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the hypothesis first proposed b y Eichhorn and introduced with modifications to the English public by Dr . Marsh—that there existed , prior to the composition of any of our canonical gospel ? , a document containing the principal facts of our Lord ' s life and ministry—that in passing through various hands it had received additions and had undergone translations from its original Aramaic into Greek , and that the coincidences of qur gospels are to be ascribed to the writers' using materials substantially the same , their discre-r
pancies to their possessing copies more or less enriched by subsequent additions , or to the * variations in phraseology which must exist in the translation of the same original by different hands . This subject underwent a long and angry discussion in England soon after the publication of Marsh ' s Michaelis , and since that time appears to have slept in peace . The orthodox regarded with horror the suggestion that our gospels should have owed their origin to an assemblage of anonymous fragments , while those who form
their judgments rather from the evidence than the supposed consequences of an opinion , have , perhaps , generally assented to the apparent plausibility of the hypothesis , without rigidly examining it in all its bearings . The translator has very clearly stated some objections to it , and Schleiermacher directs the reader ' s attention to ' them from time to time as they arise in the course of his Essay . In Germany , the controversy has gone on to the present time , and although neither the hypothesis of Eichhorn , nor any of those
which have been proposed in its stead , has been supported with evidence amounting to any thing like certainty , many valuable results have been obtained from the accurate and extensive researches into Christian antiquities which learned men have instituted in the hope of solving the problem . The translator , who appears most accurately acquainted with the theological literature of Germany , goes on to state the opinions of Gratz and Bertholdt , who have considerably modified Eichhorn ' s hypothesis ; of Hug , who has
returned to the ancient opinion that the evangelists copied each other , and of Gieseler , who supposes an oral gospel , arising out of the united teaching of the apostles during their joint residence at Jerusalem , afterwards variously adapted by them to the respective objects of their separate preaching . We regret that our limits will not allow us to do more than refer the reader to this very interesting part of the book . Such was the state of the controversy
respecting the origin of the three first gospels , when Schleiermacher , not satisfied with the result of any of these inquiries , and believing their fundamental assumption of a common document to be erroneous , undertook the examination of the Gospel of Luke , in order to discover what internal marks it contained of the manner in which its materials had been procured and combined . The work of which we are now to give an analysis is the result of this investigation . He thinks , that he discovers in this gospel evident traces that Luke has only arranged a number of documents previously
existing , in which detached events were recorded and discourses preserved , adding little of his own , except the introductory verses , and here and there a connecting particle or phrase . Two other objects are also kept in view throughout the Essay— % o shew that the chronology and connexion of Luke are generally preferable to those of Matthew , and to point out those phenomena which are inconsistent with IJictjhorn ' s hypothesis of a common document . We shall confine ourselves to the two first points . He thus endeavours to render probable the existence of these detached documents :
" The first source [ of Christian history ] was a reasonable and natural desire on the part of those who had believed in Jesus , without having had a know-
Rsmew * rv- $ chleierm (* eher * s Critical Essay on the Gospel of St . Luke . 35
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Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1827, page 35, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1792/page/35/