§ 67. The Confession of Peter

Critique of the Gospel History of the Synoptics
by Bruno Bauer

Volume 3


Critique of the Gospel History 

of the 

Synoptics and John


Bruno Bauer.

Third and final volume.

Brauuschweig: Friedrich Otto.



Eleventh section.

The express revelation of Jesus as the Messiah.


§ 67.

The Confession of Peter.

At last, after Jesus had always done such works as were possible only for the Messiah, and which should have long since made him known as such, it is expressly stated who he is, and his Messianic dignity is definitely and clearly acknowledged and revealed in three forms. First Peter confesses his faith, then Jesus himself expresses his seal on this confession by speaking of the necessity that he must suffer as Messiah, and finally the temple also gives its voice in order to give the Messiah general recognition as such.

But if we say that at last this express acknowledgment comes to pass, we must first consider a contradiction in which Matthew’s account enters into relation to this view and expression.


1. The report of Matthew.

Matthew, too, wants us to look at the matter as if Jesus had only now been recognized as the Messiah by his own people, and by them first of all, but partly in this account itself, partly in the whole of the preceding scripture, he has elements which frustrate his intention.


When Jesus asks the disciples about the opinion of the people, he also intends to ask them about their own views of him. After the report on the public opinion did not confirm his identity, he asks them: ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ (Matthew 16:15). However, it would have been inappropriate if Jesus had already given the disciples the desired answer by asking them about the people’s opinion of him, the Son of Man. He could only ask if it was already established between him and the disciples that he was the Son of Man, that is, the Messiah. But the report by Matthew himself implies that this was not yet the case, as Jesus later asks the disciples for their opinion in a way that shows that they had not expressed or oriented themselves about this matter before – and when Peter’s happy answer is described later as one that could only have been given to him by the Heavenly Father.

It was thought that one could secure the possibility of asking the question by the remark that ‘the designation as Son of Man was at least not the usual one for the Messiah’ *). But first of all, he who makes this assumption would have to prove that his exact knowledge of the Christological conceptions of the Jews at the time of Jesus was the correct one, and then he should not forget that when Jesus not only speaks of the Son of Man in a parable, but calls himself such, this is also connected with the intention of calling himself or him the Messiah. But even if a parable speaks of the Son of Man (e.g. Matth. 13, 41), it is clear that everyone should think of the Messiah and under certain circumstances (Matth. 25, 31) of Jesus as the Messiah. In the end, the critic only has to think of Matthew, his time, his surroundings, his views and presuppositions, and if he takes this correct standpoint, he will not doubt it. If he takes this correct standpoint, he will not doubt that Matthew, when he calls Jesus the Son of Man, intends to call Him the Messiah. In short, Jesus speaks here as if the presupposition that he is the Messiah is fixed among the disciples and between them and him. In short, Matthew has significantly and very disturbingly reworked a foreign account, which this time first wants to emphasise the recognition of Jesus as the Messiah among the disciples, by leaving this presupposition in place, even elaborating it further (in Peter’s beatitude), and yet forcing into the account the other, the later presupposition, for which everything is already ready in the beginning, the presupposition that the disciples had long known their Master as the Messiah. He had to proceed in this way if he wanted to communicate the report of Mark and could not rewrite it any better; for, to mention only one thing, he had already put the confession into the mouths of the disciples: you are in truth the Son of God! yes, not only to the disciples, but to the people in general (C. 14, 33), which cannot surprise us, since already in the first days after his appearance even the blind had recognized Jesus as the Son of David (C. 9, 27). It is impossible that the disciples, when asked about the voice of the people (C. 16, 14), spoke as if it had not yet occurred to anyone that Jesus was the Messiah; it is also impossible that Jesus, after Peter’s confession, could forbid the disciples to reveal His Messianic dignity to the people (16, 20), since He had already openly declared Himself to be the Messiah in His first public speech, in the Sermon on the Mount.

*) Strauss L. I. I, 531. I. I, 531. Weisse 1, 321.


Only in the account of Mark (C. 8, 27 – 30), which is preceded by nothing like Matthew’s account, could Jesus ask: “What do the people say about me?” he could ask the disciples, when he was not satisfied with the news about the opinion of the people: But what do you say of me?” and when Peter confessed him to be the Messiah, he could forbid them to speak of the matter to others.


