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This Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels completes a 
series of Introductions to the books of the New Testament, 
in the preparation of which I have been engaged for a 
quarter of a century. The Introduction to the Acts of the 
Apostles, with a commentary, was pubHshed in 1870; the 
Introduction to the Thirteen Pauline Epistles, along with 
the anonymous Epistle to the Hebrews, in 1874; the 
Introduction to the Seven Catholic Epistles in 1887 ; the 
Introduction to the Johannine Writings, especially the Fourth 
Gospel and the Apiocalypse, in 1891 ; and now the Intro- 
duction to the Synoptic Gospels in 1895. The design of 
these Introductions was not to give any explanation of or com- 
mentary on the sacred text (that to the Acts of the Apostles 
forming an exception), but to examine the genuineness of 
the writings, their authorship, the readers to whom they were 
primarily addressed, their design, their sources, — especially the 
sources of the historical books, — the language in which they 
were written, their peculiar style and diction, their charac- 
teristic features, the integrity of the text, the time when 
and the place where they were written, and their contents, 
in short, all that is necessary for their full understanding 
and intelligent perusal. 

Several controversial points have been discussed in all 
these Introductions ; but none of them has presented so 
many difficulties and perplexities as this Introduction to the 
Synoptic Gospels. Critical controversy and inquiry have, in 
recent years, in a great measure passed from the investigation 
of the Pauline Epistles, to which they were directed by the 


ingenious investigations of Baur and the Tubingen school con- 
cerning Petrine and Pauline Christianity, and from the import- 
ant question concerning the authorship of the Fourth Gospel, 
which recent discoveries of patristic documents and a more 
rigid examination of the writings of the Fathers have in 
a great measure settled, to the great problems connected 
with the origin and sources of the Synoptic Gospels. I do 
not allude to the mythical theory promulgated by Strauss, 
which, at least in its original form, may now be regarded as 
antiquated, but to the question whence the Synoptists 
derived their information, and to the causes of the remarkable 
coincidences and equally remarkable differences which are 
found in their writings. This so-called " Synoptic problem " 
is one of the great disputed questions in the biblical 
criticism of the present day. In this Introduction I have 
discussed it at considerable length, first giving the most im- 
portant theories that have been advanced, and then stating 
what I consider the most probable approaches to the truth. 
I am very far from supposing that I have arrived at any 
satisfactory conclusion, and am perfectly aware of the objec- 
tions to which the theory advanced is exposed, and to which I 
can only give an imperfect answer : all that I have been able 
to do is to state what appear to me to be the most probable 
results of the inquiry. The complete solution of the 
problem is, I fear, for the present unattainable. 

Another (question, about which it is still impossible to 
pronounce an opinion with confidence, has regard to the 
original language of the Gospel of Matthew. Here the 
external and internal evidences confiict. Dean Alford 
observes : " I find myself constrained to abandon the view 
maintained in my first edition, and to adopt that of a Greek 
original." My experience has been precisely the reverse. At 
first, giving weight to tlie internal evidence, I considered that 
this Gospel was originally written in Greek, and could not 
have been a translation ; but, owing to the overwhelming 
weight of the external evidence, as seen in the unanimous and 
unopposed testimony of the Fathers, I have been led to change 
that opinion, and now consider the hypothesis of a Hebrew or 
Aramaic original as upon the whole the more probable ; unless, 


indeed, the hypothesis be adopted that there were two originals 
written by Matthew, the one in Hebrew and the other in Greek. 

With regard to two other points of much difficulty, I have 
come to the conclusion, in opposition, it must be confessed, to 
some of our greatest biblical scholars, that the last verses of 
Mark's Gospel (xvi. 9—20) are genuine and formed an 
original portion of that Gospel ; and that the variations in 
our Lord's genealogies, as given in the Gospels of Matthew 
and Luke, can only be accounted for on the supposition that 
Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph and Luke that of Mary. 

It is, I trust, wholly unnecessary to say that in this work 
I have endeavoured to exercise strict impartiality. I have 
practised that candour which I have so strongly recommended 
as an indispensable qualification in all interpreters of Scrip- 
ture. I am not conscious of having given undue preference 
to any preconceived opinions or traditional views. On the 
contrary, I have been led in the course of my investigations to 
modify and alter several of my former views, although, I con- 
fess, with some reluctance, and only after careful and repeated 
examination. A notable instance of this may be seen in the 
view maintained in this Introduction of the origin of the 
" Sermon on the Mount." Certainly the opinion, that this 
was one connected discourse delivered at one time, is that 
which a perusal of it in the Gospel of Matthew most 
naturally suggests ; but I have been led to think that whilst 
a large portion of it was delivered on a single occasion, yet 
other sayings of our Lord, given at different times and on 
different occasions, were added by the Evangelist, as is 
suggested by the fact that the same statements are found 
in different portions of the Gospel of Luke, and there 
mentioned in their historical connection. 

This Introduction may be regarded by different classes of 
readers from different points of view. Some may look upon 
it as too conservative, and as not making proper allowance 
for those advanced critical views which are now so prevalent ; 
while others may regard it as too rationalistic, yielding too 
much to the views of those who are considered by many as 
deniers of inspiration. All that I can say is that I have 
endeavoured to be honest to my own convictions. 


111 recent years great progress has been made in the text 
and criticism of the New Testament, and new light has in conse- 
quence been cast on many controverted problems. Manu- 
scripts and versions have been carefully collated, and the 
various readings compared. We have now a more certain 
text : the additions to the original, inserted in the tcxtus 
rcccptus, are now removed, and omissions are now supplied. 
The result is that we have now obtained a text almost 
approaching to a restoration of the original. Of course, 
the readings of the oldest and uncial manuscripts still 
occupy the first place, but more attention has recently been 
paid to the cursive manuscripts and to the readings of the 
versions, especially the Old Italic and Syriac, which have 
perhaps hitherto been too much undervalued, seeing that they 
were made from Greek manuscripts much older than any 
which we now possess. A more accurate scholarship is now 
applied to the elucidation of Scripture ; and the peculiar 
character of the dialect of New Testament Greek is now 
better understood. In the Eevised Version, whatever may be 
its defects, we have undoubtedly a much better translation 
than in the Authorised Version. 

Within the last half century there have been several 
discoveries of remarkable manuscripts, which have had an 
important bearing upon various questions connected with 
biblical criticism, especially upon the genuineness and age of 
the different scriptural books. The Philosophoumena, or 
Refutation of all Heresies, by Hippolytus, in whicli the 
references of the early Gnostics to the books of the New 
Testament are quoted, was discovered at ]\Iount Athos in 
1841, and printed by the Clarendon Press, Oxford, in 1851. 
A complete manuscript of the Clementine Homilies was 
found in the Vatican by Dressel in 18. 'J 7, and published at 
Gottingen in 1853. In 1858, Canon Cureton published a 
Syriac manuscript containing fragments of tlie Gospels, found 
by Archdeacon Tattam in a Syriac monastery in the Nitzian 
desert in Egypt, and which is now regarded by many as 
tlie oldest Syriac version. This version was last year 
nearly completed by the important discovery of the Sinaitic 
Syriac manuscript l)y ]\Irs. Lewis, if the supposition be 


correct that it is a variant copy of the Curetonian. The 
important Sinaitic manuscript, being, next to the Vatican, the 
oldest in existence, and materially affecting the reading of the 
received text, discovered by Tischendorf in the monastery of 
St. Catherine on Mount Sinai in 1859, was published in 1862. 
A complete copy of the Epistle of Barnabas, hitherto imper- 
fect, was attached to the Sinaitic manuscript, and another 
copy was among the documents discovered by Bryennios. 
But, next to the Codex Sinaiticus, the most important of all 
these discoveries is the Diatessaron of Tatian. A translation 
in the Armenian language of Ephra?m's commentary on that 
work was found in the Armenian convent at Venice, and was 
printed in that city in 1836 ; a Latin translation was pub- 
lished in 1876, from which it was proved beyond the 
possibility of doubt that Tatian's Harmony was made up of 
the four canonical Gospels ; and only a few years ago another 
manuscript was found by Professor Ciasca in the Vatican 
Library containing an Arabic translation of the whole work. 
Another very important document, the " Didache," or the 
" Teaching of the Twelve Apostles," was discovered by 
Philotheos Bryennios, Metropolitan of Nicomedia, in the Jeru- 
salem convent in Constantinople, and published in 1883, 
which is considered by competent authorities to have been 
written about the close of the first century and to be the 
oldest post-apostolic document extant, except the Epistle of 
Clemens Eomanus, and possibly the so-called Epistle of 
Barnabas. Bound in the same volume with the Didache was 
the only complete manuscript of the famous Epistle of 
Clemens Romanus, the copy in the Codex Alexandrinus 
being defective at the close. In 1889, J. Ptcndel Harris of 
Cambridge discovered in the monastery of Mount Sinai the 
Apology of Aristides to the Emperor Hadrian. A very 
important fragment of the apocryphal Gospel of Peter, 
found in a tomb at Akhman, in Upper Egypt, by the French 
Archaeological Mission at Cairo in 1886, was published in 
1892. And only last year the discovery of an important 
Syriac version of the four Gospels was made by Mrs. Lewis 
in that Sinaitic monastery which has yielded so many 
important biblical manuscripts. These documents have l^een 


discovered in different quarters — the Sinuitic manuscript and 
the new Sinaitic Syrian version in the monastery of St. 
Catherine, Mount Sinai ; Ephnem's commentary on the 
Diatessaron in the Armenian convent at Venice ; the Arabic 
version of Tatian, partly in Egypt and partly in liome ; 
the riiilosophoumeua of Hippolytus in Mount Athos ; the 
Didache, and the complete copy of the Epistle of Clemens 
liomanus, in Constantinople ; and the fragment of the Gospel 
of Peter in Egypt. The Vatican Library has also yielded 
many important treasures. 

These recent discoveries of biblical documents fill us with 
the hope of still more important discoveries in the future, 
when the libraries of the monasteries shall have been more care- 
fully examined by competent scholars. The discovery of the 
writings of Papias, of the Grospel of the Hebrews, and of the 
Gospel of Marcion would be an enormous gain to biblical criti- 
cism, and might elucidate many unsolved problems ; and who, 
viewing the past discoveries so unexpectedly made, can affirm 
that such discoveries may not be within the bounds of prob- 
ability ? At the same time, we do not beheve that such 
discoveries will materially affect the main conclusions already 
arrived at, but rather that they will elucidate questions which 
still remain unsolved or doubtful. 

The present work forms a companion volume to the 
other Introductions formerly published, and completes the 
series of Introductions to the New Testament. The scriptural 
(J notations are taken from the Eevised Version, except on 
tliose rare occasions when the Authorised Version or an inde- 
pendent translation appears preferable. The patristic quota- 
tions are taken from Kirchhofer's Quelloisammlung zur 
Geachichte dcs 7ieutcs(aiiicn( lichen Canons. Appendices are 
attached, referring to certain special difficulties and disputed 
points which seem to require special discussion. 

A list of the most important books read or consulted is 
appended at the end of this work, with references to the 
editions in my possession, so that tlu^ ([notations made from 
tluou may l)e referred to and verified. A vast amount of 
literature lias been collected around the Syno]itic prol)lem, 
and the nu)st important works on the sul)ject have ])een care- 

PiiEFACE xiii 

fully read whenever they could be obtained. It would, of 
course, be an endless task to refer to periodical literature on 
the subject, but I may mention several important articles 
which appeared in the Expositor for 1891. As in almost all 
theological discussions, we must betake ourselves to the great 
German theologians, whose works on the Synoptic problem 
have been carefully studied. Of these, I would especially 
mention the works of Holtzmann, Weiss, Wendt, and Paul 
Ewald. Of English theologians, the researches of Professor 
Sanday of Oxford on the Synoptic question call for special 
notice. They are distinguished alike by patience, caution, 
and logical acumen, and in point of learning and exhaustive 
investigation are unsurpassed by the above German theolo- 
gians. It would not be right to omit special reference to 
the Introductions of the venerable Dr. Samuel Davidson, 
however much we may dissent from his conclusions. His 
two Introductions, — that entitled Introduction to the Nao 
Testament, published in 1848, and that entitled Introduction 
to the Study of the New Testament, published in 1868, the 
third edition of which appeared last year (1894), when the 
author was in his eighty-eighth year, — though written from 
different standpoints, are most valuable, and exhibit a learn- 
ing and research seldom equalled by any biblical critic in our 
country. I have found several commentaries very helpful, 
especially those of Meyer, Godet, and the late Dr. Morison, 
whose commentaries on ]\Iatthew and Mark are deserving of 
careful study. Several monographs on particular subjects 
have also to be mentioned, from which I have derived con- 
siderable assistance, as that of Dean Burgon on The Last Ttoelve 
Verses of St. Mark, Bishop Hervey on the Genealogies of 
our lord, Eesch's Agiripha, and Zumpt's Das Gehurtsjahr 
Christi. The value of Eushbrooke's Synopticon is acknow- 
ledged in the body of the work. 

Last year (1894) I wrote six articles in the Thinker on 
the Synoptic problem. These, with the kind permission of 
the editor, the Eev. Joseph Exell, I have freely used in 
writing this work : they have, however, been rewritten and 
much altered both by additions and omissions. 

It is my pleasing duty to acknowledge my obligations to 


several friends who have kmclly assisted me in this work — 
to the Rev. William Hastie, D.D., Professor of Divinity in 
the University of Glasgow, and to my brother, Lord Kin- 
cairney, for perusing the manuscript before the work went 
to press, and for valuable hints and suggestions ; and to the 
llev. David Hunter, D.D., of Galashiels, and the Eev. John 
Patrick, D.D., of Greenside, Edinburgh, for the verification of 
my references, and assistance in the correction of the press. 



Literature. I. The Title : Synoptic Gospels — Use of the term 
Gospel — Difl'erence between the Synoptics and the Fourth 
Gospel — Number of the Gospels — Uncanonical Gospels — Frag- 
mentary nature of the Gospels. II. Authors of the Synoptic 
Gospels — Evangelical Symbols. III. Genuineness of the Synoptic 
Gospels — The Testimony of the Fathers — The Gospel of Peter 
— The Muratorian Canon — Tatian's Diatessaron — Testimony of 
Justin Martyr — Statement of Papias — Versions — The Old Latin 
■ — The Syriac — Credibility of the Narrative. IV. Relation of the 
Sj'noptic Gospels to each other — Points of Agreement — Rush- 
brook's Synoptico7i — The Threefold Narrative — The Twofold 
Narrative — -'The Single Narrative — Summary of Resemblances — 
Existence of Doublets — Points of Difterence — Narrative of the 
Birtli of Christ — The Sei-mon on the Mount as given by Matthew 
and Luke — The Passion — The Resurrection — ChronologicalOrder. 
V. Sources of the Synojitic Gospels — The Problem stated : 
A. The theory of Mutual Dependence — The originality of Mark 
— Relation of Matthew and Luke to Mark — Relation of Luke to 
Matthew ; B. The theory of an Oral Gospel — Wright's hypo- 
thesis of Catechetical Schools — Modification of this theory by 
Alford ; C. The theory of an original Document or Documents 
— Modification of this theory by Eichhorn, Bishop Marsh, 
Schleiermacher, Ewald, Abbott, and Smith of Jordanhill — Sup- 
position of an Aramaic or Hebrew Document ; D. The theory 
of two Documents — Nature of this theory — Statement of Pajiias 
— Meaning of the term Logia used by him — Modification of this 
theory by Holtzmann, Weiss, Wendt, Resch, and Sanday — Result 
of this Discussion. VI. Interpretation of the Synoptic Gospels — 
Critical Ajjparatus — Editions of the Greek Text — The Revised 
Version — Necessity of Candour — Acquaintance with the times 
of Christ — Nature of Inspiration — Alleged discrepancies in the 



Gospels — Instance of the Blind Man at Jericho — Sympathy 
between the Reader and the "Writings — Sjnritual Discernment — 
Teaching of the Synoptics compared with that of the other New < 
Testament Writings — Distinctive peculiarities of the Synoptics. J 
VII. Harmony of the Synoptics, ...... 


Literature. I. Genuineness of the Gosjael — External Evidence — 
Internal Evidence— B}' whom disputed — Examination of Objec- 
tions. II. The Author of the Gospel — Notices of Matthew in 
Scripture — Supposed distinction between ilatthew and Levi — 
Notices of Matthew in Ecclesiastical History. III. Sources of 
the Gosijel — Three Sources stated : Personal Observation, Oral 
Tradition, W^ritten Documents. IV. The Design of the Gospel 
— Written for Jewish Christians — Proofs of the Messiahshij) of 
Jesus. V. Original Language of the Gospel — Difficulty of this 
Subject — Theory of a Hebrew Original — External Evidence in 
favour of it — t'^niform Testimonj- of the Fathers — This Evi- 
dence disputed — Internal Evidence against a Hebrew Original 
— The Greek Text not a Translation — Translation of Aramaic 
expressions — Identity of Greek expressions in Matthew with 
those in the other Synoptic Gospels — Hypothesis of two original 
Gosjiels, the one Hel)rew and the other Greek — Opinions of 
Critics. The Gospel according to the Hebrews^An inter- 
polated Gospel of Matthew — Additions found in it — Language 
of Judtea in the Days of Christ — Style and Diction of Matthew. 
VI. Integrity of the Gospel : 1. Narrative of our Lord's Birth, 
"^latt. i.-ii. — Evidence in its favour — Objections to it — The Visit of 
the Magi — The Slaughter of the Infants of Bethlehem — Apjiarent 
discrepancies witli St. Luke's Narrative — Chronological order of 
events ; 2. Doxology to our Lord's Prayer. VII. Date of the 
( rospel — Different Opinions — The early Date before a.d. 60 — 
The later Date after a.d. 60 — Reconciliation of these two Dates 
— Place of Composition. VIII. Contents of the Gosjiel — Disser- 
tation : Quotations from the Old Testament. List of Quotations 
— Use of the Septuagint — Formuhe and Modes of Quotation — 
Examination of some difficult Passages : 1. Matt. ii. 15, "Out of 
Egypt have I called my sou" ; 2. Matt. ii. 17, 18, Slaughter of 
the Infants of Bethlehem — In what sense the Prophec\' of Jere- 
miah is applicable to that event ; 3. Matt. ii. 23, "He shall be 
called a Nazarene" — Different explanations : a lost Projihecy, a 
despised Person, a Nazarite, the Brancli (Nazir) ; 4. Matt, xxvii. 
9, 10, "The word spoken by Jeremiali the projihet" — The quota- 
tion from Zech. xi. 12, 13 — Different explanations : in the 
original Jeremiah omitted ; a lost Propliecy ; Zech. ix.-xi. consti- 
tuted a part of Jeremiah; Jeremiah the first Book of the Pro- 



etical Division ; the quotation from Jereniiali ; a quotation 
■m two Prophets ; designed to show the unity of Prophecy ; 
iiistake of the Author ; a mistake of the Copyist, . . 90-166 


erature. I. Genuineness of the Gospel — External Evidence — 
Internal Evidence — By whom disputed — Examination of Oljjec- 
tions. II. The Author of the Gospel — Notices of Mark in Scrip- 
ture : Supposition of two Marks ; the one the Disciple of Paul, 
the other the Disciple of Peter — Supposed to be the young man 
who followed Christ (Mark xiv. 51, 52) — Notices of Mark in 
Ecclesiastical History. III. Sources of Mark's Gospel — Nega- 
tively, not the Gospels of Matthew and Luke — Positively, the 
Preaching of Peter — Statements of the Fathers — Connection 
Ijetween Mark and Peter — Meaning of expression " Interpreter 
of Peter." IV. Design of Mark's Gospel— Written for Gentile 
Christians. V. Language of Mark's Gospel — Greek the original 
Language — Style and Diction — Quotations from the Old Testa- 
ment—Characteristics of Mark's Gospel : its brevity, vividness, 
realistic character. VI. Integrity of the Gospel— Genuineness 
of Mark xvi. 9-20 — By whom disputed and defended — The 
External Evidence against and for its genuineness — Internal 
Evidence against and for its genuineness — On the abrupt Con- 
clusion — Result arrived at — Opinions of Critics. VII. Time and 
Place of Writing — Conflicting Opinions of the Fathers— Written 
before the Destruction of Jerusalem — Probaljle Date — Place of 
Composition — Probably Ca^sarea. VIII. Contents of the Gospel 
—List of Miracles and Parables, . . . . . . 167-2,08 


Literature. I. Genuineness of the Gospel — Testimonies of the 
Fathers — Argument drawn from the Acts of the Apostles — 
Statement of Objections : 1. An amplification of the Gospel of 
Marcion — Views of Marcion — The Gospel of Marcion — Its rela- 
tion to the Gospel of Luke— A mutilation of it ; 2. Luke's 
Gospel, the work of an Elnonite. II. The Author of the Gospel 
— Notices of Luke in Scripture and in Ecclesiastical History — 
—Connection between Luke and Paul. III. Sources of Luke's 
Gospel— The Preface (Luke i. 1-4) : 1. Oral Tradition ; 2. Written 
Documents— Relation of Luke to Matthew and Mark. IV. Design 
of Luke's Gospel— Addressed to Theophilus— Written for Gen- 
tile Converts. V. Language of Luke's Gospel — Purity of the 
Greek Style and Diction. VI. Characteristics of Luke's Gospel 
—Its universality— The Gospel of the Humanity of Christ- 
Prominence given to Women — Contrasts in Luke's Gospel — 
Spiritual Songs— Value of Luke's Gospel. VII. Integrity of 



Luke's Gospel : 1. Tlie Narrative of our Lord's Birth, Luke i.-ii. ; 
2. Different Readings of Luke ii. 14 ; 3. The Lord's Prayer, 
Luke xi. 2-4 ; 4. The Bloodj^ Sweat, Luke xxii. 43, 44 — Evi- 
dence for and against its genuineness. VIIL Time and Place 
of Writing — Date inferred from tlie Acts of the Apostles — Sup- 
posed to he written after the Destruction of Jerusalem — Place 
of Composition. IX. Contents of the Gospel — List of Parables 
and Miracles — Dissertation I. : Tlie Genealogies. Literature on 
the subject — Points of Agreement and Difference between the 
Genealogies of Matthew and Luke — The Sinaitic Palimpsest of 
Mrs. Lewis — Its bearing on the Genealogies — Its importance 
overestimated — The Genealogical Lists — Peculiarities in Mat- 
thew's Genealogy — Genealogy from Salmon to David — Omission 
of three Kings — Omission of Jehoiakim — The threefold Division 
of Matthew's Genealogy — The Genealogy in Luke's Gospel — 
On Shealtiel and Zerubbabel — Three theories of Reconcilia- 
tion of the two Genealogies : 1. The hypothesis of a Levirate 
Marriage — Statement of Julius Africanus ; 2. The hypothesis 
that both are the Genealogy of Joseph — No Evidence from this 
that Jesus is the Son of David — On the Davidic Descent of 
Christ ; 3. The hypothesis that Matthew gives the Descent of 
Joseph and Luke the Descent of Mary — Critical Interjiretation 
of Luke iii. 23 — Conclusion arrived at — Genealogy among the 
Jews. Dissertation II. : The Census of Quirinius : Luke ii. 1, 2. 
Literature on the subject- — Critical remarks — On the Census 
of the Roman Empire — Different methods of Chronology — The 
Census emljraced Judaea — Date of our Lord's Birth — Herod 
alive when Christ was born — ^The Census of Quirinius — State- 
ment of Josephus in conflict with Luke — Different solutions : 
1. Conjectural emcnidations ; 2. The enrolment was made l)efore 
Quirinius was Governor ; 3. Completed l)y Quirinius ; 4. Quir- 
inius an extraordinary commissioner ; 5. Called by his well- 
known official name — Investigations of Zumpt — Quirinius was 
twice Governor of Syria — Arguments in support of this fact — 
Sepulchral Inscription found at Tivoli — Results of the Investi- 
gation, 208-284 


Page 1, 1. 12, /or 1862 read 1802. 
„ 6, 1. 24, for Synoptists read Synoptics. 
„ 15, 1. 15, for imcanonised read uncanonical. 
„ 4G, last line, /or Mark read Mattlu-w. 
„ 51, 1. 4, /or beforehand read before him. 
,, 53, 1. 20, for consistencies read coincidences. 
„ 55, 1. 11, for Gusj)el read (Jospels. 
„ 72, 1. 11, for collected read collated. 
„ 280, hist line, omit (Dionysian era, n.c. 14). 



Literature. — The Literature on the Synoptic Gospels, taken 
conjointly, is very extensive, as the subject has of late 
attracted much attention in this country, in Germany, and in 

The Genuineness of the Synoptic Gospels is treated in the 
special sections in the Introductions to the New Testament. 
The most important of these by German critics are those of 
Bleek (translated 1869; the last German edition much 
altered by Mangold, 1886), Credner, De Wette, Eichhorn, 
Guericke, Hilgenfeld, Holtzmann, Hug (translated 1827), 
Michaelis (translated by Bishop Marsh, with valuable notes 
and dissertations, 1802), Eeuss (translated 1884), Weiss 
(translated 1887). Of works by English critics may be 
mentioned Alford's Prolegomena to his Greek Testament ; the 
two very different Introductions of Dr. Samuel Davidson, the 
one entitled Introduction to the Nevj Testament (1848), and the 
other Introditction to the Study of the Nevj Testament (1868; 
third edition 1894); Dod's Introductioyi to the Netv Testament, 
1888; Home's Introduction to the Scriptures, with additions 
by Davidson and Tregelles, 1874; M'Clymont's The New 
Testament and its Writers, London, 1893 ; and Salmon's In- 
troduction to the New Testament, 1885. To these have to be 
added Professor Sanday's Gospels of the Second Century, 1876 ; 
Westcott's Canon of the New Testament, 1860 ; and Andrews 
Norton's (of Harvard University) Evidences of the Genuine- 
ness of the Gospels, 1847. Jones On the Canon, Lardner's 


Credibility, Kirchhofer's Qitellensammlunff, and Charteris' 
Ganonicity, contain the references to the Synoptic Gospels in 
the writings of the early Fathers. The special references in 
the works of Justin Martyr are discussed at considerable 
length by Purves in his Testimony of Justin Martyr to early 
Christianity (New York, 1888), and Sadler in his Lost Gospel 
(London, 1876). Tischendorf's tractate, Wann vnirden unsere 
Evangellen verfasst ? (4th ed. 186G ; translated 1867) has never 
been refuted. 

The important question as to the origin of the Synoptic 
Gospels has been much discussed during the latter half of this 
century, and at no period more so than in the present day. 
The following are the most important works on this sub- 
ject, given alphabetically : the article on the Gospels by 
Dr. Abbott in the Encyclopaedia Britannica; Baur's Marcus- 
evangelium, 1881 ; Badham on the Formation of the Gospels, 
London, 1892; Bleek's Synoptische Erkldrung der drei ersten 
Evangelien (Leipzig, 1862); Eichhorn's theory is contained in 
his Einlcitung in das N.T., and the remarks on it by Bishop 
Marsh in his translation of Michaelis' Introduction ; Paul 
Ewald's Hauptprohlem der Evangelienfrage (Leipzig, 1890); 
Ewald's Die drei ersten Evangelien, 1871; Gieseler's Historisch- 
kritischer Versuch iiber die Entstehung und die friihesten Schick- 
sale der schriftlichen Evangelien (Leipzig, 1818); Godet, "The 
Origin of the Four Gospels," in his Studies in the N.T. 
1873; Holtzmann's Die synoptischen Evangelien, 1863; 
Hilgenfeld, Die Evangelien nach ihrer Entstehung und geschicht- 
lichen Bedeutung, 1854; Jolley, The Synoptic Problem for 
English Readers (London, 1893); Keim's Jesus of Nazara 
(translated 1876-1883); Morison's Commentary on St. 
Mark's Gospel (3rd ed. London, 1882); Norton's GeMuine- 
ness of the Gospels, already adverted to ; Eesch, Agrapha : 
ausserkanonische Evangclienfragmente, 1893; Koberts, Language 
of Christ and His Apostles, 1888; Sabatier's Sources 
de la Vie de Jesus, Paris, 1866 ; Schenkel's Das Char- 
akterbild Jesu (1864; translated 1869); Sclileiermacher's 
St. Luke, especially tlie introduction to it by the translator, 
Bishop Thirlwall (London, 1828) ; Scholten's Das dltestc Evan- 
gclium, 1869; Smith's Dissertation on the (rospc/s, Edinburgh, 



1853 ; the Introduction to the Gospels in the Speakers Com- 
mentary, by Archbishop Thomson, and his article on the 
Gospels in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible (in the new edition 
there is a valuable supplement to that article by Professor 
Sanday) ; Volkmar's Marcus und die Synopse der Evangelien, 
1876; Weiss, Das Marcus Evangelium tmd seine Synoptisehe 
Parallelen, 1872 ; Wendt, Evangel. Quellenherichte ilber die 
Lehre Jesu, 1886 ; Weizsacker, Untersttchungen uber die 
evangelische Geschichte, 1864, and his Apostolisches Zeitalter, 
1890, now translated 1894 ; Wright's Composition of the Four 
Gospels, London, 1890. Besides these, there are many im- 
portant articles on the origin of the Synoptic Gospels by Dr. 
Sanday, Professor Marshall, and others in the Exjwsitor, 
fourth series, vol. iii. The subject is also discussed by 
Dr. Schaff in his History of the Christian CMcreh (vol. i, 
pp. 575-612). To these also is to be added Eushbrooke's 
Synopticon ; or an Exposition of the common matter in the 
Synoptic Gospels, where the matter common to the three 
Gospels and the matter common to two of them are so 
distinctly indicated by different types and colours as to be 
recognised at a glance. Other important works will be 
mentioned in the course of this Introduction. 

A list of the chief Harmonies of the Gospel will be given 
when the Harmony of the Synoptics is discussed. 

I. The Title: Synoptic Gospels. 

The word Gospel is a translation of the Greek evayyeXiov. 
It probably came into use through Wicklif's translation. It is 
a contraction for Godspel, God's word, or more probably for 
Goodspel, good news (from spellian, to tell). The English 
version is the only European one in which the Greek word is 
translated ; in other modern languages it is reproduced after 
the modified form of the Latin evangelium, as in German 
Evangelium, in French cvangile, in Italian evangelo, etc. 
EvajyeXiov, as used in the New Testament, is correctly 
rendered good neivs, and primarily denotes a good message ; 
hence the glad tidings of salvation announced to the world in 
connection with Jesus Christ. Thus the angel on the plain 


of Bethlehem proclaimed : " Behold, I bring you good tidings 
(evayyeXl^ofiai,) of great joy" (Luke ii. 10). Hence the usual 
phrase, " the Gospel of Jesus Christ " ; because Christ was the 
subject of these good news. Taken in a general sense, the 
word came to denote the whole revelation of salvation by 
Christ. Thus Paul speaks of " my gospel " (2 Tim. ii. 8), that 
is, the system of salvation which he preached. It was only at 
a later period that the term came to be applied to a written 
record, and especially to denote the record of the sayings and 
doings of Christ, as in its application to the four historical 
Lives of Christ whicli form our canonical Gospels. We have a 
trace of this application in the introductory words to St. Mark's 
Gospel : " The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ " {o-pxh 
rov evayyeXiov 'Irjaov Xptarov, Mark i. 1), where perhaps the 
evangelist entitles his work a Gospel. In the writings of 
Justin Martyr we have the first undoubted use of the term 
in this sense : " For the apostles," he observes, " in the 
memoirs composed by them which we call Gospels, have thus 
declared." ^ 

The superscriptions to the Gospels in the manuscripts of 
the Greek Testament are : evayyeXiov Kara MarOalov, Kara 
MdpKov, Kara Aovkuv, Kara 'Iwdvvrjv} We cannot tell when 
these titles were affixed to our Gospels ; but as these titles are 
all similar, it is probable that it was not until they were 
collected together in a volume. The force of the preposition 
Kara has been variously explained. It may denote that the 
traditions collected by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, i.e. 
their oral teaching, were committed to writing or edited by 
others, so that, according to this view, these evangelists were 
only the indirect authors of their Gospels. It is thus under- 
stood by Credner ^ and others. But the general testimony of 
the Fathers is opposed to this meaning of the preposition ; for 

^ A2)ol. i. G6 : o/ yeip aTroVroXo/ ev roi; yivof/.iuot; vtt uvtojv oi'Trou.VYif/.oviv- 
f^xaiv (86 KXhiirui iiioc/yi'htu. ovto; TupeOUKXv. Kai'lior ilistiUlces tit the use 
of the term are found in the Didache, and in tlie Ejji.stle of Ignatius 
to the Philadelphians, v. 

2 The important codices k and B have simply x.ut» 'Mmrdctiov, etc. 

3 Einleitmuj, § 89, note. De Wette observes : " The titles jcxtx. 'M»r6»io», 
etc., do not definitely indicate these men as their authors ; but the ojjinion 
of all anticpiity attests the commonly accepted sense." Einlcit uiuj, § 78. 


the evangelists are always regarded as the direct authors of their 
Gospels. The oneness of the Gospels is implied by the use of 
the preposition instead of the genitive.^ There are not, strictly 
speaking, four Gospels, but one given in four different forms ; 
the Gospel not o/, but according to Matthew, the Gospel 
according to Mark, etc. 

The term sy7i02')tic is a recent critical designation. As the 
adjective from Synopsis (which is compounded of avv and o-^c'i, 
parallel to the Latin conspectus), it denotes that in these Gospels 
we have a narrative of the life of Christ which may be arranged 
into sections, so as to afford us a general view or conspectus of 
His sayings and doings. The term is used to distinguish the first 
three Gospels from the fourth, which is more concerned with 
the discourses than with the actions of Christ. It is com- 
paratively modern,- and does not occur in the writings of 
the Fathers. 

The specific difference between the Synoptic Gospels and 
the Fourth Gospel is obvious. It is not necessary to enter 
upon it here in detail, as it has already been fully discussed 
in a former Introduction.^ We would only notice four points 
of difference. 1. They differ in regard to the locality of the 
events narrated. In the Synoptics the scene of our Lord's 
ministry is chiefly laid in Galilee. Until the period of His 
last sufferings there is little mention of Judaea, and we would 
hardly have known that He frequently visited that country.^ 
On the other hand, in John's Gospel the scene is chiefly laid 
in Judsea. The visits of Christ to Jerusalem at the great 
annual feasts, His conversation with the Jews on these occa- 
sions, and the miracles which He then performed, form the 
chief contents of that Gospel ; whilst His ministry in Galilee 
is seldom, and only incidentally, alluded to.^ 2. They appar- 

^ TO iiimyyihiov rirpoe,f^op(pov, Ireiiseus. 

2 According to Archdeacon Farrar, it was brought into general use by 
Griesbach. See also Holtzniann's Einleitung, p. 370. 

3 Gloag's Introduction to the Jolmnnine JFritiwjs, i)p. 130-147. 

* Luke ix. 41 would seem to intimate a journey to Jerusalem in the 
middle of His ministry : it may, however, allude by anticipation to His 
last journey. 

5 Allusions to a Galilean ministry in John's Gospel are found in John 
ii. 12, vi. 1, 4, 59, vii. 1. 


ently differ as to the duration of Christ's ministry. In the 
Synoptics our Lord's ministry would seem to be comprised 
within the short space of one year. There is mention only of 
one visit to Jerusalem, at the Passover when He suffered ; and 
nothing would lead us to suppose that three Passovers occurred 
during the course of His ministry. Whereas in John's Gospel 
three Passovers are recorded/ so that His ministry must have 
extended over two or three years. 3. They differ in the events 
narrated. There is little in common between the facts and 
discourses recorded in the Synoptics and those recorded in the 
Fourth Gospel. Excluding the narrative of our Lord's last 
visit to Jerusalem when He suffered, and tlie narrative of His 
resurrection, there are only three incidents which John relates 
in common with the other evangelists — the miraculous feeding 
of the multitude, the walking on the Sea of Galilee, and the 
anointing by Mary the sister of Lazarus. The miraculous birth 
of Christ, His baptism and temptation, the transfiguration, the 
institution of the Supper, the agony of Gethsemane, narrated 
by the Synoptists, are omitted in John's Gospel ; whilst the 
cure of the man who was born blind, the healing of the 
impotent man at the pool of Bethesda, and the resurrection 
of Lazarus, mentioned by John, are omitted by the Synoptists. 
4. They differ in the character of the teaching or discourses of 
Jesus. In the Synoptists the discourses of our Lord are 
chiefly given in parables : His teaching is brought down to the 
comprehension of the multitude. On the other ?iand, in the 
Fourth Gospel this mode of instruction is entirely \wanting, 
except where there is an approach to it in the allegories of the 
Good Shepherd and of the Vine and its branches : the dis- 
courses are for the most part of a subjective and mystical 
character, relating to the deep things of God. These differ- 
ences have been variously accounted for, and reasons have 
been assigned for them ; but still tliey notably exist, and are 
sufficient to justify the distinction which has been made 
between the Fourth Gospel and the other three. 

The Fathers have always recognised only four Gospels, 
namely, the three Synoptics, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and 
the Fourth Gospel, that of John. Thus Irenjeus, in a well- 
^ John ii. 13, vi. 3, 4, xii. 1. 


known passage, observes : " Since there are four regions of the 
world in which we live, and four principal winds, and since 
the Church is spread over all the world, and the gospel is the 
pillar and ground of the Church, it is fitting that it should 
have four pillars breathing out immortality and imparting life 
to men. From which it is evident the Word, the Creator 
of all men, and who sitteth above the cherubim, and is the 
Sustainer of all, has given us the gospel under four aspects, 
but bound together by one Spirit." ^ We have nothing to do 
with the fanciful illustrations of Irenajus, but only with the 
fact which he attests, that there are four Gospels, neither 
more nor less. These Gospels he afterwards declares to be 
those of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. No other Gospel 
was admitted among the sacred books of the early Christians : 
neither in the writings of the Fathers, nor in the manuscripts 
of the New Testament, is any other Gospel mentioned as 
having received the authority and sanction of the Church. 
Thus Clemens Alexandrinus, when referring to a passage 
taken from an apocryphal Gospel, says : " We do not find 
this statement in the four Gospels that have been handed 
down to us, but in that according to the Egyptians." - 

But although there were only four Gospels received as 
of any authority by the Church at the close of the second 
century, namely, those which we now possess, yet numbers of 
non-canonical Gospels were written and disseminated chiefly 
in the second century.^ Most of them are of no importance, 
and are full of the most trivial and extravagant incidents. 
Three may be mentioned which for certain reasons have 
attained notoriety, but which, although frequently referred to 
by the Fathers, were never regarded as of any authority. 
The Gospel to the Hebrews (EvayyeXiov Ka6' 'E/Spaiov;) 
was used by the Ebionites, Nazarenes, and other Jewish- 

1 Irenaeus, Adv. Hcer. iii. 11. 8 ; Charteris' Canonicitij, pp. 68, 69. 
Dr. Taylor supposes that this statement of Irenaeus about the fourfold 
Gospel was anticipated by Hernias, a.d. 143. 

2 Clemens Alexandrinus, Strom, iii. 13. 

3 For a succinct account of the non-canonical Gospels, see Guericke, 
Isacjocjik, pp. 225 ff. ; De Wette, EinUitung, §§ 63-74 ; translation, pp. 87- 
124 ; and Baring-Gould, Lost and Hostile Gospels. 


Christian sects. It appears to have been closely related to 
the Gospel of Matthew, and will occupy our attention when 
we come to the special consideration of that Gospel. The 
Gospel of Marcion, an anti-Judaistic-Gnostic Gospel, con- 
structed by Marcion for the propagation of his opinions, was 
the subject of much controversy toward the close of the 
second century, and was fiercely attacked by Tertullian.^ It 
was closely related to the Gospel of Luke, which was mutilated 
and corrupted by Marcion from dogmatic considerations.'^ It 
will also occupy our attention when we consider the third 
Gospel. The Gospel of Peter, which has recently obtained 
additional interest from the discovery of an important 
fragment, and which is especially valuable, as thaC frag- 
ment contains an account of the trial and death of 

The four Gospels, whilst they contain an account of the 
life and teaching of Christ, record only a small portion of the 
events of our Lord's life. There must have been numerous 
other works done by Christ, and numerous other discourses 
delivered by Him, which are not recorded ; we have at best 
only selected deeds and discourses narrated. St. John 
expressly asserts the fragmentary nature of his Gospel : 
" Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of 
the disciples, which are not written in this book " (John 
XX. 30; comp. John xxi. 25). When we reflect on the 
fulness of such a life as that of Jesus, that He must have 
been ever actively engaged in His Father's business, and ever 
teaching the multitude in public and His disciples in private, 
we cannot but conclude that the accounts which we possess 
are of a most fragmentary nature. We have, for example, 
only a few incidents of the early life of Jesus before He 
attained to the age of thirty, when He entered upon His 
ministry. Luke only states one incident. His converse with 
the doctors in the temple (Luke ii. 41-51), when He was 
about twelve years of age. And after He commenced His 
pul)lic ministry, tlie C»()S])els themselves suggest the fiag- 
raentary nature of their accounts. By comparing the Fourth 

^ Contra Marcion. 

2 Irenasiis, Adv. Ilor. i. 27. 2 ; Tcrttilliaii, Contra Marcion, iv. 2. 


Gospel with the Synoptics we see what important events and 
discourses they have omitted.^ In the accounts given us 
there is also a want of chronological order.^ The Synoptists 
do not follow the same order in the events they record ; so 
that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to form a 
harmony of their accounts. 

II. The Authors of the Synoptic Gospels. 

The authors of the Synoptic Gospels were Matthew, 
Mark, and Luke ; one an apostle, the other two disciples of 
the apostles. The author of the Fourth Gospel was " the 
beloved disciple." They wrote for different readers, as we 
shall see when we examine the Gospels seriatim. It has 
been held that St. Matthew's is the Gospel for the Jews ; 
St. Mark's is the Gospel for the Romans ; St. Luke's is the 
Gospel for the Greeks ; St. John's is the Gospel for the 
universal Church. 

These Gospels have been symbolised in accordance with 
the description of the cherubim in the prophecy of Ezekiel, 
and of the living creatures in the Apocalypse. In Ezekiel 
the cherubim are described as having each four faces — the 
face of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle (Ezek. i. 10); 
whilst in the Apocalypse the living creatures are thus 
described : " The first creature was like a lion, the second 
like a calf, the third like a man, the fourth like a flying 
eagle " (Rev. iv. 7). These symbols were, at a very early 
period, taken to represent the Gospels, and have been 
enshrined in Christian art. Irenseus thus explains theSe 
evangelical symbols. The first living creature, the lion, the 
symbol of strength, dominion, and royal power, represents 
the Gospel of John, relating the glorious generation of Christ 
from the Father, as the Word by whom all things were made. 
The second living creature, the ox, the symbol of sacrifice 
and priesthood, represents the Gospel of Luke, commencing 

1 See Alford's Greek Testament, vol. i. Prolegomena, cli. i. § v. ; Arch- 
bishop Thomson in Speaker's Commentary N. T. vol. i. p. vii f . ; Westcott's 
Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, jj. 20. 

' See Eiclihorn's Einleitung in das N.T. § 136 


with Zechariah the priest offering up a sacrifice to God. 
The third Hving creature, the man, the symbol of humanity, 
represents the Gospel of Matthew, proclaiming the human 
birth of Christ, and commencing with His generation as a 
man. The fourth living creature, the flying eagle, pointing 
to the gift of the Spirit, hovering with His wings over the 
Church, represents the Gospel of Mark, testifying to the 
prophetic Spirit which comes from above by referring to the 
prophet Isaiah.^ So that, according to Irenteus, the lion is 
the symbol of John, the ox of Luke, the man of Matthew, 
and the eagle of Mark. These symbols are given in a different 
order by other Fathers. According to Athanasius, the man 
denotes Matthew, the ox Mark, the hon Luke, and the eagle 
John. Augustine assigns the lion to Matthew, the man to 
Mark, the ox to Luke, and the eagle to John. The symbolism 
now generally adopted and found in paintings and sculptures 
is that given us by Jerome. " The first form, that of a man," 
he observes, " denotes Matthew, because he at once begins to 
write of the man. The form of the lion denotes Mark, the 
voice of the roaring lion in the wilderness being heard in his 
Gospel. The third, that of the ox, represents Luke, who 
begins with the priest Zechariah. The fourth form, that of 
the eagle, represents John, who soars above as on eagle's wings, 
and speaks of the divine Word." ^ These analogies are, no 
doubt, fanciful, and of no importance in themselves, still 
they bear upon tlie question as to the number of Gospels 
regarded as canonical and authentic. 

IIL Genuineness of the Synoptic Gospels. 

The external aiul internal evidences accrediting each of 
these Gospels will be examined when we consider them 
separately. Here we take the Synoptic Gospels together as 
a whole. We sliull commence with the period when they 
were universally acknowledged by the Churcli, and trace the 
proofs of their existence backwards as near to tlieir source 
as possible. Irenieus (a.d. 180) thus mentions the four 

^ IrenoQUs, Adv.Hcrr. iii. 11. 8 ; Kirchhofer's Qucllensammlu7Uf, p. 40. 
2 Prulogue to liis Comment, in Ev. Matthcei. 


Gospels : " Matthew issued a written Gospel among the 
Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were 
preachmg at Eome, and laymg the foundation of the Church. 
After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of 
Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been 
preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, 
recorded in a book the gospel preached by him. Afterwards 
John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His 
breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at 
Ephesus in Asia." ^ And we have already mentioned his 
reference to those four Gospels in assigning to each of them 
the prophetic symbols. The testimony of Irenseus is very 
important, as he ministered both in the East in Proconsular 
Asia, and in the West in Gaul. He was also the disciple of 
Polycarp, and accordingly only one step removed from the 
apostles. His testimony is corroborated by his contempo- 
raries, Clemens Alexandrinus and Tertullian. Clemens 
Alexandrinus (a.d. 190) repeatedly alludes to the four 
Gospels. ■ He states that the Gospels containing the 
genealogies were written first ; and that the Gospel of St. 
John came last, that apostle writing at the instigation of 
his friends a spiritual Gospel.^ In a passage already quoted, 
he speaks of the four Gospels committed to us.^ Tertullian 
(a.d. 200) is equally explicit: "Of the apostles, John and 
Matthew instil faith into us, whilst of apostolic men Luke 
and Mark afterwards renew it." ^ 

These testimonies are not only of importance as the 
testimonies of these early Fathers, but as being the testi- 
monies of the Churches which they represented ; so that in 
Asia Minor, in Gaul, in Egypt, and in Ptoman Africa, we 
have the assurance that toward the close of the second 
century the four Gospels which we possess were in circula- 
tion, and accepted by the whole Christian Church as authori- 
tative histories of the life of Christ. In the forcible words 

1 Irenaeus, Adv. Hmr. iii. 1.1; Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. v. 8. 

2 Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. vi. 14. 

^ Clemens Alexandrinus, Strom, iii. 13. 

* Tertullian, Gontra Marcion, iv. 2 : Nobis fidem ex apostolis Joannes 
et Mattlieeus insinuant, ex apostolicis Lucas et Marcus instaurant. 


of Professor Norton : " About the end of the second century 
the Gospels were reverenced as sacred books by a community 
dispersed over the whole world, composed of men of different 
nations and languages. There were, to say the least, sixty 
thousand copies in existence.^ They were read in the 
assemblies of Christians ; they were continually quoted and 
appealed to, as of the highest authority ; their reputation 
was as well established among believers from one end of the 
Koman Empire to the other as it is among Christians at the 
present day. The general reception of the Gospels as books 
of the highest authority at the end of the second century 
necessarily implies their celebrity at a much earlier period, 
and the long operation of causes sufficient to produce so 
remarkable a phenomenon." ^ 

A remarkable fragment of the so-called Gospel of Peter 
has lately been brought to light. This Gospel, seldom 
alluded to by the Fathers, is adverted to by Eusebius.^ 
He mentions among the spurious writings ascribed to Peter, 
" the Gospel which bears his name." ^ He also informs us 
that this Gospel is mentioned by Serapion, the bishop of 
Antioch (a.d. 190), as in use in the church of Khossus in 
his diocese, and that it was rejected by him on account of 
the heretical doctrines which it contained. At first the 
bishop permitted it to be read, because, not having seen it, 
he was ignorant of its erroneous teaching ; but this having 
been brought to his knowledge, he forbade its use : " Having 
obtained this Gospel from others who have studied it dili- 
gently, namely, from the successors of those who first used it, 
whom we call Docetae, we have read it through, and find 
many things in accordance with the true doctrine of the 

1 Professor Norton hases tins calculation on tlie fact that at the end 
of the second century there would be three millions of believers, anxious 
to obtain cojiies of the Gos2)els; and supposing one copy for every fifty 
Christians, this would give sixty thousand coi)ies. Tlie number is some- 
what exaggerated, but it must have been very great. We have very little 
information as to the cost of books in ancient times. 

2 Norton, 77i,e Genuineness of the Gospcl.i, vol. i. \\ 123. See also pp. 
31, 32. 

^ Mentioned also by Origen, Ad Matth. xiii. 51. 
* Eusebius, Hist. Ecrl. iii. 3. 


Saviour, but some things added to that doctrine which we 
have pointed out to you further on."^ In 1886 a fragment 
was discovered in a tomb near the town of Akhman, the 
Panopolis of Strabo, in Egypt, containing an account of the 
sufferings and resurrection of Christ, which has with extreme 
probability been supposed to be a part of this Gospel.- It 
completely agrees with the description given by Serapion, 
being in general accordance with the orthodox doctrine of 
Christ, but tinged with Docetism ; as, for example, it states that 
when Christ hung upon the cross He was free from pain, and 
that He was deserted by the Power at the moment of His 
death.^ The latest date that can be assigned to it is a.d. 
170, having been referred to by Serapion in a.d. 190 ; pro- 
bably it belongs to the middle of the second century.^ Some 
imagine that it may possibly have been one of the documents 
referred to by Luke in his Gospel ; but this is extremely 
improbable, as from the nature of its contents it is to be 
classed among the spurious Gospels, The fragment we possess 
is taken from our Gospels with several additions. The trial 
of Jesus is transferred from Pilate to Herod. There are 
references in it to all the Synoptic Gospels ; as, for example, 
it is stated that Pilate washed his hands, which is mentioned 
only in Matthew's Gospel ; that our Lord was tried before 
Herod, to which Luke only alludes ; and although no incident 
is recorded peculiar to Mark, yet this is accounted for by 
the similarity of this Gospel to the other two. In this 
fragment, then, we have a proof that the Synoptic Gospels 
were current in the Church before a.d. 170.^ 

^ Eusebius, Hist. Ecd. vi. 12. See also Jones On the Canon, vol. i. pp. 

^ Along with this fragment of the Gospel of Peter were found portions 
of tlie Book of Enoch and the Apocalypse of Peter. 

^ Instead of the evangelic words, " My God, my God, why hast Thou 
forsaken me 1 " the Gospel of Peter has, " My power, my power. Thou hast 
left me," — ^ ^vvec[/.ig [/.ov, ^ Zvvxfug i/,ov Kot-rihitipctg f^e. 

* Zahn fixes the date about a.d. 140 or 150 ; Sanday, hardly later than 
the end of the first quarter of the second century ; Harnack, about a.d. 
115. It has been supposed that Justin makes use of this Gospel. Sanday's 
Bampton Lectures, p. 310. 

* See TJie Akhman Fragment of the Apocryphal Gospel of St. Peter, by 
Professor Swete, 1893 ; The Gospel according to Peter, two lectures by J. 


The next testimony to which we advert is the Mura- 
torian Canon. This celebrated and valuable fragment, 
mutilated both at the beginning and at the end, was dis- 
covered in the Amljrosian Library in Milan, and first published 
by Muratori in 1740. It professes to have been written by 
a contemporary of Pius, bishop of Eome, and is therefore to 
be placed about the year a.d. IGO. Its genuineness has 
been generally acknowledged. Owing to its mutilation, the 
first two Gospels are not named ; but there is no doubt that 
the canon recognised the four Gospels, as the Gospel of Luke 
is mentioned as the third, and the Gospel of John as the 
fourth ; and we may therefore infer that the first and second 
Gospels were mentioned in that part of the canon which is 

Tatian (a.d. 160) is another hnportant witness to the 
existence of the Synoptic Gospels in the middle of the second 
century. He was, as he himself informs us, born in the land 
of Assyria, and was a disciple of Justin Martyr. After the 
death of Justin he fell into heresy, having adopted the errors 
of the Encratites, a Gnostic sect of an ascetic natiu-e, related 
to Marcion.- His Diatessaron, or Harmony of the Four 
Gospels, was his great work, and was probably written before 
his lapse into heresy.^ Eusebius informs us that " Tatian com- 
posed a certain combination and collection of the Gospels, 
to which he gave the name Diatessaron, and which is current 

Ariiiitage Robinson and M. R. James ; BruchstUcke des Evamjelium und 
der Ajyocalypse des Petrus, by Harnack, 1893 ; Das Evangelium des Petrus, 
by Zahn, 1893 ; Gebliart, Das Evangelium und die Apocalypse Petrus ; 
Schnljert, Die Composition der pseudopetrinischen Evangelien-Fragmente ; 
Dr. Salmon's (of Dulilin) Introduction to the N.T., 7tli edition, Ajipendix, 
Note III., The Gospel of Peter, pp. 581-589; The Ncniii- Discovered Gospel 
of St. Peter, by J. Rendel Harris, 1893. 

1 The fullest account of the Muratorian canon is given by Tregelles in 
his " Canon Muratorianus, the earliest catalogue of the books of the New 
Testament, edited with notes, and a facsimile of the MS. in the Ambrosian 
Library at Milan." A transcript of it is given l)y Kirchhofer in his Quellen- 
sam 111 lung, pp. 1, 2 ; l)y Westcott in his Canon of the Ncv) Testament, pp. 
466-480 ; and by Dr. Charteris in his Canonicity, pp. 3-8. 

2 Ireuajus, Adv. Hwr. i. 28. 1, iii. 23. 8. 

3 Besides the Diatessaron, Tatian wrote an "Address to the Greeks," 
entitled, 'Yxriot.v'jv '7rp6;"E>^7.rrjetc, a work of great merit. 


with some persons even in the present day."^ And 
Epiphanius says : " The Diatessaron Gospel is said to have 
been composed by Tatian." - This harmony of the Gospels 
was in great repute in the fifth century among the Syrian 
Churches. Theodoret, bishop of Cyrrhus (a.d. 420), informs 
us that " Tatian composed the Gospel which is called the 
Diatessaron, omitting the genealogies and whatever other 
passages show that our Lord was born of the seed of David 
according to the flesh ; " and he tells us that in his diocese 
there were more than two hundred copies of it.^ Dionysius 
Bar-Salibi, an Armenian bishop of the twelfth century, 
informs us that Ephrsem Syrus (a.d. 370) wrote a commentary 
upon it.* Its existence was called in question, and it was 
asserted that Tatian's Diatessaron was not a harmony of the 
four Gospels, but was to be ranked among the uncanonised 
or spurious Gospels.^ This assertion has been recently proved 
to be unfounded. The commentary of Ephr^em Syrus has 
been discovered in an Armenian version in the Armenian 
convent near Venice, in two manuscripts, bearing the date 
A.D. 1195, and agreeing with what we know of Tatian's 
harmony ; and a Latin translation of it by Aucher, one of the 
Armenian monks, was corrected and published by Moesinger 
in 1876.*" But more recently still two manuscripts have 
been discovered by Professor Agostino Ciasca, the one in the 
Vatican and the other in the Borgian Museum, containing 
Arabic translations of the Diatessaron itself."^ A note attached 

1 Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. iv. 29. ^ Epiphanius, Hcer. xlvi. 1. 

3 Theodoret, Hcer. Fab. i. 20, ii. 158 ff. Theodoret regarded the 
Diatessaron with prejudice. He says that he collected and jnit away all 
the copies and substituted the Gospels of the four evangelists in their 
stead. He is mistaken in asserting that Tatian purposely omitted 
passages which referred to Christ being born of the seed of David. 

* Assemanni, Biblioth. Orient, ii. p. 158 ff. 

* Swpernatural Religion, vol. ii. p. 152 ft'. 

^ Evangelii concordantis expositio facta a Sancto Ephrsemo Doctore 
Syro. In Latinum translata a J. B. Aucher. Edidit Mcesinger. 
Venetiis, 1876. See on the discovery of Ephrsem's commentary on 
Tatian's Diatessaron two interesting articles by Professor Wace in the 
Expositor for 1882, and Zalm's Tatian^s Diatessaron, p. 240 ff. 

'' At the end of the Vatican MS. is written : " Here endeth by the help 
of God the sacred Gospel which Tatian collected out of the four Gosisels, 


to each asserts that it is Tatian's Diatessaron. A trans- 
lation was published by Ciasca in 1888, based upon the two 
Arabic manuscripts, accompanied by introductory explana- 
tions.^ An English translation has been made by the Eev. 
J. Hamlyn Hill (1894), with an important introduction and 
several ap})endices.- It has also been proved that the Codex 
Fuldensis, a Latin version of the New Testament belonging to 
the sixth century in the form of a harmony, is probably based 
on the Diatessaron.^ The importance of this discovery is very 
great. There is no doubt whatever that we have here manu- 
scripts of the translation of the Diatessaron ; and accordingly 
it is now demonstrated that Tatian composed a harmony of 
the four canonical Gospels."^ He used our Gospels only : there 
is no trace of any non-canonical Gospels. The difference is 
but slight between it and our Gospels : there are few addi- 
tions and omissions. The most important omissions are the 
genealogies of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, as Theodoret 
testifies, and as is found to be the case in the Borgian Arabic 
manuscript.^ It is very valuable as a harmony, and, indeed, 
can bear a comparison with recent harmonies.^ It is not 
improbable that the Diatessaron was written, as Professor 
Zahn surmises, in Syriac, and that the version which was 
employed was the Curetonian version.'^ This will account for 

and wliicli is commonly called the Diatessaron " ; and at the beginning of 
the Borgian MS. : "With the assistance of the Most High God we begin to 
translate the holy Gospel entitled the Diatessaron, which Tatian, a Greek, 
compiled out of the four Gospels." 

1 Tatiani Evanr/eliorum Harmonice Arabice, 1888. 

2 " The earliest life of Christ ever compiled from the Four Gospels, being the 
Diatessaron of Tatian, literally transcribed from the Arabic Version, and con- 
tainimj the Four Gospiels woven in one story," by the Rev. J. Hamlyn Hill. 
Edinburgh : T. & T. Clark, 1894. The translation is from the Latin 
translation of the Arabic versions by Ciasca compared with the Arabic. 

3 See article by II. Wace in Expositor for 1881. 

■• See Rendel Harris' Diatessaron of Tatian ; IlemjjhiU's Diatessaron. 

5 The Vatican MS. contains the genealogies, but in the Borgian MS. they 
are absent from the body of the work, and are inserted in an Appendix. 

" See Hamlyn Hill's translation, and the A]ipendices attached to it. The 
variations between the Diatessaron and the tiospels are wonderfully small. 

^ Zahn's Tatian's Diatessaron, pp. 18, 229. Zahn, before the discovery of 
the Arabic MSS., attempted a reconstruction of Tatian's works, chiefly 
from Ephrajm's commentary. 


the comparative ignorance of it in the Latin and Greek 
Churches, and for its use in the Syriac Churches. It was 
looked upon with suspicion by the early Fathers, on account 
of the heretical views of the author.^ 

Next in order is the important testimony of Justin 
Martyr (a.d. 150). The extant works of Justin consist of 
two Apologies and a dialogue with Trypho the Jew. The 
Apologies were addressed to Antoninus Pius, and are assigned 
to the middle of the second century. In them he speaks 
frequently of the Memoirs or Memorabilia of the Apostles. 
The Gospels are not named, but there are various quotations 
from them ; and the incidents of our Lord's life mentioned 
by Justin are in accordance with them. It is true that in 
the quotations the precise words are not given ; Justin 
appears to have quoted from memory ; but that is also the 
case with his quotations from the Old Testament. Justin 
informs us that the Memoirs of the Apostles were read 
publicly in the churches, and were regarded with as much 
reverence as the writings of the prophets. The quotations 
and references to our Gospels are exceedingly numerous ; 
and whatever dubiety there may be as regards St. John's 
Gospel,^ there is no doubt whatever that the Synoptic 
Gospels are repeatedly quoted. Thus Matthew is directly 
quoted in these words : " Christ when on earth told those 
who said that Elias would come before Christ, Elias will 
indeed come and restore all things ; but I say unto you that 
Elias came' already, and they knew him not, but did to him 
all that they listed. And it is written. Then understood the 
disciples that He spoke to them of John the Baptist " ^ (Matt, 
xvii. 13); Mark is directly quoted in the following words: 
" It is said that He changed the name of one of the apostles 
to Peter ; and it is written in the Memoirs of Him that 
He changed the name of other two brothers, the sons of 

^ See an elaljorate article on Tatian by Professor Fuller of King's 
College, London, in Smith's Dictionary of Biography, and another by 
Miiller in Herzog's Real-EncyclopUdie, vol. xv. pp. 208 ff. 

^ That Justin used the Gospel of John is now generally admitted. 
See Ezra Abbot's work on the Authorship of the Fourth Gospel. 

^ Dial. ch. xlix. 


Zebedee, to Boanerges, which means the sons of thunder " ^ 
(Mark iii. 16, 17); and Luke is directly quoted in these 
words : " For when Christ was giving up His spirit on the 
cross, He said, Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit, 
as I have learned from the Memoirs " ^ (Luke xxiii. 46). 
It is true that there are one or two incidents mentioned by 
Justin which are not recorded in our Gospels, and which 
have given rise to the assertion that Justin did not quote 
from the Synoptics, but from some uncanonical Gospel.^ 
Thus Justin says that " Christ being regarded as a worker in 
wood, did make while among men ploughs and yokes, thus 
setting before them symbols of righteousness, and teaching 
them an active life ; " * and that " when Jesus came to 
Jordan, where John was baptizing, upon His entering the 
water a fire was kindled in the Jordan."^ But these 
extra-canonical incidents are few, and ma^ be accounted for 
either as inferences which Justin drew from the state- 
ments of the evangelists, or as traditions of the life of 
Jesus which at that early period survived in the Church. 
As Paley remarks : " In all Justin's works, from which 
might be extracted almost a complete life of Christ, there 
are but two instances in which he refers to anything as 
said or done by Christ which is not related concerning Him 
in the present Gospels ; which shows that these Gospels, 
and these alone, were the authorities from which the Chris- 
tians of that day drew the information on which they 
depended." ® 

We now come to the important and much controverted 
statement of Papias (a.d. 120). Papias, bishop of Hiera- 
polis in Phrygia, may well be regarded as an apostolic 
Father, as he was either, along with Polycarp, a disciple of 
the Apostle John,'^ or a disciple of John the Presbyter.*^ He 

^ Dial. ch. cvi. - Dial. cli. cv. 

3 Thus De Wette mentions among the uncauonical Gospels the Gospel 
of Justin, §§ 66, 67. 

•* Dial, cum Try^jh. ch. Ixxxviii. " IcUm. 

^ Paley's Evidences of Christianity, pt. i. cli. ix. § I. 

' Irenseus, Adv. Hcer. v. 33. 4. 

8 Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. iii. 39. It is a question whether John the 
Presbyter ever existed, or whether this is merely another name for 


professes to have conversed with those who were intimate with 
several of the apostles. He was a voluminous writer, his chief 
work being an exposition of the discourses of our Lord (koylcov 
KvpiuKwv i^iTyrjaea) ; but only a few fragments of his works 
remain preserved by Eusebius.^ We have the followmg 
important testimony to the Gospels of Matthew and Mark : 
" John the Presbyter also said, Mark having become the 
interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not 
indeed in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said 
or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor 
followed Him ; but afterward, as is said, he followed Peter, 
who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but 
with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord's 
discourses, so that Mark committed no error, while he thus 
wrote some things as he remembered them. For he was 
careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he 
had heard, and not to state any of them falsely. These 
things are related by Papias concerning Mark Concerning 
Matthew he writes as follows : Matthew composed his dis- 
courses (koyia) in the Hebrew language, and everyone 
interpreted them as he was able."^ This statement will, 
in the course of our Introduction, frequently occupy our 
attention ; much has been made of it in the question 
regarding the origin of the Synoptic Gospels. It proves 

John the apostle. Gloag's Introduction to the JoJiannine Writings, pp. 

^ On the fragments from Papias, see Holtzmann's Sijnopt. Evangel, pp. 
248 ff. ; Weizsacker, Untersuch. iiber d. evang. GeschicJde ; Steitz in Herzog's 
EncyTd. 1st ed. vol. xi. pp. 79 f. 

2 Eusebius, Hist. Ecd. iii. 39. The words of Papias are so very 
important, and will be so often referred to, that we give this quotation 
from Eusebius in full : K«( rovro 6 ■rrpsrjfivrepog 'i'Ai'ys' Mocpx.og f^iv sp/^nvivr^s 
nirpov yivo/iiivo; oaa. ii^m^ovivmv ix, 'iypxi^iV ov /xhroi tcc^h rx vtto rou 
'KptiTTOv '/} 'Kix^ivtoi, »j Trpx^Siurot. Oinri yoip i]KOvas rov x.vpiov, ovrs Tcctpnx.o'Kov- 
Syjuhi avru, varspov "hk, ug i(pyiv, Uerpa, og -yrpog recg x^s/a? I-Tvoiuro rxg ^loaa- 
xxKiag, tiXfC ovx ua-TTip avvrx^iu ruv icvpiXKUv Trotovfuvog "Koyuv, aan ovoiv 
yifi.xpTi M.»p>cog, ovroig hiot, ypocipotg ug oi7r£f/,VYift,6vev(rsv. EvoV y»p eTrotviaccTO 
'^poi'oicc!/, roll fiYihiu av ^x-ovas ■KxpotT^iTrilv, vj ypsvaocirdxi ri Iv xvroig. Txurx fciv 
ovv iirrcpYirxi ru Uxttix Trspl rou Mxpx.ov. liipi Ss rot/ Mxrdxiov rxvr 
itpnrxr MxrdocJog /u,iv ouv ''Elipxi'di lixT^iuro) rx 'hoyix nvviypx-^xro. Hpfit]- 
vivai xvrx ug ijdvuxro iKXarog. 


that in the time of Papias writings did exist which bore 
the names of the first two evangelists, Matthew and Mark.^ 

We do not carry our investigation further back. In the 
writings of the apostoUc Fathers there are alhisions more or 
less distinct to the Synoptic Gospels, and especially in the 
Didache there is a distinct correspondence to the Sermon 
on the Mount; but as such evidence relates to particular 
Gospels rather than to the Synoptic Gospels collectively, it 
will be considered in its proper place. 

Besides these quotations from the Fathers, there is also 
the evidence derived from the ancient versions, especially the 
old Latin and the Syriac. The old Latin (Vetus Latino) 
must have existed about A.D. 170, because it is quoted and 
used by Tertullian and in the Latin translation of Irenaeus. 
It was made, not for the use of the Church of Eome, which 
was at first Greek, but for the Christians in the lioman 
province of Africa, of which Carthage was the capital. All 
the manuscripts contain the four Gospels. The Syriac is 
probably the earliest version, as it would be the first 
required ; and the probability is that Tatian made use of 
it in the composition of his Diatessaron. There are good 
reasons for fixing its date about the middle of the second 
century (a. D. 150).- Although some of the books of Scripture 
are omitted, yet in all the Syriac manuscripts the four 
Gospels are found. Some suppose that the Peshito, the well- 
known Syriac version, is not the original form of the Syriac, 
but a revised version from an older form, of which the 

' It lias l)ceu asserted that Papias does not here s^jeak of our C4os])els, l)iit 
of an original Mark (Ur-Marcus) and an original Matthew (Ur-Mattha;us), 
from which our Gospels were derived ; or else he mentions two distinct 
documents, "the teaching of Peter," as given by Mark, and "the logia 
of Matthew," which formed the chief sources of the Synoptic Gospels. 
These opinions will afterwards form the sul)ject of discussion. Others 
assert that there is no reason to suppose that Pai)ias does not refer 
to our canonical Gospels then existing. See Lightfoot's Essays on Supei-- 
natural Religion, \\\i. 1G3-1G8. Papias does not refer to Luke ; and, of, his testimony has no bearing \\\nni the gi'niiineiiess of that 

^ " There is no sufficient reason," observes Westcotl, " to desert the 
opinion, which has obtained the sanction of the com])etent .scholars, 
that its formation is to be fixed within «lie first half of the .second 
century." Westcott, On the Canon, p. 211. 


Curetonian manuscript is a fragment ; and that the Peshito 
bears the same relation to the ancient Syriac as the Vulgate 
does to the old Latin.^ 

Such is the evidence for the genuineness of the Synoptic 
Grospels as a whole. No classical writing of the ancients 
has the same amount of testimony. When we consider the 
universal acceptance of these Gospels toward the close of the 
second century, the reverence shown to them as sacred 
books, their wide distribution throughout all the provinces of 
the Koman Empire, the explicit testimony of Justin Martyr 
to them in the middle of that century, their translation into 
the Latin and Syriac languages, we cannot fail to be con- 
vinced that they are the genuine records of the life of Christ. 
The hypothesis that they were inventions is inadmissible in 
regard to documents written so soon after the events they 
purport to record, and they were of an importance too vital 
to those to whom they were addressed, to be received on 
insufficient evidence. The theory of Strauss, that the Gospels 
contain myths and legends, which half a century ago made 
such a noise, and was regarded as a formidable objection, is 
now generally discarded as utterly baseless ; the time between 
the events recorded and the publication of these Gospels is too 
short to admit of such a prolific growth of legends or 
myths.^ And so, also, the more acute and ingenious theory 
of Baur, that the Gospels and other books of Scripture 
were written with a tendency-design, either as statements of 
Pauline or of Petrine Christianity, or with a view to mediate 
between two antagonistic systems, has now few adherents.^ 
Hilgenfeld and Holsten, and perhaps we may also include 
Pfleiderer, are almost the only real representatives of the 
Tubingen school, and yet their opinions differ materially from 

^ See on this i^oint Westcott and Hort's Greek Testament, vol. ii. p. 84. 
The Syriac version, found by Mrs. Lewis in 1893 in the monastery of St. 
Catherine at Mount Sinai, is supposed to be a variation of the Curetonian 

2 Row's Jesus of the Evangelists, ch. xvi. ; Fairbairn's Clirist of Modern 
History, pp. 232-242. 

^ According to Baur, Matthew contained Petrine and Luke Pauline 
Christianity ; whilst Mark was conciliatory, and John contained the full 
reconciliation of Petrine and Pauline Christianity in the Catholic Church. 


those of Baur. Even according to their own admission such 
tendency - designs are hardly recognisable in the Synoptic 
Gospels ; because, before these Gospels were written, the 
antagonism of Pauline and Petrine Cln-istianity had been 
smoothed down, and the Gospels were composed chiefly 
with a conciliatory design. In short, we are led from all 
evidence, external as well as internal, to accept the Synoptic 
Gospels as credible records of the deeds and words of Christ.^ 
There are certainly great, perhaps insoluble, difficulties con- 
nected with their origm ; but these, as we shall afterwards 
see, are not sufficient to shake our confidence in the credi- 
bility of the history. 

IV. Relation of the Synoptic Gospels to each other. 

Until recent times it has been generally supposed that 
the three Synoptic Gospels were wholly independent narra- 
tives ; that the evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, 
infallibly guided by the Spirit of God, each made a selection 
of the incidents of our Lord's life and of His discourses, 
without having seen the writings of the other two, or without 
having recourse to any common oral tradition or written 
document. Such an opinion, however, has not been con- 
firmed by an examination of their contents. A perusal of 
the harmony of these Gospels, whether drawn up in English 
or in Greek, and especially an attentive consideration of the 
coincidences between them, both in the events recorded and 
in the language employed, must convince every unprejudiced 
reader that common materials must have been used in their 
construction, that absolute independence is by the facts of 
the case excluded, and that to a large extent there was a 

' " Wc ought," observes Holtzniann, " at least with regard to the 
Synoptic Gosjiels, to maintain definitely that they contain as their kernel 
nothing else than the genuine, and in the chief features clearly recognis- 
able Y)ortrait of Jesus of Nazareth." Holtzniaun's Kovimentar : die 
Synryptikcr, ]). 14. "I look," says Goethe, "upon the four Gospels as 
thoroughly genuine ; for there is in them a reflection of a greatness 
which emanated from the ])ers()n of Jesus, and which w;vs of as divine a 
kind as ever was seen upon earth." ConverMitions of Goeihc m'th Eckermann, 
p. 567. Bohn edition. 


source or sources common to all three. But, along with 
these coincidences, there are points of difference, especially in 
the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, which prove that the 
writers of these two Gospels must on these points have drawn 
their information from different sources. The Synoptic 
problem — which is the great question at present in the 
criticism of the New Testament — has to take account of 
these coincidences and differences, and to explain them by 
reference to the source or sources of the Gospels themselves. 
It is proved that there is a dependence between them, and 
the question is, What is the original basis of this dependence ? 
But before we attempt to answer this question, and to con- 
sider the different theories that have been advanced, or to 
suggest any probable solution, it is essential that we should 
understand the conditions of the problem. 

1. Points of agreement. — The Synoptic Gospels agree as 
to the locality of our Lord's ministry. They narrate chiefly 
the ministry in Galilee, omitting the ministry in Judaea, 
until the period of our Lord's passion ; they are all Galilean 
Gospels ; the references to the earlier Judsan ministry are 
only indirect and inferential. They agree as to the duration 
of the ministry. There is only mention of one Passover, that 
at which our Lord suffered ; and, were it not for the informa- 
tion afforded in John's Gospel, we might be led to infer that 
our Lord's ministry did not extend beyond one year. They 
agree as to the order of the ministry. Although there is a 
considerable variation in the chronological order of particular 
mcidents, yet the general order, in its main features, is the 
same. In their accounts of Christ's public ministry they all 
commence with the preaching of the Baptist and the baptism 
and temptation of Christ, relate the ministry of Galilee in a 
somewhat similar order, mention the great crises that occurred 
in the middle of that ministry, — the confession of the Messiah- 
ship of Jesus by the disciples, and the Transfiguration, — and 
close their narratives by an account of our Lord's death and 
resurrection. They agree, to a large extent, in the incidents 
recorded. Although the works and discourses of Jesus must 
have been far more numerous than those related, as the 
Gospel of John proves, yet more than a half of the incidents 


mentioned in the Synoptics are the same in all three. " If," 
observes Holtzmann, " Jesus doubtless delivered unrecorded 
sayings, how is it that the narrators have limited themselves 
to the same selection ? If Jesus healed so many sick, why 
do all three record almost only the same examples ? If He 
pronounces a woe on Chorazin and Bethsaida, as Matthew 
and Luke record, how is it that neither of these evangelists 
mention the conduct which merited such a denunciation ? " ^ 

But there is not merely a similarity in the selection of 
incidents and discourses, but what is even more remarkable, 
there is a similarity in the language in which these incidents 
and discourses are expressed. In the examination of this 
point we are greatly assisted by Eushbrooke's Synopticon, a 
work of immense labour and utility.^ 

1. The threefold narrative. — As already observed, there is 
a remarkable sameness in the incidents recorded by all the 
three Synoptists. The following sections are common to all 
three : — 

Ministry of the Baptist, Matt. iii. 1-12 ; Mark i. 2-8 ; 
Luke iii. 1—18. 

Baptism of Christ, Matt. iii. 13-17; Mark i. 9-11; 
Luke iii. 21, 22. 

Temptation of Christ, Matt. iv. 1-11 ; Mark i. 12, 13 ; 
Luke iv. 1—13. 

Call of the four apostles. Matt. iv. 18-22; Mark i. 
16-19; Luke v. 1, 2, 9-11. 

1 Holtzmanu's Einleitwng, p. 331. See also Salmon's Introduction to 
the N.T. p. 139: "The Synoptic Gospels," he observes, "agree in the 
main in their selection of facts — all travelling over nearly the same 
ground, though independent narrators would be sure to have differed a 
good deal in their choice of subjects for narration out of a public life of 
three years. In point of fact, we find exactly such a dilference between 
the life of our Lord as related by St. John and by the Synoptics." 

2 Synopticon, an exposition of the common matter of the Synoptic 
Gospels, by W. G. Rushbrooke, Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge. 
London : Macmillan & Co., 1887. Rushbrooke first gives us what he calls 
" the triple tradition of the Synoptics," in imrallel columns, tjiking the 
Gospel of Mark as the type, marking in red colour the words in which 
all three agree ; and then in an appendix the twofold edition of Matthew 
and Luke, with distinctive types marking their Jigreements and differ- 
ences, and lastly, the single tradition of Matthew and Luke. 


Cure of Peter's mother-in-law, Matt. viii. 14-17; Mark 
i. 29-34; Luke iv. 38-43. 

Cleansing of the leper, Matt. viii. 1-4 ; Mark i. 40-45 ; 
Luke V. 12-16. 

Cure of the paralytic man, Matt. ix. 1—8 ; Mark ii. 1—12 ; 
Luke V. 17-26. 

Call of Matthew, Matt. ix. 9-17; Mark ii. 13-22; 
Luke V. 27-39. 

Our Lord's discourse on the Sabbath, Matt. xii. 1—8 ; 
Mark ii. 23-28 ; Luke vi. 1-5. 

Cure of the man with the withered hand, Matt. xii. 9—1 5 ; 
Mark iii. 1-6 ; Luke vi. 6-11. 

Confutation of the statement that Christ cast out devils 
through Beelzebub, Matt. xii. 22-45; Mark iii. 20-30; 
Luke xi. 14-23. 

Parable of the Sower, Matt. xiii. 1-23 ; Mark iv. 1-20 ; 
Luke viii. 4-15. 

Stilling of the tempest, Matt. viii. 18-27; Mark iv. 
35-41 ; Luke viii. 22-25. 

Cure of the Gadarene demoniac, Matt. viii. 28-34; 
Mark v. 1-20 ; Luke viii. 26-39. 

Eaising of the daughter of Jairus, Matt. ix. 18—26 ; 
Mark v. 21-43 ; Luke viii. 40-56. 

Mission of the twelve. Matt. x. 1-15 ; Mark vi. 7-13 ; 
Luke ix. 1-6. 

Feeding of the five thousand. Matt. xiv. 13—21 ; Mark 
vi. 31-44; Luke ix. 10-17. 

Confession of the apostles that Jesus is the Messiah, 
Matt. xvi. 13-28 ; Mark viii. 27-33 ; Luke ix. 18-27. 

The transfiguration, Matt. xvii. 1—10; Mark ix. 2—9; 
Luke ix. 28-36. 

Cure of the demoniac boy, Matt. xvii. 14—21 ; Mark 
ix. 14-29 ; Luke ix. 37-43. 

Dispute among the disciples concerning precedence. Matt, 
xviii. 1-5 ; Mark ix. 33-37 ; Luke ix. 46-48. 

Blessing pronounced on children. Matt. xix. 13—15 ; 
Mark x. 13-16 ; Luke xviii. 15-17. 

Our Lord's address to the rich ruler. Matt. xix. 16—30; 
Mark x. 17-31 ; Luke xviii. 18-30. 


Cure of the blind man at Jericho, Matt. xx. 29-34 ; 
Mark x. 46-52 ; Luke xviii. 35-4:3. 

Entrance into Jerusalem, Matt. xxi. 1-11 ; Mark xi. 
1-11 ; Luke xix. 29-44. 

Expulsion of the buyers and sellers from the temple, 
Matt. xxi. 12-14; Mark xi. 15-17 ; Luke xix. 45, 46. 

Parable of the Vineyard, Matt. xxi. 33-46 ; Mark xii. 
1-12; Luke xx. 9-19. 

Refutation of the Sadducees, Matt. xxii. 15—33 ; Mark 
xii. 18-34; Luke xx. 20-40. 

Our Lord's appeal to Ps. ex., Matt. xxii. 41-46; Mark 
xii. 35-37 ; Luke xx. 41-45. 

Prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, Matt. xxiv. 
1-36 ; Mark xiii. 1-36 ; Luke xxi. 5-36. 

Institution of the supper, Matt. xxvi. 17-29 ; Mark xiv. 
17-26; Luke xxii. 14-23. 

The agony in Gethsemane, Matt. xxvi. 30-46 ; Mark 
xiv. 26-42 ; Luke xxii. 39-46. 

Arrest of Christ, Matt. xxvi. 47-58 ; Mark xiv. 43-54; 
Luke xxii. 47-58. 

Denial of Peter, Matt. xxvi. 69-73 ; Mark xiv. 66-72 ; 
Luke xxii. 54-62. 

Narrative of the Passion, Matt, xxvii.; Mark xv.; Luke xxiii. 

Narrative of the Resurrection, Matt, x xviii. ; Mark xvi. ; 
Luke xxiv. 

In the narration of these incidents there is frequently a 
close identity of language. We give two examples in the 
words of the Revised Version, in which the nature of the 
resemblance may be as clearly seen as in the Greek. The 
first example is the words spoken by Jesus to tlie Pharisees 
when He cured the paralytic man. 

Matt. ix. 4-8. Mark ii. 8-11. Luke v. 22-26. 

Wherefore think ye Why reason ye tliesc Wliat reason ye in 

evil in your hearts ? For things in your hearts? your hearts? Whether 

wliether is easier, to say, Whether is easier, to say is easier, to say. Thy 

Tliy sins are forgiven ; to the sick of the palsy, sins are forgiven thee ; 

or to say, Arise, and Thy sins are forgiven ; or to say, Arise, and 

walk ? But that ye may or to say, Arise, and walk ? But that ye may 

know that the Son of take up thy bed, and know that the Son of 

Man liatli power on caith walk ? But that yc may Man hath jiower on earth 



to forgive sins (then 
saitli He to the sick of 
the palsy), Arise, and 
take up thy bed, and go 
unto tliy house. 

know that the Son of 
Man hath power on earth 
to forgive sins (He saith 
to the sick of the palsy), 
I say unto thee. Arise, 
take up thy bed, and go 
unto thy house. 

to forgive sins (He said 
unto him that was 
palsied), I say unto thee, 
Arise, and take up thy 
couch, and go unto thy 

The other example is taken from our Lord's prophecy 
concerning the destruction of Jerusalem. 

