University of Florida
THE COMPLETE WORKS OF
INTR r'T:DUCTI N . 1
I. THE IN'.\AI.NA.TI'-N *lF THE C',IrFr. ft HEN I-:-iN THE
BMRT r. A.ND CHII I rH.,i ,.I F .jEr JEWS CUIST :5)
II (GFNE:.'.L HEM ltRK. TnE NEW \W'ORSHIP IN THE
PiR.T DY \':I W '. TOrE RELIECTICIN O.F THE
.JEi IO G.: (.;O 1 7
III. THE KiNGr'., .rf (GOr'. CUIRIIT'S TcETIMONY
C(ONCERnNI .1 i N ."7
IV. THE LI..\. (THF .rEI.~1' N .N THEl MI:.iNT). THE
RiClO ANiD THE . 20. . . 7
V. TnF FULFILIENT i:F THE L.A G(IVFi THE TRuF
LIFF. TnH NF .. TEACHING .AL.TI.T (G;:D, . *10-
VI. THE FI:.o[D *:Ir LIE %M~N LiveF. NO:T BY BREAD.
\L.NE. Or THE CARNAL AND TOE FSrILITU.AL
CAO NO;* E t
WA4k HE E HE 1i' 0 H H
YA0191 R OU a&+Hcn t
T-LIIT hLitt KTH
o TIN 1A 'HI AI It U1)1
HO AN -PT- nHAC
C-Wh Et AtTM A h
C T0A O'A4CIIkAi TE
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
FAC-'III.F. P :.F. i.>' [EL SAINT J..*IIN
TEMPTATION OF CHRIST .
CHRIST CASTING OUT THE MONEY-CHANGERS
THE FOUR GOSPELS
B COUNT LEV N. TO)LSTON
Tranlaied froi Ii., OriEinl fRu.,in ind [lEdi'd t,
LEO \\ IENER
4 ri .l Cld .l I ::.l ,r C.I dl.n i,: L.:ir ,i ,' :,l f .r. ar.j 1..... .- .!1,
BOSTON 2 DAN -\ ES T ES
COMIPANN 2r PUBLISHERS
EDITION DE LUXE
LirrtcJ (:c. One Th,:.u and CUpic ,
ut .l'h.cli thiL I%
Nl. 41 1
l -. I. :T : ,E L ir ,. .'
E ': .. .5: ..:. .' ii. .
C colonial I'r::: F.l:.:rr.. p i:.i n i Prinii:. b".'
C. H Sini..rn A LI'... B...i, .rl. l U 'b. A
THE FOUR GOSPELS
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
FROM THE AUTHOR
Mv, friend'l havIe prr'iop:i d t.: print thlii II.arimncizatio:u
and:l Tranlati:n ':,f the Gi.,-.pel, .:rnmp:seI by me ten years
ag d, and I h:t \ a.gree. ti t:, it. ilth :iui tlie uorkl is far
frorm bt.ingj: tnished, and their .ar- wa y deftets im It. I
u:i lI:nger feel the strength t:o oi:rre-:t and finish it. hb;,ause
that >-:, tnitrate'l, ei :static tension if mriy o:iul, w.lii I
:'onDltantly exserient.d i durin..ge le whlt tim, i:: this long
woril, can no lonrD tr be renewed.
Rut I think that even such as it i- this work may be
ui3seful to ',:,ile nii if t':, theru will hi co mmuniua.ted
,.veu a ,imall [ art of that enlightenmuent whi.:h I exjerin-
enLued when I wrote it. andl of that hIrwnu ,.,ni<.tion :,f the
truth .:.f the path ahich has been re\:vea ll:l to ie, .and on
whi.h I trt.el with ever rterr j,:oy. the longer I live.
Ydsnaya Polydna, August 29, 1891.
H.\v.ING I.eeu I..r uebt I.I\ r-.i-':.t without faith to de-
[.-air -aind ne-gitin tof lift-, I ,loo.:-1: around at the living
liunr nity an.d ,:onD'inced rmy:.lft that that despair was
not the common lot of men, but that men have lived and
still live by faith. I saw all about me men who had
that faith and who deduced from it a meaning of life
which gave them strength to live and die quietly and
joyfully. I could not explain that meaning through rea-
son. I tried to arrange my life like that of the believ-
ers; I tried to blend with them, and to do all that
they did in life, even as to the external worship of God,
thinking that in that way the meaning of life would be
revealed to me. The more I cultivated the acquaintance
of the masses, and lived as they did, and executed all
the external rites of divine worship, the more I became
conscious of two forces which had diametrically opposite
effects upon me. On the one hand, there was revealed
to me a meaning of life which more and more satisfied
me, and which was not destroyed by death; on the other
hand I saw that in that external confession 1f faith and
worship there was much deception. I saw that the
masses, because of their ignorance, lack of leisure, and
unwillingness to think, failed to see the lie, but I could
not help seeing it, and, having once beheld it, I could
not shut my eyes to it, as educated people who were
believers advised me to do. The longer I lived, fulfilling
the obligations of a believer, the more did that lie startle
me and demand an investigation of where that lie ended
and truth began. I no longer doubted that in the Chris-
tian teaching was the truth of life. My internal discord
finally reached such a stage that I no longer could inten-
tionally shut my eyes, as I had done before, and was
inevitably compelled to investigate the doctrine which I
wanted to make my own.
At first I asked for explanations from priests, monks,
bishops, metropolitan, learned theologians. There were
explained to me all the obscure passages, and these ex-
planations were frequently unscrupulous, and more fre-
quently contradictory: all of them referred to the holy
fathers, to catechisms, to theology. And I took the
theological books and began to study them, and that study
led me to the conviction that the faith which our hier-
archy confessed, and which it taught the masses, was not
only a lie, but also an immoral deception. In the Ortho-
dox doctrine I found an exposition of the most unintel-
ligible, blasphemous, and immoral propositions, which
were not only incompatible with reason, but were also
entirely incomprehensible and contrary to morality, and
not the slightest teaching about life, nor about its mean-
ing. I could not help noticing that the exposition of
the theology was clearly directed, not to the explana-
tion of the meaning of life and to the teaching about life,
but only to the confirmation of the most incomprehensi-
ble and useless of propositions, and to the refutal of all
those who did not recognize those propositions. That
exposition, which was directed to the refutal of other
teachings, involuntarily compelled me to turn my atten-
tion to those other creeds. These refuted creeds proved
to be of the same character as the Orthodox, which re-
futed them. Some are even more stupid, others are less
so, but all of them alike affirmed incomprehensible prop-
ositions which are useless for life, and in their name
deny each other and violate the union of men, the
chief foundation of the Christian teaching.
I was brought to the conviction that there was no
chinlcb at all. All their different. believing C'hristianq
i.ill the 1 ele' treue C'hrittiaun .ind dlenJy .eai-h uther. .11U
thlei :e,:pairate ioll ,c ti on- of Chibtia ri call themel ve-
,-x,:lisiv:-ly the :hiirih and a issiir ; u that their cbhuil,. I
the, tiuLe 'inft, and- that t h othlier havei depa.rtI d frio l i t.
whlil,: it alon, ha., rtm[aiijA'l intact. All the: believer
O:'f w i-hitt:ieve:r den u: iin:ticu eiutilely tiil to:, ee that t he
c.ii'i:L is Lj ut true I.'.c;tal ie their faith hli- rtui.ainc':d i ch
or ;u,-h, Ibut that they c:.ll it tried I.,:,aiicu ththey w.ere born
in it i .i have ich.i.sen it, and that all the other.-. ;.y
ple.i[ely the tle hl,,:iuit their iown faith Thu-z it is
evident tll;t tlher hai. never libn i:,u c, rlirii:h, that the
chlilit:h ; c.,iint by the: thliiilandi, and that they :1ll denu
,b:.h otherr a:ud n:ulv a-sert thI.t each one ,:ft thf iel. iS tIh:
true and c Cnly chuit.h. They aill 1a.y onie aiud the z-atue
thiuin: Ouir '-hut h i' the Tint- Holy, .'atholic, Apit'.lic,
Uuiveis-l (Chuich. Out Scril..ture i- hbl. Je.uli Chri-t
i' the heard of :ur i.huri.h and the I:,ly Thv..
and it alone c' cnes by dir,:it ;ucce'? i':n fro:uim .'hiit the
It we t.ake a; twi: of 1a -'lea.li 1.dush, it will bi: ,'uit,
,:,-_rr,:,:t to say that from twig to t' i, fro:ii twig to: blr:ni:i,
and from branch to root, every twig is derived from the
trunk, but none of them is so exclusively. They are all
alike. It will be absurd to say that every twig is the only
true twig, but that is exactly what the churches say. In-
deed, there are a thousand traditions, and each denies and
curses all the others, and regards its own as the true one:
Catholics, Lutherans, Protestants, Calvinists, Shakers, Mor-
mons, Greek Orthodox, Old Believers, the Popish and the
Popeless sects, Milkers, Mennonites, Baptists, Mutilators,
Dukhobors, etc., etc., all of them equally assert about their
own faith that it is the only true one, that in it alone is
the Holy Ghost, that its head is Christ, and that all the
others are in error. There are a thousand faiths, and
each calmly considers itself to be holy; and all of them
know that, and each man who confesses his hith as the
only true faith knows that every other faith ic jpit :is
much a stick with two ends, regarding itself :r. true anl.
all the others as heresies. It will soon be ti.-Lteeun hun-
dred years that this self-deception has been g.,irng on.
In worldly matters men know how to .1i:ll:ov.:r the
most cunning of traps and not to fall into theu. Iut in
this deception millions have been living for .:itht..:n hiun-
dred years, shutting their eyes against it, I-:th in ,ur
European world and in America, where every t i in i Di: w.
All, as though by plotting together, repeat i-nl- .ialn the
same stupid deception: they confess each hi '.-:vn truth-
of faith, regarding them as the only true .nt-. without
noticing that all the others do precisely the .,ain.
More than that. Long, very long ago freLthirm:inr, men
have cleverly and sharply ridiculed that hu:m.ia -rtuilltily
and showed to what extent it is stupid. They h':- Iliit ly
proved that that whole Christian teaching, with :ill itQ r.un-
ifications, has long ago outlived its day and that th,. tline
has come for a new faith, and some of thiu have et% \-
invented new faiths; but nobody listens to th.- i;. r t:.l-
lows them, and all believe as of old, each iu hi' o wn
special Christian faith: the Catholics in their oi u, the
Lutherans in their own, our Popish dissenter, in their i. n.
our Popeless dissenters in their own, the Morn.nri in th&ir
own, the Milkers in their own, and the Orth:dl.:.';. th-.c
whom I wished to join, in their own. Whl t ..l':- that
mean? Why do men not give up that teach iI l"Ther'-
is one answer to it, and in this all the freethiukirng lIr','le,
who deny religion, and all men of other religfon- .>9 :., :i nil
that is, that Christ's teaching is good, and s... it i- t.,:zr ti
people and they cannot live without it. ;ult -why h.ha'-
men, who believe in Christ's teaching, all di il.:-1l Init.. all
kinds of creeds, and why do they keep dividling mor,:r 'and
more, and denying and condemning each other. au.i] why
are they unable to agree on one confession ct f ith '
Ag'in the au-Vswe is -imple and obvious. The cause
.t thl- .livi-iun u. the C'hristians is precisely this teach-
ing al.i.,t th,:e :hiir':h, a teaching which asserts that
C:hi:gi-t ha.- *:stal.'li-he.l the. one, true church, which, in its
e-:enl:,-. i< I'.ly anil itnt'allible, and can and must teach
:,th-',-. It thj ,::n':[~'tion about the church did not
e:?: t, thi're I:'-il.l l.e n.i. division among the Christians.
E.,:h C'hirriti,in :[ limr:h, that is, the creed, incontestably
rii,- t'r,:.ia th:- t.:la:hiig .it Christ himself, but it is not the
:,uly i:.ue t,:' :.:,Lje fiL.:.m it: all the other doctrines come
ji:t ,-" LLu:l fr.iw it They have all grown from one
:'c,. ,Ial .dliwh:t mnit: thm:in, what is common among them
all, is that from which they have grown out, that is, the
seed. And so, in order properly to understand the teach-
ing of Christ, we must not study it, as the only creed
does it, from the branches to the trunk; nor must we, as
uselessly as science, the history of religion, does it, study
this teaching by starting from its foundation, by going
from the trunk to the branches. Neither the one nor the
other gives us the meaning of the teaching. The mean-
ing is given only by the knowledge of the seed, of the
fruit, from which they have all come, and for which they
all live. They have all come from the life and works
of Christ, and all live only in order to reproduce the
works of Christ, that is, the works of good. And only
in these works will they all meet.
What brought me in particular to faith is the search
after a meaning of life, that is, the search after a path of
life, how to live. When I saw the works of the life
of men who professed Christ's teaching, I clung to them.
Such men, who profess Christ's teaching by works, I meet
without distinction among the Orthodox, and among the
dissenters of all the sects, and among Catholics, and
among Lutherans, so that obviously the general meaning
of life, as given by Christ's teaching, is not received from
the creed, but from something else which is common to
all creeds. I have watched good people of more than oue
creed, and in all I saw the same meaning, which is base
on the teaching of Christ. In all those different sects ot
Christians I saw a complete agreement in the concept.-n
of what is good, what evil, and of how one ought to 1 v\-.
All these men declared this conception of theirs throu-hl
the teaching of Christ. The doctrines have multiple. d.
but their foundation is one; consequently, what is lyinm
at the foundation of all faiths is the one truth. It is tliji
truth that I am trying to find out now. The truth i.f
faith is not to be found in the definite interpretati.:i.n
of Christ's revelation, those interpretations which hatv:
divided the Christians into a thousand sects, but is to:
be found in the very first revelation of Christ himself.
And so I turned to the study of the gospels.
I know that according to the teaching of the church
the meaning of the teaching is to be found not merely in
the Gospel alone, but also in the whole Scripture and Tri-
dition, which are guarded by the church. I assume thiat
after everything said before, the sophistry, which consit;c
in this, that the Scripture which serves as the foundati.:in
for my investigation is not subject to investigation, becaui e
the true and holy interpretation belongs exclusively to the
church, that this sophistry cannot be repeated, the more -v.
since every interpretation is destroyed by the contrary
interpretation of another church, and because all h,.ly
churches reject one another. The prohibition to read and
comprehend the Scripture is only a sign of those sins *.t
interpretations, which the interpreting church is consciousc
of in its own case.
God has revealed the truth to men. I am a man, aunl
so am not only entitled, but also compelled, to make une
of it and stand face to face with it without any medit-
tion. If God speaks in these books, he knows the weak-
ness of my mind and will speak in such a way as not t.".
lead me into deception. The argument of the church that
thr int.rpretatiojl c the- Scri'tur,' by individuals must not
1,-r [perinutte'd. le:t thll..e \\ ju iuterpret it be led astray and
the inter.rt,.-tati'ons jultiply gtreily, can have no meaning
f',r nme. It miii.ht bLve h:d a si-mificance, if the interpre-
t.itlOia :4f the h:buir:h wevre intelligible, and if there were
but one chulch .:tad -.,n:e iuterl.rtation ; but now, since the
ititrpr ,t.ltiojn :'i thlr :burch lc ab:nt the Son of God and
ol:.:iiit (;.,-:, ai:.ut (..1i inu liiree persons, about the virgin
wv.h':. :.re: ~-)o ltli' t ,ltung her virginity, and about
tlle 1.[ ..... l -f I G.od whih ri e-iteu in the form of bread, and
i.,. :,ith, cin rind no: [l-ice ininmy sound mind, and since
theit .rre tl:e,, ind:l ..t dill:terent interpretations, this argu-
iwtent, nu.- matter h':w o:te,
v.whtt,"t.er. N,_w. -[n the CAiLutiry, an interpretation is
u-e-d:le:l, and it Irht t,, b-e ]uch that all could agree on it.
But an agreement will only then be possible when the
interpretation is rational. All of us agree on what is
rational, in spite of our differences. If this revelation
is the truth it cannot and must not fear the light of
reason, if it wishes to be convincing, and is obliged to
invoke this light. If the whole revelation will turn out
to be absurd, so much the better, and God help it. God
can do anything, but this: he cannot talk nonsense. And
it would be stupid to write a revelation which cannot be
I call revelation what is revealed to reason which has
reached its highest limits, the contemplation of what is
divine, that is, above the reason of the standing truth. I
call revelation what gives an answer to the question,
insoluble to reason, which has brought me to despair and
suicide, the question as to what meaning life has. This
answer must be intelligible and must not contradict the
laws of reason, as would the assertion that an infinite
quantity is even or odd. The answer must not contradict
reason, for I will not believe a contradictory answer, and
so it has to be not only intelligible and the contrary of
wilful, but also inevitable to reason, as inevitable as is thb-
assumption of infinity to him who can count.
The answer must reply to my question what meaning
my life has. If it will not give this answer, it is useless,
for me. The answer must be such that, although itz
essence, in relation to God, may remain incomprehensible
in itself, all the deductions of the consequences, derived.
from it, should correspond to all rational demands, and
that the meaning ascribed to my life should solve all the
questions of my life. The answer has to be not only
rational and clear, but also true, that is, such as I can
believe in with my whole soul, inevitably, as I believe iu
the existence of infinity.
Revelation cannot be based on faith, as the church
understands it, as a trust in advance in what I shall be
told. Faith is the consequence of the inevitableness and
truth of the revelation, which fully satisfies reason.
Faith, according to the conception of the church, is an
obligation which with threats and enticements is imposed
on the soul of man.
According to my conception, faith is this, that the
foundation on which every action of reason is reared i:
true. Faith is the knowledge of the revelation, without
which it is impossible to live and think. Revelation is
the knowledge of what man cannot attain by reason, but
what is carried away by all humanity from what is hidden
in the infinitude of the beginning of everything. Such.
in my opinion, is to be the quality of the revelation which
fosters faith, and such I seek in the Tradition about
Christ, and so I turn to it with the sternest and most
rational of demands.
I do not consider the Old Testament, because the que;-
tion does not consist in this, what was the faith of the
Jews, but what does the faith of Christ consist in, for
there men find that meaning which makes it possible
for them to live. The Jewish books may be interesting
for uz .:i an explanation O'f those forms in which Chris-
tii,,iit lIas '.e:.CI ixprtes.ed ; but we cannot recognize any
con.e,'iutiveneh :ot faith fiom Adam to the present, for
,pre,:vi-.iu. to Cr'lkit ti,- fitlh of the Jews was local. The
faith ot tlh JeTwv ics a foreign and as interesting to us as
th,- faith of the- lra.hujln But the faith of Christ is the
C.-u, v.. h\: by. ;t- itly the faith of the Jews in order
to ull.i-etta.'.l thi:- I.'hri-ti.a religion is the same as study-
in.: .-_andle lbetiore li.lltir it in order to understand the
1iniHi:;.aucL,: fi ti.h lilt which proceeds from the burning
: an i.l e. All that .:-on be ;.tid is this, that the character
and quality of: tie li.liht mnay depend on the candle itself,
jilt a1 tlh- fornm of tile i:.xpressions of the New Testament
imay depend :.n its i;lti:on to Judaism; but the light
cannot be explained frum the fact that it proceeds from
this, rather than from that, candle. And so the blunder
made by the church, in acknowledging the Old Testament
as much a divinely inspired Scripture as the New Testa-
ment, is in the most obvious way reflected in this, that
the church recognizes this in words, but not in fact, and
so has fallen into contradictions from which it would
never extricate itself, if sound reasoning were at all obli-
gatory for it. And so I leave out the writings of the Old
Testament, the revealed Scripture which, according to the
expression of the church, is expressed in twenty-seven
books. In reality, this tradition is not expressed in
twenty-seven books, nor in five, nor in 138, just as the
revelation of God cannot be expressed in a number of
pages or letters.