Matthew not only thoroughly paralyzed the presentation of Mark, but he also confused it in a single stroke from another perspective.Some, the disciples report, take you for the Baptist, others for Elljah, others think you are Jeremiah or one of the prophets. So three classes! But there must be four, since those who take Jesus for Jeremiah are different from those who take him for one of the prophets in general *). – Matthew thus very clumsily inserted his enrichment of Jewish Christology into the third compartment, in which Mark only placed those who considered Jesus to be one of the prophets.

*) Wilke, p. 367.

The diligence of Matthew has brought even more to dust, he has enriched the report of Mark by very great, very important new discoveries, but unfortunately we cannot approve them.


2. The new name of Simon.

Matth. 16, 17. 18.

When Peter confessed, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’ – according to Mark he only says, ‘You are the Christ,’ that is, the Anointed One, the Messiah; according to Luke, ‘You are the Christ of God’ – Jesus responds with a Pauline expression: ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood (Gal. 1:17) has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter,’ that is, a true rock, and from now on you shall be called Peter. This episode is inappropriate, as it should be followed immediately, as in Mark, by the prohibition not to reveal him to anyone as the Messiah. And if this prohibition, as in Matthew’s account, comes after the discussions about Simon’s new name and even after the further discussions about the foundation of the new church, it comes too late! It is appropriate, however, that the new Peter is immediately rebuked as Satan in verse 23.


Although Matthew has inserted the naming in the wrong place, he has at least motivated it by Peter’s confession. The fourth gospel writer, who wrote it down afterwards, has made it seem like it was done in the air when he describes the matter in such a way that Jesus immediately says to Simon when he sees him for the first time: ‘You shall be called Cephas’. Matthew believed he could use this method to justify Mark’s note that Simon received the nickname Peter from Jesus, while the fourth writer did not care about the motive and revealed that Jesus’ insight was so great that he recognized the rock in Peter at first sight.

Later (C. 6, 68-70), the Fourth uses Matthew’s account more diligently and, after asking Peter in a very stilted way whether they also wanted to leave him like others, he has him affirm: “We believe and have recognised that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God *). Finally, as in Matthew’s account Peter is accused of being Satan, the Fourth, who noticed the contradiction, at least made sure that after Peter’s confession (v. 70) Jesus called one of his disciples a devil.

*) Joh. 6, 69: συ ει ο Χριστός ο υιός του θεού του ζώντος.
Matth. 16, 17 ου ει ο Χριστός, ο υιός του θ. τ. ζώντος.

The other trait in Matthew’s account, that Jesus declares that on Peter he will found his church, has also not been passed over in the fourth Gospel: Jesus here commands Peter to tend his lambs; to indicate the seriousness of the commission, he tells him three times: “Feed my lambs” and to prove his worthiness, to prove his entitlement to this privilege, he has to answer in the affirmative the Lord’s question whether he loves him more than the others (C. 21, 15-17), – a very elaborate copy of the account we read in the Gospel of Matthew.



3. The foundation stone of the church.

Matth. 16, 18. 19.

If Calvin calls the man at Rome the “Antichrist” because of the assertion that Peter is proclaimed as the foundation of the Church by Jesus *), the critic must also put up with being called the Antichrist. For it concerns the correct interpretation of those words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew and – let us add – that commission given to Peter in the fourth gospel, which, as we have seen, is one and the same with that claim of Jesus in the former gospel, so it is not only a claim, not only a fiction, which the man in Rome has committed, but the correct explanation of the relevant passage in the gospel. The critic, as far as he is also an exegete, will absolutely agree with this man and will deeply sympathize with the torments that the literal-minded Protestant has brought upon himself.

The Protestants, not to mention the later zealots, that is, to stick with Calvin – one man! – ask: Can’t you see that the Antichrist is attributing to the person of Peter what is actually said about the faith of Peter? **) The Antichrist, however, cannot do otherwise; as long as he still has the use of his eyes and cannot understand to make them squint by force, he will also have to admit that if Peter is presented as this person, naturally as the person of such solid faith, and with the words: you are Peter! this person, naturally this person with this faith, is the rock on which the church is to be founded.

*) to Matth. 16, 18: Romanus Antichristus fingit Petrum vocari Ecclesiae fundamentum.

