« PreviousContinue »
that in Justin's view they bore a character analogous to Xenophou's Memorabilia of Socrates, and also because it was a designation intelligible to those for whose benefit he was writing. Of the direct citations from these gospel Memoirs in Justin, and of the numerous allusions to sayings of Christ and events in his life, nearly all plainly correspond to passages in our canonical Gospels. That the quotations are inexact as to phraseology, is not a peculiarity of Justin. He probably quotes from memory; and for his purpose it was not requisite that he should be verbally accurate.
Before we proceed to speak of his use of John in particular, we will advert to the question which has been warmly discussed, whether he quotes from other gospel histories than those in our canon. Considering that the cases of an allusion to sayings or transactions not recorded in the canonical gospels, are so very few, and that of these only one is explicitly referred by Justin to the Memoirs — a reference which may easily have sprung from a lapse of memory – it is not impossible that the source of his knowledge in these exceptional cases was oral tradition. Living so near the time of the apostles, when, as we know, some unrecorded sayings of Christ and circumstances in his life were orally reported from one to another, this supposition is by no means unnatural. Yet as written narratives, besides the four of our canon, were extant, and had a local circulation
especially the Gospel of the Hebrews among the Ebionite Christians — Justin may very likely have been acquainted with one or more of these, and thence derived the exceptional passages which we are considering. That either of these, however, was generally read in the churches (as were the Memoirs of which Justin speaks) is extremely improbable ; for how could any Gospel which had been thus made familiar and dear to a multitude of Christians by being read in their assemblies, be suddenly thrown out and discarded without an audible word of opposition? How can such an hypothesis stand in view of the fact that by the time Justin died Irenaeus had already reached his manhood? It is
clearly established that Justin had mainly, if not exclusively, in view the same Gospels which we read in our Bibles, although, as we have said, he may have been acquainted with other less trustworthy narratives of the life of Christ.?
The evidence that the fourth Gospel formed one of Justin's authoritative Records or Memoirs cannot be gain. said. In a long list of passages collected from Justin by Semisch and other writers, there is a marked resemblance in language and thought to places in the fourth Gospel.? In regard to many of these, to be sure, we are not absolutely obliged to trace them to this source. They may have been derived from unwritten tradition. But we are authorized to find the origin of this class of expressions in John, when we have assured ourselves, from other passages which admit of no doubt, that Justin made use of the fourth Gospel. And from this conviction there is no escape. We mention here only one, but perhaps the most obvious and striking, of the special quotations which Justin has drawn from this Gospel. Having described with some detail the method of Christian baptism, Justin adds:" For indeed Christ also said : except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.' And that it is impossible for those who are once born to enter into their mother's womb, is plain to all." Here is a passage so peculiar, so characteristic of John's Gospel, that we are precluded from attributing it to any other source. Is it credible that Justin drew this passage from some other gospel, which suddenly perished and was supplanted by that bearing the name
1 That by the amounuoveúpara Jastin had in mind solely the four Gospels is earnestly maintained by Semisch, and by Professor Norton in his very able work on the Genuineness of the Gospels. Bleek bolds that he had these mainly, if not exclusively, in view. Ewald, without any just reason, thinks that because the records are said to emanate from the apostles and their followers, he had reference to many such writings, which were in his hands. Yahrb. d. Bibl. Wiss., VI. 60.
? The work of Semisch to which we refer — Die Denkwurdigkeiten des Märtyrers Justinus — is a thorough examination of the question: What Gospels wero made use of by Justin ?
of John ? Writers of the Tübingen school have suggested that this, as well as other passages seeming to be from John, were taken by Justin from the Gospel of the Hebrews. Aside from the entire absence of proof in support of this assertion, all the information we have concerning the Gospel of the Hebrews warrants the declaration that it contained no such passages.
The Gospel of the Hebrews bore a great resemblance in its contents to our Gospel of Matthew. It was the product of a translation and mutilation of our Greek Matthew. There is much to be said in favor of the opinion, for which Bleek cogently argues, that the known fact of its resemblance to Matthew first gave rise to the impression that Matthew originally wrote his Gospel in the Hebrew tongue.?
