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PART THREE

THE FOURTH GOSPEL

CHAPTER 1. (CONCLUDED)

THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCE

We must now turn to the Clementine Homilies, although, as we have shown, [486:3] the uncertainty as to the date of this spurious work, and the late period which must undoubtedly be assigned to its composition, render its evidence of very little value for the canonical Gospels. The passages pointed out in the Homilies as indicating acquaintance with the fourth Gospel were long advanced with hesitation, and were generally felt to be inconclusive; but on the discovery of the concluding portion of the work, and its publication by Dressel in 1853, it was found to contain a passage which apologists now claim as decisive evidence of the use of the Gospel, and which even succeeded in converting some independent critics. [486:4] Tischendorf [486:5] and Dr. Westcott, [486:6] in the few lines devoted to the Clementines, do not refer to the earlier proof passages, but rely entirely upon that last discovered. With a view, however, to making the whole of the evidence clear, we shall give all of the supposed allusions to the fourth Gospel, confronting them with the text. The first is as follows:
 

HOM. 3:52. JOHN 10:9.
Wherefore he, being the true prophet, said:  
I am the gate of life: he coming in through me cometh in unto life, as there is no other teaching which is able to save. I am the door (of the sheepfold); if anyone enter through me he shall be saved, and shall go in and shall go out and shall find pasture.
Dia touto autos alêthês ôn prophêtês elegen,  
Egô eimi pulê tês zôês, ho emou eiserchomenos eiserchetai eis tên zôên hôs ouk ousês eteras tês sôzein dynamenês didaskalias. Egô eimi hê thura, di emou ean tis eiselthê, sôthêtai, kai eiseleusetai kai exeleusetai kai monên eurêsei.

The first point which is apparent here is that there is a total difference both in the language and real meaning of these two passages. The Homily uses the word pulê instead of the thura of the Gospel, and speaks of the gate of life instead of the door of the Sheepfold. We have already [487:1] discussed the passage in the Shepherd of Hermas, in which similar reference is made to the gate (pulê) into the kingdom of God, and need not here repeat our argument. In Matt. 7:13-14 we have the direct description of the gate (pulê) which leads to life (eis tên zôên), and we have elsewhere quoted the Messianic Psalm 118:19-20: "This is the gate of the Lord (autê hê pulê tou Kuriou); [487:2] the righteous shall enter into it." In another place the author of the Homilies, referring to a passage parallel to, but differing from, Matt. 23:2, which we have elsewhere considered, [487:3] and which is derived from a Gospel different from ours, says: "Hear them (Scribes and Pharisees who sit upon Moses's seat), he said, as entrusted with the key of the kingdom which is knowledge, which alone is able to open the gate of life (pulê tês zôês), through which alone is the entrance to Eternal life." [487:4] Now, in the very next chapter to that in which the saying which we are discussing occurs, a very few lines after it, indeed, we have the following passage: "Indeed, he said further: 'I am he concerning whom Moses prophesied, saying: 'a prophet shall the Lord our God raise up to you from among your brethren as also (he raised) me; hear ye him regarding all things, but whosoever will not hear that prophet he shall die.'" [487:5] There is no such saying in the canonical Gospels or other books of the New Testament attributed to Jesus, but a quotation from Deuteronomy 18:15 f., materially different from this, occurs twice in the Acts of the Apostles, once being put into the mouth of Peter applied to Jesus, [487:6] and the second time also applied to him, being quoted by Stephen. [487:7] It is quite clear that the writer is quoting from uncanonical sources, and here is another express declaration regarding himself: "I am he," etc., which is quite in the spirit of the preceding passage which we are discussing, and probably derived from the same source. In another place we find the following argument: "But the way is the manner of life, as also Moses says: 'Behold I have set before thy face the way of life, and the way of death'; [487:8] and in agreement the teacher said: 'Enter ye through the narrow and straitened way through which ye shall enter into life'; and in another place, a certain person inquiring, 'What shall I do to inherit eternal life?' he intimated the Commandments of the Law." [487:9] It has to be observed that the Homiles teach the doctrine that the spirit in Jesus Christ had already appeared in Adam, and by a species of transmigration passed through Moses and the Patriarchs and prophets: "who from the beginning of the world, changing names and forms, passes through Time (ton aiôna trechei), until, attaining his own seasons, being on account of his labours anointed by the mercy of God, he shall have rest for ever." [488:1] Just in the same way, therefore, as the Homilies represent Jesus as quoting a prophecy of Moses, and altering it to a personal declaration, "I am the prophet," etc., so here again they make him adopt this saying of Moses and, "being the true prophet," declare: "I am the gate or the way of life" -- inculcating the same commandments of the law which the Gospel of the Homilies represents Jesus as coming to confirm and not to abolish. The whole system of doctrine of the Clementines, as we shall presently see, indicated here even by the definition of "the true prophet," is so fundamentally opposed to that of the fourth Gospel that there is no reasonable ground for supposing that the author made use of it; and this brief saying, varying as it does in language and sense from the parallel in the Gospel, cannot prove acquaintance with it. There is good reason to believe that the author of the fourth Gospel, who most undeniably derived materials from earlier Evangelical works, may have drawn from a source likewise used by the Gospel according to the Hebrews, and thence many analogies might well be presented with quotations from that or kindred Gospels. We find, further, this community of source in the fact that in the fourth Gospel, without actual quotation, there is a reference to Moses, and, no doubt, to the very passage (Deut. 18:15) which the Gospel of the Clementines puts into the mouth of Jesus, John 5:46 -- "For had ye believed Moses ye would believe me, for he wrote of me." Whilst the Ebionite Gospel gave prominence to this view of the case, the dogmatic system of the Logos Gospel did not permit of more than mere reference to it.

The next passage pointed out as derived from the Johannine Gospel occurs in the same chapter: "My sheep hear my voice."
 

HOM. 3:52. JOHN 10:27.
Ta ema probata akouei tês emês phones. Ta probata ta ema tês phones mou akouei.

