Samuel James Andrews.

The life of Our Lord upon the earth; considered in its historical, chronological, and geographical relations online

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Since the publication of this work several books
bearing upon its subject have been published, but only
one seems to call for particular notice here ; and this
rather from the sensation it has made in the sceptical
world than from any light it casts upon the earthly life
of our Lord : I mean M. Eenan's " Life of Jesus."
Assuming that the Gospels are not wholly veritable
records but contain a mixture of truth and error, he
attempts to distinguish between these elements, and to
separate the wheat from the chaff. The principle upon
which he proceeds we give in his own words.* " Criti-
cism has two modes of attacking a marvellous narra-

' See his Essay on the " The Critical Historians of Jesus." Frotb-
Ingham's translation.


tion ; for as to accepting it as it stands, it caimot think
of it, since its essence is denial of the supernaturaV^
Of coiii'se he cannot accept the facts of our Lord's life
as given bj the Evangelists, but aims to clear them of
the distortions and perversions that destroy their his-
torical character, and thus to give us a true, genuine
biography of the Founder of Christianity. To those,
therefore, who are curious to see what conception a
learned Frenchman of the nineteenth century, who dis-
believes in a personal God ^ and in all miracles, has of
our Saviour's person and labors, this book has a certain
sad interest ; but so far as the evangelic narratives and
any true historical criticism upon them are concerned,
it has no value. I do not recall any particular in
which it adds anything to om- knowledge of the Gospel
history even in its external features ; much less does it
render us any aid in the understanding of its higher

The importance of M. Kenan's " Life of Jesus " is

^ I would not attribute to M. Renan any opinion he does not hold, but
that he is a pantheist seems fairly inferrible from the letter, as well as
from the general spirit, of his writings. I quote but one passage, as given
by Frothmgham : " The whole question is to know whether God emits
particular acts. For myself, I beheve that the true Providence is not dis-
tinct from the order, so constant, divine, perfectly wise, ju&t and good,
which reigns in the laws of the universe."


cliieflj as a sign of the progress in the sceptical world.
Strauss' work was destructive. He left to his readers
only the name of Jesus, a dim shadow, a cloudy phan-
tasm. M. Eenan undertakes the task of reconstruc-
tion. He will give to the world the real image in flesh
and blood of Him whom so many generations have igno-
rantly and superstitiously adored as the Son of God.
He will reproduce Him before us, and show that Ho
was a natural product of His age, a mere Jewish peas-
ant, with nothing supernatural about Him. !N'ow for
the first time in the miiTor of scientific criticism we can
see Him as He was. And what kind of an image does
he present to us ? T^e see a man, not simply unlearn-
ed, uncultured, but a man weak, deluded, the dupe of
others, and of his own fancies ; and more than this, a
deceiver, a man conniving at imposture and falsehood.'
This is all that M. Eenan can get from the Gospels.
After rejecting the supernatural features of the narra-
tion, thit3 is the highest reality that he can possibly
frame from the residuum.

And the world is called upon to believe that in such
a man Christianity had its som'ce. Will this satisfy the
unbeliever ? The Christian spurns it from him with
abhorrence. From the poor, tawdry, wax figure, the

* See Life of Jesus, ch. sxii.


sentimental entliusiast, the "beautiful" youth, whom
M. Kenan presents to him, he turns away to Him
whom the apostles and martyrs worshipped, in whom
dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, the Image
of God ; to Him who was dead and is alive again for
evermore, and who has the keys of death and helL

The time has now fully come when those who will
not have the Jesus of the Gospels and of the Church,
must construct a Jesus for tliemselves. They deny the
veracity of the Evangelists ; let them, then, explain the
origin of Christianity, and tell us from what fountain this
mighty river has flowed. All experience and pliilos-
ophy, to say nothing of Christian consciousness, reject
the thought that it could originate in such a man as
M. Eenan describes. Here is the probleni for the un-
believer. Given Christianity, its creeds, its history for
eighteen centuries, and tell us who was its founder, what
his life, what his character. That M. Eenan has miser-
ably failed in his attempt at its solution, even now few
will deny. All instinctively feel that no such feeble
nature as he portrays could have received the homage
of Peter and John and Paul, or become an object of
worship to any noble mind. The cause is not ade-
quate to the effect ; the man is not equal to the work.
The problem is yet unsolved for the imbeliever, and


