Fenton John Anthony Hort.

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Met by Once more, despite the striking contrast in tone


teaching between the first passage and the second and third,
there is unquestionably a real connexion between the
first and the second. The positive teaching in iv. 4, 5
is evidently not simply laid down beforehand for a
future time, but put forward as a necessary doctrine
for the present, and thus implies that, as was to be
expected, the germs of what would hereafter amount
to a revolt from the faith (the faith of the Incar-
nation) (to be taught apparently by heathen oracles
or other authorities of heathen religion, for such
seems to be the meaning of " teachings of demons ")


were already to be found lurking under plausible
forms ; nay, that apparently Timothy himself had
some need to be warned against them, at least so far
as the matter of foods was concerned. The Christian
teaching set up in vv. 4, 5 against the anticipated i Tim iv
errors is itself according to v. 6 to be at once put 4
before the brethren.

In all this there is no sign of a speculative kind of But not
dualism. We have before us a practical ethical or ^ eei
religious teaching, a crude and hasty way of trans-
lating into action the true perception that for man in
his present state all virtuous or godly life involves
orderly restraint of the natural bodily desires. Such
a rule of life may either rest on a speculative basis, as
it did in much Platonic philosophy and in the Persian
religion and Manicheism, or it may be independent
of all such theoretical foundations. In the absence
of more distinctive characteristics it is vain to try to
determine the source of the tendencies here described.

For our purpose, however, it is natural to ask Possibly

r T i T- Judaic in

whether they came from the J udaism of Ephesus. origin
Contempt for marriage was certainly not what we
should look for in a Jewish community *. Simon Ben
Azai's(Cent. II.) seclusion from his wife was evidently
regarded 2 by the Rabbis as altogether exceptional.
Yet it may have been otherwise with Jews of the

1 Yet cf. Hebr. xiii. 4 [Ed.].

2 Jost, Gesch. d. Judtnth. ii. 97 ff. ; Gratz, Gnosticismus u.
Jtidenthum 71 ff.

H. J. C. 10


Dispersion, peculiarly exposed to various foreign
influences. It is remarkable that in the midst of
this context St Paul bids Timothy avoid the profane
and old wives' fables. In Titus i. 13 we hear distinctly
of "Jewish fables" and that in connexion with "com-
mandments of men ". It cannot be proved that the
fivdoi in the two Epistles are of the same kind : but
the presumption is that they are, more especially when
Tim i 4 the /Avdoi of an earlier place in this same Epistle
had every appearance of being Jewish.

On the whole then in the Pastoral Epistles, no less
than in Colossians, it seems impossible to find clear
evidence of speculative or Gnosticising tendencies.
We do find however a dangerous fondness for Jewish
trifling, both of the legendary and of the legal or
casuistical kind. We find also indications, but much
less prominent, of some such abstinences in the
matter of foods (probably chiefly animal food and
wine) as at Colossae and Rome, with a probability
that marriage would before long come likewise under
a religious ban. But of circumcision and the per-
petual validity of the law we have nothing.



FROM St Paul and the churches which he founded
or to which he wrote we come back to the East. Of
the remaining books of the New Testament, at least
four belong to the decade preceding the Fall of
Jerusalem. These four are the Epistles bearing the
names of James, I Peter, Hebrews, and the Apoca-
lypse embodying the Epistles to the seven Churches.
All of them have some bearing, direct or indirect, on
our subject, though in unequal degrees. They do
not claim however more than a small part of our
remaining time.

The Epistle of St James.

The Epistle bearing the name of James is still the Author-
subject of endless discussions. My own belief is first, S j)a
that it is not the work of a late writer assuming
wrongly the name of James but a true and authentic
product of the apostolic age ; and secondly that the