To say that the revelation of God is expressed in 185
pages on paper, is the same as saying that the soul of
such and such a man weighs fifteen hundredweights, or
the light of the lamp measures seven bushels.
The revelation was expressed in the souls of men, and
men transmitted it from one to another and wrote a few
things down. From what has been noted down, it is
known that there existed more than one hundred gospels
and epistles, which were not accepted by the church.
The church selected twenty-seven books and called them
canonical. It is evident that some books expressed the
tradition better, some worse, and that there is no break
in the gradation. The church had to draw a line some-
where, in order to separate what it regarded as divinely
inspired. But it is evident that no such line could
sharply separate the full truth from the full lie. The
tradition is a shadow from the white to the black, or from
the truth to the lie, and no matter where the line may be
drawn, the shadows would inevitably be separated where
the black is. This is precisely what the church did,
when it separated the tradition and called some canonical
and the rest apocryphal. This was done remarkably well.
The church chose so well that the newest investigations
have shown that nothing is to be added. From these in-
vestigations it became clear that what is best known and
is best has been included by the church in the canonical
More than that: as though to correct the inevitable
error, which was due to the drawing of the line, the
church has accepted some of the traditions from the
Everything which could have been done was done
excellently. But in this separation the church erred in
this, that, wishing more emphatically to reject what was
not received by it, and to give more weight to what it did
receive, it put one general seal of infallibility on what it
accepted. Everything is from the Holy Ghost, and every
word is true. With this it ruined and harmed everything
which it received. By inevitably accepting in this strip
of the tradition the white, the bright, and the gray, that
is, the more or less pure teaching, and by imposing on
everything the seal of infallibility, it deprived itself of
the right to combine, exclude, elucidate what was ac-
,.-,ptld, whic-h, ind'I'd, wai it- duty to do, and which it
ha. un:v.:r don.u,. Everythlug I A ':red : the miracles, the
Act: o:f lth Apostles, Paul's ad%\i ,t :,'u'':erning the wine,
aud thie deiri nm of th.e Apo.:.ilypt-, and ,:s forth, so that
aft.-r the eighte:--n lihunndred 'e -tr of th,-ir existence these
bk-:,iks lie he-foe us in the sUar: i.c:arse, I:lumsy, absurd,
,montra.liictory f:ormi in w\hih the\ ba-e e'er been. By
.asiiuin that e-very word of the- S:ripture is sacred
tiuth, the -*:lhurch tied to c'oiml:inr-, elui:idate, solve the
col traditi:m and u ndlerstaul, and dlid '\vrything which
would d I:,: don.: in this. ,n:-, that i1, ga, e the greatest
po:ille teauiug to what is abclurd. PDut the first mis-
tak,- has bhen fatal.
By r,:.:o;gn _.ng -v._rythini; a. sac:i.-d truth, it was
ueci-'arv to: justiif ev:.rythiu.g, shut the eyes, conceal,
mlik-; false deals, fall into c:ontradi. t.i-on'. and, alas, fre-
quintly tell -a untruth. While an:.:.:.ptiug everything in
w.:irds, the .hur. h haQ been .i.':up':Illed to reject certain
bo-.ok in fat:t. Su,:h are the whole_ of the Apocalypse
aud p.ats of the Atc, whjt:h fr:-4qu,.nitly not only fail
to lbe intru. ti.e, blit, .ir-e e'.- n. olt f .io. It is evident
that Luk:. wrot,: about the iinira:l:. in order to strengthen
people in the faith, aud un doubt there were some who
wr:-e c:ontirni:-ld in their faith by uc:h reading, but now it
is not possible to find a more blasphemous book, one
which more undermines faith. Perhaps a candle is
needed where there is darkness. But if there is light,
there is no sense in illuminating it with a candle, for
it will be seen without it. Christ's miracles are the
candles which are brought into the light in order to
illuminate it. If there is light, it will be seen any-
way; and if there is no light, then it is only the
candle which is shedding light.
And so it is impossible and unnecessary to read
the twenty-seven books in succession, recognizing each
word as holy, as the church reads them, for one would
only arrive at what the church has arrived at, namn(ly.
at the negation of self. In order to comprehend tbe
contents of the Scripture which belongs to the Christian
faith, it is necessary first to solve the question wliih
of the twenty-seven books that are given out as ccu-
stituting Holy Scripture are more or less essential aud
important, and then to begin with those that are n:.-t
important. Such unquestionably are the four gosp.ls.
Everything which precedes them may, in a large measure,
be only historical material for the comprehension of the,
Gospel, and everything subsequent only an elucidati:on
of these books. And so it is not necessary, as t b
churches do, inevitably to harmonize all the books ( w,
are convinced that that, more than anything else, hi s
led the churches to preach unintelligible things), but in
these four books, which, according to the teaching of tbh
church, expound the most essential revelation, to find the
most important bases of the teaching, without conforr.ing
with any teaching of the other books, not because I :do
not wish to do so, but because I am afraid of the err..'rs
of the other books, which offer such a bright and palpablt
What I shall try to find in these books is this: 1,
What is comprehensible to me, for no one can beli\v.
what is incomprehensible, and the knowledge of what ik
incomprehensible is equal to ignorance; (2) what answers
my question as to what I am, what God is; and (3) v.hat
the one chief basis of every revelation is. And so I ar,
not going to read the incomprehensible, obscure, h.ilf-
intelligible passages as I want them to be, but so a- to.
bring them most in agreement with entirely clear pax -
sages, with which they can be reduced to one basis. Dy
reading in this manner, not once or twice, but many
times, both the Scripture itself and what has eenu
written about it, I came to the conclusion that thb
whole Christian tradition is contained in the four .,s-
,.1s; that the b:,,-ks of the Old Testaru nt; can -.:rve
:11only a ,n .:xplanatio:nn of the f:or which C'hn.t's tea'Ih-
iug has ci' hoen, and that th:-y .,D or ly obl..-ure, but in ,:>,
\V.1y elucidate, the mw.-aing of Christ'z teaching ; that the
epittle-s of .lldih and Jiames are teah.-:ing which .were
failedd f'rti by th.- pi-ccuihar 'Onditio:n f th1b [,rivaite elu.i-
dttiol., an'.l thnt it is p-ossibl. t, tind iu them at tiCwe;
Chbrit's tac-hin e:ixresse-d friom a ntew sid and nothing
more. Unfortunately, we frequently can find, especially
in the epistles of Paul, an expression of the teaching
which is liable to fill the reader with doubts, which
obscure the teaching itself. But the Acts of the Apos-
tles, like many of the epistles of Paul, not only have
nothing in common with the Gospel and with the epistles
of John, Peter, and James, but frequently contradict
them. The Revelation absolutely reveals nothing. But
the main thing is that, no matter at what different times
they were written, the Gospel forms the exposition of the
whole teaching, and everything else is only an interpreta-
tion of it.
I read the Gospel in Greek, in the language in which
we possess it, and I translated as the sense and the dic-
tionaries demanded, now and then departing from the
translations which exist in the modern languages and
which were made when the church had comprehended
and defined the meaning of the tradition in its own way.
Besides translating, I have inevitably been led to the
necessity of harmonizing the four gospels, since they all
expound, though variously, the same incidents and the
same teaching. The new proposition of exegetics, that
the Gospel of John, being exclusively theological, should
be discussed separately, had no meaning for me, since my
aim is not historical, nor philosophical, nor theological
criticism, but the finding of the meaning of the teaching.
The meaning of the teaching is expressed in the four
gospels, and so, if all four are the exposition of one and
the same revelation of truth, then one must contirm ani'
elucidate the rest. And so I considered them by unimtig
them, without omitting the Gospel of John.
There have been many attempts made at cocbil.iuwg
the gospels, but all those which I know, Arni:'lli. dit
Vence, Farrar, Reuss, Grechulevich, harmonize thenm i:.n i
historical basis, and are all equally unsuccessful. Ni.t
one of them is better than another in the historical senie,
and all are equally satisfactory in the sense of thi tea:Ih-
ing. I leave the historical meaning entirely a]l.:ue, and
harmonize only in the sense of the teaching. Tlhe lh.r-
monization of the gospels on this basis has this advaniiuta.-,
that the true teaching represents, as it were, a ,:iri:le. I'
which all the parts determine their mutual signiti': u:e,
and for the study of which it is immaterial fr':.m b.it
place we begin. In studying in this manner the g:. pi: is.
in which the historical events of Christ's life iare sc.
closely connected with the teaching, the histori'.al :-:'n-
secutiveness appeared quite immaterial to me, and for the
historical consecutiveness it made no difference tu ine
which harmonization of the gospels I took as my lasik.
I selected two of the latest harmonizations, by aiith,:'rs
who made use of the labours of all their predel:".': :.r-,
Grechulevich and Reuss, but since Reuss has sepaiatt.l
John from the synoptics, Grechul4vich's harmuLi:.iti':u
has been of greater use to me, and I took it for tie I..--i-
of my work, collating it with Reuss and departing tr:man
both whenever the sense demanded it.
THE FOUR GOSPELS
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
ETArrEAION KATA EVANGEL- FROM THE ANNOUNCE-
MATOAION, KATA MATTHEW,FROM MENT OF GOOD
MAPKON, KATA MARK, FROM ACCORDING TO
AOTKAN, KATA LUKE, FROM MATTHEW,MARK
IOANNHN. JOHN. LUKE, JOHN.
1. 'ApX TO a70dy- fark i. 1. The begin- 1. The beginning of
1yX 7 I O XpoO ning of the gospel of the announcement of
7e*ov XI w So- P XpTOV Jesus Christ,c the Son good of Jesus Christ,
vioG 7oO eeo0. of God.4 the son of God.
(a) The word Evangel is generally not translated. Under
this word are understood the books of the New Testament
about Jesus Christ, and no other meaning is ascribed to
it. However, this word has a definite meaning, which is
connected with the contents of the books.
The literal translation of the word evaye'Xtowv is in
Russian blagovyest' (glad tidings). That translation is
not correct: (1) because blagovyest' has in Russian a differ-
ent meaning; (2) because it does not render the meaning
of the two component parts e and AhyyeAtov. Et means
good, well, true; A7yne'tov means not so much informa-
tion given, news, as the very action of informing, impart-
ing news, and therefore the word is more exactly translated
by the expression announcement. Consequently the com-
pound word eba'yyeXov ought to be translated by an-
THE FOUR GOSPELS
nouncement of good, or, more intelligibly in Russian, by
announcement about what is good.
(b) The words Karca MarTaZov, and so forth, indicate
that the announcement of good was made from stories,
or notes, or indications, and, in general, from the in-
formation furnished about this announcement by Mat-
thew, Mark, Luke, John, and, as it is not known in
what manner the evangelists imparted their information,
and as it is not mentioned that the evangelists wrote it
themselves, the preposition ia7d must be translated by
according to, that is, that the information about the
announcement, in whatever manner it may have been
transmitted, was given by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.
(c) The word Xpta-ro' means the anointed.
The meaning of this word is connected with the tra-
ditions of the Jews. For the meaning of the contents of
the announcement of good, this word offers nothing and
may be indifferently rendered by anointed or Christ. I
prefer the word Christ, as anointed has received a differ-
ent meaning in Russian.
(d) The expression son of God is assumed by the
church to be the exclusive appellation of Jesus Christ,
but according to the gospel it has not this exclusive
meaning: it refers equally to all men. This meaning is
clearly expressed in many passages of the gospel.
Speaking to the people at large, Jesus Christ says:
Matt. v. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they
may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in
In another place:
Matt. v. 45. That ye may be the children of your Father
which is in heaven : for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil
and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Luke vi. 36. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is
HAIRMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
lmo. vi. 1. Take h,';d that ye dol not your alms before men,
to Ibe c'.n of them : otherwise ye lsar no reward of your Father
which is in heaven.
Matt. vi. 4. That thine alms may be in secret: and thy
Father which seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly.
Maltt. v. 48. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father
which is in heaven is perfect.
Matt. vi. 6. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy
closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father
which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall
reward thee openly.
Matt. vi. 8. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your
Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him.
Matt. vi. 14. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your
heavenly Father will also forgive you.
And there are many other passages in the gospels
where all men are called sons of God. More than that:
In the Gospel of St. Luke there is a passage in which it
says that by the word son of God is to be understood
every man, and also that Jesus is called the son of God
not in any exclusive sense, but because, like all men, he
came from God and, therefore, was a son of God.
Setting forth the genealogy of Jesus, Luke, ascending
from his mother to his grandfather, great-grandfather, and
farther back, says: Which was the son of Enos, which
was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which
was the son of God (Luke iii. 38).
Thus the words, Of Jesus Christ, the son of God, indi-
cate the person by whom the announcement was made.
This person is called Jesus, the name given him by men,
and, besides, Christ, that is, God's chosen one, and, be-
sides, the son of God.
The title defines the contents of the book. It says
that in the book the good is announced to men. It is
necessary to remember the meaning of this title in order
to be able to pick out in the book the more essential from
the less important passages; since the contents of the
book are the announcement of good to men, everything
THE FOUR GOSPELS
which defines this good to men is most essential, and
everything which has not this aim of announcing th.:
good is less essential.
Thus the full title will be:
The announcement of the true good, made by JOeus
Christ, the son of God.
THE AIM OF THE BOOK
31. TaOra 8U4-ypar- Johnxx. 31. Butthese 31. Thisiswrittin l ni
a, pa rrdrre &I are written, that ye men might beli. iljt
rat, ia rerr Tt might believe that Jesus Christ j. tl ,-,n
a 'IroDs eTrTv 6 Xpta- Jesus is the Christ, the of God, and thit bchlnr
rbs 6 vibs TrO eeog, KaI Son of God; and that ing they might r i't.ir.
ea rrure ovre, l. A believing ye might have life through W.uA hie Iti
IaX T oretvorw 1P V life in his name.6 been.
EXlre iev +r vbepar
(a) In many texts these words are differently placId, not
6Tm 6 'Iaoov dao-'wV 6 XpTo-v? 6 vti6, but rit 6 'l qao-ob i
XpL-TO'v &eo-rr vio'.
I accept the second order, regarding it as clearE r.
(b) The words &v r 6rovdar airoO literally tra-nlat.d
by in his name represent one of those expressions to whi':h,
through a verbal rendering, we ascribe an arbitrary and
most frequently an indistinct meaning.
The Hebrew word which corresponds to the word 6'oupa
designates not the name, but the person himself, that
which he really is, and therefore the words might h/a'c
life in his name must be understood as meaning that liff, i
given by the very essence of that which is the son oj Goi'd.
1. 'Eret567rep rokXXo Lukei. 1. Forasmuch 1. Since many hbae ,1.
rexyelp7pav dvardear- as many have taken in ready begun t., tIll ..:u-
hand to set forth in nectedly of the tIl..*i
Oat Gtit-grv reply TwrV order a declaration of which have hpp.rnc
irerXyjpofopyprpvwv iv those things which are among us,
7rpaydTrO, most surely believed
2. KaO&b rapd6ooav 2. Even as they de- 2. As the eyc ,iiii ..
'.?7ol dir' dpXi~ arS6r- livered them unto us, and executor- ..*i Il
yo dr Xs arr- which from the begin- teaching have rirnrmit-
Tat Kal tirptrat Lyev6- ning were eyewitnesses, ted to us;
peeOL T0o X6Ayou, and ministers of the
nARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED 23
: F.' t a ,)i rapq i- 3 ll teu,:i. '.....I 1.. 3 too, decided, hav-
xoolr ..rL d ,ti ., i .- hiruhi' r.I [.- pp r. iI." learned everything
Ko o n i ,u. cr nw.Jliu of ..:rr-ctly from the very
.r a.i.'. jil'. iadi r S all h.ri, IIr., lr i,, : i n Dre.. to write to you, in
JoC "..p ,i irjr, r it, t'j.i r unl., It-ur .ijr i, Mr. Theophilus,
Iin ..r. L. [in t x'rillr D I
tpe o r Theophilusb
4. "Ira Irrrt s rCpt 4. That thou mightest 4. That you might find
&P xarXi know the certainty of out the real truth of
v KaT"]XO 'X6'ywv that teaching, wherein those injunctions which
7~ daiodXEtav. thou hast been in- you have been taught.
(a) The words a ro'ira i al bi rpfrpTa ToD Xo'yov are in-
correctly translated: in Slavic witnesses or servants of the
word, and in German Diener des Wortes. Ao'yo in this ex-
pression cannot mean word; one cannot be a witness of a
word. The translation of the Vulgate viderunt et ministry
sermonis is more correct. Here the word Xo'yov cannot sig-
nify anything else but the sermon of the teaching or
(b) Luke's introduction is a private address to Theoph-
ilus, expository of the gospel, and does not touch the
In this preface it says that through faith in the fact
that Jesus Christ was the son of God men will have life.
Just as by the words the announcement of good is to be
understood a certain special, more definite, more real good
than that which men consider good, so by the word life,
which men will have, apparently is meant a different
life from what men regard as life. This other life is
obtained through believing that there is a son of God,
and it is pointed out that with this filial relation to God
is connected the announcement of good itself. The verses,
which say that these things had been written about before,
and which tell what it is that has caused Luke to write
out his exposition, do not touch the teaching and are,
therefore, left out in my exposition, or ought to be printed
in a smaller type, as an appendix.
Thus the meaning of Luke's verses is as follows:
24 THE FOUR GOSPELS
The announcement of good is written in o:r'ler that all
men, having convinced themselves that Jrsus Christ is
the son of God, might receive life through believing that.
there is a son of God.
1. 'Ev aPXj fiv 6 John i. 1. In- the be- 1. Ihe cromprthenicon
bgoi. inning6 was- the oflifbe: methsncllc I,~c-
X6ys ord.,* ning : I ll.
In order to understand the necessity of eluicidating the
first verse and the following verses of the Iutroductlion. it
is necessary to have a clear account of the mlrn30ing :of the
The church translation of the first verse has no wLmean-
ing whatever. The translation is: In the kr3inni ,g: ;,.'s
the Word. This is not a translation of a thought but of
words. No sense results from it, and each ..separate world
is invested with a mystic and arbitrary gloss. In order
to discover the meaning of these expressions, it is nrecei-
sary to discard the church gloss, and to analyze each
(a) The preposition ev signifies sojourn in so:im:thing;
with a verb of motion it signifies transpositio:n and ,oj:ouru
(b) bpX' signifies not only temporal and funda.me-til
beginning, but also beginning as the foundation of every-
thing, and so I translate it by beginning of ell.
(c) iv from the verb elpt signifies, in addition to txist-
ence, also change, and frequently may and muz.t bh trans-
lated by the words become, turn.
(d) Xo'dyo has eleven chief meanings: (1) word, (2'
speech, (3) conversation, (4) report, (5i eloquen.-e,
(6) reason, as distinguishing man from beast, (7) rdule:-
tion, opinion, precept (it is the same which is r-ndur-red
by sermo in the Vulgate), (8) cause, foundation of thought,
(9) account, (10) esteem, (11) relation (Xdoyos e-y'ero 7rpo.)
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
to bi in r la.tion with some one. Ask a pupil, who knows
Greek, but who is not acquainted with the church teaching,
tL, translate the first verse from John, and he will, to get
any seunible translation of this passage, from the context
inluwmeiately reject seven impossible meanings of Xdoov
iro: i this sentence, namely, the meanings of word, speech,
c i.nvrc.uatl,.il report, eloquence, account, and esteem, and
will i.i- choosing between the meanings of reason, cause,
retl'-:tion, and correlation. All these four meanings, given
to the word Xo'yov in translations, fit the sense of the clause,
but ac:h .f them, taken separately, fits it only partially.
R,',i,.., is a man's capacity to think.
R,:id,, / io, is only the action of this capacity.
Co:'rre,'l!on is that which furnishes the material to the
C:apa':it.y to think.
C,, > is one of the forms of thinking.
