Chapter 9 | Table
of Contents | Chapter 11
The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
FROM THE MANGER IN BETHLEHEM TO THE BAPTISM IN
IN THE HOUSE OF HIS HEAVENLY, AND IN THE HOME
OF HIS EARTHLY FATHER
THE TEMPLE OF JERUSALEM
THE RETIREMENT AT NAZARETH
(St. Luke 2:41-52.)
Once only is the great silence, which lies on the history of
Christ's early life, broken. It is to record what took place on His first visit
to the Temple. What this meant, even to an ordinary devout Jew, may easily be
imagined. Where life and religion were so intertwined, and both in such organic
connection with the Temple and the people of Israel, every thoughtful Israelite
must have felt as if his real life were not in what was around, but ran up into
the grand unity of the people of God, and were compassed by the halo of its
sanctity. To him it would be true in the deepest sense, that, so to speak, each
Israelite was born in Zion, as, assuredly, all the well-springs of his life
It was, therefore, not merely the natural eagerness to see the City of their
God and of their fathers, glorious Jerusalem; nor yet the lawful enthusiasm,
national or religious, which would kindle at the thought of 'our feet' standing
within those gates, through which priests, prophets, and kings had passed; but
far deeper feelings which would make glad, when it was said: 'Let us go into
the house of Jehovah.' They were not ruins to which precious memories clung,
nor did the great hope seem to lie afar off, behind the evening-mist. But
'glorious things were spoken of Zion, the City of God' - in the past, and in
the near future 'the thrones of David' were to be set within her walls, and
amidst her palaces.2
1. Ps. ixxxvii. 5-7.
2. Ps. cxxii. 1-5.
In strict law, personal observance of the ordinances, and hence
attendance on the feasts at Jerusalem, devolved on a youth only when he was of
age, that is, at thirteen years. Then he became what was called 'a son of the
Commandment,' or 'of the Torah.'3
But, as a matter of fact, the legal age was in this respect anticipated by two
years, or at least by one.4
It was in accordance with this custom, that,5
on the first Pascha after Jesus had passed His twelfth year, His Parents took
Him with them in the 'company' of the Nazarenes to Jerusalem. The text seems to
indicate, that it was their wont6
to go up to the Temple; and we mark that, although women were not bound to make
such personal appearance,7
Mary gladly availed herself of what seems to have been the direction of Hillel
(followed also by other religious women, mentioned in Rabbinic writings), to go
up to the solemn services of the Sanctuary. Politically, times had changed. The
weak and wicked rule of Archelaus had lasted only nine years,8
when, in consequence of the charges against him, he was banished to Gaul.
JudŠa, Samaria and IdumŠa were now incorporated into the Roman province of
Syria, under its Governor, or Legate. The special administration of that
part of Palestine was, however, entrusted to a Procurator, whose
ordinary residence was at CŠsarea. It will be remembered, that the Jews
themselves had desired some such arrangement, in the vain hope that, freed from
the tyranny of the Herodians, they might enjoy the semi-independence of their
brethren in the Grecian cities. But they found it otherwise. Their privileges
were not secured to them; their religious feelings and prejudices were
constantly, though perhaps not intentionally, outraged;9
and their Sanhedrin shorn of its real power, though the Romans would probably
not interfere in what might be regarded as purely religious questions. Indeed,
the very presence of the Roman power in Jerusalem was a constant offence, and
must necessarily have issued in a life and death struggle. One of the first
measures of the new Legate of Syria, P. Sulpicius Quirinius,10
after confiscating the ill-gotten wealth of Archelaus, was to order a census in
Palestine, with the view of fixing the taxation of the country.11
The popular excitement which this called forth was due, probably, not so much
to opposition on principle,12
as to this, that the census was regarded as the badge of servitude, and
incompatible with the Theocratic character of Israel.13
Had a census been considered absolutely contrary to the Law, the leading Rabbis
would never have submitted to it;14
nor would the popular resistance to the measure of Quirinius have been quelled
by the representations of the High-Priest Joazar. But, although through his
influence the census was allowed to be taken, the popular agitation was not
suppressed. Indeed, that movement formed part of the history of the time, and
not only affected political and religious parties in the land, but must have
been presented to the mind of Jesus Himself, since, as will be shown, it had a
representative within His own family circle.
3. Ab. v. 21.
4. Yoma 82 a.
5. Comp. also Maimonides, Hilkh. Chag. ii. The common statement, that Jesus went
to the Temple because He was 'a Son of the Commandment,' is obviously
erroneous. All the more remarkable, on the other hand, is St. Luke's accurate knowledge of Jewish customs, and all the more antithetic to the mythical theory
the circumstance, that he places this remarkable event in the twelfth year of Jesus' life, and not when He became 'a Son of the Law.'
6. We take as the more correct reading that which puts the participle in the present tense (anabainontwn), and not in
7. Jer Kidd. 61 c.
8. From 4 b.c. to 6 a.d.
9. The Romans were tolerant of the religion of all subject nations - excepting only
Gaul and Carthage. This for reasons which cannot here be discussed. But what rendered Rome so obnoxious to Palestine was the cultus of the Emperor, as the symbol and impersonation of Imperial Rome. On this cultus Rome
insisted in all countries, not perhaps so much on religious grounds as on
political, as being the expression of loyalty to the empire. But in JudŠa this cultus necessarily met resistance to the death. (Comp. Schneckenburger, Neutest. Zeitgesch. pp. 40-61.)
10. 6-11 (?) a.d.
11. Acts v. 37; Jos. Ant. xviii. 1. 1.
12. This view, for which there is no historic foundation, is urged by those whose interest it is to deny the possibility of a census during the reign of Herod.
13. That these were the sole grounds of resistance to the census, appears from Jos. Ant. xviii. 1. 1, 6.
14. As unquestionably they did.
This accession of Herod, misnamed the Great, marked a period in
Jewish history, which closed with the war of despair against Rome and the
flames of Jerusalem and the Temple. It gave rise to the appearance of what
Josephus, despite his misrepresentation of them, rightly calls a fourth
party - besides the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes - that of the Nationalists.15
A deeper and more independent view of the history of the times would, perhaps,
lead us to regard the whole country as ranged either with or against that
party. As afterwards expressed in its purest and simplest form, their watchword
was, negatively, to call no human being their absolute lord;16
positively, that God alone was to lead as absolute Lord.17
It was, in fact, a revival of the Maccabean movement, perhaps more fully in its
national than in its religious aspect, although the two could scarcely be
separated in Israel, and their motto almost reads like that which according to
some, furnished the letters whence the name Maccabee18
was composed: Mi Camochah Baelim Jehovah, 'Who like
Thee among the gods, Jehovah?'19
It is characteristic of the times and religious tendencies, that their
followers were no more called, as before, Assideans or Chasidim,
'the pious,' but Zealots (zhlwtai)
or by the Hebrew equivalent Qannaim (CananŠans, not 'Canaanites,'
as in A.V.) The real home of that party was not JudŠa nor Jerusalem, but
15. Ant. xviii. 1. 6.
16. Ant. xviii. 1. 6.
17. u.s. and Jew. War vii. 10. 1.
