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He might have said, with equal truth, that each defends his own theory with success. They are the knights of the gold and silver shield: each takes a one-sided view of the question, and exhausts his ingenuity in defending it.
In arranging the parallel passages, I have not attempted chronological order. I do not believe that it is possible to construct a regularly chronological harmony; at all events, I have not made the attempt. I have given the whole of the Gospel of Mark in its own order, not from any preference of that order, but because the greater portion of the parallelisms may be referred to Mark, and because I consider that it is in an especial manner in the connection of this Gospel with the others that the key of the mystery of their connection is to be found. I have divided it into sections, arranging the corresponding passages in Matthew and Luke on each side; never, however, inverting the order of any of the evangelists in order to make the agreement more striking, but leaving vacant spaces, with references to the corresponding passages in the other Gospels. I have, in this respect, deviated from the practice of Archbishop Newcome, Mr Greswell, and other harmonists; but these inversions are phenomena which must be kept in view—for it will be found that they throw no inconsiderable light on the order of the Gospels. Take, for instance, the accounts of the Temptation in the Wilderness, given in Matthew and Luke (Sec. iii. p. 226), where the difference in the order cannot be accounted for, except on the supposition that St Luke wrote last. See note, p. 302.
In those parts of the synopsis which contain the Gospel of Mark, we have every case where all the three Gospels coincide, as well as every case where there are corresponding passages in Mark and Matthew, and in Mark and Luke; the only other cases which can occur are those between Matthew and Luke. These I have given in a separate series of sections, in the order of Luke.
In order that my reasoning may be more clearly understood, I shall, in the first place, state very shortly the conclusions which I have been led to, from the evidence furnished by the writings of the evangelists, and other ancient writers, respecting the origin and connection of the Gospels. They are as follow :
1st. Several of the apostles, including Matthew, Peter, and Jobp, committed to writing accounts of the transactions of our Lord and his disciples in the language spoken by them, i. e., Syro-Chaldaic or Aramaic, known in the New Testament and the works of the Fathers as Hebrew.
2d. When the apostles were driven by persecution from Judea, a history of the life of our Lord was drawn up from the original memoirs, in Hebrew and in Greek, by the apostle Matthew, for the use of the Jewish converts—the Greek being the same as the Gospel according to Matthew.
3d. St Luke drew up, for the use of Theophilus, a new life of our Lord, founded upon the authority of eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word—including the Hebrew memoir of Peter, and the Greek Gospel of Matthew.
4th. After Peter's death, or departure from Rome (75odov), St Mark translated the memoir, written by Peter, into Greek.
5th. John, at a still later period, composed his Gospel from his own original memoirs, omitting much that was already narrated by the other evangelists, for reasons assigned by himself—(xxi. 25.)
By adopting this theory of the origin of the Gospels, we can easily explain the phenomena in question. I do not, however, propound it as a probable conjecture, calculated to afford an explanation, but trust I shall be able to substantiate every part of it by adequate proof.
Assuming it to be established, we ought to expect that the phenomena of agreement would be exactly what we find them to be. St John writing entirely from his own observation, and subsequently to the other evangelists, there can be no documentary agreement between his writings and theirs. When, therefore, he narrates the same events, the agreements with the other evangelists ought to be independent, which is precisely what we find them to be. Luke writing subsequently to Matthew and Peter, and drawing up his gospel from the accounts of eyewitnesses and
ministers of the Word, naturally made use of their writings; but as, according to the above statement, Matthew's Gospel existed in Greek, and Peter's memoir was not yet translated, his connection with Matthew should be transcriptural, and with Mark, the translator of Peter, translational. Now, the agreements between Luke and the two preceding evangelists are exactly what this view of their origin would lead us to expect.