Ea.ih leuianing, taken separately, defines one side of the
a:ti-ity :of thought. Ao'yo apparently has here a very
broad and fundamental meaning. In order to render this
:word.1 iin Rssian, I find most appropriate the word com-
i',fli/L;'i'oi (razumyenie), because this word combines all
the foulr possible meanings of Xdoyo'.
Co',,i'r,.qp .nsion is not only reason, but also the action
of reason leading to something; not only cause, but also
tie qa..".i;: of it; not only reflection, but also reflection
'.l,4, 1ar'dti.l the cause; and not only relation, but also
r.a. ;u /bl/ activity in relation to cause. This translation
is completely confirmed by the introduction to the teach-
ing of the same writer, namely, in the first epistle of
John. Thus, in the first verse the same expression is
used: 8 7'v Tr' Apiv, 8 h&cycoda~ev, and so forth, 7repl
-roi Xdoyou -v 'avf. It is evident that it can be trans-
lated only by the words comprehension of life. By the
addition of the word Tr, ; oI0, which John makes in
the epistle, the meaning becomes absolutely clear and
defined comprehension of life. Therefore, I translate
THE FOUIT GOI.PELS
the word Xo'yov by comprehncisiu :of life. hecaImi. I find
such translation clearer and n,,:i':r pl,:I'r,, thouic'h I ldo
not refute any other translati'.'n. Ve mUay equally liut
down the word reason, and oll-,, ,h,..,, aud even the woidl
word, by ascribing a broader meaning to it; we amrLy c\-c
leave the word Xo'yo; untranslated,- the tmluiL nwill
always be one and the same.
Consequently I literally translLt,., thb first versi this:
In the beginning of all there gIew t(: i.e the i:..iLmieh.Lb -
sion of life. This translation givt-\ a :le.ir en-f., if the
title is kept in view, that i-. the a:nnun:iemwiunt i:" g.:'.:l
by Jesus Christ. In the b.-cining 'f tall, :', tI: I .igin-
ning of all grew to be the comi.riebeusi.oun i.f life a.'::':dling
to the announcement of Jesu- Chr t.
1. Kal 6 X6yor 4v John i. I And ihe I And ihb cr:.mpre-
rp e Word- was v1, hV_. r,, ,f i.. ...- -,I
irpbs 7-p 06P. God.' Zr t ;,r' CJ.
(a) The second part of the ver-e: i still nMure hopelessly
incomprehensible in the chur.:h tran:sltil:n. In ,:.rdlr t,-
remove this perplexity, it is ne-esar r tiT .ilt :It tI.: d ire':t
our attention to the word 0,l/. Tlhe %oril 0,,i i:r\t-.,
as it were, as a definition of what .X-dov is. Theiefrt
we must above all else know v hat the I athor un1deritamuds
by the word God. There is an indi:atio:u i:of it in the
eighteenth verse of the same i:l]aptrtr, and iu the I st
epistle of John (iv. 12) it s.y' N.:'i man hath c-.en God
at any time. Therefore, in i.ridlr that the rn.ader in.ay
not unite with the word God :i nie:riig wLvhi:h the ; autho,
himself did not connect, it is ne:c,-Sary tL., rementil.iret how
the author understood the wi.:.l. Only thr:ouli the in.i-
cation that the word God mut t o and :ii i:a t be un.der-
stood as something compreheunil.le and lderiUit,:. d(o. the
meaning of the first verses be.:,:,me I: i:ln ehlenc ille.
(b) The preposition 7rpo' with the ;r':usative hlia eleven
meanings: (1) to; (2) in the dire-:tion .:. ; (: :, the iuaj,.,r-
ity of meanings of the same l-re.l.-iti:u w-ith th,- dl.tive;
HAITIMONIZED AND TRANSLATED 27
there are three such meanings: (a) near, (/3) in, and, on,
ind (7) besides, in addition to; (4) for, in view of; (5) in
reference to; (6) against; (7) on an equality with, for
somebody, for something; (8) in respect to something;
(9) because of; (10) during the time of, and (11)
almost, near something. The simplest and directest
meaning is to.
(c) The words 7rpbv TrV 8eov in the literal translation,
as given in the Slavic, are was to God. But the words
was to God have no meaning. The translation of ir-pv Trbv
0ed, by with God, erat apud Deum, bei1 Gott, has also no
meaning, and has the further disadvantage that 7rpo' with
the accusative never means apud, and I have purposely
written out all the meanings of orpo' with the accusative
in order that it may be clear to all that rpo'v with the accu-
sative can never mean with. Apud means before, near,
and nothing else. The only philological excuse for trans-
lating it so is that rpo'~ with the accusative sometimes
(very rarely) has the same meaning as with the dative,
namely near, and apud also means near. Out of a thou-
sand cases of Irpo' with the accusative there will, proba-
bly, be one when it has the meaning of near; admitting
even that rpd' means in this case apud, it will only give
us that the word was near God, and not with God. For
the church translation that was the only issue from a
The church translation with God has received a mystic
interpretation, and the church was satisfied with it, for-
getting that this is not a translation, but an arbitrary
interpretation. But since I am looking for sense in the
book which I am reading, and do not allow myself to give
arbitrary meanings to words, I was compelled either to
reject these words as incomprehensible, or to find a mean-
ing for them which would correspond to the laws of the
language and of common sense. In order to ascribe some
sense to this sentence, it is possible, by taking Xdoyov in
THE FOUR GOSPELS
the sense of word or wisdom, to give to the plepositi..n
7rpo' the meaning which it has in Greek, namely. relir,.,
in relation to something, so that Jrpo'd may in think place
be translated merely by the genitive, without any Ir.,1."-
sition, namely: And the comprehension was, or, tbi r,: :rai.'*
to be a comprehension of God, and then the tl. utlation
will be like this: In the beginning was the comp clo.i ;o.
And the comprehension was the comprehension qt G'o'l.
But in this case the meaning of the preposition Trp, will
be stretched. It is also possible to give to the w.- id
Xdtyov the meaning of comprehension, the activity If '.ia ci.
always directed toward something, and then the pL.:posi-
tion rpo'v may be translated in its direct and fi sit I eau-
ing to, having in mind that the comprehension is dir .:te.l
to something, and that the translation will be: Tki io,,-
prehension was, or, grew to be directed to God; but iu that
case the superfluous word directed must be addedJ. ,r the
translation will not be very clear. Then again, we nijay
give to Trpo' the meaning of equality, exchange (t" ouc
thing for another. This meaning is precisely i':,\ered
by the popular against (suprotiv). Oxen will uv.t \ u.rk
against horses. He respects him against his father, and
so forth, and then the third translation will be: Cu,,,,pr'-
hension grew to be the beginning of everything. .A4i tla:
comprehension grew to be against God (that is, the roi.qn,--
hension took the place of God).
The first two translations have almost the same lmn-.u-
ing, but they are neither of them precise. In the first.
the meaning of the words 7rpbv Tby 8eo'v (twice rc['eatedl
and therefore obviously necessary for the expression .:.f the
thought) is entirely omitted; in the second, it is une:.-.-iry
to add a new word directed, in order to give any ,eaniug
to this preposition.
The third translation expresses the same thcught, aud
has this advantage: it renders 7rpdo by a prep-oition,
and adds nothing more.
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
In order to decide, among these three- translations, it is
ne.es~csry tu analYv.i : ill four elnt,:nlc',:s, awhIili ar.: i-n-
nD.:t'd.l with e.taih o their. niheie th.- priep:iltln Trpok 1
The four sentences are these:
(1) In the beginning was the Xoyoo, or, the Xdyov grew
to be the beginning; (2) the Xdo'7 was to God, or, the
Xdo'o grew to be rrp6q Tr'B OEdv; (3) the Xdy7o was, or,
grew to be, God, and (4) in the beginning, or, as the
beginning, the Xdo'ov was, or grew to be, rrpO Tr6 06edv.
In all three translations one part of the thought is
equally clear, and the other part equally obscure. What
is clear is the first sentence: The comprehension of God
was, or grew to be, in the beginning, or, as the beginning,
and the third: The comprehension was, or grew to be,
In the meaning of the first sentence, that in the
beginning, or, as the beginning, grew to be comprehen-
sion, and of the third, that the comprehension was, or,
grew to be, God, all three translations and the church
In the beginning was the comprehension, or, compre-
hension grew to be the beginning, and, it was, or, grew to
be, God, that is the main idea. And one results from
The second sentence explains this idea; it explains in
what manner the comprehension grew to be, or, was, God,
and the fourth sentence only repeats the first and the sec-
ond. It says that it became God in that it was, or grew
to be, 7rpbso rOv OEov. Three meanings of 7rpo fit in here.
The comprehension was, or, grew to be, the comprehen-
sion of God. It was, or, grew to be, turned to God, and
it was, or, grew to be, against, in the place of, God.
The first two translations reduce themselves to one,
namely, that the comprehension is that which expressed
God. The comprehension was the comprehension of God
THE FOUR GOSPELS
means: the comprehension expressed God. The cinmpre-
hension was turned to God, and grew to be G',:l. : a.'l
means: united with God, expressed God. The thil.d
translation expresses the same, namely: the comprehr-u-
sion grew to be against, that is, in the place o:'f, God,
expressed God. This translation includes the meauLn of,:l
the other two. It is sufficient to put in the place :of the
awkward against, the preposition for, which expres-ses ex.
change, and we get the broadest and fullest, and hterally
most exact translation, which, for the Russian, prcerrvec
even the case of the original: And the comprnhi. aro
stood for God.
1. Kal Ge s v 6 X6- John i. 1. And the word 1. And the co-npre-
was God.a hension of lifl' L..:.:amr
2. Otos ?rv Iv dpXi 2. The same wash in 2. It grew to be bth
Trpbs rbv ey6v. the beginning with God. beginning of erv ry ib iog
(a) In the first verse I transpose the words, and: trans-
late: The comprehension became God. I place the- \':,rli
comprehension before the word God, because, according to:
the spirit of the Russian language, the subject mu-t pre-
cede the predicate, and Xo'yov is the subject, because it has
the article, whereas the predicate is without the art i. le.
(b) The verb eli', in addition to meaning to be, lire., :. .s/.
has also the meaning of to become, grow, originate. It it
says that in the beginning was the comprehension, : ,"i.'d,
and that the word was to God, or with God, or fotr i,4l.
it is impossible to go on and say that it was God. II it
was God, it could stand in no relation to God. And s-': it
is necessary in this place to translate 7v by becanv, yr,:c
to be, and not by it was. The two verses traisl.-ted
accordingly receive a definite meaning.
The conception about God is assumed as known, aud
mention is made of the source from which this con::up-
tion came. It says: According to the announcement :,f
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED 31
Jesuo Christ the beginning of everything was the compre-
he ucin of life. And the comprehension of life, accord-
ing to Christ's teaching, took the place of the conception
of Go.i, or blended with it.
If it were necessary to get a confirmation of such an
understanding of these two verses, the eighteenth verse,
which includes the whole discussion and directly ex-
presses the idea that no one has ever known God, but
that the son has manifested him in the Xdyoo, and the
whole discussion, which tells us the same, and the follow-
ing verses, which tell us that by the Xoyov everything is
born, and without it nothing is born, and the whole sub-
sequent teaching, which develops the same idea, every-
thing confirms the same. The meaning of these verses is
this: According to the announcement of good by Jesus
Christ the comprehension of life became the foundation
and beginning of everything. The comprehension of life
stood in the place of God, the comprehension of life
It is this which according to the announcement of
Jesus Christ became the foundation and beginning of
everything in the place of God.
3. IIdra St' almro Johni. 3. All things 3. Everything was
yv.ro, Kal Xpl airo were made' by him;b born through the com-
cro, xP a and without himd was prehension, and without
-dydero oS& Iv, 6 7yyo- not any thing made the comprehension is
vep. that, was made not anything born of
that which is alive and
(a) The words V' a'roG& mean by means of it, through
it, and cannot be rendered (iu Russian) by the ablative
case alone. At' abroD does not mean by him, but by its
aid. I translate through the comprehension, substituting
the word which is meant by the pronoun.
(b) The word ye'vero means was born, in its first straight
simple meaning. According to all the dictionaries this
word has only five chief meanings: (1) to be born; (2) to
THE FOUR GOSPELS
become; (3) to be, exist (the first three meanings arii all
applicable in this'sentence); (4) to be frequ n itly. to hbppt a
frequently; (5) to be occupied with something theL la-t tw v
meanings are inapplicable). There are no other meanuingf.
The meaning fact sunt (according to the Vulqatc..
gemacht (in Luther), cannot be applied to this veil, I.,ut
in the Vulgate and in Luther these words are traui~nte-A.
by omnia per ipsum fact sunt, Dinge sind ~/irh '/,sh ./;
gemacht. In Church-Slavic it is translated I'y .3t', hut
from the explanations which are attached tOi thiL word,
namely, that everything was created by him, this w:.rdI
byst' is taken in precisely the same sense as that iu which
it is translated in the Vulgate and by Luther; that is, as
made. I translate the word in its firs: and simplest
meaning, which includes the meanings of bI,, nw anu ?.,-,
and so it is not for me to justify the departure fieuw the
customary translations, but for the previous trannulato.rs to
justify their own departures from the original. There
can be no justification of the arbitrary traunlaitlion -f the
word e'ryiero by fact sunt and gemacht. The explana-
tion why the word is so incorrectly translated mlny l.
found in the church interpretation of the %whule pa:-age.
According to the church interpretation the Xdyok is the
second person of the Holy Trinity, and to it i ancril.'e
the creation of the world. In translating wtr:' Latim Afi
was used, which does not correspond tc i'Tyropiat, l.ult
only to one of its meanings, to become. In Luther'; tranu-
lation the verb gemacht is used, though it aunwet Ib.ut
one of the meanings of fio in the active vu.i'c, :ind the
word has entirely departed from its meaning.
Here is the interpretation of the church (Ar- himanilihite
Interpretation of St. John i. 3. All things tvre mai. 1'e b him :
all things received their existence, all things were created by
him (Gen. i.; Heb. i. 2; Col. i. 16).
HARMONIZEr) AND TRANSLATED
.lI'b r n;.: St. Pail, in er.ioling tli- sanam i, ca .-iL:nt tie
cr-:at, i of a1ll thing' I,. the W1 ord, exIlains ial thnrK, irn th i- i.l-
lm, ing rmuaniji-r: All thirLs that are rn hi-;a ircii, -'ni that ile in
ea.rtli, vijiLte and in.i i L.-i he,-thet r thi Lie throe,,s, or dIoliin-
iou. :or prin. ip.iti-es o:r powers: all thi gs ;r-rr- er.-ated by him
and h:fr lit (Col. i. 1.) Cor.rqise i tly, in tie p ipleri- t .ill
tlingi: cr.it.9 ., M itth r i hr.,--,, er it artti, h thber in tih.
piritiill, or iii the r eal vei-i l ;w rld, ther- is not a hein- ior
thing, '.\hi: has iot re. eirid it e.xi-trni- through him. L'on-
-.e iritntly, thb \\',ii is the C'i't':,' :iof tL e r.r1; CuSeq ei;itily.
it is God. The expression by heim does not mean that that WoVrd
is a dependent Creator of the world, and not the prime moving
cause of the creation of the world, or that God created the world
by means of the Word, as an artist creates by means of a tool;
such a turn of speech is used in Scripture whenever it speaks of
the first cause, acting of its own force and independently (cf.
1 Cor. i. 9 ; xii. 8, 13; Chrys., and Theophilac.). Here it is so
expressed in order to prevent one from imagining that the Son
was not born (Chrys.).
By such a turn of speech our attention is directed to that rela-
tion of the Word to the Father, by which God the Father, who
is invisible and abides in the inaccessible world, appears and
always acts in his Son, who, therefore, isthhe imag e of th in-
visible God (Heb. i. 3). The Son never acts as though he fell
away or separated from the Father, so that the creative activity
of the Son is at the same time the activity of the Father, and
the will of the Father is at the same time the will of the Son
(John v. 19, 20).
Without him was not anything made that was made. Repeti-
tion, explanation, and intensification of the preceding expres-
sion and of the creative activity of the Word. In the created
world everything is made by him, not excepting anything, but
only in the created world (that was made). That no one might
think that, if everything was made by him, so was also the Holy
Ghost, the evangelist found it necessary to add that was made,
that is, that was created, but the Holy Ghost is not a created
being (cf. Chrys. and Theophilac.). "I shall not be frightened
by what it says that all things received their being through the
Son, as though in the words all things is also included the Holy
Ghost; for it does not simply say all things, but all things that
were made. The Father is not by the Son, nor is all that by
the Son, which had no beginning of existence (Greg. the Div.
THE FOUR GOSPELS
(c) The simplest and most common meaning of the word
Xwple is outside of, and I leave it so.
(d) Instead of the pronoun, I for clearness' sake again
put the word for which it stands.
(e) To I, in accordance with the demands of the Rus-
sian language, add of that. Any one who knows the
Greek and the Russian languages knows that the relative
pronoun is not translated literally into Russian, but
always demands the addition of the word that.
(f) 7ye'ovev is a perfect, and so it is incorrectly translated
by byst'; the perfect in Greek denotes what was and is,
and so it has to be translated by was born and lives.
4. 'Ev arT lt fv, John i. 4. Inh him was 4. In it there grew to
.l life; and the life was be life, the same as, the
Kal v O v rTb 9( r Tw the light of men. light of men grew to be
dvpt6"rc v life.
5. Kal rb Aq5s ivr T 5. And the light shin- 5. Just as the light
KaoTr al,, Kal hKO- eth in darkness; and shines in the darkness,
oo t alvec, eKal KO- the darkness compre- and the darkness does
rTia arb o6 KaTSrafjev. hendedd it not. not swallow it.
(a) ev besides meaning in means also in one's power:
'v a-o, ev d6yo'dy, and so forth. It is used here in that
sense. In it is life means in it is the power over life,
in it is the possibility of life.
(b) From the construction of a sentence like Ical s wo
73v Tob &v and from the omission, in many texts, of the
article before 0f&v, light is the predicate.
John xi. 36. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye
may be the children of light.
(c) fvq light from all the contexts signifies the true
comprehension of life.
(d) /caraXa~up3dvw, to grasp, take, meet, understand, take
in, accept, hold back, swallow. I translate it in the sense
of to swallow, put out, extinguish.
Before that it said that the comprehension of life grew
to be the beginning of everything. Now it says that only
the comprehension gives life, and that without the com-
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
prehe-nion there :.in bei rl: lie. Life counsits only in its
,:,ml.rul-h ht ii.m. The fourth verse confirms that, anii'
says: Life is in the power of the comprehension. Only
the comprehension gives the possibility of life. The true
life is the one which is illuminated by the light of the
comprehension. The light of men is the true life; light
gives light, and there is no darkness in it. Even thus
the comprehension gives life, in which there is no death.
Everything which became truly alive, is so only
through the comprehension. The true life, according to
the announcement of Jesus Christ, grew to be such only
in the comprehension. Or, to say it differently: The
light, the comprehension of men, became the true life for
men, even as the light is that which truly exists, while
the darkness is only the absence of light. And the dark-
ness cannot destroy the light.
6. 'Eydvero dvOp(inros Johni. 6. Therewas a 6. A man was sent
rearaX)idvoT rap&OcoO, man sent from God, from God, whose name
dreaarot rapI d e, whose name was John. was John.
diopa avri 'IUdvv I.
7. O0ros MOcv eis 7. The same came for 7. He came for the
apTvpv, va a witness a to bear wit- showing, to show the
paprvplav, fa lap- ness of the Light, that light of the comprehen-
Trprify repl ro7 07r69, all men through him sion, that all men might
i'ra rrdvres rred~'wr might believe, believe in the light of
b' abroD. the comprehension.