There was no more common representation amongst the Jews of the relation between God and his people than that of a Shepherd and his sheep, [488:2] nor any more current expression than "hearing his voice." This brief anonymous saying was in all probability derived from the same source as the preceding, which cannot be identified with the fourth Gospel. Tradition, and the acknowledged existence of other written records of the teaching of Jesus, oppose any exclusive claim to this fragmentary saying.

We have already discussed the third passage regarding the new birth in connection with Justin, [489:1] and may therefore pass on to the last and most important passage, to which we have referred as contained in the concluding portion of the Homilies first published by Dressel in 1853. We subjoin it in contrast with the parallel in the fourth Gospel:
 

HOM. 19:22. JOHN 9:1-3.
Wherefore also our Teacher when we inquired regarding the man blind from birth and whose sight was restored by him if this man had sinned or his parents that he should be born blind, answered in explanation: Neither this man sinned at all nor his parents, but that through him the power of God might be made manifest, healing the sins of ignorance. And as he was passing by, he saw a man blind from birth.
 2. And his disciples asked him saying: Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he should be born blind?
 3. Jesus answered, Neither this man sinned, nor his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him.
Hothen kai didaskalos hêmôn peri tou ek genetês pêrou kai anablepsantos par' auto exetazôn erôtêsasin, ei outos hêmarten ê oi goneis autou, hina typhlos gennêthê, apekrinato, oute outos ti hêmarten, oute oi goneis autou, all' hina di' autou phanerôthê hê dynamis tou theou tês agnoias iômenê ta amartêmata.  1. Kai paragôn eiden anthrôpon typhlon ek genetês.
 2. Kai êrôtêsan auton oi mathêtai autou legontes, Rabbei, tis hêmarten, outos ê oi goneis autou, hina typhlos gennêthê?
 3. Apekrithê Iêsous, Oute outos hêmarten oute oi goneis autou, all' hina phanerôthê ta erga tou theou en autô.

It is necessary that we should consider the context of this passage in the Homily, the characteristics of which are markedly opposed to the theory that it was derived from the fourth Gospel. We must mention that, in the Clementines, the Apostle Peter is represented as maintaining that the Scriptures are not all true, but are mixed up with what is false, and that on this account, and in order to inculcate the necessity of distinguishing between the true and the false, Jesus taught his disciples, "Be ye approved money-changers" [489:2] -- an injunction not found in our Gospels. One of the points which Peter denies is the fall of Adam -- a doctrine which, as Neander remarked, "he must combat as blasphemy." [489:3] At the part we are considering he is discussing with Simon ñ under whose detested personality, as we have elsewhere shown, the Apostle Paul is really attacked -- and refuting the charges he brings forward regarding the origin and continuance of evil. The Apostle Peter, in the course of the discussion, asserts that evil is the same as pain and death, but that evil does not exist eternally, and, indeed, does not really exist at all, for pain and death are only accidents without permanent force - pain is merely the disturbance of harmony, and death nothing but the separation of soul from body. [490:1] The passions also must be classed amongst the things which are accidental, and are not always to exist; but these, although capable of abuse, are in reality beneficial to the soul when properly restrained, and carry out the will of God. The man who gives them unbridled course ensures his own punishment. [490:2] Simon inquires why men die prematurely and diseases periodically come, and also visitations of demons and of madness and other afflictions; in reply to which Peter explains that parents, by following their own pleasure in all things and neglecting proper sanitary considerations, produce a multitude of evils for their children, and this either through carelessness or ignorance. [490:3] Then follows the passage we are discussing: "Wherefore also our Teacher," etc., and at the end of the quotation he continues: "and truly such sufferings ensue in consequence of ignorance"; and, giving an instance, [490:4] he proceeds: "Now the sufferings which you before mentioned are the consequence of ignorance, and certainly not of an evil act, which has been committed," [490:5] etc. It is quite apparent that the peculiar variation from the parallel in the fourth Gospel in the latter part of the quotation is not accidental, but is the point upon which the whole propriety of the quotation depends. In the Gospel of the Clementines the man is not blind from his birth, "that the works of God might be made manifest in him" -- a doctrine which would be revolting to the author of the Homilies -- but the calamity has befallen him in consequence of some error of ignorance on the part of his parents which brings its punishment; and "the power of God" is made manifest in healing the sins of ignorance. The reply of Jesus is a professed quotation, and it varies very substantially from the parallel in the Gospel, presenting evidently a distinctly different version of the episode. The substitution of pêros for typhlos in the opening is also significant, more especially as Justin likewise in his general remark, which we have discussed, uses the same word. Assuming the passage in the fourth Gospel to be the account of a historical episode, as apologists, of course, maintain, the case thus stands: the author of the Homilies introduces a narrative of a historical incident in the life of Jesus, which may have been, and probably was, reported in many early Gospels in language which, though analogous to, is at the same time decidedly different, in the part, which is a professed quotation, from that of the fourth Gospel, and presents another and natural comment upon the central event. The reference to the historical incident is, of course, no evidence of dependence on the fourth Gospel, which, although it may be the only accidentally surviving work which contains the narrative, had no prescriptive and exclusive property in it; and so far from the partial agreement in the narrative proving the use of the fourth Gospel, the only remarkable point is, that all narratives of the same event and reports of words actually spoken do not more perfectly agree, while, on the other hand, the very decided variation in the fourth Gospel leads to the distinct presumption that it is not the source of the quotation. It is unreasonable to assert that such a reference, without the slightest indication of the source from which the author derived his information, must be dependent on one particular work, more especially when the part which is given as distinct quotation substantially differs from the record in that work. We have already illustrated this on several occasions, and may once more offer an instance. If the first Synoptic had unfortunately perished, like so many other gospels of the early church, and in the Clementines we met with the quotation, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Makarioi oi ptôchoi tô pneumati, hoti autôn estin hê basileia tôn ouranôn), apologists would certainly assert, accordingl to the principle upon which they act in the present case, that this quotation was clear evidence of the use of Luke 6:20, "Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God" (Makarioi ou ptôchoi, hoti humetra estin hê basileia tou theou), more especially as a few codices actually insert tô pneumati, the slight variations being merely ascribed to free quotation from memory. In point of fact, however, the third Synoptic might not at the time have been in existence, and the quotation might have been derived, as it is, from Matt. 5:3. Nothing is more certain and undeniable than the fact that the author of the fourth Gospel made use of materials derived from oral tradition and earlier records for its composition. It is equally undeniable that other gospels had access to the same materials, and made use of them; and a comparison of our three Synoptics renders very evident the community of materials, including the use of the one by the other, as well as the diversity of literary handling to which those materials were subjected. It is impossible with reason to deny that the Gospel according to the Hebrews, for instance, as well as other earlier evangelical works now lost, may have drawn from the same sources as the fourth Gospel, and that narratives derived from the one may present analogies with the other whilst still perfectly independent of it. Whatever private opinion, therefore, any one may form as to the source of the anonymous quotations which we have been considering, it is evident that they are totally insufficient to prove that the author of the Clementine Homilies must have made use of the fourth Gospel, and consequently they do not establish even the contemporary existence of that work. If such quotations, moreover, could be traced with fifty times greater probability to the fourth Gospel, it is obvious that they could do nothing towards establishing its historical character and apostolic origin.