10 2


James who wrote it was the James of the latter part
of the Acts, he who was known as the Lord's brother,
not himself of the original Twelve but specially
associated with them at Jerusalem, and the head of
the local Church there. The apparent immaturity,
as it were, of its teaching, together with other sub-
ordinate considerations, leads many who accept its
genuineness to place it very early, at least as early
as any Epistle of the New Testament. They are
then obliged to assume that the whole of the famous
passage on faith and works in ii. 14 26 has nothing
to do with St Paul, and is to be explained by
language found in Jewish writers. The passages
hitherto adduced, however, do not appear to me to be
adequate to support this theory so far as vv. 21 25
are concerned, and it seems more natural to suppose
that a misuse or misunderstanding of St Paul's
teaching on the part of others gave rise to St James's
carefully guarded language. It follows that St Paul's
controversy with the Judaizers, which for us is
summed up permanently in Romans i viii, must
have preceded ; and there is no tangible evidence at
variance with this conclusion. Nay, the state of
things which could lead to the writing of such a
letter does not seem likely to have arisen very
quickly. On the other hand, the latest limit is fixed
by St James's death. Assuming the genuineness of
Ant. xx. the passage relating to him in Josephus, and I see no
good reason to question it, the events associated with


it in Josephus's narrative fix it to the year 62 ; and
though the vaguer language of Hegesippus, if it Eus. H.E.

li 23-

stood alone, would suggest a time nearer to the siege

of Jerusalem by the Romans, it is not really at

variance with this date. How long before St James's

death the Epistle was written, we cannot tell: but

the evident growth of persecution implied in the first e.g. i i ; v

and last sections suggests a late rather than a IC

relatively early year.

The recipients of the Epistle according to i. i are Recipients
"the twelve tribes that are in the Dispersion," and
this very full phrase unaccompanied by words
suggesting another than the literal meaning cannot
naturally be understood except of Jews ; while other
passages shew Christian Jews, and apparently these
alone, to be intended. Here and everywhere in the
Epistle the Gentiles are neither included nor ex-
cluded ; they are simply left out of account. If it
was true to say that they were equal members of the
new Israel of God, it was no less true to say, as
St Paul and St John likewise virtually say, that
Christian Jews were now the only true and adequate
members of the ancient Israel, the faithful remnant,
in prophetic language, in the midst of ' faithless and
disobedient' members of the same people. Ad-
ditional emphasis is given to this conception by rat?
SwBe/ca </>iAai9, which signifies the ideal unbroken
unity of the people 1 . The geographical compre-

1 Cf. TO 8<a5eKa.<t>v\ov in Acts xxvi. 7 ; Clem. Rom. 55 ; Protev, Joe. i.


hensiveness of the address would in the full doubt-
less be hardly carried out in the actual destin-
ation of the Epistle. But the homeward return of
Jews, probably including Jewish Christians, who had
come from distant lands to Jerusalem for the Pente-
costal or another feast, would afford St James an
opportunity of diffusing his letter widely enough ;
and it was natural and fitting that he, as the acknow-
ledged head of the Church of Jerusalem, should send
this word of exhortation and encouragement under
trying circumstances to those Christians throughout
the empire whose earlier religion had been not
heathen but Jewish. It does not follow however that
we can learn much respecting Jewish Christians of
the Dispersion from the Epistle. It is not even safe
to assume that they formed distinct congregations
from those of Gentile Christians. Thus in ii. 2 (kav
yap elcre\0r) et? (rvvaycoyrjv V/AWV avrfp xpv(ro$aKTv\ios
etc.) St James's appeal would have none the less force
if Gentile Christians were worshippers in the same
congregation ; and the term o-vvaywyij is that which
St James from his Palestinian experience would
naturally and rightly use even if some or all of the
congregations to which the recipients of the letter
belonged were called not a-vvaywyai but eKtcXya-iai.
In v. 14 rot/? 7rpe<7/3fT/Jov<? r^9 etcfcXrjcria^ is even a
less distinctive phrase. Again, as regards the social
conditions and moral evils to which the Epistle
refers, it is not necessary to suppose that St James


had an exact knowledge of the condition of the
various Christian Churches of the Dispersion, which
doubtless differed much from each other in important
circumstances. The primary picture seems rather to
be reflected from his own experience of the state of
things at Jerusalem, which he knew was likely in one
form or another to reproduce itself wherever Jews
were to be found, whether they had become Christian
Jews or not.