Matt. xxiv. 32-35. 

Now from the fig tree 
learn her parable : when 
her branch is now become 
tender, and putteth forth 
its leaves, ye know that 
summer is nigh ; even 
so ye also, when ye see 
all these things, know 
ye that He is nigh, even 
at the doors. Verily I 
say unto you, This 
generation shall not pass 
away, till all these 
things be accomplished. 
Heaven and earth shall 
pass away : but my 
words shall not pass 

Mark xiii. 28-31. 

Now from the fig tree 
learn her parable : when 
her branch is now be- 
come tender, and putteth 
forth its leaves, ye know 
that summer is nigh ; 
even so ye also, when ye 
see these things coming 
to pass, know ye that 
He is nigh, even at the 
doors. Verily I say 
unto you. This genera- 
tion shall not pass away, 
until all these things be 
accomplished. Heaven 
and earth shall pass 
away : but my words 
shall not pass away. 

Litre xxi. 29-33. 

Behold the fig tree, 
and all the trees : when 
they now shoot forth, ye 
see it and know of your 
own selves that the sum- 
mer is now nigh. Even 
so ye also, when ye see 
these things coming to 
pass, know ye that the 
kingdom of God is nigh. 
Verily I say unto you. 
This generation shall 
not pass away, till all 
things be accomplished. 
Heaven and earth shall 
pass away : but my 
words shall not pass 

But these passages are only examples of a similarity of 
language, approaching to identity, which pervades the accounts 
of the three evangelists. Numerous other examples might be 
given: as the call of Matthew (Matt. Lx. 9-17; Mark ii. 
13-22; Luke v. 27-39), the parable of the Sower (Matt, 
xiii. 1-34; Mark iv. 1-34; Luke viii. 4-18), the stilling 
of the storm and the cure of the Gadarene demoniac (Matt. 
viii. 18-34; Mark iv. 35-41, v. 1-20; Luke viii. 22-39), 
the feeding of the four thousand (Matt. xiv. 13-21 ; Mark 
vi. 30-44 ; Luke ix. 10-17), the transfiguration and the cure 
of the demoniac boy (Matt. xvii. 1-21 ; Markix. 2-8, 14-29 ; 
Luke ix. 28-43), and the entrance into Jerusalem (Matt. xxi. 
1-11 ; Mark xi. 1-10 ; Luke xLx. 29-44). 

Such similarities, not merely of incident but of expression, 
with only slight variations, would in other writings demon- 


strate an inherent dependence.^ If we heard three discourses 
which although in some respects dissimilar, yet were inter- 
woven with passages almost identical, we would rightly infer 
that in these passages the preachers copied from each other, or 
that they plagiarised from the same discourse. If, in the 
writings of the Fathers, we found passages almost identical 
with those contained in the Epistles of St. Paul, we should be 
justified in inferring that there was a distinct reference to the 
writings of that apostle. Three eye-witnesses in recording the 
same facts, if their reports were independent of each other, 
would not express themselves in the same words. And the 
case is still stronger if the general opinion be correct, that our 
Lord spoke, not in Greek, but in Aramaic,^ and that con- 
sequently the words of His discourses given us by the 
evangelists are translations ; and it is highly improbable that 
in translating they would use precisely the same words. We 
are then constrained to adopt one or other of three supposi- 
tions : either that the evangelists copied from each other ; or 
that they all had recourse to some common document ; or that 
there was an oral or traditional Gospel — a collection of the 
sayings of Christ and of the incidents in His life which had 
in many points become stereotyped. These suppositions are 
reserved for after consideration. 

The twofoldnarrative. — But there is not onlya threefold nar- 
rative, — an agreement of all three evangelists in the incidents 
recorded, and often almost an identity of language, — but there 
is a twofold narrative, where two of the evangelists agree — 
Matthew and Mark, Mark and Luke, and Matthew and Luke. 

The principal incidents and discourses common to Matthew 
and Mark and not found in Luke are : — 

The mode of the Baptist's martyrdom, Matt. xiv. 1-12; 
Mark vi. 14-29. 

Our Lord's walking on the water, Matt. xiv. 22—33 ; 
Mark vi. 45-51. 

^ " Tlie verl);il and material agreement," observes Archbishop Thomson, 
of the first tliree evangelists " is such as does not occur in any other authors 
who have written independently of one another." 

^ The ordinary language of our Lord and His apostles will afterwards 
form the .subject of discussion. 


The discourse on the traditions of the elders, Matt. xv. 
1-20; Mark vii. 1-23. 

The cure of the daughter of the Syro-Phoenician woman, 
Matt. XV. 21-28 ; Mark vii. 24-30. 

Feeding of the four thousand, Matt. xv. 32-38; Mark 
viii. 1-9. 

Discussion on the Mosaic law concerning divorce, Matt. 
xLx. 3-10; Mark x. 2-11. 

Petition of the sons of Zebedee and their mother. Matt. 
XX. 20-28; Mark x. 35-45. 

The withering of the fig tree. Matt. xxi. 18-22 ; Mark xi. 
13, 14, 20. 

The anointing of our Lord before His passion,^ Matt. 
xxvi. 6-13 ; Mark xiv. 3-9. 

The utterance of Jesus on the cross. My God, my God, 
why hast Thou forsaken me? Matt, xxvii. 46-49 ; Mark xv. 
34, 35. 

Here also there is often a close identity of language. 
We take as an example the anointing of our Lord before His 
passion, an incident which is also recorded, but in very 
different language, by St. John. 

Matt. xxvi. 6-13. Mark xiv. 3-19. 

Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in And while He was in Bethany, in 

the house of Simon the leper, there the house of Simon the leper, as He 

came unto Him a woman having an sat at meat, there came a woman 

alabaster cruse of exceeding precious having an alabaster cruse of ointment 

ointment, and she poured it upon His of spikenard very costly ; and she 

head, as He sat at meat. But when brake the cruse, and poured it over 

the disciples saw it, they had indigna- His head. But there were some that 

tion, saying, To what purpose is this had indignation among themselves, 

waste ? For this ointment might have saying, To what purpose hath this 

been sold for much, and given to the waste of the ointment been made ? 

poor. But Jesus perceiving it, said For this ointment might have been 

unto them. Why trouble ye the woman ? sold for above three hundred pence, and 

for she hath wrought a good work given to the poor. And they murmured 

upon me. For ye have the poor always against her. But Jesus said, Let her 

with you ; but me ye have not always, alone ; why trouble ye her ? she hath 

For in that she poured this oint- wrought a good work on me. For 

ment upon my body, she did it to ye have the poor always with you, and 

prepare me for burial. Verily I say whensoever ye will ye can do them 

^ We consider this anointing different from that by the sinful woman 
mentioned in Luke's Gospel. 


unto you, Wheresoever this gospel good : liut me ye have not always. She 
shall be preached in the whole world, hath done what she could ; she hath 
that also which this woman hath done anointed my body aforehand for the 
shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. burying. And verily I say unto you, 

Wheresoever the gospel shall be 
preached throughout the whole world, 
that also which this woman hath done 
shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. 

This example is perhaps not so convincing an argument in 
favour of a conimou source, as it is just possible that two 
witnesses might have expressed themselves in terms somewhat 
similar ; but compare with it the narrative in St. John's 
Gospel, where the difference is much more marked. 

The incidents common to Mark and Luke, but omitted by 
Matthew, are not numerous. They are as follows — 

The casting out of an unclean spirit, Mark i. 23—28 ; 
Luke iv. 33-37. 

Declaration of our Lord that He must preach the gospel 
in other places, Mark i. 35—38 ; Luke iv. 42, 43. 

The apostles forbidding a man to cast out devils in 
Christ's name, Mark Lx. 38-40 ; Luke Lx. 49, 50. 

The incident of the widow's mite, Mark xii. 41-44; 
Luke xxi. 1-4. 

We take this last as an example of identity of language — 

Makk xii. 43, 44. Luke xxi. 3, 4. 

Verily I say unto you, This poor Of a truth I say unto you. This 

widow cast in more than all they poor widow cast in more than they 

which arc casting into the treasury : all : for all these did of their super- 

for they all did cast in of their super- fluity cast in unto the gifts : but she 

fluity ; but she of her want did cast in of her want did cast in all the living 

all that she had, even all her living. that she had. 

The coincidences in the twofold narrative of Matthew 
and Luke are still more remarkable. These two evangelists 
agree in recording the following particulars : — 

Address of tlie Baptist to the scribes and Pharisees, 
Matt. iii. 8-10; Luke iii. 8, 9. 

Threefold temptation of our Lord, ]\fatt. iv. 1-11 ; Luke 
iv. 1-13. 

Cure of the centurion's servant, Matt. viii. 5-13; Luke 
vii. 1-10. 


Our Lord's address to those who professed a desire to 
follow Hmi, Matt. viii. 19-22 ; Luke ix. 57-60. 

His exhortations to His disciples, Matt. x. 5-16, 24-26 ; 
Luke X. 1-12, xii. 2-9, 51-53. 

Mission of the disciples of the Baptist to Christ, Matt, 
xi. 2-19; Luke vii. 18-35. 

The woe pronounced on the cities of Galilee, Matt. 
xi. 20-24; Luke x. 12-15. 

The gospel hid from the wise and prudent, Matt. 
xi. 25-27; Luke x. 21, 22. 

Our Lord's answer to the Pharisees when they asked of 
Him a sign from heaven, Matt. xii. 38-45 ; Luke xi. 29-32. 

The parable of the Leaven, Matt. xiii. 33; Luke xiii. 20, 

The parable of the Lost Sheep, Matt, xviii. 12-14 ; Luke 
XV. 3-7. 

The parable of the Marriage Feast, Matt. xxii. 1-10; 
Luke xiv. 15-24. 

The woe pronounced on the Pharisees, Matt, xxiii. 1 3—3 6 ; 
Luke xi. 37-80. 

The woe pronounced on Jerusalem, Matt, xxiii. 37—39 ; 
Luke xiii. 34, 35. 

The faithful and unfaithful stewards, Matt. xxiv. 45—51 ; 
Luke xii. 42-48. 

The parable of the Talents and of the Pounds, Matt. 
XXV. 14-30 ; Luke xi. 11-28.^ 

The instances of identity of language in these two Gospels 
are very numerous and striking ; sometimes the identity is 
absolute, as in the two following examples : — 

Matt. vi. 24. Luke xvi. 13. 

No man can serve two masters : for No servant can serve two masters : 

either he will hate the one, and love for either he will hate the one, and 

the other ; or else he will hold to love the other ; or else he will hold to 

one, and desjiise the other. Ye cannot one, and despise the other. Ye cannot 

serve God and mammon. serve God and mammon. 

Matt. xi. 25-27. Luke x. 21, 22. 

I thank thee, Father, Lord of I thank thee, Father, Lord of 
heaven and earth, tliat Thou didst heaven and earth, that Thou didst 

^ These parables, notwithstanding tlieir resemblances, are generally- 
considered as different. See Trench on the Parables. 


hide these things from the wise and liide these things from the wise and 

understanding, and didst reveal them understanding, and didst reveal them 

unto babes : yea. Father, for so it was unto babes : yea, Father, for so it was 

well-pleasing in Thy sight. All things well-pleasing in Thy sight. All things 

have been delivered unto me of my have been delivered unto me of my 

Father : and no one knoweth the Son, Father : and no one knoweth who the 

save tlie Father ; neither doth any Son is, save the Father ; and who the 

know the Father, save the Son, and he Father is, save the Son, and he to 

to whomsoever the Son willeth to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal 

reveal him. him. 

Numerous other passages might be given where the 
identity of language is also striking ; for example, compare 
Matt. iii. 7-10, 12 with Luke iii. 7-9, 13; Matt. vii. 7-11 
with Luke xi. 9-13 ; Matt. vi. 25-33 with Luke xii. 22-31 ; 
Matt. xiii. 33 with Luke xiii. 20, 21; Matt. xxiv. 43-51 
with Luke xii. 39-46. Now this greatly complicates the 
problem. If the fact were that only the three Gospels 
agreed, or if only Matthew and Mark, and Mark and Luke 
agreed, we might refer them to a common source or an 
original Gospel, either the Gospel of Mark or one closely 
resembling it. But when Matthew and Luke also agree in 
incidents and discourses not found in Mark's Gospel, and 
where there is an identity of language in their statements, 
we are constrained to conclude, either that Matthew copied 
from Luke, or conversely, — an hypothesis which we shall 
afterwards see cannot be maintained, — or that there was a 
common source, whether oral or written, which contains the 
sayings found in both. 

3. The single narrative. — But besides the coincidences 
common to these Gospels, each Gospel has its own peculiar 
incidents and discourses ; there is a single as well as a 
twofold and threefold narrative. 

The following incidents and discourses are peculiar to the 
Gospel of Matthew : the genealogy of Jesus from David 
(i. 1-17); the annunciation to Joseph (i. 18-25); the adora- 
tion of the Magi, the massacre of the infants in Bethlehem, 
and the flight nito Egypt (ii. 1-23); the Sermon on the Mount, 
given as a whole (v., vi., vii.) ; the cure of two blind men 
(ix. 27-34); the invitation to the weary and heavy laden 
(xi. 28-30); the parables of the Tares, the Hidden Treasure, 
the Merchant seeking goodly Pearls, and the Drag Net 


(xiii. 24-53); the attempt of Peter to walk on the sea 
(xiv. 28-33) ; the blessing pronounced on Peter (xvi. 17-19) ; 
the parables of the Unforgiving Servant (xviii. 21-35), the 
Householder hiring Labourers for his Vineyard (xx. 1-16), 
the Ten Virgins (xxv. 1-13), and the Sheep and the Goats 
(xxv. 31-46); the resurrection of the saints after Christ's 
death (xxvii. 52, 53); the bribery of the soldiers to say that 
the disciples stole the body (xxviii. 11—15); the appearance 
of Christ on a mountain in Galilee, and the institution of 
Christian baptism (xxviii. 16—20). 

The Gospel of Mark has little that is peculiar. Nearly 
the whole of it is contained in the Gospels of Matthew and 
Luke ; about two -thirds of it are common to these Gospels, 
whilst the other third is contained partly in the Gospel of 
Matthew and partly in the Gospel of Luke, — a mere frag- 
ment, in all about seventeen verses, is peculiar to Mark. 
These peculiarities are the parable of the inperceptible Growth 
of the Seed (iv. 26—29), the cure of a deaf man who had an 
impediment in his speech (vii. 32-37), the cure of a blind man 
at Bethsaida (viii. 22—26), and the account of the man who 
followed Christ from Gethsemane, having a linen cloth cast 
about him (xiv 51, 52). It may be thought that Mark's 
Gospel is a compilation, and that the incidents are borrowed 
from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. But we are pre- 
vented from adopting this solution ; a careful examination 
of Mark's Gospel proves that he is more graphic in his 
descriptions than the other two evangelists ; that his account 
is more like that of an eye-witness than of a compiler, and 
that the incidents recorded are more expanded than those 
found in the other Gospels. Mark's Gospel is shorter, 
because it relates chiefly the incidents of the life of Christ, 
and gives only a few of His discourses. 

The Gospel of Luke contains the following incidents and 
discourses peculiar to it: — The vision of Zacharias (i. 5-25); 
the annunciation (i. 26—38); the meeting between Elizabeth 
and Mary (i. 39-45) ; the song of Mary (i. 46-56) ; the birth 
of the Baptist and the prophecy of Zacharias (i. 57-80) ; the 
journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem (ii. 1-7); the 
angel's message to the shepherds (ii. 8-20); the song of 



Simeon (ii. 25-35); Anna the prophetess (ii. 36-40); Christ 
and the doctors (ii. 41-52); the genealogy of Jesus from 
Adam (iii. 23-38); the rejection of Jesus by the inhabitants 
of Nazareth (iv. 14—30); the miraculous draught of fishes 
(v. 1—11); various sayings of Jesus scattered througliout the 
Gospel, and which are contained in Matthew's Sermon on the 
Mount; the raising of the widow's son at Nain (vii. 11—17); 
the anointing of the woman who was a sinner, and the parable 
of the Two Debtors (vii. 36—50) ; the wish expressed by James 
and John to call down fire on the Samaritans (ix. 51—56); 
the parable of the Good Samaritan (x. 25—37); our Lord's 
reception by Mary and Martha (x. 38—42); the parable of 
the Eich Man who boasted of his Goods (xii. 13—21); the 
parable of the Barren Fig Tree (xiii. 6-9) ; the cure of the 
woman with the spirit of infirmity (xiii. 10—17) ; the cure of 
the dropsical man on the Sabbath (xiv. 1—6); the parables of the 
Marriage Feast (xiv. 7-24), the Lost Piece of Money (xv. 8-10), 
the Prodigal Son (xv. 11—32), the Unjust Steward (xvi. 1—13), 
and the Eich Man and Lazarus (xvi. 19—21); the ten lepers 
and the grateful Samaritan (xvii. 1 1—1 9) ; the parable of the 
Unjust Judge and the Importunate Widow (xviii. 1-8) ; the 
parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (xviii. 9—14); the 
visit to Zacch?eus (xix. 1—10); our Lord's examination before 
Herod (xxiii. 8—12); the address to the daughters of Jeru- 
salem (xxiii. 27-31); the disciples going to Enimaus (xxiv. 
13—35), and the ascension (xxiv. 50, 51). 

There is a considerable passage in the middle of the 
Gospel of Luke, including at least three chapters (xiv., xv., 
xvi.),^ which has only a very few resemblances to the other 
two Gospels. There are in it a few sayings and incidents 
which are common to all the Synoptics, and a few which are 
common to Matthew and Luke, but by far the larger portion 
is peculiar to Luke. It contains the important parables of 
the Marriage Feast, the Lost Piece of Money, the Lost Sheep,- 
the Prodigal Son, the Unjust Steward, and the Eich Man and 
Lazarus. It has received various name*, being called " the 

^ Most critics consider the great insertion as inchiding Luke ix. 51- 
xviii. 41. 

- The i)aral)le of the Lost Slieep is also conUiined in MattheVs GospeL 


Journal of Travel " (Reisehericht), " the great interpolation or 
insertion " (die grosse Einschaltimg), and " the Persean section." 
It would appear that Luke here made use of a source of in- 
formation which was not possessed by the other two evangelists. 
The amount of agreement between the three evangelists 
has been given in various forms by different writers. Thus, 
Archbishop Thomson says : " If the history be harmonised and 
then divided into 89 sections, it will be found that in 42 of 
these (nearly a half) all the narratives coincide, that 1 2 more 
are given by Matthew and Mark only, that 5 are common to 
Mark and Luke only, and that 14 are found in Matthew and 
Luke. To these should be added 5 peculiar to Matthew, 
2 to Mark, and 9 to Luke, and the number is complete." ^ 
Bishop Westcott observes : " If the total contents of the several 
Gospels be represented by 1 0, the folio wing table is obtained : — 



" Mark, . 

. 7 



. 42 



. 59 

41 "2 

Another peculiarity, proving the mutual dependence of 
the three Synoptists, is the coincidence between them in their 
quotations from the Old Testament. In general, the quota- 
tions are made from the Septuagint ; and in these cases the 
verbal agreement between them is easily accounted for, as 
these quotations are from the same version. But there are 
a few quotations from the Old Testament, in which the 
evangelists verbally agree, which are taken neither from the 
Hebrew nor from the Septuagint, and which accordingly seem 
to indicate that they were found in the document or docu- 
ments which were common to them. Thus, for example, the 
quotation from Isa. xl. 3 is thus given in the three Synoptics: 
(^(ovr) ^oa)VTO<; ev tt) iprjixw, 'EroL/jidaare rrjv oSov Kvpiov, 
ev6eia<i iroteire Ta<; rpi^ovi avTov (Matt. iii. 3 ; Mark i. 3 ; 

1 The Speaker's Bible : New Testament, voL 1., Introduction, p. viii. 
See also article on the Gospels in Smith's Didionartj of the Bible. 

2 Westcott's Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, p. 177. Eeuss gives 
a list of agreement according to the number of verses {History of the N.T. 
p. 177, translation), and Schaff according to the number of words. 
Bishop Westcott's table is taken from Stroud's Greek Harmony of the 
Gospels, Introduction, p. cxvii. 


Luke iii. 4) ; whereas in the Septuagint, instead of rpi^ov; 
avTov, we have the very important variation rpi^ovi rov 
Oeov rj/xMv} So, also, the quotation from Zech. xiii. 7, in 
which Matthew and Mark agree, except that Matthew adds 
rij<i TTOLfxvrj'i, is given as follows : Trard^o) top iroifj-iva, /cat 
BLaa-KopTnaOrjaerai ra irpo^aja : " I will smite the Shepherd, 
and the sheep shall be scattered abroad" (Matt. xxvi. 31; 
Mark xiv. 37); whereas the words in the Septuagint are: 
nrard^are 70v<i Troi/jbiva'i Kal eKairdaare ra irpo^ara : " Smite 
ye the shepherds, and draw out the sheep. '\^ 

It is also important to remark that the identity of 
language is found chiefly in the sayings of others, and 
especially in the sayings of Jesus, and not in the mere 
narrative or statement of facts.^ The words of our Lord 
are frequently found verbatim in the different Gospels, 
especially in the sayings of our Lord contained in the 
Sermon on the Mount in Matthew's Gospel, and the 
precisely similar sayings found in different parts of Luke's 
Gospel. " By far the larger portion of this verbal agree- 
ment," observes Norton, " is found in the recital of the words 
of others, and particularly of the words of Jesus. Thus, in 
Matthew's Gospel, the passages verbally coincident with one 
or both of the other two Gospels amount to less than a sixth 
part of its contents ; and of this, about seven-eighths occur in 
the recital of the words of others, and only about one-eighth 
in what, by way of distinction, I may call mere narrative, 
in which the evangelist, speaking in his own person, was 
unrestrained in the choice of his expressions. In Mark the 
proportion of coincident passages to the contents of the 
Gospel is about one-sixth, of which not one-fifth occurs in 
the narrative. Luke has still less agreement of expression 
with the other evangelists. The passages in which it is 
found amount only to about a tenth part of his Gospel ; and 

^ In tlie Hebrew : " Make straight in the desert a liighway for our 

2 There is liere, however, a difference of reading in tlie manuscripts of 
the Se])tuagint. In the Hebrew it is : " Smite tlie Shepherd, and the 
sheep shalf be scattered." 

3 See Bishop Thirlwall's introduction to his translation of Schleier- 
niacher's St, Luke, \). 3G. 


but an inconsiderable portion of it appears in the narrative, 
in which there are very few instances of its existence for more 
than half a dozen words together." ^ 

Another peculiarity in the Synoptic Gospels, on which 
stress has recently been laid, is the supposed existence of 
what have been called " doublets " ; that is, expressions or 
incidents which are repeated in the same Gospel. Attention 
has been drawn to this point by Mr. Badham in his ingenious 
work on the Formation of the Gospels. He gives a long list 
of doublets, extending over twenty pages, found in the three 
Synoptic Gospels.^ Most of these doublets, however, when 
examined, depend only on slight resemblances, or the repeti- 
tion of a few words, and many of them are strained ; and 
when the number is reduced by the omission of these, only 
a small residue remains. The following are a few of the most 
obvious and striking : In the Gospel of Matthew it is twice 
stated, in almost the same words, that Jesus went through 
the cities and villages of Galilee, preaching the gospel of the 
kingdom, and healing all manner of disease and all manner 
of sickness (Matt. iv. 23, ix. 35).^ The cure of a dumb man 
possessed with a devil, with the remark of the Pharisees upon 
it, that He cast out devils by Beelzebub, is twice recorded 
(Matt. ix. 32-34, xii. 22-24). So also in the Gospel of 
Luke, the saying about lighting a candle and putting it under 
a couch (Luke viii. 16, xi. 33), and the warning, "Whosoever 
shall save his life shall lose it ; and whosoever shall lose his 
life for my sake, the same shall save it " (Luke ix. 24, xvii. 33), 
are twice repeated in language almost identical. It is twice 
stated that there was a contention among the disciples which 
of them should be the greatest (Luke ix. 46, xxii. 24). The 
inference which Mr. Badham draws from these phenomena is, 
that these doublets occurred in separate documents used by 

1 Norton on The Genuineness of the Gosfeh, vol. i. p. 240. 

2 Badham's Formation of the Gospels, pp. 12-23. This is a very 
ingenious, but somewhat unsatisfactory book. The recognition of 
doublets in the Gospel is interesting and suggestive, but we do not 
think very important. 

2 These words refer to two different circuits of Christ in Galilee ; the 
one at the commencement of His Galilean ministry, and the other towards 
its close. 


the evangelists. But other reasons may be assigned for 
them. There is no improbability in the supposition that our 
Lord might repeat sayings of primary importance, especially 
if they were of the nature of proverbial expressions, such as 
that of concealing the light, and that solemn warning about 
saving the soul ; the contention among the disciples for pre- 
eminence might have occurred on two different occasions ; 
and the two incidents recorded in Matthew's Gospel of the 
cure of the dumb man possessed with a devil differ in some 
respects, and both might have occurred.^ Thus there are 
two miracles of feeding the multitude which differ in several 
particulars, and only one of them is recorded by Luke. 

II. Points of difference. — In considering the Synoptic 
problem we must attend, not merely to the points on which 
the evangelists agree, but also to the points on which they 
differ ; the one class of phenomena is of as much importance 
as the other. We have already seen that whilst there is 
upon the whole an agreement between the Gospel of Mark and 
the other two, the Gospels of Matthew and Luke differ 
materially in their contents. Each has incidents and dis- 
courses which the other wants. Even in those passages where 
there is a general agreement, there are often important verbal 
differences. Thus in the encouragement to prayer given 
by our Lord, Matthew has : " How much more shall your 
Father which is in heaven give good things (dya6a) to them 
that ask Him?" (Matt. vii. 11); whilst Luke instead of 
" good things " has " the Holy Spirit " {irvevjjba a<yLov) (Luke 
xi. 13). In repelling the assertions of the Pharisees that He 
cast out devils through Beelzebub, Jesus is reported by 
Matthew as saying : " If I by the Spirit of God (eV irvevfj-aTL 
6eov) cast out devils" (Matt. xii. 28); whilst Luke has "by 
the finger of God " {iv BaKTvXq) Oeov) (Luke xi. 20). Speak- 
ing of the power of faith, our Lord, according to Matthew, 
says : " If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall 
say to this mountain (tw opeu tovtw), Rismove hence to 
yonder place" (Matt. xvii. 20); " whilst Luke has : " Whoso- 

^ In Matt ix. 32-34 the man is represented as duinb, and possessed 
with a devil ; whereas in Matt. xii. 22-24 he is rei)resented as both blind 
.and dumb. 


ever shall say to this sycamme tree " (rfj avKafiLVM ravTy) 
(Luke xvii. 6). These differences cannot be accounted for on 
the ground that they are different translations from the 

There are also striking differences in many of the events 
of our Lord's life which are recorded by Matthew and Luke. 
Thus in the accounts given of the birth of Christ — an event 
omitted in Mark's Gospel — there are important variations. 
There is no discrepancy between their accounts ; both assert 
that Christ was born in Bethlehem, but they evidently drew 
their information from different sources. In Matthew the 
annunciation is made to Joseph ; in Luke it is made to Mary. 
Matthew mentions the visit of the wise men ; Luke, the visit 
of the shepherds. Matthew relates the massacre of the 
infants in Bethlehem and the flight to Egypt, neither of 
which particulars is recorded by Luke ; whilst Luke mentions 
the circumcision and the presentation in the temple, both of 
which are omitted by Matthew. There is also a remarkable 
difference between Matthew and Luke with regard to the 
so-called Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew's Grospel it is 
given as one connected discourse ; whereas the sayings con- 
tained in that discourse are scattered throughout Luke's 
Gospel, and are to be found in at least ten different places ; 
almost the whole sermon given in Matthew's Gospel is thus 
contained in the Gospel of Luke. Comparing it as found in a 
connected form in Matthew's Gospel with the scattered 
portions of it in Luke's Gospel, we have the following table of 
coincidences : — 


. V. 3-12. 


vi. 20-25. 


vi. 24. 


xvi. 13. 

V. 13. 

xiv. 34, 35. 

vi. 25-34. 

xii. 22-31. 

V. 15. 

xi. 33. 

vii. 1-5. 

vi. 37-42. 

V. 18. 

xvi. 17. 

vii. 7-11. 

xi. 9-13. 

V. 25, 26. 

xii. 57-59. 

vii. 12. 

vi. 31. 

V. 31, 32 

xvi. 18. 

vii. 13, 14. 

xiii. 23, 24 

V. 38-48. 

vi. 27-30, 32-36. 

vii. 15-20. 

vi. 43-45. 

vi. 9-15. 

xi. 1-4. 

vii. 23. 

xiii. 27. 

vi. 19-21. 

xii. 33, 34. 

vii. 24-27. 


vi. 47-49.- 

vi. 22, 23. 

xi. 34-36. 

1 See on these verbal variations, Bruce's Kingdom of God, p. 17. 

2 See Ruslibrooke's StjnoiMcon, pp. 138-147 ; Holtzmann's Einleitung, 
pp. 356, 357. 


But not only are the sentiments the same, but there is 
often a remarkable identity in the language in which these 
sentiments are expressed. Compare Matt. v. 25, 26 with 
Luke xii. 57-59 ; Matt. vi. 9-13 with Luke xi. 1-4 ; Matt, 
vi. 21 with Luke xii. 34; Matt. vi. 24 with Luke xvi. 13; 
Matt. vi. 25-34 with Luke xii. 22-31 ; Matt. vii. 3-5 with 
Luke vi. 41, 42 ; Matt. vii. 7-11 with Luke xi. 9-13.' On 
the other hand, there are remai^kable differences, as, for 
example, in the Beatitudes ; - in Matthew they are extended, 
whilst in Luke they are abbreviated, and a series of 
corresponding denunciations is attached to them. Different 
inferences have been drawn from these points of agreement 
and difference.^ Some suppose, but contrary to all probability, 
that our Lord delivered two similar discourses, the one on the 
mount, recorded by Matthew, and the other on the plain, 
recorded by Luke.* Tholuck gives the preference to the form 
contained in Matthew's Gospel, arguing from the continuity of 
its thoughts, and thinks that the narrative of Luke has less 
claim to originality.^ Others, as Olshausen and Godet, 
suppose that Matthew collected the sayings of our Lord into 
one discourse ; whereas Luke gives them at the time when 
they were spoken,^ or, according to others, inserts them as he 

^ See Paul Ewald's Evangelienfruge, p. 216. 

2 In Matthew there are eight l^eatitudes ; in Luke there are four. 

^ In Matthew's Gospel it is said that our Lord went up to a moimtain 
and there addressed the multitude ; and from the manner in wliich the 
discourse is introduced, we are led to suppose that it was then delivered. 
Probably a large portion of it was delivered on that occasion ; and 
additions were afterwards added by the evangelist. 

•• There can be no reasonable doubt that the discourse related in Luke 
vi. 20-49 is the same as that related by Matthew. 

^ Tholuck's Sermon on the Mount, translation : " The narrative of 
Luke," he observes, "has less claim to be considered a faithful accoiint 
than that of Matthew " (p. 17). " Our conclusion is that the arrangement 
of the sayings of our Lord given by Matthew in his account of the Sermon 
on the Mount is in the main correct " (p. 27). 

''' Olshausen, On the Gospels, vol. i. p. 182 : "Tlic unity ol' tlic Smnuu 
on the Mt)uut," he observes, "has not descended to us from the Saviour 
Himself, ])ut from Matthew." "It does not appear to me," observes 
Godet, "that in the majority of these crises (those given by Luke) a 
thorough student of the subject could refuse to give the i)reference to the 
position indicated by the third Gospel." Godet's Biblical Studies, pp. 15, 16. 


found them in the written documents which he employed, or 
in the oral sources from which he drew his materials.^ 

Several remarkable points of variation occur in the 
accounts of the passion given by Matthew and Luke. 
Matthew relates the suicide of Judas, the dream of Pilate's 
wife, and informs us that at the death of Christ the vail of the 
temple was rent in twain, the earth did quake, the graves 
were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose. 
Luke relates the examination of our Lord before Herod, the 
conversion of the penitent thief on the cross, and gives us that 
divine prayer for forgiveness : " Father, forgive them : for they 
know not what they do.'"^ 

Matthew and Luke also vary in their accounts of the 
resurrection of our Lord. Matthew relates the rolling away 
of the stone by an angel, the address of the angel to the 
women, the appearance of Jesus to them, the terror of 
the guard, the bribery of the soldiers to induce them to 
diffuse a false account of the resurrection, the appearance 
of Christ to the disciples in Galilee, and the great commission 
to make disciples of all nations. Luke relates the address of 
the angels to the women at the sepulchre, the appearance of 
Christ to the two disciples going to Emmaus and to the 
disciples in Jerusalem, and concludes with a reference to the 
ascension. In his Gospel the appearances of Christ after 
His resurrection are confined to Jerusalem and its neighbour- 
hood ; there is no mention of Galilee ; and were it not for the 
accounts contained in the other Gospels, it might be inferred 
that all the appearances occurred on one day. 

There is also a considerable difference in the chrono- 
logical order in which the events are recorded.^ There is a 
general agreement, but a difference in detail. Thus our 
Lord's lamentation over Jerusalem was, according to Luke's 
Gospel, pronounced during the course of His ministry in 

^ It must he acknowledged that tlie connection discernihle in the 
different parts of Matthew's account is in favour of the unity of the dis- 
course as given by him. We must leave this point undetermined. 

2 For the different Synoptic histories of the passion, see Westcott, 
Introductio7i to the Study of the Gospels, pp. 299-304. 

3 Credner's Einleitung, p. 169. 


Galilee (Luke xiii. 34); whilst Matthew's Gospel gives it in 
nearly identical words as uttered at Jerusalem before He 
suffered (Matt, xxiii. 37y The cure of the blind man at 
Jericho is stated by Luke as having occurred when our Lord 
entered Jericho (Luke xviii. 35), and by Matthew and Mark 
when He was leaving it (Matt. xx. 29 ; Mark x. 46).^ The 
cure of the leper is represented by Matthew as having taken 
place before He entered into Capernaum (Matt. viii. 1, 5), 
whilst by Mark and Luke it is represented as having been 
performed after He had left that city (Mark i. 39, 40 ; Luke 
iv. 44, v. 12). It is evident that the evangelists did not 
confine themselves to any precise chronological order ; their 
object was to give incidents in the life of Christ, but without 
any reference to the precise time of their occurrence.^ 

Such, then, are the conditions of the problem. There is an 
agreement not merely in the incidents recorded, as if*a selec- 
tion had been made of the numerous actions and discourses of 
Jesus, but frequently also in the very language employed; whilst, 
on the other hand, there are remarkable points of difference. 
The solution of the problem must meet all the facts of the case 
— the points of agreement as well as the points of difference ; 
the key must be suited to the lock — the discovery of that key 
is the great question of present New Testament criticism. 

V. Sources of the Synoptic Gospels. 

We now come to the most perplexing and difficult 
division of our subject — the sources of the Synoptic Gospels. 

^ There is no improbability in sujiposing that the denunciation was 
twice uttered by our Lord. 

2 This api)arent discreimncy in the Synoi)tic Gospels is afterwards 
fully discussed. 

3 See Westcott's Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, chapter vii. 
The differences in arrangement of the Synoptic evangelists. " Each," lie observes, " lias a characteristic arrangement, coincident up 
to a certain point with that of the others, and yet so far different that 
harmonists are commonly driven to violent exjjedients — assum]>tions of the 
repetition or confusion of similar events — to bring all into agreement. . . . 
It is from the iirst unlikely that writings which do not aim at completeness 
should observe with scrupulous exactness the order of time" ()>p. 32.3, 324). 


Indeed, it is the most difficult problem in the criticism of the 
New Testament. The recent literature upon it, both in 
Germany and in our country, in special works, monographs, 
and periodicals, is not only extensive,^ but confusing. Each 
author advances a theory of his own ; and one is perplexed 
with their number and variety, and with the plausibility of 
antagonistic theories. The task of weighing the different 
arguments is great ; and the problem is so complicated and 
involved that one almost despairs of a solution which would 
meet all the points of the case. Still some approach to a 
solution has been made. There are points which are now re- 
garded by most writers on the subject as settled: although there 
are others still under discussion, and perhaps a full explanation 
is not yet attainable. Four hypotheses have been advanced 1 
to account for the points of agreement in the Synoptic 
Gospels : the hypothesis of mutual dependence ; the hypo- 
thesis of oral tradition ; the hypothesis of an original docu- 
ment or documents ; and a variety of this last hypothesis, the 
so-called two document-hypothesis. Each of them is com- 
pHcated by different forms of presentation ; thus the theory 
of mutual dependence admits of no less than six variations, 
each of which has been supported ; the hypothesis of oral 
tradition is complicated by the different languages in which 
the tradition may have been transmitted, whether Greek or 
Aramaic ; the hypothesis of an original document or docu- 
ments admits of an almost endless number of variations ; and 
the two document-hypothesis is complicated by the different 
views of the nature and extent of these documents. These! 
hypotheses are not mutually exclusive ; the adoption of 
one does not necessarily assume the rejection of the other 
three. There may be an element of truth in each ; hideed, 
the true settlement of the question may be the result of a 

1 Of recent books may be mentioned Abbott and Euslibrooke's 
Common Tradition of the Synoptic Gospels, 1884 ; Carpenter, TJie First 
Three Gospels, 1890 ; Badliam, The Formation of the Gospels, 1892 ; Jolly, 
The Synoptic Problem for English Readers, 1893 ; Barnes, Canonical and 
Uncanonical Gospels, 1893 ; Wright, Composition of the Four Gospels, 1890. 
Besides the able articles by Dr. Sanday and Professor Marshall in the 
Expositor for 1891, and Dr. Sanday's article on the Gospels in the new 
edition of Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, 1893. 


combination of all four. The Gospels may be mutually 
dependent : much of their contents may have their origin in 
oral tradition : some common document or documents may 
have been used : and there may have been one fundamental 
original Gospel and a collection of the sayings of our Lord 
which may have been the primary sources of the Synoptics. 
The examination of the subject requires the greatest caution, 
and complete freedom from preconceived opinions. 


The most natural solution of the problem is to suppose 
that the evangelists copied from each other. The similarities 
between them may be accounted for on the supposition that 
one Gospel was a compilation from the other two, and that 
one of the two borrowed from the other ; for example, it 
may be supposed that Mark is an abbreviation of Matthew 
and Luke, and that Luke is indebted to Matthew. Thus 
Augustine, assuming the priority of Matthew, asserts that 
Mark was dependent on him. " Mark," he observes, " follows 
Matthew as if he were his attendant and abbreviator.^ In 
his narrative he has nothing in concert with John, he has 
very little peculiar to himself, he has still less in concert 
with Luke alone ; but in concert with Matthew he has a 
very large number of passages. He relates much in words 
almost identical with those used by Matthew, or by him in 
connection with the other Gospels." ^ This theory has in 
recent times been brought into prominence by Griesbach,^ 
and was formerly accepted as the true solution by many 
eminent critics. It was adopted and ably supported by 
Bleek.^ It has now, however, been generally abandoned, as 
insufficient by itself alone to account for all the difficulties 
of the problem. 

' Marcus t-uui (MiiUluciiiii) .siibsecutns, lanquiiiii pL-dissiMjuus et 
breviator ejus videtur. 

2 Augustine, Consensvs evangelistarum, i. 2. 

^ Hutorisch-Kritischer Versuch iiber die Entstchung der schriftlichen Evan- 
(jelien. Tlie hypothesis has received the name of Griesbach's theory. 

■• Bleek's Introduction to the N.T. vol. i. j). 2^>d 11". translation. 


The three Gospels admit of six possible arrangements, 
each of which has been supported by different critics. 1. 
There is the order in the canon, Matthew, Mark, Luke. 
Matthew wrote first, Mark made use of his Gospel, and 
Luke was indebted to both.^ This order was adopted, 
although on different grounds, by Bengel, Credner, Grotius, 
Hug, Hilgenfeld, and Hengstenberg. 2. Matthew, Luke, 
Mark. Mark's Gospel has been supposed to be a compilation 
drawn from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, whilst Luke 
is supposed to have drawn from Matthew. This was the 
theory advanced by Griesbach, and adopted by De Wette 2 
and Bleek. 3. Mark, Matthew, Luke. Mark has been 
regarded as the original Gospel, whilst Matthew is supposed 
to have made use of Mark, and Luke both of Mark and 
Matthew. The theory adopted by Eitschl, Eeuss,^ Meyer, 
Smith of Jordanhill ; and with various modifications 
by Ewald, Holtzmann, Weiss, and Weizsacker. 4. Mark, 
Luke, Matthew. Mark has been supposed to be the original 
Gospel, Luke copied from him, and Matthew from both 
Gospels. The theory adopted by Hitzig and Volkmar.^ 5. 
Luke, Matthew, Mark. Luke has been held to be the original 
Gospel followed by Matthew, whilst Mark is supposed to 
have copied from both. This arrangement has been adopted 
by Evanson ^ and Stroud.*^ 6. Luke, Mark, Matthew. Luke 
has been supposed to be the original Gospel followed by 
Mark, whilst Matthew copied from both. The theory adopted 
by Vogel and Schneckenburger. 

The directly opposite theory has been maintained by 
other critics : that the three Gospels are all independent of 
each other : that the Gospel of Mark, although most of its 
contents are contained in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, 
was never seen by these writers, but that the agreement is 

1 The order of the Gospels generally found in manuscripts and 
versions, and which would seem to presupjiose the order in which they 
were written, gives plausibility to this theory. 

2 De Wette's Einleitumj in das N.T. § 82. 

3 Eeuss, History of the N.T., translated by Houghton. 
* Volkmar's Markus. 

^ Evanson's Dissonance of the Fo%ir generally received Gospels. 
^ Stroud, Greek Harmony of the Gospels, Introduction, p. lix. 



to be accounted for from other causes, as the preaching of 
the apostles, forms of catechetical instruction, or oral tradi- 
tion. This opinion is supported, thougli for different reasons, 
by Alford, Ebrard,i Schaff, Abbott,- and Kow.^* Thus Alford 
observes : " There is no reason from their internal structures 
to believe, but every reason to disbelieve, that any one of 
the three evangelists had access to either of the other two 
Gospels in its present form." ^ And Schatt" remarks : " There 
is no dii'ect evidence that any of the three Synoptists saw 
and used the work of the others ; nor is the agreement of 
such a character that it may not be as easily and better 
explained from antecedent sources."^ 

But it is difficult to see how the resemblances in the 
Gospels, extending not only to incidents and discourses, but 
even to verbal expressions, can be accounted for on the 
supposition of mutual independence. If three writers had 
such a close resemblance in their writings as the evangelists 
have, we would naturally conclude that they depended upon 
each other. At least it is evident that there must be some 
common groundwork. If the evangelists did not see each 
others' writings, there must have been either an oral Gospel 
which had become stereotyped, or some connnon document or 
documents used by all of them. 

The Gospel of Mark cannot be considered as a compila- 
tion from Matthew and Luke. That it is a compilation has 
been often asserted by those who hold the theory of mutual 
dependence. It was first brought forward by Augustine, and 
is the hypothesis advanced by Griesbach. Almost all the 
contents of Mark's Gospel, with a few exceptions, are to be 
found either in the Gospel of Matthew or in that of Luke. 
This theory has been ably supported by Bleek. He adduces 
several passages where it would appear that Mark combined 
the statement of Mark and Luke. Thus in the narrative of 

^ Ebrard, The GospeTliistory, § 120, translation, p. 554 ff. 

2 Abbott and Ruslibrooke's Common Tradition of the Synoptic Gospels, 
p. vi. 

" Row, The Jesus of the Evangelists, p. 242. 

■* Alford's Greek Testament, vol. i. Prolegomena, p. 12, last edition. 

" Scliaffs History of the Church, \o]. i. p. 598. Dr. Scliafl' afterwards 
changed his opinion ; see farther on. 


the miracles of Christ, Matthew states that they were per- 
formed "when even was come" (Matt. viii. 16); and Luke: 
" when the sun was setting" (Luke iv. 40): Mark combines 
the two: "at even when the sun did set" (Mark i. 32). So 
also in the cleansing of the leper, Matthew says : " Straight- 
way his leprosy was cleansed " (Matt. viii. 3); Luke: "Straight- 
way the leprosy departed from him" (Luke v. 13); Mark 
combines the two : " Straightway the leprosy departed from 
him, and he was made clean " (Mark i. 42). In the account 
of the Lord's entrance into Jerusalem, Matthew writes : " And 
when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and came unto Beth- 
phage, unto the Mount of Olives" (Matt. xxi. 1); Luke: 
" When He drew nigh unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the 
mount tliat is called the Mount of Olives" (Luke xix. 29); 
Mark combines the two : " And when they drew nigh unto 
Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of 
Olives " (Mark xi. 1 ). From those and similar examples 
Bleek draws the inference : " This is best explained by sup- 
posing that Mark had both Matthew and Luke before him, 
and used them both." ^ 

On the other hand, Mark has not the characteristics of a 
compiler or epitomiser. Although his Gospel is much shorter 
than the other two, and may at first glance be considered as 
an abbreviation, yet when it is attentively studied it is 
found that this cannot be the case. What Mark does narrate 
is recorded at greater length than by the other evangelists, 
and he adds a variety of particulars and little touches which 
are wanting in the other Gospels ; so that in many of the 
incidents recorded by him, instead of epitomising, he enlarges. 
There is a peculiar freshness and originality in his descrip- 
tions. However we may account for it, Mark has more of 
the characteristics of an eye-witness than the other two. 
He descends to particulars, and describes the events as if he 
had actually seen them. Thus, to take a few examples: in 
describing the case of the demoniac boy, whom our Lord 
cured after His descent from the Mount of Transfiguration, 
Mark tells us of the scribes disputing with the disciples, of 

1 Bleek's Introduction to the N.T. vol. i. ijj). 260-262. For a similar 
opinion, see Davidson, Introduction to the N.T. 4th ed. vol. i. jip. 481 fF. 


the amazement of the people when they saw the Lord, of 
the conversation between the father of the boy and Christ, 
and of the paroxysm that seized the lad (Mark ix. 14—29). 
It is Mark who tells us that the amiability of the rich ruler, 
who came to our Lord asking what he must do to inherit 
eternal life, excited the love of Christ : " Jesus, beholdmer 
him, loved him" (Mark x. 21). It is Mark who tells us that 
when our Lord cured the deaf and dumb man, He took him 
aside from the multitude, put His fingers into his ears, and 
spit and touched his tongue ; and looked up to heaven, and 
sighed, saying, Ephphatha (Mark vii. 33, 34). It is Mark who 
tells us that when the Pharisees manifested their unbelief 
and hostility, demanding a sign from heaven, Jesus sighed 
deeply in spirit, filled with indignation on account of the 
hardness of men's hearts (Mark viii. 12). Mark relates the 
incident of the young man rising from his bed and in his 
night clothes following Jesus, and those who apprehended him 
(Mark xiv. 51); and he informs us that Simon the Cyrenian, 
who carried the cross of Christ, was the father of Alexander 
and Kufus (Mark xv. 21). We have here the account of an 
eye-witness, recording minute particulars, imparting vivid 
touches to the narrative.^ The omissions of Mark also prove 
that he could not have had the other Gospels before him. 
There are events recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and 
Luke which an abbreviator would not have omitted ; for 
example, the account of the supernatural birth of Christ. 

But whilst we maintain the originality of Mark, it is a 
much more difficult question to determine the relation of his 
Gospel to those of Matthew and Luke. That the relation is 
intimate, is undoubted ; but does it extend so far as to imply 
that these two evangelists used the Gospel of Mark as one of 
their authorities ? The negative has been strongly main- 
tained by many eminent critics,^ and the agreement between 
the Gospels has been referred entirely to oral tradition. 

1 Many other instances might be given ; compare the healing of the 
paralytic, Mark ii. 3-12, with Matt. iv. 2-8 ; also the accounts of the murder 
of John the Baptist, and of Peter's denial. See Salmon's Introduction 
tothe N.T. pp. 185-187. 

2 Alford, Westcott, Schaff, Plumptre. 


But the resemblances are too minute, exact, striking, and 
numerous to be attributed to this source alone. Not only- 
are the mcidents the same, but there are long sentences 
where the words are almost identical. In ordinary literature, 
if two writings were found to agree in incident and in form 
of expression with a third, and if that third writing bore all 
the marks of originality, we would naturally infer that the 
authors of these two writings borrowed from the third. 
There is, of course, another alternative, that all three bor- 
rowed from a connnon document ; but that document, on 
account of the nature and extent of the similarities, could 
not have rested on oral tradition, which in its nature is 
diversified, but must have been written. This is the third 
hypothesis of solution, that of a written document, which we 
shall afterwards consider. Besides, the order of the narrative 
followed in the three Gospels is a presumption in favour of 
the use of Mark's Gospel by Matthew and Luke. There is 
often a difference in the chronological order in which the 
events are recorded by the evangelists ; but the order laid 
down m Mark's Gospel is that which has been generally 
followed. " There are," observes Professor Sanday, " a few 
cases where all three Gospels diverge from each other ; but, as 
a rule, if Matthew deserts Mark, Luke agrees with him ; and 
if Luke deserts Mark, Matthew agrees with him. There is 
no case in which the order of a section common to all three 
is supported by Matthew and Luke against Mark." ^ 

There are, however, various difficulties connected with 
the assumption that Matthew and Luke saw and made use of 
the Gospel of Mark. It is difficult to account for Matthew 
omitting certain portions of Mark's Gospel which are found 
in Luke, and, conversely, for Luke omitting certain portions 
of Mark's Gospel which are found in Matthew. A difficulty 
also arises from the omission, both in Matthew and Luke, of 
those few passages which are peculiar to Mark.^ Yet although 

1 Tlie Expositor for 1891, vol. iii. fourth series, p. 189. 

2 It has been considered as derogatory to the evangelists to suppose 
that they used each other's writings ; that Luke, for example, should be 
dependent on Mark. But if he used other documents, as is admitted, 
why might he not also have used a canonical Gospel ? 



the facts of the case do not permit us to arrive at a positive 
conclusion, the presumption is that both Matthew and Luke 
saw and used the Gospel of Mark. They did not slavishly 
and mechanically copy from it ; the language, though similar, 
is not precisely the same ; but they made a free use of it as 
one of their authorities. In this manner the coincidences of 
all three G-ospels, in incident and expression, so far as we see, 
can be explained. 

But there are not only coincidences between all three 
Gospels, but also between Matthew and Luke in events and 
discourses not recorded by Mark. In order to account for 
these, can we postulate a mutual dependence between those 
two Gospels ? This has been done by several eminent theo- 
logians. Ritschl, whilst he asserts the priority of the 
canonical Mark, further maintains the dependence of Luke 
upon Matthew.^ This view has also been maintained, though 
on different grounds, by Holtzmann, Weiszacker,^ Wendt, and 
Paul Ewald.^ It is essential to this theory to suppose that 
the use which Luke made of Matthew's Gospel was not 
slavish, but very free and untrammelled. Now, if this opinion 
is correct, we certainly have a remarkable approach to the 
solution of the problem. The points of agreement in the 
Gospels are thus, in a measure, all accounted for. The 
coincidences between the three Synoptists arise from the use 
of Mark as a fundamental Gospel ; and the coincidences 
between Matthew and Luke from the use of the Gospel of 
Matthew by Luke. 

But there are great, and probably insuperable, objections 
to the adoption of this hypothesis. Whilst it may account 
for the points of correspondence, it does not account for the 
points of difference in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. 
The diversities in the narrative prove that the one Gospel 
must have been independent of the other. Take, for example, 
the variations in the genealogies of Christ as given by Matthew 
and Luke. " If no other proof," observes Dean Alford, " were 
in existence of the total independence of the present Gospels 

> Godet'.s Co)iimcntar>j on LiiMs Gospel, vol. i. p. 41, transliition. 
2 Apontolisrhes Zeitalter, p. 414. 
^ Evangelienfrcuje, p. 1G9. 


of Matthew and Luke, their genealogies would furnish what I 
conceive to be an undeniable one. Is it possible that either 
of these evangelists could. have set down his genealogy with 
that of the other beforeK^ScT? Would no remark have been 
made on their many, and on such a supposition unaccountable, 
variations ? " The same is the case with the variations in the 
narratives of the birth, the passion, and resurrection of Christ. 
If these Gospels were mutually dependent, there would certainly 
have been a greater agreement. So also in Matthew, in the 
" Sermon on the Mount," there is a collection of the sayings 
of Jesus ; whilst in Luke the same sayings are scattered 
throughout his Gospel. If Luke used Matthew's Gospel, we 
can hardly think that he would have cut up that wonderful 
discourse into different portions. These facts convince us that 
the Gospel of Matthew was not one of those documents which 
Luke employed in the composition of his Gospel.^ 


According to this theory, the oral teaching of the apostles 
and the oral traditions of the actions and discourses of our 
Lord are the main sources of the Synoptic Gospels. This 
theory has been denominated the hypothesis of Gieseler, 
because that eminent theologian was the first who brought it 
into prominence. He svipposes that without any preconceived 
plan an oral Gospel gradually resulted from the preaching of 
the apostles in Jerusalem ; and that from this oral Gospel the 
three Synoptic Gospels were composed about the middle of 
the first century.2 This view, with different variations, has 
been adopted by Neudecker, Guericke, Thiersch, Lange, and 
Ebrard in Germany; by Archbishop Thomson,^ Afford, 

1 So Meyer, Reuss, Thiersch, and Weiss. The results of our examina- 
tion of the hypothesis of mutual dependence are : 1. Mark is an original 
Gospel. 2. in all prol)al)ility, though not certainly, Matthew and Luke 
make use of the Gospel of Mark as one of their sources. 3. Matthew 
and Luke wrote independently of each other. 

2 Gieseler's Hist.-krit. Versuch uber die Enstehimcj und die frUhesten 
Schiclcsale der schriftlichen Evangelien. 

3 In his introduction to the Gospels in the Speaker's Commentary, and in 
the article on the Gospels in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible. 


Westcott, Plumptre, Lumby, and Farrar ^ in England ; by 
Godet '-^ in Switzerland ; and by Norton ^ and Schaff in 
America. Thus Bishop Westcott observes : " The primary 
Gospel was proved in life, before it was fixed in writing. Out 
of the countless multitude of Christ's acts, those were gathered 
in the ministry of twenty years, which were seen to have the 
fullest representative significance for the exhibition of His 
divine life. The oral collection thus formed became in every 
sense coincident with the ' Gospel ' ; and our Gospels are the 
permanent compendium of its contents."* So also Schaff 
remarks : " The chief and common sources from which the 
Synoptists derived their Gospels was undoubtedly the living 
apostolic traditions or teaching. This teaching was nothing 
more or less than a faithful report of the words and 
deeds of Christ Himself by honest and intelligent eye- 
witnesses." ^ 

The great office of an apostle was to narrate the history 
of the life and death of Christ. Thus, on the election of a 
successor to Judas Iscariot, the apostles resolved that, " of the 
men who have companied with us all the time that the Lord 
Jesus went in and went out among us, beginning from the 
baptism of John unto the day when He was received up from 
us, of these must one become a witness with us of His 
^ Farrar's Messages of the Books, p. 26. 

2 Godet's Commentary on Luke's Gospel, vol. i. pp. 33 ff. 

3 Norton, The Genumeness of the Gospels, pj). 284-289. 

* Westcott, Introduction to the Gospels, p. 158, 1st edition. 

* Schaff 's History of the Church, vol. i. p. 602. Dr. ScliaflF appears 
lately to have modified his opinions. In a private letter to the author, 
written shortly before his death, he says : " I am pretty certain that there 
must have been various fragmentary Gospels l)efore the canonical Gospels, 
as is evident from the preface to Luke ; I am also convinced that the tradi- 
tion of Papias concerning an original Hebrew Matthew is well founded, 
and it would l)e a great help to critics if this Hebrew Matthew could be 
discovered, which is by no means imjiossible in view of recent experience 
in this age of discovery. I am also settled in my mind as to the originality 
and priority of Mark, who has so many pictorial traits, which can only l)e 
e.xplained by a personal eye-witness-ship. He was the interjireter of 
Peter, and in his rapid movements reflects the sanguine impulsive 
temperament of his master. I have no settled opinion as to how far 
Matthew and Luke have used the Hebrew ' Logia,' but Matthew and 
Luke are certainly independent of each other." 


resurrection" (Acts i. 21, 22). The apostles, in their dis- 
courses to the people, and especially in the instructions given 
to their converts, would dwell upon the actions and teaching 
of their Master, — the miracles He performed, the parables 
with which He taught the multitude, His divine utter- 
ances and discourses. By degrees this teaching would 
become to a considerable extent stereotyped : the same 
incidents would be dwelt upon, the same discourses re- 
peated, especially the most striking parables and the most 
weighty sayings, and thus gradually an oral Gospel would 
be formed. 

But with this similarity there would coexist a consider- 
able diversity. There would be different centres of tradition 
in Galilee and in Jerusalem, and these local traditions would 
necessarily vary. The oral Gospel in Galilee would be 
different from the oral Gospel in Jerusalem ; and thus 
different collections of traditions might be made. When the 
Gospel extended beyond the boundaries of Judaea into 
Samaria, Phoenicia, and the neighbouring provinces, the 
preachers would carry with them a variety of traditions ; 
one uniform Gospel would not be promulgated. This theory 
of oral tradition, admitting both of a general uniformity, and 
of variations, is supposed to account both for the o^tsts li e ne t e s 
and the diversities in the Synoptists. " In the oral narratives 
of the apostles," observes Norton, " we find the common 
archetype of the first three Gospels, — an archetype, from its 
very nature, partly fixed and partly fluctuating, and such, 
therefore, as is required to account at once for their coincid- 
ence and their diversity." ^ 

The Eev. A. Wright of Queens' College, Cambridge, in 
a valuable contribution to the literature of the Synoptic 
Gospels, lays great stress on this theory of an oral Gospel. He 
supposes that among the early Christians, catechetical schools 
were established in which the converts to Christianity were 
instructed in the life of Christ. We are informed that those 
baptized on the day of Pentecost continued steadfastly in 
the apostles' teaching (Acts ii. 42). This teaching (SiSa'xr]) 
would consist chiefly in imparting oral instruction in the life 
^ Norton, The Genuineness of the Gospels, p. 289. 


and discourses of Christ ; in slioiL, in matters resembling in 
substance and form the contents of our canonical Gospels. 
So also Luke, in dedicating his Gospel to Theophilus, says 
that he wrote that he might know the certainty of the things 
wherein he was instructed, literally, catechised {Karrj'^^fjdri'i)} 
These schools were established in all places where the 
Christian religion was planted, in Asia Minor as well as in 
Palestine. Over these schools qualified teachers would be 
appointed, men who were instructed by the apostles or 
primitive disciples of Christ in the events of His life ; some 
of them, as Mark, belonging to the Petrine school, and others, 
as Luke, belonging to the Pauline school. These instructions 
were at first given in an oral form, and it was not until the 
removal of the apostles from Jerusalem that the necessity for 
a written Gospel was felt. According to Mr. Wright, there 
were six sources from which the Gospels sprung — 1. The 
Petrine teaching, contained chiefly in St. Mark's Gospel, and 
found also in Matthew and Luke, being an oral Gospel. 2. 
" The utterances of our Lord," mentioned by Papias as the 
Logia of Matthew, also orally communicated, embedded in 
Matthew's Gospel, and found also in Luke. 3. The peculi- 
arities of Luke's Gospel, being an oral Gospel, the work of 
an unknown pupil of Paul, and collected by Luke. 4. Frag- 
ments of an oral Gospel outside of these, as the two intro- 
ductory chapters in Matthew, and a few sections in Luke's 
Gospel. 5. Written documents collected by Luke, as the 
first two chapters and the genealogy. 6. Editorial notes 
written by the writers of these Gospels.^ 

This theory of oral tradition has much to commend it. 
The ultimate sources of the Gospels, before anything was 
committed to writing, must have been the oral teaching of 
the apostles and primitive disciples. There must have been 
an oral before there was a written Gospel. The oral element 
is an important factor in the formation of our Gospels which 
must not be overlooked. It must enter largely into any 

^ Mr. Wright puts special weight on GaL vi. 6, where the verb KXTn^cia 
is employed. 

2 Wright's Composition of the Four Gospels, London, 1893 ; also article 
in the Thinker fur February 1895. 


theory which professes to be a solution of the Synoptic 

But this theory by itself is inadequate to account for 
all the coincidences and diversities of the narrative. There 
are at least three objections to it. 1. It cannot account for 
the similarity or agreement which pervades the Gospels. If 
the Grospels arose from oral tradition, we should not have 
expected so great an identity of particulars in a life so full 
as that of Christ. Nor is this agreement confined to events, 
but extends to expressions and words. Tradition does not 
express itself in the same terms ; even in the description of 
the same event by eye-witnesses, there is always a variety 
in the expressions employed. It has indeed been said that 
there might be set phrases and current expressions ; but not 
to speak of the mechanical formation of the Gospels which 
such a view involves, and which is opposed to freedom of 
composition, the agreement which pervades the Gospeh is of 
such a minute nature as cannot be accounted for by tradi- 
tion. " It extends," as Professor Sanday observes, " to 
phrases which are mere connecting links between the sec- 
tions, and which are just of a kind that on a purely oral 
tradition would be the first to vary."^ 2. It is difficult to 
suppose that in a general oral Gospel which dwelt on the 
actions and discourses of Jesus, the account of the ministry in 
Jerusalem, as given in the Johannine narrative, would be 
entirely absent. The ministry of our Lord in Judsea would 
have occupied in an oral tradition, if not so large a space as 
the ministry in Galilee, owing to the shorter period of time 
which it embraced, yet a proportionate space. 3. The 
specimens of the teachmg of the apostles which we have 
in the Acts do not bear out the supposition that their 
teaching consisted almost entirely in the narratives of Christ's 
life or in the repetition of His parables and discourses. In 
the discourses of Peter, Stephen, and Paul, as recorded in 
the Acts, we find that these preachers dwelt almost entii'ely 
on the advent of Christ, on His sufferings and death, and 

1 " At bottom all the Gospels rest on oral tradition or anecdotal remin- 
iscences." Holtzmann, Einleihmg, p. 340. 

2 Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, 2nd ed. p. 1220. 


especially on the crowning miracle of His resurrection, as 
the authorisation of His mission, without mentioning the 
particulars of His life. And the same remark is true of 
the Epistles of the several writers : there are in them few 
traditionary sayings of our Lord. The record of the life of 
Christ gathered from the speeches and Epistles of the apostles 
is surprisingly meagre. 

An important modification of this theory was made by 
Dean Alford, which lessens, if it does not remove, many 
of the objections brought against it. He supposed that 
besides the mere oral Gospel, which had in a measure 
become stereotyped, there were also written statements em- 
bracing both the incidents in the life of Christ and His 
teaching, and that these were independently used by the 
evangelists, and, it may be, incorporated in their Gospels. 
" I maintain," he observes, " the probability of a very early 
collection of portions of such oral teaching into documents, 
some of which two or three of the evangelists may have 
used." ^ This combination of traditional narratives with 
written documents would account for the identity of the 
expressions frequently used by the evangelists. 


According to this theory, there lies at the foundation of 
the Gospels an original document or documents, which all 
the three evangelists made use of ui the composition of their 
writings ; the source of the Synoptic Gospels is not so much 
oral tradition as written documents. We learn from the 
prologue to Luke's Gospel that many such writings, purport- 
ing to convey a narrative of the life of Christ, or giving a 
collection of His discourses, did exist in the early days of 
Christianity (Luke i. 1-3). Luke does not pass any approval 
or disapproval of such documents, he merely testifies to their 
existence. This theory of an original document or docu- 
ments is the prevalent theory in the present day, and has 
given rise to a great number of suppositions. 

Eichhorn, at the close of last century (1794), was the 
^ Alford's Greek Testwmcnt, vol. i. Prolegomena, ]>. 11. 


first to give prominence to this theory.^ He gave great 
offence by the boldness of his criticism, coming into direct 
collision with the then traditional view of the Gospels as 
independent narratives. At the time the work was regarded 
as a direct attack on the genuineness and credibility of the 
Gospels.^ He supposed that there was an original Aramaic 
Gospel, which lay at the foundation of the Synoptic Gospels. 
This document was soon translated into Greek. In process 
of time additions were made to it and inserted in the nar- 
rative. There were three translations and three sets of 
traditions, and these constituted the Gospels of Matthew, 
Mark, and Luke. In addition to this original Aramaic 
Gospel there was another document containing a collection 
of precepts, parables, and discourses delivered by Christ, 
which was used by Matthew and Luke, and accounts for the 
similarities in their Gospels.^ 

Bishop Marsh adopted this theory of Eichhorn, and 
endeavoured to improve it. He gives the following state- 
ment of his theory : " Matthew, Mark, and Luke used copies 
of the common Hebrew document, the materials of which 
Matthew, who wrote in Hebrew, retained in the language 
in which he found them ; but Mark and Luke, besides their 
copies of the Hebrew document, used a Greek translation of 
it, which had been made before any additions had been 
inserted. Lastly, as the Gospels of Mark and Luke contain 
Greek translations of Hebrew materials which were incor- 
porated into Matthew's Hebrew Gospel, the person, who 
translated Matthew's Hebrew Gospel into Greek, frequently 
derived assistance from the Gospel of Mark, where Mark had 
matter in common with Matthew ; and in those places, but 
in those places only, where Mark had no matter in common 
with Matthew, he had frequently recourse to Luke's Gospel."* 

1 Eichhorn's Einleituncj in das N.T. vol. i. §§ 78-88. Le Clerc (1716) 
appears to have been the first critic who suggested it ; afterwards it was 
maintained by Michaelis and Lessing, but it was left to Eichhorn to 
develop this hypothesis, and to draw it out into a regular theory. 

2 There was certainly some reason for this opinion, as Eichhorn con- 
siders that our first three Gospels did not come into use l)efore the end of 
the second century. 

3 Eichhorn's Einleitung, § 84. ■* Marsh's Michaelis, vol. v. p. 361. 


This hypothesis does not commend itself ; it is intricate and 
complicated. Besides, it is very mechanical, and makes the 
evangelists mere compilers. Although at the time embraced 
by several eminent critics,^ it is now as a whole generally 
rejected, though many of its particulars are still adopted ; 
indeed there is often a striking resemblance between it and 
some of the more recent hypotheses. 

Much more plausible is the theory of Schleiermacher.^ 
Instead of one original Hebrew document lying at the 
foundation of the several Gospels, he supposes that there 
were several documents. There must have been, at an early 
period, many evangelical fragments dispersed throughout the 
Churches, — traditions floating about, — of which writings had 
been made. These the evangelists worked into their Gospels, 
along with materials which each had himself collected ; and 
in this manner Schleiermacher accounts for the coincidences 
and differences. " Why," he asks, " should the harmony of 
the three evangelists admit of no other explanation than that 
they either borrowed from each other, or drew from one 
common source. Subsequently, at all events, there appear 
several common sources. Why should we not content our- 
selves with a plurality of them from the beginning, as some 
eminent critics have done ? For, in itself, surely this often- 
repeated alternation of common and peculiar portions of 
history points to nothing else than the previous existence of 
several sources, some of which the evangelists had in com- 
mon, some not." ^ 

Heinrich Ewald supposes that there were nine distinct 
elements which entered into the formation of the Synoptics. 
The first was an original Gospel, containing a brief account of 
the chief events of Christ's life from His baptism to His 
death, used by Paul, and which he strangely attributes to 

1 Esijecially by Bertholdt of Erlangen in his Historisch-Kritischc 
Einleitu)uj in sdmmtliche kanotnsche und apokryphisclie Schrifteii des alien 
und neuen Testaments. 

^ See Schleierniaclier, Commentary on St. Lulce, and a valuable intro- 
duction to it by the tran.slator, Bishoj) Thirlwall. 

'^ Ibid. p. 7. "It is more natural," he observes, "to imagine many 
circumstantial memorials of detiiched incidents, than a single connected 
but scanty narrative." 


Philip the deacon. The second is the collection of our 
Lord's sayings made by Matthew, as mentioned by Papias. 
The third is Mark's Gospel, made up of these two. The fourth 
is what he calls " the book of the higher history," being an 
enlargement of the original Gospel. The fifth is our canonical 
Gospel of Matthew, based upon the preceding writings. The 
sixth, seventh, and eighth are three lost works — detailed 
accounts of special events in our Lord's life. The ninth is 
the Gospel of Luke, based on all the other documents, with 
the exception of the fifth document, namely, the Gospel of 
Matthew.^ Such a theory, though ingenious, is very fanciful, 
and without much ground to rest upon. 

Dr. Edwin Abbott has brought forward a new theory. 
He marks all those passages where Matthew, Mark, and Luke 
agree, which he calls the common or triple tradition.^ This 
tradition constitutes a kind of narrative ; and this he supposes 
to have formed the original Gospel, from which the three 
evangelists borrowed independently of each other. " Is it 
not possible," he observes, " that the condensed narrative 
which we can pick out of the three Synoptic records repre- 
sents the ' elliptical style ' of the earliest Gospel notes or 
Memoirs, which needed to be expanded before they could be 
used for the purposes of teaching, and which might naturally 
be expanded with various and sometimes divergent ampli- 
fication ? " 3 According to this theory, the Gospels are 
independent expansions of notes taken down of the teachings 
of the apostles. Such a hypothesis has met with no favour 
from any critic* It does not account for the twofold 
tradition of Matthew and Mark, of Mark and Luke, and of 
Matthew and Luke ; whilst it leaves the diversities found in 
the Gospels without explanation. 

There is one other theory which, on account of its 
ingenuity, plausibility, and originality we would not omit, 

1 Bleek's Introduction to N.T. vol. ii. pp. 256, 257. 

2 Article on the Gospels in the Encydopcedia Britannica ; Abbott and 
Rushbrooke, Common Tradition of the Synoptic Gospels. 

^ Abbott and Rushbrooke, p. 11. 

* For adverse remarks on the hypothesis of Dr. Abbott, see Salmon, 
Introduction to the N.T. p. 177. It is in its main features a revival of the 
hypothesis of Eichhorn. 


that of Mr. Smith of Jordanhill.i He supposes — (1) That 
several of the apostles, especially Matthew, Peter, and John, 
committed to writing accounts of our Lord's life, in the 
Ai-amaic language. (2) That Matthew drew up, from the 
origmal Memoirs a life of Christ, botli in Hebrew and in 
Greek. (3) That Luke composed another life, founded upon 
the authority of eye-witnesses and ministers of the word, 
including the Hebrew Memoir of Peter and the Greek Gospel 
of Matthew. (4) That after Peter's death, Mark translated 
the Memoir written by Peter into Greek.^ This hypothesis 
he illustrates in a most ingenious manner. He takes three 
histories of the Peninsular War — those of Suchet, Napier, 
and Alison. Suchet's history was the testimony of an eye- 
witness, and was translated into English, and used both by 
Napier and Alison ; whilst Napier's history was known and 
made use of by Alison. He places three quotations from 
their histories in parallel columns, showing the remarkable 
resemblance between them — a resemblance containing some- 
times a sameness of expression in all three, and at other times 
extending only to two of the histories.^ He draws a parallel 
between these resemblances and the resemblances in the 
three Gospels, and in this manner explains their verbal 
coincidences. Certainly the parallel is very striking in these 
histories ; there is the same mixture of variety and identity 
of expression as is found in the Gospels. 

Pecently much has been made of the theory of an 
original Aramaic or Hebrew document lying at the root of 
the Synoptic Gospels. This theory has been unfolded in 
several interesting and valuable articles by Professor Marshall 
in the Exj)ositor,^ and especially by Eesch in his work, entitled, 
Tlic Agraj^ha.^ It is in some respects a revival of Eichhorn's 

' Dissertation on the Origin and Connection of the Gospels ; the author of 
that classical work, The Voyage of St. Paul. 

2 Ibid. p. XXV. 3 Ibid. pp. xxix.-xxxi. 

■* These articles are to be found in the Expositor for the year 1891. 

^ This is a work of enormous labour and erudition, the result of 
upwards of twenty years' research. It proceeds on the assumptions that 
there was an original Gospel in the Hebrew lanffuage, that this was chiefly 
composed of the sayings of our Lord, and that it not only formed one of the 
main sources of our Synoptics, but was used by Paul and quoted by him. 


theory, though not so mechanical and rigid in its nature. 
These writers suppose that there was an original document, 
an Ur-Evangelium, written according to Professor Marshall in 
Aramaic, and according to Eesch in Hebrew. This document 
was used by all the evangelists. The variation in the words 
and clauses in the Gospels is accounted for by the different 
translations given to the Aramaic or Hebrew words. Both 
Professor Marshall and Eesch give examples of how this 
may be done, and, if the vowel points are neglected as not 
belonging originally to the languages, how variations in the 
sense might easily have occurred. Eesch gives a list of fifty- 
nine cases in point, where, as he supposes, Hebrew words in 
the original document are translated by different words in 
our Gospels.^ 

This theory, if admitted, certainly accounts in many 
instances for variations in expression ; but, when put to the 
test, it leaves most of these variations unexplained. It is, 
indeed, asserted by the Fathers that Matthew wrote his 
Gospel in Hebrew ; ^ but the Gospel, to which these critics 
allude, is an entirely different Gospel from our canonical 
Matthew : it is an Aramaic Gospel which lies at the founda- 
tion, not of Matthew only, but of all the three Synoptics. 


According to this theory, not one but two documents 
form the main sources of the Gospel narrative. One docu- 
ment is a narrative of the events in the life of Christ — a 
statement of His actions, and the other is a collection of 
His sayings — a statement of His discourses. This hypothesis, 
it is supposed, affords a complete solution of the Synoptic 
problem. " The narrative of events " accounts for the great 
sameness of the incidents recorded by all three evangelists ; 

1 Kesch's Agrapha, pp. 59-64 ; as, for example, st»>3 is rendered by 

?^otfi(ionisiv (Matt. X. 38), ui'psiv (Mark viii. 34), (iccrrxS^uv (Luke xiv. 27), 
in the same address of our Lord to His disciples that they must take up 
His cross. 

2 The language in which Matthew's Gospel was written is the subject 
of future discussion ; so also is the " Gospel according to the Hebrews." 


whilst " the collection of sayings " accounts for the striking 
resemblance in the expressions employed. But although this 
hypothesis is apparently simple, it is in reality highly com- 
plicated, and has given rise to great differences of opinion 
and to several distinct theories. 

This hypothesis is supposed to be supported by the state- 
ment of Papias,' where, according to those critics who adopt 
this theory, these two documents are mentioned. Papias first 
affirms of Mark's Gospel, on the authority of John the 
Presbyter, that " Mark, having become the interpreter of 
Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatever 
he remembered of the things said and done by Christ, and 
that he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs 
of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected 
account of our Lord's discourses." In this record, containing 
the preaching of Peter, edited by Mark, we have one of these 
fundamental documents, whether this be the canonical Gospel 
of Mark or a previous Gospel (Ur-Marcus), from which our 
canonical Mark is derived.'^ Concerning Matthew, Papias—'^ 
writes : " So then Matthew wrote the oracles (Xoyia) in the 
Hebrew language.^ In this collection of the XSyia of Christ 
made by Matthew we have the other primary document — 
whether this is the canonical Gospel of Matthew or a primary 
Gospel (Ur-Matthseus) used by some unknown person in the 
composition of our Matthew, and also used by Luke in the 
composition of his Gospel. 

This hypothesis of two documents has been adopted by 
Eeuss,'' Weizsiicker,^ Holtzmann, Weiss, Weudt, Beyschlag,*^ 

1 Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. iii. 39 ; see svjjra, j). 19. 

- Dr. Sanday remarks : " It is not improbable that our St. Mark is 
descended from a copy which did not exactly reproduce its predecessor, 
even after the Gospel had cvssumed substantially its jjresent form." Bamijton 
Lectures, p. 295. 

' The words i/.iu ovv, so thru, show that this sentenre in regard to 
Matthew doesnoL immediately follow the j)assngi' in rogard lo Mark, (pioted 

■* History of the Neio Testament. 

" Apost. Zeitalter and Untersuchuiujen iiber die cvangcli^clie GeschichtCf 
ihre Quelleji und der Gang ihrer Entvnckhmtj. 

" Leben Jesu. 


Eesch, Dr. Paul Ewald, Pfleiderer/ Sanday, and other recent 
writers on the Synoptic problem. " All things considered," 
observes Holtzniann, " the two source hypothesis appears the 
most probable solution of the Synoptic problem." 

Dr. H. Holtzniann of Strasburg, who is regarded as the 
great authority on the Synoptic question, and has devoted 
much attention to the subject, supposes that these two docu- 
ments — the record of the preaching of Peter given by Mark, 
and the Logia, or the collection of the sayings of our Lord 
compiled by Matthew — were the main sources of the Synoptic 
Gospels. He supposes the first document to be, not the 
canonical Gospel of Mark, but an earlier document (Ur- 
Marcus), fuller than the present Mark ; and the second 
document to be, not the canonical Gospel of Matthew, but a 
collection of the discourses of Christ compiled by the Apostle 
Matthew (Ur-Mattha^us). The canonical Mark is a revision 
of the Ur-Marcus, without any intermixture of the Logia of 
Matthew ; whilst the canonical Matthew and Luke are formed 
from both documents, and from other written and oral sources. 
Recently Professor Holtzmann has somewhat moSTRed and 
altered his views, and supposes that Luke had access to the 
canonical Gospel of Matthew, and made a free use of it, and, 
consequently, that all the discourses in Luke's Gospel need 
not necessarily be referred to the Logia ; and he observes : 
" So that at least most of the reasons for distinguishing 
between an Ur-Marcus and the present Mark have been 
removed." ' 

The view of Weiss of Berlin differs from that of Holtz- 
mann as to the prominence to be given to Matthew. He 
supposes that Mark not only used the " notes of Peter's 
preaching," but had also access to the Logia collected by 
Matthew. According to him, " the Logia of Matthew " is the 
oldest Gospel, and next to it is the Pe trine Gospel, or the 
tradition transmitted by Mark from Peter's preaching. All 
three Gospels are composite, and these documents were used in 

^ Gifford Lechires, vol. ii. p. 27. 

2 For Holtzman's views, see Die Sijnoftischen Evanrjelien, 1863 ; Ein- 
leitwig in das N.T. 1885 ; commentary on the Synoptic Gospels, Die 
Synoptiker, 1889. 


different proportions. The original Gospel was a Matthew 
(Ur-Matthoeus), containing the Logia, with a small number of 
incidents. The canonical Mark is a combination of the 
Memoirs of Peter and a portion of the Logia of Matthew : 
the canonical Matthew and the canonical Luke are dependent 
on Mark and on the Logia.^ 

Wendt, of Heidelberg, also adopts the two document 
hypothesis. He asserts the priority of Mark to Matthew 
and Luke, and supposes that the series of narratives reported 
by Mark consists chiefly of the oral evangelical discourses of 
Peter. Both Matthew and Luke used Mark's Gospel. The 
Logia of Matthew lies at the foundation of the Gospels of 
Matthew and Luke, and Wendt attempts the reconstruction 
of the text of the Logia from these Gospels. He restricts 
the Logia to the discourses of Jesus.^ 

Eesch, in his Agrapha, maintains the following points : — 
1. The priority of the Gospel of Mark. 2. The existence of 
a Hebrew original Gospel containing chiefly the discourses of 
Jesus, written before the canonical writings, and lost at an 
early period. 3. The two document hypothesis. From these 
two documents — the Gospel of Mark and the pre-canonical 
Gospel — the first and third canonical Gospels were chiefly 
composed. 4. The secondary character of the first Gospel. 
The Gospel of Matthew is in no sense an original Gospel, also 
not a translation of the original Hebrew Gospel ascribed to 
that apostle, but a combination of Mark's Gospel with a 
Hebrew Gospel source, and that by an author who personally 
was not an eye-witness, but was in a position to add several 
traditionary facts to the two chief sources. 5. The use of 
the pre-canonical Gospel of Mark.^ 

Dr. Sanday of Oxford, in a series of valuable articles in 
the Expositor,^ and in his elaborate article on the Gospels in 
the new edition of Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, gives what 
is the present state of the Synoptic problem. He himself 
adopts, or, at least, greatly favours, the two document hypo- 

1 For Wc'iHs' views, see Ikis Marcus Evangelmm und seine Synoptischen 
Parallelen, Lehen Jesu, and Einleituiig in (la.t N.T. 

2 Weiidt's Die Lehre Jesu. ^ Rescli's Aijrajiha, j). 27. 
■• Expositor for Ihe year 1891, fourtli series, vol. iii. 


thesis. He considers the following particulars as practically 
proved : — 1. That there was a fundamental document. 