we may safely say tliat for him it will ever remain un-

Eenan, like Strauss, seeks to substitute an ideal for
tlie actual Christ. He says : " What matters it to us
what passed in Palestine eighteen hundred years ago ?
How does it concern us that Jesus was born in such or
such a village, that he had such or such ancestors, that
he suffered on such or such a day of the holy week ? "
It is not true that these particulars are unimportant in
the life of Jesus, for they prove the reality of His
earthly history. Time and place are essential parts of
the great Fact of the Incarnation. The Son of God, in
becoming man, must be born at a certain period of the
world's history, in a certain portion of its territory, and
stand in well-defined relations to certain of its inhabit-
ants. Such limitations belong to the very essence of
His humanity. These outward facts the Evangelists
do not overlook. It is true that they do not enter into
any great minuteness of detail. Of the external events
of the Lord's life for many years we know very little.
Yet they do not neglect those relations of time and
place which are necessary to convince us of the reality
of His earthly existence, and to give us a distinct pic-
ture of His labours.

But it is not facts of this class merely that M. Eenan


regards as unimportant. To Mni the Gospels are as a
fine poem of wliicli Jesus is the hero ; and as we do
not care whether the heroes of Homer had any actual
existence, so is it here. The world may be as much
blessed through the ideal Jesus as tlirough the real.

But let not such language deceive us. Christianity
is a religion of facts, not of ideas. It rests upon the
being of a personal God. It stands or falls with the
reality of the statements in the Apostle's creed. Its
doctrines are only the explanations of its facts. The
Epistles of the E^ew Testament have no meaning
if the Gospels are not historically true. We cannot
too steadily keep in mind that Christianity is Christ.
Jesus did not merely originate a spiritual movement.
He is Himself the living, abiding power of the move-
ment. We look back to no sepulchre ; we look up to
the Living One in the Heavens, Jesus Christ risen
from the dead, the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.
Christianity lives because He lives.

Let then the issue between the sceptic and the be-
liever be kept clearly before us. If Jesus is now at
God's right hand. Head over all things unto the
Church, Christianity lives in Him, and must live so
long as He lives. It is because He is. If, as Strauss
and Henan say. He has no longer any personal exist'


ence ; if lie lives only in history, and as an idea, tlien
Christianity, like other systems, will yield to time, will
suffer the transmutations of all things earthly. A new
teacher will arise and men will follow him. Already,
indeed, we hear many demanding a new Christ, as an
embodiment of a higher ideal. The Christian Church
takes lier stand upon the fact of the present personal
existence of her Head, the man Christ Jesus, who has
now all power in Heaven and earth, and who shall
come again to judge the quick and the dead. He will
in due time vindicate Himself, be His own witness and
avenger. We may wait with patience the appointed

The Life of Jesus by Strauss' recently published
presents nothing new, and calls for no particular notice

* Das Leben Jesu fiir das deutsclie Yolk bearbeitet. 1864.
Hartford, Conn., Od.j 1864.


It may be well to state distinctly here that this
book does not design to enter into any critical in-
quiries respecting the text of the Evangelists. In the
few cases where a historical statement is affected by
the different readings, Tischendorf is followed, use being
made of his " Synopsis Evangelica," Lipsias, 1854. Eef-
erence is also made in such cases to Meyer and Alford,
and occasionally to other authorities, ^oy does it de-
sign to enter into any questions respecting the author-
ship of the Gospels, the time when written, or their
relations to each other. 'Nor does it discuss the point
of their inspiration, but assumes that they are genuine
historical documents, and statements of facts ; and deals
with them as such. ^Nor does it aim to explain or
interpret the Lord's parables, or discourses ; or to dis-
cuss questions of mere archaeology, or of verbal criti-
cism. Those who wish information upon these points
will consult the authors who have written specially
upon them.

The simple purpose of this book is to arrange the


events of the Lord's life, as given us by the Evangelists,
60 far as possible, in a chronological order, and to state
the grounds of this order ; and to consider the difficul-
ties as to matters of fact which the several narratives,
when compared together, present ; or are supposed by
modern criticism to present.

As the necessary foundation for a chronological ar-
rangement, the dates of the Lord's birth and death, and
the duration of His public ministry, are discussed in
brief preliminary essays. The geographical discussions
are all limited to the sites of places directly related to
the Narratives. E'o more notice is taken of the general
history of the time, than is necessary to explain the oc-
casional references of the Evangelists.