For our purpose it is sufficient to cast a glance at Charac-
some features of St James's own teaching. Unlike Teaching
as it is on the surface to that of the other books of
the New Testament, it chiefly illustrates Judaistic
Christianity by total freedom from it. We find not
a word breathing the spirit which chafed at St Paul's
gospel to the Gentiles. We do not find even a
temporary veneration for the as yet unabolished
sanctities of Jewish ritual or polity. The echoes
of the Sermon on the Mount have been often noticed:
but what especially concerns us to observe is how
deeply St James has entered into that part of the
Sermon on the Mount which we examined at the
outset, the true manner of the fulfilment of the Law.
The Law itself in a true sense stands fast : but this Ja H 10 f.
permanence belongs to that in it which has the
nature of a perfect law, a law of liberty, a royal law.
Nay, just as our Lord appealed from the Mosaic Mt xix 8
legislation to the Divine word spoken " from the
beginning," as the utterance as it were of the Law


within and behind the Law, so various sayings of
eg- i n St James, rightly understood, carry us back to the
primary creation in the Divine image as the true
standard of a right life ; and thus implicitly lead the
way to the restoration of the Divine image which is
made possible by the Gospel.

The doctrinal position thus assumed involves
traditional however no necessary contradiction to the position

which he is said to have held among the Jews at the
time of his death. It is likely enough that recent
critics are right in conjecturing that some features
in the well-known striking narrative of Hegesippus
Eus. H. E. preserved by Eusebius were borrowed from the Ebio-
nite book called 'AvafBaOpoi 'latcwfiov mentioned
. xxx. by Epiphanius, from which parts of the first book of

the Clementine Recognitions were also apparently
borrowed. This identification indeed presupposes
that the avaftad pol meant are the steps of the
temple ; whereas Epiphanius seems to me to un-
derstand the word figuratively, as it were steps
in teaching, instructions: but it is not at all clear
that he had ever seen the book himself, so that he
may easily have misunderstood the title. Now it
is likely enough that its contents were either largely
or wholly fictitious. But we have no right to assume
that this was the only source of information respecting
St James used by Hegesippus, though it is difficult or
impossible to distinguish precisely whence each of his
statements came. But the general picture which he


draws of St James's sanctity after a Jewish pattern,
and of the veneration felt for him by his countrymen,
is practically supported by the testimony of Josephus,
assuming the passage from the last book of his
Antiquities to be genuine. Most of the details merely
go to shew that St James lived under a permanent
Nazirite vow. This is not more surprising than
St Paul's temporary vow or vows: and this whole
representation of the life of the most prominent
Christian Jew in Jerusalem is, to say the least, fully
consistent with what might be expected in one
holding that position while the Jewish commonwealth
remained apparently unshaken. Nothing had yet
occurred to make it an anachronism. The progress
of the Pauline Gospel among the Gentiles, however
heartily it might be welcomed by St James and his
wiser associates, was but an additional reason why
he should conspicuously maintain that retrospective
aspect of the whole truth of God of which he was by
his very position the appointed representative.

The First Epistle of St Peter.

We come next to St Peter and his great Epistle.
In Gal. ii. 7 he is said to have been recognised as
entrusted with the Gospel of the Circumcision as
St Paul was of the Uncircumcision. This was ap-
parently, as we have seen, at the private conversations
which preceded the great public conference at Jeru-
salem about the circumcision of Gentile converts.



Commis- The same is virtually repeated two verses on, when
"imitedto P e * er ( as ' Cephas ') stands between James and John.
'theCtr- This passage however gives us but one side of St


Peter's function. In St Luke's account of the public
Ac xv 7 conference he stands forward to commend Paul
and Barnabas and their mission to the assembly,
avowedly as being himself the man, through whom
the Gentile Cornelius had been Divinely admitted
into fellowship. The actual counsel adopted by the
assembly, whoever may have privately suggested it
beforehand, comes formally from the mouth of St
Ac xv i 4 James, who begins by ratifying St Peter's significant
appeal to the past. After that verse St Peter's name
disappears from the Acts. The New Testament gives
us no information about the transition in the work of
the Twelve between that day at Jerusalem and the
much later times when we find St Peter writing
his Epistle and St John his Apocalypse. As
however we saw at the outset, the Twelve were from
the first Divinely commanded to preach to the
Gentiles. Through long years they felt it their duty,
equally in obedience to Divine commands, to make
the Holy City and Land their sphere of labour : but
after a while they were bound to go forth. St Paul's
intervening work may well have changed their whole
horizon ; but it had not superseded their own duty.
Under what circumstances the great change took
place, we have unfortunately no knowledge.