19. Ex. xv. 11
Quite other, and indeed antagonistic, tendencies prevailed in
the stronghold of the Herodians, Sadducees, and Pharisees. Of the latter only a
small portion had any real sympathy with the national movement. Each party
followed its own direction. The Essenes, absorbed in theosophic speculations,
not untinged with Eastern mysticism, withdrew from all contact with the world,
and practiced an ascetic life. With them, whatever individuals may have felt,
no such movement could have originated; nor yet with the Herodians or
Boethusians, who combined strictly Pharisaic views with Herodian political
partisanship; nor yet with the Sadducees; nor, finally, with what constituted
the great bulk of the Rabbinist party, the School of Hillel. But the brave, free
Highlanders of Galilee, and of the region across their glorious lake, seemed to
have inherited the spirit of Jephthah,20
and to have treasured as their ideal - alas! often wrongly apprehended - their
own Elijah, as, descending in wild, shaggy garb from the mountains of Gilead,
he did battle against all the might of Ahab and Jezebel. Their enthusiasm could
not be kindled by the logical subtleties of the Schools, but their hearts
burned within them for their God, their land, their people, their religion, and
20. Judg. xi. 3-6.
It was in Galilee, accordingly, that such wild, irregular
resistance to Herod at the outset of his career, as could be offered, was
organised by guerilla bands, which traversed the country, and owned one Ezekias
as their leader. Although Josephus calls them 'robbers,' a far different
estimate of them obtained in Jerusalem, where, as we remember, the Sanhedrin
summoned Herod to answer for the execution of Esekias. What followed is told in
substantially the same manner, though with difference of form21
and, sometimes, nomenclature, by Josephus,22
and in the Talmud.23
The story has already been related in another connection. Suffice it that,
after the accession of Herod, the Sanhedrin became a shadow of itself. It was
packed with Sadducees and Priests of the King's nomination, and with Doctors of
the canon-law, whose only aim was to pursue in peace their subtleties; who had
not, and, from their contempt of the people, could not have, any real sympathy
with national aspirations; and whose ideal heavenly Kingdom was a miraculous,
heaven-instituted, absolute rule of Rabbis. Accordingly, the national movement,
as it afterwards developed, received neither the sympathy nor the support of
leading Rabbis. Perhaps the most gross manifestation of this was exhibited,
shortly before the taking of Jerusalem, by R. Jochanan ben Saccai, the most
renowned among its teachers. Almost unmoved he had witnessed the portent of the
opening of the Temple-doors by an unseen Hand, which, by an interpretation of
Zech. xi. 1, was popularly regarded as betokening its speedy destruction.24
There is cynicism, as well as want of sympathy, in the story recorded by
tradition, that when, in the straits of famine during the siege, Jochanan saw
people eagerly feasting on soup made from straw, he scouted the idea of such a
garrison resisting Vespasian and immediately resolved to leave the city.26
In fact, we have distinct evidence that R. Jochanan had, as leader of the
School of Hillel, used all his influence, although in vain, to persuade the
people to submission to Rome.27
21. The Talmud is never to be trusted as to historical details. Often it seems purposely to alter, when it intends the experienced student to read between the
lines, while at other times it presents a story in what may be called an
22. Ant. xiv. 9. 2-5.
23. Sanh. 19 a.
24. Yoma 39 b.
25. The designation 'Lebanon' is often applied in Talmudic writings to the Temple.
26. Midr. R. on Lament. i. 5; ed. Warsh. vol. iii.p. 60 a.
27. Ab. de R. Nathan 4.
We can understand it, how this school had taken so little
interest in anything purely national. Generally only one side of the character
of Hillel has been presented by writers, and even this in greatly exaggerated
language. His much lauded gentleness, peacefulness, and charity were rather
negative than positive qualities. He was a philosophic Rabbi, whose real
interest lay in a far other direction than that of sympathy with the people -
and whose motto seemed, indeed, to imply, 'We, the sages, are the people
of God; but this people, who know not the Law, are curse.'28
A far deeper feeling, and intense, though misguided earnestness pervaded the
School of Shammai. It was in the minority, but it sympathised with the aspirations
of the people. It was not philosophic nor eclectic, but intensely national. It
opposed all approach to, and by, strangers; it dealt harshly with proselytes,29
even the most distinguished (such as Akylas or Onkelos);30
it passed, by first murdering a number of Hillelites who had come to the
deliberative assembly, eighteen decrees, of which the object was to prevent all
intercourse with Gentiles;31
and it furnished leaders or supporters of the national movement.
28. Comp. Ab ii. 5.
29. Shabb. 31 a.
30. Ber. R. 70.
31. This celebrated meeting, of which, however, but scant and incoherent notices are left us (Shabb. i. 7 and specially in the Jer. Talmud on the passage p. 3 c,
d; and Shabb. 17 a; Tos. Shabb. i. 2), took place in the house of Chananyah, ben Chizqiyah, ben Garon, a noted Shammaite. On arriving, many of the Hillelites were killed in the lower room, and then a majority of Shammaites carried the so-called eighteen decrees. The first twelve forbade the purchase of the most necessary articles of diet from Gentiles; the next five forbade the learning of their language, declared their testimony invalid, and
their offerings unlawful, and interdicted all intercourse with them; while the last referred to first fruits. It was on the ground of these decrees that the hitherto customary burnt-offering for the Emperor was intermitted, which was
really a declaration of war against Rome. The date of these decrees was
probably about four years before the destruction of the Temple (See Grńtz, Gesch. d. Juden, vol. iii. pp. 494-502). These decrees were carried by the influence of R. Eleazar, son of Chananyah the High-Priest, a very wealthy man, whose father and brother belonged to the opposite or peace party. It was on the
proposal of this strict Shammaite that the offering for the Emperor was
intermitted (Jos. Jew. War ii. 17. 2, 3). Indeed, it is impossible to over-estimate the influence of these Shammaite decrees on the great war with Rome. Eleazar, though opposed to the extreme party, one of whose chiefs he took
and killed, was one of the leaders of the national party in the war (War ii. 17. 9, 10). There is, however, some confusion about various persons who bore the same name. It is impossible in this place to mention the various Shammaites
who took part in the last Jewish war. Suffice it to indicate the tendency of that School.