8. OK iv Ki'evos rb 8. He was not that 8. He himself was not
\XX\' ap- Light, but was sent to the light, but came
TE, &Vfa Ztaprop- bear witness of that only to show the light of
)y ,repl ro0 4wrTr. Light.b comprehension.
(a) Laprvpla testimony, proof, showing.
(b) These verses sharply interrupt the train of thought
and even the very discussion about the meaning of the
light, by introducing details about John the Baptist.
These verses by their contents do not confirm, nor contra-
dict, the fundamental thought, and so do not enter into
the exposition, but form only an addition.
9. 'HP "rb 0S rb John i. 9. That was- 9. It became the true
dX,1Bs yv, 6 wr[te .rdv- the true Light, which light, such as lights up
lighteth every man that every man who comes
Ta dvOp-irov pXfybpevoP cometh into the world, into the world.
eis rbV K6Cb5iV.
THE FOUR GOSPELS
10. 'EP T Aarj4y 4Y,
Kai 6 x6eaies 31 aToiD
1-IveT0, hKai 6 K6oTIos a6-
rbY OK E YVW.
11. Eli 7-&Ma JXOe,
ela ll MloL a&6Y o6i orp-
12. "Oaoust U .oy
a6r6v, 6wtev eLr oio
9Oovcrlay 7-eKya Oese ye-
oevrat, TosS e-tI-Ct6OcOtv
CIS T6 'ojua avi'oP
13. 02 Okt E! alwjd-
TWY, OWI & OeXh~aros
aapbSt, oWSI iK 0EXhila-
Tos dY6p6S, d(XX' & eoO
10. He was in the
world, and the world
was made bye him, and
the world knew him not.
11. He came unto his
own,d and his own re-
ceived him not.'
12. But as many as re-
ceivedf him, to them
gave be powers to be-
comeh the sons of God,
even to them that be-
lieve on hisi name.
13. Which were born,&
not of blood, nor of the
will of the flesh, nor of
the will of man, but of
10. It appeared in the
world, and the world
was born through it,
and the world did not
11. It appeared in sep-
arate people, and the
separate people did not
receive it within them.
12. But to all those
who understood it, it
gave the possibility of
becoming sons of God,
through faith in its
13 They were gener-
ated not from blood, nor
from the lust of flesh
nor from the lust of
man, but from God.
(a) "v signifies, as in former passages, not only was, but
(b) aXIOtvwo' does not mean truthful, but real.
(c) 8Ld must again be translated by through, and has the
same significance as before. ye'vero means was born.
(d) Ta lt'ia means separate, special, and is obviously said
in contradistinction to the world at large. The light
was in the whole world and in separate men, and so to
the word i't&o separate, which expresses that which in
scientific language is expressed by the word individual, I
add the word people.
(e) 7rapaXap 3dvewv means to receive within oneself.
(f) Xapj3dvew to receive and more commonly to under-
(g) ovo-ia means the permission, liberty, right, possibil-
ity to do something. On the other hand, this word ex-
presses what is expressed by the preposition ev in ev abvr
having been born in it, they received the possibility.
(h) Though yeve'oat means also to be born, it can be
translated here as to be or to become.
(i) ovotia abrov occurs for the second time, and both
times it is used after the word to believe. To believe in
nHAMONIZED AND TT:ANSLATED 37
bvota arvTof. In Russian oYvoua means name, in Hebrew
the person itself. To express both ideas, it is necessary
to say: in its essence, in its significance, in its meaning,
and that is the way I translate it.
(f) o', which refers to To?, has to be translated as since
(k) yevvdw means to germinate and then to bear.
It said before that the life of the world is like the
light in the darkness. The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness does not detain it. Life lives in the
world, but the world does not retain the life. Now, con-
tinuing the discussion about the comprehension, it says
that it is that light which illuminates every living man,
that real light of life which is known to every man,
so that the comprehension is distributed throughout the
world, which lives by it, but the whole world does not
know it, does not know that in the comprehension alone
is the power, foundation, strength of life. The compre-
hension was in separate people, and the separate people
did not accept it within them, did not make it their
own; they did not understand that life was only in it,
or, the comprehension was in its own production, in the
son, but the son did not recognize his Father.
Neither all humanity, nor the majority of men taken
separately understood that they lived only through the
comprehension, and their life was like a light that appears
in the darkness, flickers up, and goes out.
There was a life which appeared amidst death and
again was swallowed up by death. But to those who
understood the comprehension it gave the possibility
of becoming its sons through faith in their origin. The
twelfth verse, which appears so incoherent and mixed up
at its first reading, is so precise and clear when it is trans-
lated rigorously that it is impossible to add anything for
its elucidation, except to repeat it with the substitution
THE FOUR GOSPELS
of a verbal noun in place of the participle rnaorev'ovo-, as
it expresses strictly the same idea. After it was said
that the life of men was like the light in the darkness
and that life appeared and was swallowed by death, we
get: But, although it was so, the comprehension gave
men a chance to become the sons of comprehension, and
thus to free themselves from death. In the twelfth
verse it says that the comprehension gave men the chance
to become the sons of God. In order that we may under-
stand what is meant by the expression to become the
sons of God, which is expounded clearly and in detail
in the discourse with Nicodemus (John iii. 3-21), it is
necessary to recall what was said at first.
The comprehension is God, consequently, to become
the son of God means to become the son of the compre-
What does son mean ? In the third verse it says that
everything which was born, was born of the comprehen-
sion. What is born is the son, consequently, all of us
are sons of the comprehension, so, then, what is meant by
to become the sons of the comprehension? To this
question we find an answer in the fourth verse. It says
that life is in the power of the comprehension. Thus
there is a double sonhood of the comprehension : one, the
natural, all are sons of the comprehension; the other,
which depends on the will of men, on the recognition
of the dependence of one's life on the comprehension.
Even so carnal sonhood is always of two kinds. Every
man is, whether he wants to be or not, of necessity the
son of his father, and yet he may, or may not, acknowl-
edge his father. Consequently, to become the son of the
comprehension is the same as to acknowledge that life is
all in the power of the comprehension. The same is
expressed in verses 9-11. It says that men did not
acknowledge that life was all in the comprehension, and
in verse 12 it says that by believing in the significance
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED 39
of the comprehension they could become fully its sons,
because all men were born not of the lust of man and
the blood of woman, but of the comprehension.
It is necessary to acknowledge that, in order by origin
and acknowledgment to be fully sons of the comprehen-
The meaning of the verses is as follows:
The comprehension was in all men. It was in that
which it produced: all men are alive only because they
are born of the comprehension. But men have not rec-
ognized their Father, the comprehension, and did not
live by it, but assumed the source of their life to lie
outside it (10, 11). But to every man, who under-
stood that source of life, the comprehension gave the
possibility through the faith in it to become a son of
God-the comprehension (12), because all men are born
and live not through the blood of woman and through
the lust of man, but through God the comprehension
(13). In Jesus Christ appeared the full comprehension.
14. Kal 6 X6yos Tapt John 1. 14. And the 14. And the compre-
d4vero a afvev a Word was made flesh, hension became flesh
and dwelta among us, and took its abode
dv i~tv, (Kal d eacdpes a (and we beheld his among us, and we saw
Trtv S64av aTroe, 864av glory,6 the glory as, of its teaching, as of him
6s Aevvoes 7rap&a 7rax- 1%0the only begotten' of7 whoisofthesameorigin
SooyEvo rap Ta- the Father,) full of with the Father,--the
Tp6s') rX4Pp~s XdptroS grace! and truth.h perfect teaching of god-
KIa2 dX7Elas. lines in fact.
(a) ar/cKvo' to pitch a tent, make an abode, begin to live,
(b) o'da from Soice' means Ansicht, conception, opinion,
teaching. Ad'a cannot here be translated by rumour or
glory. The most correct would be proposition, that which
some one proposes, but as the word is not used in this
sense, I substitute for it teaching.
(c) ipovoyevr)v besides meaning born alone, only begotten,
means also of one origin, eines Geschlcehts, of one kind, one
essence, the same in essence with some one. Mdvoq in this
THE FOUR GOSPELS
connection does not mean only, but one, or, as in fovo'dpo-
vov of the same sort of time, and many other words. In
the Gospel of St. John the word is used but four times,
in the present case and in the following:
No man hath seen God at any time; the one-born Son, which
is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him (i. 18).
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one-born Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have
everlasting life (iii. 16).
IIe that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that be-
lieveth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed
in the name of the one-born Son of God (iii. 18).
(d) In many places in John prepositions are used for a
predicate. Thus rpo'v is used in the first verse, and thus
'rapd is used here: it means coming out of, just as raaph
OeoD means having come down from the Father.
(e) 4n has to be translated, not by as, but by in that.
Here the construction demands that it be translated by as,
but with the meaning in that.
(f) XdpKt means: (1) charm, agreeableness, kindliness,
beauty; (2) favour; (3) gratitude; (4) everything which
produces gratitude, beneficence; (5) even sacrifice, offering,
godliness, culte. I translate it here by godliness, because in
the sixteenth verse it says that Christ gave us Xdptv avrl
XdpnroT, tnat is one Xdptq for another. Now, Xdptl is the
law of Moses, that is the law of godliness, consequently
its Xdpts is godliness according to Christ's teaching.
(g) Instead of -rXt'pv, many texts read n-Xjpy, that is
the accusative case, and that refers to adoa, and not to
Xd'yov, and signifies complete, full, accomplished. The gen-
itive case XdpTrov and acX9ezla may depend both on
7rX7pr] and on 8d'a. In either case the meaning is one
and the same. Whether the comprehension was com-
plete, as given to us by the teaching, or whether the
teaching of the comprehension was completely carried
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
out, I prefer to refer it to So'da, and not to Xo'yov, because
in the oldest variant, which I accept, o'da stands later
and seems to be intentionally repeated.
(h) a&XX eta means truth, verity, reality, actuality. In
order to render the first two meanings, the word truth is
proper, but in order properly to render the meaning of
reality and actuality, it would be necessary to periphrase
it and say in fact, and so I use that expression.
By accepting the canonical order of the words, namely,
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full
of grace and truth, and we beheld his glory, the glory as
of the only begotten of the Father, the translation will
be: And the comprehension settled among us, the com-
prehension of perfect godliness in truth (or, in fact), and
we understood its teaching, as the teaching of the one-
born, coming from the Father.
15. 'Iwdvvs pap- John i. 15. John bare 15. John shows about
r"oUpE -repl ao,-,O Kat witness of him, and him, and cries andsays,
Tvpe rp av, Ka cried, saying, This was This is he of whom I
KeKpa'ye X0ywv, Otros he of whom I spake, He spoke, Who comes after
Sv Sv dErov, 'O draw that cometh after me is me was born before me,
pov pX6 tevo p7rpod e preferred before me ; for he was the first.
oe 7ydyev &L irp s for he was before me.
fov ydyoverv STL rpwrrs
The fifteenth verse about John the Baptist is striking
by its irrelevance, and by the violation of the sense, and
even from philological considerations. In the fourteenth
verse mention was made of perfect glory, or the teaching
of grace, or the serving of God; in the sixteenth verse the
same word rr'pj; in the form of the noun TrX4pco? a con-
nects the further exposition about grace, and suddenly in
the middle of it all there appears the verse about the wit-
ness of John the Baptist, which is in no way connected
with the preceding, nor with what follows. This verse
does not enter into the exposition, and may be printed
as an addition.
THE FOUR GOSPELS
16. Kat ?K 7ro TrX7- Johni. 1... A b.. ., d h,. Ir. F.:r fr.:.m it; f fil-
I t r d fulness La t. all ,1i re tn.t"lt dlli '., i t l .:i d-
p ltparos arouDiets7rdp- ceived,c ari gra.,:e d I..n', ,ri'" i.lace .. ..,,Ui-
rTes Ad ioplv, Kat xdpti grace., n s.
17. '"O 6 vb6 s &ct 17. For tl., I* v Wj I;. U-L.:au-:- iLt I.l;"
Mrogos 9366q, Xdp given by M'-,i".c L,,"t '-a. ,'nbu t,'\ M,31:-
Ma d] s i dhsr If Xpe Frace ai.Ji Iruth cau-ae G.:.ii in I Ci tI..-.k
Kail 4 d.X Oea &b. '7
Xp1wroi &ydveTO. Chri .t
(a) 5t is given in all the ol.lest tr-xt, aLiLd l. e aus ....' ,r.
(b) rXhjpwp/a means fv'i',:, ,,'i'':Iribolii l ., ...;'-/t,-
tion, fulfilment. I translate it hi ft'ildrl i t, b
whole passage in John, which speaks i:f the mleaning (f
the teaching of Jesus Chri-t in relations to Moes' law, is
apparently closely connected smith and. a it were, eluii-
dates the seventeenth verie of the fith c.hap.trr .f, Mat-
thew, where the verb 7rXip,'.rtn iS L ced iu the sense i-f
fulfilment: olc 3XOov KanTa~aaat, 1XA -7rX rX)ptiaoi.
(c) ?ap,/dvco means to u.'. .pt. unl ,..t' nil that is./:, tI.,-t.
into one, v o-ol XaplAdvet;. I ii-e here 'rt a, hatvin .
broader meaning and embr:'ac:ug the miajo:ity i:f mwianlugs
of XapuSdvo to comprehend.
(d) avr has precisely the ian-.ing of the Latin pi,', aun
of the Russian in the plat'.. )/. al I..s- it h.,e t, I-? trans-
lated. The rendering of the pel.:itiu anri T by ;I: in
Church-Slavic, iiber in Geln an I 0'',i!.b: il .r G(.,,,r'i..
in Russian grace upon gi.... n' rn anld pr.' in French
(grace sur grace, or grace ir'W'., :.,'... I- hl'.iims tran.lates
it), is not justified by anything. OInly the Englihh trans-
lation, which uses the preti,:iuitiocn ';,r tr i ULra ). CImis
near to using one of the meaninirgs :'of i tih: pihr.e: it.
In the translation of verze- lh lndI 17 I depart fro:L
the usual translation. The d--atirr res made. lvy n acr
justified by the demands i:f laiinzl.l-e, biy thi- cleancr 'e of
the meaning thus obtained. l'y tihe i:i-nni-,:teldneoss .t the
whole discourse, and by tlhe ti':t cilrrlslpnnd-nce w.ith
what precedes. As in the tranilatio:n oi the words X,/yo
HARMONIZED AND TR:.NSLATLIr
-word,. "r/it-I oai /o;I b.o rn, uven thus n:\ow th-f trauslati.:u
of the word Sdta glory, jcovoyevijv only begotten, avri above,
upon, quasi, als, XdpL9 grace, and of the verb Xal/3dvetv
in this place as receive, demands explanations not from
me, but from previous translators.
Only the desire to press the words into the service
of a biassed opinion could have led the translators
to such an obscure rendering of this passage, which is
so out of keeping with the character of the language.
Ao'a means opinion, dogma, teaching, belief, and only
in rare cases does it mean glory, and then only in the
sense which it has in popular Russian (rumour, report).
The church translation gives in this place gloria, glory,
for Sd0a. But the meaning of these words is not ap-
plicable to comprehension, and so the church has given to
the word glory the real meaning of teaching of faith, which
it has, and says, We beheld his glory as of the only be-
gotten Son, meaning by glory not exactly gloria, but
something else. Frequently the church uses the word
glory directly in the sense of belief, teaching, as for ex-
ample, in the expression 3pOB o84'a right glory, or, right
belief. I use teaching instead of glory, as being a more
exact word, but do not mind leaving the word glory,
provided it has the meaning of belief.
The meaning of povoyevij of the same origin is con-
firmed by the version of this passage by Origen, where it
says &XA7i0 jAovoyevz'; cb 7raph 7rarpd', that is, truly one-
born, as from the Father. Haph 7rarpd is only an expla-
nation of what oovoyezvIv signifies: precisely such as from
Xa'pci is translated by the word gracia, grace, Gnade,
blagodat'. The first two, gracia and grace, mean charm,
but although the words are so translated, they are not
used in that sense, but in the sense which they have
acquired later. Just so the word Gnade, which signifies
mercy, is not taken in the sense of mercy, but in another
THE FOUR GOSPELS
sense given to it later. Similarly blagodat' is not taken
in the sense of good gift, as the composition demands,
but in the sense which it received later. But if the w.:'id
Xdptv is to be taken in the sense of church grace, the
seventeenth verse, where it says, grace in place of, or
for, grace, does violence to this meaning. Grace in placee
of grace means that the former grace has given way to a,
new grace, but that meaning was contrary to the chbuch
interpretation, and so the translators had to change the
meaning of the preposition avrl, on which the whole nim.an-
ing is based, and quite arbitrarily rendered it by vii, na,
sur, fiber, for.
With this change the required meaning was obtained,
namely, that from Christ we received an addition of
grace. But with this arbitrary translation the expla-
nation of the whole passage and especially of the six-
teenth verse became harder still. It says, Of his fulnte
have we received grace upon grace, and these words arc
explained to mean that from Jesus Christ we received au
addition to the grace which we had from Moses. But.
later it says that the law was given by Moses, while
grace and truth were given by Jesus Christ, that is, g ira:e
and truth are opposed to the law of Moses.
The difficulty of the translation of this passage consists
in this, that in the fourteenth verse it says that the ,:o:m-
prehension became flesh, and we saw its teaching, or glory,
as of one origin with the Father, filled (as the church
understands it) with Xdptq and truth. No matter how
Xdptv be understood, it is clear so far that the Xo'yov was
full of Xdpt, and truth.
But in the sixteenth verse, which begins with 5rT. it
says: Because from the fulness of Jesus Christ have we
received XdptV in the place of, or for, Xdptq, and nothiu,
is said about truth, whereas in the beginning it says that.
he, Christ, was full of Xdpt, and truth, and in the sev\en-
teenth verse it says again that Xdptv and truth are t,,in
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
Jesus Christ. If the sixteenth verse did not exist, we
might be able to say that the Xdoyo was full of Xdpt,
and truth (though, instead of, he taught us, gave us,
xdpi; and truth, it says very awkwardly, He was full
of); but if he is full of Xadpt and truth, then it is clear,
as it says in the sixteenth verse, that the law was given
by Moses, and xdptq and truth were given by Jesus
Christ; but the fifteenth verse, which stands in the
middle, and, as it were, explains the connection of
the fourteenth with the seventeenth, completely upsets
it. Even if we translate (which is impossible) bvrl by
upon, and xa'ptv a771 xdpLrov by grace upon grace, and
under the first grace understand the law of Moses, then
it is hard to understand why it says in the seventeenth
verse that grace and truth were given through Jesus
Christ. It ought to have said that an addition to grace,
and not grace and truth, was given. In order to give
a meaning to this passage, xadptl has to be translated by
godliness, and AXjOcta by in fact, in reality, which, in-
deed, we received from Jesus Christ, for from his perfec-
tion did we get a joyful, free, vital godliness, in the place
of the external godliness. The law was given by Moses,
but godliness, as performed in fact, was given us by Jesus
The previous verses spoke of the manner of the appear-
ance of the comprehension in the world and in men. We
were told that men could, by recognizing the comprehen-
sion as the foundation of their lives, become sons of God,
- retain within them the comprehension. Now we hear
of how that took place in the world. It says that the
comprehension became flesh, appeared in the flesh, lived
with us. Those words, in connection with the seven-
teenth verse, in which it says that the new teaching was
given to us by Jesus Christ, cannot be understood other-
wise than by referring them to Jesus Christ.
46 THE FOUR GOSPELS
The teaching consists in that which, as said above,
gives the true life, in the recognition of oneself as the
son of God, as of one birth with him. These words, in
accordance with the meaning of everything which pre-
cedes, signify that the basis of Jesus Christ was the fact
that life originated from the comprehension and was of
one birth with it. Farther on it says that this teaching
is a full, complete teaching about godliness in fact. This
teaching is full and complete even because to the teach-
ing of godliness according to the law it adds the teaching
about godliness in fact. All the consequent teaching, as in
John, about the relations of the father to the son, and in
Matthew and the other evangelists, about Christ's having
come not to change the law, but to fulfil it, and many other
things, clearly confirm the correctness of this meaning.
