Critique of the Gospel History of the Synoptics
by Bruno Bauer
C. 24. Acts. 1, 3 -11.
Already before, when Jesus left the last supper with the disciples to the Mount of Olives, He told them that He (Mark 14, 28) would precede them to Galilee after His resurrection. Luke, who wanted all the appearances of the Risen One to take place in and near Jerusalem, therefore had to omit that word of Jesus – we have seen how splendidly he filled the gap – and if the angel’s message to the women should still contain the word Galilee, give this mention a new twist. So the two angels who appear to the women in the open tomb say: He is not here, but has risen; remember what He said to you while He was still in Galilee, when He said: The Son of Man must be crucified and rise again the third day (C. 24, 6.7).
The women must not be believed by the disciples with their message, Jesus Himself must first appear to the disciples in Jerusalem and in the city, so that they are held back in Jerusalem – the Lord therefore appears to them on the day of His resurrection (C. 24, 13. 33. 36) – they must remain here in the city, so that Jesus may ascend to heaven at Bethany, and here the Ascension must take place, so that Jesus may command the disciples to remain in Jerusalem until they receive the power of the Spirit (24:49), and so that then the outpouring of the Holy Spirit itself may take place in the holy city and among the crowd of strangers who were present on account of the Pentecost feast.
The transition from the appearance of the women in the tomb to the appearances of Jesus himself, as well as the transition from the disbelief shown by the disciples towards the women’s message to the conviction they later gained when Jesus appeared before them – first to two, then to eleven – is represented by the curiosity of Peter, who ran to the grave after the women’s message was received poorly, leaned over and saw only the linen cloths (24:12).
It is worth noting that Luke has the women see two angels, because later at the Ascension he places two beside the disciples, and because he deemed the symmetry of the image more fitting with the number two. Indeed, at the Transfiguration, two heavenly figures also appear at the sides of Jesus.
As for Luke’s additions, first of all, the curiosity of Peter, when it was said before that the disciples laughed at the message of the women as foolishness, is very badly placed, and the laughing at the message is again very inappropriate, when the angels reminded the women that Jesus had previously spoken of his resurrection.
The majority of Jesus’ appearances are a disruptive excess, because they drag the resurrected one, who is supposed to sit at the right hand of the Father in heaven, far too tumultuously into the earthly changes of time and place. It is inappropriate that the appearances, though they are secretive, happen right in the midst of Jesus’ opponents during a walk near Jerusalem, in the city itself, and close to the city at Bethany. One appearance is sufficient, and the only appropriate setting for it is the seclusion of Galilee.
It is affected how the two disciples on the walk to Emmaus do not recognize their Lord and only realize who they are dealing with when he breaks bread in the inn. The idea of the solemn expression with which one broke bread in the community during that festive occasion is the underlying concept here and is inappropriate when transferred to this situation. It is affected how Jesus questions the two about the reason for their sadness; it is an insult to the original gospel when Jesus now tells the disciples that all this had to happen so that the scripture would be fulfilled. Has Jesus not taught this before or not sufficiently? Or does Luke have new observations to make on this matter?
It is inappropriate and too sensual when Jesus, upon appearing to the eleven, lets them touch and feel his flesh and bones to convince them of the reality of his person, and when he finally eats fish and honeycomb in front of them for the same purpose. His appearance must be supernatural and momentary.
The extraordinary rapidity with which the Resurrection is followed by the Ascension on the same day is inappropriate, and the confusion that arises from the fact that it is already evening when Jesus arrives with the two at Emmaus is not insignificant. Is it then night when the two return to their brothers and Jesus appears immediately afterward, leading them to Bethany to say goodbye? Luke did not reflect on this.
When Luke closed his Gospel, he was already of the opinion (24:49) that it must be at a certain, thus miraculous, moment when the power from on high seized the disciples; it was certain to him that the disciples would receive this equipping in Jerusalem, so that – as we can now say and as the Evangelist himself indicates, v. 47 – the prophecy of Micah and Isaiah that the salvation of the world would go forth from Jerusalem would be fulfilled. But it was not until he wrote the Acts of the Apostles that he knew how to find out that the Spirit must come upon the disciples at the feast of Pentecost, perhaps because – we are only conjecturing here – in his time the feast of Pentecost was already associated with the law, and it now seemed fitting to him that the proclamation of the new law should begin on this day with Peter’s sermon, or perhaps only because he was mechanically reaching for the next feast, which follows the Passover. Likewise, he had now found out that the Ascension had to happen only after Jesus had shown Himself to the disciples for forty days – forty, the consecrated number of the OT – and had taught them about the Kingdom of God, as if He had not done so sufficiently during His life. (Acts 1, 3.) Now Luke also knows more precisely that Jesus did not ascend to heaven near Bethany in the plain, but rather on the Mount of Olives; it had to happen this way so that Jesus would be glorified on the mountain where Jehovah revealed his power. Zach. 14, 4. Here, at last, Luke brings in what he had not attributed to Mark above in the discourse on the last things (cf. Luk. 17, 37, another variation on this theme), that the disciples ask the Lord when he will restore the kingdom to Israel, and that he answers that it is not their business to know the times which the Father has determined in his authority *) – an inappropriate negotiation in this place, where Jesus already speaks of a date, namely of the one when they would be baptised with the Spirit. Since Luke had already dealt with the saying of Mark on an earlier occasion, could it be that Zechariah, who speaks of the Mount of Olives and of “that hour” in the same context, was responsible for Luke’s again referring to that hour? It is very probable.
*) The original passage Mark 13, 38 is formed after Zachar. 14, 7: καὶ ἡ ἡμέρα ἐκείνη γνωστὴ τῷ Κυρίῳ
Latest posts by Neil Godfrey (see all)
- Bruno Bauer’s “Christianity Exposed” now open access - 2024-02-28 02:30:32 GMT+0000
- The Idol of Zionism, the Negation of Judaism — 1904 - 2024-02-23 21:29:36 GMT+0000
- How Moving Jesus’ Cleansing of the Temple to the Beginning of the Gospel of John Rebuked the Gospel of Mark - 2024-02-14 03:33:48 GMT+0000