We have marked the rise of the Nationalist party in Galilee at
the time of Herod's first appearance on the scene, and learned how mercilessly
he tried to suppress it: first, by the execution of Ezekias and his adherents,
and afterwards, when he became King of JudŠa, by the slaughter of the Sanhedrists.
The consequence of this unsparing severity was to give Rabbinism a different
direction. The School of Hillel which henceforth commanded the majority, were
men of no political colour, theological theorists, self-seeking Jurists, vain
rather than ambitious. The minority, represented by the School of Shammai, were
Nationalists. Defective and even false as both tendencies were, there was
certainly more hope, as regarded the Kingdom of God, of the Nationalists than
of the Sophists and Jurists. It was, of course, the policy of Herod to suppress
all national aspirations. No one understood the meaning of Jewish Nationalism
so well as he; no one ever opposed it so systematically. There was internal
fitness, so to speak, in his attempt to kill the King of the Jews among the
infants of Bethlehem. The murder of the Sanhedrists, with the consequent new
anti-Messianic tendency of Rabbinism, was one measure in that direction; the
various appointments which Herod made to the High-Priesthood another. And yet
it was not easy, even in those times, to deprive the Pontificate of its power
and influence. The High-Priest was still the representative of the religious
life of the people, and he acted on all occasions, when the question under
discussion was not one exclusively of subtle canon-law, as the President of the
Sanhedrin, in which, indeed, the members of his family had evidently seat and
vote.32 The four
which, with few exceptions, the High-Priest - however often changed - were
chosen, absorbed the wealth, and commanded the influence, of a state-endowed
establishment, in its worst times. It was, therefore, of the utmost importance
to make wise choice of the High-Priest. With the exception of the brief tenure
by Aristobulus, the last of the Maccabees - whose appointment, too soon
followed by his murder, was at the time a necessity - all the Herodian
High-Priests were non-Palestinians. A keener blow than this could not have been
dealt at Nationalism.
32. Acts iv. 6.
33. See the list of High-Priests in Appendix VI.
The same contempt for the High-Priesthood characterised the
brief reign of Archelaus. On his death-bed, Herod had appointed to the
Pontificate Joazar, a son of Boethos, the wealthy Alexandrian priest, whose
daughter, Mariamme II., he had married. The Boethusian family, allied to Herod,
formed a party - the Herodians - who combined strict Pharisaic views with
devotion to the reigning family.34
Joazar took the popular part against Archelaus, on his accession. For this he
was deprived of his dignity in favour of another son of Boethos, Eleazar by
name. But the mood of Archelaus was fickle - perhaps he was distrustful of the
family of Boethos. At any rate, Eleazar had to give place to Jesus, the son of
SiŰ, an otherwise unknown individual. At the time of the taxing of Quirinius we
find Joazar again in office,35
apparently restored to it by the multitude, which, having taken matters into
its own hands at the change of government, recalled one who had formerly
favoured national aspirations.36
It is thus that we explain his influence with the people, in persuading them to
submit to the Roman taxation.
34. The Boethusians furnished no fewer than four High-Priest during the period between the reign of Herod and that of Agrippa I. (41 a.d.).
35. Ant. xviii. 1. 1.
36. Ant. xviii. 2. 1.
But if Joazar had succeeded with the unthinking populace, he
failed to conciliate the more advanced of his own party, and, as the event
proved, the Roman authorities also, whose favour he had hoped to gain. It will
be remembered, that the Nationalist party - or 'Zealots,' as they were
afterwards called - first appeared in those guerilla-bands which traversed
Galilee under the leadership of Ezekias, whom Herod executed. But the National
party was not destroyed, only held in check, during his iron reign. It was once
more the family of Ezekias that headed the movement. During the civil war which
followed the accession of Archelaus, or rather was carried on while he was
pleading his cause in Rome, the standard of the Nationalists was again raised
in Galilee. Judas, the son of Ezekias, took possession of the city of
Sepphoris, and armed his followers from the royal arsenal there. At that time,
as we know, the High-Priest Joazar sympathised, at least indirectly, with the
Nationalists. The rising, which indeed was general throughout Palestine, was
suppressed by fire and sword, and the sons of Herod were enabled to enter on
their possessions. But when, after the deposition of Archelaus, Joazar
persuaded the people to submit to the taxing of Quirinius, Judas was not
disposed to follow what he regarded as the treacherous lead of the Pontiff. In
conjunction with a Shammaite Rabbi, Sadduk, he raised again the standard of
revolt, although once more unsuccessfully.37
How the Hillelites looked upon this movement, we gather even from the slighting
allusion of Gamaliel.38
The family of Ezekias furnished other martyrs to the National cause. The two
sons of Judas died for it on the cross in 46 a.d.39
Yet a third son, Manahem, who, from the commencement of the war against Rome,
was one of the leaders of the most fanatical Nationalists, the Sicarii - the
Jacobins of the party, as they have been aptly designated - died under
while a fourth member of the family, Eleazar, was the leader of Israel's forlorn
hope, and nobly died at Masada, in the closing drama of the Jewish war of
Of such stuff were the Galilean Zealots made. But we have to take this intense
Nationalist tendency also into account in the history of Jesus, the more so
that at least one of His disciples, and he a member of His family, had at one
time belonged to the party. Only the Kingdom of which Jesus was the King was,
as He Himself said, not of this world, and of far different conception from
that for which the Nationalists longed.