In the fourteenth verse it says that the teaching of
Jesus Christ, as of the one-born Son of the Father, is the
complete teaching of godliness in fact.
The meaning of the verses is as follows:
In Jesus Christ the comprehension blended with life
and lived among us, and we understood his teaching,
which was, that life originated from the comprehension
and was of the same origin with it, as the son comes
from the father and is of one birth with him; we have
received the complete teaching of godliness in fact, be-
cause through the fulfilment by Jesus Christ we all
comprehended the new teaching in place of the former,
for the law was given by Moses, whereas godliness in
fact originated through Jesus Christ.
WHEREIN THE COMPREHENSION OF JESUS CHRIST CONSISTED
18. Oebv obdlis EJ5- John i. 18. No man 18. No one has ever
pa nrre '. hath seen" God at any comprehended or will
paKe ?7r T0* o0 OPo- time; the only begotten ever comprehend God;
yevls vib, 6 cvs e Trb Son, which isb inc the the one-born son, being
KbXAorov TO rarpbs, dKe- bosomd of the Father, in the heart of the
vor 7-y itaro. he hath declared., Father, he has pointed
out the path.
IIAR1IMOIZED AND TRANSLATED
(a) 6pdao to see, comprehend directly. Here the perfect
is used, and so it means has not comprehended and will
(b) av is most correctly translated by an adverbial
participle, which shows that, being in the heart of the
Father, he only points out the path.
(c) eL denotes motion into something; el and not Ev is
used here, because 6 6v ecl denotes not so much being in
the Father, as striving to be in the heart, the pith of the
(d) Kcd'Xrov breast, bosom. To be in the breast, bosom,
heart denotes that one is included in the other, is em-
braced by it, exists in it. To be in the heart renders that
(e) e7ye'oja~ has the meaning of to tell, guide, point out
The words, No man hath seen God at any time, in
addition to the general significance, have also this special
meaning that they deny the Jewish conception of God,
who was seen on Sinai and in the burning bush. If there
could be the slightest doubt left about the direct and
exact meaning of the words of the first verse about the
comprehension having become God, this eighteenth verse,
which does not permit any other interpretation, says that
we cannot speak of God, whom we do not comprehend;
that there is, and can be, no other God than the one who
is revealed by the son of God in the comprehension of
life, if the life is included in the comprehension: No one
has ever seen or comprehended God, but the one-born son,
being in the heart of the Father, has pointed out the
The son means life, the living man, as it says in the
third verse, Everything which is born is born by the
comprehension, and in the fourth verse, In him is life,
and in the twelfth and thirteenth verses, The sons of God
THE FOUR GOSPELS
are those who have recognized that they are blorn through
The one-born son means such as the Father. Being in
the heart of the Father means that life, the living man,
being in the heart, that is, without coming out of the
comprehension, blending with it, only points out the
path to it, but does not declare it.
The meaning of the verse is as follows:
No one has ever seen or ever sees God, but the life in
the comprehension has pointed out the path to him.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF GOOD OF JESUS CHRIST,
THE SON OF GOD
This announcement is written in order that men might
believe that Jesus Christ is a son of God and that, by the
very faith in the same which he was, they might receive
life. No one has ever comprehended or ever will com-
prehend God. All we know about God, we know because
we have the comprehension, and so the true beginning of
everything is the comprehension. (What we call God is
the comprehension. The comprehension is the beginning
of everything, it is the true God.)
Nothing can exist without the comprehension. Every-
thing has originated through the comprehension. In
the comprehension is the force of life. Even as the
whole diversity of things exists for us only because
there is light, so there exists for us the whole compre-
hension of life, life itself, only because there is the
comprehension. The comprehension is the beginning
In the world, life does not embrace everything. In the
world, life appears as the light amidst the darkness. The
light shines so long as it shines, and the darkness does
not retain the light and remains the darkness. Even
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED 49
thus in the world, life appears through death, and death
does not retain life and remains death.
The source of life, the comprehension, was in the
whole world and in each living man. But the living
men, living only because the comprehension was in
them, did not understand that they originated from the
They did not understand that the comprehension gave
them the possibility of blending with it, since they were
not living from the flesh, but from the comprehension.
By understanding this and believing in their sonhood to
the comprehension, men could have the true life. But
men did not understand that, and the life in the world
was like the light in the darkness.
God, the beginning of all beginnings, no one has ever
comprehended, or ever will comprehend, but the life in
the comprehension has pointed out the path to him.
And so Jesus Christ, living among us, has declared the
comprehension in the flesh, in as much as life originated
from the comprehension and is of one birth with it, just
as the son originates from the father and is of one birth
And looking at his life, we comprehended the complete
teaching of the godliness in fact, because, on account of
his perfection, we comprehended the new godliness in the
place of the old. The law was given by Moses, but the
godliness in fact originated through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen, or ever can see, God, but the
son of God in man has pointed out the path to him.
THE INCARNATION OF THE COMPREHENSION. THE BIRTH
AND CHILDHOOD OF JESUS CHRIST
LUKE i. 5-25. In these verses are told the miraculous
occurrences in relation to the birth of John the Baptist.
These occurrences not only have nothing in common
with the teaching of Jesus Christ and the announcement
of good, but do not even touch on Jesus Christ himself,
and so, no matter how these occurrences may be under-
stood, they can change nothing in the meaning of the
teaching of Jesus Christ.
Luke i. 26-79. These verses tell of the miraculous
occurrences which preceded the birth of Jesus Christ,
and are connected with just such miraculous occurrences,
which are foreign to the teaching, at the birth of Jesus
Matt. i. 1-17 and Luke iii. 23-38. In these verses
two genealogies of Jesus Christ are set forth. Even if
the genealogies agreed with each other, they do not
touch on the teaching and, no matter how they may be
understood, can add nothing to, or take away from, or
change in, the teaching, and so all these verses must be
referred to an addition.
18. ToG 8 'TaoG Matt. i. 18. Now the 18. The birth of Jesus
Xp troD J v? birth of Jesus Christ Christ was like this:
PeO I wva as on this wise: when when his mother was
oDrw- ~v. pyiarevuel- as his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph
or7 ydpp Tisrpbsi aro& espoused to Joseph, be- before they came to-
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
Mapias T- 'IwaiG), Trpiv
) auvveNXEv avroes, eipS-
07 yv yaerrpl Xovoea d
19. 'Iwia 5U 6 davip
aikTs, 61xatos 6v, Kai
IA O Xwv arttv rapadei-
7paTrirat, PovXtOFl Xd-
Opa diroXgoa airkrv.
20. Tavra 61 akroG
dvOvMO)vWroTs, Ibob, dyye-
Nos Kvplov Kar' V6ap
gidvdr adri, Xtywv,'Iw-
ft00s rrapaXaetIv Ma-
p4,U rTyv yuvaFKd ouW T6r
yap v a6ir T yvv767v LK
IIvPEjar6s orTIv 'Aylov.
21. Tefra s6 vibv,
Kal KaXdcsE 7rb Bvopa
alroe 'IHI OTN- a6iTr
y7p -breT rbv Xabv abTroC
24. AteyepeOs Ud 6
'Imwah dr6 TO7 7rveoV
droljev :is rpoertraaev
akrT 6 d-yeXos Kvplov.
Kai arapia,3e T7v yUVa'-
25. Kai oiKr 1ivwPKev
arThv, Fws oe 9TeKe Tbv
viv aCbrls T6v Trpar67ro-
KOV Kea1 KdXhce T-b T o-
Ma abroD 'IH2OTX.
fore they came together, ether, she was found to
she was found with child be pregnant.
of the Holy Ghost.-
19. Then Joseph her
husband being a just
man, and not willing to
make her a public exam-
le, was minded to put
er away privily.
20. But while he
behold, the angel of the
Lord appeared unto him
in a dream, saying.
Joseph, thou son of
David, fear not to take
unto thee Mary thy
wife: for that which is
conceived in her is of
the Holy Ghost.
21. And she shall bring
forth a son, and thou
shalt call his name
JESUS: for he shall
save his people from
24. Then Joseph being
raised from sleep did as
the angel of the Lord
had bidden him, and
took unto him his wife:
25. And knew her not
till she had brought
forth her first-born son:
and he called his name
19. Joseph, her hus-
band, was just: he did
not wish to arraign her,
and intended to send her
away without public
20. But while he was
thinking of this, he
dreamed that a messen-
ger from God had ap-
peared to him and was
saying, Fear not to re-
ceive Mary thy wife.
for what will be born of
her will be born of the
21. And she will bring
forth a son and will call
him Jesus, which means
the Saviour, for he will
save people from their
24. When Joseph
awoke, he did as the
angel of God had com-
manded him to do, and
received her as his wife.
25. And had nothing
to do with her till she
had brought forth her
first son, and he called
(a) The words of the Holy Ghost in this place desig-
nate birth from above, the same birth which in the dis-
course with Nicodemus is ascribed to all men.
Verses 22 and 23 affirm that the birth of Jesus
fulfilled a prophecy. This prophecy is in the highest
degree far-fetched and not only fails to confirm, but
even subverts, the author's thesis.
The meaning of the verses is as follows:
There was a virgin Mary. This virgin became preg-
nant by some unknown person. Her husband, who was
THE FOUR GOSPELS
betrothed to her, took pity on her end, nc,:ealiung h\r
shame, received her. From her and an unknl-wn father
a boy was born. The boy was nanri.d J"-L ~. Aud
this Jesus was the comprehension in the le :h. He it
is who declared to the world God, who': u, :.i ,e bij ,:1vr
known.) This Jesus was the son of Go:l whi: -a\ve to: th'.-
world the teaching of which John spaks- aou.l whin:h is
expounded in the gospels.
Luke i. 1-21; Matt. i. 1-12; Luke ii. 22-3s ; 1att. Li.
13-23; Luke ii. 39. In these verse:7 i: dle:ril..l- tihe
birth of Jesus Christ and his wanderin. \with his inm:thr:.l.
which is accompanied by miraculous :.:: .Ir[an-.rs au..
prophecies. These verses contain nothlin- which i.feti
to the teaching of Jesus or even any i:.ui r, n, c i-v wli ,h
might have had some influence upon hiii,. Thb'- ':.uly
explanation of these chapters is that theI- art- lI.-u..
which were formed, even as they are f.lrimed now\. al,:ut
the childhood of a person who after his da':,lh h n; bh:o-in:i
of great importance. The motive of thele cLhb.pteis is t.:.
enhance as much as possible the importa;:c Oft thei t' trso
by means of miracles and prophecies. Thl.- iuvaiail': t:n:-
of these descriptions, especially in Luke'. rnlini din2 :.ne i:o
many apocryphal accounts, is striking. byI. it- iril'l:v;an:c
as compared with other places of the cauie I.:-.k. It i:
impossible to imagine a man who should h,-,\,. -.,miit.ly
understood the teaching, as expressed in the. iutr' .:lur:tijn
of John, and yet should have accepted tl.: l:'-ntl -:' Lih
birth. One excludes the other. To him wh,:i ha '-:',n-
prehended the meaning of the son of G:l -1 thb: s~Oi ft
the comprehension, as it is explained in tihe intr:".l il:tin,
the stories about the occurrences which 'r ,:'- edel th- bijtb
of John and of Jesus and the story .t' th:- lirlh it elt
and of the consequent occurrences cau':ot 1:be intc'lli:lt.i,
and certainly not important; while hli .ho:, :,-titl:.:- a
meaning to the miraculous birth of J.-'1.- fr:om the 'iLr'in
and the Holy Ghost as her husband, and believess in tli'e
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
possibility of it, has evidently not yet come to understand
the significance of the son of the comprehension.
The meaning of the whole passage is to justify the
disgraceful birth of Jesus Christ. It was said that Jesus
Christ was the comprehension, he alone declared God.
And this Jesus Christ was born in what was considered
to be the most disgraceful of circumstances, from a virgin.
All these chapters are a justification, from the human point
of view, of that disgraceful birth. The disgraceful birth
and the ignorance of Jesus as to his father in the flesh
are the only feature of these chapters, which is to have a
meaning for the consequent teaching of Jesus Christ.
40. Tb 8 wratilov 7)d-
$aVE, Ka2 6Kparatovro
wrv 5arT, 7r\iXpo06evov
ce'olas Krai Xdpts eoo
6"v T' aar6.
41. Kal eprope6ouro ol
yove ahro KaiT TOSo
is 'IepoverraX4 ry eoprj
42. Kal Te d(c veTo
iroPv 56sEKa dvaPdPvrwv
a+rTv eis 'Icpoo6XuvLa
KarT 'b iOS 7?G Tl pTrjs,
43. Kai TeXetwXIdy-
trw Tas jiupas, v ry~
ubroarp LetLv airobs, bnrd-
piever '1eoDys 6 rat^r I
'IepovuoaXiL' Kal oUK
CY'W 'Iwct@ xal Ka
44. Nopluavrer Us a6-
7Tb&V Tr Ovrvobl6 devat,
JXBov igpars 668b, Kai
dvetiroav afrbv Iv Tros
vtyyCevIt Kxal Tots
45. Kai ju e&p6vres
a6rbV, br irpfavs eis
Luke ii. 40. And the
child grew, and waxed
strong in spirit, filled
with wisdom; and the
race of God was upon
41. Now his parents
went to Jerusalem every
year at the feast of the
42. And when he was
twelve years old, they
went up to Jerusalem
after the custom of the
43. And when they had
fulfilled the days as they
returned, the child Jesus
tarried behind in Jeru-
salem; and Joseph and
his mother know not
44. But they, suppos-
ing him to have been in
the company, went a
day's journey; and they
sought him among their
kinsfolk and acquaint-
45. And when they
found him not, they
turned back again to
Jerusalem, seeking him.
40. The boy grew and
became manly in spirit,
and his reason im-
proved. And the love
of God was upon him.
41. His parents went
to Jerusalem every year
for the feast of the pass-
42. And when be was
twelve years old, his
parents went to attend
the feast in Jerusalem,
as was their custom.
43. When the feast was
over and they started
home, the boy Jesus
tarried behind in Jeru-
salem; and Joseph and
his mother did not no-
44. They thought that
he was with his com-
panions, and they went
a day's journey, and they
sought him among their
kinsfolk and acquaint-
45. And they did not
find him and returned
to Jerusalem to find
THE FOUR GOSPELS
46. Kat dyIvero e6O'
ijLdpas rpeit, eipov arbyv
dv 7r lcep, KaOe6/bevov
dv pdacpr Tv) iSao'KidhXwr,
Kai dKoeovra acr7(&, Kal
47. 'ElIravro U
rdvrTes o0 dKoiovees ad-
To7 dirl rTy vvcreC& Kat
rats dVroKplaesv aOro .
48. Kal 16vrres adrbv
4erXd7yjcrav" Kal irpls
adrbyv i) PLrT7p abrov
ire, TdKVOV, 7r drol[oas
ijFEV oiaTws; Lio6, 6
vrarip cov KAdy& 6 vvd-
,aevos TproOisdv Cre.
49. Kal dire rpbs ad-
ToIs, TI 61 If7Tirerd ) ;
odeK ij5etre 8r dPV Tots
Tro irarpds owv Bet Edval
50. Ka alaoolt 0 cru6-
Kav 76 PAPa 8 IXdXIcrev
61. Kai Kardfij per'
adr(v, Kal 9XOev els Na-
rapdrr Kal 6v broraaa!i-
ILEvoS adrot7 Kal T p.Ti7rp
adro 8ierTpfC rdTvra ra
P uara raGra dv rT Kap-
52. Kat 'T1oDs rpod-
KOTrre cofdq xa1 K iXItKq,
Kai XdptTr ~rap.& Eke
46. And it came to
pass, that after three
days they found him in
the temple sitting in
the midst of the doc-
tors, both hearing them,
and asking them ques-
47. And all that heard
him were astonished at
his understanding and
48. And when they saw
him they were amazed:
and his mother said unto
him, Son, why hast thou
thus dealt with us ? be-
hold, thy father and I
have sought thee sor-
49. And he said unto
them, How is it that ye
sought me ? wist ye not
that I must be about my
Father's business ?
50. And they under-
stood not the saying
which he spake unto
61. And he went down
with them, and came to
Nazareth, and was sub-
ject unto them: but his
mother kept all these
sayings in her heart.
52. And Jesus in-
creased in wisdom and
stature, and in favour
with God and man.
46. And they f.:un.l
him after awhihle t in
temple: he was I.iiiig
amidst the tr.'.. li r..
asking them queai,.rAs.
and listening to lithe
47. And all that h.-,rI
him were aston.-neDi at
his understanding anl
at his speeches.
48. His parerlr sir
him and were sur Sl. i-,
and his mother -ai-1 I..
him, Son, what h.lai
thou done to us .' Tbh
father and I ha'e berle
worrying and I....kng
49. And he risal i.
them, Why are ...1i
looking for me .' I.:.
you not know tIIal I
must be in my Father .
50. But they dlla n:.-
understand what ie 'ia
saying to them.
51. And hewent a.p i.:
them, and we:,r .-Ei,
them to Nazareti, aij,
obeyed them. A.d bih
mother took alu ba
words to heart.
52. And Jes4s in-
creased in stat.ire I1
understanding, i.. i i
in favour with iG. t d u.
All these verses are translated without a change ,:,f
meaning, and so do not demand any explanation,.
23. Kal a6rbs 6v 6
'IacoGDs dcel dTvV 7prid-
KOira dpX6juEpos, c5r, cms
dvopfero, vub's TIw 4.
Luke iii. 23. And Jesus
himself began to be
about thirty years of
age, being (as was sup-
posed) the son of Jo-
23. And Jesus twa
about thirty a.r "
age, and men in'.u'u'iL
that he was J.,i-1.-',
(a) The twenty-third verse of the third chapter is placed
here for the sake of the consecutiveness of the expo.iti.:in.
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
The verses about John the Baptist will be found in their
The meaning of the verses is as following:
About the childhood of Jesus Christ we are told in
general only this, that without a father he grew, became
manly, and increased in understanding beyond his years,
so that it was evident that God loved him. From his
whole childhood only one particular incident is men-
tioned, and that is how he was lost when Mary and
Joseph were at the feast in Jerusalem, and how he was
found in the temple with the teachers. He listened and
asked questions, and all marvelled at his understanding.
His mother began to rebuke him for having gone away
from them and because they had been looking for him.
But he said to her: Why did you look for me? Do you
not know that you ought to look for each man in the
house of his father ? I have no man-father, consequently
my Father is God. The temple is God's house. If you
had been looking for me in the house of my Father, in
the temple, you would have found me. This story,
besides indicating an unusual intellect in the child Jesus,
very clearly brings out the one train of thought, by which
the clever, neglected child, seeing about him children who
all of them had carnal fathers, and no father in the flesh
of his own, recognized as his Father the beginning of all,
God. The conception that God was the Father of all men
was expressed in the Jewish books:
Mal. ii. 10. Have we not all one father? Hath not one God
JOHN THE BAPTIST
4. 'E-ylero 'IwdvvT MAark i. 4. John did 4. John the Baptist
Barrliv cv r If baptizes in the wilder- appeared in the prairie
~ v T p ness, and ]preach the and preached bathing as
xal KTjp u wov drrTXLaTf baptism of repentance a sign of the change of
peravolas els d&eutv foro the remission of life, as a sign of the
,A.uapTiSv. sins. liberation from error.
THE FOUR GOSPELS
(a) aarrwi'w means to bathe, wash down. I prefer the
popular expression to bathe to the word baptize, because
baptize has the ecclesiastic significance of a sacrament and
does not express the action itself, which is expressed in
the verb fpatrro .