**) Quis non videt, quod (Antichr.) transfert ad hominis personam, de Petri fide in Christum dictum esse ?


But, say the Protestants further, when Jesus addresses Peter by name, it is only because Peter had confessed Jesus in the name of all; but for this very reason the Lord’s saying also refers to all the other disciples *). At last the time will come when language will no longer be robbed of its character of being language by theology. Can it be more strongly and powerfully described as something given by God only to Peter, that is, as a personal prerogative of Peter, that he recognised in Jesus the Anointed One, than if it is said that only the Father in heaven could have revealed this to him? Does the one to whom something has just been revealed from above express the conviction of others on their behalf? Would the Father in heaven have to intervene if Peter had to do nothing more than speak the conviction of others? – In the writing of Mark it can at most be the case that Peter expresses the conviction of the others; in the writing of Matthew it has become different, and the Fourth has correctly processed their view when he lets it depend on it that Peter loves the Lord more than the others before he lets him be entrusted with the oversight of his host.

*) Calvin: At Christus Petrum unum nominatim alloquitur: nempe sicuti unus omnium nomine Christum confessus fuerat dei filium, ila vicissim ad unum dirigitur sermo, qui tamen peraeque ad alios pertinet.

But, finally, it is said, if Peter, when he did not want to know about the suffering of Jesus, is called Satan, if this can only mean that he is like Satan, indeed, if he is even called Satan in this context, then it is clear, that only faith and not Peter as this person is called the pillar and foundation of the Church. Do you think, then, that it occurs to the Antichrist to suppose that Peter is to be called here with skin and hair and as this bone scaffolding covered with skin and flesh as the foundation on which the Church is founded? He with this faith is the foundation of the church, as he later, because of his earthly mindset without anxious reserve, is even called Satan himself.


But how can a man who so transgresses that he must be called Satan be appointed the foundation of the church? The critic will not rack his brains over this in the way you do, and weaken both sides of the contradiction: no! he says: Matthew has not only inserted a new element into the account of Mark, – but has also inserted it very clumsily, since he rather mechanically copied a trait from Mark, which, if he had only rcflectirt a little hastily, he would necessarily have had to suppress, or, as the Fourth did, completely change. Peter, the foundation of the Church, was not allowed to behave satanically, or if a satan should indeed appear, then another, such as Judas, would have had to take on this role.

The Roman Antichrist has correctly explained the words which form the diploma of Peter; the critical Antichrist agrees with him in this explanation, but withdraws the diploma from him when he refers to it, as to a divine handwriting, in order to prove his hierarchy as a divine work. This diploma did not first establish his hierarchy or legitimise it in advance, before it was established, but it was dictated by the already existing hierarchical view, by a view to which Peter already appeared as the prince of the church, and Matthew is the first to have written it. That word of Christ is the proof of the already existing hierarchy, it is the expression of the justification which the hierarchy presupposed for itself. The Bible-believing Protestant was not able to snatch this diploma from the man at Rome; only the critical Antichrist, after he has vidimirt it, can recognise it as correct and show that the seal and the signatures do not come from God’s hand, but from the hand of history, from a hand which, however, has issued many new and quite different diplomas. Let us therefore leave the man of Rome his handwriting; eregetically, as the Protestants thought, we shall not annul it; but if it is the hierarchy itself which has justified itself in this diploma, mankind has meanwhile written new diplomas which have long since refuted that old one, but only by their richer and more worthy contents.


The keys of the kingdom of heaven and the power to bind and loose were first given to Peter by Matthew *) and this power was somewhat inconsistently given to the disciples on another occasion (C. 18, 18). Otherwise, i.e. more specifically, in the primitive Gospel Jesus refers to the apostles only as messengers, emissaries, teachers, who are to proclaim the kingdom of heaven to the world, but not as church leaders, not as rulers who are to hierarchically determine the relationship of the individuals to heaven, i.e. only at the time of Matthew had the hierarchy already become such an essential and powerful element of the church that an evangelist writing at that time could not fail to confirm the prerequisites of it through the mouth of Jesus. Matthew is also the first evangelist who dared to put the word “Church” in the mouth of Jesus (16:18, 18:17).

*) He borrowed the formula for the blessing from the O. T.: Isa. 22, 22 και δώσω αυτή την κλείδα οίκου Δαυίδ. και ανοίξει και ουκ έσται ο αποκλείων, και-κλείσει και ουκ έσται και ανοίγων.

Mark knows nothing of all these things and in his work the question of Jesus about the opinion of the people, about the opinion of the disciples and the answer of Peter alone has its correct position and meaning, since no one had yet recognised Jesus as the Messiah and even not long before, as Mark had not failed to notice, the heart of the disciples was still closed (C. 6, 51. 52).