37. Ant. xviii. i. 1.
38. Acts v. 37.
39. Ant. xx. 5. 2.
40. Jewish War ii. 17. 8 and 9.
41. Jewish War, vii. 7-9.
At the time when Jesus went up to the feast, Quirinius was, as
already stated, Governor of Syria. The taxing and the rising of Judas were
alike past; and the Roman Governor, dissatisfied with the trimming of Joazar,
and distrustful of him, had appointed in his stead Ananos, the son of Seth, the
Annas of infamous memory in the New Testament. With brief interruption, he or
his son held the Pontifical office till, under the Procuratorship of Pilate,
Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Annas, succeeded to that dignity. It has already
been stated that, subject to the Roman Governors of Syria, the rule of
Palestine devolved on Procurators, of whom Coponius was the first. Of him and
his immediate successors - Marcus Ambivius,42
and Valerius Gratus,44
we know little. They were, indeed, guilty of the most grievous fiscal
oppressions, but they seem to have respected, so far as was in them, the
religious feelings of the Jews. We know, that they even removed the image of
the Emperor from the standards of the Roman soldiers before marching them into
Jerusalem, so as to avoid the appearance of a cultus of the CŠsars. It
was reserved for Pontius Pilate to force this hated emblem on the Jews, and
otherwise to set their most sacred feelings at defiance. But we may notice,
even at this stage, with what critical periods in Jewish history the public
appearance of Christ synchronised. His first visit to the Temple followed upon
the Roman possession of JudŠa, the taxing, and the national rising, as also the
institution of Annas to the High-Priesthood. And the commencement of His public
Ministry was contemporaneous with the accession of Pilate, and the institution
of Caiaphas. Whether viewed subjectively or objectively, these things also have
a deep bearing upon the history of the Christ.
42. 9-12 a.d.
43. 12-15 a.d.
44. 15-26 a.d.
It was, as we reckon it, in spring a.d. 9, that Jesus for the first time went up to the Paschal
Feast in Jerusalem. Coponius would be there as the Procurator; and Annas ruled
in the Temple as High-Priest, when He appeared among its doctors. But far other
than political thoughts must have occupied the mind of Christ. Indeed, for a
time a brief calm had fallen upon the land. There was nothing to provoke active
resistance, and the party of the Zealots, although existing, and striking
deeper root in the hearts of the people, was, for the time, rather what
Josephus called it, 'the philosophical party' - their minds busy with an ideal,
which their hands were not yet preparing to make a reality. And so, when,
according to ancient wont,45
the festive company from Nazareth, soon swelled by other festive bands, went up
to Jerusalem, chanting by the way those 'Psalms of Ascent'46
to the accompaniment of the flute, they might implicitly yield themselves to
the spiritual thoughts kindled by such words.
45. Ps. xlii. Is. xxx. 29.
46. A.V. 'Degrees;' Ps. cxx.-cxxxiv.
When the pilgrims' feet stood within the gates of Jerusalem,
there could have been no difficulty in finding hospitality, however crowded the
City may have been on such occasions47
- the more so when we remember the extreme simplicity of Eastern manners and
wants, and the abundance of provisions which the many sacrifices of the season
would supply. But on this subject, also, the Evangelic narrative keeps silence.
Glorious as a view of Jerusalem must have seemed to a child coming to it for
the first time from the retirement of a Galilean village, we must bear in mind,
that He Who now looked upon it was not an ordinary Child. Nor are we, perhaps,
mistaken in the idea that the sight of its grandeur would, as on another
occasion,48 awaken in
Him not so much feelings of admiration, which might have been akin to those of
pride, as of sadness, though He may as yet have been scarcely conscious of its
deeper reason. But the one all-engrossing thought would be of the Temple.
This, his first visit to its halls, seems also to have called out the first
outspoken - and may we not infer, the first conscious - thought of that Temple
as the House of His Father, and with it the first conscious impulse of his
Mission and Being. Here also it would be the higher meaning, rather than the
structure and appearance, of the Temple, that would absorb the mind. And yet
there was sufficient, even in the latter, to kindle enthusiasm. As the pilgrim
ascended the Mount, crested by that symmetrically proportioned building, which
could hold within its gigantic girdle not fewer than 210,000 persons, his
wonder might well increase at every step. The Mount itself seemed like an
island, abruptly rising from out deep valleys, surrounded by a sea of walls,
palaces, streets, and houses, and crowned by a mass of snowy marble and
glittering gold, rising terrace upon terrace. Altogether it measured a square
of about 1,000 feet, or, to give a more exact equivalent of the measurements
furnished by the Rabbis, 927 feet. At its north-western angle, and connected
with it, frowned the Castle of Antonia, held by the Roman garrison. The lofty
walls were pierced by massive gates - the unused gate (Tedi) on the
north; the Susa Gate on the east, which opened on the arched roadway to the
Mount of Olives;49
the two so-called 'Huldah' (probably, 'weasel') gates, which led by tunnels50
from the priest-suburb Ophel into the outer Court; and, finally, four gates on
47. It seems, however, that the Feast of Pentecost would see even more pilgrims - at least from a distance - in Jerusalem, than that of the Passover (comp. Acts ii. 9-11).
48. St. Luke xix. 41.
49. So according to the Rabbis; Josephus does not mention it. In general, the account here given is according to the Rabbis.
50. These tunnels were divided by colonnades respectively into three and into two, the double colonnade being probably used by the priests, since its place of exit was close to the entrance into the Court of the Priests.
Within the gates ran all around covered double colonnades, with
here are there benches for those who resorted thither for prayer or for
conference. The most magnificent of those was the southern, or twofold double
colonnade, with a wide space between; the most venerable, the ancient
'Solomon's Porch,' or eastern colonnade. Entering from the Xystus bridge, and
under the tower of John,51
one would pass along the southern colonnade (over the tunnel of the
Huldah-gates) to its eastern extremity, over which another tower rose, probably
'the pinnacle' of the history of the Temptation. From this height yawned the
Kedron valley 450 feet beneath. From that lofty pinnacle the priest each
morning watched and announced the earliest streak of day. Passing along the
eastern colonnade, or Solomon's Porch, we would, if the description of the
Rabbis is trustworthy, have reached the Susa Gate, the carved representation of
that city over the gateway reminding us of the Eastern Dispersion. Here
the standard measures of the Temple are said to have been kept; and here, also,
we have to locate the first or lowest of the three Sanhedrins, which, according
to the Mishnah,52
held their meetings in the Temple; the second, or intermediate Court of Appeal,
being in the 'Court of the Priests' (probably close to the Nicanor Gate); and
the highest, that of the Great Sanhedrin, at one time in the 'Hall of Hewn
Square Stones' (Lishkath ha-Gazith.)
