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which it rests are really grounded on the truth. I regard it as the most fatal defect of the so-called "mediating theology” to which I rejoice in other points to belong, that, with few exceptions, instead of exercising a courageous and scriptural criticism on the doctrinal tradition of the Church, it now excuses and now conceals its deviations from that tradition. It has also confounded the historical estimate of the Church's dogmatic with an approximate restoration of it, helping thereby to foster the would-be orthodoxy of our day, which, like a somnambulist, goes with its eyes closed on the housetops of the century. If, indeed, our deviations from the traditional were abatements diminutions of original Christianity, we would have no right to speak or to exist. But the opposite of this is the case. The biblical mode of teaching is far richer, deeper, more satisfying to the intellect, and the religious and moral life, than the scholastic, and we are only exercising our right as good Protestants, we are only doing our evangelic duty, received from the Reformation, when we go back from scholasticism to the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament, which, during the last century, have been interpreted in accordance with new methods. In this sense, as a modest contribution to the reconstruction of our Church theology, I here submit the results of many years familiarity with the writings of the New Testament, in the hope that though, in the well-known words of the poet, “Nothing will please him who is perfect,” there may be some in process of growth who will be grateful for help here as everywhere. And now a few more remarks about the formal

arrangement of my book, as it follows from the scientific and practical tendency which is inseparable from my disposition and mode of thought. As a matter of course, my expositions are concerned with the scientific discussions of the present; but, in order to keep my book from swelling out of proportion, I have restricted to special cases express statements of the views of others, and as far as possible referred to them in notes. I have thought that special reference now and then was due to the much-read book of Dr. Weiss, which in some respects sums up the work hitherto done in this field. It may be hoped that the complaints made in one quarter about my Life of Christ, that I did not go deep enough into the exegetical

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evidence, will not be repeated here. There is nothing easier than to tumble out the contents of exegetical note-books in such a book as this. But in doing so one mixes up the business of exegesis and history, and makes needlessly large books at a time when already there is of making books no end. I hope that I have given a presentation sufficient for the intelligent reader everywhere of the exegetical basis which alone belongs to a biblical theology, sometimes by express discussions, sometimes by noting the harmony of different facts, sometimes by simple quotation or translation of passages, while the original text is quoted where it is important to have the Greek words. If, on the other hand, many things are introduced which learned experts may find superfluous, I would ask them to remember that I desire to have my book read not merely by such experts, but also by working clergymen and students, as well as-if it should be so fortunateby cultured laymen who may wish to inquire about the sources of our Christian faith and doctrine. Nevertheless I do not doubt that numerous defects will adhere to this as to my earlier work, springing partly from my personal peculiarity, partly from my scanty and broken leisure within six years, in which I have been forced to complete the book bit by bit. I can only pray that a kindly reception may be given to whatever real help I have to proffer, and that the rest may not be too long dwelt upon. May God, who has allowed me to complete in soundness and freshness of mind this life-work, grant His blessing for this attempt to clear a broader roadway for His truth.


HALLE, 1891.




The question as to the original teaching of Jesus and His apostles has never been entirely set at rest in the course of the Christian centuries. How often has Christendom, unsatisfied, nay, repelled by that which the Church as dispenser of Christian doctrine offered it, raised its eyes to the hills whence help came to the dying world so many centuries before, and gone back from the turbid brooks of a derived tradition to the sources from which the water of life flows forth in its original purity. But the springs rose from wells that were sealed. The Reformation gave men a deeper draught from these springs, and declared the fountain to be accessible to every man. Yet no man who knows what he is saying will maintain that Protestant Christendom to-day has the consciousness of being saturated with the original teaching of Christ, without addition or diminution. The present has only one advantage over every former period of Christendom. It has made the satisfaction of that deep legitimate desire the subject of methodical, scientific work, which is just our biblical and especially our New Testament Theology.

“ Biblical Theology," New Testament Theology," has become current as an awkward name for a subject of the very first importance,-a name which is explained by the scientific history of its origin, to be referred to further on. For it does not mean a theology which occupies itself with the Bible,



all branches of biblical study would then have to be comprehended under this name,—but a theology which the Bible itself has and proffers, the theology which lies before us in the Bible. But the Bible contains no “theology" in the strict sense of the word, no scientific doctrine of divine things. It contains religion as distinguished from theology. And that is just its excellence, that it contains pure religion; that, as we believe, it presents the true and perfect religion as distinguished from all subsequent theological manipulation of the same. Consequently, the current name,“ Biblical Theology,” can only be maintained by taking theology here in the wider sense of doctrine and doctrinal contents of a religious and moral character, without any scientific form.

But we are met on the threshold by a modern objection to this provisional conception of the matter. Is doctrine, even in this sense, really the essential content of the Bible ? Is not its content above all fact and history? As for Christianity in particular, is it not a life in God mediated through Jesus Christ, rather than a doctrine of divine things ? The friends of biblical theology have no wish to deny the truth which underlies these statements; but it is a half truth, and therefore liable to be misunderstood. To say nothing of the apostles, who, at anyrate, taught something concerning Christ, or of Paul who was certainly one of the greatest teachers in the world's history, the statement that “Jesus Christ brought no new doctrine, but presented in His person a holy life with God and before God, and in the strength which He drew from that spiritual life He devoted Himself to the service of His brethren in order to win them for the kingdom of God," 1 is, with all the truth which it contains, one of those misleading statements that oppose things which are not mutually exclusive. No one can deny that Jesus was known by His contemporaries as a “ Master,” that is, as a Teacher. His preaching was hailed as a new doctrine (Mark i. 27), and He Himself was conscious that its was His special mission to convey a knowledge of God which was unheard of before Him, and which could not be obtained without Him (Matt. xi. 27). Certainly this knowledge is only the abstract side of the life in God which He unfolds in order to com

1 Harnack, History of Dogma, vol. i. p. 36.

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