First Christian Century by Sir William Ramsay

William M. Ramsay [1851-1939], The First Christian Century. Notes on Dr. Moffatt's Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament.

In this series of ad hoc articles Sir William Ramsay defends the historicity of the New Testament against the arguments put forward by Dr James Moffatt. Ramsay was not the first to respond to Moffatt’s attacks on historicity, see Daniel in the Critic’s Den, for another example. My thanks to Book Aid for making a copy of this public domain title available for digitisation.

William M. Ramsay [1851-1939], The First Christian Century. Notes on Dr. Moffatt’s Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1911. Hbk. pp.195. [Click to visit the download page for this title]

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  1. General
  2. Literary Illustrations in Dr. Moffatt’s Book
  3. Literature and History: A Difference in Method
  4. The First and Late Second Century
  5. The Personality of Papias and Polycarp
  6. Papias as Authority for the Early Deathg of John the Apostle
  7. The Supposed Early Death of John
  8. The Fascination of the Second Century
  9. The Argument from Accuracy of Local Details
  10. Exsamples of the “Imaginative Reconstruction” of the Past in Literature
  11. The Lawfulness of False Attribution in Literature
  12. The Growth of a Miracle
  13. The “Growing Consciousness of the Church”
  14. The Unity of the New Testament
  15. Order and Unifying Principle in the New Testament
  16. St. Paul as the Beginning of the New Testament
  17. St. Paul and St. John
  18. Incident and Teaching
  19. The Fourth Gospel and Its Author
  20. The “Semi-Pseudonymity” of First Peter
  21. The Study of Opinions
  22. Analogies from Classical Non-Christian Literature
  23. The South Galatian Question
  24. The Phygian Region of the Province of Galatia
  25. The Phrygian Language at Iconium
  26. Antioch a Galatian City
  27. The Political and Religious Importance of Pisidian Antioch
  28. A Greek Linguistic Argument
  29. Conclusion

Was Christ Born in Bethlehem? by Sir William Ramsay

Sir William Mitchell Ramsay
Sir William Mitchell Ramsay (Photo Source: Wikipedia)

Sir William M. Ramsay’s classic defence of the historicity of Luke-Acts. My thanks to Book Aid for making a copy of this public domain title available for digitisation.

William M. Ramsay [1851-1939], Was Christ Born at Bethlehem? A Study on the Credibility of St Luke. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1898. Hbk. pp.280. [Click here to visit the download page for this title]

Table of Contents

  1. Luke’s History: What it Professes to Be
  2. Plan and Unity of Luke’s History
  3. The Attitude of Luke to the Roman Empire
  4. Importance in Luke’s History of the Story of the Birth of Christ
  5. The Question at Issue
  6. Luke’s Account of the Enrolment
  7. Enrolment by Households in Egypt
  8. The Syrian Enrolment of the Year 8 B.C.
  9. The Enrolment of Palestine by Herod the King
  10. Chronology of the Life of Christ
  11. Some Associated Questions
  • Appendix

Preface

Understanding that a certain criticism implied a sort of challenge to apply my theory of Luke’s character as a historian to the Gospel, I took what is generally acknowledged to be the most doubtful passage, from the historian’s view, in the New Testament, Luke ii. 1-4. Many would not even call it doubtful. Strauss (in his New Life of Jesus) and Renan dismiss it in a short footnote as unworthy even of mention in the text.

This passage, interpreted according to the view which I have maintained – that Luke was a great historian, and that he appreciated the force of the Greek superlative (in spite of the contradiction of Professor Blass and others) – gave the result that Luke was acquainted with a system of Periodic Enrolments in Syria, and probably in the East generally. I looked for evidence of such a system; and it was offered by recent discoveries in Egypt. The confirmation afforded to Luke was explained in the Expositor, April and June, 1897.

Realising better in subsequent thought the bearings of the Egyptian discovery, I have enlarged these two articles into an argument against the view that Luke sinks, in the accessories of his narrative, below the standard exacted from ordinary historians. At the risk of repeating views already stated in previous works, the second chapter attempts to put clearly the present state of the question as regards the two books of Luke, without expecting others to be familiar with my views already published.

The names of those scholars whose views I contend against are hardly ever mentioned. The scholars of the “destructive” school seem to prefer not to be mentioned, when one differs from them. I have learned much from them; I was once guided by them; I believe that the right understanding of the New Testament has been very greatly advanced by their laudable determination to probe and to understand everything, as is stated on p. 33; but I think their conclusions are to a great extent erroneous. It might, however, be considered disingenuous if I concealed that the weighty authority of Gardthausen, the historian of Augustus, is dead against me, p. 102….

Pages vii-ix

Daniel in the Critics Den by Sir Robert Anderson

Daniel in the Lions' Den by Briton Rivière (1890)Sir Robert Anderson [1841-1918] was an Assistant Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police and member of the Open Brethren. In 1885 he wrote this response to F.W. Farrar, then the Dean of Canterbury, who had recently written a commentary on the Book of Daniel in The Expositor’s Bible series. Farrar roundly dismissed the historical claims of that book, so Anderson countered with this defence of a 7th Century dating of Daniel.

This title has been widely republished both in print and on-line, but as I came across a copy at Book Aid I thought it would do not harm to make is available here as well. My thanks to Book Aid for their assistance.

Robert Anderson [1841-1918], Daniel in the Critics’ Den. A Reply to Dean Farrar’s ‘Book of Daniel. Edinburgh & London: William Blackwood & Sons, 1895. Hbk. pp.126. [Click to visit the download page]

Chapter 1

Bv “all people of discernment” the “Higher Criticism” is now held in the greatest repute. And discernment is a quality for which the dullest of men are keen to claim credit. It may safely be assumed that not one person in a score of those who eagerly disclaim belief in the visions of Daniel has ever seriously considered the question. The literature upon the subject is but dull reading at best, and the inquiry demands a combination of qualities which is comparatively rare. A newspaper review of some ponderous treatise, or a frothy discourse by some popular preacher, will satisfy most men. The German literature upon the controversy they know nothing of, and the writings of scholars like Professor Driver of Oxford are by no means to their taste, and probably beyond their capacity. Dean Farrar’s Book of Daniel will therefore supply a much – felt want…

More resources on Daniel can be found here. Of these Alan R. Millard’s recent defence of the book’s historicity is especially helpful.