utorak, 18. svibnja 2010.
Benjamin Wisner Bacon - The Fourth Gospel in Research and Debate (1910)
The controversial element implied in its title is also a reflection of the conditions of the time equally manifest in the articles which preceded it. A group of four appeared in the Hibbert Journal in the issues of April, 1903 (I, 3), January, 1904 (II, 2), January, 1905 (III, 2) and October, 1907 (VI, i). In these the effort of the writer was to bring before the intelligent lay public the merits of the great critical debate, the cause of the opponents of the traditional authorship being frankly espoused. At intervals before and during this period contributions were made also to The Expositor (1907), the Journal o] Biblical Literature (1894, 1908), and the American Journal oj Theology (1900) in the interest of research pure and simple into questions involved in the problem. The volume begun as nothing more than a reproduction of these two groups of articles, somewhat revised and
supplemented, naturally reflects, even in its present greatly developed and altered form, the two aspects of current discussion which called forth the material of its substratum. Knowledge of the fact just stated may be of service to the reader, but the fact itself needs no apology. Whether fortunately or unfortunately and the effects are not all unfavorable biblical criticism is forced to build with one hand on shield and spear, the other on the trowel. Before its results are tested on their merits it is required to justify its own existence. The assailant of the traditional authorship of the Fourth Gospel has no real success unless he can obtain a hearing from men profoundly interested in the cause of revealed religion, above all in the religion which has Jesus Christ as both teacher and Lord. The first step of those who resist his conclusions is to assure the public to which he appeals that his motives are inimical to its dearest and most sacred ideals. How, then, can criticism obtain a hearing without the weapons of controversy? On the other hand, what examples not only of consecrated scholarship, but of dignified and noble Christian courtesy, are
evoked in such names as Lightfoot, Sanday, James Drummond ! Only the conviction that his cause is just can lead a comparative novice into the lists against such as these. If one venture, it can only be in the full realization of relatively imperfect scholarship, less extensive learning, less accurate knowledge on many important facts. And yet in such a field as this, where new facts are grains of gold hidden under mountains of thrice sifted waste, the more vital requisite is the perspective of great and well-known things in their true proportion and relation, rather than extent or minuteness in the knowledge of particulars. New perspectives may be given
to a younger generation, and when seen they demand to be made known. Such is the reason for this book. Errors will doubtless reveal their presence in it. Its tone toward older and greater authorities of opposing view may be criticized as showing too little of that respect professed by the author, and professed not in insincerity, nor as conventionally due, but out of deep and well-founded conviction. We hope the criticism will not seem justified. Many things might have been better said, some perhaps might have been better left unsaid. And yet withal the faith remains that our book will be of service. May the reader gain from it new insights into the beginnings of our faith. May the Church of Christ be stimulated by it to a larger and freer apprehension of his