Leaving, however, the few and feeble analogies by which apologists vainly seek to establish the existence of the fourth Gospel and its use by the author of the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies, and considering the question for a moment from a wider point of view, the results already attained are more than confirmed. The doctrines held and strongly enunciated in the Clementines seem to us to exclude the supposition that the author can have made use of a work so fundamentally at variance with all his views as the fourth Gospel, and it is certain that, holding those opinions, he could hardly have regarded such a Gospel as an apostolic and authoritative document. Space will not permit our entering adequately into this argument, and we must refer our readers to works more immediately devoted to the examination of the Homilies for a close analysis of their dogmatic teaching; but we may in the briefest manner point out some of their more prominent doctrines in contrast with those of the Johannine Gospel.

One of the leading and most characteristic ideas of the Clementine Homilies is the essential identity of Judaism and Christianity. Christ revealed nothing new with regard to God, but promulgated the very same truth concerning him as Adam, Moses, and the Patriarchs, and the right belief is that Moses and Jesus were essentially one and the same. [492:1] Indeed, it may be said that the teaching of the Homilies is more Jewish than Christian. In the preliminary Epistle of the Apostle Peter to the Apostle James, when sending the book, Peter entreats that James will not give it to any of the Gentiles, [493:1] and James says: "Necessarily and rightly our Peter reminded us to take precautions for the security of the truth, that we should not communicate the books of his preachings, sent to us, indiscriminately to all, but to him who is good and discreet and chosen to teach, and who is circumcised[493:2] being faithful," [493:3] etc. Clement also is represented as describing his conversion to Christianity in the following terms: "For this cause I fled for refuge to the Holy God and Law of the Jews, with faith in the certain conclusion that, by the righteous judgment of God, both the Law is prescribed and the soul beyond doubt everywhere, receives the desert of its actions." [493:4] Peter recommends the inhabitants of Tyre to follow what are really Jewish rites, and to hear "as the God-fearing Jews have heard." [493:5] The Jew has the same truth as the Christian: "For as there is one teaching by both (Moses and Jesus), God accepts him who believes either of these." [493:6] The Law was in fact given by Adam as a true prophet knowing all things, and it is called "Eternal," and neither to be abrogated by enemies nor falsified by the impious. [493:7] The author, therefore, protests against the idea that Christianity is any new thing, and insists that Jesus came to confirm, not abrogate, the Mosaic Law. [493:8] On the other hand, the author of the fourth Gospel represents Christianity in strong contrast and antagonism to Judaism. In his antithetical system, the religion of Jesus is opposed to Judaism as well as all other belief, as light, to darkness and life to death. [493:9] The Law which Moses gave is treated as merely national, and neither of general application nor intended to be permanent, being only addressed to the Jews. It is perpetually referred to as the "Law of the Jews," "your Law" -- and the Jewish festivals as Feasts of the Jews; and Jesus neither held the one in any consideration nor did he scruple to show his indifference to the other. [493:10] The very name of "the Jews," indeed, is used as an equivalent for the enemies of Christ. [493:11] The religion of Jesus is not only absolute, but it communicates knowledge of the Father which the Jews did not previously possess. [493:12] The inferiority of Mosaism is everywhere represented: "And out of his fulness all we received, and grace for grace. Because the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." [494:1] "Verily, verily I say unto you: Moses did not give you the bread from Heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven." [494:2] The fundamental difference of Christianity from Judaism will further appear as we proceed.

The most essential principle of the Clementines, again, is Monotheism -- the absolute oneness of God -- which the author vehemently maintains as well against the ascription of divinity to Christ as against heathen Polytheism and the Gnostic theory of the Demiurge as distinguished from the Supreme God. Christ not only is not God, but he never asserted himself to be so. [494:3] He wholly ignores the doctrine of the Logos, and his speculation is confined to the Sophia, the Wisdom of Proverbs, 8, etc., and is, as we shall see, at the same time a less developed and very different doctrine from that of the fourth Gospel. [494:4] The idea of a hypostatic Trinity seems to be quite unknown to him, and would have been utterly abhorrent to his mind as sheer Polytheism. On the other hand, the fourth Gospel proclaims the doctrine of a hypostatic Trinity in a more advanced form than any other writing of the New Testament. It is, indeed, the fundamental principle of the work, as the doctrine of the Logos is its most characteristic feature. In the beginning the Word not only was with God, but "the Word was God" (Theos ên ho Logos). [494:5] He is the "only begotten God" (monogenês theos), [494:6] and his absolutely divine nature is asserted both by the Evangelist and in express terms in the discourses of Jesus. [494:7] Nothing could be more opposed to the principles of the Clementines.