51. Jos. War vi. 3. 2.
52. Sanh. xi. 2.
Passing out of these 'colonnades,' or 'porches,' you entered
the 'Court of the Gentiles,' or what the Rabbis called 'the Mount of the
House,' which was widest on the west side, and more and more narrow
respectively on the east, the south, and the north. This was called the Chol,
or 'profane' place to which Gentiles had access. Here must have been the market
for the sale of sacrificial animals, the tables of the money-changers, and
places for the sale of other needful articles.53
Advancing within this Court, you reached a low breast-wall (the Soreg), which
marked the space beyond which no Gentile, nor Levitically unclean person, might
proceed - tablets, bearing inscriptions to that effect, warning them off.
Thirteen openings admitted into the inner part of the Court. Thence fourteen
steps led up to the Chel or Terrace, which was bounded by the wall of
the Temple-buildings in the stricter sense. A flight of steps led up to the
massive, splendid gates. The two on the west side seem to have been of no
importance, so far as the worshippers were concerned, and probably intended for
the use of workmen. North and south were four gates.55
But the most splendid gate was that to the east, termed 'the Beautiful.'56
53. St. John ii. 14; St. Matt. xxi. 12; Jerus. Chag. p. 78 a; comp. Neh. xiii. 4 &c.
54. The question what was sold in this 'market' and its relation to 'the bazaar' of the family of Annas (the Chanuyoth beney Chanan) will be discussed in a later part.
55. The question as to their names and arrangement is not without difficulty. The subject
is fully treated in 'The Temple and its Services.' Although I have followed in
the text the arrangements of the Rabbis, I must express my grave doubts as to their historical trustworthiness. It seems to me that the Rabbis always give rather the ideal than the real - what, according to their theory, should have been, rather than what actually was.
56. Acts iii. 2.
Entering by the latter, you came into the Court of the Women,
so called because the women occupied in it two elevated and separated
galleries, which, however, filled only part of the Court. Fifteen steps led up
to the Upper Court, which was bounded by a wall, and where was the celebrated
Nicanor Gate, covered with Corinthian brass. Here the Levites, who conducted
the musical part of the service, were placed. In the Court of the Women were
the Treasury and the thirteen 'Trumpets,' while at each corner were chambers or
halls, destined for various purposes. Similarly, beyond the fifteen steps,
there were repositories for the musical instruments. The Upper Court was
divided into two parts by a boundary - the narrow part forming the Court of
Israel, and the wider that of the Priests, in which were the great Altar and
The Sanctuary itself was on a higher terrace than that Court of
the Priests. Twelve steps led up to its Porch, which extended beyond it on
either side (north and south). Here, in separate chambers, all that was
necessary for the sacrificial service was kept. On two marble tables near the
entrance the old shewbread which was taken out, and the new that was brought
in, were respectively placed. The Porch was adorned by votive presents, conspicuous
among them a massive golden vine. A two-leaved gate opened into the Sanctuary
itself, which was divided into two parts. The Holy Place had the Golden
Candlestick (south), the Table of Shewbread (north), and the Golden Altar of
Incense between them. A heavy double veil concealed the entrance to the Most
Holy Place, which in the second Temple was empty, nothing being there but
the piece of rock, called the Ebhen Shethiyah, or Foundation Stone,
which, according to tradition, covered the mouth of the pit, and on which, it
was thought, the world was founded. Nor does all this convey an adequate idea
of the vastness of the Temple-buildings. For all around the Sanctuary and each
of the Courts were various chambers and out-buildings, which served different purposes
connected with the Services of the Temple.57
57. For a full description, I must refer to 'The Temple, its Ministry and Services at
the time of Jesus Christ.' Some repetition of what had been alluded to in previous chapters has been unavoidable in the present description of the Temple.
In some part of this Temple, 'sitting in the midst of the
hearing them and asking them questions,' we must look for the Child Jesus on
the third and the two following days of the Feast on which He first visited the
Sanctuary. Only on the two first days of the Feast of Passover was personal
attendance in the Temple necessary. With the third day commenced the so-called
half-holydays, when it was lawful to return to one's home59
- a provision of which, no doubt, many availed themselves. Indeed, there was
really nothing of special interest to detain the pilgrims. For, the Passover
had been eaten, the festive sacrifice (or Chagigah) offered, and the
first ripe barely reaped and brought to the Temple, and waved as the Omer of
first flour before the Lord. Hence, in view of the well-known Rabbinic
provision, the expression in the Gospel-narrative concerning the 'Parents' of
Jesus, 'when they had fulfilled the days,'60 cannot necessarily imply that Joseph
and the Mother of Jesus had remained in Jerusalem during the whole Paschal
week.61 On the
other hand, the circumstances connected with the presence of Jesus could not
have been found among the Doctors after the close of the Feast. The first
question here is as to the locality in the Temple, where the scene has to be
laid. It has, indeed, been commonly supposed that there was a Synagogue in the
Temple; but of this there is, to say the least, no historical evidence.62
But even if such had existed, the worship and addresses of the Synagogue would
not have offered any opportunity for the questioning on the part of Jesus which
the narrative implies. Still more groundless is the idea that there was in the
Temple something like a Beth ha-Midrash, or theological Academy, not to
speak of the circumstance that a child of twelve would not, at any time, have
been allowed to take part in its discussions. But there were occasions on which
the Temple became virtually, though not formally, a Beth ha-Midrash. For
we read in the Talmud,63
that the members of the Temple-Sanhedrin, who on ordinary days sat as a Court
of Appeal, from the close of the Morning-to the time of the Evening-Sacrifice,
were wont on Sabbaths and feast-days to come out upon 'the Terrace' of
the Temple, and there to teach. In such popular instruction the utmost latitude
of questioning would be given. It is in this audience, which sat on the ground,
surrounding and mingling with the Doctors - and hence during, not after
the Feast - that we must seek the Child Jesus.
58. Although comparatively few really great authorities in Jewish Canon Law lived at that time, more than a dozen names could be given of Rabbis celebrated in Jewish literature, who must have been His contemporaries at one or another period of His life.
59. So according to the Rabbis generally. Comp. Hoffmann, Abh. ii. d. pent. Ges. pp. 65, 66.
60. St. Luke ii. 43.
61. In fact, an attentive consideration of what in the tractate Moed K. (comp. also Chag. 17 b), is declared to be lawful occupation during the half-holydays, leads us to infer that a very large proportion must have returned to their homes.
62. For a full discussion of this important question, see Appendix X.: 'The Supposed Temple-Synagogue.'
63. Sanh. 88 b.
But we have yet to show that the presence and questioning of a
Child of that age did not necessarily imply anything so extraordinary, as to
convey the idea of supernaturalness to those Doctors or others in the audience.