2. That it is represented most nearly by the Gospel of Mark. 

3. That it is highly probable that the common foundation 
of the three Gospels was a document, strictly so called, 
written, and not oral. 4. That the exact relation of this 
document to our present Mark must be regarded as still an 
open question.^ With regard to the second document, or the 
Logia of Matthew, Dr. Sanday thinks that it was chiefly 
restricted to the sayings of Christ, and that these sayings or 
discourses were employed in the first and third Gospels. He 
considers that the Apostle Matthew did not write the first 
Gospel as we have it, but that it was called by his name, 
because it contained the Logia collected by him, a section so 
important that the name passed from that to the whole.^ 

One great point of dispute regards the meaning to be 
affixed to the term Xo7ta as used by Papias when referring to 
the writings of Matthew, — whether it is to be restricted to the 
sayings and discourses of Jesus, or whether it also includes 
the incidents of His life. The critics above mentioned, as 
Holtzmann and also Meyer, restrict the term chiefly to the 
sayings of Jesus ; whilst other critics, as Bleek and Zahn, 
assert that it was not so restricted, but included the whole 
life of Jesus — His actions as well as His discourses. This 
opinion has also been maintained by Bishop Lightfoot.^ The 
term in the New Testament is used for the Scriptures (of 
course, of the Old Testament), and is not restricted to mere 
sayings. Thus Paul, speaking of the privileges of the Jews, 
says that unto them were committed " the oracles of God " (ra 
Xoyta Tov deov, Rom. iii. 2).* And the author of the Epistle 
to the Hebrews refers to " the first principles of the oracles of 
God" (Heb. v. 12). In both passages the reference is to the 
Scriptures of the Old Testament.^ The word, then, as applied 

^ Expositor, vol. iii. fourtli series, p. 180. 

2 Ibid. p. 303. 

^ Essays on Supernatural Religion, pp. 173, 174. 

* See Pliilippi, Commentary on the Romans, vol. i. p. 105, translation. 

^ The word occurs only in two other passages in the New Testament, 
and there also the reference appears to be to the Scriptures of the Old 
Testament, Acts vii. 38 and 1 Pet. iv. 11. 



to the New Testament, would be nearly equivalent to 
euayyekiov ; and in this sense it is used by the early Fathers.^ 
" There is nothing," observes Bleek, " in the manner in which 
Papias expresses himself to justify this supposition (namely, 
that the expression simply refers to a writing wherein 
Christ's discourses only were collected) ; he would certainly 
have expressed himself as he does, if he meant an historical 
work like our New Testament Gospels, if he were referring to 
a writing the contents of which were those of our Greek Gospel 
according to Matthew. Papias uses the name ra Xojia of the 
entire Gospel, without making any distinction between the 
historical narrative and the discourses of Christ." - 

Some progress in the solution of the Synoptic problem has 
been made. It is now generally agreed by those critics who 
have studied the question, that the Gospel of Mark, or a 
writing closely resembling it, and a collection or collections of 
the sayings of Jesus, are among the main sources of the 
Synoptic Gospels. A theory which embraces these two points, 
forming a modification of the two document hypothesis, is now 
regarded as the probable solution of the Synoptic problem. 

1. The canonical Gospel of Mark, or at least a document 
closely resembling it, is supposed to be the primitive or 
original Gospel — one of the main sources of the Gospels of 
Matthew and Luke — used by them either directly or indirectly. 
For reasons already stated, we inferred the probability that 
the first and third evangelists were cognisant of the writing of 
the second. In order to remove certain difficulties, to which 
we have already alluded, attending the assumption of the use 
of Mark's Gospel by Matthew and Luke, some critics affirm 
that not our canonical Mark, but an original Mark, an 
Ur-Marcus, of which our Mark is a recension, containing a 
narrative of our Lord's life, is the common foundation of the 
three Synoptics.^ Some suppose that the original Mark was 
of larger compass than the present ]\Iark, and embraced those 

1 Irenseus, Adv. Jlwr. i. 8. 1 ; Polycarp, riiU. 7. 

2 Bleek's Introduction to the N.T. vol. ii. jip. 109, 110. 

^ Thisopinien has 1 teem adopted liy Kns^tlin, Volkinar, Woizsiickcr ; and 
was at one tinier advocated l)y Holtzniaim, tli(nigh afterwards al)andoned 
bv liini. 


sections in which Matthew and Luke agree almost verbatim. 
Others think that it was shorter. Those who do so, argue that 
the statement of Papias, that Mark wrote down accurately 
though not in order (ou fjbivrot Tci^ec), that is, not consecutively, 
is only suitable to a shorter Gospel than that which we now 
possess, inasmucli as the canonical Gospel of Mark is generally 
considered the most systematic of the three Synoptics. 

But, so far as we can see, there exists no reason for this 
supposition. The Fathers mention no such previous Gospel. 
They speak of the Gospel of Mark, but never indicate that this 
was only an edition or recension of a former Gospel now lost. 
Papias distinctly asserts that Mark wrote his Gospel from the 
teaching of Peter ; and Irenasus aihrms that the second Gospel 
was written by Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter. 
The substitution of the canonical Gospel of Mark for a lost 
Gospel must have occurred either before Papias wrote (a.d. 
116) or between the time of Papias and Irenseus (a.d. 180). 
It could not have occurred before the time of Papias, for 
there is not the least indication given by him of a previous 
Gospel, and the time between the composition of the Gospel of 
Mark and Papias is too short to admit of a silent, unnoticed 
substitution of one Gospel for another. Still more incredible 
is it to suppose that it disappeared after Papias wrote and 
before Irenaus composed his work against heresies ; for we 
have an almost unbroken chain of testimony between these 
two periods, alluding to the Gospel of Mark ; so that the 
Gospel mentioned by Papias could not possibly have been 
superseded by a different Gospel, without some statement or 
intimation of this fact in the writings of the early Fathers.^ 
We conclude, then, that our canonical Gospel of Mark, as we 
have it, is the primitive Gospel which the other two evangelists 
saw and used, and which was one of the chief sources of their 
Gospels.2 The use of this Gospel by Matthew and Luke 

^ Tliis argument against the existence of an Ur-Marcus is well put by 
Barnes in his Canonical and Uncanonical Gospels, p. 68. 

2 This opinion is now adopted by most critics. " The testimony of 
Papias," observes Meyer, "regarding tlie work of Mark furnishes no 
reason for regarding this work as different from our second canonical 
Gospel." Commcntarij on Matthew, vol. i. p. 38, translation. 


accounts for the similarity of incidents in the three Gospels, 
and also of expressions where all three agree, and where 
Matthew and Mark, or Mark and Luke agree. 

2. The collection or collections of the sayings of Christ, 
partly oral and partly written, was the other main source of 
the Synoptic Gospels. It was most natural, indeed in- 
evitable, that the apostles and early Christians would treasure 
up the sayings of Christ. These sayings would be often 
repeated by them in their pu])lic assemblies, and become 
indelibly fixed in their memories, and would soon be reduced 
to writing. The shorter sayings, as that quoted by Paul, " It 
is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts xx. 35), would 
be retained in the memory ; but there would also be written 
collections of the longer sayings or discourses of our Lord 
which would be taken down at an early period, before the 
recollection of them had faded away. We cannot suppose 
that twenty or thirty years would have elapsed before there 
were any written documents containing the parables of our 
Lord, or the words with which He taught the nmltitudes. 
" A few detached aphorisms," observes Professor Salmon, " of a 
great teacher may be carried by the memory for some time, 
and be passed from one to another ; but discourses of the 
length we find in the Gospels would, in the ordinary course of 
things, have perished, if they had not been from the first 
either committed to writing or, if committed to memory, kept 
alive by constant repetition. It is surprising how little of 
spoken words ordinary memories are able to retain. ... If 
Boswell has been able to give a vivid representation of Dr. 
Johnson's Table-Talk, it is because he used to stand behind 
the chair of the object of his veneration with note-book in 

Different collections of these sayings would be made in 
different localities for the use of different Churclies. Some 
would be written in Aramaic for the use of the Hebrew 
converts, and some in Greek for the use of the Hellenistic 
converts. Such collections of the sayings of Christ, both oral 
and written, l)oth in Aramaic and in Greek, woulil be used by 
all three evangelists in the composition of their Gospels. 
^ Introduction to the New Testament, \k 137. 


This hypothesis accounts for the similarity, often amounting to 
identity of expression, found not only in all the three Gospels, 
but especially in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Thus, 
for example, the thanksgiving of our Lord to the Father, when 
the disciples recorded the success of their mission, found in 
almost identical words in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke 
(Matt. xi. 25-27 ; Luke x. 21, 22), is one of those sayings of 
Christ which these evangelists incorporated in their Gospels. 
We have already seen that the identity of expression occurs 
chiefly in the sayings or discourses of Christ. It has been 
objected that no such collections of sayings are mentioned by 
the early Fathers. But their existence was inevitable ; the 
early Christians would feel constrained to collect the words of 
the Lord, and their incorporation into our Gospels may account 
for their disappearance. Besides, we do not suppose that 
there was any single authorised document containing the 
sayings of Christ, but only that fragmentary writings or 
detached narratives were dispersed throughout the Churches. 
We do not consider that the Logia of Matthew, mentioned by 
Papias, was one of these collections of sayings, because, as we 
have already observed, the term \6yia there employed is not 
used in a restricted sense ; but, at the same time, it must be 
admitted that the Gospel of Matthew is remarkable among 
the other three Gospels for its collections of the sayings 
of Christ. 

We do not know whether these collections of the sayings 
of Christ entirely disappeared in the apostolic age in con- 
sequence of their incorporation in the written Gospels. A 
collection of sayings attributed to our Lord, not recorded in 
the Gospels, but dispersed through the writings of the early 
Fathers, and preserved in the apocryphal writings, has been 
made by Bishop Westcott.'- Wendt, in a valuable appendix 
to his Die Lehre Jesu, adverts to several indications of the 
words of Jesus in the Epistles of Paul ; for example, he 
adduces the command of the Lord, that the wife should not 
depart from her husband (1 Cor. vii. 10); the injunction of 
the Lord, that they which preach the gospel should live of the 

1 Westcott's Introduction to the St^tdy of the Gospel, 1st ed. Apiiendix C, 
pp. 424-438. 


gospel (1 Cor. ix. 14); the institution of the Lord's Supper 
(1 Cor. xi. 23—25); and the announcement of the second 
coming of the Lord, which Paul introduces with the words : 
" This I say unto you by a word of the Lord " ( 1 Thess. iv. 
15). Kesch in his great work, the Agraplta, supposes that 
" sayings of Christ," contained, as he thinks, in the Logia 
of Matthew, written in the Hebrew language, are to be found 
in the Epistles of Paul and other canonical writings, as well 
as in the writings of the Fathers. He gives a list of sixty- 
two Logia found in the canonical Epistles and in the writings 
of the Fathers, which he considers to have been the words 
of Christ — Agrapha not contained in the Gospels.^ 

We shall, when we come to the investigation of the 
three Synoptic Gospels separately, consider at length the 
sources from which each Gospel is derived ; but it may be 
advisable before we close this discussion to advert to these 
sources in a general manner. 

Many suppose that the Gospel of Matthew is a compila- 
tion, and that Matthew's name is attached to it because he 
wrote a section so important that his name passed from that 
to the whole ; an opinion which we shall afterwards consider. 
The sources of Matthew's Gospel, according to our hypothesis, 
are the Gospel of Mark, the sayings or discourses of our 
Lord either handed down by tradition or in written fragments, 
and Matthew's own personal observation as an apostle, and his 
communications with his fellow apostles — of those who were 
" eye-witnesses and ministers of the word." 

Papias, on the authority of John the Presbyter, informs 
us that Mark, being the interpreter of Peter, wrote down 
whatever he (Peter) remembered of the things said or done 
by Christ : nor is there any reason to discredit this statement, 
as it is confirmed and attested by the Fatliers. But, besides 
the oral teaching of Peter, the general oral tradition of the 
Church would form another source of Mark's Gospel. Mark 
appears to have been a native of Jerusalem, and to have 
been intimately connected with the apostolic Church. 

Luke, in his preface, informs us how his Gospel was 

^ The most remarkable of these found in the Epistles of Paul are 
1 Cor. ii. 9, vii. 10, ix. 10 ; Eph. v. 14 ; 1 Thess. iv. 15 ; 1 Tim. v. 18. 


composed. He used his utmost diligence in the collection 
of authentic facts and sayings of our Lord, " tracing the 
course of all things accurately from the first." One of the 
documents which he would employ was the Gospel of Mark. 
He would, no doubt, make a careful selection of the evangelical 
fragments in circulation containmg the sayings of Christ. 
He might have learned the account of the birth of our Lord 
either from the brothers of Christ, or it may be from Mary 
herself. His intercourse with Paul, and perhaps his residence 
in Judaea during Paul's imprisonment in Ctesarea, afforded 
him exceptional opportunities of ascertaining the incidents in 
our Lord's life. And perhaps also there was an additional 
narrative or document to which he had access, the so-called 
great insertion or Peraean section (Luke ix. 51-xviii. 14), 
which does not appear to have been used by the other two 

The subject is still beset with difficulties ; there are still 
many points not ascertained or settled ; many objections to 
which no satisfactory answers have been given. Especially 
the relation of Mark's Gospel to the Gospels of Matthew 
and Luke requires to be more closely examined. We reject 
the theories of an Ur-Matthseus and an Ur-Marcus as not 
supported by the statements of the Fathers, and in themselves 
improbable. And with regard to the statement of Papias, we 
do not think that it refers to a previous Mark, or to a 
document containing a collection of the sayings of Christ 
by Matthew, but to the canonical Gospels of Matthew and 
Mark then existing, and which came under his notice. At 
the same time, we must leave the question concerning the 
sources of the Synoptic Gospels in a considerable measure 
unanswered, but we look hopefully forward to a satisfactory 
solution by future critics. 

VI. Interpretation of the Synoptic Gospels. 

In the interpretation of the Synoptic Gospels, as of all 
other ancient writings, the first prerequisite is to secure 
as correct a text as the nature of the case will permit. 
For the attainment of this we have the greatest advantages. 


The materials for forming such a text are numerous : there 
are more than two thousand manuscripts of the Greek New 
Testament, besides numerous versions and quotations from 
patristic writings. Eminent scholars have expended much 
labour in a critical examination of these materials, and have 
published carefully studied critical editions of the Greek 
Testament. Griesbach arranged the different manuscripts into 
families, and formed a new text on the basis of the textus 
receiJtus} Lachmann advanced a step farther, by forming a new 
text from the most ancient manuscripts, giving no preference 
to the textus receptus, and thus made it his object to restore 
the text to the state m which it was in the fourth century.^ 
Tischendorf, by the discovery of numerous manuscripts, especi- 
ally the Codex Sinaiticus, and by the collation of the most 
important, formed a text which may be regarded as perfect as 
can possibly be made, almost a restoration of the originals.^ 
Tregelles, in our own country, carefully collected additional 
manuscripts, and published a Greek Testament, vying in 
accuracy with the editions of those illustrious German scholars.* 
And Westcott and Hort, profiting by the labours of their 
great predecessors, conjointly published a critical edition,^ 
which by many is considered as a standard work, almost 
rendering all additional research unnecessary, unless new 
materials for examination should be discovered. The result 
of these investigations has been thus stated by Dr. Hort, in 
terms certainly not too strongly expressed : " In the variety 
and fulness of the evidence on which it rests, the text of the 
New Testament stands absolutely and unapproachably alone 
among ancient prose writings." '^ 

* Griesbach, Novum Testamentum grcece, Londini, 1818. 

2 Lacliniann's Novum Testamentum grcece et latine, Berlin, 1832. 

* Tischendorf, Novum Testamentum grcece, editio sejitima, Leipsic, 
1889 ; editio octava, 1873. 

* Tregelles, The Greek New Testament, edited from ancient authorities 
with their various readings in full, London, 1857-1879. 

^ The Neio Testament in the original Greek. The text revised by Dr. 
Westcott and Dr. Hort. By the recent death of Dr. Hort, the Church of 
England lost one of its ablest scholars, and one of the most amiable of men. 

" The manuscripts of the New TesUiment are divided into two classes, 
those written in uncial characters, which are the most ancient, and those 


Having obtained a correct text, the next task is to trans- 
late it. Whatever modification the element of inspiration 
may necessitate in giving to the text a higher and more 
spiritual meaning, yet, in the first instance, the ordinary 
methods of interpretation must be employed to ascertain its 
literal sense. As the late Professor Jowett observes : " Inter- 
pret the Scripture like any other book. There are many respects 
in which Scripture is unlike any other book ; these will appear 
in the results of such an interpretation. The first step is to 
know the meaning, and this can only be done in the same 
careful and impartial way that we ascertain the meaning of 
Sophocles or of Plato." " Scripture is to be interpreted like 
other books, with attention to the character of its authors 
and the prevailing state of civilisation and knowledge, with 
allowance for peculiarities of style and language, and modes 
of thought and figures of speech." ^ 

written in cursive characters, which are the most recent. No manuscript has 
been discovered older than the fourth century. Of ancient manuscrijits there 
are five which have pre-eminence on account of their age and the consequent 
value of their readings ; these are the Codex Sinaiticus (s), discovered by 
Tischendorf, and now in St. Petersburg ; the Codex Alexandrinus (A), 
now in the British Museum ; the Codex Vaticanus (B), now in the 
Vatican ; the Codex Ephrsem (C), a palimpsist, containing fragments of 
the New Testament, now in the Imperial Library of Paris ; and the 
Codex Bezae, now in the University Library of Cambridge. Perhaps 
Westcott and Hort, in their critical edition, have ranked too highly the 
Sinaiticus and the Vaticanus to the disparagement of the Codex Alexan- 
drinus. The cursive manuscripts are much more numerous than the uncial; 
and it has been thought by Dean Burgon, Canon Cook, and others, that 
their value has been underestimated, and an undue preference given to the 
uncial, inasmuch as many of these cursive manuscripts are doubtless 
transcripts of older manuscripts than any which we possess ; but as it is 
impossible to prove this, the only course left open to us is to form 
our text chiefly from the readings of the most ancient codices. Of the 
versions of the New Testament the most valuable are the Old Latin and 
the Syriac, both of which were formed about the middle of the second 
century, and thus contain readings older than those of our oldest Greek 
manuscripts. The quotations from the Fathers are for critical purposes 
of inferior value, unless on those rare occasions when a peculiar reading 
is mentioned, because most of these quotations were made from memory. 

^ Jowett's essay on the Interpretation of Scripture in Essays and 
Reviews, 8th ed. pp. 377, 404. The whole essay is well worthy of a 
careful perusal ; some of the statements are of doubtful tendency. 


The result of all these scholarly investigations has in our 
age been the publication of the Revised Version, a work which 
occupied for several years the attention of the most distin- 
guished biblical scholars, both of this country and of America. 
It has not, it must be admitted, answered the expectations 
either of those engaged on it or of its admirers. The 
Authorised Version has not, as was fondly expected, been 
superseded by it, nor are there any symptoms of this ever 
being the case ; yet it is a great gain to Christians in our 
country, and a great advantage to biblical scholars. The 
translation possesses the weight of authority. It is formed 
on the most approved text, the nearest approach that has 
yet been made to the original, and hence several passages 
which are inserted in the Authorised Version are now, after a 
careful examination of authorities, regarded as interpolations, 
and a few which were omitted are now inserted as genuine. 
The chief omissions are the doxology to the conclusion of the 
Lord's Prayer (Matt. vii. 13), and the testimony of the 
heavenly witnesses (1 John v. V); in 1 Tim. iii. 16, He 
is substituted for God ; whilst the incident of the woman 
taken in adultery (John viii. 1-11), and the concluding verses 
of Mark's Gospel (Mark xvi. 9-20), are marked as doubtful. 
The additions to the Authorised text are few ; in 1 John ii. 23, 
the clause : " He that confesseth the Son hath the Father also," 
is no longer printed in italics, as if it were doubtful. The 
translation is also distinguished for its accuracy ; and thus 
many obscure passages are elucidated, and many misapprehen- 
sions corrected. The great fault of the Eevised Version is that 
it often departs unnecessarily from the fine old English of the 
Authorised Version, which has endeared itself to the hearts of 
the people, and has had almost a sanctity imparted to it. 
Some of the alterations are also of doubtful advantage, as the 
substitution of " the evil one " for " evil " in the petition in 
the Lord's Prayer : " Deliver us from evil." 

A number of words used in the Synoptic Gospels may 
be considered as translations either from the Hebrew or 
from the Aramaic. We have already alluded to the 
hypothesis of a Hebrew or Aramaic Gospel, advanced by 
Professor Marshall and Eesch, as one of the main sources 


of the Synoptics.^ Bvit although we do not think that there 
is much or any ground for this hypothesis, yet we have the 
testimony of Papias, followed by many of the early Fathers, 
that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew. This important 
statement will afterwards be considered ; but, if we admit its 
truth, it follows that the Gospel of Matthew, as we now 
have it, is a translation from Aramaic or Hebrew into Greek. 
There may also have been Gospel-fragments in Hebrew used 
by all three evangelists. If this is the case, it would account 
for many verbal variations which occur in the Synoptics, in 
describing the same events and recording the same discourses. 
As already observed, it never happens that two translators 
of a passage use precisely the same words ; and this is 
especially the case when translating from the Hebrew and 
Aramaic, owing to the peculiarities of these languages with 
regard to their vocalisation ; the omission or change of vowel 
points, which are of comparatively recent origin, occasions a 
variation of meaning. 

On account of its importance, we repeat what has already 
been said in our Introduction to the Pauline Epistles, that an 
essential prerequisite for the interpretation of Scripture, and 
of the Synoptic Gospels in particular, is candour. This is a 
quality in which many biblical scholars and exegetes are 
sadly deficient. From sectarian or doctrinal bias we are apt 
to err in this particular, and to come to the study of the 
Synoptic Gospels with preconceived opinions, and seek to 
read into them our doctrinal views. This is especially seen 
in the numerous and conflicting interpretations which are 
given to the Sermon on the Mount.^ We must reverse 
the process, and come to the study of the Scriptures 
as much as possible without prepossession ; not asserting 
dogmatically that such must be the meaning of a passage 
because such are the views we have adopted ; but that 
such are our views, because such is the obvious meaning of 

1 See supra, p. 60. 

2 Besides tlie interpretations given in the diflferent commentaries, the 
reader is especially referred to the suggestive views of Count Tolstoi. 

^ Introduction to the Pauline Epistles, p. 54. 


Another prerequisite for the interpretation of the Syn- 
optic Gospels is to put ourselves as much as possible in 
the times when these Gospels were written. We must 
acquire a knowledge of the circumstances of tlie times, of 
the political condition of Judaea, of the opinions of the 
various parties into which the Jews were divided, — the 
Pharisees and the Sadducees, — and of the feelings which 
actuated the mass of the people. We must try and under- 
stand the disposition of the Jews toward Christ ; His 
popularity with the people at first, and its gradual decline ; 
and the reason of the hostility of the chief rulers which 
culminated in His death.^ We must, with the spirit of a 
historian, live over in thought that period. " If," says 
Cardinal Wiseman, " we wish to understand an author, we 
must transplant ourselves from our age and country, and 
place ourselves in the posture of those whom our Saviour 
addressed. We must invest ourselves with their knowledge, 
their feelings, habits, opinions, if we wish to understand the 
discourses which were addressed primarily and immediately 
to them. For the true meaning of a word or phrase is that 
which was attached to it at the time when the person whom 
we interpret wrote or spoke." 

It has been objected, that if the evangelists had not 
written their Gospels independently, but either used each 
other's Gospel, or incorporated other written documents, or 
had recourse to oral traditions ; especially if there were 
original Gospels, now lost, tliat lay at the foundation of our 
canonical Gospels, they cannot be considered as inspired; 
the evangelists are left entirely to the use of their own 
mental powers, and in many respects are mere compilers. 
" The inspiration of the Gospels," says ]\Ir. Sadler, " is incom- 
patible witli tlie theory that they were all taken from one 
document, for in such a case that unknown and lost docu- 
ment must liave been the only one tliat could be called 
the work of the Spirit ; and the alterations which each one 
made in it, which their mutual discrepancies show, prove 

1 See especially on this point the great and exhaustive work of 
Schiirer, The Jewish People in the Time of Christ ; also Hausrath's History 
of the New Testament Times : The Time of Jesus. 


that in altering it they individually were not so far guided 
by the Holy Spirit." ^ 

It is foreign to an Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels 
to enter into any discussion of inspiration, either in proof of 
its truth or in explanation of its nature and extent ; this 
belongs to the sphere of dogmatic theology. The inspiration 
of the Grospels does not affect the mode of interpretation, nor 
the consideration of the sources from which they were 
derived. The Gospel-fragments, used by the evangelists, or 
incorporated into their writings, may have been inspired 
documents ; of course of this we have no direct evidence, 
except that which arises from the nature of their contents. 
Luke, for example, in his preface, indicates that he had 
access to several traditionary accounts or written documents, 
and among them might be the Gospel of Mark and these 
Gospel-fragments. The Holy Spirit might influence him 
in the choice of his materials, and might guide and direct 
him to what was true and important. Our Lord, on the eve 
of His departure, promised the gift of mspiration to His 
apostles. The Holy Spirit was to enlighten their minds in 
the knowledge of the truth, to guide them into all truth, 
to show them things to come, to reveal those " many things " 
which Christ had not disclosed, and to assist them in their 
apologies before kings and rulers. " These things have I 
spoken unto you, while yet abiding with you. But the 
Comforter, even the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send 
in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring to your 
remembrance all that I have said unto you " (John xiv. 
25, 26). "When He, the Spirit of truth, is come. He shall 
guide you into all truth : for He shall not speak from Him- 
self ; but what things soever He shall hear, these shall He 
speak : and He shall declare unto you the things that are to 
come" (John xvi. 13). The Fathers repeatedly assert the 
inspiration of the sacred writers. Tertullian speaks of them as 
having their minds flooded with the Holy Spirit ; ^ and Origen 
affirms that the sacred books are not the works of men, but 
were written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.^ 

1 QuoLed in Salmon's Introduction to the N.T. p. 156, note. - Apol. 18. 
3 De Princif. iv. 9. It is difficult, if not impossible, to define the 


It has, however, been asserted that there are discrepancies 
in the Synoptic Gospels of such a nature as disprove their 
inspiration. Whether these discrepancies exist is one question ; 
and whether, granting their existence, they are of such a 
character as to disprove the inspiration of the Gospels, is 
another. We have already admitted, what is indeed un- 
deniable, that there are great differences in the Gospels, 
especially in those of Matthew and Luke, in their narratives 
of the birth of our Lord, of His sufferings and death, and of 
His resurrection ; and we have dwelt upon these differences 
in considering the nature of the Synoptic problem. But 
many of these differences are not inaccuracies or discrep- 
ancies, but additions to the history or variations in the state- 
ment of the same incidents seen from different points of view.^ 
It is also to be observed that there may have been a repeti- 
tion of the same incidents. Thus to take a notable example : 
we learn from Matthew and Mark that there were two occasions 
on which our Lord miraculously fed the multitude, with points 
of similarity and dissimilarity in the accounts, whilst only 
one of these instances is recorded by Luke. Now, supposing 
that Matthew and Mark had only recorded one of those 
miracles, the feeding of the four thousand, whilst the other 
miracle, the feeding of the five thousand, was only recorded by 
Luke, it would be asserted that there were numerous discrep- 
ancies in the accounts of the evangelists ; the one account 
asserting the number of those fed to be four tliousand, and 
the other five thousand ; according to the one the supply of 
food was seven loaves, according to the other four loaves and 
two fishes ; the fragments gathered, according to one narra- 
tive, were seven baskets full, and according to the other, 
twelve baskets. Whereas all these discrepancies are at once 

nature of iusi)ii'ation ; and hence in confe.s.sions of faith, Avhilst the inspira- 
tion of Scrii)ture is asserted, it is generally left unexplained. It implies 
that the sacred writers were infhienced by the S])irit of God. But this 
general assertion does not admit of being iiarticularised. See Sanday's 
Bam'pton Lectures on " Insi)iration," pp. 31 ff.; Row's Bampton Lectures, 
pp. 443-448. 

1 For the consideration of these dill'erences in the Synoptic Gospels 
the reader is referred to the various commentaries, especially these of 
Meyer, Godet, Alford, Morison, M'Clellan, etc. 


removed and disappear by the information we possess, that 
our Lord fed the multitude, not on a single, but on two occa- 
sions. A similar solution may solve other difficulties ; as, for 
example, in the case of the anointing of our Lord ; one 
anointing is related by Luke (vii. 36—40), and another by 
Matthew (xxvi. 6, 7) and Mark (xiv. 3). Both agree in the 
facts that the person who anointed was a woman, and that the 
name of the person in whose house it occurred was Simon, 
one of the most common Jewish names. But in all other 
particulars they differ essentially ; the one occurred during 
the course of our Lord's ministry in Gralilee, the other in 
Bethany shortly before His passion ; in the one case the 
woman was a penitent sinner, in the other she was the 
saintly Mary, the sister of Lazarus. All these differences 
disappear on the reasonable supposition that the anointing 
occurred on two different occasions. So also there is nothing 
improbable in the supposition that the disciples twice dis- 
puted among themselves which of them should be the greatest 
(Luke ix. 46, xxii. 24); and that our Lord twice purified the 
temple by casting out the buyers and sellers, once at the 
beginning (John ii. 13-17), and a second time at the close 
of His ministry (Matt. xxi. 12, 13). Many of the sayings 
of our Lord might have been repeated, as they partook of the 
nature of proverbial expressions, as " He that humbleth him- 
self shall be exalted ; and he that exalteth himself shall be 
humbled" (Luke xiv. 11, xviii. 14). "Whosoever shall save 
his life shall lose it " (Luke ix. 24, xvii. 33). So also much of 
the Sermon on the Mount may have been twice repeated, 
and our Lord may have given to His disciples on two occa- 
sions a similar form of prayer.^ The alleged discrepancies 
in the Gospels are greatly diminished in number by these 
considerations, and the differences which do still exist are 
proofs of the comparative independence of the writers ; 

^ In Matthew's Gospel, the Lord's Prayer constitutes part of 
the Sermon on the Mount, whilst in Luke's Gospel our Lord is 
represented as giving it in answer to the request of the disciples to 
instruct them in the mode of prayer (Luke xi. 1). There are also 
considerable verbal variations in the two forms. See on doublets in the 
Gospels, swpra, p. 37. 


indeed, the marvel is that so few alleged discrepancies 

There is one incident, however, which requires special 
consideration owing to the extreme difficulty of harmonising 
the accounts. We allude to the incident of the cure of the 
blind man at Jericho, as given by all three evangelists 
(Matt. XX. 29-34; Mark x. 46-52; Luke xviii. 35-43). 
In tlie accounts given there is a twofold variation as regards 
the number of those cured, and as regards the locality 
where the miracle was performed. Matthew affirms that 
there were two men,^ whilst Mark and Luke seem to intimate 
that there was only one. Luke tells us that the cure was 
performed as our Lord entered Jericho, whilst Matthew and 
Mark say that it happened when He departed from Jericho. 
The attempted solutions of these discrepancies have hitherto 
been forced and unnatural, mere evasions of the difficulty. 
M'Clellan supposes that as our Lord entered Jericho two 
blind men sat by the wayside begging, but made no applica- 
tion ; and, on the next day, when our Lord was departing, 
they cried out, " Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us!" 
and were cured ; ^ which is certainly at variance with the 
account given us by Luke. Greswell supposes that two 
miracles were performed in Jericho, but at different times 
and on different individuals ; that Mark relates one of the 
miracles performed when Jesus was departing from Jericho, 
and Luke relates the other as Jesus was entering Jericho, 
and that Matthew embraces both cures in one narrative.* 
But the language employed by the blind men and our Lord, 
as recorded by all the evangelists, was the same, thus 
indicatmg that the miracle was the same. Surely it is 

^ Other apparent discrepancies, as the genealogies, the census of 
Quirinius, the prophecy of Zechariah referred to Jeremiah, are discussed 
farther on. The diflerence between the Synoptics and St. John as to 
the day of our Lord's death is di.scussed in the Introduction to the 
Joh(innine Writiwjs. 

2 In Matthew's Gospel the nunilxT cured is oftt'n douliled : as here 
the two blind men at Jericho, tlie two demoniacs at Gadara (Matt. viii. 28), 
the two lilind men at Capernaum (Matt. ix. 27). 

3 M'Clellan's New Testament, vol. i. p. 467. 
■♦ Greswell's Dissertations, vol. ii. p. 569. 


better frankly to admit the discrepancy than to have 
recourse to such forced methods of conciliation. There 
may be some method of reconciliation of which we are 
ignorant, owing to the scantiness of our information. Even 
admitting the discrepancy, it is evidently of a slight nature, 
and does not at all affect the principal fact, that a miracle 
of healing was performed at Jericho.^ 

It is an obvious remark, that in interpreting any writing 
there must be a certain sympathy between the reader and 
the writing : a poetical spirit can only understand and 
appreciate poetry ; a mathematical mind can only solve the 
problems of mathematics ; a philosophical mind can only 
follow the discussions of metaphysicians ; an historical mind 
can only fully enter into the great political and social 
questions of the age. This is especially the case with the 
interpretation of the Scriptures : the word of God can only 
be truly understood by a religious mind. There must be an 
inspiration within us, an indwelling of the Holy Spirit, to 
correspond with the inspiration of the Scriptures without us. 
In this sense we may understand the words of the apostle : 
" The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of 
God : for they are foolishness unto him ; and he cannot know 
them, because they are spiritually judged" (1 Cor. ii. 14). 
In order, then, to interpret the Synoptic Gospels aright, to 
fathom the depth of their meaning, to grasp the fulness of 
spiritual truth which they contain, we must have spiritual 
discernment : we must feel the truth in our hearts." 

The Synoptic Gospels to the religious mind possess 
internal evidences of their inspiration ; they bear impressed 
upon them the mark of their supernatural origin. The 

^ See on this subject some excellent remarks by Row, Bampton Lectures, 
pp. 472, 473. Tatian mentions only one blind man, Bartimoeus, who was 
cured when Jesus was departing from Jericho. 

2 The Scriptures address themselves not so nuich to man's rational 
nature, the ypv^vl, as to man's spiritual nature, the ttusv/hu. We require the 
assistance of a higher spirit than our own, even the Spirit of God, the 
great Inspirer, to understand His word ; we miist be in sympathy with the 
great Author. There is great truth in Neander's famous adage : Pectus 
est quod theologum facit. See some excellent remarks on Insj^iratiou in 
the IFestminster Confession, ch. i. 5. 



discourses recorded in them are the words of One who spoke 
as never man spoke. The parables of our Lord, for example, 
are full of inspiration. Those wonderful discourses, linking 
the world of spirit with the world of matter, transfiguring 
with a divine glory the phenomena of nature, at once so 
simple and so profound, so natural and so supernatural, so 
many-sided, awakening a response, not merely in the hearts 
of those to whom they were primarily addressed, but in the 
heart of humanity, are revelations of the Spirit of God. 

So also that wonderful discourse of our Lord to which 
we have already adverted, the so-called Sermon on the 
Mount, whether we consider it as given on a single occasion 
in one discourse as is recorded in Matthew's Gospel, or 
whether we consider it as given in detached portions on 
different occasions as related in Luke's Gospel, has been 
almost universally acknowledged to bear upon itself the 
impress of inspiration.^ It is the most wonderfully inspired 
discourse that ever was uttered. It is the revelation of the 
laws of the Gospel — not the destruction, but the fulfilment 
and completion of the law — rescuing it from the formal 
interpretation of the scribes and Pharisees, bringing its 
precepts to bear upon the heart, declaring that it relates 
not to outward actions, but to the disposition. It is the 
inauguration of the kingdom of God. There was doubtless, 
after the completion of our Lord's work by His death and 
resurrection, and after His departure from the world, a 
subsequent development of Christianity by the apostles ; but 
the germs are found in this discourse ; it is tlie fountain 
from which all subsequent streams of spiritual truth liave 
issued. Plato and Socrates never uttered truths so profound, 
so living, so transforming, so universal in their application, 
as those given in this discourse by Jesus of Nazareth. 

' In all })rol)iibility the large portion of it given hy Luke, the so- 
called Sermon on the Plain (Luke vi. 20-49), is identical with the occasion 
when the Sermon on the Mount was delivered. The circumstances 
attending both discourses are similar, there being in both cases multi- 
tudes of liearers from Galilee and Judica and from beyond Jordan ; and 
the time w-hen they were spoken appears to coincide. So Stroud, 
Thohick, Ewald, Alford, Wordsworth, Westcott, M'Clellan, and Ellicott. 
See supra, p. 39. 


It has been maintained that the Sermon on the Mount 
and the other discourses and parables of our Lord contained in 
the Synoptics form the main truths of Christianity — the funda- 
mentals of the religion'of Jesus. We have been, it is said, too 
long deriving our Christianity from the teaching of Paul, we 
must return to the Christianity of Christ. We must draw 
the living water, not from the stream, but from the fountain- 
head. On all sides the cry is : " Back to Christ ! " ^ It is 
from His teaching, as recorded in the Synoptic Gospels 
chiefly, that we derive our knowledge of the way of salvation. 
Even the Gospel of John, long regarded as " the spiritual 
Gospel," as disclosing the heart of Jesus, must, it is said, yield 
the palm to the Synoptics, and occupy a secondary place. 
" The heart of the man Jesus in its rich fulness of grace and 
spiritual truth, is more adequately shown in the first three 
Gospels than in the fourth.^ And with regard to the Epistles 
of Paul, the view of Christianity, as there exhibited, must be 
regarded as inferior to the revelation in the Synoptic Gospels. 
" Paul's point of view is individual ; Christ's is social." " It 
is the business of theology to determine the affinities between 
the Galilean and the Pauline Gospels, but it is the privilege 
of religious faith to enter into life by the door which Jesus 
has opened, without stopping to inquire whether Paul's key fits . 
the lock. The words of Jesus are ' words of eternal life,' and 
no truth not spoken by Him can be essential to salvation, how- 
ever helpful for upbuilding in faith." ^ Even with regard to 
the death of Christ, whilst Paul insists on it as the great 
atonement for sin, yet he has not " presented in all its aspects 
the meaning of Christ's death ; he has not taught with breadth 
and emphasis the precious doctrine of Christ's temptations 
and priestly sympathy." ^ 

Now this exaltation of the Sermon on the Mount and 

1 Bruce, The Kingdom of God, p. 329. See also this thought developed 
in Principal Fairbairn's recent suggestive work, Christ in Modern Tlieology. 

2 Bruce's Apologetics, pp. 485-490. See, on the contrary, Tholuck's 
Sermon on the Mount, trans, p. 35 ; here he states : " In the further 
development of Rationalism, the ground it took was most jilainly 
indicated by its preference of the Epistle of St. James to those of St. Paul, 
and of the Sermon on the Mount to the Gospel of St. John." 

3 Bruce's Afologetics, pp. 427, 428. ■* Ihid. pp. 426, 427. 


the Synoptic discourses above other parts of Scripture, 
appears to us erroneous. Most certainly the teachmg of 
Christ is of primary importance ; but it did not contain the 
full revelation, it was necessarily of a preparatory character. 
Jesus Himself said : " I have yet many things to say unto 
you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the 
Spu'it of truth, is come, He shall guide you into all the truth " 
(John xvi. 12, 13). The apostles during the life of their 
Lord were not capable of receiving the full revelation of 
salvation ; the atoning nature of the death of Christ could 
not be fully declared until Christ had died and the atone- 
ment had actually been made : the Holy Spirit was not 
given until Jesus was glorified (John vii. 39). He by His 
teaching laid the foundation of the spiritual temple, but the 
apostles under the guidance of the Holy Spirit were the 
instruments employed in rearing the superstructure. Paul 
and the other sacred writers unfolded truths which Jesus 
had only revealed in part. They explained the way of 
salvation more distinctly ; the agency and work of the Holy 
Spirit was not clearly made known until the outpouring of 
His influences on the day of Pentecost. 

The three Synoptic Gospels have their distinctive peculi- 
arities. There are properly not three Gospels, but one Gospel 
under different aspects. It is one Person who is described ; 
they contain memorabilia of Christ. They are three photo- 
graphs of one original, shown in different lights, and placed 
in different positions. Yet there is no unvaried uniformity ; 
the characteristics of each writer are impressed upon his 
writing : there is no slavish copying of one from the other : 
inspiration does not obliterate the personality of the evan- 
gelists. Matthew, writing to the Jews, dwells upon Jesus 
as the Messiah ; he heaps proof upon proof that the prophecies 
of the Old Testament were fulfilled in Him ; he does not 
dwell so much as the other evangelists on the incidents of 
our Lord's life, but groups His discourses and gives them in 
a compact form : he imparts to us the teaching of Him who 
came to redeem Israel and establish the kingdom of God. 
Mark, writing perhaps to the Ivomans, dwells upon Jesus as 
the Imperator, the great King of men, the Son of God : he 


dwells chiefly on His miracles and less on His discourses ; he 
writes with the freshness of an eye-witness, and gives graphic 
and lifelike descriptions of the incidents he records. Luke 
dwells on the human nature of Jesus : he discloses His 
divine compassion and condescension ; he describes Him, not 
so much as the Son of David, but as the Son of Man; he 
indicates the universality of His mission, and reveals Him as 
the Saviour, not of the Jews merely, but of the world, as the 
Friend and Eedeemer of the human race.^ 

VII. The Harmony of the Gospels. 

It is natural to endeavour to arrange the statements of the 
three evangelists into a harmony ; to represent the life of Christ 
as a unity. This was attempted at a very early period. Many 
suppose that Justin Martyr (a.d. 150) in quoting from the 
Gospels, as the memorials of Christ, used a harmony. It is 
certain that shortly afterwards (a.d. 160) Tatian drew up his 
celebrated Diatessaron, or the four Gospels in one (evayyiXiov 
Bta Twv reaadpcov)} He was followed by Ammonius 
(dpfioviov, a.d. 230) and Augustine (De consensu evangelist- 
arum). Calvin drew up a harmony of the Gospels in a 
liberal manner, making full allowance for their variations : 
according to him, in Matthew the greatest attention is paid 
to consecutive order ; in Luke, the least. Osiander in his 
Harmonia evangeliorum proceeded on an entirely different 
principle. His dogmatic assumption was that as the evan- 
gelists were inspired, the discourses of Jesus, when there was 
any considerable difference, must have been repeated, and His 
actions must have been related in the exact order in which they 
occurred ; hence the same events were represented as having 

1 For tlie distinctive peculiarities of the Gospels, see EUicott's Hulsean 
Lectures on the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, Lecture V. ; Westcott's 
Introductio7i to the Study of the Gospels, pp. 308-313 ; Fairbairn's Christ in 
Modern Theology, pp. 334-338. 

2 We have now (1894) the great advantage of perusing the Diatessaron 
of Tatian in a translation from the Arabic, and have to exjiress our high 
admiration of it. As a harmony it is not inferior to many of modern 


happened twice or even three tiines.^ Modern harmonies 
of the Gospels are exceedingly numerous, and some of them 
of great value. Greswell's Dissertations 7(po7i the priiicijyles 
and arrangement of the Harmony of the Gospels^ contain matter 
of high importance, well deserving of attentive study. 
Stroud, arranging the Gospels in parallel columns, formed 
out of them a combined Greek text.^ Wieseler's Synojms of 
the Four Gospels,'^ is chiefly a series of important discussions 
on the chronology of our Lord's life. The value of Paisli- 
brooke's Synojiticon has already been adverted to.^ 

But the question meets us : Is a harmony of the Syn- 
optic Gospels possible ? If the evangelists do not follow a 
chronological order, how can we draw up a harmony of their 
accounts ? Alford denies this possibility, and asserts that all 
attempts at arrangement are fruitless labours. The endeavours 
of harmonists to force into agreement the different accounts, 
he asserts, have been most prejudicial, and have given occa- 

^ Schaff asserts that according to Osiander, Peter's wife's mother was 
healed three times. 

2 Published at Oxford, 1830. 

^ Stroud's Greek Harmony of the Four Gos'pels, London, 1853. This is 
a work of great labour and erudition. There is a long introduc- 
tion or dissertation of 216 pages. Stroud was not a clergyman, but a 

•* Translated by Venables, Cambridge, 1864. 

^ We giv^e a list of the principal Harmonies of the Gosjiels given 
alphabetically : Anger's Synopsis Evawjelioruni ; Bengel's Richtiye Harmnnie 
dcr vier Evawjelien, Tubingen, 1736; Calvin on the Gospels; Camiibell, Dr. 
Colin, Greek of the Three First Gospels, Glasgow, 1882 ; Caspari's Life of 
Christ, trans. T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1876 ; Chemnitz, Harmonia 
qiuttuor Evamjelistarum, Hamburg, 1704 ; Credner's Einleitung, pp. 161 ff.; 
Doddridge's Family Expositor ; Greswell's Harmonia Evamjelicn, Oxford, 
1840 ; Griesbach, Synopsis Evanycliorum, Halle, 1776 ; Lightfoot's 
Harmony, Ltjndon, 1655 ; Macknight's Harmony of the Gospels, London, 
T7G3; Micluelis, Introduction, translated ])y Marsh, vol. iv. pp. 40-84 ; 
M'Clellan's New Testament, pp. 539-621 ; Newcome, Harmony of the 
Gospels, Dublin, 1778 ; Ilulunson, Harmony of the Four Gospeh, Boston, 
1848; Rcjcdiger's Synopsis Evamjeliorum, Halle, 1739; Rushbrooke's 
Synopticon, London, 1880 ; Stroud's Greek Harmony of the Gospels, London, 
1853; Tischendorf's Synopsis Evawjclica, Leipzig, 1851; Thomson (Arch- 
Ijishop), Table of the Harmony of the Gospels in Smith's Didioimry of the 
Bible ; article, " The Gospels " ; Wieseler's Vhronoloyische Sympisis der vier 
Evawjelien, Hamburg, 1843. 


sion to objections to the Gospel narrative.^ But although a 
minute harmony, embracing details, is perhaps impossible, yet 
there is a general harmony ; the great events of our Lord's 
life can be arranged in the order of their occurrence, although 
the subordinate events cannot. Luke, in his preface, states 
that having traced the course of all things accurately from 
the first, he intended to write them in order (/ca^e^?}?) ; but 
this order is only generally maintained. On the other hand, 
Papias declares that Mark followed Peter, who adapted his 
teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of 
giving a connected account of our Lord's discourses {ov^ oxrirep 
avvra^Lv twv KvpiaKwv iroLov^evo'i \6<y(ov).^ The allusion 
here may be only to our Lord's discourses, and not to the 
incidents of His life ; for it is now generally admitted that 
the order observed in Mark's Gospel is the most trustworthy. 
Whilst, then, it cannot be maintained universally that the 
order of events, as given in harmonies, is chronologically 
correct, yet there is an undisputed order in which many 
particulars are recorded. The baptism of John inaugurated 
the ministry of our Lord, then follows an account of His 
missionary journeys through Galilee, with the two great 
crises in His life, the confession of His Messiahship by His 
apostles, and His transfiguration ; then His entrance into 
Jerusalem, and the account of His passion. The record of the 
six days which intervened between His entrance into 
Jerusalem and His death, can be so drawn up that the events 
of each day can be recorded with extreme probability.^ 

Until our Lord's last visit to Jerusalem, the Synoptic 
Gospels are restricted to His ministry in Galilee. The time 
occupied in that ministry is not stated, and hence the 
arrangement of these Gospels is not according to time, but 
according to the special missionary journeys through Galilee. 
It would appear from these Gospels that three circuits of 

1 Alford's Greek Testament, ch. i. § vii., " The practicability of con- 
structing a formal harmony of the three Gospels." 

2 He also says that he wrote down accurately, but not in order 

3 Definite marks of time and place are seldom given ; the particles of 
transition are in general indefinite ; and it is only rarely that a con- 
nected series of events is recorded. 


Galilee are mentioned, each of them proceeding from and 
returning to Capernaum. The first circuit was at the 
commencement of the ministry, and is recorded by all the 
evangelists. They tell us that Jesus went about in all 
Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, and preaching the gospel 
of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all 
manner of disease among the people (Matt. iv. 23 ; Mark i. 
35-39 ; Luke iv. 42-44). It was at the close of this 
circuit that the Sermon on the Mount was delivered. The 
second circuit is most fully recorded in Luke's Gospel, where 
we read that " afterwards He went through cities and villages 
preaching and bringing the good tidings of the kingdom 
of God," accompanied by the women of Galilee, who 
ministered unto Him of their substance (Luke viii. 1-3). It 
was during this journey that He commenced teaching the 
people by means of parables. The third circuit is mentioned 
by Matthew and Mark in language precisely similar to the 
statement of the first circuit : '' Jesus went through all the 
cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching 
the gospel of the kingdom" (Matt. ix. 35-38; Mark vi. 6). 
It was during this journey that He twice performed the 
miracle of feeding the multitude, and sent forth His apostles 
to pave the way for His mission ; then also the confession of 
His Messiahship by the apostles and the Transfiguration 
occurred. Greswell remarks that there are " clear evidences 
of three general, and, at least, two partial circuits — the two 
last of the general and each of the partial within the compass 
of the same year, and the first of the general during the six 
months of the year before." ^ A harmony of the Synoptic 
Gospels may be drawn up according to these three circuits and 
the events stated, which probably occurred during each of 

If, however, the Fourth Gospel is taken into account, 
then the harmony of the Gospels must proceed upon a 
different principle — not according to the circuits in Galilee, 
but according to the order of time. From John's Gospel we 

^ Greswell's Dissertations, vol. ii. jJ. 343. See also for tlie missionary 
journeys of Jesus in Galilee, and starting from Capernaum, Halcomb, 

IVhat think ye of the Gospels 1 pp. 48 ff. 


learn that our Lord's ministry must have extended over two 
to three years, as three Passovers are mentioned (John ii. 13, 
vi. 3, 4, xii. 1). Accordingly, harmonies have been made 
comprising the three years' ministry, stating the events which 
in all probabiHty happened in each of these years.^ This is 
a difficult task, as the only incident in John's Gospel which 
comes in contact with the ministry of our Lord, as recorded 
by the Synoptics, is the feeding of the five thousand (John vi. 
1—13), until we come to the narrative of the Passion. Most 
of this arrangement must, of course, be conjectural. 

It is unnecessary to give a table of the harmony of the 
Gospels, as this has been so frequently done by others. If, 
as is most probable, Mark is the original Gospel, and was 
consulted by Matthew and Luke, then it is best to use the 
Gospel of Mark as the basis, and to draw up the harmony 
with the order there laid down. In this manner it is not 
difficult to group all the events recorded in the three 
Gospels (the triple narrative). We can then fill up the 
outline with the incidents recorded separately by Matthew, 
Mark, and Luke. It is probable that the great insertion in 
Luke's Gospel (Luke ix. 51-xviii. 14) is correctly termed 
the Persean Gospel, and that the incidents therein recorded 
occurred in Persea during our Lord's residence in that district, 
as stated by John, toward the close of His ministry 
(John X. 40). 

^ See esj^ecially Caspari's Clironological Introduction to the Life of 


LiTEKATUKE. — The Gospel of Matthew has been often com- 
mented on. Omitting those commentaries inchided in the 
general commentaries of the New Testament, and those 
already indicated in the Literature of the Synoptic Gospels, 
the principal commentaries are those of Alexander of Prince- 
ton College (New York, 1861); De Wette (4th ed. Leipzig, 
1857); Ewald, Die drei ersten EvaiigeUen ubersctzt und erklart 
(Gottingen, 1850); Lange (Bielefeld, 1861; English transla- 
tion by Schaff, New York, 1864); Morison (London, 1870 ; 
lasted. 1883); Meyer (6th ed. 1876; 8th ed. by Weiss, 
1890; English translation by the Eev. P. Christie, Edinburgh, 
1877); Keil (Leipzig, 1877); Mansel in Speaker's Com- 
mentavT/ (London, 1878); Plumptre (London, 1878); Kiibel 
(Munich, 1889) ; Carr in Cambridge Bible for Schools (London, 
1890). Also Tholuck's Commentary on the Sermon on the 
Mount (Hamburg, 1833; English translation, Edinburgh, 
1860); Ebrard's Gospel History (translation, Edinburgh, 
1860); Lord Arthur Hervey's Genealogies of Our Lord (Cam- 
bridge, 1883); Eobert's Discussions on the Gospels (London, 
1862); and Nicholson's Gospel according to the Hchreivs 
(London, 1879). 

L Genuineness of the Gospel. 

We have already considered the genuineness of the Syn- 
optic Gospels conjointly ; but we require to consider the testi- 
monies which relate to each Gospel separately ; and this is 
especially necessary with regard to the Gospel of Matthew, on 
account of the peculiar nature of the evidence referring to it. 



Some critics have gone the length of asserting that the 
Gospel of Matthew has scriptural attestation in its favour, 
being quoted or referred to in the Epistle of James.^ The 
similarities between that Epistle and the Sermon on the 
Mount are indeed so numerous and striking that they cannot 
escape notice.^ Out of numerous instances may be adduced 
three, in which the resemblances are most remarkable. " How- 
beit if ye fulfil the royal law according to the Scripture, 
thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well " (Jas. 
ii. 8). These words, found in Matthew's Gospel (xxii. 39), 
appear to be given as an express quotation from Scripture 
{Kara rrjv ypa(p7]v).^ " Can a fig tree, my brethren, yield 
olives? or a vine, figs?" (Jas. iii. 12), where there is a 
strong similarity to our Lord's words in the Sermon on the 
Mount (Matt. vii. 16). "But above all things, my brethren, 
swear not ; neither by the heaven nor by the earth, nor by 
any other oath : but let your yea be yea ; and your nay, nay " 
(Jas. V. 12). This prohibition against swearing appears to 
be a direct citation from the Sermon on the Mount, where 
tlie same prohibition is given in almost identical terms 
(Matt. V. 34-37). We do not, however, think that these 
and similar expressions in the Epistle of James are refer- 
ences to or citations from Matthew's Gospel. The probability 
is that the Epistle was written before the Gospel. These 
similarities may be accounted for by referring them to the 
sayings of Christ, which, either in a written or in an oral form, 
were current among the early Christians, and which, as we have 
seen, formed one of the main sources of the Synoptic Gospels. 

Th^jnost. important document bearing upon the genuine- 
ness of the Gospel of Matthew is the Didache, or " Teaching 
of the twelve apostles." This valuable document was dis- 
covered by Philotheos Bryennios in the Jerusalem monastery 
in Constantinople in 1873, and published by him in 1883.* 

1 See Scliiuid, Biblical Theology of the N.T. pp. 364-.366. 

2 Lists of these similarities are given hy Theile, Kern, Hutlier, Sclunid, 
Beyschlag, Reuss, Erdmann, Alford, Davidson, Bassett, Plumptre, and 

^ James may be here quoting from the law of Moses, Lev. xix. 18. 
■^The reader is referred to Schaff's Oldest Church Manual for an 


There can be no reasonable doubt of its genuineness. It 
was repeatedly mentioned by the early Fathers. Clemens 
A]£^^^];;[^dilnils__£uotes it as Scripture,^ and it is referred to by 
Irenaeus. Eusebius mentions it among the spurious writings.^ 
It appears to have been an early Church manual, possibly for 
the use and instruction of catechumens, describing the " two 
ways," the way of life and the way of death. It has all the 
marks of high antiquity, as there are in it no references to 
the Gnostic heresies, nor to those changes in Church orders 
which arose in the beginning of the second century.^ " The 
Didache," observes Dr. Schatf, " has the marks of the highest 
antiquity, and is one of the oldest, if not the very oldest, of 
post-apostolic writings. There is nothing in it which could 
not have been written between a.d. 70 and 100."^ It 
abounds with reminiscences of the words of Christ as given 
in Matthew's Gospel. There are at least twenty-two refer- 
ences, and several of them almost exact quotations. The 
following are the most striking references : " If anyone give 
thee a blow on the right cheek, turn to him the other also, 
and thou shalt be perfect. If anyone shall compel thee to go 
with him one mile, go with him twain. If anyone take away 
thy cloak, give him thy coat also." ^ " Baptize ye into the 
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, 

exhaustive account of the Didache ; see also Teachiwj of the Twelve 
Ajwstlcs, edited, with a transLition and notes, by Boswell D. Hitchcock 
and Francis Brown, New York, 1884. 

1 Clemens Alexaruhinus, Strom, i. 20 : " It is such a one that is called 
in Scripture (ypcc(pijg) a thief. It is therefore said : " Son, l,)e not a liar ; 
for lying leads to theft." Conq). Didaclie iii. 5 : " My cliild, become not 
a liar ; since lying leads to theft." 

^ Eusebius, Hist. Ecd. iii. 25. All tliat Eusebius probably means is 
that it was not written by the ajjostles. It is included in the Strichometry 
of Nicephorus. 

' It is a matter of dispute whether the descri^jtion of "the two ways" 
in the Epistle of Barnabas is taken from the Didache, or conversely. The 
priority of the Didache is advocated by Zahu, Funk, and Langen, and 
denied by Bryennios, Hilgenfeld, and Harnack ; whilst Bishoji Lightfoot 
and Warfield supposed that Ijoth Barnabas and the writer of the Didachd 
drew from a common source which is lost. 

* SchaflTs Oldest Church Mamcal, p. 119. 

"' Ch. i. 4; comp. Matt. v. 39-41. 


in living water." ^ " Neither pray ye as the hypocrites, but 
as the Lord commanded in His gospel. After this manner 
pray ye " ; and then follows the Lord's Prayer, including the 
doxology.2 " The Lord hath said, Give not that which is 
holy unto dogs." ^ Now, the question is, How are we to 
account for these minute resemblances ? If the citations had 
been confined to passages contained in the Sermon on the 
Mount, we might suppose that, as in the case of the Epistle 
of James, they may have been taken from the oral Gospel as 
preached by the apostles.* But as they extend to other parts of 
Matthew's Gospel, we appear to be shut up to the conclusion i\]^ ^ ^ 
that they are actual quotations from that Gospel : that the ^Z,^.^ -i 
author or authors of the Didache, in drawing up this Church >' / 

manual, drew many of the precepts contained in it from the 
first Gospel. The parallels are much closer than those found 
in the writings of the apostolic Fathers or of Justin Martyr.^ 
The Gospel of Matthew is referred to or quoted by all 
the apostolic Fathers. Thus Clemens Eomanus (a.d. 96) says : 
" Eemember the words of the Lord Jesus which He spoke 
concerning gentleness and longsuffering. For thus He said. 
Be ye merciful, that ye may obtain mercy. Forgive, that it 
may be forgiven you : as ye do, so shall it be done unto you ; 
as ye judge, so shall ye be judged ; as ye are kind, so shall 
kindness be shown to you ; with what measure ye mete, it 
shall be measured to you." ^ And again : " Eemember the 
words of the Lord Jesus Christ, how He said. Woe to that 
man ; it would be better for him that he had never been 
born, than that he should offend one of My elect. It were 
better for him that a millstone should be hung about his 
neck, and that he should be drowned in the sea, than that 
he should offend one of My little ones." ^ 

^ Ch. vii. 1 ; comp. Matt, xxviii. 19. 

2 Ch. viii. 2 ; comp. Matt. vi. 5, 9-13. 

3 Ch. ix. 5 ; comp. Matt. vii. 6. * The opinion of Lechler. 

^ It is, however, to be observed that Dr. Salmon supposes that the 
Didache of Bryennios had been preceded by a shorter form which did not 
contain the references to the Sermon on the Mount ; Introdiidion to the 
N.T. 7th ed. p. 559. 

^ Clemens Komanus, ch. xiii. ; comp. Matt. vi. 12-15, vii. 2. 

5" Ibid. xlvi. ; comp. Matt, xviii. 6. 


One of the earliest of the Christian writings is the so- 
c alled Epistle of Barnabas . The whole Greek text of this 
Epistle is found in the Sinaitic manuscript (a), not, however, as 
if it were one of the canonical books of the New Testament, 
but as an extra - canonical book, being placed after the 
Apocalypse. Another manuscript of this Epistle was one of 
f4^ the important discoveries of Bryennios.^ It is of doubtful 
origin. Clemens Alexandrinus repeatedly quotes it, and 
expressly attributes it to the Apostle Barnabas, the com- 
panion of Paul.2 Elsewhere he states that he was one of 
the Seventy. Origen quotes it twice, and calls it the Epistle 
of Barnabas.^ Jerome also assigns the authorship of the 
Epistle to Barnabas.^ Eusebius, on the other hand, ranks 
it among the spurious books.^ In the present day it is 
generally regarded by biblical scholars as not the work of 
Barnabas.*^ But whether genuine or not, its great antiquity 
is universally admitted. Such high authorities as Bishop 
Lightfoot"^ and Weizsacker, arguing from a passage found in 
it giving an enumeration of the Koman emperors, infer that 
it was written in the reign of Vespasian, shortly after the 
destruction of Jerusalem^ (a.d. 70). But the inference 

^ In the same volume wliicli contained the Didache. The documents 
contained in that volume are as follows : — 1. A Synopsis of the Old and 
New Testaments by Chrysostom ; 2. The Epistle of Barnabas ; 3. The 
First Epistle of Clement ; 4. The Second Epistle of Clement ; 5. The 
Didache ; 6. The Spurious Epistle of Mary of Cassoboli ; 7. Twelve 
Pseudo-Ignatian Epistles. 

2 Clemens Alexandrinus, Strom, ii. 6. 

^ Origen, Be Principiis, iii. 2 ; Contra Gelsum, i. 63. 

* Jerome, De Vir. III. 6. ^ Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. iii. 25. 

^ Its genuineness has been defended by Professor Milligan, Smith's 
Cliristian Biograjilirj, article " Barnabas." Its genuineness is also main- 
tained by Gieseler, Guericke, Bleek. 

'' Lightfoot's Ajjostolic Fathers : St. Clement of Rome, vol. ii. p. 506. 
With Lightfoot and Weizsiicker, Professor Sanday also agrees. See 
Sanday's Bampton Lectures, p. 235, and also Dr. Salmon's Introduction to 
the N.T. 7th ed. p. 518. 

^ The passage is as follows : — " Ten kingdoms shall reign upon the 
earth, and a little king shall rise up after tliem, who shall subdue three 
of the kings under one. In like manner Daniel says concerning the same : 
And I saw the fourth l)east, wicked and strong and savage beyond all 
the beasts of tlie earth, and how from it sprang up ten horns, and out of 


which they draw from this passage is doubtful. The most 
generally received opinion is that the Epistle of Barnabas 
was written by an unknown author toward the close of the 
first century (a.d. 100). The following quotations from 
Matthew's Gospel are found in it : " Let us beware, lest we 
be found (fidfilling the saying) as it is written (yeypaTrrat), 
Many are called, but few chosen." ^ "But when He chose His Pyyti^ 
apostles who were to preach the gospel. He did so from among 
those who were sinners above others, that He might show that 
He came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." ^ 
The next Father, in order of date, is Ignatius (a.d. 118). 
The genuineness of his Epistles has long been the subject of 
dispute. They exist in two recensions, the larger and 
smaller or Vossian recension. Cureton discovered a Syriac 
manuscript containing only three Epistles, and these in a 
more abridged form than the smaller recension. After the 
learned investigations of Bishop Lightfoot, it is now generally 
acknowledged that the seven Epistles found in the smaller 
recension are genuine, though perhaps containing several inter- 
polations, and that the Curetonian recension is an abridgment.^ 
Now, in the Epistle of Ignatius to the Komans, the best at- 
tested of all his Epistles, we have the following distinct quota- 
tion from Matthew : " It is better to die for the sake of Jesus 
Christ than to reign over all the ends of the earth : for what 
shall a man be profited if he gain the whole world, but lose his 
own soul." * And in the Epistle to Polycarp we have the fol- 
lowing words : " Mitigate violent attacks by gentle applications. ^ 
Be in all things wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove." ^ 
them a little horn, an offshoot, and how it subdued under one three of 
the great horns," Barnabas, ch. iv. According to Lightfoot, the three 
great horns are VesjDasian, Titus, and Domitian, who ruled conjointly ; 
and the little horn who was to subdue them was Nero revived. See also 
Ramsay's The CJiurch in the Roman Empire, p. 307. 

^ Barnabas, ch. iv.; comp. Matt. xx. 16. 

^ Barnabas, ch. v.; comp. Matt. ix. 13. 

^ The reader is referred to Bishop Lightfoot's learned and exhaustive 
work, Apostolic Fathers : St. Ignatius and St. Polycarp. See also Zahn's 
Ignatius von Antioch ; Gloag's Introduction to the Johannine Writings, 
pp. 100 f. 

* Ep. ad Romanes, ch. vi. ; comp. Matt. xvi. 26. 

^ Ep. ad Polycarp, ch. ii. ; comp. Matt. x. 16. The words here are 


The Epistle of Polycarp (a.d. 116) was written shortly- 
after the martyrdom of Ignatius. Its genuineness is attested 
by Irenaeus, who was one of his disciples : " There is also a 
powerful Epistle of Polycarp written to the Philippians, from 
which those who choose to do so, and are anxious about 
their salvation, can learn the character of his faith and the 
preaching of his truth." ^ In this Epistle of Polycarp there 
are two quotations from the Gospel of Matthew. " Eemember 
what the Lord said in His teaching, Judge not, that ye be 
not judged : forgive, and it shall be forgiven unto you : be 
merciful, that you may obtain mercy. With what measure 
ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And once more, 
Blessed are the poor and those that are persecuted for 
righteousness' sake : for theirs is the kingdom of God." ^ 
" Beseeching the all-seeing God in our supplications not to 
lead us into temptation ; for as the Lord has said. The spirit 
truly is willing, but the flesh is weak." ^ 

We have already had frequent occasion to allude to the 
testimony of Papias (a.d. 120). "So then Matthew wrote 
the oracles (Xoyia) in the Hebrew language, and everyone 
interpreted them as he was able."* We have endeavoured 
to show that Papias here does not, as many biblical scholars 
affirm, speak of some original document which lay at the 
foundation of Matthew's Gospel — the nucleus of that 
Gospel ; but that he alludes to the canonical Gospel as we 
possess it, and which was in existence in his days.^ 

It is unnecessary to refer to the testimony of the early 
post-apostolic Fathers ; for it is now hardly disputed that 
the Gospel of Matthew was received as authentic by the 
Christian Church in the middle of the second century. 
Justin Martyr (a.d. 150), when he speaks of the Memoirs or 
Memorabilia of Christ, frequently refers to this Gospel, with- 
out, however, naming it, often quoting the precise words, but 

nearly identical with those in the Gospel of Matthew : (Pp6vif<,o; yivov ug 
S(pi; iv oi-Tretaiv kxI ctKipettog uael TTipianpu, the singular being employed. 

1 Irenoeus, Adv. Hwr. iii. 3. 4. 

2 Polycarp, Ep. ad Phili]). ch. ii. ; conip. Matt. vii. 1, 2, v. 3, 10. 
^ Ibid. ch. vii.; conip. Matt. vi. 13, xxvi. 41. 

* Eusehius, Hist. Eccl. iii. 40. '" Hupra, i)p. 18-20. 


more frequently quoting from memory, thus occasioning a 
slight difference between the words of Jesus as quoted by 
Justin and those found in the Gospels. It is unnecessary 
to give instances of the quotations which are scattered 
throughout all the writings of Justin. Jeremiah Jones gives 
twenty-seven quotations from the Gospel of Matthew by 
Justin/ whilst Kirchhofer increases the number to thirty- 
one.^ Professor Sanday gives us a table of all the references 
-of Justin to our Gospels, and observes : " The total result 
may be taken to be that ten passages are substantially exact, 
while twenty -five present slight, and thirty -six marked 
variations." ^ 

Irenteus (a.d. 180) is the first Father who names Matthew J 
as the author of the first Gospel. " Matthew, the apostle, I 
declares that John, when preparing the way for Christ, said to 
those who were boasting of their relationship to Abraham : 
O generation of vipers, who hath shown you to flee from the 
wrath to come ? Brmg forth therefore fruit meet for repent- 
^mce." * And again : " Matthew, when speaking of the angel, 
says : The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in sleep." ^ 

But the genuineness of Matthew's Gospel is not only 
attested by the early Fathers, but also by the early Gnostic 
heretics. Basilides (a.d. 125), Valentinus (a.d. 150),^ and 
Heracleon (a.d. 160), in the fragments of their works pre- 
served in the writings of the Fathers, have references to or 
citations from it.'^ Besides, there are the Old Latin and 
Syriac versions made about the middle, or at least before the 
jclose of the second century. It is more than probable that 
the Gospels were the first books which were received by the 
Christian Church as canonical and divinely inspired, and were 
read, as Justin informs us, in their public assemblies. This 
would naturally be the case, as the life of Christ, His dis- 
courses and actions, would be regarded by the early Chris- 

^ Jones, On the Canon, vol. iii. ]). 27. 

- Kirchhofer's Quellensammlung, pp. 89-104. 

^ Sanday's Gospels of the Second Century, pp. 113-116. 

■* Irenseus, Adv. Hcer. iii. 9. 1 ; coinp. Matt. iii. 7. 

^ Ibid. iii. 9. 2 ; comp. Matt. i. 20, 21. « Ibid. i. 8. 2. 

'■ See Davidson's Introduction to the N.T. 1st ed. vol. i. pp. 70, 71. 
Sanday's Gospels of the Second Century, pp. 188 ff. 




tians of primary importance. This consideration sufficiently 
accounts for references to them being of such early 

Although, certainly, the genuineness of Matthew's Gospel 
rests chiefly on the external evidence, which is in itself per- 
fectly sufficient, yet there is not wanting internal evidence 
which confirms the external, though we do not place 
the stress of the argument on it. The attributing of the 
Gospel to Matthew, a comparatively unknown and obscure 
apostle, is in itself a presumption in its favour. If the design 
were to palm a Gospel upon the Church, it would not be 
attributed to an apostle who is never mentioned, except in the 
narrative of his call and in the lists of the apostles, and of 
whom there are hardly any records in ecclesiastical history ; 
but to some more distinguished apostle, such as Peter, 
James, Andrew, Thomas, or Philip, whose names occur in the 
Gospels in connection with events in the life of Jesus. 
Besides, this Gospel contains within itself the evidences of its 
authenticity ; it bears upon it the impress of truth. The 
discourses of our Lord, especially the parables and the Sermon 
on the Mount as there recorded, are beyond the capacity of 
the human intellect to compose ; they are divine utterances, 
and all attempts to imitate them end in failure. Even those 
inspired writings which follow the Gospels are cast in a 
different mould ; they want the simplicity, the freshness, the 
naturalness, the impressiveness of the parabolic element. As 
Professor Salmon says : " In point of style we travel into a 
new country, when we pass from the Synoptic Gospels to 
the Apostolic Epistles " ; ^ whilst the writings of the apostolic 
Fathers are mere dross compared with the gold found in the 

But, notwithstanding this strong attestation in favour of 
the Gospel of Matthew, its genuineness has been disputed on 
various grounds. The doubts as to its apostolic origin are 
drawn from the nature of the work, and not from any 
defect in the external evidence. They arise chiefly from the 
exigencies of the case in the attempts of critics to solve the 
Synoptic problem. It has in recent times been disputed by 
1 Salmon's Introduction to the N.T. p. 136. 


Schleiermacher, Sieffert/ Eichhorn,^ Meyer, Eeuss, Holtzmann, 
TDe Wette,^ and Davidson. 

1. It is affirmed that the Gospel, as we now have it, 
cannot be the original Gospel of Matthew, but must be a 
compilation ; that there was a previous Aramaic Gospel, or a 
collection of Logia, probably written by Matthew, which 
formed the groundwork or nucleus of the canonical Gospel ; 
that this Aramaic Gospel was increased by subsequent additions 
at different periods, and was translated by different persons, 
and that from this our canonical Gospel was gradually formed ; 
that the original Gospel is now lost, and that what we now 
have is a translation or recension of it with additions by an 
unknown author or authors. This is the opinion of those 
who hold the two document hypothesis. Thus Meyer observes : 
" In the form in which the Gospel now exists, it cannot have 
originally proceeded from the hands of the Apostle Matthew." ■* 
Professor Sanday, in his article in the Exjjositor, already 
referred to, says : " This at least is a point on which there is 
increasing unanimity, that the Apostle Matthew did not write 
the whole of the first Gospel as we have it. That he 
wrote a section of it, so important that his name passed from 
that to the whole, is by most writers willingly conceded ; but 
analysis reveals the composite nature of our Gospel too clearly 
for it to be probable that we have in it the original work of 
our apostle, as it left his pen."^ And so also Dr. Marcus Dods 
observes : " In the present state of criticism, it is impossible 
to speak with certainty of the origin of the first Gospel. 
That the apostle, by whose name it is still called, had some- 
thing to do with its composition is tolerably certain, but it is 
also certain that it passed through more hands than his before 
it reached its present form." *^ 

Now it is admitted that in a certain sense the Gospel of 

^ TJeher den Ursprung des ersten kanonischen Evangeliums. 

2 According to his theory of the original Gospel, which regards the 
canonical Gospel as a later edition. So also all those who adopt his 
theory or the modern modification of it. 

« See De Wette's Einleitung, § 98a. 

* Meyer, Mattheiv, vol. i. p. 3, translation. 

* The Expositor, vol. iii. fourth series, p. 303. 
^ The Supernatural in Christianity, p. 83. 


Matthew may be regarded as a compilation. How far it is 
so will be more fully determined when we come to consider 
the sources of the Gospel. But it is not a compilation in the 
sense of those objectors, namely, that there is only a nucleus 
which can primarily be referred to Matthew, whilst the rest 
has arisen from subsequent additions or accretions. A 
change of Gospels, the substitution of one for another, or the 
enlargement of a previous Gospel, is not only never hinted at 
by the Fathers, but its occurrence is difficult to conceive, 
considering the sacredness attached to these records of the 
life of Jesus ; it would involve time, and the early formation 
of Matthew's Gospel does not give sufficient time for such 
a growth and development. This Gospel was certainly 
recognised before the close of the first century, and time 
must be allowed even for this early recognition. Besides, 
the uniformity of style and expression in our Gospel proves 
the unity of authorship. There are the same expressions, 
as, for example, " That it might be fulfilled," " the kingdom 
of heaven," ^ " the end of the world," continually recurring, 
and marking the individuality of the author.^ 

2. It has been maintained that the first Gospel, at least 

as we now have it, could not possibly be the work of an 

apostle who was the constant follower of our Lord, because 

it wants all the characteristics of an eye-witness. Many of 

the most important incidents of our Lord's life are omitted. 

^''^' There is no mention of the Judaean ministry which, as we 

y Y v^ learn from the Gospel of John, formed so important a part 

.\y of our Lord's mission. In the narrative there is a complete 

V* want of graphic description ; it is a narrative of incidents 

without anything to suggest that the narrator himself was 

present when these incidents occurred. 

To this objection it is replied that it was not the design 
of Matthew or of any of the evangelists to compose a 
complete biography of Christ, but merely to give a sufficient 

^ "Whilst elsewhere in Scripture the phrase is the kingdom of God, 
s)'hiiec toD 6iov, Matthew uses the phrase, the kingdom of heaven, ^ 
liecatMix ruv ovpxuuu, more than tliirty times. 

"^ A full list of these i)ecuHavities in Matthew's Gosj)ol is given by 
Crcdner, Einkitumj in das N. T. j). 63. 



selection of facts from a life so full and beneficent. The 
Judsean ministry is omitted probably because that ministry 
occupied so small a portion of the life of Christ ; it was only 
occasionally, at the annual festivals, that He went up to 
Jerusalem ; by far the greater portion of His life was spent 
in Galilee. Besides, there are indications in this Gospel that 
our Lord, during the course of His public ministry, did visit 
JudcTa. Thus we read : " It came to pass, when Jesus had 
finished these words. He departed from Galilee, and came 
into the borders of Judtea beyond Jordan" (Matt. xix. 1). 
And with regard to the want of graphic details, this has 
been greatly exaggerated, although it is admitted that in this 
particular the Gospel of Matthew is surpassed by the Gospel of 
Mark. This, however, is no objection to the genuineness of 
the Gospel. "^ write in a graphic manner depends upon the 
idio s yncrasy of the writer ; ^ and, as has been well remarked : 
" This is a phenomenon which meets us every day ; it is not 
the contemporary and the eye-witness, but the historian of a 
succeeding age who takes the keenest interest in minute 
detail, and records with faithful accuracy the less prominent 
circumstances of a great event." ^ 

3. The want of chronological order is frequently adduced 
as an argument against the genuineness of Matthew's Gospel. 
We have already had occasion to advert to the chronological 
order of the evangelists.^ It is seldom that the three 
evangelists are at variance on this point. The most obvious 
case is the stilling of the storm and the cure of the Gadarene 
demoniac recorded by all three.^ In Matthew these inci- 
dents are stated as having occurred before our Lord had 

^ " It is," observes Dr. Davidson, " a weak argument to adduce tlie want 
of graphic description in one who was an eye-witness like Matthew. The 
power of vivid description is a talent which does not depend on an 
external call. ... If the writer had not the gift of picturesqvieness 
before he became an apostle, he did not get it afterwards." Introduction to 
N.T. 3rd ed. vol. i. p. 343. 

2 Carr's Gospel of Matthew, p. 11. He illustrates this by Macaulay's 
graphic description of the reign of James ii. 

^ See snpra, p. 41. 

■* Matt. viii. 23 ; Mark \y. 35 ; Luke viii. 22. See Norton, Genuine- 
ness of the Gospels, vol. i. pp. 293, 294. 


delivered the parable of the Sower and the other kindred 
parables ; whilst Mark and Luke reverse the order, and 
inform us that it was after our Lord had delivered these 
parables on " that day when the even was come tliat He said 
unto them, Let us go over unto the other side " (Mark iv. 35^ 
But we cannot see how this is any objection against the 
genuineness of the Gospel ; the difference is very slight and 
unimportant. The evangelists do not seek to follow a 
chronological order in their narrative ; there are undoubtedly 
variations on this point between them. The order laid down 
in the Gospel of Mark is in general the order to which 
Matthew and Luke adhere ; but it is doubtful if even this 
order is correct. Exact chronology was a mere secondary 
consideration with the evangelists. 

4. It has further been objected that there are mythical 
incidents recorded in the Gospel of Matthew which render 
his whole narrative suspicious. The incidents alluded to are 
those which are stated to have occurred at the death of 
Christ — the rending of the vail of the temple, the earthquake, 
and the saints coming forth from their tombs (Matt, xxvii. 
51—53). The rending of the vail of the temple is mentioned 
by the other two evangelists, so that it is to the resurrection 
of the saints, which is recorded by Matthew only, that the 
objection applies. Many admit the legendary nature of this 
incident, and suppose that it was not an original part of 
Matthew's Gospel, but an insertion by a later hand. Thus 
Meyer calls it " a mythical apocryphal addition," and sup- 
poses that the Greek editor of Matthew inserted it in trans- 
lating from the Hebrew Matthew.^ Similarly Norton observes : 
" The story must be regarded as a fable, probably one which, 
in common with others now utterly forgotten, was in circula- 
tion among the Hebrew converts after the destruction of 
Jerusalem. Some possessor of a manuscript of Matthew's 
Hebrew Gospel may be supposed to have noted it in the 
margin of his copy, wlience it found its way into the text of 
others, one or more of which fell into the hands of the Greek 
translator." - There is, however, no critical ground to justify 

1 Meyer, in loco. 

^ Norton's Genuineness of tJie Gospeh, vol. i. pp. 214, 215. 


this supposition. The incident is omitted in no Greek 
manuscript. It is adverted to by Ignatius when, speaking of 
our Lord's descent into Hades, he says : " He whom they 
rightly waited for being come, raised them from the dead." ^ 
Others suppose that the passage is not to be understood 
literally, but symbolically, as an emblem of Christ's victory 
■over death and the grave ; but for this supposition there is 
no ground : it is recorded as part of a narrative. It is one 
of those supernatural incidents which meet us in every page 
•of the Gospels. It is true that this wonderful and miraculous 
incident is only recorded by Matthew ; but there are other 
supernatural events, equally wonderful, which are recorded in 
only one of the Gospels : as the raising of the son of the 
widow of Nain by Luke, and of Lazarus by John. 

5. Another objection to the genuineness of the Gospel 
according to Matthew is, that there are in it frequent re- 
petitions of the same events, showing that the author of the 
Gospel incorporated without revision two documents, each of 
which gave a narrative of the same incident. Thus Dr. 
Davidson observes : " Other particulars are wrongly narrated, 
as is the case with the miraculous feeding of the four 
thousand men in the wilderness very soon after a similar 
•event (comp. xv. 32-38 with xiv. 16—21). In like manner, 
the same transaction is repeated in xii. 22—30 and ix. 32-34, 
which passages are so similar that we must assume a double 
narrative of the same event. A similar repetition of the 
same thing appears in xvi. 1, where the event in xii. 38 is 
re-enacted. The number of these duplicates is considerable, 
so much so as to show carelessness, forgetfulness, or needless 
accumulation of material." ^ 

We have already alluded to this subject when we con- 
sidered the existence of doublets in the Synoptic Gospels, and 
need not repeat what was then said.^ In the instances stated 
by Dr. Davidson there is a similarity, but not an identity of 
particulars. The two accounts of the miraculous feeding of 

^ Ignatius, EiJ. ad Magnes. ch. ix. It is also referred to in the 
apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemvis. Jones, 0?i the Canon, vol. ii. p. 255. 
2 Davidson's Introduction to the N.T. vol. i. pp. 339, 340, 3rd ed. 
^ See supra, p. 37. 


the multitude differ in many points, in the amount of 
provisions, in the number fed, and in the quantity of fragments 
afterwards gathered ; in the two miraculous cures, in the one 
case the man possessed with a devil was blind and dumb, in 
the other case he was only dumb but not blind ; and the 
demand of the Pharisees for a sign from heaven might have 
been twice repeated, as such signs were regarded by them 
as the credentials of the Messiah. 