But if the report of Mark is aesthetically correct, this does not necessarily mean that it is historically correct.



4. The original report. 

Mark 8, 27 – 30.

How? In a man who performed such fearful wonders, who did nothing but miracles and attracted so much attention that he was immediately surrounded by crowds wherever he went, in a man whose miraculous power was trusted so much that as soon as he came into a city, the sick were brought to him in the market, should they not have recognised the Messiah long ago? Is there a more distasteful impossibility? Jesus has to perform these innumerable, these sky-scraping miracles because he is regarded as the Messiah in the evangelical view, he had to perform them in order to prove himself as the Messiah: and no one recognises the Messiah in him? Is not every Christian reader, when he sees these miracles, convinced that this man is the Messiah, and does he not know that the purpose of these miracles is to prove this man to him as the Messiah? And no one among the people should have made the childish conclusion that the mighty miracle-worker must be the Messiah? This conclusion of the children’s catechism would have been too difficult for a whole people, even for the disciples? What kind of children must Jesus have surrounded himself with, what kind of vain, miserable children must he have appeared among! No! these disciples, this people, were not even children in the sense in which one could speak here of children alone, they were warm infants in whom the first trace of humanity is not yet to be found, they were warm still less; for an infant can already smile to its nurses and knows how to distinguish them from others; they were lifeless dolls, they were warm nothing, they were warm less than nothing.

This terrible pragmatism remains both terrifying and horrifying, even after it has been resolved for us, as there are no more reports of miracles for us. It remains that it is itself the greatest evangelical miracle that the people had not already recognized the Messiah in this miracle-worker, and when Mark says that the disciples were so excessively terrified by Jesus’ walking on the sea because they had not yet recognized from the wonderful multiplication of the loaves who Jesus really was, their hearts were still closed and thick-skinned, that too is an enormous miracle, but a miracle that only the evangelist has created. Mark has surrounded the hearts of the disciples with this thick skin.


If this pragmatism now coincides with the miracle reports, one thing could still remain that the disciples only belatedly recognised the Lord as the Messiah, and that on one occasion when their Master questioned them about popular opinion. In vain! That the people regarded Jesus as the resurrected Baptist or as Elijah or as one of the prophets who came into the world for the second time, happened and happens in the Gospel only under the condition that Jesus performs miracles, as it must have happened to the Baptist when he really returned from the grave, or to an Elijah or one of the old prophets (Mark 6, 14 ). This popular opinion – which has already proven to us to be a mere fabrication of Mark – is therefore also impossible and with it the confession of Peter, which can only stand in contrast to it, falls to the ground.

Nothing can maintain itself in the report. To make matters worse, we can ask whether Jesus, who always went about with the disciples, thus had to experience the same things as the disciples and, in view of the stupidity and narrow-mindedness of the disciples presupposed in the Gospels, did not know better than the disciples how to test the spirits, how to fathom the mood of the people and how to recognise public opinion?

The disciples had indeed once undertaken a short missionary journey, and it would be possible that they had learned many things on that journey that had remained hidden from their Master. As if they could have learned more on such a short journey than the Lord could have learned during his whole activity, which always brought him into contact with the people, as if much time had not passed since their return (C. 6, 30), as if this missionary journey had not only lasted a very short time, but had also only begun and ended in the mind of the evangelist.


And why must Jesus have been on a journey through the villages of Caesarea Philippi when he asked the disciples about the opinion of the people and learned about the threefold view, which was already detailed in another way by the evangelist above, when it was said that Herod saw in Jesus the resurrected Baptist, but others assumed in him Elijah, others one of the prophets? So Herod is no longer alone in his view? He found proselytes? Oh no! Above, Herod had to see in Jesus the resurrected Baptist, so that, among others, Mark would have the opportunity to report the end of John, some had to assume Elijah in Jesus, because Mark is about to report deeds of Jesus that are Elijah-like, and others had to see one of the prophets in Jesus for the sake of dear symmetry. But why must Jesus, if he is to hear of these popular opinions, travel to the region of Caesarea Philippi? So that he might be near the region where Mark thinks the Herods and Herod’s judgment of Jesus at that time were pronounced, so that he might be near a city whose epithet reminds one of the Herods.

