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the dead and ascended into heaven. He had worked no miracles, though possibly some cases of healing by suggestion had furnished the foundation for the exaggerated stories of His disciples. He thought of God as His Father and of Himself as the Son of God, but this only meant that He realized in an extraordinary degree the Divine fatherhood and that relation of sonship which extends to all mankind. He never thought of Himself as God and never contemplated founding a Church. The predictions of a second coming in the clouds of heaven did not fall from His lips but were the wild apocalyptic notions of His followers, who in after years attributed them to their Master. His own message was neither of redemption nor of a supernatural reign, but only of a kingdom of righteousness and peace and fraternal love among men. Sacraments, which have no meaning where there is neither Incarnation nor Atonement, did not owe their origin to Him but to St. Paul, who borrowed them from the heathen mysteries. If, in the night in which He was betrayed, He took bread and brake it, and took the cup and blessed it, saying "This is My Body, This is My Blood,” He was only enacting a parable of His death, and He did not intend the rite to be repeated. Catholic Christianity, historic Christianity, was then the corruption of the simple teachings of the human Jesus. We may reverence Him for His purity and His life of unwearied benevolence-we may honor Him as the greatest and best of teachers, we may venture to term Him in a sense "divine," but we will never call Him GOD.
Such was the prevailing German thought of the closing half of the nineteenth century and of the first few years of the twentieth. And, as we imported dyes and drugs and potash, so we imported these theories. American teachers of religion, as well as American students in medicine, music, and philosophy, sat at the feet of lecturers in Berlin. These heaped scorn on Catholic theology, called faith superstition and sacraments magic, and strove to reduce Christianity to a cultural humanitarianism which should cease to dream about another world and be content to make this one more amiable, comfortable and
efficient. You have heard the echoes of this doctrine from countless Protestant pulpits, and have found its shibboleth lisped by many within our own fold.
But German "liberalism" is as bankrupt today as is the German philosophy regarding the superman. I am not referring to the pitiful exhibition made at the beginning of the great war by Harnack, Eucken and the rest of the 93 professors who put forth the notorious manifesto attempting to justify that great crime against humanity. I have in mind rather the series of explosions in the intellectual world which has hopelessly wrecked the edifice built up by criticism.
First was the progress made in the study of the New Testament and especially in the analysis of the Gospels, which must now be assigned to a date well within the first century, perhaps so Harnack himself urges-very close to the year 60 A. D. Not only has their composition thus been pushed back to a period certainly within the life of the eye-witnesses of the events and sayings recorded; but it has been shown that they rest on underlying documents, necessarily still earlier, and that these documents display the same conception of the person and teaching of Christ as do our present authorities. Mark is considered the oldest of the four Gospels and, as all know, it is in this that the miraculous element is strongest. The authenticity of nearly all of the epistles attributed to St. Paul is now generally admitted, and the earliest of these, First Thessalonians, is full of eschatology and presupposes the deity of our Lord and indeed almost every article of the Creed. Liberals like Weinel and Wernle have felt themselves compelled to find sacramentalism and sacerdotalism and Catholicism in the writings of the very apostle whom the Protestants of the last generation regarded as their champion against these corruptions! Few things are more amusing than the way that some modern "Evangelicals" shake their heads over the "superstitious and magical" doctrine of the sacraments which they now recognize was held by St. Paul. They are distressed and bewildered, but logic-and the force of prejudice-drives the
liberals one step further. If, ex hypothesi, Jesus taught a nonmiraculous, non-sacramental, non-eschatological religion, then Paul, not Jesus, is the real founder of Christianity, that is of all Christianity apart from the rediscovery by modern critics of the original teaching of the Man of Nazareth.
Matters had reached this stage when Schweitzer dropped his bombshell into the camp, in his famous Quest of the Historical Jesus. The readers of that brilliant book will recall the acute analysis of the various theories of previous critics, and the merciless exposure of their deficiencies. But the most compelling and destructive blow was the relentless manner in which he insisted that the Jesus of the German theologians was not, and could not be, the Jesus of the Gospels. The latter was a different Being from the mild humanitarian teacher whom they imagined as the residuum of historical reality lying behind the documents they so carefully expurgated and denatured. Who has not chuckled over the passage where he charges his opponents with making Jesus a German liberal like themselves, and where he compares them to a man looking down a deep well and seeing his own face reflected at the bottom! With Schweitzer's own position, and with the emphasis he placed on the apocalyptic element in the sayings of Christ and throughout the New Testament, we are not now concerned. We will simply record our conviction, which is that of a large proportion of English and American scholars, that he completely exposed the "bankruptcy" of the traditional liberal criticism. He demonstrated that its theories were utterly at variance with the documents. The Christ it had set up had never existed.
