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Palestine now becomes a province, first of the empire of Alexander,
322. Alexander's general, Ptolemy Lagi, becomes Satrap of Egypt.
167. Rise of the Maccabees (1 Macc. ii.).
Events in Contemporary History..
165. Re-dedication of the Temple on 25th Chisleu (December), 1 Macc. iv. 52-61.
65. Capture of Jerusalem by Pompey. Palestine becomes a part of the Roman province of Syria.
160: Death of Judas Maccabaeus (1 Macc. ix. 1-22).
160-142. Jonathan, younger brother of Judas, leader of the loyal Reign of Hoshea Jews (1 Macc. ix. 23-xii. 53).
142-135. Simon, elder brother of Judas (1 Macc. xiii.-xvi.). 135-105. John Hyrcanus, son of Simon.
105-104. Aristobulus I. (son of Hyrcanus), king.
104-78. Alexander Jannaeus (brother of Aristobulus), king. 78-69. Salome (Alexandra), widow of Alexander Jannaeus. 69. Aristobulus II. (son of Alexandra).
(2) As we now know, the methods of chronological computation adopted by the Assyrians were particularly exact. Every year a special officer was appointed, who held office for that year, and gave his name to the year; and "canons," or lists, of these officers have been discovered, extending from 893 to
Reign of Ahab
Ahab mentioned at the battle of
Jehu pays tribute to Shal-·
| 666 B.C. The accuracy of these canons can in many cases be
Assassination of Pekah and suc-
733 (or 732)
Manifestly all the Biblical dates earlier than 733-732 B.C. are too high, and must be considerably reduced: the two events, also, in Hezekiah's reign-the fall of Samaria and the invasion of Sennacherib-which the compiler of the book of Kings treats as separated by an interval of eight years, were separated in reality by an interval of twenty-one years.*
if the regnal years of the kings of Israel from Jeroboam to Jehoram be added together, they will be found to amount to 98, while if those of the kings of Judah for the same period (viz. from Rehoboam to Ahaziah) be added together, they amount only to 95. This discrepancy, if it stood alone, would not, however, be serious. But when we proceed to add up similarly the regnal years in the two kingdoms from the division after Solomon's 1 See George Smith, The Assyrian Eponym Canon (1875), pp. 29 ff., death to the fall of Samaria in the sixth year of Hezekiah (2 Kingslations of Assyrian and Babylonian inscriptions), i. (1889), pp. 204 ff. 57 ff.; Schrader, Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek (transcriptions and transxviii. 10), we find in the southern kingdom 260 years, and in the northern kingdom only 241 years 7 months. This is a formidable discrepancy. Ussher, in order to remove it, has recourse to the doubtful expedient of artificially lengthening the northern series of years, by assuming (without any authority in the text) an interregnum of 11 years" after the death of Jeroboam II., and an "anarchy for some years" between Pekah and Hoshea (see the margin of A.V. at 2 Kings xiv. 29; XV. 8, 29).
It may be explained here that the dates of the Assyrian and Babylonian kings can be reduced to years B.C. by means of the socalled "Canon of Ptolemy," which is a list of the Babylonian and Persian kings, with the lengths of their reigns, extending from Nabonassar, 747 B.C., to Alexander the Great, drawn up in the 2nd century A.D. by the celebrated Egyptian mathematician and geographer Ptolemy: as the dates B.C. of the Persian kings are known independently, from Greek sources, the dates B.C. of the preceding Babylonian kings can, of course, be at once calculated by means of the Canon. The recently-discovered contemporary monuments have fully established the accuracy of the Canon.
Or, in any case, between 734 and 732; see Rost, Die Keilschrift texte Tiglat-pilesers III., 1893, pp. xii., 39, 81, with the discussion, PP. xxxii-xxxiv., xxxv.-xxxvi.
This interval does not depend upon a mere list of Eponym years; we have in the annals of Sargon and Sennacherib full particulars of the events in all the intervening years.
