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The data furnished by the Gospel itself seem best satisfied if we suppose that its author compiled it within a period of a few years before or after the fall of Jerusalem in A.1). 70. An earlier date does not seem possible, in view of the fact that the compiler had S. Mark's Gospel before him.
The writer's forecast of history is clear and unmistakable. The coming of the Son of Man, whom he clearly identifies with the crucified Christ, would be the first stage in a series of events, comprising the gathering of the elect and the final judgement, which together would form a terminus to the present dispensation of the world's history. Compare the following:
243 “What is the sign of Thy coming, and of the consummation of the age ?”
2430 “They shall see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven," etc.
2531 “When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, then shall He sit on the throne of His glory, and all nations shall be gathered before Him."
This coming and the consummation of the age lay in the near future. Compare the following:
1023 “Ye shall not finish the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come.”
1628 “ There are some of those who stand here, who shall not taste of death, until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."
2454 "This generation shall not pass away, until all these things come to pass.”
But it could be still further defined, for it was to take place "immediately after the tribulation of those days,” 2429 ; and this tribulation is clearly to the writer the distress which would accompany the downfall of Jerusalem ; cf. 242. 8 “There shall not be left a stone upon a stone.-When shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the consummation of the age?”
It is true that the writer anticipates a previous preaching of the goodness of the kingdom in all the world to all nations, 2424; but he makes it clear that in his opinion this could be accomplished before the great tribulation of the final overthrow of the Jewish nation ; cf. 24141f, " then shall come the end. When, therefore, ye see (the approaching fall of the city)," etc. It is probable that he saw in the apostolic preaching in the West, culminating in the arrival of S. Paul at Rome, an ample fulfilment of this “preaching in all the world (oikovuévn) for a testimony to all nations."
It seems impossible to suppose that a Gospel in which Christ's sayings are so arranged as to give this quite definite impression that He had foretold His coming as Son of Man, and the consummation of the age, in close connection with the events of the year 70 A.D., could have been written more than a very few years after that date.
Nor does the Gospel contain anything that decisively conflicts with such a date.
Certainly not the narratives of chs. I. 2. Whatever the amount of historical fact here recorded may be, there is no reason why these traditions should not have been recorded before the year 75 A.D., this date being chosen as the latest probable limit. See note on chs. 1. 2. It is only the narrow and undiscerning logic of modern criticism which finds it necessary to detect earlier and later stages of thought in these chapters, on the ground that one and the same writer could not have recorded the story of the supernatural birth, and, at the same time, have compiled as an introduction to it a genealogy professedly designed to emphasise the fact that Joseph was in a real sense the father of Jesus. I have endeavoured to prove in the commentary that the Gospel as it now stands is an indivisible unity; and that the only stages required are an early cycle of Palestinian traditions, and a compiler who placed them at the beginning of his Gospel, and compiled as an introduction to them a genealogy of the main figure in his Gospel narrative. The traditions may well have been current in Palestine before the year 70 A.D., and the compiler need not have done his work much later, if at all later, than this.
Nor need such sayings as 1617-19 1818-20 reflect a late period of Church history. The "Church” may well be the Palestinian community of Jewish Christian disciples of Christ in the middle of the century, and the prominence given to S. Peter probably reflects his position in the Palestinian Church during that period. If we regard the writer of the Gospel as a Jewish Christian, and do not read into his record of Christ's words ideas which the later Church quite naturally found there in the light of the development of Christianity, there seems no reason to suppose that he may not have written his book within the period 65-75 A.D. And his arrangement of Christ's eschatological sayings almost conclusively points to that period.
THE STYLE AND LANGUAGE.
The Greek of the Gospel is not so full of Aramaisms and of harsh constructions due to translation from Aramaic as is the Greek of the second Gospel. Nor, on the other hand, has it the
Septuagintal and, so, Hebraic ring of the language of the third Gospel. It has rather the lack of distinction which characterises any narrative compiled from previous sources by an editor who contents himself with dovetailing together rather than rewriting the sources before him.