It is this precise point which is pressed by the new school which has raised the question we have placed at the head of this article. It is bolder than the old liberals and does not hesitate to throw overboard the last fragments of Christian doctrine and the conventional phrases by which they had disguised from many of their followers, and probably from themselves, their real departure from the religion of Jesus Christ. The new radicals are often crude, ill-balanced, not very pro
found in scholarship, ready to jump at conclusions on scanty evidence, and far too much inclined to grasp at any fact or fancy which may seem to support their hypotheses. They endeavor to relate rites, beliefs, and ceremonies which have no true connection. They search through the whole field of comparative religion and cull a taboo from Patagonia, a bit of fetish worship from the Congo, a superstition from Tahiti, a ceremony from the mysteries of Isis or Mithras, a legend from Greece, an obscure myth from Babylonia, an allusion from Apuleius or it may be Epiphanius, and mingle all these in a sort of witch's broth to form the explanation of the Christian faith. They ignore historical probabilities, they find warrant for their theories in verbal resemblances like Jason, Joshua, and Jesus; they make primitive Christianity a revolt of the proletariat against capitalism and regard the early congregation as soviets; they build on the sandiest foundations of conjecture, half-truth, misunderstanding, faulty exegesis, prejudice and credulity (for there is no one so credulous as your anti-Christian philosopher); they drown reason in a torrent of assertions and ride triumphantly over common-sense. They have, however, one merit for which we thank them. Critical Bolsheviks, they mercilessly expose the weakness of the Bourgeois liberalism which has imposed itself on the world of scholarship as genuine radicalism.
Kalthoff, with his struggle of labor against capital; Jensen, with his Gilgamesh Epos; Drews and Smith with their primitive saviour-god; and Robertson, with his conglomerate of ancient and alien superstitions; differ in their attempts to account for the origin of Christianity, and the divergence of their theories is a partial measure of their inadequacy. There is one point, however, on which they are in entire agreement-and rightly— namely, the absolute impossibility of so tremendous, so vital, so revolutionary a movement as primitive Christianity deriving its impelling force from the mildly benevolent personality whom liberals suppose as the hero of the Gospels after they have been stripped of all legend and fable. Smith declares him "a shadow,
destitute of any religious value." "He is no more (at utmost) than a very wise, amiable, spiritual, kind-hearted, deepthoughted, heavenly-minded Jewish Rabbi." He adds that the "Harnackian Jesus" does not measure up to the stature of Socrates or even Aristotle." Kalthoff calls him a "ProfessorChrist," and says of the picture drawn by Bousset that "it may be himself, with his ecclesiastical-liberal middle-of-the-road Ritschlianism, but historically it is completely worthless and directly contradicts" the Gospels. This direct contradiction of the Gospels is repeatedly pointed out as the inconsistency which vitiates the entire liberal position. The Gospels, it is declared, with all the rest of the New Testament, proclaim a supernatural Christ, and their historical value is bound up with this truth. It is absurd to accept their testimony in other matters and at the same time reject that which they present as the central fact which interprets all else. So Kalthoff remarks with bitter pungency: "The situation is simply this: Catholic theology is inconvenient to Protestant theologians, therefore they must banish it from primitive Christianity and relegate it to the second century. They cut out with their shears anything which does not suit them, and call this historical criticism. Since, moreover, the New Testament is the source-book of Catholic Christianity nothing real survives this process of amputation, and the theologian has then a free hand in framing what he calls his gospel."
It will be observed that these critics not only admit but insist that the earliest Christian records set forth Jesus as the incarnate Son of God, and are utterly meaningless on any other interpretation. Of course, they do this only to resolve them into an elaborate myth, but their witness is hardly the less valuable. We quote from Smith's Ecce Deus: "It is not true that the earliest Gospel narratives describe any human character at all; on the contrary, the individuality in question is distinctly divine and not human in the earliest portrayals. . . . In Mark there is really no man at all, the Jesus is God or at least essentially divine throughout. It is a profoundly significant