Much has been written on the chronology of the kings and | many endeavours have been made to readjust the Biblical figures so as to bring them into consistency with themselves and at the same time into conformity with the Assyrian dates. But, though the fact of there being errors in the Biblical figures is patent, it is not equally clear at what points the error lies, or how the available years ought to be redistributed between the various reigns. It is in any case evident that the accession of Jehu and Athaliah must be brought down from 884 to 842 B.C.; and this will involve, naturally, a corresponding reduction of the dates of the previous kings of both kingdoms, and of course, at the same time, of those of Solomon, David and Saul. The difficulty is, however, greatest in the 8th century. Here, in Judah, from the accession of Athaliah to the accession of Ahaz, tradition gives 143 years, whereas, in fact, there were but 106 years (842-736); and in Israel, from the death of Menahem to the fall of Samaria, it gives 31 years, whereas from 738 (assuming that Menahem died in that year) to 722 there are actually only 16 years. The years assigned by tradition to the reigns in both kingdoms in the middle part of the 8th century B.C. have thus to be materially reduced. But in the following period, from the fall of Samaria in 722 to the capture of Jerusalem by the Chaldaeans in 586, the Biblical dates, so far as we can judge, are substantially correct. (See further the table above.)
4. From the Destruction of Jerusalem in 586 to the close of the Old Testament History.-Here, though it is true that there are events in the Biblical history which are not fully or unambiguously dated, there is otherwise no difficulty. The lengths of the reigns of Nebuchadrezzar and his successors on the throne of Babylon, and also, after the conquest of Babylon, of Cyrus and the following Persian kings, are known from the "Canon of Ptolemy," referred to above, the particulars in which, for the earlier part of this period, are also confirmed by the testimony of the monuments.
See, for further information on the subject, the article CHRONOLOGY, and the same heading in the Encyclopedia Biblica, cols. 773-799, with the literature referred to on col. 819 (especially the writings of Nöldeke, Wellhausen, and Kamphausen there mentioned). (S. R. D.)
(B) NEW TESTAMENT
The New Testament is the collection of the Sacred Books of Christians. It forms in the Bible the distinctive possession of Christians, just as the Old Testament is the collection of Sacred Books which Christians share with Jews. Every term in the definition is significant and has a history. There are, first, the Books; then, the Collection; then, the Sacred Volume, complete as such in idea, though not as yet complete in its actual contents; and, lastly, the Sacred Volume in its full dimensions, as it has come down to us.
There is a double development, of quality and of quantity; of quality, as to the estimate formed of the books, their increasing recognition as sacred; and of quantity, by which the books so recognized were gradually brought up to their present number. Our duty will be to describe this double process, and we shall do so under the four heads: (a) The Growth of a specifically Christian Literature; (8) The Collection of the Books into a single volume, made up of ordered groups; (7) The investing of this volume with the character of a Sacred Book; and (6) The gradual settlement by which the volume assumed its present dimensions, neither less nor more.
The model throughout was the Old Testament. The result was attained when there was a definite volume called the New Testament by the side of the earlier volume called the Old Testament, complete like it, and like it endowed with the attributes of a Sacred Book. This is the consummation towards which events had been steadily moving-not at first consciously, for it was some time before the tendencies at work were consciously realized-but ending at last in the complete equation of Old Testament and New, and in the bracketing together of both as the first and second volumes of a single Bible. This is the process that we shall have to describe. And because the process
before us is the gradual assimilation of New Testament and Old Testament, we shall have to include at each step all that bears upon this. For instance, at starting, it will not be enough for us simply to tell the story how the Books of the New Testament came to be written, but we shall have to point out what there was about them which fitted them to be what they afterwards became, what inherent qualities they possessed which suggested the estimate ultimately put upon them; in others words, how they came to be not only a collection of Christian books, but a collection of Christian sacred books, or part of a Bible.