If the miracle reports no longer exist for us, i.e. if we have not heard a word yet that is, if we have not yet heard a word that could inform us in the least about Jesus and his historical existence, if even the last report of Mark has unravelled, the theologian could still stir in us in the end and, in the anguish of despair, draw the still genuinely theological conclusion that at least it is historical that Jesus was only recognised as Messiah by his disciples in the last days of his life. This is again nothing, because it is still a theological quackery! How can we draw a conclusion about the historical circumstances when all the data that we can and should use have disappeared from our hands? A Messiah who does not perform miracles and who does not perform miracles incessantly is impossible, is an impossibility. Jesus could not consider himself to be the Messiah and could not demand that he be recognised as such if he did not perform miracles, and it could not occur to the twelve, who have long since ceased to exist for us, to consider him to be the Messiah if they did not see him perform miracles. Jesus could only be considered the Messiah when he performed miracles, but he only performed miracles when he rose in the faith of the congregation as the Messiah, and that was one and the same fact, that he rose as the Messiah and that he performed miracles. This resurrection of his, this revelation of him as the Messiah, was the miracle of all miracles, and this miracle of all miracles, of which all other miracles were natural consequences, was the resurrection and the spiritual birth of the Messiah, because it was a fact of religious consciousness.

The fact that Mark only reveals the Messiahship of Jesus to the disciples on the journey to Caesarea Philippi, namely now, when Jesus’ career is about to come to an end, has already been explained by the fact that Mark still has a kind of feeling that Jesus has not been recognised and acknowledged as the Messiah by the people, not even by his immediate surroundings in the flat way that the later imagined. His conception and presentation of the matter is the later development carried over into the past, through which it finally came to a Christian community for which Jesus had become the Messiah. In addition, he was guided by an artistic instinct which moved him to let the interest, the development of faith, develop gradually, so that only after a long period of Jesus’ activity, indeed almost only at the end of it, does faith arise in the circle of the disciples, and only afterwards, after the herald of the larger crowd of believers has greeted the Lord in the blind man of Jericho, does the faith of the people mature and express itself at the solemn entry into Jerusalem. Admittedly, this artistic concept had to be completely spoiled when Jesus performed miracles and had to perform miracles as the Messiah, which should have made him recognisable to every child as the Messiah. We cannot, therefore, accuse Matthew very severely if he has somewhat more crudely thwarted this artistic concept, which he still mechanically preserved in its outward structure in his work, by having Jesus openly call Himself the Messiah beforehand and having not a few acknowledge Him as such. And the Fourth had no special work of art to destroy when he presented the matter in such a way that everyone who wanted to could know from the beginning that Jesus was the Messiah.


Of the numerous consequences that follow from this result, we must now emphasise some that relate to the designation of the Messiah as the Son of Man.


5. The Messiah as the Son of Man.

In the prophecy, as in the fulfilment, the Messiah was only an ideal product of religious consciousness; he did not exist as a sensually given individual. Everything that is valid for religious consciousness is always only its own deed and creation. Even the Dalai-Lama is as such the work and creature of his servants.

The designation of the Messiah as the Son of Man was only created when the Messiah came into existence for the Christian consciousness, and was only created late, as it first appears in the Gospel of Mark..

The external material of the name is borrowed from the well-known passage in the Book of Daniel, where it is described how the Messiah approaches the throne of the Ancient of Days on the clouds of heaven like the Son of Man, i.e. in human form, and it is now generally acknowledged that from this material, through Christian reworking, the form arose in which, as its most significant name says, human nature has produced a fruit in which it is itself reborn and transfigured as the true man.


“In the choice of expression,” says Weisse, presupposing that Jesus chose and formed it for himself, “a noble modesty manifests itself alongside a sublime sense of self, which does not aggressively impose the high sense it wants to express like a hawker. *)  We have freed Jesus from the glory of this modesty, which would still inwardly tickle itself over the sublime meaning of the expression and over the difficulty which the insidious title should have for the reflection of the hearers. As the expression came into being, it was clear to everyone who heard it, and, apart from being modest about it, it is rather the expression of the highest reverence, which first saw in Jesus the true man, the true fruit of the species. There is, however, one side to it, where it denotes a condescension, only we must understand the nature of it correctly. He describes the humanisation of religion, the turning of religion into humanity and the drawing down of Jewish consciousness, for which the highest was only the One beyond, in the One who is man here on earth among men. Therein lies the attractive power of the expression. But since it is again religious, it necessarily alienates the species from its fruit, from the fruit into which it has thrown all its essential power, and it makes even the human appearance, in which the religious consciousness of humanity beholds humanity, an otherworldly transcendent object.