The fact of Justin's acquaintance with John's Gospel, however, does not rest solely upon the evidence afforded by the citation of isolated passages. In his doctrine of the Logos and of the Incarnation, and in the terms under which the person of the Saviour is characterized, are indubitable marks of a familiarity with John. This peculiar type of thought and expression pervades the whole theology of Justin. And what makes the argument fully convincing is
1 The occurrence of this passage relative to regeneration, in the PseudoClementine Homilies, with the same deviations from John that are found in Justin's quotation, was made an argnment to prove that both writers must have taken it from some other Gospel — the Gospel of the Hebrews. But the additions to the passage in the Homilies, and the omission of the part concerning the impossibility of a second physical birth, — points of difference between Justin and the Homilies, - are quite as marked as the points of resemblance, which may be an accidental coincidence. There are two or three other citations, however, in the Homilies which present the same deviations as are found in the corresponding citations in Justin. But Dressel's edition of the Homilies which gives the concluding portion, not found in Cotelerius, furnishes an undeniable quotation of John ix. 2, 3 (Hom. 19, 22). This makes it evident that Hom. 3, 52 is a citation of John x. 9, 27, and also removes all doubt as to the source whence the quotation of John iii. 3 was derived. If the similarity of the Homilies to Justin, in the few quotations referred to above, is not accidental, it simply proves that Justin was in the hands of their author. This may easily be supposed. The date of the Homilies is in the neighborhood of 170. See on these points, Meyer's Einl. s. 10. Bleek, s. 228. Semisch, s. 193 seq.
the circumstance that Justin expressly attributes this doctrine to the Records or Memoirs as the source whence he had derived it. “ For I have proved,” he writes, “that he (Christ] was the only-begotten of the Father of all things, being properly begotten by him as his Word and Power, and was afterwards made man of the virgin, as we have learnt from the Records.” Are we to believe that this whole Johannean type of doctrine was found in some unknown Gospel, which in Justin's day was read in the Christian congregations in city and country, but was suddenly displaced by another Gospel having just the same doctrinal peculiarity; a change which if it took place at all, must have occurred in the later years of Justin's life, and in the youth of Irenaeus? And yet Irenaeus knew nothing of it, had no suspicion that the fourth Gospel had any author but John, or that the fixed and sacred number four was made up by so recent an intruder!
But we have testimonies to the genuineness of the fourth Gospel prior even to Justin. The first of these we have to mention is Papias, who Aourished in the first quarter of the second century. He wrote a work in five books entitled “ An Explication of the Oracles of the Lord,” in the composition of which he depended mainly on unwritten traditions which he gathered up in conversation with those who had heard the apostles. Eusebius states that “ he made use of testimonies from the First Epistle of John.". That this epistle and the fourth Gospel are from the same author, has been, it is true, called in question by the Tübingen critics. But if internal evidence has any weight, is ever entitled to any regard, it settles this question in agreement with the established, universal opinion. In style, in language, in tone and spirit, the two writings have the closest resemblance, and to ascribe this resemblance in either case to the imita. tion of a counterfeiter, is to give him credit for an incredible
Semisch, s. 188. Justin, c. Trypho. 105. ? Euseb., III. 39.
refinement of cunning? So that the testimony of Papias to the First Epistle is likewise testimony to the genuineness of the Gospel. Turning to the Apostolic Fathers, we find not a few expressions, especially in the Ignatian Epistles, wbich remind us of passages peculiar to John; but in general we cannot be certain that these expressions were not drawn from oral tradition. Yet in some cases they are much more naturally attributed to the fourth Gospel, and in one instance this can hardly be avoided. Polycarp, in his epistle to the Philippians (7), says : " for every one who does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is antichrist.” 2 The resemblance of language to 1 John iv. 3 is striking; but a thought which in that form is so peculiar to this canonical epistle, being, as it were, the core of the type of doctrine which it presents, can hardly, when found in Polycarp, an immediate pupil of John, be referred to any other author.3 Another and still earlier testimony is attached to the fourth Gospel itself (John xxi. 24). This testimony which purports to come from another hand than that of the author, has been attached to the Gospel, as far as we are able to determine, from the time when it was first put in circulation. If it be not part and parcel of a flagrant imposition, it proves the work to have been written by the beloved disciple.
An important part of the external evidence for the genuineness of the fourth Gospel, is the tacit or express acknowledgment of the fact by the various heretical parties of the second century. Significant, in connection with this point, is the circumstance that the Artemonites, the party of Unitarians who came forward in Rome near the end of the second century, did not think of disputing the apostolical origin of that Gospel to which their opponents were indebted for their strongest weapons. Had the fourth Gospel
? On the certainty that the first Epistle was written by the author of the Gospel, see De Wette's Einl. in das N. Testament, § 177 a.
2 πας γάρ ος αν μη ομολογώ Ιησούν Χριστόν εν σαρκί εληλυθότα αντιχριστός έστι. Ad. Phil. 7.
Meyer's Einl. s. 5.