(a) The Growth of a Christian Literature. 1. The Pauline Epistles.-The Bible of Jesus and His disciples was the Old Testament. And both Jesus and His disciples were to all appearance content with this. It was probably two full decades after the death of Christ before there were any specifically Christian writings at all. The first generation of Christians was not given to writing. There was not only no obvious reason why it should write, but there was a positive reason why it should not write. This reason lay in the dominant attitude of Christians, which was what we call "eschatological." The first generation of Christians lived in the daily expectation that Christ would return from heaven. The truth is, that not only were Christians expecting (as we say) the Second Coming of the Messiah, but what they expected was the Coming. The Messiah, as all Jewi conceived of Him, was a superhuman being; and His First Coming as a man among men did not count as really Messianic. The whole first generation of Christians looked intently for His Coming in power and great glory, which they believed to be nea at hand. In such a state of mind as this there was no motive for seeking permanence by writing. Men who imagined that they might at any moment be caught up to meet the Lord in the air were not likely to take steps for the instruction of the generations that might come after them.
Hence the first Christian writings were no deliberate product of theologians who supposed themselves to be laying the foundation of a sacred volume. They were not an outcome of the dominant tendencies of the time, but they arose rather in spite of them, in the simplest way, just from the practical needs of the
It was thus that St Paul came to write his two epistles to the Thessalonians, the oldest Christian documents that we possess. By this time he was launched on his missionary labours; he had founded a number of churches, and he was going on to found others. And these earliest epistles are just the substitute for his personal presence, advice which he took occasion to send to his converts after he had left them. There are a few indications that he had sent similar communications to other churches before, but these have not been preserved. Indeed the wonder is—and it is a testimony to the strength of the impression which St Paul left upon all with whom he came into contact-that these missionary letters of his should have begun to be preserved so soon.
Both Epistles to the Thessalonians have for their object to calm somewhat the excited expectations of which we have spoken.
The first Epistle hits exactly the prominent features in the situation, when it reminds the Thessalonians how they had "turned unto God from idols, to serve a living and true God. and to wait for his Son from heaven," who would deliver them from the wrath to come (1 Thess. i. 9, 10). The turning from idols was of course peculiar to the Gentile communities, but the waiting for the Messiah from heaven was common to all Christians, whatever their origin. In this we may take the epistle as typical of the state of the whole Church at the time. And there is another important passage which shows why, in spite of its natural and occasional character, the epistle exhibits the germs of that essential quality which caused all the books of the New Testament to be so highly estimated. The apostle again reminds his readers how they had received his preaching not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God," which showed its power by the way in which it took hold of those who believed in it (1 Thess. ii. 13). The reference is of
course primarily to the spoken word, but the written word had the same qualities as the spoken. It was the deep impression made by these which prepared Christians generally to accept the apostolic writings as inspired, and therefore sacred. There is no greater mistake than to suppose that the estimate formed by the early Church of its Bible was a merely arbitrary verdict imposed by an external authority; it was the expression, and the natural expression (though following certain prescribed lines), of its real sense of the value and fundamentally divine origin of the writings which it treasured.
Nearest in character to the Thessalonian Epistles are the two to Corinth, which have perhaps an interval of a year and a half between them. When 1 Corinthians was written, the attitude of the Church was still strongly eschatological (1 Cor. i. 7, 8, iii. 13-15, vii. 26, 29-31, XV. 25, 26, 51-54, xvi. 23). The thoughts of men were still set upon the near approach of the end, the troublous times that would issue in the break-up of the existing order and the return of Christ to introduce a new era. There was no idea of constructing a systematic theology; Christ was still the Jewish Messiah, and His Coming was conceived of as the Jews conceived of the coming of the Messiah, as a great supernatural event transforming the face of things and inaugurating the reign of God. In view of this approaching revolution, both the Church and the world were regarded as living from hand to mouth. It was useless to attempt to found permanent institutions; everything was provisional and for the moment. And yet, even under these conditions, some practical arrangements had to be made. The epistle is taken up with matters of this kind; either the apostle is reproving disorders and abuses actually existing in the Church, and almost sure to exist in a young community that had just adopted a novel method of life and had as yet no settled understanding of the principles involved in it; or else he is replying to definite questions put to him by his converts. In all this the epistle is still a genuine letter, and not a treatise. It only rises from time to time above the level of a letter, through the extraordinary penetration, force, enthusiasm and elevation of feeling that the apostle throws into his treatment of more or less ordinary topics. He can never rest until he has carried up the question of the moment to some higher ground of faith or conduct. It is in this incidental and digressive way that we get the description of the Gospel in i. 18-ii. 16; of the Christian ministry in chs. iii., iv.; of the principle of consideration for others in ch. ix.; of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper in chs. x., xi.; of Christian love in ch. xiii.; of the Resurrection and its consequences in ch. xv.