To this latter period of the work of the Twelve,


having its predominant character inexorably deter- Treats
mined by the work and life of St Paul, as well as
by our Lord's monitions, St Peter's Epistle belongs.


He writes as one whose commission is universal : of Israel
the local circumstances of the Church of Jerusalem
or of any other Church cannot limit his action or
his view. Nay, writing, as I believe he does, from
Rome, the centre of the Empire, his momentary
local position itself gives additional power to the
universality of his teaching. Like St James, and yet
more than St James, he writes to admonish and
encourage Christians suffering under persecution.
Their Churches were doubtless predominantly formed
from heathen converts : yet he treats them as sharers
in the ancestral prerogatives of Israel ; and that not
by an afterthought, as it were, of the Divine Will, i p e t i 2
but in accordance with the Divine purpose as it
existed before the beginning of things. He teaches
them the truth of the meaning of suffering in the
person of Messiah, first suffering and then glorified; i Peti n
the object of anticipation to the Old Testament pro- i Peti 10
phets who had likewise declared God's coming grace
to reach to all mankind ; the true Paschal Lamb i Pet i i8f.
whose blood had purchased their deliverance from
old heathen bondage. He teaches them likewise to
regard themselves as belonging to a people which
inherits the ancient promises and glories of Israel, j p e t ii 9
an elect race, a royal priesthood. Here therefore,
as in the Epistle to the Ephesians, all that Palestinian


Christianity represented is entirely out of sight.
There is no trace of transitional conditions, in which
the letter of the old Law and Covenant has still a
certain legitimacy. The Israel of the future is the
only Israel in view.

The Epistle to the Hebrews.

The With the Epistle to the Hebrews we return again

Address ^ o Palestine. Such at least is I feel sure the true

of the

Letter address of this mysterious epistle. There was a time
when Egypt, with the temple of Leontopolis for a
sacred centre, was regarded by many critics as the
land for which it was written, and this view has
eminent defenders still. Just now, Rome is still more
a favourite, and that with excellent critics of very
different schools. But, in spite of the difficulties
suggested by the language of some individual verses,
it seems to me morally impossible that the circum-
stances of the Jewish Christians addressed were the
circumstances of any part of the Dispersion : n other
words the great part of the Epistle would have been,
as far as our knowledge goes, beside the mark if
written to any region but Jerusalem and Judea. The
Epistle of St James and that to the Hebrews are
full of striking contrasts, in part no doubt owing to
differences of temperament and position between the
two writers ; but owing likewise to the fact that the
one was written to Christian Jews of the Dispersion
and the other to Christian Jews of Palestine.


The religious condition of these Jewish Christians Dangers to
shews plainly the dangers to faith which inevitably Palestine
beset that form of Jewish Christianity which we have
seen to have been legitimate in Palestine, the adoption
of the Gospel without any disuse of the Law. It was
only for a time that such a combination could be
legitimate, and now the hour was at hand when it
could be legitimate no longer. Meanwhile, before
the announcement of the hour by the trumpet of
Divine judgments, the mere force of long-continued
custom had rendered possible a state of things which
threatened to destroy all reality in men's allegiance
to the Gospel. The freshness of power with which
it had at first laid hold on them had died away, while
the deep-seated instincts of ancestral custom pre-
served all their tenacious influence, and were aided
by the corresponding spiritual degeneracy which
made a religion of sight easier, and apparently more
substantial, than a religion of faith. Then it would
seem that the pressure of the unbelieving Jews, in
the midst of whom the Jewish Christians were living,
was now becoming heavier and more intolerable, in
great measure, doubtless, owing to the unrest caused
by the signs of approaching Roman invasion. Thus,
without abjuring the name of Jesus, His professed
followers in Palestine were to a large extent coming
to treat their relation to Him as trivial and secondary
compared with their relation to the customs of
their forefathers and their living countrymen, and to


