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History of Rationalism Embracing a Survey of the Present State of Protestant Theology
written by "Hurst, J. F. (John Fletcher), 1834-1903"
... of the life of Christ. While we lament that he interprets the early life of Christ as a fragment derived from an evangelical tradition; that he believes the influence of demons in the gospel period susceptible of a psychological explanation, that the miraculous feeding of the five thousand is but the multiplication and potentialization of substances already at hand, that the feeding of the four thousand is a mistaken account of the former, and that the changing of the water into wine at Cana of Galilee was nothing more than an increase of power in the water, as we find sometimes in mineral fluids,—granting these and all the other interpretations which Neander makes on the score of nature or myths, we must attach an importance to [Pg 273]his Life of Christ second only to his History of the Christian Church. One closes the reading of his account of the Messiah with a profound impression that the author had a true conception of the divinity and authority of the Founder of Christianity. We cannot doubt his sympathy with those words of Pascal which he quoted frequently with exquisite pleasure: "En Jesus Christ toutes les contradictions sont accordées." Ullmann, in his treatise Historical or Mythical, will not accept the alternative that the life of Christ is all mythical or all historical. He enumerates the philosophical myth, the historical myth, mythical history, and history with traditional parts. It is to the last of these that he assigns the gospel history. He propounds the dilemma, whether the church has conceived a poetical Christ, or whether Christ is the real founder of the church? He accepts the latter, and invokes all history in proof of his argument. Weisse, in his Gospel History treated Philosophically and Critically, dwells upon the relative claims of the four gospels. At least one of the gospels is original and the authority for the rest. This is Mark's; and it is not mythical, but historical and worthy of crede...

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