(b) elk I translate by in sign of, as it is frequently trans-
lated, since the meaning in is not applicable here.
(c) PerTdvota is word for word afterthought, change of
mind. Repentance would correctly render the meaning
of the word, if repentance had not received a peculiar
ecclesiastic significance. I prefer the word renovation,
which in the popular language has the meaning of re-
pentance, but not so much in the sense of penitence, as in
the sense of an inward change.
(d) dtapi'a means sin, not in the sense of a religious
sin, but in the sense of mistake, oversight, and so I trans-
late it by error.
4. AurTs U8 6 'Iir--
Pi7r ec 7- gv5 U a abroD
dr6 Tpc)v Kag?\Xov, Kae
cvipv ceppaTrlvv repZ
TVY 6d00)V abTro- 17 U5
Tporid arTO iV CaKpitEs
Kal .dXt dyptor.
1. 'ApX TO7 edaaye-
X(ov 'I7co9 XpcTroO uiov
2. 'Us yl'yparrVat v
T70oT 7poniTats, "ISoIb,
E7ycj droTrdXXwh bv &y-
yeX6y gov trpb rpocr0rov
cov, 6S KraTaOKEvrrud T r
66v cov wp rpocfdv cov.'
3. 4 ,WV fo3vro deV
r3 Ipqiij, 'Erotdueare
TYiv 6a5 Kvplo' ede6tas
Vrorere Trt rplf3ovs a6-
5. HSaaa gdpay" irXi-
pwOOdiera,, Kal TErV 6poS
Kal fOisS TarearisOafre-
raT Kcal erTa Tb OKvoXti
Mark iii. 4. And the
same John had his rai-
ment of camel's hair,
and a leather girdle
about his loins; and his
meat was locusts and
Mark i. 1. The begin-
ning of the gospel of
Jesus Christ, the Son of
2. As it is written in
the prophets, Behold, I
send my messenger he-
fore thy face, which
shall prepare thy way
before thee (Mal. iii. 1).
3. The voice of one
crying in the wilderness,
Prepare ye the way of
the Lord, make his paths
straight' (Is. xl. 3).
Luke iii. 5. Every val-
ley shall be filled, and
every mountain and hill
shall be brought low;
and the crooked shall be
4. John's raiment was
of camel's hair, and he
was girded with a leath-
ern girdle. He fed on
locusts and herbs.
1. The beginning of
the announcement of
good of Jesus Christ the
son of God was :
2. As it is written in
the prophets, I send my
messenger to prepare
3. A voice calls to you.
In the wilderness pre-
pare ye the way of the
Lord, make his paths
5. So that every hollow
shall be made even, and
every hill and mound
shall be brought low; so
that all the crooked
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED 57
els eCOlav, Kal al 7pa- made straight, and the places shall be made
xiac l 6eo \s. rough ways shall be straight, and the
xa els 5s eas. mae smooth; mounds shall be made
a smooth road.
6. Kal 6bperat 7rwa 6. And all flesh shall 6. And thewholeworld
ap a o se the salvation of God shall see the salvation
a&pF Tr ao WTp(ov reo (Is. xl. 3-). of God.
(a) Scholars think that by wild honey is to be under-
stood resin. In order to be intelligible and express the
same strictness of the fast, I use the word herbs.
(b) To connect the words, The beginning of the an-
nouncement, and, as it is written, it is necessary to add
the word was, that is, that the beginning of the announce-
ment was, that according to the words of certain prophecies
there appeared John the Baptist.
(e) The change of punctuation, and therefore the change
of the meaning of the passage, I take from Reuss's Les
Prophetes, Vol. II. (1878).
This is the way it is translated there from the Hebrew:
Une voix crie:
Par le desert frayez le chemin de 1'Eternel 1
Aplanassez, t travers la lande, une route pour notre Dieu I
Que toute profondeur soit exhauss6e,
Que toute montagne, toute colline s'abaisse,
Que ce qui est inegal se change en plaine,
Et les crates escarpees en vallons,
Pour que la gloire de 1'Eternel apparaisse
Et que tous les mortels ensemble l'apergoivent I
C'est la bouche de I'Eternel qui l'a dit.
Matt. iii. 1; Luke iii. 1. In these verses are set forth
historical occurrences, which have no reference either to
Christ, or to the contents of the teaching.
2. Kal X)ywv, Mera- Matt. iii. 2. And say- 2. John said, Come to
vairE yy ypa a ing, Repent ye: for the your senses, for the
o "re- yKE p fli- ingldomn of heaven is kingdom of heaven is
(a) y77rlce is a perfect and signifies what has taken
place and is now taking place. The verb means to
58 THE FOUR GOSPELS
approach. In the perfect it signifies that the kingdom of
heaven has approached in such a way that it cannot
approach any nearer. Indeed, according to all the proph-
ecies, the kingdom was in the future and still coming.
Now it was already here. And so jryytce must be trans-
lated in this place by has come now, is here.
(b) The kingdom of heaven. These words have received
their church significance. They designate the kingdom
which is formed of all the believers. Its king is Jesus
Christ. Obviously John the Baptist could not have been
speaking of that kingdom of heaven before Christ. In
the mouth of John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ these
words must receive a meaning which was intelligible to
all the hearers of that time. The kingdom of heaven,
for all the Jews who heard that, was the coming of God
into the world and his enthronement over men, that with
which are filled all the prophecies of Zechariah, Hosea,
Malachi, Joel, Jeremiah. The peculiarity of the meaning
of John the Baptist's words in distinction from the other
prophets is this, that while the other prophets spoke
indefinitely of the future enthronement of God, John the
Baptist says that this kingdom has arrived and the en-
thronement is completed. Nearly all the prophets with
this enthronement of God predicted external, miraculous,
and terrible events; Jeremiah is the only one who pre-
dicted the enthronement of God among men not by exter-
nal phenomena, but by an inward union of God with men,
and so the assertion of John the Baptist that the kingdom
of heaven has come, although no terrible event has taken
place, is to be understood in this way, that what has
arrived is the inward kingdom of God, which Jeremiah
THE CONCOURSE OF PEOPLE TO BE BAPTIZED BY JOHN
5. T6re dErope6ero Matt. iii. 5. Then went 5. And to John came
rp6s a6-ar 'Ipoc\6Xv.a out to him Jerusalem, the people from Jern-
and all Judea, and all salem and from the vil-
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
Kal r&aa i 'Iovuala Kal
iraua i IreplXwpos roD
6. Kal dpaTrttlovro
dv 7r 'lop6dvrj ,rT' ad-
reo, d ooXo-yodieoL Tr&s
aiaprlas arirs v.
7. "EXryev ov Torts
falerriaOivat Dir abrov,
I'erpv ara dxtSvPiv, ris
inrdstrev $if 4liuvyiv
drb Tijs ljeXXo6Brs
8. Iloira'e ogv
Kaprobs dilovs rTis c7rea-
9. "H37 Kat fi dlv7
rpbs ri~v pAllv Tv 5 s-
3pwv Keida' Girv oOv
GdvSpov /1 roroto0 Kapirbv
KiaXv dKKcreTErTa Kai cEi
the region round about lages along the Jordan,
Jordan, and from the whole
country of Judea.
6. And were baptized 6. And he bathed in
of him in Jordan, con- the Jordan all those who
fessing their sins. confessed their errors.
Lukevii. 7. Thensaid
he to the multitude
that came forth to be
baptized of him, O gen-
eration of vipers,a who
hath warned you to flee
from the wrath' to
7. And he said to the
people, O tribe of
snakes! Who taught
you to flee from the
approaching will of
8. Bring forth there- 8. Bring fruits which
fore fruits worthy of are in conformity with
repentance. the change.
9. And now also the
axe is laid unto the root
of the trees: every tree
therefore which bring-
eth not forth good fruit
is hewn down, and cast
into the fire.
9. The axe is already
laid upon the root of
the tree, and if a tree
does not bring forth
good fruit, it is cut
down and burnt up.
10. Kal dr7pdrwv a6- 10. And the people 10. And the people
vds o0 d6Xo, dyovres, asked him, saying, What asked him, What shall
shall we do then ? we do?
TI ov ?roeuopev ;
11. 'AroKptdOef 8 11. He answereth and 11. He answered them,
XiAdy a7rot, '0 cXwv saith unto them, He He that has two coats,
6do XrDvas p-era367w that hath two coats, let let him give one to him
him impart to him that who has none; and he
rT A.7 eXovriV Kai 6 hath none; and he that that has bread, let him
SXwv ppbpara i1olus hath meat, let him do do likewise.
12. 'HXoov U Kal 12. Then came also 12. The farmers of
TrcXkvi BmfrrtrOiva-, publicans' to be bap- taxes came to his bath-
rKalr 7rpb dr, tized, and said unto him, ing, and said to him,
Kail Mo rpb a7brv, Master, what shall we Teacher, what shall we
AtLdIdKaXe, Trl 7rt(o- do ? do?
13. '0 Ud edre rpbs 13. And he said unto 13. John said to them,
arobes, 3116~v rXdov them, Exact no more Exact no more than is
than that which is your right.
,raph 7rb sTareyptvov appointed you.
14. 'Er7piTrwrv 6 14. And the soldiers 14. And the soldiers
asrbv Kae apaTev6upcvot, likewise demanded of asked, What shall we
Xyovr, T him. saying, And what do? And he said,
eovre, Kal eis rl shall we do? And he Trouble no man, and
roih-oeev ; Kal eire said unto them, Do vio- accuse none falsely. Be
Trps aTrobs, A7F3dva 6ta- lence to no man, neither content with your con.
accuse any falsely; and edition.
oe ITTIr, IeS avKopav- be content with your
T7o7r "T Kal dpKEftdc wages.
Tots dfPwvlors Dbrv.
60 THE FOUR GOSPELS
(a) In Matt. iii. 7 it says that the following words
of John are addressed only to the Pharisees and the
Sadducees, while in Luke it says that they are addressed
to all. As there is nothing in the words which refers
especially to the Pharisees and the Sadducees, Luke's
version is preferable.
(b) There is a superstition that snakes have a presenti-
ment of a fire and creep away from where one is to
(c) pyr~ natural disposition, expression of will. I
translate it by will of God.
(d) &ilto with the genitive, worthy of something, as
much as, cannot be translated into Russian precisely, and
is best rendered by in conformity with.
The words which serve as a continuation of the eighth
verse, and which are that the Jews regard Abraham as
their father, refer only to the Jews and contain no in-
struction and, besides, interrupt the speech about the
fruits and the tree, and so are omitted here.
(e) TEX7itV; tax-gatherer. The taxes were farmed out,
and so the tax-gatherers were farmers of taxes.
Verse 15 says, according to Luke, that the subsequent
words about the one who is mightier who is coming
into the world are spoken by John in reply to the suppo-
sition that he is Christ. But these words directly con-
tinue the speech about preparing the way for him who is
coming, and do by no means answer a supposed question
as to whether he is Christ or not. He does not say that
he is Christ or not Christ, or that he who comes after
him is Christ or not Christ, and so this verse is omitted.
18. loXX ju r o0r Luke iii. 18. And 18. And, calling up
Kai Sepa rapxKai"v many other things thepeople, he announced
K Tepa apa v in his exhortation many other things about
ed7yyeX ~eo rSTv a6v. preached he unto the the true good.
11. 'E-yc/ ,piv r'tlAW Matt. iii. 11. Indeed 11. And he called out
AiaSv I SarT cl perd- baptizes you with water to the people, and said,
a e or- unto repentance: but he I bathe you in water in
oeau" b 56 drl no pov that cometh after me is sign of the renovation,
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
Iov ideTy, o OD K dCId iKa-
vrs TrA vro5ttara paora-
Crat ar5bs op/as ParncTia
dv HIveypars 'Aylq Kna
8. 'Eja Mdv dpfirrTa
bia & 5aTLr at rs U
fartlaocr ba dv Ilved-
parT 'Aylt .
12. OB rb Arr6ov dv
Tr XeLpl abroD, Kai A&a-
KaSaptei 7-V SXwva as-
7TO, Kal avvdfei rTb
dtroP abroD els 7iv diro--
4IK7lP, Tb A dXVpov Kca-
raKa6aet 7vpl t dBpffray.
13. Tbre irapa'ylveyra
S'IvoDs d7rb rs r raXM-
Xaals trl rT& 'Iop5dv7v
7rp6s ryv 'IwdvvPv, T70
#aerrTWOvat Air' a6roe.
16. Kal pa7rr0TectS d
'I7Tro dve p liep s dair
mightier than I, whose
shoes I am not worthy
to bear: he shall baptize
you with the Holy Ghost,
and with fire.
Mark i. 8. I indeed
have baptized you with
water: but he shall bap-
tize you with the Holy
Matt. iit. 12. Whose
fan is in his hand, and
he will thoroughly purge
his floor, and gather his
wheat into the garner;
but he will burn up the
chaff with unquencha-
13. Then cometh Jesus
from Galilee to Jordan
unto John, to be bap-
tized of him.
16. And Jesusd when
he was baptized, went
up straightway out of
but he is coming who is
mightier than I and of
whom I am not worthy.
8. I wash you in water,
but he will purify you
by the spirit (and lire).
12. The fan is in his
hand, and he will clean
his floor. He will gather
the wheat, and will burn
13. And Jesus was
purified by John.
(a) /SaTwT& o not only means to bathe, but also to
purify : the context demands the latter meaning here.
(b) With the Holy Ghost and with fire. The word
holy is added later, as appears from many texts, and as
it is always attached to the word Ghost. The word
fire is not given in Mark, but is added in Luke and
Matthew. The idea is that as the master purifies the
threshing-floor with fire, so he will purify you who is
mightier in spirit.
The fourteenth and fifteenth verses are not very intelli-
gible and, in the sense in which they are taken, add noth-
ing to our teaching.
The continuation of the sixteenth verse speaks of a
miracle, an unnatural and unintelligible event. It adds
nothing to the teaching, but, on the contrary, obscures it.
How the miracles violate the sense of the teaching will
be mentioned in its proper place.
THE FOUR GOSPELS
THE GENERAL MEANING OF JOHN'S PREACHING
In what did John's teaching consist? It is generally
said that we know nothing or very little about what
John preached. Indeed, if we assume that John merely
announced the coming of that kingdom of heaven of
which Jesus taught, or preached, like the previous
prophets, the coming of God, no contents will be left
in John's preaching. But if we stop looking upon the
written words as a magic fairy-tale, and trying to find in
everything miracles and prophecies, John's preaching will
become full of contents. Men of the church generally
represent him as a forerunner of Christ; and freethinkers,
as one of those liberal poets, called prophets, of whom
there was never a lack among the Jews and who uttered
moral commonplaces. But if we only give ourselves the
trouble to understand the words which are before us in a
simple manner and without any preconceived notion, the
contents of John the Baptist's preaching, and the very
important contents at that, will appear at once.
It says that the kingdom of heaven y77tyic, was already
at hand. Not one of the prophets had said that. They
had all said that God would come, would be king, would
do this or that, but all that would be in the future. John
said: The kingdom of heaven is already here. Nothing
manifest has happened, but it is here. That the peculiar-
ity of John's preaching consisted in the announcement
that the kingdom of heaven was already at hand, or had
come, or, at least, that Jesus Christ thus understood these
words, is proved by this, that later on Jesus Christ said,
The law and the prophets were until John: since that
time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man
presseth into it (Luke xvi. 16).
Consequently, that is the meaning of John's preaching.
Not one prophet said that before. All the former prophets,
with the exception of Jeremiah (xxxi. 31), predicted un-
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
usual external occurrences in connection with the coming
of God: executions, frosts, plagues, destruction, wars, and
carnal pleasures. John does not predict anything of the
kind. All he says is that no one can escape the will of
God, that what is not needed will be destroyed, and that
only that which is needed will be left. All he says is,
Be renovated! That is the chief characteristic of his
preaching, and the most important part of what he says
is: I purify you with water, but what will purify you
completely is the spirit, that is, something invisible, non-
carnal. John says, Heretofore you have been told that
the kingdom of heaven will come some day, but I say to
you that it is already here. In order to enter heaven it
is necessary to become renovated, to renounce error. I
can cleanse you externally, but only the spirit will purify
you. That is the teaching which Jesus Christ heard.
The kingdom is here, but in order to enter it, it is neces-
sary to become purified by the spirit.
And thus Jesus Christ, full of the spirit, goes into the
wilderness to try his spirit.
CHRIST'S TEMPTATION IN THE WILDERNESS
1. 'Iso6F Ut IrvedP-
pa ro A 'Aylonv TrXp?7
brirpela ev rb ro 'Iop-
Sdvove Kal ffyero 6v 7^
IlvetyarL el riF v 9ppaov
2. 'HEdpas reaaapd-
xovra, reipat.evos hiib
13. Kal Pv ifKe iv 7r
IpMpty 4ikpas reearapd-
KoVra, vretpa 6bpvos brb
r70 sarava, Kal tP iter
Tr v GPpwv.
2. Kal 0oK rayfev
o6liv iv rtaTs jlpaLT
iKetvaLt KIa JVTVTE OftoEL-
Cdv aTrlvP, lTxrepov
Lukeiv. 1. And Jesus
being full of the Holy
Ghost returned from
Jordan, and was led by
the Spirit into the wil-
2. Being forty days
tempted of the devil.6
Mark i. 13. And he
was there in the wilder-
ness forty days tempted
of Satan; and was with
the wild beasts.
Luke iv. 2. And in
those days he did eat
nothing: and when they
were ended, he after-
1. Then Jesus being
full of the spirit went
from the Jordan into
2. And there the
tempter tempted him.
13. And Jesus was in
that wilderness forty
days, and ate nothing,
and grew thin.
THE FOUR GOSPELS
2. Kal vnorcvs-as
Kal v iKTcas 7efapdi-
Kovra, Vi repov brelvare.
3. Kal rpo oeXO v
avr p 6 7rezpdwv lirev,
El vibs eT TOO OeoO, eld
fa ol Xl0oo oeiro& dprTo
4. '0 56 daroKxpOel
eire, rypamrrat, OK
r' &dprTy Pb6y 1(rera
&vOpsoros, dXX' 7rl ravrl
ptarTt eiropevoplevuf S &
Matt.iv. 2. And when
he had fasted forty days
and forty nights, he was
afterward a hungered.
3. And when the
tempter came to him,
he said, If thou be the
Son of God, command
that these stones be
4. But he answered
and said, It is written,
Man shall not live by
bread alone, but by every
word' that proceedeth
out of the mouth of God.
3. And the tempter
came to him, and said,
If thou art a son of God,
command that these
stones be changed into
4. But Jesus answered,
It is written, Man does
not live by bread alone,
but by everything which
proceeds out of the
mouth of God (by the
(a) In Luke it is written Krai ij7'Co & T ITlvev6jaTi eiv
7Tv ep7ipov, but in the older texts it is always written
eU ~flv pl p, that is, it says simply and clearly that Jesus
passed forty days in the wilderness, in the same spirit in
which he went away from the Jordan. It is true in Mat-
thew it says AviXiO e60 rizv e'ptqlov vbo 70roD vev lparov
and in Mark TO llve pa avr-ov fK3adXXe el rTTv 'prl2lov,
that is, that he was carried by the spirit and that the
spirit cast him away in the wilderness. Luke, apparently
combining the two versions, says that he was full of the
spirit, and in that spirit passed forty days in the wilder-
(b) Std3oXov I translate by tempter, in order to give the
word its proper meaning, and not that of devil, which it
(c) I omit the word p)ta, because it is not found in
the Hebrew text, Deut. viii. 3, from which these words
are quoted. That passage determines the meaning of the
words, and here is the translation of it.
Deut. viii. 2-5: 2. And thou shalt remember all the way
which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilder-
ness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in
thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments,
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
3. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and
fed thee with manna, which thou newest not, neither did thy
fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth
i,:t live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of
the mouth of the Lord, doth man live.
4. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot
.s ll these forty years.
5. Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that as a man
chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee.
9. Kat iyayev arrbv
tis 'IcpovacaXI, Kal
MTr77ev abrbv dsrl T
rreppiyov 0ro lIpoe, Kat
eTrve afir4, El 6 vulb el
Tro OcoO, fdXe aeavrbv
10. rlyparrat y&p,
'"'O TroF deyya\oes
aeroe ivrcXcTraL rept
0ol, T70r OavXdEfa( e-c
11. Kai 674 7rl X6e-
pcv apovicl E, jirorT
rpoo Kitys vrpbS MOov rbv
12. Kal drOKptLOel
elrev arT 6 'Iyrore,
Or' eppTras, O06K KrcEL-
pio se Kipcosv rbY Oe6
5. Kai dvayaycv
arrbv 6 &dloXho els 6pos
LipXiv, ecicev akr4
erdtias ras #aOrCelas ri)F
oiKovp.dayn dv artypj
6. Kal efirev arT 6
b&dSfXos, Sol tlow r7v
4fovulav ra6rYv &rracav
Kal rT4v 6fav arlrTOv
re uol rtapacSorTae, Kal
& vP OAe 66tlwpu afrriv
7. 2: oBDv aDv rpor-
Kvo'irs dvdnrt6v 1ov,
ffral aov rdivra.
8. Kal drtoKp Odls
ai5rq elreyv 6 'Ioroe,
Trarye dirlo-w pov, ca-
Luke iv. 9. And he
brought him to Jeru-
salem, and set him on a
pinnacle of the temple,
and said unto him, If
thou be the Son of God,
cast thyself down from
10. For it is written,
He shall give his angels
charge over thee, to
11. And in their bands
they shall bear thee up,
lest at any time thou
dash thy foot against a
stone (Psalm xcl. 11, 12).
12. And Jesus answer-
ing said unto him,- It is
said, Thou shalt not
temptb the Lord thy God
5. And the devil, tak-
ing him up into a high
mountain, shewed unto
him all the kingdoms of
the world- in a moment
6. And the devil said
unto him, All this power
will I give thee, and the
glory of them: for that
is delivered unto me;
and to whomsoever I
will, I give it.
7. If thou therefore
wilt worship me, all
shall be thine.
8. And Jesus answered
and said unto him, Get
thee behind me, Satan :
for it is written, Thou
9. The tempter brought
Jesus Christ to Jeru-
salem, and set him on
the roof of a church, and
said to him, If thou art
a son of God, cast thy-
self down from here:
10. For it is written
that he will charge his
messengers in regard to
thee, to keep thee:
11. And they shall
catch thee in their arms,
so that thy foot may not
strike against a stone.
12. And Jesus an-
swered him, and said,
Because it is said, Thou
shalt not tempt thy God.
5. And again the
tempter took him to a
high mountain, and pre-
sented to him all the
kingdoms of the earth
in a twinkling of the
6. And said to him, I
will give thee all this
power and their glory,
for they are delivered to
me, and to whomsoever
I will, I give them.
7. If thou wilt worship
me, all shall be thine.
8. Then Jesus an-
swered, and said Go
away (evil) foe! It is
written, Thou shalt wor-
THE FOUR GOSPELS
Tavd* ytyparr7at 'yap,
' lIpoocKUvv ofes K6powv
rbY Oe6pv OV, Kai a6r-
13. Kal covv7rcXfas
rdvra Trcipalbv 6 tid-
lo\ho dArdry dTr' avrov
11. Kal 15o0, &yyeXot
rposiXOov Kal 6?iK6vovv
14. Kal fnrdcrpeficv
'170ogs dv 7y Svv lP4e
To0 IIrelAarTOS els 7rv
shalt worship the Lord ship the Lord, and for
thy God, and him only him alone shalt thou
shalt thou serve.- work.
13. And when the devil
had ended all the temp-
tation, he departed from
him for a season.
Matt. iv. 11. And be-
hold, angels came and
ministered unto him.
Luke iv. 14. And
Jesus returned in the
power of the Spirit into
(a) In Luke ot- stands in this place, for Jesus says, I
will not cast myself down, for it is written, Thou shalt
(b) eiareipd'o means properly to make a trial of; but
from the reference to the passage in Deuteronomy, from
which it is quoted, it means to doubt.
Deut. vi. 16 is based on Exod. xvii. 1-7, where it
says: The people began to murmur against Moses be-
cause there was no water. Moses turned to God. God
told him to go up on the mountain and to strike it with
the rod, and the water would come. And he called the
name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because the
Jews had murmured, and because they had despaired
of the Eternal One, and had said, Is Jehovah among us,
(c) oixovevov inhabited, viz. the earth, and the transla-
tion is of people living upon the earth.
(d) Satan is a word that has no definite meaning. In
Hebrew it means foe, and so I translate it.
(e) Xa'pedv' to work for pay. The significance of this
word, which is rarely used and which is only once used
in this sense, is very important. It does not mean to
serve, not even to work, in the sense which it has in Rus-
sian, namely to do a thing, but to work for a reward, that
13. Then the tempter
departed from him for a
11. And God's power
came and served him.
14. And Jesus returned
in the power of the
spirit to Galilee.
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
is, unwillingly, with difficulty, not for the work itself, but
for another purpose.
(f) Since dyyeXot is used in the sense of messengers of
God, I translate it by power of God.
This passage about the temptation is particularly re-
markable in that it forms a stumbling-block for the
church interpretations, since the very idea of God being
tempted by God himself forms an internal contradiction
from which it is impossible to emerge.
This is the way the church interprets this passage
(Archim. Mikh., Gos. of Matthew, p. 63):
Then: Immediately after the Holy Ghost at the baptism de-
scended upon Jesus, and not at a later time, as some suppose.
Of the Spirit: By Spirit not the spirit of Jesus is to be under-
stood here, nor the tempting spirit, but the Holy Ghost who
descended upon Jesus. After the baptism Jesus gives himself
up to the Holy Ghost and is led by him, whither he is com-
manded, and is brought into the wilderness for a struggle with
Into the wilderness: Tradition points out as the place of the
Lord's temptation the so-called forty days' wilderness, which is
to the west of Jericho, a wild and terrible place, where wild
beasts and robbers sought shelter (it is also called the Desert of
To be tempted: To tempt means in general to put to trial,
to question. In a narrower sense to tempt means to seduce peo-
ple, to turn them to something bad, pointing out the good side
of that which is bad, by which the power of moral good in men
or their impotence is made manifiest. Here to tempt means to
try whether Jesus is really Christ, to try him by means of entice-
ments to commit sinful acts.
Of the devil: The devil is properly speaking a renegade, antag-
onist, enemy. In Scripture the devil is properly called a fallen
angel, who did not persevere in the good, an enemy of every-
thing good, an evil being, hostile to the good, hostile in particu-
lar to the salvation of man. The evangelists do not tell in what
way he approached the Saviour. Perhaps not in a coarse sen-
suous form, with which his subsequent actions do not fully har-
monize ; but, on the other hand, it is not to be doubted that he
is not a personification of the seductive thoughts of the Lord
68 THE FOUR GOSPELS
himself, as some have assumed. He was the spirit of evil who
in one form or another actually appeared to the Saviour.
IWhen he had fasted: Ile entirely abstained from food (he ate
nothing in those days) forty days or forty nights. Examples of
such protracted fasts are known from the Old Testament. Thus
Prophet Elijah fasted forty days, and so did Moses. Christ
fasted not because he needed to fast, but in order to instruct us;
he fasted forty days, and not more, in order that the excessive
grandeur of the miracle might not make doubtful the very truth
of his incarnation. If he had continued the fast much longer,
that might have served for many as a cause for doubting the
truth of the incarnation.
He was afterward a-hungered: After the lapse of forty days he
felt the need of food, thus showing his humanity.
He came to him: When the Lord was a-hungered, the tempter
for that very reason approached unto him.
The tempter: That is, the devil.
If thou be the Son of God: That is, the Messiah, whom God
himself at the baptism solemnly called his beloved Son. Hav-
ing heard the voice which had descended from heaven and had
testified, This is my beloved Son, and having heard just as glo-
rious a testimony from John, the tempter suddenly sees him
hungry; that startles him: recalling what was said about Jesus,
he cannot see how Jesus can be a simple man; on the other
hand seeing him hungry, he cannot believe him to be the Son of
God. While in this state of perplexity, he approaches him with
These stones: They were, no doubt, in the wilderness, in the
place of fasting and of temptation. The essence and strength of
the temptation consists in this, that Christ is asked to perform
a miracle without any cause, for the gratification of his sensuous
needs, that is, to make a bad use of the miracle, which would
display his pride and opposition to God's intentions. He has
just been proclaimed the Son of God, and now he has a chance
to show that to him. He was a-hungered. If he is the Mes-
siah, why should he be a-hungered, since one word of his is
enough to turn stones into bread and satisfy his hunger with
them? What sin was there in changing stones into bread?
Know that it is a sin to obey the devil in anything." (Theophil.)
It is written, etc.: Christ repels this temptation as also the
two next ones by the word of God. He points to the utterance
from Deut. viii. 3. Moses says in that passage that God, hum-
bling the nation of Israel, tormented it with hunger and fed it
with manna, which neither it nor its fathers knew of, that he
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED 69
might make it know that man doth not live by bread only, that
is, sustain his existence, that there are other objects which can
support man's existence, for example, the manna and, in general,
everything which the word of God, that proceedeth out of his
mouth, may point out. And thus, the Saviour, pointing to this
utterance, shows to the tempter that it is not necessary to do the
miracle of turning the stones into bread, and that it is possible
to satisfy the hunger with other objects than bread, according to
God's indication, or word, or action. That is the nearest direct
meaning of the utterance. But, without doubt, in this utterance
is contained a hint at the spiritual food, on which the believer
feeds, and with which he, as it were, for a time forgets about the
bodily food and feels no need of it; this spiritual food is the
word of God, the divine teaching, and the divine commandments
and injunctions, the fulfilment of which forms the spiritual
food, which is of greater use to the soul than bodily food. Every
word of God to him who is a-hungered supports his life like food.
God can feed him who is a-hungered with a word. And so the
meaning of Christ's answer is this: My need of bread is at
present not such as to compel me to do a miracle. Life depends
on the will of God. God can support it, not with bread only,
but with anything he may point out as food. Besides, the word
of God, his commandments and injunctions, which man must
carry out, are a spiritual food with which the hunger of the body
is forgotten, and man, living by this word, as by food, does not
seem to feel the need of bodily food.
Taketh him up and setteth him: That does not mean that the
devil carried Jesus through the air, or that he compelled him to
go against his will, or that he did anything miraculous for the
purpose. There is nothing to prove that the devil had such
power and force, and the meaning of the word taketh does not
compel us to accept any of the propositions mentioned; the word
designates to lead or accompany, and Satan led, or accompanied,
Jesus, of course, not against his will, not by force, not by
The devil, in tempting the Lord to cast himself down from
the top of the building, refers to the text from the psalms, say-
ing that if he is the Son of God, there can be no danger for him,
for, if every one who puts his trust in God is promised his aid,
so much the more will this aid be given to the Son of God, and
the angels will keep him unharmed. The essence and strength
of this temptation consists in inciting Jesus, so to speak, to
exact a miracle on the part of God, which would manifest
Christ's vanity, self-confidence, and spiritual pride. If thou be
70 THE FOUR GOSPELS
the Son of God, says the devil, God will do everything for thee
and will do a miracle in response to thy mere wish.
And saith unto him, etc.: To these words the Lord again
answers with words from Deuteronomy vi. 16: Thou shalt not
tempt the Lord thy God. Moses says that to the Jews, forbid-
ding them to tempt Jehovah, as they tempted him at Massah,
saying, Is the Lord among us, or not? when they asked him for
a miracle on account of the lack of water. Consequently the
meaning of Christ's answer is this: It is not right to demand a
miracle from God at will. It is true, God aids those who fear
him and promises them miracles, but only in order to free them
from danger, and not whenever they ask for them. Conse-
quently the tempter, who was distorting the meaning of the
passage from Scripture, was rebuffed by another passage which
correctly interpreted the meaning of the utterance pointed out
by the tempter.
An exceeding high mountain: It is not known which. Ap-
parently it is the summit of some mountain, from which a great
part of Palestine can be seen. Abbot Merit speaks of the top of
one such mountain: this summit commands the mountains
of Arabia, the land of Gilead, the land of the Amorites, the
valleys of Moab and of Jericho, the current of the Jordan and
all the country about the Dead Sea. It is that mountain which
even now is called the Mountain of Temptation. Even so Moses
before his death went up unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top
of Pisgah, and the Lord shewed him all the land, from Gilead to
Dan, and all the land of Ephraim and of Manasseh, and all the
land of Judah, up to the Western Sea, and the southern land,
and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm-trees,
unto Zoar. From this we see that there were mountains, from
which could be seen a great part of the land of Canaan and
of Palestine, and of their surroundings.
All the kingdoms of the world: It must be assumed that the
tempter showed them to Christ by some logical, incompre-
hensible action, and of this we find a confirmation in the words
of St. Luke concerning this: In a moment of time (iv. 5), ,"in a
All these things will I give thee: The tempter appropriates to
himself the power over all these kingdoms, as though they
belonged to him and he had the right to transfer to whomsoever
he pleased the power and the right which belonged to God alone.
It is true, the pagans were for a time in the power of Satan, and
the inhabitants of Palestine, who were degraded in morals, were
under his rule; nevertheless, in these words of the devil is
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
expressed a proud and false enjoyment of power which belongs
to God alone, as the Creator and Provider of the world, in whose
power are all the kingdoms on earth.
If thou wilt fall down and worship me: In appropriating to
himself the power and the right over the whole world, which
belong to God, the tempter also asks to be worshipped like God,
that is, he asks for religious worship, in which should be ex-
pressed complete humiliation, and the power of the temptation
consists in this, that instead of the unusual work of the redemp-
tion of humanity by means of the death on the cross and the
foundation in this manner of a universal, spiritual, and eternal
kingdom, Christ is offered the external royal power over the
world, that is, this temptation is a deviation from the whole
great work of his ministration to the human race in the capacity
of Messiah the Redeemer.
Then saith Jesus unto him, etc.: This is a bolder temptation
than the first two. The Lord again repels him with words from
Scripture, but before that he with his almighty word commands
the tempter to stop his temptations : Get thee hence, Satan I
It is written: From Dent. vi. 13. In that passage Moses ad-
monishes the Jews, when they come into possession of Palestine,
not to follow the gods of those nations, who will be living
around them, that is the pagan gods, for to Jehovah alone, the
true God, does divine worship belong, and to no one else.
Reuss, the esteemed writer of the Tiibingen school,
explains the passage as follows (La Bible, Nouveau
Testament, Vol. I., pp. 179-185):
Le r~cit de cette cll1bre pDricope, qui a exerc6 la sagacity des
commentateurs plus qu'aucune autre, est connu sous le nom
d'histoire de la tentation. Cette formule, cependant, n'exprime
pas exactement la nature du fait related. Car tandis que le texte
du second dvangile ne parole que tres-vaguement d'une tentation
qui dura quarante jours, celui du premier se borne k raconter
explicitement trois diverse tentations qui eurent lieu apres ces
quarante jours; enfin Luc combine ces deux versions et les
adopted toutes les deux. Cette difference n'affecte pas le fond du
recit. On pent en dire autant de quelques autres que nous
voulons signaler en passant, sans y attacher de l'importance.
Ainsi Matthieu seul dit que la tentation etait le but de la
retraite de Jesus au desert, l'Esprit voulant qu'il ffit tentd. Les
betes sauvages, mentionn6es par Marc seul, servent simplement a
THE FOUR GOSPELS
exprimer d'une maniere plus pittoresque l'id6e de la solitude,
rien ne nous obligeant de songer a des bktes f6roces. Des deux
premiers textes nous recevons l'impression d'une retraite de
Jesus en un lieu solitaire oh il serait rest pendant quarante
jours, pour s'y livrer (comme le veut l'explication populaire et
usuelle) a des meditations sur son future ministere. Le texte de
Luc, corrig6 d'apres les anciens manuscrits, nous suggere au con-
traire l'idee d'un s6jour sans repos, d'une course agitee et pro-
longee, et trouble en meme temps par les assauts r4p6t6s du
tentateur. Puis ii y a cette difference assez notable que les trois
scenes particulibres ne se suivent pas dans le mime ordre chez
les deux 6vangelistes qui les racontent. Tous les commentateurs
sont d'accord a donner i cet 6gard la preference a Matthieu, et
leurs raisons sont si 4videmment fondles en logique et en psycho-
logie que nous pouvons nous dispenser de les exposer au long.
Nous ferons seulement observer qu'elles n'ont de valeur absolue
qu'autant qu'on admet la reality bistorique des faits eux-m mes.
Enfin les trois r6cits se terminent d'une maniere diff6rente.
Matthieu donne a entendre que le tentateur, trois fois repouss6
avec d6dain, quitta la parties pour tout de bon; Luc, au contraire,
insinue qu'il revint a la charge plus tard. Cet auteur songeait
sans doute, soit aux luttes que Jesus eut a soutenir pendant
toute la dur6e de son ministere, soit a sa passion et a sa mort.
Matthieu ajoute que le diable vaincu fut aussit6t remplace
aupres de J4sus par des anges serviteurs, envoys, comme on
peut le penser, soit pour pourvoir i ses besoins, soit pour rendre
hommage a sa saintet6 victoriense. Marc aussi parole d'anges,
mais il parait vouloir dire qu'ils se trouvaient presents pendant
tout le s6jour au desert, lui tenant compagnie et le servant, ce
qui exclurait encore l'id'e du jeflne et de la faim don't parent les
Toutes ces differences, nous le rep4tons, ne portent que sur
des details accessoires. Nous avons maintenant a nous occuper
du fond meme de cette narration unique dans son genre, non-
seulement dans les 4vangiles, mais dans la Bible tout entire.
Avant tout rendons-nous bien compete du sens que nous devons
attacher au mot tenter. Le language biblique (Ancien et Nouveau
Testament) emploie ce terme dans trois applications diff6rentes:
10 on dit d'un homme qu'il tente Dieu, quand il pretend provo-
quer, par des sollicitations impatientes, une manifestation quel-
conque de sa puissance, par ex. un miracle; comme une pareille
sollicitation a toujours sa source dans un manque de confiance
ou de resignation, l'Ecriture declare qu'elle est un p6ch6 ; 20 on dit
de Dieu qu'il tente les hommes, quand il met leur foi a 1'6preuve
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
par des tribulations et des contraridtes de tout genre. Comme
ici le but et les moyens sont egalement salutaires, les ap6tres
d6ja ont compris que le terme 6tait mal choisi (Jacq. i. 13) et le
language moderne l'abandonne de plus en plus, pour y substituer
celui d'eprouver; 30 enfin un homme tente I'autre quand il
cherche a l'entrainer au mal. Nul doute que les faits racontes
dans notre p6ricope ne rentrent dans cette troisieme cat6gorie et
non dans la premiere. Le tentateur ne s'adresse pas la puis-
sance de Jesus pour lui extorquer des miracles a son propre
profit; il y a plut6t un conflict moral, entire la sainte volont6 de
Christ et les tendances perverses du diable.