According to the Homilies, the same Spirit, the Sophia, appeared in Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and finally in Jesus, who are the only "true prophets," and are called the seven Pillars (hepta styloi) of the world. [494:8] These seven persons, therefore, are identical, the same true Prophet and Spirit "who from the beginning of the world, changing names and forms, passes through time," [494:9] and these men were thus essentially the same as Jesus. As Neander rightly observes, the author of the Homilies "saw in Jesus a new appearance of that Adam whom he had ever venerated as the source of all the true and divine in man." [494:10] We need not point out how different these views are from the Logos doctrine of the fourth Gospel. In other points there is an equally wide gulf between the Clementines and the fourth Gospel. According to the author of the Homilies, the chief dogma of true religion is Monotheism. Belief in Christ, in the specific Johannine sense, is nowhere inculcated, and where belief is spoken of it is merely belief in God. No dogmatic importance whatever is attached to faith in Christ or to his sufferings, death, and resurrection, and of the doctrines of Atonement and Redemption there is nothing in the Homilies - everyone must make his own reconciliation with God, and bear the punishment of his own sins. [495:1] On the other hand, the representation of Jesus as the Lamb of God taking away the sins of the world [495:2] is the very basis of the fourth Gospel. The passages are innumerable in which belief in Jesus is insisted upon as essential." He that believeth in the Son hath eternal life, but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him" [495:3] ... "for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." [495:4] In fact, the whole of Christianity, according to the author of the fourth Gospel, is concentrated in the possession of faith in Christ. [495:5] Belief in God alone is never held to be sufficient; belief in Christ is necessary for salvation; he died for the sins of the world, and is the object of faith, by which alone forgiveness and justification before God can be secured. The same discrepancy is apparent in smaller details. In the Clementines the Apostle Peter is the principal actor, and is represented as the chief amongst the Apostles. In the Epistle of Clement to James, which precedes the Homilies, Peter is described in the following terms: "Simon, who, on account of his true faith and of the principles of his doctrine, which were most sure, was appointed to be the foundation of the Church; and for this reason his name was by the unerring voice of Jesus himself changed to Peter; the first-fruit of our Lord; the first of the Apostles; to whom first the Father revealed the son; whom the Christ deservedly pronounced blessed; the called and chosen and companion and fellow-traveller (of Jesus); the admirable and approved disciple, who as fittest of all was commanded to enlighten the West, the darker part of the world, and was enabled to guide it aright," etc. [495:6] He is here represented as the Apostle to the Heathen, the hated Apostle Paul being robbed of that honourable title; and he is, in the spirit of this introduction, made to play, throughout, the first part amongst the Apostles. In the fourth Gospel, however, he is assigned a place quite secondary to John, who is the disciple whom Jesus loved, and who leans on his bosom. [496:1] We shall only mention one other point. The Homilist, when attacking the Apostle Paul, under the name of Simon the Magician, for his boast that he had not been taught by man, but by a revelation of Jesus Christ, [496:2] whom he had only seen in a vision, inquires: "Why, then, did the Teacher remain and discourse a whole year to us who were awake, if you became his Apostle after a single hour of instruction?" [496:3] As Neander aptly remarks: "If the author had known from the Johannine Gospel that the teaching of Christ had continued for several years, he would certainly have had particularly good reason instead of one year to set several." [496:4] It is obvious that an author with so vehement an animosity against Paul would assuredly have strengthened his argument by adopting the more favourable statement of the fourth Gospel as to the duration of the ministry of Jesus, had he been acquainted with that work.
 


Our attention must now be turned to the anonymous composition known as the Epistle to Diognetus, general particulars regarding which we have elsewhere given. [496:5] This Epistle, it is admitted, does not contain any quotation from any evangelical work, but on the strength of some supposed references it is claimed by apologists as evidence for the existence of the fourth Gospel. Tischendorf, who only devotes a dozen lines to this work, states his case as follows: "Although this short apologetic Epistle contains no precise quotation from any gospel, yet it has repeated references to evangelical, and particularly to Johannine, passages. For when the author writes, ch. 6: 'Christians dwell in the world, but they are not of the world'; and in ch. 10: 'For God has loved men, for whose sakes he made the world … to whom he sent his only begotten Son,' the reference to John 17:11 ('But they are in the world'); 14 ('The world hateth them, for they are not of the world'); 16 ('They are not of the world as I am not of the world'); and to John 3:16 ('God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son'), is hardly to be mistaken." [496:6]

Dr. Westcott still more emphatically claims the Epistle as evidence for the fourth Gospel, and we shall, in order impartially to consider the question, likewise quote his remarks in full upon the point; but, as he introduces his own paraphrase of the context in a manner which does not properly convey its true nature to a reader who has not the Epistle before him, we shall take the liberty of putting the actual quotations in italics, and the rest must be taken as purely the language of Dr. Westcott. We shall hereafter show also the exact separation which exists between phrases which are here, with the mere indication of some omission, brought together to form the supposed references to the fourth Gospel. Dr. Westcott says: "In one respect the two parts of the book are united, [497:1] inasmuch as they both exhibit a combination of the teaching of St. Paul and St. John. The love of God, it is said in the letter to Diognetus, is the source of love in the Christian, who must needs 'love God who thus first loved him' (proagapêsanta), and find an expression for this love by loving his neighbour, whereby he will be 'an imitator of God.' 'For God loved men, for whose sakes He made the world, to whom He subjected all things that are in the earthunto whom (pros)He sent His only begotten Son, to whom He promised the kingdom in heaven (tên en ouranô basileian), and will give it to those who love him.' God's will is mercy; 'We sent His Son as wishing to save (hôs sôzôn) …and not to condemn,' and as witnesses of this 'Christians dwell in the world, though they are not of the world.'" [497:2] At the close of the paragraph he proceeds: "The presence of the teaching of St. John is here placed beyond all doubt. There are, however, no direct references to the Gospels throughout the letter, nor indeed any allusions to our Lord's discourses." [497:3]