Li order not to avoid any points of real difficulty
which the historical statements of the Gospels present,
and, at the same time, not to weary the reader with dis-
cussions of the alleged discrepancies which some critics
find, or affect to find, so thickly strewn upon their
pages, I have selected, as the latest exponents of the
critical tendencies of the times, the Commentaries of the
German, Meyer, and of the Englishman, Alford. Both
of these are ready, and over ready, as I think, to admit
mistakes in matters of fact, and to affirm that the Evan-
gelists, in certain points, cannot be harmonized ; yet
both admit the supernatural element in the Gospels,
and expose and set aside many of the objections of the
merely negative criticism. To these two commentators,
therefore, very frequent reference is made, and whatever


difficulties tliey present, as really such, are for tlie most
part noticed.

From what has just been said, the reader will not
be surprised that no notice whatever has been taken of
Strauss, and his " Life of Jesus." The principle npon
which he proceeds, in his historical criticism, he thus
states : " No just notion of the true nature of history is
possible, w^ithout a perception of the inviolability of the
chain of finite causes, and of the impossibility of mir-
acles." If a miracle is impossible, it is plainly a work
of supererogation to refute in detail a history, which,
upon its face, professes to be a record of supernatural
events. After striking out all that is ascribed to im-
mediate divine agency, as incredible, the residuum is
scarce worth the trouble of contending for. Besides, an
attentive examiuation of Strauss' "Life of Jesus "has
made upon my own mind the impression that he deals
with the evangelic narratives in a most unfair, not to
say dishonest, spirit. Everywhere he finds discrepan-
cies and contradictions ; and one cannot help feeling,
that whatever the Evangelists might have narrated, he
would find as many objections to their statements as
now. For the same reason that nothing is said of
Strauss, no allusion is made to Llennell, or Bruno
Bauer, or others of that school. The Commentaries of
De Wette, and the Life of Jesus by Hase, have high
literary merits, but the sceptical spirit in which they are
written, gives them only a negative value in these in-


It will be noted that the references are almost ex-
clusively to recent writers. This is intentional. To
notice the latest results of modern criticism and inves-
tigation, has been my purpose ; but, at the same time, I
have not neglected to examine the more prominent of
the older writers in this department, so far as I have
been able, from Augustine downward. While, in some
cases, and chiefly those pertaining to chronology and
geography, the wider scope of modern scholarship has
given us new materials for judgment, yet it must be
admitted that in regard to internal discrepancies, not
unfrequently the old solutions are the best. ]^o reader,
familiar with their writings, will be surprised to find
Lightfoot, Lardner, Baronius, Reland, and some others,
here referred to as of high authority, even at this day,
in their respective departments. That so many ref-
erences are made to German writers, is owing to the
fact that no other scholars have labored so diligently
and successfully in this field.

That all will find the solutions of alleged discrepan-
cies and contradictions here given, satisfactory, is not
to be expected. Nor will the chronological order, or
topographical results, be received by all. But it is a
great point gained, to be able to see just wdiat the
amount of the discrepancy or contradiction, if it really
exists, is. Those readers who have been accustomed
to hear, through sceptical critics, of the numerous
errors and mistakes of the Evangelists, will be sur-
prised to learn how few are the points of real difficulty,


and how often tliese are exaggerated by the misinter-
pretation of the critic himself. There are not a few
commentators who adopt the rigid literalism of Osian-
der ; not, like him, to defend the credibility of the Gos-
pel narrative, but to destroy it.

In regard to the exact order of events, there is
room for great differences of opinion, and positive
statements are impossible. There are, however, cer-
tain well marked lines of division, and the precise ar-
rangement of the details is comparatively unimportant,
as not at all affecting the historical accuracy of the
narratives, and must be left to the exegetical tact, or
critical acumen of the student.

It will not be expected that I should present, upon
a subject discussed for so many centuries by the best
minds of the Church, anything distinctively new. Still,
I trust that some points have been set in clearer light,
and that the general arrangement will facilitate the
inquiries of those who seek to know as much as is possi-
ble of the external history of the Lord's works and
words, that they may the better penetrate into their
spiritual meaning. I have given considerable promi-
nence to the great divisions of His work, first in Judea,
and then in Galilee, and to the character of His last
journey to Jerusalem ; both as explaining some peculi-
arities in the synoptical Gospels, and as showing that
His work was carried on under true historic conditions.
There is no fact more important to be kept clearly in
mind in these studies than this, that Jesus was very


man no less than very God. "While recognizing the
supernatural elements in the evangelic narratives
wherever they exist, we are not so to introduce them
as to make these narratives the records of a life neither
human, nor divine. The Lord, in all His words and
works, in His conduct toward the Jews, and His repeat-
ed efforts to make them hear and receive Him, acted
as man, under those laws which God at the beginning
established to guide human action. His life on earth
was in the highest sense a human one, and it is this
fact that gives us the key to the Gospels as real historic