II. The Author of the Gospel. 

Irengeus is the first Father who assigns our first Gospel 
to Matthew. We have an account of his call to the apostle- 
ship given us by all the Synoptists.^ The name Matthew in 
Hebrew (i^lJJiinD) signifies the gift of Jehovah, similar to the 
Greek ©eoBcopa. In the list of the apostles given by Mark 
he is called "the son of Alphseus " (Mark ii, 14), and as 
another apostle is called " James the son of Alphseus " (Luke 
vi. 15), it is inferred that these apostles were brothers. 
Others, inferring from various indications in Scripture that 
Alphseus is the same as Clopas the husband of Mary, the 
sister of the Virgin,^ suppose that Matthew was nearly 
related to our Lord. And others from his frequent con- 
junction with Thomas, called Didymus or " the twin," 
that he was his brother. All these are idle conjectures. 
Matthew was by occupation a publican or tax-gatherer, a 
member of a class hated and despised by the Jews, as collectors 
of a hateful tax and standing memorials of their subjection 
to the Eomans. Hence the phrase " publicans and sinners." 
As, however, Capernaum was in the province of Galilee, the 
dominion of Herod Antipas, it is not improbable that IMatthew 
was an officer under that monarch, and not under the IJomans. 
The promptitude with which he obeyed tlie call of Christ is 
an indication that there had been a previous preparation going 
on within him, and that he had been impressed with the teach- 

1 IMatt. ix. 9-13 ; Mark ii. 14-17 ; Luke v. 27-32. 

^ The Apostle James the Less is mentioned as the son of Alphajiis 
(Mark iii. 18) and as the son of Mary (Mark xv. 40), supposed to be the 
same as Mary the Avife of Cleophas or Clopas (John xix. 25). 

AUTHOR. 105 

ing of Jesus. Matthew made a great feast in honour of Christ, 
at which many publicans and sinners sat down with Jesus 
and His disciples. 

In the account given by Mark and Luke, Levi appears as 
the name of the publican who was called ; ^ whilst in the 
lists of the apostles given by the same evangelists the 
name is Matthew, without any notification that he is the 
same as Levi formerly mentioned."^ Hence it has not 
unreasonably been inferred that we have the account of the 
call of two different persons, of Matthew who afterwards 
became an apostle, and of Levi who was only a disciple. 
Some suppose that Levi was a superintendent publican and 
that Matthew was his subordinate, and that our Lord called 
both at the same time. This distinction between Matthew 
and Levi was recognised by the Fathers. Clemens Alex- 
andrinus, quoting from Heracleon the Gnostic, mentions 
Matthew, Philip, Thomas, Levi and many others who did 
not suffer martyrdom, but died a natural death.^ So also 
Origen in his answer to Celsus, who taunts the Christians 
with the low condition of the apostles, inasmuch as they were 
publicans and fishermen, observes that Matthew and Levi, 
or as he calls him Lebes (o Ae^rjs:), were publicans.'* The 
same opinion was held by Grotius, Michaelis, Neander, 
Sieffert, Hase, Hilgenfeld, and Eeuss.^ As, however, the 
incidents are recorded by the three evangelists in almost 
precisely the same words, it is highly probable that their 
narratives relate to the same event ; and consequently that 
the Levi of Mark and Luke is the same as the Matthew of 
Matthew's Gospel. The use of two names was not un- 
common among the Jews at this time ; for example, Simon 
was called Peter, Lebbaeus was surnamed Thaddaeus, Thomas 
was called Didymus, Joses was called Barnabas, John was sur- 
named Mark, Simon was called Niger, Judas was surnamed 
Barsabas, and Saul was also called Paul. 

1 Mark ii. 14 ; Luke v. 27. ^ ]yj[ark iii. 16 ; Luke vi. 15. 

^ Clemens Alex. Strom, iv. 9. 

* Origen, Contra Celsum, i. 62. It is, however, possible that by Lebes, 
Origen might intend the Apostle Leliba?us, Matt. x. 3. 
^ De Wette's Einleituny in das N.T. § 97rt. 


We have hardly any notices of Matthew in the patristic 
writings and in ecclesiastical history, and what we have are 
of a legendary nature. Clemens Alexandrinus tells us that 
he led an ascetic life : " The Apostle Matthew partook of seeds 
and nuts and vegetables without flesh " ; ^ and he has preserved 
the following saying of Matthew recorded in some Gnostic 
writing: "They (the Gnostics) say in the traditions that 
Matthew the apostle constantly said, ' If the neighbour of 
an elect man sin, the elect man has sinned. For had he 
conducted himself as the Word prescribes, his neighbour also 
would have been filled with such reverence for the life he 
led as not to sin.' " ^ Eusebius informs us that Matthew, after 
he had preached the gospel to the Hebrews, that is, to the 
Jews in Palestine, went forth to other lands, but without 
mentioning any particular country.^ Socrates, in his Church 
history, says that he went to Ethiopia.* Other writers 
mention Parthia, India, and Macedonia. Some affirm that 
he died a natural death, whilst Nicephorus states that he 
suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia.^ 

III. The Sources of the Gospel. 

It is a very difficult question to answer, Whence did 
Matthew obtain the materials out of which he formed his 
Gospel ? We may distinguish three sources : 1. Personal 
observation. If the author of this Gospel was the Apostle 
Matthew, he would be one of the constant followers of 
Christ, a witness of many of His actions, and a listener to 
many of His discourses. He would also come into intimate 
contact with his fellow-apostles, and thus from their narra- 
tives would supplement his own. Matthew then would not 
be merely a compiler of the sayings or writings of others, 
but a narrator of what he himself saw and heard. 2. Oral 
tradition. This must have been the source of much of the 
Synoptic narratives. As we have already seen reason to 

^ Clemens Alex. Pcvdag. ii. 1. 2 Clemens Alex. Strom, vii. 13. 

3 Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. iii. 24. •* Socrates, Hist. Ecd. i. 19. 

^ The Catliolic Churcli keeps Sejitember 21st as the anniversary of his 
martyrdom. See Cave's Lives of the Apostles. 


believe, that before anything was reduced to writing there was a 
certain stereotyped form of an oral Gospel which constituted 
the teaching of the apostles for the use of catechumens. 
3. Written documents. We have stated that it is probable 
that at a very early period there were Gospel fragments. To 
the use of these written documents we attribute the great 
similarity that exists in many portions of the Synoptic 
Gospels. There was a historical framework common to all 
three. The account of the birth of our Lord, the visit of 
the Magi and the flight into Egypt, in the first two chapters 
of this Gospel, was probably an early document derived from 
Mary or from the brethren of our Lord, and treasured up by 
the primitive Church. The discourses and parables of our 
Lord were perhaps collections made of the sayings of Christ 
which would be distributed throughout the churches. We 
have also seen that it is extremely probable that Matthew 
made a free use of the previously written Gospel of Mark. 

According to Papias, Matthew composed his oracles 
(Xoyia) in the Hebrew language. We have already seen 
that the term \6yia is not to be restricted to the discourses 
of Jesus, but includes also the incidents of His life, in short, 
that it is equivalent to Gospel. It is, however, undoubtedly 
true that this Gospel, more than the other two, contains long 
■discourses of our Lord, and in this particular resembles the 
'Gospel of John ; whether these discourses were delivered in 
full at one time, or whether they are collections of the 
sayings of Jesus delivered at different times. Examples of 
these are the Sermon on the Mount (v.— vii.), the apostolic 
•commission (x.), the testimony concerning the Baptist (xi.), 
the series of early parables (xiii.), the characteristics of 
disciplesbip (xviii.), a second series of parables (xxi. 28— 
xxii. 14), disputes with the Pharisees and Sadducees (xxii. 
15—40), the denunciation pronovmced against the scribes 
and Pharisees (xxiii.), the prediction concerning the destruc- 
tion of Jerusalem (xxiv.), and the so-called parables of the 
passion (xxv.). The designation Xoyia, applied to the Gospel 
•of Matthew, is highly appropriate. It is a plausible and 
attractive idea that these sayings or discourses of Jesus formed 
the original Gospel of Matthew, and that the other portions 


were subsequent additions made by unknown editors.^ 
Thus Weiss supposes that the discourses of Matthew 
formed the original Gospel, and were the groundwork of the 
three Synoptics. But such an idea is extremely problematic 
and incapable of proof. As already stated, the same style 
and language, the same favourite expressions, pervade the 
whole Gospel, and prove the unity of authorship. Matthew,, 
it would appear, was a collector of the sayings of Jesus, and 
united in one discourse many utterances which were spoken 
at different times, and many parables which were delivered on 
difierent occasions. In all probability these collections were 
made by Matthew himself of the sayings of Jesus, which 
were either handed down by tradition, or existed in written 
documents, or were heard by himself. Matthew drew them 
from Galilean tradition, whether oral or written, or from 
actual knowledge. 

IV. The Design of the Gospel. 

It is the uniform testimony of the Fathers that Matthew 
wrote his Gospel for the use and benefit of the Hebrew 
Christians ; that is, not only for those who were resident 
in Palestine, but for Jewish converts scattered throughout 
the world. Thus Origen, as quoted by Eusebius, observes : 
" Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable 
ones in the Churches of God, I have learnt by tradition that 
the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, 
but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was pre- 
pared for the converts from Judaism and published in tlie 
Hebrew language." - Its chief design was evidently to prove 
that Jesus was the Christ; that the Messianic prophecies of the 
Old Testament received their accomplishment in Him. The 

^ View of Godet, New Testament Studies, ]>. 20 : " Some coiidjutor of 
Matthew," lie observes, " wlu) had liel])ed liim in his work of evangelisa- 
tion, undertO(jk tlie hxboiir of translating into (Jreek the (lisrourses which 
had l)een drawn up by him in their original language, and to complete 
this work by distributing their contents tlu't)Ugh an evangelical narrative, 
(•fim])lete in itself and conformable to the type of Christian instruction 
adopted by the apostles." 

- Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. vi. 25. 

DESIGN. 109 

genealogy of Jesus is traced back, not as in Luke's Gospel to 
Adam, the ancestor of the human race, but to David the 
Messianic king, and to Abraham the father of the Jewish 
nation. The Gospel commences with the words : " The book 
of the generation of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son 
of Abraham." In the Sermon on the Mount, where the prin- 
ciples of the religion of Jesus are enunciated, our Lord says 
that " He came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but 
to fulfil them " ; to impart to the commandments of the 
moral law a higher and more spiritual meaning. Jewish 
customs and localities are supposed to be known to the 
reader. Jerusalem is called the holy city, and Bethlehem 
the city of David. The teaching of Matthew's Gospel 
resembles that of the Epistle of James in regarding Chris- 
tianity not as superseding Judaism, but as its development. 

Hence the Gospel of Matthew, above all the other 
Gospels, is pervaded by the Old Testament ; there are more 
than seventy quotations from it, or references to it. This 
Gospel is interwoven with proofs of the Messiahship of Jesus. 
His birth is foretold under the Messianic name, Emmanuel 
(i. 23); He is born in Bethlehem of Judsea, because so it 
was foretold by the prophets (ii. 6) ; He and His parents fled 
to Egypt, " that what was spoken by the prophets might be 
fulfilled" (ii. 15); the massacre of the children of Bethlehem 
took place, in fulfilment of the words spoken by Jeremiah 
the prophet (ii. 18) ; He came and dwelt in Nazareth, " that 
it might be fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet " 
(ii. 23); John the Baptist was His forerunner, as was 
foretold by the prophet Esaias (iii. 3, xi. 10); leaving 
Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, that the words 
of Esaias the prophet might be accomplished (iv. 13, 14) ; He 
cured diseases, that that which was spoken by Esaias might 
be fulfilled (viii. 17); He was possessed of a meek and 
retiring disposition, according to the description of His 
character given by the same prophet (xii. 17—21); He 
taught the multitude in parables, as was foretold of Him 
(xiii. 35, 36); He entered Jerusalem in lowly triumph 
riding upon an ass, in accordance with the prediction of 
Zechariah (xxi. 4, 5); He appealed to the words of David, 


iu proof of His Messiahship (xxii. 41-45); at His appre- 
hension all His disciples forsook Him, in fulfilment of the 
prophet's statement (xxvi. 31); He was sold for thirty 
pieces of silver, the exact sum stated by the prophet 
(xxvii. 9) ; the soldiers who crucified Him parted Hi& 
garments among them, and thus unconsciously fulfilled the 
statement of the prophet (xxvii. 35); and on the cross, in 
the hour of His agony. He appropriated to Himself the 
words of the prophetic Psalmist (xxvii. 46). The formula, 
"that it might be fulfilled" (ottco? irXr/pcod^), occurs eight tunes- 
in this Gospel.^ The life of Jesus is recorded as the fulfil- 
ment of prophecy ; He is portrayed as the great Messianic 
King, to whom all the prophets bear witness, and in whose 
life their predictions received their accomplishment.^ 

V. The Language of the Gospel. 

The subject which we have now to discuss is one of 
extreme difiiculty. In what language was the Gospel of 
Matthew written ? Was it Hebrew, that is, Aramaic,^ or 
Greek ? The difficulty consists in the conflict between the 
external and internal evidences : the former being in favour 
of an original Aramaic Gospel, and the latter tending to 
show that the Gospel of Matthew, as we now possess it, 
must have been written in Greek, and cannot be a translation. 
There is no difficulty in believing that some of the docu- 
mentary sources of the Synoptic Gospels may have been 
written in Aramaic ; but the question is, Was there an 
original Aramaic Gospel, of which the canonical Gospel of 

» Matt. i. 22, ii. 15, 23, viii. 17, xii. 17, xiii. 35, xxi. 4, xxvii. 35. 

2 " Matthew desired to set forth Jesus to the Jews as their very Christ ; 
the Legislator of a new and spiritual law ; the King of a new and spiritual 
dominion ; the Prophet of a new and universal Churcli ; the divine 
Messiah who should soon resolve all doubts, returning in the clouds of 
heaven to judge and save." Farrar, The Mensatjcs of the Booh, p. 40. 

'"• We fre([uently use the term Helirew, because it is so used in Scrijv 
ture and in the writings of the Fathers ; but the vernacular language was 
Aramaic or Syro-Clialdaic, a cognate language, resembling Talmudic 
Hebrew, and substantially the same as that in which part of the Books of 
Ezra and Daniel are written. 


Matthew is the translation ? And with this is closely con- 
nected another important question, What was the nature of 
the " Gospel according to the Hebrews " used by the Hebrew- 
speaking Christians, so often referred to and quoted by the 
Fathers, and which has for centuries been lost ? ^ Was it, 
as many critics suppose, the original Aramaic Gospel of 
Matthew, of which ours is only the translation ? 

With regard to the language of the Gospel of Matthew,. 
the external evidence is entirely in favour of an original 
Hebrew Gospel. The testimonies of the Fathers are unani- 
mous. Papias (a.d. 120), in the passage preserved by Eusebius, 
so often quoted, and which has proved so fruitful of conjec- 
tures, writes : " Matthew wrote the oracles in the Hebrew 
dialect, and everyone translated them as he was able." - 
We have endeavoured to show that by the " oracles " is most 
probably meant the Gospel ; ^ and if so, we have in this 
testimony of Papias an assertion of its Hebrew origin. 
" Everyone," he says, that is, every Greek Christian who 
was ignorant of Hebrew, " translated them as best he could." 
Irena:!us (a.d. 180) writes: "Matthew published his Gospel 
among the Hebrews in their own dialect." * Eusebius relates 
that Pantaenus (a.d. 200), the chief of the catechetical school of 
Alexandria, having gone to the Indians to diffuse the Christian 
religion, found among them the Gospel of Matthew ; for 
Bartholomew, one of the apostles, had before his arrival 
preached the gospel to them, and left with them the 
writings of Matthew in the Hebrew language, which they 
had preserved till that time.^ The same statement is made 
by Jerome.® Origen (a.d. 230), in a passage preserved by 

^ Considering the reniarkal)le discoveries wliicli have lately been made, 
there is nothing extravagant in siq^posing that this Gospel of the Hebrews 
may yet be found. This would be of great importance, would solve 
many difficulties, and throw a flood of light on the Synoptic problem. 

2 Eusebius, Hist. JEccl. iii. 39. Vide sufra, p. 19. 

3 Vide supra, p. 65. 

* Irenaeus, Adv. Hcer. iii. 1 ; Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. v. 8 : o /iciv I'/i 
MxT^xiog i'j roig 'JLfipxi'oi; rfi i^icc diotT^iKTCfi xvrojv xod ypxCpViV liyiviyyAv 

^ Euseljius, Hist. Eccl. v. 10 : 'Elipxiuv ypx/^cfixai. 

•"• De Vir. Illustr. ch. xxxvi. 


Eusebius, writes : " Among the four Gospels, which are the 
only indisputable ones in the Church of God, I have learnt 
by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was 
once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, 
who delivered it to the Jewish believers, composed in the 
Hebrew language."^ Eusebius (a,d, 325) also attests the 
Hebrew original of Matthew's Gospel. " For Matthew 
having first preached to the Hebrews, when he was about to 
go to other nations delivered to them the Gospel in their 
native tongue.""^ Cyril of Jerusalem (a.d. 345) says: 
" Matthew, the author of the Gospel, wrote it in the 
Hebrew language."^ Epiphanius (a.d. 348) writes: "They 
(the Ebionites) also receive the Gospel according to Matthew, 
and this is the only one they use. They call it the Gospel 
according to the Hebrews : for the truth is that Matthew is 
the only one of the New Testament writers who published 
his Gospel in the Hebrew language and in Hebrew char- 
acters."^ Augustine (a.d. 380) observes: "Of these four 
(evangelists) only Matthew is reckoned to have written in 
the Hebrew language ; the others in Greek." ^ 

But the most important testimony is that of Jerome / 
(a.d. 390), both on account of his intimate acquaintance 
with Hebrew, and on account of the minuteness of his \ 
statement. He not only asserts that Matthew wrote his 
Gospel in Hebrew, but that he himself possessed a copy of it, 
and translated it into Greek. " Matthew, also called Levi, 
who from being a publican became an apostle, first of all 
wrote a Gospel of Christ in Judwa in Hebrew letters and 
words for the sake of those of the circumcised who believed. 
Who afterwards translated it into Greek is uncertain. More- 
over, this very Hebrew Gospel is in the library at Ca^sarea, 
which was collected with great care by Pamphilus the martyr. 
With permission of the Nazarenes, who live at Beroea in Syria, 
and use that volume, I took a copy." ^ And again : " The 

' Euselniis, Hist. Eccl. vi. 25 : yo«,M,£*<«a/v 'EfipxiKol; avjrirx'/fiii/ov. 
- Ibid. iii. 24. 3 Catechet. 14. 

■• Epiplianius, Hccr. xxx. 3. * Coiisciisus evaiigelutorum, i. 2. 4. 

" De Vir. Illustr. cli. iii. : Mattlioeus, qui et Levi, ex publicano 
Apostolus, primus in Jud;i>a proi^ter eos qui ex circumcisione crecli- 


Gospel which the Nazarenes and Ebionites use, which we 
lately translated from Hebrew into Greek, and which is 
called by most the authentic Gospel of Matthew."^ The 
testimony of the later Fathers, of Chrysostom, Athanasius, 
Gregory of Nazianzus, and Theophylact, are to the same effect. 
Thus, then, the external evidence is entirely in favour of 
an original Hebrew Gospel of Matthew. All the Fathers, 
from Papias to Jerome, and from Jerome to Theophylact, 
attest that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Aramaic, and that 
the Greek Gospel, which we now possess, is only a translation. 
Nor is there any contrary testimony ; not one of the Fathers 
speaks of an original Greek Gospel. " No matter of fact," 
observes Greswell, " which rests upon the faith of testimony 
can be considered certain, if this is not so." ^ Bishop 
Westcott writes : " Till it can be showtl that the writers 
quoted are untrustworthy generally, it is purely arbitrary to 
reject their statement because it is not sufficiently explicit." ^ 
And Tregelles observes : " If early testimonies and ancient 
opinion unitedly are to have some weight, when wholly 
uncontradicted, then it must be admitted that the original 
language of the Gospel of Matthew was Hebrcu\ and that 
the text which has been transmitted to us is really a Greek 
translation." * Besides, it is to be observed that there is an 
antecedent probability that Matthew would write his Gospel in 
Hebrew. If he wrote chiefly for the Hebrew Christians, and 
if Hebrew was the vernacular language of Palestine, as we 
shall afterwards see was most probably the case, then the 
probability is that he would write in that language. 

devant Evangelium Christi Hebraicis Uteris verbisque composuit ; quod 
quis postea in Graecum transtiilerit, noii satis certum est. Porro ipsiiin 
Hebraicum liabetur usque liodie in Csesariensi bil^liotlieca, quam Pam- 
pliilus martyr studiosissime confecit. Milii quoque a Nazaraeis qui in 
Beroea urbe Syrise lioc volumine utuntur, describendi facultas fuit. 

^ Comment, ad Matth. xii. 13 : Evangelium quo utuntur Nazareni et 
Eljionitae, quod nuper in Graecum de Hebraeo sermone transtulimus et 
quod vocatur a plerisque Mattbaei autlienticum. 

^ Greswell's Harmony of the Gosi^eh, vol. i. ]). 101. 

^ Westcott, Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, p. 208, note 2. 

■' Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, vol. iii. p. 1623. Article, "Versions, 
Ancient (Greek)." 



Nevertheless, this evidence, apparently so strong and 
unanimous, has been disputed by the majority of modern 
critics. Papias, it is said, is described by Eusebius as a man 
of very limited understanding,^ and certainly many of his 
statements recorded by Eusebius seem to prove this ; that, 
however, is no reason why we should refuse credence to his 
assertion of a matter of fact, that Matthew wrote his oracles 
in Hebrew. Irenteus, it is suggested, may have founded his 
opinion on the testimony of Papias, whom he held in high 
estimation ; but for this there is no proof ; it is a mere con- 
jecture. The statement about Panta?nus, given- by Eusebius, 
has been discredited as mythical ; it is, however, a statement 
independent of Papias ; and if it be a legend, yet it presup- 
poses the prevalence of the belief in a Hebrew Gospel. 
Origen, the only onfe of the Fathers before the fourth century 
who was skilled in Hebrew, and thus qualified to judge, gives 
his testimony as a tradition : " he had learned by tradition 
(a)9 iv irapaSoaei fxadcov) that Matthew wrote in Hebrew " ; 
but this tradition presupposed the prevalent behef regarding 
a Hebrew Gospel in the time of Origen. The strongest testi- 
mony is that of Jerome. He affirms that he had the Hebrew 
Gospel in his possession ; and not only so, but that he took a 
copy of it and translated it into Greek. An attempt has 
been made to neutralise this statement. It has been asserted 
that if this Hebrew Gospel was the same as our Greek Gospel 
of Matthew, there would have been no reason for its transla- 
tion. It would appear, besides, that Jerome vacillated in his 
opinion. At first, when he obtained possession of the Gospel 
of the Nazarenes, he believed that it was the Hebrew Gospel 
of Matthew ; but afterwards, when he came to examine and 
translate it, he expresses himself hesitatingly, and gives his 
judgment in a modified form. " The Gospel which the 
Nazarenes and Ebionites use is called by most (a 2^^cris- 
qve) the authentic Gospel of Matthew." - " The Gospel 

1 Eusebiiis, Hist. Ecd. iii. 39 : a:p6opx afUKpo; uv tov uovv (pxivi-rett. Else- 
where, indeed, Eusebius says : " Papias wa.s well known as a man skilled 
in all manner of learning, and well acquainted with the Scriptures," 
iii. 36. But this sentence is now regarded as spurious. 

2 Comment, ad. Matth. 


according to the Hebrews, written in the Syro-Chaldaic lan- 
guage, but in Hebrew characters, which the Nazarenes use,, 
is by most supposed {ut pleriqiie autumant) to be the Gospel 
according to Matthew." ^ Now, it is admitted that there i& 
some ambiguity in the language of Jerome, and that he 
appears to have confounded the Gospel of Matthew with the 
Gospel according to the Hebrews, regarding them as the same. 
But, notwithstanding this ambiguity, which certainly weakens 
his testimony, he still holds to tlie opinion that the original 
Gospel of Matthew was written in Hebrew. The relation of 
these two Gospels — the Gospel according to the Hebrews and 
the Gospel of Matthew — is reserved to form the subject of 
future consideration, in order not to interrupt the course of this 

But whilst the external evidence, as contamed in the 
testimonies of the Fathers, is wholly in favour of an original 
Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, the internal evidence is to the 
contrary effect ; and it has been affirmed that the Gospel of 
Matthew, as we now possess it, must have been an original 
document, and could not have been a translation. Some of 
the arguments in proof of this are not convincing, but others 
are undeniably strong. 

1. It is affirmed that from its nature the Greek text of 
our Gospel cannot have been a translation from the Hebrew. 
It bears no marks of being a translation : the style is clear 
and flowing, without the slightest stiffness, bearing the impress, 
of originality. There are in it numerous explanations of 
Jewish customs which would have been unnecessary had 
the Gospel been written in Hebrew for Hebrew converts. 
Thus : " On that day came to Him Sadducees, who say that 
there is no resurrection" (xxii. 23). "That field was called,, 
The field of blood, unto this day " (xxvii. 8). " Now at the 
feast the governor was wont to release unto the multitude 
one prisoner, whom they would" (xxvii. 15). "This saying 
was spread abroad among the Jew^s, and continueth until this 
day " (xxviii. 15). Further, if the Gospel was written origin- 
ally in Aramaic, there would have been little use of a Syriac 
translation, as it would be understood by the Syrian Chris- 
^ Dialog, adv. Pelagianos, iii. 2. 


tians ; or at least the Syriac translation would have been 
made from it, and not from the Greek, which on this hypo- 
thesis was itself a translation. " We have," observes Professor 
Moses Stuart of America, " the Peshito, a version of a very 
early age, in a language which was twin-sister to the Hebrew 
of that day, yea, almost identical with it : and yet this version 
is demonstrably not from a Hcbrcio original of IMatthew, but 
from the present Greek canonical Matthew." Besides, it is 
the present Greek text that is uniformly (j^uoted or referred 
to by the Fathers, and that at a period so early as the time 
when the Epistle of Barnabas was written (a.d. 100). There 
are also paronomasiae, or plays on Greek words, which could 
hardly occur in a translation, as kukov'^ KaKco<: aTroXeaei 
(xxi. 41), acfjavL^ovai ottco? (fjavcoai (vi. 10). 

To these objections it is answered : that the excellence of 
the translation may remove all traces of its having been 
written in a foreign language ; that the explanation of Jewish 
customs was necessary for those Jewish converts who lived 
outside of Palestine and used the Hebrew language ; that the 
Fathers quoted from the Greek because it was before them, 
whilst they may not have seen the Hebrew original, which 
might not have been circulated beyond Palestine ; and that 
paronomasi?e are very few, and may occur in translations 
as well as in the original. We have a remarkable instance 
of a paronomasia in the Authorised Version of Jas. i. 6 : 
" But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering ; for he that 
wavereth {8aKptv6fjbevo<;) is like a wave (kXvScovl) of the sea 
driven with the wind and tossed." ^ 

2. There are in the Gospel of Matthew several Aramaic 
expressions, the translations of which are subjoined. Thus : 
" They shall call His name Immanuel, which is, being inter- 
preted, God with us" (i. 23). "They came unto a place 
called Golgotha, that is to say. The place of a skull " 
(xxvii. 33). "Eli, Eli, lama sabachtliani ? that is. My God, 
My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? "(xxvii. 46). These 
Aramaic expressions may have been preserved in the Greek 
Gospel on account of their weighty character ; but the inter- 
pretation of them could not have formed part of a Hebrew 
* So also in Rom. ii. 18. 


original. To this objection, two answers are given : The 
translation of these Aramaic expressions may have at first been 
put as a marginal note for the information of Greek readers, 
and afterwards have been inserted in the text. For this, 
however, there is no critical authority, as they are found in 
all manuscripts. Or the translator of the Hebrew original 
might himself have given the interpretation ; a supposition 
which is not improbable. 

3. A far more formidable objection to a Hebrew original 
arises from the fact that there is often an identity between 
the Greek of Matthew's Gospel and the Greek of the Gospels 
of Mark and Luke. This, it is evident, could not possibly 
have been the case if the Greek Gospel of Matthew was an 
independent translation. A Hebrew original of Matthew 
may account for a variation in his Gospel in the narrative of 
the same events and discourses contained in the other Gospels, 
but the agreement in expression is a proof that the Gospel 
of Matthew could not be an independent translation. If 
Matthew and Luke use precisely the same words, as is often 
the case, it is a proof that both had the same Greek source 
before them. 

Here, undoubtedly, there is an objection to an original 
Hebrew Gospel of great force, and the answers given to it are 
somewhat unsatisfactory. Meyer gives the following answer : 
" The frequent identity of expression in Matthew with Mark 
and Luke does not necessarily point to an original composi- 
tion of the former in Greek, but leaves the question quite 
unaffected, as the translated Matthew might either have been 
made use of by the later Synoptics, or might even have 
originated from the use of the latter, or of common soiirces." ^ 
According to this distinguished critic, either Mark and Luke 
may have made use of the translation of Matthew, or the trans- 
lator of Matthew may have used these Gospels, or all three 
may ha^•e drawn from common sources. But none of these 
suppositions can be correct. The Gospel of Luke, we have 
seen, was independent of that of Matthew ; ^ and to suppose 
that the translator of the Hebrew Matthew drew from the 

^ Meyer's Commentary on Mattheio, p. 10, translation. 
2 See supra, p. 50. 


same common source as Luke, may not indeed be an impos- 
sible, but is a highly improbable supposition, and detracts 
from the value and accuracy of the translation. 

Some attempt to solve this difficulty, arising from the 
conflict between the external and internal evidences regardincr 
the language of Matthew's Gospel, by the assumption that 
Matthew wrote two editions of his Gospel, the one in 
Hebrew, for the use of Christians who spoke Hebrew, and 
the other in Greek, for the use of Christians who spoke 
Greek. This hypothesis of a twofold Gospel of Matthew is 
of comparatively recent origin, and has no support from the 
writings of the Fathers, who never attribute the translation 
of the Gospel to Matthew himself. It is, however, very 
plausible and not indefensible, because, if adopted, it at 
once reconciles the declarations of the Fathers concerning an 
original Hebrew Matthew with the proofs that our present 
Gospel was written in Greek ; the external and internal 
evidences are brought into agreement.^ Such a theory, with 
various modifications, has been adopted by such distinguished 
critics as Bengel, Schott, Olshausen, Thiersch, Guericke, and 
Schaff ; and among English theologians by Townson, Whitby, 
Benson, Bloomfield, Home, Archdeacon Lee,^ and Bishop 
Ellicott. Thus Schaff writes : " If we credit the well-nigh 
imanimous tradition of the ancient Church concerning a prior 
Hebrew Matthew, we must either ascribe the Gospel of 
Matthew to some unknown translator who took certain 
liberties with the original, or what seems most probable, we 
must assume that Matthew himself, at different periods of 
his life, wrote his Gospel first in Hebrew, in Palestine, and 
■afterwards in Greek. In doing so, he would not literally 
translate his own book, but, like other historians, freely 
reproduce and improve it. Josephus did the same with his 
history of the Jewish war, of which the Greek only 

^ If we cannot positively assent to its truth, yet neither can we reject 
it, but, on the contrary, may favourably entertain it as a solution of 
difficulties. *' There seems," observes Dr. Townson, "more reason for allow- 
ing two originals than for contesting either : the consent of antiquity 
pleading strongly for the Hebrew, and evident marks of originality for 
the Greek." 

- Dr Lee, Inspiration of the Holy Scri})ture, \)\). 506-574. 


remains.^ When the Greek Matthew once was current in 
the Church, it naturally superseded the Hebrew, especially if 
it was more complete." ^ 

Others, admitting that Matthew wrote his Gospel in 
Hebrew, in order to give apostolic authority to the transla- 
tion, assign it to different apostles. Thus the author of the 
Synojjsis Scriiiturm sacrcc, in Athanasius' works, assigns it to 
James ; Theophylact, to John ; Anastasius Sinaita supposes 
that Paul and Luke conjointly translated the Gospel into 
Greek. Gresswell makes the strange supposition that Mark 
was the translator of the Hebrew Matthew.^ All these are 
mere fanciful conjectures. Another opinion is that the X6<yia 
■or oracles of Matthew mentioned by Papias was not the 
Gospel of Matthew, but another work of his written in 
Hebrew, containing chiefly discourses of our Lord, which he 
afterwards translated and embodied in his Gospel written in 

It is exceedingly difficult to arrive at any certain 
conclusion as the result of this discussion. On the one hand, 
the external evidence in favour of an original Hebrew 
Gospel is uniform and undisputed : the Fathers are unanimous 
on this point, and there is no contrary testimony. But, on 
the other hand, the internal evidence in favour of an original 
Greek Gospel is so strong and apparently so convincing, that 
were it not for the external evidence it would hardly have been 
doubted. The attempt to overthrow the external evidence 
by asserting that the Fathers, following the assertion of 
Papias, were mistaken, is a violent solution ; the testimony 
•of Origen, for example, cannot in this manner be set aside. 
A possible solution may be that the Gospel according to the 

^ So also lime wrote his excellent history of the Romans both in 
German and in English. They were separate works : the English was^ 
not a translation of the German, 

2 Schaff's Church History, vol. i. p. 626. 

2 Greswell's Dissertations, vol. i. p. 122. He gives it as his conjecture 
that "Mark translated the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, and wrote 
his own supplementary to it, either both at R-ome, or both about the same 

■* For this ingenious supposition, see Morison's Commentary on Matthew, 
Introduction, pp. xlvf. 


Hebrews may have been originally the Hebrew Gospel of 
Matthew, but afterwards became much altered from its 
original form by interpolations and omissions. In general, 
greater weight nnist be given to the external evidence which 
relates to matters of fact than to the internal evidence 
which, for the most part, rests on subjective considera- 

Critics are nearly equally divided upon this question. 
Grotius, Eichhorn, Kuinoel, Michaelis, Sieffert, Tholuck, 
Olshausen, Meyer, Ebrard, Godet, Lange, and Luthardt ; and 
among English theologians, Walton, Mill, Principal Campbell 
of Aberdeen, Greswell, Norton (of America), Tregelles, 
Cureton, Dr. Samuel Davidson, and Westcott, maintain the 
Hebrew original of the Gospel. Whilst the Greek original is 
maintained by Erasmus,^ Beza, Wetstein, Hug, Credner, De 
Wette, Ewald, Bleek, Tischendorf, Holtzmann, Zahn, and 
Weiss ; and among English writers by John Lightfoot, 
Lardner, Jones, ' Moses Stuart (of America), Archbishop 
Thomson, Alford, Morison, Eoberts, and Salmon. 

Another important point, intimately related to this dis- 
cussion, remains to be considered : the nature of the Gospel 
according to the Hebrews (euayyeXLou KaO' 'E^palov^), and its 
relation to the Gospel of Matthew. Many critics suppose 
that this Gospel, divested of its apocryphal additions, and 
having its omissions restored, was the original Hebrew Gospel 
of Matthew, and that our canonical Gospel is a translation 
of it before it was mutilated. Undoubtedly such a Gospel 
was in use among the Hebrew-speaking converts at a very 
early period. It is often quoted by the Fathers, and was 
held in estimation among them, being sometimes cited as 
Scripture. It occurs under various names, as " the Gospel of 
the Ebionites," " the Gospel of the Nazarenes," and " the Gospel 
of the Twelve Apostles." Its origin is obscure. Some 
suppose that it is cited by Ignatius in his Epistle to the 
Smyrneans, when, in opposition to the Docetic conception of 
our Lord's body, he says that our Lord, after His resurrec- 
tion, said to His disciples: "Lay hold, handle Me, and see 

' Erasmus a])i)ears to have lieeu the first tu suggest that Greek was the 
original hiuguage of tlie Gosi)el of Matthew. 


that I am not an incorporeal demon." ^ Eusebius states 
that he knew not whence Ignatius derived his information ; ^ 
but, according to Jerome, it was a quotation from the Gospel 
of the Nazareues.^ The probability, however, is that the 
reference is to Luke xxiv. 39 : " Handle, and see; for a spirit 
hath not flesh and bones, as ye behold Me having." Eusebius 
informs us that Papias gives us an account of a woman who 
had been accused of many sins before the Lord, which is 
contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews.^ It is to 
be observed that Eusebius does not here affirm that Papias 
quoted this statement from the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews, but merely that such a statement is to be found 
in that Gospel. The first direct testimony to the existence 
of such a Gospel is contained in the somewhat ambiguous 
statement of Eusebius concerning Hegesippus (a.d. 180). 
" He (Hegesippus) states some particulars from the Gospel 
according to the Hebrews, and from a Syriac Gospel, and 
particularly from the Hebrew language, showing that he 
himself was a convert from the Hebrews." ^ Irenseus (a.d. 
180) states that the Ebionites used the Gospel according to 
Matthew only, and repudiated the Apostle Paul, maintaining 
that he was an apostate from the law.*^ In these words of 
IreniTeus we have an evident reference to the Gospel of the 
Ebionites (the same as the Gospel according to the Hebrews), 
which was attributed to Matthew. It was accordingly in 
existence in the time of Irenaeus, and appears to have been 
regarded by him as the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew. Clemens 
Alexandrinus writes : " Matthew, in the traditions exhorting 
us, says, Wonder at what is before you, laying this (namely, 
wonder) down as the foundation of all further knowledge. 
So also in the Gospel to the Hebrews it is written, He that 
wonders shall reign, and he that has reigned shall rest." '^ 

^ Ignatius, Ej). ad Smyr. ch. iii. ouiy^oviou uauf^ctrou. 

- Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. iii. 36. " Be viris illustr. cli. xvi. 

* Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. iii. 39. 

^ Ibid. iv. 22 : sx, rs to2 y,xd^ 'Efipxiovg liia.y/i'kiw kocI tou 'S.vpiay.aZ x.ix.\ 
ih'a; Ik rijf ' Efipeti'loc hx'hUroii rivoi rl6miv. The exact meaning of the 
words is very difficult to determine. May it not be that Hegesii^j^us 
alludes to the Syriac version ? 

^ Irenceus, Adv. Hccr. i. 26. 2. '^ Clemens Alex. Strovmta, ii. 9. 


Origen speaks of this Gospel in douljtful terms : " If anyone 
admit the Gospel according to the Hebrews." ^ " It is 
written in a certain Gospel, which is entitled, ' according to 
the Hebrews,' if anyone please to receive it, not as of authority, 
but for illustration."- Eusebius classes it among the voOoi 
or spurious writings : " In this number some have placed the 
Gospel according to the Hebrews, with which those of the Heb- 
rews who have received Christ are particularly delighted." ^ 

The strict Jewish Christians, who held that the law of 
Moses was not abolished, but still bindmg on all Christians, 
and who refused to hold communion with the Gentile con- 
verts, separated of their own accord from the Catholic 
Church, soon after the destruction of Jerusalem, or were 
cast out. They are known in ecclesiastical history as 
Ebionites.^ Irenaus is the first who mentions this sect : 
" Those who are called Ebionites agree that the world was made 
by God ; but their opinions with respect to the Lord are 
similar to those of Cerinthus and Carpocrates. They practise 
circumcision, persevere in the observance of the customs 
which are enjoined by the law, and are so Judaic in their 
style of life that they even adore Jerusalem, as if it were 
the house of God."^ After their separation from the 
Catholic Church, they adopted various heretical opinions. 
They held low views of Christ, denied His divinity, regarding 
Him as the son of Mary born in wedlock, and rejected the 
Epistles of Paul. There seems, however, to have been at an 
early period a diversity of opinion among them. Thus 
Origen observes : " Let it be admitted that there are some 
who accept Jesus, and who boast on that account of being 
Christians, and yet would regulate their lives like the Jewish 
multitude in accordance with the Jewish law, and these are 
the twofold sect of the Ebionites, who either acknowledge 
with us that Jesus was born of a virgin, or deny this, and 

^ Comment, ad Joann. ^ Origen on Matt. xi.x. 19. 

^ EiLsebius, Hid. Ecd. iii. 25. 

* According to Tertullian, the Ebionites were the disciples of a lieretic 
called Ebion ; but it is more probable that the word is an api)ellative 
iiieaning j)oor. 

^ Adv. H(er. i. 2G. 2. So also Hippolytus, Refutat. omn. har. vii. 22. 


maintain that He was begotten like other human beings." ^ 
And the same distinction is made by Eusebius : " The 
Ebionites," he observes, " hold poor and mean opinions con- 
cerning Christ. They considered Him a plain and common 
man, who was justified only because of His superior virtue. 
There are others besides them who were of the same name, 
but avoided the absurdity of these opinions, not denying that 
the Lord was born of a virgin." ^ Epiphanius is the first 
Father who calls these two classes by different names ; 
those who held heretical opinions concerning the person of 
Christ he terms Ebionites, and those who held comparatively 
•orthodox views he terms Nazarenes.^ Probably the heretical 
views of the Ebionites were of later growth, as Justin 
describes the strict Jewish Christians only as weak brethren 
who had not attained to the liberty of the Gospel.* In 
accordance with this difference of opinion, there appear to 
have been two recensions of the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews, the one called the Gospel of the Ebionites, and 
the other the Gospel of the Nazarenes ; ^ and there is also 
a difference in the quotations from them as given by Jerome 
and Epiphanius. It was the Gospel of the Nazarenes that 
Jerome translated. 

Mr. Nicholson, in his learned work. The Gospel according 
to the Hebrews^ supposes that it was written by Matthew, and 
that he also wrote the Greek Gospel that bears his name. 
The one was an edition of the other, just as modern authors 
jDublish editions of their works, often much altered. " My 

1 Contra Celsum, v. 61. 

- Hist. Ecd. iii. 27. These two classes are to be identified with the 
Ebionites and Nazarenes. See De Wette's Einleitung, § 63a. 

^ Hce7: XXX. 3. 13. * Dial cum. Trifph. ch. xlvii. 

^ According to a statement of Epiphanius, the language of the 
Ebionite Gospel would appear to have been Greek, Hcer. xxx. 3. 13, 
an opinion adopted by Hilgenfeld. This, however, is very doubtful. 
The language of the Nazarene Gospel was undoubtedly Hebrew. 

^' This is a work of great erudition which has been too much over- 
looked. In it there is a most valuable collection of all the fragments of 
this Gospel, scattered throughout the writings of the Fathers, with 
valuable critical annotations. He gives thirty-three fragments, many of 
them of a highly interesting character. See also Anger in his Sy7iopsis 


hypothesis," he observes, " is that ]\Iatthew wrote at different 
times the canonical Gospel and the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews, or at least that large part of the latter which runs 
parallel with the former." ^ Afterwards, as he supposes, the 
Gospel of the Hebrews became corrupted with additions,^ 
abbreviations, and heretical views ; but in its original state 
it was the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew. 

It would certainly appear that the Gospel of Matthew 
lies at the foundation of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, 
whether in its corrupt state as used by the Ebionites, or in 
its comparatively pure state as used by the Nazarenes. For 
this we have the distinct testimonies of Epiphanius and 
Jerome. The Ebionite Gospel, or the Gospel of the Hebrews 
in its corrupt form, as is evident from the extracts from it 
and references to it contained in the writings of the Fathers, 
is clearly heretical, and is to be classed among the spurious 
Gospels, being a mutilation of the Gospel of Matthew, just as 
the Gospel of Marcion was a mutilation of the Gospel of Luke. 
On the other hand, Epiphanius informs us that the Nazarenes 
had the Gospel of Matthew in a comparatively complete 
form in Heljrew.^ The question then naturally arises : 
Might not this Gospel of the Hebrews, as preserved by the 
Nazarenes in its original state, when divested of its accretions 
and with its omissions restored, be the Hebrew Gospel of 
Matthew attested by the Fathers, and which was lost after 
its translation into Greek ? This, however, is exceedingly 
doubtful, as the fragments of it which remain are additions 
which find no place in our canonical Gospel.^ 

Some of these additions found in the writings of the 

' Tlie GosjkI accordinrj to the Hehrcvit, p. 104. 

2 Many of these extra canonical additions !Mr. Nicholson defends, and 
supposes to he j:;enuine. 

^ TO KUTtH 'M.ctrd. iiixy/ihtov T^'Knpirrxrov. 

* For a most interesting list of these fragments, see Nicholson's Gospel 
accordiiuj to the Hebreivs, pp. 28-77 ; Resch's Afjrnpha, pp. 322-342 ; "West- 
cott's Introduction to the Study of the Gospelx, pp. 433-438 ; Salmon's 
Introduction to the Study of the N.T. i)p. 208 tt". The Gospel of the 
Hebrews with these e.\tra canonical additions must be of a later origin 
than the Gosind of Matthew. See Abbott's article on the Gos-Tpeh, Enct/clo- 
IKddia Lritnnnica, vol. .\. p. 818, note. 


Fathers are of an interesting nature. We give a few 
examples. The man with the withered arm is described as 
a mason, who came to Jesus saying : " I am a mason, seeking 
a livelihood by the labour of my hands. I pray thee, Jesus, to 
restore me to health, that I may not beg my bread." ^ The 
Holy Spirit is called " the mother of Christ." The Lord is 
introduced as saying : " My mother, the Holy Ghost, lately 
took Me by one of the hairs of My head and carried Me to 
the great mountain Tabor." ^ The account of the rich man 
who came to Jesus asking, What must I do to inherit eternal 
life, is thus expanded : " Another rich man said unto Him, 
]\Iaster what good thing must I do to live ? He said to 
Him, Fulfil the law and the prophets. He answered Him, 
I have fulfilled them. He said to him. Go, sell all that thou 
hast, and distribute to the poor, and come follow Me. But the 
rich man began to scratch his head, for it pleased him not. 
Then said the Lord to him. How sayest thou I have fulfilled 
the law and the prophets, seeing that it is written. Thou 
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself ; and behold many of thy 
brethren, the sons of Abraham, are clothed in filth, and dying 
from hunger, whilst thy house is full of much goods, and 
nothing goes out of it. And He turned and said to Simon, 
sitting beside Him, Simon, son of Jonas, it is easier for a 
camel to enter through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man 
to enter into the kingdom of heaven." ^ It is in this Gospel 
that the legend of our Lord's appearance to James is found. 
It is given as follows : " And when the Lord had given His 
linen cloth to the servant of the high priest, He went to 
James and appeared to him. For James had taken an oath 
that he would not eat bread from that hour on which he 
had drunk the cup of the Lord until He saw Him risen from 
the dead. Then our Lord said. Bring a table and bread. 
And He took the l^read, and blessed, and brake it, and gave 

1 This is found in Jerome, ad Mattli. xii. 13. See Rescli's Agrapha, 
p. 379 ; Nicholson, p. 46. 

2 Found in Origen, Comm. ad. Johann. § 63. See Nicholson, jij). 74-76. 

3 This passage is found in the Latin version of Origen's connuentary on 
St. Matthew ; see Resch's Ayrafha, p. 387 ; Wescott's Introduction to the 
Gospels, p. 434 ; Nicholson's Gospel according to the Hebrcivs, j)p. 49-51 ; 
Salmon's Introduction, p. 213. 


it to James the Just, saying, Eat thy bread, My brother, for 
the Son of Man is risen from the dead."^ 

Another important point, intimately connected with 
the subject under discussion, regards the language spoken in 
Palestine in the days of Christ and His apostles. Hug was 
among the first to maintain that the prevailing language of 
Judtea and Galilee at this time was not Aramaic but Greek, 
and that, consequently, if Matthew wrote his Gospel to the 
Jews in Palestine, he must have done so in Greek.^ This 
opinion has recently been maintained with much learning 
and ingenuity by Professor Koberts of St. Andrews. He 
thus states his theory : " What I maintain is that Greek was 
the language which our Lord and His followers habitually 
used in their public addresses." " While it is generally said 
that our Lord for the, most imrt spoke in Hebrew and only 
sometimes in Greek, what I venture to maintain is that our 
Lord spoke for the most part in Greek and only now and 
then in Hebrew."^ Now, certainly it must be admitted 
that Greek was commonly used in Palestine in the time of our 
Lord. The conquests of Alexander, the policy of the Pioman 
government, the intercourse with Greek Jews who came to 
worship at the annual festivals, and the Hellenic tendency 
of the Herodian family, must have diffused the Greek 
language. There were numerous Greek cities scattered 
throughout all Palestine, especially in the province of Galilee,, 
called on that account Galilee of the Gentiles.'* Greek was 
the language in which legal proceedings were carried on by 
the Eoman government, and must have been used in 
commercial transactions with foreigners. It was doubtless 
the language in which our Lord spoke before Pilate. At 
the same time, we can hardly assume that Greek was the 
prevailing language. Palestine appears at this time to have 
been bihngual ; both Hebrew and Greek were spoken ; 

^ This tradition is fouml in Jeroiue'.s Dc xir. illusir. ii. For remarks 
on it, see Rescli's Agrajiha, p. 421, and Nicholson, pp. 62-88. Compare 
1 Cor. XV. 7. 

- Hug's Introduction to the N.T. vol. ii. p. 54 ff. 

3 Roberts, Greek the Langucuje of Clirist and His Apostles, pp. l.'j, IG. 

* Ca^'sarea, Ptolemais, Scytliopolis, Pella, Tiberius, Ca?sarea Pliilippi, 
Samaria, Antipatris were Greek cities. 


Hebrew probably by the country people, and Greek by 
the educated and those residmg in towns ; as is the case 
with the Celtic and English in the Highlands of Scotland,, 
and with the Welsh and English in Wales. Panl in address- 
ing the Jewish mob in Jerusalem, spoke to them in the 
Hebrew tongue, in consequence of which he was heard with 
greater attention (Acts xxii. 2). And in his address before 
Agrippa he mentions that the voice which came from heaven 
at his conversion addressed him in the Hebrew tongue (Acts- 
xxvi. 14). The few words of our Lord which have been 
preserved are Aramaic, apparently intimating that this was- 
the language in which He generally spoke : as Cephas,, 
Boanerges, Ephphatha, Talitha-cumi, and the exclamation on 
the cross, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani. So also we learn the 
same use of Hebrew by the people from the writings of 
Josephus. He wrote his history first in Hebrew, which he- 
calls his native language, and then in Greek. " I propose," 
he says, " to narrate in the Greek language to those 
under the Roman dominion the things which I formerly 
composed for the barbarians of the interior in my native 
tongue." ^ And whilst ha calls Hebrew his native tongue 
{irdrpLO's <y\(x>(7(Ta), he speaks of Greek as a foreign language 
{^evT} hioXeKTO'^)} When, at the request of Titus, he addressed 
his countrymen, it was in Hebrew : " Josephus, standing where 
he could be heard, declared the message of the emperor in 
Hebrew." ^ From all this it would appear that although 
Greek was well known to the Jews, and they could converse 
in it, yet their native language, that which they usually 
employed in mutual intercourse, was not Greek but Aramaic,, 
called in Scripture " their language" (Acts i. 19).* 

We have already had occasion to refer to the style and 
diction of Matthew, There is a frequent recurrence of 
peculiar expressions. The phrase, " that it might be fulfilled 
which was spoken of the Lord by the prophets," is of constant 

'^ Josephus, Bell. Jud. Preface. - Ant. Preface. ^ Bell. Jucl. vi. 2. 1, 
* For the extent to which Greek was spoken in Palestine, see Schiirer's 
Jewish People in the Time of Christ, div. ii. vol. i. pp. 47 ff. He comes to 
the conclusion that the lower classes in Palestine possessed either no- 
knowledge, or only an insufficient one, of Greek, 


occurrence. The expression, " the Son of David," the Mes- 
sianic title of our Lord, occurs eight times. 'O Xe'yofievo'i is 
a favourite expression, announcing the meaning of the 
epithets applied to Christ and His disciples. " The kingdom 
of heaven " is used in this Gospel instead of " the kingdom 
of God " employed by the other Synoptists. The phrase, 
avvreXela tov alS}vo<i, occurs four times, and is only found 
elsewliere in Heb. ix. 26. Td<f)o^ is the word for a tomb, 
which occurs six times, and is never used by the other 
evangelists, who use either fivrj/jia or fivqfielov. Tore is the 
usual particle of transition. There is also a large number of 
words which are peculiar to this Gospel.^ Hebraisms occur, 
but not more frequently than in many other writings of the 
New Testament, and are not sufficiently numerous to indicate 
traces of a translation from the Hebrew. " The style of 
Matthew," writes Schaff, " is simple, unadorned, calm, dignified, 
even majestic ; less vivid and picturesque than that of Mark, 
more even and vmiform than Luke's, because not dependent 
on written sources. He is Hebraising, but less so than 
Mark, and not so much as Luke in his first two chapters. 
In the fulness of the teaching of Christ he surpasses all 
except John. Nothing can be more solemn and impressive 
than his reports of those words of life and power, which will 
outlast heaven and earth (xxiv. 34). Sentence follows 
sentence with overwhelming force, like a succession of 
lightning flashes from the upper world." ^ 

VI. Integkity of the Gospel. 

1. The principal passage in the Gospel of Mattliew, the 
genuineness of which has been disputed, is the first two 
chapters, containing the genealogy of our Lord and tlie narra- 
tive of His birth. Doubts were first thrown upon the 
apostolic origin of this jmssage toward the close of last century 
(a.d. 1771) by an Englishman named Williams, hi a work 

1 For the characteristic words and expressions in Matthew's Gospel, 
see Q,v<i(}irniv'A Einkilung in das iV.T. pp. 62-39 ; Davidson's Introduction to 
the Study of the N.T. 3id ed. vol. i. pp. 371-379. 

2 SchafFs Church History, vol. i. p. G20. 


entitled, A free inquiry into the authenticity of the first and 
second chapters of St. Matthcio's Gospel. He was followed 
in Germany by such distinguished critics as Eichhorn, 
Schleiermacher, and Bertholdt, and by Priestley and his 
school in England. Andrews Norton of America, an Arian, 
though belonging to the positive school of criticism, supported 
the same opinion. He conceived that these two chapters did 
not form a part of the origmal Hebrew Gospel, but were an 
extraneous document inserted by the translator into the 
Greek Gospel. " There are," he observes, " strong reasons 
for thinking that the first two chapters of our present copies 
of the Greek Gospel of Matthew made no part of the original 
Hebrew. We may suppose them to have been an ancient 
document, which, from the connection of the subject with his 
history, was transcribed into the same volume with it, and 
which, though first written as a distinct work with some mark 
of separation, yet in process of time became blended with it, 
so as apparently to form its commencement. Being thus 
found incorporated with the Gospel in the manuscript or in 
manuscripts used by the translator, it was rendered by him 
as part of the original." ^ So also Meyer, while admitting 
that the passage formed an integral portion of the Hebrew 
Gospel, of which our canonical Gospel is the translation, yet 
calls in question its apostolic authority. " The portions com- 
posing both chapters," he says, " were originally special Gospel 
documents. Ch. i. 1—16 appears to have been one such 
document by itself, then vv. 18—25 a second, and ch. ii. a 
third, in which are now found for the first time the locality 
and time of the birth of Jesus." ^ He appears to regard it as 
a legendary account which found admission into the Gospel. 
The passage has been defended by Griesbach, Mliller,^ and 
Alford, and even by such rationalistic critics as Credner,* 
Paulus,^ and Kuinoel.*^ 

1 Norton, The Gemdneness of the Gospels, vol. i. pp. 16, 17. 

2 Meyer's Commentary on Matthetv, Eng. trans, vol. i. p. 80. 

•^ Ueber die Acchtheit der zicei ersten Kapitel des Evang. nach Matth. 
■* Einleitung, p. 68. ^ Exegetisches Handbuch, vol. i. p. 137. 

•"' Novi Testamenti Libri Historici : Prolegomena, § 3, De aiithentia, cap. 
i. et ii. Evangelii Mattlisei. 



The external objections to the genumeness of these 
chapters are of no weight. The chief argument is that they 
are not contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews 
as used by the Jewish Christians, and hence it has been 
inferred that they formed no part of the original Hebrew 
Gospel of Matthew, Epiphanius, who appears to have regarded 
the Gospel according to the Hebrews, or as he calls it, the 
Gospel of the Ebionites, as the same as the original Aramaic 
Gospel of Matthew, though in an incomplete, adulterated, 
and mutilated form, states that it commenced with the 
baptism of John : " The beginning of their Gospel was this : 
It came to pass in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, 
that John came baptizing with the baptism of repentance in 
the river of Jordan " (Matt. iii. 1-7).^ We have already 
considered the relation of this Gospel to the Gospel of 
Matthew. It is not now in existence, so that we cannot 
verify this statement. But as the majority of Hebrew Chris- 
tians were Ebionites who called in question the divinity of 
Christ, it is highly probable that from dogmatic motives they 
did reject the first two chapters of Matthew, which taught 
the miraculous conception, Tatian also, in his Diatessaron, 
omitted the genealogy. But this is no serious objection to 
the genuineness of these two chapters, since Tatian, although 
he omitted the genealogy of our Lord as not being essential 
to his harmony, did not omit the narrative of the birth of 
Christ, — the miraculous conception, the visit of the Magi, 
the appearance of the star, and the slaughter of the infants 
of Bethlehem. 

But the principal objections arise out of the narrative 
itself. The visit of the Magi and the appearance of a star 
are said to be of a legendary character, resembling the accounts 
which the heathen gave of the birth of their demigods. The 
massacre of the infants of Bethlehem, an act of unexampled 
and unheard of barbarity, is unrecorded in history, and besides 
was wholly unnecessary, as Herod might easily have accom- 
plished his purpose without having recourse to such a deed of 
cruelty. And it is affirmed that the account of the birth of 
Christ as recorded by Luke is wholly dilferent from that here 

J Har. XXX, 13. 


given us by Matthew, and that the events which follow are at 
variance : instead of the visit of the Magi and the flight into 
Egypt, there is the presentation in the temple and the return 
to Nazareth. 

The external testimony in favour of the passage is so 
strong and convmcing, that we do not see how it can be set 
aside by any objections of a subjective or internal nature. 
The passage is contained in all Greek manuscripts and in all 
the ancient versions of the Gospels. It is frequently 
alluded to and quoted by the early Fathers. Thus, in the 
Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians (a.d. 115), there is an 
allusion to the star. " How was He manifested to the world ? 
A star shone forth in the heavens above all the other stars, 
the light of which was inexpressible, while its novelty struck 
men with astonishment." ^ Justin Martyr (a.d. 180) mentions 
all the incidents contained in the narrative — the visit of the 
Magi, the flight into Egypt, and the massacre of the infants. 
" Now this King Herod, at the time when the Magi came to 
him from Arabia, and said that they knew from a star which 
appeared in the heavens that a king had been born in your 
country, and that they had come to worship Him, learned 
from the elders of your people that it was written regarding 
Bethlehem in the prophet : ' And thou Bethlehem, in the 
land of Judah, art by no means least among the princes of 
Judah : for out of thee shall go forth the leader who shall 
feed my people.' Accordingly the Magi from Arabia came to 
Bethlehem and worshipped the child, and presented Him with 
gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh ; but returned not to 
Herod, being warned in a revelation, after worshipping the 
child in Bethlehem. ... So Herod, when the Magi from 
Arabia did not return to him, as he had asked them to do, 
but departed by another way to their own country, according 
to the commands laid on them ; and when Joseph, with Mary 
and the child, had gone into Egypt, as he did not know the 
child whom ' the Magi ' had gone to worship, ordered the 
whole of the children then in Bethlehem to be massacred." ^ 
As we have already stated, the whole passage, with the excep- 
tion of the genealogy, is contained in the Diatessaron of 
1 Ignatius, Ep. ad Ephes. ch. xix. ^ j){^i ^_ Trijph. cli. Ixxviii. 


Tatian (a.d. 160). There are frequent references to it in the 
writings of Irenajus (a.d. 180). Thus he refers to the gene- 
alogy of our Lord as recorded by Matthew : " Matthew relates 
His generation as a man : The birth of the generation of Jesus 
Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham : and also. The 
birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise." ^ And he mentions the 
visit of the Magi and the appearance of the star : " Matthew 
says that the Magi, coming from the East, exclaimed : We 
have seen His star in the East, and are come to worship 
Him." - It is needless to pursue the references to the passage 
further. There is no doubt that it constituted an original 
portion of the Greek Gospel of Matthew. To affirm, with 
Norton, that it formed no part of the original Hebrew, but 
was an insertion into our Greek Gospel by the translator, — 
granting the existence of a Hebrew original, — is a mere asser- 
tion, for which the only proof is its omission in the defective 
Gospel according to the Hebrews. 

The internal evidence is in favour of the genuineness 
of the passage. It forms an appropriate introduction to the 
Gospel. Thus the beginning of chap. iii. : " And in those 
days " (Ev Be raZ? rifjuepaa eKeivat^), is, by reason of the 
conjunction Be and the phrase ■^fiepai'i eKecvai'i, in apparent 
connection with what precedes. So also the statement, that 
Jesus leaving Nazareth, came and dwelt in Capernaum 
(iv. 13), presupposes the previous residence in Nazareth 
mentioned in the passage (ii. 23). The style and diction of 
the passage correspond with the rest of the Gospel. The 
favourite formula of Matthew, when introducing any prophetic 
statement : " That it might be fulfilled wliicli was spoken of 
the Lord through the prophet " (tva irXrjpwOfj to prjdev irrro 
Tov Kvpiov Bia Tov '7rpo(f>t]Tov), occurs, either in full or in an 
abbreviated form, five times (i. 22, ii. 5, 15, 17, 23). The 
Messianic title used by Matthew, the son of David (uto? 
AavelB), occurs twice (i. 1, 20). The favourite term, 
Xeyo/xevo^, used in announcing the meaning of an epithet 
applied to the Messiah (^Ir]aov<i 6 Xeyofxevoff Xpt,aT6<;, i. 16), 
or in stating names and surnames (et<? iroXiv Xeyofievrjv 
Na^apir, ii. 23), is twice employed. Tlie peculiar use of 
^ Irenoous, Contra Har. iii. 11. 8. ^ jjjj,i ijj 9 2. 


prjdeU, prjOev, occurs four times, whilst of the other 
Synoptists only Mark has to pr^Oev (Mark xiii. 14y Of 
course it may be answered, that these smiilarities of diction 
are attributable to the translator in rendering the Hebrew 
original into Greek.^ 

The visit of the Magi and the appearance of the star are 
objected to as being legendary, and giving countenance to the 
superstitious ideas of astrologers. " In the story of the Magi," 
observes Norton, " we find represented a strange mixture of 
astrology and miracle. A divine interposition is pretended, 
which was addressed to the false opinions of certain Magi 
respecting the significance of the stars, and for which no 
purpose worthy of the Deity can be assigned." ^ 

The incident occurs as part of the continuous narrative 
of the evangelist ; and, if we admit the supernatural in the 
narrative, there is no reason why it should be regarded with 
special suspicion. Many eminent critics, among them 
Alford, explain the incident from natural causes. The 
Magi were a well-known body of religious astronomers, or 
perhaps astrologers, resident either in Chaldiea or in Persia. 
The country from which they came is not stated ; there is 
merely the indefinite expression : " Behold wise men came 
from the East." The Fathers, in general, have fixed on 
Arabia. Whether the star was a miraculous or a natural 
phenomenon is a matter of dispute. An extraordinary 
astronomical fact, regarded by astronomers as demonstrated, 
is mentioned by Kepler. About the period of the birth of our 
Lord there was a remarkable conjunction of the planets 
Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation Pisces, which occurred 
three times in the year of Eome 747, or B.C. 7, on May 29, 
September 29, and December 5. This fact was carefully 
examined by the Eev. Charles Pritchard, the honorary 
secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society, and its accuracy 
was vouched by him. At the same time, it must be 
observed that the planets were never so closely conjoined 

^ See Guericke, Isagogik, pp. 240, 241. 

2 So Mej-er : " The unity of the Greek style and expression is to be 
explained from the unity of the translator." 

^ Norton's Genuineness of the Gospels, vol. i. p. 208. 


as to appear one large star ; there was always a space equal 
to the diameter of the moon between them.^ But to star- 
gazers as the Magi, and especially to astrologers, it must 
have proved a striking phenomenon. It has accordingly 
been supposed that this celestial phenomenon constituted the 
star which appeared to the Magi, and that its occurrence 
three times seemed to guide their steps from the East to 
Bethlehem.2 " Supposing," observes Dean Alford, " the Magi 
to have seen the first of these conjunctions, they saw it 
actually 'in the East'; for on the 29th of May it would 
rise three and a half hours before sunrise. If they then 
took their journey, and arrived at Jerusalem in a little more 
than five months " (the September conjunction would occur) ; 
" if they performed the route from Jerusalem to Betldehem, 
the December conjunction would be before them in the 
direction of Bethlehem. These circumstances would seem to 
form a remarkable coincidence with the history in our text."^ 
The coincidence is certainly very remarkable, but it is doubt- 
ful whether this conjunction of these planets is to be identified 
with the star of Bethlehem. For one thing, we would requu-e 
to put Ijack the birth of our Lord seven years, to B.C. 7. 
This, however, is no insuperable objection, as it is now 
generally admitted that there is an error in our Christian 
era, and that our Lord's birth is antedated by several years. 
Still, in all probability, the star was a supernatural phenomenon, 
as it is apparently so described in the narrative — some meteor, 
divinely formed for the purpose, which, by its movements, 
guided the wise men to the infant ]\Iessiah. The supreme 
dignity of our Lord, as the long promised Messiah, the Son of 

1 See art. "Stern der Weisen" in Winer's 7>i7;Zisc/tc.s Eealworterhuch ; art. 
" Star of the Wise Men," by Rev. Charles Pritchard, in Smith's Dictionary 
of the Bible ; Alford's Greek Testament on Matt. ii. 2 ; Kepler, DeJesu Christi 
vero anno natalitio ; Wieseler's Syno2)sis of the Four Gosjich, pp. 86 ff., 
Eng. trans. ; Ellicott's Lectures on the Life of our Ljord, p. 72, note 2. 

2 A distinguished Jewish rabbi, Abarbanel, states that there was a 
tradition that the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the sigii Pisces 
was most important for the Jewish nation, that it took place at the birth 
of Moses, and that it will occur at the advent of the Messiah. Ebrard's 
Gospel History, p. 178 ; M'Clellan, On the Gospeh^ p. 400. 

3 Alford's Greek Testament, note on Matt. ii. 1, 2. 


God, and the Eedeemer of the human race, were reasons 
sufificient for the occurrence of extraordinary phenomena at 
His birth. 

The massacre of the infants of Bethlehem is regarded as 
another incident which casts a doubt on the truth of the 
narrative (Matt. ii. 16). There is no reference to such an 
occurrence in the contemporary history of Josephus. The 
barbarities of Herod are there minutely described, but this 
barbarous and apparently unnecessary slaughter of helpless 
infants is not even hinted at. 

The answer to this objection is obvious. Such an act of 
barbarity is entirely in conformity with the character of 
Herod. He waded through blood to his throne, and his 
whole reign was steeped in blood. He put to death his wife, 
Mariamne, and his three sons, Alexander, Aristobulus, and 
Antipater. Immediately before his death, he caused the 
principal men among the Jews to be arrested and collected in 
the Hippodrome at Jericho, and gave orders that they should 
be put to death immediately at his decease, so that there should 
be a general lamentation at his death.^ Nor is the massacre 
of the infants to be exaggerated. Bethlehem was a small 
village, and the infants slain, from two years old and under, 
would be few in number, — a trifling incident compared with 
the other enormities of Herod, who rivalled Nero in his 
cruelties, though on a smaller scale. Josephus might easily 
pass over such an act of cruelty in recording atrocities of a 
much more stupendous nature. 

But the chief objection is the apparent discrepancy 
between this narrative and the narrative of our Lord's 
birth as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. We have already 
had occasion to allude to the striking difference between these 
two narratives in proof of the statement that the Gospels of 
Matthew and Luke must have been written independently of 
each other ; it is here referred to for another reason, because 
it has been maintained by those who deny the genuineness of 
Matthew's narrative that the difference is so great as to 
amount to a contradiction, so that both accounts cannot 

^ For a striking statement of the cruelties of Herod the Great, see 
Neander's Life of Christ, p. 30, Bohn's edition. 


possibly be true.^ For example, it is affirmed that the resi- 
dence of Joseph is differently stated by these two evangelists. 
According to Luke, Joseph and Mary dwelt in Xazareth. 
" Joseph," we read, " went up from Galilee out of the city of 
Nazareth to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem " 
(Luke ii. 16). He remained there until the rites according 
to the law of Moses were completed, and then he and Mary 
returned to Nazareth, which is expressly called their own 
city (649 rrjv iroXiv kavrwv Na^apir, Luke ii. 39). Whereas 
Matthew, without mentioning any previous residence in 
Nazareth, relates that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea ; 
that Joseph and Mary left that city in consequence of a 
divine warning and fled to Egypt, where they remained until 
the death of Herod ; that after the death of that monarch 
they returned, but, in consequence of another divine pre- 
monition, did not resume their residence m Bethlehem, but 
withdrew into the parts of Galilee, and came and dwelt in a 
city called Nazareth (Matt. ii. 23). Now, certainly, the 
natural impression from this narrative is that Bethlehem and 
not Nazareth was the residence of Joseph. This, however, is 
not asserted by Matthew, and the fact that Joseph came and 
dwelt in Nazareth is in itself a presumption that he had some 
previous connection with that town. 

The difference in the incidents recorded by the two 
evangelists is certainly remarkable, but they are not so much 
at variance as to create a distinct discrepancy. "We have only 
to suppose, what is in itself probable, that Joseph and Mary 
remained a full year in Bethlehem, and that the visit of the 
wise men did not follow directly after the visit of the 
shepherds. The Magi found Jesus and His mother, not in 
the stable of tlio nativity, but in a house (iXOovTc^ et? rrjp 
oIkIuv, Matt. ii. 11); and the age of the infants who were 
slaughtered was from two years old and under, according to 
the time which Herod had carefully learned of the wise men 
(Matt. ii. 16). 

The possible chronological order of events, which is that 
given in its general features by Tatian in the Diatessaron, is 

^ See Meyer, in loco, and Schleiermacher'.s St. Luke, translated by 
Bishop Thirhvall, pp. 44 If. 


as follows : Jesus, according to both Matthew and Luke, is 
born in Bethlehem of Judnea. According to Luke, He was born 
in a stable, and on the evening of the day of His birth He was 
visited by the shepherds. Soon after, Joseph with Mary and 
the child would remove to a house. Forty days after, accord- 
ing to the provisions of the law of Moses, the presentation in 
the temple of Jerusalem took place, where the child was 
recognised by Simeon and the prophetess Anna. From 
Jerusalem they returned to Bethlehem, perhaps with the 
intention of takmg up their permanent residence there, as the 
city of David so hallowed in their view by what had occurred. 
Probably about a year after this the visit of the Magi and the 
appearance of the star occurred. Then, warned by God of the 
danger which threatened the child from the jealousy of Herod, 
they fled into Egypt, where they remained until his death, 
probably for a very short period. During their absence the 
massacre of the children of Bethlehem occurred. On hearing 
of the death of Herod, Joseph and Mary returned to Judtea, 
possibly to resume their residence in Bethlehem ; but, in con- 
sequence of another divine warning, they returned to Nazareth, 
their former abode. By such a method any apparent dis- 
crepancy is obviated ; at least it is shown that there does not 
exist any antagonism between the two narratives. We have 
only to suppose that Luke omits in his narrative the events 
which occurred during the temporary residence in Bethlehem. 
The return to Nazareth which he mentions (Luke ii, 39) is the 
same which Matthew mentions as taking place on their commg 
back from Egypt (Matt. ii. 23).^ 

2. Another passage, which has been and is still disputed, 
is the doxology attached to the Lord's Prayer : " For Thine is 
the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen " 
(Matt. vi. 13). 

The argument for the omission or retention of these 
words rests entirely on external evidence : there is nothing in 
the words themselves which can be adduced as an argu- 
ment either for or against their insertion. The argument in 
favour of the genuineness of this doxology is that it is found 

1 See Wieseler's Synopsis of the Four Gospels, p. 136, chap. iii. Succes- 
sion of events in the history of our Lord's childhood. 


in scveical important uncial MSS. (E, G, K) ; in all the cursive 
MSS. except five ; in all the Syriac versions ; in the Codex 
Brixianus (/), an important manuscript of the Old Latin, in the 
Ethiopic and Armenian versions, and in the two Egyptian 
versions, the Sahidic and the Coptic. It is found in Tatian's 
Diatessaron, and in the Didache, though only in part, rj jBacrCkeia 
being omitted.^ It is quoted by Chrysostom and subsequent 
Fathers. The argument against its insertion is that it is 
not contained in the principal uncial MSS., the Sinaitic, the 
Vatican, and the Codex Bezse ; the Alexandrian and the 
Codex Ephraemi are here defective. It is wanting in the 
MSS. of the Old Latin, with the exception of the Codex 
BrLxianus, and in the Vulgate. It is not quoted by any of 
the Greek Fathers until Chrysostom, and is omitted by the 
great Latin Fathers — Tertullian, Cyprian, Augustine, and 
Jerome. It occurs with several variations, as : " Thine is the 
kingdom, and the power, and the glory of the Father, and of 
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." It is omitted in the form of 
the Lord's Prayer as given in the Gospel of Luke.- 

The words are rejected by the vast majority of the 
critical editions of the New Testament, by the Complutensian 
editors, Erasmus, Bengel, Mill, Wetstein, Griesbach, Scholz, 
Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Westcott and Hort. 
Scrivener is almost the only one who expresses any dubiety. 
" It is right to say," he observes, " that I can no longer regard 
this doxology as certainly an integral part of St. Matthew's 
Gospel ; but I am not yet absolutely convinced of its 
spuriousness." ^ The words are regarded as spurious by 
Grotius, Luther, Melanchthon, De Wette, Tholuck, ]\Ieyer, 
Olshausen, Alford, Davidson, Wordsworth, M'Clellan, Morison, 

^ Didachu, ch. viii. 

2 For discussions on tlie genuineness of the doxolog\-, see Alford's 
Cheek Testament, in loco ; Davidson's i)z6KfaZ Criticisin, vol. ii. pp. 427-430 ; 
Scrivener, Introduction to the Criticism of the N.T.yol. ii. pj). 323-.3i28, 4th ed.; 
Cook, Revised Version of the First Three Gospels, pp. 57 fl'.; M'Ck^llan's New 
Testament, p. 647 ; Westcott and Hort, Neio Testament in Greek : Notes ou 
select readings, pp. 9, 10 ; Roediger, Syno2)sis Evanijelionnn, Appendix iii. 
p. 229. 

3 Scrivener's Introduction to the Criticism of the N.T.vo\. ii. 323, 4tli 

DATE. 139 

and the most noted commentators. It is expunged in the 
Eevised edition without any marginal note expressive of 
hesitation,! " There can be little doubt," observes Dr. Hort, 
" that the doxology originated in liturgical use in Syria, and 
was thence adopted into the Greek and Syriac Syrian texts 
of the N.T. It was probably derived ultimately from 1 Chron. 
xxix. 1 1 (Heb.), but, it may be, through the medium of some 
contemporary Jewish usage; the people's response to the 
prayers in the temple is said to have been : ' Blessed be the 
name of the glory of His kingdom for ever and ever.' " ^ 

VII. The Date of the Gospel. 

The time when the Gospel of Matthew was written is 
still a point of great dubiety. There is much diversity in 
the statement of the Fathers. Irenseus places it after a.d. 
60; Eusebius, about a.d. 44, when the apostles were dispersed; 
Theophylact, at A.D. 41; and Nicephorus, at a.d. 48, fifteen 
years after the ascension. Different years, between a.d. 37 
and A.D. 100, have been assigned by critics.^ The question 
may be put in this form, Was the date of this Gospel before 
or after a.d. 60 ? 

The early date, before a.d. 60, has been adopted by 
Townson, Michaelis, Eoberts, and Davidson (1st edition of 
his Introductio7i). Those who fix upon this date have the 
support of Eusebius, who says : " Of all the disciples (apostles) 
of the Lord, only Matthew and John have left us written 
memorials; and they, tradition says, were led to write only 
under the pressure of necessity. For Matthew, who had at 
first preached to the Hebrews, when he was about to go to 
other peoples, committed his Gospel to writing in his native 
tongue, and thus compensated those whom he was obliged to 

! We, however, think that there shoukl have been a marginal note 
stating that the passage is not altogether devoid of support. 

2 Westcott and Hort's Greek Testament : Notes on select readings, 
p. 9. 

3 The Tiibingen school assign a much later date to Matthew's Gospel : 
Pfleiderer supposes that it was written about the middle of the second 
century. Dr. Davidson, in the last edition of his Introduction, says : 
" The Gospel may be dated about 105 a.d." vol. i. p. 370. 


leave for the loss of his presence." ^ According to tliis state- 
ment, whilst the apostles remained in Judsea, there was an 
oral communication of the Gospel ; the actions and the 
discourses of Christ formed the subject of theh^ preaching, 
and of the instructions given to the disciples ; the want of 
a written Gospel was not then felt ; but when they had to 
leave Judiea and go to other nations, the loss of their 
oral communications had to be supplied by some written 
documents ; and, according to Eusebius, this was the occasion 
of Matthew's writing his Gospel. It is difficult to determine 
the date of the departure of tlie apostles from Judiea, but it 
could not have been long after the ascension. At the council 
of Jerusalem (a.d. 51) there were only present Peter, John, 
and James the Lord's brother ; and on a previous occasion 
(a.d. 40), on his visit to Jerusalem, Paul saw none of the 
apostles save Peter and James the Lord's brother (Gal. i. 
18, 19). The probability is that the persecution by Herod 
Agrippa (a.d. 44) drove the apostles from Jerusalem. 
According to an ancient tradition, the apostles were com- 
manded by our Lord to remain for twelve years in Jerusalem. 
Thus Apollonius, who wrote in the second century, states that 
it was handed down by tradition, tliat our Saviour com- 
manded His disciples not to depart from Jerusalem for 
twelve years.- And the same tradition is recorded in an 
apocryphal work, quoted by Clemens Alexandrinus, entitled. 
The PrcacMwj of Fetcr. " The Lord said to His apostles, 
' If anyone therefore of Israel repent, and through My 
name be willing to believe in God, liis sins shall be forgiven 
him. After twelve years, go ye out into the world, lest any 
say, We have not heard,' " ^ This period coincides with the 
persecution by Herod Agrippa. As, however, Peter, Jolm, and 
James were present at the council of Jerusalem, a.d. 51, the 
final dispersion of the apostles must have taken place some 
years later. According to this view, we fix the date of 
Matthew's Gospel between a.d. 55-60. 

There are several presumptive reasons in fa\'our of this 
date. So long as the apostles remained in Jerusalem, and 

J Eusebius, Hid. Ecd. iii. 24. - Und. v. 18. 

^ Clemens Alexandrinus, Strom, vi. 5. 

DATE. 141 

the disciples were privileged with their instructions, the oral 
Gospel was sufficient. But when the apostles left, and the 
Church was unprovided with qualified teachers, — with those 
who were personally cognisant of the life of Jesus, and were 
the eye-witnesses of His actions and the hearers of His 
discourses, — a written Gospel was indispensable. And especi- 
ally would this be the case when we consider that in a short 
time Christianity overstepped the boundaries of Judsea, the 
Gospel was diffused throughout the adjacent countries, the 
Gentiles were admitted into the Church of Christ, and before 
A.D. 50 Paul had founded Churches in Phoenicia, Syria, 
Cyprus, and Pisidia. The apostles could no longer supply 
the wants of the times : it was essential that the actions and 
discourses of Christ should be committed to writing. We 
cannot suppose that no Gospel was written until thirty years 
after the death of Christ, and that the life of Christ, His 
words and actions, were left to the uncertainties of tradition. 
Early Gospel fragments would be dispersed throughout the 
Churches, — probably different in different Churches and 
localities, — and many of them would be collected and 
authenticated by apostolic men. And we know, as a matter 
of fact, that authoritative Gospels were at an early period 
recognised by the Church. 

The later date, after a.d. 60, appears not so probable; 
but nevertheless it is the one that has been adopted by the 
majority of modern critics. It is the opinion of Eichhorn, 
Credner, Hug, Michaelis, Lardner, Bertholdt, Bleek, Davidson 
(3rd ed.), and Weiss. Those who fix upon it have the support 
of Irenteus. " Matthew," observes that Father, " issued a 
written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect 
while Peter and Paul were preaching the gospel at Eome, 
and laying the foundations of the Church." ^ As Paul did 
not reach Eome until a.d. 61, the date here assigned must 
have been after a.d. 60. It is argued that there are in the 
Gospel of Matthew itself intimations of a late date. Thus 
we read that the field purchased by the treason money of 
Judas is called the field of blood ^lnto this day (Matt, xxvii. 
8) ; that the report of the soldiers about the stealing of the 
1 Irenaeus, Adv. Hair. iii. 1.1; Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. v. 8. 


body of Jesus was spread abroad among the Jews and 
continued until this day (Matt, xxviii. 15), — a phrase which 
implies that there must have been an interval between the 
occurrence of these events and the writing of the Gospel. 
]jut, so far as we can see, an interval of fifteen years is 
sufficient to answer the requirement. 

Another argument on which some critics ground the later 
date of Matthew's Gospel, is the mention of Zachariah, son of 
Barachiah, who is said to have been slain between the 
sanctuary and the altar (Matt, xxiii. 35). Hug, Credner, 
Eichhorn, and apparently Weiss,^ suppose that this Zachariah 
is Zachariah the son of Baruch, whose murder at the com- 
mencement of the Jewish war by the Idumeans in the 
temple is mentioned by Josephus ; ^ and hence they argue 
that the Gospel was not written until after this event ; that it 
was an assertion put into the mouth of our Lord by the 
writer of this Gospel. Hug attempts to escape the objection 
drawn from this anachronism by supposing that our Lord 
spoke of the death of Zachariah in a prophetic spirit, although 
in the Gospel it is mentioned as a past event (ov ecftoi/evaare).^ 
But the supposition is wholly fanciful. The Zachariah of 
Josephus is the son of Baruch, not of Barachiah. There is 
indeed a difficulty in identifying the person of whom our 
Lord speaks with any prophet mentioned in the Old Testa- 
ment ; but the common opinion is probably correct, that 
the allusion is to Zachariah the son of Jehoiada, who was 
murdered in the court of the temple by order of King Joash* 
(2 Chron. xxiv. 20-22). 