As we have already stated, the writer of the Epistle to Diognetus is unknown; Diognetus, the friend to whom it is addressed, is equally unknown; the letter is neither mentioned nor quoted by any of the Fathers, nor by any ancient writer, and there is no external evidence as to the date of the composition. It existed only in one codex, destroyed at Strasburg during the Franco-German war, the handwriting of which was referred to the thirteenth or fourteenth century; but it is far from certain that it was so old. The last two chapters are a falsification by a later writer than the author of the first ten. There is no internal evidence in this brief didactic composition requiring or even suggesting its assignment to the second or third centuries; but, on the contrary, we venture to assert that there is evidence, both internal and external, justifying the belief that it was written at a comparatively recent date. Apart from the uncertainty of date, however, there is no allusion in it to any Gospel. Even if there were, the testimony of a letter by an unknown writer at an unknown period could not have any weight; but, under the actual circumstances, the Epistle to Diognetus furnishes absolutely no testimony at all for the apostolical origin and historical character of the fourth Gospel. [498:1]
 


The fulness with which we have discussed the supposed testimony of Basilides [498:2] renders it unnecessary for us to re-enter at any length into the argument as to his knowledge of the fourth Gospel. Tischendorf [498:3] and Dr. Westcott [498:4] assert that two passages -- namely: "The true light which lighteth every man came into the world," corresponding with John 1:9; and: "mine hour is not yet come," agreeing with John 2:4, which are introduced by Hippolytus in his work against Heresies [498:5] with a subjectless phêsi, "he says" -- are quotations made in some lost work by Basilides. We have shown that Hippolytus and other writers of his time were in the habit of quoting passages from works by the founders of sects and by their later followers without any distinction, an utterly vague phêsi doing service equally for all. This is the case in the present instance, and there is no legitimate reason for assigning these passages to Basilides himself, but, on the contrary, many considerations which forbid our doing so, which we have elsewhere detailed.
 


These remarks most fully apply to Valentinus, whose supposed quotations we have exhaustively discussed, [498:6] as well as the one passage given by Hippolytus containing a sentence found in John 10:8 [498:7] the only one which can be pointed out. We have distinctly proved that the quotations in question are not assignable to Valentinus himself -- a fact which even apologists admit. There is no just ground for asserting that his terminology was derived from the fourth Gospel, the whole having been in current use long before that Gospel was composed. There is no evidence whatever that Valentinus was acquainted with such a work.

We must generally remark, however, with regard to Basilides, Valentinus, and all such Heresiarchs and writers, that, even if it could be shown, as actually it cannot, that they were acquainted with the fourth Gospel, the fact would only prove the existence of the work at a late period in the second century, but would furnish no evidence of the slightest value regarding its apostolic origin, or towards establishing its historical value. On the other hand, if, as apologists assert, these heretics possessed the fourth Gospel, their deliberate and total rejection of the work furnishes evidence positively antagonistic to its claims. It is difficult to decide whether their rejection of the Gospel or their ignorance of its existence is the more unfavourable alternative.
 


The dilemma is the very same in the case of Marcion. We have already fully discussed his knowledge of our Gospels, and need not add anything here. It is not pretended that he made any use of the fourth Gospel, and the only ground upon which it is argued that he supplies evidence even of its existence is the vague general statement of Tertullian, that Marcion rejected the Gospels "which are put forth as genuine, and under the name of Apostles, or, at least, of contemporaries of the Apostles," denying their truth and integrity, and maintaining the sole authority of his own Gospel. [499:1] We have shown how unwarrantable it is to affirm from such data that Marcion knew, and deliberately repudiated, the four canonical Gospels. The Fathers, with uncritical haste and zeal, assumed that the Gospels adopted by the Church at the close of the second and beginning of the third centuries must equally have been invested with canonical authority from the first, and Tertullian took it for granted that Marcion, of whom he knew very little, must have actually rejected the four Gospels of his own Canon. Even Dr. Westcott admits that "it is uncertain whether Tertullian in the passage quoted speaks from a knowledge of what Marcion may have written on the subject, or simply from his own point of sight." [499:2] There is not the slightest evidence that Marcion knew the fourth Gospel, and, if he did, it would be perfectly inexplicable that he did not adopt it as peculiarly favourable to his own views. If he was acquainted with the work, and, nevertheless, rejected it as false and adulterated, his testimony is obviously opposed to the Apostolic origin and historical accuracy of the fourth Gospel, and the critical acumen which he exhibited in his selection of the Pauline Epistles renders his judgment of greater weight than that of most of the Fathers.
 


We have now reached an epoch when no evidence regarding the fourth Gospel can have much weight, and the remaining witnesses need not detain us long.

We have already discussed at length the evidence of Tatian in connection with the Synoptics, [500:1] and shall presently return to the question of the Diatessaron as it affects the fourth Gospel. We have now briefly to refer to the address to the Greeks (Logos pros Hellênas), and to ascertain what testimony it bears regarding that Gospel. It was composed after the death of Justin, and scarcely dates earlier than the beginning of the last quarter of the second century. No Gospel and no work of the New Testament is mentioned in this composition, but Tischendorf [500:2] and others point out one or two supposed references to passages in the fourth Gospel. The first of these in order is one indicated by Dr. Westcott, [500:3] but to which Tischendorf does not call attention: "God was in the beginning; but we have learned that the beginning is the power of Reason (Theos ên en archê, tên de archên logou dynamin pareilêphamen). For the Lord of the Universe (despotês tôn holôn) being himself the substance of all, in that creation had not been accomplished was alone, but inasmuch as he was all power, and himself the substance of things visible and invisible, all things were with him (syn autô ta panta). With him by means of rational power the Reason (Logos) itself also which was in him subsisted. But by the will of his simplicity, Reason (Logos) springs forth; but the Reason (Logos) not proceeding in vain, because the first-born work (ergon prôtotokon) of the Father. Him we know to be the Beginning of the world (Touton ismen tou kosmou tên archên). But he came into existence by division, not by cutting off, for that which is cut off is separated from the first; but that which is divided, receiving the choice of administration, did not render him defective from whom it was taken, etc. And as the Logos (Reason), in the beginning begotten, begat again our creation, himself for himself creating the matter (Kai kathaper ho Logos, en archê, gennêtheis, antegennêse tên kath' hêmas poiêsin, autos eautô tên hulên dêmiourgêsas), so I," etc. [500:4]

