§ 57. The parabolic teaching and the people

Critique of the Gospel History of the Synoptics
by Bruno Bauer

Volume 2



§ 57.

The parabolic teaching and the people.

Matth. 13, 34. 35.

“All this, saith Matthew, before he dismissed the Lord home, all this Jesus spake in parables unto the multitudes, and without a parable he spake not unto them.” If we had not heard before that the parabolic contract was intended for the people (vv. 10-13), we should nevertheless conclude from this remark alone that Jesus preferred to speak to the people in parables, and therefore find it striking that he immediately afterwards recited a series of parables to the disciples.

From another point of view, too, this remark must entangle itself in an irresolvable contradiction. Jesus is said to have spoken to the people only in parables! Only? But was the Sermon on the Mount not a speech intended for the people? Of course the theologian does not fail to remark that the negation is to be understood only as a “relative” one *); of course! for for the theologian who either gives up reason or, after a sudden incursion, wants to see it where it is not to be seen, there is no language, no law, no connection, no contradiction; for him there is nothing, only the nothing of his self-consciousness, in which all definiteness disappears. The remark remains a contradiction if it is written in a scripture that hands down to us a speech like the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew copied it, without noticing how it belied the presuppositions of his work, from the writing of Mark, in which it stands alone in its place and in connection with all other presuppositions **). But he did not copy the remark in its entirety, because he was aware, if not of the entire danger, at least of that which threatened the next part of his report. Mark remarks that Jesus, when he was alone with the disciples, gave them the interpretation of the parables (C. 4, 34.); Matthew, however, wants to have Jesus recite some more parables at home before the disciples, so he omits this note and, in order to fill the gap, uses a quotation from the O.T., to which again only a few key words led him ***). 

*) Olshausen, l, 466. Fritzsche on Matth, p. 470.

**) How consistently Mark observes these premises we shall have occasion to notice later C. 7, 14-17.

***) Ps. 78, 2 εν παραβολαίς (LXX). The προβλήματα απ’ αρχής of the Greek translation he changed into the κεκρυμμενα of the evangelical language, in order to let the relation to the μυστηρια (C. 13, 11.) stand out.

Luke had to omit the whole remark after his alteration of the original report: perhaps he did so and omitted the whole parable lecture as such, because he knew that otherwise he would not have been able to elaborate the Sermon on the Mount “as the first treaty given to the chosen disciples (Luke 6, 20.)” *) and as a speech that was also meant for the people (C. 7, 1.).

*) Wilke, p. 584.


The following two tabs change content below.

Neil Godfrey

Neil is the author of this post. To read more about Neil, see our About page.

Latest posts by Neil Godfrey (see all)