« PreviousContinue »
will be prepared conjointly with the attempted reconstruction of the work of Celsus. The second part contains the fragments of Porphyry and Hierocles. A reconstruction of Porphyry, like that of Celsus, is not possible, because none of the works written against him have come down to our days. The material extant suffices, however, to acquaint us with the plan of the work of Porphyry, and the method of his polemics. The extensive fragments of the philosopher found in Macarius will be given in this part of the work. It is certain that these fragments do not belong to Celsus. Mr. Neumann expects to prove that the philosopher is not, as was assumed by Müller, identical with Julian, and that he must have been either Porphyry or Hierocles. An introduction to this part will sketch the development of the neo-Platonic polemics from Por phyry to Julian, and its relation to Celsus. The third part of the work will embrace the books of Julian. The first of the three (not seven) books of the Emperor can be almost completely restored from the ten books of Cyril of Alexandria. Several new manuscripts of this latter work have been compared. For a restoration of the second and third books of Julian much less can be done, because of Cyril's work the books following after the tenth are lost. All the fragments, however, which are preserved, either in Greek or in a Syrian translation, have been carefully collected. The latter have been copied by Dr. Nestle, in Tübingen, from the British Museum, and will be supplied by him with a Latin translation. Some fragments of Julian are found in the works of Theodore of Mopsuestia and of Photius. An introduction to this part will give a historical account of the work of Julian and the numerous replies to it, and will explain the attempt of restoring the book. As it is supposed that Julian's work will interest many others besides philologists, the edition of the Greek text will be followed by that of a German translation.
Another new work on and against the supremacy claimed by the Popes of Rome has been published by an Old Catholic theologian, Professor Friedrich, of Munich, (Zur ältesten Geschichte des Primates in der Kirche. Bonn: 1879.) Professor Friedrich, before the beginning of the Old Catholic movement, was regarded as one of the greatest Church historians of the Catholic Church, next to Döllinger. His Church history of Germany was well received both by Catholics and Protestants, and is still regarded as a standard work on the subject. Since then he has joined
the Old Catholic Church, and published the best work extant on the history of the Vatican Council. A work from so prominent a historian on the history of the primacy of the Bishops of Rome will be sure to command the attention of the theological world. In the Roman Catholic Church it is now an article of belief that Peter received from Christ primatical powers over the entire Christian Church; that he was the first Bishop of Rome; and that his successors, the Bishops of Rome, inherited his primatical powers. Catholic historians, therefore, however learned, cannot be expected to investigate and discuss this subject impartially. Protestant historians have completely demolished all arguments that have been adduced to prove a supremacy of the early Roman
Bishops over the entire Church, and have even made it very doubtful whether Peter was ever in Rome. One Orthodox German theologian, Dr. Uhlhorn, has recently undertaken to prove that James, the brother of Jesus, occupied a primatical position in Jerusalem, which extended far beyond the Churches of Palestine. Professor Friedrich adopts this view, and this new work is written for the special purpose of proving its correctness. He starts from an interpretation of the seventh canon of the Council of Nice, and shows that this Council forms a turning-point in the history of the Papal supremacy, and that before 325 there is no trace of it. He quotes in support of his theory a statement of Eusebius, according to which Clemens of Alexandria, one of the oldest Church writers, calls James the Just the first Bishop of Jerusalem, and the successor of the Lord himself. A number of passages of the New Testament are quoted as proving that James did, and that Peter did not, hold a primatical position. The first change in the supremacy of the Church of Jerusalem he assumes to have taken place after the second destruction of Jerusalem, in 135, when both Jews and Jewish Christians were forbidden to settle on the former site of Jerusalem. Then the authority of other apostolic bishoprics, especially Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome, gradually rose. The gradual predominance of Rome over the other sees was secured by a number of falsifications and forgeries which are set forth in the book at full length and with great learning. The schemes of the Roman Bishops were strongly aided by the general tendency toward a compact centralization which sprang up in the old Church. The two agencies combined created the Papal system. The work of Professor Friedrich is of a strictly historical character, and draws no inferences from the attempted establishment of historical facts as to the theory of Church government. This will be done in a larger work, which the author is now preparing, and of which the present work is a forerunner.
ART. XI.-QUARTERLY BOOK-TABLE.
Religion, Theology, and Biblical Literature.
Studies in the New Testament. By F. GODET, D.D., Professor of Theology, Neuchatel. Edited by the Hon. and Rev. W. H. LYTTLETON, M.A. 12mo., pp. 398. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co. 1877.
Professor Godet is one of the leaders of the Evangelical non-Calvinistic Protestants of France, and is author of Commentaries on the Gospels, which have been translated into English. His writings are marked by a certain freshness of thought and the lucidity of style in which the French excel, with something of that diffuseness which is their failing. He first, here, surveys the Gospels, and furnishes not a few fine suggestions. He then gives a dissertation on "The Four Principal Apostles;" and in regard to Paul's
predestinarianism makes the following decisive remarks: "There is no trace in Paul of a fatalistic predestination. Human freewill and responsibility are always presupposed and often asserted by him; and as to Rom. ix and x, we will undertake to prove that they contain precisely the strongest protest against that fatalistic predestination of which Israel audaciously made use as a reason for not receiving the gospel."-P. 267. As our own Commentary of Rom. ix is the only one that has taken this decided ground, we would rejoice to know how our French Professor handles the matter. He is copious and suggestive on the Apocalypse. In his exegesis we do not concur; but we are obliged to him for his refutation of the identification of Nero risen from the dead with any conception of the Apocalypse.
