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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/93

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AGNOSTICISM.
2. Of the three synoptic Gospels one only, that which ecclesiastical tradition agrees in attributing to Luke, has reached us in its primitive form.

3. Luke could draw his knowledge of the Gospel history partly from oral information; he was able, in Palestine itself, to receive direct communications from immediate witnesses. . . . We may think especially here of the history of the passion and the resurrection, and perhaps also of some other passages of which he is the sole narrator.

4. A book, which an ancient and respectable testimony attributes to Mark, the disciple of Peter, was certainly used by St. Luke as the principal source of the portion of his Gospel between chapter iv, 31, and ix, 50; and between xviii, 15, and xxi, 38.

5. According to all probability, the book of Mark, consulted by Luke, comprised in its primitive form what we read in the present day from Mark i, 21, to xiii, 37.

It seems unnecessary, for the purpose of estimating the value of Prof. Huxley's appeal to these critics, to quote any more. It appears from these statements of Reuss that if "the results of biblical criticism," as represented by him, are to be trusted, we have the whole third Gospel in its primitive form, as it was written by St. Luke; and in this, as we have seen, Reuss is in entire agreement with Renan. But besides this, a previous book written by Mark, St. Peter's disciple, was certainly in existence before Luke's Gospel, and was used by Luke; and in all probability this book was, in its primitive form, the greater part of our present Gospel of St. Mark.

Such are those "results of biblical criticism" to which Prof. Huxley has appealed; and we may fairly judge by these not only of the value of his special contention in reply to my paper, but of the worth of the sweeping assertions he, and writers like him, are given to making about modern critical science. Prof. Huxley says that we know "absolutely nothing" about the originators of the Gospel narratives, and he appeals to criticism in the persons of Volkmar and Reuss. Volkmar says that the second Gospel is really either by St. Mark or by one of his friends, and was written about the year 75. Reuss says that the third Gospel, as we now have it, was really by St. Luke. Now Prof. Huxley is, of course, entitled to his own opinion; but he is not entitled to quote authorities in support of his opinion when they are in direct opposition to it. He asserts, without the slightest fear of refutation, that "the four Gospels, as they have come to us, are the work of unknown writers." His arguments in defense of such a position will be listened to with respect: but let it be borne in mind that the opposite arguments he has got to meet are not only those of orthodox critics like myself, but those of Renan, of Volkmar, and of Reuss—I may add of Pfleiderer, well known in this country by his Hibbert Lectures, who, in his recent work on original Christianity, attributes most positively the second Gospel in its present