Jewish tradition gives other instances of precocious and strangely advanced
students. Besides, scientific theological learning would not be necessary to
take part in such popular discussions. If we may judge from later arrangements,
not only in Babylon, but in Palestine, there were two kinds of public lectures,
and two kinds of students. The first, or more scientific class, was designated Kallah
(literally, bride), and its attendants Beney-Kallah (children of the
bride). These lectures were delivered in the last month of summer (Elul),
before the Feast of the New Year, and in the last winter month (Adar),
immediately before the Feast of Passover. They implied considerable preparation
on the part of the lecturing Rabbis, and at least some Talmudic knowledge on
the part of the attendants. On the other hand, there were Students of the Court
(Chatsatsta, and in Babylon Tarbitsa), who during ordinary
lectures sat separated from the regular students by a kind of hedge, outside,
as it were in the Court, some of whom seem to have been ignorant even of the
Bible. The lectures addressed to such a general audience would, of course, be
of a very different character.64
64. Comp. Jer. Ber. iv. p. 7 d, and other passages.
But if there was nothing so unprecedented as to render His
Presence and questioning marvellous, yet all who heard Him 'were amazed' at His
and 'discerning answers.'66
We scarcely venture to inquire towards what His questioning had been directed.
Judging by what we know of such discussion, we infer that they may have been
connected with the Paschal solemnities. Grave Paschal questions did
arise. Indeed, the great Hillel obtained his rank as chief when he proved to
the assembled Doctors that the Passover might be offered even on the Sabbath.67
Many other questions might arise on the subject of the Passover. Or did the
Child Jesus - as afterwards, in connection with the Messianic teaching68
- lead up by His questions to the deeper meaning of the Paschal solemnities, as
it was to be unfolded, when Himself was offered up, 'the Lamb of God, Which
taketh away the sin of the world?'
65. The expression sunesiV means
originally concursus, and (as Schleusner rightly puts it) intelligentia in the sense of perspicacia qua res probe cognitae subtiliter ac diligenter a se invicem discernuntur. The LXX. render by it no less than eight different Hebrew terms.
66. The primary meaning of the verb, from which the word is derived, is secerno, discerno.
67. Jer. Pes. vi. 1; Pes.66 a.
68. St. Matt. xxii. 42-45.
Other questions also almost force themselves on the mind - most
notably this: whether on the occasion of this His first visit to the Temple,
the Virgin-Mother had told her Son the history of His Infancy, and of what had
happened when, for the first time, He had been brought to the Temple. It would
almost seem so, if we might judge from the contrast between the Virgin-Mother's
complaint about the search of His father and of her, and His own emphatic
appeal to the business of His Father. But most surprising, truly wonderful it
must have seemed to Joseph, and even to the Mother of Jesus, that the meek,
quiet Child should have been found in such company, and so engaged. It must
have been quite other than what, from His past, they would have expected; or
they would not have taken it for granted, when they left Jerusalem, that He was
among their kinsfolk and acquaintance, perhaps mingling with the children. Nor
yet would they, in such case, after they missed Him at the first night's halt -
at Sichem,69 if the
direct road north, through Samaria,70
was taken (or, according to the Mishnah, at Akrabah71)
- have so anxiously sought Him by the way,72
and in Jerusalem; nor yet would they have been 'amazed' when they found Him in
the assembly of the Doctors. The reply of Jesus to the half-reproachful,
half-relieved expostulation of them who had sought Him 'sorrowing' these three
clearly these three things before us. He had been so entirely absorbed by the
awakening thought of His Being and Mission, however kindled, as to be not only
neglectful, but forgetful of all around. Nay, it even seemed to Him impossible
to understand how they could have sought Him, and not known where He had
lingered. Secondly: we may venture to say, that He now realised that
this was emphatically His Father's House. And, thirdly: so far as
we can judge, it was then and there that, for the first time, He felt the
strong and irresistible impulse - that Divine necessity of His Being - to be
'about His Father's business.'74
We all, when first awakening to spiritual consciousness - or, perhaps, when for
the first time taking part in the feast of the Lord's House - may, and,
learning from His example, should, make this the hour of decision, in which
heart and life shall be wholly consecrated to the 'business' of our Father. But
there was far more than this in the bearing of Christ on this occasion. That
forgetfulness of His Child-life was a sacrifice - a sacrifice of self; that
entire absorption in His Father's business, without a thought of self, either
in the gratification of curiosity, the acquisition of knowledge, or personal
ambition - a consecration of Himself unto God. It was the first manifestation
of His passive and active obedience to the Will of God. Even at this stage, it
was the forth-bursting of the inmost meaning of His Life: 'My meat is to do the
Will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.' And yet this awakening of
the Christ-consciousness on His first visit to the Temple, partial, and perhaps
even temporary, as it may have been, seems itself like the morning-dawn, which
from the pinnacle of the Temple the Priest watched, ere he summoned his waiting
brethren beneath to offer the early sacrifice.
69. Jos. Ant. xv. 8. 5.
70. According to Jer. Ab. Z. 44 d, the soil, the fountains, the houses, and the roads of Samaria were 'clean.'
71. Maas. Sh. v. 2.
72. This is implied in the use of the present participle.
73. The first day would be that of missing Him, the second that of the return, and the third that of the search in Jerusalem.
74. The expression en toiV tou patroV mou
may be equally rendered, or rather supplemented, by 'in My Father's house,' and 'about My Father's business.' The former is adopted by most modern commentators.
But (1) it does not accord with the word that must be supplemented in the two analogous passages in the LXX. Neither in Esth. vii. 9, nor in Ecclus. xlii. 10, is it strictly 'the house.' (2) It seems unaccountable how the word 'house' could have been left out in the Greek rendering of the AramŠan words of Christ - but quite natural, if the word to be supplemented was 'things' or
'business.' (3) A reference to the Temple as His Father's house could not have seemed so strange on the lips of Jesus - nor, indeed, of any Jewish child - as to fill Joseph and Mary with astonishment.
From what we have already learned of this History, we do not
wonder that the answer of Jesus came to His parents as a fresh surprise. For,
we can only understand what we perceive in its totality. But here each fresh
manifestation came as something separate and new - not as part of a whole; and
therefore as a surprise, of which the purport and meaning could not be
understood, except in its organic connection and as a whole. And for the true
human development of the God-Man, what was the natural was also the needful
process, even as it was best for the learning of Mary herself, and for the
future reception of His teaching. These three subsidiary reasons may once more
be indicated here in explanation of the Virgin-Mother's seeming ignorance of
her Son's true character: the necessary gradualness of such a revelation; the
necessary development of His own consciousness; and the fact, that Jesus could
not have been subject to His Parents, nor had true and proper human training,
if they had clearly known that He was the essential Son of God.