The argument for identifying Nero with the symbolic number 666 in xiii, 18, is based on what, if not a true identity, seems a very curious coincidence. That number it is said makes in Hebrew exactly the name Nero Cæsar as it is read in the Rabbinical writings. This name seems to have dawned upon the minds of four eminent scholars almost simultaneously, in 1836; namely, Fritzsche in Rostock, Hitzig in Zurich, Benary in Berlin, and Reuss in Strasburg. With a certain class of thinkers it seems to carry all before it. An almost conclusive proof of this name being the true solution arose from a very peculiar coincidence. Irenæus tells us that there were in the then extant manuscripts two different readings of the numbers; the older and more accurate was 666, but a later 616. Now there were, also, two forms of the name Nero, both used in Hebrew; one, after the Greek, was Neron, the other, after the Latin, Nero; and the former of these make the 666, and the latter exactly 616! Should not that settle the question?
To this one might reply that Irenæus tells us that the 616 was found only in later manuscripts, and so they could not have come from John. And how could copyists have adjusted their codices to Nero's name and Irenæus never have heard of that name as a candidate? Indeed, Irenæus' omission of that name in discussing the candidates is a powerful argument against its claim.
But Godet denies that 666 is the true number of the Hebrew name Nero Cæsar. Its true number is really 676 according to the spelling in St. John's day. The number 666 is spelled with the three Hebrew consonants K SR; the needed E of the first syllable being supplied by a vowel-point; whereas the true orthography of the word Cæsar, as identified by contemporary record, has four letters, requiring the E to be not a vowel-point FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XXXII.-12
but a full letter, thereby increasing the number by ten, making 676. This would entirely destroy the identification of the numhers with Nero. It is, indeed, given up by such rationalistic scholars as De Wette, Lücke, Bunsen, and Düsterdieck. We consider the Neronian solution of this name, like the Neronian date of the Apocalypse, a very plausible, yet entirely preposterous, fable.
There could be no very destructive inferences drawn from the partial identification of Nero with the beast, as symbol of the Roman Empire in its most persecuting phase, if the identification could be proved. Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar, "Thou art the head of gold;" that is, Thou art the Empire of Babylon. And John could as truly have said to Nero, during Nero's reign, "Thou art the Roman Empire." Just so Louis XIV. could say, despotically, "I am the State." And so in Daniel, followed by the Apocalypse, kings stands for kingdoms. And as this identification of Nebuchadnezzar with Babylon did not at all affect the shape or nature of the great symbolism of empires in Daniel's image, so Nero's identification with Rome might leave the Apocalyptic interpretation untouched.
But the most untenable, as well as repulsive, part of the rationalistic exegesis is the making John base important Apocalyptic conceptions upon a contemptible whim of the Roman rabble. Nero was driven from the throne and had committed suicide; but the baser rabble, with whom the bloody despot was popular, cherished the hope that he had escaped, was truly alive, and would yet return to the throne. On this John is imagined by these commentators to have founded the image that one head of the beast received " a deadly wound; that the wound was “healed,” that he shall "ascend out of the bottomless pit and into perdition." That is, the resurrection of the beast is to be identified with Nero's escape and return. But in point of fact the idea of a resurrection from the dead by Nero formed no part of the popular notion even of the Roman rabble at the time of the writing of the Apocalypse. All that the historians of the day or the contemporaneous literature say is that the fancy was current that Nero had escaped, would return, and would take a terrible revenge on Rome. It was not until a later generation, especially of Christians, remembering Nero as the typical bloody persecutor, identified him with the Antichrist, and found him in the Apocalypse. Augustine first mentions the idea of his resurrection, and later still Primasius is the first commentator that
connects the idea of a resurrect Nero with the sacred texts. And that furnished a notable mare's nest for modern rationalism.
Gebhardt, admitting this discordance between John's conception of the beast's resurrection and the Neronian rumor of a mere return, nevertheless maintains that John modifies the rumor to his own purposes. The modification, we reply, is much the largest part of the modified subject. And if the nucleus was a miserable falsity, the modification enlarges it to an enormity. We cheerfully admit that John does often take a nucleus of fact and modify it to his own needs. We may admit that chap. xii abounds in such modifications. But we call attention to the most decisive fact, that every nucleus John appropriates for such modification in his Apocalypse is drawn from the sacred records. Hengstenberg has well shown, in discussing another point, that John never goes to classic or profane literature for any of his conceptions. He forcibly denies on that ground that the "palms" of chap. vi are borrowed from pagan customs. All John's imageries arise from within the sacred domain. Perfectly unendurable, then, is the thought that John goes to the slums of Rome and picks out from the very dregs of heathendom a base canard, overlays it with a wretched, lying superstition of his own, and brings it into the sublimest of all prophecies. We pity the moral taste of the man who, on a full survey of the case, does not repel such a notion with disgust.
But there are some points of peculiar significance both in the figures 666 and the combination of the Greek letters that form the number as they present themselves to the eye.
First, as to the significance of the 666: as seven is the perfect number, so 777 would be the trinal symbol of divine perfection, the Trinity. Three half-sevens would be the reverse of perfection; the directly bad. Three sixes are an attempt to attain or display the divine perfection, but are a failure, a falling short; and that perhaps by a divinely-imposed limitation. And thus in this 666 is numerically figured the antichrist.
And as to the combination of Greek letters that form the number 666, they are in John's Greek text xs, that is, chi, xi, st. But striking out the middle letter, the remaining two, X-s, are the customary abbreviation in the manuscripts of the name Christ. Now let the serpentine & crawl in between these two letters, and what have we in xs? A central serpent wearing the externals of Christ, a serpent-Christ, an antichrist! Nor, says Godet, must this be promptly dismissed as a puerility. The Orientals were