It is quite evident that this doctrine of the Logos is not that of the fourth Gospel, from which it cannot have been derived. Tatian himself [501:1] seems to assert that he derived it from the Old Testament. We have quoted the passage at length that it might be clearly understood; and with the opening words, we presume, for he does not quote at all, but merely indicates the chapter, Dr. Westcott compares John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (En archê ên ho Logos, k.t.l.). The statement of Tatian is quite different ñ "God was in the beginning" (Theos ên en archê); and he certainly did not identify the Word with God, so as to transform the statement of the Gospel into this simple affirmation. In all probability his formula was merely based upon Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (en archê epoiêsen e Theos k.t.l.). [501:2] The expressions: "But we have learned that the Beginning (archê) was the power of Reason," etc., "but the Reason (Logos) not proceeding in vain became the first-born work (ergon prôtotokon) of the Father. Him we know to be the Beginning (archê) of the world," recall many early representations of the Logos, to which we have already referred: Prov. 8:22, "The Lord created me the Beginning (archê) of his ways for his works (erga), 23. Before the ages he established me, in the beginning (en archê) before he made the earth," etc. In the Apocalypse also the Word is called "the Beginning (archê) of the creation of God," and it will be remembered that Justin gives testimony from Prov. 8:21 f., "that God begat before all the creatures a Beginning (archên), a certain rational Power (dynamin logikên), out of himself," [501:3] etc., and elsewhere: "As the Logos declared through Solomon, that this same … had been begotten of God, before all created beings, both Beginning (archê)," etc. [501:4] We need not, however, refer to the numerous passages in Philo and in Justin, not derived from the fourth Gospel, which point to a different source for Tatian's doctrine. It is sufficient that both his opinions and his terminology differ distinctly from that Gospels. [501:5]

The next passage we subjoin in contrast with the parallel in the fourth Gospel:
 

ORAT. AD GRAECOS, § 13. JOHN 1:5.
And this, therefore, is (the meaning of) the saying: The darkness comprehends not the light. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
Kai touto estin ara to eirêmenon, E skotia to phôs ou katalambanei. Kai to phôs en tê skotia phaintei, kai hê skotia auto ou katalaben.

The context to this passage in the Oration is as follows: Tatian is arguing about the immortality of the soul, and he states that the soul is not in itself immortal, but mortal; but that, nevertheless, it is possible for it not to die. If it do not know the truth, it dies, but rises again at the end of the world, receiving eternal death as a punishment. "Again, however, it does not die, though it be for a time dissolved if it has acquired knowledge of God; for, in itself, it is darkness, and there is nothing luminous in it; and this, therefore, is (the meaning of) the saying, The darkness comprehends not the light. For the soul (psychê) did not itself save the spirit (pneuma), but was saved by it, and the light comprehended the darkness. The Logos (Reason) truly is the light of God, but the ignorant soul is darkness (O Logos men esti to tou Theou phôs, skotos de hê anapistêmôn psychê). For this reason, if it remain alone, it tends downwards to matter, dying with the flesh," etc. [502:1] The source of "the saying" is not mentioned, and it is evident that, even if it were taken to be a reference to the fourth Gospel, nothing would thereby be proved but the mere existence of the Gospel. "The saying," however, is distinctly different in language from the parallel in the Gospel, and it may be from a different Gospel. We have already remarked that Philo calls the Logos "the light," [502:2] and, quoting in a peculiar form Ps. 26:1, "For the Lord is my light (phôs) and my Saviour," he goes on to say that, as the sun divides day and night, so, Moses says, "God divides light and darkness" (ton theon phôs kai skotos diateichisai). [502:3] When we turn away to things of sense we use "another light," which is in no way different from "darkness." [502:4] The constant use of the same similitude of light and darkness in the canonical Epistles [502:5] shows how current it was in the Church; and nothing is more certain than the fact that it was neither originated by, nor confined to, the fourth Gospel.

The third and last passage is as follows:
 

ORAT. AD GRAECOS, 19. JOHN 1:3.
We being such as this, do not pursue us with hatred, but, rejecting the Demons, follow the one God.  
All things were by (hupo) him, and without him was not anything made. All things were made by (dia) him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
Panta hup' autou, kai chôris autou gegonen oude en. Panta di' autou egeneto, kai chôris autou egeneto oude en ho gegonen.

Tatian here speaks of God, and not of the Logos, and in this respect, as well as in language and context, the passage differs from the fourth Gospel. The phrase is not introduced as a quotation, and no reference is made to any Gospel. The purpose for which the words are used, again, rather points to the first chapters of Genesis than to the dogmatic prologue enunciating the doctrine of the Logos. [503:1] Under all these circumstances, the source from which the expression may have been derived cannot with certainty be ascertained, and, as in the preceding instance, even if it be assumed that the words show acquaintance with the fourth Gospel, nothing could be proved but the mere existence of the work about a century and a half after the events which it records. It is obvious that in no case does Tatian afford the slightest evidence of the Apostolic origin or historical veracity of the fourth Gospel.

Dr. Lightfoot points out another passage, § 4, pneuma ho Theos, which he compares with John 4:24, where the same words occur. It is right to add that he himself remarks: "If it had stood alone I should certainly not have regarded it as decisive. But the epigrammatic form is remarkable, and it is a characteristic passage of the fourth Gospel." [503:2] Neither Tischendorf nor Dr. Westcott refers to it. The fact is, however, that the epigrammatic form only exists when the phrase is quoted without its context. "God is a spirit, not pervading matter, but the creator of material spirits, and of the forms that are in it. He is invisible and impalpable," etc. Further on, Tatian says (§ 15): "For the perfect God is without flesh, but man is flesh," etc. A large part of the oration is devoted to discussing the nature of God, and the distinction between Spirit (pneuma) and soul (psychê), and it is unreasonable to assert that a man like Tatian could not make the declaration that God is a spirit without quoting the fourth Gospel.

