting by the Archon, to the Archon, 
and the Archon learnt that he was not the God of all things, but 
begotten,"5 etc. "The Gospel, according to them, is the know- 
ledge of supramundane matters,"*^ etc. This may not be very 
intelligible, but it is sufficient to show that " the Gospel " in a 
technical sense7 formed a very important part of the system of 
Basilides. Now, there is nothing whatever to show that the 
twenty-four books whicfi he composed " on the Gospel " were not 

' Isidorus, his son and disciple, wrote a commentary on the prophecy of 
Parchor (Clem. Al., Strom., vi. 6, § 53), in