C.J. Cadoux, The Historic Mission of Jesus

C.J. Cadoux, The Historic Mission of Jesus 1

Cecil John Cadoux was Vice-Principal of Mansfield College Oxford and MacKennal Professor of Church History. He is remembered for his numerous books on pacifism. His brother was Arthur Temple Cadoux, the author of The Sources of the Second Gospel, which as the book I was looking for when I came across this one. My thanks to Book Aid for making a copy of this public domain work available for digitisation.

Cecil John Cadoux [1883-1947], The Historic Mission of Jesus. A Constructive Re-Examination of the Eschatological Teaching in the Synoptic Gospels. London & Redhill: Lutterworth Press, 1941. Hbk. pp.376. [Click here to visit the download page for this public domain title]

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Part 1: The Bringer of the Kingdom of God
    1. The Son of God
    2. The Loving and Intimate Servant of God
    3. The Friend of Sufferers and Sinners
    4. The Messiah of Israel
    5. The Conqueror of Satan
    6. The Rightful Lord of Men
    7. The Son of David
    8. The Son of Man
  • Part 2: The Nature and Presence of the Kingdom of God
    1. The Meaning of “The Kingdom of God”
    2. The New Way of Life
    3. The Kingdom Already Present
    4. The Kingdom for the Jews
    5. The Kingdom for the Gentiles
    6. The Political Significance of the Kingdom
    7. The Priceless Value of the Kingdom
  • Part 3: The Future of the Kingdom as First Envisaged
    1. Jesus’ Initial Expectations of Success
    2. The Future Coming of the Kingdom
    3. Rewards and Punishments in General
    4. Rewards and Punishments in the Life After Death
    5. Rewards and Punishments in the Coming Age
  • Part 4: The Future of the Kingdom as Last Envisaged
    1. The Cross Foreseen, Accepted, and Explained
    2. The Roman Invasion and Conquest
    3. The Return of the Son of Man
    4. The Disciples in the Interval
    5. The Consummation
  • Conclusion
  • Indices

Synopsis

In this book the author has aimed at presenting in systematic form the whole of the Synoptic evidence bearing on our Lord’s conception of the Kingdom of God and of his own mission in relation to it. For this purpose he has utilized Dr. Streeter’s important theories regarding the Gospel-documents.

Not only is the entire evidence presented, but its significance is fully discussed; and an attempt is made to show the interconnectedness of its several parts. Furthermore, the author advances one or two theories which–while not in the strict sense new–have never yet been generally accepted or fully utilized for the purpose of bringing out the real meaning and inward consistency of Jesus’ mission. Thus he emphasises (1) the nation-wide character of his appeal, (2) his concern for the redemption of the Gentiles through Israel’s fulfilment of the universalistic aspirations of the Old Testament, (3) his eager endeavour to avert a military clash between the Jews and the Roman Empire, and (4) his early expectation of being accepted and loyally followed by his fellow-countrymen as a whole.

His eschatological views are recognised as playing a real part in his general world-view; but reasons are given for rejecting the thorough-going interpretation urged by Schweitzer. On the other hand, the author finds himself unable to accept on its entirety the recently-broached theory of “released eschatology.” He pleads that the general coherence of the findings to which his study of the evidence leads him constitutes a very strong confirmation of their soundness.

The Synoptic material in handled frankly on its own merits as historical evidence, the author being convinced that untrammelled historical investigation and construction is an absolutely indispensible prerequisite for any really satifying doctrinal speculations.

From the back cover of the dustjacket.

Should you wish to purchase a hard copy of the new edition of this title, one is available from my friends at James Clarke Lutterworth Press.

Book Review: Can We Trust the Gospels by Peter J. Williams

Can We Trust the Gospels by Peter J. WilliamsThe writings of Dr Bart Ehrman have undoubtedly had a very negative effect on the faith of many. It is widely reported that many young Christians, exposed to his teachings, have abandoned their faith by the time that they graduate from Colleges or University. Christian scholars have responded with numerous books offering both answers to Ehrman’s objections and  new research which serves to demonstrate the credibility of the Gospel accounts of Jesus. I have previously reviewed another book in this genre, The Heresy of Orthodoxy, and was delighted receive a pre-publication of Peter J. Williams book, Can We Trust the Gospels? from the publisher.

This is a very short book (153 pages including indexes), but one that covers a tremendous amount of ground, at the same time condensing a huge amount of scholarly research. This book is not just a good summary of a complex subject, but adds new insights along the way, based on first-hand research, as I will mention again later.

The book is laid out as follows:

  1. What do Non-Christian Sources Say?
  2. What Are the Four Gospels?
  3. Did the Gospel Authors Know Their Stuff?
  4. Undesigned Coincidences
  5. Do We Have Jesus’s Actual Words?
  6. Has the Text Changed?
  7. What about Contradictions?
  8. Who Would Make All This Up?

1. What do Non-Christian Sources Say?

Chapter 1 discusses the importance of the writings of Tacitus (pp.18-24), Pliny the Younger (pp.24-31) and Josephus (pp.31-35), and demonstrates how quickly the Gospel spread across the Empire. It also notes how key teachings of the early Christians, such as belief in the Deity of Christ, were recognised at an early date by non-Christian observers (pp.28-31).