It may properly here be said, that this work was
ready for the press two years since, and that its publi-
cation has been delayed to this time by the troubled
aspect of our political affairs. I cannot regret the
delay, as it has given me the opportunity to examine
several valuable works that have appeared in this inter-
val. Among these are Ellicott's " Historical Lectures
on the Life of our Lord ; " vols, fifth and sixth of Sepp's
'^ Leben Jesu ; " Jones' " Notes on the Scriptures ; " and
Lewin's " Jerusalem." To the first of these, distinguish-
ed by its accurate scholarship and reverential tone, and
which happily has been republished in this country, and
is thus accessible to all, I have made frequent references.
I cannot refrain from expressing my obligations to the
]^otes of the late Judge Jones, whose deep insight into
the meaning of the Evangelists none can doubt, ah
though he may, perhaps, at times be charged with over-


subtlety and refinement. I must also make thankful
mention of the Commentaries on Mark and Matthew,
the latter unhappily unfinished, of the late Prof. J. A.
Alexander, who, without any of the parade of learning,
gives us its most solid results. Some recent works, as
that of Tischendorf, " Aus dem heiligen Lande," Leip-
zig, 1862, came into my hands too late to be of use.

How poor and unworthy of Him, the external as-
pects of whose earthly life I have endeavored in some
points to portray, my labors are, none can feel more
deeply than myself. I can only pray that His blessing
— the blessing that changed the water into wine — may
go with this book, and make it, in some measure, useful
to His children.

Hartfoed, Conx., Oct. 1862.


For the convenience of voimger students, and because, in the
notes I have generally, for the sake of brevity, referred to authors
by their names, and not given the titles of their works, I add here
a list of such of the more recent writers as are most frequently
cited, with the titles in full. The elder writers, whose works are
well known, it is not necessary to include in the list.

Alexander, J. A., Commentary upon Matthew and Mark. New York,

Alford, H., The Greek Testament, vol. I., containiDg the Four Gospels.

New York, 1859.

Barclay, J. T., City of the Great King. Philadelphia, 1858.

Baumgarten, M., Die Geschichte Jesu. Braunschweig, 1859.

Bleek, F., Beitrage zur EvangeUen Kritik. Berlin, 1846.

Bleek, F., Synoptische Erkliirung der drei ersten EvangeUen. Leipzig,

Bloomfield, S. T., Greek Testament, with Enghsh Notes. Boston, 183Y.
Browne, H., Ordo Sasclorum. London, 1844.
Bucher, J., Das Leben Jesu Christi. Stuttgart, 1859.

Clinton, Henry F, Fasti Komani. Oxford, 1845-1850.

De Costa, L, The Four Witnesses. New York, 1855.

De Satjlcy, Dead Sea and Bible Lands, Trans. London, 1854.

Ebrard, J. H. A., "Wissenschafthche Kritik der EraDgehschen Geschichte.
Erlangen, 1850.


Ellicott, C. J. , Historical Lectures on the Life of Our Lord. London,

EwALD, H., Drei ersten Evangelien. GottiKgen, 1850.

" Die Altertbiimer des Volkes Israel. Gottiugen, 1854.

" Geschichte Christus und seiner Zeit. Giittingen, 1857.

Fairbairn, p., Hermeneutical Manual. Philadelphia, 1859.
Friedlieb, J. H., Archaologie der Leidensgeschichte. Bonn, 1843.

" Geschichte des Lebeus Jesu Christi. Breslau, 1855.

Gams, Johannes der Tiiufer. Tubingen, 1853.
Greexleaf, S., Testimony of the Evangelists. Boston, 1846.
Greswell, E., Dissertations upon the Principles of an Harmony of the
Gospels. Oxford, 1837.

Hackett, H. B., Illustrations of Scripture. Boston, 1857.
HoFMANN, R., Das Leben Jesu nach den Apokryphen. Leipzig, 1851.
Hug, J. L., Introduction to New Testament. Trans. Andover, 1836.

Ideler, C, Ilandbuch der Mathematischen und Technischen Chronologic.
Berlin, 1825-1826.

Jartis, S. F., a Chronological Introduction to the History of the Church.

New York, 1845.
Jones, J., Notes on Scripture. Philadelphia, 1861.

KiTTO, J., Life of Our Lord. New York, 1853.