*) I, 324. 325.

All the conclusions that one wants to draw from the use that Jesus made of this expression are unfounded, since Jesus did not use it. All those answers to the question as to what the Messianic plan of Jesus was like, whether it was at the same time a political or a purely ideal one, these answers are sufficiently appreciated by the fact that we forget them and delete the question. Only someone else should try to raise the question again and even answer it before he has the little phrases that he necessarily needs, taken from the arsenal of criticism.. The Gospels, as a creation of the congregation, teach us only how the kingdom of heaven, i.e. the idea of the kingdom of heaven, was understood in the congregation at the time when it came into being. And if it then seems, as, for example, Weisse also says, while he, of course, wants to enlighten us according to his presupposition about the consciousness of Jesus, that it is ideally conceived *), then this conception, too, is still very much in need of correction. To be sure, the kingdom of heaven of the church is not the Messiah’s kingdom of the prophets, and it is partly correct to say that the Old Testament concept of the kingdom of God was “transformed and spiritualized” in the New Testament; but if the political fury of the prophetic Messiah and the wonderful material ornamentation of the Old Testament kingdom of God were kept away from the church, then all this was kept away only in the sense that in the future all these beautiful things would return.

In the future, the struggle of the Kingdom of Heaven with the world is at the same time a political one – (with Rome, the whore of Babylon) – and in the completed alignment of the Kingdom of Heaven, the wonderful matter and the material, very sensual miracle are not missing. But we do not even need to look so far into the future, for Jesus is already performing miracles that are so strong and striking as only a prophet full of his Messiah could expect. Religious consciousness cannot do without the materialism of miracles, because even when it makes the spirit its watchword, it still does not know the real spirit, the spiritual mediation.

*) l, 327.


The correct understanding of this relationship saves us from many troubles, both in general and in detail, and spares us the effort of making Jesus into an overly clever man who ultimately gains nothing from his cleverness and is always pursued by the specter he wants to escape. For example, Mark (8:30) reports that Jesus immediately forbade the disciples to tell anyone about Peter’s confession. Theologians and apologetic critics *) say that Jesus did not want to get involved with Jewish expectations and imaginings about the Messiah. But what about the specter that Jesus was said to have always had in his back? Was this really evidence of that alleged “unwillingness to engage”? Was this really a man, a real man, who, in order to deal with a specter that he believed was pursuing him, simply tried to flee from it and didn’t even want to know its name? Isn’t it rather the duty of a man to confront such phantasms and to debunk them in front of others? And was it really the right way to instruct the disciples, who for the first time recognized and confessed him as the Messiah, about the manner in which he was, if all he had to say on this occasion was that they should not speak to anyone about it?

*) E. g. Weisse, I, 530.


Jesus forbids the disciples to speak of the matter to others, because the pragmatism of the primal gospel would have it so, because the faith of the people should only arise later in the way we have seen it. Luke, from whose account we still have a glimpse,


6. The account of Luke.

C. 9, 18 – 23.

Lukas has connected this prohibition with the following words of Jesus that the “Son of Man” **) must suffer, when he presents the matter in such a way that Jesus thinks that his impending suffering is the reason why they should not reveal his messianic dignity to anyone – as if such a thing could be hidden under a bushel! *). However, Luke, who in a moment later was capable of rashness, had the crowd of seventy cast out the demons in the name of the Lord (C. 10, 17), was the least able to make clear to himself the vague hint of connection that he thought he heard here. 

We only note that according to the pragmatism of the Ur-Gospel, the recognition of Jesus as the Messiah was necessary precisely to bring about his hour of suffering, that Luke, by inserting his reflection into the text, excluded the not unimportant remark of Mark that Jesus now began to speak openly and without reservation about the necessity of his suffering, and that it is in Mark’s Gospel that this word about suffering has its original and powerful place as a contrast to the rising of the light in which the Lord now appears to the disciples, and to Peter’s “fleshly” wish that his master might be spared from suffering. This scene, in which Peter seizes the Lord and urges him not to think of such things – Matthew has formed the words: “God forbid, Lord, this will not happen to you”. – that Jesus turns around, threatens and resists Peter and says: “Get thee away from me, Satan – thou art an offence unto me!” Matthew has him add **) – “Thou thinkest not what is God’s, but what is man’s:” – Luke has omitted this scene and robbed the following speech of Jesus, which he nevertheless copies from Mark, the speech about the necessity that his followers must also suffer, of its next motive.