Returning to the Diatessaron, the position of which in regard to Tatian we have already fully discussed, we must now briefly consider how it affects the argument as to the date and authorship of the fourth Gospel. It is needless to point out that no ascription of the work to the Apostle could be made in the Harmony. Let us suppose it to be even demonstrated beyond doubt that the Diatessaron of Tatian was compiled from our four canonical Gospels, in what degree does this establish the authenticity of the fourth Gospel as the work of the Apostle John? Even according to apologetic critics, as we have seen, the composition of the Diatessaron must be assigned to AD 170, and there are good reasons for dating it some years later. [504:1] Of course, the fourth Gospel must have been in existence before that date if it formed part of the Diatessaron. It must be remembered, however, that the Harmony was not an official or ecclesiastical compilation involving the idea of contents already recognised as canonical by the Church. On the contrary, the Diatessaron was the work of a heretic, and, so far from having ecclesiastical sanction on any grounds, it was condemned by the Church in the person of Theodoret, and the copies of it circulating in his diocese were confiscated. The grounds for this suppression which are stated are, it is true, the omission of genealogies; but still the tendency was considered mischievous. This judgment was pronounced little short of 300 years after its composition; but still, as the work of a heretic and an irresponsible writer, it is not possible to maintain that the Gospels out of which it was compiled must previously have long enjoyed the sanction of the Church.

How long must the fourth Gospel have been in existence before its supposed use by Tatian becomes reasonable? It has to be borne in mind that, in those days of manuscript books, a Gospel did not issue from the hands of the scribe like a volume from the University Press, with its author's name and a date on the title-page. A work of the literary excellence of the fourth Gospel, evidently pretending to have been written by the Apostle John, calling himself -- for no one else did so -- the "beloved disciple," would, in such an age, rapidly attain to acceptance, especially as it would, for the mass of Christians, if not for all without exception, have been impossible, even a year after such a manuscript work was circulated, to say when it had actually been composed. If we suppose it to have been in circulation twenty or twenty-five years, which would have been more than ample for the purpose, that would only carry back the date of the fourth Gospel to the middle of the second century; or if we even allow thirty or thirty-five years -- an age at such a period -- we do not get back beyond AD 140. More than this, if even so much need be conceded, is not demanded by the hypothesis that it was used by Tatian, and its presence in the Diatessaron, whilst giving us no information whatever as to the authorship or authenticity, would thus in no way warrant the ascription of the fourth Gospel to the Apostle John. As evidence for miracles and the reality of Divine revelation it has no real importance.
 


We have generally discussed the testimony of Dionysius of Corinth, [505:1] Melito of Sardis, [505:2] and Claudius Apollinaris, [505:3] and need not say more here. The fragments attributed to them neither mention nor quote the fourth Gospel, but in no case could they furnish evidence to authenticate the work. The same remarks apply to Athenagoras. [505:4] Dr. Westcott only ventures to say that he "appears to allude to passages in St. Mark and St. John, but they are all anonymous." [505:5] The passages in which he speaks of the Logos, which are those referred to here, are certainly not taken from the fourth Gospel, and his doctrine is expressed in terminology which is different from that of the Gospel, and is deeply tinged with Platonism. He appeals to Proverbs 8:22, already so frequently quoted by us, for confirmation by the Prophetic Spirit of his exposition of the Logos doctrine. [505:6] He nowhere identifies the Logos with Jesus; indeed, he does not once make use of the name of Christ in his works. He does not show the slightest knowledge of the doctrine of salvation so constantly enunciated in the fourth Gospel. There can be no doubt, as we have already shown, [505:7] that he considered the Old Testament to be the only inspired Holy Scriptures. Not only does he not mention or quote any of our Gospels, but the only instance in which he makes any reference to sayings of Jesus otherwise than by the indefinite phêsi, "he says," is one in which he introduces a saying which is not found in our Gospels by the words: "The Logos again saying to us:" (palin hêmin legontos tou Logou), etc. From the same source, which was obviously not our canonical Gospels, we have, therefore, reason to conclude that Athenagoras derived his knowledge of Gospel history and doctrine. We need not add that this writer affords no testimony as to the origin or character of the fourth Gospel.
 


It is scarcely worth while to refer to the Epistle of Vienne and Lyons, a composition dating at the earliest AD 177-178, in which no direct reference is made to any writing of the New Testament. [505:8] Acquaintance with the fourth Gospel is argued from the following passage:
 

EPISTLE, § 4. JOHN 16: 2.
And thus was fulfilled the saying of our Lord:  
The time shall come in which every one that killeth you shall think that he offereth a service unto God. But the hour cometh that every one that killeth you may think that he offereth a service unto God.
Eleusetai kairos en hô pas ho apokteinas humas, doxei latreian prospherein tô Theo All' erchetai hora hina pas ho apokteinas humas doxê latreian prospherein tô Theô.

Such a passage cannot prove the use of the fourth Gospel. No source is indicated in the Epistle from which the saying of Jesus, which, of course, apologists assert to be historical, was derived. It presents decided variations from the parallel in the fourth Gospel; and in the Synoptics we find sufficient indications of similar discourses [506:1] to render it very probable that other Gospels may have contained the passage quoted in the Epistle. In no case could an anonymous reference like this be of any weight as evidence for the Apostolic origin of the fourth Gospel.
 