2 Corinthians is even more a product of the situation: it is even more taken up with personal relations. No epistle sheds more light on St Paul's character as a man-so mobile, so tactful, so tender and affectionate, and yet so statesmanlike and so commanding. If doctrinal utterances occur from time to time, they are in every case incidental and unpremeditated.
The development of doctrine in St Paul's epistles is due in part to the gradual subsiding of the eschatological temper, but even more to the growth of controversy. A crisis had arisen in Galatia owing to the invasion of the churches, which St Paul had founded there, by reactionary Jews. This called forth a letter1 from St Paul, who felt himself compelled to grapple at close quarters with teaching which he saw cut at the very root of his own. He was thus led both to clear up for himself and to state for the sake of others his whole conception of soteriology -his answer to the question how was man to be set right before God. That was a large part, and at the moment the most crucial part, of the whole problem of religion.
Two or three years later (c. A.D. 55-56) St Paul was bent on paying a visit to Rome. He was not going there straight, but to Jerusalem first. He knew that he could only do this at the
imminent peril of his life. It seemed very doubtful whether he would accomplish his desire. And therefore he took the opportunity to send to the Romans what is really a summing up, not of the whole of Christianity, but of that side of Christianity which the preceding controversy had brought into special relief. He states his case as part of a larger question still-a question that inevitably became pressing at that particular time-as to the entire religious relation of Jew and Gentile.
1 The date of this epistle is rather uncertain. Something depends upon the vexed question as to the identity of the Galatian churches. The epistle may be placed conjecturally early in the stay at Ephesus (c. A.D. 52-53). It is to be noted that the chronological grouping of the epistles by minute comparison of style is apt to be deceptive; resemblances of this kind are due more to similarity of subject than to proximity in date.
These years of shock and conflict could not fail to have marked effect upon the shaping of definite Christian doctrine. They drew attention away from the future to the present, and to the past as leading up to the present. They compelled a man like St Paul to theorize: thought was driven inward; it was made to search for foundations, to organize itself and knit together part with part. And the impulse thus given continued. It showed itself strongly in the epistles of the next group, especially Ephesians and Colossians. These epistles took their form at once from a natural progression of thought and from a new phase of controversy, a sort of Gnosticizing theory, or theories, which perverted Christian practice and impaired the supremacy of Christ by placing other beings or entities by His side. The apostle meets this by renewed emphasis on the central position of Christ; and he at the same time carries a step farther his conception of the unity of the Church, as embracing both Jew and Gentile. The predominance of this somewhat recondite teaching gave to these epistles even more the character of treatises, which in the case of Ephesians is further enhanced by the fact that it is probably a circular letter addressed not to a single church but to a group of churches. Philemon is of course a pure letter, and Philippians mainly so, the Pastorals, as their name implies, contain advice and instructions to the apostle's lieutenants, Timothy and Titus, in the temporary charge committed to them of churches that the apostle could not visit himself.
The Epistle to the Hebrews is an epistolary treatise of uncertain date, on the Pauline model, and by a disciple of St Paul or at least a writer strongly influenced by him, though influenced also in no small degree by the Jewish school of Alexandria represented by Philo. Of the many theories as to the address, the most plausible are perhaps those which would apply to a single congregation of Hebrew Christians in Rome, or to a local church or group of local churches in Palestine, perhaps like that of which the centre would be at Caesarea. It is not probable that the epistle was addressed to the mother church at Jerusalem.