Matthew, in drawing up his Greek gospel, made use of Peter's memoir, afterwards translated by Mark-hence the agreement between Matthew and Mark is translational, with this exception, that Mark, in translating the original memoir of St Peter, naturally made much use of the previous translation of Matthew, in those portions of Matthews Gospel which he had taken, without alteration, from the original; hence we should have, in the agreements between them, the phenomena of dependent as well as of independent translation. Now, there is much verbal agreement between Matthew and Mark, arising, I have no doubt, from this
These phenomena are, in fact, the phenomena of historical contemporaneity: they occur in all true contemporaneous accounts of events, where the actors speak a different language from that of the historians. We meet with them every day of our lives. Critical research is never applied to what is universally known; but if we subject the most contemporaneous of all historical narratives, namely, those given in the newspapers of the day, to the same critical process to which I am subjecting the Gospels, we cannot fail to meet with them all. Let us suppose the scene of the events to be in France. We find, in the different morning papers, independent translations of the French accounts; we find also accounts transmitted to each of the newspapers by their own correspondents—i. e., independent autoptical details; and in the evening papers we find accounts of the same events often agreeing verbatim with those in the morning papers, or the phenomena of transcription. It is almost superfluous to give examples of what every newspaper reader must know to be the case. I shall
take as an example what I find in the newspapers of the day in which I am at present writing, (January 24, 1853.) They contain the speech of the Emperor of the French, announcing his intended marriage. In the Times and Morning Herald, morning papers, it begins as follows:
“I yield to the wish so often manifested by the country, by coming to announce to you my marriage.
“ The alliance which I contract is not in accord with the traditions of ancient policy; therein is its advantage. France, by its successive revolutions, has ever abruptly separated from the rest of Europe. Every wise government ought to try to make it re-enter in the pale of the old monarchies. But this result will be more surely attained by a more straightforward and frank policy-by loyalty in conduct than by royal alliances, which create a false security, and often substitute family interests for those of the nation," &c.
" I yield to the wish so often manifested
“ The union which I contract is not
The same passages in the Record, an evening paper, of the same date, are word for word the same as those in the Times. We have here the phenomena of transcription and translation ; who, then, can doubt that there has been a written original, in a different language, to account for the particular species of agreement which subsists between the two morning papers, or that the evening paper has copied from the Times ?
Let us now select three independent contemporary historians, recording events to which they stand in nearly the same relation with respect to time and language, as the evangelists did to the events recorded by them.
Sir Archibald Alison, in his History of the French Revolution, relates the events of the Peninsular campaigns at about the same distance of time as St Luke did those recorded in his Gospel. There is another English historian of the Spanish campaigus (General Napier), who, like St Matthew, relates historically a series of events partly from his own observation, partly from that of other officers who were engaged in them; and there is a third English work, entitled Memoirs of the War in Spain, by Marshal Suchet. This is exactly what I suppose the second Gospel to be; the translation of an autoptical memoir, written by one personally engaged in the transactions. In this last work there is no indication either on the title, or in the work itself, that it is a translation, neither does the author ever mention himself in the first person ; yet, even independently of the title, a careful comparison of it with Alison's History would prove—1st, that it was translated from an original memoir in a foreign language ; 2d, that it was the production of an eyewitness ; 3d, that the original author was no other than Marshal Suchet. In like manner, a comparison of the works of Alison and Napier proves that, before Alison wrote, Napier's History existed in English, and was known and made use of by Alison as one of the authorities alluded to in his preface ; and lastly, if we compare Napier with Suchet, it will be evident that he as well as Alison used the work of the latter as an authority.
Before proceeding with the proofs by which those propositions can be established, I would observe that it is much more difficult to make out the connection of modern authors than it is of the evangelists ; because, in the former case, a regard to literary reputation tends to prevent verbal adherence to the authorities, except under particular circumstances—but the desire for literary distinction formed no part of the motives which actuated the evangelists. They never scrupled to transcribe or to translate literally, or to make use of previous translations when it suited their purpose. .
I now proceed to show, by a comparison of parallel passages, that Suchet's Memoirs was made use of by Alison, and that it must have existed in another language when he used it.