Krafft, C. H. a., Chronologic und Harmonic der vier Evangelien. Erlan-

Lange, J. P., Leben Jesu. Heidelberg, 1847.

Lange, J. P., Bibel Wcrk : Matthiius, Markus, Johannes. Bielefeld,

Lewin, Thomas, Jerusalem. London, 1861.

Lichtenstein, F. W. J., Lebensgeschichte des Herrn. Erlangen, 1856.
Lynch, W. F., Exploration of the Jordan and Dead Sea. Philadelphia,


Messiah, The. London, 1861.

Meyer, H. A. W., Commentar. Die Evangelien. Gottingen, 1855-1858.
Mill, W. H., The Mythical Interpretation of the Gospels. Cambridge,


MiLMAN, H. H., History of Christianity. New York, 1841.
MoRisoN, J. H., Notes on Matthew. Boston, 18G0.

Neaxder, a.. The Life of Jesus Christ. Trans. New York, 1848.
Newcome, Bishop, Harmony of the Gospels, edited by Eobinsou. An-

dover, 1834.
Norton, A,, Translation of the Gospels, with Notes. Boston, 1S5G.

OosTERZEE, J. J., Bibel Werk : Lukas. Bielefeld, 1859.
Osborne, H. S., Palestine, Past and Present. Philadelphia, 1859.
Owen, J. J., Commentaries on Matthew, Mark, and Luke. New York,

Patritius, F. X., De Evangeliis: Friburgi, 1853.

Paulus, H. E. G., Das Leben Jesu. Heidelberg, 1828.

Paulus, H. E. G., Exegetisehes Handbuch, iiber die drei ersten Evange-

lien. Heidelberg, 1842.
Porter, J. L., Handbook for Syria and Palestine. London, 1858.

Raumer, Karl ton, Paliistina. Leipzig, 1850.

Riggenbach, C. J., Leben Jesu. Basel, 1858.

Robinson, E., Biblical Researches in Syria and Palestine. Boston, 1856.

Robinson, E., Harmony of the Gospels. Boston, 1845.

Ritter, Carl, Die Erdkunde von Asien. Baud viii. 15th u. 16th Theile.

ScHAFFTER, A., DcF ilchte Lage des Heiligen Grabes. Berne, 1849.
Schwartz, J., Geography of Palestine. Philadelphia, 1850.
Sepp, J. N., Das Leben Jesu. Regensburg, 1853-1862.
Smith, W., Dictionary of the Bible, vol. L London, 1860.
Stanley, A. P., Sinai and Palestine. New York, 1857.
Stewart, R. W., Tent and Khan. Edinburgh, 1857.
Stier, R., The Words of the Lord Jesus. Trans. Edinburgh, 1855.
Strong, James, Greek Harmony of the Gospels. New York, 1854.
Stroud, W., Physical Cause of the Death of Christ. London, 1847.

Thiersch, H. W. J., Yersuch fiir die Kritik N. T. Erlangen, 1845.
Thilo, J. C, Codex Apocryphus, vol. L Leipsic, 1832.
Tholuck, Commentary on St. John. Trans. Philadelphia, 1859.
Thomson, W. M., Land and Book. New York, 1859.
Tischendorf, C, Synopsis Evangelica. Lipsia?, 1854.
ToBLER, T., Bethlehem. Gallen u. Berne, 1849.


ToBLER, T., Golgotha. Seine Kirehen u. Kloster. Berne, 1851.

" Die Siloahquelle u. der Oelberg. St. Gallen, 1852.

" Topographie von Jerusalem. Berlin, 1853.

" Denkblatter aus Jerusalem. Constanz, 1856.

" Dritte Wanderung nach Paliistina. Gotha, 1859.

TowNSEND, G., The New Testament, Arranged in Historical and Chrono-
logical Order. Revised by T. W. Coit. Boston, 1837.

Van der Velde, C. W. M., Journey through Syria and Palestine. Trans.

Edinburgh, 1854.
Van der Velde. C. M. W., Memoir to accompany Map of Holy Land.

Gotha, 1858.

Westcott, B. R, Introduction to Study of the Gospels. London, 1860.

Wiciielhaus, J., Geschichte des Leidens Jesu Christi. Halle, 1855.

WiESELER, K., Synopse der vier Evangelien. Hamburg, 1843.

Williams, G., The Holy City. London, 1849.

Online LibrarySamuel James AndrewsThe life of Our Lord upon the earth; considered in its historical, chronological, and geographical relations → online text (page 1 of 52)