Ceci 4tant g6nhralement reconnu, nous 6tablirons avant toute
autre chose que les trois narrateurs entendent bien raconter un
fait objectif et materiel; des rencontres et des conversations
entire deux personnages distincts, don't 'un 6tait Satan lui-meme,
apparaissant d'une maniere visible, a l'effet d'entrainer Jesus a
des actes que celui-ci repoussa avec 6nergie. Et d'abord, lorsque,
aprbs avoir miraculeusement traverse une periode de quarante
jours sans prendre aucune nourriture, les besoins physiques se
firent de nouveau sentir chez lui, le diable lui proposal de les
satisfaire par l'operation d'un miracle. Jesus s'y refuse en all6-
guant un passage scripturaire (Deut. viii. 3), qui lui permit
d'esp6rer ou de trouver des moyens de sustentation la mfme oh
les resources ordinaires lui faisaient d6faut. Dieu, dit-il, peut
me nourrir, de telle maniere qu'il lui plaira ; il u'a qu'h parler,
qu'h commander, sans que j'aie besoin d'intervenir moi-mgme de
maniere a changer la nature des choses. (I1 est egalement faux
de traduire: l'homme peut vivre de toutes les choses [mangeables]
cre6es par Dieu; ou: je puis me nourrir de la parole de Dieu,
spirituellement, et n'ai point besoin de nourriture mat6rielle.)
Le texte de Luc, r6tabli d'apres les plus anciens manuscrits, n'a
pas cette phrase; celle qu'y ont ins4ree les copies vulgaires (toute
parole de Dieu) ne donne point de sens plausible.
La second tentation consistait a iuviter Jesus a s'exposer de
gait de coeur a un danger imminent, en se precipitant du haut
d'un edifice, dans la conviction ou dans l'esperance que Dieu le
preserverait miraculeusement de tout accident. Nous ne savons
pas quelle locality les 6vang6listes out entendu designer par le
terme que nous avons traduit au hasard par le fate du temple; il
est douteux qu'il soit question du Sanctuaire lui-meme, sur le toit
duquel on ne montait pas. Peut-&tre s'agit-il d'un autre edifice
compris dans 1'enceinte sacr6e, et place du c6t6 de 'est oh le
mont Moria dominant la profonde vall6e de Qidron et presentait
une paroi couple & pic. Le tentateur pretend determiner Jesus
74 THE FOUR GOSPELS
en lui rappelant les paroles du Psaume (xci. 12) interpreties au
pied de la lettre. Jesus lui r6pond par un autre passage (Deut.
vi. 16), qui condamne tout essai de tenter Dieu, dans le sens que
nous avons indiqu4 plus haut.
Enfin le diable l'emmene sur une montagne du haut de
laquelle il pouvait voir tous les royaumes de la terre, et con-
templer leur grandeur, leur puissance et leurs richesses. Tout
cela lui est promise a condition qu'il serve les inter&ts de celui qui
s'en dit le maitre. J6sus le repousse en invoquant simplement le
principle fundamental de la religion r6evele (Deut. vi. 13), lequel
suffisait a lui seul pour carter toute velldit6 ambitieuse. On
pourrait presque dire a ce sujet que la tentation la plus s6dui-
saute des trois, est vaincue h la fois avec le moindre effort et
avec le plus d'energie.
La forme concrete de ces trois tentations a quelque chose de
singulier, surtout la second, don't on a de la peine a entrevoir le
motif. Mais pour le fond, elles ne sout point sans analogie dans
l'histoire 6vangdlique. Nous rappelons la scene de Geths6man6
oh Jesus disait: Si je le voulais, mon pere m'enverrait douze
legions d'anges; ou celle de Golgotha oh le people criait: S'il est
le fils de Dieu, qu'il descende de la croix; puis cette parole
adressee aux Pharisiens: Cette generation demand un signed;
mais elle n'aura que celui donn4 par Jonas aux Nin6vites; enfin
les occasions oh la foule voulait le proclamer roi et sa declaration
solennelle: Mon royaume n'est pas de ce monde.
Tout de m8me le present recit, tel qu'il est donned et compris
par les 6vangelistes, pr6sente des difficulties insurmontables, qu'il
est de notre devoir de signaler. Nous ne nous arraterons pas
a celles qui ne tiennent qu'au cadre de l'histoire, par ex. a la
question de savoir sous quelle forme le diable apparut ? comment
Jesus fut transport du desert au temple, du temple sur la mon-
tagne, et de li de nouveau au desert? oi doit etre la montagne
assez haute pour permettre a l'homme d'embrasser d'un seul
coup d'ceil tous les royaumes de la terre? et autres questions
semblables qui peuvent embarrasser l'ex4gese littorale, mais qui
sont des bagatelles h c6t6 de celles qui se pr6sentent a la medita-
tion du thdologien. Celui-ci est autoris6 a demander d'abord si
Jesus a reconnu le diable? Quelle que soit la r6ponse qu'on
voudra donner (le texte dit positivement oui), la notion de sa
divinity se trouvera singulierement amoindrie; car, ou bien lui,
Dieu, n'aurait pas connu celui qu'il 4tait venu combattre et
vaincre sur la terre, ou bien, tout en le connaissant, il se serait
mis ou trouv6 en son pouvoir. Or, il nous semble impossible
que le diable ait eu prise sur le Fils de Dieu, dans le sens
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
physique, et beaucoup moins possible encore que celui-ci ait
consent a suivre le diable, a entrer en quelque sorte, en le
suivant, dans ses vues, a lui donner prise sur lui-meme, dans
le sens moral. En gienral, l'idee d'une tentation de Dieu dans ce
sens, est une idee contraire aux notions les plus 616mentaires
d'une religion digne de ce nom; et cependant les textes eux-
memes disent que la tentation 4tait le but du sejour de Jesus
au desert. Il s'ensuit de tout ce qui precede que la narration
continue dans notre pericope, telle qu'elle est sous nos yeux, est
incompatible avec la formule on conception consacree officielle-
minnt, concernant la divinity du Christ. Ajoutons encore que
cette consequence resulte surtout de ce que le diable propose
a Christ de l'adorer. D'apres la theologie de l'Eglise, Christ,
c'est-h-dire la second personnel de la trinity, est le cr4ateur du
diable come de tout ce qui existe. Le diable le sait niieux que
personnel. Sa pr6tention n'est done pas seulement un blaspheme,
elle est la plus inconceivable sottise. Or, les 6vangelistes n'ont
pas voulu raconter une absurdity: ils nous repr6sentent Jesus,
tent6 comme un homme, mais triomphant sans hesitation, sans
effort, d'une maniere parfaite et decisive.
Mais encore a cet autre point de vue, qui, nous le r4petons, est
celui des 6vangelistes, il y a de graves difficulties qui arrGtent le
lecteur. Car lors mreme que nous voudrions carter toutes celles
qui resultent de la pr6somption de la nature divine de Christ,
notre sentiment religieux se refuse encore a admettre que la ten-
tation, c'est-hidire la provocation au mal, ait pu exercer sur lui
une influence quelcouque, ne ffit-elle que passagere ou provisoire,
ne se preseutat-elle a son esprit que comme une question i re-
soudre, comme une hypothese. En effet, si le mal a pu, nous
ne disons pas obscurcir pour un instant la lucidity de son esprit,
on travailler fugitivement sa conscience morale, mais seulement
glisser pour ainsi dire comme line ombre devant ses yeux de
maniere i attirer momentanement son attention, ]a notion de sa
saintet6 absolue, qui est un element indispensable de la foi chr6-
tienne, est necessairement remise en question, ou plutot elle est
positivement compromise. Cela est si vrai que d6ji quelques-
uns des anciens peres de l'Eglise ont 6te d'avis que les scenes du
temple et de la montagne n'ont pu tre des fits reels, puisque
autrement il faudrait admettre que Jesus a cede jusqu'i un cer-
tain point a la tentation, sauf a s'arreter au moment decisif. Des
auteurs modernes ont 6te plus loin, et niant la realitM objective
et ext4rieure de toute cette histoire, n'ont voulu y voir qu'un fait
interieur et subjectif, une evolutionn de la pensee de Jesus, une
contemplation contradictoire de ses buts et moyens, un drame
76 THE FOUR GOSPELS
purement psychique. Mais il serait facile de prouver que cet
expedient, don't le moindre tort est d'etre contraire au texte,
n'ecarte pas la difficult que nous venons de signaler; tout au
contraire, si nous mettons a la place du diable personnel, les
propres pensees de Jesus, n'importe qu'elles aient surgi dans un
songe, ou dans une vision, ou dans une lutte int6rieure, nous ne
faisons qn'affirmer la presence, dans sa nature morale, d'un 616-
ment de faiblesse qui est d'autant moins propre a nous rassurer,
que l'objet de la tentation a Wtd plus insolite. On pourrait mime
dire qu'h cet 6gard la ridicule explication des interprites ratio-
nalistes, qui out entrevu dans le diable un imissaire du Sanhidrin,
m6nageait beancoup mieux l'intigrit6 du caractbre de Jesus.
Un grand nombre de theologiens allemands de notre sidcle,
desesperant de fire accorder le r6cit des 6vangiles avec une
saine appreciation de la personnel et de la dignity de Jesus, et
convaincus qu'aucune des transformations de 1'histoire succes-
sivement essayees par les commentateurs n'efface complitement
ce qui nous y arrete et nous choque, ont propose 1'explication
trbs-spicieuse que voici: Ce que les 6vangelistes nous racontent
comme un fait historique aurait 6t6 dans l'origine une parabole
racontde par Jesus a ses disciples l1'effet de leur faire saisir la
difference entire une conception fausse et mauvaise de 'oeuvre
messianique et des pouvoirs donn6s a celui qui devait l'accomplir,
et la conception vraie, qui 6tait la sienne propre. Le diable, le
desert, le temple et la montagne appartiendraient an cadre du
recit figure ; l'indvitable contradiction entire les quarante jours
passes au desert, et les deux jours qui (d'apris Jean) s6paraient
la noce de Cana du sejour sur les bords du Jourdain, disparaissait
en m~me temps. On a objected avec raison que ce serait le seul
example d'une parabole dans laquelle J6sus se serait introduit
lui-meme nominativement, et de plus qu'elle aurait dfi tre bien
mal comprise par les auditeurs pour finir par nous arriver dans
la forme actuelle. Cela est tres-vrai, cependant, de toute faqon,
a moins de dire que nous n'avons 1 qu'un pur mythe, il faudra
admettre que la narration a et6 formulee primitivement par
Jesus lui-mime, qu'elle n'a pu etre communique aux disciples
que dans un but pidagogique, et qu'ainsi, parabole ou non, c'est
le sens intime du recit, son element moral et religieux, que nous
avons & rechercher. Le jugement a porter sur les accessoires
historiques est pour la chr6tient6 chose secondaire. Elle a un
moindre int6rit k resoudre les questions que nous avons posees
en commengant, qu'k savoir comment Jesus comprenait sa mis-
sion, ou plut6t quels moyens il entendait ne pas employer a
l'appui de son ministore. Ses besoins personnel, dent la faim
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED 77
n'est ici que l'individualisation symbolique, ne devaient point
8tre pour lui une preoccupation, un souci, un motif directeur
de ses actes. Tout aussi peu la vaine gloire h obtenir aupres des
hommes devait I'engager a faire parade de ce qui le distinguait
du commun des mortels; il devait se defendre jusqu'au plaisir
de constater pour lui-mnme, et sans utility pour le monde, la
puissance protectrice du rapport qui le rattachait i Dieu, et con-
naitre la difference entire le d6vouement salutaire qui sacrifice la vie
parce qu'il en sait la valeur, et la folle tem6rit6 qui ]a risque parce
qu'elle n'en a aucune. Enfin il ne pouvait se tromper sur la
nature du royaume qu'il se proposait de fonder, ni ignorer que
la direction mondaine, dans laquelle les esperances fantastiques
et superstitieuses de son people auraient voulu l'entrainer, loin de
servir son vrai but, lui ferait manquer sa vocation, et renier son
Dieu par une idolatrie aussi m4prisable que blasphematoire.
Reuss assumes, like the church, that the author pre-
sented to himself a real person of Satan; but he does not
explain why he assumes that. In this assumption, how-
ever, lies the whole mistake. From the meaning of the
whole chapter it does not at all appear that the author
imagined a real person under the name of Satan; on
the contrary, the very opposite is quite obvious. If the
author had imagined a person, he would have said some-
thing about him, about his appearance, about his actions,
whereas not a word is said about the person itself. The
personality of the tempter is mentioned just to the extent
to which it is necessary, in order to express Christ's
thoughts and feelings. Nothing is said as to how he
approached him, nor how he carried him, nor how he
disappeared. All that is mentioned is Jesus Christ and
that foe, who is in every man, that principle of struggle
without which the living man is unthinkable. It is
evident that the author wants to express the ideas of
Jesus Christ by simple methods. To express ideas, it is
necessary to make him speak, but he is alone. So the
author makes Christ speak with himself, and he calls one
voice the voice of Jesus Christ, and the other now the
devil, that is, the deceiver, and now the tempter.
78 THE FOUR GOSPELS
In the church interpretation we are told directly that
we must not and cannot (though, as always, it does not
say why we must not and cannot) regard the devil as an
idea, but must take him as a real person, and we are
used to such an assumption, but why Reuss assumes the
same demands an explanation. To any man who is free
from the church interpretation it will be clear that the
words which are ascribed to the tempter express only the
voice of the flesh, which is contrary to the spirit of which
Jesus Christ was possessed, after John's preaching. Such
an acceptation of the meaning of the words "tempter,
deceiver, Satan," which express the same thing, is con-
firmed by this: (1) that the personality of the tempter is
introduced only to the extent to which it is needed to
express the inward struggle; not a single feature is added
about the tempter himself; (2) that the words of the
tempter express only the voice of the flesh and nothing
more, and (3) that all three temptations are the most
common expressions of an inner struggle, which is re-
peated in the soul of every man.
Wherein does this inner struggle consist? Jesus is
thirty years old. He regards himself as a son of God.
That is all we know about him at the time that he is
listening to John's sermon. John preaches that the
kingdom of heaven has come upon earth, and that, in
order to enter it, one needs a purification by the spirit,
in addition to the purification by water. John does not
promise any striking external condition. There will be
no external sign of the approach of the kingdom of
heaven. The only sign of its coming is a certain inward,
non-carnal manifestation, the purification by the spirit.
Filled with the idea about this spirit, Jesus Christ goes
into the wilderness. His idea about his relation to God
is expressed in what precedes. He regards God as his
Father; he is a son of God, and, in order that his Father
may be in the world and in himself, he has to find the
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED 79
spirit which is to purify the world, and with that spirit
to purify himself.
In order to discover this spirit, he is subjected to
temptation, departs from people, and goes into the wil-
derness. In the wilderness he suffers hunger. While
he is conscious of his sonhood to God and of his spiritual-
ity, he wants to eat and suffers hunger. And the voice of
the flesh says to him, If thou be the son of God, command
that these stones be made bread. If we are to under-
stand these words as the church understands them,
namely, that the devil, tempting the son of God, wants
of him proofs of his divinity, it is impossible to compre-
hend why Jesus Christ did not change the stones into
bread, if he was able to accomplish that. That would
have been the best and simplest and shortest answer,
that would have attained its purpose. If the words, If
thou be the son of God, command that these stones be
made bread, are a provocation to perform a miracle, then
it is necessary for Jesus to say in reply, I do not want to
perform a miracle, or something to that effect, but Jesus
Christ says nothing about being willing, or not willing, to
do what the devil proposes to him, and answers some-
thing entirely different. He does not even mention any-
thing about it, but replies, Man shall not live by bread
alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the
mouth of God. These words not only are no reply to
the devil's mention about the bread, but say something
quite different. From the fact that Jesus not only fails
to change the stones into bread, which is an obvious
impossibility, but does not even answer this impossibility,
but replies to the general meaning, it is evident that these
words could not have the direct meaning, Command that
these stones be made bread, but have that meaning which
they have when they are directed to a man, and not to
God. If they are directed simply to a man, their mean-
ing is clear and simple. These words mean: Thou want-
80 THE FOUR GOSPELS
est bread, and so take care that thou hast the bread, for
thou seest that thou cast not make bread with words.
And Jesus does not reply to why he does not make
bread out of stones, but to the meaning which lies in
the words, Dost thou submit to the demands of the flesh?
He says, Man does not live by bread, but by the spirit.
The meaning of this separate utterance is very general.
To understand it more definitely, it is necessary to recall
the whole beginning of the chapter, and what these words
refer to. In quoting the words from the book of Holy
Scripture, Jesus Christ obviously has in mind the mean-
ing which is to be found in that chapter.
In Deuteronomy, Chapter VIII., the fifth book of
Moses, it is said:
1. All the commandments which I command thee this day
shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in
and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers.
2. And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy
God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee,
and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether
thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
3. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed
thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy
fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth
not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of
the mouth of the Lord doth man live.
4. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot
swell, these forty years.
5. Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man
chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee.
6. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord
thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.
7. For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a
land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out
of valleys and hills.
And so, to the devil's words about hunger, Jesus
recalling Israel, who had lived for forty years in the
wilderness without perishing, answers the tempter with
HARMONIZED AND TRANSLATED
the following words, Not by bread does man live, but
by the will of God. And as Israel relied on God, and
God brought the nation to Palestine, so I rely on God.
At these words of Jesus, the devil takes him and
carries him to the top of a temple, again repeating, If
thou be the son of God, cast thyself down.
These words have cost much labour to the church
commentators; but no interpretation is wanted: the voice
of the flesh, speaking in Jesus, is called the devil, and so
these words mean simply that his imagination carried
him to the top of the temple. Or: and he imagined that
he was standing on an eminence, and the voice of the
flesh said to him, repeating as before, If thou be a son of
God, cast thyself down.
According to the interpretation of the church, these
words are in no way connected with the first, and again
have no other significance than that the devil is provoking
Jesus Christ to perform an unnecessary miracle. The
words of the devil from Psalm XCI. about the angels bear-
ing him up, according to the church interpretation, are
again not connected with what precedes, and the whole
conversation is represented as aimless. The disconnected-
ness and senselessness of the church interpretation of the
second temptation is due to the error in the comprehen-
sion of the meaning of the first words. The first words,
Make bread out of stones, which are not understood as an
expression of impossibility (to have bread when there is
no supply of it), but as a provocation to perform a
miracle, have compelled the commentators to look also
upon the subsequent words, Cast thyself down, as upon
a provocation to perform a miracle; but evidently
these words are connected with the first inward mean-
ing. This connection is obvious, if from nothing else,
from the fact that both the first and the second series of
words begin with the same expression, If thou be the son
82 THE FOUR GOSPELS
Besides, the word &nr because, in the second answer, which
is found in Luke, shows clearly that Jesus Christ is not
answering to the words of the devil, Cast thyself down,
but to his own refusal to cast himself down. Neither in
his first, nor in his third temptation, does Christ say, It is
written, and so forth, but, Because it is written, that is, he
says, I will not cast myself down, because it is written.
From the very start the voice of the flesh wants to
show to Jesus the falseness of his convictions about being
a spiritual being and a son of God. Thou sayest that
thou art a son of God, and wentest into the wilderness,
and thinkest to free thyself from the craving of the flesh;
but the craving of the flesh is tormenting thee. Here
thou wilt not gratify thy craving, thou wilt not change
the stones into bread, so thou hadst better go where there
is something to make bread of, and make it, or provide
thyself with it and eat like all men.
That is what the voice of the flesh said in the first
temptation. To this Jesus Christ, recalling Israel in the
wilderness, says, Israel lived forty years in the wilderness
without bread, and found food, and remained alive, be-
cause God wanted it so. Consequently man lives not by
bread, but by the will of God.
Then the voice of the flesh, making him think that he
is standing on an eminence, says to him: If that is so,
and thou, as a son of God, dost not need to trouble
thyself about the bread, prove it by casting thyself down.
For didst thou not say thyself that everything is due, not
to the care of man, but to the will of God ? That is an
actual truth, and in David's psalm it is written, In their
hands they shall bear thee up and keep thee from suffer-
ing harm. So why dost thou suffer? Cast thyself down!
No harm will befall thee, for the angels shall bear thee up.
The moment the correct explanation is given to the first
words, namely, that they are not a provocation to perform
a miracle, but an indication of an impossibility, these