We need not further discuss Ptolemaeus and Heracleon. We have shown [506:2] that the date at which these heretics flourished places them beyond the limits within which we propose to confine ourselves. In regard to Ptolemaeus, all that is affirmed is that, in the Epistle to Flora ascribed to him, expressions found in John 1:3 are used. The passage as it is given by Epiphanius is as follows: "Besides, that the world was created by the same, the Apostle states (saying all things have been made (gegonenai) by him and without him nothing was made)" (Eti ge tên tou kosmou dêmiourgian idian legei einai (hate panta di autou gegonenai, kai choris autou gegonen ouden) ho apostolos). [506:3] Now, the supposed quotation is introduced here in a parenthesis interrupting the sense, and there is every probability that it was added as an illustration by Epiphanius, and was not in the Epistle to Flora at all. Omitting the parenthesis, the sentence is a very palpable reference to the Apostle Paul and Coloss. 1:16. In regard to Heracleon, it is asserted, from the unsupported references of Origen, [506:4] that he wrote a commentary on the fourth Gospel. Even if this be a fact, there is not a single word of it preserved by Origen which in the least degree bears upon the apostolic origin and trustworthiness of the Gospel. Neither of these heresiarchs, therefore, is of any value as a witness for the authenticity of the fourth Gospel.
 


The heathen Celsus, as we have shown, [506:5] wrote at a period when no evidence which he could well give of his own could have been of much value in supporting our Gospels. He is pressed into service, [507:1] however, because, after alluding to various circumstances of Gospel history, he says: "These things, therefore, being taken out of your own writings, we have no need of other testimony, for you fall upon your own swords"; [507:2] and in another place he says that certain Christians "alter the Gospel from its first written form in three-fold, four-fold, and many-fold ways, and remould it in order to have the means of contradicting the arguments (of opponents)." [507:3] This is supposed to refer to the four canonical Gospels. Apart from the fact that Origen replies to the first of these passages that Celsus has brought forward much concerning Jesus which is not in accordance with the narratives of the Gospel, it is unreasonable to limit the accusation of "many-fold" corruption to four Gospels, when it is undeniable that the Gospels and writings long current in the Church were very numerous. In any case, what could such a statement as this do towards establishing the Apostolic origin and credibility of the fourth Gospel?
 


We might pass over the Canon of Muratori entirely as being beyond the limit of time to which we confine ourselves, [507:4] but the unknown writer of the fragment gives a legend with regard to the composition of the fourth Gospel which we may quote here, although its obviously mythical character renders it of no value as evidence regarding the authorship of the Gospel. The writer says:
 
  Quarti euangelicorum Iohannis ex decipolis
Cohortantibus condescipulis et episcopis suis
dixit conieiunate mihi hodie triduco et quid
cuique faerit reuelatum alterutrum
nobis ennarremus eadem nocte reue
latum Andrea ex apostolis ut recognis
centibus cunctis Iohannis suo nominee
cuncta describeret et ideo [507:5] licit uaria sin
culis euangeliorum libris principia
doceantur nihil tamen differt creden
tium fidei cum uno ac principali spiritu de
clarata sint in omnibus ommia de natiui
tate de passione de resurrectione
de conuersatione cum decipulis suis
ac de gemino cius aduentu
primo in humilitate dispectus quod fo …
it [507:6] secundum potestate regali … pre
clarum quod futurum est [508:1] quid ergo
mirum si Iohannes tam constanter
sincula etiam in epistulis suis proferat
dicens in semeipsu quae uidimus oculis
nostris et auribus audiuimus et manus
nostrae palpauerunt haec scripsimus uobis
sic enim non solum uisurem sed et auditorem
sed et scriptorem omnium mirabilium domini per ordi
nem profetetur
 

"The fourth of the Gospels, of John, one of the disciples. To his fellow disciples and bishops (Episcopis) urging him he said: 'Fast with me today for three days, and let us relate to each other that which shall be revealed to each.' On the same night it was revealed to Andrew, one of the Apostles, that, with the supervision of all, John should relate all things in his own name. And, therefore, though various principles (principia) are taught by each book of the Gospels, nevertheless it makes no difference to the faith of believers, since, in all, all things are declared by one ruling Spirit concerning the nativity, concerning the passion, concerning the resurrection, concerning the intercourse with the disciples, and concerning his double advent; the first in lowliness of estate, which has taken place, the second in regal power and splendour, which is still future. What wonder, therefore, if John should so constantly bring forward each thing (singula) also in his Epistles, saying in regard to himself: The things which we have seen with our eyes, and have heard with our cars, and our hands have handled, these things have we written unto you. For thus he professes himself not only an eye-witness and hearer, but also a writer of all the wonders of the Lord in order."

It is obvious that in this passage we have an apologetic defence of the fourth Gospel, which unmistakably implies antecedent denial of its authority and Apostolic origin. The writer not only ascribes it to John, but he clothes it with the united authority of the rest of the Apostles, in a manner which very possibly aims at explaining the supplementary chapter 21, with its testimony to the truth of the preceding narrative. In his zeal, the writer goes so far as to falsify a passage of the Epistle, and convert it into a declaration by the author of the letter himself that he had written the Gospel. "'The things which we have seen, etc., these things have we written unto you' (haec scripsimus vobis). [508:2] For thus he professes himself not only an eye-witness and hearer, but also a writer of all the wonders of the Lord in order." Credner argues that in speaking of John as "one of the disciples" (ex discipulis), and of Andrew as "one of the Apostles," the writer intends to distinguish between John the disciple, who wrote the Gospel and Epistle, and John the Apostle, who wrote the Apocalypse, and that it was for this reason that he sought to dignify him by a special revelation, through the Apostle Andrew, selecting him to write the Gospel. Credner, therefore, concludes that here we have an ancient ecclesiastical tradition ascribing the Gospel and first Epistle to one of the disciples of Jesus different from the Apostle John. [509:1] Into this we need not enter, nor is it necessary for us to demonstrate the mythical nature of the narrative regarding the origin of the Gospel. We have merely given this extract to make our statement regarding it complete. Not only is the evidence of the fragment of no value, from the lateness of its date and the uncritical character of its author, but a vague and fabulous tradition recorded by an unknown writer could not, in any case, furnish testimony calculated to establish the Apostolic origin and trustworthiness of the fourth Gospel.
 


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