A further, though to us it seems a downward step, was His
quiet, immediate, unquestioning return to Nazareth with His Parents, and His
to them while there. It was self-denial, self-sacrifice, self-consecration to
His Mission, with all that it implied. It was not self-examination but self-submission,
all the more glorious in proportion to the greatness of that Self. This
constant contrast before her eyes only deepened in the heart of Mary the
everpresent impression of 'all those matters,'76
of which she was the most cognisant. She was learning to spell out the word
Messiah, as each of 'those matters' taught her one fresh letter in it, and she
looked at them all in the light of the Nazareth-Sun.
75. The voluntariness of His submission is implied by the present part. mid. of the verb.
76. The Authorised Version renders 'sayings.' But I think the expression is clearly equivalent to the Hebrew Myribafd@:xa lk@i = all these things. St. Luke uses the word rbd in that sense in i. 65; ii. 15, 19, 51; Acts v. 32; x.37; xiii. 42.
With His return to Nazareth began Jesus' Life of youth and
early manhood, with all of inward and outward development, of heavenly and
earthly approbation which it carried.77
Whether or not He went to Jerusalem on recurring Feasts, we know not, and need
not inquire. For only once during that period - on His first visit to the
Temple, and in the awakening of His Youth-Life - could there have been such
outward forth-bursting of His real Being and Mission. Other influences were at
their silent work to weld His inward and outward development, and to determine
the manner of His later Manifesting of Himself. We assume that the
School-education of Jesus must have ceased soon after His return to Nazareth.
Henceforth the Nazareth-influences on the Life and Thinking of Jesus may be
grouped - and progressively as He advanced from youth to manhood - under these
particulars: Home, Nature, and Prevailing Ideas.
77. St. Luke ii. 52.
1. Home. Jewish Home-Life, especially in the country,
was of the simplest. Even in luxurious Alexandria it seems often to have been
such, alike as regarded the furnishing of the house, and the provisions of the table.78
The morning and midday meal must have been of the plainest, and even the larger
evening meal of the simplest, in the home at Nazareth. Only the Sabbath and
festivals, whether domestic or public, brought what of the best lay within
reach. But Nazareth was not the city of the wealthy or influential, and such
festive evening-entertainments, with elaborate ceremoniousness of reception,
arranging of guests according to rank, and rich spread of board, would but
rarely, if ever, be witnessed in those quiet homes. The same simplicity would
prevail in dress and manners.79
But close and loving were the bonds which drew together the members of a
family, and deep the influence which they exercised on each other. We cannot
here discuss the vexed question whether 'the brothers and sisters' of Jesus
were such in the real sense, or step-brothers and sisters, or else cousins,
though it seems to us as if the primary meaning of the terms would scarcely
have been called in question, but for a theory of false asceticism, and an
undervaluing of the sanctity of the married estate.80
But, whatever the precise relationship between Jesus and these 'brothers and
sisters,' it must, on any theory, have been of the closest, and exercised its
influence upon Him.81
78. Comp. Philo in Flacc.ed. Fcf. p. 977 &c.
79. For details as to dress, food, and manners in Palestine, I must refer to other parts of this book.
80. Comp. St. Matt. i. 24; St. Luke ii. 7; St. Matt. xii. 46; xiii. 55, 56; St. Mark iii. 31; vi. 3; Acts i. 14; 1 Cor. ix. 5; Gal. i. 19.
81. The question of the real relationship of Christ to His 'brothers' has been so often discussed in the various Cyclopaedias that it seems unnecessary here to enter
upon the matter in detail. See also Dr. Lightfoot's Dissertation in his Comment. on Galat. pp. 282-291.
Passing over Joses or Joseph, of whose history we know next to
nothing, we have sufficient materials to enable us to form some judgment of
what must have been the tendencies and thoughts of two of His brothers James
and Jude, before they were heart and soul followers of the Messiah, and
of His cousin Simon.82
If we might venture on a general characterisation, we would infer from the
Epistle of St. James, that his religious views had originally been cast in the
mould of Shammai. Certainly, there is nothing of the Hillelite direction
about it, but all to remind us of the earnestness, directness, vigour, and
rigour of Shammai. Of Simon we know that he had belonged to the
Nationalist party, since he is expressly so designated (Zelotes,83
Lastly, there are in the Epistle of St. Jude, one undoubted, and another
probable reference to two of those (Pseudepigraphic) Apocalyptic books, which
at that time marked one deeply interesting phase of the Messianic outlook of
Israel.85 We have
thus within the narrow circle of Christ's Family-Life - not to speak of any
intercourse with the sons of Zebedee, who probably were also His cousins86
- the three most hopeful and pure Jewish tendencies, brought into constant
contact with Jesus: in Pharisaism, the teaching of Shammai; then, the Nationalist
ideal; and, finally, the hope of a glorious Messianic future. To these there
should probably be added, at least knowledge of the lonely preparation of His
kinsman John, who, though certainly not an Essene, had, from the
necessity of his calling, much in his outward bearing that was akin to them.
82. I regard this Simon (Zelotes) as the son of Clopas (brother of Joseph, the Virgin's husband) and of Mary. For the reasons of this view, see
Book III. ch. xvii. and Book V. ch.
83. St. Luke vi. 15; Acts i.13.
84. St. Mark iii. 18.
85. St. Jude xv. 14, 15 to the book of Enoch, and v. 9 probably to the Assum. of Moses.
86. On the maternal side. We read St. John xix. 25 as indicating four women - His Mother's sister being Salome, according to St. Mark xv. 40.
But we are anticipating. From what are, necessarily, only
suggestions, we turn again to what is certain in connection with His
Family-Life and its influences. From St. Mark vi. 3, we may infer with great
probability, though not with absolute certainty,87
that He had adopted the trade of Joseph. Among the Jews the contempt for manual
labour, which was one of the painful88
characteristics of heathenism, did not exist. On the contrary, it was deemed a
religious duty, frequently and most earnestly insisted upon, to learn some
trade, provided it did not minister to luxury, nor tend to lead away from
personal observance of the Law.89
There was not such separation between rich and poor as with us, and while
wealth might confer social distinction, the absence of it in no way implied
social inferiority. Nor could it be otherwise where wants were so few, life was
so simple, and its highest aim so ever present to the mind.
