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cause it did not apply to their situation.
The objections, raised to the history of the evangelists, namely, that it looked as if coming from people who had agreed in the main point, but had forgotten to arrange minor circumstances, do not apply here, for if the evangelists were deceivers, Mark and John had only to take their history from Matthew, and even if every thing had been invented, not to have omitted this part of the story, merely because it had been invented. At Rome, at Alexandria, at Ephesus, they might have related it much more securely, and much less exposed to contradiction, than Matthew, assuming even that it was false, could have done in the circle of Palestine. But why do they omit it? John evidently omits it, in conformity with his usual plan of writing, which is to omit in his own gospel what his readers have found in the other gospels, and therefore his silence, so far from being an objection, is equivalent to a confirmation of what existed, and what he assumes to be known from Matthew. Mark does it, because this objection to the resurrection was unknown at Rome, where he wrote, and required, therefore, no contradiction. 62. “ Now the next day that followed the day
of the preparation.”] Literally translated, on the following day, which is after Friday. As it is self-evident that one day must follow another, and it requires no author to tell us this, the meaning is, " on the following day, immediately after the end of Friday,” or in other words, immediately after sunset, with which, according to the custom of the Jews, the day ends, and the sabbath begins. This mode of speaking seems singular in Greek, but in Hebrew, from the same word signifying “ evening,” “ holy evening,” or, as we should say, “ vespers," it becomes more intelligible. The meaning is, that from an apprehension the body might be stolen in the night, they did not wait until the following morning, they went immediately to Pilate that same evening, which now no longer belonged to Friday, but formed part of the sabbath, and requested a guard. That it was already sabbath, forms no objection to their going to Pilate; bodily labour was not undertaken by the Jews on the sabbath, but it must have been permissible to ask a favour of the civil authority, especially when it was connected with the honour of their religion. This was neither contrary to the traditions of the elders, nor to the doctrines of the Pharisees. The
Jews had the privilege from the Romans not to be cited before legal tribunals, that is, before Roman tribunals on the sabbath, but Jewish judicial cases might be attended to on the sabbath, since they considered this, as studying the law, and the law was derived from Moses, and was, if not literally the word of God, the illustration of the word of God. A Jew will give an answer upon Jewish questions of legislation in the same way as our clergymen would give answers upon questions of conscience, and I have applied to Jews, who were very scrupulous about their sabbath, and they have given me answers upon questions of their own law. The Roman privilege did not prevent the Jews from soliciting assistance from the civil authorities uponi sabbath days. This removes an objection which has been made to the appli.. cation for a guard occurring on a sabbath.
62. “ The chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate.”] These words are misunderstood, partly through too literal a translation, partly through a misconception of another kind. When we read “ the chief priests and Pharisees,” we conceive the whole synod of the Jews, and thus the objection, which has been raised against this passage, is supported. This is a clear misconception; the Pharisees were a sect
and there were many of them in the supreme council of the Jews, not as Pharisees, but under another title; “ high priests and Pharisees" were, it is probable, a fair description of the whole, in the same way as we should say, speaking of an university, “ heads of colleges, and those who entertained a particular opinion.” When the evangelists wish to describe the Sanhedrim, according to the different members of which it was composed, they express themselves “ the high priests,” “ the scribes or learned men,” “ the elders.” It consisted, (1) of certain members of the sacerdotal order, who from their seat in council were called "high priests;" (2) of the heads of families of the tribes of Israel, and they were termed " elders;" (3) of the learned members, or as we should call them, of “ the learned body.” They might be equally Pharisees or Sadducees, for the last were so little excluded from the council, that the majority of the high priests were of this sect. We must not, therefore, think of the Sanhedrim collectively, but according to the words as they stand here,
high priests and Pharisees.” The high priests were, as I have stated, chiefly, but Hannas and Caiphas certainly, of the sect of the Sadducees; to these must be added certain of the Pharisees, or of that learned body, who had a seat and a
voice in the great council. It is not, therefore, the whole synod who go to Pilate, and probably not even a deputation from it, but certain of the chief priests, with the rival sect of the Pharisees, go to Pilate in a state of anxiety, and beg for a guard. There has been great misconception of the words came together unto Pilate.” Some suppose the synod to have assembled as a body, which is a very natural supposition, and make the place of meeting to have been in Pilate's palace, which is again inconsistent for a deliberative body. Both the English and the German translations by the adoption of the word “ together” favour this opinion, which, however, is not a just deduction from the Greek phrase, which literally signifies they assembled themselves to Pilate." But to a real Greek scholar there ought to have been no difficulty. Taking the Greek in combination, with the Hebrew, as it probably stood in the original, it does not amount to more than “ going to a person,” and this is confirmed by the Syriac translation. Even supposing the original to have been Greek, still it is only a Hebraism, and of these there are many examples.
The objections that have been raised against this narrative are