The statement of Irenteus, which has given rise to this 
opinion of the later date, is of doubtful credibility. He 
speaks of Matthew's Gospel being written when Peter and 

1 Weiss, Einlcitumj in das N.T. § 47, trans, vol. ii. p. 288. 

- Josephus, Bell. Jud. iv. 5. 4. 

3 Hug's Introduction to the N.T. vol. ii. p. 12, Eiig. trans. 

•' The diflerence of name, .Jehoiada instead of Barachiali, is a dilliculty. 
In the Gospel according to the Heljrews, Zachariah is caUed, not tlie son of 
Barachiah, but the son of Joiada. Ebrard, taking into account the extreme 
age of Jehoiada, supposes that Zachariah was his grandson. Is it not 
possible that it might have been the prophet Zechariah who is called the 
.son of Barachiah ? (Zech. i. 1). 

DATE. 143 

Paul were in Eome preaching and founding the Church.^ 
But the Eoman Church was not founded by Peter and Paul : 
it was in existence long before either Peter or Paul arrived 
in that city. Paul, when he came to Eome, found Christians 
already there, and had several years before written an Epistle 
to them. It is very doubtful whether Paul and Peter were 
ever in Eome together ; indeed it is a question whether 
Eome was ever visited by the Apostle Peter. His first Epistle 
is written from Babylon (1 Pet. v. 13), and the fact of his 
residence in Eome greatly depends upon the answer to the 
question, whether by Babylon is meant the renowned city on 
the Euphrates, or whether it is a metaphorical name for 

Some critics endeavour to reconcile these two dates — the 
earlier and the later — by the supposition that two editions 
of Matthew's Gospel were written, the one in Aramaic and 
the other in Greek, and that these editions were written at 
different times. The Aramaic Gospel, being at first the most 
requisite, was written earliest, about a.d. 44, on the departure 
of the apostle from Judsea. Afterwards, when the disciples 
became more numerous, and were composed for the most 
part of Greeks, it became necessary that it should be trans- 
lated into Greek ; and this was done, either by Matthew 
himself or some other person, about a.d. 60. "I can," says 
Michaelis, " see no impropriety in beheving that both the 
early and the later date, assigned to St. Matthew's Gospel, 
are consistent with truth ; that it was originally written in 
Hebrew in the beginning of the year 41, before Herod 
Agrippa was appointed king of Judaea, but that the Greek 
translation of it was not made until the year 61 or later." ^ 
That there were two such editions, an Aramaic and a Greek 
Gospel, is a supposition perfectly admissible, indeed has 
presumptive evidence in its favour. 

The place of composition was most probably Jerusalem 

^ rdi) nsTjOoy xsei tov Wa.v'Kav Iv Vuf^'fi siiw/ys'ht^ofiii/cou x-otl difisKtovvruv 

TTIV iKX.'KmiOtU. 

2 See Gloag's Introduction to the Catholic Epistles, pp. 144-161 : Dis- 
sertation, " Peter's residence in Rome." 

3 Marsh's Michaelis, vol. iv. p. 112, 2nd ed. 


or some part of Judtea. Everything in the Gospel points to 
this : the references to the customs of the Jews, the mention 
of localities, the Hebrew garb of the narrative, are all re- 
concilable with the supposition that it was written in 
Palestine. In Judaea also Matthew would find his authorities 
and the sources of his narrative. 

VIII. Contents of the Gospel. 

It is unnecessary to give a table of the contents of the 
Gospel of Matthew ; this is given in every commentary, and 
may be easily gathered from a survey of the Gospel. At 
the same time, the Gospel can only be studied in connection 
with the other Gospels in the form of a harmony, as they 
mutually supplement each other. 

The Gospel of Matthew may be conveniently divided into 
six imequal parts. 

1. The birth of Christ (i., ii.). This part contains the 
genealogy of our Lord and the narrative of His birth. 

2. The xjreparation for His ministry (iii.-iv. 11). This 
part includes the ministry of John the Baptist, the baptism 
of Jesus, the descent of the Spirit upon Him, His in- 
auguration as the Son of God, and the temptation in the 

3. The Galilean ministry (iv. 12-xviii. 35). This part, 
which forms the main body of the Gospel, contains the call 
of the apostles and the first missionary journey in Galilee, 
the Sermon on the Mount, a narrative of several miracles 
performed by Christ, instructions given to the apostles when 
sending them forth to preach the gospel, the deputation from 
the Baptist, our Lord's dispute with the Pharisees, a series of 
miracles, the fate of the Baptist, the twofold feeding of the 
multitude, the confession of the Messiahship of Jesus by 
His disciples, the transfiguration, various instructions imparted 
to the disciples. 

4. The journey to Jerusalem and residence there (xix. 1- 
XXV. 46). This part contains His departure from Galilee, 
His gradual progress to Jerusalem and His triumphal entrance, 
the denunciations pronounced on the scribes and Pharisees, 


the prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, and a series of 
parables delivered toward the close of His ministry. 

5. The Passion (xxvi., xxvii.). This part includes the 
anointing of our Lord at Bethany, the institution of the 
Supper, the agony in Gethsemane, the examination of Jesus 
before Caiaphas, the trial before Pilate, the crucifixion, death, 
and burial. 

6. The Eesurrection (xxviii.). 

Perhaps the most characteristic portions of this Gospel 
are the Sermon on the Mount (v.— vii.), and the two series 
of parables on the nature of the kingdom of heaven, the one 
delivered about the middle of our Lord's ministry (xiii.), and 
the other toward its close (xxv.). 



The consideration of the quotations made by the writers of 
the New Testament from the Old Testament is a very wide 
subject, and can only be touched upon in this dissertation. 
It is complicated by the fact that there are two sources from 
which these quotations have been derived, — the original 
Hebrew and the Septuagint or Greek translation, — and these 
often differ from each other. In general the difference is 
trivial, but sometimes it is important, and alters the sense. 
The subject has been carefully examined by the late Dr. 
Turpie in his book, entitled. The Old Testament in the Neio} 
a work of much learning and labour. He arrives at the 
following results. There are 275 undoubted quotations 
from the Old Testament by writers of the New. These are 
arranged under five divisions. 1. Those passages in which 
the Hebrew, the Septuagint, and the New Testament all 
agree, of which there are fifty-three. 2. Those in which the 
New Testament agrees with the Hebrew, but differs from the 
Septuagint, of which there are ten. 3. Those in which the 
Hebrew and the Septuagint agree, but differ from the New 
Testament, of which there are seventy-six. 4. Those in which 
the New Testament agrees with the Septuagint, but differs from 
the Hebrew, of which there are thirty-seven. 5. Those in 

i"A contrilmtioii to Biblical Criticism and Interpretation. Tlie 
quotations from tlie Old Testament in tlie New classified according to 
their agreement with, or variation from, the original." London, 1868. 
This was followed by a companion volume, entitled, The New Testament 
View of tlie Old. London, 1872. 




which all three — the Hebrew, the Septuagint, and the New 
Testament — differ, of which there are ninety-nine. To 
those have to be added three passages (John vii. 38, 42 ; 
Eph. V. 14) which are only doubtful quotations.^ 

The Gospel of Matthew has, in proportion to its length, a 
greater number of quotations from the Old Testament than 
any other New Testament writing, with the exception of the 
Epistle to the Komans. The reason is obvious, because the 
special design of this Gospel was to prove the Messiahship of 
Jesus, and for this purpose the evangelist had to draw his 
proofs from the Old Testament. The number of quotations 
has been variously estimated. Dr. Davidson, who includes a 
number of coincidences which are not strictly citations, gives 
the number at sixty-one ; ^ whilst Dr. Turpie, restricting him- 
self to undoubted citations, reduces it to forty-one. Taking 
Dr. Turpie's book as guide, though not strictly following it, 
we give the list of quotations in Matthew's Gospel with the 
following distinctive marks : a, denoting those which agree 
both with the Hebrew and the Septuagint ; /3, those which 
agree with the Hebrew, but dijffer from the Septuagint ; 
7, those which agree with the Septuagint, but differ from 
the Hebrew; and S, those which differ both from the Hebrew 
and the Septuagint. 


8 Matt. 




i. 23 . 
ii. 6 . 
ii. 15 . 
ii. 18 . 
ii. 23 . 
iii. 3 . 
iv. 4 . 
iv. 6 . 
iv. 7 . 
iv. 10 
iv. L5, 16 

Isa. vii. 14. 
Mic. V. 1, 2. 
Hos. xi. 1. 
Jer. xxxi. 15. 
Isa. xi. 1 ? 
Isa. xl. 3. 
Deut. viii. 3. 
Ps. xci. 11, 12. 
Deut. vi. 16. 
Deut. vi. 13. 
Isa. ix. 1, 2. 

1 Turpie's Old Testament in the Neio, p. 267. See also Farrar's Life of 
Christ, vol. ii. pp. 483 f . 

2 Davidson's Introduction to the Stiuhj of the N.T. 3rd ed. vol. i. 
p)p. 375, 376. See also Davidson's Hermeneutics, pp. 334 ff. 





8 Matt. viii. 17 . . . Isa. liii. 4. 

8 „ ix. 13 

Hos. vi. 6. 

8 „ xi. 10 

Mai. iii. 1. 

8 „ xii. 7 

Hos. vi. 6. 

8 „ xii. 18-21 . 

Isa. xiii. 1-4. 

7 „ xiii. 14, 15 . 

Isa. vi. 9, 10. 

8 „ xiii. 35 

Ps. Ixxviii. 2. 

8 „ XV. 4 . 

Ex. XX. 12. 

8 „ XV. 8, 9 

Isa. xxix. 13. 

8 „ xviii. 16 

Deut. xix. 15. 

8 „ xix. 4 

Gen. i. 27. 

8 „ xix. 5 

Gen. ii. 24. 

a „ xix. 18, 19 

Ex. XX. 12-16. 

8 „ xxi. 5 

Zech. ix. 9. 

8 „ xxi. 13 

Isa. Ivi. 7. 

a „ xxi. 16 

Ps. viii. 2. 

a „ xxi. 42 

Ps. cxviii. 22, 23 

8 „ xxii. 24 

Deut. XXV. 5. 

8 „ xxii. 32 

Ex. iii. 6. 

8 „ xxii. 37 

Deut. vi. 5. 

a „ xxii. 39 

Lev. xix. 18. 

a „ xxii. 44 

Ps. ex. 1. 

8 „ xxvi. 31 

Zecli. xiii. 7. 

8 „ xxvii. 9, 10 

Zech. xi. 13. 

a „ xxvii. 35 

Ps. xxii. 18.1 

P „ xxvii. 46 

Ps. xxii. 1, 2. 

From this list of quotations it appears that there are six 
in which the Hebrew, Septuagint, and New Testament agree 
(iv. 7, xix. 18, xxi. 16, 42, xxii. 39, 44); two which are 
taken from the Hebrew original, but which differ materially 
from the Septuagint (ii. 15, xxvii. 46); and one which agrees 
verbatim with the Septuagint and differs from the Hebrew 
(xiii. 14, 15).^ By far the larger number, amounting to 
twenty-seven, differ both from the Hebrew and the Septuagint, 
These differences are, however, in general immaterial. They 
consist in a different arrangement of the words, in the 

1 This passage is not considered genuine, and is omitted in the R.V. 

2 In this class also iv. 7 and xxi. 42 are placed by Dr. Turpie, but the 
difference from the Hebrew is very slight. 


omission or insertion of connecting particles, and in the 
change of tenses ; the meaning remains in general unaltered. 
It would appear that the New Testament writers frequently 
quoted from memory, without examining either the Hebrew 
original or the Septuagint. In the same manner the early 
Fathers quoted from the Scriptures both of the Old and 
New Testaments, as is seen in the numerous quotations in 
the writmgs of Justin Martyr and Clemens Alexandrinus, in 
which there are many deviations from Scripture. The same 
is the case in the present day : theologians often do not 
quote accurately ; they give the sense of a passage, without 
using the precise words. 

Different opinions have been adopted regarding the 
quotations from the Old Testament in general. Some hold 
that the New Testament writers quoted always from the 
Hebrew, giving their own free translation ; others, that they 
made use of the Septuagint, quoting from it in a free and 
general manner ; and others, that they adhered uniformly to 
neither, but frequently quoted from memory, and made a free 
use of their sources.'^ Bleek asserts, with special reference to 
the Gospel of Matthew, that in the citations which occur in 
the body of the narrative the Septuagint was used, whilst in 
those which the evangelist introduces in his own reflections, 
the Hebrew original is employed. But this statement is not 
borne out by fact, as may be seen by an examination of the 
passages. It would rather appear that the Septuagint lies 
at the root of most of the quotations, even of those which 
differ from it. 

The extent to which the Septuagint was used in the 
days of our Lord is a matter of dispute. Some affirm 
that it had superseded the Hebrew original, and was used 
in the Jewish s}Tiagogues.^ Hebrew was then a dead 

^ Davidson's Introduction to the Study of the N.T. 3rd ed. vol. i. 
pp. 375, 376 ; Bpeaker^s Commentary, " Introduction to the Gospels," by 
Archbishop Thomson, p. xxviii ; Westcott's Introduction to the Study of the 
Gospels, Appendix A, " On the Quotations in the Gospels " ; Bleek's 
Introduction to the N.T. vol. i. p. 295 ; Davidson's Hermeneutics, pp. 334- 

2 " Every available source of evidence," observes Professor Roberts, 
" which is worth anything, points to the conclusion that the Greek transla- 


language, and was not understood by ordinary Jews, and, so 
far as we know, there was no Aramaic translation. Besides, 
copies of the Hebrew Bible would be exceedingly expensive, 
whereas copies of the Septuagint would be more easily pro- 
cured, owing to the abundance of Greek slave labour employed 
in transcription. Most probably in the synagogues the original 
Hebrew, being the sacred language, would be used, even as in 
the present day ; whilst Jews, for their own private reading 
and edification, would possess copies of the Septuagint, owing 
to its comparative inexpensiveness. When our Lord appeared 
in the synagogue of Nazareth, there was delivered to Him 
the roll of the prophet Isaiah, most probably in the original 
Hebrew. The passage which He read, as quoted in the New 
Testament : " The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He 
anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor ; He hath 
sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovering 
of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 
to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord " ^ (Luke iv. 
18, 19), differs both from the Hebrew and the Septuagint. 
The difference is immaterial, but we cannot say from which 
source the quotation is made; so that no inference can be 
drawn from it as to the comparative use of the Hebrew or 
the Septuagint in the Jewish synagogues. On the other 
hand, the quotations made by the New Testament writers 
are in general pervaded by the spirit of the Septuagint, 
whilst the Hebrew is very seldom literally translated. Dr. 
Turpie mentions only ten passages which agree with the 
Hebrew but differ from the Septuagint,^ and thirty-seven 
which agree with the Septuagint but differ from the Hebrew. 
All those far more numerous passages, amounting to 175, 
which differ alike from the Hebrew and the Septuagint, 
in general approach more nearly to the Septuagint ; so 
that there appears reason for Professor Eoberts' remark: 

tion of the Old Testament Scriptures was then regularly used in the syna- 
gogues of Palestine," Greek, the Language of Clirist and His Apostles, p. 453. 

^ Revised Version. The words liaxadxi roiig avvTirptftftivovs r^y 
Kccphiuv, " to heal the broken-hearted," are omitted, as not found in the 
best manuscripts. 

2 These passages are Matt. ii. 15, xxvii. 46 ; Mark ii. 29, 30, xv. 28, 34 ; 
Luke xxii. 37 ; 1 Cor. iii. 19 ; 2 Cor. viii. 15 ; 2 Tim. ii. 19 ; Heb. v. 12. 


" In the vast majority of these quotations the Septuagint is 
either exactly followed, or the resemblance is so close as to 
be virtually identical." ^ 

There is little variation in the formulae of quotation 
used by Matthew. In general it is 'iva TrXrjpwOfj to pi]dev, 
" that it might be fulfilled which was spoken " ; to which is 
added, i/tto Kvplov Sia rod irpocjiTjTov, " by the Lord, through 
the prophet" (i. 22, ii. 15), or simply Bca tov irpoj)i]Tov, 
"through the prophet" (xiii. 35, xxi. 4), or hia rcov TrpocpT]- 
Toov, " by the prophets," or Sta 'Haatov, Bia 'lepefitov, " by 
Isaiah," "by Jeremiah" (ii. 17, iv. 14, viii. 17, xii. 17, 
xxvii. 9) ; or the simple fyeypairTai, " it is written," is used 
(iv. 4, 6, 7, 10, xi. 10, xxi. 13, xxvi. 31). This last form 
is generally employed by our Lord in His quotations from 
the Old Testament. In general the quotations are given as 
direct proofs, stating that the prophecies were fulfilled in the 
events recorded. Sometimes the connection between the 
prediction and its fulfilment is not clearly discernible, and in 
these cases it has been supposed that the evangelist quotes 
the words of the prophet by way of accommodation or 
illustration.^ And sometimes words are given in the form 
of a citation, which are not to be found in these precise 
terms in the Old Testament, so that there is a difficulty in 
knowing to what prophecy the evangelist refers.^ 

In the Gospel of Matthew there are four quotations 
which in themselves are either of doubtful application or 
obscure in meaning. 

I. The first is Matt. ii. 15: tva irXTjpcoOr] rb pr]6ev viro 
Kvplov Sia rod irpocpTjrov Xe'yovro'i' e^ Al'yvirrov eKoXecra tov 
vlov jxov : " that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by 
the Lord through the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt did I 
call My Son." 

The words are quoted with special reference to the flight 
of Mary and Joseph into Egypt, and are stated as a pre- 
diction of that event. The quotation is from Hos. xi. 1, 
and is taken from the Hebrew, with which it literally agrees. 
It differs from the Septuagint, which reads : " Out of Egypt 

1 Roberts' Greek, the Language of Christ, p. 135. 

2 See Matt. ii. 15, 17, 18. ^ gee Matt. ii. 23. 


did I call His children."^ Some suppose that the difference 
between the Hebrew and the Septuagint arose from the 
difference in the Hebrew vowel pointing ; but it would rather 
appear that the Septuagint translators must have read V33p 
instead of V??- The allusion by the prophet Hosea was 
probably to the message of Moses to Pharaoh, being the only 
passage where Israel is called the son of God : " Thus saith 
the Lord, Israel is My son. My firstborn : and I have said 
unto thee, Let My son go, that he may serve Me " (Ex. iv. 
22, 23). The nation of Israel was God's adopted son, chosen 
from among the nations of the world. 

The words of the prophet are rather a historical state- 
ment than a prediction. They refer to a past transaction 
rather than to a future event.^ The deliverance of the 
Israelites from Egyptian bondage is evidently the event 
alluded to. Hence it is asked, How can this historical 
event, which refers to the nation of Israel, possibly be a 
prediction which has received its fulfilment in our Lord's 
sojourn in and return from the land of Egypt ? 

The solutions which have been given of this difficulty 
are manifold. Dr. Lindsay Alexander supposes that the 
passage is not a citation from the Old Testament, but one 
of the traditions of the elders handed down among the Jews, 
namely, that the Messiah should sojourn in Egypt.^ Others 
think that it is used by way of illustration, being a pro- 
verbial expression to denote deliverance from any impending 
danger.* And others suppose that the words are spoken by 
way of accommodation : that as Israel was brought out of 
Egypt, so was the Messiah.^ But it seems more correct to 
regard it as a secondary or typical prophecy.'' Israel was a 
type of Christ : he is called God's son, because the Messiah, 
God's true Son, was to spring from him. In God's dealings 

^ II AjyvTTrov ^iziKcthiaa, rot. riKvot alrw. 

2 v/.etKirjtx.^ did I call, or I called. 

^ Connexion of the Old and New Testaments, p. 48G. 

■* Chandler's Defence of Christianity. 

^ Hill's Divinitii Lectures, vol. i. p. 177. 

" Matthew was a strict Hebrew, deeply imbued with Jewish notions, 
and saw in the incidents of Jewish history tyi)es and foreshadowings of 
the Gospel. 


with Israel there is a typical reference to Christ : the Old 
Testament is but a prediction of the New : ^ Christ is the 
Alpha and Omega of revelation. As all the sacrifices under 
the law were but types and emblems of the great sacrifice of 
Christ for sin, as the Levitical ritual prefigured the gospel 
dispensation, so the dealings of God with Israel had a spiritual 
reference, and were fulfilled in Christ. There are what have 
been termed secondary prophecies : predictions which are 
capable of a twofold application, which receive a primary 
but partial fulfilment in some person or event in Jewish 
history, and a secondary and more complete fulfilment in the 
Messiah : prophecies which, as Lord Bacon says, " are not 
fulfilled punctually at once, but have springing and germinat- 
ing accomplishment." ^ Of course this infusion of a spiritual 
meaning into the Old Testament quotations must be made 
with the greatest caution ; and perhaps it is only justifiable 
when such a meaning is given by the inspired writers them- 

II. Another quotation, which has given rise to much 
dispute, is from a prophecy of Jeremiah, which is said to 
have received its fulfilment in the slaughter of the infants 
of Bethlehem : Tore eifXripdiOr} to prjdev Sia 'lepe/nlov rov 
'7rpo(])7]Tov XeyovTO^' (f)cov7] ev 'Papbd '^KOvaOr], K\av6/jbo<; Kol 
oSvpfMO^ 7roA,u9" 'Paj(7]\ KKalovaa to, reKva avTrj<;, kol ovk 
rjOeXev irapaKkrjOrjvaL, on ovk elalv. " Then was fulfilled 
that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, A 
voice was heard in Eamah, weeping and great mourning, 
Eachel weepmg for her children : and she would not be 
comforted, because they are not" (Matt. ii. 17, 18). 

This quotation, taken from Jer. xxxi. 15, differs from the 
Hebrew and the Septuagint ; but the variations are of no 
importance. It is impossible to say from which of the two 
sources it has been taken. In all probability the words are 
quoted from memory ; for there is no reason to assert, with 
certain critics, that they are taken from some other translation. 

This is also one of those prophecies which admit of a 

1 " In the Old Testament, tlie New Testament lies concealed ; in the 
New, the Old lies revealed." Augustine. 

2 Bacon's Advancement of Learnimj. 


twofold application : a primary application to the event 
which occurred at the time when it was uttered, and a 
secondary application to the Messicih. In its primary sense 
it is not a prediction, but a historical statement. It has 
been referred to two events in the history of Israel. Some 
suppose that the reference is to the captivity of Israel by 
Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, when the Israelite captives 
were assembled at Eamah, where a number were put to death, 
and the rest led captive to Nineveh. But there is no 
mention of this fact in history. Others, with more prob- 
ability, refer it to the assembling of the Jewish captives by 
Nebuzaradan, the general of Nebuchadnezzar, at Eamah, from 
which they were led bound in chains to Babylon (Jer. xl. 1). 
It refers to the lamentation which was then made on account 
of the destruction and captivity of the nation. Eachel is 
by a bold personification represented as rising from her 
tomb,^ deploring with bitter wailing the great calamity 
which had befallen her offspring. 

But whilst the words may have a primary application to 
the deportation of the Jewish captives from Eamah to 
Babylon (Jer. xl. 1), it received, according to the evangelist, 
a secondary application in the slaughter by Herod of the 
infants at Bethlehem. In its first application it is a 
historical statement ; in its secondary application it is a 
prediction which has received its fulfilment. There are, 
undoubtedly, difficulties connected with this view. Bethlehem 
was a town of Judeea, and the Jews were the direct offspring 
of Leah, not of Eachel ; on the other hand, the Benjamites, 
who were her descendants, were identified and bound up 
with the Jews so as to become one nation, and thus the 
nation, as a whole, might well be considered as the descend- 
ants of Eachel ; and a certain allowance must be made for 
a bold poetical personification. Nor was Eamah the same as 
Bethlehem, but a village a short distance from it ; ^ but the 
slaughter of the infants might have extended to it, as we 
read that Herod slew all the children in Bethlehem, and 
in all the borders thereof (Matt. ii. 16). 

' Rachel was buried at Betlilulieiu, Gen. xxxv. 19. 
2 Only about a mile distant. 


The question which here meets us is, How can that 
which refers to the captivity of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar 
be applied to the massacre of the children of Bethlehem ? 
It has been shown that the Jews refer the prophecy to a 
much later period than the Babylonish captivity, and apply it 
to the disasters which befell their country under Vespasian 
and Hadrian.^ Josephus refers the prophecies of Jeremiah, 
not only to the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, 
but to the similar destruction by Titus.^ The Babylonish 
captivity was a striking incident in Jewish history, and made 
such a deep and lasting impression on the nation, as to 
be often referred to by them, and applied to other similar 
calamities. In this way, according to many commentators, it 
has been applied to the massacre of the children of Bethlehem. 
Thus Calvin says : " The prediction of Jeremiah having been 
accomplished at that time (the time when it was given), 
Matthew does not mean that it foretold what Herod would 
do, but that the coming of Christ occasioned a renewal of 
that mourning which had been experienced many centuries 
before by the tribe of Benjamin." ^ We consider this, 
then, as a secondary prophecy ; and if we admit the inspira- 
tion of the evangelist, we must also admit the propriety of 
this application. 

III. The next passage which claims attention is Matt. 
ii. 23 : ottco? TrXrjpcoOf} to pr]6ev Sia rwv irpoi^rjjoiv, otc 
]Sa^(opalo<; K\7]9i](7eTaL " : " that it might be fulfilled which 
was spoken by the prophets, that He should be called a 
Nazarene." ■* 

The reference here is to our Lord's residence in the town 
or village of Nazareth. This is said to be in accordance 
with the predictions of the prophets. But these words are 
to be found verbatim in no prophetical writing of the Old 
Testament. Nor does the evangelist refer to any particular 

1 Marsh's Michaelis, vol. i. pp. 210, 211. 

2 Josejjlius, Antiquities, x. 5. 1. 

3 Calvin's Commentary on the Gospels, in loco. 

* The Christians were at an early period called Nazarenes, as in the 
address of the orator Tertullus (Acts xxiv. 5). Most probably in this 
instance the name is taken from the town of Nazareth. 


prophet or prophecy ; the word is in the plural {irpojy-qrwv), 
as if the statement referred to the general consensus of the 

Chrysostom and Theophylact suppose that it is a lost 
prophecy, either handed down by tradition, or contained in 
some prophetical work which is no longer in existence. 
This view has been adopted by Bengel.^ Nor is there 
anything unreasonable in such a supposition. We learn 
from the Old Testament that many prophetic writings have 
perished : what remains may be a mere fragment of what 
was written. But it is improbable that Matthew would 
appeal to a lost prophecy, because in his time the canon of the 
Old Testament had been fixed. Besides, the words 8ta twv 
'Kpo<^r)roiv would seem to have a wider reference than to a 
single prophecy. 

Another hypothesis is that the reference is to the lowly 
condition of the Messiah — that He was a despised person 
(Isa. liii. 3). The allusion was to the suffering character 
of the Messiah, in opposition to the view then prevalent 
among the Jews of an exalted Messiah. The whole province 
of Galilee was looked upon by the Jews in a depreciatory 
light. " Search, and see : that out of Galilee ariseth no 
prophet " (John vii. 52). And Nazareth was the despised 
town of a despised province : it appears to have become a 
proverbial expression : " Can any good thing come out of 
Nazareth ? " (John i. 47). Hence it is supposed that when 
it is said, " He shall be called a Nazarene," that is, an 
inhabitant of Nazareth, the reference is to His despised 
condition. Such is the interpretation adopted by Michaelis, 
Kuinoel, Olshausen, Ebrard, Lange, Home. But it does 
not appear that the inhabitants of Nazareth as such were pre- 
eminently despised : the above-mentioned words of Nathauael 
may refer, not to the inhabitants, but to the obscurity and 
smallness of the town. Nazareth was a poor town : it is 
mentioned neither in the Old Testament nor by Joseplms. 
Can any good thing come out of Nazareth ? Can such an 
obscure town give rise to such an exalted person as the great 
Messiah ? 

^ Bengel's Gnomon, in loco, trans, vol. i. p. 135. 


A third explanation refers the term Nazarene, not to the 
town of Nazareth, but to the order of the Nazarites. Thus 
it was said of Samson : " The child shall be a Nazarite unto 
God " (Judg. xiii. 5). In the Septuagint the words are Na^lp 
Oeov, or, according to the reading of the Alexandrian manu- 
script, Na^ipalov Tft) 0€a>. This is the view adopted by 
Tertulliau, Jerome, Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, Grotius, Hilgen- 
feld, and others. Thus Calvin says : " Matthew does not 
derive Nazarene from Nazareth, as if this were its strict and 
proper etymology, but only makes an allusion (a play upon 
the word). The word "i\T^ or Nazarite signifies holy and 
devoted to God, derived from "iTJ, to separate." ^ The Nazarites 
were men separated or consecrated to God. Thus, among the 
Jews, Samson and Samuel were Nazarites, and so also was 
John the Baptist. Those who hold this view refer this 
prophecy to the consecration of the Messiah. But our Lord 
was not a Nazarite in the strict sense of the term. He did 
not take upon Himself any Nazarite vows : His character and 
conduct were in this respect a contrast to the Nazarite John 
the Baptist. He was not an ascetic : " the Son of Man came 
eating and drinking" (Matt. xi. 19). He did not, like His 
forerunner, withdraw into the desert, and live the life of a 
recluse ; but He mingled freely in human society, and thus 
could not be regarded as a true Nazarite.^ 

The majority of expositors see in the appellation Nazarene 
an allusion to i-^J {Nezer), a Branch, the title conferred by the 
prophets on the Messiah. Thus Isaiah says : " There shall 
come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a Branch 
(nVJ) out of his roots shall bear fruit " (Isa. xi. 1 ).^ And a 
similar title is applied to the Messiah in other prophecies 
(Isa. iv. 2 ; Jer. xxiii. 5, xxxiii. 15 ; Zech. iii. 8, vi. 12), though 
in these prophecies the word employed is HD^iT {Zemach). This 
hypothesis is adopted by Gieseler, Bleek, De Wette, Meyer,^ 

^ In loco. 

2 The term 'Nx^upxlos is not identical with Nazarite. 

^ In the Septuagint the word is xvdog. 

* Thus Meyer observes : " In Isa. xi. 1 the Messiah, as the offspring of 
David, is called IVJ, shoot, with which in the representation of the evan- 
gelist this designation was identified." 


Hengstenberg, Davidson, Schaff, and Mansel.^ According to 
this view we have a direct reference to the prophecy of Isaiah. 
But it is to be observed that "i^'J is only used by Isaiah, and 
the references to the Branch in the other prophecies cannot be 
employed, as it is an entirely different word that is used, 
which has no resemblance to Nazarene. 

IV. The fourth example of a doubtful quotation is still 
more difficult, as it would seem that Matthew makes an 
erroneous quotation, giving the name of one prophet, whilst 
he quotes from another : rore eirXrjpcoOr) to prjdev Bia 
^lepefiLov Tov 7rpo(f)rjTov XeyovTO^, Kal eka^ov ra TpcaKOvra 
apyvpia, ttjv rifir]v tov TeTLfiijfjLevov, bv eTLjxricravTO airo viS>v 
^IcrparjX' kov eScoKav avTo. et? tou aypov tov Kepafxeco^' Kava 
<TvveTa^ev fiot KvpL0<; : " Then was fulfilled that which was 
spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, And they took ^ the 
thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him that was priced, whom 
certain of the children of Israel did price : and they gave 
them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me " (Matt, 
xxvii. 9, 10). 

The first thing to attend to is the criticism of the passage. 
The word 'lepe/jbtov is omitted in the cursive manuscript 33 
(the Codex Colbertinus), which is considered as the most valuable 
cursive manuscript extant, and in 157, a manuscript which 
belonged to the ducal library in Urbino, but now lodged in 
the Vatican. Za')(apiov is contained in the cursive manu- 
script 22. Among the Fathers, Tatian omits 'lepefiiov. 
With regard to the Versions, we must take into account the 
statement of Augustine : " This ascription of the passage to 
Jeremiah is not contained in all the codices of the Gospels, 
but some of them state simply that it was spoken by the 
prophet." The codices to which he refers are those of the 
Old Latin : and in two important manuscripts of that Version 
— the Codex Vercellensis (a) and the Codex Veronensis (b) 
— the word Jeremiah is wanting. It is also omitted in the 

1 Speaker's Commentary : the Gospel of Matthew, in loco. The first 
part of this commentary to ch. xxvi. was by Dean Mansel ; the remainder 
was by Canon Cook. 

^"F.-Kctfiov may be either tlie first person singular, I took, or the third 
person plural, they took. 


Peshito Syriac and in the Persic Version. On the other 
hand, 'lepcfjuiov is the reading of all the uncial manuscripts, 
of the cursive manuscripts except those above mentioned, of 
all the Fathers who refer to the passage, as Origen, Jerome, 
Eusebius, and of all the Versions except the Peshito and 
the Persic. Thus, then, the undoubted preponderance of 
authorities is in favour of the retention of 'lepefiiov. At the 
same time, if conjectural emendation is at all admissible, 
here would be a fit occasion for its application, and accord- 
ingly Origen and Eusebius conjecture that Zaxaplov was the 
original reading. But when we take into account the 
multiplicity of critical authorities and their variety, conjec- 
tural emendation in the criticism of the New Testament must 
be regarded as wholly inadmissible. 

It is generally admitted that Matthew does not quote 
from the prophecy of Jeremiah, in which the words are not 
found, but from Zech. xi. 12, 13, where words somewhat 
similar occur. When, however, we compare the words in 
Matthew's Gospel with the Hebrew and the Septuagint, we 
find not only a variation from both, but such a material 
difference as does not usually occur in the quotations by the 
sacred writers from the Old Testament. The passage in the 
Hebrew is thus translated in the Eevised Version : " And I 
said unto them, If ye think good, give me my hire ; and if 
not, forbear. So they weighed for my hire thirty pieces of 
silver. And the Lord said unto me. Cast it unto the potter : 
the goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took 
the thirty j^ieces of silver, and cast them unto the potter in the 
house of the Lord." The passage in the Septuagint^ may be 
thus translated : " And I will say to them : If it be good in 
your eyes, give me my price, or refuse it. And they weighed 
for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto 
me, Put them into the furnace, and I will see whether it is 

1 The passage in the Septuagint is : kxI ipu -Trpog ocvrovg' el y.ctkov 
ivuTnou i/fiuv sari, S&'t£ toV fAiadov /^ov }j oc7rei7rcca6s' kkI 'iarriauv rov f<,tad6v f^ov 
rpi'oocovrcc xpyvpov;. Ka< dTrs Kvpiog T^po; /as, Koc^eg xvtov; slg ro ■x^oii/ivriiptov 
x,Xi oKitpof^cti ii OoKifiov laTtv ov rpoTTOV kdOKi^uaa^Yiv vTTip xiiTuv. Kot-i 'i'hoe.^ou 
roi/g rpta,)covTX ocpyvpovg x.»i hifix'Aou ctvTOvg ug rov oIkov x.vpiov sig to 


tested, as I have been tested for their sakes. So I took the 
thirty pieces of silver and cast them into the house of the 
Lord, into the furnace." The words in Matthew are different 
from both. Neither in the Hebrew nor in the Septuagint is 
there any mention of the field which was purchased by money. 
The clause, " And they gave them for the potter's field, as the 
Lord appointed me," is found in neither of these sources. 
According to the Septuagint, the money is cast into the 
furnace for the purpose of being tested ; according to the 
Hebrew, it is given to the potter ; and according to both, it is 
cast into the house of the Lord : none of which particulars 
is contained in the quotation as given by Matthew. — The 
explanations given of this difficult passage are very numerous. 
We only mention the most plausible. 

It is maintained that in the original the word Jeremiah is 
omitted and that Matthew wrote simply : " That which was 
spoken by the prophet." This is the explanation adopted by 
Bengel, Beza, Dr. Adam Clarke, and Dr. Doddridge. We have 
already considered the critical reading of the passage, and 
have found that the overwhelming preponderance of evidence 
is in favour of the retention of Jeremiah, and that in the case 
of the New Testament conjectural emendation is inadmiss- 
ible. We are consequently precluded from adopting this 

It is supposed that there is in the passage no reference to 
the prophecy of Zechariah, but that it is a lost prophecy of 
Jeremiah. The words, it is affirmed, are so different from 
those of Zechariah, as found, whether in the Hebrew or in the 
Septuagint, that they cannot be considered as a quotation 
from it.^ Jerome affirms that he had seen the passage in an 
apocryphal Book of Jeremiah written in Hebrew in the hands 
of the Nazarenes ; ^ and hence it is inferred that it is from 

^ Thus Dean Burgon says : " Matthew is charged with a bad memory, 
because he ascribes to Jeremy the prophet words which are said to be 
found in Zechariah. Strange that men should be heard to differ about a 
plain matter of fact ! I have never been able to find these words in 
Zechariah yet." 

2 The words of Jerome are : Legi nuper in quodam Hebraico volumine, 
quod Nazarena} sectie mihi Hebra3us obtulit, Hieremia) Apocryphum in 
quo liajc ad verbum scripta reperi. Commentary on Matthew. 


this apocryphal book that Matthew quotes. Thus Michaelis 
remarks : " As far as I am able to judge, the only mode of 
solving the difficulty is to suppose that Matthew has borrowed 
the quotation from some fragment of Jeremiah which is no 
longer extant."^ This is, however, an improbable solution, 
as the language of Jerome is indefinite, no such apocryphal 
Book of Jeremiah being elsewhere mentioned, and as similar 
words, though certainly not identical, are to be found in 

A much more plausible solution is that the passage con- 
tained in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters of Zechariah 
did not originally constitute a part of that prophetical book, 
but was written by Jeremiah, and inserted into the pro- 
phecy of Zechariah, just as the words of Agur are attached 
to the Proverbs of Solomon. This hypothesis was first 
suggested by Mede, and afterwards adopted with various 
modifications by Bishop Kidder, Archbishop Newcome, Lowth, 
Whiston, Dr. Pye Smith, and Dr. Samuel Davidson in his 
Hermencutics. So also Bertholdt, Michaelis, Kosenmiiller, 
Knobel, Hitzig, Ewald, and Bleek, who, although they do not 
go the length of asserting that these chapters were written 
by Jeremiah, yet maintain that they were not the composi- 
tion of Zechariah. The references in these chapters, it is said, 
relate, not to the time of Zechariah, but to the time of Jere- 
miah. Thus it is predicted that the pride of Assyria shall be 
brought down (Zech. x. 11), which was an accomplished fact 
in the time of Zechariah, but might form the subject of 
prediction in the time of Jeremiah. So also Gaza is threatened 
with destruction (Zech. ix. 5), which occurred under Nebuchad- 
nezzar, in the time of Jeremiah, long before the days of 
Zechariah. There is also a prediction of the destruction of 
Jerusalem (Zech. xi, 1), which has been referred to the time of 
the Eomans under Titus, but which would hardly have been 

1 Marsh's Michaelis, vol. i. p. 242. Similarly M'Clellan : " Matthew 
cited a prophecy spoTcen by Jeremiah, not written in his book ; and several 
spoken prophecies of Jeremiah, as doubtless of other projahets, are not 
recorded." M'Clellan, Neiv Testament, p. 606 ; Whitby, in loco. 

2 Eusebius supposes that the Jews designedly removed the words from 
the prophecy of Jeremiah. See Sanday's Bampton Lectures, p. 47. 



given in the time of Zechariah, when the Jews were to be 
encouraged to rebuild their temple, and which is therefore 
more suitable as a prediction of the destruction of the city 
by Nebuchadnezzar in the time of Jeremiah. The prediction 
regarding the prosperity of Tyre and its subsequent destruction 
(Zech. ix. 3, 4), though it might apply to the capture of that 
city by Alexander the Great, receives a better interpretation 
by referring it to its prosperity and subsequent destruction by 
Nebuchadnezzar in the time of Jeremiah.^ But admitting 
the plausibility of this hypothesis, it cannot be the true 
solution. The prophecy of Zechariah was as complete in the 
time of Matthew as now : there were no divisions in it : and 
Matthew could not suppose that what he quoted from that 
prophecy were not the words of Zechariah, but of Jeremiah. 
The division of the prophecy under different authors, whether 
justifiable or not, is the result of a higher criticism unknown 
in the days of the evangelist.^ 

It has been affirmed that this prediction is given under 
the name of Jeremiah, because the prophecy of Jeremiah was 
the first book of the prophets. The Old Testament received a 
threefold division — the law, the prophets, and the psalms ; 
and the first book of the division of the prophets is said to 
have been Jeremiah. The order in the time of Matthew was 
Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, the twelve minor prophets. The 
same is still the order in the Talmud and in the manuscripts 
of the French and German Jews. Thus it is supposed that 
Jeremiah gave his name to the division of the prophets, just 
as David gave his name to the division of the Psalms, and 
Solomon to the Book of Proverbs. When, then, Matthew uses 
the name Jeremiah, he does not allude to the Book of Jeremiah^ 
but to the volume of the prophets. " I do confidently assert," 
observes Dr. John Lightfoot, " that Matthew wrote Jeremiah 
as we read it, and that it was very readily understood and 

1 This hypothesis is stated with great fulness and supported by very 
ingenious and plausible arguments by Bishop Kidder, Demonstration of 
the Messias, vol. ii. pp. 196-217. See also Davidson's HernwneuticSy 
pp. 4G3-465. 

2 See a valuable note by Dr. Turpie in his Nexo Testament View of the 
Old, pp. 153-157. 


received by his countrymen," because Jeremiah of old had the 
first place among the prophets. " When, therefore, Matthew 
produced a text of Zechariah under the name of Jeremiah, he 
only cites the volume of the prophets under his name who 
stood first among the prophets." ^ This opinion has been 
adopted by Scrivener, Dr. David Brown, and Canon Cook in 
the Speaker's Bible. The evidence, however, is insufficient to 
prove that Jeremiah, and not Isaiah, stood at the head of the 
division " the prophets." 

Some maintain that the statement in St. Matthew's 
Gospel is not a mistake, but a correct assertion, and that in 
reality the quotation is from Jeremiah and not from Zechariah. 
This is certainly a bold assertion, as only by the most forced 
interpretation, and by a defiance of all the laws of exegesis, 
can the passage be considered as a prophecy of Jeremiah. 
The passage in Jeremiah which has been fixed upon is xxxii. 
6—9, where Jeremiah is told to purchase from his uncle a field 
in Anathoth. The only resemblance here is the purchase of a 
field by the commandment of the Lord. This is supposed to 
be implied in the words, " and they gave them for the potter's 
field, as the Lord appointed me." But the resemblance is very 
faint. All the other parts of the prediction, the price, the 
thirty pieces of silver, the value set upon the Messiah, are 
considered as parenthetic clauses. Of course, if we are thus 
permitted to cut and carve the prophecy, we can make it 
agree with any prediction which has a few similar words, but 
we destroy its whole value as a prediction. 

Somewhat similar to this last solution, or at least con- 
nected with it, is the supposition that the quotation is a 
conjomt prophecy from Zechariah and Jeremiah : that the 
prediction concerning the particular price, namely, the thirty 
pieces of silver, is taken from Zechariah ; and that the other 
part of the prediction, concerning the buying of the field, is 
from Jeremiah. This opinion is adopted by Eisner, Hofmann, 
Lange, and Dr. Patrick Fairbairn.^ Eisner would supply a 
connecting particle : " That was fulfilled which was spoken by 

1 Lightfoot's Hone Hehraicce : Exercitations upon St. Matthew, vol. xi. 
p. 345, Pitman's edition. 

2 Fairbairn's Hermeneutic Manual, pp. 440-448. 


Jeremiah and the prophet," an improbable form of expression. 
Still there is some plausibility in the above explanation. 
There are examples of such conjunct prophecies in the New 
Testament Mark i. 2, 3, although quoted as a prediction 
of Isaiah, is in reality taken both from Malachi and Isaiah 
(Mai. iii. 1 ; Isa. xl. 3) ; and if Matthew quoted from memory, 
he might easily have included two prophecies in one. But 
the reference to the purchase of the field in Anathoth, men- 
tioned in Jeremiah, is too vague and remote to be regarded as 
part of the prophecy. 

Another hypothesis is that Jeremiah is designedly men- 
tioned by the Spirit, in order to show the unity of prophecy. 
No doubt the prophecy is from Zechariah ; but Jeremiah is 
named because both prophets were inspired by the same Spirit, 
both were penmen of the same Author. This strange solution 
is advanced by Augustine : " It may have been the case," he 
observes, " that when Matthew was engaged in composing his 
Gospel, the word Jeremiah occurred to his mind instead of 
Zechariah. Such an inaccuracy he would most undoubtedly 
have corrected, had he not reflected that it was not without 
a purpose that the name of one prophet had been suggested 
instead of another. . . . This might fitly suggest the duty of 
accepting unhesitatingly whatever the Holy Spirit has given 
expression to through the agency of these prophets, and of 
looking upon their individual communications as those of the 
whole body, and their collective communications as those of 
each separately. If, then, it is the case that words spoken 
by Jeremiah are really as much Zechariah's as Jeremiah's, 
and, on the other hand, that words spoken by Zechariah are 
really as much Jeremiah's as they are Zechariah's, what 
necessity was there for Matthew to correct his text when 
he read over what he had written, and found that the one 
name had occurred to him instead of the other ? " ^ It is 
singular that this most improbable, we might almost say 
extravagant, solution, wherein the Holy Spirit is regarded as 
justifying an inaccuracy, has been adopted by Bishop Words- 
worth : " By referring here, not to Zechariah, where we read 
the passage, but to Jeremiah, where we do not read it, the 
^ Consensus Evv. iii. 7. 30. 


Holy Spirit teaches us not to regard the prophets as the 
authors of their prophecies, but to trace their prophecies, flowing 
down through them, in different channels from age to age, 
until we see them all at length springing forth from the one 
living Fountain of wisdom in the Godhead itself." 

Others at once admit that Matthew has committed a 
mistake in attributing a prophecy of Zechariah to Jeremiah. 
They do not suppose that the inspiration of the sacred writers 
is inconsistent with slight errors in their writings.^ This 
opinion, first suggested by Origen, has been adopted by 
Calvin, Mill, Griesbach, De Wette, Meyer,^ and Alford. Thus 
Calvin passes over the error with the remark : " How the 
name of Jeremiah crept m, I confess that I do not know, nor 
do I give myself the trouble to inquire. The passage itself 
plainly shows that the name Jeremiah has been put down 
by mistake instead of Zechariah ; for in Jeremiah we find 
nothing of this sort, nor anything that even approaches to it." ^ 
And Alford observes : " The citation is not from Jeremiah, 
and is probably quoted from memory, and inaccurately ; we 
have similar mistakes in two places in the apology of Stephen 
— Acts vii. 4, 16, and in Mark ii. 26. Various means of 
evading this have been resorted to, which are not worth 
recounting." ^ Such a solution certainly cuts the knot, but 
must only be resorted to as a last expedient. 

The mistake, for mistake we believe there is, need not 
necessarily be referred to the author, but to the copyist. 
Some think that the error originated in the translation of the 
Hebrew Gospel of Matthew into Greek.^ This, of course, 
assumes that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written 
in Hebrew, which, though probable, has not been demon- 
strated. If, however, there were a Hebrew Gospel of 
Matthew, it is a possible solution. But it might also 

1 See Wright's Bampton Lectures for 1878, p. 336, note. 

2 " The passage here quoted is a very free adaptation of Zech. xi. 12, 13, 
' Ispi^iov being a slip of the memory." Meyer's Commentary on Matthew, 
in loco. 

3 Calvin, in loco. * Alford's Greek Testament on Matt, xxvii. 9. 
5 Some suppose that the mistake may have arisen from the translator 

mistaking -|i (a contraction for Jeremiah) for T" (hand). Henderson, Com. 
on Zech. 


have arisen from the earhest copyist of Matthew's Gospel. 
" It is," says Dr. Morison, " a graphical erratum. And it 
would appear to have crept into the original edition of the 
Gospel, the first published edition. Hence its universal 
diffusion and its persistence from age to age. There is 
nothing wonderful in such an occurrence. It is precisely 
paralleled hy the expression ' which strain at a gnat,' instead 
of ' which strain out a gnat,' in our English authorised trans- 
lation of the Bible." ^ There is another example in 1 Tim. 
iv. 9, where the word shamcfaccdncss is a typographical error 
for shamefastness, and is so read in the Eevised Version. 
The word Jeremiah being found in the earliest copies of the 
Gospel would remain uncorrected, especially as it would be 
considered wrong to alter the scriptural manuscripts, and as 
the mistake admitted of various explanations. In some 
manuscripts, and in the Peshito Syriac, as we have seen, it 
was corrected. A mistake has been committed, and it is 
more justifiable to ascribe it to the copyist than to the author, 
or at least equally justifiable. 

^ Morison's Commentary on Matthew. Note on Matt, xxvii. 9. Dr. 
Morison gives a long and exhaustive list of tlie various bj-potlieses which 
have been advanced, to which list we have been indebted. 


LiTERATUEE. — The principal commentaries and dissertations 
on the Gospel of Mark are those of Petter on the Gospel of 
Mark (London, 1661); Fritzsche, Evangcliiiin Marci (Leipzig, 
1830); De Wette (Leipzig, 1846); Hilgenf eld, i)as J/arcws- 
Evangelium nach seiner Composition, nach seiner Stellung in 
der Evangelien Littcratur (Leipzig, 1880); Ewald (Gottingen, 
1850); Baur, i)as Marcus- Evangelium nach seinem Ursprung 
unci Cha^^alder (Tuhmgen, 1851); Olshausen (1853, English 
translation, 1863); Dr. Joseph Alexander of Princeton (New 
York, 1858); Alford in his Greek Testament (4th ed. London, 
1859); Meyer (last ed. in 1894; 1st ed. 1860; 6th ed. 
1878 ; English translation by the Kev. Ptobert Wallis, Edin- 
burgh, 1880); Lange (Bielefeld, 1861; English translation 
by Professor Shedd, 1866); Klostermann, Das Ifarcus-Evaii- 
gelium nach seinem Quellemverthe filr die Evangelischc Gesehichte 
(Gottingen, 1867); Weiss, Das Marcus-Evangelium (Berlin, 
1872); Morison (1st ed. London, 1873; 3rd ed. 1881); 
Volkmar, Marcus unci die Synopse der Evangelien (Ziirich, 
1876); Canon Cook in the Speakers Commentary (howdLon, 
1878); Maclear in Camhridge Bible for Schools (London, 
1886). Also Dean Burgon, The last twelve verses of the 
Gospel according to Mark (Oxford, 1871). 

I. The Genuineness of the Gospel. 

The genuineness of the Gospel of Mark is sufficiently 
attested. It is true that no undoubted citations from it can 
be produced from the writings of the apostolic Fathers, 



because the resemblance between it and the Gospels of 
Matthew and Luke is so close as to render it impossible to 
determine from which of these Gospels the citations have 
been taken. The first undoubted reference to it is found in 
that famous passage, quoted by Eusebius from Papias' Ao'yLwv 
KvpiaKwv i^7]y)]a€i<; (a.d. 120), to which we have formerly- 
adverted.^ " This also the Presbyter said : Mark, having 
become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, 
though not indeed in order, whatever he remembered of the 
things said or done by Christ." ^ It is to be observed that 
Papias gives this statement on the authority of the Presbyter. 
Without doubt John the Presbyter is here meant, whether 
he be, as some suppose, the Apostle John himself, or a 
person, otherwise unknown, who was an immediate disciple 
of the Lord, and whose testimony consequently carries us 
back to the days of the apostles. It has indeed been 
maintained by many biblical critics that Papias cannot here 
refer to our canonical Mark, but to some original document 
which lay at the foundation of Mark's Gospel, because his- 
description does not correspond with our Gospel of Mark. 
We have already referred to this objection,^ and shall after- 
wards more fully discuss it. 

Justin Martyr (a.d. 150) has the following direct 
citation from Mark : " It is said that He changed the name 
of one of the apostles to Peter ; and it is written in his 
Memoirs that this occurred, as well as that He changed 
the names of other two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, to 
Boanerges, which means the sons of thunder." ^ This title 
given to the sons of Zebedee is only found in the Gospel of 
Mark(iii. 17). 

The Muratorian canon (a.d. 170) is mutilated at its 
commencement, but it evidently contained a reference to 
the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, for the fragment com- 
mences with the words : " The third Gospel is that according 
to Luke." ' 

^ See p. 19, where the original Greek Ls given. 

2 Eusebiu.s, Hist. Eccl. iii. 39. ^ See siqjra, pp. 66, 67. 

■• Dial. c. Tryiih. eh. cvi. 

^ Tertiuni Evangelii libruni .secundum Lucaai. 


Irenaeus (a.d. 180) has many references to Mark, and 
directly affirms that he is the author of the second Gospel : 
" Wherefore also Mark, the interpreter and follower of 
Peter, does thus commence his Grospel narrative : The begin- 
ning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." ^ " Also 
toward the conclusion of his Gospel, Mark says : ' So, then, 
after the Lord Jesus had spoken unto them. He was received up 
into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God.' " ^ " Those 
who separate Jesus from Christ, alleging that Christ remained 
impassible, but that it was Jesus who suffered, preferring 
the Gospel by Mark, if they read it with the love of the 
truth, may have their errors rectified." ^ 

Besides these quotations, there are the patristic statements 
of the intimate connection which exists between the Gospel of 
Mark and the preaching of Peter, made by Irenteus, Clemens 
Alexandrinus, Tertullian, Origen, and others, to which we 
shall afterwards refer. There is also the testimony of the 
two chief versions, the Syriac (a.d. 150) and the Old Latin 
(A.D. 170). 

Nor are internal evidences wanting. The attribution of 
this Gospel to such a comparatively obscure author as Mark, 
is in itself a presumption in its favour. If the design was to 
impose it upon the Church, it would have been assigned to one 
of the chief apostles, especially to Peter, whose preaching, 
acccording to the Fathers, it contains, and not to one who was 
not an apostle, and perhaps not even a disciple, and who, 
provided he be the same as the Mark who is mentioned in the 
Acts, so far from being an eminent teacher in the Church, 
deserted Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey. 
But especially does the Gospel contam in itself the evidences 
of its genuineness. The narrative is of the most graphic 
description ; little incidents are mentioned which could only 
be the observation of an eye-witness.'^ There is a vivid- 
ness, a freshness, and a naturalness in this Gospel which give 
it the stamp of truth. 

^ Adv. Hcer. iii. 10. 6. ^ jjj{^^ s j^^^^ m n. 7, 

* It is not necessary to assert that Mark himself was an eye-witness, 
but that the narrative contained in his Gospel was the report of an eye- 


Yet notwithstanding these external and internal evidences 
in favour of the Gospel of ]\'Iark, its genuineness has been 
frequently disputed. The objections to it arise chiefly from 
the difficulties in which the question as to the origin of the 
Synoptic Gospels is involved, and not from any defect in 
the evidence. The first who called in question its genuineness 
appears to have been Schleierraacher, and he has been followed 
by Baur, Weisse, Gfrorer, Credner,^ Schwegler, Hilgenfeld, 
Ewald, Kostlin, Reuss, Schenkel, and Dr. Samuel Davidson. 

The chief objection brought forward is, that the statement 
of Papias is not applicable to ovir canonical Gospel of Mark.^ 
The genuineness of Mark's Gospel, it is asserted, rests 
entirely on the testimony of Papias ; the other authorities 
come too late. But the description which Papias gives of 
the writing of Mark cannot apply to our canonical Gospel. 
[Papias asserts that I\Iark, the interpreter of Peter, wrote 
jdown accurately, but not in order {ov ra^et), whatever he 
remembered of the things said or done by Christ ; and that 
le followed Peter who adapted his discourses to the needs of 
lis hearers, but " with no intention of giving a connected 
account of our Lord's discourses " (ov^ wairep auvra^iv tmv 
Kvpia/CMV iroiovfjbevo'i \6<y(ov). These words, it is maintained, 
cannot refer to the Gospel of Mark, as we now possess it, 
because that Gospel, so far from not being written in order 
and destitute of connection, is the most orderly and con- 
nected of the three Synoptic Gospels ; indeed it is on its 
chronological order that harmonies of the Gospels are in 
general formed. 

It is to be observed that this is the mere opinion of 
Papias, or of the Presbyter to whom he refers, and that on 
a subject which admits of a variety of opinions ; nor are his 
words to be pushed too far. There is a considerable variety 
of opinion as to what Papias intends by ou Ta^et. Tholuck 
supposes that he refers to the incompleteness of the Gospel, — 
that Mark merely gives a collection of anecdotes without observ- 
ing any definite order with regard to tlie time of the occurrence 
of the incidents stated. Schenkel supposes that the words 

* Einlcitung, pp. 123, 124. 

2 So Sclileiermaclier, Creduer, and Weisse. 


indicate the occasional manner of Mark's writing; that he 
did not compose his Gospel continuously at one time, but in 
parts at various times. Others think that ov rd^ei refers, 
not to the actions, but to the discourses of Christ, and 
indicates that Mark gave no continued account of our Lord's 
discourses (avvTa^c<; rcov KvptaKoiv \6<yo)v). But, appar- 
ently, what he affirms is not that there was no order in the 
composition of Mark's Gospel, but that the events are not 
related in a chronological order. Papias asserts the accuracy 
of the events which Mark relates, that " Mark wrote down 
accurately every thing that he remembered," that " Mark 
committed no error," but for some reason he was dissatisfied 
with his arrangement. The want of chronological order is 
to some extent applicable to all the three Synoptics. The 
evangelists did not relate the events of the life of Christ 
chronologically ; they do not profess to give a biography of 
Christ ; their Gospels rather consist of memorabilia or collec- 
tions of the remarkable incidents in His life. The words of 
Papias are to be understood comparatively. It is disputed 
with what Gospel he compares the order in Mark. Some 
suppose that Matthew's Gospel, to which he afterwards 
alludes, was in his view ; others, as Ewald and Bishop 
Lightfoot, think that it is the order followed in the Gospel 
of John ; Dr. Salmon thinks that what Papias regarded as 
the right order was that of the Gospel of Luke.^ 

It has been maintained that there must have been 
an original Gospel of Mark, of which our canonical 
Gospel is a recension. Those who adopt this opinion 
suppose that a collection of incidents in the life of Jesus, 
based perhaps, as the Fathers testify, on the preaching of 
Peter, was drawn up by Mark, one of his disciples, without 
any order, and that it is to this collection that Papias 
alludes. Afterwards, it is supposed, a succeeding writer 
composed the second Gospel, taking this original gospel as 
his basis, arranging the incidents in order, and adding to 
them additional material drawn from oral tradition. 

We have already referred to this hypothesis of an 
original Mark,^ and shall not again recur to it. Those who 
■^ Salmon's Introduction, p. 121. ^ gee supra, pp. 66, 67. 



adopt it differ widely as to its nature and extent. Ewald 
and Holtzmann suppose that the original Mark was longer 
than our present Gospel, containing a greater number 
of the incidents and discourses of Christ than our present 
Mark. Paul Ewald supposes that i. 1-3, vii. 24, viii. 26, 
and xvi. 9-20 are interpolations.^ Weizsiicker, on the 
contrary, considers that it was shorter, and that our present 
Mark is an enlargement. In the writings of the Fathers 
there is no reference to a Gospel of Mark different from that 
which we now possess. " The assumption," observes Meyer, 
" of an original treatise which has been lost would only have 
a historical point of support in the event of the contents of the 
fragment of Papias, so far as it speaks of the treatise of Mark, 
not really suiting our canonical Mark. But since, on a correct 
interpretation, it contains nothing with which our Mark is at 
variance, and therefore affords no ground for the assertion 
that it is speaking of another book ascribed to Mark, it 
remains the most ancient and the most weighty historical 
testimony for the originality of our second Gospel, and, at the 
same time, for the high historical value of its contents." - 

11. The Authou of the Gospel. 

I This Gospel has been uniformly assigned by the Fathers 
to Mark ; it is known in the Greek manuscripts of the New 
Testament as EvwyyiXiov kuto. MdpKov. If we assume 
that this Mark is the same as he who is mentioned in the 
Acts of the Apostles, the following incidents in his life are 
recorded. He was a Jew by birth, lieing mentioned by Paul 
as among those of the circumcision (Col. iv. 10, 11), and bore 
the Hebrew name of John. But, like many of his time, he 
had also the Eoman name of Mark. Hence he is called 
" John, whose surname was Mark " (I(odvvT]<i 6 iirLKokov- 
fjLevo<i MdpKo<i, Acts xii. 12, 25, xv. 37). In the Acts he 
is generally called by his Hebrew name John (Acts xiiL 
5, 13) ; whilst in the Epistles and in the Fathers the Hebrew 
name is dropped and the Latin name Mark retained. We 

' Ewald, Paul, Evangelienfrarje, pp. 165, 170, 178-191. 
2 Meyer's Commentary on Mark, vol. i. Eng. trans, p. 12. 

■AUTHOE. 173 

learu that his mother's name was Mary, and that she had a 
house in Jerusalem, where the disciples were accustomed to 
assemble (Acts xii. 12). In the Epistle to the Colossians 
(iv. 10), Mark is called 6 avey\no<i Bapvd/3a, which may 
either denote nephew or cousin ; in the Eevised Version it is 
translated cousm. From this relationship to Barnabas it has 
been arbitrarily inferred that he was a Levite. It was 
probably by reason of this relationship that he was brought 
in contact with Paul ; for we read that Barnabas and Saul 
returned from Jerusalem, and took with them John, whose 
surname was Mark (Acts xii. 25). He accompanied these 
apostles on their first missionary journey as their assistant 
or minister (vTrrjpeTrj^, Acts xiii. 5) ; but either because his 
zeal waxed cold, or because the dangers and difficulties of the 
mission alarmed him, he deserted them at Perga, and 
returned to Jerusalem (Acts xiii. 13). Four years after- 
wards, when Paul and Barnabas proposed to proceed on a 
second missionary journey, Mark was the occasion of a 
dispute between them ; Barnabas wished to take him with 
them, but Paul refused on account of his previous desertion ; 
and accordmgly Paul took Silas, whilst Barnabas took Mark, 
and departed with him to Cyprus (Acts xv. 39). This is 
the last notice which we have of Mark in the Acts of the 
Apostles. But from Paul's Epistles we learn that he was 
afterwards fully reconciled to Paul. He was with that 
apostle during his first Ptoman imprisonment, when he wrote 
the Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon (Col. iv, 10; 
Philem. 24). He afterwards appears to have journeyed into 
Asia, for during his second Eoman imprisonment Paul writes 
to Timothy : " Take Mark, and bring him with thee : for he 
is useful to me for the ministering" (2 Tim. iv. 11). 

Such is the scriptural account of the connection between 
Mark, the relation of Barnabas, and Paul. But there is also 
mention of a Mark in the First Epistle of Peter written from 
Babylon, or, as some thmk, from Eome. There we read : 
" She that is in Babylon, elect together with you, saluteth 
you; and so doth Mark my son" (1 Pet. v. 13). Some 
(Bengel, Neander, Credner, Tholuck, Dean Stanley) suppose 
that, when Peter calls Mark his son (o vi6<i fxov), he does not 


allude to a spiritual, but to a natural relationship. Thus 
Dean Stanley observes : " It is difficult to resist the con- 
clusion that r] avv€K\eKT7] is the wife of Peter ; and if so, 
o vl6<i fMov is not metaphorically (in which case reKvov would 
be the natural word, as in 1 Tim. i. 2), but literally, his son." ^ 
But such an opinion is unfounded. There is no reason why 
Peter and Paul should not employ different words to express 
a spiritual relationship, Peter calls Mark his son, because 
he was converted by him ; he was his spiritual father. 

We have said that these incidents refer to Mark, the 
evangelist, on the assumption that he is the same person as 
is mentioned in the Acts and in the Pauline Epistles. Some, 
however, suppose that there are two Marks ; one mentioned 
in the Acts, who was the companion of Paul, and another 
mentioned in the First Epistle of Peter, who was the 
companion of Peter. This opinion has been adopted by 
Grotius,- Schleiermacher, Cornelius a Lapide, Cave,^ Greswell,^ 
Baring-Gould,^ and Dr. David Brown of Aberdeen. There is 
nothing unreasonable in this supposition, nor is it contra- 
dicted by any of the statements of the Fathers of the first 
three centuries. The reasons for it are that Mark is in 
Scripture, with the exception of 1 Pet. v. 13, uniformly 
represented as the associate of Paul and Barnabas ; and there 
is no allusion to any connection between him and the Apostle 
Peter. He was with Paul at Eome (Col. iv. 10 ; Philem. 24 ; 
2 Tim. iv. 11), and could hardly approximately about the 
same time have been with Peter at Babylon (1 Pet. v. 13). 
Besides, Mark or Marcus was a very common name, borne by 
many illustrious Ptomans, as Marcus Tullius Cicero, Mark 
Antony, and the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Hence it has 
been inferred that there must have been two Marks, and that 
it was not Mark the relation of Barnabas, but another Mark, 
the companion and interpreter of Peter, who was the author 
of the Gospel. 

1 Stanley's Sermons and Essays on the Apostolic A(je, p. 91, note. 

2 Grotius, Proosmium in Marcum. 

3 Cave's Lives of the Apostles, p 439. 

* Greswell's Dissertations, vol. i. p. 71. 

' Baring-Gould's Lives of the Saints, April 25. 

AUTHOK. 175 

On the other hand, it has been mamtained that this 
supposition is unnecessary, and that Mark might be the 
companion both of Paul and Peter. After Mark had 
separated from Paul at the commencement of his first 
missionary journey and returned to Jerusalem, he might have 
attached himself to Peter in that city ; and after he had left 
Barnabas in Cyprus, he might have been with Peter in the 
interval between that and Paul's imprisonment at Eome. 
Besides, a connection between Peter and Mark is hinted at in 
the Acts : it was to Mark's house that Peter betook himself 
after his miraculous deliverance from prison (Acts xii. 12). 
" To suppose two Marks," says Dr. John Lightfoot, " one 
with Peter and another with Paul, is to breed confusion 
where there needeth not, and to conceive that for which 
Scripture hath not only no ground, but is plain enough to the 
contrary. It is easily seen how John Mark came into 
familiarity both with Paul and Peter ; and other Mark we 
can find none in the New Testament, unless of our own 
invention." ^ There is much, however, in favour of the theory 
that there were two Marks, a supposition which would remove 
several difficulties which arise from the long continued con- 
nection of Mark with Paul, rendering a connection with Peter 

It has been supposed that Mark was the young man 
mentioned in his Gospel who followed Christ after all the 
disciples had fled, when He was led from Gethsemane to the] 
palace of Caiaphas (Mark xiv. 52). It is narrated by the 
evangelist as a personal incident in a most graphic manner. 
Disturbed in his sleep by the tumult, and not taking time to 
put on his clothes, he threw a linen sheet over him, and 
rushed into the street to see what was the cause of the 
tumult: the soldiers seized him, and he left the linen cloth 
in their hands, and fled naked. '^ The objection to this is, 
that according to the statement of Papias, Mark was not one 
of Christ's disciples : " he neither heard the Lord nor 
followed Him " ; so that if Mark himself is the person 

1 Lightfoot's Worls, vol. iii. p. 323, edition by Pitman. 

2 See Greswell's Dissertations ufon a Harmony of the Gospels, vol. i, 
p. 82, edition 1830. 


alluded to in his Gospel, we must suppose that Papias was 
mistaken. The Mark mentioned in the Acts was at least 
at a very early period a disciple of Christ. Others go the 
length of supposing that it was in Mark's house that our 
I Lord and His disciples met to celebrate the last Passover : 
that, being a disciple, and having a house in Jerusalem, he 
gave it up for the use of our Lord.^ This, however, is a 
mere conjecture which rests on a very slender foundation. 

There are several notices of Mark in ecclesiastical history. 
According to Epiphanius, he was one of Christ's seventy 
disciples, and one of those who left Christ on account of His 
words : " Except ye eat My flesh and drink My blood, ye have 
no life in you" (John vi. 66), but was afterwards reclaimed, 
and, as it were, reconverted by Peter, whose spiritual son he 
.became.^ He is uniformly known by the Fathers as the 
[interpreter of Peter. He is represented as the founder of 
the Egyptian Church. Eusebius informs us that "Mark was 
the first who was sent to Egypt, and that he preached the 
Obspel which he had written, and established churches in 
Alexandria.^ The multitude of believers that were collected 
there, and lived lives of the most philosophical and excessive 
asceticism, was so great, that Philo thought it worth while to 
describe their pursuits, their meetings, their entertainments, 
and their whole manner of life."* The allusion is to the 
Therapeutffi whom Philo describes ; but they were not 
Christians, and hence this statement of Eusebius must be 
(Considered as legendary ; ^ though it may be assumed that 
Mark converted numl^ers in Alexandria, and that his preach- 
ing was of an ascetic character. Jerome tells us that Mark 
■died a natural death in the eighth year of Nero, and that he 
•was buried at Alexandria.^ Nicephorus, on the other hand, 

1 Farrar's Messages of the Boolcs, p. 55, note 4. 

^ Epiphanius, Hcer. li. 6. 

3 That Mark founded the Church of Alexandria is also asserted by 
Epiphanius, Hcer. li. 6 ; Jerome, De vir. illustr. 8 ; and Nicejihorus, H. E. 
ii. 42. 

* Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. ii. 16. 

* The Therapeutae were a Jewish sect. Eusebius probably confounds 
them with the Christian monks. 

^ De vir. illustr. ch. viii. 


informs us that he suffered martyrdom, being cruelly put to 
death by an Alexandrian mob.^ His remains were believed to 
have been removed to Venice, of which city he was regarded 
as the patron saint, and where one of the most magnificent 
churches in the world has been erected to his memory. 

III. The Sources of Mark's Gospel. 

The inquiry into the sources from which Mark derived 
the materials for his Gospel is one of much difficulty. These 
sources were not, as is maintained by Griesbach and Bleek, 
the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. This point we have 
in the previous part of this Introduction fully discussed.^ 
Mark was not a compiler from previous Gospels. His own 
Gospel is original and independent, and in all probability 
was written and published before the other two. 

On the other hand, it is the uniform testimony of the I 
Fathers that Mark was intimately associated with Peter as 
his interpreter. This is a tradition which is both general 
and undisputed. It is first mentioned by Papias in the 
passage so often referred to ; there Mark is called €p/ji,7]vevTr]<i 
nirpou. Irenseus says : " Mark, the disciple and interpreter 
of Peter (MdpKo^ 6 fMadrjrrjii koI epixrjvevrr]'; lUrpov), trans- 
mitted to us in writing these things which Peter had 
preached."^ Clemens Alexandrinus, according to Eusebius, 
says : " The Gospel according to Mark, had this occasion : 
As Peter had preached the word publicly at Eome, and ^ 
declared the gospel by the Spirit, many that were present 
requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time, 
and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And 
having composed the Gospel, he gave it to those who had 
requested it. When Peter learned this, he neither directly 
forbade nor encouraged it." ^ TertuUian writes : " The Gospel 
which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter's, whose 
interpreter Mark was." ^ Origen, quoted by Eusebius, says : 

1 Nicepliorus, Hist. Eccl. ii. 43. 

2 See sufra, pp. 46-48. 

® Irenaeus, Adv. Hcer. iii. 1. 1 ; Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. v. 8. 

•* Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. vi. 14. ^ TertuUian, Adv. Marcion. iv. 5. 


" The second Gospel is that according to Mark, who wrote 
it according to the instructions of Peter." ^ Eusebius writes 
at length concerning the Gospel of Mark, " So greatly did 
the splendour of piety illumine the minds of Peter's hearers, 
that they were not satisfied with hearing once only, or with 
the unwritten teaching of the divine Gospel, but they be- 
sought Mark — a follower of Peter, and the one whose Gospel 
is extant — that he would leave them a written monument 
i of the doctrine which had been orally communicated to 
them. Nor did they cease until they prevailed upon him ; 
and such was the occasion of the written Gospel which bears 
the name of Mark."^ And to the same effect Jerome 
observes : " Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, at 
the desire of the brethren at Eome, wrote a short Gospel, 
according to what he had heard related by Peter." ^ 
[ From these testimonies it must be admitted that the 
preaching of Peter had some influence in the formation of 
the Gospel of Mark. It has been affirmed that traces of this 
influence and of this connection between Mark and Peter 
are to be discerned in the Gospel itself.* There is frequent 
mention of Peter in places where he is not alluded to in the 
other Gospels, as if it were the writer's desire to record facts 
concerning him of which he had been personally informed. 
Thus we are told that Smion and those that were with him 
followed Jesus after the miracles at Capernaum (i. 16); 
that it was Peter who drew the attention of our Lord to the 
withering of the fig tree (xi. 13) ; that Peter, along with John, 
James, and Andrew, asked our Lord concerning the sign that 
should precede the destruction of Jerusalem (xiii. 3) ; and that 
the angel who announced the resurrection of Christ to the 
women, specified Peter as the person to whom the announce- 
ment should be made: "Tell His disciples and Peter" (xvi. 7). 
But, on the other hand, there are also numerous instances 
where Peter is omitted in the Gospel of Mark, while men- 

1 Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. vi. 25. - Ibid. ii. 15. 

^ Jerome, De vir. illustr. ch. viii. 

* See Dods' Introduction to the N.T. pp. 2G-28 ; Klosterraaun's Marcus- 
evangelium; Guericke, Isa{/ogik,i^. 161 ; Macl ear's S(. MarA:, p. 14 ff.; David- 
son's Introduction to the N.T. vol. i. j)]). 145-147. 


tioned in the other Gospels. Thus in Matt. xv. 15, Peter is] 
represented as asking the explanation of a certain parablej 
whereas Mark has simply " the disciples." The blessing pro- 
nounced on Peter (Matt. xvi. 16—18), Peter walking on the 
sea (Matt. xiv. 28, 29), and his capture of the fish in which 
was found the Eoman coin (Matt. xvii. 24—27), are omitted 
by Mark. His mission along with John (Luke xxii. 8) to pre- 
pare the Passover, and the fact that he accompanied John to 
the sepulchre (John xx. 2), are not mentioned. It has 
indeed been suggested that these omissions may be accounted 
for by the humility of Peter, and from his reluctance to 
allude to anything that might redound to his praise ; but, 
not to mention that it is difficult to see how this could 
affect the narrative of Mark, there are several instances 
of omission to which this remark cannot apply. Upon 
the whole, we do not think that the connection between 
Mark and Peter can be discovered by any traces in the 
Gospel itself. 

Different meanings have been attached to the expression 
" interpreter of Peter " (ep^irjvevTr]^; IleTpov ; Latin, interprcs) 
given by Papias and Irenseus to Mark. Some think that the 
word is to be taken in the sense of translator ; that Mark trans- 
lated into Greek (Eichhorn, Kuinoel, Schleiermacher) or into! 
Latin (Bleek) what Peter preached in Aramaic ; or that! 
Mark translated into Greek Peter's Aramaic Gospel (Smith 
of Jordanhill). But there is no reason to suppose that 
Peter was ignorant of Greek, as it was one of the languages of 
Galilee, and his Epistles prove his acquaintance with it ; and 
Latin was not required even in Eome, as Greek was the 
usual language of the Eoman converts ; nor is there the 
slightest trace of an Aramaic original of Peter's Gospel. 
Others — Meyer, Tholuck, Klostermann after Jerome — take 
the word in the sense of amanuensis or secretary, and supA 
pose that Mark wrote down the oral teaching of Peter. \ 
Thus Jerome observes that as Paul employed Titus for ■ 
his interpreter, so Peter employed Mark, whose Gospel 
was composed by the apostle dictating and the evangelist 
writmg.^ But the probability is that Mark is called " the 
^ Epist. ad Hedibeam, ii. 


interpreter of Peter," because his Gospel contains the sub- 
stance of Peter's preaching, and thus interpreted that preach- 
ing to the Church. The tradition is so early and universal, 
that we must allow some connection between the Gospel of 
Mark and the preaching of Peter, yet not to the extent of 
supposing either that Mark wrote his Gospel to the dictation 
of Peter (Origen, Jerome), or that it contains a mere literal 
repetition of Peter's preaching. 

In accordance with these testimonies of the Fathers, 
we infer that one of the sources of Mark's Gospel was the 
preaching of Peter, though how far the Petrine element 
entered into it we cannot determine. Mark, as the companion 
and interpreter of that apostle, collected notes of his preach- 
ing, and by their aid constructed his Gospel. Two of the 
Fathers of the early Church, Justin and Tertullian, appear 
actually to have regarded it as the Gospel of Peter. Justin 
Martyr, in a passage already^ quoted, says that Christ changed 
the name of one of His apostles to Peter ; and it is written in 
his Memoirs (e^* T049 d'jrofMVTjfj.ovev/j.aatv aurov) that He changed 
the names of other two apostles to Boanerges.^ The question 
is, What are the Memoirs to which Justin alludes ? It has 
been affirmed that the most natural interpretation is to refer 
the pronoun (avrov) to Peter, the immediate antecedent. 
Lardner and De Wette refer it to Christ ; His Memoir's, that 
is, the Memoirs concerning Christ. But to this it is answered 
that Justin always uses the genitive of authorship — the 
Memoirs of the apostles, so that the phrase would denote 
Peter's Memoirs. But although the meaning of these words 
may be doubtful, yet Tertullian expressly calls Mark's Gospel 
the Gospel of Peter : " The Gospel which Mark published 
may be affirmed to be Peter's, whose interpreter Mark was." ^ 

But besides the oral teaching of Peter, the general oral 
tradition of the Church formed another source of the Gospel 
of Mark. An oral Gospel for the instruction of catechumens 
would be formed at an early period, and, as we have had 
already occasion to observe, would enter largely into the 

^ Justin Martyr, Dial. c. Tryiih. cli. cvi. Otto, au editor of Justin, 
thinks that iov a-vrov we ought to read avruv. 
2 Adv. Marcion. iv. 5. 

DESIGN. 181 

formation of the Synoptic Gospels. Besides, we must also 
remember that Mark was a native of Jerusalem and an early 
convert to Christianity ; and, consequently, would have ample 
opportunities for collecting particulars concerning the life of 
Christ by his intercourse with those who were the personal 
followers of Christ and the hearers of His discourses. 

IV. The Design of the Gospel. 

Clemens Alexandrinus gives an account of the occasion on 
which Mark's Gospel .was composed. He tells us that the 
disciples requested Mark to write down the sayings of Peter, 
and not to leave them to the uncertainty of tradition ; and 
that this was done with Peter's knowledge and concurrence.^ 
We cannot tell what truth there is in this statement : in all 
probability there is much that is legendary about it, and it 
contradicts other statements of the Fathers. This Gospel was 
doubtless written for the purpose of giving a connected view 
of the life of Christ and of gathering together those evangelical 
fragments, whether oral or written, which were dispersed 
throughout the churches. Christ is represented in this Gospel 
as the active agent, the worker of miracles : as at once the 
Son of God and the Son of Man ; revealing Himself as God by 
His mighty words, and as Man by His human personality and 
human feelings : it is " The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of 
God" (Mark i. 1). Peter's statement of the testimony of the 
apostles : how ""God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the 
Holy Ghost and with power ; who went about doing good, and 
healing all that were oppressed of the devil : for God was 
with Him" (Acts x. 38), has well been described as the 
programme of this Gospel. "Whilst Matthew records the 
discourses of Jesus, Mark dwells chiefly on His actions. 

It is probable, from various indications, that this Gospel 

was written, not like that of Matthew, for Jewish, but, like 

that of Luke, for Gentile Christians. There are in it several 

I Latin words and expressions. Of these Credner specifies 

Srjvdpiov, denarius, vi. 37, xiv. 5 ; Kevrvpicov, centurio, xv. 39, 

1 Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. vi. 14. A similar statement is made by Eusebius 
himself, Hist. Eccl. ii. 15. 


44, 45 ; K7]vao<;, census, xii. 14 ; Kohpdvrr)<i, quadrans, xii. 42 ; 
Kpd^l3aTo<i, grabatus, ii. 4, 9, 11, 12, vi. 55 ; Xeyccop, legio, 
V. 9, 15; ^earrj'i, sextarius, vii. 4, 8; irpatroopLov, pra^torium, 
XV. 16 ; (TTreKovXaTcop, speculator, vi. 27 ; <f)payeW6(o, flagello,- 
XV. 1 5 ; Tft) o)(\a) TO Uavov iroujaai,, populo satisfacere, xv. 1 5 ; 
ia-'xarw'i e^€tv, in extremis esse, v. 23.^ The use of these 
Latin words and phrases will be best accounted for, if the 
ordinary supposition is correct, that Mark wrote chiefly for the 

So also translations are attached to Aramaic words and 
expressions for the information of Gentile readers who were 
ignorant of that language. Thus our Lord called James and 
John, " Boanerges, that is, the sons of thunder" (iii. 17). In 
raising the daughter of Jairus, our Lord said to her, " Talitha 
cumi ; which is, being interpreted. Damsel, I say unto thee, 
Arise" (v. 41). The pharisaical Jews excused their want of 
filial allection by offering gifts to God, saying, " It is Corban, 
that is, given to God" (vii. 11). When Jesus took the 
blind man aside privately, "He said unto him, Ephphatha, that 
is, Be opened" (vii. 34). The name of the blind man who was 
cured at Jericho was Bartimaeus, the son of Timoeus (x. 46). 
In Gethsemane our Lord used the word Abba, that is. Father 
(xiv. 36). The place where He was crucified was called 
" Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, the place of a skull " 
(xv. 22). And on the cross our Lord exclaimed, " Eloi, Eloi, 
lama sabachthani ? which, being interpreted, is. My God, My 
God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (xv. 34). 