2. What Are the Four Gospels?

Introduces the Gospels, their dating, interdependence, and traditionally ascribed authorship. Arguments supporting the traditional authorship is presented in later chapters. I particularly liked the argument for Matthew the Tax Collector based on that Gospel’s unique interest in financial matters (pp.82-83). Here, as throughout the book, the judicious use of footnotes allows interested readers to find further information. In this chapter I found the reference to Brant Pitre’s book, The Case for Jesus (p.43, n.9) particularly helpful, having repeatedly been assured by people, who ought to have known better, that the Gospels were all originally anonymous.

3. Did the Gospel Authors Know Their Stuff?

I have to admit that, having heard Peter William’s Bible and Church Lecture in London a few years ago, I was particularly interested to see the argument he presented there written down and developed and was not disappointed. There are numerous charts demonstrating the Gospel writers intimate knowledge of Palestinian geography (pp.52-57), hydrology (pp.57-58), roads (pp.58-61), and even Gardens (pp.61-62). Here I liked the point about the writers’ descriptions of Galilee. While Matthew, Mark and John all call it a sea, Williams points out that…

Luke is rather different. It uses the word sea only three times and never to reference a particular body of water. If, as is traditionally thought, Luke came from Antioch on the Orontes, not far from the Mediterranean, he certainly would not have thought of the tiny Sea of Galilee as the sea. He just calls it “the lake”. [p.58. Underlining italics in original]

The next section is based on Richard Bauckham’s research on personal names [pp.64-78, esp. p.64, n.28), showing how the Gospels’ use of disambiguation correlates very closely with the relative popularity of names in 1st Century Palestine, but not outside of that time or location. Combined with further arguments based on the writer’s knowledge of Jewish customs (pp.78-81), botany (pp.81-82), finance (pp.82-83 – already referred to above) and languages they make a strong cumulative case for authenticity.

4. Undesigned Coincidences

Williams then turns to Lydia McGrew’s development of J.J. Blunt’s Undesigned Coincidences, giving several examples of how the Gospels include incidental details that someone without eyewitness information could not possible have known about. It discusses Mary and Martha’s personalities (pp.88-91), the feeding of the 5,000 (pp.91-94) noting the significance of the grass. Having worked in Nepal, where grass withers very quickly after the rains stops, I appreciated the argument here. The final coincidence covers the account in the Gospels and Josephus concerning Herod Antipas (p.94-96).

5. Do We Have Jesus’s Actual Words?

Here is discussed the difference between 1st Century and modern ideas of what constitutes an accurate quotation and it is argued that the disciples of Jesus would have been quite capable of passing on accurate traditions about him. The languages in which Jesus spoke are discussed (pp.106-109). He notes:

Language contact means that a Jew speaking in Greek to a Jewish audience would plausibly be able to use specificly Aramaic words as recorded in Matthew 5:22 (raka) and 6:24 (mamona), both of which occur in the Sermon on the Mount. Also, by the time of Jesus many Greek words had been loaned into Aramaic. If Jesus originally told the parable of the prodical son in Aramaic, there is no reason why he could not have used some of the very vocabulary found in our Greek version, such as the Greek word symphonia (“music,” Luke 15:25), which by then had been adopted into Aramaic. Jesus presumably would have spoken Greek to the Greeks in John 12:23, with the Centurion in Matthew 8:5-13, with a  Greek woman in  Mark 7:26, and possible also with the Herodians in Mark 12:13.” [p.109. Underlining italics in original]

6. Has the Text Changed?

In this chapter, Williams draws, not for the first time (p.81, p.52), on his own research and work in textual criticism to argue for the veracity of the Greek text of the Gospels. Again, the rapid spread of the church throughout the gospels is said to make it impossible for major doctrine changing textual variants to be deliberately introduced (pp.120-122).

7. What about Contradictions?

This chapter is very brief and focuses on formal contradictions in the text. These are deliberate and “…show that the author is more interested in encouraging people to read deeply than in satisfying those who would find fault.” (p.127).

8. Who Would Make All This Up?

The final chapter concludes that the simplest and best solution that explains the Gospels as we now have them is that they are what they claim to be.

Who Should Read This Book?

I think that anyone who has been challenged by the work of critics such as Bart Ehrman would find this book of great help. It would also be good to place it in the hands of non-Christians who are considering the claims of Jesus and have doubts about the Gospels. Personally, I found myself encouraged to dive into the suggested further reading (p.13, n.1), but most of all to read the Gospels again with a fresh appreciation of their depth, accuracy and sophistication.

Book Details

Peter J. Williams, Can We Trust the Gospels? Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018. Pbk. ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-5295-3. pp.153.

The Servant of Yahweh by Arthur S. Peake

Arthur S. Peake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arthur S. Peake’s 1926 Collection of Lectures entitled “The Servant of Yahweh” is now available online in PDF. The short biography in the introduction by Henry Guppy is not yet in Public Domain, so that has been excluded. The portrait of A.S. Peake (above) which serves as the frontispiece looks very useful, so I have included images at various resolutions. You can visit the download page here.

Arthur S. Peake [1865-1929], The Servant of Yahweh Three Lectures Delivered at King’s College, London, During 1926. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1931. Hbk. pp.365. [This material is in the Public Domain]

Table of Contents

Portrait

Prefatory Note

In Memoriam: A. S. Peake by Henry Guppy [Not in Public Domain, so not included]

The Servant of Yahweh

The Roots of Hebrew Prophecy and Jewish Apocalyptic

Elijah and Jezebel: The Conflict with the Tyrian Baal

Recent Developments in Old Testament Criticism

The Messiah and the Son of Man

The Quintessence of Paulinism

Paul the Apostle: His Personality and Achievement

Paul and the Jewish Christians