87. Comp. St. Matt. xiii. 55; St. John vi. 42.
88. See the chapter on 'Trades and Tradesmen,' in the 'Sketches of Jewish Social Life.'
89. Comp. Ab. i. 10; Kidd. 29 b1.
We have already spoken of the religious influences in the
family, so blessedly different from that neglect, exposure, and even murder of
children among the heathen, or their education by slaves, who corrupted the
mind from its earliest opening.90
The love of parents to children, appearing even in the curse which was felt to
attach to childlessness; the reverence towards parents, as a duty higher than
any of outward observance; and the love of brethren, which Jesus had learned in
His home, form, so to speak, the natural basis of many of the teachings of
Jesus. They give us also an insight into the family-life of Nazareth. And yet
there is nothing sombre nor morose about it; and even the joyous games of
children, as well as festive gatherings of families, find their record in the
words and the life of Christ. This also is characteristic of His past. And so
are His deep sympathy with all sorrow and suffering, and His love for the
family circle, as evidenced in the home of Lazarus. That He spoke Hebrew, and
used and quoted the Scriptures in the original, has already been shown,
although, no doubt, He understood Greek, possibly also Latin.
90. Comp. this subject in D÷llinger, 'Heidenthum u. Judenthum,' in regard to the Greeks, p. 692; in regard to the Romans, pp. 716-722: in regard to education and its abominations, pp. 723-726. Nothing can cast a more lurid light on the need for Christianity, if the world was not to perish of utter rottenness, than a study of ancient Hellas and Rome, as presented by D÷llinger in his admirable work.
Secondly: Nature and Every-day Life. The most
superficial perusal of the teaching of Christ must convince how deeply
sympathetic He was with nature, and how keenly observant of man. Here there is
no contrast between love of the country and the habits of city life; the two
are found side by side. On His lonely walks He must have had an eye for the
beauty of the lilies of the field, and thought of it, how the birds of the air
received their food from an Unseen Hand, and with what maternal affection the
hen gathered her chickens under her wing. He had watched the sower or the
vinedresser as he went forth to his labour, and read the teaching of the tares
which sprang up among the wheat. To Him the vocation of the shepherd must have
been full of meaning, as he led, and fed, and watched his flock, spoke to his
sheep with well-known voice, brought them to the fold, or followed, and
tenderly carried back, those that had strayed, ever ready to defend them, even
at the cost of his own life. Nay, He even seems to have watched the habits of
the fox in its secret lair. But he also equally knew the joys, the sorrows, the
wants and sufferings of the busy multitude. The play in the market, the marriage
processions, the funeral rites, the wrongs of injustice and oppression, the
urgent harshness of the creditor, the bonds and prison of the debtor, the
palaces and luxury of princes and courtiers, the self-indulgence of the rich,
the avarice of the covetous, the exactions of the tax-gatherer, and the
oppression of the widow by unjust judges, had all made an indelible impression
on His mind. And yet this evil world was not one which He hated, and from which
He would withdraw Himself with His disciples, though ever and again He felt the
need of periods of meditation and prayer. On the contrary, while He confronted
all the evil in it, He would fain pervade the mass with the new leaven; not
cast it away, but renew it. He recognised the good and the hopeful, even in
those who seemed most lost. He quenched not the dimly burning flax, nor brake
the bruised reed. It was not contempt of the world, but sadness over it; not
condemnation of man, but drawing him to His Heavenly Father; not despising of
the little and the poor, whether outwardly or inwardly such, but encouragement
and adoption of them, together with keen insight into the real under the mask
of the apparent, and withering denunciation and unsparing exposure of all that
was evil, mean, and unreal, wherever it might appear. Such were some of the
results gathered from His past life, as presented in His teaching.
Thirdly: Of the prevailing ideas around, with
which He was brought in contact, some have already been mentioned. Surely, the
earnestness of His Shammaite brother, if such we may venture to designate him;
the idea of the Kingdom suggested by the Nationalists, only in its purest and
most spiritual form, as not of this world, and as truly realising the
sovereignty of God in the individual, whoever he might be; even the dreamy
thoughts of the prophetic literature of those times, which sought to read the
mysteries of the coming Kingdom; as well as the prophet-like asceticism of His
forerunner and kinsman, formed at least so many points of contact for His teaching.
Thus, Christ was in sympathy with all the highest tendencies of His people and
time. Above all, there was His intimate converse with the Scriptures of the Old
Testament. If, in the Synagogue, He saw much to show the hollowness,
self-seeking, pride, and literalism which a mere external observance of the Law
fostered, He would ever turn from what man or devils said to what He read, to
what was 'written.' Not one dot or hook of it could fall to the ground - all
must be established and fulfilled. The Law of Moses in all its bearings, the
utterances of the prophets - Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Micah,
Zechariah, Malachi - and the hopes and consolations of the Psalms, were all to
Him literally true, and cast their light upon the building which Moses had
reared. It was all one, a grand unity; not an aggregation of different parts,
but the unfolding of a living organism. Chiefest of all, it was the thought of
the Messianic bearing of all Scripture to its unity, the idea of the Kingdom of
God and the King of Zion, which was the life and light of all. Beyond this,
into the mystery of His inner converse with God, the unfolding of His spiritual
receptiveness, and the increasing communication from above, we dare not enter.
Even what His bodily appearance may have been, we scarcely venture to imagine.91
It could not but be that His outer man in some measure bodied forth His 'Inner
Being.' Yet we dread gathering around our thoughts of Him the artificial
flowers of legend.92
What His manner and mode of receiving and dealing with men were, we can portray
to ourselves from His life. And so it is best to remain content with the simple
account of the Evangelic narrative: 'Jesus increased in favour with God and
91. Even the poetic conception of the painter can only furnish his own ideal, and that
of one special mood. Speaking as one who has no claim to knowledge of art, only one picture of Christ ever really impressed me. It was that of an 'Ecce Homo,'
by Carlo Dolci, in the Pitti Gallery at Florence. For an account of the early pictorial representations, comp. Gieseler. Kirchengesch. i. pp. 85, 86.
92. Of these there are, alas! only too many. The reader interested in the matter will
find a good summary in Keim, i. 2, pp. 460-463. One of the few
noteworthy remarks recorded is this description of Christ, in the spurious
Epistle of Lentulus, 'Who was never seen to laugh, but often to weep.'
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