The following phrases are strikingly characteristic of the Gospel :
Tóte. This occurs in narrative at the beginning of a new paragraph, 318 4914 11 20 1 222. 88 1396 157 1821 1918 2020 2215 231 2614. 31. 36 278. 27, or in the course of a section, 27. 16. 17 36. 15 45. 10. 11 826 96. 29. 37 1 218 1512. 28 1612. 20. 24 1713. 19 1927 212 2221 268. 38. 45. 50. 52. 56. 65. 67. 74 279. 13. 16. 26. 38. 68 2810. Frequently also in sayings and parables, 524 75. 23 915 1229. 44. 45 1326. 43 1627 1832 2 28. 18 249. 10. 14. 16. 21. 23. 30 (2). 40
7. 31. 84. 37. 41. 44. 45.
idou. This occurs in narrative, either alone, 120 21. 18. 19 918. 82. 46 2647, or with kai prefixed, 416. 17 82. 24. 29. 32. 34 92. 8. 10. 20 1210 1522 178.5 1916 2030 2651 2751 289, in sayings and parables, either alone, 118. 10. 19 122. 47 138 1927 2018 224 2423. 25. 26 2640 28?, or with kai, 74 287. 20.
ofws, 17 times.
poo pépeLv, 14 times.
όχλοι. Mk. has όχλος 37 times, όχλοι once, ch. 11 (but D siabcffik q öxlos). On the other hand, Mt. has öxlol 30 times, όχλος 17.
For other phrases, see Horæ Syn. pp. 4-7, 25–27, and above,
Another characteristic of the editor's style is a tendency to repeat a phrase or construction two or three times at short intervals. This is particularly noticeable at the beginning or close of a section. Cf. the following:
(1) του δε Ιησού γεννηθέντος-ιδού, 21.
αναχωρησάντων δε αυτών-ιδού, 213.
τελευτήσαντος δε του Ηρώδου ιδού, 210. (2) παραγίνεται, 31.
313 (3) ακούσας δέ, 412.
περιπατών δε, 418.
ιδών δέ, 5'. 1 As arranged in the text of Westcott and Hort.
* This word is characteristic of Mt only as contrasted with Mk. It is common in Lk.
p. lv f.
(4) καταβάντι (ος) δε αυτώ (ού), 81.
εισελθόντος και δε αυτου (), 86. (5) και εμβάντι αυτώ, 828.
και ελθόντι αυτώ, 828.
και παράγων, 98.
εν όλη τη γη εκείνη, 931.
(9) οι δε ευθέως αφέντες, 420. 22.
ευθέως δέ, 1481.
και μεταβάς εκείθεν, 1520.
η βασιλεία του θεού, 2143.
και ελθόντων-προσήλθεν αυτώ, 174.
ελθόντων δε αυτών, 1724.
άλλην παραβόλην ελάλησεν αυτοίς, 1338.
πάλιν ομοία εστίν, 1345. 47.
The task of an editor of the first Gospel is complicated by the fact that he not only has to decide questions bearing on the text of the first Gospel, but also to investigate the text of S. Mark. I am unable to assume that the edition of Westcott and Hort gives us a final text in either Gospel. In particular, I am inclined to believe that the second century readings, attested by the ecclesiastical writers of that century, and by the Syriac and Latin versions, are often deserving of preference. I have made no special study of the Latin versions, but some investigation of the Syriac versions has long convinced me that the Curetonian may be regarded as a revision of the text presented by the Sinaitic version; and that whilst the former, when it differs from the Sinaitic, rarely retains an original reading, the latter is often of great importance. On the other hand, I cannot subscribe to the exaggerated estimate of the value of the Sinaitic versions taken by Dr. A. Merx. For the early Syriac versions, the student should study the admirable edition of Mr. Burkitt.
1 Die Vier Canonischen Evangelien.
I have used the ordinary symbols for the Greek and Latin MSS. To those usually quoted add Ox = A papyrus fragment, containing Mt 11-9. 12. 11-20, published
in Oxyrhynchus Papyri, i. The Syriac versions are quoted thus:
Si= the Sinaitic MS.
S5 = the Jerusalem Lectionary. The Old Latin (pre-Vulgate) MSS. are quoted under the ordinary letters (a b C, etc.), or in cases where several agree as latt.
No attempt has been made to give the whole of the evidence for textual readings. The syllable al means “ with other uncial MSS.," e.g. E F al means that a reading is attested by E F and other uncials.