Jewish customs and usages are often explained, as if for 
the information of Gentile readers. Thus we are informed that 
the Pharisees and all the Jews, except they wash their hands, 
eat not, holding the tradition of the elders (vii. 3) ; that the 
disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast (ii. 18); 
that the Sadducees say, there is no resurrection (xii 18) ; that 
on the first day of unleavened bread, the Passover was killed 
(xiv. 12); that at the Passover the Eomans were accustomed 
to release to the Jews a prisoner, whomsoever they desired 
(xv. 6) ; that the preparation was the day before the Sabbath 
(xv. 42). So also localities which would be well known to 
^ Credner's Einleitung, p. 104. 


Jewish, but not to Gentile readers, are explained. The Jordan 
is called the river of Jordan (i. 5) ; the Mount of Olives is 
over against the temple (xiii. 3). The Jewish law is nowhere 
alluded to ; indeed the word v6fio<;, of such frequent occurrence 
in the New Testament, does not occur. 

V. Language of the Gospel, 

Baronius, Bellarmine, and other Catholic writers suppose 
that the Gospel of Mark was written in Latin. The reason 
assigned for this opinion is that the readers of this Gospel were 
Eomans or Latin Christians. It is also supported by the two 
Syriac versions, the Peshito and the Philoxenian. Thus a 
note appended to the Peshito says : " This is the end of the 
holy Gospel preached by Mark, who preached in Ptoman at 
Eome." And Scholtz mentions four Greek manuscripts in 
which it is asserted that the Gospel was written in Latin.^ 
But such an opinion is undoubtedly incorrect ; the Greek 
and Latin Fathers unanimously testify that the Gospel was 
originally written in Greek. 

The style and diction of Mark is graphic and vivid. 
There is a preference for the present to the historical tense ; 
events are represented as happening before our eyes, impart- 
ing a vividness to the description. Thus : " There comes to 
Him a leper, beseeching Him " (i. 40). " They come to Him, 
bringing one sick of the palsy, borne of four " (ii. 3). " And 
straightway, while he was yet speaking, comes Judas, one of 
the Twelve" (xiv. 43). In the narrative evOeco^ or ev6v<i 
frequently occurs as the particle of transition, imparting a 
lively character to the narrative ; it occurs thirty-nine times, 
and is in the Authorised Version variously translated by 
the words straightway, immediately, forthwith. There are 
numerous references to persons, which impart a graphic 
character to the narrative ; thus : " The Pharisees took counsel 
with the Herodians " (iii. 6) ; " Judas, which betrayed him " 
(iv. 11) ; Simon, "the father of Alexander and Eufus" (xv. 21). 
There are minute descriptions of localities : " He began to teach 
by the seaside " (iv. 1 ) ; "He was in the stern asleep on the 



cushion " (iv. 38) : " they find a colt tied at the door without, 
in the open street " (xi. 4) ; " He commanded them to sit 
down by companies upon the green grass" (vi. 39). There 
are precise statements of periods of time : " at even, when the 
sun did set" (i. 32); "in the morning, a great while before 
day" (I 35); "on that day, when even was come. He said 
unto them. Let us go over to the other side" (iv. 35). 
There is a large use of diminutives, as Tralhtov, Ovydrpiov, 
Kopdaiov, Kvvdpia, ooTapiov. Numerous repetitions are made 
to add force to the narrative ; as the accumulation of negatives, 
fi7)h€v\ fxrjBh (i. 44), ovKeTL ouBeU (vii. 12); the addition of 
similar expressions, as when it is said : " And vfiih many, 
parables spake He unto them : and without a parable spake He 
not unto them" (iv. 33, 34). There is also a large number 
^of words which are peculiar to this Gospel.^ 

There are nineteen quotations from the Old Testament in 
Mark's Gospel, but these are all common to Matthew and 
Luke, often agreeing verbally. All these quotations are 
given in reporting our Lord's discourses ; there is only one 
(i. 2, 3) which Mark gives as from himself. 
The following is the list of them : — 



Mark i. 2 . 

Mai. iii. 1. 


i. 3 . 

Isa. xl. 3. 


iv. 12 

Isa. vi. 9. 


vii. 6, 7 . 

Isa. xxix. 13. 


vii. 10 

Ex. XX. 12, xxi. 17. 


X. 6 . 

Gen. i. 27. 


X. 7, 8 

Gen. ii. 24. 


X. 19 . 

Ex. XX. 12-15. 


xi. 9 

Ps. cxviii. 25, 21. 


xi. 17 

Isa. Ivi. 7 ; Jer. vii. 1 1 


xii. 10, 11 . 

Ps. cxviii. 22, 23. 


xii. 19 

Deut. XXV. 5. 


xii. 26 

Ex. iii. 6. 

^ See Credner's Einleitung in das N.T. 102-105 ; Davidson's Introduc- 
tion to the N.T. vol. i. pp. 150-152 ; and his Introdndion to the Study of the 
N.T. vol. ii. 3rd ed. pp. 521-523 ; Guericke's N.T. Iswjogik, pp. 162, 163 ; 
and Schaflfs History of the Church, vol. ii. pp. G37-639. 




Mark xii. 29, 

30 . 

Deut. vi. 4. 

„ xii. 31 

Lev. xix. 18 

„ xii. 36 

Ps. ex. 1. 

„ xiii, 14 

Dan. ix. 27. 

„ xiv. 27 

Zech. xiii. 7 

,, XV. 34 

Ps. xxii. 1. 


One peculiar feature of the Gospel of Mark is its brevity. \ 
It is of much smaller compass than the other Gospels ; there 
is little that is peculiar to it — only one p arable and two 
miracles . Most of the discourses which are in the other 
Gospels are omitted. And yet this brevity consists rather in 
the omission of particulars than in condensation. What is 
common to the other two is often expanded by Mark by the 
addition of minute particulars. 

The chief characteristic of this Gospel is its vividness. 
The narrative is picturesque, so as to secure for the evangelist 
the name of a " word-painter." The transactions are de- 
scribed as if we saw them with our own eyes ; minute touches 
lighten up the whole subject. One scene may be selected for 
illustration. If we compare the account of the cure of the 
demoniac lad, when our Lord descended from the mount of 
transfiguration (ix. 14-29), with the narratives in the other 
two Gospels (Matt. xvii. 14-21 ; Luke ix. 37-48), the graphic 
nature of Mark's description will at once be seen.-^ Mark 
alone tells us that when our Lord came down from the mount. 
He saw a great crowd about the disciples, and the scribes 
disputing with them. And when all the people beheld Him 
they were greatly amazed, probably because some vestiges of 
His glory were still seen on His countenance, and running to 
Him they saluted Him. Mark alone tells us that when they 
brought the lad to Jesus the spirit tare him grievously, and he 
fell to the ground, and wallowed, foaming. He alone gives us, 
in a most graphic manner, the conversation between the father 
of the lad and our Lord. " And He asked his father. How 
long time is it since this hath come unto him ? And he said, 
From a child. And oft-times it hath cast him both into the fire 

1 This is well exhibited in Eushbrooke's Sijnofticon, p. 60 ; also Abbott 
and Rushbrooke's Common Tradition of the Gospels, j)p. 70-72. 


and into the waters to destroy him ; but if Thou canst do 
anything, have compassion on us, and help us. And Jesus 
said unto him. If thou canst, all things are possible to him 
that believeth. Straightway the father of the child cried out, 
and said, I believe ; help Thou mine unbelief." Then we are 
told the crowd came rushing together ; and when Jesus com- 
manded the unclean spirit to come out of the lad, the spirit 
cried and rent him sore, and the lad fell into such a death-like 
faint that the greater part of the crowd said he was dead. 
But Jesus came and took him by the hand and raised him up. 
The whole scene is graphically described, as by the hand of a 
painter ^ — the epileptic fit that seized the boy, the crowd 
rushing together, the agony and earnestness of the father, and 
the dignity and majesty of Christ, are all vividly portrayed 
before us. 

1 Mark, more than the otlier evangelists, represents Jesus 
I as He actually lived and walked on this earth. There is a 
peculiarly realistic character about this Gospel ; Jesus Christ, 
the Son of Man and the Son of God, is evidently set forth 
before us. His feelings are disclosed : how He grieved for 
the hardness of men's hearts (ui. 5); how, looking up to 
heaven, He sighed (vii. 34); how He loved the rich young 
man who came asking what he should do to inherit eternal life 
(x, 21); how He was. moved with indignation with His dis- 
ciples when they sought to prohibit little children to be brought 
to Him (x. 14) ; how He was moved with compassion for the 
people who followed Him (vi. 34); and how He marvelled at 
the unbelief of His hearers (vi. G). So also His actions and 
gestures are described : He turned about and looked on His 
disciples when He administered the severe rebuke to Peter 
(viii. 33); He took up tlie little child in His arms (ix. 3G); 
He put His Ihigers into the ears of the deaf-mute, and did spit 
and touched his tongue (vii. 33); when the woman with the 
issue of blood touched His garment. He looked round to see 
who had done it (v. 32); He fell asleep from fatigue in the 
stern of the boat (iv. 38). Tlio very words which He spoke 
in Aramaic are given. We almost hear the accents of His 

^ Raphael's great i)icture of the Transtiguration is chiefiy taken from 
the description in Mark. 


voice. All is brought vividly before us ; the scenes are 
photographed, so that we see them. Jesus is followed by the 
multitudes of Galilee ; He can find no place for retirement ; 
there is no room even about the door of the house where He 
was ; the multitude come together, so that they cannot so 
much as eat bread (iii. 20, 21).^ 

The Gospel of Mark is, as we have seen, no abbreviation 
of Matthew and Luke. In neither of these Gospels is Jesus 
so vividly displayed before us. He is in this Gospel seen 
to be in all points tempted like as we are, with the notable 
exception of being without sin ; He is actuated by human 
feelings ; He is subject to human wants ; He is a great Per- 
sonality whom we see and know. " I regard," observes Dean 
Alford, " the existence of the Gospel of Mark as a gracious and 
valuable proof of the accommodation by the Divine Spirit of 
the records of the life of our Lord to the future necessities of 
the Church. While it contains little matter of fact which is 
not related in Matthew and Luke, and thus, generally speak- 
ing, forms only a confirmation of their more complete histories, 
it is so far from being a barren duplicate of that part of them 
which is contained in it, that it comes home to every reader 
with all the freshness of an individual mind, full of the Holy 
Ghost, intently fixed on the great object of the Christian's 
love and worship, reverently and affectionately following and 
recording His positions, and looks, and gestures, and giving us 
the very echo of the tones with which He spoke." ^ 

VI. Integrity of the Gospel. 

In considering the integrity of Mark's Gospel, we come to 
the important discussion on the genuineness of its last twelve 
verses.^ Some of the most distinguished critics suppose that 
Mark ended his Gospel at the close of the eighth verse of the 

1 See Maclear on the Gosioel of Mark, pp. 16-20 : Cambridge Bible for 

^ Alford's Greek Testament, vol. i. p. 39, Prolegomena, last ed. 

^ This subject is discussed at considerable length by Dean Burgon in 
his able monograph, The last twelve verses of St. Mark ; by Dr. Hort in The 
New Testament in the Original Greek by Westcott and Hort, Notes on 
Select Headings, vol. ii. pp. 28-51 ; by Scrivener in his Introduction to the 


sixteenth chapter with the words, ij>o^ovvTo yap, " for they 
were afraid," and that what follows (Mark xvi. 9-20) was an 
addition by some other writer. This is the view taken in 
the Eevised Version : a space is put between the eighth verse 
and the rest of the chapter, along with the footnote : " The 
two oldest Greek manuscripts and some other authorities omit 
from ver. 9 to the end. Some other authorities have a dif- 
ferent ending to the Gospel." The first critic who called in 
question the genuineness of these verses was Griesbach, and he 
has been followed in recent times by several distinguished 
critics. Tischendorf, who has been justly called " the first 
biblical critic in Europe," says " that these verses were not 
written by Mark is proved by sufficient argument."^ Dr. 
Tregelles says : " The Book of Mark himself extends no farther 
than e(j)o^ovvro yap, xvi. 8." " I look on this section (xvi. 
I 9—20) as an authentic a nonymous additio n to what Mark 
j himself wrote down from tlienarrative of St. Peter,-and that it 
jought as much to be received as part of our second Gospel as 
ithe last chapter of Deuteronomy, unknown as the writer is, is 
received as the right and proper conclusion of the books of 
Moses." ^ Dean Alford gives the following as the result of his 
examination of the passage : " The inference seems to me to be 
that it (Mark xvi. 9-20) is an authentic fragment, placed as 
a completion of the Gospel in very early times, by whom 
written must, of course, remain wholly uncertain ; but coming 
to us with very weighty sanction, and having strong claims 
on our reception and reverence." ^ Meyer expresses his view 
of the subject in the following terms : " The entire section, 
from vers. 9-20, is a non-genuine conclusion of the Gospel, 
not composed by Mark." "^ Its genuineness is also denied by 
Bishoj) Westcott : " The original text, from whatever cause 
it may have happened, terminated abruptly after the account 
of the angelic vision. The history of the revelations of the 

Criticism of the New Testament, pji. 429-432, 1st ed.; vol. ii. pp. 337-444, 
4tli ed. ; and by Tregelles on the Printed Text of the New Tcstxnnent, pp. 

^ Hicc nou a Marco scripta esse argumentis probatur idoneis, in loco. 

^ Tregelles, Printed Text of the Greek Testament, pji. 258, 259. 

3 Alford's Greek Testament on Mark xvi. 9-20, last ed. vol. i. p. 438. 

■• Meyer's Commentary on Mark, critical notes on vv. 9-20. 


Lord Himseli' was added at another time, and probably by 
another hand." ^ 

Opposed to the views of these distinguished critics are 
the opinions of other critics of great eminence. Lachmann 
inserts the passage in his critical Kcio Testament, with the 
remark that from avaara^ to the end is found in A, C, D, 
Irenaeus, bnt omitted in B, Eusebius.^ Scrivener, perhaps 
our greatest biblical critic in recent times, with the possible 
exceptions of Bishop Lightfoot and Dr. Hort, says : " We 
engage to defend the authenticity of this 'long~and important 
paragraph without the slightest misgiving." ^ And Dean Bur- 
gon has written an elaborate work in defence of the passage, 
in which he gives at great length the external and internal 
evidences for and against these verses, and claims to have 
demonstrated their genuineness : " It shall be my endeavour 
to show, not only that there really is no reason whatever for 
calling in question the genuineness of this portion of Holy 
Writ, but also that there exist sufficient reasons for feelmo- 
confident that it must be genuine." * 

1. The external evidence against and for the genuineness 
of Mark xvi. 9-20. 

■ \ External evidence against its genuineness. The paragraph 
is omitted in the two oldest manuscripts, the Vatican (B) and 
the Sinaitic (x). In both, after the words ij)oj3ovvro <yap, comes 

1 Westcott, Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, p. 309, 1st eel. The 
passage is also rejected by Westcott and Hort in their critical edition of 
the Greek New Testament. " Its authorship and its precise date nuist remain 
unknown," vol. ii. Notes on Select Readings, p. 81. The passage is also 
rejected by Archbishop Thomson, Smithes Dictionary of the Bible, vol. ii, 
p. 239, and by Bishop Lightfoot. 

2 Lachmann's Novum Tcstam-entum, vol. i. p. 314. 

^ Scrivener's Introduction to the Study of the N.T. p. 429, 1st ed. The 
same remark is repeated in his 3rd edition, j?. 583 ; and in the 4th edition, 
published after his decease (1894), vol. i. ]). 337. 

* Burgon, The last verses of the Gospel according to St. Mark, p. 1. This 
is an admirably reasoned work, a masterpiece in biblical criticism. Dr. 
Scrivener remarks : " Dr. Burgon's brilliant monograph has thrown a 
stream of light upon the controversy, nor does the joyous tone of his book 
misbecome one who is conscious of having triumphantly maintained a 
cause which is very precious to him." Introduction to Biblical Criticism of 
the N.T. vol. ii. p. 337, 4th edition. 


the subscription. There is, however, some reason to doubt 
whether these manuscripts should be considered as inde- 
pendent testimonies, or whether they should not rather be 
regarded as one witness, being, not indeed copies of the same 
manuscript, but of two manuscripts closely related to each 
other, as there is a general agreement in their readings. 
This is especially the case if there is any truth in the state- 
ment of Tischendorf, that the same scribe who wrote the 
Codex Vaticanus also transcribed certain pages of the Codex 
Sinaiticus. The six pages of Codex N, which Tischendorf 
selects as proofs of this statement, are from ^Mark xvi. 2 to Luke 
i. 56, and consequently contain the very portion of Mark's 
Gospel which includes these verses. So that, if this state- 
ment is correct, it follows that in these pages at least we 
have the testunony only of one witness, namely, the Vatican 
manuscript.-^ This is certanily a witness of great importance, 
being the oldest extant Greek manuscript of the New Testa- 
ment. But even this testimony of B is somewhat weakened 
by the fact that not only is the remainder of the column, 
where the words e(po^ovvro 'yap occur, left blank, but the next 
column is also vacant, and as has been remarked, " it is the 
only vacant column in the whole manuscript ; a blank space 
abundantly sufficient to contain the twelve verses" which 
are omitted.^ The only reason that can be assigned for this 
vacancy is that the scribe of the Vatican had before him a 
manuscript which contained the verses in dispute, but which 
he, for some reason, left out. 

The uncial manuscript L, or Codex Regius Parisiensis No. 
62, belonging, according to Tischendorf, to the eighth century, 
has the following conclusion after the words i^o^omno yap : 
" Something to this effect is met with : All that was com- 
manded them they immediately rehearsed to Peter and the 
rest. And after these things from the East even to the West 
did Jesus Himself send forth by their means the holy and 
incorruptible message of eternal salvation. But this also 

1 Scrivener's Introduction, 4tli cd. vol. ii. p. 337, note. " At least," he 
observes, " in these leaves, Cod. «, B make but one witness, not two." 
See also Speaker's Commentary, New Testament, vol. i. p. 391. 

2 Burgon's Last twelve verses of St. Mark, p. 87. 


is met with after the words, ' For they were afraid,' Now 
when he was risen early,' " etc.; then follow the words, 
vv. 9-20 as found in the textus receptus} Thus there are 
attached to this manuscript two conclusions, one undoubtedly 
spurious, the other that which is usually attached to the 
Greek text.^ 

Among the cursive manuscripts. Codex 22 concludes 
with the words e^o^ovvro <yap, and then adds in red ink : 
" In some copies the Gospel is completed at this part, but 
in many these are also current"; then follow vv. 9—20.^ 
In Codices 2 and 3 we read after ecpo^ovvTo <yap : " From 
here to the end forms no part of the text in some copies. 
But in the ancient copies it all forms part of the text."* It 
has been affirmed by Birch that two cursive manuscripts, 137 
and 138, have the passage marked by an asterisk, as denoting 
a suspicion of its genuineness ; but this point has been 
carefully examined by Dean Burgon, and the result of his 
examination is that Codex 137 has a simple cross referring 
to an annotation, and that Codex 138 has neither cross nor 

There is hardly any evidence from the versions against 
the genuineness of this passage. The Codex k, or Codex 
Bobbiensis of the Old Latin version, now in the National 
Library, of Turin, wants the usual conclusion of Mark's 
Gospel, and in its place inserts a Latin translation of the 
spurious ending found in Codex L already given. The verses 
are omitted in some Old Armenian codices, and one of them 
in a space between vv. 8 and 9 has the remarkable reading, 
" Of Ariston, presbyter," as if Ariston were the writer of the 
verses which follow. To this remarkable reading we shall 
afterwards advert. The verses are also omitted in the Sinaitic 

1 Burgon, pp. 123, 124; Tregelles, Printed Text of the Greek Text, p. 254. 

2 This manuscript is supposed to have been one of those used by 
Stephens (n) in the formation of his Greek Testament. It bears a close 
resemblance to the Vatican and to the citations of Origen. Scrivener 
observes : " It is but carelessly written, and abounds with errors of the 
ignorant scribe, who was more probably an Egyptian than a native Greek." 
Yol. i. p. 138. 

3 Alford's Greeh Testament on Mark xvi. 9. •* Burgon, p. 118. 
5 Burgon, pp. 116, 117. 


palimpsest of the Syrian version of the Gospels recently dis- 
covered (1892, 1893) by Mrs. Lewis. 

Eusebius, in the fourth century, on whose words great 
stress has .been put by those opposed to the insertion of 
this passage, was the first to cast doubts on its genuineness. 
His words are contained in the fragment of a lost work 
found in the Vatican Library, and published by Cardinal 
Mai in 1825.^ They are a reply to a certain Marmus 
who asked how the statement contained in Mark xvi. 9, 
that Jesus rose early the first day of the week, could be 
reconciled with the statement in Matthew's Gospel, that 
He rose on the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn 
toward the first day of the week.^ To this question Eusebius 
replies : " Two answers might be given. He who denied 
the whole passage might say that it is not found in all 
the copies {eciroi av fir) iv airacnv avrtjv (f)€pecrdat to?? 
dvTLypd(f)o(,<i) of Mark's Gospel, the accurate copies ending 
with the words of the young man who appeared to the 
women, ' Fear not ye ! Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth ' ... to 
which the evangelist adds : ' And when they heard it they tied, 
and said nothing to any man ; for they were afraid.' These 
words in almost all the copies of Mark's Gospel form the 
end. What follows which is met with in some but not in 
all the copies may be regarded as superfluous ; especially if 
they should prove to contradict the statements of the other 
evangelists. This one might say for evading and getting 
rid of a superfluous discussion. But another, not daring 
to reject anything which is met with in the text of the 
Gospels, might say, Here are two readings, and both are to 
be received ; inasmuch as by the faithful this reading is not 
held to be genuine rather than that." Although the language 
is somewhat ambiguous, yet it may be admitted that Eusebius 
here asserts that these concluding verses were omitted in 
almost all the copies of Mark's Gospel with which he was 
conversant. This, however, must be regarded as a rhetorical 

1 Questioiies ad Marinum, puLlislied in Cardinal ]\Iai's Nova Patrtim 
Bibliotheca, vol. iv. pp. 255-257. 

2 The whole passage is given in Burgon's Last twelve verses of St. 
Mark, pp. 265, 2GG, App. B. 


exaggeration, for only a very few manuscripts have come 
down to us which want these words. Eusebius then here 
either uses rhetorical language, or perhaps does not express his 
own opinion, but puts the words into the mouth of the 
person who answers the question : " One may say " {ravra 
jxev ovv ecTTot) : " This is what a person may say for getting 
rid of the whole question." The testimony of Jerome is 
given in his Ejjisth to Hedibia} but it is only a repe- 
tition of the statement of Eusebius ; the same ditficulty 
is proposed, and the same solution is given. Similarly 
Hesychius, bishop of Jerusalem (a.d, 400), refers to the same 
difficulty, and gives the same answer : he says : " The more 
accurate copies of Mark's Gospel end with ' For they were 
afraid ' ; but in some it is added, ' But when He was risen 
again,' etc. But this appears to contradict what has been 
before asserted in Matthew." ^ It is also maintained that 
there is no reference to this passage in the writings of the 
early Fathers, whether Latin, as Tertullian and Cyprian, or 
Greek, as Clemens Alexandrinus and Origen, in their dis- 
cussion on subjects where they would naturally refer to it. 
But this argumentum e silentio is very precarious, 
^1 External evidence in favour of its genuineness. With the 
( exception of x and B, the words are contained in all the 
) other uncial manuscripts of this Gospel.^ They are found in 
the Alexandrian manuscript (A), in the Codex Ephrrem 
(C), in the Codex Bezse (D), and in the other thirteen uncial 
manuscripts.^ Almost all the cursive manuscripts of this 
Gospel, of which there are six hundred, contain the words 
in question, except, of course, those which are defective. 

The versions are virtually unanimous in their testimony 
in favour ofthe retention of the passage. It is found in all 
the manuscripts of the Old Latin with the exception of the 

1 Ep. 120 ad Hedibiam. 

2 See Burgon, pp. 57-59 ; M'Clellan's New Testament, vol. i. p. 682. 

^ " With the exception of the two uncial manuscripts which have just 
been named," says Dean Burgon, " there is not one codex in existence, 
uncial or cursive, (and we are acquainted with at least eighteen other 
uncial and about six hundred cursive copies of this Gospel,) which leaves 
out the last twelve verses of St. Mark," p. 71. 

* Namely, E F« G H K M S U V X T A n. 



Codex Bobbiensis (k) already mentioned. It is inserted by 
|) Jerome in the Vulgate, thus proving that that Father did not, 
as some suppose, seriously call in question its genuineness. 
It is contained in all the Syriac versions — the Peshito, the 
Philoxenian Syriac,and the Cureton Syriac, one of the fragments 
of which contains the last four verses, with the exception of the 
Syriac manuscript of the Gospels recently found at Mount Sinai. 
It is contained in the Armenian version, except in some codices, 
and in the two Egyptian versions. In short, it is not affirming 
too much to say that the evidence of the versions is practically 
unanimous in favour of this section of the Gospel of Mark. 
I The positive testimonies of the Fathers until Eusebius are 

' all in favour of the genuineness of the section. It is a short 
passage, and consequently is not often referred to. Justin 
Martyr (a.d. 150) in his first Apology apparently cites Mark 
xvi. 20 : " That which he (David) says, ' He shall send to thee 
the rod of power out of Jerusalem,' is predictive of the 
mighty Word which His apostles, going forth from Jerusalem, 
preached everywhere." ^ On this, however, we do not lay 
much stress ; for although there is a striking resemblance 
between these words and the conclusion of Mark's Gospel, 
there may be some doubt whether Justin actually quotes 
from it. Much more important is the testimony of Tatian 
(a.d. 160). The passage is undoubtedly contained in the 
Diatessaron, as is proved from the Arabic manuscript from 
Egypt recently brought to light and now translated.^ This 
demonstrates that the words formed part of Mark's Gospel 
toward the middle of the second century. So far as we can 
ascertain, this important testimony of Tatian was unknown to 
Griesbach, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford, Meyer, and Westcott 
and Hort, when they arrived at their opinion unfavourable to 
the genuineness of this passage ; and if so, this fact must to 
some extent invalidate their conclusion.^ Irenanis (a.d. 180) 

^ Apol. i. c. 45 : l^i'hSiuTig ■Ka.'jra.yfiv iKvjpv^xv ; compare with this the 
concluding words of Mark's GosiJel : iKuvot "hs l^i'hSovTi; ix-vipv^xv vuvtoixov. 

2 Tatian'.s Diatessaron, translated from the Araliic version by the Rev. 
J. Hamlyn Hilh T. & T. Clark, Edinl)urgh, 1894. 

^ Tatian's Diatessaron is not referred to by these distinguished liil)lical 


has a distinct quotation from Mark xvi. 19 : " Toward the 
conclusion of his Gospel, Mark says : So then, after the Lord 
Jesus had spoken to them. He was received up into heaven, 
and sitteth on the right hand of God." ^ So also Hippolytus, 
a contemporary of Irenaeus (a.d 200), quotes vv. 17 and 18 
in a fragment of a work concerning spiritual gifts : " Jesus 
said to them all collectively concerning the gifts given from 
Him by the Spirit : These signs shall follow them that 
beheve : In My name shall they cast out demons ; they shall 
speak with new tongues ; they shall take up serpents ; and if 
they drink any deadly thing, it shall in nowise hurt them ; 
they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." ^ 
And in his treatise against Noetus there is also an apparent 
reference to this section in Mark's Gospel. " Christ is taken 
up to heaven, and is set down at the right hand of the 
Father" (Mark xvi. 19).^ The passage is also twice cited 
in the Apostolic Constitutions, written in the fourth century : 
" For the Lord says, He that believeth, and is baptized, shall 
be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be damned " (Mark 
xvi. 16).^ " With good reason did He say to all of us together, 
when we were perfected concerning those gifts which were 
given from Him by the Spirit : Now these signs shall follow 
them that have believed in My name ; they shall cast out 
devils, they shall speak with new tongues," etc. (Mark xvi. 
17).^ The passage is quoted or referred to by Cyril of 
Jerusalem, Epiphanius, Jerome, Augustine, Chrysostom, and 
subsequent Fathers. 

f( 2. The internal evidence against and for the genuineness of 
Mark xvi. 9-20. 

The objectors to the genuineness of this passage generally 
place the great force of their argument on the internal 
evidence. Many of them admit that the external evidence is 
rather favourable than otherwise, but assert that the internal 

^ Irensiis, Adv. Hctr. iii. 10. 6 : In fine autem Evangelii ait Marcus : 
Et quidem Dominus Jesus, postquam locutus est eis, receptus est in ccelos, 
et sedet ad dexteram Dei. Mark xvi. 19. 

2 Hippolytus (xHjOi ■^xptrjf^H.rav), Op]). 545. 

^ Gontra Hcer. Noeti, c. 18. 

■* Apost. Const, vi. 15. ^ Ibid. viii. 1. 


evidence is preponderantly unfavourable. " The internal 
evidence," observes Dean Alford," is, I think, very weighty 
against Mark's being the author. No less than twenty-one 
words and expressions occur in it, and some of them several 
times, which are never used elsewhere by Mark, whose 
adherence to his own peculiar phrases is remarkable." ^ The 
style, it is affirmed, is very different from that of Mark. 
Instead of those graphic touches which impart a vividness to 
Mark's narrative, and represent the scenes described before the 
mind's eye, we have a dry summary of events. The particle 
of transition, eu^ew?, forthwith, so constantly used by Mark, 
and which imparts life to the narrative, is wanting. The 
phraseology also is not that of Mark. Thus, for example, the 
first day of the week is called irpcoTr] aa^^drov instead of iiia, 
rSiv aa^^drwv (Mark xvi. 2). Mary Magdalene is introduced 
as " she out of whom He had cast seven devils," although 
mentioned a few verses before (ver. 1). Jesus is twice called 
6 KvpLo<i (vv. 19, 20), a title which is not elsewhere found in 
Mark's Gospel. And the following words and phrases, given by 
Tregelles, are not found elsewhere in this Gospel : iropevofiat. 
(thrice), Oedofxai (twice), dirlcneai (twice), erepo^, TrapaKokov- 
Oeu), jBXdiTTU), iiraicoXovdeco, avvepyico, fie^aLoco, 'Kavra-)(0Vf 
fjieTo. ravra, iv tu) ovofiaTLr 

These points are apparently unfavourable ; but when 
closely examined they are not so adverse as they at first 
appear. The style is not wholly different from that of Mark. 
The passage is certainly a category of particulars, but still 
it is not wanting in traces of Mark's graphic style. For 
example, when Mary came to the apostles to announce the 
appearance of the Lord to her, there is the graphic touch that 
she found tliem utterly cast down : " She went and told them 
that had been with Him, as they mourned and wept " (xvi. 10). 
So also the unbelief of the disciples at the repeated news of 
the resurrection of their Lord is recorded only here (xvi. 
13). It is true that the favourite transitional particle eu^e'w? 

^ Alford's Greek Testament, in loco. 

2 Tregelles, Printed Text of the Greek Testament, 257. See also Farrar's 
Messages of tlie Books, p. 67 if. ; Norton, Genuineness of t/ie Gos2}els, vol. i. 
p. 219. 


does not occur, but it is also wanting in the twelfth and 
thirteenth chapters. The expression Trpcorrj aa/S/Sdrov instead 
of fila TMv aa^^aTOiv is only another expression used by 
the author for the sake of variety. The mention of Mary 
Magdalene as she out of whom Jesus had cast seven devils, 
is designed to show the wonderful love and condescen- 
sion of Christ in appearing first to her. The objection that 
the title o Kvpio<; is foreign to the diction of Mark/ is of 
no force ; as in like manner 'I??croi}? Xpicno^ oi^ly appears 
once in his Gospel (Mark i. 1). And although it is true that 
. the phraseology of the section is somewhat different from that 
of Mark, yet there occur in it expressions which are often 
found in his Gospel, but rarely in the other Gospels, and 
which may be considered as words and phrases peculiar to 
Mark, as KTicra, irpwt, Krjpvcraecv ro evayyeXiov, etc. The 
rare word aKXrjpoKapSla (ver. 14) occurs again in Mark's 
Gospel (x. 5), but is only found once again in the New 
Testament (Matt. xix. 8). 

I, The extreme improbability of the Gospel having such an 
i abrupt conclusion, if the closing words are omitted, is a 
-strong internal evidence in favour of the genuineness of the 
section. If the passage is not genume, the Gospel terminates 
at the eighth verse with the words icfyo^ovvro jdp. There is 
no mention of the appearance of Christ to His disciples or to 
the women, no intimation of the astonishing events which 
followed, no record of the resurrection. Even those who call 
,in question the genuineness of the passage do not suppose 
that this was the close of the Gospel, but admit that there 
must have been a conclusion, either actual, which has been 
lost, or intended, which Mark was prevented writing. " That 
Mark," says Griesbach, " should have intentionally ended his 
Gospel with the words ej>o^ovvTo yap, ought to seem incredible 
to all." 2 " It would be," says Michaelis, " a wonderful con- 
clusion of a book." 2 " Few Greek scholars," observes Dr. 
> Abbott, " will be induced to believe that the author of the 
j Second Gospel deliberately chose to end a book on the good 

^ In ver. 19 the true reading is 6 Kvpio; 'Imovg. 

2 Com. Grit. p. 199. 

3 Michaelis, Einleikmg, p. 1060 ; Marsh's Michaelis, vol. iv. p. 210. 


news of Christ with the words ej)o^ovvTo yap. From a 
literary point of view the yap, and from a moral point of 
view the ecjio^ovvTo, make it almost incredible that these 
words represent a deliberate termination assigned by an 
author to a composition of his own." ^ And even Dr. Hort 
says : " It is incredible that the evangelist deliberately con- 
cluded either a paragraph with €(f)o/3ovvTo yap, or the Gospel 
with a petty detail of a secondary event, leaving his narra- 
tive hanging in the air." ^ 

If, then, the Gospel once had a conclusion, actual or 
intended, we are entitled to ask the objectors to this passage. 
What has become of it ? Two answers have been given to 
this question. The one, favoured by Norton,^ is that Mark 
was prevented finishing his Gospel ; either because Peter, to 
whom he was indebted for his information, perished at this 
Itime in the persecution by Nero (Michaelis), or because Mark 
|mmself died (Davidson). Both of these are merely gratuitous 
suppositions. Mark was not so entirely dependent on Peter 
that he could not finish his Gospel without his aid ; and it 
would be most extraordinary that he himself should die at 
the very time when he was about to finish his Gospel. The 
.other supposition, favoured by Griesbach and adopted by 
Alford,'* is that the last leaf was torn away.^ This is certainly 
a strange hypothesis, the resorting to which can only be 
accounted for by the impossibility of otherwise explaining the 
fact of such an abrupt conclusion. The Gospel, when written, 
would be committed to the custody of some particular Church, 
and by them it would be most carefully preserved. Surely 
the supposition is far more reasonable, that the present con- 
clusion of Mark's Gospel is genuine, and was written by the 
evangelist himself. 

^ Encydojxedia Britannica, article "The Gospels," vol. x. p. 801. 

2 Westcott and Hurt's Greek Testament, vol. ii. notes, p. 46. 

3 Norton's Genuineness of the Gospels, vol. i. p. 221. 

* " The most prolmble supposition is that the last leaf of the original 
Gospel was torn away." — Alford. 

" " Two contingencies," observes Dr. Hort, " have to be taken into 
account — either the Gospel may never have been finished, or it may have its last leaf l)efore it was multiplied by transcription." Westcott and 
UorVa N.T. Notes, I). 41. 


This may be the most appropriate place for adverting to 
a most ingenious hypothesis recently advanced by Mr. Cony- 
beare in the The Expositor, and which has received the 
support of such distinguished critics as Zahn and Eesch.^ In 
an Armenian manuscript found in the patriarchal library of 
E(fmiadzin, at the foot of Mount Ararat, written about 986, 
which Mr. Conybeare collated, he found the Gospel of Mark 
copied out as far as " For they were afraid " (ver. 8), and 
between vv. 8 and 9 the words Ariston Eritzon, equivalent 
to ^AplaTwvoq Tvpea^uTepov. The last twelve verses then 
follow, written in the same hand. From this he inferred 
' that it is here affirmed that these last verses were written, 
tnot by Mark, but by the Presbyter Ariston. Eesch and 
'Sanday suppose that by Ariston is here meant Ariston of 
Pella, otherwise known to us, who lived about a.d. 140-150 ; 
but Conybeare and Zahn think that this is too late to permit 
of the passage being so generally inserted in the manuscripts 
and quoted by Tatian and Irenseus. Mr. Conybeare there- 
fore supposes that the person meant is Aristion, the name 
being wrongly spelt, one of the disciples of the Lord, from 
whom Papias, according to Eusebius,^ derived his traditions. 
According to Conybeare, the same mistake in spelling occurs 
in the Armenian version of Eusebius, where the name 
Ariston occurs for Aristion. Hence it has been inferred 
that the last verses of Mark's Gospel were taken from the 
lost work of Papias, and ultimately from the oral tradition 
of Aristion. It has been supposed that some one, wishing 
to attach a befitting conclusion to the Gospel, incorporated 
an extract from the work of Papias containing a tradition of 
the presbyter Aristion. This hypothesis is most ingenious, 
and fully accounts for all the anomalies of the passage ; and 
is also in accordance with the opinion of those critics who 
assert that it is some ancient fragment inserted for the 
completion of the Gospel (Alford, Hort, Tregelles, Bishop 
Lightfoot, Archbishop Thomson, etc.). It can, however, 
hardly be adopted. It occurs only in an obscure Armenian 

1 Expositor for October 1893, pp. 241-254 ; and for September 1894, 
pp. 219-232. 

2 Hist. Eccl. iii. 39. 


manuscript of no authority, and is destitute of all other 

Such, then, is the evidence for and against the genuine- 
ness of Mark xvi. 9—20. The external evidence is strongly 
in its favour. The whole external evidence against the passage 
amounts to its omission in the Vatican manuscript, to state- 
ments annexed to the conclusion of the Gospel in Codex L and 
in three unimportant cursive MSS., and to an exaggerated 
assertion of Eusebius, which has been followed by Jerome and 
Hesychius. The Sinaitic manuscript n is considered as the 
same testimony as the Vatican : or if this be called in ques- 
tion, then there are only three uncial manuscripts (n B L ^) 
against the passage. On the other hand, with these excep- 
tions, all the Greek manuscripts, both uncial and cursive, all 
the Fathers who refer to the passage, and all the versions 
except the recently discovered Sinaitic Syriac, are in its 
favour. It may be that the internal evidence is against its 
retention, though this is a matter of opinion which may be 
and has been questioned. But in all critical questions, unless 
there are decided reasons to the contrary, which in this case 
do not exist, the internal evidence must yield to the external. 
With regard to the external evidence, we have facts to go 
upon, whereas the internal evidence is almost purely sub- 
jective. As Dr. Hort himself observes in his elaborate 
examination of this passage : " We do not think it necessary 
to examme in detail the intrinsic evidence supposed to be 
furnished by comparison of the vocabulary and style of 
vv. 9—20 with the unquestioned parts of the Gospel. Much 
of what has been urged on both sides is, in our judgment, 
trivial and intangible." ^ The internal evidence against it is 
certainly not so strong or so clear as to counterbalance the 
external evidence for it. We therefore feel constrained to come 
to the conclusion that Mark xvi. 9-20 is a genuine portion 
of the Gospel. We are perfectly aware that in arriving at 
this conclusion we may be accused of undue confidence in 
opposing the views of critics of such pre-eminence as Tischeu- 
dorf, Tregelles, and Westcott and Hort, who, in their critical 

^ Even in L the i)a.ssage is inserted as an alternative reading. 
2 The Greek New Testament Notes, p. 48. 


editions of the New Testament, all reject this passage. But 
they had not the data which we now possess in the important 
testimony of Tatian, and the authority of these great names 
does not destroy our private judgment, or cause us to relin- 
quish our convictions ; nor are we unsupported in this 
conclusion by other eminent critics, such as Scrivener ^ and 

The opinions of biblical critics are much divided, although 
we at once admit that the preponderance of authority, 
though not so great as is generally supposed, is unfavourable 
to the genuineness of this passage. Wetstein, Storr, Mill, 
Grotius, Bengel, Scholz, Kuinoel,^ De Wette, Hug, Bleek,^ 
Guericke, Schleiermacher, Principal Campbell of Aberdeen,* 
Ebrard, Hilgenfeld, Keil, Stier, Lange, Scrivener, Burgon, 
Bishop Wordsworth, Dean Bickersteth, Canon Cook,^ 
M'Clellan, Edersheim, Salmon,^ Morison, Wace, and Bishop 
Ellicott declare in favour of its genuineness. Whereas 
Michaelis, Griesbach, Credner, Wieseler, Ewald, Norton,'^ 
Tischendorf, Tregelles, Meyer, Alford, Westcott and Hort, 
Klostermann, Bishop Lightfoot,^ Archbishop Thomson,^ 
Davidson, Warfield, Farrar, Abbott, Zahn, Kesch, and Holtz- 
maun decide against its genuineness. 

^ Scrivener thus states the result at which he arrives : " All oiDposi- 
tion to the authenticity of the paragraph resolves itself into the allegation 
of Eusebius and the testimony of X B. Let us accord to these the weight 
which is their due ; but against their verdict we can ajjpeal to a vast 
body of ecclesiastical evidence reaching back to the earlier part of the 
second century ; to nearly all the versions ; and to all extant manuscripts 
excepting two, of which one is doubtful." Introduction to the Criticism of 
the N.T. vol. ii. p. 344, 4th edition. 

^ Kuinoel, Novi Testmnenti Lihri Historici, in loco. 

3 Bleek, Introduction to N.T. vol. i. p. 312, Eng. trans. 

^ Campbell, On the Gospels, vol. iii. p. 178. 

^ Cook's Revised Version of the first three Gospels, pp. 120-125. 

G Salmon's Introduction to the N.T. pp. 190-193, 1st ed. 1885. 

'' Norton's Genuineness of the Gospels, vol. i. pp. 217 ff. 

8 Lightfoot ascribes it to " that knot of early disciples who gathered 
about St. John." Revision of the N. T. p. 28. 

^ He says : " It is probable that this section is from a different hand, 
but was annexed to the Gospels soon after the time of the apostles." 
Smith's Bible Dictionary, vol. ii. p. 239. 


VII. Time and Place of Weiting. 

The date of this Gospel is a point of great dubiety, on 
which the most contradictory opinions prevail ; indeed, it is 
a point on which we have not data sufficient to warrant any 
definite or even proximate decision. There are conflicting 
testimonies with regard to it, and it is interwoven with other 
questions, as, for example, with the synoptic problem on 
the sources of the Synoptics. Whilst external evidence is 
defective, there are in the Gospel itself few indications of 

The opinions of the Fathers are here not in agreement. 
Some assert that Mark wrote his Gospel after, and others 
before, the death of Peter. Irenaeus, in a passage already 
quoted, asserts that it was written after the death of Peter 
and Paul. " Matthew published his Gospel among the 
Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul were 
preaching and laying the foundations of the Church at Eome. 
After their departure {^lera r-qv tovtcov e^oZov) Mark, the dis- 
ciple and interpreter of Peter, also transmitted to us in writing 
those things which Peter had preached."-^ Some, as Mill, 
Kuinoel, and others, suppose that by e^oBov is meant departure, 
as is the evident meaumg of the word in Heb. xi. 22 — after 
the departure of Peter and Paul from Eome ; but such a 
statement would be useless and insignificant. Others, as 
Hug, Credner, Guericke, and Ebrard, interpret tlie expres- 
sion as denoting death — after the decease of Peter and Paul, 
that is, after a.d. 64^ the year of the persecution by Nero, when 
it is supposed that these two apostles were put to death ; and 
this seems to be the usual scriptural meaning of the word,^ 
and is an important statement. Some connect with this 
statement the words of Peter in his Second Epistle : " I will 
endeavour that ye may be able after my decease (the same word 
e^oBov) to have these things always in remembrance " (2 Pet. i. 
,15). " Here," observes Professor Warfield, "is a promise by 
I iPeter that he will see to it that his readers shall be in a position 
1 ^fter his death to have his teaching always in remembrance ; 

^ Irenseus, Adv. Hwr. iii. 1.1; Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. v, 8. 
2 Luke X. 21 : 2 Pet. i. 15. 

DATE. 203 

and in this he has special reference to the facts of the hfe of 
Christ, witnessed by him, as is proved by the purpose which 
he expresses for so arranging, namely, that they may know 
that they have not followed cunningly devised fables, but 
facts autoptically witnessed. Surely this seems to promise a 
Gospel." ^ The truth of this statement of Irenseus is, 
however, extremely doubtful. It is uncertain that Peter and 
Paul were together in Eome : they certainly did not lay 
the foundation of the Church of Eome ; that Church was 
founded years before their arrival, as is evident from the 
fact that Paul at an earlier period wrote an Epistle to the 
Eomans, and that on his arrival at Eome he found a Christian 
Church already existing. The implied coincidence of the 
time of their martyrdom is legendary. 

This statement of Irenseus is counterbalanced by that of 
Clemens Alexandrinus, who informs us that Mark published 
his Gospel, not after the death of Peter, but in his lifetime, 
and with his knowledge and approval. Thus in a passage ' 
quoted by Eusebius, Clement says : " As Peter had preached 
the word publicly at Eome, and declared the Gospel by the 
Spirit, many that were present requested that Mark, who had 
followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, 
should write them out. And having composed the Gospel, he 
gave it to those who had requested it. When Peter learned 
this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it." ^ The 
same opinion was adopted by Eusebius and Jerome. Jerome i 
speaks as if Peter had actually dictated the Gospel to Mark, j 

These testimonies contradict each other ; Irenseus assert- 1 
ing that Mark wrote his Gospel after the death of Peter, and 
Clemens Alexandrinus that it was written before that event. / 
All critics, except those belonging to the Tlibingen school, agree 
that this Gospel was written before the destruction of Jeru- 
salem, that is, before A.D. 70. There is no reference in it to that 
event : on the contrary, there are in the prediction of our Lord 
indications that it had not yet occurred (Mark xiii. 13, 24, 
30, 33). The catastrophe was impending, but had not taken 
place. There were the symptoms of the coming storm, but it 

1 Quoted in Kerr's Introduction to N. T. Study, p. 37. 

2 Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. vi. 14. 


had not burst upon the land. So, also, there is an intimation 
that this Gospel was written after the dispersion of the apostles 
and after the diffusion of Christianity beyond Jerusalem, that 
is, after a.d. 44. " And they (the disciples) went forth, and 
preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and 
confirming the word by the signs that followed " (xvi. 20). 
1 Thus, then, between these two limits, A.D. 44 and a.d. 70, 
1 the composition of this Gospel is to be placed. 

If Mark's Gospel is the earliest, constituting one of the 
chief sources of the other two, for which opinion there are 
plausible reasons, then it must have been written before 
A.D. 55, the date which we found most probable to ascribe 
to the Gospel of Matthew. But, if Mark's Gospel is 
not the earliest, if, as many critics suppose, the Gospel of 
Matthew preceded it, then a later date must be adopted. 
Several objections have been made to the earlier date. If, 
it has been said, the Gospel of Mark was written before 
Paul's first Eoman imprisonment (a.d. 63), Paul in his Epistle 
to the Colossians, written at that time, would have mentioned 
Mark by a much higher designation than merely as the 
cousin of Barnabas (Col. iv. 10); he would have alluded to 
him as the author of the Gospel. But this is a mere con- 
jectural statement ; it proceeds on the doubtful supposition 
that Mark, the disciple of Peter, the author of the Gospel, 
was the same as Mark the companion of Paul and the 
cousin of Barnabas : and, besides, the argumentum e sikntio is 
always precarious. It is also affirmed that this early date 
contradicts the testunonies of Irenreus and Clemens Alex- 
andrinus ; but we have seen that their testimonies are 
.conflicting, and cannot be relied upon for fixing a precise 
date for the writing of Mark. 

Accordingly, no arguments can be drawn from the 
statements of the Fathers with regard to the date of the 
Gospel of Mark ; and the indications of time in the Gospel 
itself are slight and ambiguous. The opinions of critics are 
very diverse, varying from a.d. 40 to A.D. 170. The Paschal 
Chronicle and Hosychius fix on A.D. 40 ; Eusebius in his 
Chronicon gives the third year of the reign of Claudius, 
A.D. 43 ; Birks fixes on a.d. 48 ; Schenkel, on A.D. 45-58 ; 

DATE. 205 

Hitzig, on a.d. 55-57; Lardner, on a.d. 64; Guericke, on 
A.D. 67 or 68; Alford, " after the dispersion or even the 
death of the apostles, and before the destruction of Jerusalem 
by the Eoman armies under Titus, in the year a.d. 70." 
The critics belonging to the Tiibingen school generally 
place the composition of the Gospel after the destruction of 
Jerusalem ; Hilgenfeld, about a.d. 8 1 ; Kostlin, about a.d. 110; 
Keim, about a.d. 115-120 ; Davidson, in the last edition of 
his Introduction, about A.D. 120 ; and Baur himself, about 
A.D. 130-170. 

The place of composition has been as much disputed as 
the time. The most common opinion is that this was Rpme . 
This is the uniform assertion of the Fathers — Irenaus, 
Clemens Alexandrinus, Eusebius, Jerome, and Epiphanius. 
It is stated in the subscription to several cursive manuscripts. 
In the Peshito there is the following subscription : " Here 
ends the holy Gospel, the announcement of Mark, which he 
spoke and preached at Eome in the Eoman language." The 
same opinion is adopted by most recent critics. The fact 
that the Gospel was written for Gentile readers, and the 
Latinisms which are found in it, are favourable to this 
supposition. An argument has been drawn from Eom. xvi. 13, 
where it is written : " Salute Eufus, the chosen in the Lord." 
In the Gospel, Simon the Cyrenian, who carried the cross of 
Jesus, is called the father of Alexander and Eufus 
(Mark xv. 21). Now, if this Eufus who, being thus saluted 
in the Epistle to the Eomans, was evidently an important 
member of the Church of Eome, was the son of Simon the 
Cyrenian, it was natural that Mark, when writing his Gospel 
at Eome, should allude to him. To this supposition there 
is, however, a formidable objection. If Mark wrote his 
Gospel at Eome and for the Eomans, there was not sufficient 
time for its transmission to Palestine, in order to its being used 
by Matthew at such an early period as A.D. 55.^ 

Other places have been fixed on. Chrysostom mentions 
a tradition which fixes on Alexandria as the place of com- 
position. " Mark is said (Xeyerai) to have composed his 
Gospel in Egypt at the solicitation of his friends there." ^ 

1 See sufra, p. 140. ^ Clirysostom, Horn, in Matt. i. 


This statement is also found in some cursive manuscripts to 
which the subscription i'ypd(f)r} iv AlyvirTO) is attached. 
Some (Simon, Lardner, Eiclihorn, Michaelis) suppose a double 
place of composition : that the Gospel was written partly in 
Eome and partly in Alexandria, Jerome says that Mark, 
taking the Gospel with him which he had composed, went 
into Egypt.^ Michaelis supposes that Mark wrote his Gospel 
at Rome, but finished it at Alexandria, which accounts for 
the difference which exists between Mark xvi. 9—20 and 
the rest of the Gospel.^ There is no ground for this 
supposition : it is mentioned by none of the Alexandrian 

Storr^ conjectures Antioch to be the place of com- 
position, because Mark was residing there, near the seat 
of apostolic tradition, and in contact with the GentUe 
converts. The Church of Antioch was also visited by Peter 
(Gal, ii. 11), whose companion and interpreter Mark was. 
Storr also enforces his argument by the combination of 
Acts xi. 19, 20 and Mark xv. 21. In the Acts we learn 
that men of Gyrene came to Antioch : in the Gospel we 
are told that Simon, the father of Alexander and Eufus, 
who bore the cross, was a Cyrenian. He thinks it probable 
that Alexander and Eufus were among the men of Gyrene 
who came to Antioch. 

More plausible is the supposition of Birks, that Ctesarea 
was the place of writing. " The second Gospel," he observes, 
" was written by John Mark about the year 48, and probably 
at Csesarea, with a reference not only to Jewish believers, 
but to Gentile Eoman converts, who would have multi})lied 
there in seven or eight years from the conversion of 
Cornelius."* This wovild afford Matthew easy access to 
the Gospel of Mark, and that at an early period. IMark's 
connection with Peter may have been, not in Eome, but in 

^ Assumpto ita<iue Evangelic quod ipse coiifecerat perrexit ^Egj^tum. 

'^ Marsh'.s Mirhdelis, vol. iv. p. 210. 

^ Ueber den Zicerk der evawjelischen Geschichte, y. 278 ff. 

■* Hor(t evamjeliac, p. 238. 


VIII. Contents of the Gospel. 

This Gospel may be conveniently divided into three 

1. The preparation for the ministry, i. 1—13, containmg 
the ministry of John the Baptist, the baptism of Jesus, and 
the temptation in the wilderness. 

2. The ministry in Galilee, i. 14— x. 42, forming the 
main part of the ministry, containing the call of the 
apostles, an account of the miracles of Christ, a series of 
parables, the mission of the apostles, the death of the 
Baptist, the twofold miraculous feeding of the multitude, 
the confession by the disciples of the Messiahship of Jesus, 
the Transfiguration, a minute account of the cure of the 
demoniac boy, the blessing pronounced on little children, the 
rich young ruler, the cure of blind Bartimseus. 

3. The close of the ministry at Jerusalem, xi. 1— xvi. 20, 
containing the triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, the 
retirement to Bethany, the parable of the wicked husband- 
men, the prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, the 
partaking of the Passover and the institution of the Lord's 
Supper, the agony at Gethsemane, the double trial before 
Caiaphas and Pilate, the crucifixion, the burial, the women 
at the sepulchre, the resurrection. 

There is little that is peculiar to Mark, but there are 
many additions to the narrative. Many of these we have 
already noted when considering its vividness and its graphic 
touches.^ It is from Mark that we learn that Jesus Himself 
was a carpenter ; that those who were cured, although told 
to tell the miracles to none, yet blazed them abroad ; that 
the reason why His friends wished to lay hold of Him was 
because they thought that He was beside Himself ; that 
Jesus was repeatedly moved with indignation at the perversity 
of His hearers ; and that it was Peter, James, John, and 
Andrew who asked him about the destruction of Jerusalem. 

No fewer than eighteen miracles are narrated in Mark's 
Gospel. It is the record, not so much of the discourses of 
Jesus, as of His mighty works. The miracles recorded are, 
1 See supra, p. 185. 


the cure of the man with an unclean sphit in the synagogue 
of Capernaum, i. 23—28 ; the cure of Simon's wife's mother, 
i. 30, 31 ; the cleansing of the leper, i. 40—45 ; the healing 
of the paralytic man, ii. 1—12; the cure of the man with 
the withered hand, iii. 1-5 ; the stilling of the storm, 
iv. 35—41 ; the cure of the Gadarene demoniac, v. 1-20 ; 
the healing of the woman with the issue of blood, v. 25-34; 
the raising of the daughter of Jairus, v. 35—43 ; the feeding 
of the five thousand, vi. 30—44; the walking on the lake, 
vi. 45—52; the cure of the daughter of the Syrophenician 
woman, vii. 24-30; the healing of the deaf mute, recorded 
only by Mark, vii. 31—37 ; the feeding of the four thousand, 
viii. 1—9 ; the gradual cure of the blind man at Bethsaida, 
recorded only by Mark, viii. 22—26 ; the cure of the epileptic 
boy, ix. 17-29; the cure of blind Bartimseus, x. 46—52; 
and the withering of the fig tree, xi. 12—14. 

On the other hand, only four parables are recorded by 
Mark : the Sower, iv. 3—8 ; the Seed growing gradually, 
peculiar to Mark, iv. 26-29 ; the Mustard Seed, iv. 30-32; 
and the Vineyard and the Husbandmen, xii. 1—11. 


LiTERATUKE. — The principal commentaries and dissertations 
on the Gospel of Luke are those of Schleiermacher, Ueher 
die Scliriften des Lukas kritischer Versuch (Berlin, 1817), 
translated by Bishop Thirlwall, with a valuable introduction 
(London, 1825) ; Olshausen (1837, English translation, 1863) ; 
De Wette (3rd ed. Leipsic, 1846); TroUope, Commentary on 
St Luke's Gospel (London, 1847); Ewald (Gottingen, 1850); 
Meyer (1st ed. Gottingen, 1860, 6th ed. by Weiss, 1878, 
translated by the Eev. Eobert Wallis, Edinburgh, 1880); 
Grimm, Die Einheit des Liikasevangelium (Eegensburg, 1863) ; 
Oosterzee in Lange's Bilelwerk (3rd ed. Bielefeld, 1877), 
translated by Dr. Schaff (New York, 1866); Van Doren, 
Suggestive Commentary on St. Luke (London, 1868); Godet 
(Neuchatel, 1871, translated Edinburgh, 1875); Bishop 
Jones in the Speakers Commentary (London, 1875); Alford 
in his Greek Testament, last edition (London, 1894); Dean 
Plumptre in Bishop Ellicott's Commentary (1879); Farrar on 
Luke in the Cambridge Bible for Schools (London, 1882); Eiddle 
in International Commentary (New York, 1882) ; Dean Spence 
in Pulpit Commentary (London, 1889); Dr. Colin Campbell, 
Critical Studies in St. Luke's Gospel (Edinburgh, 1890). 

I. Genuineness of the Gospel. 

The genuineness of the Gospel of Luke is sufficiently 

attested. It is true that we cannot here appeal to the 

Apostolic Fathers, as this Gospel was the latest written of the 

Synoptic Gospels, and as it is difficult to determine whether 



the citations adduced are taken from it or from the Gospel of 
Matthew.^ It has been affirmed that the Gospel of Luke is 
quoted by Paul in liis First Epistle to Timothy : " For the 
scripture saith (\eyet 7) ypacj)')]), Thou shalt not muzzle the ox 
when he treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy 
of his liire" (1 Tim. v. 18). The last clause of the verse is 
only to be found in Luke's Gospel, where the very same 
words occur : a^co^ 6 ipyaTr]^ tov fiiadov avTov (Luke x. 7). 
There is nothing incredible in this supposition, considering the 
close connection between Lvike and Paul, and the probability 
that the Gospel of Luke was written before the First Epistle 
to Timothy ; but we hardly think that this Gospel at so early 
a period would be considered as scripture (rj ypa(f)i]). Marcion, 
(a.d. 140) is perhaps the earliest witness to the Gospel of 
Luke. Marcion's Gospel, as we shall afterwards see, was 
merely a mutilated form of Luke's, and he was living when 
Justin Martyr wrote his Apologies. " There is," says Justin, 
" Marcion, a man of Pontus, who is even at this day alive, 
and teaching his disciples to believe in some other god greater 
than the Creator." ^ Allowmg time for the diffusion of his 
opinions, the Gospel of Marcion cannot be placed later than 
ten years before the time of Jjastin. The distinct references of 
Justin Martyr himself (a.d. 150) to the Gospel of Luke are 
very numerous. He does not indeed mention the name of 
Luke, but his citations from the Gospel are unmistakable. 
The following are the principal quotations : " The Virgin 
Mary received faith and joy, when the angel Gabriel announced 
the good tidings to her that the Spirit of the Lord would 
come upon her." ^ " On the occasion of the first census which 
was taken in Judtea under Cyrenius, Joseph went up from 
Nazareth, where he dwelt, to Bethlehem, to which he belonged, 
to be enrolled ; for his family was of the tribe of Judah, 
which then inhabited that region." ^ " Jesus said to His 
disciples, I give unto you power to tread on serpents, and 

^ In Cliarteris' Canojiicity, testimonies are given from Barnabas, Ep. 
xiv. 1 ; Clement of Rome, 1 Ep. xiii. 2, xlvi. 8, lix. 3 ; Hernias, Maud. v. 
2. 7 ; tliese, however, cannot be depended on. 

2 Justin, Apol. i. 26. ^ Dialog, c. I'njpho, ch. c. 

•* Ibid. cli. Ixxviii. 


scorpions, and on all the might of the enemy " (Luke x. 
19).^ " In the Memoirs, which were composed by His apostles 
and those who followed them, it is recorded that His sweat 
fell down like drops of blood while He prayed, saying, If 
it be possible, let this cup pass " (Luke xxii. 42).^ " When 
Christ was giving up His spirit on the cross. He said, ' Father, 
into Thy hands I commend My spirit,' as I have learned from 
the Memoirs" (Luke xxiii. 46).^ Tatian (a.d, 160) included 
Luke's Gospel in his Diatessaron, a complete copy of which 
has recently been discovered. In the Muratorian canon 
(a.d, 170) the Gospel of Luke is thus mentioned: "The third 
Gospel is according to Luke. Luke, a physician, whom Paul 
after the ascension of Christ had chosen as a companion of his 
journey, wrote this in his own name and according to his own 
judgment ; yet he had not himself seen the Lord in the flesh. 
Carrying his narrative as far back as he could obtain informa- 
tion, he began from the birth of John." ^ In the Epistle of 
the Churches of Vienne and Lyons (a.d. 177) there is a 
reference to Luke's Gospel. " His (Vettius Epagathus) was 
so consistent a life, that although young he had obtained a 
reputation equal to that of the elder Zacharias, for he walked 
in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blame- 
less " (Luke i. 6).^ Celsus, who is generally supposed to have 
lived about a.d. 178, refers to Luke's Gospel, when he adverts 
to the genealogy of Christ being traced up to Adam.*^ The 
first Father who mentions Luke as the author of the third 
Gospel is Irenseus (a.d. 180). " Luke, the follower and the 
disciple of the apostles, referring to Zacharias and Elizabeth, 
from whom, according to promise, John was born, says : ' And 
they were both righteous before God, walking in all the 
commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.' " '^ And 
again, " Now, if any man set Luke aside, as one who did not 
know the truth, he will manifestly reject that Gospel of 
which he claims to be a disciple." ^ Irenteus quotes the 
fGospel of Luke about eigh ty ti mes. It is needless to pursue 

^ Dialog, c. Trypho, cli. Ixxvi. ^ Ibid. ch. ciii. 

^ Ibid. ch. cv. ■* Tregelles, Codex Muratorius. 

^ Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. v. 1. ^ Origen, Contra Celsum, ii. 32. 

'' Irenseus, Adv. Hcer. iii. 10. 1. ^ Ibid. iii. 14. 3. 



the subject further, for after this there is no doubt or question 
about Luke's authorship of the third Gospel.^ 

Another distinct line of argument is drawn from the 
relation of the third Gospel to the Acts of the Apostles. 
These writings profess to have the same author. In the Acts 
the writer alludes to his former treatise. Both works are 
addressed or dedicated to a certain Theophilus (Acts i. 1 ; 
Luke i. 3). This identity of authorship was never called in 
question by the early Church, and in modern times has been 
admitted by scholars of all shades of opinion. Dr. Davidson 
mentions no less than fort y-seven terms which occur in both 
works, but nowhere else in~~tKe Kew Testament.^ De Wette 
observes : " It is certain that the writer of the Acts is the 
author of the third Gospel, and his peculiarity of style remams 
the same in both works, and in the Acts of the Apostles from 
the begmning to the end." ^ And so also Zeller remarks : 
"The identity of the author of the two writings is raised to 
such a height of probability that we have every reason to 
consider it as historically proved."^ Admitting this identity 
of authorship, it follows that the whole series of testimonies in 
favour of the Acts can also be adduced in favour of the 
genuineness of the third Gospel, Now the testimonies for 
the Acts are strong and numerous. It is quoted or referred 
to by Polycarp in his Epistle to the Philippians,'' in the 
Epistle to the Churches of Lyons and Vienne,^ by Irenreus,^ 
Clemens Alexandrinus,^ Tertullian,^ Origen,^° and subsequent 
Fathers. Eusebius places both the Gospel of Luke and the 
Acts among those books which are universally acknowledged.^* 

^ Luke's Gospel is also frequently quoted in tlie Clementine Homilies 
(A.D. 160-170). 

2 Davidson's Introduction to the N.T. vol. ii. 8. See also Davidson's 
Introduction to the Study of the N.T. vol. ii. p. 151, 3rd ed., and Zeller's 
Apostelgeschichte, pp. 414-425. 

^ De Wette's Ajwstelgeschichtc, p. 10. 

* Zeller's.(4ds of the Apostles, translation, vol. ii. 213 ; Apostelgeschichtey, 
p. 442. 

* Ep. ad Philipp. cli. i. "^ Eusebius, Hist. Ecd. v. 1 
' Adv. Hcer. iii. 14. 1. * Stromata, v. 12. 

' De Jejuniis, ch. x. ^'^ Eusebius, HiM. Eccl. vi. 25. 

11 Ibid. iii. 4. 


Olshausen has good reason for the assertion : " In the primitive 
Church there was no opposition either to Luke's Gospel or to 
the Acts of the Apostles." ^ 

In recent times the Gospel of Luke has been more or 
less disputed, especially by Eichhorn, who supposed it to be 
an enlargement of the Gospel of Marcion ; by those critics 
belonging to the early Tubingen school who placed the time 
of its composition about the middle of the second century ; 
and by many of those theologians who have adopted the 
so-called twofold documentary hypothesis concerning the 
origin of the Synoptic Gospels. There have also been special 
objections adduced against the genuineness of this Gospel, as, 
for example, the apparently mythical account of the birth of 
Christ and its supposed discrepancy with the account given 
by Matthew, a subject which has already been discussed ; ^ 
the apparent contradiction between the genealogies of Christ 
given by Matthew and Luke, which is reserved for a separate 
dissertation ; and the supposed erroneous historical statement 
concerning the enrolment made by Cyrenius, governor of 
Syria (Luke ii. 1), which will be considered when we treat 
of the chronology of the Gospels. 

The chief, or at least the most noteworthy, objection 
brought against the genuineness of Luke's Gospel is its 
relation to the Gospel of Marcion, of which several critics 
consider that it is merely an amplification. On account of 
its importance and the interest connected with it, we shall 
examine this subject in detail.^ 

Marcion, one of the most notorious, and in several 
^ Olshausen, On the Gospel and the Ads, vol. i. p. xli. 

2 See supra, pp. 135 ft". 

3 The chief works on the relation of Marcion's Gospel to that of Luke, 
are Hahn's Evangelium Marcion, contained in the Codex Apocryphus N. T, 
of Thilo, pp. 401-486 (Leipsic, 1833) ; Ritschl's Das Evangelium Marcions 
und das hanonische Evangelium Lukas (Tubingen,' 1846) ; Volkmar, Das 
Evangelium Marcions (Leipsic, 1852) ; Ronsch, Das Neue Testamentum 
Tertullian, 1871 ; Baring Gould, Lost and Hostile Gospels, pp. 235-277 
(London, 1874) ; Hill's Marcion's Gospel (Guernsey, 1893). The subject 
is also more or less discussed in Bleek's Introduction to the N.T. vol. i. 
pp. 138-154 ; in an elaborate article on Marcion, by Professor Salmon, in 
Smith's Dictionary of Christian Biography ; in Professor Sanday's Gospels 
of the Second Century ; in an article on Gnosis in Herzog's Real-Encyclopddie, 


respects one of the most interesting of the early heretics, 
was a contemporary of Justin Martyr, and wrote about 
A.D. 140. He was a native of Sinope, in the province of 
Pontus, of which town his father was bishop. A Christian 
by birth, he received a thorough Christian education, as is 
proved by his writings. Perplexed with the existence of 
evil under the government of a good and holy God of infinite 
power and wisdom, he fell into heresy, and became a disciple 
of the Syrian Gnostic Cerdo, whose system he developed. 
" Cerdo," says Irenseus, " taught that the God proclaimed by 
the law and the prophets was not the Father of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. The former was known, the latter unknown ; 
the one was righteous, the other benevolent. Marcion of 
Pontus succeeded him, and developed his doctrine." ^ About 
A.D. 140 he followed Cerdo to Home, where he was excom- 
municated on account of his erroneous opinions, and in con- 
sequence formed a sect of his own. Irenseus informs us 
that he met with Polycarp at Eome, and, wishing to procure 
the recognition of that Father, asked him. Dost thou know 
me ? to whom Polycarp replied, I recognise thee as the 
firstborn of Satan.^ There does not appear to have been 
anything immoral in his teaching, nor, so far as appears, in 
his conduct.^ Unlike many of the early heretics, his doctrine 
was moral ; he even carried asceticism to an imwarrantable 
extent, not only inculcating abstinence from the use of wine and 
animal food, except fish, but forbidding his disciples to marry. 
In the early centuries Marcionism was diffused throughout the 
Christian Church by reason of its plausibility and the high 
morality and self-denial which it inculcated. There was a 
regular Church formed, with its bishops and presbyters. 
Epiphanius tells us that besides Eome, where it was at first 
promulgated, it spread into Egypt, Palestine, Arabia, Syria, 
Cyprus, and Persia. It gradually disappeared in the fourth 
century, owing to the rise and growth of Manichoeanism, a 

2nd ed. vol. v. pp. 231-236, hy Jacobi ; and in Ilarnack's Quellenkritik 
ties Gnosticismus. 

1 Irena3us, Adv. Hcer. i. 27. 1. ^ Ibid. iii. 3. 4. 

3 The charge of youthful incontinence brought against him is not con- 
finned by Irenjeus or Tertullian. 


system which it closely resembled, and on account of the 
repressive measures of Constantine and his successors. 

Marcion is generally reckoned among the earliest of the 
Gnostic heretics. And certainly many of his doctrines, such 
as the difference between the supreme God and the Creator, 
and the docetic nature of Christ, are tenets of Gnosticism. 
But in his system he does not recognise the Gnostic aeons, 
as the connecting links between the supreme God and the 
world ; nor is there any mixture of heathen philosophy and 
Oriental speculation, as is the case with all other Gnostic 
systems.'^ He contemplated religion from a Christian stand- 
point. He asserted that the evil which was in the world 
could not possibly have arisen under the government of a 
good God ; and that consequently there was a difference 
between God the Creator of the world, the Demiurge 
(Srjfxiovpjo^) of the Gnostics, and the supreme God. In 
short, he taught that there were two Gods. The Creator 
was an inferior being to the God of the Gospel, but not, as 
some of the Gnostics taught, an evil principle. His inferi- 
ority consisted in defect ; He was limited in power and 
knowledge, and even goodness.^ Hence there was a certain 
difference, often amounting to antagonism, between the Old 
Testament and the New. The God of the Old Testament 
was the Creator, whilst the God of the New Testament was 
the supreme God ; the God of the Old Testament was the 
God of justice, the God of the New Testament was the God 
of love.^ The law was opposed to the Gospel ; the prophets 

1 As Mansel observes: " Marcion is the least Gnostic of all the Gnostics." 
The Gnostic Heresies, p. 218. " Marcion," says Harnack, " put all emphasis 
on faith, not on Gnosis." History of Dogma, vol. i. p. 266. 

2 For these tenets of Marcion, see the account of Marcion and his doc- 
trines in Mansel's Gnostic Heresy, lect. xiii. ; Salmon's article on Marcion 
in Smith's Dictionary of Christian Biography. " Marcion," says Irenseus, 
" advanced the most daring blasphemy against Him who is proclaimed as 
God by the law and the prophets, declaring Him to be the author of evils, 
to delight in war, to be infirm of purjjose, and even to be contrary to 
Himself." Adv. Hcer. i. 27. 2. 

^ Thus he observes : " ' Thou shall love thy neighbour and hate thine 
enemy,' was the command of the just God; 'Love thine enemies,' was 
the law of the good God. ' An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,' 
was the retributive law of the just God ; ' If any smite thee on the right 


of the Old Testament were not the inspired servants of the 
supreme God, but the servants of the Demiurge. The 
supreme God was unknown until Christ revealed Him : " No 
man has known the Father but the Son, and he to whom 
the Son will reveal Him." And as there were two Gods, so, 
according to Marcion, there were two Messiahs — the Messiah 
of the prophets and the Messiah of the New Testament. 
The Jewish Messiah was to be a victorious King ; the Chris- 
tian Messiah was to be a suffering Saviour. The one was to 
rule the nations with a rod of iron, the other was to die as a 
sacrifice for sin. The one was to be the Deliverer of Israel, 
the other was to be the Saviour of the world. Jesus came 
not to fulfil, but to abolish the law and the prophets and the 
works of the Creator of the world.^ In conformity with 
these views and his opposition to the Jewish religion, 
Marcion considered Paul, on account of his conflict with the 
Judaising Christians, as the only true apostle. Hence he 
accepted only ten Epistles of Paul, and rejected all the other 
books of the New Testament, with the exception of the Gospel 
of Luke, as infected with Judaism. Such a system, at once 
compact and consistent, was violently opposed by the early 
Fathers. Justm Martyr and Irenseus both wrote against it ; 
but the chief opponents of Marcion were Tertullian ^ and 

But it is the Gospel of Marcion that we have especially 
to consider, and its relation to the Gospel of Luke. Besides 
a work termed avTideaet^;, containing a series of antitheses 
between the Old Testament, the revelation of the Creator or 
the God of justice, and the New Testament, the revelation 
of the supreme God or the God of love, Marcion wrote a 
gospel. It is no longer extant, but we have numerous 

cheek, turn to liini the other also,' was the command of the good 

1 So Irenaius asserts that Marcion taught that " Jesus was manifested 
in the form of a man to tliose who were in Judaea, abolishing the prophets 
and the law and all the work of that God who made the world." — Adv. 
Hcer. i. 27. 2. 

2 Tertullian wrote a special work against Marcion, in which he employs 
all his vehemence and eloquence. In this he is followed by Epiphanius, 
who, however, wrote independently of Tertullian. 


extracts from it in the writings of Tertullian and Epiphanius. 
From these extracts it appears that it bears a very close 
resemblance to our canonical Gospel of Luke. Marcion entitled 
it " the Gospel of the Lord " {To evayiyeXcov rov Kvpcov), being, 
as he supposed, the true Gospel of Christ — the Gospel of 
the God of love. It commences with the words : " In the 
fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Csesar, Pontius Pilate 
being governor of Judaea, Jesus ^ came down to Capernaum, a 
city of Galilee, and was teaching on the Sabbath day ; and 
they were astonished at His doctrine, for His word was with 
authority" (comp. Luke iii. 1, iv. 31, 32). In this Gospel 
Jesus suddenly appears in the world.^ There is no mention 
of His birth, for this is opposed to the Docetic views of 
Marcion ; nor of His baptism, as the Baptist was regarded as 
a prophet of the Old Testament. The Gospel of Luke is 
strictly followed throughout ; and, in general, the same order 
is preserved. There are no statements of incidents or dis- 
courses which are not found in Luke's Gospel ; there are 
indeed numerous omissions, but two-thirds of Luke's Gospel 
are preserved, though in an altered form. The omissions are 
generally accounted for by Marcion's peculiar views ; all those 
passages being omitted which would seem to recognise the 
divine origin of the Jewish religion.^ Sometimes, however, 
no reason can be assigned for the omission, as, for example, in 
the case of the parable of the Prodigal Son, which one would 
think to be rather in favour of Marcion's conception of the 
God of the New Testament as the God of love. There are 
also numerous verbal alterations, most of which can be 
explained by Marcion's peculiar views.^ Several attempts 
have been made at the reconstruction of Marcion's Gospel 

^ For Jesus, Halin and Westcott read God, namely, the good God, as 
distinguished from the Creator. 

2 Tertullian, Adv. Marcion. iv. 7. 

^ The omissions of Marcion are the following : Luke i., ii., iii., 
iv. 1-15, xiii. 1-9, xiii. 29-35, xv. 11-32, xviii. 31-34, xix. 29-48, 
XX. 9-18, xxii. 35-38, xxii. 49-51, xxiv. 48-53. 

* There is in Marcion's Gospel a curious alteration in the Lord's 
Prayer. Marcion has, " Father, may Thy Holy Spirit come upon us," 
instead of, " Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name." 
Baring-Gould's Lost and Hostile Gosijels, p. 252. Hill's Marcion^s Gospel, 


from the numerous quotations given from it by Tertullian and 
Epiphanius, and from their remarks, as both these Fathers 
criticise that Gospel passage by passage.^ In this manner 
we can ascertain with tolerable certainty what passages of 
Luke's Gospel are omitted and what are retained, as well as in 
what parts the Gospel of Marcion differs from our third Gospel. 
The question arises. What is the relation between the 
Gospel of Marcion and our canonical Gospel of Luke ? Is 
Marcion's Gospel merely a mutilation of Luke's, made witli 
the purpose of making it correspond with his heretical views ? 
Or, Is the Gospel of Marcion the prior or original Gospel, of 
which our third Gospel is an expansion and recension ? Is it 
the first edition, so to speak, of Luke's Gospel ? On this 
point the Fathers are unanimous ; they with one voice accuse 
Marcion of mutilating the Gospel of Luke. Thus Irenaeus 
says : " Marcion mutilates the Gospel which is according to 
Luke, removing from it all that is written respecting the 
generation of the Lord, and setting aside a great deal of the 
teaching of the Lord, in which the Lord is recorded as most 
clearly confessing that the Maker of the universe is His 
Father." ^ And Tertullian observes : " It is certain that 
Marcion has erased everything that was contrary to his own 
opinion and in favour of the Creator, as if it had been inter- 
polated, whilst anything that agreed with his own opinion he 
has retained." ^ Some modern critics have, however, impugned 
these statements, and asserted that they proceeded from pre- 
judice ; and that Marcion's Gospel is an original work, and 
the chief source from which our Gospel of Luke was composed. 
The first who adopted this view was Semler, and he has been 
followed by Eichhorn and his school, as this opinion was 
favourable to their hypothesis of original documents. After- 
wards this opinion was at one time maintained by Baur,* 

p. 25. Halm, however, gives the words as they are found in our Gospel. 
See Tertullian, Adv. Marcion. iv. 2G. 

^ This was done by Hahn, Evanyelium Marcionis ex midoritate veterum 
monumcntorum ; inserted in Thilo's Codex Apocnjphiis Novi Testamentiy 
pp. 401-486. Hill's Marcionis Gospel is an English translation of the 
work of Hahn with some variations. 

2 Adv. Hcer. i. 27. 2. ^ Tertullian, Adv. Marcion. iv. 6. 

* Marcusevaityelium, pp. 191 11'. 


Kitschl/ Schwegler,^ and other critics belonging to the early 
Tubingen school.^ But, on the other hand, strange to say, 
the strongest advocate in favour of the patristic opinion, that 
Marcion's Gospel was a mutilation of Luke's, was Volkmar,* 
one of the most pronounced disciples of the Tubingen school 5 
and he so convincingly vindicated this view, that most of his 
opponents were gained over and retracted their opinions. 
Thus Eitschl says : " The hypothesis propounded by me, that 
Marcion did not alter the Gospel of Luke, but that his Gospel 
is a step towards the canonical Luke, I regard as refuted by 
Volkmar and Hilgenfeld." ^ So also Zeller, belonging to the 
Tiibingen school, observes : " We may admit as proved and 
generally accepted, not only that Marcion made use of an 
older Gospel, but further, that he recomposed, modified, and 
often abridged it, and that this older Gospel was essentially 
none other than that of Luke." ^ Professor Sanday, by a 
minute critical examination, has proved that the passages 
omitted by Marcion are written by the same author as those 
which are retained.'^ In consequence of this examination the 
author of Supernatural Religion also acknowledged that he 
was in error in holding that Marcion's Gospel was the 
original.^ The only theologian, so far as we are aware, who 
still maintains the paradoxical opmion of the priority of 
Marcion's Gospel is Baring-Gould. " The Gospel of our Lord," 
he observes, " if not the original Luke Gospel, — and this is 
probable, — was the basis of Luke's compilation. But that it 
was Luke's first edition of his Gospel, drawn up when St. Paul 
was actively engaged in founding the Asiatic Churches, is the 
view I am disposed to take of it. . . . All these facts point to 

^ Das Evangelium Marcions und das kanonische Evangelium des 

2 Nachaposfol. Zeitalter, vol. i. p. 260. 

3 See Bleek's Introduction to the N.T. vol. i. pp. 143, 144, notes; and 
Meyer's Commentary on Luke, vol. i. p. 264, Eemark 2, Englisli transla- 

* Das Evangelium Marcions. 

^ Theolog. Jahrbuch, 1851, pp. 528 f., quoted by Meyer. 

^ Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, pp. 11-26 : translation, vol. i. pp. 99 ff. 

'' Sanday's Gospels of the Second Century, pp. 204-237, and pi"». 362-372. 

® Salmon's Introduction to the N. T. p. 245. 



Marcion's Gospel as the original Luke, not, however, quite as 
it came to Marcion, but edited by the heretic."^ 

It may now be considered as demonstrated that the Gospel 
of Marcion is a mutilation of the Gospel of Luke. He first 
formed his own opinions on the opposition between the Old 
and New Testaments, — the difference between the God of 
creation and the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, — 
the antithesis between Judaism and Christianity, and selected 
the Gospel of Luke as the Gospel which appeared to him 
best suited for his purpose, and by omissions and alterations 
adapted it to his opinions. As Bleek observes : " He excludes 
all passages in which the Gospel history is brought into 
harmony with the Old Testament revelation, in which the 
New Testament is represented as the fulfilment of the Old 
Testament prophecies, in which Christ is described as spring- 
ing from the Jewish nation and of human parentage and 
partaker of human weaknesses, in which Christ describes God, 
after the manner of the Old Testament, as an avenging Judge." ^ 
The following alterations will illustrate the method on which 
Marcion proceeded. The words, " When ye see Abraham and 
Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God " 
(xiii. 28), are changed into, "When you shall see all the 
righteous (jravTa^; tov<; Sifcalov^) in the kingdom of God." 
The declaration of our Lord, " It is easier for heaven and 
earth to pass away, than for one tittle of the law to fail " 
(xvi. 17), is altered into, " It is easier for heaven and earth to 
pass away, even as the law and the prophets have passed away, 
than for one tittle of My words to fail." And the address of 
our Lord to the disciples going to Emmaus, " foolish men, 
and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have 
spoken" (xxiv. 25), is transformed into, "0 foolish men, and 
slow of heart to believe in all that He spoke to you." ^ 

Another objection brought against the Gospel of Luke 
is its alleged Ebionite tendency.* It is asserted that this 

^ Lost and Hostile Gospels, pp. 275, 27G. 