**) Now, did Mark and Luke, who both put the same word here, also have the conception that it did not designate the Messiah as closely or as definitely as the other?

*) Luk. 8, 21. 22 παρήγγειλε μηδενί ειπείν τούτο είπων- ότι δει ….

**) Matth. 16, 23. Cf. v. 27 and 13, 41.


Luke himself must have revealed that he omitted an intermediate element when he forms the transition to this speech with the remark: “But he said to all” (9:23), a remark that only has its place when the negotiation with an individual precedes it.


We have to admit that Luke partially corrected a small mistake of Mark when he vaguely says that Jesus spoke to everyone. The original Gospel writer, in his account, introduced a progression: after Jesus asked his disciples who they thought he was, Peter speaks up, then he appears again when Jesus talks about his suffering, and then when Peter forcibly grabs him and tries to persuade him, Jesus turns around and looks at all the disciples while calling Peter Satan. Finally, Jesus summons the crowd to hear the teachings on the duties of true followers of the suffering Messiah. And yet, we must imagine Jesus completely alone with his disciples when he asked them about the opinion of the people, alone with the disciples to whom he has just proclaimed the necessity of his suffering and whom he has forbidden to speak publicly about his messianic dignity when he says that his followers must take up their cross. What did the crowd understand about the cross or even about the necessity of suffering if they had not heard anything about the suffering of the Messiah before? Where does the crowd come from when Jesus has been thinking alone with his disciples so far? Mark made a mistake by suddenly conjuring up the crowd, thinking and rightly thinking – after all, he only sees the congregation in the crowd – that the following sayings are too general not to be heard by everyone.

He made a mistake, but Luke made an even bigger mistake when he wrote: Jesus spoke to all, and when he still omitted the negotiations with Peter. Matthew slightly toned down the escalation that Mark had brought into his account when, after Jesus’ dialogue with Peter, he noted (16:24) that the Lord spoke the following sayings to the disciples.


To those who, like Schleiermacher, *), are concerned with a rather complete pragmatism and who everywhere are looking for a rather crude, real and tangible story, Luke can seem to prepare a real joy of the heart by the way in which he connects the accounts here. It is not enough that he connects the question of the people’s voice with the sending out and return of the disciples so closely that it seems Jesus wanted to ask his missionaries about the experiences they had gathered on their journey – for no sooner have they returned than Jesus feeds the multitudes, and when he has withdrawn from them into solitude for prayer, he asks the disciples what they think of him – but the connection is even closer, because if we were talking about the multitudes, Jesus now asks the disciples not what “the people” but the “multitudes” think of him (C. 9, 10 -18). This close connection alone – as if Jesus could not have recognized and judged the view of the crowds he was dealing with by means of his keen insight – destroys this wonderful pragmatism and destroys it to such an extent that we hardly need to remind ourselves of it, that we hardly need to remember how the way in which Luke introduces the account of the feeding has long since resolved itself for us, and the reason why he does not have the other accounts here, which he read in the writing of Mark at this point, has cleared itself up for us.

*) A. a. O. p. 135.

We only need to note that he suppressed the note of the journey to Caesarea Philippi here because he still wants to report many journeys and deeds of Jesus, even the sending of the Seventy, i.e. that journey, which in the Gospel gives the impression that it is the last before the departure to Jerusalem and because of the conversation about the sufferings the preparation for the last journey, he was not allowed to mention because he still wants to write many chapters before the catastrophe comes.


But he helped himself very badly. He broke the frame and threw it away, and he put the picture in his writing. He copies Jesus’ speech to Mark about the necessity of his suffering, a speech that is supposed to prepare us for the approach of the catastrophe, and – he writes so many more chapters. He has helped himself very badly; he strained out gnats but swallowed camels.. Only in the writing of Mark do these prophecies of Jesus about his death have their proper place and, in relation to the passages in the book, their true harmony. Matthew, on the whole, has given these sayings their proper place, but has cancelled their harmony with the more definite arrangement of the subsections. The Fourth can hardly be mentioned in comparison with the Synoptics, since the idea of the suffering of the Messiah is already expressed at the moment when Jesus only shows himself from afar and has not even stepped onto the stage, thus introducing this Gospel of the heart.


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Neil Godfrey

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