Wilke is now in English translation

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by Neil Godfrey

I somehow managed to complete a first draft of a translation of the entire near 700 pages of one of the major works that established the case for the Gospel of Mark being the first gospel.

It can be accessed here on my vridar.info page. Link is to a PDF – 27 MB.

I have updated the Wilke page in the right margin where the link can always be found.

I have been advised that for my final act I should attempt the same for Weisse. Maybe…. but 1100+ pages…. ?

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4 thoughts on “Wilke is now in English translation”

  1. Because of your amazing work, Neil, the English reader (like me) can finally see what an artistic genius like Bruno Bauer found so appealing about C.G. Wilke. Wilke is a systematic, scientific analyst of the Synoptic Gospels, writing 180 years ago. He was one of the pioneers of the Marcan Hypothesis, which virtually every contemporary Bible scholar today — worldwide — accepts as fact. Here is the ROOT. You are bringing these texts to the English reader without the benefit of Grants from Universities. You deserve lots of credit.

    1. I have just finished translating the first two of the seven “book-chapters” of the two Weisse volumes that you recommended. At first the idea of 1150 pages daunted me but so far I am finding Weisse much easier to translate — so far he has fewer references to Greek and Latin text on each page and maybe I am learning more about how to tweak the OCR software I use to improve results somewhat.

      These works should be studied by modern scholars — I so often come across arguments in them that debunk or at least strongly challenge quite a few ideas that surface among modern scholars and appear to be taken for granted.

  2. I’m so impressed by this new English translation of Wilke’s Marcan Hypothesis, that I will briefly compare Bruno Bauer with Wilke, showing their agreements back in 1840, when the Marcan Hypothesis was born. (I acknowledge Albert Schweitzer’s influence in the following).


    1. Hegel is the indispensable foundation of the higher criticism.

    2. The Birth Stories in LUKE (LK) and MATTHEW (MT) differ, and each story is a complete whole, with no separable parts. Thus, they are literary inventions.

    3. The discourses in LK and MT also differ, also are complete wholes, with no separable parts. Thus, they are literary inventions.

    4. LK and MT make the Baptist doubt. MARK (MK) and JOHN (JN) don’t.

    5. LK and MT elaborate upon MK. MT elaborates on LK.

    6. MT adds Messianic announcements and acknowledgements earlier LK, and makes no sense. JN adds them at the beginning of the story, and slams the Jews for not realizing it.

    7. A main difference between JN and the Synoptics is the story of Lazarus. In JN, Lazarus was in the grave four days, and corrupt. In LK, the afflicted was being carried to his/her grave. In MT, the afflicted was caught the moment after death. Increasing exaggeration is the key to interpretation here.

    8. JN adds the theology of Philo Judaeus onto LK.

    9. Peter’s Confession at Caesarea Phillipi is probably real, since it is not flattering and it defeats the purpose of JN, MT and even LK. It is HISTORY, and forces us to ask HOW DID PETER FIND OUT? And, HOW DID THE CROWD AT JERUSALEM FIND OUT?

    10. How much of the Messianic Secret is original with Jesus, and how much is it the mythology of MK? We must start with the first element, the doctrine of the Son of Man.

    11. If the Jews DIDN’T immediately expect a First-Person Messiah during 30 AD, any Messiahs would have been quickly killed by the Jews themselves for blasphemy. But if they DID expect Him, Jewish literature on the topic would have been plentiful, clear and unambigous, so a Sabbath-breaking itinerant exorcist would have been laughed out of town, and would not have converted anybody.

    12. In 1840, before the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, all the details of tradition were heaps of speculation based on rumor.

    * Although DANIEL’s Son of Man idea is listed late in the canon, history tells us the Wisdom writings are later;
    (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Son of Solomon); and all these all omit the Son of Man concept.

    * In the Jewish Apocalypses, the Kingdom is always greater than the Son of Man.

    * The Son of Man is not mentioned in Philo.

    * Alexandrian Jews never linked the Messiah with the Logos.

    * John the Baptist (JBap) did not baptize in the name of the Son of Man, but in the name of the Kingdom of God.

    * In the whole known literature of the Tiberian age, only MARK and his imitators ever wrote about an immediately expected Son of Man.

    13. The idea of the First Person Son of Man is the birth of the Christian community. It is the new religion itself.

    So, those are the key similarities between Bruno Bauer and C. Wilke, explaining why Bauer simply LOVED this guy.


    1. Thanks for posting this most interesting list, Paul. One argument common to Wilke and Bauer that I am particularly interested in is their grounds for assessing a passage to be a literary invention. It is a more eloquent way of appealing to Occam’s razor, I think.

      I can understand why both liked the idea of Matthew using Luke, but that’s one area where I think further studies have leaned in favour of Luke using Matthew. But that’s hardly a major issue in the light of their major arguments.

      I regret to confess that I still cannot accept the posited arguments for historicity since, to my mind, both the criterion of embarrassment and the notion of a story “going against the grain” of a larger narrative are both circular arguments. (Further, I think Rivka Nir’s more recent study of John the Baptist — “The First Christian Believer” — effectively challenges a range of conventional views in the scholarly field.)

      As for Bauer’s points on the popular Jewish expectations for a messiah at the turn of the century — I know Bauer modified some of his views over time, but I understand that in his later work, at least, he argued that there was no popular Jewish expectation for a messiah at that time. But even if there were, would Jews really have condemned a would-be messiah for blasphemy? Would not they have more likely responded with enthusiasm or scepticism …. but it was hardly a death-penalty claim, was it?

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