2 Bleek's Introduction to the N.T. vol. i. p. 149. See also Sanday, 
Gospels of the Second Century, p. 219. 

3 See Hill's Mairion's Gospel. Halin's Evamjclium Marcionh. 

* See Dr. Colin CaiupbeU's Critical Studies in St. Luke ; also Renan'a 

AUTHOR. 221 

Gospel, or at least a considerable portion of it, is the work 
of an Ebionite. By this is not meant, as the term Ebionite 
usually denotes,^ the maintenance of a Jewish form of 
Christianity, the direct opposite of Marcionism, which is 
certainly not taught in Luke's Gospel, but the exaltation of 
poverty and the denunciation of riches. The reasons for 
this opinion are, that throughout this Gospel poverty 
is praised, whilst riches are denounced. Thus in the 
beatitudes the words are : " Blessed are ye poor : for yours 
is the kingdom of God" (vi. 20), without the restriction 
found in Matthew's Gospel : " Blessed are the poor in spirit." 
A woe is pronounced upon the rich : " Woe unto you that 
are rich : for ye have received your consolation " (vi. 24) ; 
in the parable of the Eich Man and Lazarus, the rich man 
is condemned apparently on account of his riches, and 
Lazarus is saved apparently on account of his poverty and 
wretchedness ; the rich young ruler is told that in order 
to inherit eternal life he must sell all that he has and 
give it to the poor ; and the widow woman is commended 
for casting in her mite into the treasury. Now it is true 
that this Gospel may, in a peculiar sense, be styled " the 
Gospel of the poor " : its consolations are peculiarly addressed 
to them. But the passages adduced are too few to 
warrant the conclusion that the Gospel of Luke was com- 
posed with a special tendency to exalt poverty and to 
promote asceticism. Zacchseus, the rich publican, is com- 
mended : of him it is said that salvation has come into his house. 

II. The Authoe of the Gospel. 

In the Greek manuscripts this Gospel is entitled, 
evayyeXiov Kara Aovkclv or simply Kara Aovkclv. The( 
earliest Fathers who quote this Gospel do not assign it tcJ 
any particular person. The first assertion of the authorship 

Introduction to the Vie de Jesus, and Davidson's Introduction to the N.T. 
3rd ed. vol. i. pp. 404 ff. 

1 The Ebionites were a Jewish Christian sect who seceded from the 
Church about the middle of the second century. They considered the 
Jewish law still binding, and held low views of the nature of Christ. 


of Luke which we meet with, is in the Muratorian canon and 
in the writings of Irenteus. 

The name Lucas is a contraction of Lucanus, as Silas is 
of Silvanus. Luke is not to be confounded with Lucius, one 
of the teachers in the Church of Antioch (Acts xiii, 1), nor 
with Lucius, mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans 
(Rom. xvi. 21), as the names are entirely different. He is 
thrice mentioned by Paul in his Epistles (Col. iv. 14; 
Philem. 24; 2 Tim. iv. 11). Some suppose that he is also 
alluded to in 2 Cor. viii. 18, where Paul says: "We have 
sent together with him (Titus) the brother whose praise in 
the Gospel is spread through all the Churches ; and not only 
so, but who was also appointed by the Churches to travel 
with us in the matter of this grace " : not because there is 
any allusion in the words, " whose praise is in the Gospel," 
to the Gospel of Luke, but because Luke was one of the 
deputies of the Churches who went with Paul to Jerusalem ; 
and he might have been sent along with Titus to take 
charge of the contribution of the Church of Corinth. We 
are ignorant of the birthplace of Luke. Eusebius, Jerome, 
and Nicephorus inform us that this was Antioch ; ^ but this 
may have arisen from confounding him with Lucius of 
Gyrene (Acts xiii. 1); others fix on Troas, because there he 
first joined the apostle ; and others, as Greswell, conjecture 
that he was an inhabitant of Philippi, because, according to 
the narrative of the Acts, he appears to have resided there for 
several years. From a statement made by Paul (comp. Col. iv. 
1 1 with ver. 1 4), he appears to have been a Gentile by birth. 
The purity of his Greek, and the comparative absence of 
Hebraisms, are in favour of his Gentile origin, though these 
may be accounted for on the supposition that he was a 
Hellenistic Jew. It is doubtful whether he was a proselyte 
to Judaism before his conversion to Christianity, as Jerome 
asserts, and as his acquaintance with Jewish rites and 
ordinances would seem to imply. Paul calls him " Luke, the 
beloved physician " (Col. iv. 1 4) ; and some think that there 
are proofs of his medical knowledge to be found in his 
writings from the precise and exact manner in which he 
^ Eiisel)ius, Hist. Eccl. iii. 4. 

AUTHOE, 223 

speaks of diseases and miracles of healing : i as that Peter's 
mother-in-law was afflicted with a great fever {irvpeTw 
fieydXa), Elymas was struck with blindness (d'^\v<i), a 
technical term (Acts xiii. 11), and the father of Publius lay- 
sick of fevers and dysentery (Trf/oerot? kuI hvaevTeplw, Acts 
xxviii. 8) ; but the argument from these and similar ex- 
pressions is overdrawn. Grotius supposes that Luke was 
originally a slave, because the most eminent physicians 
mentioned in Roman history were of this class : ^ but there 
is no ground for this supposition, as among the Greeks the 
medical profession was highly esteemed and i)ractised by 
men of liberal education. 

We learn from the Acts that Luke was the companion 
of Paul. The author of the Acts joined Paul on his missionary 
journeys at Troas, when the style of narrative changes from 
the indirect to the direct form : instead of the third, the 
first person pronoun is employed (Acts xvi. 10). He 
passed with the apostle into Macedonia, and was with him 
at Philippi (Acts xvi. 11, 13). Here he appears to have 
remained behind, for the narrative again changes from the 
first to the third person ; and it is not until Paul's return, 
seven years after, to Philippi that the direct form is resumed 
(Acts XX. 6). Hence it is with some probability assumed 
that Luke remained at Philippi. He was doubtless one of 
the messengers of the Churches who accompanied the apostle 
on his last momentous journey to Jerusalem (Acts xxi. 1, 
15, 17). Probably he remained with Paul during his 
imprisonment of two years at Ctesarea, for he sailed with 
him from that city to Eome (Acts xxvii. 1—3, xxviii. 16). 
He was with the apostle during his first Eoman imprison- 
ment, when Paul wrote the Epistles to the Colossians and to 
Philemon (Col. iv. 11; Philem. 24), and was also with 
him during his second Eoman imprisonment, remaining with 
him to the close of his life (2 Tim. iv. 11). "He was," 
says Irenseus, " always attached to and inseparable from Paul."^ 

^ Hobart, The Medical Language of St. Luke. 

2 As Antestius the physician of Jiiiius Caesar, and Antoninus Musa 
the physician of Augustus. 

3 Adv. Hkt. ill. 14. 1, 


We have few notices of Luke in the patristic writings 
and in the early ecclesiastical histories, and all of them are of 
a legendary character, Epiphanius informs us that he was 
one of the seventy disciples, probably because it is only in 
the Gospel of Luke that the mission of the seventy is 
recorded ; but this statement is refuted by Luke himself, 
who in the preface to his Gospel evidently implies that he 
was not one of our Lord's immediate followers (Luke i. 1-3). 
For the same reason the plausible assertion of Theophylact, 
that he was one of the disciples going to Emmaus to whom 
Jesus after His resurrection revealed Himself, is to be rejected. 
The tradition that he was a painter rests on the authority of 
Nicephorus of the fourteenth century, and is entitled to no 
credit.^ It seems to have arisen from a rude picture of the 
Virgin being found in the Catacombs with the inscription that 
it was one of the seven painted by Luca. According to 
Epiphanius, he preached the gospel in Dalmatia, Gallia, Italy, 
and Macedonia. According to Jerome, he died a natural 
death in the eighty -fourth year of his age. Gregory Nazianzen 
reckons him among the martyrs ; and according to Nicephorus 
he returned to Greece, where he suffered martyrdom by being 
hanged on an olive tree in the eightieth year of his age. 
His remains were removed to Constantinople by the order of 

As, according to the Fathers, there was a close connec- 
tion between the Apostle Peter and the evangelist Mark, 
so they held that there was a similar connection between 
Paul and Luke. The Gospel of Luke was regarded by them 
in a certain sense as the Gospel of Paul. Thus Ireuceus 
observes : " Luke, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book 
the gospel preached by him." ^ Tertullian says : " Men 
usually ascribe Luke's form of the Gospel to Paul."* And 
Origen writes : " Among the four Gospels which are the only 
indisputable ones in the Church of God, I have learned by 

^ Nicephorus, Ifist. Eccl. iii. 4. 

2 See Bariiig-Ouuld's Lives of the Saints, October 18 ; Winer's Biblisches 
EealwiJrterbuch ; Cave's Lives of the Apostles. 

3 Irenoeus, Adv. Hccr. iii. 1. 1. 

"• Tertullian, Adv. Marcion. iv. 5. 


tradition . . . that the third was written by Luke, the 
Gospel commended by Paul, and composed for Gentile 
converts." ^ The Gospel of Luke was not, however, so 
closely dependent on Paul as that of Mark was on Peter. 
Paul was not himself a follower of Christ when He was in 
this world, and although he may have materially assisted 
Luke in the composition of his Gospel by suggestions and by 
information imparted, yet the evangelist must have derived 
his facts from other sources, and must have been in direct 
communication with those who were the immediate followers 
of the Lord. There is undoubtedly a closer connection 
with the Pauline phase of doctrine in this Gospel than 
in the other Gospels. The account of the institution of the 
Lord's Supper, as given by Luke, bears a close resemblance 
to that given by Paul in the First Epistle to the Corinthians 
(compare Luke xxii. 19, 20 with 1 Cor. xi. 23-25). The 
Fathers in general supposed that when Paul speaks of " his 
Gospel" (Eom. ii. 16, xvi. 25 ; 2 Tim. ii. 8), he means the 
Gospel of Luke, composed as they imagined under his superin- 
tendence. Thus Eusebius says : " They say (^aai) that Paul 
meant to refer to Luke's Gospel whenever, as if speaking of 
some Gospel of his own, he used the words ' according to my 
Gospel.' " ^ And the same remark is made by Jerome : 
" Some suppose that whenever Paul in his Epistles makes 
use of the expression ' according to my Gospel,' he means 
Luke's writing." ^ All this is mere supposition, as these 
Fathers themselves seem to imply, and is unsupported by 
any evidence. 

III. Sources of Luke's Gospel. 

On this point we have some solid ground to go. In 
his preface, Luke gives us information of the sources from 
which he derived his Gospel : " Forasmuch as many have 
taken in hand to draw up a narrative concerning those 
matters which have been fulfilled among us, even as they 
delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eye-^'f 

1 Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. vi. 25. 2 jbid. iii. 4. 

^ Jerome, De vir. illustr. cli. vii. 



witnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me 
also, having traced the course of all things accurately from 
the first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent 
Theophilus ; that thou mightest know the certainty con- 
cerning the things wherein thou wast instructed " (Luke 
i. 1—4). From these words it is evident that the evangelist 
affirms that he himself was not an eye- and ear-witness of 
the works and discourses of the Lord, for he evidently dis- 
tinguishes himself from those who were eye-witnesses and 
ministers of the word. At the same time, he asserts that he 
was fully qualified to write an account of the actions of Christ ; 
that he possessed sufficient knowledge ; that he had traced 
the course of all things accurately (a/cpi;Sw?) from the begin- 
nmg. He mentions two sources of information which he pos- 
sessed. The first w as the oral information which he received 
from his intercourse with those who had been with Christ — the 
apostles and disciples of the Lord. This he would carefully 
ascertain, and under the guidance of the Spirit of God commit 
to writing. And the second source of information was the 
narratives of those who were the followers of Christ, many of 
i which had been committed to writing; there were not only oral 
traditions, but written documents, to which he could refer. 

The first source of Luke's information was oral tradition. 
Here Luke had peculiar advantages. He appears to have 
been for a considerable period resident in Judiea, in all 
probability during Paul's two years' imprisonment at C;vsarea. 
He would thus come into direct contact with many wlio had 
been the actual followers of Christ ; most probably with 
some of the apostles, and certainly with James the Lord's 
brother, the so-called bishop of Jerusalem (Acts xxi. 18), and 
with Philip the evangelist, whom he met at Cuesarea (Acts 
xxi. 8). He had also the advantage of the information 
which Paul could impart to him, for that apostle must have 
had frequent communication with the original apostles. 
The account whicli Luke gives of the birth of John the 
Baptist, of the visit of the angel to the Virgin, and of the 
circumstances attending the birth of the Lord and His 
presentation in the temple, might have been obtained by 
him, either from Mary herself, or from James and the other 


brethren of our Lord. As he himself tells us, he used the 
greatest diligence in the collection of the facts and sayings of 
our Lord. 

The other source of information consisted of written 
documents, These, he asserts, were numerous. " Many 
(ttoWol) have taken in hand to draw up a narrative." We 
have already had occasion to remark that such evangelical 
fragments would be abundant in the early Church. Of these 
Luke would make a careful selection, guided in doing so by 
a higher wisdom than his own. As we have already stated, 
he might have had access to a narrative, either oral or 
written, which does not appear to have been used by the 
other two evangelists, the so-called Persean section (Luke ix. 
51-xviii. 41).^ These documents Luke would not employ 
slavishly, but freely, working them into his narrative. Accord- 
ing to Schle iermacher : " Luke is from the beginning to end 
no more than a compiler and arranger of documents which 
he found in existence, and which he allows to pass unaltered 
through his hands." " His great merit consists in this, that 
he has admitted scarcely any pieces but what are peculiarly 
genuine and good." ^ But this is a most erroneous view of 
the formation of the Gospel of Luke, and is refuted by the 
uniformity of style and diction which pervades the whole book, 
as well as the Acts of the Apostles, proving the unity of author- 
ship, and the freedom w^ith which the author used his materials. 

It is, however, a very difficult question to determine how / i 
far the Gospels of Matthew and Mark are to be classed / 
among the documentary sources of Luke's Gospel. We have 
already discussed the subject when considering the sources 
of the Synoptic Gospels,^ and found it one of extreme diffi- 
culty, hardly admitting of a satisfactory solution. There 
is nothing incredible in the supposition that Luke made use 
of these Gospels, as we consider that they were previously 
written. But we found that there were reasons for calling 

1 See swpra, pp. 34, 35. 

2 Schleiermaclier's Critical Essay on the Gospel of St. Luke, translated 
by Tliirlwall, pp. 313, 314. See also Kenan's Life of Jesus, ]). xlviii, 
English translation. 

^ See supra, pp. 48, 49. 


in questiou his use of Matthew's Gospel, especially on account 
of the differences in the genealogies and in the narrations of 
the bu'th of Christ and of His resurrection in the two 
Gospels ; and we are disposed to infer that Luke had not 
access to Matthew's Gospel. But it is otherwise with the 
Gospel of Mark. Considering the similarity of the incidents 
recorded and of the chronological order of the narrative, and 
the frequent identity of expression, the probability, amounting 
however by no means to certainty, is that the narrative of 
Luke is to a certain extent dependent on the Gospel of 
Mark.^ There is nothing in the preface of Luke to forbid 
this ; there is no condemnation in it, as some think, of the 
previous narratives that were undertaken. At the same 
time, it must be admitted that there are portions of Mark's 
Gospel wanting in Luke which we would not expect to have 
been omitted had Luke that Gospel before him ; not only 
those few parts that are peculiar to Mark, but other portions 
which are inserted in Matthew's Gospel, but wanting in 
Luke. All these reasons for and against must leave the 
question under considerable uncertainty. 

IV. Design of the Gospel. 

Both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts are addressed to 
a certain Theophilus (Luke i. 3 ; Acts i. 1). The epithet 
Kparta-To<i, most nolle, preiixed in the Gospel to his name, 
seems to intimate that he was a person of rank, as this is 
an epithet which generally refers, not to character, but to 
station. It is the same epithet which is given by Claudius 
Lysias and Tertullus to Felix (Acts xxiii. 26, xxiv. 3), and 
by Paul to Festus (Acts xxvi. 25). Theophilus was evidently 
a Christian, as it is stated that he had been a catechumen, 
fully instructed (KaTTjxv^Vi) in the religion of Christ. Some 
of the Fathers (Origen, Ambrose, Epiphanius) suppose that 

1 Meyer observes : " One of his (Luke's) pruicipal dociiinentary sources 
was the Gospel of Mark. Assuming this, as in view of the priority of 
Mark among the three Synoptics it must of necessity be assumed, it may 
be matter of doubt whether Matthew also in his present form was made 
use of by him or not." On Luke, vol. i. j). 2G1. 

DESIGN. 229 

the word is not a proper name, but an appellative, denoting 
a lover of God, and applicable to every Christian reader ; but 
its occurrence in two historical works refutes this opinion. 
Others (Michaelis,^ Theodore Hase), wishing to identify him 
with some historical character, suppose that he may have 
been the same as Theophilus, the son of Annas, the high 
priest, who was deposed by King Agrippa,^ and that the 
third Gospel and the Acts were apologies for Christianity, — 
an extravagant opinion, at variance with the dedication of 
the Gospel, which implies that Theophilus was a Christian. 
Some think that he was a native of Alexandria, and others a 
native of Italy ; in all probability he was a Greek Christian 
of some position and influence. 
[; The immediate design of the Gospel was, according to the 

[preface, that Theophilus might know the certainty of those 
things wherein he was instructed. But this address to 
Theophilus must be considered rather as a dedication of the 
work than a statement of its nature and contents. The i 
ijGospel was written for the purpose of giving an authoritative) 
//account of the ministry of Jesus for the instruction oil, 
I Christians, and especially of Gentile Christians. "Luke,''' 
' says Origen, " composed his Gospel for Gentile converts." 
This statement is seen to be correct from an examination of 
its contents. There are explanations of Jewish customs and 
localities which would have been unnecessary for Jews, but 
necessary for those who were ignorant of the religious 
customs of the Jews and of the geography of the Holy Land. 
Thus we are informed that the Feast of Unleavened Bread is 
called the Passover; that Nazareth and Capernaum are 
cities of Galilee ; that the country of the Gadarenes lies over 
against Galilee ; that Arimathea is a city of the Jews ; and 
that the village of Emmaus is about threescore furlongs 
from Jerusalem.^ In his genealogy Luke traces the descent 
of Jesus not only to Abraham, at which point Matthew stops, 
but to Adam, the father of the human race. There are 
numerous references to the Gentiles and the uon- Jewish 

1 Marsh's Michaelis, vol. iv. p. 239, 2nd ed. 

2 Josephus, A7it. xviii. 5. 3, xix. 6. 2. 

^ Davidsou's Introduction to the N.T. vol. i. p. 186. 


races ; Christ was to be a light for revelation to the Gentiles 
(Luke ii. 32); it was a Samaritan who is represented as 
having had compassion on tlie man wlio fell among thieves ; 
and the leper, who only among those who were cleansed 
returned to express his gratitude, was a Samaritan. As the 
Gospel of Matthew was addressed chiefly to Jewish readers, 
so the Gospel of Luke was addressed chiefly to Gentile 
readers. The one may be called the Gospel of the circum- 
cision, and the other the Gospel of the uncircumcision. 

V. The Language of the Gospel. 

The Greek of Luke, both in his Gospel and in the Acts 
of the Apostles, is comparatively pure. The evangelist has 
great mastery of the language, and is very copious in his 
use of words. It has often been remarked that the purity 
of the preface approaches classical Greek ; and in the nar- 
rative itself, when he writes with freedom and independence, 
the style and diction are generally pure and correct. The 
'ebraisms are chiefly restricted to those passages where it would 

,ppear that the author uses oral tradition, or has recourse to 
•itten documents. Thus the first two chapters of the Gospel 

-re full of Hebraic expressions. So also the second part of 
the Acts of the Apostles is purer than the first, because Luke 
there wrote from his own observation, and was less dependent 
on the writings of others. 

There is a remarkable individuality in the style and 
diction of Luke. This has been carefully examined by several 
writers, especially by Credner and Dr. Samuel Davidson. 
Credner mentions sixty-five linguistic peculiarities in the 
writings of Luke, including both the Acts and the Gospel, 
whilst Dr. Davidson increases the number to 123.^ The 
following are the most remarkable of these peculiarities 
mentioned by these critics. The frequent use of Kaphia, 
answering to the Hebrew use of 3? ; oIko<; in the sense of 
household or family ; vofitKoi is used six times for the 
customary ypafifji.aTei<; as being more familiar to the Greeks ; 

' Crcflncr's Fjinlntumj in das N.T. p. 130 ff. ; Davidson's Introduction 
to the Stiidy of the N.T. vol. i. pp. 438-447, 3rd ed. 


for the same reason eVto-TaT?^? is used six times instead 
of the Hebrew pa^/Bl ; the Sea of Galilee is called Xi^vq 
instead of QcCkaada, as in the other Gospels ; the preposition 
avv is used in preference to /u-era, employed by Matthew and 
Mark ; Jerusalem is commonly written 'lepovaaXij/j, instead 
of 'lepovcroXv^a, as in the other Gospels, except Matt, xxiii. 37 ; 
ivcoTTiov, leforc, occurs twenty times in Luke's Gospel, but never 
in Matthew or Mark ; euayyeXl^o/nat often occurs, but is only 
once used by Matthew, and never by Mark or John ; x^^P'''^ ^^ 
frequently used by Luke, but never by Matthew or Mark ; 
when speaking of Christ, Luke often calls Him 6 Kvpio^; 
(vii. 13, 31, x. 1, xi. 39, xxii. 61), — a title which is not used 
by Matthew, and only twice by Mark in the disputed verses 
at the close of his Gospel (Mark xvi. 19, 20). A long list of 
words, extending over three and a half pages, is given by 
Dr. Davidson, used only by Luke among the Synoptists.-^ Dr. 
Schaff observes : " The vocabulary of Luke considerably 
exceeds that of the other evangelists ; he has about 180 
terms which occur in his Gospel alone, and nowhere else in 
the New Testament; while Matthew has only about 70, 
Mark 44, and John 50 peculiar words. Luke's Gospel has 
55, and the Acts 135 aira^ Xeyo/xeva, and among them many 
verbal compounds and rare technical terms." ^ All this shows 
the command which Luke had of the Greek language ; thus 
confirming the opinion, that of all the writers of the New 
Testament he alone was not a Hebrew or Hellenistic Jew, 
but a Greek by birth. 

VI. The Characteristics of the Gospel. 

Luke's Gospel has many peculiar characteristics. Among 
these may be mentioned its completeness. It begins with the 
birth of Christ, or rather with the Annunciation, follows Him 
through all the stages of life, and terminates with His 
Ascension. Luke alone gives us the account of the Annuncia- 
tion, and narrates the birth of our Lord at Bethlehem 

1 Dr. Davidson's Introduction to the Stuchj of the N.T. 3rd ed. vol. i, 
pp. 447-453. 

- Scliaff s History of the Cliurch, vol. ii. p. 665. 


differeutly in several respects from the narrative of Matthew. 
He alone tells us of the announcement of the birth of Christ 
to the shepherds ; and he alone informs us of the presenta- 
tion of the child Jesus in the temple. Whilst the other 
evangelists pass over in silence the thirty years of our 
Lord's life before the commencement of His public ministry, 
Luke relates an incident of His boyhood, when, at the age of 
twelve. He accompanied Joseph and Mary to Jerusalem, and 
was found among the doctors, hearing them and asking them 
questions (ii. 42). He alone adverts to the development of 
our Lord's youthful years, saying that He increased in wisdom 
and in stature (ii. 52). Whilst, like the other evangelists, 
he gives an account of our Lord's ministry in Galilee, and of 
His sufferings, death, and resurrection, Luke closes his Gospel 
with the account of the ascension (xxiv. 50).^ And in the 
mention of the promise of the Father, for which the apostles 
were commanded to wait at Jerusalem (xxiv. 49), Luke 
unites his Gospel with the fulfilment of that promise as 
recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. 

Another striking and more marked feature in Luke's 
Gospel is its universality : it is emphatically the Gospel of 
universal salvation, the Gospel of the Gentiles. It is not 
restricted to the Jews ; there is a largeness, a fulness, and a 
breadth about this Gospel which are not so discernible in the 
other Gospels. The incorporation of the Gentiles into the 
Church of Christ is in a manner anticipated. There are 
many intimations that the wall of separation between Jews 
and Gentiles was to be broken down, and that the peculiar 
privileges of the Jews, as the people of God, were to be done 
away with ; that the Gospel of Christ was to be a universal 
religion, and was to embrace the whole world ; that in the 
language of St. Paul, God was the God of the Gentiles, and 
not of the Jews only (Eom. iii. 29, ix. 24). The angels who 
proclaimed tlie l)irth of the Lord to the shepherds on the 
plains of Bethlehem announced goodwill to men (ii. 1 4) ; 
the aged Simeon, in his song of thanksgiving, greeted the 
infant Saviour as a light for revelation to the Gentiles, as 

^ Matthew has no reference to the ascension ; j\rark alhulos to it in the 
disputed passage at the close of his Gospel. 


well as for the glory of the people of Israel (ii. 32). To the 
prediction of Isaiah announcing the preaching of the Baptist, 
the words are added : " And all flesh shall see the salvation of 
God " (iii. 6)} Whilst the other evangelists record the 
mission of the Twelve, as representing the nation of Israel, 
Luke alone relates the mission of the seventy disciples as 
representing the nations of the world (x. 1).^ The distinction 
between the Jews and the Samaritans is abolished : no 
preference is given to the former ; the disciples are rebuked 
for wishing to call down fire from heaven to destroy the 
inhospitable Samaritans (ix. 54); in the parable of the 
wounded Traveller, whilst the priest and the Levite pass by 
on the other side, it is a Samaritan who is represented as 
having compassion on him (x. 33); of the ten lepers who 
were cleansed, the only one who returned to give thanks was 
a Samaritan (xvii. 16). Our Lord Himself affirms, that 
" the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which 
was lost" (xix. 10). And His commission to His disciples 
was, that repentance and remission of sins should be preached 
unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (xxiv. 47). The 
same universality is indeed exhibited in all the Gospels, but 
in the Gospel of Luke it is more fully and more frequently 
mentioned.^ Luke's Gospel is the gospel of free salvation : 
the freedom of the grace of God is here proclaimed; there 
are no restrictions ; salvation is a matter, not of works 
bestowed as a reward, but of grace bestowed on the penitent : 
the Pauline doctrine of free justification is foreshadowed ; 
Zacchseus, the publican, was accepted by the Lord ; the 
woman that was a sinner was graciously pardoned on her 
repentance ; and the penitent thief received the promise of 
admission into paradise. 

The Gospel of Luke is pre-eminently the Gospel of the 

1 This addition to the prophecy in Isa. xL 3, 4, is taken from 
Isa. Hi. 10. 

^ Seventy was, by the Jews, supposed to Ije the number of the nations 
of the world. 

^ Those statements in St. Matthew's Gospel, where the Twelve are 
forbidden to go to the Gentiles, but to restrict themselves to the 
lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt. x. 5, xv. 24), are omitted in Luke's 


humanity o f Christ, exhibiting His human tenderness and love. 
Whilst Matthew proclaims Jesus as the Messiah of the Jews, 
and Mark as the Son of God, the worker of miracles, Luke 
dwells specially on His manhood, as the Son of Man and the 
Saviour of the world.^ The manhood of Christ is described in 
its growth and in its limitations ; the doctrine of the kenosis, 
that our Lord emptied Himself (iavrov eKevwa-e, Phil. ii. 7),^ is 
here distinctly taught. We are told that Jesus grew up as 
one of the children of men ; He passed from infancy to youth, 
and from youth to manhood ; there was a development of His 
human nature ; He not only grew and waxed strong physically, 
but also mentally ; He grew in wisdom, and in favour both 
with God and man (ii. 40, 52). Luke dwells upon the 
tender human sensibilities of His nature. He alone mentions 
the tears which in the hour of His triumph He shed over 
Jerusalem. He alone gives the account of His bloody sweat 
in Gethsemane, when an angel had to be sent from heaven to 
strengthen His human nature to endure the agony. In 
neither of the other two Synoptists have we such an insight 
into the tenderness and love of Christ ; we see into His heart, a 
human heart which beats with love : in this respect the Gospel 
of Luke resembles that of John. The love, and tenderness, 
and mercy of our Saviour are disclosed to us. " He came to 
heal the broken-hearted." Most of the parables peculiar to 
Luke, as the Lost Piece of Money, the Prodigal Son, the Good 
Samaritan, exhibit the mercy and love of our God. God is 
represented as our Father, who rejoices in the recovery of His 
lost children, in the restoration of the erring, and in the 
deliverance of the wretched from their miseries. It is Luke 
alone who tells us of the penitent woman who lay at our 
Saviour's feet and bathed them with her tears, and who was so 
tenderly received by Him. It is Luke alone who relates the 
gracious reception of Zacchaius, who was looked down upon by 
his countrymen as an outcast and a sinner. And it is Luke 

1 " Das Evangelium des Menschensohnes, der Humanitat Christi, der 
Verkliirung aller Hiuiianitat," Lange. 

^ The doctrine of tlie kenosis is a great iiiystery, wliicli has not as yet 
received sufficient consideration. On it we are not called upon to enter ; 
it belongs to the spliere of dogTuatics. 


alone who mentions our Lord's prayer on the cross for the 
forgiveness of His enemies, and His gracious reply to the 
request of the dying thief : " To-day shalt thou be with me 
in paradise." In this Gospel especially we are taught in the 
language of the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews that 
" we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the 
feeling of our infirmities ; but one that hath been in all points 
tempted like as we are, yet without sin " (Heb. iv. 15). Jesus 
Himself is the Good Samaritan, the Shepherd who leaves the 
ninety and nine, and goes into the wilderness to seek the 
sheep that was lost. 

In this Gospel 2'>'i^ominence is given to women. It has not 
inappropriately been termed the " Gospel of womanhood." It 
opens with the mention of Elizabeth the mother of the Baptist, 
who with her husband Zacharias walked in all the command- 
ments and ordinances of the Lord blameless (i. 6). Luke 
alone adverts to the pious character of the blessed Virgin, and 
records her song of thanksgiving. He alone mentions Anna, 
the aged widow of fourscore and four years, who departed not 
from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers 
night and day (ii. 36). He, with John, mentions the sisters 
of Bethany ; Martha, careful and troubled about many things, 
and Mary, sitting at the Saviour's feet and listening to His 
words (x. 38—41). He alone tells us of the widow of Nain, 
and of the compassion of the Lord (vii. 11). It is in this 
Gospel that we read of the penitent woman, who anointed 
our Lord's feet, and bathed them with her tears (vii. 36—39). 
It is from Luke that we learn that many pious women 
followed our Lord in His missionary journeys through Galilee, 
ministering to Him of their substance (vii. 1—3), and accom- 
panied Him on His last journey to Jerusalem, and who, when 
all His male disciples forsook Him and fled, remained faithful 
to the last (xxiii. 49). It is Luke who records our Lord's 
address to the women who followed Him to the cross bewail- 
ing and lamenting Him : " Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not 
for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children" 
(xxiii. 28). 

There are in the Gospel of Luke numerous striking and 
instructive contrasts; lights and shadows are mingled 


throughout the narrative. Thus, for example, the doubting 
Zacharias the father of the Baptist, and the humble and 
confiding Mary the mother of our Lord ; the anxious and 
busy Martha, and the humble and devout Mary; the proud 
and self-righteous Pharisee, and the abased and penitent 
puljlican ; the rich man clothed in purple and fine linen, and 
faring sumptuously every day, and the beggar Lazarus, full of 
sores, and fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's 
table ; the priest and the Levite who passed by, and the 
Samaritan who had compassion on the wounded traveller ; the 
ungrateful nine lepers, and the tenth, a Samaritan, who alone 
returned to render thanks ; the elder son, who never left his 
father's house, and the younger son, who turned prodigal, and 
was restored to his father's love and confidence ; Simon the 
self-righteous Pharisee who loved little, and gave the Lord no 
water to wash His feet, and the woman who was a sinner, who 
loved much and washed His feet with her tears ; the penitent 
thief on the right hand, and the impenitent thief on the left. 

It is from Luke's Gospel that those ^iriiuaLso^ms are 
taken which have been used in all ages in the worship of 
the Christian Church ; as the Ave Maria, the song of the 
Annunciation (i. 28—31); the Magnificat, the song of Mary 
(i. 47-50); the Benedictus, the song of Zacharias (i. 68—79); 
the Gloria in Excelsis, the song of the Angels (ii. 14) ; and 
Nunc Dimittis, the song of Simeon (ii. 29-32). All these 
spiritual songs are contained in the first two chapters of 
Luke's Gospel ; indeed, it is only in this Gospel and in the 
Apocalypse that spiritual songs are to be found. They are 
all Hebraic in their sentiment and diction, and have been 
rendered into Hebrew without any loss of their beauty. We 
have in the Gospel of Luke the last of the Hebrew Psalms and 
the first of the Christian hymns. 

Such are the characteristics of the Gospel of Luke. It 
is, as Dean Farrar remarks, " the Gospel of the Greek and 
of the future ; of catholicity of mind ; the Gospel of hymns 
and of prayers ; the Gospel of the Saviour ; the Gospel of the 
universality and gratuitousness of salvation ; the Gospel of 
holy toleration ; the Gospel of those whom the religious world 
regards as heretics ; the Gospel of the publican, and the 


outcast, and the humble poor, and the weeping Magdalene, and 
the crucified malefactor ; the Gospel of the lost piece of money 
and the lost sheep ; the Gospel of the good Samaritan and of 
the prodigal son ; the Gospel of the saintly life, of pity, of 
forgiveness obtained by faith, of pardon for all the world ; the 
Gospel of grace and of the glad tidings of free salvation ; the 
Gospel of Him who was, as we all are, the son of Adam, and 
who died that we all might be the sons of God." ^ 

VII. The Integeity of the Gospel. 

As the first two chapters of the Gospel of Matthew, 
especially the account of the birth and infancy of Christ, 
have been disputed ; so, in like manner, the narrative of the 
miraculous conception and of the infancy of Christ in the 
Gospel of Luke (i. 5— ii. 52) has been called in question. 
The first who cast doubts on this passage was Evanson, 
toward the close of last century (1792), in his Dissonance of 
the four generally received Evangclistsr- In this he was followed 
by Eichhorn ^ and Baur.* On the other hand, the genuine- 
ness of the passage has been defended by such rationalistic 
critics as Ammon, Paulus, Credner, Kuinoel, Volkmar, and 
Kostlin. The chief objections were its omission in the Gospel 
of Marcion, and its supposed irreconcilability with the nar- 
rative of the birth and infancy of Christ as given by Matthew. 
These objections are of no force. The genuineness of the 
passage is demonstrated beyond dispute by its presence in all 
the Greek manuscripts and in all versions of the New Testa- 
ment, and by the repeated references to it in the writings of 
the early Fathers. It is true that the section was wanting 
in Marcion's Gospel ; but, as we have seen, Marcion mutilated 
and abbreviated the Gospel of Luke to suit his own pre- 
conceived dogmatic opinions. We have already discussed the 
differences between the accounts of the infancy given by 

^ Farrar's Messages of the Books, p. 86. 

2 This work was answered by Priestley, Letters to a Young Man, 1793, 
and by the Rev. Thomas Falconer in the Bampton Lectures for 1811. 
^ Einleitung in das N.T. vol. i. p. 630. 
* Baur's Markusevangelium, p. 218. 


Matthew and Luke, and shown that these differences are 
capable of reconciliation, and do not amount to a discrepancy 
in the accounts themselves.^ As already remarked, Luke 
might have obtained his information, either from Mary 
herself, whom it is not improbable he may have met in 
Jerusalem, or from James the Lord's brother, whom he 
certainly did meet (Acts xxi. 18), or from the other brethren 
of the Lord. 

An important difference in reading is found in the Gloria 
in Excelsis (Luke ii. 14): ho^a ev vy^la-roi^ dea>, koI iirl yrj'i 
elpt'jvr}, iv avdpcoTToi^ auhoKLa {evhoKia^)r The difference 
arises from the addition of one letter — €vBoKia<; instead of 
evhoKia. The Revised Version adopts the reading €v8oKia<;, 
and translates : " Glory to God in the highest, and on earth 
peace among men in whom He is well pleased " ; with the 
footnote : " Many ancient authorities read ' Peace, good 
pleasure among men ' ; and instead of ' Men in whom He is 
well pleased,' a footnote gives the alternative rendering, 
' Men of good pleasure.' " 

The reading euSo/cia9 of the Revised Version is supported 
by the principal ancient manuscripts x A B D : C (the Codex 
Ephrffim) is defective. The combined testimony of such 
valuable and independent manuscripts as the Vatican and 
the Alexandrian is very strong. Among the versions the old 
Latin and the Vulgate also have this reading ; the Vulgate 
renders the clause in hominihus bonce voluntatis. The Latin 
Fathers adopt the reading of their own version ; whilst 
among the Greek Fathers, Origen alone is favourable, although 
he also uses evhoKia. 

On the other hand, the rest of the uncials and all the 
cursives are in favour of evSoKia, tlic reading of the Authorised 
Version ; such also is the reading of the Syriac, Armenian, 
and Ethiopic versions ; the Greek Fathers may be considered 
as unanimous in their testimony ; even Origen, in his work 
against Celsus, adopts this reading : " At the birth of 
Jesus a multitude of the heavenly host praised God, saying : 

^ See supra, pp. 115 fF. 

2 This hardly belongs to the discussion on the integrity of the Gospel, 
but is here given on account of tlic interest attaclied to this reading. 


Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill 
towards men." ^ 

But whilst the external evidence, owing to the combined 
testimony of the most important of the uncial manuscripts, 
is in favour of the reading euSo/cta?, the internal evidence is 
in favour of evSoKta. The expression eV av6poo7roi<; evhoKia^ 
is certainly the more difficult reading, and this is so far in its 
favour ; yet it is very obscure, and so difficult of translation, 
that a reasonable sense can hardly be made out of it ; literally 
rendered it is " among men of good pleasure." The Eevisers 
render it " among men in whom He is well pleased " ; others, 
" to the men of goodwill, " ; others " to men who are the 
object of goodwill " ; and others, " peace on earth to those 
who will have it." Origen, in those places where he adopts 
the reading euSo/c/a?, unites the word with elprjvq, and renders 
the whole passage : " Glory to God in the highest, and on 
earth the peace of good pleasure to men," — a meaning which, 
Dr. Hort says, " would deserve serious attention, if no better 
interpretation were available." ^ In short, as Scrivener 
observes of these and such like interpretations, they " can 
be arrived at only through some process which would make 
any phrase bear almost any meaning which the translator 
might like to put upon it." ^ Such a reading also narrows 
the expression " goodwill " to a certain class of men, instead 
of making it embrace the whole human race, as is natur- 
ally suggested by the preceding words, " on earth peace." 
On the other hand, the reading evSoKia gives a plam and 
intelligible sense — goodwill to men : the goodwill being the 
goodwill of God — His mercy and good pleasure. This also 
better preserves the parallelism of the passage, divided into 
three sentences : " Glory to God in the highest ; on earth 
peace ; goodwill toward men." According to the other 
rendering, the parallelism consists of only two members : 
" Glory to God in the highest ; on earth peace to men of 
goodwill." Others render it : " Glory to God in the highest 
and on earth ; peace to men of goodwill." 

1 Contra Celsum, i. 60. 

^ Westcott and Hort's Greek New Testament, Select Readings, vol. ii.p. 56. 

" Scrivener's Biblical Criticism, vol. ii. 4tli ed. p. 347. 


The rendering euSo/tta? is adopted by the principal biblical 
critics — Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford, Meyer, 
Westcott and Hort; whilst Scrivener, Biirgon, and Cook 
give the preference to evSoKia. 

Another important passage where there is a remarkable 
difference in the reading, is Luke's version of the Lord's 
Prayer (xi. 2-4). In many authorities the prayer is given 
in an abbreviated form, and this is the reading adopted in the 
Eevised Version : " Father, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy 
kingdom come. Give us day by day our daily bread. And 
forgive us our sins ; for we ourselves also forgive everyone 
that is indebted to us. And bring us not into temptation." 
The reading of the Authorised Version is relegated to the 

The reading here adopted by the Eevisers is that of the 
Vatican and the Sinaitic ; ^ whilst the Alexandrian has the 
reading of the Authorised Version. The other manuscripts 
vary ; some agree with the Vatican and others with the 
Alexandrian ; and some, omitting one or two clauses, give the 
prayer in a partially abbreviated form. The same is the 
case with the different versions ; for example, the Vulgate 
omits the words : " And deliver us from evil." It is argued 
that the internal evidence is in favour of the abbreviated 
form, because transcribers would be induced to supply the 
omitted petitions from the Gospel of Matthew. At the same 
time, in this form the prayer certainly appears to want com- 
pleteness. The occasions when the prayer was delivered 
were, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, very 
different. In Matthew it occupies part of the Sermon on 
the Mount, and stands in close connection with what 
precedes, being attached to our Lord's injunction against 
hypocrisy in our prayers ; whilst in Luke it is given in 
answer to the ret^uest of the disciples : " Lord, teach us to 

1 The following is the reading of the Vatican : llccrsp, otytuaHrc-' ro 
ouofiot aoV i'hdiTa 7i (iocai'Kiix aoV rov oiprov i)fiuti t(t<j iTnoi/aiov oihov ijfciv to 
x.x^ ilf^ipxv' Kxl oi(Pii iifilv TflSf uf^xprixs ijfiuv, x.xi yxp xvtoI <i.(pioi/,iv vxvrl 
oCpithovTi iifiti/' Kctl fivi il<jiviyx.yji iif^A; si; 'TrupxGf^ov. With this the Sinaitic 
agrees, except tliat it has the clause : "Thy will be done as in heaven, so 
on earth." 


pray, even as John also taught his disciples." There is no 
improbability in supposing that our Lord delivered this 
prayer to His disciples on two different occasions. 

Perhaps a still more important passage is the incident 
of the bloody sweat in Gethsemane, omitted by the other 
evangelists and given only by Luke : " And there appeared 
unto Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him. And, 
being in an agony. He prayed more earnestly : and His sweat 
became as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the 
ground " (xxii. 43, 44). We shall consider the evidence 
against and for its genuineness. 

Ij 1. Evidence against the genuineness of the passage. — These 
verses are omitted in the two important manuscripts, the 
Alexandrian (A) and the Vatican (B), manuscripts not only 
among the oldest extant, but wholly independent of each other ; 
in two other important uncial manuscripts (E T), and in three 
cursive manuscripts (13,124,561); whilst the important manu- 
script, the Codex Ephraem (C), is here defective. They are 
marked with an asterisk in four uncial and six cursive manu- 
scripts, implying a doubt as to their genuineness. They are 
omitted in the important Codex Brixianus (f) of the Old Latin 
and in some of the codices of the Sahidic and Armenian versions, 
and in the lately discovered Sinaitic Syrian version. There 
is no reference to the words in the writings of Clemens Alex- 
andrinus and Origen, although these Fathers would naturally 
have quoted them in their controversies against Docetism. 
Hilary states : " In very many Greek and Latin copies,^ 
nothing was written either about the appearance of an 
angel or the bloody sweat." And the same remark is made 
by Jerome. 

2. Evidence Jor the genuineness of the passage. — One great 
argument in favour of these words is that they are con- 
tained m the Codex Sinaiticus (x), thus differing in this 
reading from the Codex Vaticanus, with which it in general 
agrees. They are also found in the celebrated Codex Bezse 
(D) of the fifth century, and in ten other important uncial 
manuscripts, and in almost all the cursive manuscripts. 
The Versions are almost unanimously in favour of their 
^ In Greecis et iu Latinis codicibus complurimis. 


genuineness. They are found in the Old Latin, with the 
exception of the Codex Brixianus (f) ; in the three Syriac 
versions, the Curetonian, the Peshito, and the Philoxenian ; 
in the Vulgate and the Ethiopia and Armenian versions. 
But the chief argument in favour of their genuineness is 
that they are recognised in the writings of the early Fathers, 
Justin Martyr, in his dialogue with Trypho the Jew, thus 
refers to the passage : " In the Memoii^s which I have said 
were drawn up by^ His apostles and those who followed them, 
it is recorded that His sweat fell down like drops of blood 
while He was praying and saying, If it is possible let this 
cup pass." ^ Tatian incorporates it in his Diatessaron. 
Iren?eus states that Jesus sweat great drops of blood, and 
declared that His soul was exceedingly sorrowful.^ And 
Hippolytus, referring to the humanity of Christ, in opposi- 
tion to Noetus, says : " Though God, He does not refuse the 
conditions proper to Him as man, since He hungers and 
toils and thirsts in weariness, and flies in fear, and prays in 
trouble. He who as God has a sleepless nature, slumbers on 
a pillow; He who (for our salvation) came into the world, 
begs off from the cup of suffering ; and in an agony He 
sweats blood and is strengthened by an angel, who Himself 
strengthens those who believe on Him." ^ The passage is 
also quoted by Gregory of Nazianzus, Epiphanius, Ephraem 
Syrus, Chrysostom, Augustine, and subsequent Fathers. It 
is also said to be found in Marcion's Gospel. Epiphanius 
accounts for its omission from some manuscripts by the 
indiscreet zeal of the orthodox, who omitted it because they 
thought that it might be perverted by heretics, and used by 
them in arguing against the divinity of our Lord : " orthodox 
persons removed it through fear, not understanding its bear- 
ing and its great force." But tliere does not appear to be 
any ground for this statement. 

The passage has also been objected to on internal 
grounds. Thus Norton observes that the agony of Christ 
is represented as existing after the angel had been sent to 
strengthen Him; that we have no authority for beheving 

1 Justin, Dialog, cum Tryj^ho, ch. ciii. ^ ^4 (/.,,_ jf^f^r. iii. 22. 2. 

3 Hippolytus, Adv. Hccr. Noeti, ch. xviii. 


that the bloody sweat described was ever produced by mere 
distress of mind ; and that as the disciples were asleep, it 
does not appear how anyone could have witnessed or become 
acquainted with the events related. He supposes that the 
passage was first written in the margin of some very early 
manuscript, and subsequently, through the mistake of tran- 
scribers, taken into the text of other copies.^ To the above 
objection it has been replied that the angel was sent, not to 
remove the agony, but to strengthen our Lord to endure it ; 
and although it is said that the disciples were asleep, yet 
they were not so profoundly asleep but that they heard our 
Lord praying that the cup might pass from Him, and might 
have seen the bloody sweat, or the marks of it might have 
been apparent after its termination. The question is entirely 
one of external authority, and cannot be decided by subjective 

With regard to the nature of the bloody sweat, it is not 
said that our Lord actually sweat great drops of blood, but 
that His perspiration fell from Him as it were great drops 
of blood, bearing a resemblance to them (6 I8pcb<; avrov wael 
dp6[x^oi aifjuaroii). The word Opofx^o^ is strikingly descriptive ; 
it denotes, not simply a drop, but a great drop, such as a 
clot of blood. Probably Meyer gives the correct interpreta- 
tion : " The sweat of Jesus was indeed no mass of blood 
(opposed to which is uxrel), but a profusion of bloody sweat, 
which was mingled with portions of blood, and as it flowed 
down appeared as clots of blood trickling down to the 
ground." ^ It is not correct to say, with Norton, that we 
have no authority for believing that a bloody sweat was 
ever produced by mere distress of mind. Instances of a 
bloody sweat, produced under circumstances of terror, have 
been recorded (Aristotle's Hist.Anim. iii. 19). "An interest- 
ing example," observes Alford, " of a sweat of blood under 
circumstances of strong terror, accompanied by loss of 
speech, is cited in the Medical Gazette for December 1848."^ 

Such are the arguments against and for the genuineness 
of the passage containing the account of " the agony and 

1 Norton, Tlie Genuineness of the Gospels, pp. 228, 229. 

^ Commentary on Luke, in loco. ^ Alford's Greek Testament, in loco. 


bloody sweat." It is difficult to balance these arguments, 
and to come to a correct decision. The evidence from the 
Greek manuscripts appears to be rather at variance with the 
idea of its genuineness, especially when we consider that 
the combined testimony of the Alexandrian and Vatican 
manuscripts is unfavourable, though the force of this is to 
a considerable extent weakened by the passages being found 
in the Codex Sinaiticus. Its insertion in the Codex Bezte 
is not conclusive, as it might be accounted for from the 
nature of that manuscript, which contains many unauthorised 
additions. But, on the other hand, this adverse testimony 
is counterbalanced by the distinct recognition of the passage 
by such early Fathers as Justin, Tatian, Irenjeus, and 
Hippolytus. We judge then that the preponderance of 
evidence is in favour of the retention of the passage ; still 
we cannot venture to say with Canon Cook, in words which 
are quoted with approval by Scrivener : " Supporting the 
whole passage we have an array of authorities which, whether 
we regard their antiquity or their character for sound judg- 
ment, veracity, and accuracy, are scarcely paralleled on any 
occasion." ^ 

The most eminent biblical critics are mostly in favour 
of the genuineness of the passage. It is accepted by 
Tischendorf, Alford, Tregelles, Meyer, and Scrivener ; it is 
enclosed within brackets by Lachmann ; whilst Westcott and 
Hort express their doubts by placing it within double 
brackets. The Kevised Version inserts it in the text without 
any mark, but adds the footnote : " Many ancient authorities 
omit vv. 43, 44." 

VIII. Time and Place of Wilting. 

The time when this Gospel was written has been much 
disputed. Dates ranging from a.d. 58 to a.d. 130 have been 
assigned to it. Baur fixed on a.d. 130, a date now universally 
relinquished ; Dr. Davidson, in his last edition of his Intro- 
duction to the Stiuhj of the New Testament, fixed on a.d. 110 ; 

1 Cook's Revised Versioi of the first three Gosjwls, yi. 103; Scrivener's 
Criticism of the New Testament, 4tli etl. vol. ii. p. 356. 

DATE. 245 

Pfleiderer, on A.D. 100-120; Hilgenfeld, on a.d. 100-110; 
Volkmar, on a.d. 100 ; Keim and Abbott, on a.d. 80 ; Cred- 
ner, De Wette, Bleek, Meyer, Holtzmann, Eeuss, and Professor 
Sanday, after the destruction of Jerusalem ; Michaelis, Lardner, 
Home, Guericke, Ebrard, and Godet, on a.d. 03 or 64. 
Dr. Davidson, in his earlier Introduction to the Neiu Testament, 
on a.d. 61 ; Alford, Archbishop Thomson, and Schaff, on 
A.D. 58-60. 

Very little light is thrown on this subject from the 
writings of the early Fathers : their statements are at 
variance. But, on the other hand, an argument may be 
based on the probable date of the Acts of the Apostles. 
The Gospel of Luke is undoubtedly " the former treatise " 
to which the author of the Acts in his preface alludes : 
" The former treatise I made, Theophilus, concerning all 
that Jesus began both to do and to teach." The Gospel, 
then, must have been written before the Acts. Now, the 
date of the Acts may, with much probability, be ascertained. 
The history is carried on until the close of Paul's two years' 
imprisonment at Eome (a.d. 63), ending with the words: 
" And he abode two whole years in his own hired house " 
(Acts xxviii. 30). The most probable reason why Luke thus 
closes his history is, that he then completed it ; otherwise 
the work would end most abruptly, without any statement 
of what happened after the termination of the two years. 
Nor is there any presumption against this opinion. Now, 
admitting this, we infer that the Gospel was composed before 
A.D. 63. In all probability, as already observed, Luke was 
with Paul during his two years' imprisonment in Ctesarea 
(a.d. 58—60). Here he had ample opportunities for collecting 
the materials for his history : he met with those who had 
been the followers of the Lord ; he could make a collection 
of the written Gospel fragments which were dispersed 
throughout the Churches ; he could visit these parts of 
Galilee where our Lord's mmistry was chiefly spent ; he 
could go up frequently to Jerusalem ; he would have ample 
time at his disposal ; and he had free access to Paul, who, 
although a prisoner, was not kept in strict confinement, for 
we are informed that Felix Rave order to the centurion that 


he should have indulgence, and that none of his friends 
should be forbidden to minister to him (Acts xxiv. 23). 
From all this we consider that the Gospel of Luke was 
written about a.d. 60, toward the conclusion of Paul's 
imprisonment at Ctesarea. 

It has been objected to this early date that there are, 
in the Gospel itself, statements which show that it must 
have been written after the destruction of Jerusalem (a.d. 70).^ 
In the Gospel of Matthew, it is affirmed, the destruction of 
Jerusalem is closely connected with the end of the world. 
" Immediately after the tribulation of those days " shall the 
final catastrophe take place (Matt. xxiv. 29); whereas, in 
the Gospel of Luke, a long period is interposed, termed " the 
times of the Gentiles " : " Jerusalem shall be trodden down 
of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled " 
(Luke xxi. 24) ; and it is stated that the end is not 
immediately (Luke xxi. 9). In Luke's Gospel the author 
takes a retrospect of the circumstances of the siege. " The 
days shall come upon thee, when thine enemies shall cast up 
a bank about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee 
in on every side, and shall dash thee to the ground, and thy 
children within thee ; and they shall not leave in thee one 
stone upon another, because thou knewest not the time of 
thy visitation " (Luke xix. 43, 44). But we cannot see the 
force of this objection. The slight variations in the accounts 
of our Lord's predictions of the destruction of Jerusalem in 
the Gospels of Matthew and Luke are needlessly stramed. 
In Matthew, as in Luke, there is an interval between the 
destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world ; the 
Gospel must first be diffused throughout the earth. " This 
gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world 
for a testimony unto all nations ; and then shall the end 
come " (Matt. xxiv. 14). In Matthew the encompassing of 
Jerusalem with armies is as distinctly foretold as in Luke : 
the abomination of desolation was to be seen standing in the 
holy place (Matt. xxiv. 15). And in both Matthew and 
Luke the statement is made, that this generation shall not 

' Tliis opinion was held l)y Meyer, De Wette, Creilner, Bleek, and 
Dr. Davidson. 


pass away until all these things be accomplished (Matt, 
xxiv. 34; Luke xxi. 32). To suppose that Luke changed 
the prophecy of our Lord by inserting words which intimated 
that the prediction was fulfilled, and thus converted it into 
a vaficinium 2'^ost eventum, is inconsistent with the honesty 
of the historian, and at variance with the supernatural 
foresight of our Lord. 

If, then, the date of the Gospel was a.d. 60, or thereby, 
the place of writing was Ctesarea, an opinion adopted by 
Michaelis, Kuinoel, Schott, Thiersch, and others. Other 
places have been assigned. The title in the Peshito 
version is : " The Gospel of Luke the evangelist, which he 
published and preached in Greek in Alexandria the Great." 
Jerome fixes on Achgea and Bceotia ; Godet on Greece ; Hug, 
Ewald, Zeller, Keim, and Holtzmann on Eome. 

IX. The Contents of the Gospel. 

The general divisions of the Gospel are the Introduction, 
i. 1-4. 

1. Narrative of the birth and childhood of the Baptist 
and of Jesus, i. 5-ii. 53. 

2. Preparation for the ministry, iii., iv. 13. 

3. Our Lord's ministry in Galilee, iv. 14-ix. 50. 

4. Our Lord's ministry in Per?ea and its neighbourhood, 
ix. 51— xviii. 14. 

5. The journey to Jerusalem, xviii. 15— xix. 48. 

6. The closing scenes and death, xx.— xxiii. 49. 

7. The burial, resurrection, and ascension, xxiii. 50— 

The Gospel of Luke is rich in most important additions. 
We have already, in a former part of this Introduction, 
enumerated the incidents and discourses which are peculiar 
to it ; ^ still we may recapitulate the most striking and 
remarkable : the annunciation and the song of the Virgin ; 
the birth of John the Baptist and the prophecy of his 
father Zacharias ; the angel's message to the shepherds ; the 
presentation in the temple and the song of Simeon ; the 
^ See supra, p. 33 f. 


raising of the widow's son at Nain ; the anointing of our 
Lord by the woman who was a sinner ; the memorable and 
striking parables of the Good Samaritan, the Unjust Steward, 
the Prodigal Son and the Eich Man and Lazarus, our Lord's 
reception of Martha and Mary, our Lord's examination before 
Herod, and His appearance after the resurrection to the 
disciples going to Emmaus. All these passages enhance the 
value of the Gospel of Luke. 

There are twelve important parables peculiar to Luke — 

1. The Two Debtors, vii. 41-43. 

2. The Good Samaritan, x. 25-37. 

.3. The Eich Man who boasted of his goods, xii. 13—21. 

4. The Barren Fig Tree, xiii. 1-9. 

5. The Marriage Feast, xiv. 7-24. 

6. The Lost Piece of Money, xv. 8-10. 

7. The Prodigal Son, xv. 11-32. 

8. The Unjust Steward, xvi. 1-13. 

9. The Eich Man and Lazarus, xvi. 19-31. 

10. The Unjust Judge and the Importunate Widow, 
xviii. 1—8. 

11. Tlie Pharisee and the Publican, xviii. 9-14. 

12. The Ten Pounds, xix. 12-27. 
There are six miracles peculiar to Luke — 

1. The miraculous draught of fishes, v. 1-11. 

2. The raising of the widow's son at Nain, vii. 11-17. 

3. The cure of the woman with the spirit of infirmity, 
xiii. 11-17. 

4. The cure of the dropsical man on the Sabbath, 
xiv. 1-6. 

5. The cleansing of the ten lepers, xvii. 11-19. 

6. The heahng of Malchus, xxii. 50, 51. 



Literature. — This subject has been often discussed in separ- 
ate monographs, as well as in works on the Life of Christ, 
and in commentaries on the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. 
The most important discussions are Hottinger, Dissertationes 
cliim de genealogia Christi ; Benham's Reflections on the Genealogy 
of our Lord ; Yardley, The Genealogy of Jesus Christ (London, 
1739); Lord A. Hervey (Bishop of Bath), The Genealogies of 
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (Cambridge, 1853), and 
his article on Genealogy in Smith's Biblical Dictionary ; 
Ebrard's Gosjxl History, pp. 149-163 (Edinburgh, 1863); 
Mill's Vindication of the Genealogies ; a valuable article on 
Genealogy, by the Eev. Peter Holmes, in Kitto's Cyclopcedia 
of Biblical Literature, 2nd ed. (Edinburgh, 1869); Wieseler's 
Beitrdge zur Wurdigung dcr Evangclien, 1869 ; Andrews, Life 
of our Lord, pp. 56—70, new edition (Edinburgh: T. & T. 
Clark, 1893), where the subject is well stated; Greswell's 
Dissertations on the Harmony of the Gos^jcls ; Dissertation ii. 
On the two genealogies, vol. ii. pp. 111—118 ; also the com- 
mentaries of Meyer on Matthew and Luke ; Farrar on Luke 
in the Cambridge Bible for Schools ; Godet on Luke (transla- 
tion, Edinburgh, 1875) ; Morison on Matthew (London, 1883); 
Mansel on Matthew in S'peakers Commentary ; and Schaff's 
Popidar Commentary on the Nexu Testament. 

The reconciliation of the genealogies given in Matt. i. 1—17 
and Luke iii. 23-38 is a matter of considerable difficulty. 
Both profess to be the genealogies of our Lord ; that of Matthew 
is introduced by the words : " The book of the generation of 



Jesus Christ " ; whilst in the Gospel of Luke the introductory 
words are : " Jesus Himself, when He began to teach, was about 
thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph" ; 
but they are almost entirely different, being written from 
different points of view. In Matthew the genealogy com- 
mences with Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, 
probably because his Gospel was written mainly for Hebrew 
Christians ; whilst in Luke it closes with Adam, the father of 
the human race, probably because his Gospel was written for 
Christians generally, whether Jews or Gentiles. The gene- 
alogy of Matthew descends from Abraham to Joseph, the 
husband of Mary, by tracing the line of descent from father 
to son ; whilst that of Luke ascends from Joseph to Adam, 
by tracing the line of ascent from son to father. Matthew 
uses the word begat (iyevvrjo-e), wliilst Luke uses the article 
Tov, the genitive of relationship, translated in our version the 
son of. From Abraham to David the evangelists give the same 
genealogical series ; but after David they diverge. Matthew 
gives the royal lineage in the line of Solomon to the captivity, 
whilst Luke gives the genealogy in the line of Nathan, 
another of the sons of David. The genealogies meet in the 
middle in the persons of Shealtiel and Zerubbabel (Matt, 
i. 12; Luke iii. 27), but again immediately diverge, until 
they converge in Joseph, the husband of Mary. 

Various opinions have been formed of these genealogies 
with reference to their diversities and apparent contradictions. 
Dean Alford supposes that a solution of the ditftculties is 
impossible from want of sufficient data. " It is," he observes, 
" quite beside the purpose of the present commentary to 
attempt to reconcile the two. It has never yet been accom- 
plished ; and every endeavour to do it has violated either 
ingenuousness or common sense." ^ On the other hand. Pro- 
fessor Norton and others affirm that the genealogies, and more 
particularly that given by Matthew, are interpolations. The 
first two chapters of IMatthew's Gospel, observes Professor 
Norton, " may have been an ancient document, written in 
Hebrew, originally a separate work, but which, on account of 
its small size and the connection of its subject, was transcribed 
^ Alford 's Greek Testavieiit, ji. 473, lust edition. 


into manuscripts of tlie Hebrew original of Matthew." ^ The 
external evidences for the exclusion of the genealogies are weak, 
amounting only to this, that they are omitted in the Gospel 
of Marcion and in the Diatessaron of Tatian ; ^ whilst they 
are contained in all Greek manuscripts and versions. But the 
internal evidence is rather in favour of their exclusion. They 
may be omitted without any interruption in the narrative. 
Thus the Gospel of Matthew would commence with the 
words : " Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise " 
(Matt. i. 18); whilst in Luke the temptation of Christ would 
be directly connected, as in the other Gospels, with His 
baptism and the descent of the Holy Ghost (Luke iii. 22, 
iv. 1). Besides, the apparent or real inaccuracies in the 
genealogy as given by Matthew, to which w^e shall afterwards 
advert, are presumptions unfavourable to its genuineness. 
Still the external evidence in favour of them is so strong 
that, by the critical rules which must govern our judgment, 
their insertion, as forming an original part of the Gospels of 
Matthew and Luke, must be admitted. 

This may be the place to advert to the important recent 
discovery by Mrs. Lewis, in the monastery of Mount Sinai, of 
a Syrian manuscript of the four Gospels. Chiefly by her 
learning and indefatigable labour this Syrian version has been 
transcribed and published along with a translation.^ The manu- 
script is a palimpsest, the lives of female saints being written 
over it. Mrs. Lewis twice visited the monastery of Mount Sinai 
in 1892 and 1893, and, assisted by several eminent English 
scholars, was enabled to obtain a transcription of the manu- 
script. It is affirmed to be probably a variant copy of the 
Curetonian Syriac, fragments of which were brought to this 
country by Archdeacon Tattam in 1842,"^ and which is now 

1 Norton, The Genuineness of the Gosjjels, vol. i. p. 204. 

2 The omission of the genealogies in the Gospel of Marcion is of no 
importance, as Marcion mutilated the Gospel of Luke ; hut it must he 
admitted that the omission in Tatian's Diatessaron is of some weight, but 
it is unsupported. 

3 The Four Gosiyels in Syriac. Transcribed from the Sinaitic Palimpsest. 
Cambridge, 1894 : Translation of the Four Gospels from the Syriac of the 
Sinaitic Palimpsest, by Agnes Smith Lewis. London, 1894. 

* It was not published until 1858, under the title, "Eemains of a very 


generally admitted to be the oldest Syriac version, of which 
the Peshito is only a recension, bearing the same relation to 
it as the Vulgate does to the old Latin.^ If this is the case, 
this newly discovered manuscript must be regarded as of 
great importance, as supplying most of the lacuuie in the 
Curetonian version,- and nearly completing it. The recently 
discovered manuscript is of uncertain date. It agrees 
generally witli the oldest uncials, the Vatican, and the 
Sinaitic ; as, for example, it wants, the concluding verses of 
Mark's Gospel and the account of the bloody sweat in 

It has been suggested that this Syriac manuscript has 
an important bearing on the question of the genealogies, 
especially in regard to the genealogy in Matthew.^ In its 
record of the birth of Christ the new manuscript is Ebionite 
and heretical. Whilst it testifies to the supernatural nature 
of His birth in the same terms as in Matt. i. 18 and 23 of 
the received text, at the same time it inconsistently asserts 
that He was the son of Joseph. Thus ver, 1 6 is : " Joseph, 
to wiiom was betrothed Mary the virgin, begat Jesus, who is 
called the Christ"; ver. 21 is: "And she shall bear to thee 
a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus"; and in ver. 24 
it is said : " When Joseph arose from his sleep he did as the 
angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife : and 
she bore to him a son, and he called His name Jesus." 

The genealogy in Luke is imperfect in the new manu- 
script, and it is difficult to say how far it agrees with or 
differs from tlie genealogy in the received text. 

ancient recension of tlie Four Gospels in Syriac, hitlierto unknown in 
Europe, discovered, edited, and translated hy William Cureton, D.D., 
Canon of Westminster. London, 1858." 

^ So Ewald, Bleek, Alford, Tregelles, Hort. Scrivener, however, takes 
an opposite view (Introduction to the Criticism of the N.T. vol, ii, p. 16 ff.). 

2 The fragments of the Curetonian Syriac brought to England by 
Archde<icon Tattam contained Matt, i.-viii. 22, x. 32-.\xiii. 25 ; ]\Iark xvi, 
17-20; Luke ii. 48-iii. 16, vii. 33-xvi. 12, xvii. 1-xxiv. 44 ; Joliu i. 1-42, 
iii. 5-viii. 19, xiv. 10-12, 15-19, 21-23, 26-29. 

^ See a series of letters in the Acadeunj from November 1894 to March 
1895 ; and aii import;int article on the subject by Archdeacon, now Dean, 
Farrar in the Expositor for January 1895, 


The importance of the manuscript on this point has, we 
consider, been greatly overestimated. There is no ground for 
suggesting that the genealogy in the new manuscript can be 
substituted for that contained in Matthew's Gospel.^ Its 
peculiar Ebionite readings stand alone, and are supported 
by no manuscript nor version. Even the Curetonian Syriac 
is adverse, as it contains the received readings. The only 
manuscript which appears to favour them is the Latin Codex 
Bobbiensis ; but even it only to the extent of omitting the 
words : " And knew her not till she brought forth her son." 
Against this overwhelming mass of evidence it is impossible 
to defend the peculiar readings found in this manuscript ; 
they never could have formed a part of the original text. 
The genealogy of Matthew may have been a separate docu- 
ment incorporated into this Gospel, but it could not in its 
original form have contained the readings found in the 
Sinaitic Syriac version. 

The divergences in the genealogies may be seen from the 
following table : — 

I. Adam to Abraham. 
Not given in Matthew. Luke iii. 34-38. 

II. Abraham to David. 
Same in botli Gospels — Matt. i. 1-6 ; Luke iii. 32-34. 





Jesus Christ. 


I. 7- 


Luke iii. 23-31. 

Solomon by 

tlie wife of Uriah. 












1 The Rev. Mr. Charles, in one of his letters to the Academy (Dec. 1, 
1894), expresses his opinion that the new manuscript furnishes the key 
to the problem raised by the variations in the two genealogies. If we 
understand him aright, he seems to think that the genealogy of Matthew 
as given in the new manuscript was the form of the original document, 
and that at a very early period it was altered in the interests of orthodoxy 
and attached to our canonical Gospel. 



Matt. i. 7-16. 

Luke hi. 23-31 















Jechoniah an 

d his brethren. 






























Joseph the husband of Mary. 


Jesus, who is 

called Christ. 











Before attempting the reconciliation of the genealogies, it 
may be advisable to consider some peculiarities and apparent 
mistakes or discrepancies in the genealogy given by Matthew. 

The genealogy from Salmon to David is given as Salmon, 
Boaz, Obed, Jesse, David (Matt. i. 5), and the lineage is the 
same in Luke's genealogy (Luke iii. 32). Thus there are 
only four generations, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, and David, between 


Salmon and David. Nahshon, the father of Sahnon, is 
mentioned as the prince of the tribe of Judah in the time of 
Moses (JSTimi. i. 7, vii. 17); and, accordingly, Salmon, the 
husband of Eahab, must have been a contemporary of Joshua. 
But the interval between Salmon and David, filled up by 
these four generations, according to the calculations made 
from the Book of Judges, must have been 400 or 450 
years. This period is also given by St. Paul in his speech 
in Pisidian Antioch : " And when He had destroyed seven 
nations in the land of Canaan, He gave them their land for 
an inheritance for about 450 years" (Acts xiii. 19). It 
also corresponds with the chronology of Josephus. Either 
the period assigned is too long, or several names must have 
been omitted. The probability is that the number 450 was 
assumed by the Jews by adding together the years of the 
judges and of the servitudes as mentioned in the Book of 
Judges ; ^ whereas it is probable that several of the judges 
were contemporaneous.^ The community of Israel appears 
at that time to have been divided into three confederacies : 
Judah and the south, Ephraim and the north, and the land of 
Gilead beyond Jordan. The enumeration of four generations 
given by Matthew is corroborated not only by Luke, but also 
by the Book of Euth (Ptuth iv. 20, 21) and by the first Book 
of Chronicles (1 Chron. ii. 11, 12).^ 

In Matthew's genealogy three kings are omitted. It is 
stated that Joram begat Uzziah (Matt. i. 8) ; whereas the 
genealogy ought to have been Joram begat Ahaziah, and 

1 Hervey, On the Genealogies, pj). 220, 221, 252. The years of the 
judges from Othniel to Eli are 339, and of the servitudes 111 : in all 450. 
See Biscoe, Ow the Acts, p. 605. 

2 This subject is very elaborately discussed by Bishop Hervey in 
ch. ix. on the discordance between the genealogy from Salmon to David, 
and the received chronology of the corresponding period, pp. 204-276. 
He supposes that Ehud, Gideon, and Jephthah were contemporary, and 
that the era of the judges, instead of lasting 450 years, extended only 
to four generations. This abbreviation of the time corresponds with the 
records of Egyptian history. 

3 Another solution is that in the genealogy from Salmon to David 
some names are omitted ; and others think that Rahab, the mother 
of Boaz, was a different person from the Rahab mentioned in the Book of 


Ahaziah begat Joash, and Joash begat Amaziah, and Amaziah 
begat Uzziah. Thus three kings are omitted, namely, 
Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah. The most plausible explana- 
tion of this omission is that it arose from a mistake of the 
transcriber. The first name omitted is Ahaziah, in Greek 
'0;\^o^/ai', which is identical in the last three syllables with 
'O^lav, the next name mentioned ; and it is supposed that the 
transcriber, his eye catching the conclusion of the word, 
overlooked the first syllable, 'O^, and the intervening names, 
and so wrote ^O^lav as following Joram.^ But the authority 
of all manuscripts is against this supposition, except perhaps 
the Codex Bezffi. In that codex the first chapter of Matthew, 
containing the genealogy, is wanting ; but the genealogical 
list of Matthew from David to Joseph is incorporated in the 
third chapter of Luke with the names of the three omitted 
kings inserted. The omission of these names does not, of 
course, affect the validity of the genealogy : it is not necessary 
that all the links should be named. 

Another king is omitted, namely, Jehoiakim. It is said: 
" Josiah begat Jechoniah and his brethren, at the time of the 
carrying away to Babylon. And after the carrying away to 
Babylon, Jechoniah begat Shealtiel " (Matt. i. 11, 12); 
whereas in reality Josiah was the father of Jehoiakim, and 
Jehoiakim the father of Jechoniah or Jehoiachin. Bishop 
Hervey supposes that the reading in Matthew originally was : 
'j£0cr/a.9 Be iyevvrjae rbv ^IcoaKelfj, koI tov<; aSeXcfiOv^ avrov. 
'Jcoa/cel/i Se iyei'Vijcre tov 'loya'^el/j, eVt t?}? /ji,€ToiKecria<; 
Bal3vX(ouo<;. Mera Se Ti]v fieroLKealav Ba^v\o)vo<; ^Icoa-^elfi 
iyivv-qcre tov l!aXadu]X. According to him, the mistake 
arose from the similarity of names, the transcriber having 
written ')(^ in the first name instead of Kr This reading is 
supported by the Codex Bezfe, by two uncial manuscripts of 
the tenth century, ]\I U, by thu'ty cursive manuscripts, by 

' Tin; insertion of tlic names of these three kings would render the 
nunilier fourteen in the second division of names erroneous; and hence 
the common ojtiuion is that of Jerome, that the omission was for the sake 
of obtaining the numlier foiuleeu in the threefold chvssification of the 

2 Hervey, Genealogies, p. 73. 


several Syriac manuscripts, and by Irenaeus, who says: 
" Joseph is shown to be the son of Joachim and Jechoniah, as 
also Matthew sets forth in his pedigree." ^ It is inserted by 
Henry Stephens in his editions of the Greek Testament, pub- 
lished in 1576 and 1584. And in a marginal note in the 
Authorised Version it is said : " Some read Josias begat Jakim, 
and Jakim begat Jechonias." But such a reading cannot be 
admitted, on account of the preponderating weight of 
contrary testimony. Dr. Morison supposes that the Jechoniah 
in ver. 11 is different from the Jechoniah in ver. 12, and 
that the name was common to both father and son. In 
ver. 11 by Jechoniah is meant Jechoniah i. or Jehoiakim the 
son of Josiah, and in ver. 12 by Jechoniah is meant Jechoniah 
II. or Jehoiachin the son of Jehoiakim.^ 

There is also a difficulty in the classification of Matthew's 
genealogies. " So all the generations, from Abraham unto 
David, are fourteen generations ; and from David, unto the 
carrying away to Babylon, are fourteen generations ; and from 
the carrying away to Babylon unto the Christ, are fourteen 
generations " (Matt. i. 17). The genealogy is arranged in 
three divisions, each containing fourteen generations. The 
first division, from Abraham to David, is the same as the list 
given by Luke, and contains exactly fourteen generations. 
The second division, from Solomon to the Babylonish captivity, 
also contains fourteen names ; but if the four kings omitted 
were included, the number would be eighteen. In the third 
division, from the Babylonish captivity to Christ, Jechoniah 
must be again included to complete the number.^ The 
periods are of very unequal length. The first series, from 
Abraham to David, includes a period of upwards of 900 
years ; the second series, from Solomon to the Captivity, 
including the reign of the four kings omitted, is 416 years; 
and the third series, from the Captivity to Christ, is 617 

1 Adv. Hcer. iii. 21. 9. 

2 Morison's Commentary on Matthew, on Matt. i. 11. 

^ On the arrangement of the names in these three divisions, and the 
necessity of inchiding Jechoniah both in the second and third divisions, 
see Meyer on Matthew, vol. i. pp. 58, 59. If Jechoniah be reckoned only 
once, we have only thirteen generations in the last series. 



years. It is also to be observed that supposing Shealtiel and 
Zerubbabel to be the same persons in both genealogies, the 
number of generations given in Matthew differs from that 
given in Luke. In Matthew the number from Solomon to 
Shealtiel is fourteen, or, including the omitted kings, eighteen ; 
the number given by Luke is twenty, which, however, is not 
a iireat variation. But the number of s^enerations from 
Shealtiel to Christ in Matthew is fourteen, whereas in Luke 
it is twenty-two, which can only be explained on the supposi- 
tion that several names have been omitted by Matthew ; or 
that Shealtiel and Zerubbabel are not the same persons m the 
Gospels of Matthew and Luke. 

In Luke's genealogy there is only one peculiarity which 
requires to be noticed. The first portion, from Adam to 
Abraham, not given by Matthew, is the same as the genealogy 
given in Genesis, with the exception that Cainan is 
mentioned as intervening between Shelah and Arphaxad 
(Luke iii. 36). No such name occurs in the Hebrew or in 
the Samaritan Pentateuch ; but it is found in the Septuagint, 
and as Luke wrote in Greek, his genealogical list was, 
doubtless, taken from that version. Of course, the Cainan 
here mentioned as the son of Arphaxad is different from the 
Cainan who is mentioned in the subsequent verse (Luke iii. 
37) as the son of Enos, and whose name occurs in the Mosaic 
chronology (Gen. v. 9, 10). 

In comparing the genealogies, a great difficulty arises 
from the fact that after they had branched off for at least 
eighteen generations, the one in the line of Solomon and the 
other in the line of Nathan, they meet again, after the lapse 
of four centuries, in the persons of Shealtiel and Zerubbabel 
(Matt. i. 12, 13; Luke iii. 27). It is generally taken for 
granted that these persons are identical in both genealogies, 
and are the same as those mentioned in the later books of 
the Old Testament. This junction of the genealogies is 
generally accounted for on the supposition that the royal 
line of Solomon became extinct in Jehoiachin at the 
Babylonish captivity,^ and that Shealtiel, the son of Neri 

^ Mansel supposes tliat it became extinct iu the time of Ahaz, and 
that Ilezekiah, the next in succession, was adopted as his heir. The 


was the next in succession in the regal hne. It is asserted 
that, according to the prediction or statement of Jeremiah, 
Jehoiachin should be childless : " Thus saith the Lord, 
Write ye this man (Coniah, that is, Jehoiachin) childless, a 
man that shall not prosper in his days : for no man of his 
seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David " 
(Jer. xxii. 30). But these words do not absolutely affirm 
that Jehoiachin should have no children, but merely that no 
descendant of his should sit on the throne of David. Several 
sons of Jehoiachin are mentioned in the Book of Chronicles, 
and among them Shealtiel, or, as he is otherwise named, 
Salathiel (1 Chron. iii. 17, 18); so that the statement that 
Jechoniah begat Shealtiel is corroborated by the Old Testa- 
ment. Zerubbabel is called the son of Shealtiel, and this is 
also stated m the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, and in the 
prophecies of Haggai (Ezra iii. 2, 8 ; Neh. xii. 1 ; Hag. i. 1, 
12, 14, ii. 2): whereas in the Book of Chronicles he is called 
the son of Pedaiah, the brother of Shealtiel (1 Chron. iii. 19), 
which may be accounted for on the supposition that, as his 
nephew, he became his heir and successor in the royal line. 
The names of seven sons and two grandsons of Zerubbabel 
are given in the Book of Chronicles (1 Chron. iii. 19, 20), but 
among them occurs neither Abiud, the son of Zerubbabel, 
according to Matthew (Matt. i. 13), nor Ehesa, his son, accord- 
ing to Luke (Luke iii. 27). But the question arises. Are 
we justified in assuming that the Shealtiel and Zerubbabel 
in Matthew are the same persons as those mentioned in 
Luke ? In Matthew they occur as members of the royal 
line of Solomon ; in Luke, as members of the unknown 
line of Nathan, The Zerubbabel of Matthew is undoubtedly 
the governor of the Jews, the grandson of Jehoiachin 
mentioned in the later books of the Old Testament. Their 
position in the genealogical line favours their identity ; as 

reason for this is that Ahaz died at the age of thirty-six, so that unless 
there be some error in the numbers, Ahaz was but eleven years older 
than Hezekiah. Speaker's Commentary on Matthew, vol. i. p. 4. Calvin 
goes further, and supposes that the Solomonic line became extinct on the 
death of Ahaziah ; and that Joash is only called the son of Ahaziah 
because he was his nearest relation, and the direct heir to the crown. 


according to Matthew there are eighteen generations between 
Solomon and Shealtiel, and according to Luke twenty genera- 
tions between Nathan and Shealtiel. But apart from this, 
and tlie coincidence that Shealtiel was the father of Zerub- 
babel, there is no reason to suppose that they are the same 
persons. It is altogether improbable that after eighteen 
generations and the lapse of four centuries the genealogies 
should meet in the same persons, and again immediately 
branch off. May it not be that we have here two entirely 
different persons : the Shealtiel and Zerubbabel, the de- 
scendants of Solomon, in Matthew, being those mentioned 
in the later books of the Old Testament ; and the Shealtiel 
and Zerubbabel, the descendants of Nathan, in Luke, being 
otherwise unknown persons ? This is the view adopted by 
Wieseler and Bleek as the most probable solution of the 
difficulty. The occurrence of these persons in both lists, the 
one the father and the other the son, and their nearly 
identical position in the genealogies, are certainly serious 
objections to this view ; but whatever view we adopt there is 
a difficulty, and perhaps the conjecture that these names stand 
for different persons is after all the most probable solution. 

Three theories of reconciliation have been advanced to 
bring these genealogies into accord : the theory of a levirate 
marriage, the theory that both Matthew and Luke give the 
genealogy of Joseph, and the theory that whilst Matthew 
gives the genealogy of Joseph, Luke gives the genealogy of 
Mary. The first and second theories may be combined. 