The above sketch of the growth and general character of the Pauline Epistles is based upon the hypothesis that all thirteen are genuine. But some discrimination should be made in detail. The scepticism which challenges the whole collection may be set aside as radically perverse and unreasonable. Apart from this, the keen criticism of modern times has fastened especially upon two groups:-2 Thessalonians; Colossians with Philemon, Ephesians and the Pastorals. The present writer would accept without any real hesitation the first of these classes; and the second he would also himself accept, though in regard to this class he would think it right to speak with rather more reserve. This may be said to be the position generally taken up by the leading English scholars; it differs slightly in a conservative direction, but not widely, from that of Harnack, a little more from that of Jülicher, and again a little more from that of von Soden.
2 Thessalonians is still questioned by scholars of some note; but when Jülicher can say that no question could be raised if it were not for the existence of 1 Thessalonians (assumed to be genuine), this is practically giving up the whole case, because the objections drawn from 1 Thessalonians are, at least to the present writer, only an example of faulty criticism. Still less is there any valid argument against Philemon. It is a mark of the improved methods now current in Germany that, whereas in 1886 this epistle was rejected by a scholar as able and sober as Weizsäcker, Jülicher now pronounces it among the most assured possessions of the apostle" (Einl. 5th ed., p. 112).
But there is an arguable case of some real weight against Colossians, Ephesians, Pastorals-least against Colossians and perhaps most against the Pastorals. Colossians is strongly vouched for by its connexion with Philemon. And the objections to Ephesians are considerably reduced when it is taken as a circular letter. But it should be admitted that, especially in regard to Ephesians and Pastorals, there is a perceptible difference, (a) in style, and (b) in characteristic subject matter, from the standard epistles. If these
later epistles are really the work of St Paul, the difference must be accounted for (a) by a somewhat unusual range of variation in style and thought on his part, and (b) by different environment and different purpose. The question is whether these explanations are adequate. The writer of this is inclined to think that they are. St Paul was in any case an unusual writer, by no means facile or with ready command of expression; still, he could by an effort express what he wanted, and new situations called up new words and new minor ideas. He was also a writer in whom the physical wear and tear must have been enormous. It might well be believed that the change in the so-called Epistles of the Imprisonment from the earlier epistles was due in part to the physical effects of prolonged confinement, as compared with the free, varied and open life and exciting controversies of earlier years. There is also the uncertain element that may possibly be due to the use of different amanuenses. An argument in favour of the genuineness of the epistles may be derived from the fact that each of the doubtful epistles is connected with others that are not doubtful by subtle links both of style and thought. If the reasons suggested above are not adequate, then we must set down the questioned epistles to some disciple of St Paul, who has carried the ideas and principles of his master a step farther or has applied them to a different set of problems and conditions.
2. The Gospels and Acts.-The Gospels and Acts arose in a way very similar to the Pauline Epistles. Here too there was no deliberate intention of writing a series of books that should be at once accepted as sacred and authoritative. Here too the expectation of the near return of Christ doubtless delayed for a number of years the desire and need for written compositions. Here too the first steps were taken as the exigencies of the moment dictated. We are again driven to fill up the gaps in our knowledge by conjectures; but some such outline as the following has much to commend it.
When the enterprise of Christian missionaries had gone on for some little time, especially in the regions outside Palestine where there was little or no previous knowledge of Christ and of Christian ideals, the wandering prophets and apostles by whom the missions were mainly conducted must have soon begun to feel the need for some sort of written manual to supplement their own personal teaching. It was one of the characteristics of the early Christian teachers that they rarely stayed for any length of time in a place; they moved on, and the little congregation was left to wait for another visitor, who might be some time in coming. How was this interval to be filled? There would be every degree of preparation, or want of preparation, for the reception of Christian teaching. Some Jews, like those who are described in the Gospel as " 'waiting for the kingdom of God," would be pious men and women carefully trained in the Old Testament, who would be almost fit for the kingdom even before they had heard of Christ. Other Gentile converts would require instruction in the very rudiments of ethical and monotheistic religion. Between these extremes there would be many shades and degrees of ignorance and knowledge. How could these various cases be met at once most simply and most effectually? We remember that the Christian preachers were preaching before all things a Person, but a person whose interest for these new converts lay chiefly in the fact that He was about to come and establish a supernatural kingdom for which they had to fit themselves. The best way therefore of helping them to do this was to provide them with an outline of the characteristic teaching of Christ, which should be at the same time a clear statement of His moral demands. It is probable that these requirements suggested the form of the first Christian Gospel, which the writer believes to be rightly identified with the so-called Logia of St Matthew, now often designated by the symbol Q. It did not aim at being a history, and still less a complete history, but it was mainly a collection of sayings or discourses suited to supply a rule of life.