Heb x 25 give up that gathering together in Christian congre-
gations which gave outward expression and inward
reality to membership in the true people of God and
of His Christ. We hear nothing about circumcision,
and nothing about Gentile Christians. The Chris-
tianity here rising may be justly called a Judaistic
Christianity; but it was rather the product of a
degeneracy in heart and mind than the expression
of a conscious doctrine or theory.

phe If we compare the course followed by the author

tramitori- f th p j st i e w j t h t h e lines of thought which we have

ness of tne

Law already met with in the Gospels and in the Apostolic
age, it is remarkable that we find nothing of that idea
of an essential permanence of the Law in virtue of the
fulfilment of its Divine purpose which is laid down in
the Sermon on the Mount. Though the writer has
given Levitical observances a kind of prominence
entirely absent in the rest of the New Testament,
the Law is to him a thing that passes away altogether
and is succeeded by something wholly better, the

Heb x i substance of which the Law was but the shadow. In
other words, his teaching resembles that of the second
set of passages in the Gospels, that set to which the
language used respecting John the Baptist belongs.
Twice indeed he quotes the great passage of Jeremiah
on the new covenant which includes among other
things the promise that God will give His laws in
men's hearts and write them on their minds. But,
though, like St James, he never uses the word Gospel


or the verb connected with it, he is not for that
reason led to use such language as St James's about a
Law which is in fact one aspect of the Gospel under
another name, a glorified and evangelic Law. His
choice of subjects for arguments is apparently guided
not by any theoretical considerations, but by a sense
of the influences which were as a matter of fact most
potent with the Hebrew Christians. Priesthood,
sacrifices, ancient covenant, commonwealth, these
were the chief things that seemed substantial and
solid beside the Christian realities that were losing
their power of attraction ; and therefore he dwells on
their inexorably transitory nature, while he points
out that each would pass away only to give place to
something better than itself. To what extent the
writer invites the Hebrew Christians to separate
themselves by their own act from their unbelieving
countrymen is not clear, even from xiii. 13. But at
least he bids them accept the position without the
camp. To be joined to Him who was the Author Heb xii
and Finisher of their faith was primary and essential ;
to be joined to priesthood and sacrifices, to ancient
covenant and commonwealth, was secondary and not
essential : before long it would be impossible, already
it might be becoming wrong.


The Apocalypse.

The day of the Lord which the writer to the
Hebrews saw drawing nigh had already begun to
break in blood and fire when St John sent his Apoca-
lypse to the Gentile Churches of Asia. It is to be
hoped that the drastic criticism which this difficult
book has lately been receiving will have the indirect
effect of ultimately throwing light on the still obscure
historical circumstances under which it was written ;
and on the question whether events specially affecting
the Palestinian Church, in addition to the Fall of
Jerusalem, are to be included among the historical
circumstances implied in its language. Meanwhile
its special interest for our purpose is the testimony
which, when carefully read, it bears to that Apostolic
view of the relations of the Christian Church to
Judaism which we have found in St Paul, St Peter,
and in the Epistle to the Hebrews.

No traces The ^/ua? of i. 5, 6 (and again v. 10) can be none
exclusive- but Christians. Of these St John says that "Jesus
tu " Christ, the witness (or Martyr) who is true, the first-

born of the dead and the ruler of the kings of earth,
who loveth them and had ransomed them from their
sins at the price of His own blood, had also made
them to be a kingdom, priests to His God and
Father." Here the words "a kingdom, priests" are
taken from the words which Moses at Sinai was
Ex xix 6 to speak on the part of Jehovah to the people of


Israel, and which in another (the LXX) translation

are applied by St Peter to the new Israel of Asia i Pet ii 9


So also in chap. xxi. the vision of New Jerusalem in the New


recalls the language of the last chapters of Hebrews, Heb xii 22
as well as of Gal. iv. 26, cf. Phil. iii. 20.

The inscription of the names of the twelve
tribes on the portals, and of the names of the Ap xxi 12
twelve apostles of the Lamb on the foundations ofApxxii 4
the wall must not mislead us into fancying that we
have here a Judaistic dream. This city without a Ap xxi 22
temple bears no sign of Jewish limitation. The
recurring twelve is but a sign that under the Old and

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Online LibraryFenton John Anthony HortJudaistic Christianity; a course of lectures → online text (page 10 of 16)