The hypothesis of a levirate marriage proceeds on the 
assumption that Jacob was the father of Joseph by a levirate 
marriage, and that Heli was his real father ; or, conversely, 
that Jacob was Joseph's real father, and Heli his putative or 
legal father. According to the Mosaic law, it was enjoined 
that if one of two brothers died having no children, his 
brother should take his wife, and the firstborn should succeed 
to the deceased brother (Deut. xxv. 5, 6). It is supposed 
that such a case occurred here. Jacob and Heli were 
brothers, and tlie one married the widow of the other ; 
Matthew gives tlic genealogy of Jacob, tlie legal father of 
Joseph, and Luke that of Heli, his real father ; or conversely. 


This was the early solution advanced by Julius Africanus, 
about the middle of the third century, as recorded by 
Eusebius.^ The following is the statement of Eusebius, 
given in a somewhat abbreviated form : Matthew and Luke 
in their Gospels have given the genealogy of Christ differ- 
ently, and many suppose that they are at variance. We 
subjoin the account of the matter which is given by Julius 
Africanus in his Epistle to Aristides, in which he discusses 
the harmony of the Gospel genealogies. After refuting the 
opinions of others as forced and deceptive, he gives the follow- 
ing account which he had received from tradition. The 
names of the generations were reckoned in Israel, either, 
according to nature, by the succession of legitimate offspring, 
or, according to law, whenever another raised up a child in 
the name of a brother dying childless. Some are inserted in 
the genealogical table who succeeded each other by natural 
descent of father and son, and some who were born of others: 
both the real and the reputed fathers are here mentioned. 
Thus neither of the Gospels has made a false statement, for 
the one reckons by nature and the other by law. So that 
both accounts are strictly true, and come down to Joseph 
with considerable intricacy indeed, but quite accurately. 
If we reckon the generations from David through Solomon, 
the third from the end is found to be Matthan, who begat 
Jacob the father of Joseph ; but if, with Luke, we reckon 
them from Nathan the son of David, in like manner the 
third from the end is Melchi,^ whose son Heli was the father 
of Joseph. It must be shown how each is recorded to be 
the father of Joseph, both Jacob who derived his descent from 
Solomon, and Heli who derived his from Nathan. Jacob and 
Heli were brothers, and their fathers, Matthan and Melchi, 
although of different families, are declared to be grandfathers 
of Joseph. Matthan and Melchi, having married in succession 
the same woman, begat children who were uterine brothers. 
By Estha, for this was the woman's name according to 

1 Hist. Eccl. i. 7. 

^ In our text of Luke's Gospel Mattliat and Levi intervene between 
MelcH and Heli (Luke iii. 24). Probably the text wliicli Julius 
Africanus followed omitted these names. 


tradition/ jMatthan, a descendant of Solomon, first begat 
Jacob ; and when Matthan was dead, Melchi, who traced his 
descent back to Nathan, being of the same tribe but of another 
family, married her, and begat Heli. Thus we shall find the 
two, Jacob and Heli, although belonging to different families, 
were yet brethren by the same mother. Of these the one, 
Jacob, when his brother Heli had died childless, took the 
latter's wife, and begat by her a son, Joseph, his own son by 
nature. Wherefore also it is written Jacob begat Joseph 
(Matt. i. 16). But according to law he was the son of Heli. 
Accordingly Luke says : " Who was the son, as was supposed, 
of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Melchi " (Luke iii. 
23, 24); for he could not more clearly express the genera- 
tions according to law. 

According to this explanation the genealogy would be — 

Solomon Nathan 

I 1 

Mattlian = Estha = Melchi 

I I 

Jacob Hell 

Joseph by a levirate Joseph by legal 
marriage with the succession, 

widow of Heli.2 

Matthew gives the genealogy of Jacob, and Luke that of 

This theory is intricate, and bears the aspect of a 
hypothesis framed to remove a difficulty. Besides, the son 
of a levirate marriage w^as always called the son of his real 
father, and not of his legal father. Thus, for example, Obed 
is called the son of Boaz, and not the son of Mahlon, whose 
widow he married as being next of kin. The levirate 
custom or law of marriage appears to have been concerned 
with tlio peculiar law of heritage among the Jews. This 
liypothesis may remove tlie difliculty arising from two distinct 
genealogical lines ; but as both of these are connected with 

^ We know nothing more of Estha : the name was probal>ly handed 
down by tradititm from the gi-andsons of Jude, the brotlier of the Lord, 
mentioned in this passjige by Julius Africanus. 

- See Farrar On Luke, p. 372. 


the descent of Joseph, the one his legal and the other his 
real descent, they cannot properly be considered as genealogies 
of Jesus, who was only supposed to be the son of Joseph ; 
an objection which we shall more fully consider. 

The second hypothesis is that both Matthew and Luke 
give the genealogy of Joseph, neither of them giving the 
genealogy of Mary. This hypothesis has been adopted with 
some variations by Calvin, Grotius, Hug, Winer, Bleek, 
De Wette, Meyer, Bishop Hervey, Dr. Morison, Mansel,^ 
Dr. Samuel Davidson, Alford, Bishop Wordsworth, Carr,^ 
Bishop Ellicott,^ M'Clellan, Farrar,* and Geikie. According 
to this hypothesis, Matthew gives the royal line of succession 
from Solomon to Joseph, whilst Luke gives the natural or 
lineal line from Nathan to Joseph. Their conjunction in 
Shealtiel and Zerubbabel is generally explained on the 
supposition that the royal line failed in the person of 
Jehoiachin, as he, according to the prediction of Jeremiah, 
had no children, and that Shealtiel and Zerubbabel, descend- 
ants from Nathan, succeeded as the heirs of Solomon. This 
may account for the difference of names from David to Zerub- 
babel, but does not account for the difference of names 
between Zerubbabel and Joseph.^ 

The great, and to us insuperable, objection to this theory 

^ Speaker's Commentary. 

^ Commentary on Matthew: Cambridge Bible for Schools j p. 29. 

^ Historical Lectures on the Life of our Lord, 3rd ed. j). 96, note. 

* Farrar On Luke, Excursus ii. : " The Double Genealogies of Christ 
as the Son of David," pp. 369-375. 

^ Attempts have been made to prove that several of the names that 
occur after Zerubbabel are merely variations of the same name. Rhesa, 
the son of Zerubbabel, according to Luke (iii. 26), is supposed not to be a 
proper name, but an appellative signifying a head or chief, ajiplied to 
Zerubbabel as the prince of the Captivity. Abiud ('A/3/oi/S) in Matt. i. 13, 
and Joanna (^lui/va) in Luke iii. 27, both reckoned as the sons of 
Zerubl;)abel, are regarded as the same name. After this it is supposed 
that the lines again diverge from Abiud and Joanna ; Matthew gives the 
elder branch from Eliakim, probably the eldest son of Abiud, and Luke 
from Joda a younger branch. It is further supposed that the genealogies 
meet again in Matthan, who on the failure of Eliakim's line became the 
head of the house of David. See Hervey's Genealogies, j^i?. 115 ff. and 
p. 343. 


is that neither of the genealogies gives that of Jesus. Jesus 
was, according to both Matthew and Luke, by reason of His 
miraculous birth, only the supposed son of Joseph and the 
real son of Mary.^ We have then according to this theory, 
so far as the genealogies are concerned, no proof that Jesus 
was the son of David. The Davidic descent of Jesus is 
repeatedly affirmed in Scripture. The title which the Jews 
appHed to the Messiah, " The son of David," and the pre- 
dictions of the prophets, tliat " a Branch should arise from 
the root of David," all imply His Davidic descent ; but unless 
Mary were descended from David, this could not be the case. 
Peter, in his discourse on the Day of Pentecost, affirms that 
of the fruit of the loins of David, according to the tlesh, God 
would raise up Christ to sit upon his throne (Acts ii. 30). 
Paul, in his discourse in Pisidian Antioch, makes the same 
declaration, that of the seed of David, God, according to His 
promise, raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus (Acts xiii. 23). 
In his Epistles he twice affirms the Davidic descent of Jesus: 
" Jesus Christ our Lord was made of the seed of David 
according to the flesh " (Rom. i. 3). " Jesus Christ, of the 
seed of David, was raised from the dead " (2 Tim. ii. 8). 
And in the Apocalypse our Lord is called " the root and the 
offspring of David " (Rev. xxii. 6). But no conclusion of this 
nature can be drawn from the Davidic descent of Joseph, 
and consequently the genealogies, if they refer to Joseph 
only, do not prove that our Lord was descended from David. 
They are divested of their importance and interest. The 
Davidic descent of Mary is asserted by the Fathers, as Justin 
Martyr {Dial. c. Tryph. xlv.), Irenieus {Adv. Hccr. iii. 21. 5), 
Tertullian, and others. As Meyer says : " The Davidic 
descent of Jesus is established as certain by the predictions 
of the prophets, which, in reference to so essential a mark of 
the Messiah, could not remain without fulfilment, as well as 
by the unanimous testimony of the New Testament." ^ 

This objection is thus met by Bishop Hervey : " If the 

' Matt. i. 18 ; Lukt- iii. 35. 

^ Meyer's Commentary on Matthew, vol. i. p. 61. At the same time, 
Meyer asserts that there is no evidence of tliis from the genealogies, as 
according to him the genealogy in Luke is not that of Mary. 


Matthan of Matthew is the same individual as the Matthat of 
Luke, it follows that Jacob and Heli were brothers. And if 
Mary were the daughter of Jacob, and Joseph the son of 
Heli, Joseph and Mary would be first cousins, grandchildren 
of the same grandfather Matthat. And if Jacob had no son, 
but only daughters, and his male heir and successor, as head 
of the tribe of Judah, were Joseph the son of his brother Heli, 
we are quite sure, from the constant practice of the Jews, that 
Joseph would marry Mary ; just as the five daughters of 
Zelophehad married their five cousins."^ But such an 
answer to the objection cannot be maintained ; it is founded 
not on one, but on four suppositions, not one of which can be 

The third hypothesis is, that whilst Matthew gives the 
genealogy of Joseph, Luke gives that of Mary. This theory 
has been adopted by Luther, Dr. John Lightfoot, Hottinger, 
Bengel,^ Kidder, Kuinoel, Michaelis, Yardley, M'Kuight, Gres- 
well,^ Lange,* Auberlen, Wieseler, Ebrard,^ Holmes,^ Olshausen,'^ 
Smith of Jordanhill, Dean Spence, Andrews,^ Plumptre, Schaff,^ 
Godet,^*^ and Weiss.^^ According to this theory, Jesus is by the 
genealogy of Matthew shown to be the legal heir of David's 
throne, whilst by the genealogy of Luke He is shown to be 
the seed of David according to the flesh, by His being the son 
of Mary. The genealogy of Matthew is the genealogy of 
Joseph, whilst the genealogy of Luke is that of Heli. Mary's 
name is omitted in the genealogy, because it was not the 
custom of the Jews to mention women in their genealogical 
tables. That in one of the genealogies the descent of Mary is 

^ Hervey's Genealogies, pp. 56, 57. 

^ Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament on Matt. i. 16. 

^ Greswell's Dissertations, vol. ii. p. 103. 

* Lange's Life of Christ, vol. i. p. 380, translation. 
^ Ebrard's Gospel History, p. 159. 

'• Kitto's Cyclopedia, article, " Genealogy." 
'' Olshausen, On the Gospels, vol. i. p. 39. 

* Andrews' Life of Christ, p. 56. 

® Schaff on " Matthew " in the Popular Commentary on the New Testa- 

1" Godet's Commentary on Luke, vol. i. p. 201, translation. 
^1 Weiss' Life of Jesus, vol. i. p. 220, translation. 


given, is affirmed by Clemens Alexandrinus, although he fixes, 
as we think erroneously, on that given by Matthew. " In the 
Gospel according to Matthew the genealogy which is begun 
with Abraham is continued down to Mary the mother of our 
Lord." ^ And it is a curious circumstance that in the 
Talnnid, Mary the mother of Jesus is called the daughter of 
Heli, — a statement which could only be made from Luke's 
Gospel, or more probably from tradition.^ 

But here we are met with what appears to be a formidable 
objection : that as it is distinctly stated by ]\Iatthew that 
Joseph was the son of Jacob, so it is as distinctly stated by 
Luke that he was the son of Heli. It is not disputed that 
Joseph was the son of Jacob ; the words are cleai , " Jacob 
begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, 
who is called Christ " (Matt. i. 16). But that Joseph was the 
son of Heli is not so distinctly stated. According to the best 
attested reading, the words are : wv u/09 w? ivofxi^ero 'I(0(Ti]<f) 
rov 'H\d, rendered in the Eevised Version : " Being the son 
(as was supposed) of Joseph the son of Heli" (Luke iii. 23). 
But the parenthesis may be properly extended so that the 
words might be read : " Being (the son as was supposed of 
Joseph) the son of Heli." According to this reading, the 
meaning might be that Jesus was the supposed son of Joseph, 
but through His mother Mary, omitted in the genealogy as 
women are, the real son or grandson of Heli. Besides, it is 
to be remarked that the article rov is omitted before the 
name Joseph, whilst it is to be found before all the other 
names belonging to the genealogical series. From this it may 
be inferred that the name Joseph belongs to the parenthetical 
clause introduced by Luke ; so that the genitive rov 'HXel 
depends, not on Joseph, but on wv : Jesus, as was supposetl, tlie 
son of Joseph, being the son of Heli. It is not uncommon in 
the Old Testament for the grandson to be called the son of 

' Clemens Alexandrinus, Strom, i. 21. See also Justin, Dial, cum 
Trypho. ch. cxx. 

2 Chagig. 77. 4. Uodet On Luke, vol. i. j). 202. "From wlience," he 
asks, " have Jewish schohirs derived this information ? If from the text of 
Luke, this proves that they understood it as we (h) : if they received it 
from tradition, it confirms the truth of the genealogical document Luke 
made of." 


his grandfather. Thus, if this explanation be adopted, the 
genealogy given by Luke is not that of Joseph, but of Heli the 
grandfather of Jesus.-^ 

We conclude that this is the true solution of the problem 
— the reconciliation of the genealogies of our Lord as given by 
Matthew and Luke. We have not here the genealogy of the 
same person, for if this were the case, the difference in the 
names, so far as we can see, would be irreconcilable, except by 
a series of improbable suppositions ; whereas if they are the 
genealogies of different persons, then the difference in the 
names is not only accountable but necessary.^ And, also, 
whereas on the hypothesis that both genealogies refer to 
Joseph, there is no evidence that Jesus was descended from 
David ; on the other hypothesis that one of the genealogies 
refers to Mary, it is proved that Jesus was of the seed of 
David according to the flesh. 

But it has been objected to the whole subject, that it is 
very improbable that there should exist such long genealogical 
registers, especially of persons such as Joseph and Mary, who, 
according to the Gospels, were of humble origin, and that both 
of them could trace their descent from David. But this 
objection is met by the fact of the scrupulous carefulness of 
the Jews with regard to their genealogies. We have abundant 
evidence of this in the First Book of Chronicles and in the 
Books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Josephus frequently refers to 
the public tables. In the account of his life, after giving his 
own priestly descent, he says : " Thus have I set down the 
genealogy of my family as I have found it described in the 

1 See Godet, Commentary on Luke, a^oI. i. p. 199. He draws the 
following conclusions from the omission of toS : 1. That this name 
(Joseph) belongs rather to the sentence introduced by Luke. 2. That the 
genealogical document which he consulted began with the name of Heli. 
3. And consequently that this piece was not originally the genealogy of 
Jesus or of Joseph, but of Heli. Since the above was written, we have 
found the same theory proposed by Professor Roberts of St. Andrews in 
an article in the Thinker, January 1895. 

2 According to this view, the Shealtiel and Zerubbabel of Matthew, the 
first the son and the second the grandson of Jehoiachin, were the well-known 
persons in the Old Testament, whilst the Shealtiel and Zerubbabel of 
Luke are two unknown persons. 


public tables." And he informs us that from all countries 
in which their priests are scattered abroad, they send to 
Jerusalem the names of their parents, attested by witnesses.^ 
The famous Eabbi Hillel, a contemporary of our Lord, 
succeeded in proving by means of genealogical tables that, 
although a poor man, he was a descendant of David. Eabbi 
Levi says : Tliere was found a book of genealogies at Jerusalem 
in which it was written that Hillel was of the family of 
David.2 Anna the prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, 
could trace her descent from the tribe of Asher (Luke ii. 3) ; 
Paul asserted that he belonged to the tribe of Benjamin 
(llom. xi. 1; Acts xiii. 21); and the grandsons of Jude, the 
brother of our Lord, had to appear before Douiitian, because 
they were the descendants of David.^ Of all the registers, we 
may be certain that the royal register of David, from whom 
the Messiah was to proceed, would be kept with the most 
scrupulous care. These public registers would be destroyed 
at the destruction of Jerusalem. 

From the annotations found interspersed in the genea- 
logical list given by Matthew, as well as from its omissions, 
we think it not improbable that he constructed his own 
genealogy without having recourse to the public registers. 
On the otlier hand, Luke has none of these notes and 
omissions, so that it is not improbable that he extracted his 
genealogy from the public registers, being the genealogical 
table of Heli, the father of Mary, and incorporated it into his 
narrative with the explanatory clause, " being the son, as was 
supposed, of Joseph." 

^ Vita, § 1 ; Contra Ajnon. i. 7. 

2 Lightfoot's Works, vol. iii. p. 41, Pitman's edition. 

^ Eusebius, Hist. Ecd. iii. 19. 



Luke ii. 1, 2. 

LiTEKATUEE. — The literature on this subject is extensive, as it 
is discussed in all commentaries on Luke's Gospel. We give 
a list of the most important works arranged al})habetically : 
Andrews, Life of Christ, pp. 1 ff. ; Bleek's Synoptische En- 
Marung, vol. i. pp. 6 6 ff. ; Caspari's Introduction to the Life of 
Christ, trans, pp. 34—38 ; Davidson's Introduction to the 
Study of the New Testament, 3rd ed. vol. i. pp. 451—456 ; 
Ebrard's Gospel History, pp. 1 3 6 ff ; Ewald's Geschichte des 
Volkes Israel, vol. v. pp. 132 ff. ; trans, vol. vi. pp. 152-157 ; 
Farrar's Life of Christ, vol. ii. Appendix ; Date of Christ's 
Birth, pp. 149—152; Gerlach, -Dt'e romischen Statthalter in 
Syria und Judcea, pp. 22-42 ; Godet's Commentary on Luke's 
Oosjjcl, trans, vol. i. pp. 119—128 ; Greswell's Dissertations on 
the Gospels, vol. i. Dissertation xii. pp. 443-525 ; Huschke, 
Ueber den zu der Gehurt Jesu Christi gehalten Census, a work 
which has not been accessible to me ; Lewin's Fasti Sacri ; 
Meyer's Commentary on Luke ; Mommsen's Provinces of the 
Roman Empire ; Schiirer, The Jewish People in the Time of 
Christ; Sieffert's article, " Schatzung," in Herzog's Rcal-Ency- 
clopddie, 2nd ed. ; Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, article, 
" Cyrenius " ; Steinmeyer, Die Geschichte der Gehurt des Jesus ; 
Wieseler's Chronologische Synopse, pp. 73 ff. ; trans, by the 
Eev. P. A^enables, pp. 45—135 ; Winer's Peahuorterhuch, 
articles, " Quirinus " and " Schatzung " ; and Zumpt, Das 
Geburtsjahr Christi. 

The statement of Luke concerning the census of Quirinius, 



as given in the textus receptus, is as follows : 'Eyevero 8e iv 
Toi^ rjfx,epai<; iKelvaL<i, e^rjXde Boyfia irapa Kaiaapo<i Avyovarov, 
aTToypdcpeadai, Tracrav rijv olKOVfxevrjv' avirj 1) d7roypa(f)j} Trpcorrj 
eyevero riyefj.ovevovro<i Tf]<i Xvpia<i KvprjVLov (Luke ii. 1, 2). 
These words are translated according to the Authorised 
Version : " And it came to pass in those days, that there 
went out a decree from Cicsar Augustus that all the world 
should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when 
Cyrenius was governor of Syria ") ; and, according to the 
Eeviscd Version : " Now it came to pass in those days, there 
went out a decree from Csesar Augustus, that all the world 
should be enrolled. This was the first enrolment made 
when Quirinius was governor of Syria." This decree of 
Ctesar Augustus was issued in those days {iv rah rj/xepat,^ 
iK6tvaL<;), that is, at or about the time of our Lord's birth. 
Udaav rrjv oiKovfievrjv (that all the world) is not to be 
restricted to the land of Judrea or Palestine (Kuinoel, 
Olshausen), but denotes the Eoman Empire ; for such is the 
usual import of the expression, and is evidently its meaning 
here, as the decree was issued by Ciesar Augustus. 
^A7roypd(f)ecr6ai does not signify " to be taxed," as in the 
Authorised Version, but " to be enrolled," as in the Eevised 
Version. A census was to be made, probably to ascertain 
the population and resources of the empire, and, perhaps, 
with a view to future taxation ; but it does not necessarily 
infer that such a taxation should follow immediately. So, 
also, dTToypacf))'] does not denote taxation, but enrolment. 
The article r) before diroypacprj is omitted in our best 
manuscripts, s B D, and is rejected by Lachmann, Tischen- 
dorf, and Westcott and Hort, but retained by Alford and 
Meyer. The Eevisers have omitted it without any marginal 
note. Its omission causes a slight change in the translation. 
If this reading bo adopted, ainr] is the subject of iyevero, and 
d7roypa(f)r) irpoiTq the predicate, so that the words nnist be 
rendered as in the Eevised Version : " This was the first 
enrolment made when Quirinius was governor of Syria." 

The reality of this census of the Eoman Empire has been 
questioned on the ground that there is no historical evidence, 
either from Josephus or from the Eoman historians, tliat 


such a census was taken at this period. But this is a 
mistake. Various statistical accounts were drawn up. 
Julius Caesar, we are informed, had undertaken, with a view 
to an exact system of taxation, a great statistical work, 
containing a survey of the Eoman Empire {descriptio orMs). 
This work was continued by Augustus, and is said to have 
occupied thirty-two years. Augustus, with that wisdom for 
which he was so distinguished, sought to consolidate his 
vast empire, and for this purpose several censuses were taken 
during his reign. Of these three are specially mentioned. 
Thus Suetonius says : " Augustus thrice took a census of the 
people, the first and the third time with a colleague, and the 
second by himself." ^ This statement is confirmed by the 
Ancyran monument,^ containing a record of the actions of 
Augustus. On it we are informed that these three censuses 
were held u.c. 726, 746, and 767, corresponding with B.C. 
28, 8, and a.d. 13.^ It may be that no special census is 
mentioned about the year of our Lord's birth, yet there is 
nothing against the supposition that such a census may then 
have been made, or that one of the censuses above men- 
tioned may then have been carried into effect. Indeed, the 
second of these, which occurred in B.C. 8, according to many 
biblical scholars, was made in the very year in which our 
Lord was born. It has, indeed, been affirmed that these 
censuses were made only of Eoman citizens ; but we learn 
from Tacitus that they included also the allies and depend- 
encies of Eome. We are informed by him that after the 
death of Augustus, Tiberius ordered the imperial register to 

^ Suetonius, Augustus, xxvii. 

2 The Monume7itum Ancyranum is an inscrijation in Greek and Latin 
on the walls of a temple erected in honour of Augustus at Ancyra 
the modern Angora. It contains an account of the principal events 
in the life of that emperor ; a great part of the inscription is still 

^ Much complication arises from the different methods of chronology ; 
the one dated from the founding of Rome A.u.c, and the other our 
ordinarily received Christian era. The Eoman era corresponding with 
the Christian era was a.u.c. 754. The conversion of a date B.C. or a.d 
into a date a.u.c. is therefore effected by subtracting the date B.C. and by 
adding the date a.d. to the number 754. Thus the date of the death of 
Herod the Great is A.u.c. 750, that is, B.C. 4. 


be produced and read. It contained a summary of the 
resources of the State, the number of Eomans and auxiliaries 
in tlie armies, the extent of the navy, kingdoms, provinces, 
tributes, customs, the public expenditure and largesses. The 
register was all written by the hand of Augustus.^ 

It has been further objected that in a general census 
of the Eoman Empire, the kingdom of Juda-a would be 
excluded, because at this time it formed no part of the 
empire, but was governed by a king of its own, and it was 
not until it had lost its independence l;)y the dethronement of 
Archelaus, the son and successor of Herod the Great, that a 
census of the population with a view to taxation was made. 
But there is no reason to suppose that these confederate 
kingdoms were excluded from the census which was taken 
of the Eoman Empire. The reges socii of the Eomans were 
merely nominal rulers : they not only owned the suzerainty 
of Eome, but they were appointed and dethroned at the 
pleasure of the Eoman senate and the emperor : there was no 
great difference between their power and that of the Eoman 
proconsuls. The independence of Judiea was at this time 
only nominal : the Jews had to take an oath of allegiance to 
Augustus as well as to their own king.^ Herod could do 
nothing without the permission of Caesar. These subordinate 
kings certainly taxed their own people : and in this instance 
the enrolment mentioned in Luke's Gospel, although enjoined 
by the emperor, was carried out, not according to Eoman, but 
according to Jewish procedure ; besides, it must be remem- 
bered that it was not an assessment, but merely a census. 

The exact year of our Lord's birth is still a matter of 
doubt, and different dates have been assigned to it. Our 
received chronology is not older than the sixth century, and 
was first introduced into the Christian Church by Dionysius, 
surnamed Exiguus, a monk who lived in tlie reign of 
Justinian, and hence it is called the Dionysian era. It is 
now acknowledged l)y almost all critics and chronologists to 
be erroneous ; and it is considered that the date of our Lord's 
birth was several years earlier than is represented in our 
connnon chronology. There is no doubt whatever that 
' Tacitus, Ann. i. 11. - Josfplms, Ant. .wii. 2. 4. 


Herod the Great was alive when our Lord was born. This is 
affirmed both by Matthew and Luke. According to Matthew, 
Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod 
the king (Matt. ii. 1); and, according to Luke, it was in the 
days of Herod the king of Judaea (Luke i. 5) that the angel 
of the Lord appeared to Zacharias, the father of the Baptist. 
Now the date of Herod's death can be ascertained from the 
history of Josephus with great exactness. " Herod," he says, 
" died the fifth day after he had caused Antipater (his son) to 
be slain, having reigned, since he had procured Antigonus to be 
slain, thirty-four years ; and since he had been declared king 
by the Eomans, thirty-seven years." ^ Almost all chronolo- 
gists have fixed upon B.C. 4, or A.U.C. 750, as the date of Herod's 
death.2 There is also evidence that our Lord was born some 
time before that event, because time must be allowed for the 
presentation in the temple, the visit of the wise men, and 
the flight into Egypt ; and yet it is evident that no great 
amount of time could have elapsed (Matt. ii. 19), perhaps one 
or two years. Eusebius says that it was in the forty-second 
year of the reign of Augustus, and the twenty-eighth year 
after the subjugation of Egypt and the death of Antony and 
Cleopatra, that our Lord was born in Bethlehem of Judaea : ^ 
giving the approximate date of B.C. 3. The following are the 
opinions of some of the leading critics and chronologists : 
Zumpt fixes on B.C. 8 ; Alford and Ebrard, on B.C. 7 ; 
Kepler and Lardner, on B.C. 6 ; Usher, on B.C. 5 ; Bengel, 
Wieseler, Greswell, and EUicott, on B.C. 4. Probably the 
most correct date is B.C. 5, a year before the death of 

The enrolment is said to have been made when Quirinius 
was governor of Syria. Publius Sulpicius Quirinius, or as his 
name is elsewhere written, Quirinus,* was a distinguished 
Roman officer. He was entrusted with many important com- 

^ Joseph. Ant. xvii. 8. 1. 

2 So Weiseler, Winer, Meyer, Schiirer, Zumpt. 

^ Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. i. 5. 

* In Tacitus and Suetonius the name is written Quirinus ; in Strabo 
and Josephus, Quirinius. Quirinius is the Greek form of the Roman name. 
In the Vatican manuscript it is Quireinus (Kvpiivov) ; in the Alexandrian, 
Quirunius (Knpvviov) ; and in the Sinaitic, Quirenius (Kvpnu'tov). 


missions, and was in great favour both with Augustus and with 
Tiberius. He was consul, B.C. 12, along with Valerius Messala 
Barbatus. Our information concerning him is chiefly derived 
from the account given by Tacitus. " About this time Tiberius 
desired of the senate that the decease of Sulpicius Quirinus 
might be celebrated by a public funeral. Quirmus was born 
at Lanuvium, a municipal town, and nowise related to the 
ancient patrician family of the Sulpicii ; but being a brave 
soldier was for his active services rewarded with the consul- 
ship under Augustus, and soon after with a triumph for 
driving the Homonadensians out of their strongholds in Cilicia. 
When the young Caius Caesar (the grandson of Augustus) was 
sent to settle the affair's of Armenia, Quirinus was appointed 
his tutor, and at the same time paid court to Tiberius, 
then in his retirement at Rhodes. The emperor represented 
this to the senate ; he extolled the kind offices of Quirinus, 
and branded Marcus Lollius as the author of the perverse 
behaviour of Caius Caesar to himself, and of all the jarring 
between them. But the memory of Quirinus was not agree- 
able to the rest of the senate by reason of the danger to 
which he exposed Lepida,^ as I have before related, and his 
sordid meanness and overbearing conduct in the latter part of 
his life." - 

But a formidable objection to the statement regarding 
the census occurs, amounting to an apparent contradiction. 
According to Luke, Quirinius was governor of Syria, and the 
census or enrolment was made by him at or about the time of 
our Lord's birth (Luke ii. 1). But Josephus informs us that 
Quirinius did not receive the appointment of governor of 
Syria until ten years after, when Archelaus, the son of Herod, 
was deposed, and Judiua was annexed to the cmi)ire and 
incorporated with the province of Syria. Quirinius was then 
sent into Syria to settle the annexation of Judaea, and to take 
a census of the population with a view to taxation ; which 
census gave rise to that memorable outbreak of tlie Jews 
headed ))y Judas of Galilee. " Ai'chelaus' country," says 

^ For the coiulucL of (^uiriiiius toward IiIh wifi' Li-pida, see Tacitus, 
Ann. iii. 22. 

' Tacitus, Ami. iii. 48. 


Josephus, " was annexed to the province of Syria ; and 
Quirinius, who had been consul, was sent by Caesar to take 
account of the effects of the people." ^ And again : " Quirinius 
came himself into Judwa, which was now added to the pro- 
vince of Syria, to take an account of their substance and to 
dispose of the money of Archelaus." ^ Besides, accordmg to 
Josephus, it was not Quirinius who was governor of Syria at 
the time of the death of Herod the Great, which occurred 
shortly after the birth of Christ, but Varus, afterwards 
notorious in Eoman history for his defeat and the destruction 
of his legions by the Germans. He informs us that Varus, 
the governor of Syria, came to Jerusalem, and presided at the 
trial of Antipater, the son of Herod, who was put to death 
by his father five days before his own death.^ Varus con- 
tinued for some time longer, for he quelled the disturbances 
which arose after the death of Herod. 

There is thus an apparent discrepancy in these accounts. 
Luke states that Quirinius was governor of Syria about the 
time of our Lord's birth ; and Josephus, that this was not 
until ten years later, and that it was then that he made the 
census. Some suppose that Luke has committed an error in 
stating that the census of Quirinius occurred ten years before 
it actually happened. But it is very improbable that such a 
mistake should be committed by a historian whose extreme 
accuracy has, in other points, been testified to and verified. 
Luke was well acquainted with the census of Quirinius which 
gave rise to the revolt of Judas of Galilee, and alludes to it in 
his Acts of the Apostles : " After this man rose up Judas of 
Galilee in the days of the enrolment, and drew away some 
of the people after him" (Acts v. 37). 

When we turn to the statements of the Fathers we have 
apparently two different accounts. Justin Martyr agrees with 
Luke that the census was made by Quirinius about the time 
of our Lord's birth. He makes three allusions to it. In his 
first Apology he says : " There is a village in the land of the 
Jews five and thirty stadia from Jerusalem, m which Jesus 
Christ was born, as you can ascertain from the registers of 

^ Josephus, Ant. xvii. 13. 5. ^ Ibid, xviii. 1. 1. 

8 Ibid. xvii. 5. 2. 


the enrolment under Quii-inius, the first procurator in Judaea." 
" Christ was born one hundred and fifty years ago under 
Quirinius." And in his Dialogue loith Tryplio he says : " On 
the occasion of the first census which was taken in Judaea 
under Quirinius, Joseph went from Nazareth, where he lived, to 
Bethlehem, to which he belonged, to be enrolled." ^ Justin 
here corroborates the statement of Luke, that the census was 
made under Quirinius ; and for the truth of this he appeals 
to the public registers. The same statement is made by 
Eusebius : " Christ was born the same year when the first 
census was taken, and Quirinius was governor of Syria." - 

TertuUian, on the other hand, affirms that when the 
census mentioned in Luke's Gospel was taken, Sentius 
Saturninus was governor of Syria. " It is certain," he 
observes, " that at this very time (when our Lord was born) 
a census had been taken in Judoea by Sentius Saturninus, 
which might have satisfied their inquiry respecting the family 
and descent of Christ." ^ Caius Sentius Saturninus filled the 
office of governor of Syria, B.C. 10-6, and was succeeded by 
Quintilius Varus, B.C. 6—4. It is too liastily supposed that 
Tertullian here commits a historical blunder. Many critics 
affirm that our Lord was born when Saturninus was governor 
of Syria. This, however, is not asserted by Tertullian : he 
merely affirms that under the government of Saturninus a 
census was taken in Juda-a ; and there is nothing improbable 
in the supposition that sucli a census was appointed or 
commenced during the last year of the proconsulship of 
Saturninus, B.C. 6, and was continued and completed by his 
successor Varus, perhaps with the assistance of Quirinius. 

Still the difficulty confronts us that whilst, according to 
Luke, the census was taken at the birth of Christ, when 
Quirinius was governor of Syria ; according to Josephus it 
was not made until ten years later, when at tliat time 
Quirinius was appointed governor. Several attempts luive 
been made to solve tlie difficulty, either by giving different 
interpretations to the words of the evangelist, or by an 

' Justin Martyr, Ajiol. i. cli. xxxiv. and ili. xlvi. ; Dial. c. Tnjph. 
ch. Ixxviii. 

- Eusebius, Hist. Ecd. i. 5. ^ Adv. Marcion. iv. 19. 


examination into the historical circumstances of the 

Some attempt the solution of the difficulty by conjectural 
readings and emendations. Beza, Olshausen, and Kuinoel call 
in question the integrity of the text. They suppose it to be 
a gloss by some ignorant transcriber; perhaps a margmal 
note which found its way into the text. Others have recourse 
to conjectures ; for example, that instead of Kvprjviov the 
original reading was KvvrCkiov, referring to Quintilius Varus, 
or Xarovpvivov, referring to Sentius Saturninus. Michaelis 
proposes to read irpo tt]^ r)j€/j,ov6vovro<; k.t.X. : the first 
enrolment which took place before Quirinius was governor of 
Syria. All these and similar suppositions must be rejected 
as at variance with critical authorities. 

Some critics, putting stress on avrr), suppose that the paren- 
thetic clause, "and this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was 
governor of Syria," ^ was added for the purpose of drawing a 
distinction between this enrolment and the census made ten 
years afterwards by Quirinius : this enrolment was the prelude of 
that more celebrated enrolment made by Quirinius when actual 
taxation took place. This view of the matter was suggested 
by Ebrard. " When," he observes, " Luke speaks of a census 
which was taken at the time of Christ's birth, he must have 
made a distinction between this and the later census of Quirinius, 
which he calls in Acts v. 37, 17 airo'ypa^r), the census Kai* 
e^oxnv." ^ Calvin appears to have adopted a similar view : 
" The words of Luke," he observes, " bear this sense, that about 
the time of our Lord's birth an edict came out to have the 
people registered, but that the registration could not take 
place till after a change of the kingdom, when Judsea had been 
annexed to another province. This clause is accordingly added 
by way of correction : This first registration was made when 
Quirinius was governor of Syria ; that is, it was then first carried 
into effect." ^ But such a view necessitates a different mean- 
ing to the verb airo'ypdi^eaOai. and the noun airofypat^rj : in 
the one case the word signifies to be enrolled ; in the other, 
actual taxation. Besides, according to Luke, the decree was 

1 Authorised Version. ^ Ebrard's Gospel History, p. 141. 

^ Calvin on Luke ii. 2. 


not only issued, but actually carried into effect, as is evident 
from the journey of Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to 
Bethlehem in order that their names might be registered in 
the public census. 

Other critics, putthig stress on the word irpcort], "the 
llrst eiu'olment," suppose that it stands for the comparative 
nrpoTepa, and that the words i)'yep.ovevovTo<i t?}? ^vpia<; 
Kvprjvlov are dependent upon it, being governed by it in 
the genitive. They translate the passage : " This enrolment 
was made before Quirinius was governor of Syria." Thus the 
enrolment in the text is distinguished from that subsequently 
made by Quirinius. This view has been adopted by Tholuck, 
Ewald, Wieseler,^ Greswell,^ and Dr. Samuel Davidson ^ in his 
first Introduction to the New Testament. In support of this 
view it is affirmed that the superlative 7rp(OTo<; is frequently 
used for the comparative irporepo^; in the sense of before. As 
when the Baptist says : " This is He of whom I said, He that 
Cometh after me is become before me : for He was before 
me" {oTL irpoyro^ fiov rjv, John i. 15, 30); and when our 
Lord says : " If the world hateth you, ye know that it hath 
hated Me before it hated you" {irpSiTov vficov, John xv. 18). 
But such an interpretation is here hardly admissible. It not 
only assumes that the superlative irpcoTT}, first, is used in the 
sense of the comparative irporipa, hcfore ; but it causes it to 
govern the words rjyefjbovevovro'i t^9 Xvpla'^ KvprjvLov, which 
are naturally to be taken as a genitive absolute. This has 
been regarded as inadmissible by all our distinguished gram- 
marians. Thus Winer says : " If such were Luke's meaning, 
his language would be not only ambiguous, but also awkward 
if not ungrammatical. Huschke has not succeeded in finding 
an example which is really parallel : he merely illustrates the 
very familiar construction of Trpwro? with tlie genitive of 
a noun." ** 

Other critics fix on the word i'yevero, and give it the 

^ Wieseler, Synopsis of the Gospels, pp. 101 ff. 
2 Greswell's Dissertation, vol. ii. p. 523. 
•■» Davidson's Introduction to the N.T. 1st wl. p. 213. 
■* AVinor's Grammar of the N.T. Greek, tran.slati'tl liy Dr. Moulton, 
p. 30G. So also Buttinauu's Grammar of N.T. Greek, p. 84. 


sense of vms done or completed : " This enrolment was com- 
pleted, as the first enrolment, when Quirinius was governor 
of Syria." According to this view the evangelist distinguishes 
between the enrolment begun at the birth of Christ and the 
enrolment completed under Quirinius. This opinion has been 
adopted by Hofmann and Canon Cook.^ This supposes that 
no less than ten years elapsed between the issuing of the 
decree and its completion, which is altogether at variance 
with the rapid procedure of the Eomans. Others distinguish 
between the enrolment or placing on the register and the 
levying of the taxation which took place under Quirinius, 
an opmion to which we have previously alluded. 

A more plausible explanation is that the title '^y€fjLovevovTo<i 
T^9 Xvpia<i was here conferred on Quirinius because he was at 
this time entrusted with an extraordinary commission in 
Syria. Quirinius, as we know, was then in the East as an 
officer of high distinction, and invested with powers. He 
defeated the Homonadensians, a Cilician tribe, and shortly 
afterwards was appointed tutor or governor to Caius Csesar, 
the grandson of Augustus, probably about A.D. 1. It has 
been supposed, not without some grounds, that, in consequence 
of his distinguished rank and abilities, he was employed as 
chief commissioner of Syria to carry into effect the census 
appointed by Augustus, and was for this purpose invested 
with an authority equal to that of the governor of Syria, who 
was then either Sentius Saturninus or Quintilius Varus. He 
might even for this purpose have been appointed joint 
governor.^ This opinion has been adopted by Grotius, Beza, 
Hug, Winer, Neander, and Gerlach. The great objection to 
it arises from the silence of history ; but as, according to 
the view here taken, the appointment was only temporary 
for a definite purpose, its historical omission may easily 
be accounted for. But the title ■^yefjbovevovro'i t^9 Xvpim 

1 Speaker's Bible, N.T. vol. i. pp. 326-329, note : On the Census of 

^ It is very doubtful if there were ever joint governors of Syria. 
Josephus indeed speaks of Saturninus and Volumnius as governors of 
Syria, Ant. xvi. 9. 1. But Volumnius, of whom elsewhere we know 
nothing, may have acted only as legate to Saturninus. 


can only denote " the governor of Syria " : if merely an 
extraordinary commissioner, a different title would have been 

Another possible solution is that Quirinius is here called 
governor of Syria, Ijccause this was the name by wliich he 
was best known wlien Luke wrote his Gospel ; although 
at the time when he made this early census, at the bu-th of 
our Lord, he was not actually governor. When a man has 
occupied with distinction an important office, he is often 
spoken of by the title conferred on him in mentioning events 
which happened even prior to his occupation of that office. 
Thus Cato Major is known in Eoman history as Cato the 
censor ; so Quirinius may have been known as Quirinius the 
governor of Syria. But there is no ground for this opinion, 
especially as the words are quite clear, Quirinius being 
governor of Syria : ^ it is adopted by few, and need not 
occupy our attention. 

Hitherto the solutions of the difficulty have been drawn 
chiefly from the text, and are derived from the different 
meanings attached to the words aim}, irpdoTr), iyeveTO, and 
rjyefiovevovTo^;. We now come to a much more important 
solution of a different character, resting on different grounds, 
and founded on an exact examination of the historical 
circumstances of the times. A. W. Zumpt, nephew of the 
celebrated grammarian of the same name, in a monograph of 
great learning and research,- has undertaken to prove that 
Quirinius was twice governor of Syria — first, close upon the 
period usually assigned by biblical critics for the birth of our 
Lord, B.C. 5 or 4 ; and a second time, ten years afterwards, when 
Judffia was annexed to the province of Syria, as mentioned 
by Josephus. His reasoning is most ingenious, and is con- 
sidered to be convincing by many distinguished critics and 

Zumpt makes a very careful inquiry into the succession 
of the governors of Syria and the duration of their govern- 
ments ; and he makes the discovery that there is an interval 
close upon the time of our Lord's birth wliich is not accounted 
for. About n.c. 10 (4^ nyeian oru) -H iG, 14}, Titius was 

' Tiyi/^ouivovro; rii; "ZvptMc: Kvprii/i'ov. - Ikis Udmrtsjiihr Clii'isti. 


appointed governor of Syria : he was succeeded by Sentius 
Saturninus, who held the office for three years, B.C. 9—6. 
His successor — Quinctilius Varus — was appointed B.C. 6, and 
was governor of Syria B.C. 4, the year in which Herod the 
Great died. After him there is a gap, and no further 
mention of the governors of Syria is made until we come 
to Quirinius, a.d. 6 (Dionysian era, A.D. 10), except that 
Volusius Saturninus is mentioned as governor of Syria on 
a coin of Antioch about a.d. 4, The question then is. Can we 
determine who was governor of Syria from B.C. 4, when Varus 
departed, to a.d. 4, when Volusius Saturninus was appointed ? 
Zumpt, as the result of several most ingenious investigations, 
arrives at the conclusion that this was Quirinius. 

The arguments which he uses in support of this conclu- 
sion, if not absolutely convincing, are at least so highly 
plausible, that they have obtained the assent of our most 
distinguished Eoman historians. Tacitus, in his Annals, 
informs us that Quirinius, shortly after his consulship, 
obtained a triumph for his victory over the Homonadensians, 
having driven them out of their strongholds in Cilicia.^ 
This war is also mentioned by Strabo. " Quirinius," he says, 
" reduced them (the Homonadensians) by famine, and took 
four thousand prisoners, whom he settled as inhabitants in the 
neighbouring cities." ^ It occurred at the very time in ques- 
tion (B.C. 4 to A.D. 1), for Tacitus informs us that it was 
before Quirinius was appointed tutor or governor to Caius 
Caesar (a.d. 1). The question arises. In what capacity did 

^ The governors of Syria are thus given by Zumpt — 
M. Titius, aliout B.C. 10. 
G. Sentius Saturninus, B.C. 9-6. 
P. Quinctilius Varus, B.C. 6-4. 
P. Sulpicius Quirinius, B.C. 4-1 ?. 
M. Lollius, B.C. 1 to A.D. 2. 
C. Marcius Censorinus, a.d. 2-4. 
L. Volusius Saturninus, a.d. 4-6. 
P. Sulpicius Quirinivis, a.d. 6-11. 
Zumjit's Das Geburtsjahr Christi, p. 71. See also Schiirer's The Jewish 
People in the Time of Jesus Clirist, Div. i. vol. i. pp. 351-357. 

2 Tacitus, Ann. iii. 48 : "Consulatum sub divo Augusto, mox expug- 
natis per Ciliciani Homonadensium castellis insignia triumphi adeptus." 
^ Strabo, xii. 6. 5. 


Qiiirinius carry on this war ? It must liave been as governor 
of that province to which the Homonadensians belonged, and 
that province must have been a proconsular province ; for it 
was only the governor of a proconsular province who could 
possess an army and make war, and to whom the peace of 
the province he governed was entrusted. Now, Zumpt proves 
by an exhaustive process that this province could not have 
been Asia, Bithynia, Pontus, Pamphylia, Cappadocia, or 
Galatia, which were pretorian or senatorial provinces, and 
possessed no army ; but must have been Cilicia, especially as 
the Homonadensians had their strongholds within that country. 
But at this time the province of Cilicia was reduced in size, 
and its eastern half was assigned to Syria. It appears to 
have had no governor of its own ; so that the conclusion at 
wliich Zumpt arrives is that Quirinius, at the time of that 
war with the Homonadensians, was governor of Syria. This 
conclusion has been adopted by the distinguished Roman 
liistorian Mommsen : " The Syrian army," he says, " carried 
out the chastisement of the Homonadensians ; the governor, 
Publius Sulpicius Quirinius, advanced some years later into 
their territory, cut off their supplies, and compelled them to 
submit en 7?)«.s,sr, whereupon theywere distributed among the sur- 
rounding townships, and their former territory was laid waste." ^ 
This view is supposed to be supported by the fragment 
of a sepulchral inscription found at Tibur (Tivoli)- in 17G4, 
and now placed in the Vatican Museum. The inscription 
states that the person whom it commemorates was proconsul 
of Asia and twice governor of Syria and Phoenicia. Althougli 
the name Quirinius does not appear on it, yet it is supposed 
tliat it refers to his official appointments, supposing that he 
was twice governor of Syria. Of course such an opinion is 
liable to great uncertainty, but it has been adopted by such 
distinguished historians as Mommsen ^ and Merivale. The 

' Mommsen, TVic Provinces of the Roman Empire, vol. i. p. 336, trans- 
lated by Piufo.ssor Dick.son of Glas^gow University. 

2 Canon Cook, in the Hpeakcr's^ Commentary, is mistaken in supposing 
that this inscription was found in the Tiber. 

^ lies gestce divi A^igusti, p. 121. Mommsen believes that Quirinius was 
proconsul of Syria A.u.c. 751, 752, that is, b.c. 3, 2. 


inscription, indeed, proves that the person referred to was 
twice governor of Syria, but there is no proof that Quirinius 
was ever proconsul of Asia. As Schiirer observes : " The 
theory that Quirinius was twice governor of Syria is not to 
be based on the inscription ; but, on the contrary, the applica- 
tion of the inscription to Quirinius is based upon the proof, 
elsewhere obtamed, that he held the governorship a second 
time." 1 

From these investigations of Zumpt, and the discovery 
made by him that Quirinius was twice governor of Syria, the 
first time shortly after the birth of Christ, and the second 
time ten years later, the following result may be said to have 
been obtained. Our Lord was born about B.C. 5, when Varus 
was governor of Syria.^ The census of the empire, ordered 
by a decree of Augustus, was, according to the statement of 
Tertullian, commenced by Saturninus, B.C. 6, or, perhaps, 
rather a year later by Varus, B.C. 5, and completed by 
Quirinius, who entered upon his first government B.C. 4. 
Quirinius was not appointed governor until after the death 
of Herod, and consequently after the birth of Christ ; but the 
census was called after him, because he carried it into effect. 
Ten years after this he was a second time appointed governor 
of Syria, and made a second census with a view to taxation. 
This gives a satisfactory interpretation to the whole passage : 
the two censuses are distinguished. Luke says : " This was 
the first enrolment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria," 
implying that there was a second enrolment by Quirinius, 
which occurred ten years later, during his second government. 
This view of Zumpt has been accepted by the two great 
Eoman historians, Mommsen and Merivale. " A remarkable 
light," observes Merivale, " has recently been thrown upon 
this point — the year of our Lord's birth — by the demonstration, 
as it seems to be, of Augustus Zumpt, that Quirinius was first 
governor of Syria from B.C. 4 to B.C. 1. Accordingly, the 
enumeration begun or appointed under his predecessor Varus, 
and before the death of Herod, was completed after that event 

^ ScMirer, History of the People of Israel, vol. i. p. 354. 
2 Ziimpt fixes on B.C. 8, when Saturninus was governor of Syria ; Init 
this appears to be too early. 



by Qiiiriuius. It would appear from hence that our Lord's 
birth was a.u.c. 750, or 749 at the earliest," ^ that is, b.c. 
4 or 5. 

' Merivale's History of the Romans under the Empire, vol. iv. 
p. 428, note. 


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Eamsay's Christianity and the Eoman Empire. Second 

Edition. London, 1893. 
Eenan's Life of Jesus. 
Eesch's Agrapha. Leipzig, 1889. 
Eeuss' Geschichte der heiligen Schriften N. T. Vierte 

Auflage. Braunschwieg, 1866. Translation. London, 

Eoberts' Greek, the Language of Christ and His Apostles. 

London, 1888. 
Eoediger's Synopsis Evangeliorum. Halle, 1839. 
Eow's Jesus of the Evangelists. London, 1865. 
Eow's Bampton Lectures. 1877. 
Eushbrooke's Synopticon. London, 1880. 
Salmon's Introduction to the N. T. London, 1885. Fourth 

Edition, 1889. Seventh Edition, 1894. 
Sanday's Articles on the Synoptic Problem in the Expositor. 

Vol. iv. Fourth Series. 
Sanday's Gospels of the Second Century. London, 1876. 
Schaff's Encyclopedia of Biblical Theology. Edinburgh, 1883. 
Schaff's History of the Christian Church : Apostolic 

Christianity. Edinburgh, 1887. 
Schaff's Oldest Church Manual. 1883. 
Schaff"s Popular Commentary: The Gospels. Edinburgh, 

Schleiermacher on Luke's Gospel. Translation by Thirlwall. 

London, 1825. 
Schmid, Biblical Theology of the New Testament. Trans- 
lation. Edinburgh, 1882. 
Schiirer's Jewish People in the Time of Christ. Translation. 

Edinburgh, 1885, 1886. 
Scrivener's Introduction to the Criticism of the N. T. First 

Edition. Cambridge, 1861. Third Edition, 1883. 

Fourth Edition. London, 1894. 
Smith's Dictionary of Christian Biography. 


Smith's Dictionary of the Bible. London, 1863. Second 
Edition of the First Volume, 1893. 

Smith of Jordauhill, Dissertations on the Gospels. Edin- 
burgh, 1883. 

Speaker's Commentary : The Gospels. 1878. 

Stanley's Sermons on the Apostolic Age. Third Edition. 
London, 1874. 

Stroud's Greek Harmony of the Four Gospels. London, 

Swete's Apocryphal Gospel of Peter. Cambridge, 1893. 

Tatian's Diatessaron. Translated by J. Hanilyn Hill. Edin- 
burgh, 1894. 

Thilo, Codex Apocryphus N. T. Leipzig, 1832. 

Tholuck on the Sermon on the Mount. Translation. Edin- 
burgh, 1860. 

Tischendorf's Novum Testamentum GraBce. Editio Sep- 

Tischendorf, Wann wurden unsere Evangelien verfasst ? 

Tischendorf, Synopsis Evangelica. Leipzig, 1864. 

Tregelles' Novum Testamentum Grace. 1857-1879. 

Tregelles' Printed Text of the Greek Testament. London, 

Turpie, The Old Testament in the New.^ London, 1868. 

Turpie, The NeW' Testament View of the Old. London, 

Volkmar's Marcus und die Synopse der Evangelien. Zurich, 

Weiss' Einleitung in das N. T. Beriin, 1886. Translation. 
London, 1887. 

Weiss' Life of Christ. Translation. Edinburgh, 1883. 

Weizsacker's Apostolisches Zeitalter. Freiburg, 1890. 
Translation. London, 1894. 

Wendt's Lehre Jesu. Gottingen, 1886. 

Westcott on the Canon of the N. T. Second Edition. 
London, 1866. 

Westcott's Introduction to the Study of the New Testament. 
Cambridge, 1860. 

Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek. Cam- 
bridge, 1881. 


Wieseler's Chronologische Synopsis d. Evangelien. Hamburg, 

1843. Translated by Venables. Cambridge, 1854. 
Winer's Biblisches Worterbuch. Leipzig, 1833. 
Winer's Grammar of N. T. Greek. Translated by Moulton. 

Second Edition. Edinburgh, 1877. 
Wriglit's Composition of the Four Gospels. London, 

Zeller's Apostelgeschichte. Stuttgart, 1854. Translation, 

London, 1875. 
Zumpt's Das Geburtsjahr Christi. Leipzig, 1869. 



i. 1-17 . 

i. 8 

ii. 1, 2 . 



. 249 ff 



X. 46-52 
xiv. 52 . 
xvi. 9-20 

ii. 15 . 


ii. 16 


i. 1-3 . 

ii. 17, 18 


ii. 1, 2 . 

ii. 23 . 


ii. 14 

vi. 13 . 


iii. 23-38 

XX. 29-34 

. 80, 81 

iii. 23 . 

xxiii. 35 . 


iii. 36 . 

xxvii. 9, 10 


xi. 2-4 . 

xxvii. 51-53 


xviii 35-43 . 

xxii. 43, 44 . 






. 270 flf 


. 249 ff 







Abbott's Article on the Gospels in 
Encyclopedia Britannica, 59, 197. 

Abbott and Rnslibrooke, Common Ti'a- 
dition of the S^'noptic Gospels, 46, 59. 

Academy, the. Letters on the Sinaitic 
Syriac MS., 252. 

Africanus, Julius, on the Genealogies, 

Alexander, Dr. Lindsay, Connection of 
tlio Old and New Testament, 152. 

Alford, Dean, Fragmentary nature of 
the Gospels, 9 ; their indo]iond('nce 
of each other, 46 ; inch^pendencc of 
Mattliewand Luke, 50 ; the Synoptic 


problem, 56 ; impossibility of a har- 
monyof the Synoptics, 86 ; on the star 
of the wise men, 134 ; on the Gos])el 
of Mark, 187 ; rejection of Mark xvi. 
9-20, 188, 196; the genealogies, 250. 

Ancyran monument, the, 271. 

Andrews' Life of our Lord, 249, 265. 

Antioch, the of Luke, 222. 

Apologies of .Tustin, 17. 

Apostolic Constitutions, (juoted, 195. 

Arabic version of Tatian's Diatessaron, 

Aramaic supposed to be tlio language 
of Christ, 126. 



Aramaic Gospel, theory of, 60. 
Assemanni, Biblioth. Orient., 15. 
Athanasius, Gospel symbols, 10. 
Augustine, Gospel symbols, 10 ; de- 

])endence of Mark on Matthew, 44 ; 

Matthew wrote in Hebrew, 112. 
Augustus, decree of, 270, 271. 
Authenticity, sec Genuineness. 
Authors of the Synoptic Gospels, 9. 

Badham's Formation of the Four Gos- 
pels, 37. 

Bacon, Lord, on Prophecy, 153. 

Baring-Gould, Lives of the Saints, 224 ; 
Lost and Hostile Gospels, 7, 213, 
217, 219. 

Barnabas, Epistle of, 94. 

Barnes' Canonical and Uncanonical 
Gospels, 67. 

Basilides, referred to, 97. 

Baur's theory of the origin of the 
Gospels, 21. 

Bengel's Gnomon, 156, 265. 

Bertholdt's Einleitung, 58. 

Beyschlag's Leben Jesu, 62. 

Birk's Horte Evangelicffi, 206. 

Biscoe on the Acts, 255. 

Bleek's Introduction to the N.T. : 
dependence of Mark on Matthew, 
44 ; Mark's Gospel a compilation 
from Matthew and Luke, 47 ; on 
Papias' use of the term X6yia, 66 ; on 
Matthew's quotations from the O.T. , 
149 ; on Marcion's Gospel, 220. 

Blind Bai-timeus restored to sight at 
Jericho, 80. 

Bloody, the, sweat, 241-243. 

Bruce's Apologetics, 83 ; Kingdom of 
God, 39. 

Burgon's Last twelve verses of Mark, 
187 ft". 

Bryennios' Didache, 91. 

CiESAK, Julius, his survey of the 
Roman Empire, 271. 

Csesarea, the Gospel of Luke supposed 
to be written from, 245. 

Calvin : on Christ being called a Naza- 
rene, 157 ; mistake committed in 
attributing a prophecy of Zechariah 
to Jeremiah, 165 ; supposes that the 
line of Solomon failed in Ahaziali, 
259 ; on the census of Quirinius, 277. 

Campbell, Principal, referred to, 201. 

Campbell, Dr. Colin, Critical Studies in 
Luke's Gospel, 220. 

Candour, necessity of, in interpretation, 

Canonical and Apocryphal Gospels, 7. 

Carr on Matthew's Gospel, 101, 263. 

Caspari's Life of Christ, 89, 269. 

Catechetical schools, 53. 

Cave's Life of the Apostles : St. 

Matthew, 106 ; St. Luke, 224. 
Celsus refers to the genealogies, 211. 
Census of the Roman Empire, 270. 
Census of Quirinus, 269-284. 
Characteristics of Mark's Gospel, 185 ; 

of Luke's Gospel, 231-233. 
Charles, Rev. Mr., on the Sinaitic 

Syriac, 253. 
Charteris' Canonicity, 7, 14. 
Chronological order in the Synoj)tics, 

42, 87. 
Ciasca, Agostino, on Tatian's Diates- 

saron, 15. 
Cilicia joined to the province of Syria 

and under the governorship of 

Quirinius, 282. 
Clemens Alexandrinus : number of the 

Gospels, 7 ; genuineness of the 

Synoptic Gospels, 11 ; distinguishes 

between Matthew and Levi, 105 ; on 

the Gospel according to the Hebrews, 

121 ; date of Mark's Gospel, 203. 
Clemens Romanus, testimony to Mat- 
thew's Gospel, 93. 
Codices B and n, connection between 

them, 190. 
Codex Brixianus, 138, 241. 
Codex Bobbiensis, 191, 253. 
Codex Regius Parisiensis or uncial MS., 

L., 190. 
Contents of Matthevif's Gospel, 144 ; 

of Mark's, 207 ; of Luke's, 247. 
Cook, Canon, Revised version of the 

first three Gospels, 244. 
Conybeare, Aristion the author of the 

last verses of Mark, 199. 
Credner's Einleitung, 4, 41, 100, 128, 

181, 230. 
Curetonian Syriac, 21. 
Cureton on the Ignatian Epistles, 95. 
Cyrenius, governor of Syria, sec 


Date of Matthew's Gospel, 139-144 ; 
of Mark's Gospel, 202-206 ; of Luke's 
Gospel, 244-247. 

Date of our Lord's birth, 272. 

Davidic descent of Christ, 263-267. 

Davidson'sHermeneutics, 147, 149, 162. 

Davidson's Introduction to the Study 
of the N.T. ; on the want of graphic 
description in Matthew's Gospel, 101 ; 
on the repetitions in Matthew's 
Gospel, 103 ; number of quotations 
in Matthew's Gospel, 147 ; linguistic 
peculiarities in Luke's Gospel, 230. 

Design of Matthew's Gospel, 108 ; of 



Mark's Gospel, 181 ; of Luke's Gospel, 

De Wette's Einleitung, 7, 45, 99, 212. 
Diatessaroii of Tatian, 14-16. 
Diflache, references in it to the Gospel 

of Mattliew, 91-93. 
Differences between the Synoptic Gos- 
pels and the Fourth CJospel, 5. 
Dionysian era, on the, 272. 
Discrepancies, alleged, in the Gospels, 

Documents employed by Luke, 227, 

Doddridge's Family Expositor, 86, 160. 
Dods', Dr. Marcus, Introduction to 

the New Testament, 99, 178. 
Doxology to the Lord's prayer, 137. 

Ebionites, the, 122, 123. 

Ebrard's Gospel History, 64, 134, 277. 

Eichhorn's Synoptic theory, 56 ; sup- 
poses Luke's Gospel to be an enlarge- 
ment of Marcion's Gospel, 213. 

EUicott's Hulsean Lectures : on the pe- 
culiarities of the Gospels, 85 ; on the 
star of the wise men, 134 ; defends the 
genuineness of Mark xvi. 9-20, 201. 

Ephrfem, Syrus, his Commentary on 
Tatian, 15. 

Epiphanius asserts, that Matthew wrote 
in Hebrew, 112 ; his account of 
Mark, 176 ; and of Luke, 224. 

Epistle of the Churches of Vienne and 
Lyons, 211. 

Essays and Reviews : Dr. Jowett's 
essay, 73. 

Eusebius' Church History, 2}('^sim. 

Evanson's Dissonance of the Four Evan- 
gelists, 237. 

Expositor Articles : article by Wace on 
'Tatian, 16 ; articles by Professor 
Sanday on the Synoptic problem, 49, 
64, 99 ; article by Professor Marshall 
on an original Hebrew Gospel, 60 ; 
article by Conybearc on Aristion, the 
author of Mark xvi. 9-20, 199 ; 
article by Dean Farrar on Mrs. Lewis' 
Sinaitic manuscrij)t, 252. 

Extra-canonical sayings of Christ, 125. 

FAiuiiAiKN'.s, A. M., Christ in Modern 
Tlieology, 21, 83. 

Fairbairn's, Dr. Patrick, Hermeneutic 
Manual, 163. 

Farrar's Coninientary on Luke, 263. 

Farrar supports the theory of an 
oral gosj)el, 52 ; liis description of 
Matthew's Gospel, 110 ; rejects 
Mark xvi, 9-20, 196 ; value of 
Luke's Gospel, 236. 

Farrar's Life of Christ, 147. 

Genealogy from Salmon to David, 254. 

Genealogies, the, in Matthew and Luke, 

Genealogies among the Jews, 267. 

Genuineness of the Synoptic Gospels, 
10-22 ; of Matthew's Gospel, 91- 
104 ; of Mark's Gospel, 167-172 ; of 
Mark xvi. 9-20, 187-191 ; of Luke's 
Gospel, 209-221. 

Gethseniane, the agony and bloody 
sweat : its authenticity, 241-244. 

Gieseler's theory of an oral gospel, 51. 

Gloag, Introduction to the Johannine 
Writings, 5 ; Introduction to the 
Pauline Epistles, 75 ; Introduction 
to the Catholic Epistles, 143. 

Gnosticism of Marcion, 215. 

Godet's Biblical Studies, 40, 108 ; 
Commentary on Luke, 50, 266, 267. 

Goethe's Testimony to the Gosj)els, 22. 

Gosjiels : meaning of the word gospel, 
3 ; their fragmentary nature, 8 ; 
symbols, 9 ; relation of the Synoptic 
Gospels to each other, 22 ; points of 
agreement, 23 ; sections common to 
all three, 24-28 ; sections common 
to Matthew and JIark, 28-30 ; sec- 
tions common to Mark and Luke, 
30 ; sections common to ilatthew 
and Luke, 30-33 ; summary of coin- 
cidences, 35 ; points of dillerence, 38. 

Gospel according to the Hebrews, 120- 

Greek Testament, critical editions of, 72. 

Gresswell's Dissertations, referred to, 
80, 88, 113, 119, 174. 

Griesbach's New Testament, 72 ; theory 
of dependence, 44. 

Guericke, Isagogik, referred to, 7, 133, 

IlAiiN'sEvangclium Marcion, 213, 220. 

Halcomb : What tJiink ye of the 
Gospels ? 88. 

Harmony of the Gospels, 85-89. 

Harnack's History of Dogma, 215. 

Harris, J. Rendel, on the Gospel of 
Peter, 14. 

Hausrath's History of the New Testa- 
ment Times, 76. 

Hebrew Christians, Matthew's Gospel 
written for, 108. 

Hebrew tlie original language of 
Matthew's Gospel, 110-120. 

Hcgesipjpus, (juoted, 121. 

Hemithiirs Diatcssaron of Tatian, 16. 

Henaerson, Commentary on Zechariah, 



Herocl the Great : his cruelties, 135 ; 
year of his death, 273. 

Hervey's Genealogies of Jesus Christ, 
referred to, 249, 255, 260. 

Herzog's Encyclopadie, article on Ta- 
tian, 17. 

Hesychius of Jerusalem, his evidence 
on the con cUidingparagraph of Mark's 
Gospel, 193. 

Hilary, Bishop of Poictiers, quoted, 241. 

Hill's Divinity Lectures, referred to, 152. 

Hill, Rev. J. Hamlyn, translation of 
Tatian's Diatessaron, 16 ; Marcion's 
Gospel, 217. 

Hippolytus, quoted, 195, 242. 

Hobart, Medical Language of St. Luke, 

Holtzmann's Einleitung, 2, 24, 39, 55, 
63, Kommentar, 22 ; his two docu- 
ment hypothesis, 63. 

Hort, Dr.: Critical edition of N. T., 72 ; 
rejects the doxology of the Lord's 
prayer, 139 ; considers Mark xvi. 
9-20 not genuine, 200 ; his remarks 
on Luke iv. 14, 239. 

Hug's Introduction to the New Testa- 
ment, 126. 

Ignatius : his testimony to the Gospel 
of Matthew, 95 ; alludes to the star 
of Bethlehem, 131. 

Insjiiration of the Synoptic Gospels, 77, 
81, 82. 

Integrity of Matthew's Gospel, 128- 
139 ; of Mark's Gospel, 187-201 ; of 
Luke's Gospel, 237-244. 

Interpretation of the Synoptic Gospels, 

IrenjEUS : on the number of the Gospels, 
7 ; the Gospel symbols, 9-10 ; testi- 
mony to the genuineness of the 
Synoptic Gospels, 10 ; of Matthew's 
Gospel, 96 ; mentions the visit of 
the magi, 132 ; testimony to Mark's 
Gospel, 169 ; to Luke's Gospel, 211 ; 
mentions the bloody sweat in Geth- 
semane, 242 ; asserts the Davidic 
descent of Mary, 264. 

James, Epistle of : apparent references 
in it to the Sermon on the Mount, 

Jehoiakim : omitted in the genealogy 
given by Matthew, 256. 

Jerome : on the Gospel symbols, 10 ; 
on the language in which Matthew 
wrote his Gospel, 112 ; supposes that 
the reference in Matthew xxvii. 9, 10 
is to a lost prophecy of Jeremiah, 160 ; 
on Mark as the interpreter of Peter, 
178 ; attests the existence of manu- 

scripts terminating Mark's Gospel at 

xvi. 9, 193. 
Jones' Canon of the New Testament, 

97, 103. 
Josephus : on the language of Judsea, 

127 ; no reference in his history to 
the massacre of the infants of Beth- 
lehem, 135 ; on the Jewish genea- 
logical tables, 267 ; the Jews had to 
take an oath of allegiance to Augus- 
tus, 272. 

Jowett on the interpretation of Scrip- 
ture, 73. 

Judaea, the language of, 126. 

Justin Martyr : his use of the term 
Gospel, 4 ; his testimony to the 
Synoptic Gospels, 17 ; to Matthew's 
Gospel, 96 ; mentions the visit of 
the Magi, 131 ; testimony to Mark's 
Gospel, 168 ; to Luke's Gospel, 210 ; 
mentions the bloody sweat in Geth- 
semane, 242 ; alludes to the census 
of Quirinius, 275. 

KEPLERon thestar of thewiseman, 133. 
Kerr's Introduction to New Testament 

Study, 203. 
Kidder's Dissertation on the Messiah, 

Kirchhofer's Quellensammlung, 10, 97. 
Kitto's Cyclopedia, 265. 
Kuinoel, Novi Testamenti Libri His- 

torici, 201. 

Lachmann's Testamentum Grajcum, 

72, 189. 
Language of Matthew's Gospel, 110- 

128 ; of Mark's Gospel, 183-187 ; of 
Luke's Gospel, 230, 231. 

Language of Judsea in the time of 

Christ, 126. 
Latin expressions in Mark's Gospel, 181. 
Latin version (the old Italic), 20. 
Lee, Archdeacon, Inspiration of the 

Holy Scriptures, referred to, 118. 
Levi, supposed to be different from 

Matthew, 105. 
Lewis, Mrs., the Sinaitic Palimpsest, 

Lightfoot, Dr. John, quoted, 162, 175, 

Lightfoot's Essays on Supernatural 

Religion, 65 ; the Apostolic Fathers, 

Logia, meaning of the term as used 

by Papias, 65. 
Lord's prayer, the, as given in Luke's 

Gospel, 240. 
Luke, Gospel of: its genuineness, 209- 

221 ; its relation to Marcion's Gospel, 



218 ; its author, 221 ; sources, 225 ; 
design, 228 ; language, 230 ; cliarac- 
teristics, 231 ; integrity, 237 ; date, 
244 ; contents, 247. 
Luke, the Evangelist : notices of, in 
Scripture, 222-224 ; in Church liis- 
tory, 225. 

Maclear's Commentary on Mark, 1 78, 

M'Clellan's New Testament, 80, 134, 
161, 193. 

Magi, visit of the, 133. 

Mansel's Commentary on Mattliew's 
Gospel, 158, 263 ; Gnostic heresies, 

Manuscripts of the New Testament, 
72, 73. 

Marcion : Gospel of, 8 ; sketch of his 
life, 213 ; works in relation to his 
Gospel, 213 ; his views, 2ir» ; re- 
lation of his Gospel to that of Luke, 

Mark, Gospel of: literature, 167 ; gen- 
uineness, 167-172; author, 172; 
sources, 177 ; design, 181 ; charac- 
teristics, 185 ; integrity, 187-191 ; 
date, 202-208 ; contents, 207. 

Mark, the Evangelist : notices in 
Scripture, 172 ; supposition of two 
Marks, 174 ; supposed to be the 
young man who followed Christ, 
175 ; notices in ecclesiastical his- 
tory, 176. 

Marsli, Bishop, his theory of the 
formation of the Gospels, 57. 

Marsliall, Professor, on the Aramaic 
Gospel, 60. 

Mary, Luke gives the genealogy of, 

Massacre of the infants of Bethlehem, 

Matthew, Gospel of: literature, 90 ; 
genuineness, 90-104 ; author, 104 ; 
sources, 106; design, 108; language, 
111-128 ; integrity, 129-139 ; date, 
139-144 ; contents, 144. 

Matthew, tlie Evangelist : notices in 
Scripture, 104 ; .sui)posed to be 
(iilferciit from Levi, 105 ; notices in 
ecclesiastical history, 106. 

Matthew and Luke's (iospels independ- 
ent of each other, 50. 

Messiahsliijt of Jesus, proofs of, in 
Matthew's Gnsj.el, 109. 

Meri vale's History of the Romans, 283. 

Meyer's Commentary on Matthew, 99, 
117, 129, 165, 257 ; (^innmentary on 
Mark, 172 ; Commentary on Luke, 
228, 243. 

Michaelis' Introduction to the New 
Testament by Bishop Marsh 57, 143, 
155, 161, 197. 

Milligan, Professor, maintains the 
genuineness of the Epistle of Bar- 
nabas, 94. 

Mommsen's Provinces of the Roman 
Emjnre, 282. 

Morison's Commentary on Mattliew, 
119, 166, 257. 

Morison's Commentary on Mark, 201. 

Muratorian canon, 14, 168, 211. 

Mutual relations of the Synoptic 
Gospels, 22-42. 

]\lythical incidents sujjposed to be in 
"Matthew's Gospel, 102. 

Narhative, the threefold, 24 ; the 
twofold narrative : Matthew and 
Mark, 28 ; Mark and Luke, 30 ; 
Matthew and Luke, 30 ; the single 
narrative : Matthew, 32 ; Mark, 33 ; 
Luke, 33. 

Nazarenes and Ebionites distinguished, 

Nazaritcs, the, 157. 

Neander's Life of Christ, 135. 

Nicephorus, Hist. Eccl., 177, 224. 

Nicholson's Gospel according to the 
Hebrews, 123. 

Norton's Genuineness of the Gospels : 
on the early ditl'usion of the Gospels, 
12 ; on the verbal agreements in the 
Gospels, 36 ; supports the theory of 
oral tradition, 52; su])poses that there 
are mythical additions to Matthew's 
Gospel, 102 ; denies the authen- 
ticity of the first two chapters of 
Matthew's Gospel, 129 ; considers 
the visit of the magi to be legendary, 
133 ; rejects Luke's account of the 
bloody sweat, 242 ; considers the 
genealogy given by Matthew to be 
an interpolation, 250. 

OiiJKCTiONs to the genuineness of 
Matthew's Gosj.el, 98-104; of 
Mark's Gospel, 170-172 ; of Luke's 
Gospel, 213-221. 

Olshauseii on the Gospels, 40, 213. 

Origen distiiigiiishes between Matthew 
and Levi, 105; testimony to a 
Hebrew Matthew, 111 ; on the 
(iospel according to the Hebrews, 
122 ; connection between Luke and 
Paul, 224. 

Osiandor's Harmonia cvangeliorum, 

Palky's Evidences, 18. 



Panta3nus, his testimony to a Hebrew 
Matthew, 111. 

Papias, extract from, 18 ; his refer- 
ences to Matthew and Mark, 62 ; 
meaning of the logia of Matthew, 
65 ; alhision to the Gospel of 
Matthew, 96 ; Matthew composed 
his works in the Hebrew language, 
107, 111 ; his testimony to Mark's 
Gospel, 168 ; Mark did not write in 
order the things said or done by 
Christ, 170. 

Parables of our Lord, 82 ; those 
peculiar to Luke's Gospel, 248. 

Parallels between the Sermon on the 
Mount and the sayings of our Lord 
recorded by Luke, 39. 

Paul, his relation to Luke, 224. 

Peter, the Gospel of, 12, 13. 

Peter, connection between him and 
Mark, 177-180. 

Pfleiderer's Gifford Lectures, 63. 

Philippi's Commentary on the Romans, 

Place of composition of Matthew's 
Gospel, 143 ; of Mark's Gospel, 205 ; 
of Luke's Gospel, 247. 

Polycarp : testimony to Matthew's Gos- 
pel, 96 ; his encounter with Marcion, 

Pritchard, Rev. Charles, on the star of 
the wise men, 133. 

QuiRiNius, census of, 269-284. 
Quotations from the Old Testament 

in Matthew's Gospel, 140-166 ; in 

Mark's Gospel, 184, 185. 

Ramsay, The Church and the Roman 
Empire, 95. 

Resch's Agi-apha, 60, 64, 70, 124. 

Reuss' History of the New Testament, 
62. ^ I 

Revised Version, 74. 

Roberts, Greek the Language of Christ 
and His Apostles, 126, 149, 151 ; 
article in the Thinker on the gene- 
alogy of Christ, 267. 

Row, Jesus of the Evangelists, 46 ; 
Bampton Lectures, 78, 81. 

Rushbrooke's Synopticon, 24, 39, 86. 

Salmon's Introduction to the New 
Testament, referred to, 14, 24, 48, 
68, 77, 171, 219. 

Sanday : articles in the Expositor, 49, 
64, 99 ; Bampton Lectures, 13, 62, 
78, 161 ; his views on the sources 
of the Synoptics, 64. 

Saturninus Sentius, supposed to be 

governor of Syria when Christ was 
born, 276. 

Sayings of Jesus, collection of, 68. 

Schaft', Dr. : independence of the Gos- 
pels, 46 ; sources of the Synoptic 
Gospels, 52 ; two editions of Mat- 
thew's Gospel, 118 ; style of Mat- 
thew, 128 ; language of Luke, 231. 

Schaff' s Oldest Church Manual, 91. 

Schleiermacher, hypothesis of, 58 ; 
critical essay on Luke's Gospel, 227. 

Schmid's Biblical Theology of the New 
Testament, 91. 

Schiirer, Jewish People in the Time of 
Christ, 76, 127, 281, 283. 

Scrivener : on Matthew vi. 13, 138 ; 
on Mark xvi. 9-20, 187-201 ; on 
Luke ii. 14, 239 ; on Luke xxiii. 43, 
44, 244. 

Septuagint, use of, 149. 

Serapion, on the Gospel of Peter, 12. 

Sermon on the Mount, the, 29, 82-84. 

Sinaitic Syrian manuscript, 251-253. 

Sinaitic and Vatican manuscripts, re- 
lation of, 189, 190. 

Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, 55, 
64, 113. 

Smith of Jordanhill, Dissertation on 
the Gospels, 59. 

Socrates' Church History, 106. 

Sources of the Synoptic Gospels, 42- 
71 ; of Matthew's Gospel, 106-108 ; 
of Mark's Gospel, 177-181 ; of Luke's 
Gospel, 225-228. 

Speaker's Commentary, 35, 149, 190. 

Spiritual discernment necessary for 
interpretation, 81. 

S[)iritual songs in Luke's Gospel, 236. 

Stanley, Dean, Sermons on the 
Apostolic Age, 174. 

Star of the wise men, 133. 

Straho on Quirinius, 281. 

Strauss' mythical theory, 21. 

Stroud's Greek harmony of the Gospels, 
35, 45, 86. 

Stuart, Moses, Greek the origina 
language of Matthew's Gospel, 116. 

Style and diction of Matthew's Gospel, 
127 ; of Mark's Gospel, 183 ; of 
Luke's Gospel, 230, 231. 

Suetonius, quoted, 273. 

Swete on the Gospel of Peter, 13. 

Synoptic, meaning of the term, 5. 

Synoptic Gospels : their number, 6 ; 
authors, 9 ; symbols, 9, 10 ; genuine- 
ness, 10-22 ; relation to each other, 
22-43 ; points of agreement, 23 ; 
points of difference, 38 ; sources, 
42-71 ; interpretation, 71-84 ; peculi- 
arities, 84. 



Syraic version, 20. 
Syiia, governors of, 281. 

Taciti's, quoted, 272, 274, 281. 

Tatian's Diatessaron, 14-17 ; omits the 
genealogies, 130 ; contains Mark xvi. 
9-20, 194. 

Teaching in the Synoptic Gospels com- 
pared with the teaching in the 
other books of Scripture, 83, 84. 

TertuUian : genuineness of the Synoptic 
Gospels, 11 ; Gospel of Mark called 
the Gospel of Peter, 177, 180 ; on 
Mark's Gospel, 218 ; statement con- 
cerning the census of Quirinius, 276. 

Theodoret, quoted, 15. 

Theophilus, Luke's Gospel addressed 
to, 228, 229. 

Theories, Synoptic : theory of mutual 
dependence, 44-81 ; of an oral 
gospel, 51 - 56 ; of an original 
document or documents, 56-61 ; the 
two document theory, 61-66. 

Theories of reconciliation of the two 
genealogies : a levirate marriage, 
260-263 ; both give the genealogy 
of Joseph, 263-265 ; Luke gives the 
genealogy of Mary, 265-267. 

Thirlwall, translation of Schleier- 
niacher's Luke, 58. 

Tholuck's Sermon on the Mount, 40, 83. 

Tischendorf's Greek Testament, 72,188. 

Townson, hypothesis of a Greek and 
Hebrew edition of Matthew, 118. 

Tregelles, Canon Muratorianus, 14 ; 
Greek Testament, 72 ; Hebrew the 
original language of Matthew, 113 ; 
Printed Text of the New Testament, 
188, 191 ; rejects Mark xvi. 9-20, 
188, 196. 

Turjiie, The Old Testament in the New, 
146 if ; The New Testament View of 
the Old, 162. 

Ur-Marccs, the hypothesis of an, 66, 
71, 171. 

Vatican and Sinaitic manuscripts, 
their connection, 190; the Lord's 
prayer as given in the Vatican 
manuscript, 240. 

Volkmar, DasEvangelium Marcion,219. 

Wage's articles onTatian'sDiatessaron, 

Warfield, Professor, quoted, 203. 
Weiss, Bernard, Einleitung, 63. 
Weizsiicker's Apostolisches Zeitalter, 

50, 62. 
Wendt, Lehre Jesu, 64, 69, 
Westcott on the Canon, 20. 
Westcott's Introduction to the Study 

oftheGospels,35,42, 52, 69, 113, 188. 
Westcott and Hort's Greek Testament, 

21, 72, 187, 198. _ 
Wieseler's Synopsis of the Four 

Gospels, 86, 134, 137, 278. 
Winer's BiblischesWorterbuch, 1 34, 269. 
Winer's Grammar of N.T. Greek, 278. 
Wiseman, Cardinal, 76. 
Women, prominence given to, in 

Luke's Gospel, 235. 
Wordsworth's Greek Testament, 164. 
Wright, Rev. A., Composition of the 

Four Gospels, ts. 
Wright's Bampton Lectures, 165, 

Year of our Lord's birth, 272, 283. 

Zechakiaii, the son of Barachiah, 

murder of, 142. 
Zahn's Tatian's Diatessaron, 16. 
Zeller's Acts of the Apostles, 212, 219. 
Zerubbabel in the Genealogies, 258- 

260, 267. 
Zumpt's investigations concerning the 

governorsliip of Quirinius, 280-284. 


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BS2569 .4.G56 

Introduction to the synoptic Gospels, 

Princeton Theological Seminary-Speer Library 



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