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proclaim it in the metropolis, it was no longer possible, by the sight of the body of Jesus, either to convict themselves, or to be convicted by others.'
The reasonings of Strauss may, however, well stand together with those of his able and accomplished translator. Joseph of Arimathea may have judged it necessary, for his own security, to remove the body of Jesus; and that removal, rendering the finding of the body impossible by his disciples when they ventured to return to Jerusalem, served to strengthen the notions of a resurrection, which they had formed during their flight into Galilee.
One conviction must force itself on the minds of all who pursue this enquiry determinedly : that these accounts of the Resurrection and Ascension have been the growth of a much greater length of time thall our first sight of them would indicate. According to the Acts, it is true, the disciples appear in Jerusalem to proclaim the Resurrection only seven weeks after the crucifixion--namely, at Pentecost, or the festival of the announcement of the old law. But the mythical reason for the writer making this statement immediately suggests itself: the new law must be announced on the festival of the old. The statement cannot be considered historical-not merely because the period of seven weeks is too short to have afforded time for the preparation of the disciples' views; but the whole pictureof the feast of Pentecost, in the Acts, is too wildly legendary for belief.
The other statement, that the disciples were convinced of Jesus's resurrection so early as on the second morning after his burial, by appearances which they witnessed, leads Strauss to some important concluding observations, with which I will, if you please, also conclude this inquiry :
“ As regards the other statement-it might certainly require some time for the mental state of the disciples to become exalted in the degree necessary, before this or that individual amongst them could, purely as an operation of his own mind, make present to himself the risen Christ in a visionary manner; or before whole assemblies, in moments a liglily wrought enthusiasm, could believe that they heard him in every impressive souud, or saw him in every striking appearance : but it would uevertheless be conceived, that, as it was not possible he should be held by the bonds of death (Acts ii. 24), he had passed only a short time in the grave. As to the more precise determination of this interval, if it be held an insufficient explanation, that the sacred number three would be the first to suggest itself ; there is a further idea which might occur, --whether or not it be historical that Jesus was buried on the evening before a sabbath,-namely, that he only remained in the grave during the rest of the sabbath, and thus rose on the morning after the Sabbath which by the known mode of reckoning, might be reconciled with the round number of three days.
“When once the idea of a resurrection of Jesus had been formed in this manner, the great event could not be allowed to have happened so simply, but must be surrounded and embellished with all the pomp which the Jewish imagination furnished. The chief ornaments which stood at command for this purpose, were angels; hence these must open the grave of Jesus, must, after he had come forth from it, keep watch in the emply place, and deliver to the women, who (because without doubt women had had the first visions) must be the first to go to tho grave, the tidings of what had happened. As it was Galilee where Jesus subsequently appeared to them, the journey of the disciples thither, which was nothing else than their return home, somewhat hastened by fear, was derived from the direction of an angel ; nay, Jesus himself must already before his death, and, as Matthew too zealously adds, once more after the resurrection also, have enjoined this journey on the disciples. But the farther these narratives were propagated by tradition, the more must the difference between the locality of the resurrection itself and that of the appearances of the risen one, be allowed to fall out of sight as inconvenient; and since the locality of the death and resurrection was not transferable, the appearances were gradually placed in the same locality as the resurrection,-in Jerusalem, which, as the more brilliant theatre, and the seat of the first Christian Church, was especially appropriate for them."
London : Printed and Published by JAMES WATSON, 3, Queen's Head Passage,