It would be somewhat later than this, and not until the eschatological outlook became weaker, and men began to turn their regard to the past rather than to the future, that there would gradually arise a more strictly historical interest. There is reason to think that in the Christian Church this interest did not begin to be active much before the decade A.D. 60-70. Its first conspicuous product was our present Gospel of St Mark, which was probably composed at Rome within the years 64-70. We say advisedly "our present Gospel of St Mark," because
there does not seem to us to be any sufficient reason for presupposing an Ur-Marcus, or older form of this Gospel.
These two works, the Logia (or, as some prefer to call it, the Non-Marcan document common to Matthew and Luke) and composition of Gospels. Our Matthew and our Luke are just the Mark-Gospel, were the prime factors in all the subsequent combinations, differently constructed, of these two documents, with a certain amount of additional matter which the editors had collected for themselves. And it is probable that other Gospels of which only fragments have come down to us, like the Gospel according to the Hebrews and the Gospel of Peter, have been built up out of the same materials.
St Luke was the first to write, as we may see from his preface, definitely in the spirit of a historian. He addresses his work to Theophilus, apparently an official person, who had already been taught the main outlines of Christianity. He had planned his work on a large scale; and in Acts we have its second volume. It is an event of no small importance for criticism that so eminent a scholar as Prof. Harnack should have come round to the view, almost universally prevalent in England, that St Luke himself was the final editor and author of both the Third Gospel and the Acts. It is a very secondary question what is their exact date.
The reasons which converge upon the conclusion just expressed as to the origin and nature of the fundamental documents worked up in our present Synoptic Gospels are as follows(i.) The literary analysis of the Synoptic Gospels brings out a number of sections common to Matthew and Luke which probably at one time existed as an independent document. (ii.) This document consisted, in the main though not entirely, of a collection of Sayings of the Lord, which set in strong rebef at once His character and the moral and religious ideal that He desired to commend. (iii.) We have an express statement, which must have been originally made before the end of the first century, that the apostle Matthew composed in Hebrew a work described as Logia. This word need not mean, but may quite well and pointedly mean, a collection specially of Sayings, and would still more aptly denote a collection of divine or authoritative sayings (λóyia=prop. "oracles "). (iv.) We know further that the conditions of early Christian missionary teaching were such as have been described. We learn this especially from the Didache; and the first part of that work, the so-called "Two-Ways," is commonly thought to have been in the first instance a Jewish manual put into the hands of proselytes. On our hypothesis the Logia would have been a sort of Christian manual used with a similar object. (v.) We are confirmed in this opinion by the fact that the epistles of St Paul furnish many indications that Christians in general, including those who had not been much in contact with the original Twelve, were well acquainted with the leading features in the character of Christ and in the Christian ideal, although there is little corresponding evidence for their knowledge of details in the life of Christ.
There is a similar statement to the one mentioned above, that like it must have been originally made before the end of the first century, as to a Gospel composed by St Mark on the basis mainly of the preaching of St Peter, though this need not exclude personal experience (as, e.g., perhaps in Mark xiv. 51-52) or information derived from other sources. Only raw materials came from St Peter, and those probably not checked or revised by him; the arrangement is due to Mark himself, and is more successful than might have been expected in the circumstancesindeed so successful as to suggest advice from some good quarter. According to Irenaeus (c. A.D. 185), who is more precise than Clement of Alexandria, the Gospel was not published tul after the death of Peter, which would place its composition between the limits A.D. 65 and 70. The phenomena which are sometimes supposed to require the hypothesis of an Ur-Marcus are more simply and satisfactorily explained as incidents in the transmission of the Marcan text.
The matter peculiar to Matthew and Luke raises a number of interesting questions which are still too much sub judice to